Pope lights Candle for Peace in Syria

“My beloved Syria is being tormented by a war already lasted for eight years” stated Pope Francis and appealed for peace, “at this time, I would like to make mine the hope of the children in Syria.” With these words, immediately following the noon Angelus prayer at St. Peter’s Square in Rome, Pope Francis lit a large candle for peace and reconciliation in Syria - a country torn apart by a war that has now lasted longer than World War II.

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With this act the Holy Father marked the start of the Candles for Peace in Syria initiative, an Advent campaign of the pontifical charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) aimed at raising awareness and support for the suffering Christians in this country. “May the flame of hope also reach all those who are suffering in these days from conflicts and tensions in various other parts of the world, near and far”, stated the Pope. “Let us pray and help Christians to remain in Syria and the Middle East as witnesses of mercy, forgiveness, and reconciliation”

On Thursday, 15th November, at 2AM a Kenyan Jesuit, Fr. Victor-Luke Odhiambo, 62, was killed during the attack against the Jesuit community in Cueibet, South Sudan. Three other members of the community, who were already asleep during the incident, are reported safe. A letter with condolences was addressed to the Eastern Africa Provincial, Fr. Joseph Oduor Afulo, by the Superior General of the Society of Jesus, Fr. Arturo Sosa.

Fr. Victor-Luke, SJ was born on 20th January 1956, entered the Society on 4th July 1978, and was ordained a priest on 22nd August 1987. He took his final vows on 30th May 1993. At the time of the attack he held positions of the Principal of Mazzolari Teachers’ College (MTC) and the acting Superior of the Community (since 30th January 2017). He had worked in South Sudan for approximately 10 years before this incident. Prior that he served in the Starehe Boys Centre in Nairobi, Kenya, and in Loyola High School in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.

Written by John Newton & John Pontifex - Aid to the Church in Need UK

Asia daughter says “I can’t wait to hug my mother” 

Asia Bibi’s husband and daughter have today described news of her acquittal as the
“most wonderful moment” of their lives – and thanked God for answering their prayers.
Pakistan’s Supreme Court this morning (Wednesday, 31st October) overturned the death
sentence hanging over the Catholic labourer from Punjab who in 2010 became the first
woman in the country condemned to death for blasphemy.

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Ashiq Masih and Eisham Ashiq, Asia Bibi's husband and her 18 year old daughter thank God for Asia's acquittal (Copyright Aid to the Church in Need)

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Happy #WorldTeachersDay to all of the amazing teachers out there! Thank you for all you do.

To celebrate World Teachers' Day ACN Australia is giving away $100 of free religious resources from our online store to three lucky teachers.

Nine years. That is how long Asia Bibi has spent in prison and on death row for an alleged blasphemy – which she has always denied. It is also how old her daughter Eisham was, back in June 2009, when she witnessed an enraged crowd beating her mother. Now 18, she met with ACN on Saturday 13 October in London, accompanied by her father, Ashiq Masih.

"We last saw Asia on Monday 1st October, before coming to the United Kingdom. She is well, physically and spiritually", her husband, Ashiq Masih, told ACN on Saturday 13 October in London. "After being accused of blasphemy, she has suffered, her whole family has suffered, for almost 10 years now. But by the grace of God, we hope she will very soon be set free", he added.

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Image: Eisham Bibi - Asia Bibi's daugher has been without her mother for 10 years.

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