OCEANIA/AUSTRALIA - Solidarity and community: coordination of Catholic bodies to help victims of fires

Fides EN - www.fides.org - jeu, 30/01/2020 - 12:53
Sydney - "The unprecedented bushfires that have devastated Australia in the past months were the catalyst for deeper collaboration between Catholic ministries. For this reason, the 'Catholic Emergency Relief Australia' brings together the leadership of key national organisations to support the Catholic Church’s response to emergency events. The founding organizations are: The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Catholic Religious Australia, Catholic Social Services Australia and the National Catholic Education Commission". This is what we read in a note sent to Agenzia Fides by the Bishops’ Conference of Australian bishops.
Already in recent weeks, in response to emergencies, the Church had mobilized with various initiatives, such as the commitment carried out by the congregation of San Vincenzo de Paoli and by "Catholic Mission", National Direction of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Australia.
In the note sent to Fides, Mgr. Mark Benedict Coleridge, president of the Australian Bishops' Conference: "In these days, our parishes are constantly receiving requests from individuals and families who need a place to stay, who need new clothes or appliances, who need a listening ear. Much of that support will come from government, from Catholic and other charitable organisations, but volunteers can carry out some of the urgent tasks to help people in their daily lives".
"The imposing response to the tragedy of fires and drought has once again highlighted the community strength of the Catholic Church", concluded the bishop, confirming the commitment of Catholic institutions in the coming months, to meet the needs of internally displaced persons and to ensure that they can resume their normal life.
Catégories: From the church

AMERICA/HAITI - Three days of meetings at the Apostolic Nunciature to resolve the political crisis

Fides EN - www.fides.org - jeu, 30/01/2020 - 12:29
Port au Prince - Possible turning point in the Haitian political crisis. The Nunciature in Port Au Prince has in fact announced that it will make its headquarters available for talks between the local political parties from 29 to 31 January.
In a note published yesterday, January 29, and sent to Fides, the Nunciature specifies that "it will not participate in political discussions" and, in accordance with its specific vocation, "does not support any political party or any political actor in national life".
"In making the premises available for meetings, the Apostolic Nunciature in Haiti, in communion with the Conference of Bishops of Haiti, is motivated solely by the desire to offer a possibility of peace and stability to the country", the note states.
The meeting is organized by the Haitian Patriotic Initiative Committee , with the support of international partners, such as the United Nations , the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti , the Organization of American States. and the Apostolic Nunciature.
The political, institutional, social and economic crisis that the Caribbean country has been experiencing for over a year has provoked popular reactions with numerous, often violent street demonstrations. The crisis also caused the blocking of the activities of religious communities, missionaries and NGOs, with a consequent impact on the population which is deprived of essential services. The first response from political groups and movements has been positive.
Catégories: From the church

AFRICA/KENYA - "Do not keep the Bible on shelves, but read it, meditate on it and then put into practice the Word of God"

Fides EN - www.fides.org - jeu, 30/01/2020 - 12:08
Nairobi - "It is a very important thing that the Holy Father has thought about the word of God, and to give a chance as a reminder to all of us human beings, especially the Christians and in particular the Catholics to go about the word of God by reading it, studying it, meditating and reflecting on it", said His Exc. Mgr. Philip Anyolo, Archbishop of Kisumu and Apostolic Administrator of Homabay, who presides over the Kenya Conference of the Catholic Bishops , on the occasion of the Sunday of the Word of God, announced by Pope Francis with the Apostolic Letter "Aperuit Illis".
Mgr. Anyolo urged Christians not to keep their bibles on the shelves, but to make it a daily practice to read, understand and reflect in their lives, and the Church in Kenya to revive the interest of reading the Bible.
The Archbishop underlined the importance of the Small Christian Communities whereby small groups of the faithful gather to read, interpret and understand the Bible deeply.
Mgr. Anyolo also announced that the Church in Kenya will avail the bible to everybody even children.
Catégories: From the church

ASIA/PAKISTAN - 42 Christians have been released, accused of "riots" after attacks on the Churches of Lahore

