26 July 2016
Archbishop Michel Sabbah served as the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem from 1987 to 2008, working tirelessly to promote peace and justice in the Holy Land. (photo: CNEWA archives)
When he was named Archbishop and Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem in 1987, Michel Sabbah made history. He was the first non-Italian to hold the position. But he knew the region intimately, growing up in a Palestinian Christian family in the hometown of Jesus, Nazareth.
He became a tireless advocate for peace, reconciliation and justice in the Holy Land — themes he echoed in 1989 when, breaking from tradition, he delivered a stirring and eloquent homily during Midnight Mass in Bethlehem:
We pray for peace and justice in our Holy Land which has been bathed in the blood and the torment of its children for many years, but particularly in these last two years.
First, we address our children in Bethlehem — all the Palestinian people. We say to them: We are living your ordeal and we understand your torment. We understand why you ask us how it is that we can celebrate Christmas, its joy, its message of salvation, in the midst of this humiliating ordeal, of ransacked homes, of children who are killed and imprisoned?
To you we say: In spite of this ordeal, your dark night, and in fact because of it, we will continue to announce to you the joy of the Savior who has been born for the salvation of all.
We invite you to contemplate the Savior to reflect on God and his eternal Word. We invite you to gaze upon the spirit, which is the revelation of the kindness and love of God, in order to renew your faith in God and in mankind. In spite of all misfortune which surrounds you, there are men of goodwill, there is goodness in humanity and in all people. This goodness will finally overcome evil.
We also say to you who are suffering this ordeal and this dark night, to prepare yourselves for love and for forgiveness.
The love in your hearts will save you and render you just — the love for God and for those who cause you torment. For it is when each one discovers the face of God in his adversary that justice and peace will be established.
During his years as patriarch, he served for a time as International President of Pax Christi, spoke out in support of Palestinian rights and called for an end to Israeli occupation. His efforts on behalf of peace and justice in the Holy Land have continued after his retirement in 2008. He works closely with the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem and in 2009 launched Kairo Palestine, a movement advocating for the end of Israeli occupation and a just solution to the crisis in his homeland.
His concern and love for all those who suffer in the land we call “holy” marks Michel Sabbah as a kindred spirit and close collaborator of CNEWA — and, indeed, one of our heroes.
26 July 2016
Asmeret, a young mother from the Horn of Africa, helps care for children at Our Lady Woman of Valor Pastoral Center in Israel. She’s one of many immigrants seeking a new life in Israel. Learn how she and others are Surviving Without a Country in the Promised Land in the Summer 2016 edition of ONE. (photo: CNEWA)
26 July 2016
Syrians carry a wounded man away from the rubble of a building that was destroyed during a barrel bomb attack on 26 July 2016. Syrian government forces seized a rebel-held neighborhood on the northwest outskirts of Aleppo, tightening their siege of the opposition-controlled parts of the city, a monitor said. (photo: Karam Al-Masri/AFP/Getty Images)
Syrian troops tighten hold on Aleppo (AP) Syrian government forces on Tuesday captured new ground on the northwestern edge of the city of Aleppo, tightening the siege on rebel-held parts of the metropolis where some 300,000 people live, activists said. The Syrian army also called on the opposition fighters to drop their weapons and give themselves up to authorities...
Yazidis living in fear on Mt. Sinjar (Al Jazeera) Thousands of Yazidis who fled ISIS are living in a sprawling mass of tents made or amended with old tarps, carpets, blankets, wood and corrugated iron in the valleys below the peak. Outside many are in the vehicles their owners escaped in: ubiquitous Opel saloons, rusted tractors, and battered mopeds. Others still litter the steep road leading up from the town’s northern edge, abandoned when they could go no further...
Report says detainees in Turkey subjected to torture, rape (NPR) Turkey has detained thousands of people in the wake of a failed coup attempt earlier this month. Now, Amnesty International reports that it has evidence that some detainees in Istanbul and the capital Ankara have been subjected to torture and rape...
Indian author who put ‘God’ in book title attacked in Kerala (The Times of India) Writer PJimshar (26), whose debut collection of short stories titled ‘Padachonte Chitrapradarshanam’ is scheduled to be released on 5 August, was badly beaten up by four unidentified people here on Sunday night. He has been admitted to the hospital. ‘Padachon’ is colloquially used to refer to ‘god, the creator,’ and the writer had received threat calls and messages on WhatsApp ever since he announced his new book...
