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11 May 2015
In this image from 2014, Cardinal George Pell gestures as he leaves the extraordinary Synod of Bishops at the Vatican. The cardinal has praised efforts at dialogue between Christians and Jews on the 50th anniversary of Nostra Aetate. (photo: Paul Haring/CNS)
Cardinal praises efforts to Christians and Jews (Vatican Radio) Cardinal George Pell has praised the efforts of participants in an historic international gathering of Christian and Jewish leaders in Israel to mark the 50th anniversary of the promulgation of the Conciliar declaration Nostra Aetate, on the Church’s relation to non-Christian religions...
Ukraine port braces for attack (Bloomberg) Ukraine’s eastern port of Mariupol is bracing for attack. Army vehicles rumble down streets, windows are fortified to shield against shell damage and signs pasted to apartment blocks point people to their nearest bomb shelter. Locals fear pro-Russian separatists will unleash an assault on their city now that President Vladimir Putin has finished hosting world leaders to mark the Soviet triumph over Nazi Germany. “Everyone’s talking about it,” said Iryna Hrynko, 40, a designer who arrived last year after fleeing the rebels’ Donetsk stronghold. “Friends back home even tell me about an attack...”
Iraq begins training Sunni fighters to battle ISIS (The Wall Street Journal) Iraq’s Shiite-led government has begun training Sunni tribal fighters here in the western province of Anbar, in an urgent U.S.-backed initiative to stem recent advances by Islamic State. The setbacks in Anbar have exposed the need for trusted and equipped Sunni fighters to help turn momentum against Islamic State and dry up the extremists’ pool of potential recruits. “When the government fails, people turn to Islamic State,” said Mohammad Abu Risha, a young tribal sheik from Anbar who commands 150 fighters. “The tribes don’t trust the government, and the government doesn’t trust the tribes...”
Suicide bombers attack hospital in Syria (AFP) Suicide bombers attacked a hospital in northwestern Syria on Sunday morning where around 250 soldiers and civilians have been trapped for two weeks, a monitoring group said. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the rebels, including members of a branch of Al-Qaeda, stormed the complex in the town of Jisr al-Shughur, having already captured the surrounding area a fortnight ago. Harrowing pictures show the scale of the assault, with the suicide bomber’s car bomb sending fireballs and plumes of thick black smoke into the air. it is not yet known how many people were killed in the attack...
Russian Orthodox Church sends over a million dollars to Ukrainian refugees (Christian Telegraph) The Russian Orthodox Church sent Ukrainian refugees more than 75 million of rubles (nearly 1.5 million of dollars) during last 9 months, reports Christian Telegraph. “Last summer we organized the center of help for civilians of Ukraine. By 24 April 2015 we received more than 20,000 appeals from refugees,” stated Vladimir Legoida, Chairman of the Synodal Informational Department of the Russian Orthodox Church...
8 May 2015
Sister Ayelech chats with students during lunchtime at the Blessed Gebremichael Catholic School in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia. To read her account of her life and vocation, check out “A Letter from Ethiopia” in the Spring edition of ONE. (photo: Petterik Wiggers)
7 May 2015
An oil over acrylic painting called "Burden" by Syrian artist Essa Neima.
(photo: CNS/courtesy Essa Neima)
A young Syrian painter named Essa Neima is translating the turmoil of his homeland into striking works of art:
At a recent exhibit, his oil on acrylic works ranged from depictions of damaged church and mosque mosaics, to a broken icon of Mary and a refugee woman forced into servitude by the need to survive.
Most of the paintings were strewn with the deep red color of blood.
“It is like treasure ... covered by blood because (of) what’s happening now, the sad events happening in Syria,” Neima told Catholic News Service in Washington, thousands of miles from his country, where conflict has killed nearly 200,000 people and dispersed about 10 million others, according to U.N. Estimates.
...He said he hoped his paintings would encourage more Americans to stand up against the war and to learn more about Syria’s rich heritage and culturally diverse society, often overlooked in U.S. news outlets, which he claimed were simplifying his country’s conflict.
“My message from this art show (is) to be a little bit optimistic about the situation and see things you don’t see it in the media,” Neima said.
“If I will watch (U.S.) media ... I see just three parties: There is a government, there is a free army and there are the extremists, and you think that there (are) just three parties and they are killing each other. The reality is there (are) a lot of people (who) care just to live peacefully. They just want their life to be safe, or they want to raise kids, or to have jobs, like the normal life.”
But even Neima seemed hard-pressed to understand how a conflict so violent could erupt in multicultural Syria, where he said he counted many friends from among the Arab country’s predominantly Muslim population.
“The Syrian society, when I was living there, was ... a liberal society. It wasn’t like I support the extremists because I am Muslim, or like because I am Christian I will belong to so and so ... there was not this category,” Neima said.
