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Current Issue
September, 2018
Volume 44, Number 3
  
20 July 2018
Greg Kandra




In the town of Aiga, Ethiopia, children receive nutritionally dense biscuits from a school meal program. Read more about how CNEWA is serving others — and serving the Gospel — in Msgr. John E. Kozar’s ‘Focus’ feature in the current edition of ONE.(photo: John E. Kozar)



Tags: Ethiopia

20 July 2018
Greg Kandra




In this image from 2017, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres smiles as he visits with Syrian refugee women at Zaatari camp near Mafraq, Jordan. Jordan closed its border this year and refused to admit any more refugees, sparking a dramatic public backlash. (photo: CNS/Ammar Awad, Reuters)

Jordan shut out refugees — and then saw a backlash (The Washington Post) Over the past month, fighting in southern Syria has displaced more than 300,000 people — the most at any one time in Syria’s nearly seven-year civil war. More than 60,000 of these Syrians fled south, hoping to find safety in Jordan. But Jordan’s government closed the border and refused to let them in, claiming the country has already done enough to help Syrian refugees. Many Jordanians reacted angrily to the government’s position — #OpenTheBorders became a top trending Twitter hashtag in the country as people called the decision shameful and vowed to share their bread with the refugees…

India court steps in to try and contain mob violence (UCANews.com) India’s Supreme Court has asked parliament to introduce a new law to curb a dramatic spike in mob attacks and lynching incidents. The top court on 17 July directed states to set up special or fast-tracked courts to conduct trials of lynching perpetrators. It also wanted lower courts to hand down the maximum punishment for crimes involving mob attacks…

Israeli law declares the country a ’nation-state of the Jewish people’ (The New York Times) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel has long demanded that the Palestinians acknowledge his country’s existence as the “nation-state of the Jewish people.” On Thursday, his governing coalition stopped waiting around and pushed through a law that made it a fact. In an incendiary move hailed as historic by Mr. Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition but denounced by centrists and leftists as racist and anti-democratic, Israel’s Parliament enacted a law that enshrines the right of national self-determination as “unique to the Jewish people” — not all citizens…

Italian bishops warn against culture of fear that rejects migrants (Vatican News) A statement released on Thursday by the Italian Bishops’ Conference warns against a current climate of fear in the country that has led to a political crackdown against immigration. The statement, entitled “Migrants, from fear to welcome” notes that we are becoming accustomed to images of an ongoing tragedy in which so many die or witness death during their journeys of hope…

Artist brings Jewish figures to life with paper (The Jerusalem Post) King David, a crusader queen, and Suleiman the Magnificent—these are just some of the ancient figures that have been brought to life by Karen Sargysan. The famed Dutch-Armenian artist spent months creating a series of colorful aluminum sculptures of a slew of historical and biblical characters who helped shape Jerusalem’s history. They are on display at “Rock, Paper, Scissors,” a new exhibition at the Tower of David Museum, which is located in the Old City of Jerusalem…



Tags: India Jerusalem Jordan Migrants

19 July 2018
Catholic News Service




An Orthodox woman holds a portrait of Czar Nicholas II during a 2012 gathering in Moscow. The secretary-general of the Russian bishops' conference urged Catholics to remember the 1918 murder of Nicholas II and his family with "penance and reflection," while suggesting Catholics could participate in future commemorations. (photo: CNS/Maxim Shemetov, Reuters)

The secretary-general of the Russian bishops’ conference urged Catholics to remember the 1918 murder of Czar Nicholas II and his family with “penance and reflection,” while suggesting Catholics could participate in future commemorations.

“The killing of this family was one of the first steps on a path of mass murder, forced labor, religious persecution and genocide which led on through the Stalinist period,” said Msgr. Igor Kovalevsky, secretary-general.

“Although not officially engaged in these centenary events, the Catholic Church must do something -- so the best is to reflect deeply, in a spirit of penance, on all those tragic times.”

The priest spoke after 100,000 people — led by Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill — attended a pilgrimage and religious observances in Yekaterinburg.

