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AMERICA/ARGENTINA - "Stop stealing in the north": Salta area plundered of wealth and the inhabitants abandoned in misery

mar, 18/02/2020 - 13:38
Salta - "Stop stealing in the north" was the heartfelt request expressed by the rector of the Virgen de la Peña shrine, Father Fray Rubén Sica, OFM, in his homily last Sunday, February 16, referring to the situation of the inhabitants of the north, currently in a social and health emergency due to the death of children in the area, the floods that have destroyed hundreds of families in the San Martín department and the roadblocks of the National Route 34 due to the overflow of the small rivers in the area.
The Franciscan priest referred to the current difficult situation in the north, which adds to the chronic lack of essential services such as water and electricity. "We live in an area with a subtropical climate with heavy rains, but we certainly live in another province, because the reality is that we are not part of the Salta province that everyone knows", he complained.
"It seems incredible that a single rain has provoked all this: people evacuated, inhabited areas flooded. In the north if it rains or does not rain it is the same, because we do not have drinking water, energy is interrupted for hours and our hospitals are devastated. In order to go to the doctor we have to travel 400 kilometers to the capital, because there are no professionals here, and better not to mention the Chaco Salteño", said the Franciscan.
"How long will we have to live like this?" asked the priest, who continued: "This area has the resources of hydrocarbons, agriculture and timber. We are abandoned and there is no investment in this area".
The priest then turned to the authorities: "This area was rich in the period before the privatizations, but you impoverished it, with the aggravating factor that we cannot move to another place, because here we have work, home or simply our roots and our family history".
Due to the floods and consequent floods recorded in different locations in the province of Salta, Caritas Argentina has put in place its immediate assistance mechanisms in the face of climatic emergencies and the volunteer teams are working directly with the affected families.
Catégories: From the church

AFRICA/DR CONGO - The Church of Congo in the hurricane of History

mar, 18/02/2020 - 13:29
Kinshasa - Among the results produced by the three peaceful marches organized by the Lay Coordination Committee , from December 2017 to February 2018, "it seems to me that the most lasting and useful result has been achieved, thanks to civic education given in various parishes in the country, when thousands of young Congolese were able to make the supreme sacrifice to defend their human dignity and the common good of their Country". This is what Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, Archbishop Emeritus of Kinshasa, says in the preface of the book "Congo in the hurricane of History. The struggle for the rule of law for women and men of faith and goodwill", by Professor Isidore Ndaywel The volume, published by L'Harmattan in 2019, was presented in Kinshasa on February 15.
In his book, historian Ndaywel, coordinator of the CLC, praises the "going beyond oneself" demonstrated by the many people looking for peaceful solutions to the turbulences that have marked the political scene of the DRC in past years. The author also notes the role played by religious denominations in the struggle for the rule of law in the DRC; role they have played for centuries and will continue to play for the fate of the Congolese people.
The choice of the release date of this work is as significant as its content. The book was launched on the market on the eve of the 38th anniversary of the Christian march against the then-dictator, Mobutu Sese Seko. "The CLC began with the 16, 1992 march. It was its first major mobilization, in which clerics and prominent civil society figures were actively involved", said one of the speakers, reviewing the book.
"Like the CLC, I dream of a life worthy of Congo, worthy of all Congolese, worthy of all Africa. Since Congo cannot afford to remain the Country of missed opportunities, it is therefore up to all its people to continue courageously their long march towards the rule of law for the development of social well-being", underlined Isidore Ndaywel.
The presentation of the book was attended by members of the movements of citizens, academic personalities, some political-administrative authorities and priests, as well as His Exc. Mgr. Ettore Balestrero, Apostolic Nuncio in the DRC. We also noticed the presence of the widow Rossy Mukendi, one of the best known martyrs of the peaceful marches organized by the CLC, from December 2017 to February 2018.
Catégories: From the church

AFRICA/NIGERIA - "Security of life and property can no longer be guaranteed in Nigeria" denounces the Bishop of Awka

