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Volume 44, Number 4
25 April 2012
Molly Corso

Artur Chibotar cradles his son Giorgi at the Mkurnali Association’s shelter
for homeless youth and children in Tbilisi. (photo: Molly Corso)

Georgians love to love, and they especially love children.

As a mother of a preschooler, I am constantly being stopped by strangers eager to catch her smile, give her a piece of candy or make her laugh. Even passing acquaintances always seem to remember her name, and if I let it slip that she is sick — well, I am overcome with a flood of advice, home remedies, doctor recommendations and well wishes.

Georgia’s fantastic attitude toward children is one of the reasons I love living here, this paradise for kids.

So when I started reporting on the life of social orphans, children who are abandoned by their parents — left to either fend for themselves, or be raised by an institution — I was shaken by the cruel reality of life in Georgia outside the safe, nurturing embrace of family ties and relations.

It would be unfair and untrue to say that there are more children abandoned in Georgia than elsewhere. There are no real reliable statistics, but the accepted estimate puts roughly 1200 children in the state system. The number of children living on the street without status, however, is unknown.

I have lived in Russia, been to other places in the region, but was shocked to learn that this happened here, in the children’s paradise, too.

And I was curious, what happened to Georgian families — which typically extend to third and fourth cousins, and can encompass the distant relatives of in-laws and even their in-laws — that something as precious as a child would be allowed to waste away in an institution?

It would also be unfair to blame something particularly Georgian for the children who have fallen outside the traditional safety net of family, friends and relations — an intricate weave of blood and alliance that cushions the life and fate of most Georgians.

And the answer is simple: poverty. Poverty, and all its usual attendant ills, from alcoholism to prison, mental illness and abuse.

Poverty is the main cause for abandonment — a process that used to be as easy as dropping a child off at the door. Parents retained their rights, the child was never in danger of (or entitled to) an adoption, and the state provided some semblance of basic care: a bed to sleep in, food to eat and a school in which to study.

But in reality, the institutions were a non-solution, an empty space for children to tread time while they slowly became adults, before being spit back into the world, unprepared for anything more than another round in a cycle of poverty, neglect and want.

The new reforms for child welfare embrace an equally simple solution: instead of pushing new generations into poverty, the government is trying to pull parents and guardians back into society. Training programs, stipends and counseling are at the core of a new strategy to end a legacy that allowed material need to erode family ties.

Progress is slow, and there are many gaps to be filled. But for now, there are at least more options for children left outside of Georgia’s rich and nurturing network of family, friends and relations. Small group homes, foster care programs and, in rare cases, even adoption, are putting the emphasis on a child’s right to be wanted and to be nurtured into a member of society, prepared to shower down love on the next generation.

To read more about the challenges facing Georgia's street children and ongoing efforts to remedy this situation, see A Child's Rights Restored in the March 2012 issue of ONE.

Tags: Poor/Poverty Georgia Orphans/Orphanages Eastern Europe

24 April 2012
Erin Edwards

Children play at the Caritas camp held at the Samta Park Sanitarium in Nunisi, a mountain town in Georgia’s Karagauli region. (photo: Justyna Mielnikiewicz)

In the November 2007 issue of ONE, Paul Rimple reported on the invaluable effect summer camps have on children in the Caucasus:

“Many of the children come from very troubled families — very poor,” said Zizi Inadze, a staff member who grew up on the streets and, like Mr. Biganashvili, received assistance from Caritas. “Some had never seen fish or butter before, and even others never had seen a toilet. I was so shocked to see kids using a bucket, I couldn’t believe it.”

The camps of Sister Arousiag Sajonian and Father Witold Szulczynski are different in structure, but their aim is the same. They offer disadvantaged children a quintessential childhood experience that is normally available only to the more privileged. And it is a testament to the camps’ success that so many former campers have returned, as adults, to help educate the next generation.

A mere two carefree weeks can have an outsized impact on the children’s lives, said Ms. Inadze, the former street child who now works for Caritas.

“Here at the camps, they learn to open up and share a sense of warmth. They receive love and attention.”

For more, read Kid’s Camps in the Caucasus.

Tags: Children Georgia Caucasus Tbilisi

24 April 2012
John E. Kozar

In this 1996 image, Ethiopian Catholic priests concelebrate the liturgy on the Feast of St. Michael at St. Michael's parish, near Addis Ababa. (photo: Asrat Habte Mariam)

It is very early on Tuesday here in Addis Ababa. I’m eager to share with you yesterday's activities and to offer some insights on the life of the church in Ethiopia.

