1. Mass to Commemorate and Celebrate the Life of Dominican Father Joseph Tran Ngoc Thanh in Adelaide, Australia
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Journalists of VietCatholic News in Adelaide will hold a memorial mass on Friday, February 11, 6pm, at Ottoway Catholic Church, 85 Rosewater Terrace to Commemorate and Celebrate the Life of Dominican Father Joseph Tran Ngoc Thanh, who was murdered on January 29 in Kontum, Vietnam.
You are invited to come together to renew our trust in Christ who, by dying on the cross, has freed us from eternal death and, by rising, has opened for us the gates of heaven. Let us pray for our beloved Father Joseph Tran Ngoc Thanh that he may share in Christ's victory and let us pray that the Lord may grant the gift of loving consolation to those who are mourning the heroic missionary.
Vietnamese government officials have said that the man who brutally murdered Father Joseph Tran Ngoc Thanh on January 29 was “mentally unstable.” But most Vietnamese Catholics fear that the killing may have been intended as a warning, to deter Catholic missionaries from working in the country’s Central Highlands region.
The murder has received little coverage in the government-controlled media, and the Church has been under heavy political pressure in Vietnam. According to local Catholic sources, Nguyen Van Kien, the man who was detained at the scene and charged with the killing, had warned his mother that if she went to Mass, “someone will have to die,” that is the murder had been plotted and prepared.
The conscience of the faithful is asking and demanding that voices be raised, that the truth be told so that people understand the seriousness of the matter and that justice be done in this case.
Please come together to pray for Father Thanh and to renew our appeal for freedom and human rights for Vietnam.
2. Pope condemns “barbaric” attack on displaced people in DRC
Armed militias attacked a camp for internally displaced people in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo on Tuesday, killing at least 60 people.
Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin has sent a telegram on to President Félix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, expressing the ‘dismay’ of Pope Francis over the 1 February attack by armed militia on the site for internally displaced people (IDPs) in Plaine Savo Djugu Territory in the eastern province of Ituri.
At least 60 people, including more than a dozen children, were killed and more than 40 others injured.
“Heinous and barbaric act”
Cardinal Parolin said the Holy Father “asks the Father of all mercy to welcome in His peace and light those who have died and to give comfort to those who mourn their loss”. “He implores the divine gifts of healing and consolation on the wounded and the bereaved to whom he expresses his spiritual closeness and deep sympathy.”
The Holy Father prayed that the Lord grant courage and strength to the grieving families, as well as to all those helping to rescue the victims. He strongly condemns “this heinous and barbaric act which is a source of great suffering and desolation for the country”. The Pope implored the gift of peace and fraternity for the region struck by great suffering and invoked God’s blessing on all the Congolese people.
UN and partners condemns attack
United Nations agencies and its partners working in the country have also condemned the attack.
The site, which is managed by the UN refugee agency UNHCR and Catholic charity Caritas, hosted more than 20,000 IDPs including more than 13,000 children. Many of the displaced have fled elsewhere.
The attack, thought to have been carried out by a non-state armed group, occurred less than three months after the last deadly attack on the displacement sites of Drodro and Tche in the same area of Djugu Territory. Some 44 people were killed in that attack, which forced tens of thousands of people to flee.
Around 230,000 people live in more than 60 displacement sites across the province managed by UNHCR and the UN International Organization for Migration (IOM). Both agencies support the government to provide overall management of these sites and to coordinate humanitarian assistance and protection.
The DRC hosts 5.6 million displaced persons, most of whom reside in the eastern part of the country, in North and South Kivu, Ituri, and Tanganyika provinces.
3. Exorcist Diary #176: Demons Hate Gemma
Father Stephen Joseph Rossetti is an American Catholic priest, author, educator, licensed psychologist and expert on psychological and spiritual wellness issues for Catholic priests. He is a professor at The Catholic University of America, teaching in the School of Theology and Religious Studies. For the last 13 years, he has also been an exorcist of Syracuse diocese.
