Current Issue
Spring, 2017
Volume 43, Number 1
11 July 2014
J.D. Conor Mauro

A Palestinian man examines the damage to his destroyed house following an Israeli airstrike north of Gaza City July 11. A Catholic priest in Gaza said Israeli missile attacks are wide-ranging and that there is no safe zone. (photo: CNS/Mohammed Saber, EPA)

Neuhaus: Irresponsible Israeli-Palestinian rhetoric begets violence (Vatican Radio) The Latin patriarchal vicar for Hebrew-speaking Catholics in the Holy Land, the Rev. David Neuhaus, S.J., has joined his colleagues of the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries in the Holy Land in calling for more moderate Israeli and Palestinian voices to ease tensions which have spiraled into a seemingly unending cycle of tit-for tat violence…

Rumor and leaks fill void as Israel silences press over killings (New York Times) Israeli intelligence officials used gag orders in recent weeks to stifle reporting on the initial investigations into both the abduction and the killing of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank, and the apparent revenge killing of a Palestinian teenager in East Jerusalem. These restrictions on media coverage of events in the Palestinian territories come more than five years after Israel blocked journalists from reporting on the bombardment of Gaza known in Israel as Operation Cast Lead. The current war in that territory is taking place in full view of foreign correspondents there, as the Haaretz columnist Anshel Pfeffer pointed out…

Greece holding migrants in detention, conditions ‘appalling’ (Al Jazeera) When a visitor identifying himself as an employer came knocking, Azher Abbas opened the door of the flat he shared with two other undocumented Pakistani migrants. To his surprise, police officers rushed into his home. Mr. Abbas spent 15 months at one of Greece’s largest immigrant detention centers, around an hour drive south of Athens. An estimated 6,000 are held in such camps, and thousands more at police stations. “We were never treated as people,” said Abbas. One day, he and other inmates complained about the chickpea stew. “A bunch of policemen came and spat in the food and held batons over us and said ‘eat it now…’ ”

Displaced swell Syria coastal population (Daily Star Lebanon) The population of Syria’s coastal provinces, relatively untouched by the country’s war, has risen dramatically, sheltering one million displaced people, the International Committee of the Red Cross said Friday. “Over a million people have arrived in Latakia and Tartus since the beginning of the conflict, swelling the local population by 50 percent,” the I.C.R.C. said in a statement…

Economic cooperation between Egypt and Ethiopia on the rise (Al Monitor) Cairo is working on resuming the Ethiopian-Egyptian activities that were suspended on all levels. This comes in tandem with the preparations for the expected visit of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al Sisi to Ethiopia, and as part of the restoration of dialogue aiming to settle the dispute between the countries over the Renaissance Dam under construction on the Blue Nile. The dialogue was re-opened following the meeting that was held between the Ethiopian prime minister and President Sisi on the sidelines of the last African Summit held in Equatorial Guinea…

Tags: Egypt Ethiopia Israeli-Palestinian conflict Migrants Greece

10 July 2014
John E. Kozar

A Christian woman who fled from the violence in Mosul, Iraq, holds her daughter as her baby sleeps on 27 June at a shelter in Erbil, Iraq. (photo: CNS/Ahmed Jadallah, Reuters)

I can think of only two words to describe it: total chaos.

I’m talking about the tidal wave of violence that’s sweeping across Iraq, as the extremist group called ISIS battles for control of the country.

Thousands of Christian and Muslim families remain trapped
in the deadly crossfire.

Here at Catholic Near East Welfare Association, this has us completely alarmed. It’s why I hope you’ll click here to help them.

Only days ago, two sisters and three young Iraqi Christians disappeared, and it’s feared they’ve been kidnapped by militants. The extremists also shelled the city of Qaraqosh, where CNEWA supports an orphanage. And in ISIS-held areas, Christians unable to flee are now forbidden to display crosses and other religious symbols.

As for the thousands of families who’ve escaped, they have no idea if their homes still exist. Many are elderly. The majority are women and children. All live in fear of what tomorrow may bring.

As the patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church has said, “We are losing our community.” He fears Christianity in Iraq will soon come “to an end.”

Pope Francis has urged us to pray for these victims of violence.
But they also need something else: your support.

At CNEWA, we’re committed to helping scores of nuns, priests and lay workers care for these displaced innocents — Christian and non-Christian alike. But I’m afraid their overwhelming situation is growing worse.

A simple donation, whatever you can give, will allow CNEWA
to help these terrified families.

