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21 September 2012
Greg Kandra




Major Archbishop Mar Cleemis, center, consecrates the new cathedral in Pathanamthitta.
(photo: CNEWA)


It doesn’t happen often, but it happened yesterday in Pathanamthitta — the consecration of a new cathedral, dedicated to St. Peter, for the Syro-Malankara Catholic Eparchy of Pathanamthitta, a mountainous jurisdiction in the southwestern Indian state of Kerala.

This morning, we received an e-mail from our regional director in India, M.L. Thomas:

I attended the new cathedral blessing at Pathanamthitta diocese... invited by His Beatitude, Mar Cleemis, Major Archbishop, and His Excellency, Yoohanon Mar Chrysostom, bishop. His Beatitude, Bechara Peter, Patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, was the special guest in the ceremony.

The Syro-Malankara Eparchy of Pathanamthitta came into existence on 25 January 2010. The eparchy is relatively small: about 810 square miles, consisting of a little over 30,000 Syro-Malankara Catholics.

Bishop Yoohanon Mar Chrysostom (shown above second from the right) is a familiar face. He paid us a visit in June, stopping by our New York office to meet Msgr. Kozar and discuss the activities in his eparchy.

Patriarch Bechara (shown above, second from the left) may also be familiar to our readers. He made a pastoral visit to the United States last fall and met the press at our New York headquarters.

You can read more about the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church here.



Tags: Syria Syro-Malankara Catholic Church

20 September 2012
Greg Kandra




Marcie Alter enjoys the company of Dennis, a therapy dog that visits patients at St. Louis Hospital in Jerusalem once a week. (photo: Debbie Hill)

The current issue of the magazine takes us inside St. Louis Hospital in Jerusalem, an oasis of compassion in a troubled corner of the world. Writer Judith Sudilovsky notes one interesting form of therapy at the hospital:

Three years ago, the hospital joined a project in which volunteers bring therapy animals to the hospital. For some patients, the project has been a great success.

Marcie Alter, a 44-year-old Orthodox Jew originally from Pittsburgh, has been a patient at St. Louis for eight years. All week, she looks forward to her time with Dennis, a Boxer mix.

Almost completely paralyzed and unable to speak, she uses a computer and a letter board to communicate. Most of her family lives in the United States, though she has many friends in Jerusalem who visit her.

A smile spreads on her face when Dennis arrives and jumps on her bed. She reaches out to pet him. With the dog by her side, she points to the letters on the board, spelling out: “It feels like home.”

Read more about An Oasis of Compassion.



Tags: Jerusalem Unity Health Care Multiculturalism

19 September 2012
Greg Kandra




The Saghmos Choir is the pride of the Armenian Apostolic Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary in Lviv, Ukraine. (photo: Petro Didula)

In the current issue of ONE, writer Mariya Tytarenko tells of how Armenians in western Ukraine have worked to rebuild a local church and restore a community’s faith. A key part of that effort has been the local choir:

In the early days, the choir consisted of just a handful of enthusiasts, only one of whom was ethnic Armenian: Father Gevorgian’s 13-year-old daughter Lusine. In the last ten years, however, it has more than doubled in size and improved immeasurably. Named Saghmos, “psalm” in Armenian, the choir now includes 12 singers, five of whom are ethnic Armenians.

“We take great pride in our choir,” says, 66-year-old Bishop Grigoris Bouniatian of the Armenian Apostolic Eparchy of Lviv. “Andriy Shkrabiuk and his choir sing almost the way they did in ancient Armenia.”

In accordance with the church’s ancient tradition, the choir stands not on the balcony, but near the altar during the Divine Liturgy.

“The choir is the motor of prayer,” says Mr. Shkrabiuk.

Read more about Restoring Faith in the September 2012 issue of ONE.



Tags: Ukraine Armenian Apostolic Church

18 September 2012
Greg Kandra




Pope Benedict XVI signs the apostolic exhortation at the Melkite Greek Catholic Basilica of St. Paul in Harissa, Lebanon, on 14 September. Pictured at far left is Melkite Patriarch Gregory III. Standing next to the pope is Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, general secretary of the Synod of Bishops. (photo: CNS/L’Osservatore Romano via Reuters)

The Holy See has published online the apostolic exhortation that the Holy Father delivered in Lebanon on Friday. The document, “Ecclesia in Medio Oriente” (On the Church in the Middle East: Communion and Witness), is available in pdf form on the website of the Holy See.

