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France: Traditional Mass at Amiens Cathedral
On Sunday January 11, 2009, with the thermometer reading -10°C, the facade of the St. Germain church, before which the Sunday Masses have been celebrated since Christmas, is covered with a treacherous layer of ice. What is to be done about the faithful, gathered on this Sunday of the Holy Family? The Cathedral nearby is open. However, there are no services, since during the winter Masses are celebrated in the winter chapel, separate from the cathedral.
It was thus that Fr. Olivier Berteaux, director of the St. Jean-Baptiste de La Salle School at Camblain (Pas de Calais) entered, to celebrate Mass at the side altar dedicated to St. Joseph. The ceremony took place in a prayerful and contemplative manner. In accordance with the reminder of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum: the Mass of St. Pius V has never been abrogated.
A photo report can be found on the website of the Catholics of Amiens:
Poland and Russia: “Go and Sin No More!”
In Poland since 2006, a priest has been appointed chaplain of the roads. He wears a policeman’s uniform inscribed with the word “priest” in place of “police”. He offers spiritual support to drivers who have been stopped by the forces of law and order in the region of Stargard Szczecinski, in western Pomerania. After being given a lecture, they receive a medal of St. Christopher, the patron saint of motorists.
In Russia, the police of Kouznetsk, in the region of Penza, 700 km south west of Moscow, employ Orthodox priests to talk to drivers who do not respect the rules of the road. “The results have exceeded all our expectations”, confirmed Sergueï Logov, head of the police department of the Kouznetsk route in the Russian daily Novyé Izvestia. He stated that the number of accidents had fallen by 33% since the launch of the operation.
Similar initiatives have been set up in western Serbia, at Tchita, where priests, since the beginning of November have been offering drivers an icon of St. Nicholas, patron saint of travellers. At Tioumen, in western Siberia, Fr. Viatcheslov Gorchkov has been driving through the town with a loud speaker urging drivers and passers-by to respect the rules of the road, alternating his appeals with prayers.
France: 64% of the Workforce Say no to Work on Sundays
On December 2, the survey institute Ipsos, the French Confederation of Christian Workers (CFTC), the magazine Famille Chrétienne, the Christian Radio stations RCF and Radio Notre-Dame published the results of a study carried out on a representative sample of 1008 French people, aged 15 years and over, interviewed about a bill authorizing Sunday work.
For the majority of the French, Sunday remains the day of rest common to the majority of workers (84%). 64% declared that they would not be in agreement to work on Sundays on a regular basis, compared with 22% who expressed the opposite. About one half (51%) said that the fact that Sunday remains a day of rest is fundamental for family life, belonging to associations, for cultural and religious life (compared with 33% who considered it important but not fundamental). Only 16% of those questioned considered it to be secondary. Of those questioned, 63% doubted that workers would refuse to work on Sundays if Sunday opening in shops was made general, even if the bill envisaged that only those who wished to work would do so.
Spain: Tens of Thousands of Faithful Attend Mass for the Family in Madrid
Tens of thousands of people demonstrated their support for the traditional family, on Sunday December 28, in Madrid, on the occasion of a “Mass for the family”, celebrated in the Plaza de Colon. On this occasion, the Cardinal Archbishop of Madrid, Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, described abortion as one of the most terrible wounds of our current society.
Pope Benedict XVI addressed the crowd indirectly through a televised message. More than a thousand buses from all parts of Spain brought in the faithful to take part in the Mass, on the theme of “The family, a grace of God”.
Cardinal Rouco Varela, president of the Spanish Bishops’ Conference, stressed that the future of humanity depended on the family. The bishop of Almeria, Mgr. Adolfo Gonzales Montes, said that the family in Spain was being treated as “an outdated institution, belonging to former times”. The bishops targeted the family policies of the Socialist government of José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and his plan to liberalise abortion up to the 14th week.