Connections with Msgr. Peter: Being God-bearers to Others

In the fourth installment of “Connections With Msgr. Peter” on 17 August, CNEWA’s president, Msgr. Peter I. Vaccari, reflected on the spiritual and cultural significance of the Virgin Mary in the Eastern and Western Christian traditions.

In the 18 countries where CNEWA works, he said, “every one of those countries has a very deep Marian culture, a very deep attachment to the role and to the influence of the Blessed Mother.”

In the Eastern churches, he noted, Mary is referred to as the “Theotokos,” which is a Greek term meaning “God-bearer.”

“In much the same way, we are asked to be God-bearers,” said Msgr. Vaccari. “We are asked to be those agents of God who bring God’s presence, who bring God’s hope, who bring God’s mercy … to those places we are sent, to those places we travel, to those places we go.”

It is thanks to CNEWA’s generous donors that the organization can uphold this mission and provide aid and relief to vulnerable communities, explained Msgr. Vaccari.

Recently, $2.8 million was distributed to Ukraine, totaling over $5.5 million since the beginning of the war.

“One hundred percent of your donations went to help the people of Ukraine,” said Msgr. Vaccari as he outlined the distribution of recent funds, which included food packages, aid to internally displaced persons (IDPs), and support of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.

“Thank you. It was only possible, and is only possible, because of you,” he added.

Msgr. Vaccari also provided updates on CNEWA’s activities in Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gaza, Jordan and Lebanon. As these areas continue to suffer from violence, food scarcity and economic crisis, migrants, IDPs and refugees remain a focus of CNEWA’s work. Msgr. Vaccari announced that CNEWA will launch a campaign around Labor Day linked to the World Day of Migrants and Refugees.

In addition, CNEWA is preparing for several “friend-raising” and fundraising events.

The first of these, a fundraiser for Ukraine, will take place on 13 October in Westchester County, New York. It will be an exhibit of the work of female artists concerned with “the preservation of art and the preservation of culture.”

On 1 November, CNEWA will have an art exhibit at the Sheen Center in Lower Manhattan.

Lastly, 13 December will mark CNEWA’s inaugural gala, which will be held at a private club in Manhattan and will honor Cardinal Timothy Dolan. If interested in any of these events, contact

During the Q & A segment, Msgr. Vaccari responded to a question asking what else people can do to assist the mission. He outlined three points.

“The first is prayer. No one can minimize the power of prayer, especially prayer now to the Blessed Mother under any of the titles and any of the cultures where we’re working.

“Second, that we all be correctly informed in terms of what is going on. The dissemination of truthful information is critical.

“And third, where it’s possible and where an individual has the means to, please continue with your generous donations to CNEWA so that we can continue to support our many missions.”

“Connections With Msgr. Peter” airs on the second Wednesday of each month. The next program is scheduled for 14 September at 7 p.m. ET. Sign up for CNEWA’s digital newsletter at for registration information.

To inquire about sponsorship opportunities for the inaugural gala, contact

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