ROACO Meets in Rome
In June, CNEWA’s Msgr. John Kozar chaired the biannual meeting of dozens of Catholic aid agencies called together by the Holy See’s Congregation for the Eastern Churches. A chief concern was the continued hardship of Christians in Iraq and Syria. Addressing the gathering, Pope Francis said, “The lands of the Middle East, marred by years of conflict, are also marked by the footprints of those who seek refuge and soaked with the blood of many men and women, including numerous Christians persecuted for their faith.”
Spreading the Word
In late May, CNEWA’s President Msgr. John E. Kozar met with friends and benefactors from the greater New York region at the Immaculate Conception Seminary in Huntington, New York, and reported on his recent pastoral visit to Iraq and Egypt.
Some 60 people gathered to hear his moving account of meeting refugees and aid workers — including the religious sisters he describes as the “foot soldiers” of the church. Again and again, he said, he encountered resilience and hope.
“They wanted us to know one thing,” he said quietly. “They wanted us to know they love the Holy Father. And they wanted to thank him for his prayers. They wanted us to know they were believers.”
And he recounted meeting a little girl who told the visitors, “they have taken our homes, but they will never take our faith.”
The talk left those in attendance uplifted and inspired — and raised funds to support CNEWA’s mission in the Middle East. Read more at our blog: www.cnewablog.org/web/wordgift. And if you are interested in having CNEWA come to visit your parish or school, contact our Development Director Norma Intriago at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Relief Rushed to Middle East
CNEWA rushed $849,200 in June to aid Christians in the Middle East: “The funds address a broad spectrum of needs across a broad area of the region,” said Msgr. Kozar, “and reflect the vast scale of the challenges facing Middle East Christians.”
Aid supports initiatives as diverse as post-trauma counseling, medical care, formation of sisters and priests, and renovation of church institutions. As always, programs are administered by CNEWA’s personnel in the region, who partner with the local churches and their priests, sisters and lay professionals. These funds represent the second portion of CNEWA’s allocation from the collection taken up last autumn in most U.S. Catholic dioceses and eparchies.
ONE magazine took top honors at the annual Catholic Press Association Awards in June, including First Place for General Excellence for mission magazines.
The judges praised the magazine’s “first rate journalism,” with “consistently strong reporting and research,” adding, “the editors raise the bar for every publication. … Obviously, they do it right.”
The prizes were handed out at the association’s annual Catholic Media Conference, this year held in Buffalo, New York.
For a full list of awards, visit our blog: www.cnewablog.org/web/cpa2015
In May, the CNEWA family lost a dear friend and colleague. François Moniz died at the age of 56 after a courageous battle with cancer. François was instrumental in the creation of the national office in Ottawa, and deeply committed to the mission of CNEWA. In the words of Carl Hétu, CNEWA Canada’s national director, “We will remember him for his kindness, generosity and friendly smile. We give thanks to God for the blessing that François was in our lives.”
Our prayers are with François’ wife Edith and their two children. Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.
Capuchin Center in Ethiopia
CNEWA’s regional director for Ethiopia, Argaw Fantu, shared recent developments at the Capuchin Retreat and Training Center in Addis Ababa. Under the direction of the Capuchin Rev. Daniel Assefa, the center seeks to support the pastoral and theological needs of the Ethiopian Catholic Church — and, through the generosity of CNEWA’s donors, has been able to offer classes, workshops and Scripture study to nearly 70 lay faithful over the last year, including catechists and university students.
Since 2012, thousands more have used the facility for retreats and conferences. In a country where Catholics are a tiny minority, the center has been an invaluable asset not only for the church, but for the entire country.
As CNEWA’s program officer Tarekegn Umuro wrote, the center is “a source of not only good citizens, but also of vocations.”
Year of Sisters
Last November, Pope Francis launched a “Year of Consecrated Life,” calling special attention to those vowed members of religious orders, institutions and congregations. At CNEWA, we are focusing in a special way on those we consider the “foot soldiers” of the faith, religious sisters. In so many ways, they have been our partners in every corner of CNEWA’s world — serving to uplift the poor, bring comfort to the suffering and offer the face of Christ to those most in need. Throughout this summer edition of ONE, you will meet heroic women bringing hope and a healing touch in Lebanon, Iraq and India.
As we mark our own “Year of Sisters” at CNEWA, we believe these exceptional women embody the beautiful words of Pope Francis, who, in instituting this year, urged all who have embraced consecrated life: “Have the courage to be present in the midst of conflict and tension as a credible sign of the presence of the Spirit, who inspires in human hearts a passion for all to be one.”