AFRICA/KENYA - Religious leaders. "Let us not quarrel over the report of the Building Bridges Initiative commission"

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Sab, 07/12/2019 - 13:11
Nairobi - "Having taken time to review and understand the report by the Building Bridges Initiative taskforce, we have recognized that there are many recommendations that have potential to transform Kenya to a better nation", the religious leaders said in a communique released at the end of the second Religious Leaders Convocation that was held in Nairobi on December 4,5.
The 56-page report was published on November 27, the result of more than a year of study by the BBI expert committee, formed following the agreement reached in March between President Uhuru Kenyatta and the leader of the opposition Raila Odinga to overcome the differences and the controversies born in the aftermath of the disputed presidential elections of 2017/2018 . The recommendations of the BBI report is to expand the role of the Prime Minister by placing him at the head of a hybrid cabinet composed of politicians and technocrats.
"We recognize our concurrence with the taskforce on the need for expansion of the executive, the need to dignify the opposition to deflate the winner takes all nature of politics, the tax relief for small businesses established by young Kenyans and efforts to curb unemployment, strengthening of devolution by increasing the capacity of county governments to deliver services, the fight against corruption", said His Exc. Mgr. Martin Kivuva Musonde, Archbishop of Mombasa, and President of the Dialogue Reference Group. "Therefore we invite Kenyans to read and discuss the BBI report, both individually and in groups, in order to participate effectively in the dialogue", he added. The main Christian, Muslim and Hindu denominations of Kenya are part of the Dialogue Reference Group as well as the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops .
Meanwhile tension rises in the country where yesterday, December 6, an armed group, which is supposedly from Somali Shabaab, killed at least 10 people in Kotulo, a town near the border with Somalia. The attackers blocked a bus on the road between Wajir and Mandera. After separating the Somalis from the non-Somalis, they killed about ten of the latter, several of whom were police officers and public employees.
Categorie: From the church

ASIA/PALESTINE - Cardinal Parolin: the end of the restoration of the Nativity in Bethlehem is a "call to peace, fruit of justice"

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Sab, 07/12/2019 - 12:42
Bethlehem - Baby Jesus, born in Bethlehem, is "the Prince of Peace", and for this reason the completion of the restoration work on the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem "also becomes a call to peace, exhortation to peace, commitment to peace. In Holy Land, first of all peace as the fruit of justice, peace reached with difficulty but tenaciously through readiness to reconciliation, mutual respect, the will to dialogue, love". During the ceremony for the presentation of the completion of the restoration of the Basilica of the Nativity, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State of His Holiness, concluded his speech with this call to peace in the Holy Land. The initiative, organized by the Embassy of the State of Palestine to the Holy See, took place on Thursday 6 December in the Conference Room of the Vatican Museums. The event, marked by musical moments and the screening of short documentaries on the restoration campaign, saw brief speeches by Palestinian Foreign Minister, Riyad al Maliki, by Mrs. Barbara Jatta, Director of the Vatican Museums, by the Ambassador of the State of Palestine to the Holy See, Mr. Issa Kassissieh, of Mr. Ramzi Khoury, Director of the High Presidential Committee for the Management of Churches in Palestine, of Father Ibrahim Faltas ofm of the Custody of the Holy Land and of Mr. Gianmarco Piacenti, CEO of the Italian restoration company Piacenti Spa, who took care of the challenging work of restoring the Basilica.
In his speech, Cardinal Parolin took the opportunity to thank the ecclesial teams responsible for the management of the Bethlehemian Basilica who in the organization of the restoration work "offered a beautiful testimony of collaboration", and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas" who took the project to heart". The "patient, competent and accurate work of restoration" the Cardinal emphasized, "brought back to the eyes of all the splendours of the Basilica of the Nativity. Certainly the lovers of history and art are pleased, who can return to admire the treasures of this monument, a distinguished heritage of humanity. But above all we believers rejoice, because the interventions carried out with skill and love allow that holy place so dear to Christianity to make the mystery that it preserves, the mystery of God made man for us men and for our salvation shine even more".
Citing the recent document on the Nativity scene signed by Pope Francis in Greccio on Sunday 1 December, Cardinal Parolin added that "we feel attracted by the humility of he who became a man to meet every man, and invited to discover that he loves us so much as to join us so that we too can unite with him". In his speech, Ramzi Khoury confided his desire to «bring, on behalf of President Mahmoud Abbas, a special and personal invitation to His Holiness Pope Francis to visit Palestine next year» for the official celebration of the end of the restoration of the Basilica of the Nativity, while Minister Riyad al Maliki said in his speech that he was born in a house facing the Nativity of Bethlehem and had attended the adjoining Franciscan school as a boy. The director of the Vatican Museums, Barbara Jatta, in her speech also focused on the fragment of the wooden manger where according to tradition the little Jesus was born, donated as a relic last November 22 at the behest of Pope Francis, in Bethlehem, and now guarded at the church of Santa Caterina.
The restoration of the Basilica of the Nativity, in Bethlehem, began in 2013, and saw the collaboration between the three ecclesial communities who have specific rights and property over the church, regulated by the Status Quo. The work involved around 400 restoration experts and specialized personnel, to bring back to the ancient splendor the sacred place that UNESCO had included among the historical buildings at risk, for the damage that above all the atmospheric agents had produced in the roof and in the wooden structures that support it.
Categorie: From the church

