Tag Archives: Lebanon

3 June: Pope Francis sends greetings on Queen Elizabeth’s jubilee.

File photo showing Pope Francis greeting Queen Elisabeth and her late husband the Duke of Edinburgh in the Vatican

A thoughtful greeting from Pope Francis to Queen Elizabeth.

Yesterday saw the start of a weekend of celebrations across the United Kingdom on the occasion of Queen Elizabeth II’s 70 years on the throne.

Marking this milestone, Pope Francis has sent a telegram to the Queen offering his prayers and good wishes. In it, he says: “On this joyful occasion of your Majesty’s birthday, and as you celebrate this Platinum Jubilee year, I send cordial greetings and good wishes, together with the renewed assurance of my prayers that Almighty God will bestow upon you, the members of the Royal Family and all the people of the nation blessings of unity, prosperity and peace.”

In recognition of the monarch’s commitment to the care of God’s creation, Pope Francis is donating a Cedar of Lebanon to the Queen’s Green Canopy project.  He expressed the hope that this tree, “which in the Bible symbolises the flourishing of fortitude, justice and prosperity, would be a pledge of abundant divine blessings” upon her realm.

The project invites people from across the United Kingdom to “Plant a Tree for the Jubilee”. As well as inviting the planting of new trees, The Queen’s Green Canopy will dedicate a network of 70 Ancient Woodlands across the United Kingdom and identify 70 Ancient Trees to celebrate Her Majesty’s 70 years of service. 

Vatican News.

We invite readers to pray for the Queen and the people of her realm, and especially for unity, prosperity and peace. Let us pray, too, for the people of Lebanon to recover these same gifts.

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Meat free Lent, XIX, XX: a bumper edition

Good morning to you all on this lovely spring morning.

Here are yesterday’s and today’s meat free recipes; we should have caught up with ourselves again. As we prepare the taboule, we could remember to pray for the people of Lebanon, whose situation has dropped off the front page though their needs remain stark. Will T.

Taboule

Dr Peter Toon – St Stephen’s Church

This salad is supposed to originate in current Lebanon but is consumed all around the Mediterranean.  This is a family variation from Provence. It can be a starter, a snack, part of a varied salad meal or a main course. Fresh flavoursome juicy tomatoes are essential. Use only medium size couscous or bulgur; large size will make it gritty; small size soggy. It can be prepared in the evening or early in the morning and served for lunch.

200g medium size couscous or bulgur 
300g tomatoes 
100g of cucumber 
A small red or white onion 
A handful of fresh mint 
A handful of pitted black olives 
A handful of chickpeas (optional) 
Olive oil, salt, lemon juice.

1.       Cut the tomatoes and cucumber into fairly small cubes in a large salad dish. Add salt and set aside for 20 minutes to extract the vegetable juices.

2.       Add the small, chopped onion or ½ onion (you don’t want that taste to dominate), olives, chickpeas, and 2/3rd olive oil for 1/3rd lemon juice. To judge the amount of oil and lemon juice, consider that the vegetables need at that point to swim in the liquid. Add the couscous and stir.

3.       Set aside in the fridge for at least one hour. Stir with a fork; at that point you might have to adjust slightly the amount of couscous if the dish appears too soggy. The dish now needs to rest for at least 2 hours before in can be served. Better leave it overnight in the fridge.

4.       Before serving, stir again with a fork to avoid having clumps of couscous as you want a light fluffy salad. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Depending on strength of the oil you use, you might have to add lemon juice. 

5.       Add the fresh chopped mint (use only fresh mint and like the onion, don’t over-do-it). Some people prefer to use flat leaf parsley. Stir again and it’s ready to serve.

It keeps well for about 24 hours. After preparing it once, experiment! Different types or no olives. Spring onions, parsley, pre-cooked cubes of sweet peppers.

