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Current Issue
December, 2018
Volume 44, Number 4
  
19 March 2019
Greg Kandra




The battle to clear ISIS from Syria has entered a final critical phase, after weeks of intense fighting. (video: CBS News/YouTube)

ISIS camp captured (NPR) The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces are now in control of an ISIS encampment in Baghouz, after weeks of operations and attacks on the village. But isolated gun battles are continuing in the area, seen as ISIS’s last remaining redoubt. ”This is not a victory announcement, but a significant progress in the fight against Daesh,” said Mustafa Bali, the head of the SDF press office. In a tweet, he added, “Clashes are continuing as a group of ISIS terrorists who are confined into a tiny area still fight back…”

Hundreds of parishes join new Orthodox Church of Ukraine (UNIAN.info) Over 500 parishes have already taken the decision to move from the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine, formerly known as the Moscow Patriarchate, to the newly formed Orthodox Church of Ukraine. Volyn region remains Ukraine’s transition leader with a number of parishes that have switched to the OCU having already exceeded a hundred. The total number of registered religious communities of the former Moscow Patriarchate in the said region is one of the largest in Ukraine — more than 600, according to the Dukhovniy [Religious] Front online outlet…

New Zealand attack hits close to home for Canadian bishops (Canadian Catholic News) The horrific murder of 50 Muslims at prayer at two New Zealand mosques on 15 March hit close to home because of a similar attack in 2017 on Muslims at prayer at a Quebec City mosque…

Farmers concerned about crops, lives near border with Pakistan (UCANews.com) With the harvest season a month away, farmers near the India-Pakistan border are praying the nuclear-armed neighbors end their skirmishes over the disputed state of Kashmir without destroying their crops, their livelihoods, and their very lives. Last month, when fighter planes from both sides began hovering over Vijay Kumar’s single-story mud house, his biggest concern was the Basmati rice crop on his two-acre plot in the Ranbir Singh Pura area of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir…



Tags: Syria Ukraine Muslim ISIS Orthodox

18 March 2019
Greg Kandra




Clergy gather for a Requiem Mass in Addis Ababa to pray for the victims of the Boeing 737 crash. (photo: Vatican Media)

Ethiopians offer Mass for crash victims (Vatican News) The Boeing 737 Max 8 plane bound for Nairobi, Kenya went down last Sunday morning near Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, killing all passengers and crew. Thursday’s Requiem Mass was held at the Holy Savior Parish in Addis Ababa and was organized by the Ethiopian Catholic Church and the international Catholic community in Addis Ababa…

Pope appeals for prayer and peace after New Zealand attacks (Vatican News) The Pope’s thoughts during the Angelus on Sunday were with the people of New Zealand following the horrific attacks that took place there during the week. Speaking to the faithful in St Peter’s Square the Pope said, “In these days, in addition to the pain of wars and conflicts that do not cease to afflict humanity, there have been the victims of the horrible attack against two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. I pray for the dead and injured and their families. I am close to our Muslim brothers and all that community. I renew my invitation for prayer and gestures of peace to combat hatred and violence…”

Syrian refugees who fled to Turkey face backlash (NBC News) In the conservative Fatih neighborhood where many refugees have settled, the streets are lined with stores selling Syrian perfume, jewelry, food and spices. The Arabic writing on signs normally signal that the owners are Syrian, and that you are in an area unlike most of Turkey, which uses the Latin alphabet. These signs are becoming increasingly common, to the unease of many…

Indian bishops seek to postpone voting on Holy Thursday (UCANews.com) Catholic bishops have urged authorities to change the 18 April date for parliamentary elections in India’s Karnataka and Tamil Nadu states as Holy Thursday falls on that day. The federal Election Commission has announced a seven-phase schedule for national elections running from 11 April to 19 May. While all 39 parliamentary constituencies of Tamil Nadu are scheduled to go to the polls on 18 April, voting in Karnataka is set for 18 and 23 April. The poll date falls in Holy Week and is one of the holiest and important days for Catholics as well as the Christian community, Archbishop Antony Pappusamy of Madurai, president of Tamil Nadu Bishops’ Council, told ucanews.com…

