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  A voice for the poor   Edited by HK prison chaplain 
 
Fr John Wotherspoon O.M.I . 胡頌恆神父    jdwomi@gmail.com   

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Imitating Pope Francis

This website's anti-drug campaign  saves people from going to prison in HK     See & share inmates' letters! 

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S.Amer

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Ug

EU

How campaign began     HK:how long prison for  trafficking?      www.AsylumSeekerHK.com 

Wednesday February 22

 

  Healed of cancer:
Testimony of Alex Cheung
(I have invited Alex to attend my monthly prayer meeting for the sick, this coming Sunday Feb 26, at St Paul's Yau Ma Tei)

  South African police deaths ... and drug link

  Gary Everett: None of us knows
Accompanying someone into death is an experience that many of us have shared. Some people do it daily as part of their work or ministry. I know the journey personally. A little over a year ago I lost my wife to brain cancer.

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  Chris McDonnell

We stand in awe
The awe that comes to us in the presence of God is wordless

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The Book Blog:   4 readings + recordings 
Comments welcome here     
Readings are from Simple Bible

Leviticus 18:  Do not marry a close relative. Do not have sex during time of menstruation. Do not practise sodomy. Do not have sex with an animal.
Dear God, please help us to respect the gift of sex

My recording of this reading

 

Psalms 38-39: O Lord, please forgive my sins and heal me. Heal my body which is sick because of my sins. Protect me, Lord, from those who gloat over me now that I am brought low and unable to help myself. Lord, you have shown me how short a time I have on earth. Lord, give me wisdom of heart to live my life better.
Lord, help us understand the meaning of life

Recording

 

Acts 27.39-44: The next day they could see land: a bay with a beach. They tried to reach the beach, but the ship ran aground on a reef and began to break up. The soldiers wanted to kill the prisoners to stop them from escaping, but Julius would not allow this. Some people swam. Some used pieces of wreckage. All of them got to shore safely
Jesus,  help people in danger of shipwreck today
Recording

 


Luke 9.10-17: Once after Jesus had been healing and teaching all afternoon,  his disciples said to him "It's getting late and the people need to go and eat". Jesus answered "They don't need to go. You feed them". The disciples replied "We have only 5 loaves and 2 fish". Jesus got the people to sit on the grass. There were about 20,000 of them. Then he blessed the loaves and fish. He handed the loaves and fish to his disciples. Everyone had plenty to eat. They even had 12 baskets of leftovers.
Jesus, please make leaders do more to help the starving people of the world

  Recording

 

 

Reflection on the above readings: 
"Loaves and fish spirituality" .... e.g. when we pray to Jesus for someone who is sick ....say at the end: "Jesus, please bless my little prayer just as you blessed the loaves and fish"

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Pope Francis: The Joy of Love  - on love in the family
Full English text      Full Chinese text

310: Recording  We cannot forget that “mercy is not only the working of the Father; it becomes a criterion for knowing who his true children are. In a word, we are called to show mercy because mercy was first shown to us”.

This is not sheer romanticism or a lukewarm response to God’s love, which always seeks what is best for us, for “mercy is the very foundation of the Church’s life. All of her pastoral activity should be caught up in the tenderness which she shows to believers; nothing in her preaching and her witness to the world can be lacking in mercy”.

It is true that at times “we act as arbiters of grace rather than its facilitators.

But the Church is not a tollhouse; it is the house of the Father, where there is a place for everyone, with all their problems”.

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Pope's letter on climate change:  Laudato Si  我主應受讚美
Full English text       Full Chinese text

13. The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change. 

The Creator does not abandon us; he never forsakes his loving plan or repents of having created us. Humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home.

Here I want to recognize, encourage and thank all those striving in countless ways to guarantee the protection of the home which we share.

Particular appreciation is owed to those who tirelessly seek to resolve the tragic effects of environmental degradation on the lives of the world’s poorest. 

Young people demand change. They wonder how anyone can claim to be building a better future without thinking of the environmental crisis and the sufferings of the excluded.

My recording of this article

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Pope Francis: The Joy of the Gospel   
Full English text         Full Chinese text

280: Recording   Keeping our missionary fervour alive calls for firm trust in the Holy Spirit, for it is he who “helps us in our weakness” (Rom 8:26 ). But this generous trust has to be nourished, and so we need to invoke the Spirit constantly. He can heal whatever causes us to flag in the missionary endeavour.

 It is true that this trust in the unseen can cause us to feel disoriented: it is like being plunged into the deep and not knowing what we will find. I myself have frequently experienced this. 

Yet there is no greater freedom than that of allowing oneself to be guided by the Holy Spirit, renouncing the attempt to plan and control everything to the last detail, and instead letting him enlighten, guide and direct us, leading us wherever he wills.

The Holy Spirit knows well what is needed in every time and place. This is what it means to be mysteriously fruitful!

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10 years ago today:

2007-02-22 Visit to poor areas by Guangzhou Senior Two students Nancy and Rebecca

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Please join me in praying for one part of the world each day of the week:

Sun: Africa             Mon: Europe & Russia         Tues: South Asia  
Wed: East Asia       Thurs: S.E. Asia & Pacific 
Frid: South America     Sat: Central & North America    
Jesus, today, Wednesday, please bless the people of East Asia

And praying for prisoners in one part of China each day of the month: On this 22nd of the month, Jesus please bless the prisoners of Zhejiang

And praying for one of the world's poorest countries each day of the month: On this 22nd of the month, Jesus please bless the people of Rwanda

And praying for one Islam-related intention each day of the week:
Jesus, today,
Wednesday, please pacify
Al-Shabaab 

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Tuesday February 21

Yesterday at Stanley Prison I visited 6 more inmates whose families I met in Southern Africa last month .... they are most grateful for the trip + photos + recordings etc. 

