Current Issue
July, 2019
Volume 45, Number 2
17 July 2019
J.D. Conor Mauro

Martina Isaac stands in front of her home in the Zabbaleen quarter of Manshiyat Naser, Cairo. For more about the life of this Coptic enclave, and the sisters who serve their community, read Reclaiming Lives, from the July 2019 edition of ONE. (photo: Hanaa Habib)

Tags: Egypt Sisters Copts Catholic education Coptic

17 July 2019
J.D. Conor Mauro

Syriac Catholic Rev. Youssef Sakat reads documents of an Iraqi family seeking help from inside the chapel at the Holy Family Syriac Catholic center in Beirut on 8 July 2019. (photo: CNS/Dalia Khamissy)

When Islamic State came, the monks had just finished hiding the manuscripts (Catholic Herald) Already, the four monks at the ancient Syriac Catholic Mar Behnam Monastery in Khidr, Iraq, had felt they were under siege. Ten days earlier, on June 10, 2014, five carloads of militants roared through the peaceful road leading to Mar Behnam, announcing through megaphones that the Islamic State was in control. Not long before that, the Iraqi army had withdrawn from a checkpoint near the monastery, located southeast of Mosul. All the while, Father Youssef Sakat was deeply concerned about how to safeguard the monastery’s extensive collection of religious manuscripts from inevitable destruction by the militants. The 630 manuscripts, dating from the 12th to 18th centuries, were written in a range of languages, including Syriac, Greek, French and Latin…

Archbishop of Basra: The pope’s visit, an opportunity for rebirth for Christians and Iraq (AsiaNews) Pope Francis’ visit to Iraq, scheduled for next year, represents a world stage for the Baghdad government to show itself close to Christians and active in defending the freedoms and rights of the entire population. “[I]t is necessary to prevent the formation of a second class citizenship, especially for Christians and other minorities that are affected and relegated to the margins by the Constitution and a sectarian culture,” says the Chaldean Archbishop Alnaufali Habib Jajou of Basra, according to whom the nation “is in pieces” because of a “widespread and visible corruption”…

Turkish diplomat shot dead in Iraqi city, officials say (The Guardian) Gunmen have killed at least one Turkish diplomat in Irbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, in an attack on consulate staff gathered in a restaurant, Turkey’s foreign ministry said. The state-run Iraqi news agency identified the dead man as the deputy consul general, the Associated Press reported…

Can Israel’s courts deliver justice for Palestinians? (Al Jazeera) The demolition of Palestinian-owned buildings by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem is a routine occurrence. But in Sur Baher, a neighbourhood southeast of Jerusalem, an unprecedented mass demolition is looming — with the approval of Israel’s top court…

Tags: Iraq Palestine Turkey

16 July 2019
Doreen Abi Raad

Students at Fratelli enjoy a sports class. (photo: Tamara Abdul Hadi)

In the new edition of ONE, journalist Doreen Abi Raad profiles a place Where Education Is Alive, the Fratelli Center in Lebanon. She offers some additional impressions below.

To reach the Fratelli Center in Rmeileh, Lebanon, the exit from the coastal highway near the southern city of Sidon leads to a lovely, winding road dotted with all kinds of flowering trees.

I imagine that Syrian refugee children, living nearby in dire conditions, perhaps also admire the beautiful landscape on their way to and from the center on the bus provided by CNEWA.

Fratelli is a non-profit association jointly founded by the De La Salle Brothers and Marist Brothers in Lebanon in 2016 with the goal of organizing educational, social and cultural activities for poor and vulnerable children.

From the former Marist Our Lady of Fatima school in Rmeileh, abandoned during Lebanon’s civil war, the Fratelli Center serves more than 600 children and youth, Syrian refugees as well as poor Lebanese. Most of the students are Muslim. Teachers and volunteers are Muslim and Christian alike.

It’s morning recess time. Children are running, screeching, laughing, some kicking soccer balls, immersed in exuberant momentum. Yet there’s nothing chaotic: It’s simply blissful joy, every child’s face radiant with a smile.

Three young boys run to Marist Brother Andrés Porras, hugging him in unison, nearly knocking him over with their enthusiasm. “How are you today?” he asks the students, returning their hugs and encouraging them to speak in English.

“For me, these children are the daily presence of God, it is very transparent, how they share their happiness and look in your eyes with such pureness,” Brother Andrés says.

When it’s time to get serious at the ringing of a teacher’s handbell, the children quietly line up, ready to return to classrooms, still brimming with joy. They are so eager to learn.

In the first grade classroom for Syrian refugee children, a colorful poster of “Fratelli Class Rules” is prominently displayed. The rules include: ”I will be honest and kind…I will respect myself and others…I will not be a bully…I will do my best…I come to school to learn.” The students indeed are doing their best, listening to their teacher with rapt attention and confidently reciting arithmetic drills in English.

For Fratelli’s afternoon basic literacy and numeracy program for youth, 16-year-old Zahra arrives with a sweet smile, after working in agriculture from 6 am to noon with her father, to help support her family. They fled to Lebanon from Idlib, Syria in 2012.

