REFLECTIONS ON THE THIRTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (June 30th, 2013)
I Kings 19, 16b + 19-21; Psalm 16; Gal. 5, 1 + 13-18; Luke 9, 51-62 By +Guy Sansaricq
Jesus demands unconditional commitment from his followers. This is clearly brought forth by the three readings of the day. In the first reading we see Elijah calling on Elisha to be his successor. Yet when this latter asks permission to first go and bury his father, Elijah sternly rebukes him. No good reason or pretext can cause us to delay our response to God’s call. What a lesson to learn!
The second reading urges us not to remain prisoners of fleshly passions and desires but to hurry and put on the sweet yoke of the Spirit. No one is to hide behind gross pretexts to delay his conversion.
The Gospel excerpt drills the same point into our minds. “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what’s left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God.” Jesus definitely wants no cowards, no half-hearted people, no one with hidden agendas as his followers. Like an army general he wants disciples who are totally committed to Him and the Kingdom. Yet, he promises no earthly rewards “”Foxes have dens and birds have nests but the Son of man has nowhere to rest his head.”
The Christian is one who is so fascinated by Jesus that he gives absolute priority to his call. Yesterday eight young men were ordained to the priesthood for the diocese of Brooklyn. Let us pray that they will be faithful all their lives to this mandate of unconditional Service. May we too follow Jesus as our Number One Lord and Savior!
REFLEXIONS POUR LE TREIZIÈME DIMANCHE DE L’ANNÉE (30 Juin 2013)
1 Kings 19, 16b +19-21; Psaume 16; Galate 5, 1 + 13-18; Luc 9, 51-62 Par +Guy Sansaricq.
Comment comprendre la colère du Prophète Elie contre Elizée qui demande la permission d’aller enterrer son père avant de se mettre en route. C’est que pour Elie tout comme pour Jésus, on le verra plus loin, l’appel du Seigneur doit jouir d’une priorité absolue. Aucune raison ne justifie un délai dans la réponse. Jésus réclame de ses disciples un engagement inconditionnel. Lui seul peut imposer cette exigence car Il est Seigneur. “Il faut qu’en toute chose, il obtienne la première place.”
Dans le texte de l’Evangile du jour, la même lecon nous est donnée. “Si quelqu’un met la main à la charrue et se retourne pour regarder en arrière, il ne peut ètre mon disciple.” Il y a tant de gens au Coeur partagé, tant de gens qui ne tiennent pas leurs promesses, tant de gens aux motivations troubles
qui camouflent leurs objectifs secrets sous des dehors religieux; tant de gens dont les ouis n’ont pas de suivi. Jésus ne veut pas de disciples qui recoivent la communion pieusement mais qui sont sans amour dans leurs activités de tous les jours. Il ne veut pas de disciples superficiels, sans racines, sans profondeur. Si vous avez des interèts matériels, allez frapper à d’autres portes.
Il nous prévient d’avance qu’il n’y a aucun profit matériel à attendre de lui: “Les renards ont leurs tanières et les oiseaux leurs nids, mais le fils de l’homme n’a pas une pierre où poser sa tète.” Malgré cet avertissement, Jésus réclame de ses disciples un engagement entier et absolu. Comme le soldat qui part en guerre, le chrétien doit être prêt à mourir pour la cause du Royaume.
Pour suivre Jésus il faut être enraciné dans la foi et dans l’amour. Dans toutes nos démarches, il doit être
Le NUMERO UNO, le Seigneur et le Maitre. Notre adhésion à lui doit être INCONDITIONNELLE.
Parle Seigneur! Ton serviteur écoute! Tu as les paroles de la vie éternelle!
Monseigneur Guy Sansaricq
Pensée de la semaine:
“Le progrès ne se compte pas dans le nombre de vies sacrifiées mais plutôt dans le nombre de vies épargnées” (Aimé Césaire)
Thought of the week:
“Progress is not measured in the number of lives lost but in the number of lives saved” (Aimé Césaire)
Pensamiento de la semana:
“El progreso no se mide en el número de vidas perdidas, sino en el número de vidas salvadas” (Aimé Césaire)
Le 27 Juin ramène la fête de Notre Dame du Perpétuel Secours.
La Vierge Marie recut ce titre spécial à partir d’une icone (image sacrée) très ancienne d’origine grecque. Cette icone obtint très vite la réputation d’ètre miraculeuse. Elle fut eventuellement amenée à Rome et placée dans une basilique sur la via Merulana et confiée à la garde des Pères Redemptoristes. Haiti a été consacrée à Notre Dame du Perpétuel Secours le 8 Décembre 1942 par Mgr. Le Gouaze archevèque de Port-au-Prince entouré des évèques des quatre autres diocèses du pays. De son coté, le peuple Haitien se rappelle ce miracle du 15 Aout 1884 quand une grave épidémie de petite vérole sévissant à Port-au-Prince cessa soudainement grace á l’intercession de Notre Dame du Perpètuel Secours.
Une icone est une peinture qui essaie de représenter artistiquement un mystère de la foi. Regardons bien l’icone en question dans le but de capter le message qu’elle proclame.
D’abord nous voyons la Vierge Marie revètue d’un manteau bleu tissé d’or. Le bleu est la couleur du ciel et suggère discrètement la pureté et la virginité de la Vierge. Le psaume 45 signale que la fille du Roi est belle et revètue de vètements d’étoffe d’or. Au dessous du manteau bleu, la Vierge porte une robe de fond de couleur rouge, couleur royale. Deux étoiles brillantes marquent son front signifiant sa double dignité de Vierge et de Mère. Quand l’on regarde bien, le nimbe doré qui couronne sa tète contient douze étoiles conformément à la description de la Femme de l’Apocalypse. L’icone nous souffle à l’oreille que Marie est Vierge, Mère, fille et épouse du Roi, et La Femme prédestinée.
Elle tient dans ses bras avec beaucoup de tendresse Jésus lui aussi habillé essentiellement de rouge car Il est roi mais egalement de bleu car Il est pur. Une couronne d’or lui ceint la tète en signe de sa supreme autorité. L’enfant Jésus assis sur les genoux de sa Mère tourne la tète pour fixer du regard deux anges – Gabriel et Michel – qui portent dans leurs mains l’un une croix et l’autre la lance et l’éponge. Il s’agit des instruments de la Passion. L’icone désire ainsi souligner que l’Incarnation annoncait deja la croix et la destinée de Jésus comme l’Agneau Immolé annoncé par le prophete Isaie.
L’icone dit davantage encore. La vision des instruments de la Passion effraie Jésus au
plus haut point. Est ce l’annonce voilée de l’agonie au Jardin des Oliviers? Voyons l’ingéniosité de l’artiste pour insinuer la réaction de frayeur de l’Enfant Divin. Prètons attention à ses pieds crispés provocant le détachement de l’une de ses sandales retenue à ses pieds par un simple lacet, petit détail qui procure de grandes lumières! De plus l’Enfant serre fortement la main de sa Mère nous invitant à chercher le secours de sa mère dans nos heures d’angoisse. Marie de son coté regarde au loin exprimant ainsi la remarque de Saint Luc qui dit:” Marie gardait toutes ses choses et les méditait dans son Coeur.” Le regard de Marie reflète également une indescriptible tristesse. L’icone de Notre Dame du Perpétuel Secours éclaire donc l’intime association de Marie à la mission Rédemptrice de Jésus. Marie partage l’agonie de son Fils et lui est intimement unie dans le mystère de l’Incarnation et de la Rédemption. Cette brève description explique bien la popularité de cette icone et la grande dévotion qu’elle suscite. Elle explicite artistiquement un sublime enseignement sur le role sans égal et unique de la Vierge aux cotés de son Divin Fils et donc aussi à nos cotés pour toujours.
Monseigneur Guy Sansaricq
Homage to Bishop Joseph Lafontant-Editorial
His Excellency Bishop Joseph Lafontant auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Port-au-Prince was the great guest of Brother Tob at Radio Télé Solidarité on Sunday, June 23, 2013. Bishop Lafontant is among the great figures of the Haitian Bishops Conference.
Bishop Lafontant is celebrating his 50th anniversary of priestly life. This great celebration will begin on Sunday, June 30 with the first Mass of thanksgiving in the parish of the Sacred Heart of Turgeau Haiti where Bishop Lafontant has ministered as vicar and pastor for many years. He was much loved and respected by the members of this parish. Bishop Lafontant has to come to the U.S. to celebrate with other priests of his promotion.
A Priestly Jubilee is always a blessing for the priest or the bishop, his parish his diocese or archdiocese. It’s always an opportunity for God’s people to ask the Lord to bless his priest, his bishop so that he could continue to feed their herds.
Bishop Joseph Lafontant is known in the Catholic Church in Haiti as one of the great builders of the Catholic faith in the Archdiocese of Port-au-Prince and a great Preacher. He made a lot of services to the Catholic Church and Haiti in very difficult times. Who cannot forget how in 1991 Bishop Lafontant agreed to assume the charge of Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Port-au-Prince It was a most difficult time. His handling of the situation was remarkable. We must also remember that he held this position after the tragic death of the late Archbishop Archbishop Serge Miot during the earthquake of 2010.
Bishop Lafontant told us in his interview of his Sacerdotal itinerary in Haiti as abroad. This is a man who has friends in all segments of Haitian society. I still remember my visit to Bainet with Father Lafontant and also the recollection he conducted at Cross-des-Bouquets. He has always proven to be a very simple man of the Church, friendly and a prelate who loves every town of Haiti.
In his interview He also told us of his experience as former director of the Marian Congress before the arrival of the late Holy Father John Paul II in Haiti in March 1983. This Marian Congress was a time of great grace for Catholic church in Haiti . He spoke about his priestly ordination on June 29, 1963 and added that he was ordained at a time when the Catholic Church in Haiti did not have a Haitian bishop.
He put the accent also on the great challenges of the pastoral work of the archdiocese of Port-au-Prince after the earthquake of 2010. According to him we must restore hope to the Haitian people while strengthening the faith of others. He spoke about his experiences with the late Archbishop Miot and Ligondé. He told us that archbishop Ligondé wanted a local church very close to his people and he encouraged his priests to have a good education. He told us that Archbishop Miot was a churchman who is not interested in material things, honors and really cared about the formation of the laity.
Bishop Lafontant belongs to a generation of Priests who has a project of church and who understands that the church is a great hospital for sinners. That is why Bishop Lafontant always exhorted his parishoniers to forgive and to be genuine disciple of Christ
The National Center for Haitian Apostolate abroad wishes a very Happy Anniversary to His Excellency Bishop Joseph Lafontant and we ask the Lord to bless Bishop Lafontant on this auspicious occasion.
