May 1, 2016

TANZANIA: Pope Appoints Fr Kassala New Bishop of Geita

CAGLIARI, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 22:  Pope Francis delivers his speech during a meeting with young people on September 22, 2013 in Cagliari, Italy. Pope Francis heads to Cagliari on the Italian island of Sardinia for a pastoral visit that includes celebrating mass at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Bonaria. The Pope announced in May that he wished to visit the Marian Shrine of Bonaria or 'Good Air' because it gave his hometown of Buenos Aires its name. During his 10-hour visit to the city of Cagliari, the Pope will also meet workers, business representatives, prisoners, the poor, young people, leading representatives from the world of culture and the island's Catholic bishops.  (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

GEITA, APRIL 29 2016(CISA)-Pope Francis has appointed Fr Flavian Kassala, director of the Stella Maris Mtwara College as the new Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Geita in Tanzania.

The diocese of Geita fell vacant when Archbishop Damian Denis Dallu was appointed Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Songea March 14, 2014.

Archbishop Dallu was the bishop of Geita before he was elevated to lead the metropolitan see of Songea.

The Bishop-elect of Geita was born on December 4, 1967 in Sumve, in the Archdiocese of Mwanza.

He attended the St. Pius X Minor Seminary in Makoko, in the Diocese of Musoma, for his primary and secondary education.

From 1988 to 1990 he was a student at the Minor Seminary of Sanu, in the Diocese of Mbulu, and from 1991 to 1992 at the Preparatory Seminary of Kome, in the Diocese of Geita.

He completed his formation for priesthood with studies in philosophy at the St. Anthony of Padua Major Seminary in Ntungamo, in Bukoba, and studied theology at the St. Paul Seminary in Kipalapala, in Tabora.

He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Geita on July 11, 1999.

Since his ordination, he has served the following academic and pastoral roles: 1999-2002: Assistant priest in Sengerema, Diocese of Geita; 2002-2004: Formator and Spiritual Director of the Mary Queen of Apostles Minor Seminary in Sengerema and Diocesan Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies; 2004-2012: Student in Rome at the Pontifical Salesian University, where he obtained a Doctorate in Theology with specialization in Youth Ministry and Catechesis, residing in Nepomuceno College; 2013: Coordinator of the Episcopal Projects Office of the Diocese of Geita; 2013-2015: Professor and

Director of St. Augustine University of Tanzania (SAUT) in Arusha; since 2015: Director of the Stella Maris Mtwara College affiliated to St. Augustine Catholic University.

The Diocese of Geita erected in 1984, is a suffragan of Mwanza.

It has an area of 10,697 square kilometers and a population of 943,698 inhabitants, of whom 553,160 are Catholics.

There are 15 parishes, 36 priests (33 diocesan and 3 religious), 30 religious women.



SOUTH SUDAN: Riek Machar Sworn in as First Vice President

Riek Machar

JUBA, APRIL 29, 2016 (CISA) – South Sudan’s rebel leader Dr Riek Machar was sworn in as First Vice-President on April 26 in the Juba in a peace deal aimed at ending more than two years of conflict in the world’s youngest nation.

He took the post in a new unity government led by President Salva Kiir shortly after his arrival in Juba on Tuesday two years after fleeing the city on December 15, 2013.

This is expected to be followed by formation of a transitional government of national unity in the next few days.

A former vice-president since year 2005 when South Sudan became a semi-autonomous government following signing of a Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) with Sudanese President Omar el Bashir, Machar was sacked by President Salva Kiir two and a half years later after South Sudan became an independent nation.

He and President Kiir fell out over the future of the ruling SPLM party and its leadership as well as over affairs of the government.

President Kiir then accused Machar of allegedly planning a coup, which the latter said was a false claim, further accusing the former of allegedly stage-managing a coup in order to silence voices of opponents.

In accordance with the peace agreement, the opposition leader, who becomes first vice president in the power sharing deal, will also be the commander-in-chief of a separate army and police of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO), with separate structures from the other co-army and police commanded by President Kiir.

The two rival national armies and police forces will however reunify during the transitional period after achieving security sector reforms laid out in the peace agreement.

The transitional government will run the country for 30 months from formation until elections are conducted at the end of the interim period.

The opposition leader in a statement to reporters at the Juba airport upon arrival said the priorities were to tackle insecurity and restore stability, revive the country’s economy and address humanitarian concerns.

“I am very committed to implement this agreement so that the process of national reconciliation and healing is started as soon as possible,” Mr Machar told journalists at the presidential palace in Juba

“I have no doubt that his return to Juba today marks the end of the war and the return of peace and stability to South Sudan,” Mr Kiir said.

