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June, 2018
Volume 44, Number 2
  
26 February 2016
Greg Kandra




Father Sharbel Bcheiry plays with his sons Gabriel, 5, and Emmanuel, 3, at his home in suburban Chicago. To read more about the life of a married priest, check out this profile from the
Summer 2015 edition of ONE. (photo: Karen Callaway)




26 February 2016
Greg Kandra




A Syrian boy receives treatment for wounds, sustained following an airstrike, at a make-shift hospital in the rebel-held city of Douma in Eastern Ghouta, on 26 February 2016. Intense fighting has continued, just hours before a midnight deadline for a landmark ceasefire in the country's five-year civil war. (photo: Abd Doumany/AFP/Getty Images)

Syria ceasefire deadline looms, fighting continues (CNN) As the clock races toward the deadline for Syria’s warring parties to declare them in or out of a proposed “cessation of hostilities,” the stakes could hardly be higher — for those groups vying for power, for the Syrian people, for the Middle East, for Europe — and for the world as a whole...

Pope Francis meets with members of ‘Cor Unum’ (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Friday met with participants at an international conference organised by the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum’ to mark the tenth anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI’s first encyclical ‘Deus Caritas Est’. Reflecting on the theme of the conference, “Love will never end’, Pope Francis said the message of the encyclical remains timely, especially in this Jubilee year as we celebrate the central belief of our faith, that God is love...

Cardinal Sandri addresses conference on Christianity in the Middle East (Vatican Radio) Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, spoke on Thursday to an international conference organized by the German Episcopal Conference and the University of Munich. The International Conference Between World Society and Regional Transformations: Christians, Christian Churches, and Religion in a Changing Middle East took place in Rome on 24-26 February. Many Catholic and Orthodox leaders from the Middle East took part in the event...

Franciscans in India request 1,000 pardons for inmates (CNS) In honor of the Holy Year of Mercy, Franciscans in India have asked their government to pardon 1,000 prisoners guilty of minor crimes. The men and women religious of the Association of the Franciscan Families of India voted during their national assembly in February to make the request, according to Matters India, a news portal that focuses on religious and social issues in India...

Egyptian court sentences Coptic Christians to five years in prison (Fides) The Egyptian court in Minya issued a heavy sentence against four Coptic students accused of contempt of Islam after mimicking an Islamic State beheading video of a Muslim faithful who was praying...



Tags: Syria India Egypt Pope Francis

25 February 2016
Greg Kandra




The faithful gather to pray at the Church of the Forty Martyrs in Mardin, Turkey. To learn more about Christians who have returned to their homeland, read Coming Home in the Winter 2015 edition of ONE. (photo: Don Duncan)



25 February 2016
Greg Kandra




A refugee woman from Syria carries food while other displaced people sit near a border gate in Kilis, Turkey, on 9 February. (photo: CNS/Sedat Suna, EPA)

Iraqi Christians move to have greater representation of minorities in government (Fides) In recent days, members of Christians present in the Parliamentary Assembly of Iraq have called for greater representation of minorities in the government of technocrats led by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, at least in part to stem the marginalization suffered by Christians and other minorities...

UN says aid drop to Syria failed (BBC) The UN’s first aid-drop over the Syrian city of Deir al-Zour, part of which is under siege by Islamic State militants, may have been off-target. Wednesday’s operation “faced technical difficulties” and “adjustments” were needed, the World Food Programme said. It added that it would try again when possible to deliver aid to the 200,000 civilians who have been trapped in a government-held area since March 2014...

Report: Turkish troops engaged in covert battle against ISIS (The Telegraph) Turkish troops are locked in a covert fight against ISIS in north Iraq, the Telegraph has learned, despite Baghdad’s insistence that they leave the country. Just nine miles northeast of the Isil stronghold of Mosul a number of tanks overlook the sprawling Nineveh plains, where they have been positioned for months. With their barrels trained on the city, Ankara’s ground forces are engaged in shelling Isil, according to a Kurdish Peshmerga general...

The science behind Ethiopia’s hunger crisis (Mother Jones) Tens of millions of people are facing a hunger crisis as a widespread drought is decimating crops and livestock in Ethiopia and southern Africa. The drought — which has received far less US media coverage California’s dry spell — could prove to be one of the most devastating consequences of the ongoing El Niño event that is wreaking havoc on global weather...

Secondhand clothes from Israel prove popular in Gaza (AP) The clothes were faded and worn out, and came from an unlikely place: Israel. But that didn't bother the Palestinian women rummaging through piles of tattered jeans, shirts, jackets and baby clothing at the weekly flea market in a refugee camp in central Gaza. Demand for the garments has become a barometer for the economic situation in Gaza, where after nearly a decade of rule by the Hamas militant group, poverty and unemployment levels are higher than ever, and the market for used clothing is buoyant...

Ukraine agrees to resume truck transit back to Russia (TASS) Ukraine’s cabinet of ministers approved the proposal of the ministry of infrastructure to unlock Russia’s motor freight transit in its territory on Wednesday. “We are ready to put back temporary permits from midnight of 25 February and return transit actually blocked for the last ten days to Ukraine’s territory,” minister of infrastructure Andrei Pivovarsky said...



