AMERICA/NICARAGUA - Cardinal Brenes: "We continue to pray for those who disagree and persecute us"

Fides EN - - Mar, 08/10/2019 - 12:17
Managua - The Archbishop of Managua, Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes, after the Sunday Eucharistic celebration on October 6, answered journalists' questions about the provocations of the military in some parishes on the occasion of liturgical celebrations and on the comments of politicians. The Cardinal confirmed that this does not happen only with Father Edwin Román , but it also occurs in several parishes in the country, and concluded: "We continue to pray for those who disagree with us, for those who speak ill of us and persecute us".
Cardinal Brenes also clarified the comparison that was referred to him by a politician between President Ortega and Jesus: "Not even the best men of God have ever compared themselves to Jesus, precisely in this Missionary Month the Holy Father has us offered so many examples to follow, of people who have even given their lives as missionaries, but nobody, I mean nobody, has ever compared themselves to Jesus. I do not know these people, but it may be that they did it out of ignorance or for the desire to be noticed".
With regards to violence, especially on the coast and in some communities in the north of the Country, the Cardinal joined the requests made by the Bishops of the area, asking for an end to the violence. He stressed the existence of armed groups, outside the law, that have committed various crimes in this area. "This is a culture of death, of lack of respect for life", he said, recalling the more than 48 women killed, to which is added the latest case of the young North American killed in Matagalpa.
According to information gathered by Fides, violence has increased in various inland areas of the country, where peasant leaders have also been killed. In the last two weeks the Nicaraguan Peasant Movement has made itself heard with protests and demonstrations following the news on the possibility of resuming the mega project of the Interoceanic Canal , to which the Movement has always opposed for many reasons.
From the statements of Medardo Mairena, Coordinator of the Peasant Movement, came the confirmation that farmers and peasants from Nicaragua have mobilized against the project for 6 years. The struggle began for the defense of the lands and since April 2018 it has supported the claims of the students. Several of them suffered exile, prison and even death to face the regime of Daniel Ortega. Medardo Mairena reminded the press that the Farmer Movement is a living reality, a protagonist of the country's economic and social life.
Categorie: From the church

ASIA/JORDAN - 150 years of "mission" of Catholic schools in Jordan

Fides EN - - Mar, 08/10/2019 - 12:00
Amman - Catholic schools in Jordan celebrate the 150th anniversary of the beginning of their adventure in the lands now governed by the Hashemite Kingdom and reaffirm their cultural and spiritual mission at the service of the local population, largely Muslim, carried out also thanks to the contribution of the Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem. At the ceremony for the 150th anniversary of the foundation of the first Catholic schools in the lands beyond the Jordan River, which took place on Saturday 5 October at the Our Lady of Peace Center and saw the participation of Jordanian Deputy Prime Minister Marwan Moasher, Bishop William Shomali , and the Latin Patriarch Emeritus of Jerusalem, Fouad Twal.
Father Wissam Mansour, director general of the schools of the Latin Patriarchate in Jordan, reported that currently the 25 schools and the 18 kindergartens that are in Jordan that belong to the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem serve a school population of 11 thousand students, Christians and Muslims.
The first Catholic school in the territories of present-day Jordan, was founded in the city of Salt by Don Alessandro Macagno, the legendary Abuna Skandar, who preached the Gospel to the tribes of Christian Bedouins lost beyond the Jordan living like them in a tent, and taking with him a mobile altar to celebrate the Eucharist. At that time the Ottoman governor did not want to grant permission: it was the locals, Christians and Muslims together, who overcame resistance. Even the Muslim Bedouins understood that they could only expect good things from that man who taught them to read and write.
In the second half of the nineteenth century, those founded beyond the Jordan by the priests of the new Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem were the first schools opened in a closed and marginal world, all defined by the social practices of tribalism. Teaching the ignorant is a work of spiritual mercy. And the teaching offered to all - Christians and Muslims, poor and rich, tribes from the north and tribes from the south - was the passepartout that allowed the apostolic witness to take root in rural or desert areas, which for centuries had not seen any Catholic pastoral initiative.
Thanks to their educational work, Jordan's Catholic schools have long since acquired a full citizenship right in the Country. When the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan was created, the school network of the Latin Patriarchate - soon joined by large colleges inaugurated in Amman by Catholic religious congregations - still represented the only "native" educational system in existence.
Categorie: From the church

OCEANIA/PAPUA NEW GUINEA - Extraordinary Missionary Month in Oceania: lay people involved in the mission

