3 July 2018
With much of North America sizzling through a summer heat wave, now is a good time to stay in and stay cool with the new edition of ONE, just hitting your mailbox.
We have lots of refreshing and inspiring news on tap:
All that and more can be found in our award-winning magazine. Visit this link for more. And check out the video below from our president, Msgr. John E. Kozar, describing what else you can find in its pages.
3 July 2018
Tags: CNEWA ONE magazine
Pope Francis walks with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople during a meeting in the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican on 26 May. The men will meet again this weekend in Bari, Italy. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)
Pope Francis will be in Bari, Italy, this weekend to pray for peace in the Middle East — and the trip will have a strong ecumenical theme.
From Catholic News Agency:
Taking place on 7 July, the day of prayer and reflection will include leaders of Catholic and Orthodox Churches in the Middle East, and will have an “authentically ecumenical breath,” Archbishop Francesco Cacucci of Bari-Bitonto told Vatican News.
He said the day’s events will “combine the ecumenical vision of the Christian Churches and [give] particular attention to the Middle East, to invoke peace, but also to be close to our Christian brothers, who live in suffering.”
Pope Francis announced 25 April he would hold the day primarily for “prayer and reflection on the dramatic situation of the Middle East which afflicts so many brothers and sisters in the faith.”
Cardinal Louis Raphael I Sako, the Chaldean Patriarch of Babylon, has confirmed he will be in attendance, as will Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, who leads the Eastern Orthodox Churches. Which other patriarchs will attend has not yet been confirmed.
During his Angelus address 1 July, Pope Francis said he and the other Christian leaders in Bari “will implore with one voice: ‘Peace be upon you,’” as it says in Psalm 122. “I ask everyone to accompany with prayer this pilgrimage of peace and unity,” he said.
Bari is often called the “porta d’Oriente” or the “Eastern Gate” because of its connection to both the Catholic Church and the Orthodox through the relics of St. Nicholas, venerated by members of both Churches.
Historically, many Eastern Churches have been present in the city, Archbishop Cacucci said, but an ecumenical culture was imprinted upon it most strongly after the Second Vatican Council, when the archbishop of the time opened the crypt of the Basilica of St. Nicholas to the Orthodox by creating a small chapel dedicated to them.
For more on St. Nicholas, read Bari’s Borrowed Wonder Worker from the July-August 1997 edition of our magazine, which notes:
[The popularity of St. Nicholas] rests on his compassion for the poor and his passion for the faith.
“The reason for this special veneration of this special bishop, who left neither theological works nor other writings,” writes Leonid Ouspensky, a noted Russian theologian, “is evidently that the church sees in him a personification of a shepherd, of its defender and intercessor.”
3 July 2018
Tags: Pope Francis Ecumenism Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I
Children play outdoors in the Adi-Harush camp in Ethiopia. Learn about how the church is working to help these and others seeking a better life in This, Our Exile in the June 2018 edition of ONE. (photo: Petterik Wiggers)
3 July 2018
Pope Francis on Tuesday named the Rev. Peter Paul Saldanha to be the new bishop of the Diocese of Mangalore in India. (photo: Vatican Media)
Pope appoints new bishop for Mangalore, India (Vatican News) Pope Francis on Tuesday appointed a new bishop in Mangalore Diocese of southern India’s Karnataka state. The Rev. Peter Paul Saldanha, the 54-year old professor of theology at the Pontifical Urban University of Rome, Italy, is the new Bishop of Mangalore. He takes over from Bishop Aloysius Paul D’Souza, who has resigned having reached the canonical retirement age of 75 two years ago. Bishop D’Souza stepped down after heading the Diocese of Mangalore for 22 years…
UN: war took heavy toll on children in 2017 (Vatican News) More than 10,000 children were killed or maimed in conflict last year while more than 8,000 youngsters were recruited or used as combatants, a United Nations report said last week. The annual report, “Children and Armed Conflict” (CAAC) released on 27 June pointed out that a total of more than 21,000 violations of children’s rights were reported in 2017 — a sharp increase from the previous year…
Jordanians launch aid campaign for refugees (Al Jazeera) Hundreds of people in Jordan have flocked to the border with Syria for a second consecutive day to deliver aid to some of the 270,000 refugees who have fled ongoing violence in Syria’s Deraa province…
