Events and Hospitality Coordinator – Archdiocese of Denver (Denver, CO)

This is a syndicated post from CatholicJobs.com. [Read the original article...]

EVENTS AND HOSPITALITY COORDINATOR
Hospitality, FT Employee
Archdiocese of Denver (Denver, CO)

THE POSITION:
The Events & Hospitality Coordinator reports to the Executive Director of Evangelization & Family Life Ministries. The primary functions of the position include coordinating the many events administrated by the Office of Evangelization & Family Life Ministries (OEFLM), contributing to positive public relations, fostering key relationships, and providing hospitality training to parish staff throughout the Archdiocese. By providing dependable leadership and organization for many key events that are crucial to the OEFLM, the Events & Hospitality Coordinator will have an important opportunity to contribute to our larger mission. The goal of this position isn’t simply to address the various logistical needs of each event, but strive intentionally to create an atmosphere of hospitality and service that proudly witnesses to our Catholic faith.

ESSENTIAL DUTIES:
Serve the Office of Evangelization and Family Life Ministries in strengthening families and evangelizing people both in and out of the pews while helping parishes to be successful in doing the same. This is done through tasks including the following:

~ Work closely with the Executive Director, Associate Director, & necessary event stakeholders to learn the history, requirements, goals, and their clearly defined role for each event.

~ Take personal ownership for the look, feel, execution and quality of key events hosted by the OEFLM. Events include, but are not limited to, the following:
• Mountain Madness
• Steubenville of The Rockies
• Anniversary Mass
• Catechetical Congress
• NFP Appreciation Dinner
• Youth Minster Training Retreats
• Monthly Theology on Tap Events
• Various Trainings and meetings hosted at the Saint John Paul II Center

~ Responsible for coordinating arrangements and proposing agreements with vendors (catering, locations, audio/visual, etc.) with the Executive Director for finalization. Works within budget constraints and always shows competent stewardship of resources.

~ Lead the OEFLM team in the area of hospitality. Proactively searches for ways to improve our interactions with not only event attendees, but all people with whom the office serves and interacts with. Is diligent in ensuring each touch point with priests, parishes, lay people, and partners is handled with kindness, humility, professionalism, and competence.

~ Create announcements, reminders, or follow-up messaging that is welcoming, professional and timely. Coordinates the delivery of these communications with appropriate staff within the OEFLM.

~ With assistance and guidance from the OEFLM staff, is able to develop and present training to parish staff in the area of hospitality (which is a key component in welcoming people back into the Catholic Church), and models best practices within the Office.

~ Contact existing and potential sponsors and vendors for events and takes a strategic approach to positively fostering those relationships.

~ Exhibit positivity, an appreciation for collaboration, and has the flexibility to respond to changes or adversity with professionalism.

OTHER DUTIES:
~ Process, or assist in the registration processes, for any other conferences/workshops presented by the OEFLM.

~ Perform other duties as assigned by the Director and/or the Associate Director, and assists with special projects as necessary. Helps create and develop the position to provide the optimum level of support to the OEFLM.

~ Suggest new approaches or opportunities in alignment with goals of the OEFLM.

~ Schedule appointments with various individuals and organizations.

~ Create and maintain records reflecting the status of certain department responsibilities, the status of events, and update customer relations database in accordance with OEFLM processes.

~ We believe in a healthy balance of work and personal time with a particular sensitivity and appreciation for family activities and responsibilities. Dependable work hours that respect Archdiocesan policy and standards must be maintained. Weekend events must be attended when directed with the understanding that time off will be granted in consideration. However, requests for time off and proposed work hours must be clearly communicated to the Project Manager and approved by the Executive Director.

COMPETENCIES AND QUALIFICATIONS:
~ Be in the communion of the Catholic Church and intentionally living out the five precepts of the Church (CCC 2041-2043).

~ Refrain from promotion of, or the living out of, any conduct or lifestyle that would reflect discredit or disgrace on, or cause scandal in relationship to, the Archdiocese of Denver, or considered to be in contradiction with Catholic doctrine or morals.

~ Be enthusiastic about Catholicism and the New Evangelization, taking a pivotal role in coordinating the events and programs lead through various team efforts of the Office of Evangelization and Family Life Ministries.

~ HS graduate or equivalent, associate or undergraduate degree preferred.

