Persecution, Suffering

Before you read the letter and appeal below for the Christians persecuted, crucified, slaughtered, and chased from their homes in Syria and Iraq by ISIS, I want to tell you my own story.

A month ago we were in Istanbul and we heard a liturgy going on in the side chapel. We could tell it was not familiar, that it must be an Eastern Rite liturgy. Afterwards we talk to the small group with their priest who had been celebrating the Mass. We found that they had just escaped from Iraq where their whole village and their relatives were being slaughtered and killed. They had escaped across the border into Turkey with only the shirts on their backs. It left us all in tears and very moved.

Now read below and see if you are able to help some of these Christians fighting for their lives their family and their faith.

This year, the Child Jesus will be born amid the containers, halls and schools crammed with Christian refugees who fled Mosul pushed by the militias of the Islamic State, Mosul Archbishop Mgr Amel Nona said to us a in a letter.

 A refugee himself in Kurdistan, he is working on meeting the emergency spiritual and material needs of his flock. Yet, he notes, despite the misery of losing everything, Christian refugees have not lost the faith or the desire to bear witness to it in their own land, from which they were expelled.

 Mgr Nona’s letter, which we publish in its entirety, is a response to the third transfer of funds raised through ‘Adopt a Christian from Mosul’ campaign. In November, AsiaNews transferred 212,901.88 Euros. If we include 672,517.72 Euros already transferred, we reach a total contribution of 885,419.6 Euros. In view of such abundant generosity, our gratitude goes to the Lord and all of you who contributed, in some cases by giving up certain things.

 Many readers and friends have asked us whether the campaign will go on, if “adopting” a Christian from Mosul means that help will continue beyond the immediate crisis. We think so since Christians – but also Yazidis and Muslims – are still living in a situation of emergency with radical and essential needs that must be met. Our refugee brothers and sisters remain in need of solidarity.

 Even Pope Francis, a few days ago, sent a message to the Christians of Mosul in Kurdistan in which he expressed his closeness and desire to be with them.

 During a visit to refugees in Kurdistan, the Chaldean patriarch of Baghdad, Louis Sako, called on fellow Christians in Iraq to fast before Christmas and celebrate the holidays – including New Year – with moderation in order to be close to the pain and sense of loss people have experienced because of their faith, and to call on the Lord Jesus to help them go home, to Mosul.

At AsiaNews, we call on all of our friends to do the same, fast and celebrate with moderation, and send any of the money saved as a donation to meet the needs of our refugee brothers and sisters through the ‘Adopt a Christian from Mosul’ campaign.

 Wishing you a Christmas full of fraternity and gratitude.

Fr. Bernardo Cervellera

Donations can be made in a number of ways. Indicate that the donation is for ‘AsiaNews – Adopt a Christian from Mosul’:

 - Via Credit Card with Paypal

 - Via Credit Card from site (Click on ‘Your Donation – Donate’)

 - Italian postal account no. 45443009, payable to the Pontificio Istituto Missioni Estere, under “causale” ‘AsiaNews – Adopt a Christian from Mosul’

 - Via bank transfer to the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) – AsiaNews – C/C 05000/1000/00118726

at BANCA PROSSIMA S.p.A. for social enterprises and communities, Gruppo Intesa Sanpaolo MILAN BRANCH

Address: PIAZZA PAOLO FERRARI, 10 20121 MILANO (MI) ITALY

Bank details/IBAN: IT98G0335901600100000118726

Swift Code: BCITITMX

Causale (payment for) ‘AsiaNews – Adopt a Christian from Mosul’

- Via bank draft, addressed to

AsiaNews c/o PIME, Via Guerrazzi 11, 00152 Rome RM, Italy

 For donations that can benefit from a tax deduction/credit:

Bank transfer payable to: Fondazione PIME Onlus, Credito Valtellinese S.C. – Piazza San Fedele, 4-20121 MILAN (Italy)

IBAN IT 11 W 05 216 000 000 005 733 01630. Bank Identifier Code (BIC): BPCVIT2S

Please, always send a fax (to 02.4695193) or an email (to uam@pimemilano.com) to confirm the transfer, specifying name and address (to receive tax deduction/credit receipt) 

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On Sunday Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew signed a joint declaration affirming their common commitment to full Christian unity as well as their support for suffering Christians in the Middle East.

