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Italy’s high court overturns arrest warrant against Vatican broker Gianluigi Torzi

The Supreme Court of Cassation in Rome, Italy. / Sergio D’Afflitto via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 3.0 it).

Vatican City, Oct 14, 2021 / 06:30 am (CNA).

Italy’s Supreme Court has overturned an arrest warrant against a broker wanted in Italy and the Vatican on allegations of financial crimes.

According to a statement from the lawyers of Gianluigi Torzi late Wednesday, a precautionary measure against the Italian businessman who brokered the final stage of the Vatican’s controversial purchase of a London property has been “annulled in its entirety.”

The case has been sent back to Rome’s Tribunal for Review. A written ruling explaining the reason for the annulment will be released by the Italian court within a month, according to the AP.

Torzi is one of the key suspects in a significant finance trial being heard by the Vatican City State’s tribunal about the London property deal.

The Vatican has accused the businessman of being part of a conspiracy to defraud the Secretariat of State of millions of euros, and has charged him with extortion, embezzlement, fraud, misappropriation, money laundering, and self-money laundering. He denies the charges.

An Italian magistrate issued an arrest warrant for Torzi in April on suspicion of similar financial crimes committed in Italy. The businessman has been under precautionary measures in the U.K. while awaiting extradition to Italy at the request of the Italian authorities.

The Supreme Court decision to annul the precautionary measures calls into question whether Torzi will be extradited from the U.K.

In a hearing on Oct. 6, Vatican judges ruled that Torzi’s portion of the finance trial would effectively be on hold until he could present himself at the Vatican.

A statement from Torzi’s communication team on Oct. 13 said that Torzi’s lawyers, Ambra Giovene and Marco Franco, called the high court’s annulment of the precautionary measure “an important step towards proving their client’s innocence.”

The statement also said that evidence used by the Supreme Court in its decision was provided by Vatican prosecutors.

In March, a British judge reversed the seizure of Torzi’s accounts, saying that Vatican prosecutors withheld and misrepresented information in their request to the U.K. court.

Judge Tony Baumgartner of Southwark Crown Court overturned another judge’s decision to seize the British-based accounts of Gianluigi Torzi, as had been requested by Vatican prosecutors.

France’s Catholic bishops will uphold confessional seal, spokeswoman clarifies

Karine Dalle, the communications director of the French bishops’ conference. / Marion Delattaignant/CEF.

Paris, France, Oct 14, 2021 / 05:50 am (CNA).

The spokeswoman for France’s bishops’ conference clarified Wednesday that the country’s Catholic leaders do not intend to compromise on the Church’s teaching that the confessional seal is sacrosanct.

“One cannot change the canon law for France as it is international. A priest who today would violate the secrecy of the confession would be excommunicated,” Karine Dalle, the communications director of the French bishops’ conference (CEF), told Solène Tadié of the National Catholic Register on Oct. 13.

“This is what Archbishop Moulins-Beaufort wanted to say last week after the publication of the Sauvé report, when he said that the seal of confession was above the laws of the Republic,” Dalle explained.

“He spoke the truth, but this truth is not audible in France for those who are not Catholic, and not understandable in France in the midst of debates on so-called ‘religious separatism.’”

Moulins-Beaufort, the bishops’ conference president, was invited to a meeting with France’s interior minister Gérald Darmanin following his comments about the confessional seal in an interview with France Info, which caused an outcry.

After the meeting on Oct. 12, media reports suggested that the archbishop had conceded that priests should inform police of admissions of abuse made by penitents during confession.

The reports provoked consternation among Catholics.

While French law has long recognized the Church’s strict rules about the confidentiality of the sacrament, the government is now contemplating amending the law for confessors, as it has done with lawyers and other secular professionals.

“[T]here have been conditions introduced within professional secrecy, which oblige some professionals when there is an abuse committed on a minor under 15 years old, to report to the competent authorities,” she said.

“If a lawyer or a doctor has knowledge of the abuse of a minor under 15 years of age, he or she is obliged not to respect professional secrecy. This is to prevent further crimes, because pedophile criminality is compulsive.”

