ASIA/UZBEKISTAN - Spiritual exercises via Skype in Central Asia: Bishops united in communion of prayer

Fides EN - - ven, 20/03/2020 - 10:34
Tashkent - The first cases of Covid-19, and the related measures for the containment of the virus, have also reached Central Asia, causing the cancellation of the spiritual exercises of the Bishops of the region, which should have been carried out from 9 to 16 March 2020 in Turkmenistan. This is what the Apostolic Administrator of Uzbekistan, Franciscan Fr. Jerzy Maculewicz says to Agenzia Fides, also reporting that he has suspended the celebrations of the local Church to respond to government requests to cancel all public events.
The Bishops of Central Asia therefore lived their spiritual exercises in a personal way, each in their own home, but united in a communion of prayer in this moment of world health crisis. The Jesuit Fr. Anthony Corcoran, Apostolic Administrator of Kyrgyzstan: "We decided to cancel the appointment, but we reflected and prayed intensely here in Bishkek with the Jesuits, especially for all those who are in Italy, stuck in their homes or in a hospital bed, and for the sick all over the world. In these days we carried out the spiritual exercises in the manner of St. Ignatius of Loyola also through the use of the Skype application, so that anyone can join in the prayer". "I want to tell everyone that the coronavirus will not have the last word, Jesus will have it", added Fr. Corcoran.
According to the latest data provided by the World Health Organization, there are currently 33 cases in Kazakhstan, 16 in Uzbeksitan, 3 in Kyrgyzstan and 22 in neighboring Afghanistan. On the other hand, there have been no cases of contagion in Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.
Catégories: From the church

ASIA/JAPAN - Resignation of the Bishop of Sendai

Fides EN - - mer, 18/03/2020 - 13:13
Vatican City - The Holy Father Francis has accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the Diocese of Sendai , presented by His Exc. Mgr. Martin Tetsuo Hiraga.
Catégories: From the church

ASIA/LEBANON - Coronavirus, Lebanese churches offer residences and buildings for those infected and under quarantine

Fides EN - - mer, 18/03/2020 - 13:10
Beirut - The Maronite diocese of Byblos started, where bishop Michel Aoun made a summer residence belonging to the eparchy available to coronavirus patients forced to isolate themselves. Then, yesterday evening, Father Fadi Tabet, of the order of the Lebanese Missionaries "Kreimisti", recently appointed head of the Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon in Harissa, announced that he would make the Betania Harissa Hotel available to the Lebanese health authorities, a welcoming hotel residence usually reserved for pilgrims, so that people infected with Coronavirus can be hosted there and must be treated under quarantine.
The Coronavirus epidemic has hit Lebanon in the midst of an economic and political crisis. Also for this reason the spontaneous signs of resilience, generosity and solidarity that emerge throughout Lebanese society are even more eloquent.
Among the Christian communities, the vicissitudes of those affected by the virus multiply. In the Jesuit community, as many as 11 fathers resulted positive to Covid-19 tests. All the fathers of the community live isolated, each in their own room, in the Jesuit house of Monot, and have started a time of spiritual retreat marked every evening by moments of prayer and biblical reflection also spread outside the community, for anyone who wants to share from their own home this particular form of spiritual exercise.
Catégories: From the church

AMERICA/BRAZIL - Bishops and ecclesial movements: together to evangelize families

Fides EN - - mer, 18/03/2020 - 11:54
Brasilia - The Episcopal Commission for Life and the Family of the Bishops’ Conference of Brazil and movements must "join forces" and work together from the activities point of view, of the exchange of materials and specialists, publications and training. This is the global proposal that emerged from the meeting which took place in Brasilia on March 14, convened by the Episcopal Commission for Life and the Family and by the National Commission for Family Pastoral Care which invited the representatives of the Ecclesial Movements that work with families to a day of sharing experiences, in order to increase commitment and mutual help in the evangelization of families.
The Bishop of Rio Grande and President of the Commission for Life and the Family, Mgr. Ricardo Hoepers, underlined that participation in initiatives such as Family Week, national and international Congresses and the Symposium and Pilgrimage to Aparecida will be encouraged. "These national activities can and must be lived, shared and participated by all those who work with families in Brazil", he stressed in the CNBB note sent to Fides.
The idea of the meeting was born from the observation that ecclesial movements have always collaborated in the evangelization of families. In Brazil many members of the ecclesial movements collaborate in the various systematic initiatives that Family Pastoral Care organizes and many others among them are members of the movements and also pastoral workers.
"It was a historic moment, of extreme importance – said Mgr. Hoepers -, because recalling Familiaris Consortio and, now, Amoris Laetitia, we confirm the importance of working together, in a work front that can unite all those who dedicate themselves to the reality of the family in Brazil, in light of the social, political, economic and religious weaknesses that the family has to face. Each movement has brought some of its perspective, its charisma. It was very enriching to see the dedication and organization of the movements at a national and international level".
For the Bishop, a closer relationship with the movements that work with families represents "a very great potential" and "a very fruitful work front", with the possibility of strengthening projects and perspectives around what the Church carries out for family care.
Catégories: From the church

