Dominicans Take Charge in Jordan
Five Dominican Sisters of the Presentation now hold administrative positions at Ammans Italian Hospital, which for the past eight decades has been directed by the Comboni Missionary Sisters. The arrival of the sisters from neighboring Iraq marks the first step toward a gradual transfer of leadership to the Iraqi religious, who in Baghdad administer St. Raphaels, an 86-bed general hospital.
Due to declining numbers in their ranks, the Comboni sisters can no longer handle the Italian Hospitals day-to-day management.
Owned by the Italian Catholic missionary society, ANZMI, the 60-bed general hospital, with assistance from the Pontifical Mission, offers low-cost medical treatment to Ammans neediest, including Iraqi refugees.
A New Eastern Church
Pope Benedict XVI has reorganized Slovakias Greek Catholic Church, raising it to the rank of a self-governing metropolitan church. Announced on 30 January, the pope elevated the Eparchy of Presov to a metropolitan see, naming Jesuit Ján Babjak its first metropolitan archbishop. The pope also elevated the Apostolic Exarchate of Kosice to an eparchy and created a new eparchy in Bratislava, the Slovak capital.
Rooted in the heritage of the Carpatho-Rusyn Church of Mukacevo, the Slovak Greek Catholic Church includes some 244,000 people, most of whom live in the eastern part of the country, which borders Poland, Ukraine and Hungary.
Joint Working Group Meets
The first plenary session of the Joint Working Group between the Roman Catholic Church and the World Council of Churches (WCC) met in Rome on 21-25 January. The group, created to strengthen ties between the Holy See and the WCC and to advance Christian unity, discussed its mandate and planned procedures and future agenda items.
Chorbishop John D. Faris, Associate Secretary General, was appointed to a six-year term with the group by Cardinal Walter Kasper, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.
Cardinal Lauds Muslim Initiative
The head of the Holy Sees council for interreligious dialogue, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, welcomed A Common Word Between Us and You as an important development and noted that the letter might well reflect a more general urge in the Muslim world to adopt a more open approach to Christianity.
The 13 October 2007 document (reprinted in full in the January issue of ONE), signed by 138 Muslim leaders and scholars, was addressed to Pope Benedict XVI and other Christian leaders.
In an interview with Traces magazine, Cardinal Tauran noted that before common ground is sought, each side has to be aware of its own identity. But once achieved, we can discover that we actually have a great deal in common, he said, noting our faith in the one God.
Forming Tomorrows Armenians
Sister Arousiag Sajonian of the Armenian Sisters of the Immaculate Conception met with members of CNEWAs senior staff in New York City on 11 February.
As her first stop on a two-week visit to the United States, Sister Arousiag discussed her newest initiative a coeducational youth development and vocational training center in the city of Gyumri in northwest Armenia.
Currently under construction on the grounds of Our Lady of Armenia Boghossian Educational Center an orphanage and school caring for children ages 6 to 20-plus the center will serve some 6,000 families in the area, providing space for athletic, cultural and other recreational uses.
The center will also house a vocational program that will offer some 80 young men and women training in a wide-range of trades such as hotel management, culinary arts, graphic design and plumbing as well as life skills workshops, career counseling and job placement services.
Canada Helps Bethlehem University
CNEWA Canada has committed support to Bethlehem University, the only Catholic institute of higher learning in Palestine. Already this year, generous Canadian donors have contributed more than $50,000 to the universitys grant program, which provides tuition assistance to Palestinian students.
The Palestinian economy is in shambles, said CNEWA Canadas national secretary, Carl Hétu.
How can families afford college tuition when so many are out of work? Bethlehem University is forming future leaders, figures who will work to improve Palestinian society and better relations with their neighbors.
Bethlehem University opened its doors in 1973 and provides quality education to more than 2,000 students, Christian and Muslim.