Thursday, January 29, 2015
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Vatican City, Jan 30, 2015 / 12:08 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The Vatican’s continued efforts to help the homeless of Rome have expanded beyond showers and bathrooms at St. Peter’s Square, with a barber shop set to open soon.

“Our primary concern is to give people their dignity,” Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, head of the Office of Papal Charities, told the Italian news agency ANSA.

In November, construction started on new showers and bathrooms for the homeless under the colonnades of St. Peter’s Square. The archbishop, who oversaw the project, set aside space for a barber.

He noted the difficulty that the homeless face in washing themselves, which in turn helps cause others to reject them—or causes them to fear rejection.

“A person needs to keep their hair and facial hair tidy, also in order to prevent diseases,” the archbishop said. “This is another service that homeless people do not have easy access to. It is not easy for them to enter a normal shop because there may be a fear of customers catching something, like scabies for example.”

The initiative will also help “the good of the city,” since homeless people often take buses and the subway and come into contact with others.

The Poland-born Archbishop Krajewski is the papal almoner, who conducts acts of charity for the poor and raises money to fund the charitable work. When the archbishop was appointed, Pope Francis urged him not to stay at his desk but rather to be an active worker for the benefit of the poor.

Many barbers have volunteered with enthusiasm, including two barbers from the national Italian organization that transports the sick to Lourdes, France and other international shrines. Other volunteers are finishing their final year in barber school.

The barber service will be open on Mondays, when barber shops in Italy are traditionally closed. It is scheduled to open in several weeks.


Yangon, Burma, Jan 29, 2015 / 06:50 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The Church in Burma is engaged in a series of biblical seminars to aid in catechesis and in drawing the laity to read and appreciate Sacred Scripture, heeding the call of the Second Vatican Council.

“Our vision is that Catholic faithful become the disciples of Christ who love, read, live, and share the living Word of God,” Fr. Bosco Saw, national coordinator for Biblical Pastoral Ministry told CNA Jan. 26. “It is part of my mission and it is growing.”

Fr. Saw cited the need for biblical-based means of teaching catechism, desired by religious congregations in the country. The seminars are meant to teach methods of sharing the Bible.

“We are pursuing our mission to lead and to empower the Catholic faithful to live out and proclaim the living Word of God.”

During a five-day workshop for the theological students of the Catholic Religious Conference attended by more than 40 religious brothers and sisters and held last November, Fr. Saw said “we deliberated on how to teach catechism using Bible stories.”

In Burma, he said, “the predominant mindset of the people is that Bible reading is meant only for priests and religious … so we use Bible seminars to educate and to help them to start appreciating, to love, to read, and to live the Bible.”

Around 20 Bible seminars have been held in Burma in the past year, with various events aimed sometimes at formators, or religious, or teachers, or the laity. In addition, each diocese in the country has organized local workshops in parishes.


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