ASIA/UZBEKISTAN - The Catholic community restarts from the extraordinary missionary Month

Fides EN - - lun, 28/10/2019 - 11:16
Tashkent - "In the extraordinary Month that the Church wanted to dedicate to missions, we decided to meet every day to recite the prayer of the Rosary. For this reason, we meet with the faithful in the parish of Tashkent every day: in our intentions there are missions from all over the world and in particular ours. The missionary month represents for us a new starting point, which we entrust to the hands of God". Thus the Apostolic Administrator of Uzbekistan, Franciscan Fr. Jerzy Maculewicz, tells Agenzia Fides the initiative organized by the community of the baptized in Uzbekistan on the occasion of October 2019, announced by Pope Francis as an extraordinary Month dedicated to the mission.
After the summer break, which saw the priests present in Uzbekistan alternate to go to their countries of origin, the activities of the local community started again in October, with the feast of St. Francis: "Here in Uzbekistan, among the priests, we are largely Franciscans , therefore October 4 represents a very important day for us. This year we celebrated by gathering with the faithful and experienced a moment of prayer followed by a small party. The date also gave us the opportunity to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of my perpetual vows", said fr. Maculewicz.
The preparation of the sacraments will also begin in October. In this regard, says the Apostolic Administrator: “From this month the catechumenate has started, to prepare adults to receive baptism. It is a beginning in full harmony with the theme of the Missionary Month: "Baptized and sent". At the moment there are about 10 people, but we are sure that more will come later. Furthermore, we have started catechism for children and young people, in preparation for their First Communion. We do all we can to serve all the people who come to our parishes".
The Catholic presence in Uzbekistan is made up of about 3,000 baptized, distributed in the five local parishes: to the approximately 700 faithful active in Tashkent, there are others present in Samarkand, Bukhara, Urgench and Fergana.
Catégories: From the church

ASIA/SRI LANKA - Vote with conscience and attention to the common good: the Church indicates the criteria for the presidential elections

Fides EN - - lun, 28/10/2019 - 11:05
Colombo - Participate in the vote with conscience and enthusiasm, choosing candidates who care about the common good of the country, considering challenges such as economic and social development, reconciliation, the stop to ethnic and religious violence, illegal land occupation. These are the criteria and recommendations that the Church in Sri Lanka offers to the faithful in view of the presidential elections on November 1st.
Caritas Sri Lanka has recommended and encouraged all Christians and Catholics in the Country to take part in the vote with enthusiasm, the right and duty of every citizen. Caritas Sri Lanka has also stated that, from now to the vote, awareness programs and discussions on issues affecting society will be carried out to educate leaders, associations and people of the Catholic community, as announced by the Commission for Justice and Development human, within Caritas, offering some guidelines for the presidential elections.
Moreover, in all the Churches of the island, in the family and in the ecclesial communities, Catholics recite the Holy Rosary every day and offer constant prayers so that an honest leader can emerge from the polls, and guide the country wisely. In the light of the Social Doctrine of the Church, and recognizing the current political confusion, the Caritas Justice and Peace Commission recalled the crucial social and economic issues faced by the population of this Country.
The Commission also stated that the drafting of the new Constitution must take place "by consulting all interested parties and guaranteeing the decentralization of power, to satisfy the desires of all communities".
"Free and independent judicial and legal structures to guarantee justice to people" and central challenges are stressed: good governance, the dignity of all people, social justice, equality, employment issues, care of ecology and media transparency".
Other issues raised concern migration policy and human trafficking, welfare measures for children, the correct use of natural resources, the rehabilitation of people under the influence of drugs and harmful substances.
Sri Lanka is a multi-ethnic country with 22 million inhabitants, mostly Buddhists, but includes Christian, Muslim and Hindu minorities. Muslims represent almost 10% of the population; Christians 7.4% .
Catégories: From the church

EUROPE/ITALY - XIV Scalabrinian General Chapter begins: migrants and refugees "at the center of the Church"

Fides EN - - lun, 28/10/2019 - 09:32
Rome - The XIV General Chapter of the Missionary Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo opened, with the theme "Consecrated for the mission with migrants and refugees. ‘Walk humbly with your God’ ". The works, which take place at the International Center of Spirituality of the Sacred Heart in Rocca di Papa , were opened on October 25th by the Mass celebrated by Mgr. Giancarlo Perego, Bishop of Ferrara-Comacchio. In his homily he quoted Pope Francis and the encyclical Evangelii Gaudium, referring to the exhortation to the "outgoing Church" and to a missionary activity capable of "going to all the suburbs that need the light of the Gospel". Therefore the Bishop addressed the issue of migrants and refugees, who must be "at the center of the Church". Speaking of the commitment of the founder of the Congregation, Mgr. Giovanni Battista Scalabrini and the co-founders, Giuseppe and Assunta Marchetti, stressed the need for the "right to migrate" which is "an inalienable right" of the human race.
According to information sent to Agenzia Fides, the general superior, Sr. Neusa de Fatima Mariano, welcomed the 34 delegates representing about 600 Scalabrinian missionaries present in the world with 120 communities, who "will reflect, discern and work together on what we discovered of our religious life, in the process of interior renewal of the Congregation". In this period the Scalabrinians have renewed their structure, reorganizing themselves also with an itinerant service in support of migrants, which moves in relation to the migratory emergencies that are taking place in the world: this is an innovative project that sees them involved in different regions of the planet: in Ventimiglia , in the State of Roraima in support of Venezuelan migrants, on the border between Mexico and the United States.
Catégories: From the church

