By Reuters  April 19, 2019 | 08:12 am GMT+7 Filipino penitents bearing crosses on their backs lie on the street as they perform a ritual on Maundy Thursday in Mabalacat City, Pampanga Province, Philippines, April 18, 2019. Photo by Reuters/Eloisa Lopez Dozens of barefoot penitents in the Philippines whipped themselves and carried large wooden crosses in sweltering heat on Thursday as they participated in a ritual ahead of Easter in Asia's biggest Catholic nation. Some of the men, wearing red robes with their faces covered and hands tied to the crosses, walked for hours along a highway in the northern province of Pampanga, about 88 km (55 miles) north of Manila, the capital. Others were half-naked, using bamboo flails to hit their backs, which had been nicked with blades before the ritual. The groups stopped to pray at several places along their route, while women recited religious verses. "It is difficult yet rewarding," said sixteen-year-old Job Christian Ong, … [Read more...] about Philippine Catholics lash themselves in penance ahead of Easter
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Viet Nam News VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis called for peace and "fraternity" and Queen Elizabeth II warned against "tribalism", as millions across the world celebrated Christmas on Tuesday -- and US President Donald Trump caused a festive furore by asking a child whether he still believed in Santa Claus. Some 50,000 worshippers gathered at the Vatican to hear the pontiff’s sixth "Urbi et Orbi" (To the City and the World) message appealing for peace in conflict zones such as Syria and Yemen, which face humanitarian crises. "My wish for a happy Christmas is a wish for fraternity," he told pilgrims in Saint Peter’s Square on Tuesday, when Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. "Fraternity among individuals of every nation and culture. Fraternity among people with different ideas... Fraternity among persons of different religions." Francis, the head of the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics, had used his mass on Monday night to urge people to curb … [Read more...] about Pope urges ’fraternity’ in Christmas message
Viet Nam News Taking a look at Christmas through the eyes of Catholics sheds fresh light on the celebration and what it means to them. An Phương reports. Christmas has forever been my favourite time of the year. Bustling HCM City, dazzling Christmas banners and sparkling lights always give me so much joy during this festive season. To be honest, I often take Christmas for granted. But it can be celebrated by everyone, young and old, men and women, religious or not. Recently, I saw an article in the New York Times which mentioned that “religious elements of Christmas are emphasised less now than they were in the past”. For the first time, I began to think beyond how people in general view Christmas, but how Catholics, particularly in HCM City, celebrate it, and how people like me, a Buddhist, enjoy this as a cultural event. Việt Nam has four main belief groups, including folk religion, Buddhism, Catholicism, Caodaism, and other minor belief … [Read more...] about Christmas, a joyous festival for all!
By Ngoc Thanh  December 22, 2018 | 09:22 pm GMT+7 Pine trees, flowers, an elaborate nativity scene and other decorations are set to welcome Christmas at Hanoi’s St. Joseph Cathedral. For several days now, the cathedral has been decorated both inside and outside to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. A flower garden in front of the church also features a grotto with the nativity scene. Many pine trees outside the cathedral are decorated by churchgoers. A man decorates a Xmas tree inside the church. Many activities in the Cathedral during the past days, including mass and singing of carols have attracted large numbers of laypeople and visitors. A Christmas Mass will be held in the Cathedral Hall on the night of December 24. "Emmanuel" means "God is with us". To prepare for the grand Christmas Eve celebration, laypeople and nuns have been practicing several performances everyday. In the mornings, some schools take their small children to the Cathedral's main … [Read more...] about Hanoi Cathedral shines bright as Christmas Eve nears
Viet Nam News SEOUL — The Seoul Metropolitan Government is committed to promoting the Seoul Catholic Pilgrimage Routes as the Vatican officially bestowed the recognition at a solemn ceremony held on Friday (September 14) at the Seosomun Historic Park in Seoul. The Seoul Catholic Pilgrimage Routes are a 44.1km-long road that starts from Myeongdong Cathedral to reach Samseongsan Holy Ground, which is divided into three routes: the “Route of Word” (Myeongdong Cathedral to Gahoedong Church, 8.7km), the “Route of Life” (Gahoedong Church to Yakhyeon Church, 5.9km), and the “Route of Unity” (Yakheyon Church to Samseongsan Holy Ground, 29.5km). The three routes were initially designated when Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, Archbishop of Seoul, announced the “Pilgrimage Routes of the Archdiocese of Seoul” in September 2013, on the occasion of a visit of Pope Francis in 2014. The Archdiocese of Seoul has collaborated with the Seoul … [Read more...] about Seoul Catholic sites recognised as global attractions