A Day in the Life
Chronologically, she is 85 years young; in spirit she is a teenager. Nadja Beach flew into our offices on 11 August to meet with CNEWA staff and Father Titus Karimattathil, O.Carm., the priest she sponsored as a seminarian only a few years ago.
Father Titus was spending the summer in Brooklyn, telling that borough’s Catholics about his work in India. Nadja Beach was in California. Her plane touched down just in time for lunch here.
A widow, Ms. Beach had entered the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur following the death of her husband, but was unable to persevere. Nearly 10 years ago, when she saw an invitation in The Tidings – the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles – to sponsor a novice, she felt God was calling her to continue her vocation in a different way.
She has sponsored a number of novices and three seminarians, one of whom was Father Titus. Ms. Beach had missed his ordination in India, but she was determined to see him while he was in the States. They had a wonderful visit and, with the vim of an adolescent, she flew home that night.
Church Leaders Visit CNEWA
CNEWA welcomed some noted guests to our New York office. On 27 May, the Apostolic Administrator of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Major Archbishopric of Ernakulam-Angamaly, Mar Varkey Vithayathil, C.Ss.R., discussed with members of CNEWA’s staff the work of this Eastern Catholic Church.
CNEWA contributed significantly to the church’s Mount St. Thomas Center, blessed and inaugurated on 3 July. The center will serve as the headquarters for this major archiepiscopal church, as a meeting place for its synod and as a site for the offices of the church’s curia.
On 28 May, Joachim Cardinal Meisner, Archbishop of Cologne, Germany, visited our offices. The archdiocese, through its World Church – World Mission office, generously collaborates with CNEWA in a variety of projects in the Middle East.
The Cardinal’s visit was the first to the United States by an archbishop of Cologne.
Change in Northeast Africa
Following their May visit to Eritrea and Ethiopia, Msgr. Robert L. Stern and Brother Vincent Pelletier, F.S.C., Director of our Addis Ababa office, briefed a meeting of Catholic donor agency heads and Holy See officials on 17 June.
Included in the briefing were reports on the progress of the Eastern Catholic eparchies of Barentu and Keren, erected in Eritrea in December 1995.
Also reported were the CNEWA team’s visits to the three remaining Eastern Catholic eparchies of Eritrea and Ethiopia, the formation of the autonomous Eritrean Orthodox Church and the outbreak of hostilities between the two nations.
Pope John Paul II, reaffirming his plea for peace made on 3 June, said:
“I can only reiterate my hope for a just and peaceful solution…between Ethiopia and Eritrea. May the Lord enlighten the leaders of these two sister nations and all who are generously working to find a negotiated resolution of their respective demands.”
Village Rehabilitation in Lebanon
A total of 89 village rehabilitation projects in 68 Lebanese villages were implemented between April and June 1998, according to a report submitted by our Beirut office.
Among the projects carried out were the construction of sewer systems, waste water and irrigation canals and agricultural roads. These projects were not limited to infrastructure rehabilitation; they also included the construction of a village hall, the installation of a food grinder and mixer for cattle, the construction of a workshop for women and the restoration of schools.
Some 11,000 families benefited from these quality-of-life improvements.
Communication between the Catholic Church and the Muslim world took a significant step forward on 28 May. Representatives of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and of the Permanent Committee of Al-Azhar al-Sharif, the Muslim world’s premiere university, located in Cairo, signed an agreement for dialogue among monotheistic religions. Under the agreement, a joint dialogue committee – the first permanent, official channel for discussions between the Holy See and Muslim officials – will be set up.
In a meeting on 23 June, the President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Francis Cardinal Arinze, briefed Msgr. Stern, Msgr. Denis J. Madden, and Msgr. John F. McCarthy, Director of our Vatican City office, about the terms of the agreement.