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Current Issue
September, 2017
Volume 43, Number 3
  
5 June 2014
J.D. Conor Mauro




Every day 2,500 new Syrian refugees arrive in Lebanon, more than half of them children who have witnessed incredible horrors. (video: Al Jazeera)

U.N. pessimistic over establishing Syrian refugee camps (Daily Star Lebanon) United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon Derek Plumbly said Thursday he is downbeat about the possibility of establishing refugee camps for Syrians in Lebanon. Lebanon has been mulling the organization of camps for Syrians along the border with the United Nations. However, Lebanese officials want the camps established inside safe Syrian territories or on the Syrian side of the border…

Aleppo again without water, Armenian population threatened (Fides) In Aleppo the presidential vote with which Assad seeks to perpetuate his power was held with the central districts subjected to intense missile launch and the whole city without water again. “For two days we have been without water,” says Armenian Catholic Archbishop Boutros Marayati, from the patriarchal residence…

Catholicos Aram I meets Pope Francis in the Vatican (Public Radio of Armenia) Following a private meeting between the two church leaders, Pope Francis I met with Armenian Apostolic Catholicos Aram I and the delegation accompanying him. In his speech the catholicos noted that since 1997 he has had the opportunity to meet Popes John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and currently, His Holiness Francis I. The catholicos then expressed his appreciation of the pope’s effort to take the church to the people, which he said is also at the heart of the Armenian Orthodox Church and to which it is fully committed. He then invited all churches to leave confessional differences aside and face together the urgent challenges confronting humanity…

Christians object to serving in Israel’s army (Al Jazeera) The leaders of Israel’s large Palestinian minority are stepping up opposition to Israeli government plans to recruit Christians into the military with a specially convened congress on Friday. According to the IDF, about 2,000 Christians reach the age of conscription each year. Despite the government’s promotion of enlistment, only about 150 Christians are reported to be serving. “The reality is that most Christians do not want to serve and will not respond to the call-up,” says Riah Abu el Assal, the former Anglican bishop of Jerusalem. Opponents of enlistment among the Palestinian minority have staged a series of protests…

Israel to build 1,500 more homes in settlements (The Guardian) Israel’s housing ministry has announced new plans for almost 1,500 new settlement housing units in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, described as a “fitting Zionist response” to the new Palestinian unity government, backed by the Islamic militant group Hamas…

Pope Francis laments threats to Roma (VIS) “New civil, cultural and social approaches, and a new pastoral strategy for the church [against] modern forms of persecution, oppression and slavery” are necessary to face the situation of Roma throughout the world, said Pope Francis during this morning’s audience. Roma often find themselves on the margins of society, “and at times are looked upon with hostility and suspicion; they are rarely involved in the political, economic and social dynamics of the country…”

Pope Francis sends message to Catholic-Orthodox meeting in Minsk (Vatican Radio) The secretary of state of the Holy See, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, has sent a message on behalf of Pope Francis to the European Orthodox-Catholic Forum, which took place in Minsk, the capital of Belarus. “His Holiness hopes that religious freedom in Europe will be protected in all of its forms and that Christians may always bear witness to the hope that is in them with kindness, respect and an upright conscience,” reads the message…



Tags: Pope Francis Lebanon Refugees Syrian Civil War Armenian Apostolic Church

4 June 2014
Greg Kandra




Pope Francis visits with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas after an arrival ceremony at the presidential palace in Bethlehem, West Bank, 25 May. President Abbas will be joining Israeli President Shimon Peres for a prayer meeting with Pope Francis this weekend.
(photo: CNS photo/Paul Haring)


Prayer will be the center of this weekend’s meeting (Vatican Radio) The Holy See’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, said prayer will be at the center of the 8 June meeting between Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the Vatican. Pope Francis invited the two leaders to the Vatican on 25 May, during his pilgrimage to the Holy Land. “It is a meeting of prayer. The Pope has placed it in this perspective: Prayer is like a force for peace,” Cardinal Parolin said. “Certainly, there will be a very powerful symbolic meaning in the fact that the Palestinian president and Israeli president will be there together,” he added. “But then there is an added value, the value of prayer: They will pray together. We hope that there, where human efforts have so far failed, the Lord offers to all the wisdom and fortitude to carry out a real peace plan, including building trust ...and overcoming obstacles — which are ... numerous and serious — which still prevent the achievement of peace in the Holy Land...”