He said he had lived in Washington since 2012 and was teaching art at the University of the District of Columbia, but wanted eventually to return to Syria, where his parents and seven siblings still live, “when the conflict is over” and “everyone there accepts the other ... and lives in peace.”
To learn how you can support the suffering people of Syria, visit this giving page.
6 May 2015
The Harlem Globetrotters meet the globetrotting Pope Francis after his General Audience
on 6 May. (photo: Vatican Radio)
A famous basketball team inducted a new member today:
Pope Francis met on Wednesday with members of the Harlem Globetrotters, the famous basketball team from the United States.
During the encounter, they gave the Holy Father a jersey with the name “Pope Francis” and the number 90.
The Harlem Globetrotters are an exhibition basketball team founded in the 1920’s, featuring African-American players at a time when most sports were segregated. In later years, they were known for adding comedy and stunts to their routines. They are currently in Italy as part of their 2015 international tour.
Before meeting the Pope, members of the team entertained members of the crowd, spinning their signature red-white-and-blue basketballs.
The Harlem Globetrotters met with Pope St. John Paul II in 2000, and named him an Honorary Harlem Globetrotter.
5 May 2015
Cardinal Leonardo Sandri visits with Iraqi refugees in Erbil. (photo: John E. Kozar)
CNEWA’s president Msgr. John E. Kozar is on a pastoral visit to Iraq, along with Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches.
Details of the trip, from VIS:
The cardinal, in his second trip to Iraq, brought Pope Francis’ blessing to Iraqi Christians and transmitted the acknowledgement and encouragement of the Authorities for their work in the difficult current context of Iraq in favour of Christians, other minorities and those who suffer as a result of the violence. From 1 to 3 May Cardinal Sandri visited Baghdad where he celebrated the Divine Liturgy in the Chaldean Cathedral of St. Joseph and lunched with refugees assisted by various ecclesial institutions. In Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, he met with the Roaco delegation which is planning aid projects in various areas of pastoral life and in the assistance of refugees.
In his final address to the bishops in Erbil, the cardinal referred to the “signs of light” he had seen in the Churches of Iraq during his visit: “The liturgy, the hymns, the trust in Mary, but above all the splendour of charity, through ordinary works and those linked to the various forms of welcome and pastoral assistance to displaced and persecuted people. I have encountered first hand the heroic dedication of the many priests who are truly good pastors, who do not flee and who stay beside their flock; I have been moved by the profound communion that precedes any theological discussion — although the latter is necessary — and any other form of ecumenical agreement, when priests of different Christian churches wish well to each other and, along with the laypeople, organise aid activities for displaced persons, or guide educational paths in schools and parishes. It is also good to see the collaboration that the various agencies of the Roaco have offered in the planning and implementation phases for the good of all of you.”...
...Cardinal Sandri concluded his address by invoking the protection of Our Lady and of St. Peter for Pope Francis, “always so close to the Christians of the Middle East and to all those who are persecuted,” and for their Beatitudes the Patriarchs Louis Raphael I Sako of the Chaldean Catholic Church, and Ignatius Joseph III Younan of the Syro-Catholic Church.
To help those seeking to rebuild their lives in Iraq, and support CNEWA’s mission there, please visit this giving page — and keep our brothers and sisters in Iraq in your prayers!
4 May 2015
A Caritas volunteer interviews Anastasiya Stulova in the city of Sviatogorsk. The impact of the conflict in Ukraine has been devastating, leaving many families displaced. To learn more, read “Casualties of War” in the Spring 2015 edition of ONE. (photo: Ivan Chernichkin)
1 May 2015
Children socialize outside the Good Shepherd Sisters’ school in Deir el Ahmar, Lebanon. Read more about caring for children and refugees in Lebanon in the Spring 2015 edition of ONE.
(photo: John E. Kozar/CNEWA)
30 April 2015
Raghad, a refugee from Mosul, Iraq, feeds her 4-year-old son Rami at St. Ephraim Syriac Orthodox Church in Jordan. Meet Iraqi refugees and learn how CNEWA is trying to help them in “Finding Sanctuary in Jordan” in the Spring edition of ONE. (photo: Nader Daoud)
29 April 2015
Lacking their own church in Tbilisi, Georgia, Armenian Catholics often celebrate the liturgy at Sts. Peter and Paul Latin Catholic Church. Meet the Rev. Mikael Khachkalian, the only Armenian Catholic priest in Tbilisi — pictured above — by checking out the profile of him in the Spring 2015 edition of ONE. (photo: Molly Corso)
28 April 2015
Residents of the Good Shepherd Sisters’ orphanage in Egypt take a break from their studies. To learn more about the orphanage, and how it is recovering from violence in the region, read “Out of the Ashes” in the Spring 2015 edition of ONE. (photo: David Degner)