ONE Magazine

The official publication of
Catholic Near East Welfare Association

Celebrating 50 years | God • World • Human Family • Church

Our World

Stories and events from around the world of CNEWA.

Lebanon Village Reconstruction

Serjbal is a remote village on Mt. Lebanon, about 20 miles from Beirut. Before the onset of civil war, residents of Serjbal would commute to work in Beirut. Agriculture was a major source of supplementary income.

In 1983, residents were forced to evacuate their village. When they returned, 11 years later, they found their village in ruins, their roads, orchards, fields and irrigation canals seriously damaged. Traveling back and forth from Beirut, the villagers set about to repair the damage. CNEWA is helping them do so.

There are as yet no permanent health facilities in Serjbal and the nearest hospital is a difficult 10 miles away. Local officials asked our Beirut office for help in building a dispensary. To save money, the modest facility is being built below the newly constructed Maronite Church. This location affords the advantage of being near the main road and thus accessible to all.

A Piece of Her Heart

She went to work at an early age to help support her family. She never married and never entered a religious community, but Catherine Cresci devoted her life to God.

For 76 years she played the organ in Catholic churches in Vineland, N.J., and Sun City West, Arizona, never missing a Christmas or Easter Mass, a funeral or a wedding – even when crippled with arthritis.

Between 1973 and 1998 Catherine Cresci built 12 churches in India, supported seminarians, novices, and children in need and gave countless gifts to CNEWA to be used where the need was greatest.

In a letter written to her in July 1994, Msgr. Robert L. Stern, Secretary General, said, “It seems in everything you do, you give a piece of your heart.”

We received word from her sister, Mrs. Cecilia Mazzoni, that Catherine Cresci died on 2 February.

May God reward her for her goodness.

Interfaith Journey

Dialogue might be described as a journey toward mutual understanding. In that spirit, the Bishops’ Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the National Council of Catholic Bishops and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs sponsored an Interfaith Journey to the Holy Land and Rome from 8 to 19 March.

Led by William Cardinal Keeler, Archbishop of Baltimore and Vice President of CNEWA, five bishops and eight rabbis spent the first week of their trip in the Holy Land, visiting Christian and Jewish shrines and meeting with civic and religious leaders. They then embarked for Rome where they met with Edward Cardinal Cassidy, President of the Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, Secretary for Relations with States, and Pope John Paul II.

Msgr. Stern and Msgr. Denis J. Madden, Associate Secretary General, helped organize the journey and guided the group – which included two other CNEWA Board members, Ukrainian Catholic Bishop Basil H. Losten of Stamford and Bishop John J. Nevins of Venice in Florida – through places of Christian significance.

Nourishing Armenia’s Nurturers

Founded in Constantinople in 1847 to serve the youth of the Armenian diaspora, the Armenian Sisters of the Immaculate Conception have, since 1990, worked heroically in the Armenian Catholic villages of Armenia and southern Georgia.

There is no shortage of young women who wish to enter this community, but the expenses of religious formation run high. The congregation depleted their savings and had no assurances that they would be able to continue their novice program.

CNEWA offered help, thereby ensuring that this congregation will continue to grow and serve.

A Turkish Delight

Since all Christian church activities in Turkey – including weddings and wakes – must take place within church premises, we were delighted to assist Ignatius IV Hazim, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, restore and equip a hall near St. Peter and St. Paul Church in Antioch. The hall will be used as a Sunday school and for other small meetings. The cost was modest; the benefits, great.

Rest in Peace

On 21 March, Bishop John R. Keating, Bishop of Arlington, Virginia, and a member of the Board of Trustees of Catholic Near East Welfare Association since 1985, died suddenly in Rome while on his ad limina visit to the Holy See. Bishop Keating, 63, had met privately with Pope John Paul II only two days earlier.

Bishop Keating had been Bishop of Arlington since August 1983. He was renowned for his success in attracting vocations; during his 14-year tenure as bishop he ordained 84 men, who represent three-fifths of the diocese’s 130 active priests.

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