AMERICA/VENEZUELA - Appointment of the National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies, Fr. Ricardo E. Guillén Davila
10/07/2020

Vatican City - On April 3, 2020 Cardinal Luis Antonio G. Tagle, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, appointed Fr. Ricardo E. Guillén Davila, of the Archdiocesan clergy of Caracas as National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Venezuela, for a five-year period .
The new Venezuelan National Director obtained a Diploma in Missiology and a Licentiate in Biblical Theology at the Pontifical Urbaniana University in Rome. He was a fidei donum missionary in Lichinga, Mozambique, director of the Archdiocesan Secretariat of Caracas, deputy parish priest and parish priest.
He is currently parish priest in Caracas, national director of the biblical animation department of the Bishops’ Conference, national secretary of the PMS, coordinator of the missionary project Ad gentes of the Church of Venezuela with the diocese of Tete, Mozambique, delegate for the missions of the archdiocese of Caracas.
AFRICA/GHANA - Covid-19 - For the Bishops: "too many people do not respect the security protocols in the demonstrations for the December vote"
10/07/2020

Accra - "We are concerned about the poor adherence to Covid-19 precautionary measures in the buildup to the country’s parliamentary and presidential elections scheduled to be held in December 2020", says a statement signed by the President of the Ghanaian Bishops’ Conference, His Exc. Mgr. Philip Naameh, Archbishop of Tamale.
In particular, the message refers to what happened during the recent New Patriotic Party parliamentary primaries, the ongoing voters’ registration exercise, as well as the announcement of the National Democratic Congress Flag-bearer’s running mate in Accra.
Reminding everyone of the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, the Bishops said that the latest updates from the Ghana Health Service indicate that the country’s coronavirus cases are increasing.
"As much as we acknowledge that the recovery rates are equally impressive", the Bishops note, "the increase in the positive case count is not good news for us as a country. The same can be said about the mortality rate which is also on the increase". Ghana reportedly has 22.822 confirmed coronavirus cases with 129 deaths in its population of about 31 million people. while 17,564 people have been cured.
The Bishops encourage Ghanaian citizens to participate in the voters’ registration exercise but also urge them to take personal responsibility in ensuring the necessary health protocols, especially those of social distancing and the wearing of face masks.
They recall a directive issued by the country’s Electoral Commission which addressed the overcrowding at some registration centers and recommended a Queue Management System. According to the directive, the first 150 applicants would be provided with numbers and split into two groups. The first group would be attended to in the morning and the other, later in the day.
While applauding this initiative, the Bishops further appeal to the government to assist the Electoral Commission with more security personnel who can ensure strict adherence to the protocols at the registration centres.
Concluding the statement, the Ghanaian Bishops appeal to all to "accept the reality of Covid-19 and thus modify their behaviours to conform to the safety guidelines".
VATICAN - Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Ecuador and Bolivia receive aid from the PMS Fund for the Covid-19 emergency
10/07/2020

Vatican City - In many dioceses of mission territories, the serious consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, of a health, social and economic nature, have added to already dramatic situations, as in the case of the Nigerian dioceses, which have asked for the help of the Emergency Fund established by Pope Francis at the Pontifical Mission Societies to support the Churches of the mission countries in the face of the Covid-19 emergency .
In the Archdiocese of Kaduna, the severe impact of Covid-19 has increased the suffering of the population already severely affected by terrorist attacks on Christian communities which caused deaths, injuries and numerous displaced persons, as well as a general climate of fear. Poor and vulnerable children suffer the most, who seek refuge in the parishes, but the priests do not have the material means to support them, since without Eucharistic celebrations they cannot even collect offerings for their daily sustenance. The aid sent by the PMS Fund will serve to support pastoral workers and staff employed in parishes, as well as purchase the health protection kits necessary to face the pandemic. In fact, in the last month there has been an increase in infections since many in the region refuse confinement and compliance with prevention rules, due to the high rate of illiteracy.
Even the diocese of Maiduguri in recent years has suffered heavy damage from the assaults by Boko Haram terrorist groups in which about 300 churches and pastoral centers, health centers and schools have been destroyed, leaving dead and injured as well as causing numerous displaced people. There are a large number of widows, orphans and internally displaced persons, which the diocese takes care of, facing further difficulties caused by the pandemic. Therefore help is needed for diocesan staff, medical staff, priests who assist communities in the most remote areas, and for the purchase of health protection material.
The diocese of Osogbo, a young rural diocese created in 1995, ordinarily derives the main means of support for its activities and for pastoral workers, from the collections during Sunday masses and from other offerings that come from the generosity of the faithful. Isolation has closed churches and stopped pastoral activities, so the diocese has tried to reduce or eliminate expenses, but despite this it needs external help to ensure minimal support for pastoral workers and religious communities.
The diocese of Ilorin also covers a rural area, mostly Muslim, where Catholics are just 4%, almost all peasants, farmers, small traders, with low education or illiterate. It is therefore extremely difficult, with the consequences of isolation, to ensure support for pastoral workers, who generously dedicate themselves to assisting and proclaiming the Gospel.
The faithful of the Archdiocese of Freetown, in Sierra Leone, like those of all the regions in which the closure of the churches has been decreed, in recent times have been able to participate in the mass only through radio and internet broadcasts. In this way, Christians who were unable to gather did not even have the opportunity to provide for the support of their priests, religious and catechists engaged in human promotion and the proclamation of the Gospel. In particular, it needs support for schools run by the Church, which carry out important training and education work for the younger generations.
Also in Latin America there are ecclesiastical circumscriptions entrusted to the Missionary Dicastery where the Church is not yet sufficiently developed for the particular local social and economic situations. In particular, the PMS Emergency Fund has sent aid to the Apostolic Vicariate of Puyo, Ecuador, which will be used in particular to support the health service for the Amazonian population, and to the Apostolic Vicariate of Beni, Bolivia, one of the most affected areas from the coronavirus. The population suffers not only from the constant danger of getting sick but also from the lack of economic resources. The Church distributes food and medicines to the most needy families, sharing a moment of prayer with them, always respecting the rules of health security.
AFRICA/IVORY COAST - With the death of Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly, "the Country loses a model for young people" says President Alassane Ouattara
10/07/2020

Abidjan - Amadou Gon Coulibaly, Ivory Coast's Prime Minister, died on Wednesday 8 July in Abidjan. The information was broadcast live on national television, RTI 1, by Patrick Achi, Secretary General of the Presidency of the Republic. Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly had taken part in the Council of Ministers held on the morning of 8 July at the Presidential Palace of the Republic.
President Ouattara himself tweeted his own message, saying "my younger brother, my son, Amadou Gon Coulibaly, who was, for 30 years, my closest partner. I salute the memory of a statesman of great loyalty, devotion and love for his country", Ouattara said.
For the Head of State, "with the loss of Amadou Gon Coulibaly, Ivory Coast loses a model for youth, an example of skill, hard work and altruism".
Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly had just returned from France, where he had been staying for health reasons. A return that had aroused much hope in the heart of the Ivorians and the RHDP, the Rassemblement des Houphouetistes pour la démocratie et la paix, his political party.
Amadou Gon Coulibaly had been appointed candidate of the RHDP for the presidential elections of October 2020.
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