In a 19 July Catholic News Service interview, Msgr. Kovalevsky said the country’s million-strong Catholic Church had not been involved in past commemorations of the czar and his family, nor in their canonization by the Orthodox Church.

However, he added that Nicholas II’s murdered entourage had included at least one Catholic, the Latvian-born footman Alexei Yegorovich Trupp, and said he believed members of Yekaterinburg’s Catholic parish had taken part in the 12-17 July events.

“We should remember Nicholas II had voluntarily given up his throne the previous year, so it’s more historically accurate to mourn the killing of a family than the death of a czar,” Msgr. Kovalevsky said.

“We also follow quite different procedures when it comes to proclaiming saints, so the Orthodox Church’s approach to these matters is its own internal affair.”

Nicholas II, who abdicated in February 1917, was shot by Bolshevik captors in a basement while under house arrest at Yekaterinburg in the early hours of 17 July 1918. The empress and five children also were killed.

The victims, finished off with bayonets, were burned and doused with acid before being dumped in a pit at Ganina Yama, 14 miles from the city, where their presumed remains were exhumed in 1991.

All seven were later reinterred in St. Petersburg’s Sts. Peter and Paul Orthodox Cathedral and canonized as martyrs by the Russian Orthodox Church in August 2000.

An Orthodox church was dedicated in 2004 on the site of the Ipatiev House, where the killings took place.



Tags: Russia Russian Orthodox Church

19 July 2018
Elias D. Mallon, S.A., Ph.D.




In this 2014 file photo, a man prays at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)

On Sunday 22 July, Jews around the world quietly observe Tish’ah B’Av (“the ninth of Av”), Av being the fifth month of the Hebrew Calendar, corresponding to July/August. Tish'ah B’Av is a day of fasting and mourning for Jews. It commemorates primarily the destruction of the temples in Jerusalem. But, as we’ll see, the events being remembered can have meaning and significance to the wider world, as well— particularly in places CNEWA serves.

According to the biblical text (2 Kings 25:8 ff.), “in the fifth month on the seventh day of the month (587 BC)…Nebuzaradan, commander of the guard, an officer of the king of Babylon, entered Jerusalem. He burned down the Temple of Yahweh, the royal palace and all the houses of Jerusalem.” It was an unparalleled disaster for the Israelites, bringing the end of the almost 500-year dynasty of David, the end of his city Jerusalem, and the destruction of the Temple which Solomon built.

In Numbers 13:25-14:38 we find the story of the spies sent to reconnoiter Canaan by Moses. Upon their return, all but two spies give a very negative—and false—report on the possibilities of entering the Promised Land. On hearing the negative report, the people revolted against Moses and God and were punished. According to an ancient Jewish commentary on the biblical text, the Israelites wailed and complained against God for no reason. It was—according to the tradition—on the 9th of Av. God the punished them by making that a day on which they would really have something to mourn.

For Jews, the 9th of Av has become a day which commemorates all the tragedies which have come upon them. Although few of these events actually occurred on the 9th of Av, many have occurred during the months of July/August in the calendar. To name just a few:

· July 70 AD: the Romans entered and destroyed Jerusalem and, with it, the Second Temple, built in the time of Ezra and greatly expanded by Herod the Great (d. 4 BC).

· 4 August 135 AD: the Romans at Betar killed almost half a million people who had been part of the rebellion of Bar Kochba.

· 2 August 1941: the Nazi party approved “The Final Solution,” which brought about the extermination of six million Jews in Europe.

On the 9th of Av the biblical book of Lamentations is read in the synagogue. Jews fast for 25 hours, sit on the ground or low stools and avoid any type of entertainment. Although many non-Jews might not be as aware of the observance of Tish?ah B’Av as they are of Yom Kippur or Rosh Hashanah, it is nonetheless an observance with profound meaning for the Jewish people.

But perhaps the destruction of the Temple of Solomon in 587 BC and the Second Temple in 70 AD can have meaning for all people of faiths.

