27 June 2019
A Catholic church destroyed by Islamic State militants in Karamdes, Iraq, is examined by a priest following the 2016 liberation of the predominantly Christian town. The U.S. State Department has released a new report detailing continued attacks against religious minorities around the world. (photo: CNS/courtesy Archdiocese of Irbil)
U.S. report documents attacks on religious freedom worldwide (CNS) The State Department’s newly released annual report on international religious freedom shows continued attacks and abuse by governments and societies against religious minorities in their respective countries…
Russian Orthodox Church plans ’Orthodox Vatican’ for Moscow (The Moscow Times) The Russian Orthodox Church has developed plans to construct its own Vatican to the tune of $2 billion in the Moscow region, the Vedomosti business daily reported on Thursday. Church officials have been in talks with officials in the city of Sergiyev Posad to transform it into the capital of Orthodoxy since 2017...
Gaza arson balloons spark 19 fires (The Times of Israel) Incendiary balloons launched from the Gaza Strip started 19 fires in southern Israel on Wednesday, according to authorities. The southern branch of the Fire and Rescue services said the blazes were quickly extinguished and that investigators determined they were started by arson balloons…
Catholics battle human trafficking in India (UCANews.com) The Global Slavery Index estimates that there are some eight million trafficking victims living in India, but the figure can vary according to definitions that are applied. For example, according to Indian government statistics, 8,132 cases of human trafficking were reported in 2016. Nonetheless, even the official figures indicated that the problem is getting worse as this constituted a 20 percent increase on 2015. Caritas-India in 2017 launched the ‘Swaraksha’ (self-defense) anti-human trafficking program near the Indo-Nepal border where most cases are reported…
Canadian-Indian development group with Sisters of St. Joseph offers support in rural India (Catholic Register) After 42 years of digging wells, setting up water purification systems, organizing villagers to demand better education, health care, roads and infrastructure, a little Canadian-Indian development agency estimates it has helped four million people live a better life in rural India…
Attacks threaten Ethiopia’s reforms (Reuters) The attacks, described by the government as part of a coup attempt in Amhara, highlight the dangers Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed faces as he rolls out ambitious reforms in Africa’s second most populous nation — a regional powerhouse whose economic boom is now threatened by deepening ethnic and regional fissures…
26 June 2019
Tags: India Gaza Strip/West Bank Russian Orthodox Church Persecution
Archbishop Elpidophoros of America stands with his crosier during his enthronement as the seventh archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America at the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in New York City on 22 June. Also pictured are retired Metropolitan Avgoustinos of Germany and Archbishop Demetrios, who headed the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America from 1999 to 2019.
(photo: CNS/Dimitrois Panagos, courtesy GOA)
26 June 2019
In this image from 2016, women walk along a street in Asmara, Eritrea. Eritrea's Catholics are being asked to pray and fast in response to the government's move to close Catholic hospitals.
(photo: CNS/Thomas Mukoya, Reuters)
Eritrea’s faithful praying, fasting after closure of Catholic hospitals (Vatican News) Seventeen days of fasting and prayer. That’s what Eritrea’s Catholics are being asked to do in response to the government’s decision to nationalize all Church-run hospitals. Archbishop Abune Menghesteab Tesfamariam, of Asmara, announced the move in a letter dated 22 June. In his letter, the Archbishop condemned the decision to close Catholic-run health facilities, saying “only the Lord can console us and resolve our problems”…
Ethiopia’s chief of staff killed in failed coup plot (Vatican News) Security forces have deployed in strength across the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. Internet access and some telephone circuits have been blocked. The personal bodyguard of General Seare Mekonnen — the chief of staff of the Ethiopian army — shot him dead after he and another officer attempted to prevent a coup against the administration in the northern Amhara region…
Thousands of refugees returning to Syria face prison, torture (NPR) President Bashar al-Assad has called on the millions of Syrians who’ve fled the brutal civil war to return home, but thousands who have come back end up imprisoned and often tortured…
Mob lynchings spread to India’s heartland (UCANews.com) The mob lynching of a Muslim man in India’s Jharkhand state shows religious hate is spreading to the peace-loving people in the tribal heartland, church leaders and tribal activists say. The death of 24-year-old Tabrej Ansari was the third incident in the state in two years and the latest in a series of such incidents at the hands of Hindu groups who want to make India a Hindu-only nation…
25 June 2019
Tags: Syria India Ethiopia Eritrea
Syriac Catholic bishops from around the world met for their annual synod in Lebanon last week, led by Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan. (photo: CNS/courtesy Syriac Catholic patriarchate)
Faced with the migration of Christians from Syria and Iraq, Syriac Catholic bishops meeting in Lebanon for their annual synod called upon church members “scattered everywhere in the East and West” to cling to their faith with hope so they “can be witnesses to the joy of the Gospel wherever they are.”
