Fides News English Agency Newsen-usAFRICA/ZAMBIA - New techniques to encourage fishermen and reduce poverty - A group of researchers, with the support of the Cultivate Africa’s Future Fund, an initiative jointly funded by Canada’s International Development Research Centre and the Australian Centre for International Agriculture Research , is working in a newly launched project on post-harvest losses of fish. The three year project, aims at improving effectiveness, reducing losses, and promoting greater equity among the men and women who work in the fisheries sector. The project is led by scientists of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, the University of Zambia and the international organization WorldFish. According to estimates, sub-Saharan Africa has the lowest fish supply per person of any global region, with supply predicted to fall by 20 per cent in the next two decades. Poor processing and management are major factors, resulting in losses. Poor post–harvest handling of fish is said to contribute greatly to the declining per capita fish consumption in Malawi and Zambia. <br />Working with fishing communities in the Barotse flood plain in Zambia and Lake Chilwa in Malawi, the research team has developed pilot interventions to reduce the identified losses. Typically, fish processors in the area preserve their fish through sun-drying or smoking, and small quantities of fish are sold fresh. However, the processing results in the fish becoming very brittle and easily damaged during transportation, among other losses, destroying the quality and value of the fish. There are four technologies being tried, among which is solar tent drying, a technique where a tent made from plastic sheeting is used. These have the advantage of protecting fish from dust and flies during the drying process and speeding up the time for fish to dry due to elevated temperatures. With the other two technologies: the Choka-Kiun, which uses less firewood for fish smoking, and the soon to be established ice plant by the private sector supported by the project, the fishing community in Western Zambia could be harvesting their way out of poverty. Wed, 25 Nov 2015 12:53:36 +0100AMERICA/ARGENTINA - New President: the Church hopes stronger solidarity policies for vulnerable sectors Rioja - "A new government always represents the option of bringing great ideals and work with greater consensus, and a change of President is always a moment of great significance": this is what the Bishop of the Diocese of La Rioja, His Exc. Mons. Marcelo Daniel Colombo said on Monday evening, November 23, during the oath of the deputies of the province. "We are a nation and we want to continue to contribute to the common good", said the Bishop, and then expressed his hope: "We hope to deepen the solidarity policies for the most vulnerable".<br />Mauricio Macri is the new President of Argentina. The leader of the 'Cambiemos' center-right coalition, according to preliminary results, won the election against the Peronist candidate Daniel Scioli, backed by outgoing President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. Wed, 25 Nov 2015 12:28:22 +0100AFRICA/TUNISIA - The Director of the PMS:"Let's stop talking about religious war, yesterday’s victims are all Muslims" - "Tunis has awakened with much sadness and disappointment" says to Agenzia Fides Fr. Jawad Alamat, National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies of Tunisia, after yesterday’s suicide bombing, 24 November, in Tunis against a bus carrying officers of the Presidential Security. Fr. Jawad says that this attack, "wants to send a destabilizing message again. After hitting tourism in Souse , inflicting a serious blow to the economy, and after attacking the Bardo Museum , which means not only hitting tourism but also an area of high political importance due to the vicinity of the Parliament, now the forces of presidential security are being attacked".<br />The Director of the PMS in Tunisia underlines: "We are in front of people who are willing to die in order to kill. We can not speak of a clash among religions. The victims of Tunis are all Muslims. We are having to deal with inhumane terrorism. What happens in Paris happens in Tunisia, what happens in Beirut happens in Mali".