AFRICA/GHANA - Resignation of the Archbishop of Cape Coast and appointment of successor

Fides EN - - Ven, 11/05/2018 - 13:40
Vatican City - Today the Holy Father Francis accepted the renunciation of the pastoral governance of the Archdiocese of Cape Coast , presented by His Exc. Mgr. Matthias Kobena Nketsiah. The Holy Father appointed His Exc. Mgr. Gabriel Charles Palmer-Buckle, currently Archbishop of Accra, as Archbishop of Cape Coast.
Categorie: From the church

AFRICA/TANZANIA - Bishops' appeal: Catechists should be skilled on Child Protection Policy

Fides EN - - Ven, 11/05/2018 - 13:37
Dar es Salaam - "All Catechists in the Country have to be trained on TEC Child Protection Policy, which was passed by the Bishops in 2017", said Director of the Directorate of Social Services at the Tanzania Episcopal Conference Jovin Riziki , in his statement presented during the three-day workshop of Diocesan Secretary for Catechesis held at Kurasini, Dar es Salaam. Riziki commended the Catechists "for doing a great job for the Church especially initiating religion among children" adding "It is our duty to build their capacities and inform them about the policy that protects them, so that they can reach many people and provide adequate assistance to children".
Moreover, Riziki continues, "the Health department is obliged to present a topic on child protection because last year 2017 the Catholic Bishops in the country passed a child protection policy which should be implemented by all the people working within the Catholic Church. In addition, help them to inform others in their dioceses that the Catholic Bishops in Tanzania have adopted policy on child protection for all workers in the schools, orphanages, and elsewhere".
During the seminar, there was reference to violence against children, which include physical, psychological and emotional and sexual abuse are becoming rampant in the societies.
"The policy is clear that whoever violates it in any way punitive measure should be applied on him or her. Among the recommendations the Catholic Bishops have given is to set an office at national and diocesan level so that all issues related to child abuse are dealt with thoroughly. Moreover - concludes Riziki - all schools should also have a Co-coordinator for the child protection where they will be collaborating with others to identify those who abuse children and report to Parish or Diocesan Coordinator for Child Protector to deal with the issue".
Categorie: From the church

AFRICA/EGYPT - The Coptic Church celebrates the centenary of "Sunday schools", at the origin of the Coptic spiritual awakening

Fides EN - - Ven, 11/05/2018 - 13:25
Cairo - The celebrations by the Coptic Orthodox Church to commemorate the centenary of the birth of the so-called Sunday School Movement will take place on Sunday, May 13. The centenary will be celebrated in the Coptic Orthodox Cathedral of Cairo, in the presence of Coptic Orthodox Patriarch Tawadros II. Coptic Orthodox Patriarch Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak was also invited to the official commemoration.
It was the year 1918 when Copt Archdeacon Habib Girgis started the "Sunday schools" network, taking inspiration from the Protestant formula of "Sunday Schools".
The initiative, designed to promote the spiritual and theological formation of the laity, had a formidable impact, along with the rebirth of Coptic monasticism, as a tool and occasion for the "Coptic awakening" of last century. "Sunday schools" fostered and nourished the renewal of the entire pastoral care of the Coptic Church, contributing to the formation of new generations of monks and priests who, starting from the period between the two world wars, participated in a firmly rooted "rebirth" in the rediscovery of one's theological and spiritual traditions.
The "Sunday schools" movement has helped to shape the theological and pastoral sensitivity of relevant figures in the history of the Coptic Church of last century, such as Patriarch Shenuda III.
Archdeacon Habib Girgis was recognized and proclaimed a saint by the Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church on 20 June 2013. "In the Coptic Orthodox Church - reports to Agenzia Fides Antonios Gabriel, priest of the Coptic Orthodox community present in Rome - the holiness of a person can be proclaimed only after forty years since the death of the canonized".
Categorie: From the church

OCEANIA/PAPUA NEW GUINEA - Catholic students attend media lessons, instrument of evangelization