And last night's news, sadly, shows that we prison chaplains in HK now have another special guest - our former Chief Executive. To understand the impact on HK, readers in other places can imagine a former Prime Minister or President going to prison. 
 Donald Tsang in custody, sentence on Wednesday

HK's present Chief Executive might be next ... even though he had the ICAC stop it's inquiry into his misdeeds. His misdeeds are far more serious than those of Donald Tsang.
Hong Kong's Leader Faces Twin Investigations Over Financial Scandal

Organ harvesting in China: 'A crime against humanity'
"Pope was correct in not shaking Chinese surgeon's bloodstained hand"

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The Book Blog:   4 readings + recordings 
Comments welcome here     
Readings are from Simple Bible

Leviticus 16-17: Instructions for the annual Day of Atonement: Once a year Aaron or his successor must wear special vestments and enter the sanctuary  past the veil. Then he is to offer two goats to pray for atonement for the whole community of Israel. One goat will be sacrificed in the Temple; the other is to be set free to go out into the desert - a symbol of the people's sins being carried away. (this story gives us the English word: "scapegoat")
Dear God, please forgive us, and help us to forgive others

My recording of this reading

 

Psalms 35-37: O Lord, please save me from people who slander me, you who rescue the weak from the strong, you whose love is so precious, you in whose light we see light. We believe that if we find our delight in you, you will grant our heart's desire. And so we commit our lives to you, confident you will help us in time of trouble.
Lord, please deepen our trust in you,
especially in time of trouble

Recording

 

Acts 27.21-37: Paul then spoke to everyone: Don't despair. There will be no loss of life. Last night an angel of God said to me: "Do not be afraid, Paul. You are destined to go to Rome. Therefore God grants you the safety of all who are sailing with you". On the 14th day, Paul took some bread, gave thanks to God in front of them all, broke it and gave it to everyone to eat. This gave them courage. There were 276 of them on the ship.
Jesus, thank you for the courage that Communion gives us

Recording

 

Luke 9.1-6: Jesus called the 12 apostles together. He gave them power and authority to cast out devils and to heal sick people. He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. So they set out and went from village to village proclaiming the Good News and healing sick people. 
Jesus,  help me understand how some people have a special gift for healing sick people .... and how I can better pray to heal sick people

Recording

Reflection on the above readings:
274 people (= 276 minus Paul and Luke) made their First Communion on the boat. Preparation? Instruction? Paul would be severely criticised by today's Strict Observance people. 

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Pope Francis: The Joy of Love  - on love in the family
Full English text      Full Chinese text

309: Recording  It is providential that these reflections take place in the context of a Holy Year devoted to mercy, because also in the variety of situations affecting families “the Church is commissioned to proclaim the mercy of God, the beating heart of the Gospel, which in its own way must penetrate the mind and heart of every person.

The Bride of Christ must pattern her behaviour after the Son of God who goes out to everyone without exception”. She knows that Jesus himself is the shepherd of the hundred, not just of the ninety-nine. He loves them all. On the basis of this realization, it will become possible for “the balm of mercy to reach everyone, believers and those far away, as a sign that the kingdom of God is already present in our midst”.

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Pope's letter on climate change:  Laudato Si  我主應受讚美
Full English text       Full Chinese text

12. What is more, Saint Francis, faithful to Scripture, invites us to see nature as a magnificent book in which God speaks to us and grants us a glimpse of his infinite beauty and goodness. 

“Through the greatness and the beauty of creatures one comes to know by analogy their maker” (Wis 13:5); indeed, “his eternal power and divinity have been made known through his works since the creation of the world” (Rom 1:20). 

For this reason, Francis asked that part of the friary garden always be left untouched, so that wild flowers and herbs could grow there, and those who saw them could raise their minds to God, the Creator of such beauty.[21]

Rather than a problem to be solved, the world is a joyful mystery to be contemplated with gladness and praise.

(My recording of this article

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Pope Francis:
The Joy of the Gospel   
Full English text         Full Chinese text

279:  Because we do not always see these seeds growing, we need an interior certainty, a conviction that God is able to act in every situation, even amid apparent setbacks: “We have this treasure in earthen vessels” (2 Cor 4:7).  This certainty is often called “a sense of mystery”. It involves knowing with certitude that all those who entrust themselves to God in love will bear good fruit (cf. Jn 15:5). This fruitfulness is often invisible, elusive and unquantifiable. We can know quite well that our lives will be fruitful, without claiming to know how, or where, or whenWe may be sure that none of our acts of love will be lost, nor any of our acts of sincere concern for others. No single act of love for God will be lost, no generous effort is meaningless, no painful endurance is wasted. All of these encircle our world like a vital force.
Recording
 

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 I'm still experimenting with a mobile-friendly format for this website ...and am now trying to understand Responsive Web Design. If anyone happens to have a degree in RWB, please let me know! jdwomi@gmail.com 

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Please join me in praying for one part of the world each day of the week:

Sun: Africa  Mon: Europe & Russia   Tues: South Asia  
Wed: East Asia    Thurs: S.E. Asia & Pacific 
Frid: South America     Sat: Central & North America    
Jesus, today, Tuesday, please bless the people of South Asia

And praying for prisoners in one part of China each day of the month: On this 21st of the month, Jesus please bless the prisoners of Yunnan

And praying for one of the world's poorest countries each day of the month: On this 21st of the month,  Jesus please bless the people of Benin

And praying for one Islam-related intention each day of the week:
Jesus, today, Tuesday, please pacify Boko Haram

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Monday February 20

  A report which features my recent visit to South Africa - by the South African Broadcasting Corporation:
Special Assignment: The Last Run  (YouTube - 29 mins ..with some commercials)

  Snowden lawyer in Hong Kong denies that Russia will hand over whistle-blower to Trump

