From Pontifical Mission

In Depth: Iraq


For more on Iraq:

IRAQ UPDATE: ‘They Have Few Choices and All the Choices Are Bad’ (One-to-One blog, 6 October 2017) As Iraq and the world cope with the results of last week’s referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan — in which an overwhelming 92 percent of ballots cast in the semiautonomous province of Iraq voted for secession...

IRAQ UPDATE: ‘God Is With Us and Will Not Leave Us’ (One-to-One blog, 7 August 2017) Our partners in Iraq, the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena, sent the following letter to their friends around the world on Sunday, the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord...

‘God Wants Me Here’ (ONE Magazine, Spring 2017) Christians keep hope alive in Iraq...

Is Christianity in the Middle East Facing Extinction? (One-to-One blog, 13 December 2016) A recent gathering at Villanova University looked at the ongoing crisis in the Middle East — and found some compelling conclusions...

Christian Contributions in the Contemporary Middle East (Speech, 13 December 2016) The Christian presence in the Holy Land and across the Middle East has always been a diverse one as it covers a wide variety of Churches and is older than many neighboring nation states...

Addressing the ‘Crisis of Christians in the Middle East’ (One-to-One blog, 7 December 2016) CNEWA’s President Msgr. John E. Kozar was one of several prominent leaders of different faiths — including CNEWA’s chair, New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan — who gathered in New York Monday night to discuss some of the threats facing Christians in the Middle East...

Christians Returning to Iraq: ‘It’s As if We Had Entered Ghost Towns’ (One-to-One blog, 5 December 2016) The Syriac Catholic patriarch said he was horrified to see widespread devastation and what he called “ghost towns” during a recent visit to northern Iraq. Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan wrote in an email to Catholic News Service that there was little left in some of the communities that he toured 27-29 November and that “the emptiness of the streets except for military people ... the devastation and burned-out houses and churches” was shocking...

Turkey’s Only Chaldean Catholic Priest (One-to-One blog, 28 November 2016) Being the only Chaldean Catholic priest in charge of pastoral work in Turkey, Father Adday, as he is known, has become a true itinerant priest, a road warrior who, each year, logs thousands of miles tending his flock, the community of Iraqi Christian refugees in Turkey. Their exact number is unknown, but it is estimated to be 40,000...

‘Our Help is the Only Help for Them’: Iraqi Refugees Find Support in Amman (One-to-One blog, 3 November 2016) At the Pontifical Mission Community Center in Amman, Jordan, a man known simply as “Mr. Sami” teaches the fundamentals of English to a class filled with young and old alike. Both the teacher, a respected man in his 60’s, and his class share a common tragedy: they are all Iraqi Christian refugees who fled ISIS...

IRAQ UPDATE: Terror and Triumph, Fear and Hope (One-to-One blog, 26 October 2016) As Iraqi soldiers intensify their offensive to retake Mosul from ISIS, we are getting scattered reports from local clergy, describing scenes of great fear — but also tremendous hope...

IRAQ UPDATE: Christians in Nineveh Plain Share Hope, but Need Assurances (One-to-One blog, 25 October 2016) Church bells rang as soldiers affixed a homemade cross at the summit of a dome of a church in the newly liberated town of Bartella, once home to more than 20,000 Iraqi Christians...

IRAQ UPDATE: Iraq’s Archbishop Warda at CNEWA: ‘Persecution Started on Good Friday’ (One-to-One blog, 24 October 2016) CNEWA was privileged to welcome to our New York offices on Monday Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil, Kurdistan, Iraq...

Journey to Iraq: Cardinal Dolan Reflects on “Remarkable Experience” (One-to-One blog, 5 May 2016) Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York and chair of Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA), recently spent a week, 6-12 April 2016, in Iraqi Kurdistan on a pastoral visit to that region’s displaced Christian families...

Journey to Iraq: “We Can’t Forget Our Brothers and Sisters in the Middle East” (One-to-One blog, 20 April 2016) Last week, Cardinal Timothy Dolan gave an interview to National Catholic Register about his recent trip to Iraq...

Journey to Iraq: Cardinal Dolan: “We Were Deeply Moved” (One-to-One blog, 14 April 2016) Cardinal Timothy Dolan, chair of CNEWA, writes about his trip to Iraq in the latest edition of Catholic New York...

Journey to Iraq:Sisters Recount Their Flight From ISIS (One-to-One blog, 14 April 2016) Tom Gallagher, one of the journalists accompanying CNEWA Chair Cardinal Timothy Dolan to Iraq this week, interviewed several sisters who were displaced when ISIS invaded their home of Qaraqosh...

