from News

Amid Sadness, Refugees Hear Christmas message of Hope
Catholic News Service (24 December 2013)
BEIRUT (CNS) — More than 800 Syrian and Iraqi refugees were bused to the National Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon for a Christmas Mass in an atmosphere of “great sadness.”

Iraqis in Jordan Go to the Polls, Hoping for Stability at Home
Catholic News Service (29 April 2014)
AMMAN, Jordan (CNS) — A steady stream of Iraqi refugees, smiling and displaying purple index fingers, emerged from a polling station in the Hashemi Shamali district, where the majority of these urban refugees live in the Jordanian capital.

Christians From Mosul Say They Have Been Targeted for Months
Catholic News Service (16 June 2014)
AMMAN, Jordan (CNS) —The fall of Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, to Islamist militants in early June sent half a million residents scurrying for safety, but Christians from the city say they were targeted long before Iraqi security forces abandoned the major political and economic hub.

Refugees in Jordan Never Thought They Would Have to Leave Home
Catholic News Service (20 June 2014)
AMMAN, Jordan (CNS) — Desperate to reunite with family in Europe, a young Syrian refugee recently paid thousands of dollars to a human trafficker to help him and his brother travel abroad. Instead, the pair found themselves tricked, half-way on the opposite side of the world — in China.

Pope Calls for Prayers as Militants Chase All Christians out of Mosul
Catholic News Service (22 July 2014)
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — As the last Iraqi Christians in Mosul fled the city, Pope Francis urgently called for prayers, dialogue and peace.

Mosul Bishop Calls Expulsion of Christians a ‘Crime Against Humanity’
Catholic News Service (23 July 2014)
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Backed up by death threats and property seizures, the expulsion of the entire Christian community from Mosul is “a crime against humanity,” said an archbishop from Mosul.

Agency Seeks Donations for Emergency Aid for Fleeing Iraqi Christians
Catholic News Service (29 July 2014)
NEW YORK (CNS) — A U.S.-based international Catholic agency on 28 July issued a plea for emergency funds to help tens of thousands of Christians forced to flee their homes in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.

CNEWA Launches Emergency Appeal to Aid Iraqi Christian Families in Flight
press release (8 August 2014)
Ottawa — Catholic Near East Welfare Association has launched a campaign to rush emergency assistance to more than 100,000 thousand Christians fleeing their homes in northern Iraq.

Pope Asks for International Action to Help Iraq’s Persecuted Christians
Catholic News Service (8 August 2014)
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis asked Catholics around the world to pray for tens of thousands of Christians from villages in northeastern Iraq who were forced from their homes in the middle of the night by Islamic State militants.

Pope to Send Envoy to Displaced Christians in Iraq
Catholic News Service (11 August 2014)
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Given the “grave situation in Iraq,” Pope Francis has asked Cardinal Fernando Filoni to travel to the region to meet church and government officials, but especially to meet Christians chased from their homes by militants of the Islamic State.

U.S. Bishops, Parishes Asked to Offer Special Prayer for Peace in Iraq
Catholic News Service (11 August 2014)
WASHINGTON (CNS) — The chairman of the U.S. bishops’ international policy committee has asked the nation’s Catholic bishops to invite the people of their dioceses to pray for peace in Iraq on 17 August.

Pope’s Appeal for Peace in Iraq: ‘Stop These Crimes’
Catholic News Service (12 August 2014)
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis condemned the actions of Islamic State militants in Iraq, saying that persecuting Christians and other minorities “seriously offends God and seriously offends humanity.”

Catholic Iraqi Refugees in Lebanon Recall Horror of Militant Attacks
Catholic News Service (12 August 2014)
BEIRUT (CNS) — The memory of that brutal June evening in his home near Mosul, Iraq, brought 48-year-old Joseph, now a refugee in Lebanon, to tears.

Iraqi Christians Beginning to Die in Hot, Crowded Camps, Witnesses Say
Catholic News Service (12 August 2014)
MANCHESTER, England (CNS) — Iraqi Christians driven from their homes by Islamic State fighters are beginning to die in crowded camps, witnesses claimed.