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The Book Blog:   4 readings + recordings 
Comments welcome here     
Readings are from Simple Bible

Leviticus 13-15: Instructions for hygiene: People with skin diseases, suspected leprosy, boils and burns should be carefully examined and isolated if necessary. The clothing and homes of people with leprosy should be put out of use. During and after seminal or illness discharges and menstruation, people should show extra concern for hygiene.
Dear God, please help me take good care of my health

My recording of this reading

 

Psalm 34: I will bless the Lord at all times, his praise always on my lips. In the Lord my soul shall make its boast,
the humble shall hear and be glad. Glorify the Lord with me, together let us praise his name. I sought the Lord and he answered me. From all my terrors he set me free. The angel of the Lord is encamped around those who revere the Lord, to rescue them. Taste and see that the Lord is good. They are happy who seek refuge in him. The Lord is close to the broken-hearted. Those whose spirits are crushed he will save.

Lord, by our Bible reading and prayer,  may we taste and see your goodness each day

Recording

 

Acts 27.9-20: Navigation at that time of the year was dangerous, since winter was starting. But the ship's captain set sail hoping to reach Phoenix, a harbor in Crete. Suddenly a fierce storm began and the ship could not be turned head-on to the wind. We had to let ourselves be driven by the wind. The ship was badly damaged by the storm. On the second day, the cargo was dumped overboard. For several days both sun stars were invisible as  the storm raged.  We lost all hope of surviving. 
Jesus, help sailors who are in danger at sea today

Recording

 

Luke 8. 40-56: A prayer hall official came to Jesus and urgently asked him to go to his house, where his 12 year old daughter was dying. As Jesus and his friends were following the official to his home, a woman who had a hemorrhage for 12 years came up behind Jesus and touched his clothing.  Her bleeding stopped at that moment. Jesus knew what  had happened  and said to her "My daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace"

      

Before  Jesus arrived at the official's house, a messenger arrived and said to the official " Your daughter is dead. Do not trouble the Master any more". Jesus heard these words and said to the official "Do not be afraid. Have faith, and she will be ok". At the house Jesus allowed only Peter, James, John and the girl's parents to go with him inside. To the mourners Jesus said "Stop crying. She is not dead, but asleep". They laughed at him, since they knew she was dead. 
Jesus took the little girl by the hand and called to her "Child, get up".  Her spirit returned and she got up at once.
Jesus, please increase my faith in your power to heal sick people
and raise the dead

Recording

 

Reflection on the above readings:
"We lost all hope of surviving" (Acts) - "We" here means Paul and Luke and everyone else on the ship. Paul lost hope. He who wrote so much about hope, whose words about hope we use so often in church ....he experienced a total loss of hope. 
If he'd had WhatsApp he could have contacted Saint Peter and asked "What do I do now?" and Peter (with his boat-storm experience) might have said "Focus on Jesus, not on the storm" ...which is what we also can/must do when "hope seems lost"

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Pope Francis: The Joy of Love  - on love in the family
Full English text      Full Chinese text

308: Recording  At the same time, from our awareness of the weight of mitigating circumstances - psychological, historical and even biological - it follows that “without detracting from the evangelical ideal, there is a need to accompany with mercy and patience the eventual stages of personal growth as these progressively appear”, making room for “the Lord’s mercy, which spurs us on to do our best”.

I understand those who prefer a more rigorous pastoral care which leaves no room for confusion. 

But I sincerely believe that Jesus wants a Church attentive to the goodness which the Holy Spirit sows in the midst of human weakness, a Mother who, while clearly expressing her objective teaching, “always does what good she can, even if in the process, her shoes get soiled by the mud of the street”.

The Church’s pastors, in proposing to the faithful the full ideal of the Gospel and the Church’s teaching, must also help them to treat the weak with compassion, avoiding aggravation or unduly harsh or hasty judgements.

The Gospel itself tells us not to judge or condemn (cf. Mt 7:1; Lk 6:37). Jesus “expects us to stop looking for those personal or communal niches which shelter us from the maelstrom of human misfortune, and instead to enter into the reality of other people’s lives and to know the power of tenderness. Whenever we do so, our lives become wonderfully complicated”.

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Pope's letter on climate change:  Laudato Si  我主應受讚美
Full English text       Full Chinese text

11. Francis (of Assisi) helps us to see that an integral ecology calls for openness to categories which transcend the language of mathematics and biology, and take us to the heart of what it is to be human. 

Just as happens when we fall in love with someone, whenever Francis would gaze at the sun, the moon or the smallest of animals, he burst into song, drawing all other creatures into his praise. He communed with all creation, even preaching to the flowers, inviting them “to praise the Lord, just as if they were endowed with reason”.[19]

His response to the world around him was so much more than intellectual appreciation or economic calculus, for to him each and every creature was a sister united to him by bonds of affection. That is why he felt called to care for all that exists.

.... If we approach nature and the environment without this openness to awe and wonder, if we no longer speak the language of fraternity and beauty in our relationship with the world, our attitude will be that of masters, consumers, ruthless exploiters, unable to set limits on their immediate needs....    
My recording of this article   

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Pope Francis: The Joy of the Gospel   
Full English text         Full Chinese text

278: Recording  

Faith also means believing in God, believing that he truly loves us, that he is alive, that he is mysteriously capable of intervening, that he does not abandon us and that he brings good out of evil by his power and his infinite creativity. 

It means believing that he marches triumphantly in history with those who “are called and chosen and faithful” (Rev 17:14).

Let us believe the Gospel when it tells us that the kingdom of God is already present in this world and is growing, here and there, and in different ways: like the small seed which grows into a great tree (cf. Mt 13:31-32), like the measure of leaven that makes the dough rise (cf. Mt 13:33) and like the good seed that grows amid the weeds (cf. Mt 13, 24-30) and can always pleasantly surprise us. 

