ON THE 2018 PEACE MESSAGE OF POPE FRANCIS — Migrants and refugees


Fausto Gomez OP


Peace to all people and to all nations on earth! Peace! Thus begins Pope Francis’ Message on the World Day of Peace, entitled Migrants and Refugees: Men and Women in Search of Peace (January 1, 2018). The papal message focuses this New Year on all people seeking for peace in the world, in particular migrant and refugees – over 250 million migrants worldwide, of whom 22.5 million are refugees. Let me try to give a brief commented summary of the Pope’s message. What is the reality of peace in the world?  




Pope Francis views the world with “a contemplative gaze.” Among the migrants and refugees, there are “those fleeing from war and hunger, or forced by discrimination, persecution, poverty and environmental degradation to leave their homelands” (Message, no 1). Quoting St John Paul II, Pope Francis writes that the increased numbers of displaced persons is one of the consequences of the “endless and horrifying sequence of wars, conflicts, genocides and ethnic cleansings” (Pope John Paul II) that had characterized the twentieth century. Pope Francis comments sadly: “To this date, the new century has registered no real breakthrough: armed conflicts and other forms of organized violence continue to trigger the movement of peoples within national borders and beyond” (Message, 2).

Furthermore, the Pope continues, “as I noted in the Encyclical Laudato Sí, there has been “a tragic rise in the number of migrants seeking to flee from the growing poverty caused by environmental degradation.”(LS’, 25). “Many destination countries have seen the spread of rhetoric decrying the risks posed to national security or the high cost of welcoming new arrivals, and thus demeaning the human dignity due to all as sons and daughters of God” (Message, 2).

FEAST OF THE MOTHER OF GOD — “Who are you, O Immaculate Conception?”

Arthur Ng


“O Lord, how excellent is Thy Name in all the earth, Who hast made Thee a worthy tabernacle in the Virgin Mary.”

Two hours before his final arrest, St Maximilian Kolbe penned the most important theological reflection of his life. He raised a question that occupied his heart and mind for so many years, a question that he had pondered over and over since the beginning of his religious life: “Who are you, O Immaculate Conception?”

FEAST OF MARY, MOTHER OF GOD — The silence of Son and Mother

Pope Francis

Following is Zenit’s English translation of the homily pronounced by the Holy Father, Pope Francis, on 1 January 2018, Feast of Mary, Mother of God.


The year opens in the name of the Mother. “Mother of God” is the most important title of Our Lady. But we might ask why we say Mother of God and not Mother of Jesus. In the past, some wanted to be content simply with the latter, but the Church has declared that Mary is the Mother of God. We should be grateful because these words contain a magnificent truth about God and about ourselves. From the moment that our Lord became incarnate in Mary, and for all time, he took on our humanity. There is no longer God without man; the flesh Jesus took from his Mother is our own, now and for all eternity. To call Mary the Mother of God reminds us of this: God is close to humanity, even as a child is close to the mother who bears him in her womb.

The word “mother” (mater) is related to the word “matter.” In his Mother, the God of heaven, the infinite God, made himself small, he became matter, not only to be with us but also to be like us. This is the miracle, the great novelty! Man is no longer alone; no more an orphan, but forever a child. The year opens with this novelty. And we proclaim it by saying: Mother of God! Ours is the joy of knowing that our solitude has ended. It is the beauty of knowing that we are beloved children, of knowing that this childhood of ours can never be taken away from us. It is to see a reflection of ourselves in the frail and infant God resting in his mother’s arms and to realize that humanity is precious and sacred to the Lord. Henceforth, to serve human life is to serve God. All life, from life in the mother’s womb to that of the elderly, the suffering and the sick, and to that of the troublesome and even repellent, is to be welcomed, loved and helped.

BITE-SIZE PHILOSOPHY (45) — So, why is man unpredictable?


Rev José Mario O Mandía


We have seen that man has the ability to “come up with new ideas” and this is rooted in the fact that he goes beyond the mere appearances of things. We have the ability that helps us to discover — to abstract — the essence of things from the image produced by our internal senses. As we have seen, this sensory image contains the specific characteristics of each individual thing that we know: its color, its shape, its texture, its smell, and so on. The mind goes beyond those appearances.

When we meet a person, our senses only perceive that person’s height, color, and other obvious features. But the senses cannot reach the intangible, the unseen, the essential core. One needs a higher power, the intellect, that is able to abstract the essence. In essay no 7 of this series (March 17 issue), we have seen, moreover, that this higher power carries out three basic operations: simple apprehension, judgment and reasoning.

USJ PUBLIC LECTURE — Pope Francis: The First Five Years


The Faculty of Religious Studies of University of Saint Joseph is organizing a public lecture entitled “Pope Francis: The First Five Years” at the Auditorium of Saint Joseph’s Seminary, 9th January 2018 at 18:30.

On 13 March 2013, the Cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church stunned the world by electing Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, to succeed Benedict XVI as pope. There were several reasons for the world to be stunned. Bergoglio was a member of the Society of Jesus, a Jesuit, and the first Jesuit ever to be elected pope. Born in Latin America, he was the first non-European to be elected pope in 1,300 years and the first from the “New World” of the Americas.

