Fides News - English Agency NewsenContent on this site is licensed under aAMERICA/MEXICO - The Honduran march to the USA continues. Trump: the army will close the borders Cristobal de las Casas - About 10 thousand Hondurans arrived yesterday, 19 October, on the border with Mexico from Honduras. The Mexican government had announced, like those of El Salvador and Guatemala, that it would not allow the crossing of the border to Honduran migrants fleeing injustice, violence and corruption that is widespread in their Country.<br />Words of gratitude to the Guatemalan people were addressed by the Honduran migrants for the help and solidarity received from the Guatemalans while the march - towards the USA - crossed their Country. The Catholic Church and pro-migrant civil society organizations offered assistance, affection, food and shelter to the multitude of Hondurans who continue their journey towards the north .<br />In particular, the ecclesial communities of Tapachula, Tuxtla, Chapas and other regions of southern Mexico - according to a note from CELAM sent to Agenzia Fides - have mobilized to ensure that the participants in the march have food, clothing, support and shelter.<br /><br />Carrying the Honduran flag and singing the national anthem, chanting peaceful slogans to demand not to stop the transit, men and women and even some disabled people from different departments of Honduras had stopped at the border between Guatemala and Mexico. Then, the Tecum Uman border opened before them.<br />Now the crossing of Mexican territories will still depend on charity, solidarity and the help of local humanitarian institutions and organizations. Food, clothing and assistance are necessary for the survival of Honduran migrants on their journey.<br /><br />The diocese of San Cristóbal de las Casas issued a statement in solidarity with migrants and called on governments to respect human rights and protect against human trafficking. At the same time, it invited the population to provide all possible assistance with clothes, food and shelter for migrants.<br /><br />While there is still a long way to go, US President Donald Trump has already announced he wants to close the border with Mexico and send soldiers to stop the caravan of migrants. "I must, in the strongest terms, ask Mexico to stop this assault, and if it cannot - Trump wrote via twitter - I will call the US military to close our southern borders". <br />Sat, 20 Oct 2018 13:40:59 +0200ASIA/TURKEY: Erdogan calls for autonomy for the Gagauzi people, the Christian Turks of Moldova - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, during his recent visit to Moldova, reached an agreement with Moldavian President Igor Dodon, who fully implemented the status of political-administrative autonomy long since granted on paper to the Moldavian region of Gagauzia, inhabited by the Turkish Christians of Gagauzi . In a meeting on October 18 in Komrat, capital of Gagauzia, also with governor Irina Vlah, the two Presidents - as reported by the Turkish media - defined the concrete steps to be taken to ensure the effective entry into force of the Gagauzia regional autonomy regime, and include these provisions within the constitutional laws of Moldova.<br />The insistence with which the Turkish diplomacy pleaded the cause of the Gagauzis with the Moldovan authorities gave rise to the singular circumstance of a government led by the Akp Islamist party of Erdogan - which promotes the autonomous demands of a population of Christian faith.<br />The Gagauzi are the descendants of Turkish tribes. They settled in the Middle Ages in the south of the Danube delta, and then converted to Orthodox Christianity. Later, driven by Tsar Russia Alexander I, they moved to the Bessarabia area - currently in south-eastern Moldavia - which is still today their main settlement area.<br />Currently the population of Gagauzi is composed of about 200 thousand people, that belong to the Oğuz ethnic group to whom the Seljuks and the Ottomans belonged, and from whom the Turks of Anatolia and the Azeris descend. "The same name gagauz - wrote the historian and analyst Carlo Pallard - seems likely to derive from oğuz, although there is no certainty about the meaning of the prefix 'gag-', perhaps a deformation of gök ". According to Pallard "it is not possible to know when and how the Gagauzis embraced the Christian religion, and if earlier their ancestors had been Muslims for some time, as suggested by the use of the word Allah to refer to God instead of the original pre-Islamic Tanrı".<br />After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the proclamation of independent Moldavia, in 1991 the Gagauzis chose to proclaim the independence of the Gagauz yeri . In 1994, after a period of tensions, a compromise was reached, with the creation of an autonomous gagauza territorial entity within the Moldovan nation.<br />Today the Gagauzi share a strong feeling of pride in their Turkish identity, further strengthened during the battle for autonomy. <br />Sat, 20 Oct 2018 12:37:04 +0200ASIA/INDONESIA - The Bishop visits the displaced persons of Palu: "I am here to give comfort" - "I am here to give comfort and encourage the population that suffers": said the Bishop of Manado, Mgr. Benedictus Estephanus Rolly Untu, of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, addressing the displaced who are temporarily in the parish church of Santa Maria of the Sacred Heart, in the center of Palu, the city strongly hit by the earthquake that devastated the Indonesian island of Sulawesi on 28 September, in the East of the Indonesian archipelago.<br />As Agenzia Fides learns, hundreds of Catholic faithful in Palu found comfort in the recent visit of the Bishop, who also touched the most remote area of Kulawi, about 87 kilometers from Palu, with difficult road access due to heavy landslides that hinder the journey.<br />The Bishop, describing his humanitarian mission, told Fides: "The local Church is providing every possible humanitarian aid for the displaced persons in Sidera and Jonoogo, in the district of Sigi", including tents and survival kits. The area of Jonoogo suffered a serious damage due to the "liquefaction of the ground" which occurred shortly after the strong earthquake. "Streets are destroyed, houses swallowed, rice fields have suddenly disappeared", says the Bishop, describing the tragic situation.