News From India
In March, Pope Francis erected two new jurisdictions of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church. Both are located outside the traditional center of the church, which is in the southwestern Indian state of Kerala. The Delhi-based Eparchy of St. John Chrysostom of Gurgaon of the Syro-Malankars, led by Bishop Jacob Mar Barnabas, O.I.C., extends along the northern part of India, covering 22 states. The Exarchate of St. Ephrem of Khadki is centered in Pune in the south.
In an email to CNEWA’s president, Msgr. John E. Kozar, Mar Barnabas noted that “with this new eparchy and exarchate, the Malankara Church is given the freedom to preach the Good News anywhere in India. This will surely boost our mission efforts.
“I thank you most sincerely,” he adds, “for the love, encouragement and support up to now. … With your support we can make efforts of evangelization without fear.”
CNEWA works closely with India’s dynamic Catholic Eastern churches in their work among the “unreached” in the north of the subcontinent. To learn more, visit WWW.ONEMAGAZINEHOME.ORG/WEB/UNREACHED.
New Churches Formed
Earlier this year, Pope Francis made two significant changes in the Catholic Eastern churches, creating two additional churches that are fully Catholic and yet of their own rite and governed by a chief hierarch in full communion with the bishop of Rome.
In January, he created a new metropolitan church sui iuris in the northeast African nation of Eritrea. With its seat in the capital city of Asmara, the Eritrean Catholic Church is led by Metropolitan Archbishop Menghesteab Tesfamariam, M.C.C.J., and shares the ancient Ge’ez rites and traditions of the Ethiopian church.
In March, the pope reorganized the Hungarian Greek Catholic Church, elevating it to the dignity of a metropolitan church sui iuris, appointing Bishop Fülöp Kocsis as the first metropolitan archbishop of Hajdúdorog with its seat in the city of Debrecen. This Hungarian church utilizes the Byzantine rites and traditions associated with the church of Constantinople.
Help for School in Bethlehem
In Bethlehem, CNEWA has initiated two programs to help students of the Salesian Sisters’ Laura Vicuna School in the Cremisan Valley. With the support of partner donors, funds have been designated to rehabilitate a retaining wall of the school playground, which is at risk of collapsing. Funds will also be used to renovate space in the school’s annex for classrooms and meetings.
The Cremisan Valley, which is strategically located between a sprawling Jerusalem and the West Bank, is considered the last green space in the Bethlehem area. Its future was questionable, however, as the Israeli government intended to expropriate much of the land to build its separation wall, decimating the valley’s olive trees and vineyards and dividing the Salesian community.
Remembering Ceil Mazzoni
In March, we lost a lifelong friend and longtime benefactor of CNEWA. Mrs. Cecilia “Ceil” Mazzoni died at the age of 102.
Mrs. Mazzoni’s parents were among CNEWA’s first supporters: Their membership card from 1926, the year CNEWA was founded by Pope Pius XI, is preserved in the agency’s archives.
Mrs. Mazzoni and her sister Catherine Cresci shared their parents’ passion and carried that through the 21st century, generously supporting CNEWA’s work — supporting numerous clean water and food projects in Ethiopia and India as well as the sponsorship of religious sisters and seminarians. When Mrs. Mazzoni’s sister died, the family built a church in India in her memory.
A close friend described Mrs. Mazzoni to us as a woman with “a loving heart and beautiful smile. She was generous with her money, but also with her heart.”
Indeed, Ceil Mazzoni once said, “The money I have is a loan from the Lord, and I have to give it back.”
We join our prayers with all those who loved Ceil, along with those of the poor she never met but whose lives she touched with her enduring generosity. Her legacy lives on. We pray for the repose of her soul.
Clinics in Iraqi Kurdistan
In addition to its clinic in the city of Erbil, which opened last winter, CNEWA has opened two much-needed health care centers to serve displaced Iraqi families. One, in Dohuk, consists of 10 rooms — including laboratories, operating rooms and a pharmacy, all constructed in a prefab steel structure. The clinic is expected eventually to serve more than 700 people a week, including Christians and Yazidis from the Mosul area displaced by ISIS last summer. The second is a mobile clinic designed to serve Zakho and the 18 villages surrounding the city.
The clinics were made possible thanks to the generosity of benefactors in North America and Europe, and are managed and staffed by CNEWA’s partners in the region, especially the Syriac Catholic Church and the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena.
Evangelization in India
CNEWA is working with religious congregations in India to support an initiative known as “City Evangelization.” A group of lay people, sisters and priests — now numbering 95 — reaches out to the most vulnerable in the city, including street children and abandoned women, to offer help and support. As our regional director in India, M.L. Thomas, describes it, “The members of the City Evangelization team temporarily opt out of their congregation and volunteer time and energy to help people in distress and need in the city.”
Religious sisters, for example, stay in rented houses to be close to those in need. Members of other faiths, including Muslims and Hindus, are also engaged in the effort.
“It is a ministry that is highly inclusive of everyone,” Mr. Thomas notes, “irrespective of caste, creed and color, realizing that integrity of life is often the best gift we can offer to the poor.”
In February, representatives from the CNEWA regional office in Addis Ababa visited the Wanta Kidist Mariam Monastery in northern Ethiopia, at the invitation of the abbot. The monastery of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church was built in 1734 and is badly in need of repair. The community — which includes the monastery and surrounding village — includes priests, monks and nuns, plus family members.
CNEWA’s regional director for Ethiopia, Argaw Fantu, was deeply moved by the fervor and faith he saw at the monastery, and CNEWA agreed to contribute 200 sheets of corrugated iron to help with the renovation of the church.
Breaking Bread with the Pope
CNEWA’s Joseph Hazoub from Jerusalem recounts his extraordinary luncheon with Pope Francis.