22 February 2013
In this image from 2009, Pope Benedict XVI prays inside the Church of the Holy Sepulcher at the spot that marks the traditional site of the crucifixion at Golgotha. The church in the Old City of Jerusalem was one of the last places the pope visited during his weeklong pilgrimage to the Holy Land in May 2009. The text of the address he delivered inside the church can be found here. (photo: CNS/Yannis Behrakis, Reuters)
21 February 2013
Tags: Jerusalem Pope Benedict XVI Holy Land Pilgrimage/pilgrims Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Pope Benedict XVI presents a red hat to Syro-Malankara Cardinal Baselios Mar Cleemis of Trivandrum, India, during a consistory in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican on 24 November. The pope created six new cardinals from four different continents, representing the Latin rite as well as two Eastern Catholic churches. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)
Last fall, Pope Benedict XVI named as a cardinal Baselios Mar Cleemis of India — a man who is a longtime friend and collaborator with CNEWA. Just a few months before he became a cardinal, Mar Cleemis paid a visit to our offices in New York:
Accompanied by the exarch for Syro-Malankara Catholics in North America and Europe, Bishop Thomas Mar Eusebius, His Beatitude shared some of his thoughts about his country, its people and the vibrant faith they have brought to North America. During a wide-ranging conversation in our staff conference room, he spoke passionately and eloquently about “witnessing” to the faith — through acts of compassion, charity and simple piety.
“We do that,” he said, “through education, through health care, through caring for those with H.I.V. and leprosy. It has to do with human dignity. I am proud and happy of how our people give witness with how they live.”
The major archbishop also wanted to underscore the universality of the Catholic Church. “Catholicity,” he noted, “is not uniformity, but diversity.” And he said that the Syro-Malankara Church could make its own unique contribution to “bring a new dimension to the Catholic Church.”
“We promote the theology of communion,” he said. “In this country, we have a strong vocation of being an apostle of communion.”
We are not here, he said, “just to preserve our linguistic tradition, but to strengthen the existing Catholic community. The church is beyond ethnic and linguistic boundaries.
“A lot of people have deserted, have gone away from the church and I think we have a responsibility. ... We have a role to play, to bring people back to the fold,” he continued.
Read more about his visit.
And you can learn more about the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church here.
20 February 2013
Tags: India Pope Benedict XVI Indian Christians Indian Catholics Eastern Catholics
In this image from 2010, Pope Benedict XVI visits Rome’s main synagogue on 17 January. During his visit the pope strongly reaffirmed the church’s commitment to dialogue with the Jews and its modern teachings against anti-Semitism. At left is German Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. From right is Rabbi Shear-Yashuv Cohen, the chief rabbi of Haifa, Israel, and Rabbi Riccardo Di Segni, the chief rabbi of Rome.
(photo: CNS/L’Osservatore Romano via Reuters)
19 February 2013
Tags: Pope Benedict XVI Christian Unity Jews Judaism
In this image from 2006, Pope Benedict XVI and Mustafa Cagrici, the grand mufti of Istanbul, pray in the Blue Mosque in Istanbul. In trying to help people understand how belief in God is a natural part of life and provides grounding for the values that protect human dignity and peaceful coexistence, Pope Benedict saw Muslims and Jews as natural allies. (photo: CNS/Patrick Hertzog, Pool via Reuters)
During his papacy, Pope Benedict XVI has encouraged Christian-Muslim dialogue. He mentioned that prominently in his apostolic exhortation, delivered during his trip to Lebanon last September:
“May this region demonstrate that coexistence is not a utopia, and that distrust and prejudice are not a foregone conclusion. Religions can join one another in service to the common good and contribute to the development of each person and the building of society. The Christians of the Middle East have experienced for centuries the dialogue between Islam and Christianity. For them it means the dialogue of and in daily life. They know its rich possibilities and its limitations.”
15 February 2013
Tags: Pope Benedict XVI Unity Turkey Muslim Christian-Muslim relations
In this image from 2009, Pope Benedict XVI takes in the panoramic view from Mount Nebo in Madaba, Jordan. The place where Moses glimpsed the Promised Land before dying is marked by a modern sculpture of the prophet’s serpentine staff. (photo: CNS/Ali Jarekji, Reuters)
During his trip to the Holy Land in 2009, Pope Benedict XVI visited Mount Nebo in Jordan, the spot where tradition holds that Moses saw the Promised Land.
In a message that seems today both poignant and prophetic, the Holy Father said at the time:
In the footsteps of the prophets, the apostles and the saints, we are called to walk with the Lord, to carry on his mission, to bear witness to the Gospel of God’s universal love and mercy.
