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Current Issue
December, 2018
Volume 44, Number 4
  
23 March 2018
Greg Kandra




Embed from Getty Images
In this image from last year, Pope Tawadros II (L) meets with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (R) in Cairo, Egypt. Many Copts say they will support President al-Sisi in next week’s election.
(photo: Presidency of Egypt/Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)


‘Dozens burned to death’ in strikes on East Ghouta (Al Jazeera) At least 37 people, mostly women and children, have been killed and 80 others injured after regime forces bombed an underground shelter in Eastern Ghouta, according to rescuers and activists on the ground. Sources on the ground and rescuers from the Syrian Civil Defense, a volunteer rescue group also known as the White Helmets, said on Friday that the victims were burned to death after air strikes carrying napalm gas hit the shelter in the town of Arbeen...

Can Pope Francis keep the door open for refugees? (CNN) The Syrian war was just two years old when Pope Francis took power. Europe was feeling the crush of asylum seekers from Syria and North African migrants, an influx that reshaped communities from Spain to Sweden, spreading a fever of anti-immigrant rage in its wake...

Ahead of Egypt vote, Christians put faith in Sisi (AFP) On the streets of Cairo’s Shubra district, many Coptic Christians — but not all — say they will support President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in his re-election bid on Monday. Pro-Sisi banners hang overhead in the neighborhood where many Copts reside, often showing the president standing alongside Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II...

Indian cow vigilantes get life for lynching (UCANews.com) An Indian court has jailed 11 people for life for lynching a Muslim man suspected of possessing beef in a landmark case that church leaders say will help to check increasing violence against religious minorities. It is the first time a court has punished perpetrators of cow-related violence in the country, according to Persecution Relief director Shibu Thomas...

Holy Synod of Russian Orthodox Church to convene in Belarus in October (Belarus News) The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church plans to hold a session in Belarus in October 2018, Metropolitan of Minsk and Zaslavl, Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus Pavel told journalists on 20 March...

Photos: Passover celebrations underway in Ethiopia (The Jerusalem Post) Approximately 4,000 members of the Jewish community are expected to attend the Seder in Gondar, Ethiopia...



22 March 2018
Greg Kandra




Priests celebrate the Divine Liturgy at the Cathedral of Sts. James in the Armenian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. To learn more about why some Armenians in Jerusalem feel that ‘Living Here is Complicated,’ check out the Winter 2014 edition of ONE. (photo: Ilene Perlman)



22 March 2018
Greg Kandra




In this photo from last October, Pope Francis clasps hands with a person at the “Regional Hub,” a government-run processing center for migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, in Bologna, Italy. The pope is seen wearing a yellow ID bracelet with his name and a number, just like the immigrants and refugees at the center. The Holy See this week declared that migration efforts must respect the human person. (photo: CNS/L’Osservatore Romano)

Holy See says migration efforts must put the person at the center (Vatican News) “Refugees are not numbers to be distributed and allocated, but persons with a name, a story, with hopes and aspirations.” These were the words with which the Vatican Observer to the United Nations in Geneva reminded UN members to always put the dignity of the person at the center of their work...

Jerusalem on high alert ahead of holidays (Ynetnews.com) In Jerusalem, this heightened level of alert is manifested in the increased deployment of Border Police and police forces in the Old City, where many Israelis as well as tourists will spend some of the upcoming Passover holiday. “The defense establishment realizes that the cluster of events we are facing may be highly combustible. We’re on the precipice of Passover, two memorial days and Independence Day, but before we even get there we’re facing Land Day at the end of this month,” said a senior police source...

Rebels leave defeated Syrian town (BBC) Syrian rebels and their families are to be evacuated from a key town in the besieged Eastern Ghouta region as part of an agreement with the government. State media said 1,760 people had left Harasta, but a BBC Arabic correspondent said he had seen no buses depart yet...

Russian Catholic leaders pledge to work with Putin (CNS) Russia’s minority Catholic Church has pledged to help build a civil society after the nation’s 18 March election and called on President Vladimir Putin to “justify voters’ confidence” after his victory...

