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  • Bishop in Nigeria Calls for Collaboration on Rehabilitation of Victims of Boko Haram Insurgency

    Catholic News Service of Nigeria (CNSN) || 08 November 2017

    bishop oliver dashe maiduguri on boko haram rehabilitationCatholic Bishop of Maiduguri Diocese, Most Rev. Oliver Dashe Doeme has called for an all stakeholders synergy on the rehabilitation programme for the victims of the Boko Haram insurgency in the Northeast region of the country. Bishop Doeme made this call during a recent chat with media men in Bazza village in Michika Local Government Area of Adamawa State. The Bishop accompanied by four Bishops of the Catholic Church were in Bazza for the erection of a giant Cross on mount Bazza as part of the diocese’s ceremony for the re-consecration of the diocese to the Immaculate heart of Mary.

    According to the bishop, the Cross, which is the biggest of such structure in the country, symbolizes the victory of Christ over Satan and  is to provide consolation for  the people who are traumatized, devastated and in pain. He added: “When we come to the cross and venerate it, we are asking Jesus to help us surmount our problems and challenges that we face as pilgrims towards the God’s kingdom”.

    Bishop Doeme informed the congregation present at the ceremony that the Cross, constructed by a Nigerian engineer, Mrs. Christiana Victor Madugu, was sponsored by a group of spirited individuals in London, who wanted to contribute their quota to the propagation of Christianity in the country. 

    Speaking on the return of normalcy to the region, Bishop Doeme commended the efforts of the Federal Government and the armed forces at driving out the insurgents and restoring civil authority in the region.  He however noted that for the rehabilitation programme of the government to be very successful, there is need for the involvement of other stakeholders, especially the Church in the exercise.  His words: “I want to urge government agencies involved in the north east to partner with the Church in the resettlement process; we are closer to the people as we are on ground with the people.”

    The ceremony was attended by: Bishops Ayo Maria of Ilorin,  Dami Mamza of Yola; Peter Okpaleke of Ahiara and Michael Gokum of Pankshin; as well as priests Religious, lay faithful and dignitaries from all walks of life. Other activities of the programme included: the handing over of a health Centre donated to the Church by Andrew Robert and the inauguration of the rehabilitated Minor Seminary at Shuwa, destroyed by the insurgents.

    Source: Catholic News Service of Nigeria…

  • Church in Zambia Introspecting Interreligious Dialogue

    Vatican Radio || By Mwenya Mukuka, Zambia || 11 November 2017

    intereligious dialogue for church in zambia 2017The 2017 Extraordinary National Catholic Forum of the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB) is currently taking place in the Zambian capital, Lusaka.

    And the Catholic Bishops of Zambia have reiterated that the Church in Zambia is no longer a mission Church, but instead, it is a Church on mission.

    In his opening remarks on behalf of other Catholic Bishops, Lusaka Archbishop, and ZCCB President, Telesphore-George Mpundu said that the Church in Zambia should play its rightful role and duty in the work of Evangelisation.  

    He noted the threat to the Catholic faith, in Zambia, posed by its young people leaving the Church to join Pentecostal Evangelical Churches.

    "As people who are on a mission, we are not lone rangers. We move as a family. In the recent past, we have heard of threats to the faith. The youth are going to the Evangelicals,” he said.

    He observed the need to stem the trend of young people leaving the Catholic Church in pursuit of the Gospel of prosperity as preached by some Evangelical Pentecostal preachers. The Archbishop called on the Church in Zambia to re-examine how it treats its young people if the trend is to be reversed and stopped. He further challenged the Church in Zambia to make a difference to society and live-up to Christ’s standard of being the Salt of the Earth and light of the world.

    The National Catholic Forum is a bi-annual gathering of Zambian Catholic Bishops, the laity, priests, religious men and women who meet to discuss various pastoral issues of importance to the Catholic faith and pertinent matters affecting the country.  This year’s Extraordinary Forum is being held at Kapingila ZCCB house. 

    The 2017 Forum is discussing Interreligious dialogue in the advent of the emergence and growing influence of Islam and other Churches in the country.

    Source: Vatican Radio…

  • In Uganda, Missionary Nun Determined to Tackle Child Begging

    Crux || By Ngala Killian Chimtom || 13 November 2017

    sister fernanda cristinelli in uganda 2017A Comboni missionary nun in Uganda who'd been out of the country for ten years recently returned to discover a widespread social problem she hadn't seen before: children begging on the streets, often as part of a human trafficking ring. Working with the Ugandan government, Sister Fernanda Cristinelli is determined to do something about it.

    Sister Fernanda Cristinelli, a Comboni missionary, has returned to Uganda where she had served for ten years, to witness a disturbing new phenomenon: widespread begging. According to Fides News Agency, children sit by roadsides all night, “begging for a few pennies.

    “They cannot have a hot meal, go to school, play, wash, feel safe and secure. They are children from the Karamoja area, one of the poorest in the northeast of Uganda, who are forced by adults to beg in the capital Kampala,” Cristinelli told Crux.