Iraqi Minorities Need More Than Material Aid, Cardinal Says
Catholic News Service (17 August 2014)
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The one thing Iraqi church leaders and aid workers, foreign charities and governments cannot do for the displaced and terrorized people of northeastern Iraq is answer their question, “What will become of us?” said Cardinal Fernando Filoni, the pope’s envoy to the region.

Western Leaders Press Governments to Increase Help to Iraqi Minorities
Catholic News Service (17 August 2014)
WASHINGTON (CNS) — Western leaders pressed their governments to increase humanitarian efforts on behalf of persecuted Christians and other minorities in northern Iraq.

“We Need Actions, Not Words” to Stop Militants, Says Chaldean Leader
Catholic News Service (18 August 2014)
PHOENIX (CNS) — As the heart-rending images of Christians and Yezidis fleeing for their lives continue to pour in from Iraq, the Vatican called on Muslim leaders to condemn the “barbarity” and “unspeakable criminal acts” of Islamic State militants in Iraq.

Iraqi Christians Arrive in Jordan With tearful Tales of Desperation
Catholic News Service (18 August 2014)
AMMAN, Jordan (CNS) — The first Iraqi Christians fleeing Islamic State militants reached the safety of Jordan, helped by King Abdullah II and Catholic aid groups.

U.S. Dominicans Praying, ‘Agonizing’ for Iraqi Dominicans, Villagers
Catholic News Service (19 August 2014)
WASHINGTON (CNS) — Dominican Sister Attracta Kelly in Adrian, Michigan, has been able to speak a few times with the superior of a group of Iraqi Dominicans and knows how desperate their situation is since they escaped Islamicists in northern Iraq.

Elderly Iraqi Christians Defy Terrorists, Flee to Camp
Catholic News Service (19 August 2014)
MANCHESTER, England (CNS) — A group of 11 sick, disabled and elderly Iraqi Christians —including an 80-year-old woman with breast cancer — defied terrorists who ordered them to convert to Islam or be beheaded, saying they preferred death to giving up their faith.

Catholic, Orthodox Patriarchs Visit Erbil to Support Displaced Iraqis
Catholic News Service (20 August 2014)
BEIRUT (CNS) — A delegation of Catholic and Orthodox patriarchs visited Erbil, Iraq, to show their support and solidarity with the more than 100,000 Christians and minorities displaced in the country by the advance of Islamist militants.

Priest Shocked at Condition for Iraqis Displaced in Erbil
Catholic News Service (22 August 2014)
BEIRUT (CNS) — As secretary to Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch Gregory III, Father Rami Wakim has met scores of Syrian refugees, but said he was shocked at the flood of displaced Iraqis he encountered in Erbil, Iraq.

Syriac Patriarch Calls Islamic State Actions ‘Attempted Genocide’
Catholic News Service (27 August 2014)
BEIRUT (CNS) — Returning from a visit to the Kurdish region of Iraq, Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignatius Joseph III called the Islamic State invasion “pure and simple religious cleansing and attempted genocide.”

First Wave of Iraqis, Some of Whom Helped U.S., Feel Trapped in Jordan
Catholic News Service (2 September 2014)
AMMAN, Jordan (CNS) — Iraqi refugees who fled sectarian violence following the 2003-U.S.-led invasion are fearful they could fall between the cracks as aid agencies scramble to help fresh arrivals escaping Islamic State brutality.

Pope: Iraq’s Persecuted Christians Are True, Bold Witnesses of Christ
Catholic News Service (3 September 2014)
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Iraqi Christians are true and courageous witnesses of Christ’s message of hope, forgiveness and love, Pope Francis said.

Iraqi Christian Details How Militants Kidnapped Her 3-Year-Old
Catholic News Service (4 September 2014)
MANCHESTER, England (CNS) — An Iraqi Christian woman has described how her 3-year-old daughter was abducted by Islamist terrorists.

For Some Iraqi Christians, Returning to Homeland Is Not an Option
Catholic News Service (9 September 2014)
BEIRUT (CNS) — Uprooted from his home in Iraq by the advance of Islamic State fighters, Nouree sees no future for Christians in his country.

“It Pierced My Heart Like a Knife,” Nun Says After Visit to Iraqis
Catholic News Service (11 September 2014)
BEIRUT (CNS) — Sister Marie Claude Naddaf, provincial leader of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd for Lebanon and Syria, is still shaken by what she witnessed visiting Erbil, Iraq.

Lebanese Parish Reaches Out to Christian Iraqi Refugees for Christmas
Catholic News Service (16 December 2014)
RABIEH, Lebanon (CNS) — The sadness behind their polite smiles was evident when they arrived on two buses for a Mass and luncheon in their honor.

Pope Meets Leaders of Yazidi Community Facing Persecution
Catholic News Service (8 January 2015)
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — In his appeals for an end to the persecution of minorities in Syria and Iraq, Pope Francis often has mentioned both the Christians and the Yazidis attacked by Islamic State fighters.

Catholic Official: Funding Running Out for Iraqi Refugees in Jordan
Catholic News Service (9 January 2015)
AMMAN, Jordan (CNS) — A Catholic official warned that funding will soon run out to feed and house thousands of Iraqi Christians sheltering in Jordan after being made homeless by Islamic State militants.

U.S. Bishops Travel to Iraq, Meet Displaced Christians
Catholic News Service (27 January 2015)
AIN KAWA, Iraq (CNS) — One of Iraq’s Christians chased out of her historic homeland quietly prayed the rosary as a bishop who traveled halfway around the world to meet her and others displaced celebrated Mass for them.

Education a Priority for Church Agencies Aiding Iraqis
Catholic News Service (12 February 2015)
SHARIAH COLLECTIVE, Iraq (CNS) — Young children happily sing songs in Kurdish and Arabic, play interactive games, learn to count and how to read and write under a big colorful tent. Meanwhile, teens and pre-teens study more serious subjects.

Faith Lives on Despite Suffering in Iraq, Syria
Catholic News Service (6 April 2015)
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — More than 1,000 people packed into a tent in a refugee camp in Erbil, Iraq, for the Easter vigil Mass celebrated by Italian Cardinal Fernando Filoni, former nuncio to Iraq and Pope Francis’ personal representative to those forced to flee the fury of Islamic State militants.

Iraqi Refugees in Lebanon Find Hope in Infant Baptisms at Easter Vigil
Catholic News Service (6 April 2015)
BEIRUT (CNS) — Despite the extreme hardship of being exiled from their homes in Iraq, the Easter vigil was a day of great joy for the parents of eight babies who were baptized in Lebanon.

Cardinal Says Education Is Key to Iraqi Refugees’ Recovery
Catholic News Service (15 April 2015)
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Educating children is the best way to help displaced Iraqi Christians recover from the traumatic experience of being chased from their homes by Islamic State militants, said Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster, England, after an 11-12 April visit to Erbil.

Cardinal Visits Northern Iraq to Convey Pope’s Concern for Displaced
Catholic News Service (7 May 2015)
ERBIL, Iraq (CNS) — The head of the Vatican’s Congregation for Eastern Churches visited Iraq to convey Pope Francis’ blessing and concern for church officials and the displaced living and working in difficult circumstances.

Help Us ‘Go Back Home,’ Displaced Iraqi Sister Urges U.S. Congress
Catholic News Service (13 May 2015)
WASHINGTON (CNS) — Speaking quietly and deliberately, Dominican Sister Diana Momeka from Iraq urged a congressional committee hearing on 13 May to help the displaced Christian refugees in Iraq to “go back home.”

Priest in Jordan Ministering to Refugees Is ‘Living With Saints’
Catholic News Service (11 June 2015)
MARKA, Jordan (CNS) — Hearing a beloved voice, a little boy hurriedly hobbled down the pale stone steps of the church hall to greet the priest with a tender hug.

Archbishop From Iraq Asks West to Step Up Efforts to Oust Islamic State
Catholic News Service (12 June 2015)
NEW YORK (CNS) — Syriac Catholic Archbishop Yohanna Moshe of Mosul, Iraq, called on the world’s government to oust Islamic State militants from northern parts of the country so thousands of displaced Christians can return home.

