Dutch Jesuit Fr. Francis van der Lugt was brutally murdered in Homs, Syria by masked gunman. The septigenarian cleric was beaten by a masked man on the street in front of the Jesuit monastery in Bustan al-Diwan, a Christian portion of the Old City, and then he was shot twice in the head.
Fr. van der Lugt who was a trained psychotherapist, had spent fifty years living in Syria ministering to disabled people at the Al Ard Center near Homs. The Center also took in refugees from the Syrian Civil War, but that mission curtailed as the staff fled since they could not ensure the safety of their guests. Fr. van der Lugt tried to be a companion to those in mental distress and give them as much food as possible.
Fr. Frans refused to be part of the February 2014 UN supervised evacuation of 1,400 people from the city, which had been besieged for a year and a half. In the Old City of Homs, the Christian population had shrunk from tens of thousands to just 66. Christians used to make up 10% of the Syrian population before the Civil War, but Christians have been brutalized for their faith during the conflict Fr. van der Lugt reasoned that he was the only priest remaining to minister to his people so how could he leave.
In January, Fr. van der Lugt made pleas through the media that gained world-wide attention to have humanitarian aid sent to the city to feed the starving Muslim and Christian population.
This led to meeting with UN officials to receive aid and hear first hand accounts of the humanitarian trials in Homs. Fr. van der Lugt procured four kilos of kilos of flour a week from a Muslim charity so that he could make bread and distribute half a loaf to the enclaves neediest 30 people.
Fr. van der Lugt’s selfless dedication to his fellow man and openness to serve the Lord even unto death
echos the ultimate sacrifice that our Lord Jesus Christ which we will celebrate next week in the Triduum.
|Artist Mauro Pallotta with his graffiti art “Superpope” Francis (photo: Andreas Dueren/CNA)|
Mauro Pallotta is a 41 year old artist and sculptor based in Rome. But Pallotta may better be known as a celebrated street artist based on widespread notoriety of his graffiti “Super-Pope” Francis on the Via Plauto, a tiny cobble stoned street in the Borgo Pio district near St. Peter’s Square in Rome (Vatican City).
Pallotta (a.k.a. Maupal) was inspired to do the piece one evening when he was reading a comic book and the image of the Pope appeared on television. Pallotta opined:
“I thought of representing this Pope, Francis, as a super hero of the Marvel (Heroes), simply because, according to me, he is one of the few people who, having a real power as a Pope, he uses it for the good like the superheroes of the American Marvel.” It dawned on the artist that this Pope also had superpowers in the form of humility and empathy.
Pallotta likened Super-Pope to “It’s a little bit like Greek mythology brought to modernity.” In depicting Pope Francis as a superhero using his papal authority for the good, the pontiff is shown as a pop style dressed in his understated white cassock, simple shoes and an iron pectoral crosscross as the Super-Pope carrying a black briefcase labeled “Valores” (meaning values in both Latin and Spanish). This symbolizes that the first New World Pope only carries his Christian values.
A red and blue scarf is hanging out of the briefcase, which is for the Argentine San Lorenzo de Football (soccer) club, which the Pope been a fan of this underdog team since his boyhood.
Pope Francis greeted players from San Lorenzo at the Vatican in December after a Wednesday general audience to congratulate them on winning the Tornial Incial championship.
Pope Francis has repeatedly spoken of the spiritual values of sports teams. His Holiness exhorted Argentine and Italians sports clubs that: “[R]ugby is like life because we are all heading for a goal, we need to run together and pass the ball from hand to hand until we get to it”.
The artist explained that the San Lorenzo soccer scarf brought Super-Pope Francis to being human. However, considering Pope Francis’ connection between sports and spirituality, carrying the San Lorenzo scarf with his values “baggage” , it can be seen as a reminder that even a “Super-Pope” needs the support of his underdog team to achieve the goal of advancing the kingdom of God.
Vatican Communications embraced Pallotta’s Super-Pope folk art tribute by posting it on its Twitter feed.
Italian artist Dario Gambarin took six hours to plow the likeness of Pope Francis in his parents field in Castargnaro, Italy.
The artist chose Pope Francis as a subject as Mr. Gambarin was inspired by the Pontiff’s call for a worldwide day of prayer and fasting for peace in Syria on September 7th.
|Field Artist Dario Gambarin|
Gambarin relies on his innate sense of proportion and his tractor driving capabilities to create his field art. The image can only really be appreciated when flying near Verona.
This type of art is deleted after a few days so the field can be cultivated for the new sowing of seed.
May this act of artisinal agriculture remind us that “Love Liberates” as the world prays for peace in Syria.
h/t: The Telegraph
[originally posted on DC-LausDeo.US]
|The Dormition of the Theotokis by Svitozar Nenyuk|
The Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is the feast when the Church commemorates Mary’s assumption of body and soul into heaven. As the young Immaculate Virgin said yes to God’s call, her body was the first temple for the Son of God. Catholics believe that Mary’s holy body now enjoys full union with her Son in eternal glory.
