Current Issue
September, 2019
Volume 45, Number 3
3 July 2013
Megan Knighton

A little boy plays at the Infant Welfare Center. (photo: CNEWA)

Velma’s Dream brought together women from all over Canada to support the tremendous efforts of women in the Holy Land — efforts like the Infant Welfare Center in the Old City of Jerusalem, Israel.

The Infant Welfare Center helps children with learning disabilities throughout Jerusalem. Unfortunately, many families are unaware of the special needs of their children, and attempt to integrate them in local schools. The Infant Welfare Center founded a school for remedial education to address these needs.

In addition to helping local children, the center runs classes and lectures for mothers. They offer courses in parenting, nutrition, mental health and even yoga!

The women and men behind the Infant Welfare Center welcomed the Catholic Women’s League, and brought them face to face with the children and mothers they help. What a joyous experience it was for the C.W.L. women!

Tags: Jerusalem Children Holy Land Education Disabilities

1 July 2013
Megan Knighton

I had the privilege to meet with Sister Marta from the Paul VI Ephpheta Institute for the deaf here in Bethlehem. Unfortunately, deafness is a common problem facing the Palestinian community. The incidence of deafness is approximately 3 percent, sometimes reaching as high as 15 percent in certain villages — a much higher percentage compared with other regions of the world.

CNEWA has sponsored the Ephpheta Institute since its founding over 40 years ago, helping the sisters, teachers and staff provide a quality education for deaf and hearing-impaired children throughout the Palestinian community. Sister Marta spent the afternoon showing us around the school and speaking about the challenges faced by these children. I could go on about the amazing work of these Sisters and the special life of the children they serve, but Sister Marta puts it better — listen to her talk about the importance of building trust and self-confidence in these children:

You can read more about the good work of Ephpheta here. And visit this page to learn how you can help children with challenges.

Tags: Children Holy Land Education Bethlehem Disabilities

5 June 2013
Megan Knighton

Msgr. Kozar speaks with Joseph Hester, Esq., of New York City. (photo: CNEWA)

Msgr. John Kozar and the CNEWA staff welcomed local members of the CNEWA family to our New York office this morning.

After celebrating Mass for our guests, Msgr. Kozar hosted a reception that focused on CNEWA’s work in Ethiopia and Eritrea. Msgr. Kozar shared his reflections and stories of his recent trip to the region, and highlighted the agency’s work and goals for the peoples and churches there.

Thank you to everyone who attended this morning — and thank you, especially, for supporting our good works in the Horn of Africa!

Msgr. Kozar shares his reflections of his pastoral visit to the Horn of Africa. (photo: CNEWA)

Tags: CNEWA Africa Donors CNEWA Canada CNEWA Pontifical Mission

22 March 2013
Megan Knighton

A pregnant woman gets a checkup at the Mother of Mercy Clinic in Zerqa, Jordan. The clinic is run by the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena and receives funding from CNEWA. (photo: John E. Kozar)

Megan Knighton is a charitable giving advisor for CNEWA.

Spring is a time for new life and new hope — and CNEWA is helping to bring both to women and children in need.

No baby should ever die because her mother cannot afford a safe birth. No mother should ever have to suffer that pain. One of the most pressing needs in the places we serve is medical care — especially for pregnant women and for newborns during the first hopeful-yet-vulnerable months of their precious young lives.

That is why our CNEWA family supports mother-and-child health clinics such as the Mother of Mercy Clinic in Zerqa, Jordan, and the Little Sisters of Nazareth Baby Care Center, which serves Christian Palestinian refugees in Dbayeh, Lebanon.

Thanks to prayers and generous donations, in 2012 the doctors and nurses at these two clinics were able to serve mothers and young children to the fullest. Here are just five of their successes:

  • Delivered over 1,000 healthy newborns

  • Provided 15,000 newborns and young children with free physicals and vaccinations

  • Gave free gynecological exams for any pregnant woman seeking care from our clinics

  • Screened every pregnant mother for vitamin and nutrient deficiencies and gave necessary supplements and dietary information

  • Purchased two new sonar machines that doubled the number of ultrasounds performed in a year

If you believe every baby deserves a safe birth, please make a generous donation today to CNEWA. You will help us to help others — and continue to bring forth a new springtime of life and hope for so many. God bless you and your family!

Tags: CNEWA Children Health Care Donors Women

21 December 2012
Megan Knighton

(photo: CNEWA)

Megan Knighton is a charitable giving advisor for CNEWA.

The only way you can get an authentic Racine Danish Kringle is if you are in Racine, Wisconsin. Or if you happen to know an extra-generous Racinian who wants to mail one to you. Luckily, I meet extra-generous people every day through my job in the development office of CNEWA—and that helped bring a Kringle into my life this week!

