Church and World Events

Eighty thousand Men’s Rosary participants in Aparecida

Between February 23 and 25, the Rosary for Men movement held the traditional pilgrimage of its members to the National Shrine of Aparecida, the sixteenth edition of the event.

According to the event’s organizers, the pilgrimage drew more than eighty thousand faithful from all over the country to the feet of the Patroness to honour by reciting the Holy Rosary, as well as by taking part in Holy Mass, in the Eucharistic Adoration vigil and in the candlelight procession around the shrine.

Procession to ask for rain is abundantly answered

Calling for an end to a prolonged drought, Catholics in Barcelona have resumed the ancient custom of holding a prayer procession with the centuries-old image of Cristo de la Sangre, after a pause of eighty years. The initiative, organized by the Diocesan Secretariat of Confraternities, together with the General Council of Confraternities of the Archbishopric of Barcelona, gathered hundreds of faithful who, walking through the streets of the Old Town, received heavy rain as a response from Heaven.

Since the 16th century, the faithful of Catalonia have turned to Cristo de la Sangre in adverse situations such as droughts, earthquakes and storms, and their prayers have always been answered.

Growing number of adults seeking Baptism

The number of adults requesting Baptism has increased considerably in France, a fact that has surprised the ecclesiastical authorities, as Most Rev. Éric Marie de Moulins d’Amieu de Beaufort, Archbishop of Reims and President of the French Bishops’ Conference, recently told RCF radio. The prelate also pointed out that over the last ten years, the average age of catechumens has fallen from forty to thirty.

A similar phenomenon has taken place in other parts of the world. At this year’s Easter Vigil, around 1,700 adults received the Sacrament of Baptism in Malaysia, a Muslim-majority nation. And in Sydney, Australia, the Easter ceremonies were the occasion for the Baptism of 266 catechumens, both of Australian origin and immigrants, which is a 60 % increase over previous years.

Church’s social works encourage new tithers

The Spanish Bishops’ Conference organized a unique tour for fifteen people between the ages of eighteen and sixty-one, chosen from a number of candidates, who this year decided not to contribute to the Church by choosing not to check the option that dedicates a portion of their income tax to its work.

The tour consisted of visiting several Spanish dioceses, allowing participants to personally evaluate the services carried out by the Church and thus be inspired to collaborate with its immense apostolic and social work. Over the course of five days, those group travelled more than twelve hundred kilometres and visited shelters, social reintegration centres and aid for women victims of violence, as well as accompanying the pastoral work of some parishes.

At the end of the trip, eleven of the participants decided to contribute to the Church on their next tax return, and another two said they would consider doing so.

Cistercian monastery filled with new vocations

The Cistercian monastery of Heiligenkreuz, located thirteen kilometres from the Austrian city of Baden today houses almost a hundred monks – the highest number of members since its foundation. Among the oldest in the world, it is also among those with the highest number of new vocations, despite the deep crisis affecting religious communities worldwide.

Abbot Maxilian Heim told Omnes magazine that one of the best methods of attracting new members is the youth vigil held monthly on the monastery premises, which brings together up to 250 young people. Activities include Gregorian chant in Latin, talks, recitation of the Rosary and Eucharistic Adoration. Priests are also available for Confession during the programme.

Exorcist warns of increase in diabolical possessions

An exorcist priest from the Premonstratensian Abbey of Averbode in Belgium admitted in a recent interview with the public television network VRT that cases of diabolical possession and requests for prayers of deliverance have increased considerably throughout the country. The priest reports performing an average of three exorcisms a week, being forced to turn some cases away for lack of time. Similarly, exorcists from other parishes find it difficult to adequately deal with all requests and help the faithful discern whether or not their ailments stem from demonic action.

According to a statement by the founding theologian of the Doloran Fathers Society, cases of diabolical obsession, oppression and preternatural influence have increased dramatically, partly due to a lack of faith, the trivialization of sin in people’s lives and the participation of many in esoteric cults. Up to a thousand exorcisms are carried out annually in Belgium, with five hundred thousand cases in Italy.

Young people restore vandalized statue in Madrid

Moved by their love for the Blessed Virgin, a group of young people from St. John Chrysostom Parish in Madrid decided to restore the statue pavilion located in the White Virgin Park of the Moncloa neighbourhood, whose image of the Immaculate Conception had been the target of several attacks by vandals. With the support of the parish priest, Fr. Fernando Simón, the volunteers raised funds to restore the marble statue, install grating and night lighting for the pavilion that houses it and clean up the adjacent garden.

The image has a long tradition in the region. Belonging to an asylum destroyed in a bombing raid during the Civil War, devout soldiers transported it to the trenches, where it ended up buried under rubble. Years later, it was discovered by children playing at the site and was placed in the now-restored pavilion.

Young people show growing interest in spirituality

The results of a survey organized by Rome’s Santa Croce University, together with the Spanish demoscopic institute GAD3, revealed that young people’s interest in spirituality is on the rise. Released by the Roman university in February, the study brings together interviews carried out in November and December last year with 4,889 young people between the ages of eighteen and twenty-nine in eight countries: Argentina, Brazil, Spain, the Philippines, Italy, Mexico, Kenya and the United Kingdom.

One of the highlights of the survey was the minority but significant presence of those who are Catholic “out of conviction” in countries like Spain and Italy, which have been recently feeling the effects of a de-Christianization process. Among Catholics in these countries, 60% consider Mass attendance essential, along with the reception of the Sacraments, especially Confession and Communion.

In countries like Brazil, the Philippines and Kenya, between 82% and 92% of those interviewed declared themselves “believers”. Globally, the percentage of Catholic women is higher, at 52%; and for 76% of participants, the Church is an institution that contributes to the good of society.

BAC celebrates its 80th anniversary

The well-known publisher Biblioteca de Autores Cristianos [Library of Christian Authors], BAC, is celebrating its 80th anniversary, during which time it has published almost 3,000 works.

The publishing house was born after the devastation of the Spanish Civil War, as the initiative of two laymen – Máximo Cuervo Radigales and José María Sánchez de Muniain – encouraged by Fr. Ángel Herrera Oria, later a Cardinal, who wanted to help rebuild the seminaries and convents that had been destroyed throughout Spain by making works of solid doctrine available to future priests, to help them in their formation. Over time, the volumes published by the BAC multiplied, becoming a reference point in the academic and cultural field for Catholics all over the world.




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