Fides EN - - Mar, 08/10/2019 - 11:24
Rabaul - "It is easy to think that missionaries are only Salesian priests who guide us in our faith, or the religious engaged with young people and nuns who spread the Good News. But this is not the case: the call to mission is for everyone, we must not forget it": said to Agenzia Fides, Matthew Nguyen, a Salesian lay missionary referring to the context of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, and to the challenges of the evangelization in Oceania, on the occasion of the celebration of the Extraordinary Missionary Month, announced by Pope Francis for October 2019.
Noting that the mission is the task of every baptized person, not only of priests and religious, Matthew Nguyen reported: "At the Don Bosco Technical Institute in Rapolo, near Kokopo - he continues - we are grateful for the efforts and commitment of the laity that serve in a simple but extraordinary way. The lay volunteers dedicate their weekends to giving catechism lessons for the children of the newly established parish. Salesian cooperators share their talents and gifts in a very practical way. Every Sunday, these people go to different communities and offer basic medical check ups to the villagers. This service helps people create a "healthy life plan" so that they can live long and in a healthy manner". "This is mission", he insisted, recalling the theme of the Extraordinary Missionary Month "Baptized and sent: the Church of Christ on mission in the world". "We pray for all our missionaries, so they can be blessed and encouraged to continue their ministry. "Go and proclaim the Good News", Christ tells us, and all these people, religious and laity, put into practice Jesus’ invitation".
Categorie: From the church

VATICAN - Prayer, soul of the mission: the Rosary for the extraordinary missionary Month

Fides EN - - Mar, 08/10/2019 - 11:08
Rome - "Pray for the work of the missionaries and for the proclamation of the Gospel; today, in particular, let us pray for the synod on the Amazon. Let us not forget, moreover, persecuted Christians who lost their freedom": these are the words pronounced by Cardinal Fernando Filoni who yesterday, October 7, presided over the celebration of the Rosary in the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, on the occasion of the Extraordinary Missionary Month, announced by Pope Francis for October 2019. The Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and the Pontifical Mission Societies invited "Radio Maria" to organize the event, which had a world-wide relevance, since it was broadcast live on radio and video by the almost 80 "Radio Maria" broadcasters spread across the five continents.
"It was a truly missionary prayer, in which the universality of the Church was felt", said Sister Roberta Tremarelli, General Secretary of the Pontifical Society of Missionary Childhood, one of the four Pontifical Mission Societies, present at the event. "Prayer - says Sister Tremarelli - was very intense. Every decade of 'Ave Maria' of the Rosary was dedicated to one of the five continents and recited by a representative of the continent, in a specific language: Latin for Europe, French for Africa, Spanish for America, Chinese for Asia, English for Oceania, and the meditations linked to the Marian prayer, the challenges and the great current affairs that we experience in every continent were recalled: from human trafficking to the suffering of Christians, from poverty to secularization, to respect for human dignity. We entrusted the sufferings of humanity to Mary, the heavenly Mother, renewing the certainty of the supreme missionary value of prayer. Prayer is and remains the soul of the mission, as Saint Therese of the Child Jesus taught us".
"Baptized and sent: the Church of Christ on mission in the world" is the theme of the Extraordinary Missionary Month announced by the Pope to commemorate the centenary of Benedict XV's Apostolic Letter "Maximum illud". After the celebration of vespers presided over by the Pope on 1 October, and the Rosary of 7 October, on Sunday 20 October the annual World Mission Day is scheduled with the Mass presided over by the Pope at 10.30 in St. Peter's Square. The Extraordinary Missionary Month, as widely documented by Agenzia Fides, is celebrated in the local Churches, at a national or diocesan level.
Categorie: From the church

AMERICA/DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - National pastoral meeting: a people of missionary disciples, with personal experience of Jesus

Fides EN - - Mar, 08/10/2019 - 10:30
Santo Domingo - The Bishops of the Dominican Republic, along with more than 300 lay pastoral workers from the 12 dioceses of the country, have given birth to the 37th National Pastoral Meeting, which was held from 3 to 5 October at the Escuela de Evangelización Juan Pablo II. Promoted by the Dominican Episcopal Conference, through its National Pastoral Institute , the purpose of the meeting was to respond to the fundamental needs of the Church and society, evaluating the pastoral work of the current year, and to plan that of 2020, establishing the national evangelization itinerary according to the National Plan.
Every year the INP, according to information sent to Agenzia Fides from the Episcopal Conference, brings together Bishops, priests, deacons, men and women religious and laity to verify the National Pastoral Plan. The Plan of the Dominican Church extends for 30 years, and is divided into 3 stages of 10 years each. Currently we are working on the first phase of the second stage.
"We, as leaders of the people of God, must take the experience of the following of God seriously", said Mgr. Rafael Felipe Núñez, Bishop emeritus of Barahona, illustrating the theme that will guide the 2020 pastoral year: "A people, missionary disciple, who has a personal and community experience of Jesus Christ, the incarnate Word". Mgr. José Grullón Estrella, Bishop of San Juan de la Maguana and President of INP, presided over the sending of pastoral workers, urging them to "proclaim Jesus incarnate to all those who seek the common good instead of the particular good". He also drew attention to the frequent use of the Dominican flag, in state graphics and other organisms, without the central shield, surrounded by laurel branches, which bears the Dominican motto: "Dios, Patria, Libertad" .
Categorie: From the church

