Papal envoy meets with officials, displaced persons in Erbil

Erbil, Iraq, Aug 14, 2014 / 12:03 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis' special envoy to Iraq has safely arrived in Erbil, the Holy See press officer said Thursday, adding that he has met with displaced persons and will meet with the Iraqi president later in the day. In an Aug. 14 briefing with journalists in Seoul, where Pope Francis is visiting for the next five days, Fr. Federico Lombardi announced that Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of … [Read more...]

Franciscans determined to keep Christianity in Holy Land

Jerusalem, Israel, Aug 13, 2014 / 02:03 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Despite the stresses of alternating violence and ceasefires between Hamas and Israel, Franciscans in the Holy Land are committed to helping the region's Christians remain in their homeland. “We pray and we work,” said Father Peter Vasko, O.F.M., president of the Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land. “That's how we will help preserve the Christian presence in the Holy Land. That’s our … [Read more...]

Iraqi Christians facing risk of genocide, patriarch warns

Baghdad, Iraq, Aug 7, 2014 / 10:41 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The seizure of Iraq’s largest Christian town has prompted a mass exodus of refugees, which a leading Catholic bishop described as a Way of the Cross that could become a genocide unless the global community intervenes.   “They are facing a human catastrophe and risk a real genocide. They need water, food, shelter,” Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako of Babylon said in an Aug. 7 open … [Read more...]

Catholic groups unite to help Iraqis ousted by extremists

Mosul, Iraq, Aug 6, 2014 / 04:00 am (CNA).- Catholic Relief Services and Caritas have agreed to a common plan to help those who have fled from their homes in the portions of northern Iraq now controlled by the Islamic State. The militant Sunni Islamist organization Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant was among the rebels fighting in the Syrian civil war; this spring it spread its operations to Iraq, taking control of Mosul and swaths of territory in the country's north and west. It has … [Read more...]

Do not become a prisoner of fear, Nigerian bishop urges

Jos, Nigeria, Aug 6, 2014 / 02:06 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Jos, a city in northern Nigeria, has stressed the importance of remaining present to his people despite the looming threat posed by the radical Islamist group Boko Haram. “I go out. I never miss any public functions or ceremonies. That tells (my priest and religious) that I am with them, and with the people,” Archbishop Kaigama told Aid to the Church in Need July 31 while in New York. “I go … [Read more...]

Aid workers grateful for Gaza ceasefire, but remain wary

Jerusalem, Israel, Aug 5, 2014 / 04:56 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A new 72-hour ceasefire between Israel and Hamas is offering locals and aid workers invaluable time to safely secure essential supplies, but many remain skeptical that it will bring an end to the region’s ongoing violence. “Everyone, unfortunately, has become very skeptical of the ceasefires at this point,” said Matthew McGarry, Catholic Relief Services’ representative for Jerusalem, Gaza and the West … [Read more...]

Catholic religious brother dies of Ebola in Liberia

Monrovia, Liberia, Aug 5, 2014 / 03:41 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Saint Joseph’s Catholic Hospital and the Hospitaller Order of Saint John of God in Liberia have announced that a hospital director passed away Aug. 2 after contracting the Ebola virus. Brother Patrick Nshamdze, 52, had been a member of the Hospitaller Order of Saint John of God for 23 years. He reportedly contracted the Ebola virus on July 29, just two weeks after testing negative for the illness. So far the Ebola virus has … [Read more...]