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AMERICA/MEXICO - "As brothers we must respect each other": the diocese of San Cristóbal condemns the latest violence

Chenalhó - "We regret there was no dialogue but violence and kidnapping. We regret they did not comply with the seat of the Diocesan Curia, as a place for the search for peace and justice", said the statement of the diocese of San Cristobal de Las Casas published after the latest events, sent to Fides.On May 25, a meeting was held between the Mayor of Chenalhó who did not want to resign just because he had been asked by the opposition and representatives of the opposition itself, because of bankruptcy management. The religious authority of the Catholic Church acted as mediators.During the meeting, of which few knew about, a dozen people stormed the Curia with sticks and stones, and threatening those present, kidnapped the two parliamentarians invited as witnesses. At the request of the kidnappers, the mayor resigned to make way for the representative of the opposition. So the hostages were freed. On the evening of the same day, May 25, and the following day, there were clashes between supporters of the mayor and members of the opposition, resulting in 2 deaths and numerous injuries.The statement of the diocese, released over the weekend, is signed by His Exc. Mgr. Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel; the coadjutor His Exc. Mgr. Enrique Díaz Díaz, and by friar Gonzalo Ituarte Verdusco, Vicar of Justice and Peace. The text reminds citizens of Chenalhó that this unnecessary rivalry has to end because "we have to respect each other as brothers, do no damage to anyone because they think differently from us, and look for the common good". The central government is sending a large contingent of security forces to deal with the situation.

ASIA/PAKISTAN - Blasphemy on social networks: a Christian arrested, other five suspects

Sheikhupura - Christian Usman Masih was arrested by the police in the village of Nabi Pura, near Sheikhupura, Punjab, on charges of blasphemy after a complaint was filed by some Muslims who accuse him of posting blasphemous material on social networks like Facebook. This is what Agenzia Fides learns by lawyer Aneeqa Maria Anthony, a Christian and responsible of the NGO "The Voice" who follows cases of Christians discriminated and unjustly accused.According to the lawyer's reconstruction, in the village of Nabi Pura there were tensions between groups of Christians and Muslims: these threatened to burn Christian homes due to alleged acts of blasphemy. Groups of young Christians and Muslims began to photograph girls and to post photos on Facebook with demeaning or disrespectful comments. Offensive comments to the Prophet Muhammad apparently appeared on accounts belonging to Christians. Young Christians report that these posts belong to a man named Hannan, who lives in Dubai: according to the mechanism of the Social network, his posts also appear on the accounts of local Christians, who do not have any responsibility.The fact is that the police, after the complaint, arrested a Christian and investigated another five. "The Voice" has found proof of disrespectful comments toward women, but not acts of blasphemy. "Transforming the story in a religious question is totally wrong," said lawyer Anthony to Fides. "We hope that the police verifies the facts and helps maintain peace and security in the village", the lawyer concludes.

AFRICA/NIGERIA - "More than 1.3 million Christians forced to flee from northern Nigeria", says a Bishop

Abuja - In northern Nigeria, between 2006 and 2014 an estimated 11,500 Christians were killed, over 1.3 million Christians displaced and 13,000 churches destroyed or abandoned. This assertion was made by His Exc. Mgr. Joseph Bagobiri, Bishop of Kafanchan, in his presentation entitled "The Impact of Persistent Violence on the Church in Northern Nigeria", made at an International Conference held at the headquarters of the United Nations Organization , New York, United States of America . The most affected Christian communities are in northern Adamawa, Borno, Kano and Yobe states. Christians in these states have had to relocate mainly to the predominant Christian states in the Middle Belt areas: Plateau, Nassarawa, Benue, Taraba and Southern part of Kaduna state.But in recent months, these areas are affected by the violence of the Fulani herdsmen . "Christian communities in the predominant Christian states in the Middle Belt areas are the most affected by the Muslim Fulani herdsmen forceful invasions and attacks. This is a blatant foreign invasion of the ancestral lands of the Christian and minority communities", said Mgr. Bagobiri in his presentation sent to Fides. "In these middle belt states, the Fulani herdsmen have incessantly terrorized many communities, wiping out some from existence, and in places like Agatu in Benue State and Gwantu and Manchok in Kaduna State, these attacks assumed genocidal character, as between 150 – 300 vulnerable persons were killed overnight", he stressed.Mgr. Bagobiri called on the international community to put pressure on the Nigerian authorities to ensure freedom of worship for Christians and other minorities in northern Nigeria, and tackle the humanitarian emergency of displaced populations.