mar, 18/02/2020 - 13:14
Abuja - "Human beings are being slaughtered regularly by terrorists who are suspected to have targeted the Christians. Security of life and property can no longer be guaranteed in Nigeria", said His Exc. Mgr. Paulinus Chukwuemeka Ezeokafor, Bishop of Awka, State of Anambra, in southern Nigeria, who made a call for the establishment of local and state security organs to tackle security challenges in all parts of the Country. The Bishop stressed that there are discrepancies between the various local security apparatuses, and recalled how two priests of the Catholic Diocese of Awka were kidnapped in Ondo State and were rescued, using the Anambra State Government’s security apparatus. This State - he stressed - is relatively safe, compared to other States of the Federation.
According to Mgr. Ezeokafor the federal government should support the local security apparatus such as the Amotekun operation set up on January 9 this year by the governors of 6 States in southwestern Nigeria to coordinate the respective security organs.
That of Mgr. Ezeokafor is only the latest call of Catholic bishops who denounce violence, in particular against Christians, asking federal and local authorities to guarantee everyone's safety. At the funeral of the seminarian kidnapped and then killed in the state of Kaduna, in north-western Nigeria, His Exc. Mgr. Matthew Hassan Kukah, Bishop of Sokoto, addressed harsh words against President Muhammadu Buhari, who had been elected on the promise to restore security in the country . Kukah contested not only the insecurity that reigns in Nigeria, but also the policies that have deepened the ethnic and religious divisions between North and South.
Catégories: From the church

ASIA/INDIA - The innocent seven of Kandhamal, witnesses of faith

mar, 18/02/2020 - 12:52
Bangalore - They spoke of their experience and witnessed their faith in Christ before the Indian Bishops: the seven innocent men - involved in the story of the anti-Christian massacres that took place in 2008 in Kandhamal, in the Indian state of Orissa – who returned to freedom after an unjust 10-year detention, were invited to the 34th Plenary Assembly of the Bishops’ Conference of India , which brings together the Bishops of the three rites underway in Bangalore.
Christian journalist and activist Anto Akkara, who has visited Kandhamal 25 times, illustrated why seven innocent Christians - six of whom are illiterate, one with mental problems - were kept in prison. They were able to testify their profound faith, despite the difficulties and trials in years of unjust prison.
Akkara explained the conspiracy theory, put together around a desk before the murder of Hindu religious leader, Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati, shot dead in Kandhamal on August 23, 2008. The death of Saraswati, attributed to the Christians, was the pretext to launch the wave of violence against the baptized community. Seven innocents were unjustly sentenced to life imprisonment and imprisoned in 2008 for the alleged murder of Saraswati. The appeal process against the conviction has been ongoing before the Orissa High Court since 2015. After carefully investigating the case, with a field investigation, Akkara revealed the conspiracy in his investigative book "Who Killed Swami Laxmanananda?", published in 2016, and in the same year launched an online signature campaign to request the release of the seven. The results of that investigation were presented in court. The seven were recently released on bail.
Akkara urged the Indian Bishops to take their situation to heart and to help them concretely, both materially and spiritually. "Faith must lead to action", he said.
After the presentation of the case, Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay and President of the CBCI, led the prayer for the innocent shared by all the Bishops.
Over the past decade, the Archdiocese of Cuttack – Bhubaneswar which covers the territory of Kandhamal, Orissa, has remained close to the victims and has been the driving force in the legal proceedings, aimed at seeking justice.
Large-scale violence against Kandhamal Christians resulted in over 100 deaths, over 50,000 displaced. More than 40 women were sexually assaulted and around 12,000 children saw their schooling interrupted and denied the right to education. Over 8,000 houses were looted and burned, more than 300 churches demolished.
Catégories: From the church

AMERICA/COSTA RICA - Jubilee Year: "time to relaunch the commitment and hope that comes from the social dimension of Christian life"

