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Pope Francis has arrived in the United Arab Emirates for the first ever visit by a pontiff to the Arabian peninsula.

He landed in Abu Dhabi where he was greeted by Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan.

The Pope will take part in an interfaith conference and on Tuesday hold Mass in which 120,000 people are expected to attend.

Before leaving he expressed concern about the war in Yemen, in which the UAE is engaged.

"The population [in Yemen] is exhausted by the lengthy conflict and a great many children are suffering from hunger, but cannot access food depots," the Pope said.

"The cry of these children and their parents rises up to God," he said.

It is not clear whether the Pope plans to raise the issue in public or in private while visiting the UAE. The UAE is involved in Yemen as part of a Saudi-led coalition.

Pope Francis meets Abu Dhabi"s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-NahyanImage copyrightREUTERS

Image captionThe Pope was welcomed by Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince

The UAE is home to nearly a million Roman Catholics, most of them from the Philippines or India.

Some have been queuing for passes for Tuesday's Mass. One told AFP news agency the Pope's visit "opens doors for conversations about tolerance that the whole world needs to hear".

In a video message on Thursday, the Pope said: "Faith in God unites and does not divide, it draws us closer despite differences, it distances us from hostilities and aversion."

He paid tribute to the UAE as "a land that is trying to be a model of coexistence, of human brotherhood, and a meeting place among diverse civilisations and cultures".

While in Abu Dhabi, the Pope will also hold a meeting with Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, the grand imam of Cairo's al-Azhar mosque, which is the highest seat of learning for Sunni Muslims.

BBC Arabic's Murad Batal Shishani, who is in Abu Dhabi, says the Vatican hopes that the Pope's visit might loosen restrictions on the building of churches in the region, particularly in neighbouring Saudi Arabia where non-Muslim places of worship are forbidden.

Vatican officials say they need a stronger Church presence in the UAE to minister to the Catholic community there.

"We are really stretched. We need more churches. We need more priests," one official was quoted by Reuters as saying.

4 Feb 2019 - 06:01

The cause of Father Arrupe

Fr. Arturo Sosa, Superior General of the Society of Jesus, invites you to participate in the opening session of the Cause of Beatification and Canonization of Fr. Pedro Arrupe Gondra (1907-1991), 28th Superior General of the Society of Jesus, presided over by His Eminence Angelo Cardinal De Donatis, Vicar General of the Diocese of Rome.
This session will be held in the Aula della Conciliazione, at the Apostolic Palace of the Lateran, Piazza San Giovanni in Laterano, on Tuesday, February 5, 2019, at 4:00 PM.

Proposal to Jesuit communities all over the world

Fr. Pascual Cebollada, postulator of Fr. Arrupe’s cause, invites all Jesuit communities to celebrate the Eucharist on Tuesday, February 5, at a time convenient to them, in thanksgiving for the life of our former Superior General on the 28th anniversary of his death. Thus, the whole Society of Jesus will be united in prayer on the occasion of the official opening of the process of his cause of beatification.

The event live on TELEPACE

If you cannot be there, you can still watch the event live on TelePace-Roma.
On Sky, channel 515 - In Rome on digital channel 73 or 214 in HD.

Anywhere online (in streaming) at

2 Feb 2019 - 05:44


Young people themselves are "a sign of the times"

JAN 22 , 2019 TRAVELS

For the past 10 days, a thousand young adults have been on pilgrimage through Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Panama. As participants in MAGIS they have spent their time among the poor, immersing themselves in different cultures, learning to pray and reflect on their experiences, all while travelling the various roads to World Youth Day in Panama. Yesterday those roads led the pilgrims to the church of Colegio San Francisco Javier where they spent an hour with Fr. Arturo Sosa, SJ – Superior General of the Society of Jesus.

With young adults from dozens of nations around the world, the pilgrims chose 5 of their own to voice their experience of MAGIS. With Fr. Sosa listening, they shared stories of uncertainty giving way to understanding, excitement being tempered by humility, fear turning into service of the very people of whom they were previously afraid. Fr. General thanked them for their service and honesty during their pilgrimage, then offered them a mission.

Only weeks ago, in his welcome message to the MAGIS participants, Fr. Sosa told them that they were pilgrims on mission in the same way that St. Ignatius himself was a pilgrim. As such, they should take to heart the lessons they were about to learn, the people they were about to meet, and the call they were about to hear. That call, Fr. Sosa continued, was for them, “to become a sign of the times.”

