10 October 2019
A multirocket launcher fires in an unknown location on 9 October 2019, in this still image from a video. Turkish warplanes have begun attacking northeastern Syria, causing widespread panic among Christian and other religious communities caught up in the aerial bombardments.
(photo: CNS/Turkish Defence Ministry via Reuters)
Turkish bombing causes panic about Christian community (CNS) Turkish warplanes have begun attacking northeastern Syria, causing widespread panic among Christian and other religious communities caught up in the aerial bombardments. ”Christians and others are extremely worried,” Syriac Christian political leader Bassam Ishak told the Catholic News Service by phone on 9 October. “The Turkish bombing seems designed to push people out of their towns, if, in fact, they manage to escape alive.” Ishak heads the Syriac National Council. A graduate of The Catholic University of America in Washington, he is also a member of the political bureau of the Syrian Democratic Council…
Archbishop of Aleppo condemns Turkish offensive in northeast Syria (Vatican News) The news on Wednesday afternoon that Turkish armed forces and Syrian rebel allies had launched a military attack “east of the Euphrates” has raised fears of a worsening humanitarian crisis and more civilian victims. In an interview with SIR news agency, Archbishop Jean-Clement Jeanbart said he fears “a slaughter and many innocent deaths…”
Pope prays after synagogue attack in Germany (Vatican News) Before concluding the Wednesday evening session in the Synod Hall, Pope Francis prayed for victims of the attack on the synagogue of Halle, in Germany. Two people died and several bystanders were injured in the attack, which took place on the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur…
IDF nears completion of new Gaza border fortifications (The Times of Israel) Israel is nearing completion of new defense works being constructed on the Gaza border in response to weekly border riots, threats from anti-tank missiles and other terror attacks, according to a Channel 13 report broadcast on Wednesday. The project includes defenses against missiles and improved sniper posts, which have been better fortified, placed higher up and in more strategic locations…
9 October 2019
Tags: Syria Gaza Strip/West Bank Turkey Jews
In this image from June, Ukrainian Catholic Bishop Paul P. Chomnycky of Stamford, Connecticut, in front of altar with book, concelebrates the Divine Liturgy at the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Philadelphia. (photo: CNS/Bob Roller)
Leaders of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in the United States have appealed to seminarians to identify candidates for the priesthood who can be “true missionaries and pastors.”
The appeal came in a September letter from the six bishops of the Metropolia of Philadelphia, which covers much of the U.S. It discussed some of the challenges and opportunities facing the Ukrainian Catholic Church and outlined the “spiritual and pastoral expectations of candidates to the priesthood.”
The bishops said parishes throughout the metropolia “will need a substantial replenishment of its clergy over the coming years.”
As an example, they cited the Philadelphia Archeparchy’s needs: 15 new priests in the next five years “to serve its faithful adequately and respond to their needs.”
“We are not looking for workers to simply accomplish a task or fulfill a plan, but for true missionaries and pastors who will care for the faithful with a willingness even to sacrifice their lives for them, from love of God and neighbor,” the bishops wrote.
The Metropolia of Philadelphia includes the Archeparchy of Philadelphia and the eparchies of Stamford, Connecticut, St. Josaphat in Parma, Ohio, and St. Nicholas in Chicago.
Signing the letter were Metropolitan-Archbishop Borys Gudziak and Auxiliary Bishops John Bura and Andriy Rabiy of the Philadelphia Archeparchy; Bishop Paul P. Chomnycky of Stamford; Bishop Bohdan J. Danylo of the St. Josaphat Eparchy; and Bishop Venedykt Aleksiychuk of the St. Nicholas Eparchy.
In the archeparchy and three eparchies, 185 active priests serve in ministry, according to a church spokesman. That includes 48 priests in Philadelphia, 59 in Stamford, 37 in Parma and 41 in Chicago.
The bishops said they remain committed to serving the faithful in the Ukrainian Catholic Church despite dwindling numbers. The letter cited how the number of parishioners has declined from more than 250,000 in the 1960s to 25,000 today.
The letter called for a widespread effort to rebuild the Ukrainian Catholic Church “one person at a time.”
“We need pastors who are ready to heal, inspire and rejuvenate, who, through their sermons and example, will give clear guidance to the conflicted postmodern person and will proclaim ‘the message of reconciliation,’“ the bishops wrote, citing St. Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians.
