Please read this important article from Catholic News Agency which talks about an Iraqi refugees currently living in the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ church in Naour which is located in Amman, the capital of Jordan.
FOUR IRAQI CHRISTIAN KIDS BEHEADED AFTER REFUSING TO CONVERT TO ISLAM, TELLING ISIS MILITANTS 'NO, WE LOVE JESUS'Read Now
Four Iraqi Christian children, who were all beheaded by the Islamic State, refused to betray Jesus and graciously died in his name when the ISIS militants gave them one last chance to say the Islamic words of conversion, the Rev. Canon Andrew White revealed in a recent interview.
In an interview last week with the Christian Broadcast Network published on the Orthodox Christian Network, White, who is the only Anglican vicar in Iraq and is know as "The Vicar of Baghdad," detailed the plight of Christians in Iraq and recounted two instances when Islamic State's forceful conversions directly pulled the strings of his heart.
Speaking on ISIS' brutal mistreatment of religious minorities, White recounted the recent incident when ISIS militants beheaded four kids, all of whom were under the age of 15, when the kids refused to say that they would follow the Prophet Muhammad and told the ISIS fighters that they will always "love" and "follow" Jesus.
"ISIS turned up and they said to the children, 'you say the words that you will follow Muhammad.' The Children, all under 15, four of them, they said, 'no, we love Yasua [Jesus]. We have always loved Yasua. We have always followed Yasua. Yasua has always been with us.'" White said. "[The Militants] said, 'say the words!' [The Children] said, 'no, we can't do that.' They chopped all their heads off."
"How do you respond to that?" White asked. "You just cry. They are my children. That is what we have been going through. That is what we are going through."
White spoke of another instance, which happened a few days prior to the children's beheading, where a male Christian adult was forced to say the Islamic words of conversion, or else all of his children were going to be beheaded. With his children's lives at stake, the man could not afford to be bold and caved in saying said the words of conversion.
White said that later that day, the man called him to ask if Jesus still loved him even though he had said the Islamic words of conversion.
"[Militants] say to one man, an adult, 'you say the words of conversion or we will kill all of your children.' He was desperate. He said the words," White said. "Then he phoned me and said '[Father], I said the words, does that mean Yasua doesn't love me anymore? I have always loved Yasua. I said those words because I couldn't see my children be killed.' I said, 'Jesus still loves you. He will always love you.'"
White, who is now staying in Israel after fleeing from Baghdad after receiving personal death threats from the Islamic State, said that it is "impossible" for Christians to live in Iraq because of the Islamic State's brutal mistreatment of religious minorities.
"They have threatened to kill me. They are after me. They wanted that Abuna [Father] from England," White said. "So the Archbishop of Canterbury said 'you've got to leave now.'"
White further notes that over 250,000 Christians have now fled from the caliphate and are living as refugees in the Kurdish North.
ISIS mistreatment of children and religious minorities goes well beyond just the forced Islamic conversions. White noted that many children, not just the four he previously mentioned, are being either beheaded and their bodies cut in half.
In addition, Yazidi refugees interviewed by the Daily Mail say that ISIS not only systematically kills yazidi and Christian men and women, they have also brutally cut the throats of babies. One 13-year-old Yazidi from one particular Yazidi village claims that the militants killed over 100 kids from his village.
ISIS militants are also kidnapping and selling off baby girls as sex slaves. A recent pricing guide released by Islamic State leadership reveals that Christian and Yazidi girls aged 1 to 9 years old are being sold as sex slaves for just $172.
Although ISIS recruits kids and other young adults to join the caliphate by advertising a false sense of Islamic Purpose, the ISIS leadership are also said to brutally treat their rank-and-file fighters.
Testimony from one 15-year-old former ISIS fighter says that ISIS leaders drugged fighters to make them more likely to commit a suicide bomb attack in battle. Additionally, a United Nations report states that ISIS militants are using kids as human shields in battle and also force them to donate blood to wounded ISIS fighters.
A Catholic arrested at pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong has seen his plight addressed in an open letter to Pope Francis on Facebook, three months after meeting the pontiff in South Korea.
