11 July 2018
Netsanet prepares a cup of coffee in her humble home in an Ethiopian refugee camp. (photo: Petterik Wiggers)
In the June 2018 edition of ONE, Emeline Wuilbercq takes readers to camps in Ethiopia where the church is helping refugees waiting for a better life. Here, she tells how she met one of the women she profiled.
As journalists, we sometimes think like novelists.
Since one of our goals is to raise awareness, we look for the story that will move our readers, provide them with new information and, above all, share an amazing character with an incredible life story. Often, even if we search, we cannot absolutely control what we find in the field. And yet, it is not uncommon to have surprises. It is when you stop searching that you come upon somebody whose personality, or resilience, is striking. By accident, you can find something other than what you were looking for.
When I was a student, I remember an experienced journalist telling me that this is what we call “serendipity.” In French, we translated it as “sérendipité”, which sounds a bit weird for a word-lover. This word was invented in 1754 by the British politician and writer Horace Walpole, who defines it as “accident and sagacity while in pursuit of something else”. Many accidental scientific discoveries were made by serendipity, such as penicillin. The concept applies perfectly to journalism. In a Le Monde article published in 2012, the journalist says that serendipity is “a matter of chance, of course, but also of sagacity, curiosity, agility, mental availability to stay on the lookout for new and surprising things.” Because you always have to be alert.
That is exactly what I thought when I met Netsanet, the main subject for my story on the Mai-Ani refugee camp. There are about 40,000 Eritrean refugees living in northern Ethiopia. Ethiopia is sheltering over 900,000 of these people on its soil according to UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency. We were about to go 11 miles further to another camp, Adi-Harush, when veteran photographer Petterik Wiggers came to me. He has been working in Ethiopia for 20 years and knows a great subject when he meets one.
He explained to me that while I was interviewing another woman whose story was really interesting, he sat down in a small café set up by an Eritrean refugee to have a coffee. (He is consciously addicted to caffeine.) He met her with the help of a social worker from the Jesuit Refugee Service (J.R.S.) who speaks her language, Tigrinya. He quickly discovered that her story was compelling. He had no clue he would come across such a woman, but sometimes the Lord works in mysterious ways!
We both decided to go back in Netsanet’s house and we had another round of strong coffee. While talking with her, we discovered all the challenges she has been through in her life: the loss of her two husbands, the escape to Ethiopia, the life in the camp… it was all remarkable and inspiring.
If Petterik had not decided to have a cup of coffee before leaving the camp, we would have never met this amazing woman you will discover in ONE. Check out our story and see for yourself what serendipity can do!
11 July 2018
Tags: Ethiopia Refugees Refugee Camps
Naveen Patnaik (center), the chief minister of India's Odisha state, is pictured with Divine Word Archbishop John Barwa of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar (right) and Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, secretary-general of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, on 2 July. The men discussed launching a state-of-the-art health care facility. (photo: UCANews.com)
Muslim leader issues fatwa over land transfer in Jerusalem (The Jerusalem Post) The Palestinian mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, on Tuesday issued a new fatwa (Islamic religious decree) banning Muslims from “facilitating the transfer of ownership of any part of Jerusalem or the land of Palestine to the enemies…”
India may work with Catholic Church to build health facility (UCANews.com) The Indian state of Odisha has proposed working with the Catholic Church to launch a state-of-the-art health facility in impoverished Kandhamal district, where anti-Christian violence claimed 100 lives a decade ago. State Health Minister Pratap Jena said the government was open to collaborating with Cuttack-Bhubaneswar Archdiocese or other church bodies to set up a hospital in the district, where maternal and infant morality rates are among the highest in India…
Gaza fighters fear war is inevitable (The Independent) Under the camouflage of an olive grove in Gaza, Abu Khalid prepares his brigade for a war he says is inevitable, but that he doesn’t want. The commander’s male and female fighters, in military fatigues and balaclavas, creep through the undergrowth clutching Kalashnikovs. Above them the Israeli surveillance drones circle with a persistent mosquito whine…
Middle East Christians dwindling despite deep roots (AFP) Christians have been rooted in the Middle East as minority communities since the birth of the religion, but their numbers are dwindling amid conflict and jihadist attacks. Today they make up only four percent of the region’s population, down from 20 percent before the First World War, Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, said this month…
World Council of Churches hails peace agreement between Ethiopia and Eritrea (EcumenicalNews.com) After the leaders of Ethiopia and Eritrea signed a declaration saying that the long-standing war between the two countries is over, World Council of Churches general secretary Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit hailed the agreement as opening a new door for peace in the region…
10 July 2018
Tags: India Ethiopia Palestine Israel
In Zahleh, Lebanon, refugees pass the time, awaiting the chance to either return home or settle abroad. (photo: John E. Kozar)Caption
In the current edition of ONE, CNEWA’s president Msgr. John E. Kozar writes about some of the inspiring ways that CNEWA evangelizes:
The good works of the church, which form a major plank in the platform of evangelization, give witness of how Jesus would have us live and how he would have us respond to the needs of others. The recipients of these works often recognize there is something unique about what we do, and especially why we do it. Unlike governmental or secular programs of aid, the church — and CNEWA accompanying her — reaches out to those in need because we are compelled in faith to do so.
