28 June 2017
Bechara Peter Cardinal Rai of Lebanon, patriarch of the Maronite Catholic Church, walks near a statue of Our Lady of Fatima on 25 June. He led a pilgrimage to consecrate Lebanon and all the Middle East to Mary. (photo: CNS/Mychel Akl, courtesy Maronite Patriarchate)
Lebanese Cardinal Bechara Peter Rai consecrated Lebanon and all the Middle East to Mary in Fatima, praying for peace and stability.
Thousands of faithful from the Middle East as well as Lebanese diaspora from around the world also made the pilgrimage for the “Lebanon Day in Fatima,” which began 24 June with the recitation of the rosary and a candlelit procession.
“We have come from Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, the Holy Land, Egypt, the (Persian) Gulf countries and various countries of proliferation — particularly from Australia, Canada, the United States, Europe — to continue, from generation to generation, to honor our Blessed Virgin Mary,” the patriarch said during his homily 25 June. He concelebrated Mass with Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan and a delegation of bishops and priests.
“We have come to renew the dedication of Lebanon and the countries of the Middle East to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, according to her wishes. This dedication is to repent, to stop wars and to consolidate peace,” Cardinal Rai said.
Beginning in June 2013, the patriarch has annually consecrated Lebanon and all the Middle East to Mary at Harissa, home of Our Lady of Lebanon. The consecrations were in response to a request of the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East held in the Vatican in October 2012. This year, the consecration at Fatima commemorated the centennial of the apparitions, when Mary appeared to three shepherd children in the Portuguese village.
“We have come to ask for the intercession of Our Lady of Fatima for peace in the Middle East region, and for stability in Lebanon, to preserve our country’s mission and model of coexistence among religions and cultures, especially among Christians and Muslims,” the cardinal said in his homily at Fatima. He stressed that “Lebanon’s significance lies in its open system of cultural and religious pluralism within a framework of cooperation, integration and mutual enrichment.”
About 40 percent of the approximate 4 million Lebanese citizens residing in Lebanon are Christian.
Lebanon has the only Christian head of state in the entire Middle East and North Africa. Under Lebanon’s power-sharing system, the presidency is reserved for a Maronite Catholic, while the prime minister is a Sunni Muslim, and the speaker of parliament is a Shiite Muslim.
27 June 2017
Christian Scout volunteers turned out on 18 June to paint parts of Aleppo, Syria.
This story appeared today on the website for the Franciscans in the Holy Land:
Never have Aleppines found the markings on their sidewalks more beautiful. The Franciscan parish in the large city in Northern Syria decided to restore the city’s colors.
Aleppines could not believe it when on Sunday, 18 June, they saw scout brigades repainting their sidewalks for the first time. A little black and white paint was enough to give color to the neighborhood around the parish of St. Francis of Aleppo. A municipal sign indicated to drivers whether they were allowed to park their cars or not. It is the most trivial of things and yet “It is beautiful,” said one passer-by.
“Aleppo more beautiful” is an initiative carried out by the local friars of the Custody with the support of the governor, the mayor and the whole municipality. The program was inaugurated on Sunday, 18 June. In front of the parish church, Father Ibrahim, the pastor, was surrounded by government officials, brushes in hand, to paint the edges of the sidewalks.
Volunteers were happy to be covered with paint — and to be covering the streets, too.
After years of war that literally made the city’s colors fade, making “Aleppo more beautiful” is a concern and a challenge. For the people in charge of the initiative: “It allows us to unite as a single nation, a single family, whatever our religion or convictions... We also thought of this initiative right away as an opportunity to make reparations, to restore this beautiful mosaic — our society, which has been torn apart... So, we dove in with a lot of interest, love and commitment; [with] love for our martyred city and [with] the desire to promote reconciliation in our wounded, torn society. We are convinced that good is contagious. We do good and spread it, radiate it. War, hatred, egoism, the reign of death will be replaced by peace, charity, solidarity, the common good and the extension of the Kingdom of Heaven.”
The promoters of the initiative invited all of the churches to join them and many groups such as the Christian Scouts, various religious groups and any of the inhabitants of the city who wanted to help. The Latin parish took charge of the financial aspect by buying all of the necessary materials.
A friar supervises the young Allepine artists. (photo: Custodia.org)
In the end, more than 200 people, armed with paintbrushes, buckets and paint, showed great enthusiasm and zeal and set out to conquer the city by embellishing it.
Read more and see more pictures at the link.
26 June 2017
A Coptic villager in Upper Egypt checks his cell phone while transporting crops across town. This image is part of a photo essay by Msgr. Kozar which was honored last week with a First Place Award from the Catholic Press Association. Visit this link to see more of his prize-winning photos.
(photo: John E. Kozar)
23 June 2017
A Palestinian family harvests olives in a valley east of the West Bank city of Nablus. To learn more about the life of a Palestinian olive farmer, check out Olive Offerings, from the January 2009 issue of ONE. (photo: Ahikam Seri)
22 June 2017
Tags: Palestine Village life Farming/Agriculture Palestinians
Georgian Orthodox Christians employ a unique style of chant believed to have been developed between the seventh and tenth centuries in the historical region of Tao-Klarjeti, now part of Turkey. Read more about the preservation and practice of Georgian chant in A Renaissance in Georgia, from the January 2011 edition of ONE, or click the image for an audio sample. (photo: Molly Corso)
21 June 2017
Tags: Cultural Identity Georgia Art Georgian Orthodox Church
A woman roasts coffee beans with her son on their farm outside Bonga, Ethiopia. The Kaffa region is known for its coffee production, grown in high altitudes. This region is thought to be the original home of the coffee plant, but recent reports suggest climate change could spell disaster for this traditional industry. To learn more about Ethiopia’s connection to coffee, read Brewed to Perfection, from the November 2011 edition of ONE. (photo: Per-Anders Pettersson/Corbis News/Getty Images)
20 June 2017
Tags: Ethiopia Farming/Agriculture Climate change
A woman holds a sign and cross as members of the local Chaldean community demonstrate on 16 June outside the Patrick V. McNamara Federal Building to protest the arrest and detention of more than 100 Chaldean Christians from the Detroit area. (photo: CNS/Jim West)
The organizer of a 16 June protest in Detroit against federal agents’ rounding up more than 100 Iraqi-American immigrants told local media that those who were detained had no prior warning that Immigration and Customs Enforcement would be arresting them the morning of 11 June.
