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Current Issue
September, 2019
Volume 45, Number 3
  
16 October 2019
Greg Kandra




In this image from 2016, children in Aiga, Ethiopia, enjoy biscuits they received as part of a food program supported by Catholic Near East Welfare Association. To mark World Food Day, 16 October, Pope Francis issued a message calling on the world to “realize that what we are accumulating and wasting is the bread of the poor.”(photo: John E. Kozar, CNEWA)

Pope’s message for World Food Day: wasting the bread of the poor (Vatican News) Pope Francis sends a message to the FAO Director General, Qu Dongyu, for World Food Day, observed on 16 October, expressing his concern for the “distorted relationship between food and nutrition.” The pope begins his message by referring to the theme for this year’s World Food Day: “Our Actions Are Our Future. Healthy Diets for a #ZeroHunger World”. The Pope notes that “despite efforts made in recent decades, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is yet to be implemented in many parts of the world…”

Turkey urges Kurdish fighters to lay down their arms (The New York Times) President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey called on Wednesday for Kurdish fighters battling his troops in northeastern Syria to lay down their weapons and withdraw from the border area “this very night.” Resisting Western pressure to halt the operation, Mr. Erdogan also requested international support for his country’s battle against Kurdish fighters whom Turkey considers terrorists but who had been allied with the United States against the Islamic State…

A look inside Egypt’s most embattled minority, Christians in ’Garbage City’ (The New York Post) Enormous bags of trash litter the streets and fill every nook and cranny, and the ambient scent is correspondingly pleasant. Pictures of Coptic popes and Jesus and Mary cover the walls, often next to hand-painted scenes from Mecca. Emaciated cats lounge about. If any place epitomizes the decrepitude and magic of the Egyptian capital — presenting both qualities in equal and abundant measure — it is this place called Garbage City...

Heavy rainfall warning issued for Kerala (The Times of India) A low pressure formation in the Arabian Sea will bring intentness rains and thunderstorms to Kerala for the next couple of days…

Jerusalem opens natural spring, but not to Palestinians (Haaretz) Police allowed a natural spring in southern Jerusalem to be opened to visitors on Tuesday, but on the explicit condition that Palestinians not be allowed to enter the site…



Tags: Egypt Pope Francis Kerala Turkey

15 October 2019
Greg Kandra




Following a Mass near Thrissur, India, pilgrims carry a statue of St. Mariam Thresia on 13 October 2019. She was among five people canonized by Pope Francis at the Vatican that day.
(photo: CNS/Anto Akkara)


Among the five people canonized over the weekend, one was a religious sister from Kerala who founded a congregation in India.

From Vatican News:

A religious and mystic, Sister Mariam Theresia was born in Puthenchira, in southern India’s Kerala state, on April 26, 1876. Belonging to a once rich and noble family with extensive landed property, the future pioneer of the family apostolate grew up in piety and holiness under the loving guidance of her saintly mother, Thanda. In her intense love for God, the 8-year old girl gave herself up to austere, penance, fasting and prayer. She wanted to be conformed ever more to the likeness of the suffering Christ to whom she also consecrated her virginity at an early age.

In imitation of Jesus, she helped the poor, nursed the sick, visited and comforted the lonely people of her parish.

She was also blessed with the stigmata but kept it secret to avoid attention. She received several mystical gifts like prophecy, healing, an aura of light, sweet odor and frequently had ecstasies and levitations. Her entire existence was tormented by demons and she offered her sufferings for the remission of the sins of the world.

Thresia and three companions who joined her led a life of prayer and austere penance and continued to help families, visiting the sick, the poor and the needy irrespective of religion or caste. This ministry led her to establish the new Congregation of the Holy Family on 14 May 1914.

Sister Thresia died on 8 June 1926, at the age of 50, and was declared Blessed by Pope Saint John Paul II in 2000.

Pope Francis in February authorized a decree recognizing a miracle through her intercession, which cleared her for sainthood, and in July the Pope decided on 13 October as the canonization day.

Since then, the sisters of the Congregation of the Holy Family have been preparing intensely for this great day, said Sister Udaya, the Superior General of the Congregation. In Rome for Sunday’s canonization, she explained to Vatican news that they are concentrating more on spiritual preparation and works of charity for the family than external preparation.

Hear an interview with Sister Udaya at the link.



