November 28, 2014

CAR: Kidnapped Polish Catholic Missionary Freed

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BABOUA, NOVEMBER, 28, 2014, (CISA) – A polish missionary amongst 16 hostages abducted by Muslim rebels from the Central African Republic (CAR) on October 12 has been freed after two months in captivity.

“A special operation by Cameroonian defence and security forces permitted the liberation of 15 Cameroonian hostages… as well as the Polish priest Fr Mateusz Dziedzic,” Cameroon’s army said in a statement.

The kidnappers, belonging to the rebel group Democratic Front of the Central African People (FDPC) abducted Fr Mateusz Dziedzic on October 12 in the town of Baboua, hoping to use him and 15 Cameroonian hostages as bargaining chips to secure the release of their own leader, Abdoulaye Miskine, who was arrested in Cameroon last year.

Fr Mateusz Dziedzic has been a missionary since 2009 and was abducted by eight armed men belonging to FDPC who demanded the release of their imprisoned leader, Abdoulaye Miskine.

FDPC is one of a number of armed groups that has fought the CAR government in an off-on conflict in the former French colony over the past decade.

Polish Foreign Minister Spokesman Marcin Wojciechowski confirmed the release of the missionary saying “Father Mateusz Dziedzic has been freed.”

“It was a complex act of negotiation involving several countries, countries within the region and international organizations,” he said, underscoring “the role of France” in particular.

Wojciechowski said that the priest’s “state of health isn’t excellent, but he isn’t in danger,” and added that Fr Dziedzic was on his way to Brazaville, the capital of the Republic of the Congo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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SIERRA LEONE: Caritas Trains Women on Ebola

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FREETOWN, NOVEMBER, 28, 2014, (CISA) – Caritas Sierra Leone has joined the Fatima House of Light project run by the Handmaid Sister’s in its continuing intervention in the fight against the Ebola Virus.

According to the Director of the Caritas Office, the Archdiocese of Freetown, Fr Peter Koteh, the aim of the project is to empower the sisters in providing training to young women, mostly ex-commercial sex workers, to take Ebola awareness messages to vulnerable communities.

He said with the outbreak of Ebola which led to the closure of all learning institutions in the country, Caritas decided to shift its attention to providing training to young women to help in the fight against the deadly virus.

“We believe this group of people is vital in the broader sense of reaching all communities,” said Fr Konteh.

“At the same time we are hoping the sensitization work will keep these women focused until life could return to normal,” Fr Konteh added.

Fr Konteh noted that “over the years thankfully and by God’s grace, the church through its charity work ran various skills training courses targeting these women.”

The courses include catering, hairdressing, auto mechanics and secretarial courses.

The Fatima House of Light project is funded by the US-based Healey International Foundation. It started after Sierra Leone’s civil war to help young underprivileged women some of whom got involved in the sex trade due to the lack of opportunities at the time.

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KENYA: Year of Consecrated Life, a Period of Intense Reflection, Cardinal says

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John Cardinal Njue has called on consecrated men and women to use the year of consecrated life as a time of reflection.

“Unlike other celebrations declared by the Church, the year of consecrated life is an activity that is calling those of you who have formally been consecrated to God through religious vows acknowledged by the Church to a fourteen month period of intense reflection,” said Cardinal Njue.

Cardinal Njue was speaking during the launch of the Year of Consecrated Life at Resurrection Garden Nairobi on November 27 where he said it will be an occasion “for those of us in the diocesan clergy and the lay faithful to rejoice and acknowledge the wonderful contribution you have made in the Church of Kenya.”

“To our dear sisters who live in monastic life… We thank you for strengthening our activities with your prayers for reminding all of us that the life of prayer is essential for anyone who seeks to follow Christ,” said the Cardinal.

He further acknowledged the missionaries “who have left the comforts in their countries” to work here in Kenya by contributing to the development of the local churches.

