11 March 2014
In this image from 2011, Father Shnork Kasparian, right, is honored on the 50th anniversary of his ordination by Archbishop Khajag Barsamian in St. Louis, Missouri.
(photo: The Armenian Reporter)
Robert Pape serves as major gifts officer in CNEWA’s New York offices.
On 3 March, the CNEWA family lost a most loyal friend and steadfast supporter. Very Rev. Father Shnork Kasparian, a member of the Armenian Apostolic Church, passed peacefully into eternal life.
Father Kasparian was born in Alexandria, Egypt, in May 1929. He graduated with the London Chamber of Commerce diploma from the British School. In 1959, he graduated from St. James Seminary in Jerusalem, and was ordained a deacon.
Father Kasparian spoke nine languages. In 1961, he was ordained a celibate priest in Cairo by Archbishop Mampre Siroonian, primate of Egypt. In 1962, he was assigned pastoral duties in Sao Paolo, Brazil, and was elevated to the rank of Vartabed by Archbishop Papken Abadian. In 1963, he was appointed Vicar General of Brazil and Uruguay.
In 1969, he was invited by his Holiness Vazken I, Catholicos of all Armenians, and was assigned as dean of the seminary in Etchmiadzin. In 1979, he was invited by the patriarch of Constantinople, Archbishop Shnork Kaloostian, as his personal assistant and representative in foreign and ecumenical activities. In 1974, he was elevated to Dzayrakooyn Vartabed.
Father Kasparian served as pastor in Milwaukee, Worcester and Belleville, IL; and Providence, RI. He has also served in Canada.
On 15 December 2010, Father Kasparian was assigned as the visiting pastor of Holy Virgin Mary and Shoghagat Church of Belleville. It was in Belleville where I first met Father Shnork. CNEWA was partnering with the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops and Caritas Armenia for the building of a civic center to care for children with special needs in Gyumri, Armenia. Father and I spent a cold February day at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows. We walked the entire grounds of the shrine. We stopped to talk. We stopped to pray. We stopped to laugh. I wanted to stop and go someplace warm!
I came away from that first meeting knowing that I had met a man of true faith. Although I wasn’t particularly familiar with Armenian Apostolic traditions, I realized the message of East and West is the same. We must look out and care for our sisters and brothers in need.
Father Kasparian’s support of that civic center was vital in getting the project started. In the years to come, countless children with special needs will be cared for and caregivers who have been properly trained because of the prayers and support of this good man.
That initial meeting led to numerous phone calls; we had each other’s cell phone numbers on speed dial. Inspirational emails were exchanged—mostly from him to me. I did have the chance to go back to Belleville and attend Sunday services. I truly enjoyed the opportunity to hear Father Shnork preach. It is an experience I shall always remember.
I will miss my friend. I know he is with our Lord. I pray he keeps an eye out for me until we meet again.
21 October 2013
Bob Pape is director of major gifts for CNEWA.
Last Thursday, I had the pleasure to visit with the Golden Lions of St. Pius X Catholic High School in Atlanta, Georgia, at the invitation of Msgr. Richard Lopez, a longtime friend of CNEWA. He had asked if I could speak to the students about the current situation faced by our brothers and sisters in Syria and CNEWA’s efforts to assist.
Entering the school, I had the feeling that I was in a very special place for students to learn and grow, to develop their unique talents and to strengthen their faith. Enthusiasm and positive attitudes abound not only among the students, but the faculty as well. The motto of the school is Domini Sumus — “We are the Lord’s.” I was reminded of this phrase throughout my visit.
I met with a large group of students in the auditorium. They were most welcoming, polite and respectful. I asked them if they had an opinion of Pope Francis and their response was overwhelmingly favorable. This reaction gave me a glimpse into just how well the Holy Father must have been received during World Youth Day in Brazil. I next gave a brief history of the Eastern churches. I simply tried to present the idea that Christianity has its original roots in the Middle East and the church of the Apostles.
