MONDAY    January 3, 2000   vol. 11, no. 1   SECTION THREE

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WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant...continued

CELEBRATING THE MARTYRS OF 1999

Statistics provided by FIDES

    VATICAN (FIDES/CWNews.com) -- As it does every year, on the Feast of the Holy Innocents, the Vatican news agency FIDES published a list of Church personnel killed in mission territories during the past year: 1999. This year the total is 31, priests, religious men and women, catechists and seminarians.

    The list is never complete, because many martyrs are nameless, while many more suffer a martyrdom which will never be known and are said only to be "missing."

    In many religious institutes, when the news arrives that a missionary has been killed, the community goes immediately to the chapel or church to sing the Magnificat, the prayer Our Lady sang out when she learned of the twofold pregnancies--her own and that of her cousin Elizabeth. The news of martyrdom is thus welcomed not with a funeral lament, but with rejoicing for a fruitful life.

    This is why the publication of the list of martyrs-- witnesses to the faith in 1999, at the beginning of the Jubilee-- is an integral part of the rejoicing for the beginning of the Holy Year. The Jubilee Year is a year of grace, conversion, pilgrimage, of passing through the Door, who is Christ himself, as Pope John Paul II recalled on Christmas Eve.

    What "grace" is hidden within martyrdom, a death which most people woulc consider a misfortune? Looking at the list of priests, sisters and catechists killed in 1999, the first "grace" or "thanksgiving" is for the witness given by Catholic Church as she goes out to the whole world, truly "catholic"--and not only in the geographical sense. The martyrs listed come from the world's trouble spots, immersed for years in war and violence, violation of human rights, and tyrannical oppression.

    Colombia, East Timor, Congo, Sierra Leone: these are countries which, when looked at through the eyes of the secular media, are deemed to be without hope. But the martyrdom of these 31 witnesses to Christ proves that the Church was and is there, preaching faith, peace, forgiveness, and love for each and every one. The death of a martyr is a sign that these places of desperation have been redeemed, made holy because there Christ himself is at work to make fruitful the sacrifice freely offered by his disciples.

    Many of these Gospel workers were killed while on a journey: going to celebrate Mass in the forests of Congo, carrying help to refugees in Timor, preaching along the river banks in Colombia. The journey-pilgrimage that the Pope calls us to undertake with the Holy Year has these martyrs as a model: it is a call to carry along the roads of the world the presence of Christ so that every man and woman is welcomed and loved in his dignity as a child of God.

    A martyr's sacrifice also has beneficial social effects: it was their death for example in East Timor, which awakened and convinced the international community to send a multi-national force to defend those people who had opted for independence.

    It is worth underlining another aspect: the Sisters in East Timor, or the missionaries in Colombia, or Mother Teresa's Sisters in Sierra Leone, died for Christ while serving the needs of the men and women with whom they shared day to day life. It is ever more common to see the martyrdom of those who share, for love of Christ, a situation of violation of human rights. We could say that these are the new martyrs of the "Church's social teaching"-- a condemnation of those political powers which suffocate or deny the dignity of individuals.

    In May 2000, the Pope will celebrate the Day of the Witnesses of the Faith, commemorating together with Catholic martyrs, those of other Christian churches-- Lutherans, Anglicans, Orthodox. These martyrs are a sign of the new Christianity of 2000, and they make present today the sacrifice that Jesus Christ offered for the world. Together they are a sign of hope for the men and women of the third millennium: models for a new humanity, capable of giving up their life, rather then suppressing that of others.

List of Church Personnel killed in Mission Countries in 1999

(In this list, the individual's name is followed by his nationality, diocesan or religious affiliation, and the place and date of his death. In some cases this information-- even the victim's name-- may be lacking.)

