The Pope Speaks: Lebanon
“We cannot resign ourselves to the sight of this country deprived of its unity, of its territorial integrity, of its sovereignty, and of its independence, ” the Holy Father told diplomats at the Vatican. “These are all fundamental and inalienable rights of every nation.”
Silent Witness In Bethlehem
The Holy Father voiced support for Vatican-sponsored Bethlehem University, now closed for a year and a half. He said it “constitutes a silent witness to a political conflict, which leads among other things to the destruction of values essential for the construction of a civilization worthy of humanity.”
New Pontifical Mission President
February 18th the Holy Father appointed Msgr. Robert L. Stern president of the Pontifical Mission for Palestine. Msgr. Stern, a priest of the New Yorkarchdiocese and secretary general of Catholic Near East Welfare Association, has been acting president of the Pontifical Mission since December of 1987.
Active in a Crisis
The convent residence of Sister Maureen Grady, director of the Pontifical Mission in Beirut, was shelled during heavy fighting in east Beirut. Violence continues to threaten the operations of the Pontifical Mission in Lebanon.
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Sister Maureen’s convent took direct hits, but she was unhurt. She and the Lebanese sisters had to spend the night in the basement after the convent’s windows were blown out.
Fed Up with Violence
Maronite Catholic patriarch Nasrallah P. Sfeir recently called Lebanon “a prison” in describing the state of affairs there. “People are disgusted with arms, armed elements, massacres, and fights,” Patriarch Sfeir said. “They are now thirsting for peace, calm, security, and stability.”
He said that the Lebanese people are “fed up with the language of war and vengeance.” He noted that “Lebanon cannot stay alone in a state of war while the trend of peace is advancing throughout the whole world.”
Saving Lebanons Schools
Lebanon’s bishops have asked the Pontifical Mission to assess the needs of the country’s entire Catholic school system.
The goal of this project is to present a unified appeal to the Western Catholic world to help keep Lebanese Catholic schools operating in the face of the continuing economic crisis devastating the country after 14 years of war.
The Catholic educational network groups over 312 schools throughout the country. 80% of the students are Christians.
The Lebanese believe that education is the most precious inheritance they can pass on to their children.
Teaching the Teachers
“Always act as though the church is one, unless you are forced to encounter a difference” is our fundamental operational policy. Join CNEWA advance Christian unity, helping us to build churches, supporting programs of higher education and other worthwhile works of the non-Catholic Eastern churches.
Keeping Count of Kids where
The number of mothers and children coming to the Pontifical Mission’s Zerqa clinic in Jordan has tripled since the clinic opened.
Now record-keeping is done on a small personal computer. The new system enables the staff to track pregnancies to assure proper pre- and post-natal care. It also helps maintain a complete background on the health histories of women in the nearby refugee camp.
More Medical Care In Jordan
An extension on the Marka clinic, with additional room for out-patient examination and a doctor’s office, has been completed. The enlarged facility also allows the Pontifical Mission to extend its needy child program in Jordan to help entire families with health care and other support.
Improving Health Care in Gaza
When grassroots health care programs in Gaza needed help, Catholic Near East and Catholic agencies in Europe responded. Their joint effort assists local health professionals and institutions to improve and expand existing programs and initiate additional health services.
This program supports medical laboratory services for the Near East Council of Churches’ family health services, the mobile dental and medical services of the Gaza Medical Relief Committee, and the Gaza central blood bank.