CNEWA Reinvigorates its Presence in Rome

The staff of CNEWA’s office in Rome continues to build momentum in advancing awareness of this special initiative of the Holy See in Europe.

CNEWA reopened its office in Rome last summer, moving its location to the historic building that houses the Dicastery for Eastern Churches on the Via della Conciliazione.

The Rev. Father Marco Scandelli, legal representative of CNEWA in Italy, said the goals of the office are to nurture a “deeper and daily connection” with the church through its various Vatican offices and to develop “a new hub for fundraising in Italy and Europe.”

An important challenge will be raising awareness about the needs of the Eastern churches — specifically those ancient churches of the Middle East, Northeast Africa, Eastern Europe and India, regions where CNEWA works.

“We need to help our people to have a more globalized view of the world, and especially of our heritage and of ourselves as a church,” he said, adding that the Eastern churches continue to serve in the lands where they were founded even as those regions are the flash points for instability, violence and even war.

With the office still in its initial year, Anna Cuzziol, administrative officer, said the priority is “to let everyone know we are here, and we are ready to start a new collaboration.” To this end, the Rome office, together with Sabrina Zappia, consultant to the president, organized a day of meetings on 10 January with the representatives of dicasteries and foundations in Rome. Msgr. Peter I. Vaccari, CNEWA president, was in Rome for these meetings.

 “We are renewing the many opportunities to strengthen our relationships with the Holy See, of which we are a part,” said Msgr. Vaccari, “as well as with the many organizations and associations with which we partner programmatically. Through this office, CNEWA can now also invite potential donors in Italy and Europe to join us as an agency of healing and hope.

“CNEWA has not only been the best kept secret of the Catholic community in North America, but even in the historic center of the Catholic Church,” he continued. “Our team in Rome is working toward changing that, collaborating with our partners and friends across the globe. We are excited about these developments.”

In November 2023, the office cosponsored a conference on “Eastern Catholics’ Ecumenical Vision in Dialogue with the Orthodox” at the Pontifical Oriental Institute and participated in a meeting of associations that support projects in the Holy Land.

In January, Father Scandelli represented CNEWA at a conference on peace in the Holy Land, held at the International Center for Peace in Sogliano al Rubicone, about 56 miles south of Bologna, on the theme, “Nothing Is Lost by Peace, Everything May Be Lost by War.” He joined Father Ibrahim Faltas, vicar of the Custody of the Holy Land, to offer reflections on the war between Israel and Hamas and the situation in the Holy Land since it began in October.

Ms. Cuzziol said being part of CNEWA’s Rome office and the positive impact its mission can have in helping others is motivational for her as a Christian woman. The Rome team meets remotely each week with staff at New York headquarters, “so we can collaborate and come up with some new strategies that can work not only in America, but also here,” she said.

Father Scandelli issued a welcome to those visiting Rome: “We want people, who come from different countries to the Vatican, to know that there is a space, the CNEWA office, where they can find us and where we can establish a rapport.

“We are here to make new connections, to meet people, and we want to be a sign of the mercy of God and his friendship.”

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