ASIA - Pandemic and children's rights: thousands of children pushed onto the labor market

Fides EN - www.fides.org - mar, 16/06/2020 - 10:19
Bangkok - "Children have the right to be protected from all forms of discrimination, exploitation and violence. The impact of Covid-19 containment measures in various Asian countries, the closure of schools and the increase in stress on families cannot and must not be transformed into exploitation, abuse and violence against children. Supporting and promoting children's dignity and rights must be a priority for governments, civil society organizations, churches and all religious communities. Children must be at the center of the response to the health, economic and social emergency": this is what was reported by children's rights activists and leaders of the Asian Churches, who took part in a virtual conference, followed by Agenzia Fides, organized by the "Christian Conference of Asia" on the theme "Supporting the dignity and rights of children in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis". CCA Secretary General Mathews George Chunakara stressed that "the needs of children in the midst of the pandemic have been invisible". "The impact of the coronavirus - he remarked - could permanently damage the well-being of future generations. Therefore, their rights must be asserted, guaranteeing the well-being and dignity of childhood: the quality of life is a right for all children".
Millions of children in Asia risk being pushed onto the labor market: the crisis triggered by Covid-19 could lead to "the first increase in child labor after 20 years of progress", reported the International Labor Organization and Unicef on the occasion of the "World Day against Child Labor" , and in view of 2021, declared by the UN "International Year for the Elimination of Child Labor". Taking stock of a practice that has declined since 2000 to today, but could now return, the report released by the two organizations highlights the worsening of childhood conditions in Asia, with significant damage to health and safety. The East Asia and Pacific region is home to 70% of people affected by disasters globally: in addition to the risks associated with the pandemic, populations are exposed to climate change, urbanization, migration, phenomena that are aggravating existing vulnerabilities. Children are the first victims.
In Southeast Asia, ASEAN has discussed the promotion and protection of women's and children's rights, especially for domestic violence during the pandemic. Social and institutional awareness of these issues is growing in several Asian countries: the number of calls to the Vietnamese Women's Union's special telephone line on behalf of women who suffered domestic violence during the lockdown has increased by 50% and that of victims rescued or taken into custody marks an increase of 80%. As for the impact of the pandemic on children, a survey by the Vietnamese Association for the Protection of the Rights of the Child revealed that 48% reported being subjected to verbal abuse, while 8% were beaten and 32.5% said they did not receive adequate family care.
If being informed is the first step and the existence of protective structures is certainly the second, the pillar on which they stand is still a law that allows to protect children's rights. From this point of view, Myanmar - where it is estimated that child labor involves almost 10% of the population between 5 and 17 years of age - has signed the Convention on the minimum working age proposed by the International Labor Organization, which imposes to establish both age and national policies for the abolition of child labor. The convention was ratified by the Burmese parliament on June 8.
Catégories: From the church

AFRICA/CONGO - Bishops: "The health crisis becomes an opportunity for conversion"

Fides EN - www.fides.org - lun, 15/06/2020 - 14:01
Brazzaville - "Today we are in a phase of progressive reopening", write the Bishops of the Republic of Congo in the message published at the end of their Extraordinary Assembly and sent to Agenzia Fides. Congo Brazzaville has also taken confinement measures to block the Covid-19 pandemic, which, however, is causing a worsening of social conditions, especially of the weaker sections of the population.
"Since the outbreak of the health crisis to date, we have all faced multiple difficulties: suspension of travel, delays and difficulties in food supplies, closure of schools and universities, social problems, etc. In short, the rhythm of normal life has been interrupted and our usual activities reduced to a minimum", says the message. "The effects of this pandemic will be etched forever in our minds and in history, with serious consequences on all fronts and in different areas. That is why, with Pope Francis, we say that the health crisis that has brought the whole world to its knees must help each of us to convert ".
The Bishops "congratulate and thank the platforms and associations that work to alleviate the suffering of the population", continues the message. "In particular, they thank the members of the coronavirus platform of the Bishops’ Conference of Congo and encourage them to continue to make the image of our Church visible in society, despite the limited means available. They also encourage the National Solidarity Support Committee against Covid-19, made up of different religious denominations, to do the same in the context of the spiritual response and other concrete initiatives such as the interreligious meeting held on May 14, 2020 at the Palais des Congrès".
"Among the events that marked this difficult period there was, among other things, the closure of places of worship. From the first day and until now, churches and places of worship have remained closed, many faithful experienced it as a drama, because they did not have the opportunity to participate in the Holy Mass. But the closure of places of worship is not a pretext to neglect personal, family and community prayer or even an opportunity to fall into spiritual idleness", underline the Bishops who appeal to "public authorities, for the safe reopening of places of worship".
The Bishops conclude by urging the Congolese population "to respect the measures of social distancing and the measures taken by the competent authorities to stop the spread of coronavirus on Congolese land, whose infection rate increases day by day".
Catégories: From the church

AMERICA/BRAZIL - In the pandemic, the 35th Migrants' Week: "Where is your brother and sister?"