AMERICA/CHILE - Bishops' appeal: "Stop violence and resume dialogue"

Fides EN - - sam, 26/10/2019 - 11:54
Santiago - "The greatest responsibility is held by those who have taken leadership positions in political and social life. It is necessary to rely on their good faith and their ability to reach agreements", say the Bishops of Chile in their statement sent to Agenzia Fides.
This is the second statement of the Bishops’ Conference of Chile since the protest for the increase in the price of public transport has turned into the most serious political and social crisis in the Andean country's history in the last decades.
The Bishops state: "We are united to the pain of the relatives of those who have lost their lives and those of the many wounded, we ask all the people who demonstrate and the competent bodies and authorities to guarantee respect for fundamental rights and adequate treatment towards detainees. We invite those who are called to maintain order and security to act in accordance with the standards established by the law".
Faced with the deaths of several protesters at the hands of the police, the Bishops appeal to "avoid further bloodshed. National unity is never built with the death of compatriots or trampling on the dignity of people".
The statement praises "the people who gave their best by carrying out generous actions to help others, avoiding violence and contributing effectively to the construction of the common good". "We continue to pray and commit ourselves, personally and as a community, to restore social peace in our Country", the Bishops conclude.
Catégories: From the church

EUROPE/ITALY - "Baptized and sent": "Mission is a divine action witnessed by men and women"

Fides EN - - sam, 26/10/2019 - 11:45
Rome - "Without hesitation, let us ask the Lord that the baptism we have received bears all its fruit in fullness, without half measures, without calculation, without fear. The missionary nature of our baptism will thus be translated into a testimony of holiness that gives life and beauty to the world". This is what Father Ernesto Viscardi, a Consolata missionary and Vicar of the Apostolic Prefecture of Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia reports to Agenzia Fides in an interview with Agenzia Fides, commenting on the theme suggested by "Missio - Italia" for the last Sunday of the Extraordinary Missionary Month of October 2019 , focused on the expression "sent".
"Where does Jesus send us? There are no boundaries, there are no limits - explains Father Viscardi - the Gospel is for everyone and not for some: baptism has its root in mission, so all men and women are called to live as missionaries".
In fact, on the fourth Sunday of the month, October 27th, all the faithful are invited to reflect on the announcement of joy and sharing of the Gospel. The missionary dimension, therefore, is not delegated only to some, but it belongs to every Christian: "We must respond to our own baptismal vocation with great humility - notes Father Ernesto - the mission is above all hospitality: therefore, it is important to foster a mutual exchange of knowledge with and towards each other and to establish a dialogue made of understanding and respect, as we do in Mongolia".
For the Apostolic Vicar who lives his mission in Mongolia, "the relationship with God is above all to untie the knots that we carry within and that prevent us from relating to Him and to others". Therefore, before learning to speak, we need to educate ourselves to listening: "Listening is the privileged channel of the relationship of man with God, faith always comes from listening", he points out. Here is the double dimension of the missionary spirit: "On the one hand - he reports - we must give ourselves as a gift through the witness of the Gospel; on the other, we must be ready to receive, healing our closures, our isolation, opening ourselves to others and eliminating all barriers". "In this way - he concludes - we learn that the Gospel is the good news and the ultimate secret of a story animated by the love of the Father".

Link correlati :Watch the video interview with Father Ernesto Viscardi on Agenzia Fides Youtube channel
Catégories: From the church

AFRICA/NIGERIA - President of the PMS to Bishops: from welcoming missionaries to becoming missionaries

Fides EN - - sam, 26/10/2019 - 10:12
Benin city - After his speech at the National Missionary Congress of Nigeria, in Benin city, on the theme "The Church of Christ in Mission in Nigeria" , Archbishop Giampietro Dal Toso , President of the Pontifical Mission Societies , met the Bishops of the African country.
In his speech, the Archbishop stressed that, after having welcomed many generous missionaries who founded and strengthened them, it is now the turn of these Chuches to extend and further deepen this great task of evangelization, both for the consolidation of the Christian faith and for the announcement of the Gospel to non-Christians. Then the President of the PMS thanked the many priests and religious brothers and sisters, who have now become missionaries in other countries and many migrated communities in many parts of the world are a great inspiration for the Christian communities that welcome them.
Mgr. Dal Toso then outlined the role of the Pontifical Mission Societies, too often reduced to a mere financial aspect, while "the PMS, as a matter of fact, can make an important contribution to your work of evangelization", he pointed out. In his reflection, the Archbishop recalled why the PMS were founded, the specific nature of the four Pontifical Mission Societies, their founders, the references of the missionary teaching, their structure and the charisma that distinguishes them.
Moving on to their theological identity, he then addressed two important topics: the relationship between local and universal Church, and the correlation between faith and mission.
The second topic was the relationship of the Bishops with the national Directions of the PMS. By their very nature, the PMS are both universal and local, they belong to the Holy Father and also to the Bishops, because without the Bishop's support in loco, they would not be able to carry out our task. Another essential aspect is the regular contact of the National Director with the Bishops, in particular with the President of the Episcopal Conference.
After citing the tasks entrusted to the National Directions of the PMS, the Archbishop concluded his speech with some practical indications: structure of the PMS staff at a diocesan and national level; promotion of the Pontifical Society of the Holy Childhood as an ordinary form of pastoral care for children; usefulness of the Pontifical Missionary Union to motivate faithful and clergy to missionary commitment; collaboration with the Pontifical Society of St. Peter the Apostle for missionary promotion in seminaries; collaboration with the new charisms that arose after the Second Vatican Council; importance of catechist formation.
Catégories: From the church