<br />"I hope - he concludes - that after this new attack, politics will change and react. Tunisians are disappointed and dismayed by what goes on among the parties, while the Country is in great difficulty. One has the feeling of wasting precious time to revive the fortunes of economy. I hope this attack pushes politicians to stop 'playing', and be adults and to think about the well being of the Country, which is threatened by a determined enemy. It is a call for national unity, despite political differences, to provide security to the local population and all those living in this beloved Country". Wed, 25 Nov 2015 12:18:03 +0100AMERICA/BRAZIL - National school feeding program to improve the living conditions of children and farmers De Caxias - In a school in the rural community of the municipality of Duque de Caxias, in the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro, in the southeast of the country, there are children who only have one daily meal which they eat at school and it is certainly not the only case. To cope with this phenomenon, local authorities have promoted a law that stipulates that at least 30% of food products come from small local producers, thus helping to improve the lives of both children as well as farmers.<br />The national school feeding program in fact seeks to alleviate nutritional deficiencies regarding 45 million children in public schools across the country and, since 2009, the municipalities have to buy a third of the products from small neighbor farmers and thus ensure healthy breakfasts and lunches . According to local farmers, there is also the satisfaction of knowing that a child eats what they produce, besides the fact that it improves the living conditions of the farmers themselves and the health of children and young students. The Coordinator of the Brazilian chapter of the Parliamentary Front Against Hunger, an initiative of Latin America and the Caribbean, is father João, as he is known by all the locals. With the support of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, he promotes national laws in favor of the right to food in the region. "The seed has been planted and is sprouting in schools", he said in a note sent to Fides, referring to this Brazilian experience that was shared with legislators of 18 countries, during the VI Forum of Parliamentary Fronts against Hunger, which was recently held in Lima, Peru. Wed, 25 Nov 2015 11:57:17 +0100AMERICA/COSTA RICA - Cuban immigrants blocked at the border between Costa Rica and Nicaragua: "a humanitarian issue" José de Costa Rica - As part of the ordinary meeting of the "Secretariado Episcopal de América Central ", which takes place in November from 23 to 27 in San José de Costa Rica with the slogan "A single network, a single region", the Bishops of Central America met with the President of the Republic of Costa Rica, Luis Guillermo Solis, to address the plight of Cuban immigrants. More than 3,000 Cubans in fact, during their journey to the United States, have been blocked for over a week at the border between Costa Rica and Nicaragua, as Nicaragua does not allow them entry into the country, not even for transit.<br />The Government of Costa Rica and the Bishops of SEDAC agreed in defining this situation "a humanitarian issue", demanding therefore a "humanitarian solution" and expecting some decision is taken during the meeting of the Prime Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Central America, which is taking place in El Salvador.<br />According to information sent to Fides, Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes, Archbishop of Managua, pointed out that this problem is not only for this country, but of the entire Central American region, and dialogue is the only way to find a solution. <br />The agenda of the meeting scheduled by SEDAC will analyze the social and ecclesial life of each Central American country. In addition to the Bishops there will also be Family, Youth, Vocations, social pastoral and social communications Commissions. Wed, 25 Nov 2015 11:44:51 +0100AFRICA/KENYA - Bishops of Kenya: "everything is ready to welcome Pope Francis" - "We are ready to welcome Pope Francis in Kenya", say the Bishops of Kenya in their message dedicated to the Holy Father's visit. "For the past few weeks, many of you have joined us in making preparations for the much anticipated Apostolic Trip by Pope Francis to our beloved Country Kenya and the African Continent", reads the message, sent to Agenzia Fides. "Today, dear Brothers and Sisters, we are pleased to announce that all the teams working towards a successful visit have confirmed that they are ready".<br />The Bishops recall the message of peace and reconciliation brought by Pope Francis and their commitment "to commune with persons of all religions and of all social status, rich or poor. Indeed the Holy Father's message of reconciliation, forgiveness and peace will begin with the ecumenical meeting on the morning of 26th November at the Nunciature in Nairobi, with leaders of Christian mainstream and evangelical churches, Muslims, Hindus and traditional religions".<br />Many believers will come from various parts of the Country and for this reason the Bishops make a special request to remain in the spirit of caring for one another.