What inspires young people to cross continents for a celebration of faith with Pope Francis? Lilian Chan, on line editor for Caritas Australia, tells us about the energy, diversity and unity to be found at World Youth Day. One of the phrases I've most heard during my preparations for WYD is "to expect the unexpected"! I am definitely looking forward to seeing Pope Francis. I've read a few of his addresses, and they have been so amazing and inspiring - he is simple to understand, but has such insight into the world and how we as Catholics fit in. He also shows such love and understanding of humanity when he speaks, which is so different to what we often hear in our world today. The chance to see a pope from Latin America in Latin America will be really amazing. Most importantly, I've decided to go to WYD this year because I [...]
World Youth Day 23rd-28th July By Michelle Hough, communications officer for Caritas Internationalis Read in Spanish. Pope Francis now has more people following him on twitter in Spanish than he has in English (well over a cool 2.5 million followers in each language). Seeing as up to three-quarters of twitter users are said to be between 15 and 25 years old, that’s a good sign for the upcoming World Youth Day in Brazil. Around two million young pilgrims are expected to flock to Rio de Janeiro where they’ll join Pope Francis on Copacabana beach and in other places to take part in various events such as catecheses, masses and a vigil. I’ll be with them, applying sun cream and anti-aging creams at frequent intervals and working with my colleagues from Caritas Brazil to provide the 164 organisations in our global confederation with blogs, press releases and photos.
Read in French By Clotaire Mbao Ben Seba, Bangui If you think a smile is stronger than a weapon If you believe in the power of an offered hand, If you can look at the other with a touch of love If you prefer to know the hope to suspicion, If for you the other is primarily a brother, If you believe that peace is possible, Then peace will come. A hymn for peace sung by students of St. Theresa School in Bangui at a special Mass for reconciliation. “If we speak, write and cry loud enough, someone may stop, listen and do something,” said Fr. Aurelio Gazzera, Caritas director in the diocese of Bouar in the Central African Republic. But he doubts that help will come to a country with chronically instability and little strategic value. Conflict, human rights abuses and lawlessness has been rampant there since the rebel […]
By Guy-Marin Kamandji After about six months of a truce, fighting has resumed around the eastern Congolese city of Goma, in North Kivu. An offensive by M23 rebels started on Monday 20 May at dawn in Mutaho. Eye-witnesses, speaking on Radio Okapi, said, “We heard heavy arms fire on the hills around our homes from about 4 in the morning. We left immediately without taking anything. It is under these conditions that we arrived at Mugunga... we were scattered. There are people who have not found their children." Caritas says it registered 132 families in Mugunga III camp on Monday from Mutaho. “M23 troops resumed fighting in the early hours of Monday. These clashes have caused a panic among the population of several villages and many people have moved to a neighborhood in the north east of Goma,” said Caritas Goma. “Our last information is that 3000 people have arrived at the St.Francis Xavier [...]
By Guy-Marin Kamandji, Caritas Congo Musawu walks with a firm step, carrying 20 litres of water on her head with great agility. The water must be equivalent to about half the 10 year old girl’s weight. It’s Monday morning in Bukwa Mulumba, a town in Kasai Central in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Musawu still has to make the 2.5 km trip from her home to the water point and back two more times today. “When there is enough water at home, then my mother lets me go to school. Tomorrow I will be able to go to school,” she says. She is not the only one making the walk on the slippery slope. Mrs Kanyeba, a young woman, doesn’t have the 250 to 300 Congolese Francs (about 20 cents) to buy 20 litres of water in her village, so she must make the journey herself. “After four trips with 20 […]
By Bishop Audo of Aleppo, Caritas Syria President For two years Syria has been pulled apart by conflict. Violence and anarchy have become widespread. We have become conditioned by tragedy. Our minds and hearts have been constricted by fear and by caution. But I do my best to keep my heart and eyes open to what is happening. And I’m pained by the terrible poverty I see. A few days ago, I was walking in Souleimanié, a Christian quarter in Aleppo. People were surprised to see me walking alone. Immediately they feared that I might be kidnapped. The kidnappings of two priests and two bishops have traumatized many Christians in Syria. As I walked, I saw four children in their early teens sitting around a table on the pavement playing cards. They were the children of merchants. They no longer go to school but just send their time playing cards. […]