Connections With Msgr. Peter: Being Present in Crisis

In times of emergency, CNEWA is there. In the 15 February installment of “Connections With Msgr. Peter,” CNEWA’s president provided an overview of agency efforts in Ukraine since the Russian invasion last February, as well as updates on its emergency response to the earthquakes in Syria and Turkey.

“We were able to be present,” he said of CNEWA’s response in Ukraine. “We were there then; we continue to be there now.”

Thanks to the generosity of its donors, CNEWA has provided food, psychological and social support, counseling, medical care and clean water to those affected by the war, particularly refugees and internally displaced persons.

While support to Ukrainians remains an agency priority, CNEWA is listening to the needs of the people in Syria, who are suffering greatly.

“One of the things that has struck me very deeply with regard to … your generosity is that you are reaching out to the earliest places where the church began,” said Msgr. Vaccari.  

Through CNEWA’s emergency management team based in Beirut, the agency is providing support to the work of organizations such as Caritas, the Blue Marist Brothers and the St. Vincent de Paul Society, who have been on the ground and active in the care for survivors from the first days of the crisis. Funds are being directed by local church leaders to ensure they arrive safely and are used as intended.  

“It is our determination to make sure that the priority of safety and the priority of security for those funds, which are earmarked for these places that have undergone this horrific experience, are going to arrive to their beneficiaries in a safe way,” he said.

Msgr. Vaccari expressed immense gratitude to CNEWA’s generous donors, without whom this aid would not have been possible.

As Ash Wednesday approaches, he asked that almsgiving, prayer and fasting be remembered and prioritized this Lenten season, naming them as an “instrument of hope.”

“It’s my hope for me and maybe for you … that our fasting will enable us to give even more generously in terms of our almsgiving,” said Msgr. Vaccari.

CNEWA has a number of Lent materials, including a print and digital daily reflection book. To get a copy, visit

To get a sense of CNEWA’s emergency campaigns and other projects, Msgr. Vaccari invited viewers to look through the agency’s recent annual report.

The full episode can be accessed on our YouTube channel, Facebook, and Twitter.

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