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Volume 39, Number 4
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In this 1996 image, children attend a festival in New York celebrating Greek heritage. (photo: Karen Lagerquist)
  
29 June 2012
Erin Edwards




Bishop Yoohanon Mar Chrysostom of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Eparchy of Pathanamthitta, left, visits with Msgr. John Kozar at CNEWA’s New York office today.
(photo: Erin Edwards)


Today, Bishop Yoohanon Mar Chrysostom of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Eparchy of Pathanamthitta in India dropped by our office in New York. He met with Msgr. John Kozar, CNEWA’s president, and Thomas Varghese, CNEWA’s vice president for India and Northeast Africa, and discussed the many activities of his eparchy.

To learn more about the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, read our profile of the church in the November 2005 issue of ONE. Also, back in March Msgr. Kozar made his first pastoral visit to India and blogged about it along the way.



Tags: India CNEWA Msgr. John E. Kozar Syro-Malankara Catholic Church Indian Bishops
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29 June 2012
Melodie Gabriel




A sister tends to a patient at the Mother of Mercy Clinic in Zerqa, Jordan. (photo: John E. Kozar)

Where is CNEWA? We just might be closer than you think — and we might even be in your own backyard.

We work closely with local church leaders to identify the crucial needs of their communities and to find and implement sustainable solutions. So, for this week’s “Take Five,” here are five regions where CNEWA has an impact:

  1. Middle East. In this volatile region, the churches and peoples in Jordan and Iraq, Lebanon and Syria and Palestine and Israel are in great need of assistance. CNEWA comes to their aid through its offices in Amman, Beirut and Jerusalem. One example of our work is the Mother of Mercy Clinic in Zerqa, Jordan, run by the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena. Specializing in prenatal and postnatal care, the clinic offers impoverished mothers and babies health care for free.

  2. Northeast Africa. CNEWA supports a variety of programs in Egypt, Ethiopia and Eritrea. While political instability dominates the headlines, poverty and hunger — especially in the Horn of Africa — are always a concern. CNEWA works primarily with children in need throughout the region. Thanks to our person-to-person sponsorship program, children go to school, where they are nourished, body, mind and soul.

  3. India. CNEWA’s work is mainly in the state of Kerala, which has a significant population of Christians. According to ancient tradition, St. Thomas the Apostle (a.k.a. “Doubting Thomas”) brought the faith there and was martyred in the year 72. One CNEWA project in India reaches out to the so-called “untouchables” or Dalits, a caste of people living in abject poverty. One of the ways we help restore their dignity is by providing them with a modest house to call home.

  4. Eastern Europe. It is a region of the world still struggling with the legacy of Communism. CNEWA has been serving the churches and peoples primarily in Armenia, Georgia and Ukraine. The elderly were especially affected by poverty in Georgia, and were largely forgotten. Caritas Georgia, one of CNEWA’s partners, gives much-needed assistance to the vulnerable elderly through its soup kitchens — providing them with at least one good meal a day — and by nursing the sick.

  5. North America. You can find CNEWA offices in New York City in the United States and in Ottawa in Canada. Acting like a bridge, CNEWA connects generous North Americans with those in need living in remote parts of the world, educating them about the Eastern churches and cultures through ONE magazine, processing their gifts, keeping financial accounts and updating the website and blog with news and stories, to name a few.

Those are just a few ways CNEWA helps others to help themselves in some corners of the world. You can discover more at our website, in the pages of our award-winning magazine ONE, and here on this blog.

Together with your help, we build the church, alleviate poverty, encourage dialogue, affirm human dignity and inspire hope. Although each region is unique, they are united through CNEWA to fulfill Christ’s prayer “that all may be one.”



Tags: India CNEWA Middle East Eastern Europe Northeast Africa
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29 June 2012
Erin Edwards




Parishioners pray during the Divine Liturgy at St. Anthony of Padua Cathedral in Emdibir, Ethiopia. (photo: John E. Kozar)

During Msgr. John Kozar’s first pastoral visit to the Ethiopia in April, he witnessed just how faithful the Ethiopian Catholic community is, despite being small in number:

My first exposure to the rich Ge’ez Rite would come at an early morning Divine Liturgy the following morning at St. Anthony of Padua Cathedral. The bishop and most of the eparchy’s priests concelebrated the ancient liturgy. I was taken aback by the beauty of the liturgy, the amazing intricacy of the chanting, not just of the bishop and the priests, but all the many faithful who had assembled as well. The cathedral had a large of number of people for this ordinary weekday eucharistic liturgy, celebrated at 6:20 a.m. All of the faithful are farmers and some regularly walk great distances to attend.