“What Interior Minister Darmanin said is that in the future, the seal of confession could fit into this framework. It wouldn’t concern all confessional secrecy, of course, but I don’t know where that will lead,” she continued.

“But if the state tells us [that priests must report crimes against minors revealed in confession] there would be an obligation to leave the secrecy of confession. This would mean that the priests concerned would be excommunicated by Rome,” Dalle said.

“There will certainly be some adjustments proposed, which Rome will accept or not. But no, in no case did Archbishop de Moulins-Beaufort say that the seal of confession would be put aside. He never said that.”

Moulins-Beaufort made the comments after the publication of a watershed report on abuse in the French Catholic Church.

The final report of the Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Church (CIASE) said that an estimated 216,000 children were abused by priests, deacons, monks, or nuns from 1950 to 2020.

The independent commission, established by the French bishops in November 2018, spent 30 months investigating abuse within the Catholic Church led by Jean-Marc Sauvé, a senior civil servant.

Among the report’s 45 recommendations was a request for the Church to reconsider the seal of confession concerning abuse.

The Vatican has strongly defended the confessional seal in response to mandatory reporting laws introduced around the world.

In June 2019, the Apostolic Penitentiary issued a note reaffirming the inviolability of the sacramental seal.

Dalle said: “We know that if these rules were to be adopted, no abuser would ever go to confession if they knew that they would be reported if they confessed to abusing a minor under the age of 15. That’s also problematic.”

“The same is true for children, for whom confession is a space to speak. Confession allows the child’s word to be released. And when the confession is over, the priest waits for a moment and then goes to the child and asks him if he can say again what he said, but this time outside the confession.”

“This is what the anticlericals don’t want to understand,” Dalle said, “because they don’t know all this context.”

Prominent Anglican bishop received into Catholic Church

The Rt. Rev. Michael Nazir-Ali, the former Anglican bishop of Rochester, England. / michaelnazirali.com.

Oxford, England, Oct 14, 2021 / 03:55 am (CNA).

A prominent Anglican bishop once considered a potential future Archbishop of Canterbury has entered into full communion with the Catholic Church.

The Rt. Rev. Michael Nazir-Ali, the former bishop of Rochester, England, has joined the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, The Spectator reported on Oct. 14.

The magazine said that Nazir-Ali could be ordained as a Catholic priest as early as the end of October within the ordinariate, a body created by Benedict XVI in 2011 for groups of former Anglicans wishing to preserve elements of their patrimony.

In an Oct. 14 statement, the ordinariate said that Nazir-Ali was received into full communion by the group’s Ordinary, Msgr. Keith Newton, on Sept. 29, the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels.

“With the permission of the Holy See, he will be ordained to the Catholic priesthood for the ordinariate in due course,” it said.

Explaining his decision, Nazir-Ali said: “I believe that the Anglican desire to adhere to apostolic, patristic and conciliar teaching can now best be maintained in the ordinariate.”

“Provisions there to safeguard legitimate Anglican patrimony are very encouraging and, I believe, that such patrimony in its liturgy, approaches to biblical study, pastoral commitment to the community, methods of moral theology, and much else besides has a great deal to offer the wider Church.”

“I am looking forward to receiving from the riches of other parts of the Church, while perhaps making a modest contribution to the maintenance and enhancement of Anglican patrimony within the wider fellowship.”

michaelnazirali.com.
michaelnazirali.com.

The news comes a month after another Church of England bishop announced that he was crossing the Tiber.

The Rt. Rev. Jonathan Goodall, the Anglican bishop of Ebbsfleet, said that he had taken the decision “after a long period of prayer.”

Nazir-Ali was born in Karachi, Pakistan, in 1949, and attended Catholic schools. He has both a Christian and Muslim family background and holds British and Pakistani citizenship.

He was ordained as an Anglican clergyman in 1976, working in Karachi and Lahore. He became provost of Lahore’s Anglican cathedral and was consecrated as the first bishop of Raiwind in West Punjab.

