Let’s first begin in Rome, where the Pope addressed the pilgrims at his weekly General Audience. He spoke of his visit to Egypt and reaffirmed his mutual commitment to unity and prayed for the victims of the recent attacks.
Here now is the summary direct from Rome.
As many as 16,000 displaced people filled St. Mary Catholic Cathedral in the South Sudan, hoping that the church would keep them safe, as their country spirals into greater violence.
When civil war ripped apart South Sudan's democracy in 2013, residents of the country watched the violence escalate and spread. Although tensions had been building for months, the violence intensified last June and more than 400 people were killed and another 120,000 displaced, thus leaving churches, aid groups and UN agencies scrambling to respond. The churches got help from Catholic Relief Services that provided shelter materials, hygiene kits, cooking pots and food.
At St. Mary’s Cathedral, two new wells were drilled to supplement two existing wells on the cathedral grounds, but that's still not enough for the displaced who make the cathedral grounds their home, so Oxfam trucks water into the site every day.
More than 30 million people need food assistance in Yemen, South Sudan, Nigeria and Somalia due to conflict and drought, but David Beasley, the head of the World Food Program, said the U.N. only has enough money to help 8.4 million of them. If you'd like to help, can visit the Catholic Relief Services at their website listed below.
Here in Canada meanwhile, the President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bishop Douglas Crosby, the Primate of The Anglican Church of Canada, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, and the Moderator of the General Assembly of The Presbyterian Church in Canada, Reverend Douglas Rollwage, have all signed a joint ecumenical letter to the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, concerning the deteriorating situation in South Sudan.
In the letter, the religious leaders have asked the Government of Canada for four specific action items.
• The First, is to consider increasing Canadian support to the UN mission in South Sudan
• The second, to speak out more emphatically at home and abroad on the food crisis in the region and the grave conflict in South Sudan, and to be a leading voice at the United Nations for greater international assistance.
• Third, they ask that the Canadian government encourage the international community to provide more humanitarian assistance and to assist in restoring the rule of law and protecting human rights;
And finally, they ask that the government work diligently with Canadian businesses both at home and abroad, as well as with the international community, including the United Nations Security Council, to prevent weapons and other military-grade material from reaching South Sudan.
You can read the entire letter to the Prime Minister, in its entirety, on the cccb website listed here
And finally today, to mark the 50th anniversary of what became the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, The Pope has invited thousands of Catholic charismatics and members of Pentecostal and Evangelical churches to Rome to celebrate Pentecost.
Jubilee celebrations will begin in Rome on May 31st with prayer meetings, a youth festival, meetings for theologians and workshops.
In a meeting with charismatics and Pentecostals back in 2014, the Pope admitted he was not always comfortable with the way they prayed. "In the early years of the charismatic renewal in Buenos Aires, I didn’t have much love for charismatics," the pope said. "I used to say: They seem like a samba school, But little by little, I’ve come to see how much good the movement was doing for Catholics and for the church.
The Catholic charismatic renewal is present in more than 200 countries and has reached an estimated 120 million Catholics.
And that's it for Perspectives this week. Join us again tomorrow when we bring you more news and stories through the Perspectives of a catholic lens. From all of us at the Salt and Light, thank you for joining us and we'll see you again tomorrow