AFRICA/NIGERIA - Archbishop Dal Toso at the National Congress: "The extraordinary missionary Month is a starting point"

Fides EN - - sam, 26/10/2019 - 09:31
Benin city - The Extraordinary Missionary Month that the Church is experiencing in this October 2019 is not only a celebration, but must a starting point, so that our Churches assume the missionary mandate ever more consciously in the day-to-day ecclesial life: is what Archbishop Giampietro Dal Toso, President of the Pontifical Mission Societies said on October 25th at the National Missionary Congress of Nigeria, in Benin city, whose theme is "The Church of Christ in Mission in Nigeria" . "We cannot remain indifferent - he continued - in the face of a changing world and of so many people who ask for light and hope. Above all, we cannot forget the reason why we exist as a Church, as a Christian community: ‘Go and proclaim the Gospel to all peoples, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’."
The organization of the Extraordinary Missionary Month was entrusted by the Pope to the Pontifical Mission Societies and the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. "Our Pontifical Mission Societies have a precise significance, because they share and support this mission of the Church", said the Archbishop. Even the Second Vatican Council and the Popes after the Council emphasized the importance of the Pontifical Mission Societies. In the message for this year’s World Mission Sunday, the Holy Father defines the PMS as "a global network of support for the Pope in his missionary commitment by prayer, the soul of mission, and charitable offerings from Christians throughout the world".
In his speech the President of the PMS, on his first visit to Nigeria, focused on the meaning of the mission, which is rooted in the mandate of Jesus, and which for the Church, the mission is not simply an option among many, but belongs to her nature insofar as she is sent by Christ; that is, the mission reflects and realizes what the Church is. One must pay careful attention - he warned – mission it is not about spreading an ideology, or a culture, or a new morality, but to ensure that every person may receive the gift of the Holy Spirit: from the personal encounter with Christ who frees us and saves us. "That is why - he added - in the tradition of the Church, the proclamation of the Gospel is always accompanied by the sacrament that realizes existentially in us that which the Gospel announces and promises".
At the heart of the mission, therefore, there is the proclamation of the dead and risen Christ, the kerygma, both subject and object of our mission, as it is He who sends us and it is He whom we announce, the Archbishop reiterated. Quoting Pope Francis, Mgr. Dal Toso stressed that the kerygma must be continually deepened, and, therefore, it must be announced also to those who are already baptized and need to strengthen, consolidate, mature their faith in Christ.
Focusing on the theme of implantatio Ecclesiae and inculturation, Mgr. Dal Toso explained that one of the fundamental elements is the creation of a Christian culture, understood as a concrete way of life, manifested in the thought and customs of a people. "It is not just about the problem of how the Gospel should adapt to the culture, but also of how the culture should adapt to the Gospel and of how the Gospel produces a new culture, as it has always done in history since the time of the Fathers of the Church".
There are many fields of social life that must be evangelized thanks to the witness and work of Christians, especially lay people, called to be the evangelical leaven in the environment in which they live, work, to transform it into the light of the Gospel. Thus Mgr. Dal Toso focused attention on the family: "We must evangelize the family, so that families may in turn become evangelizer". In this regard he cited the PMS initiative in Paraguay, the "Familias misioneras" , born about 10 years ago, when some families started visiting other families to bring them the Good News of the Gospel. Currently there are more than 5,000 families that have started their mission in other Latin American countries. Then the President of the PMS proposed to Catholic families to read the Gospel every day together, as a form of common prayer, useful to deepen the knowledge of Jesus Christ and to create bonds of true communion.
Catégories: From the church

OCEANIA/AUSTRALIA - The profile of the Australian Catholic community: a Report of the Pastoral Research Center

