4 January 2019
Elizabeth, from Aleppo, has her vital signs taken before a doctor visit. (photo: Tamara Abdul Hadi)
The December 2018 edition of ONE takes readers to A Refuge in Lebanon in the Beirut suburb of Bourj Hammoud, to meet some of the people at the Karagheusian Socio-Medical Center:
The center is helping those who have been uprooted to set their feet once more on firm ground — enabling them to find opportunities, rediscover community and rekindle hope.
The story of the Karagheusian Center begins after the death of 14-year-old Howard Karagheusian from pneumonia in New York City in 1918.
His Armenian American parents resolved to establish a humanitarian mission — the Howard Karagheusian Foundation — in their son’s memory, focusing at first on sheltering, feeding and educating orphaned children who had survived the Armenian Genocide. The organization has operated in Lebanon, Syria and Armenia ever since — now for more than 95 years.
A team of 40 doctors, plus a staff of 40, serves about 4,000 patients a month at the Bourj Hammoud clinic. Of those, 3,000 are Syrian refugees and 1,000 from the Lebanese host community. About two-thirds of the clinic’s current beneficiaries are Muslim. “The health center is available to everyone, because health is for all,” stresses Lebanon Field Director Serop Ohanian.
In Bourj Hammoud, the Syrian refugee population is still growing, notes Mr. Ohanian. They live in overcrowded conditions, typically with two or three families squeezed together in small, dismal apartments that rarely see the light of day. During Lebanon’s humid, cold and rainy winters, moisture hangs on concrete walls, frequently turning into mold, sparking respiratory conditions among residents.
“Their situation is catastrophic, and getting worse. We’re seeing more Syrian refugees entering into poverty,” Mr. Ohanian says.
Read more in the current edition of ONE.
4 January 2019
Tags: Lebanon Refugees
Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai, president of Catholic Bishops Conference of India, will preside over a meeting of the Latin-rite bishops in India next week. (photo: CNS/Anto Akkara)
India’s bishops to meet (Vatican News) India’s Latin-rite bishops are gathering in the holding their plenary assembly next week in the seaside town of Mahabalipuram in southern India’s Tamil Nadu state. The Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI) of the Latin-rite bishops, is holding its 31stplenary assembly at the Joe Animation Centre from 8-14 January on the theme, “Evangelii Gaudium”, or “The Joy of the Gospel”, the Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis that deals with the Church’s primary mission of evangelizations in the modern world…
Biggest cathedral in the Middle East to be dedicated (Egyptian Streets) According to local media outlets, the New Administrative Capital’s cathedral will finally be inaugurated in time for Coptic Christmas mass on Sunday. The opening of the cathedral, officially called the ‘Cathedral of the Birth of Christ’ and set to be the largest church in the Middle East, will be attended by Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and Pope Tawadros II…
British report criticizes Indian government for failing to protect religious minorities (UCANews.com) A British parliamentary report has criticized the Indian government for failing to protect religious minorities from violent Hindu hardliners. A report by the British All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom of Religion or Belief said the rise of nationalist “Hindutva” ideology — which defines ‘Indian’ as exclusively Hindu — has led to an increase in religious oppression in the country…
‘Pope for Ukraine’ aims to help displaced families (CNA) ”Pope for Ukraine” is a Vatican initiative that aims to collaborate with non-Catholic entities to respond to the emergency humanitarian situation amid conflict in eastern Ukraine…
‘Walking in the Lord’s footsteps’ in Jerusalem (Reuters) It is three o’clock in the morning and Artak Tadevosyan is wafting incense through the corridors of Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the site where Christians believe Jesus Christ was crucified and buried. ”Walking in the Lord’s footsteps, really, you have feelings that cannot be explained,” said the 26-year-old Armenian Orthodox cleric. “We don’t see it as stone, all these are holy places for us…”
3 January 2019
Tags: India Egypt Ukraine Coptic Christians
Msgr. Kozar, accompanying a group of religious sisters, pays a visit to the Cremisan Valley in the West Bank in December 2017. (photo: John E. Kozar/CNEWA)
In the current edition of ONE, CNEWA’s president Msgr. John E. Kozar reflects on the meaning of “accompaniment” — and how we at CNEWA have made this central to our mission:
We often describe our ministry at CNEWA as one of “accompaniment” of the Eastern Catholic churches on behalf of the Holy Father and in the name of the church. It is important we understand the breadth of this description and thus appreciate in a fuller way the importance of our “good works.”
Webster’s Dictionary tells us that to “accompany” means to “go somewhere as a companion or an escort.” For CNEWA, walking with others can take many forms. We offer guidance and support, expertise and insight, and always with a spirit of encouragement and love.
Some might think that our accompaniment only means financial support. Of course, our material support — thanks to your generosity — is critically important. In many instances, CNEWA is not just the primary source of financial support, but the only external benefactor. This is the case with hundreds of individual program pieces and institutional components.
But our commitment to this journey with the church takes many other forms besides financial subsidies or programmatic distributions.
