AFRICA/DR CONGO - Appointment of auxiliaries of the metropolitan archdiocese of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Fides EN - - mar, 30/06/2020 - 10:50
Vatican City - On 29 June 2020, the Holy Father appointed as auxiliaries of the metropolitan archdiocese of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo:
The Reverend Msgr. Jean-Crispin Kimbeni Ki Kanda, of the clergy of the archdiocese of Kinshasa, currently official of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, and parish administrator of Santa Maria Assunta in Cielo, Borgo Pineto, diocese of Civita Castellana, assigning him the titular see of Dragonara;
The Reverend Vincent Tshomba Shamba Kotsho, of the clergy of Kinshasa, currently parish priest of “Saint Albert le Grand”, diocesan chaplain of Justice and Peace, member of the presbyteral council, assigning him the titular see of Esco;
The Reverend Charles Ndaka Salabisala, of the clergy of Popokabaka, currently rector of the Major Theological Seminary of Kikwit, assigning him the titular see of Liberalia.

The Reverend Msgr. Jean-Crispin Kimbeni Ki Kanda was born in Kinshasa on 22 October 1969. After his primary and secondary school studies, he entered the Saint Jean-Marie Vianney preparatory seminary, completing his studies in philosophy and theology respectively in the Saint-André Kaggwa and Saint Jean XXIII major seminaries. In 2011 he was awarded a master’s degree in bioethics from the Camillianum International Institute, Rome, affiliated to the Pontifical Lateran University, continuing his studies in the same Institute and then obtaining a doctorate in health pastoral theology in 2019.
He was ordained a priest on 30 May 1999 for the metropolitan archdiocese of Kinshasa.
After priestly ordination he first studied for a licentiate in philosophy and a professional teaching qualification at the Catholic University of the Congo ; he then served as formator and lecturer at the Cardinal Malula preparatory seminary ; deputy secretary and chancellor of the archdiocese of Kinshasa; vice-rector of the Notre-Dame de la Paix de Fatima Shrine ; official at the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples and parish administrator of Santa Maria Assunta in Cielo, Borgo Pineto, diocese of Civita Castellana .

The Reverend Vincent Tshomba Shamba Kotsho was born on 22 January 1963 in Kinshasa, and carried out his studies in philosophy at the Saint Kaggwa major seminary and in theology at the Saint Jean XXIII major seminary in Kinshasa. He was ordained a priest on 1 August 1990 for the metropolitan archdiocese of Kinshasa.
Since priestly ordination he has held the following offices: parish vicar of Saint Augustin ; parish vicar of Saint André ; parish priest of Mama wa Bosawa ; parish priest of Saint Frédéric ; parish priest of Saint Marc and parish dean ; parish priest of Saint Augustin and parish dean of Saint Gabriel ; parish priest of Saint Joseph and parish dean ; and parish priest of Saint Albert le Grand, diocesan chaplain of Justice and Peace, and member of the presbyteral council.

The Reverend Charles Ndaka Salabisala was born on 4 January 1973 in Popokabaka. After his primary and secondary school education in Kasongo , he entered the preparatory seminary of Popokabaka . He then studied philosophy in the Saint Augustin seminary in Kalonda, in the diocese of Kenge , and theology in the Saint-Cyprien Mbuka major seminary of Kikwit . He was ordained a priest on 9 September 2001 for the clergy of Popokabaka.
After ordination he held the offices of parish vicar of Saint Joseph in Imbela, Kwango ; parish vicar of Saints Pierre e Paul in Kasongo ; spiritual animator in the preparatory seminary of Popokabaka and at the same time chancellor and secretary to the bishop . From 2010 to 2017 he carried out his higher studies in Spain, where he was awarded a doctorate in dogmatic theology and a master’s degree in psychology at the University of Navarre-Pamplona; during his stay he provided pastoral service in various parishes of the diocese of Calahorra y La Calzada-Logroño. Since 2017 he has served as rector of the major seminary of Kikwit and dean of the faculty of theology of the Catholic University of Grand Bandundu.
Catégories: From the church

ASIA/MYANMAR - Appointment of coadjutor of Taungngnu, Myanmar

Fides EN - - mar, 30/06/2020 - 10:41
Vatican City - On 29 June 2020, the Holy Father appointed as coadjutor bishop of the diocese of Taungngnu, Myanmar, the Reverend John Saw Gawdy, of the clergy of the same diocese, currently lecturer in the Saint John Vianney interdiocesan major seminary in Loikaw.
The Reverend Msgr. John Saw Gawdy was born on 21 October 1955 in the village of Domapholi, in the parish of Leiktho, in Taungngnu. He belongs to the Kayan ethnic group, and the Gheba tribe. He comes from a Catholic family. He carried out his studies in philosophy and theology at the Saint John Vianney major seminary in Yangon. He was awarded a master’s degree in biblical theology from the Pontifical Josephinum College in Yonker, Ohio, United States of America.
He was ordained a priest on 9 April 1983 for the diocese of Taungngnu.
After priestly ordination he held the offices of director of the Centre of Catechists in Leiktho and professor of philosophy at the Saint Joseph Major Seminary in Pyin Oo Lwin ; he then carried out his studies in the United States from 1993 to 1997. He then served as parish priest of the Church of Leiktho ; rector of the Saint Paul minor seminary ; vicar general and parish priest of the Church of Leiktho ; and since 2017, professor in the Saint John Vianney interdiocesan major seminary in Loikaw, and member of the college of consultors, the presbyteral, pastoral and financial boards, and the diocesan tribunal.
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AFRICA/DR CONGO - Resignation of bishop of Popokabaka, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and appointment of successor

