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September, 2018
Volume 44, Number 3
  
16 September 2011
Erin Edwards




A priest reflects during Holy Week at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.
(photo: Paul Souders)


In the Spring 1989 issue of our magazine, when it was just a quarterly, we featured a beautiful photo essay of Holy Week in Jerusalem. The photos, by Paul Souders, accompanied text from a speech by His Eminence, D. Simon Cardinal Lourdusamy.

It is not an accident that we find ourselves “passing this way but once” — making our once-forever passage through life — now, in the age of the post Vatican Council, the age of the permissive society, the age of protest, of painful renewal and re-thinking, in the age of Biafra and Bangladesh and Burundi.

It has not happened by chance. This was planned for us before the stars were hung in the sky. God saw this as a time for us, the time when we could best serve, the time he was going to need our help to carry his cross.
This is our glory — that he wants us here now — nobody else.

For more of the Cardinal’s speech, check out the story On Carrying a Cross: A Reflection for Lent.



Tags: Jerusalem Priests Holy Sepulchre

15 September 2011
CNEWA staff





Msgr. John E. Kozar addressed the New York staff this morning. (photo: Erin Edwards)

Today Msgr. John E. Kozar, former National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States, began his term as the new president of CNEWA. He began the day by addressing the staff at the agency’s headquarters in New York.

“I want to not only encourage you, but uplift you in the critical importance of what you do,” Msgr. Kozar expressed. “That’s probably one of the most important goals that God has sent me here to accomplish.”

Msgr. Kozar also told the staff that he looks forward to visiting the countries CNEWA serves, and wants to bring back stories of “all the good that is made possible” because of their work.

“I’m a face that’s out there in the public but I’m really the sum total of all of you,” Msgr. Kozar said. “All that I do — all that we are — more than anything else, we bring people closer to the love of God. We should never diminish that, we should never demean it.”

Welcome, monsignor!

To watch a video of Msgr. Kozar meeting with staff, press the play button on the media player below.

Welcome to CNEWA, Msgr. Kozar! from CNEWA on Vimeo.



Tags: CNEWA

15 September 2011
Erin Edwards




In the April 2011 CNEWA Connections e-newsletter, we chose to focus on some “never before seen” photographs by Sister Christian Molidor. It turned out that every picture told a story, and Sister Christian shared some anecdotes behind the images in an engaging slideshow. It offers a window into the world that we serve. You can view the slideshow and read more in A Christian Behind the Camera, within the newsletter.

A young girl at a refugee camp in Jordan. This photo is an outtake from the story, A Delayed Homecoming, featured in the Nov/Dec 2001 issue of the magazine.
(photo: Sister Christian Molidor, R.S.M.)


For more “never before seen” photographs by Sister Christian — like the one above from Jordan — check out the April 2011 CNEWA Connections e-newsletter.



Tags: Children Jordan Refugee Camps Palestinian Refugees

14 September 2011
CNEWA staff





Msgr. Robert L. Stern (photo: Erin Edwards)

After 26 years of dedicated service to CNEWA, Msgr. Archimandrite Robert L. Stern is retiring today.

Msgr. Stern first joined CNEWA in 1985 and two years later assumed leadership of the organization and its operating agency in the Middle East, the Pontifical Mission for Palestine. During his tenure as president — the longest in the agency’s history — Msgr. Stern revived CNEWA’s original purposes and charism; initiated its aggiornamento; supervised significant programmatic growth, opening regional offices in Eritrea, Ethiopia and India; improved the agency’s delivery of services; instituted sophisticated administrative systems to compete in the 21st century; expanded the agency, opening fund-raising offices in Canada, India and Italy; and heightened CNEWA’s role in the day-to-day lives of the Eastern churches.

Ordained a priest in 1958 by Cardinal Francis Spellman of New York, he served at a number of parishes, studied canon law in Rome, served as staff for the second and third sessions of Vatican II and worked in Colombia, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Venezuela. Msgr. Stern also served New York City’s Hispanic community for over 20 years, helping strengthen its voice in the Archdiocese of New York.

Succeeding Msgr. Stern as president of CNEWA is Msgr. John E. Kozar, who most recently served as National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States.