AFRICA/BURKINA FASO - Resignation of the Archbishop of Koupéla and appointment of new Archbishop

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Sab, 07/12/2019 - 12:25
Vatican City - The Holy Father has accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of of the Archdiocese of Koupéla , presented by his Exc. Mgr. Séraphin François Rouamba. At the same time he appointed Archbishop His Exc. Mgr. Gabriel Sayaogo, currently Bishop of Manga.
Categorie: From the church

AMERICA/DOMINICAN REP. - Farmers expelled from their lands, attacked and threatened: support from organizations and the Church

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Sab, 07/12/2019 - 12:17
Santo Domingo – The farmers of El Seibo arrived in the capital more than two months ago asking for a definitive intervention by the authorities to resolve their situation. "We are talking about 240 peasant families, who were evicted and expelled on 6 September 2018 from their homes and their lands in La Culebra, Vicentillo, El Seibo, by a violent group of guards, police and civilians - reports missionary Father Miguel Ángel Gullón, OP to a Spanish newspaper, who has been working in the Dominican Republic for more than twenty years.
They were then persecuted, arrested and criminalized by the regional government for wanting to return to their lands. These farmers wanted to be received by President Danilo Medina Sánchez, but far from being received, they were forcibly removed from the police force, beaten and outraged. The government wants to hide the struggles of peasant families who receive greater national and international support for their cause every day".
This peasant demonstration in fact relies on the support of a large group of social, peasant, religious and trade union organizations, to ask directly for the intervention of President Danilo Medina. On 3 December, representatives of more than 30 organizations warned the authorities during a press conference that they wanted to go all the way in claiming the right to their land, which they have been working for more than 100 years. To this request they added the denunciation of the threats that peasant leaders and their families receive from private security groups.
"There are many great private interests - explains Father Miguel Ángel Gullón. Landowners want these people to leave to make room for their monocultures, especially that of sugar cane. They have been threatening, attacking and devastating their homes, their lands, their fields and their animals for years. This year serious events took place, in March, and then again in September. Eighty houses were the target of the attack. A complaint was made to the UN in Geneva". The September attack was what sparked international solidarity and the support of other social groups in favor of farmers.
This is not the first time that Fr. Miguel Ángel Gullón has denounced the terrible injustices and abuses that rural communities are suffering in the province of El Seibo . The situation unfortunately continues to remain very tense. The group of peasants who are still guests of the Dominican Missionaries of the Rosary in the capital, inform that their families in La Culebra in El Seibo, continue to receive threats.
Categorie: From the church

AMERICA/PARAGUAY - Jesuit Bartomeu Melià, great expert in language and culture of the Guaraní indigenous people, has died

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Sab, 07/12/2019 - 11:38
Asunciòn - Yesterday, December 6, Jesuit father Bartomeu Melià died in Asunción. Born in Porreras, on the island of Majorca, in 1932, he arrived in Paraguay in 1954, and since then he began studying the Guaraní language and culture, indigenous of Latin America, of which he was considered one of the leading experts. Throughout his life he combined scholarly work with his life experience with indigenous peoples, denouncing the injustices of which they are victims, and working for the survival of indigenous languages. His commitment meant, in 1976, the expulsion from Paraguay for having publicly repudiated the systematic massacre of the Ache-Guayaki.
As recalled by the note sent to Agenzia Fides by the Jesuit curia of Spain, Father Melià moved to the jungle to live with the Guarani, integrating himself into their daily life, knowing the rites of their ancestral religion and walking alongside them. He was professor of ethnology and Guaranì culture at the Catholic University of Asunción and president of the Center of anthropological studies of the same university.
After being expelled from Paraguay he moved to Brazil, where he lived with the Enawene-nawé, in Mato Grosso, accompanied by the Jesuit Vicente Cañas, who was later assassinated for defending that community . In 1989 he was able to return to Paraguay. He actively participated in various programs of bilingual intercultural education, both in Paraguay and in Bolivia, Brazil and Argentina. He wrote numerous books and articles, and was awarded several awards for his commitment to the causes of indigenous peoples and for the defense of the Guaraní language.
Categorie: From the church

AMERICA/BRAZIL - Brazilian Missionaries Ad Gentes prepare to go to America, Africa and Europe

