Fides News - English Agency NewsenContent on this site is licensed under aAFRICA/BURKINA FASO - Young people from Burkina Faso and Niger are also bewitched by smartphones - "I believe that the Synod will be of great benefit to the young people of Burkina Faso and Niger" said His Exc. Mgr. Gabriel Sayaogo, Bishop of Manga , representing Burkina Faso and Niger at the XV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops with the theme "Young people, faith and vocational discernment".<br />In presenting the situation of young people in Burkina Faso and Niger, the Bishop of Manga said that "the first challenge is that of work. Young people who have managed to do a fairly acceptable educational path and get a diploma do not find a job".<br />The second challenge is the educational one. The quality of school education in Burkina Faso is lowered by the proliferation of private schools and institutes, which have "appeared like mushrooms after the rain", said Mgr. Sayaogo, that aim at the number of members more than the quality of teaching. A problem that challenges the Church that seeks to ensure adequate education for all. <br />"I believe that the Catholic Church in Burkina Faso and Niger is working hard so that its nursery, primary, secondary schools and university can really absorb as many students as possible", says Mgr. Sayaogo.<br />Another challenge for both Countries is religious practice. "Today we are in a world where religious confessions and philosophical tendencies are constantly born. When young people do not have a strong and serious support, they tend to listen to these promoters of happiness, and this constitutes a danger for them" says the Bishop of Manga.<br />The proliferation of social media naturally also reached the young people of the two Countries. "Today - says Mgr. Sayaogo, everyone has access to cell phones. We must recognize that the digital world has entered the life of our youth. We have nicknamed the youth "the low head generation". The are absorbed by their mobile phones all the time, even during meetings. Some answer the phone during Mass".<br />The delegate of the Burkina-Niger Bishops Conference finally welcomed the fact that the young people of Burkina Faso and Niger, pending the conclusions of the Synod, recently held a meeting to discuss their future. Mgr. Sayaogo is pleased with this initiative which shows the maturity and determination of the young. "I told them that with the creation of an Episcopal Commission for young people in our Conference, it means that together with Christ we are ready to take up the challenge". <br />Tue, 23 Oct 2018 14:28:52 +0200ASIA/ARAB EMIRATES - The largest gathering of young Catholics in the Arabian Peninsula is approaching Al Khaimah - More than 1,000 young Catholics between the ages of 18 to 35, from across the Arabian Peninsula, will make their way to Ras Al Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates for a two-day event, on 26 and 27 October, titled ACYC 2018. The two-day event will be held at St Anthony of Padua Catholic Church . The Festival of Faith will be the largest gathering of young adults of the Catholic faith from<br />across the Arabian Peninsula with attendees from parishes in the UAE, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain and Jordan. A group of young Catholics from the Hascemite Kingdom of Jordan will also be present at the event. This is the third time that the conference is being held in the United Arab Emirates, the first being in Dubai in 2009 and the second in Abu Dhabi in 2012. The theme of this year’s conference, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God’ is in line with the Marian themes for the last two diocesan World Youth Days and the upcoming World Youth Day 2019 which will be held in Panama from 22 to 27 January 2019". "The conference, underlines Bishop Paul Hinder OFMCap, Apostolic Vicar for Southern Arabia, calls on young adults to not be afraid and to know that their dignity and preciousness is not the result of recognition by any power and authority in this world, but by God who tells us that we are his beloved<br />children". Mary - adds Bishop Hinder - "can teach us in a unique way how to live as children of God and to radiate love, joy and peace in the world".<br />The Conference will take place at the same time as the final phase of the Synod on Youth, underway in Rome and has an impressive line up of international speakers: Archbishop Christopher Prowse, Archbishop of Canberra, Australia; John Pridmore, who will share his journey of conversion and how he became an international<br />Catholic speaker and author; Sr. Anne Flanagan, a singer, writer and speaker for Pauline books & media; the preacher of Ghanaian origin Mark Nimo - actively involved in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal - and Fr. Wissam Mansour the youth chaplain in Jordan. The two-day conference will be marked by the celebration of daily Mass and moments of prayer and adoration. The conference will also showcase live musical performances by leading local bands Ablaze, Masterplan, InsideOut, Coheirs and Redeemers.<br />The organization of the event was made possible thanks to the voluntary work of more than one hundred young people from the United Arab Emirates. <br />The conference - reads the press release of the event, sent to Agenzia Fides - answers the call of Pope Francis to meet young people right where they are and to understand their problems, struggles and difficulties - to present the face of Jesus and the church always ready to “welcome, integrate and journey together side by side.” <br />The conference will also be attended by Bishop Camillo Ballin MCCJ, Vicar Apostolic of Northern Arabia, and Archbishop Francisco Montecillo Padilla, Apostolic Nuncio in Kuwait, Bahrain and United Arab Emirates and Apostolic Delegate in the Arabian Peninsula. <br />Tue, 23 Oct 2018 14:20:14 +0200AMERICA/MEXICO - The Bishops: "Listening to the cries of the brother for us Christians means commitment and action" City - With the title "The cries of the poor", the Episcopal Conference of Mexico has just published a letter to remind the Mexican community that the Catholic Church, at the invitation of Pope Francis, will celebrate next November 18, the 2nd World Day of the Poor. In the text the Bishops present a reflection on who the "poor" is at the moment and in Mexico. "Today we hear the cries of the sick and evicted, of the unemployed, of abused women and relatives of missing people, of abused children, of those who are marginalized, and so many others", reads the letter sent to Fides.