AFRICA/CENTRAL AFRICA - A priest killed in an attack on a church in Bangui, already assaulted in 2014

Fides EN - - Mer, 02/05/2018 - 13:16
Bangui - An unreal and sad calm surrounds Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, after yesterday’s massacre, 1 May, where at least 16 people died, including a Catholic priest, Don Albert Toungoumale-Baba, killed in Notre Dame de Fatima church, not far from the PK5 district, inhabited mostly by Muslims. According to local Church sources contacted by Agenzia Fides "at the moment the situation is calm in Bangui, there are no reported shootings. We are awaiting a declaration by His Eminence Cardinal Dieudonné Nzapalainga, Archbishop of Bangui, who has just returned from Europe".
The incidents broke out when the security forces stopped a vehicle carrying Moussa Empereur, a member of a self-defense militia of the PK5. In trying to escape the arrest, he was wounded by the military. His men then attacked the security forces and unleashed the violence against civilians.
An armed group attacked the parish of Notre Dame de Fatima, while don Albert Toungoumale-Baba and some faithful were celebrating Mass on the occasion of the anniversary of St. Joseph. "The priest who was killed was not the parish priest of Notre Dame of Fatima, but a Central African priest , who was there for the celebration as chaplain of the Fraternité Saint Joseph movement", say Fides sources. The Notre Dame de Fatima Church suffered a bloody assault on 28 May 2014, during which 18 faithful were killed .
According to a testimony from the local press, "an angry mob decided to transport the body of the priest killed to the Presidency. The procession passed through Lakouanga neighborhood, where a mosque was destroyed and two men were burned alive. The procession reached the center of the city before being dispersed near the Presidency".
Doctors Without Borders said that an angry mob had gathered in front of the NGO hospital in the Sica district, threatening to destroy the hospital and hindering the access of ambulances.
The UN Mission in Central Africa and the President of the Republic, Faustin-Archange Touadéra, have invited the population to keep calm.
Categorie: From the church

AMERICA/NICARAGUA - National dialogue: need to talk about democracy, freedom, independence of powers

Fides EN - - Mer, 02/05/2018 - 12:59
Matagalpa - The democratization of the country and the real independence of the powers of the State should be topics to be addressed in the national dialogue in which several Catholic Bishops will act as mediators and witnesses: this was stated by the Bishop of the diocese of Matagalpa, Mgr. Rolando José Álvarez Lagos, in a note sent to Agenzia Fides.
Presiding over the religious solemnity of Saint Joseph in the parish of San José Obrero in El Tuma, one of the main urban concentrations in the municipality of El Tuma-La Dalia, Mgr. Álvarez recalled yesterday that the situation in the country "is very complicated".
"You know that, as Bishops of Nicaragua, we have embarked on a difficult path, a path in which there are many thorns, there are many risks and dangers, because the situation in Nicaragua is very complex", said Mgr. Alvarez in his homily to the faithful.
According to the Bishop, dialogue must involve "the broadest representative sectors of the Nicaraguan population, and each one has his own approach, his point of view". It is often difficult for us to be at the center and seek conciliation, act as a bridge and a channel of communication between the parties, to be able to find a path that will lead us all to a consensus", reads the note.
Nicaragua is going through a crisis that has lasted for two weeks, with massive demonstrations against President Ortega, which began after the announcement of a draconian provision to cut pensions.
Agitation continued although the president revoked his decision, after the numerous victims caused by the repression of the police.
The population now demands the resignation of Ortega and his wife, Vice-President Rosario Murillo, because they consider them to be corrupt, violators of human rights, civil rights and public freedoms.
In all this affair, the Catholic Church has played a leading role, because it took to the streets to defend young Catholics who peacefully called for justice for the elderly in the country.
The international press noticed Nicaragua when thousands of Nicaraguan people from all over the country took part in the march "to show faith in God and love for Nicaragua" organized by the Episcopal Conference .
Since the protests began, the violent clashes that have taken place in Nicaragua have caused at least 42 deaths and a total of 48 missing, according to the Center for Human Rights of Nicaragua , while other humanitarian organizations report that this figure reaches 63 victims.
Categorie: From the church

ASIA/IRAQ - Chaldean Patriarchate: no to the use of symbols and religious references for electoral propaganda

Fides EN - - Mer, 02/05/2018 - 12:31
Baghdad - Candidates in the upcoming Iraqi political elections must avoid exploiting symbols and religious references as instruments of electoral propaganda. This is the request expressed by the Patriarchate of Babylon of the Chaldeans in view of the election on 12 May. In order to gather electoral support the candidates must only refer to their professional skills and their personal talents. Christian candidates, in particular, must avoid claiming alleged sponsorships and support from ecclesiastical authorities.
The case that needed to be clarified was in particular that of Sarkis Agajan, former Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister in the Government of the Autonomous Region of Iraqi Kurdistan, whose work was compared to that of Christ in some messages of electoral propaganda spread through social networks. "We respect Professor Agajan" the patriarchal statement reads, "but we cannot compare him to Christ".
Almost 25 million potential voters are called to cast their votes in the upcoming national elections. Almost 7 thousand candidates came together to compete for the 329 seats in Parliament, grouped into 87 lists, many of which were organized only at a local or regional level.
There are at least 9 small political groups animated by Christian leaders and militants who will take part in the next elections, competing to win the 5 seats - distributed individually in the 5 provinces of Baghdad, Kirkuk, Erbil, Dohuk and Nineveh - that the quota system reserves for Christian minorities.
Categorie: From the church

