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December, 2017
Volume 43, Number 4
  
12 April 2016
Greg Kandra




Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York blesses a child in the Mar Narsai Clinic in Dahuk, Iraq, on 10 April. Cardinal Dolan is making a pastoral visit to Iraq this week in his role as Chair of CNEWA. To follow his journey, visit this link. (photo: CNS/Paul Jeffrey)



12 April 2016
Greg Kandra




In Ethiopia’s Afar region, girls wait to fill containers at the local water pump. The UN says the humanitarian emergency in Ethiopia has worsened along with the drought. Read more on the crisis here. (photo: Petterik Wiggers)

UN: Food emergency spreads as Ethiopian drought worsens (Bloomberg) The number of Ethiopian districts identified as suffering a humanitarian emergency increased 18 percent to 219 from December to March as the impact of drought worsened, the United Nations said...

Concern over safety of Syrian refugees (The Guardian) Setting up refugee “safe zones” on the Syrian side of the Turkey-Syria border and refusing to allow those fleeing the conflict to seek international protection could be a violation of international law and put vulnerable people at risk, human rights groups and aid workers have warned...

Alexandria court bans demolition of churches in Egypt (Albawaba.com) The Administrative Court of Alexandria has blocked the demolition of a church belonging to the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, in the process issuing a ruling that prohibits the demolition of any church in Egypt. The move has been welcomed by members of the Coptic Christian community, who claim that Egyptian churches have been subject to “violations” for many years...

The fading of Gaza’s architectural heritage (AFP) A surprise awaits beyond a black door adorned with a silver lotus flower at the end of a tangle of alleyways in Gaza’s chaotic Old City. Through it and behind imposing stone walls sits a small, Levantine-style palace, some 430 years old and recently painstakingly restored. It is among the rare vestiges of Gaza City’s architectural heritage, battered by war, time, population pressure and simple indifference...



11 April 2016
Greg Kandra




A Greek priest walks past the Tomb of Christ inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Jerusalem’s Old City, on 23 March 2016. (photo: Thomas Coex/AFP/Getty Images)

Concerns about a possible collapse of the structure surrounding the tomb of Jesus in Jerusalem have prompted a generous response from Jordan’s King Abdullah II:

“His Majesty King Abdullah II has issued a Royal Benefaction (makruma) to provide for the restoration of Jesus’ Tomb in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, at His Majesty’s personal expense.” The news was announced by Jordanian press agency Petra, which says that the Hashemite Court sent an official letter to the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, Theophilos III. It will therefore be a Muslim sovereign and direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad who will foot part of the bill for the restoration of the niche in the Holy Sepulchre, the place of Jesus’ burial and resurrection in Jerusalem, which has, for centuries, been the most venerated Christian shrine in the world.

From Petra in Jordan:

His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III commended the generosity of His Majesty King Abdullah II. The Patriarch said that His Majesty has always been, and shall remain, the faithful Guardian and Custodian of the Christian and Muslim Holy Sites in Jerusalem. His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III also said that His Majesty King Abdullah embodies in deed, and not only in word, the shared living of Muslims and Christians all over the world and particularly in the Holy Land.

His Beatitude emphasized that the Royal Hashemite Family has always had a unique historic role in the preservation of both Christian and Muslim Holy Sites in Jerusalem and the Occupied Territories. Patriarch Theophilos also said that this continuing Jordanian Hashemite patronage has been an indelible source of support for all the churches in the Holy Land, and all the Christians in the East.

His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III further added that Jordan’s role in protecting Christian existence in the Holy Land is clear and undeniable. King Abdullah spearheads the efforts of all Jordanians to sow the seeds of love and brotherhood between Muslims and Christians, the Patriarch said. We are reaping the fruits of these efforts in this age when sectarian wars are burning entire countries as can plainly be seen, the Patriarch added.

His Beatitude stressed that King Abdullah presents the Palestinian cause as a top priority in all the international forums that His Majesty attends. He added that His Majesty constantly reiterates that Jerusalem’s Muslim and Christian Holy Sites are a red line, which Jordan will not permit to be crossed. Also, that Jordan continues to uphold its religious and historic responsibilities toward the entirety of Al-Haram Al-Sharif with the utmost commitment and seriousness. His Beatitude said that this Royal Benefaction (makruma) is just more proof of His Majesty King Abdullah’s commitment, in word and in deed, to the Holy Sites in Jerusalem, as has always been the case with the Hashemites and the Jordanian people.

