Grateful to God, I recently celebrated the golden jubilee of missionary priesthood on Saturday 9th July and have been kindly reminded, in a congratulatory letter from the General Council, of what I have officially been doing over these years in our Society. But I can’t help wondering if what I was commended for would also be endorsed by God who alone knows how far any of us have really responded over all these years to the graces of the Holy Spirit which were offered to us in order to become channels of His mercy and love for the people we were sent to serve in various parts of the world. But what are fifty years of service in God’s sight ? We pray in the words of Psalm 89(90), ‘O Lord…to your eyes a thousand years are like yesterday, come and gone, no more than a watch in the night…Make us know the shortness of our life that we may gain wisdom of heart.’
The people of Curaçao were celebrating their ‘Dia di Bandera’ (Flag Day), the first day I set foot on this small Caribbean island (60 km long, with a breadth varying from 6 – 12 km; population 150.000) just off the coast of Venezuela. Proud to be an independent entity within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Curaçaoans still cherish the connection. And that connection goes back a long way, to 1634 in fact, when the Dutch took over the island from the Spanish. Sadly, soon after, Curaçao became an important port of transit (and destination) for the slave trade, like other islands in the Caribbean. Slavery was abolished here in 1863.
Recently I had the opportunity to attend an unique Conference on Catholic Digital Communications at Fordham University. The participants were meeting the initiators and producers of two recent grand initiatives towards Evangelization in the Digital World. The Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network (Apostleship of Prayer) started in January 2016 with publishing an inspiring monthly "Pope Video" (see www.thepopevideo.org) and in March 2016 it launched globally the Pope's official Prayer App titled "Click To Pray" (see www.clicktopray.org). The producers of these two projects of evangelization are really creative, professional and emphatic in their approach and methodology in order to reach the hearts and minds of especially young people. They are connecting prayer with the real world and encourage the development of a deep and personal relationship with Jesus. The motto of the "Click to Pray" app is "Together, we make each day different". "Click to Pray" encourages users to pray every day for the challenges facing humanity and the mission of the Church, as expressed by the Pope in his monthly prayer intentions. It proposes a rhythm of prayer three times a day: with Jesus in the morning, during the day, and at night. The vision of the Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network is to help people to be apostles of prayer in daily life through a spiritual path called "The Way of the Heart", which transforms their way of serving Christ's mission.
On sabbatical here in Berkeley since the end of August 2015 I have been drawn into a journey of discovery - both personal and cosmic. The road travelled has taken me out into the beautiful drought-stricken California countryside but also into the inner pathways of my own soul. Here I have met some of my fears, prejudices and longings....as we, sabbaticants, respond to the invitation to rest, to allow ourselves to be renewed, to be at peace with the Divine, ourselves and the rest of Creation.
Today we mourn yesterday’s assassination of Honduran environmental leader Berta Cacéres. As the co-founder of the the Council of Indigenous Peoples of Honduras, Berta successfully led a nonviolent campaign with her indigenous Lenca community that stopped one of the world’s largest dam companies from building the Agua Zarca Hydroelectric project. The dam would have flooded large areas of land and cut off the supply of water, food and medicine for the Lenca peoples.