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  • Church in Ghana to Deploy 2000 Election Observers

    Vatican Radio || 29 October 2016

    church to deploy 2000 election observers in ghanaThe Catholic Church in Ghana will deploy 2000 election observers across the country during general elections slated for December.

    Matthew Eghan, the National President of the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (CJPC), said that the observers selected from all the 20 dioceses of the Church in Ghana would be deployed across all the regions in the country to help ensure a free, fair, transparent and violent-free election on 7 December.

    Eghan was speaking at the end of a three-day civic education and election observation training workshop organised by the Justice and Peace Commission of the National Catholic Secretariat in collaboration with the Konrad Adenauer Foundation at the Samaritan Villa in Kumasi, this week. This is according to Ghanaweb Online.

    Participants at the training workshop were taken through the roles and responsibilities of election observers and instructed on how to gather credible information during an election. They were also cautioned to be diligent as they embarked on their duties and urged to demonstrate fairness in their reports.

    Eghan nevertheless was quick to underline that the attainment of peace before, during and after the election was the responsibility of all Ghanaians.

    Speaking at the same conference, Vicar General (VG) of the Archdioceses of Kumasi, Fr Louis Tufour, appealed to the various religious groups in the country to educate the populace on the need to ensure a peaceful election.

    Source: Vatican Radio… 

  • Want to end child soldiers? Stop fighting, South Sudanese Archbishop Says

    Catholic News Agency (CNA) || By Elise Harris || 29 October 2016

    archbishop lukudu no to child soldiersArchbishop Paulino Lukudu Loro of Juba, South Sudan has said that when it comes to the dramatic and widespread phenomena of child soldiers in his country’s conflict, the only way to stop it is to end the fighting and focus on talking about the issues.

    “The only solution we have been saying is stop fighting, stop war, so that we fight in dialogue. Because there are reasons why these people, these child soldiers are fighting,” Archbishop Paulino Luduku Loro told CNA Oct. 27.

    Many children, he noted, “are maybe not simply caught by the government,” but choose to fight on their own. “It's because they feel the problem, they are grieved, they feel that there is an injustice in the administration of the government and here you have young boys, young children, by themselves. They are not even recruited by anybody,” he said.

    Recruitment of child soldiers in South Sudan is among the worst in the world with an estimated 16,000 child soldiers fighting since the conflict intensified in December 2013.

    A primary concern regarding the phenomena of child soldiers is what violence does to a young person’s psyche, particularly as they transition into adulthood.

    Since many soldiers recruited by the government don't want to fight, the government has resorted to the use of more militia-type fighters, or forces children to fight for them, the archbishop explained.

    However, it's also children and young boys who “simply go by themselves” to fight against the government, he said, stressing that the only solution “is to stop fighting and talk peace. This is what we are working on together.”

    Archbishop Loro heads the Catholic Archdiocese of Juba in South Sudan, and traveled to Rome alongside Rev. Daniel Deng Bul Yak, Archbishop of the Province of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan, and Rev. Peter Gai Lual Marrow, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan.

    The three of them met with Pope Francis Oct. 27 to discuss the desperate situation of their country with the Pope, both highlighting their joint collaboration and inviting him to visit.

    The meeting was arranged by Ghanaian Cardinal Peter Turkson, currently President of the Vatican’s Council for Justice and Peace and president-elect of the new mega-dicastery dedicated to Integral Human Development, which will go into effect as of Jan. 1, 2017, and which will absorb the Councils for Migrants, Justice and Peace, Charity and Healthcare.

    According to an Oct. 27 Vatican communique on the meeting, discussion focused on current tensions dividing Sudanese people “to the detriment of coexistence in the country.”

    Mention was made of the “good and fruitful collaboration” among differing Christian Churches, “who wish primarily to offer their contribution to promoting the common good, protecting the dignity of the person, protecting the helpless and implementing initiatives for dialogue and reconciliation.”

    In his comments to CNA, Archbishop Loro said that from a religious point of view, “the three of us as different religions, all are Christian religions and we are perfectly together.”

    Different Christian communities have always spoken about the situation of the country together, he said, explaining that it’s “perfectly in place” that the three of them would come to the Vatican together to voice concerns surrounding the state of their country.

    “We are together and we are really speaking one voice and one language” to raise awareness of the humanitarian, political and social crisis of the country both locally and internationally.

    In light of the ongoing Jubilee of Mercy, the necessity for forgiveness and acceptance of others was underlined as a key path to building peace and fostering human development, according to the communique.

    The three Christian leaders stressed their commitment to working together “a spirit of communion and unity, to service to the population, promoting the spread of a culture of encounter and sharing.”

    Sudan has been the scene of nearly continuous civil war since it gained independence in 1956. Many of the initial problems were caused by corruption in the government, which led to the political, economic, and religious marginalization of the country’s peripheries.

    South Sudan became an independent country in 2011 but it has been torn by a civil war since December 2013, between the state forces – the Sudan People’s Liberation Army – and opposition forces, as well as sectarian conflict.

    A peace agreement was signed but it was broken by violence earlier this summer, which prompted the South Sudan Council of Churches to publicly condemn the violence and pray for peace. A ceasefire was then ordered by President Kiir and then-Vice President Machar in July.

    Machar, the former rebel leader, ended up fleeing the country, but despite this, some fighting has continued in the country.

    Although South Sudan is now independent from Sudan, the two countries share an episcopal conference. South Sudan also shares a common apostolic nuncio with Kenya, Archbishop Charles Daniel Balvo.

    This point was also brought up during their meeting with Pope Francis, Archbishop Loro said, explaining that when the Pope asked how it was working out to have a shared nuncio between the two countries, he requested that South Sudan have its own.

    The three Christian leaders extended an official invitation to Pope Francis to visit the country, particularly as a sign of solidarity and peace.

    Francis said he would like to go if possible, Archbishop Loro said, explaining that he Pope's visit “would be the visit of a religious leader to the country.”

    Given this fact, the visit “would have a great impact and would be very welcome by us and by civil society, and it would be a great help for us. This is why we came to the Pope,” he said.

    Source: Catholic News Agency… 

  • Lutheran - Catholic Humanitarian Cooperation Alive and Well in Africa

    Vatican Radio || By Fr. Paul Samasumo || 31 October 2016

    lutheran catholic cooperation alive in africaOn the occasion of Pope Francis’ apostolic visit to Sweden, Caritas Internationalis and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF)’s World Service sign a Declaration of Intent, to strengthen collaboration and cooperation. 

    Through the signing, the humanitarian and development arms of the two Churches recommit themselves to working together in responding to the world’s humanitarian needs. Pope Francis is in Sweden for the ecumenical commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

    In Africa, cooperation between Lutherans and Catholics is alive and well. In Zambia, for example, the signing ceremony will be seen as the cementing of a cordial relationship that has existed for years. Cooperation in the humanitarian and development areas has actually been going on for a long time. 

    Christian denominations, in Zambia, tend to cooperate directly or through an alliance and platform popularly referred to (in the country) as the “three Church Mother bodies.” 

    The three Church mother bodies comprise the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB); the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ) which represents Charismatic and Pentecostal Churches as well as the Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ). CCZ is the umbrella body for Protestant churches that traditionally are also members of the World Council of Churches.

    The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zambia is a member of the Lutheran World Federation. With regard to size and numbers, there are not that many Lutheran Churches in Zambia. Notwithstanding this fact, the Lutheran Church in Zambia is spiritually vibrant and pulls more than its weight regarding humanitarian and development activities. As a core member of the three Church mother bodies in Zambia, the Lutheran Church participates and collaborates actively in the health and education sectors of the country. The Church mother bodies are also very outspoken on advocacy issues to do with democracy and the republican constitution.

    Lutherans and Catholics have worked and continue to collaborate on HIV/AIDS and in the Malaria eradication campaigns under the auspices of the Churches Health Association of Zambia (CHAZ). The two Churches have been active in the management and implementation of Global Fund grants. In Zambia, Global Fund grants are channeled to Faith Based Organisations (FBOs) through CHAZ. 

    Although the care of refugees in Zambia is a major reponsibility of the government and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Refugees have always been an important area of concern for both the Catholic Church and Lutherans. The Catholic Church in Zambia’s over fifty-year tradition of advocacy and care for refugees is equal to that of Lutherans. The latter started to care for refugees in Zambia when  Mayukwayukwa refugee camp was established to care for Angolans fleeing war in their homeland. Lutherans were also the lead agency for UNHCR Zambia’s Maheba camp and in 1986 when Ukwimi camp for Mozambican Refugees in the eastern part of the country was commissioned. 

    It is therefore not surprising that the Declaration of Intent that re-commits the strengthening of collaboration between Caritas Internationalis and Lutheran World Federation/ World Service is being signed as Pope Francis is on this apostolic visit.  

    Underlining the importance of the signing event, Caritas Internationalis’ Secretary General Michel Roy said the ecumenical activities in Sweden are more than commemoration. They also signal the start of concrete action by Lutherans and Catholics in service of the world’s poor.

    Source: Vatican Radio…

  • Dozen Young African Catholic Journalists Appreciate SIGNIS-Sponsored Training

    CANAA || By Father Don Bosco Onyalla, Nairobi || 31 October 2016

    young african catholic journalists training 2016Some 12 young African Catholic journalists have expressed appreciation for the opportunity of receiving training in Nairobi on engaging the media for peace building, calling it a “fruitful workshop.”

    “The workshop has pushed us out of our comfort zones to explore areas such as: script writing, presenting, recording which includes: video recording, editing, to name but a few, to produce videos of substance that can assist in creating awareness for the need for peace and justice in our communities and the world at large,” the participants at the training have said in a collective message sent to CANAA.

    SIGNIS partnered with Bosco Eastern Africa Multimedia Services (BEAMS) for the 10-day training, which concluded last Friday, October 28.

    SIGNIS, World Catholic Association for Communication, exists “to engage with media professionals and support Catholic communicators to help transform our cultures in the light of the Gospel by promoting human dignity, justice and reconciliation.”

    The training brought together the dozen participants from nine African countries, which included Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

    “This fruitful workshop has rekindled the passion within us to do more for the church, a heartfelt thank you goes to SIGNIS for this wonderful opportunity,” the youthful African journalists have stated in their collective message under the hashtag: “#TEAMCOMMLABAFRICA2016”.

    Below is the full text of the message by the participants at the training under “#TEAMCOMMLABAFRICA2016”

    SIGNIS CommunicatonLab 2016, DBYES Nairobi

    With great enthusiasm and immense anticipation, 12 participants from, Kenya, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Uganda, Ghana, Ethiopia and Nigeria, gathered at the Don Bosco Youth Educational Services (DBYES) at Karen, Nairobi, Kenya where they underwent a 10-day training from Oct. 17th to 28th 2016 on Peace building through the use of media. The Workshop, organized by SIGNIS in partnership with Bosco Eastern Africa Multimedia Services (BEAMS), was facilitated by Rev. Fr. Sebastian Koladiyil SDB; Mr. Larry Rich, Mr. Eugene Wirba and SIGNIS CommLab Ambassador Mr. Lawrence Mberi.

    As young Catholic Journalists with various expertise in various fields of the media, we were all eager to learn and improve what we already knew and learn as much as we can in order to leave with skills we never had. The workshop has pushed us out of our comfort zones to explore areas such as: script writing, presenting, recording which includes: video recording, editing, to name but a few, to produce videos of substance that can assist in creating awareness for the need for peace and justice in our communities and the world at large.

     During the thorough preparation conducted by our facilitators we were able to prepare three productions which were:

    • Interviewing one of the staff of the Don Bosco Youth Educational Centre
    • A documentary on the Bosco Boys School Kuwinda
    • A documentary of one of the children (Former street kid) at the Bosco Boys Langata, a center for vulnerable children.

    These allowed us all to explore our creativity and abilities and learn from the guidance we received from our facilitators to do better and lift the standards for the next production. Other areas we focused on were the social teachings of the Catholic Church, an area that inspires us to be ambassadors for the Kingdom and help the church to see its goals, which is to unite people and to enable them to cooperate with God’s plan, through the media.

    This workshop was also an opportunity for us to interact and sensitize ourselves with the issues around our communities which identifies the need for communicators to get the message across and to assist those who are in need. For many of us the encounter we had with the Bosco Boys served as an eye opener and we remain appreciative of the Salesians of Don Bosco for the phenomenal work they are doing with the boys, perhaps something we can introduce in our communities back home.

    With the experience grasped from this 10 day training we can all attest that there is a need for workshops such as this. We as VJ’S of SIGNIS are all encouraged to get involved with our communities in creating awareness, and to contribute in making a difference in the lives of others as Pope Francis said “Communication has the power to build bridges, to enable encounter and inclusion, and thus to enrich society.”

    We are appreciative of SIGNIS for the opportunity and as we continue to work together striving towards a common goal, Mother Teresa reminds us, “I can do things you cannot; you can do things I cannot. Together we can do great things”.

    This fruitful workshop has rekindled the passion within us to do more for the church, a heartfelt thank you goes to SIGNIS for this wonderful opportunity.

    #TEAMCOMMLABAFRICA2016

    By: Emma Mulwa, Namibia

  • Over 1,500 Set to Graduate at Nairobi-based Catholic University Friday

    CANAA || By Father Don Bosco Onyalla, Nairobi || 27 October 2016

    cuea graduation october 2016Some 1,782 candidates are set to receive diplomas and degrees Friday, October 28, during the 34th graduation ceremony of the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA).

    The 9 a.m. event, which will be presided over by the University’s Chancellor, Berhaneyesus Cardina Souraphiel of Addis Ababa, has been scheduled to take place at the main campus of Langata.

    Cardina Souraphiel presided over Holy Eucharist for the graduating candidates at CUEA main campus on Thursday, October 27.

    According to the message sent to CANAA, Sr. Rosemarie Nassif, SSND who serves as the Director of the Catholic Sisters Initiative, will be the Guest of Honor.

    Senior government officials, senior educationists and other dignitaries from various sectors are expected to attend.

    The theme of the graduation is: "Transformed Person Transformed Society."

  • Church in Ethiopia Celebrates First Joint World Mission

    CANAA || By Makeda Yohannes, Ethiopia || 27 October 2016

    ethiopia church marks joint mission day 2016Religious Congregations and the faithful in the Archdiocese of Addis Ababa gathered at the Nativity Catholic Cathedral on Sunday, October 23, to celebrate World Mission Day, the first time a central event has been organized in the history of the Church in Ethiopia.

    The event, which started with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, was organized by the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) in Ethiopia.

    In his Homily, the Secretary General of the Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat (ECS) Father Hagos Hayish said that spreading the Gospel is a mission given to each and every one of us.

    “We witness the Gospel through our deeds then we are missionaries, let us contribute to the spread of the Good News by using the grace bestowed upon us by God to live the Gospel in our homes with our families and by supporting the men and women missionaries who have dedicated their lives to this task,” Father Hagos said.

    The National Director of PMS, Father Seyoum Fransua who doubles as ECS Deputy Secretary General said that Christianity is the fruit of many sacrifices by missionaries.

    “Based on the order of Our Lord Jesus Christ ‘Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’ (Mt. 28: 18-20) missionaries have taken up the task of spreading the Good News and today our Universal Church has more than 1.2 billion Catholics throughout the world. This is the fruit of missionaries and kind and dedicated Catholics through the centuries,” Father Seyoum said.

