Fides News - Englishhttp://www.fides.org/Fides Agency NewsenContent on this site is licensed under aAFRICA - A European-African project o recover 7 million weapons in circulation in West Africahttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60115-AFRICA_A_European_African_project_o_recover_7_million_weapons_in_circulation_in_West_Africahttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60115-AFRICA_A_European_African_project_o_recover_7_million_weapons_in_circulation_in_West_AfricaRome - There are 7 million small arms circulating in West Africa, one million in Nigeria alone. 77,000 of these are in the hands of guerrilla groups that fuel conflicts in the Ivory Coast, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal.<br />To address this problem, the European Union, the main trading partner countries in the Countries of the region, has launched an initiative together with CEDEA/ECOWS in order to recover weapons in the hands of civilians in the area.<br />Seven West African States joined the program: Mali, Liberia, Guinea, Niger, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast and Nigeria.<br />The program, which began in 2014 and due to finish in 2017, focuses on communication and the teaching of the dangers of trafficking of small arms in the villages and in border cities and their role in fueling violence. This is followed by an invitation to the people to voluntarily surrender their weapons in exchange for community development projects. The village leaders have been urged to take part in the initiative. <br />Fri, 27 May 2016 12:39:13 +0200AMERICA/UNITED STATES - Bishops concerned about the announced operations for the expulsion of Central American immigrantshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60114-AMERICA_UNITED_STATES_Bishops_concerned_about_the_announced_operations_for_the_expulsion_of_Central_American_immigrantshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60114-AMERICA_UNITED_STATES_Bishops_concerned_about_the_announced_operations_for_the_expulsion_of_Central_American_immigrantsWashington - Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, auxiliary bishop of Seattle and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Migration expressed deep concern over reports that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will soon begin a month-long series of immigrant deportation raids. Incoming committee chairman, Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, also voiced such concern. <br />The letter sent to Fides by the USCCB, reports that the upcoming operations will cover in particular Central American undocumented mothers and children. "These operations spark panic among our parishes", said Bishop Elizondo. "No person, migrant or otherwise, should have to fear leaving their home to attend church or school. No person should have to fear being torn away from their family and returned to danger".<br />Bishop Elizondo and Archbishop Gomez remind the administration and ICE that enforcement actions that cause families to live in constant fear run contrary to long-standing American values and challenge the God-given dignity of every person. <br />Fri, 27 May 2016 12:27:42 +0200AMERICA/ECUADOR - Children make toys for their peers affected by the earthquakehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60113-AMERICA_ECUADOR_Children_make_toys_for_their_peers_affected_by_the_earthquakehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60113-AMERICA_ECUADOR_Children_make_toys_for_their_peers_affected_by_the_earthquakeQuito - The consequences caused by the earthquake last April 16 which devastated the country, continue to have an impact on children. In the provinces of Manabi and Esmeraldas, children of other areas in Ecuador, together with students, teachers, men from Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Uruguay and Costa Rica, have formed a supportive network to promote an aid project which consists in packaging cloth dolls for children of the coastal area destroyed by the earthquake. The delivery will start from the month of June, on the occasion of International Children's Day.