27 July 2016
A policeman reacts as he secures a position in front of city hall after two assailants killed 85-year-old Father Jacques Hamel and took five people hostage during a weekday morning Mass at the church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, France, near Rouen on 26 July.
(photo: CNS/Pascal Rossignol/Reuters)
Muslims denounce attack on priest in French church (The Local) France’s Muslim leaders have denounced Tuesday’s apparent terror attack at a church, and called for the country’s Muslims to band together in support. The nationwide French Council of the Muslim Faith (Conseil français du culte musulman or CFCM) denounced the attack as a “terrifying and horrifying act” and expressing its solidarity with “all Catholics of France...”
French president calls Pope Francis after priest is killed (Vatican Radio) French president Francois Hollande telephoned Pope Francis on Tuesday following the death of the elderly priest The Rev. Jacques Hamel, 85, who was killed when two Islamic assailants entered his Church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray as he was celebrating Mass. Hollande said “that when a priest is attacked, all of France is wounded,” according to a statement. He assured the Pope that everything would be done to protect Churches and places of worship...
Dozens dead in Syrian bomb blast (The Guardian) A twin bombing has struck a crowd in a predominantly Kurdish town in northern Syria, killing 44 people and wounding dozens more, Syria’s state-run news agency and Kurdish media have reported. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack...
Thousands of Russian Orthodox gather in Kiev despite threats (AP) Thousands of Russian Orthodox Christian pilgrims have reached the center of Ukraine’s capital to finish their procession to the city’s most revered monastery after their march was disrupted on Tuesday...
For many Christians in the Middle East, intimidation or worse (The Wall Street Journal) The attack on a French church signals the arrival in Europe of a type of intimidation long familiar to Christians in the Middle East, whether from religious extremists, other armed groups or even secular governments. In areas of Syria and Iraq under its control, Islamic State has seized churches, dismantling crucifixes and vandalizing paintings depicting scenes out of the Bible — considered to be idolatry in their hard-line interpretation of Islam. Many Christians flee when the militants sweep their areas; thousands escaped from northern Iraq when Islamic State took over in summer 2014...
Phoenix eparchy’s new bishop says world needs ‘witness of Christ’s unconditional mercy’ (CNS) n a liturgy packed with rich symbolism and ancient tradition, the Holy Protection of Mary Byzantine Eparchy of Phoenix celebrated the enthronement of Bishop John S. Pazak as its fifth bishop. Archbishop William C. Skurla of the Byzantine Archeparchy of Pittsburgh, and a former bishop of the Phoenix-based eparchy, prayed the words of enthronement over the new bishop during a Divine Liturgy that took place at St. Helen Catholic Church in Glendale 20 July. The Byzantine Catholic Church is one of the Eastern Catholic churches in full communion with Rome...
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)