CNEWA Canada

Christianity in Northeast Africa dates to the earliest days of the church. Although located far from the centers of the church in the Mediterranean world, the church in the Horn of Africa — called Abyssinia — was not isolated from other Christian communities, particularly those in Egypt and the Holy Land. 

The modern nation state of Eritrea, which fought a long and bitter war with Ethiopia to achieve its independence, dates to 1993. Eritrea’s Catholic Church shares the Ge’ez traditions of the dominant Orthodox Tewahedo and Catholic churches in Eritrea and Ethiopia, and was established by Pope Francis as an autonomous, metropolitan church within the Catholic communion of churches in 2015. 

CNEWA has long played an important role in the development of the Eritrean Catholic Church, collaborating with its leaders soon after independence to redevelop, restore and renew its schools, parishes, social services and spiritual life. 

Thanks to you, CNEWA supported the formation of its priests, religious men and women and lay leaders.

Thanks to you, CNEWA became a lifeline to tens of thousands of children enrolled in schools and child care programs, providing food, shelter, lessons, counsel and nurturing.

Thanks to you, CNEWA sponsored mobile and parish-based health care initiatives, particularly among those living in remote and hard-to-reach areas of the country.

Sadly, much of that work is now behind us, as the state nationalized the church’s 29 health care programs and 4 high schools in 2019, 71 kindergartens, 36 elementary schools, and 13 middle and 2 technical schools by the end of 2022. All of these programs served all Eritreans, regardless of their ethnicity, culture or religion.

But that does not mean that the church is finished, that without its schools and clinics and social service programs it fails to exist. The church is the body of Christ, made up of the men and women, young and old who live the joy of the Gospel by their commitment to love God and one another. The church does not and cannot shut its doors to those who come, asking for help. Always, the response must be, “how can we help?”

The role of CNEWA in Eritrea continues, therefore, from its support of formation programs for men and women as faithful disciples and apostles of Jesus — such as major and minor seminaries and novitiate and lay catechist programs — to providing humanitarian assistance of all kinds at the parish level. 

Please join us with your generous prayers and gifts that can change one small corner of our world, one life at a time. For whatever you can give, we thank you. Your thoughtfulness will be remembered in the prayers of all of us at CNEWA, and by those whom we serve.

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