Fides EN - - Ven, 11/05/2018 - 13:05
Port Moresby - Training students in the use and techniques of mass media, to introduce them to the secrets of social communication, seen as a means to help the spread of the Gospel: this is the aim of the third Media Education Seminar, intended for Catholic students, organized in recent days in Bomana by the Episcopal Conference of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands, and is intended for 50 students of seven local schools.
The program, edited by Salesian Fr. Ambrose Pereira, Director of the Communication Office, encouraged those present to reflect on the various aspects of their daily lives.
A session was focused on the radio and the basic elements for video editing, with a participation of "Radio Maria" radio station which gave young people the opportunity to record and publish the gingles created by the students. Talking in front of the camera and viewing their short speeches allowed the participants to speak before an audience. But the training was not just technical: "I understood that I am called to love life and live it to the full", declared a student at the end of the course. At the end of the three days of training, those present expressed satisfaction in the work of interaction and learning, in the awareness of being able to use mass media as instruments of evangelization.
Categorie: From the church

AMERICA/BOLIVIA - "To recover the joy of the Gospel, to revive prophecy, to be operators of communion and reconciliation": toward CAM V

Fides EN - - Ven, 11/05/2018 - 12:24
Santa Cruz de la Sierra - The fifth American Missionary Congress will take place in the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia from 10 to 14 July. This ecclesial event is part of a rich history that, from Latin America, has illuminated the missionary journey of the whole Church. The next will also be the tenth Continental Missionary Congress of a long series, and since 1977 these congresses have been held every four years in a different American country. .
With the slogan "America on mission, the Gospel is joy", this year's Congress will address the theme "The joy of the Gospel, the heart of the prophetic mission, source of reconciliation and communion". Its general objective will be to "strengthen Ad Gentes missionary identity and commitment of the Church in America, to announce the joy of the Gospel to all peoples, with particular attention to the peripheries of the world today and at the service of a society that is more just, supportive and fraternal".
CAM V will rotate around four themes. Gospel: because what the missionary announces is born from this first contact with the Gospel. Joy: fruit of the experience of personal encounter with Christ. Communion and reconciliation: the main purpose of evangelization and of the missionary action of the Church is to achieve the communion of man with God and of men among them. Mission and Prophecy: a mandate entrusted by Jesus to the Apostles to be his "witnesses".
"For those who work in the field of missionary formation, these themes speak of a profound spirituality and invite to promote processes of missionary transformation in our local Churches", reads a statement by Father Alejandro Marina, director of the Maryknoll Missionary Center in Latin America, sent to Fides.
"There are many realities of our times: ecological crisis, family violence, femicide, corruption, drugs, war, human trafficking - continues the Maryknoll missionary -. We have to reach the geographical and existential peripheries of these realities to bring the Good News. "How can we rekindle the prophetic dimension of our faith that we receive as a mission in baptism? How can every Christian be an operator of communion and reconciliation in a fragmented and broken world?", asks Father Alejandro, recalling the words of Pope Francis in the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium: "I dream of a missionary option capable of transforming everything ...". "The main objective of CAM V: To recover the joy of the Gospel, to revive prophecy, to be operators of communion and reconciliation Reclaim the joy of the Gospel, revive our prophecy and be operators of communion and reconciliation in today's world", he concludes.

Categorie: From the church

AFRICA/SOUTH AFRICA - Attack on a Mosque in Durban: strong condemnation of the South African Catholic Church

Fides EN - - Ven, 11/05/2018 - 11:42
Johannesburg - "We heard with great shock and sadness of the attack on the Imam Hussein Mosque in Verulam, Durban and the tragic killing of an imam and the injury of two other people", says a statement signed by His Exc. Bishop Stephen Brislin, Archbishop of Cape Town and President of the Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference , who strongly condemns the attack on the Imam Hussein Mosque in Verulam, Durban.
According to news sent to Agenzia Fides, yesterday, 10 May, three men entered the large mosque after midday prayers, carrying guns and attacking the victims with knives and then releasing a petrol bomb that set fire to the building. The iman died, while two other people were injured.
"On behalf of the Catholic Church in Southern Africa, we offer our deepest condolences and sympathy to the family and friends of the murdered imam, and wish the injured a speedy and full recovery", says the SACBC statement. "Our hearts go out to the community of the Imam Hussein Mosque who have been so brutally violated. You are in our thoughts and prayers".
"We strongly condemn this bloody and futile attack and call upon law enforcement agencies to work diligently to bring the perpetrators to justice. Religious tolerance has long been a characteristic of South African society and those who wish to wreak havoc, and set one faith community against another, must never be allowed to succeed. We will continue to pray for peace in our country and throughout the world, a peace that is based on respect for the dignity and rights of each human being",concludes Archbishop Brislin.
At the moment the police think it was not an act of terrorism, even if some witnesses say that the assailants are of Egyptian nationality.
Categorie: From the church