ASIA/LAOS - Four new priests: the Church rejoices

Fides EN - - Mer, 02/05/2018 - 12:06
Vientiane - The Church of Laos rejoices for the ordination of four new priests. As confirmed to Agenzia Fides, on April 29th the small Catholic community in Laos lived a solemn Eucharist celebrated in the Cathedral of St. Louis, in Takhek, in central Laos, with the ordination of four new priests: Fr. Peter Mituna Tanvilay of the Apostolic Vicariate of Khamnouan-Savnnakhet ; Fr. Mattia Paly and Fr. Pietro Bounten Heuanded, of the Apostolic Vicariate of Paksé ; Fr. Francesco Saverio Sayasith, of the Apostolic Vicariate of Luang Prabang . The day after the ordination, on April 30, the new priests celebrated the first Holy Mass in the chapel of Jean-Marie Vianney Seminary, in Takhek.
The celebration, note local sources of Fides, was a moment of joy for the Laotian Church. Mgr. Jean-Marie Inthirath, Apostolic Vicar of Paksé presided over the ordination rite, together with Mgr. Tito Banchong, Apostolic Administrator of Luang Prabang, while almost all the priests of Laos, many religious women, and many lay faithful were present. Sources of Fides confirm that there was no interference or any obstacle posed by the civil authorities, who were even informed of the ordination ceremony.
The new priestly ordinations constitute an important step forward for the local Church which, as Cardinal Louis-Marie Ling Mangkhanekhoun, Apostolic Vicar of Vientiane told Fides, "needs new priests: for this reason the work of formation and deepening of the faith is very important for us today".
The Church in Laos experienced two historical events in recent years: the first was the celebration held in the Vientiane capital on 11 December 2016, when Filipino Cardinal Orlando Quevedo, special envoy of Pope Francis, proclaimed the beatification of 17 new martyrs, including missionaries and Laotian laity, killed between 1954 and 1970 by the Pathet Lao communist guerrillas. The martyrs were recognized by Pope Francis in 2015, in two distinct causes of beatification: the first is that of the Italian missionary Mario Borzaga and catechist Paolo Thoj Xyooj. The second concerns ThaoTien, first Laotian priest, and 14 companions.
A second important step was the creation of the first Laotian Cardinal, Bishop Louis-Marie Ling Mangkhanekhoun, now Apostolic Vicar in Vientiane, who took possession of the Roman church of San Silvestro in Capite on 22 April.
The Catholic Church in Laos is made up of about 60 thousand baptized . The last priestly ordinations date back to 2016: Don Paolo Lattana Sunthon, Don Agostino Saegna Be Bunti, Don Michele Kanthak Vilae Luong Di, all belonging to the Apostolic Vicariate of Luang Prabang.
In 2005, thirty years after the last ordination of 1975, priest Sophone Vilavongsy, Laotian and missionary of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate was ordained in Vientiane. In December 2006 Pierre Wilaiphorn Phonasa and Luca Sukpaphorn Duangchansai became priests. In 2009 in Savannakhet it was the turn of Fr. Matthieu Somdet Kaluan. In 2011 another new priest was Fr. Pierre Buntha Silaphet.
Today, in addition to the three apostolic Vicars, the Laotian diocesan priests present in the country as a whole, with the four newly ordained, now rise to 24, while 11 are religious priests.
Categorie: From the church

ASIA/AFGHANISTAN - A Barnabite in Kabul: "These attacks are crimes against humanity"

