Fides News - English Agency NewsenContent on this site is licensed under aASIA/INDIA - Caritas India responds to India’s monsoon fury Delhi - Caritas India, the social service arm of the Catholic Church, collaborates with state governments and NGOs to bring relief to millions of people affected by the devastating monsoon with heavy rains recorded in different regions of India in August. "We are coordinating with the state governments and disaster response agencies to assess the situation", said to Fides Father Paul Moonjely, executive Director of Caritas India. Caritas has issued an appeal to faithful, congregations and people of goodwill to contribute generously to this humanitarian call and express the solidarity at this crucial moment ".<br />Caritas team is assessing the needs of the local communities and helping the Social Development Diocesan Partners in planning the relief operations in the states affected by the monsoon rains: Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Gujarat Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha and Tamil Nadu. So far, more than 370 people have died in flood-related incidents. The death toll may continue to rise, with more than 4.7 million people displaced across thousands of relief camps in these states.<br />Caritas India is providing emergency assistance to 10,000 families in Kolhapur and Sangli of Maharasthra; Kasaragod, Wayanad, Malappuram, and Kannur of Kerala; Nilgiri of Tamil Nadu; Belgaum and Karwar of Karnataka; Eluru and Vizag of Andhra Pradesh with Food, Water, Non Food Essentials, Sanitation, Hygiene, and Shelter. <br />"A Solidarity Appeal was issued by His Eminence Cardinal Oswald Gracias, President of Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India to all the dioceses in India to generate support for the victims of Floods and Landslide,” Father Moonjely said. <br />Around 700,000 people were displaced in the state of Karnataka due to floods. Caritas India is working with 5 partners in 9 out of 17 affected districts of Karnataka. <br />Kerala is once again hit by the devastating floods. Caritas India along with its partners are doing rapid needs assessment of the most affected villages. <br />Assistant Director of Caritas India, Fr. Jolly is visiting the flood-affected areas to assess the damage and generate support from the partners and Church leadership in responding to this calamity. <br />The volunteer team of Caritas India, called the "Caritas Samaritans" are engaged in humanitarian aid. <br />Wed, 21 Aug 2019 15:59:42 +0200ASIA/PHILIPPINES - "Rural Missionaries" 50 years alongside the poor - Clergy, religious and lay members of the "Rural Missionaries of the Philippines" , involved at a pastoral and social level, celebrated their 50th founding anniversary, confirming the work to accompany and support the poorest, in remote or rural areas.<br />The Rural Missionaries of the Philippines is a national, inter-congregational and inter-diocesan organization, composed of religious men and women, priests and lay members who live and work with small farmers, agricultural workers, fisher folk and Indigenous Peoples. Founded on August 15, 1969, it is a Roman Catholic Church organization and a mission partner of the Association of the Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines.<br />"In the last 50 years, RMP has brought the Gospel and worked alongside poor communities in remote areas, promoting human dignity, rights, peace and social justice", says to Fides Sister Elsa Compuesto, the new National Coordinator of RMP, elected by the National Assembly of the organization in Manila in recent days.<br />"The next 50 years will be years of grace in which to work with the poor. We do not want to abandon our poor despite many difficulties, struggles, risks and challenges that our missionaries face together with the people we serve", remarked Sister Elsa, of the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of Mary.<br />"Being part of RMP is a missionary commitment to live a prophetic call with the poor", specified Sister Elenita Belardo, outgoing National Coordinator.<br />RMP, always on the front line against injustice, has raised its voice against the killings of the poor by the police or the military for various reasons and violations of human rights. Bishop Deogracias Iniguez stressed the effort, commitment and contribution of RMP, whose members "are willing to work hard to bring the Church closer to people".<br />"The members of RMP are willing to sacrifice so much for the sake of the Gospel as they work for justice by denouncing evil and injustice", the Bishop said.<br />RMP is committed to serving farmers, indigenous peoples and fishermen "through collective testimony and prophetic action" and "to encourage people of good will "to support the rural poor" so that "they can enjoy the fruits of their labor and of the fullness of life, preserving the integrity of creation", reads the note of the organization.