Fides News English Agency Newsen-usAMERICA/MEXICO - When you do not respect the right of even one person, it jeopardizes the right of allérida - Continue to look for students in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, and punish the guilty: this is what the Secretary of the Mexican Episcopal Conference , His Exc. Mgr. Eugenio Lira Rugarcía says to the authorities of the Country in his speech at the 14th National Meeting of Health Pastoral Care, held in Merida . The note sent to Fides reported his words: "These things cannot continue to happen in Mexico, one cannot tolerate a situation where there are people who disappear. We must walk together as a society and a safe country, where one lives in peace".<br />Mgr. Eugenio Lira Rugarcía, Auxiliary Bishop of Puebla de los Ángeles, expressed his solidarity to the families of the victims and stressed that "this situation should concern us all, because when you do not respect the right of even one person, it puts at risk the right of all". He also recalled that the Church supports and respects the request of several groups in favor of justice. <br />Mexico is going through a delicate period following the issue of students in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero . While the central government authorities continue to search for students , the population organizes marches and demonstrations against corrupt local authorities and in favor of the rural population, which has always suffered this kind of marginalization and injustice. Tue, 21 Oct 2014 00:00:00 +0200AFRICA/EGYPT - Pilgrimages in the footsteps of the Holy Family - A delegation of representatives and pilgrims from the Philippines took part in the celebration in honor of the Holy Family held on Tuesday, October 21 at the Coptic Museum, in the historic part of Cairo, in the presence of the Patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Tawadros II and the Egyptian Minister for tourism, Hisham Zaazou. The project of a pilgrimage that traces the path carried out by the Holy Family in Egypt during exile officially begins. The route of the pilgrimage should start from the town of Al-Arish in northern Sinai, then head to the delta and Wadi Natrun and reach Assiut and the Monastery of the Virgin Mary, known as the Monastery of Al-Muharraq. According to statements issued to the local media by officials of the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism, with special advertising campaigns to be carried out in Europe, South Asia and Latin America the path dedicated to the Holy Family will hopefully draw the attention of about 500 thousand pilgrims each year. Tue, 21 Oct 2014 00:00:00 +0200AFRICA/SOUTH SUDAN - The warring parties recognize their responsibilities in the civil war, "an important step for peace" - "We hope this is a first concrete and decisive step for the cease-fire first and then for true peace", says to Fides Agency Sister Elena Baratti, a Comboni missionary from Juba, capital of South Sudan, commenting the agreement reached yesterday, October 20, in Arusha to resolve the civil war that since December 15, 2013 has devastated the Country. <br />According to a report in the "Herald Sudan", what was signed yesterday is an agreement within the SPLM , the government party, divided between the wing loyal to President Salva Kiir and the rebel wing led by former Vice President Riek Machar, whose conflicts have triggered the civil war. <br />"The two sides recognize their collective responsibility in the crisis of South Sudan that has caused the death of a large number of people and caused considerable material damage", says the text of the agreement. "A divided SPLM automatically means fragmenting the Country on ethnic and regional basis" continues the text, hoping for "a frank and honest dialogue that puts the interest of the people and the nation above everything". <br />"It is a first acknowledgment of responsibility by the two protagonists of the crisis, mediated by Tanzania, which has engaged in a process of 'negotiations' parallel to the peace mediation carried out by IGAD" explains the Comboni missionary to Fides, referring to the Intergovernmental Authority for Development, the organization that brings together the Countries of the Horn of Africa that is mediating to resolve the conflict in the Country. <br />"The peace agreement itself probably will be signed within IGAD" adds Sister Helen. "If this agreement had been signed, we would have exploded with joy in the streets of Juba, because people continue to suffer because of the war. However, yesterday’s signing gives us new hope", concludes the missionary. Tue, 21 Oct 2014 00:00:00 +0200AMERICA/MEXICO - 2000 children have been killed or maimed between 2006 and 2014 City – The