In Brief

In Brief Bishop Mario del Valle Moronta Rodriguez of San Cristobal said chaos erupted in Our Lady of Fatima Church when two National Guard members entered the parish on motorcycles as Mass was concluding and launched tear gas bombs.
Venezuelan guards launch tear-gas bombs in church 

While protests against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro raged across the country, National Guard forces loyal to the embattled head of state launched tear gas at churchgoers attending Mass at a local parish.

In a letter published on May 2, Bishop Mario del Valle Moronta Rodriguez of San Cristobal said chaos erupted in Our Lady of Fatima Church when two National Guard members entered the parish on motorcycles as Mass was concluding.

The bishop said that subsequently, “a horde of 40 Bolivarian National Guard members”, led by a general known as Ochoa, tried to enter the church and berated the pastor, Fr Jairo Clavijo, after he forbade them from entering. They then launched tear-gas bombs in the church, causing an immediate evacuation.


Eritrea’s bishops appeal for a national peace plan

Eritrea’s bishops have called for a comprehensive truth and reconciliation plan to be set up and urged that hate speech be banned in the effort to achieve peace.

The plan should include “the establishment of a national commission entrusted with the campaign for truth and reconciliation, with clear and precise objectives and methods of work”, the bishops said in an April pastoral letter. “Its main task should be the removal of the factors of tension and the promotion of dialogue and compromise among all the stakeholders.”

In July 2018, Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed signed a peace pact in the Eritrean capital, Asmara, to bring an end to the two-decade war between the east African countries.


Masses remain suspended following Sri Lankan bombings

Following terrorist attacks and ongoing threats to safety, Masses will be suspended in the Archdiocese of Colombo for a second week, Catholic leaders have said.

Fr Edmund Tillakaratne, a spokesperson for the archdiocese, allegedly told journalists last week that Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith had decided to suspend weekend Masses for a second weekend.

Two weekends ago, on Easter Sunday, bombs detonated at two Catholic churches, an evangelical church, three hotels, and a private residence, killing at least 257 people and injuring at least 500 others.


Canonisation cause opened for Zimbabwean missionary

The bishops conference of Zimbabwe approved last Wednesday the opening of the cause for canonisation of John Bradburne, a lay missionary to the area in the 1970s, according to a report.

The bishops said on May 1 that they had given their approval unanimously, and that the cause will be launched on September 5. Mr Bradburne was born in 1921 in England, the son of an Anglican clergyman. He served in the British army in World War II, and he converted to Catholicism in 1947 after staying with the Benedictines of Buckfast Abbey.


Community ‘heartbroken’ after Arizona church blaze

An extensive fire destroyed St Joseph Catholic Church in Phoenix, Arizona during the early morning hours of May 1. The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.

No one was injured in the blaze, which began sometime after midnight and was not fully extinguished until after 6am.

“This morning we awoke to the tragic news of the fire at St Joseph Catholic Church in Phoenix,” said the Diocese of Phoenix in a May 1 statement.

“We are heartbroken for the St Joseph Catholic community and we are grateful for the bravery of the fire fighters and first responders.”

More than 60 firefighters were dispatched shortly after flames spouted from inside the church.