AMERICA/NICARAGUA - The Bishops for the elections of November 5: We must become protagonists of our country

Fides EN - - Lun, 23/10/2017 - 13:49
Matagalpa - Fifteen days before the municipal elections, set for November 5, the Nicaraguan Bishops publish a message saying that nothing has changed in the electoral system of the country, but they call on citizens to be protagonists and to decide the future of their nation.
"We Bishops of the Episcopal Conference believe that most of the problems in this area remain the same as we already mentioned in the statement of 26 September 2012 and in the document that emerged in the dialogue with the President of the Republic on 21 May 2014 ", reads the document of the CEN sent to Fides.
"We must not wait for extreme situations to awaken awareness of responsibility on political and social issues", continues the text.
The language of the Bishops is clear and straightforward in describing the situation: "The demoralization of a people leads to apathy, to let others decide, let us never forget that we, the people of Nicaragua, have the last word and decide the future that the country has to assume.
The strength that manages to transform a society is that of the people who, encouraged by justice and freedom, builds in the virtues of the common good, truth and social justice. We are protagonists, not spectators!". Therefore they continue: "In the context of the present world, where politics is scarsely appreciated, we urgently need politicians that serve with mercy and, quoting Pope Francis, unmask the fact that politics is made only of predators".
Finally, he invites everyone to pray for this political event: "The power of prayer can guide history". Mgr. Silvio Báez, Auxiliary Bishop of Managua, with regards to the message of the Episcopal Conference, explains to Fides that citizenship must decide their future, "this is the heart of the document, because Nicaragua's problem is not electoral, but is the lack of citizens' awareness". "We invite all not to be spectators of reality, this is also an invitation to political discernment, in order not to allow political predators to continue to dominate Nicaragua and that the people themselves decide wisely, to recover what we lost in the country: the ability to exercise citizen rights", he said
Mgr. Báez, points out that in the country "there are no conditions that guarantee fair, honest and transparent electoral processes", therefore the decision to vote or not "is something that remains in the consciousness of each citizen".
Categorie: From the church

AFRICA/SUDAN - Archbishop of Khartoum: "Stop ethnic clashes among South Sudanese in refugee camps"

Fides EN - - Lun, 23/10/2017 - 13:23
Khartoum - "We are trying to make people live in peace because people are still fighting even in the camps", said His Exc. Mgr. Michael Didi Adgum Mangoria, Archbishop of Khartoum, referring to the situation of nine refugee camps hosting South Sudanese refugees in the capital of Sudan.
The civil war in South Sudan that broke out in December 2013 has forced millions to flee, also because the conflict immediately took on an ethnic dimension that is reflected also in the camps where refugees are welcomed. "Each ethnic community are put separately but they still meet even at the bore holes and these are the places where two or three people quarrel and before you know it the fight has escalated and the whole community is involved", explains Mgr. Mangoria.
The Archbishop reiterated that he is trying to do his best to deal with the problem of tribalism in refugee camps. "I told the priest that if I see or hear any of them trying to encourage tribal divisions by perhaps saying these are my people, then I will suspend him", says Mgr. Mangoria. "This is meant to send the message that tribalism is very evil and should not be tolerated".
The Archbishop was saddened when he learned that in one of the camps, several ethnic communities decided to build small huts to gather for worship based on their tribal affiliations. He therefore told them that "if you do not create a common place of prayer for all communities, I will not send priests for religious services".
Mgr. Mangoria finally pointed out that politicians are fueling tribalism to promote their interests. "Continue praying for us as we pray for you so that one day we realize the hope that our political leaders will stop playing with the emotions of the people by fuelling tribal animosities so that we can enjoy the real peace", he concluded.
The tribal conflict in South Sudan is fueled by the war between President Salva Kiir, a Dinka, and former Vice President Riek Machar, a Nuer. The ethnic conflict has extended to other 60 ethnicities of the young State , causing a serious humanitarian crisis of about 2 million and 200,000 among IDPs and refugees in neighboring states.

Link correlati :Read news analysis - Omnis terra: South Sudan on the brink of ethnic war and potential genocide
Categorie: From the church

ASIA/IRAQ - In Kurdistan 32 parties - including eight Christian political acronyms - condemn the "military reaction" of Baghdad and defend the "independent" line

Fides EN - - Lun, 23/10/2017 - 12:57
Erbil - Representatives of 32 political parties in Iraqi Kurdistan, including at least 8 Christian-led political organizations, gathered in Erbil yesterday, Sunday, October 22, and signed a document of support to the presidency and the government of the Autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan, deploring the military operations ordered by the Iraqi government to reaffirm its control over the oil region of Kirkuk. Political acronyms, in the document signed by their representatives, have called "not to renounce" the effects of the independent referendum held in the region last September 25, which sanctioned the will of the Kurdish leadership of Kurdistan to proceed towards the proclamation of full independence from Iraq. The text also deplores the economic and political embargo imposed by Baghdad on Kurdistan after the referendum. It reaffirms the availability of dialogue on the basis of the Constitution, accusing the government of Baghdad of sabotaging any opening to confrontation, using the language of "aggression and military arrogance".
Among the parties that have signed the document there are also at least 8 political acronyms animated by Christian leaders and militants, such as the "Bet Nahrain" Democratic Party, the Chaldean National Council and the Chaldean Democratic Party. Meanwhile, the Gorran Kurdish party, the main opposition force to the current policy of the government of the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan, has called for the resignation of Ma'sud Barzani - current President of the Autonomous Region - accusing him of having disastrously managed relations with the government of Baghdad and of having imposed the independent referendum by ignoring the warnings that came from different regional powers, starting from Turkey and Iran. Today, Monday, 23 October, a meeting between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari is scheduled in Moscow to discuss the situation in Kurdistan after the independent referendum.
Categorie: From the church