ASIA/PHILIPPINES - The island of Luzon closed due to coronavirus: the impact on the poorest and most vulnerable

Fides EN - - mer, 18/03/2020 - 11:47
Manila - The "total lockdown" imposed for a month on the island of Luzon, the region where the capital Manila is located, to combat the coronavirus pandemic, will have a very strong impact, especially on the poorest and most vulnerable: says to Agenzia Fides Father Andreas Chang, South Korean missionary in the Philippines and director of the St. Joseph Medical Center in Malabon, on the outskirts of Manila. On March 16, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte decreed a "community quarantine" until April 15 on the island of Luzon, which is home to at least 57 million people. The closure of schools, offices, transport, and all economic and commercial activities has been ordered, excluding pharmacies and food. The stringent measures taken block over half of the country's population in an attempt to curb coronavirus outbreaks. The government invites people to stay in their homes, while only essential services are guaranteed. Hundreds of checkpoints are scattered across the island of Luzon to control people's movements.
The St. Joseph Health Center in Manila provides free medical care and nutrition for the poor people in cities, especially women and children. "We are unable to help the poor because of the federal government-imposed quarantine", said Father Chang. In compliance with government measures, "We are concerned about the poor", said Father Chang. "Thousands of people who survive thanks to small daily chores like 'pedicab drivers' , and many other types of small workers have no job at the moment and many families will struggle to survive", explained the priest. "These people have to worry about eating and their survival at the moment. The coronavirus crisis is becoming a very tough test for the poor. When a natural disaster or a crisis like the current one occurs, the most affected people are mostly poor, most exposed, who are not prepared for any countermeasure or have no shock absorbers", notes Father Chang. For the time being St. Joseph Health Center closed its activities until April 14. "But now it is time to take care of each other despite the current situation", he notes.
Frederick Trigs, a resident in Manila, father of three teenage children, tells Fides: "First of all, we must have enough food for our family. The situation does not allow us to work outside. We are poor. There is great confusion and disorientation". In this critical phase, the Philippine Church is studying extraordinary possibilities and measures to meet the needs of the poorest.
The coronavirus pandemic has infected over 220 people in the Philippines so far and has killed 7 people.
Catégories: From the church

AFRICA/SOUTH SUDAN - 'When we start, we stay': the "blood pact" of the Doctors WITH Africa CUAMM

Fides EN - - mer, 18/03/2020 - 11:34
Nyal - "There is only one humanity" said Don Dante Carraro, Director of Doctors with Africa CUAMM, returning to Italy from South Sudan, and was shocked to find deserted cities and hospitals in distress due to the Coronavirus epidemic.
The Director in recent days had gone to Nyal, 40 thousand inhabitants, one of the most distant and forgotten places in the Country, in the State of Unity, for the opening of the first operating room attached to the village's modest health center. "The locals were all there, waiting for our arrival - says Don Dante. There was the whole community gathered to 'celebrate' the first operating room ever. Now mothers can finally give birth without the fear of losing their lives. The community leader thanked us and asked us not to abandon them. I replied that for us "WITH" is like a blood pact. ‘When we start, we stay’ I added, looking at him in the eyes and feeling the responsibility strongly".
Regarding the pandemic that is affecting the whole world, the priest, who is also a doctor, said that "in Africa there are still few known cases of Covid-19, but they are destined to increase and we must be prepared. Everything must be done to protect staff and contain the epidemic. The risk of not being able to do so is very high because health systems are extremely fragile and it is not possible to guarantee intensive care to the affected patients, there are no equipped wards! For this reason we are distributing protective material in the 23 hospitals where we are present , preparing containment plans, training the many health workers, including the communities, on hygiene and protection standards, collaborating with national governments in preparing guidelines and procedures suitable for the control of the epidemic".
At the end of his umpteenth humanitarian and health experience, Don Dante confirms the priority interest of CUAMM, "which remains concentrated in Africa as it has been for 70 years, and which today wants to be attentive to our country too, participating in the difficult and hard moment it is facing. Also, in Italy, we want to be close to the elderly who fear for their health and who find themselves even more alone having to face a hard daily life of isolation: for this reason we are taking action with the network of our volunteers and groups on the territory. We continue to support the many doctors who have returned who are now operating in the hospitals of our country with the same passion and competence experienced in Africa. We feel the duty to bring concrete help".
Catégories: From the church