Fides EN - www.fides.org - jeu, 30/01/2020 - 12:00
Lahore : "Justice prevailed and hope was restored, thank God. We appreciate the work of the special anti-terrorist Court of Lahore for their decision to release 42 Christian prisoners accused of participating in clashes and riots after the suicide bombings that hit two Churches in Lahore in March 2015": says, Fr. Qaisar Feroz OFM Cap, executive Secretary of the Episcopal Commission for Social Communications, to Fides, expressing satisfaction and gratitude also towards "the government of Pakistan, leaders of the Catholic Church, Christian political leaders, activists and human rights defenders". Fr. Feroz also states: "The current government is demonstrating its commitment to religious minorities in Pakistan. The 42 people freed are heads of families and their families have suffered a lot in the past 4 years. Now they will be able to return to normal life again".
The ordeal for the Christians began on March 15, 2015 in Lahore: in the Christian neighborhood of Youhanabad, two suicide bombers attacked two Churches, the Christ Church and the St. John Church . During these fatal attacks more than 70 people were injured and 15 people died including 11 Christians and 4 Muslims. Among the young people who died, there is the Christian Akash Bashir - a young man who stopped the suicide bomber at the entrance of the Catholic church of St. John, sacrificing himself to avoid a major massacre.
After those attacks, Christians protested on the streets of the city and, during the protests, two Muslim men lost their lives in a sort of lynching, suspected of being connected to the suicide bombers. The Church and public opinion condemned this violent reaction. Following the unrest, the police, after appropriate investigations, filed charges against the protesters for killing the two men and destroying government property, initiating raids in the Youhanabad neighborhood and 42 Christian men were arrested. In 2016, a judicial proceeding was initiated before the anti-terrorism court in Lahore.
On January 29, the court ordered the release of 42 Christian men, while their families reached an agreement for financial compensation to the families of the two Muslims killed.
Kashif Aslam, coordinator of the Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace in Karachi, speaking to Fides, said: "It has been enormous suffering for the families of these 42 accused. Now it will take a long time for them to re-enter the family fabric, in many cases torn or broken up and to find a job. " The Commission has worked to support these families in every possible way, he reports.
Sabir Michael, a Catholic human rights activist, speaking with Fides, said: "It is a moment of joy for the whole community. Even if these people need time to get out of this trauma, we hope for their own good and for the good of their families".
Catégories: From the church

ASIA/PHILIPPINES - Cardinal Tagle: "To be a gift for the other, following the example of Christ"

Fides EN - www.fides.org - jeu, 30/01/2020 - 11:14
Manila - "Welcoming the other as a gift. Being ourselves a gift for the other, following the example of Jesus Christ who is a gift for humanity. He is the greatest gift we have received, and that gift bears fruit: we ourselves are the fruit of his Spirit and his presence, we are those who testify and bring this gift of inestimable value to the world": said Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, at the conclusion of the "Philippine Conference for the new evangelization", held in Manila on 28 and 29 January 2020. The event brought together over ten thousand faithful among priests, religious, young people, adults from the parishes of the archdiocese, gathered at the Araneta Coliseum, sports hall of Quezon city, one of the cities that make up the "MetroManila", to give a tangible sign of "community communion" and also to greet Cardinal Tagle, about to begin his work in the Vatican, as Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of the Peoples.
As Fides learns, the Cardinal - focusing on the central theme of gathering, proximity - spoke of the interpersonal relationship, using an image, that of the "weaver": "The Christian - he remarked - is he who weaves with patience, wisdom and grace a human relationship. It is a delicate work, easy to destroy and tiring to carry out. In this sense, dialogue is part of this relationship that means having an open, trustworthy, respectful and brotherly lifestyle towards others, seeing the good that is in him, the seed of God in him". This style, he continued, "is also nourished thanks to human factors such as the simple sharing of a meal; or by listening and playing music, which teaches harmony, as happens in the three notes of a chord. Kindness and friendship towards each person are threads of this fabric and so is a smile, a typical element of Filipino culture, which knows how to see the good, the positive, the action of God even in painful events". "In this work - underlined Cardinal Tagle - the main weaver is the Holy Spirit, who unites people of different languages, cultures, traditions, in his love. We are agents and collaborators of the Holy Spirit, when we participate in this work of weaving among men". In this perspective, he explained, the Church in the Philippines is experiencing the special Year of ecumenism, interreligious dialogue and indigenous peoples that the Filipino Bishops proclaimed in 2020, in preparation for the 500th anniversary of the arrival of faith in the archipelago .
To answer the question "Who is my neighbor?" - continued the Cardinal addressing the vast assembly that listened to him in religious silence - "we must then start by recognizing ourselves as neighbors for others. We can build a world in which the other is my neighbor, to be welcomed and preserved; and I am close to the other. It is an experience that leads us to recognize the uniqueness and preciousness of each person, to recognize oneself as a gift and to see one's neighbor as a gift from God".
"Why does it not often happen?" he asked. "Because there is fear - he said - that feeds violent attitudes, prejudices, hostilities, which can last for generations or have collective recipients, entire peoples. The fear of the other, of the non-Christian is often deduced. It is only by starting from the truth about ourselves, by gestures of humility and repentance, that we can open up to the other and recognize him as a gift. From here comes gratitude to God, for giving us the gift of the other person. This gratitude produces communion, solidarity and responsibility, in taking care of each other. We all carry a need and we are all a gift. You are the gift that responds to the other's need", he noted, quoting the attitude of the Good Samaritan, compassion. And he concluded: "Christ understands and knows our needs and made himself a gift for all of us, offering his body, his blood, all of himself for our humanity. Christ is the greatest gift that inspires our being gift for others".
Catégories: From the church

