Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Why Muslims are attracted to Christianity

The following article, written by Abu Daoud, comes from his very interesting blog called 'Islam and Christianity'. Abu Daoud is a non-Catholic Christian missionary living in the Middle East. This article, one in a series he wrote with regards to Islam, gives an interesting insight, from a missionary among Muslims, into why Muslims embrace Christianity. The article can be read from its original source here.- RCMS Administrator

"I don't know if this can be verified, but I heard that more Muslims have converted to the Way of Jesus Christ in the last ten years than in all the other years since the advent of Islam in the 7th Century. I'm not sure it's an accurate figure, but I will say that something is certainly happening among Muslims and that there is an openness in their society that was not there before. I also want to point out that large numbers of nominal Christians, especially in Europe, are converting to Islam--a main reason being so they can marry Muslim women. Who has more converts? I have no idea. I will say that Muslims converting to Christianity often pay a heavy price in terms of persecution, and that Westerners converting to Islam are afforded generous protection by their governments.

But here is the question: why are Muslims attracted to the way of Jesus Christ? Here are some of the main reasons:

1) The Bible. We forget how compelling and convincing Jesus' teachings and parables are. He was certainly, among other things, a highly talented teacher, and his parables and sayings have the ability to lodge themselves into a person's mind, even after only one hearing. His insights into human nature, society, kindness, forgiveness, and God's power--not too mention the many miracles he worked--are convincing to a good number of Muslims. Of course Islam teaches that the Christian and Jewish Scriptures are muharraf--corrupted. But after a fair reading of the Gospels, sometimes the integrity and wisdom found therein can break through this Islamic doctrine. Incidentally, Muslim background believers from my experience tend to center their thought on the Gospels much more than Paul's epistles--very different than the evangelical tradition which has, in practice at least, tended to give primacy to the Pauline epistles.

2) Dreams, Miracles: What can I say? They are happening, and folks here don't have the initial inclination that Westerners do to "disprove" or "figure out how it was done." A miracle is from God--it's that simple. Often times in dreams people see Jesus, though at times it is one of the saints. This may not result in conversion, but it opens a path of inquiry that sometimes leads to conversion.

3) Charity: "They will know that we are Christians by our love." One refugee from a neighboring country received some help from some Christians, and he said, "We come here and we receive nothing form the Muslims--the Christians are the only ones who take care of us. I know nothing of your religion, but I will become a Christian." We think of the things like the Inquisition and the Crusades, but we forget the quiet, persistent witness of kind, caring Christians from all traditions, including Catholics and Orthodox. Which brings to mind something that Saint Francis, another apostle to the Muslims, said, "Let us not seek to be loved, so much as to love others." If you need to be reminded of the quiet work of the Church around you, just look at how many schools and hospitals are run by Christians or where founded by the various churches.

4) Christian Community: Islam teaches that a man should not speak to a woman unless they are married or of the same family. It is a witness to the beauty of the Christian community, and thus its faith, when Muslims see genuine respect and friendship between men and women who are neither related or married to each other. The assumption among Muslims is that this sort of thing must lead to fornication or adultery; on the other hand, young men and women sincerely yearn for fellowship with members of the opposite sex. When they see this among Christians it reveals that we are a peculiar people, that there is something different about us: fellowship, conversation, and friendship but without all the adultery and fornication they are told must result.

There are other reasons as well, but my experience is that these are the main ones. The challenge is getting people to think. Islam teaches that it alone is the reasonable and logical religion. Since people in the Middle East have extremely weak critical skills due to various reasons, this assertion is simply accepted. These are four things which I know have been important in challenging that assumption, which have led people to ask new questions and venture down new paths.

Peace be with all of you.
Abu Daoud"

Monday, 29 July 2013

Support Roman Catholic Mission Somalia

Dear Reader,

I appeal to you on behalf of the millions of Somali souls who remain outside the True Fold of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. I appeal to you on behalf of the tiny minority of hidden and persecuted Catholics of Somalia, who have no priest and who receive not the Sacraments.

