AMERICA/COLOMBIA - Rosary for missions: invitation of the Bishops' Conference to all communities

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Ven, 04/10/2019 - 10:36
Bogota - "Every October the Catholic Church promotes the prayer of the Holy Rosary and support for missions which this year are also joined by the Synod for the Amazon and the Extraordinary Missionary Month, both announced by Pope Francis. Moreover, in our country, regional elections are approaching and in these days various initiatives are being carried out related to the defense of life". This is recalled by the Bishops' Conference of Colombia , in the text sent to Agenzia Fides, which in this context invites ecclesiastical jurisdictions and all parishes, religious communities, movements and apostolic groups, families and the faithful in general, to pray the holy Rosary on Monday 7 October, feast of the Virgin of the Rosary.
Every community and every single believer will choose the time and the most suitable ways for prayer, according to the intentions that the Bishops propose: "So that the Holy Spirit arouses a new missionary springtime in the Church; so that we all strive to defend life from conception to natural death; so that we can live the next elections in peace and can choose our rulers well; so that the Synod of the Amazon generates a serious commitment to evangelization and care for the common Home; so that families, thanks to a life of prayer and love, become places of humanization".
The Bishops' statement concludes: "The day, which will be animated through traditional and digital media, is a proposal to strengthen the faith and the missionary spirit, recalling that in the Church of Christ we are ‘baptized and sent’."
Also on Monday 7 October, at 3 pm , Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, will lead the prayer of the Holy Rosary in the Papal Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. The prayer will be broadcast worldwide by Radio Maria.
Categorie: From the church

AFRICA/BURKINA FASO - Insecurity spreads in vast areas; the drama of the parish of Pissila

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Ven, 04/10/2019 - 09:53
Ouagadougou - "The situation of security is extremely serious. Not a day goes by without new victims". This is the cry of alarm launched by the Foreign Minister of Burkina Faso, Alpha Barry, on the precariousness of the security conditions in which large areas of his country live.
Cross-border jihadist groups, after Mali and Niger, are spreading instability in Burkina Faso, a hinge between the Sahel and the West African states bordering the Atlantic coasts.
Even the various Christian communities suffer terrorist attacks. One of the most affected dioceses is that of Kaya, in the center-north, where, on Sunday 12 May in the assault against the church of Dablo, Fr. Siméon Yampa and five faithful were killed .
Among the most affected parishes of the diocese is that of Our Lady of the Assumption of Pissila. Several villages that fall within its territory have suffered repeated assaults by unidentified armed individuals, causing victims and material destruction. The inhabitants have been forced into a mass exodus to safer areas, including the center of Pissila, where they are welcomed in some families or in temporary structures set up in schools.
The living conditions are very difficult: lack of food, adequate care, sufficient space, etc. The parish of Pissila, together with Caritas Ocades-Kaya, has launched an assistance program for displaced people that provides for the donation of food and basic necessities.
We note the absence of men among the displaced. Except for a few elderly people, there are only children and women. This is because terrorists are targeting men, even young people aged 12 to 15 are killed. All the men fled to take refuge elsewhere; there are even some who have left for the Ivory Coast.
Churches in the affected villages are closed, liturgies have stopped, while catechists have taken refuge in Pissila. The security forces have not yet deployed in the area, to the point that displaced people report the fact that many of them failed to bury their loved ones killed during the raids.

Categorie: From the church

AFRICA/KENYA - Missionary renewal of the Church in Africa, in view of the 400th anniversary of the foundation of “Propaganda Fide”

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Gio, 03/10/2019 - 12:47
Nairobi - "Bringing together a number of academics to analyze the state of evangelization in Africa and propose possible new ways and missionary solutions": this was the goal of the first continental conference in view of the 400th anniversary celebrations of the Foundation of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples , scheduled for 2022, recently organized by Tangaza University College, of the Catholic University of East Africa . As reported by Fr. Joseph Caramazza, a Comboni Missionary from Tangaza University College, the conference, on the theme "Mission in Africa, Evangelizing the Future", was organized by Missio Aachen in collaboration with the Pontifical Urbaniana University of Rome and the Tangaza University College of Nairobi.
"Evangelization in Africa requires a concrete journey into the future. The year of evangelization in Africa on this perspective is also the year of our missionary renewal of the whole Church", said Fr. Leonardo Sileo, OFM, Rector of the Pontifical Urbaniana University, in the message sent to the participants read in his name by Fr. Paul Steffen, SVD.
The three key points on which the participants were confronted included: activities and actions to bring the Gospel closer to the real social cultural and technological context; the role of women in the life and mission of the Church today, which is of particular importance and an opportunity for missionary renewal; finally, the relationship between the Gospel and the future of humanity visible in the symbiosis between mission and integral development of humanity.
Klaus Vellguth, on behalf of "Missio Aachen", gave a brief overview of the history of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, founded by Pope Gregory XV in 1622 to counter the loss of influence that the Catholic Church had suffered due to the spread of Protestantism in Europe. "The attention of the congregation on Europe changed rapidly shortly after its establishment because the Church, at the end of the 30 years of war, had not reached a balance between the Christian churches", emphasized Mr. Vellguth.
The history of the relationship of Propaganda Fide and the local African churches was among the documents presented at the conference. The three continental conferences in Africa , Latin America and Asia will culminate in an intercontinental conference in Rome in 2022.
Categorie: From the church