Fides EN - www.fides.org - lun, 15/06/2020 - 13:49
Brasilia - "Where is your brother, your sister?" is the question that, taking inspiration from the biblical verse , constitutes the theme of the 35th edition of the Week of the Migrant, which is celebrated in Brazil from 14 to 21 June, mobilizing people, groups and communities to promote the acceptance, integration, defense of migrants' rights. This edition focuses on the theme "Migration and reception".
As underlined in the note of the Bishops’ Conference sent to Fides, the Bishop of the diocese of Brejo and President of the Bishops’ Commission for the socio-transforming action of the CNBB, Mgr. José Valdeci Santos Mendes, stressed how it is important to reflect on the brothers and sisters who have need of support and spirit of communion. "The motto itself motivates us to do it. At this time of the coronavirus pandemic, we must experience solidarity, compassion, we must witness the Gospel", he reiterates.
"The week of migrants draws our attention to the increase in migration and refugee situations in recent years - explains the vice president of Caritas Brazil, Cleusa Alves da Silva -. Furthermore, the serious political and economic crisis that the country is facing, together with the pandemic, accentuates unemployment, thwarts the expectations of those seeking a more dignified life, increases hunger, misery and the vulnerability of the impoverished population. Among those who suffer most are people in a migration situation who are invisible to the system. For them, public policies and rights do not apply".
The Week of Migrants 2020 takes up the appeal of the 2020 Fraternity Campaign, which had as its motto "He saw, was moved with compassion and took care of him" , and is promoted by the collaboration of the various organizations that work for human care, pastoral care and defense of the rights of the migrant population in Brazil.
Catégories: From the church

AFRICA/LIBYA - Migrants in refugee camps live in hell: hunger, violence, disease

Fides EN - www.fides.org - lun, 15/06/2020 - 13:11
Tripoli - Hunger, diseases , violence: the situation of migrants in Libya gets more and more difficult. "Africans live in terror" says to Fides Mussie Zerai, a priest of the Asmara eparchy, always attentive towards immigration issues. "They have no certainty. Those who live in one of the 22 refugee camps managed by the government of Tripoli no longer know who to refer to: the commanders are often colluded with traffickers, politicians are absent, the military are violent". In the centers of Tripolitania there are about five thousand prisoners. They are Eritrean, Ethiopian, Somali, Sudanese. Other camps are present in Cyrenaica. There are also many illegal centers managed directly by the militias. They are full of people who are fleeing poverty and looking for a better future in Europe.
Many have found themselves trapped in Libya where the civil war has raged for months between the militias that obey the government of national agreement, led by Fayez al-Serraj , and the forces of General Khalifa Haftar . In recent months, the clash, especially on the outskirts of Tripoli, was very strong. And it worsened with the entry of international actors: Turkey, alongside al-Sarraj; Russia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt in support of Haftar. New and deadly weapons were tested, such as kamikaze drones used by Tripolitania militias to stop the advance of Cyrenaica forces. And, despite a note from UNSMIL announced the resumption between the parties to reach a ceasefire, there is still fighting on the ground.
"Fighting - continues Abba Mussie - also prevents controls by the United Nations. As an Eritrean community we asked UNHCR to check the conditions of migrants in some camps. The officials of the Glass Palace have failed to reach or enter any of the centers. And we are not sure what happens in these structures".
Communication with detainees is very difficult. "Some of them have telephones - abba Mussie continues - but they cannot call or speak. The risk is that cell phones are destroyed or seized by prisoners. So we do not even know in what sanitary conditions they live".
Under normal conditions there was no medical assistance in camps and lung and skin diseases were widespread. To this, coronavirus has been added in recent weeks. Officially, 152 cases and 5 deaths have been recorded, but the fighting makes a more precise census of the epidemic impossible. "In the centers - abba Mussie observes - people are crowded together. They cannot keep their distance. Medical supplieshave not been distributed. We fear that the virus can spread quickly and cause numerous victims".
In this situation, even the small local Catholic Church finds it difficult to intervene in support of migrants. "The fighting and widespread violence - concludes the priest - make any movement impossible. Even if I want to, I cannot tell the boys and girls to go to the churches of Tripoli. The risk is that, as soon as they move, they will be beaten and robbed. The situation is difficult. The conflict must stop and humanitarian organizations must be able to intervene as soon as possible in favor of these migrants who live in hell".
Catégories: From the church

AFRICA/ANGOLA - Appointment of the Bishop of Caxito

Fides EN - www.fides.org - lun, 15/06/2020 - 12:59
Vatican City - The Holy Father has appointed as Bishop of the diocese of Caxito, Angola, the Reverend Fr. Maurício Agostinho Camuto, C.S.Sp., currently director of the Radio Ecclesia National Catholic Radio.
Reverend Fr. Maurício Agostinho Camuto, C.S.Sp., was born on 26 December 1963 in Colungo Alto, diocese of Ndalatando, province of Kwanza Norte. He carried out his studies in Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo, and gave his religious vows on 5 September 1987 in the Congregation of the Holy Spirit .
He was ordained a priest on 28 July 1991.
After priestly ordination he gained pastoral experience in the Mission of Landana, diocese of Cabinda, in Angola , and then served as rector of the preparatory seminary of the Spiritan Fathers in the diocese of Malanje , and rector of the Scholasticate of the Spiritan Fathers in the dioceses of Huambo and Benguela . From 2000 to 2003 he carried out his studies in social communication at the Pontifical Salesian University, Rome; he then served as coordinator of the Commission for Communications Media of the Episcopal Conference ; director of the Radio Ecclesia National Catholic Radio ; provincial superior of the Spartan Fathers in Angola for two terms ; and since 2016, director of the Radio Ecclesia National Catholic Radio.
Catégories: From the church