~ 4-5 years of assistance or program coordination experience. Experience working in a customer service and/or ministerial capacity preferred.

~ Be flexible in the face of change and/or conflict.

~ Possess superior organizational skills and attention to detail and ability to maintain strict confidence regarding all information and issues addressed under this position, in the department and all other ecclesiastically related entities of the Archdiocese of Denver.

~ Be proficient with Mac and PCs and related software including Microsoft Office Suite. Experience with Project Management tools (MS Project, Gantt Charts) a plus.

~ Must be proficient with Content Management Systems such as WordPress, and updating basic information on websites, newsletters, and social media.

~ Excellent writing and editing skills required, along with strong communication skills and dedication to timely and accurate responses via phone, email, and in-person.

~ An ability to establish regular check points to prevent problems; take constructive timely action to remedy problems and consistently meet quality standards and deadlines.

~ An ability to channel the differing needs and viewpoints of others into constructive problem solving, exhibit solid judgment, and proactive problem solving skills.

~ An ability to establish rapport, putting people at ease; show genuine interest in others’ needs and feelings at appropriate times.

~ An ability to develop work objectives and action steps for job duties.

~ An ability to adjust constructively and flexibly to meet the requirements of different work situations; maintain patience, confidence and composure under pressure or adverse circumstances without compromising the timely completion of job duties.

~ An ability to present a positive professional and appropriate image.

PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS:
~ Visual acuity both near and far, some travel involved, manual dexterity with good eye/hand coordination, good hearing, speech and the ability to operate computer and mouse, copier, fax machine, printer and telephone. (6)

School Office Manager Assistant – Presentation Parish School (Stockton, CA)

This is a syndicated post from CatholicJobs.com. [Read the original article...]

SCHOOL OFFICE MANAGER ASSISTANT
Clerical/Administrative, FT Employee
Presentation Parish School (Stockton, CA)

School Office Manager Assistant – Job Description

Description: The job of Office Manager Assistant was established for the purpose of providing support to the school Office Manager; oversee, coordinate, organize and perform the day-to-day administrative functions at Presentation Parish School. Provide secretarial assistance as assigned by the Office Manager; serve as liaison between students, staff, parents, personnel and the community.

Responsible to: Office Manager

Compensation: The position is non-exempt, full-time eight hours per day, forty hours per week, twelve month position including medical, vacation and retirement package.

Major Duties and Responsibilities:
Provides clerical functions for the purpose of supporting office operations as directed by the Office Manager.
Answers incoming telephone calls for the purpose of screening calls, transferring calls, responding to inquires and/or tracking messages.
Assists with the coordination of a variety of projects, functions and/or program components for the purpose of completing activities and/or delivering services in a timely fashion.
Assists with the compilation of a variety of documents and reports for the purpose of communicating information and/or creating documentation in conformance with established guidelines.
Assists with the development and maintenance of a wide variety of manual and electronic documents, files and records.
Assists with the coordination of the registration process for new students. Insures that parents receive and complete all required forms accurately.
Responds to inquiries from a variety of internal and external parties (e.g., staff, parents, students, visitors, volunteers) for the purpose of providing information or direction and/or facilitating communication among parties.
Performs health-related duties; administers first aid to students and staff; notifies parents of ill or injured students; prepares accident reports as needed.
Coordinates the student lunch program with the appropriate personnel.
Coordinates and schedules committee and council meetings.
Oversees the timely opening of the school office each day. Maintains reception area and related materials for the purpose of providing information to visitors.
Monitors guest policy and procedures including student aide attendance in collaboration with the vice principal.
Monitors students referred for disciplinary action for the purpose of ensuring student welfare and maintaining a secure office environment.
Assists with newsletter and web site or other information for distribution to parents.
Assist in tracking staff and volunteers as required under safe Environment program including the facilitation of fingerprinting and online training.
Assists the Office Manager and staff with various school events.
Performs other related duties as assigned for the purpose of ensuring the efficient and effective functioning of the school office.

Requirements:
Active member of a Roman Catholic parish faith community or possesses the knowledge of and is willing to function in a manner consistent with the mission of the Catholic Church.
High School graduate.
Advanced knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite, QuickBooks and Cornerstone (on-line school data base) or similar software program.
Typing and/or word processing at 50wpm.
Two years of successful general administrative experience.
Willing to be trained in CPR and basic first aid.