We are called to welcome the coming of Christ’s kingdom by our charity, our service to the poor and our efforts to be a leaven of reconciliation, forgiveness and peace in the world around us.
We know that, like Moses, we may not see the complete fulfillment of God’s plan in our lifetime. Yet we trust that, by doing our small part, in fidelity to the vocation each of us has received, we will help to make straight the paths of the Lord and welcome the dawn of his kingdom.
The full text of his remarks can be found here.
You can read more on the pope’s trip from the July 2009 issue of ONE.
14 February 2013
Tags: Jordan Pope Benedict XVI Pilgrimage/pilgrims
Pope Benedict XVI prays at the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest prayer site, in the Old City of Jerusalem on 12 May 2009. The pope left a written prayer in a crevice of the wall. It appealed to God to bring “your peace upon this Holy Land, upon the Middle East, upon the entire human family.” (photo: CNS/Catholic Press Photo)
Like his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI has spent much of his time as pontiff traveling the world. In 2009, he made a historic pilgrimage to the Holy Land, praying at sites sacred to Christians, Muslims and Jews. He said at the time:
My friends: Jerusalem, which has long been a crossroads for peoples of many different origins, is a city that affords Jews, Christians and Muslims both the duty and the privilege to bear witness together to the peaceful coexistence long desired by worshipers of the one God; to lay bare the Almighty’s plan for the unity of the human family announced to Abraham; and to proclaim the true nature of man as a seeker of God. Let us resolve to ensure that through the teaching and guidance of our respective communities we shall assist them to be true to who they are as believers, ever aware of the infinite goodness of God, the inviolable dignity of every human being and the unity of the entire human family.
You can read more of his remarks from his journey in the July 2009 issue of ONE.
13 February 2013
Tags: Middle East Jerusalem Pope Benedict XVI Holy Land Prayers/Hymns/Saints
Pope Benedict XVI receives ashes from Cardinal Angelo Comastri, archpriest of St. Peter's Basilica, during Ash Wednesday Mass at the Vatican on 13 February. The service is expected to be the last large liturgical event of Pope Benedict's papacy, following his announced resignation. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)
12 February 2013
Tags: Pope Benedict XVI Vatican Pope
Pope Benedict XVI has made many travels during his pontificate, including a historic trip to Lebanon in September, to deliver his apostolic exhortation. In this image, he is welcomed to Bkerke by Maronite Patriarch Bechara Peter. Click here to read the full text of the exhortation. You can also read analysis of the document by Father Elias Mallon in the November 2012 issue of ONE. (photo: John E. Kozar)
11 February 2013
Tags: Lebanon Pope Benedict XVI Ecumenism Christian Unity Exhortation
In this photo from the Vatican taken last June, CNEWA’s President Msgr. John E. Kozar shares a moment with Pope Benedict XVI. The Holy Father met Msgr. Kozar during the 85th annual ROACO (Assembly of aid Agencies for the Eastern Churches) in Rome. (photo: L’Osservatore Romano)
8 February 2013
Parishioners, clutching rosaries, attend a liturgy in the Catholic village of Azadan. (photo: Armineh Johannes)
A continuing theme in many of our stories is how faith survives — often under seemingly impossible circumstances.
In 2006, for example, we took a look at the resilient faith of the people of Armenia:
Under the Communists, and particularly under Josef Stalin, all religions in the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic were vigorously suppressed. Eventually, some accommodations were made with the Armenian Apostolic Church. But Armenian Catholics — which today number 220,000 of Armenia’s 2.9 million citizens — were not given the same allowances.
Ruzanna Amiraghian, 27, was reared during a more tolerant period of Communist rule, but she grew up with the horrible tales of her forebears.
The family matriarch, Ruzanna’s great-grandmother, Hripsime Avakaian, had two sons. One, Hovannes, entered the seminary and became a priest; the other, Ashot, joined the Communist Party. Mrs. Avakaian arranged for her son, Hovannes, to baptize secretly her grandchildren in one of the churches closed by the Communists. On the way to the church, however, Ashot intervened, saying it would put the family in jeopardy.
A few years later, Father Hovannes was arrested. He disappeared and, for more than 60 years, the family knew nothing of his fate. But 10 years ago, a family member gained access to an archive previously sealed. The records revealed Father Hovannes was executed the same day he was arrested.
Under such conditions — closed churches, disappearing priests, forbidden religious practice — it is no wonder faith was tested. What is surprising is how many Armenian Catholics maintained it even while it was outlawed.
Read more about A New Start for Armenia’s Catholics in the January 2006 issue of ONE.
Tags: Armenia Armenian Apostolic Church Armenian Catholic Church Communism/Communist