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Sab, 07/12/2019 - 11:31
Brasilia - There were about thirty participants, among religious, priests, seminarians and lay people, in the Ad gentes course that ended yesterday, addressed to the missionaries who are preparing to go on a mission "beyond the borders". The course, which started on November 10th, was promoted by the Missionary Cultural Center of the National Bishops Conference of Brazil , in collaboration with the Conference of Religious of Brazil and the Bishops’ Commission for missionary action and inter-ecclesial cooperation. Its purpose was to provide a specific missionary formation for those who will go on missions to other nations.
According to information sent to Fides, the participants came from the Brazilian states of Amazonas, Tocantins, Maranhão, Ceará, Pernambuco, Bahia, Goiás, Feral District, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Paraná Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul .
The CCM executive secretary, Father Jaime Luiz Gusberti, stresses the need for specific preparation before going on a mission: "You cannot go as an adventurer, you must prepare yourself, know what you will find. The course also offers some important elements of theology and spirituality". The course program includes in-depth studies on the human-affective, anthropological, biblical, historical, theological, socio-environmental and geographical dimension, as well as ecclesial, pedagogical, practical and spiritual of the mission.
Participants in the Ad Gentes course prepared to be sent on mission to Tanzania, Peru, Mozambique, the United States, Bolivia, Belgium, Angola, Haiti, France and Guatemala.
Categorie: From the church

EUROPE/ITALY - The Orionine in the year of Youth: "Live every encounter in the sign of charity"

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Sab, 07/12/2019 - 11:24
Rome - "We want to deepen the journey of faith and the sense of belonging to the Orionine Family, live moments of strong spirituality, listen to the call of the Lord who calls to follow, witness the enthusiasm of our vocation, know and create collaborations with other youth organizations, for a greater momentum of evangelization": says to Agenzia Fides Father Fernando Fornerod, General Councilor of the Opera Don Orione, speaking of the profound motivations and experiences that are animating the Year of the Orionine Youth, which is in progress and will end in June 2020. The initiative has a profound missionary meaning: "After an intense process of preparation there are many activities promoted by the Orionine Family to celebrate this special journey together with the young: special training courses, meetings with other young people and missionary experiences, of faith and charity", he reports. "The aim is to be an "outgoing Church" that builds bridges for a more fraternal society", he adds.
The Orionine Congregation, following the example of its founder, wants to meet young people to share and build together with them a more just and supportive world, helping them to be "protagonists of their life and history": "When Luigi Orione was still a seminarist - says father Fornerod - he met Mario Ivaldi, a boy who had decided not to go to catechism anymore. On that occasion, Luigi decided to leave everything he was doing to listen to him and console him". From that meeting full of faith and joy - he continues - a mission was born: "To live every encounter with others always under the sign of evangelical charity". "Don Luigi's invitation to Mario - he underlines - is an experience that is still renewed today in the hearts of many young Orionines".
Among the most important events scheduled, the 125th anniversary of the ordination of Don Orione, which will be celebrated on April 13th 2020: "When Don Luigi became a priest he was 23 years old - recalls the General Councilor - and from that moment on he lived in the joy of charity, always ready to listen to the needs of the poor. A dream that he wanted to share with other young people".
It is with this desire that a gathering in Tortona from the 1st to the 5th of July 2020 for all the Orionine young people in the world will take place. "We need to listen to the young, to experience friendship with them - concludes Fr. Fernando - explaining that humility is not a denial of truth, but a recognition that all that one is and has is a gift".

Link correlati :Watch the interview with Father Fornerod on Agenzia Fides Youtube channel
Categorie: From the church

ASIA/PAKISTAN - Seminar on Dialogue: "Religious difference adds color to the service of humanity"

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Ven, 06/12/2019 - 13:14
Multan - "Diversity is part of the universe. We people of different religions are like a bunch of flowers and planets in the universe. Diversity adds colors to the beauty of the universe. This difference makes life beautiful. A similar difference in religions adds color to the service of humanity". This is what Professor Abdul Majid Watto, professor of Islam said during his participation in recent days at the Seminar on interreligious dialogue organized at the Pastoral Institute of Multan by the Commission for interreligious dialogue and ecumenism of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Pakistan. The President of the Commission, Bishop Sebastian
Shaw, and Executive Secretary Fr. Francis Nadeem were present, as well as scholars, professors, imams, Muslim and Christian religious leaders.
Muslim leaders recalled experiences of daily life in Pakistan, characterized by the kindness and benevolence between the two communities, and spoke of the issue of minority rights. Allama Saeed Mahmood said: "Let us not allow anyone to erect the wall of hatred". Dominican Fr. Albert Jamshed recalled the document "Nostra Aetate" of the Second Vatican Council which teaches us to respect all religions, especially monotheistic ones.
Archbishop Sebastian Francis Shaw condemned the recent incident of contempt of the Koran in Norway, noting: "Jesus says he loves his neighbor and also his enemies. He who performs sacrilegious acts cannot be a follower of Christ because the message of Jesus is peace and love".
Peer Anwar Sidaq began his speech with a poem that expressed the yearning for unity: "We worship one God and we must not be separated", he said, invoking respect for human rights and recalling: "The true presence of God is in the heart of human beings".
In conclusion, Fr. Nadeem Francis OFM Cap affirmed the urgency of "raising one’s voice for the rights of justice and equality of all citizens, be they Christians and Muslims". And Archbishop Shaw, praised the role of the Pastoral Institute of Multan, which is important for the promotion of peace and dialogue. "Multan is called the city of saints, there is always peace in this land: we pray for peace to be in all of Pakistan".
Categorie: From the church

AFRICA/SOUTH SUDAN - "We are a family of God's people": first diocesan Synod in the history of the Country

