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  A voice for the poor   Edited by HK prison chaplain 
 
Fr John Wotherspoon O.M.I . 胡頌恆神父    jdwomi@gmail.com   

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Imitating Pope Francis

This website's anti-drug campaign  saves people from going to prison in HK   

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S.A.

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EU

How campaign began     HK:how long prison for  trafficking?      www.AsylumSeekerHK.com 

My number in South Africa: +27 (0)788228537 (6  hours behind HK)

Wednesday January 18

  Thank you for a prayer!   Dec 28 to Jan 30: 
  my trip to  
South Africa, Lesotho, Zambia and Dubai
  See daily reports, below.  God bless all benefactors! 

Africa02.gif (45330 bytes)

South Africa

South-Africa-map.png (255054 bytes)

Lesotho

 Lesotho.gif (393184 bytes) 

Zambia

Zambia.gif (50524 bytes)

Dubai

  UAE.jpg (45387 bytes)   UAE.gif (178996 bytes) 

My number in South Africa: +27 (0)788228537 (SA is 6  hours behind HK)

Yesterday morning after Mass with 6 other Oblate priests at the Mazenod Centre at Maseru in Lesotho, I was blessed to find that one of them was driving after Mass to Bloemfontein in South Africa... where I needed to go for a flight to Durban.

At the lovely little Bloemfontein airport I caught up on some computer work and then enjoyed a great 50 minute flight to Durban. As I looked out at great expanses of fields, then the breathtaking Drakensberg mountains, then glorious cloud formations, I thought to myself: how could a pilot be an athiest?!

Last night I arrived at the OMI provincial centre in Durban. Today I'm due to meet with three more families of prisoners in Hong Kong.

Thank you Jesus for Day 21!

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  Chris McDonnell (UK)

Sometimes I feel like a motherless child

Seeing those pictures from Chicago in 2008 filled me, and I am sure, so many others with hope, joy and expectation. This weekend, with the inauguration on January 20th, I have no such feelings; just the opposite.

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The Book Blog:   4 readings + recordings 
Comments welcome here      Readings are from Simple Bible

Exodus 18: Moses' father-in-law, Jethro, heard about all that God had done for Moses and the Israelites, so he visited Moses in the desert. Jethro saw that Moses was struggling to do so much administration by himself. Jethro suggested that Moses appoint men to help him: leaders of thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.

Moses accepted this advice and appointed judges as Jethro suggested. These judges handled all small issues and referred only difficult cases to Moses.
 

Dear God, please make us willing to share responsibilities with other people
My recording of this reading

 

Psalm 2: Why are the nations revolting against God? Why won't the nations accept God? O kings and rulers of the nations, listen to God's voice. Serve the Lord with love and honor. Blessed are the nations that love the Lord

Let all the nations love you, Lord. Let all the nations love you
Recording

 

Acts 17.1-9:  Paul and his friends next went to the town of Thessalonika. On three Sabbaths, Paul spoke at the local prayer hall, explaining how Jesus is the Anointed One. Some Jewish listeners and many non-Jewish people became believers. But the religious leaders, out of jealousy, stirred up a gang from the market place.

The gang dragged some believers to the city council. The leaders shouted "The people who have been turning the whole world upside down, have come to our town. They claim there is another emperor, Jesus". The believers were eventually allowed to go on bail

Jesus, please don't let jealous people stop anyone from becoming a Christian
Recording

Luke 4.14 -22: Jesus, with the power of the Spirit in him, returned to Galilee. He taught in local prayer halls. His reputation spread. He came to his home town of Nazareth and went to the prayer hall on the Sabbath day as he usually did.

He stood up and read these words from the prophet Isaiah: "The spirit of the Lord has been given to me. He has sent me to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to prisoners, to give sight to the blind, to set the downtrodden free".

Jesus then sat down and said to the people in the prayer hall "These words from Isaiah are being fulfilled today even as you listen"

Jesus, please help me be more open to the power of your Spirit.
 Recording

Reflection on the above readings: Since many so-called "developed" countries are drifting away from God, the words of Psalm 2, above, have special meaning: Blessed are the nations that love the Lord. The opposite is true: nations which turn their back on God are bringing trouble on themselves, just like people who turn their back on reasonable concern for their own health. ----------------------------------------------

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Shame, HK government, shame, shame, shame:
Govt's stand on stranded children irks lawmakers

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Pope Francis: The Joy of Love  - on love in the family
Full English text      Full Chinese text

281: Recording  Sex education should provide information while keeping in mind that children and young people have not yet attained full maturity. The information has to come at a proper time and in a way suited to their age.

It is not helpful to overwhelm them with data without also helping them to develop a critical sense in dealing with the onslaught of new ideas and suggestions, the flood of pornography and the overload of stimuli that can deform sexuality. 

Young people need to realize that they are bombarded by messages that are not beneficial for their growth towards maturity.

They should be helped to recognize and to seek out positive influences, while shunning the things that cripple their capacity for love. 

We also have to realize that “a new and more appropriate language” is needed “in introducing children and adolescents to the topic of sexuality”.

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An open letter to Pope Francis ahead of the March for Life

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Pope's letter on climate change:  Laudato Si  我主應受讚美
Full English text       Full Chinese text

Today I am reading Day 20 of this excellent little book 40 Days of Pilgrimage with Pope Francis: Care for Our Common Home"
(used with permission)

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Pope Francis: The Joy of the Gospel   
Full English text         Full Chinese text

255: Recording  The Synod Fathers spoke of the importance of respect for religious freedom, viewed as a fundamental human right. This includes “the freedom to choose the religion which one judges to be true and to manifest one’s beliefs in public”.

 A healthy pluralism, one which genuinely respects differences and values them as such, does not entail privatizing religions in an attempt to reduce them to the quiet obscurity of the individual’s conscience or to relegate them to the enclosed precincts of churches, synagogues or mosques.

 This would represent, in effect, a new form of discrimination and authoritarianism. The respect due to the agnostic or non-believing minority should not be arbitrarily imposed in a way that silences the convictions of the believing majority or ignores the wealth of religious traditions. In the long run, this would feed resentment rather than tolerance and peace.


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10 years ago today:

2007-01-18 Visit to Ricci sites & poor areas by PIME friends Mario & Paulo

2007-01-18 Prayers please for Baby Ho - rare disease: Biliary Atresia

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 Bloemfontein's Bram Fischer airport is easily the best small airport I've ever experienced. But I had to smile when I looked at the computer screen projected above the check-in desk: it had the words "This is not a genuine copy of Windows. Click here to obtain a genuine copy"!

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Please join me in praying for one part of the world each day of the week:

Sun: Africa             Mon: Europe & Russia         Tues: South Asia  
Wed: East Asia       Thurs: S.E. Asia & Pacific 
Frid: South America     Sat: Central & North America    
Jesus, today, Wednesday, please bless the people of East Asia

And praying for prisoners in one part of China each day of the month: On this 10th of the month,  Jesus please bless the prisoners of Hubei

And praying for one of the world's poorest countries each day of the month: On this 10th of the month, Jesus please bless the people of Guinea

And praying for one Islam-related intention each day of the week:
Jesus, today,
Wednesday, please pacify
Al-Shabaab 

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Tuesday January 17

  Thank you for a prayer!   Dec 28 to Jan 30: 
  my trip to  
South Africa, Lesotho, Zambia and Dubai
  See daily reports, below.  God bless all benefactors! 

Africa02.gif (45330 bytes)

South Africa

South-Africa-map.png (255054 bytes)

Lesotho

 Lesotho.gif (393184 bytes) 

Zambia

Zambia.gif (50524 bytes)

Dubai

  UAE.jpg (45387 bytes)   UAE.gif (178996 bytes) 

Hello again from the Mazenod Centre in Maseru, the capital of Lesotho. 

