The Middle East — for all its current turmoil, political and civil strife, and economic disparity — forms the cradle of Christianity, and is home to some of the most dynamic Christian communities living the Gospel to the fullest.
Throughout Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Syria, religious sisters, priests, lay men and women go about their days rolling up their sleeves, feeding the poor, caring for the sick, listening to the broken-hearted and finding opportunities and solutions for families of all faiths seeking stability and security — and a place to call home.
The coronavirus has hit the Middle East hard, devastating tourist-dependent economies, closing schools and social service programs, burdening weakened health care facilities, and prompting new surges in emigration from all sectors of the population. While economies may have slowed and activities halted, the churches of the Middle East plow on, responding to others — the vast majority of whom are not Christian. The churches work to address immediate existential needs of displaced families, such as medical care and food, and to more long-term investments in people’s lives, including catechesis, counseling, education and health care.
In 2019, CNEWA:
- Provided $20,500 to assist the education of seminarians at St. Peter’s Seminary in Baghdad and the formation of novices as Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena in Iraqi Kurdistan.
- Assisted the Italian Hospital in Amman and the Mother of Mercy Clinic in Zerqa, Jordan, with $251,857 in funds for the medical needs of refugees, migrants and the poor, and $69,831 to the Italian Hospital in Kerak for updated medical equipment.
- Helped parishes in Haifa, Jerusalem, Nazareth and Tel Aviv, with $92,313, to sponsor Bible summer camps and catechetical programs for their youth.
- Offered $4,500 to the Afro-Asian Migrant Center of the Jesuit community in Beirut for its pastoral support of African and Asian migrants in Lebanon.
- Gave $974,437 in support of health care initiatives for the displaced and the poor for clinics and dispensaries in Ainkawa, Dohuk, Kaznazan and Zakho, Iraqi Kurdistan, and St. Raphael Hospital in Baghdad.
- Rushed $183,216 in food and milk supplies for infants of Iraqi refugees in Jordan, and $24,364 for mattresses, blankets and kerosene heaters for their families.
- Assisted the Joint Christian Committee in Saida, southern Lebanon, with $168,782 in funds to support its educational program for Palestinian refugees fleeing the war in Syria.