Author Archive for ACN-USA News

A Lent of Tears
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A Lent of Tears

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By Archbishop Samir Nassar An apocalypse In six years of war the face of Syria has been completely transformed. A large wasteland of ruins, pulverized buildings, burned out homes, neighborhoods turned into ghost towns, villages razed to the ground … and more than 12 million Syrians (half the population) don’t have roofs over their heads […]

In Paraguay, Women Religious Work Where Priests Can Rarely Visit
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In Paraguay, Women Religious Work Where Priests Can Rarely Visit

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By Jacques Berset WHEN the Missionary Sisters of Jesus, Verbo y Víctima from Peru arrived toward the end of the 20th century, it caused a veritable sensation in the rural enclaves of Virgen del Carmelo de Villa Ygatimy, a sprawling community northeast of Paraguay’s capital of Asunción. Today, the sisters serve some 20,000 faithful through […]

A 'Marshall Plan' for Iraq: Rebuilding Christian Villages on the Nineveh Plains
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A ‘Marshall Plan’ for Iraq: Rebuilding Christian Villages on the Nineveh Plains

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By Maria Lozano NEW YORK—“Hope is coming back to the Nineveh plains!” That is the verdict of the Middle East expert of Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), the international Catholic charity. Just back from a fact-finding mission to the region in northern Iraq recently liberated from the grip of ISIS, Father Andrzej Halemba […]

Mother and Son Survived Two Years Under the Thumb of the Islamic State
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Mother and Son Survived Two Years Under the Thumb of the Islamic State

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By Jaco Klamer Late last year, Ismail fled Mosul with his mother Jandark Behnam Mansour Nassi (55), the two having survived ISIS’ reign of terror for two years. From the safety of Erbil, Kurdistan, the Iraqi Christians, former residents of the town of Bartella, on the Nineveh plain, told their story to international Catholic charity […]

A Christmas Letter from Aleppo
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A Christmas Letter from Aleppo

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By Father Ziad Hilal, S.J. ALEPPO, Syria–For the past few days, Aleppo city has been breathing sighs of relief. Since the rebels reached an agreement with the regime forces and its allies to evacuate all civilians and militants from their last stronghold in east Aleppo city, there finally can be some peace. From the very […]

Aleppo is Burning: Three Days in the Life of a City Under Siege
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Aleppo is Burning: Three Days in the Life of a City Under Siege

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The following report is written by an Aleppo-based Jesuit priest, who preferred to remain anonymous. Dec. 8, 2016 In the last few days the news has come in thick and fast. The government forces have been retaking the zones that it has lost control of ever since 2012. The people here are hoping this military […]

On the Nineveh Plane, German ISIS Fighters Left Their Mark
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On the Nineveh Plane, German ISIS Fighters Left Their Mark

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By Maria Lozano NEW YORK—In an eerie reminder of the ISIS has had in recruiting foreign fighters, provocative graffiti in German was found on the wall of a chapel during an inspection of the small town of Batnaya, on the Nineveh Plane. The small town, just 10 miles from Mosul, was recently recaptured from ISIS. […]

Iraq's Displaced Christians 'Will Go Back Home,' Once Their Safety is Assured
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Iraq’s Displaced Christians ‘Will Go Back Home,’ Once Their Safety is Assured

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By Maria Lozano NEW YORK—According to a leading Iraqi prelate, the country’s displaced Christians currently stranded in Kurdistan are unlikely to be able to return to their homes on the Nineveh Plane until Mosul is liberated and the region is completely pacified. In an interview with international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need […]

With Just One Place to Worship, Somalia is a Dangerous Place for Christians
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With Just One Place to Worship, Somalia is a Dangerous Place for Christians

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By Mónica Zorita de la Morena NEW YORK—“Even if work has to be done silently, it is better to be here than not be here.” These are the words of Bishop Giorgio Bertin, the apostolic administrator of Mogadishu, Somalia. The prelate, who has been in the region for almost 40 years and also has responsibility […]

Iraqi Christians Rejoice Over Liberation of Qaraqosh
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Iraqi Christians Rejoice Over Liberation of Qaraqosh

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By Maria Lozano NEW YORK (Oct. 19, 2016)—Qaraqosh, a formerly major Christian town on Iraq’s Nineveh Plain has been liberated as part of the campaign to liberate Mosul, Iraq’s largest city. Before ISIS overran the Plane in the summer of 2014, Qaraqosh, which is also knows Baghdida, had a population of 50,000, the great majority […]

Syria: More Than One Million Children Sign Appeal for Peace
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Syria: More Than One Million Children Sign Appeal for Peace

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NEW YORK (Oct. 6, 2016)—This week, children at more than 2000 schools across Syria are drawing their images of peace and writing messages to the political decision-makers of the European Union and the United Nations under the motto “Peace for Children.” More than one million children are also signing a petition. This appeal for peace […]

Sisters in Bosnia: 'We Are There for the Children That Need Us'
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Sisters in Bosnia: ‘We Are There for the Children That Need Us’

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By Rolf Bauerdick NEW YORK (Aug. 24, 2016)—Katarina (19) has spent 17 years under the care of Sisters Admirata and Manda who run a home in Sarajevo, the Bosnian capital, for orphans and abandoned children. As an infant, Katarina was left in the care of her grandmother who could not handle the responsibility of caring […]