Patriarch Theophilos III said: Our churches will continue to pray for the peace and security of Jordan, its army, its security agencies, its people, and its leader who justly and honestly continues the Pact of Omar. The Pact of Omar was instituted by the second successor of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), the Caliph Omar ibn Al-Khattab. Through this pact, the Christians of the Holy Land lived without fear for their lives, the lives of their families and their property.

It is to be noted that His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III signed an historic agreement with the President of the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) in March 2016. The agreement was for the project to restore Jesus’ Tomb in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem in cooperation with the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem, and the Franciscan Missionaries Serving the Holy Land. The agreement followed a study that was undertaken by specialists at NTUA and presented to a number of Christian religious leaders, the Jordanian Ambassador to Athens, and Palestinian and Greek officials.



11 April 2016
Greg Kandra




CNEWA’s Chair, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, visits students displaced by war at the Al Bishara School run by the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena in Ankawa, Iraq, on 9 April. The cardinal got one little boy to try on his zucchetto for size. Read full reports of the cardinal’s trip at this link. (photo: CNS/Paul Jeffrey)



11 April 2016
Greg Kandra




In the video above, Pope Francis calls for the release of all hostages in war zones, in particular the Rev. Tom Uzhunnalil, a missionary priest from India kidnapped in Yemen.
(video: Rome Reports)


Vatican announces papal visits to Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan (Vatican Radio) The Holy See Press Office has announced that Pope Francis will visit Armenia in June of 2016, accepting the invitation of His Holiness, Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenia; of the civil authorities; and of the Catholic Church in Armenia. The visit is scheduled for 24-26 of June...

Pope Francis appeals for release all people held captive (CNS) Pope Francis appealed for the release of all people being held captive in the world’s battle zones, including Salesian Father Thomas Uzhunnalil, who was abducted in Yemen. “I renew my appeal for the liberation of all people kidnapped in areas of armed conflict,” the pope said after praying the “Regina Coeli” with pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square 10 April. “In particular, I want to remember Salesian Father Tom Uzhunnalil, abducted in Aden in Yemen,” the pope said...

Ukraine’s Prime Minister resigns (Vatican Radio) Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has announced his resignation on Sunday saying he would support the country’s parliamentary speaker to replace him after a public outcry over perceived slow reforms and rampant corruption. Speaking on national television, a visibly upset Yatsenyuk said he would step down for several reasons including what he called “the political crisis in the country...”

Cardinal Dolan to displaced Iraqis: you are not forgotten (CNA) On his second full day in Iraq, Cardinal Timothy Dolan traveled three hours to Dohuk, the city where the majority of those who fled Mosul, including the members of the minority Yazidi population, escaped to when ISIS overran the city. After the lengthy ride, Cardinal Dolan briefly visited a medical dispensary set up by CNEWA, where he greeted the staff and some refugees, most of whom come from Mosul...

Construction of wall in Cremisan valley continues (Fides) The construction of the separation wall in the Cremisan area at the beginning of the month of April 2016 has entered its operational phase. Teams have entered the area with bulldozers and cranes and are working to build, one after another, the eight-meter high concrete panels where once century-old olive trees were firmly planted...

Police hunt for suspects in India temple fire (AP) Medical teams on Monday tended to hundreds of people injured in a massive fire that killed at least 110 people, while authorities searched for those responsible for illegally putting on the fireworks display that caused the weekend blaze at a Hindu temple in southern India...

Pope sends condolences after deadly fire in India (CNA) Pope Francis has sent his condolences to the victims and relatives of a fireworks accident on Sunday that killed at least 100 people and injured hundreds of others in India’s Kerala state during celebrations of the local Hindu new year...



8 April 2016
Greg Kandra




In the picture above, from 2004, Ethiopian children gather on a rural hillside. Despite the hardships facing the country — including, today, a devastating drought — the people have managed to maintain their spirit and their traditions. Read more about that in Behold the Ethiopian in the July-August 2004 edition of ONE. (photo: Christian Molidor, R.S.M.)