<br />The Bishop will also go to Petobo where about 700 houses have been flooded with mud. Last stop of the mission is the housing complex of Talise Beach where "a-5-meter tsunami hit this dense populated area", he notes.<br />Palu and Sigi are located in the central Sulawesi region, but these places belong to the diocese of Manado . The Bishop praised the priests of Palu for having quickly created a "Crisis Center" and a soup kitchen in the structures of the parish churches. <br />Sat, 20 Oct 2018 12:23:34 +0200VATICAN - Share the Journey: fight fear by walking with migrants and refugees City - Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, Archbishop of Manila and President of Caritas Internationalis, invites communities of citizens all over the world to fight hatred and fear with a million-year march of solidarity worldwide kilometers, alongside migrants and refugees. The worldwide pilgrimage is an initiative that arises in the context of the migration awareness campaign titled Share the Journey, "Let's share the journey".<br />"The big challenge in this time of harsh divisions - said Cardinal Tagle - is to oppose a rhetoric of fear and hate with actions of love, kindness and mercy, such as the ones proposed in our Share the Journey campaign".<br />The Rome walk is one of many being organised around the world, and Cardinal Tagle will officially launch the Share the Journey global pilgrimage on Sunday 21st October in Rome.<br />Caritas organisations in Chile, New Zealand, Canada, the UK and the USA have already started to walk with migrants and refugees. Many others are planning pilgrimages. There are national Caritas organisations in over 160 countries worldwide.<br />The campaign, promoted by Caritas Internationalis, was launched by Pope Francis on 27 September 2017 and lasts two years. Share the Journey aims to bring communities closer together with migrants and refugees by organising spaces and opportunities for the “culture of encounter. A first step to build more united and inclusive societies. <br />Sat, 20 Oct 2018 10:40:24 +0200AFRICA/D.R. CONGO - World Mission Day: the experience of a missionary who visits prisoners - Every week Alex Goffinet, a French white father who has been on a mission in Africa since 1962, visits the prison in Bukavu in the Democratic Republic of Congo. <br />He listens to prisoners, gives them advice and intercedes for them with prison authorities. Despite being 86 years old, he is still very active and, among the many commitments that he still carries out, there is that of assistance to prisoners. Agenzia Fides has gathered his testimony in view of World Mission Day, which is celebrated on October 21st.<br />"Providence", he observes, "has allowed me to still have the strength to work in Africa, having said that, what can an old missionary ever need in a troubled country like the D.R. of Congo?". One day, says Father Alex, a novice named Arsène invited him to accompany him to the central prison of Bukavu, the capital of Kivu. "It is an indescribable place, full of misery, but at the same time I asked myself: what is the sense of being a missionary other than to be close to the last? Since then, every Wednesday morning, together with members of the pastoral team, I go to the prison".<br />The prison in Bukavu is a sort of infernal circle. Two thousand people are crowded, in a precarious hygienic condition and in total promiscuity, in a structure that had been built to house 350 inmates. People serving a life sentence share the same spaces as those guilty of minor crimes.<br />The penitentiary of Bukavu is no exception to the country's prisons. The US State Department reports that "most of the prisons in the D.R. Congo are difficult and life-threatening". An assessment shared by the NGO Freedom House that in the report "Freedom the World 2017" states that most prisons have food shortages, are overcrowded and there are inadequate health conditions.<br />"In the prison of Bukavu - the old missionary continues - we are close to the prisoners, we try to listen to them and meet their basic needs, and we are very pleased that the collaboration with the authorities is good. Since September 2017 to today we have obtained the release of 415 prisoners".<br />The release of an inmate requires a legal proceeding that costs $ 50, a high sum in the D.R. of Congo. "The generosity of many has supported us - concludes Father Alex - but we are not an NGO, we do not have an office, everything is voluntary, we pay from our pocket to travel by public transport, we are close to the last and this is our way of being missionaries". <br />Sat, 20 Oct 2018 10:24:07 +0200ASIA/KAZAKHSTAN - "The beauty of being small" in the Kazakh Church - "When I think about the Kazakh Catholics, I am always amazed at the greatness of their faith. They do not have ancient traditions and Catholic roots, but I see a profound devotion to the Church, to the Pope, to the Eucharist, to the Rosary, to every aspect of our faith". This is what Mgr. Josè Louis Mumbiela Serra, Bishop of the diocese of the Holy Trinity of Almaty says to Agenzia Fides. The Bishop reports: "There are faithful who walk many miles to take part in the Eucharistic celebration every day. There is great enthusiasm and it is also very good for us as pastors, because we do not feel alone".<br />"In Kazakhstan - he continues - we Catholics represent a very low percentage, less than 1%. To cite an evangelical metaphor, I would say that the Kazakh Catholics are like a grain of salt: invisible in food, but able to change its flavor". And he adds: "I always tell our faithful that the wealth of Kazakhstan is not oil, it is not gas or energy: the progress of Kazakhstan depends on what this Christian community can be. We are few, but we must be aware of the importance of our presence".<br />According to Mgr. Mumbiela, "this is the beauty of being small: we are few, we do not have great pastoral programs, we do what we can and what Providence grants us".