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Ven, 06/12/2019 - 13:03
Nzara - "We are a family of God’s people, in participatory service to the Church". This is the theme of the first Diocesan Synod organised by the Diocese of Tombura-Yambio in South Sudan, from November 27th to December 7th, at the Palica pastoral center, in Nzara, in the State of Gbudue. This is the first synod of its kind, in the history of South Sudan. Priests, religious and laity from across the diocese are taking part in the historic meeting.
Mgr. Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala, Bishop and organizer, tells Agenzia Fides: "God almighty and always alive, guide and continually support your pilgrim Church, which you have established as the universal sacrament of salvation": this is how the 'Prayer for the diocesan Synod begins', which all the faithful prayed for almost three years while we were preparing for this very important event, the first in the history of our Country".
"As a pilgrim Church - the Bishop continues - we are not a static reality ... but are on a continuous journey through history, towards that ultimate and marvellous end which is the Kingdom of Heaven, following Jesus’ invitation to ‘go ... and make disciples of all nations.’ The Church’s missionary activity flows from this commissioning by Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the Savior of the world. The Bishop, together with delegates, expressed satisfaction with the proceedings of the Synod. "Since the beginning of the Synod process, the dynamic has been that of seeking, listening and discerning: seeking input from everyone, listening to everyone and discerning with all those who are part of our Church. This practice positively impacted the faithful, religious and priests. The process is taking place in the name of a fruitful dialogue. Delegates, men and women of each of our 35 parishes and of the six deaneries, as well as many members of the clergy of the diocese, came to this first diocesan synodal celebration motivated by the challenges we face in our diocese of Tombura-Yambio. They are ready to "go out to the highways and hedgerows and make people come in that my home may be filled" ".
Mgr. Hiiboro highlights the love for the Church, the faith and the hope for the future demonstrated by the participants: "In all the deliberations the need for the diocese to continue listening to the Good News of God’s mercy, which abounds even in the midst of so much suffering surrounding the people of South Sudan emerged. South Sudan is a place of dramatic and worrying suffering, and all saw the Synod as an opportunity to personally promote and embrace the possibility of a lasting remedy to the country’s ills".
"It is more than evident that inner renewal requires a profound change of mind and heart, and personal spiritual growth must be rooted in the Eucharist as well as devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. We must also embrace the teachings of the Church, engaging in the life of the parish and in works of mercy", said the Bishop.
"Among the objectives of the Synod was the need to reach out to groups in the Diocese who are on the periphery of the Church, esepcially the so-called "vanished Catholics” of the Diocese. Others on the periphery include many young victims of war. Reaching out to them with love and compassion would be part of a diocesan mission that will require new methods. All the members of the Catholic diocese of Tombura-Yambio are called to joyfully share our love for God and for the Church towards all those we meet".
Mgr. Hiiboro recalls two aspects that generate hope: the peace agreement signed to end the bloody civil war that broke out in December 2013 and the announcement by Pope Francis who wants to visit the country . "Let us look at the positive signs and move forward, trusting in the grace of God", concludes the Bishop.
Categorie: From the church

AFRICA/GHANA - A campaign to call for support for the Catholic Auditor General of the Republic of Ghana

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Ven, 06/12/2019 - 12:48
Accra - A campaign to call for support for the Catholic Auditor General of the Republic of Ghana Mr. Daniel Yaw Domelevo is underway, who is the subject of a series of investigations by the Economic and Organized Crime Office , body of the Ministry of Justice in charge of fighting organized crime and financial crimes.
Mr. Daniel Yaw Domelevo was appointed and sworn into office as the Auditor-General of Ghana on 30 December 2016 by president John Dramani.
Upon assuming office, he has helped the Country to retrieve several millions of cedis , from the government payroll and hold government institutions accountable and refund in some cases monies which are unjustified.
The campaign in support of Domelevo is aimed at forcing the EOCO to stop its investigations from many considered unjustified against him, and to convince the government to stop interfering with the work of the Auditor-General.
The EOCO is investing him for alleged procurement badge which the Auditor General is incorrectly in court.
Most Ghanaians believe that it is the ruling party's way of pushing him to resign or to disdain his clear reputation.
Mr. Domelevo who is a Catholic and attends the St. Ignatius of Loyola parish in the Archdiocese of Accra has become a true Catholic icon who lives his faith in his duties as a public servant. He has repeated on many occasions that he will fight corruption with his blood if it should come to that.
Categorie: From the church

AMERICA/ARGENTINA - Sixteen million Argentines are poor, the Church calls for a social pact to assist them