Syrian election sends powerful signal of Assad’s control (Washington Post) Syrians voted on in a tightly controlled election Tuesday that reinforced President Bashar al-Assad’s tenacious hold on power, underscoring the failure of U.S. policies aimed at inducing him to step down. Three years after Assad’s brutal suppression of nationwide protests plunged Syria into a vicious civil war, the election seems certain to deliver him a third seven-year term in office, defying President Obama’s 2011 call for him to “step aside...”

Rebels in Ukraine capture governments posts (The New York Times) Rebel fighters in Ukraine’s troubled east have scored a major victory, capturing a border guard command base here after besieging it for two days and then overwhelming a second base that housed Ukrainian internal security forces...

Bethlehem University students engage in service through Catholic Charities (CNS) A group of students recently arrived in the U.S. from Bethlehem University in Palestine in order to participate in a one-of-a kind program with Catholic Charities. Fostered by a two-year partnership between the Catholic university and Catholic Charities USA, selected students travel to America every year and participate in a six-week summer internship program that allows them to use the skills they have developed within their prospective majors in Catholic Charities agencies nationwide...

Kerala bishops to back new government (The Hindu Businessline) The Kerala Catholic Bishops Council (KCBC), a powerful body that has immense clout in Kerala’s political scene and government policies, has extended its support to the Modi Government. At a meeting on Tuesday, KCBC president Baselios Mar Cleemis said the organisation will support all the people’s welfare programmes of the new Government..



Tags: Syria Ukraine Palestine Israel Bethlehem University

3 June 2014
Greg Kandra




Indian Cardinal D. Simon Lourdusamy, who had been the editor of a Catholic weekly newspaper before coming to Rome to serve as head of the Vatican Congregation for Eastern Churches, died in Rome at the age of 90. He is pictured in an undated photo with Blessed Teresa of Kolkata.
(Photo: CNS files)


Indian cardinal, former head of Congregation for Eastern Churches, dies (CNS) An Indian cardinal who had been the editor of a Catholic weekly newspaper before coming to Rome to serve as head of the Vatican Congregation for Eastern Churches died in Rome at the age of 90. The death of Cardinal D. Simon Lourdusamy 2 June leaves the College of Cardinals with 214 members, 118 of whom are younger than 80 and therefore eligible to vote in a conclave. In a telegram of condolence to Archbishop Anthony Anandarayar of Pondicherry and Cuddalore, Pope Francis recalled the late cardinal who spent his life “spreading the Gospel first in India and subsequently in service to the universal church...”

Voting begins in Syria (CNN) Polls for the Syrian presidential election opened Tuesday against the backdrop of a bloody and protracted civil war. The outcome is hardly in doubt: President Bashar al-Assad is almost guaranteed to emerge victorious in a vote that opposition groups and many Western countries say has been be rigged from the start. Syria isn’t renowned for holding free and fair elections...

Patriarch visits Homs (ByzCath.org) On his return from Jordan, where he had gone to welcome Pope Francis, Patriarch Gregorios III of Antioch and All the East, of Alexandria and of Jerusalem, went to Homs on a pastoral visit to strengthen and show solidarity with the city’s clergy and faithful. Welcomed at the city gates by Metropolitan John (Abdo Arbash) of Homs, Hama and Yabrud, Patriarch Gregorios began by visiting the city’s governor, Talal Al-Barazi before going to the Khaled ibn Al-Walid mosque, where Sheikh Fathallah Al-Qadi, the Mufti of Homs Province, and Sheikh Issam Al-Masri, Director of the Waqfs (religious endowments) of Homs, were expecting him. Then Gregorios III began the pastoral aspect of his visit by going to the Melkite Greek Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace where, flanked by Metropolitan John and his clergy, the patriarch proceeded to bless the cathedral by sprinkling with holy water before reciting the peace prayer of Pope Saint John Paul II during his jubilee trip to Syria in 2001...