Another impressive aspect of the cathedral is the outstanding paintings that adorn most of the walls. These are works of art in progress, as the bishop has commissioned an 80-year-old Orthodox priest-iconographer to paint the cathedral murals. After four years of labor, I would say this venerable priest is about 80 percent finished. He lives with the bishop and two other Catholic priests assigned there, together sharing their lives, meals and prayers. I had the honor to meet this outstanding artist and thanked him for his great gift.

For more, read Msgr. Kozar’s first blog post in his series from Ethiopia, A Warm Welcome.



Tags: Ethiopia Ethiopian Christianity Ethiopian Catholic Church Church
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28 June 2012
Greg Kandra




President-elect Mohammed Morsi, center, meets with Christian leaders from different denominations at the presidential palace in Cairo on 27 June.
(Photo: CNS/Egyptian presidency via Reuters)


Last weekend’s historic election in Egypt has prompted cautiously optimistic reactions from Christian leaders in the country. Gerard O’Connell of Vatican Insider has the details:

“We hope that he will fulfill his promises,” the Anglican bishop of Egypt said after Egypt’s first elected Islamic president, Mohammed Mursi, promised to be a president for all Egyptians, to appoint a prime minister who is not from the Muslim Brotherhood, and to appoint a Christian vice-president.

[Anglican] Bishop Mouneer Hanna Anis expressed this widely shared hope in a letter to his community and friends shortly after the election results were announced on Sunday evening, June 24.

Mursi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, gained 51.7 percent of the vote in the freest and most honest election to be held in the country since 1952. His opponent, Ahmed Shafiq, the last prime minister of the deposed President Hosni Mubarak’s administration, gained 48.3 percent.

The results have revealed a deeply divided country and much fear among Christians — who count for some 10 percent of the population, and among the secular and liberal sectors of the electorate. About 40 percent of the 50 million people entitled to vote actually did so.

Mursi’s election “may be the best thing for the moment, in order to avoid violence, but performance will be important,” a senior Catholic leader in Cairo, who wished to remain anonymous, told me.

The Coptic Catholic bishop of Luxor, Monsignor Youhannes Zakaria, told Fides that he considers Mursi’s victory “positive” and hopes “that now all work in a spirit of cooperation to renew the country.” He said the president’s first words “give peace,” in particular that he wants “to be President of all Egyptians, to improve economy and also to re-launch tourism.” Egyptian society is “tranquil,” he added, “but now after the words they want actions.”

Meanwhile, the acting head of the Coptic Catholic Church has sent a congratulatory letter to the new president:

The Coptic Catholic Church in Egypt has sent a letter of congratulations to the country’s first freely elected Islamic president and told him Catholics are praying that God may bless with success his work “for the realization of a civil, democratic, modern state that respects the rights and freedoms of all and can guarantee security, peace and social justice.”

The letter was signed by Monsignor Kyrillos William, the bishop of Assiut and acting head of the Coptic Catholic Church in Egypt, which has between about 200,000 members.

Writing in the name of the Coptic Catholics “in Egypt and in the countries of the diaspora,” the bishop congratulated Mohammed Mursi “for having gained the confidence of the people” in the mid-June presidential elections.

He said Coptic Catholics “are confident that with the aid of the Most High and All Powerful (God), and with your wisdom, you will be capable of leading the country and working for the superior interests of the nation and all its children, so that the cohesion of its fabric remains as it always has been.”

For more on the responses of Egyptian Christians to the election, click here. For more on Egypt’s Coptic Christians, check out the September 2011 issue of ONE magazine, where we explored the plight of Christian women in Egypt and profiled the challenges facing one woman reporter.



Tags: Egypt Christian-Muslim relations Egypt's Christians Democracy
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28 June 2012
Erin Edwards




In this photo taken in 1992, a young man attends Divine Liturgy at a Russian Orthodox church in Moscow. (photo: Richard Lord)

In the November 1993 issue of the magazine, Michael J.L. La Civita, CNEWA’s Vice President for Communications, wrote about his first experience visiting Moscow and his impressions about a city confronting its troubled past and discovering its future:

As my departure for Moscow approached, I thought my visit would answer some questions and confirm a few opinions. I was certain I would have much to write about Moscow, and Russia by extension. I thought wrongly. Instead I am baffled by a city and a nation confused about its past, present and future.

In a land where great numbers of saints once walked on pilgrimage, where writers and philosophers discussed how to improve the peasants’ lot, where revolutionaries gathered to plan an earthly paradise, the victims of corruption, greed and fear now wander. Poverty, political instability and moral and spiritual apathy have generated a loss of self-knowledge. “Holy Russia has lost her soul,” lament her cultural, religious and social leaders.

