Media Watch

Portuguese Priests Prepare Parishioners for Euro

FOCUS, Jan. 29 –– Priests in Portugal have taken it upon themselves to teach the faithful about the launch of Euro coins and notes, the weekly magazine said.

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”

ST. LOUIS REVIEW, Jan. 12 –– The beauty of Johann Sebastian Bach's music once prompted Swedish Lutheran Archbishop Nathan Soederblom to dub the devout 16th century composer the “fifth evange-list.”

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.”

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Representing the Holy Spirit that descended “like a dove” and hovered over Jesus when he was baptized.

Bishop Burbidge: The Pandemic is Our ‘Pentecost Moment’

This “21st century Pentecost moment” brought on by the pandemic, Bishop Michael Burbidge said, has underscored the need for good communication in the Church across all forms of media, in order to invite people into the fullness of the Gospel.

Cistercian Father Thomas Esposito says of discerning one’s college choice, ‘There has to be something that tugs at you and makes you want to investigate it further. And then the personal encounter comes in the form of a visit or a chat with a student or alumnus who communicates with the same enthusiasm or energy about the place. And then that love of a place can be a seed which germinates in your own heart through prayer.’

Choose a College With a Discerning Mind and Heart

Cistercian Father Thomas Esposito, assistant professor of theology at the University of Dallas (UD) and subprior (and former vocations director) of the Cistercian Abbey of Our Lady of Dallas, drew from his experience as both a student and now monastic religious to help those discerning understand the parallels between religious and college discernment.

Representing the Holy Spirit that descended “like a dove” and hovered over Jesus when he was baptized.

Bishop Burbidge: The Pandemic is Our ‘Pentecost Moment’

This “21st century Pentecost moment” brought on by the pandemic, Bishop Michael Burbidge said, has underscored the need for good communication in the Church across all forms of media, in order to invite people into the fullness of the Gospel.