Fides News English Agency Newsen-usAFRICA/KENYA - The greetings of a resident in Kibera to Pope Francis: "I am proud to live in an informal settlement" - "I am proud to live in an informal settlement that I call home", said Pamella Akwede, a resident in the Kibera slums in Nairobi, in her speech in front of Pope Francis, during a meeting held in the Church of St. Joseph the Worker.<br />"According to the UN Habitat, residents of Nairobi’s informal settlements constitute 55% of the city’s population yet we are crowded on 5% of the total land area. This can be attributed to failure by the State to provide for low-cost housing for the poor, leading to absentee landlords taking advantage of the poor in these settlements by building temporary structures not conducive for human settlement and charging high rates for them", recalled Pamella.<br />Despite the harsh conditions of life, "people in informal settlements live together as family, in unity and solidarity", overcoming ethnic and religious divisions. Pamella highlights that the majority of the residents in informal settlements are casual labourers at companies in the industrial areas usually adjacent to the slums and that "although these companies generate high revenues and the Government benefits through taxes, the labourers are not adequately compensated". But this does not stop the people in the settlements to find new ways to try to improve their lives. "If you take a walk in any informal settlement, the resilience of the people will shock you. The people are so entrepreneurial, which can be seen from the huge number of small-scale businesses that they run".<br />Addressing the Holy Father, Pamella denounced the fact that leaders take advantage of poverty stricken youths and tribal composition to gain political mileage. "Fortunately, people are aware of this strategy and have embraced their different ethnic backgrounds. The Catholic Church prides itself in being at the forefront in serving the communities in informal settlements, by not only handling matters of faith, but also creating awareness and human development".<br />"Your Holiness, it is my humble request to you, to urge the Government to improve service provision in the informal settlements and to address security of tenure, economic entrepreneurship, health, education and security", concluded Pamella. Fri, 27 Nov 2015 13:36:23 +0100AMERICA/CANADA - Appointment of the Bishop of Whitehorse City - On 27 November 2015 the Holy Father appointed Rev. Héctor Vila, Rector of the Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Toronto as Bishop of the Diocese of Whitehorse .<br />The newly-elected Bishop was born in Lima on 17 September 1962. At 17 years of age, in 1979, along with his father he emigrated to Canada, where he completed his secondary education at Emery Collegiate Institute in Toronto. Later he began studying mechanical engineering at the George Brown College in Toronto and graduated in 1986. He was then taken on as an assistant at the Missal Toolimg Ltd. In 1987, he began attending the Neocatechumenal Way and a year later he began studing Philosophy and Theology at the University of Toronto, and then completed his studies at the Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Rome . He was ordained a priest on May 14, 1995 by Pope John Paul II and incardinated in Rome. Since his ordination he has served the following pastoral and academic roles: 1995-1998: Pastoral ministry at St. Irenaeus and St. Patrick parishes; 1999: for a few months Administrator of St. Norbert parish in Toronto; since 2000: Rector of the Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Toronto.<br />The Diocese of Whitehorse, erected in 1967, is a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Grouard McLennan. It has an area of 732,515 square kilometers and a population of 43,000 inhabitants, of whom 9,600 are Catholics. There are 22 parishes, 6 Priests , 2 Deacons, 1 Religious brother, 4 Nuns and 1 Seminarian. Fri, 27 Nov 2015 13:16:48 +0100ASIA/VIETNAM - Appointment of the Coadjutor Bishop of Bà Ria City - On 27 November 2015 the Holy Father appointed Rev. Emmanuel Nguyen Hong Son, Vicar general of the same diocese as Coadjutor Bishop of the diocese of Bà Ria .<br />The new Coadjutor was born on January 2, 1952 in Bien Hòa in Dong Nai province, in southern Vietnam. He received priestly formation from 1961 to 1971 in the minor Seminary in Saigon, and then from 1971 to 1977, at the Pontifical College of St. Pius X in Da Lat. He was ordained a priest on 31 December 1980 in the diocese of Xuan Loc. Since his ordination he has served the following pastoral and academic roles: 1981-1991: Parish priest of Binh Son parish; 1991-2001: Parish priest in Le Phuoc; 2001-2006: Studies for a Licentiate in Dogmatic Theology at the Institut Catholique de Paris; since 2006: Rector of the St. Thomas Minor Seminary in Bà Ria, Head of the permanent formation of the diocesan clergy in Bà Ria, Member of the Episcopal Commission for the Doctrine of Faith; since 2009: Secretary of the Council of Priests of the diocese; since 2011: Vicar General of the same diocese.