AFRICA/IVORY COAST - Fight against Coronavirus: the Church adopts drastic measures

Fides EN - - mer, 18/03/2020 - 11:06
Abidjan - The Bishops of the Ivory Coast have adopted a series of measures to be applied during gatherings in order to adapt to the provisions adopted by the government to combat the spread of the Coronavirus . The Ivorian government adopted 13 measures on March 16; among these, the suspension for a period of 15 days starting from March 16, of the entry into the country of non-Ivorian travelers from countries with over 100 confirmed cases of Coronavirus disease, the closure of all pre-school, primary, junior and secondary education institutions for a period of 30 days, the ban on gatherings of over 50 people.
In response to these government measures, the Ivorian Bishops, in a statement read by His Exc. Mgr. Gaspard Bebi Gnéba, Bishop of Man, "invite all the people of God to respect them".
In particular, the pastoral and religious provisions stipulate that Catholic schools and seminaries will be closed for a period of 30 days from March 17 with the returning home of all seminarians.
The Bishops urge Catholics "to strictly comply with the provisions, prohibiting meetings of over 50 people and greetings with physical contact, as well as "respecting the distance of one meter between people". The Bishops also urge "regular handwashing and covering your mouth and nose with a tissue . "Liturgical greetings and peace gestures will be done by raising your hand towards your brother or sister".
With regards to Masses, the Bishops’ Conference of the Ivory Coast has announced that they will be held, provided that they are organized "responsibly respecting the norms adopted by the government. Community penitentiary celebrations are prohibited for 30 days from March 17th".
The sacrament of reconciliation will be done respecting the distance of at least one meter between the celebrant and the penitent. Weddings and Requiem Masses are authorized with a maximum of 50 participants, the same rule is applied for funeral vigils.
Catechesis, devotions and activities of movements and associations are suspended: they will be limited to family practice.
The Via Crucis can be celebrated in the family or in the CEB, basic ecclesial communities with a number not exceeding 50 people.
All these provisions "remain valid for Holy Week and Easter celebrations and will be renewed if necessary".
Catégories: From the church

ASIA/PAKISTAN - On March 20 a day of fasting and prayer to defeat the coronavirus

Fides EN - - mer, 18/03/2020 - 10:49
Islamabad : "In this moment of pain and suffering, I invite all the faithful of the diocese of Islamabad-Rawalpindi to observe a day of prayer and fasting on Friday 20 March 2020 to combat the threat of COVID-19": is the appeal issued in a pastoral letter sent to Agenzia Fides by Mgr. Joseph Arshad to the faithful of the diocese of Islamabad-Rawalpindi, led by him. Archbishop Joseph Arshad states in the text: "We will pray in particular for those who are infected, for the efforts made by the authorities, for those in the medical and scientific fields who fight the virus and for all those who feel anxious, so that the almighty merciful God may bring strength, comfort and healing for all".
The Archbishop observes: "While the world today is faced with the dangerous virus that affects various countries, I wish to express my closeness to those who are affected by the virus and to the health workers who take care of the sick". And he adds: "History is the testimony that every time humanity is challenged by any natural or man-made disaster, the Church has been at the forefront to help the needy humanity". "The service of the suffering humanity - he notes - is actually a Christian vocation. In this special period of Lent, we are even more worried about human beings and, in the current situation, I encourage everyone to pray and be at the service of people who suffer because of the disease". Archbishop Arshad called on the faithful to collaborate with the government of Pakistan and take the precautionary measures seriously.
Cardinal Joseph Coutts, Archbishop of Karachi, also announced the suspension of Holy Masses in Karachi and of all Lenten celebrations and prayer meetings for the next three weeks. In a video message to the faithful he urged all Pakistani citizens to cooperate with the government's Department of Health and follow the guidelines given for the protection of all. The Cardinal said: "I invite people of all faiths, to be united and pray for Almighty God to protect humanity and the world from this COVID-19 pandemic".
Catégories: From the church

