Serving in Syria

Good Shepherd Sr. Micheline Lattouff is one of two sisters serving up to 9,000 Syrian refugees in a Christian village in Lebanon’s northern Bekaa Valley, Catholic News Agency reports.

Lattouff is the director of the Social and Community Center of the Good Shepherd in Deir-al-Ahmar, where they serve both the local Lebanese and the refugees fleeing from war-torn Syria.

“I keep my hope in prayer,” Lattouff said. “I seek how to help the children, how to help the families,”

Sixty to 80 refugee families, ranging in size from five to 15 people, arrive in the area each month, the report says, predominantly Sunni Muslims who feel unsafe in surrounding Shiite Muslim areas and so have flocked to the Christian village.

“With the Christian people, they feel safer. Because for them, we are a people for peace. We want to live in peace and love,” Lattouff told CNA. “They feel very bad at their situation. They want to go back to Syria, and they are not able. It is not a life.”

The Good Shepherd sisters work with the Catholic Near East Welfare Association, a papal humanitarian relief agency, and Catholic Relief Services.

A time to remember

Sunday marked the 25th anniversary of the massacre of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her daughter in El Salvador, and there is no shortage of remembrances, including a two-part series in National Catholic Reporter by Mary Jo McConahay, author of Ricochet: Two Women War Reporters and a Friendship Under Fire.

McConahay’s recounting of the crime is both chilling and awe-inspiring:

“The sheets came off and there in death were the priests I had known in life,” she writes. “My first reaction surprised me. What I was seeing was inevitable, I thought, given what I knew of the men. Every interview or encounter I had ever had with them had told me they saw life through the eyes of the poor and demanded justice in this world. Their consistency had led to this moment.”

Meanwhile, Jesuit Fr. Michael C. McCarthy, has a remembrance in The New York Times of the rector at the university in El Salvador where the priests were murdered, Fr. Ignacio Ellacuría.

I do, I do, I do . . .

Pew Research released a new study showing that four of every 10 married couples has a least one partner who is remarried.

Two of every 10 marriages have both couples who have been married before, the study shows.

Those numbers are for the population at large, and there is likely some variance among Catholic couples, but if there was any question the Synod on the Family needed to at least examine the issue of remarriage within the Church, Pew’s research appears to have answered it.

Immigration reform this week?

The New York Times reported that President Obama plans to announce plans this week to act on immigration reform. This will be done via executive order, since Congress has been unable to move legislation on the contentious issue.

The report says the overhaul will “protect up to five million unauthorized immigrants from the threat of deportation and provide many of them with work permits, according to administration officials who have direct knowledge of the plan.”

No word yet on whether the changes will affect the would-be immigrants turning themselves in at the border and asking for asylum, or only immigrants who are already in the country illegally.

Tell us about it

A reporter is only as good as his or her sources, so we want to hear from you. Is your religious community stepping up to serve in a crisis? Your parish? Your religious non-profit? Tell us about it at dstockman@ncronline.org.

[Dan Stockman is the national correspondent for Global Sisters Report.]

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