Fides News - Englishhttp://www.fides.org/Fides Agency NewsenContent on this site is licensed under aASIA/THAILAND - Confirmation of the National Director of the PMS, Fr. Peter Watchasin Kritjharoenhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59942-ASIA_THAILAND_Confirmation_of_the_National_Director_of_the_PMS_Fr_Peter_Watchasin_Kritjharoenhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59942-ASIA_THAILAND_Confirmation_of_the_National_Director_of_the_PMS_Fr_Peter_Watchasin_KritjharoenVatican City - On March 3, 2016 Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, confirmed Fr. Peter Watchasin Kritjharoen of the clergy of the diocese of Ratchaburi as National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Thailand for five years . <br />Tue, 03 May 2016 08:51:22 +0200ASIA/PALESTINE - President Abu Mazen: we have a mission and a duty to protect the presence of Christians in the Middle Easthttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59941-ASIA_PALESTINE_President_Abu_Mazen_we_have_a_mission_and_a_duty_to_protect_the_presence_of_Christians_in_the_Middle_Easthttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59941-ASIA_PALESTINE_President_Abu_Mazen_we_have_a_mission_and_a_duty_to_protect_the_presence_of_Christians_in_the_Middle_EastRamallah - The protection of the Christian presence in Palestine and all the East "is for us a duty and a mission": this is how Palestinian President Abu Mazen reiterated his commitment to do everything he can to honor this duty, for the common good of the entire Palestinian people. The Arab Head of State confirmed his commitment in the message addressed to Christians at Easter, celebrated yesterday by churches that follow the Julian calendar.<br />"It is not a secret" reads the statement released by the Palestinian leader "that the fate of Christians in the Middle East is full of pitfalls", in a spiral that threatens coexistence, pluralism and religious freedom. For this reason - remarked Abu Mazen - we must contrast in every possible way all attempts to weaken the presence of native Christians in the Holy Land.<br />In the Easter message, the Palestinian President wanted to emphasize that the permanence of an Arab Christian community in Jerusalem is seen as an asset and a help to fully live the pilgrimage to holy places also by Christians from all over the world, who visit Holy land, especially during the liturgical solemnities.<br />In the presidential text, the Palestinian President recalled the global agreement between the Holy See and the Palestinian State, signed on June 26, 2015 and entered into force at the beginning 2016 <br />Mon, 02 May 2016 13:13:26 +0200AFRICA/NIGERIA - Is Boko Haram moving to the south following the movements of the Fulani herdsmen?http://www.fides.org/en/news/59940-AFRICA_NIGERIA_Is_Boko_Haram_moving_to_the_south_following_the_movements_of_the_Fulani_herdsmenhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59940-AFRICA_NIGERIA_Is_Boko_Haram_moving_to_the_south_following_the_movements_of_the_Fulani_herdsmenAbuja - "Climate change is pushing Fulani herdsmen from northern Nigeria to the south, but in this movement of population what is feared is that there could be Boko Haram fighters fleeing military operations" says Fr. Patrick Tor Alumuku, director for social communications of the Archdiocese of Abuja to Agenzia Fides.<br />"The issue of Fulani herdsmen is a very serious matter", said Fr. Patrick after the attack on the village of Nimbus on 25 April, causing the death of at least 20 people, and the attack against the car belonging to Cardinal John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, Archbishop of Abuja, perpetrated on April 28, in Edo State.<br />"The two locations are distant more than 200 km from each other, but they are always in the southeast of Nigeria", remarked Fr. Patrick, thus indicating the extent of the instability associated with the movement of the Fulani.