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Volume 45, Number 3
5 October 2012
Greg Kandra

Pope Benedict XVI attends a ceremony and signing of his apostolic exhortation on the Middle East at the Melkite Catholic Basilica of St. Paul in Harissa, Lebanon, on 14 September.
(CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano via Reuters)

As we noted in our Page One headlines this morning, the Holy Father’s exhortation on the Church in the Middle East is being widely circulated in that part of the world.

Pope Benedict XVI had a lot to say to the people of the Middle East on a range of topics. Here are five subjects (among many) worth noting, as expressed in the pope’s own words:

  1. The four pillars of the early church. “According to Acts, the unity of believers was seen in the fact that ‘they devoted themselves to the Apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of the bread and the prayers’ (2:42). The unity of believers was thus nourished by the teaching of the Apostles (the proclamation of God’s word), to which they responded with unanimous faith, by fraternal communion (the service of charity), by the breaking of the bread (the Eucharist and the sacraments), and by prayer, both personal and communal. It was on these four pillars that communion and witness were based within the first community of believers. May the Church which has lived uninterruptedly in the Middle East from apostolic times to our own day find in the example of that community the resources needed to keep fresh the memory and the apostolic vitality of her origins!” (paragraph 5)
  2. Peace. “Peace is not simply a pact or a treaty which ensures a tranquil life, nor can its definition be reduced to the mere absence of war. According to its Hebrew etymology, peace means being complete and intact, restored to wholeness. It is the state of those who live in harmony with God and with themselves, with others and with nature. Before appearing outwardly, peace is interior. It is blessing. It is the yearning for a reality. Peace is something so desirable that it has become a greeting in the Middle East” (cf. Jn 20:19; 1 Pet 5:14). (9)
  3. Ecumenism. “[The Church in the Middle East] lives there in a remarkable variety of forms. Along with the Catholic Church, a great number of venerable Churches and Ecclesial Communities of more recent date are present in the Middle East. This mosaic demands a significant and continued effort to build unity in respect for the riches of each, and thus to reaffirm the credibility of the proclamation of the Gospel and Christian witness. Unity is a gift of God which is born of the Spirit and which must be cultivated with patient perseverance (cf. 1 Pet 3:8-9). We know that it is tempting, whenever our divisions make themselves felt, to appeal to purely human criteria, forgetting the sage counsel of Saint Paul (cf. 1 Cor 6:7-8). He entreats us: ‘Be eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace’ (Eph 4:3). Faith is the centre and the fruit of true ecumenism. Faith itself must first be deepened. Unity is born of constant prayer and the conversion which enables each of us to live in accordance with the truth and in charity (cf. Eph 4:15-16). The Second Vatican Council encouraged this ‘spiritual ecumenism’ which is the soul of true ecumenism.” (11)
  4. Religious freedom. “Religious freedom is the pinnacle of all other freedoms. It is a sacred and inalienable right. It includes on the individual and collective levels the freedom to follow one’s conscience in religious matters and, at the same time, freedom of worship. It includes the freedom to choose the religion which one judges to be true and to manifest one’s beliefs in public. It must be possible to profess and freely manifest one’s religion and its symbols without endangering one’s life and personal freedom. Religious freedom is rooted in the dignity of the person; it safeguards moral freedom and fosters mutual respect. Jews, with their long experience of often deadly assaults, know full well the benefits of religious freedom. For their part, Muslims share with Christians the conviction that no constraint in religious matters, much less the use of force, is permitted. Such constraint, which can take multiple and insidious forms on the personal and social, cultural, administrative and political levels, is contrary to God’s will. It gives rise to political and religious exploitation, discrimination and violence leading to death. God wants life, not death. He forbids all killing, even of those who kill” (cf. Gen 4:15-16; 9:5-6; Ex 20:13).
  5. Women. “The first creation account shows the essential equality of men and women (cf. Gen 1:27-29). This equality was damaged by the effects of sin (cf. Gen 3:16; Mt 19:4). Overcoming this legacy, the fruit of sin, is the duty of every human person, whether man or woman. I want to assure all women that the Catholic Church, in fidelity to God’s plan, works to advance women’s personal dignity and equality with men in response to the wide variety of forms of discrimination which they experience simply because they are women. Such practices seriously harm the life of communion and witness. They gravely offend not only women but, above all, God the Creator. In recognition of their innate inclination to love and protect human life, and paying tribute to their specific contribution to education, healthcare, humanitarian work and the apostolic life, I believe that women should play, and be allowed to play, a greater part in public and ecclesial life. In this way they will be able to make their specific contribution to building a more fraternal society and a Church whose beauty is ever more evident in the genuine communion existing among the baptized.”

There is much more, of course, stretching across 100 paragraphs. We’ll have more from this important document in the next edition of the magazine. Meantime, you can read the exhortation in its entirety online.

CNEWA president Msgr. John Kozar was in Lebanon during the pope’s trip last month. You can read his account of that visit here.