Kerala churches upset over new liquor policy (The Business Standard) The Syrian Mar Thoma Church and the Jacobite Syrian Christian Church on Thursday lashed out at the Pinarayi Vijayan government in Kerala for deciding to open closed liquor vends. The Kerala Catholic Bishop’s Conference (KCBC) had also slammed the "liquor policy" of the Vijayan government...

On World Water Day, recalling how Pope Francis has made care of the world’s water a priority (Vatican News) Pope Francis has already made it clear that the availability and care of the world’s water sources must be a global priority. In his encyclical Laudato Si’ (On Care for Our Common Home), the word “water” appears 47 times—22 occurrences within articles 27-30 which treat the subject of water specifically...

Rare, endangered primate born in Jerusalem zoo (The Times of Israel) An Israeli zoo said Thursday that an endangered primate known as a golden lion tamarin has been born in captivity. The Jerusalem Biblical Zoo said the monkey was born two weeks ago to mom Bilbi and dad Zohar. The yet unnamed monkey was seen Thursday clinging to its mother’s back...



21 March 2018
Greg Kandra




Parishioners attend the liturgy at Holy Family Chaldean Mission in Phoenix, Arizona.
(photo: Nancy Wiechec)


In 2015, we paid a visit to the southwestern United States to meet a few of the Chaldeans who have settled there and transformed it into Nineveh, U.S.A.:

Over the years, El Cajon, which lies east of San Diego, has taken on the shape of its growing community of Iraqi Christians. Signs in many of the city’s shops and restaurants are in Chaldean or Arabic, leading some to dub East Main Street, “Little Baghdad.” A stroll through the grounds of St. Peter Chaldean Cathedral is more reminiscent of the ancient city of Babylon, with sculptured lions of Ishtar guarding the entrance to the hall.

...Mar Abraham Chaldean Church, the community’s headquarters in Arizona, was founded in 1995 by 70 Chaldean families who settled in the state. Raad Delly was among them. His uncle, Mar Emanuel III, led the Chaldean Church as patriarch and cardinal, and died in San Diego in 2014.

Mr. Delly doesn’t have any grandchildren yet, but says that when he does, he will teach them their Chaldean heritage.

Maha George, who sings in the choir at the Chaldean mission in Gilbert, outside Phoenix, says the same. Mrs. George left Baghdad years ago after being shot by one of Saddam Hussein’s men while she was eight months pregnant. Her husband, Luay, worked three jobs to help establish their family, which now co-owns two car washes.

“It’s our roots. It’s a great history to belong to,” Mrs. George says. “America took us in, thank God, but we don’t want that history to get lost. Somebody has to keep it.”

Read more in the Winter 2015 edition of ONE.



21 March 2018
Greg Kandra




Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets Cardinal Oswald Gracias in New Delhi on 20 March. (photo: UCANews.com)

Bodies of 39 kidnapped Indian workers found in mass grave in Iraq (NPR) The AP said the bodies were found under a dirt mound after Iraqi authorities found evidence of the grave last summer using radar equipment. Once the bodies were exhumed, Indian authorities sent DNA samples from relatives of the missing workers. All but one have been identified. Among the artifacts discovered at the site were ID cards, non-Iraqi shoes and religious bracelets...

Modi holds off on inviting Pope Francis to India (UCANews.com) Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi continues to be non-committal on inviting Pope Francis to the country despite requests from church leaders as sporadic violence and intimidation against Christians continue across India. Less than a year after the Vatican gave up in frustration on a planned visit by the pontiff to the world’s second most populous country in 2018, turning instead toward strife-torn Myanmar and Muslim-majority Bangladesh, Cardinal Oswald Gracias failed to get agreement for a papal tour from the leader of the Hindu-centric Bharatiya Janata Party in a rare meeting with Modi on 20 March...