Won’t you join us? With their world turned upside down, these families have never needed you more. So please help them. All you have to do is click here today.

Thank you and God bless you.

Donate HERE to support Iraq’s Christians and their neighbors

Donate HERE to support CNEWA’s work worldwide

Tags: Iraq Refugees Iraqi Christians Iraqi Refugees Relief

10 July 2014
J.D. Conor Mauro

A child holds a bowl of soup inside the Khazer camp on the outskirts of Irbil, Iraq, on 29 June. Thousands of Iraqi Christian and Muslim families remain trapped in the deadly crossfire. A simple donation, whatever you can give, will allow CNEWA to help scores of nuns, priests and lay workers care for these displaced innocents — Christian and non-Christian alike. Click the following links to make a generous donation to Iraq’s Christians and their neighbors, or to support CNEWA’s work worldwide. (photo: CNS/Stringer, Reuters)

Tags: Iraq Iraqi Christians War Iraqi Refugees Relief

10 July 2014
J.D. Conor Mauro

Smoke rises after an an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City on 8 July. The Israeli army intensified its offensive on the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, striking Hamas sites and killing scores of people in a military operation it says is aimed at quelling rocket fire against Israel. (photo: CNS/Mohammed Saber, EPA)

Gaza endures third straight day of Israeli airstrikes (Washington Post) Israel’s major military operation against Hamas and other militant groups in the Gaza Strip entered its third day Thursday, with a surge in deaths in the territory, including nine Palestinians killed while watching a World Cup game at a beachfront cafe. The death toll in Gaza jumped overnight, doubling to 80 dead and more than 500 injured, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. The latest fatality was 5-year-old Abdullah Abu Gazal, who was killed in a midmorning Israeli airstrike in Beit Lahia…

Water shortage crisis in northern Iraq towns (AINA) The water purification plants in Mosul supply water to the city and surrounding areas. After taking control of Mosul on 10 June, ISIS severely limited the water supply from Al Rashidiya and Al Slamiya water projects, which provide much of the Nineveh Plain with potable water. According to a report by the Hammurabi Human Rights Organization, ISIS is allowing only about 90 minutes of pumping per day. The Assyrian towns of Baghdede, Karemlis, Bartella, Tel Kepe, Batnaya and Bashiqah — home to nearly 200,000 Assyrians — face severe water shortages…

Middle East’s stable monarchy comes face to face with extremist threat (Al Jazeera) Several times since the Al Qaeda breakaway group staged its astonishing takeover of Sunni-majority Iraq last month, supporters of the Islamic State have marched through the streets in Jordan’s southeastern city of Ma’an raising black flags and declaring their restive city “Jordan’s Fallujah” — a reference to the extremist stronghold in Iraq, the first city that fell to the insurgents back in January…

Ukraine warns rebels it plans to retake territory (Christian Science Monitor) Ukrainian government forces on Wednesday warned separatists in the eastern town of Donetsk that a plan was now in place to take back the territory they occupy, but defiant rebels reported a steady flow of new recruits who were ready to fight…

Holy Synod to elect new Ukrainian Orthodox Church leader in August (Pravmir) The Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church made the decision to elect its new leader on 13 August, the church announced on its website

Tags: Iraq Middle East Jordan Israeli-Palestinian conflict Ukrainian Orthodox Church

9 July 2014
J.D. Conor Mauro

A Iraqi man looks into the nursery in Al Hayat, a 27-bed mother and child facility in Baghdad operated by the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena. To learn more about ways CNEWA has assisted Iraqi institutions like this hospital, read After the Storm, from the May-June 2003 issue of our magazine. To support this institution, click the image! (photo: Sherrlyn Borkgren)

Tags: Iraq Children Sisters Health Care Nursing

9 July 2014
J.D. Conor Mauro

A Palestinian woman reacts following what police said was an Israeli airstrike on a house in Gaza City on 9 July. The Israeli army intensified its offensive on the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, striking Hamas sites and killing dozens of people in a military operation it says is aimed at quelling rocket fire against Israel. (photo: CNS/Majdi Fathi, Reuters)

Holy Land bishops criticize ‘collective punishment’ of Palestinians (CNS) Catholic leaders in the Holy Land called for an end to the cycle of violence and criticized Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories and its collective punishment of Palestinians. “Using the death of the three Israelis to exact collective punishment on the Palestinian people as a whole and on its legitimate desire to be free is a tragic exploitation of tragedy and promotes more violence and hatred,” said an 8 July statement from the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land…