mar, 18/02/2020 - 12:26
Limon - An appeal to the authorities and the protagonists of society to unite "to find solutions to the suffering of many Costa Ricans, in particular in the fields of work, health, violence, especially against children and women, citizens' safety, education, housing, pensions, situations of poverty, inequality, in addition to the humanitarian challenges of immigration". This is what the Bishops of Costa Rica launched in the message published at the end of the Plenary Assembly of the Bishops’ Conference held in Limon, which bears the date of February 13, 2020, the opening day of the Jubilee.
The Jubilee Year has been announced for the centenary of the creation of the ecclesiastical province of Costa Rica, from 13 February 2020 to 16 February 2021 , and the Bishops invite all Christians "to live intensely this time of grace", in the awareness that "the Church has contributed to giving life and developing our national identity, and its action is inseparable from the life of society and the history of the country".
This Jubilee and the celebration of the Bicentenary of Costa Rica's independence in 2021 "go together and it could not be otherwise - they write -, because we know the relevance and urgency of the dialogue between faith and the community and social dimension of culture. Therefore, as citizens and pastors, we echo the cry of a country that wants to continue moving forward on the path of social justice, the common good, human rights - whose essence is the dignity of the person - and the social peace of our people".
In the message, sent to Agenzia Fides, the Bishops mention some of the "many and complex issues of national reality that concern Costa Ricans". Firstly, the urgency of national dialogue, because "we cannot continue on the path of division, controversy and mutual distrust. As a society, we must promote the centrality of common issues, in an environment of respect that favors a prudent and measured process of discernment, to face what really happens in the country".
In order to guarantee unity and social peace, it is therefore necessary to heal and strengthen the tax system: the Bishops have constantly denounced "the national problems facing a public administration trapped by an institutional tangle dragged on for years and which today shows its social and economic effects".
Another worrying topic is unemployment, which has reached the highest levels of the decade, despite government initiatives. "We see with pain the desperation of young people, women, immigrants, informal workers - say the Bishops -. In this jubilee year we are called to combine mercy and justice, because one of the serious difficulties of today is that precarious work, without workers' rights and poorly paid, has become normal employment, a lifeline for thousands of compatriots".
The last point concerns support for the rural world, because for the Bishops the country needs "a real agricultural policy that addresses poverty reflected in the social inequality, unemployment, poverty and basic needs of this sector; without forgetting a solidarity economy that improves the situation of farmers and artisanal fishermen".
Invoking the intercession of Our Lady of the Angels, Patroness of Costa Rica, and Saint Vincent de Paoli, Patron of the Diocese of Limón, the Bishops conclude their message by recalling that "the Jubilee Year is a time to revive the commitment and the hope that comes from the social dimension of Christian life "and asking the Lord, as a special grace, that "our Jubilee rekindles the solidarity of our people".
Pope Francis spiritually joined the opening of the Jubilee Year in Costa Rica with a Letter, signed by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, in which he participates "in thanking the Lord, for all the fruits obtained in these 100 years and invites lay and consecrated persons to continue "their tireless evangelising activity, bringing the joy of the Gospel to everyone, especially the most needy and the most distant, and to give a true witness of Christian life in the various circles of society".

Catégories: From the church

ASIA/PAKISTAN - Evangelization through calligraphy

mar, 18/02/2020 - 10:14
Karachi - Art and calligraphy can be a means of evangelization in Pakistan: Father Arthur Charles is convinced of this to the point that he has started placing banners with verses from the Bible, in beautiful writing, on the walls of Saint John Church in Karachi, where he is parish priest, as a means of spreading the Gospel. "One of the aims of this initiative - the priest explains to Agenzia Fides - is to bring the Good News of the Gospel closer to our people, but above all to the Muslim faithful, so that they know and appreciate Christ's message".
Two years ago the priest noted that right in front of the Church, there are Catholic schools where many students attend lessons. "There are children and young people not only Catholics or Christians of other confessions, but also of other religions, and a large majority are Muslim students. Every day their parents either come to accompany or pick their children up, and often spend a lot of time near the school, to wait for the children. So I came up with the idea of using the walls of our Church to evangelize through art and calligraphy", says Fr. Charles.
"You can read biblical passages, popular prayers such as the Our Father and the Ave Maria beautifully written with calligraphic skill, which also attracts passersby", he continues. "In this part of the world, the representation of sacred figures is not very widespread: we are trying to spread a culture of Christian art mainly through writing and calligraphy and it is very important to bring out a sense of beauty in the Church", says Fr. Arthur Charles.
Furthermore, on the front of the school building there is a large poster showing biblical verses and images, which is changed according to the liturgical time or to religious and social events.
The parish priest continues: "I remember what Pope Francis encouraged in the 'Evangelii gaudium': the use of arts in evangelization, especially based on the treasures of the past. One has to be bold and discover new signs and new symbols, to incarnate and communicate the Word in different forms of beauty".
The parish priest concludes: "Evangelization implies the effort to transform the culture of the community in which we live in order to create harmony with the Gospel. It is very important to reflect on the things that capture our heart. We can use words, but visual art is a very effective means of making God's message known".
"There is nothing like this in Karachi. For me and for many other people this is a completely new experience, which I really appreciate", says Haroon Iqbal, one of the Catholic faithful of the Church of St. John, to Fides. Anwar Arshad, grandfather of a child studying in high school, notes: "My children studied in this school. I come here to accompany them to school. I am very happy to read the verses from the Holy Bible and God’s Commandments. They help me understand the beauty of the Christian faith". "I come here and wait for my children. I read these writings that lead me to meditation. It's a wonderful idea", agrees Syed Iqbal Mehboob.
Catégories: From the church