ASIA/SOUTH KOREA - The Church in Korea: mission is to fulfill the will of God

Fides EN - - Lun, 23/10/2017 - 12:19
Daejeon - The "Extraordinary Missionary Month" will renew the apostolic impetus in the Korean Catholic community and will be an impulse to continue in the proclamation of the Gospel, which in Korea has its roots in the experience of the martyrs. This is what don Agostino Han, a priest of the diocese of Daejeon says to Fides, recalling the history and newness of the Church's evangelization in Korea. "Our history recalls Mark's evangelical passage when he says: "This is how it is with the kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how ", recalls the priest.
For this occasion, Don Agostino traces the story of the growth of Christianity in Korean land: "At the end of the 18th century, some scholars came into contact with biblical books and 'The true meaning of the Lord of Heaven' by Matteo Ricci, in Chinese, and began to study independently the doctrine of the Church. Captivated by the truth explained by Ricci, they sent one of them to Beijing to allow him to receive baptism. Subsequently Chinese and French missionaries went to Korea, many of whom were martyred by courageously professing faith. Some of them were killed a few months after arriving in the Korean peninsula, which means they were killed in odium fidei after traveling for more than a year, crossing the oceans. Many at the time of martyrdom were only thirty- years old".
"At that moment - the priest continues - it would have been very difficult to imagine the Church in Korea would reach centuries later the remarkable number of 5 million people professing the Catholic faith. Today it is a Church that sends more than a thousand missionaries among priests, religious and lay people, in the four corners of the world". Don Agostino notes: "Although the missionaries were martyred only after a short time of the work of evangelization, their sacrifice was not useless. They were men that threw the seeds of the gospel in Korean land. The fruits of the seeds cannot be seen immediately. The mission of Jesus, as well as that of the missionaries, goes to very far lands, it is not about carrying out a great human project, but to do God's will in his own way, trusting in God's providence. Today, we Korean Christians, preparing and living the extraordinary Missionary Month, must have this trust in God's providence, as a solid foundation for all our evangelizing activities. God is the Lord of history, wants the salvation of all peoples, through the collaboration of every baptized, in his Providence".
Categorie: From the church

ASIA/PAKISTAN - Extraordinary missionary Month: today Pakistanis have the task of proclaiming the Gospel

Fides EN - - Lun, 23/10/2017 - 11:50
Lahore - "In Pakistan, Christianity arrived about 150 years thanks to European and American missionaries, Franciscans, Dominicans and other religious orders. The missionaries did so much for us, they built churches and schools, baptized, administered the sacraments, and started many pastoral, social, and charitable activities. They all have our gratitude. Now it is up to us. This is what the extraordinary missionary Month proclaimed by Pope Francis tells us. It is our responsibility to bring the Gospel to Pakistan today", said Fr. Jahanzeb Iqbal, rector and pastor of the Cathedral of Lahore to Agenzia Fides, commenting on the letter Pope Francis released yesterday and in order to celebrate the centenary of Benedict XV’s Encyclical Maximum Illud , officially announces an "Extraordinary Missionary Month" in October 2019.
"Everything we are today - explains Fr. Iqbal - we owe it to the missionaries. Especially thanks to them we received the inestimable gift of faith. We have a heart full of gratitude: they left their countries and gave their lives for us. As a boy I saw many missionaries in our churches, today there are not as many: this means that the Pakistani Church has taken its steps to be autonomous and is growing, by the grace of God. It is our time. The Lord calls us, as Pope Francis says, to be genuine disciples and missionaries: Pakistan needs the proclamation of the Gospel and this is now our task. With this spirit we will prepare and live the extraordinary Missionary Month. Perhaps sometimes we are a little lazy, therefore it is useful to remember the example and the ardor of the first missionaries who went to the Indian subcontinent before the very nation of Pakistan was born, which they began among so many difficulties, always trusting in the power of the Holy Spirit".
Among the challenges that the Pakistani Church lives today, the pastor noted "a sort of jealousy at an intra-ecclesiastical level that sometimes is perceived through our works and in our communities, which is certainly not good for pastoral work: we need to improve this aspect in our Churches". Moreover, he notes, "our churches are often in difficulty because of lack of funds and resources to continue all the apostolic activities we would like to do. Our Christian families are very poor, and their collections are not enough to support the community. We still need donors from the outside".
Another urgent question is, according to Fr. Iqbal, "the presence in the mass media: in this, as a Catholic community, we suffer from the great commitment of the Protestant Christian networks that, with their televisions, reach many believers, and sometimes create negative publicity regarding Catholics".
One cannot ignore the very essence of the Pakistani Church, which is "a small minority in an Islamic environment: sometimes our faithful are afraid of Muslims, they live some form of discrimination, are afraid of abuses and violence: therefore life it is not easy for them, as it may be enough to say a few words to be accused, imprisoned, even killed. But this is our reality and our life, we live with it serenely and with great faith, trusting in God who is the strength that keeps us going every day", concludes the Rector of the Cathedral of Lahore.
Categorie: From the church

