AFRICA/TANZANIA - Strong participation in the closing Mass of the Extraordinary Missionary Month

Fides EN - - lun, 11/11/2019 - 12:36
Dar es Salaam - More than 2000 faithful participated in the closing Mass of the Extraordinary Missionary Month in Tanzania held yesterday, Sunday 10 November, at the Msimbazi Center in the archdiocese of Dar es Salaam.
Representatives of all the dioceses of the country took part in the national Eucharistic celebration: Bishops, priests, nuns and laity. The Holy Mass was presided over by the President of the Episcopal Conference of Tanzania , His Exc. Mgr. Gervas John Mwasikwabhila Nyaisonga, Archbishop of Mbeya, with all the Bishops of the Country and with His Exc. Mgr. Giampietro Dal Toso, Assistant Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and President of the Pontifical Mission Societies . 15 representatives of Papal Missionary Organizations from the English-speaking countries were also present. At the same time on November 9th -15th this year, there will be a meeting of the Papal Missionary Organizations for English-speaking countries, which is held every two years, and their last meeting was held in Harare Zimbabwe in 2017.
The President of the Episcopal Commission for Missions, His Exc. Mgr. Damian Denis Dallu, Archbishop of Songea, issued a statement on the Extraordinary Missionary Month, saying that the Holy Father urged the Church in Tanzania to continue engaging in activities that will bring the Good News to people who have not yet received it. The National Director of the PMS in Tanzania, Fr. Jovitus Mwijage, informed Agenzia Fides of some of the initiatives launched during the Extraordinary Missionary Month. The PMS published posters in Swahili and translations of the Papal message for World Mission Sunday circulated in radio, whatsap, emails and websites. The same happened for the daily reflections that had been published on the website of the Extraordinary Missionary Month. There was also a strong spiritual renewal through seminars, pilgrimages and retreats organized by the Holy Childhood society and by various local youth and lay movements.
Finally, in various dioceses, charitable acts were carried out by children and their animators, including visits to orphans, the elderly, children in prisons and children affected by AIDS.
Catégories: From the church

AFRICA/TANZANIA - Archbishop Dal Toso at the closing of the Extraordinary Missionary Month: Africa is a big hope for the Church

Fides EN - - lun, 11/11/2019 - 12:11
Dar es Salaam - With the hope that the missionary seeds planted during the Extraordinary Missionary Month continue to germinate and bear fruits in missionary apostolate, Archbishop Giampietro Dal Toso, President of the Pontifical Mission Societies , during the concluding celebration of the Extraordinary Missionary Month in Tanzania , stressed that "Africa is a big hope for the universal Church". During the solemn Eucharistic celebration held on Sunday 10 November at the Msimbazi Center in Dar es Salaam, with the participation of Bishops, religious and laity, as well as civil authorities, the Archbishop highlighted the growth of the African Church in quantity and quality, and above all its missionary growth, since it sends missionaries to the different countries not only in Africa but also all over the world. Mgr. Dal Toso called to look to the future, the year 2022, when the 4th centenary of the foundation of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, the bicentenary of the creation of the Missionary Society for the Propagation of the Faith, and the centenary of the Societies’ elevation to the “Pontifical” status will be celebrated". The President of the PMS thanked for what the Catholic Church of Tanzania has been doing and is still doing to promote the Pontifical Mission Societies and the entire work of spreading the Gospel, inviting them to continue to cultivate the missionary spirit, especially among the young generation".
Quoting St. John Paul II and Pope Francis on the urgency of revitalizing and intensifying missionary work, still far from being completed, making every baptized person aware of his missionary responsibility, Archbishop Dal Toso recalled that "to raise missionary awareness is the great vocation of our Pontifical Mission Societies". Created in Europe, in order to promote evangelization in mission territories, including Tanzania, the PMS have supported the creation and growth of the young Churches. "Our task now - reiterated Mgr. Dal Toso - is to continue with the Mission of these Societies, because still now we need to spread in the Church a missionary spirit", and he urged to work even more to make them known, to promote them and to internalize them in the pastoral plans of the dioceses and even in the life of the Small Christian Communities.
In the concluding part of his speech, the Archbishop focused on the theme of the family, "without which it would be impossible to build a healthy society", and urged "to evangelize the family, so that families may in turn become evangelizer". In this regard he cited the experience of missionary families, initiated by the PMS of Paraguay 10 years ago, when some families began to visit other families bringing them the good news of the Gospel. Today there are more than 5000 missionary families that have now started their mission also in other Latin American countries. From this example, the President of the PMS proposed that in Catholic families the Gospel of the day be read together every day, as a form of prayer in common, since "gathering together in the name of Christ allows us to come to know him more intimately and to create relationships of true communion between us".
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ASIA/IRAQ - Chaldean Patriarchate: three days of fasting to call for peace to return in Iraq

