Friday, October 16, 2009

‘Sudan conflict due to Inequality’

The people of Sudan are yearning for lasting peace, Cardinal Gabriel Zubeir Wako, archbishop of Khartoum has told the Synod of Bishops in Rome.

In his presentation, Cardinal Wako said that Africa now needed courage, to realize all the dreams that the continent has, among them the search for peace.

“The problem between South and North Sudan was a problem ranging from inequalities in development between North and South to inequalities of opportunities accorded to the people of the two portions of the country by the central government,” said the Cardinal, adding that religious and racial differences did not mitigate the situation in the country.

The cardinal lamented the isolation of Sudan by the international community and by NGOs saying that those left to suffer were the population. He criticised those who have taken sides in the conflict subjecting the weak to even greater suffering.

On the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that was signed in 2005 in Nairobi, Kenya, Cardinal Wako said that though conflict had ended, the country still experienced great uncertainty with a very delicate peace in the Sudan.

He prayed that the ongoing Synod of bishops ‘would draw a genuine road map for the salvation of Africa.

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Comboni Missionary dies in Juba, Sudan

Comboni Missionaries are mourning loss of one of their missionaries in Sudan, following a fatal road accident.

Fr. Giovanni Fenzi died early on Thursday morning Oct. 16, 2009, after being involved in a road accident near Southern Sudan Capital, JUBA.

According to Fr. Paulino Mondo Twesigye, the Deputy Provincial of the Comboni Missionaries in Kenya, Fr. Giovanni was traveling from the airport where he had accompanied a colleague, Fr. Guiseppe Ciannini, who was travelling to Nairobi.

Fr. Fenzi was alone on his way back from the airport after dropping Fr. Ciannini at the airport, when the accident occurred at around 2am in the morning.

Fr. Giovanni Antonini, who had worked with the deceased in Sudan, and is currently based at the Comboni Missionaries New people Media centre in Nairobi, described the late as very dedicated in his pastoral work among the people on Nuba hills in Sudan, where he ministered most of his priestly life.

Born in 1946 in Italy, Fr. Giovanni Fenzi was ordained to priesthood in 1974, and went to work among the Nuba people in 1976 in the diocese of Elobeyd.

“He was fond of a transistor Radio which he carried most of the time, until one time, the Sudanese government forces fighting the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) suspected him of using the same (which they mistook for a phone) to contact SPLM rebels,” Fr. Antonini told CANAnews.

This led to him being expelled from the country in 1990, which, he later returned to and continued with his missionary work.

Until his death, Fr. Fenzi had been working at the Comboni Procure in Juba.

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Church sends goodwill message to Hindu community

The president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran has sent a message of goodwill to the Hindu community on the occasion of feast of DIWALI to be marked this weekend.

In his message, Cardinal Tauran prayed that the festival of lights (Diwali) would strengthen fellowship among all faiths and bring blessings of happiness and peace to all.

In line with the traditions of the church council, the Cardinal proposed a common reflection on the need to work together for integral human development which he defined as ‘advance towards the true good of every individual, community and society, in every single dimension of human life: social, economic, political, intellectual, spiritual and religious’.

“The respect for others implies recognition of their freedom; freedom of conscience, of thought and of religion,” said the Cardinal.

He further prayed that all people of goodwill would join together and dispel any hindrance to a true vision of co-existence, religious harmony and integral development for each and every person.

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Archbishop Celli: Promote church communications in Africa

The president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli wants the bishops of Africa to support and encourage church communications in the continent.

Speaking to the delegates attending the ongoing Synod of Bishops for Africa, Archbishop Celli appreciated the growth that the catholic communication has experience since the last synod of bishops in 1994.

The archbishop said today, Africa has over 160 catholic radio stations broadcasting in 32 countries as opposed to only 15 in 1994, when the last synod for Africa was held.

However, to enhance better communication in the African church, Archbishop Celli has asked for the synod fathers to invest more in training communicators and support the creation of associations of Catholic communicators.

“Time has come for the fast growing media culture to be evangelized and to enter into dialogue with those in the ministry,” he said.

Archbishop Celli addressed the synod of bishops as the gathering entered the crucial phase of group works in readiness for the unification of the propositions by the general secretariat next week.

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Cardinal Njue: Reconciliation a must for Kenya

Reconciliation in Kenya has not been easy, but it is a path that we must all walk and as a church encourage people to take.

This was said to day by Cardinal John Njue during an international press conference at the Vatican during the ongoing Synod of Bishops for Africa, who also chairs the important information committee of the ongoing Synod

Flanked by Cardinal Napier of South Africa and the popes spokesman, Fr. Federico Lombardi, Cardinal Njue recounted the experience Kenya went through after the 2007 elections terming it as having been a difficult time for Kenya and challenging one for the church in the country.

Respect from Donors
Asked about donors who come to our African countries with hidden agenda, Cardinal Njue said that we all needed help from well intentioned donors, but called for respect from them.

"Whatever came from outside must also respect the local culture and the dignity of the people being helped," he said.

He said farmers are being subjected to great injustices for not being rewarded for their hard labour in their farms by those in western market.