<br />"The Sahara is advancing in northern Nigeria, and this year has been particularly hard for Fulani herdsmen who are coming down with tens of thousands of cattle to the south in search of water and pasture", says the priest. "This is fueling tensions with the farmers in the central and southern parts of the Country. The Fulani are armed to protect their herds from cattle rustling. But the massacres ascribed to them in recent times in southern Nigeria appear to be the work of other groups that are hiding behind this mass movement of shepherds". "More and more Nigerians argue that the massacres were committed by members of Boko Haram who are moving to the south of Nigeria", said the priest. <br />Mon, 02 May 2016 13:04:50 +0200AFRICA/NIGERIA - The Bishop of Nsukka after the massacre of 25 April: "A massacre announced; Where are the security forces?"http://www.fides.org/en/news/59939-AFRICA_NIGERIA_The_Bishop_of_Nsukka_after_the_massacre_of_25_April_A_massacre_announced_Where_are_the_security_forceshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59939-AFRICA_NIGERIA_The_Bishop_of_Nsukka_after_the_massacre_of_25_April_A_massacre_announced_Where_are_the_security_forcesAbuja - "The most painful aspect of the Nimbo massacre is that it was announced, expected and executed without inhibition – in broad daylight!", says His Exc. Mgr. Godfrey Igwebuike Onah, Bishop of Nsukka, in Enugu State in the south-east of Nigeria, in a statement in the aftermath of the massacre of at least twenty people which took place in the early hours of April 25, in the town of Nimbus in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area.<br />"Again?" Is the question that the Bishop, in the document sent to Agenzia Fides reports noting that "similar stories had been heard from many parts of the country in recent times, including Abbi, another community in our Diocese, also in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area".<br />The Bishop denounces the shortcomings of the security forces that seem to have facilitated the attackers: "the State Government is reported to have made attempts to provide security in the area prior to the incident. But what those who lost their dear ones and all of us want to know is why, as the reports go, the security forces “tactically” withdrew shortly before the attack and why, when they later returned to the scene, there was no attempt to immediately pursue and arrest the perpetrators".<br />The massacre is attributed to Fulani herdsmen: on April 28 a group of them attacked, in another part of Nigeria, in the State of Edo, the car belonging to Cardinal John Onaiyekan, Archbishop of Abuja. According to Mgr. Onah the attackers, as well as indiscriminately killing the inhabitants of Nimbus, in particular targeted the homes of Christian priests, both that of the Protestant pastor and that of a Catholic parish priest. In the latter case, only the lack of flammable liquid prevented the armed group to set fire to it.<br />The Bishop reports the concerns of the local population who wonders if the group that committed these atrocities are only Fulani herdsmen, or "whether Boko Haram has actually been weakened, as claimed by the government in Abuja, or has only been redeployed from the North East to the South East". <br />Mon, 02 May 2016 12:42:52 +0200ASIA/SYRIA - Catholic Bishops of Aleppo: let us participate in the Passion of Christ, our suffering will not be in vainhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59938-ASIA_SYRIA_Catholic_Bishops_of_Aleppo_let_us_participate_in_the_Passion_of_Christ_our_suffering_will_not_be_in_vainhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59938-ASIA_SYRIA_Catholic_Bishops_of_Aleppo_let_us_participate_in_the_Passion_of_Christ_our_suffering_will_not_be_in_vainAleppo - "We are children of the Resurrection, of Hope, and we firmly believe that this suffering will not be in vain: following the footsteps of the saints and martyrs, we add them to the Passion of Christ, so they may become sanctified and sanctifying suffering, for peace in Syria and the salvation of our city". This is what the Catholic Bishops of Aleppo said in a message addressed primarily to the faithful, offering words of consolation and hope to the inhabitants of the martyred Syrian city, again disrupted by the resurgence of conflict both in neighborhoods controlled by the government and in those where rebel militias are situated, with artillery launches and bombings which also hit a hospital run by Doctors without Borders.<br />In a message sent to Agenzia Fides, the Catholic Bishops of Aleppo launch an appeal "to the consciences of those who project and carry out this war", pleading aloud, "Enough!" for the "love of God" and "mercy of men" for "the cry of blood of children and martyrs" and "for the tears of the bereaved mothers".