  • 1. Rev. Albino Saluhaku/Angolan/diocesan/Huambo , Angola/Jan. 6
  • 2. (catechist)/Angolan/Huambo , Angola/ Jan. 6
  • 3. (catechist)/Angolan/Huambo Angola/ Jan. 6
  • 4. Sister Maria Aloysius/Indian/Missionary of Charity/Freetown, Sierra Leone/Jan. 22
  • 5. Rev. Hector Fabio Rojas/Colombian/Friars Minor/Guayaquil, Ecuador/Jan. 23
  • 6. Rev. Cipriano Ibanez/Spanish/Society of Don Bosco/Moca ,Santo Domingo/Jan. 26
  • 7. Sister Carmeline/Kenyan/Missionary of Charity/Freetown, Sierra Leone/Jan. 29
  • 8. Sister Swewa/Bangladeshi /Missionary of Charity/Freetown, Sierra Leone/Jan. 29
  • 9. Sister Hindu/Indian/'Missionary of Charity/Conakry, Guinea-Bissau/Feb. 5
  • 10. Rev. Albert Peleman/Belgian/Benedictine/Petersburg, S. Africa/Feb. 14
  • 11. (seminarian)/Angolan/Ganda, Angola/Feb. 26
  • 12. Rev. Jaime Orlando Acevedo/Colombian/diocesan/Chinacota, Colombia/Mar. 23
  • 13. Rev. Paul Juakali/Congolese/diocesan/Kalembe, D. Congo/Apr. 7
  • 14. Rev. Pedro Léon Camacho/Colombian/diocesan/Cachira, Colombia/May 19
  • 15. Rev. Carlos Francisco/Angolan/diocesan/Londwinbali Angola/Jun. 5
  • 16. Sister Generosa Toyi/Burundian/Bene-Tereziya/Mubimbi, Burundi/Jun. 30
  • 17. Rev. Arul Doss/Indian/diocesan/Orissa, India/Sept. 1
  • 18. Rev. Hilario Madeira/Timorese/diocesan/Suai, East Timor/ Sept. 6
  • 19. Rev. Francisco Soares/Timorese/diocesan/Suai, East Timor/ Sept. 6
  • 20. Rev. Tarcisius Dewanto/Indonesian/Jesuit/Suai East Timor/ Sept. 6
  • 21. Rev. Karl Albrecht/German/Jesuit/Dili East Timor/ Sept. 6
  • 22. Sister Celeste de Carvalho/Timorese/Canossian/Los Palos East Timor/Sept. 25
  • 23. Sister Erminia Cazzaniga/Italian/Canossian/Los Palos East Timor/Sept. 25
  • 24. Jacinto Xavier (seminarian)/Timorese/diocesan/Los Palos East Timor/Sept. 25
  • 25. Fernando Dos Santos (seminarian)/Timorese/diocesan/Los Palos East Timor/Sept. 25
  • 26. Valerio Conceicao (seminarian)/Timorese/diocesan/Los Palos East Timor/Sept. 25
  • 27. Rev. Umberto Negrini/Italian/Serv. Div. Prov./Luanda, Angola/Oct. 30
  • 28. Rev. Pedro Claver Ramirez Salazar/Colombian/Capuchin/Buga, Colombia/Nov. 8
  • 29. Sister Berthilde Ndayishimiye/Burundian/Bene-Tereziya congr/Musenyi, Burundi/Nov. 8
  • 30. Rev. Jorge Luis Maza/Colombian/diocesan/Quibdo, Colombia/ Nov. 15
  • 31. Rev. Georges Kakuja/Congolese/diocesan/Kalonge, D. Congo/Nov. 22

    FIRST PRIESTS OF 2000

        ROME, JAN 1 (ZENIT).- Cardinal Lucas Moreira Neves, Prefect of the Congregation for the Bishops, today ordained some of the first priests of the year 2000. This was a group of 23 young men from the congregation of the Legionaries of Christ. The ceremony was celebrated at 10:00, Rome time, in the chapel of the congregation's seminary. Among those present was Fr. Marcial Maciel, who founded the Legion of Christ in 1941.

        The average age of these new priests is 32. They come from Germany, the United States, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Brazil, Australia, Mexico, and Spain. The Legion of Christ has 433 priests worldwide, and some 2,500 major and minor seminarians. It currently operates in 18 countries. ZE00010110


      Bishops in Florida mount campaign against death penalty, urge legislators to uphold Sanctity of Life

          While George W. Bush struggles for the presidential nomination, his brother Jeb Bush will have a different struggle ahead - dealing with pressure from the hierarchy for the bishops of Florida, among them Archbishop John Favalora of Miami, have recently exhorted the legislators from this state to oppose the proposals of legal changes that search to accelerate the process previous to the capital punishment. continued inside.

