22 International News

posted Jan 30, 2019, 8:24 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 30, 2019, 8:24 AM ]

VATICAN
Pope condemns attack on Philippine church

Expressing his “firmest reproach” for a terrorist attack perpetrated on the Cathedral of Jolo in the Philippines while the Eucharist was being celebrated, Pope Francis prayed the Lord to “convert the hearts of the violent and grant the inhabitants of that region a peaceful coexistence.”

The Pope, speaking in Panama on the last day of World Youth Day 2019, said he entrusts the 20 victims to Christ and to the Virgin Mary, and he noted that it brings “new mourning to this Christian community.”

The first blast happened at 8:45 am on January 27, as Sunday Mass was underway in the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, which had been targeted in the past. A second device was detonated in the nearby parking lot, as soldiers responded. The official death toll is not yet final, but at least 27 people, civilians and soldiers, are known to have been killed, and at least 83 are wounded. The Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility for the attack.

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United Arab Emirates

Pope Francis set to attract audience of 135,000

The landmark visit marks the first time a Pontiff has visited the GCC, and will coincide with a visit of The Grand Imam of Al Azhar, Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, considered by some Muslims to be the highest authority in Sunni Islamic thought and Islamic jurisprudence.

The visit from February 3-5 incorporates a series of high-profile events in Abu Dhabi, which will provide a backdrop for the two religious leaders to discuss the promotion of human fraternity and world peace. Key events will include a Papal Mass at the Zayed Stadium on February 5, which is expected to attract an estimated 135,000 people from the UAE and neighbouring countries – one of the largest single gatherings ever held in the UAE.

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PAKISTAN
Youth delegation denied travel

The Department for Immigration Office at Allama Iqbal airport in Lahore stopped young Catholics who were about to embark to participate in World Youth Day in Panama.

Paul Mohan, coordinator of the Catholic Youth Commission of the Diocese of Hyderabad, said: “On the morning of January 23, we passed the security checks at the airport and collected the boarding passes to reach the Immigration Office. They kept us waiting for more than an hour, and then they refused us permission. It was a very sad fact for the whole group. We tried talking with the members of the Office and with the officials of the airlines, changed the ticket for the following day, paying a penalty and hoping that everything will be clarified. But the next day, the Office stopped us again, even though we all had a regular visa and the letters of accompaniment of the Bishops.”

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VENEZUELA
700 Opposition supporters besieged in the cathedral

As Opposition marches were held across Venezuela, at least 700 Opposition supporters were trapped in Maturin’s Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel for several hours, besieged by the Venezuelan Army.

The Jan. 23 marches were convoked by the National Assembly, Venezuela’s democratically elected legislature, which is controlled by the Opposition. At one of these marches in Caracas, Juan Guaido, head of the National Assembly, declared himself interim President, calling leader Nicolas Maduro illegitimate.

Tens of thousands of Venezuelans marched in support of the Opposition, and security forces met some of the protestors with tear gas. Local NGOs have said 14 people were shot dead during protests Jan. 22-23.

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IRAQ
Msgr Moussa is new archbishop of Mosul

Msgr Najib Mikhael Moussa issued a message of “coexistence, love, and peace” on the occasion of his inauguration as the new archbishop of Mosul. The ceremony was held in Mosul’s St Paul Catholic Church in the presence of numerous Catholic leaders, local officials, faithful and residents of the region.

Born in Mosul in 1955, Msgr Moussa became a Dominican priest when he was 31. For years, he served the Catholic community at the Al-Saa (Our Lady of the Hour) Church, where he was also in charge of conservation of about 850 ancient manuscripts in Aramaic, Arabic and other languages, as well as 300-year-old letters and about 50,000 books.

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