Fides EN - - lun, 11/11/2019 - 11:25
Baghdad - From Monday 11 to Wednesday 13 November "the sons and daughters" of the Chaldean Church are called to fast and pray God for the gift of peace and for the return to stability in Iraq. This was asked by Louis Raphael Sako, Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, inviting to resort to the spiritual weapons of fasting and prayer to call for an end to the chaos and violence that are bloodying the Country. The Primate of the Chaldean Church has also renewed the appeal to the government and to demonstrators so that all exercise "wisdom and moderation in giving priority to the general interest" of the entire Iraqi people, avoiding to shed innocent blood and to loot or damage public and private goods.
At the moment, at least 320 Iraqis have been killed in clashes between protesters and security forces.
In recent hours, the US administration has intervened on the Iraqi crisis with a statement from the White House spokesman issued by the US Embassy in Baghdad, in which it takes a stand in favor of the demonstrators and shows the way to early elections as a way to try to emerge from the chaos and appease the anti-government protests, which exploded in early October and ended in blood. The US statement in fact justifies protests as an understandable reaction to the rise of Iranian influence in Iraq.
Catégories: From the church

AMERICA/BOLIVIA - After the resignation of the President, appeal for non-violence and a peaceful constitutional solution

Fides EN - - lun, 11/11/2019 - 11:18
La Paz - Thousands of people took to the streets a few hours ago in La Paz to celebrate the resignation of Bolivian president Evo Morales, at the end of the protests and disputes over the results of the October 20 elections, with the self-proclaimed victory of the outgoing President . In the last two days, clashes across the country had become very violent.
The Bolivian Bishops' Conference, the representatives of the community of citizens, the civic committees of the country and CONADE , came together to analyze the unprecedented situation in the country. From this meeting the first conclusions emerged, sent to Fides: "What happens in Bolivia is not a coup d'etat, we say this to the Bolivian citizens and to the entire international community. We launch an appeal for peace to all Bolivians, not to commit acts of vandalism, revenge, or anything we can repent of. We all have a serious obligation to defend the lives of all Bolivians, in the name of God we tell you: stop the acts of violence and preserve life and peace. We ask the national police and the armed forces to urgently fulfill their constitutional role in defending property and people, preserving the life and freedom of all".
"We all agree - the document continues - in proposing a constitutional and peaceful solution to the National Assembly of Bolivia, in order to have a constitutional president in a short time with the task of forming a new electoral court and bring us to new elections so that all people can express their opinion in freedom and peace. May God protects us at this time and inspire us with feelings of peace and fraternity".
The document is signed with the date of 10 November 2019, in La Paz, by the Bolivian Bishops' Conference, by the Community of Citizens, by the Civic Committees, by CONADE.
Yesterday, Sunday 10 November, during the Angelus Pope Francis invited to pray for Bolivia with these words: "I wish to entrust to your prayer the situation in beloved Bolivia, neighbor of my homeland. I invite all Bolivians, in particular, the political and social actors, to wait in peace, with a constructive spirit, and without any previous condition, in an atmosphere of peace and serenity, for the results of the process of revision of the elections, which is currently underway. In peace".
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AFRICA/NIGERIA - Resignation and succession of Archbishop of Abuja, Nigeria

Fides EN - - lun, 11/11/2019 - 09:41
Vatican City - On 9 November 2019, the Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Abuja , presented by His Eminence Cardinal John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan. He is succeeded by Bishop Ignatius Ayua Kaigama, currently Coadjutor Bishop of the same Archdiocese.
Catégories: From the church

AMERICA/PUERTO RICO - The Bishops: "We need political leaders who work coherently and for the people"

Fides EN - - sam, 09/11/2019 - 12:11
San Juan - "The disadvantage of the country, from violence in the streets to government crisis, show the situation in which we live ... despite the situation we have the opportunity to build the country with dignity and according to the values of our culture and our faith": this is the beginning of the document of the Bishops of Puerto Rico who, during their meeting of the Ordinary Assembly, reflected on the socio-political and ecclesial situation of the country, as reported in the pastoral message sent to Fides.
The Bishops recall the themes proposed by the National Pastoral Assembly of 2015: family, youth, public education, health and poverty. Today they present themselves as urgent work for the whole society. "There are new factors that do not help, indeed they call for urgent intervention in the consideration of our analysis: migration that divides families, economic management of the country and the lack of government programs for these social problems", write the Bishops.
"After a national mobilization, capable of showing the democratic character of the population" , "we must urge the leadership of our people and institutions to develop a national project of integral development. We need political leaders who are able to work coherently and for the people", reads point 10 of the document.
Faced with the situation in Puerto Rico, the Bishops write: "a consensus and a genuine process is required. An authentic moral revolution is needed, because there is a lack of trust and transparency". In the end, regarding the lack of help for the poor and the homeless caused by the hurricanes Irma and Maria , the Bishops ask for a definitive solution. "The indolence and corruption of some officials, among the authorities, still today discourages the community, especially the poorest", they write denouncing the causes for which the intervention of aid to the most injured was "postponed".
The text concludes with an invitation to prayer: "As believers, we all pray to the Lord, as a Church we pray that the authorities will be able to govern and give peace and serenity to our people".
The document is signed by all the Bishops of the Episcopal Conference, with the date of 6 November.
Catégories: From the church