<br />In the delirium of death and violence that engulfs Aleppo, the Catholic Bishops finally express a Christian gaze to the suffering of their brothers in faith and all their fellow citizens.<br />The Bishops of Aleppo invite everyone not to "give in to sadness and despair", and suggest that in their mysterious participation in the passion of Christ the suffering of Christians in Aleppo makes sense to the world as something which happens in the history of the mystery of salvation announced by the Gospel. "This" refer the Bishops in their statement "is the most important meaning of why we are and remain in Aleppo". In this perspective, may the Catholic Pastors of the martyred Syrian city renew the consecration of Aleppo to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to her "who in her apparitions in Fatima had asked for the consecration of the world to her Immaculate Heart in order to obtain peace". In particular, in the month of May dedicated to Mary, the Bishops ask Catholics to offer "prayers, especially the Rosary, in our churches for this intention".<br />Syrian Catholic Archbishop Antoine Denys Chahda, Greek Melkite Archbishop Jean Clément Jeanbart, Maronite Archbishop Joseph Tobji, Armenian Catholic Archbishop Boutros Marayati and Chaldean Bishop Antoine Audo together with the Franciscan Georges Abou Khazen OFM, Apostolic Vicar for Catholics of the Latin rite are part of of the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Aleppo. <br />Mon, 02 May 2016 12:06:21 +0200ASIA/CAMBODIA - Formation for children on vulnerability and discriminationhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59936-ASIA_CAMBODIA_Formation_for_children_on_vulnerability_and_discriminationhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59936-ASIA_CAMBODIA_Formation_for_children_on_vulnerability_and_discriminationPhnom Penh - A training session and reinforcement of the students, on the theme of support to the most vulnerable children and discriminated against, was recently held in the schools of Oh Cham Na , within an agricultural community, and Andoumg Thmor . Promotor of the initiative was the staff of non-profit CCS in Cambodia. Blackboards full of colorful sheets with the definition, in Khmer language, that each student considered more valid for the concepts of vulnerability and discrimination. The day was attended by a total of 71 people: 39 students, 29 teachers and three representatives of local education authorities. The concepts were discussed together with the children and all were invited to share their own idea of vulnerability and discrimination with the rest of the group. The children focused in particular on two issues: how to identify vulnerable children within their school, on the basis of such signals of distress, and how to help them concretely. <br />Mon, 02 May 2016 11:41:29 +0200AMERICA/NICARAGUA - Mgr. Alvarez Lagos:"Nicaragua is not at war! Buying tanks is contrary to our reality"http://www.fides.org/en/news/59937-AMERICA_NICARAGUA_Mgr_Alvarez_Lagos_Nicaragua_is_not_at_war_Buying_tanks_is_contrary_to_our_realityhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59937-AMERICA_NICARAGUA_Mgr_Alvarez_Lagos_Nicaragua_is_not_at_war_Buying_tanks_is_contrary_to_our_realityMatagalpa - "Nicaragua is not at war, Nicaragua does not want war, Nicaragua does not need war, nor heavy combat weapons", said the Bishop of Matagalpa, His Exc. Mgr. Rolando Jose Álvarez Lagos, criticizing the announced purchase of tanks by Daniel Ortega’s government, initiative which he described "contrary to the national reality". Mgr. Alvarez spoke on this issue after the Mass in honor of St. Joseph the Worker, the patron saint of the parish that bears the name of the saint in the municipality of El Tuma-La Dalia, in Matagalpa, celebrated yesterday, May 1.<br />"We recognize the participation of the army in Nicaragua in humanitarian work, as the fact of protecting agricultural production, cattle raising and even to bring medical assistance to the population, but the militarization of some rural communities has caused fear and panic among the rural population, which is why the announced purchase of tanks is totally contrary to the national reality", said the Bishop in the note sent to Fides from a local source. According to Mgr. Alvarez the money to be spent on the purchase of tanks "could be used to build hospitals, schools, roads, encourage investment and employment. This purchase, as a result, is obsolete and out of context" he concluded.