Yesterday began with an invitation from all the Catholic bishops of the country to meet with them while they gathered for a special weeklong workshop. They welcomed my observations, not only as the president of CNEWA but also as a brother priest. The metropolitan archbishop of Addis Ababa, Abune Berhaneyesus, offered profound thanks to CNEWA for accompanying the Ethiopian church for so many years on its missionary journey. This was really a very loving testimonial to all of you in our family for your many years of support for the poor and for the solidarity that we have demonstrated with the bishops of Ethiopia and to all the faithful.

I began my remarks by insisting that I am not an authority on anything theological or sociological or otherwise, and certainly not in reference to Ethiopia. I described my role with CNEWA as I have done oftentimes as being a parish priest from Pittsburgh, who loves the missions and is on loan to the world. They smiled and warmly invited me to continue.

I combined personal observations with the insights that some of them had personally shared with me during my visits of the past week or so, and also incorporated the considerations of many other diocesan priests, religious men and women, as well as lay leaders. Adding to this mix I also intertwined some of my experience as a parish priest and former vicar for clergy and former national director of the Pontifical Mission Societies.

The tone and substance of my remarks was very positive. As a brother priest, I offered them some practical suggestions and made some recommendations on how they might improve in certain areas, such as formation of their clergy; the ongoing formation of their clergy and laity; the leadership role of the episcopal conference; how they might address dialogue with men and women religious; and especially how they might better address the pastoral needs in their respective eparchies and in the country as a whole. They seemed to accept my presentation readily and expressed their determination in addressing the challenges facing the church in Ethiopia. I thanked them again for the honor of sharing with them and expressed CNEWA’s solidarity with all of them, stating that we will continue to journey with them as a church.

The challenges facing the Catholic Church in Ethiopia are unique. Let’s begin with the geography: Ethiopia is a huge country that seems much larger because of its poor road systems. It takes more than four days to drive from one tip to the other and these would be very wearying miles indeed. Without heavy-duty four-wheel-drive vehicles, it is impossible to navigate.

There are many ethnic, tribal and linguistic challenges and thus even communication is difficult at best in some areas of the country. Neighboring Ethiopia are countries that have suffered and continue to suffer from war, hunger, social injustice and political oppression. Ethiopia has herself experienced some great famines and an ugly war with Eritrea. Families have been cruelly separated from loved ones because they have been on the wrong side of a demarcation line.

Refugees arrive from bordering countries every day and bring further strain to the local economy. There is a constant reliance on global organizations for clothing, foodstuffs, water, medicines and other basics. The church is very involved in partnering with these agencies in bringing needed relief to the masses of people who are poor.

Ethiopia also has an interesting mix of rites: many of the dioceses are Latin and are called apostolic vicariates and other dioceses of the Ge’ez Catholic rite (which is Eastern) are called eparchies. Some of the bishops of one rite have actually grown up in the opposite rite. But generally, it seems to work. Most of the bishops and priests in many parts of the country are bi-ritual, and thus are comfortable in celebrating the liturgy well in either rite.

I also had a wonderful visit yesterday with our CNEWA family in Addis Ababa — that is, our staff. This group of very dedicated and dynamic workers welcomed me warmly. I took the opportunity to become better acquainted with them and to share with them how I value greatly not only their performance in the office, but their input in helping me to improve on the good works of CNEWA in Ethiopia. They very readily accepted this challenge as we journey together to discover more fully who we are, what we do and why we do it. We included in our visit a lovely lunch together at a local restaurant, a treat for them and also for me, as sharing a meal together is always the best way to heighten a visit.

Today, I have an audience with the patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Abune Paulos. I look forward to this great honor, as this church leader is a most important figure in Ethiopia and in this part of the world. I will also be visiting the major seminary here, of which CNEWA is a significant supporter. Stay tuned for more of these visits in my next report. Until next time, be assured of my prayers and the prayers of the poor. May God continue to bless you all.

Tags: Ethiopia Africa Msgr. John E. Kozar Ethiopian Catholic Church

24 April 2012
Greg Kandra

Patriarch Kirill leads a call to prayer Sunday at the Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow.
(photo: Reuters/Denis Sinyakov)

Tens of thousands gathered in Moscow on Sunday for a massive rally that blended protest and prayer.

Reuters has details:

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church warned tens of thousands of believers on Sunday they were “under attack by persecutors” on a nationwide day of prayer intended to heal divisions over a protest at the altar by a women’s punk band.