VATICAN - Extraordinary Missionary Month "May we be open to the joyful newness of the Gospel"

Fides EN - - Lun, 23/10/2017 - 11:22
Vatican City - "Today World Mission Day is celebrated, on the theme 'Mission at the Heart of the Church'. I urge everyone to live the joy of mission by witnessing the Gospel in the environs where each one lives and works". With these words, the Holy Father Francis recalled, during yesterday’s Angelus, the annual missionary celebration. "At the same time - he continued -, we are called upon to support with affection, concrete help, and prayer, the missionaries who have gone out to proclaim Christ to those who still do not know Him. I also recall that I intend to promote an Extraordinary Missionary Month in October 2019, in order to nourish the ardor of the evangelizing activity of the Church ad gentes. On the day of the liturgical memory of Saint John Paul II, missionary Pope, we entrust to his intercession the mission of the Church in the world".
In the context of World Mission Day, Pope Francis's letter to Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, was announced yesterday, on the occasion of the centenary of the letter "Maximum illud” with which Benedict XV gave new impetus to the missionary task in the world. "The Pope recognized the need for a more evangelical approach to missionary work in the world - writes Francis -, so that it would be purified of any colonial overtones and kept far away from the nationalistic and expansionistic aims that had proved so disastrous. Benedict XV thus laid special emphasis on the missio ad gentes, employing the concepts and language of the time, in an effort to revive, particularly among the clergy, a sense of duty towards the".
The II Vatican Council, in the Ad Gentes decree, solemnly asserted that the Church "is missionary by nature".
"What Pope Benedict XV so greatly desired almost a century ago, and the Council reiterated some fifty years ago, remains timely", Pope Francis emphasized, recalling the words of St. John Paul II in Redemptoris Missio: "the mission of Christ the Redeemer, which is entrusted to the Church, is still very far from completion", "an overall view of the human race shows that this mission is still only beginning and that we must commit ourselves wholeheartedly to its service". "As a result, in words that I would now draw once more to everyone’s attention, Saint John Paul exhorted the Church to undertake a ‘renewed missionary commitment’, in the conviction that missionary activity ‘renews the Church, revitalizes faith and Christian identity, and offers fresh enthusiasm and new incentive’."
May the approaching centenary of the Apostolic Letter Maximum illud "serve as an incentive to combat the recurring temptation lurking beneath every form of ecclesial introversion, self-referential retreat into comfort zones, pastoral pessimism and sterile nostalgia for the past. Instead, may we be open to the joyful newness of the Gospel", says the Pope who, accepting the proposal of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, calls for an Extraordinary Missionary Month to be celebrated in October 2019, with the aim of fostering an increased awareness of the missio ad gentes and taking up again with renewed fervour the missionary transformation of the Church’s life and pastoral activity".
The Missionary Month of October 2018 can serve as a good preparation for this celebration "by enabling all the faithful to take to heart the proclamation of the Gospel and to help their communities grow in missionary and evangelizing zeal". The Pope entrusts the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and the Pontifical Mission Societies with the work of preparing for this event, especially by raising awareness among the particular Churches, the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, and among associations, movements, communities and other ecclesial bodies. "May the Extraordinary Missionary Month prove an intense and fruitful occasion of grace, and promote initiatives and above all prayer, the soul of all missionary activity. May it likewise advance the preaching of the Gospel, biblical and theological reflection on the Church’s mission, works of Christian charity, and practical works of cooperation and solidarity between Churches, so that missionary zeal may revive and never be wanting among us", concludes Pope Francis.

Link correlati :Full text of the Letter - Omnis Terra
Categorie: From the church

NEWS ANALYSIS/OMNIS TERRA - A twenty-five year old Church: the challenges of Mission in Mongolia

Fides EN - - Sab, 21/10/2017 - 12:15
The Catholic Church in Mongolia has just recently celebrated 25 years of its presence. The first Catholic community was founded in the capital Ulaanbaatar only in 1992, shortly after the Mongol government had initiated diplomatic relations with the Holy See.
The Congregation of the Missionaries of Scheut or CICM were asked to send some missionaries to the land of Genghis Khan. What is the situation like today? What are the challenges of the small Catholic Mongol community? How is the action of the local Church changing?

Link correlati :Read the complete news analysis on Omnis Terra
Categorie: From the church