<br />Data from the local press highlights that Nicaragua wants to purchase 50 T-72 tanks and 62 T-55 tanks, making the Nicaraguan army the largest ground military power in Central America. <br />Mon, 02 May 2016 11:40:46 +0200AMERICA/COLOMBIA - "Accompany dialogue with ELN": the Church for peace and for the release of the hostageshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59935-AMERICA_COLOMBIA_Accompany_dialogue_with_ELN_the_Church_for_peace_and_for_the_release_of_the_hostageshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59935-AMERICA_COLOMBIA_Accompany_dialogue_with_ELN_the_Church_for_peace_and_for_the_release_of_the_hostagesRionegro - "We received the request not to be guarantors, but to accompany, so we will be present to moderate the talks, we hope this helps to make them more effective and bring us towards peace as soon as possible": this is how His Exc. Mgr. Luis Augusto Castro Quiroga, IMC, Archbishop of Tunja and President of the Episcopal Conference, commented the request sent to the Colombian Church by ELN.<br />According to information sent to Fides, this is what the Archbishop said at the end of his speech at the forum on the Post Conflict "Impactos Sociales y Empresariales", held in Rionegro at the end of last week, which was attended by several authorities of the local and national government as well as diplomats of the countries that have volunteered as mediators for peace among the guerrilla groups and the Colombian government.<br />Mgr. Castro Quiroga also urged ELN to "free all hostages and not to ask a penny", noting that it is one of the government's conditions for starting talks with ELN. Unfortunately yesterday ELN claimed that Melisa Trillos and a farmer representative Henry Perez are not their hostages, and this has caused further concern in their respective families, who have no information on their health status.<br />Following this update, His Exc. Mgr. Gabriel Angel Villa Vahos, Bishop of Ocaña, yesterday publicly asked the release of Melisa Trillos, a lawyer, kidnapped two weeks ago. The Bishop asked the kidnappers to give proof that Melisa is alive and to respect her life, in the hope that she will soon return to her family. <br />Mon, 02 May 2016 11:22:25 +0200ASIA/PAKISTAN - Youth Ministry with the works of mercyhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59933-ASIA_PAKISTAN_Youth_Ministry_with_the_works_of_mercyhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59933-ASIA_PAKISTAN_Youth_Ministry_with_the_works_of_mercyLahore - "Young people need to be involved, to experience mercy and to give mercy. Thus the Jubilee makes sense for them": says to Fides Fr. Jahanzeb Iqbal, a priest from Lahore, pastor of St. Antony and Director of the Youth Ministry Service of the Archdiocese. With this spirit and this certainty Fr. Iqbal promotes, throughout the Jubilee year, a special program of events in which "young Catholics practice the works of mercy". Thanks to the initiative of Fr. Iqbal, young people regularly go to the hospitals in the poorest neighborhoods to visit families, are committed in the service of charity which prepares and distributes food to the marginalized and beggars. "One goes to celebrate Mass and bring joy in marginalized communities, and young people entertain children belonging to disadvantaged families" said the priest to Fides. "Mercy marks their lives and their experience and this makes mercy not an abstract word, but something extremely concrete: it is the closeness to every human suffering" he continues.<br />The Catholic youth of Lahore who, overall, are more than 50 thousand, come from 26 parishes of the Archdiocese, have welcomed these initiatives enthusiastically. Fr. Iqbal is organizing also the journey that will lead a delegation of Pakistani youth to WYD in Krakow, an event that young people look forward to.