Follow usTwitterFacebook

Latest

30 Sep 2016 News Comments (5)

Shocking train wreck leaves trail of complete destruction, but only three deaths -- Was this St. Michael's intercession?

A New Jersey transit train crashed into the Hoboken station Thursday morning in the midst of rush hour - Luckily, today is St. Michael's feast day and by his in…

Read more

09 Dec 2015 News Vatican Comments (1)

Cardinal Peter Turkson: "A great deal is at stake for every country"

During the ongoing COP-21 UN Climate Change Summit in Paris which ends on Friday, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Cardinal Turkson, s…

Read more

31 Dec 2014 Q&A Comments (8)

Why did Christ visit hell after his death?

Full Question Why did Christ visit hell after his death? Answer He didn’t, if you mean by hell the place of the damned. There would have been no …

Read more

16 Dec 2016 Exhortations Comments (2)

Pope Francis revealed that “There are far more disabled saints than you think"

A new book about saints with disabilities is a reminder that everyone has a vocation Many people will have been saddened to read the news that a French court h…

Read more

21 Sep 2014 Vatican Comments (10)

Vatican announces commission to streamline marriage process

Vatican City, Sep 21, 2014 / 12:09 am .- Pope Francis will establish a commission to review the matrimonial process in canon law with the goal of simplifying th…

Read more

04 Feb 2016 Articles Comments (12)

Should Catholics Go to Non-Denominational Bible Studies?

Every day, Catholics are invited by coworkers, neighbors, and even family members to "ecumenical" Bible studies. Should they go? Certainly all of us would benef…

Read more

19 Sep 2015 News USA No comments

Christ is our only hope – Syrian Christians pray for miracles amid Islamists' carnage

Syrian natives who have ministered to refugees from the civil war there are trusting in God to protect their fellow Christians. There are many “satans” in th…

Read more

10 Oct 2016 News Comments (1)

Portuguese bishops applaud nomination of new UN secretary-general

The former Portuguese prime minister António Guterres, a Catholic, has been nominated as UN secretary-general The Portuguese Bishops Conference praised former …

Read more

02 Jun 2015 Articles Q&A No comments

What is the source of the Church's authority?

The source & nature of Church authority is one of the major issues that beginning Catholics have to examine and come to terms with. The Catholic Church m…

Read more
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
«
»

Meet the Nobel-nominated priest who rescues African refugees

  • Written by:
  • 1 Reply

NAIROBI, Kenya — A surge of migrant deaths in deadly voyages across the Mediterranean Sea has become a modern-day refugee crisis.

But the Rev. Mussie Zerai, a 40-year-old Roman Catholic priest from tiny Eritrea, north of Ethiopia, has moved to help migrants trapped in the North African deserts and rickety wooden boats drifting across the sea.

“It is my duty and moral obligation as a priest to help these people. For me it’s simple: Jesus said we must love one another as we love ourselves,” Zerai said in a telephone interview.

The little-known priest, now based in Rome and Switzerland, was among this year’s nominees for the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize, along with Pope Francis. (The prize, announced Friday, was awarded to the National Dialogue Quartet, which helped build a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia.)

Zerai runs a center that receives calls from distressed migrants who have fled their countries in hopes of finding a better life in Europe. He relays refugees’ GPS coordinates to coast guard and naval authorities so they can launch rescue operations.

Most of the migrants are from Syria, the horn of Africa and sub-Saharan Africa and are fleeing political and social situations in their countries of origin. Eritreans, Ethiopians, and Somalis make up most of their numbers. They usually attempt to cross to Italy through Libya, Egypt, and Morocco.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Many of them are fleeing war, religious, political, and ethnic persecution. Then, there are dictatorships and poverty which are causing this exodus,” said Zerai.

In North Africa, some of the migrants are captured by traffickers who seek ransoms from their families. Those who cannot pay ransom are sold to those who harvest organs for illegal transplants.

In the Mediterranean, 3,000 migrants on the voyages have died this year so far, according to the International Organization for Migration. Observers say the number of deaths is expected to increase as the cold season approaches.

Zerai, who was born in Asmara, the Eritrean capital, says he found himself a refugee at the age of 17. From his experience as a migrant in Italy, Zerai started getting involved in campaigns for the human rights of refugees. His work strengthened when he was studying philosophy at the Pontifical Urban University from 2000-2003.

In 2003, he gave his mobile phone number to migrants after helping an Italian journalist interview refugees in prison in Libya, during the reign of the late dictator Moammar Gadhafi. From then on, migrants began spreading the word to call Zerai’s number for help.

Through Agenzia Habeshia, the charitable trust he set up in 2006 to campaign for refugee rights in North Africa and to help others in Italy get asylum, Zerai has saved thousands of migrants.

Related

Pope-Francis-Nobel
Not winning the Nobel won’t affect Francis as a ‘Peace Pope’
St. Peter’s Basilica will house at least one refugee family fleeing war and persecution under a plan announced by Pope Francis Sunday. The Vatican city-state’s other parish church, St. Anne’s, will do the same. (AP Photo)
Pope opens the Vatican to refugees, calls on Europe’s churches to follow suit
A family waits to cross the borders from the northern Greek village of Idomeni to southern Macedonia, Monday, Sept. 21, 2015. Hundreds of refugees and economic migrants arrive daily in Idomeni, a small village of some 100 inhabitants, to cross into Macedonia, from where they continue through Serbia and Hungary to seek asylum in wealthier European countries. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)
Pope Francis calls for development to fight refugee crisis
When he receives the calls, the priest finds the GPS coordinates of the caller’s phone and then shares the location with the Italian and Maltese coast guard in the Mediterranean. Through his hotline, many have been saved.

In 2010, he was ordained a Catholic priest after studying theology for five years and then social morality at the Pontifical Urban University in Rome.

Yet, Zerai is concerned that the world’s response to the crisis has been inadequate and most times coming too late. He recalls the time in 2011 when he received an SOS from a boat with 72 migrants that had drifted out to sea. The people were without food, medicines, or water.

“It took 15 days for rescue to arrive. By this time about 90 percent of the migrants had died,” said Zerai, calling it one of the lowest moments in his life. “I am still pursuing justice for these migrants, because I think it is NATO’s role to protect the migrants.”

He also is pushing for a “humanitarian corridor,” safe routes of passage for migrants so they can get visas in European countries.

For him, African governments must make greater efforts to protect their children and grant more rights and freedoms.

“I think the migration will only end when there is more justice, less corruption and abuse of power that oppresses the masses for the benefit of few in power or the rich who buy the power,” he says.

Zerai said he was happy to have been nominated for the peace prize. “It is great reward for my service to refugees. Above all, it is a recognition of the seriousness of the situation of the refugees coming from sub-Saharan Africa,” he said.

By Fredrick Nzwili

http://www.cruxnow.com/life/2015/10/14/meet-the-nobel-nominated-priest-who-rescues-african-refugees/









wpsd_autopost:
1

1 comment

  1. OgeGod Reply

    May his good works be glorified in heaven, Amen!

Leave a Reply

  1. most read post
  2. Most Commented
  3. Choose Categories