At least 40,000 people came to hear Patriarch Kirill lead them in prayer at Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow, where Pussy Riot performed a “punk prayer” on February 21 deriding the Church’s close relationship with President-elect Vladimir Putin.

The incident, and the arrest of three band members who face up to seven years in jail for their performance, has ignited a debate about the Church’s role in politics and left Kirill open to criticism from inside and outside the Church.

“We are under attack by persecutors,” said the Patriarch, his bass voice booming out through speakers from an outdoor stage where he stood under the cathedral’s steep white walls and golden domes, flanked by red- and gold-robed priests.

“The danger is in the very fact that blasphemy, derision of the sacred is put forth as a lawful expression of human freedom which must be protected in a modern society.”

Kirill depicts Christ the Savior as a symbol of the resurgence of the Orthodox Church since the end of atheist Soviet rule in 1991. It was rebuilt in the 1990s after being razed in the Soviet era and converted into a swimming pool.

But Kirill, who has steered the Church towards a more active role in politics, has faced criticism over his overt support for Putin, a former KGB spy whose 12-year rule has been described by the patriarch as a “miracle of God.”

You can read more here. The New York Times has more context, as well.

In the meantime, check out the story Orthodoxy Renewed from the March 2010 issue of ONE for more on challenges facing the Russian Orthodox Church.

Tags: Unity Russia Russian Orthodox Church Patriarchs

23 April 2012
John E. Kozar

In this photo from 2010, Abba Groum leads a retreat for students at the Galilee Center
in Debre Zeit. (photo: Peter Lemieux)

I have just come from a wonderful dinner at the home of my host here in Ethiopia, Gerry Jones. His wife prepared a great meal for Thomas Varghese and me and we enjoyed our visit, sharing many of the impressions, observations and insights of my pastoral visits thus far in this beautiful country. Let me share with you, my CNEWA family, what I have been doing these past two days.

On Saturday, our first stop took us to the Kidane Mehret Children’s Home. It is truly an orphanage; most of the 130 resident children have no parents and are completely dependent on the care given there.

The director is Sister Lutgarda Camilleri of the Franciscan Sisters of the Heart of Jesus, a Maltese national who has worked either at the orphanage or at the school next door for more than forty years. She is a dynamo: a combination of a grandmother that everyone would cherish and a religious sister who commands tremendous respect and can bring anyone to attention with a glance or a word of admonition. She also strikes me as a person with great savvy with the government authorities. You know the type: Give them a little grandmotherly charm and, if that does not work, look right into their eyes and tell them they are wrong. Case closed.

Sister Lutgarda and her crew of two other sisters, dedicated staff members and a rotating crew of volunteers provide amazing loving care to children as young as a few months and up to the age of 16. Many of those in her charge are street children brought here by police or child welfare officials. Sometimes, the officials show up at her doorstep with more than 20 at one time. Exasperated a little, but never overwhelmed, Sister Lutgarda welcomes them into the family.

CNEWA has been a long-time supporter of this institution and we should all feel proud of the good works done here. Her success rate, with some of the most challenging kids under her care, has been very good and many of her “graduates” have excelled in school and gone on to become productive citizens of Ethiopia. Some have even returned as professionals to offer their help to the sisters.

As a brief part of our visit to Ethiopia we also met Spiritan Father Brendan Cogavin from Ireland, who is the director of the school adjacent to Kidane Mehret. He once served as the assistant director of our CNEWA office in Addis Ababa when Brother Vincent Pelletier, F.S.C., served as director. Father Brendan is still very much a CNEWA man.

For lunch we had a most enjoyable and informative visit with Abba (Father) Isaias, the provincial superior of the Capuchin Fathers. He is a delightful man, very savvy and well spoken, young but very wise. I have heard his name mentioned many times as a real leader in the church in Ethiopia. I can see why he is highly regarded. His insights clarified some of my observations and validated others. The Capuchins are a major force in this country and are blessed with vocations.

We were happy to accept an invitation to enjoy dinner with the superior of the Jesuits, Abba Groum. Before our meal, he introduced us to a group of university students and recent graduates who work with him in campus ministry. They shared with us a sketch of the great work they do with Christian students studying in the many universities of Ethiopia. They are dynamic and very committed to sharing their faith with the young university population. Abba Groum is himself the chaplain of this ministry and is well known for his work with youth.

Needless to say, the meal was delightful and we had some great conversation with the other Jesuits in the house and a visiting Missionary of Africa from Ireland who has worked in this country for many years.