    He explained that celebrating Mission Sunday centrally creates the opportunity to bring together all the missionaries and join the Eucharistic celebration to thank God for their mission and also know each other better.

    The PMS National Director also added that there is a plan to expand the culture of celebrating Mission Sunday together to the rest of the Dioceses in the coming years.

    After the Holy Mass all the congregations working in the Archdiocese of Addis Ababa showcased their Pastoral and Social activities using visual material.

    The lay faithful who participated in the event expressed their joy saying that the event created a better awareness for them about the importance of missionary work.

    PMS in Ethiopia is engaged in various evangelizing activities in the country, supporting particularly the spiritual aspects of the faithful.

  • Developing Guidelines and Research on Small Christian Communities in Africa among Recommendations of Nairobi Meeting

    CANAA || By Father Don Bosco Onyalla, Nairobi || 27 October 2016

    nairobi sccs meeting recommendations 2016Participants at the just concluded Pan-African meeting on Small Christian Communities (SCCs) would like Bishops’ conferences in Africa to develop guidelines on SCCs and institutional of higher learning to get involved in research on and promotion of SCCs on the continent.

    The meeting was a follow up of two previous workshops, the first held in Ghana’s capital, Accra in 2014 and the second in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

    The participants agreed to start an independent African SCCs Networking Website with its own domain name under the address: www.africansccsnetworking.org

    Other recommendations included the formation of a steering committee to spearhead the networking of SCCs on the continent and beyond, writing of articles on SCCs, and a theological appraisal of SCCs in the modern world.

    The Missio-sponsored meeting brought together sixteen participants from seven countries. They made presentations on SCCs from their respective local churches and discussed the achievements and challenges of SCCs on the continent.

    The participants expressed their commitment to realizing the Pan-African network of SCCs through annual meetings as well as the sharing of “best practices through social media and Internet.”

    Below is full text of the communique issued at the conclusion of the meeting

    COMMUNIQUE OF THE 3RD PAN-AFRICAN WORKSHOP ON THE FOUNDING OF A NETWORK OF SMALL CHRISTIAN COMMUNITIES IN AFRICA HELD IN NAIROBI-KENYA (21st to 25th OCTOBER, 2016).

    PREAMBLE

    We, participants of the Pan-African Workshop on the Founding of a Network of Small Christian Communities in Africa assembled at “Des Places House” (Provincial House of the Spiritans) in Nairobi – Kenya, from 21st to 25th October 2016, to share our experiences and evaluate the situation of the Small Christian Communities as a Pastoral priority in Africa and beyond.

    Sixteen participants from seven countries attended the workshop. These included Rt. Rev. Method Kilaini (Auxiliary Bishop of Bukuba diocese-Tanzania), Michael Meyer (Missio - Germany), Fr. Emmanuel Chimombo (AMECEA- Pastoral department), Fr. Charles Odira (KCCB – Commission for Pastoral and Lay Apostolate), Ronald Sunguti (Nakuru-Kenya), Michael Orondo (Nairobi-Kenya), Fr. Stephen Mukami (Nairobi-Kenya), Fr. Vincent M. Elimah (Spiritan - Kenya), Fr. Noel Mpati (DRC), Sr. Jose`e Ngalula (DRC) Sam Yacinthe (Burkina Faso), Confe` Bernadette (Burkina Faso), Fr. Alfred Chaima (Blantyre -Malawi), Fr. Justin Matepa (ZCCB-Zambia), Fr. Stefano Kaombe (Tanzania) and Fr. Joseph Healey (Maryknoll-Kenya) .

    The following were the presentations at the Seminar:

    • Keynote Address by Right Reverend Method Kilaini
    • Background of the Pan African Workshop Network of Small Christian Communities- by Mr Michael Meyer
    • Progress of the Network of Small Christian Communities since its launch in 2014 in Accra- Ghana by Fr Joseph Healey
    • Experiences of Small Christian Communities from each member country
    • Experiences from St. Kizito Small Christian Community of St. Austins Parish-Nairobi, Kenya-by Mr Michael Orondo.

    The aims of this workshop were:

    • to evaluate the situation of the Small Christian Communities in Africa and to look for ways of promoting them in the continent and beyond
    • to share best practices while learning from our challenges
    • to form a Pan- African Network of Small Christian Communities in Africa

    OBSERVATIONS

    On the basis of the various presentations and general discussions participants observed both fruits and challenges:

    Some fruits of Small Christian Communities:

    1. 1.They represent the Church as a communion of faith, hope, love and unity among the people of God
    2. 2.They are vital cells of evangelization, a field of inculturation and localization of the church
    3. 3.SCCs have improved means of communication within the church structure
    4. 4.They have deepened knowledge of Scripture for Christ's faithful
    5. 5. They have reinforced the role of the laity in decision making
    6. 6. They actualized self reliance by promoting a self propagating, self ministering and self supporting church at grassroots
    7. 7.They are venues for building strong leadership of the laity
    8. 8.They are an easy and authentic way of promoting sacramental life of the people of God
    9. 9.They provide a wider base for active participation of the laity in church
    10. 10.They promote good relations with other religions and denominations

    Some Challenges of Small Christian Communities

    1. Size of the SCCs: Most SCCs are too big to deserve the name Small Christian Community. Consequently, there is no adequate mutual support given the members

    2. Illiteracy: Rural areas are largely non-literate. Such people are at the mercy of their literate neighbors

    3. Ignorance of the Social Teaching of the Church renders the faithful vulnerable to Pentecostalism

    4. Indifference by some priests: Some priests do not show any interest in SCCs, hence activities in such SCCs go unmonitored and the faithful become demotivated

    5. Monotony of programmes makes SCCs boring, leading to loss of enthusiasm and interest

    6. Money demanding: Some Small Christian Communities have become money-collecting centers for the parish. With time the faithful get fed up and start shunning the meetings

    7. Exclusion of Children and the Youth: Most activities laid out for SCCs do not address the needs of children and the youth

    8. Male Absenteeism: Men are less active than women and rarely attend SCC meetings

    9. Social status, ethnicity and geographical setting are impediments for regular attendance of some members in SCCs

    10. Differences in eligibility for sacraments and Christian burial breed divisions in SCCs

    COMMITMENTS

    On the basis of the challenges outlined above, participants made the following commitments:

    • To form a Pan –African Network of Small Christian Communities
    • To promote Small Christian Communities in our countries and bring more members on board
    • To support a steering committee that has been selected and mandated to coordinate the networking
    • To meet annually on a rotational manner in different countries of Africa
    • To share the best practices through social media and internet

    RECOMMENDATIONS

    With due respect to the recommendations of the previous meetings held in Accra-Ghana and Ouagadougou–Burkina Faso in 2014 and 2015 respectively, the participants agreed:

    • To start an independent African SCCs Networking Website with its own domain name. The internet address is: www.africansccsnetworking.org. It should include the Missio SCCs Network logo. The website will have dialogue/discussion pages in English, French and Portuguese.  This will be a revised and updated version of the “original, temporary” African SCCs Networking Website (what we call the trial or Beta version) created in April, 2016 that has the internet address (URL): http://www.topsoftchoice.com/secam_scc/
    • To mandate the AMECEA Pastoral department to manage this newly created website on SCCs Networking
    • To encourage people from all 54 countries in Africa to send articles on SCCs
    • To form a steering committee of a sizeable number to spearhead the network on SCCs
    • To encourage conferences to develop guidelines on SCCs
    • To involve institutions of higher learning in research and promotion of SCCs
    • To make theological appraisal of SCCs in the modern world
    • To emphasize on statistical data as an authentic tool for pastoral planning. 

    CONCLUSION

    In all these we recognize the blessing of God in the fruitful work realized during the workshop.

    We are grateful to the Superior and the entire community of the Holy Ghost Fathers at "Des Places House" for according us a conducive environment to hold our workshop.

    We also wish to express our gratitude and appreciation to our Partner Agency Pontifical Mission Society-Missio Aachen, the Local Organizing Committee, the presenters and the various groups and individuals for their invaluable contributions.

    We are indebted to bishops, superiors and families for responding positively to the invitations we sent by sending participants to this workshop.

    We finally thank the participants for coming and for their active participation.

    We entrust the fruits, commitments and recommendations of this workshop to the Blessed Mary ”Mother of God’s Word” and “Mother of Faith”, “the one in whom the interplay between the word of God and faith was brought to perfection”.(Verbum Domini 27).

    Signed by:

    Rev. Fr. Emmanuel CHIMOMBO

    AMECEA PASTORAL COORDINATOR

    Given at "Des Places House"-Nairobi, Kenya: Tuesday, 25th October, 2016.

  • Church Leaders of South Sudan Ask Pope Francis to Make Peace Mission to their Country

    CANAA || By Father Don Bosco Onyalla, Nairobi || 27 October 2016

    south sudan christian leaders invite pope 2016Leaders of the Catholic, Anglican, and Presbyterian churches in South Sudan have Thursday, October 27, requested Pope Francis to visit their country to broker a peace deal between parties in conflict in their homeland, the world’s youngest nation that has been experiencing violent internal conflicts since December 2013.

    The Catholic Archbishop Paulino Lukudu Loro of Juba, Anglican Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul Yak who is the Primate of the Province of the Episcopal Church in South Sudan and Sudan (ECSS/S), and Rt. Rev. Peter Gai Lual Marrow who is the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan and Sudan (PCoSS/S) and doubles as the Chairman of South Sudan Council of Churches traveled to the Vatican Tuesday, October 25, following the invitation of the Holy Father to share with him about the situation of the crisis in their country.

    According to Vatican Radio, “The Catholic Archbishop of Juba said on Thursday that Pope Francis told him that he would like to visit South Sudan.”

    The South Sudanese Christian leaders informed the Pope about the crisis in their country including “the killings, the refugees and the prevailing fear and appealed to the Pope to come and visit their homeland.”

    The Holy Father is reported to have said that he was close to the leaders and their people in their sufferings and repeated twice that he wanted to visit South Sudan.

    According to the press statement dated October 27 and signed by all these Principal Christian Religious leaders of South Sudan, “During the meeting with the Holy Father it was acknowledged that good and fruitful collaboration exists among the Christian Churches, who wish primarily to offer their contribution to promoting the common good, protecting the dignity of the person, protecting the helpless and implementing initiatives for dialogue and reconciliation.”

    During their Thursday morning meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican, the leaders encouraged the Pope to make a joint peace mission to South Sudan together with the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and help broker peace between President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar.

    “A visit by the Pope and Archbishop of Canterbury would mean unity”, South Sudan Anglican Archbishop Deng has been quoted as telling The Tablet, adding, “If the two leaders of the major faith groups could come and beg for peace - that would make a big impact on the country.”

    Catholic Archbishop Lukudu has expressed hope for the coming together of parties in conflict if Pope Francis would visit South Sudan saying, “There isn’t security in South Sudan but even those rebels fighting in the bush will come out to meet the Pope.”

    Archbishop Lukudu further said that President Kiir is in favour of the Papal visit and would be ready to formalize the invitation as the head of State.

    Pope “Francis was also urged today to step up the Holy See’s diplomatic presence in South Sudan,” The Tablet reported and added, “The papal ambassador is based in Kenya and regularly visits the country, but Archbishop Loro asked the Pope today for a nuncio based permanently in the country.”

    Since December 2013, South Sudan has lived through violent conflict pitting President Kiir on one part and rebel leader Machar on the other.

    A peace agreement signed by the warring factions in August 2015 through the mediation of regional leaders has not been continually violated.

    Last July, fresh fighting erupted in the country’s capital Juba, forcing Machar who had been reinstated first Vice President to flee.

    There is a United Nation 12,000-strong peacekeeping force with a mandate to protect civilians.

    According to the UN, some 200,000 civilians are being sheltered at six UN bases in various parts of South Sudan.

  • Bishops in Zimbabwe Assure Families of Love and Support

    CANAA || By Father Don Bosco Onyalla, Nairobi || 24 October 2016

    zimbabwe church to love and support familyThe Catholic Bishops in Zambia have reached out to families with a message of love, assuring them of their support “especially at a time when families feel the pressure of political tension, economic collapse and other forces.”

    They made this assured in a pastoral letter to families in Zimbabwe made available on Mission Sunday, October 23.

    The letter discusses a variety of family issues, among them sexuality integrated into humanity, love and creation, faith and marriage, love within marriage, the pprotection of children, equality and human dignity.

    The Bishops also touch on economic challenges and poverty, family health, as well as human trafficking.

    Below is part of the Pastoral Letter the Bishops of Zimbabwe released on Sunday, October 23.

    The Family in Zimbabwe In the light of Amoris Laetitia, The Joy of Love: A Pastoral Letter of ZCBC To All Families

    Mission Sunday 23 October 2016

    Introduction:

    As Bishops of Zimbabwe we wish to promote and protect, support and strengthen the Family in every way, especially at a time when families feel the pressure of political tension, economic collapse and other forces.

    The Bishops of Southern Africa (IMBISA: Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Sao Tome e Principe, South Africa, Swaziland, Zimbabwe) looked at the situation of the Family at their IMBISA Plenary Assembly in November 2013, held in Gaborone/Botswana, consulting married people and making use of their experience, as they had done in 1998 in Windhoek/Namibia.

    In 2014 at a special Bishops’ Synod and in 2015 at a General Synod, Bishops of the whole world debated marriage and family. In 2016 Pope Francis, as Bishop of Rome and universal pastor, making use of the wisdom and pastoral experience of the whole Church, wrote and published the Apostolic Exhortation THE JOY OF LOVE (Amoris Laetitia) for all pastors, for the guidance of all married people, for all preparing to get married and for all whose marriages have met with difficulties.

    As the title of the 166-page document suggests, Love is at the centre of marriage and family which gives great Joy.This is indeed Good News.

    The 17th Plenary Assembly of SECAM (Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar met in July 2016 in Luanda (Angola) on the theme: “The African Family, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow in the Light of the Gospel” and addressed a message of hope and solidarity to the Families in Africa as well as a set of very practical recommendations for the pastoral ministry of the family in Africa.

    The message which we as Bishops of Zimbabwe wish to conveyis meant to cheer and encourage, fill with hope, to give praise, understanding and supportto all married couples and families.

    Our God and Creator has made Man and Woman for Love which is to give Joy.If this joy seems to have been eroded by doubt and distrust then we want to recover it.

    “We need a healthy dose of self-criticism,” Pope Francis recommends (The Joy of Love, No.36). The recommendation is directed at the pastors of the Church, catechists who give marriage instructions, parents, family elders, and teachers of the faith.

    “There is no sense in simply decrying present-day evils, as if this could change things. Nor is it helpful to try to impose rules by sheer authority.” (No 35).

    “We have long thought that simply by stressing doctrinal, bioethical and moral issues, without encouraging openness to grace, we were providing sufficient support to families, strengthening the marriage bond and giving meaning to marital life” (No 37). “We have often been on the defensive, wasting pastoral energy on denouncing a decadent world without being proactive in proposing ways of finding true happiness…..Jesus…never failed to show compassion and closeness to the frailty of individuals like the Samaritan woman or the woman caught in adultery” (No 38).

    Pope Francis stresses “openness to GRACE” and the “COMPASSION OF JESUS”. Our Holy Father urges us that we correct the imbalance in our catechesis where “we speak more about law than about grace, more about the Church than about Christ, more about the Pope than about God’s word” ( Pope Francis, EvangeliiGaudium, No. 38). He urges us to act as Jesus did and always “show compassion and closeness to the frailty of individuals like the Samaritan woman or the woman caught in adultery” (Joy of Love, No.38).