Fides EN - - Mer, 02/05/2018 - 11:14
Kabul - "We are shocked but we are well, thank God. Although the last attack took place near the Embassy, I did not suffer any consequences. The sisters, compared to me, are much more exposed because they live in popular neighborhoods and without any kind of protection. It is true that I am here to do good and are well liked by the population, but the problem is that they could become the target of an attack at any moment". This is the testimony sent from Kabul to Agenzia Fides by Father Giovanni Scalese, a Barnabite missionary, titular of the Missio sui iuris of Afghanistan, following the double suicide attack that, on Monday 30 April, killed more than 25 people, including nine journalists, also causing a very high number of wounded. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attacks.
The first bombing, which occurred around 8:00 am local time in the Shashdarak area, close to several government institutions and NATO headquarters, had the aim of attracting reporters, who were then hit by a second suicide bomber who, pretending to be a communication operator, blew himself up 20 minutes later. "Journalists, who are witnesses to what happens, are naturally a privileged target of terrorists. But what is most striking is the evil of the action: to provoke an explosion, to wait for rescuers, journalists and the police to gather, and then to provoke another explosion. These are not military actions, they are crimes against humanity", notes Fr. Scalese.
Only a month ago, it was the Barnabite who sent words of hope from Afghanistan, highlighting the positive signs in the month of February, when the Taliban declared that they were ready to start negotiations with the United States and when Ashraf Ghani, Afghan president, made a peace deal proposal with the Taliban themselves. Today Fr. Scalese says: "It is clear that the inclusion of ISIS in the Afghan war is a sign that some do not want an agreement between the government and the Taliban. ISIS is a foreign body in Afghanistan, specially created to sow terror, without any other logic than destabilization as an end in itself. The Taliban have a different philosophy. In the communiqué with which they announced the beginning of the spring offensive, they wrote: 'Special attention must be given to the protection of the life and property of the civilian population, for which all precautionary measures must be taken when attacking the objectives chosen'".
In Afghanistan, the Catholic presence was admitted at the beginning of the twentieth century as a simple spiritual assistance within the Italian Embassy in Kabul and elevated to Missio sui iuris in 2002 by John Paul II. Today the mission, entrusted to Barnabite father Giovanni Scalese, continues to have a basis in the diplomatic structure. In the Afghan capital there are also the Mother Teresa of Calcutta sisters and the Pro Bambini of Kabul inter-congregational association.

Categorie: From the church

AMERICA/BRAZIL - Religious life in the Pan-Amazon region: “being present there where life is most in danger”

Fides EN - - Ven, 27/04/2018 - 18:11
Tabatinga - "This meeting has been a gift of God’s grace " Fides was told by Bishop Adolfo Zon, Alto Solimões , in whose diocese of Tabatinga, from 20 to 24 April there was a meeting of Religious Congregations and projects with a Pan-Amazon view, with about 90 participants representing 30 different religious communities .
A main point of the meeting, found also in the final message, was inter-congregational and inter-institutional work, presently being considered in various parts of the Amazon region. In this sense Bishop Zon, whose diocese borders with Brazil, Colombia and Peru underlined the importance of joint organization in this triple border and how the three ecclesiastic circumscriptions , "are working on the project of evangelisation ".
For all those present, the meeting created great hopes for building a Church with an Amazon and Indigenous face in view of the Pan-Amazon Synod in the region. As the final message underlines new paths for the ‘Church and Integral Ecology’, the theme of the Synod, "will be discovered there where there is a process of listening".
The religious present expressed the necessity "enter a dynamic constant of profound conversion", so that the Amazon region and its people may capture the hearts of missionaries. At the same time the Final Message, insists on the necessity to "cross all borders geographical, symbolic, cultural, personal and congregational". All this in view of becoming "a Church that is open and missionary, and leads us to be present there where the Church is most in danger, in the peripheries".
Pan-Amazon Religious life expresses elements capable of inventing new models of evangelisation, better suited to the present times and the present ecclesial and local realities. All this in view of the Synod process in which local and universal reflection can exert a profound transformation of Church life in the region, just as the mission of Religious Consecrated Life played for centuries a decisive role among the peoples of the Amazon region, whom it is essential to listen to and accompany.

Categorie: From the church

ASIA/SOUTH KOREA - Bishop You: “We entrust to our Korean martyrs peace in Korea

Fides EN - - Ven, 27/04/2018 - 17:03
ASIA/SOUTH KOREA - Bishop You: “We entrust to our Korean martyrs peace in Korea
Daejeon - “I was deeply moved while watching on television the meeting of the two Korean leaders. Then I prayed, I thanked God and gave my blessing too. I am truly happy because a new era has opened: truy we can God works surprising great wonders”: with these words Bishop Lazzaro You Heung-sik, of the diocese of Daejeon and president of the Bishops Commission for Society, comments for Fides the historic meeting of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and the South Korean president Moon Jae-in , held today in Panmunjom, in a demilitarised zone in south Korea.
“I invoked the protection of the Blessed Mary and the Korean martyrs: to them I entrust this journey towards reconciliation peace, for the good of the entire Korean people and all humanity”, the Bishop adds.
Bishop Lazzaro explains: “The event was deeply emotional. Today in Korea there is an air of great optimism and hope. Something which seemed impossible only a few months ago when there was talk of war, today has actually happened. Today we say to the Lord: complete Your work. We are brothers: as Koreans we are one people”. Great merit, he adds “must be attributed to president Moon, who is a Catholic, and he believed deeply in this possibility and worked hard for this result”.
“Now we hope to have the opportunity to help the people of North Korea suffering from hunger and poverty. The goals of nuclear disarmament and the signing of an authentic peace agreement are within reach. Not only are they possible, they are also necessary : they are the path and the proper fruit of this summit” he continues, recalling that “peace in the region needs also the political will of actors like China and the United States of America”.
“Korea’s Catholics – the bishop concluded – lived this event in prayer and will continue to accompany with prayer the path to dialogue and peace, promoting initiatives of exchange and cooperation with the North, helping to build authentic reconciliation and brotherhood ”.
Categorie: From the church

AFRICA/NIGERIA - “Not Too Young to Run”: young people ready to be leaders

Fides EN - - Ven, 27/04/2018 - 16:21
AFRICA/NIGERIA- Not Too Young to Run: young Nigerians ready to be leaders

Abuja – Presidential and parliamentary elections in Nigeria are scheduled for16 February 2019, and the deadline for the presentation of candidacy has been set for the period between 18 August and 7 October of this year. This is the first time in the country’s history that the opposition defeats the party in government putting an end to the government of the People’s Democratic Party , in power uninterruptedly since 1999.

