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September, 2019
Volume 45, Number 3
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

22 February 2013
Cristina Tortalla

St. Anne’s Orphanage in Trichur, India, is served by the Carmelite Sisters and supported by CNEWA. With corporate matching gifts, any donation will be doubled, and do twice as much good. (photo: John E. Kozar)

Cristina Tortalla coordinates corporate matching gifts for CNEWA.

Want to know a secret? This actually may be the best-kept secret in the world of charitable giving. But it’s one every donor should know about.

There’s a way you may be able to double your support for the poor and the churches of the East, and it won’t cost you a dime. The secret is corporate matching gifts. It’s a terrific way to make a gift go even further, and do even more good.

Here are five things you should know about matching gift programs:

  1. A corporate matching gift is a means by which your employer matches your donations to charitable organizations such as CNEWA. Recent survey data estimates that some 83 percent of companies match at least some charitable gifts. So there’s a good chance your employer offers you this benefit, too.

  2. The idea has been around for a while. It actually got its start at General Electric. The company’s foundation began to match gifts to colleges and universities in 1954.

  3. Corporate matching gifts are worth more than you may think. In 2011, U.S. employers donated about $14.55 billion. Among companies participating in matching programs, matching gifts accounted for about 12 percent of corporate giving. That means employers matched almost $1.5 billion of charitable giving, doubling the efforts of countless generous individuals. That kind of support can do a great deal of good in the world!

  4. Even if you are retired, you may still be eligible to take part in matching gifts. A surprising number of companies match the charitable gifts of their retirees.

  5. Your human resources department is the place to find out if your employer will match your charitable gifts. Why don’t you head over there first thing Monday morning and ask?

Corporate matching gifts are the secret to doubling your support for the great work of CNEWA and people we serve. Unlike most secrets, I don’t mind if you share it. Tell someone you know and spread the word!

If you have any questions about corporate matching gifts, feel free to reach out to me — Cristina Tortalla — at 1-800-442-6392 ext. 519 or I look forward to hearing from you!

Tags: CNEWA Donors CNEWA Canada CNEWA Pontifical Mission

15 February 2013
Elias D. Mallon, S.A., Ph.D.

A red skull cap is seen as the world’s cardinals gather in St. Peter’s Basilica before the start of the last conclave in this 2005 file photo. (photo: CNS/Nancy Wiechec)

With the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI continuing to generate headlines and analysis, we asked our external affairs officer, Father Elias Mallon, to look at a few little-known facts about papal elections.

  1. For several centuries the bishop of Rome was chosen in the same manner as other bishops — by the clergy, the neighboring bishops and the people of Rome. In 709, a Synod of the Lateran abolished the role of the people of Rome in the selection of the bishop. Nonetheless, slightly less than a hundred years later, in 862, the right of approval was restored to the Roman nobility by Pope Nicholas I.

  2. In 1059, Pope Nicholas II decreed that the pope should be elected by the cardinals, although the system he set up was very different from the present one and a pope took office still only after the assent of the clergy and laity of Rome.

  3. The conclave (Latin: cum clave, “[locked in] with a key”) was in place by the time of Pope Gregory X (1271-1276). Gregory set up stringent rules intended to prevent the extremely lengthy elections that had taken place in the past. Cardinals were secluded, were without private rooms and were allowed only two servants. After three days, they were to receive one meal a day; after five days, only bread and water. Over the centuries popes added, removed and modified different aspects of the conclave. Pope John Paul II codified the procedures now in place in 1996. The present conditions under which cardinals in conclave live aren’t as harsh as those prescribed by Gregory but they are still, nonetheless, monastic.

  4. The number of cardinals has varied greatly over the centuries. Pope Sixtus V limited the number to 70 in 1587. However, in 1970 Pope Paul VI raised the number to 120, stipulating that cardinals over the age of 80 at the time of a pope’s death (or resignation) are ineligible to vote in a conclave. It is estimated that at times the College of Cardinals consisted of less than 10 cardinals.

  5. The youngest pope ever elected was Giovanni di Medici who took the name Leo X. He was elected in 1513 at the age of 38. Although he was tonsured and, therefore, a cleric, he was not ordained or the member of a religious order at the time of his election. In 533, a man named Mercurius was elected. He thought it inappropriate for the bishop of Rome to have the name of the Roman god Mercury and changed his name to John (II). Since then, most popes have changed their names on being elected. The last pope to keep his baptismal name was Pope Marcellus II, who reigned less than 20 days in April 1555.

