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» 07/12/2008
SRI LANKA
Pauline Year in the footsteps of Fr Joseph Vaz, the apostle of Sri Lanka
by Melani Manel Perera
Celebrations for the Pauline Year in the country coincide with the beginning of the preparatory period for the third centenary of the death of the missionary beatified by John Paul II. The bishops call the faithful to follow these two "proclaimers of the word of God", and to imitate their "missionary spirit".

Colombo (AsiaNews) - Celebrations for the Pauline Year coincide with festivities for Blessed Joseph Vaz, called "the apostle of Sri Lanka". The three years of preparations for the third centenary of his death, to be observed on January 16, 2011, are now underway. In what at the time was still called Ceylon, Fr Joseph permitted the "rebirth of Christianity from his own ashes", and it is precisely because of his immense evangelical and missionary effort that Pope John Paul II called the Blessed, of Indian origin, "the Saint Paul of Sri Lanka".

In a statement released by the bishops' conference (CBCSL), in which the faithful are called "to follow attentively the example left by Saint Paul", the bishops of the country emphasise "the enormous missionary effort carried out both by the Apostle and by Blessed Joseph Vaz". "Fr Vaz", affirms the statement from the CBCSL, "heard an inner voice that constantly called him to come to the aid of the abandoned and persecuted Catholics of Sri Lanka. Both Saint Paul and Blessed Joseph Vaz preached the gospel zealously, not heeding the many trails and hardships and persecutions. St Paul was martyred and blessed Joseph Vaz's life was a continuous martyrdom".

The bishops' conference urges the faithful to "imitate, study, and follow these two great men of God as models", analysing in particular their missionary charism. Benedict XVI has pointed out the Apostle Paul as an exemplary figure of "proclaiming the good news" among the peoples, a figure who still today is "a model" of faith.

The bishops of Sri Lanka ask the faithful to organise occasions of Bible study and reflection, to analyze the letters of Saint Paul and learn from these models "how to preserve the faith and become proclaimers of the message of salvation". They invite seminaries and religious institutes to organise meetings aimed at promoting the study of the apostle, of his life and works, his theological thought and missionary spirit; an invitation that also applies to the laity and young people, that they may keep their faith alive. "As St. Paul worked for unity and brotherhood among all Christians", concludes the document of the CBCSL, "let us foster ecumenical gatherings and conduct seminars and workshops at the diocesan level".

In a final note, the bishops recall the visit of John Paul II to Sri Lanka, during which he evoked the figure of Fr Joseph Vaz, calling him "a model for bishops, priests, and religious", because of his "profound love for God and his brothers". Pope Wojtyla exhorted the faithful to follow his "example, so that the life of the Blessed may become a model of inspiration for each of you".


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See also
06/06/2008 VATICAN - MALAYSIA - SINGAPORE
Pope: protection of human rights and interreligious dialogue, in service of evangelisation
07/25/2008 THAILAND - WYD
WYD, instrument of conversion for Thai young people
by Weena Kowitwanij
01/14/2009 CHINA - VATICAN
"The Church on trial in Mao's China" published
by Mons. Claudio Celli
10/29/2008 VATICAN
Pope: the cross overturns the logic of power: folly for men, love for God
08/03/2008 VATICAN
Pope: best wishes for Beijing Games; remembrance of Paul VI

Editor's choices
VATICAN
Pope: I am with the persecuted Christians of Mosul and the Middle East "May the God of peace inspire in all a genuine desire for dialogue and reconciliation. Violence is never defeated with violence. Violence is defeated with peace." At the Sunday Angelus Francis comments on the parable of the wheat and the weeds. God is "patient" He knows "the same weeds in the end, may become good wheat". But "at the time of the harvest, that is, of judgment, the reapers will execute the order of the master separating the weeds to be burned".
ISLAM
The desperate dream of the Islamic Caliphate
by Samir Khalil SamirAbu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s rhetoric is bankrupt. No Muslim wants to live in a caliphate. Moreover, no-one accepts him as "caliph". But he is correct in pointing out that the Islamic world is in decline, and Muslims themselves are responsible for this. Israel and "conspiracy” theories. The rebirth of Islam through open dialogue in society, based on universal and shared values. Otherwise the demise of Islam is likely.
VATICAN-ITALY
Pope in Molise: Witness to charity, high road of evangelization On a one day pastoral visit to one of the poorest regions in Italy, Pope Francis urges faithful to be like Mary, the "handmaid of the Lord" and in the service of their "brothers who are in need". God frees us from sadness and selfishness. At the University of Campobasso, the call for a "jobs pact" that safeguards the dignity of the unemployed. "Safeguarding" the earth without "exploiting it". We need to "waste time with our children". "Maybe it's time to ask whether it is true freedom to work on Sundays."

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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