<br />Dolls, fish, bears, cats, donkeys, stars were created with scraps of cloth, wool, ribbons, threads, buttons. In addition, nursery and primary school children have also written a message for the recipients of the most severely affected areas. The elaboration process of the dolls also favored the union of the families who took part. The drawings were made by children in their schools and then took shape with the help of adults. According to the National Statistics Institute, 422 513 children, in the age group between zero and nine live in Manabi and Esmeraldas. UNICEF data reports about 150,000 children who were directly affected by such emergency. <br />Fri, 27 May 2016 12:15:53 +0200AMERICA/COLOMBIA - The Bishop of Tibù and the local Church are ready to mediate for the release of journalistshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60112-AMERICA_COLOMBIA_The_Bishop_of_Tibu_and_the_local_Church_are_ready_to_mediate_for_the_release_of_journalistshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60112-AMERICA_COLOMBIA_The_Bishop_of_Tibu_and_the_local_Church_are_ready_to_mediate_for_the_release_of_journalistsTibù – There is growing concern after the disappearance of the journalist of El Tiempo newspaper, Salud Hernández-Mora, of whom we have no news since last Saturday, May 21, when from the municipality of El Tarra she was heading to Filogringo village.<br />After the failed search attempts by the military and police in the area, the Bishop of the Diocese of Tibù, His Exc. Mgr. Omar Alberto Sánchez Cubillos, O.P., expressed his intention to join the search: "We are very familiar with the territories, places and paths, we know the people who live there and in this sense there is already an available network. from the moment we mobilize", said Mgr. Sánchez Cubillos in an interview with Caracol Radio,.<br />Two other journalists, Diego D. Pablos and Carlos Melo, of TCN TV, had been kidnapped a few days ago. In this regard, the Bishop said that he is awaiting their release: they will be delivered to the pastor in Filogringo and to the regional Commission who are ready to receive them.<br />Yesterday afternoon, the former president of Colombia, Alvaro Uribe, during a demonstration against kidnappings, indicated the ELN as the author of these kidnappings in the area.<br />The phenomenon of kidnapping of journalists has reappeared in recent weeks, especially in this area of Colombia. <br />Fri, 27 May 2016 12:00:08 +0200AFRICA/IVORY COAST - The Bishops have called for the release of political prisoners in order to achieve genuine reconciliationhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60111-AFRICA_IVORY_COAST_The_Bishops_have_called_for_the_release_of_political_prisoners_in_order_to_achieve_genuine_reconciliationhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60111-AFRICA_IVORY_COAST_The_Bishops_have_called_for_the_release_of_political_prisoners_in_order_to_achieve_genuine_reconciliationAbidjan - "Reconciliation naturally demands the release of political prisoners mainly because no one can claim to have acted in complete innocence during the conflict", said Mgr. Ignace Bessi Dogbo, Bishop of Katiola on Sunday, May 22, speaking on behalf of the Bishops of the Ivory Coast, in the Notre-Dame de la Paix de Yamoussoukro Cathedral, during the national pilgrimage held on the occasion of the Jubilee of Mercy. "For the nation to be reconciled, everyone must feel free to come and go without fear of being molested", added the Bishop.<br />The Ivory Coast has suffered a decade of military political crisis, between 2002 and 2011, which ended with the clash between current President Alassane Ouattara and former President Laurent Gbagbo, who refused to recognize the victory of the first in the presidential election in November 2010. The violent post-election conflict of 2010-2011 claimed the lives of over 3000 persons within a space of five months. Gbagbo was finally arrested when UN and French troops stormed the presidential Palace where he had entrenched.<br />Several supporters of Gbagbo were arrested for the post-election violence, while no supporter of the current President has been brought to justice for violent acts committed, given that, according to independent observers, neither side can be said to be innocent for what occurred in that period. <br />Fri, 27 May 2016 11:47:13 +0200VATICAN - Cardinal Filoni opens the National Missionary Congress: "we need Christ"http://www.fides.org/en/news/60109-VATICAN_Cardinal_Filoni_opens_the_National_Missionary_Congress_we_need_Christhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60109-VATICAN_Cardinal_Filoni_opens_the_National_Missionary_Congress_we_need_ChristBucaramanga - As Bartimaeus "we are a bit blind, we are a bit beggars, a bit poor. We need Christ, to recover Christological faith. We need to believe that our life is loved by God in spite of moments of darkness and uncertainty. <br />We need the light and the hope with which God reaches us until the depths in which we are about to eliminate all darkness and cure any blindness or illness". This is how Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples expressed himself during the opening Mass of the XII National Missionary Congress of Colombia, in Bucaramanga, yesterday afternoon, Thursday, May 26.