<br />The diocese of Bà Ria, erected in 2005, is a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Hochiminh Ville. It has an area of 1,988 square kilometers and a population of 1,427,024 inhabitants, of whom 254,302 are Catholics. There are 84 parishes, 172 priests , 282 Brothers and 517 Religious women, 72 seminarians. Fri, 27 Nov 2015 12:58:26 +0100ASIA/INDONESIA - Moratorium on the death penalty: appreciation of civil society and the Church - Indonesia has declared a moratorium on executions. According to observers, the decision was taken for economic reasons, given that several countries had feared a reduction of trade relations with Indonesia if executions continued. The last executions concerned above all people involved in drug trafficking.<br />The option of a moratorium has been welcomed by activists and leaders of the Church in Indonesia.<br />As reported to Fides, the Institute for Criminal Justice Reform, based in Jakarta, said they liked the decision to suspend executions and urged the government to grant clemency to prisoners on death row. Even the National Union of Peoples' Lawyers and other civil society organizations agree.<br />The Indonesian Bishops, in the recent "National Conference of the Catholic Church in Indonesia", reiterated its opposition to capital punishment, applied in Indonesia for many offenses including trafficking and drug dealing. The Church argues that death penalty is an inhuman form of punishment and it is not effective in deterring crime, highlighted the "Justice and Peace" Commission of the Indonesian Bishops, asking President Widodo several times, before the moratorium, to reconsider the decision to apply the death penalty. Fri, 27 Nov 2015 12:42:43 +0100OCEANIA/AUSTRALIA - Bishops appeal for the abolition of the death penalty worldwide - The Bishops of Australia are opposed to death penalty and have asked to abolish it throughout the world, making themselves available to contribute effectively to this goal: as Fides learns, this is the appeal launched by the Episcopal Conference at the Australian Parliament. Recalling the firm opposition of the Church to death penalty, and that Catholics are "unconditionally pro-life", the Bishops stress that human dignity is a fundamental principle of the Catholic social doctrine.<br />"Every human being has full dignity because we are all created in the image of God", they claim. The Church opposes to death penalty because "it is cruel and deprives a person of God's mercy", eliminating the possibility "to repent and find peace with God and with others". It is not "a useful deterrent". The Australian Bishops look to the Holy See so that it carries out an international role in this work of awareness in international forums. But they also consider "the opportunities for Australian Bishops to work with the confreres of other episcopal Conferences and through the global network of the Church to implement a broader strategy".<br />Death penalty is in force in Australia, and the Bishops have often asked for clemency for those condemned by carrying out prayer vigils for the respect of life. Fri, 27 Nov 2015 11:57:48 +0100AFRICA/DR CONGO - The Bishops: "Stop shedding the blood of the Congolese" - "We must stop shedding the blood of the Congolese" write the Bishops of the Democratic Republic of Congo in their message issued at the end of the Permanent Committee of the Conférence Episcopale Nationale du Congo . The message, sent to Agenzia Fides, expresses concern for the political situation in the Country, for the tensions on possible constitutional amendments to allow President Joseph Kabila to stand for the 2016 presidential elections for a third term.<br />"Following our stance on national dialogue on 12 November 2015 in absolute respect for the constitutional and institutional framework in force, we discussed the situation in the Country, a year before the election in November, which is disturbing and worrying. We evoked the memory of the unfortunate and painful wars and tribulations that threw the Congolese people in turmoil and shed the blood of millions of sons and daughters of our Country, mainly due to a certain way of gaining power through force and to exercise it at the expense of the common good".