Labor Day Reflection: We Need One Another to Survive

Labor Day makes me mindful of our interconnectedness; we need one another in order to survive. Consider how we are each called to contribute as well as how we benefit from the labor of others:
Even that simple can of corn you pull from the grocery store shelf has thousands of people standing behind it: from those who stock the shelves to the truckers who transport the product to the store; from the regional warehouse workers to the rail operators who supply the warehouse; from the farmers and harvesters to the granary workers. Then there are others such as those who supply fertilizers that aid in growth and those who developed innumerable agricultural technologies over the years

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Burkina Faso: First Holy Communion in Between Terrorism and COVID-19

Their faces radiant with joy, children dressed in white dance and sing, clap their hands and pray to God. In Kaya, a provincial capital in Burkina Faso, nothing can overshadow the joy of celebrating First Holy Communion. For a brief moment, the children can forget the horrors they have experienced and the difficulties they face day after day. “The children are originally from Dablo. They came here fleeing from terrorism. But it was COVID-19 that forced us to postpone all of the celebrations that had been planned for the reception of the Sacrament of the First Eucharist,” the priest, Father Gabriel Bamogo, explained to the pontifical foundation ACN International, which provides aid to Christians in Burkina Faso. “Now everyone is giving thanks to the Lord for the joy and the mercy that He gave to them through the Sacrament.”

First terrorism, then COVID-19: Burkina Faso, a country located in the western part of Africa, has taken a battering. Once an oasis of stability and internal peace, since 2015 the country has been drifting ever further into chaos. Jihadists and criminal gangs are inflicting violence upon large parts of the predominantly Muslim country. The motives behind this are manifold: in the multi-ethnic state, rancor arising from the neglect of entire regions by the government has come together with ethnic rivalries and Islamic fanaticism. Jihadists would like to establish a new caliphate. Criminals are taking advantage of the chaos to serve their own purposes. The drug and arms trade is flourishing. In spite of support from France, the former colonial power, the government has failed to gain control of the situation. Almost one million people have become refugees in their own country – bleak prospects for the people living in one of the poorest countries in the world. Christians, who make up about thirty percent of the population, are also targeted by terrorism. Tens of thousands have fled from the regions that are under attack by terrorists. Many have sought refuge in the diocese of Kaya.

Children receiving the Sacrament of the First Eucharist talk with ACN International about their faith in Jesus.

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Italian and Kazakh Hospitals Partner to Battle Covid-19

The Catholic Church in Kazakhstan is committed to the common good of the country and tries to support the national health system in the fight against Covid-19. In response to the spread of the coronavirus, Caritas Kazakhstan has launched a new long-term project, entitled “Stop-Covid Kz,” reports Fides News Agency.

The goal is to get closer to the country’s vulnerable and imperfect health system, especially in regions far from central cities, in order to provide health workers with adequate professional support. To this end, Caritas has started twinning between Italian and Kazakh hospitals, so that the former can offer advice to the latter: Fr. Trezzani, an Italian missionary in the country and Director of Caritas Kazakhstan: “A few days ago we started the first collaboration between a facility in Almaty and San Raffaele hospital in Milan, a prestigious facility in Italy. We would like our action not to be limited to the emergency of the pandemic, but to continue over time”. San Raffaele is a scientific institute and a highly specialized and internationally recognized university polyclinic, founded in 1971 to provide specialized treatments and contribute to the development of new therapies for many pathologies.

“The pastoral and social activities of the Catholic community in Kazakhstan – Fr. Trezzani points out – have slowed down due to social distancing measures. We, therefore, decided to implement new methods of action in order not to stop and continue to operate so that this time of forced closure is not wasted. Shortly before the outbreak of the pandemic, as Caritas Kazakhstan, we were working on the opening of a new day center for children with disabilities, in collaboration with the Municipality of Almaty. A few days ago, a representative of the health inspection services visited our Center to tell us everything that needs to be changed or improved: in this way, we will be ready to start as soon as the lockdown is over”.

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Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur: Taking Care of Each Other is the Vocation of the Nation

“This year will be remembered by many as the year where we all had to make radical changes. With many of our plans canceled, our schedules cleared, and friends and family members distanced from us, we are adapting to new norms of life. It is natural for us to ask, where is God in all this? Be assured that God is still with us. Though our lives might be in many ways stripped of normality, and so many laboring under new hardships brought about by this pandemic, God has not abandoned us”: this is what Archbishop Julian Leow says in a Message released for the 63rd “National Day” (Hari Merdeka), on August 31, which commemorates the Declaration of Independence of Malaysia, of August 31, 1957, and in view of the Celebrations for the 57th Malaysia Day, on September 16, which commemorates the establishment of the Federation of Malaysia, which took place in 1963.

This year’s theme, chosen by the entire nation for these celebrations, is “Malaysia Prihatin” (“Malaysia Cares”): is a reflection of the spirit of patriotism, unity, and love for the country which has especially been evident in the nation’s efforts in fighting COVID-19.

The Malaysian Catholic Church feels fully part of this spirit. The pandemic has affected every aspect of life with radical changes. “In the midst of all these new difficulties, the Archbishop, quoting the Psalmist, assures: ‘The Lord is near to the broken-hearted, and saves the crushed in spirit’ (Psalm 34:18)”.

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