Fides EN - - ven, 25/10/2019 - 13:04
Sydney - Of the more than 5 million Catholics surveyed in Australia, 1,304,993 were born overseas, 136,360 do not speak English well and 305,823 live in poverty: these are some of the data in a Report on social profiles of the Australian dioceses, published by the National Center for Pastoral Research of the Australian Catholic Church. The document, sent to Agenzia Fides, provides an in-depth look at the demography of the Catholic population in all the dioceses. According to reports, in Australia there are 5,291,834 Catholics, a figure equal to 22.6% of the population.
The picture presented was possible thanks to data from the 2016 census of the Australian "Bureau of Statistics", a government body and therefore takes into account only those people who, during the survey, declared themselves openly Catholic, leaving out many others. According to data from the Pontifical Statistical Yearbook, which reports numbers collected directly from local parishes, in fact, there are 6.5 million Australian Catholics.
The survey of the National Center for the Pastoral Research of the Australian Church, however, represents a useful pastoral tool, because it highlights the presence of phenomena that place the local Church in the face of new challenges.
"These profiles give Church ministers a key tool for understanding the Catholic population in their area and can be used to adapt ministries to the real needs of communities", explained the director of the National Center for Pastoral Research, Trudy Dantis in a statement sent to Agenzia Fides.
"If a community has a large percentage of people in difficulty with English, the diocese may have to guarantee its services in other languages to meet the pastoral needs of that group of faithful. In the same way, the knowledge of the average income of people can help the parish and the diocese to study new ways to reach families that live in poverty", adds Dantis explaining that, in this first phase, the Report shows relative data to the dioceses, but since the beginning of 2020 the parish priests can also count on the detailed data of the individual pastoral communities.
From the document, however, it is possible to notice how the life of Catholics can vary greatly in different parts of the country: "In general, over the last few years, there has been a decline in the Catholic population: according to the 2011 census, in fact, there were 5,439,267 faithful in Australia, while the latest available data show that the number dropped to 5,291,834. An in-depth analysis shows that this phenomenon did not occur in all the dioceses. In the circumscriptions of Wollongong, Sale, Rockhampton, Perth and Bunbury, for example, a numerical growth of the Catholic population has been recorded", concludes Dantis.
Catégories: From the church

AMERICA - Religious: let us take on the anxieties and hopes of the peoples who suffer in Latin America

Fides EN - - ven, 25/10/2019 - 12:44
Bogotà - "From Assisi, together with the Saint of Peace, the Latin American Confederation of Religious places before the God of Life, the hopes and anguish of the brothers of many peoples of our beloved Latin America and the Caribbean who suffer the effects of violent repression which has intensified in recent weeks against the struggle for rights and social justice": this is what the letter sent to Agenzia Fides by CLAR states, which invites reflection, solidarity and prayer for what is happening in these countries.
The religious point out the different situations on the Latin American continent where the population lives in tension or violence caused by clashes between protesters and law enforcement, as Fides informed:
In Chile, they point out, the people have said no to the high cost of life and the indifference of politicians, but where violence without restraint has destroyed even the little trust that kept the population calm. .
In Bolivia, the people still manifest to defend a democracy blocked by big doubts in the recently held elections .
In Haiti, the Church calls for calm and peace in the face of chaos caused by corruption on so many levels that has caused poverty .
In Nicaragua a system of government prevents free expression and even freedom of religion, and democracy still sees real protagonism .
In Ecuador, the Bishops' mediation managed to stop the violence of the demonstrations in order to dialogue with social groups .
Faced with these events, CLAR writes: "Our peoples are thirsty for peace and justice and we want to testify it. Therefore, alongside the holy Brother of Assisi, we pray for peace, because it is a gift of God and each of us must welcome it and build it every day with his help".
"As consecrated life, let us not become tired of seeking and promoting paths of solidarity and justice, always looking beyond private interests. Even in the midst of so much suffering, we continue to be bearers of 'new wine', which comes out of our vessels and reaches everyone. Do not allow the cry of peace of the poor and the good hopes of young people to remain unanswered", concludes the letter signed by Sister Gloria Liliana Franco Echeverri, ODN president of CLAR and Sister Daniela A. Cannavina, HCMR, secretary.

Catégories: From the church

ASIA/TURKEY - US Parliament puts the vote on the recognition of the Armenian Genocide on the agenda

