• canaa-new-banner-1f.jpg
  • canaa-new-banner-2f.jpg
  • canaa-new-banner-3f.jpg
  • canaa-new-banner-4f.jpg
  • canaa-new-banner-5f.jpg
Filter
  • Caritas Feeding School Children in Drought-Stricken Zimbabwe

    Vatican Radio || By Linda Bordoni || 27 September 2016

    caritas zimbabwe feeds children 2016Zimbabwe is one of several Southern African countries affected by the El Niño weather system that’s led to unusual weather patterns and 21 million people in need of food aid.

    In some of the worst-hit parts of the country, between a half and two-thirds of households are going hungry. 

    The situation is expected to get even worse in the coming months as the ‘lean’ season started months too early after crops failed in the devastating drought.

    Caritas is feeding school children and poor farming families in some of the worse hit regions. But – as Caritas Internationalis communications director, Patrick Nicholson, who recently travelled to some of those areas, explains: a lot more assistance is needed from outside the country to prevent hundreds of deaths by hunger…

    “When you travel through Zimbabwe you just see field after field of burnt-out straw, all the maize fields completely bare and all the granaries empty” Nicholson says, “and this is in a period when they should be full”.

    He says that as we move into what is traditionally the ‘lean’ season in December and January when you would expect people to have less, they are going to be in a real desperate situation: “they’ve run out of food months ago, they’ve spent all their money, they’ve sold all their cattle, so they are going to have no resources, no safety net to fall back on to be able to feed their families”.

    Nicholson says unfortunately many of these people are turning to negative coping mechanisms in the desperate attempt to survive and he speaks of one woman he personally met who had become a prostitute living in a terrible situation: “she was HIV positive, some of her children were HIV positive and rest of the family was affected, and the amount of money that she could earn was insufficient anyway”.

    Other negative coping mechanisms include sending children out into the forest to forage for food, wild berries and mice instead of sending them to school, or the large numbers of people who are leaving the country to seek work in places like South Africa.

    “So as well as the drought and the El Nino effect, you have a complete economic crisis where civil servants aren’t being paid,  employees in mining companies haven’t been paid for years, and the whole country is at breaking point” he says.

    Nicholson speaks of how tragic it is to witness the devastation of what was a rich and fertile nation – “the bread basket of Africa – which has not become the “basket case” of Africa.

    He explains that there was an injustice in terms of land rights, but the result of the reforms has been that the farms have all collapsed.

    “The reasons for this are still problems with land ownership, kleptocracy, and corruption on a massive scale” he says.

    Nicholson says about one third of the population is currently food insecure – a phenomenon that has peaked from June and July onwards: “that’s 4.5 million people – so there’s a big gap in terms of what the country needs to be able to feed itself and what it’s got”.

    “It really needs international aid, it needs support from outside the country otherwise we are going to be seeing people really, really struggling to eat” he says.

    Nicholson talks about the Caritas School programme in Zimbabwe thanks to which schoolchildren get a meal a day “which is great because it means the children come to school, it means that when they are at school they can concentrate, it means they are healthy”.

    “We are also helping vulnerable families by transferring cash to them over their mobile telephone networks” so they can buy food, they can pay for school fees  or medical fees, and part of that is to keep them from leaving their farms and keep them from turning to negative coping mechanisms and, importantly, they can plant for the next season.

    Nicholson speaks of the Caritas appeal which was launched earlier this year and says the organization is having huge problems in obtaining funding for Zimbabwe. 

    “The appeal is only half funded – for example in one place I went to – Gokwe – instead of feeding 7,000 people we can only feed 300 people. The schools we went to – it was extraordinary to see these incredibly poor children whose clothes are held together by bits of wire – and the teachers were saying ‘these are the lucky ones’ because these are the 7 schools we are feeding. The other schools in the neighborhood aren’t getting any food at all, so these are really lucky children” he says.

    Nicholson reiterates his appeal to everyone to support the fundraising campaign for Zimbabwe and for other countries across Southern Africa where the El Nino effect is pushing people onto the edge of survival.

    He points out that possibly all the other emergencies around the globe at the moment are possibly overshadowing the crisis in Southern Africa. He also speaks of a certain complacency that has set in as we have become ‘used’ to seeing people in Africa going hungry or not having enough food to eat.

    “The one thing we need to do is to change the conversation: we can’t just give aid to hungry families in Africa, we have to ensure they can feed themselves, we have to give them the right to food and that means real changes in the way the food system around the world is governed” he says.

    The people of Zimbabwe, Nicholson concludes, are special: so full of humanity that despite the dire circumstances they are able to celebrate their lives and their loved ones and communicate the joy of life.

    Click here for further information on the Caritas campaign for Zimbabwe. 

    Source: Vatican Radio…

  • Bishops in South Africa Call upon Private Sector to Increase Support to Make Education Affordable

    SACBC || By Bishop William Slattery || 27 September 2016

    sacbc for affordable higher educationThe Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference, SACBC, has noted the interim arrangements announced by the Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr B E Nzimande, on the affordability of university education.

    Minister Nzimande announced that universities and colleges should not increase their fees by no more than 8% in 2017. He further said there would be no increase for students with loans from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).

    He also announced that the government will subsidise those with a household incomes of up to R600000 per annum, so that there would be no fee increased in the year 2017.

    We hope that the Presidential Commission of Enquiry into Higher Education will come with a realistic plan of making it possible for the poor and working class families to have access to higher education after the year 2017.

    Whilst the interim measures by government provide no lasting solution to the funding model for our education system, we call for special attention to be given to poor students who’re unable or struggling to even pay for their fees presently.

    We appreciate the sentiment of Minister Nzimande that: “We cannot subsidize the child of a cleaner or unemployed person in the same way as we subsidise the child of an advocate, doctor or investment banker”. The reality is that there are those who will need total subsidy from government.

    We acknowledge that the interim measures by government will not be welcomed by everyone and call for open and honest dialogue amongst all stakeholders to find a way forward.

    We condemn the escalation of campus violence and vandalism which is destroying the assets invested to educate future leaders for the whole nation.

    The violence we are witnessing will bring more harm to our nation than good. We call for greater ethical leadership from all stakeholders, including those dealing with law and order.

    We call upon the private sector to look into other ways of increasing their financial support to make education affordable to the poor and working class families.

    Issued at Khanya House: 27/09/2016

    For More information contact: Bishop William Slattery: 0124602055

    Source: The Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference…

  • Church Leader in Ghana Encourages Holding Fast to Catholic Identity in Public

    CANAA || By Damian Avevor || 29 September 2016

    catholic identity in public in ghana 2016The national spiritual director of Our Mother of Perpetual Help Confraternity in Ghana, Rev. Msgr. Joseph Agoha, has called on Ghanaian Catholics not to hide their identity in public and instead give unambiguous witness to their faith wherever they are.

    He lamented that Catholics are often afraid to make the sign of the cross in public places, while some shy away from praying the Angelus in public transport vehicles and offices, and that some even avoid hanging crucifixes in their homes and places of work.

    During a three-day pilgrimage by about 600 devotees of the Confraternity to the St. Mary Sanctuary/Grotto at Buoho in the Konongo-Mampong Diocese, he asked the pilgrims to defend their identity, preserve it, and carry it forward.

    The pilgrimage from September 23 to 25 was on the theme: Blessed are the Merciful for they Shall Obtain Mercy.

    The Pilgrims were at the Grotto for spiritual enhancement and to introduce the Confraternity and the devotions to Our Mother of Perpetual Help to the Ashanti Region.

    Msgr. Agoha said it behoved Catholics to be steadfast in their faith and defend themselves from all efforts to dilute their Catholic identity by non-Catholics.

    He urged Catholics to take pride in the Cross of Jesus and devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary which the Church professes and held in high esteem.

    He advised the pilgrims to believe and live in the Cross, which was a sign of victory and be ready to carry the Cross to follow Jesus, calling on them to imbibe with the teachings of the Church and its practices so that they might not be swayed from them.

    The Spiritual Director urged the pilgrims to always endeavour to have the crucifix in their homes and work places to proclaim the victory of the Cross, admonishing them to seek spiritual advice and counselling from Catholic Priests instead of charlatans, who would only extort from them.

    He lamented that of late some Catholics rarely visited the confessional due to reasons known to them, entreating them not to avoid it since it was the place where sins were absolved.

    During the Stations of the Cross, there was a rare phenomenon of the partial appearance of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Blessed Sacrament in the dancing Sun, where the pilgrims lifted up their hands in prayer while others waved their handkerchiefs.

    Msgr. Agoha explained to the pilgrims that the rare phenomenon was a call on Catholics to intensify their devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary who would always interceded on behalf of mankind.

    In a homily during the closing Mass on September 25, Msgr. Agoha lamented that the desire for material wealth had become the root of evil and had led many people to do evil, urging Christians not to allow wealth to become the source of temptation.

    He advised them to avoid materialistic tendencies and entreated them to shun the tendency of accumulating wealth for themselves but be ready build treasures in Heaven and help the needy and underprivileged.

    Rev. Fr. Gerard Kofi Massey, a Redemptorist Priest working in the Ho Diocese in Ghana, advised the pilgrims to stop chasing Pastors of other Churches and anointing oils for deliverance but rather intensify their prayers in the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary

    The Confraternity is currently made up of Catholics from all ethnic groups from the Accra Archdiocese, Keta-Akatsi, Ho, and Koforidua Dioceses.

    The Confraternity of Our Mother of Perpetual Help is one of the most well-known devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ and is being promoted by Redemptorist Priests and lay faithful, seek to help others know and love the Mother of God and Her Divine Son Jesus Christ.

    It was also established to spread the devotion to our Mother of Perpetual Help through participation in weekly prayer meeting, monthly novena, meetings, works of mercy (corporal and Spiritual), evangelization, conducting special events including Marian activities.

  • Pope Francis Awards High Medal to First African Ever at Vatican Radio: Tanzanian-Born Janeth Mhella

    Vatican Radio || By Father Paul Samasumo || 29 September 2016

    first african ever at vradio honored 2016Janeth Mhella of Vatican Radio’s Africa Service became the first African ever at Vatican Radio to be honoured by Pope Francis for having served the Pope and the Church diligently in her work at the radio. Mhella, from the KiSwahili language Service, was handed one of Pope Francis’ highest awards that can be given to a lay person.

    Also known as the "Cross of Honour," the medal and certificate were presented to Mhella by the Monsignor Dario Viganò, the Prefect of the Secretariat for Communication of the Holy See. Five other persons from the new dicastery, the Secretariat for Communication were also honoured.  

    Mhella’s “Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice” Medal which is Latin “For Church and Pope” is an award of the Catholic Church established by Pope Leo XIII in 1888. The award is for deserving clergy or lay persons and is given for services done for the Church and its head.

    Janeth Mhella is simply known to all her colleagues at Vatican Radio as Mama Mhella. She retires from the Radio at the end of October. 

    It all started more than twenty years ago, in 1992, when her husband, a Tanzanian diplomat, the late Joseph Mhella was posted to Rome by his government as Minister Counsellor and Permanent Representative to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

    In Tanzania, Mama Mhella had worked as a social worker first for the government and then for UNICEF. In Italy, with her husband, she suddenly found herself without a job and with long empty hours ahead of her. It was a new experience for one who was not used to being a stay-at-home mum.

    In 1993, the English Africa Service of Vatican Radio had started daily broadcasts of the day’s Gospel readings in KiSwahili. With children at school, a husband at work, Mama Mhella then decided to volunteer to read the daily Kiswahili readings for Vatican Radio. 

    In 1994, the KiSwahili Radio Programme was quickly becoming an established language of Vatican Radio. Mama Mhella was asked to come-in three times a week to help with translations. Her big break came in 1997 when she was employed on a full-time basis. The rest is history. 

    Twenty-three years later, Thursday, at the ceremony in her honour, the Director of Programmes at Vatican Radio, Fr. Andrea Majewski, SJ, read the citation before Monsignor Viganò handed over the medal and certificate.

    “Over the years Janeth has worked closely with various persons that have passed through the department. Today she can truly be considered one of the founders of the KiSwahili Service at Vatican Radio,” said Fr. Majewski as he read the citation.

    Apart from English, KiSwahili, a Bantu language is the lingua franca of East Africa. It is widely spoken in Tanzania and Kenya and some regions of Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mozambique. About 120 million people, if not more, are said to speak KiSwahili. 

    The KiSwahili Service of Vatican Radio produces a half-hour programme on the daily activities of the Pope, the Holy See and the Church in Africa. As with most Vatican Radio broadcasts, the daily bulletin is broadcast on the Shortwave frequency, the Vatican Radio podcast and is re-transmitted daily by more than 24 FM Catholic radio stations in Africa.

    Source: Vatican Radio… 

  • Stop Terrorizing Zimbabweans or We'll Impeach You, Church Leaders Tell Mugabe

    AllAfrica.com || By News24 26 September 2016

    mugabe told to stop terrorizing citizensHe's not as well-known as protest pastor Evan Mawarire. But this Zimbabwe church leader's brave plea to President Robert Mugabe to stop terrorising protesters or face impeachment may attract the attention of the authorities.