Fides EN - - mar, 30/06/2020 - 10:37
Vatican City - On 29 June 2020, the Holy Father has accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Popokabaka, Democratic Republic of the Congo, presented by Bishop Louis Nzala Kianza.
The Pope has appointed as bishop of the same see the Reverend Bernard Marie Fansaka Biniama, of the clergy of Kenge, currently resident formator at the Saint Augustin interdiocesan seminary of philosophy in Kalonda.
The Reverend Bernard Marie Fansaka Biniama was born on 29 June 1959 in Misay, in the province of Bandundu, diocese of Kenge, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
He carried out his secondary studies in the Saint Charles Lwanga minor seminary in Katende. From 1980 to 1983 he attended the faculty of philosophy at the Saint Augustin interdiocesan major seminary in Kalonda and the faculty of theology at the Saint Cyprien interdiocesan major seminary in Kikwit.
He was ordained a priest on 21 February 1988 for the diocese of Kenge. He taught in the minor seminary of Saint Charles Lwanga from 1981 to 1991. He then attended the Faculté Catholique de Kinshasa ; in 1994 he obtained a licentiate in biblical theology.
From 1994 to 1998 he carried out his service as a teacher in the Saint Cyprien minor seminary in Kikwit.
From 1998 to 2001 he obtained a doctorate in biblica theology from the Université Catholique de Yaoundé, Cameroon; and from 2003 to 2016 he was parish priest of Notre Dame du Rosaire, in Bandundu-Ville.
In 2003 he founded the Centre des Etudes Ethnologiques et Sociologiques de Bandundu , in Bandundu-Ville, of which he is still director.
Since 2006 he has served as moderator of the diocesan clergy. In 2008 he became provincial secretary of the Political and Social Commission of the Episcopal Assembly of the Ecclesiastical Province of Kinshasa. Since 2018 he has been resident Formator at the Interdiocesan Philosophy Seminary of Kalonda. He also teaches at St. Cyprien Major Seminary in Kikwit.

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OCEANIA/KIRIBATI AND NAURU - Resignation of bishop of Tarawa and Nauru, Kiribati and Nauru, and appointment of successor

Fides EN - - mar, 30/06/2020 - 10:32
Vatican City - On 29 June 2020, the Holy Father Francis accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Tarawa and Nauru, Kiribati and Nauru, presented by Bishop Paul Eusebius Mea Kaiuea, M.S.C.
At the same time the Pope appointed as bishop of the diocese of Tarawa and Nauru, Kiribati and Nauru, the Reverend Msgr. Koru Tito, of the same clergy, currently vicar general of the same see.
The Reverend Msgr. Koru Tito was born on 30 September 1960 in Tabiteuea, in Kiribati, in the diocese of Tarawa and Nauru. He obtained a diploma in education for the University of the South Pacific in Fiji , and completed his studies in philosophy and theology at the Pacific Regional Seminary of Fiji . For a year he attended Saint Paul’s National Seminary, Kensington, Australia . He holds a doctorate in theology with a specialisation in spirituality from the Pontifical Saint Thomas Aquinas University in Rome.
He was ordained a priest on 20 June 1987 for the diocese of Tarawa and Nauru.
After ordination he held the following offices: parish priest in the Beru, Nikumanu and Onotoa Islands ; assistant in Saint Andrew’s parish in South Clayton, Victoria, Australia ; and parish priest in the Kuria, Aranuka and Abemanna Islands . From 1993 to 200 he carried out his studies for a licentiate and doctorate in theology, with specialisation in spirituality at the Pontifical Saint Thomas Aquinas University, Rome. He then served as lecturer at the Pacific Regional Seminary ; collaborator in the parish cathedral of Tarawa and Nauru , and vicar general of the diocese of Tarawa and Nauru.
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ASIA/INDIA - In Sabha Dinam, Cardinal Alencherry urges Catholics to help strengthen Indian economy

Fides EN - - mar, 30/06/2020 - 10:28
Kochi - "The pandemic experience invites everyone to a lifestyle of simplicity which is an inevitable component in spiritual renewal", writes Cardinal George Alencherry, in a pastoral letter issued ahead of July 3, the feast of St Thomas the Apostle who is believed to have introduced Christianity in India in the first century. The Syro-Malabar Church, larger of the two Catholic Oriental rites in India, observes the feast as the Sabha Dinam .
Syro-Malabar Church head Cardinal George Alencherry has urged his people to engage in efforts to increase efficiency in all fields of production to strengthen the nation’s economy. "To meet the impending threat of food crisis, every inch of cultivable land should be put to use. The clergy also should take part in this initiative. Small scale industries should be strengthened".
As can be seen in the note sent to Fides, the letter discusses the importance of the various activities that Catholics could undertake and changes they should make in their lifestyle to meet the post-Covid era challenges and reminds priests and laity to get rid of attitudes and practices that stand in the way of a fruitful Christian life.
"Public conscience should be sharpened against the rising tendency of exploitation and corruption. There should be efficient and democratic means by which these evils may be eradicated", he says. The Cardinal's pastoral letter is to be read in all parishes under the Church that celebrate Mass on Sundays under the government guidelines.
Due to lockdown, since March 25, to curb the spread of Covid-19, many have lost their jobs, production has been stopped. All this has influenced the Country's economy. In Telangana, in the southern India state, hundreds of teachers have lost their jobs due to the pandemic. This is the case of Satyanarayana, who taught in a local school and now has a daily job. Satyanarayana's situation is that of many such as Zaheer Ahmed Sheik, 40 years old. Sheik worked as a Hindi teacher, but is now forced to load and unload gas cylinders in a warehouse.
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NEWS ANALYSIS - Laudato Sì year, opportunity for pastoral and missionary renewal in Latin America