Here is the background: Allen Buhler was a successful entrepreneur who was also a benefactor of CNEWA. He had a special concern for the Christians of the Holy Land and the humanitarian works of their churches. (We reported on his generosity in the pages of our magazine, and how he gave a grant to a medical clinic that now bears his daughter’s name.) Allen was called home to God last year, and his family wanted to honor his love for the poor and the churches that CNEWA serves. I visited them in the fall to discuss ways to keep his legacy alive through CNEWA.

Somehow, we got to talking about Cardinal Timothy Dolan and Kringles. It turns out the Buhlers know the chair of ourboard from his days as archbishop in Milwaukee — and they also know that he loves Kringles. I had never even heard of Kringles. But the Buhlers told me that I simply had to try one. And if I couldn’t find my way to the bakery, well, they’d get one to me somehow.

Well, guess what came in the mail this week. Not one, but two Kringles! We sent one to Cardinal Dolan—a little Christmas present from the Buhlers and us—and saved the other to share with the rest of the CNEWA staff, including Msgr. Kozar, who savored a slice before heading out the door for a trip to the Holy Land, where he’ll celebrate Christmas Mass in Bethlehem.

(photo: CNEWA)

Maybe this impromptu party was a way to welcome Christmas before all of the planes, trains and automobiles that usually mark the start of the season. It was certainly a way to celebrate the continuing thoughtfulness and concern of so many good people like the Buhlers (who decided to honor Allen by making a generous donation to the Mother of Mercy clinic in Zerka.)

And, in case you’re wondering: yes, the Kringle was worth the wait (and, um, the weight...we all start our diet in January...!) Curious? Check out the bakery’s website.

I hope you have a sweet and merry Christmas!

Tags: CNEWA Donors Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan

10 August 2012
Megan Knighton

A Palestinian doctor examines a child at the N.E.C.C. Mother and Child Clinic in Gaza City.
(photo: Eman Mohammed)

The Gaza Strip has been under siege for years. Continuing blockades prohibit much-needed healthcare commodities from entering the region — such as medicines, advanced technology and other medical supplies, even medical staff. The situation remains highly tenuous as community health needs continue to grow.

But there is hope! Last year CNEWA, in partnership with our generous donors, successfully advanced the health and well-being of communities throughout the Gaza Strip by sponsoring healthcare projects offered by the clinics of the Near East Council of Churches (N.E.C.C.). Together, we worked to promote and restore dignity for families and children by helping to provide basic medical care.

Here are five things you’ve helped us to accomplish:

  1. Raised awareness. The N.E.C.C. clinics, working with local organizations, held over 2,000 public health campaigns covering topics like breastfeeding, personal hygiene, nutrition education and psychosocial counseling.
  2. Brightened smiles. Mobile dental clinics were set up to administer basic free dental care to remote, under-served communities throughout Gaza. Dental exams increased from 6,479 to 7,056.
  3. Immunized kids. Over 9,000 children were newly registered last year at the clinics. That means each child received a free checkup and any missing vaccinations and inoculations. Early registration of infants increased, too!
  4. Stocked shelves. Ensured fully stocked pharmacies throughout the year at all clinics, allowing them to provide services to families and at-risk groups unable to receive full treatment at other under-stocked clinics in the area.
  5. Cared for pregnant mothers. Through our clinics, over 1,500 mothers received excellent pre- and postnatal care, including classes and lectures about good habits for raising healthy children and caring for families and women’s empowerment. Each mother and newborn also received thorough follow-ups from clinic staff.

You can read more about recent efforts to help the people of Gaza in “Behind the Blockade” from the March 2012 issue of ONE. And visit our “Ways to Give” page to learn how you can make a difference yourself!

Tags: Gaza Strip/West Bank Health Care Women

15 March 2012
Megan Knighton

Sister Leema Rose, one of four Nirmala Dasi Sisters working in Dharavi, a slum in the center of Mumbai, makes her evening rounds to visit the sick and those struggling to make ends meet. (photo: Peter Lemieux)

Megan Knighton is a Major Gifts Officer for CNEWA.

When I was 21, I spent the summer working in India with a group of sisters and lay women. I had never traveled that far from home and I remember being petrified hovering over the Pacific Ocean on my 24-hour flight to Chennai. I was going to work for the Christian Council of Social Services, an ecumenical organization dedicated to eradicating poverty, improving healthcare and supporting workers’ and women’s rights. It has also partnered with CNEWA. Idealistic and young, I had big ideas about what people needed. I wanted to help implement various on-the-ground models for improving the lives and dignity of the poor, particularly women. But what I learned on that trip was far more than just practical and effective ways to deliver humanitarian care.

It’s amazing how much of my life as a middle-class, American woman is embedded in privilege. I can wake up every morning and take a warm shower, go to my kitchen and have a cup of tea and an English muffin, take the subway to my 9-to-5 job and sit in my cubicle reaching out to donors and feeling good about my contribution to the world. I have acollege degree, in fact a graduate degree. I have insurance and access to quality healthcare whenever I need it. I can facebook and tweet all day if I want to from my office computer, my Blackberry, or my laptop at home. I can go to sleep at night assured that my neighborhood is, for the most part, safe and protected. I am, generally speaking, a very blessed woman.

