Cairo (AsiaNews/Agencies) – A priest and three deacons are missing following an attack last night by about 4,000 Muslims in the town of Soul (30 kilometres south of Cairo) against the local Coptic community. The mob attacked Christian homes and set fire to the Saints Mina and George Coptic Church, ostensibly because of a relationship between a Christian man and a Muslim woman.
Witnesses report the mob prevented the fire brigade from entering the village. Father Yosha, the priest of the small parish, and three deacons have been reported missing with different accounts of their fate. Some believe they died in the fire that devastated the church building. Others say they are still held by Muslims in one of the parish buildings.
When the Muslim mob attacked the church, they exploded five or six gas cylinders inside the church, desecrated the cross and pulled down the domes.
Soldiers stationed in the village of Bromil, seven kilometres from Soul, initially refused to go into Soul. When the army finally sent troops to the village, Muslim elders sent them away, saying that everything was "in order now." A curfew was imposed on the 12,000 Christians of the town.
The incident was sparked by the involvement of a Coptic man, Ashraf Iskander, with a Muslim woman. The father of the Muslim woman was killed by his cousin because he did not kill his daughter to preserve the family's honour. This in turn led the woman's brother to avenge the death of their father by killing the cousin. Muslims then blamed the murders on Christians.
- All coaches have teams and players that they’ll never forget—no matter how many years pass.
And when tragedy strikes a former player, a coach often feels the heartbreak deeply because of the dreams they once shared, the triumphs they celebrated together, and the disappointments they endured together.
Roncalli High School head football coach Bruce Scifres had that feeling when he first heard the news that Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer David Moore had been shot four times while making a traffic stop on Jan. 23.
To help deal with the heartbreak of knowing that Moore was fighting for his life, Scifres pulled out a copy of the football yearbook that he made in 1999—the season when Moore was one of the four co-captains who helped lead Roncalli’s football team to a 15-0 record and an Indiana State High School Athletic Association championship.
“As part of the yearbook, I always ask our seniors to write a reflection about what their football experience means to them,” Scifres recalled. “His reflection was short and profound. To understand it fully, you have to know that still today, David, pound for pound, is the strongest player to ever walk through Roncalli. As a senior, he was 195 pounds, and he bench-pressed 400 pounds and dead-lifted 600 pounds. Still, his primary strength was from within.”
Scifres then shared Moore’s reflection: “The amount of success you have is dependent on the amount of faith you have. In order to achieve this faith, one must understand that no amount of iron in the weight room is equal to the iron nails of the cross.”
A tribute from a teammate
Tony Hollowell witnessed that faith and dedication every day he spent with Moore as a co-captain on that 1999 Roncalli football team—along with the other two co-captains, Greg Armbruster and Ryan Brizendine. Their bond was tight, the bond that develops when people make a commitment to a goal and each other. (Related: Father John Hollowell's tribute at Officer Moore's funeral)
When Hollowell learned the news that Moore had been shot, he remembered those 15 games in 1999 when he walked on the field, “knowing David was right by my side.”
He also remembered the last time that he saw Moore.
“I told him, ‘I am so glad that a man like you is protecting our families,’ ” recalled Hollowell, now a first-year seminarian for the archdiocese at Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology.
The full extent of the heartbreak for Hollowell and Scifres—and everyone else who knew Moore—came on Jan. 26 when the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer died.
When Roncalli had a school Mass to remember and celebrate the life of Moore, Roncalli’s president, Joe Hollowell, who is Tony’s father, asked Scifres to share his thoughts about Moore with the current students.
Scifres read Moore’s quote from the 1999 football yearbook. He then shared the remarkable prayer that Moore wrote and delivered at Roncalli’s all-sports banquet in the spring of 2000.
The prayer of a champion
“We are gathered here tonight in your name to honor those athletes who have not only taken the field for Roncalli, but who have taken to the battlefield for you.
“It is not always on the sports field that we do our battle, but on the field of everyday life. We do not battle for the goals nor the touchdowns, or the blue rings, but for the cross that we will carry to you.
