Visit of Maronite Patriarch
Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Cardinal Sfeir visited CNEWAs New York office on 21 March, wrapping up a weeklong visit to the United States, which included meetings with President George W. Bush and U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan.
After meeting with CNEWA Secretary General Msgr. Robert L. Stern and Associate Secretary General Chorbishop John D. Faris, the patriarch spoke at a CNEWA-organized press conference about the Syrian occupation of Lebanon, the role of Hezbollah and the emigration of Christian youth from Lebanon.
Afterward, the patriarch attended a reception and luncheon hosted by CNEWA President Edward Cardinal Egan, which included local Catholic and Orthodox bishops and priests and representatives of the Lebanese government.
Experiences of Christian unity in the Middle East were the subjects of Msgr. Sterns address to the National Association of Diocesan Ecumenical Officers, who met in New Orleans on 5 April as part of the National Workshop on Christian Unity.
In Philadelphia the next day, Msgr. Stern participated in a panel presentation at the national meeting of the Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States. He spoke about the history, organization and work of CNEWA.
Advocates for the Holy Land
Joining Mary Kay Turner and Father Donald Rooney of the Holy Land Christians Society, Msgr. Stern met with U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney at the White House on 22 April.
The 45-minute meeting, described as relaxed yet animated, focused on the impact of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the Palestinian Christian community, particularly in the Bethlehem area. Msgr. Stern also spoke of his concerns for the future of the Israel and its relationship with its Arab neighbors.
Catholic bishops from 12 U.S. dioceses took part in the third Bishops Institute on Islam and Christian-Muslim relations at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, told the participants that dialogue with other religions can lead Christians to a deeper understanding of their own faith.
The early March meeting, sponsored by the Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the U.S. Catholic Conference of Catholic Bishops, was funded by CNEWA.
Playground for Palestinians
CNEWA constructed a municipal park in the Palestinian town of Beit Jala, which borders Bethlehem. In addition to slides and swings, Peace Public Park sports a bird pond and a garden that offers respite a luxury. The two-acre facility was formally opened in March and is open to residents from throughout greater Bethlehem.
Built through CNEWAs labor intensive community development program with funds secured from, among others, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the project provided 20 months of employment for some 70 skilled and unskilled workers.
Msgr. Denis J. Madden Named Bishop
Pope Benedict XVI has named Msgr. Denis J. Madden an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Since 1996 he has served as Associate Secretary General of CNEWA and Vice President of the Pontifical Mission for Palestine.Prior to coming to CNEWA, Bishop-elect Madden had a distinguished career as a clinical psychologist in Maryland and in Palestine as the director of the Accord Foundation. He joined CNEWA as Regional Director for Palestine, Israel and Cyprus in January 1994.
He oversaw the restoration of the great dome of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, a special project of the Pontifical Mission on behalf of the shrines custodians. And as associate secretary general, the bishop-elect coordinated the expansion of CNEWAs work, particularly in northeast Africa.
A good friend, ideal collaborator and a perfect associate, said Msgr. Stern, Bishop-elect Madden is a very pastoral priest, a man with great concern for the poor. We will miss him and fondly wish him well.