Fides News - English Agency NewsenContent on this site is licensed under aAFRICA/SOUTH SUDAN - The Catholic community celebrates the appointment of the Archbishop of Juba, apostle of peace - The Church of South Sudan is celebrating the appointment of the new Archbishop of Juba, Mgr. Stephen Ameyu Martin Mulla, a man who spent his life for the work of reconciliation and peace. "On behalf of the Archdiocese of Tombura-Yambio and of the Episcopal Conference of South Sudan, I thank God for the gift he wanted to give us with this appointment", said to Agenzia Fides Bishop Eduardo Hiiboro, expressing the joy and gratitude of the whole community. "It is great news for us. Our country needs figures like Bishop Mulla, committed to the protection of peace. I guarantee my total collaboration with all the dioceses of the Country. We thank the Archbishop Emeritus Mgr. Paulino Lukudu Loro, M.C.C.J., for all the great work done for the Church of Sudan and South Sudan, and we assure him of our prayer".<br />Mgr. Hiiboro said he was grateful to Pope Francis for the closeness and commitment he continues to show towards the people of South Sudan. "I remember when, in April 2019, we were on an ad limina visit. Pope Francis said he was particularly concerned about the situation of the diocese of Juba, without the Bishop, and assured us that he would immediately provide for the appointment of local leaders for the Church of Sudan and South Sudan".<br />"We also thank Cardinal Filoni, currently Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples , for the great commitment he has always shown towards our Church. We will continue to pray and work together for the universal Church". Bishop Hiiboro concludes by assuring devotion and prayers to Cardinal Luis Antonio G. Tagle for his new post as Prefect of "Propaganda Fide", which "is the guide of the whole missionary Church". <br />Fri, 13 Dec 2019 12:53:46 +0100ASIA/HOLY LAND - No Israeli permits for Christians in Gaza to celebrate Christmas in Bethlehem and Jerusalem - All the data collected in recent years confirm the steady increase in the number of pilgrims and tourists who come from all over the world to Jerusalem and Bethlehem to visit the Holy Places especially on the occasion of the Christian solemnities of Christmas and Easter. But this year, among the many who will celebrate the Christmas holidays where Christ was born, died and rose again, there will be no Christians in the Gaza Strip. On Thursday 12 December, Israeli authorities announced that the baptized Palestinians will only be granted permits to go abroad, via Jordan, but none of them will be able to go to Israel or the West Bank to spend their Christmas days at the Christian Holy Places. The spokeswoman for the Israeli military office dealing with relations with the Palestinians justified this provision by referring to security reasons.<br />The measure taken this year by the Israeli authorities represents a further step in the process of the gradual restriction from the provisions implemented by Israel in similar circumstances. In recent years, the Israeli authorities had sometimes guaranteed a limited but substantial number of permits reserved for Christians of Gaza who wanted to go especially to Bethlehem, Nazareth or Jerusalem to celebrate the Christian holidays of Christmas or Easter there. Already last year there was a substantial limitation of permits granted by the Israeli authorities, which had been reserved only for people over the age of 55.<br />For example, in December 2015 the Israeli authorities granted 600 nominative permits to as many Christians residing in the Gaza Strip to allow them to visit the Holy Places - starting with those located in Bethlehem - on the occasion of the Christmas holidays. The permits granted that time had a monthly duration, and no permit was granted to people in the age range between twelve and thirty.<br />Christians in the Gaza Strip are now just over a thousand, mostly Greek Orthodox, out of a total population of 2 million Palestinians. The small Christian reality of the Strip continues to shrink: the young people who succeed, leave the land in which they were born to emigrate, while in churches the funerals of the elderly who end their earthly life are often celebrated. The many departures are a symptom that nobody believes in a near future change, compared to a collective condition marked by international isolation, lack of work and the never-ending threat of new wars. <br />Fri, 13 Dec 2019 12:44:08 +0100ASIA/INDIA - A priest: the government must put more effort into protecting human rights Delhi - In India it is the task of the government and the institutions to do more to guarantee the protection and promotion of human rights: this is what Fr. Cedrik Prakash, a Jesuit priest and activist in the "Jesuit Refugee Service" says to Agenzia Fides, noting that "2019 is a truly horrible year for the protection of human rights in India". "Since the government led by the Baratiya Janata Party took over power in May 2014, there has been a constant deterioration regarding respect for human rights in the country", he notes.