Yesterday I had the privilege of visiting the grave of Blessed Joseph Gerard O.M.I. in the district of Roma, about 30 minutes from Maseru. Like Pope John Paul II in 1988, I knelt at Gerard's grave. For Oblates, Gerard's grave is the second holiest place in our congregation, after the grave of our founder St Eugene de Mazenod in Marseilles. 

Photos of yesterday's visit are Here - photos of Gerard's grave and photos of the beautiful countryside of the lovely mountain Kingdom of Lesotho!

Today I'm due to travel by road to Bloemfontein, then take plane to Durban to meet with the families of 5 inmates in prison in Hong Kong.

Forgot to mention yesterday: last Sunday at Maseru Women's prison I was able, thanks to the kindness of Chinese friends in HK, to do the same as last year in Kenya: arrange for the release of one or more prisoners by paying their fines (such is the system in Africa ...fines can take the place of years in prison...but most prisoners have no family or friends who can afford to pay fines)

Thank you Jesus for Day 20! ....   and many thanks to kind O.M.I.s of Lesotho for your kind hospitality these past five days

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World's 8 richest people have as much money as poorest 50%

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The Book Blog:   4 readings + recordings 
Comments welcome here      Readings are from Simple Bible

Exodus 17:  

In one place where there was no water the people grumbled against Moses: "Give us water to drink or else we will die." Moses asked God for help and God told Moses to strike a large rock with his staff. When Moses did this, water flowed from the rock.

In another place the Israelites were attacked by the Amalekites. 
Moses prayed while Joshua led the people in battle. As long as Moses kept his arms raised up in prayer, the Israelites were winning. But when Moses let his arms down, the Amalekites started winning. So Aaron and Hur got Moses to sit on a rock and they supported his hands until sunset. Joshua and the people then won the battle.

Dear God, please help us understand the power of prayer
My recording of this reading

 

Psalm 1: Happy the person who avoids evil and evil entertainment. Happy the person who reads and meditates on God's words. Such a person is like a tree planted beside a river, getting plenty of nourishment, bearing plenty of fruit. Such a person is on the Way of Life. People who do evil are on the Way of Death.
Dear Lord, please help me do good and avoid evil

Recording

 

Acts 16.25-37: Late that night in prison, Paul and Silas were praying and singing God's praises, while the other prisoners listened to them. Suddenly there was an earthquake that shook the prison. All the doors opened, and the chains fell from all the prisoners

The main jailer drew his sword and was about to kill himself,
thinking the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted to him "Don't hurt yourself. We are all still here".

Trembling, the jailer threw himself at the feet of Paul and Silas. Then he escorted them out of the prison asking "What must I do to be saved?"

They said "Become a believer in the Lord Jesus, and both you and your household will be saved". They explained the word of God to him and his family. He washed their wounds and then they "washed his wounds" by baptizing him and all his household. They had a meal together in the jailer's home, to celebrate the family's conversion to belief in God.

Jesus, let more people know the joy of conversion
Recording

Luke 4: 1-13: Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness. For 40 days he ate nothing, and was tempted by the Devil.

The Devil said "If you are the Son of God, turn a stone into bread". Jesus replied "Scripture says we do not live on bread alone"

The Devil took him to a high place and showed him all the kingdoms of the world. "Worship me and they will all be yours" he said. Jesus replied "Scripture says we must worship only God"

Then the Devil took him to the top of the Temple in Jerusalem and said "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down and let the angels protect you".

Jesus replied "Scripture says we must not put the Lord our God to the test".  The Devil then left him.

Jesus, protect us from the Devil and all evil

Recording

 

Prayer makes a difference (today's first reading, Exodus 17); prayer and meditation protect us and keep us spiritually healthy (Psalm 1); prayer and praise open prison doors (Acts 16); God's word protects us from Satan (Luke 4) 

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Pope Francis: The Joy of Love  - on love in the family
Full English text      Full Chinese text

280: Recording  The need for sex education: The Second Vatican Council spoke of the need for “a positive and prudent sex education” to be imparted to children and adolescents “as they grow older”, with “due weight being given to the advances in the psychological, pedogogical and didactic sciences”.

We may well ask ourselves if our educational institutions have taken up this challenge. It is not easy to approach the issue of sex education in an age when sexuality tends to be trivialized and impoverished. 

It can only be seen within the broader framework of an education for love, for mutual self-giving. In such a way, the language of sexuality would not be sadly impoverished but illuminated and enriched. 

The sexual urge can be directed through a process of growth in self-knowledge and self-control capable of nurturing valuable capacities for joy and for loving encounter

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Refugees risking lives to reach bright lights of Johannesburg

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Pope's letter on climate change:  Laudato Si  我主應受讚美
Full English text       Full Chinese text

Today I am reading Day 19 of this excellent little book 40 Days of Pilgrimage with Pope Francis: Care for Our Common Home"
(used with permission)

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Pope Francis: The Joy of the Gospel   
Full English text         Full Chinese text

254: Recording  Non-Christians, by God’s gracious initiative, when they are faithful to their own consciences, can live “justified by the grace of God”, and thus be “associated to the paschal mystery of Jesus Christ”.

But due to the sacramental dimension of sanctifying grace, God’s working in them tends to produce signs and rites, sacred expressions which in turn bring others to a communitarian experience of journeying towards God.

While these lack the meaning and efficacy of the sacraments instituted by Christ, they can be channels which the Holy Spirit raises up in order to liberate non-Christians from atheistic immanentism or from purely individual religious experiences. 

The same Spirit everywhere brings forth various forms of practical wisdom which help people to bear suffering and to live in greater peace and harmony.

As Christians, we can also benefit from these treasures built up over many centuries, which can help us better to live our own beliefs.

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10 years ago today:

2007-01-17 CAS Garth with Ricci School   Zhaoqing supporters Joe, Nancy, Elaine, Helen and Ms Ho

2007-01-15,16 Visit to centers by  Wendy & Maria Goretti (HK) + Good Shepherd group Agnes, Juliana, Paulina, Virginia (Macau/Korea)

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 For African people rain is a sign of blessing. Well, yesterday, for my final full day in Lesotho, there was not only rain ....but hail! 

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Please join me in praying for one part of the world each day of the week:

Sun: Africa  Mon: Europe & Russia   Tues: South Asia  
Wed: East Asia Thurs: S.E. Asia & Pacific 
Frid: S. America  Sat: Central & North America    
Jesus, today, Tuesday, please bless the people of South Asia

And praying for prisoners in one part of China each day of the month: On this 17th of the month,  Jesus please bless the prisoners of Shaanxi

And praying for one of the world's poorest countries each day of the month: On this 17th of the month,  Jesus please bless the people of Malawi

And praying for one Islam-related intention each day of the week:
Jesus, today,
Tuesday, please pacify Boko Haram

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Monday January 16

Another memorable day yesterday here in the Kingdom of Lesotho (population 2 million). In the morning I went with Fr Tanti O.M.I. for 9am Mass at a men's prison ....before which I was given the chance to speak to all the inmates in the prison ...about 500 of them...in their compound .... and then 11am Mass at a nearby women's prison. Choirs at both Masses really good. Staff at both prisons really friendly and helpful. 

It was good to be able to speak with the inmates because on release they (especially the women) will be prime targets for Drug Lords trying to recruit drug mules

After the two Masses ...on a very, very, very hot day...I invited Fr Tanki for a restaurant meal ....coming home from which I saw an extraordinary billboard - photo Here ...scroll down to Jan 15.
(Also at this link are more photos from Jan 14)

Just got back to the O.M.I. Mazenond Centre in time for Bruce Aitken's call from HK for a chat on his Sunday night program "The Hour of Love" which is playing recorded messages I send from the families of inmates I'm visiting here in Southern Africa.