“It is no novelty that as elections draw near tension in the political climate heightens. In these contexts in Africa we see the amplification of rhetoric, promises and, nearly always, an increase in episodes of violence and death”, Fides was told by Fr. Joseph Tile Nomhwange, a priest belonging to the Society of African Missions.

“Nigeria’s democratic context, in force since 1999, registered in actual fact a democracy to a large extent not for nation, not for the people. Despite the promises of several alternating governments, Nigerians have continued to experience conditions of hunger and unprecedented precariousness in every sector”, says Fr. Joseph.

The priest, who is also a member of the Catholic Secretariat Mission and Dialogue, told Fides: “Today young Nigerians seem to be waking up and realising that they have been manipulated and put aside for too long. The feeling of exclusion which has oppressed them hitherto is disappearing and they are ready to be the leaders of tomorrow, a tomorrow which means to today”.

In a population of almost 200 million, more than half are under 30. “The conviction that if you are old enough to vote, you are adult enough to be voted has given rise to a youth movement called simply ‘Not too young to run’ with three fundamental goals. Firstly to increase awareness of the situation of rights of youth all over the world running for electoral positions; the promotion of these rights; the aspiration of young people the world over to candidate themselves for an electoral office. Lowering the age of those able to compete for political jobs, young Nigerians are stating that they have something to say and they want to be heard. The president of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari, age 75, is examining a draft law presented by young citizens which foresees a change in the Constitution and lower age for qualification for presidency from 40 to 35 years”.

“For too long in Nigeria – the missionary continues – the role of young people has been simply pawns in electoral vote rigging by politicians and victims of violence caused by continual clashes. Moreover corruption at all levels continues to be the ruin of every social sector. One of the principal mandates of the present administration is precisely the fight against corruption and the response will be seen at the polling stations, when Nigerians will go to express their opinion regarding how this administration has fought against or helped to institutionalise corruption in Nigeria”. These elections, concludes Fr. Joseph Nomhwange “are a platform for responding to similar questions in all sectors of society, in economy education, infrastructures, job creation, security of life and property, as well as the emancipation of youth power and the alleviation of poverty in such a wealthy country. These African youths are stating basically two things: we want to express our opinions and we want to be co-pilots as our country drives towards the future”.

Categorie: From the church

VATICAN - Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples to visit Namibia and Botswanan

Fides EN - - Ven, 27/04/2018 - 15:34
Vatican City - Archbishop Rugambwa Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples will make a pastoral visit to Namibia and Botswana, from 1 – 12 May 2018.
The main hopes of the visit are: to learn more about the life and mission of the local Church, to acknowledge achievements and to encourage local missionary agents in the great work of evangelization which still lies ahead. Moreover, in the course of the visit Archbishop Rugambwa will preside at the Episcopal Ordination of His Excellency Willem Christiaans, Bishop-Elect of Keetmanshoop and former National Director of the Pontifical Missionary Societies in Namibia.
The first part of the journey involves a stop in Pretoria , the seat of the Apostolic Nunciature to South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland. On Wednesday, May 2nd, Archbishop Rugambwa will travel from Pretoria to Namibia, where he will make an afternoon visit to the Catholic Hospital of the Archdiocese of Windhoek. On Thursday, May 3rd, he will hold a meeting with Religious Superiors, visit the Poor Clares and the Missionary Benedictine Sisters of Tutzing, and, in the afternoon, preside over the Eucharistic celebration at St. Mary’s Cathedral. He will then travel to the Diocese of Keetmanshoop, located in the southern part of Namibia, where, on Saturday, May 5th, he will preside at the Episcopal Ordination of Bishop-Elect Willem Christiaans. In the afternoon of the same day, the Archbishop will meet with Priests and visit some local Religious houses. After returning to Windhoek, on Monday, May 7th, there will be a visit to the National Major Seminary, St. Charles Lwanga, which will include the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. In the afternoon he will return to Pretoria, where he will meet with the Administrative Board of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference.
On Tuesday, May 8th, His Excellency will travel to Botswana, where, upon his arrival in the Diocese of Gaborone, he will hold a meeting with Religious Superiors. On the following day, Wednesday, May 9th, there will be separate meetings with catechists and the College of Consultors of the vacant Diocese of Gaborone. In the afternoon, the Archbishop will visit St. Joseph’s College, Kgale, and then celebrate Holy Mass at Christ the King Cathedral.
On Thursday, May10th, Archbishop Rugambwa will travel to Maun, in the Diocese of Francistown, an area of primary evangelization located in the northern part of Botswana. Various missions will be visited and Holy Mass for the Feast of the Ascension of Our Lord will be celebrated.
On Saturday, May 12th, His Excellency will return to Rome.
Even though the majority of the population of Namibia and Botswana is Christian, Catholics in both countries still constitute a minority. In Namibia, Catholics represent about 17% of the total population while in Botswana the Catholic Church makes up only 5-6% of the entire population.