Reflecting on his own experience at the recent Youth Synod in Rome, Fr. Sosa offered the pilgrims what he called "the 10 signs of the Times": pivot points that can challenge the life of the church and contemporary society. One of those signs, how young adults perceive the movement of the Spirit of God through the world, comes about by putting young people in a space where they can dream, the spirit can move, and God can open the heart for compassion. It is in this space that we feel the pain of our brothers and sisters and, emboldened by grace, we can decide to place ourselves at the service of others in the belief that we can make a better world, a better humanity.



As his words settled, the pilgrims realized that Fr. General had just described the experience of the past ten days. They realized that they truly were pilgrims, and that they had heard a call, a mission. That they could see pain and suffering and exclusion all around them, and they were called to transform that world. That they were being offered the chance to be one of those signs of the times that could change the Church and society for the better.

After a brief Q&A with Fr. General, the pilgrims made their way back to their campus for the night. The next morning would see the start of World Youth Day festivities. The thousand will meet the millions. The singing and praying will become louder. The dancing will be more joyful.

24 Jan 2019 - 08:46

By Associated Press Reporter

January 23 2019 10:01 PM

    Pope Francis has arrived in Panama where he is to offer encouragement to young people gathered for World Youth Day 2019.

    The pontiff’s plane touched down on Wednesday afternoon in the Panamanian capital.

    He was met by President Juan Carlos Varela and first lady Lorena Castillo, who escorted him along a red carpet laid on the tarmac.


    Pope Francis walks between Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela and first lady Lorena Castillo de Varela (Alessandra Tarantino/AP)

    Spectators waved Panamanian flags in greeting and shouted: “This is the youth of the pope!”

    The pontiff told reporters travelling with him aboard the papal plane that he plans to go to Japan in November.

    Francis had previously said he wanted to go, but this is the first confirmation that a trip will happen.

    The pope also said he wants to visit Iraq, but that local church leaders have told him that the security situation is not yet right.

    After Panama, the pontiff has scheduled trips to the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, Bulgaria and Macedonia.

    Press Association





    24 Jan 2019 - 08:34

    Bamunigam, January 22, 2019: Prior to the priestly ordination of four deacons of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar Archdiocese, a road accident claimed at least 13 lives including women and children and left more than 35 critically injured in Kandhamal district of Odisha, Eastern India, January 22.

    According to sources, the mishap took place this morning near Bangadadua Ghat when the mini-truck carrying over 40 passengers was en route to Brahmanigaon from Kalingi. The driver of the truck suddenly lost control over the vehicle following which the vehicle plunged into the gorge.

    The people were travelling to attend the ordination of four deacons at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Bamunigam of Kandhamal district.

    Divine Word Archbishop John Barwa of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar ordained deacons Divyaranjan Digal, Akshaya Senapati, Ananta Uthansingh and Deepak B. Singh. They hail from different parishes of Kandhamal district.

    It is feared that the number of deaths may rise. The details of death and injured are not yet available, Father Augustine Singh, who attended the ordination ceremony, told Matters India.

    “The tragedy is too shocking. It is the saddest event in the region on the priestly Ordination day. May the departed souls find rest in heavenly abode and the survivors receive strength from God,” Father Singh said.

    Kandhamal District Collector and Sub-collector rushed to Brahmanigam hospital after relatives of the deceased persons demanded a compensation, reported OTV.

    23 Jan 2019 - 07:09

    INDIA :  Latin-rite bishops create 2 new commissions By Robin Gomes (Vatican News via CNUA) The plenary assembly of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI) concluded on Jan. 14, establishing the new Commissions for Ecology and Small Christian Communities. The Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI) that brings together the Latin bishops of the country’s 132 dioceses, concluded its plenary assembly on Monday establishing two new commissions, a CCBI press release said. 143 bishops participating in CCBI’s 31st Plenary Assembly held in Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu state, from January 7 to 14, voted in favour of establishing the new Commissions for Ecology and for Small Christian Communities (SCC).