AMERICA/CUBA - Appointment of the National Director of the PMS, Fr. Yosbel Lazo Cordero, CM

Fides EN - - Ven, 11/05/2018 - 10:54
Vatican City - On 12 April 2018 Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, appointed rev. Fr. Yosbel Lazo Cordero, CM , as National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Cuba for a five-year term .
The new National Director is 39 years old and has been a priest for 10. He obtained a diploma in Vocational Pastoral Care at the Celam Pastoral Theological Institute in Bogotà . He was Vice-parish priest and parish priest in several parishes; Responsible of Missionary Childhood in the diocese of Pinar del Rio ; Responsible of the Mission Commission in the Archdiocese of Santiago de Cuba ; National Secretary of the PMS .
Categorie: From the church

AFRICA/TANZANIA - Confirmation of the National Director of the PMS, Fr. Jovitus Mwijage

Fides EN - - Ven, 11/05/2018 - 10:49
Vatican City - On 12 April 2018 Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, confirmed rev. Jovitus Mwijage, of the diocesan clergy of Bukoba, as National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Tanzania for another five years .
Categorie: From the church

ASIA/NEPAL - Unity among Christians: together to witness God's mercy

Fides EN - - Ven, 11/05/2018 - 10:46
Kathmandu - Christians of different confessions in Nepal are committed to working together to witness the love and mercy of God. "As Nepali Christians we are called to work together and be witnesses to the Gospel of Christ, sharing prayer and overcoming the divisions among the Christian communities in the country", said to Agenzia Fides R.C. Acharya, secretary general of the National Council of Churches in Nepal , ecumenical body. "We are part of the mission of God, witnessing the Gospel and remaining at the service of the people. We have the duty of being servants of God to make the Church in Nepal live and embrace everyone in our communities, walking together in our faith", he adds.
The National Council of Churches in Nepal organized a course of ecumenical formation held from 8 to 11 May at the Baptist Church in Kathmandu: the program aimed at accompanying and developing leadership in Christian communities, and was aimed at 90 participants of the different confessions present in Nepal. The baptized in Nepal, a small minority in the Hindu environment, are called to witness unity in a multi-religious society: this was the theme at the center of reflection and formation sessions
What was highlighted during the seminar was the need to strengthen theological and ecumenical formation among Christians in Nepal: the NCCN is working in this direction, also through seminars and courses of biblical-theological formation.
Despite a severe law that prohibits religious conversion and penalizes religious freedom, Christianity has spread rapidly in Nepal over the past two decades. Christians make up 1.4% of the 29 million inhabitants of Nepal.
Categorie: From the church

ASIA/INDIA - "To be people of Caritas means to be people of the Good News"

Fides EN - - Mer, 09/05/2018 - 13:29
New Delhi - "Caritas is the joy of service, Caritas is a service of joy. Caritas India is the organ of the entire Catholic church to concretely express our charity and, as Deus Caritas East of Benedict XVI says, to be people of Caritas means to be people of the Good News, people who communicate the love of God": said the President of Caritas, the Bishop Lumen Monteiro, said in a recent celebration in New Delhi, where The Catholic body presented its new leadership, in the presence of Msgr. Theodore Mascarenhas, Secretary General of the Indian Bishops Conference .
As Fides learns, Fr. Paul Moonjely, the new executive director of Caritas India and his assistant Fr. Jolly Puthenpura, took charge during a solemn liturgy. Fr. Moonjely said: "Do not compare your life with others. There is no comparison between the Sun and the Moon. They shine bright when the time is right. I assure you that I too will shine bright, with the grace of the Almighty and with your support, I will endeavour to be a Diakonos, a faithful, humble servant and a steward of the Diakonia ministry. I once again affirm and declare my simple faith in the Lord. As St Paul says: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me". Fr. Puthenpura remarked: " Caritas India is called to grow nearer to the poor of our country and their life situations. To encounter them with solidarity, to embrace them with affection and to let them feel the warmth of Christian love expressed in service".
Addressing the new leaders of Caritas, Msgr. Theodore Mascarenhas expressed full confidence in the new management of Caritas, recommending them to " always follow the light of the Lord".
Categorie: From the church