AFRICA/TANZANIA - Prevention from contagion: the Bishops activate catechism for children via radio

Fides EN - www.fides.org - lun, 15/06/2020 - 12:55
Dar es Salaam - A new program dedicated to catechism for children, to be listened to via radio in homes: is the initiative launched today, June 15, by the Catechetical Office in the Tanzanian Episcopal Conference , through Radio Maria Tanzania. As reported to Agenzia Fides, the project aims to better face the challenge of gatherings of children in Catechism classrooms and to respect social distancing, in times of coronavirus. Fr. Liston Lukoo, Director of the TEC Catechetical Office, said that the program, launched today, will begin to be broadcast on Radio Maria Tanzania from Saturday 20 June 2020.
"Despite the commitment this initiative entails, we believe that the program will be sustainable and will help children at home continue to deepen their faith", said Father Beno Kikudo, coordinator of the catechetical office of the archdiocese of Dar es Salaam. "We also believe that it can also be a useful tool for children living in families whose parents are unable to raise their children in faith", he added.
In the Bishops’ note sent to Agenzia Fides, it is stated that the initiative was promoted during a recent meeting between the Catechetical Office and the Archdiocese of Dar es Salaam: catechists will lend themselves as teachers during the broadcast via radio, becoming promoters of this innovative proposal for education in faith.
"This program will allow children to ask questions and catechists to answer all kinds of children's curiosities. We are also organizing an awareness program with some children who are aware of the topic of that particular day, in order to facilitate and bring other peers closer together", explains Fr. Kikudo.
Meanwhile, the number of people infected by Covid-19 in Africa continues to grow: to date, there are 200,000 confirmed cases recorded in all 54 countries of the continent. According to data collected by the "Covid-19 Africa" platform, the most affected country remains South Africa, followed by Egypt, Nigeria, Algeria, Ghana, Morocco, Cameroon and Sudan. Tanzanian President John Magufu said Covid-19 in his country "has been defeated thank God". However, the World Health Organization has expressed concern about the government's strategy, far from adopting the restrictive measures imposed by other countries in the region and beyond. Another Tanzanian peculiarity was the suspension of public updates on coronavirus cases, starting from April 29, when the country registered 509 cases with 21 deaths.
Catégories: From the church

EUROPE/ITALY - Covid-19: invocation of representatives of religious denominations and Abrahamic churches, in the sign of fraternity

Fides EN - www.fides.org - lun, 15/06/2020 - 12:45
Florence - A choral invocation for those affected by Covid-19, for those who still suffer - in Italy and in the world - due to the pandemic and its social and economic consequences, for solidarity and social justice, was raised yesterday afternoon from the cloister of the Basilica of Santa Croce in Florence. This is what was espressed by Chief Rabbi of the Jewish Community, Gad Fernando Piperno, Imam Izzedin Elzir, Pastor of the Waldensian Church, Letizia Tomassone, and the dean of the Orthodox Communities of Tuscany, Ioan Trandafir, Father Paolo Bocci, Rector of the Basilica, and Don Alessandro Andreini, vice-president of the Opera di Santa Croce.
The prayer was opened by reading the messages of support from Cardinals Giuseppe Betori, Archbishop of Florence, and Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, and that of the Prince of Jordan El Hassan Bin Talal, President of the Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies in Amman, always committed to dialogue among religions.
"Praying like this, gathered in this place full of beauty and history, is a strong gesture", wrote Cardinal Ayuso Guixot, who is also President of the High Committee for Human Fraternity which just a month ago, on May 14, promoted the global invocation to which yesterday's prayer moment was linked. "Not only do you recognize yourselves, but you try to recognize yourselves in a moment that is, yes, of otherness, but also of friendship and deep respect - wrote Ayuso Guixot -. Recognizing the other, brother or sister, when he turns to the Most High, listening to him, appreciating him, is a sign of commonality and sharing".
"Our city has always cultivated fraternity - wrote Cardinal Betori -. Today you are here to renew, in a certain sense, that spirit of fraternity, without forgetting the many people who are suffering serious economic and social consequences with the loss of work, poverty and abandonment". Prince El Hassan Bin Talal stressed: "The dramatic effects of the pandemic must not simply be forgotten with the return to the previous normalcy, so that those who have been affected, the most vulnerable, end up being relegated to the inhuman archives of history. Has the time not come for our world to adopt - in the words of the II Vatican - a "sacrament of unity" for the entire human family? Or - in the words of the Council and of al-Azhar - "a sacrament of unity" for "human fraternity?"
Catégories: From the church

ASIA/PHILIPPINES - The Church involves young people to bring the Eucharist into homes and pastoral services

