ASIA/SRI LANKA – March for justice and blessing of the new Chapel of the martyrs to commemorate the Easter massacres

Source: Agenzia Fides – MIL OSI

Headline: ASIA/SRI LANKA – March for justice and blessing of the new Chapel of the martyrs to commemorate the Easter massacres

Colombo – “We invoke God and call on the government for justice. Tomorrow church bells across the nation will ring to commemorate the victims of the attacks of April 21, 2019, when terrorists committed a massacre in Sri Lanka. Then there will be 2 minutes of silence and the whole nation will stop to remember. Catholic schools will remain closed. And all 15 Bishops, with Catholic priests, religious and faithful, will inaugurate the new Chapel of the martyrs that we built in the cemetery in Negombo, the site of one of the attacks, thanks to the offers we collected with the international network of the Pontifical Mission Societies. Then there will be a silent march for peace and justice that will end at the church of St. Sebastian in Katuwapitiya, also in Negombo, one of the most damaged churches from the attacks. Here we will celebrate a solemn commemoration mass. All this to ask for God’s help and to urge the government of Colombo to promote authentic justice for our martyrs”: this is what Father Basil Fernando, National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Sri Lanka told Agenzia Fides, reporting on the day of commemoration that the Church in Sri Lanka, and the whole nation will live tomorrow April 21, 2021.

ASIA/THAILAND – Thai Catholics help Karen displaced people fleeing Myanmar

Source: Agenzia Fides – MIL OSI

Headline: ASIA/THAILAND – Thai Catholics help Karen displaced people fleeing Myanmar

Chiang Mai – A great commitment by the Church in Thailand is underway to rescue, welcome and help refugees fleeing Myanmar who hide in the forest near the Thanlyin River, which marks the border between Thailand and Myanmar. As confirmed to Agenzia Fides by Msgr. Francis Xavier Vira Arpondratana, Bishop of Chiang Mai, told Fides that the diocesan team of lay volunteers, priests and nuns are bringing aid and promoting solidarity initiatives in two locations near the border between Thailand and Myanmar just south of the National Park of Salawin in Thailand. As Fides learned, Msgr. Vira appealed to the various religious communities of the country to come forward with support in money, water, food, medicine and other necessary goods to be distributed among people fleeing the conflict in Myanmar, who come from the state of Kayin .

ASIA/IRAQ – Coronavirus pandemic: Election of the new Assyrian patriarch postponed due to new wave of infections

Source: Agenzia Fides – MIL OSI

Headline: ASIA/IRAQ – Coronavirus pandemic: Election of the new Assyrian patriarch postponed due to new wave of infections

Erbil – The new wave of infections, which also affects Iraq and the Kurdistan Autonomous Region, has resulted in the election of the new Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East being postponed to a later date. The current Patriarch, Mar Gewargis III Sliwa, will therefore continue to exercise the patriarchal office until the health conditions in the region allow the Assyrian bishops to meet for a new electoral synod. The decision to postpone was announced in the last few days by the Secretariat of the Holy Synod of the Assyrian Church. The decision to postpone the election of the new patriarch was made in particular on the basis of data from the local health authorities on the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic in Erbil – seat of the Patriarchate – and in the other cities of the Iraqi province of Kurdistan. On the basis of these data, Patriarch Gewargis carried out a quick consultation with the Bishops and with other authoritative members of the Assyrian Christian communities scattered in the Middle East and in the rest of the world. Most of the people consulted by the Patriarch expressed themselves in favor of postponing the patriarchal election.

AFRICA/KENYA – After the Bishops, the Jesuits also say “No to the closure of the reception camps”

Source: Agenzia Fides – MIL OSI

Headline: AFRICA/KENYA – After the Bishops, the Jesuits also say “No to the closure of the reception camps”

Nairobi – “JRS reaffirms the appeal from the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops and recommends that the Government of Kenya exert maximum forethought and caution in this particular time of uncertainty, wisely considering the legal obligations imposed by international law and the Organization of African Unity Convention”, states the Kenyan section of the Jesuit Refugee Service , taking a stand on the announced closure of the refugee camps of Dadaab and Kakuma. On March 24, Interior Minister, Fred Matiang’i, announced the government’s intention to shut the camps and gave the U.N. refugee agency two weeks to present a plan to do so. A decision criticized by many, including the Bishops of Kenya .

