AMERICA/BOLIVIA - The Bishops: "It is urgent to respect the democratic process in the Country"

Fides EN - - 2 ore 4 min fa
Cochabamba - "Our mission and our only concern is to evangelize, faithfully fulfilling the Word of God, and to make known the principles and values of the Gospel, without other intentions or interests of any kind": this is what the Bishops of Bolivia in the message titled "I am the way, the truth and the life" , traditionally addressed to the people of God, at the conclusion of the Plenary Assembly, held from 8 to 13 November in Cochabamba. Over 30 Bolivian Bishops dealt with pastoral, social and political questions. During the meeting the Governing Council of the CEB was ratified and the Bishops Presidents of the different Areas of the Bolivian Episcopal Conference were appointed .
In the Message the Bishops confirm the task of "communicating the truth" and of realistically looking at the problems affecting reality. At this point they refer in particular to the "anticipated election campaign", in which false information, lies and calumny in the media seem to circulate, "in order to manipulate and influence public opinion, to achieve the objectives in a hidden way". The Bishops recall the words of Pope Francis, supporting a process of preparation for honest and transparent voting, "seeking the objectivity of facts, putting first the common good and what unites us, discarding everything that isolates, divides, contrasts and causes clashes, because truth springs from free relations among people, in respect, in mutual listening and in sincere dialogue".
During the past year, the Bishops have highlighted events that encourage the Church, such as the 5th American Missionary Congress , held in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, where the delegates of all the countries of the Americas met, "giving a great impulse to missionary vocation". "This gift - they say - is bearing fruit, giving rise to greater prophetic, missionary and reconciliation through the task of living in our local Churches the motto: The Gospel is joy, we must announce it".
In the end, the Episcopate asks to make efforts to seek the truth and insists on the request to "ensure and respect the dignity of every person, the freedom of thought and expression", abandoning "attitudes that may in some way limit these inalienable rights. "In the same way, in the face of attempts to ignore and manipulate the will of the people and constitutional norms, "it is essential that the democratic process is respected by all. Only then will we have a democratic, free, fair and peaceful Bolivia", concludes the message.
Categorie: From the church

ASIA/IRAQ - Chaldean Patriarch: let us help promote a "spirituality of exile and of return"

Fides EN - - 2 ore 14 min fa
Baghdad - The Holy Bible contains a rich patrimony of writings useful to develop a suggestive and fruitful spirituality able to support and comfort the people who experience the displacement from their homes, the experience of living the condition of exile, imprisonment and persecution and then also the experience of returning to the places of one's ordinary life. A spirituality which should be promoted in the Christian communities of the Middle East, which in recent years, due to wars and jihadist violence, have often been forced to abandon the places of their traditional rooting. This is the suggestion contained in a broad reflection on the "theology of departure and return" proposed by Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako, and spread through the official channels of the Chaldean Patriarchate.
"The Prophets Micah, Amos, Isaiah and Jeremiah and in particular Ezekiel" recalls the Patriarch, " strongly expressed the theology of displacement - captivity" while Ezekiel offered deep reflections on the experience of the return and reconstruction of their own houses and the fabric of social co-existence that had been torn by the vicissitudes of history. The same existential dynamics are at the center of many biblical psalms.
"Today" underlines the Primate of the Chaldean Church "we are called to discover the richness of these experiences by reading it carefully with a deep spiritual “faith” in the light of our experience during the invasion of Nineveh Plain in August 2014 by the Islamic terrorists ", when so many Christians shared the condition of "being displaced, having their homes destroyed and living for more than 3.5 years in camps, in addition to facing social, economic, psychological, political and religious challenges".
Since the liberation of the seized areas, completed in 2017, many Iraqi Christians were brave enough to returned and started the process of reconstruction, with all its complications.
In such a context, the attempt to develop a real "theology" of forced migration, exile and return can be useful to everyday life, comparing one's own experience to those narrated in the Holy Scriptures, to help everyone to read the signs of times and live the theological virtue of hope in the condition in which they find themselves, and not be overwhelmed by frustration and despair.
Every human being who suffers from injustice, persecution, social and economic pressure and terrorism, would certainly ask: Why? same as “the persecuted” Jesus asked, when He was nailed on the Cross: “Eli, eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” . "People who ask such questions", added the Patriarch "are not actually denying the existence of God, but they are talking to Him and this is their prayers"
Today - concludes Louis Raphael Sako - pastoral care in helping the flowering of an analogous spirituality "is the responsibility of our Churches, of our Catholic and Orthodox Patriarchates and of our faithful". .