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Ven, 06/12/2019 - 12:12
Buenos Aires - The Bishops' Commission for social pastoral care, presided over by Mgr. Jorge Rubén Lugones, SJ, Bishop of Lomas de Zamora, on Wednesday, December 4 received the representatives of the "Mesa de dialogue por el trabajo y la vida digna ", an association that includes the main sectors of work, production and social economy. Less than a week after the inauguration of the new President, Alberto Fernández, who will take office on December 10th, the Argentine Church wanted to present itself as a reference point for a possible social pact that deals with the poorest.
According to the information sent to Agenzia Fides, the meeting was attended by representatives of the most important social groups: industrialists, workers, social economy, cooperative sector ... Everyone agreed on the fundamental importance of the work carried out by social Pastoral to give life to this meeting space, dialogue and proposals, which also enabled us to reach an institutional exit from the enormous economic and social crisis that runs through the country. The meeting addressed the difficult situation of democratic institutions in Argentina and highlighted the importance of coordinating the network created around the Mesa. In conclusion, the representatives of Bishops' Conference proposed to develop and formalize a social pact to assist the poorest.
The meeting took place at a very delicate time for Argentina, which reached a negative record: in the third quarter of 2019 40.8% of the population is classified as poor, according to the Social Debt Observatory of the Catholic University of Argentina , which specified that poverty also progressed, reaching 8.9%.
These are the highest percentages recorded in Argentina in the last decade, and that "the last year of management of outgoing President Maurizio Macri closes with 2.8 million new poor", reports the daily newspaper Financiero, a specialized financial newspaper in the field. In other words, four out of ten Argentines are poor, which means 16 million people.
The UCA report notes that the reasons for the new social situation are due to the economic crisis, which has worsened this year, with a new devaluation of weight, an inflation that will close 2019 around 54%, in addition to the fall in wages and to recession. A significant point in the study of the UCA: the increase in poverty in the Argentine middle class, which has grown a lot over the last two years. In 2017 it was 4.9%, rising to 8.1% the following year and almost doubled in 2019, reaching 14.2%.
Categorie: From the church

ASIA/INDONESIA - Indonesian religious apostles mission in the United States

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Ven, 06/12/2019 - 11:56
Phoenix - The mission of the Indonesian Catholic community crosses the Ocean and arrives in the United States, through the work of two apostles: Franciscan Father Samuel Nadasa Himawan OFM of Jakarta, and of Jesuit Fr. Stefanus Hendrianto SJ. Both received the sacrament of priestly ordination in the United States and were incardinated in their respective religious provinces - one Franciscan, the other Jesuit - in the States. their life and pastoral commitment will bear witness to the gift and evangelizing spirit of the Indonesian Catholic Church, open to the missio ad gentes.
Father Samuel Nadasa Himawan became a priest in Phoenix, Arizona, on 3 December 2019. In his youth years, after studying in Jakarta, he traveled to the USA for a specialization in engineering at Oklahoma State University. Here he began his professional career and here he met the Franciscan religious life and the spirit of Francis of Assisi. Having taken this vocation seriously, he became a Friar Minor in the Franciscan Province of Oakland in August 2016. He received the diaconal ordination from the bishop of Phoenix, Mgr. Thomas J. Olmsted, in 2018 and now, having become a priest, is preparing to fully live his apostolate as a priest and a Franciscan friar.
A few months ago, in July, Fr. Stefanus Hendrianto SJ was ordained a priest in America.
As a young man he was very attentive to society and politics and was also a member of the People's Democratic Left Party . Then he studied abroad, first in the Netherlands, at the University of Utrecht, and later at the Faculty of Law at the University of Washington in Seattle, USA.
His felt his religious vocation while he was a university student when he met a Dominican priest at the Catholic Newman Center University in Washington. Stefanus then decided to enter the Society of Jesus after meeting Fr. Robert Spitzer, Jesuit professor at Gonzaga University of Spokane, Washington.
Mission today is no longer just the "traditional" one characterized by the North-South movement and the sending of missionaries from Europe to "mission lands". Today evangelization has a dynamism that proceeds in all directions: even from South to North or from East to West. Countries that in the past received missionaries for the work of evangelization, such as Indonesia, return the gift to nations of ancient Christian tradition.
Categorie: From the church

AMERICA/UNITED STATES - Beatification of Bishop Fulton Sheen postponed

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Ven, 06/12/2019 - 10:45
Peoria - "With deep regret, Bishop Daniel Jenky, C.S.C, Bishop of Peoria, announces that he has been informed by the Holy See that the beatification of Fulton Sheen will be postponed", this is the statement released by the US diocese of Peoria. On November 18, the text continues, the diocese received notification that Pope Francis had approved the Beatification of Fulton Sheen for December 21st. "On 2 December the Holy See decided to postpone the date of Beatification, at the request of a few members of the Bishop’s Conference who have asked for further consideration. In the current climate - states the text -, it is important for the faithful to know there has never been, nor is there now, any allegation against Sheen involving the abuse of a minor".
The diocese of Peoria points out that "throughout the investigation of Sheen’s life during the beatification process", it was demonstrated that he was "an exemplary model of Christian conduct and a model of leadership in the Church", and is confident that "any further investigation into the life of Archbishop Sheen will only result in positive discoveries that will only bolster the case for his beatification". "The Diocese of Peoria has no doubt that Fulton Sheen, who brought so many souls to Jesus Christ in his lifetime, will be recognized as a model of holiness and virtue", the text concludes, emphasizing that there have been “many miracles” reported through Sheen’s intercession "even after the announcement of the beatification".
Fulton Sheen, titular Archbishop of Newport, former Bishop of Rochester, was born in El Paso on 8 May 1895 and died in New York on 9 December 1979. In 1950 he was appointed National Director of the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith, a position he held until 1966. At that time he became very famous for his television program "Life is Worth Living". In a radio show, in February 1951, he launched the Worldwide Missionary Rosary. Professor of philosophy at the Catholic University of Washington, Mgr. Sheen was also the initiator of the magazine "Christ in the World" and wrote about 300 books. The cause for his beatification was opened at a diocesan level in 2002; on 15 April 2008 he was transferred to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in Rome; on 28 June 2012 his "heroic virtues" were recognized; on 5 July 2019 Pope Francis authorized the promulgation of the decree concerning the miracle attributed to his intercession .
Categorie: From the church

