21 March 2018
Parishioners attend the liturgy at Holy Family Chaldean Mission in Phoenix, Arizona.
(photo: Nancy Wiechec)
In 2015, we paid a visit to the southwestern United States to meet a few of the Chaldeans who have settled there and transformed it into Nineveh, U.S.A.:
Over the years, El Cajon, which lies east of San Diego, has taken on the shape of its growing community of Iraqi Christians. Signs in many of the city’s shops and restaurants are in Chaldean or Arabic, leading some to dub East Main Street, “Little Baghdad.” A stroll through the grounds of St. Peter Chaldean Cathedral is more reminiscent of the ancient city of Babylon, with sculptured lions of Ishtar guarding the entrance to the hall.
...Mar Abraham Chaldean Church, the community’s headquarters in Arizona, was founded in 1995 by 70 Chaldean families who settled in the state. Raad Delly was among them. His uncle, Mar Emanuel III, led the Chaldean Church as patriarch and cardinal, and died in San Diego in 2014.
Mr. Delly doesn’t have any grandchildren yet, but says that when he does, he will teach them their Chaldean heritage.
Maha George, who sings in the choir at the Chaldean mission in Gilbert, outside Phoenix, says the same. Mrs. George left Baghdad years ago after being shot by one of Saddam Hussein’s men while she was eight months pregnant. Her husband, Luay, worked three jobs to help establish their family, which now co-owns two car washes.
“It’s our roots. It’s a great history to belong to,” Mrs. George says. “America took us in, thank God, but we don’t want that history to get lost. Somebody has to keep it.”
Read more in the Winter 2015 edition of ONE.
21 March 2018
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets Cardinal Oswald Gracias in New Delhi on 20 March. (photo: UCANews.com)
Bodies of 39 kidnapped Indian workers found in mass grave in Iraq (NPR) The AP said the bodies were found under a dirt mound after Iraqi authorities found evidence of the grave last summer using radar equipment. Once the bodies were exhumed, Indian authorities sent DNA samples from relatives of the missing workers. All but one have been identified. Among the artifacts discovered at the site were ID cards, non-Iraqi shoes and religious bracelets...
Modi holds off on inviting Pope Francis to India (UCANews.com) Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi continues to be non-committal on inviting Pope Francis to the country despite requests from church leaders as sporadic violence and intimidation against Christians continue across India. Less than a year after the Vatican gave up in frustration on a planned visit by the pontiff to the world’s second most populous country in 2018, turning instead toward strife-torn Myanmar and Muslim-majority Bangladesh, Cardinal Oswald Gracias failed to get agreement for a papal tour from the leader of the Hindu-centric Bharatiya Janata Party in a rare meeting with Modi on 20 March...
Israel confirms it struck Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007 (AP) The Israeli military confirmed Wednesday it carried out the 2007 airstrike in Syria that destroyed what was believed to be a nuclear reactor, lifting the veil of secrecy over one of its most daring and mysterious operations in recent memory. Although Israel was widely believed to have been behind the 6 September 2007 airstrike, it has never before commented publicly on it...
‘Why I stay in Gaza’ (The New York Times) When so many basic things are so fundamentally beyond your control, you sometimes do feel like giving up, saying goodbye to both country and past, and letting Palestine go. The problem is, Palestine won’t let you go...
Praying with paint: Iconography as a conversation with God (Catholic Register) Eleven women gathered at the Sheptytsky Institute on the campus of Toronto’s University of St. Michael’s College late in February to deepen their love of God over the course of a week spent painting a single, small icon of Christ or of Mary. Under the instruction of master iconographer and art restorer Roumen Kirinkov, these women learned to mix dry pigments and yolk emulsions, apply glazes, stretch canvas, mix and apply gesso, handle gold leaf, mix colours, choose and handle brushes. But first they prayed...
20 March 2018
A refugee and her daughter walk to their makeshift home in Bechouat, Lebanon.
(photo: Tamara Abdul Hadi)
Our regional director in Beirut, Michel Constantin, recently sent us this uplifting note, describing how CNEWA’s donors are making a difference in the lives of refugees:
In Lebanon, the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary is a small congregation, with just 30 sisters. They are engaged in aiding the poor and needy — as well as helping Syrian and Iraqi refugee families.
For the fifth consecutive year, through CNEWA funding the sisters run a program that aims at reaching and making a difference in the lives of displaced and refugee communities of children, youth and adults who have and still are suffering from the fallout of the wars in their countries, as well as the hard conditions they face living in Lebanon.