Fides EN - - ven, 25/10/2019 - 12:16
Washington - The US House of Representatives, a branch of the United States Congress, is preparing to put to the vote a resolution that would entail the official recognition by the US of the Armenian Genocide, the systematic massacre of Armenians perpetrated in the territories of the Anatolian Peninsula in 1915. The vote on the resolution in question was included on the agenda of parliamentary work next week. The resolution was presented by some parliamentarians last April, and since then it had received the support of 117 representatives of the House, currently a Democratic majority. In the context of the tensions between the US and Turkey over Syrian scenarios, the parliamentary vote on the controversial issue of the Armenian Genocide is explicitly presented by some of its supporters as a potential factor of US pressure on the choices of the Turkish political leadership. "We are preparing to have a provision on sanctions against Turkey, and also a provision on the Armenian Genocide. I am sure the government of Turkey is not happy with [these plans], but then again we are not happy with the government of Turkey", said Eliot Engel, President of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives, in a radio interview.
Also Armenian associations and groups operating in the USA have expressed satisfaction with the initiative, which according to some media enjoys the support of Democrat Nancy Pelosi, President of the Chamber. "The recent Turkish attack on vulnerable ethnic groups", said Brian Ardouny, Executive Director of the Armenian Assembly of America in reference to the Turkish military intervention in the territories of north-eastern Syria, "confirms the need for the Congress to recognize the Armenian Genocide in unequivocal terms, approving the resolutions already presented to the House of Representatives and the Senate".
To date, the various attempts made in the USA by Armenian associations to vote for parliamentary resolutions on the recognition of the Armenian Genocide have fallen on deaf ears, due to the opposition of the various presidential administrations interested in not compromising the good relations between Turkey and the US. US President Donald Trump, as reported by Fides , in April 2017 had dedicated an official pronouncement to the planned massacres suffered in the Anatolian Peninsula by the Armenians in 1915, but had avoided applying to those systematic massacres the definition of "Armenian genocide", following the line of its last 4 predecessors in order not to provoke resentful reactions from Turkey.
In the past, US Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan had used the expression "Armenian Genocide," but then, from George H. Bush to Barack Obama, the expression had disappeared from the lexicon of White House leaders in their official pronouncements.
The US press recalls that President Obama, also due to Turkish pressure on the US Congress, had set aside the promise made during an electoral campaign to recognize the genocidal nature of the massacres suffered in the current Turkish territory by the Armenians more than a century ago.
Catégories: From the church

AFRICA/SOUTH AFRICA - "The Extraordinary Missionary Month is an opportunity to renew our personal relationship with Christ"

Fides EN - - ven, 25/10/2019 - 11:48
Pretoria - "The Extraordinary Mission Month is meant for each person to renew one’s personal relationship with Christ", said Fr. Barney McAleer, who previously worked in the SACBC Office of EvangeliZation during the special day to celebrate the Extraordinary Missionary Month at the SACBC’s head office in Pretoria.
"No matter how many times we have disappointed God’s love in the past, this special month marks a special invitation to come before God as we are and renew our relationship. We are called before God as we are and to confess our sins so that God can embrace us again", said Fr. McAleer, who is currently in charge of the SACBC Foundation, the body of Bishops dedicated to raising funds for charitable projects. Fr. Barney also stressed that during the Extraordinary Missionary Month "we are called to extend the hand of charity to our brothers and sisters in need".
Barney said that the Church exists to evangelize and to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to everyone, stressing that the responsibility of this missionary work is not reserved for Priests and Nuns. He quoted the words of Pope John Paul II, "The missionaries of the new millennium is the Laity".
Fr. Barney also underlined the importance that evangelization begins at home with parents and grandparents who are the first to teach young people to do the sign of the cross. "The spiritual nurturing of the young ones should always be grown in the home, before one comes to the Church. The home is the place where formation to faith is initially grown".
Fr. Barney concluded his speech by saying: "It would not make sense that evangeliZation is in the hands of few people. We should not be only recipients of Good News. We should be all active. This calls for personal involvement of all the people of God in the mission of evangelization. We are all called to go out to preach the Good News and baptise those who receive it, as Jesus commanded us", he concluded.
Catégories: From the church

ASIA/TURKMENISTAN - Extraordinary Missionary Month: towards a new era, with the mission in Turkmen language

Fides EN - - ven, 25/10/2019 - 11:25
Ashgabat - The whole pontificate of Pope Francis is at the service of marginalized margins, missions and suburbs. This missionary awakening is positive and necessary for the whole Church", says Fr. Andrzej Madej, of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate , Superior of the Missio sui iuris of Turkmenistan, to Agenzia Fides, speaking of the "extraordinary missionary Month", that the Church is living and that reached its peak on World Mission Sunday 20 October.
Precisely in this special month, in the Chapel of the Transfiguration of the Lord of the capital Ashgabat, a third priest of the Oblates arrived, joining Fr. Madej and confrere Fr. Rafal Chilimoniuk. The new religious in this first mission period will dedicate himself to learning the Turkmen language. In this regard, the Superior of the Missio sui iuris explains: "We have always carried out our mission using Russian, but today it is no longer sufficient: the number of those who speak this language decreases. The people who come to the city from the countryside or from small towns speak Turkmen".
"This is a step of joy and hope for us: knowing the local language will open a new era of mission, because finally there will be someone who can enter the language and therefore the culture of this people. We have got a good future ahead for our mission: here in Turkmenistan, we represent a very small community, always trusting in the grace of God who does not abandon us", concluded Fr. Madej.
Turkmenistan has 5 million inhabitants, 90% Muslim. The Catholic Church was reborn with the Missio sui iuris established by John Paul II in 1997. For thirteen years, the presence of the Oblates was admitted only as a representation of the Vatican Embassy: at the beginning we met in private homes and Mass was celebrated in the diplomatic territory of the Apostolic Nunciature of Ashgabat. In 2010 the Turkmen government officially recognized the Catholic presence. The Turkmen Catholic community sees the presence of numerous ecclesial groups, such as the biblical one, that of preaching and that dedicated to young people and children.
Catégories: From the church

