EUROPE/ITALY - Persecuted because they tell the truth and announce Jesus Christ

Fides EN - www.fides.org - 1 ora 24 min fa
Rome - "It might be hard for us to believe, but there are more martyrs today than in the first centuries because they speak the truth and proclaim Jesus Christ… particularly where religious freedom is not guaranteed. But also in countries where, in theory and on paper, they protect freedom and human rights". These are words of Pope Francis that comment on the intention of prayer this March, dedicated to persecuted Christians, entrusted to the World Prayer Network. In this context, the 27th Day of prayer and fasting in memory of the missionary martyrs will be celebrated on the 24th March.
According to data in Agenzia Fides’ possession, in the decade from 1980-1989 115 missionaries lost their lives in violent manners. The collective summary from 1990-2000 presents a total of 604 missionaries killed, however, one must also consider the following factors: the genocide in Rwanda that caused at least 248 victims among church personnel. In the years 2001-2017 the total number of pastoral care workers killed was 416. During the year 2018, 40 missionaries were killed in the world, almost twice as many compared to the 23 in the previous year, and these are mostly priests: 35. After eight consecutive years, the place most affected, with an extremely elevated number of pastoral care workers killed was America, in 2018 it was Africa. According to data collected by Agenzia Fides, in 2018 40 missionaries were killed: 35 priests, 1 seminarian, 4 lay people. In Africa, 19 priests, 1 seminarian and 1 lay person were killed ; in America 12 priests and 3 lay people were killed ; in Asia 3 priests were killed ; in Europe, 1 priest was killed .
Even in the first few months of the year 2019, 5 priests have already been killed: Fr. Nicolas Ratodisoa, during an attack on February 9 by some bandits on the road to Mahitsy, in Madagascar, while he was returning after bringing the Eucharist to a sick man, died on February 14; the Spanish Salesian Fr. Antonio César Fernández Fernández, killed on February 15 during a jihadist attack 40 kilometers from the southern border of Burkina Faso; on February 18, in the south of the Colombian capital Bogotà, Fr. Carlos Ernesto Jaramillo was assassinated, who dedicated himself to assisting Venezuelan refugees; a Capuchin of Central African nationality was killed in Cameroon between 19 and 20 March while returning to his fraternity in Chad after having animated a training course for priests; in the same days the body of Fr. Clement Rapuluchukwu Ugwu, Nigerian priest kidnapped a week before in the state of Enugu was found.
For some of the many missionaries killed, comes the official recognition of the Church, which proposes them as examples of life and self-denial. On 7 March the diocesan phase regarding the martyrdom of Fr. Giovanni Sidoti, Apostolic Vicar of Japan, and two Japanese lay faithful, killed in hatred of the faith in today's Tokyo, in 1715 opened in Palermo, Italy. On 9 March the diocesan phase of the beatification cause of Fr. Jacques Hamel, who was killed on 26 July 2016 while he was celebrating Mass in the church of Saint Etienne du Rouvray, in Normandy, by two militant men of the Islamic state, who was slaughtered on the altar, concluded in Rouen, France.
On March 19, the martyrdom of Alfredo Cremonesi was recognized, a priest of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions , killed in hatred of the faith in Myanmar, where he spent 28 years of mission, on February 7, 1953, by government soldiers. On Saturday 27 April, on the feast day of Santo Toribio de Mogrovejo, patron saint of Latin American bishops, Mgr. Enrique Angelelli, Bishop of La Rioja, priests Carlos Murias ofm, and Gabriel Longueville, and layman Wenceslao Pedernera will be beatified in La Rioja, Argentina, all killed in hatred of the faith in the summer of 1976.

Categorie: From the church

AFRICA/BURKINA FASO - The disappearance of Fr. Yougbaré: for a missionary "there is an attempt to reduce evangelization activities"

Fides EN - www.fides.org - 2 ore 2 min fa
Niamey - Still no news of Fr. Joël Yougbaré, the priest from Burkina Faso who disappeared on Sunday 17 March in the north of the country . There are therefore two missing priests between Burkina Faso and neighboring Niger.
According to Fr. Mauro Armanino, a missionary of the SMA in Niger, the disappearance of a local priest in Burkina Faso is a disturbing sign.
"A couple of teachers were killed in the area, now a local priest has disappeared", explains Fr. Mauro, according to whom "there is an attempt to create terror and insecurity in educational agencies, and the Church is among them. Foreigners and locals alike are hit, even in the religious sphere; so far no problems had been registered for the local clergy". "All this in order, probably, to favor the exodus or the reduction of evangelization activities in the area", concludes Fr. Mauro.

