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School in NE India run race for safety of women

Students of Newman School in Arunachal Pradesh state concluded their annual sports day by running a race calling for awareness and action against violence and outrage against women in the country.

The story of a priest held hostage by Isis

Father Jacques Mourad is a Syrian-Catholic priest. In 2015, he spent five months as a hostage of jihadist terrorists in Syria. He describes it as a spiritual experience and says it was praying the Rosary and recalling the teachings of Jesuit Father Paolo Dall’Oglio that gave him peace and strength.

Pope welcomes another group of refugees from Lesbos accompanied by Card. Krajewski

Cardinal Konrad Krajewski left for Lesbos on Monday. This new mission follows that of last May and comes after the visit of Pope Francis to Lesbos in 2016. The Apostolic Almoner will return next Wednesday with a group of 33 refugees. Another 10 will arrive by the end of the year. Assistance for all of them will be provided by the Holy See and the Sant'Egidio Community.

Burkina Faso bishop: As violence continues, 'nobody is listening'

Ouahigouya, Burkina Faso, Dec 5, 2019 / 12:09 am (CNA).- Following the death of more than a dozen Christians in a church shooting over the weekend, a Burkina Faso bishop said Western governments have a responsibility to stop the flow of weapons to militants in the region.

“The Western powers should stop those who are committing these crimes, instead of selling them the weapons that they are using to kill the Christians,” Bishop Justin Kientega of Ouahigouya told Aid to the Church in Need.

On Sunday, gunmen in the eastern Burkina Faso town of Hantoukoura attacked a protestant church service, killing 14 people, including several children.

“I condemn the barbaric attack against the Protestant Church of Hantoukoura in the department of Foutouri, which left 14 dead and several wounded. I offer my deepest condolences to the bereaved families and wish a speedy recovery to the wounded,” President Roch Marc Kaboré tweeted late Sunday.

Bishop Kientega said the attack is part of an attempt by radical Islamists to “provoke a conflict between the religions in a country where Christians and Muslims have always lived peaceably side by side.”

According to the Washington Post, militants with connections to al-Qaeda and ISIS regularly attack soldiers and civilians in the region.

“No-one has claimed responsibility for the attack, just as no-one claimed responsibility for the previous ones. So we don't know whether it is one group or several groups that are involved,” Kientega said.

Escalating violence among armed militant groups in Burkina Faso has drawn international concern, with the United Nations warning earlier this year of an “unprecedented humanitarian emergency” in the country. Nearly half a million people have been forced to flee their homes in the last five years. More than 60 Christians have been murdered in the country this year, Aid to the Church in Need reports.

Last month, Pope Francis called for prayers and urged interreligous dialogue amid ongoing violence by jihadist groups.

Kientega argued that the Western world has been ignoring the plight of Christians in West Africa. He suggested some Western powers “have an interest in seeing the violence continue” in the region.

“There is an ongoing persecution of Christians. For months, we bishops have been denouncing what is happening in Burkina Faso, but nobody is listening to us,” he told Aid to the Church in Need. “Evidently, the West are more concerned with protecting their own interests.”

Pope's December prayer intention: The future of the very young

Pope Francis on Thursday released a video message accompanying his prayer intention for December, which this month is "The future of the very young".

Pope’s dream for Jesuits in Thailand and Japan: a young church close to the people

During his Apostolic Journey to Thailand and Japan, November 19-26, Pope Francis, who is a Jesuit, had separate private meetings with the Jesuits in Bangkok and Tokyo. The conversation of the Pope has now been published by the respected Jesuit periodical, “La Civiltà Cattolica”. We bring you summaries of the issues raised during the two meetings.

Pope and Grand Imam propose a World Day of Fraternity to the UN

The request was delivered to the Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres, by the High Committee for Human Fraternity, established to promote the objectives of the Document on Human Fraternity. In addition to a World Day, the group also proposed a World Summit on Human Fraternity.

A Hidden Life: Screening in the Vatican

A screening of A Hidden Life, the life of conscientious objector Franz Jägerstätter, takes place in the Vatican with renowned writer and director Terrence Malick present on Wednesday afternoon.

Pope thanks Italian dioceses for gift of Christmas tree and crib

Pope Francis meets with a delegation from the Italian dioceses of Trento, Padua and Vittorio Veneto and thanks them for the gift of the Christmas tree and nativity scene to the Vatican this year.

‘Gospel Truth’ for December 8, 2019

Listen to this week's edition of our reflections on the Gospel reading for the second Sunday of Advent, where John the Baptist says, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!", prepared by the late Jill Bevilacqua.