AMERICA/COLOMBIA - A parish priest in Cauca killed, a battleground between old and new armed gangs

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Gio, 03/10/2019 - 12:33
Villavicencio - "We raise prayers to the Lord so that Father Jhony will be welcomed into the Father's house; we pray for the conversion of his murderers and we reject all forms of violence that threaten the life and dignity of people", with these words the Archdiocese of Villavicencio, through the words of Mgr. Oscar Urbina Ortega, informs of the violent death of presbyter Jhony Ramos, parish priest of the parish of Jesus de la Misericordia in the Comuneros district in the town of Villavicencio, which took place on 2 October.
The 53-year-old priest was found dead, his feet and hands tied, in the parish house. A first comment by the police investigating what happened is that he was the victim of a theft, given that he had recently organized a parish lottery. "The first signs show that the priest was suffocated and hit in the head with a blunt instrument, we hope to learn more after the autopsy results", commented a law enforcement official in charge of the investigation to the press.
Father Jhony is the second Colombian priest killed this year . He was loved by all the faithful, even though he had been at the head of the parish for only 4 months.
Cauca was disputed between the army, paramilitaries and guerrillas of the Fuerzas armadas revolucionarias de Colombia . Instead of the guerrilla, demobilized, today old and new armed gangs are trying to "regain it". At stake is the control of the coca fields, or better, of the land that the armed groups would like to turn into drug plantations, given the favorable climate.
The Church has always been a protagonist in soliciting the presence of the State and development in the area. After the violent clashes on April 3 in Cauca, where one demonstrator died and six others were seriously injured, the mayor of Pasto, Pedro Vicente Obando, had asked to meet Mgr. Oscar Urbina, President of the Bishops' Conference, with the goal to formally request the mediation of the Catholic Church to try to promote dialogue between the indigenous communities of Cauca and President Duque . On 15 March the Catholic Church, through the Bishop of Popayán and the Apostolic Vicars of Guapi and Tierradentro, the ecclesiastical jurisdictions that comprise the territory of the Cauca, had insisted on the request to "move forward in the construction of a reconciled and peaceful people".

Categorie: From the church

AFRICA - Bishops of North Africa: "in the last year important steps have been taken in the Islamic-Christian brotherhood"

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Gio, 03/10/2019 - 12:15
Rome - "This year was characterized by events that stimulate our Churches to work for Islamic-Christian brotherhood", write the members of the Conference of Bishops of the North Africa Region in the final document of their Assembly held in Rome at the end of September.
The message, sent to Agenzia Fides in particular mentions the beatification of Bishop Pierre Claverie on December 8, 2018 and his eighteen companions and martyrs that "allowed all Christians and Muslims gathered for the occasion to "draw in the Algerian sky a great sign of brotherhood addressed to the whole world" according to the words of the Holy Father addressed to the meeting of the assembly of Oran".
"The document on human fraternity signed on 4 February in Abu Dhabi by Pope Francis and the great Imam of al-Azhar Ahmad al-Tayyeb also appears to us as a very encouraging sign that leads us to adopt "the culture of dialogue as a path, the joint collaboration as conduct and mutual knowledge as a method and criterion", underline the Bishops of CERNA.
Then comes the visit of Pope Francis to Morocco on 30 and 31 March. "The reception that Pope Francis received from the people, and the Christian communities and the words exchanged encourage us in our mission".
Finally "the choice of Archbishop Cristóbal Lopez Romero, Archbishop of Rabat, as Cardinal, also encourages us to better share the way we live the joy of the Gospel, especially in interreligious dialogue and in the accompaniment of the most fragile people".
The Bishops of the North of Africa invite people to pray "for our countries and in particular Libya whose bishop was not able to join us" and declare that they want to "commit ourselves more as a Church, in collaboration with Muslims, in a common service for the frail and the poor".
"Our Countries are marked by the presence of migrants that remind us of the great economic, climatic and political upheavals of our world", the message underlines. "We are convinced that the fight against these upheavals is the only effective way to allow everyone to choose to live in the land of their ancestors. In our Countries today, we want to support those who are experiencing the suffering of migration".
Categorie: From the church

ASIA/LEBANON - "Tripoli Human Fraternity Day" promoted by the PMS in Tripoli to celebrate the extraordinary missionary Month

