AFRICA/ZIMBABWE - A lay missionary, an apostle of lepers, towards beatification

Fides EN - - mer, 23/10/2019 - 10:22
Harare - The cause for the beatification of British-born John Bradburne, a Franciscan secular missionary, has started in Zimbabwe. His life and his testimony of faith in the midst of the lepers will be examined first at a diocesan level and then at the Congregation for the Cause of Saints in Rome. If his virtues are recognized, he could become Zimbabwe’s first saint.
In September, the news of the Cause for beatification created great attention. Father Brian MacGarry, a Jesuit, who knew Bradburne at the time of the Rhodesia war of independence, notes to Fides: "I knew him well", observes Father Brian. "I can say with certainty: he was a Catholic of profound spirituality and the work he did together with the lepers was of great medical and human value".
The son of an English vicar, Bradburne converted to Catholicism after serving in the British army in Malaysia and Burma, where he was also wounded in combat. "His religious faith - recalled Father MacGarry - was very profound. He tried to become a Carthusian, then a Benedictine and, finally, a member of the Congregation of Our Lady of Sion. None of the three orders, while acknowledging his profound spirituality, welcomed him. He then became Tertiary Franciscan. He always remained a layman, but from the moment he entered the Third Order he always wore a habit".
In 1971 he arrived in Rhodesia to look for "a cave in which to pray". In 1964 he joined a leper colony in Mutemwa. That will become his community. The Jesuit remembers: "The colony was dirty and the people were dirty, recalls who knew him then. There was no medicine, no clothes and people were hungry. He took care of everyone's needs: he fed people, cleaned and bandaged their wounds". Every day for a decade, the routine is the same. He got up at 3 am to bathe leprous patients. He helps them to eat and accompanies them to prayer. His only leisure is a five-kilometer jogging.
In 1979, controversies began with the inhabitants of the nearby village. The lepers accuse them of leaving the animals to graze on their fields, destroying the crops. Bradburne offers to mediate. "He was then brought by the villagers to the local commander Zanla ", recalls Father MacGarry. "The villagers accused him of being a spy, because he had defended the lepers. The commander was convinced that John was innocent, but he had enemies in the village. The commander himself could not offer him protection if he remained there, so he offered to send him to Mozambique for security reasons. John refused, saying that his place was with the lepers. Zanla could not assign him men to protect him, so the villagers took him and killed him along the way".
Father Brian does not agree with those who intend to make Bradburne an icon to be venerated and prefers to give a more concrete image of him. "John was a good man, attentive towards others, according to the evangelical spirit of Francis of Assisi. He lived with the lepers who were then the last of the last".
Catégories: From the church

NEWS ANALYSIS/OMNIS TERRA - Missionaries in Taiwan: "Like dwarfs on the shoulders of giants"

Fides EN - - mer, 23/10/2019 - 09:35
In Taiwan, more than the "mission of the Church", it is better to refer to it as "Church of the mission". In fact, in a place that is so "ignorant" to Christ, it is nearly impossible to consider the mission as something extrinsic or as a duty. It is much more natural to consider it an identity that I live with.
The Republic of China known to most as Formosa or Taiwan, is a tropical island in Southeast Asia, East of China, not much bigger than Sicily, with mountains that reach 4000 meters and about 23 million inhabitants. Chinese land, culture and history contribute to the complex political history of Taiwan, making the island of Formosa as per its ancient Portuguese name, one of the most complex cases in modern international politics. Its constitution maintains the old name Republic of China born from the ashes of the millenary empire that disintegrated in 1912. At the end of the Chinese Civil War fought between Mao Ze Dong’s communist troops and General Chiang Kai Shek’s nationalist troops, the latter, already defeated found refuge on the island of Formosa, and declared Taipei the new capital of the Republic of China, while he attempted to regain control over the territories lost to the communist troops. On the other hand, the Beijing government has never stopped claiming its rights on this “rebel island”, turning the slogan “free Taiwan” into a mantra of its political rhetoric
The Catholic Church has been present on the island for little over 150 years, although the first missionaries arrived on the island of Formosa in the XVI century. We are a small minority with just over 1% of Catholics and a total 4% of Christians

Link correlati :Continue reading the in-depth analysis, in English, on "Omnis Terra" website
Catégories: From the church

VATICAN - Catholic Church Statistics 2019

Fides EN - - sam, 19/10/2019 - 12:32
Vatican City - On the occasion of the 93rd World Mission Sunday, October 20, 2019, which is celebrated in the context of the Extraordinary Missionary Month October 2019, announced by Pope Francis in the centenary of Pope Benedict XV's Apostolic Letter ‘Maximum illud’, Agenzia Fides offers some statistics chosen to give a panorama of the missionary Church in the world. The tables are taken from the latest edition of the "Church's Book of Statistics" published regarding members of the Church, church structures, healthcare, welfare and educational. The variation is indicated in brackets, increase or decrease compared to the previous year , according to the comparison made by Agenzia Fides. Finally, the picture of ecclesiastical circumscriptions dependent on the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples is reported.

Link correlati :Special Dossier Catholic Church statistics 2019 Video with Graphics Elaboration of the statistics (in English)
Catégories: From the church