What Fr Bevans shall propose to explore in his lecture is how Pope Francis does indeed embrace the process of inculturation. He will reflect only on three of Pope Francis’s major documents—Evangelii Gaudium, Laudato Si’, and Amoris Laetitia—and then briefly comment on his 2015 address before the United States Congress, the Motu Proprio “Magnum Principium,” and his 2017 trip to Myanmar.



MARIAN APPARITIONS (49) — Sichem, Belgium

The shrine in Brabant in the duchy of Louvain, is a replacement of the one below Mount Garizim, Israel. Hadrian restored the temple on Mount Garizim and dedicated it to Jupiter. A small Christian community settled there; and on several occasions they suffered greatly at the hands of the Samaritans. In 474 the emperor, to avenge an unjust attack on the sect, gave Mount Garizim to the Christians, who built on it a church dedicated to the Blessed Virgin.

After the Mohammedan conquest, Christianity practically disappeared from the district. The French made amends by erecting a shrine to Mary in the duchy of Louvain. The ancient statue of Our Lady of Sichem, or as Our Lady of ‘Montaigu’, which is the title more commonly used today, has been venerated in Belgium from very early times. The Mother of God rewarded the faithful magnanimously for their pious attention.


The Macau Diocese has invited the nine local parishes to participate in the “Christmas Nativity-Scene Award,” which runs until next January 21.

Speaking to O CLARIM, Bishop of Macau Stephen Lee Bun-sang said, he’s impressed by the parishes to put a lot of effort to decorate the mangers, which adds the Christmas atmosphere to the churches. “This contest also motivates families to create and decorate mangers at home,” he mentioned, adding that he has been receiving some interesting manger designs from the Internet.

Msgr Stephen Lee thus wishes to build up a culture that focuses on the spiritual and salvific value of the Advent and Christmas. The material value, on the other hand, could be centered to the preparation of the manger.

Macau Diocesan Social Communication Center Director of Performance Events and Project Division Agnes Wong told us the winner will be known after Bishop Lee and the Macau Diocesan Commission for Social Communication’s decision is announced.

However, the public in general can vote in their preference through the website: https://goo.gl/geZqr9. The most voted parish will receive a contest certificate.


P.D.O. with B.K.I.



Lord, Every Nation on Earth Will Adore You!


Is 60:1-6; Eph 3:2-3, 5-6; Mt 2:1-12

Edmond Lo


For a Gentile like me, who has benefited much from Christianity – a faith that traces its lifeline and origin to the “root of the olive tree” (Romans 11:17), namely the faith of Israel – the theme of the Epiphany of the Lord is particularly overpowering and enticing: salvation, revealed and promised by God from time immemorial through Israel, God’s chosen people, has come to the Gentiles, making them “co-heirs, members of the same body, and co-partners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel” (Eph 3:6).

The Revelation of the Face of the Father (Lord’s Baptism)

Fernando Armellini SCJ

Claretian Publications


It all started at the Jordan, a river that flows peacefully in the plains of Jericho. There, all the inhabitants of Judea flocked to be baptized. One day, Jesus also appeared among the sinners. He was sharing their condition, accompanying them in their exodus from slavery to freedom.

God revealed in Jesus is not distant, in the sky, who controls and orders and punish those who violate them. He becomes one of us, in solidarity with humanity except in sin but bearing its consequences.

All the evangelists give importance to the baptism of Jesus, drawing our attention to the revelation from the sky. “He came out of the water and he saw the heavens opened.”  Mark here refers to a famous text from the prophet Isaiah.

CHURCH FATHERS (10) — Fragments of Papias




Let us look now at another enigmatic document coming from our Fathers in the faith, people who were closer than we are to the Lord himself and to his first brethren, the apostles and the disciples. This document is known as Fragments of Papias.

Papias was probably a disciple of Saint John and Saint Polycarp. It is said that he was a follower of some doctrines that were not really orthodox (as millenarism). This may be reason why Saint Eusebius had mixed feelings about him.

Let us see this passage about Papias from a quite recent scholar: “Papius is known to us through St Irenaeus and Eusebius. He was bishop of Hierapolis in Phrygia, a friend of St Polycarp, and, having conversed with the immediate disciples of the Apostles, belonged, at the latest, to the third generation of Christians. Critics are still debating whether the John, whose disciple he was, was St John the Apostle, or a presbyter of that name. Eusebius speaks of Papias as a feeble man of limited mental power. Papias composed only one work, the Explanation of the Sayings of the Lord, in five books. This treatise not only explains the words of Christ but also deals with His life. The author does not take the sayings of Christ from the Gospel text alone but relates parables from oral tradition, which Eusebius thought queer, reports a number of special utterances of the Redeemer, and a few stories which are pure fables. Among the latter are to be classed certain realistic descriptions of the millennium, in which Papias was a fervent believer. According as they see in John the presbyter, with whom Papias conversed, the Apostle John, or another personage of the same name, critics assign the composition of the Explanation to an earlier or a later date. Zahn places this composition in A. D. 125-130; Bardenhewer, 117-138; Harnack, 140-160; Batiffol, c. 150. Of the work of Papias we possess only a few short fragments given by St. Irenaeus, Eusebius, and Apollinaris. The two most important relate to the gospels of St. Mark and St. Matthew” (J Tixeront, A Handbook of Patrology, 1920).