ASIA/INDIA - No more child brides: Supreme Court’s verdict on women's rights

Fides EN - - Sab, 21/10/2017 - 12:09
New Delhi - "The attitude of the Baratiya Janata Party government and the Sangh Parivar on the issue of women indicates a tacit approval of discrimination against women": says to Agenzia Fides Father Jacob Peenicaparambil, CMI , while in India the debate on the status of women in society has reopened.
With a ruling of October 11, the Supreme Court annulled a 77-year-old law, stating that a man is
committing rape if he engages in sexual intercourse with his wife who is under 18 years of age. The Court established a 10-year jail sentence to life imprisonment, according to the code of child protection for sexual offenses. Although prohibited by law, sexual intercourse with someone under the age of 18 was considered, by the Penal Code, for married couples. The exception has now been canceled because it "violates Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution", established the verdict.
The sentence is revolutionary and can be a deterrent for weddings with girls, a practice that is already forbidden in India , which is still widely spread: according to estimates by the Supreme Court, there are 23 million girl brides in the country, which means that one marriage out of five violates the law. According to a recent survey conducted by the National Health Survey, in fact, 39.1% of women aged 20 to 24 were married before 18 years of age. The phenomenon of child marriage varies from state to state.
The Supreme Court has asked the central government to adopt "proactive measures to ban child marriage", expressing concern for thousands of younger girls who get married in "mass marriage" ceremonies traditionally organized during the Hindu religious celebration of Akshaya Tritiya, in spring.
But the government appears to have a different position and has filed a petition which, although claims "taking note of the Indian socio-economic reality", calls for "an exception to protect the marriage institution".
The “Sangh Parivar”, a forum that welcomes many Hindu extremist and nationalist organizations, "is committed to safeguarding Indian culture polluted by Western influence rather than defending women in India", notes to Fides Fr. Peenicaparambil. "Why did Sangh Parivar, who launched a violent movement for the protection of cows at a national level, did not initiate such a mobilization against child marriage or atrocities on Dalits?", asks the Carmelite, noting that "this is a silent approval of discrimination against women, as indicated in the sacred Hindu texts of the Manusmriti", which justify marriage with minors.
"Women in India cannot expect justice and freedom from a government led and controlled by the ideology of Hindutva. The liberation of women requires liberation from the ideology of Hindutva, which is exclusive and discriminatory towards women and Dalits", continues the priest.
"If the BJP were really interested in promoting women, it should approve the bill promoting women's rights which has been blocked in Parliament for 21 years and publicly condemn the disgraceful statements against women contained in the Manumriti Code", concludes the Carmelite to Fides.
Categorie: From the church

AFRICA/EGYPT - In December an "exploratory" expedition of Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi on "The Path of the Holy Family"

Fides EN - - Sab, 21/10/2017 - 11:35
Cairo - In the first days of December, a qualified delegation of Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi will visit Egypt to carry out a first expedition in the places crossed by the "Path of the Holy Family", the itinerary that joins the places travelled according to age-old traditions by Mary, Joseph, and Child Jesus when they found shelter in Egypt to escape the violence of Herod. Egypt's tourism minister, Yahya Rashid, announced that the expedition will serve to make an initial assessment of the route and hotel structures already active in the various places crossed by the itinerary, with the aim to include the "Holy Family's Way" in the programming of pilgrimages organized and proposed by ORP. Minister Rashid reiterated the government's intention to collaborate with the various Coptic dioceses to enhance as soon as possible the reception capacity and the visits to the individual sacred places - such as the Virgin Mary Church in Maadi - crossed by the "Path".
At the beginning of October, Minister Yahya Rashid had led an Egyptian delegation to the Vatican with the mission of finding support and collaboration in the efforts made by the government of Cairo to relaunch pilgrimages along the so-called "Path of the Holy Family" .
In a greeting addressed to the Egyptian delegation during the General Audience on Wednesday 4 October , Pope Francis recalled his trip to Egypt last April: "I remember affectionately - said the Pope - my Apostolic Visit in your good land and the generous people; the land on which St. Joseph, the Virgin Mary, the Child Jesus and many prophets lived; the land blessed through the centuries by the precious blood of the martyrs and the righteous; the land of coexistence and hospitality; the land of encounter, history and civilization. May the Lord - said the Pope - bless all of you and protect your country, the Middle East and the whole world, from all terrorism and evil!" At the end of the Audience, the Egyptian delegation asked Pope Francis to bless an icon of the Holy Family's escaping to Egypt.
Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi is an office of the Vicariate of Rome, an organ of the Holy Sea, reporting directly to the Cardinal Vicar of the Pope.
Categorie: From the church

AMERICA/COLOMBIA - The "historical" problem of crop replacement is still open

Fides EN - - Ven, 20/10/2017 - 13:33
Tumaco – Mgr. Orlando Olave Villanoba, Bishop of Tumaco, said that the only way out of the crisis for this region of the department of Nariño is to implement a comprehensive plan of investment, education and alternative work for peasant and afro-descendant communities.
In an interview with Colombian Radio RCN, the Bishop explained that one of the most important problems that the port of Tumaco faces is the lack of attention from the State to meet the basic needs of the population. "It is a region without roads, with very low education levels, where peasants cannot satisfy many of their primary needs ... there is abandonment and injustice towards these communities", Mgr. Orlando Olave Villanoba pointed out.
One of the most complex and serious problems at the moment is that of replacing illegal crops and the presence of a number of armed groups that are generating violence and terrorizing the population. "It is a "historical" issue in the region, because many people are able to live only through those crops", he stressed, adding that "the presence of armed groups and the violent death of several social leaders are a reflection of the lack of government presence and intimidation by these organizations that want to impose themselves with violence".
Even Mgr. Olave reiterated that it is very important to listen to the community in this regard, as "we cannot apply solutions that have been served elsewhere, but which may not fit the reality of these communities". Yesterday, the Colombian Bishops' Conference issued a statement condemning the murder of French leader José Jair Cortés in Tumaco on October 17, pointing out that "when a leader is murdered the situation in the country worsens, society falls into poverty" and urge the authorities to commit themselves to incorporating these areas into the economic process and in the spirit of peace-building decided by the Colombians.
Categorie: From the church

AFRICA/NIGERIA - Mgr Kaigama to the Fulani and the Irigwe after the massacre of 29 people: "Speak to each other in order to seek peace"

