Feeding Hungry Minds
Pontifical Mission for Palestine opened a library in Amman, Jordan, for the local community. It offers books and periodicals in Arabic as well as Western languages. While the facility provides services for people regardless of their faith, it particularly will promote Christian cultural, social, intellectual, and spiritual development.
The project was developed in collaboration with members of the Teresian Association who had previously established libraries in Jerusalem (1960), Bethlehem (1970), and Nazareth (1972) for the Pontifical Mission.
Encouraging Mideast Peace
Pope John Paul II marked the United Nations Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People with an urgent call for an end to the suffering of Palestinian refugees and for encouragement of efforts promoting dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians.
The Holy Father said: “I urge that every positive and constructive action which might come from one side or the other be considered with sincere goodwill. The path of dialogue in the search for peace is certainly long and hard, but every obstacle that is removed from that path must be seen as a real advance, one surely worthy of inspiring other like gestures and the trust necessary to go on.”
He asked for “fervent prayer … that the Israeli and Palestinian peoples, each accepting sincerely the legitimate aspirations of the other as well as their own, might find a solution which allows each of them to live in their own homeland with freedom, dignity, and security.”
Finding Solutions Together
A “harmonious interfaith effort” at Harvard University has brought together managers of health and social service programs from Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Palestine. The Middle East Educational Fellowship Program offers participants one year of study leading to a Master in Public Administration degree.
John Cardinal O’Connor, president of Catholic Near East Welfare Association and chairman of this program, also said: “We desperately need people of all political and religious persuasions who are dedicated to alleviating human misery in the Middle East.” He added, “If we can bring Jews, Muslims, and Christians together in this uniquely pluralistic context, have them live and work together – who knows what we may do in the long range.”
Congregation for the Eastern Churches From the agency’s beginning in 1926, CNEWA has had a special relationship with the Holy See’s Congregation for the Eastern Churches. Last year, we assisted the overall good works of the congregation on behalf of the Eastern churches with a grant of $1,020,000. Join us in helping this special outreach of the Holy Father to the churches of the East.
More Help for Northern Ethiopia
Brother Vincent Pelletier, F.S.C., is now field representative of Catholic Near East in Ethiopia’s northern provinces of Eritrea and Tigre. He will assess needs and performance of programs there.
Brother Vincent’s special responsibility will be coordinating our Needy Child Program, which currently involves 93 institutions in Ethiopia. 4,090 children in Ethiopia now benefit from our sponsorship program; 1,822 Ethiopian children need sponsors. Brother Vincent also serves as coordinator of the formation programs for women and men religious congregations in Ethiopia.
Incessant Voice for Justice
Archbishop Michel Sabbah, the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, pleaded for justice in the Holy Land during a month-long pastoral visit to the United States and Canada.
“As the Latin patriarch, I represent the Church, and the Church is on the side of the poor, the suffering, the oppressed. It just so happens that the oppressed are Palestinians. I too am a Palestinian,” the patriarch declared, “but if the Israelis were oppressed, I will speak for them.”
40 Years of Service
In 1989 the Pontifical Mission for Palestine marks its 40th anniversary of serving those displaced by the division of Palestine. The humanitarian efforts of successive pontiffs since 1949 are estimated to have involved more than $200 million in material aid to the needy of the area. A future issue of Catholic Near East will be devoted to a review of the work of the Pontifical Mission.
A Gift of the Word
120,000 Russian-language Catholic Bibles will be sent to the Soviet Union for distribution. The books are a gift of the Holy Father to commemorate the millennium of the Christianization of the Ukraine and Russia. Catholic Near East has given support to print the Bibles in cooperation with the organization Aid to the Church in Need, which is raising funds to pay for the printing.