ONE Magazine

The official publication of
Catholic Near East Welfare Association

Celebrating 50 years | God • World • Human Family • Church

The Last Word

Perspectives from the president

“And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.” (Lk 2:19)
“Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister. … When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother.’  And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.” (Jn 19:25-27)

Each year, in the March edition of ONE, we mark the anniversary of the founding of CNEWA by Pope Pius XI on 11 March 1926. This year, we also mark the 75th anniversary of our work in the Middle East with the founding of Pontifical Mission by Pope Pius XII.

Given the current war in the Middle East, which erupted after the attack on the state of Israel on 7 October, we have never seen a greater importance to the presence of CNEWA-Pontifical Mission in that region. We lament the horror of the attack on 7 October, especially the loss of innocent Israeli life. We also lament the loss of innocent Palestinian life that has followed, both in Gaza and the West Bank. 

I follow the developments on the ground throughout the region on a frequent basis. On my annual visit to Jerusalem and Bethlehem in December, I received reports about innocent people — both Palestinian and Israeli — killed on and since 7 October, and the impact this has had on their families. CNEWA-Pontifical Mission continues to reach out on behalf of the Palestinians through our Emergency Relief Fund for the Holy Land and our ongoing support of Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. We have also joined with ecumenical and interfaith groups in our fight against racism and antisemitism.

This year marks another significant anniversary — the 50th anniversary of our award-winning magazine. First published in 1974 as Catholic Near East Magazine, it was renamed CNEWA World in 2001, and then ONE in 2004. By way of celebration throughout the year, both in print and online, the magazine will draw on some of the insights of our diverse authors over five decades. I thank Michael La Civita for his dedication to the magazine since 1989. I add my gratitude to Laura Ieraci, the current editor. ONE has been blessed with authors, photographers and an outstanding production staff over its years of existence, and I have noted previously the record-breaking 49 awards conferred to ONE at the Catholic Media Conference last June.

The cover of the first issue of ONE magazine, published in December 1974, features the Bethlehem skyline with the Church of the Nativity and the Mosque of Omar. (photo: CNEWA)

This March edition invites us to review the major locations and issues where CNEWA continues to work: the Holy Land, India, Eastern Europe, Northeast Africa and Iraq. These articles will accompany most readers on their Lenten journey toward our celebration of Easter. This holy season of Lent, or the Great Fast, as our Eastern Christian brothers and sisters refer to it, asks us to intensify our lives of prayer, to engage in the practice of fasting and to increase our almsgiving. These practices will enable us to enter more fully into the missionary fire and light of the Resurrection! They cannot be neglected.

At the beginning of my reflection, I quoted the texts that invite us to see our Christian lives through the eyes, heart and life of the Blessed Virgin Mary. As I have written before, in every culture where CNEWA serves there exists a deep Marian sensitivity and imprint. She is everywhere. 

I invite you then to enter the maternal disposition of the Theotokos, the God-bearer: of listening, learning and contemplating the mystery of God’s plan for her life and for our lives. Only by cultivating a CNEWA culture of listening, learning and contemplating will we grow in our appreciation for the intimate relationship that must exist in our mission to serve, our call to action before God, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 

Lent and Easter challenge us to set out with a great sense of urgency and “haste” (Lk 1:39) as witnesses and missionaries to the crucified and risen Lord!

With my gratitude and prayers,

Peter I. Vaccari 


Read this article in our digital print format here.

Msgr. Peter I. Vaccari is president of CNEWA.

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