<br />"The priorities for young Pakistani Catholics is certainly education, especially very qualified education, since, once they finish high school, very few are able to pay college tuition costs, given the impossibility of their families" he explains. In addition, he concludes, one works for dialogue and peace, in order for citizens to be ready to build ties of harmony and reconciliation in society, especially with young Muslims. <br />Mon, 02 May 2016 10:54:43 +0200AMERICA/COLOMBIA - Lessons in the native language for a group of indigenous children in Medellínhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59934-AMERICA_COLOMBIA_Lessons_in_the_native_language_for_a_group_of_indigenous_children_in_Medellinhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59934-AMERICA_COLOMBIA_Lessons_in_the_native_language_for_a_group_of_indigenous_children_in_MedellinMedellin - Thanks to a program of inclusion offered by the Municipality of Medellin in Niquitao district, the area where many children live in precarious conditions, 77 indigenous children of Embera community will attend school lessons in their native language. The program, organized by teachers of the same ethnic group, aims to teach how to read and write. <br /><br />Mon, 02 May 2016 09:34:04 +0200AMERICA/JAMAICA - Appointment of the Apostolic Administrator of Mandevillehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59932-AMERICA_JAMAICA_Appointment_of_the_Apostolic_Administrator_of_Mandevillehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59932-AMERICA_JAMAICA_Appointment_of_the_Apostolic_Administrator_of_MandevilleVatican City – On May 1, 2016 the Holy Father appointed His Exc. Mgr. Charles Dufour, Emeritus Archbishop of Kingston in Jamaica as Apostolic Administrator of the vacant Diocese of Mandeville . <br />Mon, 02 May 2016 09:31:25 +0200AFRICA/SOUTH AFRICA - Appointment of the Apostolic Vicar of Ingwawumahttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59931-AFRICA_SOUTH_AFRICA_Appointment_of_the_Apostolic_Vicar_of_Ingwawumahttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59931-AFRICA_SOUTH_AFRICA_Appointment_of_the_Apostolic_Vicar_of_IngwawumaVatican City - On 30 April 2016 the Holy Father appointed Fr. Siegfried Mandla Jwara, C.M.M., Pastor and Regional Superior of the Missionaries of Mariannhill in the Province of Umtata as Vicar Apostolic of Ingwawuma . He was assigned the titular see of Elefantaria in Proconsulari.<br />Rev. Fr. Mandla Siegfried Jwara, C.M.M., was born on February 1, 1957 in St. Nivard, in the diocese of Mariannhill. After attending schools in Kwa-Hluzingqondo in uMkhomazi, and completed High School Education in 1980, on 1 February 1981 he entered the Congregation of the Missionaries of Mariannhill and carried out his Novitiate in Mariannhill Monastery. He professed his first vows in 1982, his Perpetual vows in 1986, and then completed his philosophical and theological formation at St. Joseph's Theological Institute in Cedara . He was ordained a priest on 14 February 1987.<br />Since his ordination he has served the following academic and pastoral roles: 1987-1992: Assistant priest and parish Priest in Claivaux Mission in Mpendle ; 1992-1993: Diploma in Human Development, Leadership, Formation & Community Building at St. Anselm Institute, London, England; 1993-1998: Master of Novices in Mariannhill Monastery and for a short period C.M.M. Rector in Merrivale, as well as provincial Councilor. At the same time, he obtained a Master's Degree in Theology at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburgh; 1998-2002: Provincial C.M.M. ; 2002- 2004: C.M.M General Councillor ; 2005-2006: Parish priest at Port St. John and St. Patrick Mission and C.M.M Provincial Councillor; 2006-2009: Elected again C.M.M. Provincial; 2009-2014: Pastor of St. Patrick, diocesan consultor and Dean of the Eastern Deanery; since 2014: Regional Superior of Umtata Region and Pastor of St. Patrick Mission.<br />The Apostolic Vicariate of Ingwavuma was erected in 1962, it has an area of 12,309 square kilometers and a population of 754,315 inhabitants, of whom 26,730 are Catholic. There are 6 parishes, 14 priests , 14 religious brothers, 5 sisters and 3 seminarians. <br />Mon, 02 May 2016 09:28:51 +0200AMERICA/HONDURAS - The construction of the penitentiary center in San Pedro Sula has come to a stop, the Bishop seeks fundinghttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59917-AMERICA_HONDURAS_The_construction_of_the_penitentiary_center_in_San_Pedro_Sula_has_come_to_a_stop_the_Bishop_seeks_fundinghttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59917-AMERICA_HONDURAS_The_construction_of_the_penitentiary_center_in_San_Pedro_Sula_has_come_to_a_stop_the_Bishop_seeks_fundingSan Pedro Sula - The construction of the new detention center in San Pedro Sula has stopped again. For four months, the works have stopped, despite repeated announcements to resume construction. The President of the Foundation proconstrucción of the criminal center, His Exc. Mgr. Romulo Emiliani, said that works have not moved forward for more than four months, while this is an important safety work for the entire country.