24 September 2019
In this image from 2018, a migrant empties a bottle of water in a bucket at a makeshift camp next to the Moria camp for refugees and migrants on the Greek island of Lesbos. Interior ministers are demanding a response from the European Union to the growing migrant crisis. (photo: CNS/Giorgos Moutafis, Reuters)
Interior ministers demand EU response to migrant crisis (Vatican News) The Interior Ministers of Italy, Malta, France, and Germany are meeting at a time of concerns about a growing influx of migrants fleeing war, persecution, and poverty. They demand that those rescued at sea will be distributed among other countries and not only be the responsibility of the nations where they land. German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said they want an “emergency mechanism” for the coming months until the incoming EU’s executive European Commission starts working on a permanent arrangement…
Church needs to ’find solutions’ to India’s challenges (UCANews.com) The Church in India needs to have a paradigm shift if it is to emerge from its comfort zone and refocus on its original mission, say priests. The Catholic Priests Conference of India (CPCI) made the call at its 17-19 September annual convention in the central Indian city of Indore, attended by 40 priests from 18 dioceses…
Iraq’s only Anglican priest says secular government would improve life for Christians (Premier.org) Iraq’s first ordained Anglican vicar tells Premier he never doubts that God is good because evil is done “through what our hands do.” There are nearly 20,000 ordained ministers in the Church of England; in Iraq there is just one. That one Anglican vicar is Rev Faez Jirjees, who, age 53, is the parish priest at Saint George’s Church in Baghdad where Canon Andrew White used to work...
Tunnels below Jerusalem were hiding ’goldmine’ of biblical treasures (The Express) Temple Mount is a hill located in the Holy Land of Jerusalem, which, according to the Bible, was the site of several events in the life of Jesus Christ. The present site is a flat plaza surrounded by retaining walls dominated by three monumental structures from the early Umayyad period, including the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Dome of the Rock and the Dome of the Chain, as well as four minarets. In the 12th century, the temple became the headquarters of the Christian Crusaders known as the Knights Templar and, according to archaeologist Dr. Shimon Gibson, biblical relics were discovered below the temple…
23 September 2019
Tags: India Iraq Refugees Migrants Refugee Camps
A project CNEWA supports in India seeks to educate the slum children in Pune along with their parents, offering classes in everything from hygiene to moral values. (photo: CNEWA)
One of the many projects CNEWA has supported in the central Indian state of Maharashtra is helping to educate the slum children of Khadki in Pune.
This project has benefited 229 children. They belong to the migrant workers and slum dwellers. These children are less privileged and are also quite vulnerable. As Kofi Annan put it, “Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope.” But some situations prevent the slum children from this hope of education. Many of these children, because of their parents’ circumstances, are not enrolled in the schools.
The SEVA Social Service Society, under the Syro-Malankara Exarchate of Pune, has focused on these children to provide at least some schooling.
Under this program, the Exarchate provides basic education, nutritious food, vaccinations, and classes to help build character and values. The project has also helped the parents, by conducting classes for them on health and hygiene and making visits to their homes.
In this way, the church extends a hand to help the poor, downtrodden and the marginalized without regard to caste, creed, religion or gender.
CNEWA is privileged to be a part of this project and gratified to see so many children and families benefiting.
We remain deeply grateful to our donors for generously supporting these and so many other good works!
23 September 2019
Raghad, a refugee from Mosul, Iraq, feeds her son Rami at St. Ephraim Syriac Orthodox Church in Jordan. Meet Iraqi refugees and learn how they are Finding Sanctuary in Jordan in the Spring 2015 edition of ONE. (photo: Nader Daoud)
23 September 2019
Tags: Refugees Jordan
Pope Francis arrives for an audience with participants of an international meeting of schools, movements and associations of the new evangelization at the Vatican on 21 September 2019. The pope said the church should be more concerned with welcoming those who are far from the church rather than defending its good name. (photo: CNS/Vatican Media)
Pope: Church exists to proclaim Christ, not itself (CNS) The Catholic Church must not become a distant memory for men and women today but must be a welcoming place where everyone feels at home, Pope Francis said. Too often, people judge the church to be either irrelevant in today’s world or perceive it as “too powerful in comparison with the great poverties of the world,” the pope said on 21 September...
