Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York and Chair of Catholic Near East Welfare Association, will be traveling to Iraqi Kurdistan this week on a pastoral visit to that region’s displaced Christian families. The purpose of the pastoral visit is fourfold:
- Demonstrate solidarity with the families — many of whom are Christian — displaced when ISIS swept through northern Iraq in summer 2014. The delegation will visit displaced families taking refuge in camps and villages; stop at schools, nurseries and clinics serving their needs; and pray together in the celebration of the Divine Liturgy.
- Show gratitude and solidarity with the caregivers — the priests, sisters and laity who, although displaced as well, have responded in meeting the needs of those expelled by ISIS. The pastoral visit will highlight the efforts of the religious sisters and parish priests who have partnered with CNEWA in setting up schools, nurseries and clinics.
- Demonstrate solidarity with and support for the leadership of the local church. The delegation will spend time with the patriarchs and bishops of the Chaldean and Syriac Catholic churches, the Syriac Orthodox Church and the Assyrian Church of the East.
- Assert the Christian commitment to support all those wounded by ISIS: Christian, Muslim and Yazidi.
Cardinal Dolan’s pastoral visit to Iraqi Kurdistan initiates year-long observances in commemoration of CNEWA’s 90th anniversary. Traveling with the cardinal will be CNEWA board member Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre; CNEWA President Msgr. John Kozar; and the Executive Director of Catholic Charities for the Archdiocese of New York, Msgr. Kevin Sullivan.
The cardinal also spoke about his trip this week in an interview with Crux in Rome:
CNEWA has a renowned track record of helping the suffering Church, particularly in the Middle East. I’m proud of CNEWA. Every other year, I try to go on a trip with them, so I’ve been to Jordan, Lebanon, the Holy Land, and I now I want to go to Kurdistan.
What can Catholics do to help persecuted Christians in Iraq and other countries? Is donating to CNEWA a way of getting involved?
CNEWA does stand out because of its geographical precision and because of its nine-decade track record of bringing relief to troubled areas. So yeah, CNEWA would be one excellent way of showing solidarity.
To learn more about what CNEWA is doing in Iraqi Kurdistan, check out the Spring 2016 edition of ONE and our story about a busy mobile clinic serving displaced Iraqis.
And as the cardinal suggested, “show solidarity” and support the work of CNEWA on behalf of Christians in Iraq.