<br />The priest mentions "respect for women", in a situation where "India has acquired the terrible reputation of being 'capital of rape' in the world, and a society that treats women as second-class citizens, with discrimination and violence"<br />Furthermore, notes Fr. Prakash "freedom of expression and the press has almost become a chimera: the World Press Freedom Index in April 2019 sees India in 140th place out of 180 countries and even the right to privacy is constantly trampled".<br />"The situation is critical - continues the Indian priest - also for the defenders of human rights, who suffer threats, coercion, intimidation, arrests, insults and false accusations just because they promote human rights, justice and peace. A few months ago "five well-known human rights activists, including the writer P Varavara Rao, were arrested on entirely fictitious charges. The ancient 'sedition law' is still used to suppress dissent".<br />Freedom of religion or belief is often violated: "According to the latest data, there is an increase in common incidents in nine states: Uttar Pradesh this year registered 457 episodes of religiously motivated violence between January and October. Nearly five hundred attacks against Christians have been reported in various parts of the country. Fundamentalists thrive on 'hate speech' and lynching has become terribly frequent".<br />Finally Fr. Prakash reports that "in India children's rights are violated with impunity. Millions of children still do dangerous jobs in different parts of the country. Their right to education is denied, they are deprived of their childhood. Many children are trapped in human trafficking network".<br />Fr. Prakash condemns the work of the government that "seems to have renounced the role and responsibility to protect and promote the rights guaranteed to all citizens by the Constitution: the right to life and freedom; to dignity and equality; to freedom of speech and expression, to the freedom to preach, to practice one's religion, the right to sustenance and all other fundamental human rights" and urges Indian people "not to give up, to claim a justice that is really proclaimed and practiced by the state, respecting the principles of equality and human dignity for all". <br />Fri, 13 Dec 2019 12:37:31 +0100AFRICA/DR CONGO - 60 years of the Pedagogical Research Center (CRP) of the CICM Missionaries - "The Pedagogical Research Center was founded with the mission of contributing to the development of the Democratic Republic of the Congo by taking an active part in promoting education and training for Congolese youth. This noble mission must continue despite the uncertainties of history", said Fr. Godefroid Mombula, director of the CRP, on the sidelines of the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the center, held on 7 December in the parish of Notre Dame de Fatima.<br />The CRP is a work of the missionaries of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It is the first textbook publishing house in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Since its creation in 1959, this center has worked on the publication, distribution and promotion of quality textbooks, in accordance with national curricula at all levels of education. It thus contributes to the education and training of Congolese youth, as his founder, Pierre Detienne, a missionary of Belgian nationality, wanted.<br />The celebration of 60 years of its existence revolved around some cultural activities, such as a series of conferences on "the challenges of the CRP that deals with the reform of the educational system in the DRC" and an exhibition of 400 books published by the publishing house.<br />Fr. Michel Ekonzo, vice-provincial and representative of the Provincial Superior of the Fathers of Scheut, took the opportunity to praise the work done during the CPR in these 60 years and encouraged the managerial staff to undertake new initiatives for the integral formation of young people Congolese.<br />The CRP is part of the CICM missionary structure which also includes a typography, and the Missionary Information and Animation Center . <br />Fri, 13 Dec 2019 12:07:54 +0100AMERICA/PARAGUAY - Appointment of the National Director of the PMS, Fr. Cesar Gustavo Baez Amarilla, CSSR City - On October 3, 2019 Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, appointed the rev. Fr. Cesar Gustavo Baez Amarilla, of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, CSSR as National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Paraguay for five years .