Indian priest seeks to help the ’unseen people’ of Tamil Nadu (UCANews.com) Santhi Polur was beaten up for bathing regularly, cleaning her children and doing her hair. The attack didn’t come from her enemies — it came from people of her own lower caste because they believed she was offending their lifestyle. Her community, considered the lowest of the castes in India’s Tamil Nadu state, even serves Dalit people — the former untouchables outside the caste system — as their barbers, cleaners and undertakers. ”That makes their social status the worst,” says the Rev. Arul Valan, who has been working with them in the southern state for the past 17 years. “They are the Dalits of the Dalit people. Until some time back, they were not even allowed to go out and walk in the daylight...”
Ethiopia says Egyptian plan on Nile dam hurts ’sovereignty’ (AP) Ethiopia’s foreign ministry in a sharply worded statement dismisses Egypt’s latest proposal on a massive Nile River dam project as “against the sovereignty of Ethiopia.” The statement issued Friday comes shortly after Egypt said a new round of talks over the soon-to-be-finished $5 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam failed to achieve progress…
19 September 2019
Tags: Ethiopia Israel ISIS Evangelization
The Rev. Kevin O’Connell baptizes a child at Sacred Heart Church in Amman, Jordan. Many Filipino migrants are seeking to start a new life Far From Home in Jordan. And the church is there for them. Read about it in the November 2011 edition of ONE. (photo: Tanya Habjouqa)
19 September 2019
Tags: Jordan Migrants
Pope Francis, meeting participants in the congress of the Society for the Law of the Eastern Churches on Thursday, said the study of Eastern Church law helps ecumenism.
(photo: Vatican Media)
Pope: study of Eastern Church law helps ecumenism (Vatican News) The work of the Society for the Law of the Eastern Churches, which brings together experts from the Eastern Catholic, Orthodox and Oriental Churches, is of fundamental assistance to ecumenical dialogue, Pope Francis said on Thursday. Speaking to some 80 participants in the 24th International Congress of the Society for the Law of the Eastern Churches, taking place in Rome, 16-20 September, he said that they can learn from one another in all areas of ecclesial life, such as theology, the experience of spirituality and liturgy, pastoral activity and canon law…
Netanyahu invites Gantz to create a unity government in Israel (AP) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu invited his political rival Benny Gantz to join a unity government with him and his religious allies on Thursday, an offer that was greeted coolly amid continued deadlock following this week’s election…
Ethiopia rejects Egypt proposal on Nile dam (Al Jazeera) Ethiopia has said it will not accept a proposal by Egypt on the operation of the hydropower dam Addis Ababa is building on the Nile, calling Cairo’s plan ”inappropriate.” Sileshi Bekele, Ethiopia’s minister for water, irrigation and energy, said on Wednesday Addis Ababa will put forward a different proposal…
Indian diocese strives for people’s spiritual wellbeing (Vatican News) The Indian Diocese of Dharmapuri is planning a pastoral plan and is working for the spiritual and material welfare of the faithful. Bishop Lawrence Pius Dorairaj of Dharmapuri, in southern India’s Tamil Nadu state, spoke about his jurisdiction to Vatican News, while on his “ad limina” visit to Rome…
Humanitarian group receives UN refugee award (Vatican News) Humanitarian Corridors, conceived and implemented by a group of faith-based organizations, have been chosen to receive the UNHCR 2019 Nansen Refugee Award. Established in 1954, the Nansen Refugee Award is presented every year to an individual, group or organization for work that assists, protects and supports refugees, displaced and stateless people…
18 September 2019
Tags: Ethiopia Refugees Israel Eastern Churches Eastern Catholic Churches
Some of the 200 Iraqi Christian schoolchildren who study English, science, math, Arabic and Aramaic are seen at an afternoon school program set up by the Rev. Khalil Jaar at Our Lady Mother of the Church in Amman, Jordan. (photo: CNS/Dale Gavlak)
A shy 12-year-old Iraqi refugee boy waited with his parents and younger brother to register for the new school year. Someone measured him for the distinctive school uniform of maroon trousers and white striped shirt.
