Novosibirsk: “Sister, come back soon.”

Article written by Kira von Bock-Iwaniuk.

Religious sisters in Russia at the side of the marginalised during the Coronavirus crisis
Very few have fallen ill, but all who live in the million-strong West Siberian city of Novosibirsk are affected by the lockdown and its economic impact – particularly those, of course, who already were living on the fringes of society prior to the crisis: the poor, the unemployed, the elderly and children from lower-income families. These are the ones on whom the religious sisters of the Roman Catholic Diocese of the Transfiguration at Novosibirsk have now focused most of their attention. They talked with the international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need about the challenges they are facing during these times of the pandemic.

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The Congregation of Sisters of St. Elizabeth has been working in Russia for more than 25 years. During the period of the epidemic, they continue to distribute products and hygiene products to our needy wards, to support and co-ordinate them by phone and visit as often as possible.  Copyright: Aid to the Church in Need.

"Corruption and weakness are killing us" Bishop Matthew Kukah says of Nigeria

Article written by Petra Kolletzki.

Weak and corrupt government in Nigeria is to blame for conflict spiralling out of control, according to a leading bishop, who has called on the international community to help his country restore law and order.

Bishop Matthew Kukah of the diocese of Sokoto told Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) that the government in his country was failing to stem the violence there.

Mozambique: Carmelite sisters testify to the “barbarity” of the jihadists after three days of violence in Cabo Delgado

Article by Paulo Aido & Christophe Lafontaine.

At the end of May terrorist groups launched a merciless attack on the town of Macomia, in the province of Cabo Delgado, in northeast Mozambique, an area rich in oil and natural gas. The Theresian Carmelite Sisters of Saint Joseph have been present in Macomia for 16 years now and do important work in the field of education. Having fled earlier, they returned a few days after the attack and have now related what they saw. The international Catholic pastoral charity and pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN International), which has supported the sisters in the past and which visited their community in 2015, has expressed its alarm and concern at what has happened.

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Sr. Blanca Nubia Zapata visiting the faithful in the diocese of Pemba, Mozambique.
Photographer: Monika Sinzig
Copyright: Aid to the Church in Need.

Case postponed nearly 70 times

The lawyer fighting the conviction of a Christian man serving a life sentence for blasphemy in Pakistan says the appeal hearing has been postponed almost 70 times.
Nearly 11 years after advocate Khalil Tahir Sandhu submitted the first appeal petition in Lahore High Court challenging the conviction of Imran Masih, the lawyer said the case had passed through the hands of at least 10 justices.

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Ukraine – priests among those most at risk of infection needing protection against Coronavirus

Fresh aid package from ACN for priests and religious in Ukraine

Although the initial wave of alarm has faded, the danger of the COVID-19 pandemic has not gone away. In the countries of Central and Eastern Europe official figures for the number of people infected are relatively low; however the real numbers are much higher, given that these countries do not have access to reliable testing methods. In Ukraine the healthcare system is altogether inadequate, and most of the patients themselves have to bring in their own medicines, bandage material and basic medical equipment when they go into hospital.

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Ukraine 2020 - Father Mikolay Leskiv celebrating Holy Mass during COVID-19 in a nearly empty church (due to quarantine) which started on 16 March. He wrote to ACN: “All protective measures, starting with masks and gloves and ending with liquids, have been increased tenfold since the beginning of quarantine...I have also purchased masks for church services and for the faithful who could not buy them."
Copyright: Aid to the Church in Need.

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