    Ecology - The bishops’ decision to start a Commission for Ecology is in response to the appeal of Pope Francis in his Encyclical Letter “Laudato Si” published in 2015, in which the Pope urges all people of good will to take care of our universe. The proposal was discussed earlier in the 79th Executive Committee meeting of the CCBI held on 1 May 2018 in Bangalore.  Aware of the importance and urgency of responding to the environmental challenges in India and trying to embark on a new path to care for and protect the environment, the Bishops felt the need to establish a commission to deal with the issue. Auxiliary Bishop Alwyn D’Silva of Bombay Archdiocese has been elected the chairman of the Commission for Ecology.

    Small Christian Communities - The new Commission for Small Christian Communities is to promote the Gospel values at the grass root level and prepare all faithful to witness the compassionate ministry of the Church in their local life situations. Bishop Ignatius Mascarenhas of Simla-Chandigarh is the chairman of the Commission for Small Christian Communities. 

    Bishop Neethinathan of Chingelput diocese  that hosted the weeklong plenary assembly accorded a public reception to the participants on Sunday at the Bishop’s House.  It included a Holy Mass presided over by outgoing CCBI president, Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay. 

    CCBI plenary ends - The CCBI plenary assembly came to an end on Monday with a thanksgiving Eucharistic Celebration by the new CCBI president, Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrão.  During the Mass, the bishops entrusted themselves and their dioceses to Divine Providence and prayed for the people of India.  The bishops also participated in a Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction led by Archbishop George Antonysamy of Madras Mylapore, the new CCBI vice president.  The apex body of the Catholic Church in India is the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), that bring together the Latin-rite (CCBI) and two eastern rites – the Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara Churches that claim their origin from St. Thomas the Apostle.  With 189 bishops from 132 dioceses, the CCBI is the largest bishops’ conference in Asia and the fourth largest in the world. 

    The chairmen of other CCBI Commissions are as follows: 

    • Commission for Boundary - Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrão of Goa and Damon
    • Commission for Bible - Bishop Antonysamy Peter Abir of Sultanpet
    • Commission for Catechetics - Archbishop Thomas Macwan of Gandhinagar
    • Commission for Canon Las and Other Legislative Texts – Bishop Derek Fernandes of Karwar
    • Commission for Ecumenism – Bishop Francis Serrao SJ of Shimoga
    • Commission for Family - Coadjutor Archbishop Sebastian Kallupura of Patna -
    • Commission for Laity – Bishop Eugene Joseph of Varanasi
    • Commission for Liturgy – Archbishop Dominic Jala SDB of Shillong
    • Commission for Migrants – Archbishop Victor Henry Thakur of Raipur
    • Commission for Proclamation – Bishop Raphy Manjaly of Allahabad
    • Commission for Theology and Doctrine – Archbishop Felix Toppo SJ of Ranchi
    • Commission for Vocations – Bishop Udumala Bala of Warangal
    • Commission for Women – Bishop Francis Kalist of Meerut
    • Commission for Youth – Bishop Nazarene Soosai of Kottar

    17 Jan 2019 - 08:11

    ROME :  Social Justice and Ecology - 50 years of Jesuit Commitment by  Fr. Arturo Sosa S.J. (SJCURIA via CNUA)  A video message from Fr. Arturo Sosa, Superior General. Fr. Sosa declares, “This is not only a time of renewal for our institutions, social centres or for members of social apostolates. It is a moment that must permeate the entire Society of Jesus, all Jesuits and all our partners in the mission.” The three-phase celebration involves Provinces, Conferences and the Universal Society. It will culminate with a gathering of Jesuits and partners in Rome in November 2019; it will be an opportunity to discern the roadmap to implement the Universal Apostolic Preferences that will be announced in February.


    10 Jan 2019 - 05:15

    The saints were Christians who were "crazy for concreteness," knowing that faith is not an idea, but a relationship with Jesus, which leads to actions that demonstrate love, Pope Francis said.

    Celebrating morning Mass Jan. 7 in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, the pope said the celebration of Christmas is the celebration of a faith that is concrete.

    Christians profess their belief that "the son of God came in the flesh, became one of us," he said. "He was conceived in the womb of Mary, born in Bethlehem, grew like a baby does, fled to Egypt, returned to Nazareth, learned to read with his father, to work" — although God, he was also truly human.

    The first reading at Mass was a passage from the First Letter of John, which says Christians are commanded to believe in the name of Jesus and love one another, with "concrete love, not a fantasy love," the pope said.