The kingdom is here, it returns, it struggles to flourish anew. Christ’s resurrection everywhere calls forth seeds of that new world; even if they are cut back, they grow again, for the resurrection is already secretly woven into the fabric of this history, for Jesus did not rise in vain. May we never remain on the sidelines of this march of living hope!

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Please join me in praying for one part of the world each day of the week:

Sun: Africa  Mon: Europe & Russia   Tues: South Asia  
Wed: East Asia              Thurs: S.E. Asia & Pacific 
Frid: South America      Sat: Central & North America    
Jesus, today, Monday, please bless the people of Europe & Russia

And praying for prisoners in one part of China each day of the month:
On this 20th of the month, Jesus please bless the prisoners of Sichuan

And praying for one of the world's poorest countries each day of the month: 
On this 20th of the month,  Jesus please bless the people of Gambia

And praying for one Islam-related intention each day of the week:
Jesus, today,
Monday, please pacify I.S.

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Sunday February 19

  Letter from a Tanzanian women in prison in HK (Feb 12) for drug trafficking, after being tricked by one Maria Remi Mushi in Kenya to go to the city of Conakry in Guinea where she was forced to swallow drug pellets by a man named Diallo and then go to Hong Kong

  The smell of the sheep: "A very powerful article by Fr Peter Day, assistant priest at St Gregory’s parish, Queanbeyan, NSW. It’s a timely call for profound renewal and reform in the Church’s governance and spiritual centre as a result of the clerical child sexual abuse scandal and consequent on the forty years Vatican II was put in a freezer by JP II and Benedict XVI"

   I was at Mass in this church three weeks ago today:
Muslim Dubai hosts world’s largest Catholic community

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The Book Blog:   4 readings + recordings 
Comments welcome here     
Readings are from Simple Bible

c.f. readings for Sunday 7

Leviticus 19: God's words through Moses: "Be holy, for I, the Lord your God, am holy. Honor your father and mother. 
The Sabbath must be a holy day. When you collect from harvest or vine, leave something for the poor and the stranger. 
Be just, honest and truthful in your relationships. Do not let hatred live in your heart".

Dear God, please help me live according to your sacred word

My recording of this reading

 

Psalm 103: My soul, give thanks to the Lord. All my being, bless his holy name. My soul, give thanks to the Lord and never forget all his blessings. It is he who forgives all your guilt, who heals every one of your ills. It is he who fills your life with good things, renewing your youth like an eagle's life. The Lord is compassion and love, slow to anger and rich in mercy. As the heavens are high above the earth so strong is his love for those who love him. As far as the East is from the West, so far does he remove our sins. As a father has compassion on his children, the Lord has pity on all who love and honor him. Give thanks to the Lord, all his angels, who heed the voice of his word. Give thanks to the Lord, everyone and everything. My soul, give thanks to the Lord!
Thank you, Lord, for your love and compassion

Recording

 

1 Corinthians 3.5-15: Apollos and I are servants who brought the faith to you. I did the planting, Apollos did the watering, but God made things grow. You are God's building. By God's grace, I  laid the foundation, the only foundation there can be: Jesus Christ. On that foundation you can build a house with good or poor materials. At the end of your life, your building will be judged by God. 
Jesus, you are the foundation of my life. Help me build a house with good material (= good deeds)

Recording



Matthew 5.13-48Jesus said to the crowds: You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, it's no use for anything. You are the light of the world. Let the world see your light, your good deeds. When people see you doing good deeds, people will praise God. I have not come to abolish the Jewish religion. I have come to raise it to a higher level of goodness. Your goodness must not just be something superficial. Your goodness must be something from the heart. You must avoid anger and insult, just like you avoid murder. If you have offended someone, say "Sorry". You must avoid lustful looks and thoughts. Looking at someone lustfully is immorality of the heart. 

Love and pray for people who are unkind to you. This is the way to practise the highest level of goodness. 
Jesus, please help me practise a higher level of goodness

Recording

 

Reflection on the above readings:
61% of cancer patients have forgiveness issues - see this one minute video

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YouTube - inspiring:

What we don't know about Europe's Muslim kids

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Daniel Daring: Year with Matthew - IX

Four Disciples And Summary Of Jesus’ Ministry

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  Up to 1,600 people sleeping on HK city streets
(see my comment - "Matteo Ricci")

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  Flash mob at wedding in Ireland! Video

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Pope Francis: The Joy of Love  - on love in the family
Full English text      Full Chinese text

307: Recording  The logic of pastoral mercy

In order to avoid all misunderstanding, I would point out that in no way must the Church desist from proposing the full ideal of marriage, God’s plan in all its grandeur: “Young people who are baptized should be encouraged to understand that the sacrament of marriage can enrich their prospects of love and that they can be sustained by the grace of Christ in the sacrament and by the possibility of participating fully in the life of the Church”.

A lukewarm attitude, any kind of relativism, or an undue reticence in proposing that ideal, would be a lack of fidelity to the Gospel and also of love on the part of the Church for young people themselves. 

To show understanding in the face of exceptional situations never implies dimming the light of the fuller ideal, or proposing less than what Jesus offers to the human being.

Today, more important than the pastoral care of failures is the pastoral effort to strengthen marriages and thus to prevent their breakdown.

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Pope's letter on climate change:  Laudato Si  我主應受讚美
Full English text       Full Chinese text

10. I do not want to write this Encyclical without turning to that attractive and compelling figure, whose name I took as my guide and inspiration when I was elected Bishop of Rome. I believe that Saint Francis is the example par excellence of care for the vulnerable and of an integral ecology lived out joyfully and authentically.