15 October 2019
Greg Kandra




Turkish-backed Syrian rebel fighters raise the Syrian opposition flag at the border town of Tel Abyad, Syria, on 14 October. (photo: CNS/Khalil Ashawi, Reuters)

Syriac Catholic patriarch pleads for peace in Syria (CNS) The patriarch of the Syriac Catholic Church pleaded for “immediate and lasting peace in northeastern Syria and the preservation of innocent lives, especially for Christians, who are the original and founding component of Syria.” Celebrating Mass on 13 October in the patriarchal Church of the Virgin Mary in Rome in the presence of people uprooted over the years from Syria and Iraq, Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan said, “We Christians of the East are neglected and abandoned by this world, which searches for its immediate material interests…”

Fighting in Syria displaces more than 100,000 (Vatican News) Turkish troops moved on Saturday to seize key highways that link towns in northeast Syria. It marks the 4th day of the Turkish offensive against Kurds living near the border in Syria. Turkey says its goal is to push back Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units at least 20 miles from the border. Turkey considers the YPG a terrorist organization. At least 30 civilians have so far been reported killed in the violence. The United Nations said Saturday that at least 100,000 people have been driven from the towns of Ras al-Ain and Tal Abyad alone, where the heaviest fighting is going on…

Indian archbishop, priest die in car accident in U.S. (Vatican News) Archbishop Dominic Jala of Shillong of north-east India’s Meghalaya state and the Rev. Mathew Vellankal, a 58-year old Indian-born priest of the Diocese of Oakland, died last week a road accident in California in the United States. Archbishop Jala was 68. Father Vellankal was driving the archbishop and another Indian priest, the Rev. Joseph Parekkatt, to Clearlake in California, when the tragedy took place. Their car was hit by a semi-truck in Colusa County…

Greek Church recognizes Orthodox Church of Ukraine (Radio Free Europe) An extraordinary meeting of the leadership of the Church of Greece decided on 12 October to recognize the autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU), making it the first of the Eastern Orthodox churches to take such a step. The Orthodox Times said the Greeks’ formal recognition will take place on 19 October in Thessaloniki, with Archbishop Ieronymos and the OCU’s Metropolitan Epifaniy of Kyiv and All Ukraine present...

Leaders of Egypt, Ethiopia meet to discuss dam standoff (Reuters) A long-running diplomatic standoff over building and operating the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam has heightened tensions between the two countries. Egypt worries that the dam will threaten its already scarce water supplies…



Tags: Syria Ethiopia Turkey Indian Bishops

11 October 2019
Greg Kandra




In this image from January, Pope Francis shakes hands with Abiy Ahmed, prime minister of Ethiopia, during a private audience at the Vatican. The Ethiopian prime minister was awarded the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize on 11 October. (photo: CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Ethiopia’s prime minister awarded Nobel Peace Prize (The New York Times) Abiy Ahmed, the prime minister of Ethiopia, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, for his work in restarting peace talks with neighboring Eritrea, ending a long stalemate between the two countries. Mr. Abiy, 43, broke through two decades of frozen conflict between his vast country, Africa’s second most populous, and Eritrea, its small and isolated neighbor. When he became prime minister of Ethiopia in 2018, he threw himself at a breakneck pace into reforms at home, and peace negotiations with the rebel-turned-dictator Isaias Afwerki, president of Eritrea…

Turkey claims hundreds of ’terrorists’ killed in Syria (Bloomberg) President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he would “open the doors” for 3.6 million refugees currently in Turkey to seek shelter in Europe, should his country come under undue criticism. Erdogan’s threats on Thursday came a day after Turkish troops began a major incursion into northeastern Syria, drawing criticism from the U.S., many European nations and Arab states. The cross-border military offensive, code-named “Peace Spring,” resulted in deaths of hundreds of “terrorists” since it began on Wednesday, according to Turkey’s military…

Why strong monsoon rains are not good news for Indian farmers (India Today) India, one of the world’s biggest agricultural producers, experienced its heaviest monsoon rains in 25 years this year. While rain would normally cheer the agricultural heartland, the monsoon was erratic and has left many crops damaged…

The young women who share language in Jerusalem (Haaretz) Two years ago two women decided to try to expand their mutual circle of friends in Jewish and Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem. They started a Facebook page where they proposed creating a women’s group in which Arab women would teach their Jewish counterparts Arabic and the Jewish women would teach the Arab women Hebrew…