    Already questioned by police and arrested at least once during the past few months, Bishop Ancelimo Magaya is one of five Zimbabwe church men who this weekend penned an open letter to the 92-year-old Mugabe asking him to "stop unleashing terror on citizens for expressing genuine grievances."

    Mugabe's government has attempted to stamp out a growing wave of on-and now off-line protests that began in April with frustrated social media posts by #ThisFlag pastor Mawarire. He is now in exile.

    But activists and now church leaders have taken up Mawarire's baton, finding ways round a police ban on demonstrations in central Harare and most recently, an attempt to limit the use of the national flag as a symbol of opposition to Mugabe.

    Magaya (not to be confused with the more famous Zimbabwe "prophet" Walter Magaya) and the heads of four other smaller Christian groups including the Zimbabwe Christian Alliance and the Zimbabwe Pastors' Fellowship said they were "disturbed by the increasingly restive populace and the brutal show of force by state machinery."

    Mugabe's heartlessness

    They said they wanted Mugabe to admit the country was heading for "total collapse" and be willing to engage in talks. "If you fail to address these issues by September 28, we will be forced to exercise our democratic right to petition parliament to impeach you," their statement reads.

    Magaya, who heads the Divine Destiny Network and has spoken out against Mugabe's "heartlessness" before, was reportedly arrested last month as he tried to take part in an anti-government demonstration in Harare.

    In January he was questioned by police over his attempts to make churches and opposition parties speak with one voice on injustice.

    The statement does not have the backing of bigger Christian groups in Zimbabwe like the Apostolic sects and the prosperity gospel churches of popular prophets like Emmanuel Makandiwa.

    Commenting on the statement on website NewZimbabwe.com, one reader described Magaya and his colleagues as "useless clowns".

    Zimbabwe's police force shows no sign of toning down its often-harsh clampdown on protesters despite an outcry over recently-circulated pictures of the lacerated buttocks of two female protesters who were allegedly beaten by police.

    National police chief Augustine Chihuri was quoted by the privately-owned Newsday on Monday as saying that criminals would never "thank the police for thwarting their criminal intents".

    "It would be analogous to a rat thanking the cat for patrolling its home," Chihuri said.

    Source: AllAfrica.com… 

  • Continental Catholic Women Leader Praises the Role of Catholic Women in Africa

    Vatican Radio || By Fr. Paul Samasumo || 23 September 2016

    wucwo leader praises catholic women 2016World Union of Catholic Women’s Organisations (WUCWO) Vice President for Africa, Rosaline Nganku Menga has praised the role played by women in the Church. 

    “Women in Africa support vocations with prayer and with material resources. They raise funds to support diocesan Bishops with the training of priests; they assist the religious; they are catechists, heads of parish councils, members of justice and peace committees and so on,” Rosaline Nganku Menga, a Cameroonian national told Vatican Radio’s English language service for Africa in an interview.

    Early this month, WUCWO Africa held its 9th Africa regional assembly and golden jubilee celebrations in Malawi’s Capital, Lilongwe. The meeting took place under the theme “Women of Africa Proclaimers of God’s Mercy: “Come and See the man who told me everything I did. Could this be the Messiah?” 

    Malawian President, Peter Mutharika along with the first lady, Gertrude, joined thousands of women who filled Lilongwe’s Civo Stadium for the opening Mass. 

    In the interview, Nganku Menga said women in Africa were selfless when it came to serving the Church. 

    “When a woman takes any role or responsibility in the Church, they do it with so much devotion that you begin to wonder and admire their dedication. Somebody looking at it from outside or as an outsider would think that it is a job with some financial gain to it. When women in Africa work for the Church, they do it in the manner of the women of the Bible who did all they could, from their own resources to cater for the disciples of Jesus. That is exactly how the women of Africa are working in the Church today, “Nganku Menga emphasised.

    Nganku Menga explained that among other things, the WUCWO forum aims at building capacity among women. 

    “There are many women in Africa who are doing a lot and could do more, so as WUCWO we train them and try to empower these women in whatever it is that they are doing to improve their livelihoods and the welfare of their communities,” the WUCWO Vice President for Africa explained. 
    Asked about her vision for the Church in Africa, Nganku Menga says she looks forward to a Church in Africa that is truly inclusive and gives opportunity to young people and to women who are capable. 

    “We would like to see many more women holding positions of responsibility within the Church. We have never advocated for women becoming priests, no. There are, however,  a lot of things we can do in the Church without becoming priests. We would like to see more women appointed to positions within Catholic institutions such as Catholic schools, universities, colleges and so on,” she said. 

    The World Union of Catholic Women’s Organisations was founded in 1910 and represents 100 Catholic women’s organisations worldwide.

    Source: Vatican Radio… 

  • Pope Hosts Congolese President as Vatican Demands Government Ends Violent Clashes with Opposition

    Catholic Herald || By Associated Press || 26 September 2016

    pope hosts president kabila 2016Going against protocol, the Pope waited in his library for President Joseph Kabila

    Pope Francis has met with Congolese President Joseph Kabila, with the Vatican insisting that Congo’s government use respectful dialogue to end violent clashes with opposition forces over delayed elections.

    The audience on Monday was a brief 20 minutes, with interpreters. The Pope didn’t greet Kabila in the reception room where, according to Vatican protocol, Francis would normally greet a visiting head of state. Rather, the Pontiff waited for Kabila in his library.

    Clashes have erupted between security forces and demonstrators after the Democratic Republic of Congo’s electoral commission said November’s presidential vote wouldn’t be possible, and a court determined Kabila could stay in power until another election is organised.

    The Vatican said the Pope and Vatican foreign minister insisted on dialogue among politicians, civil and religious authorities to ensure peace and the common good.

    Source: Catholic Herald… 

  • Kinshasa to Host Pan-African Workshop on Small Christian Communities: Aim to Establish Network

    CANAA || By Father Don Bosco Onyalla, Nairobi || 26 September 2016

    planned network sccs for kinshasa 2016A workshop aimed at establishing a network of Small Christian Communities (SCCs) in Africa is scheduled to take place in DR Congo’s capital, Kinshasa, next month.

    The weeklong conference, which will run from October 20-27, 2016, is being organized by Missio-Aachen and the Archdiocese of Kinshasa, under the patronage of Laurent Cardinal Monsengwo, the Archbishop of Kinshasa.

    According to a message sent to CANAA about the workshop, the network of SCCs to be established will provide a forum for sharing ideas, experiences, knowledge, and a wealth of relevant competences around the reality of SCCs across Africa and in the diaspora.

    Creating and hosting a website to facilitate the sharing of information is one of the immediate objectives of the planned workshop, a forum that will make possible the networking of the different SCCs stakeholders.

    It is hoped that when the SCC network is created, members will gain access to other possible networks within the Church, making known realities of local Churches and communicating new ways of being Church.

    The October Kinshasa conference is a follow up of two previous meetings, one held in 2014 in Ghana’s capital, Accra, and another in 2015 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

    The workshop will focus on four thematic areas:

    v The Small Christian Community as place of individual and collective witness (martyria).

    v The Small Christian Community as place of celebration of the actions of God in history (leiturgia).

    v The Small Christian Community as place of a tool to support the challenges of society (diakonia).

    v The Small Christian Community as place of living service and the various ministries (oidokome).

    There is a free online Ebook available on the Small Christian Communities Global Collaborative Website, which provides some information about SCCs in some countries of Africa here...

  • How Catholics Brought Women's Equality to a Cameroon Clan

    Catholic News Agency (CNA) || By Hannah Brockhaus || 21 September 2016

    catholics in cameroon for women equalityA region of Cameroon that traditionally believed women to have no value now sees them as equal to men, thanks to a lay Catholic apostolate in the area.

    “Before the coming of the Focolare Movement, the women had no say, but the movement has taught us a lot of things,” said Nicasius Nguazong, who is the Fon – similar to a king – of the Cameroonian chiefdom of Nwangong.

    Fon Nicasius and about 40 other pilgrims, including other heads of northwest Cameroonian clans, travelled to Rome to mark the 50th anniversary of the Focolare Movement first coming to the Bangwa people.

    They attended the Pope’s Wednesday General Audience, and several met with Pope Francis Sept. 21.

    Mafue Christina Fontem – whose role is similar to a queen – testified at a press conference afterward that her father, after meeting the founder of the Focolare Movement, a woman named Chiara Lubich, carried out a campaign for the higher education of women.

    “And because of that,” she said, “you will find that those of us who are here, his daughters, went to school, and you also have among us a granddaughter who is here from Germany.”

    “We had something in our tradition that we always said: ‘a woman is worth nothing’,” Mafue Christina reflected. “But with the coming of Chiara, women got emancipated.”

    The Focolare Movement, a Catholic lay apostolate, was originally founded by Chiara Lubich in 1943. It was begun during World War II as a path of spiritual and social renewal.

    Using the inspiration of Jesus’ prayer in John 17:21, “May they all be one,” the movement now exists all over the world; it aims to create unity through the use of dialogue and relationships among individuals, peoples and cultures.

    Although it has Catholic roots, people of every age, vocation, religion and culture belong to the movement.

    “Before the coming of the Focolare Movement, they didn’t encourage education for girls because they thought that a woman’s place was in the kitchen,” Fon Nicasius said.

    But now, men and women share in the housework, instead of women doing everything, which used to include bending over to chop firewood while carrying babies on their backs, said Mafue Christina.

    “This comes from the teaching of the Focolare Movement of loving one another as Jesus has loved us,” she said.

    Mafue Christina told a story about a time when a woman left the house to go to the farm. When she returned, her husband had drawn a warm bath for her and invited her to take a bath and rest. She was very surprised, Mafue Christina said, “because it was not part of their culture. This was the culture of the disciple of love.”

    Speaking from a man’s perspective, Fon Nicasius said that now, even in their traditional councils, it is acknowledged that women have a say and they have been given positions of responsibility.

    He praised the efforts of Catholics in his country, saying, “The good works of the Focolare Movement and the Catholic Church cannot end in our own reign.”

    Source: Catholic News Agency… 

  • Clergy in Kenya Trained in Administering Penance

    CANAA || By Rose Achiego, Waumini Communications, Nairobi || 22 September 2016

    clergy in kenya trained on penance11 Bishops and more than 70 Priests drawn from the Catholic Dioceses of Kenya and Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) have been empowered to be more pastoral in administering the sacrament of penance during this extraordinary year of mercy.

    The empowerment programme took place during the Seminar on the works of the Apostolic Penitentiary (one of the Apostolic Tribunals whose competency is limited to the internal forum and granting of indulgences) held at Donum Dei spiritual Centre, Nairobi from 12th – 15th, September, 2016  

    The seminar was conducted by Regent of Apostolic Penitentiary H.E. Msgr. Krzysztof Nykiel and official of Apostolic Penitentiary Rev. Fr. Dr. Robert Lezohupski OFMConv from Vatican where Bishops and Priests were enlightened on how to be prepared to effectively be witnesses and servants of Gods mercy in administering the sacrament of penance  to God’s people so that each one in this year mercy  may open up to be transformed, converted and come closer to Jesus and church and to experience peace with God and with each other.

    In an interview with Waumini News Today, the Vice Chairman of The Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) and the Chairman of Canon Law National Office Rt. Rev. John Oballa Owaa, it was very important for pastors to reflect on the apostolic penitentiary that grants dispensation and absolution of certain sins that are reserved, adding that, it was in line with the spirit of Amoris Laetitia (joy of love) on how pastors consciously and consistently give care to people of God.

    “There are those who feel abandoned and neglected by the Church on account of their state of life, those who are divorced, living in other unions, those who cannot receive Holy Communion for one reason or another, they should feel part and parcel of the family despite the challenges and spiritual difficulties that they face,” Bishop Oballa said.

    Bishop Oballa added that, the more priests realize and contemplate on the ministry and mystery of Gods mercy, the more they will be available, attentive and welcoming to Gods people.

    He expressed gratitude to the Vatican officials for conducting the seminar in Kenya being the first time in Africa.

  • Bishops in DR Congo Suspend Participation in National Dialogue

    Vatican Radio || 21 September 2016

    drc bishops withdraw from dialogue 2016With tension still very much in the air, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Catholic Bishops say they are temporarily suspending their participation in the ongoing national dialogue.  

    Archdiocese of Kisangani’s Archbishop Marcel Utembi, President of the Episcopal Conference of Congo (CENCO) told Vatican Radio’s French Africa programme that the Bishops want to mourn the more than 50 people killed during the Kinshasa clashes on Tuesday.

    Police and demonstrators clashed Tuesday in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The clashes were an escalation in violence triggered by President Joseph Kabila’s decision to delay elections due at the end of the year.

    Wednesday saw several more people killed in Kinshasa as the violence continued into the second day. On Tuesday, three opposition parties had their headquarters set on fire.