Giovanni Pang, who met Francis during his landmark first visit to the region in August and took a ‘selfie’ with the pope, was among more than 100 people arrested by police Tuesday night as they removed barricades at the main protest site in Mongkok district.
“Do you recall Giovanni Pang from Hong Kong who met you twice in South Korea earlier?” Popular radio DJ Henry Chan, a friend of Pang, said in his letter to the pope posted on Facebook during the early hours of Wednesday morning. “May I let you know this issue and bring it to [sic] Vatican’s kind attention?”
The letter added that Pang went to the protest site to help students as bailiffs removed barriers and arrested leaders of the pro-democracy movement after two months of sit-in rallies.
The movement's student leaders Joshua Wong and Lester Shum were arrested at the scene on Wednesday, according to a group called Scholarism and the Hong Kong Federation of Students.
The Hong Kong Diocese, which Pang works for as a member of the liturgy and youth commissions, reportedly sent a representative to the police station to check on Pang’s situation, according to Chan.
Pang was widely referenced by global media during the papal visit to South Korea after Francis dodged a question he asked about “control and oppression” of Catholics in China.
After the World Youth Day event in Solmoe, Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi told reporters that the pope decided to avoid “political” topics during what was supposed to be a “pastoral” event.
October was the month dedicated to Mary, so I find it fitting to write an article
about Mary and what we can learn and adopt from her. Mary was engaged to Joseph,
when she received a message from the Angel Gabriel saying to Mary, you shall be the
mother of the savior of the world. Then as the gospels progress we see the hardships she
faced in regards to Jesus fulfilling his ministry and eventually dying on the cross for our
Our lady of sorrows highlights some of the Pain that Mary had to face in her life
as the Mother of God. The seven Sorrows are as follows, the prophecy of Simeon, the
flight to Egypt, the loss of Jesus in the Temple, Mary meeting Jesus on the way to
Calvary, Jesus’s death on the cross, Mary receiving the body of Jesus, and Jesus being
laid in the tomb. Although this all happened to Mary she still was steadfast in her
devotion to God, and was constantly saying yes despite the pain it most have cost her to
We live in a World that is ravaged by pain, from miniscule pain like a grazed
knee, to more overwhelming pain like starvation, lowliness, prosecution, disease, War
etc. The question most people then ask is “why is there so much pain in the world, it must
mean that the Lord does not care about the people he created, or better yet God must just
be an illusion, a false hope that people hold on to. To spare you all a theology lesson, on
the existence of God, that is not the purpose of this article but rather to give hope in pain
and suffering by using Mary as the epitome of someone who persevered and still trusted
in the Lord despite her pain and suffering.
With that said when life throws you a curveball and you feel your faith tested look
to Mary to mother of God, look to her life, look to her constant yes to the will of God
despite the pain it brought her and ask for her guidance in your time of suffering. I will
you all my readers a blessed month of October and I will be praying for you all, as I ask
you all pray for me as well and when pain and suffering comes our way we should take
heart and still seek the will of God. For our Brothers and Sisters living in perpetual
suffering and pain we pray for them. God Bless you all.
As year 2013 marked the appearance of ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria), around 1.8 millions Iraqis, half of them are children, were forced to flee from their homes across the country. As violence escalated in July 2014 in Iraq by ISIS, thousands of Christians and Yazidi families were driven away from their homes in fear of getting killed. Many people survived from this barbaric attack, however they suffered from hunger and dehydration especially the children as everyone was out of food and water.
The statuses of these Iraqi citizens changed making them refugees in their own country and nearby regions. As we recall, year 2011 was the start of the Syrian crisis making Syrian citizens escape their homes seeking shelter in Iraq and other countries. After 3 years from the start of the Syrian crisis, almost 223 thousands refugees were settled and living in Iraqi refugee camps. The three year old conflict in neighboring Syria puts additional burden on Iraq’s hospitals and public services. The combination of these two kinds of refugees inside Iraq itself had the situation like a timed bomb that was ready to explode at any time.
