Marian devotion grows in Bangladesh
The Catholic community in Bangladesh is experiencing a surge in devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Holy Rosary, thanks to various evangelizing initiatives of Holy Cross Family Ministries, present in the country’s eight dioceses. These include six hundred and eighty catechesis programmes on the Rosary, as well as the distribution of more than sixty thousand rosaries, one hundred thousand holy cards of Our Lady and fifty thousand religious calendars.
Those responsible for the campaign say that the faithful have felt the power of the Rosary in their lives, and that this devotion has even strengthened their family ties.
Report on the Catholic Church’s social service
On the occasion of the 97th World Mission Sunday, Fides agency published an official report with statistics on the work of the Catholic Church in the world, based on data collected up to 2021. According to the report, despite the considerable drop in the number of bishops, priests, religious and consecrated persons, the social services carried out by the Church continue to flourish around the world.
In fact, the Catholic Church runs 225,175 schools, from kindergarten to high school, educating more than sixty-one million students, serves 5,405 hospitals and more than 14,000 health centres, takes care of 15,276 homes for the elderly, 9,703 orphanages and 10,567 nurseries. The number of other charitable projects by which the Church helps society amounts to 35,529, a clear demonstration of the Catholic effort towards the common good.
First Communions in Antarctica
The administration of First Holy Communion to five children and Confirmation to a young woman at Esperanza Base – a research station of the Argentinian armed forces located at Seal Point, Antarctica – filled the small community of military personnel living there and their families with joy. They witnessed the perpetuity of Jesus’ promise that He would be with us until the end of time (cf. Mt 28:20) – and even to the ends of the earth!
The celebration, presided over by military chaplain Fr. Francisco Roverano, took place on October 7 in the military base chapel.
Crucifix saves priest who was shot
A Brazilian priest’s life was saved thanks to the crucifix he was wearing. It happened on the evening of October 9 when Fr. Jairo Luiz Gusberti was leaving a meeting with catechists in the city of Caxias do Sul in the State of Rio Grande do Sul. Three armed bandits approached him and, during the robbery of the car he was in, a shot from one of the criminals hit the priest in the chest, but the impact was largely cushioned by the crucifix he was wearing.
Taken to hospital, Fr. Jairo underwent a surgical procedure to remove the bullet. The emotional priest told the local press:
“The cross of Christ, which already saved us when He gave His life for us, saved me last night also.”
Eucharistic procession in New York
On October 10, thousands of Catholics took to the streets of New York to witness to their faith in the Real Presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, in a Eucharistic procession held during the Principled Entrepreneurship Conference, an annual event organized by the Napa Institute, a Catholic organization in the United States.
Before the procession, Mass was celebrated in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and the event ended in the same church with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament by Cardinal Timothy Michael Dolan, the Metropolitan Archbishop.
European Parliament hosts exhibition on religious persecution
From September 18 to 22, the European Parliament’s headquarters in Brussels hosted a photographic exhibition on the persecution suffered by Christians around the world today. The initiative came from Bert-Jan Ruissen MEP, with the support of Open Doors and the Underground Church Foundation. Talks held during the exhibition pointed out the important role of the European Union as a bloc capable of defending the freedom and security of Christian believers, a task that is often neglected.
According to the World Watch List of persecution of Christians published by Open Doors, around three hundred and sixty million Christians are currently suffering some form of persecution or discrimination in the world, which represents one in seven Christians.
Perpetual Adoration for all parishes of Archdiocese
As part of the celebrations for the Year of the Eucharist proclaimed by Metropolitan Archbishop Andrew Nkea Fuanya in the Archdiocese of Bamenda in Cameroon, all the parishes in this ecclesiastical circumscription have been instructed to promote Perpetual Adoration and to build their own chapels for this devotion, many of which have already been completed or are nearing completion. The initiative has been very well received by the faithful, especially young people.
Lectures, vigils and even a diocesan Eucharistic congress have been held with the aim of increasing Catholics’ understanding of the Eucharist, leading many people to regularize their Christian life in order to receive it worthily.
Shrines dedicated to Our Lady in France
The number of shrines dedicated to the Virgin Mary in France is on the rise, thanks to Le M de Marie initiative, born in 2020, whose aim, partly inspired by the Camino of Santiago, is to join the main sites of Marian apparitions in French territory by one M-shaped pilgrimage route.
The association responsible for the initiative plans to install an oratory – with the image of Our Lady of France surmounted by the “M” and the cross, the symbol revealed by the Blessed Virgin to St. Catherine Labouré – every ten or fifteen kilometres along the route that runs through the apparition sites of Lourdes, La Salette, Pontmain, Rue de Bac and Pellevoisin.
Course on the Sacrament of Confession
On October 26 and 27, the Apostolic Penitentiary held a course in Rome on the Sacrament of Confession, especially for lay people. The seminar, entitled Celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation Today, opened with a lectio magistralis given by Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, chief penitentiary of the dicastery.
Held for the second year running, the event was born out of the interest shown by lay people in deepening their knowledge of this Sacrament. The secretary of the Apostolic Penitentiary, Fr. Krzysztof Józef Nykiel, hopes to make it a fixture on the institution’s annual agenda.
More than a million children pray the Rosary
The One Million Children Praying the Rosary for Peace campaign, promoted by the pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need, reached the historic figure of 1,039,628 registrations on October 18. The aim of this campaign, inspired by a piece of advice from St. Pius of Pietrelcina, is to unite children from all over the world to pray especially for peace, an intention that has gained more importance this year in the light of recent armed conflicts.
According to the official count, more than 275,500 children have signed up in Poland, 156,500 in Slovakia, 136,900 in the Philippines, 77,800 in the United Kingdom, 46,900 in Brazil, 46,200 in the United States, 19,500 in India and 15,500 in Australia, among many other countries.
Dominican Rosary Pilgrimage in the United States
On September 30, thousands of faithful took part in the Dominican Rosary Pilgrimage, promoted by the Order of Preachers at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC. The day of prayer included talks on devotion to Our Lady and the Holy Rosary, as well as Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Holy Mass, Confessions and recitation of the Rosary.
The event, which the Friars hope to make annual, was the culmination of a long novena carried out over the last nine months to encourage this important Marian devotion, with approximately 100 thousand participants from across the country.