AFRICA/NIGERIA - Inequalities in the world of work and corruption: necessary to put the dignity of the person back at the center

Fides EN - - Mer, 09/05/2018 - 12:48
Abuja - "Work is not just any kind of commodity, and the dignity of workers is always the primary criterion of evaluation, as the Social Doctrine of the Church teaches. Work confirms the profound identity of man created in the image and likeness of God": says Father Joseph Tile Nomhwange of the Society of African Missions in Nigeria to Agenzia Fides
remembering that on May 1st the whole world celebrated Workers' Day. "It should be a celebration of the collective commitment to make the world we live in habitable, as well as the possibility of being able to take care of our families. Unfortunately, - continues the priest - for many countries, as in the case of Nigeria, it has become a day of protest, a reminder of growing despair and, for some people, an international day of regrets".
In Nigeria this year, workers listened to the speeches of the leadership of the Nigerian Labor Congress and the government. The sequence was always the same: trade unions renewed their votes to protect workers' interests, and the government responded by promising better days. "At the end of the celebrations, the leaders of the Union fled aboard the cars that the workers paid through the union quotas and the government officials did the same with those that the workers paid with taxes. Workers returned home with the same old sad stories of bad working conditions, trampled rights, low pay and unpaid wages", notes the missionary.
"The cost of living continues to rise while the minimum wage has not changed", he notes.
"When teachers are not paid - underlines Father Joseph - the educational system is affected; when other public officials are not paid, the fight against corruption worsens. The problem is not limited to workers alone but to pensioners who sometimes die in poverty after working for the government for so many years.
This year, the main objective of the celebration in the African country was aimed at increasing the minimum wage of workers. Represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, President Muhammadu Buhari assured the workers a clear economic progress.
Addressing the population, he said: ' We believe that the worst is over for Nigeria'.
"But, with the increase in the cost of living, can we consider the salary with which to raise a family right?". For this reason, he concludes, a reflection on the meaning of work in Nigerian society should generate a revision of consciences and a general reform based on principles of fairness and defense of the dignity of all workers.
Categorie: From the church

AFRICA/BURUNDI - "Safeguard peace and unity": Bishops’ appeal in view of the constitutional referendum of 17 May

Fides EN - - Mer, 09/05/2018 - 12:04
Bujumbura - "We urge all Burundians to safeguard unity and peace" write the Bishops of Burundi in a statement on the constitutional referendum of 17 May, which concerns the constitutional reform to increase the duration of the presidential term from 5 to 7 years, with no more than two consecutive terms covered by the same person. The reform is provoking strong contrasts, because the opponents consider it an expedient of President Pierre Nkurunziza to remain in power for another 15 years .
Recalling the democratic turnaround of the Arusha Peace Accords that put an end to the civil war, the Bishops underline that since 2015, democracy has been in crisis. In that year, in fact, President Nkurunziza presented himself in the elections to obtain a third term in violation of the Constitution and the Arusha Accords themselves, provoking a serious political, institutional, social and economic crisis, which pushed millions of Burundians to take refuge in neighboring countries.
The new reform of the Constitution, according to the Bishops, goes against the Constitutional Charter itself. "In fact, it is questionable whether the provisions of Article 299 of the Constitution that currently governs us have been taken into account. This article states that no revision procedure can be applied if it undermines national unity, the cohesion of the Burundian people or reconciliation. As we can see, instead of uniting the Burundians, the work carried out and the resulting draft constitution seem to have exacerbated the differences. In our opinion, as we have already said, the moment for a profound amendment of the Constitution was not appropriate", affirms the statement sent to Agenzia Fides.
In concluding the statement, the Bishops urge the Burundians not to panic: "Whatever the result, if the "YES" wins, we will be governed by the new Constitution, if the "NO" wins, we will maintain the one that currently governs us. What matters is that Burundians remain united, and are concerned with safeguarding peace and trying to advance democracy".