Today, we headed about one hour out of Addis Ababa to the Galilee Retreat Center located on a cliff overlooking a beautiful crater lake. The setting is idyllic and filled with peace. I was privileged to concelebrate Mass with the Jesuit who directs this center, Father Joseph Pollicino, S.J., a Maltese national who has worked here and in Sudan for many years. A special treat was to be in the presence of about 20 sisters who were finishing their weekend retreat. Mass was particularly stimulating with the devotion of the sisters, their lovely singing and the peaceful manner of Father Joe. Coupled with this ambience was the captivating rhythm of the drumbeats of the young sister who put her whole heart into her percussion instrument, a beautifully decorated native drum. People come from all over to seek the tranquility of this retreat center. Many different types of spiritual programs are offered for youth, for religious men and women, for priests, for bishops and lay groups and interreligious groups.

After Mass, we enjoyed a wonderful meal with Father Joe and all the sisters.

Tomorrow I will have a dialogue with all of the Catholic bishops of Ethiopia, participating in a special workshop attended by all of them. I look forward to this visit and will share details with you in my next report.

In the meantime, I offer you the thanks of the many poor in this country whose lives are greatly impacted by your prayers and your generous gifts. Everywhere I visit I am asked to extend to you the gratitude of all here. So thank you, CNEWA family. May God continue to bless all of you.

Tags: Ethiopia Africa Msgr. John E. Kozar Orphans/Orphanages

23 April 2012
Michael J.L. La Civita

CNEWA’s Vice President for Communications Michael La Civita, Father Martin Vavrak, Bishop Milan Šášik and CNEWA’s Vice President for Development Gabriel Delmonaco met at our New York offices on Friday. (photo: CNEWA).

Central Europe’s Carpatho-Rusyns have been engulfed in a violent whirl of ethnic antagonism for centuries. Subjugated as serfs, these Eastern Slavs worked the soil, kept the livestock or cut the timber of their Austrian, Hungarian or Polish masters. Such conditions, coupled with forced assimilation, hardly favored the development of a distinct Rusyn identity. Nevertheless, such an identity did grow, thanks to their distinctive Slavic dialect, their Byzantine Christian faith and their unique plainchant, or prostopinije.

A unified church, gathering them all under one mantle, does not exist. Carpatho-Rusyns — who have also been called Ruthenians — make up four distinct churches that share the same origins, traditions and rites and yet remain independent of each other.

On Friday, the man who shepherds the mother church of this distinct Catholic Eastern church visited CNEWA’s New York offices. Bishop Milan Šášik is a 59-year-old Vincentian who has guided the Carpatho-Rusyn Greek Catholic Eparchy of Mukacevo in southwestern Ukraine since 2002, first as its apostolic administrator and, since 2010, as its eparch.

Though the church was erected as an eparchy in 1771, and is directly dependent on the Holy See, Bishop Milan told us that he has had to rebuild it from scratch with little or no outside resources. In 1946, the Soviets declared his church illegal and drove it underground, shuttering churches, imprisoning clergy, religious and lay leaders and murdering many of its spiritual leaders, including one of Bishop Milan’s predecessors, Blessed Bishop Theodore Romzha.

In nine years, the bishop has renewed 420 parish communities, building 165 new churches. He has opened more than 40 centers for catechesis and ordained 142 priests, 90 percent of whom are married. Most parish priests are self-sufficient, somehow living and rearing their families on a salary of $150 a month or less.

While grateful for the support this eparchy receives from generous Catholics in Europe and North America, the bishop spoke glowingly of the generosity of his own people. Their sacrifices, he said, have enabled him to accomplish much of this work. To learn more about the Carpatho-Rusyn Greek Catholic Church, click here. To read about its sister Orthodox church, which was founded in Pennsylvania in the late 1930’s, click here.

Tags: Catholic Communism/Communist Carpatho-Rusyn Ruthenians

23 April 2012
Erin Edwards

A retired priest sits near a painting of St. Lawrence at the Beit Afram home for the elderly in Taybeh. (photo: Rich Wiles)

As we shared on this blog, last night “60 Minutes” aired a segment on the dwindling Christian community in the Holy Land. This is a subject near and dear to our hearts here at CNEWA. As is true in every country where CNEWA operates, our work in the Holy Land relies heavily on our collaboration with the local churches of the region. In the July 2011 issue of ONE, we published an article profiling the all-Christian village of Taybeh, which is located in the West Bank, just north of Jerusalem:

“Taybeh is the only entirely Christian village in Palestine,” says 70–year–old Ne’meh Issa proudly. Born and reared in Taybeh, Mrs. Issa has spent her entire life in the village. As do most villagers, she feels strongly about Taybeh’s Christian identity. “It is pure Christian and exists peacefully next to Muslim villages and also Israeli settlements.”

