8 October 2019
In this file photo, Pope Francis greets Riccardo Di Segni, the Chief Rabbi of Rome. The pope sent a message to the rabbi to mark the Jewish holy days. (photo: Vatican Media)
Pope sends wishes to Jews on their holy days (Vatican News) Pope Francis has sent a message to the Chief Rabbi of Rome, Riccardo Di Segni, on the occasion of the Jewish holy feasts of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot. ”On the occasion of the solemn anniversaries of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot, I am happy to offer you and the Jewish Community of Rome my sincere good wishes,” the Pope Francis wrote Rabbi Di Segni…
Turkey balks at Trump tweet warning to limit Syrian incursion (AP) Turkey will not bow to threats over its Syria plans, the Turkish vice president said Tuesday in an apparent response to President Donald Trump’s warning to Ankara the previous day about the scope of its planned military incursion into northeastern Syria. Mr. Trump said earlier this week the United States would step aside for an expected Turkish attack on Syrian Kurdish fighters, who have fought alongside Americans for years, but he then threatened to destroy the Turks’ economy if they went too far…
Pulling troops out of Syria could aid Assad and ISIS (The New York Times) Before dawn on Monday, at a military base in northeastern Syria, an American general delivered the bad news to his Syrian counterpart. The United States was going to allow Turkish forces to move into the area, leaving the Kurdish-led Syrian militia vulnerable. ”You are leaving us alone,” the Syrian commander, Mazlum Kobani, responded angrily, and accused the United States of complicity in a looming Turkish attack, according to a United States official and another person with knowledge of the meeting…
Imphal: a missionary Church in India’s northeast region (Vatican News) Archbishop Dominic Lumon of Imphal, the capital of Manipur state, was recently on his so-called “ad limina” visit to Rome, which bishops of dioceses around the world are required to make every five years or so. He noted that despite the remoteness and poverty of the North Eastern Region, people there have embraced Christ. Today, the Church of the region has many native bishops who are sending missionaries to other dioceses…
Portals to history and conflict: the gates of Jerusalem (Reuters) Jews, Muslims and Christians pass daily through the gates of Jerusalem’s Old City, on their way to and from prayers or simply to go about their everyday business in one of the most politically sensitive spots on earth. There are eight gates — seven are open and one is sealed — along the Old City walls that were built in the 16th century by Turkish sultan Suleiman the Magnificent…
7 October 2019
Tags: Syria Jerusalem Turkey Jewish-Catholic relations
In the current edition of ONE, CNEWA’s president, Msgr. John E. Kozar, offers some thoughts on how so many of those we serve see the church as their family:
Having visited many Christian villages, refugee and displacement camps and isolated settlements in the Middle East, in relatively good times and in the worst of times, I have noted three very intertwined threads of daily life: one’s faith, one’s family and the local church. And each fortifies the other.
When times have been fairly stable and there was no war, oppression or persecution, the faithful found the church to offer the fullest level of comfort and security to the individual and to the family. The church was “family” to all. And the highest expression of being family was in the celebration of the Eucharist.
There’s much more in his essay. Read it all. And check out the video below for even more.
7 October 2019
Tags: Iraq CNEWA ONE magazine
Abel, a 16-year-old student at the Abune Endrias School in Ethiopia, is learning about the dangers of khat addiction and has seen the effects in his own family. Read how Ethiopians, with support from the church, are Breaking Free of this dangerous plant in the September 2019 edition of ONE.
