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

Mark your calendar: Msgr. John E. Kozar, present 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...]

Journey to Jordan: the wrapup

A great young videographer named Connor Eberhart accompanied us on the trip. He was tireless and he was everywhere—photographing everything we did, every place we saw. (Did he ever sleep?  I’m not so sure…) Here, in roughly chronological order, are some of the videos he posted on his Vimeo site, which give a great sense [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: Departure—UPDATED with more photos

Up bright and early for breakfast, and then a final goodbye to our incredible hotel, as we board the bus for the airport in Amman. Yes, Max Lindenman was sleeping again, in the lobby, with an open book on his lap. The Amman airport is beautiful, bright and manageable. Even our exit through security went [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: deacon at work!

Saturday, we spent a few hours at the Italian Hospital in Amman; I’ll post more on our extraordinary visit to this wonderful facility later. But at the end of our time there, I found myself unexpectedly—and happily—pressed into diaconal service. Several people on our tour were dismayed to learn that we would not be able [Read More...]

Journey to Jordan: the deacon in the desert

Yesterday, we found ourselves in a vast sandy wasteland called Wadi Rum, also known as “The Valley of the Moon.” Here’s how Wikipedia describes it: Wadi Rum has been inhabited by many human cultures since prehistoric times, with many cultures–including the Nabateans–leaving their mark in the form of rock paintings, graffiti, and temples. In the West, Wadi [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...]

Journey to Jordan: witnessing a Melkite wedding

After leaving Petra this morning, bound for The Dead Sea, we stopped at a Greek Melkite Catholic Church, St. George, and caught part of a traditional wedding ceremony. This was something to see. And it was, literally, a shotgun wedding: someone in the wedding party fired a pistol into the air as the bride and [Read More...]

Journey to Jordan: I’d walk a mile for a camel

Well, here we are in scenic Petra, Jordan. We arrived last night at the Mövenpick Resort, just a short walk from the historic site. The hotel would never be mistaken for a Holiday Inn or a Motel 6. We are in Jordan. And every detail enforces the rich heritage surrounding us. How about donuts dusted [Read More...]


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