What I am asking for is your support for the Catholic Church's mission to Somalia:

1) First and foremost by praying fervently for the conversion of Somalia and for the Church to work freely in this country

2) To make as many other people, whether in your family, friends, or parish to pray for this same end

3) To spread the word and create awareness about the spiritual plight of Somalia; you can do this by promoting this blog and its message through your own website, blog, Facebook page, or Twitter account, or some such other social media.

Roman Catholic Mission Somalia can be followed on Twitter and Facebook.

Please show your support- our prayers can save souls!

God bless you and Mary Immaculate protect you,

RCMS Administrator

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Are there Catholics in Somalia?

There seems to be a doubt among Somalis whether there are in fact Catholics in Somalia. It is a question that needs to be answered, because among Somalis, generally speaking, there is a huge amount of prejudice and misinformation with regards to the Catholic Church.

First of all, it must be proved there are in fact Catholics in Somalia, who are ethnically Somali, because they need to be accounted for and protected by the state, and given their rights to freedom of worship and religion.

Secondly, Somalis need to know that their fellow countrymen, albeit a small number of them, are members of the Catholic Church, and that being Catholic does not take away one's Somali identity, nationality or ethnicity.

Thirdly, it must be proved there are Catholics in Somalia, because the Church needs to provide her children with the Sacraments. If there is a doubt concerning the actual existence of Catholics in Somalia, it may make the Church's entry into Somalia even more difficult- and to some pointless.

All this being said, even if it were not necessary to prove the existence of Catholics in Somalia, that is, if the above reasons were not important or needing to be acknowledged, the fact remains that there are Catholics in Somalia today.

How do we know that there are Catholics in Somalia?

According to the Annuario Pontificio of 2005, there were 100 Catholics in the Diocese of Mogadishu, which encompasses the entire country. According to the Annuario Pontificio of 1951 there were 8 500 Catholics in the Vicariate Apostolic of Mogadishu.

Of course, in 1951, Somalia was still an Italian Colony, so many of those Catholics would have been Europeans. But the Church did make converts among the local populace- especially among former slaves and from the orphans raised by Catholic missionaries. When Somalia became independent the Catholic population dropped drastically, and at the start of the civil war about 200-100 Catholics were documented by the subsequent editions of the Annuario Pontificio.

On the 6th of July 2011, Vatican Radio did a report on the Church in Somalia, the same figure of about 100 Catholics was cited. 

Bishop Giorgio Bertin OFM, the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Mogadishu keeps in phone contact with the Catholics of Somalia, and tries to visit them- the most recent visit being earlier this year, the first time he could do so in years. A good question to ask oneself is why would Bishop Bertin face the very real risk of death to visit a country with no Catholics? Remember, he is already the Bishop of the neighboring country of Djibouti, which has a significant amount of Catholics and a myriad of other problems to keep a Bishop busy full time. Why would Bishop Bertin risk life and limb, on top of an already busy schedule, for nothing? The obvious and most logical answer is that he is not doing it for nothing. He goes to Somalia to visit the persecuted members of his flock- and he risks his life because that is what every shepherd of souls is bound to do. Somalia is hardly the ideal holiday retreat for an already over worked Bishop!

Next, the very fact that fanatical Islamists, especially Al Shabaab, harp on about exterminating Christians (which includes Catholics), and in fact do actually kill Christians, is a proof that there are Catholics in Somalia.

Click here for a general overview of the ecclesiastical statistics of Somalia over the years, ending in 2004.

Please offer a pray for the persecuted Catholics of Somalia, and pray that the Church may soon be able to labor again amongst her Somali children. Our Lady of Fatima and Queen of Africa, pray for Somalia!

Monday, 22 July 2013

The Church's response to militant Islamic violence

The following video, produced by Aid to the Church in Need, concerns the current persecution of Christians in Nigeria. The video speaks for itself- but what is interesting- whatever you may think about inter-religious dialogue- is the Bishop's response to those militants who butchered so many Christians. It is not revenge he calls for, but for Christians to pray for the conversion of those who commit these terrorist acts and those who finance them. Further, the video brings to light the link between Boko Haram (Nigeria's terrorists) with the Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (pretty much all of North Africa) and Somalia's Al-Shabaab. While the militants of Islam seek to destroy Christianity throughout Africa, by concerted and fierce military action, what are we Christians doing for our brethren who suffer a true martyrdom in these lands? We must fight back against the bloody sword of Islam- but our weapons are different- we must fight back with prayer and penance. Remember Lepanto? Remember Vienna? It was the Rosary that saved Europe then- it will be the Rosary that will save our brothers in Africa now. Pray for the Christians in Africa, and those around the world, who are suffering for Our Blessed Lord.