<br />According to official data provided by the Kazakh Ministry of Foreign Affairs, more than 17 million inhabitants of the country, about 26% are Christians, and 1% of whom are Catholic. In Kazakhstan there are 4 Catholic dioceses, for a total of 70 parishes. There are 91 priests in the nation, including 61 diocesan and 30 religious. <br /><br />Sat, 20 Oct 2018 10:05:39 +0200VATICAN - CATHOLIC CHURCH STATISTICS 2018 City – As every year, in view of World Mission Day, which this year celebrates its 92nd anniversary on Sunday, October 21, 2018, Fides News Service offers some statistics chosen to give a panorama of the missionary Church all over the world. The tables are taken from the latest edition of the “Church’s Book of Statistics” published regarding members of the Church, church structures, healthcare, welfare and education. Please note that variations, increase or decrease, emerging from our own comparison with last year's figures , are marked increase + or decrease – in brackets <br /><br />World population <br />To 31 December 2016 the world population was 7.352.289.000 with an increase of 103.348.000 units compared with the previous year. Population growth was registered on every continent, including Europe: increases were registered above all in Asia and Africa , followed by America , Europe and Oceania . <br /><br />Catholics <br />On the same date Catholics in the world numbered units with an overall increase of 14.249.000. The increase affects all continents, except Europe for the third consecutive year . Increases were registered above all in Africa and in America followed by Asia and Oceania . The world percentage of Catholics decreased by 0.05 %, settling at 17.67%. By continent: increases were registered in America , Asia and Oceania , decrease in Africa and Europe . <br /><br />Persons and Catholics per priest <br />This year the number of persons per priest in the world increased by 254 units, average 14,336. The distribution by continent: increase in Africa , America , Europe and Oceania . The only decrease in Asia . <br />The number of Catholics per priest in the world increased by 39 units, average 3.130. There are increases in Africa , America ; Europe , Oceania . Asia unvaried . <br /><br />Ecclesiastical circumscriptions and mission stations <br />The number of ecclesiastical circumscriptions are 10 more than the previous year to 3,016 with new circumscriptions created in Africa , America , Asia , Europe . Oceania unvaried. <br />Mission stations with a resident priest number 2,140 . Decrease was registered only in Africa , while and an increase was registered in America , Asia Europe and Oceania . <br />Mission Stations without a resident priest decreased in number by 513 units, to 142.487. Increase were registered in Africa , Europe , and Oceania . The number dropped in America and Asia . <br /><br />Bishops <br />The total number of Bishops in the world increased by 49 units, to 5,353. Diocesan Bishops and Religious Bishops increased in numbers. Diocesan Bishops number 4,063 , while Religious Bishops number 1,263 . <br />The increase in diocesan Bishops is registered in America ; Asia , Europe , while a decrease was registered in Africa and Oceania . The number of religious Bishops increased in all continents except Asia : Africa , America , Europe , Oceania . <br /><br />Priests <br />The total number of priests in the world decreased even this year, to 414.969 . The only continents which registered a major decrease was again Europe . There was also a decrease in America . Increases were registered in Africa and Asia Oceania unvaried. Diocesan priests increased by 317 units, reaching a total of 281.831 with a decrease only in Europe and increases in Africa ; America , Asia and Oceania . The number of Religious priests decreased by 1.004 units to a total 133.138. Increases were registered as in recent years in Africa and in Asia , whereas numbers dropped in America , Europe , Oceania <br /><br />Permanent Deacons <br />Permanent deacons in the world increased by 1.057 units to 46.312. The highest increase was registered again in America followed by Europe , Oceania , Africa and Asia . <br />Permanent Diocesan deacons in the world are 45.609, with an overall increase of 982 units. They increased on every continent except in Asia : Africa , America , Europe and Oceania . <br />Religious permanent deacons number 703, increased by 75 units compared to the previous year, with decreases in Africa and Oceania , increases in Asia , America and Europe . <br /><br />Men and women religious <br />The number of non-religious priests decreased for the fourth consecutive year by 1.604 units to 52.625. Situation: a decrease was registered in all continents: in Africa , America , Asia , Europe and Oceania . Even this year there is an overall decrease in the number of women religious by 10.885 units to 659.445. An increase was registered in Africa and Asia , decrease in America , Europe and Oceania .<br /><br />Members of secular institutes, male and female<br />Members of male secular institutes number 618 with a decrease of after an increase compared to the previous year. At a continental level there is an increase in Africa and Asia , while a decrease in America , and Europe , Oceania unvaried also this year. <br />The members of female secular institutes decreased this year, by 459 units to a total of 22.400 members. Increase only in Africa , while a decrease was registered in America , Asia Europe and Oceania . <br /><br />Lay missionaries and Catechists <br />The number of lay missionaries in the world is 354.743 units, with an overall increase of 2.946 units in particular in America and Africa . Decrease was registered in Asia , Europe and Oceania . Catechists in the world decreased by 36.364 units to a total of 3.086.289. An increase was registered in only in Africa . A decrease was registered in America , Asia , Europe and Oceania . <br /><br />Major seminarians <br />The number of major seminarians, diocesan and religious decreased this year, they are globally 683 units, reaching a total of 116.160. Increases occured in Africa and in Asia , while even this year a decrease in America , Europe and Oceania . <br />Major diocesan seminarians number 71.117 and Religious major seminarians 45.043 . Diocesan seminarians increased in Africa , America and Asia . Decreases are in Europe and Oceania . Religious Seminarians increased only in Africa , while decreased in America , Asia , Europe and Oceania . <br /><br />Minor seminarians <br />The number of minor seminarians, diocesan and religious this year decreased by 2.735 units to 101.616. Overall decrease on all continents: Africa , America , Asia , Europe , Oceania . <br />Minor diocesan seminarians number 78.369 and religious seminarians number 23.247 . The number of diocesan minor seminarians increased in Africa and Oceania . Decrease in America , Asia , Europe , Religious minor seminarians increased in number only in Asia , while decreases in Africa , America , Europe and Oceania . <br /><br />Catholic schools and Education <br />In the field of education, the Catholic Church runs 72.826 kindergartens with 7.313.370 pupils; 96.573 primary schools with 35.125.124 pupils; 47.862 secondary schools with 19.956.347 pupils. The Church also cares for 2.509.457 high school pupils, and 3.049.548 university students. <br /><br />Catholic charity and healthcare centres <br />Charity and healthcare centres run in the world by the Church include: 5.287 hospitals, most of them in America and Africa ; 15.937 dispensaries, mainly in Africa ; America and Asia ; 610 Care Homes for people with Leprosy, mainly in Asia and Africa ; 15.722 Homes for the elderly, or the chronically ill or people with a disability, mainly in Europe and America ; 9.552 orphanages, mainly in Asia ; 11.758 creches, mainly in Asia and America ; 13.897 marriage counselling centres, mainly in Europe and America ; 3.506 social rehabilitation centres and 35.746 other kinds of institutions. <br /><br />Ecclesiastical Circumscriptions dependent on the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples <br />The ecclesiastical Circumscriptions dependent on the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples are 1.114 with an increase of 3 circumscriptions compared to last year. Most of the ecclesiastical circumscriptions are mainly in Africa and in Asia , followed by America and Oceania .<br /> <br /><br /><br/><strong>Link correlati</strong> :<a href="">Special Dossier Catholic Church statistics 2018</a>Sat, 20 Oct 2018 09:43:47 +0200AFRICA/CAMEROON - Church collapses during the prayer of the rosary; at least two dead and one missingé - At least two people died in the collapse of the church of Sainte Marceline de Minkan in Odza, a suburb of the capital of Cameroon, Yaoundé, which occurred on the evening of 17 October. The collapse was due to heavy rains. According to Fr. Félix Désiré Amougou, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Yaoundé, the provisional toll of the tragedy is 2 dead, 4 wounded, and one missing.<br />According to the parish priest of Minkan, Abbot Ndoumve, the firemen arrived on the spot and have been working since the night of October 17 to remove the rubble and continue the search for bodies and any survivors. The collapse occurred when the faithful were in church to pray the rosary. <br />Fri, 19 Oct 2018 12:46:53 +0200AFRICA/SOUTH AFRICA - "The hundreds of miners affected by pneumoconiosis are an indictment of human greed" - "For decades, coal mining companies allowed their workers to be exposed to unsafe levels of coal dust. The mines need to take both ethical and legal responsibility for the sick miners", said His Exc. Mgr. Abel Gabuza, Bishop of Kimberly and President of the "Justice and Peace" Episcopal Commission of the Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference in a statement sent to Agenzia Fides on the initiatives taken by the Church in South Africa to help the workers affected by pneumoconiosis, also called black lung disease, that is contracted in coal mines through inadequate protection from coal dust.<br />South Africa is one of the countries with highest prevalence rate on black lung disease.<br />"The fact that South Africa has hundreds of sick miners from coal industry is an indictment on corporate greed in the mining sector and its insistence on profit over the dignity of mine workers", said Mgr. Gabuza.<br />He added that this situation is also "an indictment on the coal-based economy in South Africa. The human cost of coal-based economy should remind our country of the urgent need to transition to clean energy".<br />"Most of the miners who become sick were sent home with little or no compensation after working in mines that have generated millions of Rands for their shareholders", emphasizes Mgr. Gabuza who supports the class action launched by hundreds of miners who have contracted the disease and by family members of the workers who in the meantime have died due to pneumoconiosis.<br />The South African Bishops, through the "Justice and Peace" Commission, fully support the initiative launched by the workers through attorney Richard Spoor. "The battle to give justice to the sick miners is not over", said Mgr. Gabuza a few months ago. "We are working with attorney Richard Spoor to seek compensation from mining companies on behalf of former miners who have contracted this deadly disease in coal mines". Mgr. Gabuza asked coal companies to take an example from the agreement signed in May by six South African gold companies for the creation of a 5.2 billion Rand trust fund to compensate miners suffering from silicosis and tuberculosis. <br />Fri, 19 Oct 2018 12:33:57 +0200VATICAN - The Pontifical Mission Societies: support for the proclamation of the Gospel and for the human and cultural growth of peoples City - "The Pontifical Mission Societies were born of young hearts as a means of supporting the preaching of the Gospel to every nation and thus contributing to the human and cultural growth of all those who thirst for knowledge of the truth. The prayers and the material aid generously given and distributed through the Pontifical Mission Societies enable the Holy See to ensure that those who are helped in their personal needs can in turn bear witness to the Gospel in the circumstances of their daily lives. No one is so poor as to be unable to give what they have, but first and foremost what they are". This is what the Holy Father wrote in his Message for World Mission Day 2018.<br />Born in churches of ancient Catholic tradition to support the work of the missionaries among non-Christian peoples, the Pontifical Mission Societies have become an institution of the universal Church and of every particular Church. According to the Council, the central role of missionary cooperation must be given to them.