"Al-Bushra"

Seeking truth and justice

In Iraq, a new Catholic hospital and university bring hope to an embattled Christian community

Posted on Jul 20, 2019

Ragheb Elias Karash of ACN | Jul 17, 2019

For more than three years, the Archdiocese of Erbil hosted more than 120,000 Christians who fled the 2014 onslaught of ISIS on the Nineveh Plains in northern Iraq.

Chaldean Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil, Kurdistan, has been the prime mover behind the establishment of two major new Christian institutions in the region. In 2016, the Catholic University in Erbil opened its doors and late summer will see the formal opening of the new Catholic hospital in Erbil, the Maryamana, dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

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Franciscan Parishes: the agreement with the Latin Patriarchate has been signed

Posted on Jul 19, 2019

An important step that saw 12 parishes across Israel, Palestine and Cyprus being regulated. These parishes were born from the Franciscan presence in the Holy Land but, from a pastoral point of view, are the responsibility of the local Bishop.

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Martha and Mary are alive and well in Bethany, keeping the economy on its feet

Posted on Jul 18, 2019


Women are part of an exciting new initiative in the place where Lazarus rose from the dead.

donne betaniaThe city of Bethany on the West Bank is famous for a few different reasons — from its proximity to Jerusalem (about a mile and a half) on the east slope of the Mount of Olives, to being the location of the Tomb of Lazarus, a follower of Jesus whom He resurrected four days after he died from an illness.

If you are familiar with that part of Scripture, you’ll know that two women are also an important part of that story — Lazarus’ two sisters, Martha and Mary. The sisters were extremely hospitable in welcoming Jesus to their village. Some hold that Mary is the same woman who sprinkled him with perfumed oil and wiped his feet with her hair (John 12: 1-2).

It was this important piece of the Gospel that has led a group of entrepreneurial Palestinian women to come up with an idea to promote tourism and cultural development in their region — including handmade perfumes and creams made from the natural resources of the region. It’s an idea rooted in the history of the region, and it helps to empower women by teaching them skills and offering resources to help them support their families.

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What the Catholic Church in Ethiopia is doing to help people displaced by violence

Posted on Jul 18, 2019

by Bronwen Dachs – Catholic News Service

The Catholic Church in Ethiopia is leading peace and reconciliation efforts while it does what it can to help the millions of people who have fled their homes in an upsurge in communal violence.

Cardinal Berhaneyesus Demerew Souraphiel of Addis Ababa, president of the Ethiopian bishops’ conference, heads up the 41-member national reconciliation commission.

Ethiopia’s parliament approved the establishment of the commission last December as part of reforms instituted by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who took power in 2018 after his predecessor resigned. Abiy has lifted bans on political parties, released political prisoners, prosecuted officials accused of human rights abuses and embarked on economic reforms.

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Hebrew opera takes on Israeli-Palestinian conflict at French festival

Posted on Jul 18, 2019

Aix-en-Provence (France) (AFP) – It features an Israeli prime minister, Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike, a hit squad and a Shin Beth spy chief.

But this is not another story on the intractable Israeli-Palestinian conflict but an opera unusually with a libretto in Hebrew, the official language of Israel.

“The Sleeping Thousand”, an opera by Israeli composer Adam Maor with the libretto by Yonatan Levy, was premiered at the prestigious Aix-en-Provence opera festival in southern France this month.

“This opera speaks of oppression and above all, its impact on the oppressor,” Maor told AFP.

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Car bomb near church in Syria wounds several

Posted on Jul 18, 2019

.- A car bomb exploded near a Syriac Orthodox church in Qamishli Thursday, injuring about 11 people. It is unclear who is responsible for the attack.

According to AFP, the July 11 bombing “slightly dented” the metal gate of the Church of the Virgin Mary located in the al-Wasta neighborhood of Qamishli, in Syria’s Al-Hasakah Governorate on the border with Turkey.

Sana, the Syrian state news agency, reported that the blast caused “material damage to parts of the church, shops and cars.”

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Life in the Seam Zone Village of Al-Seefer

Posted on Jul 18, 2019

Christian Peace Teams, Hebron – On Saturday 1st June, during Ramadan, two CPT’ers were accompanying community partners in At-Tuwani in the South Hebron Hills. While there, the CPT’ers were invited to share an iftar meal with the Bedouin community in Al-Seefer and it was too good an opportunity to miss, so they were delighted to accept. The car ride round the military checkpoint through rocky terrain was hair-raising; seven passengers in an ordinary road car which was constantly buttoming on the rocks, so the CPT’ers breathed a huge sigh of relief when they arrived still in one piece!

