15 February 2019
Students take notes during a lesson at the St. Vincent de Paul School in Alexandria, Egypt, run by the Daughters of Charity. Learn more about how Charity’s Daughters are changing young lives in Egypt in the December 2017 edition of ONE. (photo: Roger Anis)
14 February 2019
Parishoners gather in Prophet Elijah Church, where Father Ivanyuk carries out the work of Caritas. (photo: Ivan Chernichkin)
The current edition of ONE contains a story by Mark Raczkiewycz about how Caritas Ukraine is opening Windows to the World for some of the country’s elderly pensioners:
In addition to running the local chapter of Caritas, the Rev. Vasyl Ivanyuk has his hands full, shepherding six parishes and serving as a chaplain to those serving in the nearby front.
At Prophet Elijah Church, a moderately sized, eye-catching wooden building where he celebrates the Divine Liturgy every Sunday, he passively points to a sign. It reads: “With prayer and fasting we can stop war.”
Only when asked does he point out the church’s shattered yellow and white stained glass windows as scars of war.
“Three are from mortar shrapnel, one is from a rocket that came through here in July 2014,” Father Ivanyuk says. It was during this time that he saw an influx of seniors seeking help at the house of worship.
Some 600 displaced families sought refuge here through March 2015 at the height of the war, just as the second of two truces was being brokered in the Belarusian capital of Minsk.
The agreements have never quite taken hold.
“Half of the displaced we helped were elderly. We served 60 families a day, handing out 10 days’ worth of food [to each]. Altogether, we have distributed 300 tons of clothes and 17,000 food boxes since 2014,” Father Ivanyuk says.
Seniors are always the least demanding, he observed. They never ask for more, and are the most gracious.
He recounted the story of one couple. Both were 82 years old; both had walked a tortuous 24 miles in frigid February weather at the height of the war in 2015 to find safety. Units from the Ukrainian army picked them up on the government-controlled side and drove the pair to Father Ivanyuk, who arranged for their care.
On the day of the priest’s 25th wedding anniversary, the elderly man gave Father Ivanyuk a bouquet of flowers for his wife.
“It was obviously plucked from the city grounds and not bought,” the priest says. “It was the kindest gesture. They often return to show their gratitude, especially to our female volunteers.”
Although the human spirit is undoubtedly strong, pensioners can find it difficult to adapt to new circumstances, the priest notes.
“A mature tree can’t be easily transplanted,” he says of those who find themselves uprooted suddenly.
Read more in the December 2018 edition of ONE.
13 February 2019
Tags: Ukraine Caritas
David Safaryan displays one of his paintings from art class at the Little Prince Center in Armenia. The church is accompanying countless people in need in his homeland — both young and old. Read more about the journeys they are taking in ‘This Is the Only Light’ in the June 2017 edition of ONE. (photo: Nazik Armenakyan)
12 February 2019
Dalit children often drop out of school to work menial jobs to help support their families. But a new resolution in the Andhra Pradesh state will help Dalits receive welfare benefits enjoyed by their Hindu counterparts. (photo: Peter Lemieux)
CNEWA has long worked with the Dalits of India — many of them outcast, marginalized and poor. So we were heartened to read this news today, a hopeful milestone in the journey of the Dalits, who continue to seek justice and ways to retain their dignity:
India’s Andhra Pradesh state has passed a resolution which church leaders say will help socially poor Dalit Christians receive welfare benefits enjoyed by their counterparts in Hinduism.
The legislative house of the southern state passed the resolution on 7 February appealing to the federal government to make amendments to regulations to allow Christians from Dalit communities to enjoy benefits meant for the advancement of socially disadvantaged people.
The resolution proposed by chief minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu said that if Dalit people convert to Christianity it does not change their social and economic status.
“We appreciate the move. Naidu understood the plight of the poor Christians but that does not mean we achieved our target. There is still long way to go,” the Rev. Devasagaya Raj, secretary of the Indian bishops’ office for Dalits, told ucanews.com.