    Cristinelli says her return to Uganda has put her “in front of a phenomenon that I had never seen in Kampala years ago.

    “Children aged 3 to 10, and girls from 12 to 14, are begging on the streets, the busiest of the capital, and adult women control them. The little ones jump towards cars in the unpredictable traffic of the streets of Kampala to beg, and the girls, with babies on their shoulders, do the same.

    “In addition, these children live in decrepit tents at the edge of the city, in the mud when it rains,” Cristinelli said.

    The Daily Mail quotes 32-year old Betty, a mother of five, whose survival and that of her family depends on the capacity of her two -year old daughter, Namuli, to make money begging.

    “Like any mother, I feel bad about doing this. But without the money Namuli gets from begging we will die of starvation and have no money to put clothes on our backs. This is the only way we can stay alive,” she said.

    According to the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), the number of children making their way to the streets of Kampala to beg every day jumped from 4,000 in 1993 to 10,000 in 2014.

    In the face of such a “shameful social plague,” Cristinelli is now committed to bringing respite. She has decided to open a day-care center for children that will promote school and family reintegration programs.

    “With the women in the diocese, we have tried to create awareness and literacy programs,” she said. “That is why we thought of creating a place near where they live, to accompany them to have a truly worthy life.

    “For them, a point of reference where they can come, feel welcomed, play a bit, give them something to eat, [and] talk to them, is important,” Cristinelli said.

    “The goal of our project is to make them feel that childhood is something different from being on the streets,” she said.

    Begging: The hidden face of trafficking

    Often street begging by kids in Kampala, like other parts of Uganda, constitutes the hidden face of human trafficking.

    According to New Vision newspaper, children across the East African country are used to working in stone quarries, mining fields and fisheries. The girls are exploited to work as household helpers and babysitters, and many have been taken as child soldiers or slaves by the armed insurgent group the Lord’s Resistance Army.

    Experts have blamed the rising phenomenon of child trafficking on poverty and unemployment, which continue to blight life for many in Uganda.

    According to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, the share of unemployed youth (national definition, 18-30 years) among the total unemployed persons in the country was 64 percent in 2012.

    The World Bank, however, notes significant improvements in the fight against poverty in Uganda, as monetary poverty levels dropped dramatically from 31.1 percent  in 2006 to 19.7 percent in 2013. The country was also one of the fastest in Sub-Saharan Africa to reduce the share of its population living on $1.90 (purchasing power parity) per day or less, from 53.2 percent in 2006 to 34.6 percent in 2013.

    Yet improved sanitation, access to electricity, education, and child malnutrition are still widespread problems.

    “Poverty renders victims vulnerable and leads to rural-urban migration. Urban areas such as Kampala are the major transit and destination areas of internal trafficking,” said Moses Binoga, the coordinator of a Ugandan taskforce to prevent trafficking in persons.

    A community liaison officer attached to Katwe Police station, Sam Nabongho, has also accused some powerful government officials of involvement in human trafficking. Norman Saad Kityamuwesi, a senior immigration officer in the ministry, says most Ugandans are unaware that trafficking in persons is against the law.

    All these problems have continued to drive vulnerable populations to migrate to the cities, with the accompanying consequences of begging.

    Cristinelli is not the only one concerned with the situation. The anti-trafficking task force is now working with the Ugandan Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development to take kids off the streets of Kampala. They’re transferring children to two shelters in Karamoja operated by the ministry that provides food, medical treatment, counseling, and family tracing.

    “Since 2009, the taskforce has invited trainers from the Child and Family Protection Unit (CFPU) of Police to provide anti-trafficking training to over 3,500 police recruits and more comprehensive training to 800 officers in criminal investigation courses,” Binoga said.

    Experts say a solution to the problem of begging on the streets also must involve moral and spiritual leadership.

    During an audience with an International Symposium on the Pastoral Care of the Street on Sept. 17, 2015, Pope Francis said street children are robbed of their future.

    “No child chooses to live on the streets,” the pontiff said.

    “Sadly, even in our modern, globalized world, many children continue to be robbed of their childhood, their rights and their future,” the pope said. Lack of legal protection and adequate structures only aggravates their state of deprivation: they have no real family or access to education or health care.

    “Every child abandoned or forced to live on the streets, at the mercy of criminal organizations, is a cry rising up to God, Who created man and woman in His own image,” Francis said. “It is an indictment of a social system which we have criticized for decades, but which we find hard to change in conformity with criteria of justice.”

    It is this type of picture that Sister Fernanda Cristinelli wants to change.

    Source: Crux…

  • Bishops’ Conferences in Africa and Europe Publish Joint Statement Ahead of AU-EU Summit

    CANAA || By Father Don Bosco Onyalla, Nairobi || 13 November 2017

    bishops in africa and europe publish joint statement 2017The Commission of Bishops’ Conferences in the European Union (COMECE) and the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM), last Wednesday, November 8 published a joint Statement ahead of the upcoming fifth summit of the African Union (AU) and the European Union (EU).

