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Current Issue
June, 2017
Volume 43, Number 2
  
9 March 2017
Greg Kandra




This photo shows some of the damage caused by a fire Wednesday inside the Church of the Ascension in Jerusalem. (photo: Instagram)

Church of the Ascension damaged by fire (Times of Israel) One person was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of breaking into a landmark Jerusalem church and trying to set it on fire earlier in the day, police said, noting that the incident did not appear to have been a religiously motivated attack...

Marines add forces to Syria (Reuters) A U.S. Marines artillery unit has deployed to Syria in recent days to help local forces speed up efforts to defeat Islamic State at Raqqa and the campaign to isolate the city is going “very, very well,” the U.S.-led coalition said on Thursday. Coalition spokesman U.S. Air Force Colonel John Dorrian said the additional U.S. forces would be working with local partners in Syria — the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the Syrian Arab Coalition — and would not have a front line role...

Chaldean Patriarch: Let us copy the distinction between religion and politics from the West (Fides) Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako, Primate of the Chaldean Church, suggested the key criteria that according to him are necessary to follow to make sure that the end of military campaigns against the jihadists of ISIS open a phase of real reconciliation and national reconstruction: “We must separate politics from religion, as the West,” insisted the Patriarch, “otherwise we will have no future...”

Photos reveal what it’s like to be a Syrian refugee in Turkey (The Washington Post) For the past four years, photographer Emin Ozmen has been documenting the plight of Syrian refugees living in Turkey. According to the United Nations refugee agency, there are more than 2.8 million registered Syrian refugees in Turkey. And more than half of them are children...

Why is ISIS targeting Copts in Sinai? (Al Monitor) An official at the national security department in north Sinai told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity that IS is changing its tactics by attacking civilians at times and security officers and policemen at other times, while security “is slackening in collecting intelligence information” regarding the organization’s activities. Many of Sinai’s citizens are not cooperating with the police and the national security for fear of retaliation by ISIS...



8 March 2017
Greg Kandra




Anahit Mkhoyan, director of Caritas Georgia, visits the Harmony Center, which serves the elderly in Tbilisi. To learn more about her remarkable life and career, read her Letter from Georgia in the current edition of ONE. (photo: Antonio di Vico)



8 March 2017
Greg Kandra




In this picture from 2015, Syrian refugees are seen at a makeshift camp in Adana, Turkey. The Jordanian ambassador to Turkey says in a new interview that Turkey and Jordan are shouldering most of the burden of caring for Syrian refugees. (photo: CNS/Nathalie Ritzmann)

Holy See calls for respect for religious freedom (Vatican Radio) Archbishop Ivan Jurkovic spoke to a high-level side event on Tuesday at the UN entitled “Mutual Respect and Peaceful Coexistence as a Condition of Interreligious Peace and Stability: Supporting Christians and Other Communities.” The Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in Geneva called on participants to recognize religious freedom as a fundamental human right...

Ambassador says Turkey, Jordan shoulder most of Syrian refugee crisis (Andalou Agency) Jordan and Turkey continue to shoulder most of the burden in the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis, according to Jordanian ambassador to Turkey. In an interview with Anadolu Agency on Monday, Amjad al-Adaileh said Turkey has accepted over three million and Jordan 1.3 million refugees since the Syrian crisis began in March 2011. “We [Jordan and Turkey] are the countries that welcome and accept Syrian refugees. Our brothers and sisters will remain as guests in these two countries until this crisis ends,” he said...

ISIS loses key Aleppo water station (BBC) Syrian government forces have retaken a key water pumping station in Aleppo, a monitoring group said. Residents have been without mains water for nearly two months since the so-called Islamic State group cut it off...

Drugs pouring in to Gaza (Reuters) Marijuana and prescription painkillers are flooding into the Gaza Strip as never before, prompting officials from the ruling Islamist group Hamas to seek tougher punishments for smuggling drugs into the blockaded territory. The quantity of drugs seized In Gaza in January was as much as for the whole of 2016, officials said. Eight major dealers were arrested in one of the biggest police stings to date...

Indian Catholics continue prayers for kidnapped priest (CNS) A year after an Indian priest was abducted by suspected Islamic militants in Yemen, Catholics in his home state of Kerala are still praying for his release, reported ucanews.com. Salesian Father Tom Uzhunnalil was taken by a group of armed men who stormed a home for the elderly run by Missionaries of Charity nuns in Aden, 4 March 2016. During the incident the gunmen murdered 16 people, including four nuns. Even after one year, “we don’t know who kidnapped the priest and where they have taken him. The government of India and the Vatican have been trying their best to secure his release. Sadly, these efforts have failed to produce any results so far,” said Cardinal Baselios Thottunkal of Trivandrum, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India...