Fides EN - - sam, 27/06/2020 - 16:32
Mexico City - The special year dedicated to the encyclical "Laudato Sì" will be a fruitful opportunity for pastoral renewal and evangelization in Latin America. Exponents of the Churches who have accepted the initiative promoted by the Dicastery for the Integral Human Development Service as a proposal that can help the Churches in their evangelizing mission in the whole of society are convinced of this.
"The Laudato Sì Year offers formulas, initiatives and ways to achieve the objectives of the encyclical to all ecclesial communities", says, in dialogue with Agenzia Fides, Alirio Cáceres, contact person of "integral ecology" of Caritas Latin American. These parameters, explains the expert, "are focused on integral ecology. They respond to the appeal of the poor and that of the earth". In this context, the Special Year dedicated to Laudato Sì represents a sort of "work plan that Pope Francis offers to all ecclesial organizations to achieve features of the vision of his magisterium".
The Mexican Church echoes the first point of the document "Laudato Sì 2020-2021 - Itinerary for the Church in Mexico", when it speaks of "a year in which we must invest pastoral action in achieving an ecological spirituality that can ensure fundamental and non-formal changes, and it can help us to aim for an integral ecology rather than a green ecology". And David Torres, secretary for the Integral Care of the Creation of the Episcopal Conference of Mexico, notes that in this pronouncement seven lines are launched to work in communion with the dioceses. "We are organizing virtual diocesan meetings - given the pandemic in progress - to seek together the way forward at a pastoral and missionary level" - continues

Link correlati :Read more on Omnis Terra website
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AFRICA/ETHIOPIA - Initiative of a religious order to help families in difficulty due to Covid-19

Fides EN - - sam, 27/06/2020 - 16:24
Addis Ababa - "Since there is lockdown and limited movements, most people are staying at home and are not able to do casual jobs for their economic sustainability. So, we have people coming to our Convent door to ask for food, most of the time. As a community we exhausted what we had and therefore resolved to develop a project to see how we can help", says Sr. Dorothy Odundo,
of the Franciscan Sisters of St. Anna who serve in the parish of Dongora.
"I wrote to Missionszentrale der Franziskaner, a charity association which supports Order of Franciscans’ and through them we have managed to distribute food and soap to over 300 families in need", says the nun who is Coordinator of Dongora Women Promotion Group.
Through the Church elders and parish priest of Dongora Catholic parish Fr. Mulugeta Moges Naramo, the nuns identified the needy irrespective of faith, and they have done the distribution of foodstuffs for a number of days.
Fr. Moges has appreciated the nuns’ initiative saying that the intervention came at the right time and that food is the most important support required during this period of Covid-19 when most families are starving and cannot afford proper meals.
Sister Odundo, who works with over 600 women in the Promotion Group, started the "help" project last year before the pandemic, according to which the families of the parish support each other with what they have.
"The initiative is for neighbor to neighbor. We have always emphasized on helping each other especially the families who at times go without food. "We have always emphasized on helping each other especially the families who at times go without food", says the nun.
As of June 25, , Ethiopia had reported 5,175 Coronavirus cases including 1,544 recoveries and 81 deaths.
The preventive measures adopted by the government to prevent and stop the spread of the infection are however having serious consequences for the population. Confinement at home has seen an increase in domestic violence. Women and girls are victims of violence and rape by violent family members and partners.
Several States in the federation also report cases of early marriage of girls that have occurred since schools have closed.
The Catholic Church has joined the #ZIM ALIIM " initiative, launched by some Ethiopian artists to report violence against girls, through the Office for education and child protection of the Catholic Ethiopian Secretariat, which recently held a meeting on the issue.
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AFRICA/ZAMBIA - The PMS National Director: "Tracing new paths in the wake of the mission"

Fides EN - - sam, 27/06/2020 - 16:10
Lusaka - "Although the emergency of Covid-19 this year prevented us from meeting the Holy Father in person in the annual General Assembly dedicated to the Pontifical Mission Societies, it was equally very emotional and touching to receive his message. We felt his presence and closeness very strongly". This was reported by Father Edwin Mulandu, National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Zambia, in a conversation with Agenzia Fides, commenting on the Message that Pope Francis sent to the PMS on May 21, solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord. Agenzia Fides asked him some questions.

What are the points of the Message that most affected you?
"The Holy Father's message is very elaborate and underlines many points on the fundamental dimensions of our charism as Pontifical Mission Societies, which are Service to the Church and to the Supreme Pontiff; our missionary identity; prayer and charity as a simple method of participation in the mission. In particular, I was very touched when the Pope spoke of preserving and recovering the role of the PMS: even in past years, the Pope repeatedly informed us of the risk of transforming the PMS into a non-governmental organization . This applies in cases where all our efforts are devoted to raising and distributing funds. Sometimes we risk using professional fundraising methods which are used by NGOs and which are not compatible with the PMS charisma. Every kind of work we do must be placed in the hands of the Lord. I also consider very important the fact that the Pope in his message emphasizes the need to pay attention to the basic needs of the communities, while avoiding a culture of well-being, which instead of assisting missionary zeal ends up making hearts lukewarm and nourishing the phenomena of addiction".