<br />Among other commitments, RMP facilitates integration and seminarians and men and women religious to carry out their evangelizing mission alongside the poor in rural areas; it carries out campaigns regarding problems of rural areas; provides support services to schools on topics such as evangelization, disaster risk reduction, health services, defense of human rights, sustainable agriculture and climate change mitigation; contributes to building alliances and networks of a pastoral and social nature. <br />Wed, 21 Aug 2019 15:36:41 +0200AMERICA/PERU - Over 198 thousand families received help from Caritas in 2018 - The Catholic Church in Peru helped more than 198 thousand families in the country in 2018: this is the figure that emerges from the Social Report of Caritas Peru which describes the activity of the Catholic organization in the year 2018. In the note sent to Agenzia Fides by Caritas Peru, Carla Auza, national director, explains how these families received help: "These families were involved in various projects that Caritas developed in 2018: 45 different projects, many of the which were carried out in collaboration with 35 other institutions, NGOs, sponsors".<br />"We managed to reach 36 thousand needy families through these projects; there were also social aid programs with which we helped another 164 thousand families and people in urgent need. Many citizens also received medical or instrumental assistance, or even medical equipment basic necessities, such as wheelchairs, crutches…".<br />"Caritas - she explains - also promotes projects of an educational nature, or in the health sector, or for nutrition, in situations of environmental crisis. For example, in 2018 we offered emergency assistance to 2,500 families due to the polar cold in the Peruvian Andes. "Small communities in the Andes received help to increase agricultural production or livestock in order to be able to survive or manage their own economy in that area", says Auza in the note sent to Fides. <br />Wed, 21 Aug 2019 15:16:58 +0200AFRICA/BURKINA FASO - Appeal to national unity after the massacre of the military; the Bishops denounce the attempt to trigger an inter-religious conflict - Instability is worsening in Burkina Faso, where on August 19, 24 soldiers died, 7 others were injured while 5 of their comrades were reported missing during a jihadist attack.<br />The assault occurred in the early hours of the day in Koutougou, in the north of the Country. "The people of Burkina Faso have always remained firm in the long-lasting struggle against terrorism", said President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré who reiterated that "Burkina Faso will never give up any part of its territory, at the cost of our lives" .<br />At the beginning of August the President of the Bishops’ Conference of Burkina Faso and Niger, His Exc. Mgr. Laurent Birfuoré Dabiré, Bishop of Dori, had denounced the massacres of Christians carried out by jihadist groups supported from abroad who, he said, "are better armed and equipped" than the national army.<br />"If the world continues to do nothing, the result will be the elimination of the Christian presence", said the President of the Bishops’ Conference. <br />The jihadist groups, according to Mgr. Dabiré, pursue a precise strategy to put greater areas of the Country under their control, or at least destabilize them. "They have settled within our country little by little, attacking the army, civil structures and the population. Now, their main target seems to be Christians. I believe they are trying to trigger an inter-religious conflict", said Mgr. Dabiré.<br />"Insecurity continues to increase and has forced us to reduce our pastoral activities. Now it is too dangerous to travel to certain areas and I have been forced to close two parishes", the President of the Bishops’ Conference denounces.<br />The Catholic Church represents one fifth of the 16.5 million inhabitants of Burkina Faso, whose government signed an agreement with the Vatican on 12 July, guaranteeing the legal status of the Church and committing itself to "collaborating for moral, spiritual and material well-being of the human person and for the promotion of the common good".<br />Christian places of worship, especially in the north of the Country, mainly inhabited by Muslims, were the target of jihadist groups after throwing out President Blaise Compaore in October 2014.<br />In June, the Bishops of Burkina Faso and Niger denounced that their Countries "have for years been in the grip of terrorism" . <br />Wed, 21 Aug 2019 15:08:09 +0200ASIA - Catholic journalists in Asia: together to announce the Gospel values Lumpur - To announce the tidings of Good news, to stay away from sensationalism and fake news: is the commitment made by journalists, editors, and Catholic communicators from Asia gathered in Kuala Lumpur, in a meeting organized by "SIGNIS" Asia. SIGNIS is a world forum of Catholic communicators and deals with radio, television, cinema and other forms of media communication.<br />In the final declaration of the assembly, sent to Agenzia Fides, we read: "We will announce the tidings of Good news, for we are baptised and sent by the Lord. We stay away from sensationalism and fake news and we commit to abiding by the Gospel values of truth, honesty and transparency in our service".<br />The declaration echoes the theme of the extraordinary missionary Month "Baptized and sent: the Church of Christ on a mission in the world", which the Church celebrates in October 2019.<br />In past days, the assembly gathered 18 Catholic editors and journalists representing 12 countries, with 4 presenters, making it a total gathering of 15 countries to reflect on the theme "Peace journalism in a viral culture".