<br />"The official report we received complains that the security standards set initially have not been met", said the Bishop. In the note sent to Fides, Mgr. Emiliani informs that he is looking for new funding, and that the original plans have been reformulated to comply with international safety requirements.<br />Mgr. Emiliani, in the hard task of restoring peace and the fight against organized crime in a violent Honduras , has always tried to propose pastoral service in prisons that is centered on the defense of human rights and respect for human dignity . <br />Fri, 29 Apr 2016 09:03:27 +0200AFRICA/ZAMBIA - The Church condemns xenophobic violence and ritual murdershttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59916-AFRICA_ZAMBIA_The_Church_condemns_xenophobic_violence_and_ritual_murdershttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59916-AFRICA_ZAMBIA_The_Church_condemns_xenophobic_violence_and_ritual_murdersLusaka - "The government must anticipate events and make every effort to stop these behaviors", said Fr. Cleophas Lungu, Secretary General of the Episcopal Conference of Zambia to Catholic agency CANAA, expressing strong condemnation of the Catholic Church for the xenophobic attacks that took place recently in Zambia. "The violence in question is twofold", explains Fr. Lungu. "On the one hand, at least four people were killed by strangers in some densely populated compound of Lusaka in recent weeks. When rumors spread that ritual murders were perpetrated by foreigners who do business in Zambia - continues the priest - groups of residents in the affected areas of the capital unfortunately decided to take justice into their own hands and looted shops and homes belonging to foreigners and migrants, especially those from Rwanda".<br />Several Rwandan migrants took refuge in a structure of St. Ignatius church in Lusaka to flee the violence, where they received the visit of President Edgar Chagwa Lungu who promised them "full protection" from the authorities.<br />The Secretary General of the Episcopal Conference commended the concrete solidarity of many faithful who offered food and clothing to the people who sought refuge in the church. Fr. Lungu believes that the rumors about ritual murders are linked to "traditional beliefs about witchcraft and the modern phenomenon of people who practice Satanism in order to obtain a pecuniary advantage" and also due to extreme poverty in which much of the population lives. Fr. Lungu also notes that the spread of rumors and incitement to xenophobic violence also occurs thanks to the use of social media.<br />Cardinal Peter Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, expressed on behalf of Pope Francis, the concern and condemnation for the xenophobic violence in Zambia and commended the work of the Church to assist the victims and to spread in the country a culture of peace and respect for others. <br /><br />Fri, 29 Apr 2016 09:02:53 +0200AMERICA/ARGENTINA - Bishop of Oran appeals to everyone, including authorities, to take action against denguehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59915-AMERICA_ARGENTINA_Bishop_of_Oran_appeals_to_everyone_including_authorities_to_take_action_against_denguehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59915-AMERICA_ARGENTINA_Bishop_of_Oran_appeals_to_everyone_including_authorities_to_take_action_against_dengueOran - The Bishop of Oran, His Exc. Mgr. Gustavo Zanchetta, has recently sent a letter to the community to urge all, including authorities, to increase their efforts against dengue. According to the local radio station Radio 10, the Bishop said: "in circumstances in which we are saddened and worried about the devastating effects of dengue and other fevers of chikungunya and zika, as a Pastor I strongly feel the need to be united more than ever in these moments of extreme emergency". Mgr. Zanchetta continues: "I appeal with humility to those who are in charge at a state level, to honor their role in favor of the common good and to increase their efforts so that this dramatic situation does not spread further. I also, pray that we all learn to work together and