Fides News English Agency Newsen-usASIA/INDIA - Appointment of Rector of the regional "Holy Trinity" Major Seminary in Jalandhar City - On 17 April 2015 Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, appointed rev. Alphonse Shah, of the archdiocesan clergy of Delhi as Rector of the regional "Holy Trinity" Major Seminary in Jalandhar .<br />The new Rector was born on January 6, 1963 and was a ordained priest on December 6, 1995 in Delhi. He studied philosophy at the Nagpur University and theology at the Pontifical Seminary in Pune. He obtained a doctorate in moral theology at the Alphonsian Academy in Rome. Since his ordination he carried out his priestly ministry in the parish for a few years. Since 2008 he has been a teacher at the Regional "Holy Trinity" Major Seminary in Jalandhar. In the last five years he was also Vice-Rector. Mon, 31 Aug 2015 13:09:08 +0200ASIA/PAKISTAN - Christian couple lynched for blasphemy: the police accused of negligence - The Supreme Court of Pakistan criticized the inaction of the police in front of the lynching of the Christian couple Shahzad and Shama Masih, accused of blasphemy and killed in Kot Radha Kishan, Punjab, on 4 November 2014. On 24 August, the Court, in a case involving two accused of the lynching, strongly criticized the police for not having intervened to prevent violence and did nothing to protect the two Christian citizens. Five police officers were present at the scene of the crime, while the crowd of extremists who carried out the lynching was made up of about 500 fanatics. The officers are accused of negligence, while the prosecutor argued that the police tried to stop the angry crowd, but failed. An anti-terrorism court in Pakistan has charged with murder 106 people deemed responsible for the lynching of the Christian couple, but justice, say Christian lawyers, moves at a slow pace. Mon, 31 Aug 2015 13:02:21 +0200AFRICA/SWAZILAND - Prayer and solidarity of the Church for the tragic accident of the girls - Daily prayers until 6 September to commemorate the young victims of the road accident on August 28 in Swaziland. This was decided by Mgr. José Luis Ponce de León, IMC, Bishop of Manzini.<br />According to the Swaziland Solidarity Network, the accident occurred on the highway connecting Mbabane to Manzini where at least 38 girls were killed and a dozen other people were injured. The girls were going to the royal residence on the occasion of a traditional feast, "the dance of the reeds", during which the king chooses a new wife from thousands of virgins who are dancing. Later the local police reduced the scale of the tragedy, stating that the victims are 13 and not 38. The Swaziland Solidarity Network has instead relaunched in a new statement that the victims are less than 65, several of whom died from injuries. The organization also denounced the conditions of transport of the young invited.<br />In a statement sent to Agenzia Fides, Mgr. Ponce de Leon asks who is responsible for the loss of so many young victims. "Each one of us had been entrusted by God with the safety and dignity of these young people. Aside from those directly responsible for Friday's accident, we need to ask ourselves if there was anything more we could have done to prevent it. Why do we wait until something like this happens before we take every single life seriously?".<br />The Bishop finally calls on all to express solidarity with the victims’ families and thanks Card. Wilfrid Fox Napier, Archbishop of Durban, and Mgr. Stephen Brislin, Archbishop of Cape Town, on behalf of the Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference for the prayers and messages of solidarity received. Mon, 31 Aug 2015 12:55:11 +0200ASIA/LEBANON - Islamic-Christian summit postponed, while protests against politicians continue - The Islamic-Christian summit scheduled for today, Monday, August 31, to be held at the Maronite patriarchal see in Bkerké, has been postponed until a later date. This was reported by Lebanese official agencies, adding that, however, even today meetings continued with political representatives and Christian members at the patriarchal see in Bkerké. We currently have not been officially communicated the reasons that led to the postponement of the Islamic-Christian summit, but according to Lebanese media the meeting has been postponed for lack of participation of some Muslim leaders.