Categorie: From the church

ASIA/TURKEY - Evangelical pastor Brunson also accused of supporting the creation of a "Christian Kurdish state"

Fides EN - - Mer, 09/05/2018 - 11:53
Izmir - Among the new, exorbitant accusations against American evangelical pastor Andrew Craig Brunson, on trial by the Turkish judicial authorities for alleged connivance with networks and forces accused of terrorist acts and subversive plots against Turkey, is that of trying to set up a “Christian Kurdish state” destined to occupy part of the Turkish territory. A "secret witness" described as a former parishioner and codenamed "Serhat" testified via a long-distance system and claimed that Brunson helped Kurdish militants in various ways, including those fighting in Syria. He also claimed a Syrian who converted to Christianity helped Brunson.
The new accusation is to be added to the other charges already addressed against the US pastor, whose story has entered fully into the list of issues that have recently increased the tension between the Turkish government and the US administration.
Brunson is detained in Turkey on charges of connivance with Hizmet, the organization of the Turkish Islamic preacher Fetullah Gulen, indicated by Ankara as the inspirer of the failed coup of July 15, 2016. Over time the list of charges against him has increased, Brunson faces a 35-year prison sentence if the charges of espionage and flanking of Hizmet and of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party , considered as “terrorist organization” by both Turkey and the US, will be upheld.
Already responsible for the Evangelical Church of the Resurrection in Izmir , Andrew Craig Brunson had been summoned by the Turkish immigration office in October 2016, along with his wife, Lyn Norine. The couple was initially informed of the obligation to leave Turkey, justifying this measure with the vague accusation of having received funds from abroad to finance missionary initiatives and to have endangered the security of the country with their activities.
Subsequently, the Turkish press reported that for the evangelical pastor the expulsion decree had turned into an arrest, after a secret witness had accused him of belonging to the so-called FETO . In prison, Brunson had received visits from senior US Embassy officials to Turkey, and US President Donald Trump had also requested the release of the evangelical pastor during the May 2017 meeting in the White House with Turkish President Erdogan. Last August, after Trump’s intervention, Brunson had been accused of even more serious crimes than he had in the past, and had been transferred to a maximum security prison, where some defendants are held to be among the highest officials of the failed coup of 2016.
Last September 28, Erdogan himself had declared himself ready to release the US evangelical pastor only if in return the US authorities will hand over to Turkey Fethullah Gulen, who has been exiled to the USA since 1999.
Brunson’s legal case has resumed in recent days, after the first session was held on April 16th. On that occasion, after the 13 hours of proceedings, dominated by wild conspiracies, tortured logic, and "secret witnesses" - whose voices were sometimes disguised almost to the point of being indecipherable - the court updated the hearing, postponing it for three weeks. During the hearings, Pastor Brunson - currently detained in a maximum security prison, seemed to have lost weight.
Categorie: From the church

ASIA/IRAQ - Elections, the Chaldean Patriarch: the Church cannot be "silenced" when it contributes to the common good

Fides EN - - Mar, 08/05/2018 - 13:55
Baghdad - The Church does not intervene directly in the field of politics. But it cannot be silenced when it intervenes on crucial issues and emergencies for the life of the people and the Country. This was strongly highlighted by Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako who responded to those who in recent days had accused him of wrongly intervening on political issues, in the heated climate that precedes the upcoming legislative elections on Saturday 12 May. In a message released by official channels of the Patriarchate, Patriarch Sako reaffirmed the right of the men of the Church to intervene in matters affecting the life of the community, exercising a positive role "to support national cohesion, to protect the rights and freedoms of the person", to favor the establishment of an authentic rule of law, of the principle of citizenship.
In recent days, the Chaldean Patriarch had publicly stated that many of the small political groups animated by Christian leaders and militants who will take part in the next elections are actually influenced by far more influential Kurdish or Shiite political groups. Some local members of the small lists of Christians had reacted negatively to the Patriarch’s statements, seen as an undue clerical interference in temporal matters. The Patriarch, in his message, points out that such criticisms attack the sensitivity and social concern that the Church has always shown for the concrete life of peoples and nations. Agenzia Fides, 8/5/2018)
Categorie: From the church