8 April 2016
Greg Kandra




In this image from October, an internally displaced Ukrainian family stands in line as they wait for humanitarian aid at a distribution center in Kiev, Ukraine. The pope has called for aid to help the victims of war in Ukraine. (photo: CNS/Roman Pilipey, EPA)

Cor Unum releases statement on collection for Ukraine (Vatican Radio) The Pontifical Council Cor Unum has released a press statement concerning the collection for Ukraine announced by Pope Francis: “During the Regina Coeli of Sunday, 3 April, the Holy Father announced an extraordinary initiative in favor of those who are suffering the consequences of violence in Ukraine. To this end it, a collection is expected to be taken in churches in Europe on Sunday, 24 April...”

Vatican publishes pope’s exhortation on “The Joy of Love” (Vatican Radio) The Vatican on Friday published Pope Francis’ eagerly-awaited Apostolic Exhoratation on the family, drawing together almost three years of consultations with Catholics in countries around the world. The lengthy document, entitled ‘Amoris Laetitia,’ or The Joy of Love, affirms the Church’s teaching that stable families are the building blocks of a healthy society and a place where children learn to love, respect and interact with others...

Syrian refugees boost Turkish economy (Al-Monitor) The Turkish economy grew an average of 3% in the past four years, a rate that trails behind the country’s 50-year average of 4.5%. The slowdown is the result of both the weakening global economy and adverse political and economic conditions at home. Yet a much-needed booster has come from an unlikely quarter — the Syrian refugees...

In India, Jesuits set up a meeting of NGOs to be “closer to the poor” (Fides) To set up a national network of non-governmental agencies to improve and better coordinate the work of support and development among the poorest of society, the Indian Jesuits created the “Lok Manch,” after a meeting which brought together over 120 delegates in Delhi of 100 Indian organizations. As reported in a note sent to Fides, the forum intends to promote laws and policies in favor of the marginalized and vulnerable groups, encouraging the growth of a secular and democratic nation, which can promote the development, well-being and equality among all citizens...

Bamboo could be “green gold” for Ethiopia (CNN) Money really could grow on trees for a new industry in Ethiopia. Two-thirds of the bamboo in Africa is situated in the upwardly-mobile state, and it is hoped that “green gold” can power growth. “The farmer who has bamboo is rich, but he doesn’t know it,” says Adane Berhe, CEO Adal Industrial PLC, which is helping to build the new industry...

Gaza becomes perfect stage for parkour (CBS News) A war blasted hulk of an apartment building in Gaza becomes a perfect stage for parkour. It’s an extreme sport blending gymnastics with agility training developed for a military obstacle course. How many wars have these men seen? They all raise their hands to show three fingers. So the men on this parkour team call themselves “Three-Run Gaza,” for surviving three wars. And they cannot leave because Gaza is under a blockade. “Parkour makes us feel free,” said one of them men named Uday. “Nothing is holding you back...”



7 April 2016
Greg Kandra





Archbishop Joseph Kundukulam founded a home that cares for single mothers and their
children in India. (photo: Sean Sprague)


To many of the faithful in India, he is a saint: Archbishop Joseph Kundukulam, known as the “father of the poor.”

We profiled him in ONE magazine two years ago:

Mar Joseph died in Kenya in 1998 visiting a newly established house of Nirmala Dasi Sisters, a community he helped found in 1971. Translated from the Malayalam, the local vernacular, as the “Servants of God,” the Nirmala Dasi Sisters often serve as the primary agents of Mar Joseph’s works to serve the poor, the marginalized or those too feeble to care for themselves.

The community felt orphaned after his death, Nirmala Dasi Superior General Rosily Pidiyath recalls from the community’s tiny parlor in their motherhouse in Mulayam, near Trichur. The sisters are not alone. People cared for by the archbishop echo these sentiments, and hundreds will tell you they are alive today because he came forward to help when others had abandoned them.

Sixteen years after he died, Mar Joseph Kundukulam has left behind a remarkable legacy — a testament to a man who, even in death, continues to touch hearts and change lives.