AMERICA/BOLIVIA - "Let us allow ourselves to be enlightened by the Word of God and give priority to the protection of democracy" urges Mgr. Sergio Gualberti

Fides EN - www.fides.org - mer, 29/01/2020 - 12:16
Santa Cruz - "What must prevail is the safeguarding of democracy. All citizens and in particular candidates should allow themselves to be enlightened and guided by the values of the word of God: life, human rights, freedom, common good, justice, peace and spirit of service", said the Archbishop of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Mgr. Sergio Gualberti in his celebration of the Sunday of the Word of God, 26 January.
In his homily he said that there was an intense experience of unity around the Bible in the country, when it was reintroduced in the Government Palace, just at the time of the general strike after the resignation of ex-President Morales.
Mgr. Gualberti asked that such a significant gesture must not remain as an anecdotal fact, but becomes a call to know the treasures of the Word of God so that it is light and guide of our personal and social life.
Then he offered the example of Pope Francis, who constantly highlights the merciful love of God the Father who asks Christians to live in charity and share everything in solidarity.
The Archbishop concluded by urging the candidates of the next elections to "give priority to the protection of democracy and unity around common programs, avoiding the dispersion and the danger of falling into authoritarian systems".
Bolivia is preparing for new political elections on 3 May which should bring the country out of last year's political and institutional crisis .
Catégories: From the church

AFRICA/GUINEA - The clergy: "We are concerned about the social and political crisis that leads young people to flee"

Fides EN - www.fides.org - mer, 29/01/2020 - 12:03
Conakry - "We are concerned about the illegal migration of our young people" and "the serious socio-political situation of our country", say the Catholic priests of the Republic of Guinea at the end of the ordinary assembly of the local clergy held from 22 to January 26 in N'zérékoré.
The escape of young people from the country and the serious social, economic and political conditions of Guinea are closely linked. In their message, sent to Fides, the priests say they are extremely worried about "the strong exodus of our boys and girls to the west in search of "well-being", however, without knowing "the risks they encounter during the crossing of the desert, in unfavorable conditions". "Thousands of young migrants lose their lives in the desert and in the Mediterranean - recall the Guinean priests - leaving emptiness and desolation in families". The message underlines that uncontrolled migration represents "an escape of valid people who could have served our nation with value".
The document strongly denounces Guinea's political crisis by stating that "our democracy is violated by regionalism, nepotism, ethnocentrism, favoritism, injustice and clanism". "The Guinean social fabric is shattered, the consequence of an egotist, regionalist and ethnocentric policy" continues the message.
The clergy therefore calls for full respect for the Constitution and the principle of alternation through free and transparent elections guaranteed by a fully independent National Electoral Commission.
Catégories: From the church

