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5 December 2014
This January 2013 photo shows Maysoon Esso and her daughter Rana living in their apartment in Amman, Jordan. Five members of the Esso family had taken refuge in Jordan from northern Iraq about a year before. The father was still waiting to leave Iraq and join them. To support to those who have been displaced by violence in Iraq, click here. (photo: Cory Eldridge)
4 December 2014
Tags: Refugees Iraqi Christians Jordan Iraqi Refugees
Members of the Rifo family gather in their temporary dwelling in Sulimaniyeh, Iraqi Kurdistan.
(photo: Don Duncan)
The Autumn edition of ONE features as its cover story a dramatic glimpse into the lives of Iraqis who have fled from ISIS and settled in Kurdistan. It includes profiles of four different families, including the Rifos:
The Rifos are one of a dozen or so Chaldean families that have found shelter at the center in Sulimaniyeh. During the day, they sit in the common area, watching news on TV or discussing events back home, notably the ongoing war between ISIS and the Kurdish defense forces, known as the Peshmerga. For meals and at night, each family retires to its own room and lays out foam mattresses. There, they bed down for the night. In the Rifos’ area, there are six people, including the grandmother, sharing one room.
“The moment we crossed the checkpoint into Iraqi Kurdistan, I didn’t know if I should cry or if I should laugh,” recalls Ibtihaj Rifo of their nocturnal exodus. “The first thing I said to my family is: ‘We have become displaced people. Now we will be receiving food and aid from people. We will have to queue for the shower and the bathroom.’ ”
While this is true, the queues are shorter in Sulimaniyeh than in Erbil, the Kurdish city closest to the occupied Christian areas. For this reason, Erbil is currently the most overburdened and chaotic emergency response zone. Many families arriving to Erbil, like the Rifos, found no space to stay comfortably there and so they moved deeper into Iraqi Kurdistan, to Sulimaniyeh.
It’s been over two months since the Rifo family fled home and, like many others, they are still coming to terms with the trauma.
Continue reading their story at this link. Be sure to explore other profiles and features in the Autumn edition, as well.
And to help support families like the Rifos, please visit our giving page.
3 December 2014
People become emotional as more than 100,000 devotees fill the Chavara shrine on a hilltop at Mannanam, India, on 23 November, as Saint Kuriakose Elias Chavara was canonized at the Vatican, along with Saint Euphrasia Eluvathingal, who also was from Kerala.
(photo: CNS/Anto Akkara)
India is celebrating the canonization of two new saints:
More than 100,000 pilgrims thronged the Chavara shrine in southern Kerala state as Kuriakose Elias Chavara was canonized by Pope Francis on 23 November at the Vatican along with Euphrasia Eluvathingal, a member of the religious order founded by St. Chavara.
Thousands of people patiently waited in line for hours ahead of the live telecast of the canonization, which began at mid-afternoon local time, to pray at the tomb of St. Chavara, founder of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate, a Syro-Malabar Catholic order.
“I wanted to celebrate this great day here,” Joseph Parayil, who had traveled more than 60 miles to be at the shrine to watch the ceremony, told Catholic News Service.
As Pope Francis pronounced the canonization of the two saints, even elderly women applauded as they watched the telecast on one of the dozen giant screens placed around the premises of the hilltop shrine.
St. Chavara lived at the shrine for 33 years until 1866.
Soon after the Vatican ceremony more than 100 priests concelebrated a Mass of thanksgiving for the pilgrims.
“Today the spirituality of India has reached the heavens. Father Chavara founded the first Indian religious congregation,” said Bishop Thomas Koorilos Chakkalapadickal of the Syro-Malankara Diocese of Tiruvalla during his homily.
Born in 1805, Chavara was ordained a priest in 1829. Two years later, he co-founded the Carmelite of Mary Immaculate, the first indigenous congregation. It now more than 3,000 professed members.
In 1866, Father Chavara also founded the Congregation of Mount Carmel, a women’s congregation with 6,500 members.
Oommen Chandy, Kerala’s chief minister and an Orthodox Christian, and Hindu ministers in his cabinet stood around St. Chavara’s tomb in front of the altar before the final blessing.
“With Father Chavara and Sister Euphrasia becoming saints, the entire Kerala society is being blessed today,” he told the pilgrims after the two-hour Mass.