(photo: Petterik Wiggers)
7 October 2019
In this image from July, young women row a makeshift raft past submerged houses in the flooded village of Karbi Anglong, India. Nearlyl 1,900 people reportedly were killed during this year's monsoon season in India. (photo: CNS/Anuwar Hazarika, Reuters)
Officials: nearly 1,900 killed during India’s monsoon season (NDTV) Nearly 1,900 people lost their lives and another 46 were reported missing this monsoon season in rains and floods which affected more than 25 lakh in 22 states, Union Home Ministry officials said on Friday. The highest 382 people died in Maharashtra, followed by 227 deaths in West Bengal in rains, floods and landslides that hit as many as 357 districts in the country…
Trump endorses Turkish military operation in Syria (The New York Times) In a major shift in United States military policy in Syria, the White House said on Sunday that President Trump had given his endorsement for a Turkish military operation that would sweep away American-backed Kurdish forces near the border in Syria…
Opening Synod, pope says fear, status quo smother God’s love (CNS) The Catholic Church’s mission in the world is to spread the fire of God’s love and must not be limited to the “‘ordinary maintenance’ of those who already know the Gospel,” Pope Francis said. Celebrating the opening Mass of the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon on 6 October, the pope said, “Jesus did not come to bring a gentle evening breeze, but to light a fire on the earth…”
Massive underground necropolis being built in Jerusalem (VOA) A massive, new underground necropolis is being built in Jerusalem to help overcome a looming shortage of grave sites for Jewish people in the holy city. The mile-long labyrinth, with 23,000 burial chambers lining the walls and ground, was tunneled into the hillside beneath Jerusalem’s main Jewish cemetery, Givat Shaul, which is quickly running out of space…
4 October 2019
Tags: Syria India Turkey
Children participate in a group activity at the St. Paul Center for Church Services in Iraq.
(photo: Raed Rafei)
In the current edition of ONE, journalist Raed Rafei writes about visiting Iraq two years after the defeat of ISIS. He reports on how Iraqi Christians are facing the future — and notes that many are encouraged to stay because of the church’s commitment to education:
In the lively St. Paul Center for Church Services, hundreds of children come every day to take summer lessons in catechetics and Christian values, learn hymns and watch animated films about Jesus and the saints. The center, run by priests and young volunteers, also offers classes in music, computer literacy and English, as well as counseling and courses for young couples preparing for marriage.
“We focus on entertaining methods that foster cooperation among children,” says Father Ignatius, who manages Christian teaching for children, stressing the importance of such a program in encouraging the return of families, despite difficult economic conditions. Nearby, children participate in a group activity that tests their knowledge of the Bible in a playful environment.
“We need to plant the seeds of endurance and of Christian values in the hearts of our kids,” the priest explains. “They are the future.”
Educators are routinely trained to help tackle social issues that might affect youth, such as drinking and excessive online gaming.
Teaching is also the priority for the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena, who reside in Qaraqosh at the Immaculate Conception Convent, a building from the 1960’s restored a year and half ago after sustaining heavy damage during the years of occupation and war.
“The psychological situation of our students is difficult,” says Sister Muntaha Hadaya, who teaches math at the Dominican Sisters’ school. She says instability and the lack of jobs affect the children’s morale.
“They need a lot of motivation, because the atmosphere in most households is depressing,” she explains. “Parents are constantly preoccupied with life’s many needs.”
The high rate of success of their students in official exams and the increasing demand for education have prompted the sisters to build a larger secondary school that will accommodate around 350 students. The new school will be equipped with laboratories and computer rooms.
Read more about the Resolve of Iraqi Christians in the September 2019 edition of the magazine. And discover more about the St. Paul Center in the video below.
4 October 2019
Tags: Iraqi Christians
This aerial image from 2018 shows downtown Idlib, Syria. Shells hit a hospital in Idlib, wounding at least seven people. (photo: CNS/Ammar Abdullah, Reuters)
Syria: artillery shells hit hospital in Idlib (Al Jazeera) An artillery attack has hit a hospital in Syria’s rebel-held Idlib province, wounding seven people with one in a critical condition, according to a UK-based charity. Save the Children said artillery shells struck the southern wing of a health centre it supports on Thursday in the town of Maarat al-Numan in northwestern Syria…
Report: India witnessed worst rains, flooding in 25 years (Financial Express) Monsoon rains in the country stood at 10 percent above average this year and recorded the highest numbers in 25 years, the weather department said on Monday, adding that as seasonal rainfall went on longer than it was expected. In a country where the monsoon brings nearly 70 per cent of annual rainfall, the longer monsoon has wreaked havoc in several states killing hundreds of people due to flood…
Lebanon’s labor minister asks Syrian refugees to register newborns (Xinhua) Lebanese Labor Minister Camille Abousleiman called upon Syrian refugees on Friday to register their children who were born in Lebanon, a statement by his ministry said. ”Not registering children of Syrian refugees born in Lebanon will have negative effects on Syrians and the Lebanese,” he said…
Pope dedicates upcoming synod to Francis of Assisi (Vatican News) During a highly symbolic tree-planting ceremony in the Vatican Gardens on Friday, Pope Francis places the upcoming Synod for the Amazon under the protection of Saint Francis of Assisi…
3 October 2019
Tags: Syria India Pope Francis
Brother Peter Bray chats with students on the grounds of Bethlehem University.