Gaza hospitals struggle to treat wounded (Al Jazeera) As Israel continues to pound Gaza with air strikes — carrying out 50 bombings overnight and more throughout the day on Tuesday — Dr. Ayman al Sahbani expresses concern about the capacity of the territory’s hospitals to attend to the many injured. Gaza also suffers from a shortage of medicine and medical supplies, Gaza’s Health Ministry spokesman, Ashraf al Qedra, told Al Jazeera. Gaza is completely missing about 30 percent of essential drugs, while 15 percent of the remainder is expected to be exhausted within days of an Israeli assault, he said…

Report: Israeli forces stole $3 million during West Bank raids (Euro-Mid Observer) During the course of Israel’s three-week campaign of mass arrests in the West Bank, ostensibly to search for the killers of three settlers, the Israeli military and police conducted an average of 18 raids per day into Palestinian homes, charities and businesses, stealing cash and property worth an estimated $3 million, documents a new report from the Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights…

Head of Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate dies at 78 (ABC News) The head of Ukraine’s Orthodox Church has died at 78 after leading it for more than two decades during the tumultuous post-Soviet period. Metropolitan Volodymyr Sabodan, who had been credited with stabilizing the church, died Saturday “after a long illness,” the church announced online Saturday. In his more than 20 years as head of the country’s largest church, Metropolitan Volodymyr weathered the breakaway of two groups that declared themselves independent of the Moscow Patriarchate. Observers say he succeeded in preventing even more splits…

Syria’s war widows fight for survival (Al Jazeera) According to United Nations figures, more than 145,000 Syrian refugee women have become the sole breadwinners for their families, struggling to provide food and shelter for their children and often facing harassment, humiliation and isolation. A report released Tuesday by UNHCR says that one in four Syrian households living in four major countries of refuge — Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt — are headed by lone women…

Inside an Iraqi Christian ghost town (Al Jazeera) Christians are only 2 percent of Iraq’s mostly Muslim population. And while they have little to do with the ongoing fighting, as I witnessed in the Christian village of Qaraqosh in Northern Iraq this week, they’re suffering the consequences…

Tags: Syria Iraq Refugees Israeli-Palestinian conflict Ukrainian Orthodox Church

8 July 2014
Michael J.L. La Civita

In this photo from January, Latin Patriarch Faoud Twal of Jerusalem leads an annual pilgrimage at the baptism site on the Jordan River. (photo: CNS/Muhammad Hamed, Reuters)

“We need your solidarity, your advocacy and yes, your material help,” said Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal of Jerusalem during his visit today with CNEWA.

“But we need you to be courageous, courageous to tell the truth.”

The patriarch is in the United States on a three-week journey that will include the priestly ordination of an Arab American man, who will serve the patriarchate as a pastor.

“For us, things have gotten worse since the pastoral visit of the Holy Father to the Holy Land in late May,” the patriarch said. “His gestures, his simplicity, his words moved our people,” he continued, “but the day after the pope prayed for peace with the patriarch and the presidents of Israel and Palestine, the Israelis announced the building of 3,000 more apartments for settlers.

“And now,” he said quietly, shaking his head, “the terrible deaths of those three young Israelis, the death of the two Palestinian men the Israelis say are responsible, the death of that boy in East Jerusalem, and now Gaza…” his voice trailed off as he thought about the cycle of tit-for-tat violence that has haunted Israelis and Palestinians for decades.

When the Holy Father visited the Holy Land, “he could not avoid the politics in our region. He had to meet with the refugees, Palestinian, Iraqi and Syrian. He had to be clear that the drama of Syria cannot go on.

“Outsiders cannot decide Syria’s future,” the patriarch added. “Who appointed outsiders to police the Middle East? And why start with Syria?” There are other Middle Eastern regimes, he said, where extremists are harbored and Christians and other minorities, discriminated against.

The patriarch expressed his gratitude for the support of CNEWA and other organizations such as Caritas and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, solidarity he said that gives good witness to the followers of Jesus in the land of his birth.

“Our people, especially the refugees I meet, are conscious of their dignity,” the patriarch said softly. “They say, ‘help us find work, abuna [father], all we want is to keep our dignity, to keep our pride.’ ”

The patriarch ended his interview reminding readers: “Don’t be satisfied with what you read in the newspapers.” Dig deeper, he urged, there you’ll find the truth.

Click here to learn how you can help Middle East Christians reclaim that dignity cited by the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem.