Journey to Iraq: Bishop Murphy Writes About “A Day Filled with Moments That Touched Our Hearts” (One-to-One blog, 13 April 2016) CNEWA board member Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre has been traveling with Cardinal Timothy Dolan and the CNEWA team during the pastoral visit to Iraq...

Journey to Iraq: An “Astounding” Sense of Resilience and Hope (One-to-One blog, 13 April 2016) CNA’s Elise Harris had a chance to interview Cardinal Timothy Dolan and Bishop William Murphy as they completed their pastoral visit to Iraq...

Journey to Iraq: Images of Faith, Hope and Love (One-to-One blog, 13 April 2016) During his just-completed trip to Iraq, CNEWA’s Chair, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, visited displaced Iraqis in a variety of settings...

Journey to Iraq: “Get the Word Out and Let People Know What’s Happening” (One-to-One blog, 12 April 2016) Tom Gallagher from the National Catholic Reporter is part of the team that accompanied Cardinal Timothy Dolan and CNEWA on the pastoral visit to Iraq this week...

Journey to Iraq: Giving a Voice to the Voiceless (One-to-One blog, 12 April 2016) Today during our pastoral visit with Cardinal Dolan, chair of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA), our mission brought us within a few miles of the Turkish border and a few miles from the devastated city of Mosul...

Journey to Iraq: How the Church Walks with Those in Need (One-to-One blog, 12 April 2016) Photojournalist Paul Jeffrey of CNS this morning filed this item on the CNS blog...

Journey to Iraq: “You Are on the Cross with Jesus” (One-to-One blog, 11 April 2016) A delegation of U.S. Catholic leaders visiting northern Iraq was challenged to go home and work for peace in the troubled region...

Journey to Iraq: Cardinal Dolan Brings Message of Hope (One-to-One blog, 11 April 2016) The New York Post this morning has a brief roundup of Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s visit to Iraqi Kurdistan...

Journey to Iraq: Hope and Holiness in Erbil (One-to-One blog, 11 April 2016) Today’s visit to the school for children displaced from Mosul was more celebratory with the presence of Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop Warda and Bishop Murphy...

Journey to Iraq: “You are not Forgotten” (One-to-One blog, 10 April 2016) Elise Harris of CNA continues her coverage of Cardinal Dolan’s pastoral visit to Iraq with CNEWA...

Journey to Iraq: Cardinal Dolan to Iraqi Seminarians: “You Will Convert the World” (One-to-One blog, 10 April 2016) CNA’s Elise Harris, accompanying Cardinal Timothy Dolan and CNEWA’s team on the pastoral visit to Iraqi Kurdistan, filed a report this afternoon on the cardinal’s visit to a seminary in Iraq...

Journey to Iraq: Hope and Courage Amid Suffering and Persecution (One-to-One blog, 9 April 2016) In the morning, we visited one of the medical clinics and refugee camps in Erbil. The camp is overseen by one of the local priests and the Dominican Sisters are actively present...

Journey to Iraq: These Children Have Lost Everything — Except Their Faith (One-to-One blog, 9 April 2016) Elise Harris, with Catholic News Agency, is among those traveling with the CNEWA team and Cardinal Timothy Dolan to Iraqi Kurdistan this week...

Journey to Iraq: “If We Did Not Believe in Jesus, Half of Us Would Commit Suicide” (One-to-One blog, 9 April 2016) The National Catholic Reporter’s Tom Gallagher is traveling with the CNEWA team and Cardinal Timothy Dolan to Iraq...

Journey to Iraq: A Path to Dignity Through Education (One-to-One blog, 8 April 2016) Msgr. Kevin Sullivan is Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York and is traveling with Cardinal Dolan and the CNEWA team to Iraq this week. He posted the following on his blog Just Love...

Journey to Iraq: Following Cardinal Dolan’s Visit (One-to-One blog, 7 April 2016) This week, CNEWA’s Chair, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, is embarking on a pastoral visit to Iraqi Kurdistan, to visit with displaced Iraqis. The trip is already beginning to generate some press coverage, including this report from Catholic News Agency and an interview with the Cardinal in Crux...

First impressions of Erbil, Iraq, convey a city of contradictions (NCR, 7 April 2016) The first full day on the ground in the northern region of Iraq known as Iraqi Kurdistan, a semi-autonomous region recognized by the Iraqi government in Baghdad, is completed...

Cardinal Dolan visiting Iraq to show support for displaced Christians (Catholic News Agency, 6 April 2016) This week Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York and chair of Catholic Near East Welfare Association, will travel to Iraqi Kurdistan in order to offer support to families displaced by extremist violence...

