April 29, 2017

NIGERIA: Pope Appoints new Apostolic Nuncio

ABUJA APRIL 28, 2017 (CISA) – Monsignor Antonio Guido Filipazzi is the new Apostolic Nuncio to Nigeria.

According to a statement by the Secretary General, Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN), Fr Ralph Madu, Pope Francis made the announcement on April 26.

“He (Filipazzi) was born in Melzo (Milan- Italy) on October 8, 1963. He was ordained a priest on October 10, 1987 and is a Doctor in Canon Law,” said Fr Madu in the statement.

“He entered the Diplomatic Service of the Holy See in 1992 and has served in the Apostolic Nunciature in Sri Lanka, Austria, Germany, Indonesia and the Section for Relations with States of the Secretariat of State,” added Fr Madu said.

The new Pope representative speaks; Italian, English, French and German.

The position of the Pope Representative to Nigeria fell vacant following the transfer of Archbishop Augustine Kassujja to Belgium in November 2016 making him the first non-European Nuncio to Belgium.

‘Apostolic Nuncio’ is the term used for the Pope’s direct representatives to countries.

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EGYPT: Pope Francis Arrives in Country for Two-Day Peace Mission

CAIRO APRIL 28, 2017(CISA– Pope Francis today began a two-day state visit to Egypt aimed at fostering joint Christian-Muslim efforts for peace.

The Pope touched down at Cairo International Airport at 14.20PM and was received by the Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, Catholic bishops and other Christian clerics amid tight security.

The Prime Minister later accompanied him to the Ittihadya presidential palace where he met the President Fattah el-Sissi.

The Pope also paid a courtesy call to Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, the Imam of the government-run Al-Azhar mosque and the world’s foremost Sunni Islamic centre of learning.

Pope Francis is expected to address a conference on international peace conference. He will then meet other spiritual leaders of Egypt among them Coptic Orthodox Church Pope Tawadros II and other leaders.

On April 29, Pope Francis will preside over Mass at the military-run Air Defence Stadium, on the outskirts of Cairo, before meeting with Egyptian Catholic church leaders.

Pope Francis becomes the second Vatican leader to visit Egypt, after John Paul II visited in 2000.

Despite major security concerns, Egyptian authorities acceded to Francis’ wish to travel in a normal car, not a bulletproof one, during his sojourn in Cairo.

The pontiff’s visit to Egypt comes amid increasing militant attacks against the Christian minority.

He also comes amid a state of emergency declared by President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi following terrorist attacks claimed by ISIS on the Coptic churches of Tanta and Alexandria on Palm Sunday that killed 44 believers and injured over 100.

In a video message send to Egypt on April 25 ahead of his visit the pope had said that he was going to Egypt as a messenger for peace.

“I am truly happy to be coming as a friend, as a messenger of peace and a pilgrim to this Country. I hope that my I would hope that my visit will make fruitful contribution to inter-religious dialogue with followers of Islam and to the ecumenical dialogue with the venerable and beloved Coptic Orthodox Church,” the Pope said.

Egypt has the largest Christian community in the region, accounting for around 10 percent of the country’s, 92 million population mostly Muslims.

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KENYA: German Foreign Office Grants Church towards Peaceful Elections

NAIROBI APRIL 28, 2017 (CISA– The German Federal Foreign Office, through the German Embassy Nairobi has signed a partnership agreement with the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops, Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (KCCB-CJPC) towards a peaceful and credible electoral process.

“We are happy to support the conference of Bishops in Kenya with this grant in order to achieve this goal of free, fair and credible elections that indeed we all have in common,” said German Ambassador to Kenya Mrs. Jutta Frasch during the signing of the partnership April 27 at St Thomas Aquinas, Nairobi.

She noted that the Federal Government of Germany is committed support institutions working on civic and voter education programs.

“…we are very thankful for this kind gesture from you on behalf of the German Government, it will go a long way in ensuring the well-being of Kenyans through a peaceful and credible election,” Rt. Rev. Phillip Anyolo, Chairman of Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops told the Ambassador.

He thanked the German Federal Foreign Office for its commitment to support KCCB-CJPC in promoting democracy and good governance especially as Kenya go to the polls in August 2017.

