Caritas Iraq staff visiting a survivor of the terrorist attack at Cathedral of St. Joseph in Baghdad Sunday 31 October. 44 worshippers, two priests and seven security personnel were killed. Credit Caritas
By Nabil Nissan, Executive Director, Caritas Iraq
The Christians used to be the original people in this country, they have been here for the last 2000 years, but now they are considered as one of the minorities. Through many ages they embodied the message and mission of Jesus Christ in peace and harmonious living with other many sects in Iraq.
The Christians faced many waves of violence in Iraq throughout many eras and ages but not as brutal and violent as this one. Of course this doesn’t mean that other groups are not facing the same destiny as the Christians as well, whether Shiites or Kurds, but what we are talking about here is the issue of existence. If Iraq keeps on bleeding the Christian existence it will soon be devoid of the one its characteristics identities which symbolize the country. Continue reading
Bishop Daniel Adwok Kur, Auxiliary Bishop of Catholic Archdiocese of Khartoum took the peace message to the UN in a meeting with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. 11 October 2010
Peace be with you; do not be afraid
A MESSAGE OF HOPE AND HEALING
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you, not as the world gives, do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. (John 14:27-28)
We the Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference, gathered in Plenary assembly in Rumbek, southern Sudan, from 8th-15th November 2010, have prayed and reflected together with our brother bishops representing the Catholic Church in the whole of Africa on the situation in our beloved Sudan.
Mindful of our responsibility as prophets and shepherds at this crucial time, we write this message of hope on the eve of the referenda and the Season of Advent.
The referenda for southern Sudan and Abyei and the popular consultations for Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile are national issues, not just issues of the south and the transitional areas. They were intended to bring healing to our nation, to resolve the longstanding differences which have led to so many decades of tragic conflict. Instead, as the Interim Period of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) draws to a close, we are acutely aware of the uncertainty, fear and even despair that burden the people of Sudan. The build-up of troops on both sides of the north-south border is not conducive to peace. However these tensions need not and should not lead to war. Regardless of the choices made and the lines drawn, peace is possible. We must now look beyond the referenda. All people of good will are called upon to commit themselves to respect the choices of the people of the south, Abyei and the transitional areas and to work for a just and peaceful future for all the people of Sudan and the region. Whether the outcome is unity or secession, Sudan will never be the same again because the people have exercised their free and democratic choice. Continue reading
Catholic church leaders in the Great Lakes Region of Africa have agreed to work more closely together to promote peace in Africa’s volatile Great Lakes region.
Corruption and misrule, conflict, exploitation of natural resources and destruction of the environment have cost millions of lives and left many more traumatised.
Against this tableaux of despair, some 125 representatives from Burundi, Congo, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya,Tanzania, and other parts of the region met in Bujumbura, Burundi, October 19-21 to agree on an action plan.
Proposals from the Burundi summit included setting up a mechanism for better regional coordination, working more closely with universities to understand root causes of the conflicts, and to improve ecumenical and interreligious collaboration.
Conference partners included the Catholic Peacebuilding Network, the U.S. Catholic Bishops’ Africa Solidarity Fund, Catholic Relief Services (a Caritas member), the University of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, the German Civil Peace Service (AGEH), Cordaid (Caritas Netherlands), Missio-Aachen, and Misereor.
Funerals were held today at the Cathedral of St. Joseph (Khirbanda) in Baghdad for the victims of a terrorist attack on Sunday 31 October at the Church of Our Lady of Salvation.
An armed group broke into the Church of Saydat Al-Najat (Lady of Salvation) in the Iraqi capital’s Al-Karrada area during Mass. The congregation was held hostage for 6 hours, with some being released after a Iraqi-American rescue operation.
Three priests Fr Thaer Saadallah Abdal and Fr Wasim Sabih and Fr Raphael Qutaimi were killed along with 58 other people including Caritas Iraq volunteer Saad Adwar. One Caritas Iraq staff member and her child were injured in the attack.
Caritas Iraq staff have been visiting some of the seriously wounded people in hospital, and offering consolation to families of the victims.
Caritas Iraq requested prayers for the victims and their families and for peace in Iraq. Caritas will continue with its community peacebuilding efforts.
By Joseph Donnelly, Caritas Internationalis
Icons are an extraordinary gift. These sacred paintings are reflections of scripture, inspired through the centuries. Icons invite us to look carefully beyond what is most obvious – and to hear God’s Word. An ecclesiastical synod is a truly iconic moment. A chance to enter into communities on their respective pilgrimages.
One year ago, it was announced that a special assembly would come together as a Synod on the Middle East. On October 10, the first-ever Synod on the Middle East opened in Rome. Yesterday, this historic assembly closed in St. Peter’s Basilica with a solemn liturgy for the region.