ASIA/PAKISTAN - The first Catholic nun of the Kacchi Kohli tribe

Fides EN - - Mar, 08/05/2018 - 13:36
Hyderabad - The Catholic Church in Pakistan welcomed the first nun of the Kacchi Kohli tribe, after 70 years of mission among those tribal peoples in Sindh. Here the Dutch Franciscan friars begin their ministry of apostolate among the tribal groups in 1940, under the guidance of Fr. Farman OFM and with the support of two catechists.
Sister Anita Maryam Mansingh, of the Congregation of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary , took her perpetual vows together with another nun in a celebration held in recent days at the Joti Cultural and Educational Center of the Catholic Diocese of Hyderabad. Her uncle, Fr. Mohan Victor OFM, was the first Catholic priest and Franciscan friar from the same tribal group of Kacchi Kohli.
Sr. Anita was born on 8 September 1989 in Tando Allahyar, a small town near Mirpur Khas, and joined the religious community of the nuns of the Presentation in September 2008 after completing her university studies in educational sciences. She made her temporary profession on September 14, 2011. During the period of her formation she worked in several communities in Rawalpindi and Hyderabad.
Speaking to Fides, Sister Anita said: "My uncle Fr. Mohan Victor inspired me to choose religious life and helped me to discern my vocation. I am grateful to my parents and brothers for always supporting me in this choice".
The Sisters of the Presentation began their apostolate in Rawalpindi in 1895. A group of nuns came from Chennai and opened schools to serve the children of British and Irish soldiers. Today there are 60 nuns of the congregation engaged in Pakistan in the fields of education, health care and pastoral work.
Bishop Samson Shukardin, at the head of the Catholic diocese of Hyderabad, told Fides: "It is a joyful moment to see a Catholic nun from the Kacchi Kohli tribe. The tribal people express the beauty of our Church in Sindh. I encourage the nuns to be a hope for the abandoned and the most vulnerable people. I thank them especially for the service they offer, providing quality education to the people of Pakistan in the provinces of Sindh, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, to students of every culture, religion and ethnicity".
Categorie: From the church

ASIA/INDONESIA - Towards the elections: Catholics in Indonesia support Pancasila

Fides EN - - Mar, 08/05/2018 - 12:56
Jakarta - 2018 is an important year for the political situation in Indonesia. Citizens will participate in two political events: firstly, the administrative elections in all the regions; secondly, there will be the registration and presentation of candidates for the 2019 presidential elections. As Agenzia Fides learns, in view of these important events that touch the civil life of the nation, Indonesian Catholics, in different areas of the composite nation, have organized various initiatives and activities that aim at supporting the "Pancasila", or the "Charter of the five principles" that is at the basis of the nation.
In the Archdiocese of Jakarta all religious and social activities are based on the pastoral theme chosen for 2018: "Practicing Pancasila: We are Diverse, We are Indonesia". On April 27th during an Easter celebration organized by the Church they joined several Muslim faithful, while in Semarang in a public demonstration the faithful reiterated their support for Pancasila. In Manado, many parishes participated in the procession on April 30th and a gathering for the solemn opening of the 150th Jubilee anniversary of the Catholic Church in the diocese of Manado. In all these events Indonesian Christians brought Indonesian flags and the emblems of the state, reiterating their feeling and their spirit of being fully Indonesian, faithful to the roots of the nation, and fully Christian.
In this context, the first national coordination meeting of the "Vox Point Institute" , a Catholic lay association, was held in recent days, with the participation of representatives from all over the nation, who gathered in Jakarta from 29 April to 1 May, on the theme "In the spirit of Pancasila, preserving diversity". In the final statement of the meeting, sent to Agenzia Fides, it is stated that Vox Point will try to identify potential Catholic candidates who have integrity, quality and firmness in protecting Pancasila.
In addressing the 2018 regional elections and the 2019 presidential elections, "we lay people firmly reject campaigns that exploit ethnic and religious issues and propagate hate speech, false news and intimidation, we reject mobilizations that generate fear and intimidation of voters and also attempts to weaken or even replace the Pancasila ideology. We will participate actively in dialogue with various groups of society". Reaffirming the intent to "cultivate dignified, fair, peaceful, honest, transparent political attitudes, to promote national unity", the statement says: "We ask all citizens to use their right to vote with awareness and we urge local government authorities, law enforcement agencies, other institutions to counteract movements that obscure the Pancasila ".
The text recalls the motto of the national hero, the Jesuit Albertus Soegijapranata SJ when he claimed to be "100% Catholic and 100% Indonesian", and proposes ways to strengthen the call to be "salt and light of the world".
The VPI was officially created in 2016 as a forum for lay Catholics who wish to promote and become involved in socio-political activities in Indonesia. In the Mass celebrated at the meeting, Archbishop Ignazio Suharyo, at the head of the archdiocese of Jakarta, said: "With our strength we will not be able to face this great challenge, we trust in God's help and grace. We are committed to building brotherhood and achieving a just and peaceful coexistence, cultivating the values of unity in diversity, according to Pancasila".
The five principles that form the Pancasila and which inspire the Indonesian Constitution are: faith in the one and only God; justice and human civilization; unity of Indonesia; democracy guided by inner wisdom; social justice for all the people.
Categorie: From the church