Tags: Syria Iraq Ethiopia Gaza Strip/West Bank Turkey

24 February 2016
Greg Kandra




Pope Francis and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill of Moscow sign a joint declaration during a meeting at Jose Marti International Airport in Havana on 12 February. Standing in front of Cuba’s flag is Cuban President Raul Castro. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)

Relations between Vatican and Russian Orthodox expected to develop further (Sputnik News) Relations between the Russian Orthodox and the Roman Catholic churches will positively develop further following the historic meeting of their two religious leaders, the Russian Patriarch’s press secretary said Wednesday...

ISIS losing ground (Vox) Libyan fighters are celebrating a major victory on Tuesday: They’ve driven ISIS out of parts of Benghazi, eastern Libya’s largest city, building on advances in and around the city on Sunday. ISIS isn’t just losing in Benghazi. In its home base in Syria and Iraq, it’s lost up to 30 percent of its territory from its peak in August 2014. And it’s tried expanding abroad, officially declaring a wilayat — which literally means “province” and refers to ISIS’s foreign franchises — in roughly a dozen countries...

Health care professionals visit Gaza (The Des Moines Register) In mid-January of this year, 13 health care professionals — including two physicians from Des Moines, myself and Maria Filippone — joined a medical delegation to Gaza, organized by Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility. This was the 11th medical delegation sponsored by WPSR since 2009...

Indian archbishop urges action over Christian unemployment (UCANews) An Indian archbishop is urging the government to take steps to reverse a rising unemployment rate among Christians. “Unemployment among Christians is really a problem,” said Archbishop Leo Cornelio of Bhopal. The government should formulate “measures to eradicate” unemployment among Christians so “that the trust and confidence can be formed among the (religious) minority community,” he said in a 24 February statement...

Head of Ukrainian Catholic Church consoled by pope’s words (CNS) The head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church said he was consoled by Pope Francis’ words of understanding and tenderness after he expressed the disappointment of Ukrainians with a joint declaration signed by the pope and the Russian Orthodox patriarch. The pope’s remarks were “truly the opening of the doors of mercy,” said Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Kiev-Halych, head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church...

Turkish mayor vows to build biggest statue of Mary in the world (Fides) Turkish Mayor Zeynel Bakici, at the head of the town of Selcuk — where there is the archaeological site of the ancient city of Ephesus — has relauched plans to build the tallest statue in the world dedicated to the Virgin Mary at the foot of Bulbul Dagi . Selcuk — said the mayor according to Turkish sources consulted by Agenzia Fides — has applied to host the 2017 edition of the international Symposium on religious tourism and pilgrimages, and in this circumstance conventioneers may already find the imposing statue of the Mother of Christ...



Tags: Syria India Lebanon Gaza Strip/West Bank Russian Orthodox

23 February 2016
Greg Kandra




Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia visited the Bellingshausen Station on Waterloo Island in Antarctica on 17 February, and got to spend a little quality time with some of the local residents. To learn more about his visit, check out this link. (photo: Moscow Patriarchate)



23 February 2016
Greg Kandra




A Syrian man walks past a poster bearing a portrait of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on a street in the capital Damascus on 23 February, 2016, a day after a ceasefire deal was announced.
(photo: Louai Beshara/AFP/Getty Images)


Syria agrees to truce (CBS News) The Syrian government said Tuesday that it had accepted a proposed truce in the country, adding that operations would nevertheless continue against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and al Qaeda’s branch in Syria. A Foreign Ministry statement on Tuesday said government forces would have the right to respond to any violation carried out by insurgents...

Assyrian hostages released (Vatican Radio) The Islamic State has released 43 Christians who were taken captive during a February 2015 military offensive in northeastern Syria, according to the Assyrian Church of the East Relief Organization (ACERO)...

Mobs in Ukraine attack Russian banks (The New York Times) The branch offices of three Russian banks were firebombed or looted over the weekend, and some of the attacks were the work of Ukrainian nationalists. Petroleum bombs were thrown at three branches of the Russian state banks Sberbank and VTB in the western city of Lviv early on Monday, destroying one in a burst of flames and damaging the other two. Also on Monday, attackers hurled stones at a Sberbank branch in Mariupol, in a government-controlled area of eastern Ukraine...

Canada on track to resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees (NPR) Canada is on the verge of hitting its goal of resettling 25,000 Syrian refugees before the end of this month. That’s notable because the country only started accepting these migrants less than four months ago. The government in Canada has relied on private citizens to help carry the load...

Bishop challenges Catholics to combat “ugly tide of anti-Islamic bigotry” (CNS) San Diego Bishop Robert W. McElroy is challenging U.S. Catholics to take an active role in combating “the scourge of anti-Islamic prejudice.” “We are witnessing in the United States a new nativism, which the American Catholic community must reject and label for the religious bigotry which it is,” he said in a keynote address delivered on 17 February in the University of San Diego’s Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice...

