Amb. Zara Juan

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."

'via Blog this'

“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

'via Blog this'

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."

'via Blog this'

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

'via Blog this'

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."

'via Blog this'

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:

'via Blog this'

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
'via Blog this'

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:
'via Blog this'

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

'via Blog this'

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
...   Please credit and share this article with others using this link: View our policies at and © Post Publishing PCL. All rights reserved.
'via Blog this'

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."
'via Blog this'

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

'via Blog this'

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."

'via Blog this'

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

'via Blog this'

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

'via Blog this'

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