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Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Holy Father’s September Prayer Intentions

Holy Father’s September Prayer Intentions - with reflections from the Apostleship of Prayer.
General Intention

Knowledge of God’s Word. That the Word of God may be better known, accepted, and lived as the source of freedom and joy.

B.I.B.L.E, says one popular song awhile back, stands for Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. True enough. The Bible is a manual for living in peace, freedom, and joy, both here and hereafter. It’s the Word of God and contains everything essential for our good.

Pope Benedict XVI in his September prayer intention reminds us of the power of knowing, accepting, and living God’s Word. We pray that people everywhere may deepen their personal experience with the Scriptures.

Historically, the Jews are known as The People of the Book because they believe their Bible, our Old Testament, was inspired by God. To the Old Testament, Christians add the New Testament, both together comprising the inspired Word of God.

The Church gave us the Bible and teaches us from it at every Mass, yet Catholics are not known as the People of the Book. Why not? The answer is actually in the Bible. St. Paul called the Church the “pillar and foundation of truth” (I Timothy 3:15). The Church itself rests on the foundation of Jesus Christ, who promised the Holy Spirit to lead the Church into all truth. Thus inspired by the Holy Spirit, Scripture must also be interpreted by the Church which in turn is guided by the Holy Spirit.

The Church’s authority over the Scriptures does not mean that we should be afraid to read the Bible, as many Catholics are. The Bible is a living book that can speak to our hearts and help us in our daily struggles. Reading it stirs up faith, hope, and love. It gives us insights. It inspires us to pray. It helps us draw close to God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In close friendship with God, we are able to obey his commandments and do his will. If we are reading Scripture on a regular basis, we appreciate anew how Jesus asked us to live, loving one another, and we discover new ways to do that. As we live in the Word of God, we find supernatural peace, incredible freedom from fear, and unspeakable joy in being a child of God. Let’s pray together that many will come to know, accept, and live God’s Word.

Reflection

How will you find regular opportunities to read the Word of God?

Scripture

James 1:22-25 — Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves.

Mission Intention

Christians in Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar. That by trusting the Holy Spirit, Christians in Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar may, amid great difficulties, courageously proclaim the Gospel to their brothers and sisters.

Christians make up a tiny percentage of the population of Indochina, where people are predominantly Buddhists. Laotian Christians number about 100,000 Christians out of 7,000,000; Cambodian Christians number about 20,000 out of 14,000,000; and Myanmar (formerly Burma) Christians number about 1,720,000 out of 45,000,000.

Not only are Christians in the minority, they are often persecuted in this part of the world. In some places, Catholics are allowed to worship, but Protestants are not.

European missionaries (mostly French) evangelized Vietnam in recent centuries, and Vietnamese missionaries evangelized Laos and Cambodia, where tribalism made missionary work extremely dangerous.

Another difficulty in the region is recovery from the Vietnam War and the subsequent Vietnamese occupation of Cambodia, when all religions were suppressed.

Pope Benedict met with the bishops of Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar last year, in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis that had destroyed so much of Myanmar. The Holy Father praised the bishops for their “solidarity with the poor and needy.”

The Pope also commended the growth of Catholicism in all three countries, evidenced in part by the rising numbers of vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life. He observed as well that the laity in Myanmar have founded “many new catechetical and spiritual initiatives, often involving great numbers of young

Faced with both great difficulty and great opportunity, Southeast Asian Christians need our prayers. The Holy Father directs us to pray that Christians there may trust the Holy Spirit to help them to proclaim the Gospel to their brothers and sisters. If the Holy Spirit is with them, their work will bear fruit, whatever the difficulties.

Reflection

How would your faith be different if you found yourself among a Christian minority of less than 1 percent?

Scripture

Acts 4:31 — As they prayed, the place where they were gathered shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.

Prayer of the Month

Lord, inspire us to read your Scriptures and to meditate upon them day and night. We beg you to give us real understanding of what we need, that we in turn may put its precepts into practice. Yet we know that understanding and good intentions are worthless, unless rooted in your graceful love. So we ask that the words of Scriptures may also be not just signs on a page, but channels of grace into our hearts. — A Prayer from the Early Church Father Origen Adamantius (185-254)
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The Challenge of Extracting Oil from Cambodia

SUSIE GHARIB: China is the world's second largest oil consumer and until the recession hit, its appetite for fuel was driving economies around the globe, including Cambodia. As Rian Maelzer reports, the global slowdown has raised doubts about Cambodia's plans to tap recent finds of oil and gas.

