6 June 2013
The Azar family shares a one-bedroom house with two other Syrian refugee families in the village of Al Qaa in Lebanon. (photo: Tamara Hadi)
The current issue of ONE features a look at refugees from Syria and Iraq, and ongoing efforts to help them. This morning, the Vatican released a document on refugees:
Catholic laity have an obligation to root out traces of xenophobia in their hearts and recognize refugees as their brothers and sisters — children of God whose dignity must be protected, said a new Vatican document.
“Welcoming Christ in Refugees and Forcibly Displaced Persons,” a document of pastoral guidelines for providing material and spiritual assistance to people forced to leave their homes was published June 6 by the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers and the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, which promotes and coordinates Catholic charitable activity.
Since the mid-1980s, the document said, the debate surrounding refugees and other asylum seekers has become “a forum for political and administrative election purposes, which fed hostile and aggressive attitudes among the electorate.”
In effect, countries are focused more on deterring newcomers from reaching their shores than they are on offering protection and a welcome to suffering people fleeing situations that threatened their lives and dignity, Cardinal Antonio Maria Veglio, president of the council for migrants and travelers, told reporters.
From a Catholic point of view, he said at a Vatican news conference, “every policy, initiative or intervention in this area must be inspired by the principle of the centrality and dignity of the human person.”
Cardinal Robert Sarah, president of Cor Unum, said being Christian means trying to meet both the material and spiritual needs of refugees and displaced people, who “ask us for a commitment of love that first of all restores their dignity as persons made in the image and likeness of God.”
“Along with bread, they need love that nourishes their spiritual dimension,” Cardinal Sarah said, and that love is precisely what gives witness to “the love with which Christ loves us and saves us.”
How can you help give witness to “the love with which Christ loves us”? Visit our Syria Emergency Relief page to learn more.
6 June 2013
Tags: Syria Refugees Migrants
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In the video above, John Klink, president of the International Catholic Migration Commission, talks to Catholic News Service about Pope Francis’ special awareness of migrants’ problems.
Vatican calls for less restrictive policies toward migrants (Business Ghana) The Catholic Church on Thursday called on the international community to adopt a less restrictive approach on migration and to show more compassion towards the plight of refugees and displaced people. Cardinal Antonio Maria Veglio, the top Vatican official on such matters, lamented that “ever more often, the political debate at national and international level” focuses on “restrictive measures.” “It seems that the issue is mainly about how to keep away asylum-seekers and displaced people. Instead of considering the reasons why they were forced to leave, the sole presence of refugees or deported people is seen as a problem,” Veglio said...
Pontifical council predicts summer will aggravate Syrian crisis (VIS) The Pontifical Council “Cor Unum” called a meeting, from 4-5 June, of the Catholic charitable agencies that are working to combat the crisis in Syria. Testimonials confirm the extent of the tragedy: almost seven million people who need humanitarian assistance, more than 4.5 million forcibly displaced persons, and an ever-increasing number of persons seeking security outside of the country’s borders. A more careful analysis of the needs in this area have revealed that, with the onset of summer, the risk of epidemics in the affected population — with pregnant women, children, the elderly, and the disabled in particular jeopardy — will certainly increase along with shortages of medicines and aid...
Pope warns priest-diplomats against careerism (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Thursday spoke to the members of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, which is dedicated to training priests to serve in the diplomatic corps and the Secretariat of State of the Holy See. In his address, the Holy Father reminded the students that they must cultivate a deep spiritual life in order to attain the “inner freedom” that is necessary for their future work. He also warned against ambition, and once again denounced careerism, which he called “a leprosy”...
Chalden Synod begins in Baghdad (Fides) On Wednesday 5 June the Synod of the Chaldean Church convened by the Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans Louis Raphael I Sako began in Baghdad. The beginning of the assembly was also attended by Archbishop Giorgio Lingua, Apostolic Nuncio to Jordan and Iraq...
Tensions surround construction of new dam in Egypt (Fides) The construction of the Grand Renaissance Dam which is currently under construction on the Blue Nile is creating tension between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia. According to a report published by a committee composed of experts from Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia, in fact, the dam built by Ethiopia will deprive Egyptians of 12 billion cubic meters of water a year...
5 June 2013
Tags: Egypt Vatican Pope Francis Iraq Chaldeans
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Msgr. Kozar speaks with Joseph Hester, Esq., of New York City. (photo: CNEWA)
Msgr. John Kozar and the CNEWA staff welcomed local members of the CNEWA family to our New York office this morning.
After celebrating Mass for our guests, Msgr. Kozar hosted a reception that focused on CNEWA’s work in Ethiopia and Eritrea. Msgr. Kozar shared his reflections and stories of his recent trip to the region, and highlighted the agency’s work and goals for the peoples and churches there.
