The Jesuit Institute South Africa and Radio Veritas are proud to be partnering in bringing Rome-based Vatican/Catholic Church journalist Robert Mickens to South Africa in March 2017.
Mickens is currently editor of La Croix International, an online English version of the eminent French Catholic daily La Croix. He was founding editor of Global Pulse Magazine, launched in 2014 by the Union of Catholic Asian News (UCAN) in collaboration with La Croix and Commonweal. He writes the popular “Letter from Rome” each week, which he produced for over a decade as Rome correspondent for the international Catholic paper, The Tablet. He also worked eleven years (1989-2000) at Vatican Radio as a journalist, producer and on-air presenter. And he has long been a Vatican-affairs analyst for the BBC in the United Kingdom, ABC in Australia and National Public Radio (NPR) in the United States, as well as an occasional columnist for National Catholic Reporter. Born in Toledo, Ohio in 1964, he has lived in Rome since 1986. He studied philosophy at the Benedictine-run St Meinrad College in Indiana and theology at the Jesuit-run Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.
The world has usurped Christmas and it is become a time of merrymaking, eating, drinking and giftgiving. A time of spending thousands of Rands. Unfortunately what is central to Christmas is often overlooked. It is Jesus Christ who is the reason for Christmas. And once again we need to put Christ back into Christmas.
As the year draws to a close it is important for us to welcome Christ into our lives during this Christmas season. God didn’t have to reach out to us but he did in the person of a humble child in Bethlehem. In Jesus God our Father says “I know you have deserted me but I still love you and want to be part of your flesh and blood” and so in Jesus we see the incarnation of God’s incredible gratuitous love, mercy and forgiveness as He comes to be born into our world and become part of our human nature.
Christmas is a time for us to welcome Christ into our lives to say thank you to the Lord for making his home amongst us. It is important to notice that he was born in simplicity and poverty and it was shepherds who welcomed him. Yes, the Magi came too and they came in humility recognising the graciousness of God in their midst.
I pray that Christmas will be a time of real joy and happiness and peace in the world which is shot through with war, hatred, corruption and every other kind of evil. The world actually needs the intervention of God to touch our lives and encourage us to become more human.
Thank you for the confidence you have placed in us at Radio Veritas. Thank you for your prayers and your great generosity. We wish you a very happy and holy Christmas and pray that just as God has touched us in and through Jesus, you too may touch the poor and the lonely and marginalised with your love friendship and generosity. May you be blessed at this Christmas time and we wish you all the best for 2017.
Fr Emil Blaser
On Friday evening, 2 December 2016, one of the Radio Veritas technical producers, Alan Kenny Phadi, was hijacked very near his residence in Orlando West, Soweto.
After an evening of prayer at the residence of a friend who had died, Kenny was dropping off a friend at his house. As the friend opened the car door to get out, a man with a gun suddenly appeared. As Kenny looked to see what was happening another man, also with a gun, appeared at his window demanding that the door be opened. At gunpoint he was forced out of the car and forced into the back seat.
The hijackersimmediately sped off, forcing him to look down at his feet as they drove. Soon after they picked up somebody who immediately began to fiddle around with the wires under the dashboard. They kept abusing Kenny, swearing at him. They drove around for about an hour and then arrived on the outskirts of Eldorado Park, where he was thrown out of the car, punched, kicked and hit on the head with a gun. They left him thus traumatised and hurt and sped off into the dark.
Not quite realising where he was, Kenny went to a nearby house and stood at the gate as the home owner approached.
Fearful, this man imagined Kenny to be a hijacker. Kenny assured him, surrounded by big dogs, that he had just been hijacked and sought help.
This kind man invited him inside and called the police who took him to the police station to make a statement after which they took him to his home where his anxious mother was awaiting him. She had already been informed by Kenny’s friend that he had been hijacked.
Fortunately, the injuries to his head were not too serious but he was experiencing a great deal of pain as a result of being buffeted and kicked. The hijackers made off with his car which was equipped with a tracker, but unfortunately the car has not been found. They also took all his money and his cellphone, as well as a brand-new digital recorder which was to be used the following day. A
s can be imagined this tragic event left him seriously traumatised.
Please remember him and his family in your prayers and know how much he would appreciate any help to bring some cheer at this Christmas time.