Current Issue
September, 2019
Volume 45, Number 3
3 December 2019
CNEWA staff

Today marks #Giving Tuesday, an international day of charitable support.

For more than 90 years, CNEWA has been reaching out to those in need, working for, through and with the churches of the East. And with your participation, we will continue to support regional and local efforts — whether by parishes, men and women religious, or the dedicated lay communities — to uplift and strengthen the churches and peoples of the Middle East, Northeast Africa, India and Eastern Europe.


20 June 2019
CNEWA staff

Msgr. John E. Kozar poses for a snapshot at Alphonsa Balika Bhavan, an institute in Trivandrum, while on a 2015 pastoral visit to India. (photo: CNEWA)

The Catholic Press Association Thursday afternoon honored CNEWA’s President Msgr. John E. Kozar with the prestigious Bishop John England Award. The award was presented at the Catholic Media Conference now underway in St. Petersburg, Florida.

The Bishop England Award— named for the bishop who founded the first Catholic newspaper in the United States, the Catholic Miscellany in 1822 — honors a publisher who has been a staunch defender of press freedom.

As the nominating criteria puts it: “The recipient of the Bishop John England Award should clearly have acted in defense of the publication or used their publication, in accordance with its mission, to defend the First Amendment rights of the publisher, the institution owning the publication, and/or the Catholic Church as a whole.”

The nomination for Msgr. Kozar described his achievements in communications:

“During his eight years as president of Catholic Near East Welfare Association and as publisher of CNEWA’s magazine, ONE, Msgr. John E. Kozar has been a champion of journalism, promoting accountability and transparency in reporting, affirming a commitment to excellence, and promoting the church’s evangelical witness throughout the world — especially in some of its most embattled corners.

More than a publisher, he is in his bones a journalist who relishes getting a good story and sharing it. A photographer and essayist, he has used his considerable skills as a photojournalist — skills he first developed in high school — to take readers to far-flung corners of the globe to show the Gospel at work.

John Kozar has also redefined how CNEWA tells the story of its own mission, challenging the CNEWA staff to articulate the association’s work with clarity, optimism and zeal — emphasizing our work of ‘accompaniment’ and encouraging a spirit of invitation. The result has been a dynamic approach to communications that has attracted new readers in all media.

He has accomplished this with an ethic and spirit of transparency and accountability that sets the standard for every publisher. Through his essays, videos, emails and reports, Msgr. Kozar has kept readers informed and engaged, bolstering CNEWA’s credibility and winning readers’ loyalty and trust.”

Previous winners include Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas, Cardinal Francis George, Greg Erlandson and Cardinal John O’Connor.

We at CNEWA could not be prouder, and can’t think of anyone more deserving. On behalf of all of us: congratulations, Msgr. Kozar!

CNEWA’s Director of Communications Michael La Civita accepted the Bishop John England award on behalf of Msgr. Kozar, who was unable to attend the conference in Florida. (photo: CNEWA)

Tags: CNEWA Catholic Press

21 December 2018
CNEWA staff

Youth celebrate at a Christmas party for Iraqi refugees in Jordan in December 2014. (photo: CNEWA)

CNEWA’s blog content will return in January; in the meantime, we wish a happy and healthy holiday season to all, and a blessed new year.

(photo: CNEWA)

Tags: Iraqi Christians Jordan Iraqi Refugees

19 June 2018
CNEWA staff

The cover of the March 2017 issue of the magazine was honored for Best Cover at the 2018 Catholic Press Association awards.

CNEWA’s magazine, ONE, won again.

The flagship quarterly publication took top honors, including Best Magazine (in the mission magazine category) at the 2018 Catholic Press Association awards last week in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The magazine won a total of 28 awards in categories that included writing, photography, editing and online newsletter. The magazine was cited for General Excellence in categories including Communications Director of the Year (3rd Place), Social Media Director of the Year (2nd Place), Best Electronic Newsletter (2nd Place) and Editor of the Year (Honorable Mention).

Citing the overall excellence of the publication, the award judges wrote:

“Year in, year out, this is an appealing magazine that features breath-taking photography, innovative design, and (above all) textbook storytelling. Excellent content and presentation. Clean, crisp, clear, illuminating and inspiring content with exceptional complements via pull quotes and photography. ”

The panel of judges included journalism professors from Marquette University, Loyola University, the University of Southern California and Spring Hill College, along with media professionals from The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, among other places.