ASIA/HOLY LAND - A new trial on the disputed buildings between the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate and Ateret Cohanim is possible

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Gio, 05/12/2019 - 13:11
Jerusalem - The long tug-of-war on some buildings of the Holy City between the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem and the Jewish organization Ateret Cohanim has not yet reached its conclusion: in recent days - the Israeli press informed - a judge of the Jerusalem District Court questioned a previous ruling by the Supreme Court that seemed to have definitively accepted the claims of the Jewish group, and opened de facto the possibility of initiating a new trial on the controversial issue of disputed property.
The three buildings in question are located in the Christian quarter of the Old City, near the Jaffa Gate.
Last June , the Supreme Court of Israel had rejected the appeal presented by the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem to block the acquisition - denounced as illegitimate - of the three buildings by Ateret Cohanim. According to the judgment pronounced by the Court in June, the properties of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate had legitimately been acquired by foreign intermediaries acting on behalf of Ateret Cohanim.
After the pronouncement of the Supreme Court, 13 Patriarchs and Heads of Churches and Christian communities present in the Holy Land declared in a joint statement that the initiatives of the Jewish association Ateret Cohanim aimed at grabbing real estate in the Christian part of the Old City of Jerusalem represent an attack "not only on the property rights of the Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem", but also on the status quo that regulates relations between the different religious communities in the Holy City, and risk becoming a "threat" to the local Christian presence. The three buildings in question are the subject of legal disputes lasting a total of more than 14 years
Categorie: From the church

AFRICA/BURKINA FASO - The Catholic Church's condolences for the Sunday massacre

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Gio, 05/12/2019 - 13:04
Ouagadougou - "We are deeply saddened by this evil act, the Church joins the pain of the Federation of Churches and Evangelical Missions in Burkina Faso. We send our sincere condolences and we are in communion of prayer for the souls of the dead faithful and alleviate the pain of those who have been affected by these murders", said Fr. Paul Dah, at the Head of Communications of the Episcopal Conference of Burkina Faso, in presenting the condolences of the Catholic Church to the victims of the massacre on Sunday 1 December in a Protestant church in Hantoukoura, in the eastern part of Burkina Faso resulting in 14 deaths.
According to Pastor Henri Yé, President of the Federation of Churches and Evangelical Missions, the attacked community is "a small new church, with less than 30 members. Many of these are young people between 10 and 14 years of age. Only one of them is over 40 years old.
At the time of the assault, "there was no pastor there" said Yé. "Women and girls were kept inside the church. Only men were dragged out of the church and killed. Among these, some are very young: 10, 12 and 14 years old".
Yé believes that the attackers crossed the border with motorcycles to return to Niger.
According to the local press, a group of at least 12 armed men attacked the place of worship. After separating the men from the women, they told the men to lie down on the ground. After covering the heads of the victims with a cloth, they then killed them one by one.
Categorie: From the church

ASIA/PHILIPPINES - "Year of ecumenism and dialogue", to build a better society

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Gio, 05/12/2019 - 12:58
Manila - All Filipinos are called to build a better society through fraternal love and interreligious dialogue: this is the appeal issued by Archbishop Romulo G. Valles, President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines, in the Pastoral Letter published by the Bishops on the occasion of the special "Year of ecumenism, interreligious dialogue and indigenous peoples", launched by the Filipino Catholic Church on 1 December, in preparation for the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the advent of Christianity in the country, which is celebrated in 2021. As Agenzia Fides learns, the central theme, chosen for the Year, is taken from the Gospel of John "May they all be one" .
"Fraternal love also requires us to walk together in building a better world while preserving the name of justice and mercy, the bases of prosperity and the cornerstone of faith", the Bishops write in the letter sent to Agenzia Fides. "The authentic religious teachings invite us to remain rooted in the values of peace, to always be ready to ask forgiveness for our mistakes, to be ready to forgive others for the evil they have done to us", they add.
The Bishops cite "the recent apostolic visit of Pope Francis to the Middle East, Thailand and Japan, which promoted a culture of encounter and solidarity" and recognize "the challenges of coexistence among different faiths as we build unity and harmony in the community".
"An open, honest, loving, respectful dialogue of life, prayer and action is the only path to harmony in the community. Great values: peace and harmony are at stake - the letter notes - particularly in areas of armed conflict; solidarity in the struggle for social change; caring for social ills; integrity and social justice in our land".
In this context "the Church urges the faithful to collaborate with people of other religions and cultures. Christians, while witnessing to their faith and their way of life, recognize, preserve and encourage the spiritual and moral truths that are found among the peoples of other faiths and traditions, and also their social and cultural life", reads the text.
According to the Bishops, "interreligious dialogue does not simply aim at mutual understanding and friendly relations. It reaches a much deeper level, the spiritual level, in which exchange and sharing consist in a mutual testimony of one's own convictions and in a common, respectful and empathic exploration of the respective religious convictions".
The Church has proposed four forms of dialogue: the dialogue of life, in which people strive to live in a spirit of openness and closeness; the dialogue of action, in which believers collaborate for integral development and human promotion; the dialogue of theological exchange, in which specialists try to deepen their understanding of their respective religious and spiritual heritage and values; the dialogue of religious experience, in which the faithful share their spiritual riches, for example with regard to prayer, faith, contemplation of God.
"The ultimate goal of dialogue - notes the text - is that the whole of humanity lives in harmony and fraternal love. This fraternal love will guarantee peace in our land, which actually seems elusive", they say, recalling the challenges and conflicts still present in Philippine territory. In conclusion, the Bishops, on the occasion of the Year of Dialogue and Ecumenism, exhort all men and women of good will to "live in harmony, asking to respect each other's differences and to protect the rights and freedoms of the entire humanity".
Categorie: From the church

