09 March 2012

Pope Benedict's Prayer Intentions for March 2012

General Intention - Contribution of Women

That the whole world may recognize the contribution of women to the development of society.

Weaving a Dream

By Mercy B. Gawason

The author is a young Subanen who works with Subanen Crafts. She and her companions at Subanen Crafts recently visited Negros Occidental and dropped by the Misyon editorial office in Bacolod City. The word 'Subanen' means 'people of the river'. The Subanens live in the mountains of western Mindanao. This article is in the March-April 2012 issue of Misyon, the online magazine I edit for the Columbans in the Philippines.

There’s no easy way for the poor to reach their dreams. They have to work and sacrifice for it. There are lots of thorns and obstacles that you can encounter but if you really want to achieve your dreams in life, then you'll find your own strategy. No matter how difficult it is you must go on. As they say, poverty is not a hindrance to success. Never forget where you have come from and always remember decisions you've made because you’ve put God first in all things and believe that with God nothing is impossible.

This is what I’ve experienced as the daughter of poor parents. I supported myself. I studied as a working student and this was very hard. Things had to be kept in balance, time had to be managed properly and personal matters set aside. There were many times when I was hurt, discriminated against because of my culture and for who I am. There were times when I wanted to give up but I had to pursue my dream so that someday I could make others wake up and realize that judging others is very wrong. That's why I stood up. Life had to go on so I used my heartaches as my challenge and inspiration, not just for myself but for my family and culture too.

And I was so lucky because there was a door that opened to me, Subanen Crafts with Fr Vincent Busch, a Columban priest in Ozamiz City. I was so happy when I became one of the Subanen Crafts weavers because since I was a kid I dreamed of earning a degree and having a better future so that I could help my family and fellow Subanens.
The project was able to send me to high school and college where I completed a two-year course, Associate in Office Administration (AOA), at La Salle University, Ozamiz City. Right after my graduation in March 2010 Subanen Crafts offered me an opportunity to work as the admin clerk.

I’ve had so many lessons and experience in life: traveling to other places, meeting new friends, facing other people and getting to know myself better. This has helped me a lot to develop what I learned in school. Though I’ve already graduated with an AOA, I still want to do further study so that I can gain more knowledge and be more capable of doing the tasks I’m given and be able to help my fellow Subanens.
And I encourage all who are poor and my fellow Subanens to study. It really is true that ‘education is the only weapon’. It is the only key to success and to defend ourselves. It is also the only property and wealth that nobody can take and steal from us. Trust God completely and do not put yourself down . . . TO GOD BE THE GLORY.

You may email the author at mercy_gawason@yahoo.com
Mission Intention - Persecuted Christians

That the Holy Spirit may grant perseverance to those who suffer discrimination, persecution, or death for the name of Christ, particularly in Asia.
'I only want a place at the feet of Jesus'

Clement Shahbaz Bhatti (9 September 1968 - 2 March 2011)

The first anniversary of the assassination of Clement Shahbaz Bhatti in Pakistan, the only Christian member of the cabinet, was observed on 2 March. He was a devout Catholic deeply committed to justice for those on the margins, especially the Christian minority, who said not long before he died, I only want a place at the feet of Jesus. I want my life, my character, my actions to speak for me and say that I am a follower of Jesus Christ.

Shahbaz Bhatti, the first Federal Minister for Minorities in Pakistan, a position he held since 2 November 2008, was shot dead yesterday shortly after he left his mother's home in Islamabad. He came from a Catholic family deeply committed to justice. Of his work he said: 'I only want a place at the feet of Jesus. I want my life, my character, my actions to speak for me and say that I am a follower of Jesus Christ'.

Mr Bhatti spoke a month ago in an interview in Dubai about the danger to his life and his willingness to die for his principles. Here is the last part of the interview along with a video of his meeting with Pope Benedict some months bfore his death.

Shahbaz Bhatti interviewed a month before his death in 2011.

Shahbaz Bhatti meeting Pope Benedict XVI in Sept 2010

Here is a report from Columban Father Robert McCulloch, an Australian, who has been in Pakistan since 1978 after spending eight years in Mindanao, southern Philippines.

Murder in the name of religion

Murder in the name of religion took a further ugly step in Pakistan today 2 March 2011 when Shahbaz Bhatti, Federal Minister for Minorities, was killed by 4 gunmen in Islamabad.

Shahbaz Bhatti, a member of the Pakistan People's Party of the slain Benazir Bhutto, had been minister for 3 years. He was 43 years old and unmarried. He had gone in mid-morning to visit his mother in Sector 8 of the residential area of Islamabad and was gunned down as he left his mother's home. Leaflets thrown at the place of the murder claim that it was carried out by Al Qaeda but real responsibility lies in the extensive Islamic extremist networks of urban violence which have been funded by Wahabi sources from Saudi Arabia.

Shahbaz Bhatti had insistently called for the amendment of the blasphemy laws which have been abused and mis-used in Pakistan since their introduction by the military dictator, Zia ul Haq. A solid legal opinion in Pakistan has declared that these laws are against the constititutional law of Pakistan and have no justification in the Islamic religious law.

The murdered federal minister had defended Aasia Bibi, the Christian woman who had been condemned to death on a charge of blasphemy because she refused to abandon her Christian faith and become a Muslim. Bhatti visited the Vatican in December 2010 and presented his appeal for justice to Pope Benedict XVI who then called for religious freedom and justice for persecuted Christians in Pakistan during his adddress in the first week of January 2011 to diplomats accredited to the Holy See.

The religiously-motivated murder of Shahbaz Bhatti follows on the murder of Salmaan Taseer, governor of the Punjab, on 4 January 2011, who had also called for a close re-examination of the discriminatory blasphemy laws.

Murder on religious grounds is propagated in Pakistan by Islamic extremists as an act pleasing to God which guarantees the immediate salvation of the murderer and his family. The perversion of the Pakistani education system and the distortion of religious values about which Pope Benedict alerted the world in his Regensberg address has arrived at its logical conclusion with these murders in Pakistan. How many more such muders will take place until honest Muslims in Pakistan and elsewhere and the world community at large take a stand against this evil and barbarous perversion of religion.

Fr Robert McCulloch SSC has worked in Pakistan since 1978. He sits on the administrative board for St Elizabeth’s Hospital with James Francis, the Administrator of St Elizabeth’s hospital and nephew of the murdered minister, Shahbaz Bhatti. He is now based in Rome as Procurator General of the Columbans.

Columbans were first assigned to Pakistan in 1978 and have been there since.

1 comment:

Holly@A Life-Size Catholic Blog said...

I've received a few requests to open up Pay It Forward to posts from a bloggers own blog. I thought I'd give it a try. Although the original idea was to share what you've seen elsewhere on the internet, I recognize that each time we post something on our own blogs we are also sharing Good News, great tips, wonderful prayers, fabulous photos, scrumptious recipes, hilarious humor, unbelievable books, stories of goodwill, or good things that have knocked our socks off. So let's give it a try—shall we? I'd love to have you link up!

I'll leave the March linky open until March 14th.(Entered links will appear in two posts.) I can't wait to see what gets posted!