Tags: Syria Ethiopia Turkey

10 October 2019
Greg Kandra




A multirocket launcher fires in an unknown location on 9 October 2019, in this still image from a video. Turkish warplanes have begun attacking northeastern Syria, causing widespread panic among Christian and other religious communities caught up in the aerial bombardments.
(photo: CNS/Turkish Defence Ministry via Reuters)


Turkish bombing causes panic about Christian community (CNS) Turkish warplanes have begun attacking northeastern Syria, causing widespread panic among Christian and other religious communities caught up in the aerial bombardments. ”Christians and others are extremely worried,” Syriac Christian political leader Bassam Ishak told the Catholic News Service by phone on 9 October. “The Turkish bombing seems designed to push people out of their towns, if, in fact, they manage to escape alive.” Ishak heads the Syriac National Council. A graduate of The Catholic University of America in Washington, he is also a member of the political bureau of the Syrian Democratic Council…

Archbishop of Aleppo condemns Turkish offensive in northeast Syria (Vatican News) The news on Wednesday afternoon that Turkish armed forces and Syrian rebel allies had launched a military attack “east of the Euphrates” has raised fears of a worsening humanitarian crisis and more civilian victims. In an interview with SIR news agency, Archbishop Jean-Clement Jeanbart said he fears “a slaughter and many innocent deaths…”

Pope prays after synagogue attack in Germany (Vatican News) Before concluding the Wednesday evening session in the Synod Hall, Pope Francis prayed for victims of the attack on the synagogue of Halle, in Germany. Two people died and several bystanders were injured in the attack, which took place on the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur…

IDF nears completion of new Gaza border fortifications (The Times of Israel) Israel is nearing completion of new defense works being constructed on the Gaza border in response to weekly border riots, threats from anti-tank missiles and other terror attacks, according to a Channel 13 report broadcast on Wednesday. The project includes defenses against missiles and improved sniper posts, which have been better fortified, placed higher up and in more strategic locations…



Tags: Syria Gaza Strip/West Bank Turkey Jews

9 October 2019
Greg Kandra




Turkish troops have reportedly begun crossing into Syria. (video: Bloomberg/YouTube)

Kurds mobilize in Syria as Turkey is poised for attack (AP) The Kurdish-led civilian administration in northeastern Syria issued a “general mobilization” call along the Syrian border with Turkey on Wednesday as Ankara poised for an imminent invasion of the area in the latest major escalation in the war-ravaged country…

India’s Christians, Muslims face higher persecution (NCR) While most reported cases of persecution are against the country’s Muslim population, Christians have also come under attack. Jesuit Fr. Stanislaus Alla, theologian and professor at the Vidyajyoti College of Theology in Delhi, told NCR that the church in India was “paying the price for standing up for human rights.” Alla was on a trip to the United States to present a paper on public health in South Asia…

Syrian refugees issued more than 153,000 work permits in Jordan (The Jordan Times) The Ministry of Labor has issued over 153,000 permits for Syrian refugees since the beginning of 2016, a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) official said. More than146,000 work permits were issued to male refugees and over 7,000 were issued to female Syrian refugees, according to UNHCR Spokesperson Lilly Carlisle. ”Male Syrian refugees work mostly in the agriculture and construction fields while women prefer to work in home-based activities,” Carlisle told The Jordan Times…

Ethiopia’s prime minister emerges as Nobel favorite (Reuters) The deal with Eritrea won Abiy Ahmed international plaudits. He is the bookmakers’ favorite to win a Nobel Peace Prize on Friday after climate activist Greta Thunder. But Abiy’s unpredictable style annoys some Ethiopians…



Tags: Syria India Ethiopia Turkey Persecution

8 October 2019
Greg Kandra




Filipina community members attend a meeting at the Pontifical Mission Library in Amman.
(photo: Nader Daoud)


In the current edition of ONE, writer Dale Gavlak visits Filipino migrants who are building a home in Jordan, thanks to the Teresian Association:

Aurea Gutierrez Perlai says she has found support through a pair of Filipina women who belong to a community of the Catholic Church known as the Teresian Association.

“Elisa [Estrada] and Amabel [Sibug] invited me and the children to get involved in the choir at church. My daughter, Nicole, now 13, plays guitar for the choir. Amabel taught her how to play and is working with Nicole on her very first recital. And my son, Jordan, who is 11, serves at the altar,” Ms. Perlai says proudly.

