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Church marks 350 years in Thailand

BANGKOK (UCAN): Fernando Cardinal Filoni, the prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples was in Thailand to help celebration the 350th anniversary of the Church’s mission there.
 
“Asia is a sector of humanity rich in cultures and organized religions but with more than 85 per cent of its members un-baptised,” he told religious, seminarians and catechists at a ceremony in Sampran, 30km west of Bangkok on May 18.
 

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Komodo dragons and Halal tourism a bad fit bishop says

JAKARTA (UCAN): The Catholic Church on the Indonesian island of Flores, gateway to Komodo National Park and its world famous Komodo dragons, rejected the idea of introducing halal (permissible) tourism, a growing trend among Muslims.
 
Authorities in Labuan Bajo, a fishing town on the western side of Flores in Nusa Tenggara, suggested the idea as a way of boosting tourism but Bishop Silvester San, the apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Ruteng, shot it down in a letter dated May 6.
 

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Sri Lankan community thanks diocese for support

HONG KONG (SE): Sri Lanka was in a civil war for 33 long years. There is no exact casualty toll, but the United Nations has suggested that as many as 40,000 civilians were killed in the last stage of the war alone. The civil war ended in 2009 after a large-scale operation by the army. 
 
Just as Sri Lankans were beginning to heave a sigh of relief after three decades of war, tragedy struck the country again on Easter Sunday, April 21, in the form of suicide bombers.  
 

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New Philippine bishop ready to face threats

MANILA (UCAN):  Bishop Fidelis Layog, the new auxiliary bishop of Lingayen-Dagupan, the northern Philippines, expressed his readiness to face threats after recent attacks against Church leaders in the country on May 8.
 
“Being threatened and attacked has always been the experience of the Catholic Church from the very beginning,” Bishop Layog said as he called on members of the clergy not to fear for their lives.
 

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Asia Bibi leaves Pakistan and joins family in Canada

Lahore (UCAN): Asia Bibi, the Catholic woman who was acquitted of blasphemy after spending eight years on death row in Pakistan, left for Canada on the evening of May 7, her lawyer confirmed.
 
“She was reunited with her family in Canada more than five hours ago,” Saiful Malook, who represented Bibi in the Supreme Court of Pakistan, said on May 8.
 

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More than a million spared from deadly cyclone

NEW DELHI (UCAN): Cyclone Fani, which ripped through eastern India and sideswiped Bangladesh, left a trail of destruction and left more than 30 people dead.
 
The immense storm killed at least 29 people in India—mostly in Odisha (Orissa), while at least five were reported dead in neighbouring Bangladesh.
 
Authorities said the evacuation of 1.2 million people from more than 10,000 villages prior to the category 5 storm making landfall on May 3 prevented a larger death toll and minimised injuries.
 

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Sri Lanka’s churches closed for second week

COLOMBO (UCAN): Sunday Masses were cancelled again in Sri Lanka as churches remained closed for a second week following the Easter Sunday suicide bombings on April 28 that killed more than 250 people.
 
Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, of Colombo, had previously announced that Sunday Masses would be held on May 5, but cancelled services after considering the latest security alert. Instead, he celebrated a televised, private Mass at the Archbishop’s House in Colombo.
 

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New cathedral for Indonesian archdiocese

JAKARTA (UCAN): The Archdiocese of Samarinda, in Indonesia’s East Kalimantan province inaugurated a new cathedral on April 30.
 
St. Mary of Perpetual Help Cathedral is being hailed as one of the most beautiful buildings in the city, its modern design displays the cultural heritage of ethnic Dayak people, the biggest tribal group in the region.
 

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Prayers and solidarity following deadly Easter attacks in Sri Lanka

VATICAN CITY (CNS): On Easter Monday, Pope Francis led thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square in praying for the hundreds of people who died or were injured in bomb blasts at churches and hotels in three cities on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka. 
 
The violence was the deadliest the country has seen since a 26-year civil war ended in 2009.
 

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Former lawmaker charged with murder of prominent Catholic in Bangladesh

DHAKA (UCAN): Abul Kalam Azad, a former member of parliament (MP) of Bangladesh’s ruling Awami League party, was charged, along with 12 others, with the murder in 2014 of Ovidio Marandy, a prominent indigenous Catholic, on April 9.
 
Marandy’s brother, Father Samson Marandy from the Diocese of Dinajpur, filed the case on behalf of his family who have been attempting to file a murder case for years.
 
Partha Bhadra, senior judicial magistrate, accepted the complaint and fixed June 12 as the first day of hearing.

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