Current Issue
December, 2018
Volume 44, Number 4
28 November 2018
Greg Kandra

In Ukraine, seminarians share duties in tending the greenhouse at the academy in Uzhorod. Learn more about how young men are answering the call to the priesthood in Ukraine and coming Out From Underground in the Autumn 2015 edition of ONE. (photo: Oleg Grigoryev)

Tags: Ukraine Vocations (religious)

28 November 2018
Greg Kandra

In this image from last spring, internally displaced Syrians wait in line for food at a camp outside Damascus. Pope Francis has written a letter to Franciscan friars in Syria, expressing his closeness to the "martyred land." (photo: CNS/Ali Hashisho, Reuters)

Pope expresses closeness to ‘martyred land of Syria’ (Vatican News) In a letter sent to Franciscan friars in Syria, Pope Francis expressed his closeness to the “martyred land of Syria.” “I wish to share in your sufferings and tell you that I am close to you and to the Christian communities which are so tried by the pain experienced in their faith in Christ Jesus…”

Russia warns Ukraine of escalation (Vatican News) Russia’s security service has released controversial statements by three captured Ukrainians after Russian ships fired on also, seized three Ukrainian boats off the coast of Russian-annexed Crimea. One of the men, Volodymyr Lisovyi, said he was aware of the “provocative nature” of the Ukrainian action. Ukraine’s navy commander said the men had been forced to lie under duress…

Benedict affirms Christians are called to ‘dialogue’ with Jews (Vatican News) In a “correction” sent to the German monthly Herder Korrespondenz, Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI affirmed that Christians are called to a “dialogue” with the Jews, rather than a “mission.” The Pope emeritus was responding to an article by theologian Michael Böhnke of Wuppertal. In the September issue of the journal, Böhnke had commented disapprovingly on statements made by Benedict concerning the relationship between Jews and Christians…

New study examines link between Kerala floods and climate change (The Wire) The frequency and intensity of extreme weather events in India appears to be on the rise, as projected by various scientific assessments on climate change. But it may not be right to connect every such event with climate change. This is what a new study on the recent Kerala floods highlights…

Ethiopia plans first census in a decade (Bloomberg) Ethiopia will hold its first population census in more than a decade, a step that could have far-reaching consequences for the Horn of Africa nation that’s grappling with multi-ethnic representation and rippling demands for self-determination…

Tags: Syria Ukraine Ethiopia Kerala Jews

27 November 2018
Greg Kandra

Workers decorate the Christmas tree in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on 26 November. The tree comes from the northern Italian region of Veneto. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)

Tags: Vatican

27 November 2018
Greg Kandra

Pope Francis welcomes members of the Maronite Foundation to the Vatican and expresses his gratitude for Lebanon accepting so many refugees. (photo: Vatican Media)

Ukraine declares martial law (NPR) Ukraine’s parliament has agreed to impose martial law in 10 of its provinces to combat “growing aggression from Russia,” after a weekend confrontation in waters off the disputed Crimean Peninsula led Russia to seize three Ukrainian navy vessels...

Report: Islamic extremism spreading with defeat of ISIS (CNS) The threat to religious freedom from Muslim fundamentalists is rapidly becoming a global phenomenon following the military defeat of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, said a new report…

Pope Francis thanks Lebanon for welcoming refugees (Vatican News) Pope Francis addressed the Maronite Foundation and a delegation of authorities from Lebanon. In brief remarks, Pope Francis jokingly compared the numerous groups of people visiting to the “multiplication of the loaves,” as they were more than he had anticipated…

Thousands of Syrian refugees remain trapped in no man’s land (The New Yorker) Rukban lies in a thirty-five-mile-wide internationally-recognized demilitarized zone created by the United States and Russia, though neither Washington nor Moscow takes responsibility for it. It is populated by Syrians who fled the violence of both the Bashar al-Assad regime and isis, and, until the recent delivery, the Syrian government had refused to allow aid convoys to pass through its territory to reach the camp…

Indian activist bemoans anti-Christian hostility (AsiaNews) In India “hostility against the Christian faith is increasing,” said Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC). Speaking to AsiaNews, he cited the latest two incidents to illustrate the anti-Christian trend in two separate states, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra. In his view, the fact that the cases occurred on the same day is no coincidence but “a sign of the growing hostility”…

How Kerala tourism is on the road to recovery after flood ( It’s been over 100 days since the devastating floods hit Kerala, and caused heavy destruction to human lives and property across the state. Among the various sectors that were hit hard due to the deluge, was the tourism sector, which is the backbone of Kerala’s economy. But it was not just the floods that wreaked havoc in the state…

Tags: Lebanon Ukraine Kerala ISIS

26 November 2018
Greg Kandra

In the video above, Amir Maher tells about his decision to become a priest in Egypt.
(video: Roger Anis)

The current edition of ONE features a compelling profile of a seminarian in Egypt:

Amir Maher, 28, remembers when he first started to think seriously about entering religious life. It all started at a youth conference in Cairo in 2008, when the young man was still in college. Jesuit Father Henri Boulad was giving a talk.

