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Winter, 2016
Volume 42, Number 4
  
22 September 2016
J.D. Conor Mauro




Egyptians stand on the shore in the Egyptian port city of Rosetta, waiting for the results of a search operation after a boat carrying migrants capsized in the Mediterranean on 21 September 2016. (photo: Mohamed El Shahed/AFP/Getty Images)

Egypt migrant boat capsize: Hundreds feared dead (BBC) Survivors from a boat which capsized off the Egyptian coast on Wednesday have told the BBC that hundreds of people may have drowned. The boat was carrying about 550 migrants when it capsized eight miles off the coast, they say. Authorities have rescued 163 people and recovered 42 bodies so far off the port city of Rosetta. Four crew members have been arrested in connection with incident, Egyptian officials said…

Church committed to support for Dalits against rising violence (Fides) Violence against Dalits (the “untouchables”) in India have increased in recent years, according to the National Crime Record Board. “It is a matter of concern to note: Since the Bharatiya Janata Party of Prime Minister Narendra Modi have been ruling, atrocities on Dalits have increased” says Jesuit A. Xavier John Bosco, director of the Jesuit Social Centre, based in Secunderabad, Andhra Pradesh…

Jerusalem archbishop: Christian unity, Middle East situation are priorities (CNS) The new apostolic administrator of the Latin Patriarchate, Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, said he would focus on listening to the priests and people of the diocese to better understand the pastoral issues. In a 21 September news conference before his official entrance into Jerusalem, the archbishop told journalists the diocese faces many challenges similar to those of the church in other parts of the world, including divisions within family life, young people’s disenchantment with the church. But he said the local church also is concerned with the influx of refugees, foreign workers and migrants in Jordan and Israel, many of whom are Christian, as well as issues of family reunification and an acute shortage of housing…

Syrian archbishop: ‘A bullet narrowly missed my head’ (AINA) Christians in Syria are being targeted by Kurdish militias according to a senior Christian leader in the region. Syriac Catholic Archbishop Jacques Behnan Hindo says Kurds in Hassake, a city in northeast Syria, and surrounding areas are responsible for “acts of violence and intimidation” against Christians. He said he had a narrow escape himself when shots were fired through the window of his house and a bullet narrowly missed his head. “At that moment, the area was presided over by Kurdish militias, and there were no other armed persons nearby…”

Christian and Muslim religious leaders pray for peace in the name of Mary in Beirut (AsiaNews) Representatives of all of Lebanon’s faith communities gathered on Tuesday for an interfaith prayer for peace at Marian shrine in Harissa, north of Beirut. The group met in response to a call made by Pope Francis, who asked that all the dioceses in the world hold prayer ceremonies, at the same time as the one in Assisi, the city of St. Francis, which brought together prominent figures of faith and culture…



Tags: Syria India Egypt Lebanon Jerusalem

21 September 2016
J.D. Conor Mauro




A child attends the Divine Liturgy in the Melkite Greek Catholic Church of Sts. Peter and Paul in Shefa-‘Amr, a small city in the Galilee. The Melkite Greek Catholic Church is one of ten distinct churches that together form the richly diverse Church of Antioch. Learn more about the Church of Antioch in the pages of the Autumn 2016 special edition of ONE. (photo: Ilene Perlman)



Tags: Eastern Christianity Eastern Churches Melkite Greek Catholic Church Antiochene church Antioch

21 September 2016
J.D. Conor Mauro




Moscow and the Syrian government have denied they carried out a deadly air strike on an aid convoy in Syria. (video: Al Jazeera English)

Russia and Syria deny striking U.N. aid convoy in Aleppo (Al Jazeera) “The air forces of Russia and Syria did not conduct any strikes against the U.N. aid convoy in the southwestern outskirts of Aleppo,” said Russian defense ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov on Tuesday, as outrage mounted over an attack that some called a war crime. The Red Cross said at least 20 people were killed in the attack on trucks carrying desperately needed humanitarian relief to thousands of Syrians. Ban Ki-moon, U.N. secretary-general, speaking at the General Assembly in New York, called those who attacked the convoy “cowards.” He continued: “Powerful patrons that keep feeding the war machine also have blood on their hands…”

