23 July 2016
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    23/07/2016 - POLAND - VATICAN - WYD

    A few days before the opening of the 13th World Youth Day security levels have been raised at Wawel, in the Market Square and the rest of the historic center. But the "peaceful" invasion of the young people is filling the  streets with colour. The first vocational stands and “street confessionals” are appearing, ready for the events led by the pontiff. A Taiwanese delegation travels 42 hours to reach the cultural capital of Poland: "exhausting but beautiful".




    23/07/2016 - INDIA - AFGHANISTAN

    Judith D'Souza, Indian Catholic worker kidnapped in Afghanistan, is freed

    by Nirmala Carvalho

    She was kidnapped on June 9. It is not known whether a ransom was paid. She worked in Afghanistan in an Aga Khan NGO to raise awareness of women’s rights. The family overjoyed.


    23/07/2016 - BANGLADESH

    Mymensingh, a tribal Catholic elected to Parliament

    by Sumon Corraya

    Jewel Areng is the youngest member of Parliament and is also the only Catholic. He has won in the constituency left vacant after the death of his father. His parent was Minister for Social Welfare and was well respected among Muslims. The local Church hopes the new deputy will follow his father's footsteps and work for the good of the population.


    22/07/2016 - ASIA – WYD

    Card Gracias: young Asians bring Asian values to World Youth Day in Krakow

    by Nirmala Carvalho

    "Our Asian pilgrims not only bring the grandeur, the vitality and beauty of Asia, but also the multi-cultural diversity, pluralism as well as Asian values of hospitality and family and, of course, the Church of the young.” Asia youth come to discover Krakow and the charisma of John Paul II, founder of the WYD.


    22/07/2016 - VATICAN

    Pope: the Church and the world are still in need of contemplative religious


    Apostolic Constitution "Dei Vultum quaerere – Seeking the Face of God" indicates 12 "themes of reflection and discernment" on women’s contemplative life in general. Yes to social media, but not  as a means of "wasting time or escaping from the demands of fraternal life in community". No to "recruiting" sisters to avoid closing monasteries. Prayer “must enlarge your heart to embrace all humanity, especially those who suffer” and not close monastic life in on itself.


    22/07/2016 - PAKISTAN – WYD

    Young Pakistanis to meet pope in Krakow

    by Kamran Chaudhry

    A delegation of 11 people will come from Pakistan, including five youth leaders, like Viviana Natalie Rodrigues, 26, and Zeeshan Bais, 25. The first set up her parish’s Facebook page and will post pictures and comments from Poland during the whole week. The second is making a spiritual journey in preparation for the trip.


    22/07/2016 - INDIA

    Mary Magdalene: woman, contemplative, apostle

    by Sr Marie Gemma, Ocd

    Starting now, the memory of St. Mary Magdalene is raised to the level of celebration, by expressed wish of Pope Francis. Sr Marie Gemma, Carmelite prioress in Baroda, explains the value of this saint, the first who announced the resurrection, a sign of the greatness of the feminine genius.


    22/07/2016 - INDIA

    Charged with recruiting terrorists in Kerala, under influence of preacher who instigated Dhaka massacre


    Arshid Qureshi is the public relations manager with the Islamic Research Foundation. He is accused of having converted 15 young people of Kerala to Islam, who then disappeared from home to fight with the Islamic State. Circle tightening around Salafi preacher Zakir Naik, after ban on his television programs in Bangladesh.


    21/07/2016 - SRI LANKA

    Young Sri Lankan Catholics and Anglicans seeking unity

    by Melani Manel Perera

    An Anglican and Roman Catholic Joint Youth Conference is held on “so that they may be one” (Jn, 17-22). Young Catholic and Anglican leaders meet to learn “how to become a true disciple of God” and put it in practice in the future.


    21/07/2016 - PAKISTAN

    Church and Pakistani activists call for swift law against ‘honour killings’

    by Shafique Khokhar

    Prime Minister Sharif’s daughter calls on parliament to legislate after the murder of Qandeel Baloch, a famous model and blogger who was killed by her brother to cleanse the family’s lost honour. A bill against honour killings has been languishing in parliament for years. However, for Muslim teacher, such a law would “make an already complicated issue even more complicated.”