The Andhra Pradesh Federation of Churches (APFC), an ecumenical organization of heads of different churches, welcomed the resolution on behalf of the Christian community.
The APFC said it appreciated Naidu’s “consistent stand on this issue” that Dalit Christians should be treated on a par with Dalits who had adopted Sikhism and Buddhism.
The Christians’ struggle began in 1950 when a presidential order said only Dalit people following Hinduism could enjoy constitution-guaranteed concessions and seat reservations meant for the socioeconomic advancement of Dalit people.
The order effectively cut off benefits to Dalit people who converted to other religions. It was amended twice to include Dalits among Sikhs in 1956 and Buddhists in 1990.
Christians of Dalit origin are estimated to be make up 33 percent of India’s 28 million Christians.
Healing the Forgotten
India’s Christian Untouchables
11 February 2019
Tags: India Dalits
A man sits on his chair in a small village in the Toubkal region near Imlil, Morocco on 12 January 2019. Pope Francis plans to visit Morocco next month. (photo: CNS/Youssef Boudlal, Reuters)
Pope Francis’ trip to Morocco on 30-31 March will include a visit to a school training an international group of Muslim prayer leaders and preachers, including women.
He also will visit to a Caritas center assisting migrants, many of whom ended up in the North African country with hopes of eventually making it to Europe.
Returning to Rome from the United Arab Emirates on 5 February, Pope Francis told journalists he had hoped to go to Marrakech, Morocco, in December for the signing of the U.N. Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, but protocol dictated that he make a full visit to the country and there was not time in December.
The trip in March will include a full slate of formal events, including a meeting with King Mohammed VI and a visit to the mausoleum of King Mohammed V, who negotiated the country’s independence from France and ruled until his death in 1961.
The visit to Morocco, where more than 99 percent of the population is Muslim, will give Pope Francis an opportunity to continue the reflections on Christian-Muslim relations he began in Abu Dhabi in February. As he did in the United Arab Emirates, he is expected to highlight 2019 as the 800th anniversary of the encounter of St. Francis of Assisi and Sultan al-Malik al-Kamil of Egypt.
When the Vatican first announced the trip in November, it said the pope would visit both Rabat, the capital, and Casablanca. But the Vatican said on 9 February it had accepted “the proposal by Moroccan authorities to limit the trip to the city of Rabat to facilitate the visit of the Holy Father.”
View the full itinerary of the trip here.
8 February 2019
Tags: Pope Francis Muslim
A gift is pictured as Pope Francis leads an audience with members of the Missionaries of Africa and the Missionaries of Our Lady of Africa at the Vatican on 8 February 2019. The statue depicts a farmer carrying the Gospel to others as he works. (photo: CNS/Vatican Media)
Pope Francis met with missionaries from Africa on Friday, and offered a vision for how to bear witness to the Gospel.
From CNS’s Cindy Wooden:
Proclaiming the Gospel is not the same thing as proselytism and often means simply being a neighbor and friend to someone while living an authentically Christian life, Pope Francis said.
Mission “is that dynamic that leads you to be a neighbor to others to share the gift you have received: the encounter of love that changed your life and led you to consecrate your life to the Lord Jesus, good news for the life and salvation of the world,” the pope said on 8 February.
Pope Francis spoke about mission and witness during a meeting with the Missionaries of Africa and the Missionaries of Our Lady of Africa, men’s and women’s religious orders founded 150 years ago by Cardinal Charles Lavigerie of Algiers, Algeria.
Encouraging the missionaries to continue being “nomads for the Gospel,” the pope asked them to be “men and women who are not afraid to go into the deserts of this world and seek together the means for accompanying brothers and sisters to the oasis that is the Lord so that the living water of his love can quench their every thirst.”
To be a missionary, the pope said, a Christian first must be a disciple of Jesus.