Caritas: Syrian people are the ‘ball’ in the cruel game of the powerful (AsiaNews) In Syria, major world powers are playing “a football game” in which the Syrian people have become the ball, wrote Sandra Awad of Caritas Syria, in an appeal letter for International Day of Peace. “Unfortunately, what is happening during this game is that the players are destroying with their big shoes … the infrastructure, buildings, factories, and are crushing the Syrian people, especially the poor ones who became the majority…”

Egypt migrant boat capsize: At least 29 people killed (BBC) At least 29 people have drowned after a migrant boat capsized off the Egyptian coast, officials say. The boat was carrying about 600 passengers, of which about 150 have been rescued, state media reported. The capsize took place off the coast of Kafr al Sheikh, officials say…

Interreligious peace rally held in Miao Diocese (Vatican Radio) The Miao Diocese in Arunachal Pradesh — the Indian state furthest northeast — organized an interreligious peace rally in Neotan village, in response to Pope Francis’ call to pray for peace on 20 September. “Amidst growing religious intolerance in India and all around, this inter-religious peace rally is a great step to promote mutual respect and peace among the people of all faiths,” said the Venerable Narinda Bhikkhu Mahathero, head monk in Miao’s Buddhist monastery…

Signs of panic and rebellion in the heart of Islamic State’s territory (Washington Post) The graffiti that appeared on a wall near the mosque in Mosul where the Islamic State leader declared his caliphate two years ago was a small but symbolic act of rebellion. The spray-painted letter “m” — for the Arabic word mukawama, meaning resistance — was part of a campaign by Kitaeb al Mosul, an underground opposition group in the northern Iraqi city that released a video detailing their efforts this month. In recent months, the Islamic State has carried out more arrests and executions such as these in a sign of desperation as it faces the prospect of losing Mosul, according to reports from inside the city…



Tags: Syria Iraq India Egypt Migrants

20 September 2016
J.D. Conor Mauro






The Autumn 2016 edition of ONE magazine is now online!

This special issue shines a spotlight on the churches of the East in a way ONE has never done before:

Pope Pius XI founded Catholic Near East Welfare Association in 1926 to support the people served by the Eastern churches, especially the Catholic Eastern churches. …

This journey has been a story of perseverance and purpose, one that has left us humbled and enriched. It is the story of sisters caring for the victims of war; of seminarians preparing to serve the people of God; of faithful from all walks of life reaching out to the poorest of the poor, and seeing in one another God’s abundant grace at work. To experience this again and again is to realize there is a larger story unfolding in these churches: It is the story of Easter. …

In the pages that follow, you will meet some of the men and women who are living this story every day, and doing it with enthusiasm, fervor and zeal. We focus on what we consider the five families of the Eastern churches — Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem and Armenia — rooted in the ancient lands where the apostles first planted the Gospel. The one church’s “family tree” is complex and elaborate, with many entwined branches, and we will also help trace this tree’s sometimes meandering roots.

We hope you’ll enjoy this journey to the roots, to say nothing of the fascinating people you’ll meet along the way. Just click the link above to get started.

You can also hear a few words from CNEWA President Msgr. John E. Kozar on this exciting new edition below:



Tags: CNEWA Eastern Christianity Eastern Churches ONE magazine

20 September 2016
Michel Constantin




Imad Abou Jaoude poses for a “selfie” with another CNEWA hero, Sister Maria Hannah, O.P., during a visit to Iraq. (photo: CNEWA)

Imad Abou Jaoude, a young civil engineer, joined CNEWA in our Beirut office in January 2000 as a part-time project coordinator when CNEWA was assisting the displaced population of Lebanon, mainly Christians. They had been forced to flee from their villages during the Lebanese civil war between 1975 and 2000. With his engineering background, Imad mainly worked on technical issues related to the implementation of infrastructure projects.