“We look forward strengthening this partnership by ensuring successful implementation of this project,” he said.

The agreement was signed during the Bishops’ Ordinary Plenary Assembly that took place in Nairobi from Monday April 24 to Friday April 28.

The project titled, “Enhancing Citizen Participation in the Electoral Process 2017, Devolved Governance and Conflict Management in Conflict affected Counties,” will be implemented in sixteen counties including Lamu, Tana River, Siaya, Nandi, Wajir, Garissa, Narok, Baringo, Turkana, Taita Taveta, Isiolo, Marsabit, Samburu, Meru and Makueni, and Mandera.

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KENYA: Bishops Decry Handling of Drought as Attention Shifts to Politics

NAIROBI APRIL 28, 2017 (CISA)-The Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops has expressed concern over the shift of attention from handling famine to politics.

“Whereas many people, especially in dry areas continue to experience a worsening situation of drought, it is evident that all attention has been diverted to politics with considerable resources being used in campaigns and road shows,” said bishop Cornelius Korir, the Chairman Catholic Justice and Peace.

Bishop Korir was reading a press statement at the completion of their Ordinary Plenary Assembly at St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary in Nairobi on April 28, the bishops observed that would otherwise be used to fight the drought and famine is being spent on politics.

He warned that the leaders’ greed and self-centeredness in their quest for power was crippling efforts to address the menace pushing Kenyans to the brink of despair.

“It is unfortunate that the same leaders, who are supposed to engage in drought management activities, are the same ones misusing the little available resources by bribing voters. The culture of greed and self-centeredness is worsening an already bad situation. Suffering Kenyans are being pushed to the brink of despair,” he said.

Political parties in Kenya are currently holding nominations for political posts ahead of theAugust 8, General Elections.

The Catholic bishops noted that prolonged drought meanwhile has ravaged many parts of the country causing untold suffering to many, with pastoralists having lost 60 percent of their livestock.

“Kenyans are experiencing the scourge of famine that unless mitigated urgently might lead to loss of many lives. We urge the County and National Governments to work together in harmony to ensure food security,” he said.

They thanked the government for declaring drought a national disaster and urged the faithful and every Kenyan to join the Catholic Church in their ongoing efforts to address the situation.

“We thank the Government for heeding our call to declare drought a national disaster and therefore to appeal for relief emergencies to affected areas. We thank and appeal to all our Christians  and people of good will not to get tired of helping those who are in need,” he concluded.

They further called on the County and National Government to work together to address the situation that risks causing further loss of lives.

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KENYA: General Elections should not Mirror Political Party Nominations, Bishops Say

NAIROBI APRIL 28, 2017 (CISA) – “We pray that the chaotic manner in which these nominations have been conducted will not be a mirror of what will happen in the General Election,” Bishop Phillip Anyolo, Chairman Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) has said.

“We have been following with keen interest the ongoing party primaries’ nominations. If the violence, the allegations of bribery, suspicions, accusations, and counter accusations, rejection of nomination results and the general acrimony we are being treated to are anything to go by, then all of us have reason to be very worried over the forth coming August General Elections,” added Bishop Anyolo.

He was speaking today during a press briefing at the end of the bishops’ Ordinary Plenary Assembly at St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary, Nairobi.

The bishops noted that many Kenyans seem to have lost confidence in the capacity of institutions entrusted with the responsibility of steering the electoral process but urged the electorate to learn to trust and give a chance to those concerned to do their work.

“Should there be any issue, the way of dialogue and the use of the established Courts should be employed. We must not take the matter into our own hands. We must learn to trust and talk to each other,” advised Bishop Anyolo.

They further called on the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commissions (IEBC) to learn from the nominations exercise, “In order to avoid the glaring pitfalls that have been witnessed” and ensure only leaders of integrity are elected in a peaceful and credible election.

“We call upon IEBC to do a better job in planning and in the execution of the forthcoming elections. Free, fair, transparent elections will result in peaceful elections that will be acceptable to all,” stated Bishop John Oballa, vice Chairman (KCCB).

“Similarly IEBC should be firm and equivocal in dealing with any malpractice, and any individual who does not follow the law should immediately be disqualified from taking part in the elections,” added Bishop Oballa.

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