I spoke about the current plight of the Christians in the Middle East in general — specifically, the suffering of the Christians in Syria. The students were very receptive. I tried to present the information in a way that would break down some of the misconceptions and stereotypes that seem to be ever present when the topic of Christians in the Middle East is discussed. For example: “Aren’t all Arabs Muslims?” — or, put another way, “Is there such a thing as an Arab Christian?”
When I reached the topic of the current state of the civil war in Syria, I realized how difficult it is to explain exactly who is fighting and why. I did the best I could. One point I was able to make clear, though, was the suffering endured by Syrian Christians who are caught in the middle of the conflict. When you start mentioning the number of Christians who have been killed, injured and displaced by the violence, you realize the magnitude of this crisis. I also wanted the students to be aware of the toll the violence has taken on the children of Syria in terms of physical injury, hunger, homelessness and lack of consistent education.
After I explained the work of CNEWA in assisting Christians in Syria, we got into a discussion of how students in Atlanta can help those suffering in Syria. Many good ideas were mentioned and the power of prayer was clearly mentioned as a way each of the students could help. This was very gratifying to hear.
I urged the students never to doubt that life can and will improve for our brothers and sisters in Syria, and even reminded them of Pope Francis’ direction: “Don’t let yourself be robbed of hope!” But I think I was the one who came away with the strongest feeling of hope. I was uplifted by the hope found in these young people who embrace their faith in their daily lives and who understand the need to get involved to help others. I was inspired by the hope that comes from knowing that the future of our faith is in good hands — such as those of the students of St. Pius X, who will grow up to be genuine witnesses to our faith throughout their lives. I thank the Golden Lions for giving me hope.
If you’d like someone from CNEWA to pay a visit to your church or school, drop me a line: email@example.com.
And if you want to help the suffering Christians of Syria, visit this link.
8 October 2013
Tags: CNEWA Middle East Christians Syrian Civil War Middle East Violence against Christians
Sister Piera Carpenedo of the Sisters of St. Dorothy tells a story to her hearing-impaired students at the Ephpheta Institute in Bethlehem, just one institution CNEWA is proud to support through the generosity of our donors. (photo: Steve Sabella)
Bob Pape is director of major gifts for CNEWA.
At CNEWA we take very seriously our obligation to inform our donors on four fundamental points.
First, we promptly acknowledge that your gift was received, and through our receipt and thank you letter, we acknowledge our appreciation for your sacrifice on our behalf. Many of you have also received handwritten notes from members of our staff or phone calls to thank you for your sacrifice. You have partnered with us in our mission and we want to let you know how appreciative we are of your prayers and support.
Second, we inform you that your donation was used for the purpose for which you intended; whether for the greatest need or a special project, humanitarian appeal, needy child support, religious sponsorship or as more recently seen in Syria, an emergency appeal for a particular group of people in dire need.
Third, we will let you know the outcome of the project, appeal or support, so you can see the impact your donation had in the delivery of our mission. As a CNEWA partner, you have aright to share in our successes and to be informed of our continuing challenges. This all goes into the process of delivering on our mission. This all goes into being a partner of CNEWA.
Fourth, we inform you through our published financial statements of how much of every dollar spent by CNEWA goes directly to program or project support and how much is expended for administrative expenses.
We are grateful for your steadfast prayers and support and recognize the commitment you have made to us and the sacrifice incurred for such a commitment. Your right to know these fundamental points will always be upheld at CNEWA.
CNEWA does not receive any government funding.
On behalf of those we have the privilege of serving, THANK YOU.
21 August 2013
(photo: CNS/Nancy Wiechec)
Next Wednesday, 28 August, Msgr. Kozar and the staff of CNEWA’s New York office will celebrate Mass for the special intentions of our donors. Over the past several months, we have asked our friends and benefactors to submit their prayer intentions and have been humbled by the hundreds of prayer requests received. If you have a special prayer intention that you would like included at this Mass, please submit it by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are grateful to have this opportunity to pray for our donors and their intentions. Without the prayers and support we receive from our generous friends, we would not be able to fulfill the mission entrusted to us by the Holy Father. Thank you for giving us this opportunity to pray for you.
