Right now, our world is being rocked by a health crisis that is changing how we live, how we function, even how we worship. No place has gone untouched by this pandemic — and that includes the places we serve. Michel Constantin, CNEWA’s regional director in Beirut, reported last week that Lebanon and Iraq are “in a state of panic,” as the coronavirus continues to spread. Around that region and elsewhere, schools are closing, religious gatherings (including weddings and funerals) are being canceled, and liturgies are being suspended.
As a result of concerns expressed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and our local government leaders, effective today, 18 March, CNEWA’s New York offices are closing. If you have an urgent request, please call 212-826-1480 and leave a message. A member of our staff will get back to you as soon as possible. Meantime, we will be doing our work remotely.
It is work that is truly a ministry — one dedicated to hope.
In the places we serve, our partners on the ground are working around the clock to continue health care for the poor and provide for those who are trying to maintain their lives and livelihoods in the face of a growing pandemic. During this difficult time, we hear with renewed clarity Christ’s call: “Whatever you did for the least of these, you did for me.” (Matt. 25) And we pray we can continue to answer that call with courage, compassion and Christian love.
I invite you to join us in praying for those here and around the world facing an uncertain, even frightening future because of this virus.
We can do nothing less.
We offer a humble but profound “Thank you,” and ask that you continue to walk with us as we walk with those in need. We exist to accompany the Eastern Catholic Churches in some especially challenging places. We can’t do it alone. Your companionship and generosity on this journey are more than a gift; they are a grace.
May God bless you and keep you. Let us continue to hold one another in prayer.