Sometimes we are called to assist the local church in determining the priorities for addressing pastoral and material needs. Again, we draw on our broader experience from CNEWA’s world and are able to give helpful insights to church leaders about real priorities.
We accompany them.
I think of a number of instances where religious congregations, sometimes cloistered and out of the public eye, have come to our regional office seeking some technical assistance, perhaps looking for help with an emergency plumbing problem, a leaking roof or an electric malfunction. CNEWA, of course, is not in the contracting business or home repair business, but since we are on the ground for so many years and have established relationships with many service providers, we are able to offer immediate comfort and security, helping them to secure reputable and honest contractors, engineers or craftsmen.
We accompany them.
You can read more and see more pictures at the link. And check out the video below, in which Msgr. Kozar talks about this subject in some depth.
As we embark on a new year and look toward the future, CNEWA will continue to accompany those in need however we can, wherever we can — ever mindful of the hope and possibility that are so vital to the Gospel and the work we do.
3 January 2019
In this image from 16 December, Metropolitan Epiphanius, newly elected head of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, conducts a liturgy at St. Michael's Cathedral in Kiev, Ukraine. Official recognition of this new church is causing conflict and division within Orthodoxy.
(photo: CNS/Valentyn Ogirenko, Reuters)
Official recognition of Ukrainian church roils Orthodox world (RNS) In a few days, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew, the foremost leader in the Eastern Christian church, is scheduled to recognize the newly founded Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Bartholomew plans to give the tomos, or the formal decree of autocephaly, to primate Metropolitan Epiphanius in an elaborate ceremony in Istanbul that coincides with one of the most important celebrations for Orthodoxy, the Epiphany. But not everyone in the Orthodox world will be celebrating with them…
Kerala paralyzed over protests (BBC) Violent protests have paralyzed the southern Indian state of Kerala after two women made history by entering a prominent Hindu temple. Schools across the state are closed and public transport too has been suspended. One person was killed in clashes on Wednesday. The Sabarimala temple was historically closed to women of “menstruating age” — defined as between 10 and 50. The Supreme Court revoked the ban in September, which prompted outrage…
Water crisis could make Gaza uninhabitable by 2020 (PBS) In the Gaza Strip, 97 percent of freshwater is unsuitable for human consumption, and raw sewage pours into the Mediterranean Sea. Facilities for desalinating and treating water function on only a limited basis, as Israel controls the flow of fuel and supplies into the region. But Israelis, too, could face consequences from contaminated water…
Israel’s new mayor plans to silence mosque loudspeakers (The National) Israel’s new mayor of Jerusalem is planning to push for the volume to be turned down on the city’s mosque loudspeakers during the call to prayer. Israeli television reports indicated that the move would be one of the first policy pushes by Moshe Lion after he won the municipal election in November, replacing hard-right mayor Nir Barkat…
Ethiopia pardons hundreds of prisoners amid Christmas celebrations (Xinhua Agency) The Ethiopian government on Wednesday announced amnesty to some 530 federal prisoners amid Ethiopia’s unique Christmas day celebrations. Prisoners were pardoned amid the unique Ethiopian Christmas, as the country prepares to mark the day on 7 January to remember the birth of Jesus Christ based on the traditions of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, state affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate reported on Wednesday…
2 January 2019
Tags: India Ethiopia Ukraine Gaza Strip/West Bank Russian Orthodox Church
Pope Francis twirls a soccer ball presented by a member of CirCuba, the Cuban national circus, during his general audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican on 2 January. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)
2 January 2019
Tags: Pope Francis
Pope Francis kisses a figurine of the baby Jesus as he celebrates Mass marking the feast of Mary, Mother of God, in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican on 1 January.(photo: CNS/Paul Haring)
Pope prays for new year marked by tenderness, brotherhood, peace (CNS) A new year is a chance for a new start, a time to remember that all people are brothers and sisters and a time to nurture amazement that God became human to save all people, Pope Francis said. The 1 January feast of Mary, Mother of God, also is a time to remember how strong maternal love and care are, and how they are the secret to making life more livable, the pope said during his homily at a feast day Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica…
Indian cardinal spends Christmas with ’untouchables’ (Crux) Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias, a leading voice for the rights of Dalit Christians, celebrated Christmas with the Dalit Community from the Cheetah Camp area of Trombay, Mumbai…
Mass grave of Ethiopian Christians killed by ISIS found in Libya (CNA) A mass grave of 34 Ethiopian Christians executed by the so-called Islamic State group in 2015 has reportedly been unearthed in Libya. The bodies have been exhumed and will be eventually repatriated to Ethiopia, the Libyan interior ministry says…
As Ukraine and Russia battle over Orthodoxy, schism looms (The New York Times) Ukraine is on the verge of opening the biggest schism in Christianity in centuries, as it breaks from the authority of a Moscow-based patriarch and this week expects to formally gain recognition for its own church, taking tens of millions of followers. Intensifying a millennium-old religious struggle freighted with 21st-century geopolitical baggage, Ukraine’s security services have in recent weeks interrogated priests loyal to Moscow, searched church properties and enraged their Russian rivals…
Cardinal Parolin visited Iraq for Christmas (Vatican News) From 24-28 December, the Vatican Secretary of State visited Iraq, viewed as a “very welcome visit” by the auxiliary bishop of Baghdad…
Syrian refugees in Lebanon fall deeper into debt (VOA) Syrian refugees in Lebanon are falling deeper into debt, with 2018 being the worst year yet, as more families marry off children to cope financially, according to a U.N. Report…
Top Vatican press officials resign (CNS) Saying they thought Pope Francis should be “completely free to assemble a new team” for Vatican communications “at this time of transition,” the director of the Vatican press office announced he and the vice director had resigned. Pope Francis accepted the resignations of Greg Burke and Paloma Garcia Ovejero, the press office announced on 31 December. The pope appointed Alessandro Gisotti, coordinator of social media at the Vatican Dicastery for Communication, to serve as interim director of the press office…
21 December 2018
Tags: Syria India Pope Francis Ukraine Russian Orthodox Church
Youth celebrate at a Christmas party for Iraqi refugees in Jordan in December 2014. (photo: CNEWA)
CNEWA’s blog content will return in January; in the meantime, we wish a happy and healthy holiday season to all, and a blessed new year.