ASIA/LEBANON - Church Leaders "embrace" the anti-system revolt

Fides EN - - jeu, 24/10/2019 - 12:39
Beirut - The Heads of Churches and Christian communities present in Lebanon pay homage "to the people who expressed their unity" and ask to "embrace and protect the legitimate revolt of our children", stressing the urgency "that power and government respond to their national demands". These are the passages with greater impact contained in the appeal released by Patriarchs and representatives of Christian communities who met on Wednesday 23 October to try to express a common position before mass demonstrations against the government and political leadership that are shaking the Country.
The Heads of Churches and Christian communities distance themselves from the national political leadership, and before the crisis they try to claim the role of unheard "prophets": "We had warned - we read in what has been labeled by the media as "the appeal of Bkerké "- that what is happening today was in the air, but the governments that had the leadership of the Country ignored our appeals". The pronouncement, read by Maronite Patriarch Boutros Bechara Rai, also expressed considerations regarding the reform proposals and economic measures prepared by the government led by the Sunni Saad Hariri in an attempt to respond to the demands of the people: "The reform plan" reads Bkerké's appeal "is a positive first step, but a reshuffle of the government and the start of an administration run by competent and patriotic people", he said. "We ask the head of State to immediately begin consultations with political leaders to take the necessary measures to meet the needs of the population". Addressing the protesters, the Heads of Churches and Lebanese Christian communities asked them to avoid the maneuvers of those who want to exploit their cry, avoiding attributing the traits of a "coup movement" to popular demonstrations and protecting the bond that unites the people to the army and to the security apparatus.
In the afternoon of Wednesday 23 October - the national media inform - Lebanese President Michel Aoun had a telephone conversation with Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rai to discuss with him the contents of the Appeal of Bkerké.
The meeting of Lebanese ecclesiastical leaders was exceptionally attended by Sheikh Abdel Latif Darian, Mufti of the Lebanese Republic, who called the state and the government to take on the "rightful demands" of the protesters.
What caused the explosion of popular discontent, which has its substantial root in the economic crisis experienced by the Country, were the new taxes set by the government on the use of whatsapp and other means of media.
Catégories: From the church

AMERICA/BRAZIL - Keep alive the missionary dynamism, lit up in the Extraordinary Missionary Month

Fides EN - - jeu, 24/10/2019 - 12:29
Sao Paulo - The concern for the coming years is how to keep alive the missionary dynamism in the Church in Brazil, lit up in the Extraordinary Missionary Month: for Mgr. Odelir José Magri, Bishop of Chapecó and President of the Episcopal Commission for missionary Animation of the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil , the main instrument is the recently launched National Missionary Program.
In a statement released by the Bishops' Conference sent to Fides, the Bishop presents some reflections on the Extraordinary Missionary Month of October 2019 which is about to come to an end.
Referring to his diocese, Chapecó, to his region, Soul 4, and considering the information disseminated in social networks, Mgr. Magri states that the Extraordinary Missionary Month was lived by the dioceses, parishes and communities in Brazil, and undoubtedly has increased missionary awareness in the Brazilian Church. Another index of participation can be deduced from the large amount of material requested throughout Brazil: for example, about 25,000 copies of the Guide to the Extraordinary Missionary Month were distributed.
The Church's involvement in the Extraordinary Missionary Month was also expressed with the concrete gesture of the collection during World Mission Sunday, with many communities that made missionary visits, closing with a prayer vigil. Although there are many other things to evaluate for an objective and concrete assessement, Mgr. Magri stresses that, in general, people accepted and made their own the proposals of the Extraordinary Missionary Month, living it intensely, "with a greater awareness of the mission.
Catégories: From the church

AFRICA/NIGERIA - "The visit of the President of the PMS makes us feel the embrace of the universal Church in this difficult time"

Fides EN - - jeu, 24/10/2019 - 12:11
Abuja - "We are happy to welcome Mgr. Dal Toso as a sign of communion with the universal Church", says Fr. George Olusegun Ajana, National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies of Nigeria, where the National Mission Congress of Nigeria opened on 22 October with the theme "The Church of Christ in Mission in Nigeria".
His Exc. Mgr. Giampietro Dal Toso, Assistant Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and President of the Pontifical Mission Societies , in addition to meeting the delegates at the Congress, will hold a meeting with all Nigerian Bishops tomorrow evening, October 25th and will then celebrate the conclusions of the Congress on Saturday 26 October.
"The National Missionary Congress is a very important event for the Church in Nigeria, which is repeated every four years, and missionary activities to be carried out in our country are decided", explains Fr. George. The theme chosen for the Congress "The Church of Christ in Mission in Nigeria" takes up the theme of the universal Church "The Church of Christ on mission in the world".
The PMS National Director explains that "the Church in Nigeria must cope with forms of persecution resulting from violence committed by Islamic extremists such as those belonging to Boko Haram. Many Christians, especially Catholics, are killed for the simple reason that they are Christians. But even in the midst of these persecutions we remain steadfast in our faith, without giving in to compromises".
"The Missionary Congress can give a strong contribution to making Catholics persecuted feel that they are not alone", said Fr. Georg. "Catholics from all over Nigeria participate in the Congress and this is very encouraging because it demonstrates the unity of the Nigerian Church. The persecuted faithful feel that they are not isolated, they are not alone but they are part of a community that welcomes them, protects them and helps them spiritually and materially". "In this sense, the visit of Mgr. Dal Toso reinforces this feeling, widening the embrace from the Nigerian Church to the universal Church".
"The Holy Father has sent Archbishop Dal Toso as his personal delegate to our Congress. This comforts us because it makes us feel the embrace and support of the universal Church. We are not alone. We are happy to welcome Mgr. Dal Toso as a sign of communion with the universal Church which reminds us that we exist and wants to be in communion with us", concludes the National Director of the PMS.
Catégories: From the church