<br />The document highlights, on the one hand, the concern for the "caravan of migrants" seen as a new type of poverty, because they are obliged to leave everything; on the other hand, it refers to the Pastoral Project of CEM that commits itself to listening to these "cries" of the poor and to becoming a Church committed to peace and social causes.<br />In conclusion, the document expresses appreciation for "the pastoral attention and the accompaniment, guided by the Commission of Human Mobility, in the 133 shelters centers of our Church" and also for having informed, in its recent press release, about " the legal framework that protects and governs this moment in the history of our continent and our country".<br />"We contemplate with gratitude the Church of Tapachula, San Cristóbal de Las Casas and other Churches and religious communities, as well as governmental organizations and civil society, which have undertaken initiatives to help our brothers and sisters, on the path of their mobility: listening to the cries of the brother means commitment and action for us Christians", concludes the text. <br />Tue, 23 Oct 2018 13:48:03 +0200VATICAN - Fr. Meroni: "The missio ad gentes, model of the evangelizing mission of the Church" - "The missio ad gentes is the original form, the paradigm and the model that sets up the whole evangelizing mission of the Church because it expresses the proclamation of the Gospel and the sacramental transformation of the world, making all the peoples disciple missionaries of the Lord Jesus. The specificity of the missio ad gentes, within the evangelizing mission of the Church, is found in its peculiar relationship with the not yet personal encounter with Jesus Christ and his Gospel, with the absence of a Christian faith capable of generating new cultures, with women and men whose religions and peoples still yearn for salvation from sin and death in the here and now of human history": this is what Fr. Fabrizio Meroni, PIME, Secretary of the Pontifical Missionary Union, said in a speech delivered, in view of World Mission Day, on the occasion of the opening of the academic year at the Pontifical Theological Faculty "Seraphicum", of the Order of Friars Minor Conventual.<br />In the lecture entitled "Is there still an interest in missio ad gentes? A pastoral theological reflection", Fr. Meroni - who is also Director of the Missionary Animation International Center and Agenzia Fides - explained: "To know or not to know Christ, to be or not to be baptized, to embrace or not to embrace the Christian faith and to belong or not to belong to the Church, to live or not to live the Gospel of reconciliation and experiment God's forgiveness make the real difference". In fact, the PUM Secretary continued, "in order to collaborate in the salvation of the world, we must love him and be willing to give his life by serving Christ, the only Savior of the world. We do not have a product to sell, but a life to communicate: God, his divine life, his merciful love, his holiness".<br />Fr. Meroni remarked, with the words of Pope Francis: "It is the Holy Spirit who sends us, accompanies us and inspires us. He is the source of our mission. It is he who guides the Church forward, not us . Mission, conversion, baptism, faith, love represent the will of the Lord Jesus regarding his Church. Selling a product for religious purposes of profit or increasing the number of followers, manipulating the freedom of people in their deepest material and spiritual needs for salvation, joining religious ideologies and opinions is proselytism".<br />The mission of Jesus, the heart and motivation of the Church's mission is - instead - communication of divine life: "Giving the life of God the Father, offering the life of the Holy Spirit, sacrificing oneself for life in Christ represents the origin and purpose of mission, from its original form of the missio ad gentes to its fulfillment in the Jerusalem of heaven, dwelling of God among men ".<br />And he concluded: "The missio ad gentes, as the first proclamation to people, places and peoples not yet transfigured by the Easter of Jesus, qualifies the evangelization of the Church guided by the Holy Spirit in its inalienable task of penetrating, converting and transfiguring the world until the ends of the earth, so that we can all be saved. The missio ad gentes corresponds to the natural need placed in the heart of every man to be saved, that is to experience the fullness of life in the victory over sin, sickness and death. In the missio ad gentes the Church is led by the salvation of Jesus towards a world that the same God had already created and established in order to be saved in his Son Jesus". <br />Tue, 23 Oct 2018 13:01:28 +0200AFRICA/LIBERIA - Radio Maria Liberia remembers and prays for the abducted missionary in Niger every day - "Every day a prayer is held at Radio Maria Liberia for the release of my brother Fr. Gigi Maccalli": says to Agenzia Fides Fr. Walter Maccalli, brother of the missionary kidnapped in Niger. The two are both missionaries of the Society for African Missions . After years of mission in the Ivory Coast and Angola, Fr. Walter Maccalli told Fides about his arrival in the new mission in Foya in Liberia: "Friar Garry, regional superior of Liberia, arrived in Monrovia and invited me to get to know his parish in Bomi, about 60 km from Monrovia. It is in his parish, during a solemn mass, that the Liberian Christians welcomed me in their country: we ate together a piece of kola nut. On Wednesday 17, I accompanied Fr. Firmin to Catholic radio, Radio Maria Liberia, where he conducts a program of catechesis. We also stayed for the Mass celebrated in French, for the French-speaking listeners, and we prayed for the release of Fr. Gigi".<br />Fr. Walter shared the memories of the Liberian civil war: "In those years we had welcomed many refugees in Tabou and San Pedro, in the Ivory Coast. Among them also a bishop, many nuns", he recalls.