<br />The PMS constitute a single institution which includes four distinct branches. In common they have the main purpose of promoting the missionary and universal spirit within the People of God, through the dissemination of information on missions, the promotion of missionary vocations, the collection and distribution of subsidies to missionaries, their works and the young Churches, encouraging communion with the other Churches for the exchange of goods, aid, and personnel.<br />Among the characteristics that distinguish the PMS from other organisms of missionary cooperation, is first of all their universality, as they are the Pontifical Societies of the Pope and depend on the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. At the same time they are also the Bishops' Societies, expressing their universality in the animation and missionary formation addressed to all the Churches and to all the members of the People of God, in the assistance offered equally to all the Churches in mission territories. Their primary purpose is evangelization, a fundamental duty of the Church, not neglecting the concrete participation in the integral human promotion.<br /><br />The four Pontifical Mission Societies<br />Propagation of the Faith <br />Founded in Lyon in 1822 through Pauline Marie Jaricot's intuition and has the task of promoting missionary cooperation in all Christian communities. To this end, together with the collection of aid, it takes care of missionary vocations, education to the missionary spirit, especially in the missionary month of October, and organizes World Mission Day.<br />St. Peter the Apostle <br />Founded in Caen by Jeanne and mother Stephanie Bigard in 1889, this Society is concerned with supporting the formation of local clergy in mission churches, as well as that of candidates for religious life, both male and female.<br />Holy Childhood or Missionary Childhood <br />Founded in 1843 by Mgr. Charles de Forbin Janson, Bishop of Nancy, to educate children in the missionary spirit, interested in the needs of their peers in mission countries, offering prayers and material help.<br />Pontifical Missionary Union <br />Founded in Italy in 1916 by Blessed Father Paolo Manna, it is committed to the missionary animation of the Pastors and animators of the People of God: priests, men and women religious, members of secular institutes, committed laymen. The same function is carried out in relation to the other three Societies. <br /><br/><strong>Link correlati</strong> :<a href="">Subsidies distributed by the PMS in 2017</a>Fri, 19 Oct 2018 11:26:32 +0200ASIA/PHILIPPINES - The Church in the Philippines remembers Italian missionary Fausto Tentorio, killed seven years ago - Seven years have passed since the killing of Italian missionary Fausto Tentorio of PIME, killed on the island of Mindanao on October 17, 2011. On the seventh anniversary of his death, the Church in the Philippines recalle the priest friend of the peasants and of the indigenous people of Mindanao. "We must continue to be the legacy of Father Tentorio. Following the example of Father Tentorio means following the call of Christ in going to the margins of society and sharing the Good News of Christ with the poor. Fr. Fausto will always be in our hearts", says Teresa Punzon, Catholic laywoman of Mindanao, to Agenzia Fides.<br />Father Tentorio helped to create more than 80 day-care centers in indigenous communities and over 2,000 young indigenous people have benefited from scholarships organized by him. <br />"By educating to the relationship with the Created and remaining on the side of the poor and oppressed, Fr. Tentorio experienced the preferential option of the Church for the poor", she notes. "After his death, his ministry has inspired hundreds of communities of lumads throughout Mindanao", says to Fides Marlon Lacal, a Catholic laywoman committed to serving the poor in Mindanao.<br />The defense of these populations cost him his life: at the time of his death, the missionary was facing the question of the presence of large scale mining companies and projects in the lands of the indigenous peoples, which would have caused deforestation, installation of plantations and mines, upsetting the lives of local people.<br />Member of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions Father Tentorio, 59, a missionary in the Philippines since 1978, was shot dead by a killer inside the parish complex of the Mother of Perpetual Help in Arakan, in province of North Cotabato in 2011. He was the third priest of PIME murdered in the Philippines, after Fr. Tullio Favali and Salvatore Salzedda, also killed in Mindanao.<br />Fr. Tentorio was born on 7 January 1952 in Santa Maria di Rovagnate and grew up in Lecco, Italy. He was ordained a priest in 1977 and left for the Philippines the following year, working at a pastoral and social level alongside Christian, Muslim and indigenous communities. PIME missionaries are present in 17 countries in the world, and have been in the Philippines since 1968. <br /> <br /><br />Thu, 18 Oct 2018 13:16:32 +0200AFRICA/NIGER - The Church of Niamey: prayer and fasting for Father Maccalli - The diocese of Niamey has begun a prayer triduum for the release of Father Gigi Maccalli. "The last day of the triduum, which takes place from 17 to 19 October, will be a day of fasting that all the faithful will observe" reports to Agenzia Fides, from Niamey, Father Vito Girotto, of the Society for African Missions and parish priest of the parish of Makalondi, close to that of Bomoanga, where Fr. Maccalli was a parish priest.<br />"I take care of the parish that I had to leave after the kidnapping. On Sunday I celebrated mass there. After the kidnapping of Fr. Gigi I was obliged to leave. Since then I have been living in Niamey ".<br />Fr. Mauro Armanino, also a SMA missionary in Niamney, tells Fides that, after the abduction, the diocese has reorganized religious assistance to the Christian communities of Bomoanga, Kankani and Makalondi region, for security reasons: "The Bishop has a pastoral team, based in Makalondi, a place considered more secure, which will accompany the three parishes. This is a new experience dictated by urgency, but which could prove fruitful from a pastoral point of view".<br />Father Mauro informs that the diocese held its assembly at the beginning of the pastoral year 2018-2019: "The theme related to the Youth Pastoral was reconfirmed for the second consecutive year, with the addition of the reference to the cross of Jesus. The memory of the churches burned in January 2015 is still very much alive, and there is little trust in society. But we must revive it, for the good of the country and peaceful coexistence. The abduction of Fr. Pierluigi has created a climate of dismay and fear, but also of prayer and solidarity".