“They are like mothers to us. They stand beside us, asking us always what we may need, and how they can support us.”

An international community of the faithful present in 30 countries, the Teresian Association seeks to transform society in light of the Gospel through education and culture.

Both Ms. Estrada and Ms. Sibug say they draw inspiration from the martyr St. Pedro Poveda, the founder of the Teresians, whose ministry emphasized love, sacrifice and hard work.

“We are here only to walk with them. We are not the solution to their problems; Jesus is. Our own strength is in prayer,” says Ms. Estrada.

This, indeed, is how the two begin every day: “Amabel and I pray the rosary together.”

Read more about Filipinos In a Land of Refugees in the September 2019 edition of ONE. And for another glimpse at their world, check out the the video below.



Tags: Jordan Migrants

8 October 2019
Greg Kandra




In this file photo, Pope Francis greets Riccardo Di Segni, the Chief Rabbi of Rome. The pope sent a message to the rabbi to mark the Jewish holy days. (photo: Vatican Media)

Pope sends wishes to Jews on their holy days (Vatican News) Pope Francis has sent a message to the Chief Rabbi of Rome, Riccardo Di Segni, on the occasion of the Jewish holy feasts of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot. ”On the occasion of the solemn anniversaries of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot, I am happy to offer you and the Jewish Community of Rome my sincere good wishes,” the Pope Francis wrote Rabbi Di Segni…

Turkey balks at Trump tweet warning to limit Syrian incursion (AP) Turkey will not bow to threats over its Syria plans, the Turkish vice president said Tuesday in an apparent response to President Donald Trump’s warning to Ankara the previous day about the scope of its planned military incursion into northeastern Syria. Mr. Trump said earlier this week the United States would step aside for an expected Turkish attack on Syrian Kurdish fighters, who have fought alongside Americans for years, but he then threatened to destroy the Turks’ economy if they went too far…

Pulling troops out of Syria could aid Assad and ISIS (The New York Times) Before dawn on Monday, at a military base in northeastern Syria, an American general delivered the bad news to his Syrian counterpart. The United States was going to allow Turkish forces to move into the area, leaving the Kurdish-led Syrian militia vulnerable. ”You are leaving us alone,” the Syrian commander, Mazlum Kobani, responded angrily, and accused the United States of complicity in a looming Turkish attack, according to a United States official and another person with knowledge of the meeting…

Imphal: a missionary Church in India’s northeast region (Vatican News) Archbishop Dominic Lumon of Imphal, the capital of Manipur state, was recently on his so-called “ad limina” visit to Rome, which bishops of dioceses around the world are required to make every five years or so. He noted that despite the remoteness and poverty of the North Eastern Region, people there have embraced Christ. Today, the Church of the region has many native bishops who are sending missionaries to other dioceses…

Portals to history and conflict: the gates of Jerusalem (Reuters) Jews, Muslims and Christians pass daily through the gates of Jerusalem’s Old City, on their way to and from prayers or simply to go about their everyday business in one of the most politically sensitive spots on earth. There are eight gates — seven are open and one is sealed — along the Old City walls that were built in the 16th century by Turkish sultan Suleiman the Magnificent…



Tags: Syria Jerusalem Turkey Jewish-Catholic relations

7 October 2019
Greg Kandra




In the current edition of ONE, CNEWA’s president, Msgr. John E. Kozar, offers some thoughts on how so many of those we serve see the church as their family:

Having visited many Christian villages, refugee and displacement camps and isolated settlements in the Middle East, in relatively good times and in the worst of times, I have noted three very intertwined threads of daily life: one’s faith, one’s family and the local church. And each fortifies the other.

When times have been fairly stable and there was no war, oppression or persecution, the faithful found the church to offer the fullest level of comfort and security to the individual and to the family. The church was “family” to all. And the highest expression of being family was in the celebration of the Eucharist.

There’s much more in his essay. Read it all. And check out the video below for even more.



Tags: Iraq CNEWA ONE magazine

7 October 2019
Greg Kandra




Abel, a 16-year-old student at the Abune Endrias School in Ethiopia, is learning about the dangers of khat addiction and has seen the effects in his own family. Read how Ethiopians, with support from the church, are Breaking Free of this dangerous plant in the September 2019 edition of ONE.
(photo: Petterik Wiggers)




Tags: Ethiopia





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