AMERICA/ECUADOR - Bishops call for "peace, justice and dialogue"

Fides EN - - Lun, 07/10/2019 - 13:30
Quito - "Ecuadorian brothers, faced with the great social and economic challenges in which we live, coherent with our human and Christian principles and values, we invite all men and women of good will to peace, justice and dialogue". This is how the appeal of the Episcopal Conference of Ecuador, sent to Fides begins, which is addressed to all Ecuadorians with the title from a phrase of Paul VI: "If you want peace, work for justice".
In recent days there have been riots and protests in several cities of Ecuador, with clashes between protesters and police forces, over 350 arrests were made. At the origin there is the decision announced by President Lenín Moreno to eliminate state subsidies on fuels, which caused the strike and the protest of the categories of heavy transport, buses and taxis.
"Social peace is the fundamental value for considering and realizing fundamental rights, in particular the least favored ones, starting from the right to life in all its phases and dimensions" the Bishops write, emphasizing that violence, in whatever form, "prevents an objective view of reality and seriously endangers the validity of rights".
Therefore the text underlines that "the promotion of social justice must be at the center of all state and private decisions, so that every Ecuadorian has the necessary conditions to live with dignity". In this regard it is recalled that social justice requires the State "to recover the goods of the people, usurped by fraudulent systems, to invest them in education, health, safety, housing, among others".
The last appeal of the Bishops concerns dialogue, considered "the most adequate and efficient way for Ecuadorians, especially politicians, businessmen and representatives of trade unions, to find new ways to lead us to a prosperous country with a fair and equitable economy". Through dialogue the various realities commit themselves to "seek the common good beyond one’s own", remaining open to a responsible encounter, free from extreme positions.
"As Shepherds of the Catholic Church - they conclude - we accompany people in their urgent needs and pray for a peaceful, just and equitable Ecuador, with bread and work for all".
Categorie: From the church

AMERICA/PERU - Extraordinary Missionary Month: many local initiatives to involve everyone

Fides EN - - Lun, 07/10/2019 - 13:21
Lima - On the occasion of the Extraordinary Missionary Month of October 2019 , Archbishop Javier Del Río, Archbishop of Arequipa, presided the Mass for the missionaries to be sent, on Saturday 5 October, at 7 pm, in the Cathedral Basilica of Arequipa. At the same time, every parish, chapel, association of the faithful, the apostolic movement and the new community of the archdiocese has organized various activities to be held throughout the month: Missionary Vigil; prayer of the Holy Rosary in families for missionary intentions; Mission Day to announce the kerygma, through the streets, squares and houses, with a special participation of young people; a closing Mass on the first Sunday of November.
The Archdiocese of Cusco, which focused its pastoral activities on the Year of the Missionary Youth, opened the Extraordinary Missionary Month on Saturday 5 October, with a pilgrimage of young people and adolescents from the square of Santiago to the parish of Our Lady of Belen, where Archbishop Richard Alarcón celebrated a Mass for the inauguration of the Extraordinary Missionary Month, prepared and animated by members of Missionary Childhood and Adolescence . On the same day celebrations took place in all the parishes of the archdiocese after a training workshop on the EMM motto: "Baptized and sent".
In Cusco the population prepared itself, in parishes and Catholic schools, to live the EMM, as explained in the note sent to Fides. On October 22nd at 5 pm, the "Youth Without Borders" groups of the Pontifical Mission Societies of Cusco will carry out a proclamation of the Gospel activity in the atrium of the Cathedral Basilica; while on November 9 at 8:30 am, missionaries will be sent with a procession of the Divine Child to the city's Plaza de Armas.
Next Thursday, 10 October, a press conference will be held in the auditorium of the Peruvian Bishops' Conference, at 11 am, to launch the worldwide missionary campaign: DOMUND 2019, which bears the motto of the EMM. Mgr. Nicola Girasoli, Apostolic Nuncio in Peru, Fr. Víctor Livori, director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Peru; Archbishop Ricardo Augusto Rodríguez Álvarez and Sr. Juana Cabrera will participate.
Categorie: From the church

AFRICA/KENYA - "Creating partnerships between Church and civil organizations to combat human trafficking"

