JULY 29, 2012, Vol 62, No 15

Msgr Sebastian Francis (left), vicar general of Melaka-Johor diocese, has been appointed Bishop of Penang, succeeding Bishop Antony Selvanayagam (right). The episcopal ordination is set for Aug 20.

JOHOR BAHRU, MALAYSIA – Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Msgr Sebastian Francis, the current vicar general of Melaka-Johor diocese, as the new Bishop of Penang.

The Vatican made the announcement on July 7.

Msgr Francis, 60, succeeds Bishop Antony Selvanayagam, 76, whose resignation Pope Benedict XVI accepted on the same day.

Under Canon Law, bishops are to request retirement upon reaching the age of 75.

Bishop Selvanayagam has headed Penang diocese, which has 28 parishes, since 1983.

Bishop-elect Francis’ episcopal ordination is to be held at the Church of St Anne in Bukit Mertajam, Penang, on Aug 20 at 5 pm.

Commenting on his appointment, he said, “I am just a servant of God. The Lord has chosen me to work in the diocese which covers five states in Peninsular Malaysia and with some 65,000 Catholics.”

He said he pledges to work towards making Christ better known to the people he will serve as their fifth bishop.

IRO confers award on archbishop: Recognised for contribution to interfaith harmony in Singapore

VATICAN CITY – The majority of bishops’ conferences in the Americas, Europe and Asia have complied with a Vatican mandate to draw up anti-abuse guidelines, said the Vatican’s top investigator of clerical sex abuse.

Without counting Africa, “more than half of the conferences responded” by the May deadline, Msgr Charles Scicluna of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said in an interview with the Italian monthly Catholic magazine, Jesus.

All those who did not send in their proposed guidelines would be getting “a letter of reminder”, he added.

The Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, quoted from the interview on July 10 and said that the congregation received an encouraging number of responses from Anglo-Saxon countries, “but also Europe, Asia and Latin America have high percentages of responses”.

While the result is gratifying, Msgr Scicluna said in the interview that Africa “has a particular situation with great difficulty in Church structures”, presumably referring to the lack of needed communications and other infrastructure that help a nation’s bishops draw up national policies.
Runners wear T-shirts with a quote from Jeremiah at the back

  A Life Runner prepares for the start of a marathon earlier this year. CNS photos A Life Runner prepares for the start of a marathon earlier this year. CNS photosWASHINGTON – How far would you go to defend life? Life Runners in the US would go about 26.2 miles (42.2 km) a race.

Founded in South Dakota by running partners Pat Castle and Rich Reich, Life Runners has been promoting Catholicism and the pro-life movement through marathons in some of the nation’s biggest cities since 2008.

Mr Castle said Life Runners came out of a prayer group the two men co-founded in 2007, called Life Group Devotions. They decided to create an “action arm” of their ministry.

“We started with devotions from the beginning and then it dawned on us. We are training and running marathons, and we are looking for a pro-life ‘action arm’,” Mr Castle told Catholic News Service in a telephone interview.

“There was none, I mean zero, organised pro-life teams represented in marathons.”
The programme at Boys' Town is geared to bring out the best in boys from disadvantaged or troubled backgrounds.

A CASUAL observer might not associate Boys' Town, best-known as a home for troubled youths, with a rigorous emphasis on education.

But Dr Roland Yeow, its deputy director, says: "Our promise is, you' ll get an education ... we're hopeful these kids can go back to school to be successful."

Dr Yeow is himself an example of this ethos. A former secondary school drop-out, he spent two years at Boys' Town. Now 35, he returned to work there eight years ago, after obtaining his doctorate in organisational management.

Boys' Town, a charitable institution founded by the Brothers of St Gabriel in 1948, is a member organisation of Caritas Singapore.