May 27, 2015

KENYA: Irene Stefani Beatified in Nyeri


NYERI, MAY 26, 2015(CISA) – Approximately 100,000 people gathered at Dedan Kimathi University Grounds in Nyeri on May 23 to witness the beatification of Sr Irene Stefani ‘Nyaatha’ an Italian Consolata Missionary nun who lived, worked and died in Gikondi, Nyeri.

The historic event was graced by Polycarp Cardinal Pengo of the Catholic Archdiocese of Dar es Salaam,Tanzania who was the Pope’s delegate for the beatification and John Cardinal Njue of Nairobi who was the main celebrant.

Other dignitaries present included President Uhuru Kenyatta, Deputy President William Ruto, Former President Mwai Kibaki, Archbishop Charles Balvo the Apostolic Nuncio to Kenya and South Sudan, 33 bishops from Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Nigeria and hundreds of priests, men and women religious and faithful from different parts of the country and the world.

In his homily Cardinal Njue said Sr Irene stands out to be a fitting role model to all people, young and old.

“That is why the Church honours her with the title ‘Blessed’ since her life was a reflection of the beatitudes well articulated by Christ in the Gospel,” he said.

Cardinal Njue further said the beatification of Sr Irene is, “a unifying moment for all people and we are able to see beyond the categories of race, tribe, nationality and religion” adding that the beatification is an indication that we can overcome many barriers that confront humanity by living the gospel values.

Archbishop Peter Kairo of the Catholic Archdiocese of Nyeri urged the faithful to emulate Sr Irene’s virtues.

“Like Sr Irene, let our motto be ‘All for Jesus’ as we strive to deepen our faith and build a united country Kenya, let us show care and concern for one another,” he said.

The ceremony was characterised by reading of the holy decree to proclaim Sr Irene Blessed by Cardinal Pengo in Latin and translated to English, revealing of a canvas with an icon of Blessed Sr Irene, and handing of her relics to the parish priest of Gikondi Catholic Parish.

The beatification ceremony began on Friday May 22 with a Vigil Mass at Gikondi and ended on Sunday May 24 with a procession that saw her relics taken from Mathari Catholic Church to Our Lady Consolata Cathedral in Nyeri town.



KENYA: President Calls for Religious Tolerance


NYERI, MAY 26, 2015(CISA) – President Uhuru Kenyatta has called on Kenyans to be tolerant with each other’s faith saying the constitution guarantees freedom of worship.

“There is no faith that is superior to the other and no faith that can force others in one way or the other to believe in what people themselves have not accepted,” President Kenyatta said Saturday May 23 at Dedan Kimathi University of Technology in Nyeri.

While addressing thousands who had turned up for the beatification of Sister Irene Stefani ‘Nyaatha’ President Kenyatta said that government is committed to protecting and preserving the rights of all Kenyans to exercise and practice their faith without fear.

“We shall not agree to be intimidated by few individuals who deem it fit to dictate to others that which they should not do,” he said.

The President observed that although Sister Irene, now Blessed Irene, had a better life back in Italy, she decided to forego the comfort of her family to follow God’s calling to come and serve in Africa, where she knew nobody and had no relatives.

“She had no relative here in Nyeri but came to give the word and use her talent to serve all who were around here,” said President Kenyatta adding that Sr Irene life is proof that “the greatest contributors to the wellbeing of society are the good actions of individual members.”

Speaking during the same event, former President Mwai Kibaki said Sr Irene’s acts of compassion demonstrate that, “deeds that transform the world may be rare but can be purposed and prioritized.”

He said the late famous Catholic nun was a person of exemplary compassion, sacrifice, courage, diligence and faith that showed selfless commitment.

“From Sister Nyaatha’s beliefs and values, we learn that courageous good deeds are gears that change   the world by transforming the fortunes of human kind,” said the former President.