Thank you to everyone who attended this morning — and thank you, especially, for supporting our good works in the Horn of Africa!
Msgr. Kozar shares his reflections of his pastoral visit to the Horn of Africa. (photo: CNEWA)
5 June 2013
Tags: CNEWA Africa Donors CNEWA Canada CNEWA Pontifical Mission
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A boy displaced by fighting in Syria attends a class in the governorate of Idlib, Syria, on 27 May. The Vatican has reiterated its call for negotiations and putting an end to violence in Syria, saying that children are suffering the most. (photo: CNS/Muzaffar Salman, Reuters)
Pope Francis today spoke poignantly about the ongoing suffering of the people in Syria:
Christians must help the people of Syria because “where there is suffering, Christ is present,” Pope Francis told representatives of Catholic aid agencies working in Syria and with Syrian refugees in neighboring countries.
“How much suffering, how much poverty, how much pain; and it’s Jesus who suffers, who is poor, who is thrown out of his country,” the pope said on 5 June during a meeting with the representatives who were holding a coordinating meeting at the Vatican.
Pope Francis said it is part of “the Christian mystery” that when the faithful see what is going on in Syria, “we see Jesus suffering in the inhabitants of the beloved Syria.”
“We cannot turn our backs on situations of great suffering,” he told participants at the meeting he convoked. “The weapons must be silenced.”
The meeting was held under the auspices of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, which promotes and coordinates Catholic charitable giving. The pope wanted the aid agencies to “respond to the continuing deterioration of the already serious humanitarian situation in the country and among the refugees,” said Msgr. Giampietro Dal Toso, council secretary.
Visit this page to learn how you can help those suffering in Syria.
5 June 2013
Tags: Syrian Civil War Refugees Pope Francis War Relief
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Enthroned in 1999, Armenian Catholic Patriarch Nerses Bedros XIX of Cilicia has been a strong proponent of education and social service. To learn more about the Armenian Catholic Church, which comprises more than half a million people worldwide, see our profile in ONE. (photo: The Armenian Catholic Church)
Pope meets with Armenian Catholic patriarch at the Vatican (Rome Reports) The pope welcomed Armenian Catholic Patriarch Nerses Bedros XIX of Cilicia. He also met with those who manage the Armenian seminary in Rome. As a gift, the patriarch gave the pope a bronze crucifix that actually had to be carried out by two people…
Pope reiterates concerns for Syria, calls for humanitarian action (VIS) “The destiny of the Syrian people,” the pope repeated, “is a concern that is also close to my heart. On Easter Sunday I asked for peace ‘above all for dear Syria, for its people torn by conflict, and for the many refugees who await help and comfort.’ … In the face of ongoing and overwhelming violence, I strongly renew my appeal for peace…”
Cardinal Koch visits Ukraine to deepen Catholic-Orthodox dialogue (Vatican Radio) The head of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Cardinal Kurt Koch, traveled to Ukraine today for a visit aimed at deepening the dialogue between Catholics and Orthodox in the former Soviet state. The Cardinal will spend two days in the capital, Kiev, meeting with the Greek and Latin Catholic communities there. He’ll also hold talks with the Ukrainian Orthodox leader, Metropolitan Volodymyr of the Moscow Patriarchate, and other representatives of that church…
ROACO will meet this month (Fides) The Reunion of Aid Agencies for the Oriental Churches (ROACO), the committee which unites funding agencies from various countries around the world, will take place from 18 to 21 June in the Vatican. It will focus in particular on the critical conditions experienced by Christians in the Middle East. The summit’s participants will include Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Pontifical Congregation for the Oriental Churches; Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael of Babylon; Coptic Catholic Patriarch Ibrahim Isaac of Alexandria; representatives of the Eastern Christian communities of Syria; and Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, O.F.M., custos of the Holy Land…
Millions in India join pope to pray for the respect of women (Fides) More than 19 million Catholics in India united with the Holy Father in solemn Eucharistic Adoration on 2 June, scattered in parishes, monasteries and other religious institutions across India. During Adoration the “concern for the problems in India, for a more effective mission against poverty and for the dignity of women and against violence” was expressed…
Racist attacks against Arabs on the rise in Israel (Der Spiegel) Arabs are being beaten and insulted in Israel, where the number of racially motivated attacks has risen dramatically. Reportedly fueled by nationalist politicians, these events have been spreading from Palestinian areas into the Israeli heartland. The attacks have no overt connection with militant settlers or an autonomous Palestine, although these conflicts may well be at the back of people’s minds…
4 June 2013
Tags: India Pope Francis Ecumenism Armenian Catholic Church ROACO
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Copts mourn after identifying a victim of sectarian and political violence. (photo: David Degner)
In the Spring edition of ONE, journalist Sarah Topol looks at how some of the men staying behind in Egypt are hanging on and seeking support, both economic and spiritual.