He is the patron saint of all who study and work in the area of ecology, and he is also much loved by non-Christians. He was particularly concerned for God’s creation and for the poor and outcast. He loved, and was deeply loved for his joy, his generous self-giving, his openheartedness. 

He was a mystic and a pilgrim who lived in simplicity and in wonderful harmony with God, with others, with nature and with himself. He shows us just how inseparable the bond is between concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society, and interior peace.

My recording of this article

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Pope Francis: The Joy of the Gospel   
Full English text         Full Chinese text

277: Recording  New difficulties are constantly surfacing: experiences of failure and the human weaknesses which bring so much pain. We all know from experience that sometimes a task does not bring the satisfaction we seek, results are few and changes are slow, and we are tempted to grow weary. Yet lowering our arms momentarily out of weariness is not the same as lowering them for good, overcome by chronic discontent and by a listlessness that parches the soul.  It also happens that our hearts can tire of the struggle because in the end we are caught up in ourselves, in a careerism which thirsts for recognition, applause, rewards and status. In this case we do not lower our arms, but we no longer grasp what we seek, the resurrection is not there. In cases like these, the Gospel, the most beautiful message that this world can offer, is buried under a pile of excuses

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  43 years ago today - thank you Jesus!

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Hour of Love HK radio program 8.30pm HK time tonight
- with messages about African inmates in HK prisons 

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Please join me in praying for one part of the world each day of the week:

Sun: Africa    Mon: Europe & Russia     Tues: South Asia  
Wed: East Asia       Thurs: S.E. Asia & Pacific 
Frid: South America     Sat: Central & North America    
Jesus, today, Sunday, please bless the people of Africa

And praying for prisoners in one part of China each day of the month:
On this 19th of the month,  Jesus please bless the prisoners of Shanxi

And praying for one of the world's poorest countries each day of the month:
On this 19th of the month, Jesus please bless the people of Sudan

And praying for one Islam-related intention each day of the week:
Jesus, today, Sunday, please bless all Muslims in my country

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Saturday February 18

Yesterday morning at the High Court a Kenyan woman received a discount of six months for helping (by letters) with my anti-drug campaign. Thank you Jesus! But the case raised an issue that's been worrying me for some time, so when I got home I prepared this letter to the High Court

Before going home I attended a most important meeting to prepare the transfer of the above eleven anti-drug websites to one "reservoir" that would be accessed by social media in various parts of the world. God bless the kind people putting this idea into practice.

Last night when I attended the handing out of rice boxes for the poor (every 1st and 3rd Friday) by Fr Slawek O.M.I. and his team of students I was saddened to see so many homeless neighbours of mine ....e.g. 8 of them living at a McDonald's just near my home. God bless McDonald's but ...this is a scandal. I've tried lobbying the government, the Church etc ....but no one's moving. So, I got the homeless group to choose 6 numbers ....and on the way home I bought a Mark 6 ticket that would help find them a place to stay. Easier to lobby Heaven than government and Church?!
And ...see below!

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The Book Blog:   4 readings + recordings 
Comments welcome here     
Readings are from Simple Bible

Leviticus 11-12: The people were  told which animals were "clean" and which were "unclean". Only "clean" animals were allowed to be eaten. Regulations were also made for when a woman had a baby: a lamb or two turtledoves or two young pigeons were to be offered as a prayer for mother and baby.
Dear God, please give me a clean heart

My recording of this reading

 

Psalm 28: To you, O Lord, I call, my rock, hear me. If you do not heed, I shall become like people in the grave. Lord, you are my strength and my shield. In you my heart trusts. Thank you, Lord, for so often hearing my prayer. I will always thank and praise you. You are the strength of your people Israel. Save your people. Be our shepherd and carry us for ever. 
Lord, please help people who are in big danger today

Recording

 

Acts 27.1-8: For the journey to Rome, Paul and some other prisoners were put in the custody of a soldier named Julius. After sailing for one day, we arrived at the city of Sidon, where Julius kindly allowed Paul to meet with some friends. Then we sailed past Cyprus and reached the city of Myra in Lycia, where we changed to a ship bound for Italy. The wind was against us near Crete. We struggled along the coast to a place called Fair Havens. 
Jesus, help prison guards to be kind like Julius
Recording



Luke 8.22-25Jesus and his disciples got into a boat to cross the lake. Jesus was so tired that he went to sleep in the boat. Then a sudden storm caused big waves to lash the boat. Jesus' friends woke him up  and said "Master,  we are sinking". Jesus ordered the wind and sea to be calm. Straight away the wind and sea were calm. The disciples said to each other "Who is this? Even the wind and sea obey him." 
Jesus, please calm the storms in my life
Recording

Reflection on the above readings:    An old song, with lyrics:
Put your hand in the hand of the man who stilled the water the water  

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Pope appears to back anti-Trump protests in letter condemning populism

'Believe me,' says our president
In Donald Trump, who is addicted to the phrase "believe me," the United States is now stuck with a serial liar as president.

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HK man arrested with record ice haul

'This drug will kill you'- Lethal carfentanyl found at Brisbane mail centre

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Nuclear physicist creates fertility app

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Pope Francis: The Joy of Love  - on love in the family
Full English text      Full Chinese text

306: Recording  In every situation, when dealing with those who have difficulties in living God’s law to the full, the invitation to pursue the via caritatis must be clearly heard.

Fraternal charity is the first law of Christians (cf. Jn 15:12; Gal 5:14). Let us not forget the reassuring words of Scripture: “Maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Pet 4:8); “Atone for your sins with righteousness, and your iniquities with mercy to the oppressed, so that your prosperity may be prolonged” (Dan 4:24[27]); “As water extinguishes a blazing fire, so almsgiving atones for sins” (Sir 3:30). 