    Source: Vatican Radio… 

  • Book on Small Christian Communities in Eastern Africa Receives 2015 Bestseller Award

    CANAA || By Father Don Bosco Onyalla, Nairobi || 22 September 2016

    scc book wins bestselling award 2015The book “Building the Church as Family of God:  Evaluation of Small Christian Communities in Eastern Africa” has received the 2015 bestseller award at the Annual International Writers’ Conference at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA), taking place at CUEA’s Gaba Campus in Eldoret, Kenya.

    On Tuesday, September 20, the author of the book, Rev. Joseph G. Healey, MM was recognized as the bestselling author of AMECEA Gaba Publications – CUEA Press for the year 2015. 

    The book was first published in 2012 and reprinted in 2014.

    In a speech read on his behalf, Father Healey who is currently in the U.S, dedicated the award “To the founders and visionaries who created the AMECEA Small Christian Communities (SCCs) Key Pastoral Priority especially the Catholic bishops and other participants in the 1973, 1976 and 1979 AMECEA Plenary Meetings.”

    Father Healey extends the dedication “To the hundreds of thousands of lay people in Eastern Africa who faithfully and joyfully participate in the weekly meetings and various activities of their Small Christian Communities.”

    Below is the full text of Father Healey’s speech

    Celebrating 180,000 Small Christian Communities (SCCs) in Eastern Africa: Speech at the Annual International Writers’ Conference

    Thank you for this award as the best-selling author of AMECEA Gaba Publications --CUEA Press for the year 2015. This award is really for the Small Christian Communities (SCCs) members to whom I dedicated the book:

    Dedication

    To the founders and visionaries who created the AMECEA Small Christian Communities (SCCs) Key Pastoral Priority especially the Catholic bishops and other participants in the 1973, 1976 and 1979 AMECEA Plenary Meetings. Two of these bishops are Bishop Patrick Kalilombe, MAfr, the Bishop of Lilongwe Diocese in Malawi who died in 2012 and Bishop Christopher Mwoleka, the Bishop of Rulenge Diocese in Tanzania who died in 2002.

    To the hundreds of thousands of lay people in Eastern Africa who faithfully and joyfully participate in the weekly meetings and various activities of their Small Christian Communities.

    Now a short history of this book: Building the Church as Family of God:  Evaluation of Small Christian Communities in Eastern Africa, Eldoret: AMECEA Gaba Publications – CUEA Press Double Spearhead Nos. 199-200 (Print Version 2012 and 1st Reprint 2014). 163 pages.

    In 2011 during the 50th Anniversary of AMECEA many pastoral leaders including many of the AMECEA bishops recommended the importance of a thorough evaluation and assessment of SCCs to learn from the past and to help plan for the future. We should not feel threatened by the term “evaluation” as though we are going to be criticized or held under a microscope. Evaluation should be constructive rather than critical. The overall purpose is to how to improve our SCCs, how make our SCCs better in the future. A key is to first recognize our mistakes and failures and second to learn from them. Especially we should not to repeat our mistakes and failures, but to bounce back from them. The final resolutions of the 2011 AMECEA Plenary Study Session recommended that an on-going evaluation be included in the revitalization of SCCs in Eastern Africa.

    This evaluation has gone through various drafts, updates and revisions. It treats the “Quantitative Evaluation of the Growth of SCCs in the AMECEA Region” (presently over 180,000 SCCs) and the “Qualitative Evaluation of the Growth of SCCs in the AMECEA Region.” The original paperback book included interviews with a number of bishops and other pastoral agents in the AMECEA Region.

    Our Eastern Africa Small Christian Communities (SCCs) Training Team is pleased with the positive response to this book, and especially the widespread use of the book, and is grateful to the staff of CUEA Press for issuing a second printing of the book in 2014.

    To reach a wider audience we created a free, online Digital Edition (that is also called an “Ebook” or “Electronic Book”) that is regularly updated from the 2012 Print Version and is available as a free, online Ebook. About 10 pages of new research, interviews, Case Studies, quotations and grassroots SCCs experiences are added each month. It is closely connected to our SCCs Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/www.smallchristiancommunities.org). This free, online Ebook is now 805 pages as of 12 September, 2016 and is found on the Small Christian Communities Global Collaborative Website at:

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

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

    This Ebook contains our ongoing research in 2012--2016 that includes new interviews with bishops and pastoral agents on all levels in the nine countries in the AMECEA region and new grassroots Case Studies of SCCs. The underlying principle is that ongoing evaluation makes the SCCs in Eastern Africa better.

    This Ebook contains many practical, pastoral resources such as:

    1. APPENDIX: “25 Online Resource Materials on the On-going Formation and Training of Small Christian Community (SCC) Members.”

    2. “Select Annotated Bibliography of Books, Booklets, Articles, Reports, Papers and Printed Materials and Other Resources” (336 entries).

    The handy “Search” Feature is very helpful to researchers and writers like yourselves. Entering “Gaba” I got 49 results. Then 15 results for “Pastoral Institute” and 12 results for “CUEA Press.” Small Christian Communities got 1,231 results.

    As of 14 September, 2016 about 17,000 people have visited this online Ebook.

    The Eastern Africa Small Christian Communities (SCCs) Training Team has 10 members: nine Africans (five from Kenya, two from Zambia one from Malawi and one from Tanzania) and one expatriate missionary based in Eastern Africa. There are four laymen, two laywomen, three priests and one sister). We are presently compiling a Small Christian Communities Training Handbook (with Facilitators Guide) in both print and electronic formats to be ready in 2017.

     I close with a challenge to all of us in Pope Benedict XVI’s 2011 Apostolic Exhortation Africa’s Commitment. No 136 states:

    The Catholic Universities and Higher Institutes in Africa have a prominent role to play in the proclamation of the salvific Word of God. They are a sign of the growth of the church insofar as their research integrates the truths and experiences of the faith and helps to internalize them. They serve the church by providing trained personnel, by studying important theological and social questions for the benefit of the church, by developing an African theology, by promoting the work of inculturation, by publishing books.

     This writers’ conference to motivate budding writers and authors in Africa is an excellent example of acting on the pope’s challenge. I close with an African proverb: If you see something good, pass it on to others.

    Rev. Joseph G. Healey, MM
    Maryknoll Society
    P.O. Box 43058
    00100 Nairobi, Kenya

    0723-362-993 (Safaricom, Kenya)

    973-216-4997 (AT&T, USA)

    Email: JGHealey@aol.com

    Skype: joseph-healey

  • Africans Feel at Home in Small Texas Town

    VOA News || By Greg Flakus || 15 September 2016

    africans at home in texas townEvery Sunday, African immigrants fill the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RHEMA International Assembly, in Huntsville, Texas, to hear some fervent preaching and spirited singing. During the two-hour service, some worshippers may come and go, depending on their work shifts at nearby prisons.

    Almost all of the nearly 300 Africans in Huntsville came to this town around 100 kilometers north of Houston for jobs in the state prison system, which is under the Huntsville-based Texas Department of Criminal Justice, the only state agency that has its headquarters outside the capital of Austin. The church preacher, Nigerian immigrant John Okperuvwe, known to all as Pastor John, and his wife, Ofuoma, both work at a nearby prison during the week.

    He says many African immigrants to the United States end up living in crowded cities with high crime rates, where the cost of living is high and good jobs are hard to get. The prison jobs in Texas, while potentially dangerous, offer good benefits and pay, and the cost of living is much lower than it is in New York or Los Angeles.

    “You will not get rich,” says Okperuvwe, "but you will be comfortable.”

    Wearing her colorful African head wrap, Nigerian Blessing Prince may not look like someone who works in a prison, but she told VOA she has developed strong bonds with her American-born co-workers.

    African workers find friendship

    “When you are in the work place, your co-worker is the family you have at that point, because if anything goes wrong, he or she will come to your rescue,” she said.

    She said many American correctional officers, especially African-Americans, are curious about her culture.

    “I have had certain co-workers come to me and say, ’I want to learn Ibo; can you teach me to speak Ibo?’" Prince recounted. "And I say, ‘Sure, I can!’”

    Pan-Africanism in Texas

    The majority of African-born people living in Huntsville are Nigerians, but there are increasing numbers of people coming from other countries as well. At the church services on Sunday many congregants wear traditional clothes, like Ghanaian Peter Nyanor, swathed in a yellow robe.

    “Sunday has been a day that we use to remind ourselves that we still have a rich culture back home,” he said. “Seeing your fellow people put on their attire, it reminds you of where you come from.”

    He said people from various African nations come together here to recognize what they have in common, with little focus on differences.

    In the same spirit, they support an African food store in a strip mall on Huntsville’s main drag. There they can buy fufu flour, dried fish and yams from Africa and some packaged products.

    Religious bonds and civic cooperation

    In a T-shirt shop next door to the African store, Pastor John visits the man who helped him find a location for his church. Store owner Nathan Smith is also a part-time preacher who shares the same evangelical Christian faith with his African friend.

    “I am glad God led us together. Once we met it was an instant connection,” he said.

    Smith has designed T-shirts for the U.S. Olympic Women’s Gymnastics Team, which trained in a facility near Huntsville. He said the town of just under 40,000 people is a bit more cosmopolitan, thanks to the presence of Sam Houston State University, which has students from all over the world.

    But Smith said the religious connection he feels with the Africans is something special.

    “I have met people from Africa before,” he said, “but I never witnessed an African church before and I have been over there and experienced the service and they are real humble and down to earth and they love God.”

    Africans at home in Huntsville

    For his part, Pastor John encourages integration into the community at large through charity efforts and civic projects. Volunteers from his church worked on a highway cleanup project, and one portion of a local road was named for them.

    The church provides special help for newly arrived Africans who need help getting settled, but Pastor John also participates in projects with other Christian ministers in the community to assist the poor and needy. The church also welcomes non-Africans, with frequent attendance by white people as well as African-Americans.

    As workers, as parents with children in local schools and as customers in local stores and restaurants, the Africans have developed a strong presence in Huntsville. This feeling is perhaps even stronger among their children, who sometimes remember little or nothing of Africa, and act and sound just like other American kids.

    When Pastor John strolls around Huntsville’s picturesque town square, he greets merchants and friends, who recognize him as someone who has contributed to their community and with whom they share an interest in keeping Huntsville a good place to live.

    Source: VOA News… 

  • Missionaries of Charity in the Diocese of Maralal, Kenya

    Vatican Radio || By Rose Achiego, Waumini Communications, Nairobi || 19 September 2016

    mother teresa in maralal 2016The Missionaries of Charity in the Catholic Diocese of Maralal are a happy lot after the canonization of their founder, Mother Theresa of Kolkata on 4th, September 2016. This has renewed their faith and zeal to serve the poorest of the poor.

    In an exclusive interview with Waumini News Today, Sr. Jane Maria MC said, the Sisters received the news of the canonization with a lot of joy.

    “I was so happy that Mother Theresa has been made a saint, I lived with her in Kolkata for a year, and I am excited that one of the people I knew personally is a Saint because I am sure she continues praying for me and the others,” said Sr. Jane Maria.

    In Kenya, the sisters who follow closely in the footsteps of St. Theresa of Calcutta serve in one of the remotest and inaccessible villages of Samburu County inhabited by the Samburu, Pokot and Turkana people who are mostly pastoralists.

    According to Sr. Jane Maria, the nuns rescue infants as young as one day old whose mothers have died; nurse and feed the elderly; preach to alcohol addicts at their drinking den and invite them to daily Mass at the Sisters’ convent. They also visit different communities to evangelise and to advocate against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and against early marriages for young girls. Instead, they encourage parents to educate all children.

    Every Saturday two or three Sisters led by Sr. Jenny Rozario go to a village known as Malasso where the plateau drops 8,000 feet into the Rift Valley. There they meet a community still steeped in its traditions and culture.

    “It takes us three hours to descend to the valley, we then take about one hour to rest as we wait for the community members to come to the market, after which we take about two hours to tell them about God with the help of a trained local catechist after which it takes us another three hours or more to ascend to the top of the valley.” Sr. Maria MC said.

    The Missionaries of Charity Sisters in Maralal are currently educating 11 street children in a boarding school and take care of 15 children below the age of 5. Where possible, the children are later reunited with their extended family members or given up for adoption.

    Sr. Jane Maria is happy that through Catechism classes, two primary school going girls from Malasso village in the Great Rift Valley have received the Sacrament of Baptism after successfully attending Catechism classes.

    Source: Vatican Radio…

  • The Lives of the mentally ill Matter: Bishop in South Africa

    The Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference || By Bishop Abel Gabuza || 19 September 2016

    lives of mentally ill matter in safricaProtecting their lives is more important than achieving budget efficiency and optimal profits – SACBC Justice and Peace Commission

    We find it morally unacceptable that 36 psychiatric patients died within months of being moved from the Life Healthcare Esidimeni Centre to local NGOs and other facilities, without any intervention by Gauteng Health Department.

