Church and World Events

Monastery reopened after seven hundred years

Seven hundred years after abandoning the region, Catholic monks have returned to re-found the Trappist abbey in Munkeby, Norway, located a hundred kilometres from the Shrine of Saint Olav, the country’s patron Saint.

According to records, between 1150 and 1180 Cistercian monks from England founded the Order’s northernmost abbey there, but adverse weather conditions and, above all, the persecutions that followed the Protestant Reformation forced the monks to leave. Monastic life has recently been re-established thanks to the efforts of Fr. Joël Regnard, a Trappist monk from Cîteaux, France.

The abbey was built on a site close to the ruins of the first monastery, and last December the church was consecrated by the Prelate of Trondheim, Bishop Erik Varden, also a Trappist monk.

Canada’s 400th anniversary of consecration to St. Joseph

Devotion to St. Joseph is at the root of the evangelization of Canada, undertaken by the Catholic Church more than four hundred years ago. According to historical chronicles, it was the Franciscan Recollects who brought devotion to the Holy Patriarch from Europe, instilling love and trust in Mary’s chaste spouse among the people.

Inspired by the Order’s provincial, Fr. Joseph Le Caron, in 1617 the faithful had already made a vow to choose St. Joseph as the patron Saint of the nascent Church in Canada, and in 1624 they solemnly consecrated the nation to him, receiving the approval of Pope Urban VIII in 1637. Since then, the manifestations of devotion, miracles and graces granted by the virginal father of Jesus have confirmed that Canada is truly under his protection.

Relics of St. Therese visit Brazil

To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the birth of the Carmelite Saint of Lisieux and the 100th anniversary of her beatification, various Carmelite convents and houses in Brazil will have the joy of receiving the visit of her relics.

The pilgrimage began on February 1 in the Carmel of Trindade, Goiás State, and until 19 October will visit more than seventy Brazilian cities in the states of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Pernambuco, Mato Grosso, Paraná, Santa Catarina, Rio Grande do Sul, Amapá, Pará, Maranhão, Piauí, Ceará, Rio Grande do Norte, Paraíba, Alagoas, Sergipe, Bahia, Minas Gerais, Espírito Santo and the Federal District.

Massive procession in the Philippines

The traditional procession of the Black Nazarene, which dates back to 1767, has brought together six million faithful in the city of Manila. After a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic, on January 9 devotees were once again able to accompany the transfer of the miraculous statue from the Church of St. Nicholas of Tolentine to the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, in the Quiapo district. The ceremony began with a Holy Mass presided over by the Metropolitan Archbishop, Cardinal José Fuerte Advincula. The seven-kilometre route took fifteen hours to complete.

The event organizers hope that the church in Quiapo will soon be elevated to the status of a national shrine, and that the day of this centuries-old procession will be declared a national holiday.

World meeting of Catholic journalists in Lourdes

The 27th edition of the meeting of Catholic journalists, the International Day of St. Francis de Sales, was held for the sixth consecutive year at the Lourdes Shrine in France, from January 24 to 26.

The theme chosen for the event, organized by the French Federation of Catholic Media in conjunction with the Dicastery for Communication, the World Catholic Association for Communication and the Italian Catholic Press Union, was A Time of Upheaval.

The plenary sessions, talks and workshops, which brought together approximately two hundred and fifty journalists from over twenty-five countries, dealt with the changes brought about by the return of war in Europe, the introduction of artificial intelligence into society and the current situation of the Church, reflecting on the mission that Catholic journalists must fulfil in this ever-changing world context.

More than eleven million pilgrims visit Shrine of Guadalupe

Between December 9 and 12, the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico received eleven million pilgrims celebrating the solemnity of the Blessed Virgin under this invocation.

The authorities estimate a flow of six thousand six hundred people every minute, coming from different regions of Mexico and the world to venerate the miraculous image of the Patroness of the Americas.

Jubilee of the apparitions of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

On December 27, 2023, the Shrine of Paray-le-Monial, France, began the jubilee commemorating the 350th anniversary of the apparitions of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, under the motto Repaying Love with Love.

As part of the festivities, which will continue until June 27, 2025, the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the shrine administrators are organizing pilgrimages, liturgical celebrations, meetings and even artistic competitions aimed at spreading the message of love revealed by Our Lord to the French Saint.

In May, a symposium will be held in Rome on the jubilee theme, to be followed in October with an international meeting of superiors of religious congregations related to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Paray-le-Monial.

Report on religious persecution in the world

The worldwide organization Open Doors has released its annual report on the persecution of Christians. The report, which includes data for the period between October 2022 and September 2023, contains increasingly alarming figures.

In total, 365 million believers suffer some kind of persecution, which means one in seven Christians in the world. The hostile acts catalogued by the study range from aggression, torture, abuse and discrimination to kidnapping and murder. There was also an unprecedented increase in incidents of vandalism against churches, which rose from 2,110 in the previous period to 14,766.

Among the countries that top the list of the most dangerous for Christians are North Korea, Somalia, Libya and Nigeria. The report also presented an additional list of countries where persecution is likely to worsen, such as Russia, Honduras, Venezuela, Ukraine and Israel.

Study disproves Spanish black legend

The French Catholic magazine la Nef began the year 2024 by reproducing a special dossier to disprove Spain’s centuries-old black legend.

The study La légende noire espagnole: revenir à la realité, by Hispanist Arnaud Imatz, consists of eight enlightening articles on the most misrepresented issues of the conquest of the Americas, debunking on the basis of historical data the rumours spread by enemies of Catholicism in the Spanish nation, such as the enslavement and systematic genocide of the native population, the supposed torture procedures employed by the Inquisition in America, as well as the economic dispossession of the Indians.

In his study, the historian amply demonstrates the falsity of these and other accusations, shedding light on one of the most remarkable events in human history: the American evangelizing epic.




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