<br />Cardinal Filoni brought the greetings and blessing of Pope Francis to the Cardinals, the Apostolic Nuncio, to the Bishops, priests, men and women religious, and numerous lay faithful, and defined his participation in the opening of the Missionary Congress "a cause of deep ecclesial joy".<br />Taking a cue from the Gospel of the day, the memory of St. Filippo Neri, the Cardinal focused on the healing of the blind Bartimaeus in his homily. "Being blind, in the language of the Holy Scripture, is not simply a physical problem, but also has a spiritual meaning - he said -. Bartimaeus knew the darkness of blindness, and felt the need to see, and from here comes his deep cry, 'Son of David, Jesus, have mercy on me!'. Jesus listens to him, 'he stopped and said: Call him'."<br />Then, citing Pope Francis in the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, Cardinal Filoni explained that "this invitation to Bartimaeus, is the image and symbol of each of us and all those who are wavering in faith ... 'The Lord does not disappoint those who take this risk; whenever we take a step towards Jesus, we come to realize that he is already there, waiting for us with open arms' . The Lord hears, receives, restores sight. In short, he saves through faith ... For faith Bartimaeus believed in the love of God, who can do everything", and once he recovered his sight he began to follow him.<br />In the first reading , Saint Peter "reminds us that we are called to urge every man and woman to have courage, because the Lord is calling us to salvation. This looking for ones brother, giving him hope, bringing him to Jesus, is what a Church which 'goes forth' means, a community of missionary disciples".<br />The Prefect of the Congregation concluded the homily with the hope that we too listen, like Bartimaeus, to the words of Jesus, "your faith has saved you", and we invoke the help of Mary, the humble and faithful disciple, and Santa Laura Montoya, to "accomplish our evangelizing mission efficiently". <br /><br/><strong>Link correlati</strong> :<a href="http://www.fides.org/es/attachments/view/file/C.Fil._Con_Mis_Naz_26052016.docx">The full text of the Cardinal’s homily, in Spanish </a>Fri, 27 May 2016 11:28:04 +0200VATICAN - Cardinal Filoni to the seminarians: a vocation that has the entire world as its horizonhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60110-VATICAN_Cardinal_Filoni_to_the_seminarians_a_vocation_that_has_the_entire_world_as_its_horizonhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60110-VATICAN_Cardinal_Filoni_to_the_seminarians_a_vocation_that_has_the_entire_world_as_its_horizonBogotà - On the afternoon of May 25, Cardinal Fernando Filoni presided over the Mass at the "San Luis Bertrán Intermisional Seminary" in Bogotà, together with the educational community and seminarians, as part of his pastoral visit to Colombia .<br />"This seminary, which was founded in 1959 by the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, is preparing to live its sixtieth year of life – recalled the Cardinal in his homily -. It wants to be, according to the intentions of the founders, a place of formation of Apostolic Vicariates, and promote and guide the clergy to take evangelization as the primary objective of future priests at heart. Today, with more than 100 students, while we also remember the many active priests in the different vicariates, it continues to meet the same expectations".<br />The Cardinal then underlined the importance of the management of the Seminary is to be entrusted to the Episcopal Conference, while retaining its missionary character and is under the care of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. "What is nice is that the Bishops of this country feel that the responsibility for the work of evangelization all over the country and the formation of pastoral operators also falls on them".<br />Taking a cue from the Gospel proclaimed before, in which the evangelist Mark tells how Jesus, for the third time, prepares the disciples to the mystery of his passion , Cardinal Filoni focused on the theme of service, as it is largely connected to the priestly mission. "Christ has not ceased to be an example to his disciples, becoming servant and giving his life on the cross ... The logic of the Kingdom of God is that of service, not that of power, not that of making a career, that of the total self-giving to the Gospel, not the pursuit of social promotion. Priestly vocation is God's call to serve his brothers ... I recommend, therefore, the meditation of this Gospel as motivation of your priestly and missionary vocation".