16 January 2019
In this image from 2014, Rabbi Abraham Skorka of Buenos Aires and Pope Francis embrace after visiting the Western Wall in Jerusalem. The pope has written the introduction to an Italian book of Christian and Jewish commentaries on the first five books of the Bible. Rabbi Skorka wrote one of the commentaries. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)
A few decades of respectful Catholic-Jewish dialogue pale in comparison to “19 centuries of Christian anti-Judaism,” Pope Francis said, so Catholics must continue to ask forgiveness and forge new bonds of respect and friendship with the Jewish community.
“We must work with greater intensity to ask pardon and repair the damage,” the pope said in an introduction to a new Italian book of Christian and Jewish commentaries on passages from the first five books of the Bible, which are known collectively as the Torah or Pentateuch.
Pope Francis said the volume of commentaries, “The Bible of Friendship,” is an important tool for helping Catholics recognize the Jewish roots of their faith and for promoting concrete Catholic-Jewish cooperation in helping others.
“It is of vital importance for Christians to discover and foster knowledge of the Jewish tradition in order to understand themselves more authentically,” the pope said, and studying the Bible is an essential part of that effort.
Reading the Hebrew Scriptures together, he said, helps people discover the richness of the word of God. “The common objective will be to witness together to the love of the Father throughout the world.”
“The values, traditions and great ideas that characterize Judaism and Christianity must be placed at the service of humanity without ever forgetting the sacredness and authenticity of friendship,” he said.
“For Jews as for Christians there is no doubt that love of God and love for one’s neighbor summarize all the commandments,” he said. “Therefore, Jews and Christians must feel like brothers and sisters, united by the same God and by a rich, common spiritual patrimony on which to base and continue to build the future.”
15 January 2019
Tags: Pope Francis Jewish-Catholic relations
The Rev Thomas Rosica interviews Tim McCarthy, who manages CNEWA’s digital assets, and Msgr. John E. Kozar, CNEWA’s president, for Canada’s Salt + Light Television. (photo: CNEWA)
We were delighted to welcome to the New York office this morning the Rev. Thomas Rosica, CSB, who is the CEO of Salt + Light Catholic Media Foundation and the guiding light behind Salt + Light TV, the booming Catholic television channel in Canada, which now streams online around the world.
Father Rosica is producing a segment on CNEWA for the channel. As part of the story, he interviewed our president, Msgr. Kozar, our digital assets manager, Tim McCarthy and multimedia editor Deacon Greg Kandra about the work we do and how we share that work through our magazine and online.
Msgr. Kozar and Tim McCarthy explain CNEWA’s mission during the interview with Father Rosica. (photo: CNEWA)
It was a privilege and a pleasure to host him and his production team. We look forward to being able to share our story with others through Salt + Light. Stay tuned!
Msgr. Kozar and Father Rosica. (photo: CNEWA)
14 January 2019
The Rev. D. Raed Badr holds an Iraqi infant during a baptism in Jordan on 11 January. The water used was from the River Jordan, at the site of Jesus’ baptism. Also pictured is the Rev. Simon Hijazin. Sunday 13 January marked the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.
(photo: CNS/courtesy of the Catholic Center for Studies and Media)
11 January 2019
Young Catholics from around the world pray at a church in United Arab Emirates in this undated photo. Approximately one million Catholics reside in the UAE as expatriate workers, according to the Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia. Pope Francis will visit Abu Dhabi, the UAE capital next month. (photo: CNS/Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia)
Catholics from around the world living in the United Arab Emirates are waiting with great anticipation for Pope Francis’ 3-5 February visit, the first papal trip to the Arabian Peninsula.
“Pope Francis is the ambassador of peace, courageously crossing borders and fostering personal encounters with religious leaders, heads of states and humanitarian organizations in the Arab world,” said the Rev. Johnson Kadukkan, parish priest at St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Abu Dhabi, where Pope Francis will stop for a private visit on 5 February before celebrating Mass at Zayed Sports City Stadium.
There are eight Catholic churches throughout the seven emirates of the UAE, with a ninth church under construction. Each church offers an extensive schedule of “weekend” Masses, all of which are full. Since the UAE is an Islamic country and Friday is considered a day of prayer for Muslims, Catholics attend weekend Mass on Friday or Saturday; Sunday is a workday.
St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Abu Dhabi, for example, has about 90,000 parishioners, with eight priests celebrating nearly 20 Masses during the weekend in various languages: Arabic, English, Tagalog, Spanish, French, Italian, German, Korean, Polish, Ukrainian, Urdu, Sinhalese and the Indian languages of Konkani, Malayalam and Tamil.
“The rulers of the UAE have been benevolent and tolerant, allowing us to practice our faith in the places of worship, and for this we are very thankful,” Father Kadukkan said.