AFRICA/ZIMBABWE - Resignation of the Bishop of Mutare, appointment of successor

Vatican City - On 28 May 2016 the Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral governance of the Diocese of Mutare , presented by His Exc. Mgr. Alexio Churu Muchabaiwa, in accordance with can. 401 § 1 of the Code of Canon Law. The Holy Father appointed Fr. Paul Horan, O. Carm., Director of the Catholic school Kriste Mambo in Rusape, in the Diocese of Mutare as Bishop of the Diocese of Mutare. Rev. Fr. Paul Horan, O. Carm., was born in Drangan, Tipperary County, in Ireland, on 17 October 1962. He completed his philosophical and theological studies, obtaining Bachelor’s degree, at the Milltown Institute College in Dublin, Ireland . On 15 October 1995 he professed his perpetual vows and was ordained a priest on June 7, 1997 in Ireland. Before entering the Carmelite Order, he worked at the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants of Ireland. In 2001 he obtained a Masters of Arts in Spiritual Theology at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He arrived in Zimbabwe as a missionary in 2001.Since his ordination he has served the following academic and pastoral roles: 2001: Shona language course and missionary pastoral experience; 2001-2004: Director of Postulancy of the Carmelite Fathers in Rusape ; 2004-2006: Director of the Novitiate of the Carmelite Fathers in Rusape; 2006-2008: Assistant parish of St. Kilian's in Makoni ; since 2008: Director of the Catholic school Kriste Mambo in Rusape.

ASIA/INDIA - Hindu nationalist leader helps Catholic nuns

Mumbai - Ashish Shelar, 41 Indian political leader, president of the Mumbai section of the "Bharatiya Janata Party", Hindu nationalist party in power in the Indian Federation, has initiated a project supported by the Catholic Sisters of the Disciples of the Divine Master in Mumbai. The project involves the renovation and the paving of the convent of the Religious sisters in Mumbai. As Fides learns, the intervention is accomplished through funding of the Legislative Assembly of the state of Maharashtra, of which Shelar is a member.Ashish Shelar, next to the religious Superior, Sister Amita Mascarenhes, and the local priest Fr. Michael Pinto intervened at the inauguration ceremony held today, May 30, at the convent of the Sisters.During the ceremony the new Grotto dedicated to Mary Queen of the Apostles was also blessed, and the BJP's political leaders participated in the ritual in religious worship and prayer. In the convent of nuns there is a note "Prarthanalaya" with a Chapel open for continuous Eucharistic adoration.The religious sisters committed themselves, above all thanks to the precious and tenacious contribution of one of them, Sister Vimla. The sisters found the full availability of Shelar, a politician who consistently shows openness towards the Christian communities of Maharashtra, recognizing their contribution to Indian society. Shelar often speaks of "community building" as his political approach and supports the initiatives of the Christian communities, allocating funds without any discrimination.

AMERICA/GUATEMALA - The precariousness of the structures penalizes children's education

Guatemala City - Educational programs aimed at children in Guatemala do not meet expectations. In many rural communities, in particular, there is only one school which often fails to cover the needs of all the children. The quality of education is very low.Mothers say they are concerned about the lack of resources. Children do not have access to technology, there are no facilities, educational materials such as books, exercise books, desks and basic services. Even school meals are not adequate.

AFRICA/KENYA - Religious leaders: "Urgent political solutions to avoid the country plunging into violence"

Nairobi - "The leading role of the two major political parties, especially the dispute around the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission , is a threat to national peace, cohesion and unity of Kenyans", say the religious leaders of Kenya in a statement entitled "For the love of our Country, come and reason together".The document, sent to Agenzia Fides, was signed at the end of a meeting held at the Little Daughters of St. Joseph Retreat Centre, Karen, which was attended by representatives of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops and all the major religions of the Country: National Council of Churches of Kenya , National Muslim Leaders Forum , Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya , Organization of African Instituted Churches , Hindu Council of Kenya , Seventh Day Adventist Church and the Evangelical Alliance of Kenya .According to the religious leader, the extreme polarization of national political life ahead of the 2017 general elections, requires "an urgent political solution to avert an imminent crisis that could complicate next year’s election and plunge the country into election violence".A message of condolence was expressed to families of those who died in the demonstrations on May 23 held in different parts of Kenya by the opposition to demand the dissolution of the electoral commission, accused of not being impartial but favorable to incumbent President, Uhuru Kenyatta .The religious leaders strongly urge the political coalitions and the opposition , and reminds all political actors that "Kenyans will hold them accountable should the country slide back to anarchy because of unyielding competing political interests".The message concludes by reaffirming the willingness of religious leaders to contribute to dialogue and national reconciliation.