Son Excellence Monseigneur Joseph Lafontant: 50e anniversaire de vie sacerdotale
Son Excellence Monseigneur Joseph Lafontant, évêque auxiliaire de
l’archidiocèse de Port au-Prince, était le grand invité de Brother Tob à
Radio Solidarité le dimanche 23 juin 2013.
Une des grandes figures de l’épiscopat haïtien, Monseigneur Lafontant s’apprête à célébrer son 50e anniversaire de vie sacerdotale. Cette grande célébration commencera ce dimanche 30 juinavec une première messe d’action de grâces à la paroisse du Sacré Cœur de Turgeau en Haïti où Monseigneur Lafontant exerça son ministèrecomme vicaire et curé. Il fut très aimé et respecté par ses paroissiens et paroissiennes.
Monseigneur Lafontant compte venir aux États-Unis pour célébrer avec d’autres confrères prêtres de sa promotion. Un jubilé sacerdotal est toujours une bénédiction pour le prêtre ou pour l’évêque, pour sa paroisse, pour son diocèse ou son archidiocèse. Aussi, c’est toujours une occasion pour le peuple de Dieu de demander au Seigneur de continuer à bénir son prêtre, son évêque pour qu’il puisse continuer àpaître ses troupeaux.
Monseigneur Joseph Lafontant est connu au sein de l’Église Catholique
d’Haïti comme l’un des grands bâtisseurs de la foi et un grand prédicateur. Il a rendu beaucoup de services à l’Église Catholique d’Haïti, particulièrement dans les moments les plus difficiles. Comme en 1991, période pendant laquelle il accepta d’occuper le rôle d’Administrateur Apostolique de l’archidiocèse de Port-au Prince. Il a aussi occupé cette lourde fonction après la mort tragique du regretté Monseigneur Joseph Serge Miot au cours du seisme de 2010.
En outre, dans l’entretien qu’il nous a accordé, Monseigneur Lafontant nous a parlé de son itinéraire sacerdotal tant en Haïti qu’à l’étranger. C’est un homme qui a des amis dans toutes les couches de la socièté haïtienne. Je continue à me
rappeler de ma visite à Bainet avec Le Père Lafontant, à l’époque, et de ses journées de récollection à la Croix-des-Bouquets. Il s’est toujours
révélé un homme d’Église très simple, sympathique et un prélat qui
aime beaucoup son pays Haïti.
Par ailleurs, Monseigneur Lafontant nous a parlé de son expérience comme ancien directeur du congrès marial avant l’arrivée du regretté St Père Jean-Paul II en Haïti le 9 mars 1983. Ce congrès marial fut un moment de grande grâce pour l’Église Catholique d’Haïti. Monseigneur Lafontant a mis aussi l’accent sur son ordination sacerdotal advenue le 29 juin 1933 à un moment où l’Église Catholique d’Haïti n’avait pas encore d’évêques haïtiens.
De même, Monseigneur Lafontant a souligné les grands défis de la pastorale de l’archidiocèse de Port-au-Prince après le tremblement de terre de 2010 en Haïti. Selon lui, “il faut redonner l’espoir au peuple haïtien tout en
fortifiant sa foi”. Il nous a parlé aussi de ses experiences avec les regrettés Archevêques Ligondé et Miot en disant que “Monseigneur
Ligondé voulait une église locale très proche de ses gens et encourageait ses prêtres à se perfectionner”. Quant à Monseigneur Miot, il nous a fait savoir que “ce dernier était un homme désintéressé aux choses materielles et aux honneurs. Il se souciait beaucoup de la formation des laïcs”.
Le Centre National de l’Apostolat Haïtien à l’Étranger formule ses voeux les meilleurs à Son Excellence Monseigneur Joseph Lafontant à l’occasion de son 50e anniversaire de vie sacerdotale. Nous le remercions vivement pour sa disponibilité. Puisse le Seigneur continuer à le bénir sur les chemins de la vie!
Pour le Centre National
Au Revoir Ingènieur Versandre Patrice Pericles
Le personnel du Bulletin du Centre National de l’Apostolat Haïtien à l’étranger tient à rendre un grand hommage à Versandre Patrice Périclès à l’occasion de son grand voyage pour la maison du Père. Il fut un grand professionnel et un grand patriote. Le regretté Versandre Périclès est retourné à la maison du Père, le 16 Juin 2013, à l’âge de 76 ans après une maladie courageusement supportée. Le regretté défunt est le jeune frère de Maitre Jacquelin Périclès, un éducateur chevronné qui enseigne à la Croix-des-Bouquets depuis plus que 40 ans.
Ingénieur Versandre Patrice Périclès est né à Limonade, le 16 Mars 1937, il fit ses étudesprimaires chez les frères de l’Instruction Chrétienne au Cap Haïtien, ses études secondaires et ses études supérieures en Génie Civile à Port-au-Prince, Haïti.Ingénieur Versandre PatricePériclèsétait un brillant intellectuel.
Après ses études supérieures, il se rendit aux États-Unis en 1965, où il continua ses études jusqu’à décrocher une maitrise en Génie Civile de Institue Polytechnique de New York Université (NYU-Poly). Il travaillacomme IngénieurCivil à la régie des transports publics de la ville de New York pour le Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Durant cette période, il avait aussi eu l’opportunité d’enseigner les mathématiques à des jeunes dans Harlem en temps partiel. Ensuite en 1973, il se rendit au Sénégal, où il travailla près de 25 ans jusqu’à la retraite,comme Ingénieur Civil, Diplômât des Nations Unis, pour l’Organisation de l’Aviation Civile Internationale (OACI, une agence spécialisée des Nations Unis). Il était multilingue parlant couramment le Français, le Créole, l’Anglais et l’Espagnol.
Mr.VersandrePériclès a épousé Myrlène Metellus et de cette union sont nées 2 enfants Myriam et Chantal. Myrlène a joué un très grand rôle dans la vie de Versandre. Ils étaient amis d’enfance et Versandre a vite compris la nécessité de faire de cette grande amie, sa femme et partenaire à vie. Myrlène a joué ce rôle merveilleusement bien jusqu’à la fin de la vie de Versandre. Ils furent un couple très heureux dans leur vie conjugale. Myrlène fit tout en son pouvoir pour rendre Versandre heureux pendant toute sa vie terrestre. Egalement, Il en était de même pour Versandre Patrice Périclès qui a travaillé très dur pour rendre Myrlène, une femme heureuse dans leur foyer.
Ingénieur Versandre Patrice Périclès pendant sa brillante carrière au Sénégal alla en Haïti chaque 2ans pour ses vacances. Durant ses visites en Haïti, il alla toujours à Limonade, sa ville natale pour se ressourcer et pour jouer au football avec les jeunes tout en les encourageant à prendre leurs études au sérieux. Il était l’ami de tout le monde,des plus aisés au plus démunis. Il fut un homme très doué en relations humaines et un homme très généreux qui retourna définitivement en Haïtien 1998 pour jouir de sa retraite tôt et aider son pays. Durant son retour final en Haïti, il travailla comme consultant en Génie Civileà L’Office National Aviation Civile(OFNAC) en Haïti ayant comme objectif d’aider son pays au point de vue de l’aviation.
Versandre fut un homme qui aima la vie. Même dans ses derniers jours avec sa maladie incurable il ne se laissa jamais vaincre par le découragement car il savait que nous sommes tous des pèlerins sur cette terre. Versandre fut une cause de grande fierté pour le peuple Haïtien, un géant et un homme très sensible aux souffrances de ses frères et sœurs d’Haïti.
Maitre Jaquelin Périclèsfut l’invité de Brother Tob, le Mardi 26 Juin 2013 à Radio Télé Solidarité. Nous avons saisi dans son entretien combien Versandre était un homme simple et extrêmement sympathique et aussi comment a travers son amour du sport il jouissait d’une grande proximité avec les jeunes haïtien.
Versandre fut une grande inspiration pour les jeunes et pour tous ceux et celles qui croient que l’avenir d’Haïtidépend de ses fils et de ses filles. Nous croyons que Versandre Patrice Périclès n’est pas mort et ne peut pas mourir car il nous a laissé un testament de courage et d’amour pour son pays. A travers son héritage, il a démontré par son exemple qu’on n’a pas besoin d’occuper les hautes fonctions politiques pour aider son pays. Nous demandons au Seigneur d’accueillir ce grand Ambassadeur d’Haïti dans son royaume.
Le personnel du Bulletin du Centre National de l’Apostolat Haïtien `à l’étranger présente ses sincères condoléances à sa veuve Madame MyrlènePériclès, ses enfants Myriam, Chantal, son frère Maitre Jacquelin Périclès, la famille Metellus et à toute la famille et amis éprouvés par ce deuil.
Au Revoir Ingénieur Versandre Patrice Périclès.
Centre National de l’Apostolat Haïtien
Sant Nasyonal Apostola Ayisyen
Goodbye Engineer Versandre Patrice Pericles
The staff of the Bulletin of the National Center for the Haitian Apostolate wants to pay a great homage to Versandre Pericles on the occasion of his final journey to the Father’s house. He was a great professional and a great patriot. The late
Versandre Pericles returned to the Father’s house on June 16, 2013, at the age of 76 after an illness bravely supported. The late Engineer Versandre Patrice Pericles is the younger brother of Master Jacquelin Pericles, a veteran educator who has been teaching at Croix-des-Bouquets for more than 40 years.
Engineer Versandre Patrice Pericles was born in Limonade on March 16, 1937. He completed his primary studies in the School of the Brothers of Christian Instruction in Cap Haitian, his secondary studies and his graduate studies in Civil Engineering in Port- au-Prince, Haiti.
Engineer Versandre Patrice Pericles was a brilliant intellectual. After his advanced studies, he went to the United Statesin 1965, continued his studies and earned a master’s degree in Civil Engineeringfrom the Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly). He worked as a Civil Engineer for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. During this period, he also had the opportunity to teach mathematics to youth in Harlem part-time. Then, in 1973, he wentto Senegal where he worked nearly 25 years until his retirement, as a Civil Engineer, UN Diplomat, for the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a specialized United Nations agency. He was multilingual and spoke fluently French, Creole, English and Spanish.
Mr. Versandre Patrice Periclesmarried Myrlene Metellus and from this union two children were born namely Myriam and Chantal. Myrlène played a great role in the life of her husband. They were childhood friendsand Versandre understood the necessity to make this great friend, his wife and lifelong partner. Myrlène played this role beautifully until the end of lifeof Versandre. They were a very happy couple. Myrlène did everything in her power to make Versandre happy throughout his earthly life. Equally, it is the same for Versandre Patrice Pericles who worked very hard to make Myrlène a happy woman in theirhome.