Thursday, 18 July 2013


"Markaasaa Ciise wuxuu Toomas ku yidhi, Anigu waxaan ahay jidka iyo runta iyo nolosha. Ninna Aabbaha uma yimaado, xaggayguu ku yimaado maahee."-Yooxanaa 14:6

"Ciise goortuu dhinacyada Kaysariya Filibos yimid ayuu xertiisii weyddiiyey, oo wuxuu ku yidhi, Dadku yay ku sheegaan Wiilka Aadanaha? Waxay yidhaahdeen, Qaar waxay yidhaahdaan, Yooxanaa Baabtiisaha, qaarna Eliyaas, qaar kalena waxay yidhaahdaan, Yeremyaah, ama nebiyada midkood. Markaasuu wuxuu ku yidhi, Idinkuse yaad igu sheegtaan? Simoon Butros ayaa u jawaabay oo wuxuu ku yidhi, Waxaad tahay Masiixa ah Wiilka Ilaaha nool. Ciise ayaa u jawaabay oo ku yidhi, Waad barakaysan tahay Simoon ina Yoonis, waayo, bini-aadmi tan kuuma muujin, laakiin Aabbahayga jannada ku jira ayaa kuu muujiyey."-Matayos 16:13-17

"Waxaa jiray nin ka mid ahaa Farrisiinta oo la odhan jiray Nikodemos oo Yuhuudda taliye u ahaa. Isagu habeenkuu u yimid Ciise, wuxuuna ku yidhi, Macallimow, waannu og nahay inaad tahay macallin ka yimid Ilaah, waayo, ninna ma samayn karo calaamooyinkan aad samayso haddaan Ilaah la jirin. Ciise ayaa u jawaabay oo ku yidhi, Runtii, runtii waxaan kugu leeyahay, Qof haddaanu mar kale dhalan, boqortooyadii Ilaah arki kari maayo. Nikodemos wuxuu ku yidhi, Sidee baa nin mar kale u dhalan karaa isagoo duq ah? Miyuu mar kale uurkii hooyadiis geli karaa oo ka dhalan karaa? Ciise baa ugu jawaabay, Runtii, runtii, waxaan kugu leeyahay, Qof haddaanu ka dhalan biyo iyo Ruuxa, boqortooyadii Ilaah geli kari maayo. Waxa jidhka ka dhashaa waa jidh, waxa Ruuxa ka dhashaana waa ruux. Ha la yaabin haddaan ku leeyahay, Waa inaad mar kale dhalataan. Dabayshu way u dhacdaa meeshay doonto, waxaadna maqashaa xiinkeeda, laakiin ma ogid meeshay ka timaado iyo meeshay u kacdo; waa sidaas oo kale qof kasta oo Ruuxa ka dhasha. Nikodemos ayaa u jawaabay oo ku yidhi, Sidee baa waxyaalahaas u noqon karaan? Markaasaa Ciise u jawaabay oo ku yidhi, Ma waxaad tahay macallinka Israa'iil, oo aadan weliba waxyaalahaasna garanayn? Runtii, runtii, waxaan ku leeyahay, Waxaannu naqaan ayaannu ka hadalnaa, oo waxaannu aragnay ayaannu ka marag furnaa, idinkuna maraggayaga ma aqbashaan. Haddaan wixii dunida idiin sheegay oo aad rumaysan weydeen, sidee baad u rumaysanaysaan haddaan waxa jannada idiin sheego? Ninna jannada kor uma tegin, kii jannada ka soo degay maahee, waana Wiilka Aadanaha oo jannada jooga. Sidii Muuse abeesadii kor ugu qaaday cidlada, sidaasoo kale Wiilka Aadanaha waa in kor loo qaado, in mid kastoo isaga rumaystaa uu lahaado nolosha weligeed ah. Ilaah intuu dunida jacayl u qabay ayuu siiyey Wiilkiisa keliya oo dhashay in mid kastoo isaga rumaystaa uusan lumin laakiinse uu lahaado nolosha weligeed ahIlaah Wiilka uguma soo dirin dunida inuu xukumo dunida, laakiin wuxuu u soo diray inay dunidu ku badbaaddo isaga. Kii isaga rumaystaa ma xukumna, laakiinse kii aan isaga rumaysan, hore ayaa loo xukumay, maxaa yeelay, wuxuusan rumaysan magaca Wiilka Ilaah oo keliya oo dhashay. Kanu waa xukunka, nuurka ayaa dunida yimid, dadkiise waxay nuurkii ka jeclaadeen gudcurka, maxaa yeelay, shuqulladoodu shar bay ahaayeen. Nin kastoo shar falaa nuurkuu nebcaadaa, umana yimaado nuurka, si aan shuqulladiisa loogu canaanan. Laakiinse kii runta falaa, nuurkuu yimaadaa si shuqulladiisu u muuqdaan in Ilaah laga sameeyey."-Yooxanaa 3:1-21