Categorie: From the church

ASIA/PHILIPPINES - Resignation of the Apostolic Vicar of Taytay

Fides EN - - 3 ore 13 min fa
Vatican City - The Holy Father Francis has accepted the resignation of the pastoral governance of the Apostolic Vicariate of Taytay , presented by His Exc. Mgr. Edgardo Sarabia Juanich.
Categorie: From the church

AFRICA/MOROCCO - Pope Francis to visit Morocco; "We look forward to it", says the Archbishop of Rabat

Fides EN - - 3 ore 15 min fa
Rabat - "For us who want to live and deepen the communion between us and the Moroccan people, Pope Francis’ visit will be a magnificent opportunity to show and live our communion with the Bishop of Rome and, through him, with the universal Church", says His Exc. Mgr. Cristóbal López, Archbishop of Rabat, in a note in which he expresses on behalf of the Bishops of Morocco the joy for the announcement of Pope Francis’ visit to the Country.
Yesterday, November 13, the Vatican Press Office announced that "Welcoming the invitation of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, and of the Bishops, Pope Francis will travel to Morocco from March 30-31, stopping in the cities of Rabat and Casablanca".
"The Pope comes in response to the invitation of His Majesty, King Mohammed VI, and of the Church who is a pilgrim in Morocco. He will pay a visit to the Moroccan people and to the ecclesial community, including the many brothers who are passing through Morocco and who are migrating to Europe in situations of great difficulty", underlines Mgr. López.
Coming to the goals of the Holy Father's visit to a country with a Muslim majority whose small Catholic community consists of foreign residents and migrants, the Archbishop writes: "The Pope's mission, as the successor of the Apostle Peter, is that to confirm us in faith. It is the main purpose of his visit. He comes to know us, to share our life a little, to encourage us, to pray with us and to bless us. He also comes to get in touch with the Moroccan people and their authorities, especially His Majesty, the King, in the spirit of the interreligious Islamic-Christian dialogue that both of them want to promote".
Pending the publication of the detailed program of the papal visit, Archbishop López invites the faithful "to daily, personal, parish, group and family prayer, so that the papal journey will bear fruit".
Categorie: From the church

ASIA/BANGLADESH - General elections after Christmas: satisfaction of Christians

Fides EN - - 4 ore 18 min fa
Dhaka - The general elections in Bangladesh will be held on December 30th, the date announced by Nurul Huda, Electoral Commissioner. Previously there was talk of a date on December 23, too close to Christmas: this is why Christians in Bangladesh have welcomed the postponement of the vote to after the Christmas celebrations. "In this time, it is necessary that everyone, government, opposition, civil society, commit themselves to guaranteeing a free and transparent vote. We are happy it will be after Christmas", comments to Agenzia Fides Fr. David Bipul Das, Catholic parish priest of the diocese of Barisal
The opposition alliance, "Jatiya Oikya Front", which includes the Bangladesh Nationalist Party , led by leader Kamal Hossain, has promised to start a confrontation at all levels, in view of the vote. The alliance, composed of 20 parties, wants a transitional government to take effect in the weeks leading up to the vote, to ensure "free and fair elections", arguing that the incumbent government, led by the "Awami League" could exploit its position of power to take advantage of the electoral campaign. The government claims that this request is unconstitutional.
In the past, elections in Bangladesh were often marked by violence. Bengali Christians say they are worried about the inclusion of the "Jamaat-e-Islami" radical Islamist party in the coalition of opposition parties. The Christian faithful in Bangladesh reaffirm their mission of witnessing the Gospel to a predominantly Muslim country, offering a contribution to education, development and social services, to cultural activities aimed at witnessing love and peace, gifts of God.
Categorie: From the church

AFRICA/NIGER - Army and traditional leaders called to collaborate in the fight against jihadists: a hope for Fr. Maccalli

Fides EN - - 4 ore 33 min fa
Niamey - The western part of Niger, on the border with Mali and Burkina Faso, has become in recent years the scene of operations by terrorist groups that carry out deadly attacks in these three countries against armed forces and civilian populations. "It is in this area that two Nigerian soldiers were killed in recent days due to the explosion of a mine; it is the same area where the Italian priest, Father Pierluigi Maccalli, was kidnapped by armed men last September", reports the Chinese Xinhua news agency, which has a considerable number of correspondents from Africa. Last week, Niger's Interior Minister, Mohamed Bazoum, said in Parliament that bandits close to jihadist groups were responsible for murders, robberies and kidnappings of civilians.
Meanwhile, popular protests continue in Niamey. On November 12, several thousand people demonstrated in the capital of Niger against the electoral law approved by the government in 2017. The demonstrators, led by former president Mahamane Ousmane, marched through the streets of the capital chanting hostile slogans against the government and then demonstrating in front of Parliament. The opposition in particular disputes four articles of the law, including Article 8 which provides for the ineligibility of those sentenced to at least one year imprisonment.
Official sources in Niamey reported that Nigerian Defense Minister Kalla Moutari invited local leaders in the area to collaborate with the Defense and Security Forces operating against terrorists. Moutari, on a patrolling trip to the western part of the country, visited, in particular, military units engaged in tracking down armed bandits operating in the area between Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali. The Minister told the troops: "The groups that want to impose their will by force will lose the battle, because they do not defend any value. Their cruelty and their cowardice will not get the upper hand". During the meeting with the traditional leaders of the villages in the region, Moutari asked them to collaborate with the army and "provide all the information possible to permanently neutralize these barbaric individuals".
Categorie: From the church

