AMERICA/HAITI - "Listen to the voice of wisdom": the appeal of the Bishops to the President and the government in the face of the suffering of the people

Fides EN - - Mer, 23/10/2019 - 12:12
Port au Prince - The representatives of the Haitian Catholic Church have asked President Jovenel Moise, and the political class in general, to listen to the "voice of wisdom" in the face of the "serious" and "difficult" situation the Caribbean nation is going through. Yesterday, 22 October, the Archbishop of Port-au-Prince, Mgr. Max Leroy Mésidor, speaking in the Cathedral of the capital full of people, reiterated that "something must change in this country", quoting the words of Pope John Paul II when he visited Haiti, 36 years ago. "In the face of this dangerous situation, I invite the Head of State, Parliament, the political class and all those who want to help Haiti, to listen to the voice of wisdom", he said to hundreds of faithful who shortly before had marched, crossing the streets of Port-au-Prince.
The Archbishop has constantly insisted on the involvement of the Catholic Church alongside the Haitian people, also for some demonstrations that have been taking place in the country for six weeks, asking for the resignation of President Moise. Yesterday's demonstration was announced by the Catholic Church, inviting the faithful of the parishes to come together in the Cathedral on the day of the liturgical feast of St. John Paul II, who visited Haiti in March 1983. Thousands of Catholics gathered.
"Too many people die in the country and God's righteousness will come true at all costs", said Archbishop Mésidor during the prayer in the Cathedral, and he confessed he cried when he looked at the list of people killed in the protests. Finally he asked Haitian leaders to listen to the misery and cries of anguish of the people. Many of those present kept shouting "Jovenel must leave", "Jovenel must leave", "Too much blood has been spilled, Jovenel has to leave".
The situation in the Haitian capital is increasingly tense, and universities and schools have been closed for a month. The demonstrations of social and political groups against the current government authorities continue one after the other. This time it seems that the whole population speaks against the President's policy. However, President Moise reiterated that he has no plans to resign from the post he has held since 2017. The constitutional period for which he was elected is five years, he recalled.
Although the problem of fuel supply has been solved, a cause that triggered the first popular protests, Haitians continue to demonstrate against corruption and lack of services, as well as the cost of living . In this situation not even NGOs and Catholic bodies, such as religious congregations, Caritas or Catholic Relief Services, manage to carry out their service .
Categorie: From the church

EUROPE/CZECH REP. - "The big power of small deeds": the seventh national mission congress of children from Holy Childhood

Fides EN - - Mer, 23/10/2019 - 10:55
Kroměříž - Promoted by the National Direction of the Pontifical Mission Societies of the Czech Republic, the seventh National Mission Congress of the children of the Pontifical Society of Holy Childhood was held on October 5 in Kroměříž, within the context of the Extraordinary Missionary Month. As underlined by Olga Loučková, Diocesan Director of the PMS of the Archdiocese of Olomouc, in the note sent to Agenzia Fides, these congresses take place every three years and this year it was the turn of the archdiocese of Olomouc. The realization of the program was arranged for by “Little Mission Club” at the primary school in Kroměříž. Everybody tried hard so that the preparations turned out as best as possible: teachers, children, their parents. The parishioners from the parish of Virgin Mary joined to help, too.
At 10 o´clock the holy mass celebrated by Archbishop Jan Graubner, who is also in charge of missions at the national level, began. At the altar there were also priests accompanying Little Mission Clubs from other places. After the homily the Archbishop welcomed eight new members in Holy Childhood. After receiving their promises of commitment, he blessed them and hang a small cross on their necks. Then the national Director of PMS Leoš Halbrštát put a missionary scarf on their shoulders. The children brought gifts for individual continents to the altar.
After the celebration the children traveled across the continents with the "Great Missionary Game". Many activities, quizzes and games related to different continents were prepared in the stands. Among other things, they experienced what it means to eat with chopsticks or feed someone else, or still rely on each other when one is blindfold, or agree on how to move with their legs tied together. At each stand there was an activity that illustrated the motto of the congress: "Big power of small deeds".
In the afternoon a theatre scene from the life of children from various parts of the world was performed. Subsequently, a Salesian volunteer spoke about his missionary service in Mexico, accompanying the story with photos of the places where he spent eighteen months.
The highlight of the day was to plant a tree in the garden under the castle to commemorate the seventh Missionary Childhood Congress. Unfortunately it was raining heavily and only a small group of over 300 children registered in the Congress could participate. The Archbishop, who participated throughout the day, was the first to take the shovel and helped plant the birch. The Archbishop blessed the tree and, together with the PMS National Director, officially concluded the seventh National Missionary Congress of Holy Childhood.
Categorie: From the church

AFRICA/ZIMBABWE - A lay missionary, an apostle of lepers, towards beatification

Fides EN - - Mer, 23/10/2019 - 10:22
Harare - The cause for the beatification of British-born John Bradburne, a Franciscan secular missionary, has started in Zimbabwe. His life and his testimony of faith in the midst of the lepers will be examined first at a diocesan level and then at the Congregation for the Cause of Saints in Rome. If his virtues are recognized, he could become Zimbabwe’s first saint.
In September, the news of the Cause for beatification created great attention. Father Brian MacGarry, a Jesuit, who knew Bradburne at the time of the Rhodesia war of independence, notes to Fides: "I knew him well", observes Father Brian. "I can say with certainty: he was a Catholic of profound spirituality and the work he did together with the lepers was of great medical and human value".
The son of an English vicar, Bradburne converted to Catholicism after serving in the British army in Malaysia and Burma, where he was also wounded in combat. "His religious faith - recalled Father MacGarry - was very profound. He tried to become a Carthusian, then a Benedictine and, finally, a member of the Congregation of Our Lady of Sion. None of the three orders, while acknowledging his profound spirituality, welcomed him. He then became Tertiary Franciscan. He always remained a layman, but from the moment he entered the Third Order he always wore a habit".
In 1971 he arrived in Rhodesia to look for "a cave in which to pray". In 1964 he joined a leper colony in Mutemwa. That will become his community. The Jesuit remembers: "The colony was dirty and the people were dirty, recalls who knew him then. There was no medicine, no clothes and people were hungry. He took care of everyone's needs: he fed people, cleaned and bandaged their wounds". Every day for a decade, the routine is the same. He got up at 3 am to bathe leprous patients. He helps them to eat and accompanies them to prayer. His only leisure is a five-kilometer jogging.
In 1979, controversies began with the inhabitants of the nearby village. The lepers accuse them of leaving the animals to graze on their fields, destroying the crops. Bradburne offers to mediate. "He was then brought by the villagers to the local commander Zanla ", recalls Father MacGarry. "The villagers accused him of being a spy, because he had defended the lepers. The commander was convinced that John was innocent, but he had enemies in the village. The commander himself could not offer him protection if he remained there, so he offered to send him to Mozambique for security reasons. John refused, saying that his place was with the lepers. Zanla could not assign him men to protect him, so the villagers took him and killed him along the way".
Father Brian does not agree with those who intend to make Bradburne an icon to be venerated and prefers to give a more concrete image of him. "John was a good man, attentive towards others, according to the evangelical spirit of Francis of Assisi. He lived with the lepers who were then the last of the last".
Categorie: From the church

NEWS ANALYSIS/OMNIS TERRA - Missionaries in Taiwan: "Like dwarfs on the shoulders of giants"

Fides EN - - Mer, 23/10/2019 - 09:35
In Taiwan, more than the "mission of the Church", it is better to refer to it as "Church of the mission". In fact, in a place that is so "ignorant" to Christ, it is nearly impossible to consider the mission as something extrinsic or as a duty. It is much more natural to consider it an identity that I live with.
The Republic of China known to most as Formosa or Taiwan, is a tropical island in Southeast Asia, East of China, not much bigger than Sicily, with mountains that reach 4000 meters and about 23 million inhabitants. Chinese land, culture and history contribute to the complex political history of Taiwan, making the island of Formosa as per its ancient Portuguese name, one of the most complex cases in modern international politics. Its constitution maintains the old name Republic of China born from the ashes of the millenary empire that disintegrated in 1912. At the end of the Chinese Civil War fought between Mao Ze Dong’s communist troops and General Chiang Kai Shek’s nationalist troops, the latter, already defeated found refuge on the island of Formosa, and declared Taipei the new capital of the Republic of China, while he attempted to regain control over the territories lost to the communist troops. On the other hand, the Beijing government has never stopped claiming its rights on this “rebel island”, turning the slogan “free Taiwan” into a mantra of its political rhetoric
The Catholic Church has been present on the island for little over 150 years, although the first missionaries arrived on the island of Formosa in the XVI century. We are a small minority with just over 1% of Catholics and a total 4% of Christians

Link correlati :Continue reading the in-depth analysis, in English, on "Omnis Terra" website
Categorie: From the church