Categorie: From the church

AFRICA/NIGERIA - “Let the President step down if he is unable to defend the nation”

Fides EN - - Ven, 27/04/2018 - 13:38
Abuja - “It is time for the President to choose the path of honour and consider stepping aside to save the nation from complete collapse ”. With these words the Bishops of Nigeria demand the resignation of President Muhammadu Buhari in a statement sent also to Fides, issued following the massacre on 24 April in the village of Mbalom , and the assassination of two priests, Rev. Joseph Gor and Rev. don Felix Tyolaha, together with 15 people of the parish.
The Nigerian Bishops in Rome for the ad limina visit, express anguish, grief and anger. “These innocent souls met their untimely death at the hands of a wicked and inhuman gang of rampaging and murderous terrorists who have turned the vast lands of the Middle Belt and other parts of Nigeria into a massive graveyard”.
“On 3 Jan Gor tweeted: “We live in fear the Fulani are back in the area of Mbalom. They refuse to leave. They continue to pasture their flocks. We have no means of defending ourselves” the tweet said. “Their desperate cries for security and help went unheeded by those who should have heard them” say the Bishops referring to the two priests killed: “They could have fled but true to their vocation they remained to continue to serve their people right unto death”.
The Bishops accuse the federal government and its security agencies of being responsible for insecurity. “How can the federal government stand back while its security agencies deliberately turn a blind eye to the cries and wails of helpless unarmed citizens who remain sitting ducks in their homes, farms, highways and now even in the holy places of worship?”.
“For over two years now the Catholic Bishops’ Conference along with many other well-meaning Nigerians has consistently asked the President to rethink the configuration of his security apparatus and strategy” the statement recalls. “Along with millions of Nigerians we have expressed our lack of confidence in the security agencies which the President deliberately placed in the hands of the adherents of only one religion”. On 8 February a delegation of bishops paid a visit to the President during which they raised alarm over the security of the nation . “Since then – the statement underlines- bloodletting and destruction of homes as well as farmlands have increased in intensity and brutality”. “Today we Christians feel violated and betrayed in a nation that we have all continued to serve and pray for”. “If the President cannot keep our country safe then he automatically loses the trust of the citizens” say the Bishops calling on the President to step down.
Categorie: From the church

ASIA/SOUTH KOREA - Catholic prayers accompany inter-Korean summit

Fides EN - - Ven, 27/04/2018 - 12:08

Seoul – While the leaders of North Korea and South Korea met for an inter-korean Summit on 27 April, South Korean Catholics in the different dioceses were praying that the meeting would be a success. “It is our most sincere desire that it will launched a long term talks. Dialogue can open the doors to peace, prosperity and reconciliation in the region”, Fides was told by Fr Ho Chang.
The history making meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean president Moon Jae-in was held on Korean soil, just south of the village of Panmunjom, inside the demilitarised territory where the end of the Korean war was signed in 1953.
This is the third such summit, after two held in the past in Pyongyang, North Korea, the last one 11 years ago. Kim Jong-un is the first leader North Korean leader to cross the frontier and enter south korean territory since the end of the Korean war in 1953.
The summit will focus on a possible giving-up of nuclear weapons on the part of North Korea and is propaedeutic to a meeting between Kim and the president of the United States Trump scheduled for early June. “The whole world is watching the summit with attention and with hope. In South Korea Christians as well as other believers in Asia hope this event will be decisive for opening a marvellous opportunity for dialogue”, says Fr. Ho.
Prayers for peace are incessant also in other Asian countries: in Chiang Mai, Thailand, the CCA, ecumenical Christian Conference of Asia comprising leaders of various Christian confessions, held special prayers for a positive outcome to the summit.
“With fervent prayer we hope and we ask God that the leaders of North Korea and South Korea will identify suitable solutions and paths for building peace and reconciliation, based on equality, reciprocal respect, reciprocal goodwill and peaceful co-existence ”, CCA Secretary General, Mathews George Chunakara, told Fides . "It is our sincere hope that this inter-korean meeting may level the path towards a much awaited meeting of North Korean Kim Jong Un and President Trump of the United States ", says Chunakara. “Christian communities throughout Asia - he concludes – are praying and supporting the request, expressed also by the North Korea Council of Churches , for the signing of a real peace agreement to replace the armistice agreement signed in 1953".

