Irish Capuchins Overseas Missions

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    Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News (Mark 16:15)

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News of the World

  • Bishop killed in Cameroun
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    On Friday 2nd June the body of Bishop Jean-Marie Benoît Bala of the diocese of Bafia was recovered from the Sanaga River. It appears that he was tortured and murdered before his body was thrown into the river. His death may be linked to his plans to expose the government's involvement in the death of of Abbé Armel Djama, rector of the Minor Seminary in Bafia, Bala's own archdiocese, who was found dead in his room at the end of May.
  • Lay Missionaries on the Move
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  • Capuchin Day Centre: Mission to the Hungry
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    Over 40 years ago, Brother Kevin Crowley founded the Capuchin Day Centre for Homeless People in Bow Street, Dublin. From its very humble beginnings in the Friary garden it now provides over 700 meals each day and over 1500 food parcels each Wednesday to the homeless and poor of Dublin. You can contact the Capuchin Day Centre through their website www.capuchindaycentre.com
     ‘A welcome to those in need’
    While the Capuchin Day Centre has journeyed with people in need since 1969 including the last recession of the 1980’s, nothing has prepared us for the level of demand for the service. Since the collapse of the Banks in 2008 our numbers have more than doubled. Latest figures show we provide 250 breakfasts each day with 400 extra on a Wednesday. Our dinner service has increased and is seldom less that 480 with a couple of days in the week exceeding 500. In keeping with our child protection policies, we have a designated family area where parents and their children can enjoy nutritious meals in safety. The increase in child poverty is very evident here in the Day Centre with more parents needing to avail of the service. We also have a medical service, chiropody clinics, an optical service and advice and information clinics. We prioritise the needs of rough sleepers and the increased energy and water charges for the shower facilities together with the provision of new underwear, personal hygiene products etc. has all added to our expenses.
    Despite trying to cope with the above, the greatest challenge both physically and financially is to help the increased number of people who need Food Parcels. Demand has risen with each new phase of unemployment and rose from about 3/400 a week in 2008 to around 1,000 in 2011 with further spikes to the current level of 1800 people who need help to feed their families in the current recession.
  • Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation
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  • Syria
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    The situation for Christians in Syria has deteriorated over the last few years, as they have become the targets for various armed gangs. The "Islamic State" seems to have targeted Christian communities for annihilation. The intervention of foreign powers has led to an escalation of violence. There were four Capuchin friars working in Syria, two in Deir Ezzor in the northwest and two in As Suwayda in the southeast, in a place called the Mountain of the Druze”. The Church in Deir Ezzor was destroyed some years ago.


  • Iraq
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    The Christians of Iraq are considered to be one of the oldest continuous Christian communities in the world. The vast majority are Eastern Aramaic-speaking ethnic Assyrians; however, there is a very small community of Armenians, too. In Iraq, Christians numbered about 1,500,000 in 2003, representing just over 6% of the population of the country down from 12% on 1947 in a population of 4.7 million. They numbered over 1.4 million in 1987 or 8% of the population. After the Iraq War, it was estimated that the number of Christians in Iraq had dropped to less than 450,000 by 2013.
  • Chad
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    Chad
    French-speaking Capuchins have been working in Chad, one of the world’s poorest countries for many years. Only 23% of the people have access to drinkable water, which means that cholera, typhoid and intestinal worms are rife. A Capuchin from Quebec, Br. Jean-Jacques Filiatrault worked there for 41 years, concentrating on finding water in the desert. During that period he sank hundreds of wells so that the local people could have clean water, and he saved thousands of lives by his efforts. Br. Jean-Jacques's brother Gerard, also a Capuchin, died in Montreal on 29th October 2010.
  • Remember Shahbaz Bhatti
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    ´┐╝On 2nd March 2011 masked men sprayed Shahbaz Bhatti’s car with bullets as he left his mother’s home. Shahbaz, a Catholic, was a brilliant lawyer and the only Christian Minister in the government of Pakistan, was murdered for opposing Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.
    In his role as Federal Minister for Minorities, Shahbaz frequently criticised the abuse of the blasphemy laws, saying they were used as a pretext to persecute innocent Christians. He knew that he was endangering his own life by speaking out. Pakistani law can impose execution or life imprisonment for offences against Islam. Shahbaz had received death threats since 2009. He predicted his death in a video, in which he said bravely: “I believe in Jesus Christ who has given his own life for us… I’m living for my community… and I will die to defend their rights.”

    In August 2009, after reports of a Koran being desecrated in the Punjab province, anti-Christian mobs killed eight people. Shahbaz called for better civil and legal protection for the Christian community. He was also the most vociferous speaker in defence of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who was on death row because she was found guilty of insulting Mohammed. As of February 2015, she has spent almost five years on death row. (For more information,
    CLICK HERE)

    Shahbaz only served 28 months in government, but from the beginning he took several courageous approaches in support of religious minorities, Baha'i, Christian and Hindu. He launched the national campaign for interfaith harmony and proposed to make hate speech illegal, as well as proposing the introduction of quotas for religious minorities in government posts.