AFRICA/ANGOLA - Drought and precarious sanitation exacerbate child malnutrition

Chiulo - The severe drought which last year hit southern Angola continues to threaten the health of mothers and children. In 2015 in the only hospital in Chiulo, 19% of pediatric hospitalizations regarded severe malnourished children, 15% in the first four months of this year. This alarm was launched by the NGO Doctors with Africa CUAMM which, together with UNICEF, has launched an intervention to counter acute and moderate malnutrition in the province of Cunene. The initiative involves the hospitals in Chiulo, Xangongo and Cahama and the commitment of 1 pediatrician and 1 project manager who will work for the next three months in nutritional units of the structures to ensure that the little ones are hospitalized and receive appropriate care.A communiqué of CUAMM sent to Fides, points out that climate change, subsistence agriculture which is still widespread, the precarious hygienic conditions and medical facilities which are not prepared to face the most severe cases, makes Angola one of the countries in the world with the worst rates of malnutrition. As for infant health in the country still today 161 children die out of a thousand. Altogether in the municipalities of Ombadja and Cahama, 5.5% of the 74,000 children under 5 suffer from SAM - Severe Acute Malnutrition.

VATICAN - Cardinal Filoni at the sending forth Mass of missionaries: evangelizing is to grow in faith

Bucaramanga - "The mission to evangelize must be a constant encouragement not to be happy with mediocrity, but to continue to grow in faith" recommended Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, during the sending forth Mass of missionaries which he chaired on May 28 at the conclusion of the XII National Missionary Congress of Colombia."Authority does not come from science or doctrine, but from the Holy Spirit which governs our history and guides our steps - the Cardinal said in his homily commenting on the liturgy of the day -. God is the source and the source of all authority. Becoming one with Him, one obtains authority, because the Lord communicates and lives within the Church, and gives it the power, authority, science and wisdom".Citing the Evangelii Gaudium, the Prefect of the Congregation said that "we evangelize even when we try to face the different challenges that may arise", since "truth is at times inconvenient, and cannot vary depending on the circumstances. The scribes and Pharisees want to accuse Jesus of abuse of authority and did not allow him the right to reveal to the world the truth and proclaim the new law of love". Then, addressing the messengers for the mission, he said that they will often be confronted with narrow-mindedness, blindness, prejudice "of those who do not know or recognize Christ, the Way, Truth and Life, but have the presumption to judge even God" and "the consequence of this attitude may be indifference or persecution".Since the II Vatican Council, evangelization has experienced "major structural changes due to the changes of cultural models", to the point that "sometimes one can have the impression that the proclamation of faith does not inspire enthusiasm, especially if, as a result of some forms of dialogue that marginalize the Gospel and the attention to the religious and cultural traditions, forgets that the Church, by its nature, is missionary. " The multitudes recognize Jesus’ authority and power, and bear witness, make it a joyful announcement, a "Gospel". The Prefect of the Congregation invoked God, through the intercession of Saint Laura Montoya, "the gift of living a truly evangelical faith and the joy of announcing, with great spiritual authority, his Word among men". Link correlati :The full text of the Cardinal’s homily, in Spanish

AMERICA/COLOMBIA - Journalists released: the Church mediates, but tension remains high