(photo: Ilene Perlman)
In the September 2019 edition of ONE, Brother Peter Bray, vice chancellor of Bethlehem University, writes about the challenges and opportunities facing students at the school:
We are seeking to create an environment, develop an atmosphere, provide opportunities for our students to acquire the knowledge, gain the skills and develop the attitudes and values that are going to enable them to do what Jesus wanted — that is, to live life as fully as they possibly can, despite the military occupation with its various restrictions and confinement within the concrete wall and other barriers surrounding the West Bank.
One of the opportunities offered by the university is a place for Christians and Muslims to come together. For a significant number of the Muslim students, coming to Bethlehem University is the first time they have met a Christian. Many speak about it as an enlightening experience for them.
There are many challenges facing us as we seek to provide quality higher education for our students. The most obvious are the restrictions on movement. At present, 46 percent of our students come from East Jerusalem. To attend class they must pass through a military checkpoint at the wall each day — an unpredictable and humiliating experience. What these students face on their way to and from the university is the possibility that their bus may be stopped once or twice or even three times by different groups of Israeli soldiers. They can be questioned, interrogated, arrested; they could have a gun held to their face without any warning. You can imagine how they might feel by the time they arrive at school.
I am deeply concerned about our undergraduates and the potentially disheartening lives they face. We need to keep them aware of and committed to their dreams. Yet every day, they live with the possibility of their homes being raided in the middle of the night and some member of their family being taken away. The question that arises: What can we do to help them deal with this unpredictability, this injustice?
Read more of his thoughts here.
3 October 2019
Tags: Bethlehem University
In this image from 2014, Pope Francis kisses a cross during his weekly audience at the Vatican. The cross is made from wooden boards recovered from the wreckage of boats carrying migrants from northern Africa to Lampedusa, Italy. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano via Reuters)
Remembering Lampedusa (Vatican News) On 3 October 2013 a migrant boat sank while sailing towards the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa. The final death toll is never to be known, but 194 bodies were recovered and 363 people were declared missing. “Never Again” said Europe, as leaders and institutions released a series of well-intentioned statements. Thus, 3 October was established as the National Day in Remembrance of the Victims of Immigration…
Lebanon slammed for deporting undocumented refugees (Al Jazeera) Lebanon is being criticized for its decision to send back Syrian refugees who arrived after April without proper documentation as another way of pressuring Syrians to return home. Human rights groups are accusing Lebanon of putting the lives of refugees in danger. Nearly 3,000 of them have been sent back in the past four months…
Syrian war refugees in Turkey face hardships reaching Europe (The Washington Post) Fleeing Syria’s eight-year civil war has always been a trial, full of risk and toil, but it has never felt as dangerous, as impossible, as it does these days. The shifting fortunes of the Syrian conflict pose new peril, while hostility to refugees is on the rise in neighboring states. Some Western countries have adopted immigration policies criticized as incoherent or simply cruel, as refugees, struggling to enter Europe, languish in teeming camps on the continent’s edge…
Christians pray for Gandhi on birth anniversary (UCANews.com) Hundreds of Christians from various denominations prayed together for India on 2 October, marking the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, father of the nation. Delhi Archdiocese organized an ecumenical program, Prayer for India, in New Delhi, recalling Gandhi’s ideals of peace and non-violence…
Looted Ethiopian crown resurfaces in Netherlands (The New York Times) In 1998, Sirak Asfaw, a Dutch civil servant who was born in Ethiopia, noticed something shiny in the suitcase of a guest who was staying at his house. Curious, he opened the case to find a glittering gilded crown inside. ”I couldn’t believe my eyes,” Mr. Sirak, who moved to the Netherlands a political refugee in the 1970s, said in a recent interview in Amsterdam…
2 October 2019
Tags: Syria India Refugees Migrants Immigration
The future is brighter for students at the Rosary Sisters School in Gaza, where renovated classrooms provide a comfortable and well-equipped learning environment. (photo: Ali Hassan)
The July 2019 edition of ONE included a compelling first-person account of life in Gaza from Sister Nabila Saleh, principal of the Rosary Sisters School:
Being the principal of the school is a tough row to hoe; it’s not an easy task to deal with life in Gaza, where teachers, parents and students are living with the aftermath of war or are threatened by its renewal. Anxious and unnerved, tempers flared. I understood the burdens and fears of a people under siege and living in poverty with little hope in the future.