Categorie: From the church

AMERICA/MEXICO - Discovery of the body of Catholic priest taken hostage 3 April

Fides EN - - Ven, 27/04/2018 - 10:09
Città del Messico – Yesterday evening through its official Communications Office the Archdiocese Primate of Mexico issued a statement “reporting with grief the discovery on 25 April in the town of Cuernavaca, Morelos, of the dead body of Rev. Moisés Fabila Reyes, a member of the clergy of this archdiocese, who exercised his ministry in the world renowned Basilica of Guadalupe”. The text sent to Fides, ends with a message of condolence for the family and friends of Rev. Moises assuring prayers for the eternal rest of his soul.
Fides learned from local sources that the 83 year old priest was taken hostage on April 3 while travelling with family members from Mexico City to Cuernavaca, but because of his precarious health condition and tension for state of detention he died before the ransom could be paid. Born 15 December 1934 at Valle de Bravo, Mexico State, he was ordained a priest on 29 June 1961 in Mexico City cathedral.
Rev. Moisés Fabila Reyes was the third priest killed in Mexico in the month of April. In the evening of 20 April Rev. Juan Miguel Contreras García, aged 33, recently ordained priest, was killed at the end of the mass he was celebrating in the parish of St Pio di Pietrelcina in Tlajomulco, Jalisco State, where he had been sent to replace another priest who had received death threats . Rev. Rubén Alcántara Díaz, age 50, Judicial Vicar of the diocese of Izcalli, Cuautitlán, was stabbed to death in the evening of 18 April in his office adjacent to Nuestra Señora de Carmen church, in the district of Cumbria. .
Categorie: From the church

AFRICA/CHAD - Catholic Bishops say referendum needed to change the Constitution

Fides EN - - Gio, 26/04/2018 - 16:11
N’Djamena - “We need a referendum to change the constitution” the Catholic Bishops of Chad said in a statement issued at the end of their recent Plenary Meeting and sent to Fides.
On 30 April Chad’s National Assembly will vote to adopt a plan to reform the Constitution boycotted by the Opposition but approved by the government on 10 April. Controversial issues include the extension of the presidential mandate from 5 to 6 years and the extension of the powers of the head of state. According to the Opposition the new Constitution serves mainly to render perpetual the power of President Idriss Déby Itno. The latter however affirms that the creation of a Fourth Republic will enable the country to tackle its problems.
The Bishops express concern about the "process followed to establish the Fourth Republic of Chad. This process, as many people fear, threatens to seriously falsify the rules of democracy, since it spread the germ of division among the citizens”.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Chad agrees with those who affirm that the theme of the Fourth Republic was not at all debated by the citizens: “Besides divergences in the political class ,we see the majority of the people fail to realise what is happening . Such a fundamental change should be made with respect for the Constitution which at Article. 224 states “the revision of the Constitution is approved by a referendum”."
The Bishops say they are not in favour of Diya, reparation for bloody crimes prescribed by Sharia law, because “it compromises social peace, undermines efforts to restore Rule of Law and ruins community economy”. This is why the bishops urge the competent authorities not to impose this practice in a community where it is not tradition and even in communities where it is practiced, its application must be strictly regulated”. The Bishops call for the reinforcement of the national judicial system and the abolishment of inter-community accords for the application of Diya “because those accords have caused tension between the communities”.
“Work for peace while not forgetting the people” conclude the Bishops in an address to the country’s political, administrative, social and religious leaders.
Categorie: From the church

AMERICA/ANTILLES -- Youth reflect on Amoris Laetitia: family remains strength and sign of hope

Fides EN - - Gio, 26/04/2018 - 13:03

Antilles – “We live on small islands exposed to meteorological phenomena. Last year we had a series of category 3 hurricanes, one after the other. The damage was unbelievable. Our region is defenceless ”. This was part of a report sent to Fides by Romereports Agency and given by Archbishop Charles Jason Gordon, of Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, in Rome on 16 April, while he was in Rome for the Ad limina apostolorum Visit with 22 bishops of the Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of the Antilles . These visits offer Bishops the chance to reflect with the Holy Father on fundamental issues such as missionary work, new evangelisation, vocations and in particular the vulnerability of the region.
The AEC includes Bishops from 24 territories, a complicated political, cultural, religious, demographic, geographical, historical and linguistic realty. The diversity of the Antilles is visible in the life of the local Church. In most of the islands the majority of the people are Catholics, in Guadalupe and Martinique, Catholics are over 80%, but in others such as Cayman and Jamaica, Catholics account for less than 4%.
In the same report Bishop Gabriel Malzaire of Roseau, Dominica, affirms: "We must increase awareness of the seriousness of climate change. Dominica is known as the Caribbean’s ‘natural island’. It has a spectacular vegetation but frequent hurricanes cause much damage and we have to work hard to help the forest grow again".
Difficulties facing the people and the Church in this region include religious sects, secularisation, family crisis, scarcity of vocation, concern for the future for young people, social tension, poverty, climate change and in particular the scourge of human trafficking. To tackle these challenges the Catholic Church in the Antilles organises once every three years a meeting for youth to study and strengthen the faith reflecting on papal teaching. This year the meeting will be held in July and will reflect on Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Amoris laetitia".
“We will discuss Amoris Laetitia and everyone is enthusiastic. We have another youth group in Panama. We have started to collect funds and hold preparatory meetings. The projects are underway . They are preparing for World Youth Day in Panama" Fides was told by Archbishop Charles Janson Gordon, responsible for Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.
The Bishops agreed on the importance in pastoral care to use patience, mercy and special care for families. Despite its fragility, the peculiar needs of the Caribbean family, its capacity to recuperate and its inclusive nature, it remains a point of strength and a sign of hope for the entire society.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Antilles comprises the Bishops of Lesser Antilles, Jamaica, Belize, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana. AEC is also a member of CELAM, the Council of Catholic Bishops’ Conferences in Latin America and the Caribbean. The Catholic Church in Antilles is composed of 5 archdiocese, 14 dioceses and 2 missions sui iuris.

