December 18, 2014

SIERRA LEONE: Bishops Appeal for More Help for Hospital


FREETOWN, DECEMBER, 11, 2014 (CISA) – Bishops in West Africa have appealed for more help for a hospital in a region suffering many Ebola infections.

“The Ebola situation is still very grim. Our health workers are at great risk and some have lost their lives,” said Father Paul Sandi, secretary general of the Catholic Conference of the Gambia and Sierra Leone.

The Catholic hospital in Serabu has 80 beds and serves 3,000 patients a year. It is located about 140 miles from the national capital, and serves six villages and other areas in the region.

According to Alexandria, Virginia-based La Asociación Nacional de Inmigrantes, It is staffed by two doctors, 14 nurses, six health officers, and a health assistant.

The hospital is in severe need of medicine and other medical supplies to combat Ebola and other diseases. Cholera, malaria and typhoid infections have increased due to the social and economic instability caused by the Ebola outbreak.

The Gambia and Sierra Leone bishops have asked La Asociación Nacional de Inmigrantes to collect funds for medical supplies at the hospital.



LIBERIA: Cardinal Peter Turkson on Solidarity Visit to Ebola Stricken Countries


FREETOWN, DECEMBER, 16, 2014, (CISA) – Cardinal Peter Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace is set for a trip to Sierra Leone and Liberia, two of the three countries most affected with the Ebola Virus Disease.

Cardinal Turkson will depart for Sierra Leone on December, 16 and then proceed to Liberia on December18 to bring “a message of solidarity and hope to the Church, health workers and the general populations,” reported CAN.

Cardinal Turkson who will be accompanied by Monsignor Robert J. Vitillo, Special Advisor on Health for Caritas Internationalis said observed that the impact of this epidemic goes far beyond the health sector.

“The closing of businesses and other places of employment has raised havoc with an already fragile economy. Ebola orphans often are rejected by their extended family members even when they have been confirmed as ‘Ebola free’.”

Cardinal Turkson also recognized “the need to help priests and other pastoral care workers attend to the spiritual needs of those living with the infection and of their loved ones.”

“Even though there is a ‘no touch’ policy in these countries, it is possible for pastoral care workers to pray with from a safe distance, to counsel them, to bless them, and to officiate at their funeral rites, which must be coordinated by specialized burial teams,” he added.

“On several occasions, the Holy Father has expressed his deep concern for the people living with and affected by Ebola. I hope to give expression to the solidarity of the Pope and the entire Church.”

During his General Audience on 24 October 2014, Pope Francis said, “In the face of the worsening Ebola epidemic, I would like to express my deep concern about this relentless disease that is spreading on the African continent, especially among the more disadvantaged groups. I invite you to pray for them and for those who have lost their lives.”



NIGERIA: Bishops Reverse Order Banning Handshakes in Churches


LAGOS, DECEMBER 16, 2014(CISA) – The Nigerian Catholic Bishops Conference has ordered all priests and lay faithful to revert to normal practices of receiving Holy Communion through the tongue and resume observance of handshake as a sign of peace during Mass.

This follows the declaration by the World Health Organization (WHO) in October that Nigeria is an Ebola-free nation.

In a circular to all Catholic Churches in the country and signed by the Archbishop of the Metropolitan See of Lagos, Alfred Adewale Martins, the bishops said the reversal was to be effected immediately.

“I refer to our special circular of August, 2014 on the outbreak of Ebola Virus in which we directed that the ‘sign of peace’ through pastoral handshake be omitted, and the holy water fonts be left dry and permitted in the interim, the reception of Holy Communion in the hand, as an extraordinary practice while the Ebola alert was on,” Nigeria’s THIS DAY newspaper quoted the bishops as saying.

“We thank God that the steps we took to contain the spread of the Ebola Virus, have been most helpful as Nigeria is now declared an Ebola free nation. To this end, we hereby direct that the church reverts to the normal and ordinary practices prior to the Ebola disease saga,” the bishops added.

The Bishops also directed that holy water founts at the entrance of churches be filled again with holy water and never to be allowed to go dry again.

All these doctrines were duly observed at all Masses in Catholic churches before the outbreak of Ebola Virus  Disease (EVD) in July this year, when the Bishop’s Conference met and issued a circular, that put a stop to the practices for fear of spreading the virus through the Catholic Church.

The Bishops attributed the zero case status of the EVD in Nigeria to God Almighty saying it would continue to give thanks to the Lord for prayers answered and pray that God delivers us from all forms of deadly diseases.

The church also enjoined catholic faithful to continue to pray for countries that are still contending with the virus.



S SUDAN: Church holds Prayers for War Victims


JUBA DECEMBER 16, 2014(CISA) –  On December 15, the Catholic Church in South Sudan held prayers for the victims of the civil war at the Cathedral in Juba, one year after the outbreak of the civil war in the country.

While presiding over the event, Archbishop Paolina Lukudu Loro of the Archdiocese of Juba called for peace and stability.

According to UN figures, there are 1.4 million displaced people within the country, and another half a million taking refuge in neighbouring countries. More than 97,000 people remain in compounds of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) in very difficult conditions.

The crisis in South Sudan exploded exactly a year ago. The first clashes between military units, loyal to President Salva Kiir and former Vice President, Riek Machar began on December 15 2013 in Juba.

The dispute extended to other areas of the Country, assuming an ethnic characterization, involving the two main ethnic groups of the Country, the Dinka and the Nuer.

United Nations Security Council  has urgently demanded that President Salva Kiir, former Vice-President Riek Machar and all parties refrain from further violence, implement the Agreement to Resolve the Crisis in South Sudan signed on May 9, 2014 by South Sudan and the SPLM/A (in Opposition)

The council has further urged the warring groups to engage fully and inclusively in ongoing peace talks in Addis Ababa, uphold their commitment to establish a Transitional Government of National Unity, and allow and facilitate.


UGANDA: Be Good Example to Fellow Youth, Archbishop Tells Conference


KAMPALA DECEMBER 16, 2014(CISA) – Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga of the Catholic Archdiocese of Kampala has urged youth to “always be exemplary and relevant to fellow youth as missionaries of behavioral change against immoral tendencies that are eating away our value in society.”

Addressing a national youth conference at The National Catholic youth Conference under the Theme, “Blessed are the poor in the spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven” on Saturday December 13 at Youth Encounter the Savior Center Nsambya, Archbishop  Lwanga urged the youth to take what they learnt as serious in their lives.

He added that the occasion provided an encounter with Christ in organizing the activities of the gathering.

“We have endeavored to provide an atmosphere of fellowship with other youth  from different parts of the country, as culminating in the deeper and personal encounter with Christ; I therefore, encourage you to participate actively and faithfully,” New Vision Newspaper quoted Archbishop Lwanga as saying.

He added that “current statistics indicate that the majority of the populations in Uganda are youth. To the Church and the government, it is a blessing because our future is assured. It is a great pleasure to see so many of you playing an active role in the nation.”
“I asked you to emulate the Uganda Martyrs who resiliently upheld their dignity as beloved children of God,” said Archbishop Lwanga.

The conference drew participants from Archdiocese of Kampala, Archdiocese of Gulu, Diocese of Arua, Lira, Nebbi, Kasana–Luweero, Kiyinda–Mityana, Lugazi, Masaka, Archdiocese of Mbarara, Fort Portal, Hoima, Kabale, Kasese Archdiocese of Tororo, Jinja, Kotido, Moroto and Soroti as well as Nairobi, Rwanda and Burundi.