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Gio, 03/10/2019 - 11:46
Tripoli - The first “Tripoli Human Fraternity Day” on The Future of Christian-Muslim Relations after Pope Francis’ Mission to Abu Dhabi will take place at the St. Francis Convent in Tripoli-Mina, on Sunday, October 6, under the auspices of the Pontifical Missionary Union, the Pontifical Mission Societies-Lebanon, and the Custody of the Land. The event is organized in cooperation with the Religion & Security Council, Dialogue for Life and Reconciliation, and the Sustainable Network of Religious Leaders in the North of Lebanon.
Numerous other bodies and NGOs are also featured as partners in this major interreligious initiative, such as Caritas Lebanon, Tripoli Chamber of Commerce, North Lebanon Local Economic Development Agency, Tripoli Entrepreneurs Club, Maronite Youth Committee of Tripoli’s Archeparchy, Melkite Youth Patriarchal Committee, Maronite Youth Pastoral Ehden Zgharta, Middle East Institute for Research and Strategic Studies, Fly for the Lebanese Youth, Mousawat Association, Utopia.
The proceedings will consist of a Youth Interreligious Forum and a Leaders Interreligious Forum. The Youth Interreligious Forum will engage a delegation of 50 university students and young professionals from the Sunni, Alawi, and Christian communities in Tripoli and North Lebanon. The Leaders Interreligious Forum will feature prominent Christian and Muslim religious figures, including Tripoli’s Grand Mufti and Archbishop Joseph Spiteri, Apostolic Nuncio in Lebanon .
In the spirit of the Document on “Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together” signed in Abu Dhabi by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, Sh. Ahmad El Tayyeb, the “Tripoli Human Fraternity Day” aims to promote interreligious dialogue and cooperation between Christians and Muslims as the way forward to advance peaceful coexistence and societal harmony in Tripoli and throughout northern Lebanon.
The event will be held within the ongoing Formation Program on “The Mission of Young Christians in Tripoli and North Lebanon”, hosted by the St. Francis Convent and promoted by the Pontifical Missionary Union and the Pontifical Mission Societies-Lebanon. The Formation Program is part of the initiatives being held by the Pontifical Mission Society-Lebanon to celebrate the Extraordinary Missionary Month October 2019 announced by Pope Francis on the theme “Baptized and Sent: The Church of Christ on Mission in the World”, which will culminate in the “World Mission Day” on Sunday, October 20, when the closing ceremony of the Formation Program will take place.
To meet Pope Francis’ call to revive the missio ad gentes and renew the evangelizing efforts of Christians across the world, the Formation Program aims to strengthen the missionary identity, awareness, and skills of the young Christian participants, preparing them to actively engage the civil society and the community life in Tripoli’s cross-religious environment and cross-cultural. In this context, the Formation Program is examining the specific role of Christians and of their mission facing local major issues, such as labor and unemployment, poverty and charity endeavors, the protection of the environment, women’s rights, ecumenism, peace-building and conflicts resolution. Interreligious dialogue and Christian-Muslim relations will be addressed during the “Tripoli Human Fraternity Day”.
Categorie: From the church

EUROPE/SWITZERLAND - Letter of "mission sending" of the Bishops at the beginning of the Extraordinary Missionary Month

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Gio, 03/10/2019 - 11:34
Freiburg - "With this letter we renew the missionary mission in the name of Jesus, to respond to God's call for your life! We count on you, Christ counts on you and the whole Church is with you to walk the path of pastoral and missionary conversion. Be assured of our prayer and our blessing and ‘go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature’ ". This is the invitation to all the baptized in the letter of the Swiss Bishops, published on 1 October, during the opening celebration of the Extraordinary Missionary Month of October 2019, which took place at the Baptistery of Riva San Vitale in the Canton Ticino, the oldest baptistery in Switzerland .
The Bishops address "each one of you, dear brothers and sisters", and although they wish this message to reach the largest number of baptized, at the same time they would like it to be considered "very personal". "Do you know that with your baptism you have become new creatures and that you are one person with Jesus Christ? He himself did not stop calling and sending women and men, and before reaching his Father, he entrusted you with a mission like the whole Church. The mission of the envoy is no different from the mission of Jesus himself. As successors of the Apostles, we want to proclaim today that this message addressed to us by Christ is urgently topical and concerns you, sent on mission throughout the world, starting from where you are".
According to information sent to Fides by Missio Switzerland, the participants in the opening liturgy of the Extraordinary Missionary Month were led by six Bishops, representatives of the linguistic regions, and by deacon Martin Brunner, National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies. The faithful had the opportunity to renew their baptismal promises by drawing water from the historic baptistery. The water of the baptistery was then sent to the parishes of the various municipalities, inviting local communities to renew their baptism and be missionary disciples. At the end the Bishop of Sion, Jean-Marie Lovey, and President of the Working Group of the Extraordinary Missionary Month, announced the publication of the letter of the Swiss Bishops' Conference, addressed to all the baptized in the country.
Categorie: From the church

ASIA/INDIA - Christians pray for India on the anniversary of Gandhi's birth

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Gio, 03/10/2019 - 10:47
New Delhi - "Let us pray for India and for political administrators, collaborating for the development, progress and good of our Mother Earth": this is the appeal released by Archbishop Anil Couto, at the head of the Archdiocese of Delhi, inviting Christians of the country to pray, on the occasion of the prayer meeting held on 2 October in Delhi, on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi, the nation's father. The prayer meeting, organized by the "Fellowship of Christians" and held in the auditorium of the Jesus and Mary school near the Catholic Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, was attended by faithful from over 20 denominations and Christian organizations
Among the political authorities present were Rakhi Birla, vice president of the Legislative Assembly of Delhi, Rajendra Pal Gautam, minister of culture of the government and Avtar Singh, mayor of north Delhi.
During the meeting, representatives of various Churches prayed for the president, for the prime minister, and for all federal and state ministers.
The "Fellowship of Christians" is an initiative of the Catholic Archdiocese of Delhi which "intends to bring together Christians of all denominations on a common platform to pray for the nation", explained Fr.Divino Felix Oliveira, among the organizers of the gathering.
"Every year on this day we, Indian Christians, come together to pray for our nation", he added.
India is facing a serious socio-political challenge, being affected by phenomena such as hate crimes against Christians, Muslims and Dalits, while the current government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, of the Hindu nationalist party Bharatiya Janata is a supporter of Hindu extremist groups who have called for the expulsion of all foreign missionaries from India, accusing them of using social work as a façade to convert Dalits.
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, commonly known by the honorific nickname of Mahatma , was an Indian politician, philosopher and lawyer, known as "the father of the homeland". He was born in Porbandar on 2 October 1869 and died in New Delhi, 30 January 1948, killed with three gunshots by Nathuram Godse, a Hindu radical fanatic who also had ties with the "Mahasabha" Hindu extremist group.
Categorie: From the church