He later joined the staff of the Archbishop of Canterbury, helping to plan the 1988 Lambeth Conference, a gathering of bishops from across the Anglican Communion.

In 1994, he was appointed as the Anglican bishop of Rochester, covering the areas of Medway, north and west Kent, and the London Boroughs of Bromley and Bexley.

Married with two children, he served as a member of the House of Lords, Britain’s upper house of Parliament, from 1999.

He took part in the second phase of Anglican and Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC-II) and was a member of the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission on Unity and Mission (IARCCUM).

In 2002, the U.K. media identified him as one of the favorites to succeed the retiring Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey. He was quoted at the time as suggesting that he was the target of a racist smear campaign and he remained as bishop of Rochester until 2009.

The 72-year-old is currently president of the Oxford Centre for Training, Research, Advocacy, and Dialogue (OXTRAD).

The current Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, paid tribute to Nazir-Ali on his Twitter account on Oct. 14.

He praised his “expertise in evangelism, interfaith dialogue, ecumenism, and theological education.”

“He will continue to be a blessing to the global church as he joins the ordinariate. I will be praying for him and his wife, Valerie, that this new step in their journey might draw them ever closer to God in Christ,” he said.

Msgr. Newton commented: “Since its erection in 2011, Michael has always shown great interest in the development of the ordinariate in the United Kingdom. Those of us who serve the Catholic Church within the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham are delighted at his reception into full communion and forthcoming ordination.”

“He brings a great experience of the Anglican Communion and is in a unique place to articulate that Anglican patrimony, described by Pope Benedict XVI as a treasure to be shared, which now has an honoured place in the Universal Church.”

The ordinariate priest Fr. James Bradley noted on his Twitter account last month that the following Anglican bishops have been received into the Catholic Church since 1992: Graham Leonard (London); Conrad Meyer; John Klyberg (Fulham); Richard Rutt (Leicester); John Broadhurst (Fulham); Edwin Barnes (Richborough); Keith Newton (Richborough); Andrew Burnham (Ebbsfleet); David Silk; Paul Richardson; John Goddard (Burnley); and Jonathan Goodall (Ebbsfleet).

Many converts come from the Anglo-Catholic branch of the Church of England, which stresses Anglicanism’s Catholic heritage, but Nazir-Ali has long been associated with the evangelical wing.

Nazir-Ali said: “Ministry in the Church of Pakistan, in the Middle East generally, in the Church of England and the wider Anglican Communion remains precious to me and I see this as a further step in the ministry of our common Lord and of his people. At this time, I ask for prayers as I continue to pray for all parts of the Church.”

This report was updated at 06:32 a.m. MDT with comments by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.

VATICAN - In Central Asia with “missionary creativity”: the webinar of the Pontifical Mission Societies