Engineer Versandre Patrice Pericles during his brilliant career in Senegal went to Haiti every two years for his vacation. He always went to Limonade, his hometown to recharge his batteries, revitalize himself and play soccer with the youth of the town while encouraging them to take their studies seriously. He was the friend of everyone irrespective of their social status. He was a man very good on human relations and a most generous person. He returned definitely to Haiti in 1998 to enjoy his early retirement and help his country.During his return to Haiti, he worked as a consultant in Civil Engineeringat the“Office National Aviation Civile (OFNAC)in Haiti as a means to give back to his country from the aviation perspective.
Versandre was a great lover of life. Even in the twilight of his life with his terminal illness he never was carried away by discouragement because he knew that we are all pilgrims on this earth. Versandre is a great pride for the people of Haiti, a giant and a man very sensitive to the sufferings of his brothers and sisters.
Master Jacquelin Pericles was the guest of Brother Tob, Tuesday, June 26, 2013 at Radio TV Solidarité. He told us in his interview how Versandre was a simple man, very friendly and how he was a great sportsman who had a close relationship with the Haitian youth.
Versandre was a great inspiration to young people and all those who believe that the future of Haiti depends on her sons and daughters. We believe Versandre Patrice Pericles is not dead and cannot die for he left a testament of courage and of love of his country. Through his legacy he showed us that we do not need to occupy the highest political functions to help our country. We ask the Lord to welcome this great Ambassador of Haiti in his Kingdom.
The staff of the Bulletin of The National Center for Haitian Apostolate presents its sincerest condolences to the widow Mrs. Myrlène Pericles, his children Myriam, Chantal, his brother Master Jacquelin Pericles, the Metellus familyand the whole family and friends affected by his passing.
Goodbye Engineer Versandre Patrice Pericles.
National Center for the Haitian Apostolate
Diocese de Brooklyn-Fête Notre Dame du Perpetuel Secours.
Le peuple de Dieu de la vibrante Communauté Haitienne de Foi du Diocèse de Brooklyn a célèbre grandiosement la fête de Notre Dame Du Perpetuel Secours connue comme la Patronne D’Haiti à la basilique Notre Dame du Perpetuel Secours à Brooklyn Le celebrant fut Monseigneur Guy Sansaricq, le premier évêque haitien de la Diaspora et l’Homeliste fut le prêtre marial Augustin Francois de la paroisse Holy Family du diocese de Brooklyn.
La basilique de Notre Dame du Perpetuel Secours fut remplie à craquer pour cette grande celebration Mariale. Presque tous les Haitiens du diocese de Brooklyn furent presents à cette celebration Eucharistique Quant à l’homeliste Le Père Augustin Francois il a mis beaucoup d’accents sur les grandes qualities de Manman Marie qui jouent un role très important dans la vie du Peuple Haitien. Il mentionna la puissance de Manman Marie qui continue à interceder pour nous auprès de Son fils Jesus Christ Il est important de mentionner la performance de la chorale haitienne Diocesaine qui a montré encore comment chanter c’est prier deux fois.
Cette chorale est une chorale de première classe et qui est une grande fierté pour le peuple de Dieu du Diocèse de Brooklyn Le Père Jean Delva, coordonnateur de la pastorale Haitienne du Diocèse de Brooklyn remercia les prêtres, la chorale et tous les participants.
Enfin nous pouvons dire que cette rencontre mariale fut encore une grande reussite. Bravo au Père Delva et tous ceux et celles qui ont travaillé à la reussite de Cette messe Le Personnel du Bulletin
Diocese of Brooklyn: the Feast of Our Lady Of Perpetual Help, the Patroness of Haiti
God’s people of the vibrant Haitian Faith Community of the Diocese of Brooklyn celebrated with great fervor the Feast of Our Lady Of Perpetual Help, the Patroness of Haiti at the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Brooklyn. The celebrant was Bishop Guy Sansaricq, the first Haitian American bishop of the Haitian Diaspora. The homilist was the Marian priest Augustin Francois of the Holy Family parish of the diocese of Brooklyn.
The Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help was filled to overflowing for this great Marian celebration. Almost all of the Haitian Priests of the Diocese of Brooklyn were present. The homilist Father Francois highlighted the unique qualities of Maman Marie who plays such an important role in the life of the Haitian people. As He stressed the power of Maman Marie’s intercession for us which is beyond description in view of her closeness to her Divine Son. The performance of the Haitian diocesan choir was outstanding. Once more we can say “He who sings prays twice.”
This choir is a first class choir which gives great pride to the Brooklyn Catholics. Father Jean Delva, coordinator of the Haitian ministry of the Diocese of Brooklyn thanked the priests, the choir and all participants. Finally we can say that this Marian celebration proved to be extremely successful.
Congratulations to Father Jean Delva and his marvelous team who planned this liturgy.
Personal of The Bulletin
A Blessed and blessing Couple.
Mr and Mrs Kelly Nicolas Were the guests of Radio Solidarité the week of June 23rd. The couple, who have been married for 28 years, seems happy. Perhaps it is because God is the center of their lives.
Martine Nicolas, the remarkable wife of evangelist Kelly Nicolas, is a born artist. She stirred the hearts of the people of God during the great celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Fishers of Men Church with her very impressive presentation. Fishers of Men Church is one of the most prominent Protestant faith communities in the Haitian community of New York.
Evangelist Kelly Nicolas is the son of Bishop Nicolas. He is known as a quiet man of God, The couple exemplify the gospels admonishing that a husband should love his wife, and the wife respect her husband as the leader of the family. In his interview Evangelist Kelly told us that his wife Martine is a blessing and a great gift of God for him. In turn, Martine told us how happy she is to be the wife of Evangelist Kelly Nicolas. He is the prince of her heart and their marriage has been blessed by three wonderful children. She also testified how her Father in Law, Bishop Nicolas, is a great visionary and a praying church man. She added that her lovely husband the Evangelist Kelly is a great and wise leader and man of God. She also mentioned that they always puts God at the center of their marriage
Evangelist Nicolas Kelly told us about how he chose the queen of his heart his wife Martine. Her grandmother Sister Rock played a major role in his choice. Her grandmother presented herself to him after a prayer meeting at the church of the Crusade of Fishers of Men and took his hand and put it in the hands of Martine saying: “ I give you Martine as a gift.” God had used her grandmother to give him this remarkable and spiritual woman. He is very happy to have Martine as princess and queen of his life.
This couple is really a model for today’s couples. Like any couple they do not always agree on everything and they have encountered some difficulties but they let God lead their lives. Realizing that money and education does not always guarantee happiness or success, they invite married couples and those planning to marry to pray together and give God the first place in their lives
Today we sadly note how difficult it is for couples to stay together. The church can play a key role in helping couples to stay together. A couple who agrees to live together must accept that they are two imperfect Human beings, one should complement the other in his earthly pilgrimage and they must live as two missionaries who work for the second coming of Christ.
In the Bulletin of the National Center and Radio TV Solidarité we are trying to develop a very good relationship with our Protestant sisters and brothers in the Haitian community. We believe that the unity of the Christian community is one of the requirements of the gospel of the third Millenium.
To hear the beautiful and the blessed born artist Martine you can click on the link
The staff of the Bulletin of the National Center congratulate Evangelist Kelly Nicolas for their great dedication to marital life and their great faith in the Lord. The Interview of Couple Kelly Nicolas will be broadcasted at Radio Tele Solidarite on Sunday, 30 June 2013 à 2:00 PM
For The National Center
Mr et Madame l’évangeliste Kelly Furent les invités de Radio Solidarité la semaine du 24 Juin. Ce couple a déjà 28 ans de marriage et il semble qu’ils sont un couple heureux et que Dieu est au centre de leur vie.
Martine Nicolas la gentille femme de l’evangeliste Kelly Nicolas est une artiste née qui a secoué le peuple de Dieu au cours du 40ème anniversaire de l’église de la croisade des pêcheurs d’hommes dont l’évêque Nicolas est le fondateur et Pasteur. Cette église est connue comme l’une des grandes communautés de foi de la communauté Haitienne protestante de New-York . J’ai été impressionné par la performance de Madame Martine Nicolas à cette grande festivité du 40ème anniversaire de l’église de la croisade des Pecheurs
L’evangeliste Kelly Nicolas est le fils de l’évêque Nicolas qui est connu comme un homme de Dieu très tranquille , qui a un grand amour pour sa gentille femme Martine et qui croit q’un epoux doit aimer sa femme et cette dernière doit respecter son mari comme le leader de la famille. Il nous dit dans son entretien que sa femme Martine est une grande benediction et un grand cadeau de Dieu pour lui.
Quand à Martine elle nous dit combien elle est heureuse d’être l’epouse de l’Evangeliste Kelly Nicolas. De son union avec le prince de son Coeur trois enfants sont nés. Elle nous dit comment l’évêque Nicolas son beau Père est un grand visionaire et un homme de Prière. Elle ajouta que l’evangeliste Kelly Nicolas est un grand leader et un homme très sage. Elle mentionna aussi qu’elle met Dieu toujours au centre de leur mariage.
L’evangeliste Kelly Nicolas nous parla comment il a choisi la reine de son Coeur Martine comme épouse. Elle nous dit que sa grand mère Soeur Rock a joué un grand role dans ce choix. L’evangeliste Nicolas nous dit que sa grand mère se presenta à lui après une séance de prière à l’église de la Croisade des Pêcheurs d’Homme et prit sa main la mettant dans les mains de Martine en ajoutant « voila que je te donne en Cadeau. » Il nous dit que Dieu s’est servi de sa grand mère pour lui donner cette remarquable femme. Il est très Heureux d’avoir Martine comme princesse et reine de sa vie.
