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bookmark_borderAFRICA/D.R. CONGO – Missionary October: first profession of two young people among the Missionaries of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Kinshasa – During the Missionary Month of October, the Congregation of Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary had the joy of participating in the first religious profession of two Congolese sisters, Astrid Muita and Gracia Makobo. Mass was celebrated on Sunday October 10 in the community of Christ the King in Kinshasa, chaired by Father Edouard Tsimba, CICM, former Superior General, who in his homily underlined: “We can only follow Jesus with a free heart and freed from all worldliness “. He then invited the sisters to holiness: “Your heart must be occupied by the Lord, the Master”.
The celebration, in which the families and friends of the newly professed took part, was attended by the priests of the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and all the sisters of the Congregation, led by the responsible delegate, Sister Jeanne Kombe. Sister Kombe reminded the two young religious of the fundamental importance of the continuity between the experience lived in the house of formation and the community of life, inviting the newly professed to maintain the dynamism and the collaboration they have experienced in the years of initial formation and encouraged the parents to help Astrid and Grâce in the journey of life that has just begun. The two newly professed spent 4 years of formation in the Congregation, including 2 years of novitiate shared with 2 young Burundians who also made their first religious profession on the same day, but in their own country. The Congregation of Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is an international missionary congregation of pontifical right, founded in Mulagumoodu in 1897, by Marie Louise De Meester. The African region of the Congregation includes Burundi, Cameroon, Senegal and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is directed by 2 delegated leaders: Sister Jeanne Kombe and Sister Mariana .

bookmark_borderEUROPE/ROMANIA – “Missionary pilgrimage” in an October full of initiatives for missionary animation

Bucharest – The National Direction of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Romania has organized numerous initiatives of missionary awareness and animation for the month of October, which will end next Sunday, October 31.
The whole month has been marked by the preparation of the faithful of all ages to make them understand better the missionary dimension of the Church. The special “missionary pilgrimage”, at the parish and diocesan level, was welcomed with enthusiasm especially by children and adolescents. Some of them have even walked many miles to give glory to God, offering their sacrifice for the conversion of all people. Another successful proposal was that of the “Living Rosary”, an initiative of the venerable Pauline Jaricot, foundress of the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith. Also in this case, the children played an important role and gathered every Wednesday evening, via zoom, to pray the Holy Rosary together. The foundress of the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith, who will be blessed on May 22, was not only a point of reference for the meditations throughout the month, but was also the leading figure in the national ceremony held last Friday, October 22, which was broadcast on the PMS Facebook and on Radio María. The missionary triduum that began with the online event “Pauline Jaricot, yesterday and today”, dedicated to the foundress of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, was organized to express joy and gratitude for her beatification. Later, on Saturday, parish and diocesan missionary vigils were held. The missionary pilgrimage to Bucharest was celebrated on October 23 and ended with a solemn Missionary Vigil, presided this year by Monsignor Cornel Damian, Auxiliary Bishop of Bucharest. On Sunday, 24 the Eucharistic celebrations were held on the occasion of World Mission Sunday, at the end of which funds were raised to support the Pontifical Mission Societies.
On the Sunday of World Mission Sunday, a group of children and adolescents accompanied by Father Eugen Blaj, director of the national office of the PMS in Romania, made a significant gesture from the point of view of proclamation and Christian evangelization: they went to an area of Romania with very few faithful Catholics and Holy Mass was celebrated there, thus giving testimony of their faith.

bookmark_borderAFRICA/ MALAWI – Missionary October, an opportunity to rediscover the vocation of every baptized person to evangelization

Malawi – A strong call to evangelization, the primary task of the ecclesial community and of every baptized, comes from the diocese of Zomba, Malawi, at the opening of the Missionary Month, in view of the celebration of World Mission Day which in the African country is seen as a sort of “missionary week”, and then ends on October 31st.
As Fides learned, Fr. Innocent Chiwanda, pastoral coordinator of the diocese of Zomba, speaking at the opening celebration of the Missionary Month in the parish dedicated to St. Vincent de Paul , underlined the fact that every Christian, in the environment in which he works, is called to participate to the proclamation of the Gospel and that the Church must concretely carry out the mission of Christ by placing herself at the service of other people. In the same celebration, the National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies of Malawi, Fr. Vincent Mwakhwawa, reiterated the importance for the ecclesial community of the month of October which will culminate with the celebration of World Mission Sunday.
Many initiatives are planned in the diocese of Zomba, as recalled by Father Henry Chiwaya, diocesan PMS Director, such as the promotion of vocations to the missionary work of the Church, the prayer of the Rosary and some works of charity. On this occasion, the moderators of the Church of the eighteen parishes of the diocese were given the task of actively collaborating in the Missionary Month. The president of the Council of the laity, Vito Sandifolo, assured his commitment to promoting the mission of the Church in this special month of October.
The commitment made by the Bishops’ Conference in Malawi through the PMS to enhance the role of the catechist as a witness to faith and missionary in the parish community, places itself in this context. “Being a catechist is a vocation – explained Fr. Vincent Mwakhwawa during a celebration of about 30 years of service of a catechist from the parish of Salima in the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Lilongwe-. Catechists are called to discern and reflect on their own vocation, they are called to commit themselves in a serious and coherent way since the faithful look to them as examples to follow”.