Cardinal seeks to put “teeth into talk” on anti-Christian persecution (Crux, 5 April 2016) Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York on Friday heads to Erbil, a city in Iraq’s Kurdistan region, and says he’s going to “put his teeth into his big talk” when it comes to supporting persecuted Christians in the Middle East. “Like everybody else, I talk a good show about supporting suffering fellow believers around the world,” Dolan told Crux on Monday. “I want to demonstrate that we mean it, to be there to answer the question, ‘Have you forgotten us?’ with a resounding ‘No, we haven’t, and it’s good for us to be here with you’.” Dolan is travelling to Iraq on behalf of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA), and as a special guest of both the local Church and the Kurdistan government...

CNEWA Chair Cardinal Dolan to make pastoral visit to Iraqi Kurdistan (Press Release, 5 April 2016) — NEW YORK — Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York and Chair of Catholic Near East Welfare Association, will be traveling to Iraqi Kurdistan this week on a pastoral visit to that region’s displaced Christian families...

IRAQ UPDATE: Among Hardship, Signs of Hope (One-to-One blog, 11 Jan 2016) In the past, we’ve reported on the inspiring work of the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena, and the courageous ministry being carried out under the leadership of their superior, Sister Maria Hanna...

CNEWA’s regional directors in Amman and Beirut have filed reports outlining CNEWA activities in the Middle East. Below, please find how your generosity has made a difference.

MIDDLE EAST UPDATE: Resilience and Grace Replace Panic and Fear (One-to-One blog, 6 Aug 2015) One year after ISIS extremists stormed the villages of the Nineveh Plain in the middle of the night, driving out more than 120,000 Christians, most of those who fled remain in their places of exile. ...

IRAQ UPDATE: Aiding Refugees in Lebanon (One-to-One blog, 7 Jul 2015) Iraqi refugees came to Lebanon because they had no other choice. They were uprooted from what was normal and familiar — from schools, homes and lands. More importantly, they have all witnessed the horror of war. They fled in large numbers from the bombing and destruction that ravaged their homeland, seeking refuge in Lebanon and neighboring countries. So far, an estimated 1.8 million Iraqis, fleeing ISIS, have been forced to leave their homes in fear for their lives...

IRAQ UPDATE: Dispensary Provides Medical Care to Refugees (One-to-One blog, 1 July 2015) After the ISIS attack on Mosul and Nineveh Plain in northern Iraq —displacing thousands of Christians and Yazidi from the brutality of the ISIS regime, forcing them into camps all over the Kurdish area of Erbil, Dhoc, Suleimanyyeh and Zakho — there was an urgent need to intervene and provide medical support and attention to these people.

PRESS RELEASE: Relief Rushed to Displaced Middle East Christians (01 Jun 2015) CNEWA’s president, Msgr. John E. Kozar, has released $849,200 to aid Christians in the Middle East.

Spreading the Word, Receiving a Gift (One-to-One blog, 21 May 2015) When CNEWA’s president Msgr. John Kozar looked at those gathered around the room Wednesday, he described it as a gathering of “family.” But if it was a family affair — and with about 60 people scattered around on sofas and easy chairs, it felt familiar — it was also one with a purpose. The event, held in the faculty lounge at the Immaculate Conception Seminary in Huntington, New York, brought together supporters, donors and interested Catholics from around the greater New York area to learn the latest on the situation in Iraq and Egypt from Msgr. Kozar...

Iraqi Christians in Jordan: There’s No Going Back (One-to-One blog, 11 May 2015) I began covering the successive waves of refugees descending upon Jordan nearly 12 years ago. At that time, most Iraqis fled their country because the U.S.-led invasion and its turbulent aftermath of sectarian violence made parts of the embattled land — especially the capital, Baghdad — unsafe...

SPEECH: Middle East Christians, Scattered in Limbo (7 May 2015) Long before there was ISIS, civil war in Syria, an Arab Spring, Al Qaeda, the U.S. invasions of Iraq, civil war in Lebanon, and the Israeli-Arab conflict, Middle East Christians were on the move...

"ISIS Took Everything, But We Still Have Our Faith in Jesus Christ" (One-to-One blog, 7 May 2015) Cardinal Leonardo Sandri and CNEWA president John E. Kozar concluded their pastoral visit to Iraq this week, and experienced first hand the profound faith and resilience of the country’s Christians...

Journey to Jordan: A Refugee’s Story (One-to-One blog, 22 Apr 2015) Last Saturday morning, I met a man named Agnan Adnidihad. Now I’d like you to meet him, too. A few months ago, he was a 62-year-old repairman working in Mosul, Iraq — a Syriac Orthodox Christian quietly tending his business and saying his prayers. Then along came ISIS...