VATICAN - Cardinal Filoni to the religious women of Saurimo: intimacy with Christ in prayer and generous service to the world

Fides EN - - 5 ore 36 min fa
Saurimo - The apostolic exhortation Evangelii gaudium and the announcement of the extraordinary Missionary Month, which clearly mark, together with other aspects, the missionary tone of the entire Pontificate of Pope Francis, was the starting point for Card. Fernando Filoni to consider some aspects of female consecrated life.
During his visit in Angola , speaking to the religious women of the Ecclesiastical Province of Saurimo on the morning of Tuesday, November 13, the Prefect of the Missionary Dicastery said: "Consecrated religious life is a gift from God to the Church through which he wants the consecrated persons, men and women, to make the characteristics of Jesus visible in the world - chaste, poor and obedient -. The current evils of our society can be overcome by the rediscovery of the evangelical values of poverty, chastity and obedience. And to do so, we must value our encounter with Christ, to renew the gift of our vocation".
Therefore the Cardinal urged the religious women to dedicate themselves to reach "spiritual, human and emotional maturity" through prayer and permanent formation: "You must have a style of life marked by the intimacy with Christ in prayer and by a generous service to the world". "In a world in constant change and marked by so many contradictions - he continued - in which the tendency is to exclude God from fundamental choices, it is very easy, even for religious women, to lose their identity. In fact, the evils that afflict today's globalized society, such as the search for autonomy, greed, power, the lack of a spirit of service, ethnic and tribal divisions, the banalization of love and sexuality, do not spare the diocesan clergy and even the men and women religious here in Angola, on the contrary, threaten your Church, your religious communities or already cause serious damage to them".
Through the total giving of life to God and to the service of the communities, the poor and the marginalized, the religious live this missionary dimension of the Church "that goes forth", bearing witness to the radical following of Jesus Christ. "Therefore - Cardinal Filoni exhorted – commit yourselves to a personal encounter with Christ through personal and community prayer ... Commit yourselves to creating religious communities that are real 'places of celebration and forgiveness' and an environment that is both a 'mission' and prepares for the mission. In these communities fraternal communion is lived because we are members of the same religious family". The fraternity that distinguishes consecrated life in its community dimension must be "a strong and eloquent sign" of the fraternity of the whole Church.
Finally, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples reaffirmed the importance of permanent formation: "For a creative fidelity to religious vocation and to respond to the needs of the mission and the challenges of today's world, you must commit yourselves to permanent formation, which is a constant effort of spiritual, human, religious and intellectual renewal; it is a dimension of the process of permanent conversion".

Link correlati :The full text of Cardinal Filoni's speech, in Portuguese
Categorie: From the church

ASIA/INDONESIA - Catholic women are committed to promoting human dignity and prosperity

Fides EN - - Mar, 13/11/2018 - 14:52
Jakarta - Indonesian Catholic women are committed to promoting human dignity, prosperity and harmony in society. This was reiterated by over 600 delegates attending the 20th Congress of the Catholic Women's Association of Indonesia, coming from the 37 dioceses of the country. As Fides learns, the Association gathered the delegates in Jakarta in past days, expressing, in the final document of the Congress, "the commitment to fight for the progress of women in the archipelago". "We are aware of the cultural and religious pluralism existing in the country and with determination we want to live with the spirit of the value of compassion. We promote human dignity in families and in societies. We come from different ethnic groups and islands, but we are united and we have a common mission given to us by God and to be carried out in society", reads the text sent to Fides.
The Indonesian Catholic Women's Association carries out various socio-pastoral programs and activities in each diocese. Indonesian President Joko Widodo praised the efforts of the Association that contributes to the building of a harmonious and peaceful nation. The Indonesian government has given the organization a reward for its efforts to promote and preserve "unity in diversity", typical of Indonesian society, assigning it the recognition as "best social organization in 2018" among those committed to protecting social commodities such as health, education, culture and environment, in the spirit of Pancasila
President Justina Rostiawati recalled that the Association has carried out numerous interreligious programs for women's emancipation, economic well-being and literacy, in favor of women of different religions and cultures in Indonesia. Founded in June 1924, the Association aims to promote the well-being of people and human dignity and currently has about 90,000 members.

