April 2016

Refugees want peace so they can go home
(Saturday, 23 April 2016 )

SADAD (SE): Christian families that had fled from Syria to Europe to escape the violence of conflict are beginning to drift back, the mayor of Sadad in the province of Homs, Suleiman al-Khalil, told Russian media on April 6.

“Christians who had left Syria for Europe are beginning to return to Sadad and also to other cities,” Khalil said.

Agenzia Fides reported...

The challenges of interfaith marriages
(Saturday, 23 April 2016 )

NEW DELHI (UCAN): Theologians are saying that Pope Francis’ encouragement to local Churches to develop new approaches to interfaith marriage in is exhortation, The Joy of Life, is timely, as it challenges the Church to change its attitude and pastoral approach toward their increasing number in southern Asia, where Christians continue to be a tiny minority.

Astrid Lobo Gajiwala, a theologian from India married...

Pope Benedict turns 89
(Saturday, 23 April 2016 )

VATICAN (SE): Pope Benedict XVI celebrated his 89th birthday on April 16. Vatican Radio reported that in his early morning homily, Pope Francis said, “I would like to remind you that today is Pope Benedict’s birthday.”

The pope said, “I have offered the Mass for him and I also invite you to pray for him, so that the Lord may sustain him and give him much joy and happiness.”

...
It has something for everyone
(Saturday, 23 April 2016 )

Pope Francis has produced a basic pastoral document in his reflection on the two-part Synod on Marriage and Family Life that took place during 2014 and 2015.

It is not one that belabours doctrine or particularly addresses the problems of broken or dysfunctional families, but contents itself with a description of family life within the context of love.

...

Xi Jinping with a saffron tinge
(Saturday, 23 April 2016 )

HONG KONG (AsiaNews): While reports vary as to how the personality cult being promoted by the president of China, Xi Jinping, is going, two videos posted on YouTube portraying him with a saffron tinge suggest that he may not just be the saviour of the world, but the one who holds the key to heaven as well.

The saffron-tinged president is presented in the two videos as being the idol of the Buddhist world and one...

Priest disappears at driving test
(Saturday, 23 April 2016 )

BEIJING (AsiaNews): Father Yang Jianwei, from the parish of Anzhuang in Baoding, Hebei, has been missing since he went to take a test for a driving licence with some of his parishioners on April 15.

Father Yang, who belonged to the unofficial Church community, which is not recognised by the government, went to the Number Three Driving Test Venue in Dingxing for his test and was about to go out on the road with his assessor...

Mercy does not have to wait for guidelines
(Saturday, 23 April 2016 )

MANILA (UCAN): “Mercy cannot wait. Mercy should not wait,” the Philippine bishops said in response to the exhortation of Pope Francis, The Joy of Love (Amoris Laetitia), released at the Vatican on April 8.

In a pastoral letter issued on April 10, the bishops said that even before they can come up with concrete guidelines on the implementation of the exhortation, everybody must open welcoming arms to...

Military massacred by the Abu Sayyaf
(Saturday, 23 April 2016 )

MANILA (UCAN): The deaths of 18 soldiers, who perished during a showdown with the Islamist group, the Abu Sayyaf, on April 9 in the southern Philippine island of Basilan, angered Bishop Martin Jumoad.

“I am really depressed and angry at why our soldiers are killed like chickens at the hands of the Abu Sayyaf,” the bishop of Basilan said. “What is happening to our government?”

...
When the heavens stay dry people die
(Saturday, 23 April 2016 )

ARAKAN (UCAN): Swathes of corn stalks bend their sad and withered heads towards the parched earth on the rolling hills surrounding the farming town of Arakan in the southern Philippines, while shallow cracks mock the hapless farmers who planted the seeds with high hopes of a good crop.

The dry skies brought about by the El Niño effect are wreaking havoc on the rich soil of Cotabato province.

...
It is time to pray for rain
(Saturday, 23 April 2016 )

MANILA (UCAN): “There will be rain,” the bishops of The Philippines said in assuring farmers who have been suffering from an ongoing dry spell that has affected thousands of farmlands across the country.

“Have faith in the power of prayer,” Archbishop Socrates Villegas, the president of the bishops’ conference, encouraged.

The Church is already...