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Tuesday, 15 October 2019 12:14

CHAD Extraordinary Missionary Month

15 October 2019 - "We do not reach faith alone or through our own efforts" says the Bishop of Goré. "By decreeing the Extraordinary Missionary Month, the Pope wants to give each of us the opportunity to realize that our faith in Jesus Christ manifested in baptism is first and foremost a gift from God for which every day we must thank Him", said His Exc. Mgr. Martin Waingue Bani, Bishop of Goré, in southern Chad, in his homily on Sunday 6 October, in which the opening of the Extraordinary Missionary Month was celebrated.

"We do not reach faith alone or through our own efforts", stressed Mgr. Waingue Bani. "Faith comes from listening to the Word of God and this word cannot be heard unless there is someone who announces it. Each of us has had a mother, a father, a catechist, a priest, a nun, in his life, in short a testimony of the Gospel that brought him to the knowledge of Jesus". Therefore, this missionary month must also be an opportunity for us to remember all those who brought us the Gospel, starting with the first missionaries, the Spiritan and Capuchin Fathers and all the missionary congregations, male and female. Each of whom contributed with its own stone to the construction of this Church Family of God here in Doba, without forgetting the many catechists without whom Jesus Christ will not be announced in the depths of our villages", recalled the Bishop.

All this is made possible by the action of the Holy Spirit, added Mgr. Waingue Bani: "It is thanks to the action of the Holy Spirit that we can believe and love Jesus. This is why our faith is a free gift from God".

"Whether we have chosen to follow the Lord in marriage or in consecrated life, we are called to bear witness to our faith in the concrete life of each day. In this sense, being baptized or being a Christian means being missionary disciples, it is assuming the responsibility and suffering as Saint Paul says in the proclamation of the Gospel", the Bishop points out.

Mgr. Waingue Bani recalls that "the first Catholic mission in Chad, first in Kou Doholo and then transferred here in Doba, was opened under the patronage of Saint Teresa of the Child Jesus. This is why this cathedral that welcomes us for the opening celebration of this Extraordinary Missionary Month, bears the name of Saint Teresa of the Child Jesus because it is here that the first community of our diocese was born, a community that is the fruit of this seed of the Word of God, 90 years ago by the first Catholic missionaries, the French spiritual fathers Heriau and Columbus. All this to say that the first form of evangelization is first of all the witness of the life of prayer and charity". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 14/10/2019)

Published in News
Saturday, 27 July 2019 12:19

CHAD The cereal bank

27 July 2019 - A bank to defeat drought, hunger and exploitation. In its coffers there are no gold bars or even precious currency, but cereals. This is what, Father Franco Martellozzo, an Italian Jesuit for more than fifty years a missionary in Africa, has been building in Chad. As the Jesuit explains to Fides, the idea came from observing that in large parts of Chad subsistence farming is practiced which offers farmers the minimum to survive. There is only one agricultural season, from April to September, and it is the only period during which the land can be cultivated (for millet, sorghum, peanuts) because there is enough rain.

All farmers sell part of their millet during harvest time to get some money for other needs. But if everyone sells in the same period, prices fall. Traders, on the other hand, buy, store and wait for the reserves of millet and sorghum to be scarce. This happens in the rainy season, when one has to work for the new harvest and the stocks are reduced to a minimum. Almost everyone buys in that period, prices increase, even reaching three times what the peasants had sold to traders. Who has no money sells the plow or cattle and if it is not enough, he goes to work for big traders, triggering a vicious circle of debts and credits that leads many farmers to a state of semi-slavery.

In 1994, faced with a great drought, the Catholic Church began to reflect on what tools to implement to get out of the vicious circle of hunger and speculation on cereals. "We noticed - recalled Father Martellozzo - that the distribution of food solved the problem temporarily, but inspired a sense of de-responsibility. Hence the idea of building a warehouse to store a millet reserve". The proposals were accepted, and the warehouse became a real "Bank of cereals".