Categorie: From the church

ASIA/LEBANON - Catholic Patriarchs and Bishops again denounce the sectarian drifts of Lebanese politics

Fides EN - - Mar, 13/11/2018 - 13:57
Bkerké - The teaching of catechism as an essential part of the mission of proclaiming the Gospel to which the Church is called, is the central theme of the 52nd ordinary session of the Assembly of Catholic Patriarchs and Bishops of Lebanon, which opened yesterday Monday, November 12, with the introductory speech of Maronite Patriarch Boutros Bechara Rai. The assembly also represents an occasion for the Episcopates of the Catholic Churches present in Lebanon to outline once again the problems and critical issues that weigh on the daily life of the Christians in the Country and of all the other Lebanese. In his speech, the Primate of the Maronite Church described a social context marked by the "growing poverty of our people, because of the economic crisis and the suffocating conditions of life, and because of the great increase in unemployment, the high cost of living, of food, clothing". This scenario is exacerbated by the recurrence of sectarian forces that increasingly influence the choices of political forces and the functioning of national institutions, with state officials intent on safeguarding only their own private interests, without any intention of building a genuine rule of law. In such a context - added Patriarch Bechara Rai - the Churches must take charge of the "pastoral duty to defend the people, especially the poor and the oppressed", and must also offer their contribution to safeguard the constitutional, democratic and cultural principles that must regulate political action and set aside its sectarian deviations. "Today, if most of the armed militias no longer operate", the Patriarch remarked, "Lebanon is governed by the mentality of the "political militias", and we cannot accept this".
Today, Tuesday, November 13, participants in the Assembly of Lebanese Catholic Patriarchs and Bishops will meet Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches, and members of the Reunion of Aid Agencies for the Oriental Churches that are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the establishment of this body, formed by agencies and organizations operating in various countries of the world, which are committed to financially support the life and activities of Eastern Catholic communities rooted in the Middle East.
Categorie: From the church

VATICAN - Cardinal Filoni to the priests of Saurimo: only from the encounter with the Lord one renews the zeal and joy for the mission

Fides EN - - Mar, 13/11/2018 - 13:33
Saurimo - "This meeting offers me a favorable opportunity to wholeheartedly thank you for your service, your missionary witness and your commitment to awaken, among your faithful, the missionary awareness of their baptismal identity", said Cardinal Fernando Filoni who this morning met in Saurimo the priests of the ecclesiastical Province, according to the program of his pastoral visit in Angola .
In particular, the Prefect of the Missionary Dicastery focused, recalling the extraordinary Missionary Month of October 2019, on the reawakening of the ad Gentes missionary conscience and on the missionary transformation of pastoral care, in order to undertake the new evangelization with greater impetus and enthusiasm, as Pope Francis suggests.
"One of the indispensable presuppositions, as the Holy Father points out, is to renew our encounter with Christ and let ourselves meet him", said the Cardinal, exhorting priests to always find time, despite multiple pastoral commitments, to pray before the tabernacle, meditate, stay in silence. "The encounter with the Lord will transform our lives and renew in us the zeal and joy we need for the work of evangelization.
Therefore intensify your encounter with the Lord to nourish your spiritual life".
Faced with so many scandals of which some priests were stained, Cardinal Filoni invited priests to renew their commitment to live priestly celibacy, supported by a "humble and trusting prayer", and reaffirmed: "By renouncing secularism and mediocrity, through our encounter with Christ, we can consequently renew the Church and all the pastoral and missionary dynamics".

Link correlati :Full text of Cardinal Filoni's speech, in Portuguese
Categorie: From the church

ASIA/PAKISTAN - A priest: "Asia Bibi was freed by an order from the Supreme Court, not by the Pope"

Fides EN - - Mar, 13/11/2018 - 12:51
Islamabad - "In Asia Bibi’s case it was not easy to issue an honest and independent verdict, in the Pakistan context, where people are not ready to face the truth. The Supreme Court examined the case and issued an unexceptionable verdict.
We must congratulate the judges for their courage in telling the truth. In this case it was the Supreme Court that released Asia Bibi; Pope Francis only prayed for her and for all the innocent victims, persecuted for their faith": says to Agenzia Fides Fr. Bonnie Mendes, priest of Faisalabad, for years director of Caritas Asia, while in Pakistan the attention on the case of the Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy in 2010 and acquitted by the Supreme Court on 31 October has not died down.
In the controversies, especially on social media, one tries to involve the Pope too: Christians in Pakistan are embittered for a post-blasphemous published on Facebook and spread in social networks. The post portrays a photo of Pope Francis and other priests, modified by superimposing the face of the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, and other ministers on them, and alluding to the allegedly directing of the Vatican behind the absolution.
"It is sad and paradoxical that, precisely in a case of alleged blasphemy, one does not avoid hurting the feelings of Christians living in Pakistan. It is blasphemous to dishonor our religious leader Pope Francis, the crucifix and the sacred garments used by our priests during mass", comments Sabir Michael, Catholic human rights activist, to Fides and adds:" Those who think that the action of the Church led to the absolution of Asia Bibi are totally off-track: to understand the reasons they should read the sentence of fifty-six pages issued by the Supreme Court of Pakistan".
Fr. Mario Rodrigues, Rector of the Cathedral of Saint Patrick in Karachi, told Fides: "Pope Francis showed great interest in Asia Bibi’s case, in a prison as innocent, praying for her. Christians all over the world also fasted and prayed for Asia Bibi’s release, but the final decision is of the Supreme Court".
The image published is the result of the spread of false news on the alleged flight of Asia Bibi from Pakistan, denied by the Minister for Information and the Foreign Ministry.
It is the third episode, in a month, that touches blasphemous contents towards Christian faith. In recent days, the trailer of the TV series "Maria bint-e-Abdullah" , a cartoon of the crucifix appeared in the Express Tribune newspaper had been reported in Pakistan.
Currently, in Asia Bibi’s case, the prosecution submitted a request to the Supreme Court to revise the sentence, a possibility granted by the criminal procedure. The woman is out of prison and is in Pakistan in a secret location, under protection.
Categorie: From the church