Report: Military leaders to have rare meeting in Damascus (Reuters) The military chiefs of staff of Syria, Iran and Iraq will hold a rare meeting in Damascus to discuss “ways to combat terrorism”, the pro-Syrian government al-Watan daily reported on Monday…



Tags: Syria India Ethiopia Turkey Muslim

15 March 2019
Greg Kandra




An injured man is loaded into an ambulance following a shooting at the Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, 15 March 2019. New Zealand's Catholic bishops expressed their horror and distress at terrorist attacks on two mosques in Christchurch; at least 49 were people killed. (photo: CNS/Martin Hunter, Reuters)

New Zealand’s bishops tell Muslims ’We hold you in prayer’ after attack (CNS) New Zealand’s Catholic bishops have expressed their horror and distress at a terrorist attack in two mosques in Christchurch which saw at least 49 people killed. The shootings took place at or near the Al Noor Mosque, where 41 people were killed, and at the Linwood Mosque, where 7 were killed. One more person subsequently died at Christchurch Hospital. Muslims had gathered at the mosques for Friday prayers. Some of those killed were children, it has been reported…

Pope sends condolences to victims of New Zealand attack (Vatican News) His Holiness Pope Francis was deeply saddened to learn of the injury and loss of life caused by the senseless acts of violence at two Mosques in Christchurch, and he assures all New Zealanders, and in particular the Muslim community, of his heartfelt solidarity in the wake of these attacks…

Report: Kerala has more than 20,000 mothers under the age of 19 (India Today) Kerala, known for its high literacy rate, also has a large number of mothers aged below 19 years: 22,552. The shocking statistics reveal the prevalence of child marriage in the state…

Archbishop of Erbil: Iraq’s Christians need to thrive, not just survive (Rudaw.net) Speaking to Rudaw on Wednesday at the Cathedral of Mar Yousif, Ankawa, Archbishop Warda explained how the church has supported families like those living above Neshtiman Bazaar and what donors can do to help rehouse them…

Eight years of war in Syria (Vatican News) Eight years of war in Syria have led millions of Syrians into hunger and poverty. War has displaced and forced them to find shelter where possible. Many are now trying to return to their homes but find their homes uninhabitable…



Tags: Syria India Iraqi Christians Kerala Muslim

14 March 2019
Greg Kandra




In this image from 2018, An Indian farmer sits on a dry field outside Chhatarpur. The Catholic Church agency Caritas has launched a campaign against malnutrition for Lent.
(photo: CNS/Harish Tyagi, EPA)


Caritas India launches campaign against malnutrition (Vatican News) Caritas India, the charitable arm of the Catholic Church of India, has launched a Lenten campaign against hunger by creating an awareness among people regarding solidarity, food security, medical care and a dignified life for all citizens. The theme of the Lenten campaign 2019, launched last month, is, “Nutrition: our right.” It aims at fighting the scourge of malnutrition, which it regards as a “painful and shameful for humanity”…

New Ukraine church endures inter-Orthodox feud, but offers Catholics hope (NCR) With Russian Orthodox leaders rejecting the new church and cold-shouldering the ecumenical patriarchate for approving its creation, the feud looks set to continue and intensify in the run-up to Ukraine’s crucial presidential elections on 31 March. Yet Catholics in Ukraine and Eastern Europe remain optimistic that the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, once up and running, could herald a turn for the better in ecumenical relations…

Deadly plane crash a setback for Ethiopia’s rise (AP) The crown jewel in Ethiopia’s transformation to a continental power in recent years has been its state-owned airline that calls itself “the new spirit of Africa.” Sunday’s crash of an Ethiopian Airlines jet that killed 157 people has set back those grand designs that were undertaken by a reformist new leader who has vowed to hold free and fair elections next year. Now, Africa is mourning not only the victims of the aviation disaster but also a symbol of the continent’s rise…

World ‘affirms commitment’ to Lebanon on refugees (The Daily Star) The international community voiced its commitment to helping Lebanon cope with the Syrian refugee crisis during a conference in Brussels, a member of the Lebanese delegation to the conference told The Daily Star. ”Everybody is still committed to helping Lebanon cope with the crisis through all programs that support Syrian refugees,” Social Affairs Minister Richard Kouyoumjian said over the phone from the Brussels conference, being held to discuss the future of Syria and the region…



