Msgr. Kozar Reflects: ‘It’s all About Bringing Hope to People’

Catholic New York, the newspaper for the Archdiocese of New York, interviewed CNEWA’s president Msgr. John E. Kozar recently, and he offered some thoughts about his approaching retirement and CNEWA’s ongoing mission in the world:

Msgr. John E. Kozar, president of Catholic Near East Welfare Association/Pontifical Mission for Palestine, is retiring 30 June.

An agency of the Holy See founded by Pope Pius XI in 1926, CNEWA works for, through and with the Eastern churches throughout the Middle East, Northeast Africa, India and Eastern Europe.

Msgr. Kozar, a priest of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, began his tenure as president of CNEWA/PMP in 2011, after having served as national director of the Pontifical Mission Societies for 10 years.

Msgr. Peter Vaccari, formerly the rector of St. Joseph’s Seminary in Dunwoodie, was named to succeed Msgr. Kozar as president of CNEWA/PMP, Cardinal Dolan announced last October.

Msgr. Vaccari initiated the process of transition as vice president on 1 January and will assume his responsibilities as president 1 July.

The Holy See approved the nomination and election to succession.

Msgr. Kozar, who turns 75 in October, reflected on his years at CNEWA/PMP in a phone interview with CNY 12 June.

He said his appointment has been an honor bestowed on him. “I find it just a great blessing for my priesthood, for my own soul, the development of my spirituality. I had the privilege for these nine-plus years of reaching out in the name of the Holy Father on behalf of the universal Church to many areas of the world that are forgotten or that know nothing but conflict or oppression or have never enjoyed any kind of benefits that others, maybe even in their own locale, have enjoyed.

“It’s all about bringing hope to people. We are messengers of hope,” he said of himself and his staff. “Everything that we do—even when it might be humanitarian or crisis intervention—is done in a pastoral way. It’s the hands of a shepherd—in one sense, the hands of our Holy Father, but the hands of Jesus Himself, as the Good Shepherd.

“We are accompanying the local Church. That has been, for me, very, very fulfilling.”

Read it all in Catholic New York.

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