<br />The participants shared the religio-cultural, socio-political situations of their respective missions. This was an eye opener to the ground realities of different Asian countries, and challenges faced by the Catholic editors and publishers in their ministry. The conference raised a few common concerns in terms of declining readership in the context of viral social media, hostile political authority, financial crunch, lack of required skills and training for those involved in Catholic journalism. Participants unanimously agreed the print media of the Church must stay on even in the midst of adverse climates in the Asian region. <br />In this framework, SIGNIS ASIA will organize training sessions for young journalists, and will work to promote unity and peace among members and among the citizens of their respective countries, encouraging ecumenical and interreligious collaboration.<br />The conference proposed to establish a "Catholic Press Association-ASIA" under the aegis of SIGNIS ASIA in collaboration with the Communication Department within the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences . <br />Tue, 20 Aug 2019 16:14:54 +0200AMERICA/MEXICO - Bishops: it is urgent to stop violence against women City - It is urgent to stop all actions that undermine the dignity of women in Mexico: this is the appeal launched by the Archbishop of Puebla, Mgr. Víctor Sánchez Espinosa, who once again highlighted the peak of violence that is recorded against women in the country. Speaking at a conference to publicize the 375th anniversary of the Palafoxian seminar, the Catholic leader said that "the recent protests by women, accompanied by vandalism, are not the best way to express dissent", however, he said "everybody has the right to demonstrate, in this case women need further security in society".<br />"Women - the bishop said - cannot continue to be victims of rape, murder, violence and other crimes", and therefore urged all sectors of society to "fight the problem, because life is sacred and therefore must be protected. I ask to stop all forms of violent acts against women and against all human being", he concluded.<br />The issue of violence against women continues to hold strong. The "women's march", held last Friday in Mexico City, is perhaps the largest demonstration against violence against women in this country. In fact, Mexican women took to the streets to demand respect and stop the sexual violence and insecurity they suffer in Mexico. Unfortunately, part of the demonstrators committed vandalism in public spaces such as squares, subway stations or sidewalks in Mexico City.<br />According to the Mexican press, which closely monitors the issue of violence against women, considering the numbers of cases of harassment, abuse and femicide, Mexico is one of the riskiest in Latin America with regards to the safety of women.<br />"Almost three women are killed a day, in addition, at least 49 are sexually abused, creating an alarming situation for the number of people affected", reads a note sent to Agenzia Fides.<br />According to data released by the Mexican mass media, during the first six months of the year, deaths reached the record of 470 women, 111 of whom were killed with a firearm, 99 with a cutting weapon, 261 with another type of object. Among the cases reported, there are sexual crimes: the figures reach 1,530 cases of sexual abuse reported in a single month, with an average statistic of 51 women sexually assaulted every day, without considering the victims that do not report the violence suffered or all those who remain silent for fear of reprisals.<br />As reported to Fides, two other bishops, Mgr. Benjamín Castillo Plascencia of the Diocese of Celaya, and Mgr. Enrique Díaz Díaz, of Irapuato, publicly expressed their concerns by solemnly declaring the urgency of adequate measures to stop the violence against women in Mexican society. <br />Tue, 20 Aug 2019 15:51:07 +0200AFRICA/TANZANIA - Bishops' send condolences for the victims of the fuel tanker explosion es Salaam - "The Catholic Church in Tanzania sends condolences to Mr. President and to all citizens. We urge Tanzanians to support the families who have lost their loved ones and who have suffered trauma during this difficult time", says the message sent by the Chairman of the Tanzania Episcopal Conference , His Exc. Mgr. Gervas Nyaisonga, Archbishop of Mbeya, to the President of the Republic of Tanzania John Pombe Magufuli, following an oil truck accident on August 10, which caused deaths of approximately 89 people and several injuries. The vehicle overturned on the road in Morogoro, 175 kilometres west of Dar es Salaam. An eyewitness said the truck was going at a high speed and was trying to avoid a motorcyclist on the main road when the driver appeared to lose control and the truck overturned. <br />The people died while trying to collect petrol leaking from the overturned fuel tanker, which eventually exploded. 71 people were killed on the spot and 59 injured. By August 16, the number of deaths had increased to 89, as some who were severely injured were transferred to the National Hospital Muhimbili in Dar es Salaam and died.<br />A similar incident occurred on Sunday 18 August in a small town in western Uganda, on the road that leads from Kampala to Kasese following the explosion of a tanker which caused the death of at least 19 people. According to the police, the driver of the tanker lost control of the vehicle that crashed into three cars and exploded.