Cardinal Ignace Moussa Daoud, Prefect of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches and Syriac Catholic Patriarch Emeritus of Antioch, addressed the fall meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, D.C., on 15 November.
The cardinal thanked the bishops for their support of the churches of the East, singling out CNEWA and the Pontifical Mission, which witness concretely to the charity of the United States. Following the cardinals talk, Msgr. Robert L. Stern, CNEWAs Secretary General, updated the bishops on the current work and future plans of the agency.
Two days later, Cardinal Daoud visited CNEWAs administrative headquarters in New York and was the guest of honor at a luncheon with the agencys executive staff and prelates of the Syriac Catholic Church.
James and Charlotte Bradley of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, are enthusiastic supporters of CNEWAs programs for the formation of priests and sisters and the care of needy children.
Of the 16 children the couple have sponsored, they admit to having a favorite. They were introduced to Rani Naim Boulhot in 1983, and Mrs. Bradley remembers the photograph that accompanied the profile of the disabled boy, then about 8 or 9 years old. It was full of staple holes, apparently returned by people who would not sponsor him, she said.
The Bradleys virtually adopted Rani and have continued to provide for his care in a hospital for the physically handicapped operated by the Franciscan Sisters of the Cross in Jal el Dib, a suburb of Beirut.
The couple, who have no children of their own, agreed, Well be there for him as long as were needed.
Msgr. Stern joined the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Michel Sabbah, in the Christmas celebrations in Bethlehem, where he offered Midnight Mass for the intentions of CNEWA benefactors and friends. While in the Holy Land, Msgr. Stern met with the heads of all the churches and many civil authorities.
Municipal Library Inaugurated
Beit Jala, a mostly Christian town near Bethlehem, has a new municipal library.During his Christmas trip to the Holy Land, Msgr. Stern joined Mayor Raji Zeidan in inaugurating the facility. A gift of the Pontifical Mission, CNEWAs operating agency in the Middle East, the library is temporarily housed in a youth center remodeled with the Missions help. Local civic and religious leaders joined Msgr. Stern and Mayor Zeidan for the opening.
National Secretary Elected
Father Guido Gockel was elected National Secretary of CNEWA United States by its episcopal Board of Directors on 15 November. He is now responsible for promoting the works of the agency and raising funds in the United States to support it.
The Dutch-born priest joined our Jerusalem office staff in 1997 and was named Regional Director for Palestine, Israel and Cyprus the following year. Previously, he was a missionary in Malaysia and was active in the charismatic renewal movement in Europe and the United States.
He replaces Chorbishop John D. Faris, who was promoted to Associate Secretary General of CNEWA at the annual meeting of its Board of Trustees on 5 December.
A new program at Fordham College at Lincoln Center in New York City aims to bring together Arab and Jewish students.
The Fordham University Reconciliation Project was organized in 2004 by two seniors, Aelia Shusterman, an Israeli, and Sherihan Khalil, the daughter of Egyptian immigrants.
While Arab and Jewish students on campus are not hostile to each other, Ms. Shusterman said, the meetings serve as an outlet for easing tensions and misunderstandings. The Reconciliation Project allows us to speak from the I, she added.
John Entelis, Director of the Middle East Studies Program at Fordham, which CNEWA regularly supports, is the programs faculty adviser. He praised the programs goals.
Egyptians and Israelis could take diametrically opposed views, but these students share a progressive, enlightened, humanitarian view of the problem, he said.
Romanias Eastern Catholic Church
Pope Benedict XVI elevated the Romanian Greek Catholic Church to the status of a major archiepiscopal church, naming Archbishop Lucian Muresan of Fagaras and Alba Julia as the churchs first major archbishop.
A major archbishop has authority similar to that of a patriarch, including the right to call synods to elect bishops in his territory. Elections of major archbishops, however, unlike the elections of patriarchs, must be confirmed by the pope; newly elected patriarchs request communion with the pope.
The elevation makes the Romanian Greek Catholic Church, which numbers 746,000 members, the fourth major archiepiscopal church in the Catholic communion of churches, joining the Ukrainian Greek Catholic, Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara churches. Ruthlessly suppressed by Romanias Communist government in 1948, the church reemerged after the fall of the Communist regime in December 1989.