ASIA/SOUTH KOREA - The Bishops for the Missionary Month: "This is not the time for self-satisfaction, but for the announcement of the Gospel to the poorest"

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Gio, 03/10/2019 - 09:47
Seoul - "There are still many people in Korean society who do not know Jesus or understand his will. We must proclaim the Word of Jesus Christ and do our best to allow His will and His love to permeate every corner of our society". This is the exhortation addressed to all the Korean faithful by the Bishops’ Conference of Korea on the occasion of the "Extraordinary Missionary Month", announced by Pope Francis for October 2019, to celebrate the centenary of the Apostolic Letter Maximum Illud of Pope Benedict XV.
In a message signed by Fr. Thomas Aquinas Kim Joon Chul, Secretary General of the Bishops’ Conference of Korea and sent to Agenzia Fides, the Korean Church is in harmony with the Holy Father: "Pope invited the whole Church to express his missionary spirit and his zeal. In preparation for the Extraordinary Missionary Month - we read - the Catholic Church in Korea strives to renew the awareness and missionary commitment of all believers".
The text recalls that, as Pope Francis said in his message for World Mission Day 2019, "every Christian is a missionary: As far as God’s love is concerned, no one is useless or insignificant. Each of us is a mission to the world, for each of us is the fruit of God’s love".
The note of the Korean episcopate continues: "Our reason for proclaiming the Gospel is to carry out the dream of Jesus so that all peoples live in the Kingdom of God, full of love, peace and hope. The Kingdom of God that Jesus wanted was not simply a place where men can go after death. In reality, the Kingdom of God is already present, even if not yet fully realized, in our daily life. The Kingdom of God is among you", says the Gospel of Luke . The Kingdom of God, which Jesus preached, is a society in which the justice, peace and love of God prevail and guide all things in the world, therefore, authentic missionary activity is communicating the will of our Lord to all peoples and bringing them to the fullness of his love, peace and justice".
"Today, as Korean society becomes more chaotic – highlights the text sent to Fides - Christian values, more than ever, must be communicated. We Korean Catholics must guide Korean people towards a profound interior conversion in the name of the Gospel "If we do not practice love, peace and justice for the good of society, our faith will have no meaning".
The Bishops recognize that "Korean Catholics have made an important contribution to the democratization of Korean society and the promotion of human rights. However, this is not the time for us to be self-satisfied: rather we should be fighting for spiritual growth". "Just as Jesus showed his preferential love for the poor, the marginalized and the rejected of society - the note concludes - we too will have to bring his love to all corners of society, showing attention towards the most vulnerable. Through missionary societies, the words of Jesus will spread to the ends of the earth".
Categorie: From the church

ASIA/IRAQ - "Come and see". The Chaldean Patriarch inaugurates the Extraordinary Missionary Month in Iraq

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Mer, 02/10/2019 - 13:10
Baghdad - The Extraordinary Missionary Month "October 2019" also opened in Iraq with a liturgical celebration presided over by Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako in Baghdad, in the Cathedral of St. Joseph, on the evening of Tuesday 1st October. The celebration was marked by biblical prayers and readings and the recitation of the Rosary. In his homily, the Chaldean Patriarch re-proposed the mission as a constitutive trait of the dynamism with which the salvation promised by Christ is communicated to men of all times, and underlined that this missionary vocation also calls into question the Churches of apostolic tradition present in the Middle East. The "method" valid even today to announce the joy of the Gospel to one's contemporaries - the Chaldean Patriarch suggested - is the same used by the Apostle Philip with Nathanael, and narrated in the first chapter of the Gospel according to John: "Philip was from Bethsaida, the town of Andreaw and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him: "We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law, and also the prophets, Jesus, son of Joseph, from Nazareth". Nathanael said to him: "Can anything good come from Nazareth?" Philip said to him, "Come and see".
Categorie: From the church

AFRICA/KENYA - "Let's help Fidei Donum priests" urges the National Director of the PMS