<br />The explosion of damaged tankers have caused multiple massacres in various African countries. In Nigeria, 100 dead on 12 July 2012 and another 100 in 2007; in Sudan 203 dead on 16 September, 2015; in Kenya 111 dead on January 31, 2009; in the Democratic Republic of Congo 292 died on 2 July, 2010; in Niger 80 victims on 6 May 2019. <br />Tue, 20 Aug 2019 15:37:55 +0200ASIA/PAKISTAN - Ecumenical prayer of Christians for "the Muslim brethren of Kashmir" - A special prayer for "the Muslim brethren of Kashmir" was organized in past days by the Ecumenical Solidarity Committee Lahore. Religious Leaders from the Catholic, Church of Pakistan, Anglican Church, Presbyterian Church and the Salvation Army participated in this prayer service. The prayer was accompanied by an appeal for peace for the tormented region of Kashmir, still at the center of strong tensions between India and Pakistan.<br />The meeting had an interreligious nature, given the participation of Pakistani Muslim leaders invited for the occasion, and was led by the Franciscan, Fr. Francis Nadeem OFM Cap, secretary of the ecumenical and interreligious dialogue Commission in the Episcopal Conference of Pakistan.<br />The Religious leaders showed their determination to support "the Kashmiri Brethren" in their movement for dignity, justice and freedom, recalling all those who, from that region, have contributed to the independence of Pakistan. The assembly prayed for peace and harmony between Pakistan and India and insisted by launching a heartfelt appeal so that "the political controversy between India and Pakistan is resolved through dialogue, without resorting to weapons and with the prospect of real and lasting peace".<br />At the end of the meeting, all leaders symbolically released Doves in the air with a hope "that this message of Peace would be carried to the Indo-Pakistani borders and encourage reconciliation". <br />Tue, 20 Aug 2019 15:21:36 +0200ASIA/PAKISTAN - A ten-point resolution sent by religious minorities to the Prime Minister : "We are faithful to our beloved homeland, Pakistan. We are not strangers: our Churches, religious institutions, hospitals and office buildings have a raised flag of Pakistan. We have lived in this land for centuries, well before the creation of Pakistan, and we are serving with honesty and dedication for the good of Pakistan". This is what Fr. Saleh Diego, vicar general of the Archdiocese of Karachi and diocesan director of the National Commission for Justice and Peace told Agenzia Fides, recalling the main issues and challenges faced by religious minorities in Pakistan. A specific Day, which is celebrated on 11 August, was established for them in 2010 by the then federal minister for religious minorities, the Catholic Shahbaz Bhatti, who was assassinated on 2 March 2011.<br />Fr. Saleh Diego also stated: "Christianity has existed in this territory since the first century, when St. Thomas, one of Jesus' apostles, came to the Indian subcontinent. We are 100% sons and daughters of this land; we should not be treated as second-class citizens".<br />Catholic lawyer Tabbasum Yousaf, speaking to Fides, recalled: "We members of religious minorities are contributing strongly to the development of Pakistan. We intend to focus on issues related to our freedom, our fundamental human rights, prejudices and discrimination that exist in particular towards people of religious minorities and forced conversions of women of religious minorities".<br />The lawyer presented a joint ten-point resolution that was signed by leaders and representatives of various faiths and is addressed to the Prime Minister of Pakistan and other institutions. Among the requests contained in the text, the resolution points out that the minimum age for marriage of girls should be 18; calls for the establishment of a a federal ministry for religious minorities, and the application of a 5% quota for national and international educational scholarships given to minorities; the joint resolution urges protection of minorities' houses of worship from government seizure; designated minority worship areas in jails, hospitals, and state institutions; and the passage of legislation to prevent religious discrimination in employment, education, and society. Furthermore, the Memorandum calls for the elimination from books of material encouraging hatred. A specific request touches on the problem of abductions, sexual violence and forced conversions of women belonging to religious minorities, asking for legislation to counteract the phenomenon. <br />Commenting on the current situation, Majida Rizvi, first female judge of the High Court in Pakistan, and committed to the National Commission on the status of women, said: "At the time of the founding of Pakistan, Pakistan's founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah assured the equal rights, freedom and justice for religious minorities in Pakistan. Members of religious minorities contributed to the foundation and development of Pakistan; they have proven to be true citizens of Pakistan".<br />Sheema Kirmani, a well-known Muslim human rights activist, told Fides: "All Pakistani citizens are equal, the concept of considering a person on the basis of majority or minority criteria should be removed. We must also change the terminology and declare that Pakistan is a country with a people of various religions. There should be no religious divisions or discrimination".