In a statement at the conclusion of the 17-22 June gathering led by Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan, the bishops acknowledged the suffering of the faithful in the face of “endless wars, persecutions, acts of violence, terrorism, displacement, murder and destruction, and the uprooting of a large number of nationals from the land of fathers and grandparents -- Syria and Iraq -- and their dispersion throughout the world.”
Yet the bishops stressed that they also are optimistic, “thanking God for the return of many displaced people to their villages” in Iraq and Syria.
The prelates noted that Christians “are an authentic component and founder in these two countries.” They called for solidarity among all citizens to build peace, hope and unity.
Synod participants came from dioceses and patriarchal and apostolic offices in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Egypt, the United States, Venezuela and Australia. They were joined by the patriarchal vicar in Rome.
In studying pastoral service in the countries where Syriac Catholics relocated -- primarily Europe, the Americas and Australia -- the bishops acknowledged the plight of migration “to the country of alienation and painful assimilation” and the importance of sending “priests of good quality.” They pointed to visits from the patriarch and bishops to Syriac Catholics worldwide in which the faithful were called “to preserve the deposit of faith and trust for their churches, the Syriac heritage and native lands.”
The bishops reiterated their demand to stop wars and “resolve disputes through dialogue and peaceful means, and to achieve a just, comprehensive and lasting peace.” They called for the return of all displaced persons, refugees and abductees to their homelands.
The synod also stressed “the right of the Palestinians to return to their homes and establish their state on their land,” emphasizing that Jerusalem “is a holy city for the followers” Christianity, Judaism and Islam.
They called on Lebanon’s president, prime minister “and all concerned” to find an immediate solution to the country’s economic recession and crisis in the housing sector that pushes Lebanese youth, in particular, to emigrate.
In their statement, the prelates welcomed efforts made “to obtain the official recognition of our Syriac Church in Jordan.”
They also praised the establishment of a Syriac Youth Meeting in Syria in early July and plans for a World Youth Meeting in 2021, which both follow the first World Youth Meeting in Lebanon in the summer of 2018. The bishops recommended such meetings be held in eparchies and other countries.
25 June 2019
Tags: Syriac Catholic Church Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignatius Joseph III Younan
Security personnel investigate the scene of a bomb explosion on 9 April 2017, inside the Orthodox Church of St. George in Tanta, Egypt. The Holy See is calling for tolerance and inclusivity to combat terrorism against religion. (photo: CNS/Khaled Elfiqi, EPA)
Holy See urges tolerance to combat terrorism against religion (Vatican News) The Holy See is urging patience, perseverance, wisdom, courage and leadership in countering terrorism against every religion by fostering tolerance and inclusivity. ”I hope we will all become part of the short- and long-term solution,” Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Holy See’s Permanent Observer to the United Nations in New York, urged on Monday at an event on countering terrorism and other acts of violence against all religious believers by fostering a culture of tolerance and inclusivity…
Iran president calls U.S. sanctions ’outrageous and idiotic’ (USA Today) Iran President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday mocked President Donald Trump’s decision to impose “outrageous and idiotic” new sanctions, saying the effort to target top Iranian authorities reflects confusion at the White House…
Melkite bishops call for peace in Syria during synod (CNS) Melkite Catholic bishops from around the world, gathering in Lebanon for their annual synod, called for reconciliation and peace in Syria. In Syria, the war is almost over, but the horizon is unclear,” the bishops said in a statement following the 17-21 June gathering, which was led by Melkite Catholic Patriarch Joseph Absi…
The biggest displacement crisis that almost no one is talking about (Slate) The world’s largest new population of displaced people results from a conflict that has received shockingly little international attention: More than 1.5 million people were displaced by violence in Ethiopia last year, nearly all of them internally. This increase doubled the total number of displaced people in the country…
Indian cardinal celebrates Corpus Christi in Italy with a special chalice (Vatican News) Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Mumbai, celebrated the solemnity of Corpus Christi in the Cathedral of Orvieto, Italy, on Sunday, bringing along with him a precious chalice where it originated over five decades ago. For the occasion, a delegation from Mumbai Archdiocese brought the “Golden Lily” chalice which Pope St. Paul VI had gifted the archdiocese when he visited the western Indian city in December 1964…
24 June 2019
Tags: India Ethiopia Holy See Melkite
CNEWA’s ONE magazine took home top honors from the Catholic Press Association at its annual awards last week.
