New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - March 13, 2011, New Braunfels, Texas
Sunday, March 13,2011 — Herald-Zeitung — Page 9APope John Paul II gets his own Facehook page
VATICAN CITY (AP) - The Vatican will unveil the latest installment in its social media transformation next week — a Face-book page dedicated to the upcoming beatification of Pope John Paul II, officials said.
The site, which will link to video highlights of John Paul’s 27-year papacy, is designed to promote the May 1 beatification. But it may well continue beyond given the global and enduring interest in the late pontiff, Vatican officials told The Associated Press.
The Vatican’s first attempt at an
event-themed Facebook page — to promote Pope Benedict XVI’s September trip to the United Kingdom — is still active six months later and updated near-daily with 10,GOO-15,000 regular fans checking in, said Monsignor Paul Tighe, the No. 2 in the Vatican’s social communications office.
“What we found is that Facebook doesn’t just share information, it creates community,” Tighe said in an interview Friday. “People begin talking to each other and sharing ideas."
That interactivity—and the potential it brings to the church’s evangelization mission — is behind the Vatican’s new social media push, the culmination of which will be
launched at Easter with a new Vatican information web portal whose contents are specifically designed to be tweeted, posted and blogged.
The portal will serve as a one-stop-shop aggregator of news from the Vatican’s various information sources: Vatican Radio, Vatican Television, the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, the Holy See’s press office and Fides, the Vatican’s missionary news agency, Tighe said.
The Vatican’s current website — www.vatican.va — will remain since that’s more of a stable site with basic information about the Holy See, key Vatican documents and offices, and papal activities.
The new site, rolled out first in Eng
lish and Italian and then other languages, will be more news-based, bringing together onto one page the current disorganized web presence of Vatican media.
Designed thematically, with each format's take on, say, the Japan earthquake or the Libyan uprising posted together, it will be multimedia focused but specifically designed for social media use, so people can tweet, post and blog its contents onto their own friends and fans, Tighe said.
“For us it will be a beginning of drawing on the riches of what we have, of our existing communications apparatus, and integrating that to ensure that its formally working
with new media,” he said.
The Vatican’s communications and public relations woes are well known: muddled papal messages, flat-footed responses to crises like the sex abuse scandal and a certain lack of Internet savvy that allowed, to cite one egregious case, for the pope to lift the excommunication of a Holocaust-denying bishop. (Benedict now says he never would have rehabilitated the bishop had he known his views about Jews, which were widely available with a Google search.)
That said, the Holy See has improved getting its message out online, with a dedicated YouTube channel and T\vitter accounts, and its increasing presence on Facebook.
John Paul II
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DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — Finishing law school is a challenge for Dewnya Bakri-Bazzi, but being an American and a Muslim can be downright exhausting.
As she crammed before class this week, Bakri-Bazzi caught up on testimony from a congressional hearing on the radicalization of U.S. Muslims. She contends Rep. Peter King, the New York Republican who called it, is ignoring the positive steps Muslims have taken in fighting terrorism since the Sept. 11,2001, attacks.
Bakri-Bazzi, president of the Muslim Legal Society at Thomas M. Cooley Law School’s Detroit area campus, says she fears Thursday’s hearing will only spark backlash against innocent members of her community just going about their lives.
“When people look at me walking down the street, they’ll feel like I’m an al-Qai-da radicalist,” said Bakri-Bazzi, who lives in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn, home to one of the nation's largest populations of Arabs
As the profile of American Muslims has been heightened by the 9/11 attacks and subsequent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, many Muslims say they too have been inspired to protect their communities against terrorism.
They are becoming more active in civic and political causes and more regularly reach out to law enforcement officials.
“No community is working
more diligently than the Muslim community,” said Sally Howell, an associate professor at University of Michigan-Dearborn and author of several books and essays on Arabs and Muslims in Detroit.
“Really, there is nobody in our society that is more concerned about this than the Muslim community. There have been instances of this coming from their community and they don’t want it to happen.”
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The Messiah in the beginning
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Post 9/11: Muslims say they find defending themselves exhausting
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By Judith Koch
For the Herald-Zeitung
On the Road to Emmaus, Jesus told “the things concerning himself” “beginning at Moses" (Luke 24:27). Moses wrote the first five books of the Old Testament. So open your Bibles to Genesis 1:1 and look for the Messiah.
There it is — do you see it? Jesus is all over the very first word in the Bible. Of course, it isn’t so easy to see in our English translations, so let’s look at the word as the original Hebrew readers did.
Hebrew is a much more detailed language than English. Every single letter has a meaning. You can look at the various letters that make up a word, and the meaning of each individual letter will tell you more about that word.
The word translated “in the beginning" is the Hebrew word pronounced
“berasheet,” spelled in Hebrew bet, resh, aleph, shin, yod, tav. (That corresponds to the English b, r, a, s, y, t.) We’ll look at each letter individually.
The first letter is bet, which means house. But you’ll find something interesting in the way the scribes write the first bet—they write it much larger than the other letters. Now to an English reader, that might just appear to be the way the letter is capitalized, just as we capitalize the first letter of a sentence. But to a Hebrew reader, that tells them that the meaning of the letter should be magnified.
The letter bet means house, so to magnify it, we would say it is the house of God. The letter bet at the beginning of a word means “in.” Here the bet is attached to the word “resheet” which means first, beginning or first born. So the word picture is “the firstborn in the house of God.” Maybe you’re already seeing a hint of the Messiah, but keep reading, as we've barely scratched the surface. It has been said Hebrew scholars can spend their entire life studying just this first word of Scripture.
The second letter is resh, which means head. The letters bet and resh spell the Hebrew word that translates into English as “son.” Here is a second indication in this word pointing to a son, and that he will be at the head of the house.
The next letter is aleph, and it means ox, strength or leader. These first three letters — bet, resh, and aleph — spell the Hebrew word for “created,” which is the second word in the Hebrew Scriptures. So now, in the first three letters of Scripture, added to “house of God” and “son,” we see the act of creation.
The next letter in the word beresheet is shin, which means destroy or consume. It also is used to signify the El Shaddai name of God, translated into English as God Almighty. The letter shin appears on the mezuzah that is often placed at the doorway of Hebrews, and shows that the household is observant to the Almighty God and El Shaddai is welcomed in that home.
The third and fourth letters in the word beresheet form the Hebrew word spelled aleph shin, which is the word for fire, heat or wrath, such as a consuming fire. The last two letters in beresheet are
yod, which means hand, and tav, which means sign or cross. Of course, we know whose hands were nailed to the cross.
Jesus told his disciples he was the alpha and omega, which are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. Considering that he was Hebrew, as were his disciples, it is more likely that he spoke to them in Hebrew, telling them that he was the aleph and tav, the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
Aleph means strength, and tav means cross, so together they mean “the strength of the cross.”
Putting all of this together, the first word of Scripture can be expounded upon to mean something to the effect of “The firstborn son is going to build (create) the house of God. He will be the head of the house, a consuming fire, the almighty God, with God, whose hands are on the cross, who is the strength of the cross.”
If you ever have an opportunity to try to share Jesus as the Messiah to a Jewish believer, perhaps starting with the very first word in the Torah is the best place to begin.
To contact Judith Koch, or to read her prior columns, visit www.nailedtocross.com
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