"The Christianity of history is not Protestantism. If ever there were a safe truth it is this, and Protestantism has ever felt it so; to be deep in history is to cease to be a Protestant." (-John Henry Newman, An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine).

"Where the bishop is, there let the people gather; just as where ever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church". -St. Ignatius of Antioch (ca 110 AD)a martyr later thrown to the lions, wrote to a church in Asia Minor. Antioch was also where the term "Christian" was first used.

“But if I should be delayed, you should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth.” 1 Timothy 3:15

"This is the sole Church of Christ, which in the Creed we profess to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic." -CCC 811

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Jailed Priest in Saudi Arabia asks to Pray for King Abdullah

Another Christian was thrown into prison just becuase he's assisting Catholic Christians to be good to their host country. Fr. George Joshua from India was thrown into prison after celebrating the Holy Mass with Catholics in a private house. Thats' pretty much scary. One needs a strong faith like Father George to handle such unfortunate incidents. With this kind of stories, I remember my own experience in Saudi Arabia. During our prayer meetings, we always pray for our own safety from abusive Muttawas. We never fail to remember in our prayers King Abdullah's health. We also prayed those Muslims who were then in Saudi Arabia for their annual Hajj. We call on God to keep safe of all Christians and non-Christians while they are away from their families. Instead of harm, We pray for everyone's good health regardless of his/her personal beliefs for only God knows our heart. Our God is a God who blesses and forgives those who transgressed. Our God is a God of love and compassion.

Good thing is that imams in Christian Democratic countries don't jail imams just because they're Muslims.

Anyway, here's Fr. George story:

Trivandrum (AsiaNews) "It was a call to share in the suffering of Christ," said Fr George Joshua, 41 as he described the days he spent in a Riyadh prison and his expulsion from Saudi Arabia, guilty only of celebrating mass in a country that bans all religious practices, except for those of Islam.

In an exclusive interview with AsiaNews, Father George, a Catholic Malankar priest, tells the story of his brief odyssey. It all began last week when he travelled to Saudi Arabia with the blessing of his bishop to prepare Easter celebrations for the thousands of Indian Catholics living in the desert kingdom without the benefit of priestly assistance, the Eucharist or catechesis.

On April 5, he was in Riyadh in a private hall with a group of Catholics to celebrate mass. "I started the Eucharist at 8:30 pm for the ill and the suffering," he said. "The Malankar rite is very elaborate and the ceremony lasted till 10:30 pm. I had just removed my vestments when a group of Muttawa (religious police) agents and two regular policemen arrived. The Muttawa agents are dressed in a special way and I first thought they were priests who had come to join us.

"They came after me right away, asking me where I had been, describing my activities, the prayer meetings I held in private homes, etc.," he said.

"They wanted to know what kind of visa I had and I told them a business visa. The Muttawa agents then told me that it was illegal to engage in Christian activities without a special visa for clergymen. And I told them that I was a priest and that Jesus Christ was my business and so a visa business was appropriate."

Please read Fr. George's story here and continue pray for all Christians celebrating Christ's Passover underground.

In other related stories:
After Imprisoned, Indian Missionary prays for King Abdullah
After jail, Christians pray for Saudi king Abdallah

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