AFRICA/EGYPT - Coptic priest: violent fanaticism and occultism increase atheism and religious indifference among young people

Fides EN - - sam, 09/11/2019 - 11:56
Cairo - Only 33% of Egyptian youth consider the relationship with God really important, while the possibility of giving reasons with persuasive arguments of one’s own religious faith is shared only by 67% of the Egyptian population. These are data contained in a report presented in recent days by Coptic Orthodox priest Matta Badie to a large sector of the Coptic Orthodox clergy in the Cairo area. The speaker indicated the adherence to materialistic scientific theories among the reasons for the growth of indifferentism and practical atheism among the young, but also the reaction of rejection before the growth of justified violence with religious arguments and the increasing spread of occultism.
It is not possible to quantify the number of atheists and agnostics in Egypt, also because atheist propaganda and the public profession of atheism can be pursued on the basis of the legal provisions that punish blasphemy.
In 2014, the Ministry for Youth and the Ministry of Religious Endowments had announced the use of a joint strategy to combat doctrines and "harmful" ideas, a category in which both atheism and religious extremism were associated.
In July 2015, Coptic Orthodox Patriarch Tawadros also announced study initiatives to try to understand and address the phenomenon of the spread of atheism and religious indifferentism among young Egyptians from Christian families. In the Coptic Orthodox Church, the attempt to stem the phenomenon was expressed in the recent past also in lectures and conferences.
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AFRICA/IVORY COAST - Evangelization and missionary activity: nuns at the forefront of women's education

Fides EN - - sam, 09/11/2019 - 11:20
Bondoukou - "We have become what we are thanks to them. Until they arrived in our country, education for girls was very complicated", said one of the first students of the Catholic College of Transua in the eastern Ivory Coast, founded by the Sisters of Providence in Portieux.
On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the presence of the religious congregation in the area there have been many testimonies on the contribution that the sisters have made in school education, in particular that of girls. "High impact schools, hospitals and health centers. What the sisters have done so far has been excellent. We must thank God for the gift of their life to their brothers and sisters of the Ivory Coast", said Mgr. Bruno Essoh Yedo, Bishop of Bondoukou, during the mass celebrated in the parish of Our Lady of the Assumption of Transua. In his homily, Mgr. Yedo thanked God for the missionary work of the sisters and called them to carry out their commitment to evangelization in the face of the challenges of modern times.
The celebration was attended, among others, by numerous administrative and political authorities of the city, as well as priests, men and women religious of this congregation.
Present in eleven countries around the world, the congregation of the Sisters of Providence in Portieux was founded on January 14, 1762 in Saint-Hubert by Blessed Jean-Martin Moyë. His spirituality is based on four pillars: abandonment to providence, charity, poverty and simplicity. They are a religious congregation of pontifical right mainly dedicated to teaching, but also to assistance in hospitals and social works.
The first sisters of the Providence de Portieux congregation arrived in the Ivory Coast in November 1959.
Catégories: From the church

AMERICA/PARAGUAY - Bishops' message: "to make a more missionary and merciful Church a reality"

