International Religious News Updates (3rd Week of July, 2018)

 In Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism

International Religious News Updates (3rd Week of July, 2018)

USA : Virgin Mary Statue weeps ‘Olive Oil’

A 7-foot tall bronze statue of the Virgin Mary inside a Catholic church in New Mexico appeared to be weeping, the Church leaders claimed. According to an investigator with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Las Cruces, the sculpture locally known as ‘Our Lady of Guadalupe’, is not crying human tears. Besides, the tears have the same chemical composition of an olive oil treated with perfume. This is a sacred oil which is used to anoint the parishioners in the Catholic Church.

“It started on Pentecost Sunday on May 20, when parishioners at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Hobbs noticed that there appeared to be tears streaming from the Virgin Mary’s eyes”, Judy Ronquillo, the business manager for the church, told The Washington Post.  Church also released photos and a video that shows the statue with a liquid inside the eyes and down the cheeks, mouth and chin.

The churches said that the rare occurrence of the crying of Mother Mary has attracted people from all over the world to the Church, for conversions, confessions and to watch the statue cry. According to one expert, the question is not merely about how the statue is crying, but that how people are responding to the phenomenon and why they may want to believe in it.

Deacon Jim Winder, vice chancellor of the Catholic Diocese of Las Cruces, said there was enough liquid – about 500 milliliters – that it had run down the statue. He said that he and other investigators examined the statue and the surrounding area, including the ceiling, and there were no signs it had been altered in any way.

“The investigators collected about a teaspoon of the tears and had them tested. The results showed it had the same chemical fingerprint of olive oil treated with some kind of scent, like chrism, but it was clear – not the brownish color that is associated with most olive oil”, Winder further told Washington post.


Dubai : St Mary’s Catholic Churchto organize Event for Father’s Day

St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Dubai will organise a fun-filled event for more than 500 workers on Friday on the occasion of International Father’s Day.

The event, being held in line with the Year of Zayed celebrations, will be held at the Khansaheb labour accommodation and include entertainment programmes consisting of an array of games, food, gifts and prizes where the workers would be able to partake and have a great time.

Rev. Fr. Lennie Connully, Parish Priest of St. Mary’s Catholic Church, says: “There can be no better way to commemorate the Year of Zayed — founding father of the UAE — than by honouring lonely fathers on the occasion of International Father’s Day. Shaikh Zayed is a true symbol of humanitarianism. To honour his vision and memory, St. Mary’s Catholic Church has decided to bring fun and entertainment into the lives of more than 500 deserving workers from selected labour accommodations in Dubai,” Reported the Gulf News.

The workers will be presented with food items, including rice, sugar, tea, coffee, biscuits and other necessities like detergents, disposable razors, deodorants, shower gels, and phone cards. These items were collected by parishioners during the ‘food drive’ organised by the parish.

“This event is our way of engaging our community in serving the underprivileged workers who toil for the sake of their families. Caring for others without discrimination on grounds of nationality and religion is a core tenet of Christianity, and we are happy to demonstrate this by organising this humanitarian event,” added Fr. Lennie. Youth and volunteers from the parish will say a “thank you” to these unsung heroes for their hard work, service and sacrifice.

Moroccan Man Cycles to Mecca to perform Hajj

At age 58, Moroccan national Muhammed Rubuhat set out to cycle thousands of kilometers from his homeland to Mecca in Saudi Arabia in order to perform Hajj.

In an interview with Anadolu Agency (AA), Rubuhat said he had wanted to perform Hajj, the Muslim pilgrimage, for a very long time and he finally started his two-wheeled journey on April 1. The trip, which has taken three months and nine days so far, began in the Moroccan city of Meknes and took Rubuhat through Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad before coming to Sudan’s capital Khartoum.

The cyclist explained that he decided to cycle to Mecca in order to honor the memories of Moroccan and African Muslims and to promote peace between African countries.

Cycling for about 120 kilometers (75 miles) every day, Rubuhat claims he had close calls with dangerous animals such as leopards, hyenas and elephants but managed to escape unharmed. Rubuhat said his last stop will be Suakin Island before finally arriving in Mecca by sea.

Referencing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s promise to rebuild Suakin Island, Rubuhat said: “Erdoğan is someone who loves Islam and Islamic lands. He serves all Muslims and those who want to perform Hajj by caring for Suakin Island.” Rubuhat said he wants to cycle from Morocco to Jerusalem next in order to raise awareness for the Palestinian conflict.

Thailand : Rescued Thai boys want to be ‘Monks’

The Whole world was glued to the television and praying last week for the safe return of Thai boys. The heroic rescue by the Thai government has earned a lot of praise internationally, but the heroic survival by them is no less story, surviving being for weeks coped in a cave is not easy.  According to them meditation helped them.

When the 12 Thai boys who were trapped in a cave and were rescued one by one were first discovered by British divers they were reportedly meditating.Turns out that their coach, Ekapol Chanthawong, who led them on a hike into the cave when it flooded on June 23, trained in meditation as a Buddhist monk for a decade before becoming a soccer coach.

