Journey to Lebanon
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, CNEWA’s chair, made a pastoral visit to Lebanon in April. He was joined by CNEWA board members Archbishop J. Michael Miller of Vancouver and Bishop Emeritus William Murphy of Rockville Centre. It was an opportunity for the leadership of CNEWA to see firsthand how this special agency of the Holy See accompanies the local churches on the ground — and get a personal glimpse at what CNEWA’s generous benefactors are making possible.
The prelates called on the Good Shepherd Sisters, who run a clinic and social service center in eastern Beirut serving Iraqi and Syrian refugees, as well as the local poor.
They met with Armenian Syrian refugee mothers at the Karagheusian Center in the Beirut neighborhood of Bourj Hammoud. In the city of Zahleh, overlooking the Bekaa Valley, the delegation met with Melkite Greek Catholic Archbishop John Darwich, B.S., who took them to meet Muslim and Christian Syrian refugee families under his care, living in camps or substandard housing.
The board members celebrated the Eucharist with grade school students and seminarians, and paid courtesy calls to patriarchs and other church leaders, as well as the president of the Lebanese Republic, Michel Aoun.
The many people the cardinal and his colleagues met were gratified and humbled by the cardinal’s presence — and the feeling was mutual.
“There’s a lot of suffering here, the tears of refugees and the memories of war,” he said in a video report shortly before he left Lebanon. “But there’s also hope, confidence, joy and life! God bless Lebanon, God bless America, and God bless the Catholic Near East Welfare Association!”
You can see exclusive videos with highlights of the cardinal’s trip on our website at:
CNEWA Project Praised
A leading Catholic philanthropic organization — Foundations and Donors Interested in Catholic Activities, or FADICA — released a report in May citing some of the most innovative and successful programs of the Catholic community around the world helping to confront the global refugee crisis. One of CNEWA’s own programs, the Mother of Mercy Clinic, run by the Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena in Zerqa, Jordan, was praised for being “inspiring and impactful” and hailed as one of 64 “innovative
and solutions-oriented Catholic ministries globally that are accompanying and aiding refugees and migrants.”
Supporting Youth in Ethiopia
In May, more than 260 Catholic university students from southern Ethiopia gathered in Soddo, south of the capital of Addis Ababa, in preparation for a special assembly of the Synod of Bishops focusing on young people, to be held this autumn in Rome. CNEWA helped fund and organize the Soddo gathering, which included discussions and workshops on discernment, vocations, needs of different chaplaincies and hopes for the future.
In an email from the gathering, CNEWA’s regional director for Ethiopia, Argaw Fantu, wrote, “for the minority Catholics in Ethiopia, such occasions are very meaningful. … How wonderful to spend time and to share with them, listening to their challenges and hopes. … What energetic young people!”
Grateful in Jordan
In May, a young visitor stopped by CNEWA’s offices in Amman, Jordan: a 2-month-old infant girl named Mariam, who had received medical care thanks to CNEWA’s support and assistance.
Mariam was born to refugee parents, but she was soon diagnosed with a hole in her heart. CNEWA arranged for further treatment at the Italian Hospital, administered by the Dominican Sisters of the Presentation, and she is now in good health. Her parents visited CNEWA to express their gratitude to CNEWA and to our family of donors who make all these things possible.
“What we do is not just a matter of providing food or milk or health care,” writes CNEWA’s projects coordinator in Amman, Doris Theodori. “It is a matter of love — as Jesus commanded us: ‘Love one another as I have loved you.’ “
Sewing in the Slums
Teaching skills to women in Sagar, India — such as tailoring and dressmaking — has helped to lift hundreds of women and their families out of grinding poverty, writes CNEWA’s regional director in India, M.L. Thomas. After they complete their training, women are able to apply for local jobs and support their families.
“The program, supported by CNEWA, has also provided a platform for the sisters and priests of the local Syro-Malabar Catholic eparchy to meet the parents personally and provide counseling,” Mr. Thomas writes. “The parents and teachers also met together in groups, which has helped them understand the value of education for their children and encourage them to go to school.”
Some 83 children have since enrolled in government schools, he continues, as the “children showed great interest and enthusiasm to learn. The project not only helped the children to learn, but also reduced their stress and depression.”