Featured in Fides 2/2023
World Watch List Report on Persecution of Christians 2023
The World Watch List is Open Door’s annual ranking of the 50 countries where Christians face the most extreme persecution.
Earthquake in Turkey and Syria: Pope’s Prayer and the Church’s Aid
Lenten Regulations on Fasting and Abstinence in the Diocese of Helsinki 2023
Ash Wednesday: February 22
Good Friday: April 7
Guidelines from the Diocesan Administrator, Fr. Marco Pasinato:
Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are obligatory days of fasting and abstinence for Catholics. In addition, all Fridays are obligatory days of abstinence (unless Friday falls on a Feast Day).
The norms of fasting are obligatory from age 18 until age 60. When fasting, a person is permitted to eat one full meal, as well as two smaller meals, each a bit more than half or a regular meal. The norms concerning abstinence from meat are binding upon members of the Catholic Church from age 14 onwards.
Abstinence on Fridays can be replaced by other means such as abstaining from some other food or drink, abstaining from alcohol, tobacco, or another form of enjoyment, by works or charity, by attending Holy Mass, adoration, Stations of the Cross, etc., by paying special attention to prayer shared within the family.
The faithful also have an obligation to do penance during Lent, as well as on all Fridays of the year. Each person can find a suitable form of penance, possibly including something from the list above. One recommended form of penance is to abstain from something, and through the Church donating the money saved by abstinence to those lacking the necessities of life.
Pope’s Prayer Intentions for 2023
We pray that parishes, placing communion at the center, may increasingly become communities of faith, fraternity and welcome towards those most in need.
Ecumenical Delegation from Finland Visits Rome, Meets with Pope Francis
The Ecumenical Delegation from Finland travelled to Rome for its annual trip. The participants met with the Pope on Feb. 19, the Feast of St. Henry.
Participants of the ecumenical delegation this year were as follows:
Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland
Rt. Rev., Dr. Kaisamari Hintikka, Bishop of Espoo
Mr. Jukka Väinölä, spouse of Bishop Hintikka
Rev. Dr. Kimmo Kääriäinen, Executive Director of the Department for International Relations
Rev. Dr. Timo-Matti Haapiainen, Consultant, Diocese of Espoo
Rev. Dr. Elina Hellqvist, Advisor, Interfaith Relations, Office for Global Mission
Catholic Church in Finland
Rev. Fr. Marco Pasinato, Diocesan Administrator, Diocese of Helsinki
Rev. Fr. Gabriel Salmela OP
Mr. Marko Tervaportti, Communications Director, Diocese of Helsinki
Orthodox Church of Finland
Bishop Sergei of Diocese of Hamina
United Methodist Church in Finland
Rev. Mayvor Wärn-Rancken, General Secretary of Finnish Ecumenical Council
Address of His Holiness Pope Francis to the Ecumenical Delegation from Finland:
According to Marko Tervaportti, the Communications Director of the Catholic Church in Finland, the trip was very successful. It had been wonderfully organized, with an interesting program, which benefitted the participants not just ecumenically, but also spiritually. The time, and especially the journey shared with Christians from different denominations, fortified the feeling that we have lots in common. This experience of unity seems to be growing due to the increasingly secular atmosphere, and even hostile attitude towards religions in society.
It is, therefore, easy to agree with the words of Pope Francis, as expressed in his speech: “In all things, let us recognize how great is the unity we share, and how important it is to pray with one another, to work diligently and dialogue intensively to overcome our divisions, and to be one, in accordance with the Lord’s will, so that the world may believe (cf. Jn 17:21).”
Pope Francis Visits Congo and South Sudan
The pope met with victims of violence from eastern Congo on Feb. 1 in Kinshasa, following a public Mass. He then visited Kinshasa Jan. 31-Feb. 3 before traveling to Juba, the capital of South Sudan, Feb. 3-5.The pope’s trip to Congo and South Sudan is Pope Francis’ third visit to sub-Saharan Africa. At the end of his 40th apostolic journey this week, the pope will have visited 60 countries.
Saints from Finland during Our Lifetime?
The few saints and beatified Servants of God from Finland are from the Middle Ages, which means they lived hundreds of years ago. This situation differs greatly from that of many other countries, in which many have been canonized or beatified in the 1900’s and during our lifetime. In this sense, there exists a black hole in the Church, a religious void.
Is it really true that there is not a single person from our modern times who could be declared a saint or blessed? I would like to make a proposal: let us look for a person or persons in our Church, who could fit the criteria.
In my opinion this goal is neither fantasy nor impossible. There must have been people in our local Church who lived in a very close union with God, Jesus, and the Virgin Mary. The road toward beatification or canonization is neither short nor easy. Yet, I cannot believe that there have been no people in our midst fulfilling the criteria.
We can each take the initiative to achieve this.