Fides EN - www.fides.org - lun, 15/06/2020 - 12:18
Manila - The Archdiocese of Manila involves young people to help, as volunteers, in liturgies and pastoral services, in view of the desired reopening of churches, after the period of lockdown due to Covid-19. "We need more volunteers now as there are new ministries and services to be carried out, or to be strengthened in this situation", said Mgr. Broderick Pabillo, Apostolic Administrator in Manila, in a note sent to Fides.
Bishop Pabillo asked for help especially from young people, as adults and the elderly, as a precautionary measure, will be dispensed from attending Mass so as not to expose them to the risk of contracting the coronavirus. "We will have to bring the Eucharist to the sick and the elderly near their homes. We will need people to help us maintain proper physical distancing and regularly disinfect our churches", he said.
Already in recent months, the Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines had asked parishes to train a greater number of young people to make them become "extraordinary ministers of communion", so as to be able to help distribute the Eucharist in the territory.
"We really need younger volunteers. I would like to appeal to our elderly parish volunteers: help us recruit one or two young volunteers to take your place in pastoral services", said Mgr. Pabillo.
Maria Christine Cabato, a 23-year-old university student, says to Fides: "I am willing and happy to volunteer for church services". Marcus Garcia, a 26-year-old teacher, adds: "I am eager to be a young lay minister to bring Communion to the sick and elderly".
A service and an essential vital contribution that the elderly can still carry out in their homes - the Bishop's message emphasizes - is prayer, "which is not only important, but is indispensable in the Church". "May the elders, he added, take care to accompany church activities with spiritual and material prayers and offerings. They can be our prayer intercessors in this moment of crisis". Mgr. Pabillo expressed the hope for a forthcoming reopening of churches and the gradual resumption of liturgical services, "which we consider essential for the life of our people".
In several dioceses across the country, Masses are streamed via social media while people remain at home for health emergency reasons. With the increase in cases of contagion , Metro Manila is still under the status of "community quarantine", which began on March 16 with very severe restrictions on religious services.
Catégories: From the church

ASIA/HOLY LAND - "Huge deficit". The Latin Patriarchate forced to sell land in Nazareth

Fides EN - www.fides.org - lun, 15/06/2020 - 11:55
Nazareth - The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem is forced to sell land and real estate also in the area of Nazareth to face a deficit that has reached the impressive figure of 100 million dollars, caused largely by financial problems associated with the construction and launch of the American University of Madaba, in Jordan. To confirm the sale is the Patriarchate itself, with a press release, released on Friday 12 June also to counter "false and unfounded" allegations circulating in this regard in the media and social networks. "It is not a secret", the clarification communiqué reads, "that in recent years the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem has reached a huge deficit of about 100 million US dollars, due to past poor operational management, linked to the American University of Madaba. "The debts" adds the text "regard various banks, and not the Vatican".
The story to which the patriarchal communiqué explicitly refers is that of the American University of Madaba, AUM, a university affiliated to the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, whose foundation stone had been blessed by Pope Benedict XVI on 9 May 2009, and which had been inaugurated on May 30, 2013 in the presence of King Abdallah II. At the end of 2014, the Holy See had to intervene to deal with administrative and financial problems that had marked the construction and launch of the academic institution. An ad hoc commission, established by the Secretariat of State, had in turn entrusted to a local administration committee, chaired by Archbishop Giorgio Lingua, at that time Apostolic Nuncio in Jordan, the task of "following and coordinating closely, up to July 2015, the work of the University".
Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa was appointed apostolic Administrator in June 2016 also "to find a solution to these problems". Over the past four years, a major reorganization of the administration has been initiated and pursued. But given the amount of the huge debt, and despite the many efforts made to raise funds - reads the patriarchal text - "it has become clear that the only possible solution is to sell some properties". In the list of assets to be sold there are also "various properties in Jordan", which however are insufficient to pay off debts, given that in that country market prices have further decreased due to the current global economic situation. "For this reason, and after many other attempts", the Patriarchate reports - the decision was made to sell land in Nazareth. A decision "duly approved by all the competent bodies", including those of the Holy See. The land in the Nazareth area was acquired by an Arab businessman", and "over 100 dunams of land" were excluded from the sale, destined to works and initiatives "for the future benefit" of the local Christian community. The decision to sell land in Narareth - assures the patriarchal communiqué - was taken with great difficulty, but this choice represented the last resort to face otherwise unsolvable economic problems.
Catégories: From the church

AMERICA/EL SALVADOR - The Archbishop of San Salvador for Corpus Domini: "Life is precious and we must protect it"

Fides EN - www.fides.org - lun, 15/06/2020 - 11:14
San Salvador - On the solemnity of Corpus Domini, Mgr. José Luis Escobar Alas, Archbishop of San Salvador, underlined in a statement sent to Fides, that the care of human life should continue to be essential during this pandemic and, above all, in these days when the government proposes economic recovery. The Archbishop described how worrying that there is no national emergency law now that many people will return to work. He called on employers to provide the necessary resources to ensure workers' health.
"Life is precious and we need to protect it", he reiterated. "In this moment of high community contagion, it is necessary for everyone to take care of their health responsibly, to live freely in the family quarantine, to leave their home only if necessary. Let us take care of our family, above all adults and the elderly and implement all health security measures".
Mgr. Escobar Alas expressed his gratitude towards Cardinal Gregorio Rosa Chávez for the valuable contribution he made, and continues to give, to the country, regretting that in recent days he has been attacked on social networks for some opinions expressed.
In El Salvador, according to official data 3,603 people have been tested positive to COVID-19, and 72 people have died so far.

