syria

POPE’S MESSAGE | Make room for kindness, not hopeless ‘mafia’ mentality

Pope Francis embraced a girl at his general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican April 5. Before concluding his audience, the pope said he was horrified by a chemical attack in Syria the previous day that left 70 people dead.

VATICAN CITY — Hope can't remain hidden within, but must break free to overcome vengeful, mafia-like mentalities with mercy and humility, Pope Francis said.

Christians must give witness to hope through their lives as Jesus did and make room for Him in their hearts to fight evil by doing good to others, even their enemies, the pope said at his weekly general audience April 5.

After years in war zone, burnout rises among those who serve Syrians

Ramzi Abou Zeid, regional coordinator for Caritas Lebanon, checked on the distribution of winter clothes for 16 Syrian refugee families Jan. 4 in Zahle, Lebanon. In all, 150 refugee families who live in Zahle are being assisted by the coordinated distribution.

TORONTO — Humanitarian aid workers in Syria and Lebanon are exhausted, said Helene Tremblay-Boyko, who recently traveled to the region.

It isn't the exhaustion a person feels at the end of a long day, she said. This exhaustion comes from working in the same desperate conditions as the people they serve.

"We do not know here (in Canada) what is going on there," said Tremblay-Boyko, vice president of the Development and Peace national council. "They need peace. They need to be able to start rebuilding their lives. We need to do everything we can to enable a peace accord."

Bishop Vasquez welcomes federal appeals court ruling on refugee ban

Syrian refugee Baraa Haj Khalaf greeted her mother, Fattoum Haj Khalaf, Feb. 7 at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago.

WASHINGTON — The chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Migration welcomed a federal appeals court ruling that upheld a temporary restraining order against President Donald Trump's travel ban on refugees from seven predominantly Muslim countries that also temporarily suspended the country's refugee resettlement program.

"We respect the rule of law and the American judicial process. We remain steadfast in our commitment to resettling refugees and all those fleeing persecution," Bishop Joe S. Vasquez of Austin, Texas, wrote in a statement Feb. 10.

English lessons, friendship provided for women isolated in a new land

As she readied to dish out a bowl of soup, Hayat Bashir-Louise told Becky Mueller about the lentils she prepared for the fast of Jonah (fast of Nineveh). The practice of fasting for three days began in the Syrian Orthodox Church and commemorates the time the prophet Jonah spent in the belly of the whale in Scriptures.

Hayat Bashir-Louise was pleased that she had understood the reading comprehension workbook story about a man, Bob Finn, who visited a doctor at the Hill Street medical clinic.

In Jordan, Syrian refugees accepted by U.S. frustrated with Trump action

Syrian refugees arrived at a camp in 2016 in Royashed, Jordan. Promised resettlement in the United States, many Syrian refugees are frustrated and angry over President Donald Trump's executive action banning their entry to the U.S. until further notice.

AMMAN, Jordan -- Promised resettlement in the United States after escaping death and destruction in their homeland, many Syrian refugees are frustrated and angry over President Donald Trump's executive action banning their entry to the U.S. until further notice.

"We're frustrated. We were told that we were accepted for resettlement in the U.S., and now everything is at a standstill," a Syrian refugee woman said, wiping away tears as she surveyed her crumbling home in the Jordanian capital.

Pope pleads for peace and aid corridors in Syria

Syrian soldiers patrolled a neighborhood in Aleppo Dec. 12 after recapturing it from rebels. Media reports state the Syrian army claimed it had recaptured 98 percent of the former rebel territory in eastern Aleppo.

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis urged Syrian President Bashar Assad to do everything possible to end the war in his country, to protect civilians and to ensure humanitarian agencies can deliver emergency aid to the people.

Syria's SANA news agency reported Assad met Dec. 12 with new Cardinal Mario Zenari, the papal nuncio to Syria, and that the cardinal delivered a letter from the pope.

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