21 December 2018
Tags: Iraqi Christians Jordan Iraqi Refugees
Catholic faithful gather to celebrate the parish feast of Holy Savior Church in Addis Ababa. Read more about the challenges facing the Ethiopian Catholic Church in a letter from Abba Teshome Fikre Woldetensae published in the December 2018 edition of ONE. (photo: Petterik Wiggers)
21 December 2018
Tags: Ethiopia Ethiopian Christianity Ethiopian Catholic Church
People gather near a light display on 17 December, ahead of Christmas in Moscow. (photo: CNS/Tatyana Makeyeva, Reuters)
A “roofless crib” in Damascus (Fides) This year the task of preparing the Christmas Nativity scene in the Cathedral of Damascus was given to the youth who had started meeting together after eight years of violence and dispersion. In the representation of the Nativity, the figures of the Virgin Mary, St. Joseph and Infant Jesus in the manger are exposed outdoors, not covered by the roof of a stable or a hut. The youth have stated that this represents the 13,000,000 Syrian refugees who are homeless and have no roof of their own…
Syrian bishop: U.S. pull-out further step towards to ending the conflict (AsiaNews) The withdrawal of U.S. troops “is further confirmation that the conflict in Syria, albeit in a slow and laborious way, is heading towards an end,” says Chaldean Catholic Bishop Antoine Audo of Aleppo. The Jesuit and former president of Caritas Syria says he hopes the country now can seek a long-term solution…
Turkey’s Erdogan delays operation against Kurdish forces in Syria (Washington Post) Turkey will delay a planned offensive against Kurdish forces in northeastern Syria, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday, citing talks with the U.S. president and other officials after the administration’s decision this week to withdraw all U.S. troops from the country…
U.S. genocide law triggers mixed feelings among Iraqis (Al Monitor) A new US law designed to protect religious minorities and punish the Islamic State for its atrocities is getting a mixed reception from Iraqis, who are uncertain about how it will be applied on the ground. Murad Ismael, the executive director of the Yazidi rights group Yazda, praised the Trump administration’s support for religious minorities as an “excellent principle.” Other groups, however, bristled at the new law’s focus on Yazidis and Christians. U.S.-based Mandaean activist Nazar al Haidar, for example, told Al Monitor that his community is not explicitly covered by the law…
Orthodox believers rally to protest Ukraine parliament vote (New Jersey Herald) Over 1,000 believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church rallied outside the country’s parliament Thursday to protest its demand that their church’s name is changed to reflect its ties to Moscow. Parliament passed a bill earlier Thursday demanding that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church explicitly indicate its link to the Moscow Patriarchate in its name. The Ukrainian church has been part of the Russian Orthodox Church for centuries, but a bitter tug-of-war following Russia’s annexation of Crimea has encouraged moves within Ukrainian orthodoxy to create a separate church with no direct links to Moscow…
Indian nun: Survivors ‘need to be heard’ at Vatican abuse summit (Crux) A Vatican summit on clerical sexual abuse from 21 to 24 February will emphasize the fact that “victims need to be heard,” says a member of pope’s main child protection organization. The crucial steps, says Indian Sister Arina Gonsalves, a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, are to “recognize the truth of what has happened and … meet abuse survivors in their home country ahead of the February summit in order to learn firsthand the suffering that they have endured…”
20 December 2018
Tags: Syria Ukraine Sisters Yazidi
Susanna Akram conducts a class in sign language organized by the Better Life ministry. To learn more about this program and other efforts by the Coptic Catholic Church to nourish faith and community in Egypt, read Signs of Hope in the December 2018 edition of ONE. (photo: Roger Anis)
Tags: Egypt Education Disabilities Coptic Catholic Church