Page 2, 26th June 1964

26th June 1964
Page 2
Page 2, 26th June 1964 — ROME LETTER
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Locations: Bombay, Natal, ROME

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ROME LETTER

WI-. hear a good deal these days, thanks in part to Belgian Cardinal Suenen's notable hook, about "nuns in the world" and the increasing part they can play in life outside their own strictly Ordered environment.

What the Vatican newspaper Osservatore Romano describes as a "courageous experiment" involving four nuns of the Brazilian Order of the Missionaries of the Crucified Jesus is taking place in an agricultural village called Nisia Floresta, in the Brazilian interior.

The parish hits no resident priest. so the Apostolic Administrator of Natal, Mgr. Eugenio de Araujo, has entrusted it to the nuns. They cannot. of course, say Mass or but they can run the general parish affairs. "I hey also hold two daily services of prayer in the parish church. teach the catechism, say prayers for the dying, and administer baptism in emergencies.

The priest in charge of the parish lives in Natal and is No busy with other work that he can visit Nisia Floresta only once a week, when he attends to those Sacramental and other requirements outside the nuns' competence.

The Mother Superior ill Nisia Floresta has the title of Parochial Vicar. with all the powers laid down for that title under Canon Law.

Renovation • OSSERVATORE ROMANO says that the experiment, and a similar one in Taipu, are actually part of a far wider initiative—the so-called "Natal Movement". which calls for "integral Christian renovation both in the religious and social fields."

The success already showing in Nisia Floresta has been due not only to the devoted and imaginative nuns. but to the ready collaboration of thz faithful, which has provided a practical demonstratioe of just what the lay apostolate can achieve.

Parts of the Nisia 1:11TeNte experiment are not new in themselves. Nuns and also lay. women have run parish offices in the past. and in mission countries it is normal for nuns to lead common prayer. and teach the catechism, R (imam) stresses, Is The spirit inspiring work. the high level of the technical training of the missionaries, and their ability to co-ordinate their religious work with the ecenomy of the district in which they serve.

Also new is the greater value given by diocesan authorities II) mins, without in any way underplaying the importance of the presence. whenever possible. and the direct apostolatei of the priest.

Hunger IN ROME, I have recently come across another significant development of the nun's part in world affairs— this time in helping to solve what Pope Paul has described as "the most obvious and compelling of the world's problems"—hunger.

At the United Nations. Foo..I I FAO) headquarters in Rome, fields are being trained as efficient collaborators with government and other specia. lised officials in the agricultural and nutritional spheres. Courses of lectures are given on home economics and related subjects so that. once in the mission fields. the nuns will combine with their normail religious duties the passing rn of what they have learned in the Rome seminars to local girls and women who. ill turn, will he able to improve their own home and family life in their fast developing countriee The work in Rome is under the general supervision of Mgr. Luigi G. Ligutti, the Holy See's Permanent Observer at FAO, who is also international affairs director for the National Catholic Rural 1.ife Conference in America, So well did the nuns respond and the training work grow that a year or two ago. Mgr. Ligutti appointed a liaison officer with the Sisters. who today co-ordinates all women's efforts connected with the Holy See's work at FAO.

Dutchwoman sHi: is a Dutchwoman. IS Maria J. A. Groothuizen. well-known in Europe. America and elsewhere as an outstanding member of the Grail, the international lay movement for women.

It was founded in the Nletherlands. where Miss Groothuizen Was its president before she came to Rome. specifically to help Mgr, Ligutti. in 1961. Another active helper is Miss FEA:Istt,ilio,Hu.,itegsluondryi,ceFrAO's Home In underdeveloped countries. male missionaries have, of course, always done their part in teaching locals new agricultural and nutritional methods and generally persuading them how to take care of their own bodily needs.

Now the priests and brothers, augmented by well trained and enthusiastic Mills. will really go to war against hurige; and famine, and those disastrous contrihutory factors, ignorance an. inefficiency.

Fourth session ALIHOUGH the next session of the Ecumenical Council does not Open until September 14. there is already a good deal of spirited speculation in those famous "Vatican circlesabout just how work it St ill complete—and how long it will be before a fourth session is called.

Undoubtedly, there )011 he a fourth session {even. for that nuttier a fifth). The general impression among those who should know is that there will he a long recession between this coming third and the fourth session.

"Undoubtedly we will not get anywhere near finalising everything during the SeptemberNovember session,' an expert told me. "My pick is that we will be sent away with enough 'homework' to keep us occupied for a year or so before we assemble again in R ome."

Bombay visit ANOTHER big guessing game surrounds the prospect of Pople Paul going to Bombay for the Eucharistic Congress, opening on November 28.

A lot of people have been arguing that if the Pope intended to go himself, there would be no point in his sending Cardinal Agagianian, as Papal Legate. to represent him. This, of course. doesn't stand up. Cardinal Gracias of Bombay. as reported in last week's CAIHOLR HERALD, has made it plain tha' "it is more than possible. and well-nigh probable". that the Pope will go, but only for, say; one day. This would still leave the hulk of the many Congress ceremonies to be attended by Cardinal Agagianian who, incidentally. told me recently with what profound pleasure he was looking forward to going to Bombay.




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