Without taking away from the poignancy of the Jewish tragedies observed on Tish?ah B’Av, we are reminded of the violence against sacred places around the world—and more importantly the persons who hold them sacred: the Buddhist statues in Bamyan, in Afghanistan; the bombing of churches in the Middle East; the destruction of Yazidi sacred sites and on and on.

The lands in which CNEWA works are no strangers to violence against places of worship and the worshippers who hold them sacred. Tish?ah B’Av, a sacred and solemn day to Jews, can serve as a reminder to all people of faiths. As long as one group of believers is the object of oppression and violence, no believer can be secure—and none can afford to be indifferent.



Tags: Israel Jerusalem

19 July 2018
Greg Kandra




People form a human chain in India's Jharkhand state on 15 July to protest what they say is state-sponsored harassment of Christians. (photo: UCANews.com)

Climate change is killing the cedars of Lebanon (The New York Times) After centuries of human depredation, the cedars of Lebanon face perhaps their most dangerous threat: Climate change could wipe out most of the country’s remaining cedar forests by the end of the century…

Syrian media: two pro-government villages evacuated (AP) All the residents of two Syrian pro-government villages in the country’s northwest — over 7,000 people — who were besieged by the rebels for three years were evacuated on Thursday to government-held territory, Syria’s state-run media reported…

Thousands protest harassment of Christians in India (UCANews.com) About 10,000 Christians in eastern India’s Jharkhand state formed a 20-kilometer [about 12 miles] human chain to protest what they call the state-sponsored harassment of Christians and a hate campaign against them. The mostly indigenous Christians say their government, run by the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has developed policies to take away their rights and land…

More Syrian refugees to leave Lebanon (The Daily Star) Two more groups of Syrian refugees will return to their homeland from Lebanon in the “next few days,” General Security chief Abbas Ibrahim said Thursday. ”The first group of about 1,000 [refugees] will leave from Arsal,” Ibrahim said to LBCI. Earlier Thursday, during a ceremony marking the opening of a security building in Baalbeck, Ibrahim said a security plan in the Bekaa Valley would serve the people. “They have their rights, [which] they will receive,” he said…

Emotional reunion of Ethiopian and Eritrean families (Borkena.com) The burden of Ethio-Eritrea conflict was heavy on some families. Families have lost loved ones as more than 80,000 people were killed on both sides during the two years war. But there were also families who were condemned to live separately until the rapprochement initiated by the prime minister Abiy Ahmed brought about peace between the two countries after 20 years of stalemate…



Tags: Syria Lebanon Ethiopia Indian Catholics

19 July 2018
Greg Kandra




People form a human chain in India's Jharkhand state on 15 July to protest what they say is state-sponsored harassment of Christians.

Climate change is killing the cedars of Lebanon (The New York Times) After centuries of human depredation, the cedars of Lebanon face perhaps their most dangerous threat: Climate change could wipe out most of the country’s remaining cedar forests by the end of the century…

Syrian media: two pro-government villages evacuated (AP) All the residents of two Syrian pro-government villages in the country’s northwest — over 7,000 people — who were besieged by the rebels for three years were evacuated on Thursday to government-held territory, Syria’s state-run media reported…

Thousands protest harassment of Christians in India (UCANews.com) About 10,000 Christians in eastern India’s Jharkhand state formed a 20-kilometer [about 12 miles] human chain to protest what they call the state-sponsored harassment of Christians and a hate campaign against them. The mostly indigenous Christians say their government, run by the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has developed policies to take away their rights and land…

More Syrian refugees to leave Lebanon (The Daily Star) Two more groups of Syrian refugees will return to their homeland from Lebanon in the “next few days,” General Security chief Abbas Ibrahim said Thursday. ”The first group of about 1,000 [refugees] will leave from Arsal,” Ibrahim said to LBCI. Earlier Thursday, during a ceremony marking the opening of a security building in Baalbeck, Ibrahim said a security plan in the Bekaa Valley would serve the people. “They have their rights, [which] they will receive,” he said…

Emotional reunion of Ethiopian and Eritrean families (Borkena.com) The burden of Ethio-Eritrea conflict was heavy on some families. Families have lost loved ones as more than 80,000 people were killed on both sides during the two years war. But there were also families who were condemned to live separately until the rapprochement initiated by the prime minister Abiy Ahmed brought about peace between the two countries after 20 years of stalemate…