Ocaña - As soon as journalist Salud Hernandez Moro was released, on May 27, her first words were of appreciation and gratitude for the Catholic Church of Colombia. As news agencies reported, the Church, together with the "Defensora del Pueblo", were the real mediators for her release and for the other two Colombian journalists who were kidnapped by ELN guerrillas .Hence the Church became a reference point in the conflict areas, especially for the trust it enjoys with this guerrilla group. ELN had in fact asked to hand the journalist over to the parish priest of San Calixto and to the pastor of the Cathedral of Santa Ana, in Ocaña, who were accompanied by the institution officials of the "Defensora del Pueblo" and by the Bishop of Tibu, His Exc. Omar Sanchez.The intervention of the Bishop of the diocese of Ocaña, His Exc. Mgr. Gabriel Angel Villa Vahos, who personally announced the release of the journalist, was the determining factor behind all the contacts with ELN and with the military forces to reach the phase of the release.The situation regarding the proposal of a formal dialogue between the Colombian government and ELN, as part of the peace talks, remains very complex. While President Santos has vigorously stressed the condition to release all abductees, ELN’s letter which was delivered by the journalist freed reiterates that these violent actions and pressure are designed to remember the guerrilla presence in Catatumbo area, so there is no interest in opening a dialogue.

VATICAN - Cardinal Filoni urges a "return to what is essential, to the joyful witness of faith in charity"

Bucaramanga - On the afternoon of Friday, May 27, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, presided over the Eucharistic celebration in the Cathedral in Bucaramanga, dedicated to the "Sagrada Familia", for priests, men and women religious, seminarians and members of lay movements of the Archdiocese. The ceremony was also attended by local Authorities.The theme of the day’s liturgy was faith as a condition so that the gifts received from God can be fulfilled and bear fruit. The Cardinal’s homily called the attention to an "examination of conscience on our works in favor of evangelization", and pointed out that the duty to "be good administrators of the manifold grace of God is essential, as a daily challenge for all of us: bishops, priests, deacons and lay faithful". Everything in our lives is a gift freely received from God, not because of our merit but to be put at the service of the community. All gifts are like the talents entrusted to us, so that we administer them for the benefit of the ecclesial body and the world.Therefore the Prefect of the Congregation indicated the life of the first Christian communities as a model for every pastoral and missionary operator: "an invitation to us all to return to what is essential, that is, to the joyful witness of faith in charity, to be men of our time, deeply embedded in history, but with the awareness of being brothers in faith and servants of God". The Cardinal also reiterated that the foundation of the pastoral life is prayer, otherwise "everything we do risks being empty and the proclamation of the Gospel in the end is without a soul".At the school of prayer Saint Laura Montoya learned how to make the gifts received from the Lord fruitful in the charitable and missionary service towards the last, who at the time were the indigenous. "The spiritual presence of this saint and her powerful intercession, in this climate of the National Missionary Congress - he concluded - are certainly an encouragement and an invitation to 'go forth' towards all environments and places in need of the good news of the risen Lord". Link correlati :The full text of the Cardinal's homily, in Spanish

VATICAN - General Assembly of the Pontifical Mission Societies begins May 30

Vatican City – The Annual General Assembly of the Pontifical Mission Societies , begins on Monday, May 30 at the House of the Salesians, in Rome. The National Directors of the PMS from all continents, with the President and the General Secretaries of the four Societies will gather for their annual meeting that includes the "Pastoral Days" on the theme "To awaken the consciousness of mission today . The PMS at the service of young Churches"; a day dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Pontifical Missionary Union and the ordinary session of the Assembly .The Assembly will be opened by Archbishop His Exc. Mgr. Protase Rugambwa, Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and President of the PMS, with the usual formalities, and the introduction to the work in workshops. On the afternoon of May 30 the report of Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, and Archbishop Rugambwa. On the following day, work in workshops, debates, continental meetings.Wednesday, June 1 will be dedicated to the celebration of the centenary of the Pontifical Missionary Union , with a visit to Ducenta , where Blessed Paolo Manna, a priest of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions , founder of the PMU is buried. The Eucharistic concelebration will be presided by Cardinal Filoni.On Thursday, June 2 the Ordinary Session of the Assembly will begin, during which the General Secretaries of the four Pontifical Mission Societies will present the report of the past year, the forecast of the budget and subsidies requested for projects received: General Secretary of the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of Faith, Fr. Ryszard Szmydki, OMI; General Secretary of the Pontifical Society of St. Peter the Apostle, Fr. Fernando Domingues, MCCJ; Ms. J. Baptistine Ralamboarison, General Secretary of the Pontifical Society of Missionary Childhood; Fr. Fabrizio Meroni, PIME, General Secretary of the Pontifical Missionary Union and Director of CIAM. The final report will be held by Mgr. Carlo Soldateschi, in charge of the Administration.On Friday, June 3 the speech of the President of the PMS, Mgr. Rugambwa will close the works. On Saturday, June 4 audience with the Holy Father.

