Children’s & youth work links

Links from the world of children’s and youth ministry:

Pope calls on Ecuador’s youth to be champions for the environment

Pope Francis rides through the crowd in his popemobile as he arrives to celebrate Mass at Bicentennial Park in Quito, Ecuador, Tuesday, July 7, 2015. Pope Francis is beginning his second full day of his South American tour. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Pope Francis rides through the crowd in his popemobile as he arrives to celebrate Mass at Bicentennial Park in Quito, Ecuador, Tuesday, July 7, 2015. Pope Francis is beginning his second full day of his South American tour. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

Pope Francis challenged Latin America’s youth to take up his environmental protection campaign, saying the defence of God’s creation isn’t just a recommendation but a requirement.

The appeal, delivered at Quito’s Catholic University, is particularly relevant for Ecuador, a Pacific nation that is home to one of the world’s most species-diverse ecosystems in the Galapagos Islands and Amazon rain forest, but is also an OPEC country heavily dependent on oil extraction.

Francis told students and professors that God gave humanity the Earth to not only cultivate, but to care for — a message he framed earlier this month in his headline-grabbing encyclical on the environment.

He said:

“It is no longer a mere recommendation, but rather a requirement because of the harm we have inflicted on it by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed it”

Pope Francis cameras

He challenged universities to ensure that students’ educations aren’t aimed only at profitable careers but at helping the poor and the environment.  He said:

 

“There is a relationship between our life and that of mother Earth, between the way we live and the gift we have received from God”

He also called for long-term changes beyond short-term goals, saying,

“The tapping of natural resources, which are so abundant in Ecuador, must not be concerned with short-term benefits. As stewards of these riches which we have received, we have an obligation toward society as a whole, and toward future generations.”

Pope Francis and the Little Child

Pope Francis and child

Pope Francis addressed families in St. Peter Square at the Vatican last Saturday. There’s a video of the event, but it is four hours long.

One of the highlights was a little boy who became attached to the pope, and came to stand beside him on stage. When some cardinals tried to remove him, the pontiff allowed the child to stay.  The boy even got a little jealous when foreign dignitaries came up to meet the Pope (although, eventually, he took over the job of introducing the people to the Pope.).  Finally, when Pope Francis began to give his speech, he sat the boy down in his own seat, and continued on with the message.

Pope and child 1

The charming sequence is captured in a series of gifs and photographs at Buzzfeed.

The Pope’s New Car is a 29-Year Old Renault

Pope Francis Renault 4

Pope Francis has a new car. Or, rather, a new-to-him car. Renzo Zocca, an Italian parish priest, offered his 1984 Renault with 186,000 miles, to the Pope:

In response, the priest received a papal call on his cell phone at the beginning of August and they spent a half hour talking about the priest’s work. Zocca said the pope had initially been unsure about the gift suggesting that it would be best if he gave it to the poor, but the priest had insisted that his much-loved car had already given much to the poor over the years and he wanted it to go to the pope as a “testimony” of the work he had done in it.

Once Francis had been reassured the priest had another car, the pope flicked through his diary for the perfect day for the car hand-over. […]

Pope Francis has impressed many since his election earlier this year with his humble and direct style. On election he quickly stressed his desire for “a poor church for the poor” and refused many of the trappings that went with being pope, preferring a simpler, less-ostentatious style. He continues to live in the Vatican Santa Marta guest house rather than in the papal apartments and has abandoned the use of limos and motorcades to be closer to the people.

Pope Francis plans to drive the car himself.

Funny stories from around the world

Some more funny and random headlines from around the world: Rowling unmasked as crime novelist:

Norway PM works as secret cab driver: Norway’s PM Jens Stoltenberg spent a day working undercover as a taxi driver in Oslo, he reveals, saying he wanted to hear voters’ real views.

Venezuela gets tough on hair thieves: Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro calls on the police to act against gangs who are stealing women’s hair.

Forty pythons found in Canada motel: Canadian animal welfare officers in Brantford, Ontario, rescue 40 distressed pythons from plastic storage bins in a motel room.

Isolated Peru tribe ‘asks for food’: Members of one of the most isolated tribes on Earth have briefly emerged from the Peruvian jungle to ask for food, activists say.

Wayward China toilet users face fine: Public toilet users in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen are to be fined if they cannot urinate accurately in city facilities.

‘Alien’ gargoyle on ancient abbey: A gargoyle on a historic 13th Century abbey causes a social media sensation with its resemblance to the monster from the Alien films.

Woman settles $105,000 parking fine: A Chicago woman settles $105,000 (£67,540) in parking fines assessed after her car was abandoned at an airport in 2009, local media report.

Widower’s love song makes top 10: A 96-year-old who wrote a touching love song to his late wife enters the top 10 on the US iTunes chart.

Queen’s limousine auctioned for £40k: A car that was once owned and driven by the Queen sells for £40,500 at auction.

Men’s height ‘up 11cm since 1870s’: The average height of European men has risen by almost 11cm since the mid-19th century, experts have found.

NZ man escapes ‘stalking’ crocodile: A New Zealand tourist has returned to safety after being menaced by a large crocodile off Western Australia for two weeks, a report says.

Man buys tweet to complain about BA: A disgruntled customer has used the same social media ad tools as BA to complain about lost luggage.

Bob Geldof set to travel into space: Bob Geldof has announced he will travel into space as a passenger on a commercial flight.

Pope Francis gifted 20-year-old car: An Italian priest gives Pope Francis a 20-year-old white Renault 4 to drive himself around Vatican city.

Bulgarian man swims lake tied in bag: A Bulgarian man has swum more than 2km (1.25 miles) tied up in a bag in a bid to set a Guinness World record, event organisers say.

Pope Calls for Day of Fasting and Prayer for Syria

Pope Francis

On Sunday, Pope Francis announced that the 7th September would be a day of fasting and prayer for Syria, a nation embroiled in a horrific civil war that has left hundreds of thousands dead.  Instead of his typical religious-themed sermon or Bible lesson, during his weekly message the Pope talked almost entirely about the conflict in the country.

Though he said he is praying for a peaceful resolution to the war without further military intervention, the Catholic Church leader spoke out against the recent chemical weapons attack that killed at least 1,400 people outside Damascus:

“With utmost firmness, I condemn the use of chemical weapons. I tell you that those terrible images from recent days are burned into my mind and heart.”

He warned that “violence brings on violence” and told leaders that “There is the judgment of God and also the judgment of history, upon our actions, from which there is no escaping.”