Reaching Out to Eastern Europe
In April, Mr. Sarkis Boghjalian, our program administrator for Eastern Europe, visited Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Belarus to determine the needs of the church in each country and how our Association could best meet them.
“Cultural, institutional and historical factors do not favor an easy transition for Eastern European churches and societies,” Mr. Boghjalian reported.
“The old system is still in place and both the people and its leaders are products of this system.”
Mr. Boghjalian listed education and formation of priests and religious, catechesis and social outreach as priorities.
Brother Joseph Lowenstein, F.S.C., the former director of our Pontifical Mission office in Jerusalem (1982-85), recently celebrated his 50th year as a De La Salle Christian Brother. While in the Holy Land, Brother Joe also served as president and later as dean of Bethlehem University.
Brother Joe is currently the director of the Christian Brothers’ retirement home in Lincroft, New Jersey. Congratulations!
Catholic Near East magazine received a general excellence award in the Mission Magazine category at the annual Catholic Press Association convention, which was held in May in Tampa, Florida.
The judges, who are recruited from both the religious and the secular press, commented that the magazine had a “breezy style,” with “top shelf writing and strong artwork… A very attractive publication.”
The God Squad
The pastoral and humanitarian work of our Association and the Pontifical Mission was the subject of a recent broadcast of the “God Squad,” a syndicated television program produced by TeLIcare of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, New York.
Msgr. Stern and Brother Donald Mansir, F.S.C., vice president of the Pontifical Mission, discussed some of the challenges facing both organizations in a rapidly changing world.
The most profound generosity is that of the anonymous benefactor. This spring a donor who has requested anonymity funded not one but two projects in India. God’s blessings to you!
In the Diocese of Irinjalakuda, Kerala, the bishop wishes to construct a home for the dying, the disabled and the handicapped – the first of its kind in the diocese. Those who lack medical care yet need it the most, the dying and the disabled, will be attended to in a 25-bed facility. The mentally and physically handicapped will also he cared for in a 25-bed facility.
The Diocese of Rajkot lacks a cathedral church. This Syro-Malabar diocese in Gujarat, in northwest India, owns 13 acres of land, but if permanent structures are not erected on the property soon, the government will appropriate it.
Hail and Farewell
After two years as projects administrator for our Pontifical Mission’s Jerusalem office, Mr. James Richard joined our New York staff in June as development coordinator. Mr. Richard brings a wealth of field experience to his new position.
In the same month, Mr. Romeo Reynoso, our office services coordinator, relocated to Florida with his family after more than six years of dedicated service. He will be missed.
Ecumenical Event in Armenia
With the bells of the cathedral of Etchmiadzin tolling a joyous greeting. Vasken I, Catholicos of the Armenian Apostolic Church, welcomed back to Armenia the relics of SS. Bartholomew and Thaddeus.
The relics were a gift from Pope John Paul II to the catholicos and were presented by a small Vatican delegation led by Achille Cardinal Silvestrini in April.
“This symbolic gesture,” said Msgr. Stern, a member of the delegation, “elicited statements of mutual recognition of the apostolic origins of both churches.”
According to tradition, SS. Bartholomew and Thaddeus brought the Gospel to the Armenians in the first century.
New Archbishop for Albanians
Rev. Rrok Mirdita was one of four Albanian bishops recently ordained by Pope. Bishop Mirdita had served Albanian Catholic community in NYC.