Vatican City - "The Church in Central Asia is experiencing a special situation which, perhaps precisely because of its uniqueness, can encourage new forms of mission. The Pope, in Evangelii Gaudium, spoke of 'missionary creativity': a digital meeting like this, which brings together the members of the Central Asian Church, can represent a useful tool to identify new forms of mission suitable for such a specific context". This is what Archbishop Giampietro Dal Toso, President of the Pontifical Mission Societies , highlighted at the conclusion of the webinar "The mission of evangelization in Central Asia in times of the Evangelii Gaudium. Context, difficulties, perspectives". The event was organized by the Pontifical Missionary Union on October 12 and 13, as part of the awareness and formation activity promoted by the PMS .
During the two days of discussion and exchange of experiences, aspects and experiences of the missions in the Central Asian region - which includes Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan - and neighboring countries such as Mongolia and Afghanistan, were examined. The participants had the opportunity to talk about the specific situations and challenges of the Church in the various realities and to discuss issues common to the various countries. Above all, what emerged was the condition of a "small flock" or being a minority in contexts with an Islamic majority , the enormous linguistic variety and the need to allow to penetrate and harmonize the Gospel message in ancient and rooted local traditions. The urgency is to open up to these cultures and find the right balance in order not to lose the path. In this sense, the intervention of Mgr. Adelio Dell'Oro, Bishop of the diocese of Karaganda, is significant, who pointed out: "We need to understand if we have a clear direction for the development of the Church or if we are confused and continue the same motionless pastoral care as always. When the locals come to ask us how to walk, they need to be guided through a clear route, or they will be disappointed".
At the same time, Archbishop Dell'Oro recalled, "the Pope has given us a great instrument, the Apostolic Exhortation "Evangelii Gaudium", which traces a direction for the new evangelization by indicating joy as a way of witnessing", entering the history and local culture and avoiding individual and sentimental devotions.
It is a call to renew the announcement, also through common projects that can create a meeting space, "doing one's best to work as one family and carry out the mission of the church", underlined Fr. Tadeusz Nowak OMI , Secretary General of the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith.
The fruits of this work, concluded Mgr. Dal Toso, can be collected over time: "Bringing the Gospel into cultures other than ours does not mean simply learning languages or finding words and images to make oneself understood, but it also means committing oneself so that the culture that receives Christianity can slowly welcome it and change it. As Pope Francis reminds us, it is important to work for a fruitful encounter between faith and culture, that is, between what we believe in and the culture of a people that needs to enter the mystery that we announce. The mission experience in these countries teaches us that it is a very long process that requires patience. God asks of us for a long time but which, in his will, will bear fruit".
Catholics represent a minority in Central Asian countries: it is, in fact, a geographical area with a Muslim majority, where the Church was reborn following the fall of the Soviet Union and the consequent end of religious persecutions. To date there are 70 parishes in Kazakhstan, 5 in Uzbekistan, 3 in Kyrgyzstan, 2 in Tajikistan, while in Turkmenistan the approximately 250 faithful gather in the chapel of the Transfiguration of the Lord, in the capital Ashgabat.

ASIA/SYRIA - Successor of Greek Orthodox Archbishop Boulos Yazigi appointed in Aleppo, eight years after his mysterious disappearance

Aleppo - The Synod of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch, led by Patriarch Yohanna X Yazigi, has appointed Bishop Efrem Maalouli as new metropolitan of the Greek Orthodox archieparchy of Aleppo and Alexandretta. The appointment also acquires importance in light of the fact that the assigned episcopal see had been vacant for more than eight years, following the mysterious disappearance of Boulos Yazigi, the Greek Orthodox Metropolitan of Aleppo who disappeared on April 22, 2013 together with Mar Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim, Syrian Orthodox metropolitan in the same Syrian metropolis.
The disappearance of the two metropolitans of Aleppo, which took place at the height of the Syrian civil war, represents one of the best known and most controversial facts among the many painful events that have marked in recent years the path of the indigenous ecclesial communities present in Syria since the times of apostolic preaching.
The two metropolitan bishops of Aleppo were kidnapped in the area between the Syrian metropolis and the border with Turkey. The car in which the two bishops were traveling was blocked by the group of kidnappers and the driver - the Latin rite Catholic Fatha 'Allah Kabboud, father of three children - was shot in the head. The kidnapping was not claimed by any group, and since then no details have emerged regarding the reasons for the kidnapping and the fate of the two clergymen. On the other hand, over the years, the misdirection around the case has multiplied and rumors and news announcements have been filtered on several occasions, which later proved to be unfounded.
Already in August 2013, the leaders of the Syrian Orthodox Church had to issue a statement to reject with disdain the insinuations spread by some local media that indicated possible intra-ecclesiastical rivalry and envy among the causes of the kidnapping. Six months after the kidnapping , General Abbas Ibrahim, head of Lebanese General Security, went so far as to reveal that the place where the two kidnapped Bishops were detained had been identified, and they had started "indirect contacts" with the kidnappers to obtain their release. Revelations which were not followed by concrete evidence.
In January 2020 , an investigation carried out by an investigative team led by Mansur Salib, a Syrian researcher residing in the USA, and disseminated through the digital platform medium.com, presented a reconstruction of the case. According to the authors of the investigation, the militants of Nour al-Din al-Zenki, an independent group involved in the Syrian conflict, financed and armed during the conflict by both Saudi Arabia and the USA, killed the two and always according to the authors, on April 22, 2013 the two Archbishops had left Aleppo aboard a Toyota pick-up truck, driven by Fatha 'Allah Kabboud, with the intention of going to deal with the release of two priests, Armenian Catholic Michael Kayyal and Greek Orthodox Maher Mahfouz, previously kidnapped by anti-Assad jihadist groups who then controlled the territories east of the Syrian metropolis. Mar Gregorios and Boulos Yazigi, dressed in civilian clothes, fell into what the reconstruction presents as a real trap.
The investigation published on medium.com hinted at the involvement in the kidnapping of characters linked to MIT . The reconstruction reported information already known, along with allegations exposed without objective findings, including the hint that George Sabra, a Christian leader who has always been close to opposition groups to the government of Damascus, is also involved in the kidnapping of the two Metropolitans. Among other things, the reconstruction claims - by presenting blurred clues or by aggregating information without objective evidence - that the two Archbishops were tortured, and that one of them, in 2015, was in a health facility in Antakya, in the Turkish province of Hatay.
In the final section, the investigation claimed that the two bishops were allegedly killed and buried in an unspecified place in December 2016, while areas east of Aleppo were about to be recaptured by the Syrian army.
Ultimately, not even the investigation published in January 2020 provided certain useful details to clarify the fate of the two kidnapped archbishops. Even the allegations about their death at the hands of the militiamen have never given concrete indications on how and where to eventually find the bodies of the two victims.
During the last eight years, the memory of the story of the two kidnapped bishops has always been kept alive also through processions, prayer vigils, declarations of bishops and public events . Now, the decision to appoint a new archbishop in Aleppo of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch, led by Patriarch Yohanna X Yazigi, also indicates the desire to move forward, and to heal the wounds that the Syrian conflict has also inflicted on the daily life of ecclesial communities.
The Greek Orthodox archdiocese of Aleppo also exercises its jurisdiction over the Turkish region of Hatay, including the cities of Antakya and Iskenderun .
Mar Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim, the metropolitan kidnapped together with Boulos Yazigi in the now distant April 2013, continues to formally lead the Syrian Orthodox archdiocese of Aleppo.