    Shahbaz also pioneered the establishment of a National Interfaith Consultation in July 2010, which was the impetus for bringing together senior religious leaders from all religions and from all over Pakistan and resulted in their signing a joint declaration against terrorism.
    Shahbaz was the recipient of many prestigious awards, from the Human Rights Award in 2004 to the International Freedom of Religion Award in 2009. He was also awarded a PhD by South Korea University in recognition for his interfaith work.

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  • The Forest is Weeping
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    José Cláudio Ribeiro Da Silva was shot dead along with his wife Maria do Espírito Santo on Tuesday 24th May 2010 in Maraba, Para State, Brazil.
    Jose (known as "Zé" for short) was a tireless campaigner for the protection of the Amazon forest, and had earned the enmity of those engaged in illegal logging. At a TED presentation in November 2009 Zé said:

    “I can be here today talking with you, and a month from now you know what could happen to me – disappeared. Ask me if I am scared. I am afraid. I am a human being. I have fear. But my fear won’t let me be quiet. As long as I have the power to walk I will be denouncing those who are harming the forest.”

    A banner outside his house reads "A floresta chora" – "The forest is weeping". And we all have reason to, for the cause of the environment on which we all depend is the cause of humanity.
    On the Friday following (28th May 2010) another rural activist was murdered:
    Adelino Ramos spoke out for land reform and against the illegal logging. According to the Pastoral Land Commission of the local Catholic Church, he was shot by a motorist as he sold vegetables in the northwestern Amazon state of Rondonia.
    Over the past 20 years more than 1,150 conservationists have been killed in Brazil. Others include
    Chico Mendes (+1988) and Sr. Dorothy Stang (+2005).
    You can read more about Zé
    Here ze-claudio-e-maria

To find out more about the Capuchin Order, please CLICK HERE OR go to the Provincial Website of the Irish Capuchins HERE
The Irish Capuchins have had many ups and downs in their
history, with numbers rising and falling over the centuries. But even when numbers were low, in the mid 19th century, there were still friars who took up the challenge to go overseas. At present Irish friars are working in the following overseas areas: South Africa (since 1929), Zambia (since 1931), New Zealand (since 1985), Korea (since 1985) and in the Western American Province (from 1910).
For links to their websites, please CLICK HERE

South Africa

The Capuchin presence in South Africa began in 1929 when Irish Capuchins started a mission in Cape Town. In the beginning, the Capuchins devoted themselves to building up the local Church, and it was several years before they began the implantation of the Capuchin order itself. Capuchins have diversified their activities in South Africa in recent years. They are involved in forming young Africans from several countries for Franciscan life, in parish work, in Muslim–Christian dialogue, and in teaching.
At present the Capuchins have nine houses in South Africa. And the Irish Capuchins have been joined by Capuchin missionaries from India (2007) and Tanzania (2010).
One of the major contributions to a divided society – and to other places where there is conflict – has been the
Damietta Initiative, a peace-making programme inspired by the example of St. Francis who, at Damietta (Egypt) in 1219, walked through the battle lines to meet with Malik al-Kamil, the Sultan of Egypt.
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Zambia

In Zambia, the mission began in 1931 in areas with little or no previous contact with the Catholic faith. Since then the Church has blossomed. Small Christian communities form the backbone of pastoral life. Friars serve the people in various ways: in parishes, training lay leaders, promoting care for AIDS sufferers, forming young African friars, and assisting development work. Over the years a total of 102 Irish friars and 17 New Jersey friars have served in Zambia. The numbers peaked towards the end of the 1960s when there were 62 perpetually professed friars in Zambia.
At present (2016) there are 35 perpetually professed Capuchins in Zambia, all but five of whom are Zambians. Check out their Facebook page HERE
One friar of the Zambian Custody, Br. Damian Loughrey, is working with Indian Capuchins in Namibia. For further information, Click Here
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New Zealand

In 1833, Brs. Thomas Sheehy and Thomas McCarthy went to Australia. They were followed in 1854 by Br. John O'Connell. Meanwhile in 1843, Br. Joseph O'Reilly became the first resident priest in Wellington, New Zealand.
New Zealand is an advanced Western society; it is prosperous, multi-cultural, secular and, some would say, materialistic.
The first resident priest in Wellington, the capital, was an Irish Capuchin, Br. Joseph O'Reilly. Today, Capuchins work in parishes in Wellington and Auckland, in giving missions and retreats.
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Korea

This is the newest venture for Irish Capuchins (starting in 1985), but one which has already attracted Koreans to the Franciscan life.Although Catholics are a small percentage of the Korean population, the faith is strong, and Church life vigorous. To access the Website of the Capuchins in Korea Click Here
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Western American Province

In 1910, Br. Luke Sheehan pioneered the Capuchin presence in Oregon and sowed the seeds of what was to become the Western American Province. On April 18, 1979, the Capuchin Franciscan Friars of the western United States officially become the Province of Our Lady of Angels of the Portiuncula - the Western American Province. The province was formed to serve six western states-California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, and Arizona-as well as much of northern Mexico in the states of Chihuahua, Nuevo Leon, and Sonora. Irish friars continue to work there  and share in its mission in northern Mexico, where they are involved in the formation of young Mexican friars. Vocations there are growing. For further information, Click Here
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