Categorie: From the church

AFRICA/MOZAMBIQUE - Appointment of the Bishop of Tete

Fides EN - www.fides.org - 2 ore 18 min fa
Vatican City - The Holy Father Francis has appointed Fr. Diamantino Guapo Antunes, I.M.C., currently Regional Superior of the Consolata Missionary Institute in Mozambique and Angola as Bishop of the Diocese of Tete .
Fr. Diamantino Guapo Antunes, I.M.C., was born on November 30, 1966, in Albergaria dos Doze, in the district of Leiria, Portugal. He studied Philosophy at the Catholic University of Lisbon and Theology in Rome, at the Pontifical Urbaniana University . He was ordained a deacon on December 5, 1993 in Cuamba, Mozambique, and received priestly ordination in Fatima on July 20, 1994. He has held the following positions: 1994 - 1997: Studies for a Licentiate in Dogmatic Theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University and Vice -formator; 1997-1999: PhD in the same subject; at the Pontifical Gregorian University; 1999-2002: Local Superior and Parish Priest of the Sagrado Coração de Jesus in Mepenhira ; 2002-2005: local superior, parish priest of Nossa Senhora da Fátima in Mecanhelas and of Entre Lagos ; 2005-2008: Provincial Councilor in Mozambique; 2005-2007: local superior and parish priest of Nova Mambone ; 2007-2014: Parish priest of Santa Isabel in Guiúa, responsible of the Catechetical Center ; 2007- 2014: Episcopal Vicar for the Pastoral Care of the Diocese of Inhambane; since 2014: Regional Superior of the Consolata Missionary Institute in Mozambique and Angola; since 2017: Superior of the I.M.C. Community in Angola; he is also Postulator of the Cause of Beatification of the Catechist Martyrs of Guiúa.

Categorie: From the church

AFRICA/KENYA - Bishops’ appeal: Over one million people affected by the effects of drought

Fides EN - www.fides.org - 2 ore 32 min fa
Nairobi - Over one million people are at risk of hunger and malnutrition in Kenya. The alarm is raised by the Bishops of Kenya in an appeal sent to Agenzia Fides which states that "in March, according to the assessments conducted by the Catholic Church, the government, humanitarian agencies and local media reports, food insecurity has reached 1,111,500 people. The 12 most affected counties are Turkana, Baringo, Mandera, Garissa, Kilifi, Tana River, West Pokot, Marsabit, Makueni, Kajiado, Kwale and Isiolo having a total of 865,300 people needing food aid".
The Food Security situation in Kenya has deteriorated following the poor performance of the 2018 short-rains, which led to below average crop performance and inadequate replenishment of rangeland resources.
The higher than average day-time temperatures currently being experienced in the country, has led to rapid drying up of dams, water pans and other water sources. This has caused crop-failure, malnutrition deterioration of livestock body conditions and low milk production. Other affected sectors are health, peace and security. "The delayed rainfall may culminate to a major humanitarian crisis in the country and this requires urgent response by all actors", said the statement.
The Catholic Church is appealing to all Christians and people of good will, to join hands in solidarity with the Church by donating funds, food and non-food items to save lives of those affected.


Categorie: From the church

ASIA/THAILAND - New and elections: the nation in search of democracy

Fides EN - www.fides.org - 3 ore 4 min fa
Bangkok - On March 24, the first general elections in Thailand will be held after five years of military rule. As local sources of Agenzia Fides, "people are hoping for a peaceful vote that will bring Thailand towards democracy". Thailand experienced a period of tumultuousness and instability. With the 2014 coup, for the twelfth time in the nation's history, after the end of the absolute monarchy in the 1930s, the military overthrew the government.
"According to observers, and according to the polls, the situation is very balanced and no party will obtain the majority in the Chamber", says Jon Phummali, a Catholic lay leader to Fides. "As Christians and citizens, we pray and hope that the elections will be peaceful, free and fair. We aspire to restore full civil government".
However, political analysts have doubts that the elections are really free and fair: "The military is playing by their own rules", notes Thitinan Pongsudhirak, professor of political science at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok. "The country is blocked by a military-authoritarian government and the leader of the junta, Prayut Chan-ocha, does not seem to want to step aside to give a real democratic future to the nation", he said. The new Constitution, drafted by the junta in 2016, gives it the power to appoint all 250 members of the Senate, which has a say in the appointment of the Prime Minister: in this way the junta tries to take control of the system to favor the continuation of the military domination.
The military took power in Thailand in the 2014 coup, after months of political scandals and unrest in the streets and promised to only temporarily maintain the power to restore social peace. However, after taking power, the military junta gathered in the "National Council for peace and order" extended its government season, with several postponements of the vote. Council members hope to return to power thanks to the vote and military leader Prayut Chan-ocha aspires to become Prime Minister. The leader of the party supported by the current military junta has expressed confidence that voters will appreciate its program that aims to cultivate agricultural technologies, promote sustainable tourism and encourage "startups", aiming at economic growth of 6 % per year. Opposition parties, such as "Pheu Thai" and the "Future Forward" party, a progressive party that has drawn up an agenda of constitutional reforms, strongly advocate and support a civilian government that drives the military out of power.
Among the candidates for the post of Prime Minister, the leader of the "Future Forward" party, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit said: "I have been in 77 provinces in Thailand and all the voters I spoke with on my electoral path said they were tired of the military junta. "But we also know that the military will use all the weapons at their disposal to stay in power".
The country has long been politically divided: the "populists" who rely on rural and poorer sections of the population and their opponents who get votes from the urban middle class and the elites. After years of instability and waves of street demonstrations that paralyzed the nation, the military took power, introduced a new constitution and changed the rules of the electoral process in a way that facilitated their control of power. In fact, out of a total of 750 seats in Parliament, 500 members of the Lower House are elected, while the 250 seats in the Senate are not assigned by vote, but are appointed by the junta itself. The seats required to become Prime Minister and govern are 376.
Over 50 million voters, including about 6 million young people who vote for the first time, will go to the polls.

