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The Synod on Young People: What does the Final Document Say?

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On Saturday afternoon, the Final Document of the XV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops consisting of 3 parts, 12 chapters, 167 paragraphs and 60 pages is approved in the Synod Hall.

The text was received with applause, Cardinal da Rocha said. It is “the result of real teamwork” on the part of the Synod Fathers, together with other Synod participants and “the young people in a particular way”. The Document, therefore, gathers the 364 modifications, or amendments, that were presented. “Most of them,” the Cardinal said, “were precise and constructive”. Furthermore, the entire document passed with the necessary 2/3 majority voting in favor.

The inspiration for the Final Document for the Synod on Youth is the episode of the disciples of Emmaus, recounted by the evangelist Luke. It was read in the Synod Hall by the Rapporteur General, Cardinal Sérgio da Rocha, by the Special Secretaries, Fr Giacomo Costa and Fr Rossano Sala, together with Bishop Bruno Forte, a member of the Commission for the drafting of the text. It is complementary to the Instrumentum laboris of the Synod, and follows the three-part subdivision.

Part One: “He walked with them”

The first part of the document considers concrete aspects of young people’s lives. It emphasizes the important of schools and parishes. It acknowledges the need for laity to be trained to accompany young people especially since so many priests and bishops are already overburdened. The Document notes the irreplaceable role of Catholic educational institutions. The challenge the Document addresses is the need to rethink the role of the parish in terms of its vocational mission because it is often ineffective and not very dynamic, above all in the realm of catechesis.

The reality of young people regarding migration, abuse, the “throwaway culture” are also dwelt on in part one. Regarding abuse, the Synod Document calls for a “firm commitment for the adoption of rigorous preventive measures that will keep such abuse from being repeated, beginning with the selection and formation of those to whom leadership and educational roles are entrusted”. The world of art, music and sports is also discussed in terms of using them as “pastoral resources”.

Part Two: “Their eyes were opened”

The Synod Document calls young people one of the “theological places” in which the Lord makes himself present. Thanks to them, it says, the Church can renew herself, shaking off its “heaviness and slowness”. Mission, it says is a “sure compass” for youth since it is the gift of self that brings an authentic and lasting happiness. Closely connected with the concept of mission is vocation. Every baptismal vocation is a call to holiness.

Two other aspects covered in part two that aid in the development of the mission and vocation of young people are that of accompaniment and discernment.

Part Three: “They left without delay”

The icon presented by the Synod Fathers of the young Church is Mary Magdalene, the first witness of the Resurrection. All young people, the Synod Fathers affirm, including those with different visions of life, are in God’s heart.

“Walking together” is the synodal dynamic which the Fathers also bring to light in the part three. They invite the Conferences of Bishops’ around the world to continue the process of discernment with the aim of developing specific pastoral solutions. The definition of “synodality” provided is a style for mission that encourages us to move from “I” to “we” and to consider the multiplicity of faces, sensitivities, origins and cultures. One request repeatedly made in the hall, was that of establishing a “Directory of youth ministry in a vocational key” on the national level, that can help diocesan and parish leaders qualify their training and action “with” and “for” young people, helping to overcome a certain fragmentation of the pastoral care of the Church.

The Synod Document reminds families and Christian communities of the importance of accompanying young people to discover the gift of their sexuality. The bishops recognize the Church’s difficulty in transmitting “the beauty of the Christian vision of sexuality” in the current cultural context. It is urgent, the document says, to seek “more appropriate ways which are translated concretely into the development of renewed formative paths”.

In the end, the Document brings the various topics covered in the Synod into one vocational thrust, that is, the call to holiness. “Vocational differences are gathered in the unique and universal call to holiness”. Through the holiness of so many young people willing to renounce life in the midst of persecution in order to remain faithful to the Gospel, the Church can renew its spiritual ardor and its apostolic vigor.

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CATHOLIC WORLD

Killing of Christians: Buhari lied to Trump – CAN fumes

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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

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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”

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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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