help each other". <br /><br />Fri, 29 Apr 2016 09:02:08 +0200AMERICA/ECUADOR - Caritas campaign to deal with the emergency: "Let’s put Ecuador back on its feet"http://www.fides.org/en/news/59914-AMERICA_ECUADOR_Caritas_campaign_to_deal_with_the_emergency_Let_s_put_Ecuador_back_on_its_feethttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59914-AMERICA_ECUADOR_Caritas_campaign_to_deal_with_the_emergency_Let_s_put_Ecuador_back_on_its_feetGuayaquil - The campaign "levantemos Ecuador Juntos" has just begun, promoted by Caritas of the Archdiocese of Portoviejo together with a major company operating in the retail sector in 81 cities in Ecuador, Tia. The campaign, according to information sent to Fides, provides for the delivery of 3 million bricks to rebuild housing destroyed by the earthquake for the most needy families, who now do not even have a place to sleep. The campaign was launched yesterday by His Exc. Mgr. Luis Cabrera Herrera, Archbishop of Guayaquil, and other leaders of the initiative. The situation in the north coast of the country is still terrible, almost two weeks after the terrible earthquake on 16 April . The latest government report indicates 659 dead, 17,638 injured, 48 missing. Other numbers indicate a real social emergency: 27,732 people were assisted in hospitals and emergency health centers. About 29,067 are homeless, and rescuers are still unable to reach small towns. Those most severely damaged cities are: Manta, Portoviejo, Pedernales, Bahía, Jama y Canoa. <br />Fri, 29 Apr 2016 09:01:39 +0200AFRICA/TANZANIA - Appointment of the Bishop of Geitahttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59913-AFRICA_TANZANIA_Appointment_of_the_Bishop_of_Geitahttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59913-AFRICA_TANZANIA_Appointment_of_the_Bishop_of_GeitaVatican City - On 28 April 2016 the Holy Father appointed rev. Flavian Kassala, director of the Stella Maris Mtwara College as Bishop of the Diocese of Geita .<br />The new Bishop of Geita was born on December 4, 1967 in Sumve, in the Archdiocese of Mwanza. He attended the St. Pius X Minor Seminary in Makoko, in the Diocese of Musoma, for his primary and secondary education. From 1988 to 1990 he was a student at the Minor Seminary of Sanu, in the Diocese of Mbulu, and from 1991 to 1992 at the Preparatory Seminary of Kome, in the Diocese of Geita. He completed his formation for priesthood with studies in philosophy at the St. Anthony of Padua Major Seminary in Ntungamo, in Bukoba, and studied theology at the St. Paul Seminary in Kipalapala, in Tabora. He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Geita on 11 July 1999.<br />Since his ordination, he has served the following academic and pastoral roles: 1999-2002: Assistant priest in Sengerema, Diocese of Geita; 2002-2004: Formator and Spiritual Director of the Mary Queen of Apostles Minor Seminary in Sengerema and Diocesan Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies; 2004-2012: Student in Rome at the Pontifical Salesian University, where he obtained a Doctorate in Theology with specialization in Youth Ministry and Catechesis, residing in Nepomuceno College; 2013: Coordinator of the Episcopal Projects Office of the Diocese of Geita; 2013-2015: Professor and Director of St. Augustine University of Tanzania in Arusha; since 2015: Director of the Stella Maris Mtwara College, affiliated to St. Augustine Catholic University.<br />The Diocese of Geita, erected in 1984, is a suffragan of Mwanza. It has an area of 10,697 square kilometers and a population of 943,698 inhabitants, of whom 553,160 are Catholics. There are 15 parishes, 36 priests , 30 religious women. <br />Thu, 28 Apr 2016 12:21:39 +0200AMERICA/MEXICO - Priest assaulted and handcuffed, "the arms trade is flourishing", denounces the Bishophttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59911-AMERICA_MEXICO_Priest_assaulted_and_handcuffed_the_arms_trade_is_flourishing_denounces_the_Bishophttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59911-AMERICA_MEXICO_Priest_assaulted_and_handcuffed_the_arms_trade_is_flourishing_denounces_the_BishopIrapuato - "The violent assault committed by armed men against the parish of the Señor de la Clemencia in Irapuato, is a painful affront to the whole community", said the Bishop of the Diocese of Irapuato, His Exc. Mgr. José de Jesús Martínez Zepeda, in the note sent to Fides. On Tuesday, April 26, four armed individuals entered the sacristy of the church, where there was a priest and two women. One of the thugs handcuffed the priest and others stole all the offers of the parish.