VATICAN - Cardinal Filoni to the Missionary Congress: "Church of Colombia, share your faith, be a missionary Church which goes forth!"

Bucaramanga - "Conscience and missionary responsibility of the particular Churches": is the theme of Cardinal Fernando Filoni’s report, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, held on May 27 at the National Missionary Congress of Colombia, and inaugurated the evening before. The event was held in Bucaramanga on the theme "We are the Colombian Church, missionary and which goes forth" .The Prefect of the Congregation was inspired by the Gospel passage of the first multiplication of the loaves , which is based on "the missionary character of the apostolic community", for some reflections: the centrality of the person and mission of Jesus; the mission of the Apostles is submitted to the judgment of the Lord and to the knowledge of the other friends, so that preaching and action is not carried out in vain; without an authentic spirituality, there is no authentic mission, but only one activism without a future; people were attracted by the preaching and by the Master, who was different from all the other masters; the multitude who sought Jesus "was like sheep without a shepherd"."From the outset of his pontificate, Pope Francis, the first Latin American pope, spoke about the mission and even heroic witness, which sometimes reaches martyrdom - said Cardinal Filoni -. A missionary Church which goes forth in which every Christian and every community are called to step out of their comfort and have the courage to reach all the suburbs that need the light of the Gospel". A Church therefore whose mission is to proclaim God's mercy; a Church at the service of the existential suburbs, the poor and society; a Church that knows how to be compassionate, tender and fraternal.The Colombian Church, especially in recent years, has always shown a particular missionary commitment, both ad intra and ad extra, stressed the Cardinal, "This Missionary Congress, therefore, wants to be on the trail of the vision and pastoral mission outlined by Pope Francis, who often pushes us to the missionary conscience and to the responsibility of the particular Churches". "The mission ad gentes ad intra, in Colombia, is always necessary, so that the people of God can constantly renew themselves in fidelity to the apostolic faith and openness to the Spirit. In addition it also makes us responsible with regards to the mission ad extra, understood as the obligation that all the particular Churches have concerning the announcement of the Gospel in places where this needs to be re-announced, where it arrived recently or where it has not yet been consolidated".The Prefect of the Congregation widely reflected on the missionary awareness of the particular Churches and their missionary responsibility, highlighting among others the challenges of the transformation of society and the world today; the need to acquire an authentic missionary awareness that does not make us close up in our need; the importance of acquiring one’s missionary tools: evangelical poverty, non-violence, willingness to give one’s life in the name of Christ and for the love of men.Finally Cardinal Filoni, after expressing his appreciation for the care of the Colombian Bishops for missionary churches in the Country, wondered if Colombia does not have a "special mission", and concluded: "The Church in this Country can give and do more, because even here, where there are many forms of poverty, and hope still has a role and a force, no one is so poor to the point of not being able to at least share one’s faith! Courage, Colombia! You can give and do more, this is why I ask the missionary disciples of Jesus, who are many, to make themselves known. Courage, Church of Colombia, 'share your faith' and be a missionary 'go forth' Church". Link correlati :The full text of the Cardinal's report, in Spanish

AFRICA - A European-African project o recover 7 million weapons in circulation in West Africa

Rome - There are 7 million small arms circulating in West Africa, one million in Nigeria alone. 77,000 of these are in the hands of guerrilla groups that fuel conflicts in the Ivory Coast, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal.To address this problem, the European Union, the main trading partner countries in the Countries of the region, has launched an initiative together with CEDEA/ECOWS in order to recover weapons in the hands of civilians in the area.Seven West African States joined the program: Mali, Liberia, Guinea, Niger, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast and Nigeria.The program, which began in 2014 and due to finish in 2017, focuses on communication and the teaching of the dangers of trafficking of small arms in the villages and in border cities and their role in fueling violence. This is followed by an invitation to the people to voluntarily surrender their weapons in exchange for community development projects. The village leaders have been urged to take part in the initiative.