We exercise our baptismal mandate to live the Gospel of Jesus and to share his Good News with everyone. To be more concrete: CNEWA supports, through your generous contributions, many clinics and dispensaries, which serve everyone in need. Oftentimes these people are welcomed, embraced and tended to by the loving care of religious sisters and devoted lay associates.
For some patients, of whatever religious background or faith, this might be the only expression of love and human dignity they experience. And whether spoken or unspoken, it is done in the name of Jesus.
Read more in the magazine. And watch the video below for additional insight.
10 July 2018
Tags: Middle East Msgr. John E. Kozar Evangelization
During a June visit to Lebanon, a contingent of U.S. bishops met with Orthodox Patriarch John X of Antioch and all the East. Pictured with the patriarch are Maronite Bishop Gregory J. Mansour of Brooklyn, N.Y., Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services, Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila of Denver, Bishop A. Elias Zaidan of the Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon of Los Angeles and Bishop Oscar A. Solis of Salt Lake City. (photo: CNS/courtesy Bishop Solis)
India’s Latin-rite bishops reflect on the ‘mission of the Church’ (Vatican News) Twenty-five Catholic bishops from all over India last week came together in the country’s commercial capital, Mumbai, to take a closer look at the Church’s core mission in the country, AsiaNews reported. The 2-7 July “Bishops’ Joint Reflection Program” was the initiative of Conference of Catholic Bishops’ of India (CCBI), the official body of the country’s Latin-rite bishops, one of the three rites that make up the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), the nation’s apex Catholic bishops’ body…
Hearing refugees’ stories in Lebanon heart-wrenching for bishop (CNS) During a visit to Lebanon, Bishop Oscar A. Solis of Salt Lake City saw the contrast between building bridges and constructing walls to deal with differences of religion. In recent years, Lebanon has struggled to provide services for 2 million migrants and refugees fleeing conflict and persecution in their homelands. Religiously, the country is predominantly Catholic and Muslim; the Maronite Catholic rite was founded near Mount Lebanon in the late fourth century. ”If you just listen to the radio or watch the news on TV, you don’t really get the exact picture” of what life is like in that part of the world, Solis said…
Anti-terrorism purge continues in Turkey (Vatican News) Over the last two-years, thousands of soldiers and officers have been purged from the military. Now, under the latest decree, published on Sunday, 18,632 people, including 6,000 members of the military, 9,000 police officers, and hundreds of teachers and academics have been dismissed from their jobs. Their passports will also be cancelled…
New Franciscan museum in Jerusalem shows life in Jesus’ time (AP) Jerusalem’s Franciscan friars have opened a new museum filled with artifacts related to daily life in Jesus’ time. The Terra Sancta Museum’s new wing, built into the ruined remains of Crusader and Mamluk buildings along the Via Dolorosa in the Old City, showcases objects discovered in excavations at biblical sites over the past century…
9 July 2018
Tags: India Jerusalem Turkey
Sister Darsana chats with residents while completing her rounds at The Trippadam Psychosocial Rehabilitation Center for Women in northern Kerala. The Bethany Sisters are doing remarkable and inspiring work with forgotten and abandoned women. Learn how they have created A Refuge to Mend and Grow in the June 2018 edition of ONE. (photo: Meenakshi Soman)
9 July 2018
Pope Francis attends an encounter with Catholic and Orthodox leaders on the waterfront in Bari, Italy, on 7 July. The pope met leaders of Christian churches in the Middle East for an ecumenical day of prayer for peace in the region. (photo: CNS/Vatican Media)
In Bari, Pope prays that ’art of encounter’ will prevail in Middle East (Vatican News) Pope Francis addressed the faithful gathered in the square outside of the Basilica of St Nicholas, in the Italian city of Bari, on Saturday after meeting with Catholic and Orthodox leaders. He reflected on the Middle Eastern origins of the Christian tradition, and of the commitment undertaken by the religious leaders to walk, pray, and work together “in the hope that the art of encounter will prevail over strategies of conflict”…
Pope thankful for ecumenical visit to Bari (Vatican News) Pope Francis on Sunday expressed his appreciation for his visit a day before to the Italian city of Bari, where he prayed for peace in the Middle East. The Pope was accompanied during this “special day of prayer and peace in that region” by Patriarchs of Churches of the Middle East and their representatives...
