Maronite Patriarch Visits CNEWA
Nasrallah Cardinal Sfeir, Patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, visited the New York Offices of CNEWA on Monday, 12 March.Joined by several members of his synod, the Patriarch met with CNEWA’s executive staff. He also held a press conference, where he spoke about Lebanon’s participation in the Middle East peace process, the presence of Syrian troops in Lebanon and the economic crisis in the country.The Patriarch began the press conference with a prepared statement given below:
“This is my second visit to this social welfare association to which many countries of the world are indebted, especially those in the East, and more so those in the Middle East. She is present in Lebanon, and those in charge have visited there several times since the late Cardinal Terence Cooke, who wrote, during the war, an objective and accurate report describing the then prevailing Lebanese situation. I cannot forget the visits of the late Cardinal O’Connor to our country and his moral and material support through this association. The Secretary General, Msgr. Robert Stern, has been continually visiting Lebanon and has there many friends. I was always happy to welcome him in my residence in Bkerke.
“Moreover, I am pleased that our brother bishop, Stephen Hector Doueihi, Eparch of St. Maron Eparchy in Brooklyn, has been cooperative with this association, and renewed the permission to Chorbishop John Faris, known for his competence in Canon Law and for his pastoral activities, to collaborate in her administration of this great association. He continues in traveling to the Far East and India, and also to the Eastern European countries, and maybe to some Latin American countries, in order to oversee the implementation of projects, which it supports.
“I renew my thanks to this association for its humanitarian activities, asking God to reward those in charge of it and grant it the continued success in its welfare mission.”
Syro-Malabar Eparchy Established
Pope Paul II established the Syro-Malabar Eparchy of St. Thomas of Chicago, the first Syro-Malabar Catholic eparchy in the United States, on 13 March. The Pope named Father Jacob Angadiath bishop and appointed him Permanent Apostolic Visitor for Syro-Malabar Catholics in Canada.
Bishop Angadiath, 55, was born in Kerala, India, and ordained for the Eparchy of Palai in 1972. He worked in a parish and was vice rector of the minor seminary until 1984, when he was named pastor of the Syro-Malabar Catholic mission in Dallas, Texas. Since 1997, he has served as pastor of the Syro-Malabar Catholic mission in Bellwood, Illinois.
Jewish leaders presented William Cardinal Keeler, Archbishop of Baltimore and Vice President of CNEWA, with the Yom Hashoah Menorah on 5 March. The first menorah to be placed in a U.S. Catholic institution was donated to St. Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore.
Commemorating the millions of lives lost in the Holocaust, the menorah is a replica of those given to Pope John Paul II and the North American College in Rome.
The Mid-Atlantic Dialogue of Muslims and Catholics, sponsored by the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the National Council of Catholic Bishops, held a three-day meeting from 27 to 29 March in Douglaston, N.Y., to review drafts of a resource guide on marriage and family life. CNEWA’s Brother David Carroll, F.S.C., Assistant to the Secretary General, represented the Archdiocese of New York.
Rebuilding in Lebanon
Msgr. Denis J. Madden, Associate Secretary General, inaugurated a restored sewage plant in Himana, Lebanon, on 2 May. As a result of damages sustained by the plant during the civil war, raw sewage was diverted to a nearby river, polluting water supply in villages downstream from Himana before CNEWA’s Pontifical Mission team in Beirut brought in their financial assistance and technical expertise.
Msgr. Madden visited another CNEWA-supported project, a dispensary in the northern village of Merkebta. The dispensary, which serves an additional six villages, replaces a smaller facility located in the basement of a private house. Five specialists offer medical care on a weekly basis; medicines are distributed and first aid and preventive healthcare are offered.
A Priest in the Family
A priest in the family is no novelty for Mr. and Mrs. Dale Thome of Waterloo, Iowa–over the years they have sponsored three seminarians through CNEWA.
In December, Mr. Thome traveled to India to attend the ordination of their latest seminarian, Syro-Malabar Catholic Father Jose Koothoor, C.M.I., at Dharmaram College in Bangalore.
A few weeks later, Mr. Thome attended a Divine Liturgy at Blessed Chavara Church in Ejipura, celebrated by Father Koothoor and another priest sponsored by the Thomes, Father Albert Ignatius. The Thomes had contributed to the construction of this church, so Mr. Thome had the pleasure of participating in the liturgy in a church he and his wife had helped to build, celebrated by priests they had sponsored.
God bless them for it.
Armenian Anniversary Observed
Marking the 1,700th anniversary of Christianity in Armenia, Pope John Paul II presided at an Armenian Divine Liturgy in St. Peter’s Basilica on 18 February. At the conclusion of the liturgy, the Pope gave Armenian Catholic Patriarch Nerses Bedros XIX a reliquary containing a fragment of the skull of St. Gregory the Illuminator, patron saint of Armenia.
Some 350,000 Armenian Catholics are dispersed worldwide, but there are still whole villages of Armenian Catholics in Armenia, Georgia and other republics of the former Soviet Union.
Pope John Paul II has appointed Walter Cardinal Kaspar, 68, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. Renowned as a theologian and ecumenist, the German Cardinal succeeds Edward Cardinal Cassidy, 76, an Australian who had been President of the Council since 1989.
The Pope has also announced that Sulpician Father Marc Ouellet, a Canadian professor at the Lateran University in Rome, has been named a bishop and Secretary of the Council.