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Current Issue
Spring, 2016
Volume 42, Number 1
  
22 February 2016
Timothy McCarthy




Fleeing the violence in Syria — which has taken on sectarian overtones — refugee children scream as they sit in front of Macedonian riot police at the Greek-Macedonian border last summer. CNEWA’s own Elias Mallon, S.A., shares his thoughts on challenges to religious liberty worldwide in America Magazine. (photo: CNS/Yannis Behrakis, Reuters)



22 February 2016
J.D. Conor Mauro




Syrian government forces remove an ISIS flag and replace it with a Syrian flag at after retaking control of an area near Aleppo. (photo: George Ourfalian/AFP/Getty Images)

Syrian army retakes 18 villages from ISIS near Aleppo (Haaretz) Syria’s army and allies, backed by Russian air strikes, recaptured 18 villages from Islamic State fighters in eastern Aleppo province on Saturday, a monitoring group said. The advance extended their control of parts of a road running towards the jihadist group’s stronghold of Raqqa, and built on gains made in assaults that intensified sharply earlier this month…

Syria war: Blasts kill 129 in Damascus and Homs (Al Jazeera) A series of suicide bombs near a Shiite shrine in Damascus and in Homs have killed at least 129 people on a day the United States and Russia claimed progress in securing a ceasefire to end the Syrian conflict. ISIS claimed that it was behind Sunday’s attacks, which killed at least 63 in Damascus and 46 in Homs. Some sources put the death toll higher…

Iraq: U.N. relief official calls for relocation of civilians to safer areas (U.N. News Center) The top United Nations humanitarian official in Iraq has said she is deeply worried about thousands of civilians who are trapped in Fallujah city and in Sinjar district and are unable to access aid, calling on Government officials to redouble efforts to relocate civilians to safer areas before the situation deteriorates further…

Iraqi premier: Government does not discriminate based on religion (Fides) The Iraqi government does not discriminate its citizens based on their religious affiliation; it considers Christians as a genuine part of Iraq’s national identity, and will do everything possible to prevent their emigration, said Iraqi Prime Minister Haydar al Abadi…

The surprisingly early history of Christianity in India (Smithsonian Magazine) Modern Christians of Kerala believe that the Apostle Thomas — the one who so famously questioned Jesus — visited here in the year 52 and baptized their forefathers. Historians surmise that the diverse, rich trading center of Kerala may well have drawn this Palestinian Jew of the Roman Empire who wished to preach the Gospel. Thousands of churches today bear his name, their rituals and theology derived from Eastern Christian traditions in the liturgical language Syriac, a formation of Aramaic, the dialect Jesus — and Thomas — spoke…



Tags: Syria Iraq War Indian Christians

19 February 2016
Greg Kandra




CNEWA is able to accompany the churches and peoples of the Middle East, northeast Africa, India and Eastern Europe because of the loving support of donors such as Ms. Hafeli. (photo: CNEWA)

Greetings from southern California! I’m here with Chris Kennedy, from CNEWA’s development team, to meet with some longtime donors and visit a parish in the Diocese of Monterey this weekend.

Before we hit the trail this Friday, I wanted to share with you the story of Anna Hafeli, who lives in Santa Monica, just a few blocks from the beach. Anna is a marvel: a 97-years-young powerhouse who exudes such joy, you can’t help but be uplifted in her presence. She has been contributing to CNEWA for decades — supporting our seminarian programs and work in the Middle East and the Horn of Africa. She also has four annuities through CNEWA.

Touched that we took the time to drop by, she shared with us stories of her journey from her youth in Switzerland, to Canada, and then finally to California, where she worked a variety of odd jobs — mostly as a waitress — to make ends meet. We updated her on some of our programs and projects and gave her an olive wood cross from the Holy Land, along with a special blessing.

Deacon Greg Kandra and Chris Kennedy visit Anna Hafeli at her home in California. (photo: CNEWA)

To me, Anna represents the heart and soul of what CNEWA is about: faithful, committed people who quietly and selflessly give whatever they can to help those in need. Their generous spirit so often goes unnoticed. But today, I’d like you to notice Anna Hafeli. Thank you, Anna, for all you’ve done to make a difference in the lives of so many.

Visit this page to learn more about CNEWA’s annuity program and other options for planned giving — one of a variety of ways to join CNEWA on its worldwide mission. Or, to make an immediate Lenten gift, click here.

We’ll be visiting St. William’s Parish in Atascadero this weekend. I’ll be preaching at all the Masses. If you’re in the neighborhood, stop by and say hello.



