Algeria – in the steps of Charles de Foucauld

The challenge of maintaining a female Christian presence in Tamanrasset

On 27 May this year, Pope Francis recognised the attribution of a second miracle to Blessed Charles de Foucauld (1858-1916), thereby paving the way for his canonisation. Murdered in Tamanrasset in the south of Algeria, deep in the Sahara, this celebrated French hermit and former cavalry officer, converted radically at the age of 28 and thereafter lived a contemplative life abandoned to the will of the Father and centred on the Eucharist.

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Sr. Martine Devriendt with children from Tamanrasset.
Photographer: Petites Sœurs du Sacré-Cœur de Ch. de Foucauld
Copyright: Aid to the Church in Need.

At the age of 32 he became a Trappist monk, then seven years later left the Cistercian life and worked for three years in Nazareth as a general handyman for the Poor Clare nuns. He divided his time between manual work, Eucharistic adoration and meditating on Scripture, especially on the Hidden Life of Jesus in Nazareth, deciding to imitate Him in his silence and discretion. He later felt called to become a priest in order to be able to reach those in very remotest regions. Ordained on 9 June 1901, he settled first in southern Morocco in Beni-Abbès. Here he built, not so much a hermitage, but a fraternity, a Khaoua, a place open to all, whether Christians, Muslims or Jews. Always attentive to the poor, ransoming slaves, offering hospitality to all who passed by, he divided his time between long hours of prayer (especially at night), manual and agricultural labour and hospitality towards all who visited.

Immaculate Heart Daughters fear jihadists may take control of Cabo Delgado province in northeast Mozambique 

Last weekend, heavily armed insurgents thought to belong to the Islamist Al Sunnah wa Jama’ah group (ASWJ), once again attacked the port town of Mocímboa da Praia, in the far north of Mozambique, causing widespread panic and forcing many people to flee the town.

Sister Graça António Guitate, (Sister Grace) of the congregation of the Daughters of the Immaculate heart of Mary, based further south in the provincial capital Pemba, confirmed to the Portuguese national office of the international Catholic pastoral charity and pontifical foundation ACN that “the attack began on Saturday around 5 a.m.” and the battle between the terrorists, claiming to be affiliated to ISIS, and Mozambican Armed Forces lasted “until midday”, claiming many casualties. “We have not heard reports of much damage to the infrastructure, but we hear that many Mozambican soldiers were killed”, she explained.

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Mozambique: Photo showing the sisters in peaceful times. Aid to the Church in Need has provided existence help for 16 sisters of the Congregation of Daughters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Copyright: Aid to the Church in Need.

Iraq's Christians remain at risk of eradication

Catholic Foundation warns of lack of security as the main reason for forced emigration

The Catholic charity and international pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) has published the report, "Life after ISIS: New challenges to Christianity in Iraq” which includes the results of a series of surveys carried out over a one year period. The study addresses the current challenges facing Iraqi Christians, who returned to their hometowns in the Nineveh Plains, after being the victims of dramatic persecution in 2014, internationally recognised as genocide.

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Iraq 2017 September Qaraqosh the procession of the Christians in Qaraqosh who symbolically coming back their town (from the outskirts of the city at the roundabout with a huge Cross to the Church of Immaculate Conception Church (Syriac Catholic). Photographer: Mr Iban de la Sota. Copyright Aid to the Church in Need.

The report warns that if the international community does not take immediate action, forced emigration could reduce the Christian population in the region within four years to 80% less than it was before the invasion of ISIS. This would move the Christian community from the category of "vulnerable" to the critical category of "endangered with extinction".

Grand Mufti’s Fatwa of hope

A Christian family in Pakistan fighting for the return of a 14-year-old girl reportedly abducted from her home have had their hopes raised after the Grand Mufti of a local mosque issued a fatwa.

Muhammad Asad Ali Rizvi Efi issued the Islamic ruling on behalf of the Sunni Rizvi Jammah Mosque, Jhung Bazar, Faisalabad, condemning as false (batil) a marriage certificate produced in court by Mohamad Nakash, who claims he is legally wedded to the abducted girl, Maira Shahbaz.

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NORTH KOREA: Cardinal Yeom announces the consecration of Pyongyang to Our Lady of Fatima and commemorates the persecution of Christians

Article by Paulo Aido.

The diocese of Pyongyang in the capital city of North Korea will be consecrated to Our Lady of Fatima. This was announced by Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, Archbishop of Seoul, on 25 June during a ceremony commemorating the beginning of the war 70 years ago to the day – at a time when tensions on the peninsula are once again on the increase.

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Portugal, Fatima. A statue of our lady of Fatima. Copyright Aid to the Church in Need.

On this occasion, Msgr. Andrew Yeom Soo-jung spoke about the significance of peace and harmony for the Korean peninsula, commemorating the approximately three million people who died during the war that broke out on 25 June 1950, the tragedy suffered by the refugees, the drama experienced by families that were torn apart and the persecution of Christians by the North Korean regime.

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