EUROPE/ITALY - The Camillians, martyrs of charity and service to the sick

Fides EN - - Mar, 08/05/2018 - 12:38
Rome - On February 2, 1994, the Order of the Ministers of the Sick officially instituted the "Day of the Religious Martyrs of Charity" on May 25, coinciding with the anniversary of the birth of St. Camillus de Lellis. It is a commemoration of over 300 Camillians, seminarians, oblates, novices, brothers and priests, who died in serving the victims of plague in Italy, Spain, Hungary and Croatia during the first four centuries of the life of the Order. "An exemplary testimony of the 'fourth Camillian vote', that is, service to the sick even at the risk of one’s life", says Father Aris Miranda to Agenzia Fides.
The Camillian priest, who is Executive Director of the Camillian Disaster Service International Foundation , a non-profit humanitarian and development organization of the MI, is keen to point out that "the Foundation decided to celebrate this Day, to remember the enthusiasm and the availability of our confreres to accept death in serving the sick who have in some way influenced the way we give witness today. We work in collaboration with the local Churches and with associated organizations , responding to the immediate problems of the populations.
With regard to areas affected by natural disasters, we deal with four areas: Relief, Rehabilitation, Resiliency, Rights".
"Secondly - says Fr. Aris - we want to celebrate the values of solidarity, commitment, generosity, self-denial, fraternal love and the preferential option for the poor who animate our ministry".
On the occasion of this celebration, CADIS organized a conference at the General Curia of the Camillians on May 25, 2018, with the purpose of sharing its vision and mission in a context of historical continuity with respect to the call and the spirit of the fourth Camillian vote. The Camillian Disaster Service International Foundation is a non-profit humanitarian and development organization of the Order of Ministers of the Sick . The Foundation supports the global mission of witnessing the mercy and compassion of Christ to the sick, who suffer, and to the most vulnerable populations.
Categorie: From the church

AMERICA - Latin American Bishops create "Bridges of Solidarity" to help Venezuelan migrants

Fides EN - - Mar, 08/05/2018 - 11:57
Vatican City - "Bridges of Solidarity - Integrated pastoral plan to help Venezuelan migrants in South America" is the name of the project presented yesterday, May 7, in the Vatican press room, which was prepared by eight Episcopal Conferences of South America with the help of the Migrant and Refugee Section of the Vatican Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development. The plan aims to welcome, protect, promote and integrate migrants and refugees, accompanying them at every stage of their journey, from departure to arrival, and even in their possible return home.
According to the International Organization for Migration , in the last 2 years hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans have fled to neighboring countries due to the political and economic crisis and in this period there have been many initiatives of the particular Churches in their defense and help .
"It is a situation that pushes many Venezuelans to find ways to alleviate their suffering by going to another country - said Fr. Arturo Sosa, Superior General of the Society of Jesus after the press conference - this is why this project of the 8 Episcopal Conferences is a very important gesture of solidarity ... At the moment the Venezuelans need help and this is a way to contribute, see the suffering of people and try to find ways to support them".
The Bishops' conferences of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay and Peru forged a coordinated action plan to offer needed services to Venezuelans, other vulnerable migrants and the local communities that host them, but above all, as pointed out by Fr. Sosa, "integration in the society they reach" because this is very important. The plan will be launched in coming days and will have an initial duration of two years, it will also address the most vulnerable people already present in each of the eight host countries and it is hoped that it will serve as a model for other countries experiencing similar migration problems.
Categorie: From the church

AFRICA/CENTRAL AFRICA - "Fr. Albert, a pastor esteemed for his action for reconciliation between Christians and Muslims"