<br />The summit was supposed to be the occasion to express the common concern of the leaders of different Christian and Muslim religious communities, due to the institutional paralysis that immobilizes the Country of the Cedars, where the office of the President of the Republic, reserved to a Maronite Christian, has been vacant now since May 2014. A dramatic situation, made untenable by the huge influx of Syrian refugees in Lebanon and from the exploding and social unrest. <br />In recent days, in an attempt to verify all the practical ways for a solution to the institutional crisis, Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rai met, one by one, the leading Lebanese politicians, for long and intensive talks. Mon, 31 Aug 2015 12:36:36 +0200ASIA/INDIA - In Orissa the Day of Remembrance for the victims of anti-Christian massacres - The "Day of Remembrance" which will commemorate the victims of anti-Christian massacres that occurred in the district of Khandamal in 2008 will be held today, August 31, in Orissa. As reported to Fides by local Church sources, the celebration will see the participation of the Archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, His Exc. Mgr. John Barwa SVD, many priests and members of the local Church, intellectuals and activists, civil authorities and leaders of social organizations who have also come from other states of the Federation. Explaining the spirit of the Day, the Archbishop remarked that "we gather in prayer for the victims, reiterating, all together, our common commitment to promoting peace, justice and hope. The faith of Christians in Orissa has become stronger in the face of persecution".<br />Seven years ago, in August 2008, about a hundred Christians were killed by a mob of Hindu extremists who asked them to convert. About 300 churches and 6,000 Christian homes were looted, making 56,000 Christians homeless.<br />The commemoration of the victims for what is called "a dark page in the history of Indian democracy" was held in Bangalore, in Karnataka state, on August 29.<br />The purpose of the event, said a statement, is "to express solidarity with the victims of violence in Kandhamal, involving people of all social classes, religion, sex and nationality, to instill a ray of hope".<br />"The celebration is an opportunity to reflect on the theme of growing intolerance orchestrated by Hindu extremist groups across the country, and how these ideas have infiltrated the government, police and courts, eroding the values of justice, equality, secularism and citizenship enshrined by the Constitution of India", says to Fides Jagadish G Chandra, an activist for human rights.<br />Violence in Kandhamal is "a matter of justice, as only 2 of the 27 murder trials have been concluded, and only three thousand, out of 11,300 people denounced have been conducted in court" concludes Chandra. Mon, 31 Aug 2015 12:24:41 +0200ASIA/IRAQ - Chaldean Patriarchate delivers a dossier on the abuses suffered by Christians in Baghdad to the authorities - There are 14 cases of illegal expropriations of real estate of Christians in Baghdad documented in the first dossier that the Chaldean Patriarchate delivered yesterday to the leaders of the committee, recently set up by the Iraqi political authorities, with the specific task of collecting information and arranging concrete measures regarding the violence suffered by Christians in the Iraqi capital. The delivery of the dossier, which took place on Sunday, August 30, is the first, diligent response of the Chaldean Patriarchate to the demands of the committee, that had urged on behalf of the church, assistance in gathering information on cases of expropriation, abduction, extortion and harassment which in recent months have mainly targeted Christians in Baghdad. In the dossier, in addition to cases involving illegal property expropriations, the names of Christians seized and made victims of extortion are also mentioned.<br />The committee of the police to combat the escalation of kidnappings and illegal expropriation of homes and land suffered in recent months by the Christians in the Iraqi capital had been set up in recent days on the orders of Prime Minister Haydar al-Abadi . The heads of the Committee, in a meeting with the Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael I, had asked the church to provide all appropriate assistance to facilitate the operations of the census of real estate abusively taken from Christian families, collecting the title deeds and pointing out individuals, groups and corporate bodies that now benefit of illegally expropriated properties.