MONDAY January 3, 2000 vol. 11, no. 1 SECTION THREE
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Gone but not to be forgotten: 31 Religious martyrs from around the world in 1999
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. continued inside.
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
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.
- Father Bernardo Cervellera,
- Director, FIDES
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
5. Rev. Hector Fabio Rojas/Colombian/Friars Minor/Guayaquil, Ecuador/Jan.
6. Rev. Cipriano Ibanez/Spanish/Society of Don Bosco/Moca ,Santo
7. Sister Carmeline/Kenyan/Missionary of Charity/Freetown, Sierra
8. Sister Swewa/Bangladeshi /Missionary of Charity/Freetown, Sierra
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,
13. Rev. Paul Juakali/Congolese/diocesan/Kalembe, D. Congo/Apr. 7
14. Rev. Pedro Léon Camacho/Colombian/diocesan/Cachira, Colombia/May
15. Rev. Carlos Francisco/Angolan/diocesan/Londwinbali Angola/Jun. 5
16. Sister Generosa Toyi/Burundian/Bene-Tereziya/Mubimbi, Burundi/Jun.
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
23. Sister Erminia Cazzaniga/Italian/Canossian/Los Palos East Timor/Sept. 25
24. Jacinto Xavier (seminarian)/Timorese/diocesan/Los Palos East
25. Fernando Dos Santos (seminarian)/Timorese/diocesan/Los Palos East
26. Valerio Conceicao (seminarian)/Timorese/diocesan/Los Palos East
27. Rev. Umberto Negrini/Italian/Serv. Div. Prov./Luanda, Angola/Oct. 30
28. Rev. Pedro Claver Ramirez Salazar/Colombian/Capuchin/Buga,
29. Sister Berthilde Ndayishimiye/Burundian/Bene-Tereziya congr/Musenyi,
30. Rev. Jorge Luis Maza/Colombian/diocesan/Quibdo, Colombia/ Nov. 15
31. Rev. Georges Kakuja/Congolese/diocesan/Kalonge, D. Congo/Nov. 22
23 Legionaries of Christ become first ordained priests in 2000 during ceremonies in Rome
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. continued inside.
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
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
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
"(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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