ASIA/LEBANON - Heads of Churches: no to street violence. Support for the new Lebanese government

Fides EN - www.fides.org - mer, 29/01/2020 - 11:47
Bkerké - Openness and encouragement towards the new government, denunciation of the scourge of corruption, together with the warning that the legitimate right to demonstrate cannot be invoked to justify the violent and "uncivilized" actions perpetrated by groups of troublemakers in squares and on the Lebanese streets during the protests in recent months. These are the judgments and appeals shared by the Heads of Churches and ecclesial communities present in Lebanon, gathered on Tuesday 28 January at the invitation of Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rai at the Maronite patriarchal see of Bkerkè. Reason for the meeting: to evaluate together the delicate historical passage crossed by the Lebanese nation. Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch Youssef Absi, Syrian Catholic Patriarch Ignace Youssif III Younan, Syrian Orthodox Patriarch Mar Ignatius Aphrem II, Catholicos of Cilicia of the Apostolic Armenians Aram I and Reverend Joseph Kassab, President of the Supreme Council of the Evangelical Communities in Lebanon and Syria also took part in the "spiritual summit" of the Heads of the Churches in Lebanon.
In the joint document, released at the end of the summit, the heads of the Churches present in Lebanon, among other things, express satisfaction for the formation of the new government entrusted to Hassan Diab , and for the experts co-opted by the Premier in charge of the government team. The ecclesiastics call on the entire political class to take the path of structural reforms decisively, necessary to bring the country out of the economic crisis that is suffocating it. Church leaders also ask to stop the bleeding of resources stolen from the Lebanese people from corruption. Patriarchs, Bishops and heads of Christian communities reaffirm their full right to publicly express their dissent towards the political class, but at the same time firmly condemn the "uncivilized" character that various street demonstrations have taken, especially in Beirut, expressing appreciation for the work of the army and the security forces, and urging violent groups to express their dissent and reiterating that the salvation of the nation can never come through bloodshed.
Catégories: From the church

ASIA/PHILIPPINES - Evangelization, faith, dialogue: the Church of Manila in assembly

Fides EN - www.fides.org - mer, 29/01/2020 - 11:32
Manila - Between "religious devotion" and "authentic faith" there can be great distance. Attendance at Sunday mass and the sacraments can only be considered "an optional" by many baptized. For this reason, the diocese of Manila has been promoting and proposing a special "Philippine Conference on the new evangelization" to the people of God for seven years, a large assembly organized this year on 28 and 29 January 2020 at the Araneta Coliseum, covered arena in Quezon city, in the metropolitan city of Manila. The gathering was attended by about 9,000 faithful, including young people, lay people, religious and priests of the archdiocese, gathered in a moment of study, exchange, awareness of their faith.
"The conference was born thanks to an intuition of Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, who wanted to encourage a reflection and awareness of the whole community of Manila - priests, religious, lay people, young people, families - on the new evangelization. We started from the awareness that we ourselves need to be evangelized. In a country like ours, there are many expressions of popular devotion but, for example, the percentage of people who attend Sunday mass, in the people of God, does not exceed 20%", explains to Agenzia Fides Father Esteban Lo, religious of the Society of Lorenzo Ruiz, and national Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in the Southeast Asian nation. "Often when we think about mission, we refer to the sending of missionaries to distant countries, where Christians are minorities or where it is not easy to live. But, 500 years after the first baptism, which took place in the Philippines in 1521, we are called to question ourselves on the the need to re-evangelize our people, the baptized who have become 'lukewarm' or who have put aside their faith".
Each year the Conference is dedicated to a specific theme and, if last year the event focused on the world of young people, this year dialogue is the center of attention. Luke's Gospel passage, in which he asks "Who is my neighbor" inspired the 2020 edition which, at first, was meant for the summer. The need to anticipate the times was dictated by the need to allow Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle to be present, who is about to leave Manila to take office as Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, in the Vatican.
"Dialogue means being open to others, recognizing their goodness and dignity and putting into practice the commandment of Jesus: Love your neighbor as yourself. In this sense, dialogue, founded on the love of God, is a way of witness and proclamation of the Gospel", explains Fr. Sebastiano D'Ambra, PIME missionary and engaged in the Islamic-Christian dialogue in the Philippines, called to offer a testimony during the works of the assembly.
Catégories: From the church

