Vol. 15 No. 5
February 28 - March 13, 2011
Chinese bishop, imprisonedfor decades, dies at 90
w w w . d a y l i f e . c o m w w w . a s i a n e w s . i t
MADRID, Spain, Feb. 25, 2011—As apreparation for the upcoming WorldYouth Day in August, at least 300,000youth are planning to visit variousdioceses around Spain in the days pre-ceding Benedict XVI’s arrival.The “Days in the Dioceses” event willtake place Aug. 11-15 in 63 Spanish dioceses,where young people from other countrieswill be able to spend time with their peersin preparation for the youth day.This preparatory even began in Parisbefore the 1997 youth day, as a way offacilitating youth ministry in Frenchdioceses, having the whole country wel-come the pilgrims from other countries,and encouraging French young peopleto attend the activities with the HolyFather. The experience was so success-ful that it was repeated in subsequentWorld Youth Days in Italy, Canada,Germany and Australia.Over 150,000 participants from 137countries have already registered, andan estimated 300,000 youth will takepart in the program.The plan for those days may include:cultural activities, historical visits, mo-ments for celebration, time for prayerand visits to shrines that make up thelocal religious identity. Javier Igea, who is in charge of orga-nizing this event, pointed out that thisnetworking of young people is “sowingbonds of peace in the global village.”An effort is being made in manyplaces so that the accommodation of theparticipants is free.Young people who come from countrieswith greater economic difficulties areguaranteed cost-free participation in thisVATICAN City, Feb. 27, 2011—Bishop Augustine Hu Daguo ofthe apostolic prefecture of Shiq-ian, Shihtsien, in the Chineseprovince of Guizhou, died onFeb. 17 at the age of 90.The bishop, who was ap-proved by the Pope and part ofthe underground Church, spentdecades in prison and forced la-
bor camps because of his delity
to the Pontiff.In China, religious practice isonly permitted by the govern-ment with the oversight of theCatholic Patriotic Association,the body through which theauthorities recognize religiouspersonnel and register places
Tunisian prelate horrifed by priest’s murder
300,000 youth to visit Spanish dioceses
KABUL, Afghanistan, Feb. 25, 2011—AnAfghan man who converted to Christi-anity was freed from prison, where hehad been held for nine months, and mayhave been secretly smuggled out of thecountry this week. Sayed Mussa, 46, ranthe risk of a death sentence for apostasy.His release came after months of discreetdiplomatic efforts between the Afghangovernment and western representativesin Kabul.Sayed Mussa, married and father of sixchildren, worked for the International Com-mittee of the Red Cross before his arrest. Hewas released on February 21 from KabulDetention Centre after the judges had found
that there was insufcient material to pursue
the charges. This, according to Gen. QayoumKhan, prison director.It is unclear whether Sayed Musa is stillin Afghanistan, or whether he has alreadyleft the country. Some relatives, includinghis wife, say they have heard nothing fromhim. Diplomats, the U.S. embassy in the
rst place, refuse to conrm news of his
release, and say they will continue to keepthe case Mussa, and others like it, underobservation.Gen. Qayoum Khan said that Mussa was
brought to court ofces last Monday, after
the prosecutor sent a letter to the prison,which said there was no evidence againsthim, and that he was to be released.Sayed Mussa was arrested in May 2010after a local television station showed someWesterners baptizing Afghans, and otherAfghans who were praying in a secret Chris-tian gathering. Local sources, on condition ofanonymity, say the Afghan government hasbeen under massive pressure for his release,and was uncertain, because it feared the reac-tion of radical Muslims.Some believe Mussa could have renegedon his conversion, before being released.Mussa was one of at least two Afghans inprison on charges of apostasy. Another,Shoaib Assadullah Musawi is in prisonsince November 2010 in the city of Mazar-i-Sharif, accused of having given a Gospelto a friend.The Afghan constitution guarantees free-dom to practice religion, but ambiguouslyleaves the option to courts of referring to theShari’a on many issues, including conver-sion.
