Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 32 n° 250

Posts Tagged ‘faith’

Forced migration calls for faith in action

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 4 luglio 2017

religious communitiesMADRID — In a stirring display of solidarity and good will, some 300 representatives of religious communities and civil society organizations gathered for a conference in Madrid on an issue of acute concern—forced migration. The event was held at the Iglesia de Jesus Church in Madrid on 20 June 2017, the International Day for Refugees.
A poignant presentation by Reuters photographer Juan Medina captured the urgency of the refugee issue in Europe through a collection of his photographs and a video documenting the journey of refugees into Europe.“It’s important to show these images, however shocking, time and again—as many times as necessary,” said Mr. Medina. “Some say you can become desensitized by so many pictures of suffering, and they will have less of an effect. I think it’s important to tell their story, and remember the sufferings of those who had to leave their country.”“These photos show the harsh reality of what it means to be an immigrant. There is a sharp contrast between the exhausted refugees that are swept in by the shore, struggling to remain alive and locals strolling along the beach.”In 2015, the Spanish government pledged to the European Union to receive over 17,000 refugees. To date, 1,200 have arrived, prompting a growing discussion in the country.
In recent years, the Baha’i community in Spain has recognized the necessity for a more substantial and profound dialogue on migration and the implications of having greater awareness of the issue. Its efforts have rested on the conviction that religion has a critical role to play in cultivating a common sense of humanity as well as in mobilizing communities to contribute to social harmony and peace.The gathering was enriched with artistic presentations, including a performance of indigenous music from Latin America.
Together with a group of other civil society and faith-based organizations, the Baha’i community of Spain convened the recent conference, where diverse participants shared their experiences and renewed their commitment to take action in welcoming and supporting refugees. The event was also a forum through which participants sought to speak to the conscience of their people and kindle the light music from latin americanof compassion in Spanish society.“The purpose of this event is to underline the important role religious communities are playing in the reception and integration of refugees into their own communities and to give voice to the varied experiences and knowledge acquired through their contributions to society,” said Leila Sant Massarat, who chaired the gathering and represented the Baha’i community of Spain.“Regardless of the language we speak, our skin tone or place of birth, we are all human beings and share the same primary identity.”The conference highlighted the efforts of various faith-based groups in Spain to play a constructive role with the rising number of refugees arriving into the country. The representative from the Sant’Egidio community, a Christian organization, described an initiative taken by his community to encourage kindness and understanding by reading the names of all the newly arrived refugees. “We can sometimes forget that refugees have an identity and a name,” he said.Director of Public Affairs for the Baha’i community of Spain, Sergio Garcia, noted other contributions of the various faith groups in support of refugees, citing, for example, an initiative of the Muslim community to ensure that food was prepared and available for families in need and the experience of a Jewish group assisting youth in a refugee camp. (photos: music from latin american,religious communities)

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Maltese EU Presidency: Revitalizing faith in the European Project

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 11 gennaio 2017

archbishops-curia-maltaBruxelles. A joint delegation from the Conference of European Churches (CEC) and the Commission of Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE) met with the Prime Minister of Malta, Dr Joseph Muscat, and representatives of the government of Malta at the start of their six month Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The meeting was convened to discuss common concerns, especially relating to the priorities of the Maltese presidency including migration, neighbourhood policy, and social inclusion.“Malta’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union offers our nation the opportunity to give a strong impetus to revitalizing faith in the European project,” said the Archbishop of Malta, Mgr Charles J. Scicluna.Issues relating to migration and the reception of refugees in Europe dominated the hour-long meeting. Both government and church representatives expressed the need to reframe this discourse, including speaking of the benefits of migration for European societies and emphasising opportunities to welcome those in need of safety in Europe. The churches also reiterated their call for improved safe and legal pathways to Europe, the central importance of family unity and reunification, and the work churches do in local contexts in providing transformative encounters with refugees.The CEC-COMECE delegation also encouraged the Maltese government to take a holistic, global approach as they make progress in each of their priority areas. Responses to migration and the reception of refugees must take into account the root causes of the displacement of people, including ecological crises. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and their coherence with European Union policies are one area for developing a robust and balanced approach.
The meeting of CEC and COMECE with the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the European Union took place under Article 17 of the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union. This is a commitment of the EU to open, transparent, and regular dialogue with churches and religious communities. The churches were grateful for the opportunity to meet early in the presidency, which began on 1 January 2017. (photo: Archbishop’s Curia, Malta)

