Former IYCW leader turns 90

Former IYCW vice-president, Betty Villa, of the Philippines reached her 90th birthday milestone on 14 September. She celebrated the occasion with friends, including present day YCW members.

Betty was elected to the IYCW International Executive Committee in 1957 and she became vice-president in 1961.

She also accompanied Cardijn to Rome on several visits during Vatican II, lobbying on behalf of the lay apostolate.

Here is the video she made in 2012 presenting her memories of Cardijn’s role at the Council.

 

Philippines YCW/YCS leaders warn Duterte

Filipino youth organisations, including local YCW and YCS leaders, have warned President Rodrigo Duterte not to sabotage the anti-martial law protests or use them as a “pretext” to declare nationwide martial law, GMA Network News reports.

In a statement, the groups led by Anakbayan said that doing so would hasten his “fascist” regime’s downfall.

“By churning out ridiculous gags – from declaring September 21 a ‘national day of protest’ to challenging protesters to ‘occupy EDSA’, Duterte hopes to sabotage protests and discourage people from joining. The Filipino youth and people will prove him wrong,” said Anakbayan national chairperson Vencer Crisostomo.

“Mr. Duterte, if you think declaring nationwide martial law will make you escape accountability for all your accumulated crimes against the Filipino people and continue your tyranny, then you are dead wrong. It is better if you just step down,” he added.

“Mr. Duterte, we are warning you. Your current rush towards outright fascist rule and threats of using the full force of the police and military apparatus to quell dissent is only bound to fuel more resistance and hasten your downfall.”

Students and youth groups from the country’s biggest universities will participate in the massive collective action set on September 21, the 45th anniversary of Ferdinand Marcos’ declaration of martial law in 1972.

Anakbayan said protesters in Metro Manila on Wednesday will march towards the gates of Malacañang Palace and stage a program at 1:00 p.m.

Signatories included Student Catholic Action (Philippines YCS) and Errol Alonzo on behalf of the YCW.

Youth groups to Duterte: Don’t use Sept. 21 protests as excuse to impose martial law (GMA Network News)

PHOTO

Presidential Communications Operations Office / Wikipedia

Young people share views on Synod

Last week, the Vatican has hosted a seminar on today’s youth in preparation for next year’s Synod of Bishops’ gathering on “Young people, faith and vocational discernment,” La Croix International reports

A group of 21 teens and young adults took part in last week’s invitation-only even, where they joined in discussions and made concrete proposals for the Synod.

Stepping through the doors of the conference room, visitors may have been surprised to find that gray hairs were in the minority at a seminar organized by the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops last week.

Participants did not hesitate to challenge the academic presenters at the event or to raise the stakes by freely expressing their views during the debates.

In fact, they even protested when the presentations of the experts exceeded the time limit and ate into their precious discussion time.They also criticized the Vatican survey addressed to young people which was considered to be too long or poorly translated.

“The pope asked us to ‘make chaos,’ that’s precisely what we’re doing,” said Lucas Barboza with a smile.

“You have galvanized us,” said Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, in his concluding remarks.

He graciously welcomed the young people’s critiques, including on the content of the seminar, which failed to address subjects such as personal relationships and sexuality, or the lack of non-European representation among the young people invited (only one representative was from Africa).

FULL STORY

Young people make waves at Synod meeting (La Croix International)

Catholic youth have something to say – and the Church is listening (Catholic News Agency)

 

IYCS leader Richard Apeh (left) with other delegates

Parramatta YCW recruits

The Parramatta YCW) is looking to employ a Youth Engagement Officer (YEO) whose work “will focus on engaging and forming young people in individual and collective actions that will transform their lives and the communities they live and work in.”

The role is a 2 year fixed contract position for 38 hours a week Monday – Sunday, according to an advertisement placed on Ethical Jobs.

The ideal candidate will:

  • Be experienced in recruiting and working with young people in short and long term projects, develop strategic plans of action and coordinate events.
  • Understand the issues facing young workers and be able to engage young adults in community based activities and actions addressing these social and workplace issues.
  • Establish teams of leaders for the ongoing development and growth of YCW’s activities and actions
  • Facilitate the growth of faith-values among young adults through a process of action-reflection in small groups and complementary training
  • Have some experience planning and writing grant applications.
  • Have an understanding of how to coordinate social media campaigns
  • The YEO will work closely with and report to the PYCW Leaders Team.

Essential criteria:

  • Demonstrated ability to recruit and engage young adults (18 – 30) in community activities and action.
  • Demonstrated ability to establish and develop teams of volunteers, including individual leadership skills and commitment to social change.
  • Demonstrated commitment to working with vulnerable young people and a belief in social justice principles.
  • An ability and commitment to working within a Christian faith based organisation while being inclusive of those from other beliefs.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills, including an ability to work across diverse cultures and backgrounds.
    NSW Driver’s Licence.