"Sayidyadow, maxaa igu waajib ah inaan yeelo inaan ku badbaado? Kolkaasay ku yidhaahdeen, Rumayso Rabbi Ciise, waadna badbaadi doontaa, adiga iyo dadka gurigaaguba."-Falimaha Rasuullada 16:30-31

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Our Lady Mary- the Hope of Somalia

The following article is taken from: http://www.catholicapologetics.info/apologetics/islam/sheen.htm Bishop Sheen wrote this article in the 1950's, but it is still pertinent for today. -RCMS
Mary and the Moslems 
By Bishop Fulton J. Sheen
Moslemism [sic] is the only great post-Christian religion of the world.  Because it had its origin in the seventh century under Mohammed, it was possible to unite within it some elements of Christianity and of Judaism.

Moslemism takes the doctrine of the unity of God, His Majesty, and His Creative Power, and uses it as a basis for the repudiation of Christ, the Son of God. Misunderstanding the notion of the Trinity, Mohammed made Christ a prophet only.

The Catholic Church throughout Northern Africa was virtually destroyed by Moslem power and at the present time (circa 1950), the Moslems are beginning to rise again.

If Moslemism is a heresy, as Hilaire Belloc believes it to be, it is the only heresy that has never declined, either in numbers, or in the devotion of its followers.

The missionary effort of the Church toward this group has been, at least on the surface, a failure, for the Moslems are so far almost unconvertible.  The reason is that for a follower of Mohammed to become a Christian is much like a Christian becoming a Jew.  The Moslems believe that they have the final and definitive revelation of God to the world and that Christ was only a prophet announcing Mohammed, the last of God’s real prophets.

Today (1950), the hatred of the Moslem countries against the West is becoming hatred against Christianity itself.  Although the statesmen have not yet taken it into account, there is still grave danger that the temporal power of Islam may return and, with it, the menace that it may shake off a West which has ceased to be Christian, and affirm itself as a great anti-Christian world Power.

It is our firm belief that the fears some entertain concerning the Moslems are not to be realized, but that Moslemism, instead, will eventually be converted to Christianity – and in a way that even some of our missionaries never suspect.

It is our belief that this will happen not through the direct teaching of Christianity, but through a summoning of the Moslems to a veneration of the Mother of God.

This is the line of argument:
The Koran, which is the bible of the Moslems, has many passages concerning the Blessed Virgin.  First, the Koran believes in her Immaculate Conception and in her Virgin Birth.  The third chapter of the Koran places the history of Mary’s family in a genealogy that goes back through Abraham, Noah, and Adam.  When one compares the Koran’s description of the birth of Mary with the apocryphal Gospel of the birth of Mary, one is tempted to believe that Mohammed very much depended upon the latter.

Both books describe the old age and the definite sterility of Anne, the mother of Mary.  When, however, Anne conceives, the mother of Mary is made to say in the Koran:  "O Lord, I vow and I consecrate to you what is already within me.  Accept it from me."