Rolling Stones’ first concert in Israel delayed for religious Jewish fans (Religion News Service) The Rolling Stones will begin their first concert in Israel 45 minutes later than originally scheduled to accommodate religious Jewish fans. The Stones’ 4 June Tel Aviv concert was initially set to begin at 8:30 p.m., just minutes after the end of the Shavuot holiday, the Jewish Feast of Weeks, which commemorates Moses receiving the Ten Commandments. Orthodox Jews do not drive on the Sabbath or holidays, so it would have been impossible for them to arrive at the venue on time. Many of the Stones’ biggest Israeli fans — modern Orthodox baby boomers who moved to Israel from English-speaking countries — had begged the event promoter, Shuki Weiss Promotion and Production, to push back the starting time. “Following many requests from the public, particularly the observant public, to delay the starting hour for the performance, the City of Tel Aviv, together with the production team, decided to change the starting time,” the promoter said in a press release. The municipality had to agree due to after-hours noise pollution laws...



Tags: Syria India Israel Jordan

2 June 2014
Greg Kandra




In this image from April, Syrian President Bashar Assad looks at destroyed religious artwork with a member of the clergy during a visit to the ancient Christian town of Maaloula, Syria.
(photo: CNS/Syria’s national news agency handout via Reuters)


Syria poised to re-elect Assad (CNN) In the midst of a bloody and protracted civil war, the Syrian government is set to hold a presidential election Tuesday. The outcome is hardly in doubt: President Bashar al-Assad is almost guaranteed to emerge victorious in a vote that opposition groups and many Western countries say will be rigged from the start...

Christian property seized in Syria (Fides) On Sunday 1 June, militiamen of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, a Sunni jiahdist formation, confiscated houses and land belonging to Christian families in Ein al-Issa, Syria, the area in the province of Raqqa inhabited mainly by Armenian Christians. According to Kurdish sources, the owners of the confiscated property were forced to leave the area...

Pope appeals for peace in Ukraine (Vatican Radio) At the Regina Coeli address on Sunday, Pope Francis prayed “for the victims of the tensions that still continue in some regions of Ukraine, as well as in the Central African Republic.” He renewed his appeal “to all parties involved, that misunderstandings are overcome and that dialogue and reconciliation might be sought with patience...”

Cardinals to determine canonization date for India’s new saints (Vatican Radio) Cardinals who are in Rome will gather around Pope Francis for a consistory on 12 June to decide upon the date for the canonization of six future saints of the Catholic Church, among them India’s Fr. Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Sr. Euphrasia Eluvathingal. Blessed Chavara, belonging to India’s Syro-Malabar Catholic Church based in Kerala state, founded the Congregation of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate. He lived from 1805 to 1871. Blessed Euphrasia of the Congregation of the Mother of Carmel, also belonged to the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church. She was born in 1877 and died in 1952...



Tags: Syria India Ukraine Syro-Malabar Catholic Church

30 May 2014
Greg Kandra




Pope Francis greets Israeli President Shimon Peres in Jerusalem on 26 May.
(photo: CNS/ Tsafrir Abayov, EPA)


Encounter to pray for peace will take place on 8 June (Vatican Radio) The head of the Press Office of the Holy See, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi has confirmed that the invitation to pray together for peace in the Vatican, Pope Francis extended during his Apostolic Journey to the Holy Land to both the President of Israel, Shimon Peres, and of Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas, has been accepted and will take place in the afternoon of Sunday 8 June 2014...

Pope decries “globalization of indifference” (CNS) A “globalization of indifference” has taken hold of too many of the world’s people, numbing them to the horrifying reality faced by the people of Syria and other innocent victims of war and violence around the world, Pope Francis said. With the Syrian conflict continuing for more than three years, “there is a risk of becoming used to it” and forgetting that people are dying there each day, the pope said 30 May in a message to participants at a Vatican-hosted meeting for Catholic aid agencies. The Pontifical Council Cor Unum, which promotes and coordinates Catholic charitable activity, brought together two dozen Catholic relief and development agencies that are working in Syria or with Syrian refugees. The meeting was designed to help them work together more efficiently and reach more people in need...

Pope: Holy Land trip was a great grace (Vatican Radio) At the heart of Pope Francis’ address at his weekly General Audience on Wednesday was his recent visit to the Holy Land. The faithful gathered on a warm day in St Peter’s Square, listened as the Pope told them that this journey was great grace for him and for the whole Church. The Holy Father recalled this trip as one that commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of the meeting of Pope Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras, and which marked a milestone along the path to Christian unity...

Kerala police rescue almost 600 children (India Today) Kerala Police and Palakkad district officials rescued almost 600 children being transported into the state from Bihar and Jharkhand on the pretext of sending them to orphanages. Officials, however, fear this to be a clear case of child trafficking. The authorities rescued the children following tips from Railway Police....

