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Marist Bulletin - Number 244



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The martyrs of the Church of Algeria - Nineteen people of different cultures who have loved Algeria

Brother Giovanni Bigotto, entrusted with the Marist Postulation for the causes of the saints has published an opuscule on the martyrs of the Church of Algeria which offers a short biography of a group of nineteen martyrs belonging to eight different congregations and cultures, They were passionate servants of the Church for the people of Algeria, in a simple people who weaved numerous links of friendship. They were humble and good; the Lord radiated from their hearts, their lives, their silence. They gave witness to their faith, the faith of those who prepared dialogue through prayer.
Their names are: Henri Vergès, Marist. Sister Paul-Hélène Saint-Raymond, from the Little Sisters of the Assumption. Sisters Esther Paniagua Alonso and Caridad Álvarez Martín, Augustinian Missionaries. Fathers Jean Chevillard, Alain Dieulangard, Charles Deckers, Christian Chessel from the Missionaries of Africa, otherwise known as the White Fathers. Sisters Jeanne Littlejohn (Angèle-Marie), Denise Leclercq (Bibiane) from the Sisters of Our Lady of the Apostles. Sister Odette Prévost, from the Little Sisters of the Sacred Heart. The seven Trappists of Tibhirine: Dom Christian de Chergé, Luc Dochier, Christophe Lebreton, Michel Fleury, Bruno Lemarchand, Célestin Ringeard, Paul Favre-Miville and Bishop Pierre Claverie, Dominican and bishop of Oran.
They form a beautiful icon of the Church in Algeria: small, composed only of a few thousand faithful spread throughout four dioceses: Algiers, Oran, Laghouat and Constantine-Hippone. The Church lives here in poverty for it has lost its social power and pomp; it nourishes its life of love and service. Thus purified and without ambitions, it would like to be a starting point for the dialogue with Islam.
The small Church of Algeria is conscious of living a prophetic mission, of creating for tomorrow a climate of tranquil dialogue between the Christian faith and the Moslem faith, with the certitude that we are all children of God, the work of his hands, and that his children will one day come to know each other as brothers and sisters.
For the great majority of Algerian Moslems, the Church represents a distinct faith whose presence is an occasion to value their own identity and to learn to respect the other.
The Church of Algeria does not forget that it is the inheritor of Tertullien, of Saints Augustine and Cyprian, and all radiant beings who, with the light of their word and their example, have prepared for better times. The prophetical nature of the small Church of Algeria illumines the history that we can glimpse on the horizon. The blood of Christian martyrs shed with that of a great number of Moslem brothers is a passionate supplication interceding so that our humanity will be more welcoming, more tolerant, more human and that it will always know, in its diversity, how to give thanks to God.

860 Million Children Live on the Edge

A staggering 860 million children live in dire straits, victims of a variety of tragedies and abuses, says a report from a Vatican agency.
Fides, the news agency of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, highlights these phenomena in a report entitled Herod: The Killing of the Innocents Continues.
The report, which takes into account data of international organizations, reveals that the number of child-laborers, between the ages of 5 and 14, reaches 211 million.
Of these, 171 million work in risky conditions. About 120 million of the youngsters work full time. The biggest problem is Asia.
At the root of many forms of exploitation is the fact that in the poorest among the developing countries, more than 50 million children are not even registered when they are born, Fides reported.
The number of children transformed into killers to kill mercilessly -- the worlds child-soldiers -- reaches 300,000, it added.
The child-soldiers are often full of drugs to overcome fear and kill in cold blood. They are found on the front of forgotten wars that bloody more than 40 countries. The majority are ages 10 to 14.
Twenty million children live and grow up in refugee camps. Over the past decade, 2 million children were among the civilian victims of conflicts.
The number of street children is estimated at 120 million, half of whom are in South America.
Children of violence, of unbridled industrialization, of favelas, of wars, of the disintegration of social and family ties, of drug and sex abuse, they are mostly between 5 and 16 years old, reported Fides. But there are also those who are 3 or 4 years old.
The majority are boys. Girls are less visible because they can be forced with greater ease into domestic tasks or prostitution.
Hunger is another tragedy; it causes the death of 11 million children before age 5, the report said.
AIDS also feeds on children. In 2005 the disease killed 3 million people, including 500,000 children. There were 40 million who were seropositive, including 2.5 million under age 14.
Another scourge is the traffic in human beings, a problem of worldwide reach, which every year involves at least 1.2 million youngsters under 18.
An estimated 4 million girls are bought and sold for marriages, prostitution and slavery.
The problem of arranged marriages -- more than 80 million worldwide -- imposed on girls under 18, has been criticized by many humanitarian organizations, also because of the risk of death of very young mothers, Fides pointed out.
Moreover, girls represent two-thirds of minors who receive no education. The consequence is that later they will be illiterate women: at present 600 million, the report said.
An estimated 2 million girls are faced with ritualistic genital mutilation in childhood. In total, 120 million women worldwide have suffered this violence.

Missionary brothers to Haiti - First “Mission Ad Gentes” brothers are in place

On March 30th, 2006, two Brothers from Malawi, Brother Evaristus Kasambwe and Brother Anthony Njolovi arrived in Port-Au-Prince, and then Jérémie to a very excited group of Marist Brothers and postulants. There was a reception for them with refreshments and decorations, presentations and finally a word from our two “missionary” brothers, ending the evening with the Salve Regina before the two finally were able to spend their first night’s sleep in Haiti.
The journey to Haiti began a long time ago. Anthony had been approached about the possibility of being a member of the Formation Team working with Postulants in Haiti, and he generously accepted. There was only one problem: he had to learn French first! And they needed someone in Haiti right away. So, Evaristus was then asked if he would consider going for one year as member of the formation team working with Postulants while Anthony took some time to learn French, as well as participate in the first Orientation Session for Missionaries in Davao City, Philippines this August to December. Evaristus also agreed.
Then began a very long process of trying to actually get them there. They would always have to fly through another country, so it became a question of getting transit visas. Thanks for the tenacity of Bro. Andrew Fournier in Malawi, they finally were able to get the visas. That began the 5 day journey which eventually led them to arrive safely in Haiti.
Brother Evaristus is 43 years old from the Province of Southern Africa (Malawi). He first professed vows in 1987 and made perpetual profession in 1993. He has been a teacher, Administrator, and is presently a Councilor for the Sector. He has worked in formation for his province. Brother Anthony is 42 years old, taking first vows in 1991 and final vows in 1998. He is also from the Province of Southern Africa (Malawi). Anthony has taught and worked in formation.
And so our first “Mission Ad Gentes” brothers are in place. While the focus of the Ad Gentes initiative is Asia, some already existing provinces have requested some help, before the Ad Gentes project officially began and were promised Brothers. It was the generosity i Evaristus and Anthony’s hearts along with the blessing of their province which enabled this to happen. We wish good luck and God’s blessings on Evaristus and Anthony as they begin this new exciting work in Haiti.

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