Posted by: Fr Chris | February 28, 2018

How much do we TRULY value our Faith?

In this article below, an Italian priest talks about meeting up with the few remaining native Catholics in Somalia. There used to be a large Catholic community there, not only Italians but converts as well with 8,500  Somali Catholics  in 1950. Now under Islamic fundamentalism, grandchildren of Catholics have murdered their own grandparents because they refused to join Islam. Grandchildren! Two Catholic converts were beheaded in 2011 and another in 2012. These old Catholics hunger to attend Mass and receive Communion, while 65% of US Catholics can’t be bothered to go regularly on Sundays. One-third of Americans are ex-Catholics! Come Holy Spirit and renew us!! 

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Mogadishu’s Catholic cathedral in happier days before the last bishop was murdered while offering Mass in 1989

A small community of Somali Christians lives their faith in hiding
Mogadishu (Agenzia Fides) – A small community of Somali Christians lives in Mogadishu. There are about thirty elderly people. They live hidden for fear of the reprisals of Islamic fundamentalists. But, they consider their faith as the most precious gift. Fr. Stefano Tollu, military Chaplain of the Italian contingent of Eutm Somalia, the formation and training mission financed by the European Union, managed to get in touch with one of them in recent days. A quick meeting, in order not to arouse suspicion and not to draw too much attention, but very intense and full of human and religious meanings.
“I had the opportunity to meet Moses (invented name, ed)”, says Father Tollu to Agenzia Fides, already a Salesian missionary, now a priest incardinated in the diocese of Faenza and serving in the Military Ordinariat for Italy. “He is a Christian who grew up in the reality of the Italian Protectorate and then in independent Somalia, still very tied to our country. Many consider him the spokesman of the Somali Catholics. He defines his community as endangered”.
In Somalia, a version of Sufi Islam has coexisted for centuries with other faiths. For the past twenty years, however, an intolerant version of the Koranic faith has taken hold. Al Qaeda and its local branch al Shabaab are a continuing threat both for non-fundamentalist Muslims and Christians. In recent months the Islamic State has also appeared in the country, which has created the first bases in Puntland.
However, the danger arrives even within the Christian families themselves. It is still Fr.Tollu who speaks: “Moses told me that ‘those born in the’ 90s, have become intolerant and do not understand their elders who profess Christianity. Therefore the elders flee, go away from their children and grandchildren”. Moses showed the Italian priest a list of Christians who died recently, some for natural causes, others for violent causes. “I promised him I would remember them in the Holy Mass” – said the Chaplain, recalling that, as reported by the Somali Christian, “some were killed by their children’s children”. “Violence is in homes and we, who are few, we risk our lives every day”, Moses told him. The few faithful Somali Catholics cannot have continuous spiritual assistance: “At the moment – concludes Father Tollu – there are no security conditions for a priest to carry out his pastoral service in Mogadishu peacefully. I hope that in the future, once the country has been freed from terrorist infiltration, it will be possible to recreate the minimum conditions for the Christian presence in the city. At the moment I promised to pray for them during Mass. We are united in daily prayer, we are brothers in Christ even if today they are forced to hide their faith”. (EC) (Agenzia Fides, 28/2/2018)I

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Mogadishu cathedral today after Islamic fundamentalists wrecked it in 2008. Today it is a food and medicine station for refugees, with a tent city on the grounds. The diocese planned to restore it in 2013 but the current news from there is very bad. 

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