    This means of course that we ourselves as pastors and teachers must likewise be ‘close to individuals’, i.e. close to married couples, must walk with them, share their joy, but also their anxieties and worries and “carry their burdens”. We must open for them an understanding of grace, i.e. the gift Christ gives us of love and mercy, compassion and the strength ‘to take up our cross’ together.

    What a dramatic challenge to pastors and shepherds who thought that “getting people married” was merely an administrative act![1]

    The Holy Father asks pastors everywhere to be kindhearted and sensitive to the people in their care rather than judgmental and formal. This is after all no more than we learn from the Good Shepherd.

    Sexuality integrated into Humanity

    “Male and female he created them” (Genesis 1: 27). Sexuality is an integral part of every human person. A person is either entirely male or entirely female. Man and woman are equal in their human dignity and yet different. Their difference is physical, psychological, mental, spiritual.

    In western culture there is a tendency to play down the difference and deny the ‘unity in diversity’ between the sexes. Young people are no longer helped to accept their identities as men and women.

    But God created man for woman and woman for man. “Same-sex-unions” are not part of the Creator’s design. There is no free option. Men and women should be happy about their complementarity, helping each other with their various gifts.[2]

    Sexuality is not merely an uncontrollable drive or instinct. Men tend to think that they have no control over their bodies and expect the woman to “take care of herself” if she falls pregnant. Accepting responsibility for the other, and not leaving the woman all alone, makes their mutual LOVE REAL, and gives it depth. This is the “Joy of Love”. The pregnant wife is sure that her husband will not leave her alone, and the husband accepts the child as his and his wife’s, the fruit of their love.

    We are responsible for how we make use of this gift. That is why there is need to educate young people about how to relate to their own bodies and behave towards persons of the other sex. Our sexuality has its place in marriage as a lifelong and fruitful relationship. For us as free persons the intimate sexual relationship gives expression to our mutual love and faithfulness.

    When the married partners are giving themselves to each other in sexual intimacythey are responsible for each other.

    “I care about you, and you care about me.”

    “Your burden is mine, and my burden is yours.”

    “Your joy is mine, and my joy is yours”.

    “Therefore a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh” (Genesis 2: 24). “If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honoured, all rejoice together with it…..Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it” (1. Cor. 12: 26 - 27) Man and woman, becoming “one flesh” or “one body”, have everything in common. What is “mine”, is not just mine, what is “yours”, is not just yours, it is always “ours”.



    [1] It is that also, of course! Filling in the necessary documents, correctly and reliably, is a duty of charity, for the couple to be married. It is a service, also, we render to the Church and even civil society, showing our respect for Matrimony which needs to be surrounded by a secure fence, protecting love and fidelity.
    [2] See “Male and Female He Created Them,” in: ZCBC Pastoral Letters Volume II, p.77, para 1) Homosexuality and the “right to choose” (p.80).
  • Kenyan Catholic Nun Elected on International Communication Association Board

    CANAA || By Father Don Bosco Onyalla, Nairobi || 24 October 2016

    A Nairobi-based Kenyan Catholic Nun has been elected to serve on the Executive Board of the International Communication Association (ICA), making history as the first African ever to hold such rank in this 66-year old organization.

    An Associate Professor of Communication and Media Studies at Daystar University, Sr. Lando had last June been nominated to the position of ICA member-at-large following her active role in internationalizing ICA.

    The news about her election to ICA Board were broken to her last Monday, October 17, just a couple of days before the historic ICAfrica2016 conference that she has been organizing for the last two years.

    The ICAfrica 2016 regional conference, the first to be held in Africa, took place at Daystar University (19th -21st October 2016), bringing together over 300 communication scholars, professionals, practitioners and students from across the globe under the theme: Looking to the Past with gratitude, the present with passion and the future with hope.

    The brief communication from the ICA Executive Director, Laura Sawyer, stated, “Sister, I can hardly contain my delight. I am so pleased to inform you that you have been elected as the next ICA Board of Directors Member-at-Large! ICA is so lucky to have your energy and expertise as part of our leadership.”

    Sr. Lando will not only be the first African to sit on ICA Board, but also the first to serve and represent the African region on ICA, an academic association for scholars interested in the study, teaching, and application of all aspects of human and mediated communication.

    Her election to ICA Board comes with some engaging responsibilities, among them the championing of communication scholarship matters (scholars, students and practitioners) in Africa and linking the same to the global body as well as being the voice of Africa to ICA and vice versa.

    “Thus far the good Lord has brought me. It is a call of service, a call of sacrifice, a call of professionalism and responsibility,” Sr. Lando reacted to the news of her election to ICA Board and added, “It is huge, but, with the support of colleagues from the Continent and the ICA leadership and Board members; and with the help of God, we will make it happen.”

    ICA began more than 50 years ago as a small association of U.S. researchers and is now a truly international association with more than 4,500 members in 80 countries. Since 2003, ICA has been officially associated with the United Nations as a non-governmental association (NGO).

    Sr. Lando who obtained her PhD in Social Communication from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, in 2008 was promoted to the position of Associate Professor by Daystar University in 2015 where she serves as the Assistant Head of Communication Department.

  • Catholic Church in South Sudan Inaugurate a New Centre for Peace

    CANAA || By Father Don Bosco Onyalla, Nairobi || 24 October 2016

    church peace centre inaugurated in ssudanThe Catholic Church in South Sudan Saturday, October 15 inaugurated the ‘Good Shepherd Peace Centre’ in Juba within the celebration of Holy Eucharist, which was presided over by the Apostolic Nuncio to Kenya and South Sudan, Archbishop Charles Daniel Balvo.

    The celebration took place at Kit where the Peace Centre is located, some 12 kilometres from Juba town.

    Spearheaded by the Religious Superiors’ Association of South Sudan (RSASS), the Peace Centre has been established to provide South Sudanese inhabitants with a suitable place for human, pastoral, spiritual formation, peacebuilding and trauma healing.

    At the occasion, Church personnel, donors, diplomats, government officials and the local Christian community of Kit and Rejaf joined RSASS Executive Committee and the Good Shepherd Peace Centre’s staff to witness the inauguration.

    According to reports sent to CANAA, a team of five staff will be permanently based at the Peace Centre, organizing relevant workshops and retreats.

    The Pastoral Department of Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SCBC) will also prepare programs for all dioceses countrywide.

    Below is the Media Release by RSASS Chairman, Father Daniele Moschetti

    Religious Superiors’ Association of South Sudan (RSASS): MEDIA RELEASE

    The project of the combined Catholic Religious in South Sudan (RSASS) to build a centre for human, pastoral and spiritual formation, peace building and trauma healing for South Sudanese at Kit near Juba, was launched officially by Archbishop Paulino Lukudu Loro on 11th October 2014. On Saturday, 15th October, 2016, this centre, now named the ‘Good Shepherd Peace Centre’ was officially blessed and opened by the Apostolic Nuncio to South Sudan, Archbishop Charles Balvo, assisted by the Archbishop of Juba, three other Bishops, an apostolic administrator and a large number of Diocesan and Religious priests. A crowd or more than 800 people, including several ambassadors and local dignitaries, gathered for this joyful occasion.

    Given the conflict within the country and the difficulty this posed in bringing in materials and employing a capable workforce, the completion of this Centre is a remarkable achievement. The project has been built within budget, with most of the funds donated by Italian and German Catholic charities, some international NGOs, on land leased from the St Martin de Porres Brothers and also financially supported by several Catholic religious congregations present in South Sudan.

    There are forty, en-suite bedrooms each capable of accommodating two beds plus a youth hostel that can accommodate sixty people. With spacious conference and dining rooms, a central chapel and many seminar rooms and outdoor tukuls, on a peaceful site near the Kit river, it is expected that this quality, purpose-built facility will be a very positive force in the search for peace in South Sudan. The simple but profound message above the chapel entrance says: ‘Be at Peace’.

    The initial community to staff the Centre consists of a South Sudanese Comboni Priest, two members of Solidarity with South Sudan - a Vincentian priest from the Philippines, and a Sister of the Immaculate Heart of Mary from the USA - plus a Jesuit priest from Rwanda and a St Martin De Porres Brother from Uganda. It is being staffed by a team living unity in diversity. That in itself is a message to South Sudan in working together in fraternity for a common vision and future.

    The President of the Religious Superiors’ Association in South Sudan (RSASS), Fr Daniele Moschetti, Provincial of the Comboni Missionaries, gave special thanks to all who have contributed to achieve this common dream for the people of South Sudan and in a special way the Supervising Engineer, Br Hans Eigner and to the Building Contractor, Mr. Robert Andama, for their energy and commitment to quality while completing this large centre in 17 months. Tribute was paid to both the Christian and Muslim workers, Ugandan and South Sudanese, who worked side by side with respectful harmony to complete this Centre. The Centre is open to people of all faiths. That the Centre exists at all shows that a lot can be achieved against the odds. It is a gift of hope for the people of South Sudan, especially for all who will receive formation from this centre. It is also a great sign from the religious and the Local Church that the Catholic Church is concretely committed for peace, justice and reconciliation in the country through their personnel and structures.        

    For further information contact:

    FR. DANIELE MOSCHETTI, MCCJ

    095 6191126   - 092 9211494

    ssmccj@gmail.com

  • Third Pan-African Meeting on Networking Small Christian Communities to Consider Case Studies Research

    CANAA || By Father Don Bosco Onyalla, Nairobi || 24 October 2016

    scc nairobi oct 2016 aThe Missio-sponsored third Pan-African meeting aimed at creating a network of Small Christian Communities (SCCs) in Africa and beyond might consider conducting case studies research at its ongoing meeting.

    Michael Meyer of Mission who expressed this possibility of studies on the real-life situation of SCCs in Africa in an interview with CANAA on Monday said the initiative would begin with a couple dozen countries where this new way of being Church is lived.

    Meyer is part of the third Pan-African meeting on SCCs, which was rescheduled at the last minute at the Spiritan’s Des Places House in Nairobi after plans to gather in DR Congo’s capital, Kinshasa did not materialize.

    “I would propose research on Small Christian Communities on the (African) continent starting with the countries where this reality exists, for example some English-speaking and Francophone Africa,” Meyer told CANAA Monday at the venue of the meeting.

    He was responding to the question about the possibility of conducting a research on the total number of SCCs on the continent, which had been expressed by Father Joseph Healey of the Maryknoll Society during the Monday morning session.

    Father Healey whose book on SCCs in Eastern Africa received the 2015 bestseller award at the Annual International Writers’ Conference of the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) shared with the workshop participants about the situation of SCCs within the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA) region during the Monday morning session.

    A member of St. Kizito SCC under St. Austin’s Parish of Nairobi Archdiocese, Father Healey described SCC as new way of being Church, emphasizing on the leadership of the laity and clergy as participants.

    He clarified that the reality of SCCs is not a movement in the Church but rather “the Church on the move,” and reported the existence of 180,000 SCCs within the nine countries that constitute AMECEA.

    scc nairobi oct 2016 bDuring the same Monday session, the Auxiliary Bishop of Bukoba diocese in Tanzania, Bishop Methodius Kilaini recalled the spirit behind the genesis of SCCs in his country as having been to promote a “new way of being clan in Africa” where all the Christian rites of passage would be conducted, from birth to Sacraments of initiation to subsequent Sacraments to the funeral rites at death.

    Various countries and Bishops’ conferences represented at the meeting had a slot of 30minutes to share the realities of SCCs in their respective countries, among them Burkina Faso, DR Congo, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, and Zambia.

    Meyer of Missio told CANAA that more needed to be done to establish a working network of SCCs on the continent and clarified that networking is about relationships, which is gradually being realized through meetings.

    The first meeting was hosted by the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) at its headquarters in Ghana’s capital, Accra, in 2014 while the second took place in 2015 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

    Both meetings discussed the possibility of creating and hosting an interactive website, a forum that will make possible the networking of the different SCCs stakeholders in Africa and elsewhere.

    A Facebook page on SCCs is available at https://www.facebook.com/www.smallchristiancommunities.org

    A free online book reporting on SCCs in some countries of Africa is available at

    http://www.smallchristiancommunities.org/ebooks/47-ebooks-.html

    http://www.smallchristiancommunities.org/images/stories/pdf/Build_new.pdf

    The Nairobi meeting officially started on Saturday, October 22 with 14 participants in attendance and will conclude on Tuesday, October 25.

  • Bishops in Ghana Elect New Conference President, Urge Citizens to Exercise Political Decorum Ahead of December Polls

    CANAA || By Damian Avevor, Ghana || 17 October 2016

    gcbc new president 2016The Catholic Bishops in Ghana elected Archbishop Philip Naameh of Tamale to head their umbrella body of Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference (GCBC) for a three-year term at their recently concluded annual Plenary Assembly, which took place in the Northern Region of Tamale.

    He takes over from Bishop Osei-Bonsu, Bishop of Konongo-Mampong, who ended his term of office.

    Archbishop Charles Gabriel Palmer-Buckle of Accra was elected the new Vice President of the Conference.

    The weeklong Plenary, which concluded on Friday, October 14, under the theme, Reconciliation with God, Humanity and nature In the Year of Mercy, brought together 20 Catholic Bishops of Ghana.

    The Church leaders deliberated on issues of national concern, prime among them being the general elections stated for December 7, 2016.

    “We are at the same time very much concerned about the prevailing political atmosphere as we prepare for the forthcoming elections,” the Bishops stated in the communique issued at the conclusion of their meeting.

    They called on Ghanaians not to use political campaigns to trade insults and attack political figures before, during and after the December elections, for the sake of peace.

    “We, Ghanaians, would want to celebrate our 60th Independence Anniversary in a peaceful and congenial Ghana,” the Church leaders said, making reference to March 6, 2017.

    They advocated for unity, growth, development and destiny as one people, commending the successive governments and various Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Faith-based Organizations (FBOs) for their efforts in promoting peace in the Northern Region, a region perceived as most vulnerable to diverse conflicts.

    Below is the full text of the Bishops’ communique

    COMMUNIQUE ISSUED BY THE GHANA CATHOLIC BISHOPS’ CONFERENCE AT THE END OF THEIR ANNUAL PLENARY ASSEMBLY HELD IN TAMALE IN THE NORTHERN REGION OF GHANA: OCTOBER 7 – 14, 2016

    GREETINGS

    Grace and Peace of our Lord Jesus Christ, who teaches us to be merciful just as the Father is merciful, be with you all (cf. 1 Cor 1:3, Lk 6:36).

    GRATITUDE

    We are grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of peace and stability our country is enjoying. We appreciate all persons and institutions working to keep the country stable. We also thank God for the life of every Ghanaian, at home and abroad, and all who reside in Ghana.

    PREAMBLE

    We, the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference, have held our annual Plenary Assembly at the Nim Avenue Hotel in Tamale in the Northern Region of Ghana from October 7 to 14, 2016 under the theme: “Reconciliation with God, Humanity and Nature in the Year of Mercy”. We have drawn inspiration from two very important events of the Church, namely, the celebration of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy (from December 8, 2015 to November 20, 2016) and the release, by Pope Francis, of the Encyclical Laudato Si’ (On Care for our Common Home). We will have the national climax for the celebration of the Year of Mercy here in Tamale on Sunday, October 16, 2016.