What I experienced in India was a little different. The word that best captures the spirit of Chennai is contrast. Modern art museums next to shanty towns. Mercedes driving next to ox-carts. Educated, female business owners walkingnext to poor prostitutes. One woman I worked with summed it up rather succinctly: “In America, women wear mini-skirts, they go out on the town, they have choices. But it is here, in India, where we have some of the most educated women in the world, while the poor women suffer from one of the highest rates of H.I.V./AIDS in the world.” That is a chilling contrast.

The sisters and women I met and worked with in Chennai understand the reality of poverty, H.I.V., depression, addiction and domestic violence that afflicts their community. But this doesn’t stop them from using their incredible strength, creativity and energy to help. They labor every day to ensure that the rights and privileges they’ve worked so hard to obtain are protected. They devote their lives to ensuring that families are cared for and well fed, and that children are immunized. They teach women skills to work and support their families. Theyhelp men overcome alcoholism and depression through empowerment workshops and retreats. This is the power of women to change their communities for the better.

I left India with a deeper appreciation for what religious women and men have done to allow me to have the privileges and freedoms I now enjoy. I also came away with a deep reverence for the sacrifices of those women I worked with who truly understand the power of kindness and perseverance to change the world. Let’s celebrate these women!

To learn more about the sister pictured above, check out our interview below with photojournalist Peter Lemieux. He told us about his experience working with the Nirmala Dasi Sisters in Mumbai, while reporting the July 2011 story, ‘Slumdog’ Sisters for ONE.

Tags: India Women Women in India

6 December 2011
Megan Knighton

Charitable Giving Advisor Megan Knighton, Father Antoine Rizk, B.S.O., honoree Gregory Oussani and CNEWA's Director of Major Gifts Bob Pape celebrate at the Salaam Club holiday party last weekend. (photo: Marc Hibsher, Brooklyn Eagle)

CNEWA would like to congratulate our dear friend, Gregory Oussani, for receiving the Man of the Year Award from the Salaam Club of New York. Founded in 1945, the Salaam Club describes itself as “a dedicated cultural fraternity of men of Middle Eastern descent.” Its motto is “That Better Understanding Among Men May Prevail.”

I joined our Director of Major Gifts Bob Pape Saturday evening to celebrate with Greg at the Salaam Club’s holiday party in Brooklyn, where Greg humbly received his honor.

Greg, as the award duly notes, is a dedicated humanitarian and philanthropist who actively supports the mission of CNEWA and other Catholic organizations. In fact, just last year, Greg and the members of the Salaam Club helped CNEWA in a most meaningful way. CNEWA urgently needed to secure funding for a life-saving medical treatment for Sally, a young Chaldean Catholic who, along with her family, had to flee Baghdad for fear of kidnapping. After finding refuge in Jordan, Sally needed urgent medical treatment for a tumor in her leg. Sally and her family had nothing; the situation looked bleak. Thanks to the efforts of Greg and the members of the Salaam Club, Sally was able to receive the life-saving treatment!

We shared the evening with Greg’s family and friends, including Greg’s pastor, Father Antoine Rizk, B.S.O., who was a previous beneficiary of our seminarian program.

We can all attest that Greg is certainly worthy of such recognition. CNEWA appreciates all of Greg’s efforts in supporting the mission of CNEWA, which allows us to help our brothers and sisters in need overseas.

Congratulations, Greg! God bless you.

Tags: Health Care Relief Donors Seminarians

6 September 2011
Megan Knighton

Pope Pius XI founded CNEWA 85 years ago. (You can read about how the agency started right here – and also read the first chapters of John Gavin Nolan’s memoir about CNEWA’s early years at this link). Well, last week, I heard from a donor who has been supporting our work for 70 of those 85 years!

If anyone deserves the title of Most Dedicated Donor it just might be Clarence B. of Minnesota!

In a letter, he shared the story of his decades-long devotion to Christ’s poor and to CNEWA:

I was born on 8 December 1918. Guess who my patron saint is? The Blessed Virgin Mary. I just celebrated my 70th wedding anniversary. My wife Lorraine and I have 11 grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren and more coming. I think we are doing God’s plan.

I had a brother who had 12 children. Times have changed. Not all of them attend Mass. I had another brother who was a Protonotary Apostolic of Dallas, Tex., in the 60’s. He would have had them going to church!

I’ve given to your agency since my marriage... I’m sorry I can’t give you thousands of dollars, but charity starts at home, and with 31 grandchildren I try to do my best. I pray for your agency. God bless us all.

If you’d like to follow in Clarence B.’s footsteps, there are lots of ways to support the work of CNEWA around the world. Visit this page for more information.

Tags: CNEWA Funding