12 September 2011
Two young girls at a displaced persons camp outside Dellé, Eritrea, in August of 2000. (photo: Sister Christian Molidor, R.S.M.)
Today’s featured image comes from our extensive collection of photographs by our long time friend and staff member — Sister Christian Molidor, who is retiring from CNEWA this week. The image was taken in conjunction with the story, Eritrea in War’s Aftermath in the Nov/Dec 2000 issue of the magazine. The article was a first hand account by Brother Vincent Pelletier, F.S.C., CNEWA’s Regional Director for Ethiopia and Eritrea, at the time.
We visited a camp for the displaced in the village of Delle, about 18 miles west of Barentu. With some 45,000 residents, it is one of the largest camps in Eritrea. More people are expected to enter the camp as those who fled to Sudan during active fighting continue to return. As we walked through the camp we noticed that many inhabitants had set up shop in their tents and were selling everything from soap powder to beer. Under a canvas, a makeshift school had been organized for the children. I was relieved to see that the children in the camp looked healthy. By contrast, some of the children from surrounding villages appeared malnourished. Some of these people have been in the camp for two years.
You can see more pictures at the link — and we’ll have much more from Sister Christian to share, as well. For the next few days, we’ll be posting more images from her collection for our “Picture of the Day.”
Last Thursday she sent out her final “Greetings from Sister Christian” email message, which you can view on our website as well.
9 September 2011
Tags: Children War Africa
Medical Sisters of St. Joseph fill buckets for the evening wash at their house of formation in Kothamangalam, Kerala, India. (photo: Sister Christian Molidor, R.S.M.)
Our beloved Sister Christian Molidor will be retiring from the agency in a few days. With that we’ll also be retiring her biweekly email message, “Greetings from Sister Christian.” In her most recent message, she leaves us with some inspiring words of wisdom:
Manifest your loyalty in word and deed, keep a promise, find the time; forgo a grudge, forgive an enemy; listen, try to understand, examine your demands on others and think first of someone else.
Appreciate. Be kind. Be gentle. Laugh a little, then laugh a little more, deserve confidence, fight malice and decry complacency.
Express your gratitude, go to church, welcome a stranger; brighten the heart of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth.
Speak your love; speak it again. Speak it still once again.
Among her many gifts, Sister Christian is also a talented photojournalist. During her nearly 30-year tenure with us, she captured thousands of images from CNEWA’s world (like the one above). She was eager to share her gift with others and we’d like to share it with you. We will feature a Sister Christian photo from our archive in the ‘Picture of the Day’ post for the next few days.
Read more of Sister Christian’s heartfelt words in her final email message.
8 September 2011
Tags: India Sisters Kerala Vocations (religious)
Trinity Monastery now functions as the primary theologate of the Russian Orthodox Church. (photo: Sean Sprague)
In the September/October 2001 issue of CNEWA World, Sean Sprague reported on Trinity Monastery — believed to be the first religious house named after the Trinity in Russia — and the powerful influence of St. Sergius on generations of religious seeking spiritual guidance at Trinity.
Today, Trinity Monastery is once again a beacon of faith to the Russian people. Pilgrims seeking their cultural roots and religious identity flock to the newly renamed town of Sergei Posad (two hours north of Moscow by commuter train) that surrounds the monastery’s fortified walls. Now free of Communist restraints, Trinity Monastery welcomes the faithful. They come to revere their beloved saint, whose remains lie within the monastery walls, to pray and to reestablish their Christian faith, wounded but not destroyed by 70 years of Communist rule.
For more about this Russian spiritual house and St. Sergius read, A Saga of a Saint.
Meanwhile, Russians — like many Americans — are gearing up for a presidential election next year. And one of the Russian candidates has a resume that is Orthodox — but decidedly unorthodox:
While the Putin-Medvedev tandem remains silent on who will be the main candidate for president in 2012, in the last days first official challengers in the race to the Kremlin have emerged. The one creating the most buzz is the director and temporarily suspended Orthodox priest, Ioann Okhlobystin, whose become the protagonist of discussions on forums, blogs and social networks in Cyrillic. Today artistic director of Euroset, Okhlobystin announced his candidacy on Sept. 5 as an independent.
