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Who We Are

Amid the bloodshed following the partition of Palestine, Pope Pius XII mobilized worldwide Catholic aid, establishing in 1949 a temporary agency – the Pontifical Mission for Palestine – to feed, clothe and educate Palestinian refugees.

The pope entrusted CNEWA (Catholic Near East Welfare Association) with the administration of the Mission, which has become a permanent expression of the church’s concern for the well-being of all people in Palestine and throughout the Middle East.

The Pontifical Mission supports projects and programs of emergency assistance and relief; care and rehabilitation; education and human development. The Pontifical Mission is also an advocate for justice and peace and is committed to informing the public of the issues affecting the peoples of the region.

From building churches in Syria to providing clean water systems to war-damaged villages in Lebanon – from providing health care to the poor in Iraq to caring for orphaned children in Jordan – from providing job opportunities to unemployed Palestinians to helping train priests in Iraq, the Pontifical Mission is the Holy See’s relief and development agency for the Middle East.