<br />In thanking the government of President Uhuru Kenyatta for the efforts made to prepare for the papal visit, the Bishops' Conference "welcomes the efforts to tackle corruption and declare it a sin and a threat to national security". Wed, 25 Nov 2015 11:22:58 +0100ASIA/INDIA - Day for Dalits dedicated to climate and environment Delhi - The Day for the Liberation of Dalits will be dedicated to "Climate, castes and care for the Earth", that every year the Catholic Church in India celebrates in proximity to the UN Human Rights Day . This year the Day, scheduled on December 13, will have an ecumenical character, given that it will be celebrated with the National Council of Churches in India, which brings together Protestant churches. The day - according to a statement sent to Agenzia Fides, signed by Mgr. A. Neethinathan, President of the office for the Dalits in the Indian Episcopal Conference - this year will also be connected to the Jubilee of Mercy: "May the Dalits find mercy in the Lord and find comfort in Him in their suffering", hopes the note sent to Fides.<br />"The Sunday for the liberation of Dalits is celebrated throughout the Church in India showing solidarity with the brothers and sisters of Dalit origin, especially Christians", notes the text, recalling that Pope Francis in the encyclical "Laudato Sì" illustrates the inseparable link between concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society, inner peace.<br />"Dalits are not only economically poor, but do not have rights, since they are denied political and social rights. Caste is a human system that assigns a social stigma handed down for generations. We as citizens of India and as a member of the Indian Church cannot ignore the plight of the Dalit brothers and sisters ", says the statement.<br />"Many of us are not aware of the situation of Dalits and some of us consciously discriminate against them, in violation of the values of the Gospel", while "we all have a responsibility to promote peace, to bring joy to others and take care of our Mother Earth", concludes the text. Wed, 25 Nov 2015 11:07:55 +0100ASIA/INDONESIA - Bring mercy in society: conclusion of the Synod in the Diocese of Bandung - Need to renew pastoral strategies, such as the formation of young people, family pastoral care, dialogue with other believers, the presence of basic ecclesial communities, the role of Pastors and members of religious orders: the Synod in the Diocese of Bandung, a city in the west of the Indonesian island of Java has just ended and was a breath of "fresh air" in view of the Jubilee of mercy. As reported to Fides by the local Church, the Synod was an experience of "pastoral conversion" to better present the merciful face of God in society.<br />Celebrated under the guide of Bishop Antonio Subianto Bunyamin, 25 years after the last diocesan synod in 1990, the Synod was centered on the theme "One heart, one mind, in the sharing of joy" and started with a first meeting last May, with the subsequent preparation of the "Lineamenta" and then a synodal "Instrumentum laboris".<br />As Fides learns, during the synod, pastoral issues were addressed, and other themes were discussed such as preaching and catechesis, social work, pastoral education and health, lay involvement, liturgical service, the presence of believers in culture and in the public sphere, new awareness of the environment.<br />The 184 delegates from all the realities of the local Church were called to give their contribution and to approve the final document: "The Bishop said that the delegates of the Synod should become 'final living document ', continuing to proclaim and witness what they experienced during the Synod", said one participant. After the closing Mass the Bishop announced a special "Synod of young Catholic people" in 2016 and the diocesan Year of the Family in 2018. Wed, 25 Nov 2015 10:18:15 +0100EUROPE/SPAIN - Poverty: main cause of the violation of children's rights - Poverty is the main cause of human rights violations, even young children are deprived of basic needs such as education, health care, access to safe water and sufficient and adequate food. In addition, the precarious living conditions in which many families are involved, lead children to becoming victims of any kind of abuse by many unscrupulous adults who exploit the vulnerability of the weak for their own benefit. The Spanish humanitarian organization Manos Unidas, committed in particular to the protection of minors, fights against these causes that condemn children to a life of hardship and suffering. In the past 18 months, the NGO approved 201 projects aimed at ensuring respect for the rights of every child from the moment of their birth. 