Tags: Middle East Holy Land Israeli-Palestinian conflict Holy Land Christians

8 July 2014
J.D. Conor Mauro

A shepherd walks his flock out to graze in Deir Mimas village, in Lebanon. To read more about life in this region, read Rebuilding Southern Lebanon, from the November 2005 issue of ONE. (photo: Armineh Johannes)

Tags: Lebanon Village life Farming/Agriculture

8 July 2014
J.D. Conor Mauro

Residents of Gaza are picking through the rubble of flattened homes on Tuesday morning, after Israel launched what could be an offensive against the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. (video: Washington Post/AP)

Israel launches major operation against Hamas in Gaza Strip (Washington Post) The Israeli army, air force and navy launched a major operation Tuesday against the Islamist militant group Hamas in the Gaza Strip, striking dozens of sites in the coastal enclave and mobilizing infantry troops along the border for a possible ground incursion designed to stop rocket attacks on Israel. Israel announced the beginning of “Operation Protective Edge” to strike Hamas and protect southern Israeli citizens from intensified rocket fire from Gaza…

Kidnappings of Copts are increasing, appeal to President Sisi (Fides) The Coalition of the Copts, an active organization in the Egyptian governorate of Qena, has addressed an urgent appeal to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al Sisi and to the Egyptian Interior Ministry to ask for action against the scourge of seizures, affecting with particular virulence the Christians of Coptic confession in the areas of Upper Egypt. In the city area of Nag Hammadi alone, there have been 72 kidnappings for ransom in the past three years…

We need to help Iraq’s Christians, before it’s too late (Vatican Radio) “The situation was already bleak but now it has got a whole deal worse. For the first time the ever, the bishops have raised the doomsday scenario of an Iraq emptied of Christians,” reports John Pontifex, spokesman for the UK branch of the global Catholic Aid Agency, Aid to the Church in Need…

Recent events in Lebanon threaten religious coexistence (Al Monitor) A new concern has been added to the fears of the Lebanese people, whose Muslim community in this confessional country is fasting during the holy month of Ramadan. The security concern that surfaced in debates and discussions even before the start of Ramadan on 28 June has now taken the shape of bombs and immediate threats to non-Muslim Lebanese and other residents in Lebanon. For decades, Lebanon has prided itself on being the only place of religious and cultural diversity in the Middle East. However, it seems that this situation has now changed…

Ukraine rebels retreat for last stand (New York Times) Separatist rebels retreated Monday from positions in eastern Ukraine, apparently blowing up bridges, and began building barricades in the two largest cities, Donetsk and Luhansk, in anticipation of a final stand against advancing government troops. The action on Monday came after a series of surprising successes by Ukraine’s underequipped and underfunded military, which in recent days has driven the rebels from some strongholds that were seized early in the three-month rebellion. It has accomplished this without encountering strong resistance or a reaction from Moscow…

Tags: Ukraine Violence against Christians Gaza Strip/West Bank Israeli-Palestinian conflict Copts

7 July 2014
J.D. Conor Mauro

Syrian refugee children gather for lessons at the community center in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, founded by Sister Micheline Lattouff and administered by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd. (photo: John E. Kozar)

Diane Handal recently contributed a story to ONE on the large population of Syrian refugees in Lebanon, and the work of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd to ease their lot. Today, Ms. Handal shared with us a message she received from Sister Micheline Lattouff, who heads their efforts in the Bekaa Valley, from the Christian village of Bechouat:

Dear Diane,

Thanks for your message, and for your interest for our mission. Thanks be to God, we are all good — Sisters Gisele, Rita and I, and all the staff too. We are in a very critical moment, it’s true, and in Baalbeck Christians receive few political threats, but we are here and we continue to live and to serve all the people: Muslim and Christian, Lebanese and refugee.

Last week, we began two youth camps. In the morning we have 200 Lebanese children from 10 villages, and in the afternoon we have 400 refugee children. It’s a very good experience and the staff is very happy to do something for children. We have 40 animators [facilitators] who are very good people, and responsible with kids. The topic of the camp is: go to the mondial [World Cup]. Very interesting for all!

So, thanks for all you have done and are doing for us.

God bless you and your family.

With love,

Sister Micheline

You can also read Ms. Handal’s reflections on the story, featured on our blog. To learn how you can help Sister Micheline in her efforts to help Syrian refugees, click here.

Tags: Syria Lebanon Refugees Children Sisters

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