4 March 2013
Tags: CNEWA Donors Prayers/Hymns/Saints
Avery Kemp, the daughter of a staff member, cozies up to centenarian Rebecca Rowe during a celebration of those 100 years or older at the Little Sisters of the Poor Jeanne Jugan Residence in Washington. (photo: CNS/Nancy Wiechec)
Bob Pape is Director of Major Gifts for CNEWA.
Sure, eat your vegetables and go to the gym. It can’t hurt. But if you really want a longer life, I have the secret for you:
Authors Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, in their book “SuperFreakonomics,” point to eye-opening research that suggests:
“People who buy annuities, it turns out, live longer than people who don’t, and not because people who buy annuities are healthier to start with. The evidence suggests that an annuity’s steady payout provides a little extra incentive to keep chugging along.”
Okay, maybe this isn’t such a new idea. Mr. Dashwood in Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility” observed that “people always live forever when there is an annuity to be paid to them.” But now we have hard numbers to back it up.
So if you want a longer life, you know what to do — and I can even help you.
I can tell you about CNEWA Charitable Gift Annuities: a way to increase your retirement security while also leaving a legacy of good works for Christ’s poor and his church. Get in touch and we can explore if a CNEWA Annuity is the right choice for you.
Call me at 1-800-442-6392 or drop me a line at email@example.com. I’m available for you, and eager to answer your questions. Thank you for reading. May God bless you and your family, and may all of your days be joyous ones!
7 February 2013
CNEWA has long worked through local institutions to assist children in need — such as those pictured above, in Ethiopia. (photo: CNEWA)
Bob Pape is the director of major gifts at CNEWA in New York.
A few weeks ago, I received a phone call from a benefactor of CNEWA. Her name is Helen, and she lives on Long Island. I asked her how she had weathered Hurricane Sandy, which I knew had devastated her hometown when it hit shortly before Thanksgiving. Helen told me her house survived the flood. I was relieved to hear it. But then she added: “It burned down because of downed electrical lines.”
What could I say? As I fumbled for words, Helen asked if I could help her. I said of course! She then explained that she supports CNEWA’s efforts to care for needy children, and the hurricane had caused her to fall behind in her regular support. She was worried about the little ones and their caretakers who depend on her. She did not want to abandon them.
I was speechless. We are talking about children whom Helen has never met, in places she may never see. Yet she was more concerned about them than with her own immediate and dire needs. All I could think of is what Bing Crosby’s Father O’Malley says to Ingrid Bergman’s Sister Benedict in “The Bells of St. Mary’s”:
“Oh, woman, great is thy faith.”
Helen’s example continues to inspire me in my work at CNEWA, serving the churches and the poor in the lands where Jesus walked and his disciples preached. If her story touches your heart, too, please consider contributing some of your own faith and generosity.
All of us at CNEWA are most grateful to you for your continued prayers and support. May God bless you and keep you always.
15 November 2011
Tags: CNEWA Children Education Donors Orphans/Orphanages
Bob Pape, CNEWA's director of major gifts, meets with Cardinal Sean O’Malley.
When I began my work at CNEWA, I didn’t fully appreciate the impact the work would have on my faith journey. True, when discussing fundraising for CNEWA with our benefactors, I am constantly reminded of the words of Matthew: “Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40). Our benefactors understand this passage and live it and witness it in their lives. Participating in these discussions has inspired me greatly when I speak on behalf of CNEWA, but it has also strengthened me in my work, which I have come to think of in terms of a vocation. Certainly, it has been a surprisingly big step for me in my journey.