Tags: Pope Benedict XVI Vatican Pope Patriarchs Vocations (religious)

25 January 2013
Elias D. Mallon, S.A., Ph.D.

Pope Benedict XVI received the leaders from several Oriental Orthodox Churches on the conclusion of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, to discuss the progress of talks between them to reach full communion. Click the video to watch. (video: Rome Reports)

With the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity drawing to a close today, and Pope Benedict XVI meeting with members of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox churches, we asked our external affairs officer Father Elias Mallon to explore a few interesting facts about the Roman Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox.

  1. The Oriental Orthodox churches are six ancient churches that differ from the various Orthodox churches in the Byzantine tradition, such as the Greek, Romanian, Russian and Ukrainian, etc. They are: the Armenian Apostolic Church, Coptic Orthodox Church, Eritrean Orthodox Church, Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, Syriac Orthodox Church and the Indian Orthodox Church, which is split into two groups, the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church and the Malankara Syriac Orthodox Church. Many of these churches have Catholic counterparts in full communion with Rome: the Armenian, Coptic, Ge’ez, Syriac and Syro-Malankara Catholic churches are much smaller than their Orthodox counterparts and share their liturgical rites, traditions and many of the same disciplines.

  2. These Orthodox churches are very ancient. The Coptic church traces its beginnings to St. Mark the Evangelist. The Syriac churches of the Antiochene tradition trace their roots to St. Peter. The Armenian church prides itself on being the oldest national church as Christianity became the state religion of Armenia in 301, though it traces its roots to Sts. Bartholomew and Thaddeus.

  3. These churches are not in communion with the Catholic Church and the Byzantine Orthodox churches. The split between the Oriental Orthodox churches and the rest of Christianity is traditionally dated to the Council of Chalcedon (451). This council’s formulation of the relationship of the humanity of Jesus to his divinity was not acceptable to the Oriental Orthodox church for various reasons. Modern theological and historical research among the Catholic, Byzantine Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches has come to the conclusion that the differences that have existed for almost 15 centuries are cultural and linguistic, and need not necessarily be church dividing.

  4. Relations between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox churches have improved dramatically since Vatican II. The Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue has — often against great odds, such as the arrest of Pope Shenouda III of the Coptic Orthodox Church by the Egyptian authorities from 1981-1985 — made considerable progress, resulting among other things with the official Statement of Christological Agreement that was signed 12 February 1988, overcoming one of the major obstacles to unity between the Catholic and Oriental Orthodox churches. Some ecclesialogical issues remain, but the commission continues to study the issues and to attempt to resolve them.

  5. CNEWA works where all these churches originated and maintain large communities — Armenia, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, India, Iraq and Syria — and has developed an outstanding rapport with its leaders. CNEWA exercises the dialogue of charity in its many forms of assistance, from priestly formation in Ethiopia, refurbishing Syriac churches in the Middle East to humanitarian assistance in Armenia.

Tags: Eastern Christianity Orthodox Church Eastern Churches Orthodox Oriental Orthodox

18 January 2013
Bradley H. Kerr

In this image from 2011, Italian Cardinal Francesco Monterisi, archpriest of the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, welcomes Christian prelates to an ecumenical evening prayer service with Pope Benedict XVI to mark the close of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)

When you go to church this week, you might not see your pastor. He might be down the street at the Presbyterian church — and the Presbyterian minister might be delivering a sermon to you.

Such pulpit exchanges are common during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, a 105-year-old effort of the Catholic Church and the World Council of Churches to promote understanding and harmony among the followers of Jesus Christ. This year the Week of Prayer starts today.

Working toward Christian unity is a big part of CNEWA’s mission and ministry on behalf of the Holy Father. And so here are five quotes to get you thinking about and praying for your brothers and sisters in Christ.

  1. The first is from Vatican II and its Decree on Ecumenism (“Unitatis Redintegratio”): “The restoration of unity among all Christians is one of the principle concern of the Second Vatican Council.” This decree made ecumenism central to the work of the Catholic Church.

  2. Regarding other churches, the council stated:

    “Moreover, some and even very many of the significant elements and endowments which together go to build up and give life to the church itself, can exist outside the visible boundaries of the Catholic Church...” and “the separated churches and communities as such, though we believe them to be deficient in some respects, have been by no means deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation. For the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the church.”

  3. Blessed John Paul II, in his encyclical “Ut Unum Sint” (“That They May be One”), declared:

    “Thus it is absolutely clear that ecumenism, the movement promoting Christian Unity, is not just some sort of ‘appendix’ [the Holy Father’s emphasis] which is added to the church’s traditional activity. Rather, ecumenism is an organic part of her life and work, and consequently must pervade all she is and does...”