“I don’t remember the topic,” Mr. Maher says today, “but I remember clearly my feeling at that moment: I felt that I wanted to be like this man.” Is it possible, he wondered, that he was called to be a priest?

He tried to put such thoughts out of his mind. He returned from the conference to Al Wasta, his town in Assiut, thinking that it was just a passing whim.

He now realizes, however, that it was something more.

“What happened that day was like a seed thrown into the earth, which then disappeared,” he says. “I went on in my life and forgot about it. But after a while the seed started to grow and the call became clearer.”

He adds: “I was trying to reject the idea, saying that it was just an outburst of youth. I was telling myself, ‘When I get a job and have money I will forget it.’ “

But he did not; the seed had taken root.

Check out the video above for a more personal glimpse at the life of this young man as he journeys toward the priesthood. And read more about Amir’s Choice in the September 2018 edition of ONE.

Tags: Egypt Vocations (religious)

26 November 2018
Greg Kandra

A clergyman carries a monstrance holding the Blessed Sacrament during a procession on the Feast of Christ the King on 25 November in Ahmedabad, India. The feast of Christ the King is celebrated the Sunday prior to the beginning of Advent. (photo: CNS/Amit Dave, Reuters)

Tags: India Indian Catholics

26 November 2018
Greg Kandra

Tensions are mounting between Ukraine and Russia after Russia fired on and seized three Ukrainian naval vessels. (video: Sky News/YouTube)

Tensions escalate between Russia and Ukraine; Ukraine to vote on declaring martial law (BBC) Russia has fired on and seized three Ukrainian naval vessels off the Crimean Peninsula in a major escalation of tensions between the two countries. Two gunboats and a tug were captured by Russian forces. A number of Ukrainian crew members were injured. Each country blames the other for the incident. On Monday Ukrainian MPs are due to vote on declaring martial law…

Pope recalls Ukraine famine (Vatican News) Following the Angelus prayer on Sunday, Pope Francis remembered the man-made famine that struck Ukraine in 1932-1933 and the anniversary of the event which occurred on Saturday. Pope Francis called it “a terrible famine instigated by the Soviet regime which caused millions of people to die…”

Reports say dozens injured in toxic gas attack on Aleppo (CNN) Around 100 people were injured in toxic gas attack on the government-controlled city of Aleppo Saturday, according to Syrian state media and a British-based human rights group. It’s not clear who carried out the attack, but Syria’s state news agency quoted a local commander as blaming ‘terrorist groups,’ while Russia accused militants of firing mortar rounds containing chlorine on the city’s northwestern districts…

Franciscan custos calls attention to Holy Land Christians (CNS) Some Christians would consider it a blessing to live in the land where Jesus Christ was born and lived. But for some Christians who live with the daily reality and not the romanticism of the land where the faith originated, living as a religious minority in a place of conflict — often tied to religion — it is considered more of a “misfortune,” said the Rev. Francesco Patton, the head of the Holy Land Franciscans, also known as the custos, during a 7 November event in Washington…

Report: India ‘broke the internet’ to control information ( India leads the world in terms of choking cyberspace by shutting off access to the internet when controversial information, or misinformation, that risks fomenting unrest surfaces amid a rise in religion-based hate crime, raising concern about censorship among Catholic bishops and rights activists. A 12 November report on internet and digital media freedom in 65 countries by the U.S.-based non-profit Freedom House ranked India the worst offender after it blocked access to the web on at least 100 occasions this year alone…

Tags: Syria India Ukraine Russia

19 November 2018
Greg Kandra

Pope Francis eats lunch with poor people as he marks World Day of the Poor at the Vatican on 18 November. Some 1,500 people joined the pope for lunch in Paul VI hall. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis has lunch with the poor (Vatican News) Pope Francis on Sunday joined about 1,500 poor people and a group of volunteers for lunch to mark the World Day of the Poor. After Holy Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, during which he urged believers to heed the cry of the poor and said that “the cry of the poor daily becomes stronger but heard less, drowned out by the din of the rich few, who grow ever fewer and more rich”, the Pope addressed the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Angelus prayer, and then went to a beautifully decked out Paul VI Hall and took his seat at the main table…

Syrian army advances against ISIS in southeastern desert (Reuters) Hundreds of Islamic State militants withdrew from the heart of a rugged area in southeastern Syria after holding up for over three months against a major campaign by the Syrian army and its allies to crush them, rebels and residents said on Sunday…

