22 February 2019
Sukhbati Gand with her children in a photo taken before her husband Anant Ram Gand was found murdered in India’s Odisha state. His pastor says he had been given an ultimatum to renounce Christianity or face death. (photo: UCANews.com)
Christian man beheaded in India (UCANews.com) A Christian man has been found virtually beheaded in an interior village of India’s Odisha state in what family members and many others believe was an anti-Christian attack. They dismiss a police claim that he was killed by politically motivated Maoist rebels. The body of 40-year-old Anant Ram Gand, father of four girls and a boy, was found on a road in Bhenas village of Nabarangapur district, local pastor Chandan Jani told ucanews.com…
Report: religious minorities in India ’attacked with impunity’ (UCANews.com) Religious and ethnic minorities in India continue to face violence at the hands of Hindu groups that support the federal government led by the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), according to a new report by Human Rights Watch. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has failed to prevent or credibly investigate growing mob attacks on religious minorities and marginalized communities, said the report released in New Delhi on 19 February...
U.S. says 200 troops to remain in Syria (Al Jazeera) The United States will leave around 200 troops in Syria for a period of time, the White House has announced, as President Donald Trump backed away from a complete withdrawal of forces from the war-torn country. ”A small peacekeeping group of about 200 will remain in Syria for a period of time,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement on Thursday…
Eritrean delegation visits Ethiopia to discuss improving relations (AfricaNews.com) Eritrea’s information minister, Yemane Gebremeskel, said the delegation which arrived in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa on Thursday, had delivered a message from president Isaias Afwerki to prime minister Abiy Ahmed…
Lebanese leader visits Damascus to discuss repatriation of refugees (The Telegraph) Fears are growing for the 1.5 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon after the country’s new refugees minister made a surprise visit to Damascus this week to discuss their return. Saleh Gharib, an outspoken supporter of the regime of Bashar al-Assad, said Lebanon would work to ”secure the return” of refugees to Syria, where human rights organizations report they are subject to abuse and arbitrary detention. He explained that the Syrian government ”believe that the failure to return the displaced Syrians would be a blow to the victory of the Syrian state…”
21 February 2019
Tags: Syria India Ethiopia Eritrea Persecution
Armenian Christians at the Black Church in northwestern Iran venerate the site of the apostle Thaddeus’s death. (photo: Armenian Catholic Patriarchate of Antioch)
21 February 2019
Tags: Armenian Catholic Church Iran
As tensions escalate between India and Pakistan, Pakistan has vowed retaliation if India attacks. (video: BBC/YouTube)
Pakistan prime minister authorizes use of force in case of Indian attack (AP) Pakistan’s prime minister has authorized the armed forces to “respond decisively and comprehensively to any aggression or misadventure” by India, as tensions soar between the nuclear-armed rivals. India has vowed a “jaw-breaking response” to a suicide bombing in the disputed Kashmir region last week that killed 40 Indian soldiers…
Hundreds evacuated from ISIS’s last Syria holdout (Al Jazeera) Hundreds of people, including women and children, have been evacuated from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group’s (ISIL, also known as ISIS) last holdout in Syria, bringing US-backed forces closer to retaking the last sliver of the ”caliphate.” AFP correspondents reported on Wednesday seeing at least 17 trucks carrying men, women and children out of the last patch of ISIL territory in the eastern Syrian village of Baghouz…
Jordan’s prime minister appeals for more aid, as refugees are set to stay (Reuters) Jordan’s Prime Minister Omar al-Razzaz appealed on Wednesday to major donors to continue multi-billion dollar funding for Syrian refugees in the kingdom, saying most of those who had fled the eight-year conflict had no intention of returning any time soon…
Ukraine remembers Maidan massacre (NBC News) Bricks, safety helmets and remnants of barricades are piled in makeshift memorials in the cobbled streets near Kiev’s main square. At least 50 anti-government protesters were killed here five years ago Wednesday, including many who were shot by snipers. It was the bloodiest day in months of demonstrations triggered by pro-Moscow President Viktor Yanukovych’s refusal to sign an agreement to forge closer ties with Europe…
Pope: Hear the cry of the little ones who ask for justice (Vatican News) The “Protection of Minors in the Church” meeting began on Thursday with prayers, readings, and brief periods of silent reflection, before Pope Francis gave his opening remarks in the Vatican’s Synod Hall. In front of the patriarchs, cardinals, archbishops, bishops, religious superiors and other leaders, the pope told them that, “in the face of the plague of sexual abuse perpetrated by men of the Church against children”, he had called them together so, “we may listen to the Holy Spirit and with docility to His guidance we may hear the cry of the little ones who ask for justice…”
20 February 2019
Tags: Syria India Pope Francis Ukraine
In a project supported by CNEWA, young Indian women from poor families develop computer skills so they can have a brighter future. (photo: CNEWA)
We recently received the following update from our regional director in India, M.L. Thomas, describing a project CNEWA is supporting to help uplift and support the poor — in particular, helping girls develop vital skills they can use in the future:
More than 300 young women were trained in trades that can help sustain a good quality of life.