    The joint statement is titled “Africa and Europe shall work as one for the youth of our continents”.

    The African and European Church leaders have expressed their resolve “to make their voices to be heard together and jointly” taking advantage of the summit that will be presenting “the political leaders of both continents with the unique opportunity to initiate an authentic mutual partnership.”

    “The official date for the joint dissemination of the said statement was set for the 8th of November, 2017,” SECAM Secretary General, Father Joseph Komakoma told CANAA Monday, November 13, making reference to an earlier publication of the same statement.

    Only one word, “radical” was dropped from the phrase "...threats of radical religious and political extremism," Father Komakoma clarified to CANAA.

    The two-day fifth AU-EU summit has been scheduled later this month from 28 - 29 November 2017 in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

    The choice to focus on the youth could be in the light of the planned 15th Ordinary General Assembly Synod of Bishops slated for October 2018 whose theme will be, “Youth, faith and vocational discernment,” a theme described as “an expression of the pastoral care of the Church for the young.”

    “Africa and Europe share common roots, which originate in the earliest days of human history,” the Bishops state and also address the geographical connectedness between the two continents, how Africa and Europe “are destined for a common future” and the fact that “Africa and Europe are united in prayer.”

    Click HERE for the full text of the joint statement.

  • Togo’s Crisis Takes Religious and Ethnic Dimensions; Country’s Bishops are Worried

    Crux || By Ngala Killian Chimtom || 08 November 2017

    togo crisis turns ethnic 2017As protests in Togo continue against President Faure Gnassingbé, the bishops said they are disturbed the political crisis has "taken an ethnic and religious trend, with the appearance of militias, the flight to exile of many of our compatriots; arrests; repression, the profaning and destruction of a mosque.”

    In Togo,the bishops are expressing concern over the ethnic and religious overtones appearing in the West African nation’s ongoing political crisis.

    Thousands of demonstrators have been on the streets calling on President Faure Gnassingbé to step down, and for the country to re-introduce term limits.

    Gnassingbé has been president since 2005, following the death of his father, Gnassingbé Eyadéma.

    Eyadéma had ruled Togo for 38 years, ever since he overthrew the country’s second president, Nicolas Grunitzky, in a coup d’état in 1967.

    At least 16 people have been killed in the protests since August.

    In the beginning, the bishops called the protests a result of pent-up frustrations, and called for them to be peaceful. At the same time, the bishops supported the call for term limits.

    The Togolese bishops discussed the issue during their 166th ordinary session, which took place October 17-20 in Kpalimé.

    “Faced with the surge in violence recorded in our country these last weeks, the bishops once more condemned all acts of violence no matter where they are coming from, and called on all to exercise restraint in order to make sure that our country does not sink into a situation of chaos,” Father Gustave Wanme, the secretary general of the bishops’ conference, said in a statement.

    The day before the bishops began meeting, Muslim religious leader Djobo Mohamed Alassani, a local representative of the opposition Pan-African National Party, was arrested in the northern town of Sokodé, sparking a wave of violence that led to the deaths of two soldiers and two civilians, with over 20 people wounded.

    Gnassingbé is a Christian. The country is just under 30 percent Christian and 20 percent Muslim, while 50 percent practice indigenous religions.

    “The bishops deplored the fact that the events of these last days have, beyond all expectations, taken an ethnic and religious trend, with the appearance of militias, the flight to exile of many of our compatriots; arrests; repression, the profaning and destruction of a mosque,” Wanme said.

    The government justified the arrest of the imam, saying in a statement that he was picked following “repeated incitement and calls to violence, murder and sedition.”

    But Gnassingbé has been accused of fanning ethnic tensions as a diversionary tactic from the substantive issue of presidential term limits.

    “It is a dangerous twist,” the bishops said, evidently fearing a repeat of past ethnic violence in Togo.

    Understanding Togo’s ethnic tensions

    During Germany’s rule over Togo, members of the Ewe tribe in the south of the country were favored by the Germans and benefitted from missionary education. When the French succeeded the Germans in Togo after World War I, the Ewes became administrators for colonies throughout French Africa.

    By the time Togo got its independence in 1960, the Ewes - who are the largest individual tribe in Togo, with about 30 percent of the population - had become the dominant group both in the administration and public service.

    But the Ewe tribe was not the only one to have benefited from colonial policies.

    The Kabye tribe of the north suffered economic backwardness and illiteracy, yet they had been recruited into the army under French rule, and at independence dominated the military. They still do so today, despite making up only between 15 and 20 percent of the population.

    Between the Ewe and the Kabye in the center of the country are the Tem, the ethnic group to which Alassani belongs, and other smaller ethnic groups.

    These ethnic divisions are reflected in the country’s political history.

    Togo’s first president, Sylvanus Olympio was supported by the Ewes, but he was assassinated in a military coup in 1963, with Nicolas Grunitzky eventually taking power.

