Relief to Iraq
The Pontifical Mission, with funding from the Franciscan Sisters of the Divine Motherhood and other international Catholic agencies, distributed more than 250 tons of food and medicine in north–central Iraq.
By mid-May, five truck convoys dispensed these emergency supplies in Mosul, where local religious and volunteers assembled them into family-size packages. More than 7,000 families were reached. The target is to reach a million of those hurt by the war and its aftermath.
“Project Iraq Relief Line” reaches an area neglected by major relief agencies and is being personally distributed by local religious to Muslims and Christians alike, mainly to children and their mothers. The project, with a committed goal of $500,000, should continue into the summer, when the heat and a failed harvest will create an even greater need.
Coptic Bishop Visits Association
Bishop Serapion, in charge of public, ecumenical and social services for the Coptic Orthodox Church, met with the senior staff of the Association on April 26 in our New York office. From Cairo, Bishop Serapion, spoke of the good works of the Christian churches in Egypt, which have over five million members.
Under the bishop’s direction the Best Life Therapeutic Community Program began last year, modeled after the U.S. Catholic program, Daytop Village. Our Association has been instrumental in providing and identifying funds for the programs work.
Donors Aid Beit Sahour
Following a journey to the Holy Land in 1989, Larry and Mary Hansen of Seattle have been raising funds for the Palestinian citizens of Beit Sahour, who engaged in a non-violent tax revolt against Israeli authorities occupying the West Bank (The Star in the East, CNE, April 1990).
To date, these Association donors have raised $3,861, to be channeled through the Pontifical Mission, for a jobs program in Beit Sahour.
Armenian Patriarch in New York
Jean Pierre XVIII Kasparian, Patriarch of Cilicia of the Armenians, visited the Association’s New York headquarters on May 7. The U.S. pastoral visit coincided with the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Exarchate for Armenian Catholics in the United States and Canada. The patriarch traveled from Beirut, which is the site of his worldwide patriarchal see.
It is now time for the social and economic rehabilitation of Lebanon, said the Egyptian-born patriarch, formerly bishop of Baghdad. He noted with pride that the first Armenian Catholic priest was recently permitted to return to Armenia after a 70-year absence of clergy.
Human Rights Symposium at Fordham
The West’s conception of human rights originated in the Middle East, said Msgr. Robert L. Stern at a human rights symposium at Fordham University in May.
The symposium, funded by the Association and sponsored by Fordham, brought together world-renowned human rights experts and diplomats.
First Moscow Bishop in Half-century
Pope John Paul II named the first resident bishop of Moscow in 55 years, created new dioceses in Byelorussia and named bishops for new apostolic administrations in Siberia and Khazakhstan.
Bishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz was named archbishop and head of the restored apostolic administration of Moscow on April 13. The bishop had been responsible for the pastoral care of Byelorussia’s two million Catholics since 1989.
Catholic Near East Acclaimed
Once again, the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada awarded Catholic Near East magazine First Place-General Excellence.
The judges cited the magazine for its “ skillfully written texts and exquisite photography,” as it presses “to proclaim its mission in terms of Christian fortitude.”
A Crumb for Lebanon
Msgr. Stern, president of the Pontifical Mission, asked the U.S. government for more than $5 million in aid toward the reconstruction of Lebanon.
Testifying before the U.S. Committee on Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee on Europe and the Middle East in Washington, D.C., Msgr. Stern called this a “crumb for Lebanon” when compared to the $3 billion in aid allocated to Israel.
In 1990 the Pontifical Mission’s office in Beirut worked on more than 1,156 projects, including the building and repairing of schools, houses, hospitals, roads and reservoirs, totalling $4,857,000.