Russian Orthodox priest blesses Soyuz spacecraft (Daily Mail) A Russian Orthodox priest has prayed for the Soyuz spacecraft ahead of its blast off tomorrow to the International Space Station. The crew arrived at the Baikonur launch site in Kazakhstan two weeks before the launch to prepare themselves for the journey...



Tags: India Middle East Kerala Russian Orthodox

28 May 2014
J.D. Conor Mauro




The authorities in Egypt have extended voting in the presidential election to a third day, following reports of an unexpectedly low turnout so far. Orla Guerin reports from Cairo. (video: BBC)

Egypt’s extended voting fails to turn out Sisi supporters (Los Angeles Times) Egypt’s election went into overtime on Wednesday as the government sought to drum up more votes for former military chief Abdel Fattah Sisi, but turnout again appeared lackluster on the hastily added third day of polling…

Syrians abroad vote in advance of national ballot (New York Times) Thousands of Syrians clogged approach roads and formed lines outside their embassy in Beirut on Wednesday as voting for expatriates began in an election that is expected to return President Bashar al Assad to power…

Patriarch Youhanna X calls for amity and optimism to reconstruct Homs (SANA) Greek Orthodox Patriarch Youhanna X of Antioch and All the East called on all people of Homs to embrace patience, optimism and amity in reconstructing what has been damaged, expressing confidence that the efforts exerted by the state will let everyone come back to their homes and neighborhoods…

Lebanon security forces suspect plot to assassinate patriarch (Daily Star Lebanon) Lebanon’s Internal Security Forces arrested a suspect who confessed to cooperating with a regional intelligence apparatus in a plot to assassinate Maronite Patriarch Bechara Peter, security sources told the Daily Star…

Chaldean Synod to be held in Baghdad from 24-28 June (Chaldean Church) In one month, the leaders of the Chaldean Church will convene in their synodal meeting. In preparation, Patriarch Louis Raphael has asked that a prayer be read at the celebration of the Divine Liturgy in every Chaldean parish and monastery for each Sunday leading up to the event…



Tags: Syria Egypt Chaldean Church Maronite Patriarch Bechara Peter Greek Orthodox Patriarch Youhanna X of Antioch

27 May 2014
J.D. Conor Mauro




A rose is thrown towards the popemobile as Pope Francis arrives to celebrate Mass at Manger Square in Bethlehem, West Bank, on 25 May. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis sparks ecumenical and interfaith hope in the Holy Land (Vatican Radio) As Pope Francis’ three-day journey to the Holy Land — with stops in Jordan, Palestine and Israel — comes to an end. Philippa Hitchen brings us an overall picture of this visit in which she focuses on ecumenical and interfaith hope…

Ukraine and pro-Russian forces fight air battle in Donetsk (Christian Science Monitor) Ukrainian government warplanes carried out airstrikes against pro-Russian rebels who seized Donetsk international airport on Monday as both sides mounted an aggressive show of force following the election of a new Ukrainian president…

Egypt declares national holiday to encourage voter turnout (The Guardian) Egypt has declared a national holiday, in an apparent effort to encourage a higher turnout in the second and final day of its ongoing presidential election. Ex-army chief Abdel Fatah al Sisi is expected to easily win Tuesday’s election but he and his supporters are seeking a respectable turnout to prove he has the country’s overwhelming support…

Indian Church calls on Modi aid the poor and marginalized (AsiaNews) “The church in India is hopeful that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will collaborate with the mission of the Catholic Church to promote and work for social and economic justice as well as individual liberty and fundamental rights,” said Cardinal Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Mumbai and president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India…

Syria: U.N. condemns attack on warehouse during aid distribution (U.N. News Center) The United Nations humanitarian chief today expressed outrage at a deliberate attack on a humanitarian warehouse in the Damascus province of Syria, which occurred as aid workers were preparing to distribute urgently needed supplies to hundreds of families in the besieged city…

Cave presumably containing tomb of Queen Tamar found (Pravoslavie) Following a landslide, road workers in Ingushetia have discovered an ancient cave that may contain the tomb of the Georgian Queen Tamar, reported Umalat Gadiev, deputy director of Krupnov Archaeological Center. Holy Queen Tamar of Georgia’s late 12th-century reign was considered a “golden age” of Georgian culture, and she is considered one of the most venerated rulers of Georgia…