Christian in prison for apostasysecretly released in Kabul
of worship. Hence there is a
“national” or “ofcial” church,
directed by the Association andthe Bishops’ Conference of theCatholic Church in China.And then there are the laypeo-ple, priests and bishops who op-pose such control and who wishto obey the Pope directly. The
latter constitute the non-ofcial,
or underground, Church.L’Osservatore Romano re-ported today on the death ofBishop Hu, noting that “the civilauthorities, who never recog-nized him as bishop, impededhis residing in Shiqian.”It continued: “Despite thefact that his residence was inDuyun, in the Archdiocese ofGuiyang, with discretion andeffectiveness he administeredthe clergy and faithful of hisapostolic prefecture with greatzeal and spiritual fervor, givinglife and hope to the various par-ish communities, scattered in themountainous region.“Bishop Hu led a life teachingsimplicity and poverty, in fulladherence to the principles ofthe universal Church and to theprimacy of Peter.“He was very gifted from theintellectual point of view andwas always esteemed by all asan ecclesiastical saint.”“In the last years,”
Schoenstatt prepares to welcome Benedict XVI home
The Schoenstatt Movement is preparing for Benedict XVI’svisit to his home country of Germany in September with acampaign to show support for the Pope. Members are or-ganizing a crusade of love and support of the Pontiff called“Postcard Action,” gathering prayers for the upcoming event.Some 30,000 postcards have already been distributed for thecampaign, which the faithful are encouraged to send to thePope with their personal messages. Another 20,000 cards havebeen printed for distribution.
Global Catholic population continues to grow
The number of baptized Catholics on the planet continues togrow and half of their number are in the Americas. This issome of what can be learned from the data of the 2011 papal
yearbook, the Annuario Ponticio, presented to Benedict XVI
on Feb. 19, by his secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone,and Archbishop Fernando Filoni, undersecretary for generalaffairs. The statistical data from the year 2009 furnish a sum-mary view of the principal dynamics of the Catholic Churchin her 2,956 ecclesiastical entities across the globe: The numberof baptized Catholics has increased from nearly 1.16 billionin 2008 to 1.18 billion in 2009, with an absolute increase of 15million faithful.
Pope to visit site where Nazis executed hundreds of Italians
Next month Pope Benedict XVI will mark the anniversary ofa brutal massacre that took the lives of 335 Italians duringWorld War II. On March 24, 1944, Nazi soldiers slaughteredthe hundreds of individuals to exact revenge for a surprisebomb attack in the heart of Rome that killed 33 of theircolleagues. The Pope will go to the site, called the “FosseArdeatine,” on March 27 to observe the 67th anniversary ofthe executions. It is very near the Catacombs of St. Callistuson the outskirts of Rome. He follows in the footsteps of PopesPaul VI and John Paul II, who also paid their respects to thedead.
Vatican charity ofcial says new challenges call for
new leadership at Caritas
The Vatican believes that its top aid agency, Caritas Interna-tionalis, needs new leadership to build a stronger Catholicidentity within the organization, said Cardinal Robert Sarah,who oversees the agency’s work as president as president of
the Pontical Council Cor Unum. The Rome-based Caritas re
-cently announced that the Vatican would not permit its currentsecretary general, Lesley-Anne Knight, to run for re-election tothe position this May. Cardinal Sarah explained the Vatican’sreasons during the course of a Feb. 22 press conference torelease the Pope’s annual Lenten message.
Pope to canonize 3 in October
Benedict XVI presided at an ordinary public consistory thatapproved the Oct. 23 canonization of three blessed — twoItalians and one Spaniard. Blessed Guido Maria Conforti(1865-1931) founded the Society of St. Francis Xavier for For-
eign Missions. John Paul II beatied him on March 17, 1995.
Don Luigi Guanella (1842-1915) was a priest who foundedtwo congregations: the Servants of Charity and the Instituteof the Daughters of St. Mary of Providence. Pope Paul VI
beatied him on Oct. 25, 1964. Blessed Bonifacia Rodríguez
de Castro (1837-1905) is a nun from Salamanca, Spain, whofounded the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph, and cre-ated the “Nazareth workshop” to help poor or unemployedwomen.
Pope tells Vatican academy that abortion ‘resolvesnothing’
Abortion “resolves nothing,” Pope Benedict XVI told the Pon-
tical Academy for Life Feb. 26. The academy was meeting at
the Vatican to present studies on “post-abortion syndrome”and the use of umbilical cord stem cell banks for therapeutictreatments. The Pope told them that the effects on a womanafter an abortion reveal “the irrepressible voice of moral con-science and the terrible wound it suffers each time a humanaction betrays the human being’s innate vocation to good.”The academy has studied many aspects of the abortion issuein past meetings. A focus of these most recent talks was toexamine the risk for the woman and the existence of socialpressures, especially in some parts of the world, to turn toabortion.