Fides EN - - Ven, 20/10/2017 - 13:22
Juba - "For over two years now, Plateau State has enjoyed happy and peaceful coexistence... but peace has unfortunately been rudely interrupted by the outburst of recent killings in Bassa Local Government between the Fulani and the Irigwe", denounces His Exc. Mgr. Ignatius Ayau Kaigama, Archbishop of Jos and President of the Episcopal Conference of Nigeria, in a message sent to Agenzia Fides. On October 16, at least 29 civilians, many of whom women and children, refugees in an elementary school, were brutally killed in Plateau State, by a group of armed men who attacked the building.
"The attacks come on the heels of a national spiritual gathering of Catholics all over Nigeria in Benin City to re-consecrate our dear Country to the Blessed Virgin Mother and pray for peace, unity and reconciliation among Nigerians", recalls the Archbishop.
"The occasion marked the conclusion of the centenary of the apparitions of the Blessed Mother in Fatima in 1917, when the world was experiencing the terrible effects of the First World", the Archbishop underlined.
Recalling the failed reconciliation attempt by the governor of
Plateau State, Simon Bako Lalong, Mgr. Kaigama points out that "it is however still not too late" to seek peace, highlighting the points of contact between the two populations.
"It is a fact that many Fulani speak the Irigwe language and many Irigwe speak the Fulani language which goes to show the long period of peaceful coexistence, but the events of the past week indicate that the peaceful, harmonious and fraternal coexistence has been severely wounded", the Archbishop says. "The two tribes offering the olive branch to each other is what can restore normalcy, healing, trust and confidence. The burial on Monday 16th October in Nkiedonwhro of 29 persons shows that a lot more needs to be done by both tribes to face their collective future with greater optimism".
"Our thoughts go to all those affected, with fervent prayers that God will grant them all the needed consolation and the ability to say “never again” to the destruction of human lives, animal lives, farm produce, houses and all others means of livelihood. May the dead rest in peace", says Mgr. Kaigama.
The Archbishop finally denounces the responsibility of the law enforcement in preventing the massacres: "It is so worrisome that despite the presence of security agents people could still be killed in a primary school where they took refuge, even during the hours of a curfew imposed on the Local Government".
The army is strengthening its military presence in the area and even the military airforce is deploying some fighters to try to block clashes.

Categorie: From the church

ASIA/IRAQ - The jihadists have been expelled, but the use of the veil at the University of Mosul is mandatory

Fides EN - - Ven, 20/10/2017 - 12:38
Mosul - The north-Iraqi city of Mosul is no longer under the control of the jihadist militias of the Islamic State since July. But at University, students still have to adapt, at least in part, to Islamic traditions and rules in the way of dressing. A great sign posted at the University entrance reminds students of the type of clothing and hairstyle they need to observe to enter the university buildings and follow the lessons. The mandatory "dress code" prescribes the use of the veil to all students, Muslim or non-Muslim.
The University has resumed its activities and students have begun to attend courses, although large sections of university buildings were destroyed by the bombing and have not yet been renovated. In addition to the logistical disadvantages, Christian students - says Ankawa Information Agency - express concern about the intolerant strict behaviour expressed by some of their Muslim colleagues.
At the University of Mosul, the pressure exerted by Islamist radicalism had forced many Christian students to wear the veil already from 2004-2005, long before the city fell into the hands of Daesh. Now, after the tragic parenthesis of the jihadist regime, codes of conduct and provisions that seem to be related to a project of Islamization of social life, have come into force. While the signs of the growing "disappointment" of local Christian communities over the effects of military campaigns conducted to defeat the selfish Islamic State are multiplying.
Categorie: From the church

VATICAN - The Cloister is mission

Fides EN - - Ven, 20/10/2017 - 12:10

Vatican City - "Teresa of Lisieux wanted 'to be love in the heart of the Church'. Today cloistered nuns are like a heart pumping blood, that is, the charity of Christ, to the entire body of the universal Church. Thus their love reaches all missions and all missionaries, who are the hands that baptize or the arms that welcome the poor and the suffering. If the heart does not pump blood, the body dies. Pope John XXIII said that the Pontifical Mission Societies are like the vascular system in the human body, that network that allows God's love to reach every tissue. The nuns, with their prayer and their daily sacrifice, are the pulsating heart from which everything originates": this is how Fr. Ryszard Szmydki, OMI, Undersecretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, presents the video produced by Agenzia Fides and released, on the occasion of World Missionary Day, to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the proclamation of Teresa of Lisieux "Patroness of the missions". On December 14, 1927, it was Pope Pius XI who declared St. Teresina of Lisieux "special patroness of missionaries, men and women in the world", a title equal to St. Francis Saverio.
In the new effort of multimedia production , Fides entered a Carmelite monastery where the nuns, according to the path traced by Santa Teresina, embrace the whole world.
In the interview with Fides, Fr. Ryszard Szmydki recalls that mission and contemplation belong to every baptized: "The missionary, as the Redemptoris Missio affirms, must be a 'contemplative in action'. The answer to the problems he gives in the light of God's word and in personal and community prayer. If the missionary is not a contemplative, he cannot proclaim Christ in a credible manner".
Categorie: From the church

VATICAN - Dossier for World Mission Day: the number of Catholics in the world is increasing