And while the missionaries may be working in situations where an explicit invitation to follow Christ is not possible, he said, their own lives must be firmly rooted in “listening to his word, the celebration of the sacraments and service to your brothers and sisters so that your gestures manifest his presence, his merciful love and his compassion to those to whom the Spirit sends and leads you.”
Pope Francis prayed that the Holy Spirit would continue to make the Missionaries of Africa and the Missionaries of Our Lady of Africa “builders of bridges” and promoters of a “culture of encounter” and dialogue where everyone involved “learns to draw riches from the diversity of the other.”
The missionaries’ dialogue with Muslims deserves particular recognition and the gratitude of the church, the pope said.
Our own Msgr. John E. Kozar expressed his thoughts about “accompanying our brothers and sisters” in the current edition of ONE. Check it out.
7 February 2019
Tags: Pope Francis Africa
M.L. Thomas, CNEWA’s regional director in India, pays a visit to Home of Faith, an orphanage in Kerala, one of the many institutions CNEWA is privileged to support. Read more about how CNEWA practices ”accompaniment” on behalf of the Holy Father and in the name of the church in the December 2018 edition of ONE. (photo: John E. Kozar/CNEWA)
6 February 2019
The Rev. Teshome Fikre Woldetensae helps serve the faithful of Holy Savior Church in Addis Ababa. (photo: Petterik Wiggers)
The current edition of ONE features a Letter from Ethiopia, written by the Rev. Teshome Fikre Woldetensae, a priest from the Eparchy of Emdibir in central Ethiopia. He describes with great poignancy what it is like to be a priest in that corner of the world:
I remember with great joy the visit I made when I was a parish priest to an old lady who was gravely ill, who used to live very far from the parish — a three-hour mule ride. It was a very rainy season and access to the village was very difficult. The village catechist and I covered most of the road on foot, since it was difficult to ride on mule. She was not expecting us, due to the weather. When we arrived, she could not believe it; she shouted with joy and felt relieved from her sickness for a time. The joy of that woman, in her final days of her earthly life, was exceptional for me and it touched me deeply.
I also think often about young Bedilu. He was 12 when I met him, living with his mother, Kelemua. Bedilu was born with a degenerative condition. He could not talk, and while he could stand and walk in his younger years, he eventually became bedridden. One day Kelemua came to me from her faraway village and asked me to go with her to visit her beloved son. I asked why, and she cried and cried.
Together, she and I went by car and entered the house where Bedilu was living. Seeing him and the place they lived — a small hut — broke my heart and I could not stop crying. I was very much impressed by the dedication and joy of Kelemua for serving her child.
I gave her what money I had, promising to support her and her son. I immediately wrote a letter to one of my friends in Italy explaining the situation, and before long I received funds to build a decent house for them. We bought a proper bed and other household goods — even a cow, for milk. Within a few months, the life situation of the family changed. Although doctors informed us that his condition could not be reversed, and only palliative care was possible, Bedilu and Kelemua had a greatly improved quality of life for years.
When he died, it was devastating for all of us who were involved in his life. His mother’s heart was broken, and we accompanied her in her grief. Kelemua’s strength and courage will remain with me forever.
Read more of his letter in the December 2018 edition of ONE.
5 February 2019
The Rev. Boulos Nassif teaches a class for deaf and hearing-impaired Egyptians in Minya. To learn more about the people Father Nassif serves, read Signs of Hope in the December 2018 edition of ONE. (photo: Roger Anis)
4 February 2019
Tags: Egypt Education Catholic Disabilities
CNEWA President Msgr. John E. Kozar pays a pastoral visit to the Cremisan Valley in the West Bank in December 2017. To read more about the broad view of “accompaniment” that informs the mission of CNEWA, read his column in the pages of the December 2018 edition of ONE. (photo: John E. Kozar)
Tags: CNEWA Palestine Catholicism