Archive for “2014”

August 22, 2014 – Lectio Divina

Friday, August 22 ~ Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time

Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Holy Gospel: Luke 1:26-38

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His kingdom there will be no end.” And Mary said to the angel, “How shall this be, since I have no husband?” And the angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. 

Meditation

There is a great lesson for us inMary’s response to the word of God delivered by the angel Gabriel.  She knows she is hearing something beyond human capability. It will surely take a miracle which surpasses all that God has done previously. Her question, “how shall this be, since I have no husband” is not prompted by doubt or skepticism, but by wonderment! She is a true hearer of the Word and she immediately responds with faith and trust. Mary’s prompt response of “yes” to the divine message is a model of faith for all believers. Mary believed God’s promises even when they seemed impossible. She was full of grace because she trusted that what God said was true and would be fulfilled. She was willing and eager to do God’s will, even if it seemed difficult or costly. Mary is the “mother of God” because God becomes incarnate when he takes on flesh in her womb.  When we pray the Nicene Creed we state our confession of faith in this great mystery: “For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven; by the power of the Holy Spirit, he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and was made man.”  God gives us grace and he expects us to respond with the same willingness, obedience, and heart-felt trust as Mary did. When God commands he also gives the help, strength, and means to respond. We can either yield to God’s grace, or resist and go our own way. But if we choose the latter, where are we going? Nowhere!

Prayer 

O God, who made the Mother of your Son to be our Mother and our Queen, graciously grant that, sustained by her intercession, we may attain in the heavenly Kingdom the glory promised to your children. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Contemplation

Folks, we need to remind ourselves that God lavishes his grace upon all who believe in him. He shows his favor to the lowly, to those who are humble and receptive to his word.  We see the unfolding of God’s plan of redemption in the events leading up to the Incarnation, the birth of the Messiah. The new era of salvation begins with the conception of Jesus in the womb of Mary.  This child to be born is conceived by the gracious action of the Holy Spirit upon Mary, who finds favor with God. As Eve was the mother of all humanity doomed to sin, now Mary becomes the mother of the new Adam who will father a new humanity by his grace (Romans 5:12-21). This child to be conceived in her womb is the fulfillment of all God’s promises.  He will be “great” and “Son of the Most High” and “King” (Luke 1:32-33), and his name shall be called “Jesus”, which means “the Lord saves”. “He will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). The promise of an everlasting kingdom to the house of David (Isaiah 9:6-7) is fulfilled in the King to be born in Mary’s womb.

August 21, 2014 – Lectio Divina

Thursday, August 21 ~ Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Pius X, Pope 

Holy Gospel: Matthew 22:1-14

Jesus again in reply spoke to the chief priests and the elders of the people in parables saying, “The Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. He dispatched his servants to summon the invited guests to the feast, but they refused to come. A second time he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those invited: “Behold, I have prepared my banquet, my calves and fattened cattle are killed, and everything is ready; come to the feast.”’ Some ignored the invitation and went away, one to his farm, another to his business. The rest laid hold of his servants, mistreated them, and killed them. The king was enraged and sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then the king said to his servants, ‘The feast is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy to come. Go out, therefore, into the main roads and invite to the feast whomever you find.’ The servants went out into the streets and gathered all they found, bad and good alike, and the hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to meet the guests he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment. He said to him, ‘My friend, how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment?’ But he was reduced to silence. Then the king said to his attendants, ‘Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’ Many are invited, but few are chosen.”

Meditation

Why does Jesus’ parable of the marriage feast seem to focus on an angry king who ends up punishing those who refused his invitation and who mistreated his servants? Jesus’ parable contains two stories. The first has to do with the original guests invited to the marriage feast. The king had sent out invitations well in advance to his subjects, so they would have plenty of time to prepare for coming to the feast. How insulting for the invited guests to then refuse when the time for celebrating came! They made light of the King’s request because they put their own interests above his. They not only insulted the King but the heir to the throne as well. The king’s anger is justified because they openly refused to give the king the honor he was due. Jesus directed this warning to the Jews of his day, both to convey how much God wanted them to share in the joy of his kingdom, but also to give a warning about the consequences of refusing his Son, their Messiah and Savior.