AFRICA/IVORY COAST - Caritas adopts a South African method to assist orphans due to AIDS

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Gio, 05/12/2019 - 12:05
Yamoussoukro - Since 2012, the diocesan Caritas of Man has been involved in raising awareness and psychosocial support of over 500 orphan children due to AIDS, according to the "Memory Box" method developed in South Africa. To draw on this experience and to put it into practice in other dioceses of the country and in the structures responsible for the fight against HIV/AIDS in the Ivory Coast, 15 diocesan Caritas, representatives of the Ministry of Health and the fight against HIV/AIDS and the Ministry of Women, Family and Children met from 2 to 3 December 2019 in Yamoussoukro to understand the principles of this method.
The seminar organized by the Dominican brother Philippe Denis, founding member of the South African NGO "Center Sinomlando", technical partner of the diocesan Caritas of Man and by Sister Marie Rose SEHI responsible for the project of taking charge of HIV/AIDS orphans in the aforementioned diocese.
Brother Denis offered some suggestions for accepting and managing pain. The exercise of "The river of life" allowed the participants to remember their moments of joy and sadness in order to find in them the positive elements that could help pull themselves up. An approach aimed at helping the people affected by pain, illness or loss of something essential to start from scratch.
Present in Yamoussoukro, Fr. Jean Pierre Tiemele, National Executive Secretary of Caritas Ivory Coast greeted this seminar which will allow the actors involved in the psychosocial accompaniment of orphaned children or those living with HIV AIDS to be more effective.
The Ivory Coast, according to the data of the UN program for AIDS , and the country most affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic in West Africa, with a seropositivity rate that fluctuates between 2 and 3, 5%, 25 thousand new infections, almost 22 thousand cases of deaths registered in recent years and over 400 thousand orphans and or children in precarious situation. Faced with this dramatic situation, the Ivorian State has committed itself not only to retroceding the pandemic, but also to accompanying those affected, in particular children, by establishing the National Care Program for children who are orphaned and vulnerable due to HIV/AIDS. The Catholic Church, interested in the integral development of man, can only support the government by sharing its competences in this sector, through its social branch which is Caritas.
Categorie: From the church

AMERICA/HONDURAS - "We must continue to fight corruption", said Mgr. Garachana Pérez, supporting the renewal of MACCIH

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Gio, 05/12/2019 - 11:30
San Pedro Sula - A few days after the expiry of the "MACCIH" agreement , signed between the government of Honduras and the Organization of American States , the national media gave voice to the public opinion through various representatives of society, including Mgr. Angel Garachana Pérez, CMF, Bishop of the Diocese of San Pedro Sula.
Mgr. Garachana Pérez, who is also President of the Episcopal Conference of Honduras, told reporters that little has been done in the fight against corruption and that it is necessary to continue being supported by MACCIH: "We have not reached a level that we can do without MACCIH. Although there are government voices stating that we do not need them, the facts say the opposite. We must continue to fight corruption because here is the solution to many problems, such as the poverty of our people".
The President of the Episcopal Conference pointed out that those who occupy important positions in the country should do so in a responsible way, thinking of those who are most in need and not of protecting their own interests: "We need a very profound change of attitude, particularly of the heart, so it can be expressed in the development for all". Deputies were called - above all - to live in transparency and truth. "Those who use public money must be open to control, the people have the right to know how the money is used which is the result of the citizens' contribution", he added.
According to information gathered by Fides, representatives of the United States of America have publicly affirmed the importance of the continuity of MACCIH. "It is vital that the Honduran government approves the renewal of the MACCIH mandate before next month's deadline", Hugo Rodriguez, Deputy Assistant Director for Central America's Washington State Department, told the press. MACCIH was created on January 19, 2016 for a period of four years, with the possibility of extension, it supported the Honduran Prosecutor in presenting several cases of corruption before the courts.
Corruption and drug trafficking have reached very high levels in Honduras. The Catholic Church was one of the few institutions that reported and denounced situations of injustice, especially the terrible situation of prisoners and migrants. Mgr. Angel Garachana Péerez, of the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Spanish by birth, has already celebrated 75 years. Since 11 November 1994 he has been Bishop of the Diocese of San Pedro Sula. The Catholic community of Honduras has recognized in him one of the Pastors most involved in serving the poor, in the formation of Honduran priests and lay people in many communities in the country, as well as in social pastoral care within the framework of the Episcopal Conference.
Categorie: From the church