122 projects in Africa aimed at children were destined to education, health care and nutrition. In Asia the NGO gave priority to 69 projects on education as well as other projects to improve the living conditions of children, victims of trafficking, refugees and the prevention of child prostitution. Among the projects in America the NGO focused on improving the nutrition of children and the protection of the consequences of violence and armed conflicts. Tue, 24 Nov 2015 13:13:08 +0100ASIA/PAKISTAN - The first hearing in the appeal case of blasphemy convicted Sajjad Masih Gill fixed - The first hearing in the appeal case of blasphemy convicted Pakistani Christian Sajjad Masih Gill fixed for December 7, 2015 in the Lahore High Court, Lahore. Christian lawyer Sardar Mushtaq Gill intends to dismantle the charges and overturn the verdict of condemnation to life imprisonment, imposed on Sajjad Masih Gill. The young man, 31, is accused of having sent some blasphemous sms. The organization LEAD is supporting the court costs and legal defense.<br />The charges against Sajjad, say his family, are totally false. His family has received threats and has been living in hiding for nearly four years, since the young man was arrested in 2011. Sajjad's brother, Sarwaz Gill said that "the blasphemy law has ruined the lives of our family" and has urged the Pakistani government to repeal it, noting that "the entire Christian community suffers when Christians are accused of blasphemy". Lawyer Sardar Mushtaq Gill told Fides that "there are still many cases of false accusations of blasphemy", while the government does not make progress to stop the abuse of this legislation. Tue, 24 Nov 2015 13:05:42 +0100AFRICA/KENYA – Nairobi: conference on Land grabbing and just governance organized by African Bishops – In view of Pope Francis’ arrival in Africa, a conferance on Land Grabbimg and Just governance in Africa is taking place in Nairobi, Kenya, and organized by SECAM with the collaboration of AEFJN , AFJN and CIDSE , an organization that groups together 17 European and North American Catholic NGOs.<br />The event gathers about 150 participants from the African continent and beyond and faces the problem that according to a statement sent to Agenzia Fides Fides, "Land grabbing is a serious problem across Africa, requiring urgent attention since it threatens livelihoods and food security". "It has already dislocated hundreds of thousands of people from their lands, deprived them of natural sources, and threatened their livelihoods".<br />The conference will highlight the state of land grabbing in Africa, cases of resistance across the continent, as well as Church responses and its increasing engagement on issues of land grabbing. Tue, 24 Nov 2015 12:50:51 +0100AMERICA/PERU - Preparations are underway for the beatification of the first missionary martyrs of Peru - The Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Cardinal Angelo Amato, will preside at the beatification of the three martyred missionaries – the Polish Franciscans Michael Tomaszek and Zbigniew Strzalkowski, and the Italian diocesan priest, Alessandro Dordi, killed by the terrorists of the Shining Path on 9 and 25 August 1991 in Pariacoto and Rinconada - to be held on December 5 in the city of Chimbote, Ancash : this was confirmed by the Bishop of the Diocese of Chimbote, His Exc. Mgr. Angel Francisco Piorno Simon. In addition to Cardinal Amato there will also be the President of Peru, Ollanta Humala, two ministers and the President of the Judiciary.<br />As the note sent to Fides by the Diocese of Chimbote informs, the ceremony will take place in the stadium of the city of Chimbote, while the night before there will be a prayer vigil at the Cathedral, starting at 7pm, where delegations from all over the country have been invited. On Sunday, December 6 a photo exhibition on Blessed Alessandro Dordi will be inaugurated and a Mass of Thanksgiving will be celebrated. At 4.30pm there will be a pilgrimage to the site of the martyrdom of Father Sandro, and at 5pm the ceremony of the laying of the foundation stone for the construction of the Chapel "Blessed father Sandro Dordi".<br />The population of Chimbote and the whole valley of Santa are preparing this event with immense joy: they will be the first beatified martyrs of the diocese and of Peru. Tue, 24 Nov 2015 12:33:01 +0100AFRICA/KENYA - The Bishop of Maralal: "May Pope Francis' message of reconciliation help us to overcome tribal violence" - "We are waiting for the message that the Pope will give us, especially on peace and reconciliation", said His Exc. Mgr. Virgilio Pante, Bishop of Maralal in northern Kenya in an interview with Waumini communications, the Country where Pope Francis will start his visit to Africa on November 25. "Here we are shepherds and sometimes we fight for cattle rustling. The message that the Pope will bring regarding dialogue and reconciliation will help to improve relations among us", said Mgr. Pante.