How can the Pope's Message help to renew the PMS mission in Zambia?
"It is essential to start other animation and missionary formation programs in favor of the faithful so that they can learn more about the Pontifical Mission Societies. In our context, for example, the PMS are perceived as a "funding agency" by many people, because they are mainly associated with projects. The PMS director is identified more as a "project manager", as a priest in charge of projects. The challenge is therefore to enter more concretely into people's daily lives, to involve parish priests, religious, faithful and lay people in the missionary activities of the PMS. Another crucial point of the mission in Zambia is that represented by poverty. It is necessary to concentrate efforts so that large parishes in large cities can offer greater support for poor parishes in villages, and encourage the spirit of sharing among the faithful: sometimes, there is a tendency to receive without doing anything. This attitude must be avoided. We need to form a mentality that is more projected towards exchange and donation. Prayers for those involved in actual missionary activities should also be encouraged by all the faithful as a way of collaboration and involvement in missionary work".

How do you see the future of the PMS in the Church of your country and universally? In which direction should we proceed?
"When I reflect on the future of the PMS, I consider it important to look at the past and the present. What we need to do is dedicate more resources and time to formation. The charism of the founders of the Pontifical Mission Societies should play a central role in our missionary formation. Prayer and charity should always go together in Missionary Animation. Missionary animation groups and those that promote fundraising should pay close attention to Prayer and Formation. I also think that the Missionary Childhood Society is a source of great hope both for the future in Zambia and in the rest of the world. Their missionary formation is complete. Children are educated both in prayer and in material sacrifice according to the motto "Children helping children", which well summarizes the charism of the Society. We have great hope that these children, after their formation, will become very devoted missionary animators not only of the Holy Childhood Society, but of the entire Pontifical Missionary Society. As Pope Francis wrote in his message quoting St. Ignatius of Loyola, "all we have to do is think of doing our job well, as if everything depended on us, even though we know that everything really depends on God".

Link correlati :Watch the video interview with the PMS National Director in Zambia on Agenzia Fides Youtube channel
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ASIA/TURKEY - The traditional ecumenical celebrations of 29 June at "St. Peter's Grotto" in Antioch will not be held due to Covid-19

Fides EN - - sam, 27/06/2020 - 14:41
Antakya - This year, in the city of Antakya - the ancient Antioch on the Orontes, currently in Turkish territory - baptized Catholics, Orthodox and apostolic Armenians will not be able to live together the intense moments of communion that in the past they used to share on the days of June 28 and 29, on the occasion of the liturgical memory of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul. The center of those shared celebrations had in recent years been the so-called "St. Peter's Grotto" , the ancient rock church on Mount Silpius, which reopened in 2015 after many years of restoration. "But this 2020 - Capuchin father Domenico Bertogli, who carries out his pastoral ministry at the service of the local Catholic community, reports to Fides - also in Antioch we are experiencing this pandemic as a bad dream. On 27 and 28 June, a "curfew" will be imposed for everyone in Turkey, with the exception of students - almost 2 million. And we will not celebrate St. Peter's Day in the famous Grotto dedicated to him. There will only be a mass in the courtyard of the Catholic church in the afternoon, and a Eucharistic celebration in the morning at the Orthodox church. I, with some faithful, will try to go to the Grotto at least for a moment of prayer". In a few words, Father Bertogli's words outline the difficult and tense condition in which the entire population of the Hatay region lives, including Antakia, now in Turkish territory: "In addition to the pandemic - Father Domenico recalls - there are problems in nearby Syria. A local newspaper today points out that in Hatay alone, out of a population of one and a half million inhabitants, there are half a million Syrian refugees. These numbers are enough to make us understand the problems and emergencies that have to be faced. Many try to restart their activities after the lockdown due to the pandemic, and despite the increase in infections in the last few days. There are many people who live only from daily work, there is absolutely no tourism, so it is easy to imagine the difficult situation in which many families find themselves. Let us pray to the Lord, with the intercession of Saints Peter and Paul, that he may have mercy on all of us".
The ancient rock church of St. Peter still retains the physiognomy that the Crusaders gave it, who conquered the ancient Antioch on the Orontes in 1098. But the Byzantines had already transformed the place where the first baptized people met during the periods of persecution into a chapel, in the city where for the first time the disciples of Jesus were called Christians.
The restoration completed in 2015 put an end to the state of abandonment in which St. Peter's Grotto found itself. In past years, Patriarchs and Bishops were often present at the celebrations that took place there on the solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul. Last year the local celebrations for Saints Peter and Paul were also attended by Archbishop Paul Fitzpatrick Russell, Apostolic Nuncio to Turkey, and by Bishop Paolo Bizzeti, Apostolic Vicar of Anatolia.
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ASIA/LEBANON - Ethiopian domestic workers, victims of Covid-19 and the economic crisis