<br />The Bishops continue recalling that, despite the appeal launched with their message during the ad limina Visit in September 2014 , and in the message on January 2015, "unfortunately more blood was spilled as a result of the attempt to circumvent the constitutional provisions. It is necessary to stop shedding more blood". In January this year following an attempt to revise the electoral law, which would have resulted in an extension of the mandate of President Kabila, serious accidents which caused deaths and wounded occurred . <br />While acknowledging the efforts made by the government for the democratization of the Country, the Bishops deplored "the restrictions of individual freedom, increased repression and intimidation. Democracy should not just be a slogan, but a culture and alternation is an expression of it". <br />In order to ask for peace and respect for the Constitution, CENCO has organized a series of initiatives, including a Novena of Prayer in all parishes starting from December 8; a procession to be held on February 16 in all dioceses to mark the opening of the Jubilee Year of the historic procession of 16 February 1992, organized by the Congolese Christians to ask for democracy; a prayer for peace to be held every first Saturday of the month in parishes and Catholic Action movements. Fri, 27 Nov 2015 11:44:27 +0100EUROPE/ITALY - The death of Don Luigi Mazzucato, for over half a century director of Cuamm - "Sad, but with the serenity that comes from the fulfillment of a long life devoted to others, we announce the death of Don Luigi Mazzucato, director of Doctors with Africa-Cuamm 1955-2008". This is the note sent to Agenzia Fides announcing the death of this tireless soul of Cuamm, who carried out more than 100 mission trips in Africa. Don Luigi continued to accompany with his silent presence the work of Cuamm until the last moments of his life. <br />There were many significant moments in his life, many trials and difficulties which he had to overcome in more than 50 years at the helm of Cuamm.<br />"In my 110 travels in missions in Africa I saw poverty, suffering of people – said Don Luigi -. I experienced the anguish, in 1987, before the first ward of 40 beds for AIDS patients, at the hospital in Aber in Uganda, where there were some dying patients and others who died within two years. I suffered to see the victims of the guerrillas in Mozambique, the churches full of corpses in the genocide in Rwanda , severely malnourished children in Ethiopia, the agonizing cry of a mother from a nearby village, crying in despair because of the death of her child. I saw the destruction caused by internal conflicts in Angola. I have seen recently, the extreme poverty in South Sudan and the squalor of some hospitals where none of us would dare to seek treatment and maybe even put a foot inside".<br />Don Dante Carraro, director of Doctors with Africa Cuamm, remembers him like this: "Under that inevitable black dress, accompanied by the equally unmistakable cap , there was the daily discovery of a rainbow, harmonious and intense colors of a a rich personality and full life. I like to name just a few colors of that rainbow: the poor, who for Don Luigi are the heritage of God; the people he always listened to and put them at the centre of attention; Providence and faith in God's plan, at all times; and, finally, prayer, the fresh and clean source of his life". Fri, 27 Nov 2015 11:23:33 +0100AMERICA/ARGENTINA – For the Bishops: to encourage gambling addiction "is a crime against the poorest" de Zamora - In view of the possible imminent opening of a "bingo" club, already built in the area of Puente la Noria, in the district of Lomas de Zamora in Buenos Aires, and after having informed the municipal authorities on the social risks, the Bishops of the area issued a statement to raise their voice and oppose vigorously "to the exercise of a gambling hall.<br />"We all know the terrible consequences resulting from gambling addiction. Encouraging it is a crime against the poorest", write the Bishops in the statement, stressing: "We must not forget that gambling addiction destroys families, destroys peoples self-esteem".<br />The note sent to Fides from a local source indicates that the statement, entitled "Gambling is becoming Dangerous, No to the opening of Bingo in Puente La Noria", is signed by the Bishop of Lomas de Zamora, His Exc. Mgr. Jorge Lugones SJ and by his two Auxiliary Bishops, His Exc. Mgr. Jorge Vazquez and His Exc. Mgr. Jorge Torres Carbonell. Fri, 27 Nov 2015 11:07:43 +0100VATICAN - Plenary Assembly of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples: missionary awareness and young Churches 50 years after the Ad Gentes Decree City – On Monday, November 30 at 9 am, the XIX Plenary Assembly of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples begins at the John Paul II Auditorium of the Pontifical Urbaniana University. On the 50th anniversary of the Ad Gentes conciliar Decree on the Missionary activity of the Church, the work of the Plenary will consider the reality of missionary awareness, the missionary activity of the young Churches and the service of