Tags: India Lebanon Ukraine Russian Orthodox Church

13 March 2019
Greg Kandra




A Chinese man mourns a victim of the Ethiopian Airlines crash during a commemoration ceremony on 13 March 2019, near Bishoftu, Ethiopia. (photo: CNS/Baz Ratner, Reuters)



Tags: Ethiopia

13 March 2019
Greg Kandra




Pope Francis is seen Sunday during the Lenten retreat for the Roman Curia in Ariccia, Italy. Wednesday 13 March marks the 6th anniversary of his election as pope. (photo: CNS/Vatican Media)

Curia officials celebrate anniversary of pope’s election (Vatican News) Some 65 officials of the Roman Curia who are on their annual Lenten spiritual exercises along with Pope Francis, Wednesday morning greeted the Holy Father on the 6th anniversary of his election as the head of the Roman Catholic Church…

Thousands surrender as ISIS group nears defeat in Syria (France 24) Around 3,000 Islamic State members have surrendered from the group’s last holdout in Syria, Kurdish-led forces said Tuesday, as air raids and shelling resumed after a brief lull. A ragged tent encampment in the eastern Syrian village of Baghouz is all that remains of a once-sprawling IS group’s “caliphate” declared in 2014 across large swathes of Syria and neighboring Iraq…

In Ethiopia, deep grief for crash victims (Al Jazeera) Some 50 people sat in tense silence underneath a white tent outside a gated house on the southern outskirts of Ethiopia’s capital. The women were dressed in plain mourning black; the men mostly in white. But the lull did not last long. A chorus of loud wails soon pierced the air, as the women started rocking back and forth, their hands covering their faces. Nearby, the men stared blankly at the concrete floor…

Catholics attack Indian bishop in land dispute (UCANews.com) A Catholic bishop had to be hospitalized after a group of parishioners attacked him, a security guard and a priest in a five-decade-old land dispute in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Salesian Bishop Jerome Dhas Varuvel of Kuzhithurai left hospital on 12 March two days after he was attacked by a crowd of about 130 Catholic men and women. The guard remains in hospital after suffering serious injuries in his attempt to protect the bishop, diocesan chancellor Father Russel Raj told ucanews.com. The Rev. Augustine Ponnaian, the diocesan financial administrator, only suffered minor injuries and was not hospitalized…

Israel seeks to quell Temple Mount tensions (Haaretz) Despite the hurling of a firebomb at a police position and the forces’ subsequent decision to close all entrances to the Temple Mount, what was most apparent in Jerusalem on Tuesday was the joint effort to contain the conflict. Israel, with Jordanian assistance, seeks to prevent a flare-up at the Jerusalem site, partly in light of the latest events in the Gaza Strip…



Tags: Pope Francis Ethiopia ISIS Indian Catholics

12 March 2019
Greg Kandra




A parish priest in Raigarh Diocese leads a procession to his village church to start a prayer chain launched by Catholics in two dioceses of India’s Chhattisgarh state.
(photo: Raigarh Diocese/UCANews)


Marathon prayers in India ahead of election (UCANews.com) Ahead of national elections in India, Catholics in two dioceses of Chhattisgarh state have launched a marathon prayer program, encouraged by the result of a similar program during a state election last year. The all-night prayer program has been designed to cover all 96 parishes of Jashpur and Raigarh dioceses…

Report: Iran preparing for role in Syria’s reconstruction (VOA) Iranian construction companies are to build thousands of residential units in the suburbs of Syria’s capital, Damascus, an Iranian state-run news agency has reported. Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) recently quoted a business official with the country’s investment association, who announced that Iran would build 200,000 residential units near Damascus…

Christians condemn acquittal of suspected vandals in Jerusalem (AP) Christian authorities in Jerusalem are denouncing the acquittal of two Jewish youths suspected of vandalizing a famous monastery. Wadie Abunassar, an adviser to church leaders in the Holy Land, said on Tuesday that an Israeli court’s decision to acquit those suspecting of sprawling anti-Christian graffiti on the Dormition Abbey several years ago is “unacceptable”…