References to the Russian “soul” abound in this nation’s history, literature and religious philosophy. Today, after more than 70 years of communism, the now-proverbial search for the Russian soul is nothing else than the search for what is authentically Russian.

For more, read This Year, Moscow.



Tags: Russia Communism/Communist
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27 June 2012
Michael J.L. La Civita




In this image, captured 21 February 2011, Father Paolo Dall’Oglio presents a lecture at The University of Scranton titled “In Love with Islam, Believing in Jesus,” emphasizing the importance of mutual understanding between Christians and Muslims for peace in the region.
(photo: University of Scranton)


Word reached us last week that the Syrian government had expelled Father Paolo Dall’Oglio — an Italian Jesuit who restored an abandoned Syriac monastery in the desert — for his prayerful peacemaking efforts in the country, which is on the brink of civil war.

Last week, The New York Times reported on the “activist’s” whereabouts, highlighting the complex difficulties for Christian minorities living in a repressive Middle East state. “How can we stay silent?” Father Paolo said. “We are in solidarity with the repression, not only because we don’t denounce the repression, but also because we negate there is repression.”

After restoring the sixth-century monastery, Father Paolo refounded Mar Musa as an ecumenical religious house for men and women under the patronage of the Syriac Catholic patriarchate. He consequently transformed the monastery into an important center for Christian-Muslim understanding in the Middle East.

“We are particularly committed to prayer, hospitality and dialogue with the Islamic world,” Father Paolo shared with our magazine readers in an article in 1998. “We hope to be a part of the movement in the universal church working toward achieving harmony with the Islamic world.”

Today, with its shepherd in exile in Beirut, Mar Musa is silent. “There are no upcoming events.”



Tags: Syria Christian-Muslim relations Monastery Syriac Catholic Church
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27 June 2012
Erin Edwards




A child undergoes physical therapy sessions at Pokrov’s day care center, which treats children with special needs. (photo: Sean Sprague)

In the January 2007 issue of ONE, Sean Sprague reported on the efforts of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church to restore its public presence following the fall of Bulgaria’s communist government:

Over the past 12 years, the Pokrov Foundation has launched an assortment of programs — philanthropic, educational and promotional — that have done much to help restore the role of the Orthodox Church in Bulgarian life. Many are run out of Mr. Sinov’s spiritual home since his baptism, the Church of the Pokrov, located on a quiet street hidden by Sofia’s Hotel Rodina.

In the church’s basement, the foundation operates a parish center that caters to about 4,000 people each year. Here, food, clothes, counseling, financial support and social space are offered to the needy. If the foundation lacks the resources to help someone, then it refers him or her to another nongovernmental organization that can.

“We are open daily, from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m.,“said Maria Spasova, the parish center director. “Ours is the first parish center in the country, and the idea has spread to about 10 other parishes already.”

For more, read Under Mary’s Mantle.



Tags: Children Orthodox Church Bulgarian Orthodox Church Bulgaria
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26 June 2012
Erin Edwards




Israeli-Arab fourth-grade students pray in Aramaic during language class at Jish Elementary School in Jish, Israel, 20 June. (photo: CNS/Debbie Hil)

As reported by the Catholic News Service, a mostly Maronite Catholic community in Jish, Israel, is making an effort to revive the Aramaic language — the language spoken by Jesus. This revival has begun with language classes at the village’s elementary school:

Some 110 students are now studying the language at the elementary school as a result of years of effort by village resident Shadi Khalloul, 37, chairman of the Aramaic Christian nongovernmental organization in Israel.

“This is our Maronite Aramaic heritage,” he said on a recent visit to the school. “We are hoping to revive (Aramaic) as a spoken language. Hopefully the pupils will use it among themselves to communicate with each other. It is our forefather’s language. It is the language of Jesus, we should not forget that, especially the Aramaic Galilee dialect.”

Spoken Aramaic, the root language of all Semitic languages, is still preserved in parts of Syria, Iraq and Lebanon — and even by elderly Jews originating from a region of Kurdistan — but the spoken language has been virtually lost in Galilee, where about 10,000 Maronite Catholics use it solely for prayer. During their daily interactions, they speak Arabic.

For more, read Maronites in Israel Learn Aramaic.



Tags: Children Education Israel Maronite Catholic Aramaic
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25 June 2012
J.D. Conor Mauro





On Friday night, the Catholic Press Association held its annual awards ceremony. Shattering our previous record, ONE left with a whopping 20 awards across an array of categories — including first place in “General Excellence” and “Best Blog”!