Israel confirms it struck Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007 (AP) The Israeli military confirmed Wednesday it carried out the 2007 airstrike in Syria that destroyed what was believed to be a nuclear reactor, lifting the veil of secrecy over one of its most daring and mysterious operations in recent memory. Although Israel was widely believed to have been behind the 6 September 2007 airstrike, it has never before commented publicly on it...

‘Why I stay in Gaza’ (The New York Times) When so many basic things are so fundamentally beyond your control, you sometimes do feel like giving up, saying goodbye to both country and past, and letting Palestine go. The problem is, Palestine won’t let you go...

Praying with paint: Iconography as a conversation with God (Catholic Register) Eleven women gathered at the Sheptytsky Institute on the campus of Toronto’s University of St. Michael’s College late in February to deepen their love of God over the course of a week spent painting a single, small icon of Christ or of Mary. Under the instruction of master iconographer and art restorer Roumen Kirinkov, these women learned to mix dry pigments and yolk emulsions, apply glazes, stretch canvas, mix and apply gesso, handle gold leaf, mix colours, choose and handle brushes. But first they prayed...



20 March 2018
CNEWA staff




A refugee and her daughter walk to their makeshift home in Bechouat, Lebanon.
(photo: Tamara Abdul Hadi)


Our regional director in Beirut, Michel Constantin, recently sent us this uplifting note, describing how CNEWA’s donors are making a difference in the lives of refugees:

In Lebanon, the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary is a small congregation, with just 30 sisters. They are engaged in aiding the poor and needy — as well as helping Syrian and Iraqi refugee families.

For the fifth consecutive year, through CNEWA funding the sisters run a program that aims at reaching and making a difference in the lives of displaced and refugee communities of children, youth and adults who have and still are suffering from the fallout of the wars in their countries, as well as the hard conditions they face living in Lebanon.

Through their social center, the sisters — assisted by a team of psychologists and specialists provide moral, social and spiritual support by organizing retreats, trips and camps for the most affected members of the family. This helps them overcome their trauma and anxiety about their future — giving them hope.

To date, more than 700 families have been screened, guided and given support by the sisters and social workers, benefiting somehow from the various programs and activities that are offered.

This is the story of one such family.

Mariam and Mirna are Chaldean Iraqi sisters, ages 20 and 18, who found refuge among the Lebanese community with their mother and younger sister, Mina. After being deserted by the father, they had no support system when they arrived in Lebanon.

Related: Sister Wardeh’s World
Welcoming the Stranger

The Franciscan Missionaries, through their social work, reached out to this family and followed-up closely to help them get settled, find jobs and schools, and most importantly, help them cope with their new environment. The mother and three daughters attended various retreats and summer camp, which helped boost their spirits and sustain their faith.

At the age of 18, Mariam suffered a dislocated jaw, causing difficulty with eating and speaking and also causing frequent headaches. The social workers’ intervention and the devotion of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary gave her a chance at a normal life; following several months of research and treatment, Mariam was able to undergo surgery to fix her jaw.

Mirna, to support her family, worked at a restaurant for less than a minimum wage salary, as she had no experience. The sisters guided her to pursue a learning program in food preparation and catering skills. Today, the family is settled in a small rented house in Jounieh, in the Kesrouan region; the mother works as a cashier at a grocery store, Mariam works at a bakery and Mirna still works at a restaurant — but with a much better salary. The youngest sister Mina attends the Syriac Catholic Angel of Peace School.

Social workers are following up with the family. The mother and her daughters continue to attend various activities and retreats sponsored by the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary.

Thanks to the sisters — and the generosity of CNEWA’s donors — these women have a new start and a new life.



20 March 2018
Greg Kandra




A young Armenian Catholic in Georgia represents the hope and promise of people who hold fast to their identity and faith. Read about their Staying Power in the Autumn 2013 edition of ONE.
(photo: Molly Corso)




20 March 2018
Greg Kandra




Embed from Getty Images
Syrian civil defense volunteers search for victims following Syrian government air strikes on the Eastern Ghouta rebel-held enclave of Douma, on 20 March 2018. An air strike has reportedly killed more than a dozen children sheltered in an underground school in the region.
(photo: Hamza Al-Ajweh/AFP/Getty Images)


Syria: air strike kills children at school (BBC) An air strike has reportedly killed 15 children and two women sheltering in an underground school in Syria’s besieged rebel-held Eastern Ghouta region. Rescuers said civilians had been hiding in the school to escape government and Russian raids on the town of Arbin...