Meantime, the turmoil in Egypt is spreading to some unlikely places, according to USA TODAY:
Vendors at Egypt’s pyramids who are desperate to make money in a deepening economic crisis are using aggressive and even violent means to get tourists to give them some business, frequenters of the tourist spot say.
The U.S. Embassy issued a warning about increasing incidents at or near the famous pyramids at Giza about a dozen miles from downtown Cairo. Most of the incidents are due to overly aggressive vendors who in some cases come close to criminal conduct, the embassy says.
“U.S. citizens should elevate their situational awareness when traveling to the pyramids, avoid any late evening or night travel, utilize a recommended or trusted guide, and closely guard valuables,” according to a security message on the embassy’s website last week.
Read the rest here.
4 June 2013
Tags: Egypt Violence against Christians Coptic Christians Economic hardships Copts
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In this 2010 photo, Serbian Orthodox Patriarch Irinej speaks with Cardinal Christoph Schonborn in the yard of cardinal’s residence in Vienna, Austria. (photo: CNS/Heinz-Peter Bader, Reuters)
Serbian patriarch: More unites than divides Orthodox and Catholics (b92) Serbian Patriarch Irinej has said that there is “much more that unites us with the Roman Catholic Church,” compared to that which stands in between. “We’ve always been close and lately it is even intensified,” he said, adding that the churches should move past “the moments that keep us apart”…
New Armenian Patriarch Of Jerusalem Enthroned (Eurasia Review) Archbishop Nourhan Manougian was today enthroned the 97th Armenian patriarch of Jerusalem…
Russian church leader receives Greece’s top honor (Interfax Religion) On Monday, Greek President Karolos Papoulias awarded Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia Greece’s highest honor: the Grand Cross of the Order of Honor. “We are brother nations, we share the same faith, and this is the immutable foundation for relations between Greece and the countries making up historical Russia. I mean the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova,” Patriarch Kirill said in accepting the award…
Egyptian Presidency, church prepare joint Ethiopia trip (Egypt Independent) Egypt’s presidency and the Coptic Orthodox Church are coordinating for a joint trip to Ethiopia by President Mohamed Morsi and Pope Tawadros II, where they will discuss with Ethiopian officials a means to resolve a dispute over Ethiopia’s Millennium Dam, which could threaten Egypt’s water supply…
Patriarch Daniel attends the European Commission (Basilica News Agency) The patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church participated in the annual meeting of the religious leaders of Europe with the presidents of the European Commission, Council and Parliament, as well as with other high officials of the European Union. This year, the discussions were focused on the concept of European citizenship, 20 years after its introduction, through the Maastricht Treaty, and especially in the context of the multiple challenges that the present economic and social climate addresses to the future European project…
Palestinian Christians surprised to receive travel permits (Al Monitor) When Palestinian Christians suddenly received unsolicited three-month travel permits, they and the Catholic leaders were surprised and worried. There has been little information as to what led the Israelis to give hundreds of unsolicited permits to Palestinian Christians. The Reverend William Shomali, the auxiliary bishop and patriarchal vicar for Jerusalem and Palestine, told Al Monitor that he was as surprised as everyone else. “We didn’t ask for these permits, and I don’t like that they are given to a specific group of Palestinians and not to all.” Shomali believes that the entire permit system is a problem and that the right to movement should be made available to all Palestinians…
Syrians continue education in Egypt (Al Jazeera) Schools are accommodating thousands of Syrian refugees in neighboring Egypt. It is one of the few positive developments for the young victims of the war, some of whom have missed two years of classes…
3 June 2013
Tags: Middle East Christians Refugees Patriarchs Christian Unity Palestinians
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Hayat Shao gives her son Jamil Makhoo, an Iraqi refugee, a hug for the first time in 13 years. (photo: Evan Boudreau/Catholic Register)
What a joy it must have been for Cardinal Thomas Collins to welcome to Toronto the Iraqi Christian family he sponsored!
The story, from the Catholic Register:
Though it took a few hours longer than expected, six members of the Makhoo family — Iraqi refugees sponsored by Toronto’s Cardinal Thomas Collins — finally arrived in Canada on 23 May.
It was an emotional reunion as members of the clan already settled in Canada were on hand to greet the family they hadn’t seen in years.
“I was very happy,” said Hayat Shao, mother to the Makhoo family’s patriarch, Jamil. “It was like I owned the whole world when I saw my son coming through the gate.”
It had been 13 years since the mother and son last embraced before their reunion at Pearson International Airport.
Like any Iraqi refugee story, the Makhoo’s is filled with these kind of heart-wrenching anecdotes amid a tale of suffering, displacement and delays.
Read more at the Register link.