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Faith Communities Rising Again on Climate Change

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 9 giugno 2016

marcia per il clima1

Rome Italy, 29th November 2015 To coincide with the Paris United Nations Climate summit this weekend an similar marches being held across the world, ten of thousands have taken to the streets of Rome to demand action on Climate change

On June 12, six months after the Paris Climate Talks, faith communities globally will come together for a day of celebration of the earth and action on climate change called – Sacred Earth, Sacred Trust (http://sacredearth2016.org). More than 120 actions and events in 35 countries are currently planned including Green Iftars, Solidarity fasts, mobilisations, meditation sit-ins, climate services and many others. The past 12 months have been the hottest consecutive 12 month period in recorded history, and the 1.5°C goal agreed upon in the Paris Agreement is looking ever more difficult to achieve.Faith communities taking part in Sacred Earth, Sacred Trust are calling for the acceleration of climate action from countries, businesses and communities globally, in order to keep global temperature rise below 1.5°C and protect the lives of millions of people.Sacred Earth is part of an escalating wave of climate action from faith communities and follows the Interfaith Climate Change Statement which was handed over to the President of the United Nations General Assembly in New York in April 2016, and was signed by 270 religious leaders from around the world.Rev. Fletcher Harper, Executive Director of GreenFaith, one of the organisations involved said; ‘The earth is an incredible gift, and people of diverse faiths realize that it’s our shared moral responsibility to protect it. On June 12 around the world, representatives of the faiths will show that we want our leaders to restore balance to our precious planet, and to protect our children’s future.’Diverse actions and events include:Green Ifars – As Sacred Earth falls within the holy fasting month of Ramadan, the muslim community will be joining in by hosting ‘Green Iftars’, which is the breaking of the fast. The Iftars will focus around the ‘Prophetic Diet’ focusing on local and sustainable foods.Encyclical Anniversary – Pope Francis’ Encyclical on the environment ‘Laudato Si’ was released almost a year ago, and starting on June 12, the Catholic community worldwide will be celebrating its anniversary in order to remind communities and governments of its vital message (http://laudatosiweek.org/).Global Solidarity Fast – Organised by Fast for the Climate (http://fastfortheclimate.org/en/fast-for-our-sacred-earth-12-june-2016/) day long fast with those vulnerable to climate change, special climate focused services and prayers in faith communities globally.Meditation Actions – Taking place at key locations and online. They are being held on the Mall in Washington DC and outside Shell’s London HQ, as well as an online meditation being organised by the Buddhist group One Earth Sangha Mobilisations across Latin America – Being organised in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Honduras, Colombia, Chile and others. These include a major multifaith action in Santiago’s main square, and a mobilisation bringing together religious leaders, scientists and school children on Guanabara Bay in Rio de Janeiro.

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270 Faith leaders unite for climate change statement

