Saints of Our Time

April and May 2014

In This Issue


Day-to-day martyrdom

To talk about Christian martyrdom today may seem old-fashioned, evoking an uncivilized era when people, who professed their faith in Jesus, were killed in arenas for public display, and fed to the starving lions, to serve as a lesson for all. But, as old as it may sound, the reality is that martyrdom still defines a present reality in many parts of the world.


Tears And Joy As Separated Families Reunite

Hundreds of elderly Koreans from both sides of the border reunited at a North Korean mountain resort, embracing each other in tears after 60 years of separation.

A Third Of The World’s Children Are Illiterate

An independent research team has prepared a report for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) which states that approximately 250,000,000 children around the world are not being properly educated and are functionally illiterate, and incapable of doing basic math. This is approximately 1/3 of the world’s children. The impact of this lack of education is estimated to cost about $129 billion annually.

South Sudan

3.7 Million People In Danger Of Starvation

According to the BBC, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator in South Sudan, Toby Lanzer, says $1.3 billion are needed for emergency aid to address the severe and growing crisis in South Sudan.

Korean Martyrs’ Cause For Sainthood Approved

In a decree on Feb. 7, Pope Francis authorized the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints to promulgate the causes of these Catholics in the various stages of the canonization process.


Time To Choose

An election is always a good sign in every democratic society. Amid the fanfare and the mudslinging, the result ultimately boils down to a matter of choice, as expressed by the society’s people. But for India, the world’s largest democracy, the selection process for their representatives in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of Parliament, may not be a simple exercise.


Hundreds of Eritrean refugees have been enslaved in torture camps in Sudan and Egypt in the past 10 years, enduring weeks or months of violence and rape and extorted by traffickers often in collusion with state security forces.


Announcing The Resurrection

They approached, embraced His feet, and did Him homage. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid.” (Mt 28:19)

In Focus

That all may be one

Fifty years after the landmark encounter between the heads of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches in Jerusalem, Pope Francis will revisit the Holy Land amid continuing tension in the Middle East and lingering roadblocks to Catholic-Orthodox dialogue.

WM Special

Witnesses to the Light

In Latin America and Africa, where the Church continues to grow rapidly, the work of the Church was not always easy. Violence and political strife always compounded the work of priests, missionaries and lay persons. Even in the face of death, however, these modern-day martyrs served as a beacon of Christ wherever they went, spreading His message of love and the hope of the Resurrection.

WM Special

From darkness to light

Jesus’ Resurrection is the foundation of the Christian faith. However, without a clear understanding of why He died…or got killed…the Resurrection may become a mere supernatural tale to the uninitiated. Christ’s Death was caused by His desire for change: from old to new, from fear to love, from darkness to light.

WM Special

‘Yolanda’: An unfolding of the Paschal Mystery

“Suffering” and “death” are the only two words that seem to characterize the devastation brought about by Typhoon Haiyan or Yolanda in Central Philippines, as clearly heard from victims’ stories and seen in the news. Despite the appaling destruction, though, “hope” and “joy” also shine forth amid that anguish – a hope and joy that can only come from the promise of Christ’s Resurrection.


Living among the Nuers

The pastoral care of people in very remote areas in South Sudan has truly enlightened the heart of young Comboni missionary, Fr. Gregory Schmidt. Along with three other companions in mission, they are living among the pastoralists of Nuer, dedicating their lives in caring for the different communities in and around Old Fangak, fostering education, and empowering the local people to build a better future for the Africa’s youngest nation. Though these areas have been neglected by the government, and isolation and lack of infrastructures are obstacles, nothing can stop these young missionaries, all under the age of 40, from living the missionary heritage of St. Daniel Comboni and giving their lives completely to the Nuer people.

Missionary Vocation

Two saints who embraced the world

On April 27, Pope Francis will declare the two popes, John XXIII and John Paul II, saints. Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli (1881-1963) was already 77 when he was elected pope and took the name of John XXIII. Because of his advanced age and his grandfatherly yet captivating bonhomie, many thought he would be a “transitional” pope. Instead, with the unexpected announcement of the Second Vatican Council, he opened a window in the Church for the “winds of the Spirit” to enter and gave rise to the greatest religious event of the 20th century. On the other hand, Karol Jozef Wojtyla (1920-2005), throughout his 27-year pontificate, was seen as a global champion. While keeping the Church on a steady course, he performed some of the most original and forward-looking gestures in connection with the great challenges of our time: ecumenism, dialogue between religions, commitment to peace and even geo-politics, contributing to the fall of Communism. Both popes died under the full scrutiny of the world. The spectacle of their saintly deaths revealed the incredible, universal love they had attracted to themselves. By canonizing two popes with very different personalities at the same time, Pope Francis is emphasizing the unifying characteristic that made the two commit themselves to the good of the Church and, especially, to the cause of the Second Vatican Council – their holiness. Through this act, Pope Francis is implicitly telling the Church that it is this same holiness that will solve her increasingly grave and delicate problems, today and in the future.

Strategies for Evangelization

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