<br />Ghazala Shafiq, a Christian activist for women's rights, says: "In this country it is painful to note that the Constitution of Pakistan does not allow any non-Muslim to become president, prime minister, head of army personnel or any other top position". Moreover, "forced conversions of women belonging to minorities are on the rise: they should be stopped and severely punished". <br />Mon, 19 Aug 2019 16:51:19 +0200EUROPE/POLAND - Cardinal Filoni at the shrine of Zakopane: "Mary is present and alive among us" - "One wonders: why so many Shrines in the world, why so much affection and devotion to Mary? In truth, from the moment Mary lost Jesus, she adopted, as Mother, the Church born of the blood of her Son, becoming herself a first and elected member, which means that, wherever there is a community of faith, like the first community of the Apostles, Mary is there, finds a home and family where to live. This also explains why Mary has never left us alone. Her apparitions, such as Fatima, Lourdes, and many others, her shrines such as Częstochowa, Zakopane, and many others scattered throughout the various continents, bear witness to her living presence among us". This was underlined by Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, during the celebration of the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, on August 15, at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Zakopane, a city of 28 thousand inhabitants located in southern Poland, in the region called "Little Poland".<br />As Cardinal Filoni recalled, Karol Wojtyla often came to Zakopane, as a boy, then as a priest, often accompanying students. He returned several times even after he was elected Pope. The Marian Shrine was built here as an ex-voto for the salvation of Pope John Paul II’s life, after the attack on May 13, 1981.<br />The Prefect of the Congregation of "Propaganda Fide" said: "With joy we celebrate the liturgical solemnity of Mary. Assumed into Heaven in this National Shrine of Zakopane, where a house was built for Mary. All Christian Poland today is spiritually united to the priests and bishops in Jasna Gόra, in Czestochowa, where Mary is crowned queen of Poland. In the affection and devotion to Mary, generations of Poles have been formed and have kept their faith alive even in dark times. Mary, Karol Wojtyla, son of this nation, tempered his character and consecrated himself totally to her, Totus tuus, to Christ and to the Church".<br />In the homily of the celebration for the Assumption, the Cardinal continued: "The Church does not forget Mary, remembering and celebrating her liturgically throughout the liturgical year. Today the Church celebrates her in her mystery of Assumed into Heaven, because it was not possible that her body suffered the corruption of death, having been preserved from original sin. In this sense, Mary becomes the firstborn of a new creation, the one saved by Jesus. <br />We, as a Christian community, that is, as a community redeemed by Christ, are happy today to be gathered here and almost embraced and kissed by her and to be able to say: Mary, my Mother, I love you! I love you! If I close my eyes for a moment let me smell your perfume of woman and mother. Hold me tight as you held Jesus, talk to me as you spoke to him, look at me with the same tenderness".<br />The Marian shrine in Zakopane was built in 1987-1992 and the church was consecrated by John Paul II himself on 7 June 1997, during his sixth pilgrimage to his homeland. The Shrine was erected next to a chapel where, since the 1950s, Mary was worshiped and where in 1961 the image of the Lady of Fatima was placed, given by the bishop of Fatima to Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński, who he gave to the Pallotini Fathers, custodians of the chapel. It was the bishop of Krakow of that time, Karol Wojtyla, who consecrated both the image and the chapel. In the so-called "Fatima Park", in the vicinity of the Shrine, there are also two monuments dedicated to John Paul II and the altar on which Pope Wojtyla celebrated Mass in Zakopane on June 6, 1997. <br /><br />Mon, 19 Aug 2019 16:29:37 +0200AFRICA/IVORY COAST - Church calls for justice for Faustine Brou N’Guessan, parish secretary killed in her office - "Let there be full light on the murder of Faustine Brou N’Guessan. The Church is merciful, but mercy is carried out through justice", said Fr. Augustin Obrou, at the head of the social communications of the Archdiocese of Abidjan, in a statement on the murder of Mrs Faustine Brou N’Guessan, secretary of the parish of Sainte-Cécile du Vallon, stabbed to death in her parish office, on 10 August.<br />Speaking on behalf of His Eminence, Cardinal Jean-Pierre Kutwa, Archbishop of Abidjan, Fr. Obrou has asked the faithful to be vigilant. "Our parishes have security agents, but we invite the faithful to highlight anything strange regarding the people who come to our churches. It is true that churches are places of gathering, people will not be searched in order not to create alarm, but some behaviors force us to be more careful".<br />The killing of the secretary of the parish of Sainte-Cécile du Vallon was preceded by the desecration of some statues of the Virgin Mary and attacks against priests and laity engaged in parish services.