Besides “setting off a spiritual renewal” among the Christians, Chandy reiterated that St. Chavara paved way for many social changes in Kerala.
By insisting that churches open “pallikoodam” (a school attached to church) to educate the low castes who were not allowed to enter schools at the time, the chief minister pointed out that “Father Chavara laid the foundation for the educational revolution of our state.”
Kerala is the most literate and educationally advanced state in India because of the work of the Catholic Church, which runs nearly half of the 15,000 private primary schools in the state. Catholics comprise less than 12 percent of Kerala’s population of 35 million.
Those attending the ceremonies were pleased by the canonizations.
“I am blessed and happy,” said Beeyar Prasad, a Hindu TV programmer. He delivered the concluding speech, describing St. Chavara’s legacy at Mannanam, during a rally concluding the celebrations that began with a rosary procession on the eve of the canonization.
“I am a lover of poetry and it is the beautiful poems and writings of Father Chavara that has made me his fan,” Prasad said.
“His writing on family life is relevant for every family whether Christian or Hindu,” he added.
2 December 2014
CNEWA provides displaced Syrian children with food, clothing and school supplies.
(photo: Mitchell Prothero/Polaris)
Yesterday, we learned the United Nations World Food Program has suspended its voucher program, which feeds more than 1.7 million Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt, because of funding shortfalls.
“For refugees already struggling to survive the harsh winter,” cites a World Food Program statement, “the consequences of halting this assistance will be devastating.”
Syrian refugees living in camps and informal settlements depend on the assistance, as the host countries are overwhelmed by the enormity of need and lack the necessary resources. With winter settling in, the living conditions of the refugees are extremely precarious. Refugees lack proper housing, clothing and health care.
Yesterday, funding partners in Europe — including Kindermissionswerk — awarded CNEWA grants in the amount of $222,972 to assist CNEWA provide Syrian infants and school-age children with milk, diapers, winter clothing and school supplies.
Additional grants from Kindermissionswerk and Misereor, totaling $125,000, were also received for the needs of Iraqi children and medical supplies for CNEWA’s clinic in the Martha Schmouny camp in Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan.
On this Giving Tuesday, give to CNEWA. Your gift will make a difference for innocent families devastated by war, power and greed.
1 December 2014
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople kisses Pope Francis as they embrace during an ecumenical prayer service in the patriarchal Church of St. George in Istanbul on 29 November.
(photo: CNS/Paul Haring)
26 November 2014
In this 2005 photo, Manna Gebreyons, a teacher at a school run by the Ethiopian Catholic Eparchy of Adigrat, shares a meal with her mother, left, her brother and another teacher from the school. To learn more about the role of Catholic schools in Ethiopia, read Making the Grade in Ethiopia, from the March 2006 issue of ONE. Last year, we also spotlit the meal programs that have been vital to the success of these institutions. (photo: Sean Sprague)
25 November 2014
Tags: Ethiopia Education Catholic education Hunger
In this 2011 photo, a shop owner in the market of Hamdaniya, a city in northern Iraq's Nineveh plains, tends to his produce. Though ONE took a look at the lives of Iraqi Christians seeking shelter in the north in A New Genesis in Nineveh, the landscape has changed dramatically for the worse in the last three years. CNEWA continues to accompany displaced Iraqis in their time of need. To join in this mission of compassion and hope, please click here. (photo: Safin Hamed)
24 November 2014
Tags: Iraq Iraqi Christians Iraqi Refugees Relief
A girl collects water outside of the 300-square-foot open shed serving as St. Alphonsa Church, the newest parish in the Eparchy of Bijnor, in northern India. To learn more about the Dalit Christians of this region, read Cast Aside, in the Summer 2014 issue of ONE. (photo: John Mathew)
21 November 2014
Tags: India Syro-Malabar Catholic Church Indian Christians Indian Catholics Dalits
A little boy and his family in Gaza live with the aftermath of last summer’s war. A story in the Autumn edition of ONE explores the impact of that war on the children, with scars that are often invisible. (photo: Shareef Sarhan)
20 November 2014
A boy looks through a hole in a tent at Syria’s Bab Al-Salam camp for displaced in Azaz, near the Turkish border, on 19 November. To help Syrian refugees fleeing war, visit this giving page.
(photo: CNS/Hosam Katan, Reuters)