ONE Magazine

The official publication of
Catholic Near East Welfare Association

Celebrating 50 years | God • World • Human Family • Church


from the world of CNEWA

Royal Honors

Prince El Hassan bin Talal of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan recognized the Amman staff of our Pontifical Mission for their efforts in fostering interreligious dialogue at a ceremony on 27 February. The founder of the Royal Institute for Interfaith Studies, Prince Hassan presented the award in Amman to Regional Director Ra’ed Bahou, thanking the agency for its support of the institute’s many academic seminars in the past 10 years.

“We’ve worked closely with Prince Hassan’s center to bring together Muslim and Christian scholars from around the world,” said Mr. Bahou. CNEWA’s Pontifical Mission office also works with Jordan’s parishes to enrich Christian understanding of Islam, the faith of 92 percent of the country’s citizens.

Reconstruction Begins

Three German Catholic agencies have pledged funds to support postwar reconstruction efforts in Lebanon. The Archdiocese of Cologne has pledged €267,500; Missio Aachen, €260,000; and Church in Need, €125,000.

The contributions came in response to a 30-page report that assessed the damages to Lebanon’s churches and related institutions as a result of last summer’s fighting between Hezbollah and Israel.

Issam Bishara, Pontifical Mission’s regional director for Lebanon, Syria and Egypt, presented the report in January to a Rome meeting of Catholic donor agencies serving the Eastern churches.

These pledges compliment funds already collected for CNEWA’s Lebanese Relief Fund, which include $240,000 from our European partners and $952,000 from our generous North American donors.

CNEWA’s Pontifical Mission office in Beirut is coordinating reconstruction efforts with leaders of Lebanon’s Catholic and Orthodox churches.

Canadian Solidarity

On 7 March, CNEWA Canada’s National Secretary, Carl Hétu, addressed Québec’s Catholic bishops in Cap-de-la-Madeleine, urging their support for the works of the Eastern churches.

“Daily, the Eastern churches confront real pressing issues,” Mr. Hétu said, “with war and civil unrest in the Middle East, poverty in Northeast Africa and rapid sociological change in India and Eastern Europe. That is why we need to show them support and solidarity.”

The plenary session was led by CNEWA’s Vice President, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Archbishop of Québec and Primate of Canada. The attendees were the first to receive copies of CNEWA’s French-language annual report.

“The bishops are really excited about this opportunity for Québec’s Catholics,” Mr. Hétu said. Some 83 percent of the province’s 7.2 million people are Catholic.

Governing Eastern Churches

CNEWA’s Associate Secretary General, Chorbishop John Faris, joined theologians and canon lawyers from around the world at St. Paul University in Ottawa on 15-16 March to examine Vatican II’s call for church unity and its implementation.

Chorbishop Faris’s presentation, “The Eastern Catholic Churches: At Home Everywhere,” challenged the traditional understanding of the governance structures of the Eastern Catholic churches.

The university has hosted the gathering, the Peter and Paul Seminar, since 1998.

Captivated by India

Ever since he traveled to India on a family vacation, François Letaconnoux, the president and chief executive officer of a New York investment firm, decided he wanted to give back to the people of a country that had captivated him. A good friend, Chorbishop Faris, suggested he assist an orphanage in the southern state of Kerala.

Thanks to the fund-raising efforts of Mr. Letaconnoux and his family, the Fatima Orphanage in Mariapuram, managed by the Sisters of the Sacred Heart in the Syro-Malabar Catholic Eparchy of Thamarasserry, has seen significant renovations and improvements over the past three years, including the construction of a new dining hall. Currently, Mr. Letaconnoux is looking into ways of bringing English instruction to the orphanage, which houses 50 girls.

“My family and I are overwhelmed by the support the children of Fatima receive from their sponsors,” he said, adding that he would like to be remembered for the work he has done for these orphans.

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