<br />Finally, the Prefect told the seminarians: "you are called to participate in the Church's mission that lies before you and that the Lord, through the Bishop, will entrust you. Now it is up to you to prepare and respond whether to accept or not". The Cardinal invited them to "be fascinated by Christ", to "discover the beauty of giving him life" to "not limit oneself to small projects". "Have the courage to accept a big call, that has the whole world as its horizon, and be willing to seriously consider the proposal of offering the best years of your life in full missionary availability even in more difficult and marginalized places compared to your particular Churches and, why not?, beyond your borders". <br /><br /><br /><br/><strong>Link correlati</strong> :<a href="http://www.fides.org/es/attachments/view/file/C.FIL._Seminario_25052016.docx">The full text of the Cardinal’s homily, in Spanish</a>Fri, 27 May 2016 10:28:08 +0200AMERICA/COLOMBIA - The Bishop of Buenaventura: "Areas without water, the only hospital closed, please help us Mr. President!"http://www.fides.org/en/news/60106-AMERICA_COLOMBIA_The_Bishop_of_Buenaventura_Areas_without_water_the_only_hospital_closed_please_help_us_Mr_Presidenthttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60106-AMERICA_COLOMBIA_The_Bishop_of_Buenaventura_Areas_without_water_the_only_hospital_closed_please_help_us_Mr_PresidentBuenaventura - His Exc. Mgr. Ettore Epalza Quintero, P.S.S., Bishop of the Diocese of Buenaventura, during the Eucharist celebrated on May 21 took advantage of the presence of President Santos and the delegation of four ministers in Buenaventura, to launch a cry of alarm. <br />During his homily, the Bishop asked the President to work harder for Buenaventura, because despite the "Pacific Plan" led by the Minister of the Environment, "we do not have water 24 hours a day in most of our neighborhoods. Hidropacífico , whose slogan is 'water for life', seems it wants us to be thirsty. But right there where there is no service, the bill arrives on time to pay. In addition, the hospital is closed after two years of renovation. Dear President, help us! " concluded the Bishop. <br />Wed, 25 May 2016 13:36:40 +0200ASIA/PAKISTAN - Christian lawyer’s family members almost risked being kidnappedhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60107-ASIA_PAKISTAN_Christian_lawyer_s_family_members_almost_risked_being_kidnappedhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60107-ASIA_PAKISTAN_Christian_lawyer_s_family_members_almost_risked_being_kidnappedLahore - Christian lawyer Sardar Mushtaq Gill’s parents and sister almost risked being kidnapped in Lahore last May 22 by a stranger. The lawyer, who in the past had received threats for his legal commitment to the defense of discriminated Christians or innocent victims of blasphemy, had registered a complaint.<br />The three were at a bus stop to reach the village of Kot Usad Ullah to express condolences to a relative. A stranger invited them to climb into a car, saying he had been sent by lawyer Gill, then headed in the opposite direction. Taking advantage of the traffic in a moment when the car had stopped, the two women got out of the car, while the man, threatened with a gun, remained in the hands of the kidnapper. The two women immediately alerted the police of the kidnapping. Hours later, the man was released. The lawyer's father reported that the kidnapper spoke explicitly of his son’s activity "of his defense of cases related to religion".<br />Lawyer Gill and his family for months have been victims of threats and harassment. These days, the organization led by the lawyer, "LEAD" , is dealing with Christian girls victims of forced conversions and forced Islamic marriage. In May he saved two. "Despite this suffering and these attacks, I will continue in the work of the defense of victims of religious violence", Gill told Fides. <br /><br />Wed, 25 May 2016 13:26:34 +0200AFRICA/SUDAN - Release of Coptic monk kidnapped in Darfurhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60108-AFRICA_SUDAN_Release_of_Coptic_monk_kidnapped_in_Darfurhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60108-AFRICA_SUDAN_Release_of_Coptic_monk_kidnapped_in_DarfurNyala – Coptic Orthodox monk Gabriel, kidnapped on Thursday, April 14 in the city of Nyala, Sudan's state capital of South Darfur has been released. His confreres of the monastery of St. Anthony were able to embrace him after a seizure which lasted forty days. He was kidnapped, according to local sources consulted by Agenzia Fides, by a group of armed men who had moved away from the place of seizure aboard a jeep, after having tied and beaten two people who were with the monk. The priest was taken not far from the Refugee Camp of Atash.