Pasta dishes

Dr Peter Toon – St Stephen’s Church

Pasta is originally Italian peasant food, and often they could not afford meat, so there are many recipes for pasta sauces without meat or fish. Here are a few examples:

a) mushroom sauce – whilst the pasta cooks, gently fry mushrooms, onions (and garlic if you like it) in olive oil with a little salt.  (Add a little brandy or wine if you like.)  When the pasta is cooked drain it, and then mix in the cooked vegetables with a little soya cream, grate some nutmeg over it and mix well.

b)  sweet pepper sauce   – finely chop red or yellow peppers and cook them slowly with a little salt in olive oil with onions, garlic, both or neither.  When they are completely softened (which can take 20-30 minutes), add a tin of chopped tomatoes and start cooking the pasta.  Cook the sauce slowly, uncovered, to reduce the tomatoes until it the thick but not dry.

c) pesto sauce – for when you are feeling lazy!   Ready-made traditional green pesto and also red pesto sauces can be bought from most supermarkets and unlike many ready-made pasta sauces it takes good. Just cook the pasta, open the jar and spoon it over.

d) Quorn Bolognese – as with shepherd’s pie you can use Quorn mince in this well-known sauce

e) walnut sauce – unusual but very tasty with pasta.  Basically, you grind walnuts very finely with garlic and a little salt so you end up with a paste.  If you soak the walnuts beforehand it is easier to grind them.  You might add a little walnut oil, soya cream to make the sauce the right consistency.

f) leek sauce – 1-2 leeks per person, according to size. You need to chop the leeks very finely for this sauce – 3-4 mm at most in each dimension.  Sweat them very slowly in butter or oil, with a teaspoon of salt.  After 5 minutes or so, add a glass of white wine – continue to cook slowly, covered, for about 30 minutes, adding a little water if they are getting dry to avoid browning.  When they are soft, add a generous amount of cream – I use soya cream but crème fraiche would be good too. Mix with pasta and sprinkle with lemon juice just before serving.

 You can grate some parmesan over the top of these dishes if you like, but they taste fine without.

Have a good day, God Bless

Jo

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The Synod and International Women’s Day

General Secretariat for the Synod of Bishops
www.synod.va – media@synod.vaView this email in your browser
#newsletter n.07 – 03/2022 – Available also in FR – PT – ES – IT
Celebrating Woman’s Day
Women are particularly involved in this synodal process, they are often the driving force behind synodality and have a great desire to “walk together”. On this 8th of March we want to give thanks for all their commitment to the service of synodality …Read more …

Caritas Internationalis and the British Ambassador to the Holy See, Chris Trott, are organizing the event “Church and Society: Women as Builders of Dialogue” on March 8 in Rome, with online streaming.
 Read more…
Sr. Nathalie Becquart, Undersecretary of the Synod of Bishops, offers us a collection of texts dealing with the theme of women in the documents of the last two synods.Read more…
Listen to five women speak about their roles within the Synod of Bishops on the Synod on Synodality at this event of last December hosted by the Australian Embassy to the Holy See, La Civiltà Cattolica and Georgetown University. Read more
The aim of “Female Doctors of the Church and Patron Saints of Europe in Dialogue with Today’s World” International Interuniversity Conference scheduled for March 7 and 8, 2022 is to focus on the emblematic example of so many women in history to restore momentum and hope to the many challenges that characterize the dynamic contemporary world.Read more…
The Dutch Network of Catholic Women (NKV) translated the synod themes to questions specifically meant for women. The project is called ‘She has something to tell’ and Laetitia van der Lans tells us that the responses rate is surprisingly high for a small, secularized country. Among the most important questions are: what gives you joy in the Catholic Church? What are your dreams for the Church? Read more
The Maronite Church launched the initiative “Synod of Women” in Bkerké, at the headquarters of the Maronite Patriarchate: a unique ecclesial process and opportunity for shared discernment on the presence and mission of women in the Church and in society. Read more…
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24 May: Mother of God, intercede for our souls.

These prayers from the Catholic Greek Melkite Church open a different way of seeing Mary for Westerners like me. Please take this opportunity to pray for all the people of Lebanon, where many Melkite Christians live alongside other Christians, Muslims and Druze, all of whom would earnestly desire to live in peace.

The mystery hidden from all eternity that the angels could not know  was revealed to those on earth through you, O Mother of God, when God became incarnate without  mixing (of the two natures) and accepted the Cross out of obedience for our sakes and Adam was raised and our souls saved from death. 

You gave birth without a father on earth to him who was born without a mother in heaven,  a birth beyond understanding and hearing,  So intercede, O Mother of God, for our souls. 