A complete list of the awards can be found below, with links to the winning stories:

First Place:

Best Magazine /Newsletter of the Year (Mission Magazine)

Best Cover (Color, Large): “March 2017 edition” by Staff

Best Single Photo (Color): “Priest vesting in Tarashcha, Ukraine” by Ivan Chernichkin

Best Multiple Picture Package (Share the Journey): Hard Choices by Raed Rafei

Best Coverage of Share the Journey: Hard Choices by Raed Rafei; When Iraqis Come Home by Raed Rafei; No Place Like Home by Emeline Wuilbercq

Best Reporting of Social Justice Issues (Life and Dignity of the Human Person): ‘This Is the Only Light’ by Gayane Abrahamyan

Best Web and Print Combination Package: Hard Choices; When Iraqis Come Home; Healing Wounds In Iraq by Raed Rafei

Second Place:

Social Media Director of the Year: Deacon Greg Kandra

Best Electronic Newsletter: “Discover ONE Online” by Paul Grillo and Gabriela Gaibor

Best Single Photo (Color): “Young parishioner at Holy Savior Catholic Cathedral in Adigrat, Ethiopia” by Petterik Wiggers

Best Multiple Picture Package (Feature Package) Head of the Class by Petterik Wiggers

Best Web and Print Combination Package: Hardship and Hospitality; Love Against All Odds in Zahleh; Life and Love in Lebanon by Raed Rafei

Best Coverage of Religious Liberty Issues Hard Choicesby Raed Rafei; Planting Seeds, Nurturing Faith by Mark Raczkiewycz; Anxiety in Cairo by Magdy Samaan and David Degner

Best Reporting of Immigration: No Place Like Home by Emeline Wuilbercq; Found in Translation by Michele Chabin; Hardship and Hospitality by Raed Rafei

Best Coverage of Share the Journey: Hardship and Hospitality by Raed Rafei; Love Against All Odds in Zahleh by Raed Rafei; The Displaced by Mark Raczkiewycz

Best Freestanding Presentation of Online Video (Feature): Relief United Fundraiser by Daniel Moreno

Third Place:

Communications Director of the Year: Michael J.L. La Civita

Best In-Depth/Analysis Writing (Best In-Depth Writing): Anxiety in Cairo by Magdy Samaan

Best Coverage of Share the Journey: Middle East Christians on the Move by ONE editorial staff; Escaping Syria by Gayane Abrahamyan, Found in Translation by Michele Chabin

Best Reporting of Social Justice Issues (Option for the Poor and Vulnerable): Where Hope is Kindled by Hazem Balousha

Best Reporting of Social Justice Issues (Solidarity): Charity’s Daughters by Magdy Samaan

Honorable Mention:

Editor of the Year: J.D. Conor Mauro

Best Cover (Color, Large): “December 2017 edition” by Staff

Best Single Photo (Color): “Students and priest under a tree in Ethiopia” by Petterik Wiggers

Best Photo Story (Feature Photo Story): Focus (June 2017) by John E. Kozar

Best In-Depth/Analysis Writing (In-Depth): Hard Choices by Raed Rafei

Best Story and Photo Package: No Place Like Home by Emeline Wuilbercq, Petterik Wiggers

Best Reporting on Social Justice Issues: (Option for the Poor and Vulnerable) Reaching the Margins by Don Duncan

Tags: CNEWA ONE magazine Catholic Press

16 May 2018
CNEWA staff

Little Mariam visited CNEWA’s office in Amman just two months after she was born. (photo: CNEWA)

The CNEWA team in Amman, Jordan, was happily surprised recently by a small visitor — one who owes her life, in no small part, to CNEWA’s donors. We’d like you to meet one of our success stories, 2-month-old Mariam.

Before Mariam was born, her parents came to CNEWA, looking for help. The mother was older, and it was clear she needed a Caesarean delivery. The CNEWA staff directed the family to the Italian Hospital, supported by CNEWA in Amman, and helped pay for the surgery.

The delivery went well, but the doctors discovered that Mariam has a small hole in her heart. She is being treated with drugs and, in time, it is hoped the hole will close and Mariam will have a long life.

What a blessing to see Mariam alive and well — and to see the joy on her parents’ faces.

So often, we at CNEWA start to feel a bond with those we serve, especially refugees in need of help. It’s not just a matter of providing food or milk or health care. It is a matter of love — as Jesus commanded us, “Love one another, as I have loved you.”

