Church News 12/07/2020
The Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM), a continental body of Bishops has reminded the Catholic faithful that the annual SECAM day celebration for will be held on Sunday, August 2.
“Normally, 29th July of every year is SECAM Day. It is a day set aside for all members of the Family of God in Africa and the surrounding Islands to pray for, identify with, and support SECAM. When 29th July falls on a week day, SECAM Day is celebrated on the following Sunday, and the collection is taken for the purpose. This year, it is expected to be held on August 2, 2020,” a letter addressed to all Secretaries General of Conferences indicates, explaining the reason for change of dates.
“Following the challenges posed by the Coronavirus pandemic at the moment, we have been directed to inform you that prayers should be said for SECAM on 29th and 2nd August 2020 respectively but the collection deferred,” SECAM Secretary General Fr. Terwase Henry Akaabiam noted in the letter adding, “Nevertheless, a person or people who may be moved to support SECAM financially or materially, should be allowed to do so.”
Annual celebration of SECAM Day dates back to 1969 when the continental body that unites all Bishops Conferences in Africa and the surrounding islands was inaugurated by Pope Paul VI in Kampala, Uganda.
On the significance of celebrating SECAM Day, the Secretary General of the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA), one of the eight Regional Conferences that form SECAM, Fr. Anthony Makunde said, “It is a day to pray for the prosperity of the Symposium, for the togetherness and solidarity of the Conferences of the Bishops in Africa and the islands; more specially to create awareness among the Catholic faithful about the existence of SECAM and its role.”
“The collection which done on the occasion is normally to support the work and the mission of SECAM. It is a symbol of ownership of every Catholic in Africa and the islands that SECAM is our association here in Africa and Madagascar,” added the AMECEA Secretary General.
Prelates in Kenya under their umbrella body the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) have urged Christians and people of good will to strongly protect the family and dignity of children, more especially the right to life.
Their appeal comes amidst the ongoing controversial Reproductive Health Bill which they note is against the teachings of the Church and African cultural values.
In a collective statement read by Bishop Maurice Muhatia Makumba of Nakuru Diocese during a televised Mass at the Holy Family Basilica, Nairobi, the Bishops call upon all Christians and people of good-will to stand up and defend the family, the dignity of our children, as well as the religious and cultural values of Kenya.
“We are concerned about the ongoing debate on the Reproductive Health Care Bill No. 23 of 2019,” the Church leaders noted adding that “some sections of this Bill go against the Constitution of Kenya in regard to the right to life.”
The statement which is dated Sunday July 5 highlights the family as a domestic Church where children learn ethical values and are protected from harmful social practices.
“Our families have to become places where social values, virtues and morals for our children and the youth are taught, encouraged and supported. This is the only way to deal with the social and moral evils affecting our society today,” reads an excerpt of the statement.
“We call upon parents and care-givers to strengthen their relationship with God and strive to be exemplary companions to their children,” the Prelates added quoting Pope Francis who reminded parents that they “should always be aware of the weight of their example as they form children in faith and morals.”
The Bishops have further appreciated the move by the Senate to engage with the Church on on this matter.
“All stakeholders must be engaged in this process. And we shall advocate for the Ministry of Education through Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) to provide age-appropriate and value-based human sexuality education to learners,” Bishop Muhatia who is also the Chairman of KCCB-Seminary Episcopal Commission said.
Bishop Muhatia further appreciated the laity, “individuals and groups that have continued to champion matters pertaining to the sanctity of life,” adding that “Covid-19 pandemic has taught us that our faith, our family values and our unity are crucial in managing the emerging challenges.”
The management team of Radio Vatican in collaboration with SIGNIS-Africa have organized a webinar conference to mark the 70th anniversary of Radio Vatican broadcasts in Africa with the intent of reaching out to Catholic communicators on the continent on how they can be instruments to “chart the pathway for a better future” through their way of reporting.
“This is a legacy that needs to be celebrated. As Catholic communicators, we have the duty of not only reporting social events but also of helping society to chart the pathway for a better future,” reads the message sent to AMECEA Online.
According to organizers of the event which is slated for Friday, July 17, the world is currently plagued with anxieties of pandemic and Black Lives Matter protests as was realized in the 1950’s during the colonial period in many countries on the continent when the Radio Vatican began broadcasting in English towards the African continent.
“When we looked around the world we saw anxiety about the Coronavirus, anxiety about racial tensions in the United States that have become a global phenomenon and which we cannot ignore given Africa’s history of colonialism. Then, we see the many challenges of ethnicism, tribalism (and) armed conflicts in Africa,” the head of Radio Vatican’s English and Kiswahili Africa Service, Fr. Paul Samasumo said Thursday, July 9, in an interview in relation to anxieties in the world.