<br />The new National Director was born on October 27, 1974 in Pedro Juan Caballero , in the diocese of Conception. He was ordained a priest on February 21, 2004. He attended the novitiate in Carapegua, he studied theology at the Instituto Superior de Teologia de la UCA, in Asuncion, and Missiology at the Gregorian University, in Rome. Since his ordination he carried out his ministry in several parishes, as parish administrator and parish priest, committed himself to the mission ad gentes, and was counselor and secretary of the chapter of the Redemptorist province. <br />Fri, 13 Dec 2019 10:27:21 +0100AMERICA/BRAZIL - Bishops: the right to freedom of expression does not cancel respect for people and their values - "The National Bishops Conference of Brazil rejects the recent events that, in the name of freedom of expression and artistic creativity, deeply attack the Christian faith. To ridicule the conviction of a group, whatever it may be, besides constituting a crime under criminal law, means lacking respect for all people, damaging the search for a truly democratic society that values all its citizens". Thus begins the note published on the feast day of Nossa Senhora de Guadalupe, 12 December, signed by the President, the two Vice-Presidents and the Secretary of the CNBB "on the lack of respect for the Christian faith".<br />The Church has never failed to promote art and freedom of expression, underlines the text sent to Agenzia Fides, asking for respect for the "sentiments of a people or groups that live values, often endowed with an inviolable sacredness". "When there is lack of respect in media productions, media becomes violent, real weapons that contribute to ridicule and kill the deepest values of a people".<br />The Bishops recognize that "we live in a pluralistic society, not everyone has the same convictions. However, as an ethical and democratic requirement, we must respect all people. Nothing allows anyone the right to vilify beliefs, affecting people's lives. The right to freedom of expression does not cancel respect for people and their values". In the conclusion of the note, the Bishops recall that "in this time of Advent, we are called to remain firm in the faith, constant in hope and assiduous in charity" and invite all Brazilian citizens "to unite for a country with more justice, peace, respect and brotherhood". <br />Fri, 13 Dec 2019 10:22:32 +0100AFRICA/NIGERIA - Appointment of the Bishop of Kafanchan City - The Holy Father has appointed as bishop of the diocese of Kafanchan, Nigeria, the Reverend Julius Yakubu Kundi, of the clergy of Zaria, formerly parish priest of Saint John in Muchia.<br />The Reverend Julius Yakubu Kundi was born on 15 February 1968 in Danladi, in the present diocese of Zariah. After his primary and secondary school studies, he studied at Kafanchan Teachers’ College . After becoming a seminarian, he completed his philosophical studies at the Saint Thomas Aquinas Major Seminary in Makurdi and his theological studies at Saint Augustine's Major Seminary in Jos . Later he studied at the Catholic Institute of West Africa , obtaining a licentiate in moral theology. He was ordained a priest on 14 June 1997 for the clergy of Kaduna. With the erection of the diocese of Zaria on 5 December 2000, he opted for the new diocese.<br />Since ordination he has held the following positions: parish vicar of Saint Andrew in Kakuri, archdiocese of Kaduna ; parish priest of Saint Paul in the diocese of Jalingo, as priest fidei donum ; higher studies in Port Harcourt ; parish priest of Saint Enda in Bassawa Zaria ; vice-rector of Saint Joseph’s minor seminary in Bassawa Zaria ; administrator of the Cathedral of Christ the King in Zaria ; treasurer of the diocese of Zaria ; vicar general of the diocese of Zaria ; vice-rector and formator in the Good Shepherd Major Seminary in Kaduna ; acting rector of the Good Shepherd Major Seminary in Kaduna ; acting chaplain of the Zaria Police Corps ; parish priest of Saint John in Muchia ; and since 2018, parish vicar of Our Lady of the Lake parish in Lake Havasu City, diocese of Phoenix, United States of America. <br />Thu, 12 Dec 2019 10:46:52 +0100AFRICA/CONGO - Resignation of Bishop of Impfondo and appointment of successor City - The Holy Father has accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Impfondo, Republic of the Congo, presented by Bishop Jean Gardin, C.S.Sp.<br />The Pope has appointed the Reverend Daniel Nzika, of the clergy of Ouesso, currently vicar general, as bishop of the same diocese.<br />The bishop-elect was born in Ouesso on 16 February 1971. He attended the minor seminary of Makoua , hosted by the Community of the Beatitudes of Blagnac. He studied philosophy and theology at the Catholic University of Toulouse . He was ordained a priest on 9 December 2000.