AFRICA/IVORY COAST - Extraordinary Missionary Month: "The Lord asks you to be a gift wherever you are"

Fides EN - - jeu, 24/10/2019 - 11:52
Abidjan - "We become missionaries living as witnesses of the Gospel of Christ, not with words, not with diplomas or certificates, but with life": this was underlined by Father Lucas Marabezé, interim charge d'affaires of the Apostolic Nunciature in Ivory Coast, during the ceremony of awarding diplomas in Missiology, at the Catholic University of West Africa, delivered to 62 lay people. The ceremony was organized on the occasion of World Mission Sunday, the culmination of the Extraordinary Missionary Month. Fr. Marabezé added that no one is excluded from the mission of the Church: "Anyone, father or mother, the young, laborer, waiter, unemployed, the sick in a hospital bed, the Lord asks everyone to be a gift in whatever condition we find ourselves".
According to what Solange Siloue, of the Pontifical Mission Societies of the Ivory Coast told Agenzia Fides, the academic recognition was delivered on Sunday 20 October, during the Holy Mass presided by Father Gaston Ogui, coordinator of missiological formation, who held the homily and recalled the missionary mandate and the theme of the extraordinary missionary Month, "Baptized and sent", urging the students to "go towards the other, to repeat the characteristic traits of the missionary Christ".
The students, on their behalf, expressed their gratitude for having had the opportunity to attend the formation course, which started in the country in 2017, aware of the strength of this missionary commitment in following Christ.
The missiological formation area promoted by the Catholic University of West Africa/University Unit of Abidjan, in collaboration with the Catholic Missionary Institute of Abidjan and the Jesuit Faculty of Theology of Africa and Madagascar, supported by the Pontifical Missionary Union , was established in the Ivory Coast in 2017 with the main objective of "decentralizing the PUM activities in order to strengthen the faith and Christian identity among the faithful of mission countries, specifically in the Church in Sub-Saharan Africa".
Catégories: From the church

AMERICA/ECUADOR - After the protests: dialogue and reconciliation underway, with the mediation of the Bishops

Fides EN - - jeu, 24/10/2019 - 11:30
Quito - On Wednesday, October 23, four representatives of the Ecuadorian Bishops' Conference went to the headquarters of the government. The delegation was composed of Mgr. Luis Cabrera, Archbishop of Guayaquil, Vice President of the Bishops' Conference; Mgr. Alfredo Espinosa, Archbishop of Quito; Mgr. René Coba, Military Ordinary, Secretary of the EEC, and Mgr. Danilo Echeverría, Auxiliary of Quito, representative of the EEC family sector. The President of the EEC is currently in Rome to participate in the Synod of Bishops.
Although the meeting took place behind closed doors, some information was released to the press. The President of Ecuador, Lenín Moreno, thanked the Bishops "on behalf of the country, the State and the Government" for the function of mediators assumed in these difficult moments, fruit of the result of misunderstanding and lack of dialogue. The President spoke of the "arrogance of those who believe they have the right to remain indefinitely in power, or in an intransigent position", alluding to what happened in the country .
Moreno especially thanked the Unified Workers Front for having suspended the events scheduled for October 30th.
For his part, Mgr. Cabrera emphasized the government's invitation to the Bishops' Conference to be a mediator for dialogue with the indigenous movement of the country, according to a note sent to Fides. He then insisted that "there is the hope of of reaching specific agreements, not to please the groups in dialogue, but the whole country". The Vice-President of the EEC concluded his speech by announcing the challenge of starting a process of reconciliation and peace.
President Lenín Moreno, in various sessions, then met with representatives of social groups and trade unions, especially those of transport, to define the modalities and timing of subsidies for gasoline, a topic that had triggered protests.
The demonstrations ended on October 13, following the government's abrogation of the controversial decree on subsidies, with a tragic toll of 8 dead, over 1,300 wounded and a thousand arrests, according to a report by the Defensoria del Pueblo. The end of the protests opened a direct dialogue between the government and the indigenous movement, with the mediation of the Episcopate and the United Nations office in Ecuador.
Catégories: From the church

EUROPE/ITALY - Forming young people to the mission: the new proposal of the Comboni family begins