The president also offered an apology, to the South Sudanese people and to the international community for delays in implementing the peace agreement, which was signed in August.

The US Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, described Mr Machar’s return as “the best hope that South Sudan has had in a very long time,” but warned of the need to keep up the pressure on both sides to make sure the peace deal was properly implemented.



CHAD: Church Opens New Secretariat in Nation


N’DJAMENA, APRIL 29, 2016(CISA)-The Episcopal Conference of Chad has opened new Catholic secretariat that will host all the Catholic programmes offices and bodies working in the country.

Speaking during the inauguration ceremony in N’Djamena recently, reported Vatican Radio, President of the Episcopal Conference of Chad, Bishop Jean-Claude Bouchard, OMI, expressed satisfaction with the new premises.

He told guests at the ceremony that the Church in Chad wanted to bring together all the various national services and institutions under one roof adding that “the work that the Church does in Chad, particularly its social services, were for the good of the whole country and not just Catholics.”

The inauguration ceremony was attended by two choirs from the parishes of Saint Paul de Kabalaye and the Sacré-Cœur de Chagoua.

Sometimes referred to as Tchad, the Republic of Chad is located in north central Africa.

With a population of twelve million, 56 percent of Chadians are Muslims while the remaining 44 percent is shared equally between Christians and those who practice traditional religions or profess no faith at all.

There about one million Catholics in the country.



MOZAMBIQUE: Faithful Begin Annual Pilgrimage


MAPUTO APRIL 29, 2016(CISA)-Thousands of faithful from various parishes of the Archdiocese of Maputo and other parts of the country are preparing for the annual pilgrimage to Our Lady of Fatima of Namaacha diocesan shrine in Maputo.

This year’s pilgrimage starts on May 6, 2016 and is dedicated to the Year of Mercy: “Merciful as the Father.”

Traditionally, every year, thousands of Catholics from all parishes in the Archdiocese of Maputo gather to honour the Virgin Mother.

Bishop João Carlos Nunes, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Maputo, said that the central theme of this year’s pilgrimage, “Merciful as the Father,” is the overall message of the Jubilee Year of Mercy as proclaimed by the Holy Father, Pope Francis.

He called on all the faithful of the diocese to live the mercy of God intensely by giving and seeking forgiveness in their lives.

“They should strive to transform lives by engaging in the spiritual and corporal works of mercy,” Vatican Radio quoted Bishop Nunes as saying.

Namaacha pilgrimage organiser, Fr Ercílio Manhique said that the great diocesan event is an opportunity for the faithful of the diocese to strengthen their faith.

The pilgrimage is not a leisure outing picnic as some people tend to think.

As such, the Church wishes to call for a sober atmosphere to prevail throughout the spiritual event.  “All pilgrims must desist from behaviour that incites violence and disturbs the ordinary course of prayers and sacred climate,” Fr Manhique emphasized.

The pilgrimage will be characterised by three days of intense prayer and spiritual activities.

The Month of May is set aside for to devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary.



ZAMBIA: Catholic Bishops Calls for Action to Save Nature

drought in S africa

LUSAKA APRIL 29, (CISA) – Zambia Episcopal Conference (ZEC) has called on the country’s mining companies and those in the agricultural sector to exercise extra care in conserving environment.

“Recognising that mining contributes to job and wealth creation of the country, we, however, challenge the mining sector to begin to practice responsible mining that takes into account the needs of the environment,” the Bishops said in a communiqué issued at the end of a national environmental conference held in Lusaka this week.

The Bishops said that mining contributes to the country’s development and provides much-needed jobs.

They further noted large-scale agriculture “is still necessary for increased food production in the country.”

President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Cardinal Peter Turkson, was the principal guest speaker at the conference.

On April 25, Cardinal Turkson addressed the meeting and gave an overview of Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato sì.

Outlining key issues in the document, the Cardinal clarified that Pope Francis was not anti-business.

The national conference dubbed the “Laudato sì conference” was organised by the Zambia Episcopal Conference (ZEC), through its Department of Caritas Zambia.

The Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) co-hosted the national conference whose theme was, ‘Care for Our Common Home in the Context of Large Scale Investments – Mining and Agriculture.’ The meeting was held at Lusaka’s Government Complex from 25 to 26 April.

Zambia is one of the leading producers of copper and emeralds. The government has given incentives such as extended tax breaks to lure the multinationals into investing.