Updates on CNEWA’s Work in the Middle East
The last year has brought extraordinary challenges to the peoples of the Middle East, with daily headlines reporting the tragic toll of war, migration, poverty and persecution of minorities, including Christians. The need has been great and urgent. CNEWA has launched a number of critical programs to help our suffering brothers and sisters. From emergency relief, such as nursing formula and blankets and mattresses, to healthcare, education and counseling, CNEWA has been privileged — thanks to the generosity of our benefactors — to extend the love of the church to tens of thousands in need. Want to know more? Readers and donors can now find detailed reports of CNEWA’s latest activities in the Middle East online at www.cnewa.org/web/mideastreport.
Partnership to Aid Syria
In a new effort to support Christians in the Middle East, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, in September announced a major “global initiative” — partnering with CNEWA — to provide much-needed help for 6,000 families in Syria. The target is $2 million. The funds, which will be collected by CNEWA and distributed through the churches in Syria, will help keep families warm. With the freezing temperatures of winter fast approaching, many might not survive until spring. To support this important effort, visit this website: www.syriacnewa.org.
Cremisan Family Fund
Some 59 families have had their very livelihoods uprooted in the Palestinian Christian town of Beit Jala, near Bethlehem. In September, Israeli bulldozers uprooted their olive trees for the construction of the separation border that will be built through their olive groves in the Cremisan Valley. As a sign of solidarity, and to assist the families cope with the loss of their livelihoods, CNEWA has launched a Cremisan Family Fund, coordinating its efforts with the parishes ministering there to benefit the affected families.
CNEWA has had a presence in the valley for decades, including support for one of the most important and historically significant Catholic institutions in the area, the Salesian Sisters’ Laura Vicuna School. CNEWA renovated two classrooms, rehabilitated retaining walls and the adjacent playground, and has assisted with operating expenses, such as exorbitant heating costs. “The underlying message of these projects is one of hope and perseverance” writes CNEWA’s regional director in Jerusalem, Sami El-Yousef. CNEWA is proud of its work that assists the beleaguered Christian community in the Holy Land, especially in its support of church institutions that provide services that benefit all.”
Solar Power in Bethlehem
This year, CNEWA provided $80,000 to help four kindergartens in the Bethlehem area: the Dominican Sisters’ Nursery, the Salesian Sisters’ Kindergarten in the Cremisan Valley, the Créche of the Daughters of Charity, and the Hortus Conclusus Kindergarten of the Sisters of the Shrine of Our Lady of the Garden. CNEWA’s Jerusalem-based team — in collaboration with the Applied Research Institute of Jerusalem — installed solar panel systems to help the kindergartens reduce reliance on the local electrical grid, saving thousands of dollars a year.
Profiles of Eastern Churches
ONE magazine’s series profiling each of the Eastern churches is now available on CNEWA’s website at easternchurches.org. These 47 features offer the reader an objective account on the course of each church’s development and utilize lavish images to illustrate their vitality. In addition, a new series that summarizes the development of each church is now on our blog. Short entries for quick reading are posted every Tuesday and Thursday.
Check it out!
CNEWA Co-Founder on Path to Sainthood
On 22 September 2015, in a moment rich with significance for CNEWA and for Christian unity, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of the Archdiocese of New York — and chair of CNEWA’s international board of trustees — formally opened the cause for canonization of CNEWA’s co-founder, the Rev. Paul Wattson, S.A., (1863-1940). Father Paul will now be formally known as “Servant of God,” and further investigation may begin into his life and work. Once his heroic virtues are established, he may be declared “venerable”; evidence of one miracle attributed to him can result in beatification; a second miracle may lead eventually to the pope declaring him, formally, a saint.
This is the latest milestone in a long journey of faith that has left an enduring imprint on Christianity around the world. Long before Father Paul helped to found the Catholic Near East Welfare Association, he established the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement as champions of Christian unity and of the poor.
CNEWA is proud that one of its founders is now continuing that journey — this time on the road to sainthood. We invite you to join us in praying that he will soon be raised to the altars and declared a saint — a patron, perhaps, for all those who pray fervently with Christ that “all may be one.” May his spirit continue to inspire the work we do on behalf of the poor and needy of all faiths around the world. You can read more about Father Paul’s life and work on our blog, ONE-TO-ONE: www.cnewablog.org/web/frpaul.