<br />The missionary then left for Foya, in the diocese of Gbarnga and, after a trip full of obstacles, he arrived in the community, where on Sunday 21 October, World Mission Day, he celebrated Mass in his new parish, welcomed with joy by the parishioners. <br />Tue, 23 Oct 2018 12:02:01 +0200ASIA/INDONESIA - The first National Festival of Sacred Music: a universal message of peace - Music is a means of elevating the spirit of man towards God, it is a universal language and is a vehicle to send to Indonesia, to believers of all religions, a message of reconciliation and peace: with this spirit and with this intent the Pesta Paduan Suara Gerejani , the national festival of Catholic sacred music, will be held in Ambon, Moluccas archipelago, between 27 October and 2 November. The event is expected to draw about 8,000 people, Catholics and others, from the country’s 34 provinces. Indonesian President Joko Widodo and several Indonesian Bishops will attend the opening ceremony, while Vice President Jusuf Kalla will be present at the closing ceremony.<br />The Festival takes on a special significance: the city of Ambon was the epicenter of social and religious conflict in the period 1999-2001, when a wave of sectarian violence broke out, causing 4,000 victims, including Muslims and Protestant Christians, and over half a million displaced. The violence ended with the Malino peace treaty, agreed by the government, on February 13, 2002.<br />"By choosing Ambon, this first national Catholic holy festival intends to highlight that the impression that violence caused by religious sectarianism no longer exists in Indonesia", explained the minister of Religious Affairs Lukman Hakim Saifuddin during a preparatory seminar on the theme "Building national harmony and defending the Republic of Indonesia through performing arts: from Jakarta to Ambon".<br />Professor Adrianus Meliala, among the organizers, reiterates to Fides that "the festival in Ambon intends to promote pluralism in the whole of Indonesian society". And Putut Prabantoro, a Catholic and member of the organizing committee, reminds Fides that "Whoever sings well, prays twice", quoting the words of St. Augustine.<br />There will be several concerts of sacred music and songs during the festival, involving choirs, adults, teenagers and children of the diocese of Bogor, in the province of West Java. It "will be useful to promote social tolerance and a sense of brotherhood among Indonesian citizens". <br />Tue, 23 Oct 2018 11:47:20 +0200AMERICA/COLOMBIA - Victims of conflict, migrants, social leaders in danger: Colombian Bishops call for collaboration in Europe - The European Parliament, the French Parliament, the British Government, the Commissions of the Episcopates of the European Union, France, England and Wales, Internationalis and German Caritas, as well as other Catholic cooperation agencies, received the visit of some representatives of the Colombian Episcopal Conference in mid September, with whom they talked about the ongoing and necessary cooperation in this critical moment for their Country.<br />Mgr. Héctor Fabio Henao, National Director of Social Pastoral-Caritas, who accompanied the President of CEC, the Archbishop of Villavicencio, Mgr. Oscar Urbina, told Agenzia Fides that "although what happens in Colombia does not have great media impact, we have nevertheless perceived interest, concern and willingness to cooperate, on behalf of the institutions visited, to alleviate the situation of those seeking protection in Colombia", ie the victims of armed conflict, the hundreds of thousands of Venezuelan migrants and social leaders in danger of life.<br />For each of these three areas, projects are implemented with the collaboration of some of the European institutions, first of all Caritas, with its working group for Colombia. "Colombia has taken a very important step in the building of peace: the international community must maintain the attention and solidarity towards our country, which is still in a critical situation", warns Mgr. Henao.<br />"It was known that there are many violent protagonists in Colombia, and that it was not enough to make peace with FARC. <br />We could have imagined that they would try to take control of the territories that FARC left free", he explains. In the meetings of Brussels, one of which the President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani was present, what was highlighted is the fact that the current migration crisis in Colombia, which originated in Venezuela, is "humanitarian, and not just political" and requires urgent action.<br />Attention was paid on "the global pacts on migrations and refugees that are being signed at the moment and on the need to adapt international instruments to adequate and integral assistance". The Colombian delegates drew attention to the complexity and depth of the Venezuelan migration crisis, which "must be seen in the framework of a much broader legislation than the traditional one, considering the needs of this population".<br />Mgr. Urbina and Mgr. Henao emphasized that in these situations "the great solidarity of the Colombian people and its enormous capacity to give hospitality" emerged, together with the need to "integrate migrants in Colombian society and offer them protection, in a complete framework that contemplates their rights". Mgr. Henao, however, did not find on the European side the precise intention of "a monitoring and a permanent evaluation of the most urgent needs and the way to resolve them".<br />In the French phase of the journey, with the Permanent Committee of the Trans-Alpine Episcopate, the commitment and strategies of evangelization in the face of migration and poverty in both countries were deepened. In the meetings with the National Assembly and Caritas France and other Catholic agencies, there was talk of the need to continue to support the search for peace stability, taking care especially of situations of extreme poverty and the complete rural reform of the areas previously occupied by FARC and the sustainable substitution of illicit crops. The security conditions of human rights defenders, was particularly discussed in London, both at an ecclesial and government level. <br />Tue, 23 Oct 2018 11:13:41 +0200AFRICA/CENTRAL AFRICA - "It is our duty to give young people a perspective of life" says Cardinal Nzapalainga - "The Central African Youth is sick" said His Eminence Cardinal Dieudonné Nzapalainga, Archbishop of Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic, on the margin of the XV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops with the theme "Young people, faith and vocational discernment".