Zahra expected that with no fear of war, everything would be better in Lebanon. But life in her adopted country has been very difficult, she admits with a mature resolve. Her family lives in poverty; she missed out on school for several years, and she must work to help out financially.

Thanks to Fratelli, Zahra has restarted her education, opening a path for a better future. Ever since she was young, Zahra dreamed of being a pediatrician.

Zahra hopes to return to her homeland someday. But she would like her country to be as it was before the war.

For now, Zahra considers Fratelli “my second home.”

“Or to be honest, it is my main home. It’s the place where I feel free,” she says, adding that the teachers “are like a family to me.”

Read more about Fratelli in the July 2019 edition of ONE.

Tags: Lebanon Refugees

16 July 2019
Greg Kandra

Sister Abhaya and Sister Phincitta socialize with students St. Clare Oral School for the Deaf in Kerala. Read more about how these young people are getting A Sound Education in the July 2019 edition of ONE. (photo: Sajeendran V.S.)

Tags: Kerala

16 July 2019
Greg Kandra

Cardinal Louis Raphael I Sako, the Chaldean Catholic patriarch, speaks during the presentation of the UK Independent Review on Persecution of Christians, in Rome on 15 July 2019. Looking on is Msgr. Antoine Camilleri, an official at the Vatican Secretariat of State. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)

Cardinal fears Iraq could be caught in U.S.-Iran conflict (CNS) Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Cardinal Louis Sako is concerned by rising tensions between the United States and Iran, fearful that his country, Iraq, could be caught in the middle of any potential conflict. It has also made a proposed visit by Pope Francis to Iraq next year uncertain, he said…

Alert issued for Kerala as monsoon strengthens (India Today) Authorities in Kerala have issued alerts across the state anticipating heavy rains in the next few days. The India Meteorological department (IMD) in its latest weather forecast has said very to very heavy rains are expected in Kerala. Besides this, IMD said the sea along the Malabar Coast in Kerala is expected to be very rough. This corresponds with the strengthening of monsoon in Southern India…

Study looks at how religious restrictions have increased around the world (Pew Research Center) Over the decade from 2007 to 2017, government restrictions on religion — laws, policies and actions by state officials that restrict religious beliefs and practices — increased markedly around the world. And social hostilities involving religion — including violence and harassment by private individuals, organizations or groups — also have risen since 2007, the year Pew Research Center began tracking the issue…

Archeologists unearth 9,000-year-old city near Jerusalem (The Jerusalem Post) A prehistoric ‘city’ — with complex streets, burial grounds and trade items from as far away as the Red Sea and Anatolia — was unearthed near Jerusalem during the work carried out to make a new entrance to the capital. The discovery of the cluster of buildings, homes, public compounds and ritual areas dates back to the Neolithic period and is one of the largest settlements discovered from the New Stone Age in the world…

Tags: Jerusalem Iraqi Christians Kerala Persecution

15 July 2019
Greg Kandra

Syrian Armenians celebrate the Divine Liturgy at St. Grigor Narekatsi Armenian Catholic Parish in Yerevan, Armenia. Read how Syrian refugees are starting over in Armenia, and how the church is supporting them, in Hope Takes Root in the July 2019 edition of ONE. (photo: Nazik Armenakyan)

Tags: Syria Armenia

15 July 2019
Greg Kandra

Clashes continue in Syria, and thousands remain trapped by the ongoing violence, but much of the world is paying scant attention, analysts say. (video: Al Jazeera/YouTube)

Syrians remain trapped as the world looks away (The Washington Post) If the world is watching, it’s not doing all that much. A long-running diplomatic process initiated by the United Nations in Geneva and backed by Washington to find a political solution to the Syrian conflict now appears moribund. A separate set of talks involving Russia, Turkey and Iran will resume in early August, but these, too, seem to underscore the geopolitical complexity that hamstrings Syria’s prospects for peace…

What’s behind Ethiopia’s recent political violence? (The Washington Post) In Ethiopia, a wave of assassinations has renewed fears of political turmoil. On 22 June, gunmen burst into a meeting, killing the president of the Amhara region, Ambachew Mekonnen and two aides. Shortly thereafter, a bodyguard killed the army chief of staff, Gen. Seare Mekonnen, along with retired Gen. Gezai Abera.

Kerala to introduce anti-superstition bill ( Kerala, which recently witnessed an alarming spurt in the number of black magic cases, is gearing up to bring in a legislation to curb “inhuman” practices and exploitation in the name of superstition. The Kerala Prevention and Eradication of Inhuman Evil Practices, Sorcery and Black Magic Bill, 2019 has been submitted to the CPI(M)-led LDF government for its consideration to pass as legislation…

Shevchuck: Pope wants flourishing Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (Vatican News) At a press conference on Monday, Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuck, head of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, said a two-day meeting with Pope Francis and curial leaders represents a “new methodology” for relations between the Holy See and the “sui iuris” Eastern Churches. The unprecedented meeting was called for by Pope Francis himself, with the intention of conveying his closeness to the Ukrainian Church. A statement from the Holy See Press Office said that the Pope, with his collaborators in the Roman Curia, showed “his appreciation for the history of this Church; its spiritual, liturgical, theological and canonical traditions; and its fidelity to communion with the Successor of Peter, confirmed and sealed with the blood of the martyrs…”

