CCEE/COMECE, Spain

Ccee/Comece: ahead of the European Social Days Five keynote speeches will be delivered during the “European Catholic Social Days” scheduled to take place in Madrid next September 18-21. It’s the second ecclesial initiative promoted by CCEE (Council of European Bishops’ Conferences) and COMECE (Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Communities), in conjunction with the archdiocese of Madrid and the Spanish Bishops’ Conference. The program – which envisages the participation of 150 delegates from thirty Countries – will be articulated in plenary meetings and working groups. Cardinal Antonio Rouco-Varela, archbishop of the hosting city will deliver a welcoming address to participants September 18, followed by the speeches of cardinals Peter Erdo e Reinhard Marx, respectively presidents of CCEE and COMECE. Panel speakers include Ana Botella, mayor of the capital, and Ignacio Gonzales, president of the Community of Madrid. The main theme of the day will be “Christian faith and the future of Europe”, focusing on the mission of the Church in contemporary society with specific reference to contemporary Europe, to the social doctrine of the Church and to the new ongoing thrusts to Christians by Pope Francis. All information on the European Social Days is available on the bilingual website (in English and Spanish) www.catholicdays.eu   Spain: an agreement to remedy social deficiencies The bishop of the diocese of Coria-Cáceres, Monsignor Francisco Cerro Chaves, and the president of the “Caja de Extremadura”, Víctor Bravo, have signed a 60-thousand-euro cooperation agreement for the development of social, cultural projects, and for the protection of religious sites. The agreement highlights the two bodies’ awareness and concern for society by jointly contributing to remedy social deficiencies, promoting culture and furthering human development in the community. Moreover, the agreement recognizes the diocese as a founding body of the current “Caja de Extremadura”, and it strengthens the various support actions of the body in terms of social assistance, and religious property protection. The conservation of diocesan patrimony is a fundamental commitment for the preservation of an important part of the regions’ cultural heritage, as both institutions pointed out. In practical terms, the agreement will ensure conservation and restoration of artistic and cultural heritage such as the restoration of the roof of the Chapel of Peace Cáceres, better access to the Church of the Precious Blood and conservation of parish churches. This cooperation also takes into account the current situation of Spanish society and the growing need for social support provided by the dioceses, which is also why the funds will cover such needs with direct aid to the Old Age Homes Fund, owned by the diocese of Coria-Cáceres. Spain: “Stop Ebola in eastern Africa” “Juan Ciudad ngdo”, of the Hospitaller Order of St. John, has launched the campaign “Stop Ebola in Eastern Africa”. Two St. John of God institutions have asked for help to continue providing healthcare services for the local population. The situation is very serious and the hospitals of the Hospitaller Order of St. John of God in Lunsar (Sierra Leone) and Monrovia (Liberia) are treating Ebola patients, in coordination with the respective Ministries of Health, since the disease requires the adoption of strict protocols. In the region there is a shortage of resources and healthcare infrastructures. Given the spread of the epidemics there is also urgent need of hospital equipment. The St. John of God Hospital in Lunsar and the St. Joseph Catholic Hospital in Monrovia have adopted all required measures to provide appropriate treatment of the local population, to protect healthcare staff and inform the families on the diseases and related risks. The purpose of the campaign is to raise awareness on the urgent situation in the region and collect funds to support the two hospitals, so they may expand and adequately equip existing isolation areas while ensuring that medical staff has the necessary means to continue treating patients in conditions of security. The Spanish NGDO (Non-Governmental Development Organization) “Juan Ciudad” was established in 1991 by the Hospitaller Order of St. John of God to promote healthcare in poor countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia. It is currently active in 25 countries and implements each year 50 cooperation projects with over 60 volunteers from world countries.

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