Portuguese Priests Prepare Parishioners for Euro
Priests are giving simple advice about the Euro, especially to the elderly and underprivileged, after many people had fallen victim to swindles.
“Don't accept Euros before next year,” Father Horacio Alves Gomes, a priest from the southern Portuguese town of Nisa, was quoted by the magazine as telling his flock. “Don't trust people who say they are bank officials and ask you to change your bank notes for Euros.”
Official Euro-guide leaflets have also been stacked at the entrance to churches, Focus said.
Euro-zone countries are printing an estimated 14.5 billion Euro notes, worth 600 billion Euros ($560 billion), and minting 56 billion Euro coins for the changeover at midnight Dec. 31.
The 12 Euro-zone nations are Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain.
Korean Cardinal Receives Top German Award
AGENCE FRANCE PRESS, Jan. 29 –– The head of the Church in South Korea, Cardinal Stephen Kim, was presented with Germany's highest civilian award for his work in helping German priests escape the country during South Korea's years under a dictatorship, the news agency reported.
German ambassador Hubertus von Morr presented the Great Cross Order of Merit with Star to Cardinal Kim in the South Korean capital of Seoul.
In a presentation ceremony, the ambassador recalled Cardinal Kim's efforts to help German priests and aid workers who were harassed for their human rights work during the military dictatorships that lasted up to the mid-1980s.
Japan Welcomes “Fifth Evangelist”
The aptness of that title was defended by papal biographer George Weigel in an article in St. Louis’ archdiocesan newspaper, entitled “A Lutheran's music may help convert Japan.” Weigel reports that over the past decade, between 100 and 200 Bach choirs have sprung up all over Japan, a country Weigel said has traditionally been resistant to the Christian message.
The Christian director of one such choir, Maasaki Suzuki, said non-Christians crowd his podium after performances of Bach's music to talk about taboo subjects like death. “They inevitably ask me to explain to them what ‘hope means’ to Christians,” Suzuki added.
On Good Friday, Weigel continued, thousands of Japanese buy tickets priced in the hundreds of dollars to hear Suzuki's Bach Collegium perform the “St. Matthew Passion.” Suzuki is “convinced,” Weigel wrote, “that tens of thousands of Japanese have been baptized because of Bach.”
Concluded Weigel, “What St. Francis Xavier began, J.S. Bach may, perhaps, help complete. No one knows whether the fascination of Japanese élites with Bach will lead to mass conversions. But a new conversation about Christianity has been started in Japan. Its future course will be one of the fascinating stories of the new millennium.”------- EXCERPT:
- Feb. 11-17, 2001