<br />"I was hurt to hear that one of our priests was humiliated - said the Bishop -, in doing so they offended the entire community. It is clear that the arms trade is still thriving, because, as the priest said, they all had guns".<br />Mgr. Martínez Zepeda, who intends to give recommendations to all parishes in order to reduce risk and ensure safety, noted that "there is crime everywhere, in homes, families are robbed, on the street, even with violence, crime does not respect anyone, not even priests".<br />The local community is very impressed by the fact that the Church greatly helps families in need in this area, but unfortunately delinquency and arms trade increases more and more. <br />Thu, 28 Apr 2016 11:47:44 +0200AFRICA/EGYPT - Coptic priests "on mission" in cafes and in the streets to proclaim Easterhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59912-AFRICA_EGYPT_Coptic_priests_on_mission_in_cafes_and_in_the_streets_to_proclaim_Easterhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59912-AFRICA_EGYPT_Coptic_priests_on_mission_in_cafes_and_in_the_streets_to_proclaim_EasterMinya - In Egypt, Coptic churches - who follow the Julian calendar - are celebrating Holy Week. In view of Easter, greetings and good wishes are expressed to the Copts by representatives of institutions. <br />Even Ahmed al Tayyeb, great Imam of Al Azhar, went to the Coptic Cathedral in Cairo to personally express his Easter greetings to Orthodox Coptic Patriarch Tawadros II. And in the imminence of the Christian solemnity, also pastoral initiatives flourish in the large North African country: in recent days, some Coptic Orthodox priests of the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of Minya, Upper Egypt, decided to leave their parishes to go to celebrate moments of prayer in the streets, in cafes and in public places, in order to announce the Passion and the Resurrection of Christ to the many baptized who do not attend churches and sanctuaries even on the occasion of the liturgical solemnities.<br />The Coptic Orthodox Diocese of Minya presented this initiative on its website as an attempt to reach Christians, especially among many young people, who do not usually attend the parishes. "This is an initiative that may seem unusual in a country overwhelmingly Muslim, always threatened by sectarian conflicts" refers to Agenzia Fides Anba Botros Fahim Awad Hanna, Coptic Catholic Bishop of Minya, "and it is obvious that it can be done with freedom and serenity in residential areas and villages only by Christian citizens. But it still represents a sign of apostolic vitality: many young people have no real contact with the life of the Church and its liturgical and sacramental dynamics. So instead of waiting for them in a parish, we gently try to reach them, in places where they live and prefer to spend their time". <br />Thu, 28 Apr 2016 11:38:35 +0200AFRICA/BURUNDI - "Kira Mama Plus!" A project to reduce infant mortalityhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59910-AFRICA_BURUNDI_Kira_Mama_Plus_A_project_to_reduce_infant_mortalityhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59910-AFRICA_BURUNDI_Kira_Mama_Plus_A_project_to_reduce_infant_mortalityCibitoke - In recent years Burundi has made great strides in reducing maternal and infant mortality. The same is not true for neonatal mortality: according to UNICEF still 36 children out of 1000 die in the first 28 days of life, especially in the first hours after birth, because are premature, underweight or because of complications during birth or infection. To deal with this unfortunate phenomenon, the Partnership Committee Medica has initiated, in Cibitoke district, in northern Burundi, the project Kira Mama Plus! which aims to reduce infant mortality through the training of nurses and midwives in all maternity facilities in the district.<br />To ensure that every newborn is followed during the first month after birth, the training is also aimed at community health workers and traditional midwives who, through home visits, provide treatment and care, out of the health centers. Kira Mama is named after the Burundian song that welcomes the mother and her baby. <br />Thu, 28 Apr 2016 11:13:01 +0200