“Allow not our memories to be filled by the highlight tapes or the dazzling plays, but instead by the prayers that began our games and the huddles we made to praise you after our victories and even our defeats.
“Let us not only think it was the weight of the iron in the weight room or the long hours at practice that made us victorious, but the weight of the cross and the hours on our knees that made us great.
“As for the seniors who have taken off their Roncalli jersey for the last time, help us remember that the competition has just begun. For the real battle is not with the pigskin or the round ball, but with the crosses that you have laid upon us.
“Allow us to be coached by your love, and let all of us give you, our true coach, 110 percent. That is where we will find the true meaning of a champion.
“In the name of your Son, Christ Jesus, we ask this blessing. Amen.”
One more gift
For Scifres, that prayer tells people everything they need to know about Moore. It’s why Moore’s high school football coach mourns his loss and celebrates his life.
“It was just heartbreaking on so many levels,” Scifres said. “He was such a good person who had given his life in service to others. Maybe where it touched me the most was in knowing his family—knowing how much he meant to his parents, knowing how much he cared about his parents.
“As much as any kid I ever coached, he always had a keen sense of honor. He was always going to do the right thing.”
Tony Hollowell saw that character trait again in the final act of Moore’s life—when his organs were donated to save the lives of people he had never met.
“After learning about the gift of his organs to so many people, I suddenly realized something I know to be true. David just fulfilled his greatest dream, which is to lay down his life for others,” Hollowell said.
A memorial to Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer David Moore is displayed in the front lobby of Roncalli High School in Indianapolis / Photo Credit: Jay Wetzel, The Criterion“I was watching the news conference of his parents at the hospital shortly after the announcement that he would not recover, and his mom stated, ‘If David had known that an officer was going to be shot by this man, he would have wanted it to be him.’
“It is not that he might have wanted it to be him. He wanted to be the one who stood between the bullet and our families.”
The legacy of Moore’s approach to life will endure, Hollowell said. It’s a legacy that is intertwined with the prayer that Moore wrote as a high school senior—a prayer about “the crosses that are laid upon us” and “the true meaning of a champion.”
“His legacy is that there is more to life than being alive,” Hollowell said, “and that in our death, other people may learn the purpose of our life.”
Church leaders believe the growth of new Catholics to be baptized this Easter will further boost their evangelization works.
Bishop John Tong Hon of Hong Kong announced at a meeting on March 2 that there will be 3,400 adults ready for baptism at Easter, 11 percent more than the record of 3,040 new Catholics last year.
“However, we should not be satisfied only on the numerical growth. Quality is equally important,” he reminded the parish representatives at the annual general meeting of theHong Kong Central Council of Catholic Laity.
He also revealed that the Year of the Laity will extend to 2012, hoping that the local Catholics could live an active and profound faith life with various organised activities available to them.
The encouraging result is joint efforts of pastoral workers and laypeople and is certainly a boost to evangelization works, said Bishop Tong.
Catholics make witnesses through their acts and deeds as well as their prayers which also contribute, he added.
The laity council, formed by all parish councils and lay associations in the diocese, is the main promoter of the Year of the Laity.
Amelia Kwan, executive secretary of the council, agreed that the evangelization atmosphere is good in recent years, as seen from the quantity of promotional materials that different parishes obtained from the council.
Citing the Years of Evangelization 2003-05, Kwan thinks the special themes adopted by the local Church since 2002 have aroused awareness of the mission of laity.
Even though natural disasters around the world may prompt some people to search for faith, she thinks demonstrating good Christian deeds and acts is a more important influence on others.
The Hong Kong diocese has welcomed more than 2,000 new adult Catholics at Easter each year since 2004 and it reached a record last year.
|IND. CATH. NEWS REPORT:|
CATH NEWS REPORT: The government's new My School website shows Catholic schools are in great need of a funding boost, the NSW Independent Education Union (IEU) says, according to an AAP report in the Sydney Morning Herald.