Fides EN - - Lun, 07/10/2019 - 13:11
Nairobi - Each Bishops’ Conference and diocese are invited to create a Desk dealing with Human Trafficking in the spirit of Santa Marta. This is the main recommendation that emerged at the end of the second African regional conference of Santa Marta held in Nairobi from 1 to 4 October .
The Santa Marta group is a global alliance of police leaders, bishops and religious communities working in collaboration with civil society in the fight against human trafficking, defined by Pope Francis as "a crime against humanity".
The conference on "Sensitizing the local communities and Government on dangers of Human Trafficking" brought together over 100 delegates from nine countries including: Kenya, Sierra Leone, Angola, Uganda, Nigeria, South Africa, Eswatini, Ghana, and the United Kingdom including representatives from the Church, Law Enforcement Agencies, regional and international actors, and organizations that work in the areas of migration and control of human movements.
The delegates, recommended the different bishops conferences to collaborate with the law enforcement authorities, judiciary, immigration department, police forces on addressing issues of human trafficking.
His Exc. Mgr. Philip Anyolo, Archbishop of Kisumu and President of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Kenya, in his opening speech he called for "the creation of effective partnerships and collaborations with the aim of cutting the umbilical cord of human trafficking and of the slavery of our days".
In his good will message to the conference, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, President of the Santa Marta Group saluted the hard work done by the delegates and noted that the fight against human trafficking is as urgent and as important as ever.
"We have to remember that human trafficking is a hugely profitable criminal activity and those who drive it forward are endless both in their greed for profit and in their callous disregard for the dignity of every person. They must be stopped; and victims rescued, cherished and supported", said the Cardinal in a speech read on his behalf by Fr Mark Odion, the African Project Coordinator-Santa Marta Group.
Categorie: From the church

AFRICA/MALAWI - An instrument for evangelization: Radio Maria Malawi celebrates twenty years of life

Fides EN - - Lun, 07/10/2019 - 12:54
Lilongwe - Radio Maria Malawi celebrated twenty years of life, confirming itself as a powerful tool of evangelization in the country. "Despite difficult times and daily difficulties, Radio Maria continues to work tirelessly to spread the Gospel", said the Bishop of the diocese of Mangochi, Mgr. Montfort Stima, president of the Commission for Communications and Research of the Bishops' Conference of Malawi during the celebrations held last September 28th.
"Radio Maria is the most powerful tool that the Catholic Church in Malawi uses to carry out its mission of evangelization", the Bishop insisted on emphasizing. "We combine our resources to further promote the vision and mission of this radio station, at the service of faith and truth".
Among the guests gathered: Father Joseph Kimu, director of Radio Maria Malawi, who thanked God "for the valid instrument entrusted to him". The representative of "Radio Maria Africa", Veronica Mwita, confirmed that the broadcaster receives the constant and continuous support of the entire world family of Radio Maria. He also announced that his organization will finance the construction of Radio Maria Malawi headquarters in Lilongwe. Guest of honor of the event, Ms. Francisca Masamba Theula, former volunteer of Radio Maria Malawi and currently a parliamentarian of the north-eastern Mangochi college, who thanked the people of good will who assisted the radio financially, which today continues to spread the Good News of the Gospel even in the most remote areas and villages of the nation.
Categorie: From the church

VATICAN - The Pope opens the Synod for the Amazon: "do not extinguish the fire of mission"

Fides EN - - Lun, 07/10/2019 - 12:47
Vatican City - "Rekindling our gift in the fire of the Spirit is the opposite of letting things take their course without doing anything. Fidelity to the newness of the Spirit is a grace that we must ask for in prayer. May the Spirit, who makes all things new, give us his own daring prudence; may he inspire our Synod to renew the paths of the Church in Amazonia, so that the fire of mission will continue to burn". This is the vibrant appeal of Pope Francis in the Vatican Basilica yesterday morning, Sunday 6 October, during the Mass which he presided over for the inauguration of the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the theme "Amazonia: new paths for the Church and for an integral ecology". Together with the Holy Father 184 synodal fathers, of whom 113 from the various Pan-Amazonian ecclesiastical districts, representing the nine states of the Region .
The Holy Father was inspired by the words of the Apostle Paul, "the greatest missionary in the Church’s history", helps us to make this “synod”, this “journey together”: "His words to Timothy seem addressed to us, as pastors in the service of God’s People". Then he continued: "We are bishops because we have received a gift of God. We did not sign an agreement; we were not handed an employment contract. Rather, hands were laid on our heads so that we in turn might be hands raised to intercede before the Father, helping hands extended to our brothers and sisters. We received a gift so that we might become a gift. Gifts are not bought, traded or sold; they are received and given away. If we hold on to them, if we make ourselves the centre and not the gift we have received, we become bureaucrats, not shepherds. We turn the gift into a job and its gratuitousness vanishes. We end up serving ourselves and using the Church".
He then recalled that to be faithful to the mission received, the Bishops are called to "rekindle" the gift of God: "The fire that rekindles the gift is the Holy Spirit, the giver of gifts". God’s fire "is the fire of love that illumines, warms and gives life, not a fire that blazes up and devours. When peoples and cultures are devoured without love and without respect, it is not God’s fire but that of the world… The fire of God is warmth that attracts and gathers into unity. It is fed by sharing, not by profits. The fire that destroys, on the other hand, blazes up when people want to promote only their own ideas, form their own group, wipe out differences in the attempt to make everyone and everything uniform".
Still inspired by the words of Saint Paul, the Pope emphasized the importance of witnessing: the Apostle "asks Timothy to bear witness to the Gospel, to suffer for the Gospel, in a word, to live for the Gospel.
The proclamation of the Gospel is the chief criterion of the Church’s life, it is her mission, her identity… To preach the Gospel is to live as an offering, to bear witness to the end, to become all things to all people, to love even to the point of martyrdom".
Pope Francis concluded the homily by inviting us to look to the Crucified Jesus, "to his heart pierced for our salvation. Let us begin there, the source of the gift that has given us birth. From that heart, the Spirit who renews has been poured forth. Let each and every one of us, then, feel called to give life". He then recalled that "many of our brothers and sisters in Amazonia are bearing heavy crosses and awaiting the liberating consolation of the Gospel, the Church’s caress of love. So many of our brothers and sisters in Amazonia have given their lives... " and urged: "For them and for all those who have given their lives and those who are still giving their lives, and with them, let us journey together".
Categorie: From the church