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Passage through the Checkpoint: Experiences of Palestinian Female Residents in Hebron

Posted on Jul 18, 2019

Christian Peace Teams, Hebron – In the Israeli-controlled H2 area of al-Khalil (Hebron), Palestinian women and girls moving around their neighbourhoods encounter a number of obstacles to their freedom and security vis-a-vis Israeli military, border police, and settlers. The checkpoint, however, is an unpredictable and isolated site of male control, where no one can see what happens, or guess how long the passage might be. At one of the 21 permanently-staffed checkpoints in H2, a woman might have her ID checked, bags inspected, or encounter demands that she submit to a body search where often no female soldiers are present.

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How Evangelical Christians risk setting the Middle East on fire

Posted on Jul 13, 2019

By Jonathan Cook*

Image: Televangelist TB Joshua, a Nigerian evangelical preacher, touches a man's head as he leads a religious retreat on Mount Precipice, Nazareth on 23 June (Reuters)

Televangelist TB Joshua, a Nigerian evangelical preacher, touches a man’s head as he leads a religious retreat on Mount Precipice, Nazareth on 23 June (Reuters)

The recent arrival of Africa’s most popular televangelist preacher, TB Joshua, to address thousands of foreign pilgrims in Nazareth produced a mix of consternation and anger in the city of Jesus’s childhood.

There was widespread opposition from Nazareth’s political movements, as well as from community groups and church leaders, who called for a boycott of his two rallies. They were joined by the council of muftis, which described the events as “a red line for faith in religious values”.

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New Institutes of Coptic Studies are spreading in public universities

Posted on Jul 13, 2019

 

Alexandria of Egypt (Agenzia Fides) – With an unprecedented initiative, Egyptian political institutions have decided to invest resources to support the opening of institutes, centers and departments in public universities dedicated to the study and enhancement of the Coptic language and cultural heritage. The first institute of Coptic Studies was already inaugurated at the University of Alexandria, in collaboration with the Coptic Orthodox Church. A similar initiative is being undertaken at the faculty of artistic studies of the University of Damanhour. Even the buildings intended to house these institutions have been designed, inspired by the typical forms of Coptic architecture.

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The project to find new jobs for young Christians in the Gaza Strip is starting to bear fruit

Posted on Jul 13, 2019

Gaza (Agenzia Fides, 8/7/2019) – The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, in cooperation of the Holy Family Parish, launched the job creation and capacity building program in the Gaza Strip. Nine months later, the 20 Christian youth benefiting from the program are reaping the fruits of their work and seeing the new career prospects of this project. Started in October 2018, the program has completed the first phase of training and apprenticeship – which lasted 9 months. The work start-up program was able to accommodate only a third out of 60 applicants that submitted their candidacy for the program, and fill in positions in religious, educational, social, medical and development institutions, such as those carried out by the Aisha Association for the protection of women and minors, for a period of 12 months.

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When the voice of wisdom and logic resounds

Posted on Jul 13, 2019

By Fr. Dr. Rif’at Bader, abouna.org

In Kafranja, Jordan’s city of culture for 2019, the Shafa Cultural Community has held a conference at the Young Women’s Association of Kafranja on “the role of tribal customs and traditions in conflict resolution and in the attainment of community peace.” A number of elders of the Jordanian tribes, known for their influential and effective role in society, took part in the conference. We listened to their addresses in which they identified the role they play in enhancing security, stability, and social peace in cooperation with the security apparatuses.

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Jerusalem: Stadium of Saint James Church in Beit Hanina attacked

Posted on Jul 13, 2019

 

Jerusalem-en.abouna.org On Friday evening, July 12, anonymous assailants committed an attack from the side of Naveh Yaacov Settlement (northeast Jerusalem) on the stadium of Saint James Roman Catholic Church at Beit Hanina, during which yogurt boxes and tomatoes were thrown on participants at festival organized by the church at the presence of hundreds of faithful.