Categorie: From the church

AMERICA/MEXICO - Monitoring and preventing child abuse: the commitment of the Archdiocese of Mexico City

Fides EN - www.fides.org - 3 ore 28 min fa
Mexico City - The Archdiocese of Mexico City has announced the establishment of an interdisciplinary team to assist victims of abuse to monitor, with efficiency and transparency, any kind of abuse within the Catholic Church.
In the statement sent to Fides on the occasion of the presentation of the Team on March 20, we read. "As Pope Francis recalled, in the recent meeting on the protection of minors that took place in the Vatican, these events are a cause of shame, penance and repentance" .
These are the indications given by Cardinal Carlos Aguiar Retes, Metropolitan Archbishop of Mexico City: absolute commitment to timely and effective prevention; support and solidarity for the victims; full cooperation with civil and ecclesial authorities for effective justice.
The Archdiocese of Mexico has worked extensively to respond to the urgent invitation of Pope Francis to join forces and make everyone aware of the urgent need to permanently prevent abuses being committed or hidden.
As can be seen from the press release, Cardinal Retes reaffirms the commitment of the whole local Church "to eradicate any form of abuse in the heart of the Church, safeguarding, obviously, the right of presumed innocence until the guilt of the defendant is proven
The team consists of various members of the Archdiocese of Mexico City. On the one hand, it is committed to assisting victims and those affected, offering support, legal advice, psychological and spiritual assistance. On the other hand it offers collaboration with the competent authorities, in accordance with civil and canonical laws, in order to guarantee justice with maximum transparency.

Categorie: From the church

EUROPE/ITALY - "For the sake of my people I will not keep silent": Day in memory of the martyr missionaries

Fides EN - www.fides.org - 3 ore 41 min fa
Rome - The biblical verse "For the sake of my people I will not keep silent" , chosen as the theme of the 27th Day of prayer and fasting in memory of the missionary martyrs that is celebrated annually on the 24th March, is inspired by the testimony of Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador. The date of March 24 was chosen as the day of the Archbishop's assassination, which took place in 1980, while he was celebratingMass, beatified on May 23, 2015 and canonized by Pope Francis on October 14, 2018.
"To love God means to love one's brothers, to defend their rights, to take on their fears and difficulties - is what is written in the brochure prepared by Missio Italia for the animation of the Day -. For the sake of my people, I will not be silent means to act coherently with one's faith. As Christians, missionary disciples, bearers of the Good News of Jesus, we cannot remain silent in the face of evil. To do so would mean betraying the mandate entrusted to us".
Founded in 1993 by the initiative of the then Youth Missionary Movement of the Pontifical Italian Mission Societies, with the intention of remembering all the witnesses of the Gospel killed in various parts of the world, the initiative has spread to many nations, even on different dates and circumstances: many dioceses, religious institutes, ecclesial movements dedicate special initiatives to remember their missionaries and all those who shed their blood for Jesus Christ and his Gospel. Pope Francis continually recalls that "today there are more martyrs compared to the first centuries".
During the year 2018, according to the report annually edited by Agenzia Fides, 40 missionaries were killed in the world, almost double compared to the 23 of the previous year, mainly priests: 35. After eight consecutive years in which the highest number of missionaries killed had been recorded in America, in 2018 Africa was the first country in this tragic ranking.
"The violence that is unleashed and continues to rage in the geographical and existential suburbs of our time is not limited to the bloody facts, which are already very serious, and often concern our missionaries", writes Father Giulio Albanese, Comboni missionary and director of the Missio magazines, in the thematic reflection on the Day. "Their killing, in fact, is becoming more and more painful for its spreead, motivations and the consequences of the phenomena that generate death and destruction, from Africa, to Latin America, from the Middle to the Far East. Just think of the forced recruitment of child soldiers or baby kamikaze, young people attracted to the coils of deception; so many families thrown into despair; many productive activities stifled by extortion; so many lives cut short; and a widespread resignation among the populations, almost as if it were an inevitable disaster! As baptized, having received the mandate to announce the liberating Gospel of Christ, we cannot remain silent in the face of so much evil, and as the prophet says: For the sake of my people, I will not keep silent. "
The brochure created by Missio Italia presents various suggestions for animation: a brief reflection for every Sunday, from Lent to Pentecost; proposals for the Via crucis, for a Eucharistic Adoration, for the prayer Vigil, for a community penitential liturgy. Five films will also be shown on the subject and offers some proposals to create "street animation". The gesture of solidarity that traditionally accompanies the celebration of the Day this year concerns a project for the youth of the Sainte Marie parish of Mwenga, in the diocese of Uvira, the Democratic Republic of Congo. On the occasion of the Day, Missio also proposes an awareness campaign through social networks, in particular Facebook and Instagram.