ASIA/KAZAKHSTAN - Caritas support for children with disabilities

Fides EN - - Lun, 07/10/2019 - 11:39
ìAlmaty - The support project for families with children affected by the Down syndrome continues and is expanding. It was initially launched by Caritas of Almaty in 2016, then extended to the rest of the nation: with the support of Italian specialists, in different cities In Kazakhstan, seminars, lectures and specialist visits are periodically organized to provide basic knowledge to parents and analyze children's progress. As Fides learns, in the past few days the national head of Caritas Kazakhstan, Fr. Guido Trezzani, together with Professor Angelo Luigi Sangalli, coordinator of the project dedicated to children with trisomy 21, held several meetings and interviews with children with Down syndrome and with their families in the Kazakh cities of Aktau and Uralsk.
"Everything went very well: we received about eighty families. There was a nice atmosphere and the parents were delighted", Fr. Trezzani told Agenzia Fides.
The missionary reports that other requests were born from the initiative: "They asked us not only to go ahead with the project, but also to create, with the collaboration of the institutions, training courses for specialists in the sector, therefore for all those who work in kindergartens, schools and places where they are in contact with people with disabilities".
The project could also extend beyond national borders. "We already know that in Karaganda there are about forty families who want us to have these kinds of meetings in their city. We also have requests from Kyrgyzstan and even from Russia. Upon returning to Almaty, we will talk with the institutions and see how it is possible to act", explained Fr. Trezzani.
Caritas of Kazakhstan is also starting a professional training project for adults and for children with disabilities, in collaboration with a group of Italian religious. To respond to this same need, the construction of two greenhouses, one in Talgar and the other in Almaty, had already begun in the past few months: "The first is almost complete, with the second we are a little behind, but I would say we are almost ready to start a job of developing skills in the field of flower cultivation, which could involve adults with Down syndrome", he concluded.
Categorie: From the church

EUROPE/ITALY - Baptized and sent: called to life to build the Kingdom of God

Fides EN - - Sab, 05/10/2019 - 13:52
Rome - "The Lord called us and gave us the gift of baptism, through which we were born into the new life in Christ", reports to Agenzia Fides Brazilian Friar Valmir Ramos OFM, General Definitor of the Order of the Friars Minor, in reference to the theme of reflection proposed by "Missio-Italia" for the first Sunday of the Extraordinary Missionary Month of October 2019. On the first Sunday of the month, on 6 October, the faithful are called to think of vocation. The Missio Foundation, the pastoral body of the Italian Bishops' Conference, offers food for thought for the animation of the Sunday Eucharistic celebration in October. "Each of us - says Friar Ramos - is a mission: we are instruments in God's hands to build his kingdom and fulfill his will. We are called, first of all, to rediscover the missionary meaning of our adherence to faith in Jesus Christ", he highlights an interview with Agenzia Fides.
Living with the sense of a mission means being aware of being called by the Lord to bring his love to all those around us: "It is not a question of preparation, nor of possessing certain exceptional conditions for the apostolate - explains friar Ramos - it is simply a matter of accepting the call of Christ, of opening up to his gift and responding to it with his own life". "Perhaps this is why - he continues - Pope Francis wanted to remind us, in the words of Saint Paul, that the Lord has chosen each of us "to be holy and immaculate before Him in charity".
Thus all men are the fruit of a call and our life consists in a mission in the world and for the world: "The Lord has called us and sends us into the world to share with all the Salvation we have received. Every baptized person - concludes Friar Valmir - has the task of being a witness to the message of the Gospel, which is love, mercy and full life for all men".