Tags: India Egypt Pope Francis Ukraine United Nations

23 May 2014
J.D. Conor Mauro




The Church of Nativity in Bethlehem — traditionally considered to be built on the site of Jesus Christ’s birth — is getting its first restoration in centuries. Master craftsmen are replacing the basilica’s ancient wood with slightly less ancient wood from other buildings. (video: Washington Post)

Pope Francis to lunch with poor Christian families in Bethlehem (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis will have lunch with local Christian families after celebrating holy Mass at Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity this Sunday. The pope will visit the town of Jesus’ birth on the second day of his May 24-26 journey to the Holy Land. In an interview published on the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem’s website, Auxiliary Bishop William Shomali says the pope wanted to share his lunchtime meal with poor families…

Pope to hear from Syria’s refugees in Jordan (Deccan Chronicle) Pope Francis will hear first-hand accounts of the horrors of Syria’s war when he meets refugees in Jordan Saturday as he begins a three-day visit to the Holy Land. The pope will meet Christians and Muslims forced to leave their homes and flee to the neighboring desert kingdom, now home to more than 600,000 refugees and the first stop on Francis’ trip ahead of Israel and the Palestinian territories…

Lebanese patriarch joins Pope Francis in Israel, stirring controversy (Christian Science Monitor) When Maronite Patriarch Bechara Peter heads to Israel tomorrow to participate in a papal visit to the Holy Land, he will become the first patriarch of the Maronite Church to visit the Jewish state — a move that has stirred intense controversy. Lebanon technically is in a state of war with Israel and it is against the law for Lebanese citizens to visit its neighbor or even have contact with its citizens. Patriarch Bechara Peter, who is also a cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church, says he has a duty to accompany Pope Francis in the Holy Land and that his visit is pastoral and will emphasize the Arab character of Jerusalem…

Struggle for rights at Cenacle shows issues with Jerusalem’s holy sites (CNS) The attention drawn to the Cenacle by extremist Jewish groups has put a damper on the hopes for negotiations over the site, said Franciscan Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, custos of the Holy Land. “After all this commotion we have to calm down a little and to start now clarifying [our position],” Father Pizzaballa told journalists before the opening of a 20 May conference. “The point is we have the right to pray without infringing upon the rights of others…”

Syria can reform, says Melkite patriarch (Church Times) The crisis in Syria is the result of “murderous mercenaries” who are intent on destroying a peaceful nation on the road to reform, the Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch Gregory III said, speaking in London on Tuesday. The patriarch described the centuries-long peaceful co-existence of Christians and Muslims, including his own personal experience of growing up in Syria: his mother breastfed him together with a Muslim “milk-brother…”



Tags: Pope Francis Holy Land Jerusalem Israeli-Palestinian conflict Bethlehem

22 May 2014
J.D. Conor Mauro




A Muslim family, currently headed by Adeeb Jawad Joudeh, has been entrusted with the keys to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem for almost 1,000 years. (video: Al Jazeera)

The 1,000-year-old schism Pope Francis seeks to heal (NPR) Pope Francis travels this weekend to the Middle East, the cradle of the three monotheistic religions, and will meet with Catholic, Jewish and Muslim leaders. But the official purpose of the visit is to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic rapprochement between Catholics and Orthodox and to try to restore Christian unity after nearly 1,000 years of estrangement. Meeting in Jerusalem in 1964, Pope Paul VI and Orthodox Patriarch Athenagoras set a milestone: They started the process of healing the schism between Eastern and Western Christianity of the year 1054…

Seeking balance on Middle East visit, pope pleases few (New York Times) Pope Francis plans to give a strong show of support for a sovereign Palestinian state when he makes his first visit to the Holy Land this weekend, becoming the first pontiff to travel directly into the occupied West Bank rather than passing through Israel. The pope’s decision to fly straight to Bethlehem from Jordan would be a symbolic lift to the Palestinians at any time. But its resonance is even greater given his tremendous popularity, his focus on the downtrodden, and his timing amid the recent collapse of peace talks and the Palestine Liberation Organization’s unity pact with the militant group Hamas. But in this region, any gesture can be viewed through different lenses. “We’re not very happy about it, but it’s a fact,” Oded Ben Hur, a former Israeli ambassador to the Vatican, said of the pope’s direct flight to Bethlehem from Amman, Jordan. “We wanted them to play it down, but we can understand the complaints…”

