Current Issue
September, 2019
Volume 45, Number 3
15 May 2018
Greg Kandra

Mourners carry the body of 8-month-old Palestinian Laila al Ghandour, who died after inhaling tear gas at the Israel-Gaza border during a 15 May protest against the U.S embassy move to Jerusalem. (photo: CNS/Mohammed Salem, Reuters)

As the world witnesses “another outburst of hatred and violence, which is once again bleeding all over the Holy Land,” the head of Jerusalem’s Latin Patriarchate called for prayers for peace.

“We need to pray more for peace and our conversion and for all,” said Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, apostolic administrator of the patriarchate, or diocese.

The Associated Press reported that the same day the United States was inaugurating its embassy in Jerusalem, Israeli forces shot and killed 57 Palestinians and injured more than 2,700 during mass protests along the Gaza border 14 May. In addition, a baby died from tear gas inhalation, the Gaza Health Ministry said, bringing the death toll to 58.

“The lives of so many young people have once again been shut down and hundreds of families are mourning their loved ones, dead or wounded,” said the statement from Archbishop Pizzaballa. “As in a kind of vicious circle, we must condemn all forms of violence, any cynical use of human lives and disproportionate violence. Once again we are forced by circumstances to plead and cry out for justice and peace!”

He announced that 19 May, the eve of Pentecost, the church would hold a prayer vigil at the Church of St. Stephen at L’Ecole Biblique. He asked the entire diocese to dedicate a day of prayer and fasting for the peace of Jerusalem and that the liturgy on Pentecost be dedicated to prayer for peace.

“We must truly pray to the Spirit to change our hearts to better understand his will and to give us the strength to continue to work for justice and peace,” the archbishop said.

Palestinians claim Jerusalem as their capital and now feel that, with its embassy there, the U.S. cannot be a fair broker in the peace process with Israel.

Many Israelis see opening the embassy as the long-awaited official recognition of Jerusalem as their capital and the fulfillment of a promise made by numerous U.S. presidents to move the building from Tel Aviv.

Tags: Gaza Strip/West Bank Palestine Israel Holy Land Israeli-Palestinian conflict

14 May 2018
Catholic News Service

The Rev. Ragheed Aziz Ganni is among four Iraqi clergymen who will be investigated for possible sainthood. They were martyred outside their church in Mosul in 2007. (photo: AsiaNews)

The Vatican has given its permission for the opening of the sainthood cause of an Iraqi priest and three deacons who were murdered by armed gunmen in Mosul.

The Congregation for Saints’ Causes gave the “nihil obstat” (“no objection”), permitting a diocesan bishop to open a local inquiry into a candidate’s sanctity, according to Fides, the news agency of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, 14 May.

Fides confirmed that the Eparchy of St. Thomas the Apostle of Detroit would be handling the process because of the difficult conditions facing the church in Mosul.

Chaldean Father Ragheed Aziz Ganni, his cousin Deacon Basman Yousef Daud, and Deacons Wahid Hanna Isho and Gassan Isam Bidawed were killed on 3 June 2007, in front of the Holy Spirit Church in Mosul. Father Ganni had just finished celebrating Mass for the feast of Pentecost.

The three deacons had been accompanying Father Ganni because of increasing threats against him by militants. According to AsiaNews, armed gunman shot the four men and then booby-trapped their car with explosives to prevent others from safely recovering the bodies.

Father Ganni was born in Mosul in 1972. He graduated in engineering and studied theology from 1996 to 2003 at Rome’s Pontifical Irish College and the Pontifical University of Thomas Aquinas the “Angelicum,” where he received a license in ecumenical theology.

Tags: Iraq Iraqi Christians Priests

11 May 2018
Greg Kandra

Awatef Youssef, from Qaraqosh, stands with her husband, Amir Marzina, and son, Manuel, in their temporary home in northern Iraq. They are among the thousands who fled ISIS in 2014 and are now trying to start over. A religious sister writes about her experience ministering to these displaced families in A Letter From Iraq in the current edition of ONE. (photo: Raed Rafei)

Tags: Iraq Iraqi Christians

9 May 2018
Greg Kandra

Toddler Joao Bento wears a pope outfit during the general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican on 9 May. (photo: CNS/Claudio Peri, EPA)

Tags: Children

8 May 2018
Dan Russo, Catholic News Service

The Rev. Alan Dietzenbach listens to Adib Kassas, acting imam at the mosque in Dubuque, Iowa, speak about Arabic calligraphy and the decoration around the arch. The artwork was a gift from Catholic parishes in Dubuque to the center as a sign of friendship. (photo: CNS/Dan Russo, The Witness)

Artist Donna Slade had never set foot in a mosque before beginning work on the intricate calligraphy in Arabic that now decorates the arch above the central point in the worship space at the Tri-State Islamic Center.