Reflecting on the significance of Pope Francis’ visit, Joseph Khadige, a Lebanese who has been working in the UAE since 1982, told Catholic News Service that Pope Francis’ visit is “a sign from God. It is something we never thought would happen in our lifetime, for a pope to visit the UAE. The world should understand: This is not a small thing.”
Some people in the West confuse the UAE with Saudi Arabia, Khadige noted.
“So, when we say that 70,000 people attend a single church, they might say ‘impossible,’“ he said, in reference to the approximate number of parishioners at his parish, St. Michael’s in Sharja, an emirate close to Dubai.
On the contrary, Khadige said, “Here in the UAE, we practice our faith in full.”
From his experience, Khadige, general manager for an Italian global firm, has noticed that many Christians from the West who are lukewarm or practically atheists when they first arrive in the UAE as expatriate workers eventually are influenced by their active Christian peers.
“They see a lot of staff in their companies and organizations are going to church.” Little by little, he said, they are inspired to return to the church.
“They are now believers, and they are calling the priests to bless their house, to bless their children. And they enroll their children in catechism classes to be more active,” Khadige said, noting that in every church, there are around 5,000 children enrolled in such classes.
“It’s not just about the numbers. It’s about what is happening in a Muslim country,” he said.
Ed Magbag of the Philippines, a project manager with a design and engineering firm who has worked in the UAE for 14 years, notes that the UAE “is like a home away from home for all Christians.”
Parishioners of St. Joseph’s Cathedral, he and his wife are active in Couples for Christ, a global lay ecclesial movement, which has about 15,000 active members in the UAE.
Pope Francis’ visit “will show the world that despite different cultures, races, religions and practices, there is respect, love and coexistence of all local people and expatriates in the UAE,” Magbag told CNS.
Magbag considers Pope Francis’ visit to the UAE as “the best gift,” that “rekindles the fire in the heart of the faithful,” who are expecting spiritual nourishment.
Like many fellow Catholics in the UAE, the Magbags cut short their vacation to their homeland to be present in the UAE for Pope Francis’ visit.
“This is one experience we must not miss,” he said. Many workers are asking for a day of leave for the Pope’s 5 February Mass at the stadium.
“Pope Francis symbolizes God’s presence on earth and so, when the Pope Francis is visiting the UAE, it is as if God is visiting his children in the Middle East, not only Christians, but our Muslim brethren as well,” Magbag added.
“Make Me a Channel of Your Peace” is the theme for this papal visit, taken from the opening words of the Prayer of Peace of St. Francis Assisi, from whom Pope Francis has taken his name. The logo of the visit is a dove bearing an olive branch.
“Pope Francis is building bridges and creating an environment for peaceful dialogue to achieve peace and harmony globally,” Father Kadukkan told CNS.
“The UAE government has made huge strides by inviting Pope Francis to the country, and this is a step in the right direction to achieve tolerance, both within the Emirates as well as within the region,” the Indian priest told CNS.
The UAE government is organizing the visit with support from the Catholic Church.
Additionally, Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE president, has declared 2019 as the Year of Tolerance.
Approximately 1 million Catholics reside in the UAE as foreign workers, according to the Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia.
They come from the Middle East, Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas, with the majority from India and the Philippines.
10 January 2019
Tags: Muslim Arabian Peninsula
Sister Veronique administers the Franciscan Sisters’ School in Beni Suef, Egypt. In the current issue of ONE magazine, read more about how the sisters are bringing Signs of Hope to the region. (photo: Roger Anis)
9 January 2019
Devaki, 76, awaits the visit of a mobile care unit, which helps her care for her disabled son.
(photo: Meenakshi Soman)
The current edition of ONE takes readers on a journey into some of the poorest parts of India, where a mobile clinic is bringing healing and hope:
“Some of these families live in remote and far out places. They live by themselves in jungles. Access is difficult. But we find a way,” Father Elambasseril says.
R. Vasudevan lies on the floor of a small room. He lives in a small hut in the Dalit village of Ittakaveli. The tropical humidity is at its peak this late October afternoon. Mosquitoes buzz around.
Vasudevan was 21 when he fell off his motorbike. People around him thought he was drunk; no one called for help. Because of the delay in medical attention, his paralysis from the waist down became permanent.
“I’ve been bedridden for the last 27 years now,” the 48-year-old says. “But I am mentally strong and have been able to survive this.” Despite his suffering, he radiates good cheer.
His mother, Devaki, 76, is his full-time caregiver. “I have three daughters,” she says. “They visit occasionally and help bathe him.”
Both Devaki and Vasudevan look forward to their weekly visit from the Mother Teresa care team. “The priest prays. The volunteers and the nurse make conversation. I have visitors,” Vasudevan says, smiling.