Archbishop: young Christians and Muslims are engine to rebuild Iraq (Herald Malaysia) Rebuilding Iraq, after years of wars, extremism, divisions and violence culminating in the rise of the Islamic State, which is down but not yet out, must be based “on the young, who are the basis on which to build the future,” said Mgr. Yousif Thoma Mirkis, archbishop of Kirkuk, northern Iraq. The prelate recently met with a group of students from the University of Mosul who were lodged in his diocese when ISIS controlled the city...

Cardinal invites Christians to ‘Share the Journey’ with migrants this Easter (Vatican News) The President of Caritas Internationalis, the Church’s worldwide humanitarian confederation, has released an Easter message urging men and women of goodwill to join the Caritas “Share the Journey” campaign that aims to reaches out to migrants, tackle prejudice by changing perceptions and help people open their hearts and their minds...

Isaiah the prophet: the archaeological evidence (Haaretz) A 2,700-year-old seal impression on clay unearthed in Jerusalem this February piqued enormous interest, after its finder, the leading Jerusalem archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar, said it may have been the personal seal of Isaiah the Prophet himself. Biblical scholars have been quarreling ever since...

Indian Jesuits release book to mark pope’s five years (UCANews.com) Marking Pope Francis' five years in office, two Indian Jesuits have compiled a book collecting reflections of more than 50 church leaders on how they have applied the Jesuit pope’s insights in their own lives. Jesuit Fathers Kuruvilla Pandikattu and Father Vadappur Jose, both professors at the Jesuit-run Papal Seminary in Pune city in western India, edited the book, Francis Effect...



19 March 2018
Greg Kandra




Villagers gather for a candlelit prayer service outside a house in a small village in Bhikkawala. Learn how “untouchable” Christians are celebrating their faith in spite of hardship in Caste Aside in the Summer 2014 edition of ONE. (photo: John Mathew)



19 March 2018
Greg Kandra




People sit in a truck with their belongings in Afrin, Syria on 16 March.
(photo: CNS/Khalil Ashawi, Reuters)


Pope Francis appoints new archbishop in India (Vatican News) Pope Francis on Monday appointed a new archbishop in Bangalore, in southern India’s Karnataka state, and a new apostolic nuncio to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The Pope appointed Bishop Peter Machado of Belgaum as the new Archbishop of Bangalore. At the same time he also accepted the resignation of Archbishop Bernard Blasius Moras who stepped down having reached the retirement age of 75 in 2016...

Turkish flag hoisted over Afrin, Kurd fighters flee (Vatican News) After nearly two months of fighting, Turkish-backed forces have taken complete control of Afrin in the north of Syria, after Kurdish resistance dissolved. In a nationally broadcast statement, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed the news, adding that most of the Kurdish forces had fled the area...

Palestinians mark 100 days since Trump’s Jerusalem decision with protests (The Lebanon Daily Star) Thousands of Palestinian refugees took part in a Hamas-sponsored event Sunday in south Lebanon’s Sidon marking 100 days since U.S. President Donald Trump recognized occupied Jerusalem as the capital of Israel...

Why Armenia can claim to be the first Christian nation (Herald Times Online) Strange as it may seem to Western Christians, Armenia can claim to be the first kingdom to officially convert to Christianity...

Ethiopian Airlines supports Ghanian Christian pilgrims (Business Ghana) The Ethiopian Airlines, Africa’s largest airline group, has provided Seamless Connections for Ghanaian Christians seeking to go on Holy Pilgrimage to Israel. The Airline has been arranging Pilgrimage packages together with a Pilgrimage Company, One People Travels for Ghanaian Churches and passengers...







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