Qualifications:
Demonstrates ability and initiative to set priorities and organize work effectively and efficiently including developing and maintaining effective record keeping systems.
Is committed to the mission of the parish and the school.
Recognizes and honors diversity.
Possesses excellent organization and communication skills.
Honors and maintains confidentiality.
Exercises good judgment and responds appropriately in interactions with all shareholders and community.
Submit cover letter and resume to [email protected] by the application Deadline: Monday, July 28. (4)

Parish School Office Manager – Presentation Parish School (Stockton, CA)

This is a syndicated post from CatholicJobs.com. [Read the original article...]

PARISH SCHOOL OFFICE MANAGER
Management, FT Employee
Presentation Parish School (Stockton, CA)

Parish School Office Manager
Description
The job of School Office Manager was established for the purpose of providing complex administrative and secretarial support to the Principal and Vice Principal; overseeing the day to day school office activities and relieving the Principal of administrative details; monitoring assigned activities; and providing information, recommendations and/or direction as may be requested by the Principal. Directly supervise office staff. Carry out supervisory responsibilities in accordance with the school’s policies and applicable laws.

Responsible to: School Principal

Compensation: The position is exempt, full-time, eight hours per day, forty hours per week, twelve month position including medical, vacation and retirement package.

Major Duties and Responsibilities
Oversees day-to-day office workload for the purpose of ensuring the completion of activities in an accurate and timely manner.
Compiles data from a variety of sources (e.g., timesheets, staff attendance records, budget reports, specialized reports, personnel records) for the purpose of processing data in compliance with financial, legal and/or administrative requirements.
Coordinates a variety of projects, functions and/or program components (e.g., volunteers, substitute teachers, meetings, in-service events, volunteer student aids) for the purpose of completing activities and/or delivering services in a timely fashion.
Composes a variety of documents (e.g., correspondence, agendas, minutes, newsletters, bulletins, reports) for the purpose of communicating information and/or creating documentation in conformance with established guidelines.
Maintains a wide variety of manual and electronic documents files and records (e.g., student registration data, student health forms, master calendar, budget data, employee records, financial records, reports) for the purpose of providing up-to-date information and/or historical reference in accordance with established administrative guidelines and legal requirements.
Prepares a wide variety of reports, documents and correspondence of a confidential and non-confidential nature (e.g., letters, memorandums, meeting, meeting minutes, charts, operational procedures, manuals) for the purpose of documenting activities, providing written reference, and/or conveying information.
Responds to inquiries from a variety of internal and external parties (e.g., staff, parents, students, visitors, volunteers) for the purpose of providing information or direction and/or facilitating communication among parties.
Tracks invoices and collects any unearned portion of the family fund raising and hour requirements.
Maintains Safe Environment records for staff and volunteers which include Live Scan fingerprint clearance and STV online training certificates.
Manages, coordinates and reconciles data between the tuition management programs (FACTS), Cornerstone and class rosters to insure accuracy.
Oversees the ordering and maintenance of office supplies and equipment.
Coordinates and maintains registration process for new students.
Prepares and updates, as necessary, the school calendar and website information.
Manages delinquent tuition accounts and creates monthly reports for the Principal. Adheres to the procedure established to insure tuition payments are collected and recorded accurately.
Serves with the Church’s Business Manager and Office Manager as personnel administrator, providing employees with answers and advice concerning policies of the parish, diocese and benefits program.
Performs other related duties as assigned for the purpose of ensuring the efficient and effective functioning of the school office.
Supervises and directs office staff and volunteers.
Requirements:
Active member of a Roman Catholic parish faith community or possesses the knowledge of and is willing to function in a manner consistent with the mission of the Catholic Church.
Bachelor’s Degree or equivalent work experience.
Advanced knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite, QuickBooks and Cornerstone (on-line school data base) or similar software program.
Bookkeeping experience highly desirable.
Five years of general administrative and supervisory experience.
Willing to be trained in CPR and basic first aid.
Knowledge of laws, codes, rules and regulations related to assigned activities.
Qualifications:
Demonstrates ability and initiative to set priorities and organize work effectively and efficiently including developing and maintaining effective record keeping systems.
Is committed to the mission of the parish and the school.
Recognizes and honors diversity.
Possesses excellent organization and communication skills.
Is able to work under limited supervision using standardized practices or methods.
Honors and maintains confidentiality.
Exercises good judgment and responds appropriately in interactions with all students, parents, faculty, staff and others.
Submit cover letter and resume [email protected] by the application deadline: Mondayday, July 28. (4)

Development Director – St. Martin de Porres School (Philadelphia , PA, PA)

This is a syndicated post from CatholicJobs.com. [Read the original article...]

DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
Fundraising, FT Employee
St. Martin de Porres School (Philadelphia , PA, PA)

The Development Director will report to the Director of Development for the Independence Mission Schools, and work closely and in conjunction with the principal of St. Martin de Porres School as a member of the leadership team as well as the St. Martin de Porres School Board. This position will plan, coordinate, and direct activities that attract the philanthropic support needed to provide sufficient resources for the School to achieve its vision. Specifically, the Director will be responsible for raising funds through the annual giving campaign, the annual gala and the Sponsor-a-Student program. Working with the Board, the Development Director will plan and implement fundraising campaigns that demonstrate vision and initiative by identifying, cultivating, and soliciting individual donors, major benefactors, corporate sponsors, and foundation representatives to support the operational needs of the school.

Qualified candidates will possess a minimum of five years experience in managing institutional development programs, budgets and personnel in an independent school or faith-based, not-for-profit environment; experience building a development program is a plus. The incumbent must have broad exposure to all facets of institutional advancement including annual fund, major gifts, planned giving and public relations. The ability to manage a portfolio of major gift prospects is essential. The successful candidate will have strong interpersonal skills with the demonstrated ability to work effectively with trustees, faculty, administration, staff and volunteers. The ideal candidate will exhibit vision and drive with an entrepreneurial spirit and be committed to embracing the mission of St. Martin de Porres School. Bachelor’s degree is required, appropriate advanced degree preferred.

For a complete Position Description and additional information on St. Martin de Porres School, visit our website at www.lambertassoc.com.
Qualified candidates may send resume and salary history to:

Tara Sweeney
Lambert & Associates
222 South Manoa Road
Suite 201
Havertown, PA 19083
[email protected] (5)

Is Smoking Marijuana a Victim-less Crime?

This is a syndicated post from Aggie Catholics. [Read the original article...]

Some say that smoking pot or doing other drugs is a victim-less crime. Yet, there are millions of direct and indirect victims of the drug-trade. Issues include addiction, broken families, billions spent every year, slavery, abuse, sex-trade, human trafficking, environmental damage, kidnappings, thefts, etc.

  • In the Korean War the US deaths were 36,516
  • In the Vietnam War the US deaths were 58,206
  • In Iraq + Afghanistan the US deaths are 8,200+
  • Estimated deaths in Cartel violence in Mexico the last ten years = 120,000 killed by 2013, not including 27,000 missing.

To top it all off, intentionally getting high is gravely immoral, for the same reasons getting drunk is.

Mexico = 6 hours from College Station. The next time you think about lighting up a joint, think of who you are supporting when you do so.

WARNING: The video below is blunt in the data provided about violence and how the cartels work.

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Administrative Assistant II – Church of the Presentation (Stockton, CA)

This is a syndicated post from CatholicJobs.com. [Read the original article...]

ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT II
Clerical/Administrative, FT Employee
Church of the Presentation (Stockton, CA)

ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT II

Position Description: The Parish Administrative Assistant provides a diversity of responsible clerical support; communicates information, provides complete and accurate records; and provides information and/or direction as requested. This is not an entry level position and performs responsible confidential clerical support of a non-routine nature requiring frequent independent judgment.

Supervision: Office Manager

Compensation: The position is full time, non-exempt, health, dental, vacation, and retirement package.