7 March 2017
Greg Kandra




Msgr. John E. Kozar makes some new friends during a visit to Iraq in 2016. (photo: CNEWA)

We began our 90th anniversary series, “90 Years, 90 Heroes,” literally “in the beginning,” with a look at the life of a man instrumental in CNEWA’s founding, the Rev. Paul Wattson. We thought it only appropriate that we conclude with the man leading CNEWA today, our president Msgr. John E. Kozar.

Honestly, Msgr. Kozar would probably cringe at being labeled a “hero.” When he first arrived at CNEWA in 2011, after a decade heading the Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States, he described himself as simply a “happy and fulfilled priest...if there’s a title that I would put in front of me it would be ‘Parish Priest on Loan to the World.’ ” He began his ministry as a “parish priest” in his native Pittsburgh — but he has, in fact, made the world his parish. He’s logged a lot of miles circling the globe for CNEWA, paying pastoral visits to India or Ethiopia or another corner of the Middle East — often venturing into some of the most troubled and dangerous corners of our world.

He does this again and again out of a sense of mission and a desire to be present to those in need. Indeed, if he were to sum up his credo in one simple word — one first popularized by Pope Francis, in fact — it would be “accompaniment.”

This has been Msgr. Kozar’s guiding principle. “Ours is a ministry of accompaniment,” he wrote in 2014. Living out this ministry, this “happy and fulfilled priest” has sought to bring a sense of purpose, consolation and hope to suffering people around the world — through the work of CNEWA and always in the name of Christ.

His regular column in ONE magazine, Focus (a name that offers a nod to his great avocation, photography) has helped bring readers and donors along with him on his travels — and that, too, has spread that spirit of “accompaniment.”

As he wrote in 2015, following the visit of Pope Francis to the United States:

As a papal agency, CNEWA is honored and privileged to serve our Holy Father in accompanying local Eastern Catholic churches in many troubled areas of the world. In the Holy Father’s name, we humbly strive to be agents of peace, reconciliation and, especially, love of God for all.

I cherish the many such opportunities I have personally experienced on my pastoral visits to faraway places. In areas of extreme conflict, persecution and poverty, the love of God — as witnessed by the faith of those who suffer so much — rises above the dark clouds of so many ugly realities. As with Pope Francis in his pastoral visit here, the local church in those parts of the world we serve brings hope to so many souls. And CNEWA is privileged to walk with the church in the name of our Holy Father.

It is a journey that began 90 years ago — and one all of us at CNEWA look forward to continuing for many years to come!



7 March 2017
CNEWA staff




Msgr. Kozar made a pastoral visit to Ethiopia in April of 2016 and met some of the Daughters of St. Anne at a clinic they run. (photo: CNEWA)

This morning, we received the following email from Argaw Fantu, CNEWA’s regional director in Ethiopia:

This morning we received the tragic news of the car accident involving the Congregation of the Daughters of St. Anne. Eight of the sisters were driving to Hawassa to attend the funeral of a relative of Sister Tinsae Tirkaso, administrator of Asella Boys’ Orphanage.

Near Meki, 133 km (83 miles) south of Addis Ababa, a truck overtook their vehicle and four of the sisters died on the spot, including Sister Weinshet Gebru, Provincial Superior in charge of a formation house partnering with CNEWA; Sister Motu Baba, former administrator of Guder Girls’ Orphanage from September 2009 to May 2016; and Sister Hanna Bekute, Directress of Guder Catholic School from September 2012 to October 2014. The other four sisters survived; three are in critical condition.

The sisters of the Congregation of the Daughters of St. Anne are a jewel of the church, engaged in pastoral and human formation initiatives. They run schools, health facilities, cutting and sewing schools, vocational training centers, orphanages, and a school for the visually impaired. They partnered with CNEWA for a formation house in Addis Ababa, and also serve the Guder Catholic School, Guder Girls’ Orphanage, Asella Boys’ Orphanage, St. Raphael School for the Blind, and Bodit Catholic School.

In December 2016, the Daughters of St. Anne celebrated the 150-year anniversary of the founding of their religious congregation. On the occasion of the celebration, Sister Weinshet had said “this celebration is an occasion where the sisters can reflect on their service and thank God for the time He has given them.” Sister also asked all those who joined the celebration to pray for the Daughters of St. Anne so that God may bless them with the grace to keep on serving the people.

God in “the time He has given them” called them back for eternal rest. Taking the words of Sister Weinshet, let us pray that “God may bless them with the grace to keep on serving the people” through the survivors. Let us also join them with prayer for the consolation of this grieving community. May their souls rest in peace!