the CEP and of the Pontifical Mission Societies , in order to outline some guidelines for the future. <br />Cardinal Prefect of Propaganda Fide, Fernando Filoni will open the Assembly and highlight the activities carried out by the CEP and by the PMS in the last five years and will be followed by the first Report by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, on the topic "Ecclesial consciousness and evangelizing capacity in the young Churches". On Tuesday, December 1 the second Report, on the theme "Missionary Activity Ad Gentes in the young Churches", will be held by Cardinal Peter Turkson Appiah, President of the "Justice and Peace" Pontifical Council. On the third day, December 2, the third Report, prepared by His Exc. Mgr. Giampiero Gloder, President of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, on "Services of the CEP and PMS desired by the young Churches". Each day, after the reports and dialogue, work groups will take place, which will continue in the afternoon. The Plenary Assembly will end on Thursday, December 3, feast of St. Francis Xavier, Patron of the Missions, with a solemn Mass in St. Peter's Basilica and the audience with the Holy Father. In the afternoon the closing speech of Cardinal Filoni. The Plenary Assembly will be attended, in addition to the Cardinal Prefect who presides it, by the Secretary, and Assistant Secretary and Under Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, members of the Congregation , a group of guests and the staff of the CEP. Fri, 27 Nov 2015 10:58:05 +0100AMERICA/VENEZUELA - Tension in the capital, Cardinal Urosa: "State officials must ask for peace" - The Archbishop of Caracas, Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino, urged all political parties to prepare themselves to respect the results of the forthcoming parliamentary elections on 6 December. The country's president, Nicolas Maduro, "should be the first to respect the laws and stop inviting people to take to the streets to protest or already refuse the results of the parliamentary elections", said the Cardinal during a press conference. He also added that "asking people to take to the streets is something intolerable... state officials should invite to peace".<br />The situation in the capital has become tense as we approach the elections. Yesterday, Wednesday, November 25, an opposition leader was assassinated during a campaign demonstration. Thu, 26 Nov 2015 13:36:45 +0100ASIA/SOUTH KOREA - Prayer initiative for the Jubilee: "The Church in North Korea is in my heart" - "North Korean Church in My Heart": is the name of the new prayer initiative launched in the Archdiocese of Seoul. As reported to Fides by the communications office of the local Church, the initiative is open to anyone who wants to pray for the North Korean Church.<br />"2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the division of Korea. Preparing to celebrate the Jubilee of Mercy, the Archdiocese of Seoul commemorates the Catholic Church in North Korea, which has lived difficult times. "The special prayer initiative was announced on November 24 with a Mass in Myeongdong cathedral.<br />"As Archbishop of Seoul and Apostolic Administrator of Pyongyang, I have never forgotten the Catholic Church of North Korea and the brothers and sisters who are there. They have always been in my prayers and remain in our hearts", said Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, during the celebration of the Eucharist. "The Korean peninsula is one of the regions that need most the mercy of God. I invite everyone to join me in this prayer movement, to bear in mind the Catholic Church of North Korea, and to show our love and concern with continuous prayers", he remarked. The faithful are invited to recite the "Prayer for Peace and Reconciliation" every day.<br />According to official figures, after World War II and liberation from Japanese occupation, there were 57 parishes and about 5,200 Catholics in North Korea. After the Korean War, however, the Catholic Church in the North was persecuted by the government and it is now believed that there are only a few Catholics who live their faith in hiding. Thu, 26 Nov 2015 11:48:30 +0100ASIA/PAKISTAN - Kidnapping and conversion of a 13-year-old Christian girl to Islam - It is a case that has shaken the Christian community in Pakistan's Punjab: Sana John, a 13-year-old Christian teenager was kidnapped and converted to Islam by force in Haji Pura, near Silakot. <br />The Pakistani NGO "Life for All" tells Fides that it has launched an appeal to save her and return her to the family. The girl's father, Shahid John, who has five other children, did not see her return home on the morning of 9 November, after having driven her to school.