Palestinian Cites Bridge of Peace
Palestinian-born Patriarch Michel Sabbah, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, visited the United States in October. The patriarch was invited by the Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulchre. Catholic Near East Welfare Association arranged for the patriarch to meet with U.S. officials.
The patriarch stated that Christians in the Holy Land should be the “bridge of peace” in the Arab-Israeli conflict.
“Jews and Palestinians are able to live together in peace, in love,” said the patriarch. “Anyone who loves these people, either the Israelis or the Palestinians, must pressure these two peoples to walk toward peace…Israel without peace will always be living in fear…It is for Israel’s own good.”
Our Pontifical Mission’s Beirut office is sponsoring a $4.5 million grant program over a three-year period to rebuild more than 30 villages destroyed during the nations 16-year-old civil war.
The projects, some of which are inter-confessional, include the restoration of homes, farms and electrical and water service. More than 100 destroyed churches, convents and religious houses will also be restored.
Russian Patriarch Visits U.S.
His Holiness Alexei II, Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, visited the United States in November.
The 10-day pastoral visit included stops at St. Vladimir and St. Tikhon seminaries (run by the Orthodox Church of America), visits with the Greek and Antiochene Orthodox hierarchy and appointments with ranking Catholic clergy, including a reception with John Cardinal O’Connor, president of Catholic Near East Welfare Association.
While in Washington, D.C., the patriarch received ’The President’s Medal’ from Georgetown University. The medal was given to the patriarch in honor of his opposition role during August’s attempted coup.
New Ecumenical Patriarch is elected
Metropolitan Bartholomeos of Chalcedon, a 51-vear-old veteran of international religious affairs and chief advisor for his predecessor, Dimitrios I, was elected ecumenical patriarch.
The new patriarch, spiritual leader for the world’s 200 million Orthodox Christians, was unanimously elected on Oct. 22.
Pope John Paul II praised the election, and a Vatican official described Bartholomeos as “very involved in the ecumenical movement…the most energetic of all the patriarchs…So it’s positive from our point of view.”
Patriarch Bartholomeos studied canon law at the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome, the Ecumenical Institute of the World Council of Churches at Bossey, Switzerland, and at the University of Munich, Germany. He speaks six languages, including English.
Association’s Donors Thanked
Major Catholic Near East benefactors from the New York metropolitan area were treated to a Middle Eastern luncheon on Nov. 14.
The donors met with key members of the Associations staff and expressions of gratitude for their generous support were conveyed by Msgr. Stern.
Our benefactors were also briefed on the activities and work of Catholic Near East Welfare Association.
New Director in Amman
Sister Kathryn Callahan, C.S.C., has been named director of the Pontifical Mission’s Amman office after serving as the Association’s director of program services for the last two years.
Sister Kathryn will be administering our mother and child clinics, special education projects, sponsorship programs and other on-going projects.A Florida native who joined the Sisters of the Holy Cross in 1948, Sister Kathryn arrived in Jordan on Dec. 16 to assume her position.
Associations President Visits Middle East
John Cardinal O’Connor traveled to the Middle East in early January in his capacity as president of Catholic Near East Welfare’ Association.
The Cardinal, accompanied by Bishop John Nevins of Venice in Florida, and Msgr. Stern, visited the works and projects of the agency. The Cardinal also met with religious and government officials of the countries in the region.