Link correlati :Missio's brochure for the animation of the Day
Categorie: From the church

ASIA/KAZAKHSTAN - Nazarbayev resigns: "Religious freedom one of his flagships"

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Gio, 21/03/2019 - 13:01
Astana - "I do not believe that the sudden resignation of Nursultan Nazarbayev can bring great upheaval in the situation of religious freedom in Kazakhstan: outgoing president considered the freedom of churches and religions as one of his flagships. It is, however, a freedom of worship placed under strict control, for fear of the growth of Islamic fundamentalist groups. Probably, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Nazarbayev's successor will continue on the same path: I do not believe that religious politics changes because the new leader is of Chinese formation and the Chinese approach is that of a control of religions ". This is what Fr. Edoardo Canetta, a missionary in Kazakhstan in the role of priest and university professor for 20 years, now a professor at the Ambrosiana Academy in Milan, commenting on the sudden resignation of the role of President of Kazakhstan by Nursultan Nazarbayev, at the head of the country since 1990.
"Takaev studied in Beijing. I got to know him personally and I consider him a very skilled person. He was deeply hurt in 2001, following the attack of the Twin Towers, because, as Minister of Foreign Affairs, he had opened a dialogue with the Taliban, who at the time ruled Afghanistan, starting negotiations for their diplomatic recognition. This choice cost him a price after the attack", recalls Fr. Canetta, who adds: "I always thought that Takaev could be the new leader of the country, because on the one hand he is a president's man; on the other he has his own visibility: he is the person who signed a very important and famous treaty for the Kazakhs, that of the borders with China".
Speaking of the outgoing leader, Fr. Canetta notes: "On Nazarbayev, I can say that he made this intelligent choice on the basis of what happened in Uzbekistan: when Karimov died, his family was impeached. The problem is that at the moment in Kazakhstan there continues to be no real opposition in the government", says Fr. Canetta.
Meanwhile, while the Kazakh parliament has approved the change of the capital's name from Astana to Nursultan, in honor of the outgoing president, the country is going through a phase of economic crisis due to the fall in oil prices.
In Kazakhstan there are many communities of different nationalities and religious denominations: according to official data provided by the Kazakh Foreign Ministry, out of 17 million inhabitants, 70% are Muslims, about 26% are Christians, 1% of whom belong to the Catholic faith.


Categorie: From the church

AMERICA/COLOMBIA - Demonstrations to respect the terms of 2016 peace agreements, the country is divided, violence continues

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Gio, 21/03/2019 - 12:44
Bogotà - Thousands of people took to the streets in several cities of Colombia, on March 18 and 19, to demonstrate in favor of the "Special Justice for Peace" , asking President Iván Duque to respect the terms of the agreement signed in 2016 between the then president Juan Manuel Santos and FARC . Duque calls for the law applied by the JEP to include severe prison sentences and compensation for victims of war crimes and human rights violations, which was not foreseen in the original agreement, following which some 13,000 FARC members had abandoned weapons and formed a political party. However, President Duque does not have a solid majority in the Senate or the House of Representatives, so his intention to change the agreement, one of the main issues of the election campaign, could be rejected.
Colombia is still divided among those who approve the entry of FARC as a political group, after the signing of the peace agreement, and the more conservative sectors, which instead demand the detention of former combatants, for participating in the violent confrontation that caused the death of 260,000 people in over 50 years.
While in the capital the main topic of discussion is this, in other places in Colombia the violence of armed groups continues, to the point of forcing Archbishop César Alcides Balbín Tamayo, Bishop of the Diocese of Caldas en Antioquia, to order the immediate transfer of a priest, Fr Raúl Mejía Valencia, of the parish of San Antonio de Padua, in the municipality of Armenia Mantequilla. In the statement of the diocese sent to Fides, it is confirmed that the threats to the priest were also verified by the local authorities. Mgr. Balbín Tamayo "condemns the threats against life, integrity and property, not only of the priest, but of all the inhabitants of that area of Antioquia, who live under this scourge". The statement ends with the request to the authorities for an effective presence in this area.
In 2016, under the terms of the peace agreement, some 13,000 members of the rebel group, including nearly 7,000 ex-FARC fighters, abandoned their arms and started a political party as part of their reintegration into society.

