Author Archive for ACN-USA News

Sad Anniversary for Women Religious Stranded in Kurdistan
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Sad Anniversary for Women Religious Stranded in Kurdistan

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By Daniel Konstantinovic NEW YORK—August 6, 2015 marks the one-year anniversary of the expulsion from their convent of a group of Dominican sisters who had been serving Christians on Iraq’s Nineveh Plane for many years. That day, ISIS forced the women religious into exile in Erbil, capital of Kurdistan. Discovering that Kurdish militia had fled […]

In Shadow of War, Syrian Christians are Trying to Rebuild Their Lives
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In Shadow of War, Syrian Christians are Trying to Rebuild Their Lives

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By Oliver Maksan HOMS, Syria—Bright colors set off the sullen grey of destruction: children and young people have painted one of the streets in the ravaged Old City of this ancient Christian center in Syria. On house walls, the young artists have expressed in brilliant colours what moves them, what they hope for. “The aim […]

Niger: They set fire to Our Churches, But We Still Love Them
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Niger: They set fire to Our Churches, But We Still Love Them

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By Antonia von Alten NEW YORK—Six months after extremist Muslims attacked Christians and burned down a number of churches, the local faithful remain fearful—but a local bishop reported that Catholic life in Niger continues to flourish. In an interview with international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, Bishop Ambroise Ouédraogo of Maradi recalled […]

A Tireless Pastor Leaves the Killing Fields of Syria
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A Tireless Pastor Leaves the Killing Fields of Syria

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It would be hard to find a more dangerous posting in the Jesuit order today than ministering to the faithful of this city in the heart Syria’s “Valley of the Christians.” And Syrian Jesuit Father Ziad Hilal has been based here for half a dozen years, witnessing some of the worst horrors of the country’s […]

Haitian Bishop: 'Human Restoration' is Church's Top Priority
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Haitian Bishop: ‘Human Restoration’ is Church’s Top Priority

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By Antonia von Alten NEW YORK—Five years after Haiti’s devastating earthquake, the local Church has suffered a series of brazen attacks on Church properties. Between November 2015 and February of this year there were more than 20 robberies of religious communities, a bishop reported. In an interview with international Catholic charity Aid to the Church […]

'Canonizations give hope to Christians in the Holy Land'
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‘Canonizations give hope to Christians in the Holy Land’

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By Oliver Maksan JERUSALEM—Pope Francis’ May 17, 2015 canonization of two Palestinians, Blessed Marie Alphonsine Ghattas and Blessed Mariam Baouardi, “gives hope to Christians in the Holy Land,” said the bishop responsible for the Palestinian territories. In an interview with international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, Auxiliary Bishop William Shomali said that […]

Iraq: 'We Priests and Nuns Will Be the Last to Leave'
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Iraq: ‘We Priests and Nuns Will Be the Last to Leave’

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By Oliver Maksan “At night we often hear gunfire. But luckily we are quite a bit away from the fighting,” Father Steven says. In fact, the town of Alqosh is only 10 miles away from the front line, where the heavily armed Kurdish Peshmerga forces and ISIS fighters are facing off. When the weather is […]

Boko Haram Suffers Setback, Refugees Return Home
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Boko Haram Suffers Setback, Refugees Return Home

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“It is all up to God—it’s not up to us to avenge and take retribution.” That’s the message proclaimed by Bishop Oliver Dashe Doeme of Maiduguri, Nigeria, one of the dioceses heaviest hit by the deadly raids of Boko Haram. Over the past few weeks, a strike force of the Nigerian army joined by troops […]

ISIS Said to Have Begun Executing Captured Syrian Christians
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ISIS Said to Have Begun Executing Captured Syrian Christians

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By John Newton In a fast-developing, highly fluid story, there are now reports that ISIS has started killing hostages seized after it captures Assyrian Christian villages in Syria’s Hassake governorate—reportedly 15 kidnapped Christians may already be dead. In a message sent to Aid to the Church in Need Feb. 26, 2015, Iraq-based Archimandrite Emanuel Youkhana […]

Egyptian Catholic Copts Consecrate First-Ever Church in Sinai
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Egyptian Catholic Copts Consecrate First-Ever Church in Sinai

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“The Church in Egypt has been strengthened by the murder of our brothers in Libya.” Such was the reaction by Coptic Catholic Bishop Youssef Aboul-Kheir of Sohag to the beheading of 21 Orthodox Coptic men in Libya by ISIS. The guest workers in Libya “suffered a holy death with prayers on their lips. They went […]

Among Christian Refugees in Kurdistan, 'No One is Angry at God'
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Among Christian Refugees in Kurdistan, ‘No One is Angry at God’

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By Oliver Maksan ERBIL, Kurdistan—”Thank you, thank you, thank you:” Suheila, an elderly Christian woman from Mosul was effusive in expressing her gratitude to a group of European visitors. “May God make things easy for you in your lives.” Home for Suheila is the Sports Club Center in Ankawa, where more than 200 Christian families […]

Jordan Church Struggles to Accommodate Refugees, Shield Youth from Extremism
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Jordan Church Struggles to Accommodate Refugees, Shield Youth from Extremism

