Bangkok, Thailand, Dec 1, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) -
A conference for Catholic business leaders will meet in Thailand in March to discuss Catholic social teaching and the vocation of the business leader in the new evangelization.
“With the opening of the new Asian Economic Communities in 2014, the Church has to address and prepare for the future pastoral challenges influencing every human sector,” Monsignor Andrew Vissanu Thanya Anan, the deputy secretary general of the Thailand Catholic Bishops’ Conference, told CNA Nov 24.
The Asian Conference on the Vocation of the Business Leader in the New Evangelization seeks to strengthen Catholics’ faith and to examine the dilemmas facing Catholic business leaders in an uncertain world economy. The conference will take place March 20-22, 2014 at the Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand.
Cardinal Peter Turkson, the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, will deliver a key reflection on the topic, “Vocation of the Business Leader.”
The event is organized by the International Catholic Union of Business Executives (UNIAPAC), in collaboration with the Thailand-based Catholic Business Executives Group and the Thailand-based Catholic Young Executives Society.
Joseph Prachub Trinikorn, the chairman and coordinator of the business executives’ group, told CNA that Catholic social teaching has not flourished in Catholic businesses, and as a result, many businesses have faced “crisis, insolvency, and bankruptcy through bad practices of greed and corruption.”
He stressed that the core teachings of “Gospel values and principles” could be applied in business networks that uphold the “esteemed” virtues of love, service, and charity.
Trinikorn added that businesses have a “social responsibility” and have many “resources” at hand to serve the community and the world.
“If you pay the employees well, you help their livelihood, and if your products help people for a better life, that is true love and that is Christian teaching,” he observed. This means that “doing business is evangelizing.”
“If we apply Catholic social teaching, we can be successful and fruitful,” he said.
“Therefore it is opportune to come together in promoting Catholic teachings of the Church even with business groups, to understand social reality and to share common knowledge on good governance and social responsibility.”
Joseph Pholachart Kraiboon, the director of the Catholic Business Executives Group, noted that Asia is “an emerging major economic power hub.”
He told CNA that the conference will help business leaders share information and network.
The conference will include Mass, dining and social opportunities and twelve sessions featuring eminent speakers from America, Europe and Asia, addressing a variety of topics.
Dr. Sandro Calvani, a senior adviser to strategic planning for the Thailand royal family, supported Mae Fah Luang Foundation, will discuss social and environmental challenges facing business leaders in Asia.
Dr. Virachai Techavijit, founder of Thailand’s Regent’s School Group, will discuss how to become “an ideal Christian business leader.”
Jose Maria Simone, the president of UNIAPAC, will discuss the promotion of Christian business collaboration.
Father Robert A. Sirico, president of the U.S.-based Acton Institute, will speak on the topic “Helping the poor to the help themselves through Entrepreneurship.”
More details about the conference and conference registration are available through the website www.cureourworld.com.
Vatican City, Dec 1, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) -
The Pope’s Sunday Angelus message for the start of Advent focused on the importance of hope during the liturgical season dedicated to preparing for Christmas.
“For the great human family it is necessary to renew always the common horizon toward which we are journeying. The horizon of hope! This is the horizon that makes a good journey,” Pope Francis said on Dec. 1 to the crowds in St. Peter’s Square.
“The time of Advent that we begin again today returns us to the horizon of hope, a hope that does not disappoint because it is founded on the Word of God. A hope that does not disappoint, simply because the Lord never disappoints! He is faithful!” the Pope emphasized.
The time of Advent that the Church celebrates in preparation for Christmas, explained the Pontiff, is “a new journey of the People of God with Jesus Christ, our Shepherd, who guides us in history towards the completion of the Kingdom of God.”
“Let us rediscover the beauty of being together along the way: the Church, with her vocation and mission, and the whole of humanity, the people, the civilizations, the cultures, all together on the paths of time.”
“But on the way to where?” queried Pope Francis.
In the Old Testament, the People of God journeyed toward Jerusalem where the temple of the Lord was, “because from there, from Jerusalem, came the revelation of the face of God and His law.”
At the fullness of time, however, “revelation found its fulfillment in Jesus Christ, and the ‘temple of the Lord’ became God himself, the Word made flesh.”