This is also what Saint Augustine teaches: “Just as, at the threat of a fire, we would run for water to extinguish it… so too, if the flame of sin rises from our chaff and we are troubled, if the chance to perform a work of mercy is offered us, let us rejoice in it, as if it were a fountain offered us to extinguish the blaze”.

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Pope's letter on climate change:  Laudato Si  我主應受讚美
Full English text       Full Chinese text

9. At the same time, Bartholomew has drawn attention to the ethical and spiritual roots of environmental problems, which require that we look for solutions not only in technology, but in a change of humanity; otherwise we would be dealing merely with symptoms.

 He asks us to replace consumption with sacrifice, greed with generosity, wastefulness with a spirit of sharing, an asceticism which “entails learning to give, and not simply to give up. 

It is a way of loving, of moving gradually away from what I want to what God’s world needs. It is liberation from fear, greed and compulsion”.[17] 

As Christians, we are also called “to accept the world as a sacrament of communion, as a way of sharing with God and our neighbours on a global scale. It is our humble conviction that the divine and the human meet in the slightest detail in the seamless garment of God’s creation, in the last speck of dust of our planet”.[18]

(my recording of this article)  

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Pope Francis: The Joy of the Gospel   
Full English text         Full Chinese text

276b: Recording  However dark things are, goodness always re-emerges and spreads.  Each day in our world beauty is born anew, it rises transformed through the storms of history. Values always tend to reappear under new guises, and human beings have arisen time after time from situations that seemed doomedSuch is the power of the resurrection, and all who evangelize are instruments of that power.

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10 years ago today:

2007-02-18 Lunar New Year's Day  - After Breaking of Bread at Seniors'  Home in
Yunfu (about one hour from Zhaoqing)

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 On the menu of February 16, below, I told the story of how I took two calls at once, one in each hand. Well, last night a repeat performance, so to speak. As I was standing in line to buy a Mark 6 ticket (see story at top of this menu) my phone went: a dear lady with stage four cancer who calls each night for a brief prayer. So....while one hand was holding my praying phone, the other was handing in HK$10 for the Mark 6 ticket.....with a p.s. prayer to Jesus to bless the ticket (to help get a place for homeless people)

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Please join me in praying for one part of the world each day of the week:

Sun: Africa          Mon: Europe & Russia            Tues: South Asia  
Wed: East Asia                          Thurs: S.E. Asia & Pacific 
Frid: South America                   Sat: Central & North America    
Jesus, today, Saturday, please bless the people of Central & North America

And praying for prisoners in one part of China each day of the month: 
On this
18th of the month,  Jesus please bless the prisoners of H
eilongjiang

And praying for one of the world's poorest countries each day of the month:
On this 18th of the month,  Jesus please bless the people of Ivory Coast

And praying for one Islam-related intention each day of the week:
Jesus, today, Saturday, please pacify the Taliban

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Friday February 17
Official birthday of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, on this day in 1826:  2 minute video

 

The US has 60 Minutes. South Africa has Special Assignment. This week's program, broadcast on February 15 and to be available on YouTube by February 19, features my anti-drug campaign. A preview is here at the SA Facebook page - scroll down to Hazel Friedman, then click "see more".

And ...there's a big crackdown on Drug Lords in Kenya as well as Tanzania:
Five more suspected drug barons arrested

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The Book Blog:   4 readings + recordings 
Comments welcome here    
  Readings are from Simple Bible

Leviticus 8-10 Moses followed God's instructions and ordained Aaron and his sons as priests. 
Moses washed them, put special clothing on them, anointed their heads with chrism and offered a special animal sacrifice on their behalf. Then Aaron lifted up his hands towards the people and blessed them. A  flame from the Lord consumed the offering on the altar. The people shouted for joy and fell on their knees. But later on when two of Aaron's sons offered unauthorized fire a fire from the Lord consumed them. Moses then said: "God expects the highest standard from priests".

Dear God, please bless and protect all priests

My recording of this reading

 

Psalm 33: Ring out your joy to the Lord, all good people, for praise is fitting for loyal hearts. For the Lord loves justice and right; he fills the earth with his love. By his word the heavens were made, he spoke and the universe came into being. They are happy, whose God is the Lord, he is the source of all true joy. May your love be upon us, O Lord, since we place all our trust in you.
Lord, we trust in your precious love

Recording

 

Acts 24.27 - 25.12: After two years, Felix was succeeded by Festus. Festus arranged a new trial for Paul The religious leaders repeated their accusations. Paul repeated his innocence. Festus wanted to gain favor with the leaders so he said to Paul "Are you willing to go to Jerusalem for a trial with the full council of religious leaders, at which I would preside?" Paul knew his rights, and stood his ground, not wanting to go to a kangaroo court in Jerusalem. So he invoked his right as a Roman citizen: "I appeal to Caesar". Festus replied "You have appealed to Caesar; to Caesar (Rome) you shall go".
Jesus, please give us courage to stand up for our rights

Recording


Luke 8.19-21: Jesus' mother and his brothers came looking for him. They could not get to him because of the crowd. Jesus was told "Your mother and brothers want to see you". Jesus replied "My mother and brothers are people who hear the word of God and put it into practice".
Jesus, please help me put your word into practice in my daily life

Recording

Reflection on the above Bible readings:  There's a saying in English "Blood is thicker than water" which means that family loyalties are the strongest ones. But Jesus is going to a higher level and saying that spiritual relationships are higher still. If we think of the water of Baptism we can say "water is thicker than blood"!

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Sr. Anastasia, M.M. (黄修女) - latest updates:

http://anastasialindawatimm. blogspot.hk/2017/02/sharing- 2017-lunar-new-year.html

http://anastasialindawatimm. blogspot.hk/2017/01/sharing- 2017-week-of-prayer-for.html

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Pope Francis: The Joy of Love  - on love in the family
Full English text      Full Chinese text

305: Recording  For this reason, a pastor cannot feel that it is enough simply to apply moral laws to those living in “irregular” situations, as if they were stones to throw at people’s lives. 

