ONE Magazine

The official publication of
Catholic Near East Welfare Association

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


from the world of CNEWA

Georgian Relief

War between Russia and Georgia in August left thousands dead – most of them Georgian civilians. In addition, violence and looting drove more than 150,000 people from their homes. Most fled with nothing.

Caritas Georgia, which works closely with CNEWA, quickly went to work, establishing 23 displacement centers in the capital of Tbilisi alone. Between 300 and 800 people have found shelter at each center, receiving food and other necessities as well as medical examinations from teams of doctors, nurses and other health care professionals.

India’s Growth

CNEWA’s work in India was the subject of meetings between Chorbishop John Faris, Deputy Secretary General, and the bishops of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church in Ernakulam, Kerala, on 20 August. The next day, Chorbishop Faris met with eparchial representatives of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, led by its catholicos Mar Isaac Cleemis of Trivandrum.

CNEWA, Chorbishop Faris explained, is now ripe for new funding possibilities and opportunities in India, which is the single largest country program of the agency.

A Tradition Continues

The Michigan-based marketing firm, Group 55, is celebrating 5 years of corporate support for CNEWA’s needy child sponsorship program. Each year, the company rewards one of its customers by offering to sponsor a child in their name.

“We thought that rather than give a fruit basket, which once eaten is forgotten, we could give something much more lasting,” said the firm’s cofounder and president, Michael Lapico.

“We could both express gratitude to our customers and help a child in need. Our customers have responded to the gesture enthusiastically.”

Under Mr. Lapico’s direction, Group 55 has blossomed into a leader in its industry and shares its success by donating its services and financial resources to a wide range of charitable organizations. Continuing a tradition begun by his father, Canadian-born Mr. Lapico and his family have given generously to CNEWA for many years.

Ukrainian Relief

CNEWA’s national office in Canada has launched an emergency appeal to aid families in western Ukraine – the country’s poorest region – displaced by the worst flooding in more than a century.

Of the more than 100,000 people affected, 20,000 were evacuated from their homes and at least 22 people died. The floods that resulted from four days of rain in late July damaged an estimated 40,000 houses, 360 bridges and countless roads, schools and churches. Some 82,000 acres of agricultural land were also devastated, wiping out thousands of crops.

CNEWA is working through Caritas Ukraine, which surveyed the affected areas and opened relief centers in the regions of Chernivci, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv and Ternopil. Caritas reported an urgent need for drinking water, powdered milk, baby food, blankets, canned food, soap, detergents and medicine.

“Many of the victims remain desperate,” said CNEWA’s Canada national secretary, Carl Hétu.

“On top of their present situation, folks are worrying how they will cope this winter with damaged houses and lost crops.”

Care for the Disabled in Lebanon

In the Lebanese village of Deir Kamar, some 45 miles southeast of Beirut, the Franciscan Sisters of the Cross care for more than 300 profoundly handicapped women.

Most patients – some of whom were placed in the home as young as a year old by relatives unable or unwilling to care for them – are permanently incapacitated and have little hope of ever leaving.

The 14 sisters, 8 psychologists, 8 medical doctors and a score of support staff provide these patients with professional and loving care, providing services unequalled in the region. The sisters rely largely on charitable contributions to run the home and support the patients, most of whom have no financial resources.

Eight years ago, the German bishops’ aid agency, Misereor, provided CNEWA with funds to renovate the facility. Recent gifts from benefactors in the United States provided new beds, mattresses, bed linens and comforters as well as shoes for patients.

Syro-Malabar Priest Martyred

Father Thomas Pandippally, a 37-year-old Carmelite of Mary Immaculate, was brutally murdered on 16 August after returning from celebrating the Divine Liturgy in the rural mission of Burigida in the southeastern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.

“Father Thomas is a martyr,” said the Archbishop of Hyderabad, Marampudi Joji.

“He sacrificed his life for the poor and the marginalized; he did not die in vain. His body and his blood enrich the church in India.”

Born in the village of Cheenkallel in the district of Kottayam, Kerala, Father Thomas was the sixth of seven children.

More than a thousand people attended the funeral of the young priest, who was preparing for further studies abroad.

Texans Working for Unity

One of the favorite projects of Bishop Michael Pfeifer of San Angelo, Texas, is his group of Peace Ambassadors – Christians (Catholic and Protestant), Jews and Muslims – concerned for interreligious dialogue and mutual understanding. They invited Msgr. Robert Stern, Secretary General, to meet with them and to discuss issues of mutual concern.

During his visit on 21 August, Msgr. Stern also gave a public address at Holy Angels Church on “Offspring of Abraham: Catholics, Muslims and Jews in the Middle East.” He also briefed diocesan members of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem on the current situation in the Holy Land.

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