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 18 aprile 2016

new yorkNew York Chapel of the Church Center of the UN, 777 UN Plaza (1st Avenue and E. 44th Street), New York 18th April 11-12pm. Four days before UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon hosts a signing ceremony for the Paris Agreement on climate change adopted by UN negotiators in Paris on 12 December, an Interfaith Climate Change Statement to World Leaders from 270 religious leaders (full text in Annex below and at http://www.interfaithstatement2016.org) supporting this pact while also urging much more ambitious action will be handed over to the President of the UN General Assembly, Ambassador Mogens Lykketoft at a high-level event on 18 April. (Location: Chapel of the Church Center for the UN, 777 Dag Hammarskold Plaza).Eminent signatories (full list in Annex below) include: Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, Chancellor of the Pontifical Academies of Sciences and Social Sciences of the Holy See, Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town the Most Rev. Desmond Tutu, Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, General Secretary, World Council of Churches, Swami Aginivesh, Chief Rabbi Shear Yashuv Cohen, Grand Imam Maulana Syed Muhammad Abdul Khabir Azad, Sister Jayanti Kirplani, Priestess Beatriz Schulthess and Sheikh Naqshbandiyya-Mujaddidiyya Sufi Order.
In addition to the high level signatures, the Statement is supported by 4,639 individuals and 86 groups from all over the world who have shown their support online by using the hashtag #Faiths4ParisAgreement.
The handover will take place between 11am and 12pm EDT (GMT 3-4pm) in the chapel of the Church Center for the UN, East 45th St and 1st Avenue, New York and be immediately followed by a press conference at the same location, featuring all the speakers at the event. A press release reporting highlights of the handover ceremony and subsequent media briefing will be issued as from 1pm EDT (GMT 5pm). Program details are given below this release. The Statement supports the full and ambitious implementation of the Paris Agreement and of all other decisions adopted at the 21st Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 21) last December (www.unfccc.int). The Statement also reaffirms the faith community’s support for more ambitious climate action – including the swift phase out of fossil fuel subsidies, accelerating the transition to 100% renewable energy – as well as for the commitment in the Agreement to ´pursue efforts´ to limit the global temperature rise to no more than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.
“The planet has already passed safe levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Unless these levels are rapidly reduced, we risk creating irreversible impacts putting hundreds of millions of lives, of all species, at severe risk” the Statement´s initial section warns.
Both the Statement and the 18th April event serve to renew the strong commitment of the faith community to remain active in defining humanity´s moral responsibility to care for the Earth, as so powerfully stated in the Pope’s Encyclical, as well as in climate change statements by Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Islamic, Sikh and other faith leaders.
Archbishop John Ribat, President of the Federation of Catholic Bishops´ Conferences of Oceania said “we are heartened by the growing international concern about climate change and global warming. The protection of the atmosphere and the oceans are powerful examples of the need for political representatives and leaders of nations to take responsibility for the wellbeing of peoples beyond their own particular shores or borders. In some cases, entire regions and nations are under threat from the indisputable fact of rising sea levels.” “The environment has been damaged primarily by human beings. It is human karma that we suffer as a result of our irresponsible selfish actions. It is our chance to be really responsible for our action with sincere reflection and wholesome action to the earth with a kind compassionate mindful-heart, said Ven. Dr. T. Kenjitsu Nakagaki, President of the Buddhist Council of New York “The environmental crisis is ultimately a crisis of the heart. The more we are disconnected from one another and from God, the more we are disconnected from Mother Earth. We must therefore strive to re-establish our relationship with the earth. To see the rivers, plants, animals and trees with equal vision – understanding that their is no hierarchy, that all life is sacred. By doing so we can begin the journey of restoring love and beauty to the world,” according to His Holiness Radhanath Swami, International Society for Krishna Consciousness.
The Rev. Martin Junge, General Secretary of the Lutheran World Federation stated “climate change is the daily reality of people and communities who struggle to cope with adverse impacts of extreme weather events. It is neither abstract nor theoretical but rather a struggle for justice between people living in different places and between generations. Faith-based communities play a major role in advocating for a conversion of hearts and minds in order to bring about the necessary lifestyle changes to meet the effects of climate change. In addition they help us redefine and understand anew what matters most in life, now and in the future.”

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European Congress on university pastoral work

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 22 gennaio 2011

Munich (Germany), 27 – 30 January 2011. On Friday 28 January at 12.30, a press conference will take place in the venue of the meeting. Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Archbishop of Munich and Freising and Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster, President of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales and President of CCEE Commission “Catechesis, School and University” will attend the press conference.
What are the future perspectives for the university in Europe? Who are the students of today? Is it possible to live a faith experience in between courses and exams? Faith and science: a dialogue with new challenges. Who are the protagonists in the Church’s pastoral service in this sphere? About sixty delegates from Europe’s Bishops’ Conferences, representing bishops, national directors for university pastoral work, university chaplains and church associations and movements working in the university world, will be trying to provide answers to these questions in the course of the CCEE Congress scheduled to take place in Munich (Germany) from 27-30 January 2011. Also participating in the meeting will be delegates from the Holy See’s Congregation for Catholic Education and the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People. The meeting will be marked by numerous opportunities for prayer. In particular, on Saturday 29 January at 1800, the Congress attendees will participate in the celebration of Mass in the chapel (Leopoldstraße 11) with the university community of Ludwig-Maximilian University, and on Sunday 30 January, at 1000, Mass in Munich Cathedral.  The working languages during the meeting (with simultaneous translation) will be: English, Italian and German.

