Iraq longs for better times for his Church and his people

Archbishop Petros Mouche heads the Syriac-Catholic Archdiocese of Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, which was captured by ISIS in the summer of 2014. Today, with ISIS ousted from Mosul and the Nineveh Plains, Christian communities are slowly coming back to life. Thousands of Iraqi faithful, having spent upwards of three years in exile in Kurdistan, have resettled in their former homes, villages and towns. In an interview with Aid to the Church in Need, Archbishop Mouche—who also oversees the Syriac-Catholic Church in Kirkuk and Kurdistan—takes stock of the situation:

The positive change that has occurred in our region—no one can deny it. Things may not yet be at the required level, but there are very clear and concrete signs of progress. But no credit goes to the state: credit belongs to the faith-based and humanitarian organizations that rushed in to support us.

ACN 20170928 61767 Easy ResizeSyriac Catholic Archbishop Yohanna Petros Mouche of Mosul in Iraq. Photographer/Author: Christian Gennari. Copyright Aid to the Church in Need.

Stand together for Religious Freedom: Symposium in Rome

On Wednesday (April 3) a symposium took place in Rome hosted by the Ambassador of the USA to the Holy See: It was titled: “Stand together to defend international religious freedom”.

The event was organized by the “Standtogether Project”. Speakers included: Pietro Cardinal Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State and the USA Ambassador Gingrich.

ACN had been invited to be part of the symposium and was represented by Alessandro Monteduro, the National Director of the Italian office emphasized in his speech that “We cannot and don't want to be an accomplice of indifference toward persecuted Christians” Watch highlights of the symposium below:

Alessandro Monteduro


INDIA: Increase in violent attacks against Christian minorities

Interview with Mons. Theodore Mascarenhas, 12.04.2019
by Maria Lozano

India has just begun its electoral process, which will take place in seven separate stages between 11 April and 19 May this year. Fears that this, the most populous democracy in the world, might end up becoming a theocratic Hindu nation have strengthened recently, in light of the fact that the Hindu nationalist party, the Bharatiya Janata (BJP) and its president Narendra Modi are seeking a second mandate. During its present term in office there has been an increase in interreligious violence, according to the report on Religious Freedom Worldwide by the international Catholic pastoral charity and pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN International). The figures speak for themselves: in 2016 a total of 86 people were killed and 2371 injured in 703 separate incidents of sectarian (Hindu fundamentalist) violence; in 2017 the figures were 111 killed and 2384 wounded in 822 separate reported incidents.

The most recent attack - on March 26 - took place in Tamil Nadu against a Catholic school, the Little Flower Higher Secondary School in Chinnasalem, when a crowd of Hindu fundamentalists smashed up the school and even attempted to strangle the religious sisters who were running the school. ACN journalist Maria Lozano interviewed Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, Auxiliary Bishop of Ranchi and Secretary General of the Indian Bishops’ Conference and asked him about the elections and the gravity of this recent incident.

ACN 20190403 86330 Easy Resize

A picture from The Night of Witnesses organized by ACN France (23-29 March) Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, secretary general of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of INDIA (CBCI)  with Bishop Fridolin Ambongo, bishop of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the CONGO. Copyright: Aid to the Church in Need. Photographer: François-Régis Salefran.

Burkina Faso: Trapped and forced to flee their convent

After their hasty departure from Kompienbiga, in the south-east of Burkina Faso, the sisters of the congregation, Sœurs des Campagnes took refuge with the brothers in the male branch of their same congregation, in Pama, back in January 2019 and just before the assassination of Father César Fernandez. Sister Thérèse, the Mother Superior, and Father Soubeiga, the parish priest  of Pama, spoke to the international Catholic pastoral charity and pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN International) about the increase in violence which has struck the country, despite the fact that it is generally considered more peaceful than its tumultuous neighbours Mali and Niger.

ACN 20190220 84333 Easy Resize

Burkina Faso, February 2019 - Transfer of the body of Fr. Antonio César Fernández to the morgue. The Spanish Salesian missionary, was assassinated on Friday 15.02.2019 at 72 years of age in a jihadi attack close to the border of Burkina Faso. The Salesian group was returning to their community in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, after participating in a congregation meeting in Lomé, neighboring Togo.
Copyright Aid to the Church in Need.

Nicaragua: A Church on the side of its people  

by Ines San Martin

“We are carrying a small corner of the cross of Christ. We cannot carry it all. It is He who is helping us.”

Nicaragua today is a country trapped between two identities: on the one side it is a nation led by a government that in many respects continues a long history of dictatorship, as typified by the Somoza dynasty, which governed the country for almost 6 decades during the 20th century.

But on the other hand it is also a country whose people have said “enough”. A people who have woken up from their stupor and now wish to move forward, with a Catholic Church led by ten bishops who do not fear to shepherd their flock and be a Church that goes out to the margins, as Pope Francis keeps asking, and which opens the doors of its cathedrals in order to be, quite literally, a field hospital.

ACN 20190410 86493 Easy Resize

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