Learning of this news this morning, CNEWA’s president Msgr. John E. Kozar said, “The news of the traffic death of four sisters in Ethiopia, the Daughters of St. Anne, touches our hearts and souls very deeply. Having met the superior and many of the sisters in previous pastoral visits, I know the church of Ethiopia has lost some very devoted servants. For over 150 years, this congregation has served selflessly in Ethiopia and Eritrea. To their community and the entire church of Ethiopia and its people, we offer our collective prayers and support. May God welcome these servants into his heavenly kingdom.”



7 March 2017
Greg Kandra




In the video above, Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignatius Joseph III Younan explains why it is important for Christians to remain in the Middle East. (video: Rome Reports)

A council of Christian communities takes shape in Kirkuk (Fides) The appeal repeatedly launched by Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael I to Iraqi Christians not to proceed “in random order” on the political and social ground, but to try to merge their forces in one “component” is beginning to have its first effects. On Monday, 6 March, the creation of a “Council” of Christian communities that proposes itself as a liaison between the different political and social organizations took shape in Kirkuk...

Report: Syrian children suffering staggering levels of trauma (The Guardian) Children in Syria are suffering from “toxic stress,” a severe form of psychological trauma that can cause life-long damage, according to a study that charts a rise in self-harm and suicide attempts among children as young as 12. A report by Save the Children and its partner agencies in Syria paints a harrowing picture of the country’s children, 5.8 million of whom are in need of aid, after a war which reaches its sixth year next week...

New U.S. travel ban blocks migrants from six nations, excluding Iraq (The New York Times) President Trump signed an executive order on Monday blocking citizens of six predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States, the most significant hardening of immigration policy in generations, even with changes intended to blunt legal and political opposition. The order was revised to avoid the tumult and protests that engulfed the nation’s airports after Mr. Trump signed his first immigration directive on 27 January. That order was ultimately blocked by a federal appeals court...

New travel ban meets with concern, opposition (CNS) Within hours of President Donald Trump’s new executive order 6 March banning refugees from six majority-Muslim nations, Catholic and other religious groups joined secular leaders in questioning the wisdom of such a move, with others vowing to oppose it outright...

Patriarch: corruption is a ‘social leprosy’ (Fides) “The state of corruption, ethical degradation, political feudalism that the country is suffering from, the prioritization of personal and sectarian interests is hindering the enhancement of the state institutions and pose a deadly social leprosy.” This is what Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rai said in his weekly Sunday sermon at the patriarchal seat of Bkerké, with an obvious reference to the political and social situation in Lebanon...

Archbishop Pizzaballa sends letter to the people of Jerusalem (Vatican Radio) The Apostolic Administrator for the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, O.F.M., has sent a letter to the people of the diocese at the beginning of the season of Lent. Archbishop Pizzaballa, formerly the Franciscan “custos” of the Holy Land, was appointed apostolic administrator in July 2016. In his Lenten letter, the Archbishop acknowledges mistakes made in the Patriarchate, especially concerning financial and administrative matters...



6 March 2017
Greg Kandra




The Most. Rev. James M. Moynihan. (photo: Diocese of Syracuse)

We received word today that the retired bishop of Syracuse, James M. Moynihan, has died at the age of 84. Bishop Moynihan served as CNEWA’s associate secretary general from 1991 until 1995, when was named bishop of Syracuse.

The Catholic Sun newspaper today paid tribute:

“Today, we all join in mourning the death of Most Rev. James M. Moynihan who served as the 9th bishop of Syracuse from 1995-2009. In the 84th year of his life and the 60th year of his priesthood, the Lord has called Bishop Moynihan to Himself,” Bishop Robert J. Cunningham said in a statement announcing Bishop Moynihan’s death. “We thank him for a lifetime of service to the Church and in a very special way for his service to the Diocese of Syracuse.” We pray now that the evening has come, the fever of his life is over, his work is done and that God will give him a safe lodging, holy rest and peace forever.”

A native of Rochester, Bishop Moynihan was ordained and installed as the bishop of the Diocese of Syracuse on May 29, 1995. He retired on April 21, 2009.

His 14 years as ordinary included shining moments and dark days, from spearheading some of the most successful fundraising campaigns in the diocese’s history and supporting the sainthood cause of a local Franciscan sister to implementing parish reconfigurations and addressing the clergy sexual abuse crisis.

You can read more about his life and legacy at the Catholic Sun link.

As Bishop Cunningham so eloquently put it: “We pray now that the evening has come, the fever of his life is over, his work is done and that God will give him a safe lodging, holy rest and peace forever.”

Amen.



6 March 2017
Greg Kandra




Displaced Syrian children, who fled their hometowns due to clashes between regime forces and ISIS, walk in a field in Kharufiyah, on 4 March 2017. (photo: Delil Souleiman/AFP/Getty Images)

U.N. says 66,000 displaced in Syria (AP) Five months of multi-sided clashes in Syria’s crowded northern battlefield have displaced some 66,000 people, a U.N. humanitarian agency said Sunday, a day after the U.S. bolstered Kurdish-led forces with a deployment of armored vehicles amid preparations for a push toward the Islamic State group’s de facto capital...