<br />Since priestly ordination he has held the following roles: parish vicar in the Saint Michel in Pokola ; parish priest and spiritual director of the preparatory seminary ; and parish priest of the Saint Pierre Claver Cathedral of Ouesso , and vicar general of the diocese . From 2012 to 2015 he carried out his studies for a licentiate in dogmatic theology at the Institut Catholique d’Angers; and has served as vicar general again since 2016. <br />Thu, 12 Dec 2019 10:44:21 +0100AFRICA/SOUTH SUDAN - Resignation of Metropolitan Archbishop of Juba and appointment of new Archbishop City - The Holy Father has accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the Archdiocese of Juba, South Sudan, presented by Archbishop Paulino Lukudu Loro, M.C.C.J., at the same time appointing Bishop Stephen Ameyu Martin Mulla of Torit as archbishop of the same metropolitan see. <br />Thu, 12 Dec 2019 10:41:27 +0100AFRICA/IVORY COAST- The celebrations for the 100th anniversary of the Congregation of the Children of Charity have concluded – On Sunday 8 December 2019 the celebrations for the first centenary of the Congregation of the Sons of Charity and the 57 years of their presence in the Ivory Coast ended with a mass in the parish of the Immaculate Conception of Abobo Clouétcha, in the archdiocese of Abidjan. The celebrations opened on June 16th 2018 in the parish of Saint Antoine de Padoue in the port of Abidjan Treichville.<br />During the homily on December 8, His Exc. Mgr. Alexis Touably Youlo, Bishop of Agboville, praised the work of the Congregation of the Sons of Charity, all over the world and in particular in the Ivory Coast, in favor of workers, seafarers, the poor... "100 years of service for the glory of God and for the promotion of man, especially among the poorest, the Sons of Charity have become close to all those who are the privileged ones of God. May the Lord bless their apostolate and after the path already taken, may they can go beyond the actions already carried out", said Archbishop Alexis Touably.<br />The Congregation of the Sons of Charity was founded in Paris on December 25, 1918 by Father Jean-Émile Anizan for the evangelization of the working class. It has been present in the Ivory Coast, since 1962. <br />Thu, 12 Dec 2019 12:49:41 +0100ASIA/PHILIPPINES - Cardinal Tagle, gift of the Church in the Philippines to the universal Church - Cardinal Luis Antonio G. Tagle is "a great gift from the Church of the Philippines to the universal Church", said Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, Apostolic Nuncio in the Philippines, commenting to Fides the appointment of the Archbishop of Manila as new Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. The Nuncio, who concelebrated with Cardinal Tagle the Mass for the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception in the Cathedral of Manila, noted: "What I appreciate about the Filipino people is that they always smile even if they suffer in their hearts. The Cardinal now smiles, but we know that his heart is broken, because he will have to leave the Archdiocese". Caccia added: "Mary said her yes to God. The Cardinal said his yes to God's call, which came through the Pope. Each of us must say yes, because God knows what is good for each of us. I would like our yes to be like the yes of Mary, who recognized God's will for her life, source of true happiness".<br />"Today - the Nuncio continued - the Church in the Philippines entrusts and gives Cardinal Tagle to the universal Church: to him the task of taking care not only of the community of a diocese, but of the whole world, for the work of evangelization. We offer the most beautiful gift we have had. We give with an open heart, even if our heart is suffering a little, but we give with joy", remarked Mgr. Caccia.<br />"The Cardinal knows the extent of the responsibility entrusted to him. And, like Mary Immaculate, he trusts the Lord by saying: Here I am, I am only a servant of the Lord, be done according to Your word", he concluded.<br />After the official announcement of the appointment, many faithful in the Archdiocese of Manila expressed their sadness at the Cardinal's imminent departure and promised to accompany him, in his new service, with prayer. The faithful consider the appointment of Tagle as a "mission that goes beyond borders, to serve the Lord". "We pray that the Lord will continue to enlighten and protect our beloved Cardinal Tagle on his journey to a world mission, to bring the Good News as Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples", says to Fides Christine Regnim, a Catholic secular of the Archdiocese of Manila. <br />Thu, 12 Dec 2019 12:36:53 +0100AFRICA/NIGERIA - Two priests kidnapped on December 6 released - Two Nigerian priests who had been kidnapped on December 6 while on their way to a wedding have been released. Fr. Joseph Nweke and Fr. Felix Efobi, of the Diocese of Awka, were on their way from the State of Anambra to Akure, the capital of the State of Ondo, when they were blocked by some armed strangers on the Benin-Owo highway.<br />The priests were part of a motorcade of wedding guests when the bandits blocked only their cars and then dragged them out of the cars to take them to an unknown destination.<br />According to witnesses, the bandits "just kidnapped the priests and left the others".