Mariam and her parents stopped by CNEWA’s Amman office to express their gratitude. (photo: CNEWA)

Tags: CNEWA Jordan Amman

8 May 2018
CNEWA staff

The Mother of Mercy Clinic provides a wide range of services to as many as 30,000 patients each year, with a special focus on prenatal and postnatal care. It has just been hailed for offering one of the most innovative and successful programs in the world for helping confront the global refugee crisis. (photo: John E. Kozar)

A leading Catholic philanthropic organization, FADICA — Foundations and Donors Interested in Catholic Activities — has released a report citing some of the most innovative and successful programs around the world helping to confront the global refugee crisis.

We are pleased and proud to report that one of CNEWA’s programs — the Mother of Mercy Clinic, run by the Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena and CNEWA in Zerqa, Jordan — was cited.

As we described the clinic’s work in ONE magazine several years ago:

Established in 1982, Mother of Mercy Clinic offers a wide range of general heath care services to thousands of patients…regardless of creed or origin. The clinic, however, specializes in prenatal and postnatal care, giving priority to needy mothers and their infants.

As the clinic’s head doctor, Dr. Ghabeish has treated mothers and infants for years. “People like to come here because they know they will get quality service, that they will be treated in a clean environment run by good administrators,” said the 59-year-old doctor, a Palestinian refugee.

Though only 20 miles northeast of Amman — the increasingly cosmopolitan capital of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan — Zerqa struggles with a multitude of problems: escalating crime rates, insufficient housing, inadequate infrastructure, pollution and poverty.

…“Zerqa’s Christians provide essential social services, such as education, health care, job training and social assistance,” added Ra’ed Bahou, CNEWA’s regional director for Jordan and Iraq. “Christians may be a tiny minority, but their reach is significant.”

FADICA partnered with the Center for Social Innovation at Boston College to put together the report, which identified 64 “innovative and solutions-oriented Catholic ministries globally that are accompanying and aiding refugees and migrants.”

The report went on to describe the “social innovation” of this and other successful programs:

Through the Catholic Social Innovation initiative, FADICA has identified Catholic models, approaches and organizations that are responding to the global refugee crisis by putting their faith into action and harnessing innovation.

Catholic social innovation is not new; Catholic priests, brothers, sisters and lay people have been doing this work for centuries, but often under the radar. This study attempts to change that by spotlighting Catholic innovators and innovations. It also illustrates how Catholic social teaching (sometimes called ones of the church’s “best kept secrets”) informs and inspires innovation in Catholic ministries and organizations.

You can read more in the full report at FADICAs website.

For more on the work of the Dominican Sisters in Jordan, read Finding Sanctuary in Jordan, Overwhelming Mercy and Mothering Mercy In ONE magazine.

We are grateful to FADICA for recognizing the vital and invaluable work of the Dominican Sisters — and we are grateful, especially, to our donors who have made this sort of work possible and successful.

Want to learn how to support these and other programs in Jordan? Visit this page.

Tags: Refugees Jordan Sisters Dominican Sisters

19 April 2018
CNEWA staff

CNEWA’s chair Cardinal Timothy Dolan wrapped up his trip to Lebanon Wednesday and sent along this heartfelt tribute to the country and its people — describing how Lebanon represents both Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

“There’s a lot of suffering here, the tears of refugees and the memories of war,” he says, “but there’s also hope, confidence, joy, and life! God bless Lebanon, God bless America, and God bless the Catholic Near East Welfare Association!”

We are humbled and privileged to have been able to share a few days with the cardinal — and to share with him, as well, some of the great work our donors are making possible.

Take a look.

Tags: Lebanon CNEWA Middle East Christians

18 April 2018
CNEWA staff

In the video above, Cardinal Timothy Dolan meets with refugee families, many from Iraq, in Lebanon. (video: Archdiocese of New York/CNEWA)

The remarkable video above comes to us from the CNEWA team traveling to Lebanon with our chair, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, and offers a powerful look at what so many in that corner of the world are living with — and how CNEWA is seeking to lift them up from despair to hope.

CNEWA’s Michael J.L. LaCivita passed along more pictures and this brief dispatch:

Imagine one night, at dinner, you receive a phone call that you have five minutes to take your family and gather some clothes and flee. For thousands of families in northern Iraq, this is precisely what happened on 6 August 2014.

The next day, their villages fell to ISIS. And while this band of nihilists and criminals has been defeated since, the nightmare for these families remains reality.