Prayer 

O God, who to safeguard the Catholic faith and to restore all things in Christ, filled Pope Saint Pius the Tenth with heavenly wisdom and apostolic fortitude, graciously grant that, following his teaching and example, we may gain an eternal prize. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Contemplation

Today’s gospel lends itself to reflect on one of the writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a Christian teacher who died for his faith under the horrific Nazi era, who contrasts “cheap grace” and “costly grace.”  “Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves ..the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance ..grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate. ..Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock.  Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ.  It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life.”

August 20, 2014 – Lectio Divina

Wednesday, August 20 ~ Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, Abbot and Doctor of the Church

Holy Gospel: Matthew 20:1-16

Jesus told his disciples this parable: “The Kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. Going out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and he said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard, and I will give you what is just.’ So they went off. And he went out again around noon, and around three o’clock, and did likewise. Going out about five o’clock, he found others standing around, and said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard.’ When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Summon the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and ending with the first.’ When those who had started about five o’clock came, each received the usual daily wage. So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more, but each of them also got the usual wage. And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, saying, ‘These last ones worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us, who bore the day’s burden and the heat.’ He said to one of them in reply, ‘My friend, I am not cheating you. Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what is yours and go. What if I wish to give this last one the same as you? Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? Are you envious because I am generous?’ Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

Meditation 

What can work and wages, welfare and the unemployed tell us about the kingdom of God? In the parable of the laborers in the vineyard we see the extraordinary generosity and compassion of God. There is great tragedy in unemployment, the loss of work, and the inability to earn enough to live and support oneself or one’s family. In Jesus’ times laborers had to wait each day in the marketplace until someone hired them for a day’s job. No work that day usually meant no food on the family table. The laborers who worked all day and received their payment complain that the master pays the late afternoon laborers the same wage. The master, undoubtedly, hired them in the late afternoon so they wouldn’t go home payless and hungry. God is generous in opening the doors of his kingdom to all who will enter, both those who have labored a life-time for him and those who come at the last hour.

Prayer

O God, who made the Abbot Saint Bernard a man consumed with zeal for your house and a light shining and burning in your Church, grant, through his intercession, that we may be on fire with the same spirit and walk always as children of light. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. 

Contemplation

While the reward is the same, the motive for one’s labor can make all the difference. Some work only for reward. They will only put as much effort in as they think they will get back. Others labor out of love and joy for the opportunity to work and to serve others. The Lord calls his disciples to serve God and neighbor with generosity and joy. Do you perform your work and duties with cheerfulness and diligence for the Lord’s sake? And do you give generously to others, especially to those in need?

 

August 19, 2014 – Lectio Divina

Tuesday, August 19 ~ Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time

Saint John Eudes, Priest; Founder, Congregation of Jesus and Mary

Holy Gospel: Matthew 19:23-30

Jesus said to his disciples: “Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of heaven. Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and said, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “For men this is impossible, but for God all things are possible.” Then Peter said to him in reply, “We have given up everything and followed you. What will there be for us?” Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you that you who have followed me, in the new age, when the Son of Man is seated on his throne of glory, will yourselves sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”

Meditation 

Was Jesus really against wealth? And why does he issue such a strong warning to the rich (as well as to the rest of us who desire to be rich)? We know that Jesus was not opposed to wealth per se, nor was he opposed to the wealthy. He had many friends who were well-to-do, including some notorious tax collectors! One even became an apostle! Jesus’ warning reiterated the wisdom of the Old Testament:  “Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is perverse in his ways” (Proverbs 28:6; see also Psalm 37:16). “Do not wear yourself out to get rich; be wise enough to desist” (Proverbs 23:4). Jesus seems to say that it is nearly impossible for the rich to live as citizens of God’s kingdom. The camel was regarded as the largest animal in Palestine. The “eye of the needle” could be interpreted quite literally or it could figuratively describe the narrow and low gate of the city walls which was used by travelers when the larger public gate was locked after dark. A normal sized man had to “lower” himself to enter that gate. A camel would literally have to kneel and crawl through it.

