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Current Issue
September, 2018
Volume 44, Number 3
  
22 May 2018
Greg Kandra




Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, apostolic administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, speaks during a special prayer service for peace in the Holy Land on 19 May at the Church of St. Stephen in Jerusalem. (photo: CNS/Debbie Hill)

Syrian military retakes control of Damascus (NPR) Syria’s military announced Monday that it cleared Damascus and its suburbs of the last elements of the Islamic state militant group, ISIS. According to government reports, the Syrian army had driven ISIS out of the rebel group’s last remaining strongholds in southern Damascus; this marks the first time that President Bashar al Assad’s government has total control of the capital since the rebellion began in 2011…

Archbishop to Mideast Christians: turn to prayer in times of despair (CNS) Even in times of violence and despair, the power of joint prayer for peace can be felt, said Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, apostolic administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. Local Palestinians, religious and foreign worshippers gathered at the Dominican Church of St. Stephen May 19, answering the archbishop’s call for a joint peace prayer in the face of 16 May violence along the Gaza-Israeli border, in which 62 Palestinians were killed and more than 2,000 were injured…

New Chaldean cardinal praised as a ‘courageous voice’ (CNS) Pope Francis’ naming of Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako as cardinal is a gift to the Chaldean Catholic church, which has been struggling in the face of terrorism, said an Iraqi archbishop. Chaldean Archbishop Yousif Thomas Mirkis of Kirkuk and Sulaimaniyah called Cardinal-designate Sako a “courageous voice…”

India’s Christian leaders pledge to support parties that promise to protect them from discrimination (UCANews.com) Six months ahead of elections in three northern Indian states, Christian leaders have pledged to vote for political parties assuring protection of their communities from discrimination and abuse. Ecumenical Christian group Sarva Isai Mahasangh (All Christian Forum) has resolved not to support parties in upcoming federal and state elections that work against religious minorities…

Coptic Christian family feeding hundreds during Ramadan (The New Arab) A Christian Egyptian family is organising daily feasts for hundreds of people marking the holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims fast from dawn to dusk. The Agaybi family, from the southern city of Luxor, have set up two large communal tables in the street for the observant to break their fast, local news website al-Masry al-Youm reported on Saturday…

Muslims in parts of Ethiopia fast, pray for rain (Andalou Agency) People in northeastern Ethiopia’s Afar region are currently facing the hottest season in years due to severe drought-like conditions, but still Muslims like Mohammed Utban are continuing to fast in the holy month of Ramadan. Utban, who lives in a small tent-like house with his family in a drought-affected area, says his prayers these days are mostly for rains in the area, which would help his family and the people of his community from the drought. ”I beg Allah for his paradise in Ramadan. I pray to almighty to send us rain,” he said…

Teaching refugees how to map their world could have huge benefits (Smithsonian) Like many other refugee camps, Zaatari developed quickly in response to a humanitarian emergency. In rapid onset emergencies, mapping often isn’t as high of a priority as basic necessities like food, water and shelter. However, my research shows that maps can be an invaluable tool in a natural disaster or humanitarian crisis. Modern digital mapping tools have been essential for locating resources and making decisions in a number of crises, from the 2010 earthquake in Haiti to the refugee influx in Rwanda…



Tags: Syria India Egypt Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael I

21 May 2018
Greg Kandra




A Franciscan Missionary of Mary listens to a lay person share his insights during one of their regular catechetical meetings in Amman. (photo: Nader Daoud)

In the current edition of ONE, writer Dale Gavlak offers an inspiring glimpse at how the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary are helping spread the faith in Jordan, particularly among refugees:

In myriad ways, large and small, through spiritual formation and fostering a sense of companionship, the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary have provided displaced Iraqis — and many others still — with a measure of healing.

The Synod of Bishops’ Special Assembly for the Middle East, called by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010, declared that “catechesis is meant to make the faith known and lived. Young people and adults, each individual and entire communities of believers, should be properly catechized.”

