Amb. Zara Juan

Monday, December 16, 2013


Only the Living God or the God of the Living can provide us the ‘Peace within our Soul’. We get this every time we pray diligently and meditatively in silence. Thus, to attain the ‘peace within our soul’, we just need to pray. But if after prayer, we still hold grudges or hatred or jealousy or anger, etc., and then we are not praying to the God of the Living. If our prayers are intended only to acquire money, wealth, position, power and recognition to spice-up our vanity and need for sensual pleasure, maybe unintentionally, we are just praying to the God of Material Things or to the God of the Dead; if this is the case we need to renew our spirit through silent retreats and meditative prayers. The God of the Living speaks in silence and enlightens our mind to make us realize that everything that is given to us is in accordance to God’s will; everything has its purpose in the purification of our soul; that every person we meet physically, virtually or socially is part of our lifetime either to test our virtues or to support us in our faith. Through constant and diligent meditative prayers, we can understand our life and our existence without the need to be cuddled on or consoled upon with material or immaterial things! With our enlightenment, we discern what we really want and we understand that God provides us only of what we can afford to handle as of the moment! Of course, we always have our free will and that we can hold accountable to what we prayed for, but in the end, it is always God’s will that will happen! Whether we like it or not, this is nature, we are God’s creation and everything is pre-designed! We can make trimmings and re-touching to the plan to make it look more palatable to our senses, but still, it is God’s plan that will happen in the end. Why? God knows who we are. God knows our ‘current’ strengths and weaknesses! God knows our heart so well! Today, let’s have a break to pray meditatively. After our prayers, let’s check our feelings and thoughts. How do you feel after your prayer? Are you already at peace? Or are you still lost, angry, jealous, in-secured, bewildered, overwhelmed, etc.? Do you have peaceful thoughts after your prayer? Or do you still have harmful thoughts and negative feelings about people, life and situations? If negative feelings and harmful thoughts still prevails, take a break from your prayer routine and RENEW your faith right away! You should not accept that the negative feelings and harmful thoughts are natural after you already prayed! That should not be! Calmness and Peace should be the output of your diligent and meditative prayers! So check who do you pray to? Why do you still have harmful thoughts and negative feelings when you already prayed? Why do you continue harming yourself and other people when you already prayed?! So, be careful with your faith! Renew, Refresh & Rejuvenate your Faith, go back to the God of the Living! Be careful who do you associate yourself with when it comes to your Faith, if your praying organization isolates or discriminates, this is a subtle form of killing people by killing their character, so be mindful, who do you pray for every time you pray with them; do you pray with the God of the Living or the God of the Dead? Also be mindful if the purpose of the prayer focuses on having wealth or acquiring more money, properties, or praying for popularity, positions and recognitions, be careful who do you pray for as a group, are you spending your donations, resources and time just praying to the God of Material Things? If you are seeking for peace and you want to attain the ‘peace within your soul’, pray only to the Living God! Please note that both the God of the Dead and the God of Material Things cannot provide you the ‘peace within your soul’ because the main purpose of their existence is for you to be always ‘longing and in-need of attention’. The product of the prayers with these kinds of Gods is insecurity. The negative feelings and harmful thoughts are by-product after praying with them in order that the praying individual will be dependent to the praying group who prayed for them, to the extent of giving more donations just to get what they ask for in their prayer. Please remember that Prayers are not for sale and therefore they are not intended to be collected with money or properties just to be answered! Prayer is a personal dialogue with God and it doesn’t matter who the person is! Prayer does not hold any moral requirement to an individual for it to be answered! Morality is cultural and its righteousness depends on where the person lives and interacts socially! Prayer does not discriminate and isolate any individual! Thus, when you feel after praying that you are isolated with your praying group, leave the group and just pray alone in silence directly to your Living God who knows you so well and will teach you how to renew your faith privately without righteous intervention! Waste no time, be enlightened! Your relationship to the Living God is private and personal! Take a break, have some time alone. Pray meditatively and diligently in silence! Stop the longing and need for attention! Pray only to the Living God to take away all your negative feelings and all your harmful thoughts. You are already an adult, be mindful of your faith, know who do pray to. Pray only to the Living God or the God of the Living so you can find and attain your ‘peace within your soul’ freely, promptly & independently!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Lux et Veritas! Light & Truth! Peace is not permanent, we always work hard on it. Conflict is healthy because it defines who we are. What matters is we settle our conflict without losing each other in the process. One way to do it is by achieving Peace through Spiritual Wellness. Pray and Share Your Peace wherever you are @ home, @ school, @ workplace @ 12:00 noon. For a moment of prayer, we are all united Globally as One on Sept 21 UN World Peace Day. Be the Peace Leader, Initiate this Interfaith, Interracial, Intercultural Prayer for Peace @ Your Workplace @ 12:00 noon Sept 21. Hold Someone's Hand, Look them in the Eyes, and Together Say to each Other this Prayer for Peace. Thanks! Peace & Love God bless you! - AmbassadorZara Jane Juan


AmbassadorZara Jane Juan: "Lux et Veritas! Light & Truth! Peace is not permanent, we always work hard on it. Conflict is healthy because it defines who we are. What matters is we settle our conflict without losing each other in the process. One way to do it is by achieving Peace through Spiritual Wellness. Pray and Share Your Peace wherever you a  re @ home, @ school, @ workplace @ 12:00 noon. For a moment of prayer, we are all united Globally as One on Sept 21 UN World Peace Day. Be the Peace Leader, Initiate this Interfaith, Interracial, Intercultural Prayer for Peace @ Your Workplace @ 12:00 noon Sept 21. Hold Someone's Hand, Look them in the Eyes, and Together Say to each Other this Prayer for Peace. Thanks! Peace & Love God bless you! "

