Visit to India
Overseas staff and Msgr. Robert L. Stern recently completed a month-long visit to India, the first official representation of Catholic Near East Welfare Association there in 23 years.
In visits to all 15 Eastern Catholic dioceses in the southwestern coastal province of Kerala and the new diocese in Bombay, the team made stops at seminaries, novitiates, orphanages, health facilities, catechetical institutes and development centers, amongst other institutions. Msgr. Stern called the trip “exhausting, wonderful and fascinating.”
Talks were held with local bishops to establish increased and more regular lines of communication. Msgr. Stern said that the Association was described to him as “a mainstay of the Church in India.”
Eastern Europe Contacts Develop
Sarkis Boghjalian, the Association’s new program coordinator for the Soviet Union traveled to Rome, Vienna and Frankfurt in January and February to coordinate plans with European agencies already active in the Soviet Union since its opening to the West.
The Association was mandated in 1926 to assist Russia, but has not beeninvolved there in recent years because of its political isolation.
With a view to a long-term commitment, our agency is currently examining its role in rebuilding the structures of the Church as a result of increasing freedoms.
Associate Secretary General Named
Father James M. Moynihan, a priest of the Diocese of Rochester with 33 years of pastoral and administrative experience, has been named chief operating officer of Catholic Near East Welfare Association.
In his new post, Father Moynihan will direct the work of the six major divisions of the Association, reporting directly to Msgr. Stern.
“I’m excited and eager to assume this new work.” Father Moynihan said. “I hope to absorb a great deal of the culture of the East.”
PMP Offices Share Experiences
During a field visit in February to greater Beirut and northern Lebanon, Sister Maureen Grady, C.S.C., chief operating officer of the Pontifical Mission, brought together the director of our Jerusalem office with the staff in Lebanon.
For six days the director, Brother Donald Mansir, F.S.C., exchanged ideas and perceptions with his Lebanese peers about projects, finance management and administration. The first such exchange between the offices, Sister Maureen called it “an enrichment of resources” and said the Lebanese staff members were “enthusiastic about reciprocating.”
In that spirit, all pontifical staff members from Beirut, Amman and Jerusalem will participate in a seminar in Cyprus in April.
In another development, Brother Donald was recently appointed press spokesman for the Coordinating Committee of International Non-Governmental Organizations in Jerusalem. The NGO’s charged that the recent Israeli curfews have hampered their relief efforts.
Rebuilding in Lebanon
With peace re-established, the Association is helping to rebuild Beirut by joining in an effort to reconstruct war-damaged housing units in the urban areas of Matn and Keserwan.
Our contribution of $1 million is going toward a project to restore dwellings for 4,500 poor and needy families. Caritas Lebanon and Catholic Relief Services are also supporting the effort.
Massive battles, especially in the Christian enclave last year, destroyed thousands of homes. A great number of Christians have emigrated or have been displaced internally.
The project is targeted for completion in September. Participating organizations plan to eventually rebuild or rehabilitate a total of 7,000 housing units.
IArche Community Disrupted
The I’Arche Community in Bethany (CNE, Vol. 16, No. 2) in the Israeli-occupied West Bank was closed, at least temporarily, because of recent tensions between Jews and Arabs, heightened during the Persian Gulf War.
I’Arche founder Jean Vanier asked for the departure of the expatriate staff because of the growing isolation of the community. Several assistants lived with handicapped men and women from Bethany and surrounding areas.
The residents of the community were moved to a Catholic health care facility in Jerusalem. The community hopes to reopen the Bethany house, which was partially funded by the Association.
Aid for Persecuted Churches
Our Director of Information Services, Brother Austin David Carroll, F.S.C., represented the Association at a Feb. 27 meeting of the advisory hoard of the U.S. bishop’s committee to aid the Catholic Church in Central and Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.
The committee has been established by the bishops to assist the newly liberated churches in their efforts to become self-sufficient after years of persecution.
The committee hopes to provide resources for educating clergy, religious and laity and stimulate growth for specific projects approved by the episcopal conference of their respective national churches.