<br />The kidnappers then demanded a ransom of 100 million Naira, but within a few days they released the priests.<br />According to the news sent to Fides the two priests were released along the road on the evening of 10 December. A priest from Owo went to get them. No ransom would have been paid for their release.<br />The kidnappings of priests and religious in southern Nigeria have been a plague for years. In the State of Enugu alone, 9 priests have so far been kidnapped this year . <br />Thu, 12 Dec 2019 12:00:23 +0100AMERICA/CHILE - "For a fair and worthy Chile": meeting on the challenges of evangelization in the current situation - The Pastoral office of the diocese of Valparaiso and Caritas Valparaíso, have promoted a "Diocesan dialogue meeting for a fair and worthy Chile", which will be held on Saturday, December 14, at the San Pedro Nolasco College, in Valparaíso. "For almost 50 days, Chile has been experiencing what has been defined as a major social crisis or epidemic, characterized by the rise of a series of requests concerning greater social justice, equity, dignity and effective participation", underlines the letter of invitation, sent to Fides. Therefore it is recalled that in the final message of the 119th Plenary Assembly of the Bishops' Conference of Chile, the Bishops invited to an "active participation in the dialogues, in the councils and in all the instances of civil society, which helps to express opinions and proposals for the process of a new Constitution and a new social pact, in a climate of respect and civil friendship. Our faith can greatly illuminate the moment in which we live" .<br />In this meeting on December 14, explains the communiqué, "the signs of the times will be analyzed, with particular emphasis on the current crisis that the country is experiencing, and will seek, through dialogue and in the perspective of the Social Doctrine of the Church, to recognize the challenges for the evangelizing action of the diocesan Church and the pastoral responses to be promoted regarding our social service and solidarity".<br />The invitation to participate is addressed to those who work in the field of social ministry, but is open to all people of good will, committed to the good of the country, who belong to parishes, to the world of education, to lay movements and social organizations.<br />"Many pastoral workers, religious, consecrated persons and priests, have expressed the importance of a broad socio-pastoral dialogue on the current moment in which our country and our diocese live, and have also recognized that together with the prayer for peace - which is the fruit of justice - a space of meaningful meeting is necessary and therefore to raise a clear and strong voice as Church, according to our identity and our principles".<br />On this occasion the proposal of the "Community dialogue meetings for a fair and worthy Chile" will be presented, a diocesan initiative that will be promoted by Caritas Valparaíso so that parishes, Catholic schools and other pastoral groups "Participation in social and political life is one of the highest forms of charity and strengthening of democracy". (Agenzia Fides, 12/12/2019<br />Thu, 12 Dec 2019 11:52:14 +0100ASIA/INDONESIA - Vocations increase: new Camillian priest in Flores - The island of Flores recently celebrated the ordination of the first Camillian priest. After ten years of presence in Indonesia, the Ministers of the Sick also have their first priest. We are speaking of Father Mensianus Aman, ordained priest along with six young Carmelites by Bishop Mgr. Edwaldus Martinus Sedu in the parish of Maulo, part of the diocese of Maumere, on the island of Flores. The news was given to Agenzia Fides by Father Luigi Galvani, pioneer of the Camillian mission of Flores.<br />"Father Aman - says Fr. Galvani - comes from a peasant family in the mountainous area of the island of Flores and has a brother priest of the Institute of Verbites, a missionary for several years in Chile. After completing his studies in philosophy and theology in the country, in preparation for the his priesthood he attended pastoral courses in Manila. With his ordination the Camillians of Indonesia will begin to dream of being able to count on other candidates for priesthood every year".<br />In the two houses of formation of Maumere and Ruteng there are currently 7 priests, 15 young religious, 6 novices, 42 students of philosophy and 24 new candidates including two young people from Pakistan and one from East Timor.<br />Fr. Luigi explains: "Indonesia, which remains the most populous Muslim country in the world, is becoming a promising oasis of religious and priestly vocations. In fact, the continuous opening of new religious communities and seminaries is the clear testimony of this favorable moment. On the island of Java, for example, the Theological Faculty of Jakarta houses about 300 students, in Jogjakarta there are 330 and in Malang another 320. On the island of Timor, in Kupang the Theological Study has about 300 seminarians. But above all in Maumere, on the island of Flores, one is impressed to see the largest philosophical and theological Seminary of the Catholic Church in the world, led by the Divine Word missionaries, with more than a thousand seminarians".