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The Vatican - Pope Sends New Year’s Greetings to Jews - Pope Francis wished Jews worldwide a “sweet and peaceful” Rosh Hashana, which is the Jewish New Year, citing “important decisions lying ahead.” The pope also called for “increased dialogue among the world’s religious communities” and pledged to oppose restrictions on religious freedom, according to a statement released by the World Jewish Congress after a private meeting at the Vatican. Ronald S. Lauder, president of the Jewish group, said the pope’s leadership had “given a new momentum to relations with Judaism.” He said of the Roman Catholic Church that the “leadership of successive popes over the past five decades has helped to overcome a lot of prejudice.” At the meeting the pope also said the Vatican would investigate the ban on the religious slaughter of animals in Poland, which has incensed Jews.-

The Vatican - Pope Sends New Year’s Greetings to Jews -

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Hindus thank Julia Roberts for endorsing yoga – Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, appreciated Roberts for prescribing yoga to others. Yoga, referred as “a living fossil”, was a mental and physical discipline for everybody to share and benefit from, whose traces went back to around 2,000 BCE to Indus Valley civilization, Zed pointed out. Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, further said that yoga, although introduced and nourished by Hinduism, was a world heritage and liberation powerhouse to be utilized by all. According to Patanjali who codified it in Yoga Sutra, yoga was a methodical effort to attain perfection, through the control of the different elements of human nature, physical and psychical. According to United States National Institutes of Health, yoga may help one to feel more relaxed, be more flexible, improve posture, breathe deeply, and get rid of stress. About 21 million Americans, including many celebrities, now reportedly practice yoga. Yoga is the repository of something basic in the human soul and psyche, Rajan Zed adds. Julia Fiona Roberts, 45, one of the most successful Hollywood actresses besides a producer and fashion model, has won best actress Oscar for “Erin Brockovich” and earned Oscar nominations for “Pretty Woman” and “Steel Magnolias”. She has a production company called “Red Om Films”, and “Om” in Hinduism is the mystical syllable containing the universe. Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal. There are about three million Hindus in USA. BN Bikya News

Hindus thank Julia Roberts for endorsing yoga – Bikya News: "Hindus have thanked Oscar winner Hollywood star Julia Roberts (Pretty Woman) for patronizing yoga.

Roberts, who reportedly confessed of being a “practicing Hindu” few years back, recently reportedly urged singer Taylor Swift to “try yoga to tone her body, calm her mind and help manage stress”."

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Rabia Gives Muslim World New Hope - “Rabia sign”, made by raising four fingers, has become the symbol of what is perceived by many as “Rabia square massacre”. “Rabia”, meaning four or the fourth in Arabic, has become the sign of anti-coup protests in Egypt. The sit-in started last month when former President Mohamed Morsi was deposed by Defense Minister General Abdul Fatah al-Sisi on Jul 3 after public protests. Rejecting the move as a military coup, protesters camped in two sit-ins in Cairo Rabai and Nahda squares for more than a month and a half. Last August 14, Egyptian security forces cracked down on protesters to end the sit-in, in which hundreds were killed and thousands injured. Just a few hours before the security crackdown, pro-democracy protesters in Egypt tried to voice their demands to the world by raising their four fingers. The sign echoed through the Muslim world as Turkish activists launched a website called "". Later on, a hashtag of ‘Whatisr4bia’ was composed in Twitter which ranked among Trend Topics (TT) in a high increase in Turkey, and then took place among the world lists. It has become a global TT in which users from all parts in the world showed interest from Asia to Europe and from Africa to the USA. Thousands of users notably in Pakistan, Iraq, Egypt, Bosnia Herzegovina, Malaysia and Indonesia, and then in Europe and America shared both written messages and photographs under the hashtag of "Whatisr4bia". On the Facebook, the number of those using "Rabia sign" as a profile picture is reported to be over 100 million. "Rabia sign is spreading in the world and being embraced fastly, as well as being shared in social media by 100 million people," Isbilir said. For him, the spread of the sign showed that the Muslim world has been in process of "rediscovering itself" in the last 20 years. "Extraordinary resistance by Egyptians turned into an unexpected movement with peoples and societies' magnificent awareness and revival," he added.- Global - News -

Rabia Gives Muslim World New Hope - Global - News - "ISTANBUL – Used by tens of millions worldwide, the new four-finger victory sign representing Rabia al Adawiya square, where thousands of Egyptians camped for more than 45 days, has turned into a symbol of hope across the Muslim world.

"Rabia sign could be seen as simple but it is the beginning of Muslim world's saying to whole world: 'From now on I have something to say, as well,” Cihangir Isbilir, General Coordinator of the Union of NGOs of the Islamic World (UNIW), told the World Bulletin on Friday, August 30.

"It means the Muslim world can gain legitimacy, as well as changing its own world,” he added."

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Cafés bring Buddhism to Japan’s urban dwellers -The Koyasan Café set up shop on the seventh floor of the posh Shin-Marunouchi Building in front of Tokyo Station, but this is not the first time the sect is doing this. This current effort is actually the the café’s eighth summer in Tokyo. As an old and traditional belief system like Buddhism struggles to be relevant in a modern society, the time that visitors spend in the shop becomes a foundation for Tokyo urbanites’ reconnection with the religion. At the café, visitors can eat food cooked by chefs according to Buddhist vegetarian rules. They can also listen to chanting, talk with the monks, and manually practice hand writing Buddhist scripts. Kunihiko Yabu, a monk and the public-relations director of Koyasan says that women have been the top visitors to the café in the past few years, “mainly ladies in their 20s and 30s,” Yabu added. Hironobu Watanabe, business planning director of Nankai’s Tokyo branch, said the cafe has attracted between 7,000 and 8,000 people during each of the past two summers. Trend watchers in Japan have seen a general increase in the popularity of Buddhism — particularly with young women — and attribute it to the recent trendiness of traditional, Japanese culture. But Yabu said he doesn’t really care what the women’s motivations are for coming to the café – what is important is that these visitors are getting exposed to Buddhism. The Japan Daily Press

Cafés bring Buddhism to Japan’s urban dwellers - The Japan Daily Press: "“In Japan, Buddhism is generally associated with funerals and memorial services,” Yabu explained. “But its teachings are actually for the living, not for the dead,” he reasons, saying that “it’s about how we live our lives fully.” Yabu said that if this café works towards that goal, then he will be happy with it. And the Shingon sect is not alone in this strategy, as many of Japan’s monks are also reaching out to urbanites in alternative ways as well. More and more Buddhist monks have opened cafés and bars in recent years, as these groups continue to look for venues to interact with potential practitioners.

