In Brief

Meeting for Diocesan Priests in Quartu Sant’Elena (Sardinia, Italy)

A meeting for priests from the Sardinian dioceses of Cagliari and Lanusei was held at Villa Tecla, a retreat center in Quartu Sant’Elena, in the province of Cagliari, on November 16-17, 2022. Experiences were shared, especially in the field of youth and family ministry, among priests who work in a wide variety of settings, from small towns to large cities, which everyone found enriching. Two sessions on priestly celibacy led by Prof. Laurent Touze, director of the Department of Spiritual Theology at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, helped participants to rediscover the theological foundation of the gift of celibacy and its relationship with the mystery of the Church and the Eucharist.

In this context, Eucharistic adoration and the concelebration of the Holy Mass, to which Fr. Albino, pastor of a small town in the diocese of Cagliari, brought his liturgical and musical experience, occupied a central place.

The meeting was organized in the context of the Iniziative Culturali Sacerdotali, a project promoted by priests of the Prelature of Opus Dei and various Italian dioceses with the aim of strengthening the bonds of priestly fraternity and fostering the spiritual life and ongoing formation of clergy.

Blessing of the Oratory of the Cuides UIC Barcelona Clinic

On November 30, Auxiliary Bishop Salvador Cristau Coll blessed the oratory of the Cuides UIC Barcelona Clinic, the first university palliative care clinic in Spain, which was presented to the public in February.

Located on the second floor of the Hospital Universitari General de Catalunya, Cuides is the third university clinic of the UIC (Universitat Internacional de Catalunya). Its staff is made up of a team of professionals from various specialties including medicine, nursing, psychology, physiotherapy and social work. Thus the clinic offers care and oversight not only of the patients’ symptoms, but also of their emotional and psychological needs. In addition, it accompanies the patients’ families throughout the entire process. The clinic’s oratory is open to all those who need a place to pray quietly.

The Bishop of Vitoria, Juan Carlos Elizalde, Presides at Marian Family Day (Torreciudad, Spain)

After a two year pause due to the pandemic, the sanctuary of Torreciudad celebrated on September 17 the 30th Marian Family Day, which brought together nearly nine thousand pilgrims from all over Spain.

The Bishop of Vitoria, Juan Carlos Elizalde, celebrated the Eucharist in the esplanade of the Sanctuary. In his homily, he encouraged those present to consider, at the beginning of the school year, “the family project” on which each one is embarked and the “promise of happiness” that God offers with the gift of the family. It is this promise, Bishop Elizalde went on to say, that gives us the assurance that it is possible to overcome the difficult moments when, owing to conflicts, illness, debts, separations, absences and deaths, one’s personal and family situation can become more challenging. Finally, the Bishop of Vitoria encouraged people to avoid arguments and blaming one another: “We poison ourselves,” he said, “when we look for culprits.” Rather we should ask: “Where do I need to help out, who needs me, who is crying out to me, what will my own contribution be this year?”

At the end of the ceremony, the rector of Torreciudad, Ángel Lasheras, read a message from the Pope addressed to families, whom he wishes to be “the welcoming face of the Church.”

This year, the families prayed especially for the end of the war in Ukraine. At one point, they joined in heartfelt applause for a group of thirty Ukrainian refugees who arrived from Selva del Camp (Tarragona) and who had been welcomed by the Coopera Acción Familiar and SOS Ukraine organizations.

Volunteering Against Shantytowns (Guadalajara, Mexico)

For the fourth time this summer, the Grampin Club of Guadalajara collaborated with the civil associations Construyendo A.C. and Gilberto A.C. in the construction of a prefabricated house located in the municipality of Yecapixtla, in the state of Morelos. As a result, Veronica and her husband, who previously lived in a shack made of cardboard and sheeting, now have a house with three bedrooms and a full bathroom.

The construction of the house is the result of the financial contribution of the Gilberto Association, the technical direction of Construyendo A.C. and the work of 17 high school students who attend formational classes at the Grampin Club. For the boys, this volunteer experience, in addition to making them feel useful, is an opportunity to share in the lives of the most needy.