<br />Fr. Armanino traces a picture of the life of the local Church: "In the diocese of Niamey, one of the two in the country, there are 37 priests and 69 religious, plus a few lay brothers and some consecrated women", recalls Fr. Mauro. "The parishes are in the city and in the rural area. The area currently most open to evangelization is that of Gourmanché, on the border with Burkina Faso, the area where Fr. Gigi was kidnapped", he adds. "There are various ecclesial, diocesan and parish movements for children, young people and families. The presence of Catholics in the country does not reach 50 thousand people. Most of them are foreigners, immigrants from Togo, Benin, Burkina Faso, Nigeria. The pastoral approach, at least so far, has been to stay with people, accompanying their journey. There are many social works run by the Church: schools, medical clinics, Caritas, which offer a testimony of free love for all". <br />Thu, 18 Oct 2018 12:53:49 +0200AFRICA/CONGO - Catholic schools are committed to educating respect for creation, theme taken from the Encyclical Laudato Sì - The XIV National Council for Catholic Education was held at the Inter-diocesan Center of Brazzaville from 15 to 17 October on the theme: "respect and integrity of creation in the Catholic school", theme taken from the Encyclical Laudato Sì by Pope Francis.<br />The works opened on October 15 by His Exc. Mgr. Anatole Milandou, Archbishop of Brazzaville and President of the Episcopal Commission for Catholic Education , in the presence of Armand Brice IBOMBO Secretary General of the Episcopal Conference of Congo, delegates representing the directors of Catholic schools in all the dioceses of Congo.<br />During her greetings, Sr. Clarisse Nkourissa, CEEDUC Secretary General, announced the relaunch of the "green school" project this year, which envisages planting trees in all Catholic schools. The works of the Council focused on the Encyclical Laudato Sì, on the respect for the environment and on "our land common home". The participants said they were enthusiastic about adopting the "ecological conversion" to teach children respect for nature and the environment. <br />Thu, 18 Oct 2018 11:49:08 +0200ASIA/HOLY LAND - Once again the Beit Jamal Catholic cemetery desecrated Shemesh - 28 graves of the cemetery attached to the Salesian convent of Beit Jamal, near the Israeli city of Beit Shemesh, has one again been desecrated by unknown persons. The discovery of the intimidating act was carried out on Wednesday 17 October.<br />It is not the first time that the cemetery of Beit Jamal convent, 30 km west of Jerusalem, has been desecrated. Back in 2013, an incendiary bomb had been thrown at a door of the convent and blasphemous slogans had been written on the walls of the complex. The cemetery area was then targeted in December 2015, when unknown assailants had destroyed the crosses of tombs and some statues. The Israeli police have reported that they have started investigations with all the means available to identify as soon as those responsible of the sacrilegious act.<br />Gadi Gvaryahu, executive director of Tag Mehir - an Israeli NGO that organizes campaigns to support the victims of sectarian hate crimes in Israel - visited the monastery on Wednesday and expressed his solidarity with the Salesian religious. "The Palestinian population in the West Bank", said Gvaryahu to the Israeli media "must be protected from trasgressors, just as Israeli citizens are".<br />Palestinian sources and Israeli human rights groups such as B'Tselem and Yesh Din reported that in the last two months hundreds of olive trees and vines have been found destroyed on land belonging to five different villages in the West Bank.<br />In January 2016 , a group of more than sixty Jews linked to the organization Tag Mahir wanted to express their conviction and shock at the desecration of the Salesian cemetery in Beit Jamal and paid homage to the cemetery where in December 2015 serious acts of sectarian vandalism was carried out. On that occasion, the visitors expressed their solidarity to the Salesians, owners of the cemetery, and wanted to plant an olive tree at the entrance of the religious house.<br />Tag Mehir, founded in 2011 with the intention of countering all forms and expressions of racism in Israel. Already in the name, the organization intends to underline its total contrast with the acts of violence and intimidation committed by groups of ultranationalist settlers starting from 2012, which affected in various ways mosques or Christian places , "signing" their intimidation with the initials "Price to tag" . <br /> <br /><br />Thu, 18 Oct 2018 11:29:15 +0200OCEANIA/AUSTRALIA - Catholic Mission supports the construction of a professional training center for women in Myanmar - "We thank God because the construction of the training center for girls continues and is about to end". We hope that we can soon start decorating the interior spaces. We also thank you for the prayers, support and understanding of the importance of this project". This is what Sister Agatha Phawsu, Salesian Sisters of Don Bosco says in a note of "Catholic Mission Australia" , sent to Agenzia Fides, talking about the work related to a center for female professional training in Myanmar.<br />The training institute, now almost completed, was built in Yangon thanks to the support of Catholic Mission Australia. Each year, the Center will allow 30 girls to take two-year professional training courses in the food and home management sectors.<br />"The idea is to equip women with the skills required by employers. The Center will aim to respond to the various challenges related to education and support for girls in Yangon, where there is a high school dropout rate and there are few job chances", reports the note sent to Fides.