The system is simple. The purpose of a cereal bank is to improve food supply in hungry season, especially during extended drought periods. Grain is bought either from the village, or from elsewhere when the prices are low, just after harvest; it is stored until it is needed, and then sold to the villagers at reasonable price. "Now every farmer works his land and has regained his freedom". (EC) (Agenzia Fides, 27/7/2019)

Published in News
Tuesday, 16 July 2019 17:19

Chad The Goundi hospital is 45 years old

The Catholic university hospital complex "Le Bon Samaritain" in Chad, a center of excellence in the nation, is 45 years old. The institute, founded in 1974 by the Jesuit from Bergamo, Fr. Angelo Gherardi with a group of faithful and friends gathered in the Association Tchadienne Communauté pour le Progrès (Atcp), has become one of the fundamental pivots of the health system in Chad.

The history of the complex begins a few years earlier. Returning to Chad in 1968, after studying theology, Father Gherardi became responsible for the Goundi mission: 40,000 inhabitants in an area of four thousand square kilometers, without public or private health facilities. The following year, however, the Institute of the Sisters of Charity of Saint Jeanne Antide Thouret agreed to finance the construction of a maternity hospital in Goundi and Jesuit brother Enrico Mafioletti, of the Province of Venice-Milan, was commissioned to build it. The opening takes place in 1974. A secondary nursing school is also created alongside the hospital. The first staff of the hospital is composed of a couple of doctors, former students of the Jesuit College Leone XIII of Milan, a Jesuit nurse from the Province of Milan-Venice, three Sisters of Charity and twenty Chadian nurses.

From 1974 to 1990 the structure functions like any conventional hospital: it has 120 beds with services such as pediatrics, maternity, internal medicine, surgery, operating theater, laboratory analysis and radiology. In 1990 there was an important step forward with the launch of the "Integrated Health Program" according to which health care activities, carried out in peripheral health centers, are coordinated with the activities of the hospital. The hospital obtains numerous health centers located between 20 and 30 kilometers in the surrounding territories. Between 1989 and 2015, the Atcp opens nine other health centers to "offer quality assistance to the people of Chad and create a favorable context for the study, training and education of students, especially the most disadvantaged, in rural and urban areas", explains a note sent to Agenzia Fides. Between 2004 and 2007, a medical school, a university hospital and a nursing school in 2008 were inaugurated in N'Djamena, the capital of Chad.

Father Gherardi's work continues to function regularly thanks to the support of many partners, including the Chadian government. Since it is important to ensure the continuity of the work of the founder, on 27 September 2015 "Le Bon Samaritain" passes under the direct management of the West African Province of the Society of Jesus.
Today the complex brings together 300 professionals in the two offices of N’Djaména and Goundi. General practitioners, nurses, midwives, and doctors of various specialties (surgery, pediatrics, gynecology) pool their skills to meet the needs of vulnerable populations. To these must be added about 50 medical students and 170 nursing science students. The complex avails itself of collaboration with several universities: the Pontifical University of Chile, the University of Reims in France, the Puerta del Mar University Hospital in Cadiz, Spain, as well as other universities and training facilities in Spain and Lebanon.
"The Society of Jesus does not have a specific charism (like the Camillians) for chaplaincy and hospital management", say the Jesuits of Chad to Fides. "Assuming the responsibility of the Good Samaritan - they explain - was a choice born from the attention towards the people of Chad that counts us among the very first missionaries who came from the country, to put into practice the preferential option for the poor. Training in the field of health care is now a precious help for the population, helping to create qualified medical personnel. The whole nation today greatly appreciates the service of the Faculty of Medicine of the Good Samaritan". (EC) (Agenzia Fides, 16/7/2019)

Published in From the world

26 April 2018 - “We need a referendum to change the constitution” the Catholic Bishops of Chad said in a statement issued at the end of their recent Plenary Meeting and sent to Fides.

On 30 April Chad’s National Assembly will vote to adopt a plan to reform the Constitution boycotted by the Opposition but approved by the government on 10 April. Controversial issues include the extension of the presidential mandate from 5 to 6 years and the extension of the powers of the head of state. According to the Opposition the new Constitution serves mainly to render perpetual the power of President Idriss Déby Itno. The latter however affirms that the creation of a Fourth Republic will enable the country to tackle its problems.