Pilgrimage to the Holy Land of the Association of Cooperators of Catalonia

After a two year interruption due to Covid, the Association of Cooperators of Opus Dei of Catalonia has once again organized a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. It took place between October 12 and 18, 2022. The pilgrims were accompanied by the rector of the Barcelona church of Santa Maria de Bonaigua, Mossèn Javier Palos, who, in addition to celebrating Holy Mass every day, commented on Gospel passages at the various places the group visited.

Forty-eight people took part in the third pilgrimage to the Holy Land organized by the Association of Cooperators. The itinerary included several towns in Galilee (including Tiberias, Nazareth and Cana, where twelve couples renewed their wedding vows), a boat trip on Lake Gennesaret, a visit to Bethlehem and a two-day stay in Jerusalem. It concluded at the Saxum Center in Abu Ghosh, where the pilgrims had an opportunity to recall and reflect on their experiences during these days.

A Study on the Prevention of Alzheimer’s at the Campus Biomedico (Rome, Italy)

A study by the University Campus Biomedico and the Istituto Santa Lucia, Rome, has discovered a molecular mechanism that allows an area of the brain to protect itself from excess calcium, which causes the death of neurons responsible for the production of dopamine and, indirectly, leads to Alzheimer’s disease. Published in November 2022 in the prestigious journal Molecular Neurodegeneration, the study is the result of the team led by Professor Marcello D’Amelio, Professor of Human Physiology at the University Campus Biomedico and Director of the Molecular Neurosciences Laboratory at the Fondazione Santa Lucia. The study was funded by the Fondazione Roma, the Alzheimer’s Association USA and the Italian Ministry of Health, and has involved, in addition to Professor D’Amelio’s team, researchers from two other Roman universities – the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore and the University of Tor Vergata – and one from Ancona, the Università Politecnica delle Marche.

Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of dementia among the Italian population. Over 600,000 people suffer from it directly, and it has an indirect impact on about three million family members and caregivers.

The Heights School: The Art of Teaching (Washington, United States)

After the January and May symposiums on the vocation of educators and on mentoring, from November 9 to 11 a third meeting of The Heights Forum took place for educators, this time on the art of teaching. While the January sessions helped people to discover why teaching is one of the noblest human professions, the November sessions showed how to live this vocation in practice.

The sixty-three teachers from the United States, Canada and Europe experienced the educational culture of The Heights School over the course of three days, and exchanged ideas and experiences. They also had the opportunity to establish and strengthened bonds of friendship with the other participants.

At the same time, as part of the new Leaders Initiative of The Heights Forum, a professional training program for school leaders was developed.

Orvalle School: Truth and Beauty of Marriage (Madrid, Spain)

The Orvalle School has organized the 1st Congress on “The Truth and Beauty of Marriage,” a sixty-hour course that aims to help couples confront many day-to-day situations, and give them tools to discover the greatness of the marital vocation and awaken gratitude and responsibility for the formation they have received.

The first phase, which took place during the months of May and June and was given by the Asociación Persona y Familia, dealt with the theological context, with experts in the teachings of St. John Paul II on the so-called theology of the body: sexuality, affectivity, the theology of conjugal love, selflessness and reciprocity as properties of love, etc. The second, developed in the final months of the year by the Instituto Desarrollo y Persona from the Universidad Francisco de Vitoria, dealt with the anthropological and psychological aspects of married life.

Ten years of Macheo Achievement Program (Nairobi, Kenya)

On September 17, Strathmore University celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Macheo Achievement Program, a tutoring and support program for high school students at the university’s Community Service Centre, funded by its Financial Aid Office. The word Macheo means “dawn” in Swahili. The program, through academic tutoring, personal mentoring and character development workshops, has helped many young people in Kibera, a particularly deprived area of Nairobi, to see their lives in a new light. Numerous beneficiaries of the program, in many cases with the direct help of the Financial Aid Office, have been able to attend university and have gone on to promising professional careers, a goal that their family and social backgrounds had made it difficult to imagine.

The Apostolic Nuncio to Kenya and South Sudan, Monsignor Hubertus van Megen, took part and celebrated Mass in the university chapel. addressing a few words to the young people participating in the program. The events ended with a meal at the Maasai Mara Restaurant in the Strathmore Business School, with many of the current mentors of the program being present who themselves had benefitted from the program a few years ago.

Romana, n. 75, July-December 2022, p. 233-237.

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