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Bishop Shomali: “The AUM aims to have generations qualified educationally”

Posted on Jul 13, 2019

MADABA – The American University of Madaba (AUM) celebrated the graduation of the fifth class of its students on Saturday, July 6, 2019, under the patronage of H. E Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, with the presence of Bishop William Shomali, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, and members of the board of trustees, University President Dr. Nabil Ayoub, deans of faculties, academic and administrative members of staff, graduate students and their families, and a large number of guests. 

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Heads of Jerusalem Churches hold prayer rally in protest of Jaffa Gate properties case

Posted on Jul 13, 2019

JERUSALEM – On Thursday, July 11, 2019, the Heads of Jerusalem Churches held a prayer rally near Jaffa Gate’s Imperial and Petra Hotels, in protest of Israel’s Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the appeal made by the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate against the sale of three of its properties to settlers’ group.

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More links from Prof. Mazin Qumsiyeh

Posted on Jul 13, 2019

Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh, in his Palestinian Christians newsletter, shares links to the following items of interest:

Open Letter to Chairman of the PLO and President of the State of Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas [by Sam Bahour] http://bit.ly/open-letter-abbas

Israeli Defense Ministry dep’t is dedicated to covering up evidence of the Nakba — ‘Haaretz’
https://mondoweiss.net/2019/07/ministry-dedicated-covering/
https://mondoweiss.net/2019/07/ministry-dedicated-covering/amp/

Impunity remains: Attacks on health care in 23 countries (Israeli attacks on Palestinain healthcare highlighted)
https://reliefweb.int/report/world/impunity-remains-attacks-health-care-23-countries-conflict-2018

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Archbishop Pizzaballa: Christians in the Holy Land, weavers of peaceful relations

Posted on Jul 13, 2019

MONACO – July 9, 2019 – Politicians, journalists, photographers and a few other professional persons often share the dizzying experience of being able to observe the course of history while it happens. One such privileged observer is none other than Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate since 2016 and, a long time before, Custos of the Holy Land. For almost thirty years, he’s been living in the Holy Land and can observe the development of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from the viewpoint of the very small Christian minority still living in the places of Jesus’ public ministry.

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A Palestinian Christian Story: The Cucumber and the Cactus

Posted on Jul 9, 2019

By Mazin Qumsiyeh

The following; written 17 years ago and published November 7, 2002 in Northeast Magazine (Hartford); indirectly explains why I came back to Palestine in 2008

There is something uniquely spiritual, yet uniquely primeval, in people connected to a land. Even for those of us who work in a sophisticated and mobile culture, simply to get our hands into the earth, or to walk around our gardens, is a pleasure.

We biologists recognize this as an unbroken link to our pasts, the time when hunter/gatherers became farmers. A hundred thousand years of evolution are more powerful than a lifelong incubation in an industrialized society and in our rat race of work and more work.

For Palestinians, our connection to the land is part of our fabric. After all, for more than 90 percent of us, agriculture was our livelihood from time immemorial. Our culture is imbued with agrarian terminology and instinct, and 55 years of living as refugees has neither obliterated nor diminished this instinct.

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2020 Choice: “In Your Face” or “Weasel Words”

Posted on Jul 8, 2019

We can only pray, work, and hope.

by James M. Wall

On Sunday, June 16, leaders of the nationalist bromance between Israel and the Trump government took one small step for tyranny and one huge step for “in your face” diplomacy.

In case you missed it, UPI circulated the story that Israel had ceremoniously named a small Golan Heights future settlement, “Trump Heights”, to honor the best friend Israel has ever had in the Washington, D.C. White House.

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Peace Now demonstrated outside the inaugural ceremony for the “Pilgrimage Road” tunnel at Jerusalem’s Old City Basin

Posted on Jul 7, 2019

 

Americans for Peace Now


Last Sunday [June 30, 2019], we at Peace Now demonstrated outside the inaugural ceremony for the “Pilgrimage Road” tunnel at Jerusalem’s Old City Basin.

While the tunnel exposes a meaningful archeological discovery, it was built recklessly by the settler group Elad under the homes of the Palestinian residents of Silwan, a neighborhood in East Jerusalem, which Palestinians claim as part of their future capital.

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This Palestinian hip hop group’s new record is a feminist rallying cry

Posted on Jul 5, 2019

…every aspect of our life is connected somehow to politics. But that’s not all we have or all we are. Maysa Daw

by Eloise Blondiau

July 5, 2019 – When Maysa Daw was a teenager, she remembers going to a concert by DAM, which calls itself the first ever Palestinian hip-hop group, and asking herself: “Would I be able to sing with them someday?”

