SEPTEMBER 23, 2012, Vol 62, No 19

 A painting of Blessed Pedro Calungsod shows him holding a palm frond. The young missionary catechist from Cebu, Philippines, was martyred in 1672 in Guam. He will become the second Philippine saint when he is canonised on Oct 21. CNS photo A painting of Blessed Pedro Calungsod shows him holding a palm frond. The young missionary catechist from Cebu, Philippines, was martyred in 1672 in Guam. He will become the second Philippine saint when he is canonised on Oct 21. CNS photoMANILA – At least 3,000 people have asked for an endorsement from Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu to get a visa to Italy and attend the canonisation of Blessed Pedro Calungsod on Oct 21 this year.

Archbishop Palma, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference, said he has signed so many endorsements, the Italian embassy in Manila has contacted him.

“They said, ‘Archbishop you are signing too many endorsements,’” he said. “I said to them, ‘It’s my duty to sign, it’s your duty to screen.’”

Archbishop Palma said he is not surprised that thousands of people want to attend the ceremony.

“Over in Cebu, we usually say sainthood is ‘relative’. If you become a saint, you discover that you have many relatives.”
  Tourists climb onto a glacier in Peru. The Vatican has urged support for tourist programmes that are energy efficient in its World Tourism Day message. Tourists climb onto a glacier in Peru. The Vatican has urged support for tourist programmes that are energy efficient in its World Tourism Day message.VATICAN CITY – Going on vacation must not be an occasion to relax one’s commitment to saving energy and protecting the environment, the Vatican said.

Tourism can have “a serious environmental impact owing, among other factors, to the immoderate consumption of energy resources” and an increase in pollution and waste, said a message from the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travellers.

The message, released by the Vatican on July 25, was written in preparation for the observance of World Tourism Day on Sept 27, an event promoted by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation and supported by the Vatican.

The theme is Tourism & Sustainable Energy: Powering Sustainable Development.

While acknowledging that people are becoming more aware of their responsibility to care for the earth, the message said it is also true that people risk setting aside their ecological sensitivities while on vacation “in a search for certain comforts to which we believe we are entitled, without always reflecting on their consequences”.

CatholicNews recently posted on its Facebook page the following article published in the British Catholic publication, Catholic Herald. We invited readers to comment on this story (condensed here due to space) written by a lay member of the Dominican Order and Emeritus Professor of Indian and Tibetan Philosophy at the University of Bristol:

Ms Chiara Petrillo was a 28-year-old Italian mother who apparently refused life-saving cancer treatment that would have damaged or destroyed her baby. Her baby, Francesco, was born perfectly well. Chiara died.
VATICAN CITY – The recent turn of events surrounding a blasphemy case against a Christian Pakistani girl “will boost public trust in the judiciary of this country” said her lawyer.

“This is the first time a false accuser has been arrested. We thank clerics, media and the nation for supporting the cause,” said Mr Tahir Naveed Chaudhry who is representing Rimsha Masih.

She was granted bail on Sept 7 after three weeks in police custody.

Investigations continue both into accusations that Rimsha burned pages of the Qur’an – a violation of Pakistan’s anti-blasphemy laws – as well as into the actions of Muslim cleric Jadoon Chishti, who was taken into police custody on Sept 2 after being accused of planting the pages of the Qur’an and burned pieces of paper in the girl’s bag.

The case has led to more calls, including from mainstream Muslim clerics and scholars, to at least add “safeguards against the abuse of the blasphemy laws”, Mr Peter Jacob, executive secretary of the Pakistani bishops’ National Commission for Justice and Peace, told Vatican Radio.

Rimsha had been in police custody since Aug 18. Her parents said she is 11 years old and has Down syndrome. A court appointed physician reported she was about 14 and is developmentally delayed.
Panellists at the Social Mission Conference: (from left) Ms Cecilia Chua (HopeHouse shelter), Ms Helen Lim (Chatter@Silver Spring cafe), Ms Leona Leong (Aii social enterprise), Mr Gerard Ee (Beyond Social Services) and Mr Laurence Lien, Nominated Member of Parliament and CEO, National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre.Panellists at the Social Mission Conference: (from left) Ms Cecilia Chua (HopeHouse shelter), Ms Helen Lim (Chatter@Silver Spring cafe), Ms Leona Leong (Aii social enterprise), Mr Gerard Ee (Beyond Social Services) and Mr Laurence Lien, Nominated Member of Parliament and CEO, National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre.Participants at Caritas event discuss ways to reach out to disadvantaged

Partnering the poor means reaching out to them, “creating opportunities and motivating them towards helping themselves”, Archbishop Nicholas Chia told some 400 people gathered for the Social Mission Conference on Sept 1.

“While previously we focused on the needs [of the disadvantaged], today we aspire to concentrate our efforts towards ‘helping them help themselves,’” he said.

“How can we create opportunities and motivation for self-help and mutual help which affirm the dignity and self-respect of the poor?” he asked.