Consolidation of Amman Office
Effective 20 November, Father Robert P. Reidy, Director of our Jerusalem office, assumed responsibility for the direction of our Amman office as well.
With the conclusion of a peace treaty between Israel and Jordan, resulting in easier communication and travel, it was determined that two independent and parallel administrative organizations within two hours of each other were no longer needed.
This administrative consolidation affects only the management of the Amman office. Our projects, programs and services for the churches and peoples of Jordan and Iraq continue without interruption.
News From Romania
Sister Roberta Ann Leskey, O.S.F., a Bernardine Franciscan Sister assigned to a parish in the Greek Catholic Diocese of Cluj, Romania, wrote to tell us about her work with ASTRU, a very active Greek Catholic youth group. ASTRUs purpose, Sister wrote, is the spiritual formation of its members, who are the hope of the future Greek Catholic Church.
ASTRU, Sister Roberta continued, badly needs a retreat center large enough to accommodate the 40 to 60 young people who participate in retreats and workshops. Preliminary work has been done. A site has been selected in the village of Vad and plans have been drawn. Some construction has also begun.
Impressed with this project, which was initiated by the youth of the church, CNEWA has made an initial grant of $5,000, but more help is still needed.
A Special Thank-You
We received news from a Palestinian boy studying in the United States. Therein hangs a tale:
Issa El-Hayek was sponsored from an early age by a generous CNEWA donor. He met Sister Elaine Kelley of Portland, Ore., who had traveled to Beit Sahour, Issas hometown. Herself a CNEWA donor, Sister Elaine arranged for Issa to travel to the U.S. to study at a Catholic high school here.
To do so, a student visa was required. Sister Elaine contacted Mrs. Morfia Sokolic, our Chief Financial and Administrative Officer, who gladly wrote a letter on the youths behalf. In his letter, Issa wrote:
“CNEWA has helped me all my life. Now I am 16 years old and have a good chance to make a good life. I want to tell you that you have changed my life….I will not forget you. God bless you always.”
Maronite Bishop Named
A good friend of CNEWA, Chorbishop Hector Y. Doueihi, Rector of Our Lady of Lebanon Cathedral, Brooklyn, has been appointed Bishop of the Eparchy of St. Maron of Brooklyn, replacing Archbishop Francis M. Zayek.
Bishop-elect Doueihi, a native of Lebanon, has held many pastoral and educational posts since he arrived in the U.S. in 1972, including his role as a leader in implementing reforms of the Maronite liturgy.
The Bishop-elect has published many scholarly works, and is fluent in seven languages. Ma’brook Bishop Doueihi!
At the invitation of U.S.A.I.D., Msgr. Robert Stern and Mr. Issam Bishara, Director of the PMP-CNEWA Beirut Office, traveled to Washington, D.C., on 20 November to attend a meeting for grant-holders working in Lebanon. The purpose of the meeting was to set guidelines for future aid to Lebanon.
Combined CNEWA-U.S.A.I.D. funding has enabled our Beirut office to revitalize 125 villages and help 7,137 individuals return to their homes.
U.S. Bishops in Holy Land
From 15 to 19 December, William Cardinal Keeler, Archbishop of Baltimore and Vice President of CNEWA, Archbishop Theodore McCarrick of Newark and Bishop Edwin O’Brien, Auxiliary Bishop of New York, who represented John Cardinal O’Connor, President of CNEWA, traveled to Jerusalem and Bethlehem to review several CNEWA-PMP programs.
On behalf of the Holy See, the delegation also called on the Ratisbonne Institute, a Christian center for Jewish studies located in Jerusalem.
On 29 November, following meetings in Southfield, Mich., Mar Dinkha IV, Catholicos-Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, and Raphael I Bidawid, Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, issued a joint statement providing for a “Joint Commission for Unity” to develop a “Catechism of the Church of the East” and establish an institution for the training of priests, deacons and catechists for the Assyrian and Chaldean Catholic churches.
The statement also calls for the liturgical and cultural use of Aramaic and for the development of joint pastoral programs.
On 27 October, Pope John Paul II presided at the opening of the Divine Liturgy commemorating the 350th anniversary of the Union of Uzhorod.
Archbishop Judson M. Procyk, the Ruthenian Byzantine Catholic Metropolitan Archbishop of Pittsburgh, celebrated the Eucharistic liturgy.
The liturgy commemorated the seminal event in the history of the Ruthenian Byzantine Catholic Church: the profession of fidelity to the See of St. Peter by 63 Orthodox priests at Uzhorod Castle in present-day Ukraine.
Thousands attended the liturgy, including large numbers of Ruthenian-American pilgrims.