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Around the Traps


Hamel Square

PARIS (SE): The town square in the Ermont district of Paris has been named after Father Jacques Hamel, who was brutally murdered as he was celebrating Mass on July 26 last year by men claiming to be representatives from the Islamic State.

The dedication took place on January 22 in the presence of many religious communities and his family.

The mayor, Hugues Portelli, told Le Parisien that the square was previously unnamed and is located in front of the John Paul II Parish Centre, which is used to host ecumenical gatherings.


Day of Islam in Poland

WARSAW (SE): On January 26, the day following the conclusion of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, the Church in Poland commemorated a Day of Islam.

The Joint Council of Catholics and Muslims and the Committee for Dialogue with Non-Christian Religions of the Polish Bishops’ Conference hosted an event in Bialystok, the Italian news agency, SIR, reported.

Bishop Henryk Ciereszko described the day as being first and foremost a prayer meeting and an opportunity to counter violence together in the context of the terrorist attacks and the Middle East war.


Church without fences

VIENNA (SE): The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) paid tribute to Bishop Ägidius Zsifkovics, from Eisenstadt in Austria, for refusing to allow the construction of a border fence around Church property.

“A moral stand by a Catholic bishop, who refused to allow a border fence to keep out refugees to be built on Church land, has helped to change Austrian government policy on border security,” the UNHCR stated.

“His tone of compassion has encouraged hundreds of lay volunteers to help asylum seekers and put the rural region on the map when it comes to integrating refugees,” it concludes.


Sister becomes Senior Australian of Year

CANBERRA (SE): Sixty-two years ago Sister Anne Gardiner moved to Bathurst Island off the coast of Darwin in Australia’s north as a fresh-faced 22-year-old on a mission among the Tiwi people.

On January 26, she was named Senior Australian of the Year for her decades of service on the Tiwi Islands.

In her acceptance speech she said, “Sadly, some of the cultural understandings and their incorporation into policies which enable communities such as the Tiwi to maintain and develop their cultural strength while simultaneously engaging with the wider world are not in place in Australia today.”


Priests on the run

YAMOUSSOKRO (SE): Bishop Marcellin Yaoo Kouadio, from Yamoussokro on the Ivory Coast, has revealed that 78 priests have left the country to seek a more secure life in Europe.

Bishop Kouadio said that some of the priests have joined the thousands of refugees who have fled the country during years of turmoil to continue their ministry in Europe. “Some, however, simply disappeared,” he said.

The bishop remarked that men should not pursue the priesthood in order to have a more secure life. He lamented that many young people are leaving the Ivory Coast for a better life in Europe or the Americas.


Honesty pays

BAGUIO (SE): Reggie Cabututan, a 30-year-old taxi driver from Baguio in The Philippines who returned valuable items to an Australian that he left behind in his cab, has been honoured by the city and offered an opportunity to study in Australia.

“All I did was go back and return belongings when I realised they had been left,” he told local media. He has won plaudits from all over the world.

Trent Shields said in a Facebook post said that Cabututan returned his laptop, passport and headphones worth thousands of dollars.


Arrested for reporting church bombing

YANGON (AsiaNews): Police in the Union of Myanmar have filed a case against two Kachin Christians, Dumdaw Nawng Lat, a 65-year-old pastor with the Kachin Baptist Convention, and a 35-year-old youth worker, Langjaw Gam Seng, after they were arrested on Christmas Eve for giving information to the media about the bombing of a church.

They are charged with providing support to the rebel Kachin Independence Army, which has been fighting government forces.


New prelate of Opus Dei

MUMBAI (AsiaNews): Bishop Fernando Ocariz, from Mumbai in India, has been named the new prelate of Opus Dei to succeed Bishop Javier Echevarría, who died on December 12 last year.

Since 1994 he has been the vicar general of the Prelature and in December 2014 became auxiliary vicar.

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