NEW YORK — CNEWA’s president, Msgr. John E. Kozar, has released $849,200 to aid Christians in the Middle East. “The funds address a broad spectrum of needs across a broad area of the region,” he said, “and reflect the vast scale of the challenges facing Middle East Christians.”
CNEWA’s aid supports initiatives as diverse as post-trauma counseling, medical care, formation of sisters and priests, and renovation of church institutions. Always, programs are administered by CNEWA’s personnel in the region, who partner with the local churches and their priests, sisters and lay professionals. These funds represent the second portion of CNEWA’s allocation from the collection taken up last autumn in most U.S. dioceses. Support includes:
$161,000 to renovate or furnish church institutions — such as socio-pastoral centers, schools, vocational training centers, schools for children with special needs and orphanages — destroyed during anti-Christian riots in Egypt in August 2013.
$100,000 to house the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena, many of whom now live in shipping containers in Iraqi Kurdistan. Since being displaced from their convents by ISIS, the sisters have faced great hardship and loss, including the deaths of 12 sisters.
$15,000 to assist Iraqi men and women study theology at Babal College in Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan. As the Iraqi Christian community is dispersed further, proper theological formation is necessary to help these communities maintain their rites and traditions.
$80,000 to assist parishes in Jordan hosting Iraqi refugee families. Living in parish multipurpose centers, families carve out whatever private space they can with temporary dividers, while parishioners distribute bedding, clothing and food.
$12,000 to support counseling services at Mother of Mercy Clinic in Zerqa, Jordan. Administered and staffed by the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena, Mother of Mercy maternity clinic serves impoverished refugee expectant mothers. These funds will help the sisters employ a social worker, which is needed to help serve an increasing number of refugees.
$45,000 to support counseling assistance, tutorial services, catechesis and English classes for marginalized populations, especially Syrian and Iraqi refugee families, at the Pontifical Mission Community Center in Amman.
$20,000 to provide additional medical care to refugees at Amman’s Italian Hospital.
$45,000 to host summer Bible camps for impoverished children in Jordan. Run by parishes and congregations of sisters, summer Bible camps offer refugee children (Syrian and Iraqi) as well as impoverished Jordanian children a respite from the drudgery of poverty. Camps provide counseling, catechesis and recreation.
$48,000 to assist refugees in Jordan who need complicated medical tests and procedures identified by our health care partners, e.g., radiology, urology and ophthalmological procedures, endoscopies and cardio vascular tests.
$50,000 to provide schooling for Iraqi refugee children in Catholic schools in Jordan.
$133,200 to help the churches’ outreach to the poor in Lebanon, devastated by an influx of more than a million refugees.
Funds will assist a dispensary sponsored by various religious communities of women in Naba’a with hospital fees, medical tests and food and hygiene packages; the Little Sisters of Nazareth and their work with poor children living in Dbayeh; schooling and hospital expenses for nearly 300 people cared for by the Archeparchy of Zahle; and medical care offered by the Franciscan Sisters of the Cross.
$80,000 to help the Chaldean and Syriac Catholic churches in Lebanon care for nearly 1,600 Iraqi families who have fled ISIS, providing food and hygiene packages.
$20,000 to cover medical care costs of Gaza’s seniors, whose needs are identified by Gaza’s parish priests. Ahli Arab Hospital, administered by the Anglican Church, provides care for those whose medical needs have been exacerbated by war.
$40,000 to rush essentials to Syrian Christians fleeing ISIS in the northeastern Syrian city of Al Hasakah. Monies will purchase milk and diapers, food packages, medicines and other essentials to families who have fled their villages south of the city.
Most of these funds supplement CNEWA’s 2015 budgeted commitment of more than $6.4 million for the peoples and churches of the Middle East. CNEWA’s Middle East program includes basic support for displaced Iraqi and Syrian families; formation programs for seminarians in Egypt, Iraq and Lebanon; youth formation initiatives in Egypt, Jordan, Palestine and Syria; health care support across the region, especially pre- and post-natal care; and various social service efforts for the poor and the indigent.
An agency of the Holy See, CNEWA works throughout the Middle East, with offices in Amman, Beirut and Jerusalem. On behalf of the pope, CNEWA works for, through and with the Eastern churches. CNEWA is a registered charity in Canada and in the United States by the State of New York. All contributions are tax deductible and tax receipts are issued. In the United States, donations can be made online at www.cnewa.org; by phone at 800.442.6392; or by mail, CNEWA, 1011 First Avenue, New York, NY 10022-4195. In Canada, visit www.cnewa.ca; send your gift to 1247 Kilborn Place, Ottawa, Ontario K1H 6K9; or call toll-free at 1-866-322-4441.