The Holy See’s Congregation for the Eastern Churches held its first plenary session in many years from 29 September to 1 October.
The patriarchs, cardinals and bishops belonging to the congregation – including John Cardinal O’Connor, President of CNEWA, and William Cardinal Keeler, Vice President – joined the staff of the congregation and invited guests, including Msgr. Robert Stern, to review its activities and achievements and to plan for the future.
A wide range of topics was presented by Nasrallah Boutros Cardinal Sfeir, Maronite Patriarch of Antioch; Achille Cardinal Silvestrini, Prefect of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches; Pio Cardinal Laghi, Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education; and Christoph Cardinal Schonborn, Archbishop of Vienna.
Holy Sepulchre Events
The Southeastern Lieutenancy of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre held its annual meeting on 27 September in Savannah, Georgia. At the meeting, Msgr. Stern highlighted the considerable achievements of the order since its reconstitution 150 years ago.
From 13 to 16 October, Msgr. Stern participated in the order’s quadrennial consulta in Rome. Lieutenants representing the worldwide membership met with the leadership of the order to discuss renewal for the third millennium. Earlier Msgr. Stern had helped a six-member international committee draft guidelines for the future.
On 31 October, Msgr. Stern and Brother David Carroll, F.S.C., Assistant to the Secretary General, addressed the Southwestern Lieutenancy at its annual meeting and investiture in Oklahoma City.
On 21 September, 100 golfers and first-time donors assembled at the Partridge Creek Golf Course near Detroit to participate in the first CNEWA Golf Outing. Organized by Mr. George Thomas, the event raised more than $10,000 for CNEWA programs.
“Our golfers had a great time,” remarked Chorbishop John D. Faris, Assistant Secretary General. “They enjoyed knowing that the funds raised would support our needy child programs.” As a result of its success, “the meeting will become an annual event,” Chorbishop Faris said.
After two years of service as director of our Amman and Jerusalem offices, Msgr. Robert P. Reidy is returning to the States to pursue an “active” retirement. A priest of the Diocese of Youngstown, Msgr. Reidy served as a Navy chaplain for 26 years before coming to CNEWA.
Msgr. Stern has appointed Mr. Ra’ed Bahou, formerly Amman’s Assistant Director, to the position of Director. Mr. Bahou has a strong background in business administration and finance.
Father Guido Gockel, M.H.M., Jerusalem’s Associate Director, has been appointed Director of that office. Father Gockel, a member of the St. Joseph’s Missionary Society at Mill Hill, joined CNEWA in 1997.
CNEWA Directors Meet
The annual strategic planning meeting of the directors of CNEWA’s six offices was held in New York 14-18 September. Directors from Addis Ababa, Amman, Beirut, Jerusalem, New York and Vatican City participated in plenary sessions and small groups to discuss and review the agency’s country programs.
Cardinal O’Connor met with the directors to discuss their work and plans.
Canon Law Address
On 26-30 October, at its annual meeting in Trivandrum, Kerala, Chorbishop Faris delivered the keynote address to the Canon Law Society of India.
Chorbishop Faris, a Maronite priest and noted authority on Eastern Catholic canon law, spoke about the church’s penal code.
Msgr. Faris’s address was the first to be delivered by an Eastern Catholic to India’s association of canon lawyers.
On 11 October, Msgr. Stern joined our Amman staff and the Teresians, an international association of lay people, at a banquet marking the 10th anniversary of the Pontifical Mission Library in Amman.
Operated by the Teresians, the library is one of the most complete in Jordan, with 36,000 volumes and an extensive audiovisual section.
Amman’s Pontifical Mission Library, a significant reference center, has a large collection on Christian-Muslim dialogue.
A Celebration in Bethlehem
A highlight of the 25th anniversary celebration of Bethlehem University was a Mass celebrated on 4 October by Pio Cardinal Laghi, Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education. Cardinal Laghi, who was Apostolic Delegate to Jerusalem and Palestine a quarter of a century ago, played a major role in the establishment of the university.
Msgr. Stern, who is chairman of the university’s international board of regents, participated in the ceremony that brought together a host of civic and church leaders, faculty, students and alumni.