Fides EN - - sam, 09/11/2019 - 10:35
Luque - "We Pastors, together with consecrated persons, priests, seminarians and consecrated lay people, want to make a more missionary and merciful Church become a reality": say the Bishops of Paraguay in their message at the end of Plenary Assembly of the Bishops' Conference, which ended yesterday in Luque .
In the message, entitled "Baptized and sent: Missionary Church", the Bishops summarize the main fruits of their meeting, starting with a first evaluation of the Youth Triennium , which will end on November 30: "We have undertaken new paths for closer accompaniment, listening to the needs, pains, dreams and hopes of our young people, who aspire to be true missionary disciples of Jesus Christ and good citizens. We see in them the awakening of that missionary Church at the service of a new society shaped by the values of the Gospel".
In these three years the Youth Pastoral Care, vocational accompaniment and the participation of young people in the dioceses has been strengthened. "Young people, guided by the call of Pope Francis, show us a living example of the synodal, missionary and merciful Church, more committed to our society and to the care of our common home".
The Bishops then talk about the national reality, the latest social and political events in Paraguay and neiboring countries: "Requests for inclusion and equal treatment indicate the need to strengthen and improve participatory and representative democracy, based on the promotion and respect of human rights and focused on building fraternity and peaceful coexistence. Political action cannot ignore the social challenges of our country".
They therefore suggest the government to establish "a socio-political-cultural organization as a cross-sectoral dialogue table, in order to allow dialogue and the search for solutions to urgent social problems, to live in justice and peace".
The Synod of Bishops for the Amazon, just concluded, "involves us even more in the missionary identity of the Church, which is not afraid to listen and speak out aloud, to discern new paths of evangelization, with the active presence of the laity and the precious role of women", underlines the text of the Episcopate. Another theme touched by the Bishops' Conference is the urgent challenge of education: "Children and young people are the great wealth of our country and their lives challenge us to accompany them, protect them and prepare them, and require better education". Thus they recall the commitment of the Church, which many times was a pioneer of education, at the service of families and the whole society, through schools, colleges and the Catholic university, assuring young people of a formation in human and Christian values. They therefore hope to continue this important and urgent educational commitment, in an ever greater harmony with the Ministry of Education and Sciences.
The Bishops conclude the message by announcing that 2020 will be the Year of the Word of God, a "time of grace" that recalls the 50 years of the Catholic Biblical Federation and the 1600 years of the death of St. Jerome. "We encourage all people, all parishes and chapels, all groups, movements and families to open the Bible, to read together some passages of the Word of God and to share what the Holy Spirit inspires them. In this way lectio divina will burn hearts and will be a source of Christian life and commitment. May every family have a Bible! May the Word of God resound every day everywhere! Let it be announced to all!"
Catégories: From the church

ASIA/AFGHANISTAN - The "School of Peace" expands, while 3.7 million children are without school

Fides EN - - sam, 09/11/2019 - 10:09
Kabul - The "Tangi Kalay - School of Peace", was established with the efforts of Italian Barnabite missionary, Father Giuseppe Moretti in Afghanistan and is one of the few "oases in the desert" for the literacy work carried out in Afghanistan. Because of the present conflict and tensions, in fact, the education sector is one of the most affected: in fact, 700 institutes have been closed in the last 18 years, with 3.7 million students left without a school. "Afghanistan is in a difficult situation given the post-election confusion, but our school moves forward. Indeed it is growing: recently, I was asked by the director to help purchase 24 new blackboards", says to Fides Giuseppe Moretti, a missionary in Afghanistan from 1990 to 2015.
He returned to Kabul last July to temporarily replace his confrere, Father Giovanni Scalese, currently responsible for the Missio sui iuris in Afghanistan. Fr. Moretti said he could not go to school, but is constantly in contact with the administration: "For security reasons, I was not allowed to leave Kabul. The so-called 'green zone', the area where many of the embassies and offices in which foreigners work is located, has become a fort full of walls, now further armored due to the increase in attacks. Our school has not been touched by attacks, but rather expands its service for new students".
The "Tangi Kalay - School of Peace" is a state institute, with programs and teachers chosen by the Afghan government, but continues to operate with private aid, including those donated by various military contingents, which help the school by providing school materials, scientific and IT laboratories. Today the institute is home to over 3,000 children and, in the training curriculum, also aims to teach them the values of peace and acceptance.
According to data collected by the Human Rights Unit of the United Nations Aid Mission in Afghanistan , 2,461 Afghan children have been victims of attacks during the first nine months of 2019: of these, 631 died and 1830 were injured. The number has grown by 11% compared to the same period in 2018, a phenomenon that is mainly explained by the increase in attacks carried out near schools and health centers.
According to the NGO "Save the Children", 3.8 million Afghan children need humanitarian assistance and 600,000 are suffering from severe malnutrition, while about 3.7 million are without school, 60% are girls.
Catégories: From the church

ASIA/PHILIPPINES - Youth and new evangelization: the "Youcat" International Congress