increase of children who disappear or are recruited by criminal gangs in Mexico and are killed or maimed continues to be alarming. This is denounced by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights after a recent visit to the country of the rapporteur on the Rights of Children, Girls and Adolescents of the IACHR. According to information gathered from various civil society organizations committed to the protection of children, sent to Fides Agency, between 2006 and 2014 2,000 children have been killed or maimed, sometimes in a bloody way, in addition to a high number of children who are forcibly recruited by criminal gangs in the poorest communities. <br />As regards to the system of protection for children, the IACHR notes that there is still a worrying lack of standards, coordination and supervision by the State. In addition, only a few months ago, in the home for children "La Gran Familia," in Michoacán, hundreds of children, infants, and young people were found in inhumane conditions, victims of all sorts of abuse. The institution has also condemned the conditions of children living in the streets, especially in the overcrowded capital, as well as immigrant children, many of whom travel unaccompanied and have no legal assistance, which is vital to ensure their rights. Tue, 21 Oct 2014 00:00:00 +0200ASIA/INDIA - The Franciscans prepare the Year for consecrated life Delhi - A Mission "in the Franciscan style" that passes through India; a special campaign to eradicate violence against women; a series of pastoral initiatives and of evangelization in different Indian states: are the activities that the Franciscans of India, about 50 thousand between friars and nuns, present in 165 civil provinces, promote on the occasion of the Year for consecrated life, proclaimed by Pope Francis, which opens on November 30, 2014. <br />As reported in a statement sent to Fides by the "Association of the Franciscan Families of India" , the Franciscans intend to discover the deeper meaning of their presence in India, promoting national formation programs, with follow-up at a regional level, seminars for formators and people involved in the educational apostolate and social works. <br />Fr. Nithiya Sagayam, OFM Cap, national coordinator of AFFI, reports that a celebration of all Franciscans consecrated will be held in Veilankanni from 1 to 4 March 2015 and will be centered on the Apostolic Exhortation "Evangelii Gaudium". A second national meeting is scheduled from August 3 to 6, 2015 and during the year the campaign against violence on women will continue, particularly aimed at those involved in education, lawyers, doctors, educators, religious leaders. Many initiatives will be promoted at a local level, in various states of India. "Particular attention - concludes Fr. Sagayam - will be about how to make our consecrated life, as Franciscans, an effective witness of the Gospel, in being and in the apostolate". Tue, 21 Oct 2014 00:00:00 +0200AMERICA/VENEZUELA – May Saint John Paul II accompany Venezuela in the paths of peace and justice - The Apostolic Nuncio to Venezuela, Archbishop Aldo Giordano, took part in the tribute to Pope John Paul II prepared by the authorities of Venezuela in Chacao, one of the five municipalities that make up the Metropolitan District of Caracas, to remember the Pilgrim Pope in this country, on the eve of his liturgical feast, October 22. <br />In the presence of civil and religious authorities, and of the entire population, on Sunday, October 19, the mayor of Chacao said: "This is a time of reflection and spirituality, we come to humbly pay a tribute to John Paul II, a great man who taught us the path to find peace, reconciliation, solidarity and freedom, which is now more than ever valid for all Venezuelans".<br />The note sent to Fides reports that the Apostolic Nuncio expressed joy and satisfaction for the tribute paid to the Pilgrim Pope: "We all have at heart his closeness towards the whole world, peoples, different cultures and religions. He was very fond of our beloved Venezuela, so I feel very happy to share with you this tribute to our beloved Saint. May Pope John Paul II, accompany our beloved Venezuela in the path of peace and justice".