AMERICA/ARGENTINA - Celebrations for the 500th anniversary of the first Argentine Mass suspended

Fides EN - - mer, 18/03/2020 - 10:19
Santa Cruz - Following the provisions issued by the government of the province of Santa Cruz and the National Ministry of Health, the celebration and meeting for the first Mass in Puerto San Julian, scheduled for March 31 and 1 and 2 April has been suspended. This is what the Bishop of Santa Cruz, Msgr. Jorge Garcia Cuerva sayus in a statement sent to Agenzia Fides, who thanks everyone for the time and commitment dedicated to the preparation of this event.
"Let us be inspired by this time of lived communion, so that the 500 years of the first Mass may be a sign of unity that spurs us to continue building a Church to whose table everyone feels invited, especially the poorest and most excluded", writes Mgr. Garcia Cuerva.
Finally, the Bishop, trusting "in the ever attentive assistance of the Virgin", urges to take all the necessary precautions to safeguard the health of all, without letting oneself be taken by anxiety, being prudent and cautious, attentive to the needs of the last, "because we do not walk alone, Jesus continues to walk with us".
Catégories: From the church

EUROPE/ITALY - All Italy in prayer on the evening of March 19

Fides EN - - mer, 18/03/2020 - 10:18
Rome - The Italian Bishops' Conference has promoted a moment of prayer for the whole country, inviting every family, every faithful, every religious community to pray the Rosary, the Mysteries of light, symbolically united, at home at 9 pm on Thursday 19 March, feast of St. Joseph, custodian of the Holy Family. The Chaldean Catholic Church, by the express will of Cardinal Louis Raphaël I Sako, Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, will spiritually join the initiative of the Italian Church. This participation is added to the solidarity expressed by many other Bishops’ Conferences around the world, starting with the Eastern European Churches, which ensure their proximity to Italy.
The prayer of the Rosary will also be accompanied by a simple sign: expose a small white cloth or a burning candle from their house windows, symbols of hope and the light of faith. "From our homes - says Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, President of CEI - the supplication of his children is raised to the Father, so that the Lord, good and merciful, may give the strength of his Spirit to doctors and health workers, enlighten researchers , guide rulers, instill vigor in the bodies of the elderly and children, remove fear, give everyone, especially the sick, the consolation of his Son Jesus". TV2000 will offer the opportunity to share prayer.
Catégories: From the church

AMERICA/PERU - Bishops: offer sympathy towards those who do not work, in order to face this hard moment as a family

Fides EN - - mar, 17/03/2020 - 14:54
Lima - "It is a hard moment that must also be an opportunity to offer our sympathy and face together as a family ... this disease that knows neither skin color nor limits, so we must follow the government provisions as a moral obligation", says the statement from the Peruvian Episcopal Conference sent to Fides, which concerns the Coronavirus emergency in this country.
Cardinal Pedro Barreto, in a speech on national television yesterday, invited the population to remain calm in the face of the state of emergency decreed by the government, in order to stop the spread of the coronavirus . A certain "amazement" on behalf of many citizens is normal, because it is an unprecedented decision in our history, but at the same time it is an "understandable" measure. "The important thing is that together we will move forward, the important thing is to remain calm, I am the first to pay attention to this decision and we must respect it", he said. Likewise, he said that this measure affects a vast sector of people, of those who work "day by day" with the intention of bringing bread home. "I have seen people cry for not knowing what to do, because some are day laborers, but I ask to keep calm and offer sympathy", he added.
The Peruvian population is experiencing moments of fear and bewilderment, following the measures taken to stay at home and not work in squares, markets, places open to the general public. The economy of the middle class and the majority of the population in the cities of the country live with the work done per day, so there is the risk of having nothing at the end of the day.
The CEP statement signed by Mgr. Miguel Cabrejos Vidarte, OFM, Metropolitan Archbishop of Trujillo and President of CEP also informs of the new provision for which each diocese must obtain digital tools and offer Sunday mass and Holy Week celebrations through the internet. "Living Holy Week" in many cities in the Andes means being together to pray, touch the sacred images, use the blessed water and carry the Saints in procession who have protected the people for centuries. The request of the Peruvian Bishops coincides with what Pope Francis has asked the Catholics in the world: pray for the reconquest of life, defeat fear and live hope.
Catégories: From the church