Fides EN - - ven, 08/11/2019 - 13:23
Iloilo - Evangelization in the contemporary world: new roads, new forms, new potentials: with this spirit hundreds of "young missionaries" from different countries are attending the 2nd International "YOUCAT" Congress at the Iloilo Convention Center, Nov. 7-10. Organized by "YOUCAT" Philippines and Archdiocese of Jaro, Iloilo, the congress is " a response to the church’s call for the new evangelization in the Year of the Youth which is marked this year in the Philippines", said Mathew B. Loteyro, a participant to Fides.
"Youcat" is an ecclesial youth movement that started after the launch of the youth version of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, published in several languages in 2011, with the title "Youcat", the abbreviation of "Youth" and "Catechism". "Today Youcat is not just a book. We are a community. The Youcat is our tool to enlighten the young in the beauty of our faith and the truth of the gospel. Using this tool, we shall go to them and together with them we shall make Youcat more than just a book but rather a way of life", explains Marian Castro, a member of Youcat in the Philippines, to Fides.
The congress has its theme as “Arise,” recalls the episodes in the Gospel of Luke when Jesus raised back to life the young son of the widow of Naim. Guided by the words of Jesus, the congress aims to be an occasion for rediscovering Christ’s particular love for the young and his challenge for them to “arise” from their present conditions and become enthusiastic servant leaders, with the help of Youcat.
Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, Apostolic Nuncio in the Philippines, presided over the opening mass on 7 November, inviting the young delegates to "witness the Gospel to others and be missionaries in the nations".
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, Archbishop of Manila, invited ecclesial organizations, youth group leaders and youth pastoral delegates to attend the event. The Philippine bishops’ Episcopal Commission on Youth endorsed the congress as part of its many youthful ecclesial activities of the Year of the Youth, which is celebrated in 2019 as part of the multi-year program in preparation for the 500 years of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines .
Inspired by Mary, Star of New Evangelization and St Pedro Calungsod and St. Lorenzo Ruiz, YOUCAT PHILIPPINES is a provider of "tools and integral faith formation for Christian Discipleship of young people".
The Youcat movement in the Philippines provides assistance to parishes to create and develop resources and materials for evangelization, creating networks and collaboration also with tools of new technologies.
"Given its appealing graphic format, made up of questions and answers, sometimes difficult but always direct, and with simple and pertinent answers, Youcat will soon become a reference point for young people, as a useful tool to learn the truth about the Catholic faith and to share the message of Christ", Teresa Punzo, a member of Youcat in the Philippines, told Fides.
Catégories: From the church

AMERICA/BOLIVIA - Set aside sectoral interests: Bishops and UN representative call for an end to violence

Fides EN - - ven, 08/11/2019 - 12:59
Santa Cruz - The Archbishop of Santa Cruz, Mgr. Sergio Gualberti, and the Archbishop of Cochabamba, Oscar Omar Aparicio, together with their Auxiliaries, have invited to establish a sincere dialogue between political, civil and citizen protagonists, as the only way to authentic peace. To do this, sectoral interests should be set aside. The Archbishop of Santa Cruz, who had recently returned home from the Synod of Bishops held in Rome, said this yesterday evening in a meeting with media operators.
Mgr. Sergio Gualberti, according to information sent to Fides, expressed concern and uncertainty about the unpredictable consequences that the political crisis can bring to Bolivia. In these days in which the general strike continues, three people have died, two in Montero and the third in Cochabamba, in addition to numerous injuries in clashes between supporters of MAS and the population who protest.
"My solidarity with the victims and fraternal closeness to their relatives", said Mgr. Gualberti, who asked the authorities to listen to the cry of the people from all corners of the country, and to recognize the great sacrifice of the people who are on strike, especially those who believe in democracy.
Communication of the electoral result by the Supreme Electoral Court , with the victory of outgoing president Morales , followed by days of strong protests and violent clashes that caused 3 deaths. According to agency information, there were new clashes in La Paz last night that left many wounded, both protesters and policemen.
The United Nations Organization in Bolivia has published a note that "strongly condemns the death of a third victim of intolerance and violence that continues in the country, as well as of the more than 300 people injured so far, according to data from the Office of Ombudsman", stressing that "nothing justifies the clash between Bolivians, and the death of citizens is absolutely inconceivable".
The United Nations representation "expresses profound dismay and indignation at the high levels of violence registered", the note continues, and "reminds the competent authorities that it is their duty to guarantee the respect, protection and guarantee of the human rights of all Bolivians "and urges them to "act preventively in the face of any act of violence". The UN representation in Bolivia calls on all political actors "to immediately reduce political tensions and totally condemn any violent demonstration that could endanger people's integrity and life". Finally "it reaffirms the absolute rejection of any form of violence and launches an appeal to dialogue as the only way to avoid further deaths and restore peace".
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ASIA/IRAQ - The "misleading representations" of the initiatives of the Chaldean Patriarch regarding the protests in the streets have been rejected