Prayer 

O God, who wonderfully chose the Priest Saint John Eudes to proclaim the unfathomable riches of Christ, grant us, by his example and teachings, that, growing in knowledge of you, we may live faithfully by the light of the Gospel. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. 

Contemplation 

Wealth can make us falsely independent. The church at Laodicea was warned about their attitude towards wealth and a false sense of security: “For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing” (Revelations 3:17). Wealth can also lead us into hurtful desires and selfishness (see 1 Timothy 6:9-10). Look at the lesson Jesus gave about the rich man and his sons who refused to aid the poor man Lazarus (see Luke 16:19ff). They also neglected to serve God. The scriptures give us a paradox: we lose what we keep and we gain what we give away. Generosity will be amply repaid, both in this life and in eternity (Proverbs 3:9-10, Luke 6:38). Jesus offers us an incomparable treasure which no money can buy and no thief can steal. The thing we most set our heart on is our highest treasure. Material wealth will shackle us to this earth unless we guard our hearts and set our treasure in God and his everlasting kingdom. Where is your treasure?

About Saint John Eudes: Born on a farm in France, Saint John was a religious, a parish missionary, founder of two religious communities, and a great promoter of the devotion to the Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. He joined the religious community of the Oratorians and was ordained a priest at the age of 24. During severe plagues in 1627 and 1631, he volunteered to care for the stricken in his own diocese. He is probably best known for the central theme of his writings: Jesus as the source of holiness, Mary as the model of the Christian life. His devotion to the Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary led Pius XI to declare him the father of the liturgical cult of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary.

 

August 18, 2014 – Lectio Divina

Monday, August 18 ~ Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time

Holy Gospel: Matthew 19:16-22

A young man approached Jesus and said, “Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?” He answered him, “Why do you ask me about the good? There is only One who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” He asked him, “Which ones?” And Jesus replied, “You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; honor your father and your mother; and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man said to him, “All of these I have observed. What do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

Meditation

Treasure has a special connection to the heart, the place of desire and longing, the place of will and focus. The thing we most set our heart on is our highest treasure. The Lord himself is the greatest treasure we can possibly have. Giving up everything else to have the Lord as our treasure is not sorrowful, but the greatest joy. See Jesus’ parable about the treasure hidden in a field (Matt. 13:44). Selling all that we have could mean many different things – our friends, our job, our style of life, what we do with our free time. Jesus challenged the young man because his heart was possessive. He was afraid to give to others for fear that he would lose what he had gained. Those who are generous towards God and others find that they cannot outmatch God in generosity. God blesses us with innumerable spiritual goods – such as long-lasting peace, unspeakable joy, enduring love, abiding relationships and friendship that does not fade or fail – that far outweigh the fleeting joys of material possessions which fail to satisfy us beyond the present moment. God alone can satisfy the deepest longing and desires of our heart. 

Prayer 

O God, who have prepared for those who love you good things which no eye can see, fill our hearts, we pray, with the warmth of your love, so that, loving you in all things and above all things, we may attain your promises, which surpass every human desire. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. 

Contemplation 

What gives hope and satisfaction to our desire for happiness and security? A young man who had the best the world could offer – wealth and security – came to Jesus because he lacked one thing. He wanted the kind of lasting peace and happiness which money could not buy him. The answer he got, however, was not what he was looking for. He protested that he kept all the commandments; but Jesus spoke to the trouble in his heart. One thing kept him from giving himself whole-heartedly to God. While he lacked nothing in material goods, he was nonetheless possessive of what he had. He placed his hope and security in what he possessed. So when Jesus challenged him to make God his one true possession and treasure, he became dismayed.

