Author Archive for ACN-USA News

ISIS Erases 'Symbol of Christian Presence in Iraq'
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ISIS Erases ‘Symbol of Christian Presence in Iraq’

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By Oliver Maksan Confirmation that Iraq’s oldest Christian monastery has been completely destroyed by ISIS has caused widespread distress in Iraq. “St. Elijah’s monastery in Mosul was a symbol of the Christian presence in Iraq. The fact that it has been destroyed is terrible,” Father Dankha Issa told international Catholic charity Aid to the Church. […]

In Syria, Food is 'The Most Deadly Weapon of War'
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In Syria, Food is ‘The Most Deadly Weapon of War’

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By John Pontifex NEW YORK—Food has become “the most deadly weapon of war” in Syria, according to a leading Catholic charity’s Middle East expert, who charged that both government and rebel forces are blocking humanitarian aid to force entire communities—already on the brink of starvation—to submit to their rule. He added that rebels have confiscated […]

In Bethlehem Then and Now, 'Jesus is the Door to Peace'
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In Bethlehem Then and Now, ‘Jesus is the Door to Peace’

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By Oliver Maksan JOSEPH AND MARY quietly rocked the child. Shepherds gathered around them. Children in costumes were enacting the Nativity of Jesus the subterranean chapels tucked away into nooks and crannies under the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. A silver star marks the birthplace in a grotto right nearby. The young actors that […]

Christmas Letters From the Middle East
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Christmas Letters From the Middle East

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Chaldean Patriarch Louis Sako I—celebrating Christmas in ‘silence and amidst tears’ The feast of the birth of Christ is one of the greatest feasts celebrated by millions of Christians around the world and particularly in Iraq. But this year Iraqi Christians will celebrate Christmas in deplorable circumstances, one the one hand because of the deteriorating […]

In Year of Mercy, Catholics in Middle East 'will pray for Daesh'
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In Year of Mercy, Catholics in Middle East ‘will pray for Daesh’

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By Oliver Maksan The Holy Year of Mercy, solemnly inaugurated by Pope Francis in Rome Dec. 8, 2015—on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception—is being hailed by Catholics throughout the Arab world International Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) gathered some impressions. Father Dankha Issa is a Chaldean monk in Alqosh. Last […]

"Camp Virgin Mary." Displaced Iraqis get Chapel in Baghdad
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“Camp Virgin Mary.” Displaced Iraqis get Chapel in Baghdad

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By Oliver Maksan BAGHDAD—Father Luis Montes is glad and he has reason to be: “We have just consecrated a new chapel. It was high time that our refugees got their own small church. This gives them back a piece of the home they have lost. And the people can now go to Mass without risking […]

God's Grace Shines a Light in Syria's Darkness
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God’s Grace Shines a Light in Syria’s Darkness

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By Eliane També ALEPPO, Syria—War rages on in Syria. Aleppo, the country’s major business center—what’s left of it—is a city at war, subject to regular bombardments by various factions fighting for dominance. Last year, a mother of two sons, 48-year-old Joumana Jarjour, a Melkite Catholic, was gravely wounded by scrapnel from a rocket that landed […]

Pope Francis in Uganda: Honoring Martyrs, Firing Up the Faith
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Pope Francis in Uganda: Honoring Martyrs, Firing Up the Faith

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By Claire Creegan NEW YORK—Pope Francis’ scheduled Mass in Uganda in observance of the 50th anniversary of the canonization of the Ugandan Martyrs will help revitalize the faith of one of Africa’s youngest Churches, a local Church official said. In an interview with international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, Msgr. John Baptist Kauta, […]

Thousands of Syrian Christians are Fleeing ISIS Assault
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Thousands of Syrian Christians are Fleeing ISIS Assault

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By Oliver Maksan NEW YORK—Thousands of Syrian Christians are fleeing after fierce attacks by ISIS on the town of Sadad and its surroundings, reported Syrian Orthodox Archbishop Selwanos Boutros Alnemeh of Homs. Sadad is some 35 miles south of Homs and 65 miles north east of the Syrian capital of Damascus. The region has been […]

A Rarity in a Cuban Suburb: a New Church Will Be Built
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A Rarity in a Cuban Suburb: a New Church Will Be Built

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By Oliver Maksan HAVANA, Cuba—The skyline of the suburb of Guiteras, on the outskirts of the Cuban capital, is dominated by grey prefabricated buildings that are crumbling badly, weakened by the moist tropical temperatures. Some 32000 people live in this place that looks like so many others on the island nation. But Guiteras is very […]

Hindu Radicals Would Evict All Foreign Christian Leaders From Nepal
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Hindu Radicals Would Evict All Foreign Christian Leaders From Nepal

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Requesting anonymity, Catholic sources in Nepal have told the international Catholic charity, Aid to the Church in Need, about growing fears within the country’s small Christian population for their future safety in Nepal. In the early hours of Sept. 14, 2015, three Protestant churches were bombed in eastern Nepal where the Christian population is most […]

Syrian Prelate Bemoans Christian Exodus
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Syrian Prelate Bemoans Christian Exodus

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By Marta Petrosillo ROME—“We Christians are determined to stay on in Syria and continue to give our witness.” Grim-faced and speaking with determination, Chaldean Archbishop Antoine Audo of Aleppo, Syria, addressed media here today. The archbishop commented on the mass exodus of Syrians, spurred on in recent weeks by the welcome shown by some European […]

Jerusalem Carmelites Live Where Jesus Once Prayed
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Jerusalem Carmelites Live Where Jesus Once Prayed

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By Oliver Maksan JERUSALEM—“Welcome to our new reception room;” Sister Agathe offered her visitor a warm greeting. The nun is in charge of finances for the Carmelite Sisters’ convent on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. Substantial renovations were just completed. Everything is clean and bright. “The renovations help us to receive guests better, while […]

In Ukraine, 'You Have Be Crazy About God to Persevere'
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In Ukraine, ‘You Have Be Crazy About God to Persevere’

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By Eva-Maria Kolmann NEW YORK—“Priests who do not have a calling will not last long here in the Ukraine.” Such, plain and simple, is the verdict of Roman Catholic Bishop Bronislaw Bernacki of Odessa-Simferopol. Soviet-era communism may be long gone, but the local Church is still in rebuilding mode, the prelate said in an interview […]

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 […]

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