Church and World Events

Religious life on the border with North Korea

On one of the world’s most dangerous borders, a group of nuns from the Visitation Order prays daily for the conversion of North Korea, according to the report made by one of the Sisters from the community to the Spanish magazine Misión in its latest edition.

Their monastery – located in Jeongok-eup, South Korea – is surrounded by military bases and, in their deep desire for peace, they have turned the front of the tabernacle in their chapel towards the threatening border with North Korea.

The community – today made up of seven Colombian and three Korean religious – arrived in the Asian country in 2005 and, after many cultural and financial difficulties, settled in the region as a sign of faith and hope for the country’s Catholics.

Young man hired because he prayed

An unusual occurrence went viral on social media with a valuable lesson for our times, when so many are ashamed to give public expression to their faith. It was the case of a young man who went to hand in his CV at a branch of the Brazilian company Grupo Mateus, applying for employment there.

As there was no employee to receive the documents, the company had set up a box for this purpose. The young man deposited his documents in it, and then knelt down to ask God to help him get the job. A guard watching the scene on security cameras took a photograph and showed it to the personnel department, who immediately hired the young man.

National Men’s Rosary Day in Brazil

On September 8, the feast of the Nativity of Our Lady, Brazilians celebrated the National Men’s Rosary Day for the first time, an event sanctioned by federal law 14,558 of March 2023. The movement, whose membership includes 2.5 million men throughout the country, commemorated the date with a large-scale pilgrimage to the National Shrine in Aparecida, while other participants gathered together in their own cities to pray the Rosary.

The Men’s Rosary has a long history in Brazil, with reports of men gathering to pray since imperial times. However, it was not until 1997 that they began to officially organize themselves, and today the members meet regularly to give this important witness of faith across the great expanses of the Land of the Holy Cross.

Scientists study benefits of Confession

In September, the John Templeton Foundation began a scientific study with the aim of examining the beneficial impact of Confession in the short, medium and long term, analysing the effects of divine forgiveness from a psychological and social point of view, considering factors such as emotional relief and a return to inner harmony after sacramental absolution.

Under the title Psychological perspectives on divine forgiveness: a mixed-method study on Confession among Spanish-speaking Catholics, the research will combine numerous approaches from social cognition, moral psychology, affective and cognitive science of religion, collecting data until September 2025 from Spanish and Hispanic American Catholics, and will include the participation of researchers from universities in Spain and the United States.

Sacrilege and theft at Spanish shrine

On September 19, bandits broke into the Shrine of Our Lady of the Flowers, patron Saint of Álora, in the province of Málaga, Spain, desecrated the tabernacle, removing a ciborium and scattering consecrated Hosts on the altar. They also stole the small wooden image of the Child Jesus, given to the town by Isabella the Catholic in 1502, as well as the crown and the gold-embroidered and jewelled mantle that the Virgin was wearing.

The case is under investigation by experts, who noted that it was a professional theft, as the perpetrators broke through bars and bulletproof glass without leaving any incriminating fingerprints. Appalled by the sacrilege committed and the damage to their historic patrimony, the faithful organized an act of reparation on September 22.

Married people with children are happier

Research carried out in the United States in 2022 by the General Social Survey revealed that marriage and family are strongly related to happiness. Of those interviewed, 40 per cent of women and 35 per cent of men, married with children, declared they were “very happy”, while the figures for those who feel this way without children or marital commitments fell to 14 per cent and 22 per cent.

These figures confirm recent research carried out in the same field by the University of Chicago, and make the myth that single people and those without children are happier less convincing every day.

New shrine dedicated to St. Michael in India

On September 18, the Diocese of Guntur in India had the joy of inaugurating its first international shrine dedicated to the Archangel St. Michael. The dedication ceremony was presided over by the Apostolic Nuncio to India, Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, and was attended by several bishops, priests and faithful from the region.

The new shrine, which meets the needs of more than four thousand parishioners and is located in the town of Pedavadlapudi, in the state of Andhra Pradesh, was erected on the site of the old parish church of St. Michael, built in 1942.

French faithful restore crosses throughout the country

SOS Calvaries, an initiative of French Catholics dedicated to restoring crosses that have been completely destroyed or have fallen to the ground due to lack of conservation in France, has set new records in the year 2023: more than three hundred active members in sixty-five branches, more than two hundred and fifty crosses restored or created – five of them erected in Ireland – and a total of 23,350 crosses listed in an association app so its followers are aware of them.

With this pious work, SOS Calvaries wants to revive the figure of Our Lord in the hearts of the French, maintaining and restoring in their nation the main symbol of Christianity: the Holy Cross on which Jesus redeemed humanity.

Seminarian burned to death in Nigeria

Na’aman Ngofe Danlami, a 25-year-old seminarian, was burned to death in an attack by Fulani extremists on September 7. At around 8pm, criminals surrounded the parish house of St. Raphael in Kafanchan, in the Nigerian state of Kaduna. The assailants’ intention was to kidnap the parish priest, Fr. Emmanuel Okolo, but seeing their plans thwarted, they set fire to the building. The parish priest and his assistant managed to escape alive, but the young Na’aman died inside the burning building.

The Bishop of Kafanchan, Most Rev. Julius Yakubu Kundi, lamented the loss of the seminarian and denounced the inaction of the military forces who were only a kilometre away from the site, in a country where Catholics are currently experiencing one of the worst persecutions recorded in this century.

Archaeological discovery in the Holy Land

Experts working at the archaeological site of Shiloh in the Holy Land have announced the discovery of the foundations of a huge building which, according to the evidence found and the historical data provided by the Bible, could be the Tabernacle of Shiloh, a sanctuary frequently mentioned in Holy Scripture.

It was there that the Ark of the Covenant rested for almost four hundred years, until King David decided to move it to Jerusalem and to build a temple. According to the director of the excavations, Dr. Scott Stripling, if the hypotheses are confirmed, the archaeologists will be able to pinpoint the location of the Holy of Holies, the exact place where the Ark of the Covenant was kept.



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