The CNEWA family is grateful for Msgr. Stern’s leadership, energy and vision. Many years!



Tags: CNEWA Msgr. Stern

14 September 2011
Sister Christian Molidor, R.S.M.




Msgr. Robert Stern greets an elderly woman on a trip to Kerala, India in 1991.
(photo: Sister Christian Molidor, R.S.M.)


Today marks Msgr. Robert Stern’s last day as president of CNEWA, after almost a quarter of a century leading the agency. We asked another CNEWA veteran, and longtime colleague, Sister Christian Molidor, to share a few thoughts.

I’ve been asked to write a brief profile of Msgr. Stern... but how can it be brief?

Three days after I was hired by CNEWA, I was sent to India. When the cardinal appointed Msgr. Stern to CNEWA, he was told to begin immediately to reorganize, renew and revitalize the agency. Was this favoritism by the Holy Spirit?! I asked myself: Who is this Jewish-Irish fellow from Harlem’s parishes?

Oh, just a physicist educated at Amherst (and honored as an archimandrite before I even knew how to spell the word), an experienced traveler and linguist (the ability to speak several languages is an asset, but the ability to keep your mouth shut in one language is priceless), a skilled diplomat (he will accept “probably,” but never “perhaps”), a wise manager (he never thinks of CNEWA more than 19 hours a day), a creative and generous mentor (“I always listen carefully to everything you say, Christian, then don't do it,”)... Okay, so he’s a genius, but you’ll have to admit his puns are terrible.

“Sterno” and I have been colleagues for years too numerous to mention (my old age erases numbers) and in truth, we’ve been friends for twice that long. (Are we really that old?)

But the highest, the most significant compliment I offer is that Bob Stern is a good priest.

And that’s why gratitude is my heart’s memory!



Tags: CNEWA Msgr. Stern

14 September 2011




Sister Lutgarda with Abel and Helen at Kidane Mehret Children’s Home in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. (photo: Sister Christian Molidor, R.S.M.)

During her time with CNEWA, Sister Christian Molidor often provided personal and informative stories for our magazine. In the story Every Child Has a Name, she wrote of her experience visiting the Kidane Mehret Children’s Home in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia — a child-care facility enrolled in CNEWA’s Needy Child Sponsorship Program.

If Kidane Mehret did not exist, chances are many of the children would have been aborted or died from exposure. The Franciscan Sisters receive what the government considers “reject children.”

My first visit to Kidane Mehret was to gain an overview of the orphanage and its children. Besides caring for 90 children, the sisters also provide meals twice a week for more than 150 displaced persons from the surrounding area, mostly women and children. Many of the displaced women reciprocate, working in the kitchen, preparing food and serving.

How do the children come to Kidane Mehret? They are often illegitimate. In Ethiopia, the shame of bearing an illegitimate child remains strong. Many children are just left at the gate of the orphanage. Sister Lutgarda told me about a small, very ill boy who was thrown over the fence into the garden. When the gardener went to work the next morning, his first thought was to scold the children for throwing their clothes in the garden. Then the tiny boy started to cry. He was taken into the orphanage. After much difficulty, Sister Lutgarda received government certification for the boy — without such certification, he cannot be adopted.

For more about the Kidane Mehret Children’s Home in Ethiopia check out the September/October 2001 issue of the magazine.



Tags: Ethiopia Sisters Africa Orphans/Orphanages

13 September 2011




Early today, the leaders of Christian churches in Jerusalem released a communiqué, announcing “the need to intensify our prayers and diplomatic efforts for peace between Palestinians and Israelis.” Among other things, the statement calls for a “two-state solution [that] serves the cause of peace and justice.” You can read the entire statement at this link. We asked Rev. Elias Mallon, CNEWA’s Education and Interreligious Affairs Officer, to help put this in context for us.

At the 66th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations which begins next Monday, it is expected that the Palestinian National Authority (P.N.A.) will apply for membership at the U.N. In order to receive member status the Palestinian application has to be approved by the Security Council, which consists of five permanent members and 10 member states elected by the General Assembly for a two-year term. The Permanent Five have the right to veto; the other 10 members do not. The United States, one of the Five, has made it clear that it will veto any Palestinian bid for member status at the U.N. A veto by any of the Permanent Five stops a proposal.