AMERICA/NICARAGUA - The Bishop of Matagalpa presents an "ethical decalogue" for politicians; the release of all prisoners is still awaited

lun, 17/02/2020 - 13:09
Matagalpa - The passage of the Gospel proclaimed during Masses last Sunday, the "discourse of the mountain" which deals with the subject of the fulfillment of the law, gave the cue to Msgr. Rolando José Alvarez Lagos, Bishop of Matagalpa, to present an ethical decalogue to politicians in the country to follow.
During the homily of the Mass celebrated in the Cathedral, Mgr. Alvarez, with the clear and direct style that characterizes him, said: "First: do not disqualify the other; second: do not criticize him in a destructive way; third: do not judge him in an incorrect way; fourth: respect his dignity; fifth: respect his privacy, his integrity and his family life; sixth: respect the opinions of the other; seventh: recognize that we all need each other; eighth: always look for points of consensus; ninth: consider Nicaragua as the greatest and main common good; tenth: overcome evil with good".
Nicaragua still lives in a situation of strong tension due to the lack of freedom in all senses. Not even the news of the upcoming elections has brought serenity to families who have a family member in prison without a real accusation. Nobody knows the exact number of political prisoners, but it is well known that there are many. As the note sent by a local Fides source informs, the news of the release, on February 13, of eight political prisoners by the Orteguista regime, certainly provoked satisfaction among the groups that ask for the release of prisoners of conscience, but the family members of prisoners continue to demand the unconditional release of all citizens who are detained in the country's various penitentiaries.
Brenda Gutiérrez, president of the Committee for the Liberation of Political Prisoners, told the local press that although no one should be thanked because freedom is a right, the intervention of the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Waldemar Sommertag, must be acknowledged who was the only one able to make himself heard by the couple who governs Nicaragua, President Daniel Ortega and Vice President Rosario Murillo, his wife. Brenda Gutiérrez added: "It is a terrible situation. There is no freedom, it seems that we are kidnapped in our own country".
According to Alianza Civica there are still 61 political prisoners. Brenda Gutiérrez stressed that "although the Grand Coalition of the opposition is concerned about defining the electoral reform in view of the upcoming elections, we cannot forget those who suffer unjustly in prison".
Catégories: From the church

VATICAN - The Pope asks for a year of missionary commitment to the priests candidates for the diplomatic service of the Holy See

lun, 17/02/2020 - 12:36
Vatican City - The Holy Father Francis has asked to integrate a year of missionary commitment in a diocese of particular Churches in the training curriculums of the priests candidates for the diplomatic service of the Holy See, in order to train them in apostolic zeal to go to the border territories, outside of their diocese of origin. The Holy Father's letter to His Exc. Mgr. Joseph Marino, President of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, was made known today by the Vatican Press Office with this request.
In order to face the growing challenges for the Church and for the world positively, "future diplomats of the Holy See must acquire, in addition to the solid priestly and pastoral formation, and the specific formation offered by this Academy, also a personal mission experience outside their own Diocese of origin, sharing with the missionary Churches a period of journey together with their community, participating in their daily evangelizing activity".
The Pope therefore asked Archbishop Marino "to enrich the academic training curriculum with a year dedicated entirely to missionary service in the particular Churches around the world", in close collaboration with the Secretariat of State and with the Pontifical Representatives. "The missionary experience that we want to promote - the Holy Father explains - will be useful not only to young academics, but also to the individual Churches with which they will collaborate and, I hope, will arouse in other priests of the universal Church the desire to make themselves available to carry out a period of missionary service outside their own Diocese".
Catégories: From the church

AFRICA/BURKINA FASO - At least 24 dead in the attack against an evangelical church

lun, 17/02/2020 - 12:25
Ouagadougou - Unidentified armed individuals attacked the Evangelical church in the village of Pansi, located not far from Sebba, in the province of Yahgha, in northern Burkina Faso, yesterday, Sunday 16 February, killing at least 24 people and injuring about ten.
The attack took place on Sunday morning when the faithful were gathered in the church for Sunday worship. The perpetrators arrived by motorbike and opened fire on the faithful, then they left with the pastor and other hostages.
On February 10, a jihadist group stormed the city of Sebba and kidnapped seven people in the house of a Protestant pastor. Three days later, five of them, including the pastor, were found dead while the other two, women, were found unharmed.
In addition to Catholic priests and Protestant pastors, several imams have also been murdered by jihadists in northern Burkina Faso since the attacks started four years ago. In October, the President of Burkina Faso, Roch Kaboré, made an appeal not to fall into the trap of confessional war .