L’Osservatore Romano reported,
“he did not hide his difculties
with language, with understand-ing and with mobility, though hecontinued to spend his energiesin the service of the Lord and todedicate himself particularly tohearing the confessions of thefaithful.”The prelate’s funeral was heldon Feb. 20. The news articlenoted, “In him, as in so manyother Chinese bishops whohave died in the last years, were
fullled the words of the Book
of Wisdom (3:1): ‘But the soulsof the righteous are in the handof God, and no torment will evertouch them.’”
TUNIS, Tunisia, Feb. 24, 2011—The archbishop of Tunis ex-pressed horror and sadness overlast week’s murder of FatherMarek Rybinski, a 33-year-oldPolish missionary. On Monday,police apprehended a suspect inthe killing.Archbishop Maroun Lahhamexpressed “horror, sadness, an-ger, revolt, concern, fear, doubt”in response to the Feb. 18 mur-der of the priest who had beenworking in Manouba, Tunisiasince 2007.The prelate lamented: “Whywas Father Marek killed? For2,000 dinars ($1,300)!”He noted that the priest hadwritten two weeks earlier thatTunisia “is a nation that isyoung, intelligent, incapable ofviolence, profoundly good andnot capable of hate.”The missionary had also writ-ten: “During my stay in Tunisia,my attitude toward my fellowMuslims has changed dramati-cally. This fear of terrorismand extremism has completelydisappeared.“Tunisians are so welcoming,friendly and warm. They teachme this attitude.”The archbishop recalled Fa-ther Rybinski’s offer to cometo Tunisia shortly after his2005 ordination. He praised themissionary’s efforts to collectdonations “from everywhereto build new premises for theschool he loved and he wasdirecting.”Archbishop Lahham stated:“Where do we go from here?There is no question that times
of difculty are not the moments
for running away.”“This is no time to panic,”he said. “It is time for faith, pa-tience, precaution.”The prelate continued: “I sayin my own name first, and Ithink I can say on behalf ofany religious personnel of theChurch in Tunisia, and on behalfof Christians in the country,as well as on the behalf of ourbrother Muslims and Jews: Wewill stay put in this country thathas welcomed us, who loves usand who we love.”Referring to the Gospel pas-sage about the seed that fallsto the earth and dies, the arch-bishop affirmed that FatherRybinski “fell, he died, and inthe example of Christ to whom[he] had consecrated himself to,it has borne fruit.”Killer apprehendedOn Monday the Tunisianauthorities reported the arrestof 44-year-old Chokri Ben Mu-stapha Bel-Sadek El-Mestiri forthe murder of Father Rybinski.El-Mestiri was a handymanwho handled repairs at the Sale-sian school where the missionarywas stationed.Father Rybinski reportedlygave him some $1,300 to buysupplies for repairs, but thehandyman spent the moneyelsewhere. The Tunisian au-thorities suspect that El-Mestirikilled the priest because he wasunable to repay or account forthe money.Given the recent unrest inthe country, the minister of theinterior denounced the murderof the priest while expressing“relief” that it was not politicallymotivated.Archbishop Lahham observedthe numerous messages of soli-darity and sympathy from theTunisian people after this trag-edy. He noted that many dem-onstrated outside the cathedralwith signs that said, “Marek,sorry!”A group of youth, the prelate
noted, came with owers and
tears in their eyes, stating: “Wehave not killed. It is not Tunisia.Forgive us!”
program. For example, the Diocese of Ciu-dad Real will be hosting 260 Haitians freeof charge along with another 1,750 youthwho will take part in the city’s program.
Some 250 young Puerto Ricans willgather in Corozal, in their own coun-try, this weekend, for another event inpreparation for World Youth Day.They will walk two-by-two aroundthe city, visiting children and the sick.Father Orlando Lugo of San Jose de Ca-muy explained: “We are going to beginthe mission in Puerto Rico, because weunderstand it must begin here. This is the
rst meeting of this whole delegation.”
The Puerto Rican delegation will latertravel to a town in the province of To-ledo, Spain, where from Aug. 14 to Aug.19 they will visit the elderly and the sickand will invite other young people fromto take part in the youth day activities.Roxana Zamot, 22, who belongs to theyouth ministry leadership team in her par-ish, stated: “It is a unique experience wherewe will be missionizing and getting toknow other people, other cultures. To takepart with the Pope in the [World YouthDay] is the greatest thing that can happento us as Christians and as young people.”In another initiative to prepare youth forthe event in Madrid, a competition has beenconvoked for journalistic works centeredon the theme “Watchmen of the Future,”an expression with which John Paul IIdescribed young people in his last visit toSpain in 2003. A prize will be awarded for journalistic works published before May
1 that reect what Madrid’s World Youth
Day is and what it means.