Sister Irene Stefani, a Consolata Missionary arrived in Kenya in 1915 and died in 1930 of bubonic plague. (23)views


DRC: Catholic Bishops ask Government to Take Action to Protect Citizens


BUKAVU, MAY 26, 2015 (CISA)- The Bishops of the province of Bukavu have asked the Congolese government and the International community to take action to protect local populations.

“Does the situation have to deteriorate before the international community takes measures against jihadism?” The bishops asked.

According to the bishops, a strategy of forced displacement of populations was taking place in order to gradually occupy the land and install outbreaks of religious fundamentalism and terrorist training bases”.

The bishops said that only happened in an economic mafia and profiteering politico-military context, fuelled by large-scale looting of abundant mineral, forestry, and animal resources adding that the church was also paying a high price.

According to Fides, the document that the bishops sent denounced the attempted kidnapping of Mgr. Placide Lubamba, Bishop of Kasongo, on 12 May in Lulingu-Shabunda.

“We are outraged for the silence regarding the three Assumption fathers abducted on October 19, 2012 (…). Are they alive or dead?” the bishops posed.

“A climate of genocide, a hearth of jihadist fundamentalism and a process of Balkanization,” were the three greatest dangers condemned by the Bishops in a message published at the end of their assembly.

The Bishops went ahead to point out that in their Ecclesiastical Province many armed groups behaved as predators against people left and condemned the crimes against humanity committed including mutilation of children and disembowelment of pregnant women.

The Bishops noted that the Jihadists is made up of people of different nationalities who have settled in training camps called Medina, Canada and Parking Kaza Roh adding that Young Congolese had joined as they were deceived by unscrupulous recruiters who promised them scholarships for the Middle East, Europe and Canada. (7)views


KENYA: Aid faith Formation in Varsities, Students tell Bishops


NAIROBI MAY 26 2015(CISA)-Catholic students from universities across the country have appealed to the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops(KCCB) to consider having chaplaincies in Universities and institutions of higher learning.

According to the students, this would aid faith formation among young people.

The sentiments were expressed during a workshop for Catholic Students dubbed, Building Christian Fellowship in Institutions of Learning through Small Christian Communities (SCCs), organized by AMECEA Pastoral Department in collaborating with KCCB.

According to Fr Febian Mulenga, the Coordinator of AMECEA Pastoral Department, the objective of the workshop was to share experience on chaplaincy and Christian Fellowship among Catholics students in Universities and Institutions of higher learning with a view of promoting SCCs and to reflect on how SCCs can grow in these institutions of learning.

“Before you can think of chaplaincy and serve students, you need to prepare personnel, in this case priests and then other facilities,” said Fr Lance P. Nadeau MM Chaplain at Kenyatta University.

According to AMECEA, Other objectives of the workshop included reflecting on the challenges and opportunities for promoting Christian Fellowship in Institutions of higher Learning and to propose on ways of promoting Small Christian Communities as models of building fellowship among students in universities and colleges.

The workshop which began May 21, ended May   24 by celebration of Holy Mass of the Feast of Pentecost.



MALI: Peace Efforts Unfruitful Despite Peace Agreement


BAMAKO, MAY 26, 2015 (CISA) – Daily clashes between the Malian army, some pro-government militias and the Coordination of Movements of Azawad in the north of our Country is a major concern for locals, who do not know when they will find peace, Fides reports.

“The people of Mali had placed great hope in the peace agreement signed on May 15, but unfortunately violence continues in the northern regions,” says Fr Edmond Ndebele, secretary of the Catholic Episcopal conference of Mali.

“… Two groups of the Coordination presented themselves on May 15 in Bamako to sign peace agreements. But the main groups of the Coordination, such as the MNLA (National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad), have so far refused to accede to the Agreement of May 15 and asked to continue negotiations in order to obtain more concessions”, he added.

“Despite the upsurge of violence in recent weeks, there are high hopes that agreements are found to restore peace. After all, we have no alternative”, added Fr Dembele.

In a statement May 23, the United States State Department condemned the recent violence in northern Mali, citing the reported Tin Hama killings.