Categorie: From the church

AFRICA/NIGERIA - Found dead body of a priest kidnapped a week ago; the bishop denounces the lack of interest on behalf of the police

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Gio, 21/03/2019 - 11:59
Abuja - Reverend Father Clement Rapuluchukwu Ugwu, the Catholic Priest of St. Mark Catholic Church, Obinofia Ndiuno in Ezeagu Local Government Area of Enugu State was found dead yesterday, March, 20. He was reportedly abducted on March 13, 2019, in his parish. It was gathered that the gunmen suspected to be kidnappers, had shot him before they took him away.
His Exc. Mgr. Callistus Onaga, Bishop of Enugu, decried the spate of violent killings around the country, advising that Christians should intensify their prayers for the survival of the Country.
Mgr. Onaga regretted that security agencies could not rescue Fr. Ugwu despite their assurances that they were closing on the kidnappers, while the abductors were making withdrawals from his account through his Automated Teller Machine card.
"We reported it to the police and since then I have visited police station three times, yet they kept telling me ‘we are closing in on the kidnappers’. I doubt they were doing anything because where the deceased body of Father Ugwu was found is not up to 20 kilometres from his house", denounced Mgr. Onaga.

Categorie: From the church

AFRICA/CAMEROON - Central African Capuchin father assassinated in Chad

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Gio, 21/03/2019 - 11:48
Yaoundé - Capuchin Father Toussaint Zoumalde was killed in Ngaoundere, Cameroon as he was returning to his Baibokoum fraternity in Chad. According to a statement sent to Agenzia Fides by the General Custody of the Capuchins for Chad and the Central African Republic, Fr. Toussaint Zoumaldé had gone to the diocese of Bouar, in the western part of Central Africa, from which he hails in order to conduct training for local priests. In the night between 19 and 20 March unknown people attacked him and killed him in Ngaoundéré where he stopped to rest. At the moment his killers are nowhere to be found.
Fr. Toussaint had worked extensively as a journalist for Radio Siriri, of the diocese of Bouar, and composed several religious songs.
The tragic death of Fr. Toussaint Zoumaldé took place at the same time of the discovery of the body of Don Clement Rapuluchukwu Ugwu, a Nigerian priest kidnapped a week ago in the State of Enugu, and of the disappearance in Burkina Faso of Fr. Joël Yougbaré, parish priest of Djibo .

Categorie: From the church

AMERICA/NICARAGUA - Government-opposition dialogue resumes: release of political prisoners and electoral reform

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Gio, 21/03/2019 - 11:39
Managua - "Today, Wednesday, March 20, 2019, thanks to the work of the Apostolic Nuncio, as witness and supporter of the dialogue, and of the envoy of the Secretary-General of the Organization of American States , negotiations of the national dialogue has resumed. This was stated in a joint statement by the government and the opposition, sent to Agenzia Fides after the press conference during which the Nuncio, Msgr. Waldemar Stanislaw Sommertag, read the agenda.
In the text, the two parties communicate the commitment formally assumed by the government to release within a maximum of ninety days all the persons arrested "in the context of events that occurred after April 18, 2018", ie those who are considered political prisoners by the opposition and from the international community. The decision was taken in order to unblock the impasse of recent days and allowed two other steps in the dialogue process: the joint formal request of an OAS mediator and the agreement for the immediate work of the bipartisan table for electoral reform. The session also agreed on the resumption of the work according to a roadmap including four other points, and it was decided to request the collaboration of the Red Cross at the dialogue table in order to put into effect the release of the prisoners.

Categorie: From the church

AMERICA/BRAZIL - Indigenous catechist: the Synod reflects on how to ensure major participation of the sacraments in the communities of the Amazon