Tags: Lebanon Ethiopia Indian Christians Eritrea

18 July 2018
Mark Raczkiewycz




The video above shows how some religious sisters in Ukraine are doing more with less, and praying for an increase in vocations. (video: Ivan Chernichkin)

In the June 2018 edition of ONE, writer Mark Raczkiewycz shows how religious sisters in Ukraine are doing more with less and Giving 200 Percent. Here, he offers some additional thoughts.

Doing more with the less is the central theme of the convent story. At the outset, I found the topic for this reporting assignment difficult to wrap my brain around because I had never been exposed to religious sisters beyond cursory encounters at church.

I researched the different orders and the charisms that define them. In Ukraine, some orders are more than 100 years old. They have storied traditions that are rooted in serving both God and vulnerable groups of society. Some are devoted to education, others to health care, and more to well-rounded child development.

In a country of more than 40 million, yet the size of Texas, Ukraine only has about 850 religious sisters serving in different capacities at 21 communities.

They’re clearly not in a position to scale up — and it soon because obvious, over three days of reporting, that they’re overwhelmed.

Sister Natalya Melnyk, who heads the council of superiors of women communities, said the female cohort risks “burnout.”

There’s only so much they can do that is humanly possible.

Their numbers are dwindling so the communities are drawing upon the talents that each sister possesses. Some have two or three degrees of higher learning, including medicine and biological genetics. There are also trained lawyers and psychologists, some of whom have studied abroad in Rome.

While the pool of incoming sisters brings women with richer pedigrees than those who entered convents en masse after the church emerged from underground in 1991, they’re no longer clamoring to join an order.

Various reasons were given for this — and the church is still doing a deep-dive analysis. The main reason, perhaps, is that youth have more choices than in the past. Temporal values like materialism, consumerism, and individualism take precedence over deeper spiritual values — and they aren’t conducive to that lifestyle.

The church is also battling the stereotype that entering a convent is the equivalent of incarceration. It’s simply not attractive to people, so efforts are being taken to change messaging and how people are introduced to the church.

Despite everything, the sisters are optimistic.

“It’s about quality not quantity” now, said Basilian order superior Mother Danyila Vynnyk, quoting a French truism.

To adapt, sisters meet weekly to exchange thoughts on lessons learned — what works and what doesn’t in their communities. This saves time, improves efficiency and avoids duplication of mistakes and waste of human resources.

The church also utilizes outsourcing when possible. Lay people are being used to augment the sister’s work — such as teaching the catechism to children.

And there is well-grounded hope. Aside from the orders that will inevitably die out because they couldn’t sustainably replenish their numbers after the rebuilding phase of the 1990s, other communities could see their numbers swell again, once the new generation brought up in church life grows of age.

Sister Teofania of the Basilian order is one of these. She grew up immersed in church life. Entering a convent seemed like a natural decision to her.

“It will be very interesting to see what will become of this generation,” Sister Nataliya said.

Read more in the current edition of ONE.



Tags: Ukraine Sisters Ukrainian Catholic

18 July 2018
Greg Kandra




Angella Bourudjian and her children, Christian and Carl, sit in their current home in Bourj Hammoud, Beirut, Lebanon. Read about their efforts to start a new life after fleeing Syria in A Letter from Lebanon in the June 2018 edition of ONE. (photo: Tamara Hadi)



Tags: Syria Lebanon

18 July 2018
Greg Kandra




Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (left) and Eritrean President Isaias Afworki open a new embassy in Addis Ababa on Monday. (photo: Vatican Media/AFP)

Eritrean archbishop describes new peace accord as a miracle (Vatican News) ”First of all, I was impressed by this young Ethiopian Prime Minister who accepted the decision of the Border Commission unconditionally. This was key because Eritrea accepted it 16 years ago,” said the Metropolitan Archbishop of the Archeparchy of Asmara, Menghesteab Tesfamariam. He was speaking with Vatican News on Wednesday. The Archbishop added, “It is like a miracle after twenty years of ‘no war, no peace’ situation that has held us like hostages in a way. To hear this (Eritrean delegation in Addis Ababa), I think the people of Eritrea and the people in Ethiopia are overjoyed. The news itself was already something great,” he said…

