ASIA/SYRIA - Assad to Armenian refugees: return to Syria and help us rebuild the country
20/05/2019

Damascus - A call to return to Syria and rebuild homes devastated by the conflict was addressed by President Bashar Assad to Syrian Armenians who fled the Country during the years of conflict, finding refuge in Lebanon, Armenia or others Middle Eastern and Western countries. The explicit request for repatriation addressed to Armenian refugees was expressed by the Syrian leader on the occasion of his recent meeting with Aram I, Armenian Apostolic Catholicos of the Grand House of Cilicia, received in Damascus by President Assad on Tuesday 14 May.
The Syrian official media also reported the praises addressed in that circumstance by Assad to the "patriotic spirit" of the Syrian Armenians, whom he defined as "exemplary citizens": the Syrian President glorified their contribution to the defense of the national unity in the face of the attempt to dismember the Country put in place by what Assad has defined "terrorist barbarism". Assad also compared the brutality he attributed to this "terrorist barbarism" with the ferocity of the massacres committed more than a century ago by the Ottomans against the Armenian people. While the Catholicos Aram recalled that Syria was a safe haven for the Armenians who in those tragic circumstances were fleeing from the systematic massacres perpetrated against them in the territories of present-day Turkey. The Catholicos also thanked Assad for his contribution to the restoration of the Armenian Apostolic Cathedral of the Forty Martyrs in Aleppo, devastated during the conflict.
Of the Syrian Armenians who fled the country during the conflict, at least 22,000 have been welcomed in Armenia. In June 2018 the European Union had allocated a contribution of 3 million euros aimed at supporting projects for the integration of Armenian refugees who fled from Syria and found refuge in the former Soviet republic.
In 2015, while the Syrian conflict exacerbated the clash between Damascus and Erdogan's Turkey, Syria recognized the Armenian Genocide perpetrated in Anatolia a hundred years earlier. On 4 March 2015, the Syrian People's Assembly dedicated a commemorative session to the hundredth anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. The initiative, promoted in particular by the Syrian Christian parliamentarian Maria Saadeh, saw the involvement of members of parliamentary committees for foreign relations.

AFRICA/BURKINA FASO - A Spanish Salesian killed in Bobo Dioulasso
20/05/2019

Ouagadougou – A Spanish priest, Father Fernando Fernández, was stabbed to death, and another injured on Friday evening, 17 May in Don Bosco center of Bobo-Dioulasso in the Southwest of Burkina Faso,.
During lunch, a former cook who worked in the facility for seven years, hurled the Spanish religious with a knife and killed him. A second priest of Togolese origin was injured in the accident. Fr. Germain Plakoo-Mlapa, director of studies, was immediately transported to the hospital and is out of danger. The killer was immediately arrested by the police.
From the first investigations it seems that the cook wanted to take revenge for having been sacked two months ago.
Fr. Fernández was the treasurer of the Don Bosco center in Bobo-Dioulasso, the second city of Burkina Faso, located in the south-western part of the country, in the province of Houet, about 300 km west of the capital Ouagadougou. In Bobo Dioulasso, since 1994, the Salesians have set up: an assistance center for street boys and girls, a literacy center and a professional training center with over 300 students.
The killing of the Spanish Salesian and the injury of theTogolese confrere is only the latest episodes in the country's religious communities. On February 15, another Spanish Salesian father, Fr. Antonio César Fernández Fernández had been killed in a jihadist attack perpetrated forty kilometers from the southern border of Burkina Faso .
This week, within 24 hours, two very serious attacks were committed against the Catholic community. On the first Sunday, May 12, against the parish of Dablo during which an armed group killed Don Siméon Yampa and five faithful , the second on May 13 against a Marian procession in Singa, with the death of four faithful and the destruction of the statue of the Virgin .

AMERICA/NICARAGUA - Cardinal Brenes condemns the police violence committed in front of the Cathedral of Managua
20/05/2019

Tegucigalpa - "I saw a video in which my cathedral is practically surrounded by police, this is so sad", said Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes, Archbishop of Managua at a press conference in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, at the end of the Assembly of the Episcopal Council of Latin America .
Cardinal Brenes, thus, wanted to launch an appeal to the Nicaraguan national police to avoid spreading more violence, expressing his regret at the fact that the police have surrounded the Metropolitan Cathedral of Managua, in search of people who oppose the government.
The numerous families of Nicaraguan political prisoners organized a sit-in in front of the cathedral, to ask for justice after the news of the murder of Nicaraguan political prisoner of North American nationality Eddy Montes Praslin, in "La Modelo" prison, in unclear circumstances.
Hundreds of police officers surrounded the cathedral for hours before the sit-in, and witnesses claimed that several young people were persecuted or captured.
Cardinal Brenes reaffirmed that dialogue is "the only solution to solve the socio-political crisis in the country, the worst in recent decades".
The US embassy in Managua condemned the death of the US citizen and asked in an official way to "clarify the circumstances of what happened immediately".

EUROPE/ITALY - Brothers of the Christian Schools: five "projects without border" for the mission of education
20/05/2019

Rome - In the year of the celebrations to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the death of their founder St. John Baptist de La Salle, the Brothers of the Christian Schools present five new school projects for those living in "border places", geographical and cultural, in the sign of the mission of proximity to the poorest and marginalized: "We have a million students all over the world, of all religions, all ethnic groups, all cultures", says to Agenzia Fides Brother Jorge Gallardo, Vicar General of the Institute. "30% of our students attend our universities, which are about 100 worldwide. We are called to be close to the poorest, to those who are in a situation of distress, as Pope Francis asked us".
Brother Jorge tells Agenzia Fides the choice to start five projects, also in cooperation with other religious congregations, one in each continent: one in Asia, on the border between Myanmar and Thailand, where a school has been opened for refugee children or in search of a job; one in Africa where in South Sudan, in Rumbek, a school for boys was opened together with the Sisters of Loreto; another is an educational center for all migrants of the "triple border" between Peru, Colombia and Brazil, in Tabatinga, in the Amazon; a fourth is located in Europe, in Brussels, in the difficult neighborhood of Molembeek, where an educational center for migrants is about to open, in collaboration with the local parish. The fifth project, about to be completed – he continues – is in North America: the intention is to open a school for children along the border between Mexico and the United States". The objective - explains the vicar - is "to continue to ensure a human and Christian education in the sign of the tradition of our founder. We wish to express our faith through concrete actions in favor of the most needy and at the service of young people".
"A heart, a commitment, a life" is the central theme that inspires the celebrations of the Lasallian Jubilee Year, for the approximately 3,700 brothers of the Christian schools - almost 90,000 educators and lay collaborators, over a thousand educational centers in 80 countries in the world - united by the rule and charisma of the founder Saint John Baptist de La Salle, French priest and educator who died in Rouen on April 7th 1719. "Our educational proposal is having a positive response in every country - he concludes - involving many volunteers. This encourages us to continue our mission after 300 years".


Link correlati :Watch the video interview with Brother Jorge Gallardo on Agenzia Fides Youtube channel
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