<br />"Three quarters of my country is occupied by rebels", explains the Cardinal. "Many young people have not gone to school since 2013. This is a concern for me and also for other pastors. We see many young people have taken up arms, take drugs, several others have no prospects for life, we must try to help these young people together".<br />The future of young people in Central Africa should be a central theme for local politics and for the international community itself, given that half of the population is under the age of 18. The same is true for the Church.<br />Cardinal Nzapalainga emphasizes that "the Central African youth dreams one day of becoming adult and responsible. Young people want to occupy a position, give their contribution. We must encourage them. If we do nothing, we bury a talent. Many young people have dreams, and if we do nothing to help them, they fall into pessimism".<br />Cardinal Nzapalainga adds that the problems young people in Central Africa face are common to their peers in other African states. "There is a fundamental problem of bad governance. If we create normal structures to help young people fullfil their dreams, they could stay in their Country and work. When one is the Head of State, he is responsible for all national groups without exception", the Cardinal points out, alluding to the inauspicious tendency of politics in Africa to favor, once in power, their own group of ethnic, tribal or regional belonging, at the expense of others. <br />Mon, 22 Oct 2018 13:34:48 +0200OCEANIA/SOLOMON ISLANDS - Historic event for the diocese of Auki: the first native bishop of the Solomon Islands - Mgr. Peter Houhou is the first native Solomon Islander to be appointed as Bishop in the Solomon Islands. As Agenzia Fides learns, the diocese of Auki, Malaita province, has in fact been the protagonist of a historical event: in the Cathedral of St. Augustine the ordination of the first Catholic Bishop of the nation was celebrated in recent days. An important step forward for the local Church.<br />The celebration was presided over by Archbishop Kurian Mathew Vayalunkal, Apostolic Nuncio of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands, and concelebrated by Archbishop Christopher M. Cardone OP, of the Archdiocese of Honiara and Archbishop Douglas Young SVD, of the Archdiocese of Mount Hagen, in Papua New Guinea.<br />"The Holy Mother Church entrusts you with three important responsibilities: teaching, sanctifying and governing the people of God", said Archbishop Vayalunkal, addressing the new Bishop during the homily. The Apostolic Nuncio also thanked Mgr. Houhou’s family of origin and the whole local community "for the precious gift of this son" and invited everyone to "pray and support Bishop Houhou".<br />The liturgy of episcopal ordination was characterized by local cultural rituals. There were many signs that enriched the rite: Bishop Peter’s whole family, from Marau, East Areare and Ulawa, presented him to the Church, in the presence of Archbishop Vayalunkal, in front of the whole assembly visibly moved. In the solemn Eucharistic celebration the various deaneries and parishes of the diocese of Auki were represented: the faithful of the whole diocese participated with great spiritual intensity.<br />The new Bishop paid homage to his predecessors, all Bishops who were missionaries: Mgr. Gerard Loft, SM and Mgr. Christopher Cardone, OP. He emphasized the commitment of Marist missionaries and diocesan priests who "built the church and fortified the faith of the population of Auki". In particular, Mgr. Houhou mentioned the first two local priests, Fr. Michael Aike and Fr. Donasiano Hite'e, urging the local Catholic community, citizenry, government institutions to "work in a spirit of communion to strengthen the faith in the Solomon Islands" and "to seriously face the challenges and problems present in society". There was no lack of expressions of gratitude towards the many missionaries, faithful, organizers who made this historic event possible. <br />Mon, 22 Oct 2018 12:47:19 +0200AMERICA/NICARAGUA - "Justice and freedom": the requests of the population resound in the Cathedral of Managua - For three weeks now, the military forces of the government have tightened controls on the protest marches of the population, preventing any kind of public demonstration in the streets of the capital. Yesterday, Sunday 21 October, a protest was held in the Cathedral of Managua, asking for justice and freedom.<br />Among those present at the Eucharistic celebration, there were many young people who brought photos of political prisoners, whose relatives asked for their release. Father Rodolfo Lopez, who celebrated the mass at 11 am, prayed especially for political prisoners, demanding justice for Nicaraguan people. At the end of the mass all those present began to shout the names of political prisoners, one by one, and at the end they repeated: "They were students, not criminals".<br />Those present were almost all dressed in white and blue, the colors of the Nicaraguan flag, and were not intimidated by the voices spread during the mass, according to which, out of the Cathedral, there were police who wanted to stop the demonstrators, just as what happened on the previous Sunday, when 38 people were arrested on charges of demonstrating against the government. The note sent by a local source of Fides reports that although the 38 people arrested on Sunday 14 October were released the next day, there are still about 300 people in jail only for protesting against the government, as confirmed by the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights . <br /><br />Mon, 22 Oct 2018 12:33:15 +0200ASIA/INDIA - The Pope to young Indians at the national assembly: "Make your lives fruitful" Delhi - The first national Catholic Indian youth conference kicked off yesterday, 21 October. The conference is organized by the Youth Commission within the Bishops' Conference of India , which brings together the Indian bishops of Latin rite. A video message from Pope Francis was sent to the young Indians gathered in the assembly, who urged the young: "Make your lives fruitful for the benefit of all. Do not forget that youth is a wealth that bears fruit. You have the future and the present in your hands. Go forth. Do not be discouraged".<br />"On October 18 I met Pope Francis and gave him a gift on behalf of the Youth of India", says to Fides Percival Holt, National President of the Indian Catholic Youth Movement and present at the Synod in the Indian delegation. The gift was a Cross of the Good Shepherd carved by hand on sandalwood, together with a lotus flower as a symbol of love and purity.