Learn more about this unusual candidate.
7 September 2011
Tags: Russia Orthodox Church Monastery
Saint Mary’s Port Church in Kollom, Kerala, India, one of the eight founded by St. Thomas, features a mural of Christ and St. Thomas. (photo: Sean Sprague)
Journalist Sean Sprague explored St. Thomas’s influence on southern India's Christians in the March 2010 story, In the Footsteps of St. Thomas.
Culled from the communities he founded, Thomas ordained priests and deacons to minister to their spiritual and temporal needs. Eventually, the heirs of St. Thomas became dependent on the Church of the East — an Eastern Syriac church founded by Thomas and centered in the Persian Empire. The catholicos-patriarch of the Church of the East regularly sent bishops to southern India to ordain priests and deacons and regulate ecclesial life.
Check out more of Sean Sprague’s photos from St. Thomas’s path in the image gallery from the same story, St Thomas’s Influence.
Over the weekend two dozen Indian bishops visited the Vatican and had “heart-to-heart” talks with Pope Benedict XVI regarding, the religious nature of Indian people, discrimination against Catholics, interreligious dialogue and evangelization, as reported by the Catholic News Service today:
“The Holy Father was particularly interested in our efforts at interreligious dialogue,” [Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai] said. While there have been acts of intimidation and violence against Christians in India, the church is building bridges with members of other religions and “collaborating together to build peace, to build a better India, to see how we could bring God back into society.”
Read the rest of this story in the “News” section of our web site.
6 September 2011
Tags: India Pope Benedict XVI Interreligious Syro-Malabar Catholic Church
Father Pejic is the only full-time staff member at St. Sava’s Serbian Orthodox Church located in Hanover, Germany. (photo: Andy Spyra)
In the July 2009 issue of ONE Joachim Dethlefs reported on the diversity within the parish of St. Sava’s Serbian Orthodox Church in Germany’s Orthodox Serbs.
Following tradition, Father Pejic celebrates the Divine Liturgy in Church Slavonic, but pauses at several points to repeat select passages first in Serbian, then German. Readings from the Gospel, on the other hand, are chanted in Serbian and then read aloud in German.
For more about this community of Orthodox Christians, read the story, Germany’s Orthodox Serbs.
Meanwhile, just today the Catholic News Service reported on Pope Benedict XVI’s message to Catholic and Orthodox scholars at a meeting in Salonika, Greece, Aug. 30-Sept. 2.
In many countries, Catholics and Orthodox face the same challenges in strengthening Christian life, and an important part of that effort is working together with love and respect, Pope Benedict XVI said.
Read more of this story in our “News” section.
2 September 2011
Tags: Orthodox Church Serbian Orthodox Church
Young students at an assembly at the Abou Kir Franciscan School in Egypt.
(photo: Sean Sprague)
In the May/June 2002 edition of CNEWA World (now known as ONE), Sean Sprague reported on the Abou Kir Franciscan School which was revitalized by the Lebanese Franciscan Sisters of the Cross.
Some 495 freshly scrubbed children in immaculate uniforms — bright red pullovers for the primary school, navy blue for the kindergarten and preparatory ages — were lined up in perfect formation. They saluted the Egyptian flag and sang the national anthem. A favorite Franciscan hymn followed. Sister Zeina then took the microphone and sweetly crooned a couple of Arabic lullabies, accompanied by a teacher on the organ. Then it was time for folklore class, and 12 girls in native Egyptian costume strutted out to perform a dance.
To learn more about the work of the Franciscan Sisters of the Cross in Egypt read Blind to Limitations, by Liam Stack, in the May 2010 issue of ONE. To learn more about the Abou Kir school read Sean Sprague’s story, Bringing Learning to Life.
1 September 2011
Tags: Egypt Africa Catholic Schools Franciscan Sisters of the Cross Northeast Africa
Children pray during liturgy in the small village of Santhithadam, Kerala, India.