VATICAN - Young Angolans for a Church that goes forth: Cardinal Filoni’s encounter with the youth of Saurimo

Fides EN - - Mar, 13/11/2018 - 11:45
Saurimo - Cardinal Fernando Filoni’s encounter with the youth of the ecclesiastical province of Saurimo, as part of his pastoral visit in Angola , took place on the afternoon of Monday 12 November and had as its backdrop the recently celebrated Synod of Bishops, dedicated to young people. "Your Church has a good number of apostolic movements and many associations, which include many young Catholics, actively engaged in spreading the Gospel and serving the brothers in need", the Cardinal recalled at the beginning of his speech, bringing the blessings of Pope Francis and the affectionate greetings of the Synodal Fathers. "I would like to make my own some of the provocations that Pope Francis suggests", he continued, referring to "a Church that goes forth", to the invitation to be "missionary disciples" and to the journey of pastoral and missionary conversion of young people. "It has to do with knowing what kind of young Angolan the Church needs in order to truly be a 'Church that goes forth', he said.
The Prefect of the Missionary Dicastery then proposed some food for thought to the youth. Young missionary disciples are those who become aware of the missionary dimension of their baptism. But this is why it is necessary "to meet Christ and let oneself be met by Him". "A young man who lets himself be met by Christ - the Cardinal said - is one who emerges from himself, his selfishness, his self-sufficiency, his self-referentiality ... The so-called modernity offers many distractions to young people and this certainly does not help them listen to the Master and not even to discern in life".
A young person 'that goes forth', with the Gospel in the streets and in the suburbs, is he who goes to the geographical and existential suburbs, as the Holy Father says; he is the one who embarks on an unpredictable adventure, he is constantly challenged to deal with the new, with the disconcerting ... "to always demand new and demanding answers, never to be satisfied with prefabricated solutions and schemes".
On the testimony of love, remembering that among young Angolans "there are a good number of them who, witnessing love as volunteers, are engaged in various forms of service with associations and ecclesial movements", the Cardinal urged them "to participate in these activities offered by various groups, as this enriches individual experiences ...
By living and witnessing love, you create a culture of communion, unity and reconciliation".
Many young people are frustrated because they cannot prioritize their lives. "A young person for a Church that goes forth is able to distinguish interesting and enjoyable things from important and indispensable things, even if these are not attractive and interesting for them". "Dear young people - he exhorted - know how to set priorities, the right priorities. This is generally a challenge; a challenge that could force you to give up some of the things you like best, but are not the most important things on the scale of values".
One last observation concerned the ability to reject some cultural elements and modernity: "Say no to the ethnic and tribal divisions that undermine the life of the communities ... know how to say no to fetishism, witchcraft. Therefore - said Cardinal Filoni - it is urgent to reject such behavior contrary to the spirit of the Gospel. Hence the need for a complete and adequate religious formation. To this end, I encourage you to participate in the various apostolic movements".

Link correlati :The full text of Cardinal Filoni's speech, in Portuguese
Categorie: From the church

AFRICA - The role of university education in African development: Harambee Africa International report

Fides EN - - Mar, 13/11/2018 - 11:07
Rome - "Our projects aim to strengthen the level of training of students in sub-Saharan Africa in various sectors", said Rossella Miranda, Communication Coordinator of Harambee Africa International, in presenting on November 10 at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome, the report "The Role of Tertiary Education in Economic and Social Rise of the Sub-Saharan Africa - A Perspective on the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Ivory Coast and South Africa".
"Alongside this primary mission, Harambee Africa International wishes to contribute to the dissemination of correct and less stereotyped information concerning Africa. And the report we present is part of this commitment", said Rossella Miranda.
The report was drawn up thanks to the contribution of some members of the cultural committee of the association which was asked to reflect on the role that tertiary education can play in the economic and social growth of sub-Saharan African states.
From the report, related to South Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria and Ivory Coast, some problems emerge that contribute to explain the low rates of education of the population and education at various levels in these Countries.
Another problem is "brain drain" that leads the most motivated and capable students to find work outside the continent. So that, for example, companies engaged in the electrification of Africa, are forced to pay expensive European and Asian engineers and technicians for a work mission of several months on the continent, without their knowledge being transmitted to local people.
The testimony of two African engineer women, Ada Eloka, Nigerian, oil engineer, and Teddy Nalubega, Ugandan, electrical engineer specialized in solar energy exploitation, was particularly significant. The two professionals emphasized the need to narrate the different development experiences undertaken by young people in Africa, which represent the hope for the future.
Harambee Africa International promotes development projects, designed and implemented by African organizations, in the education sector, with the aim of contributing to the improvement of training for the sustainable development of the Continent. Harambee was born on the occasion of the canonization of St. Josemaria Escrivà, founder of Opus Dei.
Categorie: From the church

