Directors Meet in New York
The first annual planning meeting of directors from our New York and overseas offices was held in New York in September.
Directors from Addis Ababa, Amman, Beirut, Jerusalem, New York and the Vatican met in plenary sessions and small groups. Issues regarding policy, planning and support levels for each country served and fund-raising activities were discussed.
John Cardinal O’Connor, president of the Association, encouraged the planning efforts and on behalf of those in need expressed gratitude to the participants for their efforts.
Remembering Helen Breen
Helen Breen, formerly administrator of the Pontifical Mission, Jerusalem, died on 13 July in England.
A member of the Grail, a lay Christian community, Ms. Breen arrived in Jerusalem in 1966 with Carol Hunnybun, the co-administrator of the office and a Grail companion. This was the beginning of a devotion to the Palestinian people that would not wane even after Miss Breen’s return to England in 1982.
Miss Breen received the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice (For the Church and Pontiff) award for her work. Her dedication to the church, her community and the Palestinian people will be greatly missed.
The United States Agency for International Development, or USAID, has awarded Catholic Near East Welfare Association a $1.5 million grant for our Beirut office’s relief and resettlement activities in Lebanon.
These activities, which include repair of small-scale village infrastructures and home repair for displaced families, will be carried out by our Pontifical Mission’s personnel in Beirut over a two-year period.
This is the first such government grant to be awarded to the Association.
“Over the years, almighty God has been good to me and I am returning to his poor some of the goodness God has given me.”
For years the letters of Mr. Charles Lantzy of Mechanicsburg, Pa., have consistently echoed this theme. A quick count of our records reveals that Mr. Lantzy has sponsored more than 90 seminarians!
In a recent phone conversation, this generous benefactor was asked if he remembered how and when he first heard about Catholic Near East Welfare Association. “I don’t remember,” he replied, but then he added, “I am 91 years old. In January I shall be 92.”
Thank God for the quiet generosity of Mr. Lantzy and all of our benefactors who so generously support us.
Classroom Tools Available
Worksheets focusing on the history of Iraq, maps of Eastern Europe and the Middle East and an introduction to Islam are now available from the Association.
Suitable for 5th and 6th grade students, these tools are designed to be photocopied and are available without charge.
Celebrating 30 Years
Mohammed Gheith, an employee of our Jerusalem office, celebrated his 30th anniversary with the Pontifical Mission on 1 September.
“At 63, he remains a loyal and devoted employee,” said Brother Donald Mansir, F.S.C., the Pontifical Mission’s vice president and the office’s former director.
Speaking of the evolving role of the Pontifical Mission, the pope said, “…the Mission will have to expect, in the situation which is now evolving, to contribute to projects of aid, of rehabilitation and of development for the population of Palestine.”
These are not the words of John Paul II, but the words of Paul VI from July 1974.
In light of the recent agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians, the mandate of the Pontifical Mission, as the channel of aid from the Catholic world to the Palestinians, is now more timely than ever.
Development Director Appointed
Mr. Alfred W. (Chip) Brown Jr. was appointed the Association’s director of development in August.
Mr. Brown has a long-standing interest in the Near East that extends back to a year spent in Pakistan as an exchange student.
“Catholic Near East Welfare Association is unique. It offers its donors a choice of programs to support, from seminarian sponsorship to development projects,” he said in a recent interview.
“I hope to extend our base of support because the need for our help is infinite. Every gift to this Association makes a difference.”