Then I had some Chinese visitors ....a kind couple who run a little supermarket just in front of the Mazenod Centre ....they came looking for the foreigner who spoke Chinese when buying mosquito spray! Photo Here (scroll down to Jan 15)

Then in the late afternoon some enjoyable chats with the local Oblates ....and a quiet stroll around the lovely Oblate property.

Wifi still not working, so I'm still using my mobile sim card in a borrowed USB modem to access the internet.

That's it for another day.

Thank you Jesus for Day 19!

 

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Sunday January 15

Hello on my third day in the the friendly mountain kingdom of Lesotho which is the most Oblate country in the world: 3 of the country's 4 dioceses have an Oblate bishop, half the country's 200 priests are Oblates ....and, no insults intended....the country has no Jesuits, Franciscans or Dominicans! 

Yesterday a full time prison chaplain Fr Tanki O.M.I. drove me for the two hour trip to the town of Hlotse in northern Lesotho - see map of Lesotho, below - to meet with the parents of an inmate in prison in Hong Kong for drug trafficking. While in Hlotse, Fr Tanki and I met a very special person - see photos Here

Today I'm due to go with Fr Tanki for Masses in two of his five prisons. 

In addition to being on the road all day yesterday, I've had a saga of troubles with electricity, internet connection and phone connection. So ...please excuse me once again for a mini-menu.

Thank you Jesus for Day 18!


Saturday January 14

Hello from the friendly mountain kingdom of Lesotho where I arrived late yesterday afternoon after a one hour flight from Johannesburg to Maseru. At Johannesburg airport I had a meeting with the husband of a woman in prison in Hong Kong

I am now at the O.M.I. Mazenod Centre in Maseru where the local Oblates have warmly welcomed me.

Today Fr Tanki O.M.I., a prison chaplain, is going to take me to visit the family of a Lesotho woman in prison in HK. On Monday he will also take me to visit a local prison!

I'll try to post some photos of the beautiful property of the Oblates which includes the Mazenod Centre ...and also includes a cemetery with the graves of about 100 Oblates. 

One slight problem here is internet connection. The wifi has a hiccup ...and I'm now using a borrowed USB modem. Another problem is that the power socket does not fit my HK equipment ....so I can't charge my computer. I hope to buy a multi-socket plug later today.

So ... please excuse this mini-menu. I'll try to do better tonight DV.

Thank you Jesus for Day 17!

 

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Friday January 13

This afternoon I'm due to fly from Johannesburg to Maseru, the capital of Lesotho. I'm due to be in Lesotho till Jan 17. I will try to update this website and check email each day if internet connection is available. Thank you for a prayer!

  Thank you for a prayer!   Dec 28 to Jan 30: 
  my trip to  
South Africa, Lesotho, Zambia and Dubai
  See daily reports, below.  God bless all benefactors! 

Africa02.gif (45330 bytes)

South Africa

South-Africa-map.png (255054 bytes)

Lesotho

 Lesotho.gif (393184 bytes) 

Zambia

Zambia.gif (50524 bytes)

Dubai

  UAE.jpg (45387 bytes)   UAE.gif (178996 bytes) 

My number in South Africa: +27 (0)788228537 (SA is 6  hours behind HK)

Yesterday's three meetings - one in northern Johannesburg, two in Pretoria - all went well. It was a special privilege to be able to meet someone from the National Prosecution Agency in Pretoria ....to lobby for a prisoner transfer agreement and to lobby for more action against Drug Lords (e.g. tighter security at South Africa's 3 international airports - Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town).

The final meeting in Pretoria - with the mother, father and 6 year old daughter of a husbandless woman in prison in HK for drug trafficking - was another reminder of the suffering endured by inmates' families ... in this particular case, two aging parents are struggling to look after 4 parent-less grandchildren (the 3 other children's mother is deceased and their father has abandoned them). When this website's campaign stops someone from going to prison in HK it also helps a family to avoid hardship.

Thank you Jesus for Day 16!

 

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The Book Blog:   4 readings + recordings 
Comments welcome here      Readings are from Simple Bible

Exodus 16: As the Israelites traveled through the desert
they began to complain about not having enough food. So God rained down bread, manna, from heaven in the form of a coating of dew which appeared on the ground each morning, as well as flocks of quails which came every evening. For forty years the Israelites ate manna and quails, bread and birds.

Dear God, thank you for the food we have each day

My recording of this reading

 

Psalms 149 & 150: Sing a new song to the Lord. Let the praise of God be always on our lips. Praise God in his holy temple. Praise him in the heavens.

O praise him with sound of trumpet. Praise him with lute and harp. Praise him with drums and dancing. Praise him with strings and pipes.

Let everything that lives and breathes, give praise to the Lord our Creator.  Alleluia!
Lord, to you we say every day "Allelu -ia" ("praise God")
Recording

Acts 16.16-24: One day we met a slave girl  who made a lot of money for her owners by telling fortunes. The girl followed us each day shouting "These are the servants of God"

Paul said to the spirit possessing her "I order you, in the name of Jesus Christ, to leave her". The spirit immediately left her, but her owners were angry that she could no longer tell fortunes.

The owners seized Paul and Silas and dragged them to court, saying to the magistrate "These people are causing a disturbance in our city". A crowd supported the owners in calling for their punishment. They were given many lashes and put into prison with their feet in irons

Jesus, please help Christians who are suffering in prison because they announced your message
Recording

Mark 1: 1-8: This is the story of the Good News about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Long ago God said through  the prophet Isaiah "I am going to send my messenger before you. He will prepare your way. A voice cries out in the wilderness: prepare a way for the Lord".

And so it was that John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness,
proclaiming a baptism for the forgiveness of sins. As the people were baptized by John in the river Jordan, they confessed their sins.

John wore a garment of camel skin. Locusts and wild honey were his food. He said to the people "Someone is coming who is more important than I am. I am not worthy to kneel down and undo his sandal straps. I baptize you with water. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit".
Jesus, please help us prepare a way for you like John the Baptist
Recording

 

Different parts of the world have different dates for celebrating the Feast of the Epiphany and the Feast of the Baptism of Jesus. On this little website, the Baptism will be next Sunday, January 15. In these days before the 15th, let's often think about Jesus' baptism ....and our own!

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Pope Francis: The Joy of Love  - on love in the family
Full English text      Full Chinese text

279: Recording  

Nor is it good for parents to be domineering. 

When children are made to feel that only their parents can be trusted, this hinders an adequate process of socialization and growth in affective maturity. 

To help expand the parental relationship to broader realities, “Christian communities are called to offer support to the educational mission of families”, particularly through the catechesis associated with Christian initiation. 

To foster an integral education, we need to “renew the covenant between the family and the Christian community”.

The Synod wanted to emphasize the importance of Catholic schools which “play a vital role in assisting parents in their duty to raise their children… Catholic schools should be encouraged in their mission to help pupils grow into mature adults who can view the world with the love of Jesus and who can understand life as a call to serve God”.

For this reason, “the Church strongly affirms her freedom to set forth her teaching and the right of conscientious objection on the part of educators”.

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Pope's letter on climate change:  Laudato Si  我主應受讚美
Full English text       Full Chinese text

Today I am reading Day 18 of this excellent little book 40 Days of Pilgrimage with Pope Francis: Care for Our Common Home"
(used with permission)

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Pope Francis: The Joy of the Gospel   
Full English text         Full Chinese text

253: Recording  

In order to sustain dialogue with Islam, suitable training is essential for all involved, not only so that they can be solidly and joyfully grounded in their own identity, but so that they can also acknowledge the values of others, appreciate the concerns underlying their demands and shed light on shared beliefs. 