When Mary is born, her mother, Anne, says:  "And I consecrate her with all of her posterity under thy protection, O Lord against Satan!"

The Koran has also verses on the Annunciation, Visitation, and nativity.  Angels are pictured as accompanying the Blessed Mother and saying, "O Mary, God has chosen you and purified you, and elected you above all the women of the earth."

In the nineteenth chapter of the Koran, there are forty-one verses on Jesus and Mary.  There is such a strong defense of the virginity of Mary here that the Koran, in the fourth book, attributes the condemnation of the Jews to their monstrous calumny against the Virgin Mary.

Mary, then, is for the Moslems the true ‘Sayyida, or Lady.  The only possible serious rival to her in their creed would be Fatima, the daughter of Mohammed himself.  However, after the death of Fatima, (this appears to be a misprint as Mohammed died before Fatima - Ed CAIMohammed wrote:  "Thou shalt be the most blessed of all the women in Paradise, after Mary."

In a variant of the text, Fatima is made to say, "I surpass all the women, except Mary."
This brings us to our second point, namely, why the Blessed Mother, in this twentieth century (1950), should have revealed herself in the insignificant little village of Fatima, so that to all future generations she would be known as "Our Lady of Fatima."

Nothing ever happens out of heaven except with a finesse of all details.  I believe that the Blessed Virgin chose to be known as "Our Lady of Fatima" as a pledge and a sign of hope to the Moslem people, and as an assurance that they, who show her so much respect, will one day accept her Divine Son, too.

Evidence to support these views is found in the historical fact that the Moslems occupied Portugal for centuries.  At the time when they were finally driven out, the last Moslem chief had a beautiful daughter by the name of Fatima.

A Catholic boy fell in love with her, and for him she not only stayed behind when the Moslems left, but even embraced the Catholic faith.  The young husband was so much in love with her that he changed the name of the town where he lived to Fatima.  Thus, the very place where Our Lady appeared in 1917 bears a historical connection to Fatima, the daughter of Mohammed.

The final evidence of the relationship of Fatima to the Moslems is the enthusiastic reception that the Moslems in Africa and India and elsewhere gave to the Pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima.  Moslems attended the Catholic services in honor of Our Lady; they allowed religious processions and even prayers before their mosques; and in Mozambique the Moslems, who were unconverted, began to be Christian as soon as the statue of Our Lady of Fatima was erected.

Missionaries in the future will increasingly see that their apostolate among the Moslems will be successful in the measure that they preach Our Lady of Fatima.  Because the Moslems have a devotion to Mary, our missionaries should be satisfied merely to expand and to develop that devotion with the full realization that Our Blessed Lady will carry the Moslems the rest of the way to her Divine Son.

As those who lose devotion to her lose belief in the Divinity of Christ, so those who intensify devotion to her gradually acquire that belief. [1]

[1]  Taken from "The World’s First Love," by Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, 1952, published by McGraw-Hill Book Company, NY, NY.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Somalia's Cathedral: Past and Present

As Somalia's only Diocese- the Diocese of Mogadishu- encompasses the entire country, there was only need of one Cathedral in the country. The Cathedral was built in the city of Mogadishu, Somalia's capital city.

Built by Italian Colonials in the then colony of Italian Somaliland, construction started in 1925 and the Cathedral was officially opened on March the 1st 1928. Built in the Norman Gothic style, it was based on the Cathedral of Cefalù in Sicily. In it's time, it was the largest Cathedral in Africa.

The building was built in the shape of a Latin Cross, the inside had three naves divided by pillars with pointed arches. Originally entrusted to the Consolata Missionaries, the Cathedral was later entrusted to the Friars Minor or Franciscans.

It was in this Cathedral that Somalia's one, and so far only Bishop, was murdered in while saying Mass.

During the civil war, which started in the early 1990's, the Cathedral was terribly damaged, and practically destroyed by Islamic Fundamentalists.

Today the Cathedral is inhabited by various homeless people, displaced by the on going conflict in Somalia. A BBC Correspondent visited the site of the Cathedral in 2012, stating that despite the fact the roof of the Cathedral had been blown off and that the building had sustained significant structural damage, the walls still remain intact as well as the stone arches.