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Mer, 02/10/2019 - 12:56
Nairobi - Fr. Bonaventure Luchidio, Coordinator of Fidei Donum Programs in Kenya, and Executive Secretary for Commissions for Missions at the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops , and National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies of Kenya , has invited the Catholic faithful to support missionary diocesan priests sent to evangelize in mission territories.
"We are encouraging the Fidei Donum spirit. When they go back to their home dioceses, let them be given an opportunity to talk to the Christians to contribute. I know of parishes in Nairobi that are already supporting parishes in Lodwar and Marsabit", says Fr. Luchidio.
Fr. Luchidio also underlines the difficulties that Fidei Donum priests often encounter in their mission. "Being in very far locations sometimes they are forgotten, and they sometimes feel lonely. Let us not just assume that the priests are doing well, they might be requiring our help so that they don’t feel abandoned".
Fr. Luchidio organized a meeting, held from 22 to 26 September, to share personal experiences and renew ways to overcome the challenges faced by Fidei Donum priests in Kenya. "This meeting is to encourage a mission spirit where we look at each other as communion of churches and when this other church is in need let us support them because they are brothers and sisters in Christ," said Fr. Luchidio.
Fidei Donum priests are diocesan priests sent by their dioceses to help evangelize mission territories away from their home dioceses. Fidei Donum priests contributed towards early evangelization in Kenya especially in dioceses such as Nyahururu, Isiolo, Malindi and Marsabit.
Categorie: From the church

ASIA/PAKISTAN - The Pakistani Church: the gift of the Word of God for the mission

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Mer, 02/10/2019 - 12:36
Karachi : "We encourage the faithful, especially young people, to read the Word of God daily, at least two or three minutes each day, in order to become stronger in faith and to proclaim it to others. We hope that they will approach the Holy Bible, and that they can announce the Gospel": says to Agenzia Fides Fr. Benjamin Mushtaq, vice-parish priest in the Church of St. James in the Archdiocese of Karachi, on the occasion of the celebration of the Extraordinary Missionary Month in Pakistan.
Among the various initiatives organized by the local churches, the Church of St. James in Karachi organized a biblical exhibition and a biblical representation to encourage and motivate the faithful to live the Word of God and bear witness to it in their social lives. Fr. Benjamin Mushtaq states: "We Catholics cannot imagine our lives and our faith without the Eucharist and the Holy Bible. Our mission starts here". The parish has launched a special campaign to invite all the faithful to read the Holy Bible daily, especially within the family.
The biblical exhibition displays panels or presents scenes with living characters on all 72 books of the Holy Bible. The realization was possible thanks to the commitment and help of the parishioners which "was moving", says the priest.
On the occasion of the Extraordinary Missionary Month, the Catholic Church in Pakistan is actively working to bring Catholics closer to the Holy Bible through the active role of the biblical and catechetical Commission within the Pakistani Catholic Bishops Conference.
The Commission has launched a campaign entitled "One hundred thousand friends of the Bible", which welcomes those who are committed to reading the Bible from beginning to end, from the first to the last chapter consecutively. The campaign calls for a reading which must not be only "cultural" but "existential", allowing the Word of God to touch the heart of man. The Commission also offers courses and organizes pilgrimages to deepen the study of the Bible.
In the Archdiocese of Karachi, the Catechetical Commission publishes a video on the social media daily with the proclamation of the liturgical readings of the day, in Urdu. According to Fr. Aamir Bhatti, director of the Commission, "this is a way to stay in unity with the universal Church", adding to Fides that "our spectators increase every day". In the awareness that "communication is mission", in the Month of October 2019 the National Office of Social Communications, within the Bishops' Conference, publishes a reflection on the Gospel of Sunday, with a reflection in a missionary key every week.
Categorie: From the church

AFRICA/IVORY COAST - A genuine and solid educational system is needed to limit the horror of violence

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Mer, 02/10/2019 - 12:20
Abidjan - Violence, sacrifices of children, suicides, increased child pregnancies, incivility, criminality, are among the many evils that undermine Ivorian society. "The Ivory Coast is getting worse in this regard", highlights to Agenzia Fides Fr. Donald Zagore, priest of the Society for African Missions, in reference to the umpteenth episode of violence registered in the country of which he is originally from. The victim this time has aroused further indignation and anger among the Ivorian population because it is an act of rape that led to the death of a 3-year-old child.
"In reality - notes Zagore - this dramatic event, among many other dramatic facts, is the sad expression of an Ivorian society which is suffering. It is a society that has no points of reference, in which fundamental values have been sold off to unhealthy and guilty silence and to the lack of the responsibility of some, as well as to the fierce search for fame, glory and wealth".
"The total lack of interest in education has led to death and moral perversion - adds the missionary. To alleviate all the evil that pervades our Ivorian society and obscure its image day after day, we must give ourselves the necessary means, accompanied by a sincere and firm will, to take back the fundamental foundations of education in all its forms and to all levels".
"Only a real education, conducted by men and women, models of an educational system that inspires civilization, respect and fear, can make man good and perfect. No society can survive without a genuine and solid educational system. We put education at the center of our society and we will treat it from many evils. In this challenge, fundamental in the Ivory Coast, the Church must multiply its ardor".
Categorie: From the church

AMERICA/PERU - In the face of the crisis, Mgr. Cabrejos calls for "political maturity for the 33 million Peruvians