Fides EN - - Ven, 20/10/2017 - 11:47

Vatican City - The number of Catholics in the world is increasing: almost one billion and 300 million, 17.7% of the world's population.
According to figures from the Church’s Book of Statistics and elaborated by Agenzia Fides, the baptized are 12 million and a half more than the previous year . This is one of the data in the Dossier published by Agenzia Fides on the occasion of the 91st World Mission Day, which is celebrated on Sunday, October 22, 2017, which offers a panorama of the Church in the world.
According to the Dossier, 1 billion and 100,000 people live in Africa, 19.42% are Catholics , with an increase of 0.12%. In America, out of 982.2 million inhabitants, 63.6% are Catholics , with a decrease of 0.08%.
In Asia, out of 4.3 billion people, 3.24% of the population are Catholics, an unvaried figure.
In Europe, the population is increasing , but for the second year in a row, the number of Catholics is 39.87% , a decrease of 0.21%.
38.7 million people live in Oceania, 26.36% are Catholics , with an increase of 0.24% compared to the previous year.
The Catholic ecclesiastical circumscriptions in the world are 3,006 : 538 in Africa, 1,091 in America, 538 in Asia, 758 in Europe and 81 in Oceania.
The number of Bishops in the world increases by 67 units while the number of priests decreases by 136 units .
Fides’ Dossier also informs that there are 351,797 lay missionaries in the world while 3,122,653 are catechists.
The Catholic Church runs 216,548 schools in the world, attended by over 60 million pupils. In addition, almost five and a half million young people attend Catholic institutes during high school and university studies. Finally there are about 118 thousand Catholic social and charitable institutes scattered throughout the world.
In Fides’ Dossier there is also an overall picture of the missionary cooperation activity of the Pontifical Mission Societies which, in their support to local Churches , granted subsidies which amount to 134 million US dollars in 2016.
In order to illustrate the Dossier, a motion graphics is available on Agenzia Fides' Youtube channel that you can freely download and reproduce on other websites.

Link correlati :Dossier Agenzia Fides Statistics, in English
Categorie: From the church

AFRICA/SOUTH SUDAN - Archbishop of Khartoum encourages Seminarians "to be ready for Mission"

Fides EN - - Ven, 20/10/2017 - 10:28
Juba - "I have encouraged seminarians belonging to the nine dioceses in both Sudan and South Sudan to prepare themselves for the mission of the Church", said to Agenzia Fides His Exc. Mgr. Michael Didi Adgum Mangoria, Archbishop of Khartoum and Episcopal Chairman of the Commission of Seminaries at the Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference . "I just visited our major seminary in Juba where I met our seminarians and staff".
Archbishop Didi is in Kenya for the Executive Board meeting of the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa taking place at Gaba Institute, Eldoret.
"In talking and listening to them, apart from some complaints here and there, some of the seminarians seem to understand why they are there and therefore represent the hope of Church leadership for Sudan and South Sudan, which is a positive thing", says Mgr. Didi.
South Sudan has been witnessing violent conflict since December 2013 since soldiers loyal to President Salva Kiir clashed with those loyal to his deputy, Riek Machar, with Juba city being most affected.
"Everyone in a war zone is traumatized, including the seminarians and the staff that accompany them", says Mgr. Didi.
However, he explains to Fides: "The seminarians and staff are better off this year than last year when there was fighting within Juba town; some of them dropped out of the seminary, returning to their respective dioceses. This year, they seem to be happy".
"I encouraged the seminarians to keep up and use all the means, resources, and talents they have to prepare themselves for the mission ahead of them", he continues.
There are some 100 seminarians in the two sections , coming from all the nine dioceses of the two Sudans.
"There are about 15 resident staff for both sections; there are some part-time teachers including two Comboni missionaries and some lay persons coming mainly from the university of Juba", says Mgr. Didi to Fides.
The Archbishop of Khartoum appeals for prayers for the seminarians saying: "Surely prayers are very important for these seminarians who are aspiring to serve in the mission of our Lord. We are still at the stage of war and people can also try to help through prayer" concludes Mgr. Didi.
Categorie: From the church

ASIA/INDIA - The voice of a nun has become the collective voice of a whole community of women