    We had the opportunity to visit and interact with the Northern Regional Minister, Hon. Abubakar Abdallah, and some members of the Northern Regional Coordinating Council as well as the Kampakuya Naa Abdulai Andani, Regent of the Dagbon Kingdom. We also held meetings first, with Mrs. Charlotte Osei, the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, and two other Commissioners, and then, with Hon. Prosper Douglas Bani, Minister for the Interior, Dr. John Kudalor, the Inspector General of Police and other officers of the Security Forces and Services. In the light of our theme and in consideration of the socio-political situation of our country Ghana, we wish to share with you the following reflections.

    RECONCILIATION WITH GOD

    Mercy is the ultimate and supreme act by which God comes to us. God has always had a special affection for humanity (cf. Ps 8) so much that even after Adam and Eve’s fall in the Garden of Eden (cf. Gen 3), He purposefully and progressively showed mercy to reconcile us to Himself. Throughout the Old Testament, God presents Himself as “gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relents in punishing” (Joel 2:13), “One who takes delight in the vindication of His children” (Is 62:1), and “One who cannot forget His children” (Ps 137:5-6).

    God has shown us the fullness of His love and mercy through the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ (cf. Jn 3:16). Jesus Christ is the reflection of His Father’s Mercy and taught us to be merciful and take advantage of the opportunities of reconciliation (cf. Lk 6:26-36), through the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin and the merciful father (cf. Lk 15:1-32).

    In the Church, the unfathomable mercy of God that reconciles us with Him is dispensed by the gift of the Holy Spirit through the ministry of bishops and priests (cf. Jn. 20:21-23). In the Sacrament of Reconciliation, God the Father initiates the call for reconciliation, Jesus Christ welcomes the penitent and the Holy Spirit rewards the penitent who responds to God’s invitation and sincerely approaches the fountain of mercy. Mercy is the bridge that connects God and man, opening our hearts to a hope of being loved forever despite our sinfulness. Having reconciled us to Himself through mercy, God sends us into the world as ambassadors of His reconciliation (cf. 2 Cor 5: 18-20).

    RECONCILIATION WITH HUMANITY

    Mercy is the fundamental law that dwells in the heart of every person who looks sincerely into the eyes of his brothers and sisters on the path of life. Having had the privilege of knowing and sharing in the love and mercy of God, we, the beneficiaries, have the sacred duty to live and testify to mercy.

    We, who form the Body of Christ, loved and forgiven, have been commissioned to announce the mercy of God in truth and in action. Let us therefore pattern our behaviour after Jesus Christ who went out to everyone without exception. We encourage a sincere spirit of reconciliation between the bishops and their collaborators, among priests and religious, religious leaders and their members, chiefs and their subjects, political leaders and their followers, societies, groups, employers and employees, spouses, parents and their children, and within families.

    In our endeavour to be merciful just as our Father is merciful (cf. Lk 6:36), let us open our hearts to all people - our families, friends, enemies, brothers, sisters and even our enemies - wounded by our humiliating indifference. Let us bind them with mercy and cure them with solidarity and vigilant care.

    Let us all be mindful always of the words of Jesus Christ: “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers (and sisters), you do to me” (Mt 25:40). Reawakened in conscience, let us feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger, heal the sick, visit the imprisoned, bury the dead, counsel the doubtful, instruct the ignorant, admonish sinners, comfort the afflicted, forgive offences, bear patiently with those who do us ill and pray for the living and the dead (cf. the Seven Corporal Works of Mercy and the Seven Spiritual Works of Mercy). These are more profound means of reconciling with one another.

    RECONCILIATION WITH NATURE

    Mercy must equally prompt our actions from harming our natural environment. Human beings connect with nature in various ways: “… our bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters…” (Laudato Si’, 2). The earth is our common home. Yet, we have inflicted harm of various kinds and degrees on our natural environment by our irresponsible use. We have plundered our environment recklessly through indiscriminate dumping of rubbish and industrial waste, ‘galamsay’ activities, logging, deforestation, water pollution and other forms of ecological degradation.

    We urge all Catholics and Ghanaians in general, to thank God for the wonderful handiwork which God has entrusted to our care and to reaffirm our personal vocation to be stewards of creation, and to implore His help for the protection of creation as well as His pardon for the sins committed against the world in which we live.

    God gave us the earth “to cultivate and to take care of” (Gen 2:15) in a balanced and respectful way. To cultivate too much and to care too little, is to sin. In this Year of Mercy and beyond, let us resolve to implore God’s mercy for those sins against creation that we have not hitherto acknowledged and confessed. We likewise commit ourselves to taking concrete steps towards ecological conversion, which requires a clear recognition of our responsibility to ourselves, our neighbours, creation and the Creator.

    We are unhappy with the growing incidence of land grab in the country and the indiscriminate acquisition of large tracts of land by multinational corporations, usually led by greedy and unpatriotic indigenes. While we do not discourage investment in food production and opportunities for industrialization, we condemn land acquisition that robs Ghanaians of their heritage and impacts negatively on the ecosystems and food cultures of our people. We call on all key institutions, charged with the planning, administration and conservation of land, to stop the incidence of land grab.

    The Catholic Church in Ghana embraces wholeheartedly the renewed work of mercy and care for our common home which “… allows us to discover in each thing a teaching which God wishes to hand on to us…” (Laudato Si’, 85). We pledge to demonstrate our care for our common home in simple daily gestures which break with the logic of violence, exploitation and selfishness and makes itself felt in every action that seeks to build a better world.

    We commend the current call, throughout the country, for the monthly clean-up exercises within our immediate surroundings. We further urge Ghanaians to do these exercises more frequently and religiously. As we seek to be godly, let us equally endeavour to be cleaner. We cannot be happy with the perception that Ghana is among the world’s dirtiest countries. Let us treat our environment the very way we will treat ourselves since a healthy environment makes us healthier and happier.

    CHURCH AND STATE PARTNERSHIP

    We, wish to plead with the State, especially the Legislature, the Ministry of Education and other key stakeholders, to expedite action on the passing of the Education Bill into law. It is our hope that this important Bill, when passed into law, will clarify the specific role and partnership between the Church and State in addressing more firmly, fairly and responsibly the needs of education in our country. We insist that the Bill should take into consideration the proposals the Christian Council of Ghana, the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference and other faith-based institutions have tabled before the Minister for Education.

    On health, we demand that the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) refund to health facilities their allocations for services rendered to Ghanaians through the insurance scheme. We call upon the Ministry of Health to intervene as a matter of urgency so that all health service institutions in Ghana can sustain and promote their healing ministry through their hospitals and clinics. A healthy human capital will ensure a healthier Ghana.

    DIALOGUE AND PEACE

    Unlike other parts of the world where religion is sometimes used to promote and sustain conflict, it is heartwarming to learn that, here in Tamale and elsewhere in Ghana, Muslims interact peacefully with Christians in schools, hospitals and various places of work.

    We sincerely commend the successive governments and various Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Faith-based Organizations (FBOs) for their efforts of promoting peace in the Northern Region, a region perceived as most vulnerable to diverse conflicts. We hereby state that government’s efforts should be aimed at a more holistic and sustaining approach in addressing the very factors that fuel these conflicts. Since peace is the new name for development (cf. Pope Paul VI’s Populorum Progressio), in seeking the development of the Northern Region, the need for sustainable peace cannot and should not be overlooked, especially in this season of elections.

    CONCERNS ON THE 2016 GENERAL ELECTIONS

    We have observed that in some parts of Africa and elsewhere in the world, political elections have left behind unhealed scars of violence and disrespect for the rule of law. The consequence of these acts has not only unleashed irrecoverable cost on those nations but also miserable plagues of instability and insecurity.

    Since Ghana will go to the polls on December 7, 2016, let us implore God to look mercifully upon our country Ghana and help choose, through a diligent and sincere exercise of our franchise, leaders after His own heart. Our prayer in the National Anthem, “God bless our homeland Ghana, and make our nation great and strong” will win divine blessings for us only when we acknowledge God for who He is and make amends with Him daily. A country cannot develop without the fear of God.

    A decision on who should lead us is a decision for the development for our nation. Therefore, our political campaigns and platforms should not trade insults and attack political figures. We are one people as Ghanaians and we cannot accept that elections should divide us. Let us therefore safeguard our unity, growth, development and destiny as one people.

    On March 6, 2017, our beloved Ghana will celebrate the 60th Anniversary of her independence. We intend to hold a National Eucharistic Congress in 2017 to rededicate, through prayer and reflection, our dear Motherland to our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. We are at the same time very much concerned about the prevailing political atmosphere as we prepare for the forthcoming elections. We, Ghanaians, would want to celebrate our 60th Independence Anniversary in a peaceful and congenial Ghana. For the sake of peace and safety of Ghana before, during and after the December elections, we wish to draw the attention of all Ghanaians to the following concerns.

    1. Electoral Commission

    The integrity and success of the forthcoming elections depend primarily on the Electoral Commission. It is the institution constitutionally mandated, among other duties, to compile the register of voters and revise it periodically, to demarcate the electoral boundaries for both national and local government elections, to conduct and supervise all public elections and to educate the people on the electoral process and its purpose. We commend the Electoral Commission for all the measures it has put in place to ensure peaceful, free, fair, transparent and credible elections. We strongly urge that the Commission should be provided with all the logistics necessary for the elections. We call on Ghanaians to repose trust and confidence in the work of the Electoral Commission throughout the period of elections.

    2. Political Parties

    We appeal once again to politicians, members and supporters of the various political parties, during their campaigning, to avoid the temptation of making promises that they know they cannot fulfil, because this amounts to deceiving the people of Ghana. We urge them to avoid hate-filled statements and expressions that threaten revenge and vendetta.

    We also call on party leaders, parliamentary and presidential candidates to conduct themselves honourably and to respect their opponents, both in their utterances and actions. Politicians should realize that their political opponents are not their enemies but neighbours who share different views. Since it is only the Electoral Commission that is empowered to announce the results of the elections, we ask all political parties, radio stations, the social media, and indeed everyone, to refrain from announcing any results before they are declared by the Electoral Commission. Further, we are very concerned about the phenomenon of vote buying by politicians. Such practice is an insult to the intelligence and dignity of the unsuspecting voters. We encourage politicians to stop such acts and entreat the electorate from yielding to such needless enticements.

    3. Security Agencies

    We commend the Security Agencies for working towards security and peace in Ghana. We urge them to discharge their duty with dispatch and without fear or favour. We encourage them to demonstrate a high sense of professionalism by respecting the rights and dignity of all Ghanaian citizens.

    The culture of impunity which has been manifested in sections of the Ghanaian society by some individuals and groups contributes to high levels of lawlessness in the country. We condemn, in no uncertain terms, the sycophancy and the operations of unauthorized vigilante groups. Consequently, we state that the prevalence of so-called “machomen” who prowl around intimidating and brutalizing innocent Ghanaians should be dealt with. We have received information on the recent gruesome assault on two Catholic priests by a “machoman” at Adugyama in the Ahafo Ano South District of the Ashanti Region. We condemn this and other similar assaults. We plead with the security agencies and the judiciary to deliver justice expeditiously in this and other cases.

    4. Electorate

    While an election, in and by itself, cannot guarantee good governance, it can facilitate or hinder development depending on how it is managed. Participation in the political life, in the light of fundamental moral principles, is therefore an essential duty of every Christian and of all people of good will. We therefore encourage all registered voters to be vigilant as they exercise their franchise. To decide not to vote is to neglect your duty and run the risk of leaving others to decide your future for you. In the name of peace, parents and guardians are reminded that they have a God-given responsibility to discourage their under-aged children and wards from voting. In the same vein, we appeal to non-Ghanaians who registered, for one reason or the other, to refrain from voting. Let us all remember that we can have peaceful elections only if we ensure justice before during and after the elections.

    5. Media

    We call upon the media to uphold the highest journalistic values and ethics in their reportage of the electoral process. We recommend that news about the elections should not be based on hearsay or prejudice. Information must be verified and the truth professionally ascertained. News and stories should not be targeted at causing disgrace or embarrassment to personalities, especially where it is clear that such reportage may trigger disaffection or incite violence.

    6. Politicians and Traditional Leadership

    Presidential and parliamentary aspirants share similar constituencies with various kings and chiefs of our traditional communities. We appeal to presidential and parliamentary candidates not to take for granted or interfere with the authority and functions of these traditional leaders and the institutional structures upon which they rest. We entreat our kings and chiefs to protect the integrity of their stools and skins by refraining from meddling in partisan politics to the displeasure of their subjects as if to say that the party they associate with or endorse is representative of their subjects’ choice as well. Politicians and traditional leaders must work to foster peace and seek the integral development of Ghanaians rather than to divide them. Further, we strongly urge Religious leaders must be circumspect in their pronouncements and predictions on the outcome of the elections.

    CONCLUSION

    In conclusion, we urge all to pray, particularly in this month of October, dedicated to Mary, the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, for the peace, progress and unity of Ghana. May Mother Mary, Queen of Peace and Queen of Africa, intercede for us.

    God bless our homeland Ghana.

    Long Live Ghana!

    Signed by:

    MOST REV. PHILIP NAAMEH

    CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF TAMALE &

    PRESIDENT, GHANA CATHOLIC BISHOPS’ CONFERENCE

  • Zambia to Mark 125 Years of Catholic Church Next Month: Cardinal Filoni to Grace Occasion

    Vatican Radio || IMPACT magazine || 15 October 2016

    cardinal filoni to grace zambia church at 125The Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Cardinal Fernando Filoni will visit Zambia next month as part of celebrations marking 125 years of the Catholic Church in Zambia.

    Although the first Catholic missionaries to attempt the evangelisation of what is today Zambia were the Jesuits in 1879, their mission faltered due to several challenges. The Jesuits crossed the Zambezi River from the south. A second attempt in the early 1900s would be more successful. 

    The White Fathers (Missionaries of Africa) entering the north of Zambia in 1891, had greater success. 

    Cardinal Filoni will be in Zambia from 7 to 10 November 2016. Bishop Clement Mulenga, SDB  of Kabwe Diocese and Bishop-in-charge of the laity apostolate recently announced details of the Cardinal’s visit to Zambia. 

    While in Zambia, Cardinal Filoni will attend the National Catholic Forum. Zambia’s National Catholic forum held every three years brings Bishops, priests and the religious as well as the laity to a roundtable discussion of salient pastoral challenges and initiatives facing the country.

    Cardinal Filoni will also celebrate Mass at the Cathedral of Child Jesus in the capital Lusaka on 9 November 2016. During the visit, the Cardinal is further expected to hold private discussions with the Bishops of Zambia as well as staff members from the three major seminaries of Zambia respectively.

    Before coming to Zambia, Cardinal Filoni is scheduled to visit neighbouring Malawi as the Holy Father Pope Francis’ special envoy at the consecration of Karonga Diocese’ Cathedral in Malawi. The consecration in Karonga is scheduled to take place on 5 November 2016.

    Source: Vatican Radio…

  • DR Congo's Bishops Working Hard to Steer Nation to Peace

    Catholic News Service (CNS) || By Bronwen Dachs 17|| October 2016

    bishops in dr congo steering peaceAs the most respected institution in Congo, the Catholic bishops' conference is putting enormous effort into steering the country onto a path to peace, said an official of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

    "We have flown into the eye of the storm, with the future of this young democracy in the balance," Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, New Mexico, chairman of the bishops' Committee on International Justice and Peace, said in an Oct. 15 telephone interview from Kinshasa, Congo's capital.