<br />Sources of the Coptic Orthodox Church - reports Copts United Agency - stated that the monk was released without paying any ransom. Previously, local media reported rumors that Father Gabriel’s release would be possible after paying a ransom amounting to five million Sudanese pounds . <br />Wed, 25 May 2016 12:58:23 +0200ASIA/INDONESIA - Emergency in the Country for the exploitation of children in tobacco plantationshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60104-ASIA_INDONESIA_Emergency_in_the_Country_for_the_exploitation_of_children_in_tobacco_plantationshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60104-ASIA_INDONESIA_Emergency_in_the_Country_for_the_exploitation_of_children_in_tobacco_plantationsJakarta - The exploitation of child labor in tobacco plantations continues to be one of the most serious emergencies in Indonesia. The complaint comes from the recently published report by Human Rights Watch . Children, some as young as 8 years of age, are exposed to nicotine, and handle toxic chemicals or use dangerous tools under the scorching heat in the plantations. 132 children engaged in the plantations of four Indonesian provinces were interviewed. Half of the children reported symptoms associated with acute intoxication due to nicotine. Indonesia is the world's fifth largest tobacco producer, with over 500,000 plantations where, according to the data of the International Labor Organization, more than 1 million and a half children in the age group between 10 and 17 years work. <br />Wed, 25 May 2016 12:48:11 +0200ASIA/ISRAEL - The Israeli government does not keep its promises, Christian schools at riskhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60105-ASIA_ISRAEL_The_Israeli_government_does_not_keep_its_promises_Christian_schools_at_riskhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60105-ASIA_ISRAEL_The_Israeli_government_does_not_keep_its_promises_Christian_schools_at_riskJerusalem - A few days before the end of a difficult school year, which started with a 27-day strike, 47 Christian schools operating in Israel are facing a financial emergency from the potentially devastating effects, because the Ministry of education has not honored their commitment to transfer 50 Million Shekels to the Christian Schools. <br />The concern for the difficult situation is expressed in an appeal-document released by Christian schools, where they outline key steps and controversial aspects of a story that is creating anxiety for tens of thousands of teachers, school staff, students and families across the Country.<br />The Office of Christian Schools announced this unprecedented strike after the government had been constantly cutting the budgets allocated to these schools to a level of 45% in the last 6 years.<br /> At the end September, some proposals to break the deadlock had been submitted by the Israeli Ministry of Education Office of Christian schools . The strike ended after the government and the Christian schools reached an agreement. It stated that the Christian schools would receive 50 million shekels by the 31st of March 2016 as compensation for the cuts in previous years. In addition, the agreement stated that a commission would be formed with the sole purpose of discussing recommendations to resolve the crisis.<br />As of today, more than 50 days past the deadline, the government has not transferred the sum of 50 Million Shekels. <br />The special commission was formed and headed by Dr. Shimshon Shoshani. It met 3 times. The conclusions included a recommendation to join the Public school system according to what will be agreed. It also included granting every Christian School 3 additional hours per class weekly to "strengthen and preserve the Christian identity and the special style of living in Christian schools".<br />"It is clear - said the statement, signed by Father Abdel Masih Fahim, General Secretary of the Office - that these recommendations do not solve the financial crisis that has resulted from the Ministry of Education’s policy in recent years. And we regret the fact that the Ministry of Education is trying again to force our institutions to join the Public system". Before the financial collapse that threatens them, Christian schools, through their Coordination Office, demand that the Israeli Government honors its commitments as soon as possible, decides on a fixed sum to be paid annually to the Christian schools to compensate for the drastic cuts, or, alternatively, that a new legislation be brought forward that will create a new status for the Christian schools that will ensure sufficient funding and take into consideration their uniqueness and long service in the land.