Ce couple est vraiment un modèle pour les couples d’aujourd’hui . Comme tout couple ils ont rencontré des difficultés mais laissent Dieu diriger leur vie. Ils nous disent dans leur entrevue qu’ils ne sont pas toujours d’accord, Ils ajoutèrent que l’argent et les diplomes ne rendent pas toujours les couples heureux. Ils invitent les couples et les futures couples à prier ensemble et à donner à Dieu la première place dans leur vie
Aujourd’hui nous constatons avec beaucoup de tristesse combien il est difficile pour les couples de rester ensemble. L’église n’a t-elle pas son role à jouer pour aider les couples à rester ensemble?. On doit toujours se rappeler un couple qui accepte de vivre ensemble doit accepter qu’ils sont deux êtres imparfaits, l’un doit completer l’autre dans son pelerinage terreste et doivent ainsi vivre comme deux missionnaires qui travaillent pour la 2ème venue du Christ. Dans le Bulletin du Centre National et à Radio Télé Solidarité nous essayons de developer une très bonne relation avec la communauté Haitienne protestante et nous pensons que l’unité de la communauté Chrétienne est l’une des exigences de l’évangile particulièrement durant ce 3ème millénaire . Le personnel du Bulletin du Centre National felicite le couple Kelly Nicolas pour leur grande dedication à la vie conjugale et leur grande foi dans le Seigneur .L’entrevue du Couple Kelly Nicolas sera diffusé sur les antennes de Radio Solidarité le Dimanche 30 Juin 2013 à 2:00Hueures PM
Star of The Week-Artist Ludwine Joseph
artist Joseph Ludwine, president RADAKA Group is the star of the week. Ludwine Joseph is a former student of college Pastoral and she is a great gift of God to the Haitian Ministry of Diaspora
The president Artist Ludwine was among the artists who performed at the recognition party of the National Center of His Excellency Bishop Thomas Dimarzio, Bishop of the Diocese of Brooklyn. Attached is the link to the performance of the evening Ludwine recognition Monsignor Thomas Di Marzio http://youtu.be/RXCuj35YruQ
Bishop Guy Sansaricq and Father Yvon Pierre take the opportunity to congratulate Ludwine for her deep dedication to the evangelization of the `people of God to and ask God’s people to applaud the artist Ludwine as the Star of the week
L’artiste Ludwine Joseph, presidente du groupe de RADAKA est l’etoile de la Semaine. Ludwine Joseph est une ancienne du collège Pastoral et elle est un grand cadeau de Dieu à la Pastorale Haitienne de la diaspora
La presidente Artiste Ludwine fut parmi les artistes qui ont performé à la soirée de reconnaissance du Centre National à l’endroit de son Excellence Monseigneur Thomas Dimarzio ,évêque titulaire du diocèse de Brooklyn. Vous trouverez ci joint le link de la performance de Ludwine à la soirée de reconnaissance de MonSeigneur thomas Di Marziohttp://youtu.be/RXCuj35YruQ
Monseigneur Guy sansaricq et le Père yvon Pierre profitent de l’occasion pour feliciter Ludwine pour sa profonde dedication `a l’evangelisation du peuple De Dieu tout en demandandant au peuple de Dieu d’applaudir l’artiste Ludwine comme l’Etoile de La semaine
Je suis très Heureux de recevoir le Blog de la visite de Marie Foucheé en Haiti.Marie a toujours montré son grand Amour pour notre Mère Haiti Cherie. Marie est aussi parmi les membres importants du Centre National de l’Apostolat Haitien à l’etranger et une très proche collaboratrice de Monseigneur Guy Sansaricq fondateur du Centre National. Dans ce Blog vous aurez l’opportunité de voir beaucoup de photos et videos de la dernière visite de Marie Fouché et de ses reflexions sur Haiti. Dans ce monde de communication on doit utiliser tous les moyens de la technologie pour rencontrer nos frères et Soeurs. Tous ceux qui seraient interessés à visiter le blog de Marie peuvent tout simplement clicquer sur le link http://mariefouche08.wordpress.com/
Le personnel du Bulletin du Centre National continue à feliciter Marie Fouche pour sa contribution au Centre National et pour son grand amour pour sa terre Natale Haiti. Nous tenons aussi à remercier Marie pour sa grande contribution à Radio Télé Solidarité tout le long de sa visite En Haiti. Bravo Marie pour votre blog!
I am very happy to have received the blog of the visit of Marie Fouche in Haiti. Marie always showed her great love for our Mother Haiti Cherie.
Marie is also among the leading members of the National Center of the Haitian Apostolate and is a very close Collaborator of Bishop Guy Sansaricq founder of the National Center. On this blog you will have the opportunity to see lots of pictures and videos of Marie’s last visit in Haiti as well as the reflections she wrote while in Haiti. In this world of communication we must use all the means of technology to meet our brothers and sisters. Anyone who would be interested to visit the blog of Mary can simply CLICK on the link http://mariefouche08.wordpress.com/
The staff of the weekly Bulletin of the National Center continues to congratulate Marie Fouche for her contribution to the National Center and her great love for her Homeland. We thank you Marie for your great contribution to Radio TV Solidarite during the entire time of your visit in Haiti.
Congratulations Marie for your blog!
Subcommittee On The Church In Latin America Approves Almost $2.7 Million In Pastoral And Reconstruction Grants
June 21, 2013
WASHINGTON—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America approved funding for 99 projects, totaling almost $1.3 million in grants to aid the pastoral work of the Church in countries throughout the Caribbean and Latin America. These pastoral projects are a way for U.S. Catholics to express their solidarity with the Catholics of these regions.
“Allocating this money donated by our generous parishioners is important work,” said Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, M.Sp.S., auxiliary bishop of Seattle and chairman of the subcommittee. “In considering the project requests, we continue to maintain a focus on encouraging family life and pro-life initiatives. Funds have also been allocated to youth ministries, especially for youth who are preparing for World Youth Day 2013 in Rio de Janeiro.” Other groups that received funding at the bishops’ meeting in San Diego, June 9, focused on the formation of religious personnel and a variety of parish-based evangelization and pastoral efforts.
Two examples of groups that received funding to prepare for World Youth Day were the Episcopal Conference of Ecuador, awarded an $18,000 grant, and the Episcopal Conference of Paraguay, which received a $15,000 grant. Both grants will help send young people to World Youth Day. The subcommittee is also hosting an online contest to raise awareness for the work of the Church in Latin America. Participants can answer trivia questions to win prizes of t-shirts and other items with the World Youth Day logo.
The subcommittee also approved $1.4 million for six projects for the reconstruction of the Church in Haiti. Funding for these projects comes from the special collection for the Church in Haiti that followed the 2010 earthquake. One of the projects is a new multipurpose building. “Parishioners have not had a viable worshipping space for the past three years,” said Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami, chairman of the subcommittee’s Haiti Advisory Group. “This new building is an example of the significant progress we have been making in the last few months to help with the reconstruction in Haiti.”
The new multipurpose room will serve both as a place of worship on Sundays and a space for meetings during the week. All USCCB aid for reconstruction work in Haiti goes through the Partnership for Reconstruction of the Church in Haiti (PROCHE), the Haitian Bishops’ Conference construction entity developed for this purpose. Other partners in these projects include Adveniat, the Koch Foundation, and the Spanish Episcopal Conference.
The Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America oversees the Collection for the Church in Latin America as part of the USCCB Committee on National Collections. More information on the Collection for the Church in Latin America and the projects it funds can be found online:www.usccb.org/catholic-giving/opportunities-for-giving/latin-america/
Keywords:Latin America, evangelization, clergy, lay formation, Haiti, PROCHE, Collection for the Church in Latin America, Obispo Eusebio Elizondo, Archbishop Thomas Wenski, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, World Youth Day
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Eight New Priests: Ordinations and First Masses Are Scheduled for This Weekend
Father Jun Hee Lee
Born in Seoul, South Korea, Father Jun Hee (Peter) Lee, 26, spent his early years in Asuncion, Paraguay, before immigrating to the U.S. at age nine.
After spending a year in New Jersey, his family settled in Marine Park and found their spiritual home among the Korean community at St. Athanasius parish, Bensonhurst.
He attended P.S. 207, Marine Park J.H.S. and Edward R. Murrow H.S., Midwood, before entering Cathedral Seminary Residence, Douglaston.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy from St. John’s University, Jamaica, and earned his bachelor’s in sacred theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome. Currently enrolled at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, Rome, he will complete his licentiate degree in dogmatic studies next year.
“I was always close to the Church,” said Father Lee, “and since I was little I knew I wanted to be a priest.”
His earliest model of priesthood was the late Father Rafael Min, a Korean-speaking Salesian priest in his home parish in Paraguay, who served with “care and love.” His first experience of the sacrament of reconciliation was with Father Min, and he recalls it was “one of the greatest moments I felt Christ’s love.”
The seeds planted by Father Min were further nurtured on a high school retreat for Korean youth, where his eyes were opened to the loving example of his parents. Devout Catholics, they left their motherland and spent nine years securing the proper paperwork to give their children a better life in the U.S.
“I realized I was experiencing the personal love of the Lord through my parents,” said Father Lee, who has continued to grow in his desire to share the personal love of God with others through priestly service.
Over the last two summers, Father Lee has experienced the practical aspects of that service on a day-to-day basis at Queen of Angels parish, Sunnyside, and witnessed that service firsthand thanks to the example of Father Brian Dowd, pastor.
Though his studies and pastoral experiences, Father Lee feels his priestly vocation has been affirmed, enhanced and clarified.
“My dream is to be a parish priest, to serve the people, to be with them,” said Father Lee, who is fluent in Korean, Spanish and English and can converse in Italian. “My main goal is to give of myself … to be the mediator, to be like a pane of glass, so people see Christ through me.”
He says he will look to the examples of Father Dowd, Msgr. Thomas Casserta and Father Francis Shannon as he strives to be a humble, prayerful and simple servant of God.
Father Lee will also heed the words of Pope Francis, whom he met during a recent general audience in St. Peter’s Square. The Vicar of Christ blessed the future priest’s chalice and told him, “Always remember to celebrate every Mass … as if it was your very first.”
His parents, Sang Bog (Joseph) and Chun Hee (Juliana); older sister Da Kyung (Catherine); and relatives from Korea will attend his ordination.
Father Lee will celebrate his First Masses of thanksgiving in English and Korean at St. Athanasius Church, June 30, at 3 p.m., and in Korean at Holy Spirit Church, Borough Park, July 7, at 10 a.m.
Father Luçon Rigaud
When Haitian-born Father Luçon Rigaud was in the fifth grade in Notre Dame de Lourdes School, Haiti, his teacher, a religious sister, gave his class an assignment that would change the course of his life. On the Friday before Good Shepherd Sunday, she asked the students to write down where they could see themselves in 10 years.
Father Rigaud wrote that he wanted to be a lawyer, like his brother, or a priest, because to him a priest served at the altar. The nun told the pastor about her student’s ambition, and the priest talked to the boy’s parents to allow him to enroll as an altar boy.
The future priest thrived in the program and soon became the head of the altar servers. This path also led him to enroll in a seminary prep school, Seminary College de Mazenon, and then the Grand Seminary Notre Dame, both in Haiti.
However in 1999, he decided to pursue his interest in law by enrolling in Polyvalent University of Haiti to study environmental science, a path his parents preferred.
“Though I liked it, I felt something was missing,” he said. “The Lord never let me alone. He never gave up on me.”
When Father Rigaud decided to return to the seminary, his rector learned of his dream to be a missionary priest, like the priests that taught him in middle school. The rector put him in touch with Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, who was visiting Haiti. The bishop invited Rigaud to the Brooklyn Diocese.
