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Philippines: Diocese launches app to link Covid-19 patients

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Philippines: Diocese launches app to link Covid-19 patients

Novaliches Catholic Diocese in Manila, Philippines has launched an application, E-Pray, for spiritual accompaniment during COVID-19 isolation.

E-Pray is a free web application where patients can type in their contact details so that priests can get in touch with them, reported ucanews.com. Diocesan official said the app was developed by its social communications ministry in response to a recent spike in COVID-19 cases in the Philippine capital.

“With this E-Pray app, COVID patients can communicate with our diocese for spiritual advice and counseling. We can also reach out to them by allowing them to send their prayer intentions to us,” the diocese said in an announcement on social media.

“The pandemic has prevented churchgoers from accessing their priests and has deprived them of their spiritual life. During times when we feel like we are about to surrender, the presence of a priest is very important for guidance,” said Fr. Luciano Felloni, the diocese’s social communications director.

He said the internet must be maximized for the church’s mission to be more alive and active during the pandemic.

“The problem (for sick Catholics) is that there is no direct contact, because priests are not allowed to enter hospitals and quarantine facilities,” the priest added.

Although priests cannot hear confession with the app, they can use it to pray for and with the sick, he said.

“The platform will be manned by a number of volunteers who will put a sick person through to an available priest. We have enough priests and volunteers to make this work,” the diocese said, adding that more than 30 priests, including one from New York have volunteered for the project.

“Let’s not allow any single patient to go without prayer, to go without being blessed by a priest. Let’s help in our little and very simple way. Let us help with the grace of prayer,” the report added.

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Jerusalem: Archbishop requests Mass collections go to Gaza

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Jerusalem: Archbishop requests Mass collections go to Gaza

Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, has requested that the May 30 (today) Mass collections from all parishes in the diocese be donated in their entirety to Gaza’s Holy Family Parish as a sign of solidarity following airstrikes from Israel.

“In the aftermath of the tension and conflict we have recently experienced, let us turn our hearts and gaze to the needs of our brothers and sisters in Christ, especially in Gaza and in places severely affected by the recent exchange of rocket firing for 11 days,” Pizzaballa said in his May 25 statement.

The tiny Gaza Catholic community consists of 133 people — including a recently born baby. There are just under 1,100 Christians among the 2 million Muslim Palestinians in Gaza.

Archbishop Pizzaballa noted that following the “deadly clashes and bombings” the situation in Gaza had worsened, as the residents are also struggling with COVID-19, which continues to spread in the area.
“I ask you to share some of your resources to alleviate the sufferings of our Christian faithful in Gaza,” he said.

On May 21, a cease-fire went into effect, ending the fourth major round of violence between the two in 10 years. According to the Hamas Ministry of Health, at least 243 Palestinians were killed, including 66 children. It does not differentiate between civilians and gunmen deaths. Hamas is considered a terror group by the United States and Israel.

Reports said 12 Israeli civilians including two children and one soldier were killed in the worse round of fighting between Israel and Hamas in six years.

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Vatican: Pope expresses happiness over Israel, Hamas cease-fire

Pope Francis blesses one of staffs of Vatican Radio

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Vatican: Pope expresses happiness over Israel, Hamas cease-fire

…Encourages journalists to search for truth

Addressing ambassadors from various countries, Pope Francis Friday expressed gratitude Friday at the cease-fire in the Holy Land, while warning that the Covid-19 pandemic has made it clear the world struggles to find common solutions to shared problems.

“My thoughts turn to the events taking place these days in the Holy Land,” the Holy Father said, referring to the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. “I thank God for the decision to halt the armed conflicts and acts of violence, and I pray for pursuit of paths of dialogue and peace.”

The truce between Israel and Hamas began on Friday, after international diplomatic efforts and growing pressure from Israel’s closest ally, the United States, to bring an end to the flare-up. The truce halts nearly two weeks of fighting that has left hundreds dead and parts of the already impoverished Gaza Strip reduced to rubble.

The pope also noted that on Saturday, Catholic bishops of the Holy Land together with the faithful celebrate the Vigil of Pentecost in Saint Stephen’s Church in Jerusalem and implore the gift of peace.
Meanwhile Pope Francis has made a historic visit to Palazzo Pio, the building which houses Vatican Radio, the Holy See’s Radio station; and L’Osservatore Romano, the daily newspaper of the Vatican City State.

The Holy Father’s first ever visit to the House comes as Vatican Radio and L’Osservatore Romano mark their 90th and 160th anniversaries respectively, this year.

Both Vatican Radio and L’Osservatore Romano are part of the Dicastery for Communication of the Holy See. The Dicastery comprised other sectors including the Vatican Television Center, the Vatican Publishing House, the Holy See Press Office, the Photographic Service, the Vatican Internet Service and the Vatican Printing press.

Accompanied on his visit by the Prefect of the Dicastery, Paolo Ruffini, Pope Francis met with journalists from Vatican Radio, who lined the corridors to greet him as well as other functionaries attached to the Dicastery for Communication.

The Pope visited the office of L’Osservatore Romano, where he met some of the journalists of the newspaper and was presented some editions of the daily in different languages. He also stopped by the multimedia office of Vatican Radio where he was given a short rundown of the inner workings of the technical department.

He then proceeded to the Chapel where he spent a few moments in prayer.

He even set aside some time to go “live-to-air” on “Radio Vaticana Italia” chatting briefly with some journalists about reaching out to as many listeners and readers as possible.

All through the visit, the pope shook hands and exchanged friendly greetings, and offered words of advice and encouragement, and even stopped on the fourth floor of the Palazzo for a refreshing drink of Mate tea, a traditional South American drink.

Pope Francis then proceeded to Palazzo Pio’s “Sala Marconi” where he briefly addressed a group of Vatican journalists, urging them to work together more efficiently and to avoid functionalism.

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U’Kingdom: Assisted suicide could become law with new bill –Bishop warns

Nigeria’s Fr. Bede Ukwuije (L) with fellow Holy Ghost Congregation members in Rome
shortly after their Pentecost Sunday Mass presided by visiting Ghanian Cardinal and
Prefect of Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, Peter Turkson (M)

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U'Kingdom: Assisted suicide could become law with new bill –Bishop warns

England and Wales face “the very real threat” of assisted suicide becoming law, the UK Church warned Catholics on the eve of the introduction of new bill to legalize the practice.

Auxiliary Bishop John Sherrington of Westminster, the lead for life issues of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, said the “aid in dying bill” would “fundamentally change the relationship between the doctor and the patient as it would change from treatment and care to assisting another’s death.”

He said the private member’s bill, due to be introduced (Wednesday May 26) into the House of Lords, was based on “false compassion” for sick and elderly patients.

Its proposals, he said in a statement, stood in contrast to the “extraordinary commitment of health care professionals and their loving care for the sick and dying” during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“These acts of heroic love are a powerful testimony to the fundamental dignity of the human person and to the importance of proper love and care in the face of grave illness and in the last moments of life,” said Bishop Sherrington.

“The Catholic Church remains opposed to any form of assisted suicide,” he said. “We reaffirm our support for high quality end-of-life care, which includes spiritual and pastoral support for the one who is dying and their family.”

The annual “Day for Life,” celebrated in England and Wales June 20, “will call Catholics to pray for good care of those who are elderly, sick and dying and to oppose such legislation,” the bishop added.

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LEAD STORY JUNE 13

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