ASIA: INDIA: JESUITS CAMPAIGN AGAINST HUMAN TRAFFICKING -
AMERICA: NOTRE DAME: JENKINS SENDS LETTER RE: PRO-LIFE INITIATIVES-
Members of a women's self-help group sing a songduring a cultural program organized by Udayani asFather Probal Gomes (extreme right) looks on
Father Probal Gomes says a 30-year-old woman has been rescued from a human traffickers' racket in the region. But the woman "is still in shock and guilt, and it will take a few months for us to bring her back to her normal self."
The Jesuit priest directs Udayani (awakening) Social Action Forum (USAF). It launched an anti-human trafficking and safe migration program in June in West Bengal state's 24 Parganas (South) district after getting progressively more involved in the issue of trafficking in the region for three years.
The forum works with the Association for Bengal Collaborators for Development (ABCD), which coordinates Catholic diocesan social services in the state.
Father Gomes said Church NGOs do not take on the traffickers directly but work through women's self-help groups, village youths and others.
"If we do not create awareness among the people of this district, many would be lost forever, not only to the sex trade but also through cheap labor rackets."
ABCD director Father Ignatius Philo Sarto describes West Bengal as one of the most disaster-prone states in India. "Human trafficking has been one of the most common problems in the area for the past 20-30 years," he said, adding that his association wants to tackle the problem with help from other Christian groups.
According to data from the National Crime Records Bureau, West Bengal accounted for 61 of the 149 cases of trafficking in women registered at the national level in 2005. But local media say the official data are only the tip of an iceberg.
Father Gomes said USAF plans a comprehensive survey to gauge the true scale of the problem in the district, but it "may take about six months before we get the results."
Meanwhile, the Jesuit center has launched awareness campaigns in Christian schools on the issue of human trafficking.
"Even children in the 9-14 age group are fully aware of what is happening in their locality," the priest said.
USAF field officer Sorodindu Biswas played a key role in the group's first rescue. He said a police officer had offered the woman a check for 25,000 rupees (US$525) if she volunteered to work outside the state.
She was saved "in the nick of time" only because she had no bank account or means to cash the check, Biswas told UCA News. "That is how we came to know about the human trafficking racket," in which a senior police official also was involved, he said.
After being rescued, the woman told USAF staff she has an 11-year-old son and was desperately looking for funds to pay back money her husband had borrowed to set up a snack shop in their village.
Biswas explained that gangs generally look for women in the 15-30 age group, especially those with family and financial problems, and send most of the women the lure away to Persian Gulf countries.
He added that the Jesuit center had sought the help of the local village body to save the woman. The incident has given USAF "some leverage to take up similar cases in future," he said.
As a further measure to prevent trafficking, the Jesuit center has set up local "vigilance committees" in the four areas where it operates.
Each committee comprises self-help group leaders, youth club members, school headmasters and heads of local government bodies.
Father Sarto says they have also organized youths who watch for signs among peers that might indicate they are getting involved with or are vulnerable to traffickers. One behavior that Church NGOs have advised people to watch for is excessive time spent using mobile phones, which can mean someone is working for the racket.
"Our efforts are fruitful when we get support and help from political and police forces," the priest said.
Fr. John Jenkins, CSC, of the University of Notre Dame at the recent commencement exercises where President Barack Obama received an honorary Doctor of Law Degree and gave the commencement address.
NOTRE DAME (Catholic Online) - We covered the events surrounding the 2009 University of Notre Dame commencement exercises very, very closely. We felt the best way that we could cover the recent turn of events at that same University was to simply present the entire letter released by University President Fr. John Jenkins, without any commentary. However, we pledge to apply the same exhaustive and continual scrutiny to covering all activities promised in this letter that we did to exposing the implications of awarding President Obama, who opposes the fundamental human right to life as revealed by the Natural Law, an Honorary Law Degree at a Catholic University. ***** An E-Mail from Fr. John Jenkins,CSC, to Notre Dame faculty, students and others associated with the school "Dear Members of the Notre Dame Family, "Coming out of the vigorous discussions surrounding President Obama’s visit last Spring, I said we would look for ways to engage the Notre Dame community with the issues raised in a prayerful and meaningful way. "As our nation continues to struggle with the morality and legality of abortion, embryonic stem cell research, and related issues, we must seek steps to witness to the sanctity of life. I write to you today about some initiatives that we are undertaking. "Each year on January 22, the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, the March for Life is held in Washington D.C. to call on the nation to defend the right to life. I plan to participate in that march. I invite other members of the Notre Dame Family to join me and I hope we can gather for a Mass for Life at that event. We will announce details as that date approaches. "On campus, I have recently formed the Task Force on Supporting the Choice for Life. It will be co-chaired by Professor Margaret Brinig, the Fritz Duda Family Chair in Law and Associate Dean for the Law School, and by Professor John Cavadini, the Chair of the Department of Theology and the McGrath-Cavadini Director of the Institute for Church Life. My charge to the Task Force is to consider and recommend to me ways in which the University, informed by Catholic teaching, can support the sanctity of life. "Possibilities the Task Force has begun to discuss include fostering serious and specific discussion about a reasonable conscience clause; the most effective ways to support pregnant women, especially the most vulnerable; and the best policies for facilitating adoptions. Such initiatives are in addition to the dedication, hard work and leadership shown by so many in the Notre Dame Family, both on the campus and beyond, and the Task Force may also be able to recommend ways we can support some of this work. "I also call to your attention the heroic and effective work of centers that provide care and support for women with unintended pregnancies. The Women’s Care Center, the nation’s largest Catholic-based pregnancy resource center, on whose Foundation Board I serve, is run by a Notre Dame graduate, Ann Murphy Manion (’77). "The center has proven successful in offering professional, non-judgmental concern to women with unintended pregnancies, helping those women through their pregnancy and supporting them after the birth of their child. The Women’s Care Center and similar centers in other cities deserve the support of Notre Dame clubs and individuals. "Our Commencement last Spring generated passionate discussion and also caused some divisions in the Notre Dame community. Regardless of what you think about that event, I hope that we can overcome divisions to foster constructive dialogue and work together for a cause that is at the heart of Notre Dame’s mission. We will keep you informed of our work, and we ask for your support, assistance and prayers. May Our Lady, Notre Dame, watch over our efforts." (SOURCE: http://www.catholic.org/national/national_story.php?id=34457
Krupp also gave the Holy Father a 255-page book on Pius XII that includes copies of some three thousand original documents that were uncovered after extensive investigations. Krupp explained that the gift was “a gesture of gratitude for the initiatives of Benedict XVI in support of Jewish-Catholic dialogue.” (SOURCE: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=17140
"We have to forgive, but before we can forgive there must be justice," Bishop Basilio do Nascimento said, The Age reports.