Read more about Healing the Forgotten in the December 2018 edition of ONE.
8 January 2019
A boy prepares to receive Communion during a Divine Liturgy marking the feast of the Nativity at St. George Ukrainian Catholic Church in New York City on 7 January. The Ukrainian Catholic Church and other Eastern Catholic churches celebrate Christmas according to the Julian calendar.
(photo: CNS/Gregory A. Shemitz)
7 January 2019
Tags: Ukrainian Catholic Church
The Rev. Tyler Strand of Resurrection Byzantine Catholic Church in Smithtown, N.Y., holds a crucifix as he blesses the waters of the Nissequogue River in Smithtown during a prayer service on 6 January marking the feast of the Theophany. The feast, celebrated by Eastern churches, commemorates the revelation of the Holy Trinity through Christ's baptism in the Jordan River. (photo: CNS/Gregory A. Shemitz)
4 January 2019
Elizabeth, from Aleppo, has her vital signs taken before a doctor visit. (photo: Tamara Abdul Hadi)
The December 2018 edition of ONE takes readers to A Refuge in Lebanon in the Beirut suburb of Bourj Hammoud, to meet some of the people at the Karagheusian Socio-Medical Center:
The center is helping those who have been uprooted to set their feet once more on firm ground — enabling them to find opportunities, rediscover community and rekindle hope.
The story of the Karagheusian Center begins after the death of 14-year-old Howard Karagheusian from pneumonia in New York City in 1918.
His Armenian American parents resolved to establish a humanitarian mission — the Howard Karagheusian Foundation — in their son’s memory, focusing at first on sheltering, feeding and educating orphaned children who had survived the Armenian Genocide. The organization has operated in Lebanon, Syria and Armenia ever since — now for more than 95 years.
A team of 40 doctors, plus a staff of 40, serves about 4,000 patients a month at the Bourj Hammoud clinic. Of those, 3,000 are Syrian refugees and 1,000 from the Lebanese host community. About two-thirds of the clinic’s current beneficiaries are Muslim. “The health center is available to everyone, because health is for all,” stresses Lebanon Field Director Serop Ohanian.
In Bourj Hammoud, the Syrian refugee population is still growing, notes Mr. Ohanian. They live in overcrowded conditions, typically with two or three families squeezed together in small, dismal apartments that rarely see the light of day. During Lebanon’s humid, cold and rainy winters, moisture hangs on concrete walls, frequently turning into mold, sparking respiratory conditions among residents.
“Their situation is catastrophic, and getting worse. We’re seeing more Syrian refugees entering into poverty,” Mr. Ohanian says.
Read more in the current edition of ONE.
3 January 2019
Tags: Lebanon Refugees
Msgr. Kozar, accompanying a group of religious sisters, pays a visit to the Cremisan Valley in the West Bank in December 2017. (photo: John E. Kozar/CNEWA)
In the current edition of ONE, CNEWA’s president Msgr. John E. Kozar reflects on the meaning of “accompaniment” — and how we at CNEWA have made this central to our mission:
We often describe our ministry at CNEWA as one of “accompaniment” of the Eastern Catholic churches on behalf of the Holy Father and in the name of the church. It is important we understand the breadth of this description and thus appreciate in a fuller way the importance of our “good works.”
Webster’s Dictionary tells us that to “accompany” means to “go somewhere as a companion or an escort.” For CNEWA, walking with others can take many forms. We offer guidance and support, expertise and insight, and always with a spirit of encouragement and love.
Some might think that our accompaniment only means financial support. Of course, our material support — thanks to your generosity — is critically important. In many instances, CNEWA is not just the primary source of financial support, but the only external benefactor. This is the case with hundreds of individual program pieces and institutional components.
But our commitment to this journey with the church takes many other forms besides financial subsidies or programmatic distributions.
Sometimes we are called to assist the local church in determining the priorities for addressing pastoral and material needs. Again, we draw on our broader experience from CNEWA’s world and are able to give helpful insights to church leaders about real priorities.
We accompany them.
I think of a number of instances where religious congregations, sometimes cloistered and out of the public eye, have come to our regional office seeking some technical assistance, perhaps looking for help with an emergency plumbing problem, a leaking roof or an electric malfunction. CNEWA, of course, is not in the contracting business or home repair business, but since we are on the ground for so many years and have established relationships with many service providers, we are able to offer immediate comfort and security, helping them to secure reputable and honest contractors, engineers or craftsmen.
We accompany them.
You can read more and see more pictures at the link. And check out the video below, in which Msgr. Kozar talks about this subject in some depth.
As we embark on a new year and look toward the future, CNEWA will continue to accompany those in need however we can, wherever we can — ever mindful of the hope and possibility that are so vital to the Gospel and the work we do.