Fides EN - - jeu, 24/10/2019 - 10:31
Rome - In the Extraordinary Missionary Month a new path of formation and missionary spirituality is underway for young people aged 18 to 35, promoted by the Comboni family. To make concrete experience of faith, make new friends, deepen one’s knowledge regarding missionary issues and participate in summer volunteer camps, in Italy and abroad: these are the opportunities that, from Sunday 27 October, will be offered to all young people from Ymc, "Young Missionary Commitment".
There will be nine stages of the new path entitled #DaiSegniDiVita, which will be held one Sunday a month, from 10am to 6pm in Rome, at the Generalate of the Comboni Missionaries, in Via Luigi Lilio 80. The theme of the meetings will be testimonies of life, the shared reading of the Word of God and listening to witnesses on some of today's problems. The participation of qualified experts and meetings with local realities is expected. The Comboni presence will be ensured by the speeches of Fr. Giulio Albanese, director of Peoples and Mission, and of Sr. Gabriella Bottani, international coordinator of the network against the Talitha Kum trafficking. The first appointment on October 27th will be dedicated to Brazil and the Amazon and wil allow people to discover the reality of this land and its spiritual richness.
Catégories: From the church

AMERICA/BRAZIL - New missionary presence of the Opera Don Orione in the Amazon region

Fides EN - - mer, 23/10/2019 - 13:03
Boa Vista - New missionary presence of the Opera Don Orione in the Amazon: in the city of Candeias do Jamari, in the state of Rondonia, and near Boa Vista, capital of the state of Roraima. Furthermore the work of support and solidarity with Venezuelans who pass the border continues, the flow of which has never stopped. This is what Father Josumar Dos Santos, Provincial Superior of the Orionines of North Brazil said in a note sent to Agenzia Fides.
"We sent two of our priests, Fr. Sebastiâo and Fr. Miguel, in the city of Pacaraima to collaborate with the Diocese in the material and spiritual support of the multitude of people who cross the border to seek their fortune in Brazil - says Fr. Dos Santos -. We have taken care of 1500/1600 people who every day cross the border with their few things and need everything. We give a meal and some help, and above all we comfort them".
The flow of Venezuelans who arrive in Brazil still continues. The Bishop has entrusted a missionary area to the Orionines on the outskirts of Boa Vista. "We are now starting in a pastoral area without priests, where there is great religious poverty - explains the religious -. Most of them have emigrated; they have lost their roots and their traditions. There are many evangelical sects and Catholics are a minority. We plan to open an educational work for children and young people, many of whom are on the streets without any care".
In Buritis , in the Amazon region on the border with Bolivia, there are 4 religious who are in charge of a vast pastoral area, with more than 100 Christian communities, even very distant from each other, up to 100 kilometers. "The Bishops themselves hardly have priests who are willing to go to these areas, so our presence is seen as a prophecy and a providence for the poor - emphasizes the Provincial Superior -. A beautiful thing is the involvement in the apostolate of the Orionine Sisters and the laity of the Lay Orionine Movement".
Catégories: From the church

ASIA/EAST TIMOR - Extraordinary Missionary Month: the Word of God is at the center of the mission

Fides EN - - mer, 23/10/2019 - 12:32
Dili - The Word of God is at the heart of the Church's mission, which Christians announce and give to the whole world, as a message of salvation for humanity: it is with this spirit that the Catholics of East Timor live the Extraordinary Missionary Month, announced by Pope Francis for October 2019, placing the Word of God at the center of their spiritual life and their witness.
In particular, the Jesuits, who have a stable presence in East Timor and various activities in the field of education, have invited Catholics to read the Bible, as reported to Fides by Fr. Joaquim Sarmento, Regional Superior of the Jesuits in East Timor. "We encouraged the faithful to read the Bible daily in the family, in order to become aware and deepen their mission more and more and conceive missionary work in the light of the Bible", he added.
In the Extraordinary Missionary Month, the faithful were called to "reflect on the roots of the Catholic faith in Timor and to promote evangelical values in the culture of this nation".
In biblical and missionary seminars organized in different parishes, during the month of Missionary Month, Fr. Sarmento highlighted three important elements of the roots of the faith of Catholics in East Timor: Sacred Scripture, the Magisterium and Tradition. During the seminars young people were encouraged to "be more active in their lives to do good, to foster spirituality and also to keep troubles and problems at due distance". "Young people will contribute to the country's prosperity and peace", he said.
Biblical meetings and seminars were also held at the Universidade da Paz , managed by the Jesuits, and at the Universidade Oriental Timor Lorosa , and many Timorese youth and students took part "with joy and enthusiasm", said Fr. Sarmento.
In particular, in the parish of Railaco, youth groups, sensitized on the theme of the Missionary Month, "Baptized and sent", "expressed their thoughts and talents", thanks to the guide of the parish priest, Fr. Joseph Phoung, SJ.
In the special "Parish Festival", lived in recent days in Railaco, what was stressed was that "the prosperity and peace of the country depend on the younger generations, who are eager to take part in something bigger, and offer their lives and their energies to announce the Gospel of Christ to others".
Catégories: From the church