Earlier this year, Bishop Bertin OFM, the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Mogadishu, managed to pay a visit to Mogadishu after years of being unable to do so, due to the insecurity of the region. His visit had a number of purposes, one of which was to inspect the Cathedral and to see about recovering the building.

Please pray that soon God may deign to raise up a strong and fervent Church in Somalia- and that this once beautiful Cathedral may once again resound with the praise of God- from the voices of His Somali children!

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Provisional Constitution of Somalia

NOTE: The opinions expressed in this post ARE NOT those necessarily or even at all of the Catholic Church. While I would like to think, as a Catholic lay man, that my opinions are not at odds with those of of my Church, to which I humbly submit and obey, nevertheless, the opinions here expressed are solely my own and for which I take full responsibility. Thus, what is said here cannot be taken as the Catholic Church's official opinion.- RCMS

As of August 2nd 2012 the Provisional Constitution of Somalia came into force. The UNDP*/UNPOS** Joint Constitution Unit prepared a guidebook on the Provisional Constitution to "aid the Somali people to become familiar with the contents of the Provisional Constitution..."

The guidebook, taken from the UNPOS website, can be downloaded here.

Set in a question and answer format, the guidebook serves to clarify the basic ins and outs of the Provisional Constitution. The first line in answer to the question: 'What is a constitution?' reads as follows: "A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state and its institutions are supposed to function." Fair enough.

As the guidebook progresses we come across the heading 'Islam and Shari'ah'. The second question under this heading reads as follows: 'What is the status of the Quran and the Shari’ah in the Provisional Constitution?'

Note the answer (emphasis added):
"The Provisional Constitution is based on the foundation laid by the holy Quran and Sunna. It promotes the higher objectives of Shari’ah and social justice – see Article 3 (1). The Provisional Constitution adopts a special provision to the effect that parliament may not pass any law that contravenes the general principles of Shari’ah – see Article 2 (3). The courts have the power to strike down any law on the basis that it is contrary to the Shari’ah and thus to the Constitution – see Article 109 C (1) (a) and (b). The Provisional Constitution reaffirms Islam to be the state religion of Somalia – see Article 2 (1). In line with Shari’ah, the Constitution explicitly prohibits the propagation of other religions in Somalia – see Article 2 (3)."

Of course, Somalia is a Muslim nation and so the Provisional Constitution would obviously incorporate Shari'ah Law. But to what extent is Shari’ah incorporated into the Provisional Constitution? Are merely the ‘general principles’ of Shari’ah being enforced or does Shari’ah have a larger role in the Provisional Constitution?

The next question, and one that is more pertinent to this blog, is what happens, taking into account the last two lines of the quote above, to those Somalis, albeit a tiny minority, who profess the Christian Faith? Are they entitled to freedom of worship, insofar as they do not contravene Article 2 (3) of the Provisional Constitution? And what exactly constitutes ‘propagation of other religions’? Active proselytism? Public existence? Mere existence? And what are the punishments for those who contravene Article 2 (3) of the Provisional Constitution? Are the punishments in line with those of Shari’ah Law?

And supposing a Muslim Somali of his own free will converts to the Christian Faith, what does the Provisional Constitution make of that? Because according to Shari’ah Law, severe penalties, not excluding the death penalty, are meted out to those who ‘apostatize’ from the Muslim faith. Now seeing as there is a Christian minority in Somalia today it would appear possible and likely that over time, Muslim Somalis in contact with Christian Somalis might indeed convert. What happens to such people? Will their free and voluntary decision to convert be respected in accordance with fundamental human rights, or punished in accordance with Shari’ah and therefore Constitutional Law [see Article 109 C (1) (a) and (b)]?

Understandably, the guidebook to the Provisional Constitution is by no means exhaustive, nor was it designed with a tiny and practically non-existent minority in mind. The same is probably true with regards to the Provisional Constitution itself. Those involved in drawing up the Constitution were Muslim or writing it up with an almost exclusively Muslim nation in mind. None the less, a minority though Christian Somali’s may be, they exist all the same. And provision must be made for them in the Constitution.