    21/07/2016 - INDIA

    Attack against four Dalits for skinning cow sparks mass protests in Gujarat


    A group of cow vigilantes brutally beat four men for harming sacred animal. Prime Minister Modi’s home state is now in turmoil and voters’ dissatisfaction might negative impact the BJP's campaign among low caste voters.


    21/07/2016 - BANGLADESH

    Dhaka government says at least 11 NGOs fund terrorist groups

    by Sumon Corraya

    The organizations receive money since 2012. The funds come from the Middle East countries - such as Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia - and the UK. Islamist groups have opened schools, madrassas, hospitals and training centers. At least 231 associations bankrolled terrorism, with 500 thousand employees throughout the country.


    21/07/2016 - NEPAL

    Kathmandu: Eight Christians on trial for proselytising, i.e. handing out copies of the Bible


    Local sources complain that the authorities are carrying out a crackdown against the local Christian community. This is the first trial related to religious freedom since the country’s secular Constitution came into effect in 2015. The defendants are out on bail. Trial set to start on 23 July.


    20/07/2016 - VATICAN - POLAND

    Pope: Estimated 2 million waiting in Krakow for WYD


    Francis will arrive by tram, along with a group of disabled people. He will visit Auschwitz, in silence, and Father Kolbe’s cell. "There are no particular concerns regarding security" and "no groups have withdrawn over security concerns".


    20/07/2016 - PAKISTAN

    Pilgrimage of Youth Cross begins in Faisalabad July 22

    by Shafique Khokhar

    Message from Msgr. Arshad for the diocesan celebration of World Youth Day. "The youth must, in particular take pride in the Cross of Christ who has reconciled humanity with God our Heavenly Father by his sacrifice on the Cross".


    20/07/2016 - PAKISTAN

    Lahore, Caritas stages show on peace and harmony


    The play was performed by Ajoka actors, one of Pakistan's most famous companies. The social arm of the Church wants to effect a profound change in society and involve the various communities. The theater group fighting conservative mentality.


    20/07/2016 - SRI LANKA

    Church against drug use in Sri Lankan schools

    by Melani Manel Perera

    20/07/2016 - YEMEN - INDIA

    Msgr. Hinder: doubts over video of Salesian kidnapped in Yemen; hopes he is still alive


    A video posted on line shows Fr. Tom Uzhunnalil still in the hands of his kidnappers and  being beaten. The Vicar of Arabia believes the images are not new and do not provide "definite information". Vicar of the Salesians: It is important to keep case in public attention.


    19/07/2016 - CHINA – VATICAN

    Chinese youth and priests prevented from attending World Youth Day

    by Bernardo Cervellera

    Some 2,000 young people from mainland China are expected in Krakow. However, many would-be participants have no money or sponsors. The authorities have banned official and underground priests from going because they are too friendly with the pope. Police have stopped young people at airports minutes before embarkation. Some fear that once home participants will be subjected to interrogation.


    19/07/2016 - PAKISTAN

    The first Eucharistic Congress ends with an appeal to Catholics’ "awareness"

    by Kamran Chaudhry

    Pastoral initiatives are presented whose goal is to deepen the sense of belonging to the Catholic Church. More than 1,500 people, mostly young people, attend the meeting’s final Mass.


    19/07/2016 - INDIA - UNITED STATES

    Card Dolan is guest of honour at event celebrating the founder of the Syro-Malankara Church

    by Nirmala Carvalho

    The archbishop of New York praised the great diversity of the Indian Catholic Church, speaking at the celebrations in honour of Aboon Geevarghese Mar Ivanios, founder of the rite and "Servant of God." Strong bonds of friendship have tied the Archdiocese of New York and the Syro-Malankara Church since the late forties.


    19/07/2016 - BANGLADESH

    Bangladesh, death threats for three more Hindu priests


    The letters were left in temples where they work or delivered to staff. Another assistant received verbal threats: "Prepare to die." The police have been alerted, but the minorities live in fear.