Finding Sanctuary in Jordan (ONE magazine, Spring 2015) Although most of the 8,000 Iraqi Christians ultimately hope to travel onward to North America, Europe or Australia, those aiding them believe it could take at least three years, if at all, before Western countries accept them as refugees for resettlement. In this desperate situation, Jordan’s Christian community does all it can to help...

CNEWA Rushes Aid to Middle East Christians (One-to-One blog, 14 April 2015) The president of CNEWA, Msgr. John E. Kozar, has authorized the immediate release of $686,000 to assist the Christian community in the Middle East as part of CNEWA’s ongoing commitment to the region’s churches and their humanitarian and pastoral initiatives...

“60 Minutes” on Persecuted Christians: “They Cannot Take God From Our Hearts” (One-to-One blog, 23 March 2015) Sunday night, the CBS News program “60 Minutes” presented a powerful report on the ongoing persecution of Christians in Iraq by ISIS...

On Syrian and Iraqi Refugees: “Everything Has Changed for the Worse” (One-to-One blog, 26 January 2015) Jordan and Lebanon have become a temporary refuge for millions of Syrian and Iraqi refugees seeking shelter after being forced to flee their homelands. But despite the time that has passed, things are not improving, says Carl Hétu, Canada National Director of Catholic Near East Welfare Association...

Picture of the Day: “They Believe the World Has Abandoned Them” (One-to-One blog, 12 January 2015) Catholic News Service has an update on the situation among Iraqi refugees in Jordan. A Catholic official warned that funding will soon run out to feed and house thousands of Iraqi Christians sheltering in Jordan after being made homeless by Islamic State militants. Syriac Catholic Fr. Noor Alqasmosa, who is charged with helping the refugees, told Catholic News Service that the funding situation is desperate, as the chances for many to restart a new life now further...

IRAQ UPDATE: “Christianity is Bleeding” (One-to-One blog, 1 December 2014) We recently received the following urgent appeal from Sister Maria Hanna, prioress of the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena in Iraq: “After four months of exile there are no signs of hope that the situation here in Iraq will be resolved peacefully. Unable to think or make decisions, everything is vague and we feel as if we have been living a nightmare...”

IRAQ UPDATE: After 100 Days, “Dire Situations” for Refugees (One-to-One blog, 20 November 2014) Staff members from CNEWA visited refugees in northern Iraq last week, and on their return offered an exhaustive and detailed analysis of the situation on the ground...

REPORT: Update on Iraq (Report, 20 November 2014) So far, an estimated 1.8 million Iraqis have been forced to leave their homes. Many have fled in fear for their lives from Islamic militants...

CNEWA Rushes Emergency Funds to Iraqi, Syrian Refugees (One-to-One blog, 17 November 2014) CNEWA’s president, Msgr. John E. Kozar, has rushed an additional $382,011 in emergency funds to alleviate the suffering of desperate Iraqi and Syrian refugees in Iraqi Kurdistan, Jordan and Lebanon. In addition, funding partners in Germany have awarded CNEWA an initial grant of $124,522 to assist its work with displaced families in Iraqi Kurdistan...

Poolside in Iraq, as Winter Approaches (One-to-One blog, 4 November 2014) CNS today reports on Iraqi refugees who will be facing especially hard times in the months ahead...

Picture of the Day: Care for the Children of Iraq (One-to-One blog, 29 October 2014) Over the weekend, Michel Constantin, CNEWA’s regional director for Lebanon, Syria and Egypt, submitted a brief report on the needs of refugee children in Iraq...

IRAQ: Starting Over in Erbil (One-to-One blog, 10 October 2014) While Ghanem Yadago, his wife Waheeda and his two sons Wissam and Fadi were fleeing their home in northern Iraq under ISIS gunfire, Ghanem found he had a steady calm and was able to support and encourage his wife to continue the passage out of danger. This is in part because Ghanem could not see the danger and chaos that his family could see around them as they fled: He is blind...

BREAKING IN IRAQ: CNEWA Receives Grant to Open Two Additional Dispensaries in Northern Iraq An independent Catholic family foundation, Raskob, has awarded Catholic Near East Welfare Association an emergency grant to assist the agency in opening two additional medical clinics serving Iraqi Christian refugees in Iraqi Kurdistan...

IRAQ UPDATE: Living in the Streets, Needing Everything The Iraqi Christian community, perhaps the oldest in the world, has survived more than 1400 years under Islamic rule in its homeland...

IRAQ UPDATE: Jordan Struggles With a Flood of Iraqi Refugees In spite of the lack of resources, Jordanians are still receiving Iraqi Christian refugees...

