DECEMBER 21, 2008, Vol 58, No 26

SINGAPORE – Six archbishops and bishops from Malaysia and Brunei, about 60 priests and 500 Catholics gathered for Mass to mark the 25th anniversary of the St. Francis Xavier Major Seminary, on Dec 1, at Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Religious brothers and sisters, even a Carmelite nun, were present.

SINGAPORE – Almost 120 people attended the closing triduum Mass at St. Francis Xavier Major Seminary on Nov 30 celebrated by Archbishop Nicholas Chia. About half of the congregation comprised relatives and friends of the five Malaysian seminarians who were installed as lector and acolytes at the Mass.

VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI condemned the wave of terrorist attacks in India as acts of
"cruel and senseless violence", and led prayers for the nearly 200 people who died and the hundreds
injured in the bloodshed.

Speaking at his noon blessing on Nov 30, the pope asked for prayers for the victims of the attacks in Mumbai.

"Let us ask the Lord to touch the hearts of those who delude themselves by thinking that this is the way to resolve local or international problems," he said. The pope earlier deplored the brutality of the violence in a telegram sent to Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai.
The papal telegram appealed "for an end to all acts of terrorism, which gravely offend the human family and severely destabilise the peace and solidarity needed to build a civilisation worthy of mankind’s noble vocation to love God and neighbour". - cns

MANCHESTER United has apologised to supporters after anti-Catholic chanting was heard during the Champions League clash against Celtic earlier this month.

The European governing football authority, UEFA, is in the process of gathering evidence after sections of the United following were heard to sing an anti-papal song which also had anti-Irish republicanism sentiments. The chanting was heard during and after the crucial clash, which ended in a 1-1 draw.

United, the current champions of Europe, salvaged a point in the dying minutes of a tense affair after trailing the Scottish champions for most of the match. UEFA has pledged to crack down on discriminatory practices among football supporters.

Recently Atletico Madrid was punished after its fans were heard chanting racist slogans during a Champions League match, which resulted in a heavy fine and the team being forced to play a future European tie behind closed doors.

It is understood that chants from some Manchester United fans will be investigated for religious and ethnic bigotry by UEFA, which has launched a campaign called Respect to tackle such issues.

Supporters of the Scottish club said they were "shocked by the sectarian and racist singing from the United fans", while Manchester United officials have called on their supporters to desist from such "offensive and inappropriate songs". A club spokesperson said: "Manchester United do not condone or promote the chant that was sung at Celtic Park."

She continued, "We would like to apologise for any offence caused and we will continue to work with our fans to eliminate such offensive and inappropriate songs."

UEFA has come under pressure to clamp down on all forms of bigotry from fans across the continent.

The UEFA spokesman added, "UEFA’s disciplinary unit is currently tying to gather more evidence in order to see if disciplinary proceedings could be opened concerning this matter."

Danny Lynch from the anti-bigotry football charity Kick It Out expressed surprise at the incident: "I was always under the impression that Celtic and United had a good relationship because both teams have, a strong Irish background," he said. n The Universe

SOME 40,000 YOUNG adults from across Europe and other continents will gather in Brussels from Dec 29 to Jan 2 at the call of the Taizé Community. The Brussels meeting will be the 31st meeting of European youth led by Taizé.

This new stage will follow a recent African meeting that brought together 7,000 young people from 15 African countries in Nairobi, Kenya, from Nov 26-30.

At the Brussels meeting, Brother Alois, the successor of Brother Roger, will release a "Letter from Kenya" that will serve as a basis for reflection during the European meeting.

Each European country will be represented by hundreds or thousands of participants. Among those registered to date include: 510 from Portugal, 600 from Spain, 2,000 French, 1,500 Italians, 2,000 Germans, 900 Lithuanians, 650 Slovenes, 9,200 Polish and 300 Russians.

The meeting in Brussels will be a new stage of the pilgrimage of trust launched 30 years ago by
Brother Roger, founder of the Taizé Community. The same desire to build trust is reflected in the
agenda of the meeting in Brussels and in the "Letter from Kenya". "Everyone can take part in a
civilisation marked not by mistrust but by trust. At times, in the course of history, just a few people were enough to tip the balance towards peace. Let us dare to be creative even with what is not perfect. And
we will find freedom," writes Brother Alois in his letter, to be translated into 30 languages and given to the young people on their arrival in Brussels.