Click here to download the exhortation.



Tags: Lebanon Pope Benedict XVI Melkite Patriarch Gregory III of Antioch Synod of Bishops for Middle East Exhortation

17 September 2012
Erin Edwards




The Zabbaleen are descendants of migrant farmers from Upper Egypt who first came to Cairo in the 1940’s in search of employment. They began working in the garbage trade, collecting, sorting and recycling to earn a living. (photo: Dana Smillie)

The September edition of ONE can now be viewed on our website. Give it a look. One of our features this month comes from award-winning journalist, Sarah Topol. Topol profiles a family in Egypt’s Zabbaleen or “garbage people” community:

The Nagib family lives in Manshiyat Naser — also known as Garbage City — an impoverished Coptic Christian neighborhood nestled in the jutting desert cliffs that rise above Cairo’s bustling streets. Called Zabbaleen, or “garbage people” in Arabic, most hail from the rural province of Assiut, 250 miles to the south. For generations, the Zabbaleen have served as Cairo’s de facto garbage collectors, earning a meager living hauling away city dwellers’ trash and recycling anything salvageable.

To spend time with the Nagib family is to witness in microcosm the struggles of an entire class of people — and to realize that they are struggling not just to salvage what others discard, but also to salvage dignity and a way of life.

Mrs. Nagib’s husband collected trash for a living. Now too old to work, he has passed his route on to his children. And it seems, one by one, the Nagib children are carrying on the tradition.

Six days a week, Mrs. Nagib rises before dawn to see off three of her sons to their work as garbage collectors. At 5, the young men will have climbed into the family truck to head down the slopes to the city — a drive that takes two hours. There, they go from apartment to apartment along their route collecting garbage. By early afternoon, they head home, the truck loaded with trash.

For more, read Salvaging Dignity.



Tags: Egypt Africa ONE magazine

14 September 2012
Erin Edwards




A dance group from Mumbai’s Syro-Malabar Catholic eparchy rehearse a traditional Keralite routine backstage at an annual festival. (photo: Peter Lemieux)

In the January edition of ONE, we featured a story about generations of Thomas Christians from Kerala who have built a community of their own in Mumbai:

“Because the Eparchy of Kalyan was formed exclusively for the Syro-Malabar faithful, a lot of re-evangelization has taken place, meaning people who were on the fringes now started coming forward,” he explains.

“Otherwise, what happens? In the Latin Church, they were unknown. The Latin parish in Vikhroli has 10,000 people and seven Masses every Sunday. Nobody was bothered if they were there or not. But now our parish is very small: a hundred families. We have one liturgy. So if somebody doesn’t come for it, we ask: ‘Where has he gone?’ There’s much more community now that we have the eparchy.”

Mrs. John waits patiently for her husband to finish his thought before speaking. Humble and articulate, she is the perfect blend of the gentility characteristic of rural Kerala and Mumbai’s cosmopolitanism.

“With time, our roots in Kerala have diminished,” she says. “But we still follow all the traditions we learned from our parents. Like when mom passed away, we called everybody over on the 40th day. We follow all the rituals we learned to the core. All the celebrations we do in Kerala are also celebrated here in Mumbai. Basically, we just want to keep our culture alive. We don’t want our kids to lose out on that front — in the home or in the church.”

For more, read A Church of Their Own.



Tags: India Cultural Identity Kerala Migrants

13 September 2012
Erin Edwards




CNEWA has been a longtime supporter of the Kidane Mehret Children's Home and School in Ethiopia. (photo: Gabriel Delmonaco)

At CNEWA, we understand the importance of investing in children and young people. It’s an investment in a better world. In Ethiopia, much of our work supports schools and child care institutions, such as the Kidane Mehret Children’s Home and School. We have shared many stories about Kidane Mehret, whether it be that of a recent graduate’s gratitude or Msgr. Kozar’s visit there earlier this year.

Interested in helping the children of Ethiopia? Find out more on our website.



Tags: CNEWA Ethiopia Education Africa Orphans/Orphanages

12 September 2012
Erin Edwards




Staff and patients attend the evening liturgy at the Amala Hospital chapel in Trichur, Kerala. (photo: Peter Lemieux)

In the September 2011 edition of ONE, Peter Lemieux reported on the role the Syro–Malabar Catholic Church plays in India’s health care system:

For the next 15 minutes, the priest rushes through the multistory facility, distributing Communion to more than 30 patients in various wards. “Here, prayer is so much a part of the culture,” explains Father Paul. “But in a hospital setting, it’s a very fast pace. If you don’t deliver things in time, it’s a problem. Time is critical. If we’re delayed for even a minute, lives are threatened.”

