For Holy Land youth, sports center to be ground for dialogue, peace

Jerusalem, Israel, Dec 4, 2014 / 02:05 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Franciscans in the Holy Land have launched a new project to bring together young people from different cultural and religious backgrounds to share in the “common language” of sports. Father Quirico Calella, O.F.M., director of Acre’s Terra Santa School, said there is “a real need” for a multicultural and multi-purpose sports center like the planned Tau Sports Center. “In the evening, the various … [Read more...]

How Christian division hampers peace, reconciliation in Holy Land

Jerusalem, Israel, Dec 3, 2014 / 12:47 pm (CNA).- The lack of unity among Christians is one of the factors that keeps them from playing a mediatory role in the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis, according to the head of the Franciscans in the Middle East. “Here in the Holy Land, we Christians are irrelevant. There are too few of us. In addition, we are confessionally divided,” Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, O.F.M., Custos of the Holy Land, told Aid to the Church in … [Read more...]

Syrian refugees pursue education for their children, in hope for the future

Amman, Jordan, Nov 30, 2014 / 04:48 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Refugees of the Syrian civil war say their new life has many burdens, but they hope that education for their children will ensure a brighter future. “When we remember the old days, we ask: how could we complain so much?” Nariman el Kourdi, a Syrian refugee living in the Jordanian city of Ramtha, told reporters through a translator Oct 27. El Kourdi now lives in the Bwoida village in Ramtha, a northwestern Jordanian city … [Read more...]

Pope’s visit could draw attention to refugees in Turkey

Istanbul, Turkey, Nov 30, 2014 / 03:08 pm (CNA).- The head of a charitable agency in Turkey voiced hope that Pope Francis’ visit will shine a light on the dramatic plight of refugees there, who fled the Syrian civil war and other regional conflicts. “There are 1.7 million Syrian refugees in Turkey; in Istanbul alone, there are 700,000. When you walk around downtown Istanbul, there are plenty of poor kids who beg,” said Rinaldo Marmara, president of Caritas Turkey. He … [Read more...]

‘Things will change!’ – Turkish girls hopeful after Pope’s visit

Istanbul, Turkey, Nov 30, 2014 / 01:47 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis’ visit to Turkey may change the traction Christians have in a country that is almost entirely Muslim, said two Turkish young women who had the occasion to greet the Pope on his recent trip. Baram, a nearly 30-year-old woman with a degree in French Literature, told CNA that “there is a group of people here in Turkey that does not understand Christianity, or simply they are not interested in … [Read more...]

Islamic State destroys convent in Mosul

Mosul, Iraq, Nov 27, 2014 / 04:02 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Local media are reporting that on Monday, Islamic State militants blew up a convent and St. George's parish in Mosul, an Iraqi city captured by the Islamists in June. A resident of Mosul said “that cries of Allahu Akbar ‘God is Great’ rose from many mosques in the city as Islamist militants blew up the church located in one of Mosul’s Arab neighborhoods,” Rudaw, a Kurdish media outlet based in Erbil, … [Read more...]

Facing Boko Haram, Nigerians ‘storm the heavens with prayers’

Jos, Nigeria, Nov 23, 2014 / 04:08 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Boko Haram's expansion has meant murders, forced conversion, and forcible expulsion from homes, causing Catholics in Nigeria to pray and to reach out to help and console the militant Islamist group’s victims. “Brothers and sisters, there is no better time to storm the heavens with prayers and petitions than now,” Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Jos said during a national prayer pilgrimage Nov. 13-14. Thousands of … [Read more...]