Fides EN - - ven, 08/11/2019 - 12:46
Baghdad - The recent meetings of Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako with the participants in the protest demonstrations taking place in Baghdad in no way expressed an "antagonistic" position of the leaders of the Chaldean Church towards the government and national political institutions. They only wanted to show solidarity with the legitimate demands of the demonstrators, recognized as such also by the government, and to reiterate support for the process of creating a genuine rule of law also in Iraq. This was underlined by a statement released by the Chaldean Patriarchate itself, which states in its title the intention to deny the "misleading representations" circulated in the media and social networks in Iraq regarding some of the Patriarch's initiatives, such as the recent visits made by the Primate of the Church Chaldean to some wounded hospitalized after the clashes in the streets and to the demonstrators gathered in Tahrir Square, in Baghdad. The critics had attacked these initiatives, presenting them as an expression of excessive political leadership on the part of the Head of the most substantial ecclesial structure present in Iraq.
Patriarch Sako's visit to the wounded hospitalized - reads the statement - was of a humanitarian nature and also served to bring a sum of money to the health facility for the purchase of medicines, while at the meeting on Saturday 2 November with the protesters in Tahrir Square, which lasted over an hour, the Patriarch together with his auxiliary bishops invited everyone to remain calm and ban all forms of violence during the protests. Contacts between government officials and the Patriarchate - adds the text released by its official channels - continue steadily, and the Patriarch, even in his meeting with the protesters, simply invited the government "to listen to the cry of his sons and daughters" meeting the demands of fighting corruption and supporting the creation of jobs and services through a transparent government administration.
Catégories: From the church

OCEANIA/PAPUA NEW GUINEA - Solidarity for West Papua: young people mobilize the Church and government authorities

Fides EN - - ven, 08/11/2019 - 12:36
Port Moresby - "How can we define ourselves as a Christian nation if we do not pay attention and help our neighbors?": Is the question raised during the debate on "Freedom for West Papua" by the students of Jubilee Catholic Secondary School, during the "Chat Room" program, of Tribe 92 FM radio station, dedicated and focused on young people in Papua New Guinea.
Analyzing the history of Indonesia and West Papua , adolescents re-elaborated the factors that led to the current situation in that province, touching on the delicate issue of human rights abuse and launching an appeal for the intervention of Churches and the government.
A student traced a short path, remembering how West Papua has become part of Indonesia: "The policies for the freedom of West Papua have never been right. The referendum of 1969, instead of leading to free and fair elections, was characterized by electoral fraud by Indonesia which had deemed the Papuans too "primitive" to face democracy", the girl said.
In reference to human rights violations, another student said that the population of West Papua continues to suffer atrocities and injustices. "Indonesian security forces have committed serious human rights violations against the indigenous Papuans, up to now over 500,000 civilians have been killed", she said.
All government departments, non-governmental organizations and Church organizations have been invited to work "hand in hand" to take proactive and supportive action with the population of West Papua. "We know that talking about this topic on the radio will not change the world. But if a group of simple students wanted to tackle this problem, what prevents our leaders from doing the same?", another speaker said.
Catégories: From the church

VATICAN - The "red missionary thread" that links children and young people of the Holy Childhood

Fides EN - - ven, 08/11/2019 - 12:26
Vatican City - In this edition "we would like to speak especially about them, the adolescents, an age that the Society of the Holy Childhood does not seem to be engaged with in any evident manner, especially given the name of the society, but in reality they are included and are present", said Sr. Roberta Tremarelli, General Secretary of POSI.
Sr. Roberta underlines that even POSI as in very institution, there was a certain evolution resulting from adapting to diverse ecclesial, cultural, and social realities so that the missionary dimension would be adequately developed in the young people, while holding true to the original charism.
"Today the Society of the Holy Childhood encourages all children and adolescents in the world to be protagonists in the evangelizing efforts of the Church, through prayer, personal witness of life and sacrificial offering to the Universal Solidarity Fund of the Society. In this way the proposal addressed to adolescents gave rise to the creation of a bond between the missionary child and the young missionary; a red missionary thread that will be able to be present in the life of every baptized person, helping them on their road to holiness of life".
In her speech, Sr. Érica A. Sanchez, of the Franciscana Angelina - Santa Cruz, Bolivia, takes inspiration from the path opened by the Synod of Bishops on young people, to dwell on some fundamental themes concerning the relationship between the Church and young people, highlighting that "all the members of the people of God share the unique responsibility of carrying out the evangelizing task as a continuation of the saving work of Christ, each according to their own vocation and charisms. No-one is excluded.
In this sense, the Church increasingly values the place, the value and the contribution of all its members: ordained ministers, religious, laity, elders, youth, children and women. Likewise, it is essential to rethink a ministry that knows how to accompany each one of them".
The focus of this edition, edited by the Editorial Staff, is entitled "Adolescents, the world, the Church" and starts from an analysis of the adolescent’s "critical period", of physical and psychological transformations, of formation of one's own individuality, to suggest what kind of relationship should be established with adults, and in particular with educators, so that young people can be protagonists in the mission of the Church. "This does not only mean making space for children and adolescents but building together with them, being a mission together, integrating paths and proposals to activate dynamics of true co-agonism that are more demanding but full of future".
In addition to the usual overview of the experiences and events of POSI in the world, in this edition of the Bulletin a new column debuts, "Towards holiness", in which the life of two girls, members of the Society of the Holy Childhood is narrated - Natalys from Cuba and Paulinka from Poland - who even during their suffering continued to support missionary activity with prayer and offering.
Catégories: From the church