<br />These 47 Christian Schools consist of 33,000 Christian, Muslim, Druze and Jewish students from all around the country. <br />Wed, 25 May 2016 12:32:21 +0200AFRICA/DR CONGO - The Constitutional Court’s decision paves the way for Kabila to stay in power for a third termhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60103-AFRICA_DR_CONGO_The_Constitutional_Court_s_decision_paves_the_way_for_Kabila_to_stay_in_power_for_a_third_termhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60103-AFRICA_DR_CONGO_The_Constitutional_Court_s_decision_paves_the_way_for_Kabila_to_stay_in_power_for_a_third_termKinshasa - The Constitutional Court ruling of May 11 states that the constitution permits the president of the republic to remain in office until the installation of the new elected president.<br />This is what is said in a note by Peace Network for Congo sent to Agenzia Fides. <br />"With the judgment of 11 May, the Court responded to a request for interpretation of some articles of the Constitution presented by more than 250 deputies, in a moment when the possibility of organizing the presidential elections by the end of 2016 is far away", the statement said. "To consecrate the principle of continuity of the State stated in article 69 of the Constitution, Article 70, paragraph 2 of the Constitution allows the President of the Republic to remain in office until the effective installation of the new elected President", is what is said in the judgment read by the President of the Court, Benoît Luamba.<br />"The Constitutional Court limits itself to a simple statement of the second paragraph of Article 70, refraining from making allusions to the organization of the presidential elections within the time fixed by the Constitution" underlines the Network for Peace in Congo.<br />"Furthermore, by stating that the current President remains in office until the installation of the new elected President, the Court declares that the President will remain in office until the organization of future presidential elections of which, however, does not specify any deadline or date", the statement said. "In this situation, the risk is that a President of the Republic has the green light to decide to remain at the helm of the country for an indefinite period , bringing always new reasons to continually postponing the elections", the document concludes. <br />Wed, 25 May 2016 12:04:54 +0200AMERICA/DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - The Bishops' statement: "The outcome of the elections must be accepted by all"http://www.fides.org/en/news/60102-AMERICA_DOMINICAN_REPUBLIC_The_Bishops_statement_The_outcome_of_the_elections_must_be_accepted_by_allhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60102-AMERICA_DOMINICAN_REPUBLIC_The_Bishops_statement_The_outcome_of_the_elections_must_be_accepted_by_allSanto Domingo - The Dominican Episcopal Conference has called on political leaders and all Dominican nationals to conclude the election process in a peaceful and respectful manner. In a statement dated May 23, and sent to Fides, the Bishops say: "May this final phase of the elections be a model of calm, civility and mutual respect, we are all responsible for building a nation based on permanent values of truth , love, hope and peace, and every Dominican must take on the challenge and the commitment to be coherent".<br />"The outcome of the elections must be accepted by all", reads the text, which continues: "we congratulate the people for their civil and democratic participation. Political parties should observe this attitude of people as awareness of their responsibility towards democracy".<br />Since the final results of the elections have not yet been published, the Bishops write: "It is the duty of the JCE to dispel all doubts regarding the basis of integrity, transparency, efficiency and accountability, so that the counting and publication of votes leaves no room for the slightest doubt about the clarity of the electoral process in this crucial final phase".