ASIA/VIETNAM – A “year of grace” for the diocese of Nha Trang, in the footsteps of Cardinal Van Thuan

Source: Agenzia Fides – MIL OSI

Headline: ASIA/VIETNAM – A “year of grace” for the diocese of Nha Trang, in the footsteps of Cardinal Van Thuan

Nha Trang – He is a spiritual son and a successor of the former Bishop of the diocese of Nha Trang, Venerable Cardinal Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan, who greatly influenced his priestly life and his episcopal ministry: Bishop Joseph Vo Duc Minh, current ordinary bishop of the diocese of Nha Trang, celebrates his 50th anniversary of his priestly ordination and remembers that April 24, 1971, when at the ordination mass, he became “a priest forever”.

ASIA/MYANMAR – The era of hope: the new Burmese government of national unity, in opposition to the military junta

Source: Agenzia Fides – MIL OSI

Headline: ASIA/MYANMAR – The era of hope: the new Burmese government of national unity, in opposition to the military junta

Bangkok – “An era of fear and division ends and an era of hope begins”. A time, says Salai Maung Taing San, spokesman for the newly formed “Burmese National Unity Government”, in which “there will be no more religious or ethnic divisions”. With these words, in an online conference, the “shadow government” was formed that opposes the military junta that took power in a coup d’etat on 1 February. The military ousted the civil authorities of the country from the civilian government even before the new parliament elected in the consultations on November 8 could meet. Those parliamentarians, in the aftermath of the coup, set up a Committee which announced on April 16 the formation of the government of national unity and that of a new federal army.

AMERICA/PARAGUAY – Archbishop of Asunción appeals to pharmaceutical companies: “It is not the time to make money at the expense of the sick”

Source: Agenzia Fides – MIL OSI

Headline: AMERICA/PARAGUAY – Archbishop of Asunción appeals to pharmaceutical companies: “It is not the time to make money at the expense of the sick”

Asunción – “This is not the time for speculation in order to earn money at the expense of the sick”, said Archbishop Edmundo Valenzuela of Asunción in an interview with a local newspaper about the difficult situation in the country. The Archbishop addresses all Covid-19 patients with a message of hope and urges relatives not to lose faith in God. In the interview published yesterday with the newspaper “Ultima Hora”, he asked priests, where possible, to go to the sick in the intensive care unit in order to give them strength in these critical moments. In this context, he asked the country’s authorities and large international companies to make it possible to buy medicines that would help the sick and alleviate the anxiety of relatives. He asks the government to act quickly and decisively: “Unfortunately, targeted measures planned for this year have not been implemented, but it must be done because this pandemic will last until 2023”, he stressed.

AMERICA/COSTA RICA – Special Day of prayer for the situation of the pandemic

Source: Agenzia Fides – MIL OSI

Headline: AMERICA/COSTA RICA – Special Day of prayer for the situation of the pandemic

San José – Next Thursday, April 22, the bishops of Costa Rica invite its faithful to pray in order to overcome the coronavirus pandemic. During the Holy Mass and the Hours of Adoration, Catholics of the country should pray for this purpose on that day. This was announced by the Bishops’ Conference of Costa Rica in a joint appeal by all bishops.

AMERICA/HAITI – The press announces the release of one of the kidnapped on Sunday, April 11

Source: Agenzia Fides – MIL OSI

Headline: AMERICA/HAITI – The press announces the release of one of the kidnapped on Sunday, April 11

Port au Prince – “One of the people kidnapped in Haiti last Sunday was reportedly released. Since then, there has been no further news from the kidnappers. A total of nine people are still held hostage”, “Le Telegramme” newspaper reported on its website on Saturday evening, April 17th. On Sunday, April 11, ten people were kidnapped near Port-au-Prince, five of them priests, two nuns and three relatives of one of the priests .

NEWS ANALYSIS – Growing religious extremism in Asia and Church response

Source: Agenzia Fides – MIL OSI

Headline: NEWS ANALYSIS – Growing religious extremism in Asia and Church response

Jakarta – On March 28, Palm Sunday, the Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral in Makassar, capital of South Sulawesi, Indonesia, witnessed the bomb attacks, leaving two bombers dead and at least 20 people injured. This was the third such attack carried out by suicide bombers from Indonesia in recent years. The attackers were reportedly members of Jamaah Ansharut Daulah , an Islamic State-inspired group suspected of suicide attacks. The terror group bombed three churches in Surabaya, East Java, in 2018 killing 28 people. In 2019, a cathedral in Jolo in the southern Philippines saw a bomb killing 23 and injuring more than 100.