SOURCE

Youth Engagement Officer (Parramatta YCW/Ethical Jobs)

Call for Sri Lanka to become secular state

Fr Reid Shelton Fernando / asianews.it

One of the sticking points in a proposed new Constitution for Sri Lanka centers on the degree of prominence to be given to Buddhism as the state religion, writes former YCW and Cardijn Community chaplain, Fr Reid Shelton Fernando.

Over the years, there have been 19 amendments to the 1978 Constitution, some enacted in haste. A number of measures perceived to be “draconian” were dropped and independent “commissions” established under a Constitutional Council.

Government coalition parties promised changes to the electoral process, but they did not eventuate before the dissolution of parliament in July, 2015, pending elections.

Why the need for a change?

The most recent amendment that got through was criticized as detrimental to democratic principles. Checks and balances such as the independent commissions were watered down. And the executive role of ‘president’ was given almost absolute power.

In 1977 parliamentary elections, the ruling United National Party (UNP) had a more than two-thirds majority, allowing pursuance of its own agenda. Then Prime Minister J.R. Jayawardene later became the country’s first executive president under an amended Constitution.

This authoritarian template benefited the rich rather than poor workers. The situation was aggravated in 1983 with the outbreak of ethnic conflict with Tamil insurgents that lasted for almost 30 years.

The victors of the presidential elections in January 2015, took the first step towards a new Constitution, appointing a committee of 20 persons to seek a wide range of views.

In the meantime, all members of parliament became members of a Constituent Assembly. A steering committee was also established. One vexed issue centers on Article 9 of the 1978 constitution and the amount of prominence to be given in future to Buddhism. Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith of Colombo has taken up this matter up.

After years of ethnic conflict, expectations are high that such strife can be avoided in future and Sri Lanka can become a model of religious amity. In January 2015, during a visit to Sri Lanka, Pope Francis reminded people of the need to work towards unity and justice. He spoke of the importance of transcending religious divisions in the service of peace.

FULL ARTICLE

Sri Lanka’s clarion call to become a secular state (ucanews.com)

 

Global – New iPhones now on sale!

Apple released a slew of new products last week, including the iPhone 8, iPhone X and a new Apple Watch 3.

Just a few days earlier, Samsung released its own competitor, the Galaxy Note 8.

And next month, Google will join the party with its latest Nexus phone.

See

What kind of mobile do you have? How old is it? How often do you upgrade?

What do you use your phone for mainly?

Are you on a monthly plan? How much do you spend?

Do you know anything about the production of mobile phones?

Read this article: It’s been a bloody decade of the iPhone, critics say

What do you think about the points raised in the article?

Judge

How important is your phone to you?

What are the most positive and negative aspects of owning and using a mobile phone?

Have you ever experienced problems?

Is it fair the way workers who produce the phones are treated?

Act

Do you think you or other people need to change in their use of mobile phones?

What changes would you suggest?

 

Local – 20,000 Centrelink debts wiped

At least 20,000 Centrelink debts were either wiped or reduced in a nine-month period, newly released figures show, The Guardian reports.

The data, tabled in parliament this week, confirms what was already known about extent of problems with the so-called “robo debt” system.

It shows 7,456 debts were reduced to zero and another 12,524 were partially reduced but not wiped entirely, between July last year and March.

For the first time, the data gives a geographic understanding of where debts were issued. It shows high numbers of inaccurate debts in areas of western Sydney, Bundaberg, Mackay, Toowoomba, the New South Wales central coast and around Cranbourne in Melbourne’s south-eastern fringes.

Victoria Legal Aid’s executive director of civil justice, Dan Nicholson, said the most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups were less likely to have appealed.

“I think on the face of it, it’s a shocking number of wrong debts to be alleged but in fact the most concerning thing is the very large number of people who would not have challenged their debts, and would now be paying back debts that were wrongly or unlawfully raised against them,” Nicholson said.

“We know those people are most likely to be the most disadvantaged in the community, and therefore the people that it may affect the most.”

The human services minister, Alan Tudge, has insisted the system is capable of calculating debts fairly. He pointed to to the ombudsman’s report earlier this year, which made a string of criticisms of the system but found it was able to accurately raise a debt, so long as it was provided with the proper information.

Criticism of the system began just before Christmas last year. From July last year, the government introduced a new way of clawing back debts from welfare recipients.

 

FULL STORY

Centrelink scandal: tens of thousands of welfare debts wiped or reduced (The Guardian)

See

Do you know of anyone who has had to repay a Centrelink debt? How did it work for them?

Were they able to repay the debt? Was the debt correctly calculated?