The Zambian-born cleric who is also Vice-President of SIGNIS continued, “In all these, the voice of the Pope reverberates across the world through the Radio Vatican and Vatican News. The voice of the Pope has been heard directly in Africa. There are many Catholic radios in Africa that have partnered with the Radio Vatican and they rebroadcast the daily Radio Vatican programs that the English Africa Service produces.”
He added, “It’s a two-way communication process: On one hand, we bring the voice of the Holy Father, the Pope every day to many Catholic homes; on the other hand, we also highlight what the Church in Africa is doing and saying.”
The webinar conference under the theme “Story- telling as a tool to manage racial and social tribulations in Africa,” has borrowed a leaf from this year’s message of Pope Francis for World Communication Day where he talks of storytelling and sharing of positive stories.
“We use insights from Pope Francis’ 54th message for World Communication Day to stimulate the minds of Catholic Communicators on this important task of building a vibrant continent which, like the phoenix, can ride from the ashes of adversity and discriminations to a future of wellbeing and social inclusiveness,” the message from management team of Radio Vatican reads in part.
Some of the topics for the day will include: master weavers of African stories; promoting everyday heroes as solutions to African challenges; Radio Vatican over the years; the Popes and telling of African story; witness of Nigeria’s women Religious working in challenging environment and; interpreting Black Lives Matter in the South African context.
The management team of Radio Vatican which was established in 1931 and currently broadcasts programs in 47 languages has partnered with SIGNIS-Africa to mark the 70th anniversary of Radio Vatican broadcasts to Africa.
A priest from the Catholic Diocese of Moshi in Tanzania Rev. Fr. Lui Shayo who turned 100 years old has celebrated 70th priestly anniversary during Holy Mass presided over by Bishop Ludovick Minde of Moshi in Longuo Parish.
During the homily, Bishop Minde said that Fr. Lui is a unique and rare gift to the Catholic Church in the country while emphasizing that the secret to reach the age of 100 is in itself a mystery of God who has kept him in good health and as he cherishes the vocation to priesthood.
“Despite being a mystery of God, Fr Lui as an individual has also shown personal effort. His cooperation with God; his faith and effort to love Him. He is a loving priest, a man of God, he loves his priesthood and keeps it always. His allegiance to God and to the Church has brought him this far,” said Bishop Minde.
On his part, Fr. Lui Shayo gave thanks to God for the 100 years of life and for the 70th anniversary of priesthood.
“I thank God for granting me the privilege of being a priest and the gift of long life. All I have are words of appreciation. I thank you all for joining me in thanking God. Continue to pray for me,” he said.
The Patriotic Front (PF) which is the ruling political party has secured medical equipment from the Chinese Communist Party which will be distributed to schools and clinics.
ZCCB National Health Coordinator Sr. Matildah Mubanga has since confirmed receiving the donation on behalf of the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB).
She welcomed the gesture, saying that the equipment will aid clinicians in Catholic schools and health facilities to confirm the medical tests that are being carried out in the country.
She further said the gesture should be extended to other faith-based institutions so as to reduce sending patients to next level referral hospitals.
“The medical equipment will reduce on the cost of referrals such as fuel for ambulances; also, the patients will save the money that they could have spent when referred to next level medical institution,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Patriotic Front Secretary General Mr. Davies Mwila announced at a media briefing that his party identified the Catholic mission schools and clinics especially those in rural areas as some of the places that are in dire need of the equipment in the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic.
Mr. Mwila said they received the assorted medical items from the Chinese Communist Party through China’s embassy in Lusaka.
He thanked the Chinese Communist Party for standing with Zambia during this difficult time.
During a workshop aimed at enlightening Religious women on child safeguarding, nuns have been challenged to acquire some knowledge and be cognizant of their role in ensuring safety and security of children.
“Child abuse can happen in any space where children are. Religious women run several institutions including schools, dispensaries and working in parishes where they directly come to contact with children. It is therefore important that Sisters are aware of the implications and the need for child safeguarding and protection,” insisted the workshop facilitator Br. Elias Mokua a member of the Society of Jesus (SJ) during an interview with AMECEA Online.
The objective of the workshop which the Association of Sisterhoods of Kenya (AOSK) Justice and Peace Commission organized and was offered online and was to “challenge and change unjust practices, systems and structures by encouraging personal and social responsibility of all,”
The workshop aimed at training Sisters to so that they play their role in prevention of child abuse and litigation, following the history of child abuse which affected in the Church.
“Church is a promoter of values for all, particularly children and the vulnerable. The Church believes in human rights anchored on human dignity. For this reason, children must look at the Church as an institution with the credibility and integrity she needs for them to develop trust,” Br. Mokua said to over 650 nuns online.
