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30 December 2016
Many of Armenia’s children face bleak prospects for the future — but you can help make their new year brighter. (photo: Nazik Armenakyan)
Not long ago, we introduced the readers of ONE to the fatherless children of Armenia:
In a chilly and damp room, 12-year-old David does his homework near a pile of books. “Do you know what I want to become,” the fair-haired boy asks, looking up from his assignment. “An archaeologist, in order to study animals that are extinct.”
“But there are also other things I want,” he adds, “but won’t have.”
The dreams of David, and those of his 9-year-old brother and 26-year-old sister, are varied and often changing, but they all hold one element in common — the return of their father.
David last saw his father seven years ago; he had given David a kiss goodbye at the door as he left for Russia in search of work. He has not returned since.
“He makes telephone calls, but I don’t speak to him. I think he doesn’t even remember me,” the boy says, trying to hide his tears.
Many men in the northern Armenian town of Tashir leave the country to work abroad; unemployment tops 50 percent in the region. Many who work in Russia provide the minimum means of subsistence for their families back home, but some never return. As a result, women are left behind to shoulder the burden of running households and rearing children on their own.
Stories like that are repeated again and again throughout Armenia, where child poverty is skyrocketing. The prospects are often bleak. Many of the poorest children in Armenia live in distant, rural corners of the country. A significant number live on the streets; others live in “containers,” pre-fab boxes, not real houses.
But for some, there is hope. The Church is watching over these forgotten boys and girls, street children who have no place to call home, at a caring place called the Artashat Center. It’s helping them as best as it can.
Most of these children have never experienced a true Christmas. But this year, Archbishop Raphael Francois Minassian is determined to give them one belatedly. He hopes that CNEWA — and our kind donors — will help make it happen.
He wants to buy simple gifts — gloves, a warm sweater, a pair of shoes — for 300 forgotten kids. He hopes to purchase it all and celebrate with the children a bit later in the New Year.
You can help make this happen — and extend the spirit of love and generosity of the Christmas season through the New Year. In this way, you can help bring Christ into the world again and again, insuring that those most in need will experience joy and love long after the holiday is over.
Visit this giving page to learn more. From all of us at CNEWA, thank you — and be assured of many prayers and good wishes during this Christmas season and in the New Year!
30 December 2016
Sister Sumitha Puthenchakkalackal serves a midday meal in Ghaziabad, India. She is one of the Sisters of the Destitute, who live among the poor they serve. Learn more about them in ‘My Great Hope Is the Sisters,’ a profile of their inspiring mission in the Winter 2016 edition of ONE.
(photo: John Mathew)
30 December 2016
Displaced Syrians are seen with food on 12 December at a camp on the border between Syria and Turkey. A brokered cease-fire took effect in Syria Friday as part of a deal that includes a return to peace talks to end the five-year-long war. (photo: CNS/Maysun, EPA)
Cease-fire begins across Syria (The Washington Post) A cease-fire announced by the Syrian government went into effect across the country early Friday as part of a broader deal that includes a return to peace talks to end more than five years of war...
Children of Mosul talk about life under ISIS (The Los Angeles Times) The boy started tagging along with me as I walked through the Hassan Sham displaced persons camp east of Mosul earlier this month. Iyad Mohamed Yunus said he was 14 years old, but he looked several years younger. A black winter jacket and gray sweatpants hung on his wiry frame. His cheap black canvas sneakers were caked with mud from the camp’s dirt streets, now wet with cold rain. He had a black cap pulled low on his face, and I could see his breath as he talked about life in Mosul under Islamic State...
The long road to rebuilding Gaza (Al Jazeera) Hundreds of families in Gaza still live in caravans, a temporary solution to the mass displacement that followed the 2014 war. Many have no idea when they will be able to leave the caravans and rebuild their destroyed homes — a situation for which they blame Israel and Egypt, who have blockaded Gaza for the past decade, and the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority...
In India, 45,000 Hindus paid tribute to Jesus on Christmas Day (Vatican Radio) On Christmas day, some 45,000 Hindus paid tribute to the Child Jesus in Bhubaneshwar, capital of the State of Odisha, India. The event is historic, the more so since the Indian State was the scene in 2008 of the most vicious persecution of Christians ever perpetuated in India...
Vatican says nearly 4 million pilgrims visited during Jubilee (CNS) More than 3.9 million pilgrims visited and attended papal events, liturgies or prayer services during the Holy Year of Mercy in 2016, the Vatican said. The Prefecture of the Papal Household, the Vatican office that coordinates the audiences and distributes the free tickets to papal audiences and liturgies, said a total of 3,952,140 people attended a papal event at the Vatican...
29 December 2016
Sister Hanne, one of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary, sits with Lucien, a 7-year-old refugee from Qaraqosh, in his residence in Amman. Learn more about the work these sisters are doing with refugees in Welcoming the Stranger in the Winter 2016 edition of ONE.
(photo: Tamara Abdul Hadi)
29 December 2016
Women light candles before attending Christmas Eve Mass at the Melkite Catholic Cathedral in Damascus, Syria. The Syrian government has announced a cease-fire agreement on Thursday, a potential turning point in the war. (photo: CNS/Youssef Badawi, EPA)
Syrian government announces truce (The New York Times) The Syrian government and its most important ally, Russia, announced on Thursday that they had reached a cease-fire agreement with Syrian rebels and with Turkey — a potential turning point in a civil war that has lasted nearly six years and claimed hundreds of thousands of lives...
Winter moves in across Lebanon and refugees struggle (UNHCR) There are just over one million Syrian refugees in Lebanon. One-in-two live in substandard shelters like tents, garages, warehouses, unfinished buildings and animal sheds. They require continuous support to maintain their shelters, especially during winter, which can be bitter and long in Lebanon. More rain and snowstorms are forecast for the coming weeks. Some high-altitude towns in the Bekaa Valley and northern Lebanon have already been blanketed in snow...