Priest Finds Frustrations Build Among Christians in Iraq Camp
Catholic News Service (21 July 2015)
MANCHESTER, England (CNS) — When the Islamic State overran the Iraqi town of Qaraqosh last August, one of the priests there jumped into his car and joined the exodus of Christians on the road east in the hope of reaching the safety of Kurdish-controlled territory.

Pope Urges Peace in Iraq, Prays for Christians
Catholic News Service (26 October 2015)
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis called on the international community to find a way to bring peace to Iraq and the Middle East and prayed that Christians there would no longer be forced to flee their homes.

from Blog Content

Take Five: Making a Difference in the Middle East
Pope Benedict XVI is being received throughout the Middle East as a herald of peace and hope.

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Welcome to Canada!
Six members of the Makhoo family -- Iraqi refugees sponsored by Toronto's Cardinal Thomas Collins -- finally arrived in Canada on 23 May.

Picture of the Day: Seeking Sanctuary
In this image from 2008, an Iraqi mother holds her child near her new home in Syria. (photo: Spencer Osberg)

The Life of a Parish Priest in Jordan
Father Mansour Mattosha is the only priest in his Syriac Catholic parish. (photo: Cory Eldridge)

The King’s Speech
King Abdullah II, ruler of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, gave an extraordinary speech to the U.N. General Assembly on 24 September 2013.

Picture of the Day: Reunion
The Alslivi family enjoys Sunday brunch. (photo: Magnus Aronson)

Picture of the Day: Heartbreak in Iraq
Nasrin Abdul-Ahad Aziz, pictured in 2011, had lost several family members as result of ethnic and sectarian violence in Iraq. (photo: Safin Hamed)

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Picture of the Day: Prayer From Abroad
Ramiz Toma, an Iraqi Christian living in Sweden, attends the Divine Liturgy at least once a week. (photo: Magnus Aronson)

Page One: Headlines for 7/3/14
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Picture of the Day:
The Needs of Iraqis

A child holds a bowl of soup inside the Khazer camp on the outskirts of Irbil, Iraq, on 29 June.

Please Support Our Brothers and Sisters in Iraq
Support those displaced by the fighting in Iraq!

Picture of the Day: Syria’s Iraqi Children
Iraqi refugee children had found some stability in Syria before civil war erupted. (photo: Spencer Osberg)

“Such a Conflagration of Hate”
Over at Patheos, blogger Elizabeth Scalia has a comprehensive roundup of what is happening in Iraq.

Letter from Iraq:
“Many Churches Are Burned, Destroyed, Looted”

We received the following report this morning from Archdeacon Emanuel Youkhana, an Iraqi-born priest of the Assyrian Church of the East now based in Germany.

CNEWA Launches Emergency Appeal
to Aid Iraqi Christian Families in Flight

CNEWA starts new emergency appeal for Iraq

Is the Middle East Unraveling?
Michael J.L. La Civita discusses the wave of violence that seems to be overwhelming the Middle East.

Picture of the Day: Iraqis Settling in Sweden
Father Adris Hanna celebrates the Eucharist at greater Stockholm’s Syriac Catholic Church. (photo: Magnus Aronson)

Page One: Headlines for 8/6/14
Stories of interest for the day.

Christians Flee Islamist Attacks in Northern Iraq
“Jihadists have launched fresh attacks on Christian areas in north Iraq, sparking a new wave of displacement, the country's Chaldean patriarch and witnesses said Wednesday.”

BREAKING: IRAQ
“Nobody Can Imagine How Terrible It Is”

This report was sent to us by Ms. Christina Patto, VP Assyrian Aid Society of Iraq.

Page One: Headlines for 8/8/14
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Picture of the Day: A Mission to Iraq
In this image from 2009, Italian Archbishop Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, walks with a Swiss Guard at the Vatican. (photo: CNS/Danilo Schiavella)

IRAQ UPDATE:
Creating Camps for Christian Refugees

Michel Constantin, CNEWA’s regional director for Lebanon, Syria and Egypt, discusses the situation in Iraq.