IRAQ UPDATE: Kurds Retake Christian Villages (One-to-One blog, 18 September 2014) Kurdish Peshmerga forces on Tuesday recaptured seven Christian villages in northern Iraq in clashes with Islamic State (IS) jihadists, an officer and a cleric said...

IRAQ UPDATE: “I Was Not Expecting to See That Much Misery” (One-to-One blog, 12 September 2014) A sister who took part in our staff’s recent visit to Iraq offers her powerful, first-hand account of what she saw, in an interview with CNS...

IRAQ UPDATE: “This Is A Cry for Help” (One-to-One blog, 10 September 2014) Today there are new realities on the ground in northern Iraq, following the speed with which ISIS took over vast swaths of land — including an area mainly inhabited by non-Muslim indigenous minorities: Christians and Yazidis....

IRAQ UPDATE: Hope Amid Hardship (One-to-One blog, 5 September 2014) Today, we received a letter from our good friend, Sister Maria Goretti Hanna, O.P., Prioress General of the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena in Iraq. We’ve worked closely with her and her order in Iraq and Jordan for decades; just this week, our CNEWA staff spent time with her assessing needs and meeting with refugees during their visit to Erbil, Iraq...

IRAQ UPDATE: Weakened and Impoverished (One-to-One blog, September 2014) From Iraq, we received a heart-breaking letter from Sister Maria Hanna, superior general of the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena, an Iraqi community of women religious with whom we collaborate closely...

IRAQ UPDATE: In Erbil, "They Have No Where to Turn but the Church" (One-to-One blog, 3 September 2014) My colleague, Imad Abou Jaoude, and I arrived in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, yesterday. Joining us is Sister Marie-Claude Naddaf of the Good Shepherd Sisters congregation, who is here to represent all the women religious in Lebanon as a show of solidarity. Our first observation was that the route from Beirut to Erbil was longer than expected...

IRAQ UPDATE: Jordan Churches Welcome Iraqis (One-to-One blog, 2 September 2014) Fleeing for their lives, Iraqi Christian refugees have started to arrive in Jordan from northern Iraq

IRAQ UPDATE: Sisters Show Their Support (One-to-One blog, 26 August 2014) Today, we received an email from Michel Constantin, CNEWA’s regional director in Beirut, with some important news on the work being undertaken to support our suffering brothers and sisters in Iraq...

IRAQ UPDATE: “The Situation is Chaotic” (One-to-One blog, 21 August 2014) Please note the latest we have on the situation of displaced Iraqi Christians. Sister Marie Goretti of the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena reports that the situation is still chaotic...

IRAQ UPDATE: CNEWA Rushes Aid to Displaced Iraqi Families (One-to-One blog, 18 August 2014) To alleviate the suffering of some 100,000 homeless Iraqi Christians, Msgr. John E. Kozar, president of CNEWA, is rushing $75,000 to partners in northern Iraq for urgently needed supplies for infants and children, as well as sanitary facilities for displaced families seeking shelter in U.N.-sponsored camps...

IRAQ UPDATE: The Urgent Needs of the Refugees (One-to-One blog, 14 August 2014) Let me start with the Iraqi Christian refugees in Lebanon...

Out of Iraq (ONE magazine, Spring 2013) When news came to the Armenian Club in Baghdad that a U.S.-hosted basketball camp would be held for the city’s elite high school players, there was no doubt Joseph Najarian would represent the club...

A New Genesis in Nineveh (ONE magazine, November 2011) “I saw injustice in Mosul. I want to start a new life here,” says Salam Talia, a 23-year-old Iraqi Christian. The young man sits on a sofa between his middle-aged parents in their newly built apartment in Hamdaniya, a historically Christian town about 20 miles southeast of the city of Mosul...

The Church of the East (ONE magazine, May 2009) Mesopotamia — from the Greek meaning, “land between the rivers” — is the cradle of civilization...

The Chaldean Church (ONE magazine, March 2005) Since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, insurgents have targeted the country’s Christian community, systematically bombing churches, kidnapping Christians and attacking Christian-owned businesses...

Iraq: A People Under Siege (from ONE’s magazine special edition on the Middle East, September 2010) Iraqi Christians take pride in their ancestry, counting Abraham of Ur of the land of the Chaldeans as one of their own. But their lineage has done little to protect them from Muslim insurgents since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003; extremists see Iraqi Christians as collaborators with the “Christian West”...

Also, continue to monitor CNEWA’s blog, One-to-One, for daily updates.

To learn how you can support our Iraqi brothers and sisters, visit our giving page for Iraqi Christians under siege.