Iraqi units resume offensive in Mosul (The Washington Post) Iraqi army, police and elite counterterrorism forces launched a combined assault on eastern Mosul after a two-week break, the military announced Thursday...
Kerry’s blunt words for Israel draw criticism (The New York Times) Secretary of State John Kerry’s rebuke of the Israeli government on Wednesday set off a wave of criticism from lawmakers in both parties. Republicans denounced what they said was the Obama administration’s harsh treatment of a steadfast ally and Democrats signaled that they were uneasy with Mr. Kerry’s pressure on Israel, even as they praised the effort to promote Middle East peace...
Palestinian family celebrates first Christmas together in 26 years (CNS) For the first time in 26 years, Lilian and Nadeem Aqleh had all six of their children with them to celebrate Christmas. “This is the happiest day of my life,” said Lilian, 70, who is Catholic, as she celebrated the holiday with her children and grandchildren, some of who traveled from the United States and Canada. “It is hard having your children so far away. I want my children with me. At Christmas we remember the birth of Christ and the meaning of Christmas is to share it with family...”
28 December 2016
Abraham George, an Ethiopian Catholic, carries the cross during the Sunday Divine Liturgy in Bahir Dar. Read more about how Ethiopians are spreading the Gospel in Ethiopia’s Sleeping Giant in the Winter 2016 edition of ONE. (photo: James Jeffrey)
28 December 2016
Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, apostolic administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, celebrates Christmas Mass at the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem.
(photo: CNS/Musa Al Shaer, pool via EPA)
In Christmas messages, patriarchs plead for peace (CNS) Lamenting the exodus of Christians from their ancestral homelands, Catholic patriarchs of the Middle East pleaded for peace and security in their annual Christmas messages. In separate statements, the prelates shared their anguish regarding the persecution and uprooting of Christians from the region...
Pope asks for love, prayers for persecuted Christians (CNS) Despite increased persecution and attacks against Christians, the faithful must strengthen their courage and joyful desire to follow Christ no matter the cost, Pope Francis said...
Israel postpones vote on new settlements (BBC) An Israeli committee has postponed a vote to authorize construction of almost 500 new homes in Jewish settlements in occupied East Jerusalem. The move apparently follows a request from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office. It also comes ahead of a speech on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. On Friday, the U.S. chose not to veto a UN Security Council resolution calling for an end to settlement construction...
Turkey, Russia discuss cease-fire plan for Syria (AP) Turkish and Russian officials are discussing the contours of a cease-fire for Syria, Syrian opposition factions said, building on cooperation between the two countries following a deal they brokered for the evacuation of opposition fighters from the northern city of Aleppo earlier this month...
Russian Orthodox metropolitan sends Christmas greetings to Pope Francis (Moscow Patriarchate) Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, sent Christmas greeting to Pope Francis, Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury, Bishop Heinrich Bedford-Strom, chairman of the Council of the EKD, and heads of other non-Orthodox Churches...
27 December 2016
Santa delivered a wonderful gift last week: the Winter 2016 edition of ONE.
You can check it out online here, and read the digital edition, with the complete graphics and layouts of our print version, right here.
Among the remarkable people you’ll meet in this edition: the loving and generous Franciscan Sisters of Mary, caring for refugees in Jordan; the gifted lay catechists of Ethiopia; and the extraordinarily selfless Sisters of the Destitute in India, who spend their lives living side by side with the poorest of the poor.
All this, plus the acclaimed writing and photographs which have made ONE among the most honored publications in Catholic media.
From all of us at CNEWA, to all of our loyal and generous readers: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Thank you for being a part of our world — and supporting others who are a part of it, too.
27 December 2016
A disabled child greets a visitor at an informal education center in Dehli, India. To meet more of these remarkable children and learn about them, read Msgr. John E. Kozar’s account in the Winter 2016 edition of ONE, now available online. (photo: John E. Kozar)
27 December 2016
Pope Francis greets the crowd after delivering his Christmas message and blessing “urbi et orbi” (to the city and the world) from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican
on 25 December. (photo: CNS/L’Osservatore Romano)
Pope: World scarred by war, greed must welcome Prince of Peace (CNS) The song of the angels that heralded the birth of Christ urges men and women to seek peace in a world divided by war, terrorism and greed, Pope Francis said. “Today this message goes out to the ends of the earth to reach all peoples, especially those scarred by war and harsh conflicts that seem stronger than the yearning for peace,” the pope said on 25 December...
Pope prays for victims of Russian plane crash (Vatican Radio) After the Angelus prayer in St. Peter’s Square on the Feast of Saint Stephen, Pope Francis expressed his condolences to the Russian people and the families of victims of the Christmas day plane crash that took the lives of 92 people near Sochi...
Vulnerable Ukrainians receive aid from Pope (Vatican Radio) Thanks to Pope Francis over 2 million people affected by the humanitarian crisis in eastern Ukraine will receive a first installment of much needed aid in time for Christmas...
Iraqi forces to resume assault on Mosul (Reuters) Iraqi forces will resume their push against the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) inside Mosul in the coming days, a U.S. battlefield commander has told Reuters. The move would be a new phase of the two-month-old operation that will see American troops deployed closer to the front line in the city...
Abducted Kerala priest appeals to Pope Francis for freedom (Indian Express) In a video posted on social media platforms, a Catholic priest from Kerala, who was abducted in Yemen in March this year, has appealed to the central government and Pope Francis to secure his release. He has alleged that not enough efforts were being made to free him because, as an Indian, he was “not considered of much value...”