    Under the rule of Olympio and Grunitsky, Ewes held almost 70 percent of the ministerial posts, with Kabye holding 20 percent.

    But the fortunes of the two main groups changed on January 13, 1967, when Gnassingbé Eyadéma, an ethnic Kabye army colonel, took power in a bloodless coup. Suddenly, the Ewe tribe only had 25 percent of the cabinet positions.

    Eyadéma repressed Ewe nationalism and other forms of dissent. When the wave of democracy swept the continent in the 1990s, the president instituted elections, which outside observers said were marred by electoral fraud.

    At least 200 people were killed in 1998, after the president was accused of stealing the election.

    Eyadéma introduced term limits in 1992, after a series of political protests, but ended them in 2002, with the hopes of running for re-election in 2008.

    After his death in 2005, the military made sure his son succeeded him, causing more riots.

    Both the 1998 and 2005 demonstrations took on an ethnic character.

    Now there are fears of a repeat of history.

    “Individuals are using social media to whip up ethnic hatred,” said Professor Ayayi Togoata Apédo-Amah of the University of Benin, and an opposition supporter.

    “Our fight isn’t against any ethnic group. It is directed at a criminal and illegitimate regime…Giving a tribal coloration to this fight is a criminal diversion …the politics of ethnic scapegoatism is not part of the war of liberation for the Togolese people.”

    The bishops have called for “frank and sincere dialogue” between the government and the opposition “on the key question that sparked the conflict in the first place,” in order to come up with a “durable, consensual solution.”

    In a sign of hope a government spokesman on Monday said the president was willing to hold talks with the opposition.

    Source: Crux…

  • Pope Recognizes Martyrdom of Sister Killed in Somalia in 2006

    Catholic News Service (CNS) || By Cindy Wooden || 09 November 2017

    martyrdom of sister killed in somalia recognizedPope Francis formally recognized the martyrdom of an Italian Consolata sister murdered in Somalia in 2006 and the martyrdom of a 25-year-old priest in Hungary in 1957.

    The Vatican announced the pope's decisions Nov. 9, along with news that he had declared Pope John Paul I "venerable" and had advanced five other sainthood causes.

    In the case of the two martyrs, the pope's recognition clears the way for their beatification, the step before canonization.

    Consolata Sister Leonella Sgorbati and her bodyguard were gunned down as they left the children's hospital where she worked in Mogadishu. Their deaths in September 2006 came amid rising tensions in the Muslim world over a speech then-Pope Benedict XVI had given in Regensburg, Germany, quoting a Christian emperor's criticism of Islam.

    Most Islamic leaders in Somalia condemned the killing, emphasizing that Sister Sgorbati was dedicating her efforts to the Somali people. She was 65 at the time, had worked in Africa for 35 years and had been in Somalia since 2001.

    The Hungarian priest whose martyrdom was recognized by Pope Francis was Father Janos Brenner, who was born in Szombathely in 1931. He had been a Cistercian novice, but when the communist government banned religious orders in 1950, he entered a diocesan seminary. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1955.

    Although the diocesan priesthood was not banned, the communist authorities did not like his ministry, especially with young people. In December 1957, just two weeks before his 26th birthday, he received a late-night call to visit a sick person. On the path outside the village, he was stabbed 32 times and died before a doctor could arrive. Although it was never proven, it was believed that communist officials were ultimately responsible for his death.

    Another decree signed by the pope recognized the heroic virtues of Bernard of Baden, a 15th-century German nobleman. Although he often is referred to as "Blessed Bernard," his cause for sainthood had not previously followed all the formal procedures.

    The other decrees signed by the pope recognized the heroic virtues of:

    -- Franciscan Father Gregorio Fioravanti, the Italian founder of the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart. He died in 1894.

    -- Venezuela-born Jesuit Father Tomas Morales Perez, who founded the Cruzadas de Santa Maria secular institute and the Militantes de Santa Maria movement for young people. He died in Spain in 1994.

    -- Italian Capuchin Brother Marcellino da Capradosso, a friar who died in 1909.

    -- U.S.-born Teresa Fardella De Blasi, an Italian mother and widow, who founded the Poor Daughters of the Crowned Virgin and who was able to realize her dream of becoming a nun only shortly before her death in 1957.

  • Tanzanian Archbishop Appointed Secretary for Evangelization of Peoples

    Vatican Radio || English Africa Service || 09 November 2017

    archbishop rugambwa appointed to evangelization of peoplesPope Francis Thursday afternoon, appointed Archbishop Protase Rugambwa as the new Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

    Archbishop Rugambwa was until now, the Adjunct Secretary of the same Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and President of the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS). 

    He is the Archbishop Emeritus of Kigoma in Tanzania.

    The newly appointed Secretary was born on 31 May 1960 at Bunena, in the Tanzanian Archdiocese of Bukoba. After his primary and secondary school education in Katoke, Itaga, he joined Kibosho Senior Seminary and St. Charles Lwanga Segerea Senior Seminary for philosophy and theological studies respectively.