AMERICA/UNITED STATES - The situation of migrants is increasingly difficult: the help of a 84-year-old Redemptorist priest

Fides EN - - Lun, 12/11/2018 - 13:07
Baltimore - The situation of migrants in the United States is increasingly becoming a "situation at risk" due to the tension created by the caravan of Central American migrants that is now close to the border with the United States. Those who have long been living in the United States, try to regularize the documents for their stay, but it is increasingly difficult without someone who has legal skills and a little 'experience.
The resources of the Catholic Church are among those who help undocumented migrants, like Father Piedra, a Redemptorist priest, who has been living in contact with migrants for some years. Father Ruskin Piedra, CSsR, a native of the Baltimore province, runs a legal aid center in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, where he fights against the expulsion of migrants. His work has become more difficult lately. The New York Times dedicated a long article to him on November 8th.
Father Piedra, 84, often goes to the Immigration Court in New York, in the center of Manhattan, where he defends those facing deportation or seeking asylum in the United States. In 2003, he founded the John Neumann Center, a non-profit organization that provides legal immigration services at affordable costs to the Sunset Park community in Brooklyn. Its headquarters are on the second floor of a building owned by the Redemptorists, where Father Piedra also celebrates mass every afternoon.
The note sent to Fides by the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer informs that Sunset Park has undergone a demographic transformation in the last 50 years, passing from a predominantly Irish, Italian and Scandinavian neighborhood to a predominantly Hispanic and Chinese one.
This process has meant among other things, for the priests responsible for the church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, the need to celebrate daily Masses in English, Spanish and Chinese, to meet the spiritual needs of the faithful, many of whom are without documents.
In the next few days he is almost certain that some US entry permits will have to be issued from Mexico, but no one is able to say how many. The caravan of migrants, who left in thousands from Honduras , stopped in Mexico City, where it was divided into three groups. The first, according to information from the agencies, is about to arrive in Tijuana , while the other two groups have not yet defined where to go. The large number of thousands of migrants who arrived in Mexico City, however, decreased considerably, which made us reflect on the risks associated with human traffickers and on offers to stay on Mexican land.
Categorie: From the church

ASIA/SRI LANKA - A priest: "The nation needs a strong and stable democracy"

Fides EN - - Lun, 12/11/2018 - 12:59
Colombo - "The people of Sri Lanka need a strong and stable democracy": says Father Shankar Pereira, a Catholic priest and human rights activist, to Agenzia Fides, while in the country there is a political crisis. The decision of Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena to dissolve Parliament "is a serious step, given that constitutional and liberal democracy is the right of citizens in our nation", he points out.
Sirisena dissolved parliament on 9 November and announced general elections for 5 January. The president triggered a power struggle when he dismissed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinge at the end of last month and appointed the former leader of the island, Mahinda Rajapaksa, a candidate defeated by Sirisena himself in the 2015 vote.
Opposition parties in Sirisena are ready to challenge his decision, which they describe as "illegal and unconstitutional", in an appeal before the Supreme Court on 12 November.
"All political parties, civil society groups and citizens must protect the Constitution. If this scenario persists, the trust of the population in its institutions and democratic processes is undermined as well as the political and economic crisis", says Fr. Pereira.
Many fear that the return of Rajapaksa may derail the progress made towards national reconciliation, initiated after the war with Tamil ethnic minorities that caused about 40 thousand victims during the final stages of the conflict, under his presidency.
Rajapaksa ended the civil war in 2009, but faced many criticisms due to the means with which he achieved victory: thousands of Tamil civilians are believed to have been killed by government forces in the last months of combat. During the 26 years of conflict, it is estimated that, on the whole, between 80,000 and 100,000 people died, while both sides are accused of committing war crimes.
"All of us, as responsible citizens of the country, must work to support the Constitution and respect democratic institutions", says Asheni Fernando, teacher of a Catholic school. "We, common people, are deeply concerned about the decision and we believe there is a risk of calling into question the delicate process of reconciliation that began after the civil war", he added. "By dissolving Parliament, Sirisena undermines the long democratic tradition of Sri Lanka and this poses a risk to stability and prosperity", he notes.
The Catholic Bishops of Sri Lanka have asked the government to respect and preserve the democratic processes of the country and to work for "a strong and stable democracy in the country" .
Categorie: From the church

NEWS ANALYSIS/OMNIS TERRA - Human mobility and migration: a challenge for today's Christians