<br />In recent months both in Baghdad and in other Iraqi cities, cases of housing and land illegally taken from their respective Christian owners through the production of false legal documents had multiplied. The phenomenon managed to take hold thanks to collusion and coverings of corrupt and dishonest officials. On 13 July, Patriarch Louis Raphael I had made a public appeal to the political authorities and institutions of the Country, demanding the government greater protection against gangs. Mon, 31 Aug 2015 12:09:19 +0200AFRICA/SOUTH SUDAN - "People fear that the peace agreements may not be respected", said the Auxiliary of Juba - People rejoiced because of the peace agreement but did not publicly manifest it because they fear that it will not be applied. This is what His Exc. Mgr. Santo Loku Pio Doggale, Auxiliary Bishop of Juba, capital of Southern Sudan, said in an interview with AMECEA Online News, commenting on the peace agreement signed on 26 August by President Salva Kiir .<br />"There is some fear that the implementations may not go as expected and so the people are saying: well it is true that peace deals is signed but let us wait and see", said Mgr. Santo.<br />The Auxiliary of Juba said that "people are also concerned that previously the peace agreements were signed but later on the implementations failed to happen . The people naturally are not celebrating. I think they are happy but you don’t see jubilations".<br />As reported by Agenzia Fides, after the signing of the agreement to put an end to two years of civil war, according to a local source "there was definitely no celebratory atmosphere in Juba because the suffering caused by the civil war is immense" . Our sources also reported that among the high military command there was strong resistance to the peace agreements. Mgr. Santo states that at the time of signing, fighting was going on in Unity State, among military units who were escaping from the control of President Kiir and others that were not under the control of his rival, former Vice President Riek Machar. According to local sources the fighting in Unity State have never ceased altogether. Mon, 31 Aug 2015 11:43:38 +0200AMERICA/ARGENTINA - Meeting of the PMS of Cone sur: from Ad Gentes to Evangelii Gaudium Aires - With a small mission in Berazategui, in the Diocese of Argentina's Quilmes, the meeting of the National Directors and the Secretaries of the Pontifical Mission Societies of the Southern Cone region: Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil, ended yesterday, Sunday, August 30. According to information sent to Agenzia Fides, the meeting, hosted by the PMS of Argentina, in Buenos Aires, was attended by those responsible of the communication and media of the PMS.<br />During the opening of the meeting, on the afternoon of August 28, the National Director of the PMS in Argentina, Fr. Dante De Sanzzi, presented a statistical overview of the Catholic Church in Argentina. Therefore two members of the national team of missionary youth groups illustrated the "Fourth National Meeting of missionary groups" to be held from October 10 to 12 in Santiago del Estero .<br />On Saturday, August 29, His Exc. Mgr. Enrique Eguía Seguí, Auxiliary Bishop and Pro-Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires, presented a report on the theme "50 years since the Second Vatican Council: from Ad Gentes to Evangelii Gaudium". The afternoon was dedicated to the exchange of experiences and the description of the work that each National Directorate carries out in their own country. Mon, 31 Aug 2015 11:04:21 +0200AMERICA/HAITI - New reception facility for the poorest families who live on the outskirts of the capital au Prince - The new reception center recently opened by the Pope John XXIII Community , destined to welcome the poorest families, especially single mothers with children, is situated in the Croix de Bousquet area, on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince, the Haitian capital.<br />"The presence of our missionaries in Haiti began after the 2010 earthquake - said a statement sent to Fides by Matthew Vignato, responsible for the Caribbean area of Apg23 -. Initially we were welcomed and supported by the Scalabrini Fathers. Then, with the help of many benefactors, we were able to buy land and build this house, which has already become the center of a network of reception activities and support to the local population". The activity of the Apg23 is addressed especially to women with children. "We have developed after-school activities with them and simple cooking, garden, design workshops - continues Vignato -. We also guarantee these children school attendance by helping families in the payment of school fees and all necessary materials".