1. Responsibilities
• Provides administrative assistance as needed for Pastor, Ministry Team, Parish Councils, Parish School, internal ministry groups and other committees
• Assists with the day-to-day (phone and walk-in support) office workload to ensure the completion of activities in an accurate and timely manner.
• Documents and coordinates information technology needs and initiates requests for service with the third party vendor providing technical assistance. Provides computer software support for all staff members.
• Coordinates a variety of projects, functions and/or program components (e.g., Parish website, Annual Giving and Stewardship Program, Newsletters, BMA Appeal and other Diocesan programs) for the purpose of completing activities and/or delivering services in a timely fashion.
• Composes a variety of documents (e.g., pledge updates, end-of-year donation statements, bulletin inserts, liturgical newspaper ads and weekly donation reports) for the purpose of communicating information and/or creating documentation in conformance with established guidelines.
• Maintains a wide variety of manual and electronic documents files and records (e.g., parish archives including photographs, brochures, council rosters, council meeting minutes and other documents) for the purpose of providing up-to-date information and/or historical reference in accordance with established administrative guidelines.
• Prepares a wide variety of reports, documents and correspondence of a confidential and non-confidential nature (e.g., letters, memorandums, agendas, meeting notifications, and meeting minutes) for the purpose of documenting activities, providing written reference, and/or conveying information.
• Responds to inquiries from a variety of internal and external parties (e.g., staff, parishioners, visitors, volunteers) for the purpose of providing information or direction and/or facilitating communication among parties.
• Participates in marketing and public relations activities, for projects or events by creating brochures, fliers and website updates.
• Provides administrative assistance to the Finance Council by assuming the preparation of the meeting agenda, scheduled meeting notifications, records and distributes meeting minutes and reports and coordinates hospitality.
• Initiates bulk mailings for Christmas, Easter, and other liturgical and non-liturgical events. Maintains bulk mail account balance and updates address lists.
• Edits and oversees the preparation of the bulletin to insure the proper layout and content of the publication. Creates the weekly “graphics page” and other sections of the bulletin as needed. In the absence of the Bulletin Editor, ensures the preparation and timely submission of the parish bulletin.
• Maintains inventory of supplies and materials (e.g., paper, envelopes, and office supplies) for the purpose of ensuring items’ availability.
• Coordinates, creates and updates the monthly Presider’s Mass schedule working with the clergy; distributes as necessary.
• Performs other related duties as assigned by the Office Manager for the purpose of ensuring the efficient and effective functioning of the parish office.

2. Expectations
• The regular work week schedule for the position is 8:30am to 5:00pm, Monday thru Friday.

3. Requirements and Qualifications
• Active member of a Roman Catholic parish faith community or possesses the knowledge of and is willing to function in a manner consistent with the mission of the Catholic Church.
• Outstanding written and verbal communication skills.
• Demonstrates initiative, good judgment and resourcefulness.
• Ability to plan, organize and work efficiently under limited supervision using standardized practices or methods.
• Proficient in Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook), Desktop publishing; Adobe Creative Suite (PhotoShop, InDesign), and Adobe PageMaker.
• Honor and maintain confidentiality.
• Ability to recognize and honor diversity within the parish community.

4. Education
• Associates Degree or five years of general administrative experience. (4)

Lives of the saints model Catholic social teaching in new book

This is a syndicated post from CNA Daily News - US. [Read the original article...]

Huntington, Ind., Jul 22, 2014 / 11:59 am (CNA).- Dignity of the human person, solidarity and care for creation are just a few topics author Brandon Vogt discusses in his new book, “Saints and Social Justice: A Guide to Changing the World.”

“I hope that this book is a ringing call to saintliness for all readers to say, ‘I want to be a saint and here’s the game plan for doing it,’” Vogt told CNA July 11.

The book focuses on seven basic themes of Catholic social teaching – life and dignity of the human person; call to family, community and participation; rights and responsibilities; option for the poor and vulnerable; dignity of work and the rights of workers; solidarity; and care for creation.

It uses examples of the saints to show how those themes can be lived out in daily life.

“There’s lots of books on Catholic social teaching that are helpful in terms of the theoretical principles they provide, but most of them are very abstract. That’s what makes Catholic social teaching difficult – it’s hard to apply.”

By providing readers with examples of how real people practiced the principles of Catholic social teaching, he hopes that readers will be able to more easily live them out themselves.

Vogt first became interested in learning more about the Church’s teaching on social justice when he converted from Protestantism in 2008. Like many young Evangelicals, he was “extremely enthusiastic” about social justice.

When he brought up these ideas to his fellow Catholics, he quickly realized that there were many negative connotations attached to the idea of social justice.

“The more I started reading and learning, I discovered that over the last several decades, these words and phrases have really been twisted and hijacked for all sorts of purposes, but why that worried me was that one of the things that led me to the Catholic Church was social teaching,” he explained.

In reading Church teachings, writings of the saints and encyclicals, he found a “disconnect” between what the Church actually taught and how certain words and phrases were interpreted “on the street.”

