ONE Magazine

The official publication of
Catholic Near East Welfare Association

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


from the world of CNEWA

Indian Passages

In January, benefactor Bill Doty and journalist Julie Rattey of Catholic Digest accompanied Gabriel Delmonaco, CNEWA’s U.S. national secretary, to Kerala, India. They visited CNEWA-supported projects in the southwestern state, including church-sponsored orphanages, centers for the handicapped and homes for those living with H.I.V./AIDS.

The trip gave Mr. Doty — who has made an exceptional commitment to CNEWA’s efforts in Kerala — direct exposure to the agency’s work in the state and offered the readers of Catholic Digest a closer look at Kerala’s diverse people, rich culture and social challenges. Ms. Rattey and Mr. Delmonaco recorded their travels online — visit Ms. Rattey’s diary: Catholic Digest goes to India. Visit Mr. Delmonaco’s: Five Days In India.

Rome Meeting

Senior staff members of CNEWA-Pontifical Mission held a special meeting in Rome on 18 January to discuss what role the agency will play in preparation for the upcoming Middle East synod called by Pope Benedict XVI. Scheduled for October, the synod marks the first time the Holy Father will bring together Middle East bishops and superiors to address the issues and concerns of the region’s dwindling Christian communities.

Following the meeting, the group participated in the semiannual meeting of Catholic donor agencies convoked by the Congregation for the Eastern Churches. Msgr. Robert Stern, CNEWA’s secretary general, presented an in-depth report on the status of Eritrea’s Catholic and Orthodox churches.

Out West

In February, Mr. Delmonaco met with CNEWA benefactors in Arizona and California to discuss ways to expand the agency’s network of committed friends and supporters.

In Phoenix, Mr. Delmonaco met with board members of Catholic foundations and local and prospective donors. In San Diego, he attended the annual summit of Legatus, which brought together some 460 members and guests, including Cardinal Francis E. George, treasurer of CNEWA United States.

Legatus is an organization of Catholic business leaders and their spouses who meet on a regular basis to foster personal spiritual growth and to infuse their faith in their daily lives and workplaces.

CNEWA’s participation in the three-day event was sponsored by Steve Marcus, chair of CNEWA’s Development Leadership Council, which brings together individuals who commit a considerable level of financial, personal and professional resources to support CNEWA activities.

Refugee Conference

CNEWA Canada and the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario sponsored the first National Conference on Refugee Sponsorship held at the Manresa Jesuit Spiritual Renewal Center in Pickering, near Toronto, from 13-15 January. The conference brought together refugee and social justice advocates from across Canada to discuss strategies to increase the number of refugee sponsorships as well as assistance to refugees overseas.

Conference attendees addressed the growing Iraqi Christian refugee crisis in particular. For several years, CNEWA and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops have urged the Canadian government to respond more substantially to the plight of Iraqi Christians, who have been fleeing their native country in disproportionate numbers since 2003.

Speakers at the conference included Archbishop Thomas Collins of Toronto, Jason Kenney, Canada’s minister for Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, and Carl Hétu, CNEWA Canada’s national secretary.

Following the conference, Minister Kenny announced that Canada would increase the number of Iraqis eligible for refugee sponsorship at Canada’s refugee center in Damascus, Syria, from 1,300 to 2,500 persons each year for the next three years.

Housing Palestinian Families

A church-led housing initiative for Palestinian families living in East Jerusalem was the subject of a high profile meeting called by President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority on 3 February. Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal of Jerusalem, CNEWA’s regional director for Palestine and Israel, Sami El-Yousef, Msgr. William Shomali, chancellor of the patriarchate, and architect Simon Kouba joined the president and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in discussing the endeavor, which will offer affordable apartments to 72 families.

Recognizing the importance of such projects, President Abbas pledged to double soft loans granted by the Palestine Investment Fund for the housing program, which is managed by CNEWA’s Jerusalem-based engineering staff.

Quest for Hope

From 7-14 February, Mr. Hétu undertook a fact-finding mission to Palestine and Israel, where he met with Christian families and religious and lay leaders. While keeping in mind the region’s conflicts and social injustices, Mr. Hétu focused on signs of hope among the population and the effective works of the local churches. Mr. Hétu chronicled his visit on a blog created for this purpose – visit:

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