Bishop speaks out against attacks on Copts (Independent Catholic News) Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, issued a statement on 25 July concerning increased attacks against Egypt’s Christian community...
Ethiopia becomes tourist destination (CNN) “Tourism was on the back burner for a long time,” says Solomon Tadesse, CEO of the Ethiopian Tourism Organization (ETO). “The country was going through major changes and the government’s priorities were health, education, communication.” Not to mention drought, famine and revolution. “There were fundamental reasons why tourism infrastructure was not in place.” According to Tadesse, the government finally decided in 2013 that tourism could generate jobs, income and wealth just like any other economic sector...
25 July 2016
Cardinal Timothy Dolan comforts a woman during his visit to a camp for displaced Iraqis in Ain Kawa, Erbil, last spring. (photo: Courtesy of Chaldean Archeparchy of Erbil)
The Summer 2016 edition of ONE contains a powerful glimpse at Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s recent visit to Iraqi Kurdistan:
“I was raised with a high value on visiting people, especially when there was adversity,” wrote Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, upon his return from Iraqi Kurdistan in April. “A neighbor a block over had a fire; the next day we visited to see how they were doing and if they needed anything. Uncle Ed had eye surgery; we visited to make sure he was recovering. After my grandpa’s death, we visited my grandma a lot.”
The cardinal visited Iraqi Kurdistan “because,” he continued, “the Christian community there is family, a family in a lot of trouble, with much adversity, and to visit them is a very good thing.”
From 8 to 12 April, the cardinal, who chairs Catholic Near East Welfare Association, led a pastoral visit to Iraqi Kurdistan to be with the families displaced from their homes in northern Iraq’s Nineveh Plain since August 2014.
Just miles from the demarcation line separating these families from the forces of hate that have engulfed the region in a whirlwind of bloodshed, the cardinal and his delegation — which included CNEWA board member Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre and CNEWA’s president, Msgr. John Kozar — demonstrated CNEWA’s solidarity with the displaced and those committed to their care.
Read more and see a gallery of images in the Summer edition of the magazine.
25 July 2016
In the video above, the Vatican’s Secretary of State expresses his concern for Christians in Turkey, where a failed coup attempt has resulted in a three-month state of emergency and a government crackdown on educational and health-care institutions. (video: Rome Reports)
Turkey seizes more than 2,200 institutions in crackdown (The Washington Post) In a new tactic against suspected coup plotters, Turkey on Saturday announced it had seized more than 2,250 social, educational or health-care institutions and facilities that it claims pose a threat to national security...
Doctors raise concern over Internet restrictions in Ethiopia (Fides) “Since the Ethiopian government restricted access to the Internet it has become impossible for us to obtain scientific information on the web or discuss cases of serious illnesses which we are unable to manage.” This testimony comes from a Spanish pediatrician coordinator of a hospital for children in Meki, Oromia, Ethiopia...
Report: 250,000 Syrian refugee children in Lebanon are unable to attend school (Fides) More than half the 500,000 school-age refugee children from Syria, registered in Lebanon cannot attend school because of limited availability of resources and strict Lebanese government residence policies. This was reported by Human Rights Watch in a recent survey. The same report also highlighted positive steps towards giving access to free schooling for Syrian children refugees...
Families of Gaza war victims protest lack of aid (Al Jazeera) Hundreds of Palestinians in Gaza have taken to the streets this month — some even setting up tents to sleep in the protest camp overnight — to demand payment from the Palestinian Authority (PA). Amid a dire economic crisis in the Gaza Strip, thousands of residents have not received their monthly allowances from the PA, making it increasingly difficult for them to survive...
ISIS slaughter moves singer to focus on refugees (Catholic Register) It was February 2015 and American singer-songwriter Audrey Assad was working with fellow Catholic artist Matt Maher on his new album. She was sitting in Maher’s backyard when she came across the shocking video online. Twenty-one Egyptian Coptic Christian men were about to be beheaded by the Islamic State on a Libyan beach. Assad watched in horror as the men whispered prayers in Arabic. “I watched most of the video and I was horrified,” Assad told The Catholic Register. “I just remember feeling this overwhelming emotion and this need to make something good out of that feeling...”
22 July 2016
CNEWA’s president Msgr. John E. Kozar visits the students at St. Gabriel School in Saesa, Ethiopia. He made a memorable visit to the Horn of Africa several weeks ago, and shared his impressions — and some beautiful pictures — in the Summer 2016 edition of ONE.