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Gio, 21/03/2019 - 11:30
São Gabriel da Cachoeira - The figure of catechists is of particular importance in the Amazon Church, as they are the ones who carry out daily pastoral work in many communities. Agenor Freitas Prado has carried out this service in his community for twenty years. In Boca da Estrada, on the banks of the Tiquié river, near the border between Brazil and Colombia, in the municipality and in the diocese of São Gabriel da Cachoeira, indigenous people of different ethnicities: Tukano, Desano, Piratapuia and Hupda live.
Agenor Freitas Prado, speaking to Agenzia Fides, says that every Sunday he presides over the celebration of the Word and guides prayers during the week. The celebrations are in Tukano language, which is the predominant language in the region. Agenor points out the importance of translating "the books of the Mass, the rituals and the prayers, into our language, following the dynamics of the liturgy. We do not have those books, while it would be important to have them", he underlines, since "there are already songs in the indigenous language, it is necessary to move in this direction".
In view of the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon and the new paths that the Church wishes to undertake, speaking to Fides, the catechist believes it is important to reflect on how to make the celebration of the Eucharist more frequent in his community, considering the distances and the lack of economic resources to overcome them, the Eucharist is not celebrated more than twice a year. Along with this, the catechist, who belongs to the Desano peoples, recognizes that "the scarce presence of priests means that not only the Eucharist is not celebrated but also the other sacraments, and this numbs the life of the community, as many children and young people do not receive the sacraments of Baptism, Eucharist, Penance or Marriage".
Another difficulty that needs to be addressed is the pressure of the surrounding society. In his words to Fides, Agenor highlights the consequences: "young indigenous people are forgetting the customs and culture of their ancestors, including the Catholic faith itself, and this makes community life difficult". Despite these difficulties, he specifies that "as catechists, we explain things, give clarifications, but this does not prevent us from gradually losing the faith that our parents and our grandparents passed on to us".

Categorie: From the church

OCEANIA/AUSTRALIA - The Church towards the Plenary Council of 2020: the challenges of evangelization are at the center

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Gio, 21/03/2019 - 11:04
Sydney - The conference "Mission: one heart, many voices" scheduled for May 13-15 in Sydney will offer participants "an opportunity for listening and discernment, in preparation for the Plenary Council of 2020, which will be the highlight of the meeting of Australian local Churches since 1937 and intends to be a moment of dialogue and reflection on the future of the Catholic Church in Australia". This is what is declared, in a note sent to Agenzia Fides, by Lana Turvey-Collins, a lay Catholic, among the organizers of the Plenary Council of 2020 and the event in May, focused on the theme of the challenges of evangelization for the Catholic Church in New continent, and organized in collaboration with "Catholic Mission", National Direction of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Australia. The reflection will also be useful in view of the celebration of the Extraordinary Missionary Month, announced by the Pope for October 2019.
During the upcoming missionary conference, Turvey-Collins will conduct a masterclass together with the president of the Plenary Council, Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB, with the aim of stimulating reflections on the vision of Catholics in Australian society, in preparation for the 2020 appointment: "The Plenary Council is trying to build a shared vision of what the mission of Christ in Australia is today. During the 'Mission: one heart, many voices' conference, people from different communities will come together to focus on this reflection".
As explained to Fides by Turvey-Collins, the preparatory phase of the Council, which began in May 2018 and was based on dialogue and listening meetings, held throughout the Australian territory, involved more than 68,000 people: "We are deeply grateful to all those who contributed by sharing their story and experience of faith. The open meetings of listening and dialogue were a rich and fruitful experience for all of us", he says.
The Plenary Council will be held in two sessions: the first is scheduled for October 2020, while the second will be held in May 2021. The choice to divide the appointment into two moments is due to the desire to allow a deeper discernment on the issues addressed in the first phase.

Categorie: From the church

AFRICA/ANGOLA - Appointment of the Bishop of Menongue, Leopoldo Ndakalako

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Mer, 20/03/2019 - 13:02
Vatican City - On March 19, 2019 the Holy Father appointed the rev. Leopoldo Ndakalako, of the clergy of Ondjiva, currently Vicar General as Bishop of the Diocese of Menongue .
The rev. Leopoldo Ndakalako was born on December 13, 1968, in Ohakaonde, province of Cunene. After primary schools in Mongua and Ondjiva, he attended the preparatory course in Lubango. From 1989 to 1993 he studied philosophy at the Christ King Major Seminary of Huambo, and from 1994 to 1997 theology at the Pontifical Urbaniana University in Rome. He was ordained a priest on December 14, 1997, in the Mission of Omupanda, for the Diocese of Ondjiva.
Since his ordination he has carried out the following roles: Vice-Rector of the preparatory Seminary and Parochial Vicar of Nossa Senhora das Vitórias - Sé Catedral ; studies for a Doctorate in philosophy at the Pontifical Urbaniana University in Rome ; Rector of the preparatory Seminary of the Immaculate Heart of Mary ; Episcopal Vicar for Pastoral Care . Since 2017 he was Vicar General of the Diocese of Ondjiva and Administrator of the quasi-parish of São António Naipalala in Ondjiva.