“The children ask themselves why they are here, why did they change their school and leave their school friends,” said the Rev. Khalil Jaar, who set up a school at his parish, Our Lady Mother of the Church.
“The first thing I like to do is to support these families and make them feel welcome. I know they are in shock,” the priest told Catholic News Service.
When Father Jaar spoke to the family, he discovered the boys had gone without schooling for the past two years.
“We will do our best to bring (them) up to speed. It’s important that they have Iraqi teachers like we do here, because they will immediately feel comfortable that they are in an Iraqi atmosphere,” the priest said.
As a new school year begins in the Middle East, Jordan -- which hosts the world’s second-largest refugee population per capita -- is facing the challenges of providing these youngsters with an education.
The U.N. refugee agency reported in August that of the 233,000 refugee children of school age in Jordan, 83,920 -- more than one-third -- are out of school and are not enrolled in any formal or informal education system, despite improvements made in recent years.
“Access to quality education continues to be a challenge for many, especially the most vulnerable, who are often forced to drop out of school to support their families,” UNHCR spokeswoman Lilly Carlisle said.
The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees has asked people to help close “the refugee education gap.”
Father Jaar has been at the forefront of doing just that at his parish school, established in September 2014 when some 800 Iraqi Christian families sought refuge in Jordan following their escape from Islamic State militants. The families arrived after the school year had started and were unable to attend Jordanian schools that year.
Father Jaar, who grew up as a Palestinian refugee from Bethlehem, West Bank, has devoted his ministry to aiding Iraqi and Syrian refugees flooding into Jordan from neighboring conflicts for more than a decade.
His church compound hosts a formal school for more than 600 students from Jordan, Syria and Iraq. The school operates under the auspices of Jordan’s Ministry of Education in the mornings.
“The Iraqis in this formal school are only some 80 pupils. But we must pay for them to attend because they are foreigners. We do our best to collect charity from friends to pay for them,” the priest said. He spends about $565 per year per Iraqi student to attend this government-approved school.
The compound hosts an afternoon informal school for 200 Iraqi Christian children four times a week. They are taught math, science, English, Arabic and Aramaic, the language of Christ that they use to pray.
They start their school by praying the Our Father in Aramaic.
“I insist that it is very important to maintain this valuable language for them,” he said.
But equally important is for the children to master English, he said, in the event they are eventually resettled in the West and/or they pursue higher educational studies. So Father Jaar emphasizes the study of English at the afternoon school.
But the priest has experienced his own challenges with running the afternoon school, in which education is provided free of charge. He must raise about $5,650 every month to pay Iraqi teachers, the transportation for the students, snacks, books, stationery and some extra activities.
“We know that our Lord will keep taking care of us. I do my best to keep in contact with my friends and the friends of the school. They are very generous. For the time being, we always had exactly what we need. This makes us depend on God,” Father Jaar said. “In spite all the difficulties of the school, I keep going with this project because I feel responsible to protect the children’s right to education. This is very important.”
Father Jaar has also made free computer science classes available to about 140 Iraqi students, ages 16-18; upon completion, they receive an international computer license.
“Many are unable to enroll in colleges here, so I invite them to be involved. Already many have started to work professionally from home on their computers,” he said.
“I am always available to help people without any discrimination. I don’t care about their nationality or religion,” Father Jaar said. “I am serving human beings here by trying to give them a better life.”