22 July 2016
This image from May 2015 shows the interior of the damaged Immaculate Conception Church in Suez, Egypt. Vatican Radio reports today on the dramatic rise in attacks on Christians in Egypt.
(photo: John E. Kozar)
Bishop in Turkey: Catholics watchful during crackdown after failed coup (CNS) Bishop Ruben Tierrablanca Gonzalez, apostolic vicar of Istanbul, said Catholics were following closely the government crackdown that followed an attempted coup. He told Catholic News Service 21 July there had been no news of detentions or injuries among local Catholics, or reports of restrictions on church life. He said most religious leaders had “stood with the civil community against violence and injustice” in the wake of the failed coup...
Attacks on Christians in Egypt on the rise (Vatican Radio) Egypt has seen a sharp rise in sectarian violence, with particular emphasis on Christians. This week a Christian man was stabbed to death by a mob of Muslim men, causing tensions to rise within the Christian community which has seen several attacks on both men and women in the last month alone. Vatican Radio’s Georgia Gogarty spoke with Christian Solidarity Worldwide’s (CSW) Egypt Advocacy Officer, to find out why there has been a sudden spike in violence, and why little is being done to resolve it...
Church joins project to resettle Syrian refugees (CNS) The Catholic Church in England and Wales has joined a government project to resettle an estimated 20,000 refugees from the Syrian war. A parish in the Diocese of Salford will be the first to welcome a family from a refugee camp in the Middle East as part of a sponsorship plan, which involves welcoming and helping to rehabilitate families of Syrian refugees...
Syrian refugees suffering on Jordan’s border (Al Jazeera) After a suicide car bomb at the remote Rukban border crossing in northeastern Jordan in late June, the government declared the area a closed military zone. It barred access even for the UN and aid agencies that have provided food, water, and medical care to the refugees. More than a dozen newborn infants and elderly have since died in the camp, according to activists. They say the bodies are buried near the road to Damascus...
Report: both sides in Ukraine conflict using secret detention and torture (Amnesty International) Both the Ukrainian government authorities and Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine are holding civilians in prolonged arbitrary and sometimes secret detention and torturing them, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said in a joint report released today. The report “‘You Don’t Exist.’ Arbitrary Detentions, Enforced Disappearances, and Torture in Eastern Ukraine,” is based on interviews with 40 victims of abuses, their family members, witnesses, victims’ lawyers and other sources...
Syrian children hold Pokemon photos praying ‘world will find them’ (The Telegraph) Children in war-torn Syria have been pictured holding up photos of Pokémon in a ‘plea to the world to come to their rescue’. The Revolutionary Forces of Syria Media Office shared photos of the children which have been widely circulated on social media...
21 July 2016
Girls greet visitors at the Vimala Orphanage in Marthandam, run by the Daughters of Mary. Children at the orphanage are supported by CNEWA. (photo: John E. Kozar)
CNEWA’s chair, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, recently made a pastoral visit to India with CNEWA president Msgr. John E. Kozar, meeting with leaders of the Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara Catholic Churches and experiencing the richness and diversity of Christianity in India.
As Asia News reported:
CNEWA’s chair Cardinal Timothy Dolan shares a warm moment with Cardinal Mar Baselios Cleemis, Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, following the liturgy commemorating the death of Mar Ivanios, the founder of the Syro-Malankara Church.
The Syro-Malankara Church in India has commemorated the 63rd anniversary of the death of Aboon Geevarghese Mar Ivanios, the founder of the rite. Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, was present at the event as guest of honor.
The U.S. prelate came on the personal invitation Cardinal Baselios Cleemis, head of the Syro-Malankara Church and president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI).
(photo: John E. Kozar)
Speaking to AsiaNews, Cardinal Cleemis expressed joy for Cardinal Dolan’s presence, noting the long-standing bonds between the Syro-Malankara Church and the Archdiocese of New York.
In 1948, he said, “Archbishop Mar Ivanios visited the diocese and since then we have always maintained a close bond of friendship.”
In his blog, Cardinal Dolan celebrated the dynamism and diversity of the Catholic Church:
Sisters from the Archeparchy of Ernakulam welcome Cardinal Dolan and Mar George Alencherry, Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church. (photo: John E. Kozar)
As I am vividly reminded now, the Church is not constrained by race, blood, or maps. Here in India, I can find the same Catholic faith I savor in the Bronx, on Staten Island, or up in Ulster County.
