In the Footsteps of St. Thomas
From 28 February to 9 March, Msgr. John E. Kozar, president of CNEWA, paid a pastoral visit to India. He traveled to the southern states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, where he observed first hand the diverse activities of the agency, spoke with the people who direct these works and met with those who benefit from them. The ten–day trip included meetings with hierarchs and superiors of the Syro–Malabar and Syro–Malankara Catholic churches.
Our readers can relive Msgr. Kozars travels in the footsteps of the Apostle Thomas by visiting our blog, One–to–One. Msgr. Kozar documented daily his observations, sending stories and pictures of the people he met.
For more from Msgr. Kozars trip, check out Focus on page 38 and visit us online at cnewa.org/web/footstepsblog.
Canada Drought Support
Thanks to Canadian donors, the historic but impoverished Eparchy of Adigrat in northern Ethiopia will proceed with feeding programs for children in CNEWA–sponsored Catholic schools. Their combined contributions of $120,000 will also allow the eparchy to build water reservoirs and rooftop catchments on schools in areas most affected by the current regional drought.
Last summer, CNEWA Canada launched a fund–raising appeal to help victims of the drought. Said to be the worst of its kind in the Horn of Africa in 60 years, the drought has caused widespread food shortages.
Entrepreneurship in Palestine
In January 2012, CNEWAs regional office in Jerusalem launched an entrepreneurial training program in the Christian villages of Aboud, Birzeit, Jifn and Taybeh in northern West Bank.
The program targets unemployed youth and consists of two phases. In the first phase, participants attend courses and training workshops in business administration. In the second phase, they develop business proposals and submit them to a committee of experts, which then selects the ideas with the best chances for success. Winners receive grants to establish their businesses, additional training and 12 months of free, personalized coaching from professional business consultants.
A total of 60 Christian youth enrolled in the programs inaugural class. At present, the expert committees are reviewing the business proposals.
From 17 to 21 January, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church hosted the ninth meeting of the international joint commission for theological dialogue between the Catholic and Oriental Orthodox churches in Addis Ababa.
Patriarch Paulos I formally opened the meeting on 18 January. The commission was chaired jointly by Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and Metropolitan Bishoy of Damiette, general secretary of the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church.
The commission also included representatives of the Syriac Orthodox, the Armenian Apostolic and the Malankara Orthodox Syrian churches.
Through a series of papers and plenary discussions, attendees addressed the theological issues of communion and martyrdom within the various Christian traditions.
The commissions tenth meeting will take place in Rome in January 2013.
Solar Energy for Lebanon
CNEWAs Pontifical Mission office in Beirut recently installed a solar heating system in a center for the mentally disabled and the elderly in Shlifa, Lebanon. The new heating system significantly reduces energy costs for the center, which is run by the Franciscan Sisters of the Cross. Prior to it, the sisters spent upwards of $25,000 each year on diesel fuel to power the centers boilers.
The three–floor facility includes a fully equipped medical clinic and housing for the centers 63 residents and the five sisters who run it. The sisters employ 22 staff to help care for 30 mentally disabled women and 33 elderly persons, most of whom suffer from dementia or Alzheimers disease.
Situated about 65 miles from Beirut, Shlifa is a poor, mostly Christian village with little infrastructure and few public services. It and 12 neighboring villages constitute a Christian cluster of some 20,000 people in the overwhelmingly Muslim region of Bekaa.
Holy Land Visit
From 11 to 17 February, Father Guido Gockel, M.H.M., CNEWAs vice president for the Middle East and Europe, and Gabriel Delmonaco, CNEWAs vice president for development, led a group of friends and benefactors on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
The group visited holy sites in Israel and Palestine as well as CNEWA–Pontifical Mission–sponsored projects and institutions — including Bethlehems Ephpheta Institute, where Deacon Steve Marcus (shown above) met a deaf child learning to communicate.
I hope our benefactors realized that through CNEWA their treasures are planting many good seeds, wrote Mr. Delmonaco on the agencys blog at the end of the trip.