[via Wall Street Journal]


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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Episcopal priest embraces Catholicism as Vatican establishes “superdioceses” for Anglican congregations. Pope Benedict XVI established special “ordinariates” — basically superdioceses — especially for Anglican priests and congregations. The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, which spans the United States and Canada, was created last year. It includes more than 30 congregations, including Liias’s St. Gregory the Great, which held its first Mass in April. “They are on a pilgrimage together, as opposed to an individual journey,” said the Rev. R. Scott Hurd, the ordinariate’s vicar general. It is a tiny movement so far, with fewer than 2,000 people spread across a vast continent, an infinitesimal proportion of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics. In many respects, the ordinariate resembles the Eastern Catholic Churches that returned to Rome from the Eastern Orthodox Church and have been allowed to preserve their own worship traditions and structure. Hurd said the Vatican created the ordinariate primarily to “promote Christian unity” by bringing Anglicans back into the fold of Catholicism. - Metro - The Boston Globe

Episcopal priest embraces Catholicism as Vatican establishes “superdioceses” for Anglican congregations - Metro - The Boston Globe: "Pope John Paul II extended to Anglicans, including married priests, the opportunity to become Catholic in 1980. During the next 30 years, 100 or so Anglican priests entered the Catholic Church and were incorporated into local dioceses."

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“Not many of my Muslim brothers and sisters know that there were Jews in Bosnia who sheltered Muslims during the Balkans conflict,” said Lamees Hafeez, a Muslim MJC participant from the United Kingdom. “We aim to tackle Islamophobia and anti-Semitism both within and outside our communities, and to build a mutual understanding by dispelling myths and stereotypes.” Though not focused on Israel, Sichrovsky and MJC are deeply informed by the Middle East as “the place where Muslims and Jews interact the most on a daily basis,” he said. Sichrovsky has visited Israel many times, where he enjoys the Tel Aviv beach as much as a day trip to Ramallah. - Rapid worldwide growth for Jewish-Muslim alliance | The Times of Israel

Rapid worldwide growth for Jewish-Muslim alliance | The Times of Israel: "As an adolescent in Vienna, Sichrovsky was active in the Zionist youth movement Hashomer Hatzair (The Young Guard). In his Jewish-Muslim work, Sichrovsky steers clear of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and its well-known ability to polarize individuals at the expense of potential cooperation.

Sichrovsky’s father – Peter Sichrovsky – is one of Austria’s best-known Jews. A former scientist, journalist and politician, he faced years of censure for aligning himself with Austria’s far-right Freedom Party. For his son Ilja, Sichrovsky’s controversial legacy has both “helped and not helped,” depending on the interlocutor.

Fiercely independent, the younger Sichrovsky is reluctant to “sell out” for the sake of MJC’s financial security or alliances with powerful benefactors." CLICK LINK TO READ FULL ARTICLE

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Lumbini: Birthplace of Buddha. The plain of Terai, a poor agricultural land crossed by holy rivers, straddles the border between Nepal and India. Its sweltering summers see temperatures climb above 100 degrees, but this parched terrain might be on the verge of tumultuous changes. On the Nepali side is the small city of Lumbini, which, after long neglect, is now at the center of great power politics. This is where the Lord Buddha was born, about 2,500 years ago, under a bodhi tree at the bend of a small creek. His mother, a Hindu princess called Maya, was traveling to her parental home in Kapilavastu when her labor started, and all her entourage could do was stop and arrange a place for her to give birth under the tree, near a pool of water. Lumbini, sometimes called "the Buddhist Mecca," has been described as a potential gold mine for Nepal, and many have been lamenting that its impressive tourist potential should be so underdeveloped, with just a small white temple sitting on the holy grounds. Those who come, though, appreciate the calm of the place, and sit cross-legged in meditation, or murmur sacred scriptures in small groups. Monks and nuns from all over the Buddhist world tour the temple, which shelters a series of carved stones that depict the holy birth, and just sit on the grass outside, in contemplation.

China Banks on Buddhism | Ilaria Maria Sala - "The idea of developing Lumbini has long been toyed with by various organizations, from the World Federation of Buddhists to the United Nations, not forgetting numerous Nepali agencies that have looked at the birthplace of the Buddha as a possible resource. The U.N. got its eyes on Lumbini early on, under the presidency of U Thant, himself a Buddhist, who visited in 1967. Three years later, the U.N. International Committee for the Development of Lumbini (now the U.N. Lumbini Development Trust) was established, with the approval of the Hindu King Mahendra, traditionally regarded as a descendant of Hindu gods."

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Encyclopedia of Hinduism unveiled in US. The comprehensive encyclopedia has 11-volume work and it covers Hindu spiritual beliefs, practices and philosophy, and is the culmination of a 25-year academic effort. The encyclopedia is written in English and includes about 7,000 articles on Hinduism and its practices. The work also deals with Indian history, languages, art, music, dance, architecture, medicine, and women's issues. It contains more than 1,000 illustrations and photographs. The encyclopedia's volumes run from 600 to more than 700 pages. Some 3,000 copies are being printed in first edition. Hinduism is the world's third-largest religion, with 1 billion followers, according to a Pew Research Center study. Christians number 2.2 billion and Muslims 1.6 billion.

25 years in making, Encyclopedia of Hinduism unveiled in US - The Economic Times: "COLUMBIA (SOUTH CAROLINA: A 25-year quest by nearly 1,000 scholars to document and present one of the world's oldest living traditions came to fruition when the 'Encyclopedia of Hinduism' was unveiled here today.