Russia plans evacuation from Syria (Reuters) The Russian military plans to evacuate up to 1,000 people from the south-western de-escalation zone in Syria via a humanitarian corridor near city of Daraa, Interfax news agency reported on Monday, citing Russia’s Centre for Reconciliation in Syria. People will be evacuated to Syria’s northern Idlib province, the center said, Interfax reported…
Russian Orthodox Church, Vatican team up to rebuild sites in Syria (TASS) The Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches have begun implementing a plan aimed at reconstruction of Christian churches and monasteries destroyed during the years of Syrian war, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, the chairman of the Department of External Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church, told TASS on Saturday…
‘Donor fatigue’ among threats to Iraqi Christian refugees in Jordan (America Magazine) Although the war against the Islamic State is drawing to a close, thousands of Christian families from Iraq remain displaced in neighboring Jordan, where the Christian community is struggling through “embassy and donor fatigue” to provide basic pastoral and material services to Iraqi refugees. The Catholic Near East Welfare Association, a papal agency, provides food aid and sponsors educational programs for these refugees in Amman, the capital of Jordan. In a country already coping with millions of Syrian and Palestinian refugees, however, many Iraqi Christians wish to permanently resettle elsewhere…
6 July 2018
Tags: Syria Pope Francis CNEWA Middle East
This week, we offer a poignant interview with CNEWA’s president, Msgr. John E. Kozar, as he reflects on CNEWA’s outreach to children in need.
In a world where hunger, poverty and war are affecting more children — and where migration and displacement are continuing to impact more lives — CNEWA’s mission of love and compassion needs to be remembered and supported. Please keep our work in your prayers.
This video was first produced in 2013, but its message remains as timely and as urgent as ever.
6 July 2018
In Armenia, the Emili Aregak Center provides personalized support and resources for young people, such as this child, with disabilities in and near Gyumri. How does the center do it? Read about A Source of Light in Armenia in the current edition of ONE. (photo: Nazik Armenakyan)
6 July 2018
Pope Francis celebrated Mass at St. Peter's Basilica on Friday to mark the 5th anniversary of his visit to the Italian island of Lampedusa. (photo: Vatican Media)
Pope urges open hearts, doors toward supporting refugees (Vatican News) Pope Francis on Friday mourned the refugees and migrants lost at sea and reminded the world that their blood cries out to the conscience of each one of us. The response to the Lord’s appeal, “Where is your brother? His blood cries out to me”, “even if at times generous, has not been enough, and we continue to grieve thousands of deaths,” the Pope said during the 6 July Mass in Rome’s St. Peter’s Basilica to commemorate the 5th anniversary of his 8 July 2013 visit to the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa…
Church mourns passing of Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran (Vatican News) Created and proclaimed Cardinal by St. John Paul II in the Consistory of 21 October 2003, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran was known to the world for his tireless work to promote peace through inter-religious dialogue. He became a familiar figure also for having announced to the world the election of Pope Francis on 13 March 2013 from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica. Tauran, who was currently President of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue and Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church, died in the United States where he was receiving treatment for Parkinson’s disease which had afflicted him for many years…
Thousands flee ’earth-shattering’ bombs in Syria (Al Jazeera) Thousands of Syrians from a string of rebel-held towns in eastern Deraa have fled to an area overlooking the Jordanian border, as President Bashar al-Assad and his allies press on with their offensive to capture southwest Syria…
Christian families expelled from eastern India (Crux) Several Christian families have been assaulted and expelled from their village by local extremists for refusing to renounce their faith, drawing protest from an American group who says the attack violates the families’ rights under Indian law…
The day a 1,500-year-old Byzantine church was unearthed in Turkey (Aleteia) It was in February 2016 that archaeologists unearthed a unique rock-carved underground church in Nevsehir, in the central Turkish region of Cappadocia. The church was decorated with never before seen frescoes depicting Jesus’ Ascension, the Final Judgment, Jesus feeding the multitudes, and portraits of saints and prophets…
5 July 2018
Tags: India Pope Francis Refugees Interreligious
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, Philippines (center), speaks during an interfaith conference on migrants and refugees at the U.N. headquarters in New York on 3 May (photo: CNS/Gregory A. Shemitz)
In last week’s post on the movement of peoples—mass migrations—taking place in the contemporary world, we looked at the terms which are used to refer to these people and to indicate wherever possible the legal implications these terms might have.