<br />After the public celebration, Mgr. Giordano met with reporters and said that "the dialogue that has taken place so far has been with the media, now it is time for concrete action" and offered the cooperation of the Church in this task. Tue, 21 Oct 2014 00:00:00 +0200AFRICA/MADAGASCAR - Appointment of the Rector of the Theological Major Seminary "St. Therese of the Child Jesus" in the Archdiocese of Antananarivo City - On March 31, 2014 Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, appointed rev. Abdon Rafidison of the archdiocesan clergy of Antananarivo as Rector of the Theological Major Seminary "St. Therese of the Child Jesus" in the Archdiocese of Antananarivo . <br />The new Rector was born on August 16, 1968 in Ambohipo Antananarivo and was ordained a priest in Amparibe on 6 September 1997. He graduated in Theology at the Institut Catholique de Madagascar and obtained a doctorate in Church History at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome . After his ordination, he served as assistant pastor and pastor in several parishes. He currently teaches at the Catholic University of Madagascar, at the Faliarivo Major Seminary of Theology and the Major Seminary of Philosophy Manantenasoa . Tue, 21 Oct 2014 00:00:00 +0200AMERICA/ECUADOR - Indigenous people continue to be discriminated against, undernourished and not protected - The Amazon region and the provinces of Bolivar, Chimborazo, Cotopaxi and Esmeraldas is where the highest percentages of children and adolescents who live in conditions of poverty are concentrated, between 55 and 75%. According to a study carried out jointly by the Social Observatory of Ecuador, Plan International, UNICEF, the National Council for Intergenerational Equality, malnutrition among the indigenous population is 42%. The report, titled Childhood and adolescence in contemporary Ecuador, considers that the phenomenon continues to be very high, although poverty has been reduced, access to health and drinking water and the level of education of the mothers have increased. <br />Furthermore, it appears that obesity affects 8.5% preschool children, 30% school-age, and 26% adolescents. Regarding education, 16% of adolescents aged between15 to 17 do not attend school. In the past 10 years family violence has increased from 35 to 44%, while in schools 30% of children suffer harsh punishments, beatings and insults. The report shows that between 2004 and 2011 the percentage of births to teenage mothers increased by 3%, rising from 6 to 9%. In 2009, over 60,000 children were born to mothers between the ages of 15 and 19. Tue, 21 Oct 2014 00:00:00 +0200ASIA/PAKISTAN - Too many interests behind Asia Bibi’s case: the truth of the facts are covered up - "There are too many interests at stake behind Asia Bibi’s case. Too many vested interests and too much pressure that, in the end, cover up the truth of the facts", said in an interview with Fides Agency, Haroon Barkat Masih, Director of the "Masihi Foundation", working in Pakistan to improve Christians lives and also in the defense of Christians falsely accused of blasphemy. Following the judgment of appeal that upheld the death sentence for a Christian woman accused of blasphemy, the Director told Fides: "We continue to hope because, as Christians, our faith nourishes hope. We continue to pray for Asia Bibi and for her release, so that the Lord protects and comforts her", said Masih. "But there are many elements that are not conducive to optimism".<br />According to Barkat, "international pressures and mobilization can be useful", but above all "the political will of the government and of the highest authorities in Pakistan is needed" if one wants to put an end to a history marked by obvious injustices. But current Premier, Nawaz Sharif, "in the past gave ample space to extremist groups and approved the blasphemy law for political calculation: therefore he does not seem the most appropriate to take a stand against these pressures". "Corruption and the desire to exploit the case for economic purposes is another current aspect" adds Haroon Barkat. The director finally recalled that the Supreme Court judgment of conviction can be overturned and that, even in the event of conviction, the President of Pakistan has always power to grant pardons. Tue, 21 Oct 2014 00:00:00 +0200ASIA/IRAN - Three evangelical Christians sentenced to six years imprisonment - An Iranian Islamic court has sentenced three leaders of the evangelical house church movement to six years imprisonment: Pastor Behnam Irani, Pastor Matthias Haghnejad, and Deacon Silas Rabbani of the Church of Iran. Irani and the two other Christians, initially faced a possible death sentence but charges against them dropped. All three convicts are appealing their sentences. Irani had already suffered a previous conviction in 2011 for "acting against the State" and "acting against order". Andy Dipper, Chief Operating Officer of the Christian Solidarity Worldwide organization said he is deeply concerned by the six-year sentences given to Pastors Irani and Haghnejad and Deacon Silas Rabbani, and the fact that they will serve these sentences so far from their families and home towns. "We urge the Iranian government", said CSW in a statement sent to Fides Agency, "to release without