Current Issue
September, 2019
Volume 45, Number 3
19 November 2012
Christopher Boland

Smoke and an explosion are seen after Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City 19 November. An Israeli missile ripped through a two-story home in a residential area of Gaza City the previous day, killing at least 11 civilians, including four young children, in the single deadliest attack of Israel’s offensive against Islamic militants. (Photo: CNS/Mohamad Salem, Reuters)

Violence in Gaza (Catholic News Service) The Israeli government and leaders of Hamas must make courageous decisions to end the violence that has once again forced residents of Southern Israel into their bomb shelters and residents of the Gaza Strip into their homes, said Auxiliary Bishop William Shomali of Jerusalem.

New Coptic Pope (Reuters) The Coptic Orthodox church staged a ceremony rich in ritual on Sunday to install its pope, Tawadros II, who Christians hope will guide them through the new, Islamist-led Egypt. The 60-year-old pope was picked on November 4 and the ceremony on Sunday filled with incense, elaborate robes and chanting marked his formal ascendance as the 118th leader of the church.

Israel Shells Syrian Fighters (The Washington Post) Israel shelled Syrian fighters after gunfire from their civil war spilled over to the Israel-controlled Golan Heights, the military said Sunday, as the conflict appeared to inch closer to the Jewish state. The civil war in Syria has renewed tensions in the Golan Heights, a strategic plateau that Israel captured from Syria in the 1967 war.

Syrian Islamists Reject Western-backed Opposition (Associated Press) Syria’s increasingly powerful Islamist rebel factions rejected the country’s new Western-backed opposition coalition and unilaterally declared an Islamic state in the key battleground of Aleppo, a sign of the seemingly intractable splits among those fighting to topple President Bashar Assad. The move highlights the struggle over the direction of the rebellion at a time when the opposition is trying to gain the West’s trust and secure a flow of weapons to fight the regime.

Tags: CNEWA Middle East Christians Gaza Strip/West Bank Middle East Palestine

1 October 2012
Christopher Boland

Nikolay Vakulin and Melkonian Haykaz exercise in the yard of the shelter for elders run by Caritas Austria. In a 2007 Caritas Armenia survey, 76 percent of elderly respondents and 60 percent of other respondents considered adequate medical services to be unavailable in northern Armenia. (photo: Justyna Mielnikiewicz)

Poverty and unemployment rates hover around 40 percent in northern Armenia. The only hospital in the vicinity is the Catholic-run Tiramayr Narek Hospital in Ashotzk. Thanks to support form CNEWA and Caritas Italy, the hospital serves some 30,000 patients from as far away as Gyumri (62 miles south) and Vardenis (124 miles southeast) and conducts about 1,800 complicated surgeries per year. In the March 2009 issue of ONE, Gayane Abrahamyan discusses this institution:

Razmik Minasian, his face tanned from laboring in the sun, swiftly paces up and down a white sterile hallway in Tiramayr Narek Hospital in Armenia’s northernmost town of Ashotzk. Again and again, he looks worriedly at the closed door from where the cry of his 4-month-old son can be heard.

“Had we managed to get here earlier, this wouldn’t have happened,” he said as he approached his wife who sat nervously beside the door.

The Minasians live in Samtskhe-Javakheti, a predominantly Armenian region in southern Georgia near Armenia’s northern border. The couple made the three-hour journey to Tiramayr Narek because the infant’s temperature had reached a dangerous 104 degrees and the Catholic-run facility is the only one in the vicinity that offers quality care at little or no cost.

Read more in Armenian Winter.

Tags: CNEWA Armenia Health Care Caring for the Elderly Caritas

27 October 2011
Christopher Boland

Monsignor Robert L. Stern, president emeritus of CNEWA, right, helps to celebrate
major donor Anthony Abraham’s 100th birthday on February 25, 2011 at the
Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, FL. (photo: Meg Pukel)

Anthony Abraham, one of CNEWA’s most loyal friends, died on 21 October 2011 at Baptist Hospital in Miami, Florida, of natural causes.

Mr. Abraham’s association with CNEWA goes back some 50 years, beginning with his friendship with Archbishop Joseph T. Ryan, CNEWA’s national secretary from 1960 to 1965.

The son of Lebanese immigrants and a devout Maronite Catholic, Mr. Abraham selflessly and generously supported CNEWA’s mission over the years with his time, energy and financial resources.

Through his Anthony R. Abraham Foundation, he has supported numerous humanitarian institutions in his ancestral land, including two orphanages, St. Vincent Créche in Beirut and Our Lady of Lebanon in Batroun. Nearer to home, he helped St. Ann Maronite Church in Troy, New York, by renovating the church and building a parish hall and rectory.

His foundation has also donated millions of dollars to charitable organizations, such as Camillus House, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Miami, America’s Second Harvest, Miami Children’s Hospital, Jackson Memorial Hospital, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Catholic Charities.

Born in Youngstown, Ohio, the self-made entrepreneur and philanthropist celebrated his 100th birthday on 25 February 2011.

As a child, he vowed, “If by the grace of God I ever could, I would feed the poor and help the sick.” He more than made good on that promise.

May God reward Anthony Abraham for his generosity and loving concern. May his memory be eternal.

An obituary for Mr. Abraham can be found here.

Tags: Lebanon Donors Maronite Catholic

2 September 2011
Christopher Boland

Every now and then, we hear stories of how CNEWA has been able to help people in surprising, sometimes unexpected ways. This week, we heard about one case — involving three countries, one young woman and one generous family.

Eighteen-year-old Zeina Nasraween from Jordan suffers from cerebral palsy, which severely impaired her legs and hands.

In October 2010, her family approached CNEWA’s regional office in Amman for help in securing affordable housing in Germany, where she would undergo several months of medical treatment. In response, Father Guido Gockel, CNEWA’s vice president for the Middle East, contacted a family in the Netherlands, who paid for the family’s stay in Germany.

After arriving in Germany, Zeina underwent reconstructive surgery on both her legs and received nearly six months of intensive physical therapy.

The result: last month she was able to return home to Madaba, Jordan able to walk without a cane and use her hands fully for the first time in her life.

Family, friends and colleagues greeted her when she came home, and were astounded by the improvements. “We didn’t realize how tall Zeina was before because she could never fully stand on her own. Now that she can stand and walk, we have discovered that she is quite tall,” said her sister, Nisreen.

Tags: CNEWA Jordan Amman