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At his weekly general audience today, Pope Francis continued his catechesis on the Holy Eucharist, focusing his attention on the opening prayer of the Mass. The silence that precedes the opening prayer of Mass, the Pope said, is an opportunity for Christians to commend to God the fate of the Church and the world. The Pope urged priests "to observe this brief silence and not hurry."
Here now is a preview of the Pope address from CNS.
And just a quick note, the Pope’s entire address is available on our website and we will re-broadcasting the entire General Audience on the network after tomorrow’s episode of Perspectives Daily, so be sure to stay tuned.
In Zambia, a cholera epidemic that threatens the lives of more than 14 million people has forced the country’s government, to ban all church services in their capital city of Lusaka. The Zambian government decreed earlier this week, that all gatherings of every nature, including church services, are banned in areas most affected by the epidemic. The ban, they say, is aimed at curbing the spread of the disease and to help make current treatment initiatives more effective.
The Zambian Bishops' Conference has also implemented measures, such as eliminating the handshake of peace in areas where the Mass is still allowed. All church-sponsored programs in the Archdiocese of Lusaka, have also been canceled until further notice.
On Jan. 7, the country's health ministry confirmed 57 deaths from this recent outbreak, with more than 2,400 new cases in the city that they know of. More than 2,000 people have died from cholera in Zambia over the past 10 years.
Now some good news coming from the Catholic Church in China. After being detained by the Chinese government authorities since May, Bishop Peter Shao Zhumin of Wenzhou has been released.
The bishop, who had not joined the “government-approved” associations for church officials, was suddenly released last week, making this last arrest his fourth since he was confirmed a Catholic bishop in September of 2016.
Although the official reason for his detention is still a mystery, it is widely believed that government officials wanted to force the Bishop to join the State Administration for Religious Affairs and support the government’s self-election and self-ordination of bishops, independent from the Vatican.
Last June, the Vatican spokesperson Greg Burke, said the Vatican was saddened by the disappearance of Bishop Shao and publicly expressed the hope that the bishop would be released.
And finally, after the re-branding and the consolidation of the Vatican's various media outlets under a new banner last month, the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communications, Monsignor Dario Vigano, is reporting a sharp increase in social media followers in recent months. Monsignor Vigano talks about the significance of this growth and why it’s important for the Vatican.
That is all that for today. Join us again tomorrow when I bring you news and stories from the Perspective of a Catholic lens.
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