This was one of the highlights of the project supported by CNEWA in 2018. CNEWA accompanied a few church institutions to support the poor, particularly the Dalits, to help them earn a living on their own. This was made possible through the support of generous donors of CNEWA.
CNEWA helped 352 young women through these dioceses/institutions:
Archdiocese of Trivandrum helped 90
Diocese of Marthandom helped 89
Diocese of Thuckalay helped 65
Diocese of Palghat helped 64
St. Joseph’s After Care Home, Changanassery helped 44
St. Joseph’s After Care Home has been helping poor children for the last 24 years. Many grew up to become qualified nurses, who completed their schooling in the orphanage.
The Catholic Church, a pioneer of educating the young, has helped bring revolutionary changes to India in terms of providing basic education to the poor and to Dalit children. The Church is now working to support the poor in higher education and job training.
More than 300 young women have been trained in a variety of jobs, including nursing and health care. (photo: CNEWA)
In normal circumstances, the parents —being poor—would opt to send the young women away in marriage. Such women are often not prepared to take up the responsibility of running the home and raising children, and their lot in life never improves. So we need to help give them skills to make a living and have other opportunities.
During the last few years, CNEWA has helped hundreds of young women in their studies. Most have been able to settle into and well-paying jobs in nursing, computer or tailoring that give them a secure footing for the future and help them support their families.
We remain grateful to our generous donors for making all this possible, and helping to change the lives of India’s poor for the better!
20 February 2019
Sister Shubba Poovattil visits with an elderly resident in Malayatoor, India. Read about how the remarkable Deivadan Sisters uplift Kerala’s abandoned elderly with Fearless Grace in the July 2010 edition of ONE. (photo: Peter Lemieux)
20 February 2019
Tensions have escalated between India and Pakistan after violence near the border. Catholic bishops are calling for peace. (video: France 24/YouTube)
Tensions rise between Pakistan, India (Vatican News) Khan said instead of using Pakistan as a ‘whipping boy,’ India should seek out the root causes of violence in the region. Tensions between India and her neighbor are frostier than ever. On Monday four Indian soldiers were killed in Kashmir. The army said two terrorists were also killed. On Monday, Pakistan recalled its envoy from Delhi for consultations…
Bishops condemn ’cowardly’ bombing of Indian troops (UCANews.com) Tension has again been ratcheted up in the border areas of India and Pakistan as their respective armies stand eyeball to eyeball while Indian Catholics pray for an end to the conflict. Bishop Ivan Pereira of Jammu-Srinagar, under which jurisdiction Kashmir falls, called on Catholics to “pray for the departed souls and also for the return of peace in the state…”
Russian forces ’open corridors’ for Syrians to return home (Al Jazeera) Russia says it has opened two corridors in Syria to give people safe passage out of the Rukban refugee camp to return home. The camp, in the remote Syrian desert, near the border with Jordan and Iraq, is home to more than 40,000 internally displaced people, mostly women and children..
Israeli police arrest Palestinian protesters at Temple Mount (AP) Israeli police say they have arrested 19 Palestinians as clashes broke out at a contested Jerusalem holy site. Police say dozens of Palestinians participated in a prayer protest Tuesday, attempting to breach a section of the compound that has been closed by Israeli court order for years…
19 February 2019
Tags: Syria India Jerusalem Palestinians
Students at the Don Bosco Institute in Cairo collaborate on a project in electrical technology class. Discover more about how schools in Egypt are Building Persons, Forming Good Citizens in the January 2009 edition of ONE. (photo: Shawn Baldwin)
19 February 2019
Bishop Borys Gudziak speaks to a crowd braving the December chill on the Maidan in 2013. He has just been named to lead the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia.