Two prayers from the Melkite Liturgy, Theotokion for Saturday, 4th mode, and Tuesday  morning Theotokion, 1st mode, translated by Kenneth Mortimer and published on The Pelicans website.

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October 13: Cooperation in Joy

It’s about time we sat back to listen to Sister Johanna from Minster Abbey, who knows how to tell a story afresh, with help from Alfie the Collie.

Even the puppies eat the scraps that fall from the master’s table (Mt.15:27).

I think it would be wonderful to be irresistible to Jesus, to surprise him by getting something really right, make him do a double-take and ask, ‘Did she just say that?’ It rarely happens in the gospels, but there are a few instances of it. And one of them is recounted in Matthew 15:21-28.

Jesus and his disciples are travelling, on foot, as usual. They are in the region of Tyre and Sidon – a gentile area. A Canaanite woman, gentile therefore, turns up. And she starts shouting at the top of her lungs, calling to Jesus. At first, her talent seems to lie chiefly in making a pest of herself – at least as far as the disciples are concerned, for they urge Jesus to give her what she wants, ‘…because she keeps shouting after us.’ We know the type, and cringe. The woman is pushy–in the extreme: she’s noisy, her voice probably harsh and grating, she’s insistent, she won’t be brushed off. She shouts out two titles to grab Jesus’ attention (maybe one will work): ‘Lord! Son of David!’ Then ‘…take pity on me. My daughter is tormented by a devil.’ Over and over, apparently.

And Jesus seems to be ignoring her. Even after reading this story many, many times over the years, I still feel a jolt at Jesus seeming to blank this woman. Why does he do it? I think Jesus himself answers that question when he says to the disciples, ‘But I was sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.’ To my mind, what Jesus is saying here is that he is not sure whether the woman would have the capacity to receive what he could give her. Her religious background was unknown; at least the lost sheep of the House of Israel would have the religious sensibility to understand Jesus’ message–or they would in theory, anyway. The gentiles would largely need a different approach. How much would this woman be able to grasp of Jesus’ teaching and his person? I think Jesus’ uncertainty is real. But he will soon have an answer to his question.

The woman overhears what Jesus says, and she has the pluck to come right up to him and show him what she is able to understand. First, she again appeals to his compassion: ‘Lord, help me.’ By this time, whenever I read the story, I am always on her side, pest or no pest, and I really don’t want Jesus to say what he says next, but there’s no help for it. He says: ‘It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the puppies.’ Scholarly exegesis is always quick to point out that Jesus isn’t insulting her; not really. In that culture and at that time, the word for puppies or little dogs softens an expression which itself was a conventional one devoid of the sting we would read into it. It was standard for Jews to refer to gentiles as dogs, evidently. With all our sensitivities today, it is still hard for us not to be taken aback, but it’s possible to imagine Jesus with a kindly expression in his eyes as he refers to the ‘little dogs’ or ‘puppies.’ And, the fact is, the Canaanite woman doesn’t object to it. In fact, she revels in it. It is exactly the handle she needs to hoist herself up in Jesus’ estimation – by a mile. Her life is about to become a lot better.

She has come to Jesus with absolutely no claims and no pretensions. She does not try to be what she isn’t; she isn’t a child of Israel, and she expects to be called a little dog. At the same time, she knows what she knows about Jesus, and she is certain that Jesus has supernatural power capable of healing her daughter. She is determined to obtain her daughter’s healing from him. So she is ready for him. To Jesus’ comment about not wanting to throw the children’s food to the puppies, she makes the brilliant and faith-filled rejoinder: ‘Ah, yes, Lord, but even the little dogs eat the scraps that fall from the master’s table.’

Suddenly this pest is transformed into a paragon of everything Jesus wants to see in us. She is loving. She is straightforward about herself. She is full of faith with regard to Jesus. She is brave, truthful, frank, plucky and, as a bonus, ingeniously witty. This combination is irresistible to him. She understands all right, probably a lot better than some of the lost sheep of Israel do, and is fully able to receive the gift that Jesus is able to give. ‘Woman, you have great faith!’ he exclaims. ‘Let your desire be granted!’ And surely, this was said with an amazed smile and even a laugh on Jesus’ part. She must have filled Jesus with such joy, even as she herself was filled with joy by Jesus.