Hundreds of scholars, dignitaries, students, Hindu leaders and the public converged on the University of Southern California campus to witness the release of much anticipated and definitive 11-volume guide conceived, compiled and produced by the India Heritage Research Foundation. "


Monday, August 19, 2013

Vatican reform aims for a Church that serves the world. A world Church needs a world perspective and Pope Francis knows it, Cardinal Oswald Gracias told The Catholic Register on a visit to Toronto Aug. 9. Gracias is one of eight cardinals chosen to advise Pope Francis on reforming the Vatican administration. Representing each continent, the special commission includes only one Italian and no true Vatican insiders. The commission will meet with Francis the first three days of October, but the cardinals have already been talking to each other informally and are planning to meet as a group before their deliberations with the Pope, Gracias said. Each of the eight have met individually with Pope Francis to discuss the commission’s mandate, and Pope Francis has urged the commission to reread Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Evangelii nuntiandi and reflect on the new evangelization. “There’s got to be some reflection on this whole topic of the Vatican, how to make it more effective, to make it of more assistance to the Holy Father and to make it of more assistance to the Church. That’s really the way I would see it,” said the Indian cardinal, who is archbishop of Bombay, India, (though the city has changed its name to Mumbai, the archdiocese still prefers Bombay) and a canon lawyer.

Vatican reform aims for a Church that serves the world: "“We were speaking of Italian predominance and that has been one of the criticisms,” Gracias said. “The Church is a universal Church.”
A Vatican bureaucracy which more closely resembles the Church it serves doesn’t mean a kind of political balancing act requiring just the right numbers of Germans, Brazilians, Chinese and Nigerians.
“I’m not overly sensitive or overly concerned about national representation,” Gracias said. “The Church has got to remain above nationalities and narrow parochialism. It’s got to have a world view.”
In the cardinal’s view, the Vatican won’t acquire a world view through osmosis from its selection of foreigners to work in Rome or by stumbling upon a perfect administrative structure. Gracias believes the Church is evolving back into a more synodal form of government that marked the first 1,300 years of Church history and the continuing tradition of the Orthodox Church. But reform will also require a renewed sense of purpose." CLICK LINK TO READ FULL ARTICLE

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Muslim lead Interfaith in Hollywood: Algerian Abdul Wahab bin Youcef has gained more fame as a muezzin in a mosque in Los Angeles than as an actor who performs Muslim roles in the American movies. Some reports say that many of the city’s Muslims come to the mosque only to hear his voice because it is so distinctive and special. Bin Youcef, who is known by the name Ben Youcef, hopes to become one of the symbols of Arab actors in Hollywood. Some media reports describe Abdul Wahab bin Youcef as a symbol of tolerance in America, especially after performing prayers at an interfaith event. Bin Youcef said that his activity in the interfaith event is influential to the people in the U.S. “regardless of whether one is a Muslim, a Christian, a Jew, a Buddhist or without religion.” He told Alhurra TV that such work “will remain in my memory even 50 years from now, for I was able to reach people of different beliefs.”

Actor gains fame leading prayers at Hollywood mosque | "Bin Youcef began his acting career after the September 11 attacks, participating in a number of commercials before joining the American Artists talent agency.

At that time, bin Youcef’s appearance made him appealing to a number of American directors, especially for roles related to Islam, religious extremism and other topics related to the September 11 attacks.

The head of the Artists Group, Robert Malcolm was the first to notice bin Youcef’s unique features, which suddenly became sought after in American cinema."

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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Raksha Bandhan: All Hindus to celebrate together in Peshawar this year. PESHAWAR: Hindus from around Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) will converge in Peshawar to celebrate Raksha Bandhan at Kalibari temple. Talking to The Express Tribune, All Pakistan Hindu Rights Movement Chairman Haroon Sarab Dayal said after a long time the community’s elders have decided to make Raksha Bandhan a grand event. The day will be marked on August 21 this year. “We collectively celebrate the Raskha Bandhan festival in Peshawar and this year, the elders have decided to celebrate with Hindus from around the province at Kalibari temple. It will be a grand event for everybody,” he said, adding the celebrations will last 15 days. Hindus from Nowshera, Mardan and other parts of the province are expected to come to Peshawar to participate in the celebrations, informed Dayal. Raksha Bandhan is a centuries-old festival of Hinduism in which sisters tie ‘rakhi’- a sacred thread to their brothers. The festival is meant to celebrate the bond between siblings but is not restricted to sibling as women can tie a rakhi to any man who is like a brother to her. The festival is also observed by Jains and Sikhs. Published in The Express Tribune

Raksha Bandhan: All Hindus to celebrate together in Peshawar this year – The Express Tribune:

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Leave ’Em Laughing, and Enlightened: "Now I travel the Buddhist circuit, offering to teach the standard silent retreats and daylong workshops, but also offering a comic “performance” to begin or end the meditation practices. I often start my performance/lecture by telling the students, “Be here now.” Then a pause. “Whoops, you missed it! But don’t worry, the here and now will come around again soon. So stay alert.” Recently, I have started performing in legitimate theaters, helping to bolster my income. But a friend said that because I still teach Buddhism through my comedy act, maybe I shouldn’t charge people for the show. “Remember dana,” my friend told me. But I don’t take that caution seriously. The Buddha’s teaching may be too precious to be bought and sold, but if you can make people laugh while contemplating our common suffering, you deserve to be paid for it."

Leave ’Em Laughing, and Enlightened - "It occurred to me that I was able to make my students laugh — a lot. Buddhism is mostly about exploring and accepting the human condition, and my teaching usually came with a few jokes about our common predicament. Over the years, I have composed some little routines that I called “misguided meditations” — Buddhist shtick based on the tradition’s profound wisdom but more directly geared toward humor." CLICK LINK TO READ FULL ARTICLE
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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Pope Francis cheered fellow Argentine Lionel Messi and other soccer stars Tuesday as he led a morality-focused pep rally of sorts at the Vatican for Argentina and Italy's national teams ahead of their eagerly awaited friendly match. Francis, the first pontiff from Latin America, is an avid soccer fan who roots for the Saints of San Lorenzo back in Buenos Aires. Since his election as pope in March he has accumulated a growing collection of soccer jerseys tossed to him by fans at his public appearances. He got two more on Tuesday: an Argentine and an Italian team jersey, each one signed by the players. Barcelona star Messi, his teammates on the Argentine national soccer squad, as well as Italy's national team players were treated to a private audience with Francis in the Apostolic Palace ahead of Wednesday's rare match, which is being played in tribute to the new pope.