Fides EN - - sam, 27/06/2020 - 12:50
Beirut - They are women who have lost everything: home, work, salary. Not knowing where to go, they camped in front of their consulate in Beirut, Lebanon. Ethiopian domestic workers are victims of the coronavirus and the economic crisis. They arrived in the Country to find a job and now they find themselves with nothing in hand: they were fired, but they cannot go home because the airport in Beirut is closed and the paperwork for the return is long and complex.
There is no protection for these immigrant workers. Most employers employ them through the "kafala" system. The system requires all unskilled laborers to have an in-country sponsor, usually their employer, who is responsible for their visa and legal status. This practice has been criticised by human rights organizations for creating easy opportunities for the exploitation of workers, as many employers take away passports and abuse their workers with little chance of legal repercussions.
The living condition of the 200,000 foreign domestic workers is very difficult. Among them, the rate of suicides, sexual abuse, physical and verbal violence, food deprivation and medical care is very high. Caritas Lebanon and CELIM, a secular Italian NGO of Christian inspiration, have created a path that includes the reception of Ethiopian women in protected refuges and promotes the return and reintegration, through work, in Ethiopia.
«Covid-19 - explains Antonio Buzzelli of CELIM to Fides - has worsened an already delicate situation. The families, caught in the grip of the crisis imposed by the coronavirus and of the economic crisis already under way before the pandemic, have fired many domestic workers. These have found themselves without anything». Thus, many of them have sought refuge in front of the Ethiopian consulate. Addis Ababa diplomats accommodated about eighty of them within the diplomatic office. Caritas Lebanon - concludes Buzzelli - has undertaken to transfer some of them to the shelters it manages. «The time to return home will still be long. Covid-19 has slowed everything down. The airport in Beirut is closed and procedures to return are particularly complex. The assistance of Ethiopian diplomats is important, but we are trying to offer support by welcoming girls to more welcoming places with better services. We are trying to stay by their side and, as soon as possible, we will organize return flights to Ethiopia».
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VATICAN - Assistance thanks to the PMS Fund for the Covid-19 emergency in Chad and Kenya

Fides EN - - sam, 27/06/2020 - 12:35
Vatican City - The diocese of Doba, in Chad, has also seen schools, churches, public places and other gathering centers closed following the provisions issued to contain the Covid-19 pandemic. An important role in keeping the faith and relationships among members of the Catholic community is carried out by the diocesan radio "La Voix du Paisan" which offers religious broadcasts, the prayer of the rosary and the celebration of Mass. It also contributed to raising awareness among the population, especially those in rural areas, largely illiterate and marginalized, on health prevention measures. The management costs of the broadcaster for the diocese are high, especially in this period, since it is also necessary to provide for the support of pastoral workers, staff involved in the educational and health field, as with the closure of places of worship and the suspension of pastoral activities, the resources of the parishes, based solely on the offerings of the faithful, are practically non-existent.
Aid was sent to the diocese of Doba, as well as to many other dioceses of mission territories, from the Emergency Fund established by Pope Francis to the Pontifical Mission Societies to support the churches of the mission countries in the face of the Covid-19 emergency .

In Kenya, many dioceses have been severely affected by the isolation imposed by the authorities to curb the pandemic, and have asked for support from the PMS Fund to respond to the basic needs of families and weaker people, as well as supporting priests and religious who, following the suspension of masses and pastoral activities, have no means of support.
Nairobi, the capital of Kenya and the main center of business and commerce for the entire nation, was particularly affected by the isolation that caused unemployment and anxiety for the future.
The Archdiocese of Nairobi has become a source of hope and a place of refuge for many people, especially for the weakest and for families in difficulty and to the inhabitants of slums.
Despite the good response of Catholics to this emergency, there are still many needs to be answered.
Aid was also sent to the diocese of Nyahururu to purchase basic necessities for needy families. The diocese of Lodwar, which includes an area with a particularly inhospitable climate, had already experienced the flood disasters that had destroyed goods and people, before Covid-19 arrived. Now it needs to be helped to ensure the functioning of diocesan and parish activities, as well as assistance to families in need.
In the diocese of Kitale, where the majority of the population is unemployed and live in a state of poverty, the aid requested will be used to buy food to be distributed to children of poor families, to support educational and catechetical activities, for the supply of water and the purchase of hygiene material. The Bishop of Marsabit, one of the poorest dioceses in the country, also needs to buy goods for catechists and their families, for educational activities and for the diocesan radio program.
Other aid was sent by the PMS Fund to the dioceses of Kisumu for the purchase of food and basic necessities for the poor, to support pastoral activities and for the medical insurance of priests. The Archdiocese of Mombasa will also use aid for poor children and the orphanage, as well as to support priests. The diocese of Homa Bay is in particular difficulty to support the priests, houses of formation and the minor seminary of Rakwaro, as well as to ensure the functioning of the catechetical center and to help religious communities. The Apostolic Vicariate of Isiolo will also use aid from the PMS Emergency Fund to cover current expenses of diocesan institutions and to ensure the livelihood of the clergy and religious.
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ASIA/BANGLADESH - Covid-19: one of the many emergencies that mark the life of Rohingya refugees

Fides EN - - sam, 27/06/2020 - 12:15
Cox's Bazar - “Rohingya people living in Bangladeshi refugee camps are victims of the violent and traumatic uprooting from their homeland in Myanmar; victims of the health emergencies such as dysentery and pox; victims of the repeated climate emergency they face when cyclones batter Bangladesh. And now they are also victims of the global pandemic, which is bearing down on Bangladesh", denounced Inmanuel Chayan Biswas, communications officer for Caritas Bangladesh's Rohingya Response Program based in Cox's Bazar.
As highlighted in the note sent to Agenzia Fides, members of the Rohingya community in the refugee camps of Bangladesh, not only face the challenge of living in overcrowded housing with ten or more people in a room, but are also forced to use toilets and common water systems. They cannot maintain adequate social distances, nor respect hygiene measures that represent effective prevention against the spread of the virus. The tragic pandemic in progress is only one of the numerous emergencies that mark their lives.
"One of the key measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic is social distancing. But if you live in a refugee camp, you don't have the luxury of space to do this", Biswas continues.
The first coronavirus case in the Rohingya community was registered May 14, 2020. As of late June, there were 45 confirmed cases and four deaths. "However, due to lack of expertise in the testing centers, the accuracy of those numbers – stresses Biswas - is unclear. The spread of Covid-19 has also forced the Bangladeshi government to limit the refugees' access to primary health care facilities".
Initially, Rohingya who were critically ill with Covid-19 were referred to Ukhiya General Hospital or Cox's Bazar Medical College. Now it is not possible because these hospitals are facing challenges to provide treatment facilities to the local people.
According to Biswas, overcrowded shelters in the Bangladeshi refugee camp mean proper distancing and overall hygienic measures cannot be maintained "to provide the effective prevention against the spread of the coronavirus". Caritas Bangladesh provided soap and hygiene kits and have installed hand-washing stations in public places and near toilets at the refugee camp. "People know that they need to wash their hands frequently, but a big challenge is the poor water supply and sanitation facilities at the camp", adds Biswas.
Meanwhile, with the onset of monsoon rains, there is a big danger of landslides and floods overwhelming the shelters. Deterioration of camp roads and pathways greatly limit access to services and amplify protection issues with concerns such as physical and sexual abuse.
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AMERICA/UNITED STATES - Message from the Bishops to the police: "If you want peace, work for justice"