Fides EN - - Ven, 20/10/2017 - 10:10
Patna - "Nari Gunjan" or the "Voice of Women" is run by Sr. Sudha Varghese, of the Sisters of Notre Dame in Patna Province. Through her commitment she emancipated an entire community of young girls and women of the Musahar community of Bihar, "addressing the most serious forms of sexual exploitation and harassment", she told Fides.
The Musahar community is among the most oppressed among the oppressed Indian Dalits , no Christian presence. And this is how it would have remained if it had not been for the commitment and involvement of this woman who, 20 years ago, made the mission for the Musahar her life. They are landless laborers, never adequately paid for their work. Their main occupations saw them busy in cleaning toilets or in the distilleries of the ruling castes. Their women and children were exploited in the homes of the highest classes and often sexually abused. Schools were never in their reach; those who dared to approach them were sent away and mocked by their fellow students and teachers. In this caste, the marriage between minors was rampant. Girls married at 10 and had 3-4 children under the age of 20 when they were considered sufficiently old enough to deal with a child.
This was the first problem Sister Sudha had to face before starting a school for single mothers. She began with 20 girls, making them study books, but also made them draw, color and sew. After a year and a half, when the United Nations Children's Fund became aware of her program, it decided to finance Sister Varghese's team in 50 centers.
After the two 'Prerna' female colleges in Danapur and Bodhgaya, the religious initiated Joyful Learning Centers for younger children. The older children received clothes and health care. The nun never stopped, she continued her commitment with the Musahar children. After discovering they were interested in cricket, she gave them all the equipment and with time many started to participate and win tournaments.
Since the Government in Bihar had banished liquor, the Musahar men no longer worked and stayed in their villages. The men who belonged to the upper castes, instead, got drunk and raped women who did not dare rebel until Sister Sudha arrived in 1986, who managed to persuade them to report the abuse to the police and to acknowledge their dignity. In return they offered her food, love and fidelity, she was their 'Cycle Didi' who traveled 50 km a day. She lived among them in a house made of mud until it became too dangerous because of the threats she was receiving.
"I've lived a thousand lives and died a thousand times", she had learned not to be afraid. "If you kill me there will be hundreds of people who will take my place", she said.
As a young girl she had always wanted to dedicate her life at the service of the poor, the most marginalized sectors of India. When she left Kerala, against the will of her family who wanted her to be a teacher in a school run by Catholic nuns in Bihar, Sister Sudha devoted her life to serving the poorest among the poor.
Thanks to the Indian government, the nun manages to have aid from the State and police.
Bihar is one of the poorest Indian states. According to a 2011 census, it has a population of 103,804,837 inhabitants. The literacy rate is 63.82 . Religions present are 82.69% Hindu, 16.87% Muslims, 0.12% Christians, 0.02% Sikhs, 0.02% Buddhists, 0.02% Janis, other confessions 0.01% and no religion declared 0. 20% .
The region has six Catholic dioceses with 200,000 Catholics. Social development, education and the evangelization of the poor and afflicted are among the priorities of the Catholic Church.
Categorie: From the church

VATICAN - Cardinal Filoni at the presentation of World Mission Day: "the first evangelizer is Christ himself"

Fides EN - - Ven, 20/10/2017 - 09:38
Rome - "The first evangelizer is Christ himself". Jesus "does not abandon the missionary nature of the Church", but "remains present" in the apostolic work accomplished by his disciples, which is not "a thing for priests" but represents a shared vocation by all the baptized. This is what Cardinal Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples , repeated in his speech at the presentation of World Mission Day, which will be celebrated in all parishes in the world on Sunday 22 October. The Conference also saw the participation of Archbishop Protase Rugambwa, Deputy Secretary of CEP and President of the Pontifical Mission Societies and Father Ted Nowak OMI, Secretary General of the Pontifical Mission Mission of the Propagation of the Faith .
Cardinal Filoni, in his speech, traced the key points of Pope Francis’ Message World Mission Day 2017, dedicated to the theme "The mission at the heart of the Christian faith". The Prefect reprosed the mission as an intrinsic dimension of the Christian faith, founded on Christ’s last commandment entrusted to his disciples, to go around the world to baptize and proclaim the Gospel to all peoples. Referring to the Pope's Letter, Cardinal Filoni also emphasized that the aptitude of "going forth" is a vital dimension for anyone who is called to respond to Christ's missionary mandate, but must be based on "a spirituality of the exodus and of the pilgrimage which reconnects everything to Christ", if one does not want to run the risk of reducing the same missionary work to an activism of sociological nature.
Archbishop Rugambwa and Father Nowak, in their speeches, reproposed the origins, profile and goals of the Pontifical Mission Societies, underlining the universal character that characterizes them by being the instrument of the Pope's pastoral solicitude towards all Churches.
Responding to the journalists' questions, Archbishop Rugambwa and Cardinal Filoni described the Pontifical Missionary Holy Childhood Association as an effective tool to educate young generations to gratuitousness and sensitivity towards those who need it. Cardinal Filoni on responding to a question regarding the legislative obstacles placed in some nations to missionary activity, reproposed the figures of the first Korean Christian laity, Chinese Xu Guangqi , and Japanese Takayama Ucon as examples of lay people who confessed faith in Christ even in difficult contexts surrounded by political and cultural resistance and oppositions. In this regard, the Cardinal also focused on the figure of Pauline Marie Jaricot, the founder of the Pontifical Society of the Propagation of the Faith in France, for whom the process of beatification is in progress, and who will be celebrated one day as a witness to the missionary solicitude expressed by the laity, next to St. Francis of Saverio and Santa Teresa of Lisieux, already proclaimed Patroness of the missions.
At the opening of the Press Conference, the present also attended the showing of the video "Cloister is Mission", produced by Agenzia Fides and disseminated, on the occasion of World Mission Day, to mark the 90th anniversary of the proclamation of Teresa di Lisieux "Patroness of missions".
Categorie: From the church

ASIA/MYANMAR - Cardinal Bo: "Myanmar needs healing and reconciliation"

Fides EN - - Gio, 19/10/2017 - 13:48
Yangon - "Myanmar needs healing and reconciliation", says Cardinal Charles Bo, Archbishop of Yangon, in an interview with Fides, talking about the situation in the country in the proximity of the Pope's trip to the country from 27 to 30 November.

Where is Myanmar, after the big changes in recent years?

Myanmar is at a crossroads of history. Our pilgrimage towards democracy has ensured that everyone has more rights and freedom. We are proud to be citizens of this great nation, Myanmar. We are proud to be an abundantly blessed nation with so many resources. This is a golden land. Our dream is to make it "golden" for everyone, through peace. Peace is the first, great good. Children and young people will benefit from the fruits of peace. A new Myanmar of peace and prosperity is possible. We are a nation of seven major ethnic groups and 135 minor ones. Each one of us decorates our nation like the colorful flowers of a large garden. The people of Myanmar now have to think about building peace, the state and the nation

What can you say about the Rohingya Muslim crisis, at the forefront of international news?