    The families and the whole country need answers. We send our heartfelt condolences to all affected families.

    While awaiting the results of the investigation by the health department, we wish to register our deep concern that Gauteng health department did not heed to warnings from the civil society and the families that the cancelling the contract with Esidimeni Centre and the transfer of patients should not be rushed.

    We have noted that the health department terminated its agreement with Life Esidimeni because it was costing R11,343 per patient per month – adding up to almost R324-million a year. Such exorbitant cost of mental health services at Life Esidimeni should remind us of the deep crisis that we face as a country with respect to the cost of health care. We therefore continue to ask the health department to put adequate measures to ensure sustainable levels of control to health care costs. We reiterate our position that a health system that puts profit before people, and without adequate measures for cost control, is both unsustainable for the country and a death sentence to the poor.

    We also warn the health department not to use its current policy on deinstitutionalisation of mental health care, as outlined in the Mental Health Act and in the Mental Health Policy Framework and Strategic Action Plan 2013- 2020, as a pretext to shirk on its constitutional responsibilities to provide adequate care to the mentally ill.

    As a society, we should never forget that the lives of the mentally ill are precious before God. The lives of the mentally ill should therefore be considered to be more important than the dictates of fiscal efficiency and profit making.

    Source: The Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference… 

  • Bishops in Nigeria Decry Holding Religion ‘hostage’

    CANAA || By Father Don Bosco Onyalla, Nairobi || 19 September 2016

    bishops in nigeria on religion portrayal 2016The Catholic Bishops of Nigeria last week expressed concern about the way religion has been portrayed in their country and called on citizens to work toward liberating “religion from the forces that have held it hostage.”

    In the communique at the end of their Second Plenary Assembly of the year 2016, the Bishops cautioned promoters of “narrow religious agenda” against misleading people and affirmed “unequivocally that religion is so crucial to the corporate existence and survival of Nigeria.”

    “It is sad that religion is portrayed as one of the problems of the nation rather than a solution,” the Bishops decried, attributing this to “unsolicited prophecies of some religious leaders” and “self-serving pastors” who seem to be increasing in number.

    They condemned evils committed in the name of religion and termed the acts “violence against true religion.”

    “In this challenging time in our history as a people, we call for more concerted efforts in overcoming the spirit of unhealthy competition, suspicion, negativity and tenacious postures between Christians and Muslims,” the Bishops said in their communique titled, “Religion as Instrument for Peace and Integral Human Development.”

    The communique also addresses other matters affecting the nation, among them, the economic recession, violence, the promotion of human rights, among others.

    Below is the full text of the communique

    Religion as Instrument for Peace and Integral Human Development 

    A Communiqué at the End of the Second Plenary Meeting of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) at Domus Pacis Pastoral Centre, Igoba, Akure, Ondo State, 8-16September, 2016.

    1.                  PREAMBLE

    We, the Catholic Bishops of Nigeria, held our Second Plenary Meeting of the year at DomusPacis Pastoral Centre, Igoba, Akure, from 8 to 16 September, 2016. Having prayerfully reflected on the issues affecting the Church and our country, we now present our Communiqué.

    2.                  EVENTS IN THE CHURCH

    In this Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, we express our heartfelt gratitude to God for his love and abundant blessings on the Church and our country, Nigeria. We witnessed on 30 June, 2016 the Episcopal ordination of Most Rev. John Akinkunmi Oyejola as Bishop of Osogbo Diocese. We thank God for a fruitful Episcopal ministry of the Bishop Emeritus of Makurdi, Most Rev. Athanasius Usuh. Bishop Usuhwas called to the peace of Christ on 14 July, 2016. We pray that his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace, Amen.

    On 19March, 2016 His Holiness, Pope Francis, issued the Apostolic Exhortation on the Family, titled, Amoris Laetitia,The Joy of Love. According to the Pope, “Families are essentially not a problem; they are first and foremost an opportunity” (AL 7). As religious leaders, we are enjoined to generate common pastoral approaches to accompany those preparing for marriage and provide assistance to those who have entered marriage so that by faithfully observing and protecting their conjugal covenant they may day by day achieve a holier and a fuller family life (Canon 1063, §4).

    3.                  FOUNDING OF INSTITUTES OF CONSECRATED LIFE

    We acknowledge with joy the bountiful harvest of vocations, the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and efforts of persons desiring to establish institutes of consecrated life with a variety of charisms. While we observe that many of these associations are responding to the missionary mandate (Matt 28:18) in their respective apostolates, some still need to discern and understand more their charisms with specific precision in order to curb the rate of proliferation of associations of Christ’s faithful. We exhort all consecrated persons to persevere in living out their evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience. It is important to emphasize the imperative of collaboration between the consecrated persons, the diocesan clergy and the lay faithful.

    4.           ABERRATIONS IN CATHOLIC WORSHIP

    We are seriously concerned about the growing misguided sense of creativity and adaptation during liturgical worship.  Such innovations include: unduly lengthy Eucharistic celebrations, excessive monetary collections, and the near absence of silence and decorum during liturgical celebrations. We observe the arbitral alterations of the text, singing between the Gospel and Homily and indecent dressing on the part of the minister, and the lay faithful. Others are the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament as if it is a magical and theatrical display, and indiscriminate and indiscrete use of sacramentals.  These practices obscure the very essence of Catholic worship and are gradually eroding the true Catholic identity.  We are duty bound to correct these anomalies.  We insist that “Christ’s faithful have the right to worship God according to the provisions of their own rite approved by the lawful pastors of the Church…” (SacramentumRedemptionis 12; Canon  214).  In addition to genuine pastoral freedom, we re-affirm that the liturgical books, approved by the competent authority, are to be faithfully followed in the celebration of the sacraments (Can. 846, §1; SacramentumRedemptionis21).

    5.                  RELIGION: RECIPE FOR PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT

    We state unequivocally that religion is so crucial to the corporate existence and survival of Nigeria. Nonetheless, it is sad that religion is portrayed as one of the problems of the nation rather than a solution. This is because of the plethora of challenges plaguing our nation such as, unsolicited prophecies of some religious leaders that heat up the polity, the increasing number of self-serving pastors and persons ill prepared for leadership, founding churches and mosques, unedifying verbal altercations of adherents of different religious groups as they promote their narrow religious agenda. The wanton destruction of lives and property on account of religious beliefs and practices is inexplicable, irresponsible and therefore unacceptable.  We also condemn the irrational killings in the country in the name of religion. The offenders should be punished with the full weight of the law. Indeed, it is violence against true religion. For true religion brings peace, not tension; love, not hatred (James 1:27).

    In this challenging time in our history as a people, we call for more concerted efforts in overcoming the spirit of unhealthy competition, suspicion, negativity and tenacious postures between Christians and Muslims. We urge all believers in the one True God not to relent in seeking the truth and upholding it.  Together we must liberate religion from the forces that have held it hostage. We invite all and sundry to make religion an instrument of peace and development through a more sincere and committed inter-religious dialogue, mutual respect and peaceful coexistence.

    6.                  STATE OF THE NATION

    Economic Recession in Nigeria

    We note the efforts of the Nigerian government towards the growth of the nation’s economy. Yet, the economy has gone into a recession.  Many people have lost their jobs, and those who are fortunate to retain theirs are not adequately remunerated and some are not paid as and when due. There is hunger in the land. We therefore urge the government to take proactive and practical steps towards reversing the recession. As a result partly of the fall in the oil prices, it has become inevitable to, without further delay, diversify the economy, engender fiscal and monetary policies, stimulate and mobilize investments, and engage in a productive rather than a consumerist economy.  We advise the federal government to consider devolution of powers to create a healthy economic competition in the federating units. We call on Nigerians to moderate their taste for foreign goods, reduce waste and be more prudent in expenditure. In the meantime, we expect the government to quickly evolve appropriate palliative measures and empower, by job creation, the teeming unemployed youth.

    Respect for Human Rights and Dignity

    Our country is generally passing through an unfortunate phase whereby sanctity and dignity of human life is constantly undermined. People, especially women and children, are reduced to merchandise and trafficked within, across and beyond our country for sex exploitation forced servitude and organ harvesting. We denounce policies and practices that undermine the sanctity and dignity of human life. We also call on government to drastically reduce poverty and remove everything that condemns the less privileged to life of avoidable suffering and make them easy victims of human trafficking. We also call on government to protect the victims and bring to book the perpetrators.

    We observe with dismay the growing inequality and lack of respect for basic rights in our nation. Cases of discrimination on the bases of religion, ethnic group and political affiliation still abound. This is evident in the recent government appointments and provision of social amenities. We enjoin governments at all levels to eschew all forms of marginalization and give everybody a sense of belonging. We equally call on Nigerians to respect one another’s rights including rights to life and religious freedom. We urge the government to use appropriate democratic machineries to protect citizens’ rights, reject and avoid making policies that would lead to the breach of these rights. For instance, curriculum reforms in the education sector should respect religious freedom, which includes right to promote one’s religious beliefs and doctrines without violation of the rights of others. We insist on the teaching of religion in all schools in such a way that no religion is disadvantaged. We therefore call on law and policy makers to adhere to the principles of state secularity, recognizing the multi-religious nature of our nation.

    Curbing Violence in Nigeria

    It is highly regrettable that our nation has continued to witness many forms of violent activities and cases of violation of human dignity. These include electoral and religious violence, mayhem caused by herdsmen, violence in the Niger Delta, extra-judicial killing, kidnapping, human trafficking, child abuse, and forced labour. We call on governments at all levels to devise adequate practical measures to tackle all forms of violence and assault on the human person. We condemn totally the acts of vandalization of oil installations in the Niger Delta and destruction of public property. At the same time, we enjoin the Federal government to address the root causes, and by dialogue and other peaceful means, end the crises in the Niger Delta. Similarly, we urge the government and security agencies to take decisive actions against the wanton destruction of lives and property by herdsmen, which pose serious threat to the security and unity of our nation. We lend our voice to those of other Nigerians calling for safer and modern ways of rearing cattle, for instance, ranches. We totally condemn the idea of grazing reserves and wandering of cattle. 

    7.                  CONCLUSION: PRAYER FOR THE NATION

    We believe in the efficacy of prayer and indeed we have been praying for the nation.  For over two decades we have composed prayers and have been praying against bribery and corruption and for Nigeria in distress.  We invite all Christians and indeed all Nigerians to intensify their prayers for Nigeria especially in these critical times and work together for a better Nigeria. We implore all our people to be united with the Holy Father Pope Francis on Tuesday 20 September, 2016 in praying specifically for peace in the world marking the thirtieth anniversary of Assisi declaration. With the psalmist we say: “I sought the Lord, and he answered me; from all my fears he delivered me” (Ps 34:4).  Let us continue to pray and work for national renewal borne out of a true national repentance, conversion and rebirth.  In conclusion, we ask our Mother Mary Queen of Peace to intercede for us.

    Most Rev Ignatius Ayau KAIGAMA                            Most Rev William A. AVENYA

     President (CBCN)                                                                   Secretary (CBCN)

    Archbishop of Jos                                                                   Bishop of Gboko

  • Kenya’s Eleventh Catholic Radio Operational

    CANAA || By Rose Achiego, Waumini Communications || Nairobi 15 September 2016

    radio mchungaji operational in kenyaRadio Mchungaji (Swahili word for Shepherd) of the Catholic diocese of Maralal in Kenya is the eleventh Catholic Radio to become operational under the umbrella of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) through the Commission for Social Communications and the conference’s Waumini Communications Company.

    Waumini Communications has the objective to have 20 radio stations by the year 2020.

    Broadcasting on 95.4FM and at a radius of 150 Km, Radio Mchungaji, which is currently airing Nairobi’s Radio Waumini programmes, is to have its own programming in Swahili, Samburu, Turkana and Pokot languages.

    The radio aims at promoting human and pastoral development, supporting peace-building and community empowerment; strengthening the Catholic faith in the Diocese of Maralal and facilitating awareness creation on projects managed by the Catholic dioceses of Maralal.

    At the beginning of September 2016, Waumini Communications team led by the Managing Director, David Omwoyo conducted a weeklong training session to equip the new radio personnel with broadcasting skills so as to reach out to the people of Maralal and Samburu counties in a more professional way.

    Situated in northern Kenya, Samburu county is classified among Kenya’s Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL). The area is inhabited by Samburu, Turkana and Pokot communities that practice pastoralist livelihoods. The region has an estimated population of 223,947 people.

    According to a Caritas Maralal report, Samburu county has a long history of marginalisation embedded in policies and practices of social, economic and political exclusion that reflect inadequate service delivery, poor infrastructure, high rates of illiteracy and morbidity.

  • Africa’s Anglophone PMS President Lauds Laity in Malawi

    Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) || By Prince Henderson || 14 September 2016

    pms anglophone president lauds malawi laityThe President for the National Directors of Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) in English-speaking Africa, Father George Olusegun Ajana has commended the Catholic faithful in Malawi for their hard working spirit in ensuring that they migrate from dependency syndrome to independence.