Tags: CNEWA Middle East United States Donors Horn of Africa

19 February 2016
J.D. Conor Mauro




Ambili Elias, a teacher with Ashabhavan, helps three students with their daily lessons. To learn more about how this institution changes the lives of children with special needs, read Kerala’s House of Hope, appearing in the Winter 2015 edition of ONE. (photo: Jose Jacob)



Tags: India Children Sisters Education Disabilities

19 February 2016
J.D. Conor Mauro




The Turkish coast guard rescued 158 refugees after their boat broke en route to Greece through the Aegean Sea. (photo: Hakan Firik/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

U.N. urges saftey measures for those fleeing conflict (U.N. News Center) Two children have drowned every day on average since September 2015 as their families try to cross the eastern Mediterranean, and the number is growing, three United Nations humanitarian agencies said today in a call to enhance the safety of those escaping conflict and despair…

Living as a Christian in the Islamic State (World Watch Monitor) When John, a Syrian Christian, chose to stay in Raqqa after ISIS took control of the city in 2014, he had no idea how he would survive. Thousands abandoned the city, believing it better to save their lives than live at the center of the Islamists’ new “caliphate.” John survived in Raqqa for 18 months before escaping in the middle of the night. He described a life of frequent harassment, weekly executions and the sadness of ordinary Syrians who, after initially welcoming ISIS fighters, grew to regret giving them their support…

Pope Francis: I understand the feelings of Ukrainians (RISU) Pope Francis gave a lengthy press conference on the flight back from Mexico to Rome on Thursday, sharing thoughts on the church in Ukraine and Ukrainian Greek Catholic Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk’s reaction on the joint declaration signed in Cuba. Pope said he understood the concerns expressed by the Ukrainian church leader, adding that he is entitled to his own ideas regarding the conflict in Ukraine. It’s important to take the comments in context, the Pope insists, since Archbishop Sviatoslav also describes the encounter as “a good thing” which he hopes will lead to further dialogue…

Solar power used Latin Patriarchate schools in Jerusalem (Fides) More schools of the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem are choosing to use solar panels to produce electricity, say official sources of the Latin Patriarchate. In Palestine, patriarchal schools in Beit Jala, Beit Sahour and Ramallah have already opted for solar panels…

Doha interfaith conference issues final statement (MENAFN.com) The 12th Doha interfaith Conference held on Tuesday and Wednesday brought together Jewish, Christian and Muslim leaders alongside leading thinkers and academics in interfaith relations. After two days of talks and seminars, the conference concluded with final statement that emphasizes the importance of interfaith dialogue, stressing a commitment to the brotherhood of the divine religions in the search for peace, love and stability…



Tags: Jerusalem United Nations Migrants Interfaith ISIS

18 February 2016
J.D. Conor Mauro




A Dominican Sister of St. Catherine of Siena from Iraq visits El Cajon, California, for the ordination of her nephew at St. Peter Chaldean Catholic Cathedral in August 2015. In the midst of a global refugee crisis, ONE recently spotlighted on a thriving Iraqi Christian migrant community in the southwestern United States. Read more about Nineveh, U.S.A. in the Winter 2015 edition of the magazine. (photo: Nancy Wiechec)



Tags: Iraqi Christians Iraqi Refugees United States Migrants Chaldeans

18 February 2016
J.D. Conor Mauro




Workers move sacks of emergency food supplies in and out of Ethiopia’s largest strategic grain reserve depot in Adama. (photo: Colin Cosier/AFP/Getty Images)

UNICEF: El Niño exacerbating malnutrition in eastern and southern Africa (U.N. News Center) Across eastern and southern Africa, millions of children are at risk from malnutrition, hunger, water shortages and disease, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned today, citing two years of erratic rain and drought combined with one of the most powerful El Niño events in the past 50 years…

If ISIS is based on religion, why is it so violent? (The Conversation) Observers in the West who want to claim that Islam is to blame for ISIS and use it as further proof that the religion is inherently violent, ignore other root causes of the moment. While it would be incorrect to say that the discourses used by ISIS are un-Islamic, it’s important to note it represents one particular Islamic discourse and that it’s not the mainstream one…

Can Iraq separate religion and state? (Al-Monitor) Several groups appear to be vying to control Iraqis’ social lives and liberties: organized crime, religious factions and even armed security forces. Motives range from money to fundamentalism, but the situation calls for governance where armed parties and factions are no longer allowed to meddle in social affairs…

U.N. to airdrop food to ISIS-besieged city in Syria (Daily Star Lebanon) The United Nations plans to make its first airdrops of food aid in Syria, to Deir Ezzor, an eastern town of 200,000 besieged by ISIS militants, the chair of a U.N. humanitarian task force said Thursday…