Jordan buckling under pressure of growing refugee crisis (Fox News) While the Kingdom has remained afloat as neighboring Syria and Iraq faced civil war and the rise of ISIS, Jordan is on the frontline as millions from across the war-torn region seek refuge in one of the only stable countries they can access. Jordan’s dangerous geopolitical position, surrounded by civil wars and taking in overwhelming amounts of foreigners, could seriously threaten the survival of one of the only stable regimes left in the Middle East…

Mother hopes for a miracle with Indian nun’s canonization ( Jessy Joppy expects to see the miracle of her 5-year-old son walking on 13 October, the day when Pope Francis is to declare an Indian nun, Blessed Mariam Thresia, a saint. The boy, Ebin Joppy, has been unable to sit or walk since birth and medical treatments have failed to correct his condition. However, the intercession of the nun will work a miracle on the day canonization, his mother believes. ”I expect a miracle,” she said as she lifted her son onto her lap as she sat on the veranda of the Mariam Thresia Pilgrim Center in Kuzhikattussery village in Thrissur district of Kerala state…

Tags: Syria Ethiopia Kerala Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church

10 July 2019
J.D. Conor Mauro

Children attend English class at the Fratelli School in Saida, Lebanon. To learn more about how this school helps to bring education to a “lost generation’ of Syrian refugees in Lebanon, read Fratelli, Where Education Is Alive in the July 2019 edition of ONE. (photo: Tamara Abdul Hadi)

Tags: Lebanon Refugees Children Education Catholic education

10 July 2019
J.D. Conor Mauro

An Israeli settler stands beside fences surrounding an Israeli settlement located on the roof in the Arab section of the Old City of Jerusalem on 26 March. (photo: CNS/Debbie Hill)

Israeli settlers take over east Jerusalem home after court battle (Al Monitor) A Palestinian family was evicted from a home in east Jerusalem near the Old City on Wednesday after Israeli settlers won a court battle that stretched more than two decades, activists said. The apartment in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan was home to a 53-year-old woman and her four children, according to Israeli NGO Peace Now, which opposes Israeli settlement expansion…

Britain is hoarding a treasure no one is allowed to see (The Atlantic) In a storeroom of the British Museum here sits a collection of 11 wood and stone tablets that nobody is allowed to see. They are Christian plaques, or tabots, that represent the Ark of the Covenant, and they belong — though belong in this case is a contested term — to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, which believes only its priests should view them. The tabots were seized, along with hundreds of other precious items — processional crosses, gold and silver jewelry, illustrated manuscripts — by the British army in 1868, after it defeated Ethiopian Emperor Tewodros II at the battle of Maqdala. There is hardly a clearer case of officially sanctioned plunder: When Tewodros committed suicide, soldiers ransacked his treasury, then auctioned off their finds among their entourage to pay for the expedition…

Chennai city battles long drought (UCAN India) Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu state with a population of nine million, is in the grip of a drought and resulting water crisis. Public water taps are now dry. Most of the city’s middle class and poor wait each day in long queues for tankers to arrive so that they can fill a few plastic buckets with barely enough water for drinking let alone cooking and bathing.

New institutes of Coptic studies founded in Egyptian public universities (Fides) In an unprecedented initiative, Egyptian political institutions have decided to invest resources to support the opening of institutes, centers and departments in public universities dedicated to the study and enhancement of the Coptic language and cultural heritage. The first institute of Coptic Studies was already inaugurated at the University of Alexandria, in collaboration with the Coptic Orthodox Church…

Tags: India Palestine Ethiopian Orthodox Church Coptic Christians Drought

8 July 2019
J.D. Conor Mauro

Pope Francis greets a woman and child during a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican on 8 July 2019, commemorating the sixth anniversary of his visit to the southern Mediterranean island of Lampedusa. (photo: CNS/Vatican Media)

On Lampedusa anniversary, pope prays for suffering migrants (Crux) At a time when the immigration issue is becoming more contentious across the globe — especially in Europe — Pope Francis offered a Mass on Monday commemorating his visit to Lampedusa six years ago, praying for all migrants who have either died or been abused along their route…

Migrant-rescuing sea captain discusses challenges (Der Spiegel) Carola Rackete saved 53 migrants adrift at sea. In an interview, she discusses the hardships on board, her arrest in Italy and the failure of European immigration policy…

Project helps young Christians in the Gaza Strip find jobs (Fides) Nine months ago, the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, in cooperation of the Holy Family Parish, launched a job-creation and capacity-building program in the Gaza Strip. Today, the 20 Christian youth benefiting from the program are reaping the fruits of their work and seeing new career prospects from this project…

Jobs don’t come easy for India’s poor Christians (UCAN India) Among all religious groupings, Christian males have the highest unemployment rates in India, according to the Periodic Labor Force Survey 2017-18…

127 churches in Egypt receive legal status (Christian Today) Egypt has authorized the legalization of 127 congregations that were previously operating without a government permit in the latest wave of church approvals…

Tags: India Egypt Gaza Strip/West Bank Migrants Employment