We Christians should embrace with affection and respect Muslim immigrants to our countries in the same way that we hope and ask to be received and respected in countries of Islamic tradition.

I ask and I humbly entreat those countries to grant Christians freedom to worship and to practice their faith, in light of the freedom which followers of Islam enjoy in Western countries! 

Faced with disconcerting episodes of violent fundamentalism, our respect for true followers of Islam should lead us to avoid hateful generalisations, for authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence.

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After so many meals with families at KFC and McDonald's over the past two weeks, it was a nice change to have last night's 6pm meal in Pretoria at a Pizza place!

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Please join me in praying for one part of the world each day of the week:

Sun: Africa  Mon: Europe & Russia   Tues: South Asia  
Wed: East Asia Thurs: S.E. Asia & Pacific 
Frid: S. America  Sat: Central & North America    
Jesus, today, Wednesday, please bless the people of East Asia

And praying for prisoners in one part of China each day of the month:
On this
10th of the month,  Jesus please bless the prisoners of Hubei

And praying for one of the world's poorest countries each day of the month:
On this 10th of the month,  Jesus please bless the people of Guinea

And praying for one Islam-related intention each day of the week:
Jesus, today,
Tuesday, please pacify Boko Haram

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(I hope this new format is more "friendly" for handheld viewers)

Thursday January 12

  Thank you for a prayer!   Dec 28 to Jan 30: 
  my trip to  
South Africa, Lesotho, Zambia and Dubai
  See daily reports, below.  God bless all benefactors! 

Africa02.gif (45330 bytes)

South Africa

South-Africa-map.png (255054 bytes)

Lesotho

 Lesotho.gif (393184 bytes) 

Zambia

Zambia.gif (50524 bytes)

Dubai

  UAE.jpg (45387 bytes)   UAE.gif (178996 bytes) 

My number in South Africa: +27 (0)788228537 (SA is 6  hours behind HK)

Yesterday was one of those days when everything goes ....right!  A TV station media team - for the third day! - met with families of inmates in prison in Hong Kong. And something very special happened ....not convenient to give details yet ....details coming in the next week or so. 

Then last night I got news that a high government official has agreed to meet me this afternoon in Pretoria.....to discuss issues like a prisoner transfer agreement etc. DG!

Before this meeting (at 2m) there will be a meeting in Johannesburg with another special person at 10am ....and after the 2pm meeting there will be a meeting in Pretoria at 4pm with another family. No trouble sleeping tonight.

Thank you Jesus for Day 15!

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The Book Blog:   4 readings + recordings 
Comments welcome here      Readings are from Simple Bible

Exodus 15: The Israelites used this prayer to thank and praise God: "The Lord has covered himself in glory, horse and rider he has thrown into the sea. The Lord is my strength and my song, he is my salvation. This is my God, I praise him. The Lord is his name. Lord, when you blew over the waters, they piled high on two sides. Lord, only you are God, there is no other. Lord, you are our king for ever."

Dear God, you are my strength and my salvation
My recording of this reading

 

Psalms 148: Praise the Lord from the heavens, praise him in the heights. Praise him all his angels, praise him all his spirits. Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, shining stars. Let them praise the name of the Lord. His word gave life to all of them.

Praise the Lord from the earth, sea creatures and all oceans. Praise him fire and hail, snow and mist, stormy winds that obey his word. Praise him all mountains and hills, all fruit trees and cedars.

Praise him all animals, wild and tame, reptiles and birds in the air. Praise him all earth's kings and peoples, earth's princes and rulers. Praise him young men and maidens, old people together with children.

Let them praise the name of the Lord. He is the praise of all who love him.
Lord our God and Creator, you are worthy of all praise
Recording

Acts 16.11-15: We went to a number of towns in Macedonia. In Philippi, the Jews had no prayer hall. They met on the river bank. We went there one Sabbath and preached to the women who were meeting there One of these women was Lydia. The Lord opened her heart to what Paul was saying. She and her whole household were baptized
Jesus, open the hearts of more people to accept your word
Recording

John 1: 5, 19-34: John the Baptist was sent by God as a witness to the people about the presence of the Word among them When religious leaders asked John "Who are you?", he replied "I am, as the prophet Isaiah prophesied, a voice crying out: make a straight way for the Lord". 

When Jesus came to the river Jordan where John was baptizing, John said "Look, there is the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. He is far more important than I am, because he existed (as the Word) before I was born I saw the Holy Spirit come down on him like a dove. He will baptize people with the Holy Spirit. He is the Chosen One of God"

Jesus, lamb of God, Chosen One of God, please baptize me with the Holy Spirit
Recording

 

Different parts of the world have different dates for celebrating the Feast of the Epiphany and the Feast of the Baptism of Jesus. On this little website, the Baptism will be next Sunday, January 15. In these days before the 15th, let's ofen think about Jesus' baptism ....and our own!

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Pope Francis: The Joy of Love  - on love in the family
Full English text      Full Chinese text

278: Recording  

The educational process that occurs between parents and children can be helped or hindered by the increasing sophistication of the communications and entertainment media. 

When well used, these media can be helpful for connecting family members who live apart from one another. Frequent contacts help to overcome difficulties.

Still, it is clear that these media cannot replace the need for more personal and direct dialogue, which requires physical presence or at least hearing the voice of the other person. 

We know that sometimes they can keep people apart rather than together, as when at dinnertime everyone is surfing on a mobile phone, or when one spouse falls asleep waiting for the other who spends hours playing with an electronic device. 

This is also something that families have to discuss and resolve in ways which encourage inter-action without imposing unrealistic prohibitions. 

In any event, we cannot ignore the risks that these new forms of communication pose for children and adolescents; at times they can foster apathy and disconnect from the real world. 

This “technological disconnect” exposes them more easily to manipulation by those who would invade their private space with selfish interests.

---------------------------------------------


Pope's letter on climate change:  Laudato Si  我主應受讚美
Full English text       Full Chinese text

Today I am reading Day 17 of this excellent little book 40 Days of Pilgrimage with Pope Francis: Care for Our Common Home"
(used with permission)

------------------------------------


Pope Francis: The Joy of the Gospel   
Full English text         Full Chinese text

252: Recording  Our relationship with the followers of Islam has taken on great importance, since they are now significantly present in many traditionally Christian countries, where they can freely worship and become fully a part of society. 

We must never forget that they “profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, who will judge humanity on the last day”. 

The sacred writings of Islam have retained some Christian teachings; Jesus and Mary receive profound veneration and it is admirable to see how Muslims both young and old, men and women, make time for daily prayer and faithfully take part in religious services

Many of them also have a deep conviction that their life, in its entirety, is from God and for God. They also acknowledge the need to respond to God with an ethical commitment and with mercy towards those most in need.

--------------------------------------

     

We know that sometimes the new forms of media can keep people apart rather than together, as when at dinnertime everyone is surfing on a mobile phone, or when one spouse falls asleep waiting for the other who spends hours playing with an electronic device. (278, above!)