18 September 2019
Tags: Refugees Jordan
Election returns in Israel show a tight race between Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gatz, with Netanyahu’s grip on power hanging in the balance. (video: BBC/YouTube)
Netanyahu faces uncertain future as he trails election (CNN) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s grip on power was hanging in the balance Wednesday after local TV channels projected him trailing his centrist rival Benny Gantz by just one seat, following a re-run general election…
Iran’s president may skip U.N. meeting (The New York Times) Iran’s president and other officials might not attend a United Nations gathering in New York next week because of obstacles raised by the United States, an Iranian state news outlet reported on Wednesday. Tehran and Washington have been locked in a tense standoff over an attack on Saudi Arabia this past weekend for which American officials have blamed Iran…
Pope has lunch with Patriarch Bartholomew (Vatican News) The meeting between the Pope and the Patriarch was held in “a fraternal atmosphere,” according to a communiqué from the Holy See Press Office…
Turkey’s president: up to three million refugees could return to Syria (BBC) Turkey’s president has said that up to three million Syrian refugees could return to their country to live in a “safe zone” in the north. Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the zone, which is already being set up in co-operation with the US, needed to be extended for the goal to be met…
In Ethiopia, religious extremism fans flames of ethnic division (The Africa Report) Ethiopian Christians took to the streets after morning mass on Sunday to protest multiple attacks on Ethiopian Orthodox churches in the country. The protests were mainly centered in the Amhara region and parts of Addis Ababa, and follow a year-long spate of attacks on both Orthodox and Protestant churches in the country…
Move to make Hindi official language upsets minorities in India (UCANews.com) A move by India’s ruling pro-Hindu party to promote Hindi as the prime language in the country, purportedly for national integration, has upset linguistic minorities…
17 September 2019
Tags: India Ethiopia Israel Iran
Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople meet privately at the Vatican on 17 September 2019. In a letter to the patriarch, released by the Vatican last week, Pope Francis said he gave the patriarch relics from the tomb of St. Peter in June as a sign of how God has graced the search for Christian unity. (photo: CNS/Vatican Media)
17 September 2019
Tags: Pope Francis Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I
The cause for the canonization of two missionary priests who were martyred in India in the 19th century, Nicolas Michael Krick and Augustin-Etienne Bourry, has moved forward with the start of a formal inquiry. (photo: Vatican Media)
Sainthood cause for missionary martyrs in India moves forward (Vatican News) The cause of the beatification and canonization of two French missionaries, martyred in the mid-19th century in a remote village in north-east India, took a step forward on Saturday, 14 September, with the inauguration of the Diocesan Board of Inquiry at St. Peter’s Church, Tezu in Arunachal Pradesh…
Priest released from Indian jail; catechist still held (UCANews.com) A court in Jharkhand state, eastern India, has granted bail to a Catholic priest, as some 3,000 mostly tribal people staged a protest demanding the arrest of vandals who attacked a church-run college. The Rev. V.J. Binoy and catechist Munna Hansda of Bhagalpur Diocese were arrested 7 September, in their Rajadah mission area of Godda district, accused of land-grabbing and engaging in forced religious conversions…
Israelis head to polls (NPR) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud party are facing voters for the second time in just five months in an unprecedented contest that has the potential to end Netanyahu’s decade-long grip on power…
Iran rules out meeting with Trump (The New York Times) Iran has dismissed the possibility of a meeting between the country’s president, Hassan Rouhani, and President Trump on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly next week, the country’s state-run news media reported on Monday…
Church burnings on the rise in Ethiopia (Global Post) Churches belonging to the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (EOTC) are being burned to the ground throughout Ethiopia — one of the world’s most religious countries, where about 98 percent of Ethiopians claim a religious affiliation. Church members have also reportedly been killed while trying to protect their churches…
Tags: India Ethiopia Israel Iran