Fides EN - - sam, 27/06/2020 - 11:52
Washington - In the wake of the recent deaths of African Americans in police custody and the national discussion on police reform and racial justice, Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development; Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington, chairman of the Committee on Migration; and Bishop Shelton J. Fabre of Houma-Thibodaux, chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism, have sent a letter to all members of the U.S. Congress to offer reflections and principles for police accountability and reform. In their letter, the bishops note that, although law enforcement officers offer "a great and needed service", the "terrible and unjust killing of George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks, and so many more", demonstrates that there must be "better practices for formation and accountability for police, certainly in the use of lethal force, but also in patterns of discrimination and prejudice, so that real accountability can happen before more lives are lost". The bishops make reference to their pastoral letters on criminal justice and racism over the years, commentary from Pope Francis on the death of George Floyd as well as a previous address on the use of force by police, and remarks on the role of police in society from Pope Benedict XVI and Pope St. John Paul II.
"The Bishops write, “We stand in the long tradition—from St. Augustine, to St. Thomas Aquinas, to Dr. Martin Luther King—that claims that the purpose of law and law enforcement is the promotion of justice.” The “only solution to the challenges of this moment,” is to follow the wise counsel of Pope St. Paul VI: 'If you want peace, work for justice'."
Catégories: From the church

AFRICA/KENYA - Bishops: "Let families take care of the emotional education of children"

Fides EN - - ven, 26/06/2020 - 12:54
Nairobi - "Parents have the God-given privilege and obligation to bring forth life and to nurture every life they bring forth, especially in matters of virtues, values, and character-building, including age-appropriate human sexuality education", says the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops in a statement read by Bishop of Nyahururu Rt. Rev. Joseph Mbatia at the Holy Family Minor Basilica on 21st, June 2020, during the Feast of Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Bishop Mbatia who is the Chairman of the Catholic Health Commission said that children are at high risk of domestic violence, alcohol, and substance abuse, defilement and lack of basic needs due to their age-related vulnerabilities during this coronavirus crisis and, therefore, robust and principled family upbringing is one of the ways to curb rising teenage pregnancies.
The Bishop of Nyahururu said that children are at risk of domestic violence from alcohol and drug abuse. "We reiterate our belief that strong family values and personal responsibility on nurturing and safeguarding children, can go a long way towards eradicating or significantly reducing child sexual exploitation and the resultant teenage pregnancies that scatter life-goals of our dear children", said Mgr Mbatia.
Bishop’s reaction follows an intense debate over alarming statistics from a Kenya Health Information System survey indicating a disturbing rise in numbers of teenage girls having conceived during this period of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Catégories: From the church

AFRICA/SOUTH AFRICA - "We must fight sexual violence as we are fighting COVID-19" say the Bishops

Fides EN - - ven, 26/06/2020 - 12:40
Johannesburg - The Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference Justice and Peace Commission said it "strongly and unreservedly condemns the recent surge of gender based violence and femicide that has once again reared its ugly head nationwide since the country entered alert level 3 of COVID-19 lockdown” in a statement sent to Fides. "Justice and Peace" are calling for a process of rethinking the approach to gender-based violence and femicide, drawing parallels from the response to the COVID-19 pandemic that witnessed the involvement of government departments, business sector, civil society and ordinary citizens in their efforts to flatten the infection curve".
The Bishops said if government departments, business sector and civil society could pool their financial resources and, along with ordinary citizens, comply with stringent physical and social distancing measures in the fight against COVID-19, then "we are of the view that it is possible for a similar aggressive and holistic approach to be used in the fight of gender-based violence and femicide".
The Bishops said that the Church must do its part and invited all parishes to preach the clear message that God says "No" to the violence inflicted by men on women and children.
"God created our whole being: Heart, mind and body. Those bodies that are being assaulted are loved by Christ. These bodies remain precious. God grieves deeply when we inflict gender-based violence on anyone. We believe that recovery from being violent is possible. Change is possible. The Church must hold us accountable for what we do. It must lead perpetrators to get the help they need. We must also work towards the healing of the victims. Our work must be to educate and to prevent gender-based violence. We as Church have contributed to this scourge through our denial, our silence, our resistance and our lack of preparation", continues the statement.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, domestic violence in South Africa was already at a very high level. In the first week of the lockdown, police received over 87,000 reports of gender-based violence. Forcing victims and perpetrators to remain in the same boundaries has increased the number, frequency and intensity of episodes of domestic violence and abuse. At least 21 women and children were murdered in South Africa during confinement, five of them in June.
Last week, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa called gender-based violence a "second pandemic" in the Country where COVID-19 infected over 97,000 people and killed 1,930.
"As a country, we find ourselves in the midst of not one, but two, devastating epidemics. Although very different in their nature and cause, they can both be overcome – if we work together, if we each take personal responsibility for our actions and if we each take care of each other", said the President on June 17th.
"It is with the heaviest of hearts that I stand before the women and girls of South Africa this evening to talk about another pandemic that is raging in our country – the killing of women and children by the men of our country. As a man, as a husband and as a father, I am appalled at what is no less than a war being waged against the women and children of our Country", added Ramaphosa. "At a time when the pandemic has left us all feeling vulnerable and uncertain, violence is being unleashed on women and children with a brutality that defies comprehension. These rapists and killers walk among us. They are in our communities. They are our fathers, our brothers, our sons and our friends; violent men with utterly no regard for the sanctity of human life".
Catégories: From the church