(photo: Sean Sprague)
Santhithadam means “Valley of Peace” in Malayalam, the language of Kerala.
Not far from the border with Tamil Nadu and set on the high Attapaddy plateau, the area was thinly populated by scattered tribes for centuries. Then, about 30 years ago, 76 families settled in Santhithadam from the crowded south, including 40 Syro-Malabar Catholic families from Kottayam, Kerala’s Christian heartland.
Journalist Sean Sprague reported about this small village in Kerala back in 2003 in the July-August edition of ONE (which was then known as CNEWA WORLD).
Today the Catholic News Service reported on a parish in Kerala offering financial incentives to large Catholic families, in the midst of worries over the shrinking Catholic population:
The plan to increase family size runs counter to a previous initiative by the federal government, which encouraged residents to make two children the norm for families.
Read more of this story on the CatholicNews.com
30 August 2011
Tags: India Children Syro-Malabar Catholic Church
Man Praying at Lyon’s Great Mosque in Lyon, France. (photo: Pascal Deloche/Godong/Corbis) Featured on the September 2008 cover of ONE
Today, many Muslims around the world are celebrating Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting.
In the cover story of the September 2008 edition of ONE, Islam’s Many Faces, Archbishop Michael L. Fitzgerald discussed Ramadan and the Eid al-Fitr feast:
Ramadan begins or ends according to the sighting of the moon (though some Muslims follow astronomical calculations). Thus, there can be differences, with one country starting and consequently ending before another. This can even happen in the same area where different groups follow different systems, so one group will still be fasting while the other is already feasting.
With the political upheaval throughout many Muslim communities today’s this year’s feast carries mixed emotions for some, as CNN reports:
There’s joy tempered with concern on Tahrir Square in Egypt, which saw a successful revolution topple President Hosni Mubarak this year. And there’s optimism in Libya, where 42 years of rule by Moammar Gadhafi seem to be coming to an end.
But emotions are much more muted in Syria, where the government is clamping down to prevent the Arab Spring from spreading, and there is a sense of gloom in Pakistan, wracked by violence and natural disasters.
Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports that many prisoners in Egypt were released today in honor of the Muslim holiday:
The prisoners let free for the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan were mostly protesters arrested in Tahrir Square, and had no prior convictions, English language Egyptian daily Al-Ahram reported.
Read more of the CNN and Washington Post stories on their web sites respectively: Muslim festival brings rare joy for some this year, but not all cheer and On Eid al-Fitr, hundreds of prisoners freed in Egypt, UAE, Oman
25 August 2011
Tags: Interreligious Muslim Islam Ramadan
An elderly couple dance at an event organized by a local social club in the Eastern Slovakian village, Jakubany. (photo: Andrej Bán)
“Jakubany has a rich cultural heritage, including distinctive folklore, music, dance and dress. Villagers developed traditions in relation to their deep, historical relationship with the forests, pastures and mountains that surround the community.”
Read more about the rich culture and history of the Eastern Slovakian village of Jakubany in the story Those Who Remain Behind from our January 2009 edition of ONE. Writer Jacqueline Ruyak gives more insight into the dynamics of this village in the multimedia feature accompanying this article.
24 August 2011
Tags: Eastern Europe Roma Slovak Catholic Church Ruysn
Locals living near Kerala’s Idukki Dam, the largest of its kind in Asia, collect water at a well. (photo: Peter Lemieux)
“In Kerala, poor management of natural resources, shortsighted agricultural practices and political inaction are pushing the limits. How is it possible that Kerala — which receives an annual average rainfall of more than ten feet, nearly three times higher than the national average — has the lowest per capita water availability in India, even lower than the northwestern state of Rajasthan, home of the Thar Desert?”
Peter Lemieux’s article, Rain Rich, Water Poor from the May 2010 edition of ONE, was also a part of a package that won a 2nd place Catholic Press Association Award for “Best Multiple Picture Package” among other awards.
To gain even more insight into the water scarcity issue in Kerala, check out our multimedia feature, Water Woes.
Tags: India Kerala Water