<br />Sana’s sister said that while they were returning home after school, some Muslim men stopped them and took Sana away. The Christian family was threatened so that they would not file a complaint. <br />Shahid John told Fides how concerned he is: "In Pakistan there is no justice for the poor and, above all, no one cares for Christians, no one has heard my cry. The police do not pursue the culprits, no one is doing anything for us".<br />Through "Life for All", Sana’s family has launched an appeal to the authorities for justice. The NGO said in a statement: "These are frequent cases: influential people use their power in order not to get punished. Thousands of underage girls are abducted and forcibly converted each year. Cases are reported, but the courts and authorities turn a blind eye and the marginalized suffer. How long will we have to tolerate this injustice?".<br />According to Fides sources cases of girls of Christian and Hindu religious minorities kidnapped and converted to Islam, are often forced to Islamic marriages, there are about a thousand every year. But we are talking about cases which are registered with official complaints. Thu, 26 Nov 2015 11:15:46 +0100AFRICA/ZAMBIA - New techniques to encourage fishermen and reduce poverty - A group of researchers, with the support of the Cultivate Africa’s Future Fund, an initiative jointly funded by Canada’s International Development Research Centre and the Australian Centre for International Agriculture Research , is working in a newly launched project on post-harvest losses of fish. The three year project, aims at improving effectiveness, reducing losses, and promoting greater equity among the men and women who work in the fisheries sector. The project is led by scientists of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, the University of Zambia and the international organization WorldFish. According to estimates, sub-Saharan Africa has the lowest fish supply per person of any global region, with supply predicted to fall by 20 per cent in the next two decades. Poor processing and management are major factors, resulting in losses. Poor post–harvest handling of fish is said to contribute greatly to the declining per capita fish consumption in Malawi and Zambia. <br />Working with fishing communities in the Barotse flood plain in Zambia and Lake Chilwa in Malawi, the research team has developed pilot interventions to reduce the identified losses. Typically, fish processors in the area preserve their fish through sun-drying or smoking, and small quantities of fish are sold fresh. However, the processing results in the fish becoming very brittle and easily damaged during transportation, among other losses, destroying the quality and value of the fish. There are four technologies being tried, among which is solar tent drying, a technique where a tent made from plastic sheeting is used. These have the advantage of protecting fish from dust and flies during the drying process and speeding up the time for fish to dry due to elevated temperatures. With the other two technologies: the Choka-Kiun, which uses less firewood for fish smoking, and the soon to be established ice plant by the private sector supported by the project, the fishing community in Western Zambia could be harvesting their way out of poverty. Wed, 25 Nov 2015 12:53:36 +0100AMERICA/ARGENTINA - New President: the Church hopes stronger solidarity policies for vulnerable sectors Rioja - "A new government always represents the option of bringing great ideals and work with greater consensus, and a change of President is always a moment of great significance": this is what the Bishop of the Diocese of La Rioja, His Exc. Mons. Marcelo Daniel Colombo said on Monday evening, November 23, during the oath of the deputies of the province. "We are a nation and we want to continue to contribute to the common good", said the Bishop, and then expressed his hope: "We hope to deepen the solidarity policies for the most vulnerable".<br />Mauricio Macri is the new President of Argentina. The leader of the 'Cambiemos' center-right coalition, according to preliminary results, won the election against the Peronist candidate Daniel Scioli, backed by outgoing President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. Wed, 25 Nov 2015 12:28:22 +0100AFRICA/TUNISIA - The Director of the PMS:"Let's stop talking about religious war, yesterday’s victims are all Muslims" - "Tunis has awakened with much sadness and disappointment" says to Agenzia Fides Fr. Jawad Alamat, National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies of Tunisia, after yesterday’s suicide bombing, 24 November, in Tunis against a bus carrying officers of the Presidential Security. Fr. Jawad says that this attack, "wants to send a destabilizing message again. After hitting tourism in Souse , inflicting a serious blow to the economy, and after attacking the Bardo Museum , which means not only hitting tourism but also an area of high political importance due to the vicinity of the Parliament, now the forces of presidential security are being attacked".