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June, 2018
Volume 44, Number 2
  
7 March 2017
Greg Kandra




Msgr. John E. Kozar makes some new friends during a visit to Iraq in 2016. (photo: CNEWA)

We began our 90th anniversary series, “90 Years, 90 Heroes,” literally “in the beginning,” with a look at the life of a man instrumental in CNEWA’s founding, the Rev. Paul Wattson. We thought it only appropriate that we conclude with the man leading CNEWA today, our president Msgr. John E. Kozar.

Honestly, Msgr. Kozar would probably cringe at being labeled a “hero.” When he first arrived at CNEWA in 2011, after a decade heading the Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States, he described himself as simply a “happy and fulfilled priest...if there’s a title that I would put in front of me it would be ‘Parish Priest on Loan to the World.’ ” He began his ministry as a “parish priest” in his native Pittsburgh — but he has, in fact, made the world his parish. He’s logged a lot of miles circling the globe for CNEWA, paying pastoral visits to India or Ethiopia or another corner of the Middle East — often venturing into some of the most troubled and dangerous corners of our world.

He does this again and again out of a sense of mission and a desire to be present to those in need. Indeed, if he were to sum up his credo in one simple word — one first popularized by Pope Francis, in fact — it would be “accompaniment.”

This has been Msgr. Kozar’s guiding principle. “Ours is a ministry of accompaniment,” he wrote in 2014. Living out this ministry, this “happy and fulfilled priest” has sought to bring a sense of purpose, consolation and hope to suffering people around the world — through the work of CNEWA and always in the name of Christ.

His regular column in ONE magazine, Focus (a name that offers a nod to his great avocation, photography) has helped bring readers and donors along with him on his travels — and that, too, has spread that spirit of “accompaniment.”

As he wrote in 2015, following the visit of Pope Francis to the United States:

As a papal agency, CNEWA is honored and privileged to serve our Holy Father in accompanying local Eastern Catholic churches in many troubled areas of the world. In the Holy Father’s name, we humbly strive to be agents of peace, reconciliation and, especially, love of God for all.

I cherish the many such opportunities I have personally experienced on my pastoral visits to faraway places. In areas of extreme conflict, persecution and poverty, the love of God — as witnessed by the faith of those who suffer so much — rises above the dark clouds of so many ugly realities. As with Pope Francis in his pastoral visit here, the local church in those parts of the world we serve brings hope to so many souls. And CNEWA is privileged to walk with the church in the name of our Holy Father.

It is a journey that began 90 years ago — and one all of us at CNEWA look forward to continuing for many years to come!



7 March 2017
Greg Kandra




In the video above, Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignatius Joseph III Younan explains why it is important for Christians to remain in the Middle East. (video: Rome Reports)

A council of Christian communities takes shape in Kirkuk (Fides) The appeal repeatedly launched by Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael I to Iraqi Christians not to proceed “in random order” on the political and social ground, but to try to merge their forces in one “component” is beginning to have its first effects. On Monday, 6 March, the creation of a “Council” of Christian communities that proposes itself as a liaison between the different political and social organizations took shape in Kirkuk...

Report: Syrian children suffering staggering levels of trauma (The Guardian) Children in Syria are suffering from “toxic stress,” a severe form of psychological trauma that can cause life-long damage, according to a study that charts a rise in self-harm and suicide attempts among children as young as 12. A report by Save the Children and its partner agencies in Syria paints a harrowing picture of the country’s children, 5.8 million of whom are in need of aid, after a war which reaches its sixth year next week...

New U.S. travel ban blocks migrants from six nations, excluding Iraq (The New York Times) President Trump signed an executive order on Monday blocking citizens of six predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States, the most significant hardening of immigration policy in generations, even with changes intended to blunt legal and political opposition. The order was revised to avoid the tumult and protests that engulfed the nation’s airports after Mr. Trump signed his first immigration directive on 27 January. That order was ultimately blocked by a federal appeals court...

New travel ban meets with concern, opposition (CNS) Within hours of President Donald Trump’s new executive order 6 March banning refugees from six majority-Muslim nations, Catholic and other religious groups joined secular leaders in questioning the wisdom of such a move, with others vowing to oppose it outright...

Patriarch: corruption is a ‘social leprosy’ (Fides) “The state of corruption, ethical degradation, political feudalism that the country is suffering from, the prioritization of personal and sectarian interests is hindering the enhancement of the state institutions and pose a deadly social leprosy.” This is what Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rai said in his weekly Sunday sermon at the patriarchal seat of Bkerké, with an obvious reference to the political and social situation in Lebanon...

