Catholic Transcript Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

As we celebrate the 175th Anniversary of the Archdiocese, we look back… on July 19, 1915 when ground was broken for St. Stephen Church, Hamden.
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iraq cnsbr8558 webDisplaced Iraqi women sit outside of their tent at a camp for displaced people between the cities of Fallujah and Ramadi, Iraq, March 12. (CNS photo/Alaa Al-Marjani, Reuters)

NEW HAVEN – As September begins, the Knights of Columbus is unveiling a new television commercial and will finance the delivery of one month's supply of food to more than 13,500 displaced families from Mosul and Nineveh who fled to the Erbil area in Kurdistan.

The food assistance is part of the organization's multimillion dollar initiative to aid displaced Christian families and those from other persecuted religious com-munities in the Middle East. This donation for food will bring the Knights of Columbus assistance in the Middle East to more than $4 million overall.

Each one-month food package typically contains 10 kilograms of rice, 5 kilograms of sugar, 4 liters of cooking oil, 1,200 kilograms of tomato sauce, 4 kilograms of beans, 10 kilograms of wheat, 1 kilogram of pasta, six packets of cheese, five tins of fish, five tins of meat, and 1 kilogram of tea. The cost of $60 per package includes transportation and packaging for a total cost of $810,000.

At the same time, the Knights of Columbus will also begin airing a TV commercial that features an Iraqi priest who now runs a refugee camp near Erbil, and who previously was kidnapped and tortured by extremists.

In the commercial, Father Douglas Bazi begs viewers to "pray for my people, help my people, and save my people," and adds "I believe you can." He also notes that "genocide is the easy word for what is happening to my people." The commercial will air nationally this month and can be viewed at www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHegSk2omdE

"Christians in the Middle East face persecution and extinction simply for their belief in the one who taught us to love one another," said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson. "Despite the genocidal persecution against them, they have continued to be an inspiration to the power of their faith, and to the love of God and neigh-bor. They need our solidarity and support, and we are pleased to help provide it."

Chaldean Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil attended the Knights of Columbus international convention in Philadelphia in August, as did Melkite Archbishop Jean Clement Jeanbart of Aleppo, Syria. At the convention, Mr. Anderson announced that the Knights would redouble its efforts on behalf of Middle Eastern Christians.

Those wishing to assist with the relief efforts can donate by visiting www.christiansatrisk.org or by sending checks or money orders payable to Knights of Co-lumbus Charities at P.O. Box 1966, New Haven, CT 06509-1966. The memo portion should indicate that the check is for Christian Refugee Relief.

One hundred percent of all donations directly supports humanitarian assistance and raising awareness for persecuted Christians and other religious minorities, especially in the Middle East. Donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. Knights of Columbus Charities Inc., is recognized by the IRS as a chari-table organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

The Knights of Columbus has a long history of providing humanitarian relief, including efforts following the 9/11 terrorist attacks; the 2013 typhoons in the Philippines; hurricanes Katrina and Sandy; and tsunamis in Indonesia and Japan. The Knights also provided humanitarian assistance and created international awareness of the persecution of the Catholic Church in Mexico during the 1920s.

The Knights of Columbus is the world's largest Catholic fraternal organization with nearly 1.9 million members worldwide. One of the most active charitable or-ganizations in the United States, the Knights of Columbus donated more than $173.5 million and 71.5 million hours of service in 2014.

For more information visit www.christiansatrisk.org - hashtag #ChristiansAtRisk

alertAt the Spring Assembly of the U.S. bishops, Cardinal Joseph Tobin suggested that a delegation ofbishops go to the border to see for themselves what was happening to newly arrived immigrants, families and children. On July 1 and 2, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. bishops conference, and five other bishops conducted a pastoral visit to the diocese of Brownsville, Texas. Stops included Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle with the community, a visit to anHHS/OBR Shelter and Mass for the families there, a visit to the Customs and Border Patrol processing center in McAllen, TX, and a press conference at the end of their visit. Catholic News Service accompanied the bishops on their border trip. 

  1. Backgrounder and analysis of the bishops’ trip to the border: Cardinal DiNardo told CNS, “You cannot look at immigration as an abstraction when you meet” the people behind the issue.
  2. At final press conference, Cardinal Daniel Dinardo said the church was willing to be part of any conversation to find humane solutions because even a policy of detaining families together in facilities caused “concern.”
  3. Bishops serve soup to immigrant families at a center run by Catholic Charities and listen to their stories. Scranton Bishop Joseph Bambera said he found hope in hearing the people in the room talk about what’s ahead. They didn’t speak of making money but of finding safety for their children, he said, driven by “the most basic instinct to protect your family.”
  4. At an opening Mass he Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle-National Shrine near McAllen, Texas, Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville told Massgoers, “The bishops are visiting here so they can stop and look and talk to people and understand, especially the suffering of many who are amongst us,”

A delegation of U.S. bishops goes on a fact-finding mission at the U.S.-Mexican border to learn more about Central American immigration detention.

Following their visit to an immigrant detention center, U.S. bishops said they are even more determined to call on Congress for comprehensive immigration reform.