Russians hopeful of Papal visit
Book on John Paul II's Fatima link launched in Moscow
A new book describing John Paul II«s deep connection with Fatima was presented in Moscow last October. On 16 October, the 23rd anniversary of John Paul II«s pontificate, Aura Miguel, the most prominent Portuguese journalist in the Vatican press corps, presented her book The Secret That Leads the Pope in Moscow.
"Events like this one [the presentation of the book] make the visit of the Pope to Russia even more likely," said Russian journalist Alexej Bugalov, correspondent for Tass news agency at the Vatican.
Opening the ceremony, Bugalov spoke of the Pope's recent visit to Kazakhstan, recalling one of the banners at the papal Mass that proclaimed: "Holiness, we are waiting for you in Russia."
"Even if these words have not yet been pronounced by the Russian Orthodox Church, they are pronounced by the simple faithful," Bugalov observed.
The thesis of Miguel's book is that John Paul II's papacy is mysteriously sustained - led, as the title says - by the Secret of Fatima.
By presenting her book in Russia, Miguel has revealed a link between the life and work of John Paul II and the Secret of Fatima that most Russian people had never heard of, until now.
In a brief address, Viktor Popkov, director of the book's Russian publishing house said that many Russian Christians looked with hope to the mystery of Fatima, which speaks of a Russia which must "free herself from her errors."
Zenit News Agency
Rapid increase in British Muslim worshippers
Due to overtake practising Catholics, says Christian Research
Muslims who worship regularly in mosques will soon outnumber Catholics who go to Sunday Mass in Britain, according to new projections.
Figures released in November by Christian Research, the organisation that collates religious statistics, show that the number of practising Muslims is rising rapidly. In 2000, there were about 620,000 in Britain and there will be an estimated 750,000 by 2005, according to its analysis.
If present trends continue, the number of active Muslims will outstrip practising Catholics by 2013, said Dr Peter Brierley, a former government statistician who is the executive director of Christian Research.
By that date, he predicted, there will be about 800,000 practicing Muslims, the same as the total of Anglicans across the country who are in church on Sunday.
The 2005 figures, published by Christian Research, show the respective proportions of all UK religious practitioners as 31 percent Roman Catholic, 26 percent Anglican, and 43 percent for all other smaller denominations.
A spokesman for the Council of Mosques told the newspaper that Muslim worship was thriving. "Every Friday most mosques are full and they are full of young adults," he said.
Catholic World News
Centre for Thomistic Studies, Sydney, initiative
Degrees to be linked with Legionaries of Christ
The Centre for Thomistic Studies Inc, Sydney, in addition to the classes it gives on Thomistic philosophy and theology, is entering an association with a religious order founded in recent times, the Legionaries of Christ, in whose name the Centre will be able to offer academic degrees in Theology and Religious Studies.
The Centre is noted not only for its adherence to the doctrine of Thomas Aquinas, but also for its orthodoxy in religious matters.
The Centre hopes to be able to commence the new classes by the beginning of March next year. Details of this are to be posted on the CTS Web site, www.cts.org.au.
Kenyan missionaries' major role
Centenary of Consolata Missionaries celebrated in Nairobi
In a colorful ceremony held at the Consolata Shrine, 12 new Kenyan missionaries were sent out to the world to evangelise. The African agency CISA reported that two nuns, two religious brothers and eight priests received a mandate to leave their country to proclaim the Gospel.
The celebration was presided over by the newly consecrated Bishop Virgilio Pante of Maralal and marked the conclusion of the centenary celebrations of the foundation of the Consolata Missionaries.
Started in 1901 by now-Blessed Joseph Allamano in Turin, Italy, the Consolatas reached Kenya in 1902, where they officially began their mission among the Kikuyu. Their work, characterised by a well-balanced combination of evangelisation and human promotion, has given birth to eight new dioceses in Kenya, the first being Nyeri and the latest, Maralal.
The Nairobi celebration gathered the four Consolata bishops: Ambrose Ravasi of Marsabit, Peter Kihara of Murangia, Auxiliary Anthony Ireri of Nairobi, and Virgilio Pante of Maralal. It also included the ordination of Consolata Missionary Father Joseph Otieno, of Nairobi's Kahawa West parish.
There are more than 250 Kenyan missionaries around the world. Two of the new missionaries are going to Korea and will be among the first African missionaries sent to Asia.
Zenit News Agency
Japanese Catholics' China exchange
Aim to heal 1930s wounds with China
Japanese Catholics are trying to mend the deep wounds caused by their nation's 1930s war with China. A group of priests, religious and laity from the Nigata and Urawa dioceses in Japan travelled to Beijing and Nanjing in October to pay homage to the victims of the massacres committed by the Japanese Imperial Army during the Sino-Japanese war.
The visit was part of an exchange program fostered by the Diocese of Urawa between Japan and other Asian nations including China. Bishop Tanu Daiji of Urawa explained that the program is directed primarily at youth, to promote friendly relations between Japan and the Asian countries that suffered military occupation during the 1930s.
In addition to rendering homage to the victims of the massacres perpetrated by Japanese troops, the group met with the auxiliary bishop of Nanjing, with whom they exchanged pastoral experiences.
The "rape of Nanking" cost 300,000 Chinese lives in 1937-38 and was one of the most tragic and bloody events of the war.
Zenit News Agency