Archbishop Pizzaballa sends letter to the people of Jerusalem (Vatican Radio) The Apostolic Administrator for the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, O.F.M., has sent a letter to the people of the diocese at the beginning of the season of Lent. Archbishop Pizzaballa, formerly the Franciscan “custos” of the Holy Land, was appointed apostolic administrator in July 2016. In his Lenten letter, the Archbishop acknowledges mistakes made in the Patriarchate, especially concerning financial and administrative matters...



6 March 2017
Greg Kandra




The Most. Rev. James M. Moynihan. (photo: Diocese of Syracuse)

We received word today that the retired bishop of Syracuse, James M. Moynihan, has died at the age of 84. Bishop Moynihan served as CNEWA’s associate secretary general from 1991 until 1995, when was named bishop of Syracuse.

The Catholic Sun newspaper today paid tribute:

“Today, we all join in mourning the death of Most Rev. James M. Moynihan who served as the 9th bishop of Syracuse from 1995-2009. In the 84th year of his life and the 60th year of his priesthood, the Lord has called Bishop Moynihan to Himself,” Bishop Robert J. Cunningham said in a statement announcing Bishop Moynihan’s death. “We thank him for a lifetime of service to the Church and in a very special way for his service to the Diocese of Syracuse.” We pray now that the evening has come, the fever of his life is over, his work is done and that God will give him a safe lodging, holy rest and peace forever.”

A native of Rochester, Bishop Moynihan was ordained and installed as the bishop of the Diocese of Syracuse on May 29, 1995. He retired on April 21, 2009.

His 14 years as ordinary included shining moments and dark days, from spearheading some of the most successful fundraising campaigns in the diocese’s history and supporting the sainthood cause of a local Franciscan sister to implementing parish reconfigurations and addressing the clergy sexual abuse crisis.

You can read more about his life and legacy at the Catholic Sun link.

As Bishop Cunningham so eloquently put it: “We pray now that the evening has come, the fever of his life is over, his work is done and that God will give him a safe lodging, holy rest and peace forever.”

Amen.



6 March 2017
Greg Kandra




Displaced Syrian children, who fled their hometowns due to clashes between regime forces and ISIS, walk in a field in Kharufiyah, on 4 March 2017. (photo: Delil Souleiman/AFP/Getty Images)

U.N. says 66,000 displaced in Syria (AP) Five months of multi-sided clashes in Syria’s crowded northern battlefield have displaced some 66,000 people, a U.N. humanitarian agency said Sunday, a day after the U.S. bolstered Kurdish-led forces with a deployment of armored vehicles amid preparations for a push toward the Islamic State group’s de facto capital...

Patriarchate releases statement on Patriarch Gregoire III (Fides) A note released by the communications office of the Patriarchate of Antioch of the Greek-Melkite reports that Grègoire Patriarch Laham III continues to carry out his role, is preparing to launch “new projects” and plans to “double his efforts at local and international levels,” to “alleviate the suffering of the population in the ongoing crisis, especially in Syria, Iraq and Palestine.” The statement makes explicit reference to articles published in the local media, containing hints of the possible resignation of the Patriarch, and reprimands media representatives to publish news only after checking the reliability...

Egypt’s Christians are being driven out; will the world notice? (CNA) A spike in attacks on Coptic Christians in Egypt, spurred by a video threat from ISIS, has drawn the prayers and concern of advocates, who are urging global leaders to take notice...

Egyptian professor says defending churches against attack is part of Islam’s doctrine (Fides) Attacks on churches are comparable to “attacks on mosques,” and the defense of Christians and their churches “is part of the doctrine of the Muslim faith,” according to Professor Mohamed Mokthtar Gomaa, Minister of Awqaf, citing the teachings of Ibn Hazm, the Arab theologian in the Andalusian period, leading proponent and codifier of the Zahiri school of Islamic thought...

Kerala as an example of ‘interfaith peace and harmony’ (AL.com) Birmingham psychiatrist Dr. N.S. Xavier believes the world would have less religious strife if people of all faiths learned the lessons of a region in India where Hindus, Christians, Muslims and Jews co-existed peacefully for centuries...

A visit to Ethiopia reveals Biblical mysteries (Winnipeg Free Press) In 2017, Protestants are marking the 500th anniversary of Reformation. It seems like a big deal until you visit Ethiopia and meet members of a church that traces its origins as far back as 2,000 years ago...