In Gaza, bicycles are a battleground for women who dare to ride (The New York Times) Many Palestinians frown at the idea of women bicycling in public because men might inappropriately leer at their legs moving up and down or ogle their bottoms. Female cyclists are a fairly unusual sight throughout the Arab world, though women participate in group rides in Cairo and Amman, and in Beirut, women pedal rented bikes on the Corniche, the pedestrian strip along the Mediterranean...



Tags: Syria Ukraine Gaza Strip/West Bank Russia Muslim

19 February 2016
Greg Kandra




CNEWA is able to accompany the churches and peoples of the Middle East, northeast Africa, India and Eastern Europe because of the loving support of donors such as Ms. Hafeli. (photo: CNEWA)

Greetings from southern California! I’m here with Chris Kennedy, from CNEWA’s development team, to meet with some longtime donors and visit a parish in the Diocese of Monterey this weekend.

Before we hit the trail this Friday, I wanted to share with you the story of Anna Hafeli, who lives in Santa Monica, just a few blocks from the beach. Anna is a marvel: a 97-years-young powerhouse who exudes such joy, you can’t help but be uplifted in her presence. She has been contributing to CNEWA for decades — supporting our seminarian programs and work in the Middle East and the Horn of Africa. She also has four annuities through CNEWA.

Touched that we took the time to drop by, she shared with us stories of her journey from her youth in Switzerland, to Canada, and then finally to California, where she worked a variety of odd jobs — mostly as a waitress — to make ends meet. We updated her on some of our programs and projects and gave her an olive wood cross from the Holy Land, along with a special blessing.

Deacon Greg Kandra and Chris Kennedy visit Anna Hafeli at her home in California. (photo: CNEWA)

To me, Anna represents the heart and soul of what CNEWA is about: faithful, committed people who quietly and selflessly give whatever they can to help those in need. Their generous spirit so often goes unnoticed. But today, I’d like you to notice Anna Hafeli. Thank you, Anna, for all you’ve done to make a difference in the lives of so many.

Visit this page to learn more about CNEWA’s annuity program and other options for planned giving — one of a variety of ways to join CNEWA on its worldwide mission. Or, to make an immediate Lenten gift, click here.

We’ll be visiting St. William’s Parish in Atascadero this weekend. I’ll be preaching at all the Masses. If you’re in the neighborhood, stop by and say hello.



Tags: CNEWA Middle East United States Donors Horn of Africa

17 February 2016
Greg Kandra




The Coptic churches have not abandoned the Zabbaleen — the garbage people of Cairo. Read more about them in the Winter edition of ONE. To support Egypt’s struggling Christians,
visit this giving page. (photo: John E. Kozar)




17 February 2016
Greg Kandra




A Red Crescent convoy prepares to leave Damascus to the besieged areas of Madaya and Zabadani, on 17 February 2016 during an operation in cooperation with the UN to deliver aid to thousands of besieged Syrians. Almost half a million people in Syria are in areas under seige, according to the United Nations, after almost five years of civil war between Syria’s government and rebel forces. (photo: Louai Beshara/AFP/Getty Images)

Humanitarian aid convoys readied for starving civilians in Syria (The Guardian) Aid convoys to seven besieged locations in Syria have been loaded with food and medicine to relieve starving civilians and are awaiting instructions to depart for their destinations. The convoys, which were announced by UN special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, on Tuesday night, are expected to head to the towns of Madaya and Zabadani, whose citizens have been starving to death under a siege imposed by forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad; as well as Fua and Kefraya, which are besieged by rebels. Other convoys are heading to the Damascus suburbs of Moadamiyah and Kafr Batna in Ghouta, which are also besieged by the regime...

Thousands cross from Gaza into Egypt as border opens (Haaretz) More than 2,800 people crossed from the Gaza Strip into Egypt at the Rafah crossing, which was opened on Saturday for the first time since December and closed on Monday, sources in Gaza and Egypt said. The Palestinian border authority also said that the Egyptians had permitted 64 trucks into Gaza carrying cement, gravel and other construction materials, which were transferred by the Qatari government...

Egypt’s military pledges to restore damaged churches (Ecumenical News) More than two years after Coptic Christians in Egypt faced a wave of attacks from Islamist extremists during the one year tenure of President Mohamed Morsi, his ousters are pledging to carry out promises to repair damaged property...

Russian patriarch to celebrate liturgy in Antarctica (Reuters) Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill has flown to the Antarctic to celebrate the liturgy at a scientific research station, a trip aides said was intended to show his church has global reach, Russian media reported on Wednesday. Kirill flew to Russia’s Bellingshausen scientific station on the Island of Waterloo from Chile where he had wrapped up his tour of several Latin American nations, RIA news agency quoted his spokesman Alexander Volkov as saying...

Church in India: Donating blood is an act of mercy (Fides) The Catholic Health Association of India is encouraging the donation of blood as an act of mercy and compassion. Donors receive a general check up on their health, with diabetes screening and other tests, as well as a kit that provides information on topics such as nutrition and hygiene...







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