Today, I’ll look at some of the international efforts to deal with the problem of a mass movement of peoples — efforts CNEWA and the Holy See have been involved with in many ways, for many years. It has been clear that since the problem is international in scope, the solutions must also be international. When individual nations attempt to solve the problem in isolation, the result is often merely to intensify the problem in other, surrounding countries.
Despite all the rhetoric and fear-mongering in some quarters, the problem of the mass movements of peoples is really one of a clash of rights.
First, there is the concern over the rights of the refugee (using that term in its broadest sense.). The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) holds that “Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.” It also holds that “everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution;”
But secondly, there is the sovereign right of states to safeguard their borders, although that right is not absolute; a state, for example, cannot use racism and xenophobia (fear/loathing of foreigners) as reasons to “defend its borders.”
Excluding racism and xenophobia, there is, nonetheless, a true conflict of rights involved. The international community understands this — and understands, as well, that the uncontrolled movements of people can cause chaos and violent conflict. The United Nations, aware of conflict between these rights, speaks of the necessity of a safe, orderly and regular migration.
The UN General Assembly on 19 September 2016 passed the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants. The lengthy resolution outlines the rights and obligations of both migrants and states. The declaration recognizes the magnitude and complexity of the problem as well as the necessity of a comprehensive, international solution. In the second Annex to the Resolution, the UN announced the launch of a “global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration.” The purpose of the global compact is to “set out a range of principles, commitments and understandings among Member States regarding international migration in all its dimensions” (Annex II, I, 2).
In fact, two global contracts have arisen: the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) and the Global Contract on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM). As would be expected, these compacts have been the subject of intense and ongoing negotiations. Several drafts of both compacts have been published for further discussion and negotiations. It is hoped that “final” texts will be ready to submit to the UN General Assembly Session which convenes in September 2018.
In all this, Pope Francis has been very vocal on the need for a just and comprehensive solution to the problem of the mass movement of peoples. He spoke about this just last March, at the Plenary Council of the International Catholic Migration Commission. Recognizing the work of the UN, Pope Francis stated that the church “must encourage countries to coordinate more suitable and effective responses to the challenges posed by issues of migration.”
The Holy See has also engaged in practical efforts to deal with the crisis. Charitable organizations such as CNEWA, CRS, and Caritas Internationalis—to name just a few—are actively working on the ground to alleviate the sufferings of refugees in the Middle East, Africa and around the world. Likewise, the Permanent Observer Mission (Embassy) of the Holy See to the United Nations, under the leadership of Archbishop Bernadito Auza, has been very active in promoting the emerging Global Contracts through significant interventions in the General Assembly and symposia held at UN side events, co-sponsored by the Holy See.
A major side event, sponsored by the Holy See, was Sharing the Journey of Migrants and Refugees: An Interfaith Perspective on the Global Compacts on 3 May 2018. The website of the Mission of the Holy See to the UNmakes available all the statements and side events which the Holy See has sponsored on the problem of the movements of peoples.
The role which the Holy See and its charitable organizations, such as CNEWA, play is crucial. It is not unrealistically idealistic. It fully recognizes the competition, if not conflict, of rights and the incredible international legal and moral complexities involved here — and it attempts to achieve a just solution favorable to both sides. However, it is not merely engaged in abstract negotiations—as important as these are—but is actively engaged on the ground to help those millions of people who have been forcibly displaced from their homes.
Tags: Refugees United Nations