<br />For some years now, Catholic Mission has started projects aimed at supporting Catholics in Myanmar, giving priority to education and professional training. In addition to the Yangon Center, in fact, the Pontifical Australian Mission Societies support, in particular, the San Giovanni Catholic school in Hakha, a remote city in the north of the country. One of the main objectives is to have well-trained teachers and to guarantee the right to education of the children in the area. <br />Thu, 18 Oct 2018 11:03:19 +0200AMERICA/HONDURAS - "We are not criminals, we are migrants": three thousand Hondurans fleeing their country Pedro Sula - They have now traveled about 300 km, from Tegucigalpa to Zacapa : there are about three thousand Hondurans who during their their journey to the United States welcome other brothers from Central America who flee like them from poverty, violence and corruption. They spent the night welcomed by a group of doctors and nurses from Guatemala, who followed the caravan route through social networks and then went out to support and assist them.<br />The note sent to Fides by CELAM reads: "Like the ancient Israelites, the Honduran people are walking in their exodus, fleeing from political and economic slavery imposed by corruption and the deterioration of government systems. There are many forced migrations and in Latin America these migrations are marking the current history".<br />There are about 3,000 "who completed three days of walking this October 15. They are thousands of kilometers that they will have to travel on foot, they are mainly peasants, men, women and children, even disabled people in wheelchairs, affected by poverty, violence and corruption, they are migrants who touch the heart of the world".<br />Several digital media and social networks of Honduras and Guatemala have broadcast part of the journey of the caravan live. The images show a growing crowd, a human tide never seen before, as others join as the journey progresses.<br />The note sent to Fides underlines that the migrants are peaceful people, who aim to reach the United States, passing from Mexico, which stretches from the border of Guatemala to the United States, covering about three thousand kilometers. The Catholic Church and humanitarian organizations welcomed them to Esquipulas , offering hospitality and food. Esquipulas is the city near the border with Honduras and Salvador, where the dialogues that gave rise to the peace negotiation processes in Central America, especially in Guatemala, were born.<br />The caravan departed from San Pedro Sula, 180 kilometers from the capital of Honduras Tegucigalpa, to escape the poverty, violence and corruption that exists in the country.<br />Singing the Honduran national anthem, praying and chanting, "Yes, we can" and "Honduras we love you", the migrants did not stop despite the Guatemalan authorities had announced not to allow their entry into the country. "We have the right", they said, "we are not criminals, we are migrants".<br />On social networks it is very striking that the first thing they ask for are prayers for them and their family members. The threat of US authorities to cut aid to Honduras is well known if this march continues. <br /><br />Wed, 17 Oct 2018 13:36:07 +0200ASIA/HOLY LAND - The demolition of the village of Khan al Ahmar begins. Appeal of the Episcopal Justice and Peace Commission - Yesterday, Tuesday, October 16, three bulldozers continued the work of leveling the land around the Bedouin village of Khan al Ahmar, in the occupied West Bank, east of Jerusalem, in an area considered strategic for the expansion of new settlements of Jewish settlers. <br />The leveling operation is carried out to create tracks to facilitate the entry of military troops, when the evacuation order of the Bedouin population who live in the village starts, before demolishing the houses. On the previous day, there were clashes and moments of tension between the Israeli soldiers and villagers, with the intention of acting as human barriers in front of the advance of the bulldozers.<br />In recent days, the Justice and Peace Commission of the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land issued a statement to express once again its dissent and its alarm for the announced demolition of the Bedouin village. "After a long period of legal struggle" the statement said, "the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that the Israeli Authorities are entitled to demolish the Bedouin village at Khan al-Ahmar and transfer the residents to an area near Jericho. Many of these people were already displaced after the 1948 War and are now, once again, being violently uprooted to make way for more illegal Israeli settlements". The statement appeals to the Israelis and the international community to make their voices heard in defense of the Bedouins of Khan al Ahmar and their right not to be transferred.<br />In the village of Khan Al Ahmer, with 42 huts, there is also a school, attended by more than 170 children of the Jahalin Bedouin tribe.<br />The school is a structure built with 2,200 old tires leaning on each other, as if they were bricks, filled with mud and pressed. The school was built without "permanent" architectural elements, without cement and foundations, in order not to violate the military regulations that prohibit the unauthorized construction of buildings in Area C, the area in which 60% of the West Bank falls, under the control of Israel.<br />The demolition of the village would facilitate the expansion of the Kfar Adumim colony. <br />Wed, 17 Oct 2018 13:20:15 +0200EUROPE/GERMANY - The President of the PMS: "Even from our desks we can be missionaries" - On the occasion of his visit to Missio-Aachen , Archbishop Giovanni Pietro Dal Toso, President of the Pontifical Mission Societies , this morning, 17 October, presided over a Mass at the headquarters of "Missio" attended by those who work in the offices of Missio and of the German Missionary Childhood .<br />"It is important we continue to rethink of the purpose of our commitment, that we continue to remember that God is the beginning and the goal of our actions and of our existence in general", emphasized His Exc. Mgr. Dal Toso at the beginning of his homily, "It is He who gives us the strength to commit our life according to his will for the benefit of our neighbor. In this light, I would like to thank you for the work of Missio and of the German missionary Childhood".