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September, 2019
Volume 45, Number 3
3 January 2013
Greg Kandra

Children dressed as the Three Kings return to their seats after presenting offertory gifts to Pope Benedict XVI during Mass on the feast of Mary, Mother of God, in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican on 1 January. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)

Tags: Pope Benedict XVI Vatican

3 January 2013
J.D. Conor Mauro

A blind man walks past cars and buildings damaged in fighting in the old city of Aleppo, Syria, on 27 December. (photo: CNS/Ahmed Jadallah, Reuters)

Rebels and government forces clash at Syrian airports (BBC) Fierce battles are taking place at some northern Syrian airports, as rebels try to neutralise the government’s overwhelming air advantage. Rebels broke into the Taftanaz base in north-western Idlib province but were pushed back by the army, rebel sources and state media said. Reports said Aleppo airport was also under siege, and has been closed since Tuesday because of repeated attacks. The attacks come a day after a United Nations study said 60,000 people had died in Syria. Commissioned by U.N. human rights commissioner Navi Pillay, the study concluded that there had been 59,648 deaths between February 2011 and November 2012, and that figure would now have risen above 60,000…

Maronite patriarch excoriates Lebanese politicians (Daily Star Lebanon) Maronite Patriarch Bechara Peter slammed Lebanon’s politicians Thursday, urging them to take part in national dialogue and address the issue of Syrian refugees coming to the country, the National News Agency reported. “Shame on you not to attend the dialogue table,” said the cardinal. “It is a shame on officials not to attend dialogue and address the Syrian refugee case, the biggest national and humanitarian issue we are facing today,” he added. Over 160,000 Syrian refugees have arrived in Lebanon since the start of violence in neighboring Syria…

Armenians concerned over rights in Holy Land (Hetq Online) Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem, a member of the triumvirate of Guardians of the Christian Holy Places, has voiced grave fears over the threat of the erosion of its historic and traditional rights in the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem. The rights and privileges that are the legacy of the Armenians are indelibly inscribed within the tenets of a Status Quo that has been in place since the Ottoman administration of the land. But recent developments in Bethlehem, involving its sister guardian, the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate (with the Latin Custodia forming the third member of the triumvirate), are threatening to seriously impact on Armenian rights, church officials claim…

Romanian Patriarchate declares year for Saints Constantine and Helen (Basilica News Agency) Following the initiative of His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel, undertaken during the working session of 25 October 2011, the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church approved that the year 2013 should be declared Solemn Year of Saint Emperors Constantine and Helen at the anniversary of 1700 years since the Edict of religious tolerance of Milan (313). The Holy Synod Office worked out a nation-wide program for implementing the liturgical, cultural and media program, emphasizing tolerance, freedom, and the social and religious politics of the canonized emperor and empress…

Israel nearly finished building Israel-Egypt border fence (L.A. Times) Two years after construction began, Israel has finished the bulk of the work on a fence along its border with Egypt. Closing off the rambling, 140-mile-long stretch of desert border will prevent the “unfettered flow of illegal infiltrators, the smuggling of drugs and weapons,” said a statement from the Defense Ministry, which oversaw the $400-million engineering project. Speaking at a ceremony marking the completion of the main section, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the effort to curb the illegal entry of migrants from Africa, reduced from more than 2,000 a month in January 2012 to fewer than 40 in December. Early last year, Netanyahu said Israel would build a similar fence along the desert border with Jordan…

Tags: Egypt Syrian Civil War Israel Holy Land Maronite Patriarch Bechara Peter

2 January 2013
Greg Kandra

A mother and child and a sister and child stand in front of a picture of Christ at the Christina Center in Trichur, India. (photo: Sean Sprague)

As we turn the page on the calendar, here’s an image that captures the spirit of possibility and hope that greets every new year.

It comes from a profile we did a few years ago on the Christina Center in Trichur, India. The center is a home and refuge for unmarried mothers, often delinquent or vulnerable girls who find themselves pregnant, homeless and alone:

These women suffer the strongest of taboos: Not only are they outcasts, but the stigma also extends to their entire families. It is difficult for their sisters — and daughters — to marry.

At the Christina Center, young women and their babies are offered discreet refuge and quality care. In most cases the women are eventually separated from their babies, a difficult but necessary step to ensure safe and healthy futures for the young women and their children.

The toddlers live at the Center until they are five years old; then they move on to St. Anne’s or St. Savio’s. In this way the young mothers are freed from the stigma of bearing an illegitimate child and instead are given a chance to continue with their lives in a normal fashion.

The Christina Center, St. Anne’s and St. Savio’s care for needy children — from their prenatal stages right through to adulthood and even beyond — in the midst of a challenging cultural and political climate. With God’s love, the orphans of Trichur have every chance to succeed.

Read more about The Orphans of Trichur in the May-June 2000 issue of our magazine.

Tags: India Children Orphans/Orphanages Women

2 January 2013
Greg Kandra

A defaced religious painting is seen with the eyes and mouth scratched out in the old city of Aleppo, Syria, on 27 December. (photo: CNS/Muzaffar Salman, Reuters)

Bishops describe Christmas in besieged Syria (CNS) Because of ongoing fighting in the city, Catholic leaders in Aleppo, Syria, canceled their traditional Christmas visits to local government officials, but the local governor dropped in on a meeting of bishops and priests on 27 December to offer his best wishes, said Bishop Giuseppe Nazzaro. The bishop, who is the Latin-rite apostolic vicar of Aleppo, said Gov. Mohammad Vahid Akkad, an appointee of besieged President Bashar Assad, expressed his appreciation for Pope Benedict XVI’s Christmas appeals for peace in Syria. After praying for peace in Syria in his midnight Mass homily, Pope Benedict expressed his concern Christmas Day for the “deeply wounded and divided” Syrian people. He called for “an end to the bloodshed, easier access for the relief of refugees and the displaced, and dialogue in the pursuit of a political solution to the conflict”…

Pope sends greetings to new Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch (Vatican Radio) At a time when the Middle East is so unstable and prone to violence, “it is increasingly urgent that the disciples of Christ offer an authentic witness of their unity, so that the world may believe the Gospel message of love, peace and reconciliation.” These are the words of Pope Benedict XVI, in a message of fraternal greetings in Christ’s love, to Youhanna X, the new Greek Orthodox patriarch of Antioch and All the East…

Bishop of Udaipur resigns (Fides) On 21 December 2012, Pope Benedict XVI accepted the resignation of Msgr. Joseph Pathalil from the pastoral care of the Diocese of Udaipur, India, in accordance with the Code of Canon Law. The Holy Father appointed Bishop John Devprasad Ganawa of Jhabua as bishop of the Diocese of Udaipur. The same prelate was appointed apostolic administrator of the vacant et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis of the Diocese of Jhabua…

Russian Orthodox church favors law banning adoptions (AsiaNews) Despite a wave of criticism from civil society groups and members of the Russian government, the Russian Orthodox Church has backed the controversial ‘anti-Magnitsky bill’ that President Vladimir Putin signed into law last Friday. As of 1 January, the new law bans adoptions of Russian children by U.S. citizens…

Dozens of religious items stolen from Russian Orthodox church in Hollywood (Los Angeles Times) Los Angeles police continued their investigation Monday into the theft of nearly 40 religious artifacts from a Russian Orthodox church in Hollywood. Thirty-seven items were taken from an altar room at the Holy Transfiguration Russian Orthodox Cathedral the night of 22 December, Los Angeles police said. No arrests have been made in the case...

Tags: Syrian Civil War Pope Benedict XVI Russian Orthodox Church Patriarchs Indian Bishops

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