<br />In India, more than 500 young delegates, from 132 Indian Catholic dioceses, are taking part in the National Conference which lasts until October 25 in New Delhi. The event is organized thanks to the specific commitment of the Indian Catholic Youth Movement, which wanted to prepare it in harmony with the Synod of Bishops. "The meeting will become a fixed annual event: we think it is important to offer young people the opportunity to participate in a national training program", says Manoj Mathew, among the organizers of the Movement to Fides.<br />We also want to organize a three-year youth convention to bring together the young Indian Catholics of the three rites present in India: Latin, Syrian-Malabar and Syro-Malankara.<br />During these days, "the young leaders are divided into groups. They are engaged in discussions based on a topic that concerns the life of youth, faith and their vocational discernment", notes Mathew. "We will try to better understand the reality of young Indians and help young leaders to find answers to face the challenges that they live in their local realities, related to the faith of young people", he adds.<br />The CCBI is the episcopal conference of the Indian bishops of Latin rite and the Youth Commission is the main organ of the Conference which inspires and animates the youth apostolate of the Latin Church. <br />Mon, 22 Oct 2018 11:35:40 +0200ASIA/LEBANON - Young Lebanese Christians elaborate projects and proposals to promote Tripoli as a city of peace - 30 young Lebanese Christians took part in the training program entitled "The future of Christians in Tripoli: challenges and prospects for the new generation", organized by the St. Francis Convent of Tripoli-El Mina , in the context of the celebrations for the 800 years of Franciscan presence in the Middle East with the support of the International Secretariat of the Pontifical Missionary Union and in collaboration with the Pontifical Mission Societies in Lebanon. For more than 2 weeks, from 6 to 21 October, the participants in the course, lay and religious, belonging to the Maronite Christian community, as well as the Greek-Catholic and Greek-Orthodox, took part in educational activities and training sessions to deepen the spiritual, cultural, social and historical dimensions of the Christian faith lived and witnessed in the Middle Eastern context, also focusing on the problems of interreligious dialogue in the resolution of conflicts and on the role of Christians in civil society and in Middle Eastern political contexts. The 30 young people who took part in the course - reports a statement sent to Agenzia Fides - were selected through academic institutions and organizations such as the Apostolic Council of the Laity in Lebanon and Caritas Lebanon. The teaching activities were carried out by professors and experts, lay and religious, who work in the university and in study and training centers. During the working sessions, the young participants also fulfilled the task of developing proposals and projects aimed at "Promoting Tripoli as a city of peace, dialogue, culture and development". The projects will be implemented in 2019, together with new training, dialogue and cooperation activities.<br />The course ended on Sunday 21st October, with a solemn Mass celebrated by the Custos of the Holy Land, Father Francesco Patton OFM. <br />Mon, 22 Oct 2018 11:13:10 +0200VATICAN - The Pope at the Angelus: "Let us to pray so that the new generations may not lack the proclamation of the faith and the call to collaborate in the mission of the Church" City - Yesterday, Sunday 21 October, 92nd World Mission Day, the Holy Father Francis recalled the anniversary during the Angelus, with these words: "Today we celebrate World Mission Day, on the theme "Together with young people, let us bring the Gospel to all". Together with the youth: this is the way! And it is the reality that, "thank God, we are experiencing these days of the Synod dedicated to them: listening to them and involving them we discover many testimonies of young people who found in Jesus the meaning and joy of life. And they have often met Him thanks to other young people who have already been in His company of brothers and sisters which are the Church. Let us to pray so that the new generations may not lack the proclamation of the faith and the call to collaborate in the mission of the Church. I think of many Christians, men, and women, lay people, consecrated persons, priests, bishops, who have spent their lives and are still spending it away from their homeland to proclaim the Gospel. To them our love, our gratitude, and our prayer. Pray for them an ‘Ave Maria’". <br />Mon, 22 Oct 2018 10:25:07 +0200AMERICA/MEXICO - The Honduran march to the USA continues. Trump: the army will close the borders Cristobal de las Casas - About 10 thousand Hondurans arrived yesterday, 19 October, on the border with Mexico from Honduras. The Mexican government had announced, like those of El Salvador and Guatemala, that it would not allow the crossing of the border to Honduran migrants fleeing injustice, violence and corruption that is widespread in their Country.<br />Words of gratitude to the Guatemalan people were addressed by the Honduran migrants for the help and solidarity received from the Guatemalans while the march - towards the USA - crossed their Country. The Catholic Church and pro-migrant civil society organizations offered assistance, affection, food and shelter to the multitude of Hondurans who continue their journey towards the north .<br />In particular, the ecclesial communities of Tapachula, Tuxtla, Chapas and other regions of southern Mexico - according to a note from CELAM sent to Agenzia Fides - have mobilized to ensure that the participants in the march have food, clothing, support and shelter.<br /><br />Carrying the Honduran flag and singing the national anthem, chanting peaceful slogans to demand not to stop the transit, men and women and even some disabled people from different departments of Honduras had stopped at the border between Guatemala and Mexico. Then, the Tecum Uman border opened before them.<br />Now the crossing of Mexican territories will still depend on charity, solidarity and the help of local humanitarian institutions and organizations. Food, clothing and assistance are necessary for the survival of Honduran migrants on their journey.