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December, 2018
Volume 44, Number 4
1 May 2013
Greg Kandra

May is traditionally the month Catholics devote to Mary. The image above from 2010 shows a statue of the Virgin Mary that graces the Chaldean Church of the Mother of God in Southfield, near Detroit. For more on the Arab-Americans who have settled in that part of Michigan, check out Forging a New Detroit from the January 2010 issue of ONE. (photo: Fabrizio Costantini)

Tags: Catholic Chaldean Church Arab-Americans Detroit

1 May 2013
Greg Kandra

Despite the war, the Trappist sisters have chosen to stay in Syria at the monastery they established. (photo: Monastery of Valserena)

An Italian news site this week takes a look at a group of Trappist nuns that has established a monastery in Syria. Despite the violence and war around them, they are determined to stay:

We are simply here, open and available, according to our Rule. We will have to see what happens. In the present state of things one cannot make predictions, but it is our intent to stay close to the population and they are grateful for the fact that we have not moved.

Visit Il Sussidiario for the full interview.

Last fall, AsiaNews profiled the sisters and saw them as a “sign of hope” for Syria:

Amid the chaos of the Syrian civil war, when the main noise has been the sound of bombs going off and the screams of those they wounded, there are still some places where the prevailing hatred is held at bay. One of them is a Trappist monastery in the small Maronite village of Azeir, located in western Syria between the cities of Tartous and Homs. Five Italian nuns from the Monastery of Valserena (in Pisa) call it home. Despite the fighting raging around them, they chose to stay in the country. “Despite our Italian nationality,” said Sister Monica, superior of the Mother House, “and the resources we might have because of it, we are part of this community and cannot leave at a time of trial. Its fate is our fate.”

In letters written over the past few months and posted on the monastery’s website, the nuns describe the tragedies of the war and the suffering endured by the residents of the villages that surround them.

For the sisters, the monastery is a tangible sign of hope. “A place where God is worshiped in his real presence, both Eucharistic and Ecclesial, through prayers and brotherly communion, is a blessing for all.”

However, “our neighbours are discouraged,” said one of the letters posted. “Even in our small village, civilians and young conscripts have been killed.”

“The country,” wrote another, “has become a battleground for adversaries that are bigger than Syria, people who came to fight in this land and this people to settle their own conflicts.”

In each post, the Trappist nuns call on all Christians to pray for the Syrian population that welcomed them.

Click here for the rest of the story.

Tags: Syria Sisters Monastery Monasticism Trappist

1 May 2013
J.D. Conor Mauro

In this December 2012 photo, Patriarch Youhanna X of Antioch, accompanied by Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch Gregory III of Antioch, lights a candle upon his arrival to the Orthodox patriarchate in Damascus, Syria. (photo: CNS/Khaled al Hariri, Reuters)

Syrian patriarch: Violence won’t drive Orthodox away ( Patriarch of Antioch and All the East Youhanna X has urged the world community to end the violence in Syria and help free the two abducted Orthodox leaders of Aleppo. “I take this opportunity to extend, on your behalf, in the motherlands and abroad, an appeal to the international community, urging it to do everything it can toward the release of hostages whose absence affects us deeply. … Since we are the children of the Resurrection, we are not afraid of whoever takes violence as a way to achieve his purpose. To be killed, or kidnapped, or to have our institutions destroyed, will not change our resolve to uphold our civil life and our coexistence … and to seek the reign of justice and rights in our homelands,” the patriarch said…

Pope Francis issues appeal against slave labor (Vatican Radio) Marking the feast of St. Joseph the Worker and World Labor Day this Wednesday, 1 May, Pope Francis launched an urgent appeal to Christians and men and women of good will worldwide to take decisive steps to end slave labor. “I would like to add a word about another particular work situation that concerns me: I am referring to what we could define as “slave labor”, the work that enslaves. How many people worldwide are victims of this type of slavery, in which the person is at the service of his or her work, while work should offer a service to people so they may have dignity. I ask my brothers and sisters in faith and all men and women of good will for a decisive choice to combat trafficking in persons, which includes slave labor.” Included are an audio report and a transcript of the Holy Father’s audience…

Child labor rising in Gaza (Al Monitor) Child labor has been on the rise due to growing poverty and unemployment among Gaza’s population, more than 80 percent of whose families, according to United Nations reports, depend on humanitarian aid. While it cannot be separated from the political situation and the Israeli occupation, most analysts trace it back to 2006, when Israel started its blockade policy, causing tens of thousands of Palestinian laborers who worked in Israel to lose their jobs due to an inability to commute. Representatives of Palestinian civil society organizations have consistently stressed the need to make every possible effort to curb the widening tide of this phenomenon. However, very few seem to be directly engaged in addressing the problem…

Could water bring Israelis and Palestinians together? (Christian Science Monitor) The Joint Water Committee (J.W.C.), an Israeli-Palestinian group set up in 1995 under the Oslo Accords, was never meant to be a permanent body for managing water resources. Like many other Oslo-era arrangements, it was intended as more of a temporary tent until the Palestinian house could be built. Some 17 years later, with no Palestinian state in sight, the troubled workings of the J.W.C. illustrate the difficulties Israelis and Palestinians face in piecing together a tenuous coexistence under an interim tent tattered by lack of trust. But despite the current challenges, better water management — perhaps more than any of the other five issues to be determined in final-status negotiations — holds the possibility for improved cooperation and trust-building, because the welfare of both peoples is linked by their dependence on this vital shared resource…

Iraq plans to launch satellite to aid water crisis (Al Monitor) As part of an effort to combat water shortages across the country, Iraq is working to build and launch a satellite before the end of the year. The satellite will allow close monitoring of desertification and freshwater reserve losses…

Tags: Pope Francis Children Syrian Civil War Israeli-Palestinian conflict Water

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