CNEWA’s New Monsignor
Pope John Paul II has named Father Denis J. Madden, Associate Secretary General, a Prelate of Honor with the title of Monsignor.
A priest of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Msgr. Madden was ordained in 1967. He earned a Ph.D. in psychology at the university of Notre Dame in 1973 and was Director of the university’s Jerusalem program, beginning in 1992. He had also served as Clinical Director of the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s Clergy and Religious Consultation Center, which offers psychological treatment to priests and religious, and on the faculty of the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
Msgr. Madden joined CNEWA in 1994 as Director of our Jerusalem office. He was appointed Vice President of the Pontifical Mission for Palestine in July 1996 and was named Associate Secretary General in November of the same year.
Christmas in the Holy Land
Continuing a long-standing tradition, Msgr. Stern concelebrated the Christmas liturgies in Bethlehem with the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Archbishop Michel Sabbah. The Christmas festivities culminated with Midnight Mass, which Msgr. Stern offered for the intentions of all our benefactors.
Christmas in the Holy Land was not just Midnight Mass. In a land where person-to-person relationships are essential, Msgr. Stern attended receptions and paid courtesy calls on Catholic, Orthodox, Jewish and Muslim leaders as well as government officials in Israel, Palestine and Lebanon.
A Sad Christmas in Ethiopia
On Christmas Eve, the Missionaries of Charity in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, invited Brother Vincent Pelletier, F.S.C., Director of our office there, to attend Mass in their chapel, which was packed with their wards.
“After Mass, as I was leaving,” Brother Vincent relates, “a sister invited me to visit about 25 of their two- and three-year-olds, all scrubbed, shiny and nicely dressed, who were sitting on the floor of the veranda enjoying tea and cookies.
“As I passed through their midst, the sister whispered to me, ‘They’re all AIDS orphans and all HIV positive. Their life expectancy is a few years.’”
At Play in Ramallah
When long-time CNEWA friends George and Marie Doty visited the Palestinian city of Ramallah last year, they learned that the city had no recreation facility for its youth. This lack should be corrected, they agreed.
Funds were provided, an architect was hired, plans were drawn up and construction, begun. On 28 December, Msgr. Robert Stern, representing Mr. and Mrs. Doty and as President of the Pontifical Mission for Palestine, joined the Governor of Ramallah and Al-Bireh and the Mayor and City Council of Ramallah for the opening of the new playground and recreation center.
Renewing Indian Ties
From 9 January to 4 February, Chorbishop John D. Faris, Assistant Secretary General, and our India Program Administrator, Thomas Varghese, visited CNEWA-assisted projects of the Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara Catholic churches in India’s southern state of Kerala.
While there, Msgr. Faris addressed the Synod of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church. He visited all of the Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara Catholic dioceses and met with the bishops to assess the humanitarian and pastoral needs of the dioceses.
More Books for Ramallah
As the population of Ramallah continues to swell, public services such as libraries find that demand exceeds present capacities. When the Pontifical Mission Library in Nazareth closed its doors at the end of December due to declining use, we donated most of the books from that library to the public library in Ramallah. Moreover, a grant from our Jerusalem office will enable the Teresians, who had staffed the Nazareth library, to work in the Ramallah facility this year to help organize and expand services.
Promoting Christian Unity
The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity invoked a plenary session in Rome, on 16 February, to evaluate the ecumenical activities of the council from 1995 to 1997 and their implications for the jubilee celebrations in the year 2000.
Msgr. Stern was invited to represent CNEWA, which supports the activities of the council and is an active collaborator.
Father Joseph Ryan – RIP
On 31 January, Father Joseph L. Ryan, S.J., 77, Director of our Amman office from 1984 to 1990, died after a long illness.
Father Ryan began his tenure in the Middle East on the faculty of Baghdad College. He later became a founder of Al Hikma University, a Jesuit institution in Baghdad that CNEWA helped to build. He was Dean of Al Hikma from 1956 to 1968.
As Director of our Amman office he laid the foundation for the Jesuit Center for Religious Education, which CNEWA supported in its formative years.
A gentle person with a keen mind, a fine sense of humor and a passionate concern for justice, Father Ryan will be greatly missed by all who knew him.