    Fr. Ajana, a Nigerian, was in Malawi for the World Union of Catholic Women Organisations (WUCWO) Conference that Malawi hosted from August 31 to September 4 and later on visited some development projects that are being supported by PMS.

    One such project is the Church and Father’s house-building project under construction at Mponera’s St. Benedict The Abbot Parish of Lilongwe Archdiocese.

    “I am impressed with the way the faithful here in Malawi are working on various projects. Gone are the days that we should be depending on donors or Missionaries. We must stand alone as Africans and develop the Church and society at large,” said Ajana.

    He said apart from PMS supporting the Parish with Iron sheets, Parishioners have done their part in molding bricks and contributing sand, which is a sign that self-reliance is maturing and such a spirit must be encouraged.

    “This is a welcome development. We must be able to be in the fore-front and those willing to support us should just be there to complement the already initiated efforts,” said Fr. Ajana.

    Vice Chairman for the Parish, Martin Koloko said they were thankful to PMS for their support towards the construction of the Church which was officially opened by His Grace Tarcizious Ziyaye of Lilongwe Archdiocese on December 5,2015.

    He said the coming in of the new Parish has enabled the growth of its members and that the challenge of travelling long distance to find another parish is no longer a case to worry about now.

    “To be frank with you, the Parish has grown in terms of its numbers now. For instance, we have 1000 plus faithful that enter into this parish alone and on the other hand 13outstations and 53 small Christian communities. In total, we have 40,000 Christians, the whole Parish,” said Koloko.

    Source: Episcopal Conference of Malawi… 

  • Pan-African Congress on Divine Mercy Concludes: What does Consecration of Africa to the Divine Mercy Mean?

    Vatican Radio || By Fr. Brian Nonde, CMM || 14 September 2016

    consecrating africa to divine mercy 2016The Pan African Congress on Divine Mercy has closed Wednesday in the Rwandese town of Kabuga at the Shrine of Divine Mercy with a Mass presided over by the Special Envoy of Pope Francis to the Congress, Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya. The Triumph of the Cross Mass concluded with a solemn act of consecration of the African continent to the Divine Mercy. Radio Vatican’s Africa Service examines what this act of consecration means for Africa, its people and the world as a whole? Why did the organisers find it fitting to consecrate Africa in Rwanda?

    Rwanda is evidently the country with fresh memories of human destruction through the genocide of 1994. Having a consecration in Rwanda, a country with the sad tale of genocide sends a clear message and is a call for the recruitment of the values of the mercy which the Church is celebrating during this Jubilee Year.

    The Church differentiates consecration from a blessing. Consecration is more than a blessing. Consecration raises persons or things to a permanent state. So the consecration which took place Wednesday in Africa is more than a blessing of the continent.

    Africa through this act of consecration is pledging not to be used as a ground for hate. There will be no more hate speech; there will be an end to conflict, violence and wars for which the continent has had more than its fair share. Africa wishes from this point forward to become the ground for forgiveness, respect and love. With this consecration, Africa seeks to become a home of the mercy of God. Africa has to proclaim the mercy of God forever. It has been chosen, separated, sanctified and now devoted to the Divine Mercy. In this way, the Church and indeed all the people of Africa are called to preach mercy to one another and to live mercy in their daily lives.

    Post-colonial Africa continues to grapple with issues of conflict, forgiveness and reconciliation. Sometimes we look at the Rwandan genocide and think that what happened there can never happen again. The truth is that we still see countries in Africa struggling with tribal, regional and political conflict (yes, sometimes of low intensity but real nonetheless).  Unscrupulous African politicians, in particular, continue to divide God’s people on the basis of region and tribe. It is these kinds of divisions that become the seeds of terrible future atrocities.

    The African Congress, through this act consecration of Africa to the Divine Mercy, is thus sending a pastoral message and testimony to the nations of Africa: The Church knows the horrors of Africa and this act speaks volumes about that knowledge. It is saying Africa belongs to God and therefore we consecrate it to God, and it must be regarded a land of mercy; a land where people can live together in peace and freedom.

    Under the continental Apostolic Congress’ theme, “Divine Mercy source of hope for the new evangelisation in Africa,” the Church is at the forefront in encouraging forgiveness, healing and reconciliation. This is the same message that the Second African Synod tried to foster in 2009 when the African Church pledged to be at the service of reconciliation.

    Africa has new direction now. Africa must help its people come to terms with the message of this Jubilee Year of Mercy declared by Pope Francis. As Father Stanislas Filipek, the coordinator said in Rwanda recently, ‘God can fix it all. He can transform evil into good.’ God can transform our continent and change our hearts of stone, but we must be willing and cooperate with Him. This is what the story of God’s coming into our wounded nature and history is all about:  It's all about God fixing what is broken; it is all about God transforming evil into good.  At the moment of profound hopelessness, when we the people of Africa are afflicted with tragedy, with tribulation after tribulation, in that situation and in this moment we see God revealing Himself as a merciful Father through Jesus.

    Africa must see God in this consecration. He was and is still intervening when everything seems lost and ruined. Let us give Him chance, and that chance starts with everyone in Africa. It starts with you: In your parish, in your family, embrace people who are different from you. Those who are from a different tribe or region are your brother and your sister.

    Source: Vatican Radio…

  • Newly Founded ‘Misso-Network African Theology’ Research Group to Engage ‘Experts’

    CANAA || By Father Don Bosco Onyalla, Nairobi || 15 September 2016

    misso-network african theology to engage expertsA newly founded international research group, "Misso-Network African Theology," which aims at promoting peace through studies on religion and violence in Africa plans to engage experts in the field of Theology and relevant Social Sciences.

    Marco Moerschbacher of Missio-Aachen who was at the last week’s Nairobi conference where the group was founded, confirmed this to CANAA in an email interview on Thursday, September 15.

    “The research group "Misso-Network African Theology" was founded and suggestions on further research given by speakers and participants,” Moerschbacher told CANAA in answering the question of whether the September 8-10 conference on religion and violence met its objectives.

    According to Moerschbacher, the newly founded international research group “will try to identify specific research topics and allocate them to experts in the field. Further country reports will study the situation in Mali and Côte d'Ivoire.”

    Asked about membership to the research group, Moerschbacher said, “The criteria would be interest and competence in Theology (or Social Sciences) and in the topic, as well as the readiness to commit oneself for some time (two years or so) to contribute and exchange.”

    During the Nairobi conference, three speakers presented case studies on the situation in Tanzania, Côte d'Ivoire and Chad.

    The presentations were followed by discussions and reflections based on ethical and biblical perspectives.

    “The objectives of the conference were to discuss the issue of religion and violence in some African contexts and in general, to set up a research group to continue the research and to identify some points that needs further consideration and deepening,” Moerschbacher said.

    The relations between Christians and Muslims in varying contexts, the relationship of these two religions towards African Traditional Religions (ATR), the hermeneutical questions with regard to interpretations of seemingly violent texts in the Bible and the Koran, and the political setting of African countries in the midst of international geo-strategical interests were among the main points of discussion during the Nairobi conference.

    The Nairobi conference, which took place at Tangaza University College, recommended to continue the research and to deepen and widen it as to cover more countries in Africa.

    A similar conference is planned to be held in two years’ time.

    Moerschbacher told CANAA in conclusion, “The saying used to be, "if you want peace, prepare for war". We would say: If you want peace, look into and asses the conflictual situations, and prepare for peace."

    http://www.canaafrica.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=730:bishops-in-ghana-appoint-new-social-communications-director&catid=16:latestnews&Itemid=103&lang=en
  • Bishops in Ghana Appoint New Social Communications Director

    CANAA || By Damian Avevor, Ghana || 08 September 2016

    fr davor to head communications in ghana 2016The Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference (GCBC) has appointed Father Dieu-Donne Kofi Davor of Ho Diocese as the new Executive Secretary of Social Communications at the National Catholic Secretariat (NCS) in Accra for a four-year term.

    The appointment letter was signed by Most Rev. Joseph Osei-Bonsu, President of the GCBC and takes effect from September 1, 2016, making him the first Ghanaian and third Priest to head DEPSOCOM office at the NCS.

    Until his appointment, Fr. Davor was the Director of Communications of the Ho Diocese and he takes over from Mr. Dan Dzide, who has ended his service with the NCS.

    The first Priest to heard that Department was Rev. Fr. Charles Erb, SVD from USA and Rev. Fr. George Wazoknek, SVD from Poland. The first lay person to head same office was Sir Benedict Assorow, followed by Dr. Africanus Diedong before Mr. Dzide.

    Fr. Davor’s duties as the Executive Secretary include to develop an effective Social Communications strategy and agenda for the Church, procure and enhance the means of and resources for prosecuting the Social Communications agenda, modernize and expand the network and effectiveness of Social Communications; and establish self-financing, income-earning Social Communications programmes to support evangelisation.

    He is also to co-ordinate the activities of Diocesan Social Communications Offices, serve as link between the Catholic Church and the secular media; coordinate the activities of the Catholic Church in the following areas- Press and Print Media, Radio and Television programmes.

    He is also to co-ordinate the training of personnel for Communications at the National and Diocesan levels and the development of audio visual, group media and cinema materials.

    As the Executive Secretary, Fr. Davor is scheduled to help co-ordinate and manage the internet service of the Secretariat, supervise the Quick Print Centre and undertake any other activities that may be assigned by the Secretary General, the Episcopal Chairman of the Department or the Bishops’ Conference.

    While in Accra, in consultation with the Archbishop of Accra, he would undertake pastoral assignments at weekend and wherever possible.

    By virtue of this position, he becomes a member and the Secretary to the Board of Directors of the Standard Newspapers and Magazines (SNAM) Limited, publishers of The Catholic Standard.

    In an interview on September 6, Fr. Davor thanked the Bishops’ Conference for the honour and confidence reposed in him, pledging to continue the good works of his predecessors.

    He thanked his Bishop, Most Rev. Emmanuel Kofi Fianu for accepting and releasing him to serve the Church in a larger capacity and enhance Social Communications of the Church in Ghana.

    He said promoting the Catholic Church’s activities would definitely be a side attraction of the cordial relationship established with the media in point.

    “The office of DEPSOCOM will serve as the first point of call between the National Catholic Secretariat and the media. In other words, the office would be a reference point for any information regarding the Church and its activities.”

    He said as the Executive Secretary, he would collaborate with Diocesan Directors of Communications and members of Catholic Association of Media Practitioners, Ghana (CAMP-G) to ensure that the voice of the Bishops reached every member of the Church irrespective of their location in the country.

    To this effect, he would help to establish CAMP-G Chapters in all Dioceses, while intensive skills training and capacity building for all DEPSOCOM Directors would be one of his priority areas.

    Fr. Davor noted that one could have very brilliant ideas but without the support of all stakeholders, they come to naught, stressing that “for every good organization, visibility was key to its success. The Church of God needs to be out there "in the faces of all" literally,” he added.

    He said the great commission urges us to spread far and wide but a good brand sells and attracts many. Therefore, there is the need to build on the brand and ease its propagation.

    He called on Catholics to be involved in the use of the Media as a predominant tool for disseminating information, noting that “It is true that the traditional media can definitely reach a mass but social media in this digital age can reach masses. All these tools are at our disposal now to be used for good as many as using for evil.”

    He said building good media relations was key since “Our stories cannot be heard until most media have bought into it. A mutually beneficial relationship with media personnel will be very essential.”

    He said the Church stands to gain in the process of disseminating our stories by having a cordial rapport with the Catholic Church where access to information is clear and smooth.

    Fr. Davor was ordained September 13, 2008 and holds Masters in Communication Studies from the University of Ghana, Legon with Public Relations and Print Journalism as Major.

    He also holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sacred Theology from the Pontifical Urbaniana University, Rome; Bachelor of Arts Degree in the study of Sociology and Religions from the University of Ghana.

    He has to his credit a publication titled “The changing role of Christian newspapers in Ghana: A case study of The Catholic Standard.”

    He has served in various capacities as a Priest of the Ho Diocese including Director of DEPSOCOM, Ho Diocese; Publicity Officer, Ho Diocesan Development Team; Member, Ho Diocesan Peace Centre; Assistant Parish Priest of Saints Peter and Paul Parish, Anfoega; St. Anthony Parish, Kpedze; St. Michael Garrison Church, 37, Accra.

    Fr. Davor likes reading, writing, photography, playing tennis, singing and watching soccer and speakers English, Ewe, Twi and Ga.

  • Nigeria Conference: Women Religious in the Forefront to Fight Trafficking

    Vatican Radio || By Linda Bordoni || 08 September 2016

    nigeria confeence on traffickingAs an important international conference on human trafficking wrapped up this week in Nigeria, it becomes more and more obvious that women religious have increasingly become the protagonists in the fight against this global scourge.

    The history of their formidable battle against trafficking dates back to the earliest days of this modern evil and their insistent work has expanded to address all forms of trafficking, mobilizing millions of sisters and laywomen, and resulting in a myriad of concrete initiatives and organizations.

