Fr. Stan Chu Ilo

Fr. Stan Chu Ilo

Fr. Stan Chu Ilo’s latest book, Discover Your Divine Investment, is published by Catholic Register Books and is available by calling 416-934-3410

Flying back to Rome on Nov. 30 after a six-day “pilgrimage of peace” as an “apostle of hope,” Pope Francis said he was surprised by Africa.

Over six days beginning Nov. 25, Pope Francis will visit three African countries — Kenya, Uganda and Central African Republic. His first visit to Africa is significant in many ways.

In light of the debates at the Synod on the Family in Rome, it is relevant to reflect on marriage from an African Christian perspective at a time when many Catholic homosexuals are suffering due to disagreement on their place in the  Church.

“The family is a biggie for Catholics!” That was how a Buddhist student in my class, Introduction to Catholicism, responded when asked why he chose marriage in the Catholic Church as the topic for his final project.

Someone asked me recently, “After the Year of Faith, what will be the Church’s theme in 2014? How does the Pope designate a theme for the year?”

Reflecting on the 1994 election of Nelson Mandela as the first black president of South Africa, American scholar Rob Nixon wrote: “Between 1964 and 1990 he was absented from the political present, yet remained a pre-eminent inhabitant of South Africa’s past and future. He lived on the cusp of time, embodying a people’s hope, yet monumentalized on a scale ordinarily reserved for the dead.”

Writing in The Death of Character, James Hunter argues that character is frequently associated with words like honour, reputation, integrity, manners, duty and even manhood. Character, he argues, is always associated with an explicitly moral standard of conduct oriented towards work, building, expanding, achieving and sacrifice on behalf of a larger good.

This past weekend I re-read A Grief Observed, C.S. Lewis’s personal account of dealing with the death of his wife from cancer. I searched the book for some words of comfort to help deal with my own pain at the loss of a family member.

The Kenyan city of Mombasa is an ancient metropolis that bears the marks of its long history as a melting pot of civilizations, religions, cultures, races and nationalities. It is the gateway to East Africa and the coastal city of choice for many tourists from Asia, Europe and North America.

The summer is normally a time for rest and relaxation. But one question that has been coming to me lately is how can Christians find true rest, serenity of heart from fear, when we face human and natural tragedies.

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