AMERICA/UNITED STATES - Bishops concerned about the announced operations for the expulsion of Central American immigrants

Washington - Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, auxiliary bishop of Seattle and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Migration expressed deep concern over reports that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will soon begin a month-long series of immigrant deportation raids. Incoming committee chairman, Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, also voiced such concern. The letter sent to Fides by the USCCB, reports that the upcoming operations will cover in particular Central American undocumented mothers and children. "These operations spark panic among our parishes", said Bishop Elizondo. "No person, migrant or otherwise, should have to fear leaving their home to attend church or school. No person should have to fear being torn away from their family and returned to danger".Bishop Elizondo and Archbishop Gomez remind the administration and ICE that enforcement actions that cause families to live in constant fear run contrary to long-standing American values and challenge the God-given dignity of every person.

AMERICA/ECUADOR - Children make toys for their peers affected by the earthquake

Quito - The consequences caused by the earthquake last April 16 which devastated the country, continue to have an impact on children. In the provinces of Manabi and Esmeraldas, children of other areas in Ecuador, together with students, teachers, men from Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Uruguay and Costa Rica, have formed a supportive network to promote an aid project which consists in packaging cloth dolls for children of the coastal area destroyed by the earthquake. The delivery will start from the month of June, on the occasion of International Children's Day.Dolls, fish, bears, cats, donkeys, stars were created with scraps of cloth, wool, ribbons, threads, buttons. In addition, nursery and primary school children have also written a message for the recipients of the most severely affected areas. The elaboration process of the dolls also favored the union of the families who took part. The drawings were made by children in their schools and then took shape with the help of adults. According to the National Statistics Institute, 422 513 children, in the age group between zero and nine live in Manabi and Esmeraldas. UNICEF data reports about 150,000 children who were directly affected by such emergency.

AMERICA/COLOMBIA - The Bishop of Tibù and the local Church are ready to mediate for the release of journalists

Tibù – There is growing concern after the disappearance of the journalist of El Tiempo newspaper, Salud Hernández-Mora, of whom we have no news since last Saturday, May 21, when from the municipality of El Tarra she was heading to Filogringo village.After the failed search attempts by the military and police in the area, the Bishop of the Diocese of Tibù, His Exc. Mgr. Omar Alberto Sánchez Cubillos, O.P., expressed his intention to join the search: "We are very familiar with the territories, places and paths, we know the people who live there and in this sense there is already an available network. from the moment we mobilize", said Mgr. Sánchez Cubillos in an interview with Caracol Radio,.Two other journalists, Diego D. Pablos and Carlos Melo, of TCN TV, had been kidnapped a few days ago. In this regard, the Bishop said that he is awaiting their release: they will be delivered to the pastor in Filogringo and to the regional Commission who are ready to receive them.Yesterday afternoon, the former president of Colombia, Alvaro Uribe, during a demonstration against kidnappings, indicated the ELN as the author of these kidnappings in the area.The phenomenon of kidnapping of journalists has reappeared in recent weeks, especially in this area of Colombia.

AFRICA/IVORY COAST - The Bishops have called for the release of political prisoners in order to achieve genuine reconciliation

Abidjan - "Reconciliation naturally demands the release of political prisoners mainly because no one can claim to have acted in complete innocence during the conflict", said Mgr. Ignace Bessi Dogbo, Bishop of Katiola on Sunday, May 22, speaking on behalf of the Bishops of the Ivory Coast, in the Notre-Dame de la Paix de Yamoussoukro Cathedral, during the national pilgrimage held on the occasion of the Jubilee of Mercy. "For the nation to be reconciled, everyone must feel free to come and go without fear of being molested", added the Bishop.The Ivory Coast has suffered a decade of military political crisis, between 2002 and 2011, which ended with the clash between current President Alassane Ouattara and former President Laurent Gbagbo, who refused to recognize the victory of the first in the presidential election in November 2010. The violent post-election conflict of 2010-2011 claimed the lives of over 3000 persons within a space of five months. Gbagbo was finally arrested when UN and French troops stormed the presidential Palace where he had entrenched.Several supporters of Gbagbo were arrested for the post-election violence, while no supporter of the current President has been brought to justice for violent acts committed, given that, according to independent observers, neither side can be said to be innocent for what occurred in that period.