CNEWA’s flagship publication, ONE, took home top honors at the Catholic Media Conference in St. Petersburg, Florida, last week.
The magazine was named Magazine of the Year (Mission Magazine category) at the Catholic Press Association Awards, and won 26 others in a wide range of categories including writing, photography, blogging and design.
In addition, the magazine’s publisher, Msgr. John E. Kozar, received the prestigious Bishop John England Award, which annually honors a publisher who has been a staunch defender of press freedom.
In one magazine category, Best Layout or Article Column, CNEWA’s graphic designer Paul Grillo swept all the awards — and also won second place in the All Member Awards for Graphic Artist/Designer of the Year.
Citing the overall quality of the magazine, the judges praised the “great work” of the staff, cited the “excellent” layouts, singled out the “beautiful, informative coverage” and made a point to underscore the “exceptional journalism” that has become a hallmark of the publication.
The judges included faculty from Spring Hill College, Loyola University, Marquette University and media professionals and journalists from around the country.
A complete list of the awards can be found below, with links to the winning stories:
Magazine/Newsletter of the Year (Mission Magazines)
Best Layout or Article Column (Mission Magazines): This, Our Exile by Paul Grillo
Best Feature Article (Mission Magazines): For I Was in Prison by Don Duncan
Best Reporting on a Special Age Group: Windows to the World by Mark Raczkiewycz
Best Writing — In-Depth: Confronting Abuse of Women in Georgia by Molly Corso
Best Multiple Picture Package — Feature: This, Our Exile by Petterik Wiggers
Best Single Photo, Color: Thoroughfare in Mai-Aini refugee camp by Petterik Wiggers
Best Electronic Newsletter: “Discover ONE Online”
Graphic Artist/Designer of the Year: Paul Grillo
Best Blog — Group or Association: One-to-One by CNEWA Staff
Best Layout or Article Column (Mission Magazines): ‘For I Was in Prison’ by Paul Grillo
Best Coverage — Immigration:
Inspiring the Faithful in Jordan by Dale Gavlak
This, Our Exile by Emeline Wuilbercq
A Refuge in Lebanon by Doreen Abi Raad
Best Feature Article (Mission Magazines): This, Our Exile by Emeline Wuilbercq
Best Writing — In-Depth: A Source of Light by Gayane Abrahamyan
Best Multiple Picture Package — Feature: Windows to the World by Ivan Chernichkin
Best Layout or Article Column (Mission Magazines): A Letter From Iraq by Paul Grillo
Best Coverage — Ecumenical/Interfaith Issues:
Defining ‘Christian’ in Palestine by Samar Hazboun
‘For I Was in Prison’ by Don Duncan
Healing the Forgotten by Anubha George
Best Reporting of Social Justice Issues — Option for the Poor and Vulnerable: Healing the Forgotten by Anubha George
Best Cover, Color: ONE magazine, June 2018 by Paul Grillo and Nazik Armenakyan
Best Online Content Not Published in Print: CNEWA Connections by Elias D. Mallon, S.A., Ph.D.
Best Essay (Mission Magazines): A Letter From Iraq by Sister Clara Nacy
Best Reporting of Social Justice Issues — Option for the Poor and Vulnerable: Confronting Abuse of Women in Georgia by Molly Corso
Best Reporting of Social Justice Issues — Solidarity: Signs of Hope by Magdy Samaan
Best Reporting of Social Justice Issues — Life and Dignity of the Human Person: Windows to the World by Mark Raczkiewycz
Best Story and Photo Package: This, Our Exile by Emeline Wuilbercq and Petterik Wiggers
Best Writing — In-Depth: A Refuge to Mend and Grow by Anubha George
Best Multiple Picture Package — Feature: For I Was in Prison by Don Duncan
24 June 2019
Tags: CNEWA Catholic Press
In this image from 2018, Pope Francis greets Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople outside the Basilica of St. Nicholas in Bari, Italy. Continuing a longstanding custom, the Ecumenical Patriarch will send a delegation to Rome this week to mark the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul.