Children are forced to leave their houses, their countries, and everything they used to have only because they were guilty of being christians. Most Iraqis are now seeking shelter and safety from The Kingdom Of Jordan which already has around 500 thousands Syrian refugees who most of them are currently living in the Zaatari refugee camp located 10 Km east of the state of Mafraq.
Around 4000 Iraqi Christians are currently staying in Jordan. Most of these refugees are applying for Asylum through the embassies that are in Kingdom. A normal Asylum request in such harsh situations would take around a year due to the many interviews that individuals, and families have to attend in order to be given that right.
Due to this crisis in the Middle East, it is estimated that the number of Iraqi refugees in specific will top the 3 million mark by year 2016, and that of course if they are given the chance to flee the country.
As you can see in the picture (Arabic version), the percentage of christians in the Middle East has decreased significantly making it a dangerous issue for the whole World.
Christians escaping from Syria and Iraq, are becoming refugees in nearby and far countries making life more difficult for these persecuted Christians who their crime was only practicing their faith and being followers of Christ.
Ever get that feeling when you open a bag of potato chips that you’ve mostly paid for air?
A group of South Korean college students have, and to prove their point, on Sunday they used a raft made of unopened potato chip packets to traverse Seoul’s main river.
Two male students crossed the Han River on a boat made with 160 unopened bags of potato chips bound together near 0.8-mile-long Jamsil Bridge in the city’s east.
The stunt attracted nearly 200 people, according to local accounts.
South Korea consumer groups in recent years have said local food companies are including too little edible product and increasing the size of empty space inside packaging.
Blog posts and online bulletin board entries regularly compare packages of food products such as chocolate chip cookies and crackers. South Korea’s food companies have said the extra space is needed to prevent physical damage to the product.
These archangels, messengers sent by God, are the only ones named in the Bible.
In the Book of Daniel, Michael is called ‘the great prince;’ in the Letter of Jude, he argues with the devil over Moses’ body; and in the Book of Revelation, he leads the battle against Satan. He is patron of the sick, radiologists, and mariners.
Gabriel explains Daniel’s visions to him in the Book of Daniel, and in the Gospel of Luke announces to Zechariah and Mary the births of their respective sons. He is the patron of messengers and telecommunications and postal workers.
Raphael guides Tobiah in the Book of Tobit; he is patron of the blind, physicians, and travelers.
The church created their joint feast after the Second Vatican Council.
My name is Michael Afam-Obanor, I am originally from Nigeria but currently
residing in the US. I am twenty-two years old. I was born to a Catholic family, but I only
practiced because my parents demanded that I did, I was never serious or cared much for
the faith at this point in my life. I moved to the US when I was fifteen, the experience of
moving came with the normality that accompanies relocation to a place other than your
place of growth and development. The shock came mostly in the field of how blatant
immorality was, and also a lack of compassion for ones neighbors. This prompted me to
come to some sort of reversion a call to return back to the faith. I started out by attending
meetings at a School Christian group called Students for Christ. From this group I met
other students who were on fire for Christ and one of these Students invited me to his
church, a request I gladly accepted and although I enjoyed going to his Church I always
felt I was not in the right place a feeling that something was still missing, through this
feeling I started exploring the faith of my birth again and started an intentional quest to
get to know this faith. Through this exploration by the power of the Holy Spirit I came
to realize that what was missing was the Catholic faith. This one time event is what gave
way to my growth and development within the Catholic Faith.
The main reason for this article was to share my volunteer experience from World
Youth Day (WYD) or Jornada Mundial De La Juventud (JMJ) in keeping with the Spirit
of the host country’s native language, I felt it proper to first give a brief background
about who I am and how I came to embrace the Catholic Faith. Below is an excerpt from
a blog post I wrote to explain my experience on the first day in Rio.
