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Mozambique paying the price of climate change



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The people of Mozambique continue to pay the high price of climate change as yet another tropical cyclone prepares to make landfall. The southeast African Nation is reeling from the impact of the disastrous Cyclone Idai that killed 1000 people and displaced half a million in March.

By Linda Bordoni

Cyclone Kenneth is a tropical storm expected to make landfall over the northern part of Mozambique and the southern part of Tanzania by Friday.

Mozambique is struggling to recover after the devastation left by Cyclone Idai, which struck southeast Africa on 15 March near its port city, Beira, triggering floods and causing much death and destruction.

That cyclone killed over 1,000 people and displaced more than 500,000. They now have to cope with a cholera outbreak and the threat of famine in the coming months as crops and livelihoods and infrastructure has been washed away.

Father Bernardo Suate heads the Portuguese for Africa Programme of Vatican News. Originally from the city of Pemba in Mozambique, he told Linda Bordoni the people have been alerted and will hopefully take action to avoid being in the direct path of Cyclone Kenneth.

Listen to the interview with Fr Bernardo Suate

Fr Bernardo said authorities in Mozambique have alerted the population in cities like Pemba and Nacala and in other towns along the rivers encouraging them to move to less risky areas.

In the disastrous aftermath of Cyclone Idai and the flooding it triggered, authorities were accused of not having sounded the alarm bells, but Fr Bernardo said there is a warning system and usually people are alerted in time.

Concerning Cyclone Idai, he said, they probably did not expect it to be so powerful.

“Nobody could imagine that Idai would be so devastating. Maybe now that we have had this tragedy people will be more cautious and more careful and move from the river sides to better positions” he said.

He pointed out that Mozambique is used to a rainy season weather pattern with storms and floods expected between November and March, “but this time it was definitely more serious”.

“People”, he added, “do not want to leave their homes and prefer to stay and wait the storm out”, but following the tragedy caused by Cyclone Idai, “they will behave differently with Cyclone Kenneth”.

Many people have come forward to help

Regarding the current response to the far-reaching disaster caused by the Cyclone Idai, Father Bernardo noted that the national and the international communities as well as private donors and many faith-based organizations have proved to be present.

“Many people really came forward to give some help”, he said, but “on the other hand it is very difficult to handle such a dramatic situation with disrupted infrastructure, cholera and other diseases and all the issues of rebuilding or rehabilitating infrastructures. The challenges are enormous”.

The price of Climate Change

When Gracia Machel, Mozambique’s former First Lady travelled to Beira in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai, she said the city would go down in history as the first to be 90% wiped out by climate change.

Fr Bernardo agrees with this dramatic assertion saying it is most certainly the worst natural disaster to have struck his country, and that it has really brought home the fact that the people are paying the price of climate change “on their skin”.

He said it is increasingly urgent to take action both to help people deal with the effects of climate change “by behaving in a different way” and by promoting awareness regarding the consequences of climate change that cannot but be perceived across the world.

Awaiting Pope Francis

Pope Francis is scheduled to travel to Mozambique in September. Fr Bernardo said he is awaited with great trepidation by all – Government, people and Church.

“The presence of the Pope”, he said, “will be very encouraging, not only for the faithful, but also for those who are most of the times the forgotten people, the marginalized people, the people in the far-away peripheries. For them it will be an opportunity, once in a lifetime, to be in the eyes of the world”.


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Killing of Christians: Buhari lied to Trump – CAN fumes



Killing of Christians: Buhari lied to Trump - CAN fumes

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has reacted to President Muhammadu Buhari’s revelation of his conversation with United States President, Donald Trump, on the massacre of Christians in Nigeria, saying President Buhari was economical with the truth.

President Buhari had on Tuesday, revealed that at the heat of the bloody clashes between herdsmen and farmers in Nigeria, the United States President, Donald Trump, unequivocally accused him of killing Christians.

Buhari said these in his closing remarks at the two-day ministerial performance review retreat held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tuesday.

At a point, the President digressed from his prepared speech and narrated his encounter with Trump on the bloody clashes.

He said he managed to explain to the American leader that the clashes were not about ethnicity or religion.

He said, “I believe I was about the only African among the less developed countries the President of United States invited.

“When I was in his office, only myself and himself, only God is my witness, he looked at me in the face, and asked, ‘Why are you killing Christians?’

“I wonder, if you were the person, how you will react. I hope what I was feeling inside did not betray my emotion, so I told him that the problem between the cattle rearers and farmers, I know is older than me not to talk of him. I think I am a couple of years older than him.

“With climate change and population growth and the culture of the cattle rearers, if you have 50 cows and they eat grass, any root, to your water point, then they will follow it. It doesn’t matter whose farm it is.

“The First Republic set of leadership was the most responsible leadership we ever had. I asked the Minister of Agriculture to get a gazette of the early 60s which delineated the cattle route where they used meager resources then to put earth dams, wind mills even sanitary department.

