11 July 2017
Abba Berhanu Woemago chats with a student outside the Abba Pascal Catholic Girls’ School in Soddo, Ethiopia. Learn why Ethiopian Catholic schools are at the Head of the Class in the
June 2017 edition of ONE. (photo: Petterik Wiggers)
10 July 2017
Shilpa Joy provides physical therapy to youth at the Home of Peace. (photo: Don Duncan)
The current edition of ONE features an inspiring glimpse into the lives of young Indian men and women who experienced the profound positive impact of Catholic institutions. One of them is Shilpa Joy:
Shilpa Joy’s job as a therapist requires her to deal with many people every day, something she would never have imagined when she arrived at the sisters’ doorstep, a child escaping a violent home plagued by alcoholism.
“At the children’s home, I learned to adapt, live and work with many different kinds of personalities. I came to understand other people and see how the many other children are. Living with these different types of people helped me to get out of my childhood introversion,” she says.
Recently, Ms. Joy started a new job at the Home of Peace — a center dedicated to children with disabilities, run by the Daughters of Our Lady of Mercy — a stone’s throw away from her home with the Sisters of the Sacred Heart. Indeed, the sisters have welcomed her to live with them once more, temporarily, as she searches for an apartment.
At work in the Home of Peace, Ms. Joy makes use of all her professional skills, providing physical and speech therapy. She also has to adapt constantly to the very specific and sometimes acute needs of the children at the home.
In the home’s physical therapy room, a sort of gym adapted to special needs, one boy works on his balance by sitting on a large ball. Another boy, who wears a prosthetic lower leg, practices walking on the treadmill. At a nearby table, Ms. Joy performs stretches and exercises with another boy who suffers from cerebral palsy.
“Now, I can cope with all kinds of personalities or with difficult people or situations. I have learned, at the children’s home, how to cope with such things.”
After work, she goes back to her accommodations with the sisters. There, she serves as a sort of role model and counselor to the children in the home. She helps the girls with their homework and she urges them to strive for great things.
“I try to share my own experience with them,” the young woman says. “It is a way of trying to motivate them to go further, to study further and to have a happy, fulfilled life.”
Read more about The Secret of Their Success in the June 2017 edition of ONE.
7 July 2017
Some Christian families, such as the one shown above, have moved back to their home village of Tel Eskof, Iraq. (photo: John E. Kozar/CNEWA)
In the current edition of ONE, CNEWA president Msgr. John E. Kozar reflects on the uncertain future facing Iraqi Christians:
More than 130,000 Christians in the Nineveh Plain of Iraq fled to what amounted to a “foreign” land in neighboring Iraqi Kurdistan. They became refugees in settlement camps. What has happened to those who settled in these camps and what does the future hold for the displaced?
Having visited Kurdistan recently, I have seen firsthand some of the liberated towns and cities previously held by ISIS. I can personally attest to the devastation of some towns and villages, the desecration of holy places and objects, the total theft of or destruction of all personal property. But the basic structures remain. However, I want to share with you an ongoing dilemma confronting Christians and other displaced people. It is the emotion-filled question: Should I return to my “liberated” town, village or city?
Read more and see more images here.
6 July 2017
Father Elias Ibrahim serves Syrian families at the Table of St. John the Merciful in Lebanon.
(photo: Raed Rafei)
The current edition of ONE offers this glimpse at life among Syrian refugees struggling to make a new life in Lebanon:
Even though many Syrian families say they feel generally welcome in Zahleh, local communities routinely express their exasperation with refugees. The stagnant economic situation, the protracted refugee crisis and grudges stemming from the Lebanese civil war — during which Syrian troops laid siege to Zahleh for three months — exacerbate tensions between the two communities.
“We encourage reconciliation initiatives to ease the tension between the Lebanese and the Syrians,” says Michel Constantin, regional director for CNEWA, which provides assistance to refugees and those in need from the host communities through the local churches.
One of these initiatives is a soup kitchen called the Table of St. John the Merciful, named after the seventh-century patriarch of Alexandria famed for never turning away a supplicant. Founded by the church a year ago, this program offers hot meals from Monday to Friday to nearly 350 refugees, as well as poor Lebanese citizens. People from around the city volunteer to staff the kitchen, which receives food from a large number of restaurants, bakeries and more prosperous local families.
On a recent Sunday, the Table received Syrian refugee families after the Divine
Liturgy, offering chicken, meat, rice and salad as well as pizza for the children. Those at the gathering enjoyed music, dancing and even, for those of age, a bit of their favorite beverage. Such small comforts mean much to people in need, whether exiled from home or not — bringing a measure of cheer and a much-needed reprieve from their many worries.
“The aim is not only to serve food but to create lasting bonds and harmony among the people here,” said the Rev. Elias Ibrahim, a priest of the cathedral parish. Father Ibrahim oversees the operations of the center and serves also as a spiritual counselor for refugees.
Read more in the current edition of the magazine — and check out the exclusive video on refugees in Lebanon below.