ASIA/KAZAKHSTAN - Renewal and future projects of Caritas, at the service of the most vulnerable

Fides EN - - ven, 08/11/2019 - 11:36
Almaty - "It is autumn, but these days in Kazakhstan there is a beautiful air of spring, of rebirth. And we can really feel that something new is happening for the Caritas of our country": as Agenzia Fides learns, these are words expressed by the president of the Bishops' Conference of Kazakhstan, Mgr. José Luís Mumbiela Sierra, during the training seminar organized in recent days by Caritas Kazakhstan for all the leaders of the local dioceses.
During the meeting, held in Almaty, the delegates of the Church's charitable organization "said that their activities are focused on supporting vulnerable people who seek help from time to time, such as seniors, low-income families, people with disabilities", explains the national representative of Caritas Kazakhstan, Fr. Guido Trezzani to Fides.
The importance of introducing at the local level the standards for the management of the organization developed by Caritas Internationalis was also discussed. Don Guido Trezzani notes: "The diocesan directors who started their work in Caritas recently attended the meeting, so it was necessary to start from the basics, explaining why these management models are important, what are the mechanisms that govern them and how to apply them in the diocese".
The first part of the meeting was dedicated to sharing information and experiences: "All our Caritas realities are quite young. It is extremely important to share information and listen to what others are doing, to draw inspiration from them and, when possible, to emulate a project that has been successful", notes Don Trezzani, recalling the commitment in various projects, promoted by Caritas in the various dioceses, in favor of the poorest and most needy, such as the elderly, poor families and the disabled.
National Caritas is continuing to pursue, among others, a program to support parents of children with Down syndrome, implemented with the support of Italian specialists: "Over the whole country there are already more than 700 children participating, together with their families. In the near future, we will begin to work to create a state center, which also aims at scientific research and the training of operators for centers and schools".
By encouraging the Caritas of Kazakhstan, the president of Caritas Internationalis, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle sent a video message to the assembly, recalling that the work of Caritas "is not just a simple ordinary activity, but represents the working arm of the Church", which is based on three pillars: the Word of God, the sacraments and works of charity. "We cannot eliminate one and concentrate on the others, nor consider them separately. We serve our God who loves everyone, we serve Jesus, who saved everyone, so Caritas must serve everyone",said Cardinal Tagle.
Catégories: From the church

ASIA/NEPAL - Claretian Missionaries: care and education for earthquake victims

Fides EN - - jeu, 07/11/2019 - 13:53
Kathmandu - The Claretian missionaries are committed to building the future of orphan and poor children, victims of the 2015 earthquake in Nepal, providing them with assistance and education. "We visited Nepal after the 2015 earthquake and helped rebuild Wasbang village, in the Chitwan district, in central Nepal. We ran into an orphan child and started taking care of him. Today we are helping and educating over 400 students. Our goal is to help 900 students by 2025", says Claretian Father Jojo Peter Ancheril, one of the leaders of the initiative, launched by the Claretian missionaries of Macao, to Agenzia Fides.
Over 400 children, orphans, poor people and those with physical disabilities reside in the Antyodaya children's home in Parsa, Chitwan district. The house was built on May 13, 2017. "We intend to reach the less fortunate children of remote villages by offering them education and personality development", says Father Ancheril.
On 12 April 2015, a strong earthquake struck Nepal, killing thousands of people and leaving millions of people homeless and without the possibility of satisfying basic needs. The international mobilization was impressive and the Antyodaya children's home was part of this wave of solidarity.
Father Ancheril, after a first trip to Nepal, began to involve parishioners and benefactors to rebuild houses for the earthquake-stricken families, in the village of Wasbang, also thanks to the support of the Fathers of the Little Flower Society of Narayangh.
"Today the Antyodaya Children's Home offers students a new life to grow, work and hope for the future. Students are given proper attention and special care for the needy, as well as education and health care. God's love does not know limits". concludes Sr. Liza Franca Augustine, project collaborator and missionary in Nepal.
Catégories: From the church

AMERICA/PARAGUAY - The Archbishop of Asunción: increasing the salaries of politicians instead of supporting the poorest is "immoral"