Fides EN - - Lun, 12/11/2018 - 12:08
Fr. Delmar Alberto Silva Paez, Scalabrinian, Superior in the province of his congregation that includes Asia and Australia, at the conclusion of the General Chapter of his congregation helps to reflect on the phenomenon of human mobility: today there are very different stories among them and it is important to raise awareness on the authentically Christian perspective with which to look at it.
"Teaching to receive a foreigner in today's world, especially in the richest part of the world, is not an easy challenge. We must first fight a mentality of exaggerated fear: a foreigner has almost become an enemy. Alarmism due to some negative episodes imputed to foreigners continues, without putting the due emphasis on positive contributions. For example, migrants often give an important contribution to the economy of host nations, as well as to a diversification of their social life. And also the push that they give to the demographic crisis of so many western societies, especially in Europe, that struggle to invest in their own future has to be highlighted". This is what Fr. Delmar Alberto Silva Paez, Scalabrinian, superior in the Far East, in the province that includes Asia and Australia, at the conclusion of the General Chapter of his congregation, said in an interview with Fides and published on the "Omnis Terra" website.

Link correlati :Read the complete interview on Omnis Terra
Categorie: From the church

AFRICA/NIGERIA - The four priests kidnapped in southern Nigeria have been released thanks to the police force

Fides EN - - Lun, 12/11/2018 - 11:50
Abuja - The four priests kidnapped on 6 November near Abraka, near Benin in the Delta State, in southern Nigeria have regained their freedom.
The priests were kidnapped on their way to a meeting in Uhielle, in the State of Edo by some armed men, who are suspected of being Fulani shepherds.
Church sources confirmed their release, which took place in the late evening of 9 November.
The priests were taken to Benin City for a medical check up after being rescued by a joint police force of Delta and Edo states.
The kidnappers fled when they saw that the police were approaching the refuge where the hostages were being held.
The victims are Victor Adigboluja of the diocese of Ijebu Ode; Anthony Otegbola, of the diocese of Abeokuta; Joseph Ediae, of the Archdiocese of Benin; and Emmanuel Obadjere, from the diocese of Warri.
Some suspects have been arrested by the police of the two States in connection with the abduction. According to sources of the Nigerian press, also the nuns abducted on October 25 in the Delta State were released at the end of October.
Categorie: From the church

VATICAN - Cardinal Filoni in Angola calls priests and religious to renew themselves for "a Church where the joy of the Gospel resounds"

Fides EN - - Lun, 12/11/2018 - 11:36
Vatican City - "I repeat the invitation of the Holy Father to renew, today and now, your personal encounter with Jesus Christ and to let yourselves meet him. Only in this way you can give a new impact to the process of evangelization of your lands. With great trust, I count on each of you - priests, religious men and women - to give life to a Church where the joy of the Gospel resounds".
This is the speech Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, addressed to the priests, religious men and women of the dioceses of Luanda, Caxito and Viana, in the first meeting of his pastoral visit in Angola .
On the afternoon of Sunday 11 November, in Nossa Senhora de Fátima parish in Luanda, the Cardinal addressed priests and religious from the three Angolan dioceses, recalling that they are "at the forefront of the evangelizing action of the dioceses, parishes and religious communities", as well as expressing admiration for the missionary commitment and recognition for their witness in the work of evangelization. "The Synod dedicated to the young ended in the October Missionary Month, and heading towards the Extraordinary Missionary Month of October 2019 - the Cardinal said - I am here on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the creation of the Angolan Episcopal Conference and of Sao Tome and on the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, to invite you to become, with great enthusiasm, authentic and zealous 'missionary disciples', more and more in love with Jesus and his evangelizing mission".
Therefore Cardinal Filoni urged us to enter "in a process of renewal of personal listening in following Christ, starting from the Gospel", following Pope Francis, who from the beginning of his Pontificate invites everyone to renew their personal encounter with Christ. Engaging in this process means becoming aware that "priests, men and women religious are, above all, men and women of God, and therefore men and women of prayer, men and women who try to respond more coherently and authentically to their vocation for the priestly and religious life and their mission at the service of the People of God".
The Prefect of the Missionary Dicastery then warned against a certain worldliness that affects the Church of every continent, "this worldliness is nothing but mediocrity. We must overcome this mediocrity". The Cardinal then focused on the mediocrity in the field of chastity and pastoral and religious life, inviting priests, religious men and women "to renew their commitment to live in celibacy and chastity", helped by prayer.
"By renouncing secularism and mediocrity, through our encounter with Christ, we can consequently renew the Church and all the pastoral and missionary dynamics".
He then reminded priests, religious men and women of their responsibility as ordained and consecrated, to be leaders of the communities, "called to serve and dedicate themselves entirely to them, called to love them with all their heart, just as Christ loves his Church".