Who Are the Yazidis?
Rev. Elias Mallon discusses the Yazidi people.

Cardinal Collins Appeals for Help for Iraqi Christians
The Archbishop of Toronto, Cardinal Thomas Collins, Vice Chair of the CNEWA Board of Directors in Canada, has asked Canadians to provide concrete help to Iraq’s Christians, who have been targeted by militants of the Islamic State.

Page One: Headlines for 8/11/14
Stories of interest for the day.

IRAQ UPDATE:
"The Needs Are Overwhelming"

The crisis facing Christians in Iraq shows no sign of abating.

Picture of the Day: Seeking Refuge
Emil, a Catholic Iraqi refugee, hides his face during a posed photo at the Caritas Lebanon Migrant Center.

FAQ on Christian Persecution in Iraq
A few days ago, the Archdiocese of Toronto posted on its blog an excellent primer on the unfolding crisis in Iraq - complete with advice on how others can help. We post it below for your information and guidance.

Picture of the Day: “No Cause Can Justify Such Barbarity”
Yazidi demonstrators protest Islamic State militants in Hanover, Germany, on 12 August. (photo: CNS/Julian Stratenschulte, EPA)

IRAQ UPDATE:
“What Prayers Shall I Say Now?”

Michel Constantin, CNEWA’s regional director for Lebanon, Syria and Egypt, discusses Iraqi refugees in Ain Kawa.

Picture of the Day: The First Communion That Wasn’t
Children prepare for first Communion in Karamless, Iraq, on 1 August.

Page One: Headlines for 8/14/14
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UPDATE: IRAQ
The Urgent Needs of the Refugees

Michel Constantin, CNEWA’s regional director for Lebanon, Syria and Egypt, discusses the situation in Iraq.

Picture of the Day: Refuge
In this image from July, Christians fleeing the violence in Mosul sleep inside Sacred Heart of Jesus Chaldean Church in Telkaif, Iraq. (photo: CNS/Reuters)

IRAQ UPDATE:
CNEWA Rushes Aid to Displaced Iraqi Families

To alleviate the suffering of some 100,000 homeless Iraqi Christians, Msgr. John E. Kozar, president of CNEWA, is rushing $75,000 to partners in northern Iraq for urgently needed relief efforts.

IRAQ UPDATE:
“The Situation is Chaotic”

Stories of interest for the day.

Picture of the Day: Displaced in Iraq
People displaced by violence sit outside St. Joseph Chaldean Church in Ain Kawa, Iraq, on 14 August. (photo: CNS/courtesy Aid to the Church in Need-USA)

Picture of the Day: In Solidarity
Protesters in Stuttgart, Germany, rally during a demonstration on 23 August initiated by the Syrian Orthodox Church in solidarity with religious minorities threatened in northern Iraq and throughout the Middle East. (photo: CNS/Inga Kjer, EPA)

IRAQ UPDATE:
Sisters Show Their Support

Today, we received an email from Michel Constantin, CNEWA’s regional director in Beirut, with some important news on the work being undertaken to support our suffering brothers and sisters in Iraq.

Picture of the Day: “What We Saw Was Indescribable”
Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignatius Joseph III, left, speaks to other Christian leaders during a visit to Iraqi refugees in Erbil, Iraq. (photo: CNS/Mychel Akl)

IRAQ UPDATE:
Living in the Streets, Needing Everything

The Iraqi Christian community, perhaps the oldest in the world, has survived more than 1400 years under Islamic rule in its homeland.

BREAKING IN IRAQ:
CNEWA Receives Grant to Open Two Additional
Dispensaries in Northern Iraq

An independent Catholic family foundation, Raskob, has awarded Catholic Near East Welfare Association an emergency grant.

