Robert Mickens

Robert Mickens is a Rome-based journalist that has been reporting and commenting on the Vatican and the Catholic Church the past three decades. He is currently editor of Global Pulse, an online magazine launched in late 2014 by the Union of Catholic Asian News (UCAN) in collaboration with the French daily, La Croix, and the US bi-weekly, Commonweal.

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Short(ish) bio for Mary McAleese

Mary McAleese was President of Ireland from 1997 until 2011. She was the first President to come from Northern Ireland. Born in Belfast  in 1951, the eldest of nine children she grew up in Ardoyne, a sectarian flashpoint area of the city and experienced first-hand the violence of The Troubles.
The theme of her presidency was Building Bridges and  her work for peace and reconciliation culminated in the historic state visit to Ireland by H.M. Queen Elizabeth II in May 2011.
A barrister and journalist by training she was Reid Professor of Criminal Law, Criminology and Penology at Trinity College Dublin, Director of the Institute of Professional Legal Studies and first female pro-Vice Chancellor at the Queen’s University of Belfast. She also worked as a journalist in Irish radio and television.

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Anna Maria Vitagliani: Spiritual accompanying in the existential frontiers

Abstract: Spiritual accompanying in the existential frontiers.  It’s a training course over three week ends, sponsored by the Jesuits, for people who want to provide spiritual accompanying to people who are currently experiencing a situation of “spiritual frontier”; they want to promote an encounter between them and God with a view to an integration into the Christian community.
The horizon is spiritual, not only pastoral, we want to promote an evangelical view on frontier’s situations that call into question but actually want to be open to a meeting with the “Other”, different from me, but rich in her/his experience and her/his personal background to be heard and welcome… Therefore we are talking about “frontiers” that has to be lived in.
Consequently, this meetings intend to create places of welcoming and mutual and spiritual listening, a lab to develop walks of faith able to motivate life, to fell and enjoy the love of the Good Father, and to find the dimension of the ecclesial life again.

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Rungrote Tangsurakit: Leave No One Behind: Inclusive Engagement for Total Human Development

Abstract:  Asia is rich in ethnicities, cultures and beliefs. It is the cradle of world great religions.  As such, it is the land of diversity. It is also the land with an urgent challenge of HIV and AIDS, as it is the second in HIV prevalence after Sub-Sahara.
Local Catholic organisations including religious groups and lay groups are responding to this challenge by working with all affected people, regardless of their beliefs, cultures, ethnicities or gender orientation.
Asian Interfaith Network on AIDS (AINA) has been set up to link and mobilise faith leaders and communities already engaged in this ministry through sharing and dialogue among themselves and with affected population. Local Catholic groups play a significant role in this ministry by leaving no one behind in the total human development with full respect of their human dignity as the image of God.

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Terry Charlton SJ: Accompanying Vocations and Beyond

Abstract: Being LGBT in Africa can be really scary. Too many African presidents have said, “Someone can’t be homosexual and African.” Taboos and stigmatization are so rampant. My accompanying persons who are LGBT began when I was Jesuit vocation director; I somehow communicated that it is OK to be have same sex attractions or to be gay so I began hearing from this or that young man as he discovers himself to be gay and tries to figure out what to do with it.
Of course, some join religious life; others move forward in other walks of life. Most are amazingly successful; but they carry so much pain at thinking they have to hide and that Church and Society would reject them if they were known to be LGBT.
Most are alienated from the Church. As the Church reflects about family at the upcoming Synod, the Church in Africa needs help to make a start at providing a space where LGBT persons can receive understanding pastoral care and where families with members who are LGBT can learn how to receive them with love. In my presentation, using African cultural perspectives, I want to propose how we in Africa can become more open, welcoming and affirming.

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