He said he now is eager to help God’s children in his adopted home.
“There is no greater joy for me as a human being than to be God’s collaborator in the salvation of souls,” he said. “It is an honor to be chosen by God to work in His vineyard.”
Twenty-five years after he felt his first pull toward the priesthood, Father Rigaud will celebrate his First Mass of thanksgiving on Sunday, June 30, at 1:30 p.m., at Holy Innocents Church, Flatbush.
Father Paul Kim
Father Paul Kim will become the first U.S.-born priest of a Korean immigrant family to be ordained in the Brooklyn Diocese.
He said it was the parishioners at St. Paul Chong Ha-Sang parish in Flushing who first encouraged him to be a priest by telling him he looked good serving as an altar boy.
He attended P.S. 21, Flushing; St. Mel School, Flushing; Cathedral Prep, Elmhurst and Benjamin Cardozo H.S., Bayside.
Father Kim explains that he was unsure of his religious vocation as a youth.
“Even as a child, I felt that God put me here to help people,” he said. “But I felt God was calling me to be a police officer.”
He also considered marriage. “In high school, I dated,” he said. “I was happy with my girlfriend, but there was this void. And Christ filled it by asking me to become one of his priests.”
Eventually, the pull toward the priesthood was one he could not ignore, and he realized a desire to serve people not with a badge but with a collar.
He is especially looking forward to administering the sacraments.
“Confession always played a huge part in my life as a lay person,” he said. “And now I want to bring that to the people.”
In order to better help the growing Korean population in Brooklyn and Queens, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio sent him to Korea to brush up on the language while in the seminary.
During his pastoral year, Father Kim served in St. Athanasius, Bensonhurst, under the leadership of the pastor, Msgr. David Cassato, who is also a police chaplain to New York’s Finest.
In anticipation of the priesthood, Father Kim said his goal is to “serve souls, to bring people closer to God.”
He will celebrate a Mass of thanksgiving at St. Paul Chong Ha-Sang Church, Flushing, on Sunday, June 30, at 11 a.m.
Father Stephen Giulietti
Father Stephen Giulietti was born in Rockville Centre, L.I., and attended Our Lady of the Snows Elementary School after his family moved to the Queens side of Floral Park. He remained there until fifth grade and was homeschooled his final three years before high school.
Father Giulietti, 27, attended Cathedral Prep, Elmhurst. From a young age, he took an interest in the priesthood, serving as an altar boy at the parish.
“As a kid going to Mass, I always wanted to be a priest,” he explained. “I saw concretely how the priests would help and attend to the needs of people. That’s something that was always very attractive to me.”
He was inspired to become a priest by Father Fred Marano, rector principal at Cathedral Prep, and then-Msgr. Raymond Chappetto, who became pastor at Our Lady of the Snows at the same time Father Giulietti entered high school.
“In everything that they did, they just brought the joy of their priesthood,” he recalled. “Not only did they go out of their way to help people, but they loved doing it. There was a great zeal. That made a very deep impression on me.”
He went to the Cathedral Seminary Residence, Douglaston, studying for two years at St. John’s University, Jamaica. He then accepted a philosophy fellowship at Catholic University, Washington, D.C., where he earned a bachelor’s degree in 2007, and a licentiate in philosophy in 2008.
Father Giulietti studied for two years at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, before serving his pastoral year at St. Andrew Avellino parish, Flushing. He petitioned Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio to continue his studies in New York and thus entered the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception, Huntington, L.I. He completed his theology training at St. Joseph’s Seminary, Yonkers, N.Y.
His pastoral preparation included teaching catechesis at St. Mary Star of the Sea, Carroll Gardens; working at Blessed Sacrament, Cypress Hills; and teaching religious education at St. Joseph’s on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.
Father Giulietti will celebrate his First Mass of thanksgiving Sunday, June 30, at 12:30 p.m. at Our Lady of the Snows, North Floral Park.
Father Michel Pierre Louis
Father Michel Pierre Louis, 45, is a native of Plaisance, Haiti.
Father Pierre Louis
Father Pierre Louis
Born and raised in St. Michael the Archangel parish, Plaisance, he attended Ecole Pere Perard, Plaisance; Brevet Elementaire Ecole Nationale des Garcons, Plaisance; and Lycee Alexandre Petion, Port-au-Prince.
He felt the call to religious life in his teenage years and stayed close to God through church activities.
He was a high school religion teacher for nine years and a Montfort Brother for five years before coming to the Brooklyn Diocese at the invitation of Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio in 2007.
He studied for the diocesan priesthood at the Cathedral Seminary House of Formation, Douglaston; St. John’s University, Jamaica; and Immaculate Conception Seminary, Huntington, L.I.
During his course of studies, he also served summer and weekend assignments at Our Lady of Refuge, Flatbush, and St. Catherine of Sienna and St. Pascal Baylon churches, which make up Our Lady of Light parish, St. Albans.
He credits Father William G. Smith, pastor of Our Lady of Light, with helping him improve his English language skills and teaching him “how to administer a parish, how to embrace the people and how to be family with everyone.”
Fluent in Creole and French, he has been completing his final theological preparation for priestly ordination at the Inter-Institute Center for Religious Formation (CIFOR) in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
In his future ministry, he said, “I want to serve God, the Church and my brothers and sisters.”
Father Pierre Louis will celebrate his First Mass of thanksgiving at the St. Pascal Baylon worship site of Our Lady of Light parish on Sunday, June 30, at 10 a.m.
Father Killick Pierrilus
Father Killick Pierrilus, 27, was born in Saint-Marc in northern Haiti. He attended primary school at École Frère Hervé, Saint-Marc, and then secondary school at Petit Séminaire Saint-Martial, Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
His attraction to the priesthood began on his Confirmation day, when he attentively listened to the powerful voice of the bishop of his diocese.
“I said in my heart that I would like to talk like him (the bishop),” Father Pierrilus said. “I would like to be like him. I was excited when I saw him, and I was excited to listen to his voice.”
While in secondary school, he was invited by the Sisters of the Holy Cross order to be part of their religious community, which included brothers as well. He began his spiritual formation in college by studying philosophy for two years at Grand Séminaire Notre-Dame de Cazeau, Port-au-Prince.
In 2007, he spent a pastoral year serving as a dean of Collège Sainte-Eugène de Mazenod, Fort-Liberté, Haiti. But by that time, all of his siblings – three brothers and two sisters – had immigrated to the States.
Without even knowing English, he came to New York to study the language at St. John’s University, Jamaica. In 2009, he entered the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception, Huntington, L.I., and completed his studies at St. Joseph’s Seminary, Yonkers, N.Y.
For his pastoral year, he served at Holy Cross parish, Flatbush. He said it was a great coincidence that he was part of the Holy Cross order in Haiti and then served at a parish named Holy Cross in the Diocese of Brooklyn.
“It was a wonderful experience for me,” Father Pierrilus said. “I learned different cultures from this parish. In this parish, we are three communities: English, Spanish and Creole. Each culture worshipped God differently.”
He enjoyed working with the youth of the parish and said he’d like to continue doing that in his first priestly assignment. His desire is to serve the people, be flexible with them and listen to them.
Father Pierrilus will celebrate his First Mass of thanksgiving Sunday, June 30, at 2 p.m. at St. Pius X Church, Rosedale.
Father Dwayne Davis
A convert to Catholicism, Father Dwayne D. Davis, 26, was born in Kingston, Jamaica, West Indies, and immigrated to Jamaica, Queens, when he was 12 years old.
He attended Rock Hall All Age School, St. Andrew Parish, Jamaica, W.I.; and continued his studies in Queens at Elizabeth Blackwell J.H.S. and Hillcrest H.S., both Jamaica, before entering Cathedral Seminary Residence, Douglaston.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy from St. John’s University, Jamaica, and master’s degrees in both theology and divinity from the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception, Huntington, L.I.
He was introduced to the Catholic Church at age nine after a chance encounter in his native Kingston.
On his way to the store one Sunday morning to buy milk for breakfast, he met a woman who invited him to go to Mass with her.
The following Sunday, he accompanied the woman to Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, where the Blue Sisters of Jamaica taught him the faith. He was soon baptized and received First Holy Communion. By age 11, he was a leader in the parish youth group.
Raised in the Pentecostal amd Church of God traditions, his conversion surprised both his mother, who is Pentecostal, and father, a deacon in the Church of God, but they supported their son’s decision.
He become more active in the Church and grew in admiration for his pastor, Jesuit Father Louis Grenier.
Yet, the future priest never considered the priesthood until Father Grenier preached a homily on Matthew 25: 30-46, a passage about the Last Judgment in which Jesus separates the sheep from the goats.
Father Grenier asked the congregation: “If God was to come today, on which side would you find yourself?”
“That question changed my life,” said Father Davis. “It was the first time I realized I want to build God’s kingdom. I want to make sure there are more sheep than goats.”
Six months later, he moved to Queens and joined St. Joseph Church, Jamaica, where he was a founding member of the youth ministry. He continued his faith formation at the neighboring parish of St. Bonaventure, where he received the sacrament of confirmation, taking the name Joseph.
As a priest, Father Davis said, he will look to the example of St. Joseph whom he considers “a model for all priests because he’s a spiritual father and teaches us to go to God.”
Father Davis said relatives and friends thought his calling to the priesthood was a passing phase. He even tried to talk himself out of his vocation.
“Even when I went out of my way to do otherwise, He would show me how much He delights in me,” he said.
“My vocational journey has been a journey of conversion. I think that’s crucial to any vocation, to realize God’s plan for you and to move closer to Him each day.”
Father Davis credits retired Auxiliary Bishop Guy Sansaricq, Father Caleb Buchanan and Father Paul Palmiotto with helping him to discern that plan and serve as models of priestly service.
As a seminarian, he worked with the diocesan Vicariate of Black Catholic Concerns (VBCC), serving as founding project director of the Youth Leadership Ambassador Program and coordinator of the Kujenga Youth Leadership Program.
On a national level, he has served as president of the National Black Catholic Seminarian Association, member of the board of trustees for the National Black Catholic Congress (NBCC), board member of the National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus and a member of the National Black Catholics for Life.
In 2012, he was the first seminarian and youngest recipient of the NBCC’s National Black Catholic Servant of Christ Award. He also received the diocese’s Catholic Migration Services’ Shining Star Award.
Father Davis completed his pastoral year at Our Lady of Grace, Gravesend, and his diaconate year at St. Joseph Co-Cathedral, Prospect Heights.
Father Davis will celebrate his First Mass of Thanksgiving at St. Joseph’s Church, Jamaica, on Sunday, June 30 at 3 p.m.