<br />The opening ceremony on August 28, was attended by the general manager of the Community of Pope John XXIII, Giovanni Ramonda, representatives of religious communities and institutions with which the APG23 works, and about 200 people, mostly Haitian families. Mon, 31 Aug 2015 10:46:35 +0200ASIA/PAKISTAN - Five arrests for the attacks against churches in Lahore - After an intelligence operation, the Pakistani police arrested five terrorists, suspected of having played an active role in organizing the attacks on two churches on March 15 in the district of Youhanabad, in Lahore. According to local sources, the detainees provided direct assistance to suicide bombers. The officers also recovered weapons and a detonator. The suspects were handed over to the police in Lahore for further interrogation. Another man accused of taking part in the massacre was arrested last April.<br />Sources of the Christian community in Lahore told Fides that "it is the duty of the government to track down and arrest the culprits so that the massacre will not remain unpunished".<br />15 people died in front of the two churches and over 80 were injured. The attacks were claimed by "Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan", the so-called "Pakistani Taliban". Sat, 29 Aug 2015 12:43:37 +0200ASIA/LEBANON - A Muslim-Christian summit on the agenda to overcome the institutional crisis - A religious Muslim-Christian summit will take place next Monday at the Maronite patriarchal headquarters in Bkerké. The purpose of the meeting - Lebanese sources consulted by Agenzia Fides said - is to demonstrate the convergence of leaders of the various Christian and Muslim religious communities with regard to the urgency to end the institutional paralysis that immobilizes the Country of the Cedars. A dramatic situation, made untenable by the huge influx of Syrian refugees in Lebanon and also due to exploding and new social tensions that are shaking the Country.<br />These days, in an attempt to verify all the practical ways for a solution to the institutional crisis, Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rai is meeting Lebanese political leaders one by one for long and intensive talks, which are not followed by the publication of reports or official statements. Yesterday, Friday, August 28, the Primate of the Maronite Church had a two-hour talks with General Michel Aoun, leader of the Free Patriotic Current, the political party allied with the Shiites of Hezbollah. Lebanese media sources report that at the weekend there will be meetings of the Patriarch with other Christian leaders like Amin Gemayel, Suleiman Frangiè and Samir Geagea. <br />Meanwhile, the Lebanese press stressed that the demonstrations and protests in recent weeks express discontent regarding the various political blocs that condition political mechanisms no longer capable of responding to national and regional emergencies and to deal with the growing risks of a general destabilization of the Lebanese system. Sat, 29 Aug 2015 12:06:40 +0200ASIA/INDIA - The Franciscans in India: an hour of Adoration for the Day of Creation Delhi - More than 50 thousand among monks, nuns, lay Franciscans, members of the Association of Franciscan Families of India - which brings together the religious orders of men and women and lay people of the Secular Franciscan Order – will stop for an hour of Eucharistic Adoration on World Day of Prayer for the care of creation, in communion with Pope Francis, on 1 September. <br />The news was reported to Agenzia Fides in a note of the AFFI, presided by Capuchin friar Fr. A.J. Mathew.<br />As the Coordinator of the AFFI, Fr. Nithiya Sagayam OFM.Cap reports, "prayer and Eucharistic Adoration will strengthen the bond with the creation of God". According to Fr. Nithiya, in the 164 provinces where they are present, the Franciscans are committed to spreading the responsibility to "be united with the Lord not only symbolically, but to generate a firm commitment in the preservation of creation".<br />All formation centers, communities, seminaries, convents and parishes run by Franciscan monks in India will spend an hour in Adoration.<br />As Fr. A.J. Mathew emphasizes, the Franciscans in India have a network with a large number of educational, medical and social institutions. "We are committed to the Church and in society in order to revitalize the spirit of St. Francis. Our care regard social issues such as food security, the rights of indigenous peoples, violence against women, children's rights", he recalls. The AFFI will organize a special workshop on the encyclical Laudato Sì, which will aim to draw concrete action plans for environmental protection in India. Sat, 29 Aug 2015 11:52:19 +0200ASIA/HOLY LAND - A year after the last war, the kindergarten of the Latin parish in Gaza has been renovated - Exactly one year since the ceasefire that