Link correlati :Watch the video interview with fra Valmir Ramos OFM on Agenzia Fides Youtube channel
Categorie: From the church

AFRICA/BURUNDI - The Extraordinary Missionary Month preceded by the PMS Congress

Fides EN - - Sab, 05/10/2019 - 13:42
Bujumbura – To raise awareness of the needs of the mission; find new ways and strategies for missionary evangelization in Burundi and in the world; to study together how to support the Pontifical Mission Societies not only spiritually but also materially. These were the objectives of the Missionary Congress organized by the National Direction of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Burundi , held from September 23 to 28 at the Grand Seminary John Paul II of Gitega.
The Missionary Congress is in line with the centenary celebration of the Apostolic Letter Maximum Illud of Pope Benedict XV , which inspired Pope Francis to announce the Extraordinary Missionary Month of October 2019.
The Conference of Catholic Bishops of Burundi has decided to extend the event for another two months to have enough time to celebrate this great, important event for the Church in Burundi.
Starting from the general theme of the Congress: "Baptized and sent, the Church of Christ on mission in Burundi and in the world", during the Congress various themes related to the mission were developed . Ample space was given to testimonies of missionary experiences, as well as spiritual activities such as the prayer of the missionary rosary, missionary adoration, missionary vigil, etc.
About 120 Burundian delegates and delegations from neighboring countries such as Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo took part in the Congress.
We recall that the message of the Bishops of Burundi for the Extraordinary Missionary Month was read in all the Catholic Churches of Burundi on Sunday 29 September .
Categorie: From the church

AFRICA/IVORY COAST - The spectre of another war hangs over the Ivory Coast: the warning of a missionary

Fides EN - - Sab, 05/10/2019 - 13:36
Abidjan - The current Ivorian political atmosphere fears a dark future for the Ivory Coast. "The spectre of yet another war hangs, unfortunately, over this earth", explains Fr. Donald Zagore, Ivorian theologian of the Society for African Missions.
With the approaching of the presidential elections of 2020 , everything indicates that we are heading towards elections that are anything but peaceful.
"In fact - continues Zagore - with the approval and non-consensual establishment of the Ivorian Independent Electoral Commission it is irresponsible not to worry about what can happen by putting aside the main opposition parties, favoring a culture of illegality, violence and criminality that is increasingly characterizing Ivorian society".
"The tragic reality is that, even if in words we strive to preach peace, our actions reveal injustice, division, exclusion, autocracy and everything that foreshadows a war. Tomorrow's peace must be built today. We must be aware of this fundamental reality", insists Fr. Donald a few days after the appointment of the President of the IEC of the Ivory Coast, judge Coulibaly Kuibiert Ibrahime.
"Tears, blood, death, we no longer want them on our earth. Therefore, since there is still time, it is better to be safe than sorry", he concludes.

Categorie: From the church

EUROPE/IRELAND - Extraordinary Missionary Month: "It is time to revive our missionary genes, to renew our hearts for mission"

Fides EN - - Sab, 05/10/2019 - 13:31
Maynooth - "It is time to revive our missionary genes, to renew our hearts for mission" said the Archbishop of Armagh, Eamon Martin, President of the Irish Bishops’ Conference, during the Eucharistic concelebration which he presided over on 1st October, opening the Autumn General Assembly of the Bishops of Ireland, in the oratory of Santa Maria in St. Patrick’s college, in Maynooth.
With this celebration, broadcast in streaming, the Archbishop officially opened the Extraordinary Missionary Month in Ireland, inviting us to reflect on the "powerful words of Pope Francis" in Evangelii Gaudium "especially here in Ireland, where more and more we are speaking of ‘mission’ in the Church, rather than ‘maintenance’." The Pope writes: "I dream of a “missionary option”, that is, a missionary impulse capable of transforming everything, so that the Church’s customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can be suitably channeled for the evangelization of today’s world rather than for her self-preservation" .
"In many ways - continued Mgr. Martin in the homily, sent to Fides by the Bishops' Conference - the missionary option should come as second nature to us here in Ireland, with our proud tradition of missionary outreach. But to be truly in ‘mission mode’ within Ireland will mean opening ourselves up in the Church to a new way of being, a new way of thinking, a new way of praying, a new way of communicating our teaching".
The President of the Irish Episcopate therefore recalled the reasons why Pope Francis announced the Extraordinary Missionary Month, "to rekindle in every baptised person that sense that we are all called to mission, to witness, to teach, to win others for Christ", and the words of St. John Paul II pronounced during his visit to Ireland in 1979: "The task of renewal in Christ has never ended. Each generation, with its mentality and characteristics, is like a new continent to be won for Christ".
The challenge to Europe to "find new life and joy in Christ" is welcomed by the Church of Ireland: "to rekindle the joy of the Gospel in our country; to find again the youth and courage that inspired St Columbanus and the great Irish missionaries of ancient times; to rediscover the adventure and excitement of the founders of the Irish missionary movements in more recent centuries". Many people, especially young people, are longing for meaning, purpose, hope and values that will last, which life without Christ certainly cannot offer. "Ireland, and much of Europe, has again become that new continent to be won for Christ", he added.
The Archbishop then invited us to look at the example of Saint Teresa of the Child Jesus, and invoked her intercession, together with that of Saint Francis Xavier and all the Holy missionaries of Ireland, so that "they bless our efforts during this extraordinary month of mission".
Finally, the President of the Bishops' Conference also urged dioceses, congregations and especially young people in Ireland to support the ‘Laudato Tree’ project which is being sponsored by the Society of African Missions. Taking its inspiration from Pope St John Paul II’s appeal for the Sahel in 1980, and Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical Laudato Si, the project encourages concrete action, together with awareness raising and education about faith and the environment, considering that the victims of climate change are the poorest populations on earth.
Categorie: From the church