<br />The Director of the PMS in Tunisia underlines: "We are in front of people who are willing to die in order to kill. We can not speak of a clash among religions. The victims of Tunis are all Muslims. We are having to deal with inhumane terrorism. What happens in Paris happens in Tunisia, what happens in Beirut happens in Mali".<br />"I hope - he concludes - that after this new attack, politics will change and react. Tunisians are disappointed and dismayed by what goes on among the parties, while the Country is in great difficulty. One has the feeling of wasting precious time to revive the fortunes of economy. I hope this attack pushes politicians to stop 'playing', and be adults and to think about the well being of the Country, which is threatened by a determined enemy. It is a call for national unity, despite political differences, to provide security to the local population and all those living in this beloved Country". Wed, 25 Nov 2015 12:18:03 +0100AMERICA/BRAZIL - National school feeding program to improve the living conditions of children and farmers De Caxias - In a school in the rural community of the municipality of Duque de Caxias, in the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro, in the southeast of the country, there are children who only have one daily meal which they eat at school and it is certainly not the only case. To cope with this phenomenon, local authorities have promoted a law that stipulates that at least 30% of food products come from small local producers, thus helping to improve the lives of both children as well as farmers.<br />The national school feeding program in fact seeks to alleviate nutritional deficiencies regarding 45 million children in public schools across the country and, since 2009, the municipalities have to buy a third of the products from small neighbor farmers and thus ensure healthy breakfasts and lunches . According to local farmers, there is also the satisfaction of knowing that a child eats what they produce, besides the fact that it improves the living conditions of the farmers themselves and the health of children and young students. The Coordinator of the Brazilian chapter of the Parliamentary Front Against Hunger, an initiative of Latin America and the Caribbean, is father João, as he is known by all the locals. With the support of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, he promotes national laws in favor of the right to food in the region. "The seed has been planted and is sprouting in schools", he said in a note sent to Fides, referring to this Brazilian experience that was shared with legislators of 18 countries, during the VI Forum of Parliamentary Fronts against Hunger, which was recently held in Lima, Peru. Wed, 25 Nov 2015 11:57:17 +0100AMERICA/COSTA RICA - Cuban immigrants blocked at the border between Costa Rica and Nicaragua: "a humanitarian issue" José de Costa Rica - As part of the ordinary meeting of the "Secretariado Episcopal de América Central ", which takes place in November from 23 to 27 in San José de Costa Rica with the slogan "A single network, a single region", the Bishops of Central America met with the President of the Republic of Costa Rica, Luis Guillermo Solis, to address the plight of Cuban immigrants. More than 3,000 Cubans in fact, during their journey to the United States, have been blocked for over a week at the border between Costa Rica and Nicaragua, as Nicaragua does not allow them entry into the country, not even for transit.<br />The Government of Costa Rica and the Bishops of SEDAC agreed in defining this situation "a humanitarian issue", demanding therefore a "humanitarian solution" and expecting some decision is taken during the meeting of the Prime Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Central America, which is taking place in El Salvador.<br />According to information sent to Fides, Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes, Archbishop of Managua, pointed out that this problem is not only for this country, but of the entire Central American region, and dialogue is the only way to find a solution. <br />The agenda of the meeting scheduled by SEDAC will analyze the social and ecclesial life of each Central American country. In addition to the Bishops there will also be Family, Youth, Vocations, social pastoral and social communications Commissions. Wed, 25 Nov 2015 11:44:51 +0100AFRICA/KENYA - Bishops of Kenya: "everything is ready to welcome Pope Francis" - "We are ready to welcome Pope Francis in Kenya", say the Bishops of Kenya in their message dedicated to the Holy Father's visit. "For the past few weeks, many of you have joined us in making preparations for the much anticipated Apostolic Trip by Pope Francis to our beloved Country Kenya and the African Continent", reads the message, sent to Agenzia Fides. "Today, dear Brothers and Sisters, we are pleased to announce that all the teams working towards a successful visit have confirmed that they are ready".