Catégories: From the church

VATICAN - PMS National Directors, collaborators of the Holy Spirit: the General Assembly of the Pontifical Mission Societies celebrated online

Fides EN - www.fides.org - sam, 13/06/2020 - 12:24
Vatican City - "The Holy Spirit is the true protagonist of the mission of the Church: the Spirit helps to discern in a new and creative way how to be animators of the mission in local churches, in the five continents, and how to announce the Gospel in the face of the challenges that today's time presents, such as that of the Covid-19 pandemic": with these words, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle addressed over 100 National Directors of the Pontifical Mission Societies, connected on an online platform yesterday, 12 June, to celebrate the General Assembly of the Pontifical Mission Societies. Given the emergency of Covid-19, the annual Assembly was not physically held in Rome, as expected, but was celebrated on a digital platform, thanks to new technologies, with the participation of about 100 connected nations, from all over the world. Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, took part in the connection from the Palace of "Propaganda Fide"; Archbishop Giampietro Dal Toso, President of the Pontifical Mission Societies; the four General Secretaries of the PMS: Fr. Tadeusz J. Nowak, OMI, General Secretary of the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith , Fr. Fabrizio Meroni, General Secretary of the Pontifical Missionary Union , Sister Roberta Tremarelli, General Secretary of the Pontifical Missionary Childhood Society , and Fr. Guy Bognon, General Secretary of the Pontifical Society of Saint Peter the Apostle , who is in Benin at the moment, was in connection and sent a written contribution; Mgr. Carlo Soldateschi, in charge of the Administration .
"Let us not complain about the closed doors, but we understand and collaborate for the new windows opened by the Spirit", said Cardinal Tagle, recalling that "the Lord always offers new opportunities to announce the Gospel". The Prefect of "Propaganda Fide" therefore urged the national Directors of the PMS to "be men of prayer, so as to let the Holy Spirit fill them and inspire their action, as happened for the Servant of God, Pauline Jaricot", foundress of the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith. "Every national Director - he continued - is called to discern the possibilities of action so that the whole work of the Church is oriented and animated in a missionary sense". Catechesis, liturgy, charity, families, lay groups, all pastoral areas "are themselves places and occasions of mission", he explained. Each PMS National Director "is called to collaborate with the Holy Spirit so that the mission is at the heart of the identity of the Church". In this sense, the economic aspect of the collection of offerings, he added "is a real sign and commitment of missionary charity, which opens hearts to the needs of distant peoples". Finally, the Cardinal urged the PMS to collaborate actively and closely with the local Bishops and with the Bishops’ Conferences in missionary work.
In his speech, Archbishop Dal Toso recalled with joy the acknowledgment of the miracle of Pauline Jaricot, observing that in 2022 the Society of the Propagation of the Faith, which she founded, will celebrate its 200 years, and that the PMS will begin a preparation for that event. The President of the PMS then thanked the national Directors for their efforts in contributing to the special fund established by the Pope at the PMS, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and in pointing out the needs of the local churches. The search for offers, he stressed, is not mere fundraising, "but is a fruitful opportunity to grow in prayer and missionary animation". In this sense, the Archbishop reiterated that the Pope's recent Message to the Pontifical Mission Societies, released on May 21, is the magisterial reference that will inspire the path and work of renewal of the PMS and the direction of their future.
With the President, the four Secretaries of the PMS stressed the importance that the PMS are fully integrated into the ordinary pastoral care of the individual local Churches, in all its forms and components, to inform and guide pastoral action with a missionary view, as an authentic "Church that goes forth".
All those present in Rome and the connected Directors wanted to thank Pope Francis for the Message sent to the Pontifical Mission Societies on May 21, Ascension Day. Furthermore, the extensive and capillary work of awareness and missionary animation conducted by the PMS National Directors around the world on the occasion of the Extraordinary Missionary Month of October 2019 was recalled. The assembly also discussed the possible topics to propose to the Holy Father for the celebration of the 2021 World Mission Day. Like every year, the PMS Assembly voted on the final and estimated budgets and approved the ordinary and extraordinary subsidies related to the financing of projects in local Churches, under the jurisdiction of "Propaganda Fide".

Catégories: From the church

AMERICA/COLOMBIA - More dialogue and less violence in families: the fruit of the Family Month

Fides EN - www.fides.org - sam, 13/06/2020 - 11:43
Bogotà - "The Family Commission has been strengthened and organized to support these situations during the health emergency, and highlighted the need to start virtual training processes for more family pastoral workers, in order to accompany the needs of families", says a message from the Family Committee of the Colombian Bishops’ Conference sent to Fides.
On the other hand, when we take stock of what the Month of the family represented , which ends on June 14, and which was proposed by the Department for marriage and the family of CEC and by the National Commission for Marriage and Family, what was observed was that ecclesiastical jurisdictions developed the suggested interactive catechesis, sharing photos and videos of the work done.
Some of the positive aspects that are occurring in this space for dialogue, highlight the reinforcement that occurred in many homes during this confinement period, i.e., more dialogue and sharing of tasks among different family members. Another positive contribution was the family's learning of technological realities.
The issue of domestic violence was also touched: according to reports, it has grown due to confinement. In this regard, the participants underlined the service that some particular Churches offered to families, such as telephone lines available for accompanying and listening to the victims and the creation of virtual spaces to support families with an interdisciplinary team of priests, psychologists and couples, who receive virtual training and an update process every 8 days.
Catégories: From the church

AFRICA/KENYA - Covid-19: "Defending the values of the family severely tested by confinement"