Given the unlikelihood of the Palestinians achieving member status, they can, nonetheless, upgrade their present status from being an “observer entity” to being an “observer state.” Acceptance as an observer state requires the majority vote of the General Assembly which consists of 193 member states. It is relatively certain that the P.N.A. will be granted observer state status, should it choose to apply. This would effectively recognize Palestine as a state, allow it to be a member of several U.N. organizations and give it the right to access the International Court at The Hague.

While it is relatively certain that the United States will veto a Palestinian application at the level of the Security Council, many other things are not clear. It is not absolutely certain that the Palestinians will actually make application for membership in the U.N. It is not clear how the countries of the European Union will vote, should such an application be made. It is also not clear how much the U.S. will be isolated from the world community by casting its veto or if, having cast the veto, the U.S. will ever again be seen as a credible, neutral partner in negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians.



Tags: Middle East Palestine Jerusalem United States

13 September 2011




An elderly woman makes her way through Jerusalem. (photo: Sister Christian Molidor, R.S.M.)

Sister Christian Molidor has a knack for capturing quiet, unguarded moments in her pictures — like the one above, from 1993. We asked her what she remembered about this shot, and she wrote back:

“How about that? I can’t always remember my car’s license plate, but I know most every photo I’ve ever taken.

This was an elderly woman, not a nun, taken in Jerusalem. I spoke with her as she was on her way to shop near Damascus Gate.”

If you would like to read or share Sr. Christian’s final email message, it is available on our website.



Tags: Jerusalem

12 September 2011




Two young girls at a displaced persons camp outside Dellé, Eritrea, in August of 2000. (photo: Sister Christian Molidor, R.S.M.)

Today’s featured image comes from our extensive collection of photographs by our long time friend and staff member — Sister Christian Molidor, who is retiring from CNEWA this week. The image was taken in conjunction with the story, Eritrea in War’s Aftermath in the Nov/Dec 2000 issue of the magazine. The article was a first hand account by Brother Vincent Pelletier, F.S.C., CNEWA’s Regional Director for Ethiopia and Eritrea, at the time.

We visited a camp for the displaced in the village of Delle, about 18 miles west of Barentu. With some 45,000 residents, it is one of the largest camps in Eritrea. More people are expected to enter the camp as those who fled to Sudan during active fighting continue to return. As we walked through the camp we noticed that many inhabitants had set up shop in their tents and were selling everything from soap powder to beer. Under a canvas, a makeshift school had been organized for the children. I was relieved to see that the children in the camp looked healthy. By contrast, some of the children from surrounding villages appeared malnourished. Some of these people have been in the camp for two years.

You can see more pictures at the link — and we’ll have much more from Sister Christian to share, as well. For the next few days, we’ll be posting more images from her collection for our “Picture of the Day.”

Last Thursday she sent out her final “Greetings from Sister Christian” email message, which you can view on our website as well.



Tags: Children War Africa

9 September 2011




Medical Sisters of St. Joseph fill buckets for the evening wash at their house of formation in Kothamangalam, Kerala, India. (photo: Sister Christian Molidor, R.S.M.)

Our beloved Sister Christian Molidor will be retiring from the agency in a few days. With that we’ll also be retiring her biweekly email message, “Greetings from Sister Christian.” In her most recent message, she leaves us with some inspiring words of wisdom:

Manifest your loyalty in word and deed, keep a promise, find the time; forgo a grudge, forgive an enemy; listen, try to understand, examine your demands on others and think first of someone else.

Appreciate. Be kind. Be gentle. Laugh a little, then laugh a little more, deserve confidence, fight malice and decry complacency.

Express your gratitude, go to church, welcome a stranger; brighten the heart of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth.

Speak your love; speak it again. Speak it still once again.

Among her many gifts, Sister Christian is also a talented photojournalist. During her nearly 30-year tenure with us, she captured thousands of images from CNEWA’s world (like the one above). She was eager to share her gift with others and we’d like to share it with you. We will feature a Sister Christian photo from our archive in the ‘Picture of the Day’ post for the next few days.

Read more of Sister Christian’s heartfelt words in her final email message.



Tags: India Sisters Kerala Vocations (religious)





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