Categorie: From the church

AFRICA/BURKINA FASO - "No news yet of the missing priest", says the Bishop of Dori to Fides

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Mer, 20/03/2019 - 12:25
Ouagadougou - "We have no news of Fr. Joël Yougbaré, parish priest of Djibo since last Sunday", says His Exc. Mgr. Laurent Dabiré, Bishop of Dori, in the north of Burkina Faso, on the border of Mali.
"Research has been going on so far without any results" said Mgr. Dabiré, according to whom nothing can be excluded at the moment: "We do not know what to think. Fr. Joël may have been kidnapped or lost himself along the road or had an accident". The Bishop adds, however, that the area where the priest disappeared is unsafe due to the presence of jihadist groups, and therefore "we are very worried".
What we do know is that after celebrating Sunday Mass in Bottogui, Fr. Joël Yougbaré was returning to his parish along the Djibo-Tongomayel-Nianguel-Sergoussouma-Bottogui road.
Around 4.30 pm, alerted by a catechist who wanted to know if the priest had returned to the parish safely, Fr. Theodore Kpoda, deputy priest of Djibo, tried several times to call Fr. Joël's cell phone.
In mid-February, a Spanish priest and four customs officers were killed in a jihadist attack in eastern Burkina Faso , while an Italian missionary, Fr. Pierluigi Maccalli, priest of the Society for African Missions was kidnapped on 17 September 2018 in Tillaberi.

Categorie: From the church

ASIA/INDIA - Cardinal Gracias to Catholics: appeal for a "responsible vote"

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Mer, 20/03/2019 - 12:02
New Delhi - "Catholics are called to vote responsibly": this is the appeal launched to the Indian faithful by Cardinal Oswald Gracias, President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India , in a pastoral letter issued on the occasion of the general elections. As Agenzia Fides learns, the Cardinal, at the head of the Archdiocese of Bombay, has invited Catholics to "elect leaders who listen to people, understand their needs and respond effectively". "I urge every community to discern what is best for our country. We must vote with judgement", Cardinal Gracias said.
In the letter, sent to Fides, Cardinal Gracias invites people to "exercise their vote as a sacred obligation that is due to the country": And he adds: "We hope our community can contribute to the future of our nation".
The President of the CBCI reiterates that the Church does not identify with or support any political party. Recognizing the contribution of the last government to the enormous progress made by India in recent decades, the Cardinal notes that "this has generated great hope for the future". At the same time, he notes, we need to worry about the widening gap between rich and poor, the conditions of workers, and the great stress among farmers. Furthermore, "ethics is losing primacy as the guiding principle of society. Economy seems to be the driving force behind every decision. India is a spiritual nation, yet God is slowly being pushed to the periphery", warns the Cardinal.
The Cardinal cites seven useful aspects for a good political leader: to work for an economy that seeks to help the poor; ensure a safe environment for everyone, especially women and children; safeguard the rights of tribal peoples; take care of the dalits ; promote community harmony; encourage a spirit of national integration; protect the environment. The letter ends with an appeal to Catholics in the country to accompany the electoral process with prayer.
The general elections will be held, according to the various states of the Federation, in seven phases, from 11 April to 19 May to elect 543 members of the "Lok Sabha", the lower house of the Indian Parliament. The result of the vote will be declared on May 23rd. The Indian electorate is about 900 million people. About 80% of the Indian population is Hindu. Muslims make up almost 15% of the population, while Christians are 2.3%, alongside other religious minorities.

Categorie: From the church

AMERICA/NICARAGUA - Cardinal Brenes supports the participation of the Nuncio in the negotiations, the media invited to be prudent

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Mer, 20/03/2019 - 11:50
Managua - The Archbishop of Managua, Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes, yesterday declared after the celebration of the Mass for the feast of St. Joseph, that he supports the participation of the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Waldemar Stanislaw Sommertag, as an accompanying witness at the negotiating table between the government and the Civic Alliance. "I think the Nuncio is playing a very nice role, because he said he is keeping the door open to dialogue with the government, and I think he is doing it", the Cardinal said.
Therefore Cardinal Brenes, who is President of the Episcopal Conference, publicly thanked Mgr. Sommertag for his participation as a Vatican envoy and sole representative of the Catholic Church in the talks, after the Nicaraguan Bishops' Conference declined to participate .
The Cardinal's statements come after the impromptu press conference on Monday 18, at the door of the Nunciature, during which the Apostolic Nuncio stated that having an open communication channel with the government does not mean that "one is on one side". Sommertag complained the fact that in Nicaragua "there is no trust, there are many lies", therefore he stressed: "I have no leaders or patrons, neither left nor right, nor behind nor in front". With these statements, the Nuncio reacted to the various criticisms expressed about his action as a mediator and witness in the negotiations.
The Nuncio continued: "I am not neutral, I cannot be neutral in the face of the suffering of a people. But I am impartial. Yes. I am honest and speak directly. I speak to people with facts "That is why some are speaking ill of the Nuncio, because he says things in the face and does not lie. If you want, we can meet here every day, if you have doubts about the work of the Nuncio", he added. "Unfortunately, some media are setting a trap, so that we cannot negotiate, I think there should be some caution", he concluded.
Meanwhile the negotiations are waiting to continue. The OAS in the person of Luis Almagro, its highest representative, subordinated his participation in the dialogue to the release of political prisoners.