“I really enjoyed it,” Slade said of the experience. “It was great working with them.”

Slade, a member of Church of the Nativity in Dubuque, collaborated with Fayez Alasmary, a young member of the mosque, and Adib Kassas, a member of the mosque’s advisory board who serves as an imam. The trio perfected the curved lettering that expresses a verse from the Quran, the Muslim holy book.

The artwork was a gift from the Catholic parishes of Dubuque to the Islamic community. Muslims have been present in the city for years, with the first permanent worship space opening in December 2016.

“This is a gift from them expressing their welcome to us, and expressing that they are interested in building a relationship and cooperating together,” said Kassas, a physician who arrived in Dubuque from Syria about 13 years ago. “I really feel it’s a great gesture for them. Muslims have loved this gesture, accepted it and welcomed it.”

Aref Khatib, Islamic Center president, explained that the gift has a deep significance for both communities.

“It means to me bringing everyone together and realizing we should not be discriminating and we should not be judging one another. That’s God’s job, not our job,” Khatib told The Witness, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Dubuque.

“When you look at the universe, everything is different color and different shapes, just like human beings are and that’s the beauty of Allah’s creation. We should embrace the diversity,” he said.

The idea for the gift came from the Rev. Alan Dietzenbach, parochial vicar at St. Raphael Cathedral and St. Patrick Parish.

“I’ve always been inspired by my confirmation saint, St. Francis of Assisi, who during the height of the Crusades, crossed Christian and Muslim battle lines to meet the sultan and seek to be an instrument of peace and understanding in the midst of conflict,” Father Dietzenbach said. “When we look back at the history of Christianity and Islam, we tend to focus on the times of contention and overlook all the times when these two religions coexisted and faithful Christians and Muslims worked and peacefully lived side-by-side.”

The effort grew from the relationships built by John Eby, associate professor of history at Loras College and a member of the cathedral parish, through his work with the Children of Abraham. The organization encourages dialogue among Jews, Christians and Muslims.

“This is a great example of how to love your neighbor as yourself and to show hospitality and inclusion,” Eby said. “An important concept in Islam is ‘ihsan.’ It means to beautify your actions and beautify the world. Not only is this [art] beautifying this space, it’s literally taking this action of hospitality and making it the most beautiful expression of hospitality.”

The verse painted over the archway from the Quran translates in English to read, “Oh, people. We have created you from a male and a female and made you into branches of humanity and different gatherings into nations so that you may come to know each other. Behold the most honored among you in the eye of God is the most deeply conscious of him. Truly, God is all-knowing, all-aware.”

Kassas called the Catholic community’s gift “an example and an application of this verse.”

“What this passage talks about is that we all come from one origin,” he said. “People divide themselves into groups and isolate themselves from others, thinking that they are better than them, but the truth is, God said we have made you into that kind of division to get to know one another.”

Father Dietzenbach hopes the art will serve as a lasting symbol of cooperation between the two groups.

“I hope that this gift is a sign of solidarity and love and a reminder that religious freedom is a right we hold together as we strive to make our own community a place of peace, understanding, and kinship,” he said.

Tags: Muslim United States Muslim Americans

7 May 2018
Greg Kandra

Young men crowd around to watch the monthly quiz in the yard at Shano Prison in Ethiopia. To learn how lay people are ministering to these young men, offering them guidance and direction, read ‘For I Was in Prison’ in the March 2018 edition of ONE. (photo: Don Duncan)

Tags: Ethiopia

4 May 2018
Greg Kandra

Sister Femily of the Sisters of the Destitute in Marayoor, India, leads a self-help group for adults. Discover how she and other sisters are Breaking the Cycle of addiction and alcoholism in Kerala in the March 2017 edition of ONE. (photo: Don Duncan)

Tags: India Sisters

3 May 2018
Greg Kandra

Nermine, part of a group of young Iraqi refugees in Jordan, hopes one day to return to her homeland. Learn how she and others are being supported and helped by the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary, who are Inspiring the Faithful in Jordan, in the current edition of ONE. (photo: Nader Daoud)

Tags: Iraqi Christians Jordan Iraqi Refugees

2 May 2018
Greg Kandra

Kindergarteners participate eagerly at Rosa Gatorno Kindergarten not far from Boditi, Ethiopia. Read about their teachers in The Habit of Learning in the March 2018 edition of ONE. (photo: Don Duncan)

Tags: Ethiopia Children Sisters Catholic education

1 May 2018
Greg Kandra

Religious brothers sit in the library at St. Francis Theological College in India. Learn how India is helping form The New Priests in the current edition of ONE. (photo: Meenakshi Soman)

Tags: India Seminarians

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