<br />In 2006 Maralal was the scene of serious clashes among different tribes: after a series of murders, two rival ethnic groups had entered into a spiral of revenge and retaliation. Women and children had fled their villages to seek refuge in Catholic missions, while the men had sought shelter in the bush ready to carry out raids against opponents .<br />"Equally important is Pope Francis' message on the respect for nature. Here we live in the middle of a large natural national reserve where we have to share the natural resources. In his beautiful Encyclical Letter 'Laudato Sì' the Holy Father exhorts us to take care of creation. We hope the Pope will say something on this subject to reconcile with nature, with animals, with water, and with the different tribes. We therefore hope that these clashes may end", concluded the Bishop of Maralal. Tue, 24 Nov 2015 12:10:06 +0100ASIA/MYANMAR - Cardinal Bo: "A year of mercy for Myanmar" - "Despite the good news on the elections, Myanmar needs mercy and compassion. As I write this pastoral letter, more than one hundred poor people were buried alive in the landslides of the mine Jade. After five decades of war, poverty and migration, our country needs mercy towards those who suffered and towards those who caused that suffering. Christians can contribute to healing this nation through mercy": says Cardinal Chermes Maung Bo, Archbishop of Yangon during the presentation of a pastoral Letter.<br />In the text of the letter, sent to Agenzia Fides, Cardinal Bo recalls the theme proposed by the Pope "Be merciful as your heavenly Father is merciful" and explains that the theme of mercy will be declined in Myanmar at a personal and communal level. On a personal level, enjoying God's forgiveness in the sacrament of reconciliation and practicing forgiveness towards others "We need to cleanse ourselves from sin to judge others. We need to develop an attitude of understanding", he notes, appreciating the Buddhist tradition of "mercy and compassion" .<br />At an ecclesial level "Burmese churches can become islands of mercy in the midst of the sea of indifference", hopes the Archbishop, noting that "in a country of enormous wealth, millions are poor, millions are displaced, millions are outside the country". Now that Myanmar is "on the threshold of hope - he continues - we seek mercy, forgiveness and reconciliation also with the most evil men who perpetrated these crimes", urges Cardinal Bo, inviting to practice the spiritual and corporal works of mercy in Burmese society, especially towards the victims of wars, disruption and violence. "While Myanmar is looking for justice, peace and human development after the elections, we Christians are called to renew our spiritual life through mercy and to contribute to building the nation, becoming messengers of peace for a people who have suffered so much" the text concludes. Tue, 24 Nov 2015 11:57:24 +0100AMERICA/COLOMBIA - Peace process: no need to hasten the signing without verifying the international law - The Bishops of Colombia have warned Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and the negotiators of the peace talks being held in Havana that, although "they do not want to waste time in Cuba", it is more important to sign the peace process "correctly", rather than signing it quickly. The note sent to Fides informs that the pronouncement of the Church came after learning the proposal made by President Santos to the negotiators, to enter in a sort of "conclave" to speed up the conclusion of the agreements. <br />"President Santos is urged to hurry, but I say it is much more important to use time in order to do things well", said the President of the Episcopal Conference of Colombia, His Exc. Mgr. Luis Augusto Castro Quiroga. <br />In a few days the Colombian Church intervened twice, insisting on the national and international laws regarding the concluding agreements of the peace process, in order to ensure justice and respect for institutions before any Colombian and international law, to prevent impunity and the failure of the process itself . The date March 23, 2016 had already been hypothesized by the Heads of the Delegation in Havana in a first attempt to set a final date of the peace process , but according to information sent to Fides, there are still several points to be clarified and specified. Tue, 24 Nov 2015 11:27:41 +0100AFRICA/GHANA - The African Bishops: "No to terrorism and wars that have bloodied the world and Africa in particular" - "We strongly denounce the terrorist attacks, in Nigeria, Kenya, Libya, Burkina Faso, Mali, Lebanon, France and other