Konigstein, Germany, Nov 28, 2009 (CNA) - A selection of 28 documentaries about AIDS victims and the response of the local Catholic Church will be made available to Catholic broadcasters through the Catholic Radio and Television Network (CRTN).
The network says the programs, selected from Spanish, French and English speaking producers, show how love, care and education in faithfulness and abstinence are the most effective weapons against the spread of HIV/AIDS.
The documentaries provided by CRTN include the Metanoia Media production “The Change is On” about the response to HIV/AIDS in South Africa. The Spanish-language series from Goya Producciones, “The Culture of Life,” reflects “the Church’s love and experience as the world’s primary HIV/AIDS care giver,” CRTN says.
While condom use is often offered as the primary method to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS, the Catholic Church, which considers condom use to be a corruption of the marital act, has questioned this approach. Pope Benedict XVI triggered international controversy with a March 2009 comment saying that condoms will not stop the spread of AIDS.
Some researchers also doubt the practicality of condom use in many HIV prevention programs. Dr. Edward Green, a Senior Research Scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health, has said no association between condom use and lower HIV rates in Africa has been discovered.
According to a CRTN press release, AIDS has killed more than 27 million people since it was first identified in 1981. More than 35 million worldwide are infected with HIV. In Africa, more than 11 million children are AIDS orphans.
More information about the documentaries is available at http://www.crtn.org
Bay St. Louis, Miss., Nov 28, 2009 (CNA) - A Mississippi priest has recently finished writing his first book, “His Instruments: If God Can Use Them, He Can Use Us.” The book, written by Father Sebastian Myladiyil, examines the lives of both good and bad biblical characters.
“I thought about this particular phrase, ‘If you see a good person, imitate him. If you see a bad person, examine your conscience.’ My effort is to look at a number of people in the Bible, both good and some questionable characters and how they can help us form those qualities in such a way that we can imitate their virtues and their faith or to look at some of those characters who led questionable lives to see how they can make us examine our own conscience,” Fr. Myladiyil said.
The book examines the lives of such biblical characters as Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel and John the Baptist, just to name a few.
“It examines 19 characters in the Old Testament and five characters in the New Testament,” he added.
“It looks at these 24 characters and how are they leading us to the new Adam, Jesus.”
Originally, Father Sebastian intended for the book to be released as an Advent reflection focusing on 25 people for the 25 days of Advent.
He noted that as he began to write it, he realized “that these characters can speak to us daily.”
“At the end, I compare the characters to one another. For example, how is Adam connected to Jesus or Eve to Jesus?”
The foreword for the book is written by none other than Bishop of Biloxi, Most Rev. Roger Morin.
The bishop writes, “Father Sebastian, through his thoughtful creative writing, is able to enliven individual biblical personalities as he casts them in roles of daily conversations with God as they ponder the mystery of the divine plan for them. By God’s plan, each person is challenged to be faithful and loving in order to be redeemed. The mechanism and the content of the dialogical construct beckons the reader to reflect on the ways in which he or she may have talked to God about personal triumphs and tragedies, successes and failures, experienced in daily living.”
Fr. Myladiyil’s book is $12.95. For more information, call 228-467-7347.
Printed with permission from the Gulf Pine Catholic, newspaper for the Diocese of Biloxi, Miss.
Washington D.C., Nov 28, 2009 (CNA) - The National Conference of Students for Life of America, scheduled to be held on Jan 23, 2010, has already sold out.
“I was amazed to see our national conference sell out so quickly this year. It is a true reflection of what my staff has been witnessing on college campuses for the past several months,” Kristan Hawkins, the Executive Director of Students for Life of America, told CNA.
The conference will be an opportunity for students across the U.S. to receive training on how to be effective advocates for life, be educated on all of the current issues affecting the pro-life movement, and meet and network with other pro-life students from across the country. It will be held at the Catholic University of America on January 23, the day after the March for Life in Washington, D.C.
“Pro-life students are tired of the some old politics as usual in Washington, D.C. and on their campuses. They are activating like never before to provide resources to women facing unplanned pregnancies in their communities and are standing up to the culture of death policies of Congress and the current presidential administration,” Hawkins added.
The conference's website assures readers that next year's conference will be held in a larger venue. But for the 778 participants lucky enough to be registered, the day itself will feature talks on “Knowing Your Rights on Campus” and “How Abortion Affects Real Women and Men.”
The afternoon will host a number of breakout sessions aimed at helping students become better and more effective ambassadors to their campuses. The sessions will discuss a variety of topics ranging from stem cell research and bio-ethical reform to sidewalk counseling and breaking through apathy on their campuses.