ASIA/INDIA - Beyond any form of discrimination: the Catholic community of Ranchi engaged with aid to Muslims and tribal families

Fides EN - - ven, 26/06/2020 - 12:25
Ranchi - Bringing humanitarian aid, solidarity and consolation to humanity, without any discrimination of ethnicity, religion, culture, social class: it is with this spirit that the Archdiocese of Ranchi, in the Indian state of Jharkhand , reaches and assists Muslim and tribal families with basic necessities, while the lockdown of activities due to Covid-19 is in force. As Fides learns, Archbishop Felix Toppo and Auxiliary Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, together with priests, seminarians and young people, have helped over 300 needy families belonging to various sectors of society.
The initiative had a special echo and greater involvement on the occasion of the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, on June 19th. "The feast indicates the overflowing love of the heart of God which flows to humanity through Jesus. Christians are called to share this same love with others", Archbishop Toppo said to Fides. The distribution of food kits included rice, legumes, soybeans, salt and other foods for the livelihood of needy families.
The president of the Catholic youth of the Archdiocese of Ranchi, Kuldip Tirkey, explained the meaning of the gesture to Fides, noting that "help is provided to all people in need without distinctions of caste, belief, ethnicity". Local community leaders organized the distribution everywhere and the initiative has received great appreciation in society, while the national lockdown, imposed by the federal government on March 25, tries to contain the spread of Covid-19. In many dioceses in India, bishops, priests and nuns have contacted migrants in difficulty, women, poor families and others by distributing food, medicine and other essential goods.
The special attention of the diocese of Ranchi to discriminated and disadvantaged groups - local Catholic leaders recalled - can also be seen from the recent appointment of a tribal Christian woman, who became vice-chancellor of a university in Jharkhand: in recent weeks Sonajharia Minz, professor at the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University of New Delhi, was named among the leaders of the Sido Kanhu Murmu University in Jharkhand. It is hoped that the appointment will help to overcome prejudices towards tribal peoples and inspire many more girls to undertake an academic path of studies.
About nine million tribals live out of 32 million inhabitants in the state of Jharkhand. About 1.5 million people in the state are Christians, half of whom are Catholics.
Catégories: From the church

ASIA/ISRAEL - The Court of Jerusalem rejects the appeal of the Orthodox Patriarchate on the sale of the properties to Ateret Cohanim

Fides EN - - ven, 26/06/2020 - 12:14
Jerusalem - An Israeli court in Jerusalem has rejected a request by the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate to cancel the sale of three properties in the Old City to the settler organisation Ateret Cohanim. The Israeli court ruling - reports the Israeli media - took place on Wednesday 24 June, and seems to definitively close the legal battle over disputed real estate, which lasted for almost 16 years.
The properties include two famous hotels, the Petra and the Imperial, located by the Jaffa Gate, considered the most direct entrance to access the Christian quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. The sale, in 2004, sparked strong opposition within the church. Ateret Cohanim had located the properties and negotiated the price with the now-dismissed head of the Greek Orthodox Church in Jerusalem, Patriarch Irenaios.
In August 2017, the Jerusalem District Court had already rejected the legal initiatives with which the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem had attempted to make Ateret Cohanim's acquisitions of the three properties disputed "illegal" and "unauthorized". After that sentence, the Patriarchs and Heads of the Churches of Jerusalem had signed a joint document in which they denounced the "systematic attempt to undermine the integrity of the Holy City" and "to weaken the Christian presence in Holy Land". A project that, according to the Heads of the Churches of Jerusalem, also manifested itself in the "violations of the Status Quo" of the Holy Sites. In their joint document, also signed by Teophilos III, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, and Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, there was firm opposition to "any action" by "any authority or group" that undermines those "laws, agreements, and
regulations that have ordered our life for centuries". The Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem had appealed against the 2017 ruling to the Supreme Court of Israel, which on 10 June 2019 had confirmed the regularity of the transfer of ownership of the properties, legitimately purchased by foreign intermediaries who acted on behalf of Ateret Cohanim. Then, in December 2019, the legal dispute reopened, after a judge from the Israeli Court questioned the previous Supreme Court ruling, effectively opening up the possibility of starting a new trial on the controversial issue. Now, the umpteenth Jerusalem's District Court ruling seems to mark the definitive end of the arm wrestling around the disputed buildings of the Old City of Jerusalem. But the last word is not said: the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem reacted to the latest developments of the story with a statement in which "surprise" was expressed at the District Court's decision, branded as unjust, and the will to bring another appeal, bringing the matter back to the attention of the Israeli Supreme Court.
Catégories: From the church

AMERICA/URUGUAY - The Bishops: "Our society must support laws that prevent and discourage any type of euthanasia and assisted suicide"

