ONE Magazine

The official publication of
Catholic Near East Welfare Association

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


Magazine news, September 2021 — CNEWA in Lebanon; Syro-Malankara Bishop Dies From COVID-19

CNEWA in Lebanon

CNEWA’s president, Msgr. Peter I. Vaccari, led a delegation to Lebanon in early August in solidarity with the churches and peoples of the eastern Mediterranean nation. The pastoral visit included appointments with church leaders as well as opportunities to meet with program partners and beneficiaries, among them a dispensary run by various congregations of sisters in Nabaa, a poor neighborhood in eastern Beirut; the counselors and social workers of Oum el Nour; and the medical and administrative teams at the Geitaoui University and Rosary Sisters hospitals in Achrafieh, a district of Beirut.

Of central importance to the visit were the various activities held on 4 August to commemorate the explosion in the port of Beirut, which killed more than 200 people, injured thousands more, and left hundreds of thousands homeless. The explosion, which scientists believe was the most powerful non-nuclear blast in history, exacerbated Lebanon’s socioeconomic and political implosion, which threatens to destroy what remains of the firmest foothold of the Christian faith in the Middle East.

Msgr. Vaccari and members of the CNEWA team — which included the team of the Beirut office, led by Regional Director Michel Constantin, and the New York-based directors of communications and development respectively, Michael La Civita and Noel Selegzi — attended liturgies and presentations to commemorate the lives lost and shattered by the blast.

These memorials culminated with an outdoor Divine Liturgy at the site of the blast — which began precisely at 6:07 p.m., the time of the first explosion — celebrated by Cardinal Bechara Boutros Rai, patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, and representatives of all of Lebanon’s churches.

Days after the pastoral visit, Msgr. Vaccari said he was still trying to “find the silence” to bring to prayer and absorb all that he experienced.

“The situation there is very serious, as the people of the entire country are suffering on multiple levels, emotionally, physically and spiritually,” he said. “And let’s not forget the coronavirus pandemic, which is decimating a population where the simplest of medicines are unavailable.”

CNEWA’s commitment to assist the peoples and churches of Lebanon is unwavering. Visit to learn how you can help.

Syro-Malankara Bishop Dies From COVID-19

Bishop Jacob Mar Barnabas Aerath, O.I.C, who had contracted COVID-19 and was on a ventilator in a critical state, as reported in the June issue of ONE, died in a Delhi hospital on 26 August. He was 60 years old.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in India in March 2020, Mar Barnabas had led the distribution of food and hygiene kits among the poor in his eparchy, the Syro-Malankara Catholic Eparchy of St. John Chrysostom of Gurgaon.

Readers of ONE magazine may recall the bishop’s account about life and work during COVID-19 in last summer’s award-winning special edition on the pandemic.

“The lockdown period has really broken their backbone,” he wrote of the poor in his eparchy. “Day laborers have nothing — no work, no money — and they depend totally on the mercy of other people.”

Bishop Mar Barnabas blesses a woman in a poor community outside of Delhi.
Bishop Jacob Mar Barnabas died in a Delhi hospital on Thursday afternoon. He had contracted COVID-19 earlier this year. In this 2015 photo, he is among the poor of his eparchy, blessing an infant. (photo: John E. Kozar/CNEWA)

M.L. Thomas, director of CNEWA India, recalled the bishop’s “humanly nature, love for the poor and for the mission of the church.” He also recounted the words of the bishop during a visit to the CNEWA team in the southwestern state of Kerala, seeking support for those affected by the virus.

“This is my God-given duty — that I radiate the love of the Lord to these people,” the bishop told Mr. Thomas. “God has called me to give his love and care because I see nobody out there to help them. So, how can I sit at home?”

CNEWA responded, rushing him the resources he needed.

Mar Barnabas was born on 3 December 1960. He was ordained a priest on 2 October 1986 and a bishop on 10 March 2007. He was enthroned as the bishop of Gurgaon on 1 May 2015.

Get to know us and stay informed about the impact your support makes.

Nous constatons que votre préférence linguistique est le français.
Voudriez-vous être redirigé sur notre site de langue française?

Oui! Je veux y accéder.

Hemos notado que su idioma preferido es español. ¿Le gustaría ver la página de Asociación Católica para el Bienestar del Cercano Oriente en español?

Vee página en español