AFRICA/EGYPT - Court of Cassation advocates canceling the death sentence of a Coptic monk accused of the murder of Anba Epiphanios

Fides EN - - mar, 17/03/2020 - 14:41
Cairo - The Court of Cassation has advocated the annulment of one of the two death sentences imposed by the Egyptian court of first instance against the monk and ex monk accused of the murder of Anba Epiphanios , abbot of the Coptic monastery of Saint Macarius. This was reported by lawyer Michel Halim, defense attorney of one of the two accused, in recent days, adding that the orientation expressed by the Court of Cassation does not yet represent a binding pronouncement by the judicial body, and it would not concern the other accused Isaiah al Makari.
On Saturday 23 February 2019 the Criminal Court of Damanhur had issued two death sentences for monk Falta'os al Makari and former monk Wael Saad Tawadros , who were found guilty of the perpetrated murder of Anba Epiphanios, on 29 July 2018 in the monastery of Saint Macarius, in the Wadi Natrun region . The assassination of the abbot had shocked the entire Coptic community. The first death sentence, confirmed two months later, was immediately defined as "a catastrophe" by Anba Agathon, Coptic Orthodox Bishop of Maghagha. Bishop Agathon had immediately invited to pray for the two condemned.
In the sentence of condemnation we read that the two "had no qualms about committing their crime in a sacred place, and they showed that they did not even take into account the age and spiritual stature of the victim". According to what was reconstructed during the investigations, the Abbot was murdered due to contrasts for economic issues and for several violations of monastic rules by the two monks. During the trial, the two accused continued to proclaim themselves innocent.
The Abbot was found lifeless inside the monastery at dawn on Sunday 29 July, 2018 in a pool of blood, inside the monastery, along the way that led from his cell to the church, where the Bishop was going to start the day with the morning prayer, before Sunday Mass . The Abbot was 64 years old, a native of Tanta, a graduate in medicine, Anba Epiphanius had entered Saint Macarius the Great monastery, in Wadi Natrun region, in 1984, and was ordained a priest in 2002. Researcher and scholar, he had worked on the translation from Greek to Arabic of several books of the Bible.
Catégories: From the church

AFRICA/KENYA - Appointment of Bishop of Kitui

Fides EN - - mar, 17/03/2020 - 12:53
Vatican City - The Holy Father has appointed as bishop of the diocese of Kitui, Kenya, the Reverend Joseph Mwongela, of the clergy of Kitui, currently vicar general of the same diocese.
The Reverend Joseph Mwongela was born on 7 April 1968 in Kakumi, diocese of Kitui. He attended the preparatory year at Saint Mary’s Senior Seminary in the diocese of Nakuru . He carried out his studies in philosophy at Saint Augustine’s Senior Seminary of Mabanga, in the diocese of Bungoma and in theology at Saint Thomas Aquinas Major Seminary in Nairobi . He was ordained a priest on 7 September 1996 for the diocese of Kitui.
He subsequently held the following roles: parish vicar of the Migwani parish ; parish priest of the Nguni parish ; formatter at the Saint Patrick Formation House ; diocesan chancellor and, at the same time, director of the diocesan office for vocational pastoral care . From 2003 to 2008 he studied in Rome where he was awarded a licentiate from the Pontifical Gregorian University and a doctorate in dogmatic theology from the Angelicum . He went on to serve as chaplain of the Mater Misericordiae Hospital in Kitui ; parish priest of the Muthale parish ; director of the Saint John Paul II Institute of Professional Studies and parish priest of the Boma parish ; and vicar general of the diocese of Kitui .
Catégories: From the church

