In an article on thanksgiving the Australian Jesuit poet Peter Steele reminisces about how he discovered the American writer SJ Perelman. While on holiday as a boy he picked up a copy of Perelman’s Acres and Pains at a kerbside shop in Western Australia. He describes the reading of it as though some ‘Rosetta stone were divulging its amazing secrets’ and how grateful he felt for this literary revelation: ‘‘Bless you for this’, I thought, as I still do’.
General Intention: Respect for Children. That children may be respected, loved and never exploited in any way.
I used to think of child labour as something Dickensian, something that happened in the Victorian phase of the Industrial Revolution. However it seems that industrial revolutions in the developing world have produced their own versions of those British children who used to climb up chimneys, haul coal in mines and operate dangerous machinery for unconscionable hours for slave wages.
Not long ago the debate was whether it was happening at all. Today the question is whether global warming and consequent climate disruption will destroy industrial civilization as we know it, and if so how quickly. A sense of just how far we have moved can be found in the debate between environment-watchers George Monbiot and Paul Kingsnorth.
Shortly after the watershed democratic election of 1994 I was involved in the organisation of the annual meeting of the Conference of Major Religious Superiors of Southern Africa. To help us reflect on the recent, bitter past, we had the good fortune to have emeritus Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, Desmond Tutu.
Missionary Intention: Christians in Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar. That by placing their trust in the strength of the Holy Spirit, Christians in Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar, who often confront great difficulties, will not lose the courage to proclaim the Gospel to their brothers and sisters.
It is generally true that be a Christian in Asia is to be a member of a small minority. By contrast here in sub-Saharan Africa, Christianity is either in the majority or constitutes a substantial minority.
General Intention: Word of God be better known. That the Word of God may be better known, accepted and lived as the one true source of freedom and joy.
General Intention: Refugees and Displaced Peoples. That public opinion may address the problems of the millions who have been displaced or become refugees in order to find real solutions to their often tragic conditions.
Praying with the Pope -- June 2009 -- Missionary Intention
That local Church communities serving areas torn by violence may be supported through the love and concrete signs of nearness offered by Catholics from around the world.
General Intention: Foreign Debt Relief. That international efforts to help poorer nations may bring prompt, concrete results, especially to relieve the crushing burden of foreign debt.
POPE’S MISSION INTENTION - APRIL 2009
Missionary Intention: Christians as Signs of Hope to the Poor. That Christians who work in areas where conditions are desperate for the poor, the weak, women and children, may be signs of hope due to their courageous witness to the Gospel of solidarity and love.