<br /><br />The diocese of San Cristóbal de las Casas issued a statement in solidarity with migrants and called on governments to respect human rights and protect against human trafficking. At the same time, it invited the population to provide all possible assistance with clothes, food and shelter for migrants.<br /><br />While there is still a long way to go, US President Donald Trump has already announced he wants to close the border with Mexico and send soldiers to stop the caravan of migrants. "I must, in the strongest terms, ask Mexico to stop this assault, and if it cannot - Trump wrote via twitter - I will call the US military to close our southern borders". <br />Sat, 20 Oct 2018 13:40:59 +0200ASIA/TURKEY: Erdogan calls for autonomy for the Gagauzi people, the Christian Turks of Moldova - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, during his recent visit to Moldova, reached an agreement with Moldavian President Igor Dodon, who fully implemented the status of political-administrative autonomy long since granted on paper to the Moldavian region of Gagauzia, inhabited by the Turkish Christians of Gagauzi . In a meeting on October 18 in Komrat, capital of Gagauzia, also with governor Irina Vlah, the two Presidents - as reported by the Turkish media - defined the concrete steps to be taken to ensure the effective entry into force of the Gagauzia regional autonomy regime, and include these provisions within the constitutional laws of Moldova.<br />The insistence with which the Turkish diplomacy pleaded the cause of the Gagauzis with the Moldovan authorities gave rise to the singular circumstance of a government led by the Akp Islamist party of Erdogan - which promotes the autonomous demands of a population of Christian faith.<br />The Gagauzi are the descendants of Turkish tribes. They settled in the Middle Ages in the south of the Danube delta, and then converted to Orthodox Christianity. Later, driven by Tsar Russia Alexander I, they moved to the Bessarabia area - currently in south-eastern Moldavia - which is still today their main settlement area.<br />Currently the population of Gagauzi is composed of about 200 thousand people, that belong to the Oğuz ethnic group to whom the Seljuks and the Ottomans belonged, and from whom the Turks of Anatolia and the Azeris descend. "The same name gagauz - wrote the historian and analyst Carlo Pallard - seems likely to derive from oğuz, although there is no certainty about the meaning of the prefix 'gag-', perhaps a deformation of gök ". According to Pallard "it is not possible to know when and how the Gagauzis embraced the Christian religion, and if earlier their ancestors had been Muslims for some time, as suggested by the use of the word Allah to refer to God instead of the original pre-Islamic Tanrı".<br />After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the proclamation of independent Moldavia, in 1991 the Gagauzis chose to proclaim the independence of the Gagauz yeri . In 1994, after a period of tensions, a compromise was reached, with the creation of an autonomous gagauza territorial entity within the Moldovan nation.<br />Today the Gagauzi share a strong feeling of pride in their Turkish identity, further strengthened during the battle for autonomy. <br />Sat, 20 Oct 2018 12:37:04 +0200ASIA/INDONESIA - The Bishop visits the displaced persons of Palu: "I am here to give comfort" - "I am here to give comfort and encourage the population that suffers": said the Bishop of Manado, Mgr. Benedictus Estephanus Rolly Untu, of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, addressing the displaced who are temporarily in the parish church of Santa Maria of the Sacred Heart, in the center of Palu, the city strongly hit by the earthquake that devastated the Indonesian island of Sulawesi on 28 September, in the East of the Indonesian archipelago.<br />As Agenzia Fides learns, hundreds of Catholic faithful in Palu found comfort in the recent visit of the Bishop, who also touched the most remote area of Kulawi, about 87 kilometers from Palu, with difficult road access due to heavy landslides that hinder the journey.<br />The Bishop, describing his humanitarian mission, told Fides: "The local Church is providing every possible humanitarian aid for the displaced persons in Sidera and Jonoogo, in the district of Sigi", including tents and survival kits. The area of Jonoogo suffered a serious damage due to the "liquefaction of the ground" which occurred shortly after the strong earthquake. "Streets are destroyed, houses swallowed, rice fields have suddenly disappeared", says the Bishop, describing the tragic situation.<br />The Bishop will also go to Petobo where about 700 houses have been flooded with mud. Last stop of the mission is the housing complex of Talise Beach where "a-5-meter tsunami hit this dense populated area", he notes.<br />Palu and Sigi are located in the central Sulawesi region, but these places belong to the diocese of Manado . The Bishop praised the priests of Palu for having quickly created a "Crisis Center" and a soup kitchen in the structures of the parish churches. <br />Sat, 20 Oct 2018 12:23:34 +0200VATICAN - Share the Journey: fight fear by walking with migrants and refugees City - Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, Archbishop of Manila and President of Caritas Internationalis, invites communities of citizens all over the world to fight hatred and fear with a million-year march of solidarity worldwide kilometers, alongside migrants and refugees. The worldwide pilgrimage is an initiative that arises in the context of the migration awareness campaign titled Share the Journey, "Let's share the journey".<br />"The big challenge in this time of harsh divisions - said Cardinal Tagle - is to oppose a rhetoric of fear and hate with actions of love, kindness and mercy, such as the ones proposed in our Share the Journey campaign".<br />The Rome walk is one of many being organised around the world, and Cardinal Tagle will officially launch the Share the Journey global pilgrimage on Sunday 21st October in Rome.<br />Caritas organisations in Chile, New Zealand, Canada, the UK and the USA have already started to walk with migrants and refugees. Many others are planning pilgrimages. There are national Caritas organisations in over 160 countries worldwide.