ASIA/VIETNAM - Liturgical and pastoral activities resume in the Missionary Month

Ho Chi Minh City - With the pandemic situation under control in many parts of Vietnam, and according to the new provisions of the central government, since 1 October, coinciding with the start of the Missionary Month, many Catholic dioceses have reopened their churches for the faithful, although with limited and controlled assistance. Manufacturing and trading activities have also gradually resumed and many people are returning to work and normal life. The Vietnamese faithful are happy to be able to participate directly in the Eucharistic celebrations again, after more than four months of absence: "We can satisfy our hunger for Eucharistic bread", they say. As the pastoral letter of Msgr. Joseph Nguyen Nang, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Ho chi minh recalls: "For Catholics, the Mass is essential, both in the personal dimension of the encounter with God through the Sacrament of Communion, and in the community, gathered around a priest. Mass online cannot replace attendance in person but, in case of difficulty, it nourishes the faith of those who cannot go to church, in particular for the sick, the elderly and children".
At the beginning of October, which is Missionary Month and also the Month of the Rosary, the Marian song resounds in Catholic communities and the prayer of the Rosary is prayed. Even in small villages, the communities of the faithful meet every evening in small groups of about 20 people, in different neighborhoods or parishes. In addition to offering prayers to the Virgin Mary, to alleviate the suffering of many people during the pandemic, the prayer of the Rosary recited in the community, in the streets, aims to give witness to the faith and the Kingdom of God to non-Christians. Mgr. Alfonso Nguyen Huu Long, bishop of the Diocese of Vinh, in his Pastoral Letter issued on the occasion of Missionary October and sent to Fides, says: "With World Mission Day, the entire month of October is dedicated to prayer and evangelization. The Church is always on the move: all the baptized faithful, the Bishop, priests, religious, seminarians and young people must be aware that they are called to mission, to give witness to Jesus Christ to those who do not know him" "This - he points out - should encourage us to pray, live and spread the Good News even more, so that every Catholic can give God's love to those around him, first of all to friends, work colleagues, neighbors, praying and living with charity, according to a humble lifestyle marked by sincere love for others". The text concludes: "Amidst the tragic events and the negative effects of the pandemic, there is a great need for generosity, benevolence and conscientious service. For every Catholic, this is a precious opportunity to fulfill the mission of helping and loving others, sharing the Good News of the Kingdom of God with those around him".