ASIA/PAKISTAN - Christian leaders visiting Islamic institutions: prayer and common commitment for peace

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Gio, 05/12/2019 - 11:11
Multan - Visiting a madrasa and the department of Islamic studies of a university faculty in Multan: this is the special mission accomplished in recent days by Mgr. Sebastian Shaw, Catholic Archbishop of Lahore and President of the Bishops’ Commission for Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue. Accompanied by a delegation of Dominican religious, including Fr. Jamshed Albert OP, Fr. Raphael Mahenga OP and Fr. Jamshed Gill OP, the Franciscan, Fr. Francis Nadeem OFM Capp, Executive Secretary of the Bishops’ Commission, and other participants in the mini pilgrimage, the Archbishop went to the madrasa where he met the imam and the students. After an exchange of greetings and mutual appreciation, at the end of the meeting an olive tree was planted in the compound of the madrasa and all those present recited together the prayer "God, give me the instrument of your peace", attributed to Francis of Assisi, as a sign of unity between Christians and Muslims, a desire reiterated by all.
The delegation then moved to the Baha Ul Din Zikria University in Multan, visiting the Department of Islamic Studies, where a meeting was held with the professors of the Department, with an exchange of views on the path of unity and harmony among Christians and Muslims, respecting each other's differences. Mr Jamil Nataqani, at the head of the Department of Islamic Studies, and other professors expressed their joy by welcoming the Christian representatives. Archbishop Sebastian Shaw spoke and donated the "Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living" signed in Abu Dhab by Pope Francis together with Sheikh Ahmad al-Tayyebad i, translated into Urdu, calling for collaboration for peace at a universal level. At the conclusion of the fruitful debate, an olive tree was also planted in the Department of Islamic Studies, as "a sacred sign of the common commitment to dialogue, peace and reconciliation among Christians and Muslims".
Categorie: From the church

AMERICA/PARAGUAY - Complaints and hopes of young Paraguayans at the end of the Youth Triennium: "Yes to life, yes to Jesus"

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Gio, 05/12/2019 - 10:28
Caacupé - "We cannot remain ignorant to the different realities that influence the lives of many Paraguayans, for this reason, as young people we denounce: the corrupt attitude of many political leaders who do not listen to citizens, lacking respect for the dignity and the right of every Paraguayan; people are tired of those who are just trying to fill their pockets at the expense of humble and hard-working people". This is a passage from the "Youth Pastoral Manifesto", published at the end of the Youth Triennium celebrated by the Church of Paraguay from 2017 to 2019 which ended with a pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of the Lady of Caacupé on November 30, where young people from all regions of the country gathered.
In the text of the Manifesto, sent to Agenzia Fides, the young people complain that "justice has become a corrupt instrument and managed by political and economic powers, used in favor of private interests"; they also believe that "public health is a fundamental right and not just a privilege of some, so it hurts to see children who die from neglect, lack of medicines or necessary equipment, as well as many people who die on the streets in search of attention. It is sad to see how many hospitals in our country are collapsing and are without supplies".
Violence, drug trafficking and insecurity prevail in the Country, where no citizen is safe, the youth Manifesto continues, denouncing the absence of those who should guarantee public order and the threat of armed groups. Even environmental laws remain on paper, and the country suffers a profound daily deforestation.
Faced with this situation, young Paraguayans express their desires: the rulers have to be attentive to the needs of the population and remember that they are at the service of all citizens; have to promote policies that generate jobs for young people so as not to force them to emigrate; "Human life is the absolute priority, taking care of and protecting the health of every Paraguayan from conception to death"; the family, as the foundation of society, is no longer the object of violence and feminicide.
They also demand effective public security measures for all citizens, as well as investigating those who exploit farmers and indigenous people, "forcing them to leave their homes and lands, migrating to the cities, where they create pockets of poverty that are exploited for political clientelism".
The young people of Paraguay pray for peace in Latin America, "so that t rulers may be wise and listen to the needs of their peoples, in order to restore order and peace to our brother countries". They also encourage everyone, "as young people and lay people, to be protagonists in building a better society, to bring about transformation in Christ, always in search of the common good". The Manifesto finally urges all young people "not to be deceived by the false idols of this world as addictions, materialism and an easy life, because the only one who can give a real meaning to life is Jesus, because He lives and loves you alive, he calls and waits for you always, therefore, young people, say yes to life, say yes to Jesus".
Categorie: From the church

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