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Faith-based council adopts reform

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 28 febbraio 2010

Washington A panel of religious and secular leaders charged with improving the operations of the White House faith-based office and its partnerships adopted recommendations for the office, including a list of 12 proposals that would implement reforms. The 25 members of President Barack Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships approved recommendations from the task force charged with reform of the office, as well as five other task forces.  The Council approved the reform of the office task force’s 12 specific recommendations to strengthen the constitutional and legal footing of public-private partnerships by clarifying the prohibited uses of direct financial assistance, providing guidance on the protection of religious identity while providing social services and assuring the religious liberty rights of clients and beneficiaries of federal social service funds.  The Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, a strong supporter of church-state separation, also works to defend the free exercise of religion and protect the autonomy of religious organizations. Executive Director J. Brent Walker served on the task force that drafted the recommendations for reform of the office.  The Council’s approved recommendations made it clear that regulations and guidance regarding the use of federal social service funds should equally emphasize two requirements. First, any explicitly religious activities offered by a provider must be privately funded, separate in time or location from the government-funded program, and, second, nongovernmental providers that receive federal grant or contract funds may maintain their institutional religious identity.   The final report highlights some disagreement among the 25-member Advisory Council. While agreeing that the government should permit providers to retain certain aspects of their religious identities while providing federally funded social services, “[m]embers of the Council disagree … about whether the Government should allow social services subsidized by Federal grant or contract funds to be provided in rooms that contain religious art, scripture, messages, or symbols” the report states.  Additionally, the Council was split over the issue of whether the government should require houses of worship to form separate corporations, such as 501(c)(3) organizations, to receive federal funding for social services. The measure passed by a vote of 13-12.  Three members of the Advisory Council have direct ties to the Baptist Joint Committee. Its former general counsel, Melissa Rogers, chairs the Council and the task force charged with reform of the office. A fellow co-chair of religious liberty coalitions, Rabbi David Saperstein, is also on the Advisory Council, as well as the Rev. William Shaw, a Baptist Joint Committee Board Member.  The Advisory Council also approved recommendations developed by five other task forces, which included work on economic recovery and domestic poverty; environment and climate change; fatherhood and healthy families; global poverty and development; and interreligious cooperation. The final Council meeting will be a presentation of the approved recommendations to senior Obama Administration officials. The meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, March 9.
The Baptist Joint Committee is a 74-year-old, Washington, D.C.-based religious liberty organization that works to defend and extend God-given religious liberty for all, bringing a uniquely Baptist witness to the principle that religion must be freely exercised, neither advanced nor inhibited by government.

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Statement on the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 1 aprile 2009

Barack Obama: “I congratulate the House on passing the bipartisan Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act.  This is legislation that will usher in a new era of service in America, and I look forward to signing it into law when I return to Washington.”  “Because of this legislation, millions of Americans at all stages of their lives will have new opportunities to serve their country.  From improving service learning in schools to creating an army of 250,000 Corps members a year dedicated to addressing our nation’s toughest problems. From connecting working Americans to a variety of part-time service opportunities to better utilizing the skills and experience of our retirees and baby boomers. This legislation will help tap the genius of our faith based and community organizations, and it will find the most innovative ideas for addressing our common challenges and helping those ideas grow.  But while our government can provide every opportunity imaginable for us to serve our communities, now it is up to each of us to seize those opportunities.  I call on all Americans to stand up and do what they can to serve their communities, shape our history and enrich both their own lives and the lives of others across this country.”

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