August 17, 2014 – Think About It

Think About It…

“Opting for peace does not mean a passive acquiescence to evil or compromise of principle. It demands an active struggle against hatred, oppression and disunity, but not by using methods of violence. Building peace requires creative and courageous action.” ~Saint John Paul II

Who except God can give you peace? Has the world ever been able to satisfy the heart? ~Saint Gerard Majella

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” ~Blessed Mother Teresa

August 17, 2014 – Parishioners in Prayer

[one_half]Max Flores
Jennifer Bogdziewicz
Charles & Nancy Brant
JoAnn Buttler
Ann Marie Elkins
Don Fortner
Ruth Harper
Bernie Hause
Jonathan Holmes
Jack Beckman[/one_half][one_half_last]Pam Jurgens
Fr. Mike Lumpe
Maria Paras
Linda Pauley
David Simmons
Sandra Valencia
Bill & Dora Zweydorff
Christopher Clark
Hayden Thompson (newborn son of Brooke & John Thompson)[/one_half_last] [hr style=”3″ margin=”30px 0px 30px 0px”]

BANNS OF MATRIMONY: Fr. Lumpe and the Cathedral Community wish to congratulate Katie Slayback & Dan Wiley. on their marriage last Saturday, August 9th.   Blessings to the happy couple!

 

Bishop Pates Prayer for Peace in Iraq

Bishop Pates Asks Bishops, Parishes to Offer Special Prayer on August 17 for Peace in Iraq

August 7, 2014

WASHINGTON—The chairman of the Committee of International Justice and Peace of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) asked the U.S. bishops to invite the people of their dioceses to pray for peace in Iraq on Sunday, August 17. Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, made the request, August 6, sending the bishops the text of a prayer written by the Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Iraq, His Beatitude Louis Rafael Sako.

Bishop Pates recounted the struggles of Christians and others in Iraq who have faced the destruction, burning and looting of churches, homes and businesses and, under threat of the Islamic State (ISIS) to join their extremist brand of Islam, have fled for their lives. Accordingly, he urged Catholics to let their elected representatives know of their concern that humanitarian assistance reach Christian and other religious minorities who are suffering in Iraq, Syria and other countries.

Bishop Pates also noted Pope Francis’ calls for peace in Iraq and his observation that “violence generates more violence; dialogue is the only path to peace.”

The full text of Patriarch Sako’s prayer for peace follows:

Lord,
the plight of our country
is deep and the suffering of Christians
is severe and frightening.
Therefore, we ask you Lord
to spare our lives, and to grant us patience,
and courage to continue our witness of Christian values
with trust and hope.
Lord, peace is the foundation of life;
Grant us the peace and stability that will enable us
to live with each other without fear and anxiety,
and with dignity and joy.
Glory be to you forever.

August 8, 2014:

Update from the Dominican Sisters in Iraq

Dear Sisters, Brothers and Friends,

You might be surprised that we are writing this letter so soon since you received the last one. But events are happening so quickly here shocking everybody because of its brutality and cruelty. On the night of the Feast of Transfiguration shooting started after mid-night, and continued until noon of the next day. On the morning of the sixth of June many shells fell on Karakosh. Between 8:30 and 9:00 a shell fell on a house and it killed two boys (nine and five years old) who were playing in the garden; and it also killed a 37 year-old woman who was trying to pull water from the pipes. This caused many people to leave the town for their lives. On the afternoon almost all people who remained went out for the funeral of the victims at the church. Although atmosphere of the funeral was sad and calm, it was obvious that people were scared of something would happen.

On the seventh of August we gradually started to understand that the Peshmerga, who were supposed to protect Karakosh, were pulling out, leaving the town unprotected. Everybody was shocked because Kurdish government promised to defend Karakosh, and the other Christian towns. At the same time, ISIS started to get closer to Karakosh and the residents stared to leave the town. As a community, in no time we were to prepare to leave; we took the least with us unaware of what to take and unable to comprehend what was really happening. There were thirty sisters left Karakosh in three cars, and two families accompanied us, as they had no place to go. Three Franciscan sisters came with us, too. When we left the convent, we were surprised to see a big number of people leaving the town on foot. Moreover, it was strange to see only very few guards at the checkpoint when we were leaving the town.