Categorie: From the church

VATICAN - Recognition of the martyrdom of PIME missionary Alfredo Cremonesi, killed in Myanmar

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Mer, 20/03/2019 - 11:34
Vatican City - In yesterday's audience with Cardinal Angelo Becciu, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the Holy Father Francis authorized the promulgation of several Decrees, including the martyrdom of Alfredo Cremonesi, a member of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, . Born in Ripalta Guerina on 16 May 1902, Alfredo Cremonesi was killed in Myanmar, where he had worked for 28 years, on 7 February 1953. Fr. Cremonesi became a victim of the conflict between government troops and the Karen rebels, fire was set to the missionary's house and the convent in the village of Donoku, and a soldier shot Father Alfredo between his eye and his temple. Previously he had been invited to leave that very dangerous place, but he preferred to remain among his people. He had spent a lifetime of prayer, of mortification, of total giving to the poorest and most abandoned, covering great distances on foot to announce the Gospel to non-Christian tribes.
The Bishop of Crema, Mgr. Daniele Gianotti, gave the news of the first martyr in the history of this diocese: "We give thanks to God, who gave our Church in Crema, and to the whole Church, the testimony of a martyred missionary". The Bishop informs: "God willing, we can celebrate the solemn beatification liturgy of Fr. Alfredo, in Crema, next October: it is the missionary month, which in this year 2019 Pope Francis wanted to characterize as extraordinary missionary October ... and the testimony of Fr. Alfredo will be able to help us keep the fire of the mission alive in us, the desire to bring the good news of Jesus Christ to everyone". Thanking all those who contributed to the cause of beatification, the Bishop invites the priests to give news during the Masses next Sunday, March 24, "in a spirit of gratitude to God and a renewed commitment to live and bear witness to the Gospel of charity; and asking once again to God, through the intercession of Fr. Alfredo, the grace of the release of our very dear Fr. Gigi Maccalli".
Father Ferruccio Brambillasca, Superior General of PIME, told AsiaNews: "The news brings joy to the entire Institute, the Church of Myanmar and the Church of Crema, which has worked intensely for this beatification. Father Cremonesi, a missionary in Myanmar, is one of the many witnesses of our Institute who worked for many years and with dedication in this beautiful land of Asia. May the new Blessed help us all to rediscover the uniqueness of the missionary vocation, in the year in which we will celebrate the Extraordinary Missionary Month".

Categorie: From the church

ASIA/SOUTH KOREA - Cardinal Yeom: human life is inviolable, No to abortion and death penalty

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Mer, 20/03/2019 - 11:10
Seoul - "Every human being has a sacred and inalienable dignity, and life is inviolable from the moment of conception. What we should do is accept every life as it is from the moment of conception under the responsibility of the father and mother. Furthermore, given that every life is under the common responsibility of our society, we should try to improve the general systems of social assistance to help parents give birth and raise their children": this is what Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo jung, Archbishop of Seoul pointed out, speaking to the pro-life movements in South Korea, gathered in the "Youth Pro-Life Rally", held in recent days in the Korean capital, under the guidance of the Episcopal Commission for family and life. As reported to Agenzia Fides by the Office for Communications of the Archdiocese of Seoul, about a thousand young Koreans took part, but also priests, religious and leaders such as Cardinal Yeom and Archbishop Alfred Xuereb, apostolic Nuncio in Korea.
In the solemn Eucharist that preceded the march, organized in particular for Christian parliamentarians, Cardinal Yeom reiterated the pro-life doctrine of the Catholic Church, stating that "embryos should be protected and respected as independent beings, not considered as property of mothers or fathers. Human dignity cannot be decided by the vote of a majority or judged on the basis of socio-economic standards". In the Mass, the Archbishop also commented on the issue of the death penalty and recalled: "Pope Francis, in the World Congress against the death penalty last February, clearly said: Human life is the most important and fundamental gift, it is the source of all human rights. The death penalty is a serious insult and a sin against this fundamental right to life. I urge all political leaders and government members to take steps to completely abolish the death penalty in each country".
The debate on issues such as abortion and the death penalty has become increasingly controversial in Korean society these days. While the Constitutional Court should announce its decision on the constitutionality of the abortion law in early April, some sectors of society insist on legalizing abortion and women's self-determination rights.
Even on the death penalty, a ruling by the Constitutional Court is awaited. The subcommittee on the abolition of the death penalty, in the Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace, presented an appeal to the Constitutional Court last February, asking it to be repealed by the national legal system.

Categorie: From the church

Pagine