24 International News

posted May 9, 2018, 10:03 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 9, 2018, 10:03 AM ]

Message to Neocatechumenal Way: Go!

Reflecting on Christ's message to evangelize all the nations, Pope Francis on May 5, 2018, had a simple message to the members of the Neocatechumenal Way on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the group's founding: Go!

The Holy Father travelled to the esplanade of Tor Vergata, Rome, where the Meeting of the Neocatechumenal Way took place, on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of its founding. During the celebration, Pope Francis blessed the crosses and gave to the leaders 34 new mission ad gentes, to take the Gospel to various parts of the world.

"Go. The mission demands that we leave," Pope Francis urged the crowd, estimated to be 150,000.

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Preparing for WYD

Msgr José Domingo Ulloa, Archbishop of Panama said, "I brought the Pope the Laudato si'. It will be a very ecological World Youth Day. We're making proposals to the catering companies so that the utensils that we use are eco-friendly. Our dream is that every young person who attends will carry the message of caring for the common house back to his or her community."

Víctor Chang González, Executive Secretary, Panama 2019 said, "We're in the execution phase of the plans we've made, we're sorting out the details of the events, the Holy Father's schedule, issues with the Secretary of State – who will be in the motorcade, security and other logistics."


Gunmen rain bullets at Mass

Fr Moses Otii, Parish Priest of Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church in the country's capital Bangui, told Catholic charity Aid to Church in Need that at least 19 Christians were killed and about 120 parishioners were injured during the violence, which included grenade attacks, on May 1.

Fr Otii said that the attackers "outnumbered the police, and the police retreated; then the attackers started shooting at the church and throwing hand grenades at the people. I saw three hand grenades thrown in front of the church, but thank God, in an area without people, and a grenade thrown in among many people gathered in the open air within the church's compound. The grenade was thrown from behind the parish walls into the crowd of people at Mass. It exploded.

"Normally, our Masses are celebrated in the open air, since our church cannot contain more than 2,000 people. And we had more than 2,000 people for the Mass. So many people were injured. They started running in all directions. Others could not run. For example, a lady had both legs cut off by the grenade; she couldn't move. It was a commotion with people running and people crying."

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Caring for disabled children

"The nuns on mission in Kabul live in an extreme situation. They are carrying out a truly heroic work. And in their small way, they are slowly helping to requalify the figure of people with disabilities within Afghan families," said Fr Matteo Sanavio, a priest of the Congregation of the Rogationist Fathers and referent of the 'Pro Children of Kabul' Association, a reality officially born in 2006, but which finds its origin in the Christmas speech given by John Paul II in 2001. "On that occasion, the Pope said: 'Let's save the children of Kabul!' It was from that cry for help that the Guanellian, Fr Giancarlo Pravettoni, had the idea of creating an inter-congregational association that would respond to Wojtyla's appeal", explained Fr Sanavio.

The first four nuns arrived in Kabul in 2006. The priest explained: "They belonged to three different Congregations, and they prepared themselves by living an experience of common life for six months in Rome. At first, they were housed in the premises of Caritas in Kabul, then they found a house for rent. The aim of their mission was to help the weakest, so they chose disabled children, because unfortunately, very often, Afghan families do not give any kind of attention or assistance to disabled relatives."


400 years of Mt Carmel image

Several streets in Manila were closed on May 4 for "Salubong and Traslacion" - a re-enactment of the historic arrival of the image of Our Lady of Mount Carmel from Mexico to the Philippines 400 years ago.

The religious rites started at 3 am with prayers and a programme at Quirino Grandstand, followed two hours later by a fluvial parade on Manila Bay. Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) President Archbishop Romulo Valles celebrated Mass at 6:30 a.m. The procession left the grandstand at 8 a.m.

The procession with Mother's statue passed by Quiapo Church, where the revered Black Nazarene image was brought out for the traditional "dungaw" or encounter of the two icons.