<br />"If in the past decades Indonesia had been a destination country of evangelization, now it is giving back this gift to the nations with the sending of its missionaries" - the Camillian further specifies. "In fact, several dozen Indonesian missionaries from various religious institutes, with the Verbites in the front row, reach other countries of the world each year to carry out pastoral and missionary service. This also seems to be the future goal of the Indonesian Camillians who, in addition to the task of preparing 'new workers for the Lord's vineyard', propose to spread the evangelical message and the charism of love of St. Camillus inside and outside the country". <br />Thu, 12 Dec 2019 11:40:08 +0100AMERICA/ARGENTINA - First speech by new President Fernández: "We must get out of this situation with solidarity" Aires - The new President of Argentina, Alberto Fernández, recalled several expressions of Pope Francis in his first speech before the Legislative Assembly. The leader of the Frente de Todos, who won the elections, accompanied by Cristina Fernández as vice president, used the formula "for God, Fatherland and the holy Gospels" when he swore as president.<br />In his first message as President, according to Aica news agency, Fernández referred to the Pope as "dear Pope Francis" and used some of his usual expressions: "waste culture", "marginalized and excluded", "the last", "inclusion and equity", "common house", among others. In the same way, he anticipated that the ministry of the environmental area will be inspired by Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Sì, which he defined "ethical and ecological magna charter at a universal level".<br />"The marginalized and excluded from our homeland, those affected by the culture of waste, not only need a piece of bread. They must be part and be guests of the same table, of the great table of a nation that must be our common home", the new President underlined.<br />Referring to the situation in the country, Alberto Fernández highlighted that "in a context of extreme gravity, of emergency, we must understand that there is no possibility of asking for sacrifices to those who are hungry, you cannot ask for sacrifices to those who cannot reach the end of the month. We must get out of this situation with solidarity". He then continued: "If we can stop hatred, we can stop the decline of Argentina. First and foremost liberation as a country is to guarantee that hatred has no power over our spirits. <br />Thu, 12 Dec 2019 11:32:14 +0100ASIA/LEBANON - Food banks in parishes, free medical services: the resilience of the Lebanese in the face of the crisis - "Brother, if you have no money, do not be ashamed and do not leave your family without food. Please come in and take what you need: coffee, spices, cereals, because God cares about you and me", This message , exhibited by Mr. Abd Bitari in the shop window of his grocery store in Nabatieh, in southern Lebanon , has become the symbol of the spirit of resilience of the Lebanese population in front of the political economic emergency that is devastating the country, expressed in innumerable spontaneous initiatives of concrete solidarity for the benefit of those who suffer most from the effects of the crisis.<br />What also contributes to the wave of spontaneous solidarity initiatives was the emotion aroused throughout the country by the case of a family man from the city of Arsal, with his wife suffering from cancer, who took his own life after falling into debt and was not able to put together a thousand Lebanese pounds that his daughter had asked him before going to school.<br />The resilience of the Lebanese is expressed in different ways. There are those who offer methane for heating, those who have no money to buy it, doctors and lawyers guarantee free assistance to those who need it most, food banks and pharmaceutical companies that collect food and medicine to redistribute them to families in desperate need.<br />The parish of St. John the Baptist in Beirut has inaugurated, near a hospital, a "mobile refrigerator". The economic emergency also conditions and characterizes the initiatives of the parishes and Christian schools that are preparing to celebrate the feast of Christmas. In the parish of San Maroun in Haret Sakher, near Harissa, the youth of the parish collect food and medicines to help families in difficulty. The pastoral council has taken the decision to reduce the expenses for Christmas celebrations and to allocate everything to help those most in need. A special committee was set up to coordinate the parish's charity interventions.