From Bishop Marcel Damphousse
September 11, 2015
My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Like you I have been watching with dismay the events that have been unfolding over the past weeks in Syria, Hungary and much of Europe. Since first becoming pope, the Holy Father has repeatedly appealed to the world to show compassion for the homeless masses who seek shelter, protection and a better life.
These brothers and sisters of ours were trying to escape difficult situations to find some serenity and peace; they were looking for a better place for themselves and their families, but instead they found death. How often do such people fail to find understanding, fail to find acceptance, fail to find solidarity. And their cry rises up to God! (On a visit to the island of Lampedusa to focus attention on the migrants who had drowned trying to cross the Mediterranean.)
As many continue to debate how best to respond, it is incumbent upon we as Catholics to help. This is what we as a Diocese can do at this particular moment.
Click to read the complete letter or download a PDF version of the letter
Civil war has been raging across Syria for several years now. With the terrorists of ISIS now adding to the chaos, escalating violence is sweeping across the land.
Christian churches have been burned. Christian villages attacked. Christian children, women and elderly have been abducted, and many more have been forced to flee.
CNEWA is working with Church leaders and local sisters to help these desperate people. With every dollar you give, more will receive the food, warm clothing, pastoral care and trauma counseling they need.
The world they knew is gone. But with your simple kindness, you can give them hope. Please join us in helping them survive.
Syria’s victims of war need your protection.
The Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA) was set up to work with Catholics in among other places the Middle East. You can provide financial assistance by contacting them at 1-866-322-4441 or by clicking here. Please give what you can.
VATICAN CITY — After a meeting with Italian officials on Tuesday, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s secretary of state, told reporters that swift action is needed in Libya, where continual conflict since a 2011 revolution has resulted in rival governments and a foothold for Islamists.
Amid the chaos in the north-African nation, Islamic State affiliates beheaded 21 Egyptian Christians over the weekend. >>more
By Susan Klemond, National Catholic Register
Gruesome videos of beheadings and crucifixions, along with images of destroyed churches and deserted villages from which thousands have been forced to flee, show us that the persecution of Christians in the Middle East is all too real.
The mainstream media gives us regular close-ups of conflicts in Iraq and Syria, but it doesn’t always focus on the plight of Christians. The persecuted Christians can seem very far away, and maybe we don’t often see ways to help. >>more
From January 10 to 15, 2015, the Most Reverend Lionel Gendron, P.S.S., Bishop of Saint-Jean-Longueuil and Co-Treasurer of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), will participate in the annual meeting of the Coordination of Episcopal Conferences in Support of the Church in the Holy Land. The meeting's theme this year is "Suffering and Vulnerable People in the Holy Land". The international gathering involves representatives from Conferences of Bishops in Europe and North America who meet with the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land (AOCTS). Bishop Gendron will be accompanied by Mr. Carl Hétu, National Director of CNEWA-Canada. After their meeting in the Holy Land, the two Canadian delegates will visit Jordan and Lebanon.
Although today there are those who wish to expel them from their home, Christians have populated the Middle East for centuries. Writers, archeaological discoveries and even modern inventions, like the camera, attest to this.
"The message of the exhibition has an educational aspect. It's about making the West, a Christian West, let´s say, understand the diversity of origins of the Christians of the East. This exhibition wouldn´t make sense in Jerusalem, Beirut or Aman... It is not necessary to prove to Arabs who live there that Christians live among them. They know it very well, they live with them”.
FR. JEAN-MICHEL DE TARRAGON
Here below is the Vatican-provided translation of a letter Pope Francis sent to Christians in the Middle East on the occasion of Christmas.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all consolation, who consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction, with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God" (2 Cor 1:3-4).
When I thought of writing to you, our Christian brothers and sisters in the Middle East, these words of Saint Paul immediately came to mind. I write to you just before Christmas, knowing that for many of you the music of your Christmas hymns will also be accompanied by tears and sighs. Nonetheless, the birth of the Son of God in our human flesh is an indescribable mystery of consolation: "For the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all people" (Tit 2:11). >>more
These are our brothers and sisters in Christ and the time has come for us to reach out and help them. As a first step, we need to have a better understanding of the situation as it currently exists. To that end, the diocese will host two information sessions in November.
The Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA), which was founded by Pope Pius XI, has been working in this area for more than 85 years. They have seen firsthand the plight of the Christians in this part of the world.
"No religious, political or economic motives can justify what is happening to hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children:" Pope Francis
Holy Land Christians hope that recent violence in the region doesn’t discourage much-needed tourism.
by MICHELE CHABIN
JERUSALEM — Holy Land Christians are praying that the violence that has gripped Jerusalem and some other parts of Israel and the West Bank in recent months will not discourage pilgrims from visiting this Christmas season. >>more