In the course of two weeks I have come to experience the Mystical body of
Christ in a completely different and profund way, I learned first hand that all borders
are destroyed when celebrating the Catholic faith, I learned so much on the virtue of
patience and humility while at the same time understanding our mission to be stewards
of our faith, words spoken by Jesus in the gospels and reiterated by the Holy Father Pope
Francis. Two weeks or fourteen days might seem to many as a really short time to learn
and fully grasp these profound life lessons but unlike sitting and learning in a classroom,
one learns so much quicker by immersing oneself in whatever it is they are passionate
about which is exactly what myself and thousands of other international volunteers
did by going to work in a foreign city where most of the internationals had little if not
no understanding of the culture of this foreign land. Which brings to mind Christian
missionaries of times and also gives testament to our call to be Missionaries a term used
by Blessed William Joseph Chaminade, founder of the Marianist order.
On the fourteenth of July I boarded a plane to Rio de Janeiro to join thousands
of other volunteers international and national to help make the event World Youth Day
a success while also participating in a common union of believers to encounter Christ. I
boarded that plane not knowing what to expect but having my faith and trust in God to
see me through yet another experience in my life. I boarded that plane with just my task
designation, no idea of my accommodation or where I would be working, The words
spoken by Abraham when asked by Isaac his Son where the animal to be slaughtered
was, and Abraham responded Jehovah Jireh (God will Provide) stayed in my mind
throughout the process of packing, driving to the airport etc. This simple yet profound
phrase and my Faith in the Lord is what kept pushing me forward despite having the
normal human worries of the unknown, like the circumstance of not knowing where I
would sleep or how I would navigate a country I knew next to nothing about, and only
thing which was giving me so solace was the info I received which specified I would find
out this information when I arrived in Rio and went to pick up my volunteer kit.
Landing in Rio at 9 in the morning left me feeling excited as I was actually in
Brasil live and in person, and in the coming week I will be celebrating the faith with
millions of people from all over the world. After waiting at the Airport in Rio for an hour
with some new found volunteer friends among which are the likes of Andrea, Louie,
Karina, Lucy, Kate, Jesus as well as others, we finally got some transportation to the
Cathedral which is where we got to experience first hand the chaos and some idea of the
amount of work the organizing committee had to deal with. A little side note it was a
good thing everybody there wanted to be there and were willing to stay calm through the
whole process and work with the organizers, the cooperation level with the volunteers
was truly remarkable taking into account most of these people had been in a plane for
more than thirty plus hours a feeling I think would make most people easily irritable.
Back to the scene at the Cathedral, We get to the Cathedral and at first I am surprised
by the architecture of the Cathedral, which was not your normal European style this
Cathedral was a Pyramid shape, coming back to my senses from the design of the
Cathedral, the sight at the cathedral was one full of people with suitcases and flags and
the national volunteers whose job was to help out with the distribution of the volunteer
line so we could receive our kits and in my case get information on my accommodation,
it is now like ten in the morning. The line was so long and winding that at first it was
confusing where the line started but we eventually found the start of the line and the wait
began. During the wait in line, I got into a small chit chat with some of the other people
who where there and that is when it finally hit me that I needed to switch my
communication methods simply because not everyone spoke English, the ones who did,
spoke English but not fluently, as a result from that point on I resolved to only speaking
Spanish or should I say a few Spanish words and a lot of English words. Hours later we
hear from someone that the organizing committee had run out of Kits and they wanted
everyone to go to their places of accommodation and return back the next day, which was
fine except for the fact that some people had no idea where their place of accommodation
was. Amidst the chaos that erupted when the above was announced I lost my group and
made my way to get some help on my living situation, which turned out to be another
experience all together in itself. I was informed by one of the volunteers I needed to head
to the basement of the Cathedral, where I could receive better information on my
situation. This I did and after pushing and shoving my way through crowds of people I
finally got someone’s attention, a man whom happened to an American which was
reliving as I could properly express myself. He pointed me to a room which had a list of
everyone as well as their designated area of work and address, He also added if I did not
receive help there I could just stick with him for that day.
I made my way to the room the American pointed out to get the information I
needed, then I went to one of the volunteers working, to get information on how to get
there, which was a pretty straight forward direction, looking at it now, but taking into
consideration the fact that it was my first day in the city, the person giving me directions
communication pattern, and my exhaustion from travelling all day etc,made it seem so
much more complicated.