    One such organization is RENATE, a European network of religious committed to work together against human trafficking and exploitation. 

    Represented in 25 European countries, RENATE members are working, alongside many other organizations around the world, to eradicate modern-day slavery. 

    RENATE was present in Abuja, Nigeria, to bring its experience and connect with other actors at the 3-day International Conference on Human Trafficking Within and From Africa organized by Caritas Internationalis and by the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People.

    Vatican Radio’s Linda Bordoni asked RENATE communications person, Anne Kelleher, why women religious have become so committed to eradicating human trafficking and supporting its victims.

    Anne Kelleher, who is a married laywoman with two children, says that this fierce commitment of women religious is what attracted her to working with RENATE in the first place. 

    She points out that while men are involved in trafficking particularly for labour, for begging and within the fishing industry, it’s predominantly a female orientated phenomenon – with the huge ‘sex trade business’ exploiting mostly women and girls.

    Kelleher says the sisters, backed by their communities, are comfortable and at ease with themselves so they have no qualms to go out and discuss such matters, to relate to the persons involved, overcoming prejudices and fears and never neglecting to put the dignity of the human person at the center of their work.     

    “It’s not for the faint-hearted – allow me to say - and the women religious are the bravest of women, they are amazing and they are spearheading so much” she says.

    Regarding the presence of RENATE at the International Conference hosted by Caritas Nigeria in Abuja, Keller says that being a network of religious in Europe it has connections with various congregations throughout the world and on the five continents. 

    One of the big attractions for this particular event, she explains, is that it was organized by Caritas Internationalis and by the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People that last year invited RENATE President, Imelda Poole, to participate in an event on trafficking which led to a greater commitment on the part of RENATE to extend beyond the borders of Europe particularly regarding the concern for ‘source’ countries; Africa, she says, is a significant source country in relation to women who are trafficked to Europe for sexual exploitation and labour.

    Kelleher says she participated is in the Abuja conference with “a view to getting down to grass roots level with  regards to source countries and getting to understand concepts of prevention, awareness raising and to explore possibilities for supporting at a local level, working within the network of religious in Africa and across the continents”.

    Keller agrees that while awareness has risen enormously regarding the scourge of human trafficking – thanks above all to the repeated calls of Pope Francis to take action against this modern slavery – the trade represents ‘big business’ and poses a huge challenge.

    She praises the Pope’s call to abide by a ‘moral imperative’ to take stock of what is happening to our brothers and sisters who are being trafficked and “to get out there and make a difference, educate, and protect”.

    “Singing from the rooftops has helped to put the spotlight on this scourge but there is no denying that it’s a very lucrative industry and the people who are trafficking are exploiting the vulnerable; they are tapping into the fear factor, they are tapping into the push factors of poverty and the false offer of an alternative to people who are fleeing war zones, poverty, the side effects of climate change” she says.    

    So, she continues “we have to evolve in terms of how we address human trafficking, how we educate and make people aware and be respectful of cultural mores and at the same time be respectful of differences in the world - celebrating difference – but also maximizing our protection of the most vulnerable”.

    Kelleher stresses the fact that no one wants to ‘come in and impose’ but rather ”work at grass roots level together within various communities and various cultures and work collaboratively not only to heighten awareness but to help people to look at the dignity of the human person”.

    Source: Vatican Radio…

  • Young Catholic Teacher in Ethiopia Becomes First African to Lead Young Christian Workers Globally

    CANAA || By Makeda Yohannes, Ethiopia || 08 September 2016

    ethiopian teacher global leader of ycwA young Catholic teacher from Ethiopia has become the first African to lead the International Coordination of Young Christian Workers (ICYCW) after being elected at the recently concluded congress in Seoul, South Korea.

    Berhanu Sinamo, who also serves as the deputy chairman of the national Young Christian Workers (YCW) of Ethiopia was elected during the 9th ICYCW Congress, which took place in South Korea from August 19 - September 1, 2016.

    Berhanu, 29, said that he is honored that the members of ICYCW entrusted him with the important task of serving young Christian workers in different parts of the world.

    He called on all young Christian workers to answer to God’s call by being faithful to their work saying, “As Christians one of the ways Young people can contribute to spreading the Good News is by dedicating themselves in the work they are involved in and honestly serve the people, this by itself is testimony of the Gospel. In the meantime when we are committed to our work we can witness God’s Love as he will fill us with His Grace that will make us successful.”

    He also said that YCW in Ethiopia is involved in the ongoing preparation of the 19th Plenary Assembly of the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA) to be held in Addis Ababa in 2018.

    “Young Catholics can contribute a lot to the evangelizing mission of Our Church in Ethiopia,” Berhanu went on to say and added, “YCW hopes to mobilize as many youth as possible throughout the country to pray for the Canonization of Bl. Gebremichael, the first Ethiopian Catholic Martyr.”

    He also expresses his hope to represent well Ethiopia and Africa in particular and all the people who entrusted him with the task by voting for him by fulfilling the task successfully.

    “I would like to ask all young Christian workers to pray for me so that God may bless me with the wisdom to handle all my responsibilities as per His will and to the best interest of all members,” he implored.

    ethiopian teacher global leader of ycw bMeanwhile, the Ethiopian Catholic Church Social and Development Commission (Caritas Ethiopia) is partnering with the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) to provide a conducive environment for education to South Sudanese Refugees in Gambella.

    Two schools have so far been constructed in Jewi Refugee camp, Gambella regional State.

    The schools constructed in two sites include a total of 22 fully furnished class rooms, libraries equipped with all the necessary furniture and books, latrines and water points and offices.

    The classrooms can accommodate 60 students each making the total beneficiaries 2640 refugee students.

    In addition, trainings on child protection and child hygiene and sanitation is provided to teachers who will be working with the students.

    The Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA) will be taking over and running the school and follow up on the day to day activities of the school.

    Speaking on behalf of Caritas Ethiopia at the inauguration ceremony of the schools, Father Aristide SDB said that education is at the root of solving problems and creating a base for a better future.

    “Providing friendly environment gives hope to displaced people and this is what the Church is doing; with education we can produce many reasonable young people with a perspective prosperous future” he said.

    At the same occasion, UNHCR Program officer for education, Mrs Nora Ochieng, appreciated the Church’s effort to provide equal opportunity to children saying, “As a Christian community you are testifying that all children are equal before the eyes of God and deserve to learn in a comfortable environment.”

  • Nairobi Conference on Religion and Violence Aims to Establish an International Research Group

    CANAA || By Father Don Bosco Onyalla, Nairobi || 08 September 2016

    nairobi conference on religion and violence 2016Organizers of an international conference on “religion and violence,” which kicked off in Nairobi Thursday, September 8, are hoping to set up an international research group in view of promoting peace in Africa through dialogue.

    The three-day conference, which has a focus on Africa, is an outcome of the partnership between Missio-Aachen and the Nairobi-based Tangaza University College (TUC) through the department of Islamic Studies.

    According to Marco Moerschbacher of Missio-Aachen, one of the objectives of the conference is to establish an international research group called "Missio-Network African Theology," which “will follow up some salient points raised at this first conference in order to deepen and widen the reflection on the issue of religion and violence and the contribution of religions to dialogue and peace.”

    Speaking at the opening of the conference, the Head of the Department of Mission and Islamic Studies of TUC, Father Felix Phiri, said the conference is part of an initiative that attempts to uncover, through research, specific situations of violence on the continent, subjecting the findings “to critical, biblical, ethical and cultural reflections.”

    “We are still at the beginning of such a daunting task,” Father Phiri said during the opening of the conference, expressing the hope that the three-day discussions will result in “new avenues of research, reflection and common action.”

    In his word of welcome to facilitators and participants at the conference, TUC Principal, Father Steven Payne, expressed his pleasure for the choice of the venue saying, “From its beginnings 30 years ago, Tangaza has always looked for opportunities to reach out to the larger society, and to foster peace-building.”

    “Down through the centuries, wars have been fought and terrible devastation inflicted in the name of religion,” Father Payne said in reference to the topic of the conference and added, “Some claim that the exclusivism of the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) is itself the root cause of much of the violence.”

    He went on to cite peace-building initiatives by the staff and students of TUC, giving the example of TUC’s Institute of Youth Studies and Social Ministry in Mission program of training trainers in peace-building, “a collaborative effort among the tertiary institutions in Kenya” that has recorded a positive impact.

    “Even the Cabinet Secretary for Education, Dr. Fred Matiang’i, is happy to note that since the start of this initiative there have been no major riots in the universities,” Father Payne revealed.

    Father Elias Opongo who directs the Jesuit Hekima Institute of Peace Studies and International Relations in Nairobi presented the case study of Tanzania as the starting point of the research on religion and violence in Africa.

    Firmin Randos Andih and Ange Zirihi, both members of St. Egidio Community in Abidjan, presented the case study of Ivory Coast.

    On Friday, the conference will have presentations and discussions on the following themes: Biblical perspectives on the issue of religion and violence, with reference biblical approaches and pastoral implications; Ethical perspectives of religion and violence, within the Christian and African contexts; and the socio-economic underpinnings of violence, including structures of social marginalization and violence against women.

    On the last day of the conference, Saturday, focus will be on employing interreligious dialogue as a means of overcoming violence as well as group discussions on possible future areas of research.

  • Bishop in Ghana Urges Sacred Heart Devotees to Be “merciful to Mother Earth”

    CANAA || By By Damian Avevor, Ghana || 05 September 2016

    sacred heart devotees in ghanaGhanaian Bishop Peter Atuahene of Goaso Diocese in the brong Ahafo Region, has called on devotees to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Catholics in general to be merciful to the earth by joining in the fight against the indiscriminate destruction of the environment.

    He said the abusing of the earth, should be a worry to all, appealing to all to be merciful to the earth by avoiding the unprecedented destruction of the environment.

    In a homily at the closing Mass of the ninth Sacred Heart Congress at the Amaniampong Senior high School at Asante-Mampong in the Konongo-Mampong Diocese on September 4, Bishop Atuahene said the earth was under threat and was crying for help.

    The four-day Congress, from September 1 to 4, 2016, attended by about 20,000 Devotees, league Tarcisians of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Confraternity, members of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Priests and Religious was on the theme: Committing the Family to the Mercy of God through the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

    Bishop Atuahene reminded the faithful that all charged with the protection of the environment should know that the environment is God’s handiwork and protecting it was an indication of being faithful to God.

    He urged the Devotees to become ambassadors of clean environment, decrying the persistent pollution of water bodies, the littering of plastic waste everywhere, the careless felling of trees in our forests and savannah area and the rampant mining operations in towns and villages.

    He called on national authorities to find ways of stopping the degradation of the environment and allow the law that prevented the destruction of the environment to effectively work.

    He urged Ghanaians to endeavour to protect the earth and environment, advising the authorities to endeavour learn from Rwanda, which had clean Cities due to the enforcement of environmental laws.

    The Bishop urged Ghanaians to acquire the habit, not only to clean up their surroundings but most importantly, learn how not to make the environment dirty in the first place.

    He also urged Catholics and others to read and practice Pope Francis' Encyclical, "Laudato Si', on Care for Our Common Home, saying it provided a good resource for all, but most especially, policymakers.

    Bishop Atuahene thanked the leadership of the Sacred Heart Enthronement Centre for their hard work, dedication, love and tenacity of purpose in ensuring that the Congress was successful.

    He encouraged the Devotees to extend the love and mercy of God to their families and prayed that families and relatives would experience the fruits of the Congress which is based on mercy.

    The Congress attended by the Members of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference is on the theme: Understanding the Eucharist through the devotion to the sacred of Jesus and living this devotion in our daily lives especially in our families.

    The Congress, held every five years, was organised by the National Sacred of Jesus Enthronement Centre, which was happy many Catholics attended the historic event.

    Most Rev. Gabriel Justice Anokye, Metropolitan Archbishop of Kumasi led the Prayer of Self-dedication; while Most Rev. Joseph Afrifah-Ayekum, Bishop of Koforidua and Most Rev. Joseph Francis Essien, Bishop of Wiawso led in the renewal of the consecration of Ghana and the Konongo-Mampong Diocese to the Sacred Heart of Jesus respectively.

    Speaking on the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Mercy of God, in a Sermon at a Mass on Saturday September 3, Most Rev. Charles Palmer-Buckle, Metropolitan Archbishop of Accra, reminded the Devotees that blessed were the pure in Spirit, they shall see God.

    He said those were merciful would sure obtain mercy and urged the Devotees not to allow the year to pass by without benefitting from the mercy of God, asking them to allow themselves to be surprised, convinced and converted by the mercy of God.

    The Archbishop said as Sacred Heart Devotees, they invited to taste and see the mercy of God, be missionaries of mercy and ambassadors of God’s reconciliation and oases of mercy, exhorting them walk in the footsteps of Mary who was a woman of faith, pure, humble and of service.

