Getting Ahead in India
Pope John Paul II has raised Indias Syro-Malankara Catholic Church to the rank of a major archiepiscopal church, naming Cyril Mar Baselios, Archbishop of Trivandrum, as the churchs first major archbishop.
A major archbishop has authority similar to that of a patriarch. Key decisions, including the election of bishops in his territory, are made by its synod of bishops. A notable difference is that the election of a major archbishop must be confirmed by the pope while a newly elected patriarch requests communion with the pope.
Cyril Mar Baselios, who celebrated his 25th anniversary as bishop last year, leads a church of some 405,000 members in five eparchies (dioceses) served by 632 priests in India, with 15 missions in North America.
CNEWA Canada Inaugurated
Ottawa Archbishop Marcel Gervais officially inaugurated CNEWA Canada on 16 February, hosting a number of events in the Canadian capital to mark the occasion.CNEWA promotes programs that encourage diverse religious traditions to work together to foster harmony in their community, said the archbishop, who is also Chair of CNEWA Canada, at a press conference.
After an evening prayer service in the Ukrainian Greek Catholic tradition, Archbishop Gervais blessed CNEWA Canadas office. Archbishop Luigi Ventura, Apostolic Nuncio in Canada, recognized the longtime support of CNEWAs Canadian donors and extended greetings from Pope John Paul II. The apostolic nuncio also conveyed a message from Ignace Cardinal Daoud, Prefect of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches, who noted that since its founding by Pope Pius XI in 1926, CNEWA has promoted a vision of humanitarian assistance based upon the principle of respect for local culture and its capacity to assume responsibility for its own development.
The date also marked the first anniversary of Carl Hétu as National Secretary of CNEWA Canada, who is charged with promoting the work of this papal agency in Canada and raising funds for its activities.
Pen Pals for Peace
Through the exchange of letters and artwork, Catholic School children in the Holy Land and the United States are becoming friends. Pen Pals for Peace is the brain child of Frank Lalley and Mel Lehman of New York City.
In December, Mr. Lalley personally delivered Christmas cards to children at Terra Santa, a boys school in Bethlehem, and St. Josephs, a girls school in Jerusalem, made by students at Holy Name, St. Gregory the Great and Corpus Christi elementary schools in Manhattan.
Teachers at the schools match ages and grades of the children, who swap stories about home, school and hobbies. The men would like to expand the program to include Jewish and Muslim students and eventually recruit pen pals in Iraq. The program is co-sponsored by Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York and Catholic Relief Services, with assistance from CNEWA.
Papal Gift to Holy Land
Students, library users and deaf children are among the recipients of a gift from Pope John Paul II to the people of the Holy Land.
Marking the 25th anniversary of the popes pontificate, the College of Cardinals gave him a gift, which he designated for the Holy Land. Last year, John Paul II placed 100,000 euros at the disposal of the Pontifical Mission, CNEWAs operating agency in the Middle East.
In a report presented in January to Angelo Cardinal Sodano, the Holy Sees Secretary of State, Msgr. Robert L. Stern, President of the Pontifical Mission, disclosed that these funds renovated the student cafeteria at Bethlehem University; provided scholarships for 14 deaf children at Bethlehems Paul VI Ephpheta Institute; built public basketball and tennis courts in Ramallah; provided Internet service and reference and audiovisual materials for the Pontifical Missions libraries in Jerusalem and Bethlehem; and completed the Al Fineeq community center kitchen at the Dheisheh camp for refugees, near Bethlehem.
Beyond the Call
Father Eugene Rudachek of Assumption parish in Richmond, British Columbia, went beyond the call of duty when he learned one of the five children from India he was sponsoring through CNEWAs needy child program needed corrective eye surgery. He immediately contacted CNEWA and arranged to pay for Arun Babu Kaithakandathils operation, which was performed in December.
The operation was a success and 90 percent of the 12-year-olds eyesight has been restored. Its these small gifts that make a difference, said Father Rudachek.