DEAR FRIENDS AND LOYAL SUPPORTERS OF NASAREAN.ORG -
A Blessed and Happy New Year!
We continue to be truly grateful for all your support – especially all of you who so generously give regularly. The last months of 2017 brought many speaking engagements for me, as I continue to try to keep the profile and plight of the persecuted Christians, especially in the Middle East, in the public eye. It is always moving and encouraging, especially when speaking to parish groups, to see how enthusiastic people are to do something – even if it’s very small – to help the persecuted. The other thing I always experience is discovering how little people know about the ongoing persecution – and how the lack of attention of the mainstream media can lead many people to imagine that the persecution has somehow ended. One example is the constant theme of the “defeat of ISIS” – it is true that the physical Caliphate has been severely weakened – but the murderous ideology and persecution continues – and, in fact, if you look at the entire world, the influence of ISIS is growing, not declining. Wherever I speak, people constantly ask – “how can I help?” Our answer at Nasarean.org, which is a very small charity – but with a big heart – is the same from the day we started in August, 2014 – “Prayer, Solidarity, Charity.”
We commit to pray – on a daily basis, for our persecuted brothers and sisters – to pray for the rest of our lives – this is not going away! Through the wearing of Naserean.org items – the Arabic “N” – we show solidarity with the persecuted and spark conversations – and, through your giving, we directly aid suffering families and continue the work of advocacy for them.
Our motto for 2018 is definitely the old favourite “small is beautiful!”. As I have told you before, the most practical way we can help the persecuted stay in their countries and have a future is to provide jobs. The big agencies pour a great deal of money into these areas – and do great work – but we are helping individual families – and can see their progress. Through your generosity, we continue to help pay the salaries of the ten ladies in the village of Aradin in Northern Iraq who are sewing and knitting. This year we will help them purchase three knitting machines from China.
Custom sewn bags with the Nasarean logo. Bags will be for sale soon. All proceeds will go to Nasarean.org.
We will also help three other families start businesses – a Garage, a small farm and a hairdressing salon. You will see some of the pictures of those we are helping in the future. We also will send two women to Lebanon to train in business “start-ups” – so they can return to train – it is not enough to provide money without training – we will also be “hardnosed” about our support – we will ask those we support to repay half when they are established – to help new businesses. We are looking at directly helping some of the refugee families in Lebanon who have been suffering for many years – both those from Iraq and Syria. We are in the process of assisting an icon painter driven from Iraq by ISIS and now in Lebanon – we are assisting our partner charity in the UK – the Aradin Charitable Trust – to organize an exhibition of his work – and establish a Shrine in Britain for people to pray for the persecuted.
I have been determined to assist in Syria – it is much more difficult – but have made some good contacts and possibilities – more news soon! I was unable to get into Syria at the end of 2017 – my visa was denied – but I will try again soon, even though it is quite dangerous. I was also unable to get back into Iraq in September – the day I was due to arrive the Iraqi government closed the airspace in Erbil – which is greatly harming our brethren. I will go again, as soon as the airport opens.
Among other speaking engagements, the government of Hungary invited me to be a speaker at their World Summit on Christian Persecution in October – and I spoke to the Eastern Lieutenancy and North Eastern Lieutenancy of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre in New York and Rhode Island. I was also a panellist in NYC at powerful one-day Symposium with Cardinal Dolan in December. The year finished with a wonderful group of parishioners in Miami who invited me to talk in their parish.
Father Ben speaking at St. Agnes Parish in Key Biscayne.
Father Ben meets with Cardinal Burke who is a great supporter of Nasarean.
Father Ben stands with Archbishop Bernardito Auza - The Papal Nuncio to the U.N. -
at the Order of the Holy Sepulchre in NYC.
We will continue to update you with our progress – we ask for your prayers – and, as you consider your charitable giving – to continue to support Nasarean.org.
God bless you all!
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MESSAGE FROM FATHER BEN KIELY, FOUNDER OF NASAREAN.ORG
I continue to be amazed at the generosity of so many kind and good people who care so much about their suffering brothers and sisters, especially in Iraq and Syria. Although Nasarean is a very small organization (with no employees and no salaries!) we are helped by volunteers who respond to your queries and send out your products. Also, as a 501c-3, we have a magnificent board who are working hard to help us move forward. We just finished one of the quarterly board meetings where we worked on our strategy for the next year. Our motto, and reason for existence, is to aid and advocate for the suffering and persecuted Christians of the Middle East.
Aiding the Christians initially meant that we donated all your generous offerings, after the cost of production, to one charity which feeds and shelters the Christians who fled Islamist terror and war. We will continue to support the wonderful work of Aid to the Church in Need, but are beginning to focus more on micro-financing small businesses to enable persecuted Christians to startup their own business, and therefore, to stay in place. So far, we are paying the salaries of 10 women who have created a sewing and knitting business in the ancient Christian town of Aradin (which means ‘Eden’ in Aramaic) in Northern Iraq. $3,000 pays their salaries for three months! We hope our ladies will have simple, rustic, hand-stitched tote bags available to purchase in time for Christmas.
In addition to paying salaries, it costs about $3,000 to create a ‘start-up’ business as well. Through the generosity of one donor to Nasarean.org, we will have news of three new businesses very soon! This is immensely practical support because, as the businesses become more profitable, we will be able to move our support to other new ventures thus breaking the culture of dependency. We also hope to support a training program for Nurses.
Advocating for the persecuted Christians is now the principle work of Father Ben. With the blessing of his bishop, Fr. Ben is attempting to devote his priesthood to this important ministry. He acts as a ‘voice for the voiceless’ by reminding communities of the ongoing struggles these Christians face as well as the long-term nature of their suffering.
To that end, Father Ben is involved in a number of groups (especially in Washington DC) who are working to help the persecuted. He also writes, speaks on the radio, appears on television, and communicates with different audiences about the plight of the persecuted and how ordinary people can help. Having visited Iraq multiple times (and soon to visit Syria) Father Ben is now being invited to speak on this issue in different countries around the world. Father Ben is currently doing this work without a salary.
As part of our ‘News & Updates’ section, we will try our best to keep up to date with his engagements.
We continue to thank all of our donors and supporters; especially those of you who are supporting us with a monthly donation! Father Ben offers Mass every week for your intentions, and in thanksgiving for your generosity. God bless you all!
Father Ben will be in Iraq in the next few days –if all is well and the air space is not closed!
11 – 13 October – Hungary – speaking at the World Summit, organized by the Government of Hungary, on the future of persecuted Christians.
20 – 22 October – New York – keynote speaker at the Annual Gala of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre – Eastern Lieutenancy.
3 – 5 November – Providence, RI – keynote speaker at the annual Investiture of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre – North Eastern Lieutenancy.
(Syria – dates to be decided)
December 5 – speaker at special Symposium in the Archdiocese of New York – with Cardinal Timothy Dolan, on the persecuted Church.
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