Christian-Muslim Relations Have Taken Turn for Worse in the Philippines
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Christian-Muslim Relations Have Taken Turn for Worse in the Philippines

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By M.Z. de la Morena  NEW YORK—Father ather Sebastiano D’Ambra, PIME, an Italian missionary, has spent almost 40 years in the Philippines, working for dialogue and peace between Christians and Muslims. His long-time positive outlook has recently changed drastically. “Before, the Philippines was a dream place for interreligious dialogue; there was complete harmony. But now […]

A Cry for Help from Carmelite Nuns in Aleppo, Syria
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A Cry for Help from Carmelite Nuns in Aleppo, Syria

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By Marta Petrosillo  NEW YORK—“The situation is a complicated and we are hearing many contradictory stories. The only truth we do know is that the people here are suffering and dying.” The words are those of Sister Anne-Françoise, a French religious of the Enclosed and Apostolic Discalced Carmelite Sisters of Aleppo, Syria. She spoke by […]

World Youth Day 2016 Pilgrim Confronts Addiction: 'The Gospel Heals'
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World Youth Day 2016 Pilgrim Confronts Addiction: ‘The Gospel Heals’

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By M. Z. de la Morena NEW YORK—Just a few years ago, if anyone had told Miguel that he would be speaking to Pope Francis in front of thousands of young people in Poland—telling the story of how he overcame his addiction to drugs—he would never have believed them. But that is exactly what Miguel […]

In Venezuela, 'The People Are Afraid'
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In Venezuela, ‘The People Are Afraid’

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By Maria Lozano NEW YORK—Venezuela was once the country of dreams—but those dreams have turned into nightmares. Such is the sad verdict of one of the country’s bishops. Case in point, Bishop Jaime Villarroel of the Diocese of Carúpano, told international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need: Most of the young people in […]

Iraq: ISIS Abandons a Town, Destruction Remains
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Iraq: ISIS Abandons a Town, Destruction Remains

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By Mark Riedemann TELSKUF, IRAQ (July 5, 2016)—It is the silence that you notice first. Not just a lack of noise but an absence of sounds. Even the birds have left. I am in Telskuf, Iraq, about 20 miles north of the Islamic State (ISIS) stronghold of Mosul and a mile and-a-half from the front […]

In Armenia, the Pope Will Visit a Very Special Convent
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In Armenia, the Pope Will Visit a Very Special Convent

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By M.Z. de la Morena  GYUMR?, Armenia—Sister Arousiag proudly points out the dormitory of the convent of Our Lady of Armenia here: it is where Pope Francis will rest for a few hours on the second day of his June 24-26, 2016 visit to Armenia. “It is the best room we have,” she assures a […]

'Mother Teresa Was the Best Missionary of the Millennium'
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‘Mother Teresa Was the Best Missionary of the Millennium’

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By Eva-Maria Kolmann NEW YORK—An Indian prelate has described Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, who will be canonized by Pope Francis Sept. 4, 2016, as the “best missionary of the millennium.” Bishop Salvadore Lobo of Baruipur, who headed the canonization committee, reported that Christ had said to Mother Teresa in a vision: “Go into the houses, […]

Thousands of Children in Syria Pray for Peace
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Thousands of Children in Syria Pray for Peace

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By Eva-Maria Kolmann  NEW YORK—On June 1, thousands of Christian children of all denominations gathered in several Syrian cities to celebrate “International Children’s Day” as a day of prayer for peace. In Homs, the occasion marked the first public event held with children since the liberation of the city by the Syrian regime. Christian television […]

'Armenians, Whether Catholic or Orthodox, Love the Pope'
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‘Armenians, Whether Catholic or Orthodox, Love the Pope’

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By Oliver Maksan NEW YORK—Pope Francis’ upcoming visit to Armenia is boosting spirits and creating high expectations: “The Holy Father is coming to strengthen us Armenians in our faith. We Armenians, no matter whether Catholic or Orthodox, love him. After all, he recognized the genocide of our people. We will always remember him for that.” […]

In Malawi, Church Eyes Islamic Radicalization With Concern
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In Malawi, Church Eyes Islamic Radicalization With Concern

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By Eva-Maria Kolmann  NEW YORK—A bishop from Malawi has expressed concern about the growing trend towards Islamization in his Mangochi Diocese, in the south of the country. Speaking with international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, Bishop Stima Monfort stressed that traditional Islam in Malawi has been moderate and that Christians and Muslims […]

A Tale of Mercy in Rwanda
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A Tale of Mercy in Rwanda

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Hope in the midst of hopelessness “Christ revealed Himself to Sister Faustina between the two World Wars” reflects Fr. Stanislaw. “At a moment of deep hopelessness, when people were afflicted with tragedy after an evil that was done, exactly in this very moment, out of the deepest hopelessness when everything was lost, ruined, God revealed […]

Syria: 'Things Were Never So Bad in Aleppo Before'
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Syria: ‘Things Were Never So Bad in Aleppo Before’

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By Oliver Maksan NEW YORK—In an urgent appeal to the outside world, Franciscan Father Ibrahim Alsabagh is calling on Christians throughout the world to pray for the Syrian city of Aleppo, currently caught up in the midst of heavy fighting. “Never, since the beginning of this terrible war were things as bad as they are […]

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