Taylor Marshall wrote an interesting essay “Did the Virgin Mary Die? The Answer May Surprise You” which sought to use art, iconography and writings of the Early Church Fathers to clear up any ambiguities from Pope Venerable Pius XII’s dogmatic declaration Munificentissimus Deus (1950). Marshall concluded that Mary was laid in the tomb and hear death when her soul was detached from her earthly body but that her Assumption from living a sinless life that was totally oriented towards Christ that the Lord allowed for the Assumption of her body into heaven. Moreover, Marshall concluded that sin Mary died without sin that she was given dominion over Purgatory as prophesized in Ecclesiastes 24.
Orthodox Christianity also revere the end of Mary’s life on earth. In the Eastern Churches, The Dormition of the Theotokis or, to use more contemporary parlance, “the Falling Asleep of the God-bearer” is sn as a transformation of Mary’s life into a heavenly and immortal existence without the shadows of gloom or death.
There is a persistent legend among Orthodox Christian believers that all of the disciples, save Thomas who was preaching in India, were present for Mary’s dormition and burial. These disciples were said to guard the tomb for three days. On the third day, Thomas saw Mary’s body rising to heaven. Mary greeted him as “My friend” as Thomas was escorted by angels to proclaim the assumption. This tradition echos the Church of Jerusalem’s sense that Mary’s dormition had a deep sense of the resurrection.
Marshall’s musing that Mary’s death involved separation of her soul from her body as well as appreciating the Assumption compliments the Eastern Christian’s notions of the Dormition of Mary.
Sola Scriptura Protestants probably have problems with theology premised on this Dormition tradition, particularly on practices not christologically focused. However, the Early Church clearly revered this dormition/assumption before the scriptural canon was determined. The solemnity is not a quasi-deitization of Mary but a recognition of her place in salvific history and points to Christ.
|Pope Francis meets with Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II|
One of the lesser appreciated virtues of Vatican II is for the Roman Catholic Church to appreciate the riches from the Eastern Church. It is worth noting that when Pope Francis (as Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio) was Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he also acted as the Ordinary of the Eastern Rite Catholics in the region. Cardinal Bergoligio was known for trying to close the 1000 year estrangement with the Orthodox Christianity and advocated on behalf of the Orthodox while in dialogue with the Argentine government. So it would not be surprising if Pope Francis’ papacy features more appreciation of the riches of Christian faith from the East.
all creation rightly gives you praise,
for all life and all holiness come from you.
In the plan of your wisdom
she who bore the Christ in her womb
was raised body and soul in glory to be with him in heaven.
May we follow her example in reflecting your holiness
and join in her hymn of endless love and praise.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
While reading this book, I had mixed emotions but, overall, I was a bit disappointed. On the positive side, he did include a good biography of Jorge Mario Bergoglio and selected ten quotes by Pope Francis that reveal his beliefs. He also listed an extensive bibliography of where he found his information. He did educate me on the fact that very few popes have come from religious orders. I didn’t know that and he also included a list of the ones who came from the Benedictine, Augustinian, Dominican, Franciscan, Cistercian and Jesuit Orders. Of course, it was well known that Pope Francis is the only pope from the Jesuit Order of Priests. I also appreciated his chapter on the evolution of the papal election and background information on previous conclaves.
But I couldn’t help wondering how skewed it might be since Pope Francis was elected on March 13, 2013 and this book was published on May 14, 2013. Gathering information to compile a book that needed time to be edited and published meant Mr. Escobar wrote this biography, in a very short time period. I couldn’t help but wonder if there was a competition from the publishers on who would release the first book on Pope Francis?
What soured this book for me a bit, was Mr. Escobar’s comments on Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. One can infer from his comments that he was not a fan of our previous pope. He even went as far to say that “in many ways Benedict XVI was a roadblock for the Catholic Church trying to find its way toward modernity.”
What disappointed me is that I feel it was a book on facts rather than the man himself. The ten quotes he chose to include in his book are ones I’ve heard fluttering around the various media outlets and I do find hope and inspiration from them. But it wasn’t anything new and revealing. Of course, he didn’t have time to wait for an original quote but had to use what was already out there. He obviously never met Pope Francis and interviewed him for his book. That would have brought a warmth and interesting spin to it. Perhaps I had unrealistic expectations of this book when only a few short months ago, no one here in US even knew who he was. Would I recommend this book? Not as a must read or as a type of book one can’t put down, but I would for someone who wants to learn more about the papal office and it’s history.
I was given a complimentary copy of Francis Man of Prayer from Booksneeze in exchange for my honest opinion.
“Habemus Papam!” the protodeacon announced to the waiting crowd in St. Peter’s Square on March 13, 2013. “We have a pope! The most eminent and most reverend Lord, Lord Jorge Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church Bergoglio, Who takes for himself the name of Francis.”
The people cheered when they heard the new pope would be Pope Francis. But they also asked themselves, Who is Cardinal Bergoglio? Where is he from? What kind of pope will he be?