AFRICA/UGANDA - We Are Youths: young people from Namagabi committed to serving those most in need as a tool of evangelization

Kampala - Young people are collecting and distributing basic necessities to those in need, making donations to patients and health personnel at the main hospital in Kayunga or engaged in cleaning some areas of the city of Kayunga. This is the charitable organization We Are Youths made up of Namagabi students, which this year celebrated the third anniversary of its founding with the annual charity event held on October 9, the country's Independence Day.
In the note sent to Fides, the Ugandan Catholics Online, a social platform for the evangelization of Catholics online, declared that the charity is made up of 98% young people. This year, the group has had the help of other non-profit organizations such as Fiktube, Uganda Catholics online, Great child foundation, Nathan brass band, who have collaborated in the collection of different types of clothes, soap, sugar, salt and rice. "We have to focus on the future, not what is behind us", said Ssejjengo Frank, WAY 2021 team leader. "We are grateful to God who allows us to reach out to communities in need".

ASIA/PAKISTAN - The bill on forced conversions of non-Muslim girls rejected

Lahore - With indignation and a public request for clarification, Christians in Pakistan criticize the rejection of the bill that expressly prohibits the forced conversion of religious minorities. In yesterday's session, October 13, the Parliamentary Commission on Forced Conversions did not accept the bill prepared by the Ministry of Human Rights, which was defined as "non-Islamic" by the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interreligious Harmony. The bill therefore lapses and will not be submitted to Parliament.
The bill provides for the criminal offense for the forced religious conversion of underage non-Muslim girls in Pakistan. A Pakistani Catholic priest, who asks for anonymity, told Fides: "The act of the Parliamentary Commission is a disgrace". Catholic Michelle Chaudhry, President of the "Cecil & Iris Chaudhry Foundation" , an organization engaged in civil society, told Fides: "In Pakistan, forced conversion of underage non-Muslim girls is common; belonging to religious minorities, especially Hindus and Christians, are abducted and forcibly converted to Islam; they are then forced to marry their captors who rape them or force them to prostitute themselves. This happens with the utmost impunity".
Chaudhry adds: "All this has to stop: it is up to the state to take urgent and necessary measures. However, we have heard the recent statements made to the Ulema by Prime Minister Imran Khan, that no such law would be enacted during his government. Now the rejection of the bill by the Parliamentary Commission clearly reflects the government's political will not to take care of the safety and protection of non-Muslims in Pakistan".
Chaudhry further stresses: "We intend to fight this serious violation of human rights at all levels. There is an immense need for effective legislation against the forced conversion of underage non-Muslim girls. The state must realize this, as well as uphold its international obligations and the guarantees enshrined in the Constitution of Pakistan".
Christian organizations and churches in Pakistan note that this phenomenon is destroying the lives of hundreds of innocent underage girls, mostly Christians and Hindus, across Pakistan. They therefore consider it essential to have a law which sets a minimum age for conversion and which criminalizes kidnapping and coercion, as well as the forced conversion of minors. In recent days, the Catholic Bishops of Pakistan, on the occasion of the International Day of the Girl, convened by the UN and celebrated on October 11, launched a public appeal to the government, asking it to do everything possible to put an end to the phenomenon of forced marriages, kidnappings and religious conversion of underage girls .
During the debate in the Parliamentary Commission, Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri said that "the environment is unfavorable" for the formulation of a law against forced conversions, saying that the enactment of a law on forced conversions "would deteriorate the peace in the Country and create further problems for minorities", while some senators said that "laws contrary to Islam cannot be enacted in Pakistan".

