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24th February 2020

Lent in Black and White – A Reflection

Two centuries after Nieuw Amsterdam had become New York, a treat still somewhat unique to that city was born, the black and white cookie. It is coated half-and-half with dark and light frosting. Though when I was a kid I gave up eating them during Lent, those cookies are an apt symbol for the season. We generally think of Lent as a time of gloom. … Read more

Pope Francis’ Love Letter to the Peoples of the Amazon: A Moving Reflection

As we are on the road, I start reading a good number of articles, previews and reflections about this, and most of them come from elsewhere, from all around the world. This is good in a way, but then I start sensing again and again the lack of understanding in commentaries that are not truly concerned with the Amazon and its peoples. The reflections are … Read more

Cameroon: Bishops from across the Globe Call for Urgent Peace Talks

Roman Catholic bishops from around the world are calling on the Cameroon government to hold urgent peace talks with the country’s English-speaking separatists and moderates. As violence grows in the central African country, church leaders are urging President Paul Biya to enter negotiations to find a peaceful constitutional settlement that addresses the grievances of the Anglophone community. Human rights groups report that both the Cameroon … Read more

Vatican: Training for Diplomatic Service to Include a Year of Mission

There is no doubt that the decision, now formalized by the Successor of Peter, represents a truly significant change in the course of studies for those who will serve in the Nunciatures and who will, in many cases, be made bishops at a relatively young age. A fundamental piece of the curriculum now becomes the year dedicated to missionary service in the field, far from … Read more

Negro Spirituals: The Power of a Song in a Strange Land

Songs of Survival For the slaves, the spiritual proved to be an ingenious tool used to counter senseless brutality and the denial of personhood. In order to survive emotionally, resilience was critical. In the spirituals, slaves sang out their struggle, weariness, loneliness, sorrow, hope and determination for a new and better life. Yet these are not songs of anger. They are songs of survival that voice an … Read more

A Closer Look at the Sermon on the Mount

Whatever be its ecclesial provenance, from its content and inner structure Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount is evidently aimed at presenting an authoritative portrait of Christian discipleship. After a description of Jesus’s introductory healing ministry the scene is set in his ascending the hill and solemnly sitting down to address his disciples and the crowd of interested bystanders. In the opening section of his address … Read more

Mexico City: Three Key Missionary Events

Three important events are taking place in Mexico City these days, which concern the pastoral and missionary conversion of the Church on the American continent from the perspective of Pope Francis’ Evangelii Gaudium. The first, which begins today, is intended for missiologists. The continental Seminary of Missiologists is held from February 14-16, which aims to trigger an academic reflection on the content and methodology of … Read more

Bolivia: Indigenous Peoples Environmental Pioneers

On indigenous territories in Bolivia that have secured property rights, deforestation rates are 2.8 times lower than outside of them. Such lands cover 20% of the country’s territory, so the contribution of indigenous peoples in Bolivia to fighting climate change is substantial. But this situation has been undermined by Bolivia’s development policies, and could be threatened further with the recent shift to a right-wing government. In the … Read more

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