“I wanted to fix that, I wanted to sort of reclaim Catholic social teaching and give it an authentic presentation and I figured the best way to do that was by availing by the lives of the saints,” Vogt said.

For each of the Church’s teachings on social justice, Vogt chose two saints whose lives highlighted a particular principle.

The most important of the Church’s social teachings is belief in the dignity of the human person, which Vogt called “the first and most fundamental principle.”

“We believe that, for instance, it’s wrong to kill an unborn child, or an elderly person constrained to a wheelchair, because every person has inviolable dignity that was a result of them being created in the image and likeness of God,” he said.

“It’s that principle that drives everything that Catholics do to help the world whereas non-believers really don’t have a basis in the same way that religious people do, especially Catholics.”

In his book, Vogt chose Blessed Mother Teresa and St. Peter Claver to highlight this principle.

Mother Teresa not only dedicated her life to serving the poor, but she also brought them dignity by seeing them as Jesus in the “distressing disguise of the poor.” Similarly St. Peter Claver, who ministered to African slaves in South America, saw each person as a reflection of God and dedicated his life to living as “the Slave of the Slaves.”

Vogt said he also wanted a wide variety of saints in his book so a wide audience would find them relatable. He chose single or married members of the laity as well as religious and clergy of various ages and times in history to highlight the different parts of Catholic social teaching.

“We often times see the saints as museum pieces on pedestals that are unapproachable and unattainable, but really when you read this book and you read the stories of their own struggles, their own travails, their own difficulties and challenges, they’re in many ways a lot like us,” he explained.

Vogt is not only writing about social justice, he is also seeking to live it out, as evidenced by his decision to donate all royalties of the book to Catholic Charities.

“I’m in a position where I have a job, I have food and I have drink and I have a home, so I didn’t necessarily need the money,” he said. “I figured I’d put into practice what I was advocating throughout the entire book.”

“Saints and Social Justice” is available through Our Sunday Visitor publishing.

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Protestant Leader and Friend of Pope Passes Away

This is a syndicated post from The Daily Register. [Read the original article...]

By CNA/EWTN NEWS | LONDON — Tony Palmer, a Protestant Christian leader and a close friend of Pope Francis, passed away in the U.K. on Sunday due to injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident.

The Order of the Ark Community, an Internet-based… (7)

Pope Francis calls Syro-Catholic patriarch, assures of his prayers

This is a syndicated post from CNA Daily News. [Read the original article...]

Vatican City, Jul 22, 2014 / 10:54 am (CNA/EWTN News).- According an Italian Catholic new organization, Pope Francis made a phone call to Patriarch Ignatius Youssef III Younan over the weekend to reassure him of his continued prayers for Iraqi Christians.

Following the July 19 burning down of the Episcopal palace of Syrian-Catholics in Mosul, Italian Catholic news organization SIR reports that Pope Francis made a phone call to the Patriarch Ignatius Youssef III Younan of Antioch the afternoon of July 20 to express his condolences and closeness in a time of persecution.

The agency reports that during their 9 minute conversation, the Pope reassured the patriarch “that he follows closely and with concern the drama of forced and threatened Christians in the Iraqi city of Mosul.”

SIR referred to other reports coming from the Syrian-Catholic Patriarchate, which stated that Patriarch Younan “thanked the Pope” and asked him to “intensify” his efforts to engage world leaders by bringing them face-to-face with the fact that the province of Nineveh is undergoing “a mass cleaning based on religion.”

At the end of the call Pope Francis gave his apostolic blessing to the patriarch and to “all the Christian people of the East,” assuring that he “will always be present in his prayers for peace and security.”

Members of ISIS, a militant group that operates in Iraq and Syria with the aim of establishing a caliphate in northern Syria and Iraq, overtook the country’s second-largest city, Mosul and the city of Tikrit, 95 miles north of Baghdad, June 10.

The group had seized portions of Ramadi and Falluja earlier; Tal Afar was seized by ISIS June 16; and the group briefly held parts of Baquba, 37 miles outside of Baghdad, the following day.

ISIS currently controls much of the Sunni areas of northern and western Iraq, as well as cities along the Euphrates River in northwest Syria.

Thursday the self-proclaimed Islamic Caliphate declared to the remaining Christian community of Mosul that they either needed openly convert to Islam, pay an unspecified jizya tax in exchange for their safety while observing certain conditions, or leave their homes with only their clothes, nothing more.