The Bishops express concern about the "process followed to establish the Fourth Republic of Chad. This process, as many people fear, threatens to seriously falsify the rules of democracy, since it spread the germ of division among the citizens”.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Chad agrees with those who affirm that the theme of the Fourth Republic was not at all debated by the citizens: “Besides divergences in the political class ,we see the majority of the people fail to realise what is happening . Such a fundamental change should be made with respect for the Constitution which at Article. 224 states “the revision of the Constitution is approved by a referendum”."

The Bishops say they are not in favour of Diya, reparation for bloody crimes prescribed by Sharia law, because “it compromises social peace, undermines efforts to restore Rule of Law and ruins community economy”. This is why the bishops urge the competent authorities not to impose this practice in a community where it is not tradition and even in communities where it is practiced, its application must be strictly regulated”. The Bishops call for the reinforcement of the national judicial system and the abolishment of inter-community accords for the application of Diya “because those accords have caused tension between the communities”.

“Work for peace while not forgetting the people” conclude the Bishops in an address to the country’s political, administrative, social and religious leaders. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 26/4/2018)

Published in News
Thursday, 01 February 2018 21:50

VATICAN “Why we are in dialogue with China”

31 January 2018 - We publish the interview with Vatican's Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin launched today on Vatican Insider, a religious information website of the Italian daily La Stampa

Interview with the Secretary of State who responds to the accusations made against the Holy See regarding the ongoing contacts, “We trust that the Chinese faithful, thanks to their spirit of faith, will know how to recognize that our action is animated by trust in the Lord and does not answer to worldly logic”

Gianni Valente

Several signals (including opaque operations, actual political manipulations, and even sabotage) indicate that important developments may occur in contacts between the Holy See and the Government of the People's Republic of China. The time is right to listen to an authoritative word, which will help to grasp what the Pope and the Holy See really have at heart. And with our Chinese brothers and sisters in mind, help to dispel suspicions and artificial fumes, to look at the ecclesial heart of the whole question, outside politicized narratives. For this reason, Vatican Insider interviewed Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State of His Holiness.

Eminence, what can you tell us about the dialogue between the Holy See and the People's Republic of China?

"As it is well known, with the advent of "New China", there were, for the life of the Church in that great country, moments of serious contrasts and severe suffering. Since the eighties, however, contacts have been established between representatives of the Holy See and of People's China, who have known different seasons and alternating events. The Holy See has always maintained a pastoral approach, trying to overcome the contrasts and making itself available for a respectful and constructive dialogue with the civil authorities. Pope Benedict XVI well represented the spirit of this dialogue in his 2007 Letter to Chinese Catholics, "the solution to existing problems cannot be pursued via an ongoing conflict with the legitimate civil authorities " (n. 4). In Pope Francis’ pontificate, the ongoing negotiations move exactly along these lines: constructive openness to dialogue and fidelity to the genuine Tradition of the Church".

What are the concrete expectations of the Holy See from this dialogue?

"First of all, I would like to make a premise: in China, perhaps more than elsewhere, Catholics have been able to preserve, despite the many difficulties and sufferings, the authentic deposit of faith, keeping firmly the bond of hierarchical communion between the Bishops and the Successor of Peter, as a visible guarantee of faith itself. In fact, communion between the Bishop of Rome and all Catholic Bishops touches the heart of the Church's unity: it is not a private matter between the Pope and the Chinese Bishops or between the Apostolic See and civil authorities. Having said that, the main purpose of the Holy See in the ongoing dialogue is precisely that of safeguarding communion within the Church, in the wake of genuine Tradition and constant ecclesiastical discipline. You see, in China there are not two Churches, but two communities of faithful called to follow a gradual path of reconciliation towards unity. It is not, therefore, a matter of maintaining a perennial conflict between opposing principles and structures, but of finding realistic pastoral solutions that allow Catholics to live their faith and to continue together the work of eangelization in the specific Chinese context".

The communion of which you have spoken calls into question the delicate issue of the episcopal appointments, which are stirring up much controversy. Will a potential agreement on this issue succeed in resolving the problems of the Church in China in a fair manner?