<br />The Bishops recall the message of peace and reconciliation brought by Pope Francis and their commitment "to commune with persons of all religions and of all social status, rich or poor. Indeed the Holy Father's message of reconciliation, forgiveness and peace will begin with the ecumenical meeting on the morning of 26th November at the Nunciature in Nairobi, with leaders of Christian mainstream and evangelical churches, Muslims, Hindus and traditional religions".<br />Many believers will come from various parts of the Country and for this reason the Bishops make a special request to remain in the spirit of caring for one another.<br />In thanking the government of President Uhuru Kenyatta for the efforts made to prepare for the papal visit, the Bishops' Conference "welcomes the efforts to tackle corruption and declare it a sin and a threat to national security". Wed, 25 Nov 2015 11:22:58 +0100ASIA/INDIA - Day for Dalits dedicated to climate and environment Delhi - The Day for the Liberation of Dalits will be dedicated to "Climate, castes and care for the Earth", that every year the Catholic Church in India celebrates in proximity to the UN Human Rights Day . This year the Day, scheduled on December 13, will have an ecumenical character, given that it will be celebrated with the National Council of Churches in India, which brings together Protestant churches. The day - according to a statement sent to Agenzia Fides, signed by Mgr. A. Neethinathan, President of the office for the Dalits in the Indian Episcopal Conference - this year will also be connected to the Jubilee of Mercy: "May the Dalits find mercy in the Lord and find comfort in Him in their suffering", hopes the note sent to Fides.<br />"The Sunday for the liberation of Dalits is celebrated throughout the Church in India showing solidarity with the brothers and sisters of Dalit origin, especially Christians", notes the text, recalling that Pope Francis in the encyclical "Laudato Sì" illustrates the inseparable link between concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society, inner peace.<br />"Dalits are not only economically poor, but do not have rights, since they are denied political and social rights. Caste is a human system that assigns a social stigma handed down for generations. We as citizens of India and as a member of the Indian Church cannot ignore the plight of the Dalit brothers and sisters ", says the statement.<br />"Many of us are not aware of the situation of Dalits and some of us consciously discriminate against them, in violation of the values of the Gospel", while "we all have a responsibility to promote peace, to bring joy to others and take care of our Mother Earth", concludes the text. Wed, 25 Nov 2015 11:07:55 +0100ASIA/INDONESIA - Bring mercy in society: conclusion of the Synod in the Diocese of Bandung - Need to renew pastoral strategies, such as the formation of young people, family pastoral care, dialogue with other believers, the presence of basic ecclesial communities, the role of Pastors and members of religious orders: the Synod in the Diocese of Bandung, a city in the west of the Indonesian island of Java has just ended and was a breath of "fresh air" in view of the Jubilee of mercy. As reported to Fides by the local Church, the Synod was an experience of "pastoral conversion" to better present the merciful face of God in society.<br />Celebrated under the guide of Bishop Antonio Subianto Bunyamin, 25 years after the last diocesan synod in 1990, the Synod was centered on the theme "One heart, one mind, in the sharing of joy" and started with a first meeting last May, with the subsequent preparation of the "Lineamenta" and then a synodal "Instrumentum laboris".<br />As Fides learns, during the synod, pastoral issues were addressed, and other themes were discussed such as preaching and catechesis, social work, pastoral education and health, lay involvement, liturgical service, the presence of believers in culture and in the public sphere, new awareness of the environment.<br />The 184 delegates from all the realities of the local Church were called to give their contribution and to approve the final document: "The Bishop said that the delegates of the Synod should become 'final living document ', continuing to proclaim and witness what they experienced during the Synod", said one participant. After the closing Mass the Bishop announced a special "Synod of young Catholic people" in 2016 and the diocesan Year of the Family in 2018. Wed, 25 Nov 2015 10:18:15 +0100