“To our religious priests, brothers and sisters who work tirelessly in our crucial offices, parishes, schools, hospitals and other institutions we also thank you for your selfless dedication in bringing the good news to the poor, opening the eyes of the blind, setting the prisoners free and proclaiming the salvation to all,” said Cardinal Njue.

Pope Francis announced the year of consecrated life will be celebrated from November 30, the first Sunday of advent until February 2, 2015.

While speaking to participants in the Plenary Assembly of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life on November 27, the Pope encouraged consecrated persons to still “be listening to the signs of the Spirit, who opens new horizons and pushes to new ways.”

Pope Francis encouraged them to continue their work “with generosity and enterprise in the Lord’s vineyard, to foster the growth and maturation of lush bunches, from which to be able to extract that generous wine.”

The assembly is under the theme; “New Wine in New Wineskins” and is happening between November 25 – 29 in the Vatican.

 

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KENYA: Fight Terrorism with Technology, Bishop tells State

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NAIROBI NOVEMBER 28, 2014(CISA) – The Chairman of Communications Commission of Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB), Bishop Martin Kivuva has urged the government to improve its fight against terrorism through technology.

The Bishop was speaking on November 26 during the launch of new collection of eBooks and eCommerce website by the Paulines Publications Africa at Cardinal Otunga Plaza, Nairobi.

“For the government to win the war against terror they must have a very well IT trained military individuals who are out there fighting the war online. Now it is not about guns, it is about exchange of ideas and strategies passed along through technology,” said Bishop Kivuva.

Bishop Kivuva of the Catholic Diocese of Machakos asked the Church to take advantage of the new technological innovation so that it is able to evangelize to people wherever they are.

“The new technology is not only changing the way we communicate but communication itself. We are living through a period of vast cultural transformation. Spreading information and knowledge is giving back in new way of learning and thinking with unprecedented way of establishing relationship and friendship,” said Bishop Kivuva.

Bishop David Kamau Auxiliary Bishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Nairobi said the church should use technology to evangelize in order to counter the decrease on the number of vocations.

“Evangelizers of the gospel are going down especially in Europe and soon we are going to face the same problem here in Africa. We must focus on what exactly we are going to do. This innovation has not only come for the secular life but also for the church. It has come the right time when evangelizers are few so that one priest can take five parishes. He can sit down and communicate the word of God wherever he is,” said Bishop Kamau.

 

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KENYA: Declare Insecurity National Disaster, Archbishop Okoth Urges

Archbishop-Okoth

NAKURU NOVEMBER 28, 2014(CISA) -Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (CJPC) Chairman, Archbishop Zacchaeus Okoth has asked the government to declare the current state of insecurity in the county as national disaster.

In a statement titled “Kenya a mourning nation… Act now” issued during the commission’s annual planning meeting on Wednesday November 26 at St Mary’s Pastoral centre in Nakuru, Archbishop Okoth said that the government must regulate the sale and distribution of bullets within the country’s borders as an immediate measure to stop increasing insecurity.

He further urged the government to strategically position special military forces at border points to stem the flow of al–Shabaab militia into the country.

Archbishop Okoth was reacting following the killings of 28 people by al Shabaab on a Nairobi-bound bus in Arabiya area in Mandera County on Saturday November 22.

Elsewhere, The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) condemned the Mandera killings terming it “gross violation and a total disregard for the victims’ right to life as contained in Article 26 of the constitution of Kenya.”

“We implore the Government of Kenya to take immediate action and carry out adequate investigations with a view to prosecute the suspects of this heinous crime,” KNCHR Chairperson Kagwiria Mbogori said in a press statement sent to CISA November 26.

The rights group said that the state should consider national dialogue in handling security issues to enable citizen’s share their ideas on improving security in the country.

“We consider that security being a national issue the Government should as a priority convene a national dialogue on security that will provide a platform for citizens to make their contribution to measures that can be taken to ensure security as a right to all Kenyans,” said Mbogori.

 

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