ALL AFRICA REPORT: Nairobi — John Cardinal Njue head of the Kenya Episcopal Conference (KEC) on July 3 blessed the site of a proposed new prayer garden at the Consolata Shrine in Westlands, Nairobi.
The ceremony also coincided with the marking of 40 years of the shrine as parish and 20 years as shrine, according to the parish officials.
Cardinal Njue encouraged Catholics to remain firm in faith and strengthen their perseverance against every day challenges, as well as become instruments of consolation.
He urged Christians to pray for the nation for those in leadership can be able to guide and unite the country.
The Cardinal hailed Consolata Missionaries for their spirit of togetherness, love and commitment in their community and to the church.
Once the garden is complete celebrations such as; Holy Eucharist, confessions, Stations of the Cross, the holy Rosary, benediction and the procession of the Blessed Sacrament, will be held here.
According to the official records of the Consolata Shrine since 1953 to June 2011, it has baptized a total of 8,299 people, confirmed 4,817 and united in marriage 1,547 couples.The Consolata shrine was founded in 1953 and dedicated to Our Lady of Consolata. It was consecrated a parish in April 3, 1971 by the Servant of God Maurice Cardinal Otunga.
The parish which is in the Nairobi Central deanery, has a population of 8000 Catholics and two outstations; Highridge and Kileleshwa according to the Kenya Catholic Directory 2006.
One of the major projects in the parish is, Consolata Youth Rehabilitation Programme (COYREP) that supports and caters for the needs of the community in terms of education, health, economic empowerment and sanitation.
Digvijay Singh, the Congress Party leader in Madhya Pradesh, has praised Christians for providing quality education in the state and urged the Muslim community to do the same.
More than 95 percent of Christians are educated and everyone must learn from them, he told guests at a Muslim education society function yesterday in the state capital Bhopal.
The former state chief minister said Muslims, like Christians, must provide quality education so that they can improve their quality of life.
Singh, who held the top government post in the state for over a decade, also pledged his support to the minority community in their endeavors to protect their rights. “I will be with you in your fight,” he told them.
Meanwhile, Father Anand Muttungal, the Catholic Church’s spokesman in Madhya Pradesh, was congratulated by the Muslim gathering for his contributions in protecting the rights of minorities.
Recently, he has been dealing with what the Church says is state interference in the administration of Catholic run educational institutions.
Former chairman of the State Minority Commission and state president of the Muslim Education Society, Ibrahim Qureshi lauded the priest for his “fearless fight to restore the rights of minorities.”
Father Muttungal in his address said Muslims should also focus on providing quality education of a general nature rather than concentrating on religious education.
“Unless minorities unite and fight for their rights they will be ignored, no matter how legitimate their grievances are,” he said.
At the end of the function Digvijay Singh was given a document asking for his help on several rights issues plaguing state minority groups.
He promised to take them up with the federal government.
Image from the Scherger Immigration Detention Centre set on Flickr
Cath news report: A priest who raised concerns over the asylum seekers held at a detention centre in Queensland said the Diocese of Cairns has been told he is no longer welcome to visit the centre, reports the Cairns Post.
Since then, he said the department had informed the Diocese of Cairns he was no longer welcome back at Scherger: "The parish told me that (the department) is not very happy with me, and they no longer want me to go in," Fr Bissett said.Father Lawrie Bissett, the administrator of the Sacred Heart Mission Parish on Thursday Island, was disgusted by the conditions detainees were kept in after he visited Scherger detention centre at Weipa last month. He raised concerns about an inmate's suicide attempt and the lack of support services inside the centre.
"Apparently it's because I mentioned the suicide attempt – that's what they told me."
A Department of Immigration spokeswoman denied Fr Bissett had been banned from visiting the detention centre, and that he remained "free to make requests to visit individual clients, and any such request would be considered in line with our visitor policy".
"If it did not endanger the chance of the parish of Weipa who have come together in love and service and faith to visit Scherger once a week with prayer, song, conversation, camaraderie, food and encouragement, I would like to stand at the gates of Scherger with my placard 'Set the prisoners free, Jesus'," Fr Bissett said.
Sts. Rufina and Secunda
Feast: July 10
Roman martyrs best known for the apocryphal Acts, which recount their martyrdoms. According to the Acta, they were Roman sisters, the daughters of a Roman senator. When their fiances gave up the Christian faith, Rufina and Secunda would not deny Christ. both were soon arrested and beheaded during the persecutions of Emperor Valerian (r. 253-260). They were buried on the Via Aurelia, at the Santa Rufina.