Children help one another at the Our Lady of Armenia Education Center in Tashir, Armenia. (photo: Nazik Armenakyan)
In the last 100 years, the Church of Armenia has faced daunting trials. Everything from war, persecution, natural disasters — even genocide — has visited the Armenian people, the first to accept the Gospel as a nation. But even as survivors of the genocide flocked to safe havens, their cries moved Catholics in North America to help. In 1926, Pope Pius XI founded Catholic Near East Welfare Association to be the Catholic vehicle to do just that. Responding to CNEWA’s “Call of the East,” Catholics gave generously, enabling the Holy See to assist the local churches’ efforts to feed, clothe and heal throughout the “Near East.”
Among such sanctuaries is Anjar, a village in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley founded by survivors of the genocide. CNEWA has deep roots there, supporting the varied works of the Armenian churches — especially child care programs. Much of this support was directed through a powerful advocate at the time: Cardinal Gregory Peter XV Agagianian, the former patriarch of the Armenian Catholic Church and later the prefect of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches of the Holy See.
Anjar continues to house refugees, now sheltering Armenians fleeing civil war in Syria. And CNEWA is there, supporting the nurturing efforts of the Karagheusian Foundation in providing pediatric care, clinical and dental services and social assistance activities, such as counseling and tutoring for high-risk children.
Forging strong relationships with the leaders of the Armenian Apostolic Church has been a notable objective of CNEWA, particularly since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the confusion that has taken root in the Caucasus. Despair and poverty have devastated parish communities in rural Armenia and Georgia, where families have been torn apart as husbands and fathers leave for work elsewhere, never to return.
CNEWA is honored to support the efforts of the Armenian Catholic Ordinariate, the Armenian Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, and the charities of the Catholic bishops of Armenia and Georgia, Caritas Armenia and Caritas Georgia, respectively, in their efforts to build up the family, especially those most vulnerable: children, the elderly, and those with special needs. The Armenian Catholic Church is small in size, but its reach is extensive, and benefits all.
To learn how you can help, call:
1-800-442-6392 (United States)