delay every person who is imprisoned for their faith. Their incarceration contravenes international covenants guaranteeing freedom of religion or belief, to which Iran is party". Tue, 21 Oct 2014 00:00:00 +0200ASIA/TURKEY - Armenian community prays for ailing Patriarch - Prayers continue to pour in for the recovery of Archbishop Mesrob II Matufyan, the Armenian Orthodox patriarch in Turkey who had to withdraw from the duties of the patriarchate due to his illness. The patriarch, has undergone treatment for Alzheimer since 2008 and is kept alive thanks to artificial respiration and feeding. Last week, the Armenian Patriarchate of Istanbul held three days of prayer and fasting for the health of the Patriarch. The patriarch, was photographed for the first time in six years at the hospital. The photo shows the patriarch in his hospital bed surrounded by Armenian Orthodox bishops. Under Turkish laws and patriarchate rules, a new patriarch cannot be elected while his predecessor is alive. Since 2008, the ordinary administration of the Patriarchate and the patriarchal functions are exercised by Archbishop Aram Atesyan, Patriarchal Vicar. Mon, 20 Oct 2014 00:00:00 +0200AFRICA/MOZAMBIQUE - "Fair, free and transparent" elections, but not everyone agrees - "International observers have described the elections as 'fair, free and transparent' but some groups of local observers do not share this point of view" say to Fides Agency sources of the local church from Mozambique, where on October 15 presidential and parliamentary elections were held. It seems that the FRELIMO party is winning. <br />"It should be noted that Mozambique is a vast Country. If in the capital and in major urban centers election observers were present, who certified the fairness of the election, in rural areas, where the observers were not present, things were carried out in a different way, as some missionaries noted", say local sources of Fides. <br />"The two opposition parties say they do not accept the results. The leader of the Mozambican National Resistance , Afonso Dhlakama, has launched a proposal for a government of national unity. The former RENAMO guerrillas appear to be winning in Nampula and Beira, the two major cities after the capital of Mozambique, Maputo".<br />According to Fides sources, "out of about 11 million registered to vote, about half went to the polls. It therefore seems difficult to agree with the local newspapers that talk about 'mass participation' in the elections". "However, it is certainly positive that the elections were held in a peaceful manner. We hope that the post-election phase is as peaceful", our sources claim. Mon, 20 Oct 2014 00:00:00 +0200AFRICA/LIBIA - Elements of the Islamic State and Boko Haram are in Libya, says the Prime Minister - In Libya there are both elements of the so-called Caliphate or Islamic State or and elements of the Nigerian Boko Haram group. This was stated by the Libyan Prime Minister, Abdullah al-Thinni, in response to a specific question from reporters. According to what was reported in the "The Libyan Herald", the Prime Minister pointed out that with regard to the Islamic state "there are groups in the city of Derna and other Libyan cities and in Sirte". Derna, in Cyrenaica, is considered the cradle of the more radical Islamic Libyan extremism since the days of the Gaddafi regime. <br />"In addition, there is also the Boko Haram group orginally from Nigeria" added al-Thinni, who was forced to take refuge in the east of the Country after Tripoli fell into the hands of the militias that oppose his government. "Terrorism does not have a specific place and we must recognize the seriousness of the existence of these groups that destabilize the security of the Country with the support of current policies", said the Premier. <br />Meanwhile, fighting continues in Benghazi. At least 75 people have died in the last five days of clashes. Mon, 20 Oct 2014 00:00:00 +0200AMERICA/CHILE - A hundred thousand on a pilgrimage for the family to the shrine of the first Chilean Saint - With the Mass celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Santiago of Chile, His Exc. Mgr. Galo Fernandez on Saturday, October 18, the 24th pilgrimage to the Shrine of St. Teresa of the Andes concluded, the first Chilean Saint, the first Discalced Carmelite saint outside Europe, who was beatified in Santiago, Chile by Saint John Paul II on April 3, 1987 and was canonized by the Pope himself on March 21, 1993. <br />The note sent to Fides Agency by the Archdiocese reports Mgr. Galo’s words: "We were invited to walk with our families in our heart. They are a sacred space where you show unconditional love, the importance of tenderness , sharing and commitment". However, he added, "there