‘I hope to God we will be safe’: refugees in Lebanon begin return to Syria (NPR) This group of refugees comes from camps around the Lebanese border town of Arsal. Approximately 3,000 people answered a recent call put out on Facebook to people from this area by the General Security agency, according to a local negotiating committee that represents Syrians who want to go back. Only a small number have been cleared by the Syrian government to return so far…
How Pope Francis is bringing down walls with the Orthodox for Middle East peace (Crux) With peace in the Middle East as the goal, Pope Francis on Saturday will host an ecumenical prayer in the southern Italian city of Bari to be attended by the representatives of the Christian churches with a presence in the region, including the Russian Orthodox Church. The pilgrimage to Bari, an ecumenical city per excellence due to the presence of the remains of St. Nicholas of Bari, venerated both by Catholics and Orthodox, has the motto of “Peace be upon you! Christians together for the Middle East”…
2 July 2018
Tags: Syria India Pope Francis Refugees Indian Bishops
The Musa family fled Bashiqa, Iraq, in 2014 in the face of ISIS attacks and lived in Dohuk, Iraq, for three years. With a grant from USAID, they are rebuilding their home and trying to start over in Bashiqa.(photo: CNS/courtesy Catholic Relief Services)
A Chaldean Catholic archbishop in Iraq said he and other bishops were “delighted” that the United States Agency for International Development is making good on its pledge to help Iraq’s historic Christian, Yazidi and other religious minorities rebuild their lives after attacks by Islamic State militants.
At the same time, Archbishop Bashar Warda of Irbil advised a visiting USAID delegation led by Administrator Mark Green on 1 July that “time is running.”
“The time should be now and the help should be immediate and effective. Foremost, is the need to rebuild houses so there is a community to go back to and be there,” Archbishop Warda told Catholic News Service by phone after the visit.
Plans called for later rebuilding much-needed infrastructure such as hospitals, schools and government facilities.
After months of delay, the USAID is providing $10 million to organizations led by Catholic Relief Services and Heartland Alliance to help Christians and Yazidis restore their communities after attacks by the Islamic State in 2014.
There have been growing concerns, also expressed by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, that unless the ancient religious minorities are supported to rebuild, many will seek a new life elsewhere.
“Our hopes are high now that this delegation will bring some changes. We especially appreciate the efforts of Vice President Pence and USAID to have them deeply involved in this situation,” Archbishop Warda said, adding that the delegation also visited Qaraqosh and other devastated towns.
“The message they sent was important: ‘We do care.’ The American government and the Americans do care about the fate of the Christians, Yazidis and the minorities and want to help,” Archbishop Warda said.
For the Musa family of seven, one of the many Christian recipients of CRS assistance, the U.S. aid provision could not have arrived soon enough. The assistance is helping transform their badly damaged home in Bashiqa on the Ninevah Plain. Forced to flee from extremist militants, the family was shocked to see the devastation when they returned home last fall.
“It was miserable,” the father, Mowfakk Musa, told a CRS worker. “All the furniture was broken, three rooms were burned, clothing in the house that wasn’t ours was burned. A bomb had hit our kitchen and burned the kitchen.”
“Christian” was written on the wall and the family’s crosses and pictures of Jesus were broken and strewn on the floor. The damage was so severe that the family thought of leaving and returning to Dohuk, a town farther north where they had sheltered. In the end, they decided to stay and restore their home.
Because of the extent of the damage, it was difficult for the Musas to complete the repairs. A grant from CRS, funded by USAID, allowed them to repair the charred walls, install new sinks and faucets and fix the electricity.
Cardinal Louis Raphael I Sako, the Chaldean Catholic patriarch, said about one-third of the Christian families who fled the militants have returned to their hometowns because infrastructure and security remain inadequate.
Archbishop Warda acknowledged that security is a concern. “But the fact that there are 7,000 Christian families that are back home, there is a possibility of security, if there is a willingness from all sides to really work hard on this,” he said.
He said that meant that “concerned governments and parties need to bring a dialogue of life that existed before back again” to Iraq’s rich cultural mosaic. “As Christians, there is a commitment also to play positive role in reconciliation and peacebuilding,” he added.