The women smashing Ethiopia’s glass ceiling (BBC) Ethiopia is changing rapidly under Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, with women now wielding enormous power in a country where they have mostly been confined to traditional roles, writes BBC Tigrinya’s Hana Zeratsyon. Ethiopians like to say they were ruled by Queen Sheba in biblical times — something they take great pride in, yet the reality is that the Horn of Africa state is a deeply male-dominated society…

Russian Orthodox Church to continue humanitarian projects in Syria (TASS) Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, Metropolitan Hilarion, and Patriarch John X of Antioch met in Damascus and discussed further cooperation between the churches in the humanitarian and charity sphere, the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations said on Sunday. ”Patriarch John told about the current situation in his country and thanked the Russian Orthodox Church for its assistance to those hurt in the warfare in Syria. They also discussed a wide range of issues of inter-church relations and prospects for further cooperation in rendering humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people,” it said…

Cyclone kills dozens in southern India (UCANews) A cyclone killed more than 40 people and displaced hundreds of others at the weekend as it tore a destructive path across southern India, severely damaging farmland and buildings including the region’s most revered Marian shrine. Catholic Church agencies have joined Tamil Nadu state government in relief efforts to help people affected by Cyclone Gaja in Thanjavur Diocese and Pondicherry-Cuddalore Archdiocese...

Vatican urges Christians and Sikhs to ‘promote a culture of tenderness’ (Vatican News) The Vatican is urging Christians and Sikhs to join hands to ”promote a ‘culture of tenderness’ for the wellbeing of every human being and for the welfare of the entire created world!” The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID) made the call in its message on the occasion of Sri Guru Nanak Prakash Diwas, or Guru Nanak Jayanti, the birthday of Guru Nanak, the first guru and founder of the Sikh religion. A national holiday in India, it will be celebrated on 23 November this year...

Tags: India Pope Francis Ethiopia Russian Orthodox

16 November 2018
Greg Kandra

Pope Francis greets a woman religious as he makes a surprise visit to a free health clinic for the needy in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on 16 November. The clinic was open for a week in advance of the 18 November observance of World Day for the Poor.
(photo: CNS/Junno Arocho Esteves)

Tags: Pope Francis

16 November 2018
Greg Kandra

Pope Francis addresses the Order of the Holy Sepulchre with an icon of "Our Lady Help of Persecuted Christians" nearby. He blessed the icon after his meeting with members of the order.
(photo: Vatican Media)

Pope meets with Indian children’s rights activist (Vatican News) Pope Francis on Friday received in private audience Indian children’s rights activist, Kailash Sathyarthi, who shared the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize with Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan. Founder of the “Bachpan Bachao Andolan”, or the Save Childhood Movement, and other initiatives against child labor and the abuse and exploitation of children, the 64-year old former electrical engineer and teacher has been honored with numerous recognitions both in India and abroad…

Pope to Holy Sepulchre: ’Root charitable works in prayer’ (Vatican News) Pope Francis took the opportunity to highlight “the dramatic situation of Christians who are persecuted and killed in ever-greater numbers.” He also called attention to a type of “white martyrdom, like, for example, that type which occurs in democratic countries when religious freedom is limited…”

Christian city in Syria grapples with decision to back the government (The Los Angeles Times) Only reluctantly had Mhardeh, a predominantly Christian city of 23,000 people, sided with the government in the war. But it was a choice that put the once-sleepy suburban city on the front lines and isolated it from its neighbors — predominantly Sunni Muslims, who make up the majority in Syria. Now, as the prospects of peace in the country improve, residents here are grappling with how they can again share a future with those who had become enemies on the battlefield…

Teen pregnancies are top threat to women’s health in India ( Teenage pregnancies and the culture of taking a child bride are both still rampant in India. UNICEF estimates 27 percent Indian women wed before they reach the age of 18, and at least seven percent are married by 15. The U.N. agency released a report in April showing that over 20 percent of the world’s adolescent population lives, and that the country has the highest rate of child marriages in South Asia…

Ethiopia unleashes changes over Africa and the Middle East (African News Agency) Ethiopia’s new prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, has unleashed a wave of breath-taking change since taking power in April, not just in the continent’s second most populous nation but across a swathe of east Africa and the Gulf. The transformation is so rapid and startling that it has been compared to Mikhail Gorbachev’s perestroika reforms in the Soviet Union in the 1980s, a comparison that does not seem exaggerated given the stasis it has replaced…

Order of Malta joins pope to mark World Day of the Poor (Vatican News) Pope Francis has invited everyone to mark the World Day of the Poor to be celebrated on Sunday, 18 November. Speaking to the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Angelus, the Pope said that, for the occasion, a “First Aid Station” will be set up in the Square, where those in need will be able to receive medical care. Among the many organizations making sure the Day does not pass unnoticed is the Sovereign Order of Malta, whose core mission is to uphold human dignity and care for people in need…

Tags: Syria India Ethiopia

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