Tuesday, June 8, 2010

On Cyprus Pope prepares Synod on Middle East - CCSTA Convention Photos

Presenting the working document for the special Synod of Bishops on the Middle East, Pope Benedict XVI prayed for “just and lasting solutions” to the region’s conflicts, which cause so much hardship:

The Catholic Church in the Middle East:
Communion and Witness

"Now the company of those who believed
were of one heart and soul"
(Acts 4:32)

“I reiterate my personal appeal for an urgent and concerted international effort to resolve the ongoing tensions in the Middle East, especially in the Holy Land, before such conflicts lead to greater bloodshed,” the pope said June 6 at the end of a Mass in a Nicosia sports arena.

The pope gave the document to representatives from the Latin-rite, Maronite, Melkite, Armenian, Coptic, Chaldean and Assyrian Catholic Churches living in countries from Egypt to Iran.

The synod will be held at the Vatican Oct. 10-24 and focus on “communion and witness” in the region where Christianity was born, but where Christians are a minority.

Pope Benedict told the region’s Catholics that the synod would be an occasion “to highlight the important value of the Christian presence and witness in the biblical lands, not just for the Christian community around the world, but also for your neighbors and fellow citizens.”

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A major difficulty I find in participating in a convention held in one's own city is the distraction of dropping in and out while attending to other business and, in my case this past weekend, travelling out of town to attend the Jesuit ordinations in Toronto.

However, in the case of the Canadian Catholic School Trustees Association, I was able to take in a good bit even so: the opening prayer service on Thursday night, with the keynote address by Michael Higgins on the creativity of Catholic public schooling; the major address the next morning by Mark McGowan on four key figures in Canadian Catholic education, including Richard Scott, Mayor of Ottawa who argued for, and proposed solutions concerning, Catholic education.

On my return from Toronto, I presided at the anticipated Sunday Eucharist at Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica on Saturday afternoon that served as the convention's Closing Mass and the closing banquet at which Patrick Daly was awarded the Justice James Higgins Award for leadership in the cause of Catholic schooling.

Some photos from the Convention:

Children from Ottawa Catholic schools carry the flags of Canada the ten provinces and three territories in the inaugural procession

Coordinating the grand entrance...

St. Mark's High School students give a retrospective history of Catholic education in song

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