Though small with only 2,000 inhabitants, Taybeh is in fact the last remaining entirely Christian settlement in Palestine. Everyone belongs to one of its three churches. About 1,160 villagers belong to St. George Orthodox Church, which was built between 1929 and 1932 near the site of a fourth–century church. Another 530 belong to Christ the Redeemer Latin Catholic Church, built in l971. And about 310 belong to St. George Melkite Greek Catholic Church, built in l964.

For more, read A Town Named ‘Good’. In addition to the segment that aired last night on “60 Minutes,” CBS News posted some web extras online, including a video report about Taybeh. Check it out below!

Tags: Middle East Christians Middle East Palestine Palestinians West Bank

23 April 2012
Greg Kandra

As we noted last week, “60 Minutes” on Sunday night broadcast a report by Bob Simon on the exodus of Christians from the Holy Land.

For those who missed it, you can watch the piece below.

Tags: Palestine Jerusalem Holy Land Christian

20 April 2012
John E. Kozar

A young mother at the Godano complex takes her child to work with her, selling sundries.
(photo: Asrat Habte Mariam)

Greetings again from Addis Ababa. This beautiful country continues to open up to me and I find the people, the history, the geography and especially the faith to be captivating.

We departed very early yesterday morning from Emdibir in the mountains and proceeded on a very exciting journey that would take us to Meki, about 3.5 hours away. Getting there was a little arduous, but filled with beauty and splendor. At one point we reached an altitude of 3,800 meters above sea level. The air was cold and the wind was whipping, but the view of the Great Rift Valley below was nothing short of spectacular. I am a geography buff and this site was candy for the eyes.

We arrived at Meki, much lower in elevation and in a totally different climate: hot, dusty and full of flies. Our first pastoral visit took us to the Meki Catholic School, run by the Christian Brothers, all Ethiopian nationals. Reputedly, this is the best school in this part of the country. Immediately after meeting the director, Brother Yohannes, F.S.C., it was obvious why the school enjoys such a reputation. Whenever Brother Yohannes put his head into a classroom or met a student along the campus walkways, there was immediate attention and respect.

CNEWA is proud to sponsor a number of very poor children in this lovely school. There are about 1,400 students here and the facility radiates an aura of serious academics, attention to personal development and a profound sense of dignity and worth of each individual. There is a complete mix of Catholic, Orthodox and Muslim students, and the brothers and faculty have really put together a great combination of excellence. It reminds me of good ole Central High School in Pittsburgh, where I was privileged to work with the Christian Brothers as a chaplain in the 70’s. We should all feel very proud of the help we provide to the students here.

After our visit at the school, we paid a courtesy visit to the offices of the general secretariat of the Apostolic Vicariate of Meki. We were hosted by the general secretary, Father Temesgan Kebede. He was most cordial in explaining to us the many social service programs of the local church. Next, we were greeted by the bishop, Abune Abraham Desta. He mentioned immediately that he is a friend of Timothy Cardinal Dolan. I shared with him that Cardinal Dolan only very recently asked me if I was going to visit him, so mission accomplished. He graciously hosted us, along with members of his staff, for a lovely lunch. The bishop personally shared with me some of the many challenges he is attempting to address. “Education,” he said, “is the church’s priority in Ethiopia.”

After lunch he took us on a walking tour of the current cathedral and, more importantly, the very large and modern cathedral under construction. We were overwhelmed by its size. Meki is a bustling market town that pulsates with people coming to buy produce, goats, sheep, cows and anything else for sale. By the way, goat herds are in evidence everywhere: on city streets, on the highways, the rough and tumble dusty or muddy country roads, even outside cathedrals, rectories, and the residence of bishops. And of course, goat meat is commonly eaten in raw form and “cooked.”

Today, we returned to Addis Ababa. It was a very intense day of visiting, very poignant and emotionally very moving. Our first visit was to an impoverished area of this sprawling city, where we visited Atse Tekle Ghiorgis School. Talk about serving the poorest of the poor: this is it. These children, about 750 of them, come from the most abject of poverty and receive a completely subsidized education, plus a meal to sustain them. The school is situated on a precipice and the sisters there have creatively built classrooms from old shipping containers. Sister Bedainesh is the current director and does a superb job of making all these children feel so special. Her smile is infectious and radiates with all the beautiful children.

