CNEWA Canada

CNEWA has been providing assistance to the Palestinian territories since the founding of Pontifical Mission for Palestine by Pope Pius XII in 1949. 

The Palestinian territories, composed of the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and East Jerusalem and represented officially by the Palestine Liberation Organization, have been under Israeli occupation since 1967. 

The Gaza Strip has been ruled by the militant Islamic group Hamas since 2007. The West Bank, divided into 165 Palestinian enclaves, is under the partial administration of the Palestinian Authority. The majority of the West Bank, including 200 Israeli settlements, is under Israeli control. 

Christian-based organizations within these territories do not receive government funding and experience serious financial challenges. For this reason, they are heavily dependent on international donors to maintain facilities and equipment, fund programs and cover operating costs. 

The Christian population continues to decrease here. For instance, there are about 9,000 Christians in Jerusalem — just over 1 percent of the city’s population — compared with a quarter of the population a century ago. 

Today, the needs of the Palestinian people amid the current war between Israel and Hamas are immense. More than 30,000 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have been killed by the Israeli Defense Forces in response to the Hamas terrorist attack on Israel on 7 October 2023.  

Emergency Response

Since the war began, CNEWA has coordinated with partners on the ground in Gaza to distribute hot meals, food packages, medicines, hygiene kits, diapers, fuel, cooking gas, bottled water and cleaning supplies to those in need. 

Between October 2023 and February 2024, a donation made by CNEWA provided hot meals to 760 displaced Christians sheltering at two churches in Gaza City — St. Porphyrios and Holy Family — as well as those in the vicinity and other neighborhoods in the city.

In coordination with a local communal food kitchen, CNEWA has reached half of the 600 displaced families it anticipates serving in Gaza City and Rafah between March and April with food aid. 

a woman holds up a white sign that reads "Pace". There are people standing near her, including a nun.
A woman holds up a sign that say “Pace,” peace in Italian, as Pope Francis appeals for an end to the fighting between Israel and Palestine after reciting the Angelus prayer, 8 October, with visitors in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican. (photo: CNS/Vatican Media)

Accompanying the Church

CNEWA’s office in Jerusalem is focused on developing lay leadership through various programs, including the local Scout movement, Christian youth centers and catechism programs. The programs are crucial to ensure the Christian presence in the Holy Land and to prepare future leadership for the Christian organizations that provide employment and essential services, such as education and health care, for the general population.  

CNEWA also funds repairs to church facilities and supports catechetical formation, pastoral care programs, pastoral youth initiatives and Bible camps.

Sister Piera Carpenedo of the Sisters of St. Dorothy tells a story to her hearing-impaired students at the Ephpheta Institute in Bethlehem, just one institution CNEWA is proud to support through the generosity of our donors. (photo: Steve Sabella)

Responding to Human Needs

CNEWA supports a network of Christian organizations that offer education, health care and social services, having funded the installation of solar panels to reduce energy costs, the rehabilitation of an existing rainwater cistern to provide a clean and free water supply, and the installation of hydroponic systems to produce organic vegetables as alternative food sources. In addition to reducing operating costs, these programs respond to our Christian call to care for creation.

CNEWA also supports an educational counseling program for 10th graders from Jerusalem-area Christian schools, which helps them identify their interests and abilities, build their skills and determine their career path. The program is offered in collaboration with CEGAS, the Committee for Educational Guidance for Arab Students, in Haifa.

Summer camp session for young adult Christians near Ramallah, Palestine. (photo: George Jaraiseh)

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