The theme of the meeting was ‘The Catholic Church in the Middle East: Communion and Witness.’ To speak of the Middle East is to consider countless images. To speak of the Catholic Church and the Christians in the Middle East is to consider rich traditions as well as great suffering.
From the birthplace of Christianity where today hope and hardship dwell side by side, 185 Synod fathers had come. The Synod also included 70 experts from organisations that could advise the Synod. They included representatives of Caritas Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon, as well as the Caritas Mona Regional President Joseph Farah. Continue reading
Par Pierre Cibambo, International Liaison Officer pour l’Afrique chez Caritas Internationalis
La Conférence de l’Episcopat Catholique de La Région des Grands Lacs pour la Paix et la Réconciliation a ouvert ses travaux ce mardi 19 octobre dans la capitale burundaise Bujumbura. Pierre Nkurunziza, le Président de la République du Burundi, a ouvert les travaux en souhaitant la bienvenue aux différentes délégations et en reconnaissant l’important travail de l’Eglise de la Région dans le domaine de l’action humanitaire, le développement et l’édification de la paix et la réconciliation. Continue reading
America Magazine, Issue 11 October 2010
The problem of refugees facing the churches in the Middle East
by Joseph Cornelius Donnelly and Drew Christiansen
Being a refugee should be a temporary condition. Under international law, people who have fled their homes out of fear of persecution should be able to return home once conditions improve or, when they are prevented from doing so, make a new home elsewhere. To be uprooted from one’s home is especially traumatic in the Middle East, where family, home and ancestral ties to the land are essential to one’s identity. People hold on to their house keys years after they have been expelled or taken flight.
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Entrevista con Monseñor Hector Fabio Henao, director de Caritas Colombia
- ¿Se han registrado últimamente mejoras en la situación que vive Colombia?
Han cambiado muchas cosas en el ambiente político del país desde cuando se conoció el nombre del próximo Presidente de la República. Además del movimiento normal de las estructuras burocráticas cuando el poder pasa de unas manos a otras, y sin desconocer que en cuestiones de fondo el nuevo gobierno es un fiel continuador del anterior, es indudable que la nueva coyuntura reporta mejorías significativas en distintos puntos.
El nuevo Presidente se ha mostrado dispuesto a dar un alivio a las tensas relaciones de Colombia con los vecinos Ecuador y Venezuela, lo cual es de suma urgencia para que mejore la calidad de vida de los habitantes de frontera y los sectores de la economía colombiana que dependen de las exportaciones a tales países. En el mismo sentido conciliador, Santos ha anunciado que buscará ponerle fin al desgastante choque de poderes entre el ejecutivo y el judicial. Continue reading
Msgr Hector Fabio Henao from Caritas Colombia at the Norwegian foreign ministry explaining how Norway can help promote the conditions for peace in his country. Credit: Caritas/Michelle Hough
Available in Spanish
By Michelle Hough, communications officer for Caritas Internationalis
As I ride on the bus from Rygge airport to Oslo and look at the lush green countryside and fjords, I think “Why can’t they transport some of this to Haiti, where there’s little water and very few trees?”
But the focus of my trip to Norway is Colombia, not Haiti. Nevertheless, the issue is still “What can richer countries be doing to help poorer countries in difficulty?”
Colombia is the scene of a 40-year-plus civil war. There are killings, landmines, kidnappings, massive human rights abuses and the displacement of four million people. All of this happens and yet many people in Europe aren’t aware and many politicians have other priorities rather than helping promote peace in Colombia.
Caritas Internationalis’ Colombia working group is meeting in Oslo to discuss the best way to help Colombians achieve “Truth, justice, reparation and non-repetition of crimes”. This is the aim of its advocacy campaign entitled “Peace is Possible”. Continue reading
The period running up to parliamentary elections in Iraq in March will be critical for the long term security of a country beset by violence.
Caritas fears that extremists will use the elections to carry out acts of violence and that the poor will suffer the most.
Mosul, Kirkuk, and Dora in Baghdad will be hot spots according to Caritas, which is carrying out assessments of vulnerable communities in those areas to be able to plan for displacements of people and urgent needs of those caught in conflicts.
Iraq Catholic Hierarchy
Last November, the Reunion of Aid Agencies for the Oriental Church (ROACO) held a meeting in Erbil, Northern Iraq, bringing together Iraqi bishops, the Nuncio, Iraqi church partners, and the Sacred Congregation for the Oriental Churches, Oeuvre d’Orient, MISSIO, Misereor, Aid to the Church in Need, I.C.O. (Austria), D.K.A. Austria (Kath. Jungschau Osterreichs), Archbishopric of Cologne, and Caritas Germany, Caritas Iraq and Caritas Middle East and North Africa (MONA).