    He was ordained priest on 2 September 1990 in Dar-es-Salaam, by Blessed Pope John Paul II during the Apostolic visit to Tanzania.

    After ordination, Archbishop Rugambwa served as parochial vicar between 1990-1991 in the parish of Mabira; teacher at the Minor Seminary of Katoke between 1991-1994. He was also Chaplain of Biharamulo hospital.

    Between 1994-1998 he studied Pastoral Theology at the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome, after which he was awarded a doctoral degree.

    Upon return to his home diocese, he served as vocations director and eventually as Vicar General of Rulenge Diocese.

    Announcing the appointment of Archbishop Rugambwa, the Holy Father also elevated the Italian, Rev. Monsignor Giovanni Pietro Dal Toso as Archbishop and new Adjunct Secretary of the same Congregation. He will also serve as President of the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS).

    The new Adjunct Secretary previously served as Secretary of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum" until the dissolution of the Council early this year.

    Source: Vatican Radio…

  • Sudan and South Sudan Bishops’ Plenary to Discuss Peacebuilding, Pastoral Care to Refugees and Poor, Re-inviting Pope Francis

    CANAA || By Father Don Bosco Onyalla, Nairobi || 09 November 2017

    scbc plenary november 2017Activities toward building peace in Sudan and South Sudan, pastoral initiatives toward refugees in various countries, and ways of addressing poverty are among the issues Catholic Bishops in Sudan and South Sudan have planned to discuss during their Plenary Assembly in Juba.

    This has been confirmed to CANAA by the President of the Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SCBC), Bishop Barani Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala of Tombura-Yambio diocese.

    The plenary opened on Wednesday, November 8, with a recollection led by Msgr. James Lodu who serves as Spiritual Rector of St. Lawrence Minor Seminary, Juba, South Sudan.

    “We intent to revisit our plan and activities in building peace, pastoral attention toward our refugees in various countries, the poverty of our people, to re-boost our social service to them,” Bishop Barani told CANAA Thursday.

    “We shall consider also re-invitation of our Holy Father to visit Sudan and South Sudan,” SCBC President added.

    Early in the year, Pope Francis had proposed a trip to South Sudan, which he would have undertaken alongside the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. However, on May 30, the Vatican's spokesman, Greg Burke, told journalists that the trip was not to take place this year, citing a precarious security situation in the world’s youngest nation.

    According to Father Jacob Ohob Odoi, the Secretary General of SCBC, the Church leaders coming from the two dioceses in Sudan and the seven dioceses in South Sudan are being guided by Jesus’ prayer for his Apostles recorded in the Gospel according to John 17:21, ‘That all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.’

    Bishop Barani appreciated the presence of two representatives of the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA) saying, “This Plenary has been blessed with a delegation from AMECEA, led by Berhaneyesus Cardinal Souraphiel, Archbishop of Addis Ababa and Chairman of AMECEA, together with Bishop Rogath Kimaryo of Same, Tanzania.”

    Father Jacob told CANAA that the two Apostolic Nuncios for South Sudan and for Sudan are attending the 10-day Plenary Assembly.

    The two Nuncios, Archbishop Charles Daniel Balvo and Archbishop Hubertus Matheus Maria van Megen, also represent the Holy Father in Kenya and Eritrea respectively.

    “The Cardinal from Ethiopia and Bishop Kimaryo have been meeting the local ordinaries of Sudan and South Sudan,” Father Jacob told CANAA on Wednesday evening, adding, “Earlier, Cardinal Bernheyesus had a phone conversation with Cardinal emeritus Gabriel Zubeir of Khartoum Archdiocese.”

    The Plenary is taking place at Kit Spiritual Center, situated some 15km South of South Sudan’s capital, Juba.

    Founded by Religious Superiors’ Association of South Sudan (RSASS), Kit is a center for human, pastoral and spiritual formation, peace building and trauma healing for South Sudanese and Church personnel including the laity, clergy, and religious.

    It was officially opened in October 2016 at a ceremony presided over by the Apostolic Nuncio to Kenya and South Sudan, Archbishop Charles Daniel Balvo.

  • Christian Brothers in Zambia’s Mongu Diocese Celebrate Golden Jubilee

    Vatican Radio || By Bro Michael Godfrey, Mongu Diocese Drumbeat || 05 November 2017

    christian brothers in mongu zambia golden jubilee 2017The Christian Brothers in Zambia’s Mongu Diocese are celebrating fifty years of continuous presence in the diocese.

    On 4 July 1967, Brothers James Casey and John Wiley left Ireland and arrived in Mongu on 7 July. Br Patrick McLoughlin also came later in that same year.

    St John’s school, Mongu, had commenced in 1962, founded by the Capuchin Fathers. On 8 December 1967, the Capuchins handed over the leadership of the school to the Christian Brothers. The first Headmaster was Br Casey.