VATICAN CITY: Soccer-loving pope cheers Messi, other players - Sports Breaking News - "The pope also asked the players to pray for him, "so that I, on the 'field' upon which God placed me, can play an honest and courageous game for the good of us all."

Such a plea made quite an impression on Italy's captain, goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, who handed Francis an autographed soccer ball.

"He's warmed up the hearts again of all the faithful who might have drifted away" from the church during past papacies, Buffon said. With "a pope who's like this, it's easier to become better."

Messi said there were so many people at the gathering that he didn't get any private time to talk with the pope, who vigorously shook hands with each player. But the Argentine striker, whose left leg muscle strain could force him to sit out Wednesday's match, seemed to take the pope's message about role models to heart.

"The best way to respond" to Francis' appeal is "to put on a clean show tomorrow, on the field and in the stands," he said." CLICK LINK TO READ MORE:
Read more here:
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Overwhelming percentages of Muslims in many countries want Islamic law (sharia) to be the official law of the land, according to a worldwide survey by the Pew Research Center. But many supporters of sharia say it should apply only to their country’s Muslim population. Moreover, Muslims are not equally comfortable with all aspects of sharia: While most favor using religious law in family and property disputes, fewer support the application of severe punishments – such as whippings or cutting off hands – in criminal cases. The survey also shows that Muslims differ widely in how they interpret certain aspects of sharia, including whether divorce and family planning are morally acceptable.

The World’s Muslims: Religion, Politics and Society | Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project: "

The survey involved a total of more than 38,000 face-to-face interviews in 80-plus languages. It covered Muslims in 39 countries, which are divided into six regions in this report – Southern and Eastern Europe (Russia and the Balkans), Central Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, and sub-Saharan Africa." CLICK LINK TO READ COMPLETE ARTICLE

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BUDDHISM: When Somdej Phra Buddhajarn (Kiaw Upaseno), the country's second most powerful Buddhist figure after the Supreme Patriarch, passed away over the weekend, the spotlight fell not only on who would succeed

Buddhism's 'lords' must be challenged | Bangkok Post: opinion: "His appointment as acting supreme patriarch during the Thaksin Shinawatra administration put him in a difficult position. The yellow-shirt movement accused him of siding with Thaksin and the red shirts, as well as the powerful Dhammakaya temple and its controversial leader whose teachings were ruled as a distortion of Buddhism by the Supreme Patriarch." CLICK LINK TO READ FULL ARTICLE
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HINDUISM: Hindus have applauded Crescent Valley High School (CVHS) in Corvallis (Oregon, USA) for offering yoga, and have urged all schools in Oregon to do the same for their pupils. According to reports, a week-long yoga summer camp is currently being held in the school and a yoga class will be offered after the school opens on September four. Calling it a “step in the right direction”, distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, suggested all schools of Oregon to incorporate yoga in the lives of the students, making it part of the curriculum. Yoga, referred as “a living fossil”, was a mental and physical discipline, for everybody to share and benefit from, whose traces went back to around 2,000 BCE to Indus Valley civilization, Zed pointed out. Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, further said that yoga, although introduced and nourished by Hinduism, was a world heritage and liberation powerhouse to be utilized by all. According to Patanjali who codified it in Yoga Sutra, yoga was a methodical effort to attain perfection, through the control of the different elements of human nature, physical and psychical.

Hindus Laud Crescent Valley High School For Offering Yoga‏: "Rajan Zed notes that besides other benefits, yoga might also help deal with the obesity crisis faced by the country. According to United States National Institutes of Health, yoga may help one to feel more relaxed, be more flexible, improve posture, breathe deeply, and get rid of stress. About 21 million Americans, including many celebrities, now reportedly practice yoga. Yoga is the repository of something basic in the human soul and psyche, Zed adds. Cherie Stroud is the Principal of CVHS, whose Vision Statement includes “nurture students to grow as responsible citizens”. CVHS is in Corvallis School District, where students are “encouraged to prepare themselves to make a difference”. Dr. Erin Prince is the Superintendent of the District, which has about 6,300 students who represent over 47 nationalities."
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Sunday, August 11, 2013

What Buddhism Says About Success | Lewis Richmond : Living life as a sincere human being is a definition of success that sidesteps the details of how you make a living, how much money or property you own, or how much power or influence you have. As a sincere human being, what matters is whether you are you someone who contributes to suffering, or who is dedicated to easing suffering. To be the latter is to follow the Bodhisattva vow. This vow directs spiritual energy away from one's own needs and toward the needs of others. When the Dalai Lama exhorts us to live our life as a sincere human being, he is asking us to follow the Bodhisattva vow. That is his Buddhist definition of success.

What Buddhism Says About Success | Lewis Richmond: "Thus the deeper purpose of Buddhism is not to reject worldly aspiration per se, but to recognize that the mission of addressing human suffering can be accomplished in a variety of ways. The Dalai Lama once remarked that the monastic life is suitable for the rare few¬--actually he said "one in a million." The rest of us, he advised, should concentrate on living as "sincere human beings"--a Buddhist description of success that I find unaccountably touching." CLICK LINK TO READ MORE

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Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr worldwide | Islam | World Bulletin : Muslims across the world began to celebrate the holiday of eid al-Fitr on Thursday, beginning the day with morning prayers after one month of fasting. eid al-Fitr is an Islamic holiday which follows the holy month of Ramadan, during which Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. Worshippers attended the morning eid prayers at mosques worldwide. Around two million Muslims performed their eid prayer at Masjid al-Haram in the sacred city of Mecca on the first day of eid al-Fitr marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan. Amid strict security measures, King Abdollah of Saudi Arabia along with several high ranking Saudi officials were present at the eid prayer at Masjid al-Haram, the largest mosque in the world surrounding one of Islam's holiest places, the Kaaba.

Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr worldwide | Islam | World Bulletin: "As of midnight, Muslims rushed to the masjid, filling up all the four stories of the Masjid al-Haram around al Kaaba before the morning prayer.
The entry to the masjid was blocked at morning prayer time.
Muslims had a hard time performing the circumambulation of the holy Kaaba beacuse of the squash of Muslim preachers.
Meanwhile, the new bridge built to prevent the jam in the circumambulation area of Kaaba where 7 thousand people would have the chance to circumambulate eased the prayer and other religious duties of Muslims on the first day of eid al-Fitr."

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Hinduism in the Public Square. This work of creating an inclusive public square where diverse religious voices enjoy equal rights and opportunities cannot be left only in the hands of the state and secular agencies. Religious rights and freedoms in the civic sphere are best guaranteed when the religious traditions sharing this space promote and articulate a theological perspective that fosters mutual respect and a value for religious diversity. The civic guarantee of religious freedom becomes more profound and meaningful when complemented and enriched by a theological affirmation of this diversity and a support for dialogical engagement among religions in the public sphere. The theological approach, while not necessarily conflicting with the legal, enables us to go beyond the legal and pragmatic and to affirm a value for religious diversity and interreligious dialogue that is rooted in the core teachings of our traditions. A civic affirmation of diversity that is not complemented by theological ones causes resentment and anxiety in the public square.

Hinduism in the Public Square | Anantanand Rambachan: "The first theological insight is the affirmation of the equal worth and dignity of each person in the public square. This dignity and value proceeds from the vision that every human being embodies equally and identically the divine spirit. An institution or religious leader does not mediate this divine reality and it is not circumscribed by religious identity, ethnicity or nationality. It follows naturally from the fact of the unlimited nature of the divine. In the public square, this requires a reverential respect for and attentiveness to every participant. Such mutual respect in the public square is quite different from anything that can be enforced or commanded legally. It is offered spontaneously from the heart that is awakened to seeing God in all." CLICK LINK TO READ MORE

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BBC News - Pope Francis tightens Vatican bank controls.The Pope has stepped up the fight against corruption at the Vatican by strengthening supervision of financial transactions at its internal bank. Pope Francis issued a decree designed to combat money-laundering and prevent any financing of terrorism. It is the latest move to stamp out abuses at the Vatican bank, which handles funds for the Catholic Church. The Pope recently set up a commission to investigate the bank and report back to him personally. Last month the Vatican froze the account of a senior cleric, Monsignor Nunzio Scarano, suspected of involvement in money-laundering. He and two others were arrested by Italian police in June on suspicion of trying to move 20m euros ($26m; £17m) illegally. Pope Francis's number one priority this summer is to sort out the financial mess at the Vatican bank and a parent body which looks after the financial assets of the Holy See, the BBC's David Willey reports from Rome.

BBC News - Pope Francis tightens Vatican bank controls: "Bank review
The new decree is intended to tackle "money-laundering, the financing of terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction", the Vatican said. It sets up a financial security committee to coordinate the anti-corruption effort. Church spokesman Federico Lombardi said the decree would help the Vatican resist "increasingly insidious" forms of international financial crime." CLICK LINK TO READ MORE

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Monday, July 8, 2013

Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas is the new head of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). The 53-year-old prelate was elected at the 107th Plenary Assembly of the CBCP being held at the Pope Pius XII Catholic Center in Paco, Manila. Villegas is currently serving his first term as CBCP vice president together with CBCP president Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma.

Villegas elected CBCP president - Yahoo! News Philippines: "Villegas is a known protégé and confidante of the late Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin, having served as Cardinal Sin's private secretary and spokesperson for nearly two decades.
The president and the vice-president are elected for two-year terms and can serve for a minimum of two terms. By tradition, they are reelected for their second and last term.
In CBCP history also, members of the permanent council enjoy two terms in office, with the vice president normally succeeding the president when his term expires." CLICK LINK TO READ MORE

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As practiced over 1,000 years ago, Muslims in the Philippines will scan the sky today just minutes before the setting of the sun to look for the new crescent moon that ushers in the holy month of Ramadan. The National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) said yesterday it will deploy for the task its National Moon-sighting Committee (NMSC) nationwide.

Start of Ramadan hinges on moon sighting today - Yahoo! News Philippines: "Ustadhz Esmail Ebrahim, NCMF commissioner and NMSC chairman, said the commission will also coordinate with the Islamic Houses of Opinion (Darul Iftah) in Mindanao on the moon-sighting's results.''We will then be able to say by Monday night, based on the 'fatwa' (opinion or ruling) of the 'ulama' (religious leaders), on when is the first day of Ramadan,'' said Ebrahim.Sighting the new moon, he said, takes place just minutes before sunset." CLICK LINK TO READ MORE

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Peace Vigil 2013: Prayer connects the gap between human force and spiritual force. How does it work? When there is total black-out, and the area is lighted, a force of light illuminates the horizon. The cross is a force of light that illuminates when it breaks the surface of the horizon. This force of light will pull us near to it. What leads one to the cross is the natural force of gravity. The resistance to the cross depends on the amount of weight vis-à-vis the force of gravity. The heavier the weight, the harder it is to be pulled by the cross; but the lighter the weight, the easier it is for the gravity to be pulled by the cross. We are heavy when we carry a lot of emotional baggage of hatred, anger and resentment. When we are heavy with these, it is hard for us to be pulled by the cross because we are sad, depressed, gloomy and miserable. When we heal our self from all these emotional baggage and attachments, we become light, hence, the force of gravity becomes easier. When we are light, we become cheerful, lighthearted, optimistic and happy!

