ONE Magazine

The official publication of
Catholic Near East Welfare Association

Celebrating 50 years | God • World • Human Family • Church


Updates from CNEWA’s world

Update From the Holy Land

At the time of publication, war between Israel and Hamas continued, with the death toll in Gaza surpassing 28,000 people. 

While CNEWA continues its provision of humanitarian aid to the churches in Gaza, the fluidity of the situation on the ground and resulting shortages has limited the availability and deliverability of aid, said Joseph Hazboun, regional director of CNEWA’s Jerusalem office. However, his team “continues to follow up with the local Christian community” in Gaza and coordinate aid, providing food staples, heating fuel and medicines, he said.

Despite the war, Msgr. Peter I. Vaccari continued the longstanding tradition of CNEWA presidents and made a Christmas pilgrimage to the Holy Land, 18-27 December. Bethlehem was near deserted of pilgrims this time, he said. He hosted the Christmas edition of “Connections With Msgr. Peter” from the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, with Mr. Hazboun and Father Rami Asakrya, O.F.M., pastor of St. Catherine of Alexandria Catholic Church in Bethlehem. 

Msgr. Vaccari also celebrated Mass at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and visited CNEWA-supported programs, including the Collège des Frères in Jerusalem and Holy Family Hospital, and met with religious leaders, including Rabbi Noam Marans of the American Jewish Committee, Archbishop Adolfo Tito Yllana, papal nuncio, and Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Latin patriarch of Jerusalem.

The team in CNEWA’s Rome office, Anna Cuzziol and Father Marco Scandelli, are working to advance the mission of the agency in Europe. (photo: Svitlana Dukhovych)

“Right now, there is a need to end the violence. With the violence going on in Gaza, that must end. The hostages, every one of them, must be returned,” said Msgr. Vaccari, outlining the priorities discussed with the papal nuncio and the patriarch. “And then, starting to rebuild.”

As part of its mission, CNEWA will continue to foster dialogue and promote peace among Christians, Jews and Muslims in the Holy Land, as it has for the past 75 years, he added. Other priorities include developing educational resources on the Christian presence in the Holy Land and the rich history of Christianity in this ancestral land.

Ukraine War Enters Third Year

A peace agreement remains nowhere in sight in Ukraine, which entered its third year at war since Russia’s invasion on 24 February 2022. To date, more than 10,000 civilians have been killed, 6.3 million people have fled Ukraine and 3.7 million are internally displaced.

CNEWA has distributed more than $6.2 million in funding to its partners in Ukraine and surrounding countries to support their assistance to the displaced, with funds for shelter, food, medical care and job placement. Funding also supports schools, hospitals and other church-led institutions caring for the vulnerable.

Read how a CNEWA partner is helping children heal from the effects of war here

New Major Archbishop 

The Syro-Malabar Catholic Church elected a new shepherd. Major Archbishop Raphael Thattil was enthroned as the archbishop of the Archeparchy of Ernakulam-Angamaly on 11 January, succeeding Cardinal George Alencherry, who resigned in December.

Archbishop Thattil began his new ministry amid ongoing liturgical disputes and unrest within the Syro-Malabar Church, the second-largest Eastern church in full communion with the Church of Rome. The Syro-Malabar synod of bishops elected the former bishop of the Eparchy of Shamshabad — a vast ecclesial jurisdiction that covers 23 Indian states — on 9 January, and the pope confirmed the decision the next day. Many years!

Read how the church in India is working to adapt to the challenges in Indian society here.

Healing & Hope Gala

CNEWA’s second annual “Healing & Hope” Gala in New York on 5 December raised $467,000 in support of the agency’s mission to the Eastern churches. More than 300 people came out for the dinner at a private club in Manhattan, which underlined the agency’s commitment to support anti-trafficking efforts throughout the Middle East, Northeast Africa, India and Eastern Europe. 

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, CNEWA chair, presented the agency’s Faith & Culture Award to anti-trafficking advocate John J. Studzinski, K.S.G., and honored Good Shepherd Sister Marie Claude Naddaf, a native of Syria, as its guest of honor. 

Save the date! The next gala dinner will be on 5 December 2024.

CNEWA Concert for Peace

CNEWA cohosted a fundraising evening with St. Joseph by-the-Sea High School in Staten Island, New York, on 21 February. The Concert for Peace featured performances by several local Catholic schools and offered opportunities for the audience to learn about the agency’s mission. To host a fundraising event for CNEWA in your community, visit

CNEWA’s Rome Office

The staff of CNEWA’s office in Rome, which opened last summer in the historic building housing the Dicastery for Eastern Churches on the Via della Conciliazione, continues to build momentum in advancing awareness of this special initiative of the Holy See in Europe.

CNEWA’s Rome team includes the Rev. Marco Scandelli, CNEWA’s legal representative in Italy, and Anna Cuzziol, administrative officer. Together with Sabrina Zappia, consultant to the president, the team has organized and participated in several events to date. 

In November, CNEWA cosponsored a conference on “Eastern Catholics’ Ecumenical Vision in Dialogue With the Orthodox,” and participated in a meeting of associations that support projects in the Holy Land. In January, Father Scandelli spoke at a conference on peace in the Holy Land. Msgr. Vaccari joined the team in mid-January for meetings with various Vatican dicasteries and offices.

Read more about the mission of our Rome office on our blog.

Read this article in our digital print format here.

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