Categorie: From the church

AFRICA/UGANDA - National and diocesan Caritas wants more inclusion for disabled persons

Fides EN - - Gio, 26/04/2018 - 11:26
Kisubi – Co-workers and staff of Caritas Uganda are in Kisubi for a formation seminar on inclusive development to promote full integration in society for people with a disability .
Some 50 participants, including Caritas Uganda staff, diocesan Caritas Programme and Advocacy Managers from all 19 dioceses, together with representatives of national and local government are reflecting on the Gospel from Matthew: “Get up, Pick up your Mat and Go” .
A recent statement sent to Fides by Godfrey Onentho, Caritas Uganda Coordinator for research and policies encourages the inclusion of vulnerable persons in Caritas programming and service. “This is unlike gender mainstreaming and programming that seems to receive widespread attention within Caritas programmes at both diocesan and national levels. The training will run concurrently with a study commissioned by Caritas Uganda to identify key disabilities issues and current responses in at least eight of the 19 dioceses, and best practices and challenges within Caritas work in this area” said Onentho.
The Catholic bishops of the countries of east Africa AMECEA said: “The participants are expected to review on Caritas’s current projects focusing on persons with disabilities, focusing on how the project can be made even more inclusive; as well as reflections on how participants can apply the learned principles in their everyday practice of their respective professions. All diocesan and national Caritas staff are also expected to immediately adopt disabilities-sensitive programming in their respective Dioceses after the training
The World Health Organization estimates 10% of the world’s population to be disabled. According to the Uganda’s National Census report of 2002, 4 out of every 25 persons in Uganda have disabilities, thus making it a development concern. Persons with disabilities are more likely to experience adverse socioeconomic outcomes than persons without disabilities, such as less education, poorer health outcomes, lower levels of employment, and higher poverty rates.
According to the National Population and housing Sector 2014 Report, overall for population aged two years and above, the disability prevalence rate was 12.4% while the equivalent for five years and above was close to 14%.
Gender differentials revealed that disability is higher among women compared to men. It also showed that the disability prevalence rate was higher among those living in the rural areas compared to those in the urban areas. Some of the common disabilities in Uganda include visual and hearing impairment, physical and multiple disabilities, mental and psycho-socio disabilities as well as intellectual disabilities and albinism.

Categorie: From the church

ASIA/PAKISTAN - Christian churches and groups take action: praying and fasting with Asia Bibi

Fides EN - - Gio, 26/04/2018 - 11:19
Karachi - Christian churches and groups in Pakistan responded to the call of Asia Bibi to join her in a special day of prayer and fasting on 27 April for her release. The campaign was launched through Asia Bibi’s family, who visited her recently, and the Renaissance Education Foundation Lahore which supports the family members of Asia Bibi and deals with the legal costs of the Case.
Fr. Arthur Charles, parish priest at St John Parish in Karachi immediately sent the message to priests and catechists to inform the faithful using social media. Speaking with Fides, Fr. Arthur Charles said: “I hope to spread the message widely; in my parish community we will have prayers for Asia on two consecutive Fridays and special prayers for her at all Masses next Sunday 29 April ”.
Asia Bibi called on Christians all over the world to pray and fast with her on 27 April when she heard that Judge Saqib Nisar of the Supreme Court of Pakistan had announced: “We will soon make an appointment to hear the case of Asia Bibi”, giving new hope for Mrs Bibi’s release.
Fr. Qaisar Feroz OFM Cap parish priest at St Anthony church in Lahore, joined the initiative and will celebrate Holy Mass for this intention, tomorrow Friday 27 April. Fr. Feroz told Fides: “I trust the decision will be taken on the basis of Justice, I pray the judges will not be conditioned by political or extremist pressure and grant justice to Asia Bibi”.
A local Lay Catholic movement ‘Jesus Youth Pakistan’, urged its members, friends and supporters to join the campaign. Daniel Bashir, the group coordinator told Fides they have organised “an hour of adoration in the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist to entrust to Him the life of Asia”.
A media and social network tom-tom has been activated: Adeel Patras Chaudhry, Director of Jesus Live TV, a Christian TV channel in Pakistan, immediately gave the news in a TV broadcast. In a message to Fides, he said: "I foresee great hope for Asia Bibi, justice will soon be done”.
Emmanuel Neno, Executive Secretary of the Catechesis Commission of the Conference of Pakistani Catholic Bishops ,remarked to Fides: “We are members of the body of Christ, when one part suffers the whole body suffers. We are with Asia Bibi to pray and fast for her”. Fr. Yousuf George, of the diocese of Faisalabad, also assured his prayers: “In the Church of St Joseph we are praying with you, Asia Bibi, may Our Lord Jesus, Prince of peace and justice be with you”. Friar Pascal Robert OFM, a Pakistani Friar residing in Turkey, used his Facebook page to share a brief prayer for Asia Bibi: “May God reunite you with your family”.
Categorie: From the church

