22 March 2017
The restored Edicule is seen during a ceremony marking the end of restoration work on the site of Jesus’s tomb at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre on 22 March.
(photo: CNS/Sebastian Scheiner, Reuters)
Less than a year after restoration work began, the Edicule — the traditional site of Jesus’ burial and resurrection — was inaugurated in an ecumenical ceremony led by representatives of the Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, and Armenian churches, including Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople.
The 200-year-old structure was rehabilitated for the first time after Israeli authorities deemed it unsafe and leaders from the three churches that share custody of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre came to an agreement for the work to proceed.
Some did not believe the churches could overcome their centuries-old disagreements, but the project was a sign that “with God, nothing is impossible,” said Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, apostolic administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem.
“This apparent mission impossible became possible because we allowed God to enlighten our thoughts and our eyes and our relations. Things do not change by themselves. If we are here for this celebration, it is because the different churches and leaders were able to hear the voice of God and understand and realize and accept that it was time to build new relations between us of trust and respect,” he said.
Franciscan Father Francesco Patton, custos of the Holy Land, said it was “providential coincidence” that this year, as the Edicule is restored, all the Christian denominations celebrate Easter on the same date. It was also fitting, he said, that it was around the Church of the Holy Sepulchre that the churches regained a closer relationship.
Armenian Patriarch Nourhan Manougian took the opportunity to mention the three other denominations with a presence in the church — the Assyrian Orthodox, the Ethiopian Orthodox and the Coptic Orthodox. He asked that the Anglican and Russian Orthodox churches be allowed to offering their holy liturgy at the Edicule once a year, after Easter.
“We must pray earnestly to Jesus Christ to give us the wisdom to be able to absorb literally between ourselves his greatest commandment of love,” said the patriarch. “We have no difference in regard to this commandment and, unless we accept his commandment and express it in our lives and deeds, how can we consider ourselves Jesus’ disciples?”
Several hundred local faithful, pilgrims and international dignitaries filled the main area of the basilica where the Edicule is located, taking pictures and videos of the pink-stoned structure. The metal girders that British Mandate authorities added in 1947 to keep it standing have been removed.
“It is a very exciting day which hasn’t happened in hundreds of years. It is a very big step, we are all united in celebration,” said Marlen Mauge, 53, a Catholic from Jerusalem. “We would like to have more than one united celebration. It is a good message to the world.”
Antonia Moropoulou, a professor at the National Technical University of Athens, directed the work at the site.
21 March 2017
For two decades, Caritas Georgia has provided a wide range of services — including classes and health care — to the most vulnerable populations of the Caucasus. Read a letter from the director of Caritas Georgia in the Winter 2016 edition of ONE. (photo: Antonio di Vico)
16 March 2017
Tags: Education Georgia Caritas Caucasus
In this image from 2012, seminarians pray at St. Ephrem’s Major Seminary in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia — one of 11 seminaries to receive a major donation this month from the
Koch Foundation. (photo: John E. Kozar)
This week, we were happy and grateful to receive news of a generous gift to CNEWA from the Koch Foundation, Inc., which will help support seminarians in seven countries that we serve.
This donation, totaling $128,000, includes seminaries in Ethiopia, Eritrea, Ukraine, Egypt, Lebanon, Romania and Iraq. The funds will go to support living expenses and the formation of young men at 11 different seminaries. But, that’s just the beginning. This is a gift that will keep on giving. By offering these men the means to continue learning and growing in their love of the Gospel, this gift will bring them even closer to sharing the Gospel with others. We look forward to the happy day they will be ordained, and be able to serve the people of God as priests.
Please keep these young men in your prayers — and remember, too, the generous benefactors at the Koch Foundation who are helping to make this possible.
15 March 2017
The Rev Androwas Bahus leads an early morning service at Sts. Peter and Paul Church in the city of Shefa-Amr, Israel. Learn more about A Day in the Life of an Israeli Priest in the Winter 2015 edition of ONE. (photo: Ilene Perlman)
13 March 2017
In this image from February, Pope Francis greets an elderly nun during his general audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican. Monday 13 March marks the four-year anniversary of his election to the papacy. (photo: CNS/L’Osservatore Romano, handout)
10 March 2017
Sister Arousiag Sajonian heads the Armenian Sisters of the Immaculate Conception in Gyumri. Read about her work and An Unshakable Faith in the Autumn 2016 edition of ONE.
(photo: Dima Chikvaidze)
9 March 2017
A displaced Iraqi woman prays the rosary in 2014 inside St. Joseph Church in Erbil, Iraq. The church gives refuge to thousands of people who were displaced by ISIS.