The Jesuit brother reminded the Religious women that child abuse can be committed by a Sister or by a staff under the care of the Sisters, hence their role of ensuring safety and security to children in all its spaces, even more at home.
Mary Help Association Wau branch in South Sudan has on Tuesday handed over a triage facility of Wau Teaching Hospital to the government of Western Bahr el Ghazal State.
Triage facility is for the process of determining priority patients for treatment based on the severity of their health condition or likelihood of recovery with and without treatment, Voice of Hope Radio reported.
Sister Grace Adkhirayil, Director of Mary Help Association said the constructed triage is to help the State boost their fight against Covid-19.
She disclosed that the Association also donated some items including tables, chairs, mattresses and sprayers for the facility.
Director General in Wau Teaching Hospital, Dr. Thon Mangok appreciated the donation saying the items will help the hospital in receiving suspects of Covid-19.
“All of us are fighting one enemy. Therefore, we come together and fight it”, he noted.
Director-General in the state ministry of information David John Jongo praised Mary Help Association for helping the State to combat the deadly disease.
The Triage facility is supported by Dorcas Relief and Development and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands but implemented by Mary Help Association in Wau.
The officials spoke to Voice of Hope Radio on Tuesday at Wau Teaching Hospital in Wau.
The Archdiocese of Nairobi on Wednesday, 8th July 2020, received a donation of food and clothing from the Diocese of Embu to go towards assisting those affected by Covid-19 pandemic in Nairobi’s informal settlements.
This was a reversal of roles as the Archdiocese of Nairobi has over the years been donating to other dioceses affected by famine such as Nakuru, Marsabit, Machakos and Lodwar, and other dioceses across the country through Caritas Kenya.
Receiving the contribution at Mji wa Furaha in Ruaraka, Nairobi, Caritas Nairobi Deputy Director Sister Modesta Karuri, said the situation of the needy people in Nairobi is dire as most of them are casual labourers and have since lost their jobs.
“Many slum dwellers have lost their means of livelihood due to Covid-19 and are now unable to feed their families. Given that the children are at home, the rate of consumption of food has also gone high,” Sr. Karuri said.
She added that many families are no longer able to pay rent and utility bills, a situation which triggers domestic violence and child abuse.
This trend that has prompted her office to partner with professional counsellors in offering psychological support to victims.
Sister Modesta Karuri called on well-wishers to come to their aid, noting that contributions from parishes are dwindling because many families that used to support the Church are also overstretched.
“The first month of Covid-19 pandemic in Kenya was easy as we could receive support from Christians. Now, those who used to give donations in the parishes are themselves in need of support,” she said.
Through Caritas Embu office, the Diocese of Embu gave 40 bags of maize and clothes and has promised to give more when they receive some more from the purpose of responding to the needs of the people.
During these Covid-19 pandemic times, Caritas Nairobi has come up with a baskets of hope initiative. In every basket, a needy household is gifted with shopping worth approximately $ 30 United States dollars (3,000 Kenya Shillings).
Meanwhile, Caritas Kenya Program Officer, Mr. Donald Ochieng, has applauded the Diocese of Embu for their kind gesture, urging more people to respond to the Bishops’ Emergency Response Appeal in aid of those affected by Covid-19 and other calamities.
The reshuffle follows protests urging faster reforms and greater civilian rule in Sudan’s transition towards democracy.
Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok who was appointed to the position by the Sovereign Council in 2017 as part of the country’s transition to democracy has replaced the finance, foreign, energy and health ministers and three other senior cabinet post holders as part of a sweeping reshuffle, the government said on Thursday.
Authorities had said a reshuffle was coming, but few had expected the exit of Ibrahim al-Badawi, who as finance minister led efforts to steady Sudan’s crisis-stricken economy and liaised with foreign donors.
In a statement, the government said transitional Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok has dismissed the health minister, accepted the resignation of al-Badawi and the others and named interim replacements to lead all seven ministries.
Prime Minister Hamdok leads a government of technocrats under a 39-month power-sharing agreement between the military and civilian groups that was reached following the removal of the country’s longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir last year.
Al-Badawi’s interim replacement will be Heba Ahmed Ali, a senior finance ministry official, the government statement said.
The reshuffle comes nine days after one person was killed and several others injured during largely peaceful demonstrations in Sudan demanding faster reform and greater civilian rule in the country’s transition towards democracy.
Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets in Sudanese cities despite a Coronavirus lockdown to demand a transition towards democracy after al-Bashir’s removal last year.
The transitional government has come under increased pressure in recent months over its handling of the country’s Coronavirus outbreak and economic conditions.