3 March 2017
Greg Kandra




Siblings Lourdes, 10 (left), Weaver, 6 (center), and Lucien, 7 (right) — children of Iraqi refugee Azhar George Matti — play at their home in Amman, Jordan. To learn more about the lives of Iraqi Christians in Jordan, read Welcoming the Stranger in the current edition of ONE.
(photo: Tamara Abdul Hadi)




2 March 2017
Greg Kandra




Displaced Egyptian Christian families, who used to live in the north of the Sinai Peninsula, sit near their belongings after arriving 24 February at a church in Ismailia. Catholic churches in Ismailia, with help from Caritas, have helped Coptic Orthodox fleeing Islamic State attacks in North Sinai.
(photo: CNS/EPA)


Coptic Christians flee Sinai after killings (Al Jazeera) Hundreds of members of Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority have fled the Sinai Peninsula to Ismailia city, northeast of the capital Cairo, following a series of killings by a local armed group. The assailants have shot and killed at least seven Christians in separate attacks in Sinai’s El Arish city in February. At least 90 families have reached the Ismailia governorate, according to an official of the Coptic Orthodox Church...

Egyptian president meets with Patriarchs (Fides) Religious leaders, in the current historical phase, have a key role in spreading the principle of citizenship in all Arab countries, and reject false interpretations of holy books and religious teachings used by extremist and terrorist organizations as ideological tools. This is how Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al Sisi expressed his view on the need to “renew religious discourse” in the Middle East...

Situation for Iraqi refugees in Jordan ‘critical and dangerous’ (CNS) Catholic leaders have expressed concern for tens of thousands of Iraqi Christian refugees sheltering in Jordan as access to international aid tightens with crises deepening in the Middle East and elsewhere. “The situation of Iraqi Christians refugees is critical and dangerous,” Father Khalil Jaar told Catholic News Service on the sidelines of a conference hosted by the Vatican Embassy in Amman and the Catholic charity, Caritas Jordan...

Prayers planned for kidnapped Indian Salesian (CNS) The Salesians have organized a special prayer meeting to mark the one-year anniversary of the kidnapping of Indian Salesian Father Tom Uzhunnalil. The priest was kidnapped in Aden, Yemen, 4 March 2016, in an attack in which four Missionaries of Charity and at least 12 others were killed...

Russian Catholics hope for a new springtime for small Byzantine church (CNS) One of the smallest Eastern Catholic churches in the world, the Russian Catholic Church, faces some big issues, including its survival. That’s the issue that will be front and center at a Congress of Russian Catholic delegates from around the world meeting in northern Italy in June. It has been organized by an Australian-based Russian Catholic priest, Father Lawrence Cross, a retired lecturer in theology at Australian Catholic University...



2 March 2017
Greg Kandra




In the video above, Pope Francis announces his prayer intention for March: to help persecuted Christians. (video: The Vatican/YouTube)

Pope’s prayer intention for March: Support for persecuted Christians (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis’ prayer intention for March is Support for Persecuted Christians: That persecuted Christians may be supported by the prayers and material help of the whole Church...

UN: Both sides committed war crimes in Syria (Al Jazeera) Both sides in last year’s battle for Syria’s Aleppo city committed war crimes, including a “deliberate” bombing of a humanitarian convoy by the Syrian government, according to a new United Nations investigation. The UN Commission of Inquiry’s report released on Wednesday said Syrian government and allied Russian forces “pervasively used” unguided munitions to bomb densely populated areas in rebel-held eastern Aleppo between July and its fall on 22 December, amounting to the war crime of indiscriminate attacks...

Iraqi forces fight ISIS counterattack (Reuters) Islamic State fighters launched a counter-attack against advancing U.S.-backed Iraqi forces in western Mosul during an overnight storm, as the battle for control of the militants’ last major urban stronghold in Iraq intensified. Explosions and gun fire rang out across the city’s southwestern districts in the early hours of Thursday. The fighting eased in the late morning, although a Reuters correspondent saw an air strike and rebel mortar fire...

Kerala facing worst drought in a century (Deccan Chronicle) Revenue minister E. Chandrasekharan has painted a grim picture of the drought situation in the state. He said that already 30,353.06 hectares of agricultural land have been destroyed by drought, which according to him could be the “worst in the century”...

Head of Russian Orthodox church slams social media “disease” (Calvert Journal) Yesterday Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, showed worshipers at Moscow’s Epiphany Cathedral that he might be more tech-savvy than we give him credit for, decrying Russian young people’s obsession with social media. According to Patriarch Kirill, young people desperate for approval on social media are suffering from a “real disease.” Russia’s Interfax news agency reported that the religious leader sees this issue as rooted in vanity...