EUROPE/ITALY - Camillian missionaries involved in the "Corona Care" online platform

Fides EN - - mar, 17/03/2020 - 12:30
Rome - "The risk is that the 'panic mode' is spreading in many places. Several Countries are under severe stress: people are looking for adequate answers and solutions. We of the Camillian Disaster Service International Foundation intervened by joining the special Corona Care platform, created in India": reports Father Aris Miranda, Camillian missionary and CADIS Executive Director, to Agenzia Fides.
"Together with the Catholic Hospital Association of India, Sister Doctors Forum of India, Social Workers Forum, have organized a global call center, dedicated to anyone who wants to talk about the coronavirus over the phone or on the internet: infected people can do it in search of comfort and support but also anyone who is afraid or suspicious of their condition or of some acquaintance or family member".
"The people - underlines the missionary - need all kinds of information: medical, travel, policy and this platform, made available thanks to a partnership with the company 'Billion Lives', offers a great deal of reliable information. Our goal is to create a system, in different languages, that allows people to call and speak, a counseling session that people need. We are trying to expand globally, we are looking for volunteers . We just need an ear that knows how to listen and above all love and attention for people affected by COVID 19". To access the platform:

Link correlati :The global "Corona Care" platform for information and advice on the coronavirus
Catégories: From the church

AFRICA/GHANA - Coronavirus: "Respect the guidelines of the government"; the invitation of the Bishops to the faithful

Fides EN - - mar, 17/03/2020 - 11:55
Accra - The President of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference and Metropolitan Archbishop of Tamale, Msgr. Rev Philip Naameh, in a statement released by the conference on Monday, March 16, 2020, advised Catholics and Christians in Ghana to abide by the dictates from the government and put all public spiritual programmes such as retreats, devotions, meetings, confessions, pilgrimages among others be postponed for the next four weeks.
To date, March 17, Ghana has recorded 6 imported cases from coronavirus causing fears among many in the Country.
The statement by the conference urged all to obey the dictates of the the government which calls on all Public Masses be suspended for the next four weeks, all Public Spiritual Programmes such as retreats, devotions, meetings, Confessions, pilgrimages etc. be suspended for the next four weeks, all Catholic Schools be closed until further notice as directed, all funerals and weddings should be suspended for the next four weeks and that burials may be performed but with not more than 25 people in attendance.
Bishops also recommend the following:
1. Daily private Masses should be offered for God’s intervention with not more than five people in attendance.
2. Churches and adoration chapels are opened for private prayers by parishioners, paying attention to observe the required distance of two meters and to pray in silence.
3. That where possible, live streaming of Masses should be encouraged to enable the faithful receive spiritual Communion .
4. We exhort all Catholics and people of faith to intensify individual and family prayers and encourage all to read the daily Mass readings and reflections provided on several social media platforms.
"In addition to the above recommendations, we urge all Ghanaians to keep observing the basic precautionary measures that will help minimize the spread of the virus as well as protect oneself from being infected with Covid-19", concludes the Bishops' message.
Catégories: From the church

ASIA/BANGLADESH - Prayer and awareness on the coronavirus, while the nation celebrates the "Father of the fatherland"