Year after year, and with time, the mandate and the priority of the office were changing enormously, especially after the eruption of the war in Syria and the catastrophe of Iraq in 2014. This young enthusiastic engineer, Imad, feeling the importance of CNEWA’s presence to this vulnerable population, decided to join us full time and dedicate all his efforts and knowledge to helping us.

In 2014, only three weeks after the brutal offensive against the Christians and Yazidis in Iraq, and despite all danger encountered, Imad was very excited to join me in my first trip to Iraq. I still remember how we flew over Mosul only a few thousand feet above ISIS militants, within range of their rockets. For security reasons, our plane had to circle Erbil’s airport for almost an hour before we were allowed to land.

Thanks to Imad’s efforts, CNEWA is playing a leading role in responding to the needs of more than 150,000 displaced persons. With his engineering expertise, he effectively helped establish dispensaries and schools; with his very human touch he conveyed to all who needed it a spirit of solidarity and hope — truly a hero to many.



Tags: Syria Lebanon Refugees CNEWA Relief

20 September 2016
J.D. Conor Mauro




Good Shepherd Sister Odile, a Coptic Catholic, cares for children at her order’s orphanage in Suez, Egypt. For thousands of years, ethnic Christians — or Copts — have formed a major constituency of the Church of Alexandria, which in Africa includes a number of other Eastern churches, Catholic and Orthodox. Learn more about the Church of Alexandria in the pages of the Autumn 2016 special edition of ONE. (photo: David Degner)



Tags: Egypt Africa Eastern Christianity Horn of Africa

19 September 2016
J.D. Conor Mauro




Oxfam workers organize life jackets collected from the beaches of Chios, Greece, and used by adults and children, on display at the Brooklyn Bridge park last Friday, ahead of this week’s U.N. Summit for Refugees and Migrants. (photo: Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty Images)

Leaders at U.N. summit adopt plan to protect refugees and migrants (U.N. News Center) With more people forced to flee their homes than at any time since World War II, world leaders came together at the United Nations today to adopt the New York Declaration, which expresses their political will to protect the rights of refugees and migrants, to save lives and share responsibility for large movements on a global scale…

U.S. and Russian-led Syria talks begin in New York (Daily Star Lebanon) United States Secretary of State John Kerry and Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov opened a meeting of their key international counterparts Tuesday after a week-old ceasefire in Syria’s civil war collapsed…

Catholic and Hindu students on a pilgrimage to the Marian shrine (Fides) As part of an effort to promote interreligious dialogue, St. Andrew’s School in Bandra, Mumbai, organized an inter-Jubilee pilgrimage, carried out by more than 400 students of all religions — only 70 of whom are Catholics — to a Marian shrine…

Ordinations suggest a tentative rebirth for Christianity in Iraq (Crux) Just a few miles away from war and genocide, two ordinations last Friday in Iraqi Kurdistan, and the celebrations they triggered, suggest a surprising narrative of not only survival but also rebirth for Christianity in the Middle East. Two young men were ordained Catholic priests last Friday in Ain Kawa, Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, for the Chaldean Catholic Church. Patriarch Louis Raphael I performed the rite and for his church called it “a great sign of hope in a time of great crisis…”

Pope: War is shameful, prayers to ‘God of peace’ in Assisi (Vatican Radio) The world needs to go “beyond the divisions of religions,” and feel the “shame” of war, without turning a “deaf ear” to the cries of those who are suffering: that’s what Pope Francis said in his Homily at Mass at Santa Marta Tuesday morning. The Holy Father was speaking just hours before he was to leave for the Umbrian hill town of Assisi where he was to take part 20 September 2016 in the closing ceremony of an international summit of interfaith leaders to pray for world peace. The first such gathering in Assisi was convened by Pope St. John Paul II in 1986…