28 February 2017
Greg Kandra




A displaced Iraqi girl holds a lamb in a safe area in Mosul on 28 February. Iraqi troops were engaged in difficult fighting with ISIS forces in northern Iraq in an effort to reclaim land held by the militant group. (photo: CNS/Alaa Al-Marjani, Reuters)



28 February 2017
Greg Kandra




Several Melkite bishops boycotted the bishops’ synod last June, demanding the resignation of Patriarch Gregoire III Laham, pictured at the Vatican in 2015. The Melkite synod will resume later this year. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)

Reconciliation marks Melkite synod (CNS) The Melkite Catholic Church resumed its Synod of Bishops after nearly an eight-month interruption. The bishops thanked “the divine redeemer for the spirit of reconciliation and renewed commitment to walk together in partnership to restore peace in the church” in a statement released at the conclusion of the three-day meeting on 23 February at the patriarchate in Rebweh, Lebanon...

Iraq army seizes key Mosul bridge (CNN) The Iraqi army says it has recaptured a bridge across the Tigris River in west Mosul, where fierce battles are ongoing to oust ISIS from its last bastion in Iraq...

Pope: Catholics and Anglicans are brothers and sisters in Christ (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Sunday visited the Anglican Parish of All Saints in Rome. Speaking at the Church the Pope said, “today, with gratitude to God, we recognize one another as we truly are: brothers and sisters in Christ, through our common baptism. As friends and pilgrims we wish to walk the path together, to follow our Lord Jesus Christ together...”

India’s home minister honors Catholic priest (Vatican Radio) India’s home minister has honoured a Catholic priest on the occasion of Arunachal Pradesh’s 31st statehood day. Salesian Father Cyriac Pulinthanathumalayil of Dimapur province received a state award Gold Medal for Excellence in Youth work from home minister Minister Rajanath Signh at a function on 20 February in the state capital of Itanagar...

Living history in Ethiopia (Huffington Post) The chanting of the two boys sitting under the tree reminded me of my Bar Mitzvah class over 60 years ago. The language was different — Amharic, not Hebrew — as was the religion — Ethiopian Orthodox, not Jewish — and the boys bore little resemblance to the pudgy, pasty pre-adolescent friends of my youth, but the sounds were eerily similar...

How the Oscars put Syria in the spotlight (The Washington Post) Sitting 7,000 miles from the fuss and frills of Sunday’s Academy Awards, it was Raed Saleh, dressed in a simple T-shirt, who delivered one of the most powerful messages of the night. In a short acceptance speech — posted online after a documentary about his Syrian White Helmets rescue force won an Oscar — the former electrical equipment salesman appealed to governments around the world “to stop the bloodshed of the Syrian people...”



27 February 2017
Greg Kandra




Debora Stonitsch organized CNEWA’s trip to the L.A. Religious Education Congress, which was held in Anaheim from 24 to 26 February. (photo: Greg Kandra)

As I write, our CNEWA team is headed home from Anaheim, after three whirlwind days at the legendary Los Angeles Religious Education Congress — the largest annual gathering of Catholics in the United States. An estimated 40,000 people attend this extravaganza every year.

The LA Religious Ed Congress takes place inside the Anaheim Convention Center in California (photo: Greg Kandra)

For the first time, CNEWA was invited to appear as an exhibitor, hosting a booth — along with some 250 other organizations — in the massive exhibit hall in the Anaheim Convention Center. It was a wonderful opportunity for us to catch up with old friends and make some new ones.

CNEWA’s multimedia editor Deacon Greg Kandra had a chance to say hello to an old friend, Father Brian Escobedo, who hosted CNEWA for a parish visit last fall. (photo: Greg Kandra)

Debora Stonitsch of CNEWA’s development office answered questions and introduced attendees to the work CNEWA is doing around the world. (photo: Greg Kandra)

Many of those we met hadn’t heard of CNEWA — and a few were a little confused about the Catholic Eastern churches. We were happy to answer questions, pass out copies of our magazine and offer information about our work and those we serve — as our display proclaimed, “Accompanying the Eastern Catholic Churches.”

The Rev. Elias Mallon, S.A., Ph.D., shared his expertise on Islam and the Arab world. (photo: Greg Kandra)

There was great interest in our work among persecuted minorities in Iraq — and a lot of people who stopped by our booth took home small pins depicting “ن” (the Arabic letter “N”), recalling the way ISIS branded the homes of Christians for persecution.

These pins attracted a lot of attention to our visit, and many people took home several for friends. (photo: Greg Kandra)

It was a rewarding weekend in so many ways, and I know Father Elias, Debora Stonitsch and I all look forward to making a return visit next year.

If you couldn’t make it to Anaheim, we’d be happy to visit your corner of the country to share our story at your parish or diocesan event. Just drop a line to our development director Norma Intriago: nintriago@cnewa.org.



Tags: CNEWA Education United States





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