AFRICA/TOGO - A legal framework is needed that guarantees peaceful, credible, free and transparent elections

Fides EN - www.fides.org - mar, 28/01/2020 - 13:16
Kara - On the eve of the presidential elections in Togo, the atmosphere between political powers and the Church remains very tense. "As in Ivory Coast, the Catholic Church in Togo is also accused of being in collusion with the opposition. Often it is even called opposition spokesman", said Fr. Donald Zagore, priest of the Society for African Missions , in the context of the social tensions present in the two African countries.
"In Togo, in a letter from the territorial administration of 16 January 2020, the Catholic Church was accused of lack of impartiality with the consequent obstacle of carrying out an observer role during the next presidential elections in February 2020 - explains Fr. Zagore. In Ivory Coast, after the 114th Plenary Assembly of the Episcopal Conference, the same criticisms were raised about the lack of impartiality of the Catholic Church".
"The fundamental mission of the Church is to defend without any ambiguity the principles of truth and justice, which are fundamental for all men and all peoples - insists the priest. In this commitment the Church must be able to fight with zeal, professionalism and prophetic spirit.
Today the thorny issue of peaceful, credible, free and transparent elections, protected by a legal framework that guarantees criminal sanctions, represents the great challenge not only for the Catholic Church in our African continent, but for all institutions. The Catholic Church cannot exempt itself from defending the right to life by protecting the fundamental principles of truth and justice".

Catégories: From the church

AFRICA/IVORY COAST - Prayer for peace in Abidjan no longer includes the procession "due to security reasons"

Fides EN - www.fides.org - mar, 28/01/2020 - 12:45
Abidjan - It is an initiative scheduled since October 2019; unfortunately, the implementation of this project suffers from ambivalent, contradictory and ambiguous interpretations. This risks, if you are not careful, to distort both the strictly spiritual intention and the purpose of this laudable initiative", said Fr. Augustin Obrou, communications manager of the Archdiocese of Abidjan, in announcing the decision made by His Eminence Cardinal Jean Pierre Kutwa, Archbishop of Abidjan, to hold the prayer for peace exclusively in the Cathedral of St. Paul "for security reasons".
The prayer for peace in the Ivory Coast will be held on Saturday 15 February from 7am to 1:30pm, but there will be no procession from Place de la République on the Abidjan Plateau to the cathedral as originally planned .
After recalling that within the Catholic Church, processions, Via Crucis, prayers of intercessions are common practices, Fr. Obrou stressed that "the Church cannot be the sounding board for any group or association". Following the dangers of infiltration and concerned about the safety of his faithful, Cardinal Kutwa decided to limit the day of prayer exclusively inside the Cathedral. In fact, some political parties had invited their militants and supporters to join the procession, thus raising controversy over an initiative that must remain strictly pastoral. "His goal is to reaffirm the importance of living in a stable environment, supporting peace among young people, showing the need to live in fraternity and cohesion, to raise awareness among young people to non-violence during the election period", recalls Fr. Obrou.
"His Eminence understands the disappointment of all those who would like to live this moment of prayer as a pilgrimage. But "everything contributes to the good of those who believe", says Saint Paul, Apostle of the Gentiles", concluded Fr. Obrou.
Catégories: From the church

AFRICA/BURKINA FASO - The Continental Symposium on the mission ad gentes has begun