Fides EN - - jeu, 07/11/2019 - 13:38
Luque - The request to increase the salaries of politicians instead of allocating money to create and strengthen health, education and housing programs for the most vulnerable sectors of the population is "immoral": is what was denounced by the Archbishop of Asunción, Mgr. Edmundo Valenzuela, during a press conference held yesterday, on the occasion of the Plenary Assembly of the Bishops’ Conference of Paraguay, held in Luque and takes into consideration the main issues related to the social and ecclesial reality of the country.
During the press conference, Mgr. Valenzuela stressed that the request for an increase in salaries is only convenient for politicians, and added: "we already know that with politicians we will certainly not have justice and solidarity". He then reiterated that the request is "immoral" precisely because there is no interest on behalf of the authorities to increase the budget for health, education and housing, in particular for those sectors that are at continuous risk.
The Archbishop has invited representatives of political parties to reconsider the request and rethink the situation taking the events occurred in Chile and Bolivia as an example, as this "can be a cause of revolt, following injustices, because of unjust reality".
"With the money given to politicians, there is no progress. At least we have not seen it so far. We demand that good public money is well used in programs that promote the development of family farming, education and health that are always threatened", reiterated Mgr. Valenzuela.
Although through the Tekoporà program of the Ministry of Social Development, 612 thousand people in extreme poverty receive a bonus for basic services, the reality of the approximately 7 million inhabitants of Paraguay is that poor families in extreme need increase every day. Furthermore, in family support programs, indigenous families are penalized for receiving lower subsidies.
The meeting of the Bishops will culminate on Friday 8 November.
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ASIA/INDONESIA - Bishops: to actualize the Abu Dhabi Document to improve dialogue with Islam

Fides EN - - jeu, 07/11/2019 - 12:54
Bandung - "Human fraternity for a peaceful Indonesia" is the theme of the Assembly of Indonesian Bishops, underway in Bandung , with the aim of "understanding the Abu Dhabi Document on human fraternity for world peace and living together, signed jointly by Pope Francis and the Great Imam Ahmed el-Tayeb in Abu Dhabi in February, actualizing the document in the Indonesian context, in order to strengthen the dialogue of the Indonesian Church with islam in the archipelago", reads a note sent to Agenzia Fides.
As Fides learns, the Indonesian Bishops strongly wanted to dedicate their Assembly to the reflection on that Document, to find ways of application in the very different and plural reality of the Indonesian archipelago. The speakers, guests during the study days, were the Imam of the Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta, Nasaruddin Umar; the Secretary of the International Institute for Relations of the Islamic Organization "Muhammadiyah", Wachid Ridwan; the national coordinator of the "Gusdurian Network" movement, Alissa Wahid; Father Damiano Fadjar Tejo Soekarno, priest of the diocese of Malang, activist in an interreligious community on the island of Madura.
According to Cardinal Ignatius Suharyo, President of the Indonesian Bishops' Conference, "the theme chosen by the Bishops was in conformity with the request of Pope Francis, who asked the episcopate from all over the world to find ways to actualize the ideas contained in the Abu Dhabi document".
Archbishop Piero Pioppo, Apostolic Nuncio in Indonesia, in his speech to the Indonesian Bishops said that "that Document is very important especially for the national situation in Indonesia, where the search for peace, harmony and coexistence is a challenge we must face together".
"We must guide our community, humbly, in a fraternal dialogue with all people, to always proclaim the values of the Gospel and unity in Indonesia , which are our special contribution to the future of the nation", stated the Apostolic Nuncio.
According to the Executive Secretary of the Bishops’ Commission for Communication, Father Steven Lalu, "the discussions during the days of study of the Bishops led to understanding that all the parties involved must commit themselves to spreading the good values of the Document and making it concrete in activities that build peace and coexistence. In addition to this, tolerance is necessary not to find similarities but rather to get used to living the differences" is what was said during the works.
Catégories: From the church

AFRICA/SOUTH SUDAN - Bishops are "Pastors and administrators of God's delicate vineyard"

Fides EN - - jeu, 07/11/2019 - 12:15
Juba - "As Bishops of Sudan and South Sudan we consider the protection of minors a priority and we are committed to working for the prevention of all forms of abuse, atrocities and violence against children. I am glad that, among the many topics, the protection of minors was chosen during this plenary session": said Mgr. Edward Hiiboro, Bishop of Tombura-Yambo and President of the Bishops’ Conference of Sudan, at the conclusion of a recent seminar organized in Juba by the Association of Bishops of the Episcopal Conferences of East Africa , which involved the bishops of Sudan and South Sudan on the establishment of a special Department for the protection of minors.
In addition to the issue of child protection, Bishop Hiiboro indicated that the Plenary Assembly was "for the bishops of Sudan and South Sudan an opportunity to connect primarily with God, the source of their lives; secondly, to reinforce each other as Pastors and administrators of God's delicate vineyard; and to meditate on their mission towards the people of God in the two countries.
The Bishops of both countries, despite the difficulties they are facing, have taken a stand and wanted to act to protect, identify and stop any abuse against children and against the most vulnerable people. "The meeting started with the recommendations of Pope Francis", said the AMECEA child protection official George Thuku, who shared with the bishops the policies and guidelines and priorities set by some of the Bishops' Conferences in the region.
Catégories: From the church