are also spaces in which there are the wounds of humanity. Because we also bring pain for absences, illnesses, failures and sad stories, and perhaps this is why the families themselves are also places of welcome and forgiveness". The Archbishop also urged young people to "celebrate life and to always try to create moments of encounter in our families, but also in the families of our environment, our neighborhood". <br />The pilgrimage started at 5 am on Saturday, October 18 from Santiago and for 27 kilometers approximately 100,000 young people sang, prayed, reflected and shared experiences of faith. The participants were mainly young people from different backgrounds and environments, accompanied by priests and religious. Mon, 20 Oct 2014 00:00:00 +0200ASIA/JORDAN - Archbishop Laham: 4 thousand displaced Iraqi Christians all want to emigrate to the West - There are already three thousand Iraqi Christian refugees from Mosul and the Nineveh Plain who have fled due to the offensive of the jihadists and have found refuge in Jordan, and in the next few days the arrival of a thousand others are expected. This is confirmed to Fides Agency by Archbishop Maroun Laham, Patriarchal Vicar for Jordan of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. The vast majority of Christian refugees - mainly Catholics - are distributed in 10 Latin parishes, Greek-Catholic, Syrian Catholic and Armenian. For 2 thousand of them assistance is provided directly by Caritas Jordan, while others are supported by a network of charities and voluntary organizations with both local and international profile. <br />In addition to asking for help for the basic needs of survival, refugees families also seek to obtain the inclusion of their children in schools, while university students ask to be able to attend courses and exams at the universities of the Hashemite Kingdom. "Two traits - says to Fides Archbishop Laham – are shared by the vast majority of Christian refugees: nobody wants to go back to Iraq and everyone is trying to get a visa to Australia or America. In this sense, the choices of Western embassies risk in their own way, to heavily contribute to the disappearance of the Christian presence in the Middle East. The Chaldean Patriarch – stresses Mgr. Laham - has recognized that every Christian must decide according to their conscience what to do". Mon, 20 Oct 2014 00:00:00 +0200AMERICA/EL SALVADOR - Violence increases more and more and families are the most affected Salvador - "We see that the violence increases more and more , the violence we are currently experiencing is even more brutal between security forces and organized crime": these are the worrying words expressed by the auxiliary bishop of San Salvador, His Exc. Mgr. Gregorio Rosa Chavez in the usual press conference on Sunday, after yesterday’s Mass celebrated in the capital’s Cathedral. <br />According to the note sent to Fides Agency, among the most particular issues highlighted by the Bishop, was his denunciation of the murder of the agent of the Policía Nacional Civil , which took place on Saturday, October 18 during a football match, only because he tried to defend a boy who had refused to become part of a criminal gang. <br />The Archbishop of San Salvador, His Exc. Mgr. José Luis Escobar Alas, in Rome to attend the Synod of Bishops, in a message to his Auxiliary Bishop denounces the brutal increase of violence in the country: "Violence has gained so much power in El Salvador, that the gangs outnumber the members of the Police". Mgr. Escobar Alas also states that Salvadoran families are severely affected by the situation of crime, because they are victims of extortion, murder and kidnapping. <br />Mgr. Rosa Chavez, expressed his concern because seven police officers have been killed in the last two weeks by criminal gangs, a sign that the country is entering a period of "violence which is even more brutal" and the police pay the price. <br />According to the statistics of the National Civil Police, criminal gangs have killed 32 officers in 2014. Up to October 16, there were 3,064 violent deaths, while the average daily murders rose to 12. "This situation cannot be taken lightly. The answers have to be intelligent and be part of a well thought out strategy. The upsurge in violence is a provocation of the gangs, a direct challenge, that must be analyzed as such", concluded Mgr. Rosa Chavez. Mon, 20 Oct 2014 00:00:00 +0200ASIA/VIETNAM - The Archbishop of Ho Chi Minh city: prayer and hope for the Vatican-Vietnam diplomatic ties City - "The meeting at the Vatican between Pope Francis and the Prime Minister of Vietnam, Nguyen Tan Dung, strengthens our hopes in the future to see full diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Vietnam": says