Like so many, I was waiting for this moment, too. Thanks to Cardinal Collins — a director of CNEWA’s governing board in Canada — for his leadership on this issue. Thanks also to Dr. Martin Mark, who directs the Archdiocese of Toronto’s refugees office, and his team for his diligent efforts to bring so many Iraqi refugees to Canada.
This project has been a great collaboration between CNEWA Canada and the Archdiocese of Toronto, helping to raise awareness of the plight of Iraqi Christians. It certainly highlighted our Catholic Church’s positive role and the many volunteers that put their time and resources to make this happen.
To learn how you can help Iraqi Christians, visit this link.
3 June 2013
Tags: Refugees Iraq Iraqi Christians Canada Iraqi Refugees
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A pilgrim holds a banner bearing the words “Blessed Pope John XXIII pray for us” in preparation for a Mass at the tomb of the pope. (photo: CNS)
Pope John XXIII died 50 years ago today. One of the men who succeeded him, Pope Francis, mentioned him in his homily this morning:
The pope spoke of the saints, remembering that today is the 50th anniversary of the death of Blessed Pope John XXIII, “a model of holiness.” In the day’s Gospel, he added, the saints are those who “go to collect the rent” on the vineyard. “They know what is expected of them, but they must do it, and they do their duty. … The saints are those who obey the Lord, those who worship the Lord, those who have not lost the memory of the love with which the Lord has made the vineyard: the saints in the church. Just as the corrupt do so much harm to the church, the saints do so much good.”
John XXIII may be best remembered for convoking Vatican II, which led to dramatic reforms within the Catholic Church, including a greater emphasis on ecumenism and dialogue with other faiths. Last year, we interviewed Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, who was a student in Rome during the Second Vatican Council. Describing some of the documents of the council, he said:
This is the basis for the church to reach out with great respect to the followers of different religions, conscious that the Holy Spirit is already active within their hearts and also within their religious traditions. This conviction leads to the statement that “the Catholic Church rejects nothing of what is true and holy in these religions.” This does not signify by any means that the church considers all religions to be equal, since it believes that the fullness of revelation has been given in Jesus Christ. Yet the attitude of respect provides the grounds for dialogue and cooperation at the service of all members of the human race.
3 June 2013
Tags: Vatican Pope Francis Ecumenism Pope Dialogue
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In this video, Al Jazeera’s Hashem Ahelbarra reports on the state of civilians trapped in the Syrian city of Qusayr. International aid organisations have stepped up calls for civilians to be evacuated, as rebel fighters faced a fresh assault from government forces. (video: Al Jazeera)
As battle for Qusayr enters third week, civilians remain trapped (Daily Star Lebanon) The battle for Qusayr entered its third week Monday, as wounded civilians remain trapped in the besieged town, the regime having vowed not to let the Red Cross enter until fighting is over. The regime, backed by Hezbollah, is trying to win back the border town from the rebels, as it both provides a vital lifeline for the opposition to secure weapons and supplies, and secures a link between Damascus and the coastal Alawite heartland. Reports say the wounded are being treated in private homes after the town’s main hospital was destroyed during fighting…
Pope calls for release of kidnapped in Syria (VIS) After praying the Angelus, the pope expressed his great concern regarding the continuation of the conflict that, “for more than two years now has inflamed Syria, especially affecting the civilian population that aspires to peace in justice and understanding.” He added: “This troubled situation of war bears with it tragic consequences: death, destruction, massive economic and environmental damage, as well as the scourge of kidnapping. In denouncing these events I wish to assure my prayers of solidarity for those who have been kidnapped and their families and I appeal to the humanity of the kidnappers for the release of the victims…”
For nuncio in Damascus, abductions are a silent scourge (AsiaNews) Echoing the pope’s 2 June remarks, Apostolic Nuncio in Damascus Archbishop Mario Zenari said: “I wish to assure my prayers and my solidarity for those who are being held in captivity and for their families, and I appeal to the humanity of the kidnappers to free their victims. Let us pray for our beloved Syria…”
Melkite Archbishop of Aleppo: ‘United with the Pope we call for dialogue’ (Fides) “We see only chaos and destruction in a conflict that is against everything and everyone. In a country disfigured, with the civilian population led to the slaughter, Pope Francis’ appeal calls for dialogue and reconciliation,” said Melkite Greek Catholic Metropolitan Jean-Clément Jeanbart of Aleppo…
Jerusalem: Dormition Abbey vandalized (ICN) The Dormition Abbey, one of the major sites for Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land, was vandalized on Friday. Graffiti and anti-Christian insults in Hebrew were sprayed on a wall. Two cars were also smeared with offensive words and all tires were slashed. The Abbey is located on Mount Zion in Jerusalem and cared for by German Benedictine monks. This incident is the latest in a succession of desecration of Christian monasteries in September and October last year…
Tags: Syrian Civil War Jerusalem Pope Francis Violence against Christians Aleppo
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