--------------------------------------

Please join me in praying for one part of the world each day of the week:

Sun: Africa  Mon: Europe & Russia   Tues: South Asia  
Wed: East Asia Thurs: S.E. Asia & Pacific 
Frid: S. America  Sat: Central & North America    
Jesus, today, Wednesday, please bless the people of East Asia

And praying for prisoners in one part of China each day of the month:
On this
10th of the month,  Jesus please bless the prisoners of Hubei

And praying for one of the world's poorest countries each day of the month: On this 10th of the month,  Jesus please bless the people of Guinea

And praying for one Islam-related intention each day of the week:
Jesus, today,
Tuesday, please pacify Boko Haram

-------------------------------------------

  My Africa trips: 
 
2015 - Tanzania, Malawi        2016- Kenya, Uganda

----------------------------------------

Video: What "gay marriage" did to Massachusetts

 

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Wednesday January 11

Pope (277, below)In the family we can rethink our habits of consumption and join in caring for the environment as our common home

 

 

Yesterday I spent most of the day with three families and a media team - working on a documentary that will treat the issue of South African drug mules being recruited by Nigerian Drug Lords to take drugs to Hong Kong.  

And late yesterday afternoon I had the privilege of meeting in person someone I've been in email contact for several years - Patricia Gerber.....a courageous and tireless campaigner on behalf of South Africans in prison in other countries. Patricia's website is well-named: Locked Up In A Foreign Country

Thank you Jesus for Day 14!

 

 

Chris McDonnell  (UK blogger) 

Another place to meet

Those Parishes that have a Parish Hall where groups can gather after sharing the Eucharist are indeed fortunate

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The Book  Blog    4 readings + recordings 
Comments welcome here      Readings are from Simple Bible

Exodus 14: Not long after the Israelites left Egypt Pharaoh again changed his mind. He decided to catch the Israelites and make them return to Egypt.

The Israelites were near the edge of the Red Sea when they saw the Egyptians approaching. The Israelites cried out in fear but Moses said to them "Do not be afraid. God will do the fighting for you."

God then told Moses to stretch out his staff over the sea. After he did so, a strong wind blew all night and caused the waters to part. Then the Israelites walked through the sea on dry ground, with walls of water on both sides. The Egyptians gave chase and also went into the sea.

When the Israelites had crossed to the other side, Moses again stretched out his staff over the sea and this time the sea returned to its normal flow, drowning all the Egyptians. The people offered thanksgiving and praise to God.

My recording of this reading 

Psalm 147 : Praise the Lord for he is good. Sing to our God for he is loving. To him our praise is due. The Lord builds up Jerusalem and brings back Israel's exiles.

He heals the broken-hearted and binds up all their wounds. The Lord raises the lowly and humbles the wicked.

He fixes the number of the stars. He calls each one by name. Our Lord is great and almighty. His wisdom can never be measured.

He covers the heavens with clouds. He prepares rain for the earth, making mountains sprout with grass and with plants to serve our needs.

His delight is not in horses nor his pleasure in warriors' strength.

The Lord delights in those who love and honor him, in those who wait for his love.
Recording 

 

Acts 16.11-15: We went to a number of towns in Macedonia. In Philippi, the Jews had no prayer hall. They met on the river bank. We went there one Sabbath and preached to the women who were meeting there

One of these women was Lydia. The Lord opened her heart to what Paul was saying. She and her whole household were baptized

Jesus, open the hearts of more people to accept your word

Recording

 

Luke 3.10-14: People asked John the Baptist how they should reform their lives. He replied: "If anyone has extra clothing, share with people who have none. If anyone has plenty to eat, share with people who have nothing"

Tax collectors asked John what they should do. He replied "Don't cheat anyone". Soldiers asked him "What about us? What must we do?" He replied "No bullying. No extortion. Be content with your pay"

Jesus, what about me? What should I do?

Recording  

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Different parts of the world have different dates for celebrating the Feast of the Epiphany and the Feast of the Baptism of Jesus. On this little website, the Baptism will be next Sunday, January 15. In these days before the 15th, let's think about Jesus' baptism ....and our own!

----------------------------------------

Pope Francis' letter The Joy of Love  - on love in the family
Full English text      Full Chinese text

263: Recording  In the family too, we can rethink our habits of consumption and join in caring for the environment as our common home. 

“The family is the principal agent of an integral ecology, because it is the primary social subject which contains within it the two fundamental principles of human civilization on earth: the principle of communion and the principle of fruitfulness”.

In the same way, times of difficulty and trouble in the lives of family life can teach important lessons. 

This happens, for example, when illness strikes, since “in the face of illness, even in families, difficulties arise due to human weakness. But in general, times of illness enable family bonds to grow stronger… An education that fails to encourage sensitivity to human illness makes the heart grow cold; it makes young people ‘anesthetized’ to the suffering of others, incapable of facing suffering and of living the experience of limitation”.

----------------------------------

 

 

Full English text

Full Chinese text


Laudato Si
     我主應受讚美 

Today I am reading Day 16 of this excellent little book 40 Days of Pilgrimage with Pope Francis: Care for Our Common Home" (used with permission)

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Pope  Francis: The Joy of the Gospel   
Full English text         Full Chinese text

251: Recording In this dialogue, ever friendly and sincere, attention must always be paid to the essential bond between dialogue and proclamation, which leads the Church to maintain and intensify her relationship with non-Christians.

 A facile syncretism would ultimately be a totalitarian gesture on the part of those who would ignore greater values of which they are not the masters.

 True openness involves remaining steadfast in one’s deepest convictions, clear and joyful in one’s own identity, while at the same time being “open to understanding those of the other party” and “knowing that dialogue can enrich each side”

What is not helpful is a diplomatic openness which says “yes” to everything in order to avoid problems, for this would be a way of deceiving others and denying them the good which we have been given to share generously with others. 

Evangelization and interreligious dialogue, far from being opposed, mutually support and nourish one another

-------------------------

  Now that I'm on holidays (?) I'm trying to do a job I've been meaning to do for a long time: make this website more user friendly for handheld phones. Two days ago I bought a simple handheld phone that will help me check the formatting etc of the website. That same afternoon a little boy of about 6 years old, whose home I was visiting, when he saw me fumbling with the phone and trying to use it, said to me "It's upside down". Sure enough, I was holding the thing the wrong way up! 

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Please join me in praying for one part of the world each day of the week:

Sun: Africa  Mon: Europe & Russia   Tues: South Asia  Wed: East Asia 
Thurs: S.E. Asia & Pacific  Frid: S. America  Sat: Central & North America 

  

Jesus, today, Wednesday, please bless the people of East Asia

-----------------------------

And praying for prisoners in one part of China each day of the month: 
On this
11th of the month,  Jesus please bless the prisoners of Hunan

And praying for one of the world's poorest countries each day of the month: 
On this
11th of the month, Jesus please bless the people of Eritrea

And praying for one Islam-related intention each day of the week:
Jesus, today, Wednesday, please pacify Al-Shabaab 

----------------------------

  My Africa trips: 2015 - Tanzania, Malawi  2016 - Kenya, Uganda

--------------------

Video: What "gay marriage" did to Massachusetts

 


 Tuesday January 10

  Pope (276, below): In the family, we learn closeness, care and respect for others.

 


Yesterday in Johannesburg I spent much time with three families meeting a media team - preparing a report on the situation of drug trafficking to Hong Kong by South Africans. The program will be available on YouTube after it goes to air and I am sure it will do a lot of good in many ways ...encouraging people to name and shame Drug Lords ....stopping people being recruited by the Drug Lords ....and encouraging the authorities to take more action against the Drug Lords (e.g. by tightening security at South Africa's three international airports).

Thank you Jesus for Day 13!