Following Thursday’s declaration, the houses of Mosul Christians were marked with an “N,” signifying “Nazarenes.” As a result, the few remaining Christians have left, marking the first time in history the city has been without Christians.

Fr. Nawar, a priest from Nineveh currently living in Rome, spoke with CNA July 22, stating that the country is overrun by “war, violence, conflict. It is not the same Iraq as before.”

Hailing from the Iraqi city of Karakosh on the plains of Nineveh, a city currently under Kurdish protection and where many citizens fleeing Mosul are taking refuge, Fr. Nawar lamented the exodus of Christians from the city, stating that “for four days there have been no Christians in Mosul.”

“All of them left because there is fear,” he said. “All of the Christians are leaving. Families left for Nineveh by foot. There is no car, no money. Many people right now are afraid, afraid of this future.”

“Today life, Christian life in Iraq, is very hard,” the Iraqi priest continued, explaining how when many times when families have attempted to leave the city they were stopped and asked “where are you going?”

When they responded “I’m leaving because I’m afraid in this city,” militant forces tell them to stop and get out of the car. Then “whoever has money, gold, documents…they take all of it,” Fr. Nawar observed, explaining that for those who do not leave, “I think they die.”

Noting how the future of the country is “not certain” he explained that it’s hard to say what the future will bring “because today thousands of Christian families are leaving for Nineveh. Today there is no Christianity in Mosul.”

“There has been war every day, every day the war has developed, there is no peace, there is no dialogue, there is no communication. All of this is a fact right now in Iraq.”

Despite the current discord and seemingly bleak outlook of the country, Fr. Nawar, who is in daily contact with his bishop and other priests in Iraq, explained that there is still hope “because we believe in Christianity” and “we believe in hope.”

“We are with every person. Sick, in pain. But even today there is fear,” the priest observed. “Every day there is the need to confront this fear. This is the question.”

“Even today many Christians from other cities, other regions also have fear…in Karakosh, also in Baghdad, there is fear. They don’t know, they don’t know what to do in the future.”

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Mt 12:38-42 Something Greater Here

This is a syndicated post from Daily Meditations with Fr. Alfonse. [Read the original article...]

Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time
(Click here for readings)

Some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Jesus, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.”  He said to them in reply, “…At he judgment, the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and there is something greater than Jonah here…”

Something Greater.  Not too long ago, I went to the hospital to give a blessing to a wonderful couple who had suffered the loss of their newborn baby.  Their tragic loss did not come as a surprise to them.  During a routine exam, doctors noticed the child was motionless and that there was no heartbeat.  Regardless of all the advanced warnings, when the child was delivered the couple was devastated by their sudden loss.

By the time I arrived at the hospital, the mother had the child in her arms. I shook hands with her husband and reached over and gave her a big hug.  I opened up my prayer book and read from the book of Lamentations:

“My soul is deprived of peace,
I have forgotten what happiness is;
I tell myself my future is lost,
all that I hoped for from the Lord…
Remembering it over and over
leaves my soul downcast within me. 
But I will call this to mind,
as my reason to have hope:
The favors of the LORD are not exhausted,
his mercies are not spent…”
 
At the end of the ceremony, we prayed:
 
May God give us peace in our sorrow,
consolation in our grief,
and strength to accept his will in all things.
Amen.
 
After the ceremony, the couple spoke openly to me of their heartache and pain when first told of their child’s condition, and of their determination to do what would be pleasing to the Lord.  Throughout their ordeal, the couple remained firm in the faith, accepting and doing only God’s will. 
 
I found peace and strength in their incredible testimony of faith, hope and love.
 
Before I left, the husband wanted to take a picture.  He set his camera up, placed himself on the rightside of his wife and child and pressed the button on a remote control that was in his hand.  The camera’s flash went off and a couple of pictures were taken. 

As I approached my car, I reflected on what I had seen and heard.  I was astonished at something, but I couldn’t put my finger on it.  Finally, it dawned on me what it was:  Never had I seen so much peace and joy in such a painful situation.  What was the tipping point?  Their smiles – my smile – our smiles – as the pictures were being taken! 

It was uplifting. 

They knew their child was a saint in heaven.

O, what faith can do to the heart, soul and mind.

“There is something greater here…”  Yes.  Someone and something greater than we could ever have imagined, but that only faith could ever have revealed.

(10)

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