     


    18/07/2016 - INDIA

    Bangalore Diocese welcomes African migrants, “precious before God”

    by Nirmala Carvalho

    The Diocese organised a meeting for economic and political migrants from Africa’s poorest areas and conflict zones. In order to meet their spiritual needs, large parts of the liturgy are in French. The pastoral care of migrants is "central to our Jubilee of Mercy".


    18/07/2016 - PAKISTAN

    Pakistani Church calls for ban on TV preacher who inspired Dhaka terrorists

    by Kamran Chaudhry

    Zakir Naik, a major Salafist advocate, is the founder of Peace TV and a well known TV preacher. His network has broadcast in Pakistan since 2009. Dhaka massacre investigators found a direct link between his sermons and one of the attackers.


    18/07/2016 - BANGLADESH

    Anti-terrorism sermons distributed nationwide for Friday prayers

    by Sumon Corraya

    The text is written by the Bangladesh Islamic Foundation and pronounced by the imams in the Bengali language. Of a total of about 600 thousand mosques in the country, almost 300 thousand have received the document. The authorities want to curb the spread of extremist ideas among young people. Three supporters of Dhaka terrorists arrested.


    17/07/2016 - VATICAN

    Pope: More important than serving are listening and welcoming guests


    Francis spoke today about Jesus’s visit to two sisters, Martha and Mary, one of whom was “busy” and the other was “contemplative”. The right attitude belongs to those who "value the most important thing, i.e. the presence of the guest, Jesus." After the Marian prayer, the pope turned his thoughts to the Nice massacre. “May God, the good Father, welcome all the victims into his peace, support the wounded and comfort the families. May he dissolve every project of terror and death, so that no one dares to spill his brother's blood.” He also greeted “the great Chinese brothers and sisters” in the square.


    16/07/2016 - PAKISTAN

    For the first time two members of religious minorities acknowledged as tribal elders


    Wilson Wazir Masih, a Christian, and Gormeet Singh, a Sikh, have become maliks, tribal elders. They represent some 30,000 people who can now legally press for their social, education, and health rights.


    15/07/2016 - BANGLADESH

    Scores of educators held for inciting terrorism in Bangladesh

    by Sumon Corraya

    Police vets Prof Hasnat Karim’s involvement with Dhaka terrorists. Investigators seize several books praising jihad from the university library where he taught in 2012. Extremist ideas are spreading in some of the capital’s most prestigious schools.


    15/07/2016 - VATICAN - FRANCE

    Pope condemns "blind violence" of Nice attack


    Solidarity with the French people hit "again" and with the victims' families. The pain of the Asian churches in a statement by Cardinal Gracias.


    15/07/2016 - PAKISTAN - AFGHANISTAN

    Peshawar: school attack mastermind killed in US drone strike


    Umar Mansoor died along with four other Islamic militants in a US drone attack in Afghanistan. The Taliban terrorist leader trained the attackers who killed 148 people, including 132 children, in December 2014. He also masterminded two other deadly attacks in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.


    14/07/2016 - PAKISTAN

    Lahore: Christian foundation against the new metro line going through church land

    by Shafique Khokhar

    City’s 27 km Orange Line Metro Train project threatens 27 heritage sites, 11 of which are protected under federal law and six under provincial law. Four churches dating back to the mid-19th century would be affected, including the Cathedral Church of the Resurrection. For activist, “we [. . .] will not sit back and let anyone destroy this 2000-year-old city”.






    Editor's choices

    ASIA – WYD
    Card Gracias: young Asians bring Asian values to World Youth Day in Krakow

    Nirmala Carvalho

    "Our Asian pilgrims not only bring the grandeur, the vitality and beauty of Asia, but also the multi-cultural diversity, pluralism as well as Asian values of hospitality and family and, of course, the Church of the young.” Asia youth come to discover Krakow and the charisma of John Paul II, founder of the WYD.


    SYRIA
    Horror in Aleppo: "moderate" rebel group beheads Palestinian child



    The Nour al-Din al-Zenki movement beheads 11-year old Abdallah Issa shouting "Allah Akbar". The child was executed for collaborating with government forces. Before he died he was tortured. The group’s leaders try to back away from the barbaric killing. The group is supported by Turkey, the US, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.


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