Solidarity With the East
In late June, CNEWA President Msgr. John Kozar attended the plenary assembly of aid agencies to the Eastern churches. Hosted by the Holy See’s Congregation for the Eastern Churches, the assembly enables participants to better coordinate humanitarian and pastoral aid, especially in crisis-stricken areas.
Major themes included conflicts in the Middle East and Ukraine, and how to best assist the churches serving in these regions.
“True peace,” said Pope Francis on 26 June, “the peace that the world cannot give, is a gift to us from Jesus Christ. For all the grievous attacks it endures today, peace can always flourish again. I am grateful you continue to ‘make peace grow’ through charity, which is the ultimate aim of all your organizations. With unity and charity Christ’s disciples strive to be peacemakers everywhere, in all peoples and communities, and to overcome persistent forms of discrimination, starting with those based on religion.”
ONE Honored for General Excellence
ONE magazine won top honors once again from the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada, earning 15 awards for both its print and online editions, including First Place for General Excellence. The awards were presented at the annual Catholic Media Conference held this June in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The judges, who included journalism professors from Marquette University and Spring Hill College, lauded ONE’s “sophisticated look and feel” and its “powerful images and stories from around the world.”
For a complete listing of ONE’s awards, with links to the winning stories and pictures, visit WWW.CNEWABLOG.ORG/WEB/CPA2014.
A Snapshot of Gaza
CNEWA’s regional director for Palestine and Israel, Sami El-Yousef, paid a visit to Gaza this spring and participated in a conference to identify the needs and priorities of people in the region.
More than 200 people attended, including key members of Christian institutions and guests representing the Catholic Coordination Committee in Jerusalem.
Among other findings, one survey indicated that Christians are a tiny minority in Gaza, with just 390 households. Most are educated, but a great many are poor — some 34 percent have no income to cover basic living costs, nor health insurance coverage.
To read the full report, visit WWW.CNEWA.ORG/WEB/GAZAREPORT2014.
Gratitude From a Priest
CNEWA has long supported the formation of priests and religious. Recently, our regional director for Ethiopia, Argaw Fantu, received a letter from a newly ordained priest offering his gratitude and prayers.
The Rev. Degefe Ossabo Sodeno now serves in “the remotest area of the country” — the Afar region, some 360 miles from Addis Ababa — as a pastor, a director of the Missionaries of Charity and a hostel director.
“Really, my seven-year journey to my priesthood was very joyful and cheerful because I walked with you,” he wrote.
“May the heavenly Father grant you the peace, the love, the strength and the support you need in the days of your life journey. I keep you all in my prayers.”
Conference on Syria
On 30 May, the pope’s personal charity, the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, hosted a meeting in Rome for Catholic aid agencies providing emergency assistance to Syrian families displaced by the ongoing civil war. The proceedings included an introduction by Cardinal Robert Sarah; a general update on the situation in Syria by the apostolic nuncio to Damascus, Archbishop Mario Zenari; and discussion panels focusing on the content, coordination and prioritization of relief activities for refugee families in the region.
Michel Constantin, CNEWA’s regional director for Lebanon, Syria and Egypt and CNEWA’s representative at the meeting, emphasized the importance of walking with the local churches, and coordinating aid through the heroic people that constitute them.
To read Mr. Constantin’s report on the event, visit WWW.CNEWABLOG.ORG/WEB/CORUNUM.
SPOTLIGHT: Life in the Margins
In a message to the General Assembly of the World Council of Churches last autumn, Pope Francis turned the world’s attention to people in the margins: “We are called to reach out to those who find themselves in the existential peripheries of our societies and to show particular solidarity with the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters: the poor, the disabled, the unborn and the sick, migrants and refugees, the elderly and the young who lack employment.”
Increasingly, in many parts of the world, the ones who are being neglected and abandoned are the elderly; many of them are poor, with no one to care for them. They are, in a real sense, the new orphans. In this edition, we introduce readers to the elderly in Armenia and Georgia. We also visit a refugee camp in Ethiopia, where thousands of Eritreans are seeking to start new lives.