HIV/AIDS interventions
Cardinal Napier of South Africa said the church had set up different institutions to offer accurate information on HIV/AIDS; care for the infected; get more involved in programs offering ART as well as prevention programs to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS.

To the married, the Cardinal reiterated the call for faithfulness and to those yet to get marriage, he called for abstinence.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Late Bp. Baldacchino buried

The late Bishop Francis Baldacchino of Malindi was finally laid to rest yesterday (October 13, 2009) in a send-off befitting a faithful servant during a funeral Mass presided over by His Eminence John Cardinal Njue the chairman of Kenya Episcopal conference at the Maltese Capital, Valleta.

The burial was also attended by among others Archbishop Boniface Lele of Mombasa (Kenya), Bishop Philip Sulumeti, the Vice chairman, Kenya Episcopal Conference and Bishop Paul Darmanin of Garissa.

The Cardinal paid glowing tribute to the late Bishop Baldacchino, whom he said he will be remembered for his selfless service as a missionary in Kenya.

Cardinal Njue described the late as a being 'not only the Bishop of Malindi but a very faithful member of the Kenya Episcopal Conference where he dedicated his energy, wisdom and knowledge at the national (Kenya) Catholic Secretariat, specifically in the Secretariat’s Commission for Inter-Religious dialogue, an area he was an expert.

“May his pastoral zeal , now that he is gone become ours and continue through us who are alive,, that all his pastoral dreams for the Diocese of Malindi may come to fulfillment. ,” said cardinal Njue in his message of condolence.

Bishop Baldacchino who until his death was the ordinary of Malindi was laid to rest in Malta, his land of origin.

At the same time, the clergy, religious and the faithful in the former Bishop Baldacchino's diocese of Malindi celebrated a requiem Mass to coincide with the burial at the Diocese’s St. Anthony cathedral. The Mass was celebrated by the Diocese’s Vicar-General, Fr. Albert Buijs, who said the diocese had lost a humble, faithful shepherd.

“His works speak for themselves, from education to development to pastoral. We have 5 parishes when we were given this diocese in 2000, now, our dear bishop leaves behind 14 Parishes,” said the Vicar-general.

The Diocese will be celebrating another Requiem Mass on Sunday, October, 18.

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Stand up against death penalty, Church told

Bishop George BIGUZZI, bishop of Makeni and president of the Episcopal Conference of Sierra Leone has urged the Synod Fathers to unequivocally call for total and universal abolition of the death penalty.

Speaking at the Synod of Bishops in Rome, the bishop criticized the brutal treatment of war prisoners and the recruitment of child soldiers calling them crimes against humanity.

“The prophetic voice of the church is needed even when there were no many listeners," he said.

Traumatic Conflict
Meanwhile, Bishop John Baptist Odama of Gulu diocese in Uganda recounted the violence that children in his Gulu diocese have had to bear.

As a result of armed conflict in the region between the government and the Uganda’s Lord’s Resistant Army (LRA) rebels, Bishop Odama said that between 20,000-30, 000 children have been abducted and called for respect for life.

Gulu diocese, the birthplace of Joseph Kony, commander of LRA rebels, has experienced immense suffering, with 90% of the population being displaced as a result of the conflict.

Africa, a Missionary Continent
Speaking at the same gathering, Fr. Speratus KAMANZI, Superior General of the Apostles of Jesus said Africa had now become of age and has become a missionary continent.

He saw the prophecy of Pope Paul VI in 1969 in Kampala, of Africans being missionaries to themselves, as being fulfilled. However, Superior of the Apostles of Jesus which has 400 members, called for more support and encouragements for these missionaries.

He further criticized immigrants to Europe and America, disguising themselves as missionaries, yet are not mandated by any church authority.

HIV/AIDS Stigma too heavy to bear
The AIDS Pandemic has not escaped the attention of our church fathers either.

Archbishop Boniface Lele of Mombasa lamented how people have become tired of hearing or even of talking of HIV/AIDS, including church ministers.

Terming the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS as 'too heavy for anyone to bear alone', Archbishop Lele called for a concerted approach to the pandemic.

He urged the church leaders to be more available to mentor the youth.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Cardinal Njue, Bishops attend Bp. Baldacchinno’s Burial

The burial of the late bishop of Malindi, Bishop Francis Baldacchino takes place today at 1500hrs (Kenyan time) in the island of Malta where the bishop was born.

Kenyan delegation attending the burial led by Cardinal John Njue left Rome on Monday (October 12, 2009) evening for the burial.

Together with Cardinal Njue was Archbishop Boniface Lele of Mombasa and Bishop Philip Sulumeti, who are attending the Synod of Bishops in Rome.

Meanwhile, the clergy in the diocese of Malindi in Kenya, the religious men and women as well as the Christians are celebrating a Requiem Mass today at St. Anthony Cathedral to celebrate the life well spent of the diocese’s late Bishop Baldacchinno.

According to Fr. Ambrose Muli, Father-in- Charge at the cathedra, The diocesan Vicar –General Fr. Albert Buijs will be celebrating the Mass at 1300hrs (Kenyan time), concelebrated by the clergy in the Diocese.