Picture of the Day: Care for the Children of Iraq
Over the weekend, Michel Constantin, CNEWA’s regional director for Lebanon, Syria and Egypt, submitted a brief report on the needs of refugee children in Iraq. (photos by Don Duncan)

Page One: Headlines for 11/6/14
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Picture of the Day: The Children of Iraq
Refugee children gather in a shelter for displaced Iraqis in northern Iraq. (photo: Ra’ed Bahou)

Picture of the Day: Nineveh, 1000 Days Ago
In this 2011 photo, a shop owner in the market of Hamdaniya, a city in northern Iraq's Nineveh region, tends to his produce. (photo: Safin Hamed)

IRAQ UPDATE:
“Christianity is Bleeding”

We recently received the following urgent appeal from Sister Maria Hanna, prioress of the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena in Iraq.

Picture of the Day: Awaiting a Reunion in Jordan
As of this January 2013 photo, Maysoon Esso and her daughter Rana had been living in their apartment in Amman, Jordan, for about a year. (photo: Cory Eldridge)

Page One: Headlines for 12/9/14
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Sister Diana Momeka:
“We Need to Gain Back Our Humanity”

Sister Diana Momeka left Iraq a few weeks ago to visit the United States. Today, she visited with several of us this morning at the offices of CNEWA.

Page One: Headlines for 6/25/15
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IRAQ UPDATE:
Dispensary Provides Medical Care to Refugees

After the ISIS attack on Mosul and Nineveh Plain in northern Iraq.

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Picture of the Day: Comprehensive Coverage
An Iraqi refugee gets a dental checkup at the Martha Schmouny Clinic, in Erbil. (photo: Don Duncan)

Picture of the Day: Always Learning
Iraqi refugee children study English together at a community center run by CNEWA in Amman, Jordan. (photo: CNEWA)

Picture of the Day: Solidarity With Syria
Nina Moshy, left, and Rosemary Yachouh stand in front of the Ryerson Student Centre in Toronto to spread awareness about the plight of Syrian refugees. (photo: Jean Ko Din/Catholic Register)

Christmas in Iraq Among the Displaced
The holiday season this year is dramatically different for many in Iraq.

Picture of the Day: Saving Childhood
Iraqi Assyro-Chaldean refugees play at a summer camp in Qartaba, Lebanon. (photo: Tamara Abdul Hadi)

Picture of the Day: Middle East to Southwest
A Dominican Sister of St. Catherine of Siena from Iraq visits El Cajon, California, for the ordination of her nephew at St. Peter Chaldean Catholic Cathedral in August 2015. (photo: Nancy Wiechec)

Journey to Iraq:
Sisters Recount Their Flight From ISIS

Tom Gallagher, one of the journalists accompanying CNEWA Chair Cardinal Timothy Dolan to Iraq this week, interviewed several sisters who were displaced when ISIS invaded their home of Qaraqosh.

Journey to Iraq:
Cardinal Dolan: “We Were Deeply Moved”

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, chair of CNEWA, discusses his trip to Iraq.

Picture of the Day: Grand Rounds
Dr. Karam Nahal examines a 13-month-old while visiting Nafkandala, one of 22 villages in Iraqi Kurdistan the mobile clinic serves. (photo: Raed Rafei)

Picture of the Day: Iraqi Christians in Lebanon
Iraqi Assyro-Chaldean refugees celebrate the Divine Liturgy in Mar Elias Church in Beirut, Lebanon. (photo: Tamara Abdul Hadi)

Page One: Headlines for 10/21/16
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Picture of the Day: Waiting to Return
In this September 2014 photo, internally displaced Chaldean children prepare to serve the altar in a camp in Erbil. (photo: Don Duncan)

Picture of the Day: Alive and Kicking
A boy kicks a soccer ball in a class at the Al Bishara School, which is run by the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena in Ain Kawa, near Erbil, Iraq. (photo: Paul Jeffrey)

Picture of the Day: Studying Abroad
Sister Antoinette helps an Iraqi refugee study at her convent in Amman. (photo: Tamara Abdul Hadi)

Picture of the Day: Lift Every Voice
Young displaced students from a variety of faiths and backgrounds sing together in Arabic in Dohuk, Iraq. For more on the displaced in Iraq, read 'God Wants Me Here' in the current edition of ONE. (photo: Paul Jeffrey)