According to multiple news sources, he taught the boys, ages 11 to 16, to meditate in the cave to keep them calm and preserve their energy through their two-week ordeal. And British diver Ben Reymenants, who was involved with the rescue operation, told Vox on Thursday that each of the boys did an hour of meditation with the coach before they were brought out of the cave between Sunday and Tuesday.

Ekapol, 25, went to live in a monastery at age 12 after he was orphaned. According the Straits Times, he trained to be a monk for 10 years at a monastery in Mae Sai, Thailand, but left to care for a sick grandmother. He then was hired to be the assistant coach of the team, known as the Wild Boars.

That meditation would be a useful practice in an extremely stressful situation like being trapped in a cave is really no surprise. Buddhist meditation has been around for 2,600 years, since the Buddha began teaching it as tool for achieving clarity and peace of mind, and ultimately, liberation from suffering.

Boys want to be Monks

After their dramatic rescue from Nang Non cave, 12 Thai boys and their soccer coach are mourning the loss of a Thai Navy SEAL, Saman Gunan, who died during the rescue efforts. The father of one of the boys said that in order to pay tribute to the Navy SEAL, many boys are considering temporarily becoming monks.

Ordaining as a full monk – known as “bhikkhu” in Pali, the religious language of the Theravada Buddhism – is only available to men over 20. The boys would instead be ordained as novices, or “nen,” who undergo fewer restrictions. Additionally, at least one of the boys is Christian, and would likely not be ordained as a monk.

But in the wake of the rescue efforts, the act of ordaining is not surprising. In Theravada Buddhist practice, ordaining to be a monk and donating the merit thus gained is one of the greatest honors that a person can give to another

USA : Jain Society of Metropolitan Chicago completes 25 year

The Jain Society of Metropolitan Chicago (JSMC), Bartlett Illinois, celebrated a milestone – the 25th Anniversary of its temple, with great enthusiasm, color and pride, from June 22 to July 1, 2018 at Bartlett, IL. About 4000 people from US and outside witnessed this historic celebration over the 10 days. This is the first Jain temple in North America with “Shikhar” or dome to complete 25 years. A number of dignitaries, speakers, and faith leaders from US and India graced the occasion.

The event was graced by political dignitaries including Illinois State Governor Bruce Rauner, Consul General of India Ms. Neeta Bhusan, US Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi and Peter Roskam, State representatives Christine Winger and Laura Murphy, State senator Tom Cullerton and Bartlett Village trustees. Illinois State Governor Bruce Rauner, Acharya Dr. Lokesh Muniji performing Aarti at 25th anniversary of Jain Temple in Chicago

Over the 10 days of celebration, numerous scholars and dignitaries from India, including Muni Shri Jinchandraji, Acharya Dr. Lokesh Muniji, Swami Shrutpragyaji, Charukeerti Bhattarakji, Gurudev Shri Rakesh Bhai Zaveri, Shri Dipakbhai Bardoliwala, Shri Sanjeevji Godha, Smt. Pramodaji Chitrabhanu, Smt. Tarlaben Doshi and Samanijis delivered thought provoking spiritual discourses to an eager audience. Many activities for the youth including sports day, field day as well as youth-focused seminars and shibirs kept the youth engaged. Amazing work was done in creating replicas of sacred places of worship Ashtapad and Giriraj Shatrunjay.

Since 1970s, Jain population in Chicago has exploded from less than thirty families to over 1900 families. With the mission of preserving and sharing the Jain way of life, the community built a beautiful Temple & Community Center in 1993 in Bartlett, IL on a 14 acre lot. Today this monumental temple and center standing on a 17.5 acre land with expanded facilities of 84,000 sq. ft.

Austrian : Proposed Law forcing Jews to obtain permits for kosher meat

A plan to force Jews to obtain permits in order to buy kosher meat has been proposed by a local government department in Austria.

The draft decree in Lower Austria, one of nine states that makes up the central European country, would effectively ban kosher sales other than to Jews who could prove they regularly ate the ritually slaughtered meat.It was put forward by the state’s department of animal welfare, which is headed by Gottfried Waldhäusl, a local cabinet minister from the populist Freedom Party – a political party launched by ex-Nazis in the 1950s.

Mr Waldhäusl claimed the proposal was “from the point of view of animal welfare” and that religious rites slaughter should “generally be rejected”. Kosher meat requires all animals to be conscious at the point of slaughter.

“We are checking whether the meat requirement can be linked to the place of residence,” he said, according to Austrian newspaper Wiener Zeitung.  Mr Waldhäusl, who is also a farmer, added Lower Austria was “not there to provide meat to the Viennese”; the Austrian state where most of the country’s 8,000 Jews live.

Shimon Cohen, campaign director of kosher meat community organisation Shechita UK, told The Independent: “The idea that Jews would require permits to purchase kosher meat is absurd and not something that should be seriously considered in any liberal democracy.

Many animal rights activists say kosher methods of slaughter, as well as halal, is cruel and causes the animal being slaughtered to be put through unnecessary pain. Advocates say the process is humane and causes a quick death.

@religionworldbureau

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