parts of the world, which have claimed numerous innocent lives and brought sorrow and pain to many families and their countries", said a statement sent to Agenzia Fides at the end of the meeting of the Standing Committee of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar which was held in Accra from November 16 to 20. "We condemn all acts of terrorism that have occurred in any part of the world and urge the perpetrators and their sponsors to stop", continues the statement, which also launches an appeal for peace in Africa. "We unite ourselves with all those who are working for peace and reconciliation in troubled areas of Africa and the world, especially in Burundi, South Sudan, Central African Republic , the Democratic Republic of Congo , Nigeria, Kenya, Libya, and some other North African countries. We appeal in the name of God to all parties involved in the conflicts in these areas to lay down their arms and embrace the path of dialogue and peace for the sake of posterity", say the representatives of all the African Bishops. "As representatives of the Church in Africa we warmly welcome the Holy Father, Pope Francis, as he makes his first Apostolic visit to our continent", said the message which notes that Pope Francis' visit takes place immediately after the conclusion of the Synod on the family, hoping that it serves "to strengthen the faith of our peoples in the Church as Family of God and<br />confirm us in our long- cherished Christian and African values". Mon, 23 Nov 2015 13:09:54 +0100ASIA/CAMBODIA - The Jubilee of Mercy in the name of the martyrs and the last of society Penh - "In a world that is suffering from war, violence and hatred, mercy is the path that God offers to reconcile humanity and to live as brothers and sisters, in peace and harmony. Cambodia will welcome this time of grace for our spiritual renewal, reconciliation with God and with its neighbor", writes His Exc. Mgr. Olivier Schmitthaeusler Viario, Apostolic Vicar of Phnom Penh, in a letter released among the faithful and sent by the Bishop to Agenzia Fides.<br />The local Church, that lived "the Year of Charity" in 2014, will officially open the Holy Door in the Pastoral Centre of the Vicariate in Phnom Penh on December 10, and on 13 December there will be the inauguration of a special exhibition dedicated to Cambodian martyrs, and on January 1, the opening of the Holy Door at the Shrine of Our Lady of Mekong. Each community of the Vicariate is invited to make a pilgrimage in the Holy Year to all three places, while various events are planned "to allow to live a true interior conversion", notes the Bishop.<br />Given the Holy Father's invitation to prepare "to live the corporal and spiritual works of mercy", the letter calls the faithful to "be a sign of God's love for every man".<br />A thought is addressed to the whole nation: "This year is a year of reconciliation in our hearts, in our families, in our communities and in our country that is about to open to the ASEAN common market" concludes the Vicar. Mon, 23 Nov 2015 12:54:06 +0100ASIA/SOUTH KOREA - Beyond the peripheries, in search of the "run-away teenagers" - "Today the expression 'peripheries' is back in fashion. For us of Casa di Anna - a center for homeless people that offers 550 meals a day, it is time to go beyond the peripheries, in 'no man's land' to search for the so-called 'run-away teenagers', adolescents abandoned by their families and the State, who run away from everyone and everything. For these young people we have started a network of solidarity that welcomes them, supports them and brings them back in the family context and society. But it is not enough. Today we want to go and search them". This is the testimony entrusted to Agenzia Fides by Fr. Vincenzo Bordo, OMI, who 23 years ago founded "Casa di Anna" in the city of Suwon, a reception center that assists elderly people living alone, abandoned children, homeless men, unemployed people.<br />As reported by the missionary, "according to official statistics there are about 2,000 children in Suwon who leave school and family every year. Only few go to reception centers. Others are likely to dramatically destroy their young lives with alcohol, prostitution, theft, violence, imprisonment". <br />"Discovering this dramatic reality - continues Fr. Bordo - we have decided to go and find them: thus the Agit Movement was born. From 7pm to 2am in the morning we go to the streets in the desperate search for these teenagers. We are many, but all animated by passion and love for these young people".