Catégories: From the church

ASIA/INDIA - The Apostolic Nuncio: "To announce the Gospel of mercy in daily life"

lun, 17/02/2020 - 12:20
Bangalore - The first mission of Bishops and faithful in India is "to announce and live the Gospel in situations of daily life": said Archbishop Giambattista Diquattro, Apostolic Nuncio to India and Nepal, speaking at the 32nd plenary Assembly meeting of the Bishops’ Conference of India , which brings together the Latin Rite Bishops, taking place in Bangalore. "Christ's followers have a responsibility to promote the gospel values of mercy and compassion. Bishops in our country should encourage the faithful to deepen the values of the Gospel in their lives", said the Nuncio. Archbishop Diquattro presided over the opening mass of the CCBI Plenary Assembly. During Mass, special prayers were presented for people affected by coronavirus in China and in various parts of the world: everyone was asked to pray continuously for the speedy recovery of people affected by the virus and for the protection of God.
The assembly works were chaired by Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrão, Archbishop of Goa and Daman and President of the Conference. In his speech the Archbishop underlined the need to "continue contributing to the good of the nation even among the difficulties we are facing and to promote brotherhood and peace". The Archbishop called for "a society without any discrimination of caste, creed, language or ethnicity".
Among other speeches, Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay, asked the bishops to "promote the culture of life and brotherhood in India". The Cardinal expressed serious concern about the new pregnancy termination law, which allows abortion at any time up to 24 weeks of pregnancy. "Human life must be respected and protected from the moment of conception. The Church firmly promotes the protection of the sacredness of human life, from conception to natural death. Bishops have a responsibility to spread Christ's message about the dignity of all human life", he said.
The fundamental themes of the meeting were presented by Mgr. Anil Couto, Archbishop of Delhi and CCBI Secretary General, who presented the Conference's Annual Report, which touched on the challenges and pastoral issues regarding the Latin-rite Catholic Church in India, which includes 132 dioceses and 190 bishops.
The conference elected 26 bishops as delegates to participate in the "Golden Jubilee" of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences to be held in November 2020 in Bangkok, Thailand.
Catégories: From the church

AFRICA/CAMEROON - "Ballot boxes almost completely deserted by voters", report observers of "Justice and Peace"

lun, 17/02/2020 - 12:10
Yaoundé - Peaceful elections but almost entirely deserted by voters. This is what His Exc. Mgr. Abraham Kome, Bishop of Bafang, Apostolic Administrator of Bafia and President of the National Episcopal Conference of Cameroon reported in a press meeting in which he presented the evaluations of the electoral observers sent by the Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace in the polling stations for the municipal and legislative elections of 9 February.
The "propensity to abstain was almost general", said Mgr. Kome who brought some examples: "in the Bissono gendarmerie in Sangmelima, there were 85 voters out of 310 registered; in Ngwui par Dschang, 50 voters out of 200 registered; in Batouri the abstention rate was 80.57%; in Bertoua, 70%". "The low turnout undoubtedly means that the basic law of the electoral code that governs the elections in Cameroon must be revised in order to arouse people's enthusiasm in the fulfillment of their civil duty", underline the Bishops in the statement presented by Mgr. Kome.
CENC deployed 262 observers who were deployed in 46 departments across 58 Countries. Mgr. Kome added that due to the insecurity in the North West and South West regions, the 17 CENC observers in these two regions were unable to do their job. An insecurity that "has prevented many citizens from exercising their civil rights", underline the Bishops.
In one of the two English-speaking regions, that of the North West, a massacre of civilians was committed, mostly women and children. The crime was perpetrated on the night of February 14-15 in Ngarbuh-Ntumbaw in the Donga-Mantung department. According to the UN, there are 22 victims, among whom there are 14 children, including 11 girls under the age of 5, a pregnant woman and two women. The secessionist rebels accused the Cameroonian army of being responsible for the massacre, but rejected the accusations.
Catégories: From the church

AMERICA/MEXICO - From the sanctuary of Guadalupe, Archbishop Dal Toso starts the preparation for the continental missionary event, CAM 6