Bishops’ commission: Plight of the Palestinians is ‘inhuman’ (Fides) The present situation for the Palestinians in the Holy Land is “inhuman” because of “settlers who occupy, day after day, Palestinian land,” from the poverty suffered by a million and a half inhabitants in the besieged Gaza Strip, the systematic demolition of homes and the humiliation suffered by Israeli soldiers at checkpoints. This is the gloomy picture outlined in the latest report carried out by the Justice and Peace Commission — a body linked to the ordinary Catholic Bishops of the Holy Land — based on the data studied in the last ordinary meeting, which took place in early February…

Arabs and Jews join forces to oppose development on historic Jerusalem hilltop (Haaretz) As the battle lines are drawn in the latest dispute over land in Jerusalem, Jews and Arabs find themselves, for a rare change, on the same side. Residents of Abu Tor, one of the few mixed Jewish-Arab neighborhoods in the city, have in recent weeks begun organizing against plans to build a hotel and luxury apartments on a historic hilltop compound in their midst…

‘Migrant-bashing has dangerously become the norm’ in Europe (U.N. News Center) As the European Union summit starts in Brussels, a United Nations expert on the human rights of migrants warned today that it has become impossible in Europe to have a meaningful discussion about migrant’s rights, diversity, and integration. “In its struggle to maintain control of its borders, [Europe] is being tested on its adherence to human rights. Through slowly stripping away the rights of asylum-seekers and migrants, Europe is creating a scary new ‘normal,’ ” said François Crépeau, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, in a statement…



Tags: Ethiopia Holy Land United Nations Migrants ISIS

17 February 2016
Greg Kandra




The Coptic churches have not abandoned the Zabbaleen — the garbage people of Cairo. Read more about them in the Winter edition of ONE. To support Egypt’s struggling Christians,
visit this giving page. (photo: John E. Kozar)




17 February 2016
Greg Kandra




A Red Crescent convoy prepares to leave Damascus to the besieged areas of Madaya and Zabadani, on 17 February 2016 during an operation in cooperation with the UN to deliver aid to thousands of besieged Syrians. Almost half a million people in Syria are in areas under seige, according to the United Nations, after almost five years of civil war between Syria’s government and rebel forces. (photo: Louai Beshara/AFP/Getty Images)

Humanitarian aid convoys readied for starving civilians in Syria (The Guardian) Aid convoys to seven besieged locations in Syria have been loaded with food and medicine to relieve starving civilians and are awaiting instructions to depart for their destinations. The convoys, which were announced by UN special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, on Tuesday night, are expected to head to the towns of Madaya and Zabadani, whose citizens have been starving to death under a siege imposed by forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad; as well as Fua and Kefraya, which are besieged by rebels. Other convoys are heading to the Damascus suburbs of Moadamiyah and Kafr Batna in Ghouta, which are also besieged by the regime...

Thousands cross from Gaza into Egypt as border opens (Haaretz) More than 2,800 people crossed from the Gaza Strip into Egypt at the Rafah crossing, which was opened on Saturday for the first time since December and closed on Monday, sources in Gaza and Egypt said. The Palestinian border authority also said that the Egyptians had permitted 64 trucks into Gaza carrying cement, gravel and other construction materials, which were transferred by the Qatari government...

Egypt’s military pledges to restore damaged churches (Ecumenical News) More than two years after Coptic Christians in Egypt faced a wave of attacks from Islamist extremists during the one year tenure of President Mohamed Morsi, his ousters are pledging to carry out promises to repair damaged property...

Russian patriarch to celebrate liturgy in Antarctica (Reuters) Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill has flown to the Antarctic to celebrate the liturgy at a scientific research station, a trip aides said was intended to show his church has global reach, Russian media reported on Wednesday. Kirill flew to Russia’s Bellingshausen scientific station on the Island of Waterloo from Chile where he had wrapped up his tour of several Latin American nations, RIA news agency quoted his spokesman Alexander Volkov as saying...

Church in India: Donating blood is an act of mercy (Fides) The Catholic Health Association of India is encouraging the donation of blood as an act of mercy and compassion. Donors receive a general check up on their health, with diabetes screening and other tests, as well as a kit that provides information on topics such as nutrition and hygiene...



16 February 2016
Timothy McCarthy




Clergy process into St. Peter Chaldean Catholic Cathedral in El Cajon, California, for a Mass of ordination. To learn more about Iraqi Christians who have settled in the American Southwest, read Nineveh, U.S.A. in the Winter 2015 edition of ONE. (photo: Nancy Wiechec)







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