“So, any cattle rearers that allowed his cattle to go to somebody’s farm would be arrested, taken before the court. The farmer would be called to submit his bill and if he couldn’t pay, the cattle would be sold, but subsequent leaders, the VVIPs (very important persons) encroached on the cattle routes. They took over the cattle rearing areas.

“So, I tried and explained to him (Trump) that this has got nothing to do with ethnicity or religion. It is a cultural thing.”

However, CAN’s Vice President and Chairman of the association in Kaduna State, John Hayab, was not impressed with Buhari’s submission, saying “Buhari and his government will never stop from amusing us with their tales by moonlight because what is happening in Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina, Birnin Gwari, Southern Kaduna, Taraba, Plateau and others cannot be described as a cultural thing.

He told Punch correspondent in an interview: “President Buhari’s weak story about his conversation with President Donald Trump further confirms why his government does not care about the killings in our country by calling them cultural things.

“Just this (Tuesday) evening, I received a report from the Kaduna Baptist Conference President about the number of their members that have been killed by bandits in Kaduna State from January 2020 to date to be 105 and our President will call it a cultural thing? All we can say is may God save our Nigeria.”

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Nuncio tasks clergy, laity on good stewardship



Nuncio tasks clergy, laity on good stewardship

The Apostolic Nuncio to Nigeria, Archbishop Antonio Guido Filipazzi, has urged the clergy, religious and lay faithful to be trustworthy, transparent, selfless and generous stewards in the discharge of their duties in the Church, following the way of Jesus.

Archbishop Filipazzi made the call during the opening ceremony of the maiden General Assembly of the Abuja Archdiocese, which was held on at Our Lady Queen of Nigeria Pro-Cathedral, Friday September 4.

The General Assembly, with the theme “Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja: Together in Evangelization,” saw Bishops, priests, religious men and women, and the laity gathered together to discuss means of strengthening the faith of God’s people amid the ongoing Covid-19 health crisis.

Addressing participants, Archbishop Filipazzi said that “an administrator is neither a master nor a slave who cannot decide anything, but one who is given a responsibility by the Master.” In this light, the faithful are called to be “true administrators of divine mystery” entrusted to them by Our Lord, according to their varying roles in the Church.

The Apostolic Nuncio also said “differences must not lead to division,” as everyone, though different, must strive for unity since there is no room for divisions in the body of Christ.

Archbishop Filipazzi, speaking on the upsurge in violence in northern Nigeria in a Vatican News interview on 29 August, had also called for shunning divisions along religious and ethnic lines.

Rather, he appealed for “general respect of the law and general intervention of the government” in the violent attacks which have claimed many lives and caused massive material damage.

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Assumpta CMO raises fund to roof “St Joseph’s Hall of Faith”



Assumpta CMO raises fund to roof “St. Joseph's Hall of Faith”

The Catholic Men Organization, CMO, Maria Assumpta Cathedral Parish Owerri, joined their counterparts in the Archdiocese to celebrate Father’s Day on Sunday, August 30.

The celebration earlier scheduled for May 10 this year was differed because of Covid-19 pandemic.

The occasion began with a Pontifical Mass presided over by His Grace, Most Rev. Anthony Obinna, Archbishop of Owerri cum Parish Priest of the Cathedral Parish.

In his homily, Archbishop Obinna called on Christians to live a life of witnessing to Christ at all times. He said that the zeal to preach the word of God is like a fire that burns inside the heart of a Christian and will not abate until one bears witness to Christ. This, he said, must be done in the course of our daily lives, in our places of work, in our families, among our friends, through living life that is Christ-like.

He congratulated the Christian fathers on the occasion and appealed for support to enable them complete their building project in no distant time. His Grace also appreciated the performance of the CMO choir during the Mass.

The theme for the parish celebration is: “Catholic Men As Spiritual Heads of the Domestic Church: Implications in the Family.”

The parish CMO used the celebration to raise fund for the roofing of their building project named: “St. Joseph’s Hall of Faith.”

In his brief remark at the occasion, the Parish CMO President, Arc. Anthony Emeka Ozoude said, “We have been able to complete the block work,” adding that, “the task before us now is to put a roof on the building.”

He therefore made a passionate appeal for generous donations from members and well wishers, assuring donors that every kobo donated will be prudently applied for the purpose.

Arc. Ozoude recalled that early this year, the parish CMO executive identified a three-prong programme of focus, namely: Membership revalidation, Debt recovery and Fund raising for the roofing.

He advised members not to sit on the fence anymore as there is so much to gain spiritually, morally and even intellectually from participating in the CMO activities both at the parish, stations and prayer groups levels.

“The committed members who attend our programmes regularly have discovered this and have remained resolute in their participation,” he said.

Activities marking this year’s celebration included Retreat, visit to ailing members in their homes, thanksgiving Mass blessing of the mini altars for the 5 prayer groups of CMO etc.

Arc. Ozoude thanked in a special way, Archbishop Obinna, the Cathedral Administrator and priests working in the Cathedral for their support. He also commended the various stations and prayer groups for their cooperation.

The CMO president acknowledged the good work and sacrifice of the Planning Committee, headed by Dr. Uche Ukozor and thanked them for a job well done.

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