“The Mass is respect to our Bishop. We are celebrating it to run con-current with the burial that is taking place in Malta today,” said Fr. Ambrose.

At the same time, the diocese is planning for another diocesan Requem Mass, that will bring together faithful from different parts of Malindi Diocese on Sunday.

Bishop Philip Anyolo, the acting Kenya Episcopal Conference Chairman, who was to celebrate today’s Requiem Mass with the clergy will now celebrate the one scheduled for Sunday.

Fr. Ambrose termed the mood in the diocese as sad. “He is our only Bishop we have known in our diocese, as he was our first shepherd here. We would have felt a little better if he was being buried here. But God does as He wills. Malindi Diocese is young, and we ask for prayers,” he said.

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Cardinal Njue advocates for good Constitution

His Eminence John Cardinal Njue has said that many countries in Africa are struggling under bad governance, where hunger for power leads to impunity, corruption, and manipulation of people.

While addressing the Synod Father during the ongoing Synod for Africa on Monday October 12, 2009, Cardinal Njue described bad governance as the ‘cancer’ in Africa, blaming it for impoverishing Africans.

He challenged the African public to engage more vibrantly to create just systems of governance through good constitutions.

He criticised leaders who would rather stick to constitutions that give them unchecked power leading to anarchy and dictatorship.

While appreciating the national accord reached in Kenya last year, the Cardinal criticized the slow pace of the proposed reforms, declaring that the ‘time for action was NOW’.

Talking on the same theme of governance, Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Cardinal Napier, O.F.M., Archbishop of Durban,South Africa Spoke of the new form of dictatorship that has take root in Africa.

While appreciating that coup d’├ętat had decreased in Africa, the Cardinal spoke of the form of dictatorship this time led by the liberators. He said that those who were liberators are now the modern dictators.

Cardinal Napier said that political parties had themselves become the new dictators and have been seizing power in African as it recently happened with ANC in South Africa.

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Archbishop Okoth: Reconciliation a priority in Kenya

Unless Kenyans embrace healing and reconciliation and treat it as a priority, the country would easily revert to lawlessness and bloodshed.

Addressing the over 240 Synod delegates who included Pope Benedict XVI over the weekend, Most Rev Bishop Zacchaeus Okoth, Archbishop of Kisumu recalled how Kenya has been torn apart, with neighbours turning against neighbours, tribes against tribes and even family members against their own kinsmen.

In reference to the post election violence which rocked our country early last year, the Archbishop Okoth recounted to the attentive audience how people were killed, women raped and the numerous destruction of property which followed.

Although this reality is still fresh in our country, the archbishop said that it was time the church in Kenya provided a clear direction on the reconciliation process.

In the same sitting, the Bishop Philip Sulumeti of Kakamega received a thunderous applause by the Synod delegates when he spoke of the need for more involvement of women in the life of the church.

“The church is slowly losing out on women for not making them more participatory, responsible and authentic and visible in our church,” said the bishop, challenging the delegates to make an honest reflection and appreciate the role of women in the church.

The bishop, who is also the vice chairman of the Kenya Episcopal Conference praised of the women in Kenya for being the work force behind Agricultural and domestic duties

He appealed to the special assembly of Bishops for Africa to give ‘quality formation to empower women and to open for them all social careers which traditions and modern society tend to exclude them without reason’

He called on men to undergo a ‘radical change and a fundamental conversion’

The synod started the second week this morning.

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Requiem Mass, Burial for Bp. Baldacchino on Tuesday

The Catholic Diocese of Malindi, Kenya, will be celebrating a requiem Mass on Tuesday 13 October, 2009, for their late shepherd, Rt. Rev. Francis Baldacchino, OFM Cap, who passed away early on Saturday 10 October, 2009.

According to Fr. Peter Karanja Kamau, assistant Priest, St. Anthony cathedral in the diocese, the diocese will also hold another requiem Mass on Saturday 17 October, 2009.

At the same time, the burial of the late bishop is to be held on Tuesday 13 October, 2009, at Malta Island.

His Eminence John Cardinal Njue and several other Bishops are expected to attend the burial in Malta.

The Acting Chairman of the Kenya Episcopal Conference, Bishop Philip Anyolo is expected to preside over the requiem Mass in Malindi on Tuesday.

While officially announcing the demise of the late Bishop on saturday, Bishop Anyolo expressed profound sorrow for the loss.

And at the on going Synod for Africa in ROME, Archbishop Nikola ETEROVIC, Secretary of the Synod, broke the sad news to the Synod fathers on Saturday, paying a glowing tribute for the work the late Bishop was doing in Kenya.

The late Bishop passed away while under going treatment in Marsa, Malta Island, off Italian coast in the Mediterranean Sea, after suffering from heart and liver complications.

It is in this same Island, where the late Bishop was born on July 6, 1936. He was ordained priest on March 18, 1961, and appointed Bishop of Malindi on June24, 2000, whereby, he was ordained the Diocesan shepherd on September 2, 2000.

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