Fides EN - - ven, 26/06/2020 - 11:44
Montevideo - "We need a Uruguay that welcomes, protects, promotes and accompanies each person during their existence, including the final stage of their earthly life, through the fundamental help of family, palliative medicine and authentic religious experience": underline the Bishops of Uruguay in their "Declaration on euthanasia and medically assisted suicide" with which they intend to contribute to the public debate on such a relevant issue.
The text was presented at the headquarters of the Episcopal Conference of Uruguay by the Secretary General and spokesperson of CEU, Mgr. Milton Tróccoli, Bishop of Maldonado-Punta del Este-Minas, and by Mons. Pablo Jourdan, Auxiliary Bishop of Montevideo, doctor of Medicine. The Bishops reiterate that "it is not ethically acceptable to cause the death of a sick person, not even to avoid pain and suffering, even if the person expressly requires it. Neither the patient, nor the healthcare professional, nor family members have the power to decide or cause the death of a person ... this action constitutes a type of murder carried out in a clinical context". The document also stresses that "therapeutic obstinacy is not ethically acceptable, which consists in wanting to prolong the patient's life at all costs, knowing that there are no benefits for the patient himself/herself".
"Our society must support laws that prevent and discourage any type of euthanasia and assisted suicide", stresses the Episcopal Conference, explaining that "legally, a project in favor of euthanasia and medically assisted suicide, implies the change of the absolute value of human life and its character as an inalienable fundamental human right, against the Constitution and human rights. "The door opens to a chain of violations of the dignity of the human person when trying to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide, using generic terms such as "unbearable suffering" and when you want to justify them with vague concepts such as "absolute autonomy", "life unworthy of being lived" and "dignified death". None of these terms have clear and univocal interpretations, reiterates the document, recalling that experience in other countries shows that it ends up causing several abuses.
The Bishops conclude the Declaration invoking the Most High to "enlighten the representatives of the People to legislate in the light of the dignity of the person and human rights" and "guide and give strength to the health personnel, communities and Christian families, so that they take care and respect the unconditional value of people who are approaching the end of life".
Catégories: From the church

AMERICA/PERU- Families and homeless people of Cuzco receive help from the Church, while the cold weather aggravates the situation due to the pandemic

Fides EN - - ven, 26/06/2020 - 10:57
Cusco - The parish of Santiago Apóstol in the district of Lamay, Cusco, has brought over 100 parcels to the most vulnerable families in the province of Calca, as part of the donations made through the campaign "Today and always, do good", promoted by the parish in coordination with Cáritas Cusco. Fr. Julio Velazco Paz, parish priest of this parish community, intends to reach even more families who are also in the peasant communities of his parochial jurisdiction.
The Parish of San Agustín de Pomacanchi also distributed dozens of blankets and food, donations from Cáritas Cusco and the Salesian fathers, to the most vulnerable in Choracca, Sayaqrumy, Qoraccacha de Pomacanchi, reaching more than 80 homeless people. Cold weather has arrived in the Peruvian Sierra these days, and the situation becomes very difficult for those who have been blocked by the pandemic.
Catégories: From the church

OCEANIA/PAPUA NEW GUINEA - The Apostolic Nuncio: "Catholic laity: saints and sent to service"

Fides EN - - ven, 26/06/2020 - 10:54
Port Moresby - "It is our maximum responsibility to give adequate formation to the laity and to enable them to exercise their special role in the life and mission of the Church in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands": said the Apostolic Nuncio, Mgr. Kurian Matthew Vayalunkal, addressing the Bishops on the occasion of the 61st Annual General Assembly of the Episcopal Conference of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands . "Although there are so many challenges to face, we are blessed with so many faithful devotees who live their faith daily in difficult situations, and we must focus and invest more in them", continued the Nuncio, urging the Bishops to reflect on their commitment towards the laity.
Archbishop Vayalunkal continued: "As Bishops we reach out to touch the hearts of the abandoned, marginalized, ignored and excluded, in an attempt to uplift these people and restore their dignity and legitimate place in society", encouraging Church leaders to "go in search of the lost, the last and the marginalized". "The courage of those who approach Jesus in the Gospel is a great lesson for everyone. We too must learn to go to him, to seek his merciful face. Jesus felt pity and reached out to help", he said, remembering the words of the leper who in the Gospel of Matthew approaches Jesus saying "Lord, if you want, you can heal me".
Addressing the Bishops, the Apostolic Nuncio thanked them for their collaboration in the midst of many challenges, spoke of the important role that lay people have played in the formation and works of the Church and urged the laity to implement their diocesan pastoral plans. He then called for mutual support, assistance and collegiality among the Bishops, the care of priests who live in isolation in remote places while taking care of the people of God in multiple parishes. Speaking of "vocational promotion", he also highlighted the need to take care of families who are the foundation of vocations.
Mgr. Vayalunkal then concluded his speech by thanking the Lord for protecting Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands from the disaster of the pandemic and shared the "Decalogue" that Pope Francis presented to all the Papal Representatives on June 13, 2019. "The Bishop must be a man of the Church and a man of God, a man of apostolic zeal and a man of reconciliation, a man of the pope and a man of initiative, a man of obedience and a person of prayer, a man of charity and a man of humility ".
The assembly meeting of Bishops, centered on the theme "Our lay Catholics: saints and sent to service" began on June 23 and will end on July 3 in Waigani. For the occasion, 17 bishops of Catholic dioceses have gathered throughout the country. The Bishops of the Solomon Islands were unable to participate because of the travel restrictions due to the coronavirus. The Assembly was scheduled for April, but was postponed due to lockdown measures approved by the government to contain the Covid-19 epidemic in the country.
Catégories: From the church