Cardinal Dolan and Msgr. Kozar welcome Msgr. Vaccari, left, to CNEWA.
Archbishop Bernardito Auza speaks at CNEWA's Spirit of Mission reception on 8 October 2019, at the residence of the Holy See’s permanent observer to the United Nations in New York.
Msgr. Vaccari to Lead CNEWA
In October, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chair and treasurer of the Board of Trustees of Catholic Near East Welfare Association, announced Msgr. Peter Vaccari will succeed Msgr. John E. Kozar, joining CNEWA as vice president on 1 January 2020. At a date yet to be determined, Msgr. Kozar will retire and Msgr. Vaccari will assume his responsibilities as president.
In a staff meeting in New York announcing the move, Cardinal Dolan said Msgr. Kozar had approached him nearly a year ago to discuss a successor, noting he would be turning 75 in 2020 and wanted a smooth transition.
The cardinal offered his gratitude to Msgr. Kozar for initiating the process, expressing his personal affection for him and the work he has done with CNEWA over the last eight years.
A priest of the Diocese of Brooklyn, Msgr. Vaccari, 67, has served as rector of St. Joseph Seminary in Dunwoodie, New York, since 2012. Ordained a priest in 1977, he has served as a parish priest, seminary professor, chaplain with the Air Force Reserve, and rector of the seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington, Long Island.
Msgr. Kozar and Msgr. Vaccari shared that they hold in common a deep and long-lasting friendship, built over many years of traveling together to the Middle East on pilgrimage, and they look forward to working together during this period of transition.
In late summer, we received a report on the Kidist Mariam Center in Ethiopia. A project CNEWA has supported for several years, the center trains young women to help them build a dignified, independent future — one that can increase their household income and reduce the women’s workload. In addition, the students learn about entrepreneurship and develop communication skills, all in at atmosphere that fosters religious values.
According to the report, a total of 287 students this year attended vocational courses on everything from food preparation to tailoring and hairdressing, with nearly 200 now working at hair salons, textile plants and restaurants.
“All these activities could be done, thanks to the support of CNEWA, and the great work of our staff members and the perseverance of all our students.”
Serving Lebanon’s Poor
During a recent visit to CNEWA’s office north of Beirut, Sister Wardeh Kayrouz, a social worker and member of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary, offered an update on the activities her congregation has undertaken — with support from CNEWA’s donors — to reach the poorest of the poor.Her community has paid special attention to those displaced because of war. Sister Wardeh and her team have helped serve nearly 200 families, many of whom had fled Iraq and northern Syria.
Through a network of local churches and dispensaries, they have provided medical care and educational and cultural support. The greatest challenge they are facing now, she reported, was the high level of illiteracy among displaced children, some of whom have never been to school and are being raised by parents who are likewise lacking any formal education.
Her congregation is working to instill the importance of learning in these families, which she hopes will benefit all in the years to come.
Health Care in Kurdistan
In October, members of CNEWA’s emergency response team saw firsthand the invaluable work being done in Dohuk at the Mar Narsai Health Center.
CNEWA helped launch this temporary health care facility in 2015 and, this year, with our funding partner Misereor, is supporting the construction of a permanent facility that will be completed in early 2020. The goal is to serve displaced Iraqis who have been forced to settle in Iraqi Kurdistan after the invasion of the Nineveh Plain by ISIS in August 2014. When completed, the new building will help care for about 120 persons a day, staffed by health care professionals working in shifts to meet the expected demand.
CNEWA Visits New Jersey
Our CNEWA parish visitation team continues its outreach to parishes around the country with a visit to Our Lady of Mt. Virgin Church in Middlesex, New Jersey, in the autumn. Deacon Greg Kandra preached at the Masses over the weekend, introducing parishioners to CNEWA’s work around the world. Development Officer Christopher Kennedy joined him to greet parishioners after Mass, answer questions and distribute free copies of our award-winning magazine, ONE. To learn how CNEWA can bring a message of hope to your parish, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Honoring ‘Spirit of Mission’
On 8 October, CNEWA was privileged to offer its first Spirit of Mission reception, honoring in a special way those who have carried forth CNEWA’s work around the world. The event was hosted by the Holy See’s then permanent observer to the United Nations, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, at his residence in Manhattan.
The event honored the Daughters of Charity, represented by Sister Lettemariam Mogos, D.C., and the Rev. Msgr. Richard Lopez.
Sister Lettemariam has served as CNEWA’s regional director in Eritrea since 2013. Her community, the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, runs a multitude of programs for the poor and marginalized throughout CNEWA’s world, and has long been a close partner of CNEWA.
Msgr. Lopez is a priest of the Archdiocese of Atlanta. For 32 years he taught theology at St. Pius X High School, until his retirement in 2013. He and a number of his students continue to advocate for and support the work of CNEWA.
The Spirit of Mission reception raised more than $14,000 for the work of women religious through CNEWA’s world.