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Mer, 02/10/2019 - 11:57
Vatican City - From the Vatican, where he is to participate in the Synod on the Amazon, the President of the Peruvian Episcopal Conference, sent Agenzia Fides a declaration on the crisis that opened in Peru after the President of the Republic, Martín Vizcarra, dissolved the Peruvian Parliament. In fact, the President informed on Monday 30 September that, using the powers conferred by the Constitution, decided to dissolve the Parliament, dominated by the opposition of Fujimori’s party, after refusing to suspend the controversial appointments of new members of the Constitutional Court. He also called elections for January 2020.
Mgr. Héctor Miguel Cabrejos Vidarte OFM, President of the Episcopal Conference, says in his statement: "The serious situation that today characterizes Peruvian politics should lead us to a profound reflection, providing concrete and responsible answers and avoiding revenge and/or in complicity, thus demonstrating political and social maturity in Peru and international community. Despite this political crisis, we believe that the present moment is also a unique opportunity to fight corruption, at all levels... we cannot lose the prospect of profoundly changing adverse situations and improve as a country, morally and with respect for the common good, because we must not only think of social and political groups, but also of the over 33 million Peruvians, especially our children and young people, who are the future of Peru".
It is not the first time that Archbishop Cabrejos Vidarte, Archbishop of Trujillo, faces a political situation of this gravity. A few days ago elected to the Presidency of the Bishops' Conference , he found himself expressing the concern of the Catholic Church in Peru for the resignation of President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, involved in episodes of corruption. In the face of cases of corruption of Presidents Alberto Fujimori, Alejandro Toledo, Alan García, Ollanta Humala and Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, the Peruvian Bishops, under the guidance of Mgr. Cabrejos, wrote: "We have reached a point of political rupture to the point that a new beginning requires not only a change of command but also the ethical and moral recovery of the country at all levels, because high levels of corruption steal hope, especially from the poor and the young.That is why we must recover the ethical and moral values that built the essence of our Peru. In this crucial moment, it is urgent to put the common good first in front of particular interests ... Fulfilling the constitutional duty to govern is a responsibility of all the powers of the state" .
Categorie: From the church

VATICAN - The Pope opens the Extraordinary Missionary Month: "to motivate us to be active in doing good"

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Mer, 02/10/2019 - 11:08
Vatican City - "The Lord calls us to make our talents bear fruit, with boldness and creativity. God will ask us if we stepped forward and took risks, even losing face. This extraordinary Missionary Month should jolt us and motivate us to be active in doing good. Not notaries of faith and guardians of grace, but missionaries". With these words Pope Francis began the homily during the celebration of the Vespers yesterday, October 1, memory of Saint Teresa of the Child Jesus, patroness of the Missions, for the beginning of the Extraordinary Missionary Month, commenting on the parable of the man who, before leaving on a journey, calls his servants and entrusts his property to them .
"We become missionaries by living as witnesses: bearing witness by our lives that we have come to know Jesus. It is our lives that speak", said the Pope in the Vatican Basilica packed with faithful including many missionaries, who stressed the importance of the word "witness", which has "the same root as the word “martyr”. The martyrs are the primary witnesses of faith: not by their words but by their lives. They know that faith is not propaganda or proselytism: it is a respectful gift of one’s life. Therefore can we "who have discovered that we are children of the heavenly Father, keep silent about the joy of being loved, the certainty of being ever precious in God’s eyes? That is a message that so many people are waiting to hear. And it is our responsibility".
Recalling the conclusion of the parable, when the master comes back and asks what they have done with the talents delivered, the Pope spoke of the gravity of the sin of omission, "because we have been given life not to bury it, but to make something of it; not to keep it for ourselves, but to give it away. To live by omission is to deny our vocation: omission is the opposite of mission". He then made some practical references: "We sin by omission, that is, against mission, whenever, rather than spreading joy… we yield to resignation... when we complain and keep saying that everything is going from bad to worse... when we become slaves to the fears that immobilize us…when we live life as a burden and not as a gift; when we put ourselves and our concerns at the centre, and not our brothers and sisters who are waiting to be loved".
Quoting St. Paul, "God loves a cheerful giver" . The Pope highlighted that God loves a Church on the go. But let us be attentive: if it is not on the go, it is not Church. The Church is meant for the road, meant to be on the move". Her strength "is not social or institutional relevance, but humble and gratuitous love".
"Today we begin the Missionary Month of October in the company of three “servants” who bore much fruit", recalled Pope Francis: Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, Saint Francis Xavier, the Venerable Pauline Jaricot, whose images were placed before the altar ... a religious woman, a priest and a lay woman. "They remind us that no one is excluded from the Church’s mission". He therefore continued: "Yes, in this month the Lord is also calling you", fathers and mothers of families; young people who dream great things; who work in a factory, a store, a bank or a restaurant; who are unemployed; who are in a hospital bed. "The Lord is asking you to be a gift wherever you are, and just as you are, with everyone around you".
The Lord, the Pope pointed out, also expects "someone to have the courage to set out and to go wherever dignity and hope are most lacking, where all too many people still live without the joy of the Gospel", recalling that missionary work is not done "with business organizations, with a business plan, since the Holy Spirit is the protagonist of our mission". Pope Francis concluded the homily with an exhortation: "Courage, brothers and sisters! Courage, Mother Church! Rediscover your fruitfulness in the joy of mission!"
At the end of the vespers, the Pope delivered the cross to a group of nuns, religious and laity who will go on mission to Brazil, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kazakhstan, Cambodia, Taiwan, Bangladesh and Kyrgyzstan.
Categorie: From the church

ASIA - Turkey, Pakistan and Malaysia jointly support an "anti-Islamophobia" TV project

