EMY – September: Human Rights

Topic for September: Human Rights
Saint of the month: St. Peter Claver

St. Peter Claver, SJ (1581-1654) is the patron of African missions and of interracial justice, due to his work with slaves in Colombia. Between the years 1616 and 1650, Peter Claver worked daily to minister to the needs of the 10,000 slaves who arrived each year.

When a ship arrived, Peter first begged for fruits, biscuits, or sweets to bring to the slaves. He then went on board with translators to bring his gifts as well as his skills as a doctor and teacher. Claver entered the holds of the ships and would not leave until every person received a measure of care. Peter gave short instruction in the Catholic faith and baptised as many as he could. In this way he could prevail on the slave owners to give humane treatment to fellow Christians. Peter Claver baptised more than 300,000 slaves by 1651. Continue reading “EMY – September: Human Rights”

EMY – August: Women

Topic for August: Women
Saint to contemplate: Blessed Mother Mary, the master piece of the holy Trinity

The role model of girls and women that are exposed today are related to fashion, dating, marital and any interpersonal relationships as well as professional careers. Unfortunately, they do not deal with their future role as mothers. These models appeal to appearance, to fast fading popularity in the world of entertainment. Often they are of questionable integrity, thereby persistently ignoring the Christian and moral implications of womanhood.

Continue reading “EMY – August: Women”

EMY – July: Youth

Topic for July: Youth
Saint of the month: St. John Bosco

St. John Bosco (1815–1888) was born in Italy to a poor farming family. His father died when he was two, leaving his religious instruction to his pious mother. At the age of nine he had his first of many powerful visions which would come throughout his life. In it Jesus and the Virgin Mary showed him that he was to instruct poor, wayward boys and bring them back to God. As a priest he began ministering to the poor and neglected boys of Turin, Italy, who were driven to desperate conditions in the wake of the Industrial Revolution. Don Bosco became a mentor and spiritual director to them, inspiring them to a life of virtue and saving many from a future of crime and poverty. He met with them as a group – called the Oratory of St. Francis de Sales – and catechised them as a kind spiritual father. Continue reading “EMY – July: Youth”

EMY – June: Priests and Nuns

Topic for June: Priests and Nuns
Saint to contemplate: St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226)

One day Francis was walking by the dilapidated church of San Damiano. He felt that he was led by the Holy Spirit to enter and pray before the crucifix hanging there. As he was praying, Christ on the crucifix came to life and spoke to him in a tender and kind voice: “Francis, don’t you see that my house is being destroyed? “Go, Francis, and repair my Church in ruins.” The ruinous state of the building was a symbol of the decadence of moral and faith of the Christianity itself.

He was born into a rich merchant family. His conversion to a Gospel way of living led Francis renounced his family and became a poor man with no possessions. He was poor, but he was also joyful. Quickly his radical way of life attracted other followers, who similarly gave away their possessions to become beggars.
Continue reading “EMY – June: Priests and Nuns”

EMY – May: Men

Topic for May: Men
Saint to contemplate: St. Joseph

St. Joseph’s role in the early life of Jesus: “The Jewish father played an enormously important part in the life of the son because he embodied the spirit of the covenant.” St. Joseph’s fatherhood, he said, “with all its depth is immense value to world because within our society there is a crisis in the whole nature of paternity, which embodies the spirit of commitment, willingness to sacrifice for the good of his children, to endow them with values and prepare them for love in their own lives.” (Fr. Anthony Doe)

How, then, is St. Joseph the exemplar of fatherhood? He is, to coin a word, the prototype of what all human fathers should be. They should reflect, in their families the seven virtues which the Church specially honours in St. Joseph’s relationship to Jesus and Mary. Continue reading “EMY – May: Men”

EMY – April: Human trafficking

Topic for April: Human Trafficking
Saint to contemplate: St. Josephine Bakhita

“Defend the lowly and fatherless; render justice to the afflicted and needy” Ps 82:3
She was born in southern Sudan. Josephine was kidnapped at the age of 7, sold into slavery and given the name Bakhita, which means fortunate. She was resold several times, finally in 1883 to Callisto Legnani, Italian consul in Khartoum, Sudan.

Two years later, he took Josephine to Italy and gave her to his friend Augusto Michieli. Bakhita became babysitter to Mimmina Michieli, whom she accompanied to Venice’s Institute of the Catechumens, run by the Canossian Sisters. While Mimmina was being instructed, Josephine felt drawn to the Catholic Church. She was baptised and confirmed in 1890, taking the name Josephine. Continue reading “EMY – April: Human trafficking”

EMY – March: People living with disabilities

Topic for February: People living with disabilities
Saint of the month: Bl. Margaret of Castello

Blessed Margaret was born blind, with severe curvature of the spine; her right leg was an inch and a half shorter than her left, and her left arm was malformed. She never grew beyond 4 feet tall. Her parents kept little Margaret hidden away in their house in Metola in the Italian province of Umbria. She was 6 years old when the family travelled to a shrine at Castello, hoping for a miracle. When no miracle took place, Margaret’s mother and father abandoned her. Some women of Castello found the terrified child and took care of her. Later, a couple (Venfarino and Grigia) adopted her. At 15, she joined the Third Order of St. Dominic, which permitted her to wear the habit and take the vows of a nun.

Margaret’s disabilities did not make her bitter; rather, she became one of the most generous, sympathetic people in Castello. She nursed the sick, consoled the dying and visited prisoners. In the sufferings of her neighbours she saw the image of the suffering Christ. As for her own disabilities, she regarded them as a means to unite her pain with the pain Christ endured on the cross. Her courage, her patience and her deep religious devotion won her the affection of everyone in Castello. Continue reading “EMY – March: People living with disabilities”

Baptised and sent catechists

by Bp Jose Luis IMC

The diocesan commissioning of catechists is celebrated every year at the Cathedral during the month of February. This year was no exception. Even though it was a very hot day in Manzini, when I went into the church I found the place practically full with catechists coming from our 17 parishes.

As I was sharing with them during the homily, in this “extraordinary missionary year”, many might be wondering “where” and “to whom” God is calling them to go. Not them. They know. They have been called to be catechists and that is why they come together to be sent once again.

It is certainly a big challenge to accept to be a catechist as whoever sees them, sees our Church. It is to them that we entrust our children, young people and adults who prepare themselves to celebrate our sacraments. Continue reading “Baptised and sent catechists”