It further said that, “since young people live in places characterized by all kinds of conflicts, they are to be catechized, strengthened in their faith and enlightened by the commandment of love, so that they can make a positive contribution.”

“Catechesis in our life is not solely for teaching or knowing faith, but also a call to live what one knows,” says Ra’ed Bahou, CNEWA’s regional director in Amman, of the sisters’ vital ministry.

“It aims to enrich one’s life to live as Christ did, promote moral formation, teach how to pray with Christ, and prepare Christians to live in a community and participate actively in the life and mission of the church,” he says.

“For me, the basis of my spirituality was formed in Iraq,” says Rami Wa’ed, a 25-year-old Syriac Catholic from Mosul and one of the youth group’s leaders.

“I have always loved being in the church: listening to the sermons, being part of the youth meetings, participating in many ways — first in Mosul, then in other places in Iraq and now here,” he says.

“No matter how much we partake of the spiritual experiences, we feel we need more,” he adds, his eyes alight with excitement. “Spiritual expertise is what we and others need to develop in our lives.”

Read more about Inspiring the Faithful in Jordan in the March 2018 edition of ONE. And check out the video below for another glimpse at the sisters’ ministry.



Tags: Sisters Jordan Iraqi Refugees Amman

21 May 2018
Greg Kandra




Pope Francis greets Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael of Baghdad during a meeting with Chaldean Catholics at the Church of St. Simon the Tanner in Tbilisi, Georgia, in this 2016 file photo. Patriarch Louis Raphael was one of 14 new cardinals named by the pope 20 May. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)

Pope to create 14 new cardinals; list includes the Chaldean patriarch in Iraq (CNS) Pope Francis announced he would make 14 new cardinals 29 June, giving the red cardinal’s hat to the papal almoner, the Iraq-based patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church and the archbishop of Karachi, Pakistan, among others. Announcing his choices 20 May, the pope said that coming from 11 nations, the new cardinals “express the universality of the church, which continues to proclaim the merciful love of God to all people of the earth…”

Report: explosions near Iranian facility south of Damascus (Haaretz) Heavy explosions were heard Sunday overnight south of Damascus in Syria in an area which holds a security facility used by Iranian forces, Sky News in Arabic reported. There is no confirmation from other sources. The alleged blasts came days after explosions were heard near Hama airport in Syria last week. The U.K-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights group said the series of explosions were near Hama’s military airport and had been heard in Hama city, killing at least 11 government soldiers and allied fighters…

Patriarch invites Catholicos for talks in India (The Hindu) In what appears to be a dramatic turn of events in the more-than-a-century-old fratricidal war in the Malankara Church, Patriarch of Antioch Ignatius Aphrem II has invited Catholicos of the East Baselios Mar Thoma Paulose II, head of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, for peace talks during his five-day visit to India which begins next week…

Palestinian sets himself on fire to protest dire living conditions in Gaza (The Independent) A 20-year-old Palestinian is in a critical condition after setting himself on fire in what is believed to have been a protest over the horrific living conditions in the blockaded Gaza Strip. Fathi Herb reportedly shouted “damn Hamas” before dousing himself in petrol and setting it alight in Sheikh Radwan on Saturday night…

Gunmen attack church in Chechnya (The New York Times) Four gunmen stormed a church in Russia’s predominantly Muslim region of Chechnya on Saturday, killing at least one churchgoer and two police officers, according to authorities. All the attackers were killed in an exchange of gunfire with the police at the Archangel Michael Church in the center of Grozny, the capital, according to the Investigative Committee of Russia, an internal security agency…

Caritas provides help for survivors of 2001 earthquake (UCANews.com) Bena Ben survived one of the most devastating earthquakes in India by grabbing her kids and fleeing her traditional mud house seconds before it collapsed. Lives were saved but the disaster left her family homeless. That was 17 years ago. She now lives in a concrete home like many others in Nadapa village in Gujarat state’s Bhuj region, helped by a Catholic Church agency that continues to do charitable work in the area…

