New Yorkers, take note: an upcoming event to raise awareness and support for persecuted Christians

Mark your calendar: Msgr. John E. Kozar, president of CNEWA (Catholic Near East Welfare Association) will be making a pastoral visit to Iraq and Egypt next month to see first-hand some of the challenges facing Christians fleeing persecution in that troubled part of the world. Just days after his return, Msgr. Kozar will share his insights [Read More...]

“Catholics appalled by what is happening in the Middle East do not have to feel powerless”

From John Allen in Crux comes this excellent glimpse into the work of Catholic Near East Welfare Agency (CNEWA), where I work: Founded by Pope Pius XI in 1926, CNEWA is an agency of the Vatican sustained primarily by the Church in the United States and Canada. Its first president was a legendary American Jesuit [Read More...]

Journey to Jordan: a refugee who fled ISIS tells me his story

Saturday morning brought an emotional encounter with a man who has fled evil, and whose face tells the story. His name is Agnan Adnidihad, a 62-year-old repairman from Mosul who barely escaped the horrors of ISIS last year. Now he is living in Amman—one of tens of thousands of refugees who are crowding into Jordan [Read More...]

Journey to Jordan: meet the mayor of Amman, in the “land of the sunrise of faith”

If you were looking for a figure representing the diversity and religious harmony of Jordan, you couldn’t do much better than a man who was born in Gaza, was raised a Quaker, married a Muslim, and now serves as the mayor of the capital city of Amman. Meet Mayor Akel Biltaji. Read the rest over [Read More...]

Another pretty church: Our Holy Redeemer on Long Island

I spent the weekend giving pulpit talks on behalf of CNEWA at Our Holy Redeemer parish in Freeport, Long Island. I served and preached at three Masses; my colleague Norma Intriago, the director of development, spoke at the two Hispanic Masses. What a pretty, old-fashioned kind of church. As I joked to the pastor at the beginning [Read More...]

Waves of destruction: remembering the tsunami, 10 years later

Photo: Peter Lemieux / CNEWA Hard to believe it, but today marks the 10-year anniversary of the devastating tsunami that swept over Indonesia—one of the deadliest natural disasters in modern history. CNEWA’s blog features a poignant remembrance of that awful day from someone who was there. Check it out.  And the BBC offers an overview [Read More...]

Hitting the road: The Bench and CNEWA visit Long Island

The past couple of days I found myself on a rare weekend away from my home parish, giving talks at Curé of Ars Catholic Church in Merrick, New York.  I was there with two of my colleagues from CNEWA, Norma Intriago and Chris Kennedy, to raise awareness about the plight of persecuted Christians and enlist support [Read More...]

Hello, Long Island

If you’re in the neighborhood this weekend: I’ll be visiting Curé of Ars Catholic Church in Merrick, Long Island and preaching at all the Masses. The topic: persecuted Christians. Four months after ISIS began its purge, so many Iraqis are still homeless and in need of basic necessities. I’ll be there on behalf of CNEWA, along with [Read More...]

In Iraq, “Christianity is bleeding”

The latest on the ground, from CNEWA’s blog One-to-One and Dominican Sister Maria Hanna: After four months of exile there are no signs of hope that the situation here in Iraq will be resolved peacefully. Unable to think or make decisions, everything is vague and we feel as if we have been living a nightmare. [Read More...]

Behold, the Orthodox deacons of Ethiopia

Do you have vestments like these? Over at our CNEWA blog, ONE-TO-ONE, there’s an interesting look at the clergy in that part of the world: Traditionally, a priest’s primary duty is the celebration of the Qeddase — in Ethiopia, typically five priests concelebrate — and other liturgical rites, particularly burials. Liturgical festivals feature rhythmic dancing, [Read More...]


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