bookmark_borderAFRICA/TOGO – Churches closed until mid-October, but missionaries do not stop solidarity

Kolowaré – The episcopal conference of Togo has asked in this month of the Rosary to light a candle on October 7, the day of Our Lady of the Rosary, in front of the closed doors of all parish churches. Despite the imposition of the closure of churches in the African Country, the commitment of the missionaries does not stop. “Here I am again in Kolowaré. I returned on September 16 after my usual annual stay in Genoa at the Provincial House of the Italian Society for African Missions “. Father Silvano Galli, priest of the Society for African Missions, missionary in Togo, told Fides about his return to the mission land that has welcomed him for 17 years, after 22 years in Ivory Coast. “I left from Genoa with Fr. Ceferino Cainelli, Provincial of the Italian province of SMA, we arrived in Lomé half an hour earlier than expected – he wrote. After all the checks, I arrived at customs. The baggage scanner was broken, and they opened my suitcases. I approached the chief of the customs officers, greeted with a convinced Salam Aleikoum, then two words in kotokoli, I explained that I am priest in Kolowaré and, with a smile, they let me pass. The driver Bassarou from Kolowaré is waiting for me to go to the Maison Régionale. ” The missionary explains that this ‘regional house’, in the neighborhood of Beh in Lomè, is the point of reference for all the SMA fathers working in Togo.
“It will become a center to welcome the propaedeutic, with young people who wish to enter our community, in which I will also be present from January when I leave Kolowaré”.
“The next day we left and stopped in Amakape where they offered us several packs of medicines for the dispensary in Sokodé – continued Fr. Silvano. At the entrance to Sokodé, a policeman asked us what was in the packages. ‘Medicines for the Dispensary’ in Kolowaré, I replied. The policeman lights up: ‘But I went to school in Kolowaré, I lived behind the old church’. Once we arrived at the mission, we unloaded the medicines in front of the nuns’ warehouse as the churches here are closed until mid-October. The next day, early in the morning, a few visits followed one another: a group of boys arrived with their coaches, Charles, with a chicken, Jean with vegetables from the garden, Celine with a pitcher of local beer, and then the group of children who came with baskets of manure for the vegetable garden. They learned of my arrival, and here they are! These little missionaries made me feel at home again”, concluded Fr. Galli.

bookmark_borderAMERICA/MEXICO – March October 3 in favor of women and human life: for the Bishops it is “an expression of love for women and for life”

Mexico City – On the occasion of the national march in favor of women and human life to be held on Sunday October 3 in many cities of the country, promoted by many civil society organizations, the Bishops of Mexico have published some guidelines , congratulating “all the people of good will who have decided to participate in the march” and encouraging “those who have not yet done so, to prophetically join this expression of love for women and life”.
In the statement sent to Fides, signed by Msgr. Rogelio Cabrera Lopez, Archbishop of Monterrey, President of the Mexican Bishops’ Conference ; by Msgr. Jesús José Herrera Quiñonez, Bishop of Nuevo Casas Grandes and Responsible for the episcopal dimension of life, and by Msgr. Alfonso G. Miranda Guardiola, Auxiliary Bishop of Monterrey, Secretary General of CEM, it is emphasized that this is “a citizen march, open to all religious expressions, without any kind of political-party relationship or link, and takes place in the exercise of freedom of expression and respectful demonstration”.
The Bishops also reiterate that “the spirit that must animate the participants is that of the ‘culture of encounter’, promoted by the Holy Father Francis, based on love, dialogue and which demands an impeccable, peaceful, respectful and free behaviour from any form of violence “. “Faced with the false dilemma of discarding human life to protect women – they continue – the march will highlight the defense of women’s dignity and promote a common commitment to seek creative solutions to the various problems they face in many areas, in particular for those victims of violence, exploitation, discrimination or pregnant women in vulnerable situations. At the same time and with the same conviction, we will put forward the defense of the dignity of the unborn conceived human being and we will raise our voice in favor of his protection and defense by the State”. On September 6, the country’s Supreme Court of Justice ruled on the unconstitutionality of some articles of the Criminal Code of the State of Coahuila, concerning the criminalization of women who resort to abortion under certain conditions, of those who helped them and of staff health workers who assisted them. The Bishops of Mexico believe that “the problems faced by women and the legal status of the unborn child are a complex issue, with anthropological, scientific, philosophical and ethical importance that cannot be reduced to a resolution in a court of law”. Therefore, they consider it essential that “all social protagonists – outside a climate of ideological polarization and without clinging to political positions – commit themselves to a new and profound reflection that allows to find a common path towards a solution to a multidimensional and multifactorial problem such as this” .

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