On Monday 8th May in the villages of Bartella, Karamless and Qaraqosh an “Olive Tree Ceremony” will mark the beginning of rebuilding work on the first 100 homes of the Christian refugee families, in a programme sponsored by the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN). Father Andrzej Halemba of ACN, who is an acting chairman of the “Nineveh Reconstruction Committee” has described this moment as a “historic and unrepeatable occasion for the future of Christianity in Iraq”.  

On Tuesday 25th April, in Damascus, Melkite Catholic Patriarch Gregory III Laham of Antioch finally celebrated the funeral Mass for five Syrian Christians who had been abducted in 2013 by Islamist extremist rebels in the city of Maaloula. Following the Mass, their remains were finally laid to rest in this majority Christian city from which they had originated.   

*Below is a letter written by Cardinal Piacenza, the President of Aid to the Church in Need, that was sent to all the bishops of the Nineveh Plains in Iraq and read out during the Easter celebrations. 

By Maria Lozana

On 18th April a deliberate arson attack caused some damage to the rectory attached to the church of the Assumption, the cathedral church of the apostolic vicariate of Nepal, which is situated on the outskirts of the capital Kathmandu. No one was injured and the damage was solely material. Nonetheless, according to the vicar general, Father Silas Bogati, the attack “has harmed the tiny Catholic community, which is now afraid. We are trusting in God, but what has happened is a call to be vigilant.” The attack took place in the midst of a very delicate political situation in the country, as the county prepares for the forthcoming local elections on 14th May – the first to be held in Nepal for almost 20 years. The local elections are expected to be followed by Parliamentary elections in January 2018.  

“I only want to be healed so that I can become a priest.” 

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