to Fides Agency the Archbishop of Ho Chi Minh City, His Exc. Mgr. Paul Bui Van Doc, who participated in the Synod of Bishops. "We do not know what the future holds, but we pray and hope to overcome difficulties and to restore diplomatic ties" said the Archbishop, recalling, among the good signs and good prospects the fact that "the Church has taken the initiative to establish a theological Institute in Vietnam, at university level, and has found open doors among governmental authorities". <br />During his stay for the session of the Synod, which has just ended, the Archbishop said: "It was a wonderful experience, we experienced the true freedom of the children of God. I bring to Vietnam the experience of the Church as a mother who welcomes her children with mercy; and as a teacher, who listens, prays, accompanies her children in search of the truth". Above all, he concludes, "the Pope teaches us, with his example and his moving testimony, to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit that brings news and opens our hearts". Mon, 20 Oct 2014 00:00:00 +0200AFRICA/SIERRA LEONE - A cassava field transformed into an ebola treatment center - A few weeks ago it was a cassava field. Today it is a gleaming tented city made up of four huge tents surrounded by smaller tents and brick-built buildings, intersected by orange fences and dotted with purple chairs. This is MSF’s newest Ebola treatment centre, near Sierra Leone’s second city of Bo. Built in just five weeks by shifts of labourers working around the clock, it opened its gates on September 19, and despite the construction work that still continues, the first of its 34-bed-wards is full. The first patients were shuttled by ambulance from a nearby Ebola transit center, set up by MSF when the deadly disease first erupted in Bo. So far, 16 patients have been discharged. Each time it is a huge boost to the morale of the other patients as well as the 280 staff who work here. <br />The majority - 260 - are Sierra Leonean. Many of them previously worked at the MSF’s mother’s and children’s hospital nearby. Others come from different backgrounds, but most share the enthusiasm to join the fight against the disease. Among the local operators there are nine women involved in preparing patients’ lunch in a freshly tiled kitchen, a philosophy teacher, filling in the logbooks in the supply tent and the former pastor who now works as a mental health counsellor. The new centre is spacious and meticulously organized, with smooth cement flooring underfoot, rather than gravel, and heavy-duty tents to withstand Sierra Leone’s seven-month rainy season. Mon, 20 Oct 2014 00:00:00 +0200AFRICA/BURUNDI - Appointment of the Rector of the "John Paul II" Major Seminary, in the diocese of Gitega City - On 17 February 2014, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, appointed rev. Martin Sinumvayaha of the clergy of the Diocese of Ngozi as Rector of the "Blessed John Paul II" Major Seminary in the diocese of Gitega . <br />The new Rector was born on 11 November 1970 in Muhanga. After his civil studies, in 1993 he entered the Seminary in Burasira. He studied philosophy at the Major Seminary of Bujumbura and theology at the "John Paul II" Major Seminary in Gitega. He was ordained a priest in Ngozi on July 7, 2001, he was later Assistant Pastor and Pastor and therefore Treasurer and Vice-Rector of the Diocesan Minor Seminary. He then continued his studies at the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome, from 2005 to 2011, and obtained his PhD in Civil and Canon Law. Since 2011 he has been professor at the major Seminary in Gitega and member of several Commissions of the Episcopal Conference. Mon, 20 Oct 2014 00:00:00 +0200VATICAN - Pope Paul VI, "a staunch supporter of the mission ad gentes" City - At the end of the solemn celebration in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday 19 October for the closure of the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops, Pope Francis recited the Angelus prayer in the presence of faithful and pilgrims who came from various countries for the beatification of Pope Paul VI and during the prayer Popo Francis invited "to faithfully follow the teachings and example of the new Blessed". "He - said Pope Francis - was a staunch supporter of the mission ad gentes; it is the witness above all of the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii nuntiandi with which he intended to reawaken the enthusiasm and the commitment of the Church for the mission. And this Exhortation is still relevant, it has great relevance. It is significant to consider this aspect of the Pontificate of Paul VI, especially today, which is celebrated as World Missionary Day". Mon, 20 Oct 2014 00:00:00 +0200