"The Holy See knows and shares the serious sufferings endured by many Catholics in China and their generous witness to the Gospel. She knows that there are many problems for the life of the Church and that they cannot all be solved together. But, in this context, the question of the appointment of Bishops is crucial. On the other hand, we cannot forget that the freedom of the Church and the appointment of Bishops have always been recurring themes in the relations between the Holy See and the States. Certainly, the path started with China through the current contacts is gradual and still exposed to many unforeseen events, as well as new possible emergencies. No one can say in conscience that they have perfect solutions for all problems. Time and patience are needed to heal the many personal wounds inflicted on each other within the communities. Unfortunately, it is certain that there will still be misunderstandings, fatigue and suffering to be faced. But we all have confidence that, once the issue of the Episcopal appointments has been adequately considered, the remaining difficulties should no longer be such as to prevent Chinese Catholics from living in communion with each other and with the Pope. This is the important thing, so long-awaited and desired already by Saint John Paul II and Benedict XVI and today pursued with far-sightedness by Pope Francis".

What is then the true attitude of the Holy See towards Chinese authorities?

"It is important to reiterate this: in dialogue with China, the Holy See pursues a spiritual aim: to be and feel fully Catholic and, at the same time, authentically Chinese. With honesty and realism, the Church asks nothing but to profess her faith with more serenity, definitively ending a long period of contrasts, in order to give more room for greater trust and offer the positive contribution of Catholics to the good of Chinese society as a whole.

Of course, many wounds are still open today. To treat them, we need to use the balm of mercy. And if someone is asked to make a sacrifice, small or great, it must be clear to everyone that this is not the price of a political exchange, but falls within the evangelical perspective of a greater good, the good of the Church of Christ. The hope is that, when God wills it, we won’t have to speak of "legitimate" and "illegitimate" Bishops, "clandestine" and "official" Bishops in the Church in China, but about meeting among brothers and sisters, learning the language of collaboration and communion again. Without this experience, how could the Church in China re-launch the journey of evangelization and bring to others the consolation of the Lord? If you are not ready to forgive, this means, unfortunately, that there are other interests to defend: but this is not an evangelical perspective".

If this is the attitude, is there not the risk of erasing the past and present suffering by wiping the slate clean?

"Quite the contrary. Many Chinese Christians, when they celebrate their martyrs who have suffered unjust trials and persecutions, remember that they have been able to rely on God, even in their fragile humanity. Now, the best way to honor this testimony and make it fruitful in the present, is to entrust the present life of Catholic communities in China to the Lord Jesus. But this cannot be done in a spiritualistic and disembodied way. This is done by choosing fidelity to the Successor of Peter, with a spirit of filial obedience, even when not everything appears immediately clear and understandable. About your question, it is not a matter of wiping the slate clean, ignoring or, almost magically erasing the painful path of so many faithful and pastors, but of investing the human and spiritual capital of so many trials to build a more serene and fraternal future, with the help of God. The Spirit who has so far guarded the faith of Chinese Catholics is the same Spirit who supports them today on the new path they have embarked upon".

Is there a council, a particular request that the Apostolic See can address to the Chinese faithful at this moment? To those who are happy before potential new developments, but also to those who are confused or have objections?

"I would like to say with great simplicity and clarity that the Church will never forget the past and present trials and sufferings of Chinese Catholics. All this is a great treasure for the universal Church. Therefore, to the Chinese Catholics I say with great fraternity: we are close to you, not only through prayer, but also through our daily commitment to accompany and support you on the path of full communion. We ask you, therefore, that no one should cling to the spirit of opposition to condemn his brother or use the past as an excuse to stir up new resentments and closures. On the contrary, we hope that each one will look with confidence at the future of the Church, beyond any human limit".

Your Eminence, do you really believe that this is possible? What is your trust based on?

"I am convinced of one thing. Trust is not the result of the strength of diplomacy or negotiations. Trust is based on the Lord who guides history. We trust that the Chinese faithful, thanks to their sense of faith, will know how to recognize that the action of the Holy See is animated by this trust, which does not respond to worldly logics. It is especially up to the pastors to help the faithful to recognize in the Pope's guidance the sure reference point for grasping God's plan in the present circumstances".

Is the Pope informed of what his collaborators do in their contacts with the Chinese government?