    In the following year Bros. Tom Gough, Anthony Morony, and Michael Logue also came to Mongu. They all became involved as teachers in St John’s school, and a series of Brothers led the school as Headmasters until 1991 when Br Seamus O’Reilly handed over the leadership to Mr. Charles Chinyama. The Brothers have also been involved in other ministries around Mongu including with the Mongu Diocese Teachers’ College and the local prison.

    Over those fifty years, many Brothers have lived and worked at St John’s, and in more recent times this has included Zambian Brothers, some of whom grew up in Mongu and surrounding areas and later came on as staff at the school.

    In 2016, under a new structure, the Christian Brothers established three new Mission Communities in Mongu Diocese – in Limulunga, Senanga, and Luampa. Each of these communities was an international community with Brothers from Zambia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, India, and Australia. The Mongu community, known as the Hub, is responsible for the pastoral and administrative care of the three Mission communities.

    The Congregation of Christian Brothers is an international Religious Congregation of Brothers founded by Blessed Edmund Rice in 1802 in Waterford, Ireland. He founded the Congregation initially as a response to the needs of the more impoverished boys from the docks in Waterford.

    The Brothers are present in more than thirty countries throughout the continents of Europe, Americas, Australia, and the subcontinent of India, including the continent of Africa. The African countries are Kenya, Tanzania and South Sudan, Zambia, Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Liberia and The Gambia.

    Source: Vatican Radio…

  • Salesian-run Ministries in Uganda Aid South Sudanese Fleeing Violence

    Catholic News Service (CNS) || By Doreen Ajiambo || 03 November 2017

    salesians in uganda and s sudan fleeing violence 2017As civil war escalates in South Sudan, the world's youngest nation, refugees fleeing violence gather over the border in northern Uganda to ask God for peace.

    They sing hymns and sometimes recite the rosary. Others fall to their knees and weep in prayer in the new chapels established under trees because shelter is scarce. Their pews are planks of wood or logs dug into the ground.

    "We are praying daily because we want God to hear and forgive us," said catechist Peter Jok, a South Sudanese refugee who works in one of five chapels that Salesian missionaries have opened in the Palabek camp in northern Uganda. "The suffering we are going through will come to an end one day because God is going to intervene."

    About 34,000 South Sudanese refugees live in Palabek. The ministries offered in the chapels bring hope and unify the migrants, including those who have lost loved ones in the civil war.

    The Salesians run St. John Bosco, Mary Help of Christians, Holy Cross, Daniel Comboni and Mother Teresa chapels. Catholic Masses are celebrated in them; women and children use the buildings as community centers.

    "We had lost hope as people of South Sudan, but the church is restoring it," said Pauline Aluel, a mother of three who arrived in the camp in April after government soldiers attacked her town of Pajok and murdered her husband. "I have been having bad dreams about the people I saw being murdered. But the church has helped me to overcome it. I can now recite a rosary and all my problems are solved."

    The newly appointed chaplain of the refugees in the archdiocese, Salesian Father Lazar Arasu, said his order's missionaries were helping the refugees in peacebuilding activities, spiritually and agricultural practices to improve their lives.

    "We are working to provide inspiration and hope to internally displaced people here and around the world," Father Arasu said. "We also help poor youth and their families through education."

    South Sudan gained its independence from Sudan in July 2011 after decades of war. But two years later, the new nation of 11 million people became embroiled in civil conflict. President Salva Kiir, a member of the majority Dinkas, blamed his then-Vice President Riek Machar, a Nuer, of staging a coup against the government. The conflict has led to famine, accusations of mass rape and ethnic cleansing and a massive refugee crisis.

    Several peace deals have failed, including one signed in 2015 allowing the formation of a unity government with Machar as Kiir's first deputy.

    Tens of thousands have been killed in the conflict, and more than 1 million people have been forced to flee to neighboring Uganda alone. Upward of another million have sought refuge elsewhere in the region.

    Catholic bishops in Uganda have urged priests to visit the camps and provide pastoral care.

    Archbishop John Baptist Odama of Gulu encouraged host Catholics living with refugees to embrace and provide them with the solace they need to live dignified lives.

    Archbishop Odama said the local churches in those areas should put in place effective pastoral programs that will enable refugees to draw strength and hope from the living word of God and the sacraments.

    "We note with deep concern the influx of refugees into Uganda following conflicts and economic hardship in some of our neighboring countries, especially South Sudan," he said in a statement during the summer. "We therefore launch an appeal to all our priests from other dioceses to consider volunteering to go and provide pastoral care to the people in the refugee camps."

    The effort involves more than bricks and mortar.

    Father Tonino Pasolini, an Italian Comboni missionary who runs Radio Pacis, a multilingual radio station in northern Uganda, said he was determined to continue bringing a message of peace and reconciliation to the refugees living in the region.

    "Radio Pacis will continue to spread the message of hope among the refugees so that they can reconcile and become peacemakers," he said.

    Protestant churches also have cropped up in various refugee camps to spread a message of hope, peace and reconciliation.

