The ‘surrender’ of a Syrian girl gives face to the plight of refugee children

Beirut, Lebanon, Apr 4, 2015 / 04:01 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A photo that went viral last week depicting a young Syrian child “surrendering” in front of a camera she thought to be a gun is but a mere hint at the trauma which displaced and refugee children face across the Middle East, an aid worker says. “In regards to the children, it’s a very bleak and complex (situation). Circumstances are not good at all,” Zerene Haddad told CNA during a March 31 phone call from … [Read more...]

Christians returning to Homs, Syria, even though Islamic State looms

Homs, Syria, Apr 1, 2015 / 02:01 am (Aid to the Church in Need).- In the wake of the Syrian regime’s taking full control of the ancient Christian city of Homs almost a year ago, a measure of normality has returned for local residents – including a remnant of the Christian population. The long-time home of Sunnis, Alawites, and Christians living in relative harmony, the city suffered some of the worst fighting of Syria’s now five year-old civil war that has left the major … [Read more...]

Three weeks as an Islamic State captive – one woman tells her story

Erbil, Iraq, Mar 31, 2015 / 04:02 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The woman was just 19 years old when she was captured by militants from the Islamic State. Caring for her young son and pregnant with her second child, she was separated from her husband and told that she would be forced to marry a member of ISIS. Her harrowing story is not unique, but the fact that she escaped places her in the minority of those who face the similar terror of life as an ISIS captive. The woman's name, and that of … [Read more...]

With #BringBackOurGirls no longer trending, Nigerians aghast at ‘inaction’ from donors

Abuja, Nigeria, Mar 30, 2015 / 02:08 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Almost a year after the terror group Boko Haram kidnapped hundreds of Nigerian school girls, humanitarian workers are fighting what they call global inaction in the face of the humanitarian crisis. Most of the girls abducted from Chibok have not been rescued, though some have escaped on their own. “That sends a strong message to us – not just to Nigerians, but to the human race – that 200 and something girls could be … [Read more...]

Pope’s delegation offers comfort, communion to Iraqi refugees

Erbil, Iraq, Mar 28, 2015 / 06:00 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Hoping to awaken the world conscience on Iraq, a Pontifical delegation traveled to Erbil and Dohuk to foster local communion and shed light on the dramatic plight of Christians in the country. The delegation also offered an icon of Our Lady Undoer of Knots, blessed by Pope Francis, to the local bishops. “Our goal is to foster communion among Caritas and the other charitable agencies operating in Iraq to assist internally … [Read more...]

Palestinian president may visit Vatican a second time for canonization Mass

Jerusalem, Israel, Mar 26, 2015 / 02:04 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Nearly a year since taking part in a prayer for Middle East peace in the Vatican Gardens, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has been invited to the Vatican a second time, for the canonization Mass of two Palestinians. Bl. Marie-Alphonsine Ghattas and Bl. Mariam Baouardy were both Palestinians born in the 19th century, and foundresses of religious orders. They are to be canonized at a Mass celebrated in the Vatican May 17. The … [Read more...]

A ‘spiritual oasis’ – Southern Arabian cathedral celebrates 50 years

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Mar 23, 2015 / 05:33 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The Vicariate Apostolic of Southern Arabia, which serves the more than 2 million Catholics in the United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Yemen, last week celebrated the 50th anniversary of its cathedral parish. On March 19, Bishop Paul Hinder, Vicar Apostolic of Southern Arabia, said a Mass of thanksgiving to mark the anniversary of the founding of St. Joseph's Cathedral, located in Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab … [Read more...]