Study finds discrimination in Kerala flood relief (Times of India) Flood-affected people belonging to the scheduled caste/scheduled tribe and Dalit Christian communities faced discrimination after the deluge, a ”fact sheet” released by an NGO reported last week…

Gaza women walk thin line between hope and despair (The Jerusalem Post) More than 2 million Palestinians live in the narrow Gaza Strip, which shares borders with Israel and Egypt. Israel maintains tight control of Gaza’s land and sea borders, citing security concerns emanating from Hamas, the Islamist terrorist group which controls the coastal territory. Egypt also restricts movement in and out of Gaza on its border. Those restrictions have devastated Gaza’s economy and left many of its women struggling to find work after graduating from college…



Tags: Syria India Jerusalem Iran

11 March 2019
Greg Kandra




Pope Francis has expressed his condolences and prayers for victims of a plane crash in Ethiopia which killed all 159 people on board. (video: The Guardian/YouTube)

Pope prays for victims of Ethiopia Airlines plane crash (Vatican News) Pope Francis has expressed his condolences to victims of a plane crash that occured near Bishoftu, some 50km from Ethiopia’s capital: Addis Ababa. In his telegram, the Pope “offers prayers for the deceased from various countries”, and sends his condolences to their families. He invokes “the divine blessing of consolation and strength” to all those who mourn. The Kenya-bound Ethiopia Airlines plane had taken off from Ethiopia’s Addis Ababa Airport 6 minutes prior to the fatal crash, which took the lives of all 159 people on board…

U.S. Ukrainian Catholic bishops meet with new metropolitan archbishop (CNS) The Ukrainian Catholic bishops of the United States met and prayed 5-6 March with Metropolitan-Archbishop Borys Gudziak, newly appointed by Pope Francis to head the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia. During a daylong meeting 6 March, the bishops discussed plans for the week of prayerful events 2-9 June in conjunction with a Divine Liturgy and enthronement ceremony of the new archbishop 4 June at the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Philadelphia…

Syria’s future remains buried under millions of tons of rubble (CBS News) Five years after the Syrian army liberated Homs, this city is still trapped. CBS News asked architect and author Marwa al-Sabouni if she has faith in the government to rebuild. ”No, the short answer is no,” she said…

Tensions remain over ’Gate of Mercy’ in Jerusalem (The Jerusalem Post) Hundreds of police were deployed around the Old City on Friday as thousands gathered for Friday prayers at Al-Aqsa mosque. The prayers came amid heightened tensions over Muslim prayers inside the Gate of Mercy and calls by Islamic leaders to protest on the Temple Mount…



Tags: Syria Ethiopia Ukrainian Catholic Church

7 March 2019
Greg Kandra




In this image from 2014, 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. Syrian refugees who fled to Jordan have begun a bid to have Assad tried for war crimes.
(photo: CNS/Syria's national news agency handout via Reuters)


Syrian refugees launch bid to try Assad for war crimes (The Independent) Syrian refugees who fled to Jordan after being tortured and witnessing massacres have submitted dossiers of evidence to the international criminal court in a novel attempt to prosecute President Bashar al-Assad. Although Syria is not a signatory to the court, based in The Hague, lawyers in London are relying on a precedent set by the ICC in extending jurisdiction to the crime of forcible population transfers…

India’s alarming air pollution crisis (Vatican News) India has an alarming air pollution problem with 22 of the world’s 30 worst cities in the country, according to a new study. The 2018 World Air Quality Report by Greenpeace and Air Visual Analysis, released on 5 March, showed Delhi continuing to rank first among the world’s 62 worst capitals. Dhaka (Bangladesh) and Kabul (Afghanistan) are among other Asian capitals with polluted air…

Indian tribal people pledge to fight forest rights (UCANews.com) Tribal people in India are on the warpath against a Supreme Court of India order that threatens to evict millions of them from their natural habitat. Hundreds of socially poor Dalit and tribal people blocked trains and road traffic in several cities across India on March 5 as they held a shutdown protesting the court’s move and the federal government’s inability to overrule it…

Five years after ’Maidan,” Ukraine’s small successes are its real revolution (The Guardian) As we ponder the impact of the momentous events we have experienced, we rarely pay attention to the “smaller” stories. Such as this one from the region of Zhytomyr: under a new decentralization law, local communities have united into a single entity to control their budget and finance priority projects they’ve chosen themselves. They have been able to set up a local fire station — something the state had for years failed to provide…



Tags: Syria India Ethiopia Dalits

6 March 2019
Greg Kandra




St. Mary’s parishioners in Kingston, Pennsylvania, make peroghi, an Eastern European staple during Lent. (photo: Cody Christopulos.)