Fides EN - www.fides.org - mar, 28/01/2020 - 12:34
Ouagadougou – The Continental Symposium on the mission ad gentes has begun, which will be held at the Cardinal Paul Zoungrana National Center in Ouagadougou from January 27 to February 1, 2020.
Initially scheduled as part of the centenary celebration of Pope Benedict XV's Apostolic Letter Maximum Illud , the event was postponed to January 2020 for calendar reasons.
It is organized by the Pontifical Missionary Union and the Pontifical Mission Societies to allow reflection on theological, biblical, socio-anthropological, pastoral issues. From this interdisciplinary perspective, fifteen researchers will work on these issues in order to stimulate missionary action ad gentes as a paradigm of Christian action and to be Church-Family of God. The theme of the conference is: "To testify, proclaim and celebrate the faith in the mission of evangelization in Africa today". There are fifteen national directors of the Pontifical Mission Societies and fifteen Bishops participating in the open meetings at the Catholic institutes and universities in the area. In total, the participants come from thirteen countries including Lebanon.
Catégories: From the church

AFRICA/EGYPT - The establishment of bodies for the correct management of the assets of Catholic and Evangelical Churches continues at an intense pace

Fides EN - www.fides.org - mar, 28/01/2020 - 12:12
Cairo - The work of the government commission committed to preparing a bill for the establishment of property management bodies belonging to the Catholic Church and to the Evangelical Churches in Egypt continues at an intense pace. "A few months ago" reports to Agenzia Fides Anba Kyrillos William, Coptic Catholic Bishop of Assiut "The Catholic Church and the evangelical Christian denominations had sent the request to competent governmental bodies to establish bodies charged with the control and correct management of their properties and of their real estate. An ad hoc commission was formed which immediately got down to work". Now, the media is beginning to give details on the bill that will lead to the establishment of new bodies for the management of ecclesiastical endowments. The draft law, also examined by the Parliamentary Commission for Religious Affairs, should lead within a short space of time to the establishment of the required management bodies, aimed at ensuring the correct administration of ecclesiastical assets and donations, including those at the center of legal disputes. "The bodies" remarks Anba Kyrillos "will also have to monitor the correct use of donations and avoid any personal, private or clan advantage in the use of ecclesiastical goods".
Recently, some Egyptian media have let details filter on the establishment of the new ecclesiastical property management bodies. As for the Catholic Church, the management body of ecclesiastical properties should be led by a Board of Directors, chaired by the Coptic Catholic Patriarch and made up of 12 members, half bishops and the other half priests, men and women religious, lay people. The two management bodies must draw up and present to the competent civil authorities an annual report and balance sheet on the management of the ecclesiastical assets entrusted to them.
Catégories: From the church

AMERICA/EL SALVADOR - The Church announces the Jubilee Year of the Martyrs 40 years after the martyrdom of San Oscar Romero

Fides EN - www.fides.org - mar, 28/01/2020 - 11:40
San Salvador - "Martyrdom is the greatest testimony of faith, because it faithfully reproduces Christ, giving his life so that others can have life in abundance" , underlines the message of the Episcopal Conference of El Salvador, in preparation for the Jubilee Year of the Martyrs, 40 years after the martyrdom of San Oscar Arnulfo Romero.
The message indicates the dates on which the national martyrs will be celebrated: March 12, 43rd anniversary of the martyrdom of Fr. Rutilio Grande; March 24, 40th Anniversary of the martyrdom of San Oscar Arnulfo Romero; June 14, 40th anniversary of the martyrdom of Fr. Cosme Spessotto. On July 31, August 1 and 2, the great Pilgrimage to Ciudad Barrios, the birthplace of San Oscar Arnulfo Romero, and the National Congress on martyrs.
"The martyrs gave their lives and accompany us on our pilgrimage of faith. We want to hear their voice and at the same time we want to echo that voice. Therefore, we respectfully ask the Parliamentary Assembly to promulgate an authentic "National Reconciliation Law" to do justice to victims, know the truth and define compensation", say the Bishops.
In asking for justice for the population, the Bishops also ask for "a new system of assistance for retirees" and the definitive approval of the "General Water Law", which ensures all Salvadoran citizens the right to water. "Water is a public good, therefore it must be administered only by the State", write the Bishops who invite the population "to make use of their right to democratic participation and to make their voices heard on social networks, sending as many messages to the deputies, asking that, in accordance with their constitutional mandate, they legislate on each of the points indicated, in favor of the people who elected them and in defense of the rights of the poorest".
Finally, the Bishops express solidarity with migrants and ask for the respect of their rights.
Catégories: From the church