Legacy of Hamas-Fatah killings complicates Palestinian unity efforts (New York Times) The bloody six-day battle for control of the Gaza Strip in 2007 left 260 Fatah activists and 176 from Hamas dead. Following the signing of a 23 April pact, a committee is now charged with persuading their families to accept compensation — and raise the funds to pay it — rather than pursue the death penalty as outlined in Islamic law. This so-called social reconciliation is one of the complicated issues yet to be addressed, as President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority prepares to announce the promised new government as early as this week…

Ukraine crisis: Donetsk sees deadliest attack on troops (BBC) A dawn attack on a checkpoint in eastern Ukraine has left at least 14 soldiers dead, in the worst loss of life for government forces to date. Heavily armed militants attacked the checkpoint in the Volnovakha area, in one of four attacks reported overnight in eastern Ukraine…

U.N. official cites ‘worsening’ human rights situation in southern, eastern Ukraine (U.N. News Center) The southern and eastern regions of crisis-racked Ukraine are now awash in weapons and the scene of numerous cases of illegal detentions and abductions, a senior United Nations human rights official warned today, noting that he had discussed with the parties some rights-based and humanitarian de-escalation measures…

Solving the problem of avoidable blindness afflicting many Ethiopians (Fides) Trachoma is one of the most common visual disorders in Africa and, if not treated timely, leads to permanent blindness. Ethiopia is one of the African countries with the highest incidence of people with eye diseases. Out of a population of 75 million people, nearly 1 million Ethiopians are affected by blindness and 4 million are visually impaired…

During Syrian siege, siblings improvised survival (Los Angeles Times) Tales of survival are beginning to rise from Homs’ rubble in the aftermath of a deal that allowed about 2,000 remaining rebels to evacuate the Old City this month, and also opened the way for civilians to return. Longtime residents who fled have been streaming back, stunned by the scope of destruction and anguished by the damage to their homes, but relieved that they are no longer shut out…



Tags: Pope Francis Ukraine Holy Land United Nations Christian Unity

21 May 2014
J.D. Conor Mauro




As the Holy Land prepares for the visit of Pope Francis, hate crimes leave Christians feeling vulnerable. (video: Al Jazeera)

Pope picks one of dueling baptism sites in visit to Holy Land (Washington Post) Christians believe that Jesus was immersed in the waters of the Jordan River by John the Baptist, who wore a cloak of camel’s hair and lived on locusts and honey in the desert wilderness. But the Gospels are not precise about which side of the river the baptism took place on — the east bank or the west. Although it might not matter much to a half-million annual visitors who come to the river for sightseeing or a renewal of faith, it matters very much to tourism officials in Israel and Jordan, who maintain dueling baptism sites, one smack-dab across from the other, with the shallow, narrow, muddy stream serving as international boundary. On Saturday, on his first papal trip to the Holy Land, Pope Francis will visit the baptism site at Bethany Beyond the Jordan — on the eastern, or Jordanian, side of the river…

Pope Francis prays for flood victims in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia (VIS) At the end of today’s general audience, the pope launched an appeal on behalf of those citizens who have lost their lives, for the many still missing and for those affected by the great damage caused by the serious floods which have occurred during recent days in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia. “Unfortunately the situation has worsened, and I therefore invite you all to join me in prayer for the victims and for all those afflicted by this disaster. May the solidarity and concrete support of the international community be forthcoming…”

Syrians return to rebuild lives in Homs’ war-ravaged Old City (Los Angeles Times) Wary of looters and anxious to get back home, the displaced residents of the war-battered Old City have been filing back into their bombed-out neighborhoods. They push baby strollers and drag suitcases to be used in an ongoing salvage operation. At times, it is hard to distinguish between ex-residents gathering what little is left of their belongings and those picking the ruins clean of others’ possessions…

Syrian refugees in Lebanon face health care crisis (BBC) Amnesty International says a shortfall in international support has left many Syrian refugees in Lebanon unable to access crucial medical care. A new report says some refugees have resorted to returning to Syria to receive the treatment they need. The U.N. says there are now 2.7 million registered Syrian refugees and the number is still rising…



Tags: Syria Pope Francis Refugees Holy Land Christians Serbia





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