Tragic events have involved the population in the state of Rakhine, bringing the country at the forefront of international news. Everyone in the world wants to give Myanmar some advice. At the moment we must remain united and we must tell the world that we have the courage and the moral energy to solve our problems. We have to tell the world that a new Myanmar, imbued with generosity and hope, is emerging. We have looked for non-violent solutions in our struggle for democracy and we are a nation which recognizes itself in the great teachings of Buddha, who teaches compassion to all. Aung San Suu Kyi continues to be the hope of millions of people eager for human development, justice and reconciliation. She sacrificed so much for this nation and for democracy. The people of Myanmar elected her and trust her. The world should offer her understanding and support.

Do you think the country is going in the right direction for peace and development?

This is a young nation, with 40% of the population under 30. We are demonstrating the world that, by giving them an opportunity, our children can combine intelligence and competence. Therefore I would say that the future is ours. All the rich countries in the world do not have a young population like ours. Within ten years, we will be a strong nation, despite the ongoing problems and sufferings. There is a new dawn of hope. We are on the move and we are a nation proud to be part of the international community.

What are the main challenges for the country?

Among the challenges to be faced, I think of the millions of young Burmese who are out of the country under slavery and who are victims of traffickers. A problem that derives from poverty: there will be no peace if there is no economic justice. Over 40% of our people are poor. There is also need for "environmental justice", necessary for peace. Most conflicts with ethnic minorities are motivated by the sharing of natural resources.

What is the role of religion in society?

It is to promote and pray for justice, for peace, for human dignity, a task that unites all religions. No religion speaks of hatred. Those who propagate hatred in the name of religion are the true enemies of that religion. We have great desire for peace, and we must be agents of peace. Our nation suffers from deep wounds of divisions and hatred. Forgiveness is the path that lead to healing. We are called to bring light of joy to those who live in the darkness of fear, hatred, and sadness. We will welcome Pope Francis with this spirit.
Categorie: From the church

AFRICA/KENYA - Among the Catholics uncertainty prevails over the politicians lack of will to resolve the crisis

Fides EN - - Gio, 19/10/2017 - 13:21
Nairobi - "There are so many things going wrong in our Country while the media seems to be focusing only on politics", says to Agenzia Fides Rose Achiego, a Catholic lay in Nairobi. "Let's take, for example the impact of striking nurses who have paralyzed activities at the local dispensary in Uthiru, where children are suffering and even dying of preventable".
"Gains which had been made over the years seem to be getting lost", Mrs. Achiego adds and appeals to the "political leadership to provide a way out of the current stalemate, and to unite this Country".
Kenya faces the political crisis resulting from the annulment of the 8 August presidential vote by the Supreme Court and the controversy on the Independent Electoral Commission , which will have to organize and supervise the repeat of the elections on October 26. One of the main persons in charge of the IEBC, Roselyn Akombe, resigned yesterday, October 18, stating that this body is unable to secure a credible vote.
The political crisis falls within an already tense climate due to the strike that has paralyzed the healthcare sector and tensions in schools for months. "Unfortunately - complains Rose Achiego - speeches are not uniting Kenyans, but rather creating rifts on daily basis" "Being in October, Catholics would devote more time to praying through mother Mary to find a solution to what is happening; we are not sure where we are headed to; there is glaring division, between NASA and Jubilee supporters".
"It is a tense situation, but many Kenyans have made their decision about their political affiliation. However, I think there is a population in Kenya that doesn’t care who is President, they care about their jobs and how to fend for their families’ needs", says Magdalene Nafula, a member of the Young Adults association of St. Josephine Bakhita outstation of St. Mary’s parish, Mukuru in Nairobi.
"There is a lot of confusion in our country and there is no clarity whether or not we shall have elections on 26th ", says to Fides Sr. Margaret Mutiso who Coordinates the Leaders Guild of Nairobi-based Tangaza University College. She adds, "The mood seems to indicate that there might be no elections, considering the latest revelations from the just resigned commissioner, and the external pressures on IEBC. The Country does not seem ready for the repeat elections and this is worrying since we don’t really know what is going to happen", sentiments that are also shared by Sr. Beatrice Merceline ministering in the diocese of Bungoma.
Sr. Mutiso attributes the uncertainty in the Country to the political class saying in reference to the President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga, "The confusion is heightened by the unwillingness of the two Principals persons to sit and dialogue – each wants to win, but they are not creating an atmosphere for free and credible elections where they can accept the results".
Categorie: From the church

AMERICA/TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO - Resignation of the Archbishop of Port of Spain and appointment of successor

Fides EN - - Gio, 19/10/2017 - 12:45
Vatican City - Today, Pope Francis has accepted the resignation from the pastoral governance of the Archdiocese of Port of Spain , presented by His Exc. Mgr. Joseph Everard Harris, C.S.Sp. The Pope appointed His Exc. Mgr. Charles Jason Gordon as Archbishop of Port of Spain, currently Bishop of the diocese of Bridgetown , who remains Apostolic Administrator "sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae" of the diocese of Bridgetown.
Categorie: From the church