News in Activities
With the advent of Covid-19, Facebook and similar digital platforms seem to have become liturgical spaces. Every kind of celebration is transmitted through them: “home-made” liturgies are held, retreat houses offer online activities, spiritual assistance is offered through a computer screen and so on.
Followers of all religions have found themselves in an unprecedented situation because of the Covid-19 pandemic. In particular, believers of the monotheistic faiths were unable to celebrate with their own communities in the time-honored way the great feasts that fell in April: the Jewish Passover, the Catholic Easter, the Orthodox Easter, and Ramadan.
The continuity between St John Paul II and Pope Francis is rooted in the message of God's divine mercy for all men and women, the retired pope, Benedict XVI, said in a letter commemorating his predecessor's birth.
Vietnamese bishops have called on Catholics to foster the spirit of faith practices and build a better society in the post-Covid-19 period. They said preventative measures have forced the cancellation of social and religious activities over the past month, but now social distancing measures are gradually being relaxed and some dioceses are preparing to resume religious services.
There is such an idea around, and it is beginning to surface both on the left and right of the political debate. It is the idea of Jubilee, of wiping the slate clean and starting again afresh. The main argument for Austerity II will be that there is no alternative. Jubilee is an alternative.
Catholic and Buddhist leaders teamed up in southern Vietnam to promote religious values as they met for Buddhism’s Vesak festival. Archbishop Joseph Nguyen Chi Linh of Hue, who led a nine-member delegation from Hue Archdiocese, paid an official visit to the Buddhist Sangha Executive Committee based in Thua Thien Hue on May 6.
Bishop O'Toole said his mother recently became very sick with Covid-19, and described the care she received. He said: “It is doctors, nurses, cleaners, carers, the Catholic chaplain, and support staff, who are presenting the face of Christ the Servant to our family in these days.”
There will be no public Masses or other religious services before 30 May in Portugal, even though other confinement measures have started being overturned as numbers of dead and infected by Covid-19 begin to dwindle. Some confusion has arisen, however, about the possibility of 13 May celebrations in Fátima, which usually draws hundreds of thousands of pilgrims.
Mortality was a world away, disasters were elsewhere, far from our own world that seemed to keep us safe. Death was present, but consumerism and the good life distracted us, suppressing the fear of death in our hearts. An entire generation in Europe grew up in this shallow world and knew no other.
Pope Francis has expressed his hope that the post-pandemic world would be marked by more solidarity, concern for others, care for the environment, an appreciation of the church as a community and a sharpening of people's listening skills.
I have spent many years in the Anglican Church, which has become my adopted house of worship, but I am called home by your encyclical Laudato Si’, with a desire to return not as a child or as a supplicant, but as an heir coming into my inheritance, and as an adult with much to offer.
"I'm very happy to celebrate Mass with you beloved people after missing Masses for two months, including Easter Mass," said Auxiliary Bishop Benedict Son Hee-song. Large indoor spaces such as churches are still high-risk areas for Covid-19 to spread, say authorities. Precautions include checking the body temperature of attendees to make sure they do not have a fever.
We know we do not have to be in church in order to pray well. I cannot work out whether I am more baffled or appalled by the suggestion that we Catholics ought somehow to be exempted from having our places of worship closed down and should be allowed to go and pray in them regardless.
Pope Francis ended his homily praying for all workers, for all who fight for justice for workers and for all employers who treat their workers fairly, even if it costs them some money. And pointing to the statue of St. Joseph “with his work tools in hand,” Pope Francis prayed that the saint would “help us fight for the dignity of labor so that there is work for all and that it would be worthy labor, not slave labor. May this be our prayer today.”
Will the terror of Covid-19 be the celebrated point when we realise that we simply can’t go back to our habitat-destroying, air-polluting, pandemic-encouraging ways? The point when we accept that our species is committing suicide. The point when we all become radicalised and decide to take action. These words are hard to write at a time of international emergency, but we must act on them. Whichever choice we make, things will not go back to how they were.
In an exclusive interview recorded for The Tablet – his first for a UK publication – Pope Francis says that this extraordinary Lent and Eastertide could be a moment of creativity and conversion for the Church, for the world, and for the whole of creation.
As the world slowly recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic, there is a risk it will be struck by an even worse virus – that of selfish indifference, Pope Francis said today. This dangerous virus is "spread by the thought that life is better if it is better for me and that everything will be fine if it is fine for me. It begins there and ends up selecting one person over another, discarding the poor and sacrificing those left behind on the altar of progress," he said in his homily at a Mass on Divine Mercy Sunday.
“Before the festival of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end” (John 13:1). With these words John’s Gospel opens its account of the Passion, the fulfillment of a life spent for humankind in sharing and in loving in total obedience to the Father to the extreme gift of himself.
A writer who has lived alone and far from the nearest village for many years – and who has just turned 70 – has words of advice and encouragement for those who might feel frightened by the prospect of enforced solitude and silence.