It is the Lord himself who guides our journey, the “pilgrimage of all of the People of God; and by its light even the other peoples can walk towards the Kingdom of justice, towards the Kingdom of peace.”
“What a great day it will be, when the weapons will be dismantled in order to be transformed into instruments of work!” the Pope reflected, noting the scripture passage from the prophet Isaiah which referred to such peace.
“And this is possible! We bet on hope, on the hope of peace, and it will be possible!” he exclaimed.
“The journey is never finished,” advised Pope Francis. “Just as in each of our own lives, there is always a need to restart, to rise again, to recover a sense of the goal of one’s own existence.”
Mary serves as a “model of this spiritual attitude, to this way of being and of journeying in life.”
Although she was just a “simple girl,” she “carried in her heart the hope of God,” explained the Holy Father.
“In her womb, the hope of God took flesh, became man, and made history: Jesus Christ.”
Mary’s song of praise in the Magnificat “is the canticle of the People of God on the journey, and of all men and women who hope in God, in the power of his mercy.”
“Let us be guided by her, she who is mother, she is a ‘mama’ and knows how to lead us. Let us be guided by her in this time of waiting and active vigilance.”
Pope Francis then led the crowds in the traditional Angelus prayer and closed by greeting the various groups who had come to pray in the Square.
He took a moment to remember those who are affected by HIV and AIDS, since “today marks the World Day for the fight against HIV/ AIDS.”
“We express our closeness to the people who are affected, especially children, a closeness that is very concrete in the silent work of many missionaries and workers. We pray for everyone, also for physicians and researchers. That every sick person, without exception, may have access to the care they need.”
Vatican City, Dec 1, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) -
Pope Francis traveled to an outlying parish in his Diocese of Rome today, celebrating Mass for the first Sunday of Advent as well as the sacrament of confirmation with parishioners there.
The Pope’s homily focused on the idea of life as a journey of encounter with Christ.
“We can ask ourselves this question: When will we meet Jesus – only at the end? No, no, no. We meet him every day. But how? In prayer. When you pray, you meet Jesus. When you take communion, you meet Jesus in the sacrament. When you bring your child to Jesus to be baptized, you bring him to Jesus, and you find Jesus. And you today, who receive confirmation, also you meet Jesus,” his said to those gathered in the Church of St. Cyril of Alexandria in Rome on Dec. 1.
He asked those in the parish if they considered confirmation to be the last time they would come to Church. Some in the congregation seemed to nod reluctantly.
“Well, it’s so-so,” the Pope said, acknowledging the common practice.
Yet he encouraged that it need not be so, saying, “but after confirmation the whole of life is also a meeting with Jesus!”
This meeting happens “in prayer, when we go to Mass, and when we do good works: when we visit the sick, when we help the poor, when we think of others,” the Pontiff explained.
“And today for me is also a joy to come here with you, because all of us here, today, together at Mass, meet Jesus. And we make a piece of the journey together,” he said.
Pope Francis then went on to note that some have said to him, “ but Father, you know that for me, this journey, it’s a brutal journey. I’m a great sinner. I’ve committed many sins. How can I meet Jesus?”
For the answer, the Pope turned to the life of Christ: “You know that the people Jesus sought out the most were the biggest sinners.”
Although many would reproach Jesus for this, Christ would say “I came for the sinners who need healing.”
“Jesus sees our sins,” noted the Holy Father. “And in our journey – ours, we’re all sinners, all of us – when we make mistakes, when we sin, Jesus comes even then, and he forgives us.”
“And this forgiveness that we receive in confession is a meeting with Jesus,” he added.
Reflecting on Sunday’s Old Testament reading, Pope Francis continued, “Let’s go, in life, up that mountain that the prophet speaks of… one day there will be the definite encounter where we can see the beautiful gaze of Jesus.”
“Let yourselves be looked upon by Jesus, because Jesus looks upon us with love. He loves us very much. And he looks upon us always.”
In the meantime, he said, “this is the Christian life. To journey, to go forward, united as brothers, everyone loving one another.”
To those who were about to receive confirmation, he added, “And today, with the seal of the Holy Spirit you will have more strength for this path to meet Jesus.”
“Be courageous. Don’t be afraid. Life is this journey,” he encouraged.
Pope Francis then celebrated the sacrament of confirmation with the young people of the parish before continuing the Mass.