Fides EN - www.fides.org - sam, 13/06/2020 - 11:25
Nairobi - "All Kenyans should not take this pandemic as an opportunity to deviate from our family values. Rather, reflect on them the fruits of marriage. A healthy family has a good relationship with God and among each other. Families should pray together, read the word of God, evangelize, and express mutual respect. It is in the family where values, faith, and culture of the society are learned and practiced for the first time", said the Chairman of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops – Family Life National Office, Rt. Rev. Norman King’oo.
Bishop King’oo noted that stringent measures by the government, especially the restriction of movement in efforts to avert the spread of COVID–19 has affected the family, as emotions have been running high due to the changes within families, homes, and workplaces. He added that worries of accessing basic necessities have characterized the lives of Kenyans deepening anxiety rates of what the future holds.
Celebrating Holy Mass at the Holy Family Minor Basilica Nairobi, Mgr. King'oo said, “the family is considered a basic unit of the society; it is the original cell of social life and its stability constitutes the foundations of the society".
Bishop King’oo encouraged spouses to share their thoughts and cooperate in the upbringing of their children amidst the common struggle to remain happy and harmonious in the family setup.
The Bishop urged Kenyans to continue praying and supporting the vulnerable in the society and to abide by the measures put in place for the purpose of fighting COVID-19 pandemic reiterating bishops’ continuous commitment to work with state and non-state actors for the common good in these unforeseen circumstances.
Catégories: From the church

ASIA/INDIA - In times of pandemic, the Indian Church has accompanied and supported 11 million poor and vulnerable people

Fides EN - www.fides.org - sam, 13/06/2020 - 11:13
New Delhi - During the Covid-19 pandemic, the Church in India has reached and assisted at least 11 million people, poor and vulnerable, in the lockdown and confinement period which started on March 25 and still in progress in some special "containment areas". This is what a report of the Bishops’ Conference of India states which, citing data released by Caritas India, highlights that Indian Christians have responded with great generosity and commitment with respect to their presence and numerical consistency, that is 2.5% of the population in the country. As Fides learns, the balance of the community's work was drawn up in the recent summit with the participation of Cardinal Oswald Gracias, president of the Bishops’ Conference, and Archbishop Sebastian Kallupura, president of Caritas India, alongside the presidents of the regional Bishops Councils and the directors of the social development forum from all over India
The summit noted that 95.2% of migrants have lost their jobs and livelihoods, as confirmed by an survey conducted by Caritas India in 18 states most affected by the pandemic, including Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Maharashtra and Assam.
"Migrant and poor workers are the ones who have suffered the most because of the lockdown imposed by the government to contain the coronavirus in India" confirmed to Fides Fr. Jaison Vadassery, Executive Secretary of the Commission for Migrants in the Bishops’ Conference of India .
In the face of the sudden humanitarian needs of thousands of people, parishes, religious orders, churches, NGOs linked to the Christian community have mobilized. In the Archdiocese of Bombay, each of the 124 parishes provided food rations to the poorest, those affected by Covid-19 and also the victims of the recent Cyclone Amphan. It is estimated that over 7,000 people are fed twice a day. The Bombay Archdiocesan Social Action Center, through its network of partner organizations, has collected donations and distributed essential goods worth more than 32 thousand US dollars. The beneficiaries are the elderly, the poor, the sick, the tribal, migrants, street children, the police officer and other vulnerable people. In the Archdiocese of Bombay, St. Xavier's College and other schools have made their facilities available to organize relief measures.
The lockdown of all activities and movements began on March 25; transport and services have gradually resumed since 8 June, while special "containment areas" are still active in some areas of the nation until 30 June. Millions of migrant workers have been blocked in different areas of the country, without work, food and shelter.
Catégories: From the church

OCEANIA/AUSTRALIA - The Pontifical Mission Societies: "The proclamation of joy of the Gospel is the mission of the Church in the world"

Fides EN - www.fides.org - sam, 13/06/2020 - 10:31
Sydney - "The Holy Father’s message is a message of great encouragement, because it invites us to welcome and share the joy of the Gospel. Its message of salvation and the gift of faith bring us the gift of the Spirit which includes the gift of joy which is the fruit of attractiveness: Jesus reveals himself to us by attractiveness, and brings us closer to understanding the promise of the kingdom of God". With these words, Father Brian Lucas, Director of "Catholic Mission", National Direction of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Australia, commented to Fides the message that Pope Francis sent to the Pontifical Mission Societies on May 21, the solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord.
"Among the points that most struck me - Father Brian says - there is the way we share the Gospel through attractiveness: we are not involved in proselytization, rather we bring people to the Mystery of Christ and the understanding of the promising of the Kingdom of God by the attractiveness of that message that come from the relationship we form and the way we share our faith".
On how the Pope's message can help renew the PMS mission in Australia, Father Lucas says: "I think that in the context of the Australian society, the challenge that awaits us is to avoid bureaucracy, avoid putting burdens on people: the Holy Father specifically says this when he says that we should not have formation programs so burdensome that people do not find interesting, but rather give the opportunity to share their faith by establishing relationships among people around us".
On the future of the PMS in the Church at a universal level, Father Brian argues that the way in which "we can build the Kingdom of God, the way in which we can bring about an awareness of attractiveness of the Gospel is the personal relationship with the faithful, to the people we meet. Mission - he concludes - is not something super sophisticated or for the elite, but rather the involvement of everyone in the life of the Church and the world".