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For years now, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has been a haven for refugees from Iraq. However, a critical limit is in view as the country is also forced to accommodate a huge, and growing, influx of refugees fleeing ongoing war and violence in Syria. Along with Lebanon, the country is threatened by chaos as […]

Central African Republic: Catholics Reach Out to Former Deadly Enemies
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Central African Republic: Catholics Reach Out to Former Deadly Enemies

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The Catholic leader of the Central African Republic embodies his Church’s commitment to peace and national reconciliation. Archbishop Dieudonné Nzapailanga, the president of the bishops’ conference and archbishop of the capital city of Bangui, recently visited a camp where former members of the Seleka Muslim rebel militia are housed, along with their families. For several […]

Christian Community in India Still Awaits Justice--but Faith Flourishes
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Christian Community in India Still Awaits Justice–but Faith Flourishes

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Last August marked the anniversary of the 2008 massacre of more than 100 Christians at the hands of a Hindu mob in Kandhamal district in Orissa (Odisha) State, India—and the culprits, though most of them have been identified, have yet to be tried. Six years later, a Catholic priest who narrowly escaped a most gruesome […]

Worst-hit Nigerian Diocese is Reeling from Boko Haram Attacks
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Worst-hit Nigerian Diocese is Reeling from Boko Haram Attacks

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“People are dying every day and in most cases with no one to give them a decent burial–they are left to rot; their homes and properties looted.” Since 2009 and the start of Boko Haram’s reign of terror in Nigeria, the Diocese of Maiduguri has been the worst hit by attacks from the extremist Islamic […]

Christians Struggle to Rebuild Their Lives in Syria
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Christians Struggle to Rebuild Their Lives in Syria

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“War is a terrible and cruel thing.” SISTER MARIA of Nazareth has committed herself to an extraordinary mission. The Argentinian nun from the Institute of the Incarnate Word has been living in Aleppo, Syria, for the past two months, ministering to a traumatized Christian community in the former million-strong metropolis in the north of the […]

In Lebanon, a Major Catholic Village Walks its Way of the Cross
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In Lebanon, a Major Catholic Village Walks its Way of the Cross

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The village of Kaa is in the north of the Bekaa Valley, close to the Syrian border. It has a population of some 13,000 Christians, most of them Melkites. After the city of Zahle, this is the home of the country’s the largest Catholic population. Kaa is surrounded by mostly Shiite Muslim communities. Kaa has […]

Syrian Bishop Cries Out: 'Help My People Stay'
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Syrian Bishop Cries Out: ‘Help My People Stay’

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“We are strong in our faith, rooted in our history. We have been here for 2000 years. We refuse to go!” Iraq and Syria are in turmoil. In Iraq, Islamic radicals of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) are threatening to plunge the country back into civil war. In Syria, a ruthless regime […]

Iraq's Christians Facing a Human Catastrophe
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Iraq’s Christians Facing a Human Catastrophe

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“They are facing a human catastrophe and risk a real genocide. They need, water, food, shelter…” These were the words of the leader of Iraq’s biggest Catholic community as he made an impassioned plea for help to the international community following the fall of Iraq’s largest Christian town on the night of August 6th-7th. In […]

Targeted intimidation: First attack on Catholic nuns in Bangladesh
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Targeted intimidation: First attack on Catholic nuns in Bangladesh

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For the first time, Catholic nuns have been the target of a concerted, brutal attack in Bangladesh involving a late-night attack by dozens of men that lasted over an hour. “50 to 60 armed men attacked the Boldipukur mission on July 7 at 2 a.m., and specifically the presbytery, the convent and the hospital,” Bishop […]

Christian Exodus from Iraq Accelerates
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Christian Exodus from Iraq Accelerates

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The migration of Christians out of Iraq will accelerate. This was the view held by the head of the Chaldean-Catholic Church, Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako. In an interview with the international Catholic pastoral charity, Aid to the Church in Need given on Saturday, June 28th in Ankawa, near Erbil, he said, “When I was […]

Iraq: "We Fear a Civil War"
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Iraq: “We Fear a Civil War”

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“We fear a civil war. If the various different opposing internal parties do not succeed in finding an agreement, then we must expect the worst. Another war would mean the end, especially for us Christians.” This was the message from Chaldean Auxiliary Bishop Saad Syroub of Baghdad, speaking to Catholic charity Aid to the Church […]

Catholics in Mongolia: Steady Growth in Difficult Territory
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Catholics in Mongolia: Steady Growth in Difficult Territory

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According to a local Catholic leader, the Catholic Church is growing steadily in Mongolia, despite all the obstacles it faces. The Apostolic Administrator of Ulaanbaatar, Bishop Wenceslao Selga Padilla, made his comments while visiting international Catholic pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN). Bishop Wenceslao, originally from the Philippines, has headed the Apostolic […]

Holy Land - Preparing for Pope Francis
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Holy Land – Preparing for Pope Francis

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When Pope Paul VI visited the Holy Land, Auxiliary Bishop Marcuzzo was still only a seminarian, but to this day he remains impressed by the visit. Now, 50 years later, other seminarians are preparing for the visit of a new Pope. Returning to the sources: this was the goal Pope Paul VI had set himself […]

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