ASIA/THAILAND - Institution of the diocese of Chiang Rai first Bishop appointed

Fides EN - - Gio, 26/04/2018 - 10:24
Città del Vaticano – The Holy Father Pope Francis, 25 April 2018, instituted the diocese of Chiang Rai , with territory taken from the Diocese of Chiang Mai, making it a suffragan of the metropolitan See of Bangkok. The Holy Father appointed first Bishop of Chiang Rai, rev. Joseph Vuthilert Haelom, of the clergy of Bangkok, until now Vicar General of the same archdiocese .
The newly instituted Diocese of Chiang Rai is situated in the north-eastern region of the country, it comprises 4 provinces , as well as the District of Ngao in the Province of Lampang. It is a suffragan of the archdiocese of Bangkok. The Bishop’s Residence is in Chiang Rai. The parish church of Nativity of Our Lady Church in Chiang Rai becomes the Cathedral of the new Circumscription .
The first Bishop of Chiang Rai, Joseph Vuthilert Haelom, was born 17 December 1951 at Lamsai, in the province of Pathumthani in the Archdiocese of Bangkok. He entered the Minor diocesan Seminary in Bangkok and successively, completed his studies in philosophy and theology at Lux Mundi National Seminary in Sampran. He was ordained a priest 3 August 1980 for the archdiocese of Bangkok.
He has since ministered as follows: 1980-1981: assistant parish priest at Assumption Cathedral Church in Bangkok; 1981-1985: parish priest at St. Theresa’s Church in Nongjok; 1985-1989: Parish priest at Our Lady of Fatima Church in Bangkok; 1989-1995: Director of St. Joseph Upatham School and Vice-Rector of St. Joseph Minor Seminary in Bangkok; 1995-2000: Director of the diocesan Commission for Social Works and Parish priest at Holy Rosary Church in Bangkok; 2000-2004: Rector of Sampran Pastoral Centre ; 2004-2012: parish priest at Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral in Chiang Mai ; 2005-2012: Vicar General of the diocese of Chiang Mai ; 2012: Vicar General of the archdiocese of Bangkok.

Link correlati :Dati statistici relativi alla nuova diocesi
Categorie: From the church

ASIA/VIETNAM - Bishop of Thanh Hóa appointed

Fides EN - - Gio, 26/04/2018 - 10:02

Città del Vaticano – The Holy Father, Pope Francis on 25 April 2018 appointed Bishop of Thanh Hóa Rev. Joseph Nguyen Duc Cuong of the clergy of Ðà Lat, until now Parish Priest and Dean of Madagui Deanery .
Rev. Joseph Nguyen Duc Cuong, was born 14 October 1953 in Quang Truong, Diocese of Thanh Hóa. He attended the Simon Hoa Minor Seminary in Ðà Lat, moved on to Ðà Lat Major Seminary and continued his studies at St Pius X Pontifical College Ðà Lat. Lastly he completed his priestly formation at St. Joseph Major Seminary, Saigon. In 2012 he took a course in Leadership at the East Asian Pastoral Institute in Manila in the Philippines. He was ordained a priest on 27 June 1992, for the Diocese of Da Lat.
Since his ordination he has ministered as follows: 1992-2001: Assistant parish priest at the parish of Tan Thanh, Bao Loc; 2001-2005: Assistant parish priest at the parish of Tan Bui, Bao Loc; 2005-2015: Parish Priest at the parish of Tan Bui, Bao Loc; since 2015: parish priest and Dean of Madagui Deanery.
Categorie: From the church

AFRICA/MOZAMBIQUE - The Bishop of Nacala resigns, successor appointed

Fides EN - - Gio, 26/04/2018 - 09:30

Città del Vaticano – The Holy Father, Pope Francis on 25 April 2018 accepted the renunciation of the pastoral government of the Diocese of Nacala , presented by Bishop Germano Grachane, C.M. The Holy Father appointed as Bishop of the Diocese of Nacala, Bishop Alberto Vera Aréjula, O. de M., until now Auxiliary Bishop of Xai-Xai.
Categorie: From the church

AFRICA/COTE D'IVOIRE - The Bishop of Daloa resigns, successor appointed

Fides EN - - Gio, 26/04/2018 - 09:20

Città del Vaticano – The Holy Father, Pope Francis accepted 25 April 2018 the renunciation of the pastoral government of the diocese of Daloa , presented by Bishop Maurice Konan Kouassi. The Holy Father has appointed Bishop of the diocese of Daloa Bishop Marcellin Kouadio Yao, until now Bishop of Yamoussoukro.
Categorie: From the church