The Not My Debt website has collected many cases of people who have had problems with Centrelink.

https://www.notmydebt.com.au/stories/notmydebt-stories

What do you think of these cases? Do you know of any similar ones?

Judge

Did the system work well? Was it fair?

Act

Do you know of anyone who may need assistance in dealing with a Centrelink debt?

How could you help?

Gospel – How many times shall I forgive?

21 Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Until seven times?”

22 Jesus said to him, “I don’t tell you until seven times, but, until seventy times seven.

23 Therefore the Kingdom of Heaven is like a certain king, who wanted to reconcile accounts with his servants.

24 When he had begun to reconcile, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents.‡

25 But because he couldn’t pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, with his wife, his children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.

26 The servant therefore fell down and knelt before him, saying, ‘Lord, have patience with me, and I will repay you all!’

27 The lord of that servant, being moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.

28 “But that servant went out, and found one of his fellow servants, who owed him one hundred denarii,§ and he grabbed him, and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’

29 “So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will repay you!’

30 He would not, but went and cast him into prison, until he should pay back that which was due.

31 So when his fellow servants saw what was done, they were exceedingly sorry, and came and told their lord all that was done.

32 Then his lord called him in, and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt, because you begged me.

33 Shouldn’t you also have had mercy on your fellow servant, even as I had mercy on you?’ 34 His lord was angry, and delivered him to the tormentors, until he should pay all that was due to him.

35 So my heavenly Father will also do to you, if you don’t each forgive your brother from your hearts for his misdeeds.”

SOURCE

World English Bible

See also: USCCB Daily Readings

Review questions

Have you had an experience where someone has failed to forgive you? Or where you have failed to forgive?

What made it so difficult to forgive? How to overcome these difficulties?

In Jesus’s parable, the lord was very harsh on the servant who failed to forgive his debt. What do you think about this? Do you think God will be equally harsh?

Are there any opportunities in your life at the moment where you could show mercy or forgiveness?

What action could you take this week?

Vale Kevin Dynon, YCW and VFL footballer

Kevin Dynon, one of the first YCW footballers to make the grade as an AFL footballer, died on 8 September 2017.

Recruited from Kensington YCW, Kevin joined North Melbourne VFL (now AFL) side in 1943 at the age of seventeen.

“A former captain, club Hall of Fame member and Victoria representative, Kevin Dynon will be remembered as a true North Melbourne great,” the NMFC website says.

“Tall for a centreman of his time (179cm) and very solid (85kg), Dynon’s dynamic mix of strength and skill was a feature of the North sides that made the finals in 1945, 1949, 1950 and 1954,” an excerpt from The Shinboners book reads.

“After missing three seasons from 1944-46 becaues of the war, Dynon returned to North as skipper in 1947 – “the youngest leader in club history at the time at just 21,” the club says.

“Demoted after winning just four games at the helm, he remained unperturbed and continued to play at a high standard helping North to a preliminary final in 1949 and a Grand Final in 1950,” the NMFC site continues.

In 1952 and 1953 he was re-appointed captain and went on to play 149 games across 12 seasons.

Kevin died on 8 September, which is regarded as the foundation day of the Australian YCW, which was in turn chosen to honour the birthday of Mary, Jesus’ mother.

SOURCE

Vale Kevin Dynon (North Melbourne Football Club)

Kevin Dynon (Wikipedia)

PHOTO

Herald Sun

110,000 respond to Vatican youth survey

More than 110,000 young people from around the world have responded to an online survey posted by the Vatican secretariat for the Synod on Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment in 2018.

“In the roughly three months it has been online, more than 110,000 young people have responded to the questionnaire,” says Synod secretary-general Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri. “It’s a significant number considering the absolute novelty of the initiative, and one that is bound to increase in the coming months.”

The response rate, he said, “demonstrates the great desire of young people to have their say.”

Meanwhile, twenty people under the age of 35, along with 70 theologians, priests and academics are meeting from September 11-15 as part of the preparatory process for the 2018 Synod of Bishops on “young people, faith and vocational discernment,” Catholic News Service reports.

Several young people participating in the seminar urged the Vatican and the bishops themselves to be opening to listening to youths talk and ask questions about love, sex and sexuality.

Therese Hargot, who leads sex education programs at Catholic schools in Paris, told the gathering September 13, “it’s surprising we are looking at politics, economics, etc., but not at sexuality and affectivity, which are very important topics for young people.”

Ashleigh Green, an Australian delegate to the seminar, said that going around Australia in preparation for the synod she found that “a lot of young people feel like they cannot talk about issues that matter to them” in most church settings.

However, Cardinal Baldisseri told the seminar that Pope Francis wants the synod in October 2018 to not just be about young people, but with young people, assuring they have a voice.

FULL STORY

Don’t be embarrassed to talk about sex, youths tell Vatican officials (Catholic News Service)

Synod website