“We cannot resign ourselves to a Middle East without Christians, who have professed the name of Jesus there for two thousand years,” the joint statement reads.

Sunday marked the third and final day of Pope Francis’ trip to Turkey, and coincided with the Christian feast of the apostle Saint Andrew, of special significance to the Orthodox Church. Andrew was brother to Saint Peter and the Orthodox consider Patriarch Bartholomew to be his successor.

The joint statement calls on Middle East leaders to do all in their power to enable Christians to remain in their native land. “Many of our brothers and sisters are being persecuted and have been forced violently from their homes,” the declaration reads. “It even seems that the value of human life has been lost, that the human person no longer matters and may be sacrificed to other interests.”

The two leaders describe the tragic situation of Christians in the Middle East as “an ecumenism of suffering” drawing Christians closer together. Just as the blood of the martyrs was a seed of strength and fertility for the Church, the declaration continues, “so, too, the sharing of daily sufferings can become an effective instrument of unity.”

“The terrible situation of Christians and all those who are suffering in the Middle East calls not only for our constant prayer, but also for an appropriate response on the part of the international community,” the declaration says.

Thomas D. Williams can be followed on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome

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The Bishop with all our Clergy in Thessaloniki

The ancient Christian writer and theologian Tertullian once asked the Church, “What does Athens have to do with Jerusalem?”

He asked the question as Christianity spread from Israel into the Greek world; and as Greek intellectuals looked for deeper insight into the Christian mystery. Tertullian was asking whether pagan Greek culture—philosophy, poetry, the arts, history and literature—had anything of value for those first missionaries proclaiming the Christian gospel.

Two weeks ago, on a plane landing in Athens, I asked myself Tertullian’s question.  I was in Athens to begin a spiritual pilgrimage to Greece and Turkey “in the footsteps of St. Paul.” I was with a group of pilgrims celebrating the 15th anniversary of Spirit Catholic Radio: eight priests from Lincoln and Omaha; three deacons;140 lay Catholics from across Nebraska and beyond. 

We were led by Steve and Janet Ray, expert pilgrim leaders, and Jim and Karol Carroll of Spirit Catholic Radio. It was a joy and a grace for me to walk as a pilgrim in the footsteps of St. Paul, the great Apostle to the Gentiles, with fellow disciples of Jesus Christ from our state.

Our Ship Docked on Island of Patmos

By cruise ship on the Aegean Sea, we visited and celebrated Holy Mass in Thessoloniki, Philippi, Istanbul, Pergamon, Ephesus, Patmos, Athens and Corinth. We heard talks at these holy sites, given by Steve Ray, Catholic convert, author and film maker, who leads Catholic pilgrimages all over the world.  We heard inspiring homilies by holy priests. We prayed together for all the special prayer intentions we brought with us from home.

Everywhere I traveled, I asked myself “what does Athens have to do with Jerusalem?” In Athens itself I learned the answer: Athens has everything to do with Jerusalem.  The Gospel can only really be understood in the midst of understanding culture; to understand Christianity as Western Catholics, we need to understand the fundamental history of western civilization.

The Bishop and Steve on Mars Hill in Athens where St. Paul Taught

When St. Paul arrived in Athens, he preached the gospel at the famous Areopagus, a gathering place just beneath the Parthenon. He was able to speak to the Greeks in their own language. He was able to quote Greek poets and philosophers. He appealed to Greeks in their own cultural language because he was schooled in Tarsus, the successor to the school of Athens as the center of learning and education in Asia Minor.

Paul was run out of town after his first visit to Athens.  But he was able to plant the Lord’s seeds of conversion in the hearts and minds of the Athenians—the movers and shakers of the ancient world. He would eventually come back to cultivate those seeds that were planted.

