There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test him and said, ‘Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’
Jesus said to him, ‘What is written in the law? How do you read it?’
He said in reply, ‘You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.’
He replied to him, ‘You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.’
But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’ (Lk10:25-29)
I offer this perspective as I begin my third year of service as president of Catholic Near East Welfare Association and Pontifical Mission.
First, congratulations to CNEWA! The agency received 44 press awards from the Catholic Media Association at its annual media conference in early July! My compliments go to ONE, our website and blog, Michael J.L. La Civita, who was named Communications Director of the Year in the individual excellence category that also included recognition of Laura Ieraci as editor and Paul Grillo as designer. I congratulate all involved, in our New York City office, Ottawa and all our regional offices whose selection of local writers, photographers and videographers deserve the credit for keeping our readers and donors well informed about the mission of the agency. Congratulations!
From late April into early May, I accompanied the chair of our board of trustees, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, archbishop of New York, to Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine. The cardinal wished to bring prayerful solidarity and stimulate greater financial assistance for both Ukrainian refugees who fled to neighboring countries and internally displaced Ukrainians, uprooted from their cities, towns, villages and farms.
In June, with CNEWA’s chief financial officer, Tresool Singh-Conway, and CNEWA’s director of programs, Thomas Varghese, we visited our teams in Amman, Beirut and Jerusalem, and made a pastoral visit to Gaza. Later that month, I was in Rome for the annual plenary session of aid agencies convened by the Dicastery for Eastern Churches and for the meeting of the international Board of Regents of Bethlehem University.
These journeys all highlighted the Gospel question placed before Jesus: “And who is my neighbor?”
I thank you, the readers of ONE and our most generous donors, for all your support that enables us, on your behalf, to reach out to our neighbors. How? Through the work of our dedicated and talented teams in our regional offices, who collaborate closely with the local church, particularly the papal nuncios, bishops, religious women and men, priests and deacons, and especially lay leadership. How? Through your support in prayer. Union in prayer must be the highest priority. How? Through your financial assistance that enables us to educate, to offer all forms of humanitarian assistance, psychosocial counseling, holistic formation programs and leadership training.
We are most grateful to our extraordinary donor family. We always will be accountable to you and transparent in the execution of your wishes. It is my hope we will also expand our donor family through new and innovative ideas.
Permit me to invite you to support us in some new ways, intended to support the many requests for aid in our program:
• Monthly live webinars that I have the honor and privilege to host, where I offer an update on our activities and am available for your questions.
• On 13 October, a fundraiser for Ukraine in Westchester County, New York, at the home of a founder of an art gallery. Female artists, both local and from Ukraine, will reflect on the critical role of art in the preservation of cultural identity.
• On 1 November, an exhibit at the Sheen Center for Thought & Culture in Lower Manhattan that will open the same day as a special presentation on the art of the Sistine Chapel.
• On 13 December, CNEWA’s first gala dinner in Manhattan, with Cardinal Dolan, the chair of our board, as the guest of honor.
• In May 2023, CNEWA’s inaugural ‘Who Is My Neighbor?’ Golf Classic on Long Island.
I hope we can hold other golf classics in different locations. Please let me know if you would like to see a golf classic near you. Please consider offering your support to any of these initiatives. You can contact us at email@example.com.
September is marked by the annual session of the General Assembly of the United Nations. Every country in which we work is represented in that international body. The history of the modern papacy has been marked by the visits of popes to the United Nations: St. Paul VI in 1965; St. John Paul II in 1979 and 1995; Benedict XVI in 2008; and Francis in 2015.
Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, the current permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in New York, has been an outstanding spokesperson for the church in the articulation of our values and our charge in promoting a culture of dialogue.
In promoting a culture of dialogue, the church remains a critical moral voice in keeping the Gospel question, “Who is my neighbor?” before the world body.
I thank you for your prayers, your interest in our mission and your indispensable financial sacrifices and support, especially in these challenging times.