ended the last military campaign in the Gaza Strip by the Israeli army against Palestinian guerrillas of Hamas - called "Margin of protection - two new projects to support the civilian population in the area were inaugurated on Tuesday, August 25 in the compound of the Latin parish in Gaza City, dedicated to the Holy Family, in al-Zeitun area. The first project – refer sources of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem - was funded by the Catholic Relief Service, and consists of the total renovation of the kindergarten which on 29 July 2014 had been devastated by the bombs of Israeli planes. The second project, funded by the NGO World Vision, allowed the installation of a new electric generator. The new device to generate electricity does not emit noise, so as not to disrupt the school's activities linked to the parish, attended by about 300 young boys and girls of Gaza. The Latin Catholic parish in Gaza is currently led by Father Mario da Silva, missionary of the Incarnate Word. Sat, 29 Aug 2015 11:15:38 +0200OCEANIA/TAHITI - Appointment of the Apostolic Administrator of Papeete City - On August 28, 2015 the Holy Father appointed Rev. Father Jean-Pierre do Cottanceau, SS.CC as Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia. Fri, 28 Aug 2015 12:59:37 +0200AFRICA/EGYPT - The Coptic Church: the life of the Country depends on the "good health" of the Nile - Coptic Orthodox Patriarch Tawadros II will travel to Ethiopia in September, where he will take part in the celebrations for the feast of the Holy Cross along with Abuna Mathias I, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. This is what Coptic Sources report. In a statement released by the Coptic Patriarchate, it was also confirmed that the visit will allow to continue the "ecclesial mediation" with which the Primates of the two sister Churches seek to ease tension between Egypt and Ethiopia on the question of the Great Renaissance Dam, the imposing hydraulic work on the Nile.<br />The issue of the dam had been addressed during the visit of Abune Mathias in Egypt, which took place last January. Egyptians fear that the Ethiopian project of the large dam may have negative impact on the volume of the waters of the Nile, so far available to the economy and the needs of the population. The Egyptian population lives concentrated in 4% of the land area of the Country, in the lands that are located close to the river. The whole life of the nation depends in various forms on the Nile.<br />Pope Tawadros aims to favor the development of a new ecclesial sensitivity regarding the risks associated with unplanned and disorderly exploitation of national water resources. In this respect, it was announced that some priests will follow training courses to be held at public institutions that manage irrigation systems, in order to be able to contribute, through homilies and catechesis, to the vital need to safeguard from an ecological point of view the great river artery. Fri, 28 Aug 2015 12:57:42 +0200AFRICA/SUDAN - Appointment of the Coadjutor Archbishop of Khartoum City - On 15 August 2015 the Holy Father appointed His Exc. Mgr. Michael Didi Adgum as Coadjutor Archbishop of Khartoum . <br />At the same time Bishop Didi Adgum was appointed Apostolic Administrator of the vacant Diocese of El Obeid. <br/><strong>Link correlati</strong> :<a href="">Biography of the new Coadjutor Archbishop</a>Fri, 28 Aug 2015 12:29:44 +0200AFRICA/SOUTH SUDAN - The President orders the cease-fire, but expresses strong reservations on the peace agreement - President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, has ordered the army to stop the fighting, as of today, August 28, in accordance with the peace agreements signed on August 26 , which provide for the permanent ceasefire within 72 hours of their signature.<br />In signing the agreement, President Kiir however handed over a 12-page file to the mediators which lists several controversial issues considered by the government.<br />The main reservation concerns the post of first vice president, created next to that of Vice President, attributed to the rebels, led by Riek Machar. It is expected that Kiir consults his First Vice President to make "collegial" decisions. <br />Riek Machar had been Vice President under Kiir, before the latter made him resign. A few months latter, Machar had been accused of a coup attempt which triggered the civil war in December 2013.