Link correlati :Watch the video interview with Fr. Brian Lucas on Agenzia Fides Youtube channel
Catégories: From the church

AFRICA/NIGER - A missionary: "I am leaving Niger, but not Father Maccalli: the mission continues with the mark of the cross"

Fides EN - www.fides.org - sam, 13/06/2020 - 09:48
Bomoanga - "I am definitely leaving Niger, but in times of coronavirus it is difficult to travel; and I carry in my heart a wealth of memories made up of questions and absences, such as that of Father Gigi Maccalli, but also of hopes", this is what Father Vito Girotto, priest of the Society for African Missions writes to Agenzia Fides, a confrere of father Pierluigi Maccalli, kidnapped from the Bomoanga mission 21 months ago. "Who knows of my next departure from this country, where I carried out my mission together with Fr. Gigi, asks me the question: 'Why are you leaving when Fr. Pier Luigi is still a prisoner in Africa?’. Some ask me to wait until our father is released, in order to have a big party and then leave together. Let us continue to pray: God is great and we entrust ourselves to him".
The missionary, on the eve of his departure from Niger, describes the faces of people, images of the 10 years spent in this country of the Sahel, projects carried out together, planning meetings for many pastoral and humanitarian activities, feasts lived together in joy and in collaboration with Fr. Gigi Maccalli: "Now the mission is on the cross, and the cross that stood on the hill of Bomoanga, removed from the pedestal and therefore now no longer visible to those who were used to seeing it from afar, reminds me of my friend and confrere, who is carrying a heavy and hidden cross, due to the violence suffered, in the Sahara desert".
Fr. Girotto adds: "The seeds of the Gospel always find good soil, where brambles and thorns cannot prevent them from sprouting and bearing fruit, even if the sower is far away. He is always close with the constancy and the hope that the sweat of his work and of his trial will not be lost. Today we can say that the kidnapping that took place twenty one months ago is not a defeat: the seal of the mission that continues with the mark of the cross. And the cross of the mission is always victorious, despite appearances and human beliefs. The prayer that Gigi is making, together with ours and that of many friends around the world, gives us hope and joy to see him soon and free, now that we know he is alive", he concludes.
Catégories: From the church

AMERICA/URUGUAY - Celebrations with the participation of the faithful resume as of June 19th

Fides EN - www.fides.org - sam, 13/06/2020 - 09:29
Montevideo - The solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, liturgical celebrations will be resumed in Uruguay as of Friday 19 June, with the participation of the faithful, which will take place according to the Protocol agreed by the Episcopal Conference with the Presidency of the Republic. According to the information sent to Fides, the protocol presents the valid criteria for the 9 dioceses of the Country, in order to guarantee the health security of the faithful and priests. The suspension of the Sunday mass obligation remains in force, in particular for the faithful over the age of 65 or with health problems that recommend special precautions.
There are three phases for the return to the full participation of the faithful in the celebrations. This first phase, with an important limitation on the number of faithful who can participate in each celebration, will continue until further notice.
"Once again we turn to you in this moment of pandemic, with all its family, economic, social and ecclesial consequences. We thank the Lord and our people for the enormous solidarity that has arisen in this period". This is what the Bishops of Uruguay write, informing of the Protocol signed with the Ministry of Public Health on 11 June and made known on 12th.
"This period that we lived because of the pandemic without the participation of the faithful in the Eucharistic celebrations and with the suspension of all the other activities involving the participation of the faithful was a suffering and a challenge - underline the Prelates -. In a special way it was very difficult to live Easter and, in particular Easter, with these restrictions.
The massive response of the faithful to participate in the celebrations through the various media was very satisfying and comforting - they note -. We believe that, with all the precaution of the case and adopting the necessary measures to avoid contagions as much as possible, we should gradually resume the ecclesial and liturgical life of the Church with the physical participation of the faithful".
Some general criteria are therefore presented to be followed for the celebration in parishes or public churches . In this phase: "phase 1", the limit number of participants will be indicated at the door of each church. The faithful must maintain the suggested distance between them . In some churches a reception service will be necessary, to count the number of faithful who enter and provide any indications. Some hygienic rules are therefore to be observed during the celebrations and the provisions regarding the administration of Holy Communion.
Catégories: From the church