Fides EN - - mar, 17/03/2020 - 11:38
Dhaka - "We are all informed about the coronavirus. The media reported that people from over 70 countries have been infected with the coronavirus. It has become a threat to some countries. On behalf of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Bangladesh , we ask priests, nuns and faithful to be aware of the virus and the need for protection for all. We call on everyone to pray the Almighty God to save us from the virus. May Almighty God save humanity in the world from this deadly virus": says an appeal issued by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Bangladesh , which has asked priests, nuns and faithful, in the midst of the coronavirus crisis, for intense prayers, while the nation celebrates today, March 17, the hundred years of the birth of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founder and "Father of the fatherland".
"We pray for the sick, for those who have already been infected with the coronavirus, we pray for them and those who have passed away, so that they may have peace in eternal life", reads the text sent to Agenzia Fides.
A special prayer was raised to God for salvation from the coronavirus during holy masses across the country on Sunday March 15. "In the Holy Mass we prayed, all together, to save humans on earth from the deadly virus. We hope the Lord will hear our prayers", says Subash Rozario, a Catholic in Dhaka, to Fides.
Coronavirus outbreaks have been reported in Bangladesh. The Institute of Epidemiology for Disease Control and Research said on March 15 that 10 people, two of them positive, are being held in isolation in hospitals, while over 2,300 people across the country have been placed under domestic quarantine.
The Catholic Church immediately sensitized the people, said Caritas Bangladesh's health coordinator, dr. Edward Pallab Rozario, who told Agenzia Fides: "We are conducting an awareness program in schools, churches in different parts of the country to inform and protect against coronavirus. We made posters about coronavirus awareness. The Catholic Vhiesa of Bangladesh has taken the matter seriously".
Edward informs that he has sent brochures, posters to over 3000 Caritas staff members, all Catholic priests and lay people across the country, who are involved in coronavirus awareness.
A coronavirus awareness program has been included in the "Smile" project, which also includes meetings in various slums and in the poorest neighborhoods of the cities.
The government of Bangladesh is celebrating the centenary of the birth of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman today, March 17th, considered the "Father of the Fatherland". Due to the risks for the spread of the virus, the celebrations, initially scheduled with large events, have a lesser tone and precautionary measures have been taken. Rahman Bengali politician at the head of the Awami League, also known as "Mujib and Bangabandhu", that is, "friend of Bengal", was a central figure in the movement and in the war of liberation of Bangladesh, which became independent of Pakistan in 1971. He was the country's first president between 1971 and 1972, was then prime minister and died assassinated by a group of Army officers in 1975.
Catégories: From the church

EUROPE/SPAIN - A message of hope from Catholic musicians through a virtual festival

Fides EN - - mar, 17/03/2020 - 10:40
Madrid - The best-known Catholic artists will come together in a virtual festival to bring a message of hope to those forced into their homes due to the pandemic: in these two weeks they will hold live concerts through social networks, joining the campaign #YoMeQuedoEnCasa, to send a message of trust in God in this difficult period.
Well-known international musicians have joined this initiative, promoted by the "Católicos en Red" with the support of the Subcommittee for young people and children of the Spanish Episcopal Conference. The performances, which will be offered through the profile of each artist on social networks such as Instagram, Facebook or YouTube, will last 30 minutes, starting from 8 pm every day. With these concerts, the participating artists want to invite people to follow the instructions of the civil and health authorities, as well as to transmit a message of tranquility and trust in God in the face of the pandemic.

Link correlati :The festival program and the channels through which it will be broadcast
Catégories: From the church

AFRICA/NIGERIA - Religious dies in the flames after rescuing students

Fides EN - - mar, 17/03/2020 - 10:36
Lagos - Sr.Henrietta Alokha, an administrator at Bethlehem Girls College, Abule Ado, Amuwo Odofin local government area of Lagos state lost her life in the explosion which occurred on Sunday Sunday, March 15. While Holy Mass was being celebrated in the school, a strong explosion occurred, heard even miles away, and a violent fire broke out which seriously damaged homes and buildings in the surroundings. Sister Henrietta rescued all the children under her care from the explosion and could not make it herself.
According to information collected by Fides, in fact, the terrible explosion occurred in a gas treatment plant, caused by the impact of a truck with a deposit of gas cylinders. A fire then broke out which destroyed about fifty buildings and the school in the neighborhood where the religious was administrator. The first official estimates, still provisional, speak of about fifteen deaths, while the rubble continues to be removed.
The Archbishop of Lagos, Alfred Adewale Martins, said that Sister Henrietta, who died in the explosion, "paid the supreme price of her offer to ensure the safety of over 300 students under her responsibility" and denied the hypothesis that even a priest had died in the explosion. The priest in fact managed to rescue the students and save himself. "We want to inform that all the students of the school are safe and sound. Those who suffered injuries were promptly assisted in various hospitals in the surroundings", he wrote. The Archbishop also informs that the education department together with the administrators of other archdiocesan schools, are considering how students from Bethlehem Girls College can be accommodated in other schools so as not to stop their lessons. Mgr. Martins expresses his closeness to the families of those who have died, prays for the healing of the wounded and prays to the Lord to provide to the needs of all those who have lost their properties.
Sister Henrietta belonged to the Congregation of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart , the first indigenous religious order in the Mid-West region of Nigeria, founded by Archbishop Patrick Ebosele Ekpu, Emeritus Archbishop of Benin City, on April 6, 1975. The Congregation was not founded for a specific ministry, but to respond to the needs of the Church where they emerge and wherever they appear. The religious are committed to eliminating the root causes of poverty, for the enhancement of women, for the realization of peace, justice, love and unity of all creation. The motto of the Congregation is "Ut unum sint" , it is present in Nigeria, in Italy and in the United States.
Catégories: From the church