Tags: Syria India Interreligious United Nations Chaldean Church

19 September 2016
J.D. Conor Mauro




Carpatho-Rusyn Greek Catholic villagers gather to celebrate Theophany, the commemoration of Jesus’ baptism, in Jakubany, Slovakia. Carpatho-Rusyn Greek Catholics comprise a small part of the perhaps 200,000,000 Christians throughout the world who participate in the life of the Church of Constantinople, the existence of which is tied to the actions of one Roman emperor. Learn more about the Church of Constantinople in the pages of the Autumn 2016 special edition of ONE. (photo: Father Damian Saraka)



Tags: Eastern Christianity Eastern Churches Byzantium

19 September 2016
J.D. Conor Mauro




Syrians stand in the doorway of their home in the rebel-held town of Talbisseh on the northern outskirts of Homs as a Red Cross vehicle carrying aid drives past. (photo: Getty/AFP/Mahmoud Taha)

Moscow says strikes on Syria army threaten U.S.-Russia ceasefire plan (Christian Science Monitor) Moscow stepped up its war of words with Washington on Sunday, saying air strikes by a U.S.-led coalition on the Syrian army threatened the implementation of a U.S.-Russian ceasefire plan for Syria and bordered on connivance with Islamic State. The Russian Defense Ministry said on Saturday that U.S. jets had killed more than 60 Syrian soldiers in the eastern Syrian city of Deir Ezzor in four air strikes coming from the direction of Iraq…

Syria declares ceasefire over; U.S., Russia seek extension (Daily Star Lebanon) Syria’s military declared a week-long cease-fire over on Monday and vowed to continue fighting, even as officials from the United States and Russia met behind closed doors in Geneva to try to extend it. What is likely to be the final attempt by the U.S. administration of President Barack Obama to find a negotiated solution to the five year old civil war appeared close to collapse…

Long-awaited church construction law in Egypt disappoints activists (France24) Egypt recently issued a long-anticipated law governing the building of churches. Christians in the country had hoped its passage would help alleviate sectarian violence, but observers say the legislation falls dismally short. Human Rights Watch went so far as to call the measure discriminatory…

Roma flee to California as Europe turns more hostile (Bloomberg) When Viorel Romanescu last year fled his Romanian village, he didn’t follow the well-trod path to Western Europe like his fellow Roma. Instead, he sold his pig and horse, and bought a plane ticket to Mexico. This year, almost 1,800 Romanians have been apprehended at the southern U.S. border, up from fewer than 400 in all of last year and just a few dozen in 2008, according to government statistics. They are propelled by an anti-immigrant wave sweeping Europe and pushing the Roma across the Atlantic Ocean. The traditionally itinerant group, persecuted for centuries, is facing less-tolerant governments as more than a million migrants and refugees from Syria and other countries overwhelm the region. A resurgence of neo-Nazism from Romania to Italy has seen their camps demolished, businesses firebombed, neighborhoods walled off and children beaten…

Bombs, stones thrown at church in Lakhimpur Kheri (Indian Express) Vandals threw stones and homemade bombs into a church in Lakhimpur Kheri district of the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh on Saturday night, police said. Men on bikes hurled the weapons at Christ Church in Kotwali, damaging windows and furniture…



Tags: Syria India Egypt War Roma

16 September 2016
CNEWA staff




In this 2014 photo, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople embraces Pope Francis during a liturgy in the Patriarchal Church of St. George in Istanbul. This year, as we commemorate the 90th anniversary of Catholic Near East Welfare Association, we are reminded again and again of the word that is literally our middle name: East. Our April 2016 special edition of ONE focuses on what we consider the five families of the Eastern churches — Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem and Armenia — rooted in the ancient lands where the apostles first planted the Gospel. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)



Tags: Eastern Christianity Eastern Churches ONE magazine





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