The leaders said the church’s priorities will focus on spreading the word of God, evangelization and catechization. Special emphasis will be made to appeal to youth and young adults through “creativity from the pastor and the ability to address -- persuasively but serenely -- deep and difficult questions of the present day.”
“Answering the appeal of Pope Francis, we should and will go outside the gates of our church buildings. A shepherd should follow the scent of his sheep, even those who are now outside the fold,” the letter said, citing the “millions” of people within the territory of the metropolia who are “unchurched, do not know God, do not enjoy the support of community.”
The bishops called for “team-based” ministry to carry out the important work ahead.
In appealing for priest candidates, the bishops said they were not seeking people “to improve their material status” nor those “with personal or family motivations, rather than the priority of evangelization.”
The task facing future priests will be difficult, the bishops wrote.
“A commitment to serve in our church must be a commitment for the long haul,” they said. “It is not for those who are quickly discouraged or disillusioned. True service to the flock entrusted to a pastor requires dedication and endurance -- an understanding the realities of the community you serve, in all their unvarnished truth.”
9 October 2019
Tags: Vocations (religious) Ukrainian Catholic Church
Turkish troops have reportedly begun crossing into Syria. (video: Bloomberg/YouTube)
Kurds mobilize in Syria as Turkey is poised for attack (AP) The Kurdish-led civilian administration in northeastern Syria issued a “general mobilization” call along the Syrian border with Turkey on Wednesday as Ankara poised for an imminent invasion of the area in the latest major escalation in the war-ravaged country…
India’s Christians, Muslims face higher persecution (NCR) While most reported cases of persecution are against the country’s Muslim population, Christians have also come under attack. Jesuit Fr. Stanislaus Alla, theologian and professor at the Vidyajyoti College of Theology in Delhi, told NCR that the church in India was “paying the price for standing up for human rights.” Alla was on a trip to the United States to present a paper on public health in South Asia…
Syrian refugees issued more than 153,000 work permits in Jordan (The Jordan Times) The Ministry of Labor has issued over 153,000 permits for Syrian refugees since the beginning of 2016, a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) official said. More than146,000 work permits were issued to male refugees and over 7,000 were issued to female Syrian refugees, according to UNHCR Spokesperson Lilly Carlisle. ”Male Syrian refugees work mostly in the agriculture and construction fields while women prefer to work in home-based activities,” Carlisle told The Jordan Times…
Ethiopia’s prime minister emerges as Nobel favorite (Reuters) The deal with Eritrea won Abiy Ahmed international plaudits. He is the bookmakers’ favorite to win a Nobel Peace Prize on Friday after climate activist Greta Thunder. But Abiy’s unpredictable style annoys some Ethiopians…
8 October 2019
Tags: Syria India Ethiopia Turkey Persecution
Filipina community members attend a meeting at the Pontifical Mission Library in Amman.
(photo: Nader Daoud)
In the current edition of ONE, writer Dale Gavlak visits Filipino migrants who are building a home in Jordan, thanks to the Teresian Association:
Aurea Gutierrez Perlai says she has found support through a pair of Filipina women who belong to a community of the Catholic Church known as the Teresian Association.
“Elisa [Estrada] and Amabel [Sibug] invited me and the children to get involved in the choir at church. My daughter, Nicole, now 13, plays guitar for the choir. Amabel taught her how to play and is working with Nicole on her very first recital. And my son, Jordan, who is 11, serves at the altar,” Ms. Perlai says proudly.
“They are like mothers to us. They stand beside us, asking us always what we may need, and how they can support us.”
An international community of the faithful present in 30 countries, the Teresian Association seeks to transform society in light of the Gospel through education and culture.
Both Ms. Estrada and Ms. Sibug say they draw inspiration from the martyr St. Pedro Poveda, the founder of the Teresians, whose ministry emphasized love, sacrifice and hard work.
“We are here only to walk with them. We are not the solution to their problems; Jesus is. Our own strength is in prayer,” says Ms. Estrada.
This, indeed, is how the two begin every day: “Amabel and I pray the rosary together.”
Read more about Filipinos In a Land of Refugees in the September 2019 edition of ONE. And for another glimpse at their world, check out the the video below.
8 October 2019
Tags: Jordan Migrants
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…
Tags: Syria India Pope Francis