As a young priest, Joseph Kundukulam was no stranger to charitable work. But his outreach to the poorest of the poor began in earnest when he was appointed pastor of St. Anne’s Church in Padinjarekotta, a suburb of Trichur. One day, a young woman carrying an infant asked the young priest for a place to stay. She was single, abandoned after the father of her child learned she had become pregnant. Her family had disowned her for her indiscretion. Father Joseph had to break the news that he had no shelter to offer.

Hours later, he found the young woman and her child still waiting for him. When he asked her what else she needed, she requested a small sum of money — little more than pocket change — to buy poison so she could kill herself and her child. Her request shocked the priest, who immediately worked with the parish to find some way to accommodate her.

He began to search for a more permanent way to help the young mother and others in her situation. Before long, he found a priest in Germany who offered him funds to start a new facility, on the condition the center be named after the patron saint of his parish in the heart of Europe. Since its founding in 1967, St. Christina’s Home has sheltered some 4,000 single mothers and their children, says the vice superior of the Nirmala Dasi Sisters, Chinnamma Kunnakatt, who has been working in the center for more than a decade.

And because St. Christina’s Home focused on the care of mothers and their toddlers only, the young pastor founded Savio Home, which cares for children 5 years of age and older.

These were only the beginning.

Read on to learn more about his extraordinary legacy. We’ve written often about his work in India, and the lives that have been changed because of this man who, as one priest put it, was “a shepherd who smelled like his sheep.” To read about the order he founded, check out ‘Slumdog’ Sisters from the July 2011 edition of the magazine; House of Blessings from March 2007; and God’s Servants of Action from July 1994.



7 April 2016
Greg Kandra




Sandar Salem, administrator of a mobile clinic serving displaced Iraqis in Kurdistan, registers patients. To learn more about this CNEWA-supported clinic and its work, read Health on Wheels in the Spring 2016 edition of ONE. (photo: Raed Rafei)



7 April 2016
Greg Kandra




An ethnic Armenian soldier rests beneath a crucifix on 7 April at an artillery position near the Nagorno-Karabakh’s town of Martuni. In both the Armenian and Azerbaijani capitals, crowds have been gathering to voice support for their respective militaries after four days of intense fighting in the contested Nagorno-Karabakh region. (photo: CNS/Reuters)

Emotions run high in Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict (The Guardian) In both the Armenian and Azerbaijani capitals, crowds have been gathering to voice support for their respective militaries after four days of intense fighting in the contested Nagorno-Karabakh region. Amid an upsurge of patriotic feeling in Yerevan and Baku, Azerbaijan claimed on Wednesday that the terms of the ceasefire agreed to just 24 hours earlier had already been broken 115 times...

Catholicos to visit Nagorno Karabakh (Fides) The Catholicos of the Armenians, Karekin II, and Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, Aram I, will together in the coming days visit Nagorno Karabakh, the region with an Armenian majority, under Azerbaijan where in recent days the conflict between Azeris and Armenians violently exploded again...

Iraqi Kurdistan government will continue to pay salaries of some Christians displaced (Fides) The regional government of Iraqi Kurdistan has renewed, until the end of 2016, the commitment to pay the salaries of Christian civil servants and public employees who worked in Mosul, in the Nineveh Plain and other areas conquered by the Jihadists Islamic State, and now live as refugees in Erbil and other areas of the north-Iraqi autonomous region...

Cardinal Dolan visiting Iraq to show support for displaced Christians (CNA) This week Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York and chair of Catholic Near East Welfare Association, will travel to Iraqi Kurdistan in order to offer support to families displaced by extremist violence...

Early seasonal rains bring deadly flooding to Ethiopia (AllAfrica) Seasonal rains have come early to parts of Ethiopia, causing deadly floods in places. The state broadcaster, the Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation told the Associated Press news agency that 28 people have been killed in two remote regions of the country. The intense downpours caused flooding in the drought-stricken region of Afar. Five people were killed as waters rose across what is the lowest point in Ethiopia and one of the lowest in Africa...

Palestinian Christians bitter over destruction of church ruins in Gaza (The Jerusalem Post) Palestinian Christians Wednesday expressed anger over the way the Palestinian Authority and Hamas have handled the ancient ruins of a Byzantine church that were uncovered in Gaza City last week. They said that bulldozers removed the antiquities and continued with their work without supervision. They accused the two big Palestinian parties of seeking to obliterate Christian history and identity in the Holy Land...







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