Father Ray Flores
Father Ray Flores, 27, was born in the Bronx to parents of Filipino descent. He grew up in Elmhurst as a member of St. Bartholomew’s parish. He attended public elementary school and Brooklyn Technical H.S., Fort Greene.
Originally a pre-medical undergraduate student at Stony Brook University, L.I., he was involved in campus ministry. A crucial retreat during his junior year helped him discern his vocation.
“I asked God if this is where He was calling me,” Father Flores said. “In prayer, it wasn’t where He was calling me. I felt it was to the ministry of priesthood. That’s been confirmed, especially in entering the seminary and feeling a sense of peace that this is the vocation that God is calling me to be in.”
After graduating Stony Brook, he studied pre-theology for one year at the Cathedral Seminary Residence, Douglaston. He then went on to Immaculate Conception Seminary, Huntington, L.I., and St. Joseph’s Seminary, Yonkers, N.Y.
As part of his formation, he spent a pastoral year on diaconate assignment at Mary’s Nativity-St. Ann, Flushing. He assisted at baptisms and weddings and also routinely served at Masses.
He was then assigned for a year at SS. Peter and Paul church, Williamsburg. His ministry involved interacting with the Puerto Rican and Dominican communities in the parish. He learned the Spanish language in high school but said the language was a barrier at first. However, the experience has prepared him for the challenges he will now face as a priest.
He’s looking forward to working with the youth groups and serving his parish to the best of his abilities.
“My hope is just to be of service to the people of God wherever I am and whatever ministry,” Father Flores said.
Father Flores will celebrate his First Mass of thanksgiving on Sunday, June 30, at 2 p.m. at his current home parish, Mary’s Nativity-St. Ann.
1. Bat chen an tan’n mèt li
2. Fè respèw se remèd kò
3. Mache sou trèz, pa pile katòz
4. Bay kou bliye, pote mak sonje
5-L’Hè ou konn Kouri fo ou konn kache
Text for Reflection for Sunday, June 30 , 2013 Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time recorded for Haitian
Radio Solidarite, New York Web Site: SNAA.ORG – composed by Sr. Jamie T. Phelps, OP, PhD,
member of the Adrian Dominican Sisters (a congregation of women religious whose motherhouse
is in Adrian, Michigan) and free-Lance Theologian and Professor of Theology
In a society which is distracted from the true meaning of life by its pre-occupation with material possessions, power and self-gratification, it is hard to make a commitment to use one’s gifts and talents to follow the Way of Jesus. It is difficult to imagine giving up our current pattern of relationships with our family and friends. It is difficult to give up relationships and our way of being to embrace a new relationships and a new way of being.
Yet this is precisely what Jesus invites tofollow him
“And to another he said, “Follow me.” but he replied, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.” But he answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead. But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
Even those who eagerly volunteer to follow Jesus are expected to do so without hesitation or delay. Once one commits to following Jesus all concerns take second place to one’s obligations
“And another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home.” To him Jesus said, “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Furthermore, following Jesus is not necessarily immediately rewarded with success or a peaceful existence.
“As they were proceeding on their journey someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus answered him,’ Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.’ “
Jesus was crucified, Mary was suspect. Some find it hard to believe that, Mary a fifteen year old virgin became pregnant by an act of God as is claimed by our Catholic doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. The Apostles had to go into hiding as Jesus was led to his death and remained hidden in the days immediately following the crucifixion. Tradition and historical documents indicate that “….recounts that at least 10 of the 12 Apostles offered their lives and drank “the chalice that He drinks of,” rather than renounce their faith in Jesus Christ. “
Those who follow Jesus often pay a high price for their discipleship. Even today many Christians suffer martyrdom i.e., are killed because of their profession of faith in Jesus and actions consistent with that faith. Among US Christians we remember Martin Luther King as a Martyr because his death was a direct result of his preaching which called for the end of social injustice both in the United States and South Africa. A quick internet survey of 20th and 21st century martyrs makes it clear that people continue for their faiths all around the world.
Following Jesus can be costly. In the United States we are called to witness to Jesus by refusing to be silent in the context of moral and social injustice. In our family, community, and nation we must speak the truth to those who advocate, support and practice racial, sexual, and class oppression, marginalization and devaluation. We need to be attentive to the political and judicial decisions that threaten to devalue human dignity or personhood from womb to tomb.
If you were to meet Jesus on the street tomorrow and he said to you “Follow Me!” What would your response be?
1. The Fate of the Twelve Apostles http://www.examiner.com/article/the-fate-of-the-twelve-apostles
Did you ever wonder what became of the twelve Apostles? They were Jesus Christ’s closest companions and were to continue the work of building up Christ’s Church after His Ascension into heaven. Mark 3:14-15 states, “He appointed twelve to be with him and to send them to herald, and to have power to heal the illnesses and to cast out demons.”
After His Resurrection Jesus further clarified the mission of the Apostles, “Go ye therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all I have commanded you.” The Epistles in the New Testament and the Acts of the Apostles record many of the journeys and actions of the twelve, as they followed the commission Jesus gave them.
Early Christians also recorded and handed down information concerning each of the Apostles. It’s interesting that the facts concerning so many historical figures are seldom called into question, but Church historians are often pushed for more evidence. Socrates, Julius Caesar and Alexander the Great all lived centuries before Jesus walked the earth, but the facts of their lives and deaths are seldom called into question.
The early Church Fathers were constantly writing instructions in the faith, letters to one another, Church histories, correcting heresies and composing messages of encouragement to the faithful. These writings are from several different nations and written in several different languages. These works fill many, many volumes and are a priceless treasury of the Church. Their letters also document the works and fate of each Apostle.
Andrew was admitted to the closest familiarity with Our Lord during His public life; he was present at the Last Supper; beheld the risen Lord; witnessed the Ascension of Jesus; shared in the graces and gifts of the first Pentecost, and helped, amid threats and persecution, to establish the Church in Palestine. He appointed St. Stachys as its first bishop of Byzantium. It is generally agreed that he was crucified by order of the Roman Governor and that he was bound, not nailed, to the cross, in order to prolong his sufferings.
King Astreges was infuriated when the Greek people informed him that Bartholomew had converted his pagan brother. The king rent the purple in which he was clothed, and ordered the holy Apostle Bartholomew to be beaten with rods; and after having been thus scourged, to be beheaded.
St. James the Greater
James was the brother of John the author of the fourth Gospel. Both told Jesus they were willing to drink the chalice that He drinks of, and to be baptized with the baptism of His sufferings. Jesus assured them that they will share His sufferings (Mark 5:38-39). James was martyred fourteen years after Christ’s prophecy in A.D. 44. On the occasion of the Passover, Herod Agrippa I, grandson of Herod the Great, perpetrated cruelties upon the Church, whose rapid growth incensed the Jews. The zealous temper of James and his leading part in the Jewish Christian communities probably led Agrippa to choose him as the first victim. “He killed James, the brother of John, with the sword.”
St. James the Lesser
Tradition has always recognized him as the author of the Epistle that bears his name. He was the first bishop of Jerusalem, and was at the Council of Jerusalem about the year 50. The historians Eusebius and Hegesippus relayed that St. James was martyred for the faith by the Jews in the spring of the year 62 A.D., although they greatly esteemed him and had given him the surname of “James the Just.”
St. John the Evangelist
The Christian writers of the second and third centuries testify that the Apostle and Evangelist John lived in Asia Minor in the last decades of the first century and from Ephesus had guided the Churches of that province. He had lived there until the reign of Trajan. He was then banished to Patmos in the reign of the Emperor Domitian (81-96 A.D.). Historical tradition reports many beautiful traits of the last years of St. John’s life. He refused to remain under the same roof with the heretic Cerinthus. His touching anxiety about a youth who had become a robber was noted. He is said to have constantly repeated the words, “Little children, love one another”. He was unable to walk in his advanced age, so the faithful carried him to their meetings for the breaking of the Bread. St. John took Mary into his home, where she lived out her days on earth. He is reported to have died of natural causes about 100 A.D.
St. Jude, known as Thaddaeus, was a brother of St. James the Less, and a relative of Our Savior. He is said to have suffered martyrdom in Armenia, which was then subject to Persia.
Matthias was one of the seventy disciples of Jesus. He was with Jesus from His baptism by John the Baptist until His Ascension into heaven. It is related in Acts that in the days following the Ascension, Peter proposed to the assembled brethren, who numbered one hundred and twenty, that they choose one to fill the place of the traitor Judas in the Apostolate. Two disciples, Joseph, called Barsabas, and Matthias were selected. Lots were drawn and Matthias was selected and became associated with the eleven Apostles. Historical tradition holds that Matthias was stoned at Jerusalem by the Jews, and then beheaded.
When summoned by Jesus, Matthew arose immediately and followed Him. Matthew then prepared a feast for Jesus in his home, where tax-gatherers and sinners sat at table with Christ and His disciples. The Pharisees protested that these people were unfit. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees with the consoling words: “I came not to call the just, but sinners”. St. Matthew suffered martyrdom. There is a disagreement as to the place of St. Matthew’s martyrdom and the kind of torture inflicted on him. It is not known whether he was burned, stoned, or beheaded.
There is ample evidence in the New Testament that Peter was first in authority among the apostles. Whenever they were named, Peter headed the list (Matt. 10:1-4, Mark 3:16-19, Luke 6:14-16, Acts 1:13); sometimes the Apostles were referred to as “Peter and those who were with him” (Luke 9:32). Peter was the one who generally spoke for the Apostles (Matt. 18:21, Mark 8:29, Luke 12:41, John 6:68-69), and he figured in many of the most dramatic scenes (Matt. 14:28-32, Matt. 17:24-27, Mark 10:23-28). On Pentecost it was Peter who first preached to the crowds (Acts 2:14-40), and he worked the first healing in the Church age (Acts 3:6-7). It is Peter’s faith that will strengthen his brethren (Luke 22:32) and Peter is given Christ’s flock to shepherd (John 21:17). An angel was sent to announce the Resurrection to Peter (Mark 16:7), and the risen Christ first appeared to Peter (Luke 24:34). He headed the meeting that elected Matthias to replace Judas (Acts 1:13-26), and he received the first converts (Acts 2:41). He inflicted the first punishment (Acts 5:1-11), and excommunicated the first heretic (Acts 8:18-23). He led the first council in Jerusalem (Acts 15), and announced the first dogmatic decision (Acts 15:7-11). It was to Peter that the revelation came that Gentiles were to be baptized and accepted as Christians (Acts 10:46-48).After His Resurrection, Jesus prophesied that Peter would follow him to the cross “And this he said, signifying by what death he should glorify God” (John 21:18-19). We possess a tradition — attested to by Tertullian at the end of the second century and by Origen that he suffered crucifixion. Origen wrote: “Peter was crucified at Rome with his head downwards, as he had desired to suffer”.
