Browsing News Entries

Mauritius: fear of major ecological crisis

Mauritius is preparing for the worst after a Japanese oil tanker struck a coral reef on 25 July and began leaking over 1,000 tons of oil.

Pope baptizes Siamese twins, mother thanks him

Hermine Nzotto, the mother of conjoined baby girls who were successfully separated in an extraordinary surgery at Rome’s Bambino Gesù hospital in June, writes to Pope Francis, thanking him for baptizing her daughters a few days ago.

Pope expresses gratitude to Knights of Columbus for 'creativity of charity'

Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin writes on behalf of Pope Francis to the Knights of Columbus, saying Pope Francis is grateful for their contribution to the Church's mission of evangelization.

Pope Francis baptizes conjoined twins separated in Rome

Vatican City, Aug 10, 2020 / 08:30 am (CNA).- Pope Francis has baptized twins who were born conjoined at the head and were separated at the Vatican’s pediatric hospital.

The twins’ mother had said at a press conference following the successful surgery at the Bambino Gesù Hospital on June 5 that she wanted the twins to be baptized by the pope. 

“If we had stayed in Africa I don’t know what fate they would have had. Now that they are separate and well, I would like them to be baptized by Pope Francis who has always taken care of the children of Bangui,” said the girls’ mother Ermine, who came with the twins from the Central African Republic for the surgery, July 7. 

Antoinette Montaigne, a Central African politician, posted a photo on Twitter of Pope Francis with the twins in their baptismal gowns on August 7, writing that the pope had baptized the separated twins the day prior. 

Après leur séparation chirurgicale réussie à la pédiatrie du Vatican Bambino Jésus, le Pape a baptisé les jumelles Centrafricaines hier à Rome. pic.twitter.com/6v4Df7nzq4

— Antoinette MONTAIGNE (@Banzekaa) August 7, 2020 The Italian news agency ANSA reported August 10 that the twins had been baptized at the pope’s residence, Casa Santa Marta.

Following the surgery in June, Dr. Carlo Efisio Marras, director of neurosurgery of the Bambino Gesù hospital told CNA that the twins have a high chance of living normal lives after undergoing the 18 hour operation which involved more than 30 medical staff. 

The twins, Ervina and Prefina, were born on June 29, 2018 in a village about 60 miles outside Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic. They were joined together with “one of the rarest and most complex forms of cranial and cerebral fusion,” known as total posterior craniopagus, according to the Bambino Gesu hospital.

Mariella Enoc, president of the Bambino Gesù, met the twins in July 2018, during a visit to Bangui, where the sisters had been transferred after their birth. Enoc was helping to oversee the expansion of pediatric services in the country, which is one of the world’s poorest, in response to an appeal from Pope Francis. She decided to bring the girls to Rome for surgery.

A multidisciplinary team, including neurosurgeons, anesthesiologists, and plastic surgeons, prepared for more than a year for the operation to separate the twins. The hospital’s ethics committee contributed to a plan ensuring that the girls would have the same quality of life.

The hospital said the twins were joined via the back of the head, including the nape, sharing both skin and cranial bones. But the greatest challenge for doctors was that they were joined at a deeper level, sharing membranes inside the skull as well as the venous system, through which blood used by the brain is transported back to the heart.

The separation took place in three stages. In the first, in May 2019, neurosurgeons started to separate and rebuild the membranes and venous systems.

The second, a month later, focused on the confluence of sinuses in the brain. The hospital said it was a critical phase of the treatment as “the operating space is a few millimeters.”

The two operations prepared the girls for the third and final phase of complete separation on June 5.

“From a neurological standpoint, the two little girls are doing very well and have excellent prognosis for normal lives in the future," Marras said.

Nigerian Bishops: "Stop the killing"

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) expresses concern on insecurity in the country and calls on the government to “put a complete stop to the killing of innocent people.”

Belarus President wins election

Election officials in Belarus say the county's longtime President Alexander Lukashenko has won his sixth consecutive term, taking over 80 percent of the vote. Monday's announcement followed a night of riots in which dozens of people were injured, and possible one person was killed amid mounting anger over his perceived autocratic style.

Philippines Bishops explain opposition to death penalty

In a statement issued at the beginning of August, the Bishops of the Philippines reiterate their opposition to the reintroduction of the death penalty in their country.

Irish prelate delivers message for Nagasaki Day

Eamon Martin, the Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, delivered a message on the anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Nagasaki in 1945, saying that the use and possession of nuclear weapons is immoral.

“Black Day” protest against discrimination of India's Dalit Christians

The Indian Constitution grants social benefits and privileges to Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist Dalits for their uplift but denies them to Muslim and Christian Dalits. The August 10 "Black Day" protest by Indian Christians is against this discrimination.

International community pledges help for Lebanon

World leaders have pledged millions of dollars for disaster-struck Lebanon, during an online aid summit aimed at helping the country.