When we are all light, we can all be united to the cross in two ways, horizontally and vertically. Horizontally through human force by providing the basic human needs of food, shelter and clothing and understanding the more complex human needs of sex, money and power. And, when we are light, we can also be united vertically through the spiritual force of providing the basic vision of faith, hope and love and itemize it through values formation, brotherhood/sisterhood and strengthening of the sacraments of our religion Sometimes human force can dominate the spiritual force or the other way around, what keeps the balance and connects the gap between spiritual force and human force is PRAYER.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Peace Vigil 2013: Peace is not limited to seeking justice but rather peace is clearing the way to allow God to hand-over justice. Peace is achievable by the self within to connect this self to God. While justice is achievable by God and connects it to us through man (people) . In order for it to work is to take the road of prayer because that is the road where we see God and where God speaks to us. Prayer is not a shortcut but a process that we go through. We do not wait for the process to end but we allow ourselves to go through the process of Prayer. What keeps us going is our Faith...

Our faith is strengthened as our angels gives us "signs" that our connection or prayer is getting clearer, the signal is getting better. We do not wait for justice to come, we pray that justice will be given by God in due time, in God's time. When we practice our Prayer everyday, there will be no room for us to prolong our anger, neither do we have the conviction to hate, we just let God be God! We will never get lonely, never get frustrated, never get anxious, but we remain calm and peaceful in God's hands. We accept that God is working within us and around us, healing our karma for us to achieve our peace within.

Peace Vigil 2013: Break the destructions to your time of Prayer by setting your phone to alarm on the ffg hours: 3am; 6am; 9am; 12nn; 3pm; 6pm; 9pm; 12mn. You can also play a bell/gong to signify the time of prayer and do not forget to pray a general prayer to cover all faith and practice interfaith relationships inorder to actively work for peace.

Do this part of the Wellness Program in the government offices and private companies, etc as part of wellness in governance and administration - balancing the time of the day with God and man by alloting a specific time of the day at work with few minutes of prayer in-between. Interfaith prayers is a sign of respect and is a gateway for all of us to work for peace.

Monday, April 29, 2013


Lord, let the power of Your light transcend to our work, our home, our family and friends. Let Your glimpses of light shower us with words to enlighten another person's dark road to life. Let the shadows of black over white light inspires us that nothing is perfect in this world, but rather we can make the heaven with the way we deal with it. Let the power of your light remind us of Your faithfulness to us. Let Your light guide us to remain "still" in prayers because Your sunrise will illuminate us as You take away our fears, You cleanse our soul and You invigorate our body! As your light moves in nature within us, let Your presence relax us, free us and keep us safe and alive! Our Lord, our light, our life, and our savior, we thank you for saving us. In the midst of chaos around us, we take this moment of silence to thank You in our prayers. Thank you for giving us our life and thank you for letting us be reborn again today and everyday in the goodness of Your presence! We love you Lord, our God, our all. Amen! ‪#‎sailingforpeaceworldwidepeacevigilforworldpeace‬ ‪#‎prayersforpeace‬ ‪#‎climatechangeandwellnessforpeace‬ ‪#‎prayforpeaceinnepal‬ ‪#‎prayforpeaceinbangladesh‬ ‪#‎prayforpeaceinindia‬ ‪#‎prayforworldpeace‬ ‪#‎havefaithprayforpeace‬

Sunday, February 10, 2013

(Reuters) - The head of Lebanon's Maronite Catholic church, Patriarch Beshara al-Rai, prayed in an old Damascus church on Saturday for an end to Syria's civil war.

Rai, whose church has 900,000 members in Lebanon, a quarter of the country's population, is on the first visit to Syria by a Maronite Patriarch since the independence of neighboring Lebanon in 1943. His visit comes at a time when Christians in the region feel under threat from the rise of political Islam. Few Christians have supported the revolt against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, fearful for their future if the country's majority Sunni Muslims choose an Islamist leadership to replace decades of ruthless but secular Assad family rule. "(I pray) that the consciences of local, regional and international leaders are inspired to put an immediate end to the war in dear Syria ... and bring peace through dialogue," he told dozens of worshippers inside the church. Inspired by protests in some Arab countries which toppled leaders of Egypt, Tunisia and Libya, many Syrians took to the streets in 2011 calling for more freedoms. But the peaceful protests turned into war. Lebanon's Maronite leaders have had tense relations with Syria and led calls for an end to its military presence in Lebanon in 2005. But since the civil war flared, Christians have been uneasy about supporting rebels against Assad's secular Baathists who ensured freedom of belief for minority faiths. Rai himself has criticized the Arab Spring and said that violence and bloodshed is turning it into winter. He has always been careful not to be seen supporting either side in the Syrian conflict but has adopted a position close to Assad's by saying reforms should not be imposed from outside. "GOD PROTECT YOU" Clashes between government forces and rebels continued on Sunday across Syria, including in the provinces of Aleppo and Idlib and on the edge of Damascus, close to the heart of the capital, where fighting has raged for four days. Rai, 72, said he was saddened to see people fleeing the capital as his convoy was driving into Damascus. Walking towards the altar to say mass, he blessed visibly emotional worshippers with a cross and repeatedly told them: "God protect you, God be with you." Divisions in the opposition and among the international powers over Syria have deprived Syria's rebels of desperately needed arms to confront Assad's heavily armed forces. Minority groups fear an Islamist takeover and many Christians, Shi'ites and Kurds are reluctant to support an armed revolt that included several Sunni extremist rebel units. Across the Arab world, Christians feel like a species facing extinction, threatened by Islamists who now hold power in Egypt and Tunisia. Christians make up about 5 percent of the Middle Eastern population, down from 20 percent a century ago. (Editing by Stephen Powell)

Monday, January 28, 2013

"By issuing a call to deep friendship, God invites us into a knowledge of the heart. It is the heart that bridges the gap and forms the bonds of friendship between God and ourselves"

It takes a mediator to settle conflict within ourself, and when we continously harness the skills of communicating with our Divine Creator through Meditative Prayer, we will be more ready to settle conflicts to people outside our self. Establishing this deep conncetion is deep friendship. When we reach this stage, we no longer fear God and we respect Him as our friend. Our relationship will become more lighter because we are comfortable with our friend. We become more secured because we know our friend is always there with us. This whole process is a language of the heart, and when we learn this language, we are less anxious with life. We do not have hidden agenda because we are free to be ourselves to our friend. We treat everyone with respect and we have concerns for their well-being. As we develop this deep friendship, we flourish our relationships, especially, to our partners, our wife or husband, our children, our parents, our mates, our co-workers, etc.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Be obedient by all means to avoid greater damage later on. We are bounded by laws, rules, regulations and commandments meant not to please people in authority but were put in place to protect us from danger. The concept of religion with its corresponding mandated lifestyles made it easier for human civilization to be more organize because not all can survive with free mind, some needs to be lead by visionaries to know their purpose in life. Be a free thinker and be happy even without a religion, but if we decide to have a religion, be faithful also to the teachings of the chosen religion...