"Yes, the Holy Father personally follows current contacts with the authorities of the People's Republic of China. All his collaborators act in concert with him. No one takes private initiatives. Frankly, any other kind of reasoning seems to me to be out of place."

In recent times, critical expressions have emerged, also within the Church, about the approach adopted by the Holy See in dialogue with the Chinese Authorities, judged by some as a true "surrender" for political reasons. What do you think?

"I think, first of all, that in the Church there is a full right to disagree and to tell one's own criticisms, and that the Holy See has a moral duty to listen to them and to evaluate them carefully. I am also convinced that, among Christians, criticism should be directed at building communion and not at stirring up divisions. To be frank, I will tell you: I am also convinced that part of the suffering experienced by the Church in China is not so much due to the will of individuals as to the objective complexity of the situation. Therefore, it is legitimate to have different views over the most appropriate responses to the problems of the past and present. That is entirely reasonable. Having said that, I think that no personal point of view can be considered as an exclusive interpreter of what is good for Chinese Catholics. Therefore, the Holy See works to find a synthesis of truth and a practicable way to respond to the legitimate expectations of the faithful, inside and outside China. It takes greater humility and spirit of faith to discover together God's plan for the Church in China. It takes greater caution and moderation on the part of everyone in order not to fall into sterile polemics that hurt communion and rob our hope for a better future".

What do you mean?

"I mean that we are all called to distinguish more appropriately the spiritual and pastoral dimension from that of politics. Let us start, for example, with the words we use every day. Expressions such as power, betrayal, resistance, surrender, confrontation, failure, compromise, should make room for others, such as service, dialogue, mercy, forgiveness, reconciliation, collaboration, communion. If you are not prepared to change this approach, there is a serious problem: taht of thinking and acting only politically. In this regard, the Holy See hopes for everyone a sincere pastoral conversion inspired by the Gospel of mercy, in order to learn to welcome one another among brothers and sisters, as Pope Francis has often called for".

What would you say to the Chinese leaders today?

"Look, on this point I would like to refer again to Benedict XVI's words in his Letter to the Chinese Catholics. He teaches that the mission proper to the Church is not to change the structures or administration of the State, but to proclaim to mankind Christ, the Savior of the world, relying on the power of God. The Church in China does not want to replace the state, but wants to make a positive and serene contribution for the good of all. Therefore, the Holy See's message is a message of goodwill, with the hope of continuing the dialogue undertaken in order to contribute to the life of the Catholic Church in China, to the good of the Chinese people and to World peace".

Published in News
Monday, 13 February 2017 12:17

Chad A hepatitis E outbreak is escalating

13th February 2017 - Since September, MSF has treated 885 patients with Acute Jaundice Symptoms (AJS), with numbers increasing to an average of around 60 new cases a week. AJS, which commonly causes a yellowing of the skin and eyes, can indicate that a person has hepatitis E. To-date, 70 patients have confirmed cases of hepatitis E (HEV RDT+) while 64 have been hospitalised, and 11 have died, including four pregnant women.

Hepatitis E is transmitted from one person to another, mainly through contaminated water and in areas where access to quality water is limited.

"MSF is calling on all the humanitarian and development agencies present in Chad to step up the size and speed of their efforts to ensure an effective response to the hepatitis E outbreak in Am Timan", says Rolland Kaya, MSF's head of mission in Chad. "More actors are needed to implement preventative actions including water sanitation, especially as cases are increasing in frequency across the Salamat Region, and not only in the city of Am Timan."

Following the identification of the first hepatitis E cases five months ago, MSF has repeatedly called on other organisations to collectively respond to this emergency.

Up to now, the few responses delivered by other actors have been minimal in terms of quantity, quality and timelines. A more consistent intervention is urgently needed, especially in the domain of water and sanitation. Without an immediate scale-up of support from other agencies, and the government of Chad, MSF alone cannot contain this escalating outbreak.

"As a medical organisation, it is not usually MSF's job to intervene on a large scale in water chlorination activities, but with no other options to help stop the spread of the virus, we are obliged to fill this gap", says Rolland Kaya. "Once again, we encourage the Chadian Ministry of Public Health to declare the current hepatitis E outbreak an epidemic to enable an appropriate response."