Joined by U.S. Democratic Reps. Sander Levin and Brenda Lawrence of Michigan, members of the Chaldean Christian community gathered in front of the Patrick V. McNamara Federal Building. They held up signs, crosses and American flags, venting their frustration against federal authorities who detained their father, brothers and uncles, many of whom have been in the community for decades.
Martin Manna, president of the Chaldean Chamber of Commerce, organized the demonstration.
“I represent a rich cove of the Iraqi-Chaldean community, and when I called Martin Manna, I got here quickly,” Lawrence said. “Chaldeans are our friends, our neighbors.
“Why did ICE decide to target and round up Iraqi-Americans? Where is the written policy?” Lawrence asked, referring to the “verbal agreement” U.S. President Donald Trump had with the Iraqi government regarding accepting deportees from the United States.
Levin and five others from the Michigan delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives wrote a letter to U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly, requesting a copy of the U.S. government’s agreement with Iraq so it can be subject to congressional oversight and to hold off on sending the detainees to Iraq until their safety can be guaranteed.
“We are here on behalf of the Chaldean community, proclaiming this as not only a Chaldean issue, but an American issue,” Levin said. “We’re saying to ICE, let there be time for justice. Sec. Kelly said, ‘we’re only going after the ‘worst of the worst.&rsquo There arrests have been made without regard to what crime has been committed, or what sentences have already been served.
“This is a country that believes in due process for everybody, even for immigrants,” he continued. “America is more than just numbers, but the human lives behind them. I ask my colleagues, delay deportation. We're here together for the Chaldean community.”
Family members of those who have been detained shared their stories, stating how many were preparing to attend Sunday Mass when ICE officials knocked on their doors, asking to go with them to the Iraqi Consulate; some were promised they would be returned to their homes.
“We’ve heard stories of an 80-year old man, who was carried away by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) in chains,” said Nidal Zawaideh of Bloomfield Hills, who showed up to protest to support her fellow Chaldeans. “They talk about the crimes they’ve committed. This man hit his wife 50 years ago, had the police called. But that was 50 years ago; these people are not a threat to society.”
After the roundup, ICE officials would not confirm the number taken into custody but said those arrested had criminal convictions, including for murder, rape, assault, burglary, weapons violations and drug trafficking. They said the action was the result of recent negotiations between the U.S. and Iraq, which had agreed “to take back Iraqi nationals convicted of crimes.”
WJBK-TV reported that an ICE spokesperson said that “each of these individuals received full and fair immigration proceedings, after which a federal immigration judge found them ineligible for any form of relief under U.S. law and ordered them removed.”
Father Anthony Kathawa, parochial vicar of St. Thomas Chaldean Catholic Church in West Bloomfield, said many in the parish and surrounding Chaldean parishes have called, asking for help and not receiving many answers.
“There is a lot of pain, confusion, with them asking questions and getting now answers,” Father Kathawa told The Michigan Catholic, newspaper of the Detroit Archdiocese. “We have to lean on our faith, because there are so many questions.”
He said that Bishop Francis Y. Kalabat, who heads the Chaldean Catholic Eparchy of St. Thomas the Apostle, based in Southfield, “has requested every parish celebrate a special Mass and maintain a Holy Hour at every Chaldean parish in the area.”
Father Kathawa couldn’t confirm how many of his parishioners have been detained, saying there have been many.
“The people that are detained ... I never guessed they’d have a criminal background,” Father Kathawa said. “They are really involved in their parishes; they’ve brought great change to the community. Those who were convicted of crimes, they’ve paid their debt. Part of Christianity is believing in redemption, believing in forgiveness.”
19 June 2017
Some children in the Kiev Archeparchy of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church who have benefitted from CNEWA’s support express their appreciation. (photo: CNEWA)
We received these images from Anna Dombrovska, who works on projects for us in Ukraine. She writes:
The Kiev Archeparchy of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and its parishes pray for all those who donated and supported it through CNEWA. With this special prayer the people of the Kiev Archeparchy would like to thank all its donors for their generous support.
With support from CNEWA, parishes have been helping resettle women, orphans and families from Donbass.
They have been helping those in need and now continue to build a strong church in Ukraine.
We continue to be uplifted and inspired by the generosity of our donors — and grateful for their continued support. We add our voice to those of the good people of Ukraine, to say to our donors, “Thank you and God bless you.” We pray for you!
16 June 2017
Altar servers make their way to the Divine Liturgy at the Orthodox cathedral in Antioch. Read more about Turkey’s Melting Pot, and the many faiths that reside there, in the May 2011 edition of ONE. (photo: Sean Sprague)
15 June 2017
Svetlana Kikadze, 70, receives physical therapy for her rheumatism at the Caritas clinic in Tbilisi, Georgia. The clinic seeks to help elderly pensioners who have fallen through the cracks — those abandoned by family and friends and who are often homeless and displaced. Read more about how the church cares for those who are Penniless, Bruised and Sick in the November 2008 edition of ONE. (photo: Molly Corso)