Bere allegedly led an attack on a church in the East Timorese town of Suai in September 1999, during which three priests and about 200 civilians were massacred.
In a blunt statement released in Dili, the East Timor NGO Forum described the Government's decision to release Bere on the 10th anniversary of East Timor's vote for independence, on August 30, as a "cheap political decision" that violated the independence of the country's judiciary, The Age report said.
"The NGO Forum and its members condemn the political intervention by the Republic of Indonesia into the judicial sovereignty of Timor Leste ," said the forum, which represents more than 300 organisations.
The forum said Indonesia pressured for Bere's release after he was arrested in the Suai area in mid-August. He had crossed the border from Indonesian West Timor to attend a family funeral.
Bere, a West Timor provincial government official, was indicted by a UN Serious Crimes Tribunal in 2003 on charges of murder, extermination, enforced disappearance, torture, rape, deportation and persecution.
East Timor's President Jose Ramos Horta and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao secretly arranged Bere's release to Indonesian officials without a court order, The Age says.
St. Joseph of Cupertino
Feast: September 18
June 17, 1603, Copertino, Puglia, Kingdom of Naples
September 18, 1663, Osimo, Marche, Papal States
July 16, 1767, Rome by Pope Clement XIII
Aviation, astronauts, mental handicaps, test taking, students
Mystic, born 17 June, 1603; died at Osimo 18 September, 1663; feast, 18 September. Joseph received his surname from Cupertino, a small village in the Diocese of Nardo, lying between Brindisi and Otranto in the Kingdom of Naples. His father Felice Desa, a poor carpenter, died before Joseph was born and left some debts, in consequence of which the creditors drove the mother, Francesca Panara, from her home, and she was obliged to give birth to her child in a stable. In his eighth year Joseph had an ecstatic vision while at school and this was renewed several times; so that the children, seeing him gape and stare on such occasions, lost to all things about him, gave him the sobriquet "Bocca Aperta". At the same time he had a hot and irascible temper which his strict mother strove hard to overcome. He was apprenticed to a shoemaker, but at the age of seventeen he tried to be admitted to the Friars Minor Conventuals and was refused on account of his ignorance. He then applied to the Capuchins at Martino near Tarento, where he was accepted as a lay-brother in 1620, but his continual ecstasies unfitted him for work and he was dismissed. His mother and his uncles abused him as a good-for-nothing, but Joseph did not lose hope. By his continued prayers and tears he succeeded in obtaining permission to work in the stable as lay help or oblate at the Franciscan convent of La Grotella near Cupertino. He now gave evidence of great virtues, humility, obedience, and love of penance to such an extent that he was admitted to the clerical state in 1625, and three years later, on 28 March he was raised to the priesthood. Joseph was but little versed in human knowledge, for his biographers relate that he was able to read but poorly, yet infused by knowledge and supernatural light he not only surpassed all ordinary men in the learning of the schools but could solve the most intricate questions.
His life was now one long succession of visions and other heavenly favours. Everything that in any way had reference to God or holy things would bring on an ecstatic state: the sound of a bell or of church music, the mention of the name of God or of the Blessed Virgin or of a saint, any event in the life of Christ, the sacred Passion, a holy picture, the thought of the glory in heaven, all would put Joseph into contemplation. Neither dragging him about, buffeting, piercing with needles, nor even burning his flesh with candles would have any effect on him - only the voice of his superior would make him obey. These conditions would occur at any time or place, especially at Mass or during Divine Service. Frequently he would be raised from his feet and remain suspended in the air. Besides he would at times hear heavenly music. Since such occurrences in public caused much admiration and also disturbance in a community, Joseph for thirty-five years was not allowed to attend choir, go to the common refectory, walk in procession or say Mass in church, but was ordered to remain in his room, where a private chapel was prepared for him. Evil-minded and envious men even brought him before the Inquisition, and he was sent from one lonely house of the Capuchins or Franciscans to another, but Joseph retained his resigned and joyous spirit, submitting confidently to Divine Providence. He practised mortification and fasting to such a degree, that he kept seven Lents of forty days each year, and during many of them tasted no food except on Thursdays and Sundays. His body is in the church at Osimo. He was beatified by Benedict XIV in 1753, and canonized 16 July 1767 by Clement XIII; Clement XIV extended his office to the entire Church. His life was written by Robert Nuti (Palermo, 1678). Angelo Pastrovicchi wrote another in 1773, and this is used by the Bollandist "Acta SS.", V, Sept., 992.
Our Lord gives to souls of prayer a deep understanding of Himself. He never deceives them.
-- St. Peter Julian Eymard
Matthew 11: 25 - 30
At that time Jesus declared, "I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes;
yea, Father, for such was thy gracious will.
All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."