RIAN MAELZER, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: strong demand from the U.S. and EU had been keeping Cambodia's sewing machines working at full tilt. But in the past year, garment exports to those markets have slumped, costing thousands of workers their jobs. Arjun Goswami of the Asian Development Bank says it's a huge blow for a country that still relies on foreign aid for close to half the government's budget.

ARJUN GOSWAMI, COUNTRY DIRECTOR, ASIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK: This is an open economy, it's a small economy and it's not very diversified, so there have been serious impacts.

MAELZER: With tourism also hit hard, Cambodia had hoped it would start to see revenues this year from the country's first ever oil and gas finds. The waters off Cambodia's coast are estimated to contain about two billion barrels of oil -- small by global standards, but significant for one of the world's least developed countries. Subbu Bettadapura of consultancy Frost and Sullivan warns that extracting Cambodia's reserves will be challenging.

SUBBU BETTADAPURA, ENERGY ANALYST, FROST AND SULLIVAN: They are not in a big reservoir where you can go in and tap them. They are in various pools, so there is a technical challenge for the oil companies to go in and try to monetize these reserves.

MAELZER: Chevron has been the most active company in exploring Cambodia's oil potential. Chevron isn't saying how much oil it thinks might be in its offshore block or when it might start commercial operations. A company spokesman said Chevron still has to hammer out legal and financial frameworks with the Cambodian government and those are serious shortcomings cited by multilateral agencies and aide donors working in what is one of the most corrupt countries in Asia. Eleanor Nichol of the watchdog group Global Witness has studied Cambodia's nascent energy and mineral sectors.

ELEANOR NICHOL, RESEARCHER, GLOBAL WITNESS: What you have is two sectors operating in what is effectively a regulatory vacuum with no public or parliamentary oversight. Also, what we've seen happen previously in the forestry sector is that money generated from logging and extraction of that resource never reached the state coffers and we want to try and avoid is a duplication of the same patterns occurring in the oil and mineral sectors.

MAELZER: Commerce Minister Cham Prasidh rejects those concerns.

CHAM PRASIDH, CAMBODIAN MINISTER OF COMMERCE: We are not going to use this money to pump corruption or to encourage corruption, but the money properly managed, properly monitored and properly spent in the right places.

MAELZER: Cambodia is still hoping the oil will start flowing by 2012. Analyst Bettadapura says the timing could end up being a blessing.

BETTADAPURA: If they wait for a little while longer until oil prices pick up, then they are going to get much higher returns and you need to consider the fact that the lifespan of this field is only 10 years.

MAELZER: The government estimates it should reap at least half a billion dollars a year from oil and gas, a huge boost to its revenues, which barely topped $1 billion last year. Rian Maelzer, Cambodia.
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WB eyes on agriculture sector in Cambodia

PHNOM PENH, A senior World Bank official who had paid a visit to Cambodia early this week said that the world is now looking into agriculture which is one of the important sectors in the country, officials at Ministry of Economy and Finance said Friday.

During a meeting early this week, Jim Hagan, executive director at the World Bank, representing a constituency of 13 countries told Keat Chhon, minister of economy and finance that World Bank's new policy is to focus on agriculture, citing it as a priority demand by the Royal Government of Cambodia, according to the officials.

The officials said, in response, Keat Chhon welcomed World Bank's interest in agriculture by saying that development in agriculture will help reduce the heavy reliance on external factors such as the reliance on investors for garment sectors or foreign tourists.

Garment and tourism have been, for many years, the main earning revenues for Cambodia.

After forming a new government following the 2003 general election, Prime Minister Hun Sen set in his rectangular policy that agriculture is one of the priorities that his government is committed to achieve it.

Some 80 percent of Cambodia's nearly 14 million populations are farmers.

Last year, Cambodia produced 7.15 million tons of rice from a total farming land of 2.25 million hectares.

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