The questions proposed are by no means comprehensive, with regards to religious minorities in Somalia; however these questions seem to be the most pressing. In order for the Catholic Church to once again take up her work in Somalia, these questions need to be answered. Of course the Church strives to respect the national laws of every nation- even Muslim nations- insofar as they do not contravene the immutable Laws of God.

This fact remains- there are Catholics in Somalia, who are Somalis by race and culture, and who are a part of the national fabric that is the Somali state. They are not foreigners, they are Somalis who love their country and wish to live in Somalia. The Church will not abandon her children- if there are Catholics in Somalia, the Church’s duty first and foremost, is to serve her children and to provide the necessary means to procure their Eternal Salvation. Come what may, the Church must fulfill this basic and essential mission towards her children.

If it can be done in accordance with state legislature- blessed be God. If it cannot, the task of the Church is only made more difficult- but the work must go on. The first Christians lived in the catacombs for three centuries. If Somali Christians must do the same then so be it. But the work of salvation and redemption will not stop- it is God’s work- and no man nor any laws of man can stop that work.

Pray for Somalia and for the benighted Catholics of this land. May God soon deign to let His Church work freely and openly in Somalia!

*UNDP- United Nations Development Programme
**UNPOS- United Nations Political Office for Somalia

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Most Abandoned Souls: Somalia

The following article is taken from the December 2011 issue of the 'Catholic'. The link takes you to the paper's subscription page. While this article is somewhat out of date, it is a good summary of the history, progress, and current state of affairs of the Catholic Church in Somalia-RCMS

Recently the Holy Father has brought the world’s attention to the plight of the starving peoples of Somalia. Yet few know that in this land of fanatical Islamists, amongst the war torn and famine stricken people, there are Catholics.

Catholicism was introduced into Somalia in the late 19th Century, by Italian colonials. At the same time, in the British territory of Somalia, some French Missionaries had established a Mission.  Catholicism was mostly restricted to the colonialists, until the abolishment of slavery by the Italian colonial government; brought about by the anti-slavery activist Father Robecchi Bricchetti. Soon after, many conversions were made amongst the emancipated slaves.

In 1928 a Cathedral was built in Mogadishu, the country’s Capital city. The Cathedral was the largest in Africa at the time.

In 1950 there were 8,500 Catholics in the country, served by 16 Priests. With the end of colonial rule, Catholicism rapidly declined. In 1975 the Diocese of Mogadishu was established; the whole country is contained in this Diocese. The first and only Bishop of the Diocese was Bishop Pietro Salvatore Colombo O.F.M.  In 1989 he was murdered in the Cathedral while saying Mass. During the civil war, which started in 1991, the Cathedral was completely destroyed by Muslim fundamentalists.

Since then, Somalia's national government has collapsed and the country has been controlled by rival warlords. Christians have often been targets of violence and intimidation in this Muslim country. There are reports of a systematic eradication of Christians and all traces and influences of Christianity- a Christian genocide. All Churches and Church buildings have been destroyed.

The care of the Catholic Church in Somalia was given to Bishop Giorgio Bertin O.F.M, who is the Bishop of the neighbouring country of Djibouti. He was appointed Apostolic Administrator of Mogadishu.

According to a recent report by Vatican Radio there are only 100 Catholics in Somalia today, who are dispersed and prohibited from gathering together.  Bishop Bertin O.F.M can only contact these few Catholics by phone and he has not been able to visit them for the last 2 years. Most of these Catholics are situated in central Somalia. According to Bishop Bertin, for the Church to act more directly and to be openly present lies in the re-establishment of a stable Somali state.

Please keep these abandoned souls and the Church of Somalia in your prayers. Our Lady, Queen of Africa, pray for thy poor Somalian children!