After a few wrong stops, speaking in broken Spanish with officials trying to get some
help as to where I was and needed to go, I finally arrived at the Church I was designated
to work in. Only to find out the Church was closed, and at this point it is close to ten at
night, shops are starting to close and I am stuck in the streets of a foreign city with all my
belongings in a suitcase. This was somewhat of a breaking point for me and I almost lost
hope, but closing my eyes and remembering the prayer I said before leaving the United
States "Lord I do not have the slightest idea what I am getting myself into but I do know
I am going to do your work so therefore I am placing this whole trip and my life in your
hands and I trust you will see me through it". I opened my eyes and preparing for my
next course of action I look up and see a pharmacy still open and I decided to try and use
their phone to call the Church. I head into the pharmacy and this is where I experience
first hand the accommodating nature of the Brasilian people or in this case the Cariocas
(People who live in Rio De Janeiro)but I would not be surprised if all Brasilains were
like that. I walk into the pharmacy and the first words I say to the Clerk is Puedo usar su
telephono por favor, from the look in the clerks face I saw some concern maybe because
I was lugging around a suitcase late at night with a look of frustration on my face. He lets
me use the phone and first I call the Volunteer help line for native English speakers but
no one answers, then I call the Church Santo Alphonso that I was designated to work,
unfortunately for me the Priest did not speak any of the languages I had some degree of
fluency in, this is when the pharmacy clerk comes in. I explain to the clerk to the best of
my ability my situation in Spanish and ask if he could talk to the priest for me and tell
the priest my situation. After talking on the phone for a while the clerk comes back and
relates to me what the priest had said, which were within the parameters of no one is
supposed to stay here, tell him to go back to the Cathedral where he can be helped since
the Cathedral was the volunteers point of reference. I think about what the priest had said
and decide it would be safer to sleep on the steps of the cathedral which was in a fenced
compound for some reason I have this idea that the Cathedral would closed since it was
so late at night, after making up my mind the pharmacy clerk takes me outside and hails
a taxi gives the taxi driver directions on where I was headed, then he hands me a piece
of paper with his number and tells me if there is any problem I should not hesitate to call
The taxi ride to the cathedral was a bit awkward because the taxi driver tried to make
small talk and I could not communicate so I just stared at him nodding my head and
smiling, we finally arrive at the Cathedral, I pay my taxi fare and proceed to the
Cathedral steps and prepare myself to sleep, which involved putting my passport and my
money in my socks leaving small bills in my wallet so if I got robbed the robbers would
not get too suspicious. Just when I was done preparing myself to sleep a man walks up
to me, gestures for me to make my way to the front of the Cathedral, which I do only to
see that it is open and three local volunteers and the director of the volunteers are still
inside cleaning up. Feeling relived that I did not have to sleep outside, I go and talk to
the Director of Volunteers and tell him my situation, he apologizes and assures me I will
have a place to sleep and I do not have to sleep outside, just at that moment a lady walks
in looking for some volunteers as she was in charge of providing accommodation for
three volunteers who had not yet arrived or got lost in the chaos of that day, Antonio the
director of the volunteers tells me to go with her just for that night and the next morning
everything will be sorted out.
This first day experience was another great way to the see the trustworthiness of
the Lord, A minuscule experience of the missionaries of old and an idea of what they had
to deal with but on a larger scale.
Two things I could take away from my first day experience in Rio that I would
like to share with the audience is this, although life seems to bring you down having faith
and trust in the Lord makes life more livable. Also the second thing to be taken away is,
we are not alone in our journey there are so many people especially young people who
strive to be Jesus to others here on earth in times of doubt remember St Paul when he
says in Romans 8:28 “We know that all things work for good for those who love God,
who are called according to his purpose”. This is my first entry and by the grace of God I
hope to post more articles that addresses different aspects of the faith. I also want to
apologize for the formal manner this article is written, which is without much regard for
proper grammatical rules, I figured since I will be talking to peers it would be proper to
be formal in my approach. Also goodbye for now and may the Father and the Son and the
Holy Spirit be glorified in all place through the Immaculate Virgin Mary be glorified in
all places Amen. Also as a postscript props to Jamil for starting this site God Bless you