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Mar, 01/10/2019 - 12:51
Ankara - The new television channel sponsored by the governments of Turkey, Pakistan and Malaysia with the declared aim of spreading correct information about Islam and countering the growing Islamophobia worldwide , starting from western countries will broadcast programs in English. The ambitious project was the focus of a meeting between Malaysian Premier Mahathir Mohamad, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, held last week in New York, in the margins of the 74th UN General Assembly. In the statements also released through social media, the leaders of the three countries made explicit their intention to refute and disassemble through the new TV all the misleading definitions that describe Islam as a violent religion and label all Muslims as potential terrorists. Pakistani Premier Imran Khan added that the anti-Islamophobic battle entrusted to the new TV network will also take place with the production and broadcast of films and fiction oriented to spread a more appropriate knowledge of the history and doctrine of Islam, also "contextualizing" the controversies that arose around the application of the Pakistani law against blasphemy.
Categorie: From the church

AFRICA/SOUTH SUDAN - The youth of Juba axis of Catholicism, missionaries in the archdiocese

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Mar, 01/10/2019 - 12:44
Juba - On the occasion of the celebrations for the centenary of the South Sudanese Catholic Church, the auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Juba, Mgr. Santo Loku Pio, the head of the Committee for Centenary celebrations, highlighted the fundamental role of young people in the Archdiocese.
"As the young missionaries came and became old in our land, we also feel that as missionaries of today, our young people, not only become religious, priests and sisters but also become true Catholics in responding to the needs of the local Church", said the Bishop.
"Missionaries brought us this Church and this Church is to be carried on", explains Mgr. Loku emphasizing the need for young South Sudanese to see themselves as the axis of Catholicism in their country. "My message to the young people is to embrace the gospel and to continue to respond to the challenges of the gospel".
The yearlong celebration was officially launched on November 1, 2018 under the theme: "Renewing our faith and responding to its challenges", and the celebrations are set to conclude in a grand celebration on November 1, 2019.
Comboni Missionaries first came to establish Rejaf Parish on the west bank of the White Nile in July 1919. Since then, several missions have been erected and the work inaugurated by the Comboni missionaries has expanded to other parts of the country, resulting in the creation of three ecclesial territories: Juba Archdiocese, and the dioceses of Torit and Yei.
"We are trying to celebrate this mission and we are ready to move forward despite the challenges we are facing as a Church today", said Mgr. Loku.
"We want to renew the missionary of the diocese to reach out to as many people as possible and at the same time encourage our people to be missionary", reads the note sent to Agenzia Fides.
October 10, the death anniversary and feast day of St. Daniel Comboni, has been reserved to honour Missionaries as part of the activities of the centenary. St. Comboni He died in Khartoum, Sudan on October 10, 1881 at the age of 50.

Categorie: From the church

ASIA/PHILIPPINES - Cardinal Tagle: small acts of charity to reduce poverty in the country and in the world

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Mar, 01/10/2019 - 12:12
Manila - Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila wants to expand a program currently underway in the Archdiocese of Manila to all the Philippines and also abroad, which has the aim of reducing poverty and caring for the poor. This was announced by the Cardinal on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the "Pondo ng Pinoy" program , a charity program which is active in the Archdiocese of Manila.
"There is nothing wrong with dreaming. Now, there are many Filipinos outside the country, so perhaps in the future we could bring the PnP to the Filipinos and to others abroad", remarked Cardinal Tagle, who is also the President of "Caritas Internationalis" the great global network of Catholic charitable organizations composed of 165 national Caritas.
Started in 2004 by then Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales, Archbishop of Manila, to allow Filipinos to help others with the minimum they can afford, the program urges people to save at least 25 cents each day as an expression of attention and help for the poor.
The "Theology of crumbs" is the criterion that inspires the PnP project. It is based on the idea that if each family sets aside 25 cents a day, the Church would have enough funds to help the most needy children, women and families. PnP encourages every person, "no matter how poor, no matter how humble, to give for free".
Through small acts of "love", people create a vast network of solidarity - a kind of "widespread charity" in which "everyone gives what little they can give". By giving a small amount, even a relatively poor person can faithfully carry out "the act of love for God" through service to others.
Today the Fund supports thousands of projects in the fields of health, livelihood and development, education, housing, offering subsidies for children and women. PnP allows people to show solidarity in the simplest way possible and through small gestures. "Through a minimum generosity one can reach the sky so that one does not become deaf to the suffering of others", notes the Cardinal, who intends to take the movement abroad by involving the more than 10 million Filipinos living abroad.
The Cardinal also hopes that the PnP will be able to help not only Filipinos but also the needy of other nations.
In 15 years, the collection of so-called "crumbs" amounted to 7.7 million dollars, translated into aid projects for the emancipation of poor communities.
Father Benjie Francisco, who chairs the unity of PnP programs, told Fides that "most of the donors are students, families and people from different walks of life". An estimated 260,000 people have already benefited from more than 1,500 PnP promoted projects in the areas of health and nutrition, livelihood, education, housing and emergency aid. "And an ever increasing number of people continue to benefit from it thanks to those 25 cents", says Fr. Francisco.
The principle behind the PnP explains is that "small acts of goodness frequently and constantly bring the Kingdom of God".
To date, the movement operates in at least 30 dioceses throughout the country. "The PnP initiative emphasizes the importance of compassion among the faithful. It teaches and shows us how to live the most important commandment of God: love towards one’s neighbor. It becomes an antidote to greed and a precious reminder in this moment of crisis", says to Fides a mother Lei Reys of five small children.
"While some companies and private donors donate large sums of money, most donations are 25 cents", notes Henrietta de Villa, former director of PnP.
The Church in the Philippines is trying to make the basic idea of the fund a "way of conversion" and an "act of evangelization".
"PnP is not just about raising funds for the poor. It has become a lifestyle, a movement that allows us to help our less fortunate brothers and sisters", explains Father Vic Apacible of the Archdiocese of Manila. "It is a way of life that takes us to Heaven by promoting attention for the poor".
Through donations, hundreds of homes have been built for poor families and thousands of malnourished children are fed every day. Contributions are also used to provide small entrepreneurs with small initial capital in micro-entrepreneurial activities.
Categorie: From the church