<br />According to local press, the delay in the vote count is due to the use, for the first time in the country, of sophisticated electronic methods, which in some parts of the country did not work correctly, thus forcing these places to resort to manual counting. <br />Wed, 25 May 2016 11:14:56 +0200AMERICA/PERU - National Director of the PMS, Fr. Victor Livori Grechhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60101-AMERICA_PERU_National_Director_of_the_PMS_Fr_Victor_Livori_Grechhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60101-AMERICA_PERU_National_Director_of_the_PMS_Fr_Victor_Livori_GrechVatican City - On May 6, 2016 Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, confirmed Fr. Victor Livori Grech, of the Missionary Society of St Paul as National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Peru for another five years . <br /><br />Wed, 25 May 2016 11:05:28 +0200AFRICA/SOUTH SUDAN - The arrival of the rains exacerbates the situation of more than 700,000 refugeeshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60100-AFRICA_SOUTH_SUDAN_The_arrival_of_the_rains_exacerbates_the_situation_of_more_than_700_000_refugeeshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60100-AFRICA_SOUTH_SUDAN_The_arrival_of_the_rains_exacerbates_the_situation_of_more_than_700_000_refugeesYida - The emergency in the refugee camp in Yida, South Sudan continues. Strong winds and torrential rains have destroyed the tents and left thousands of people in dire straits. According to local sources, most of the camp residents, about 35,000, are facing the beginning of the rainy season in the open. They have received tents and plastic covers that humanitarian organizations should have distributed before the arrival of the rains. The muddy roads are a serious problem for the transport of relief supplies and are often swept away. Food rations have been reduced for the more than 700,000 refugees. Refugees have launched their cry for help by urging the delivery of plastic sheeting for fear that the situation may deteriorate further in coming days. Meanwhile, UNHCR is planning the movement of refugees to other camps. The rainy season lasts from May to November. <br />Wed, 25 May 2016 11:04:51 +0200VATICAN - Cardinal Filoni in Puerto Leguízamo-Solano: geographically distant, but always in the heart of the Churchhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60099-VATICAN_Cardinal_Filoni_in_Puerto_Leguizamo_Solano_geographically_distant_but_always_in_the_heart_of_the_Churchhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60099-VATICAN_Cardinal_Filoni_in_Puerto_Leguizamo_Solano_geographically_distant_but_always_in_the_heart_of_the_ChurchPuerto Leguízamo-Solano - "This Vicariate is a young Church, built on February 21, 2013, and therefore continues to grow, although it still accounts a reduced presence of missionary personnel . It is therefore essential to encourage our young people to vocation to priesthood and consecrated life. And, with the collaboration of all the faithful, it is necessary that the feeling of being a church which grows develops among you, becomes independent and therefore matures". This is the exhortation addressed by Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, to the faithful of the Apostolic Vicariate of Puerto Leguízamo-Solano, gathered in the Cathedral dedicated to Nuestra Señora del Carmen, for the Mass he presided yesterday, May 24, as part of his pastoral visit to Colombia . <br />"You are part of the Church of God - said the Cardinal -. The Holy Father, through my presence, wanted to be close to this Vicariate. Although it is located in an area that may seem geographically far away, it does not stop being in the heart of the Church". This is why he urged to intensify efforts to launch the family apostolate, "urging young people to a Christian life coherent with the principles of the gospel, forming them so that they create authentic Christian families", and to ensure catechists and lay people the opportunity to "have a solid Christian formation, to affirm one’s faith and face, through dialogue, the proselytism of sects".<br />In the Apostolic Vicariate, which is in the Colombian Amazonia, the Prefect of the Congregation met the catechists of the indigenous communities, mainly Murui and Quichua, visited an indigenous community, and was able to converse with civil and military authorities, as well as with representatives of the ecclesial reality. In his homily, the Cardinal recalled that "the legal status of the vicariate is an intermediate step before becoming diocese". <br /><br /><br/><strong>Link correlati</strong> :<a href="http://www.fides.org/es/attachments/view/file/C.Fil._P.Leguizamo_24052016.docx">The full text of the Cardinal’s homily, in Spanish</a>Wed, 25 May 2016 09:33:51 +0200AFRICA/EGYPT - Catholic Coptic Patriarch: the meeting between the Pope and al Tayyib is a 'new beginning'http://www.fides.org/en/news/60098-AFRICA_EGYPT_Catholic_Coptic_Patriarch_the_meeting_between_the_Pope_and_al_Tayyib_is_a_new_beginninghttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60098-AFRICA_EGYPT_Catholic_Coptic_Patriarch_the_meeting_between_the_Pope_and_al_Tayyib_is_a_new_beginningCairo - The return of the friendly relations between the Holy See and the Islamic University of al Azhar, sealed by the friendly encounter between Pope Francis and Imam Ahmed al Tayyib, "will give new vigor to the processes of collaboration and integration that Christian and Muslim Egyptian leaders already put in practice in many local situations, in daily life". This is the hope that the Coptic Catholic Patriarch Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak confides to Agenzia Fides, commenting on the meeting held yesterday at the Vatican between Pope Bergoglio and the great Imam of the most authoritative theological and cultural institution of Sunni Islam.