    Elections in the Central African country were scheduled for November and President Joseph Kabila was set to step down in December at the end of his second term. But Congo's ruling coalition and part of the opposition agreed Oct. 16 to move the ballot to April 2018, with the president staying in power at least until then.

    "Even as we met with people in Kinshasa, the situation was shifting constantly," Bishop Cantu said, noting that "tensions are high and lives are at stake."

    Bishop Cantu and Stephen Hilbert, the bishops' foreign policy adviser for Africa and global development, were in Congo's capital, Kinshasa, Oct. 8-16 and met with government officials, opposition and civil society leaders, among others.

    "We witnessed some parties who were very adamant in their stance," Bishop Cantu said. "They were unwilling to compromise, even to meet with others" from different standpoints.

    He said he told young people "that they have a young democracy, and to prevent it (from) falling into chaos will require men and women of courage, humility and great wisdom."

    Hilbert told Catholic News Service that Congo's politicians "need to come together, bury the hatchet of past grievances and focus solely on the future." He said all sides need to compromise if the country is to avoid street violence.

    Bishop Cantu said the Congolese bishops' conference "is respected by all" in the country. He said the church "raises its voice about people's rights and the integrity of the constitution."

    The country "needs an independent voice that calls for fair process" and the Catholic church fulfills that role, he said. "People see that the work the church does serves everyone, and they don't see that from public officials."

    The main opposition parties in Congo accuse Kabila of controlling the courts and other state institutions in a bid to remain in power. The constitution prohibits him from running for another term.

    The crisis erupted into violence in September, when security forces dispersed opposition protesters in Kinshasa, killing about 50 people and injuring and arresting hundreds more.

    The church is "very concerned that violence will break out again," Bishop Cantu said.

    The Congolese bishops' conference launched a mediation plan among the main parties and the opposition in August, then pulled out of the national dialogue in late September following a large-scale boycott by opposition parties.

    "The talks were no longer inclusive and the church did not want to be seen as partisan," Bishop Cantu said.

    "Only an inclusive dialogue which respects the constitutional order will provide a framework for resolving our crisis," Archbishop Marcel Utembi Tapa of Kisangani, president of the Congolese bishops' conference, said in a statement published Oct. 3.

    Bishop Cantu said to lend legitimacy to the electoral process, six bishops are leading a recruitment drive to get hundreds of thousands of people to volunteer as election monitors.

    The local bishops' conference is "encouraging participation in the political process and a peaceful way to work out differences," he said.

    Up to 6 million people died in a series of 1995-2003 wars in Congo, formerly Zaire, where armed groups have exploited a lack of stable government to plunder natural resources.

  • Catholic Sisters in Africa Explore Means of Engaging in UN Sustainable Development Goals at Nairobi Convention

    CANAA || By Father Don Bosco Onyalla, Nairobi || 17 October 2016

    asec october 2016 forumThe Catholic Sisters on the African continent are this week partnering with the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, to explore means of getting involved in the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), in view of addressing issues such as poverty eradication, education, and gender equality at the grassroots level.

    Gathering under their umbrella body, African Sisters Education Collaborative (ASEC), the Catholic Sisters have organized a closed-door discussion between leaders from orders of Catholic sisters, the Catholic Church, major foundations, philanthropy and the development community, civic groups, and government.

    The four-day convention, which kicked off Sunday, October 16 evening brings together individuals from some 15 different countries serving as Church and government officials, faith based and community organizations, international, regional and local foundations as well as representatives of the leadership of Congregations of women religious.

    Dubbed, Catholic Sisters: Champions of Sustainable Development in Africa, the members at the convention aim to listen and learn from each other as well as to respond to a call to action to be in the forefront of achieving sustainable development for all citizens by 2030 within the African context.

    The program includes keynote addresses from representatives of potential stakeholders in partnerships that will see Catholic Sisters engage in UN SDGs and input from Catholic Sisters involved in development work across Africa, including posters showcasing 40 initiatives by Catholic sisters in Africa.

    The convention goals include:

    v To understand the objectives and core ideas anchoring the work of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and the Catholic Sisters Strategic Initiative.

    v To understand the extent to which we are achieving our objectives in Africa and identify where we might revise our approach to achieve even higher degrees of impact.

    v To appreciate the potential of Catholic Sisters as full members of the global partnership for sustainable development as well as the obstacles they face in connecting to the networks of communion and expertise required to be effective partners.

    v To commit to working together to mitigate these obstacles and realize this potential.

    Catholic Sisters in Africa: Strong, Vital and Taking on Global Challenges

    Centre for Religion and Civic Culture || By Tarra McNally || 10 October 2016

    Catholic sisters have been present in Africa since the Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny landed on the shores of Senegal in 1822 and established a mission in present-day Gambia. Since that time, they have had a significant impact on the religion and development of many African countries, at the same time as they have faced health, resource and cultural barriers in their mission work.

    As the evaluator for the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation’s Catholic Sisters Initiative, CRCC has studied both the potential and limitations of African sisters. We are in discussions with leaders in philanthropy, religious orders, the church, government and civil society about how to best enable sisters to tackle global challenges, such as those outlined in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. But to shape the future, we must understand the evolution of religious life in Africa from 1822 to today.

    Sisters’ mission work on the frontlines of the church’s evangelization of Africa was rooted in the European colonization and enculturation of the continent. They established hospitals, schools, farms and orphanages and became the backbone of African social welfare and educational systems in the 19th and 20th centuries.

    The spiritual witness that sisters provided in their work and religious practice attracted and inspired young indigenous women. These early missionaries did not have religious vocations and formation in mind for African women. Even the 1926 papal directive Rerum Ecclesiae, which endorsed the development of local clergy and religious orders, did not engender much movement for establishing novitiates across Africa. It was not until the 1960s and 1970s, with the advent of Vatican II and the independence of African countries, that the majority of formation houses were established on the continent.

    Young African women faced a double challenge in pursuing religious life. First, orders were not eager to welcome indigenous sisters. Then, their own families and cultures viewed women’s roles solely in terms of motherhood, preserving the family lineage, providing bride price and passing along cultural norms and traditions to the next generation.

    Sociologist Casey Clevenger and others have documented the difficult obstacles young women continue to face to fulfill their vocational calls today. Some young women are entirely cut off from their families when they enter formation houses. Once young African women enter formation houses they also face an uphill battle to acquire the necessary skills and education to become teachers, nurses, agricultural extension workers and bookkeepers.

    Despite the challenges faced by young African women seeking religious life, the number of African sisters has increased dramatically over the last 50 years. A survey conducted by African Sisters Education Collaborative (ASEC) in 2014-2015 documented more than 42,950 Catholic sisters and 4,298 women in formation houses in ten countries, and these numbers are growing.

    The situation has come full circle as African sisters are now being asked to support “reverse mission” work to countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom and Ireland to bolster the work of congregations and dioceses that are losing women power as their native congregations decrease in size.

    Today, African congregations are vital and growing. Sisters have educated many of the presidents, corporate leaders and influential people throughout the continent of Africa. They also run and staff many of the best hospitals and clinics. And they advocate for human rights as they serve children with disabilities and work in many of Africa’s slum areas.

    Nevertheless, they face several significant challenges to their vitality. There is an increased demand for leadership and technical expertise in their mission work in African countries and abroad. And the swelling numbers of aspirants wanting to enter formation houses strain resources. In short, they face the opposite challenge of their counterparts in Europe or North America. Congregations are flooded with more aspirants than they can handle, and they struggle to educate young women who are entering their ranks fresh from secondary school.

    Education and leadership skills are key to running the day-to-day mission work of congregations, from financial planning and bookkeeping to fundraising, teaching, counseling and nursing. Local governments are increasing the requirements for teachers, principals, nurses and other occupations that sisters hold. Congregations need to have the resources to respond to these evolving requirements.

    Beyond educational and leadership skills, young sisters and those in the novitiate must have a solid spiritual and theological foundation as they develop and respond to the spiritual and emotional demands of their work. This requires congregations to have a strong formation process before and after final vows.

    Finally, it must be kept in mind that the socioeconomic and cultural trends that have driven the downturn in religious vocations in Europe and North America may have a similar impact on African women joining religious communities in the coming years. Today, families in Africa are often large, educational options for women are limited and women often marry young. These contextual factors may make the call to religious life attractive—especially when this call is matched with genuine spiritual motivations and a congregational charism that serves disenfranchised people.

    With economic development, the fertility rate typically decreases and women gain greater options for higher education and careers outside the home or convent. These trends are on the rise in African countries. As countries evolve economically, it is possible that the number of women committing themselves to a religious vocation may change, as is occurring currently in Zambia.

    Today, though, Catholic sisters in Africa are strong and vital. Their strength and UN’s Sustainable Development Goals present an opportunity for foundation, church and civic leaders to invest in sisters, seizing the moment when congregations of sisters are often brimming over with potential recruits who, after appropriate training, can address many of the challenges facing developing countries.

    Tarra McNally is the assistant director of evaluation at the USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture.

    Source: Centre for Religion and Civic Culture… 

  • South Sudan Bishop Named Adviser for Anglican Communion Affairs

    Sudan Tribune || 09 October 2016

    anglican bishop anthony poggo ssudanThe Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby has appointed the bishop of Kajo-Keji Diocese in South Sudan, Rt. Rev. Anthony Poggo as his new adviser for Anglican Communion affairs.

    “I am absolutely delighted that Bishop Anthony is joining the team at Lambeth,” Welby told Episcopal News Service (ENS).

    “He brings the experience of his ministry in one of the most challenging provinces in the Anglican Communion where he has faithfully served the church as a pastor and teacher,” he added.

    Throughout his ministry, Poggo has reportedly been engaged with the profound issues, which many parts of the Communion face, where famine, war, and violent ethnic tensions destabilise society and leave whole communities living in poverty.

    “He is well known and respected throughout the Communion and I am most grateful to Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul for releasing Bishop Anthony as a gift to the wider church. His appointment provides a necessary voice and perspective from the global south in the team at Lambeth. I look forward to working with Bishop Anthony to strengthen our relationships around the Provinces at a significant time in the life of the Communion,” Welby stressed.

    On 4 October, according to ENS, Deng Bul joined Poggo in the Diocese of Kajo-Keji where the news of the appointment was given.

    His appointment comes following an extensive selection process which attracted applications from across the Anglican Communion.

    Meanwhile Poggo said he was delighted to accept Welby’s invitation and appointment to join the team at Lambeth Palace.

    “I look forward to working together with colleagues at Lambeth to support the Archbishop of Canterbury in his ministry,” he told ENS.

    He further added, “I appreciate the support from Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul in releasing me from our current role in Kajo-Keji so as to make a contribution in the global Anglican Communion. Jane, Joy and I are excited at this next phase of our ministry.”

    Before his ordination in 1995, Bishop Poggo worked with Scripture Union. From 2002, however, he served with ACROSS, becoming its executive director in 2004. He was elected bishop of the Diocese of Kajo-Keji in the Episcopal Church of South Sudan in 2007.

    In 2012, Poggo was awarded an honorary doctorate for his role in the mobilizing the church in service of the community. He holds a Master of Arts in biblical studies from Nairobi International School of Theology, now called International Leadership University, and a Master of Business Administration from Oxford Brookes University.

    Source: Sudan Tribune… 

  • Church Leader in Ghana Urges Citizens to Prioritize Peace ahead of December Polls

    CANAA || By Damian Avevor, Ghana || 13 October 2016

    bishop osei-bonsu urges peace priorityThe President of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference (GCBC), Bishop Joseph Osei-Bonsu, has called on Ghanaians to make peace the number one priority as the country prepares to go to the polls on December 7.

    Bishop Osei-Bonsu made the appeal Monday, October 10, at the opening of GCBC Plenary Assembly taking place Tamale in the Northern Region of Ghana under the theme: Reconciliation with God, Humanity and nature In the Year of Mercy.

    “We should always remember that we have only one country called Ghana and that this country is the only home that we have,” Bishop Osei-Bonsu said, urging Ghana citizens to protect the peace that the country has enjoyed to date.

    The Bishop insisted that Ghanaians do not want to experience violence before, during and after the elections.

    20 active Bishops of Ghana are attending the 10-day Plenary Assembly.

    Also present during the official opening of the Assembly were many dignitaries including Mr. Abadallah Abubakar, Northern Regional Minister and Prof. Gabriel Ayum Teye, Vice Chancellor of the University for Development Studies (UDS), who chaired the opening ceremony.

    Bishop Osei-Bonsu said that there were a number of countries on the continent that had experience war and Ghana would not want to share in the unpleasant experience of the people living in such countries.

    The consequences of war, he noted, were well known which included the destruction of precious human lives and property, fear, the phenomenon of refugees, and added, “We do not want to be refugees in our neighbouring countries.”

    He appealed to Ghanaians to avoid actions and inflammatory utterances that have the potential to incite people to violence and war, asking them “to avoid tribal politics and let politicians try to win votes on the basis of good messages that they will present rather than by vote buying.”

    Dilating on the theme of the Plenary, the Bishop said reconciliation was necessary today in our country as we celebrate the Jubilee year of Mercy proclaimed by the Holy father Pope Francis.

    He noted that reconciliation was also necessary for all kinds of people who felt that they had been wronged and was also necessary between husbands and wives, parents and children, employers and employees, rival political parties, Parish Priests and Curates, Priests and Bishops, Priests and lay faithful.

    He added that “As Christians, we must also espouse reconciliation with nature and must indeed have mercy on Mother Nature. God is the author of creation and we believe that what he created was good.”

    Reconciliation between God and mankind is something that the Bible speaks about, especially in the Letters of St. Paul, noting that “We all need God’s mercy because of our sins and the Church had the responsibility to reconcile man to man and man to God.”

    He said God had entrusted humankind with the responsibility of being in charge of creation and taking care of all creatures and their habitat, lamenting that there was rapid rate of deforestation in Ghana as a result of excessive lumbering of timber, the clearing of the land for new farmland, the extraction of firewood and the production of charcoal and poles.

    He reviewed the activities and achievements of the GCBC from November last year to date, saying that a lot of progress had been made as the Conference met the Catholic Parliamentarians to discuss important national issues including the Constitution Review Process, the National Health Insurance Scheme, corruption in the country and the Plant Breeders’ Bill.

  • Church in South Africa Expresses Support for “FeesMustFall” Campaign, Extends Sympathy to Wounded Priest

    CANAA || By Father Don Bosco Onyalla, Nairobi || 13 October 2016

    church in safrica supports student protestsThe Catholic Church in South Africa has, through her leadership, expressed support for the university students’ protest dubbed “#FeesMustFall,” which seeks to address the seeming “inequality of opportunity for poor and competent students to access third level education.”

    Students in South African have been protesting in recent weeks demanding free education. This followed the government move to increase university tuition by eight percent in 2017.

    “The Catholic Church agrees that the student protest has foundation,” reads the opening sentence of the Bishops’ statement availed to CANAA Wednesday, October 12, signed by Archbishop William Slattery of Pretoria.

    In the statement, the Bishops extend sympathy to Jesuit Father Graham Pugin, Parish Priest of Braamfontein, who “was wounded by a direct strike from a rubber bullet to the face while engaged in offering refuge to frightened students.”

    The superior of the Jesuits in South Africa, Fr. David Rowan said in a statement that Father Graham has been one of the facilitators, along with other clergy and former student leaders, as a peace broker between students and other stakeholders.