 

My article in today's Ming Pao newspaper with the topic: Hello ....from Southern Africa! is on Ming Pao website - click "Australian in HK". Free access to article with recording today from about noon to 8pm HK time. Text without recording 

 


The Book  Blog    4 readings + recordings    Comments welcome here      Readings are from Simple Bible

Exodus 12-13 (a): God said to Moses and Aaron "From now on, this month is to be the first month of your year. On the evening of the 14th day of this month each family must kill and eat a one year old male sheep or goat. Some of its blood must be put on your front door. You must eat it in a hurry, with a belt round your waist, sandals on your feet and a staff in your hand. This night I will go through the land of Egypt and strike every first-born Egyptian. But when I see the blood on your doors I shall PASS OVER your homes and you shall be unharmed. Each year you must remember this night. Each year you must observe this feast of the Passover. You also must consecrate all first-born to me.
My recording of this reading 

Exodus 12-13 (b): That night God indeed struck dead the first-born of all the Egyptians, including the son of Pharaoh. There was great mourning in Egypt and Pharaoh finally agreed to let the Israelites go. The Israelites now numbered about 600,000 men, having been in Egypt exactly 430 years. As the people travelled, God went before them in the form of a pillar of cloud during the day
and a pillar of fire at night.
Dear God, please help me understand  the full meaning of the Passover story 
Recording

Acts 16.1-10: In the town of Lystra,  Paul recruited Timothy, whose mother was a Jewish Christian and whose father was Greek. As they visited one town after another, they announced the decisions taken in Jerusalem about what Jewish practices to follow. The local churches continued to grow strong in faith as well as grow in numbers. One night Paul had a vision: a Macedonian appeared and said "Come across to Macedonia and help us". We immediately crossed the sea to Macedonia (Luke was now with Paul)   Jesus, if someone asks me for help, may I say yes
Recording   

Luke 3.1-6: In the 15th year of the Roman Emperor Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judaea, Herod was ruler of Galilee and during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, God's message entered the heart of John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. John went through the whole Jordan River area proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. This had been foretold by the prophet Isaiah when he said "A voice cries in the wilderness: Prepare a way for the Lord"  Jesus, help us prepare your way, like John 
Recording  

Recommended: check these readings early morning, think about them during the day, check them again at night. This habit gives us extra energy, courage, motivation, peace and compassion for each day

 




The Joy of Love - Pope Francis' letter - on love in the family Full English text    Full Chinese text

276: Recording

The family is the primary setting for socialization, since it is where we first learn to relate to others, to listen and share, to be patient and show respect, to help one another and live as one. 

The task of education is to make us sense that the world and society are also our home; it trains us how to live together in this greater home. 

In the family, we learn closeness, care and respect for others.

We break out of our fatal self-absorption and come to realize that we are living with and alongside others who are worthy of our concern, our kindness and our affection. 

There is no social bond without this primary, everyday, almost microscopic aspect of living side by side, crossing paths at different times of the day, being concerned about everything that affects us, helping one another with ordinary little things. 

Every day the family has to come up with new ways of appreciating and acknowledging its members.



Full English text

Full Chinese text

Pope's letter on climate change:
Laudato Si
     我主應受讚美 

Today I am reading Day 15 to this excellent little book 40 Days of Pilgrimage with Pope Francis: Care for Our Common Home" (used with permission ...tomorrow: Day 1...)

 



Pope  Francis: The Joy of the Gospel    Full English text     Full Chinese text

250: Recording 

An attitude of openness in truth and in love must characterize the dialogue with the followers of non-Christian religions, in spite of various obstacles and difficulties, especially forms of fundamentalism on both sides.

 Interreligious dialogue is a necessary condition for peace in the world, and so it is a duty for Christians as well as other religious communities.

 This dialogue is in first place a conversation about human existence or simply, as the bishops of India have put it, a matter of “being open to them, sharing their joys and sorrows”.

 In this way we learn to accept others and their different ways of living, thinking and speaking

We can then join one another in taking up the duty of serving justice and peace, which should become a basic principle of all our exchanges

A dialogue which seeks social peace and justice is in itself, beyond all merely practical considerations, an ethical commitment which brings about a new social situation.

 Efforts made in dealing with a specific theme can become a process in which, by mutual listening, both parts can be purified and enriched. These efforts, therefore, can also express love for truth. 

 


10 years ago today

2007-01-10
Visit to centers in poor areas by CAS students and staff


The school year in South Africa begins tomorrow....Come Holy Spirit and bless all students/teachers. Yesterday I noticed not a few Mums and Dads with a shopping basket doing some last minute buying at a book store near where I'm staying. 


Please join me in praying for one part of the world each day of the week:

Sun: Africa        Mon: Europe & Russia     Tues: South Asia      Wed: East Asia  
Thurs: S.E. Asia & Pacific    
   Frid: South America       Sat: Central & North America 
  

Jesus, today, Tuesday, please bless the people of South Asia

And praying for prisoners in one part of China each day of the month:
On this
10th of the month,  Jesus please bless the prisoners of
Hubei

And praying for one of the world's poorest countries each day of the month: On this 10th of the month, Jesus please bless the people of Guinea

And praying for one Islam-related intention each day of the week:
Jesus, today, Tuesday, please pacify Boko Haram


 

Monday January 9

Pope (275, below):  The vice of “wanting it all now”

Yesterday I went 90 minutes by taxi to the small town of .....well...maybe I should not put it's name, because that might identify people. Anyhow the drive was through beautiful countryside. South Africa really is a lovely country.

At the town I met two more families of inmates in prison in HK for drug trafficking. Members of the family said how Nigerians "dominate drugs in every small town". 

Today I'm due to spend time on a media report which hopefully will help stop people, especially poor people, doubly especially poor women, from being recruited by the Nigerian Drug Lords to go to HK as drug mules. I also hope the report will encourage the authorities to take action against the Drug Lords. 

Thank you Jesus for Day 12!   

 

This has to be one of the Pope's best ever sermons:

Pope's homily for Epiphany

The Magi did not set out because they had seen the star; they saw the star because they had already set out


The Book  Blog
4 readings + recordings

Readings are from Simple Bible
 (which has Chinese translation available)

Exodus 11

One last time God sent Moses to Pharaoh, with this message:

"Tonight at midnight, God's angel will pass through Egypt. All the first-born in the land of Egypt will die, except the first-born of the Israelites."

Dear God, please bless everyone in Egypt !

My recording of this reading

Psalm 146 (a)

My soul, give praise to the Lord. I will praise the Lord all my days.

Put no trust in princes, in mortal men in whom there is no help.

Take their breath, they return to clay
and their plans that day come to nothing.

They are happy who are helped by Jacob's God, whose hope is in the Lord our God, who alone made heaven and earth, the seas and all they contain.

It is he who gives bread to the hungry,
the Lord, who sets prisoners free.

Recording


Psalm 146 (b)

It is the Lord who gives sight to the blind, who raises up those who are bowed down.

It is the Lord who protects the stranger
and upholds the widow and orphan.

It is the Lord who loves the just but thwarts the path of the wicked.

The Lord will reign for ever, Zion's God, from age to age.

Lord, please increase my trust and faith in you

Recording 

Matthew 2.13-23

After the wise men left Bethlehem, an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and said

"Go quickly to Egypt, because Herod wants to kill the child".

That same night, Joseph got up and set out for Egypt with Mary and Jesus.

Herod was angry after being tricked by the wise men.
He got his soldiers to kill all baby boys two years old or younger in Bethlehem.

After Herod died some months later,
an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream
and told him to return to Israel.

Joseph, Mary and Jesus moved to the town of Nazareth,
thus fulfilling the prophecy about the Saviour: "He will be called a Nazarene".

 Recording 


Yesterday we had the Feast of the Epiphany. Today let's remember that the Wise Men weren't the only ones who beat a hasty exit from Bethlehem. See this moving picture



Ivorian woman arrested with Sh10 million worth of heroin at Mombasa airport


The Joy of Love - Pope Francis' letter - on love in the family     Full English text    Full Chinese text

275: Recording

In our own day, dominated by stress and rapid technological advances, one of the most important tasks of families is to provide an education in hope. 