The full list follows, along with commentary from the members of the judges' panel, which included journalism professors and staff from the Catholic University of America; Spring Hill College, of Mobile, Alabama; and Marquette University, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, as well as professionals from the field.

First Place

  • General Excellence (Mission Magazines)
    ONE Magazine
    “... consistently features quality title stories, captivating headlines and intriguing images. The layout and feel are solid and inviting.”
  • Best Blog (Group or Association)
    ONE-TO-ONE
    “In-depth articles, eye-opening issues. Addresses social justice from a global perspective. Blog is well designed with strong photography...”
  • Best General Publisher Website
    www.cnewa.org
    “In-depth coverage of important contemporary issues affecting our global community.”
  • Best Essay (Mission Magazines)
    Is Islam Compatible With Democracy?” by John L. Esposito
  • Best Regular Column (General Commentary)
    Perspectives (“Cover Story,” “Upstairs, Downstairs” and “On Being Catholic”) by Robert L. Stern
    “ ‘Singularly strong’ are words that describe these columns, devoted to a kind of unity prayed for by many believers.”
  • Best In-Depth Writing
    A Wounded Land,” by Peter Lemieux
    “...well written and well organized with an engaging opener.”
  • Best Online / Multi-Media Presentation of Visuals
    Meet the Author: Sarah Topol,” by Dana Smillie and Erin Edwards
    “The simple on-camera interview mixed with multiple camera angles and compelling background makes this a captivating video.”
  • Best Web and Print Combination Package
    Spotlight: Coptic Women,” and “Meet the Author: Sarah Topol,” by Sarah Topol, Holly Picket, Dana Smillie and Erin Edwards
    “Important journalism. Admire the bravery of these correspondents. Intense images bring print and Web to life.”

Second Place

  • Best Essay (Mission Magazines)
    On Being catholic,” by Robert L. Stern
  • Best Web and Print Combination Package
    Answering the Call” and Author's Impressions (“Camping and Caring” and “Ordination Observations”), by Mariya Tytarenko and Petro Didula
    “Well integrated across platforms. Excellent photography draws you into well-written stories.”
  • Individual Excellence (Photographer/Artist)
    Daria Erdosy, Graphic Designer
    “Beautiful, crisp, dramatic images!”

Third Place

  • Best Multiple Picture Package (Feature)
    Brewed to Perfection,” by Peter Lemieux
    “Very nice photography.”
  • Best Online / Multi-Media Presentation of Visuals
    The Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony,” by Erin Edwards
    “The video presents an educational and entertaining look behind the scenes of Ethiopian culture.”
  • Best Magazine or Newsletter Stand-Alone Site
    CNEWA - ONE
    “A highly visually engaging website with touching stories.”
  • Best Web and Print Combination Package
    Slumdog Sisters” and “A Quick Walk with Sister Leema Rose,” by Peter Lemieux and Erin Edwards
    “Touching minds and hearts. Hopeful and uplifting story. Beautifully produced. Impressively beautiful photography.”
  • Best Electronic Newsletter
    Discover ONE Online
    “Provides coverage of stories reaching far and wide ... accessible...”

Honorable Mention

Congratulations to all of our staff members and contributors who made this possible!



Tags: CNEWA ONE magazine
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25 June 2012
Erin Edwards




A Syro-Malabar Catholic woman of the Wayanad district in Kerala shades herself from the sun. (photo: Sean Sprague)

Over the years we have published many stories in the magazine about the influence of St. Thomas on the Christian community in southern India. The saint who famously doubted the resurrection has inspired countless believers in that corner of CNEWA’s world. In the March 2010 issue of the magazine, journalist Sean Sprague captured how the influence of the saint still resonates with the Christians of the region:

“St. Thomas definitely landed on this very spot,” says Philomena Pappachan, caretaker of a chapel that marks where the doubting apostle arrived in southern India in the year A.D. 52. Located a few feet from the cemented banks of the Periyar River, the chapel is dwarfed by a grove of palm trees and a 30-foot cutout of the saint, who is depicted with a staff and an open book on which “my Lord and my God” is printed in English.

No archaeological evidence exists to substantiate or refute her claim. Yet for nearly two millennia, countless numbers of Christians and Hindus have believed “the holy man” journeyed through Syria, Mesopotamia, Persia and finally India, where Thomas died a martyr’s death in the year 72.

For more, read In the Footsteps of St. Thomas. For more of Sprague’s accompanying photos, check out the image gallery, “St. Thomas’s Influence.”



Tags: India
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