Link correlati :Full test of Cardinal Filoni's speech, in Portuguese
Categorie: From the church

VATICAN - Cardinal Filoni's exhortation to the Bishops of Saurimo: "be united and supportive"

Fides EN - - Lun, 12/11/2018 - 10:41
Saurimo - A vibrant exhortation to be "united and supportive", to consolidate the spirit of ecclesial and fraternal communion and solicitude for the sister Churches, so that the ministry is fruitful, was addressed this morning by Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, to the Bishops of the Ecclesiastical Province of Saurimo, on the second day of his pastoral visit in Angola .
"The Church in Angola is becoming increasingly lively, dynamic, busy and constantly growing - the Cardinal highlighted - as evidenced by the growing number of priests, local religious men and women, children of this land, and the progress of the process of rooting . We see the creation of pastoral structures and the organization of your dioceses, the commitment of many lay people, especially catechists, in the field of evangelization, the Sunday attendance of the faithful to churches, their participation in the sacraments, the solidarity demonstrated especially in times of difficulty".
The Prefect of the Missionary Dicastery stressed that "this movement should belong to all your ecclesiastical Provinces, without excluding any diocese", and exhorted the episcopal communion, becoming more aware of the collegial dimension of the ministry entrusted, which must be realized especially in the context of the same ecclesiastical Province: "together, and in close collaboration with one another, you can progress in the work of evangelization".
Cardinal Filoni then focused on some pastoral priorities. Each Episcopal Conference is called to take care of the spiritual and moral growth of the people of God present in its jurisdiction. "As far as social and political questions are concerned, even if they are an integral part of the Church's field of action in its mission of evangelization, they should not be privileged to the detriment of reflection and profound work concerning the serious ecclesial and pastoral issues that upset your Christian communities". The priority tasks for the Angolan Episcopate, indicated by the Cardinal, are the attention given to priests, religious men and women, care for candidates to the priesthood or consecrated religious life, the assistance of the laity, in particular young people and families, through an integral and permanent formation.
In this regard the Prefect of the Missionary Dicastery cited some problems of morality and discipline in the clergy, although the diocesan and religious clergy sometimes work in very difficult conditions but with great zeal and devotion. Some diocesan religious institutes of consecrated life have serious difficulties: internal conflicts or with the diocesan Bishop, tribalism or superstitions, financial or moral problems ... this is why he invited the Bishops to "intervene firmly in order to cure these evils". We must then be attentive to priestly formation so that the priesthood is not considered "a social promotion, a means for self-affirmation, to acquire worldly prestige". The Cardinal also called on the Bishops to be attentive to the life and functioning of the Seminaries as to the formation of the laity, so that they may be able to participate actively in evangelization and in the mission of the Church.
In the concluding part, Cardinal Filoni noted the difficulty of making the Gospel penetrate deeply into the cultural strata and popular traditions: "The superstitious beliefs and practices, witchcraft and magic that condition people's daily lives and nourish the fear and suspicions are still alive in Christian communities. Priests and religious are not exempt from this situation".

Link correlati :Full text of Cardinal Filoni's speech, in Portuguese
Categorie: From the church

VATICAN - "Being Church is the basis of every collection of funds for missions": the reflection of the Pontifical Mission Societies

Fides EN - - Ven, 09/11/2018 - 13:34
Rome - "The basis of fundraising comes from the Gospel itself: when one thinks of donations, the offerings to be devolved to the missions of the Church, we must go back to the roots to find the motivation of the donation": this is what Katja Haidemanns said, at the Head of the Communications Department of "Missio Aachen", in Germany, speaking at the special Conference, under way at the International Center for Missionary Animation from 7 to 9 November, on the theme "Animation & Fundraising in the Digital World". The meeting, organized by the Pontifical Mission Societies, brings together about fifty participants from all over the world.
In the first session in the assembly Katja Haidemanns presented the experience of the first steps taken in the digital world by "Missio Aachen", in a path of growth in the use of social media and highlighting how the website and the sending of a newsletter have contributed to the growth of "followers" and donors. Social media, as Heidemanns said, can be said "concern missionary animation" in order to involve those who can only follow missionary realities from afar.
The second conference, "Sharing the Good News in a digital world: mission and culture", was proposed by Mgr. Paul Tighe, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture. Bishop Tighe, for many years Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, explained what the digital world means for the Church today, considering that "the language of almost all members of religious institutes is now unknown to new generations" .
"Speaking of communication - he remarked - means talking about communion, starting with us, members of the Church, within the Catholic community. Our effort cannot be to learn a fundraising technique: to be a Church, to consider the recipient as a person, with his needs, is the basis of every proposal to raise awareness of donation", commented Mgr. Tighe. The Bishop also presided over the concelebrated Mass by the priests taking part in the meeting.
Massimo Ilardo then spoke during the meeting and Sr Roberta Tremarelli, who presented the idea of a "Joint digital camping" for the extraordinary Missionary Month of October 2019.
Those present will visit the Secretariat for Communications today and will conclude the conference with a group discussion, to share experiences and develop common proposals.
Categorie: From the church