<br />The agonizing body of Faustine Brou N’Guessan, was found in a pool of blood around 11 am on August 10th in her office in the Jean Pierre Cardinal Kutwa building of the parish. Taken to the nearest clinic, unfortunately, she died soon after. The sixty-year-old mother of a daughter and for thirty years secretary in the parish of Sainte-Cécile du Vallon, was going to retire this year. <br />Mon, 19 Aug 2019 16:06:43 +0200AMERICA/MEXICO - The Catholic world calls for "authentic dialogue between government and society" City - "We cannot resign ourselves, as individual citizens and even less as organized civil society, to having a government that unilaterally manages the major problems of this country": says Catholic magazine "Desde la fe" in its publication of August 18th. The Catholic magazine explains: "We are very surprised with the intention expressed recently in the Chamber of Deputies, whereby the majority force must have absolute control. In doing so a fundamental principle of every democratic Congress is forgotten: it is the space of representativeness of majorities and minorities to preserve the necessary social balance in every democracy".<br />The text sent to Agenzia Fides continues: "It is evident that, with these measures, one wants to transform the place of greater democratic dynamism of a country into a mirror of imminent totalitarianism that causes so much damage in every society".<br />"Dialogue means knowing how to listen. It is necessary to listen to farmers who have not received their subsidies. It is necessary to listen to working mothers who need professional support in the care of their children. It is necessary to listen to doctors who talk about the lack of medicines and the lack of maintenance of specialized equipment. It is necessary to listen to experts who analyze the feasibility of projects and environmental care. It is necessary to listen to the National Commission for Human Rights and other autonomous organizations. It is necessary to listen to the people involved in the education of children and young people. It is necessary to listen to investors in order to build trust. One must listen to the victims of extortion and violence of organized crime. The voluntary effort of a person is not enough, a country like Mexico requires greater responsibility and authentic social dialogue. For the good of all, let us learn to dialogue, government and society", concludes the text. <br />Mon, 19 Aug 2019 15:50:37 +0200AMERICA/PUERTO RICO - Police are investigating the death of a Polish missionary - The Congregation of the Mission of Puerto Rico and the Vincentian Family of Puerto Rico are mourning the unexpected death on August 18, 2019, of Polish missionary Fr. Stanislaw Szczepanik, CM, in Ponce. According to preliminary information, Fr. Stanislaw was the victim of an accident, but the police are investigating why he was found with wounds on his body next to his bicycle.<br />Fr. Stanislaw belonged to the Congregation of the Mission, which is a clerical society of apostolic life of pontifical right. "Stanislaw Szczepanik - the statement sent to Fides states - was a missionary in Haiti, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. He was a zealous priest, great promoter of the devotion to the Divine Mercy in the Dominican Republic. He was a person of profound interior life. In his life he left a trail of love for God and love for the poor. He was a tireless worker, always ready to live his priesthood for the sanctification of the faithful. A great confessor and a good spiritual guide. He was the director of the Daughters of Charity in Puerto Rico. He was a formator at the seminary and promoter of many vocations". <br />Mon, 19 Aug 2019 15:30:38 +0200AMERICA/UNITED STATES - Legislation for asylum seeker- Bishops' comment: "unlawful, unjust, and unwise", - Fides received a statement from the US bishops regarding the legislation recently released by the Trump administration on migrants residing in the country. A 30-day period was given to submit comments to the government about the rule. "The move would allow the Administration to block most individuals arriving at our southern border from gaining access to asylum in the U.S", reads the text sent to Fides, which then continues, "The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops submitted comments on August 9th and called the rule “unlawful, unjust, and unwise".<br />Most Reverend Joe S. Vásquez, Bishop of Austin, Texas, Chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Migration , issued the following statement: <br /><br />"We have grave concerns about the Administration’s interim final rule, issued on July 16, 2019, that greatly limits U.S. asylum eligibility at the southern border", said Bishop Vásquez. "The rule would turn our back on the vast majority of asylum seekers, requiring them to apply for protection in almost any other country through which they transit, leaving access to U.S. asylum exceptionally rare. Not only do we believe that this rule is unlawful, but it also jeopardizes the safety of vulnerable individuals and families fleeing persecution and threatens family unity. Further, the rule undermines our nation’s tradition of being a global leader providing and being a catalyst for others to provide humanitarian protection to those in need. We remind the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security that how we respond to asylum seekers arriving at our border is a test of our moral character and strongly urge the Administration to rescind this rule", says the statement of Catholic bishops.<br />The statement is dated 12 August 2019.