    He said wherever the Church was present, the mercy of God must be evident in Church communities, parishes, Rectories, Associations, Societies, Movements and Confraternities, emphasising that wherever there Christians, there must be oases of mercy.

    He urged the youth to emulate the virtues of Mary and entrust themselves to God, advising Catholics to be merciful to those who offended them by forgiving them unconditionally.

    In a goodwill message to the Congress, Archbishop Palmer-Buckle, admonished the Devotees to pray fervently for the nations as it prepares for the December elections and it moves into the year 2017 which Ghana’s 60th anniversary of Independence.

    There were goodwill messages from all the Bishops, who congratulated the Sacred Heart Enthronement Centre for successfully organizing the Congress.

    In an address, Mr. Mohammed Kwadwo Aboasu, Municipal chief executive of Mampong, commended the Devotees for embarking on the spiritual exercise, urging them to show unconditional love to all.

    He praised the Catholic Church for her continuous cordial relation with government, urging the faithful to pray for peace and unity during and after the 2016 general elections.

  • Franciscans in Kenya Mark Second Family Day on Eve of Mother Teresa’s Canonization

    CANAA || By Sr. Jacinter Okoth, Nairobi || 05 September 2016

    franciscans in kenya family day 2016The various religious orders in Kenya adhering to the life, teachings, and spirituality of St. Francis of Assisi, the Franciscans, marked their second family day Saturday, September 3, on the eve of the canonization of Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

    The day-long celebration, which brought together the different families of Franciscans both male and female Orders at their Ponticular Centre in Langata, Nairobi, was a re-union and a time to look back on the life of St. Francis and his contribution in the Church.

    The Apostolic Nuncio to Kenya and South Sudan, Archbishop Charles Balvo who graced the event as the main celebrant during the Holy Eucharist, emphasized the simple lifestyle embraced by St. Francis saying, “St. Francis lived a life of simplicity and had real love for living things and the poor.”

    Asked about a relationship between St. Francis of Assisi and Mother Teresa who was to be canonized by Pope Francis Sunday, the Nuncio said that the love St. Francis had for creation and the love Mother Teresa had for the unwanted, the unloved, the poor and the destitute around the world, is a sign of their total love for God and His creation.

    “St. Francis and St. Teresa both responded to God’s call in different areas and they all had a central theme for the total love of God,” the continued in an exclusive interview with CANAA reporter.

    “Mother Teresa had a long experience with the dark night and St. Francis shared the stigmata of Christ thus in His wounds. In their different ways they shared in the sufferings of Christ,” he explained.

    The representatives of Franciscan Orders at the celebration were invited to remember St. Francis as an ecologist who valued God’s creatures and cared for them with love and respect, proclaiming peace in the world through his actions.

    The Nuncio went on to urge the Franciscans to bear in mind the recent initiatives of the Holy Father saying, “Pope Francis’ ministry has been to promote love for all created things, and in this Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy and in his encyclical letter, Laudato si’, the Pope’s theme and message has been, ‘Show mercy to our common home.’”

    “Pope Francis declared September 1st as World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation as the Orthodox Church has been doing since 1989, and therefore it is time we ask God to forgive us for misuse of the things which are around us and for all the ways we have not respected creation,” the Nuncio said told the Franciscans in conclusion.

    The Franciscans in Kenya had their first family day on September 5, 2015.

  • Malawi’s First Lady Hails Catholic Women at Conference Closure

    CANAA || By Prince Henderson, ECM Communications Officer || 05 September 2016

    wucwo in malawi 2016 concludesMadam Gertrude Mutharika has hailed Catholic women who converged at Bingu International Conference Centre (BICC) from last week Wednesday to Sunday for their successful 9th World Union of Catholic Women’s Conference (WUCWO), which Malawi hosted.

    Speaking when she officially closed the conference which was held under the theme “Women of Africa Proclaimers of God’s Mercy: “Come and See the man who told me everything I did. Could this be the Messiah?” said was delighted to learn that the deliberations were successful and that objectives of the conference have been met.

    “The discussions on the implementation of Sustainable Development goals (SDGs); outcomes of the Commission on the Status of Women; Decisions on Ending AIDS by 2030 and the African Union Agenda 2063 were timely,” she said.

    Madam Mutharika said for the days since the Conference started, Malawi has experienced spiritual transformation.

    “This Conference has brought about revival, not only among Malawian women, but also for women across Africa,” said Mutharika who was franked with Madam Mary Chilima, spouse to the Vice President,Hon Dr. Jean Kalirani,Minister of Gender,Children,Disabilities and Social Welfare,among others.

    She said in line with the theme for the conference African Women must strive to proclaim the good news to neighbors, their households and in their homes hence become the source of warmth and happiness in their households and communities.

    “Time has come for us to be women of integrity. We must become women of faith, and we must be a blessing to all people around us. As Women we need to take a leading role in the implementation of the SDGs,” she added.

    According to Madam Mutharika, women of integrity are those that join hands in ending the phenomenon of street women, street children, and in ending all forms of trafficking.

    National Chairlady for Catholic Women Organisation (CWO) Malawi,Benadette Chiwaya said during the conference they among others deliberated on African women or youth as Agents of Dialogue, Justice and Peace, a key to a prosperous Africa; Climate Change; Access to drinking water and sanitation is a human right and Women of Africa, Proclaimers of God’s Mercy; love and protection,

    The WUCWO conference also looked at women of Africa in the light of Evangelii Gaudium of Pope Francis; and Mercy and Hope in action at the service of the family, youth and the suffering in Africa.

    WUCWO President for Africa, Rosaline Nganku Menga said the conference has come up with a number of resolutions which shall be implemented by each member organisation and among others, delegates’ were saddened with prevailing situation on abject poverty, lack of adequate means of education, forced marriages and prostitution and above all trafficking to name just a few.

    “We, WUCWO women, will engage in mass sensitization of change of mindsets on women’s issues, especially cultural aspects and practices which militate against the integral development of women,” said Menga as one of the resolution made.

    She said as WUCWO women, they will endeavour to take practical steps to ensure that all protocols signed for, at the United Nations (UN), which fall in line with Catholic teaching as well as laws and policies formulated in their countries, are domesticated, enforced, and implemented.

    She also said WUCWO, in collaboration with local Episcopal Conferences will ensure the scaling up of appropriate structures geared towards the integral development of women.

    “As WUCWO women we pledge to leave no stone unturned to encourage all families to accommodate the voices of children and parents in all matters affecting the life of the family,”she said adding that “………….as a continues reminder of our work of evangelization we as WUCWO women have adopted the slogan “Women of Africa” Response “Proclaimers of God’s Mercy”.

    WUCWO Conference was officially opened by President Peter Mutharika at CIVO Stadium on Wednesday, August 31,2016 with a Eucharistic celebration presided over by Archbishop Thomas Luke Msusa, Chairman of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi.

  • African Youthful Pilgrims in Benin Conclude “searching together the paths of hope”

    CANAA || By Father Don Bosco Onyalla, Nairobi || 05 September 2016

    african youth pilgrimage in cotonou 2016 endsThe fourth Taizé youth meeting in Africa, which brought together some 7,500 youth in Benin, most of whom were Africans, concluded Sunday, September 4, with the participants taking delight in and embracing the theme: "searching together the paths of hope."

    “In a context of economic vulnerability, uncertainty, and the accumulation of tensions and crises, the theme ‘searching together the paths of hope’ has met the aspiration of many young people: to take control of her life,” states in part the communiqué at the conclusion of the five day pilgrimage.

    The communiqué recalls the main events, which the youth from 35 different countries experienced and cite the common prayer with meditations by Brother Alois, the linking of faith and life by the 30 facilitators of workshops, as well as “the hospitality in families and the welcome of the local communities.”

    While Benin had the largest African delegation as the host nation, the other large delegations came from Togo (800), Nigeria (550), Burkina Faso (163), Ghana (100), and Ivory Coast (46).

    The international youth meeting was organized by the Taizé Community in Benin’s capital Cotonou, the Catholic Church and the Methodist Protestant Church of Benin spearheading the local arrangements.

    Dubbed “pilgrimage of trust,” the three previous meetings took place in Johannesburg (1994), Nairobi (2008) and Kigali (2012).

    Below is the full text of the communiqué at the conclusion of Cotonou meeting, sent to CANAA Monday, September 5, 2016.

    Communiqué at the conclusion of the Fourth Taizé Youth Meeting in Africa: Cotonou, August 31 – September 4, 2016

    "Where will the next stage of the Pilgrimage of Trust take place? Even if it's at the other end of the world I want to go there!" The question was on many lips at the departure of the buses near the college Père Aupiais.

    The fourth stage of the Pilgrimage of Trust on earth has ended Sunday, September 4, 2016 in Cotonou. It brought together 7500 participants from thirty five nationalities. Besides those from Benin, the largest delegations were made by the Togolese (800), Nigerians (550), the Burkinabe (163), Ghanaians (100), Ivorians (46) ... Linguistic diversity required the use of French, English and Fon during the workshops and forums. The liturgy incorporated also songs in Yoruba and mina.

    At their arrival caution and wariness marked the faces of the young people but they quickly caught up with the rhythm of the meeting: mornings in the neighborhoods, afternoon together at the central venue. During the 5:00pm break, the drums came out and many groups started to dance under the Caïlcédrats trees expressing the gratitude and joy of all participants. The event, a premiere in the region, showed the capacity of young people to cross national, linguistic, cultural or religious boundaries and also to take a personal commitment to build trust and peace.

    In a context of economic vulnerability, uncertainty, and the accumulation of tensions and crises, the theme "searching together the paths of hope" has met the aspiration of many young people: to take control of her life. The common prayer with Brother Alois' meditations, the input of thirty facilitators during the afternoon workshops, linking life and faith, the hospitality in families and the welcome of the local communities were the main elements of this experience.

    Reminding participants that the source of hope is to be found in Christ, Brother Alois explained the basis of the search for unity "Christ did not come to create a group of disciples who distinguish themselves from others, who stand apart, live in opposition to the rest of humanity. He came to abolish the divisions between humans and to unite us in God. He came to bring all humans together in God's love. Hearing and internalizing this Gospel message of unity can give us great dynamism. To express this message through our lives can even become the very meaning of our existence."
     
    The smooth organization of the visitors' welcome in the host parishes managed by young people from Cotonou, the active participation of all in the program, the effectiveness of logistic teams also formed by young volunteers attested the capacity of young people to take upon themselves significant responsibilities.

    The good performance of companies and partners contracted to provide transportation, meal preparation, tents installation, disposal of garbage, health coverage have contributed, with the good weather to the smooth running of the meeting.

    The Minister of Youth, Mr. Oswald Homeky came to greet the participants at the opening Wednesday, August 31. Besides national youth chaplains from different countries, several bishops and leaders of Protestant churches took part in the common prayers among which: Mgr Antoine Ganye, archbishop administrator of Cotonou, the Rev. Matthew Alao, representing the Rev. Nicodemus Alagbada president of the Protestant Methodist Church of Benin Bishop Isaac Gaglo and Bishop Nicodemus Barrigah Togo, Bishop Gabriel Mante Ghana, Bishop Cletus Feliho, Bishop Paul Viera of Benin and Archbishop Brian Udaigwe the apostolic nuncio in Benin and Togo.

  • What the Church in South Sudan is Doing amid a Humanitarian Crisis

    Catholic News Agency (CNA) || By Matt Hadro || 31 August 2016

    church in south sudan doing peaceAmid a civil war, a humanitarian crisis, and the threat of mass starvation, the Church in South Sudan is still working to bring Christ to a troubled country.

    After meeting with Archbishop Paulino Lukudu Loro of Juba, Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) noted that “the Church plays a key role, as always and everywhere, in the provision of humanitarian aid,” and that “the bishops I met with are just absolutely committed to living out Matthew 25, the vulnerable people and helping people as if they were Christ.”

    Smith, chair of the House Subcommittee on Global Human Rights, just returned from a fact-finding human rights mission to South Sudan where he met with religious, humanitarian, and political leaders , including the Archbishop Lukudu, President Salva Kiir Mayardit, and Defense Minister Kuol Manyang Juuk.

    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.

    The scale of the humanitarian crisis in South Sudan is immense: similar to that of the Middle East with the Islamic State, Smith noted to CNA.

    There are an estimated 1.7 million people displaced within the country, more than 800,000 refugees, and almost 3 million people at risk of “life-threatening hunger,” according to congressional testimony by a USAID official earlier this year. Many are without food and medicine, Smith said.

    Almost 6 million people “are facing a severe hunger crisis” there, Catholic Relief Services reports.

    Archbishop Lukudu “described a loss of hope upon many people,” Smith said, and he related to Smith how “the great expectations from five years ago when they became independent have, for the time being, crashed and burned, although hope remains eternal.”

    “So he expressed grave concerns about the humanitarian crisis, the crisis of leadership,” Smith said. The bishops of the country have also been “scrambling to provide shelter” and “safe refuge” for the many refugees there, he added.