More information on the conference and the host organization can be found at www.studentsforlife.org
Rome, Italy, Nov 28, 2009 (CNA) -
The Church of St. Ignazio di Loyola in Rome was the scene of a concert Tuesday evening featuring a Catholic parish choir from Washington, Pa. This was the first stop for the group in a series of concerts in Italy, including one Wednesday for the Holy Father
The concert given by the choir of Immaculate Conception Parish, located in the city of Washington, near Pittsburgh, was one of the events in this year's International Festival of Music and Sacred Art in Rome. The 17th century Church of St. Ignazio di Loyola was the setting for the choir's performance. They are directed by Dr. Yugo Ikach.
Dr. Ikach is an associate professor at California University of Pa., principal conductor of the Washington Symphony Orchestra and choir director at the parish since 1991.
The group went on to sing briefly for Pope Benedict XVI in the Aula Paolo VI at Wednesday morning's general audience. They later attended the afternoon Mass at St. Peter's Basilica.
On their schedule for the rest of the week were performances in Assisi and St. Mark's Cathedral in Venice.
It is the choir's first overseas “tour.” There are 35 chorus members participating and another 40 faithful from the church along for the trip, including spouses and others that came just to share in the experience. The decision for the group to make the journey to Italy wasn't a difficult one, the director said.
The group is constantly improving and looking for new challenges, Ikach explained, "We recently started singing with orchestras. And this year we thought we'd up the ante."
"We love singing in the beautiful churches of Italy," he added. "We just feel so fortunate to be here."
Immaculate Conception Church will surely miss their choir for the start of Advent, but Dr. Ikach assured CNA there are substitutes in place for this Sunday.
Mexico City, Mexico, Nov 28, 2009 (CNA) - Fr. Álvaro Corcuera, the Director General of the Legion of Christ, has sent a letter to members of Regnum Christi about the nature of Christ’s Kingdom and the need to show “limitless confidence in Christ.” He also asked forgiveness from those who have suffered on account of the “sorrowful circumstances” of the order.
His letter, which is customary for the Feast of Christ the King, began by noting the words of the Our Father “Thy Kingdom come!”
“We pray these words because we know that the Kingdom is a gift from God rather than a goal we can reach through our own efforts,” Fr. Corcuera began.
He said that members of Regnum Christi, the Legion of Christ’s lay branch, find “the meaning of our existence and our mission” in God’s will that mankind cooperate in the coming of the Kingdom.
“Christ’s Kingdom is not an abstract or ill-defined reality,” Fr. Corcuera continued. “If Christ is calling us to establish his Kingdom on this earth, we can ask ourselves where and how we are to do so.”
Christians are to begin the Kingdom in their own hearts, he said.
“But Christ’s sovereignty must not be limited to our own heart,” he added. Christians are to be “real torches of Christ’s love” by helping others open themselves to Christ, by imitating Him and by letting Him “take ownership of our thoughts, words and deeds.”
“We desire to live this day with a spirit of reparation and humility, united to Christ the King, who is rich in mercy. I want to take advantage of this letter to again sincerely ask forgiveness from all those who have suffered or are suffering on account of the sorrowful circumstances we have lived. God is inviting us to live this time by intensifying our prayer life, our acts of charity and penitential spirit, so we can unite ourselves more deeply to Christ and to our fellow brothers and sisters.”
The Director General’s words are apparently an allusion to the revelations earlier this year that Legion of Christ founder Fr. Marcial Maciel led a “double life” and fathered a child.
Fr. Corcuera continued, saying that Regnum Christi’s only justification for its existence is its service to the Church, the bishops, and laity.
“All our apostolates, all our activities, our whole life is to be focused on this service,” he added, thanking God that the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi are able to offer many activities and apostolates.
He invited Regnum Christi members to serve the “local ecclesial community” under the directions of the bishops and pastors. He said a “limitless confidence in Christ” is fundamental to the mission, noting Old Testament examples of this confidence.
“They were all men, aware of their own limitations and human condition. However, they knew how to open their heart to God’s action.”
“We are not alone because Christ never leaves us. We are not alone because Regnum Christi is not an isolated reality. We are part of the great family of God in which the variety and beauty of paths enriches and encourages us all,” he added. “Our movement is only one of so many realities that God has raised up in the Church as a way to help us live out our baptismal commitment.”
“On this day of Christ the King, let us also entrust ourselves in a special way to Mary, the mirror of the Church, so that by contemplating her we will come to understand the greatness of our vocation,” Fr. Corcuera concluded, citing Mary’s words in the Gospel of John to “do whatever He tells you.”