More than 600 MSF staff have been testing for new cases, treating patients and improving water supplies and sanitation in the city of Am Timan, including chlorinating the city water towers. Water chlorination is a major part of an emergency response to prevent outbreaks of waterborne diseases such as hepatitis E.

In addition to the medical response in Am Timan hospital, MSF has rolled out a large-scale bucket chlorination campaign at the 72 water points within Am Timan town. Outreach staff are also holding education sessions to explain the importance of washing hands with soap and of using the chlorinated water at designated water points.


Published in News

14th January2017 - The Bishops of Chad in their Christmas message: Chad is going through a very difficult time because "of disputes on the presidential election management, the non-payment of wages and the austerity measures taken by the government to tackle the economic and financial crisis" write the Bishops of Chad in their Christmas message, only now sent to Agenzia Fides. Politically the Bishops complain about "the lack of dialogue" between government and opposition and between institutions and civil society that constitutes "a serious threat to democracy".

Since Chad has been exporting oil "the Country has lost its agricultural and pastoral vocation" stressed the message. "But the mismanagement of oil revenues and the brutal fall in international oil prices have brought to light, as expected, the fragility of an economy based on a resource that arouses against so many ambitions".

The lack of interest in the primary sector and the advance of desertification are causing "bloody conflicts between shepherds and farmers, causing human and material losses".

The Bishops ask everyone to do their part to get the Country out of the crisis by inviting the population to "resist the temptation of violence and discouragement". "The future of the Country belongs to you. It is up to you to draw a new path, away from beaten paths marked by the errors of the past. This happens if there is tolerance, respect for differences and beliefs and mutual acceptance". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 14/01/2017)

Published in News
Tuesday, 10 November 2015 20:55

CHAD Boko Haram: state of emergency

10th Novembre 2015 - The N’Djamena government has declared a state of emergency in the Lake Chad region in a bid to contrast the ongoing violence and attacks by the Islamist Boko Haram group.

The measure, adopted last night after a cabinet meeting, steps up powers of civil authorities and security forces. They will in fact have powers to limit or ban the circulation of people and vehicles, search homes for weapons and adopt other necessary measures.

The state of emergency comes two days after an attack against a village near Lake Chad, where Boko Haram militants killed two people. The Lake Chad region counts around 450,000 residents and its capital is the city of Bol. [Misna VG/BO]

Published in News
Friday, 09 October 2015 21:45

CHAD Political spending cuts

9thOctober 2015 -

To avert crisis. Chad's authorities have decided some measures to revive the nation's economy, including cutting by half benefits of state officials, reduction of 'special funds' for some officials to carry out their political duties and payment of debts.

The measures were addressed in a two-day apposite cabinet meeting, after a drop in oil prices and relative proceeds, considering Chad is a producer. In the meeting, Prime Minister Kalzeubet Pahimi Deubet explained that the measures were the result “of an inventory of the problems affecting our public spending, and were defined lasting and fruitful solutions”.

An issue not addressed at the meeting was however sanctions against those misappropriating state funds. A measure considered by most analysts inevitable to relaunch the economy, considering that Chad lists 154th on 175 nations of Transparency International's corruption perceptions index

[DM/BO] Misna 09/10/2015

Published in News
Tuesday, 01 September 2015 10:21

CHAD: “Worring humanitarian situation"

31st August 2015 - “The communities we met had witnessed indescribable violence. Entire families found themselves in worrying humanitarian situations”, the United Nations Under-Secretary General and Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel, Toby Lanzer, said warning of a rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Lake Chad basin.

The UN adds that wide insecurity has forced over 41,000 people to flee the islands to settle in more secure zones in the interior territories over the past month. The area has in fact been targeted by numerous attacks by the Nigerian Boko Haram militants. The insecurity has also impacted crops during harvest time, heightening the possible humanitarian consequences.

The international community should urgently reinforce its humanitarian action, especially for the displaced people in the Lake region who have been affected by the crisis", Lanzer said. Only 35% of the $572 million needed to address the most pressing needs has been made available. (Misna)

Published in News
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