"For instance, the amount of funding from all sources is more at Glenmore Road Public School in Paddington than at St Francis of Assisi in the same suburb," IEU general secretary Dick Shearman said.
Mr Shearman also pointed out that Pymble Public School in Sydney's north receives more funding than nearby Sacred Heart, while in Five Dock both public primary schools receive more government funding than All Hallows Primary School.
School Education Minister Peter Garrett said the government had taken an important step when it appointed businessman David Gonski and "an eminent panel" to consider funding models.The minister said he expected Mr Gonski to report back to the government by the end of the year. "We'll look closely at what they bring forward to it and I'll let Mr Gonski and his panel get on with doing their important job," Mr Garrett told reporters in Sydney on Saturday.
"This government supports the funding of all schools and we've got a bill in the parliament now which extends the funding for non-government schools to ensure that there is certainty for them while the Gonski review is under way," he said.
St. Colette of Corbie
FOUNDRESS OF THE COLETTINE POOR CLARES
Feast: February 7
Founder of Colettine Poor Clares (Clarisses), born 13 January 1381, at Corbie in Picardy, France; died at Ghent, 6 March, 1447. Her father, Robert Boellet, was the carpenter of the famous Benedictine Abbey of Corbie; her mother's name was Marguerite Moyon. Colette joined successively the Bequines, the Benedictines, and the Urbanist Poor Clares. Later she lived for a while as a recluse. Having resolved to reform the Poor Clares, she turned to the antipope, Benedict XIII (Pedro de Luna), then recognized by France as the rightful pope. Benedict allowed her to enter to the order of Poor Clares and empowered her by several Bulls, dated 1406, 1407, 1408, and 1412 to found new convents and complete the reform of the order. With the approval of the Countess of Geneva and the Franciscan Henri de la Beaume, her confessor and spiritual guide, Colette began her work at Beaume, in the Diocese of Geneva. She remained there but a short time and soon opened at Besancon her first convent in an almost abandoned house of Urbanist Poor Clares. Thence her reform spread to Auxonne (1410), to Poligny, to Ghent (1412), to Heidelberg (1444), to Amiens, etc. To the seventeen convents founded during her lifetime must be added another begun by her at Pont-a-Mousson in Lorraine. She also inaugurated a reform among the Franciscan friars (the Coletani), not to be confounded with the Observants. These Coletani remained obedient to the authority of the provincial of the Franciscan convents, and never attained much importance even in France. In 1448 they had only thirteen convents, and together with other small branches of the Franciscan Order were suppressed in 1417 by Leo X. In addition to the strict rules of the Poor Clares, the Colettines follow their special constitutions sanctioned in 1434 by the General of the Franciscans, William of Casale, approved in 1448 by Nicholas V, in 1458 by Pius II, and in 1482 by Sixtus IV.
|Deuteronomy 11: 18, 26 - 28, 32|
|18||"You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul; and you shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.|
|26||"Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse:|
|27||the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day,|
|28||and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside from the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods which you have not known.|
|32||you shall be careful to do all the statutes and the ordinances which I set before you this day.|
|Psalms 31: 2 - 4, 17, 25|
|2||Incline thy ear to me, rescue me speedily! Be thou a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me!|
|3||Yea, thou art my rock and my fortress; for thy name's sake lead me and guide me,|
|4||take me out of the net which is hidden for me, for thou art my refuge.|
|17||Let me not be put to shame, O LORD, for I call on thee; let the wicked be put to shame, let them go dumbfounded to Sheol.|
|Romans 3: 21 - 25, 28|
|21||But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from law, although the law and the prophets bear witness to it,|
|22||the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction;|
|23||since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,|
|24||they are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus,|
|25||whom God put forward as an expiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins;|
|28||For we hold that a man is justified by faith apart from works of law.|
|Matthew 7: 21 - 27|
|21||"Not every one who says to me, `Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.|
|22||On that day many will say to me, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?'|
|23||And then will I declare to them, `I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.'|
|24||"Every one then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock;|
|25||and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.|
|26||And every one who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand;|
|27||and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell; and great was the fall of it."|