<br />The campaign, promoted by Caritas Internationalis, was launched by Pope Francis on 27 September 2017 and lasts two years. Share the Journey aims to bring communities closer together with migrants and refugees by organising spaces and opportunities for the “culture of encounter. A first step to build more united and inclusive societies. <br />Sat, 20 Oct 2018 10:40:24 +0200AFRICA/D.R. CONGO - World Mission Day: the experience of a missionary who visits prisoners - Every week Alex Goffinet, a French white father who has been on a mission in Africa since 1962, visits the prison in Bukavu in the Democratic Republic of Congo. <br />He listens to prisoners, gives them advice and intercedes for them with prison authorities. Despite being 86 years old, he is still very active and, among the many commitments that he still carries out, there is that of assistance to prisoners. Agenzia Fides has gathered his testimony in view of World Mission Day, which is celebrated on October 21st.<br />"Providence", he observes, "has allowed me to still have the strength to work in Africa, having said that, what can an old missionary ever need in a troubled country like the D.R. of Congo?". One day, says Father Alex, a novice named Arsène invited him to accompany him to the central prison of Bukavu, the capital of Kivu. "It is an indescribable place, full of misery, but at the same time I asked myself: what is the sense of being a missionary other than to be close to the last? Since then, every Wednesday morning, together with members of the pastoral team, I go to the prison".<br />The prison in Bukavu is a sort of infernal circle. Two thousand people are crowded, in a precarious hygienic condition and in total promiscuity, in a structure that had been built to house 350 inmates. People serving a life sentence share the same spaces as those guilty of minor crimes.<br />The penitentiary of Bukavu is no exception to the country's prisons. The US State Department reports that "most of the prisons in the D.R. Congo are difficult and life-threatening". An assessment shared by the NGO Freedom House that in the report "Freedom the World 2017" states that most prisons have food shortages, are overcrowded and there are inadequate health conditions.<br />"In the prison of Bukavu - the old missionary continues - we are close to the prisoners, we try to listen to them and meet their basic needs, and we are very pleased that the collaboration with the authorities is good. Since September 2017 to today we have obtained the release of 415 prisoners".<br />The release of an inmate requires a legal proceeding that costs $ 50, a high sum in the D.R. of Congo. "The generosity of many has supported us - concludes Father Alex - but we are not an NGO, we do not have an office, everything is voluntary, we pay from our pocket to travel by public transport, we are close to the last and this is our way of being missionaries". <br />Sat, 20 Oct 2018 10:24:07 +0200ASIA/KAZAKHSTAN - "The beauty of being small" in the Kazakh Church - "When I think about the Kazakh Catholics, I am always amazed at the greatness of their faith. They do not have ancient traditions and Catholic roots, but I see a profound devotion to the Church, to the Pope, to the Eucharist, to the Rosary, to every aspect of our faith". This is what Mgr. Josè Louis Mumbiela Serra, Bishop of the diocese of the Holy Trinity of Almaty says to Agenzia Fides. The Bishop reports: "There are faithful who walk many miles to take part in the Eucharistic celebration every day. There is great enthusiasm and it is also very good for us as pastors, because we do not feel alone".<br />"In Kazakhstan - he continues - we Catholics represent a very low percentage, less than 1%. To cite an evangelical metaphor, I would say that the Kazakh Catholics are like a grain of salt: invisible in food, but able to change its flavor". And he adds: "I always tell our faithful that the wealth of Kazakhstan is not oil, it is not gas or energy: the progress of Kazakhstan depends on what this Christian community can be. We are few, but we must be aware of the importance of our presence".<br />According to Mgr. Mumbiela, "this is the beauty of being small: we are few, we do not have great pastoral programs, we do what we can and what Providence grants us".<br />According to official data provided by the Kazakh Ministry of Foreign Affairs, more than 17 million inhabitants of the country, about 26% are Christians, and 1% of whom are Catholic. In Kazakhstan there are 4 Catholic dioceses, for a total of 70 parishes. There are 91 priests in the nation, including 61 diocesan and 30 religious. <br /><br />Sat, 20 Oct 2018 10:05:39 +0200VATICAN - CATHOLIC CHURCH STATISTICS 2018 City – As every year, in view of World Mission Day, which this year celebrates its 92nd anniversary on Sunday, October 21, 2018, Fides News Service offers some statistics chosen to give a panorama of the missionary Church all over the world. The tables are taken from the latest edition of the “Church’s Book of Statistics” published regarding members of the Church, church structures, healthcare, welfare and education. Please note that variations, increase or decrease, emerging from our own comparison with last year's figures , are marked increase + or decrease – in brackets <br /><br />World population <br />To 31 December 2016 the world population was 7.352.289.000 with an increase of 103.348.000 units compared with the previous year. Population growth was registered on every continent, including Europe: increases were registered above all in Asia and Africa , followed by America , Europe and Oceania . <br /><br />Catholics <br />On the same date Catholics in the world numbered units with an overall increase of 14.249.000. The increase affects all continents, except Europe for the third consecutive year . Increases were registered above all in Africa and in America followed by Asia and Oceania . The world percentage of Catholics decreased by 0.05 %, settling at 17.67%. By continent: increases were registered in America , Asia and Oceania , decrease in Africa and Europe . <br /><br />Persons and Catholics per priest <br />This year the number of persons per priest in the world increased by 254 units, average 14,336. The distribution by continent: increase in Africa , America , Europe and Oceania . The only decrease in Asia . <br />The number of Catholics per priest in the world increased by 39 units, average 