How a Coptic Christian is battling prejudice in sports (AFP) Mina Bendary dreamed of becoming a professional footballer in Egypt, but found his Coptic Christian name was an insurmountable barrier in the Muslim-majority country. Such discrimination prompted him to hang up his boots and instead establish an academy to protect the rights of Christian footballers…

Pope to canonize Paul VI, Oscar Romero on 14 October (CNS) Pope Francis will declare Blesseds Oscar Romero, Paul VI and four others saints Oct. 14 at the Vatican during the meeting of the world Synod of Bishops, an institution Blessed Paul revived. The date was announced 19 May during an “ordinary public consistory,” a meeting of the pope, cardinals and promoters of sainthood causes that formally ends the sainthood process...



Tags: Syria India Egypt Pope Francis Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael I

18 May 2018
Greg Kandra




This week, we revisit Izbet Chokor, a village of Christians and Muslims about 60 miles southwest of Cairo. The village, with about 1,500 people, is home to two mosques and three Coptic churches. And, as journalist and videographer Don Duncan put it in his story from 2016, “Its residents coexist in peace, living and working closely together.”

How do they do it? The video below offers one explanation. And as one resident said, “The sense of community here is very good. The relationship between Christians and Muslims has been excellent for many decades here, even after the revolution.”

This week, Egypt marked a sad homecoming, as the remains of Coptic Christians beheaded by ISIS in Libya three years ago were finally returned to Cairo for a proper burial. This video about the village of Izbet Chokor reminds us that peace and harmony are not impossible to achieve in that troubled part of the world — but there is still much work to do.



Tags: Egypt Interreligious Christian-Muslim relations

18 May 2018
Greg Kandra




Archbishop Ivan Jurkovic, the Holy See’s Permanent Observer to the U.N. in Geneva, has called for dialogue and encounter to bring peace to the Middle East. (photo: Vatican Media)

Holy See urges dialogue, encounter to bring peace in Holy Land (Vatican News) Amidst worsening violence in the Holy Land and the Middle East, the Holy See on Friday urged the use of dialogue and encounter to bring peace, and called for the recognition of Jerusalem as the city sacred to Christians and Muslims. Archbishop Ivan Jurkovic, the Holy See’s Permanent Observer to the United Nations in Geneva made the call on Friday at a special session of the Human Rights Council on the deteriorating rights situation in the region…

Putin tells Assad all ‘foreign forces’ to leave Syria (CNN) Russian President Vladimir Putin told Syrian President Bashar al Assad Thursday that “foreign armed forces” would leave Syria, according to Syria’s state-run news agency, SANA. He and his counterpart hailed the beginning of the “political process” in Syria amid an ongoing “fight against terrorism”…

More countries plan to move embassies to Jerusalem (CNBC) On Wednesday, Guatemala joined the U.S. in moving its embassy to Jerusalem. More countries are preparing to make the leap. Paraguay’s Foreign Ministry announced that its embassy will also relocate to Jerusalem, while the Czech Republic, Romania and Honduras reportedly considering the move…

Vatican message for Ramadan: ’Move from competition to collaboration’ (Vatican News) The Vatican is urging Christians and Muslims to “move from competition to collaboration,” saying rivalry between them has had negative consequences. The Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue made the exhortation in a message released on Friday on the occasion of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan and its conclusion, Eid ul Fitr…

Wealthy Indian Christian donates mosque to his workers for Ramadan (Daily Sabah) A wealthy Christian Indian businessman gave his workers in the United Arab Emirates a generous gift for Ramadan: a mosque. When Saji Cheriyan, an Indian expat, said he decided to build a mosque for the Muslim workers to whom he rents accommodation after noticing that they had to take a taxi to a nearby mosque to worship…



Tags: Syria India Holy Land Holy See

17 May 2018
Greg Kandra




Palestinians run for cover from Israeli fire and tear gas at the Israel-Gaza border during a protest against the U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem on 14 May. (photo: CNS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa,  Reuters)