Paul was able to use his fluency with the language, culture and customs of the Greek world in order to present the compelling message of Jesus Christ in a way that was attractive and persuasive. To be sure, St. Paul suffered a great deal during his missionary journeys to the Greek world. The Greeks were highly educated and influential. They were also utterly pagan. They worshiped false gods, they were self-indulgent and decadent, and they were infatuated with progress, technology, and the latest new fad. Paul preached to a world not much different than ours today….

The whole article is excellent and you can read the rest of it HERE. Also on Zenit.org.

You will find out why the picture below was the highlight of Bishop Conley’s trip.

Iraqi's in Athens

 

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Iraqi Nuns Slam Media Silence on Middle East Christian Persecution

September 23, 2014

Sometimes it takes a David to defeat a Goliath – or, in this case, unassuming nuns to speak where the media remain silent.  Speaking out for Christians persecuted in the Middle East, Mother Olga Yaqob and Sister Hatune Dogan slammed the American media for keeping silent. The nuns spoke with MRC during the In Defense of [...]

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Victims of Radical Islam – Graphic Images…

August 26, 2014

This is what happens to people who will not convert to Islam when the radicals come calling. ISIS (IS) is an example of what can happen when Islam is unfettered. I’ve heard it said, “The only good Muslim is a bad Muslim” meaning one who does not really follow the Koran completely. Luke 14:27 “Whoever [...]

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Adopt a Christian in Mosul – I just did!

August 9, 2014

Visit Asia News at http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Adopt-a-Christian-from-Mosul-to-respond-directly-to-Iraq’s-emergency-31845.html AsiaNews is launching a fundraiser to support Christians targeted by the Islamic State, thus responding to a request by the Patriarch of Baghdad and Pope Francis’s urgent appeal “to guarantee all necessary assistance – especially the most urgently needed aid – to the great multitude of people who have been driven [...]

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Patriarch of Iraq YELLS at the World; “Where are You?” His Words Here – Steve to discuss this topic today on Al Kresta Show

August 8, 2014

Steve will join the Al Kresta Show on Ave Maria Radio from 5:20 – 6:00 to discuss the slaughter of Christians in Iraq and the silence of the world. Iraq’s Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako: a Voice in the Desert Catholic Leader Appeals to Pope, Brother Bishops: ‘Speeches Are Good for Nothing’ ROME, August 08, 2014 [...]

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Christians Branded before Death or Exile: the Arabic letter for “n” – Nazarene

August 5, 2014

Branded: Nazarene (CNA Catholic News Association) Have you seen this symbol? This is the arabic letter “nun,” the first letter in the word “Nazarene.” In Mosul, Iraq, it has been painted on doors to identify the homes of Christians who are then brutally beaten and often executed. A militant Sunni organization known as the Islamic State [...]

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A Good Priest Friend in Deep Water Concerning Homosexuality after Teaching JPII’s “Theology of the Body”

March 31, 2014

  My good friend Fr. Kauth from Charlotte NC is embroiled in a huge fracas because of teaching JPII’s Theology of the Body in a Catholic High School. He is the chaplain at the high school. He invited a Dominican Sister to give a speech. She has a doctorate in theology. In the course of [...]

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Radical Muslim Rebels in Syria Torturing and Killing Christians – Graphic Pictures

November 13, 2013

WARNING: GRAPHIC PICTURES: My Comments. This is just one of many instances of Christians being killed by the so-called “rebels” in Syria. I’ve read many accounts and have seen videos of whole villages of Christians being slaughtered. Isn’t it amazing that Pres. Obama is arming these Muslim rebels who end up killing the Christians. The [...]

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80 Executed Publicly in North Korea, Several For Possessing Bibles

November 13, 2013

Authorities Carry Out Death Sentences in Several Cities Around the Country By Junno Arocho Esteves VATICAN CITY, November 12, 2013 (Zenit.org) – A South Korean news agency has reported that an estimated 80 people were executed in seven cities in North Korea, some of whom were executed for possessing Bibles. According to the Korea Joongang [...]

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