We were not alone on this, other towns shared the same horror. Christians from fifteen villages among them Karamles, Bartela, Bashiqa, Telkaif, Baqofa, Batnaya, Telusquf were forced to leave their homes because ISIS was advancing. Our sisters also left their convents in these towns. In Telkaif, while a young man (Lugin) with a young priest were trying to help a lady who was not able to leave on her own, he was shot and killed by the ISIS. Our exodus started at 11:30 pm, and before that we decided to pray and have the Holy Communion so that if the ISIS entered the house, it will not be defiled. But on the last minute, we decided to leave one piece in the tabernacle praying it will protect the house and the town.

When we arrived to the intersession of Mosul-Erbil, we were shocked to see a huge mess of cars driving very chaotically to Erbil. The view was beyond describing, as words cannot fully capture it. Men, pregnant women, children, handicaps and elderly were moving toward Erbil. There were Christians, Muslims Shiites, Yezeds and Shabak; some people were on foot, some were riding trunks of pick-up, lorry trunks, and motorcycles. There are three checkpoints to arrive in Erbil. It took us five hours, from mid-night to five o’clock, to pass the first one; we reached the second one at seven o’clock and the third one at eight thirty. We arrived the convent at 9:30 exhausted emotionally, physically and mentally. What we saw was unbearable; people were suffering for no reason but because of their sect, religion and trace. We felt like we were in a nightmare wishing that someone would waken us up or that when the sun comes out it will be all over. But it was not the case, we were actually living a hard reality.

It usually takes an hour and 15 minutes to drive from Karakosh to Erbil, but the day before yesterday, it took us 10 hours. It was very hot that night, and because it was very crowed many cars were taking side routes. This caused Upon arriving in Erbil, we saw a big number of people from doomed towns that we mentioned above; there were a lot of people in the streets in the heat of summer sun, with temperature rising over 45 degrees waiting to find a place to stay. Many family welcomed people in their homes and churches but still so many people are staying in parks even in streets and under every tree for shading. These people are way more than Erbil can house, neither can the church meet their needs.

We also learned that there were about a hundred people left in Karakosh who decided not to leave and we learned from them that the ISIS entered and took some houses as a center for them. They also walked in the street saying Muslim prayer “Allahu Akbar”.  Since there was no room for all sisters who came from Karakosh and Bartela to stay in the convent, about half of us are staying in the Chaldean Seminary for which we are really grateful. At the same time, many families preferred to stay in the garden of the convent rather than staying in the street so we provided tents for them. Our sisters from other doomed towns also left their convents and headed to other Kurdish towns. We cannot say what will happen; how long people will stay like this or what the ISIS will do to our towns or if we will ever be able to get back home. Everything is so unclear. The situation is extremely difficult. For the time being people have some money to support themselves, but no one knows how long they will endure with the little they have.

As for the safety, Erbil is a Kurdish city and most refugees are staying in Ankawa that is a Christian suburb and protected by Peshmerga. It is hard for people to believe that even this city is safe that’s why they are thinking more and more to leave the whole country.  You may ask what the world can do for us. We would say, stop the blood, stop the oppression, and stop violence. We are human beings here; stop making us target for your weapon. The world needs to stand as one to protect minority against the evil and injustice. People want to live normal life in peace and dignity. Please help us out to stop the evil.

This update provided by the Dominican Sisters of Saint Catherine of Siena—Iraq

http://www.op.org/en/content/8-august-2014-updates-dominican-sisters-iraq

Iraq Update:

“What prayers shall I say now?”

By Michael Constantin

The streets of Ain Kawa, Erbil’s Christian neighborhood, are filled with Christian families, children, elderly and youth staying in the halls and backyards of the churches and in empty schools and convents. Prior to the advance of ISIS fighters in June, Ain Kawa counted some 30,000 people, mostly Christians. It has now become a refuge to around 130,000 displaced Christians from Mosul, Qaraqosh and other neighboring villages.

