ONE Magazine

The official publication of
Catholic Near East Welfare Association

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

One World

People and events from around the world of CNEWA

New Custos Reports on Holy Land

Integrating the humanitarian activities of the Franciscans of the Holy Land – housing, job creation and social welfare – with evangelization is the major challenge facing the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land, said its new custos, Italian-born Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, O.F.M. With the relative few government services available, particularly in Palestine, the friars’ social work is invaluable, he said. The custos made his remarks while visiting CNEWA’s New York headquarters in October.

Before his election, Father Pizzaballa, a Scripture scholar, worked with Jerusalem’s Hebrew-speaking Catholic community. In electing a Hebrew-speaker, the friars of the Custody of the Holy Land, many of whom are Arab, “showed their freedom.”

“There are no walls between us,” the custos added. The Custody, which operates in Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Syria, cares for pilgrims in the Holy Land, its many holy places and the region’s Christian community.

Farmers’ Progress in Lebanon

A 240,000-euro ($295,000) grant to construct an irrigation network will benefit some 825 families in north central Lebanon. CNEWA’s Beirut office received the grant from the German Catholic aid agency Misereor to construct concrete canals and install polyvinyl chloride piping to deliver water to seven villages in the Deir El Ahmar region. An artificial lake that collects rain and snow (also constructed by CNEWA) will be connected to the irrigation system, improving the yield of fruits and vegetables grown by the community.

The project is part of CNEWA’s village revitalization program begun soon after the end of Lebanon’s 15-year civil war.

New School for Palestinians

A new Catholic grammar school made possible through CNEWA’s labor intensive community development program opened in the central Palestinian town of Jifna in late September.

Funds for the school project were awarded to CNEWA’s Jerusalem office by Catholic Relief Services, the recipient of a grant from the United States Agency for International Development.

The school, which includes six classrooms, rooms for audiovisual and computer equipment, a science lab and library, 10 bathrooms as well as faculty facilities, will house more than 200 students from kindergarten through sixth grade.

The project generated employment for 36 workers over a 275-day period. Nearly half the Palestinian community is unemployed.

Knightly News

CNEWA continues its formation program for members of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. This autumn, Secretary General Msgr. Robert L. Stern, Under Secretary General Brother David Carroll, F.S.C., and Assistant Secretary General Father Guido Gockel, M.H.M., addressed four lieutenancies in the United States and one in the Netherlands, the latter of which celebrated its 50th anniversary.

Msgr. Stern paired with Father David Jaeger, O.F.M., to lead a panel discussion in Houston on the church’s presence in the Holy Land. At the same conference, and also at Osage Beach, Missouri, Brother David reviewed the history of the order, beginning with its founding in 1099, and highlighted some of the order’s good works today. Father Gockel participated in a Dutch panel on justice and peace and was a keynote speaker on the spirituality of the order in Salt Lake City.

Ad Multos Annos

Marguerite Brown of Cobourg, Ontario, who celebrated her 100th birthday on 9 October, has no secret for longevity, but admitted to being embarrassed when congratulated. “I feel I have to explain,” she said.

Mrs. Brown, a longtime CNEWA supporter, looks back with pleasure over the many children she has sponsored. “The boys and girls I have helped are my favorites,” she said.

Of the priests and sisters whom she has helped, Mrs. Brown said, “I like to think the faith is alive in India and Ethiopia through my efforts.”

Widowed some 30 years, Mrs. Brown resides at the Golden Plough Home for the Aged where she celebrated her birthday with Mass in the chapel.

“I’m grateful we have Mass. I feel at peace there. God picks me up.”

Patriarch Dies in Air Crash

Petros VII, Greek Orthodox Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa, died 11 September at age 55 in a helicopter crash on a trip to Mount Athos in northern Greece. He was elected to the see in 1997.

Born in Cyprus, he studied at the Theological School in Athens and was ordained a priest in 1978.

Later that year he was named vicar of the patriarchate in Cairo. Other appointments followed in East, West and South Africa.

Patriarch Petros, aware of the church’s position as a minority in Arab countries, was an advocate for mutual respect and understanding between Orthodoxy and Islam, noting that “the world is tired of religious conflicts.”

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