24 April 2019
In this image from 2016, CNEWA’s president, Msgr. John Kozar, leads benediction at the Al Bishara School in the Ain Kawa area of Erbil, in Iraqi Kurdistan. He remains inspired and deeply moved by the resilience and faith of those CNEWA is privileged to serve around the world. (photo: CNEWA)
In the current edition of ONE, CNEWA’s president, Msgr. John E. Kozar, offers a few thoughts on the power of the cross — and the spirit of Easter:
During a number of my pastoral visits, not only have I witnessed firsthand the extreme sufferings of war, famine, natural disasters and the like, I have witnessed and been uplifted by the resilience of the human spirit. The survivors of these disasters not only survive, they thrive — oftentimes as a result of their profound faith and, among Christians, their support of the church. CNEWA is honored and humbled to witness this in our role of accompaniment of the local church.
I think of the large numbers of refugees of every age who had to flee the ravages of ISIS in Iraq and Syria. But I especially recall the courageous women who carried their babies and clutched the arms of their elderly mothers and grandparents as they fled persecution to an unknown land — and a very uncertain future. But, inspired by their faith and nurtured by the church, they carried with them an abundance of hope, which has led them to a new life. Even if “new life” has meant living in a refugee camp or a cramped apartment, they have maintained their hope and have joyfully expressed it in their prayers and liturgical celebrations. I have had the great joy of participating in some of these liturgical events and have come away uplifted and renewed in my own faith.
The prominence of the cross of Jesus has been visible everywhere: on the fronts of tents or humble shelters, worn around their necks, painted on the exteriors of gathering places or displayed in some other ways. It proudly proclaims their identity and their sense of hope.
You’ll want to read it all — and check out the inspiring and thoughtful video reflection he offers below: