But for several weeks now, Pope Francis has celebrated Mass at Santa Marta with the hosts made by Gaby, one of the inmates taking part in the program.
The woman sent the hosts as a gift, along with a personal letter where she described her story.
The Pope was moved by her letter and responded with his very own, handwritten letter to thank her for the hosts. In it, he assured her that he keeps the photos she sent him and that he prays for her. Gaby said she felt comforted and encouraged to reclaim her life.
Pope Francis had previously said that, as his time allowed, he would respond personally to as many people that wrote to him as possible. Gaby's letter is now evidence of that. SHARED FROM RADIO VATICANA
CISA NEWS REPORT
KONDUGA, August 13, 2013 (CISA) -Gunmen have killed at least 30 people in an attack in a farming region in northeast Nigeria where the Islamist sect Boko Haram is active, a military source and residents said.
Men dressed in military camouflage arrived in Konduga town on Sunday Morning August 11 and shot or hacked to death dozens of people returning from morning Muslim prayers, two residents said.
“They took everybody by surprise with the attack,” a military joint task force source told Reuters, asking not to be named. “They killed many people, the victims are more than 30 but I cannot confirm the exact number.”
A hospital source told Reuters that 26 wounded people were receiving treatment after the attack in Konduga, a small town around 25 km from Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state.
Boko Haram, which wants to impose sharia law in Nigeria’s north, and other spin-off Islamist groups have become the biggest threats to stability in Africa’s top oil exporter.
In mid-May, President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency and launched an offensive against the group in its stronghold in the northeast. The insurgency was initially weakened but remains active, and guerrilla-style attacks persist.
The group’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, said in a video distributed to journalists that his fighters had carried out several attacks in Borno state in recent weeks where “soldiers fled under our heavy firepower”.
“We have killed countless soldiers and we are going to kill more. Our strength and firepower has surpassed that of Nigeria. We can now comfortably confront the United States of America,” he boasted in the local Hausa language.
Civilian vigilante groups have sprung up to help Nigerian forces identify and arrest Boko Haram members, but there are concerns among security experts that the spread of vigilantes could further erode law and order.
SHARED FROM CISA NEWS
Man avoids death sentence for killing his lover and children
Herman Jumat Masan celebrates Independence Day on August 17 in prison
- ucanews.com reporters, Maumere & Jakarta
- August 19, 2013A court in East Nusa Tenggara province sentenced an ex-priest to life imprisonment on Monday for killing his lover, a former nun, and her two children more than a decade ago.
Herman Jumat Masan had callously “premeditated the killings, concealed his crimes for a long time, and was a danger to other people,” presiding judge Beslin Sihombing said when reading the verdict at Maumere district court.
The sentence was lighter than the one demanded by prosecutors, who had requested the death sentence.
Herman was a priest serving in Larantuka diocese when he had an illicit affair with Yosefin, a former nun who had left the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit in 1997.
The affair resulted in the birth of a first child in 1999, but Herman strangled the baby to cover up the affair.
But the relationship continued, and in 2002, a second birth took place. This time there were complications and Yosefin suffered heavy bleeding.
Herman did nothing to try and save them and she and her baby later died.
The former priest then buried their bodies in the compound of a school belonging to St Peter Major Seminary, where he worked, to conceal his crimes.
He left the priesthood in 2008 and worked in East Kalimantan before surrendering to police this year, following the discovery of the Yosefin and her baby’s remains.
Adam Kati, a relative of Yosefin, said the family was satisfied with the verdict and that Herman would spend the rest of his life in prison.
“At first, we hoped he would be sentenced to death. But then we realized that as human beings we don’t have the right to take someone else’s life,” he said.
SHARED FROM UCAN NEWS
French missionary and founder of the Eudists and of the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity; author of the liturgical worship of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary; b. at Ri, France, 14 Nov., 1601; d. at Caen, 19 Aug., 1680. He was a brother of the French historian, François Eudes de Nézeray. At the age of fourteen he took a vow of chastity. After brilliant studies with the Jesuits at Caen, he entered the Oratory, 25 March, 1623. His masters and models in the spiritual life were Fathers de Bérulle and de Condren. He was ordained priest 20 Dec., 1625, and began his sacerdotal life with heroic labours for the victims of the plague, then ravaging the country. As a missionary, Father Eudes became famous. Since the time of St. Vincent Ferrer, France had probably not seen a greater. He was called by Olier "the prodigy of his age". In 1641 he founded the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Refuge, to provide a refuge for women of ill-fame who wished to do penance. The society was approved by Alexander VII, 2 Jan., 1666. With the approbation of Cardinal de Richelieu and a great number of others, Father Eudes severed his connection with the Oratory to establish the Society of Jesus and Mary for the education of priests and for missionary work. This congregation was founded at Caen, 25 March, 1643, and was considered a most important and urgent work.
Father Eudes, during his long life, preached not less than one hundred and ten missions, three at Paris, one at Versailles, one at St-Germaine-en-Laye, and the others in different parts of France. Normandy was the principal theatre of his apostolic labours. In 1674 he obtained from Clement X six Bulls of indulgences for the Confraternities of the Sacred Heart already erected or to be erected in the seminaries. He also established the Society of the Heart of the Mother Most Admirable -- which resembles the Third Orders of St. Francis and St. Dominic. This society now numbers from 20,000 to 25,000 members. Father Eudes dedicated the seminary chapels of Caen and Coutances to the Sacred Hearts. The feast of the Holy Heart of Mary was celebrated for the first time in 1648, and that of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in 1672, each as a double of the first class with an octave. The Mass and Office proper to these were composed by Father Eudes, who thus had the honour of preceding the Blessed Margaret Mary in establishing the devotion to the Sacred Hearts. For this reason, Pope Leo XIII, in proclaiming his virtues heroic in 1903, gave him the title of "Author of the Liturgical Worship of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Holy Heart of Mary". Father Eudes wrote a number of books remarkable for elevation of doctrine and simplicity of style. His principal works are:--"Le Royaume de Jésus"; "Le contrat de l'homme avec Dieu par le Saint Baptême"; "Le Mémorial de la vie Ecclésiastique"; "Le Bon Confesseur"; "Le Prédicateur Apostolique"; "Le Cœur Admirable de la Très Sainte Mère de Dieu". This last is the first book ever written on the devotion to the Sacred Hearts. His virtues were declared heroic by Leo XIII, 6 Jan., 1903. The miracles proposed for his beatification were approved by Pius X, 3 May, 1908, and he was beatified 25 April, 1909.