Take Five: 5 Facts about CNEWA Canada

Carl Hétu, left, and Father Thomas Rosica, CEO of Salt+Light Television, participated in a panel discussion at the ?Across the Divide? screening in Vancouver earlier this summer.
(photo: The B.C. Catholic Paper)

Antin Sloboda is a development assistant in our Canada office.

Many of you may know that CNEWA’s headquarters are in New York City. But what you may not know is that we have another office in North America, in Canada.

Below are some interesting facts about CNEWA’s Canadian family:

  1. We have an archbishop for a neighbor. Our national office is based in Ottawa, situated in the same building on 1247 Kilborn Place where the Archdiocese of Ottawa has its administrative headquarters. It’s also just a short walk to the offices of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. Being based in Canada’s capital helps us to work closely with our church leadership as well as to interact with other NGOs and country leaders that play a crucial role in areas important to CNEWA’s mission.

  2. We’re the new kids on the block. Among all CNEWA’s offices, the Canadian one is the youngest. We’ve only been in existence since 2005. We were established with the support and endorsement of the Archbishop of Ottawa, Marcel André J. Gervais.

  3. We’re busy. We support projects in all regions where CNEWA has been historically present. Since the day of CNEWA Canada’s founding, its priorities have been focused on helping people in the Middle East, in particular the Christian minorities of Iraq. A lot of our energy these days is devoted to assisting the victims of violent conflicts in Syria and Egypt. Our Eastern European program is also well-established and grows as needs arise.

  4. We have some special projects, too. Among our special projects this year is a public awareness campaign on the important role that Bethlehem University plays in the Holy Land. This project has been undertaken in cooperation with the Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation, which produced a special documentary about the university, “Across the Divide”. This summer the documentary is being screened in many cities across Canada. At recent screenings in Vancouver and Halifax, auditoriums were filled to capacity. There are also plans to show the film in Toronto, Ottawa and Windsor.

    Another special initiative undertaken this year is a joint project with the Catholic Women’s League of Canada (CWL). The project is called “Velma’s Dream” and it aims to assist children from Christian minorities in Jerusalem. It will help to create favorable learning conditions for children, so more of them will be able to succeed in school and life. Last Monday, a detailed presentation of the project was given by our National Director, Carl Hétu at the National CWL Convention in Edmonton, and it was enthusiastically received by the convention’s delegates who represented over 100,000 Canadian Catholic Women.

  5. We have our own board. CNEWA Canada is overseen by a Board of Directors consisting of six bishops. It is chaired by Most Rev. Terrence Prendergast, S.J, Archbishop of Ottawa. The other five bishops represent different regions of Canada. Our vice chair is Cardinal Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto.

    In our Ottawa office, there are five of us who implement CNEWA’s mission on a daily basis: Carl Hétu, Judith Poitevien, Melodie Gabriel, Francois Moniz and myself. We’re a small team, but we work well together, sharing our tasks, challenges and hopes.

    We also share various responsibilities, from fundraising to data processing and managing donor relations — and writing occasional posts for CNEWA’s blog!

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