lun, 17/02/2020 - 11:45
Mexico City - With the solemn Mass presided yesterday in the Shrine of Santa Maria di Guadalupe, so important for the evangelization of the entire American continent, Archbishop Giampietro Dal Toso, President of the Pontifical Mission Societies , officially began the journey of preparation for the sixth American Mission Congress, CAM 6, which will be celebrated in Puerto Rico in 2023. A path that will engage all the dioceses of the continent, as he pointed out in the homily, "so that the missionary Congress is truly an ecclesial event, that is shared by all the Churches, by all Catholics on the continent", hoping that "missionary zeal can renew all the Churches, united in universal communion".
The celebration that marked the start of the journey towards CAM 6 was attended by bishops, numerous priests, men and women religious, and lay people, as well as the PMS national directors of the continent, who in these days will take part in their continental assembly and a large delegation from the Church of Puerto Rico, which will host CAM 6.
In his homily, the President of the PMS focused on the theme of wisdom, drawing inspiration from the Liturgy of the Word of the day. "We need a wisdom that illuminates, inspires, accompanies, perfections the missionary impulse, the true objective of CAM" he said recalling the book of Sirach. According to the words of Saint Paul, the wisdom preached by Christ "is not of this world", indeed it is in contrast with the wisdom of this world:" this is clearly manifested in Christ crucified and risen 'scandal for the Jews, folly for the Gentiles', as Paul writes a few verses before. This first proclamation of the Church, the heart of her message, is divine wisdom, because it is humanly inexplicable that life is born from death. As missionaries, even today we are called to present the mystery of Christ dead and risen, divine wisdom".
The Gospel of the day recounts the Sermon on the Mount, "apparently full of paradoxes, because it draws on a wisdom that is not human, but divine" continued the Archbishop, admonishing that "if our measure of things, people, facts of life and history is based exclusively on human justice, it means that we have not yet made divine wisdom our own".
"To be missionaries we must first of all immerse ourselves in this wisdom and make it our own, without fear of losing our 'too human' wisdom, otherwise everything remains in the dark", urged the President of the Pontifical Mission Societies, who then stressed: "Preparing CAM means being illuminated by a wisdom that comes from above and is not ours; let us allow ourselves to be questioned without fear and without prejudice by this divine wisdom, without which all the ecological, human, social, ecclesial reality remains in the dark".
In the final part of the homily, Archbishop Dal Toso reiterated that "Christ, the eternal wisdom of the Father, sends us all, ad gentes, to the ends of the earth"; "The Church is the bearer of this wisdom and a missionary Church, as Pope Francis wishes, cannot fail to respond to this universal call"; "No one can be excluded from the knowledge and communion of life with God the Father, with his Son Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit".
The American continent received the Gospel "to make it its own, to internalize it and to give it" and "the missionary disciple is a disciple because he receives faith and is a missionary because he offers it", concluded the Archbishop, exhorting: "Let's open up to the whole world so that the whole world will find the key to the interpretation of life, of history, of the whole being, in the wisdom of Christ, in which everything has been created".

Link correlati :Full text of the Archbishop's homily, in Spanish
Catégories: From the church

AMERICA/CHILE - Three hundred young people from Concepción on a mission to share their faith and their hope

sam, 15/02/2020 - 21:23
Concepción - About 300 young people from the Chilean Archdiocese of Concepción carried out summer missions in various communities in January and February, in support of the pastoral action that takes place throughout the year. In this way they wanted to respond to what Pope Francis asked them in his Apostolic Exhortation "Christus vivit", where he encourages young people to be courageous missionaries: "Young people are called to be witnesses of the Gospel wherever they find themselves, by the way they live... Learn to swim against the tide, learn how to share Jesus and the faith he has given you" .
As the note of the Episcopal Conference sent to Fides informs, many rural and urban areas, such as the prison of Arauco or the Isla de Chiloé and the Isla de Santa María, have been touched by the enthusiasm and joy of the young missionaries, who did everything they could to give their testimony. In the days of the mission, the young people visited each house in the sector entrusted, organized several meetings with the local community, in an atmosphere of great fraternity and spiritual fervor, with the celebration of the Eucharist as the main moment of each day.
The vicar of the Youth Ministry of the Archdiocese of Concepción, Father Víctor Álvarez, commented: "taking responsibility for their mission, in the Church and in the social context in which we live as a nation, the young people went to share their faith and their hope in every mission area". Each mission area could count on the support of some priests and religious women, engaged in the various sectors of pastoral care and in different places, thus strengthening the spiritual dimension and the encounter with Jesus Christ as the foundation of all that was accomplished in those days.
Catégories: From the church

AMERICA/MEXICO - New tools of discernment for animation, formation and missionary cooperation on the continent

sam, 15/02/2020 - 21:15
Mexico City - The first Continental Formation Meeting for professors of Missionology and Ecclesiology is taking place in Mexico City, at the headquarters of the Pontifical Mission Societies , which from 14 to 16 February, professors in the subject, directors, coordinators and other members of the PMS from Brazil, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Argentina, among other Latin American countries, gather together.
According to the information sent to Fides by the PMS of Mexico, which point out that the number of lay people involved in the Missio Ad Gentes in each country is considerable, the dynamic of this seminar are the workshops and round tables for dialogue theme-based, as preparation to a plenary meeting and to a final general contribution, in order to indicate new perspectives to push missionary work throughout Latin America.
Previously, always at the PMS headquarters in Mexico City, on Wednesday 12 and Thursday 13 February, a Commission met which, accompanied by the PMS Continental Coordinator, presented the conclusions of the research work carried out: a study of the Missionary Continental Congresses which have been held on the continent since 1977. The aim is to compile a report based on two guidelines: the methodology used in the various Mission Congresses and the priority of Missio Ad Gentes, as well as of course deepening the themes, contents, context of each Congress and other peculiar aspects.
The aim of this work is to offer discernment tools at the service of animation, formation and current missionary cooperation across the continent, highlighting errors, successes, challenges and opportunities raised. The participants in this meeting were: Fr. Ender Zapata, National Director of the PMS of Venezuela; Alexis Gil, National Director of the PMS of Colombia, Fr. Luís A. Nahuelanca, National Director of the PMS of Chile, a team from Puerto Rico and Fr. Leonardo Rodriguez, National Director of the PMS of Uruguay and Continental Coordinator of America's PMS.
Catégories: From the church