<br />The weeks of demonstrations and roadblocks have caused the closure of many schools for long weeks, increasing the crisis factors of many educational institutes promoted by the Churches. To recover the class hours, schools will remain open also on Christmas Eve. Meanwhile, the Notre-Dame de Jamhour College, led by Father Charbel Batour, issued a statement to suggest everyone to allocate the resources traditionally destined to buy gifts for Christmas to charitable works. <br />Wed, 11 Dec 2019 13:11:37 +0100ASIA/PHILIPPINES - Cardinal Tagle: "Announcing the Gospel means communicating the presence and compassion of Christ with life" - "The Holy Father sent me a message informing me of the new responsibility entrusted to me: I am grateful to him for the trust he has in me. I entrust my new service to the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary": says Cardinal Luis Antonio Gokim Tagle, newly-appointed Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. The Cardinal intervened on 10 December in Manila at the inauguration of the "Veritas Institute of Social Communication", launched under the auspices of the Office for Social Communications within the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences . On the sidelines of the meeting, the Cardinal, despite his sadness to say goodbye to the population of the Archdiocese of Manila, which he led until today, he expressed his joy and reported: "I received messages from all over the world: from Africa, the Middle East, from Asian countries like Japan and Cambodia and from many other nations. This shows me that among the faithful there is enthusiasm for the work of evangelization".<br />Cardinal Tagle spoke of "communication and evangelization in the digital age". "Our common mission, in the sphere of communication and every area of life, is to go and proclaim the Good News. Go and proclaim the God who speaks, communicates and listens", he said. In the work of evangelization and, in particular, in the work of social communication, the Cardinal wanted to emphasize, it is necessary to "increasingly involve young people and women". The first "know the digital world better than us and can give us wonderful advice"; women, he recalled, "have a natural predisposition to interpersonal communication: let us also learn from them", he urged, above all referring to the "spirituality of listening". "Our part for evangelization - he said - is listening to God and listening to each other with patience, interest and attention. This is a necessary first step in evangelization".<br />On the pastoral challenges of evangelization in the digital age, he noted: "Living in the time of artificial intelligence, we Christians are called to develop other types or forms of intelligence, such as relational intelligence, which encourages a person to generate trust and safety".<br />Noting the need for the Church in Asia and for the universal Church of Christians ready to "give an account of the hope that is in them" and that they can be "witnesses and heralds of the Gospel", the Cardinal concluded: "Every Christian is called to communicate, with his life, the presence and compassion of Christ". <br />Wed, 11 Dec 2019 12:54:51 +0100AFRICA/NIGERIA - Archbishop Kaigama to politicians: "Be close to the people to understand their needs" - "You are avoiding contact with the people whose needs or sufferings you do not understand", denounced His Exc. Mgr. Ignatius Ayau Kaigama, during the ceremony as he takes over the Archdiocese of Abuja on December 5 . <br />"The tendency for leaders to surround themselves with weapon-wielding security personnel or trained security dogs and becoming inaccessible and insensitive to the needs of the ordinary people must be avoided and they should ensure that the poor, the children, the teenagers, the youths, the widows, the orphans, those in the periphery are not deprived of social amenities or unjustly treated", said the Archbishop who also denounced how some leaders are tucked away in air-conditioned offices or travelling in jets or helicopters to avoid the deplorable roads that are left unmaintained for years or just simply poorly built.<br />Mgr. Kaigama wanted in particular to draw the attention of political leaders to the condition of young people, who represent the majority of the population of the Archdiocese and of all Nigeria. "I will pray with them and dialogue on how our youth can be better helped. I will continue to stress the need to protect the lives and property of all Nigerians and to provide jobs for our teeming youth used by ethnic, religious and political bigots for violence, cultism and other anti-social practices", he stressed.<br />Mgr. Kaigama also condemned how some religious leaders preach prosperity and flaunt wealth in the midst of poverty affecting a huge population of Nigerians. "It is not possible to see my position as the Archbishop of Abuja in terms of worldly elevation or promotion and even to compare it with the position of a powerful and affluent Senator or Minister. My duty is spiritual and pastoral", he added.