Established in 1978 by the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate — the first and largest religious congregation for men in the Syro–Malabar Catholic Church — the institution consists of a full–service general hospital, a homeopathic hospital, a 100–bed ayurvedic (or traditional Indian medicine) hospital, a cancer research center, a cardiac center as well as a medical school and a nursing college.

The facility offers diagnostic treatment in almost every specialization and boasts the latest medical equipment and information technology, 25 surgical operating rooms and a state–of–the–art radiology department, which most recently acquired a new linear particle accelerator.

The medical school and nursing college together enroll 1,200 students from all over India. In total, more than 2,000 medical professionals and their families reside on the campus.

For more, read Healing Kerala’s Health Care.



Tags: Kerala Health Care Syro-Malabar Catholic Church Carmelite Sisters

11 September 2012
Erin Edwards




This boy is a resident of a home for abandoned children in King Mariut, Egypt. The home is run by the priests and sisters of the Institute of the Incarnate Word. (photo: Sean Sprague)

In the May 2009 edition of ONE, we reported on what is referred to as a “City of Charity” or oasis for abandoned, abused or needy children in the village of King Mariut, Egypt:

About a quarter of the children, Father Luis estimates, come from homes where there was serious abuse. Some of the children lived on the streets. Others were forced by their parents to beg for their bread.

But in King Mariut, the children have a chance for a happier, healthier childhood. During the day, they attend St. Aloysius. After classes end, they go home to one of 10 nearby houses run by the priests and sisters of the Institute of the Incarnate Word.

Originally from São Paulo, Brazil, Sister Maria Laudis Gloriae lives and works at one of the larger houses, just down the road from the school. For the 37 girls and 9 boys who live there, it is home. One of the girls — a bright-eyed, curly haired 2-year-old — has lived at the home since the tender age of 2 months. Her parents, both of whom are poor and mentally ill, abandoned her on the doorstep of a rectory in Upper Egypt. The parish priest entrusted the infant to the sisters’ care.

Holding the bouncy child in her arms, Sister Maria explains that parish priests referred many of the children now living in King Mariut.

“Sometimes local priests know the history of the family, know the children and know if there is a problem. There are sisters who travel a lot in Upper Egypt, so the priests know us and know our work.”

The complex of school and houses in King Mariut make up what the priests and sisters of the institute call the City of Charity. According to Father Luis, the mission of the foundation is “to care about those whom no one else cares about.”

For more, read City of Charity.



Tags: Egypt Children Education Orphans/Orphanages

10 September 2012
Erin Edwards




The Italian Hospital in Kerak, Jordan, is run by the Comboni Sisters. (photo: John E. Kozar)

Here at CNEWA, we are very familiar with the Comboni Sisters and their dedication to the sick. They are involved with institutions we support, such as the Italian Hospital in Kerak, Jordan. Today, the Catholic News Service reported on the tireless work of Sister Giacinta Niboli, a Comboni Sister, in Egypt. She has served Egypt’s sick for the past 60 years:

“We are here to help, we don’t speak about Jesus, but are teaching love through showing mothers to properly care for their children, wash them well, and take care of their eyes,” Sister Giacinta said.

She added that the dust and fine sand of the desert and mountains that surround Nazlet Khater are the source of what she calls the village’s most endemic malady: eye infections. Other common ailments, she said, include stomach illnesses and influenza.

“We used to get a lot of scorpion bites, but those have declined. I also used to deliver babies, but now I send mothers to the hospital in the city of Sohag, 21 miles away,” Sister Giacinta explained.

She quickly added: “Remember, I am almost 85.”

Sister Giacinta said she does not worry about what lies ahead in post-revolution Egypt, where anywhere from an estimated 4 to 12 million Christians live among more than 70 million Muslims.

“I love them all, and they love me,” Sister Giacinta said of the Muslim majority. “They tell me, ‘You are baraka,’” [the Arabic word for a blessing], she said.

For more, read Comboni Sister Nurses Egyptians for 60 Years.



Tags: Egypt Middle East Jordan Health Care Comboni Sisters





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