National Catholic Reporter

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Iraqi refugees in Lebanon find hope in infant baptisms at Easter vigil

Despite the extreme hardship of being exiled from their homes in Iraq, the Easter vigil was a day of great joy for the parents of eight babies who were baptized in Lebanon.

Carried by his grandmother, 40-day-old Nimar, was the first to arrive at St. Elias Melkite Catholic Church.

Settling into a pew, the grandmother told Catholic News Service that Nimar is the first of her 12 grandchildren to be baptized outside of the family's ancestral parish near Mosul, Iraq, an area overrun by Islamic State militants.

Catholic aid group channels money to help Christians displaced in Syria

A pontifical aid organization has begun sending aid to families who fled their homes when Islamic State militants raided a cluster of Assyrian Christian villages on the Khabur River in northeast Syria.

The Catholic Near East Welfare Association, upon learning about the Islamic State attacks, contacted Bishop Aprim Nathniel of the Assyrian Church of the East in Hassakeh, with whom the agency had collaborated on previous projects, said Michel Constantin, CNEWA's regional director for Lebanon, Syria and Egypt.

Patriarchs' Lenten messages focus on struggles of Middle East Christians

The Middle East is suffering a "Way of the Cross" that is the greatest tragedy since World War II, Melkite Catholic Patriarch Gregoire III Laham said in a Lenten message about suffering.

He said the church, despite its efforts, is having difficulty meeting the growing needs it faces in the region.

"We fail in front of the suffering of our people in all walks of life, Christians and Muslims. It's a universal suffering," he said.

Syriac patriarch calls Islamic State actions 'attempted genocide'

Returning from a visit to the Kurdish region of Iraq, Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan called the Islamic State invasion "pure and simple religious cleansing and attempted genocide."

"What we, the five patriarchs, saw in Ankawa, Irbil and other cities of Kurdistan, was something indescribable in terms of the violation of human rights and the threat of disappearing of various communities among the vulnerable minorities of Northern Iraq," Younan said. "It is a pure and simple religious cleansing and attempted genocide.



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In This Issue

October 21-November 3, 2016

  • Reformation's anniversary brings commemorations, reconsiderations
  • Picks further diversify College of Cardinals
  • Editorial: One-issue obsession imperils credibility
  • Special Section [Print Only]: SAINTS