Philip may have been a disciple of John the Baptist and is mentioned as one of the Apostles in the lists of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and in Acts. He was called by Jesus Himself and brought Nathanael to Christ. Philip was present at the miracle of the loaves and fishes, when he engaged in a brief dialogue with the Lord, and was the Apostle approached by the Hellenistic Jews from Bethsaida to introduce them to Jesus. Just before the Passion, Jesus answered Philip’s query to show them the Father. In his letter to St. Victor, written about 189-98 A.D., bishop Polycrates of Ephesus mentions among the “great lights”, whom the Lord will seek on the “last day”, “Philip, one of the Twelve Apostles, who is buried in Hieropolis with his two daughters, who grew old as virgins”, and a third daughter, who “led a life in the Holy Ghost and rests in Ephesus.” The nature of Philip’s death is unknown.
In the New Testament he is sometimes called Simon the Zealot because of the zeal he showed for the Mosaic Law, which he practiced before Jesus called him to be an Apostle.
The Abyssinians relate that he suffered crucifixion as the Bishop of Jerusalem, after he had preached the Gospel in Samaria.
He journeyed to the city of King Misdai (SyriacMazdai), where he converted Tertia the wife of Misdai and Vazan his son. After this he was condemned to death, led out of city to a hill, and pierced through with spears by four soldiers. He was buried in the tomb of the ancient kings but his remains were afterwards removed to the West.
The Challenge for Christians
The Apostles were eye witnesses to Jesus Christ’s life and miracles. History recounts that at least 10 of the 12 Apostles offered their lives and drank “the chalice that He drinks of,” rather than renounce their faith in Jesus Christ. Today, Christians are being forced to make this same decision in many nations throughout the world. How will we respond to their need and Christ’s call?
2. Martyrs of the modern era http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/129587.stm
Niches have been empty since Middle Ages
Ten 20th century Christian martyrs have been commemorated with statues at Westminster Abbey in London. The statues were unveiled before the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at Westminster Abbey.
Church officials of different religious denominations from all over the world joined them, including the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. George Carey, and Cardinal Basil Hume. The martyrs chosen by the Abbey represent religious persecution and oppression in each continents.
Queen: head of the Church of England
Among them are victims of the Nazism, communism and religious prejudice in Africa. “There has never been a time in Christian history when someone, somewhere, has not died rather than compromise with the powers of oppression, tyranny and unbelief,” the Rev Dr. Anthony Harvey, sub-dean of Westminster, told the congregation.
“But our century, which has been the most violent in recorded history, has created a roll of Christian martyrs far exceeding that of any previous period.” The 10 statues were added to the Abbey as part of its restoration programme. The niches above the west gate had been empty since the Middle Ages.
The modern martyr
The earliest definition of a martyr meant someone who had witnessed Jesus’s life. But with time, the term “martyr” has come to mean someone who, for their faith and beliefs, has suffered death at the hands of a persecutor.
Among the martyrs represented in stone are: Saint Elizabeth of Russia, killed in Russia in 1918 by the Bolsheviks, Archbishop Oscar Romero, of El Salvador, and Baptist preacher Martin Luther King, both of whom were assassinated.
Archbishop Romero worked for the poor
All of the modern martyrs spent their lives striving for a better world, but for some in particular, achieving this rested on total non-violence regardless of the might of their opposition.
The ideology of the German theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, centredaround international peace and the coming together of countries through the church.
Bonhoeffer was eventually hanged in a Nazi concentration camp in 1945 for his participation in a Protestant resistance movement, but it was his work as a spiritual writer, musician and author of fiction and poetry that had been his powerful weapon.
Dr. Martin Luther King a Modern Martyr
Church officials from all over the world attended
But the church itself as a religious institution has also been a target of oppression by governments and movements of the twentieth century.
Other figures represented are: Archbishop Oscar Romero, of El Salvador, Archbishop JananiLuwum, of Uganda, and Wang Zhiming, from China.
20th century martyrs
• In 1918, the Grand Duchess Elizabeth of Russia was killed by the Bolsheviks.
• MancheMasemola was a Anglican catechumen from South Africa who was killed in 1928 by her parents at the age of 16.
• Maximilian Kolbe was canonised by the Roman Catholic Church after being killed by the Nazis in 1941.
• In 1941, Lucian Tapiede, an Anglican from Papua New Guinea, was killed during the Japanese invasion.
• Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a Lutheran pastor and theologian. killed by the Nazis in 1945.
• Esther John, a Presbyterian evangelist from Pakistan, was allegedly killed by a Muslim fanatic in 1960.
• One of the world’s most famous civil rights activists, Martin Luther King, a baptist, was assassinated in 1969.
• In 1972, Wang Zhiming was killed during the Chinese cultural revolution. He was a pastor and evangelist.
• In 1977, JananiLuwum was assassinated during the rule of Idi Amin, in Uganda, for being an Anglican Archbishop.
• Oscar Romero was a Roman Catholic Archbishop in El Salvado, assassinated in 1980
3.Sandro Magister ,Christian Martyrs of the 21st Century: The Reckoning Continues
Thanks to John Paul II, the Catholic Church has become aware of the fact that the experience of martyrdom is still extremely relevant. The “brief century,” marked by totalitarianism, has left behind itself a long trail of Christian blood. But the third millennium also opens with the sign of martyrdom: a martyrdom with many faces that shows itself increasingly as a “global” experience.
From 2000 until today, there have been more than one hundred of them, in forty nations. That’s without counting the unnamed victims or those who have fallen in war. A warning from the pope, even as India produces new killings and aggressions a t the Angelus of Sunday, August 29, the day on which Christian tradition commemorates the martyrdom of St. John the Baptist, John Paul II warned Christians to be ready each day to give the “supreme testimony of blood for the sake of truth and justice,” in the presence of the modern-day Herods:
“They may be relatively few who are called to make the supreme sacrifice, but all Christians must be ready to give consistent witness each day, even at the cost of suffering and serious sacrifices. We really need a commitment that is at times heroic in order not to give in, even in daily life, to the difficulties that urge us to compromise, and in order to live the Gospel ‘sine glossa’.”
The pope recalled as a model the martyrs of our time, who are too frequently ignored:
“The heroic example of John the Baptist brings to mind the martyrs of the faith who throughout the centuries faithfully followed in his footsteps. In a special way, I recall the many Christians who, during the past century, were victims of religious hatred in various European nations. Even today, in some parts of the world, believers continue to be subjected to harsh trials of their faithfulness to Christ and his Church.”
The pope’s reminder came on the very day on which funeral ceremonies were being held in India for Fr. Job Chittilappilly, the 71-year-old pastor of Thuruthiparambu, in Kerala, who was killed the previous Saturday while reciting the rosary in his church.
And his death came while in other Indian states, Orissa and Jharkhand, bands of Hindu fanatics assaulted Christian churches and homes, stabbing a Catholic pastor, John Sunderam, and his assistant, Fr. Albino Tirkey.
From 2000 until today, there have been about forty countries in which at least one case of death due to violence against Christians has been verified, and more than one hundred victims in all. GerolamoFazzini, co-director of Mondo e Missione, the magazine of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions in Milan, made a systematic account of these in the latest issue of Vita e Pensiero, the bimonthly magazine of the Catholic University of Milan. Here it is:
Murdered for Convenience: Martyrdom Worldwide
Thanks to John Paul II, the Catholic Church has become aware of the fact that the experience of martyrdom is still extremely relevant. The “brief century,” marked by totalitarianism, has left behind itself a long trail of Christian blood. But the third millennium also opens with the sign of martyrdom: a martyrdom with many faces that shows itself increasingly as a “global” experience.
And not only in the geographical sense. Today many of those who end up among the ranks of the martyrs are the exponents of the local Churches, demonstrating an ever-growing commitment ad gentes; it is not rare that those killed are laymen, who are more vulnerable than priests or bishops. One example among many: Ana Isabel Sanchez Torralba, just 22 years old, was a South American youth with the Calasantian volunteer missions, on her first foreign mission. She was killed in Equatorial Guinea on July 1, 2003, during a police inspection.
About forty countries have seen at least one death resulting from violence against Christians in the period of 2000-2003. The martyrology produced by the Vatican agency Fides speaks of 31 victims for the faith in 2000, 33 in the next, 25 in 2002, and 14 in 2003. And since the beginning of this year we must also record another series of killings in various countries.
The Glaring Case of Columbia
In terms of the gruesomeness of the crimes, the number of victims involved, and the duration of the ongoing conflict, the case of Colombia is absolutely unique. This proves wrong those who attribute solely to the anti-Christian furor of Muslim extremists on the one hand, and of communist governments on the other, the number of martyrs that the Church of the 21st century must now acknowledge. Just over the last three years in Colombia there have fallen under the blows of both the guerillas and the paramilitaries a bishop and various priests, seminarians, and laymen, because of their Christian testimony and their defense of justice and human rights. The Colombian Church pays a high price for its fidelity to the Gospel and its commitment to creating true peace. In the martyrology compiled by Fides, Colombia earned in 2003 — on a par with Uganda — the classification of the country where the greatest number of martyrs has been recorded, with six victims for each country.
There are other officially Catholic countries of Central and South America where people continue to die for their opposition, in the name of their faith, to those in power, whether fazenderos, narcotics traffickers, the army, or the death squads. The violence no longer happens on a large scale as in years past, in the time of Archbishop Romero or of the dictators who drenched various countries in blood. And yet blood continues to be spilled in Brazil, Guatemala, El Salvador, etc. So much so that the theology magazine Concilium recently proposed, precisely in reference to the situation in Latin America, the reformulation of the very concept of martyrdom in the light of so many personal accounts of people killed not explicitly “in hatred of the faith,” but in the name of the evangelical values of solidarity, justice, and peace.
Many Victims in the Muslim Countries
Where explicit aversion to the Christian faith does reap the greatest number of victims is in the Muslim-majority countries, as proved by a recent book by Lebanese author Camille Eid, To Death, in the Name of Allah. September 11 and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have, in some contexts, further complicated matters: religious extremism has blended with an anti-Western hatred that has brought about the singling out of Christianity as an enemy ipso facto.
A few examples. At the beginning of June, the agency Asia News published the story of a campaign on behalf of Brian Savio O’Connor, an Indian Catholic kidnapped six months ago by the Muttaqa, the Saudi religious police, on a street in Riyadh. He was brought to a mosque, where he was tortured and beaten, and then imprisoned in Riyadh. Known to be an exemplary citizen, O’Connor was accused of using drugs, selling liquor, and — above all — of preaching Jesus Christ. But it seems certain that the drug charges were fabricated by the police, and that O’Connor was instead threatened with death unless he renounced his faith.