However, only 400,000 to 500,000 Christians now live in Iraq, compared to 1.5 million before the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime in 2003, Cardinal Sako said. Other observers put their number even lower at 200,000. Meanwhile, the Yazidi population, victims of Islamic State genocide, also are greatly diminished, with an estimated 500,000 living in and around Sinjar.
Pence said in 2017 that the U.S. would directly support organizations that are helping Christians and Yazidis rather than work through the United Nations in the belief that religious minorities were overlooked as aid went to larger groups of displaced Iraqis. Months passed until it was realized that many groups were still waiting for the promised help.
Funds primarily raised by the church and some Western governments have so far supported rebuilding the devastated ancestral lands of Christians and Yazidis.
“We are grateful for the new additional funding to expand our on-going assistance to Christians and other religious minorities returning to their homes in northern Iraq,” said Kevin Hartigan, CRS regional director for Europe and the Middle East.
Hartigan told CNS that the new funds will “support the peaceful and successful return of minorities in Ninevah, by providing livelihood opportunities to youth from diverse returnee communities and mobilizing faith leaders to promote tolerance and reconciliation.”
The additional USAID funding “will complement our ongoing U.S. government-funded programs to provide housing repair and education to returning minorities,” he added.
“Along with the vital support we get from the Catholic community in the United States, the generous, constant and flexible funding we receive from the U.S. government has enabled CRS and Caritas Iraq to provide education and trauma healing for children, shelter and financial assistance to Iraqis of all faiths, on a large scale,” Hartigan explained.
Another $25 million in U.S. aid is expected to be disbursed in the future.
2 July 2018
Tags: Iraq Iraqi Christians
Pope Francis speaks to the crowd in St. Peter’s Square during his Angelus address on 1 July. (photo: Vatican Media/AFP)
Pope prays for peace in Syria, Horn of Africa (Vatican News) After praying the Angelus in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis on Sunday issued a series of appeals for prayers for peace in different parts of the world…
Syria war: 270,000 reported displaced (BBC) At least 270,000 people have fled their homes in south-western Syria since the military launched an assault on rebel-held areas two weeks ago, the UN says. Many of those displaced by the fighting in Deraa and Quneitra provinces have headed towards the borders with Jordan and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. But neither country has said it will allow an influx of refugees, sparking fears of a humanitarian crisis…
Christians in India elated, as Arunachal considers scrapping anti-conversion law (New Indian Express) Christians in Arunachal Pradesh are happy following the state’s BJP government’s move to repeal the Arunachal Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act or the Anti-Conversion Law which was passed in 1978. Once the law is repealed, the state’s 32 percent Christian population may have a favorable view of the BJP, which is generally perceived as a party not so favourable for the minorities…
A look at the Fratelli project in Lebanon (Vatican News) Fratelli is an educational project run by the Marist brothers and the De La Salle Brothers (Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools) in Lebanon’s Rmeileh, near the ancient city of Sidon.The project offers some 70 refugee children from Syria and Iraq the chance to get an education and prepare to return to school…
Unesco adds sites in Turkey, India to World Heritage List (Khaleej Times) Unesco added Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ahsa Oasis and Oman’s ancient city of Qalhat to its World Heritage List on Friday, the world cultural body said. Mumbai’s Art Deco buildings — believed to be the world’s second largest collection after Miami — were added on Saturday, alongside the city’s better-known Victorian Gothic architecture…
Vatican cricket team tours to strengthen interfaith relations (Vatican News) The Vatican’s cricket team takes off on a fourth UK tour on Tuesday, with the goal of strengthening interfaith relations high on their action-packed agenda. The team, officially known as St Peter’s Cricket Club, was established in 2013 and is made up of young men who are studying for the priesthood in Rome. It operates under the auspices of the Pontifical Council for Culture and was set up to promote ecumenical and interfaith relations through a shared love of cricket…
29 June 2018
Tags: Syria India Pope Francis Interfaith
The above video was honored by the Catholic Press Association at its annual awards earlier this month. (video: CNEWA/Daniel Moreno)
This week’s video won honors at the Catholic Media Conference in Green Bay earlier this month — and showcases the energy and ingenuity of some teenagers from New York who are committed to making a difference.
The video — shot, produced and edited by Daniel Moreno — chronicles a fundraiser by a group known as Relief United, which in 2017 raised thousands of dollars for refugees, and donated the funds to CNEWA.