Most people in Gaza suffered from posttraumatic disorders in one manner or another — especially the children, who endured three bloody conflicts in only five years. I could hardly hold back my tears when I came to realize how much they were deeply and forever scarred. Some of the children had seen mutilated bodies or experienced the daily artillery shelling and heard the continuing roar of warplanes overhead.
“No place in Gaza was safe,” some would tell me, adding, that they experienced panic attacks whenever there was a bombing. So often when I heard these stories, I wasn’t able to contain myself and I cried.
In a tenth-grade class, a student named Salma told me, with tears running down her cheeks: “I will never get married because I can’t bear losing one of my beloved in war. I can’t bear seeing them mutilated; I don’t want to be responsible for the misery of my children by letting them live in Gaza to suffer as I do. I have lost hope in life.
“I’m expecting another war any time,” she said. “I struggle daily with the fear that next time will be my turn to die, or my father’s, or my mother’s, or my little brother’s.”
I am deeply concerned by what happens in Gaza. Siege, war, internal dislocation, pay cuts and long-lasting electricity outages impact every aspect of Gazans’ lives — particularly the children. Living in these circumstances has forced them to experience poverty, hunger and a daily struggle to exist. This situation has left most of the people dependent on humanitarian aid.
Whenever I have to face hardships and feel vulnerable, I remind myself of the words of St. Paul: “[The Lord] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’
Read more in ONE magazine.
And check out the video below, which gives an intimate look at the work of the Rosary Sisters.
2 October 2019
Tags: Gaza Strip/West Bank
Severe flooding has hit northern India, killing at least 100 people. (video: The Guardian/YouTube)
Severe flooding kills at least 100 in northern India (UCANews.com) Church people and institutions have been severely affected by floods in northern India that have killed some 100 people and displaced millions. At least 73 people were killed in Uttar Pradesh state and 29 in Bihar state in the rains and flooding that hit the region in the last week of September. Warnings of further rain and flooding have forced the Bihar government to order closure of schools and other education institutions until 3 October...
Pope names U.N. representative as nuncio to Spain (CNS) Pope Francis named Archbishop Bernardito Auza, who has represented the Vatican at the United Nations since 2014, to be nuncio to Spain and Andorra. The Vatican made the announcement on 1 October. It did not name a replacement as permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations…
Netanyahu’s corruption hearing opens in Jerusalem (The Telegraph) Benjamin Netanyahu’s lawyers began a last-ditch effort today to convince prosecutors not to bring criminal charges against the prime minister as his long-awaited corruption hearing opened in Jerusalem…
Ahead of Yom Kippur, remembering Mosul’s rich past (The Times of Israel) The newer, but still ancient, city of Mosul is located next to Nineveh in northern Iraq. ISIS, during its occupation of Mosul, deliberately destroyed many of the excavated remains of Nineveh. As a scholar of Islamic art, I know that such acts of deliberate, ideologically based destruction are unusual in Islamic history. Although today Mosul is famous outside of Iraq primarily as a site of conflict, its rich and diverse history forms an important legacy…
Tags: India Iraq Israel United Nations