    In the Bidi Bidi refugee camp, which hosts about 270,000 South Sudanese, more than 25 Catholic churches and houses of other faiths have sprung up, according to George Okumu, a Ugandan local government official.

     "The church is helping most refugees here," he said. "They now live in peace despite their ethnic differences. Others have also healed emotionally after they lost their family members at home."

  • Head of Worldwide Anglican Communion Preaches Reconciliation to Kenya’s Political Leaders

    Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) || 06 November 2017

    archbishop welby preaches reconciliation in kenya 2017The key-players in Kenya’s disputed presidential elections – President Uhuru Kenyatta, opposition leader Raila Odinga, and Supreme Court Chief Justice David Maraga – were present at All Saints’ Cathedral in Nairobi yesterday as Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby spoke of the importance of reconciliation. They were marking the centenary of Kenya’s mother-church, in a service shown live on national television. After the sermon, President Kenyatta said he had heard the archbishop’s call, and shook hands with Mr Odinga – their first meeting since the disputed October election.

    The Supreme Court had ruled that the original election, on 8 August, was “neither transparent or verifiable” and annulled the result. An eve-of-poll legal challenge to the second election, on 26 October, was halted because there wasn’t enough judges available to hear the case – one Supreme Court Justice’s bodyguard had been killed. Raila Odinga urged his National Super Alliance (NASA) supporters to boycott that second poll. A fresh legal challenge to October’s result is expected to be launched today.

    In his hard-hitting sermon, Archbishop Justin said that Kenya should be a model of reconciliation. “This land is the cradle of human beings. Human life started here,” Archbishop Justin said. “You have the gospel, and you have shown us how to live it. Your churches are vigorous and full. You live in harmony between faiths. Can you not show us how to be a country of reconciliation, that we may learn? There is a deep hunger around the world for an example of great differences handled well.”

    He continued: “A Christian people will be reconciled reconcilers. They will deal well with disagreement. They will know how to forgive, how to stand for truth, and not to hate or fight; how to rule and to oppose; and how to make a nation whole and healed.

    “Reconciliation, tragically, is profoundly rare. . . In so many countries, including my own, including this one, there is a need for reconciliation. It must become part of our DNA – part of Kenya’s DNA.”

    He continued: “I am not talking about results and outcomes of elections – that would be interference by me as an ignorant outsider. But I am talking about how disagreements are dealt with, because that is the call of the pastor as has been shown by the churches and many, many others in this land. I am not calling for mediation but for the steady and long-term work of building structures of reconciliation, the capacity to deal with the nation’s challenges in a way that brings peace and a future even when there is deep disagreement.”

    After the sermon, President Kenyatta was at the front of the church to receive a book detailing the history of All Saint’s Cathedral. He took the opportunity to tell Archbishop Justin: “We heard your message of reconciliation. And I hope that every single person in this room has also heard that message.” As he returned to his seat, he paused to shake hands with opposition leader Raila Odinga. He later invited the opposition leader to talks aimed at ending the current political stalemate in the country.

    During his visit, a small Anglican delegation led by Archbishop Welby and the Primate of Kenya, Archbishop Jackson Ole Sapit, held separate private talks with both political leaders. In an interview with Kenya TV’s KTN News Weekend Prime programme, Archbishop Justin declined to discuss the details of his conversations – saying that they were private talks – but he explained that the leaders discussed regional tragedies, including the situation in South Sudan and Somalia, in addition to the situation in Kenya.

    Reconciliation is one of three priority areas for Justin Welby’s ministry, alongside prayer and the religious life, and evangelism and witness. In September he was named as a member of the UN secretary general’s new High-Level Advisory Board on Mediation. Asked about the role of the international community in bringing reconciliation to Kenya, he said: “reconciliation is done by the parties involved in the difficulties. You can’t impose it on people, but you can encourage, enable and take away obstacles to it.”

    He said that there was a danger of not getting involved, leaving people feeling abandoned; or getting too involved, leading to people feeling controlled. “There is a middle way, which is about support, encouragement, and help, while saying: ‘you’ve got to sort this out yourself.’”

    The interviewer asked the Archbishop how reconciliation can be brought to the Anglican Communion on matters to do with disputes over sexuality and same-sex relationships. He acknowledged that Anglicans – and Christians in other Churches – have “deep divisions” over it, and said: “Our challenge is to work our way forward, holding on to the truths that are given to us through Jesus and in the Scriptures; and yet never sinking to the level of demonising or hating people because they are homosexual. And living with that tension is something that we are struggling with. It would be idiotic to deny that.”

    He described last month’s Primates’ Meeting in Canterbury, where the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church briefed global Anglican leaders on their decision to perform same-sex marriages, as “a good example.” Archbishop Welby said: “The discussion was extremely robust, but it was a discussion within the family – like a family argument. It was tough, but we continue to love one another.”