<br /> <br /><br />Tue, 13 Aug 2019 12:23:05 +0200AMERICA/PERU - First pediatric cancer hospital in Peru and South America, also supported by the church - With the blessing of Mgr. Nicola Girasoli, Apostolic Nuncio in Peru, and Mgr. Richard Alarcón, Archbishop of Cusco, the first pediatric cancer hospital in Peru and South America was presented to the national community.<br />The center that bears the name of "Vidawasi" , is located precisely in the city of Yanahuara, in the district of Urusco in Cusco.<br />Jesús Dongo and Marina Cano, as well as local authorities, representatives of institutions involved in this work and the general public also attended the ceremony on Saturday 10 August.<br />During the blessing the hospital's administrative and recreational areas were visited, as well as "Vidawasi" city, the central administration building, the medical village, a villa for volunteering, family hostels and a chapel.<br />Archbishop Girasoli said that "Vidawasi" is a blessing for all Peruvians, because it is a work done with the heart and solidarity, where all the little cancer patients will find the tranquility they need thanks to the strategic position of this center in the Sacred Valley of the Incas.<br />Jesús Dongo, founder of "Vidawasi", thanked the Catholic Church for being one of the first institutions to open its doors to undertake this project. He also invited the whole country to join this crusade, to be part of this pediatric hospital.<br />The "Vidawasi" project is supported by the Holy See. It also has the international support of Sant Joan de Déu Hospital and the Puigvert Foundation in Barcelona, the Teletón Hospital for Children of Oncology in Mexico, the St. Jude Hospital in the United States, among other hospitals and oncology expert centers worldwide. <br /><br />Tue, 13 Aug 2019 12:09:33 +0200Asia/Pakistan - Cardinal Coutts on Minorities Day: "Treat us like citizens of Pakistan, equal to others" - "The founder of Pakistan Mohammad Ali Jinnah in his historic speech of August 11, 1947 assured us that people of faith other than Islam would be citizens of Pakistan, with equal rights and duties. Consequently, we should be treated as equal citizens of Pakistan for all the 365 days of the year, without the need to have a Day for Religious Minorities in Pakistan": this is what Cardinal Joseph Coutts, Archbishop of Karachi told Agenzia Fides. Cardinal Coutts, renowned for his commitment to promoting peace and harmony in Pakistan, on the occasion of Minorities Day, celebrated on August 11 throughout the country, told Fides: "We people are Pakistanis, we are not migrants from any other country, we were born and raised in Pakistan and have lived here for centuries before Pakistan's independence. We should not be treated as second-class citizens".<br />Cardinal Coutts continues: "We have contributed to the development of the Country since the first day of its independence. And we still do it today: the Pakistani Catholic Bishops' Conference has responded to Prime Minister Imran Khan's appeal for the construction of water basins and dams in Pakistan and we have collected donations from all our Pakistani Christians".<br />To this end "we should be treated as citizens equal to others and not as religious minorities in Pakistan". Cardinal Coutts also said: "I appreciate Prime Minister Imran Khan for strongly opposing forced conversions in his speech of July 30, 2019 while celebrating Minorities Day" . And he concluded: "It seems that this government is aware of the challenges of the people of religious minorities in Pakistan. It is a positive sign, we ask to guarantee the protection of religious minorities and the places of worship of religious minorities". <br /><br />Mon, 12 Aug 2019 12:34:24 +0200VATICAN - On the anniversary of the Geneva Conventions, the Pope reminds "Everyone is required to observe the limits imposed by international humanitarian law" City - After the Marian prayer of the Angelus, the Holy Father reminded the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square, that today is the 70th anniversary of the Geneva Conventions, with these words: "Tomorrow marks the 70th anniversary of the Geneva Convention, important international legal instruments that impose limits on the use of force and are aimed at protecting civilians and prisoners in time of war. May this anniversary make States increasingly aware of the indispensable need to protect the life and dignity of victims of armed conflicts.<br />All are required to observe the limits imposed by international humanitarian law, protecting unarmed populations and civil structures, especially hospitals, schools, places of worship, refugee camps. And let us not forget that war and terrorism are always a serious loss for all humanity. They are the great human defeat!". <br /><br />Mon, 12 Aug 2019 11:09:19 +0200AFRICA/NIGER - Waiting, silence, hope, prayer 11 months after the abduction of Father Luigi Maccalli - August 17th will be eleven months since that evening of September 17, 2018 when the life of Father Gigi Maccalli, of the Society for African Missions, changed and was kidnapped in Bomoanga . "It was certainly not the first kidnapping we heard of, but it was the first that touched us so closely. It seemed impossible. That day the news of his abduction was repeated in all the newscasts, which we followed hoping always in some more details", say two of the missionary’s friends to Agenzia Fides.