New Ukrainian Major Archbishop
On 23 March, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Synod of Bishops elected Bishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of the Eparchy of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Major Archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.
Ordained a priest in June 1994, Archbishop Shevchuk was named auxiliary bishop of Buenos Aires in January 2009 and appointed apostolic administer in April 2010.
Up to 5 million of Ukraines total 46 million people belong to the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. Almost another million faithful live outside Ukraine, with notable communities in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Europe and the United States.
In March 2011, Father Yuriy Sakvuk, a Greek Catholic priest from Ukraine, successfully defended his doctoral dissertation at St. Paul University in Ottawa, Canada.
During his short stay, he visited CNEWA Canadas offices to express his deep gratitude to donors and staff: Ten years ago, CNEWA awarded Father Yuriy a scholarship to pursue a masters in theology at the university.
Two years after earning his graduate degree, the priest returned to Lviv, Ukraine, where he now serves as a pastor and teaches at the Ukrainian Catholic University and Holy Spirit Seminary. Father Yuriy also works tirelessly, alongside his wife, on behalf of a church–run adoption agency that places orphaned Ukrainian children with local families. He and his wife have four children, two of whom are adopted.
Support for Lebanon
On 10 April, Education and Opportunities for Lebanon hosted a charity gala at the Lebanese Taverna in Bethesda, Maryland, to benefit CNEWA–sponsored projects serving children and youth in Lebanon. Some 160 guests attended the event, including Antoine Chedid, Lebanons ambassador to the United States.
Longtime CNEWA friend and benefactor Kathy Feghali founded and heads Education and Opportunities for Lebanon. Last years gala was attended by more than 100 guests and generated $30,000 for CNEWA projects serving children and youth in Lebanon.
Guests expressed tremendous interest in our work in the region, said CNEWAs Norma Intriago, who attended the event.
On 5 March, CNEWAs U.S. national director Gabriel Delmonaco addressed the Knights and Ladies of the Eastern Lieutenancy of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, during a retreat held at Saint Josephs Seminary in Yonkers, New York.
At the end of the meeting, Lieutenant Raymond Teatum presented Mr. Delmonaco with a $10,000 donation for the work of CNEWA.
On 15 March, CNEWAs vice president for communications Michael La Civita participated in a panel discussion entitled The Future of Christians in the Middle East at La Salle University in Philadelphia. Hosted by the universitys Diplomat–in–Residence Program, the event brought together experts, government officials and other stakeholders from around the world. Mr. La Civitas speech can be read online at www.cnewa.org/web/LaSalleSpeech.
New Maronite Patriarch
On 15 March, the Maronite Synod of Bishops announced the election of Bishop Bechara Raï of Jbeil, Lebanon, as Patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites.
At his installation ceremony on 25 March, the 71–year–old patriarch pledged that, for the sake of communion and love, he would work to establish a sincere and complete dialogue with Lebanons Muslim community and build together a future in common life and cooperation.
Patriarch Bechara requested the ceremony be held on 25 March, the feast of the Annunciation, which was established as a national holiday for Christians and Muslims.
Ordained a priest of the Maronite Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1967, he was named a bishop in 1986 and has served as bishop of Jbeil since 1990.
Of the approximately 5.5 million Maronite Catholics worldwide, approximately 1.5 million live in Lebanon.
The Passing of a Good Friend
On 1 April, Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil, C.Ss.R., Major Archbishop of Ernakulam–Angamaly and head of the Syro–Malabar Catholic Church, collapsed while celebrating the Divine Liturgy and was rushed to the hospital where he died later that day. The 84–year–old prelate suffered from chronic heart problems.
Bishop Bosco Puthur of Ernakulam–Angamaly is serving as the interim chief administrator and will convene a synod of bishops in the near future to elect a new major archbishop.
Ordained a priest in 1954, Cardinal Vithayathil was elected major archbishop of the Syro–Malabar Catholic Church in 1997. Pope John Paul II appointed him a member of the College of Cardinals in 2001.
A member of CNEWA Indias board of trustees and friend of the agency for many years, Cardinal Vithayathil will be greatly missed by the entire CNEWA family.
May he rest in peace.