    The full statement from Fr. Rowan is available further below

    “What the students desire is more equality in access to good education at university level,” the Bishops go on to say but decry the violence nature of the protests saying, “we don’t condone the violence, looting, and vandalizing of property by students and the use of force by police army.”

    The Bishops advocate for an amicable solution to the standoff through an open dialogue between students and the government.

    “A compromise must be considered as the huge financial demands of university free education cannot be found instantaneously,” the Bishops state.

    Here is the full text of the Bishops’ statement

    SACBC Statement On #FeesMustFall Campaign

    The Catholic Church agrees that the student protest has foundation.  We are aware as a Church, of the inequality of opportunity for poor and competent students to access third level education. 

    As Bishops spread throughout the country, we have assisted students with our limited resources. But the majority of the deserving students we have not been able to help. 

    What the students desire is more equality in access to good education at university level. We support this request. But we don’t condone the violence, looting, and vandalizing of property by students and the use of force by police army.  

    By now we feel that the students have made their protest.  The whole society, other students, universities, and the government are very aware of the student's protest.  It is time now for the disturbances to end and for the academic year to continue and for exams to be written. 

    We feel that at this stage there is little more university authorities can do.  In fact, they have generally shown themselves sympathetic to the students’ demands. 

    But the solution suggested by the students at the moment is beyond the financial and organizational capabilities of university authorities.  However, it must remain on our agenda as the priority for the future.

    What is to be done is for the government to ensure that this academic year is completed in peace. The government and students must now iron out their difficulties.  A compromise must be considered as the huge financial demands of university free education cannot be found instantaneously.

    As Bishops we extent our sincere sympathy and prayers for a speedy recovery to Fr Graham Pugin, the Jesuit Parish Priest of Braamfontein.

    Fr Graham was wounded by a direct strike from a rubber bullet to the face while engaged in offering refuge to frightened students.  

    The Bishops wish to express their appreciation to our Catholic Chaplains who have been close to our students at this anxious time. We encourage university authorities to do all in their power to complete this academic year.

    +William Slattery OFM

    Archbishop of Pretoria

    STATEMENT FROM FR. DAVID ROWAN, S.J., REGIONAL SUPERIOR, JESUITS OF SOUTH AFRICA: 

    Fr. Graham Pugin S.J., who was shot in the face by a rubber bullet at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, has received medical treatment and is recovering. The Society of Jesus (Jesuits), the order of priests to which Fr. Graham belongs, and Fr. Graham himself, are grateful for the concern that has been shown after the incident. We have received many prayers, well wishes and offers for assistance from across society. We have also received support from the Jesuit General Congregation meeting in Rome at present and the Vatican Ambassador to South Africa, His Excellency Archbishop Peter Wells.

    Fr. Graham has been one of the facilitators, along with other clergy and former student leaders, working towards an agreement between the students, management and other stakeholders at the University of the Witwatersrand. All the facilitators have worked hard to create an atmosphere of trust. Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Braamfontein has served as a safe and sacred space for negotiations, and we hope that it will continue to do so.

    Unfortunately, the negotiation process has been stalled and we are concerned by the sense of distrust between all the role players. The high-security presence and clashes between police and students have also heightened tensions, making negotiations, at this stage, much more difficult. The shooting of Fr. Graham has shocked and distressed many people, including students. He, along with the Society of Jesus, remain hopeful that a solution can be achieved.

    We believe there needs to be a national mediation effort to resolve the fees issue and stabilise the situation on campuses. We note the establishment of a national government task team on the fees crisis but believe that this alone will not deal with the problem. We believe there needs to be a concerted effort, involving all sectors of society, to deal with the historical context and systemic problems which make higher education inaccessible and unaffordable for millions of poor South Africans.

    We stand ready to participate in this mediation effort so that a national solution can be found to the crisis in the higher education sector. We are concerned by the levels of violence and urge all parties to exercise maximum restraint so that an atmosphere conducive to negotiations may return.

    We appeal to all involved to pledge themselves to restore peace on and around our campuses.

  • New Bishop Joins Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Ethiopia

    CANAA || By Makeda Yohannes, Ethiopia || 13 October 2016

    bishop roberto bergamaschi of hawassa consecratedThe Catholic Church in Ethiopia has welcomed a new member to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference in person of Bishop Roberto Bergamaschi who was consecrated Sunday, October 9 at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Cathedral in Hawassa Town, Southern Ethiopia.

    A member of the religious Congregation of the Salesians of Don Bosco, Bishop Roberto Bergamaschi becomes the Apostolic Vicar of Hawassa, officially taking over from the late Comboni Missionary Bishop Giovanni Miglioratti, who was called to the Lord on 12 May, 2016 in his native country of Italy where he had gone for treatment.

    Pope Francis appointed the newly consecrated Bishop on June 29 and assigned him the titular see of Ambia.

    The Eucharistic celebration at which Bishop Bergamaschi was consecrated was presided over by the Archbishop of Addis Ababa, Berhaneyesus Cardinal D. Souraphiel and graced by the Apostolic Nuncio to Ethiopia Archbishop Luigi Bianco and the Catholic Bishops of Ethiopia.

    In his Homily, Cardinal Souraphiel said that the new Bishop is taking on the task of spreading the Good News that was entrusted to the Apostles by Our Lord Jesus Christ and that he needs support.

    “He is given the big task of witnessing the Gospel and inspiring the spirit of Justice and Sainthood, thus from today onwards you must respect our dear brother Bishop Roberto for he is your new shepherd and pray for him for it is when we stand by him and let ourselves be guided by him he can be successful in achieving his task,” Cardinal Souraphiel said.

    He also asked the Apostolic Vicar of Hawassa to always remember that being a Bishop is not a title of authority but of service and he has been called God to be among the people and work with the people.

    The Cardinal said, “Just as Our Lord told Jeremiah that he must not fear to go forward as He will be with him, you are also not alone for God is always with you and brother Bishops, priests, religious Men and Women and the faithful are with you to support you in your service.”

    He concluded his Homily by asking the faithful to keep on praying for love and peace and urged them to always be instruments of peace.

    On his part, Bishop Bergamaschi expressed his gratitude for being given the opportunity to serve the people in the Apostolic Vicariate of Hawassa and the Church in Ethiopia saying, “I have spent most of my years of service in Ethiopia, I consider this country my country. I have learned from the people of Ethiopia much wisdom, our people respect the elders and if we continue to pray and work with the elders I believe the challenges will be solved soon.”

    He added, “The will of God has brought me to Ethiopia as a missionary and now he has entrusted upon me the task of leading His people in the Apostolic Vicariate of Hawassa, everything happens because it is His will and if we follow his will everything will be successful.”

    He asked the priests, religious, catechists and the faithful to support him in his ministry saying “service of the Church is not a private effort but it is a task entrusted to all of us, by working together hand in hand we will make our Vicariate a paradise.” He concluded by asking the prayer of all for the success of his service.

    The event was attended by Bishops, priests, the religious, leaders of different religions, representatives of the government officials and the lay faithful.

    Meanwhile, religious leaders in Ethiopia under the umbrella body of the Inter-religious Council released a press statement about the situation in the country. The original statement, dated October 6, 2016 was in Amharic.

    Here below is an unofficial translation by Ethiopia Catholic Secretariat (ECS) availed to CANAA on Thursday, October 13, 2016.

    Religious Leaders of Ethiopia on the Current Situation of the Country

    Press Release: (Unofficial translation – by ECS)

    bishop roberto bergamaschi of hawassa consecrated bWe the Religious Leaders of Ethiopia firmly believe that Peace is a priceless Grace from God. It is possible to worship with a calm spirit only when there is sustainable peace. Thus we preach that peace is the foundation for everything. Our history also coincides with this religious teaching. We Ethiopians have lived together through the ages sharing our joys and grieves, problems and challenges; and we are still practicing the same value.

    However because of the violence that have been taking place in some areas of our country in recent times precious lives of people have been lost, spiritual and physical injuries has been caused, properties have been destroyed.

    We the religious leaders of Ethiopia have been engaged in various discussions with the Prime Minister of Ethiopia and government officials to request that the concerns of the public must be heard and given immediate response; it is also to be recalled that we have also delivered messages repeatedly regarding this. We have also called on the faithful on different occasions to observe fasting and prayer for peace and calm. Nevertheless, the peace of our country has declined from time to time. This has become a big concern for us religious leaders. We are deeply saddened by the lives lost recently because of the chaos that took place at the celebration on ‘Erecha’ on October 2, 2016 in Bishoftu Town, we pray for the consolation of the bereaved and the people of Ethiopia and transmit the following messages:

    1. In the teachings of every religion the life of a person is sacred that has to be highly respected. When we say the life of a person is respected one of the ways its value is expressed is by protecting the person’s right to live. Thus we urge all parties to take good care of protecting the lives of people in every effort of that is being taken to calm down the conflicts taking place in different parts of the country.
    2. We ask the government of our country to engage in discussion with stakeholders that say they are concerned with issues in Ethiopia and hear the distress and questions of the people and respond immediately.
    3. We ask for arranging a way people who have lost their lives and for the people who have lost their properties in different parts of the country be compensated.
    4. We ask our government and our people to support our efforts of bringing about national understanding, reconciliation and psychological relief by establishing a peace taskforce composed of religious leaders, elders, academicians and business people from different parts of the country.
    5. Our spiritual children of different religions we ask you to accept each other with mutual respect, forgiveness and mercy and unite for peace and growth of the country, to look at your fellow Ethiopians as brothers and sister, to repent hatred and chaos and present all your concerns peacefully.
    6. Infrastructures are the properties of our country thus we ask all citizens to protect them.
    7. Above all it is the responsibility of the government to calm down the conflicts and turn it to peace thus we ask the government to take necessary farsighted measures in an amicable spirit, we also ask our people to fulfill their roles and responsibilities properly.
    8. We urge local and international mass media, social networks and individuals to refrain from transmitting messages that promote hatred, conflict and violence and above all messages that lead to destructions of valuable human lives and properties.

    God bless Ethiopia and Her people!

    Leaders of Inter-religious Council of Ethiopia

    October 6, 2016

    Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

  • “Doctors with Africa” Express Anxiety over Ethiopia’s Oromia Disturbances

    Vatican Radio || 07 October 2016

    cuamm on ethiopia turmoil 2016CUAMM, an Italian non-governmental organisation, known as “Doctors with Africa” has expressed anxiety concerning the situation of the Oromia region of Ethiopia in the wake of a deadly stampede that killed about 55 persons.

    The deaths occurred early this month when Ethiopian Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at a huge crowd attending the Oromo religious annual festival known as Irreecha in the town of Bishoftu, some 40km from the capital Addis Ababa. The massive stampede that resulted saw some people falling into nearby ditches or off a cliff into the nearby lake.

    The Oromo People celebrate Irreecha to thank God for the blessings and mercies they have received throughout the previous year. As the festival was underway, some sections of the crowd started shouting anti-government slogans and making anti-government gestures that made police nervous. The government of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn has declared a three-days mourning period and is blaming the opposition and “anti-peace elements” for the deaths.

    “Doctors with Africa, CUAMM is closely following the events related to the protests in the Oromia region, which erupted Sunday, 2 October and which have not yet completely subsided … 52 people [died], according to government sources while [local] press sources said over 300 people were killed in the stampede,” CUAMM said in a statement made available to Vatican Radio’s Africa Service.

    CUAMM is composed of volunteers and supporters of Doctors with Africa. It is a medical mission started by the Italian Catholic Diocese of Padua, 65 years ago. The NGO is considered a leading medical organisation that focusses mainly on working with sub-Saharan Africa and is to be found in 7 African countries, namely, Angola, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. The late Fr Luigi Mazzucato is credited as the man behind CUAMM's success and longevity. CUAMM says its mission is to improve the wellbeing and health of vulnerable communities in Africa.

    In Ethiopia, Doctors with Africa –CUAMM has a staff of 28 comprising 11 expatriates and 17 Ethiopians. The Wolisso Hospital of St Luke, situated in the Oromia region is a CUAMM facility with 200 beds capacity. In the statement released Friday, CUAMM said it was experiencing disruptions to services as a result of the disturbances. 

    Source: Vatican Radio…

  • Catholic Health Commission in Malawi Fights TB

    Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) || By Prince Henderson || 10 October 2016

    ecm fighting tb 2016In a bid to reduce morbidity and mortality from tuberculosis (TB), the Catholic Health Commission (CHC) of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) with funding from Global Fund through Action Aid Malawi has embarked on a two-year project called TB Care Prevention and Community Delivery.

    National Project Coordinator, Chifundo Mchawa said the project which is being implemented in three Catholic dioceses of Lilongwe, Mzuzu and Karonga is aimed at increasing treatment success of bacteriologically confirmed TB case to 88 percent and increasing TB case notification to 191 per 100000 general population of people.

    “Basically, we want to increase TB diagnosis by bringing TB testing close to the communities. The success of it all lies in working with community volunteers, Health Surveillance Assistants, TB officers in the district hospitals we are working and also TB Focus Person in the Health Centres,” said Mchawa.

    Mchawa said so far volunteers have been trained in infection prevention and at the same time oriented in sputum collection guidelines.

    “We will also train them (volunteers) in active case finding, provision of Directly Observed Treatment Strategy (DOTS) so that at the end they become TB DOT supporters,” she said.

    According to Mchawa, the role of these volunteers basically is to observe patients on TB treatment as a way of monitoring them for treatment drug adherence purpose.

    She said the project will also orient the volunteers in data collection tools for community TB intervention and later volunteers will be empowered to bring TB services closer to the people instead of patients travelling long distances to access the services.

    Meanwhile, Mchawa says they are excited and overwhelmed with the support both from traditional leaders and communities in all the district they are working.

    She said the only challenge they have faced so far in the impact area is of large catchment areas as compared to the number of volunteers who cannot manage to reach out to all the areas.

    In a special telephone interview with Karonga District TB Officer, Paul Chiwenkha said the project is a welcome development to the district as it will increase community participation and raise awareness on TB related cases.

    He said the project will also deal away with incidences where they receive critically-ill patients because there will be now close monitoring and sensitization meetings with the communities.

    “The project ,I must say, will also clear out misconceptions that most people here have. You may wish to note that most people think that a TB patient is also infected with HIV/AIDS but this is not the case. It is our hope therefore as government that the coming in of this project will raise awareness on the difference between HIV/AIDS and TB,” said Chiwenkha.

    According to Chiwenkha, before the coming in of this project they in the first quarter which is between January to March registered 69 TB cases whereas between April and June, they had 46 cases.

    “It is my hope that with the coming of volunteers that Catholic Health Commission has trained, they will be able to link well with our Health Surveillance Assistants and eventually fight against TB. I have already noted that these volunteers are eager to work because so far I am receiving a lot of phone calls from Health Centres requesting for TB treatment and testing materials,” he said.

    Catholic Health Commission is implementing the project in Mzimba. Nkhatabay, Likoma, Rumphi, Karonga and Chitipa in the Northern Region and Lilongwe, Nchisi, Dowa and Kasungu in the Central region.

    The total cost for the project is about 936,000 USD (approximately MK400,000,000.00) in two years.

    Source: Episcopal Conference of Malawi…

  • Archbishop in Kenya Calls for Prayer amid Rising Political Temperatures Several Months Before Elections

    CANAA || By Rose Achiego, Waumini Communications, KCCB || 10 October 2016

    archbishop kairo on political temperaturesArchbishop Peter Kairo of Nyeri in Kenya has called on Kenyans to pray for peace and tranquility amid rising political temperatures in the country, some 10 months before the next general elections slated for August 2017.