Europe’s bishops lend their support to calls for peace in Middle East (Vatican News) Europe’s Catholic bishops on Wednesday lent their support to the appeal of the Catholic Church in the Holy Land for peace in region, stressing the urgency of protecting life at all costs …

U.N. report says chronic hunger on the rise around the world (Vatican News) The report by the United Nations World Food Program (W.F.P.) examines these “spreading and intensifying” food crises around the world. Entitled “World Food Assistance, Preventing Food Crises,” the new report by the W.F.P. warns that chronic hunger is increasing around the world and food crises are spreading and intensifying. It asks what causes these crises to break out, what determines their scale and how they might be prevented…

Hindus oppose Muslims praying in India’s public places (UCANews.com) Hindu groups’ opposition to Muslims using public places for congregational prayers is creating tension in India, with some suspecting there is a hidden agenda afoot linked to the national elections expected early next year. An amalgam of 22 leading pro-Hindu groups have intensified their calls for a total ban on the country’s 172 million Muslims conducting congregational prayers on public grounds and some roads…

Byzantine prayer app now available (ByzCath.org) A new and unique daily prayer app is now available from Eastern Christian Publications for iOS and Android devices. The app is titled “ECPubs” and is available for free download from either the Apple Store or Google Play. This is the only Byzantine Catholic app available in English with all the changeable prayer texts included for the Daily Office…



Tags: India Middle East Hunger Hindu

16 May 2018
Greg Kandra




Pope Francis met with representatives of Dharmic religions — including Buddhist, Hindu, Jain and Sikh — at the Vatican on Wednesday 16 May. He said religious leaders need to foster “a culture of encounter … at the service of life, human dignity and the care of creation.” (photo: Vatican Media)



Tags: Pope Francis Interreligious Dialogue

16 May 2018
Greg Kandra




Pope Francis passes a crucifix as he walks down steps during his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican 16 May. During his audience, the pope called for efforts to stop the “spiral of violence” in the Middle East. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)

Pope issues plea for peace in Middle East (Vatican News) Pope Francis on Wednesday once more expressed his deep concern at the worsening violence in the Middle East. ”I am very concerned at the escalation of tension in the Holy Land and in the Middle East, and the spiral of violence that is moving away further from the path of peace, dialogue and negotiation,” he said at the end of his general audience in Rome’s St. Peter’s Square…

Syrian rebels leave last besieged area (Reuters) The remaining fighters started to withdraw from the last rebel-held enclave in central Syria on Wednesday, state television reported, sealing the government’s control over the area and opening a major stretch of the country’s most important highway…

Lebanon’s president: country will not wait for a political solution on refugees (Middle East Monitor) Lebanese President Michel Aoun said that his country refuses to wait for a political solution before returning the Syrian refugees to their homeland. “We are surprised by the position of some parties which obstruct this return or do not encourage it,” Aoun said during a meeting with foreign delegations in the presidential palace. “Lebanon faces many challenges with 1.8 million displaced people on its territory since 2015,” he said…

Shi’ite cleric’s win puts Iran to the test in Iraq (Reuters) Already pressured by the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal, Iran faces a major test in managing Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al Sadr, a formidable opponent who beat Tehran’s longtime allies to achieve a shock victory in Iraq’s parliamentary election…

Pope meets with Buddhists, Hindus, others at Vatican (Vatican News) Pope Francis on Wednesday briefly met a delegation of Buddhists, Hindus, Jains and Sikhs who participated in a one-day conference in the Vatican, and another group of Buddhist monks from Thailand...



Tags: Iraq Lebanon Pope Francis Middle East

15 May 2018
Greg Kandra




Mourners carry the body of 8-month-old Palestinian Laila al Ghandour, who died after inhaling tear gas at the Israel-Gaza border during a 15 May protest against the U.S embassy move to Jerusalem. (photo: CNS/Mohammed Salem, Reuters)

As the world witnesses “another outburst of hatred and violence, which is once again bleeding all over the Holy Land,” the head of Jerusalem’s Latin Patriarchate called for prayers for peace.

