Algerian martyrs beatified in home country
THE Pope has beatified 19 martyrs who were killed between 1994 and 1996 during the civil war in Algeria between the government and Islamist groups (1991-2002). The beatification mass in the city of Oran was thought to be the first held in a Muslim country. In a message to the Algerian people, Pope Francis said that the service would “help to heal the wounds of the past and to create a new dynamic of encounter and coexistence in the following of our Blessed”. He went on to thank the political authorities for making “possible the celebration on Algerian soil of the beatification of Bishop Pierre Claverie and of his 18 martyr companions”, who came from the countries of France, Spain, Tunisia, and Belgium.
NZ bishops apologise to Tauranga Moana people
BISHOPS in the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia have publicly apologised for the Church’s part in 1866 in dispossessing the Tauranga Moana people of their land, which was yielded to the Crown. Hundreds of people came to Tauranga, a city in the north island of New Zealand, to witness the apology, which was read out by the Bishop of Waiapu, the Rt Revd Andrew Hedge, last Saturday. He said: “Bishop William Williams and Archdeacon Alfred Brown, together and with the wider Church Missionary Society Central Land Board, made a decision in 1866 to yield the Te Papa land, the land that we gather on today, to the Crown in what was an act of human failure under intense and undue pressure. I stand here today with the Church to acknowledge our past, our connection to the actions of the past, to support this apology, and to commit to seeking a better relationship for the future.”
RC nuns embezzle school funds in gambling habit
TWO Roman Catholic nuns who taught at St James Catholic School, in Torrance, California, have admitted to embezzling about £396,000 from the school over a decade, and spending the cash at casinos in Las Vegas. Sister Mary Kreuper, who was head teacher at the school for 29 years until she retired this year, and Sister Lana Chang, who also retired this year, reportedly paid cheques — for tuition fees and donations — into a separate bank account from the one used by the school. Their order — the Sisters of St Joseph of Carondelet — told the AFP news agency that it was “saddened by this situation and regret any injury to our long relationship with the families of the school”. The School Pastor, Mgr Michael Meyers, broke the news in a letter to parents which asked for their “forgiveness and prayers”.
UNICEF: displaced children in Iraq in freezing conditions
MORE than 150,000 displaced children in Iraq are at risk of freezing to death this winter, the UN children’s agency (UNICEF) has warned. Families are struggling to afford food and fuel, and recent floods in the region have exacerbated the situation, the head of UNICEF operations in Iraq, Peter Hawkins, reports. “The devastating floods have made this winter even more difficult for displaced children who are extremely vulnerable to hypothermia and respiratory diseases,” he said. UNICEF is calling for donations to increase its provisions of winter clothes to the 160,000 children stranded in Sinjar, Erbil, Dohuk, Ninawa, Anbar, Diwaniya, Basra, Salaheddin, Baghdad, and Suleimaniah. He pointed to the Yazidi activist and UN Goodwill Ambassador, Nadia Murad, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last Monday after being trafficked in northern Iraq and sold into sexual slavery by the terrorist group IS. Mr Hawkins said: “As the world celebrates Nadia Murad’s incredible story of survival and her work for human rights, let us remember that there are many vulnerable children in Iraq who still need our support, even if the worse of the violence may be over.”