Through their social center, the sisters — assisted by a team of psychologists and specialists provide moral, social and spiritual support by organizing retreats, trips and camps for the most affected members of the family. This helps them overcome their trauma and anxiety about their future — giving them hope.
To date, more than 700 families have been screened, guided and given support by the sisters and social workers, benefiting somehow from the various programs and activities that are offered.
This is the story of one such family.
Mariam and Mirna are Chaldean Iraqi sisters, ages 20 and 18, who found refuge among the Lebanese community with their mother and younger sister, Mina. After being deserted by the father, they had no support system when they arrived in Lebanon.
Related: Sister Wardeh’s World
Welcoming the Stranger
The Franciscan Missionaries, through their social work, reached out to this family and followed-up closely to help them get settled, find jobs and schools, and most importantly, help them cope with their new environment. The mother and three daughters attended various retreats and summer camp, which helped boost their spirits and sustain their faith.
At the age of 18, Mariam suffered a dislocated jaw, causing difficulty with eating and speaking and also causing frequent headaches. The social workers’ intervention and the devotion of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary gave her a chance at a normal life; following several months of research and treatment, Mariam was able to undergo surgery to fix her jaw.
Mirna, to support her family, worked at a restaurant for less than a minimum wage salary, as she had no experience. The sisters guided her to pursue a learning program in food preparation and catering skills. Today, the family is settled in a small rented house in Jounieh, in the Kesrouan region; the mother works as a cashier at a grocery store, Mariam works at a bakery and Mirna still works at a restaurant — but with a much better salary. The youngest sister Mina attends the Syriac Catholic Angel of Peace School.
Social workers are following up with the family. The mother and her daughters continue to attend various activities and retreats sponsored by the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary.
Thanks to the sisters — and the generosity of CNEWA’s donors — these women have a new start and a new life.
20 March 2018
A young Armenian Catholic in Georgia represents the hope and promise of people who hold fast to their identity and faith. Read about their Staying Power in the Autumn 2013 edition of ONE.
(photo: Molly Corso)
20 March 2018
Syrian civil defense volunteers search for victims following Syrian government air strikes on the Eastern Ghouta rebel-held enclave of Douma, on 20 March 2018. An air strike has reportedly killed more than a dozen children sheltered in an underground school in the region.
(photo: Hamza Al-Ajweh/AFP/Getty Images)
Syria: air strike kills children at school (BBC) An air strike has reportedly killed 15 children and two women sheltering in an underground school in Syria’s besieged rebel-held Eastern Ghouta region. Rescuers said civilians had been hiding in the school to escape government and Russian raids on the town of Arbin...
Archbishop: young Christians and Muslims are engine to rebuild Iraq (Herald Malaysia) Rebuilding Iraq, after years of wars, extremism, divisions and violence culminating in the rise of the Islamic State, which is down but not yet out, must be based “on the young, who are the basis on which to build the future,” said Mgr. Yousif Thoma Mirkis, archbishop of Kirkuk, northern Iraq. The prelate recently met with a group of students from the University of Mosul who were lodged in his diocese when ISIS controlled the city...
Cardinal invites Christians to ‘Share the Journey’ with migrants this Easter (Vatican News) The President of Caritas Internationalis, the Church’s worldwide humanitarian confederation, has released an Easter message urging men and women of goodwill to join the Caritas “Share the Journey” campaign that aims to reaches out to migrants, tackle prejudice by changing perceptions and help people open their hearts and their minds...
Isaiah the prophet: the archaeological evidence (Haaretz) A 2,700-year-old seal impression on clay unearthed in Jerusalem this February piqued enormous interest, after its finder, the leading Jerusalem archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar, said it may have been the personal seal of Isaiah the Prophet himself. Biblical scholars have been quarreling ever since...
Indian Jesuits release book to mark pope’s five years (UCANews.com) Marking Pope Francis' five years in office, two Indian Jesuits have compiled a book collecting reflections of more than 50 church leaders on how they have applied the Jesuit pope’s insights in their own lives. Jesuit Fathers Kuruvilla Pandikattu and Father Vadappur Jose, both professors at the Jesuit-run Papal Seminary in Pune city in western India, edited the book, Francis Effect...