Patriarchate releases statement on Patriarch Gregoire III (Fides) A note released by the communications office of the Patriarchate of Antioch of the Greek-Melkite reports that Grègoire Patriarch Laham III continues to carry out his role, is preparing to launch “new projects” and plans to “double his efforts at local and international levels,” to “alleviate the suffering of the population in the ongoing crisis, especially in Syria, Iraq and Palestine.” The statement makes explicit reference to articles published in the local media, containing hints of the possible resignation of the Patriarch, and reprimands media representatives to publish news only after checking the reliability...

Egypt’s Christians are being driven out; will the world notice? (CNA) A spike in attacks on Coptic Christians in Egypt, spurred by a video threat from ISIS, has drawn the prayers and concern of advocates, who are urging global leaders to take notice...

Egyptian professor says defending churches against attack is part of Islam’s doctrine (Fides) Attacks on churches are comparable to “attacks on mosques,” and the defense of Christians and their churches “is part of the doctrine of the Muslim faith,” according to Professor Mohamed Mokthtar Gomaa, Minister of Awqaf, citing the teachings of Ibn Hazm, the Arab theologian in the Andalusian period, leading proponent and codifier of the Zahiri school of Islamic thought...

Kerala as an example of ‘interfaith peace and harmony’ (AL.com) Birmingham psychiatrist Dr. N.S. Xavier believes the world would have less religious strife if people of all faiths learned the lessons of a region in India where Hindus, Christians, Muslims and Jews co-existed peacefully for centuries...

A visit to Ethiopia reveals Biblical mysteries (Winnipeg Free Press) In 2017, Protestants are marking the 500th anniversary of Reformation. It seems like a big deal until you visit Ethiopia and meet members of a church that traces its origins as far back as 2,000 years ago...



3 March 2017
Greg Kandra




Siblings Lourdes, 10 (left), Weaver, 6 (center), and Lucien, 7 (right) — children of Iraqi refugee Azhar George Matti — play at their home in Amman, Jordan. To learn more about the lives of Iraqi Christians in Jordan, read Welcoming the Stranger in the current edition of ONE.
(photo: Tamara Abdul Hadi)




2 March 2017
Greg Kandra




Displaced Egyptian Christian families, who used to live in the north of the Sinai Peninsula, sit near their belongings after arriving 24 February at a church in Ismailia. Catholic churches in Ismailia, with help from Caritas, have helped Coptic Orthodox fleeing Islamic State attacks in North Sinai.
(photo: CNS/EPA)


Coptic Christians flee Sinai after killings (Al Jazeera) Hundreds of members of Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority have fled the Sinai Peninsula to Ismailia city, northeast of the capital Cairo, following a series of killings by a local armed group. The assailants have shot and killed at least seven Christians in separate attacks in Sinai’s El Arish city in February. At least 90 families have reached the Ismailia governorate, according to an official of the Coptic Orthodox Church...

Egyptian president meets with Patriarchs (Fides) Religious leaders, in the current historical phase, have a key role in spreading the principle of citizenship in all Arab countries, and reject false interpretations of holy books and religious teachings used by extremist and terrorist organizations as ideological tools. This is how Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al Sisi expressed his view on the need to “renew religious discourse” in the Middle East...

Situation for Iraqi refugees in Jordan ‘critical and dangerous’ (CNS) Catholic leaders have expressed concern for tens of thousands of Iraqi Christian refugees sheltering in Jordan as access to international aid tightens with crises deepening in the Middle East and elsewhere. “The situation of Iraqi Christians refugees is critical and dangerous,” Father Khalil Jaar told Catholic News Service on the sidelines of a conference hosted by the Vatican Embassy in Amman and the Catholic charity, Caritas Jordan...

Prayers planned for kidnapped Indian Salesian (CNS) The Salesians have organized a special prayer meeting to mark the one-year anniversary of the kidnapping of Indian Salesian Father Tom Uzhunnalil. The priest was kidnapped in Aden, Yemen, 4 March 2016, in an attack in which four Missionaries of Charity and at least 12 others were killed...

Russian Catholics hope for a new springtime for small Byzantine church (CNS) One of the smallest Eastern Catholic churches in the world, the Russian Catholic Church, faces some big issues, including its survival. That’s the issue that will be front and center at a Congress of Russian Catholic delegates from around the world meeting in northern Italy in June. It has been organized by an Australian-based Russian Catholic priest, Father Lawrence Cross, a retired lecturer in theology at Australian Catholic University...







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