Sewage Plants Opened in Lebanon
On 10 August, two wastewater treatment plants were inaugurated in Lebanon’s Chouf region. The plants, in the villages of Masser El Chouf and Khraibeh, are among seven facilities that CNEWA has planned and built in the region with assistance from local municipalities and the United States Agency for International Development.
U.S. Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman, Druze Parliamentarian Walid Jumblatt and CNEWA Regional Director Issam Bishara participated in the dedication ceremony. The plants, a four-year project costing $4.6 million, serve 25,000 Chouf residents.
New Head for Congregation
On 9 June, in his first official visit to the Congregation for the Eastern Churches as pontiff, Benedict XVI announced the appointment of Archbishop Leonardo Sandri as prefect of the congregation. Formerly the Holy See’s deputy at the Secretariat of State, he replaces the retiring Cardinal Ignace Moussa I Daoud.
As prefect, Archbishop Sandri serves as the Holy Father’s liaison to all of the Eastern Catholic churches and has responsibility for the pastoral and humanitarian activities of many of them. The archbishop, 64, was born in Buenos Aires and ordained a priest in 1967.CNEWA works closely with the congregation, contributing funds for its operations and programs.
Holy Sepulchre News
Pope Benedict XVI appointed Archbishop John P. Foley as Pro-Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem on 27 June.
Archbishop Foley, 72, headed the Pontifical Council for Social Communications for 23 years. As pro-grand master, he leads knights and ladies responsible for supporting the Christian presence in the Holy Land.
Traditionally, CNEWA’s senior staff assists the work of the order at the lieutenancy level, informing the membership about the situation in the Holy Land.
Romanian Orthodox Patriarch Teoctist died on 30 July at the age of 92. The patriarch made history by inviting Pope John Paul II to Romania in 1999 — the first invitation extended by an Orthodox patriarch to a Catholic pope since the Great Schism of 1054, which definitively split the Catholic and Orthodox churches.
Born in the Moldavian village of Tocileni, he entered Neamt Monastery in 1931. Elected patriarch in 1986, his reign coincided with the violent end of the Ceausescu regime and the turbulent beginning of post-Communist rule.
A noted ecumenist, Patriarch Teoctist presided over a renewal of the church, which accounts for more than 87 percent of the Romanian population. May he rest in peace.
Thank you Brother Vincent!
Brother Vincent Pelletier, F.S.C., Regional Director for Ethiopia, is leaving CNEWA after 21 years of dedicated service. Brother Vincent first arrived in Ethiopia in 1968 and began working with CNEWA in 1986. He established the agency’s office in Addis Ababa in 1993 and opened an office in the Eritrean capital of Asmara in 2003.
For the past three years, Brother Vincent has worked closely with Ethiopia’s Catholic bishops in the renewal and ongoing formation of the country’s Catholic clergy and religious.
In July, CNEWA’s Msgr. Robert L. Stern joined Brother Vincent in presenting the final report on the program to the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ethiopia in the town of Meki.
Msgr. Stern also communicated the appointment of Gerald Jones as regional director for Ethiopia, replacing Brother Vincent, who is returning to the United States to assume leadership duties for his community.
Iraqis in Syria
The condition of the 1.5 million Iraqi refugees in Syria remains dire. According to Syria’s Ministry of Health, free medical care is costing Syria $60 million a year. The government is also providing free education to Iraqi school-aged children, though only 35,000 out of an estimated 250,000 school-age children have enrolled so far.
CNEWA works with Syria’s churches, which are providing refugees — especially some 50,000 Christians, most of whom are Chaldean Catholics — with food, temporary housing, medical care and schooling.
Nevertheless, Iraqi refugees in Syria remain in a tenuous position. They have not been absorbed into Syrian society, can not attain the visas necessary to move on to other places and remain fearful of returning to their dangerous homeland.