A Papal Honor for Msgr. Kozar

This morning, the CNEWA team from around the world gathered for its annual meeting. However, instead of national and regional directors traveling to New York as they have in the past, all met virtually, via Zoom.

Among those taking part in today’s plenary: CNEWA’s chair, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, and, from the Vatican, the prefect of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, along with CNEWA board member Bishop William Murphy and CNEWA President Msgr. Peter Vaccari and recently retired former president, Msgr. John E. Kozar.

In his welcoming remarks to all those who had assembled, Cardinal Sandri spoke of the longstanding bond between CNEWA and the congregation, CNEWA’s leadership in responding to events close to the heart of the Holy See — namely COVID-19 relief and the crises in Lebanon — and of the commitment of this agency of the Holy See in its support of the Eastern churches.

And then, in an unexpected gesture, he announced a special recognition of Msgr. Kozar: Pope Francis has named him a Prelate of Honor of His Holiness, an increasingly rare distinction of honor given to priests by the pontiff.  

Cardinal Sandri and Cardinal Dolan both expressed their personal gratitude, affection and friendship for Msgr. Kozar, who spoke warmly of his years of service to CNEWA and its mission of accompanying the Eastern churches. Ebullient as ever, Msgr. Kozar thanked them for their friendship and support and said he looks forward to a time when the CNEWA family will gather again in person.

The annual meeting will continue for the next 10 days, and will include opportunities to listen, engage and plan as the agency marches toward its centenary in 2026.  

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