    Some of the top concerns that Smith said he addressed in his meetings with South Sudan's president and defense minister were atrocities such as rape inflicted upon civilians and missionaries by soldiers, as well as the recruitment of children as soldiers.

    South Sudan is also listed as a Tier 3 country for its human trafficking problem. Tier 3 countries, under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, are among the “countries whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so.”

    Recruitment of child soldiers in South Sudan is “among the worst in the world” Smith said, with an estimated 16,000 child soldiers since the conflict intensified in December 2013. The special danger of child soldiers, he noted, is what violence does to a young person’s psyche, especially as they transition into adulthood.

    Ethnic violence and the victimization of aid workers by state and opposition soldiers are other grave problems in the country. Aid workers are especially at risk. There are 2,000 international and 18,000 South Sudanese aid workers in the country, and many are “beaten,” “killed,” or “stopped” from aid work by fighters, Smith said.

    There were more major attacks on aid workers in the South Sudan than in any other country in 2015, the group Humanitarian Outcomes has reported.

    Recently, amid the civil war, South Sudanese soldiers entered the Terrain compound in the capital city of Juba and attacked international aid workers. “A woman in my own district” who worked with an aid organization “was raped when the Terrain compound was raided,” Smith said.

    “A lot of foreign aid workers, U.S. and international workers were there. They killed a couple of people, and just beat people horribly, and they were South Sudanese soldiers,” he continued.

    Despite calls for help, United Nations peacekeeping forces just up the road did not come to the aid of the victims, Smith added. Incidents like that have been a recurring problem among UN forces who are supposed to protect the innocent but are not, he said.  

    Smith noted in a statement that he got commitments from the president and defense minister that a “zero-tolerance policy” against “rape, sexual violence and human trafficking” by all soldiers in the conflict would be implemented.

    Although there have been money and supplies sent to the country, access remains the biggest obstacle to serving the more than 6 million citizens who need humanitarian assistance, Smith said. The geography of the region, the remoteness of certain areas of humanitarian need, and soldiers acting as obstacles to aid being delivered, have all combined to thwart the aid reaching the people who need it.

    Source: Catholic News Agency… 

  • Cardinal Turkson to Head New Dicastery for Justice, Peace, ‘care of creation’

    Life Site News || By Claire Chretien || 31 August 2016

    cardinal turkson to head new dicastery 2016Pope Francis has created a new super-dicastery for promoting Integral Human Development and appointed Cardinal Peter Turkson from Ghana as its Prefect.

    The announcement comes only two weeks after the pope announced the formation of another major new department, the Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life, with American Bishop Kevin Farrell as its head.

    “In all her being and actions, the Church is called to promote the integral development of the human person in the light of the Gospel,” Pope Francis wrote in a moto proprio, or legal decree issued at his own initiative, instituting the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. “This development takes place by attending to the inestimable goods of justice, peace, and the care of creation.”

    This Dicastery will deal with issues “regarding migrants, those in need, the sick, the excluded and marginalized, the imprisoned and the unemployed, as well as victims of armed conflict, natural disasters, and all forms of slavery and torture,” the pontiff wrote.

    The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, and the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers will be merged into the new Dicastery. 

    Turkson currently heads the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. It will be folded into the new dicastery on January 1, 2017.

    In 2015, Turkson raised eyebrows when he suggested to the BBC that “birth control” could be used as a solution to perceived overpopulation and said Pope Francis had previously called for “a certain amount of control of birth.”

    He later walked back his statements, saying he regretted using the term “birth control” when what he meant was spacing of births or “responsible parenthood.”

    “When I used the phrase ‘birth control,’ what I had in mind was the Church’s own traditional teaching about responsible parenthood,” Turkson said. “So wherever anyone reads ‘birth control’ in the BBC interview, they should understand it as meaning ‘responsible parenthood.’”

    Starting Thursday, American Bishop Kevin Farrell will head the newly-formed Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life. The Pontifical Council for the Laity and to the Pontifical Council for the Family will be merged into the new dicastery and then cease to exist.

    Farrell has a mixed record on life and family issues. He has been vocal about the need for Catholics to fight abortion. Farrell is a prominent participant in the annual Dallas March for Life and has spoken at its accompanying pro-life rallies.

    Under Farrell’s oversight in 2011, the University of Dallas introduced a pastoral ministry degree that some labeled “doctrinally challenged” and a threat to the University’s Catholic identity. Catholics like Dr. Patrick Fagan, a prominent social scientist, expressed concern that this was steering the University of Dallas in an unorthodox direction. Fagan wrote that he was particularly concerned that some of the School of Ministry faculty members appeared to question Church teaching on the all-male priesthood and homosexuality.

    Farrell released a video defending the program.

    “Let me remind the Catholic people of the diocese that this is my responsibility,” he said. “And I’m the one who has to stand before God to say whether or not this is truly Catholic or not. That is my responsibility. I do not take it lightly.”

    The school also faced criticism for inviting Sister Barbara Reid, a Dominican New Testament scholar who labels the all-male Sacrament of Holy Orders oppressive, to deliver a lecture.

    In 2009, Farrell used progressive Catholic buzzwords when he cautioned in a commencement address against “dogmatism, closed mindedness, judgmentalism, [and] suspicion of another’s motives.”

    Such language is often used against orthodox Catholics who defend the Church’s moral teachings.

    In 2008, Farrell appointed as pastor of a newly renovated parish a priest whose involvement with a prominent, pornographic online network for homosexual priests and religious had previously been revealed.

    The website at the heart of this controversy was called St. Sebastian’s Angels, and the Diocese of Dallas priest who had been a part of it was Father Arthur Mallinson. In addition to accessing its pornographic images, clergy used St. Sebastian’s Angels to trash Church teaching, Pope St. John Paul II, and then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. 

    The now-inoperative watchdog organization Roman Catholic Faithful, which initially exposed St. Sebastian’s Angels and the various clergy involved with it in 1999, said it alerted all bishops whose diocesan priests were involved with the site. It then went public with the scandalous information.

    In May 2008, the Diocese of Dallas acknowledged to LifeSiteNews that St. Sebastian’s Angels contained crude images and words and that Mallinson had been involved with it. Annette Gonzales-Taylor, a diocesan spokesperson, told LifeSiteNews that Mallinson was not supportive of the site’s immoral content. She also said Mallinson had ceased his involvement with St. Sebastian’s Angels in 2001 because of its sinful content.

    RCF’s initial report on the site’s pornographic content was published in 1999, meaning Mallinson remained active on the site for more than a year after its pornographic, pro-homosexual content was initially exposed.  

    RCF’s exposé even caused Cape Town, South Africa Bishop Reginald Cawcutt, who was involved with St. Sebastian’s Angels, to resign in July 2002.

    Mallinson resigned on May 13, 2008, after LifeSiteNews and other media outlets reported on the scandal of his promotion to pastor, which prompted outraged laity to contact Farrell to complain.

    Source: Life Site News… 

  • Staff at Catholic Secretariat in Ethiopia Discuss How to Care for Creation

    CANAA || By Makeda Yohannes, Ethiopia || 01 September 2016

    ethiopia secretariat prayerday for creation 2016The staff of the Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat (ECS) Thursday, September 1 commemorated the World Day of Prayer for creation by getting together to pray and discuss about how they can contribute to the care of creation.

    September 1 is the World Day of Prayer for the care of creation.

    The Executive Director of the Ethiopian Catholic Church Social and Development Commission (Caritas Ethiopia) Mr. Bekele Moges wanted the getting together to go beyond discussion calling on the members present “to make a pact to make changes in our life to play our part in the protection of our common home.”

    “Every action that we take in our daily life from the plastic bags we use for shopping to our choice of type of bulb we use in our homes and the amount of paper we print in our office has an effect in the environment,” Mr. Moges said and added, “There is no small contribution, we must put the environment in consideration before we make the smallest decision and that way we can play a small part in protecting our mother earth.”

    Mr. Abel Mussie from the ECS Pastoral Department presented highlights from the Encyclical letter of the Holy Father Pope Francis, Laudato Si. He explained the cry of mother earth for help and gave some practical examples from Ethiopia, stressing on the need for immediate reaction from each and every individual.

    ECS staff discussed on how they can incorporate environmental protection in the projects they implement throughout the country.

    They all saw the need for creating awareness about the urgent need to care for creation and that they can all play a role by passing on the message to a neighbor and people they meet on different occasions to make a tangible difference.

    The event concluded with a prayer for creation and the prayer for peace and the Angelus prayer when the midday bell rang.

    Laudato Si has been translated into the widely spoken Amharic language and distributed to readers. It is expected that it will soon be translated into other local languages.

    To mark the World Day of Prayer for the care of creation this year, Pope Francis has added the care of creation to the traditional sets of both the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.

    Additional information by Father Don Bosco Onyalla, Nairobi

  • Catholic Missionaries Stay in South Sudan despite Attack on Foreign Aid Workers

    Catholic News Service (CNS) || By Bronwen Dachs || 30 August 2016

    missionaries stay on in south sudanWhile most expatriate aid workers left South Sudan after a brutal attack on foreigners in the capital, a group of Catholic missionaries chose to stay.

    "We stayed because we are committed to the ordinary people who are suffering so much," La Sallian Christian Brother Bill Firman, director of Solidarity with South Sudan, said in an Aug. 29 telephone interview from Juba, the capital.

    "My colleagues and I believe this is a good place for religious to be," the Australian brother said, noting that "we know our continued presence encourages" local residents and "provides some hope."

    South Sudanese troops attacked aid workers in mid-July in a Juba hotel. According to an Associated Press report, more than 80 armed men "raped several foreign women, singled out Americans, beat and robbed people and carried out mock executions" for nearly four hours. One woman was raped by 15 men.

    U.N. peacekeepers did not respond to repeated pleas for help.

    Four days after the attack Catholic Relief Services, the humanitarian aid and development agency of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said in a statement that the upsurge in violence in Juba had led it to evacuate its "non-essential international staff" from the capital.

    CRS "is supporting the work of Solidarity with South Sudan to help those affected by the current violence with food, water and shelter in churches and schools, where many have sought refuge," the July 15 statement from Baltimore said.

    A civil war that began December 2013 has claimed tens of thousands of lives and forced more than 2 million people to flee their homes in the northeast African country. In July, hundreds of people in Juba were killed in fighting that dashed hopes of a transitional government ending the conflict. Since then, sporadic fighting has rocked the north and east of the country.

    "None of our members were evacuated but many, probably most, expatriates were," Brother Firman said. "Many foreign aid workers are returning now, and most of CRS' staff came back fairly quickly."

    Solidarity with South Sudan is an international Catholic group of missionaries implementing teacher and health training, agriculture, trauma healing and pastoral programs in many parts of South Sudan, under the auspices of the Sudan Catholic Bishops' Conference.

    "I don't see any of our people being excessively nervous, and we are living a normal life here," Brother Firman said. "But we are cautious, because we do live with uncertainty about the future and declining law and order."

    "Many people in Juba are very hungry," Brother Firman said, noting that "the collapse of South Sudan's economy" is a major concern.

    South Sudan has a "very complex political situation, with many militias," Immaculate Heart of Mary Sister Joan Mumaw, Solidarity with South Sudan's development director in the U.S., said in an Aug. 27 telephone interview from Silver Spring, Maryland.

    "Violence has spread and everybody is armed," she said, noting that "young boys with no education and no formation for life are taken into the military."

    Solidarity with South Sudan, which has a network of 17 congregations in 14 countries, uses its local religious partners to distribute humanitarian aid "to people most in need" for aid organizations whose usual routes have been disrupted, she said. As the "only credible group left in the predominantly Christian country," the church, with its "strong ecumenical reach, has a chance of restoring peace" to South Sudan, Sister Mumaw said.

    "But it will be very difficult to do this until the militia is stopped from killing and raping," she said, noting a "new and complete lack of respect for human life."

    After a late-December attack on religious sisters at the Solidarity teacher training college in Yambio, the capital of South Sudan's Western Equatoria state, and subsequent sporadic violence in the area, some training staff from neighboring Kenya and Uganda were evacuated, Sister Mumaw said.

    "This leaves us with a shortage of staff in our capacity-building programs, and there is some feeling among local people that the international community has deserted them," she said.

    A primary school teacher who was among 50 graduates from the college last year has set up a makeshift school for about 300 children at a U.N. camp in Juba, Sister Mumaw said.

    "This young man recognized the need and has pulled together everyone with training that he could find to educate these children," she said. "The camp was built to house U.N. staff, not refugees, yet people fleeing violence have been taking shelter there for about two years."

Multimedia

Audio - Various



Video: Kamba Peace Museum - Machakos

 

African Continent

Advertising

Advertise with us...

frontbannerimage

Documents

        

  • banner1.jpg
  • banner2.jpg
  • banner3.jpg
  • banner4.jpg
  • banner6.jpg
  • banner7.jpg
  • banner8.jpg
  • banner10.jpg