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An evening at the Apostolic Delegation in Jerusalem for the sixth year of Pope Francis’ Pontificate

Posted on Jul 5, 2019

Yes, Jerusalem is the home of all the spiritual descendants of Abraham  for whom the Holy City is immensely precious, a source of hope, a treasure of their spiritual heritage, an icon of their aspiration to peace and harmony.  H.E. Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, Apostolic Delegate

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The Media and their role in defending the truth

Posted on Jul 5, 2019

A two-day international conference to reflect on the dialogue between religions and peoples in the Middle East was held in the Jordanian capital, Amman, from June 18 to 20. “The Media and their role in defending the truth”. This is the title of the meeting promoted by the Council of Catholic Patriarchs of the East, the Catholic Centre for Studies and Media, the Platform for Dialogue and Cooperation between the leaders and religious institutions of the Arab world and the Jordanian Tourist Office.

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Maryknoll Middle East Notes: Five Articles

Posted on Jul 5, 2019

 

The five articles and secondary links in this issue of the Middle East Notes focus on the Trump administration’s economic peace plan and meeting in Bahrain and reactions by Palestinian political and business leaders, events and discussion of politics and human rights related to Israel-Palestine, the involvement of U.S. companies in the production of weapons used against civilians in Gaza, the support from Israelis for ending the blockade in Gaza and the recommendation of a senior advisor to the European Court of Justice for products from Israeli occupied territories to be labelled as such to inform consumers. Finally, a link to the latest Churches for Middle East Peace Bulletin is provided.
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Unchanged human nature in a dramatically changing world

Posted on Jul 5, 2019

Prof. Mazin Qumsiyeh writes in his Palestinian Christians newsletter of July 4, 2019

This morning I took a group of seven volunteers to watch the sunrise in the desert area near Mar Saba. The stillness and beauty of the area caused me to then sit down and write this blog which reflects my thoughts on a dramatically changing world but essentially an unchanged human nature and interactions and the therapy of good deeds.

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US consultation on Middle East reaffirms “persistent hope” for peace

Posted on Jul 4, 2019

WCC News spoke to Rev. Douglas Leonard, coordinator of the Ecumenical United Nations Office and World Council of Churches (WCC) representative to the United Nations in New York, after attending a summit in Washington D.C. that brought together some 45 representatives of churches and faith-based organizations committed to developing an advocacy plan that responds to the current political situation in the Holy Land.

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Inspection of Happy Child House and Syriac Cultural Center – Damascus

Posted on Jul 4, 2019


Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch

On June 25, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II inspected the Happy Child House Summer Camp, and the works in progress at the Syriac Cultural Center in Harat Al-Yahud in Old Damascus.

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Pope gives relics of St. Peter to Orthodox patriarch

Posted on Jul 4, 2019

by Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, Jul 2, 2019

ROME – In what Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople described as a “brave and bold” gesture, Pope Francis gave the patriarch a famous reliquary containing bone fragments believed to belong to St. Peter.

The only time the bronze reliquary has been displayed publicly was in November 2013, when Francis had it present for public veneration as he celebrated the closing Mass for the Year of Faith, opened by Pope Benedict XVI.

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Another Greeting from Palestine on the Fourth of July

Posted on Jul 4, 2019

Maria Khoury writes from Taybeh

We wish all of our American friends a Happy Independence Day…very fun Fourth of July celebrations to all!

In the past, Taybeh Beer was always served for Fourth of July celebrations in Jerusalem, and it was a great honor to sponsor consulate events. But with President Trump moving the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, it’s such a loud voice for making the Holy City Jewish only! Palestinians don’t have much to celebrate this July 4th. They continue to be last-class citizens in a country that is not recognized as their own.

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Palestinian Christian Sends Fourth of July Greetings to Americans

Posted on Jul 3, 2019

Samia Khoury writes from East Jerusalem

My Dear American friends:

I have been thinking of you and what message can I possibly send you on your Independence day on the Fourth of July.  Many of you have been on my list and have checked my blog and my writings for some time now.  Many of you have also read my book,  Reflections from Palestine:  A Journey of Hope, and your solidarity with our people, and for the cause of justice has been amazing.

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