Cardinal Dolan meets schoolchildren at the St. George Parish School in Ernakulam.
Here the Church, while ancient, seems so new, young, and alive. It is still a tiny part of the census of India — maybe only 1 percent of the teeming population — but, it is growing, and it is respected. The rest of India admires the tiny Catholic community for its unity in faith, its devotion to prayer, and its service to the community, especially in its splendid schools, hospitals and clinics, and works of charity.
(photo: John E. Kozar)
So much so that the little Church in India is itself missionary, as the world thanks God for the radiantly committed Catholic faithful, priests, and sisters who are serving splendidly in all parts of the Church universal, as we are gratefully aware here in the archdiocese.
Visiting my brother bishops, and priests, so many sisters and families here in this subcontinent, is a retreat for me, as I see the oneness, holiness, catholicity, and apostolicity of His Church.
As you can see, Msgr. Kozar took some wonderful pictures during the trip. We look forward to sharing more of them with you online to celebrate and salute this corner of CNEWA’s world, where the church truly is “so new, young and alive.”
A welcoming band greets CNEWA’s president John E. Kozar at the St. George Shrine and School in Ernakulam. (photo: CNEWA)
21 July 2016
Sister Hakinta helps with homework at the Our Lady of Armenia center in Tashir. Many men have left the country to work abroad, leaving women to raise children on their own. Learn what the Church is doing to lend support in Armenia’s Children, Left Behind in the Summer 2016 edition
of ONE. (photo: Nazik Armenakyan)
21 July 2016
A mother and her daughter mourn after the airstrikes carried out by Russian and Syrian war planes targeted a school, in which refugees had taken shelter, in Aleppo, Syria, on 21 July 2016. The city has been under siege for 13 consecutive days.
(photo: Ibrahim Ebu Leys/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Half a million people trapped in Aleppo (Al Monitor) The city of Aleppo has been under siege for 13 consecutive days. The Syrian regime imposed the blockade on the areas under the control of the Syrian opposition after government forces took over strategic areas on 7 July in al-Mallah region in northern Aleppo province. As a result, the regime forces were able to closely monitor Castello Road, the only road leading to the northern and western countryside of Aleppo and the sole humanitarian route that allows the daily passage of merchandise and food from Aleppo’s countryside and from the Turkish-Syrian border areas to the neighborhoods in Aleppo that are in the grip of the armed opposition...
Turkey declares three-month state of emergency (CNN) Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the nation is imposing a three-month state of emergency in the aftermath of last week’s bloody coup attempt. Erdogan met Wednesday with his national security council and council of ministers, the latter of which approved the state of emergency recommendation...
Report: churches targeted during attempted coup in Turkey (Pakistan Christian Post) Two churches in cities in eastern Turkey infamous as the sites of historic killings of Christians were vandalized during the attempted coup on 15 July, reports Middle East Concern...
Sectarian clashes in Minya, Egypt (Fides) Four Christian Copts and five Muslims were injured in sectarian clashes which broke out in recent days in the village of Edmo, located in the governorate of Minya in Upper Egypt. After the clashes, the police have increased the level of control in the village, with the intent to prevent new clashes...
The dangerous route of Ethiopian migrants (The New Yorker) The modern flow of people to the Middle East waxes and wanes as wars and crises afflict the countries surrounding Djibouti. Over the past decade, though, the number of migrant arrivals in Yemen from the Horn of Africa has increased more than threefold, to about ninety-two thousand last year...
Canadian Church seeks open door for immigration (Catholic Register) As Canada launches another overhaul of immigration policy, the Church has an interest in maintaining open doors, whether it’s to refugees, regular immigrants or temporary foreign workers. “We’re a country of immigrants and we’re a Church of immigrants,” said Canadian Church historian the Rev. Terry Fay, author of New Faces of Canadian Catholics: The Asians. “If we can think of ourselves as any other type of Church, we’re not. We’re not establishment people. We’re a Church of immigrants...”
Order of Holy Sepulchre launches new website (Fides) The initiatives and projects implemented and supported especially in Holy Land by the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre now have a new instrument in order to be known throughout the world: the new international Web site of the Equestrian Order www.oessh.va, inaugurated recently by Cardinal Edwin O’Brien, Grand Master of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre. The site is already available in five languages...