You can read more about it here.
But the video tells a great story and really puts you in the middle of it all.
29 June 2018
Tags: Refugees Relief United
Catholic devotees in Banderdewa, India, pray on 28 June at the tomb of Prem Bhai, a lay missionary, on the 10th anniversary of his death. Read more about his life here. (photo: CNS/Anto Akkara)
29 June 2018
New Cardinal Louis Raphael I Sako, the Chaldean Catholic patriarch, greets U.S. Cardinal J. Francis Stafford during a consistory at which Pope Francis created 14 new cardinals in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican on 28 June. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)
New Cardinal Sako: my appointment is a message for Iraqi Christians (Asia News) Strengthening the unity of Christians, relaunching the principle of citizenship as an element common to all Iraqis and supporting the work of rebuilding homes and people, devastated by war and jihadist violence. These are the objectives set by the Chaldean Patriarch Mar Louis Raphael Sako, whom Pope Francis just made a cardinal…
Leaders of Ethiopia, Eritrea to meet soon (Bloomberg) The leaders of Ethiopia and Eritrea will meet soon, Ethiopia’s Foreign Ministry said, the latest sign of thawing relations between the Horn of Africa nations at odds since a border war two decades ago. A meeting between Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki would cap landmark talks that began this month between officials from the two countries that fought a 1998-2000 war in which about 100,000 people died. Eritrea seceded from Ethiopia in 1993 after decades of conflict...
Metropolitan Hilarion: Patriarch has stated there will be no legitimization of schism (The Moscow Patriarchate) During his stay in Athens, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate department for external church relations, gave in interview to the Greek Romfea new agency…
Looking at Syria’s war through a Syrian photographer’s eyes (The Washington Post) For most of the war, journalists have had trouble getting into the country because of the dangers. Many have been kidnapped and killed. And, of course, Syrian journalists have been working under extraordinarily dangerous conditions. Photojournalist Hosam Katan is one of those Syrian journalists, and his new book, “Yalla Habibi: Living with War in Aleppo”, takes us into the conflict that has been ravaging his country for nearly a decade…
Outrage as winery shuns Ethiopian workers (The Times of Israel) Barkan Wineries is facing a furious backlash after an undercover investigation revealed that the company banned Ethiopian employees from coming in contact with its wine due to an ostensible doubt about their Jewishness. Israel’s chief rabbi condemned the ban as “pure racism,” the president castigated the winery and the Knesset speaker called it shameful…
Photographer captures colorful Christian churches in Kerala (The Architects Newspaper) A mixture of postmodern motifs can be seen in the architecture. Sculptures of stars, crosses, globes, and Bibles populate the facades, conveying the world-encompassing, light-radiating themes of Christianity…
28 June 2018
Tags: Syria Ethiopia Vatican Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael I Chaldeans
In this image from 2014, displaced Iraqis gather for Evening Prayer outside a church in Erbil, Iraq. (photo: Don Duncan)
The planet is experiencing a “movement of peoples” unseen in decades, if not centuries.
The UN recently (20 June) observed World Refugee Day in recognition of this problem. People are fleeing oppressive regimes, climate change induced droughts, floods and loss of land, wars and other forms of what the United Nations calls “drivers of emigration.” Although Europe and North America receive the greatest amount of media attention regarding the problems they face as new people try to enter, their migration problems are dwarfed by countries such as Jordan and Lebanon where refugees form up to 20 percent of the overall population. For comparison, 20 percent of the population of the U.S. would be 66 million people!
CNEWA has been in the middle of this movement of peoples — helping refugees, internally displaced people and those suffering from war and persecution in the Middle East, the Horn of Africa and India. We have helped people in refugee camps obtain what they needed to get through winters, in addition to providing health, social and educational services.
It is important to note that this movement of peoples involves many types of people, leaving their homes for many different reasons and under a variety of circumstances.
There is often confusion in terms when speaking of refugees, asylum seekers, immigrants, etc. Terms often have a specific, legal meaning. Putting all groupings together, the UN speaks of “populations of concern” and “forcibly displaced people.” The terminology and legal structure is, however, evolving. And the distinctions are important.