Many now live in exile and poverty — in Beirut and Amman and further afield. In some cases, the only help they receive is from the church and organizations such as CNEWA.

Today, our delegation encountered the fear and the desperation these parents feel, as they desperately want to come to America and Canada.

Pictured are some of the children Cardinal Dolan met during a visit to a school in Lebanon. (photo: Michael J.L. LaCivita)

They do not understand why we have closed our arms to them.

Archbishop Michael Miller of Vancouver meets with refugees. (photo: Michael J.L. LaCivita)

“We try to prevent them from falling into despair,” said Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignatius Joseph III, “but we must rely on the generosity of others.”

Syriac Patriarch Ignatius Joseph III struggles to keep up the spirits of his people during this difficult period. (photo: Michael J.L. LaCivita)

Lebanese President Michel Aoun, who received us this morning thanked the cardinal, the delegation and CNEWA for our many years in Lebanon, and our work here, “especially during the darkest years,” during the last years of the civil war.

Pray for the Middle East. Pray for Lebanon. Resources are low. And time is running out.

Late yesterday, we also received this video, which shows the exceptional faith and charity of the Melkite Catholics in Zahleh, Lebanon. Check it out.


In Seminarians, We See ‘A Young, Vibrant Church’
Where a Flock of Refugees Find Healing from Good Shephards
Cardinal Dolan Arrives in Beirut

Tags: Lebanon Refugees CNEWA

18 April 2018
CNEWA staff

Part of the program in Sagar, India, taught young women basic sewing skills, to help them find better-paying jobs. (photo: CNEWA)

We recently received this update on a wonderful program CNEWA support from our regional director in India, M.L. Thomas:

The project aimed to educate poor and destitute children living in low-income urban areas of Sagar, India, helping them to learn basic skills — such as tailoring and dressmaking — to generate income for poor women and widows.

The program took place in seven urban neighborhoods and one village, benefiting some 200 children. Seven lay teachers were given the task to instruct the children and others, and did so with great talent and commitment.

Each class consisted of four hours of training in the morning.

A religious sister meets with some of the women. (photo: CNEWA)

The program, supported by CNEWA, has provided a platform for the sisters and priests of the diocese to meet the parents personally and provide counseling. The parents and teachers also met together in groups, which has helped them understand the value of education for their children and encourage them to go to school.

We could see that 83 children living in poverty were mainstreamed to government schools. Their attitude toward life will be better once they leave the slums, with a greater sense of responsibility toward their families and the community. Most of the teachers involved in the project were women; some came from poor families but were immensely dedicated.

The children showed great interest and enthusiasm to learn. The project not only helped the children to learn, but also reduced their stress and depression.

The results have been very promising! It was observed that these children see possibility and hope in their lives. They are not among those who go out begging or pursuing child labor, and they are not involved in drug abuse or addiction. Government authorities and the general public all appreciated the efforts through this project.

Tags: India CNEWA Education Poor/Poverty Women

17 April 2018
CNEWA staff

Cardinal Timothy Dolan shares a joyful moment with displaced Syrian children in Lebanon. (photo: Michael J.L. LaCivita)

CNEWA’s Michael J.L. LaCivita, traveling with our contingent in Lebanon, filed these wonderful images today. He wrote:

Today, in the city of Zahle in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley — the Jerusalem of the Greek Melkite Catholic world — members of CNEWA’s board of trustees visited more Syrian families displaced by war.

Cardinal Dolan greets young children in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley. (photo: Michael J.L. LaCivita)

Retired Bishop William Murphy meets young people in Lebanon. (photo: Michael J.L. LaCivita)

The bishops also met with members of the local community, whose lives have been upended by the arrival of “cheap unskilled labor,” who have taken their jobs.

But Zahle’s “pope,” Greek Melkite Archbishop Issam Darwhich, leads by example, and has reached out to Christian and Muslim refugees alike, bringing with him hundreds of volunteers to help feed, clothe and house these innocents.

Archbishop Issam Darwich mingles with his flock. (photo: Michael J.L. LaCivita)

The proof is in the pudding — as these pictures illustrate. Devout Muslim families have opened their hearts and homes to the cries of “Abuna!” (Father!) and “Sayydna! (Excellency!), Regardless of the crosses around their necks.

You can follow more of the cardinal’s trip here and here.

Tags: Lebanon CNEWA

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