(photo: CNS/Vatican Media)
Ecumenical Patriarch’s delegation to visit Rome (Vatican News) An official delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in Istanbul, Turkey, will be in Rome, 27-29 June, on the occasion of the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, 29 June. St. Peter, the first ?bishop of Rome, ?and St. Paul, the Apostle of the Gentiles, were both martyred in Rome and are patrons of the Eternal City. Their feast is a holiday both in Rome and in the Vatican. Each year, the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Vatican send delegations for the feasts of their respective patrons. The Vatican sends a delegation to Istanbul on the 30 November feast of St. Andrew, the patron of the Patriarchate…
Tent collapse kills 14 at Hindu event in India (Vatican News) Locals in the Barmer district of India’s northwestern state of Rajasthan were gathered on Sunday for a Hindu religious event that took place during heavy rain and a thunderstorm. Video footage showed the man leading the event, Murlidhar Maharaj, shouting for the assembly to disperse, as wind could be heard rattling the venue. Witnesses said a stampede-like situation followed…
Russian Orthodox Church reconsiders blessing of missiles (The Telegraph) The Russian Orthodox Church is reconsidering the popular practice of priests blessing weapons including nuclear missiles. A document drafted by a commission on church law last week recommended that clergy perform benedictions for soldiers rather than military equipment…
UN warns of humanitarian disaster in Syria’s Idlib (Al Jazeera) In Syria, the devastation of continued air raids on Idlib is being laid bare. Nearly 500 civilians — many of them women and children — have been killed since the Russia-backed Syrian government offensive began nine weeks ago…
Iran faces new U.S. sanctions, threatens to shoot down another drone (CBS News) President Trump planned to unveil new sanctions against Iran on Monday as the U.S. and Iran traded more threats of military action. The tension could reach a new high with the expected sanctions, the latest response from Washington to Iran’s shooting down of a U.S. spy drone. Iran insists the drone and an accompanying U.S. manned military plane violated its airspace, but the Pentagon says the aircraft remained over international waters…
Conflict between Christians, Muslims in Ethiopia over planned mosque (BBC) For Ethiopia’s Orthodox Christians, the ancient city of Aksum is a sacred place, home to the Biblical Queen of Sheba and Ark of the Covenant. The ark is believed to contain the 10 commandments handed down to Moses by God, and is said to be under the guard of monks in the city. Some Muslim groups are campaigning to build a mosque in the city — a suggestion rejected by Christian leaders, saying they would rather die…
21 June 2019
Tags: Syria India Ethiopia Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I
CNEWA’s president, Msgr. John E. Kozar, visits the Home of Faith in Kerala, India, which cares for children with disabilities. (photo: John E. Kozar/CNEWA)
Msgr. John Kozar, president of Catholic Near East Welfare Association, and publisher of CNEWA’s ONE magazine, is the 2019 winner of the Catholic Press Association’s Bishop John England Award.
The award, the CPA’s highest honor for publishers, was announced at lunch on 20 June during the annual Catholic Media Conference in St. Petersburg.
Michael LaCivita, communications director for CNEWA, accepted the award on Msgr. Kozar’s behalf, informing the crowd the priest could not be with them because he had to have a medical procedure and he is suffering from kidney failure. LaCivita asked for prayers for Msgr. Kozar but added that he is otherwise in good health and good spirits and is in line to get a donor kidney.
The Bishop John England Award is given to a Catholic press publisher who “clearly has acted in his role as publisher; and clearly has acted in defense of the publication or used the publication, in accordance with its mission, to defend the First Amendment rights of the publisher, the institution owning the publication, and/or the church as a whole.”
The nomination entry for Msgr. Kozar described him as “a champion of journalism, promoting accountability and transparency in reporting, affirming a commitment to excellence and promoting the church’s evangelical witness throughout the world, especially in some of its most embattled corners.”
Whether spotlighting India’s “untouchables,” Iraqi and Syrian refugees or Armenia’s elderly “orphans,” it said, “John Kozar has been an advocate for commanding storytelling that informs as well as celebrates compassion and outreach service of the Gospel.”
It also said Msgr. Kozar — ordained for the Diocese of Pittsburgh in 1971 — was “a parish priest on loan to the missions” and someone who “has promoted formation of persons as the cornerstone of healing a broken world.”
