Ethiopian Patriarch Calls for Renewal
At a September ecumenical gathering in Assisi, Italy, Abuna Paulos, the Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, called for a coordinated and vigorous effort to resolve those problems dividing the Church of Christ.
This would “…accelerate the quest for unity between the churches and also enable us to develop the theology of re-awakening,” he declared. “This will be a theology of bringing the divine truth of the Lord in tune with the needs and necessities of the 20th century and beyond.”
The Patriarch reiterated these themes when he received those CNEWA representatives responsible for programs in Ethiopia – Brother Donald Mansir. F.S.C., and Brother Vincent Pelletier, F.S.C. – at an October meeting in Addis Ababa.
Abuna Paulos conveyed his appreciation for our work with the Ethiopian people and our respect for the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.
Let There Be Light
Jordan’s many refugee camps, with a population of more than 250,000, are dangerous at night. Unfortunately residents are threatened by vandals, attackers and drug dealers. In cooperation with the government’s Office of Palestinian Affairs, our Pontifical Mission office in Amman has purchased and installed some 900 streetlights for 13 sites.
“In each camp we have met with the village elders or committees,” said Father William Corcoran. the Director of our Amman office, in a recent letter. “The people were elated.”
A Historic Accord
On 11 November 1994, Pope John Paul II and Mar Dinkha IV, Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, signed a historic declaration of common faith at the Vatican. The ceremony brought to an end more than 1,500 years of misunderstanding over the identity of Christ.
“Our Lord Jesus Christ is true God and true than, perfect in his divinity and perfect in his humanity,” the declaration stated. “His divinity and his humanity are united in one person, without confusion or change, without division or separation.”
The agreement also cited common beliefs about the sacraments and the apostolic succession of bishops.
The Assyrian Church of the East, traditionally established by the Apostles Thomas and Bartholomew in what is now Iraq, has about 400,000 faithful living in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, North America, Australia and India.
Arming the Knights
In a stretch of just two weeks, Brother David Carroll, F.S.C., briefed the Western, Northwestern and Middle Atlantic lieutenancies of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre about the concerns for the Christians of the Holy Land.
Among the items discussed were the quality of life for Arab Christians, doubly a minority among Israelis and Muslims, and the lack of unity among the various churches. These conditions encourage the emigration of the Christian minority to the West.
During the same period, Msgr. Robert L. Stern led members of the Eastern Lieutenancy on a pilgrimage through the region.
The Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulchre support the church in the Holy Land.
An Insepctor Calls
The Director of our office in Addis Ababa, Brother Vincent Pelletier, F.S.C., recently completed an 11-day, 2,361-mile visit to missions in Ethiopia – most of it in four-wheel drive over gravel roads.
In all the places visited, “the Catholic Church is present and CNEWA has either Needy Child programs or projects,” Brother Vincent wrote recently.
“In almost every instance,” Brother Vincent reported, “the life-style was simple, poor, and even austere.” In most places, water was a problem and cold showers the norm. Hospitality, while generous, was often makeshift.
“More than the simplicity of life-style, I was struck by the hardship of life, especially the feeling of isolation and loneliness of a good number of the priests and sisters. But it is clearly accepted as part of the response to the invitation of the Lord,” Brother Vincent disclosed.
A Tale From Two Continents
More than 30 years ago, Mrs. Rose Geist prayed that her husband would be received into the Catholic Church. After his act of faith, Mrs. Geist decided to show her gratitude by sponsoring a seminarian through our Association.
Her generosity gave Mathew Edassery of Kerala, India, an opportunity to study for the priesthood. On 21 December 1969, he was ordained.
For more than 25 years. Father Mathew has prayed daily for his benefactor. Last autumn, in anticipation of his 25th anniversary as a priest, he contacted Mrs. Geist.
In September, Mrs. Geist invited Father Mathew to spend a week at her home in Ontonagon, Michigan.
“God sent someone special to my door,” Mrs. Geist said. “I never had a son and now I have one.”
God bless you, Mrs. Geist!