AMERICA/ECUADOR - Day of the Ecuadorian Missionary Ad Gentes

Fides EN - www.fides.org - ven, 12/06/2020 - 13:58
Quito - "On June 12 we celebrate the Ecuadorian missionary Ad Gentes, we want to congratulate all the Ecuadorian missionaries who have left their home to go to other lands bringing the good news of the Gospel of Jesus". This is what the note of the national direction of the Pontifical Mission Societies of Ecuador informs, sent to Agenzia Fides.
The Ecuadorian Episcopal Conference declared June 12 as "Day of the Ecuadorian missionary Ad Gentes", explains the note, because on this day the feast of Blessed Mercedes de Jesús Molina is celebrated, the first Ecuadorian missionary ad gentes. In this 2020, the Mass for the occasion will be celebrated at 7 pm in the Cathedral of Puyo, and will be presided over by Mgr. Rafael Cob García, Bishop of the Apostolic Vicariate of Puyo. The Mass will be broadcast live through FacebookLive, on the pages of the Apostolic Vicariate and Radio Puyo; also shared on the page of the Ecuadorian Episcopal Conference.
Blessed Mercedes de Jesus Molina was beatified by St. John Paul II during her pastoral visit to Ecuador, in Guayaquil, on February 1, 1985. Her liturgical memory was established on June 12. During the Plenary Assembly of Bishops, the Episcopal Conference, on April 24, 2015, declared her maternal patron of the Ecuadorian missionaries "ad gentes", who celebrate the day dedicated to them on the day of her liturgical feast. The idea for this day was born in 2014, during the assembly of the National Missionary Center .
"The title of missionary ad gentes is given by the Church to missionary priests, consecrated persons or lay people who work in territories recognized by the Church as mission territories ad gentes - recall the PMS of Ecuador - that is what the Church has done since the beginning with the first missionaries such as St. Paul and Barnabas, who were sent by the Church to bring the good news of the Gospel to the Gentiles ".
In Ecuador there are 8 mission territories ad gentes recognized by the Church. Six Apostolic Vicariates are located in the Amazon region , one is located in the coastal region and one in the island region .
Catégories: From the church

AMERICA/BRAZIL - "Covid-19: now more than ever, urgent need to protect children and adolescents from child labor"

Fides EN - www.fides.org - ven, 12/06/2020 - 13:49
Brasilia - The Church of Brazil joins the World Day against the exploitation of Child Labor, which is celebrated throughout the world today, June 12th. As Pope Francis recalled at the end of the general audience on Wednesday 10 June, "given the current health crisis in various countries, many children are forced into jobs that are inappropriate for their age, so as to help their own families who are in conditions of extreme poverty. Many cases are forms of slavery and confinement, resulting in physical and psychological suffering. We are all responsible for this. I appeal that every effort be made on the part of institutions to protect minors, by filling the economic and social gaps that underlie the distorted dynamic in which they are unfortunately involved. Children are the future of the human family: all of us are expected to promote their growth, health and tranquility!"
Although constitutional rules in Brazil establish the rights and protection of children, adolescents and young people, according to the United Nations Children's Fund , 61% of its children and adolescents are affected, in some way, by poverty, some forms of child labor or they cannot access to education, information, housing, water and sanitation. The data of the Pesquisa Nacional por Amostra de Domicílios reveal that in 2016 there were 2.4 million children and adolescents, aged 5 to 17, engaged in child labor, representing 6% of the population in this age group. Between 2007 and 2019, 279 children and adolescents aged 5 to 17 died and 27,924 suffered serious accidents while at work. During the same period, 46,507 children and adolescents suffered some kind of damage to health due to work.
As the note of the Bishops’ Conference of Brazil informs, sent to Fides, the 9 o'clock mass at the National Shrine of Nossa Senhora Aparecida, in Aparecida, will be celebrated at the central altar of the Shrine, and will be dedicated to children and adolescents.
According to the promoters, this is a way to attract the attention of public bodies and companies and to join in the work of raising awareness on the harmful effects of child labor. During the celebration of the Mass, the "Carta de Aparecida" will be read against child labor.
The Brazilian Bishops’ Conference and the Pastoral Care of Minors, which forms the network of the National Forum for the prevention and eradication of child labor in the states, support various targeted initiatives on this date, together with various institutions and civil society entities, with the aim of raising awareness of the extremely high number of children who, far from school and childhood, work in unworthy conditions. They also intend to demonstrate that child labor is one of the most harmful forms of exploitation for the full development of human beings and a serious violation of the fundamental rights of children and adolescents. In this pandemic context, the initiative has the motto "Covid-19: now more than ever, urgent need to protect children and adolescents from child labor".
Catégories: From the church

AFRICA - "Africa and Europe united to revive multilateral cooperation", hope the Bishops of the two continents

Fides EN - www.fides.org - ven, 12/06/2020 - 13:13
Rome - "We are firmly convinced that Africa and Europe could become the engines for the revitalization of multilateral cooperation", say the Bishops of Africa and Europe in a declaration signed by Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich and the Cardinal Philippe Nakellentuba Ouédraogo, respectively President of COMECE , and of SECAM/SCEAM .
The declaration is a contribution of the African and European Bishops to the next summit between the African Union and the European Union to be held in Brussels in October. The document, entitled "Justice will flourish and peace will abound", proposes to establish a fair and responsible partnership centered on citizens.
Bishops recommend the establishment of policies that allow for a fairer partnership between Europe and Africa. In the investment sector, they propose to "promote sustainable investment as a tool to remove persistent obstacles to fair access to basic social services and to promote human development by reflecting local needs, creating decent jobs and providing impartial access to entrepreneurs on both continents".
In the field of education, they propose to "support the creation of schools and health institutions in rural areas, equipped with modern and functional structures and personnel". It is also necessary "to promote the application of new technologies to overcome the gap between rural and urban areas".
In the area of natural resource development, it aims to promote biodiversity conservation, improve ocean management and invest in innovative green technologies, while supporting efforts to improve resilience and adaptation to the climate".
Peace on the African continent is also a crucial issue, which is why the Bishops draw attention to the need for an "integral approach, giving priority to promoting the safety of people and property, families and communities, intensifying prevention and construction efforts peace, in particular through actions to be implemented in the early stages of a conflict in order to be able to stop it in time".
Catégories: From the church

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