Fides EN - - Mar, 08/05/2018 - 11:40
Bangui - "Fr. Albert, seventy-one years old and among the oldest priests of the clergy of Bangui, was a pastor esteemed and known for his simplicity and sympathy, and above all for his discreet and tireless work in favor of reconciliation between Christians and Muslims", writes to Agenzia Fides Fr. Federico Trinchero, a Carmelite of the monastery of Our Lady of Carmel in Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic, recalling Fr. Albert Tungumale Baba, the priest killed together with about twenty faithful on the morning of May 1, in the attack against the parish of Notre Dame de Fatima by an armed group from the Km5 district.
"During the most acute phases of the war, he had received thousands of refugees from neighboring areas for several years in his parish, very close to Km5. Fr. Albert, moreover, was known to all for his great love for Sango, the national language of Central Africa, not particularly rich in vocabulary. Fr. Albert could translate every word , with brilliant solutions or funny words", says the missionary.
"In an interview Fr. Albert had said that only God can now save Central Africa. Many are still trying to save Central Africa: the national army, the African Union troops, the French mission , the soldiers of the European Union, MINUSCA, the great mission of the UN and now the Russians are on the horizon. Even Pope Francis tried with his visit in November 2015, unfortunately, the effect of that visit vanished and the opportunity to turn page was once again wasted. Clashes have multiplied over the entire country and peace seems almost more distant than before", writes Fr. Federico.
The missionary reiterates that "the war in Central Africa, which began as early as 2012, is not a confessional or ethnic clash. Rather it is the umpteenth conflict for the conquest of power and for the exploitation of the riches of which the subsoil abounds. Unfortunately, the confessional element has entered violently, poisoning the coexistence between Christians and Muslims that made Central Africa an example of peaceful coexistance".
During the homily, on the occasion of the funeral of the murdered priest and some of the victims, His Eminence Cardinal Dieudonné Nzapalainga, Archbishop of Bangui, denounced the inertia of the government, the slowness of the UN and the risk that Christians give in to discouragement or, worse still, to the logic of violence and revenge. There is an insidious enemy that is destroying Central Africa. And this enemy, the Cardinal pointed out, is the devil. Only the weapons of faith can overcome it.
"Bangui, wounded at the heart of its faith, is not angry with God. It is rather angry with those men who do not want peace and persist in blocking the Country, as if it were ineluctably condemned to misery and war. Bangui and all of Central Africa are looking for heroes - among the rulers, soldiers, the young - who stand up as one man and say no to war and yes to peace", concludes Fr. Federico.
Categorie: From the church

AMERICA/PERU - Thousands of Peruvians march for the promotion and protection of life

Fides EN - - Lun, 07/05/2018 - 13:35
Lima - "Pope Francis knows the march for life very well, on two occasions he personally wrote to me, encouraging me and even advising me how to organize it, so if the maximum leader of the Church writes to a poor priest in South America, this gives me great peace and tranquility".
This is what Fr. Luis Gaspar, executive director for the "March for life" in Peru says to Agenzia Fides.
Since 2013, when the first March for life in the country was held, the Archbishopric of Lima entrusted Father Gaspar with the organization of the event, which has grown from year to year and gathered approximately 750 thousand people in 2016. Last year, the Cardinal Archbishop of Lima, Juan Luis Cipriani, took the decision to suspend the March in March 2017 because of the natural disasters caused by the phenomenon of El Niño in the north of the Peruvian coast, inviting everyone to lend themselves as volunteers to help in the affected areas. This year 2018, according to the organizers, the march under the motto "United for life" saw the participation of over 800 thousand people.
The event is usually held on 25 March, on the solemnity of the Lord's Annunciation, when the "Unborn Child Day" is celebrated in Peru, but this year the march was postponed to Saturday 5 May, in the afternoon, because as Cardinal Cipriani explained, "it seemed close to the Pope's visit to the Country", which took place from 18 to 21 January.
During the opening ceremony of the March, Fr. Gaspar read the greetings of Pope Francis encouraging all the organizers and participants: "May the joy that comes from the encounter with the risen Jesus Christ, the Lord of the history of every human being and source of true joy, become a missionary force that helps to arouse in everyone's hearts a greater commitment to the promotion and protection of human life, especially that of those helpless and marginalized brothers and sisters in society, remembering that it is the primary value and primordial right of every person".
At the end of the march, Cardinal Cipriani thus exhorted thousands of Peruvians gathered in the Costa Verde esplanade: "Let us not eradicate from this marvelous people this faith that is in everyone". The Pope told us: I see and touch your faith and I too see and touch this faith. Yes to life".
During the event it was announced that today, May 7, 10 essential measures to strengthen the family will be handed over to State authorities.

Categorie: From the church