Ned Colt, UNHCR Public Information Officer in Erbil, said: “The constant movement of displaced people is creating an extreme situation for aid agencies which are trying to keep up. We are distributing aid, but due to people constantly moving we are sometimes distributing multiple times to the same people, and many of those people have no means of carrying things. It is difficult to get accurate figures of how many people are on the move, but we say at least 1.2 million.”

It is not just Christians fleeing the militants, but many other Iraqis — including Yazidis, Shabaks (Shiite Kurds) and moderate Muslims, considered heretics — he added.

Father Anis Hanna explained in detail how life has now changed for the different minorities who once lived in peace for centuries under the reign of Islam in Iraq and Syria. In July, ISIS declared from different mosques in Mosul that, starting on 28 July 2014, new laws and rules would be applied to everyone living in the territories under the Islamic State. They also declared that after this date, the Islamic State’s forces will purify the Nineveh Plain and control all Christian villages.

The new Islamic laws consist of the following:

  • It is forbidden for any citizens (men, women and children) to wear Western-style clothes; all men should wear Afghan-style clothing and all women should be veiled from their heads to their toes
  • All men should have a long beard and should shave their heads and mustaches
  • All women are not allowed to work outside their homes and they are not allowed to go outside home to the market or elsewhere if they are not accompanied by a male member of the family
  • All liquor stores, barber and cosmetic shops were shut down and are not allowed to operate
  • The local TV and radio station are not allowed to broadcast any kind of entertainment and cultural or artistic programs; only religious songs and programs are allowed
  • All regular courts in the city were suspended and replaced by Islamic courts
  • All families are being forced to give their daughters as wives to the militants against the will of the parents and the young girls.

The director of a human rights organization in Iraqi Kurdistan working in Erbil, Dhyaa Boutros, told me that the estimated number of Christian refugees is around 130,000. Some 55,000 of them have no shelter and found refuge in settlements in the open air or inside the church halls and empty schools in Erbil. The rest have managed to stay either with relatives in Erbil and Duhoc or rented small apartments in the city.

The refugees in settlements are estimated at around 10,000 families — sleeping 30 to 40 in a room in temperatures that rise up to 45 degrees Celsius [about 113 degrees Farenheit] during the day. They basically need everything. The first obvious needs are shelter, water, food, security and other basic needs to save lives. Local parishes — priests, sisters and volunteers — are doing their best to respond to need.

A newly displaced person said to Mr. Boutros: “The pope has asked the Christians to pray and be patient. I’ve been displaced twice. What prayers shall I say now?”

Ain Kawa’s St. Joseph Church has suddenly become a homeless shelter, with clothes drying in the sun and pale blue U.N.-donated blankets hanging from trees. People everywhere are confused. Kids are eating crumbly stale bread; worried mothers are wiping their children’s faces or fanning them in the heat. There are too many thin mattresses stretched on the ground, too many bags stacked up with small children crouched nearby in the small scrap of shade provided.

The confusion, the overwhelming need and the huge number of refugees makes all efforts look insufficient and inefficient.

This information is made available courtesy of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association

http://www.cnewa.org/blog.aspx?ID=1852&pagetypeID=35&sitecode=HQ&pageno=1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Iraqi Christian refugee holds a 12-day-old baby in Ain Kawa, Iraq, on 7 August. (photo: CNS/Sahar Mansour)

August 18, 2014 – Readings for the Week

Monday        Ezekiel 24:15- 24; Matthew 19:16-22

Tuesday        Ezekiel 28:1:10; Matthew 19:23-30

Wednesday   Ezekiel 34:1-11: Matthew 20:1-16

Thursday      Ezekiel 36:23-28; Matthew 22:1-14

Friday           Ezekiel 37:1-14; Matthew 22:34-40

Saturday       Ezekiel 43:1-7a; Matthew 23:1-12

Sunday     Is 22:19-23; Romans 11:33-36; Mat 16:13-20

The Peace Prayer of St. Francis of Assissi

The Peace Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is error, the truth;
Where there is doubt, the faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled, as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.