“I don’t feel that it is a good idea to send any money to Armenia,” said Father Mariano, administrator of Redemptoris Mater Hospital in Ashotzk, in a recent letter. “The prices are skyrocketing…[and] there is nothing to buy. Medicines are very scarce.
“It is more convenient to ship medicines and food…The only solution is the airlift, any other attempt is a gamble… [in neighboring] Georgia, we are dealing with complete anarchy…any attempt to transport [goods] is destined to be pillaged 100 percent.”
In North America, both the Armenian Apostolic and Armenian Catholic churches are organizing relief efforts. Operation: Winter Rescue, launched by the Armenian Apostolic Church in the United States, will airlift supplies to the impoverished nation. Our Association is planning a joint effort with Catholic Relief Services and Catholic Medical Mission Board.
Romanian College Re-established
The Pontifical Romanian College in Rome, a residence for Romanian students to the priesthood, was re-established 25 March by Achille Cardinal Silvestrini, prefect for the Congregation of the Eastern Churches.
Closed due to the decline in vocations after the communists seized power in the 40s, it then housed the St. John Damascene Institute, a residence for Indian Eastern Catholic priests and other priests in postgraduate studies. The Institute was moved to another location in Rome.
The college will house Romanian and Bulgarian seminarians.
Catholics in Russia
The Catholic Church in Russia is alive and well despite enormous difficulties, said Archbishop Thaddaeus Kondrusiewicz, Apostolic Administrator for Latin Catholics in European Russia.
More than 300,000 Catholics live in Russia, where the majority of believers belong to the Russian Orthodox Church, the traditional faith of this nation that straddles two continents, Europe and Asia.
Ecumenically, the Catholic and Orthodox churches have established a program for “Chernobyl children,” children suffering radiation sickness from the nuclear disaster. They are also exploring programs aimed at family issues, particularly alcoholism.
From Wisconsin, With Love
“The younger generation recognizes its responsibility to act together, to do something,” states Mr. Allen C. Buhler of Racine, Wis.
“After the death of our youngest child, my family and I wanted to do something good, and to remember Mary Ann.”
Mr. and Mrs. Buhler have provided a generous grant to complete a structure and install water, electricity and basic medical equipment for a medical clinic in a very poor neighborhood in Addis Ababa.
Now named the Mary Ann clinic, one of its priorities is public toilets, which would replace the existing trenches. Much of the neighborhood’s high mortality rate can be attributed to raw sewage.
The Buhler children have pledged monthly maintenance grants in 1994 for the clinic’s basic operating costs. Many thanks for the Buhler family’s generosity!
The God Squad
Brother David Carroll, F.S.C., director of programs, participated in a March taping of an interfaith dialogue for “The God Squad,” a program produced by TeLIcare of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, NY.
Brother David and Michael La Civita, editor of Catholic Near East, appeared on “The Interfaith Connection,” WYNY radio, New York. They discussed their recent trip to Poland, Ukraine and Russia.
Brother David and Father Moynihan, associate secretary general, spoke to the Ladies of Charity about who we are and what we do.
At a March gathering in New York City of the Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulchre, the papal order that supports the church in the Holy Land, Msgr. Stern spoke of the challenges of peacemaking.Following, John Cardinal O’Connor, prior of the Knights and Ladies of the Eastern Lieutenancy, celebrated Mass.
Rebirth of the Ukrainian Church
Msgr. Iwan Dacko, vicar general of the Archeparchy of Lviv, Ukraine, visited our New York office in early March. Msgr. Dacko, who is also secretary to Myroslav Cardinal Lubachivsky, was accompanied by the vice chancellor, Rev. Kenneth Nowakowski, and the communications director, Mrs. Sonya Soutus.
Rehabilitation of churches, training priests and establishing catechist programs are high priorities for the Ukrainian church at this time.
While a seminarian in Rome, Msgr. Dacko was supported through our Association’s seminarian sponsorship program. “I remember writing my sponsors,” he reminisced, “at Christmas and Easter.”
Eastern Europe Commission
Pope John Paul II has announced the creation of the Permanent Interdicasterial Commission for the Church in Eastern Europe, which will replace the Pontifical Commission for Russia.
Placed under the presidency of the Holy See’s Secretary of State, the Commission has several goals: to help local Catholic communities re-form after years of persecution; to attend to the Catholic Church’s relations with the Orthodox and other Eastern churches; and to coordinate the activities of those organizations that have assisted the church in Eastern Europe.
Representatives of the Vatican’s departments for clergy, religious, Eastern churches and Christian unity constitute the new commission.