Swedish nun Mary Elizabeth Hesselblad canonised for saving Jews

A nun who saved Jewish families during World War Two has been made the first Swedish saint in more than 600 years.

Pope Francis canonised Roman Catholic convert Mary Elizabeth Hesselblad at a ceremony in St Peter’s Square on Sunday.

Ms Hesselblad hid Jewish families in the convent in Rome where she was the mother superior.

Pope Francis meets Swedish Minister of Culture Alice Bah Kuhnke (left) before he leads the mass for the canonisation of Swedish nun Sister Maria Elisabeth Hesselblad in the Vatican (05 June 2016)

Swedish Minister of Culture Alice Bah Kuhnke attended Mary Elizabeth Hesselblad’s canonisation in the Vatican

The Pope also canonised Polish monk Stanislaus Papczynski for supporting the poor in the 17th Century.

He founded the first men’s religious order dedicated to the Virgin Mary’s immaculate conception.

A nun holds a Swedish flag as she attends as Pope Francis arrives to lead the mass for the canonization of Swedish nun Sister Maria Elisabeth Hesselblad - 5 June 2016

How does someone become a saint?

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Gaza Christian became a blind Muslim’s eyes

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — The man constantly checked his watch as he stood at the entrance to the Borno Mosque in the center of Gaza City. Anyone coming across him couldn’t help but wonder why he wasn’t praying inside with the others. Why did he keep checking his watch? For whom or what was he waiting? Then a man wearing dark glasses exited the mosque. The man at the door guided him and helped him put on his shoes. Al-Monitor asked after the two men and found that the one by the door is a Christian who regularly waits there to assist his blind Muslim friend.

Blind and visually impaired Palestinians read the Braille version of the Quran at the main center of Dar al-Koran Society on the first day of the holy month of Ramadan in Gaza City, June 18, 2015.  (photo by REUTERS/Suhaib Salem)

“Hatem and I have been friends for 15 years, and we have been through joy and pain,” Tarzi told Al-Monitor. “I always accompany him, and people are shocked when they learn that I am Christian and that he is Muslim, given the depth of our relationship.”

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Iraqi Christians Fast With Muslims During Ramadan

Iraqi Christians who are joining Muslims in fasting during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan as a sign of peace and solidarity are facing rebuke from other believers.

“In this way we just wanted to propose a Christian gesture: as Christians, we are confident that fasting and prayer, also shared with others, can work miracles, while weapons and military interventions only kill,” Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael I told Fides News Agency.

The Patriarch explained that other Christians, though he did not identify who, have taken issue with Christians and Muslims worshiping together in such a way.

Muslims offer prayers before having their Iftar (fast-breaking) meal during the holy month of Ramadan at a madrasa or religious school on the outskirts of Jammu.

Muslims offer prayers before having their Iftar (fast-breaking) meal during the holy month of Ramadan at a madrasa or religious school on the outskirts of Jammu

Raphael I said reactions have been “paradoxical: from outside, some of our Christians who live abroad were shaken and they even criticized us. From many Muslims, however, I received overwhelming gratitude. Yesterday a Muslim woman with the veil came to the office to thank me. She kept saying: we will all be very grateful, because we are all Iraqis.”

Ramadan, which began on June 6 and will end on July 5, commemorates the time when Muslims believe Allah handed the Quran to the Islamic prophet Muhammad.

It is also the ninth month in the Islamic calendar, which is considered the most sacred in Islamic teachings. Muslims are forbidden to eat or drink from sunrise to sunset during the entire month, in which they must also pray, and practice acts of generosity towards others.

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Church Holds Charitable Ramadan Iftar for Muslims in Downtown Cairo

In yet another show of unity, the Kasr El-Dobara Evangelical Church, located near Tahrir Square, hosted its traditional charitable iftar for fasting Muslims in Egypt.

The charitable iftar, known in Arabic as Mawaad El Rahman, is held by the Church every Ramadan as a reminder of the unity and respect between Christians and Muslims


Volunteers serving food at the charitable iftar. Credit: Asmaa Gamal

The iftar comes at a time despite recent sectarian violence in Minya that resulted in a Coptic Christian senior woman being stripped and dragged along the streets after her son was accused of having a romantic affair with a Muslim woman. The violence saw national condemnations, with the Egyptian President vowing punishment for those responsible.

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Pakistani Muslims Build Church for Christian Neighbors

Muslim villagers in Pakistan’s northeastern Punjab province are raising funds to help their Christian neighbors build a place of worship. The Christian population in the village of Faisalabad is small—just twenty families. These families have had to use someone’s home to perform prayers and hold festivities on holy days.
Pakistani Muslims

Construction work on the church began within one month of the announcement, igniting excitement in the Christian community. 150,000 Pakistani rupees (about $1,500 USD) were already raised for the church’s construction of the estimated total 700,000 rupees ($7,000 USD).

