Hear About Millennial Volunteerism

From Catholic Charities Junior Board & Tufts University

Left - Right: Joseph Camerata ,Lindsay Pistilli & Peter Levine

Left – Right: Joseph Camerata, Lindsay Pistilli & Peter Levine

On JustLove, Monsignor Sullivan speaks with guests Lindsay Pistilli, Vice President of Pistilli Realty Group; Joseph Camerata, Vice President of Wavercrest Management Team.  Lindsay and Joseph talk about their volunteer experiences  and being part of Catholic Charities Junior Board.  Peter Levine, Associate Dean for Research at Tufts University talks about millennial volunteers and the millennial impact report.

 

Giving Voice to the Voiceless

Day 4, Kurdistan Iraq

Today during our pastoral visit with Cardinal Dolan, chair of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA), our mission brought us within a few miles of the Turkish border and a few miles from the devastated city of Mosul.

Our mission today and every day here in Kurdistan, Iraq is to show solidarity with those suffering from the ravages of ISIS persecution of Christians, Muslims and the Kurdish religious community called Yazidis.  No group seems to have been spared.  

We visited an inspiring CNEWA medical clinic with state-of-the-art medicines and equipment that treats those displaced and now settled in the city of Duhok.  Once again, many of the staff are also displaced individuals.  The clinic serves Yazidis, Muslims and Christians with a staff whose spirit and dedication are palpable.  Hundreds are helped each day in a range of specialities.

We then visited a local parish and celebrated Sunday Mass with a vibrant congregation composed of hundreds of families displaced in the past two years.  The Patriarch’s Vicar celebrated the Liturgy in an Eastern rite and Cardinal Dolan preached.  For me, one of the most moving parts of the Mass was hearing the congregation pray the Lord’s Prayer in Aramaic – very likely a modern version of the language in which Jesus actually taught the prayer to his disciples.  Meanwhile, the young adult choir rivaled any choir I’ve heard for their sound and exceeded most for their prayerfulness.

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Hope & Holiness in Erbil

Day 3 in Iraq

Today’s visit to the school for children displaced from Mosul was more celebratory with the presence of Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop Warda and Bishop Murphy.  An assembly of more than 440 students gathered in the central square of the school accompanied by marching music. CNEWA’s head Msgr. Kozar made sure that the visitors experienced the uplifting spirit of the school that the Dominican Sisters infuse every day. The deeply spiritual atmosphere of the school is exemplified by the volunteer French catechist and her Iraqi translator who teach the children how to pray to Jesus. CNEWA support and spirit are essential to making the school so successful.

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Hope & Courage Amidst Suffering & Persecution

Day 2 in Iraq

In the morning, we visited one of the medical clinics and refugee camps in Erbil.  The camp is overseen by one of the local priests and the Dominican Sisters are actively present.  The clinic is supported by and was built with the assistance of CNEWA.  More than 90 children are seen at the pediatric clinic each day.  Hundreds of adults are seen and administered other medical services at the clinic. 

The camp holds more than 1,200 families – most living in their own trailer.  Some families are doubled up.  About 50 families are living in single room containers in a large warehouse type building. While this is a refugee “camp,” it appears more like a makeshift “village.”  Families try to make the best of the situation – redecorating and renovating their trailers to suit their individual family needs.  Some small businesses have opened and are selling basic necessities.  In the “village,” more than 400 young people are preparing for their First Communion.  Continue reading

Education: A Path to Dignity for Christian Refugees

My First Day in Iraq

On the first day of a mission with the Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA) and Cardinal Dolan I had an opportunity to visit both an elementary school and a university in Erbil, Kurdistan, Iraq.  Both were only built and opened within the past year to deal with the exodus of Christians fleeing the onslaught of ISIS around Mosul beginning in the summer of 2014. 

These photos reflect the vibrancy of both sites as their very existence brings dignity and hope to those being educated at these schools.   The Dominican Sisters operate the elementary school that is strongly supported by CNEWA and a number of other Catholic humanitarian and pastoral aid organizations.  The University is a public university that CNEWA has provided assistance in the form of furnishings and a generator.  It educates both Christian and Muslim students, men and women together for degrees in the humanities and business. Continue reading

Media Bias & The Empathy Gap

L-R: Emma Seppälä and Sean Darling-Hammond

On JustLove, Monsignor Sullivan speaks with guests: Sean Darling-Hammond, Education lawyer at Hogan Lovells and Emma Seppälä, Science Director of Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education. Mr. Darling-Hammond focuses on the exposure of media bias whenever it covers terrorism. While Ms. Seppälä also focuses on the empathy gap and the recent attacks in Brussels.