<br />The interruption of relations between the Holy See and al Azhar date back to 2011, after the attack on the Coptic Orthodox Cathedral of Alexandria carried out on New Year's Eve. On that occasion, Pope Benedict XVI reprimanded the leaders of local authorities in the defense of Christians. Leaders of al Azhar, but also members of the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate had reacted badly to the words expressed by the Pope. That, recalls Patriarch Ibrahim Isaac, "was a difficult moment due to a misunderstanding of Pope Benedict XVI’s words. Now, we have to wait patiently. Al Azhar is influential, and can have a positive role in Islam Sunni. But there are difficulties, resistances, divisions, before the re-thinking of 'religious talk' called for by many, and even by President al Sisi. Some people perceive all the judgments and opinions expressed in freedom, in legitimate pluralism a threat and an attack on Islam. We must respect this path within the Islamic world, favoring it with patience and sensitivity, encouraging our Muslim brothers, even as a local church, encouraging collaboration in social life, in front of real problems, without limiting ourselves to the discussion on strictly religious matters".<br />Among the signs of hope, the Coptic Catholic Patriarch cites the joint efforts of imams and priests inspired by the 'House of the Egyptian Family' - the inter-religious liaison body created years ago by al Azhar and the Coptic Orthodox Patriarch as a tool to prevent and mitigate sectarian conflicts - and also the programmatic document signed on May 9 by the Grand Imam and Coptic Orthodox Patriarch Tavadros II in which it outlined their shared commitment to fight together all forms of violence and abuse against children . In the joint document, prepared with the support of UNICEF, scholars linked to the Islamic University and the Coptic community have helped shape the protection of children as a common priority, citing among the forms of violence to fight also genital mutilation and the phenomenon of early marriages. <br />Tue, 24 May 2016 13:16:01 +0200AFRICA/SOUTH SUDAN - Today the funeral of Sister Veronika Teresia Rackovahttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60096-AFRICA_SOUTH_SUDAN_Today_the_funeral_of_Sister_Veronika_Teresia_Rackovahttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60096-AFRICA_SOUTH_SUDAN_Today_the_funeral_of_Sister_Veronika_Teresia_RackovaJuba - Sister Veronika Teresia Rackova of the Congregation of the Sisters Servant of the Holy Spirit and Medical Director of St Bakhita Health Centre will be buried today Tuesday, May 24 in Nairobi, Kenya. The late Sister died on Friday in pain for the service of the poor in South Sudan as a martyr. <br />A requiem mass for the soul of the late nun was celebrated on Monday, May 23 in Nairobi.<br />Communication officers of World Sisters Servant of the Holy Spirit thanked all people for sharing in their grief in the past days at the tragic loss of Sister Veronika.<br />Sister Veronika, a medical doctor at St Bakhita Health Centre in Yei, died of her wounds after being shot by SPLA soldiers last week.The 58-years-old Sister from Slovakia dedicated her life and services for the poor and the needy in South Sudan. <br />Tue, 24 May 2016 12:42:06 +0200AMERICA/MEXICO - Michoacan is among the five States with the highest rate of child exploitationhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60097-AMERICA_MEXICO_Michoacan_is_among_the_five_States_with_the_highest_rate_of_child_exploitationhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60097-AMERICA_MEXICO_Michoacan_is_among_the_five_States_with_the_highest_rate_of_child_exploitationMorelia - The state of Michoacan is among the five States of Mexico where there is the highest number of child exploitation. According to data collected by the Human Rights Commission, the violence suffered by these children are among the causes that lead to early school drop-out. The number of child abuse complaints tripled in the decade between 2001 and 2011. In addition, 2014 has been so far the most violent year for minors, regarding various kinds of abuse. <br />Tue, 24 May 2016 12:33:39 +0200