Here is his latest article: Exorcist Diary #176: Demons Hate Gemma
For ten years, “Valerie” was deep into the occult. She visited houses of witchcraft, pagan temples, and attached herself to gurus and pagan deities. By the grace of God, she had a powerful experience of Christ and realized how evil it all was. But the path back has been tortuous...
These witches, gurus and demons are not letting her go without a fight. Demons of divination typically are dug in deep and hard to expunge. They are attacking and tormenting Valerie daily. But after weekly deliverance sessions for a year, she is much better. She is starting to emerge from the mental darkness and spiritual lethargy that increasingly engulfed her in the occult. She now has more moments of light and peace.
Valerie recently had a “dream.” She told me she saw a huge Catholic shrine. On one side of the building was the word: “Pray.” On the other side was the word: “Rosary.” She took this as a clear sign that she should pray the rosary daily, which she is now doing.
She was also given the sure knowledge that this shrine was in an Italian town called Lucca. Valerie told me she never heard of Lucca and knew “zero” about it. So, she went online and found that it was the home of St. Gemma Galgani. St. Gemma herself regularly suffered “furious assaults of the devil on her body and her soul, so fiendish and continuous that she imagined herself possessed and begged to be exorcized.”* The body of St. Gemma is currently interred in the Passionist monastery-sanctuary of St. Gemma in Lucca.
St. Gemma has been a huge help to Valerie on her road to spiritual recovery. Valerie even claims that St. Gemma woke her up on Easter Sunday to attend Mass when she was in danger of over-sleeping. She said, “When I woke up, I was filled with an enormous love for Jesus in my heart. I knew this was a special grace.” Likewise, St. Gemma was noted for being filled with a pure, child-like love for Jesus.
Valerie also said that whenever she sees a picture of beautiful Gemma and prays for her help, the demons react strongly. She said they “hate” her and have a “pure disgust” for her. The demons tormenting Valerie make her feel like “vomiting” whenever St. Gemma is invoked. They shout, “Keep that woman away from me!”
Demons hate Gemma. We love her!
4. Retired Anglican bishop Peter Forster becomes Catholic, news report confirms
Peter Forster, a former Anglican Bishop of Chester, was received into the Catholic Church in Scotland last year, a Church of England news site has reported. He is the third leading Church of England clergyman to become Catholic in the last year.
Church Times, an independent Anglican news site, confirmed the news in a Feb. 4 report. Forster had written regular reviews for the publication through 2019.
Forster helped lead the Anglican Diocese of Chester for over 22 years and was the longest-serving Church of England bishop, according to Premier Christian News. His former diocese has some 273 parishes. He retired in September 2019 at age 69, and moved to Scotland with his wife Elisabeth.
The news of Forster’s conversion makes him the third Anglican prelate to have entered the Catholic Church in the last year. Michael Nazir-Ali, former Anglican Bishop of Rochester, was received into the Church in September and was ordained a Catholic priest on Oct. 30. Jonathan Goodall, the Anglican Bishop of Ebbsfleet, resigned in September to enter full communion with the Catholic Church.
Forster had served as a member of the English Anglican-Roman Catholic Committee. He has been critical of a “drift” in ecumenical relations “from a vision of full visible unity to an essentially debased vision of reconciled diversity,” the Church Times said.
The retired Anglican bishop had supported the ordination of women to the Anglican priesthood and the Chester diocese was the first to have a woman bishop. At the same time, he was critical of the Church of England’s approach to women bishops and how this affected relations with other Christian bodies. He thought it was “astonishing” that the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission had not published anything on the ordination of women.
The Church of England broke from the Catholic Church in the 16th century, adopting a different theology and sacramental practices. Its head is the English monarch, currently Queen Elizabeth II. The Catholic Church generally does not recognize Anglican holy orders as sacramentally valid.