AMERICA HAITI - The opposition is firm in its request for the resignation of the President, an increasingly serious situation

Fides EN - - Ven, 04/10/2019 - 13:36
Port au Prince - The interreligious platform "Religions for Peace Haiti" informs that it has had no other choice but to withdraw and reject the request of the Head of State, formulated on September 26 and accepted first also with certain conditions, to facilitate dialogue with the opposition to try to resolve the political and social crisis of the island.
According to a statement sent to Fides on Monday, September 30th, in a letter addressed to Nahomme Dorvil, director of the cabinet of President Jovenel Moses, "Religions for Peace Haiti" justifies his refusal by explaining that he wrote to the three main groups of the political party of the opposition, asking for the resignation of the Head of State, asking their availability to take part in a process of dialogue aimed at finding a solution to the crisis. But these political realities have rejected any form of dialogue with President Jovenel Moïse. "Religions for Peace Haiti" recalls that, according to its principles, in order to accept the role of facilitator, all parties to the conflict should agree.
Meanwhile, the situation in Haiti worsens every day: school lessons should have started in early September, but violent protests have closed schools and paralyzed public enterprises, to the point that Haiti's economy is sinking, as well as registering inflation. The opposition continues to demand the resignation of President Jovenel Moïse and the demonstrations for this purpose are increasing throughout the country.
Of the approximately 11 million Haitians, 60% earn less than $ 2 a day and 25% earn less than $ 1 a day. Despair drives many to protests and roadblocks, which in turn force companies to close, sometimes permanently. According to agency data, before the start of the new round of protests in early September, Haiti's economy was already sinking. The country had seen a reduction in funds from Petrocaribe, an oil plan subsidized by Venezuela, given the drop in oil prices, and international aid for recovery due to the devastating 2010 earthquake had almost disappeared.
Devaluation and inflation are rampant. Before 2015 the exchange rate was 40 gourdes for $ 1. Now, it is almost 100 gourdes for $ 1. Inflation over the past five years has gone from less than 10% a year to almost 20%. The weakest social groups, like children, the elderly and the poor, are suffering the most.
Categorie: From the church

ASIA/LEBANON - Souraya Bechealany: Christians in the Middle East are not a "minority" and do not need "protections"

Fides EN - - Ven, 04/10/2019 - 11:26
Warsaw - Christian communities in the Middle East "are not minorities and do not need protections". This is what Professor Souraya Bechealany, Secretary General of the Middle East Council, MECC in a speech addressed during the opening session of the Warsaw Dialogue for Democracy International Conference, held in Warsaw on Thursday 3 October. At the Conference, an annual event organized under the patronage of the Polish government, politicians and activists from organizations involved in the defense of human rights and interreligious dialogue, from about thirty countries, were also present among the speakers and conference participants. In his speech, followed by that of Polish Foreign Minister Yatsek Chabotovic, Souraya Bechealany - Christian Maronite, professor of theology at the Saint Joseph University in Beirut - also underlined that the time has come to recognize "that there is no peace without justice", and stressed the urgency of "tackling the pathological phenomenon of religious intolerance at its root.
On the same day of Thursday 3 October, Pope Francis received Mike Pompeo , Secretary of State of the United States of America at the Vatican. Some US media, based on official statements by the US administration, reported that the Pope and the US High Representative, in their talks, registered full agreement especially with regard to the urgent need to "protect" Christian minorities worldwide , and "in particular" the Christians in the Middle East. Pope Francis and Mike Pompeo – in a statement Morgan Ortagus, a spokesman for the US State Department - said that they "reaffirmed the commitment of the United States and the Holy See to promote religious freedom throughout the world, and in particular the protection of Christian communities in the Middle East".
Categorie: From the church

OCEANIA/NEW ZEALAND - Resignation of the Bishop of Palmerston North

Fides EN - - Ven, 04/10/2019 - 11:16
Vatican City - The Holy Father Francis has accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Palmerston North, New Zealand, presented by Bishop Charles Edward Drennan.
Categorie: From the church