AFRICA/BURUNDI - Extraordinary Missionary Month: “Be missionaries, not spectators” the Bishops exhort

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Mar, 01/10/2019 - 11:50
Bujumbura - "We want you to rekindle your missionary spirit in order to proclaim Christ's Salvation everywhere", write the Bishops of Burundi, in the message for the Extraordinary Missionary Month which opens today October 1st. In the document sent to Fides, read in all the parishes of the country on Sunday 29 September, it is recalled that "Pope Francis announced the Extraordinary Missionary Month so as to commemorate the centenary of the promulgation of the Apostolic Letter Maximum Illud by Pope Benedict XV".
The Bishops pay tribute to the first missionaries who, following the example of the first apostles, arrived in Burundi to announce the Good News. "Here, too, their task was not easy", they underline. "They left their families without knowing where they were going, without knowing if they would arrive, not knowing what they would encounter, not knowing if they would ever see their loved ones again. They had no cell phones like today, they did not travel by plane like today, there was no progress like in today's medicine. Many of them fell sick and died, others were devoured by animals, some of them drowned in the waters of the rivers and seas that they crossed on precarious boats, several of them were murdered".
After recalling the circumstances that led Pope Benedict XV to write the Apostolic Letter "Maximum Illud", the message focuses on the reasons that led Pope Francis to announce the Extraordinary Missionary Month. "Pope Francis considers current times torn by wars, with divisions among people based on opposing political and social visions. In the Church, the Pope finds closures in our habits, with pastoral structures and methods that are not conducive to missionary pastoral care".
"The Church needs a new impetus, a new will and a new hope in missionary pastoral" the message emphasizes.
"We give thanks to God because our Church has already sent some of its sons and daughters on missions to other countries. But we must understand that we must increase their number, supporting their mission with material means and through prayer. Therefore we invite you to support the Pontifical Mission Societies: the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith, the Pontifical Society of Saint Peter the Apostle, the Pontifical Society of Missionary Childhood, the Pontifical Missionary Union. These four pontifical missionary Societies are the pillars to revive and sustain the missionary spirit", the Bishops note.
"Do not be spectators, be missionaries together with the Virgin Mary, Star of the Missionaries and Queen of the Apostles, because it is our dignity that we received in our baptism" the message concludes.
Categorie: From the church

AMERICA/HAITI - The bishops: "Violence has an origin ... No people should accept poverty"

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Mar, 01/10/2019 - 11:27
Les Cayes - "This is no longer the moment to proclaim that we are all guilty. That is not the truth. Nor to say that we condemn violence from wherever come; it has an origin" stressed the Episcopal Conference of Haiti in a message addressed to the Haitian people. "The current leaders - underlined the Conference alluding to the current administration - despite our repeated appeals in the last two years, remain deaf, busy managing their power, privileges and petty interests". "Is there a violence more atrocious than constantly living in insecurity?", asks the Episcopal Conference of Haiti, recalling "the dark misery that takes away all hope". "No people should accept misery, poverty and violence in a defeatist way", say the Haitian bishops asking the highest officials of the state must assume their responsibilities to ensure the smooth running of the country and the institutions.
The energetic appeal of the Catholic Bishops of the poorest people of the continent wants to denounce a situation that has degenerated into street violence since last Wednesday: groups of protesters took to the streets in the capital protesting against the increase in the cost of petrol and the lack of water in many districts of the city.
"We are concerned about reports of violence and fires that have occurred over the past few days throughout the country", said Stéphane Dujarric, spokesman for UN secretary general António Guterres, in New York. "The mission and the international partners are discussing with local stakeholders to find a peaceful way out of the crisis and alleviate the suffering of the population that has borne the brunt of this crisis".
As reported to Agenzia Fides by sources in the Episcopal Conference, violent protesters also attacked the headquarters of Caritas Haiti in the city of Les Cayes, where violent groups destroyed part of the premises, raiding the administrative offices and the largest warehouse for the supply of food and humanitarian aid on the island.
According to information sent to Fides, the Caritas office was closed last Friday because of the riots in the city. However, as project coordinator Caritas Les Cayes, Edrice Muscadin remarked, "the crowd of protesters took everything from the warehouse, stole the motorcycles, broke the windows and punctured the wheels of the vehicles. The looting lasted more than an hour and at no time did the police intervene. They stole everything. We are shocked".
Categorie: From the church

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