<br />Other points at issue concern the distribution of seats in favor of the rebels in the governments of three key States , the demilitarization of the federal capital, Juba, and the 18 months allowed for the unification, under a new name, of forces that fought in the war. Kiir said that there is already a regular army, whose name must remain unchanged, and with regard to Juba, invoking a "question of sovereignty", challenges the imposition of withdrawing all combat units in a radius of 25 km from the capital within 90 days after the entry into force of the agreement. Fri, 28 Aug 2015 12:23:55 +0200ASIA/IRAQ - Chaldean Patriarch to Iraqi political leaders: integrate the voluntary militias in the army - Iraq needs a "national salvation government" where the various components of the Country are represented by wise politicians, able to carry out the reforms needed to emerge from the state of emergency and counter the centrifugal forces that threaten the very existence of the nation. Among the urgent needs to be addressed, there is also the need to integrate militias in the army, on ethnic and religious basis, in all areas of the Country. These are the main contents of the letter that the Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael I sent to the highest civil authorities of the Country. This is what official sources of the Chaldean Patriarchate, consulted by Agenzia Fides report. The letter, sent yesterday, Thursday, August 27, is addressed to Iraqi President Fuad Masum, to Prime Minister Haider al Abadi and to the President of Parliament Salim Abdullah al-Jubouri. On the same day, the Primate of the Chaldean Church also sent a letter to Yusuf Mohammed Yusuf Sadiq, recalling the need that the new regional draft Constitution is not written in a hurry, is respectful of different identities that exist in the region and help preserve social stability, security and economic development. Fri, 28 Aug 2015 12:14:55 +0200AFRICA/SENEGAL - Catholic Students are protagonists of "positive change" - "May Jéciste be a builder of positive change through solidarity, fraternity and tolerance" this is the theme of the 28th National Council of the Jeunesse Etudiante Catholique which opened today, 28 August, in Kolda in Senegal.<br />According to a statement sent to Agenzia Fides, "through this theme the participants will address several other issues such as the family, inclusive management at schools and universities and religious fundamentalism". Another sensitive issue that will be analyzed concerns the problem of early marriages "that slow down the schooling of girls, especially in the area of Kolda".<br />During the National Council, which ends on September 5, three panel discussions will also be organized. The first, titled "Challenges of the family in the twenty-first century: where is the education of young people placed?", sees the participation of a Catholic priest, an imam, a sociologist and a jurist; the second "Is the inclusive management at school and university a guarantee of stability?", with the participation of a pedagogue, a university inspector and a mediator; Finally, the third titled"religious fundamentalism: What is the attitude of pupils and students?", animated by a Catholic priest, an imam and a specialist in religions. Fri, 28 Aug 2015 11:44:00 +0200ASIA/PHILIPPINES - The Church joins the Pope for the "Day of Creation" which opens the "Season of Creation" - Churches, associations, and Catholic faithful throughout the Philippines will celebrate the World Day of Prayer for the protection of creation on 1 September, joining the prayer announced by Pope Francis. As reported to Fides, in Manila the occasion will coincide with the opening of the "Season of Creation" and will see Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle preside over a Mass in the Cathedral of Manila.<br />Promoted since 2013, the "Season of Creation" is a six-week period in which there are initiatives, celebrations, exhibitions on the theme of the environment in parishes, schools, Catholic associations. This year the starting point of reflection and of the different activities will be the encyclical Laudato sì.<br />The Church in the Philippines is currently committed in a signature campaign to support the global campaign on climate change: the petition, asks to keep the global temperature rise below the critical threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius, it will be delivered to world leaders who will gather in Paris in late November. The document also calls for a broader assistance to the poor people in the world who face the effects of climate change.<br />Launched in the Philippines in July, the campaign was initiated and promoted by the "Global Climate Catholic Movement", which brings together over one hundred Catholic organizations engaged in the world for "climate justice". Fri, 28 Aug 2015 11:24:26 +0200