3.130. There are increases in Africa , America ; Europe , Oceania . Asia unvaried . <br /><br />Ecclesiastical circumscriptions and mission stations <br />The number of ecclesiastical circumscriptions are 10 more than the previous year to 3,016 with new circumscriptions created in Africa , America , Asia , Europe . Oceania unvaried. <br />Mission stations with a resident priest number 2,140 . Decrease was registered only in Africa , while and an increase was registered in America , Asia Europe and Oceania . <br />Mission Stations without a resident priest decreased in number by 513 units, to 142.487. Increase were registered in Africa , Europe , and Oceania . The number dropped in America and Asia . <br /><br />Bishops <br />The total number of Bishops in the world increased by 49 units, to 5,353. Diocesan Bishops and Religious Bishops increased in numbers. Diocesan Bishops number 4,063 , while Religious Bishops number 1,263 . <br />The increase in diocesan Bishops is registered in America ; Asia , Europe , while a decrease was registered in Africa and Oceania . The number of religious Bishops increased in all continents except Asia : Africa , America , Europe , Oceania . <br /><br />Priests <br />The total number of priests in the world decreased even this year, to 414.969 . The only continents which registered a major decrease was again Europe . There was also a decrease in America . Increases were registered in Africa and Asia Oceania unvaried. Diocesan priests increased by 317 units, reaching a total of 281.831 with a decrease only in Europe and increases in Africa ; America , Asia and Oceania . The number of Religious priests decreased by 1.004 units to a total 133.138. Increases were registered as in recent years in Africa and in Asia , whereas numbers dropped in America , Europe , Oceania <br /><br />Permanent Deacons <br />Permanent deacons in the world increased by 1.057 units to 46.312. The highest increase was registered again in America followed by Europe , Oceania , Africa and Asia . <br />Permanent Diocesan deacons in the world are 45.609, with an overall increase of 982 units. They increased on every continent except in Asia : Africa , America , Europe and Oceania . <br />Religious permanent deacons number 703, increased by 75 units compared to the previous year, with decreases in Africa and Oceania , increases in Asia , America and Europe . <br /><br />Men and women religious <br />The number of non-religious priests decreased for the fourth consecutive year by 1.604 units to 52.625. Situation: a decrease was registered in all continents: in Africa , America , Asia , Europe and Oceania . Even this year there is an overall decrease in the number of women religious by 10.885 units to 659.445. An increase was registered in Africa and Asia , decrease in America , Europe and Oceania .<br /><br />Members of secular institutes, male and female<br />Members of male secular institutes number 618 with a decrease of after an increase compared to the previous year. At a continental level there is an increase in Africa and Asia , while a decrease in America , and Europe , Oceania unvaried also this year. <br />The members of female secular institutes decreased this year, by 459 units to a total of 22.400 members. Increase only in Africa , while a decrease was registered in America , Asia Europe and Oceania . <br /><br />Lay missionaries and Catechists <br />The number of lay missionaries in the world is 354.743 units, with an overall increase of 2.946 units in particular in America and Africa . Decrease was registered in Asia , Europe and Oceania . Catechists in the world decreased by 36.364 units to a total of 3.086.289. An increase was registered in only in Africa . A decrease was registered in America , Asia , Europe and Oceania . <br /><br />Major seminarians <br />The number of major seminarians, diocesan and religious decreased this year, they are globally 683 units, reaching a total of 116.160. Increases occured in Africa and in Asia , while even this year a decrease in America , Europe and Oceania . <br />Major diocesan seminarians number 71.117 and Religious major seminarians 45.043 . Diocesan seminarians increased in Africa , America and Asia . Decreases are in Europe and Oceania . Religious Seminarians increased only in Africa , while decreased in America , Asia , Europe and Oceania . <br /><br />Minor seminarians <br />The number of minor seminarians, diocesan and religious this year decreased by 2.735 units to 101.616. Overall decrease on all continents: Africa , America , Asia , Europe , Oceania . <br />Minor diocesan seminarians number 78.369 and religious seminarians number 23.247 . The number of diocesan minor seminarians increased in Africa and Oceania . Decrease in America , Asia , Europe , Religious minor seminarians increased in number only in Asia , while decreases in Africa , America , Europe and Oceania . <br /><br />Catholic schools and Education <br />In the field of education, the Catholic Church runs 72.826 kindergartens with 7.313.370 pupils; 96.573 primary schools with 35.125.124 pupils; 47.862 secondary schools with 19.956.347 pupils. The Church also cares for 2.509.457 high school pupils, and 3.049.548 university students. <br /><br />Catholic charity and healthcare centres <br />Charity and healthcare centres run in the world by the Church include: 5.287 hospitals, most of them in America and Africa ; 15.937 dispensaries, mainly in Africa ; America and Asia ; 610 Care Homes for people with Leprosy, mainly in Asia and Africa ; 15.722 Homes for the elderly, or the chronically ill or people with a disability, mainly in Europe and America ; 9.552 orphanages, mainly in Asia ; 11.758 creches, mainly in Asia and America ; 13.897 marriage counselling centres, mainly in Europe and America ; 3.506 social rehabilitation centres and 35.746 other kinds of institutions. <br /><br />Ecclesiastical Circumscriptions dependent on the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples <br />The ecclesiastical Circumscriptions dependent on the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples are 1.114 with an increase of 3 circumscriptions compared to last year. Most of the ecclesiastical circumscriptions are mainly in Africa and in Asia , followed by America and Oceania .<br /> <br /><br /><br/><strong>Link correlati</strong> :<a href="">Special Dossier Catholic Church statistics 2018</a>Sat, 20 Oct 2018 09:43:47 +0200