Christian Doctor in Turkey Dies from Coronavirus

Despite the social distancing measures to counter the contagion from Covid-19, hundreds of doctors, students, and workers of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Istanbul wanted to be present in person at the commemoration – organized at the university complex – of well-known Christian doctor Murat Dilmener, who died on Sunday 3 May due to coronavirus, reported Fides News Agency.

For Dilmener, 78, struck by the virus in early April, a few weeks of intensive care did not spare him from death. The Turkish doctor, a Syrian Orthodox Christian, was born in Mardin and had volunteered initiatives in the churches of his community in both Mardin and Istanbul. Internal medicine specialist, Dilmener was the first Syrian Christian employed as a professor in a medical school in Turkey. In 2004, Turkish authorities started an investigation against Dilmener and 135 other doctors who had treated poorly ill patients without permission and free of charge at a public hospital in Istanbul. The accusations made against the professor of having stolen public funds to support that initiative had proved to be unfounded. After that, Turkish media also described Dilmener as “the doctor of the poor”.

The Syriac monasteries of the Mardin area – like the famous monastery of Mor Gabriel – represent a fundamental patrimony for the Syrian Orthodox Church. The Patriarch of that Eastern Church now resides in Damascus, but from the thirteenth century until 1933 the seat of the patriarchate was in the monastery of Mor Hananyo, near Mardin. In recent years, due to the Syrian conflict, the Syrian Orthodox Christian community in Turkey has seen a significant increase in the number of its faithful, with the arrival of refugees fleeing war-torn Syria.

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Bishops of England and Wales Note Pain of Catholics who Cannot Pray in Church or Receive Sacraments

Writing on behalf of the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales, the five Metropolitan Archbishops have addressed the COVID-19 pandemic and, specifically, the measures taken and restrictions imposed to combat the spread of coronavirus.

Writing of the life-changing conditions – especially changes in health and human interaction – the Archbishops point to the risen Lord as a beacon of hope in these challenging times and recognize that live-streamed Mass and other devotions help maintain the faith but are second-best to worshipping in Church:

“None of us would want to be in the situation in which we find ourselves,” they write. “While the live-streaming of the Mass and other devotions is playing an important part in maintaining the life of faith, there is no substitute for Catholics being able to physically attend and participate in the celebration of the Mass and the other sacraments. Our faith is expressed powerfully and beautifully though ‘seeing, touching, and tasting.’ We know that every bishop and every priest recognizes the pain of Catholics who, at present, cannot pray in church or receive the sacraments. This weighs heavily on our hearts.”

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US bishops denounce racism, encourage solidarity amid coronavirus pandemic 

CNA Staff, May 6, 2020 / 04:54 pm (CNA).- Leaders of the U.S. bishops’ conference have denounced acts of racial prejudice against Asian Americans as the world continues battling the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our hearts go out to all those who have been victims of these vile displays of racism and xenophobia,” said a May 5 statement by Archbishop Nelson Pérez of Philadelphia, chair of the bishops’ Committee for Cultural Diversity in the Church; Bishop Oscar Solis of Salt Lake City, head of the Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Island Affairs; and Bishop Shelton Fabre of Houma-Thibodaux, chair of the Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism.

“These dreadful occurrences are a reminder that, in an environment of increased anxiety and fear, racial profiling and discrimination continue to negatively impact the lives of certain populations, adding to the pain and suffering already caused by the pandemic,” they said.

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Flowers of the fairest: How to plant a Mary garden

Denver Newsroom, May 6, 2020 / 04:49 pm (CNA).- Because of the ongoing pandemic, most Catholic parishes in the United States have had to forgo a treasured spring tradition this year: crowning Mary with flowers to honor her during the Marian month of May.

But planting a Mary garden can be another way of honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary with flowers this spring and summer while staying at home.

The tradition of planting Mary Gardens goes back centuries. In the Middle Ages, when much of the population was illiterate, priests and religious brothers and sisters would plant gardens and give the flowers and herbs religious names and symbolism in order to teach people about the faith, in the same way they would use stained glass windows to tell stories of the bible or the saints.

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