VATICAN - Cardinal Filoni opens the National Missionary Congress: "we need Christ"

Bucaramanga - As Bartimaeus "we are a bit blind, we are a bit beggars, a bit poor. We need Christ, to recover Christological faith. We need to believe that our life is loved by God in spite of moments of darkness and uncertainty. We need the light and the hope with which God reaches us until the depths in which we are about to eliminate all darkness and cure any blindness or illness". This is how Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples expressed himself during the opening Mass of the XII National Missionary Congress of Colombia, in Bucaramanga, yesterday afternoon, Thursday, May 26.Cardinal Filoni brought the greetings and blessing of Pope Francis to the Cardinals, the Apostolic Nuncio, to the Bishops, priests, men and women religious, and numerous lay faithful, and defined his participation in the opening of the Missionary Congress "a cause of deep ecclesial joy".Taking a cue from the Gospel of the day, the memory of St. Filippo Neri, the Cardinal focused on the healing of the blind Bartimaeus in his homily. "Being blind, in the language of the Holy Scripture, is not simply a physical problem, but also has a spiritual meaning - he said -. Bartimaeus knew the darkness of blindness, and felt the need to see, and from here comes his deep cry, 'Son of David, Jesus, have mercy on me!'. Jesus listens to him, 'he stopped and said: Call him'."Then, citing Pope Francis in the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, Cardinal Filoni explained that "this invitation to Bartimaeus, is the image and symbol of each of us and all those who are wavering in faith ... 'The Lord does not disappoint those who take this risk; whenever we take a step towards Jesus, we come to realize that he is already there, waiting for us with open arms' . The Lord hears, receives, restores sight. In short, he saves through faith ... For faith Bartimaeus believed in the love of God, who can do everything", and once he recovered his sight he began to follow him.In the first reading , Saint Peter "reminds us that we are called to urge every man and woman to have courage, because the Lord is calling us to salvation. This looking for ones brother, giving him hope, bringing him to Jesus, is what a Church which 'goes forth' means, a community of missionary disciples".The Prefect of the Congregation concluded the homily with the hope that we too listen, like Bartimaeus, to the words of Jesus, "your faith has saved you", and we invoke the help of Mary, the humble and faithful disciple, and Santa Laura Montoya, to "accomplish our evangelizing mission efficiently". Link correlati :The full text of the Cardinal’s homily, in Spanish

VATICAN - Cardinal Filoni to the seminarians: a vocation that has the entire world as its horizon

Bogotà - On the afternoon of May 25, Cardinal Fernando Filoni presided over the Mass at the "San Luis Bertrán Intermisional Seminary" in Bogotà, together with the educational community and seminarians, as part of his pastoral visit to Colombia ."This seminary, which was founded in 1959 by the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, is preparing to live its sixtieth year of life – recalled the Cardinal in his homily -. It wants to be, according to the intentions of the founders, a place of formation of Apostolic Vicariates, and promote and guide the clergy to take evangelization as the primary objective of future priests at heart. Today, with more than 100 students, while we also remember the many active priests in the different vicariates, it continues to meet the same expectations".The Cardinal then underlined the importance of the management of the Seminary is to be entrusted to the Episcopal Conference, while retaining its missionary character and is under the care of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. "What is nice is that the Bishops of this country feel that the responsibility for the work of evangelization all over the country and the formation of pastoral operators also falls on them".Taking a cue from the Gospel proclaimed before, in which the evangelist Mark tells how Jesus, for the third time, prepares the disciples to the mystery of his passion , Cardinal Filoni focused on the theme of service, as it is largely connected to the priestly mission. "Christ has not ceased to be an example to his disciples, becoming servant and giving his life on the cross ... The logic of the Kingdom of God is that of service, not that of power, not that of making a career, that of the total self-giving to the Gospel, not the pursuit of social promotion. Priestly vocation is God's call to serve his brothers ... I recommend, therefore, the meditation of this Gospel as motivation of your priestly and missionary vocation".Finally, the Prefect told the seminarians: "you are called to participate in the Church's mission that lies before you and that the Lord, through the Bishop, will entrust you. Now it is up to you to prepare and respond whether to accept or not". The Cardinal invited them to "be fascinated by Christ", to "discover the beauty of giving him life" to "not limit oneself to small projects". "Have the courage to accept a big call, that has the whole world as its horizon, and be willing to seriously consider the proposal of offering the best years of your life in full missionary availability even in more difficult and marginalized places compared to your particular Churches and, why not?, beyond your borders". Link correlati :The full text of the Cardinal’s homily, in Spanish