(photo: CNS/Daniel Etter, CRS)
Given the ongoing crises in the Middle East, North American, European and other Western nations will need to be more generous in coming to the aid of refugees and displaced peoples, said two prominent church leaders.
The answer is continued assistance, “not to close the gates of the countries where people are knocking for survival,” said Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi, former Vatican representative to U.N. agencies in Geneva.
Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, retired archbishop of Los Angeles, told journalists that nations like Lebanon and Jordan have been “very heroic” in accommodating large numbers of refugees, “as compared to many other countries, especially the United States, which I think is gravely at fault here.”
The archbishop and cardinal spoke about a 10-day visit to Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Greece to visit refugees and church-based organizations offering aid and assistance. The 9 March media event was hosted by the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.
“We saw humanity at its worst and humanity at its best on this journey,” Cardinal Mahony said. The worst was seeing situations “where men could so mistreat and maltreat other men, women and children.”
“On the other side, in the midst of all this suffering and pain, we found the best in the people,” who were involved in caring and bringing relief and aid to others, such as members of Catholic charities, international volunteers and nongovernmental organizations. “It was very inspiring.”
Both Archbishop Tomasi and Cardinal Mahony noted how the current populist sentiments in parts of Europe and the United States were negatively affecting the health, lives and dignity of millions of people needing accommodation and assistance.
“I can understand that with the political development of populist movements and xenophobic groups that politicians are concerned about limiting the massive arrival of people in the (European) Union,” Archbishop Tomasi said. However, he added, the consequence is people are trapped where they are, “they cannot go back and they cannot go forward,” and families often are broken up because they find themselves stuck in different countries.
A country’s right to regulate how many people come to them for resettlement needs to be respected, he said, but human rights and legal commitments to international conventions must also be respected, he said.
Making the problem worse, Cardinal Mahony said, was an approach taken during President Donald Trump’s election campaign, which “posed people who are different from you, (as) a threat to you, a threat to your jobs” and “they’re going to harm you.”
“This generalization of people who are different as a threat just compounds the issue and the problem,” he said.
The best way to handle resettlement, he added, is for the incoming family to have local families and communities, like a parish, reach out and help integrate them into the local culture.
While the world struggles to find a solution to the refugee crisis, “we need to support the programs that are making their lives less miserable,” such as those run by Catholic Relief Services and Jesuit Refugee Service, Archbishop Tomasi said.
“Compassion fatigue should have no room at this moment,” as millions of people are still in need, he said.
8 March 2017
Anahit Mkhoyan, director of Caritas Georgia, visits the Harmony Center, which serves the elderly in Tbilisi. To learn more about her remarkable life and career, read her Letter from Georgia in the current edition of ONE. (photo: Antonio di Vico)
6 March 2017
The Most. Rev. James M. Moynihan. (photo: Diocese of Syracuse)
We received word today that the retired bishop of Syracuse, James M. Moynihan, has died at the age of 84. Bishop Moynihan served as CNEWA’s associate secretary general from 1991 until 1995, when was named bishop of Syracuse.
The Catholic Sun newspaper today paid tribute:
“Today, we all join in mourning the death of Most Rev. James M. Moynihan who served as the 9th bishop of Syracuse from 1995-2009. In the 84th year of his life and the 60th year of his priesthood, the Lord has called Bishop Moynihan to Himself,” Bishop Robert J. Cunningham said in a statement announcing Bishop Moynihan’s death. “We thank him for a lifetime of service to the Church and in a very special way for his service to the Diocese of Syracuse.” We pray now that the evening has come, the fever of his life is over, his work is done and that God will give him a safe lodging, holy rest and peace forever.”
A native of Rochester, Bishop Moynihan was ordained and installed as the bishop of the Diocese of Syracuse on May 29, 1995. He retired on April 21, 2009.
His 14 years as ordinary included shining moments and dark days, from spearheading some of the most successful fundraising campaigns in the diocese’s history and supporting the sainthood cause of a local Franciscan sister to implementing parish reconfigurations and addressing the clergy sexual abuse crisis.
You can read more about his life and legacy at the Catholic Sun link.
As Bishop Cunningham so eloquently put it: “We pray now that the evening has come, the fever of his life is over, his work is done and that God will give him a safe lodging, holy rest and peace forever.”
3 March 2017
Siblings Lourdes, 10 (left), Weaver, 6 (center), and Lucien, 7 (right) — children of Iraqi refugee Azhar George Matti — play at their home in Amman, Jordan. To learn more about the lives of Iraqi Christians in Jordan, read Welcoming the Stranger in the current edition of ONE.
(photo: Tamara Abdul Hadi)