The nomination called the priest more than a publisher, saying: “He is in his bones a journalist who relishes getting a good story and sharing it.” Through his photography, essays, videos, emails and reports, he has kept readers “informed and engaged, bolstering CNEWA’s credibility and winning readers’ loyalty.”
Using his “considerable skills” as a photojournalist, which he first developed in high school, Msgr. Kozar takes readers to far-flung corners of the globe to show the Gospel at work,” it said. His ethic and spirit of transparency and accountability “set the standard for every publisher.”
This year there were three nominees for the Bishop John England award. The other two were Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn, New York, publisher of The Tablet newspaper of the diocese; and Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli of Paterson, New Jersey, publisher of The Beacon newspaper of his diocese.
The award is named after the first bishop of Charleston, South Carolina, who in 1822 founded The Catholic Miscellany, the first Catholic newspaper in the U.S. Bishop England edited the paper, wrote most of its material and even helped print it. He published a missal and a catechism and wrote the first pastoral letter published in the United States.
21 June 2019
Tags: CNEWA ONE magazine Catholic Press
An Israeli border policeman stands guard near Ramallah, West Bank, on 17 May 2019, as Palestinians make their way to attend Friday prayer at Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City. (photo: CNS/Raneen Sawafta, Reuters)
Jerusalem’s Old City: How Palestine’s past is being slowly erased (Middle East Eye) The Old City has huge historic, economic, religious and now national symbolism for both Palestinians and Israelis, particularly because of the Al-Aqsa compound, known as Haram al-Sharif to Muslims and Temple Mount to Jews. This is the most explosive issue in an already incendiary conflict…
Iraqi envoy to Vatican urges international help for Christians to return home (Crux) Speaking outside the program at an event in Rome on migration, the newly arrived ambassador from Iraq to the Vatican said Wednesday that the country’s Christian community is at risk after violence perpetrated by ISIS, but people who fled now want to go back…
20 June 2019
Tags: Iraq Jerusalem Palestine Iraqi Christians
Msgr. John E. Kozar poses for a snapshot at Alphonsa Balika Bhavan, an institute in Trivandrum, while on a 2015 pastoral visit to India. (photo: CNEWA)
The Catholic Press Association Thursday afternoon honored CNEWA’s President Msgr. John E. Kozar with the prestigious Bishop John England Award. The award was presented at the Catholic Media Conference now underway in St. Petersburg, Florida.
The Bishop England Award— named for the bishop who founded the first Catholic newspaper in the United States, the Catholic Miscellany in 1822 — honors a publisher who has been a staunch defender of press freedom.
As the nominating criteria puts it: “The recipient of the Bishop John England Award should clearly have acted in defense of the publication or used their publication, in accordance with its mission, to defend the First Amendment rights of the publisher, the institution owning the publication, and/or the Catholic Church as a whole.”
The nomination for Msgr. Kozar described his achievements in communications:
“During his eight years as president of Catholic Near East Welfare Association and as publisher of CNEWA’s magazine, ONE, Msgr. John E. Kozar has been a champion of journalism, promoting accountability and transparency in reporting, affirming a commitment to excellence, and promoting the church’s evangelical witness throughout the world — especially in some of its most embattled corners.
More than a publisher, he is in his bones a journalist who relishes getting a good story and sharing it. A photographer and essayist, he has used his considerable skills as a photojournalist — skills he first developed in high school — to take readers to far-flung corners of the globe to show the Gospel at work.
John Kozar has also redefined how CNEWA tells the story of its own mission, challenging the CNEWA staff to articulate the association’s work with clarity, optimism and zeal — emphasizing our work of ‘accompaniment’ and encouraging a spirit of invitation. The result has been a dynamic approach to communications that has attracted new readers in all media.
He has accomplished this with an ethic and spirit of transparency and accountability that sets the standard for every publisher. Through his essays, videos, emails and reports, Msgr. Kozar has kept readers informed and engaged, bolstering CNEWA’s credibility and winning readers’ loyalty and trust.”
Previous winners include Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas, Cardinal Francis George, Greg Erlandson and Cardinal John O’Connor.
We at CNEWA could not be prouder, and can’t think of anyone more deserving. On behalf of all of us: congratulations, Msgr. Kozar!
CNEWA’s Director of Communications Michael La Civita accepted the Bishop John England award on behalf of Msgr. Kozar, who was unable to attend the conference in Florida. (photo: CNEWA)
Tags: CNEWA Catholic Press