This would bespeak the closed heart of one used to hiding behind the Church’s teachings, “sitting on the chair of Moses and judging at times with superiority and superficiality difficult cases and wounded families”.

Along these same lines, the International Theological Commission has noted that “natural law could not be presented as an already established set of rules that impose themselves a priori on the moral subject; rather, it is a source of objective inspiration for the deeply personal process of making decisions”.

Because of forms of conditioning and mitigating factors, it is possible that in an objective situation of sin - which may not be subjectively culpable, or fully such - a person can be living in God’s grace, can love and can also grow in the life of grace and charity, while receiving the Church’s help to this end.

Discernment must help to find possible ways of responding to God and growing in the midst of limits.

By thinking that everything is black and white, we sometimes close off the way of grace and of growth, and discourage paths of sanctification which give glory to God. 

Let us remember that “a small step, in the midst of great human limitations, can be more pleasing to God than a life which appears outwardly in order, but moves through the day without confronting great difficulties”.

The practical pastoral care of ministers and of communities must not fail to embrace this reality.

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   Where the wind blows - how China's dirty air becomes Hong Kong's problem

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Were there earthquakes and other natural disasters before Adam and Eve?
Natural disasters not the result of the Fall

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  How China built ‘iPhone city’ with billions in perks for Apple’s partner

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Pope's letter on climate change:  Laudato Si  我主應受讚美
Full English text       Full Chinese text

8. Patriarch Bartholomew has spoken in particular of the need for each of us to repent of the ways we have harmed the planet, for “inasmuch as we all generate small ecological damage”, we are called to acknowledge “our contribution, smaller or greater, to the disfigurement and destruction of creation”.

He has repeatedly stated this firmly and persuasively, challenging us to acknowledge our sins against creation: “For human beings… to destroy the biological diversity of God’s creation; for human beings to degrade the integrity of the earth by causing changes in its climate, by stripping the earth of its natural forests or destroying its wetlands; for human beings to contaminate the earth’s waters, its land, its air, and its life – these are sins”.

For “to commit a crime against the natural world is a sin against ourselves and a sin against God”.
My recording of this article

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Pope Francis: The Joy of the Gospel   
Full English text         Full Chinese text

276a: Recording  Christ’s resurrection is not (just) an event of the past; it contains a vital power which has permeated this worldWhere all seems to be dead, signs of the resurrection suddenly spring up. It is an irresistible force. Often it seems that God does not exist: all around us we see persistent injustice, evil, indifference and cruelty. But it is also true that in the midst of darkness something new always springs to life and sooner or later produces fruit. On razed land life breaks through, stubbornly yet invincibly. 

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 Wow! Or as they say in South Africa "Ish!" This would cause a giant hunger strike or worse!
Women in Hong Kong prisons may be forced to cut hair short

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Please join me in praying for one part of the world each day of the week:

Sun: Africa      Mon: Europe & Russia        Tues: South Asia  
Wed: East Asia             Thurs: S.E. Asia & Pacific 
Frid: South America      Sat: Central & North America    
Jesus, today, Friday, please bless the people of South America

And praying for prisoners in one part of China each day of the month: 
On this 17th of the month,  Jesus please bless the prisoners of Shaanxi

And praying for one of the world's poorest countries each day of the month: 
On this 17th of the month,  Jesus please bless the people of Malawi

And praying for one Islam-related intention each day of the week:
Jesus, today, Friday, please bless all Muslims

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Thursday February 16

Welcome to many new readers who have started checking this website recently! I hope you can share my experience of receiving energy and motivation from the four daily Bible readings. I hope you can also share my concern for the poor, and join me in being a voice for the poor ....in Hong Kong and other places, especially Africa.

Yesterday I again went to Lo Wu women's prison to finish visiting inmates whose families I had met last month in Southern Africa. Fourteen such inmates at Lo Wu - all now visited. Five at Tai Lam and one at QE Hospital already visited last week. Today I hope to visit one more at Lai Chi Kok Reception Centre ....then the final seven next week at Stanley and Shek Pik prisons.

In the next week I also hope to finish a report about my Southern Africa trip. I'll try to post in on this website by early next week.

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The Book Blog:   4 readings + recordings 
Comments welcome here    
  Readings are from Simple Bible

Leviticus 1-7: Moses instructed the people: As a sign that you are asking God for forgiveness, put your hand on an animal's head as you sacrifice it to the Lord.
Dear God, please forgive my sins

My recording of this reading

 

 

Psalm 32: Happy is the person whose sin is forgiven. For a while I refused to ask for forgiveness, and my body paid the penalty. But then I said "Lord, forgive me" and my spirit and body revived. 
Lord, when I do wrong, please give me the grace to say sorry and ask forgiveness

Recording

 

Acts 24.1-26: When the religious leaders arrived, they put their case to Felix. They summed up their accusations by saying "The plain truth is that we find this man to be a perfect pest. He stirs up trouble among Jews everywhere, and is a ringleader of the Nazarene sect". Paul replied "In regard to the Way, which they malign as a sect, I serve and worship the very same God worshipped by our ancestors. I live in hope that God will raise the dead. If that's my crime, my accusers are just as guilty as I am". Felix postponed a decision. He met with Paul many  times, hoping  Paul would offer him a bribe.
Jesus, please help judges to avoid bribery

Recording

Luke 8. 4-15: One day Jesus told the people this story: A farmer was planting seeds in his field. Some seeds fell on the path. Birds ate them. Some seeds fell on rocky ground. They became sickly plants, without roots, and died. Some seeds fell among thorns. When they became plants, they were choked by the thorns. Some seeds fell on good soil and produced a rich harvest.