ASIA/PHILIPPINES - Cardinal Tagle personally thanks and greets the faithful: "Do everything in the name of Christ"

Fides EN - www.fides.org - mar, 28/01/2020 - 11:24
Manila - "Every action you do is a Eucharistic action. Your life is an endless Eucharist. Everything is done in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, to thank him for his call, his goodness, his mercy". With these words, delivered with emotion, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle addressed the faithful of Manila, celebrating a thanksgiving mass yesterday evening, on January 27, in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. As Fides learns, the church was packed with over two thousand faithful, who came from all over the territory and from over 85 parishes, to share and greet the Cardinal who, in the next few days, will reach the Vatican and take office as Prefect of the Congregation for the evangelization of peoples. Numerous bishops from other Filipino dioceses were present, the presence of priests, religious and catechists, of what is one of the oldest dioceses in Asia, was massive. In fact, while the Church in the Philippines is preparing to celebrate 500 years of the arrival of the Gospel in the archipelago , about 50 years after the first Filipino was baptized , given the impressive growth of the community of faithful, in 1579 the diocese of Manila was established as a suffragan of Mexico City. In 1595 Manila was already archdiocese and today it is made up of seven cities and five municipalities, a territory where over 3 million Catholic faithful live.
In the closing mass, the Cardinal urged to always have an attitude of thanksgiving towards God, Lord of history, because "God's plans are not our plans, but we believe and know that He is good, that his mercy lasts forever". And, added Cardinal Tagle, as Christ thanked the Father, giving all of himself, in the same way "every baptized person, as an act of thanksgiving, is called to give his body and his blood".
Auxiliary Bishop of Manila, Broderick Pabillo who, expressing common sentiments, said: "We feel privileged to have had a Shepherd for eight years who made every effort and gave himself unreservedly to always be at the service of his community. In recent years, despite his international commitments, he has always been present, never failing to be among us. We are grateful to him and will accompany him with our prayers".
The people prayed for the Cardinal, thanking him for "showing the compassion of God with his life".
"We are sad on the one hand because we will miss Cardinal Tagle. He has entered everyone's heart. But we are aware that he represents a gift that the Church in the Philippines makes to the universal Church", said the bishop of Novaliches, Mgr. Roberto O. Gaa, former Rector of the Holy Apostles Senior Seminary of the archdiocese of Manila.
"We have mixed emotions: the most beautiful legacy is his humility and closeness: he was truly a Good Shepherd for us", says Sharon, a Catholic engaged in a parish in the area. "He really took care of us with love", concludes Fr. Abos, an elderly priest from Manila. Cardinal Tagle leaves a thriving diocese with about 600 priests, including diocesans and religious, over 700 nuns, over 400 catechists.
Catégories: From the church

AFRICA/IVORY COAST - First-Ever Congress of Clergy in Ivory Coast planned for July

Fides EN - www.fides.org - lun, 27/01/2020 - 13:05
Abidjan - "Some time ago, in order to express their closeness to their priests and help them, support them in their pastoral and ministerial efforts, the Bishops decided to organize an extraordinary congress of the clergy in the Ivory Coast", said His Exc. Msgr. Gaspard Béby Gnéba, Bishop of Man, apostolic Administrator of the diocese of Odienné and Episcopal Chair of the Commission for Clergy, Seminaries and Pastoral Care of Vocations in Ivory Coast, during a press conference.
"Last year the diocesan phase was held; the priests gathered around a preparatory document for the congress to reflect, pray and make proposals to the Episcopal Conference to help and effectively accompany the priests of the country to live the grace they have received and to fulfill their ministry. This year we are entering the national phase", said Mgr. Gnéba, who announced that the Extraordinary Congress of the clergy will take place from 1 to 5 July on the theme: "The priest in Ivory Coast in the face of situations that challenge his life".
In this perspective, the Ivorian Bishops have developed and adopted a five-year pastoral plan based on the challenges of the Ivorian society and the Church of the family of God in Ivory Coast, characterized by two essential points: the announcement of the Gospel of unity, of communion, reconciliation and brotherhood; the promotion of the Gospel of compassion and mercy through the service of integral human development.
In the extremely fragile socio-political context which the Ivory Coast is currently living, a few months before the presidential elections of October 2020, which arouse great concern among the Ivorian population, the Congress will allow priests to return to their fundamental mission. "The crises of the world, of our times and of contemporary Ivorian society challenge the priests and ask them for pertinent and unprecedented answers. They invite them to rethink their lives and their ministries", stressed the Bishop of Man.
Catégories: From the church