To talk about faith can be one way, only to God, directly without intervention - private and personal. But, we cannot deny the fact that religions influence the way we see God, the way a righteous living should be, etc. With various religions, contradictions exists causing disharmony to some communities. Don't let the concept of right and wrong harass us and keep us from exploring our free mind. For as long as we are responsible adults who knows that hurting another soul takes sensitivity to the person's right of human dignity, and we take extra precautions not to hurt and respect all, then we can be confident that we know what we are doing. Now, if one decided to have a religion, it is expected that this person will also remain faithful to the teachings of his/her chosen religion. For they are not only believers of God, but believers of their chosen religion. Faithfulness does matter whatever we do and wherever we go, and whoever we are with - a crucial virtue that we can always carry to help us develop the "sincere friendship" with our fellow beings in the human community.

God moves in mysterious ways. If we are in doubt, trust and we will be guided. If we are scared, pray and we will be comforted. If we are irritated , meditate and we can manage our stress and balance everything that comes our way everyday...

God is within us... all of us... with nature... around everywhere... all we need is to connect and everything will fall into its proper places at the right time, maybe not in the time we want to, but in time, in God's time. We do not wait but we trust. We do not suffer but we enjoy everything that we have, be it big or small, everything is God's grace!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Let life flows and go where nature brings it. Just maintain praying to our Divine Creator to give us guidelines on how we can live-by with the nature's current. Prayer teaches us on how we can flow with nature. Don't go out of the current or you'll lose the course of nature, instead let.s pray to survive the current...

If we are in need of something, let us not punish ourselves thinking on how we can get it. Pray on how we can get it! This deep form of contemplation gives us answers to our questions which our minds cannot answer right away. Our mind is created by our Divine Creator and He knows the extent of its capacity. So why do we need to be too hard on ourselves when we are at the end of the line, when we are on the verge of losing our focus, when we are under extreme stress, when we are confuse, but just to take a moment of silence and Pray. Prayer is a tool for survival for this precious moment of deep connection we are given the chance to organize our thoughts and collect ourself to continue our journey to the road of life that we choose to live by. God is our personal guide and no humans can compare to the enlightenment that God gives to us everytime we pray.

Let the spirit of the Lord be with you, body and soul. This pure spirit gives us the shining light radiating from within and shining through outside our body. If we already have this shining light, people will be drawn to us...

It's like a magnet wherein people would like to be with us, stare at us and sometimes fixated at us. Most of the time, we don't know that this light already radiates in our body. This light is very pure, very white and very peaceful. If we already have this, let's keep it by not letting ourselves be polluted with negative thoughts. We know that every person on earth has a problem struggling to resolve on their own. Let's help them by not contributing to their misery. Purity of our spirit requires discipline and conviction to always work for the beauty of life. We have faith that love changes everything and we have the conviction to practice it without reservation. When we love, we do not care who they are, what they do and where they came from, we just love. We do not put standards in loving, but we let love embrace us together. This purity of thoughts in our action is the pure light that clear the pathways of darkness wherever we are and whoever is with us. We guide, we heal, and we make everyone happy.

Work On

Do not stop your mission. Survive the demands and overcome conflicts that goes along with it. Count what you have done at the end of the day and by the next day you know what to do next. Life is a series of unending work. How we wish we can rest and enjoy some few minutes with no obligations, no deadlines, no worries. But, that is the spice of life! Just stay connected to our Divine Creator and we will not feel lost. Everything will be fine because God made everything as His perfect plan to each one of us. Our daily devotion to God through Prayer and constant dialogue will ease our doubts to enlighten us on why we are currently in situations where we are right now. Continue the meditative prayer because our personal and private meeting with Him before we work, while we work and after we work will ease our burdens and make our workloads easy day by day, everyday!

Be the Peace Leader

Be the Peace Leader
Pray for Peace by Amb Zara Jane Juan

Come & Join Inter-Faith Prayers & Inter-Cultural Dialogue for Peace

Come! Share your Peace! - Ambassador Zara Jane Juan, Sailing for Peace

2012 Video International Day of Peace Vigil by Sailing for Peace

Sailing for Peace Worldwide Peace Vigil

Sailing for Peace Worldwide Peace Vigil
Prayer Vigil for Vatican as Pope expresses sorrow over terrorist attacks and prayed that God will sustain all men of goodwill who courageously roll up their sleeves to deal with the plague of terrorism and this bloodstain which is gripping the world in a shadow of fear and bewilderment

Amb. Zara Jane Juan, Peace Ambassador

Amb. Zara Jane Juan, Peace Ambassador
I choose to be a Missionary of the Interfaith, Interracial, Intercultural Sailing for Peace Program inspired and guided by the discipline and life of the Virgin Mary of the Catholic Church. I am a Catholic, a Lady Datin of the Muslims, a Buddhist in my Healthy Lifestyle and a Hindu in Purifying my Soul. With Free Thinking and Scientific Approach to my Peace Work, my life on the over-all is a whirlwind of Faith and Fate. I refuse donations to my peace work to prevent corruption but rather I decided to live a very simple so that I can fund it personally through my own personal income as Professional Resource Speaker, Author, Visual Artist, Playwright and Director

JESUS CHRIST - 7 LAST WORDS - Lenten Recollection for Christians