19 March 2018
Villagers gather for a candlelit prayer service outside a house in a small village in Bhikkawala. Learn how “untouchable” Christians are celebrating their faith in spite of hardship in Caste Aside in the Summer 2014 edition of ONE. (photo: John Mathew)
19 March 2018
People sit in a truck with their belongings in Afrin, Syria on 16 March.
(photo: CNS/Khalil Ashawi, Reuters)
Pope Francis appoints new archbishop in India (Vatican News) Pope Francis on Monday appointed a new archbishop in Bangalore, in southern India’s Karnataka state, and a new apostolic nuncio to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The Pope appointed Bishop Peter Machado of Belgaum as the new Archbishop of Bangalore. At the same time he also accepted the resignation of Archbishop Bernard Blasius Moras who stepped down having reached the retirement age of 75 in 2016...
Turkish flag hoisted over Afrin, Kurd fighters flee (Vatican News) After nearly two months of fighting, Turkish-backed forces have taken complete control of Afrin in the north of Syria, after Kurdish resistance dissolved. In a nationally broadcast statement, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed the news, adding that most of the Kurdish forces had fled the area...
Palestinians mark 100 days since Trump’s Jerusalem decision with protests (The Lebanon Daily Star) Thousands of Palestinian refugees took part in a Hamas-sponsored event Sunday in south Lebanon’s Sidon marking 100 days since U.S. President Donald Trump recognized occupied Jerusalem as the capital of Israel...
Why Armenia can claim to be the first Christian nation (Herald Times Online) Strange as it may seem to Western Christians, Armenia can claim to be the first kingdom to officially convert to Christianity...
Ethiopian Airlines supports Ghanian Christian pilgrims (Business Ghana) The Ethiopian Airlines, Africa’s largest airline group, has provided Seamless Connections for Ghanaian Christians seeking to go on Holy Pilgrimage to Israel. The Airline has been arranging Pilgrimage packages together with a Pilgrimage Company, One People Travels for Ghanaian Churches and passengers...
16 March 2018
This Friday, we look back at a colorful and poignant visit two members of our staff made to the Caucasus last year. It was a remarkable and revealing trip. They encountered places of great history and faith — but also great need.
Watch the video above for more.
Related: ‘This Is the Only Light’
16 March 2018
A woman prays before an image of the Virgin Mary in Adigrat, Ethiopia. To learn more about the abiding faith of Ethiopian Catholics, read A Letter from Ethiopia by Abune Tesfaselassie Medhin, bishop for the Ethiopian Catholic Eparchy of Adigrat in the March 2017 edition of ONE.
(photo: Petterik Wiggers)
16 March 2018
Civilians fleeing the city of Afrin in northern Syria walk at the mountainous road of al-Ahlam while heading towards the check point in az-Ziyarah, in the government-controlled part of the northern Aleppo province, on 16 March 2018. (photo: George Ourfalian/AFP/Getty Images)
Thousands flee twin offensives in Syria (BBC) As many as 50,000 people have fled separate offensives against rebel forces in northern and southern Syria in recent days, activists say. Russian air strikes reportedly killed 31 people in the Eastern Ghouta outside Damascus on Friday, after 20,000 people left the region...
Human trafficking called one of the ‘darkest, most revolting realities’ (CNS) “Human trafficking is one of the darkest and most revolting realities in the world today,” said Msgr. Tomasz Grysa, Vatican deputy ambassador. Vulnerable rural women and girls suffer “compounded marginalization” and are at a “cumulative disadvantage prior to being trafficked,” he said. “Their dignity and rights are not adequately respected before they’re trafficked, something that makes them more susceptible to much worse violations of their dignity and rights later...”
Palestinians call for ‘day of rage’ over Jerusalem recognition (Times of Israel) Palestinian groups in the West Bank and Gaza are urging mass protests Friday to mark 100 days since US President Donald Trump announced his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital...
Ethiopian-Israelis decry family separation (AP) Zemenech Bililin has not seen her sisters in more than a decade, since she immigrated to Israel from Ethiopia with part of her family. Now a 19-year-old infantry soldier in Israel’s military, Bililin says she is outraged that she is fulfilling her duties as a citizen but the state is shirking its responsibility to bring her relatives to Israel. Bililin’s family is one of hundreds that have been split between Israel and Ethiopia over what they say is an inconsistent immigration policy, and whose fate hinges on an Israeli government decision over whether to allow for their reunification...
Syrian refugees’ pain over separation from family (BBC) A family resettled in Wales after fleeing Syria have spoken about their pain at being separated from their sick daughter and a seven-year-old grandson...