Ottawa Office Launches Campaign
CNEWA Canada has stepped up its efforts to assist Iraqi Christians. The office recently launched a nationwide public awareness campaign for 2008 to galvanize moral and financial support for CNEWA-sponsored humanitarian activities benefiting Iraqi Christian families.
To achieve the task, CNEWA Canada is recruiting staff members for communications, project management and fund-raising.In the three years since it was established, CNEWA Canada has positioned itself among other social service agencies in Canada, building support within and beyond the country’s Catholic community.
Since the spring of 2005, CNEWA Canada’s national secretary, Carl Hétu, has met with 14 organizations and hosted consultations with more than 20 bishops from Canada’s Latin and Eastern Catholic churches.
Toward a Common Understanding
In a 19 November letter to Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad bin Talal of Jordan, the Holy See’s secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, expressed gratitude on behalf of Pope Benedict XVI for “A Common Word Between Us and You,” a 13 October document signed by 138 senior Muslim leaders and scholars addressed to the pope and other Christian leaders.
The historic document — sponsored by Prince Ghazi’s Institute for Islamic Thought in Amman — outlines beliefs and values shared among Jews, Christians and Muslims and of the necessity to come toward a common understanding to achieve peace among peoples and nations.
Cardinal Bertone expressed the pope’s “deep appreciation … for the positive spirit which inspired the text and for the call for a common commitment to promoting peace in the world.”
He further wrote that Benedict “was particularly impressed by the attention given in the letter to the twofold commandment to love God and one’s neighbor.” Cardinal Bertone communicated the pope’s interest in receiving a representative delegation of Muslim leaders to address ways to further dialogue between Christians and Muslims.
The Gift of Christmas
Just in time for Christmas, food packages and other basic necessities were distributed to 420 displaced Iraqi Christian families seeking refuge in Syria. CNEWA’s Beirut-based staff provided the supplies, coordinating its effort with volunteers from the Syrian Chaldean community, who prepared and delivered the packages on 10 December.
A growing number of Iraqi Christian refugees — more than 50,000 — have fled to Syria, where many hope to secure passage to Western Europe, North America or Oceania.
CNEWA’s Beirut staff provides emergency relief to Iraqi Christian families in cooperation with the Chaldean Committee, a team of volunteers led by eight senior Syrian Chaldean leaders. A 2003 initiative of the Chaldean bishop of Syria, Mar Antoine Odo, the Chaldean Committee coordinates the distribution of food and hygiene packages to some 2,100 Iraqi families, provides health care services and supports the catechetical studies of an estimated 700 Iraqi children.
Paris Round Table
Assistant Secretary General Father Guido Gockel, M.H.M., attended a round table on the plight of Iraq’s Christians hosted by our partner organization in France, Oeuvre d’Orient, in Paris on 27 November. Panel members included Msgr. Philippe Brizard, director general of Oeuvre d’Orient, Syrian Archbishop Basile Georges Casmoussa of Mosul and other bishops from Jordan, Syria and Turkey.
More than 200 participants attended the talks, which addressed the current quandary in Iraq as well as the Iraqi refugee crises in Syria, Jordan and Turkey.
A Christmas Tradition
Continuing a longstanding tradition, Associate Secretary General Chorbishop John D. Faris joined the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Archbishop Michel Sabbah, in the Christmas celebrations in Bethlehem, concelebrating Midnight Mass at the Church of the Nativity for the intentions of CNEWA benefactors.
A visit to the Holy Land at Christmas is not just to offer Midnight Mass; Chorbishop Faris paid courtesy calls on various Catholic, Orthodox, Jewish and Muslim leaders in Israel, Palestine and Jordan.
Congratulations, Cardinal Egan!
Cardinal Edward M. Egan, Archbishop of New York and President of CNEWA, marked the 50th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood at a Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan on Sunday, 16 December.
The 12th head of the archdiocese since it was founded in 1808, Cardinal Egan celebrated the milestone as the archdiocese proceeded with its bicentennial celebrations, which began last autumn.
Ordained a priest on 15 December 1957, he was professor of canon law and a judge of the Roman Rota, the church’s central appellate court, held high-level administrative positions in the archdioceses of Chicago and New York and served as bishop of Bridgeport for nearly 12 years before assuming leadership of the Archdiocese of New York in June 2000.
Ad multos annos!