AFRICA/BENIN - The missionary, courageous witness of hope

Porto-Novo - «Fearless missionary, I announce hope in Jesus!» is the theme chosen by the National Direction of the Pontifical Mission Societies of Benin for the entire month of October. "The missionary, a courageous witness of Christ, is called to sow hope everywhere, especially with the sick, showing them that salvation is only in Jesus", explains to Fides Father Cosme Tayéwo Adjomale National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Benin. The missionary helps to turn the gaze of the men of our 21st century towards the Lord, busy and concerned with the search for antidotes and miracles, when they themselves do not look in his direction and do not listen to his message". Since 2019, a whole missionary month has been celebrated in Benin with various initiatives and, following the message of the Pope. A theme is selected that becomes the common thread of all scheduled activities. This is the origin of the contents that each diocesan director chooses for the four weeks of the month, with missionary rosaries and prayers for the Missions offered for missionary animation. The opening of the month was very attended by the faithful. In particular in Djougou the National Secretary of the Pontifical Work of St. Peter the Apostle Father Patrick Bio, priest of the diocese of Djougou and professor in charge of the preparatory seminary of Ténonrou , was present, while in the diocese of Natitingou, the he opening of the month was entrusted to Msgr. Sabi Bio, Bishop of the same Diocese. The activities that are continuing throughout the month will culminate on Sunday 24 October with the involvement of many faithful for the collection of donations intended for the support of the missionaries and the sending of all catechists, groups, associations, action movements to the Mission. catholic. Finally, the Catholic newspapers, Radio Maria and also the social networks are keeping alive the attention towards the missionary month.

Catholic businessman receives Legatus evangelization award

Legatus 2020 Bowie Kuhn Award for Evangelization recipient Mario Costabile (left), with Thomas Monaghan (right), Legatus founder and CEO / Legatus International

Washington D.C., Oct 13, 2021 / 18:51 pm (CNA).

The organization of Catholic business leaders Legatus International has awarded Catholic producer Mario Costabile with its 2020 Bowie Kuhn Award for Evangelization.

Costabile is the producer and executive director of “Array of Hope,” a Catholic production company that serves Catholic parishes, dioceses and organizations.” 

“Seeking to address the decline of God” in society, Costabile’s business aims to “reveal the ‘Truths of our Faith’ by creating high quality films, music and events.”

Legatus founder and CEO Tom Monaghan presented Costabile with the award at the group’s biannual summit conference in September. The Bowie Kuhn Award for Evangelization is named after Bowie Kuhn, the former Major League Baseball commissioner who was Catholic. It recognizes a member's efforts to “spread the good news of Jesus Christ among his/her peers and his/her noteworthy dedication to the mission and ideals of Legatus.”

Legatus president Stephen Henley said that “Costabile's commitment to advancing the Catholic faith and Christian ethics through media ‘distinguishes him among his peers and makes him a worthy recipient of the Bowie Kuhn Award for Evangelization.’”

Costabile serves as the president of the organization’s Newark chapter; according to Legatus, Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark is a “long-time” chapter supporter. 

Costabile also received the Legatus ACE award in 2018 for his success in recruiting new members. 

Past recipients of the Bowie Kuhn Award for Evangelization include Tim Flanagan, founder of the Catholic Leadership Institute; Michael Warsaw, Chairman and CEO of EWTN; Curtis Martin, founder of the Catholic campus ministry FOCUS; Tim Busch, attorney and philanthropist; Thomas Peterson, president and founder of Catholics Come Home; and Luisa Kuhn, wife of the late baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn.

Legatus members include Catholic CEOs, presidents, managing partners, business owners, and their spouses. The group’s stated mission is "to study, live, and spread the Catholic faith in our business, professional and personal lives."

Legatus chapter monthly meetings typically include Mass, Confession, and a rosary followed by social hours, dining, and a presentation on Catholic topics. Legatus International also organizes leadership conferences, pilgrimage opportunities, religious retreats, social events, and overseas trips.

Tom Monaghan, the Domino's Pizza founder turned Catholic philanthropist, founded the organization in 1987. It is headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan.