A Visit to the Vatican
From 19 to 21 June, CNEWA President Msgr. John E. Kozar attended the 85th annual ROACO (Assembly of Aid Agencies for the Eastern Churches) in Rome. Convoked by the Holy Sees Congregation for the Eastern Churches, the event gathers church leaders and representatives from Catholic donor agencies serving the Eastern churches to plan and coordinate aid.
Its exciting to know firsthand how many other agencies there are committed to reaching out to our brothers and sisters in the Eastern tradition, said Msgr. Kozar.
Pope Benedict XVI received participants — including Cardinal George Alencherry of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church; the apostolic nuncio to Syria, Archbishop Mario Zenari; the apostolic nuncio to the Holy Land, Archbishop Antonio Franco; and CNEWAs Msgr. Kozar — in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace.
Every effort should be made, the pope said, to bring Syria out of the present situation of violence and crisis, which has already lasted a long time and risks becoming a wider conflict that would have highly negative consequences for the country and the whole region. Visit cnewa.org/web/roaco2012 for the full speech.
Hospital in Lebanon Repaired
In June, CNEWAs regional office in Beirut repaired and waterproofed the roof of the Franciscan Sisters of the Cross Hospital in Deir el Kamar. The new roof also insulates the building and will help reduce heating and cooling costs.
Founded in 1933, the hospital houses and cares for some 280 mentally and physically disabled patients. Fifteen sisters work at the modest facility alongside eight doctors, eight psychologists and nine staff members.
‘Across the Divide
Salt + Light television, in collaboration with CNEWA Canada, launched a tour in major cities across Canada in June to screen their new documentary, Across the Divide.
Shot on location in Israel and Palestine, Across the Divide tells the heroic stories of students, faculty and staff at Bethlehem University, who live, work and study on the front lines of the intractable Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
CNEWA has supported the university — the only Catholic institute for higher learning in Israel and Palestine — since its foundation in 1973.
Sold-out screenings in Halifax and Vancouver attracted some 300 and 350 people, respectively. The next screenings are scheduled for 5 September in Toronto and 19 September in Ottawa. After the film, Carl Hétu, CNEWA Canadas national director, and Father Tom Rosica, C.S.B., chief executive officer of Salt + Light, will take part in a panel discussion on the future of Christians in the Holy Land. Call +1.613.738.9666 for details.
The Gift of Walking
Mr. Gavin J. Warren, a longtime CNEWA friend and benefactor, recently gave a priceless gift to a boy in India — the ability to walk.
Born prematurely, 10-year-old Sahad Sunil suffers from cerebral palsy and cannot use his legs. Unable to care for the disabled child, his parents surrendered him at a young age to the Syro-Malabar Preshitharam Sisters, who run the Home of Faith, a CNEWA-sponsored facility for orphaned children with disabilities.
When Mr. Warren learned Sahad might benefit from an expensive surgical procedure that would repair the contracted joint tissue in his legs, he promised to cover a major portion of the bill. Inspired by Mr. Warrens good will, local benefactors and the boys doctors pooled together resources to pay the remaining costs.
Sahad now eagerly awaits the surgery. He knows he will have to undergo prolonged and intensive physical therapy to strengthen his legs and learn to walk. But he has dreamed of walking his whole life. Thanks to Mr. Warrens love and generosity, his dream may come true.
ONE Sweeps Awards
In June, the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada honored ONE magazine with 20 awards — shattering previous records — at its annual convention held this year in Indianapolis.
ONE received eight first-place prizes, including General Excellence (Mission Magazines), Best Blog, Best General Publisher Website, Best In-depth Writing, Best Regular Column and Best Online/Multi-Media Presentation of Visuals. The magazine also received three second-place and five third-place awards as well as four honorable mentions.
The judges, selected from the schools of journalism at the Catholic University of America, Marquette University and Spring Hill College, said the magazine consistently features quality title stories, captivating headlines and intriguing images.”.
Bible Camp in Jordan
For the tenth consecutive summer, CNEWAs regional office in Amman is sponsoring a Bible camp that brings together some 400 children, ages 6 to 17, from low-income Christian families across the country. Longtime CNEWA partner Sister Wardeh Kayrouz of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary in Amman organizes and oversees the program.
The weeklong camp enrolls participants in catechism class and engages them in a wide range of recreational activities, from arts and crafts to sports and outdoor excursions. The classes, led by trained religious and lay leaders, cover lessons from Scripture and the sacraments to prayers and hymns.
During the regular school year, most of the children attend predominantly Muslim public schools that do not offer courses on Christianity. For many, the Bible camp serves as a rare opportunity to learn about their faith and meet other Christians their own age.
A Mason Priest (India)
Rev. Joseph Thachukunnel cut and polished 10,000 pieces of stone for the reconstruction of St. Marys Church. A poor parish of 320 families — including 102 tribal families — in the hill station at Perinchankutty in the Idukki diocese, the parishioners have been volunteering their time and labor to the reconstruction efforts since 2007. Father Thachukunnel took on the role of stonemason, cutting and polishing all of the stones used for the buildings facade. Given the mountainous region, they opted to use materials readily available, such as outcroppings and loose rocks from on and around the church premises.
Although the parish has been working relentlessly over the past five years, there remains much to be done before the church is finished. Even still, the efforts of Father Thachukunnel and his parishioners have already placed the structure and façade on a firm foundation.
Rehabilitation of St. Catherines Home
As part of its program to enhance the conditions of schools and orphanages in Lebanon, CNEWAs Beirut office, through funding from generous partners, has implemented major renovative work at Saint Catherines Home.
The Home was founded in 1971 by a Dominican Sisters congregation from Al-Mousel, Iraq. With the continuously deteriorating financial situation in Iraq, the sisters are always short of funds and depend on the support of benefactors to keep the home running. Saint Catherines Home enrolls 26 girls between the age of 3 and 16 years. They all come from poor families enduring difficult social and financial conditions.
CNEWA Development Leadership Council
On June 3rd and 4th, nine members of the CNEWA Development Leadership Council traveled to New York to attend a meeting with CNEWA President Msgr. John Kozar. The D.L.C. members are professionals from various cities in the U.S. who generously dedicate their time and resources to supporting the mission of CNEWA. This opportunity allowed the group to meet Msgr. Kozar for the first time and discuss with him the future of CNEWA. At the final dinner, the group was honored by the presence of the Eparch of St. Maron of Brooklyn, His Excellency Bishop Gregory Mansour, who thanked them for the positive impact the CNEWA family provides to the people and churches of the Middle East.
Thanks to a grant from the Catholic Communication Campaign of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, CNEWA hosted two panels on the Middle East at the annual convention of the Catholic Press Association on 21 June. CNEWAs Elias Mallon, S.A., joined Father Jeremy Harrington, O.F.M., editor of the Holy Land Review, and Jeffrey Abood of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem in a discussion on the Arab Spring, followed by a lively debate on the future of Christians in the Middle East. CNEWAs vice president for communications, Michael La Civita, facilitated the panels. At a Catholic Press Association panel devoted to blogging, ONEs executive editor, Deacon Greg Kandra, spoke of the challenges involved with maintaining a corporate blog, particularly one that serves as a papal agency. Deacon Kandra noted that CNEWAs ONE-TO-ONE blog has to be especially careful to reflect not only the values of the agency, but also those of Holy See. Every word has to be carefully vetted, he said, and we have to be aware of the message we project to the world.