John Paul Slept Here
During his brief visit to the republic of Georgia, Pope John Paul II spent the night at a shelter for homeless adults located in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi. Built by Caritas Georgia, with financial support from CNEWA and other funders, the shelter will be maintained by Mother Teresa’s community, the Missionaries of Charity.
While in the former Soviet republic, the Pope met with President Eduard Shevardnadze and Georgian Orthodox Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia, Ilia II. At a meeting with the Catholicos-Patriarch and the Holy Synod of the Georgian Orthodox Church, the Pope expressed his hope that the encounter would ‘be a grace-filled step toward a renewed fraternity between us.’
Hands Joined in Peace
Although Ethiopia and Eritrea are officially at war, Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant and Muslim religious leaders from each country are united in the quest for peace.
On November 21, at St. Gabriel’s Catholic Church in Washington, D.C., Abune Berhaneyesus, Catholic Metropolitan of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and Abune Zekarias, Catholic Bishop of Asmara, Eritrea, concelebrated a Divine Liturgy for peace. Large numbers of Ethiopians and Eritreans, Catholic and Orthodox, attended the Liturgy.
On separate occasions both bishops visited our New York offices in November, discussing with CNEWA’s senior staff their churches’ respective programs and the effects of war on their communities.
Eastern Catholic Encounter
Convoked by Achille Cardinal Silvestrini, Prefect of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches, some 100 bishops, priests and religious superiors from North and South America and Australia gathered in Boston in November.
Hosted by Bernard Cardinal Law, Archbishop of Boston, and funded in part by a generous grant from CNEWA, the meeting included discussions on the relationship of Eastern Catholic churches to their churches of origin in the Middle East and Europe, the relationship of Eastern Catholic churches to their sister Orthodox churches, ecumenism, clergy formation and religious education of the laity.
Msgr. Stern represented CNEWA. William Cardinal Keeler, Archbishop of Baltimore and Vice President of CNEWA, also participated. Chorbishop John D. Faris, Assistant Secretary General, spoke at a session on the relationship of Eastern Catholic churches to their churches of origin.
Requiescat in Pace
Msgr. Stephen J. Kelleher, 84, Field Director of the Pontifical Mission in Beirut, Lebanon, from 1960 to 1962, died 5 December in New York City. A priest of the Archdiocese of New York, Msgr. Kelleher joined the staff of CNEWA in 1959 as Assistant to the Secretary General and served in that post for one year.
As Field Director of the Pontifical Mission in Beirut, he launched a number of humanitarian projects affecting Palestinians, Jordanians and Lebanese that significantly broadened the scope of the Pontifical Mission’s work.
The Bronx-born monsignor is warmly remembered for his kindness and openness to people. May he rest in peace.
All in a Day’s Work
Nine-year-old Tsega Moges was born with cataracts in both eyes and he desperately needed corrective surgery. Unfortunately, surgery for children with congenital cataracts was not available in Ethiopia. Tsega’s parents asked CNEWA’s Addis Ababa office for help.
Brother Vincent Pelletier, F.S.C., Regional Director for Addis Ababa, immediately contacted Healing the Children, Inc., an American organization that arranges free medical care for children in need who live abroad. Healing the Children located a doctor, a hospital and a foster family to care for Tsega temporarily while he recovered. CNEWA then arranged for Ethiopian Airlines to give Tsega a free round-trip ticket from Ethiopia to the United States.
Tsega’s surgery was successful and on 5 December a happy Tsega returned to his family in Ethiopia with the best Christmas present of all – good vision.
Women and children of Pinkulam no longer need to walk long distances to obtain pure drinking water, thanks to a 1999 CNEWA grant to improve existing wells and dig new ones in the impoverished village located in the Syro-Malankara Catholic Diocese of Marthandom.
The Bethany Fathers, who administered the grant, noted that although basic health care and health education are in theory available throughout India, the reality is very different. The project, they said, would help prevent disease and would be ‘an unforgettable blessing to the people.’