<br />When a teenager accepts to follow the volunteers, he/she is brought to 'Casa Rossa', the first center for those who come from the street. With specialized personnel, the teenagers have talks, meetings, therapies, counseling. "The goal is to reintegrate them back into their family. When this is not possible - says the missionary - because the family situation has deteriorated beyond any possible reconciliation and dialogue, teenagers are welcomed in 'Casa gialla', while the little ones are followed until the completion of their schooling. Finally others, who can neither return to their parents, nor wish to go to school, are included into the working world. Every year about 200 children are part of our recovery program".<br />Fr. Bordo concludes: "In this bleak and brutal no man's land, where there seems that there is no space even for God, because populated by violent fights, sexual exploitation of children, drunkenness, abuse, I met God’s new face. A God who says to me, 'Take your shoes off because this is a holy place'. This is a holy place because young people, God’s children, are here and he is here with them. He never leaves them. This is why I have decided to leave the 'peripheries' and be next to these teenagers". Mon, 23 Nov 2015 12:42:52 +0100AFRICA/CENTRAL AFRICA - The video message from Pope Francis brought to the Muslims by the Archbishop of Bangui - "We are going together with reporters to Km5 to present the Holy Father's video message on his journey in our Country", says to Agenzia Fides His Exc. Mgr. Dieudonné Nzapalainga Archbishop of Bangui and President of the Episcopal Conference of Central African Republic, a Country that is part of the visit that Pope Francis will carry out this week in Africa. <br />Km5 is the district capital of Central Africa, where there are tensions and incidents linked to the political situation that the Country has been experiencing since 2012. "We will have a meeting to present the Pope's message with my friends of the religious platform for peace, formed by the Archbishop of Bangui, the President of the Central Islamic Council, Imam Oumar Kobine Layama and by the President of the Evangelical Alliance, Pastor Nicolas Guérékoyaméné-Gbangou. <br />Together we continue to invite our faithful to nurture unity, cohesion and offer forgiveness to our brothers and sisters", said Mgr. Nzapalainga that together with the other members of the interreligious peace platform has always said how religion has been exploited for political reasons. In his message, Pope Francis said: "The purpose of my visit is first of all to bring you, in the name of Jesus, the comfort of consolation and hope. I hope with all my heart that my visit will contribute, in one way or another, to relieve your wounds and to promote conditions for a more tranquil future for Central Africa and all its inhabitants". Addressing the faithful "of all religions and ethnic groups" in the Country, the Pope continues: "I want to support interreligious dialogue to promote peaceful coexistence in your Country: I know this is possible, because we are all brothers".<br />"The Pope's message is clear," says to Fides Mgr. Nzapalainga. "It is a message of peace that regards all religions, ethnic groups and tribes. We are grateful to the Holy Father for his visit to the Central African people, made up of Catholics, Protestants, Muslims and animists. We are all ready to welcome Pope Francis so that he can bring hope and consolation", says the Archbishop of Bangui. Mon, 23 Nov 2015 12:11:56 +0100AMERICA/BRAZIL - The presence of foreign missionaries enriches the Church in Brazil - The introductory course regarding mission in Brazil, which is being held in Brasilia from 13 September until 11 December, sees the participation of 17 missionaries from 10 countries of 4 continents, including Colombia, South Korea, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Kenya and Rwanda. This is the 114th edition of the course, sponsored by the Intercultural Education Center with the organization of the Missionary Cultural Center . Each year there are two editions of the course, which is open to new missionaries who arrive from abroad and are preparing to serve a mission in Brazil.<br />The note sent to Fides by the Pontifical Mission Societies of Brazil reports the testimony of Sister Ihorere Marie Claire, of the Congregation of the Missionaries of Our Lady of the Angels, who came from Rwanda. "I never thought that in three months I would be able to speak Portuguese - said the nun who is preparing to work in Maranhão".<br />In addition to the Portuguese language, the missionaries learn the basics about the culture and local history, so that they may adapt to life in Brazil.<br />The Executive Secretary of CCM, Father Stefano Raschietti, underlines that "the course is a very special period, in which the missionary learns the Portuguese language to learn about the customs and aspirations of the Brazilian people". Mon, 23 Nov 2015 11:33:41 +0100