I said at the beginning that I’d like to be irresistible to Jesus, surprising him by the strength of my faith. This story makes me question some attitudes I have. Would I be as plucky as the Canaanite woman? She knew that as a gentile, she was not entitled to Jesus’ gift, but she was willing to receive any scrap from him that she could scavenge, and knew that such a scrap would be filled with his mighty power. How do I measure up against her willingness and faith? Against her perseverance in prayer? Don’t I tend to grow discouraged? Don’t I bring a subtle attitude of entitlement to prayer? I am not entitled to Jesus’ gift of friendship, healing and eternal salvation any more that she was. When Jesus seems to ignore my prayer, when he seems silent, don’t I feel just a bit put out? A little bit of entitlement is not much better than a lot of it. Perhaps by meditating on this Canaanite woman I may learn from her the attitudes that Jesus finds irresistible, and then find that we are cooperating in joy.

SJC

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June 18: Jesus meets a Woman and a Dog

upperroom tomdog

After our pilgrims’ canter through the book of Tobit, ending with Tobias and Sarah and the dog living happily ever after, here is a story about Jesus, a woman and a dog. I like to think, along with the master masons of Strasbourg Cathedral, that Jesus and his followers had a dog with them. Here he is a few months later, excluded from Saint Thomas’s moment of truth after thee resurrection.

Jesus was someone who went across the river, through the desert and over the mountains. And then again: over the mountains, through the desert, and across the river. Jesus walked everywhere, and one day he went across the border and came to Tyre.

A Canaanite woman there began shouting,

Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David: my daughter is grieviously troubled by the devil. Who answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying: Send her away, for she crieth after us: and he answering, said: I was not sent but to the sheep that are lost of the house of Israel.

But she came and adored him, saying: Lord, help me. Who answering, said: It is not good to take the bread of the children, and to cast it to the dogs. And she said: Yea, Lord; for the pups also eat of the crumbs that fall from the table of their masters.

Then Jesus answering, said to her: O woman, great is thy faith: be it done to thee as thou wilt: and her daughter was cured from that hour.                      Matthew 15:22-27.

REFLECTION

I think Jesus is teasing this woman – we don’t know her name but we can see that she knew about children, she knew about dogs, and she knew about Jesus.

And she will not be ignored!

Jesus does not send her away. He tests her as he teases her; by appealing to her sense of humour, he leads her to express her faith more clearly, running with the metaphor he challenges her with.

Let us ask God for the things we need, and for the things our family and friends need, and for a sense of our own littleness, as we pray:

Our Father.

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21 March: Stations of the Cross, IV: Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry his Cross.

carvingwomanchich

FOURTH STATION
SIMON OF CYRENE HELPS JESUS TO CARRY HIS CROSS

Our witness is a woman from Lebanon, who asked Jesus to cure her little daughter. Her story is told by Saint Mark, in Chapter 7, vv 24-30


I know this man. Jesus knew I was a foreigner when I asked him to cure my little girl. He teased me, but he helped me, he sent me away happy.

The soldiers didn’t tease him. They bullied him. They bully that Libyan man Simon too,
and make him help Jesus to carry his cross.


Prayer :

Lord, forgive us when we bully each other. Help us to see when we are being unfair. Help us to carry each others loads.

We pray for the people of Libya, suffering on the sad road of civil war.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Chichester Cathedral

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January 13: Faith is not an Overcoat

pilgrims.wet (640x229)

Was it their overcoats or their hearts burning within them (Luke 24:34) that kept these pilgrims warm in Krakow?

Here is a thought to dwell on, when I get ready to go out on these cold winter’s days, up here in the Northern hemisphere. But it applies even in the warm, sunny South, and actualy comes from Friar Francesco Patten OFM,  the Custos, or guardian, of the shrines in the Holy Land.

Franciscanism entered into me partly because I have the name [Francesco] and partly because my family taught me that the faith is not an overcoat but the core, sustaining life.

+   +   +   +   +

The Friars of the Custody of the Holy Land come from many nations. They support the local Church in Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria as well as welcoming pilgrims. They rely on our support.

Pray for Peace on Jerusalem and on all the lands of the Bible.

See: www.theholylandreview.com

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