Friday, 5 July 2013

"I found signs of hope," said Bishop Bertin

This is somewhat old news, but encouraging all the same. Let us pray that soon the Catholic Church may once more freely carry out her Mission of Salvation among the peoples of Somalia-RCMS

Mogadishu (Agenzia Fides) - "I found concrete signs of hope even if the new state institutions are not yet in full control of the situation," says to Fides Agency His Exc. Mgr. Giorgio Bertin, Bishop of Djibouti and Apostolic Administrator of Mogadishu who has just returned from a visit to the Somali capital.
"I went back to Mogadishu after 6 years of absence," said the Bishop. "I visited the old town, the Medina area and that towards the fifth, sixth, seventh kilometer, and the thing that struck me most is the absence of checkpoints of the various militias." I therefore had the impression of a city no longer divided but unified. Another thing that struck me is that one does not hear shootings, apart from a couple of gunshots. I saw several entrepreneurs who are trying to rebuild and refurbish buildings. These are all signs of hope," he points out.
"My visit had several purposes," continues Mgr. Bertin. "On the one hand to check the humanitarian situation. During these years, Caritas Somalia has managed to maintain its activities through local partners. One of these relates to the camps of internally displaced persons. These are either Mogadishu residents who lost their homes due to the war, or, and they are the majority of cases, people coming from inside due to insecurity or because of the drought." Mgr.Bertin traveled to Somalia with Sara Fumagalli, coordinator of "Humanitarian Padania", onlus has already established small aid programs and intends to try to open a humanitarian corridor to send hospital equipment .
Humanitarian work is, however, difficult: "Despite the improved weather conditions, it is difficult to imagine a short return of displaced persons in rural areas, because these are still in the hands of the Shabaab," said the Bishop.
"Another aim was to check the status of the cathedral which is occupied by a group of displaced people. The building condition is terrible and we will see what we can do to recover it," said Mgr. Bertin.
"Finally we had meetings at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and that of Social Affairs, to start an agreement on the opening of our presence in a more direct way, including the reopening of a place of worship," said Mgr. Bertin. "I met open and available interlocutors but the problem is that there is a wide gap between the state institutions that have reborn and the concrete situation. If state institutions are available towards us then we must see what can be done, because the same public buildings are occupied by people who have seized them by force or by the displaced."
Despite the difficulties Mgr.Bertin does not give up and concludes: "I intend to come back soon to meet either the President or the Prime Minister or the Minister of Foreign Affairs to continue this conversation." (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 12/04/2013)


Important Catholic Prayers in Somali

The Apostles' Creed/ Waxaan rumeysanahay Eebbe:

Waxaan rumeysanahay Eebbe, Aabbaha Qaadirka ah, 
ee uumay samada iyo dhulka. 

Iyo Ciise Masiix, oo ah wiilkiisa madiga ah, Sayidkeenna, oo Ruuxa Quduuska ah laga uureystay, oo uu ka dhashay Maryan oo cadrad ah, oo uu ku hoos silcay Bontiyos Bilatos, 
oo saliibka lagu qodbay, oo uu geeriyooday lana aasay. 

Galay cadaabka, oo maalintii saddexaad ka soo sarekacay dhimashadii, loona dheelmiyay samada, oo uu fadhiyo Eebbe midigtiisa, oo ah Aabbaha Qaadirka ah, oo halkaasuu ka imaan doonaa inuu xukumo kuwa nool iyo kuwa dhintayba. 

Waxaan rumeysanahay Ruuxa Quduuska, kaniisadda Masiixa ee quduusan, kullanka awliyada, 
cafiska dembiyada, sarakicida jidhka, iyo nolosha weligeed ah. Aamiin.

The Our Father/ Aabbahayaga jannada ju jirow:

Aabbahayaga jannada ku jirow, magacaagu qoduus ha ahaado. Boqortooyadaadu ha timaado, doonistaada dhulka ha lagu  yeelo sida jannada loogu yeelo. Kibis maalin nagu filan, maanta na sii. Oo naga cafi qaamahayaga sidaannu u cafinnay kuwa noo qaamaysan. Oo jirrabaadda ha noo kaxayn, laakiin sharka naga du. Waayo, boqortooyada iyo xoogga iyo ammaanta adigaa leh weligaa. Aamiin.

The Hail Mary/ Ad'an ku salamei Maryamei:

Ad'an ku salamei Maryamei, karamad bad ka buhda Ilah ba ku la joga dumar o dan ada u barakadeisan o midka urka ga ku jira o barakadeisan wa 'Isa. 
Maryam aulied'ei Ilah Hoya disei no bari annaga dembigaleh, iminka iyo sa ada dimasha dayada. Amin.