People who hear God's word without good will are like the seeds on the path. They are easy prey for Satan. People who hear God's word only superficially are like the seeds on rocky ground. As soon as difficulties come, such people easily give up. People who hear God's word with one ear but with the other are listening to the call of greed and pleasure are like the seeds among thorns. Greed kills the word. People who hear God's word with good will and put it into practice are like the good seeds which produced a rich harvest.
Jesus, please help me be good seed!

Recording

Reflection on the above Bible readings: 
I wonder if any psychological study has ever been done on the four character types in today's Gospel?
Type
1 - Path People; Type 2 - Rocky People; Type 3 - Thorn People; Type 4 - Harvest People.
Maybe at different times in our lives we display characteristics of types 1 to 3.
Our aim must be to increasingly become type 4 people. 

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Pope Francis: The Joy of Love  - on love in the family
Full English text      Full Chinese text

304: Recording  It is reductive simply to consider whether or not an individual’s actions correspond to a general law or rule, because that is not enough to discern and ensure full fidelity to God in the concrete life of a human being.

I earnestly ask that we always recall a teaching of Saint Thomas Aquinas and learn to incorporate it in our pastoral discernment: “Although there is necessity in the general principles, the more we descend to matters of detail, the more frequently we encounter defects… In matters of action, truth or practical rectitude is not the same for all, as to matters of detail, but only as to the general principles; and where there is the same rectitude in matters of detail, it is not equally known to all… The principle will be found to fail, according as we descend further into detail”.

It is true that general rules set forth a good which can never be disregarded or neglected, but in their formulation they cannot provide absolutely for all particular situations.

At the same time, it must be said that, precisely for that reason, what is part of a practical discernment in particular circumstances cannot be elevated to the level of a rule. That would not only lead to an intolerable casuistry, but would endanger the very values which must be preserved with special care

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Pope's letter on climate change:  Laudato Si  我主應受讚美
Full English text       Full Chinese text

Everything in this world has a relationship with us

3. More than fifty years ago, with the world teetering on the brink of nuclear crisis, Pope Saint John XXIII wrote an Encyclical which not only rejected war but offered a proposal for peace. He addressed his message Pacem in Terris to the entire “Catholic world” and indeed “to all men and women of good will”.

Now, faced as we are with global environmental deterioration, I wish to address every person living on this planet. In my Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, I wrote to all the members of the Church with the aim of encouraging ongoing missionary renewal.

In this Encyclical, I would like to enter into dialogue with all people about our common home. 

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Pope Francis: The Joy of the Gospel   
Full English text         Full Chinese text

275: Recording   If we think that things are not going to change, we need to recall that Jesus Christ has triumphed over sin and death and is now almightyJesus Christ truly lives. Put another way, “ if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain (1 Cor 15:14 ). The Gospel tells us that when the first disciples went forth to preach, “the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message” (Mk 16:20 ). The same thing happens today. We are invited to discover this, to experience it. Christ, risen and glorified, is the wellspring of our hope, and he will not deprive us of the help we need to carry out the mission which he has entrusted to us.

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 Two nights ago, on my way home from Lo Wu women's prison, I received a phone call from RTHK asking if I'd take part (with 3 other guests) in a radio program the next morning - concerning prisoners and prison conditions. I said yes (...anything to help improve conditions for prisoners...). The program was live to air from 8.30am to 9.20am yesterday morning. I took part as I travelled by metro to Lo Wu prison again (to visit more inmates whose families I'd met last month in South Africa). As the program was in it's last 10 minutes, my train arrived at Sheung Shui station where I received another urgent call, from Radio Nature (...a cold morning...). So I had another first-time-ever experience: standing in the men's room at S. Shui station, holding my phone in one hand and speaking live on RTHK, and answering the call of nature in the other hand!

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Please join me in praying for one part of the world each day of the week:

Sun: Africa      Mon: Europe & Russia        Tues: South Asia  
Wed: East Asia             Thurs: S.E. Asia & Pacific 
Frid: South America      Sat: Central & North America    
Jesus, today, Thursday, please bless the people of South East Asia

And praying for prisoners in one part of China each day of the month: On this 16th of the month, Jesus please bless the prisoners of Qinghai

And praying for one of the world's poorest countries each day of the month: On this 16th of the month,  Jesus please bless the people of Afghanistan

And praying for one Islam-related intention each day of the week:
Jesus, today, Thursday, please pacify
Al-Qaeda

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    My Africa trips: 
2015 - Tanzania, Malawi
       2016 - Kenya, Uganda

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Video: What "gay marriage" did to Massachusetts

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Pope's surprise visit to drug treatment centre

Pope is practising what he preaches: "get out and mix with the poor"

 

HK readers might like to join me in praying each day for one group of HK prison inmates: Sun: Lo Wu; Mon: C.I.C., Siu Lam, Tai Lam; Tue: Stanley Wed:  Hei Ling Chau   Thu: Lantau 
Fri: Lai Chi Kok       Sat: Hospitals, Pik Uk & other centres


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This website was launched  in construction mode in Hong Kong on November 20, 2011   - the Feast of Christ the King. The official launching  was held on the Gold Coast, Australia,  on January 20, 2012. Map and Flag Counter began Feb 11, 2012.  Previous visits 4,932. Note: counter on this page + Map & Flag Counter record visits only to this main/index page. Visits to other pages are not recorded. This site's 2016 statistics. Thank you for checking this website each day. God bless all readers and bloggers!                          counter for tumblr    

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 Fr John Wotherspoon O.M.I. 胡 頌 恆 神 父   
 jdwomi@gmail.com  HK mobile  (852) 6709 5674
 China mobile  13030213703 -  out of action for the time being
PO Box 74013 Kowloon Central Post Office, Hong Kong                      

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