OCEANIA/PAPUA NEW GUINEA - Caritas promotes the protection of creation and the commitment of young people against climate change

Fides EN - - Ven, 04/10/2019 - 11:13
Port Moresby - "The life of the entire population of Papua New Guinea is strongly influenced by climate change", said Mavis Tito, National Director of Caritas Papua New Guinea, during the talk show broadcast by FM100 in Boroko.
The occasion of the debate was the presentation of the Caritas report "State of the Environment for Oceania" 2019 which highlighted five key issues currently monitored that are influencing the livelihood of the inhabitants in the smaller islands of Oceania.
Rising sea levels and coastal erosion, extreme weather conditions, poor access to food and drinking water, mining and offshore drilling and financing for climate are in detail the points faced by the group of experts present, composed among others by Marie Mondu , Development Secretary of the Bishops' Conference, Agnes Harihi, member of the Catholic Professional Society and Nigel Akuani, at the head of social communications of the Bishops' Conference.
The SEFO report is supported by statistics and cases studied and reports on the challenges that Caritas is currently facing, noting the progress made so far in using the funds and resources available for the planned development programs.
"All Bishops' Conferences must have a Caritas Commission. It is through the help and support of our faithful Catholic communities that we are able to finance development projects", said Mandu, urging a safe and transparent management of the funds.
Mavis Tito, Director of Caritas Papua New Guinea, explained that it was rather difficult to gather the information needed for the report, praising the commitment of all the volunteers of the organization. Agnes Harihi urged everyone to "work together to combat the effects of climate change in particular those of smaller island neighboring countries".
"Most of the country's population is young. If given an opportunity and encouraged and supported, they would be able to contribute to great changes", said the head of social communications of the Bishops' Conference, stressing the importance of the commitment of young people who, thanks to their enormous potential, "can significantly contribute to the reduction of climate change".
Categorie: From the church

ASIA/MYANMAR - The pastoral enthusiasm of new priests in the Extraordinary Missionary Month

Fides EN - - Ven, 04/10/2019 - 10:48
Yangon - The Catholic Church in Myanmar celebrates the Extraordinary Missionary Month, announced by Pope Francis for October 2019, with a special event that has a missionary dimension: the priestly ordination of new priests and religious in the country. Three Jesuits of Myanmar, Cyril Phocho Nay Myo Htet, Pius Than Naing Lin and Joseph Zau Gun were ordained priests along with six diocesan priests of Yangon on September 21 in the Cathedral of Saint Mary in Yangon, the ancient capital of Myanmar. The new priests immediately became "missionaries" within their own country, in areas where there is conflict or there are situations of poverty and destitution.
Father Cyril Phocho celebrated the first mass in his native St. Teresa parish in Ahlone, a suburb on the outskirts of Yangon. Father Joseph Zau Gun celebrated the first mass in Kachin language in his home village of Kawahka, near Myitkyina, capital of the Kachin state where armed clashes between the guerilla groups and the regular army continue causing displacement and suffering of civilians. Father Joseph's family comes from Mali Nmai Walawng, a town in the north of Kachin state but, due to the ongoing conflict, moved to Myitkyina in the parish of Sitarpu. Father Pio's first mass was celebrated in his native village, Than Le Gyi, not far from the town of Pyay.
"The most striking feature of these ordinations and subsequent celebrations is the evident joy in families, in the villages: all members of the clan or community to which each new priest belongs, people of different religions, showed enthusiasm", says to Fides Father Mark Raper, Superior of the Myanmar Jesuit Mission. "Every local Church, in welcoming the new priests, prepares a feast, with prayers, music, dances. Priests, nuns and laity of the diocese come in large numbers", he highlights, pointing out how these celebrations are a way to make the Catholic faith, the Church, the Gospel known.
"The celebration of the Eucharist and the feast with Joseph Zau Gun, Kachin Jesuit priest, and seeing Pio and Cirillo participate in the Mass in Kachin language, was a dream come true for me", said Archbishop Paul Grawng, now retired, present at the first Mass of Father Joseph Zau Gun.
The entire village and the entire parish will give the support the new priest needs. "Priestly ordination and above all the first Mass are cultural events, celebrations of the life of faith of the people expressed in all simplicity in a rich and moving ritual, which characterize the Extraordinary Missionary Month in Myanmar", said Father Raper.
"We priests ask ourselves if we will ever have enough faith and grace to share with God's people, to respond to people as Jesus would do. But people help us with their faith, their prayer, their support", said father Phocho.
"The faithful simply share their faith, their hope and their love. The goodness of the people present in these celebrations tells me that our priests will find the care and consolation in their communities that will strengthen them to reach those who feel alone or are marginalized", he adds. In a truly missionary dimension.
Categorie: From the church