Last May 24, a young Catholic, Samuel Masih, died in a hospital in Lahore, at the hand of a policeman charged with his custody. He had ended up in prison for presumed offenses against the Islamic religion. In reality, at the moment of his arrest in August of 2003 Samuel was doing his job: cleaning a garden. He had piled up some garbage near the wall of a mosque, planning to come back again to burn it. But his act was considered blasphemy: the muezzin of Lahore beat him bloody before handing him over to the police. The murder of Samuel Masih is the latest in a series of violence carried out by Muslims against Christians: a series of which, in Pakistan, one cannot see the end. Also last May another young man, JavedAnjum, died from tortures inflicted upon him by Islamic militants. Christian leaders have been threatened with death in Quetta, and a Protestant pastor, Wilson Fazal, was kidnapped and tortured.
If Pakistan is today one of the most problematic situations for Christians, one of the critical situations that must be noted is the island of Mindanao, in the Philippines, which unlike the rest of the country has a Muslim majority: in 1997 the bishop of Jolo, Benjamin de Jesus, was killed, and recently there have been death threats against Catholic missionaries.
Indonesia has also witnessed strong tensions in recent years, especially in the Moluccas, and Christians of various denominations have frequently paid the price.
In the Middle East, Churches with ancient traditions (going back all the way to apostolic times) live today in extremely difficult conditions, subjected to very heavy restrictions on their freedom, and not rarely to violence.
The word “martyrdom” is tremendously relevant in Sudan as well, as shown in a recent denunciation made by the bishop of Rumbek, CesareMazzolari, aCombonian missionary.
Let’s look at Egypt. Geopolitical common opinion considers this a “moderate” country, but it is certainly not a place where Christians are permitted the full exercise of their right to religious liberty. As Coptic Catholic patriarch Stephanos II Ghattas said in a recent interview with Mondo e Missione, Christians there are second class citizens. This is proven by the fact that a few months ago 22 persons were arrested simply for having converted to Christianity.
When Hindu Extremism Strikes
But it is not, in any case, Muslim extremism alone that strikes the Church. Hindu extremism is no less dangerous and devastating. Recent years in India have seen a steady downpour of killings aimed against representatives of the Catholic Church, by elements connected in some way with the political and military groups that expound the ideology of hindutva, according to which national and religious identity are all of a piece. On the basis of this doctrine, an Indian who converts to Christianity or Islam must be considered as a deviant element and excised from the from the body of the nation, unless he reconverts.
A wave of fundamentalist religious violence has recently overrun the country, and Catholics have paid the price on many occasions. On March 2 in Gujarat, two Catholic priests and two laymen were attacked by a group of activists from RashtriyaSwayamsevakSangh (RSS; “The National Body of Volunteers”), an extremist Hindu group. Fr. Nicholas Martiz, novice master for the Missionaries of the Divine Word, Fr. George Bhuriya, a parish priest, and two of their faithful, were assaulted while they were traveling by jeep to the local police station to denounce an attack against the mission’s Catholic school. The same day, a group from the RSS had burst into the mission school, terrorizing the students and professors.
Still in Gujarat, a mission of the Society of the Divine Word was completely ransacked and burned by activists of the RSS and of the World Hindu Council. Fr. Chackochan and Br. Gnanarul, residents of the mission, were wounded by the aggressors. In the light of this one understands why the bishops, who were extremely concerned before the last election about a possible victory of the BJP, the Hindu national party, breathed a sigh of relief when the ballot boxes showed the defeat of the party and its dismissal from government.
More Persecution in Communist Countries
In the communist countries, living conditions for Christians remain difficult, and are sometimes dramatic. In China, despite the official proclamations, religious liberty remains an elusive concept and there continue to be arbitrary arrests and detentions of bishops, priests, and laymen, of Catholics and Protestants, who refuse to submit to the communist party.
There are signs of improvement in Vietnam, but the office for religious affairs maintains its strict control over seminaries and episcopal nominations, as well as its de facto control over the exercise of worship.
In regard to Laos and North Korea, Amnesty International recently drew a decisively alarming picture: in these countries, human rights violations are practiced systematically.
The situation in Cuba is better than it was in the past, with a few small developments in favor of the Church having been introduced after the papal visit in ’98. But Cuban society remains one in which the head of the communist regime maintains rigid control over all cultural, religious, and political expressions which in some way are seen as potentially hostile toward the government.
Africa, the Continent of Blood
Of the thirty-nine countries that have been the theater of massacres of Christians in the last four years, almost half of them are in the torture chamber of the African continent. This is no coincidence. The Africa of a thousand forgotten wars, of endemic violence, of violence-breeding poverty, requires of the Church a particularly exacting testimony. In many countries, priests, religious, and laity have lost their lives for the simple reason that they did not abandon their community in the hour of war, though they knew perfectly well what they were facing.
Fr. Peter Obore, Sudanese, was certainly not unaware of the risks he was taking by working in North Uganda, tormented by the raids of the Lord’s Resistance Army, where he met his death on November 24, 2001, at the hand of that ferocious rebel army that sows death to this day.
How can we forget, ten years later, the enormous tragedy of Rwanda where — even if many of those who raised a machete against their brothers were statistically considered Christians — more than two hundred priests, sisters, bishops, seminarians, and laymen gave their lives for refusing to conform to the logic of genocide?
An Analysis of the Causes
It is not rare that missionaries, sisters, or laymen are taken out of the way because they are inconvenient. Fr. Gopal, killed in Pukthel, India, on October 12, 2001, paid with his life for his active participation in the government’s program for sensitization against violence. He was killed by guerillas in retaliation.
Sister Barbara Ann Ford, killed on May 5, 2001 in Guatemala City, was working for the defense of Indians’ human rights and for the psychological rehabilitation of victims of the civil war. Many suspect that this factor, together with her friendship with auxiliary bishop Juan Gerardi, who was killed in 1998, was the real reason why she was eliminated, and not official explanation of a robbery.
In the case of Fr. Arley Arias Garcia, killed on May 18, 2002 in an ambush in Florencia, Colombia, there is no doubt of the “offenses” attributed to him by his assassins: the religious was in fact seeking to start negotiations between the paramilitaries and the guerillas.
It may be surprising, but an examination of the circumstances in which missionaries and ecclesiastical personnel have been killed in the last few years, a disturbing fact emerges: these are frequently casual deaths, homicides provoked by banal motivations like mugging or robbery.
An Irish Salesian, Fr. Declan Collins, was killed during a mugging in Johannesburg, one of the most dangerous cities in the world, where he took care of a parish and occupied himself particularly with the marginalized people of the suburbs.
Of Sister Dionita Mary, an Indian teacher, killed in her country on January 21, 2001, one reads that she was slaughtered during a robbery in her home.
This was the motivation for the homicide, on October 19, 2002, of Alberto Neri Fernandez, an Uruguayan lay member of the Focolare, who was working in Brazil.
Sometimes direct contact with the life of the people brings about deaths that apparently have nothing of the heroic about them. Fr. Pietro De Franceschi, an Italian Sacred Heart missionary, died in Mozambique on February 1, 2001, swept away by a flood while he was helping a woman who needed to be taken to the hospital. In all these cases, it is clear that the definition of martyrdom “from hatred of the faith” does not apply. But how can we not call martyrs — gray martyrs, if one prefers — those who remain and endure in contexts that are potentially extremely dangerous to proclaim the Gospel and give witness to Christian charity? An Italian missionary in Colombia, Fr. Gaetano Mazzoleni, gave me copies of two different threatening letters, coming from the FARC, the left-wing guerillas, and from the paramilitaries, received by his community in the southern Amazonian part of the country. One letter was accompanied by a bullet. Remaining there after such a warning — isn’t that, perhaps, martyrdom?
In some cases, martyrdom takes the shape of a paradox, that paradox that is fully contained within the logic of the cross. For example, how can we not call a bitter joke the murder, on July 29, 2002, of Br. Yves Marie-Dominique Lascanne, a little brother of the Gospel, of French origin? The one who raised his hand against the founder of the Foyer de l’Espérance, a center for boys from the street, was one of his former beneficiaries. As for Jesus, there was a Judas who did not understand the love of the Master. An analogous destiny met Fr. CelestinoDigiovambattista, an Italian Camillian, killed in Burkina Faso on October 13, 2001 by a demented man during a visit to the prison where he was chaplain.
The Laity also on the Front Lines
Running down the list of countries that are theaters of massacre, one discovers a variety of situations that match the various modalities of presence and testimony that each local Church offers. Here, too, we are in the presence of a form of globalization: evangelization is no longer the exclusive patrimony of the missionary institutes “ad gentes”; the local Churches provide proof of new forms of initiative. According to the data from 2003, of the 29 martyrs recorded by “Fides,” 22 of them were seminarians, priests, and lay men and women who paid with blood for their fidelity to the Gospel.
Among the layers of statistics may be found stories of victims who were less well known, but significant. Together with Fr. SauloCareno, killed in Colombia last November 13, there was — for example — also Marita Linares, a hospital employee, just as beside Fr. William de Jesus Ortez, a parish priest in El Salvador, assassinated by gunfire inside his church on October 5, there was also the sacristan, Jaime Noel Quintilla, just 23 years old. More: the ambush with which the rebels of the Lord’s Resistance Army, on September 1, 2003, killed Fr. Lawrence Oyuru, cost the lives of 25 other people. We know none of their names, and no one will open their cause for beatification. But the Christians of the developed world, less familiar with martyrdom, should look also to them as models. Silent, but still models.
SCRIPTURE READINGS AND COMMENTARY RESOURCES
JUNE 30, 2013
Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
READING 1 1 KGS 19:16B, 19-21
The LORD said to Elijah:
“You shall anoint Elisha, son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah, as prophet to succeed you.”
Elijah set out and came upon Elisha, son of Shaphat,
as he was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen;
he was following the twelfth.
Elijah went over to him and threw his cloak over him.
Elisha left the oxen, ran after Elijah, and said,
1)“Please, let me kiss my father and mother goodbye,and I will follow you.”
Elijah answered, “Go back! Have I done anything to you?”
2) Elisha left him, and taking the yoke of oxen, slaughtered them; he used the plowing equipment for fuel to boil their flesh, and gave it to his people to eat.
3) Then Elisha left and followed Elijah as his attendant.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM PS 16:1-2, 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11
R. (cf. 5a) You are my inheritance, O Lord.
Keep me, O God, for in you I take refuge;
I say to the LORD, “My Lord are you.
O LORD, my allotted portion and my cup,
you it is who hold fast my lot.”
R. You are my inheritance, O Lord.
I bless the LORD who counsels me;
even in the night my heart exhorts me.
I set the LORD ever before me;