    FLORIDA BISHOPS URGE LEGISLATORS TO REJECT DEATH PENALTY

        MIAMI, 31 (NE) The bishops of Florida, among them Archbishop John Favalora of Miami, have recently exhorted the legislators from this state to oppose the proposals of legal changes that search to accelerate the process previous to the capital punishment. The governor of Florida and other legislative leaders will present these changes in the first days of January, at a special session of the Senate to handle the theme of death penalty. The bishops of Florida sent their letters to each of the senators and representatives, explaining their objections to these proposals and reiterating their opposition to death penalty itself. "It is a frightening prospect that we would wrongfully kill an innocent person because an expedited appeal precluded critical information from being considered," stated the Bishops regarding the proposal of the acceleration of the process.

      Texas judge nixes abortion licensing law; back to drawing board for pro-lifers

          Meanwhile in Texas, George W. Bush has another fight on his hands. If he's pro-life as he claims, then he'll fight the order a Texas judge just passed down blocking a Texas law that would have instituted special licensing requirements for abortionists. The law, which took effect on September 1, requires doctors' offices to be licensed if the doctor performs more than 300 abortions continued inside.

    JUDGE BLOCKS TEXAS ABORTION LICENSING LAW

        AUSTIN, Texas (CWNews.com) - A federal judge has blocked a Texas law that would have instituted special licensing requirements for abortionists.

        The law, which took effect on September 1, requires doctors' offices to be licensed if the doctor performs more than 300 abortions per year. Before that, Texas exempted doctors if the majority of their practice was not abortions. US District Judge John Rainey issued a temporary injunction against the law on Wednesday , saying the law violates abortionists' right to equal protection under the Constitution.

        "(The law) was obviously an attempt to color the procedure as more dangerous than it is and force doctors to not do this unless it's their full-time job," said Kae McLaughlin, executive director of Texas Abortion Rights and Reproductive Rights Action League.

        Pro-lifers said the law is intended to make abortion safer, regulating all abortionists, not just those who specialize in the practice. "These places are really in the pursuit of the dollar, not the pursuit of helping women," said Bill Price of Texans United for Life.


      Cooperation with the Muslim is paying off as authorities grant approval for Catholic church to be built to accommodate 60,000 Catholics in Qatar

          The Islamic government of Qatar has approved the building of a Catholic church in the capital to serve the Persian Gulf country's estimated 60,000 Catholics, according to the Gulf Times newspaper. continued inside.

    QATAR GIVES PERMISSION TO BUILD CATHOLIC CHURCH

        DOHA, Qatar (CWNews.com) - The Islamic government of Qatar has approved the building of a Catholic church in the capital to serve the Persian Gulf country's estimated 60,000 Catholics, according to the Gulf Times newspaper.

        The newspaper quoted Italian Ambassador Ignazio Di Pace as calling the move "a very important step, consistent with the principles of tolerance and freedom which are among the noble goals of the emir," Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani.

        Other Persian Gulf countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman, and Kuwait, already have churches and allow Christians to practice their faith freely.


      Sudan government's order that Islam must be taught in all state schools gives rise to Christians' fears

          Meanwhile in Khartoum, the Muslims weren't as accommodating for Sudan's Islamic government has ordered state governors to convert government primary schools into Muslim schools, according to a government newspaper on Thursday. continued inside.

    SUDAN MUSLIM GOVERNMENT ORDERS SCHOOLS TO BECOME RELIGIOUS

        KHARTOUM (CWNews.com) - Sudan's Islamic government has ordered state governors to convert government primary schools into Muslim schools, according to a government newspaper on Thursday.

        Christians in the country expressed fears that the order will increase hostility against the minority and undermine their right to raise their children in their own faith.

        Sudan has been split by civil war for two decades, pitting the Arab, Muslim north against the Christian, African south.

        President Omar Hassan al-Bashir announced the order on Wednesday at a graduation ceremony for teachers. He said the goal is to change society to enable it to live in accordance with the teachings of the Koran.

        "We thought the recent removal of the fundamentalist Islamist Hassan al-Turabi from the center stage of Sudanese politics would make the government more tolerant of other religions but it appears nothing has changed," one teacher at a school for refugee Christian Sudanese. Bashir sought to curb the influence of Turabi, parliament speaker and secretary general of the ruling National Congress party, when he declared a three-month state of emergency and dissolved parliament on December 12.


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    January 3, 2000     volume 11, no. 1
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