Pro-Assad villages being evacuated in Syria (Vatican News) The villages of al-Foua and Kefraya have remained loyal to President Assad. But now, as a long-time siege by insurgents tightens, its residents are being evacuated. Around 6,000 people will leave the area on 88 buses in a deal brokered by rebels and Iranian-backed forces. Reports suggest 1,800 rebel prisoners being held in Damascus are being released in exchange for the evacuation…

ISIS making a comeback in Iraq (The Washington Post) The Islamic State is creeping back into parts of central Iraq just seven months after the government declared victory in the war against the group, embarking on a wave of kidnappings, assassinations and bombings that have raised fears that a new cycle of insurgency is starting again…

India named the most dangerous place for women (UCANews) After a recent survey found India to be the most dangerous place in the world for women to live, rights activists are calling on the government to take action to make the country a safer place for half of the population. The survey, released by the London-based Thomson Reuters Foundation on 26 June, cited the high risk of sexual violence and slave labor that Indian women face…

Young musicians serve as a ’bridge of dialogue’ in Jerusalem (CNS) Eleven young musicians from Jerusalem and the West Bank had the opportunity to show U.S. audiences that music can be a bridge across cultural divides during a brief tour of the Washington-Baltimore area…



Tags: Syria Ethiopia Eritrea ISIS

17 July 2018
Gayane Abrahamyan




The Emili Aregak Center provides personalized support and resources for young people with disabilities in and near Gyumri. (photo: Nazik Armenakyan)

In the current edition of ONE, Gayane Abrahamyan takes readers on a journey to A Source of Light, the Emili Aregak Center in Armenia, which helps children with disabilities. Here, she reflects on some of the political upheaval facing the country during her visit.

This is Gyumri: the second city of Armenia, with still-visible traces of the earthquake 30 years ago — temporary metal huts, homeless people and around 40 percent living in poverty. It is difficult to go there; the stories are mostly sad, with the main cause of problems being the earthquake itself.

This time, however, the atmosphere was different.

I arrived in Gyumri on 6 May, just ahead of elections that would see the people’s candidate, Nicole Pashinyan, become Prime Minister. This was the first and most explicit victory of the people in the 26-year post-Soviet history of the independent Armenia.

It was a hard struggle for the people. In recent days, there had been massive protests, with more than one thousand people detained by police. The country was facing a time of challenge and change.

Against this backdrop, I found myself heading for one of the brightest spots in Gyumri: the Emili Aregak Center, established by Caritas Armenia, with support from CNEWA, to help care for kids with disabilities.

This day, before the coordinators of the center received me, I toured the building. Pashinyan had been to Gyumri a few days earlier, so everyone was talking about the election and the hopes for a revived Armenia. Shortly after I arrived, a boy slowly walked up to me with a scrutinizing look, and as he accompanied me into the room he asked if I have seen Nicole Pashinyan. Without even waiting for my response, he said, ”I attended the demonstration. I saw ... it was raining, I stood there for four hours.” Michael, a young man with Down syndrome, looked into my eyes and cried. I hugged him.

Nearby, 18-year old Edward, one of the ”old timers” of the center, was sitting by the table. He offered me cookies. He has infantile cerebral palsy. He kept on distracting me, making all efforts to talk in a way understandable to me. He said, “You know, his mom helps him a lot, my mom, my dad also help me a lot, but there are kids whose parents have abandoned them and sent to orphanage, because they are sick. It is difficult for them, but we are lucky.”

His enthusiasm is infectious.

At the center, these young people have a sense of hope, a feeling of independence and possibility.

Those are sentiments, I think, shared these days by many in Armenia.

Read more about her visit to Gyumri in the June 2018 edition of ONE.

And watch a video about the center below.



Tags: Armenia





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