How about this for the background of this CNEWA-supported school: Forty years ago, the children of lepers lived in the local cemetery, as no one would let them live near to them. Two lay people decided to confront this gross injustice and actually began this school. They sought the help of a professional educator, a nun from Australia, who would assist them in establishing this marvelous outreach to the despised poor children. Today, it is a jewel and we at CNEWA are blessed to be sponsors of the children here. I did my best to share the love of all of you for these precious little ones. “Let the children come to me.”

Round two was equally emotional and inspiring as we arrived at the Godano “complex.” Can you imagine an institution made of 25 shipping containers that are stacked three high and connected by a maze of walkways and stairways and even some trees growing in the passageways? So who resides here and what goes on here?

Godano, which has received support from CNEWA for years, was first begun to welcome unwed mothers, many of whom had been abandoned on the streets, others had been victims of rape. Founded and directed by a layman, Mulatu Tefesse, this loving home offers safe haven for not only these girls and their children after birth, but also for abandoned street children and unwanted babies. He also provides a kindergarten and skill training for girls, such as sewing and hair styling. The campus also includes housing for mothers and their children. He does not warehouse the mothers and their children, but always seeks to keep them together and to give them a modicum of confidence to move on to at least a minimally productive life.

Mulatu referred, at least five times, to an image of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, as his “manager.” His faith is evident in everything he says and does, including showing us a mural of his dream, to begin a completely new facility about ten kilometers away. Not of his choosing, he is being forced to leave his shipping container “village” behind, as the government has claimed his property for eminent domain.

A little change of pace brought us to a fine overlook restaurant for a lunch visit with the auxiliary bishop of the Archeparchy of Addis Ababa, Abune Lisanne Christos. He is a very young bright leader in the church and we enjoyed a most enriching chat with him. I look forward to being together with him next week when I will meet with all the bishops of Ethiopia at a special workshop.

We all know the incredible work of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity. Well, magnify any previous visit you may have had to one of her institutions by a factor of five or so and you can appreciate the scope and size of the program at Sidist Kilo. It defies description as it is so large, so amazingly well organized, so clean and in such a loving environment.

There is care given to every kind of need, with special emphasis given to the poorest of the poor. Those who have open sores, those who come with pneumonia, tuberculosis, H.I.V./AIDS, those with mental and physical challenges and even the abandoned of any age — more than a thousand individuals all are welcomed here in the name of Jesus and are treated with the most tender loving care. There are 250 employees and the smiles abound. It was absolutely a treasured gift to have visited.

Sister Joanna Crucis took us on a “family” visit and her love for each individual was very obvious. She asked me to ask all of you to remember the sisters and the residents in your prayers. And we all know the power of the prayers of the poor, which were promised to us in return.

The final visit on this emotional roller coaster day of pastoral visits was most informative. We were greeted at the offices of the Conference of Major Religious Superiors, in the person of its executive director, Brother Hugo Verhulat, who is a member of the Brothers of Good Works. In his leadership role with the religious from all of Ethiopia (some 64 different religious congregations of women and men), Brother Hugo illumined me on the realities of the church in Ethiopia today. There are many challenges and not just relative to financial needs. In fact, he emphasized the need for good pastoral planning and implementation so that Catholics in Ethiopia, strong in their loyalty to the church, might continue to be better formed in their faith. We offered our prayerful support to him and to all the religious in Ethiopia.

I am tired from these emotional visits today, but also feeling very privileged and blessed to represent all of you from our CNEWA family in these personal encounters with the poor. May God bless and keep them under the watchful hand of his son. And may God bless all of you.

20 April 2012
Greg Kandra

A programming note for television viewers: Sunday night, the acclaimed CBS News magazine "60 Minutes" will feature a report by correspondent Bob Simon on what the broadcast calls "the slow exodus of Palestinian Christians from the Holy Land."

Check your local listings.

The report will also be available online at this link after it’s broadcast. And an email alerted us to an additional report on the town of Taybeh that will appear on the web show “60 Minutes Overtime.” (We reported on Taybeh ourselves last year. You can read all about it that tiny Christian village in Palestine here.)

Meantime, you might also check out some of our other stories in ONE magazine on the same subject, including a report on Jordanian Christians and our special edition from 2010 on Christians in the Middle East.

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