    Politicians in Kenya have engaged in very early campaigns, contributing to the rising of political temperatures across the country, some expressing fear of highly charged campaigns and potentially violent confrontations come 2017.

    Archbishop Kairo made the appeal Saturday, October 8, as he delivered his homily during the celebration of the Holy Eucharist to mark the National Annual Prayer Day at the Marian Shrine Subukia, in Nakuru.

    He cautioned Kenyans against repeating the mistakes that led to post election violence in 2007/2008 and encouraged the thousands of faithful who gathered at the Shrine to pray for free and fair general elections.

    He urged the contestants and political leaders to avoid dividing Kenyans along tribal lines during their campaigns.

    The Archbishop further called on Catholic Dioceses in the country to conduct civic education ahead of the general elections saying that this would enable Kenyans to vote for the right people without being compromised.

    “Tell other people not to sell their voters cards,” he advised.

    Quoting the theme of the day, “The Year of Mercy”, Archbishop Kairo called on all Christians to extend acts of mercy in their various capacities and to be instruments of peace in the nation beginning from the family.

    The acts of Mercy include; feeding the hungry, giving shelter to the homeless, visiting the sick and the homeless, giving alms to the poor and comforting the sorrowful.  “Wherever there is a Christian, everyone should find an oasis of Mercy,” he said.

    Among the concelebrants at the Holy Eucharist were KCCB Chairman Bishop Philip Anyolo of Homabay, KCCB Vice Chairman Bishop John Obala Owaa of Ngong, Bishop Maurice Muhatia Makumba of Nakuru, Bishop Dominic Kimengich of Lodwar, Bishop Joseph Mbatia of Nyahururu, Bishop Anthony Muheria of Kitui, Bishop Virgilio Pante of Maralal, and various priests, both diocesan and religious.  

    The National annual Prayer Day, which brought together more than 20,000 faithful from all over the Country, was organized by the Archdiocese of Nyeri in conjunction with the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) Commission for Liturgy and Commission for Pastoral and Lay Apostolate.

  • Pope Francis Names 17 New Cardinals, Three within African Territory

    CANAA || By Father Don Bosco Onyalla, Nairobi || 10 October 2016

    new cardinals designate 2016Pope Francis has named 17 new cardinals from 11 different countries, three of them ministering within the African territory: Archbishop Dieudonné Nzapalainga of Bangui in the Central African Republic (CAR), Bishop Emeritus Sebastian Koto Khoarai of Mohale's Hoek in Lesotho, and Archbishop Maurice Piat of Port-Louis on the island of Mauritius.

    The Pope made the announcement Sunday, October 9, during his weekly Sunday address that followed the noon-time Angelus prayer in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican.

    The Pope will elevate the new Cardinals on November 19, during the vigil of the conclusion of the Jubilee year of mercy to be marked on Sunday, November 20, on the Solemnity of Christ the King.

    At the age of 49, Cardinal-designate Dieudonné Nzapalainga of Bangui will become the youngest Catholic Cardinal globally, taking the slot held by Soane Patita Paini Cardinal Mafi of Tonga in the Oceania Pacific who will be turning 55 on 19 December 2016.

    Known to be a defender of peace in CAR, the Cardinal-designate will also become the first Cardinal ever in his country.

    He belongs to the Missionary Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers (Spiritans). Since his ordination to the priesthood in 1998, he ministered in Marseilles in France as a chaplain at the St. Francis de Sales house and at the Parish of St. Jerome. He returned to CAR from France in 2005. A year later, he was elected the Spiritan Regional Superior for his region.

    The Cardinal-designate became the Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Bangui following the resignation of Archbishop Paulin Pomodimo in 2009. He was ordained Bishop in July 2012.

    Other Prelates to become Cardinals in ecclesial territories that have never had a cardinal include Archbishop Patrick D'Rozario of Dhaka, Bangladesh, and Archbishop John Ribat of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

    Pope Francis also named Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin the first cardinal elector of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis; Archbishop Baltazar Porras Cardozo the first cardinal elector of Merida, Venezuela; and Archbishop Carlos Aguiar Retes the first archbishop of Tlalnepantla, Mexico, to be a cardinal elector.

    Aged 87, Bishop Emeritus Sebastian Koto Khoarai of Mohale’s Hoek in Lesotho retired in February 2014 having served as Bishop since April 1978.

    Another Prelate named Cardinal within the African territory is Bishop Maurice Piat of Port-Louis on the island of Mauritius, also a member of the missionary Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers.

    Aged 75, Bishop Piat has been serving as Bishop since May 1991.

    An island nation in the Indian Ocean and situated some 2,000 kilometres off the southeast coast of Africa, Mauritius gained her independence from Great Britain on 12 March 1968 and became a Republic on 12 March 1992.

    Cardinal-designate Maurice Piat who is the Bishop of Port Louis, the capital of the Republic of Mauritius, has been quoted as telling Vatican Radio soon after the Pope’s announcement on Sunday that he is “very thankful to Pope Francis for having called me to such a responsibility. I am very touched by the trust he puts in me which is far from being deserved. I am at his disposal for whatever service he will ask of me…”

    13 out of the 17 Cardinals-designate are able to take part in the election of a new Pope in conclave since they are under the age of 80.

    Cardinals are usually senior Catholic prelates serving as Archbishops or Bishops in the world's largest Archdioceses or dioceses or in the Vatican's central bureaucracy.

    They have the unique role of gathering in the secret conclave to elect a new Pope.

    Below is the full list of the Cardinals-designate Pope Francis named on Sunday

    Monsignor Mario Zenari, Vatican ambassador to Syria.

    Monsignor Dieudonné Nzapalainga, archbishop of Bangui, Central African Republic.

    Monsignor Carlos Osoro Sierra, archbishop of Madrid.

    Monsignor Sérgio da Rocha, archbishop of Brasilia, Brazil.

    Monsignor Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago.

    Monsignor Patrick D’Rozario, archbishop of Dhaka, Bangladesh.

    Monsignor Baltazar Enrique Porras Cardozo, archbishop of Merida, Venezuela.

    Monsignor Jozef De Kesel, archbishop of Malines-Brussels, Belgium.

    Monsignor Maurice Piat, archbishop of Port Louis, Mauritius.

    Monsignor Kevin Joseph Farrell, outgoing archbishop of Dallas and new prefect of the Vatican dicastry for laity, family and life.

    Monsignor Carlos Aguiar Retes, archbishop of Tlalnepantla, Mexico.

    Monsignor John Ribat, archbishop of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

    Monsignor Joseph William Tobin, archbishop of Indianapolis.

    Cardinals named Sunday by Pope Francis who are over age 80 and thus ineligible to vote in a conclave:

    Monsignor Anthony Soter Fernandez, emeritus archbishop of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

    Monsignor Renato Corti, emeritus archbishop of Novara, Italy.

    Monsignor Sebastian Koto Khoarai, emeritus bishop of Mohale’s Hoek, Lesotho.

    Rev. Ernest Simoni, presbyter of the archdiocese of Shkodrë-Pult, Albania.

  • Church in Malawi Expresses Commitment to Care for the Environment

    Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) || By Prince Henderson || 30 September 2016

    church in malawi for environmentA week-long Summer School workshop which was organized by the University of Perugia of the Archdiocese of Perugia and Friends of Malawi in Italy through the Social Development’s Catholic Development Commission in Malawi (CADECOM) of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) ended on Friday (today) at Msamba Pastoral Centre in Lilongwe.

    The Summer School Workshop drew together participants from different sectors of ECM including Bishops, Catholic Secretariat and Diocesan Staff members mainly from CADECOM; academicians and students drawn from the Catholic University of Malawi (CUNIMA) and Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resource (LUANAR) and government officials.

    Archbishop Thomas Luke Msusa, Chairman of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi officially opened the workshop on Monday.

    In his speech, Archbishop Msusa said the workshop was timely as it was in line with what World Leaders agreed in 2015 to adopt 17 Sustainable Development Goals as global development aspirations for the period 2015-2030.

    He said Sustainable Development Goals are development aspirations which do not only seek to meet the development needs of the present generation but also promote the utilization of the natural resources and the entire ecosystem to meet the needs of the next generation.

    “That means; we do not only think of what is good for me, for us today……but we also think of our future children…. the next generation, that’s the way of being human,” he said.

    According to His Grace Msusa, the international Summer School, which was aimed at addressing the Sustainable Management and Promotion of Territory, resonates well with the Holy Father’s Encyclical called Laudato Si, on the Care of our Common Home.

    He said the impacts of Climate Change have not only hit hard on the agricultural production, but worse still the production machinery is heavily affected.

    “Therefore, protection of the environmental resources, landscape, Bio-diversity would need to be taken seriously,”said Msusa who is the Archbishop of Blantyre Archdiocese.

    For his part,Director of Crop Development in the Ministry of Agriculture,Irrigation and Water Development,Dr. Godfrey Ching’oma commended the Malawi Catholic Church  through its developmet arm,CADECOM for the role it plays in protecting the environment,promoting food security and empowering communities with various strategies to improve their livelihood.

    Ching’oma encouraged the Catholic Church to put into practice the recommendations to be agreed upon after the workshop hence share with his Ministry and promised to act upon them accordingly.

    Facilitators of the workshop included Professor Adriano Ciani from the Department of Agricultural, Foods and Environmental Sciences at the University of Perugia, Mr. Tamani Nkhono-Mvula from Civil Society Agriculture Network (CISANET) and Dr. David Mkwabisi from LUANAR.

    A representative of Friends of Malawi in the Archdiocese of Perugia,Lara Taglieri said her organization which has been working in Malawi for the past 30 years especially in Zomba Diocese where they have some projects.

    “For instance, we have nursery schools, Thondwe Technical College, Medical Centre and Pilimiti hospital,all in the diocese of Zomba.Thats why we also thought of collaborating with Professor Ciani in this program of Summer School,” she said.

    Professor Ciani said the workshop has been interesting,exciting and important hence feels ECM through CADECOM will come up with a road map to addressing effects of climate change in Malawi and become a shining example to the rest of Africa.

    Over 50 members including Archbishops Tarcizious Ziyaye,Msusa and Bishop Peter Musikuwa,Montfort Stima attended the Summer School workshop.

    Source: Episcopal Conference of Malawi…

  • Nigerian Bishop Consoles Flock Terrorized by Fulani Herdsmen

    Vatican Radio || By Father Paul Samasumo || 02 October 2016

    nigerian bishops consoles terrorized flockJust as Nigerians were beginning to see the tide start to turn against Boko Haram militants, a relatively new menace has arisen. Nigeria now has to grapple with the increase in violent clashes blamed on Fulani herdsmen. Communities in Nigeria, particularly those in the North Central and Southern states of Nigeria are coming under constant attacks.

    On 25 April this year, suspected Fulani herdsmen launched perhaps one of their deadliest attacks ever in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State. They attacked seven villages of Nimbo Ngwoko, Ugwuijoro, Ekwuru, Ebor, Enugu Nimbo, Umuome and Ugwuachara. Several houses, Churches, vehicles and animals were destroyed. The number of those killed varies. Local media spoke of a bloodbath in which 60 persons were killed. Others put the figure at 150 persons. Since then attacks, though not a similar scale, have continued on a regular basis.

    A few days ago, on 26 September, suspected Fulani herdsmen were said to have been behind the kidnap of the Rector of Nigeria’s Tansi Major Seminary, Fr. Emmanuel Dim. When he was kidnapped, Fr. Emmanuel was travelling in a vehicle from Nssuka together with two other priests. Fr. Dim was later released. Church authorities said no ransom was paid. Fr. Dim’s two companions were said to be nursing injuries.

    The Bishop of Nsukka Diocese in Nigeria, Godfrey Igwebuike Onah has found himself at the centre of it all by virtue of being the shepherd of the diocese.

    In a candid interview with Vatican Radio’s Africa Service, Bishop Onah said he is not entirely satisfied with the response of the Federal Government of Nigeria to the growing insecurity in the area.

    “We have a Northerner, a Fulani, Moslem as President. For his own credibility in the country, he needs to come out clearly and firmly … clearly and firmly and protect the lives of Nigerians no matter where they live,” Bishop Onah said.

    The Bishop, however, expressed sympathy for security personnel in Nigeria.

    “In all fairness to the Police in Nigeria, we see them expose themselves every day to great danger without much to show for it in terms of equipment or even remuneration and one would not blame them if they run at the first possibility. Many of them have been heroic…,” Bishop Onah adds.

    Asked about an appropriate Church response under the circumstances, Bishop Onah says he is bewildered that the insecurity is not being brought under control.

    “The Church finds itself in a very difficult situation. One; we are providing immediate solace and comfort to those who are constantly terrorised and butchered without respect by fellow Nigerians, supposedly…then (we also) are preaching to Nigerians and the government to do the right thing for the conversion of hearts and accept the fact that we are all Nigerians within a multi-ethnic and multi-religious environment,” said Bishop Onah.

    Bishop Onah also criticised foreign governments who profit from the “so-called” Small Arms and Light Weapons sold to Africa and for politics that lead to the impoverishment of Africa. He had these words: “The world has everything to gain from a stable, wealthy Africa because, by the time you have hundreds of young people who have nothing to lose because they have been impoverished, every part of the world will feel their anger because you cannot negotiate with a person who has nothing to lose.

    Source: Vatican Radio…

  • DR Congo Church Suspends Mediation Bid amid Rising Tension

    Catholic News Service (CNS) || 06 October 2016

    church in drc out of mediationThe Catholic Church has pulled out of a national dialogue in Congo.

    "Only an inclusive dialogue which respects the constitutional order will provide a framework for resolving our crisis," said Archbishop Marcel Utembi Tapa of Kisangani, president of the Congolese bishops' conference. "A large part of our fellow citizens will not feel themselves affected by a compromise which fails to obtain real solutions."

    The statement was published Oct. 3 as Congo's main opposition leaders boycotted talks in the capital.

    The church's representative at the national dialogue, Msgr. Donatien Nshole, told Voice of America Oct. 1 the bishops' conference believed President Joseph Kabila should not be seeking a third term and would not sign an accord that failed "to engage all political actors" and "respect the constitutional order."

    Archbishop Utembi said the church had urged the government to meet opposition preconditions, including the release of political prisoners and return of seized media, and would continue pressing for "a wide consensus."

    In August, the Catholic bishops' conference launched a mediation plan after opposition leaders accused Kabila of seeking to keep power by delaying autumn elections.

    The pope expressed concern about the crisis during a 20-minute meeting with Kabila at the Vatican Sept. 26, a week after security forces dispersed opposition protesters in Kinshasa, killing 49 and injuring and arresting hundreds more. A Vatican statement said both sides had underlined the need for "a respectful and inclusive dialogue" among politicians, civil society representatives and religious communities.

    However, speaking Oct. 4, Kabila confirmed he favored postponing the elections. Congo's electoral commission warned revising electoral lists could take until November 2018.

    Up to 6 million people died in a series of 1995-2003 wars in Congo, formerly Zaire, where armed groups have exploited a lack of stable government to plunder natural resources.