  4. Pope Benedict marked the Week of Prayer this year by inviting Christians “to pray, asking insistently to God, for the great gift of unity between all of the Lord’s disciples. May the Holy Spirit’s limitless strength arouse us to the sincere commitment to seek unity, so that we might all progress together that Jesus is the savior of the world.”

  5. The last is a prayer written for this year’s observance. Please join your voice with your brother and sister Christians in asking for God’s help in uniting the church:

    “Jesus Christ, we proclaim with joy our common identity in you, and we thank you for inviting us into a dialogue of love with you. Open our hearts to share more perfectly in your prayer to the Father that we may be one, so that as we journey together we may draw closer to each other. Give us the courage to bear witness to the truth together, and may our conversations embrace those who perpetuate disunity. Send your Spirit to empower us to challenge situations where dignity and compassion are lacking in our societies, nations, and the world. God of life, lead us to justice and peace. Amen.”

Tags: Pope Benedict XVI Christianity Unity Ecumenism Christian Unity

30 November 2012
Elias D. Mallon, S.A., Ph.D.

With Gaza very much in the news this week, we thought it would be helpful to look at some of the region’s remarkable history — and share a few little-known facts. So here are five things to know:

  1. The area now known as the Gaza Strip got its name from the ancient city of Gaza. Gaza has been on the stage of world history for almost 4,000 years. The area of what is now the Gaza Strip was the site of several Egyptian fortresses from the end of the Early Bronze Age (3000-2100 B.C.) through the Middle Bronze Age (2100-1550 B.C.).

  2. The city of Gaza is mentioned several times in the Old Testament and once in the New. Gaza was one of the five Philistine cities that Judah was unable to conquer (Judges 1:18). It was the city where Samson was held captive after having been betrayed by Delilah. It was in Gaza that Samson caused a temple to collapse, killing himself and his Philistine captors (Judges 16:21-51).

  3. The present Gaza Strip consists of 139 square miles (360 square kilometers) and is slightly more than twice the size of Washington, D.C.

  4. The Gaza Strip is one of the most densely populated areas in the world with 1,710,257 people as of July 2012. According to UN statistics, 43.8 percent of the population is under 14 years of age; half of the population is under 18 years old and unemployment is above 40 percent. The vast majority of the population is Muslim; only about 3,000 Christians live there today.

  5. The Pontifical Mission for Palestine, CNEWA’s operating agency in the region, is working with the local church in Gaza to provide on-the-job-training to young people and jobs for women who have graduated from school. Our Jerusalem-based staff are also working to help educate handicapped children in Gaza. Last summer, we shared here some of the work being done by CNEWA to help meet the health needs of the people. You can help the families of Gaza now. Click here to learn more.

Tags: Gaza Strip/West Bank Palestine Israel Holy Land

9 November 2012
Greg Kandra

A Syrian child is pictured at a refugee camp near the Syrian-Turkish border.
(photo: CNS/Abdalghne Karoof, Reuters)

With the situation in Syria deteriorating by the day — a report this morning indicated there could be half a million refugees by next spring — we thought it would be a good time to look at some of the relief efforts underway.

In March, through the Pontifical Mission, our operating agency in the Middle East, CNEWA launched an appeal to help the church provide emergency relief to families forced from their homes.

Here are five specific ways CNEWA is involved:

  1. We’re working with the Sisters of the Good Shepherd to assist people displaced from Homs, helping to provide food rations for over 400 families.

  2. CNEWA’s partnering with the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate to aid over 1,000 needy children displaced with their families to Wadi al Nasarah and villages in areas outside the city of Homs.

  3. We’re raising funds for Winter Survival Kits, offering warm clothes and heating oil to help some 2,000 vulnerable Christian families.

  4. In Aleppo, we have partnered with Father Jules Baghdassarian, the national director of Oeuvre Pontificale Missionaire, who has registered around 1,450 needy displaced families from all confessions, and launched a food distribution program in the basement of a church that so far has helped about 300 families.

  5. Also in Aleppo, we’re working with the Jesuit Refugee Services (JRS) under the leadership of Jesuit Father Mourad Abou Seif and his team.

For the latest, check out this report by Issam Bishara, who runs our program in Lebanon and Syria.

Also, visit our Syria page, which has details on how you can help.

Tags: Syria CNEWA

26 October 2012
Michael J.L. La Civita

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, right, smiles after a meeting of the Synod of Bishops on the new evangelization at the Vatican, October 26, 2012. Cardinal John Tong Hon of Hong Kong is second from left. (photo: CNS photo/Paul Haring)

This week’s announcement that Pope Benedict XVI will create six new cardinals next month — including two with ties to CNEWA — reminded us of a few other cardinals connected to our work.

