Lebanese Patriarch to Discuss Rise of Unified Opposition

NEW YORK – Syria’s withdrawal from Lebanon, the rise of an interreligious opposition movement there and the role of the United States in a changing Middle East will be subjects discussed by the leader of Lebanon’s Maronite Church, Nasrallah Cardinal Sfeir, Patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, at a press conference at Catholic Near East Welfare Association, 1011 First Avenue, New York, on Monday, 21 March, at 10:30 a.m.

The event marks the conclusion of the patriarch’s weeklong visit to Washington, D.C., and New York, at the invitation of President George W. Bush, and includes meetings with the president, members of Congress, the State Department and U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan. The patriarch is scheduled to return to Lebanon Monday evening.

“All Lebanese – Christian or Druze, Sunni or Shiite Muslim – are eager to hear from the patriarch,” said Msgr. John D. Faris, CNEWA’s Associate Secretary General and a member of the Maronite Church. “His is a powerful voice for change, sovereignty, unity and peace.”

Founded by Pope Pius XI in 1926, CNEWA is a special agency of the Vatican providing support to the churches and peoples of the Middle East, Northeast Africa, India and Eastern Europe. In Lebanon, CNEWA supports needy child, seminarian and novice sponsorship programs and village redevelopment and revitalization efforts.

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