People have been complaining about the shortage of fuel saying they have to stand in line for hours, sometimes days.
“We have seen people line up for bread; that is what triggered the anti-government protests in 2018 that eventually led to the ousting of Omar al-Bashir,” a lady said.
A lot of people have also criticized the government saying the lockdown that was imposed to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus was not adequate.
This seems to show there is lots of pressure on the transitional government which led the prime minister to dismiss most of the minister and replace them with caretakers until new ministers are appointed.
On the eve of the protests, Hamdok had promised to take a number of big decisions, without giving details.
Earlier this week, he fired Sudan’s police chief and his deputy, who were seen by pro-democracy groups as close to al-Bashir and his allies.
The Diocese of Monze in Zambia’s Southern Province has appreciated government’s move to support and collaborate with the Church through the donation of a five-hectare piece of land for construction of a new Cathedral for the Diocese.
“Your gesture means a lot for all of us. It speaks volumes of your personal commitment, and that of your Government’s desire to work closely with the churches, and in particular the Catholic Diocese of Monze’s project of building a new Cathedral,” Local Ordinary of the Diocese of Monze Rt. Rev. Moses Hamungole told the Head of State President Edgar Chagwa Lungu during the occasion of the handing over the deed of the land.
In his welcoming remarks, Bishop Hamungole noted that apart from constructing the Holy Trinity Cathedral that will have a sitting capacity of about 1000 people, the land will also be used to “establish an integrated human development and formation centre which will cater for the empowerment of various vulnerable groups of people within Monze and beyond.”
“The project aims at responding to the growing needs of the community of Monze where we observed that as the local population increases, the number of vulnerable persons also grows,” Bishop Hamungole explained during the event on Saturday, July 4.
He added, “In appreciation of this enormous gift and the Church’s efforts not to leave anyone behind, this social ministry will roll out its services to the neighbouring Monze Correctional Facility.”
The Bishop who is also Chairman of Social Communications Commission of the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB) requested well-wishers to continue supporting the Diocese so as to realize their dream which he anticipates to be completed by 2022 “when the Diocese of Monze will celebrate Diamond Jubilee (60 years) of its existence.”
In his address, President Lungu said he has donated the land “after the request by the Church in Monze and after working out all the procedures.”
“We thought it prudent to give it to the Bishop publicly and openly so that there is no dispute to who owns this land from today on,” the President added.
He then handed over the title deed of the land to Bishop Hamungole, promising to continue with his support for the construction of the Cathedral and bringing development to the people.
Following the Coronavirus pandemic that has hit hard on many households, Consolata Catholic parish at Likoni in Mombasa Archdiocese has come up with various strategies to alleviate the effect COVID-19 has caused, which the Parish Priest Fr. George Omondi has shared with AMECEA Online.
“Through its Caritas office, the parish carried out a needs assessment by conducting interviews to some individuals during pastoral visits. We were able to come face to face with the real situations on the ground,” Fr. George Omondi said on Thursday, July 9.
“We realized that our people are really suffering. Then we decided to find ways to be of help not only to the Christian fraternity but also to the non-Christians in the environs,” Fr. Omondi told AMECEA Online adding, “The number of people knocking at our doors for help was growing bigger day by day since most people were rendered jobless as Likoni is largely populated by slum dwellers.”
The parish Caritas office which was created early this year prior to the detection of Coronavirus in the country has so far supported over 1,000 households with foodstuffs, clothing and sanitary items, which they receive from Christians, the Congregation of the Consolata Missionaries Kenya region, a mining company in Kwale county and Mombasa Archdiocese Caritas office.
“I found out that for many years, the parish was supporting a group of needy and vulnerable households through the Christian fraternity. But the worst happened when Covid -19 hit our nation, and Christians could no longer come to Church,” the Consolata Missionary (IMC) priest explained.
“This implied that there was nothing to feed the needy and vulnerable households and I had to think of a system that could sustainably provide support in different ways, giving priority to the basic needs such as food. That is how this charitable initiative was born,” he added.
Fr. Omondi further narrated that they have also began a psycho-social support program where they offer counseling services to the jobless, families experiencing domestic violence and, where necessary, helping some to go back to their home villages if they are unable to pay house rent.
On her part, the Coordinator of Caritas Likoni Sr. Teresia Ndumi said that the Parish has also created a Covid-19 Response Recovery and Adaptation (CoRRA) program in a bid to educate the people on the recovery processes.
“We have come up with a program called CoRRA and the parish plans to organize seminars to teach people about trauma, life with Covid-19 in family set-up and in the community,” Sr. Ndumi a member of the Daughters of the Sacred Heart (DSH) disclosed.