5 July 2017
Students take notes at Our Lady’s Catholic School in Dubbo, Ethiopia. Read how Ethiopia’s Catholic schools are the Head of the Class, setting the standard for the next generation, in the June 2017 edition of ONE. (photo: Petterik Wiggers)
30 June 2017
Social worker Rachelle Beaini, right, dances with Syrian women during a social event hosted at a soup kitchen that welcomes refugees in Zahleh, Lebanon. Read more about how the city is dealing with the influx of newcomers, straddling Hardship and Hospitality, in the June 2017
edition of ONE. (photo: Raed Rafei)
29 June 2017
Pope Francis greets Orthodox Archbishop Job of Telmessos and his delegation at the conclusion of a Mass marking the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican 29 June. As is customary an Orthodox delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople attended the feast day Mass. Read more about the Mass here. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)
28 June 2017
Bechara Peter Cardinal Rai of Lebanon, patriarch of the Maronite Catholic Church, walks near a statue of Our Lady of Fatima on 25 June. He led a pilgrimage to consecrate Lebanon and all the Middle East to Mary. (photo: CNS/Mychel Akl, courtesy Maronite Patriarchate)
Lebanese Cardinal Bechara Peter Rai consecrated Lebanon and all the Middle East to Mary in Fatima, praying for peace and stability.
Thousands of faithful from the Middle East as well as Lebanese diaspora from around the world also made the pilgrimage for the “Lebanon Day in Fatima,” which began 24 June with the recitation of the rosary and a candlelit procession.
“We have come from Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, the Holy Land, Egypt, the (Persian) Gulf countries and various countries of proliferation — particularly from Australia, Canada, the United States, Europe — to continue, from generation to generation, to honor our Blessed Virgin Mary,” the patriarch said during his homily 25 June. He concelebrated Mass with Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan and a delegation of bishops and priests.
“We have come to renew the dedication of Lebanon and the countries of the Middle East to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, according to her wishes. This dedication is to repent, to stop wars and to consolidate peace,” Cardinal Rai said.
Beginning in June 2013, the patriarch has annually consecrated Lebanon and all the Middle East to Mary at Harissa, home of Our Lady of Lebanon. The consecrations were in response to a request of the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East held in the Vatican in October 2012. This year, the consecration at Fatima commemorated the centennial of the apparitions, when Mary appeared to three shepherd children in the Portuguese village.
“We have come to ask for the intercession of Our Lady of Fatima for peace in the Middle East region, and for stability in Lebanon, to preserve our country’s mission and model of coexistence among religions and cultures, especially among Christians and Muslims,” the cardinal said in his homily at Fatima. He stressed that “Lebanon’s significance lies in its open system of cultural and religious pluralism within a framework of cooperation, integration and mutual enrichment.”
About 40 percent of the approximate 4 million Lebanese citizens residing in Lebanon are Christian.
Lebanon has the only Christian head of state in the entire Middle East and North Africa. Under Lebanon’s power-sharing system, the presidency is reserved for a Maronite Catholic, while the prime minister is a Sunni Muslim, and the speaker of parliament is a Shiite Muslim.
27 June 2017
Christian Scout volunteers turned out on 18 June to paint parts of Aleppo, Syria.
This story appeared today on the website for the Franciscans in the Holy Land:
Never have Aleppines found the markings on their sidewalks more beautiful. The Franciscan parish in the large city in Northern Syria decided to restore the city’s colors.
Aleppines could not believe it when on Sunday, 18 June, they saw scout brigades repainting their sidewalks for the first time. A little black and white paint was enough to give color to the neighborhood around the parish of St. Francis of Aleppo. A municipal sign indicated to drivers whether they were allowed to park their cars or not. It is the most trivial of things and yet “It is beautiful,” said one passer-by.
“Aleppo more beautiful” is an initiative carried out by the local friars of the Custody with the support of the governor, the mayor and the whole municipality. The program was inaugurated on Sunday, 18 June. In front of the parish church, Father Ibrahim, the pastor, was surrounded by government officials, brushes in hand, to paint the edges of the sidewalks.
Volunteers were happy to be covered with paint — and to be covering the streets, too.
After years of war that literally made the city’s colors fade, making “Aleppo more beautiful” is a concern and a challenge. For the people in charge of the initiative: “It allows us to unite as a single nation, a single family, whatever our religion or convictions... We also thought of this initiative right away as an opportunity to make reparations, to restore this beautiful mosaic — our society, which has been torn apart... So, we dove in with a lot of interest, love and commitment; [with] love for our martyred city and [with] the desire to promote reconciliation in our wounded, torn society. We are convinced that good is contagious. We do good and spread it, radiate it. War, hatred, egoism, the reign of death will be replaced by peace, charity, solidarity, the common good and the extension of the Kingdom of Heaven.”
The promoters of the initiative invited all of the churches to join them and many groups such as the Christian Scouts, various religious groups and any of the inhabitants of the city who wanted to help. The Latin parish took charge of the financial aspect by buying all of the necessary materials.
A friar supervises the young Allepine artists. (photo: Custodia.org)
In the end, more than 200 people, armed with paintbrushes, buckets and paint, showed great enthusiasm and zeal and set out to conquer the city by embellishing it.
Read more and see more pictures at the link.
26 June 2017
A Coptic villager in Upper Egypt checks his cell phone while transporting crops across town. This image is part of a photo essay by Msgr. Kozar which was honored last week with a First Place Award from the Catholic Press Association. Visit this link to see more of his prize-winning photos.
(photo: John E. Kozar)