This does not mean preventing children from playing with electronic devices, but rather finding ways to help them develop their critical abilities and not to think that digital speed can apply to everything in life. 

Postponing desires does not mean denying them but simply deferring their fulfilment. 

When children or adolescents are not helped to realize that some things have to be waited for, they can become obsessed with satisfying their immediate needs and develop the vice of “wanting it all now”. 

This is a grand illusion which does not favour freedom but weakens it. 

On the other hand, when we are taught to postpone some things until the right moment, we learn self-mastery and detachment from our impulses. 

When children realize that they have to be responsible for themselves, their self-esteem is enriched. 

This in turn teaches them to respect the freedom of others. 

Obviously this does not mean expecting children to act like adults, but neither does it mean underestimating their ability to grow in responsible freedom. 

In a healthy family, this learning process usually takes place through the demands made by life in common.

 



 

Full English text

Full Chinese text

Pope's letter on climate change:
Laudato Si
     我主應受讚美 

Today I am reading Day 14 of this excellent little book 40 Days of Pilgrimage with Pope Francis: Care for Our Common Home" (used with permission)

 



Pope  Francis: The Joy of the Gospel          Full English text     Full Chinese text

249: Recording

God continues to work among the people of the Old Covenant and to bring forth treasures of wisdom which flow from their encounter with his word.

 For this reason, the Church also is enriched when she receives the values of Judaism

While it is true that certain Christian beliefs are unacceptable to Judaism, and that the Church cannot refrain from proclaiming Jesus as Lord and Messiah, there exists as well a rich complementarity which allows us to read the texts of the Hebrew Scriptures together and to help one another to mine the riches of God’s word. 

We can also share many ethical convictions and a common concern for justice and the development of peoples.

 



Yesterday on the 90 minute road trip to visit two families of inmates in prison in HK, I saw a road sign I'd never seen before: "Owls - next 5 km" ...very appropriate for yesterday's Epiphany story about the 3 Wise Men!


Please join me in praying for one part of the world each day of the week:

Sun: Africa        Mon: Europe & Russia     Tues: South Asia      Wed: East Asia  
Thurs: S.E. Asia & Pacific    
   Frid: South America       Sat: Central & North America 
  

Jesus, today, Monday, please bless the people of Europe & Russia

And praying for prisoners in one part of China each day of the month:
On this
9th of the month,  Jesus please bless the prisoners of
Henan

And praying for one of the world's poorest countries each day of the month: On this 9th of the month, Jesus please bless the people of the Central Africa Republic

And praying for one Islam-related intention each day of the week:
Jesus, today, Monday, please pacify IS


 

Sunday January 8       Feast of the Epiphany

Day 13, below: Lord, bless our ears that they may listen to your voice in the cry of the suffering, and remain deaf to useless noise and empty talk.

     

In Hong Kong prisons, most prisoners have a radio. One of the English-speaking prisoners' most popular programs is "The Hour of Love", heard each Sunday night at 9.05 HK time on Metro Radio. Tonight's program will feature recordings from some of the families I have met with over the past week here in Johannesburg. Messages are partly in English, partly in other languages. 

Three more recordings were made yesterday when I met some more families - this time in Pretoria, about one hour's drive from Johannesburg. The trip was made in the rain ...most welcome rain because the dams here are dangerously low. 

Thank you Jesus for Day 11!


YouTube: 
We Three Kings

I wish all dear readers a Happy Epiphany! 


The Book  Blog
4 readings + recordings

Readings are from Simple Bible
 (which has Chinese translation available)

c.f. Readings for Epiphany

Isaiah 59-60

Arise, shine out, for your light has come. The glory of the Lord is rising on you, though the rest of the world is still in darkness.

The nations come to your light and kings to your dawning brightness.

People from other lands are coming to you, bringing gold and incense and singing the praise of the Lord.

No more will the sun give you daylight, nor moonlight shine on you, for the Lord himself will be your everlasting light. Then your days of mourning will be ended.

Lord Jesus, you are the light of the world. Please give more light to my life.

 My recording of this reading

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Psalm 72

O Lord, please bless the king, that he might serve your people with justice.

May the mountains bring forth peace for the people and the hills, justice.

The kings of Sheba and Seba bring him gifts. All nations will serve him.

He will save the poor when they cry for help and the needy who are helpless.

He will have pity on the weak and save the lives of the poor.

May every tribe be blessed in him. May every nation bless his name.

May all the nations know and love you, Lord

Recording











  

 


Ephesians 3.2-6

You have probably heard how I have been entrusted by God with the grace he meant for you, and that it was by a revelation that I was given the  knowledge of the mystery. 

This mystery that has now been revealed through the Spirit to his holy apostles and prophets was unknown to any men in past generations; 

it means that pagans now share the same inheritance, that they are parts of the same body, and that the same promise has been made to them, in Jesus Christ, through the gospel

Recording  




 

Matthew 2.1-12

Jesus was born in the town of Bethlehem, during the reign of King Herod.

Some months after Jesus' birth,
several  wise men from the East came to Jerusalem.

They said  "Where is the infant king of the Jews?  We saw his star as it rose and we have come to offer him honor."

King Herod felt threatened by this news. He knew from the Scriptures  that the promised Saviour would be born in Bethlehem.

So Herod sent the wise men to Bethlehem, pretending that he too would like to offer honor to the child.

The wise men headed for Bethlehem, guided by the star. The star filled them with joy. The star stopped over the place where the child was.

The wise men fell to their knees and honored the child. They offered him gifts of gold, incense and myrrh.

Then they returned to their own country by a different way,
having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod.

Jesus,  help me to honor you like the wise men  

Recording   


Today we join the Wise Men in worshipping the Bethlehem Baby. All peoples, all nations are invited to love and honor him. The more we do love him, the more we will know peace and joy. 

 



The Joy of Love
- Pope Francis' letter - on love in the family      
Full English text   Full Chinese text

274: Recording

Family life as an educational setting

The family is the first school of human values, where we learn the wise use of freedom. 

Certain inclinations develop in childhood and become so deeply rooted that they remain throughout life, either as attractions to a particular value or a natural repugnance to certain ways of acting.

Many people think and act in a certain way because they deem it to be right on the basis of what they learned, as if by osmosis, from their earliest years: “That’s how I was taught”. “That’s what I learned to do”. 

In the family we can also learn to be critical about certain messages sent by the various media. Sad to say, some television programs or forms of advertising often negatively influence and undercut the values inculcated in family life.

 


Sr. Anastasia, M.M. 
(
黄修女)

Latest report Here about Sister's beautiful ministry in China


 

Full English text

Full Chinese text

Pope's letter on climate change:
Laudato Si
     我主應受讚美 

Today I am reading Day 13 of this excellent little book 40 Days of Pilgrimage with Pope Francis: Care for Our Common Home (used with permission)

 


January 1st in the 17th century Chinese Liturgy


Pope  Francis: The Joy of the Gospel        Full English text     Full Chinese text

248: Recording

Dialogue and friendship with the children of Israel are part of the life of Jesus’ disciples. 

The friendship which has grown between us makes us bitterly and sincerely regret the terrible persecutions which they have endured, and continue to endure, especially those that have involved Christians

 


Hour of Love  HK radio program 9.05pm HK time each Sunday night - with messages about African inmates in HK prisons (c. 9.25pm). Tonight Bruce will play recordings from more of the families I've visited recently in Johannesburg


In today's Gospel story, above, how many kings are there?

