Within days of the Israeli shelling of Beirut and southern Lebanon in April our staff in Beirut responded, assembling more than 1,000 emergency kits containing beans, butter and soaps for the refugees. These supplies were purchased with funds from CNEWA and World Vision and distributed in cooperation with the Lebanese Red Cross.
On 1 May, John Cardinal O’Connor, President of CNEWA, hosted a meeting of Catholic, Muslim and Orthodox leaders concerned about the situation in Lebanon.
Report from Iraq
Now that an agreement between Iraq and the United Nations has been reached, which allows Iraq to sell oil in order to purchase food, Mr. Raymond Riddick, the Director of Our Amman office, expressed the hope that the Iraqi government will relax its regulation of foreign assistance.During a week-long tour of Iraq in mid-May, Mr. Riddick visited parishes in Baghdad and in a number of towns in the north.Catechetical centers, as well as facilities for health and educational services, were cited as priorities by the leaders of the Armenian, Chaldean, Latin and Syrian Catholic Churches.
Holy Land Pilgrimage
From 21 to 28 April, Msgr. Robert L. Stern led 23 members and guests of FADICA, a consortium of 30 American Catholic foundations, on a week-long pilgrimage in the Holy Land to celebrate the organization’s 20th anniversary.
Besides visiting the holy places, the pilgrims saw some of the educational, health and social works of the church. They were briefed by the Rev. Denis Madden, Associate Secretary General, and others, and met with Catholic and Orthodox leaders.
The Maronite community in New York concluded its centennial year with a jubilee celebration on 5 May. Archbishop Francis M. Zayek, Bishop of the Eparchy of St. Maron, was the principal celebrant of the historic liturgy at Our Lady of Lebanon Cathedral in Brooklyn. Bishop Joseph Younan of the Syrian Catholic Eparchy of Our Lady of Deliverance of Newark, and Chorbishop Hector Y. Doueihi, Rector of the cathedral, concelebrated. Archbishop Renato Martino, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, and Msgr. Stern also participated.
Bishops for Eastern Churches
In April, Pope John Paul II appointed Archimandrite John Michael Botean as Bishop of the Romanian Catholic Diocese of St. George in Canton, Ohio. Bishop Botean had been Apostolic Administrator of the diocese since 1993. He succeeds retired Bishop Louis Puscas.
Also in April, the Pope named the Rev. Basil Schott, O.F.M., Bishop of the Byzantine Catholic Diocese of Parma, Ohio. Bishop Schott succeeds Bishop Andrew Pataki, now Bishop of the Diocese of Passaic, NJ. Previously, Bishop Schott had been Superior of Holy Dormition Monastery, a Byzantine-Slavic Franciscan community in Sybertsville, Pa.
Ethiopian Field Visit
The Director of our Addis Ababa office, Brother Vincent Pelletier, F.S.C., traveled to Gurage, in the western part of the Archdiocese of Addis Ababa, to evaluate the needs of the church in the region. He visited various mission stations and villages.
“Despite long years and experience in Ethiopia, I was struck by the poverty of the women,” he wrote. “All were barefoot, something that I was to see over and over again…. A pair of shoes on women or children was the rare exception. Men tended to have some type of shoe, even if it was only shower slippers.” The extreme poverty of the people was also reflected in their substandard diet, which the Capuchin friars in the area were trying to improve through the CRS-USAID feeding programs they administered.
The church is responding to the needs of the people of Gurage as best it can, according to Brother Vincent, but resources are limited and much remains to be done.
Visitors to New York
On 9 April, Our New York office staff welcomed the Rev. Varghese Ottathengil, Rector of St. Mary’s Syro-Malankara Catholic Seminary in Trivandrum, India. Father Ottathengil discussed the completion of the seminary (see page 26), dedicated only this spring. CNEWA donors have generously supported the construction of this seminary.
One month later, the Most Rev. Joseph Younan, Bishop of the newly established Syrian Catholic Eparchy of Our Lady of Deliverance of Newark, met with our senior staff to discuss the pastoral work of the Syrian Catholic and other Eastern churches in the U.S.