<br />"This is how these eleven months of waiting, of silence, of hope and of prayer began. A prayer that involved all those who in these years, and for different reasons, came into contact with Father Gigi, sharing with him the enthusiasm for the mission, getting involved in projects in favor of the people , creating bonds", they explain.<br />"What sustains our hope and our trust is this red thread of prayer that, every day, personally and once a week at a community level, binds us and ceaselessly intercedes for the liberation of our dear friend", the two friends add. "We are sure that he prays for us, too".<br />"We met him shortly before being ordained, during a visit to Walter, his seminarian confrere in Genoa. He was already in love with Africa. A love for the reaffirmed mission, we can say, in every letter, in every speech. Three years later, on the eve of his perpetual oath, he wrote to us from Bondoukou: "My perpetual oath within the SMA community is a commitment to fidelity and consecration to the mission and to these Churches of Africa at the service to the poor. I have come to serve and this remains the horizon of my priestly vocation".<br />"Perhaps, he never thought, always so full of initiatives, to come to be, as he is today, a "contemplative" missionary. Because this is how we see Father Gigi's mission today: a prayerful mission, a mission that continues, albeit in a different way and which, unbeknownst to him, will bear fruit. " <br /><br />Mon, 12 Aug 2019 11:01:49 +0200AMERICA/MEXICO - Together against Xenophobia, the church proposes pastoral actions against hatred and weapons City - "Mexico and the United States are fighting against time, where xenophobia, which fuels the culture of hatred in the neighboring country in an accelerated manner, is the main enemy to overcome", are the first lines of the Catholic weekly "Desde la fe" in its publication of 11 August.<br />The comment concerns the last cases which occurred in recent days: "Last weekend massive shootings killed at least 29 people and injured many in Texas and Ohio. Greater control in the acquisition of weapons by civilians is urgently needed".<br />But the underlying situation seems to be another: "What American society fails to understand is that it is not just weapons that cause these criminal actions, but that there is a more complicated background that has its roots in the lack of values , starting with respect for life, and this is the key point to be addressed according to the bishops".<br />"The USCCB has long supported the laws responsible for weapons and increased resources to address the root causes of violence. The president and Congress are asked to put political interests aside and find ways to protect better life; However, faced with this request, the bishops have found deaf ears", reads the Mexican text.<br />The news today is clear: "Today, the Church in this country has decided not to wait any longer and has decided to take preventive actions and a pastoral campaign to address the ways in which, as an institution, it can help fight "this social disease that has infected the nation". Catholics are asked to increase prayer and sacrifice in order to put an end to these shootings, but above all to express their voice for the necessary changes in national culture so that the flag of xenophobic hatred stops to gain strength and so we can build a culture of authentic humanity", concludes the message. <br /><br />Mon, 12 Aug 2019 10:20:47 +0200NEWS ANALYSIS/OMNIS TERRA - Latin America at the forefront in the "laboratory" of mission and urban pastoral care for large cities from the challenges that confront the action of the Church in the cities in this "change of epoch", Latin America is at the forefront in theological-pastoral reflection and in the proposals for urban pastoral care . Mexico City and Buenos Aires are the places where the Church, towards the end of the 1980s, began to feel strongly challenged by post-modernity and by the irreversible socio-cultural changes in the megalopolis.<br />"I consider the judgment of Carlos Maria Galli, Argentine theologian, to be correct, who states that urban pastoral care is an original contribution of the Latin American and Caribbean Church to the "Catholica" before and after Pope Francis". These are the words of Cardinal Lluís Martínez Sistach, Archbishop emeritus of Barcelona, one of the promoters of the Pastoral Care of the Big Cities together with Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio. Fr. Benjamín Bravo, theologian and professor of U.P. interviewed by Agenzia Fides agrees: "Indeed, the U.P. is of Latin American origin because it starts from a typical situation of the region, of basic religiosity, in which the majority of people, even if not practicing, believe in God, and do not move from the European experience of de-sacralization and the secularization of postmodernity. Also because modernity has influenced us for 30 years: it has not left much". The U.P "is not the same as pastoral care in the city", said Jorge Eduardo Scheinig, current auxiliary bishop of Mercedes-Lujan, years ago. "Pastoral care in the city is to do what we have always done in the paradigm of Christianity. The P.U. is a new pastoral care because the cities generate multiculturalism", he concluded <br /><br /><br/><strong>Link correlati</strong> :<a href="">Continue to read news analysis-Omnis Terra website</a>Sat, 10 Aug 2019 13:23:48 +0200