Answer is at bottom of today's menu


Please join me in praying for one part of the world each day of the week:

Sun: Africa        Mon: Europe & Russia     Tues: South Asia      Wed: East Asia  
Thurs: S.E. Asia & Pacific    
   Frid: South America       Sat: Central & North America 
  

Jesus, today, Sunday, please bless the people of Africa

And praying for prisoners in one part of China each day of the month:
On this
8th of the month,  Jesus please bless the prisoners of
Heilongjiang

And praying for one of the world's poorest countries each day of the month: On this 8th of the month, Jesus please bless the people of Sierra Leone

And praying for one Islam-related intention each day of the week:
Jesus, today, Sunday, please bless all Muslims in my own country


How many kings?       3 (the wise men) + Herod + Jesus = 5!

Saturday January 7

Pope (273, below)A person may clearly and willingly desire something evil, but do so as the result of an irresistible passion or a poor upbringing. 

 


Yesterday I went to the outer Johannesburg district of Boxburg. An noon I had a lunch meeting with the families of two inmates in HK. The inmates are good friends, and yesterday, for the first time, the families met up and now also are good friends.

At 3pm I met two more families with the same result: families now friends, just like the inmates. 
And to put icing on the cake, just before 3pm all four families met up and in future will keep in contact to support each other. 

Photos of the gathering(s), with permission of the families, are Here

Thank you Jesus for Day 10

Next Tuesday a South African TV crew will be in Johannesburg to interview some of the families I've been meeting, with a view to getting government action about the exploitation of vulnerable people (especially women) by Nigerian Drug Lords operating in the city. Other hoped for positive results of the documentary: more awareness in the community about the danger of drug trafficking to HK ...leading to fewer mules going to HK ....and tighter security at Johannesburg airport .....and a willingness by the government to have a prisoner transfer agreement (like Kenya and other countries)

UCAN report: Missionary’s anti-drug campaign bears fruit in Hong Kong

 


The Book  Blog
4 readings + recordings

Readings are from Simple Bible
 (which has Chinese translation available)

Exodus 10

Pharaoh's advisers urged him to let the Israelites go. They said to him "How much longer is this affair going to go on? Let the Israelites go before Egypt is ruined."

Pharaoh agreed to let the men go, but not the rest of the people.

So God sent two more plagues on the Egyptians: locusts which devoured all the plants and trees,
and then three days of total darkness,
except in the land where the Israelites lived.

But even after the above nine plagues,
Pharaoh still wouldn't let the Israelites go.

Dear God, stubbornness can sometimes be a good thing, but please don't let me be stubborn if that will hurt other people

My recording of this reading

Psalm 145

I will give you glory, O God my king. I will bless your name day after day.

The Lord is great, worthy of all praise.
His greatness cannot be measured.

Age to age shall proclaim your works, shall speak of your splendor and glory.

The Lord is kind and full of compassion, slow to anger, abounding in love.

How good is the Lord to all, compassionate to all his creatures.

All your creatures shall thank you, O Lord, and tell all the world of your love.

The Lord is faithful in all his words and loving in all his deeds.

The Lord supports all who fall and raises all who are bowed down.

The eyes of all creatures look to you and you give them their food each day.

The Lord is close to all who call him, who call on him from their hearts.

Let the whole world bless the Lord's holy name, for ever, for ages unending.

Thank you, Lord, for your love. Thank you for your love

Recording  

 

Acts 15.36-40

Some time after this, Paul said to  Barnabas "Let's revisit the towns where we preached the word of the Lord".

Barnabas suggested taking John Mark with them, but Paul opposed this, since John Mark had deserted them on the previous trip when the situation became dangerous

After a violent argument, Paul and Barnabas split up. Barnabas went with John Mark to Cyprus. Silas joined Paul for his next journey

Jesus, at your Last Supper  you prayed  for the unity of your followers.  Help us avoid arguments

 Recording 

 

 

 

John 1.1-14


From all eternity the Word existed. The Word was with God the Father. The Word was God the Son

The Word was the source of life for all creatures

The Word became a man, and lived among us. 

We saw his glory, full of grace and truth

Many people did not recognize and did not accept the Word. But to everyone who did accept him, he gave power to become children of God

Jesus, please help me understand how you are the Word-made-flesh

Recording  

For the past two weeks we've been trying to think more often about the Bethlehem Baby. Today's Gospel reminds us ....can we say it? ....he was made in Heaven!

Tomorrow we spend one final day in Bethlehem - with the Epiphany wise men


I hope she will run for president:

More than 'mom-in-chief' Michelle Obama bows out as dynamic first lady


The Joy of Love - Pope Francis' letter - on love in the family      Full English text    Full Chinese text

273: Recording

In proposing values, we have to proceed slowly, taking into consideration the child’s age and abilities, without presuming to apply rigid and inflexible methods. The valuable contributions of psychology and the educational sciences have shown that changing a child’s behaviour involves a gradual process, but also that freedom needs to be channeled and stimulated, since by itself it does not ensure growth in maturity. 

Situated freedom, real freedom, is limited and conditioned. It is not simply the ability to choose what is good with complete spontaneity. A distinction is not always adequately drawn between “voluntary” and “free” acts. A person may clearly and willingly desire something evil, but do so as the result of an irresistible passion or a poor upbringing. 

In such cases, while the decision is voluntary, inasmuch as it does not run counter to the inclination of their desire, it is not free, since it is practically impossible for them not to choose that evil. 

We see this in the case of compulsive drug addicts. When they want a fix, they want it completely, yet they are so conditioned that at that moment no other decision is possible. Their decision is voluntary but not free. It makes no sense to “let them freely choose”, since in fact they cannot choose, and exposing them to drugs only increases their addiction. They need the help of others and a process of rehabilitation.

 



Full English text

Full Chinese text

Pope's letter on climate change:
Laudato Si
     我主應受讚美 

Today I am reading Day Twelve of this excellent little book 40 Days of Pilgrimage with Pope Francis: Care for Our Common Home" (used with permission)

 


Pope  Francis: The Joy of the Gospel      Full English text     Full Chinese text

247: Recording

 Relations with Judaism

 We hold the Jewish people in special regard because their covenant with God has never been revoked, for “the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable”. 

The Church, which shares with Jews an important part of the sacred Scriptures, looks upon the people of the covenant and their faith as one of the sacred roots of her own Christian identity

 As Christians, we cannot consider Judaism as a foreign religion; nor do we include the Jews among those called to turn from idols and to serve the true God. With them, we believe in the one God who acts in history, and with them we accept his revealed word.

 



After my experience in Kenya and Uganda last year ...mosquitoes and mosquitoe nets ...I brought two tubes of skin protection cream to South Africa. But up to now ....after 10 days, I have to report I have not seen even one mosquitoe!


Please join me in praying for one part of the world each day of the week:

Sun: Africa        Mon: Europe & Russia     Tues: South Asia      Wed: East Asia  
Thurs: S.E. Asia & Pacific    
   Frid: South America       Sat: Central & North America 
  

Jesus, today, Saturday, please bless the people of Central & North America

And praying for prisoners in one part of China each day of the month:
On this
7th of the month,  Jesus please bless the prisoners of
Hebei

And praying for one of the world's poorest countries each day of the month: On this 3rd of the month, Jesus please bless the people of Burkina Faso

And praying for one Islam-related intention each day of the week:
Jesus, today, Saturday, please bless the Taliban


 

Pope's surprise visit to drug treatment centre

Pope is practising what he preaches: "get out and mix with the poor"

 

HK readers might like to join me in praying each day for one group of HK prison inmates:  Sun: Lo Wu    Mon: C.I.C., Siu Lam, Tai Lam     Tue: Stanley   Wed:  Hei Ling Chau    Thu: Lantau       Fri: Lai Chi Kok       Sat: Hospitals, Pik Uk & other centres


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Fr John Wotherspoon O.M.I.  胡 頌 恆 神 父   
 Email:   jdwomi@gmail.com  
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