The people you meet along the way all have an impact on your faith journey. The impact may be big or small or barely noticeable at first, but if you allow yourself to be guided by the Holy Spirit as you travel along your own course, everything becomes clearer. Take, for example, my meeting with a woman named Dorothy, whom I met in Kentucky. She has been supporting CNEWA for over 40 years! Despite all I know about the great work of CNEWA, our people, our programs and all the good that comes from the hardworking people in our regions, I had to ask her, “Why do you do it?”
Dorothy told me quite simply that her actions are at the center of our faith: helping those in need. Simple, yet powerful.
Then there’s Michael. He’s a young man from Scranton I met recently. He is finishing up his college degree and taking care of his elderly parents. He has been supporting CNEWA for over 10 years. Again, I asked: “Why?” Michael said with true conviction that he was simply redirecting God’s grace – a profound statement from this remarkable young man. Once again, God had given me inspiration for my journey through someone I met along the way.
A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston when he came to visit our offices. An inspiring man of faith, yet such a humble man – despite being a “prince of the church,” he has not lost sight of his Capuchin roots. Cardinal O’Malley was most welcoming and encouraging. Quite a guy to meet along the journey.
Last month, I met with the pre-school and pre-K classes at St. Peter of Alcantara School in my hometown of Port Washington, NY. It was Fire Prevention Week and I was asked to speak to the children in my role as a member of the Port Washington Fire Department. I had my bunker pants on as I read a story about fire trucks and then spoke to them about basic fire safety. Then I answered their questions, which covered a variety of topics (as you would expect from small children). I enjoyed it thoroughly. All during my visit to St. Peter’s I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit with me. I saw the joy in the children’s faces, the dedication of their teachers, all presented in a positive and caring environment. I was reminded of Jesus’s remark, “whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.” (Mark 10:15) Imagine me, thinking of scripture! These children, too, help me on my faith journey.
Also not to be forgotten is the fellow who stands outside the subway stop by the office every morning, handing out the local free newspaper – always a smile on his face and a “Good morning” to all. He always adds a positive start to my day. On Friday mornings, he says to me, “Have a blessed weekend.”
My journey of faith continues in my work here at CNEWA. I realize now this is more than a job. God has put me here for a purpose and has placed people for me to meet along the way – people who will strengthen my spirit and inspire me to do my best, no matter where my journey takes me.
It’s never too early for fire safety instruction, as Bob Pape demonstrates at St. Peter of Alcantara Preschool, Port Washington, NY.
7 November 2011
Tags: CNEWA Education Donors
A seminarian prays in the chapel at the Latin Patriarchal Seminary in Beit Jala, Palestine.
(photo: Karen Lagerquist)
A longtime friend and supporter of CNEWA recently called me to discuss adding 10 more seminarians to the many he is already actively sponsoring. He is a charming southern gentleman in his mid-80s, and so full of energy. We had a wonderful conversation that revealed his deep passion for the proper training and formation of seminarians in the Holy Land. He fully understood the early roots of Christianity in the East and the importance of the teaching and witnessing of our faith in this region. I wondered to myself: “How many souls have been saved or will be saved, because of this man’s generosity?”
I asked him why at this stage of his life he would want to add to the sponsorships he already had in place. His answer was unique. He said, “I am approaching my final exams, and I want to get a passing grade.” Honestly, I had to think about his answer for a moment or two before I realized what he meant. He went on to explain that what we are blessed to have in life is all on loan to us from God. We are expected to do God’s work with it.
Knowing this man for the short time that I have has been very enlightening for me. He is a true man of faith who “talks the talk” but also, “walks the walk.” His life so far has been a model of Christian value, virtue and yes, humor. I told him I think he will definitely pass his final exams, but I didn’t want him to sit for them for a long while!
And those 10 additional seminarian sponsorships? All taken care of. And along the way our steadfast friend created The St. Francis Xavier Perpetual Seminarian Formation Endowment Fund, for the support, care, education and training of aspirants to the priesthood, as well as the institutions they attend.
Anyone may add funds to this special endowment fund by contacting our office.
Bob Pape is the Director of Major Gifts at CNEWA in New York.
Tags: Holy Land Donors Sponsorship