(photo: Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Department of External Relations/CNEWA)
Paris-based Ukrainian Catholic bishop to head U.S. archeparchy (CNS) Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Borys Gudziak of the Paris-based Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of St. Volodymyr the Great, to be the seventh metropolitan-archbishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia. Bishop Andriy Rabiy, an auxiliary bishop of the archeparchy, has been apostolic administrator since 16 April 2018. The pope named him to the post following the resignation of Archbishop Stefan Soroka, now 67, for medical reasons…
Meet the Syrians returning home after fleeing war (BBC) After years of people fleeing Syria and its civil war, there are now long queues to enter the country each day. Jordan opened its Jaber border crossing last October after Syrian government troops defeated rebels who had controlled the other side…
Refugees left homeless by anti-pollution campaign in Lebanon (The Daily Star) The eviction of dozens of Syrian refugees living in south Lebanon’s Zahrani is the result of an anti-pollution campaign being implemented jointly by the Litani River Authority and the Industry Ministry. The refugees were forced to evacuate Sunday because their shelters were contributing to the pollution of the Litani River in the region, Sami Alawieh, the Litani River Authority’s general director, told The Daily Star…
The plight of India’s unemployed youth (UCANews.com) Finding employment has long been a challenge for Indian youth, but their prospects have in recent times dimmed markedly, according to the Rev. Jaison Vadassery, secretary of the Indian bishops’ Commission for Labor. A government study released in 2017 showed that some 420 million of Indian’s 1.2 billion people are aged 15-34, making them the largest youth labor force in the world. But a large proportion of those who pursue higher education struggle to secure jobs. This constitutes a failure by India to use the capacity of youth for its socioeconomic development, Father Vadassery said…
15 February 2019
Tags: Syria India Lebanon Ukraine
Even if Christians struggle to recognize him with his “torn clothes (and) dirty feet,” Jesus is present in the migrants and refugees who seek safety and a dignified life in a new land, Pope Francis said.
If Jesus’ words, “Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me,” are true, the pope said, then “we must begin to thank those who give us the opportunity for this encounter, namely, the ‘others’ who knock on our doors, giving us the possibility to overcome our fears in order to encounter, welcome and assist Jesus in person.”
Pope Francis spoke about overcoming fear and welcoming others during a Mass he celebrated 15 February at a church-run retreat and conference center in Sacrofano, about 15 miles north of Rome.
The Mass was part of a conference titled, “Welcoming Communities: Free of Fear,” which was sponsored by the Italian bishops’ office for migration, Caritas Italy and Jesuit Refugee Service’s Centro Astalli. The 500 participants included representatives of parishes, religious orders and Catholic-run agencies assisting migrants and refugees, as well as individual families who host newcomers.
At a time when Italy’s government is trying to severely restrict immigration, Caritas Italy said the meeting was designed to encourage those working with migrants and refugees and to counteract fear of migration by highlighting how individuals and the entire country benefit from welcoming them.
At a Mass on Friday, Pope Francis preached about the necessity of welcoming migrants and refugees. (video: CNS/YouTube)
The prayers of the faithful, most of which were read by migrants, included asking God to help pastors educate all Catholics to welcome migrants and refugees and to help government leaders promote tolerance and peace. Ending, as is traditional, with a prayer for the dead, the petitions made special mention of people who were killed for their faith.
In his homily, Pope Francis noted how the ancient Israelites had to overcome their fear of crossing the Red Sea and trust God in order to make it to the promised land. And, when the disciples were on the lake in a storm, Jesus told them to not be afraid and assured them he was there with them.
“The Lord speaks to us today and asks us to allow him to free us of our fear,” the pope said.
“Fear is the origin of slavery,” just as it was for the ancient Israelites, he said, “and it is also the origin of every dictatorship because, on the fear of the people, the violence of the dictator grows.”
Of course, the pope said, people naturally are afraid of what they don’t understand and of strangers who speak another language and have another culture. The Christian response is not to play on those fears, but to educate people and help them turn strangers into friends.
“We are called to overcome fear and open ourselves to encounter,” he said. “The encounter with the ‘other,’ then, is also an encounter with Christ. He himself told us this. It is he who knocks on our door hungry, thirsty, a stranger, naked, sick and imprisoned, asking to be met and assisted.”
Pope Francis asked Catholics who have had “the joy” of assisting migrants and refugees to “proclaim it from the rooftops, openly, to help others do the same, preparing themselves to encounter Christ and his salvation.”
15 February 2019
Tags: Pope Francis Refugees Migrants
Students take notes during a lesson at the St. Vincent de Paul School in Alexandria, Egypt, run by the Daughters of Charity. Learn more about how Charity’s Daughters are changing young lives in Egypt in the December 2017 edition of ONE. (photo: Roger Anis)