“We need to pray more for peace and our conversion and for all,” said Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, apostolic administrator of the patriarchate, or diocese.

The Associated Press reported that the same day the United States was inaugurating its embassy in Jerusalem, Israeli forces shot and killed 57 Palestinians and injured more than 2,700 during mass protests along the Gaza border 14 May. In addition, a baby died from tear gas inhalation, the Gaza Health Ministry said, bringing the death toll to 58.

“The lives of so many young people have once again been shut down and hundreds of families are mourning their loved ones, dead or wounded,” said the statement from Archbishop Pizzaballa. “As in a kind of vicious circle, we must condemn all forms of violence, any cynical use of human lives and disproportionate violence. Once again we are forced by circumstances to plead and cry out for justice and peace!”

He announced that 19 May, the eve of Pentecost, the church would hold a prayer vigil at the Church of St. Stephen at L’Ecole Biblique. He asked the entire diocese to dedicate a day of prayer and fasting for the peace of Jerusalem and that the liturgy on Pentecost be dedicated to prayer for peace.

“We must truly pray to the Spirit to change our hearts to better understand his will and to give us the strength to continue to work for justice and peace,” the archbishop said.

Palestinians claim Jerusalem as their capital and now feel that, with its embassy there, the U.S. cannot be a fair broker in the peace process with Israel.

Many Israelis see opening the embassy as the long-awaited official recognition of Jerusalem as their capital and the fulfillment of a promise made by numerous U.S. presidents to move the building from Tel Aviv.



Tags: Gaza Strip/West Bank Palestine Israel Holy Land Israeli-Palestinian conflict

15 May 2018
Greg Kandra




In the video above, ambulances in Cairo carry caskets with the remains of martyred Egyptian Copts. They were executed by ISIS on a beach in Libya in 2015. (video: Al Jazeera/YouTube)

Remains of Egyptian Copts executed by ISIS arrive in Egypt (Libya Herald) The remains of 20 Egyptian Copts ceremoniously murdered while being recorded on video by the terrorist organization ISIL during its control of Sirte, were returned to Egypt yesterday. Their remains were flown from Misrata airport after completion of the relevant procedures by Libyan authorities, Libyan state news agency LANA reports…

Uneasy calm falls over Gaza after Monday violence (The New York Times) Gaza awoke on Tuesday to a grim agenda: Funerals for protesters killed along the fence bordering Israel, including one for an 8-month-old baby girl overcome by tear gas; and still-frenzied work treating the thousands of people wounded, in hospitals so overrun with patients that tents were set up in their courtyards. There was also uncertainty about whether the demonstrations would grow, fade, or give way to an outright armed conflict. The death toll in the protests reached 60 overnight…

Delhi archbishop launches election prayer campaign (UCANews.com) Delhi Archdiocese has started a year-long prayer campaign ahead of federal elections, saying India faces a turbulent political future that threatens the country’s democracy. In a pastoral letter read out on 13 May in all the national capital’s parishes, Archbishop Anil Couto of Delhi called on Catholics in his archdiocese to start a campaign of prayer and Friday fasting ahead of elections in due in April 2019…

Modi’s party claims victory in crucial Indian state election (UCANews.com) Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party emerged wining more seats in a crucial election in the southern Indian state of Karnataka in a major setback to their rival Congress party, setting the tone for national elections early next year…

Syria’s lost generation: school kids who can’t go to school (Haaretz) Syria’s Education Ministry recently published detailed directives on finding and punishing students who have forged diplomas — another action by which the regime seeks to show that the areas under its control are being properly run. Actually, these directives are meaningless. The real details on the number of forgers are unavailable, and the need to forge documents stems not only from a desire to cheat, but from the loss of documents during the war, documents students need to get jobs or complete their studies…



Tags: India Egypt Gaza Strip/West Bank ISIS





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