Here are five:

  • Cardinal George Alencherry, Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, is a trustee for CNEWA India. Our efforts in southwestern India, the Syro-Malabar Catholic heartland, would be for naught were it not for the close partnership forged with this dynamic prelate.
  • Cardinal Thomas C. Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, is a member of the board of directors for CNEWA Canada and an invaluable partner for our efforts there. He has rallied his parishes to support Iraqi refugees, from providing material assistance to sponsoring families seeking refuge in Canada.
  • Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, Archbishop of New York, serves as chair and treasurer of CNEWA. For decades — as priest, bishop and archbishop — he has championed our work. As chair, he leads us with enthusiasm and emboldens us to do more for the Eastern churches.
  • Cardinal William H. Keeler, Archbishop Emeritus of Baltimore, has been much more than a trustee of CNEWA. His tireless advocacy for unity and mutual understanding, especially between Catholics and Jews, Muslims and Orthodox Christians, has inspired us in our own witness.
  • Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches, is our primary collaborator in the Holy See, and we maintain a special relationship with the congregation he leads. He is also a staunch advocate of CNEWA’s activities for, through and with the Eastern churches.

Tags: India CNEWA Pope Benedict XVI Canada

19 October 2012
Greg Kandra

This year, for the first time, we’ve posted our consolidated Annual Report as an interactive multimedia feature online. If you visit this link to explore the report, here are a few things you’ll find:

  • Videos. If you can’t afford the plane fare to India, no problem. We’ll take you there. In a series of brief videos, CNEWA President Msgr. John E. Kozar offers personal impressions from some of the places we serve, and he shares some of his own pictures from his travels. The result helps bring to life, as never before, stories of the people and places we serve.
  • Images. ONE magazine has long had a reputation for publishing some of the most beautiful and compelling photography in all of Catholic media. We’re pleased to share some of those memorable images in this year’s report.
  • Facts and figures. It wouldn’t be an Annual Report without crunching some numbers. You’ll discover just where and how CNEWA uses your generous donations, and get a real feel for how lives are being changed because of you. Churches are being restored, seminarians are being trained, orphans are being nourished and cared for — and that’s just for starters.
  • Our wide world. CNEWA touches lives in every corner of the globe, and our 2011 consolidated Annual Report makes that abundantly clear. Grants and subsidies extend from Brooklyn to Beirut, from Geneva to Jerusalem. You may be amazed at our reach.
  • Pentecost. Msgr. Kozar mentions in one of his videos that “Pentecost is alive!” You discover that again and again through the work outlined in the report. The work of CNEWA is imbued with a sense of possibility and hope — of good being done, lives being changed, problems being solved, hearts being touched. That is what we’re about. It really is keeping the spirit of Pentecost alive.

You can find much more, of course, in our 2011 consolidated Annual Report. But for a preview, check out the brief introductory video below.


12 October 2012
Greg Kandra

In this image from 2010, seminarians from Jordan work in the computer room at the Latin Patriarchal Seminary in Beit Jala, West Bank. (photo: Debbie Hill)

If you want to keep up with what’s happening in CNEWA’s world, some of the best resources are literally at your fingertips.

Here are five invaluable web sites that can help you keep track of developments in some of the places we serve:

  1. This is a relatively new site, but it’s quickly become a daily must-read. The site, run by the Holy See, offers translations of papal homilies and audiences, along with breaking news and announcements from the Vatican and editorials from L’Osservatore Romano. There are also links to its Facebook and YouTube pages. There’s also a special page for the Year of Faith.
  2. Catholic News Service. This site is operated by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and includes not lonely the latest news and information from Rome, but also movie reviews, videos and news briefs from around the world. Its Twitter feed is a great way to keep up with Catholic news.
  3. Looking for any news from the Byzantine world? Look no further. The site promises: “Here you will find news and general information about the Byzantine Catholic (Greek Catholic) and other Eastern Christian Churches.” It doesn’t disappoint. If you want, you can even find a parish.
  4. Like Byzcath, OCA is a terrific destination for all things related to one particular faith — in this case, Orthodoxy. For those who are curious, there’s a very good primer on the site that describes what Orthodoxy is, including some saints and common prayers.
  5. One-to-One. You’re here! Every day, we scan the wires for headlines from the places CNEWA serves, to bring you the latest and most interesting “Page One” items that we think will be useful to our readers. Be sure to bookmark our page and come back often! Check out our CNEWA homepage, too, which is updated with news items and links every day.

Tags: CNEWA Vatican Orthodox Byzantium

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