ASIA/IRAQ - Nessuna notizia sui 4 membri di SOS Chrétiens d’Orient scomparsi a Baghdad

Fides EN - www.fides.org - lun, 27/01/2020 - 12:45
Baghdad - Four men working in Iraq for SOS Chretiens d'Orient , a French Christian charity, have been missing since Monday 20 January in Baghdad. The missing workers were in Baghdad to renew their visas and register the association with Iraqi authorities. For security reasons and to protect the men’s safety, their names have not been made public. In a press release issued on social networks on Friday 24 January, SOS Chrétiens d’Orient reported that it had lost contact with its four employees since the previous Tuesday, and that it had reported the disappearance of the four to French and Iraqi authorities.
The French NGO stresses that the four missing employees are experienced people, all in good health and with a good knowledge of the crisis areas in which they operate, and who have always carried out their initiatives in full compliance with safety standards continuously updated to respond to new emerging pitfalls in that region.
SOS Chrétiens d’Orient has its headquarters in Paris, and presents itself as an organization dedicated to supporting the Christian communities of the East, also through the financing of social and educational projects. Currently, the organization is present with "permanent missions" operating in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Egypt. The founders of the association, formed in 2013, are Charles de Meyer and Benjamin Blanchard, former collaborator of the Front National Marie-Christine Arnautu MEP. The director of the Organization's initiatives, François-Xavier Gicquel, was also an old Front National militant. According to data reported in 2019 by Le Figaro étudiant, since the beginning of its activities the Association has sent about 1500 employees and volunteers to carry out their projects in the Middle East. In February 2017, the organization was recognized as a "national defense partner" by the French Ministry of Defense.
Catégories: From the church

AMERICA/MEXICO - "Violence against the latest caravan of migrants", denounces a priest

Fides EN - www.fides.org - lun, 27/01/2020 - 11:48
Tapachula - About 500 Central American migrants of the caravan of migrants in the first group of 2020 took refuge in the diocesan "Belen" home-refuge in the diocese of Tapachula .
In a note sent to Fides, Fr. César Augusto Cañaveral Pérez, diocesan coordinator of the pastoral dimension of human mobility, stigmatizes the mental association "migrant equals criminal".
"I would like to know why the National Guard does not deal with organized crime; migrants come because of necessity, they are not criminals, and Mexico does not respect the right to free transit", says Fr. Pérez, who denounces: "Mexican society helps to criminalize migrants: human wall is worse than a material wall".
The priest recalls that the Catholic Church is building solidarity bridges to assist migrants, as the help that the government has promised has not yet come. Caravans of migrants pass through Mexico trying to reach the United States. Along the way, migrants suffer all kinds of abuse, especially the weakest, women and children.
Fr. Cañaveral Pérez says that the refuge welcomes between 200 or 300 people every day. This is the constant flow throughout the year, but now, after the caravans have dispersed, the number of people seeking shelter has increased considerably, several people have had to look for other reception facilities. The priest reports that on the day of January 24, 120 migrants arrived, almost all in need of medical and psychological care due to the violence and mistreatment inflicted on them by the National Guard. Fr. Cañaveral Pérez reprimanded the Mexican authorities for behaving worse than the United States.
The capacity of the hostel is 140 people, but the number has now tripled. In addition to this, there are other parish centers that have welcomed migrants in the municipalities of Costa, Soconusco y Sierra de Chiapas.
In recent days there have been violent attacks on members of the last caravan of Central American migrants heading towards the United States by law enforcement officers who accuse them of not having respected the indications regarding the number of people who could access the different places of border.
Catégories: From the church

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