<br />Recalling the feast of St. Ignatius of Antioch, which is celebrated today, the Archbishop referred to his trip to Syria and to the difficult situation of the "brothers and sisters in the Middle East", and stressed: "my first real meeting with Missio Aachen is linked to the difficulties of our Christian brothers in Syria and Iraq, and I would like to mention your generosity also regarding this concern".<br />"The specific characteristic of Missio and of our Pontifical Mission Societies, is the support for the pastoral activity of the Church", highlighted the President of the Pontifical Mission Societies. "The Church exists because Jesus has sent us all over the world to proclaim the Gospel. It is not strictly a matter of the Church as such, but of the fact that through the presence of the Church and the proclamation of the Gospel, the human being receives the Spirit of God, which makes the earth and each of us new". "We have the great privilege of participating in this activity", concluded Archbishop Dal Toso, "even from our desks we can be missionaries so that every person can hear a word of comfort, healing, reconciliation, and experience inner unity and freedom through the encounter with the God of Jesus Christ". <br /><br/><strong>Link correlati</strong> :<a href="">The full text of the homily, in German</a>Wed, 17 Oct 2018 12:52:27 +0200ASIA - The young Christians of Asia, ambassadors of peace Mai - Young Christians in Asia are called to be "ambassadors of peace" in the various social and political contexts of the Asian nations where they live. This is what emerges from the third meeting of the forum "Young Ambassadors of Peace in Asia" , born within the Christian Conference of Asia . The week long program focuses on the theme "Peace with Justice and Human Security" is being attended by young people sponsored by CCA member churches and councils as well as representatives of Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim organizations in Asia.<br />Young people have received specific training for a better understanding of the conflicts that are registered in many parts of Asia. The aim is to raise awareness that young Asian Christians are called to be ambassadors and catalysts of peace, according to the message of Christ, in the territory or region in which they live.<br />"The concept of 'security' envisioned needs to be understood properly as the notion of security has been interpreted often in political contexts, and linked only to national security or war and military defense. Such an approach will not be taking into consideration the importance of human security and the right of the poor to live in dignity, safety and with access to justice", explains Mathews George Chunakara, General Secretary of the CCA, to Fides. "Peace and security - he continues - can only be attained and sustained in a society where people in a community truly care for one another with mutual recognition and tolerance on the basis of love and care for others; there will not be peace without justice, and there will also not be peace without security".<br />Various thematic presentations at the YAPA explore the ways to empower civil society in its quest for social development, economic security, human rights, food security, environmental security, community security and political security. YAPA aims to train prospective young peace activists and bring them to a common platform to help build communities where peace and harmony would prevail and be upheld. The curriculum and training methodologies are based on inter-cultural, inter-religious and non-formal learning approaches.<br />The CCA is an ecumenical body that coordinates social, cultural and missionary works in Asia, promoting solidarity and collaboration among various Churches and Christian denominations, including the Catholic Church. <br />Wed, 17 Oct 2018 12:42:08 +0200AFRICA/SOUTH AFRICA - Synod on Youth: "Need to take into account the situation of young people and the Church in other parts of the world" says Cardinal Napier City - - "Africa is losing some of its most gifted young people to migration because of the exploitation of natural resources and the environment ", said His Eminence Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier, Archbishop of Durban , during a meeting with the press on the margin of the XV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on "Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment".<br />Referring to the work of the Synod, the Cardinal appreciated that not only "we talking about young people, but we are talking with them and to them" and praised the contributions of 34 young people invited by Pope Francis to be active participants in a meeting predominantly comprised of bishops.<br /><br />However, Cardinal Napier complained that the Synod's working document was excessively "Eurocentric", emphasizing that the synod’s work must take into account the situation of young people and the Church in other parts of the world, noting especially the needs of the Church in Africa.<br />The African delegates to the meeting - said Cardinal Napier - "should present the African reality much more clearly from our perspective".<br />According to the Cardinal, one of the central issues to be addressed is that of migration. However, he noted that the document does not sufficiently recognize the impact of mass migration from Africa on the continent’s countries. "Africa is losing some of its most gifted young people to migration, he said, because of the exploitation of natural resources and the environment".<br />"Those who would have been living off the land are now unable to do so", the Cardinal recalled, "so they migrate because of the effect of deforestation and aggressive mining techniques".<br />He also decried the economic conditions that lead to child labor in Africa, saying that because children are put to work at a young age, they "are not getting the education they need in order to have a good start at life".<br />Finally, the Cardinal said there is another African reality that is not reflected in the synod’s working document. "While many young people in the West are leaving Jesus, or at least his Church, and they are doing this for a variety of reasons... in Africa there is a very different kind of phenomenon and that is that young people are looking for Jesus and looking for answers to their problems in the Church".<br />"The growth of Christianity among young Africans has important lessons for more developed nations", he concluded. <br /><br />Wed, 17 Oct 2018 12:12:33 +0200