The UN estimates there are 68.6 million people in the world who have been forcibly displaced. Of these, 40 million are internally displaced people, who have been driven out of their homes and forced to live in other places in their home country. For example, many Christians in Iraq were forced to leave Baghdad for the Nineveh Plain and then driven from there to Iraqi Kurdistan. In Syria large numbers of people—Christian and Muslim—have been driven from their homes to live in other parts of the country.
The internally displaced are, however, only part of the present crisis. Millions of people are leaving their native countries entirely. And the numbers are overwhelming.
It is estimated that, legally speaking in terms of international law, there are 25.4 million refugees, 3.1million asylum seekers and 10 million stateless people in the world. The problem is unprecedented and is putting tremendous economic, cultural and political pressure on target countries throughout the world. Although countries in Europe and North America are often loudest in bemoaning the crisis, the top refugee hosting countries in the world according to the UN are Turkey (3.5 million), Lebanon (1 million), Pakistan and Uganda (with 1.4 million each) and Iran (979,000). In countries such as Lebanon and Jordan, the refugee population is so large — up to one fifth of the people— it can cause incredible— indeed existential—economic, social and political problems.
But it’s important to note that the UN differentiates between refugees, migrants, stateless persons and asylum seekers. Let’s look how the United Nations defines these terms.
According to the UN: “Refugees are people fleeing conflict or persecution. They are defined and protected in international law, and must not be expelled or returned to situations where their life and freedom are at risk. Refugees are persons who are outside their country of origin for reasons of feared persecution, conflict, generalized violence, or other circumstances that have seriously disturbed public order and, as a result, require international protection. The refugee definition can be found in the 1951 Convention and regional refugee instruments, as well as UNHCR’s Statute.”
The UN says of migrants: “An international migrant is someone who changes his or her country of usual residence, irrespective of the reason for migration or legal status. Generally, a distinction is made between short-term or temporary migration, covering movements with a duration between three and 12 months, and long-term or permanent migration, referring to a change of country of residence for a duration of one year or more.”
Likewise the international legal definition of a stateless person is “a person who is not considered as a national by any State under the operation of its law.” In simple terms, this means that a stateless person does not have a nationality of any country. Some people are born stateless, but others become stateless. Statelessness can occur for several reasons, including discrimination against particular ethnic or religious groups, or on the basis of gender; the emergence of new States and transfers of territory between existing States; and gaps in nationality laws. Whatever the cause, statelessness has serious consequences for people in almost every country and in all regions of the world.”
Finally, while asylum seekers form a distinct category, their legal rights are not clearly delineated. 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.” And “everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.” However, it is not worked out what limitations sovereign states may impose on these rights, since the UN clearly recognizes that sovereign states have control of their borders. An initial attempt at dealing with migration is the UN Global Compact on Migration (2017), which attempts to deal with the complexity of the problem. Archbishop Bernadito Auza, the Permanent Observer (Ambassador) of the Holy See to the UN, has been very active in developing and promoting the Global Compact on Migration.
Pope Francis and his representative at the UN have been advocates and voices of justice and compassion for the millions of people displaced by violence all over the world. Recent discussions at the UN recognize that these people are forcibly displaced, i.e. the do not want to leave their homes. There is an emerging notion of “the right to remain,” that recognizes that the “drivers of emigration”—war/violence, poverty, persecution of minorities, climate induced changes such as droughts, disappearing island nations, etc., need to be addressed in a just and equitable way, if the problems of the contemporary movement of peoples is to be alleviated. Moreover, there is a growing recognition that people have a basic right to demand that governments do everything possible to remove the drivers of emigration which are causing the global problem.
And the Church, in part through the work of CNEWA, is seeking to bring compassion and hope to many of these people on the move.
As Pope Francis said, marking the World Day for Migrants and Refugees this year:
“Every stranger who knocks at our door is an opportunity for an encounter with Jesus Christ, who identifies with the welcomed and rejected strangers of every age (Matthew 25:35-43). The Lord entrusts to the Church’s motherly love every person forced to leave their homeland in search of a better future. This solidarity must be concretely expressed at every stage of the migratory experience — from departure through journey to arrival and return. This is a great responsibility, which the Church intends to share with all believers and men and women of good will, who are called to respond to the many challenges of contemporary migration with generosity, promptness, wisdom and foresight, each according to their own abilities.”
Tags: Refugees Iraqi Refugees Migrants