Dear Friend in mission,
March has certainly flown by. The weather here in Washington, DC has been rather unpredictable, but we hope that soon spring will arrive in all its beauty. We have been busy preparing for this year’s Mission Congress, Witnessing Mission: Called to be Missionary Disciples, which will take place October 1 – 4, 2015 in Houston Texas. As we prepare to celebrate the feast of Easter, we invite you to read Fr. Aniedi’s reflection for the Mission Congress and reflect on our own call to be missionary disciples in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Africa. May this Easter season be full of blessings for you and all your loved ones.
The USCMA Staff
|by Chris Fontain, USCMA Intern
Pope Francis is coming! With the Holy Father’s visit to America less than six months away, our friends at Catholic Extension launched their #FlatFrancis
social media campaign to help us prepare. Armed with a small cut out of Pope Francis provided by Catholic Extension’s web site and the #FlatFrancis
hashtag, Catholics from around the nation have been posting photos of their parishes, communities, and their bible study groups with the goal of showing our unity with Pope Francis as he visits the United States. We do not yet know what his message will be, but experience has taught us it will challenge us to a greater understanding of what being “missionary disciples” entails. Here at the USCMA, we jumped on board with the campaign and submitted our own photos. As an intern here at USCMA and as a senior at the Catholic University of America, I am holding up #FlatFrancis
as I assist with compiling the results from our mission survey. Just as #FlatFrancis
can help us realize what being missionary disciples can mean today in Catholic America, the mission survey shows us what mission looks like in the world today.
Missionary Disciples and Mission to Africa
By Fr. Aniedi Okure, OP
AFJN Executive Director
Decades ago, hundreds of American men and women went to various parts of Africa on mission, alongside their European counterparts to bear witness to the Gospel. Their witness, especially through educational enterprise, laid the foundation for the liberation of Africans from colonial rule, the prevailing oppressive structures of the time. In 2015, about two thousand priests and sisters from Africa live and bear witness to the Gospel in the United States in a trend some refer to as reversed mission. Alongside are about three million African Diaspora groups, many of them Catholics. What does this mean to us in the context of mission? Does that mean the end of mission from the US to Africa? More specifically, is it the end of our being missionary disciples to Africans? Read more here.
Cardinal Tagle: "Way of the Cross on Good Friday in prayer for peace"
Manila (Agenzia Fides) - Celebrate a Way of the Cross through the streets of Manila, to reflect on the passion of Christ, be reconciled with the Lord and renew one’s life, praying intensely "for natural disasters and for peace": is what the Archbishop of Manila, Cardinal Luis Antonio G. Tagle has asked the faithful, encouraging to participate in the Way of the Cross organized by the local Church, which will see the faithful march in procession through the city.
As reported in a note sent to Fides, Cardinal Tagle explained: "We must ask the Lord for forgiveness and help disadvantaged people, not just those paralyzed by events such as typhoons, but also those oppressed by corruption, injustice, lack of truth, selfishness and insensitivity". "Let us open our eyes and hearts. Let us do something to reduce the impact of disasters. Let us change our lifestyles in order to reduce man-made disasters", remarked the Archbishop of Manila.
Priests, religious and faithful of all the vicariate of the diocese will live a Way of the Cross through the streets of the capital with a seven-kilometer-long march. It will be a "penitential" journey which will end in the Cathedral, the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, informs the note.
Citing the hardships of families and children living on the street, the Archbishop hopes that through the penitential journey, "every Catholic faithful is enlightened and inspired to help people who often suffer because of natural disasters" or due to the effects of the conflicts that still agitate the nation. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 31/03/2015)
Denouncing Immigrant Detention
The Denunciation of Bishops After the Visit in Texas: "Why Imprison the Most Vulnerable?"
Olinda and Recife (Agenzia Fides) - "After this visit, my main question is: why? Why imprison these vulnerable people, young and traumatized mothers who, with their children fled from persecution in their own countries?". This is what Mgr. Garcia-Siller, Bishop of San Antonio (Texas) said after March 27 when a group of Catholic Bishops and other religious leaders (Evangelical and Lutheran) visited the Dilley detention center, in Texas (see Fides 27/03/2015). Read more here.
Dialogue from Mutual Devotion
Christians and Muslims celebrate together the feast of the Annunciation
Beirut (Agenzia Fides) - The Marian solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, which Lebanon proclaimed a national holiday in 2010, has also seen this year celebrations in various parts of the country promoted by organizations of Christian-Muslim dialogue, starting from Ensemble Autour de Marie group. This year, in particular, Christians and Muslims gathered around Mary in the Shrine of Notre Dame de Nourieh and Notre Dame de Jamhour, for a liturgy of reflections and songs - some in Latin and Aramaic – and also saw the participation of Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, Archbishop of Lione, together with the Imam of the Mosque of Lione, Kamel Kabtane. The French Cardinal gave a speech dedicated to Mary, defined as "She who sings mercy", while Imam Kabtane expounded a reflection focused on coexistence and interreligious dialogue.
In Lebanon, the Solemnity of the Annunciation was declared a national holiday in 2010 with the declared intention of finding in the devotion to Mary - also shared among Muslims - a point of convergence among the different religious communities. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 26/03/2015)
Protecting the Dignity of Indigenous People
Violations of Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples: First Investigation
Jakarta (Agenzia Fides) - Indigenous people of Indonesia have been the victims of violations of human rights, of the right to property, of the right to a decent and safe life for many years. This is what we read in the first national report on the Violation of Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the forest areas of the Country, which will be published in May by the National Commission on Human Rights. The issue was addressed recently in Jakarta by a group of researchers during a press conference organized by the Indigenous Peoples' Alliance of The Archipelago (AMAN), news of which was sent to Agenzia Fides. The report is based on research carried out for months in Sumatra, Java, Bali-Nusa, Sulawesi, Kalimantan, Maluku and Papua. Among the conclusions we report: currently on maps and official documents there are no traces of borders regarding indigenous territories; this part of the population is facing serious legal obstacles to lay claim to their legitimacy; women are discriminated against in many ways; government agencies, including police and military forces, have engaged mainly in the private sector, neglecting indigenous communities; there is no institution at a ministerial level that has the mandate to resolve land conflicts. AMAN represents 15 million people in 2,244 indigenous communities throughout Indonesia. (AP) (Agenzia Fides 26/03/2015)
USCMA Staff and Contact Information
Rev. John R. Nuelle, M.S., Executive Director
Stephen F. Scott, MTS, Associate Director
Barbara Wheeler, Development Coordinator
Mary Nguyen, Accountant and Administrative Assistant
United States Catholic Mission Association
3025 Fourth St. NE, Ste. 100
Washington, DC 20017-1103
T: (202) 832-3112
F: (202) 832-3688