  • Offer African Youth Access to Sacred Texts, Pope Tells Vodafone

    Catholic Herald || By Carol Glatz || 05 October 2016

    pope to vodafone for sacred texts in africaPope Francis praised Vodafone's charitable work but encouraged the company to provide access to religious texts

    Pope Francis praised Vodafone for providing African children, particularly refugees, access to online educational resources.

    But he also called on them to offer “digital access to the sacred texts of various religions” in local languages, saying it “would be a beautiful sign of care for the religious dimension so deeply rooted among African peoples, and a sign also of encouraging interreligious dialogue.”

    The pope’s remarks came during an audience on October 5 with representatives of the Vodafone Foundation and the managing director of the Vodafone Group, who explained their Instant Schools for Africa programme to the Pope.

    Launched this autumn, the initiative provides a “digital school in a box.” One hard-shell wheelie suitcase contains a 3G modem, 25 tablets, a laptop, a projector, speakers and a battery charging station, according to the Vodafone Group. The kit provides free access to online educational resources for students in central Africa, ages 7-20.

    The “instant classrooms” were also being distributed to schools in refugee settlements in Kenya, Tanzania and Congo in partnership with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Millions of children spend an average of 17 years displaced from their homes and with limited access to education, the Vodafone Foundation said. It said it hoped to reach at least 62,000 children and young people in refugee settlements by the end of 2016.

    Pope Francis wished them success with their project, “which from what I have heard, I like a lot.”

    He said he liked that it was something “constructive, and today we need to be constructive, to do things that lead humanity ahead, and not merely look on as bombs fall on innocent people, children, the sick, entire cities.”

    “Build, do not destroy,” he said.

    He noted the project was a part of wider public and private efforts “to promote a more inclusive and supportive world.”

    He expressed his appreciation for the initiative and suggested they “provide these young people with some orientation in methodology, so that they can learn not only how to use tools, but how to use them as tools, thus enabling them to bring out the best of these means in a free and critical way.”

    Source: Catholic Herald…

  • ‘Boko Haram will soon fizzle out’, Says Nigerian Bishop

    Catholic Herald || By Dan Hitchens || 03 October 2016

    nigerian bishop on boko haram fizzling outBishop Oliver Dashe Doeme of Maiduguri said the terrorist group have been pushed back

    The Nigerian bishop who launched a rosary campaign to defend his people against Boko Haram says the terrorist group ‘will soon fizzle out’.

    Speaking to the Catholic Herald, Bishop Oliver Dashe Doeme of Maiduguri said: “Before, Boko Haram members were everywhere. But now they are not everywhere. They have been pushed to the forests.” He added: “Boko Haram will soon fizzle out, mostly because of the prayers of the people.”

    In 2014, Bishop Doeme says he had a vision of Christ handing him a sword which, as soon as he received it, turned into a rosary. Christ then repeated the words: “Boko Haram is gone”, which Bishop Doeme interpreted as an invitation to spread devotion to the rosary.

    The bishop encouraged daily rosary processions throughout the diocese, in schools, homes and parishes.

    Since then, Boko Haram has suffered repeated setbacks. In December, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, who took office last year, said the terrorist group had been “technically defeated” because they were no longer able to mount conventional attacks, and because people who had been displaced by Boko Haram’s attacks were now returning to their former neighbourhoods.

    The diocese of Maiduguri has been at the centre of Boko Haram’s attacks. In 2014, more than 80,000 Catholics have been displaced by Boko Haram’s attacks; more than 25 priests and 45 nuns had to flee.

    Now, many of the displaced are returning, and Bishop Doeme says caring for returnees is a bigger challenge than terrorist violence. Many homes, crops and livestock have been destroyed by Boko Haram in the last few years.

    In an interview to be published in this week’s Catholic Herald, Bishop Doeme says history shows that the saying of the rosary “has worked wonders, and has liberated nations”. He instances the Battle of Lepanto in 1571, when the Ottoman Empire was defeated, and the Phillippines in 1986, when President Marcos was deposed. Both events have been attributed to the power of the rosary.

    Bishop Doeme says he believes Christ appeared to him in 2014 “in order to console his people, that His Mother is there for us.” The bishop says the vision encouraged the people of Maiduguri “that the rosary would ultimately give us victory over this evil. Boko Haram is evil, ISIS is evil. So as long as we go to a place with His Mother, especially by praying the rosary, which is the most pronounced form of Marian devotion, we will be victorious.”

    Source: Catholic Herald…

  • Advocacy Group in Ghana Urges Youth to Shun Political Conflicts Ahead of General Elections

    CANAA || By Damian Avevor || 03 October 2016

    ndf in ghana against conflictsThe Northern Development Forum (NDF), an advocacy group in Ghana, has called on the youth of the three Northern Regions of the country to ignore any person or group of people who attempt to use them to foster conflicts just to achieve their parochial political ambitions.

    Ghana is experiencing political campaigns ahead of the Presidential and Parliamentary elections scheduled for December 7, 2016.

    Dr. Hakeem Wemah, Chairman of the NDF appealed for dialogue with all Political Parties who were seeking the mandate of Ghanaians to govern the country.

    “We would like to meet with the leadership of the registered political parties for them to elaborate on the development programme that they intend to roll out for the three northern regions of Ghana,” he noted, expressing the hope to have an interaction with these Parties on October 20.

    Launching the Northern Ghana Development Status Report dubbed: Sustaining the Northern Ghana Development Agenda in Ghana’s Public Domain, in Accra on September 29, Dr. Wemah, noted that one of the major goals of NDF is unity and peace for efficient and effective development.

    The launching, attended by members of the NDF, Development partners, Diplomatic Missions, Political Parties and Religious Bodies, was to draw attention to the general public through the publication of the Report, the status of the three Northern Regions.

    “It is about providing opportunities for all; it is about upholding fundamental human rights nurtured by good governance; it is about addressing inequalities, sustainability, equilibrium, tranquility and national cohesion.”

    He lamented that though Ghana is one of the few African countries that had not experienced large-scale violence or civil war since independence, the most persistent violence were in the three Northern Regions.

    As one of the few African countries that has not experienced large-scale violence or civil war since independence, he said Ghana was generally considered a stable and peaceful country within the West African sub-region.

    “Ghana has even played an important role in peacekeeping assignments in other countries and welcomed a significant number of refugees from some war-torn West African States, he added.

    He said despite being seen as a beacon of hope for democracy, good governance, and stability in Africa, Ghana was still plagued by pockets of violence emanating from ethnic tensions, resource based conflict, religious differences, chieftaincy disputes and political mayhem that has claimed lives and destroyed the homes and property of many victims.

    He noted that “the so called Northern conflict that occurred in 1994 mainly in the eastern corridor of the Northern Region of Ghana, although not the first of such occurrence in the Region, was nevertheless the most widespread and devastating of its kind.”

    The NDF Chairman mentioned some main factors that might be identified as the sources and causes of conflicts in most parts of Northern Ghana which were  Ethnicity, Religion, Language, Land and Chieftaincy but partisan politics provided the spark that ignites the keg of conflicts.

    He noted that the conflict resolution and management interventions implemented in Northern Ghana to date had yielded only short term stability, partly because they had not addressed the root causes of the conflicts such as poverty, unemployment, human rights abuses, weak governance, and inequality (and encompassed in inequality, feelings that local residents have described as struggles for recognition, respect, and self-esteem).

    He said addressing root causes of conflict for sustained peace is a long-term objective that involves the promotion of inclusive development, which could reduce inequalities between groups and help diminish the likelihood of violent conflicts.

  • South Sudanese Bishop Accuses Leaders of Carelessness, Causing War and Suffering

    Radio Tamazuj-Juba || 27 September 2016

    bishop santo on leaders carelessnessA top Roman Catholic bishop in South Sudan has decried the cause of war in the country, asserting that carelessness brings curse and suffering to the people. Santo Laku, auxiliary bishop of the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Juba told Christians during a homily after nearly a month of being out of church service that it was time for the leaders to stop spreading lies that there is peace in the country and that people are not suffering.

    “There is no need to tell lies. Lies do not serve us. They do not help us. This country is getting down. We need to get up and stand strong and say God help us to carve a new way, rather than denying the suffering of the people.”

    He continued: “We cannot deny the suffering of these people. How many young men and women are in prison today uncharged? People are locked in containers uncharged. This country can only be built on justice. When somebody commits anything, he should be brought in front of the law, according to the constitution, although our constitution is also sick with Malaria.”

    His remarks come just days after South Sudan first Vice President, Taban Deng, addressed the general assembly of the United Nations at which he opposed deployment of the regional protection forces, claiming the country was peaceful and was only in need of humanitarian assistance instead of peacekeepers.

    The outspoken bishop called on South Sudanese to share the blessing of the country rather than stealing the money for personal benefit.

    He said the Lord called the people to share the blessing bestowed on humanity and leaders should uphold to the commandment of God giving the blessing for charity.

    “Social charity is a direct demand of humans and Christian brotherhood and sisterhood. Human and Christian Brotherhood existed long time. God is demanding all from Human beings social Justice. Today there is wide spread disregard for the law of human solidarity and charity as we can see dictated by our common origin in the rationale nature of human beings. There is something very important in our life that makes us human,” he explained.

    He said people of South Sudan like the people of Israel at the time of prophet Amos lack moral and religious responsibility causing death and displacement of thousands of residents all over the country.

    “We were bestowed with a lot of resources when we came in 2005; we voted for independence, we had oil, resources which other countries do not have. What happened with these resources, many people are poor today or rich? Where is the oil money? Who has taken them? What is the money used for? If I ask these questions they say the bishop is talking politics.”

    The bishop pointed that South Sudanese are suffering and fighting is ongoing due to what he called the carelessness of the country’s leadership.

    “Carelessness brings a curse and brings suffering. The suffering of our country today is because of the carelessness of the leaders. Whether the leaders of the church or the leaders of the country, we have been careless and because of this carelessness now there is suffering.”

    The religious leader said South Sudan only measured its progress by personal economic prosperity and forgot the moral prosperity which he said is weak, causing unnecessary ongoing evil in the new nation.

    “True health of the society cannot be measured merely by economic prosperity. We have seen it already. It must be assessed by the moral performance of the community of the nation. Our prosperity of having the oil was not enough. Our moral responsibility has been weak,” he pointed out.

    “That is why we are able to rape women and children. We rape them our sisters, South Sudanese. This is a poor moral responsibility that we lost. We are able to kill our own brothers and sisters. Why?” he asked.

    “Because of oil, because of money, because of resources. Who gave us those resources, God. We start dividing ourselves into ethnic lines, political lines and we start destroying our nation.”

    He said justice in all forms is essential for a proper functioning of a society. “If there is no justice in a society, in a community, then there is no social harmony. No peace. Why we are fighting today, why there is war in the country today because there is injustice and this has to be ‘injustice in capital letters.’

    The perpetrators of social injustice in South Sudan, he explained, confuse their time by hypocritical religious acts such as by attending religious functions so that the public looks at them as holy.

    “Those who perpetrate injustice they always come to church. They sit in front line. They ask for choirs to go and sing in their family. They move with the bible, with the cross and you think they are men of God, ‘Welle!’ No!”

    He said in South Sudan there is at highest level ongoing corruption, embezzlement, injustices, oppression of the poor, flight of the capital including the Bank reserves. This, he said, accounts for the country’s instability.

    “If the rich get richer at the expense of the poor who continue to sink into abject poverty and the poorest person in the world is found in South Sudan and one of the richest is found in South Sudan. How did this man become so rich and another become so poor that even and his grass house is torched.”

    “Somebody has a Mansion, a building that is of multi-million dollars in South Sudan and a South Sudanese who has only a tukul, the tukul soldiers are sent to burn that tukul. So what kind of country is this? What is happening? The poor is even made poorer. He is deprived even of a grass house. The elite prosper educationally. They educate their family members at the expense of the nation. They build Mansions with stolen money. They pay unjust wages and continue the exploitation of the poor on day-to-day basis.”

    He said people are paid low wages that do not even feed a single family member at the current market prices for a month. The economy, he said, is made to suit the interest of the rich who have houses all over in the world, saying those who remain in power leaving their population suffering in poverty should be condemned. He said some church leaders in South Sudan are afraid to tell the country leaders they are wrong but rather go to the palace to bless them.

    “How many of our preachers today went to those palaces and blessed those corrupt leaders? How many of them? You become afraid to tell them that they’re wrong,” he said.

    “Our people are dying, our people are suffering, there is no peace in the country, there is no freedom of speech, there is no freedom of movement, there is insecurity, Gali (that) we are in peace, the religious leaders saying that isn’t you, is it true that we are in peace?”

    “And yet this religious leader cannot go to Yei by himself. In our country today the song of peace has been sung but the injustices have not been addressed. You cannot sing the song of peace without addressing the injustices caused on the people. How can you burn my tukul and you ask me to be peaceful and you do not allow me to go and cut the grass to build another tukul. How?”

    “You burn the tukul, you send me away, but give me an opportunity to go and collect the grass so that I build another tukul. But if I am not allowed to go and collect the grass yet my tukul is gone and I am told to be peaceful, even a mad man cannot accept this.”

    In South Sudan people fear to keep silent when told to say Oyeee (SPLM slogan) just to protect their jobs.

    Bishop Laku welcomed The Sentry report and said it is a shame to be millionaire among the poor.

    “If you are a thief, there are people who are more thieves like you. So the mujiremin (thieves) of the world are now looking for the stolen money of South Sudan. I hope my name will not be among those ones. If your name is among those ones be careful. The money is being looked after, is being looked for now.”

    “Is it not a shame somebody is a millionaire in South Sudan and there is a young boy, a young girl in the streets looking for one pound and cannot find it and nobody can give to that boy, to that girl that one pound. I want to be rich. I need to have houses everywhere. My children should be the only ones to go to school. The rest of the children, let them go to hell. No,” the bishop said.

    The Holy Bishop Santo Laku asked South Sudanese to be merciful to each other as the only way to enjoy the country and to reduce quarrels among the communities.

    Source: Radio Tamazuj… 

  • Bishops in DR Congo Press for Broader Participation in National Dialogue

    Vatican Radio || By Vatican Radio/AP || 02 October 2016

    bishops in drc for broader participationCatholic Bishops in the Democratic Republic of Congo Saturday issued a communique clarifying reasons for suspending their participation in the ongoing national dialogue. Last week, the Catholic Bishops withdrew from the national dialogue after clashes that started on 20 September lead to deaths in the capital Kinshasa.  

    According to a Conférence Episcopale Nationale du Congo (CENCO) statement, the Bishops want broader participation and conditions that are more inclusive before they can rejoin the dialogue.

    “The bishops continue to support this dialogue, but wish that all parties, including minorities, are represented,” read the statement circulated to the French Africa Service of Vatican Radio.

    The Bishops’ statement came on the same day as the AP news agency quoted  Congo's electoral commission President saying a national election, originally scheduled for November this year, was now likely to take place at the end of 2018, a two-year delay. The announcement from the electoral body is likely to cause more unrest in the country.

    Corneille Nangaa said Saturday that voter registration lists wouldn't be ready until July 2017 and the commission then needs 504 days to organise the vote. His comments come after dozens died last week in Kinshasa when security forces clashed with anti-government demonstrators opposed to the Presidential election delay.

    President Joseph Kabila's political future has been a source of tension. His mandate was supposed to end in December. Opposition leaders accuse him of delaying elections to keep power.

    A high court has said Kabila can stay in office until a new leader is elected.

    Source: Vatican Radio…

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Video: Kamba Peace Museum - Machakos

 

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