VATICAN - "Cordial meeting" between Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi

sam, 15/02/2020 - 21:07
Munich - Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, the Holy See’s Secretary for Relations with States, and Chinese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, met in Munich and had a talk yesterday afternoon, Friday 14 February, within the context of the Munich Security Conference 2020, the annual conference on global security policies that has been taking place every year in Munich since 1963. It was the first official meeting of this kind between a representative of the Holy See and a member of the government of the People's Republic of China.
"During the discussion, which took place in a cordial atmosphere", reports the press release issued by the Vatican Press Office late on Friday, February 14, "they discussed the contacts that have taken place between the two countries “which have developed positively over time". In particular, "the importance of the Provisional Agreement on the appointment of Bishops, signed last 22 September was highlighted, and the “willingness to continue the institutional dialogue at the bilateral level to promote the life of the Catholic Church and the good of the Chinese people" .
The meeting also expressed common appreciation "for the efforts being made to eradicate the coronavirus epidemic as well as solidarity with the affected population". In addition, "greater international cooperation to foster peace in the world and considerations on intercultural dialogue and human rights were exchanged". Agenzia Fides, 15/2/2020)
Catégories: From the church

ASIA/SINGAPORE - Coronavirus: Masses and meetings suspended indefinitely in the Archdiocese of Singapore

sam, 15/02/2020 - 20:51
Singapore - In the fight against the spread of the coronavirus , the Archdiocese of Singapore has decided to suspend the celebration of all Masses on Sunday and weekdays from February 15th until further notice. The Archdiocese - which includes 32 churches - has warned parish priests and lay communities that all other public events involving large numbers of people, such as faith formation meetings, retreats and seminars, should also be suspended. At the end of last month, the Archdiocese had already exempted those who were sick or had flu-like symptoms from attending Mass.
In a letter sent to Fides, the Archbishop of Singapore William Goh recalls that in recent weeks the local Church has been working to minimize the risk of spreading Covid-19 outbreaks in its institutions and among priests, inviting to measure people's temperature. However, this measure is not a fool-proof screening tool, as even asymptomatic people can be carriers of the infection.
The Archbishop underlines that the suspension of Masses does not mean that Catholics can feel exempted from the fulfillment of their main religious obligation, and adds that they can follow the broadcast of the Mass on YouTube or on the CatholicSG Radio mobile application. He therefore invites us to pray for this virus to be contained and eradicated, and also for those on the front lines - doctors and nurses - who are putting their health at the service of the sick.
For weddings and funerals, these are considered private services which means only invited guests can attend. Arrangements will have to be made with the parish priests, following all precautionary measures according to the Catholic Medical Guild.
Until February 14, 67 confirmed cases of Covid-19 had been registered in Singapore. Of these, 17 were discharged from the hospital while another 6 remain in the intensive care unit and are seriously ill.
Catégories: From the church

AFRICA/BURUNDI - Resignation of the Bishop of Bururi and appointment of successor

sam, 15/02/2020 - 20:37
Vatican City - The Holy Father has accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Bururi, Burundi, presented by Bishop Venant Bacinoni.
The Pope has appointed as bishop of the same diocese the Reverend Salvator Niciteretse, of the clergy of Burundi, currently secretary of the Episcopal Commission for the Lay Apostolate.
The Reverend Salvator Niciteretse was born on 2 August 1958 in Rutwenzi, diocese of Bururi, and entered the minor seminary of Kanyosha . He obtained a humanistic diploma from the middle seminary of Bujumbura , and completed his bachelor’s degree in philosophy in the major seminary of Bujumbura , and in theology in the major seminary of Burasira . He was ordained a priest on 9 July 1989 for the diocese of Bururi.
Since priestly ordination he has held the following offices: parish vicar of Murago and parish priest of the same parish, and national chaplain of the Xaveri Movement ; parish priest of the Cathedral of Bururi and diocesan director of the Pontifical Mission Societies ; higher studies at the Pontifical Lateran University, where he was awarded a licentiate in pastoral theology and a doctorate in the social doctrine of the Church ; secretary of the Episcopal Commission for the Lay Apostolate, professor at the Major Seminary of Gitega and of Kiryama; and African representative at the International Forum of Catholic Action.
Catégories: From the church