    He said that it would be “difficult to come to a single view” within the Anglican Communion on matters of sexuality because “the cultural differences are so great” and because Archbishops of Canterbury didn’t have Pope-like authority to impose doctrine on the Communion.

    “What I do think we can do within the Churches, and the Anglican Communion, globally is to demonstrate that we can love one another and yet disagree very profoundly – what I often call ‘good disagreement’. The worst of all things is just to be like the world and where we disagree, to hate one-another – that is a betrayal of Jesus Christ in the worst way.”

    Source: Anglican Communion News Service…

  • Bishops in both Africa and Europe Worried about “brain drain” from Migration Crisis

    Crux || By Ngala Killian Chimtom || 04 November 2017

    brain drain in africa 2017Between 1980 and 2010, the number of African migrants living in Europe doubled, reaching 30.6 million people, according to a 2014 World Bank Report. That figure represented 3 percent of the continent’s total population. The bishops of both continents have proposed ways to stem the immigration tide – especially the “brain drain” of highly educated Africans – which they say will help the development of the African continent.

    As African and European leaders prepare to meet for the 5th summit for the African Union and the European Union in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, on 28 - 29 November 2017, the bishops of both continents are pushing for fair trade measures to be used to help combat the ongoing migration crisis affecting the region.

    Hundreds of thousands of Africans leave their homes for Europe each year, often using smugglers to facilitate their search for a better life.

    According to the International Organization for Migration, more than 22,500 migrants have died or disappeared globally since 2014 - more than half of them perishing while attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea.

    “While overall numbers of migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean by the eastern route were reduced significantly in 2016 by the EU-Turkey deal, death rates have increased to 2.1 per 100 in 2017, relative to 1.2 in 2016,” reads the IOM report.

    “Part of this rise is due to the greater proportion of migrants now taking the most dangerous route - that across the central Mediterranean - such that 1 in 49 migrants now died on this route in 2016,” the report continues.

    Between 1980 and 2010, the number of African migrants living in Europe doubled, reaching 30.6 million people, according to a 2014 World Bank Report. That figure represented 3 percent of the continent’s total population.

    And the numbers continue to rise. Joe Walker-Cousins, head of the UK’s Libya mission between 2012 and 2014, said in April that as many as one million migrants from across Africa could be on the way to Libya - a major leaving point due to the lack of an effective government - before making the attempt to go to Europe.

    Europeans are not the only ones concerned about this migration flow. African leaders are also worried, since it is often their most industrious and educated citizens leaving: This “brain drain” is perhaps one of Africa’s greatest threats.

    These immigrants often enter Europe legally, and include the 20,000 doctors, university lecturers, engineers and other professionals that the IOM reports have been leaving the continent annually since 1990.

    At the same time, it is estimated nearly $4 billion is spent to employ Westerners to fill positions in Africa that could have been performed by Africans who instead are living abroad.

    The bishops of both continents have proposed ways to stem the immigration tide - especially the “brain drain” - which they say will help the development of the African continent.

    Their proposals were made in a joint statement issued by the Commission of Bishops’ Conferences in the European Union (COMECE) and the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM).

    “We call for justice and equity in trade in goods and services, but especially with regard to natural resources, which are taken each year from Africa. New local industries and sustainable development of agriculture may furthermore help to reduce the stress which forces young people to leave their homeland and diminish the phenomenon generally known as ‘brain drain’,” the bishops said in a statement.

    Noting that migration is intrinsic to human existence, the bishops called on political leaders to treat migrants with dignity and protect them “against criminal exploitation.”

    Adding that African young people - who are most likely to be victims of people traffickers - lack trust in both the political leaders and private institutions on both continents, the bishops called for inclusive policies that will give young people a voice in political processes.

    “To gain or restore trust, participation and a sense of belonging are key. Effective participation demands transparency and accountability from all parties,” they said in the statement.

    The bishops said the African Union-European Union summit should concentrate on youth issues, and seriously address the issue of migration in Africa.

    “We therefore hope for a strong statement by the participants of the AU-EU summit on migration and especially the fight against human trafficking. Furthermore, we would expect the EU to reinforce its commitment for sustainable development programs on the occasion of the summit,” they said.

    The bishops said it will be necessary to give African and European youths the opportunity “to share their hopes and expectations about an adequate environment for sustainable development.”

    They expressed the need for the summit to address the problems of job-creation, the development of local industries, and sustainable development of agriculture, but added such local industries will only make headway if the youths are given the appropriate skills to sustain them.

    “In order to make use of the opportunities in education and training for all, boys and girls need to be strengthened and redesigned in view of the newly needed communication and technological skills,” the statement said.

    “Answers must be given to the youth as they face new ideologies regarding culture, the sanctity of human life, marriage and the family, and loss of spirituality in a world where a materialistic culture is dominant.”

    The bishops said they were hopeful the Abidjan summit will be “an occasion for a clearer understanding of each other’s concerns, lead to concrete and helpful decisions, and thus, become an important step towards an authentic partnership between our continents.”

    Source: Crux… 

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