Today, Christians around the world mark Ash Wednesday — the start of the penitential season of Lent, notable for fasting, alms-giving and prayer.

But in many traditions, Lent is also notable for something else: food.

Jacqueline Ruyak wrote about this phenomenon in our magazine a few years ago, describing the way Eastern Europeans became masters at the art of making peroghi:

Traditionally, women made peroghi early in the morning to take to the men working the fields and forests for their midday meal. It is a time-consuming dish to prepare, so these days they are made on special occasions.

Along with the peroghi, I learned to make halusky with sauerkraut with the help of Anna Kosca. As good as it was, I was more impressed by her raka, a delicious caraway soup. It is a simple dish: a small onion sautéed in butter, flour to make a roux, caraway seeds, a dash of salt and paprika, and some water. Mrs. Kosca added some small dumplings to put in the soup. Another woman made a fragrant dill soup. And on the dreary, wet morning that we left Tichy Potok, Anna Kiktava and her sister Maria made a bean soup of kidney beans, diced carrots, kohlrabi, celeriac and potatoes.

In the early 20th century many Ruthenian immigrants came from villages in Slovakia, Poland and Ukraine to work in the coal mines of Pennsylvania. St. Mary Protector, a Byzantine Catholic church in Kingston, near Wilkes-Barre, was founded to serve these immigrants, whose descendants have stayed in the area long after the mines shut down.

Four times a year St. Mary’s holds a peroghi sale, twice during the 40-day Filipovka fast before Christmas and twice during the 40-day Great Fast before Easter.

For each sale, about 30 volunteers spend two days making 4,000 potato peroghi. Church fund-raisers selling Ruthenian food are common in most parts of Pennsylvania, including my hometown of Bethlehem. (The regional popularity of peroghi is such that Pittsburgh is called the “peroghi capital of the world.”) The language and many of the traditions of the old country may fade, but its foods bind the generations together. Such is the American “melting pot.”

Conversation at St. Mary’s peroghi sale inevitably turns to food. Just as in Eastern Europe, the parishioners once slaughtered their pigs around Christmas, curing the meat to last throughout the following year. For Lent, people made do with “a barrel of cabbage and a bin of potatoes,” I was told.

While some Byzantine Catholics (as Greek Catholics are called in the United States) observe a strict lenten fast, many just abstain from meat and dairy products on alternating days. As in Tichy Potok, older people tend to be more observant. Father Theodore Krepp, pastor of St. Mary’s, acknowledged the unevenness of the fasting. “We’re all working on perfection so there’s no expectation that we are perfect. Part of being a Christian is to keep working on it.”

Read more.

Want to make your own? The recipe, below:

Potato filling

4 medium cooked potatoes, mashed

2 oz. sharp cheese, grated

Mix cheese and potatoes; let cool.

Dough

2 1/2 cups flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1 egg

Mix flour and salt. Add the egg, sour cream, shortening and enough water to make a medium-soft dough. Knead well. Divide into two portions. Roll one portion out until thin. Using the open end of a glass, cut out circles. Place about one teaspoon of filling on each circle, fold over and pinch edges firmly. Place the peroghi on a floured board, then cover with a tea towel. Repeat with the rest of the dough. To cook, drop several peroghi into a pot of boiling salted water. When the peroghi float to the top, after about five minutes, remove from the pot and drain. Spread on a board to keep from sticking. Continue cooking the rest of the peroghi.

Peroghi are usually served with melted butter, onions browned in butter or sour cream. For browned onions, slice half of a medium onion and cook in about three tbs. of butter. Pour over the peroghi and toss so that they are covered and do not stick.



Tags: Greek Catholic Church Slovakia Ruthenians





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