22 International News

posted Jun 20, 2018, 8:45 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jun 20, 2018, 8:45 AM ]

'Crisis of vocations'

The number of seminarians has fallen amid what a Vatican document calls a "crisis of vocations". Between 2012 and 2016, the number of men in seminary training for the priesthood fell by nearly 4,000, to 116,160.

The decline has been especially concentrated in the Americas and Europe. In Africa, seminary numbers have steadily increased, with Uganda, Cameroon, Tanzania and Madagascar (an outlier with a 66 per cent rise) providing an especially large number of future priests.


Indian priests sought to meet clerical shortage

Calling it a "sign of the times", a Catholic diocese in Ireland has appointed two priests from Kerala to address a shortage and the growing age of its clerical population, adding another Indian dimension to Christianity in the West.

The two priests included in the latest round of appointments announced by Bishop Fintan Monahan of Killaloe in southwest Ireland are Rev Francis Xavier Kochuveettil and Rev Rexon Chullickal, to be based in Shannon and Nenagh. Reports from Ireland said the two priests had been working in the diocese for several months. More priests from India are expected to be appointed soon, reflecting a reversal of the path trekked by Irish and other Western missionaries to India over the centuries.

Eid al-fitr greetings

Msgr Joseph Coutts, Archbishop of Karachi, who was recently elected cardinal said, "For many years, I have been sending Eid cards enclosed with wishes from the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue along with its Urdu translation. In Faisalabad diocese, I used to call the clerics who were part of our Peace Committee."

On the positive reaction among Muslims after Pope Francis appointed him cardinal last month, he said, "It was overwhelming. Those who knew what it was about agreed that it was an honour for Pakistan. I was touched and impressed how they viewed this development in a wider context. The joy was genuine."


Christian lawyer freed, exiled

A Christian human rights lawyer sentenced to 15 years in prison in April has been released from jail and put on a flight to Germany, a pro-democracy group said.

Prominent rights lawyer Nguyen Van Dai, and fellow jailed Brotherhood for Democracy group member Le Thu Ha were released from prison in Hanoi late on June 7, the group said.

Both, along with Nguyen's wife Vu Minh Khanh, were taken to the airport and put on a flight bound for Frankfurt, Germany.


WYD preparation

In June, more than 80 representatives from countries participating in the next WYD travelled to Panama, to see first-hand how the preparations are going. The Panamanian bishops and WYD organisers from the Vatican hosted the event. The meeting addressed issues such as accommodation, registration, logistics and security.

Vatican representatives asked the Panamanians to remember to build bridges and not walls, while planning and executing the event. The main organiser, Archbishop of Panama José Domingo Ulloa, told them that WYD will be a historic moment for the Church and the world.


Comboni nuns for education

"The future of the country is in the hands of the new generations and a good preparation, not only academic, is the basis for building a society that respects the common good," said Sr Freweini Ghebreab, a Comboni missionary, contact person of the Omdurman's Comboni Girls School project. The city, a few kilometres from Khartoum, has many displaced families who returned back to the North, due to the unrest and conflicts in South Sudan.


Wave of women kidnappings

"We note with great concern that there has been an increase in kidnappings, organised crime and killings in our country", said the Bishops of Uganda in their final statement of their Plenary Assembly which ended on June 8.

"We call upon the government and all security agencies to scale up their efforts to protect the life and property of Ugandans," and appeal to criminals to "stop committing these senseless criminal acts, and respect human life."