AFRICA/NIGERIA - Another priest kidnapped in Nigeria

sam, 15/02/2020 - 20:33
Abuja - "We are sure that he is alive, and since the incident, steps have been taken to ensure that Rev. Fr. Nicholas Oboh is released without any harm", said Fr. Osi Odenore, Chancellor of the Diocese of Uromi, in a press conference in which he denounced the kidnapping of Fr. Nicholas Oboh, who works in the diocese of Uromi, in the state of Edo, in southeastern Nigeria. Fr. Odenore said that the priest was kidnapped yesterday, February 14, but did not specify in which area the kidnapping took place. Fr. Odenore concluded his speech by asking for prayers for the rapid release of Fr. Oboh.
Kidnappings for extortion purposes have plagued several areas of Nigeria for some time. In adition to the kidnapping of Fr. Oboh, also several children were kidnapped at the same time in Umelu, in the state of Edo, when bandits attacked the village. After robbing the residents, the bandits fled with the four children. Despite paying a ransom, only one of them has so far been released.
Among the people kidnapped there are priests and men and women religious. The last in order of time are the four seminarians kidnapped from the major Seminary of the Good Shepherd of Kakau, in the State of Kaduna, in north-west Nigeria, by armed men on the night of January 8 . The youngest of these, Michael Nnadi , was killed while the other three were released .
At his funeral , His Exc. Mgr. Matthew Hassan Kukah, Bishop of Sokoto, addressed harsh words against President Muhammadu Buhari, who had been elected on the promise to restore security in the Country. Mgr. Kukah contested not only the insecurity that reigns in Nigeria, but also the policies that have deepened the ethnic and religious divisions between North and South.
Catégories: From the church

VATICAN - The prayer of children is what pleases the Lord: Cardinal Tagle visits Bambino Gesù Hospital

sam, 15/02/2020 - 20:19
Vatican City - The first official commitment of Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle in Rome, after the appointment as Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, was the visit to the children hospitalized in Bambino Gesù Hospital in Rome, on Friday February 14.
The occasion arose from the presentation of the book "Children are Hope" , a collection of drawings that children from all over the world gave to Pope Francis.
"It is a book that takes me back to my family roots, when in the evening we would always flip through the same images in simplicity and with such serenity", said the Cardinal to the children who he repeatedly invited to be happy and confident towards the future. "The Church has a future because there are children", stressed the Cardinal Prefect during the presentation of the book. "In Manila, the girls of the house for street children 'Bridge of life towards hope', which Pope Francis during his visit wanted to visit unexpectedly, when they learned of my departure for Rome, they organized a simple feast to greet me with songs dances, prayers and even many tears. They asked me to tell Pope Francis not to forget this house, to tell him that he remains in this house in the memory of the children. The girls promised that they will pray every day for me and I believe that the prayer of children without speculation, without too many words, with smiles and tears, is the prayer that pleases the Lord".
Cardinal Tagle, who before the meeting with journalists, visited the young patients hospitalized in the pediatric hospital accompanied by President Mariella Enoc, stayed with them and their family members and greeted the children and invited them to keep a ‘permanent smile on their faces’.
Catégories: From the church

AFRICA/NIGER - Father Pier Luigi Maccali: the thorns and flowers of a kidnapping

sam, 15/02/2020 - 20:02
Niamey - "No information, no sign that will help us give a real name to what has happened and to glimpse the path to follow", writes Father Ceferino Cainelli, Provincial Superior of the Society for African Missions, since the kidnapping of Fr. Pier Luigi Maccalli from the Bomoanga mission .
"The pain caused by the absence of Fr. Pier Luigi, after a year and five months of his kidnapping, is very much felt. The thorn continues to be present and hurts a lot", writes Fr. Cainelli, who adds that "in the meantime, beautiful flowers of solidarity and hope, of sharing and growth in faith have sprouted".
"One of these is offered by the Diocese of Crema which, since the kidnapping of Father Pier Luigi, gathers every month to show its 'patient and persistent hope' in faith, flower of light and faith, of perseverance in prayer, of prophetic communion, of the Church on the way.
"We missionaries of the SMA - concludes Fr. Cainelli - feel in deep communion with this diocese from which our confrere comes from. We sincerely thank his Bishop, Msgr. Daniele Gianotti, the Missionary Office and the whole Diocesan community, for having involved us every time in these moments of prayer, which encourage and console us, which make us grow as a Church, and that make us share the same mission and the same hope".
Catégories: From the church

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