AFRICA/NIGERIA - At least 70 priests and religious kidnapped or killed since June 2015

Fides EN - - lun, 16/03/2020 - 15:41
Abuja - "In Nigeria no fewer than 20 clergymen including at least eight Catholic Priests/Seminarians were hacked to death in the past 57 months and not less than 50 abducted or kidnapped.". This is what a report by Nigerian NGO, International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law sent to Fides denounces. The report said that available statistics have shown that between 11,500 and 12,000 Christian deaths were recorded in the past 57 months or since June 2015 when the present central Government of Nigeria came on board. Out of this figure, Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen accounted for 7,400 Christian deaths, Boko Haram 4000 and the ‘Highway Bandits’ 150-200.
The report also states that most of the victims of Boko Haram/ISWAP attacks in Nigeria’s Northeast are Christians. On the part of ‘Bandits/Highway Kidnappers’ in Northern Nigeria, most of their rural victims are Muslims while many, if not most of their outlet or roadside victims are Christians traveling to Northern or Southern parts of the Country using the Birnin-Gwari Federal Road.
Targeting and abducting Christian travelers on highways particularly in Northern Nigeria who are mainly citizens of Igbo extraction have also intensified and taken a dangerous dimension in recent months-whereby the victims are separated at gunpoint according to their tribe and religion.
The latest victim of Christian persecution in the Catholic Church in Nigeria is the eighteen year old Michael Nnadi, kidnapped together with his three companions from the major Seminary of the Good Shepherd of Kakau, in the State of Kaduna, in northwest of Nigeria, by armed men in the night of January 8 . While his three companions were subsequently released, the seminarian's body was found on February 1 .
Catégories: From the church

EUROPE/ITALY - Father Maccalli today: a contemplative missionary

Fides EN - - lun, 16/03/2020 - 15:28
Padua - "It was September 17, 2018 when an unexpected event disrupted the life of Father Gigi Maccalli and we find ourselves once again to pray for him". These are the words of two dear friends of the priest of the Society for African Missions kidnapped in Bomoanga, Niger, of whom there is no official news. "Each time we hope that it will be the last and that next time we will be able to meet for a thank you prayer. Because it is this hope that has sustained and continues to support our prayer". Hopes and prayers for the release re-emerged, after 15 months of imprisonment when Luca Tacchetti and his Canadian partner, Edith Blais, were released in Mali on 16 December 2018. A patrol of blue helmets that after having obtained all the necessary information assaulted the group that held the two young prisoners.
Fr. Maccalli’s two friends today told Agenzia Fides about their acquaintance and closeness to the missionary shortly before he was ordained: "With his eyes and heart he was already in Africa. Three years after his arrival, on the eve of his perpetual vows, he wrote to us from Bondoukou: 'My perpetual vows within the SMA community is a commitment of faithfulness and consecration to the mission and to this Church of Africa at the service to the poor ... I have come to serve and this remains the horizon of my priestly vocation'. Today his mission has taken on a new face, he is no longer an active missionary but a contemplative missionary, in this particular seclusion. His is a prayerful mission, which continues in a different way and will bear fruit".
And they continue: "It is being in love with God that makes us missionaries, said Cardinal Martini, it is the joy of the precious pearl that gives the desire to make it known to others too. It is the joy of the Gospel that drives mission. It is this joy that has always supported and pushed Fr. Gigi, always a little further towards Niger, this very poor country. This joy was his strength even in difficult moments".
The memory addressed to Father Maccalli for this umpteenth anniversary of his kidnapping ends in light of the recent release of the two boys kidnapped in Mali 15 months ago. This extraordinary event keeps the hope of embracing Fr. Gigi alive. "Let us continue to pray full of trust because, even if we do not understand, we know and believe that God makes everything contribute to the good of those who love him".

Catégories: From the church