    "Concreteness. This is the challenge," he said. "Not ideas and beautiful words."

    The first reading at Mass also included John's admonition: "Do not trust every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they belong to God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world."

    The Christian life entailed 'spiritual vigilance' as well as faith in Jesus Christ and in charity.

    One way to grow in the art of spiritual vigilance was to take several minutes at the end of each day to communicate with God and to ask him to speak to one's heart.

    The next step was to follow up on the resulting inspiration by consulting Scripture and a wise spiritual guide.

    There were many people — priests, religious, laity — with the ability to "help us see what is happening in our spirit so we do not err."

    Pope Francis said at the end of his homily that Jesus became human, born of a woman, who suffered a real death and asked us to love our brothers and sisters concretely even if some of them are not easy to love.

    Source: CNS

    9 Jan 2019 - 06:03

    The Christmas programme began with a welcome address by Fr. Dominic Savio, Principal of St. Xavier's College, Kolkata. Fr. Felix Raj, Vice-Chancellor of St. Xavier's University Kolkata delivered a Christmas message with a brief report of the educational services rendered by the Jesuit Fathers in West Bengal. The Chief Minister spoke in appreciation of the Jesuit work at the College and the University. She welcomed St Xavier's University's decision to introduce law course from July 2019 and asked the University to consider starting a College in Alipurduar. The Chief Minister felicitated Emeritus Bishop Linus Gomes (98), the oldest Bishop in India who stays at St. Xavier's College, Kolkata. Staff reporter - Goethals News, email :


    INDIA : Jesuit Law School in Kolkata by Mitta Mukherjee (GOETHALS via CNUA)  St Xavier’s University, Kolkata is planning to set up a Law School and welcome its first batch of students in July 2019.  Father Felix Raj, Vice-Chancellor of the University, said Xavier Law School had been modelled on prominent law institutions such as the Nalsar University of Law, in Hyderabad; National Law School of India University in Bangalore and the National University of Juridical Sciences, Calcutta. Xavier Law School will come up on the university’s 17-acre New Town campus at Rajarhat. The school will offer five-year integrated BA LLB (honours) and B.Com LLB (honours) courses. “The syllabus and the curriculum will be designed to produce competent experts in legal profession with sound knowledge in every sphere of law. After completing the course the students can practice law in court or can work as consultant or join the corporate sector,” Father Felix Raj said. 

    Fr Felix Raj - Principal

    Photo Courtesy - St. Xavier's College

    The university has approached the Bar Council of India, which regulates legal education in the country, for affiliation. Work on setting up the infrastructure is on in full swing, the VC said. “The most important component of any institution of higher education is its library. For a law school, it is important to have a library with an extensive collection of law books and journals,” said Fr. Felix Raj. The law school will have “elaborate arrangements” for organising moot court competitions, which help students develop skills in debating. Students will have to clear an “independent competitive examination”, to be conducted by the university, to gain entry into Xavier Law School. Institutes such as the Nalsar University of Law and the National University of Juridical Sciences admit students through the Common Law Admission Test. The first batch will have 120 students. The university may later increase its intake. Recruitment of teachers will start soon. “Our aim is to engage the best legal experts and academics,” Fr. Felix Raj said. 


    7 Jan 2019 - 05:55

    The Indian Theological Association (ITA) deeply regrets to hear the sad news of the demise of the great Jesuit and Theologian Fr.Samuel Rayan, S.J. After the blessing of a long and fruit-bearing life, God has called him to enjoy the everlasting blessing of being in the very presence of God. Fr. Samuel has been one of the prophetic architects of Asian/Indian Liberation Theology. In eighties and nineties his active, insightful and inspiring participation and contribution in the Annual Conferences of ITA have highly enriched, challenged and guided the theological deliberations and have left a stamp of Asian and Indian liberation theology. His theologizing sprouting and blossoming from the side of the poor and marginalized, critical consciousness, radical humanism and ongoing interventions of God in today's history has broken a new ground for theologizing in India. He has shown us the way to theologize in today's context for the promotion of the Reign of God. May the liberative and humanistic spirit of Fr.Samuel Rayan continue to inspire and challenge us all.

    Raj Irudaya, S.J.


    Indian Theological Association

    3 Jan 2019 - 08:48