ONE Magazine

The official publication of
Catholic Near East Welfare Association

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


Updates from CNEWA's world

Earthquake Response in Syria

A 7.8-magnitude earthquake in Syria and Turkey on 6 February, and quakes and aftershocks in the weeks that followed, caused massive damage, killing more than 51,000 people at press time and injuring tens of thousands.  

CNEWA responded immediately by focusing its initial relief efforts in Syria, whose people continue to suffer tremendous hardship, after 12 years of civil war devastated the nation’s infrastructure and economy, and rampant internal corruption and U.S.-led sanctions hampered charities in their delivery of much-needed human services. 

Working through its established partnerships with church organizations, CNEWA is providing help in Aleppo and less-affected areas, such as Hama and Lattakia, where survivors from the hardest-hit areas have found shelter offered by local Christian communities. 

CNEWA’s Beirut-based team, responsible for coordinating CNEWA’s Syria response, has raised more than $2.2 million in emergency funds from a family of donors, European and North American, distributing more than $625,000 in the first stages of immediate relief, which included the provision of food, medicine, blankets, clothes and other essentials. As the situation remains fluid with powerful aftershocks, long-term planning — which includes infrastructure and housing assessment, restoration and rebuilding — is on hold until some stability resumes.

By the beginning of March, CNEWA’s partners, including members of the Franciscan, Mekhitarist and Salesian communities, Society of St. Vincent de Paul and Blue Marists, were sheltering and/or providing aid for up to 3,000 people, responding to requests for food — the greatest priority — as well as mattresses, blankets, sanitary items, clothes, milk and diapers.

In Aleppo, at press time, the Mekhitarist Fathers were sheltering 700 people in their school and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul was supporting about 1,700 people in 10 centers. An additional 1,000 people were being sheltered at two centers of the Melkite Greek Catholic Archeparchy of Homs, Hama and Yabroud and another 1,200 people by the Franciscan Friars in Lattakia. CNEWA is working closely with the Chaldean bishops in Syria and Turkey, whose communities were impacted by the quake.

CNEWA Regional Director Michel Constantin, who manages crises responses from the Beirut office, said preparations were in place for the next stage of assistance, such as the relocation of families, rental assistance, minor repairs of homes, and supply of furniture to those rendered homeless. CNEWA President Msgr. Peter I. Vaccari added that supporting local businesses to help revive societies, especially those of the Christian community, will help stabilize a people shattered by war, sectarian violence, sanctions, corruption and now, earthquakes. 

To help CNEWA’s relief efforts, go to:

CNEWA in Chicago

CNEWA cosponsored a series of events organized by the Lumen Christi Institute in Chicago on 22-23 February to mark the anniversary of the war on Ukraine. 

Highlights included a 140-person luncheon at the University Club of Chicago on 23 February, featuring Metropolitan Borys Gudziak of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia, who spoke of the witness of the underground church in Ukraine during its suppression under communism. 

In the evening, the archbishop was part of a four-person panel discussion at the University of Chicago on the theme, “Ideologies of War and Theologies of Healing: Ukraine One Year Later.” About 60 people attended in person and almost 300 online. Msgr. Vaccari and Michael J.L. La Civita, director of communications, were present. Watch a recording of the panel at:

Ukraine One Year Later 

One year after the Russian invasion of Ukraine — which has displaced a third of the nation’s 41 million people, killed and wounded tens of thousands, and devastated the country’s infrastructure and economy — CNEWA’s support to its churches and peoples continues. 

Sister Lucia Murashko in Zaporizhzhia, southern Ukraine, hugs a Ukrainian soldier who came from the front to pick up provisions.
Sister Lucia Murashko in Zaporizhzhia, southern Ukraine, hugs a Ukrainian soldier who came from the front to pick up provisions on 7 February. (photo: Konstantin Chernichkin)

In the past year, CNEWA has rushed more than $6.8 million in emergency funds to support church-led relief initiatives in Ukraine and neighboring countries hosting Ukrainian refugees: Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Moldova, Romania and Georgia.

CNEWA has supported some 100 specific initiatives in Ukraine — about $5.2 million in direct aid — much of it through Caritas, but also through Greek Catholic and Orthodox eparchies, parishes, seminaries and religious houses, as well as Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv.

Welcome to New Prefect 

CNEWA welcomes Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti as the new prefect of the Dicastery for the Eastern Churches

Ordained a priest in 1982, Archbishop Gugerotti taught patristics, theology and liturgy before joining the Roman Curia in 1985. He worked for the Congregation for Eastern Churches, the predecessor to the dicastery, before being named undersecretary in 1997. In 2002, he began to serve in the Holy See’s diplomatic service, being appointed as papal nuncio first to Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, and then to Belarus, Ukraine and Great Britain. He was named prefect in November and began in his new role in mid-January. Welcome, Archbishop Gugerotti!

Fore! Golf Classic 18 May  

Come out for CNEWA’s inaugural golf classic on 18 May, where the theme, “And Who Is My Neighbor?”, will gather friends of CNEWA in the spirit of generosity. By purchasing a golf foursome or any of the sponsorship levels, you will support CNEWA’s mission and its work in the field. Single golf and dinner tickets are also available. Try your hand in longest-drive and putting contests for the chance to win prizes, along with other sponsored prizes at each par-3 hole. For tickets or information, call (212) 826-1480.

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