“We had four mosques in the village but no place of worship for Christians, as many of them are poor and lack the funds to build a church on their own,” said one of the Muslim fundraisers, Mian Ejaz. The Muslim community leaders wanted to give their Christian neighbors an Easter gift in the form of a church. According to Ejaz, “We want to tell the world that Pakistan isn’t a country of extremists—who are only a small minority—but a country of people who believe in religious tolerance and harmony. Moreover, the Christian world is doing a lot for Muslim refugees, so we should pay them [Christians] back in the same coin.”

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His Holiness the Dalai Lama leaves for United States

June 10, 2016

DHARAMSHALA: His Holiness the Dalai Lama left Dharamshala today for a 19-day visit to the United States. His visit to the United States include public talks on compassion and universal responsibility, teachings and addresses to Tibetan communities.

Devotees greeting His Holiness the Dalai Lama as he leaves for United States today, 10 June 2016.

Devotees greeting His Holiness the Dalai Lama as he leaves for United States today, 10 June 2016.

On 13 June, His Holiness will give a public talk on A Peaceful Mind in a Modern World in the afternoon at the Bender Arena, American University, Washington, DC.

On 18 June, His Holiness will give a public talk on ‘The Power of Compassion as Key to Accomplishing Greater Values to Self and Others’ in the morning at the new Dieu Ngu Temple, Westminster, CA, USA. On the same day, His Holiness will give a Buddhist teaching including conferment of a Medicine Buddha Empowerment in the afternoon at the temple.

On the next day, His Holiness will participate in the Grand Opening Ceremony of the Dieu Ngu Temple hosted by Venerable Vien Li. He will also meet with Vietnamese Youth attending the Grand Opening Ceremony.

On 21 June His Holiness will give a public talk on Compassion and Universal Responsibility organised by the University of Utah in partnership with the Utah Tibet Foundation at the Huntsman Center, Salt Lake City, UT, USA.

On 23 June, His Holiness will give a teaching on Geshe Langri Thangpa’s Eight Verses of Training the Mind (lojong tsikgyema) in the morning at the Coors Event Center and he will give a public talk on Educating the Heart and Mind in the afternoon.

On 25 June, His Holiness will give a public talk on Compassion As a Pillar of World Peace at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum.

His Holiness will return to India on 28 June 2016.

The Qur’an with references to the Bible

 From Facebook

While visiting Luxembourg, Bridges Board Member Dr Frank Kaufmann visited Madame Erna Hennicot-Schoepges who is a Luxembourgi politician for the Christian Social People’s Party. She was until 2009 a Member of the European Parliament, sitting as a CSV member of the European People’s Party.

Madame Hennicot-Schoepges has made many political contributions to the cultural field. On the national level, she is responsible for the creation of the University of Luxembourg in 2003 and the Luxembourg Philharmonic Hall Joséphine Charlotte in 2005, among other projects. On a European level, she was the rapporteur to the EP of the “European Year of Intercultural Dialogue, 2008. Additionally, she has written a number of books and articles on subjects ranging from European politics, human rights, religion, and education.

We are proud that Madame Erna Hennicot-Schoepges received reports of The Qur’an with References to the Bible and welcomed it as a contribution to reconciliation and peace at a world ridden by conflicts.

Safi Kaskas's photo.

Pope in historic talks with Grand Imam of Al-Azhar

Article originally appears in Al-Jazeera

Unexpected meeting between Francis and Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb followed easing of tensions during reign of Benedict.

Pope Francis made several gestures towards Islam including bringing Syrian refugees to the Vatican [Reuters]

Pope Francis has met the grand imam of Cairo’s Al-Azhar Mosque at the Vatican in a historic encounter that was sealed with a hugely symbolic hug and exchange of kisses.
The first Vatican meeting on Monday between the leader of the world’s Catholics and the highest authority in Sunni Islam marks the culmination of a significant improvement in relations between the two faiths since Francis took office in 2013.

The Qur’an with Bible References

Frank Kaufmann a Bridges Board member presenting David Foka with a copy of the Qur’an with References to the Bible.

David Foka is Head Emeritus of Pax Christi, Luxembourg. Current Administrative Director for Immigration Settlement, education, and care, Luxembourg. Current Head of Africa in Diaspora, for Europe and International.

Safi Kaskas's photo.
Safi Kaskas's photo.
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