February 26, 2017

KENYA: Fr Benjamin Maswili Appointed Apostolic Administrator of Military Ordinariate

NAIROBI FEBRUARY 24, 2017(CISA)-Pope Francis has appointed Fr Benjamin Kituto Maswili the Apostolic Administrator of the Military Ordinariate in Kenya.

In a statement sent to CISA today signed by Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops General Secretary, Fr Daniel Rono, Fr Maswili was appointed on December 30, 2016 to oversee the military service.

The position fell vacant after Bishop Alfred Rotich’s retirement in 2013 aged 55 years, the maximum period required to serve in the military service.

Until his appointment Fr Maswili, a religious priest from the Congregation of the Apostle of Jesus was serving as the Principal Chaplain in the Military Ordinariate.

Fr Rono congratulated Fr Maswili on the appointment and requested all Christians to pray for him as he takes up his new role.

In an interview with Waumini News, Fr Maswali said that his immediate work will be to offer spiritual and psychological support to the Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) soldiers and families affected by the attacks and killings by al-Shabaab while on a peace keeping mission in Somalia.

“We need to train more catechists and priests to help in counseling the affected families of fallen soldiers and wounded soldiers to be able to live a normal life again,” he said.

He added that, he will promote Pontifical Missionary Childhood (PMC) amongst the children under his care to ensure that Christianity is embraced in their families.


VATICAN: Pope Appeals for Aid for Famine-Gripped South Sudan

VATICAN CITY FEBRUARY 24, 2017 (CISA)-Pope Francis has appealed for humanitarian assistance to South Sudan where famine threatens lives of millions.

In his weekly general audience address at the Vatican on February 22, the Pope expressed concern on the fratricidal conflict in South Sudan compounded by severe food crisis. This, he said, has condemned to death millions of people by starvation including children.

He added that a solid commitment from the international community to assist South Sudan is crucial now more than ever and urged the international community to commit fully and not to resort to making statements only.

“At this time it is more necessary than ever that all commit, not to stop at making statements, but also to provide concrete food aid and to allow it to reach suffering populations,” the Pope said.

The Pope also prayed for strength for the all parties involved in efforts to help the people of South Sudan.

“May the Lord sustain these brothers and sisters and those who work to help them,” he said.

Civil war has destabilized the world’s youngest country for more than three years due to political power struggle between President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar.

The United Nation on February 21 formally declared famine in parts of South Sudan, warning that war and collapsing economy have left some 100,000 people facing imminent starvation there and further 1 million people classified as being on the brink of famine.

According to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) update, released on February 20 by the government agencies and other humanitarian partners, 4.9 million people are in need of urgent food, agriculture and nutrition assistance. This is more that 40 percent of South Sudan population.

United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) Representative to South Sudan Jeremy Hopkins says that more than one million children are currently estimated to be acutely malnourished across South Sudan.

He says that over a quarter a million children already severely malnourished and will die if urgent aid does not reach them.


KENYA: Catholic Bishops set to Launch Lenten Campaign 2017

NAIROBI FEBRUARY 24, 2017 (CISA) – The Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) – Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (CJPC) will tomorrow February 25 launch the Lenten Campaign 2017 at the University of Nairobi grounds.

The event themed Peaceful and Credible Elections…Leaders of Integrity will begin with two processions, one from the GPO in the city centre and the other one from Consolata Shrine, Westlands at 7:30 a.m.

The processions will converge at the Nairobi University Chancellors Court (Graduation Square) where the Holy Mass will be celebrated starting at 10:00 a.m.

The Mass will be celebrated by John Cardinal Njue of the Catholic Archdiocese of Nairobi alongside Bishop Cornelius Korir, Chairman of the Justice and Peace and other Bishops from various dioceses in Kenya.

Key national leaders are also expected to attend including President Uhuru Kenyatta among other civic and political leaders.


CONGO: Cardinal Raises Alarm on Religious Violence, Urges Restraint among Politicians

KINSHASHA FEBRUARY 24, 2017 (CISA)-Cardinal Monsengwo Pasinya has expressed concern over frequent attacks on Catholic Church premises in the country.

According to Vatican Radio, the Cardinal believes the attacks are deliberate and links them to the Church’s role as a mediator between government and opposition parties.

“I believe the Church is being targeted deliberately in order to sabotage her mission of peace and reconciliation,” he said in a message sent to Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) posted on February 22.

He described the situation in the country as marked by resurgence of fear, anger and insecurity among the population.

The church played a crucial role as a mediator in negotiations that led to a December 31, 2016 agreement that will see President Joseph Kabila step down after elections late 2017.  This agreement brought the country back from the brink of renewed civil war.

Arson attacks have been common in Catholic Church installations. Arsonists attacked the Major Seminary in Malole in Kananga city, in Central Kasai on February 18.

On February 19, they attacked St. Dominic parish in Kinshasha and vandalized properties belonging to the church. Congolese government condemned the attacks.

Parishes of Mubinza, Ngwema ,Lubi, Kamponde and Mikele have also been attacked and looted in early February.

Pamphlets distributed in the region incited attacks against Catholic schools, churches and convents.

Cardinal Pasinya also called on the country’s politicians to assume their responsibility of leadership.

“It is now down to the men of politics to acknowledge with humility, both before the nation and before the international community, their political weakness and turpitude of their selfish choices that have led to political impasse and paralysis of the institutions,” he said.