<br />Archbishop Kaigama expressed gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo, for the messages of goodwill as he takes over the Archdiocese of Abuja. <br />Wed, 11 Dec 2019 12:38:12 +0100AFRICA/SOUTH SUDAN - Prayer and service for peace: priestly ordination in the diocese of Tombura-Yambio - "My dear deacons, you have been chosen to spread love and holiness, to save God's people and forgive sins. From this moment on, your commitment is to bring others closer to God", said Mgr. Eduardo Hiiboro, bishop of the diocese of Tombura-Yambio, on the occasion of the priestly ordination of five deacons celebrated on December 9 in the parish of St Mary Mother of God in Yambio.<br />During the homily the bishop stressed the particular circumstance in which it took place. In fact, on the same day the diocese celebrated the feast of the Immaculate Conception, the ordination and the closing of the First Synod . In the tradition of the Catholic Church, in fact, the feast of the Immaculate Conception is celebrated on December 8th, but this year the celebration took place on Monday 9 December.<br />"The Church ordains you priests to serve its people. Go and bring more and more souls to Christ. Stay with your Christians, walk with them", says Mgr. Hiiboro. The deacons were ordained at the end of their pastoral journey in various parishes of the diocese.<br />"We have chosen to live in this place, it is therefore a commitment for all of us to continue praying for peace", said Bishop Hiiboro as he blessed the faithful to whom he recalled that the Advent season is a waiting period to which one must prepare oneself both in the depths of the heart and in behaviour. The bishop invited the faithful to continue praying for peace in South Sudan and urged the government and opposition leaders to work together to bring lasting peace to the country.<br />With reference to the recent closure of the First Diocesan Synod, Father Raphael Diko, pastoral coordinator of the diocese and director of the Synod, thanked all the delegates, priests and religious for their contribution as well as all the Christians who came together to promote their success. <br />Wed, 11 Dec 2019 12:04:29 +0100AMERICA/MEXICO - 10 million pilgrims are expected from all over the world for the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe City - Everything is ready to celebrate the 488th anniversary of the apparitions of Santa Maria of Guadalupe al Tepeyac. According to data released by the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City and by the government of the capital, tomorrow, December 12, an influx of about 10 million pilgrims from all over the world is expected. According to the same source, this is the place of Marian pilgrimage that gathers more people each year, about 20 million.<br />The note sent to Fides mentions the comparison with the Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican, which receives about 18 million. Last year the forecasts were similar, about 10 million were expected on December 12, instead 12 million came.<br />The Mexico City administration has ordered the deployment of 3,100 police officers for this day, while reception centers are full, parishes and Catholic schools have also prepared camping tents to welcome pilgrims who do not find where to sleep. The Archdiocese has 17,000 volunteers to guide pilgrim groups. Even the police of neighboring states have helped to avoid heavy traffic, close roads and highways, to allow groups of pilgrims to travel more easily to the Basilica.<br />Beyond data and logistics, the Mexican and American people celebrate this great celebration of the "Morenita del Tepeyac" as a profound expression of Latin American devotion to the Virgin Mary that appeared to Juan Diego, a Mexican native symbol of the poor faithful.<br />Last Sunday, December 8th, the Archbishop of the capital, Cardinal Carlos Aguiar Retes, had invited the Mexican community to respect the lives of women following the example of Juan Diego.<br />"We can live happily being Catholic, but this is not enough, just look at our society, there are meaningless murders, murders only because of being a woman. All this must be condemned and every case denounced. The rights of women must be defended because they were created like men, in the image and likeness of God", said the Cardinal. "When a man abuses a woman, he degrades himself", he concluded.<br />The editorial of the archdiocese's weekly paper follows the same line, and criticizes the proposal to separate men from women on the capital's transport, to avoid sexual harassment or violence against women. "If in society it is necessary to separate men from women on public transport, this is a sign of an illness", the Archdiocese complained. <br />Wed, 11 Dec 2019 11:32:43 +0100