Tags: Lebanon Middle East Pope Benedict XVI

28 September 2012
Bradley H. Kerr

Jewish worshippers pray at the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest site, in Jerusalem’s Old City on 13 September, ahead of the Jewish new year. (photo:CNS photo/Baz Ratner, Reuters)

This week, Pope Benedict offered his “heartfelt best wishes” to the Jewish community on the occasion of three important holidays — Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot. So what are these holidays, exactly? Here are five things you should know:

  1. Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year. Just as Catholics have a special religious calendar, so do Jews — and it begins with Rosh Hashanah. The holiday is celebrated over two days with prayer services where a horn called a shofar is blown 100 times. There are also family meals with symbolic foods such as apples dipped in honey. This year, Rosh Hashanah started on the evening of 16 September.
  2. Speaking of the Jewish New Year, it’s now 5773, according to the Jewish calendar. Tradition holds that year 1 began about a year before Creation. The first day of year 1 is equivalent to 7 October 3761 B.C.
  3. Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement. This is the holiest day of the year for the Jewish people. It is marked by 24 hours of fasting and repentance — no food, no drink, no nothing. Before Yom Kippur, you are supposed to seek forgiveness for your sins against God and other people. This year, the holiday started on the evening of 25 September.
  4. Sukkot is the Feast of the Tabernacles, which are a kind of hut covered in leaves. These huts are meant to bring to mind the fragile dwellings in which the Israelites lived during the 40 years in the desert. The feast lasts for seven or eight days, and holiday meals are eaten inside of the sukkot. Sometimes, very devout Jews sleep inside them, too. This year, Sukkot starts on Sunday, 30 September.
  5. “Chag sameach” is how you can greet your Jewish friends during Sukkot. It means “joyous festival” in Hebrew, and it actually works for just about any holiday.

By the way, why I am telling you this? Because CNEWA works on behalf of the Holy Father to promote understanding and friendship between all who worship the one God — Christians, Muslims and Jews. That is a very fundamental part of our mission. Chag sameach!

Tags: Ecumenism Jews

21 September 2012
Antin Sloboda

The Major Archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Sviatoslav Shevchuk, blesses the icon of the Blessed Bishop-Martyr Nykyta Budka, the first Ukrainian Greek Catholic Eparch of Canada. (photo: Carl Hétu)

Last Sunday marked the conclusion of the Synod of Bishops of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in Winnipeg. So what were all these Ukrainians (whose church is based in Kiev) doing in Canada?

There are a number of reasons. Here are five:

  1. This year marks the 100th anniversary of when the first bishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Nykyta Budka, arrived in Winnipeg. Bishop Nykyta is considered a model of holiness, a man who sacrificed his life for his people. In 1927, he left Canada and returned to Ukraine; 22 years later, he was arrested for opposing Stalin’s elimination of the church. Bishop Nykyta was sent to a concentration camp in Central Asia, where he was martyred in 1949. Pope John Paul II declared him blessed during a visit to Ukraine in 2001.
  2. The Ukrainian Greek Catholic See of Winnipeg has become the first metropolitan see of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church outside Ukraine.Over the years, Winnipeg has evolved into one of the most important centers of Ukrainian cultural and religious life. In addition to being the seat of theUkrainian Greek Catholic metropolitan archbishop, the city of Winnipeg is also home to the Ukrainian Orthodox metropolitan archbishop. The close ties between Catholics and Orthodox of the Ukrainian tradition in Canada serve as an example of cooperation and ecumenism. At the synod, the Ukrainian Orthodox metropolitan of Canada, Archbishop Yurij Kalistchuk, participated as an honorary guest.
  3. Canada is home to more than a million people of Ukrainian descent, most of whom have links to western regions of Ukraine that for centuries were under the care of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. The synod provided Ukrainian Canadians with a strong reminder that their church leadership cares for them and is serious about addressing their spiritual needs and challenges.
  4. The year 2012 has been declared by the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church a “Year of the Laity.” Over the last century, members of the church in Canada have helped create a network of civil and faith-based organizations. Over the decades, groups such as the Ukrainian Canadian Women’s League, Ukrainian Catholic Brotherhood of Canada, Ukrainian branches of the Knights of Columbus and the Ukrainian Catholic Youth of Canada have played a crucial role in helping the community and the church to thrive. The synod acknowledged their valuable achievements. The synodal fathers also reflected on the ways this positive experience could benefit the entire church. In particular, they discussed how the Canadian experience could benefit their brothers and sisters in Ukraine who, due to decades of Communist authoritarianism, did not have the opportunity to create similar institutions.
  5. By holding its executive leadership meetings and synods in various places around the globe, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church manifests its “catholic,” that is, universal, identity, and that it lives and flourishes around the world. Recently, Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, who leads this church, emphasized that the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church is not a church of Ukrainians, but first of all a church of Christ following the ancient Byzantine Ukrainian tradition open to all.

CNEWA works closely with many Ukrainian bishops in Canada and Ukraine. And, as an expression of solidarity with the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, CNEWA Canada’s national director, Carl Hétu, participated in the closing liturgies of the synod in Winnipeg and had a chance to greet personally the synod’s participants and members of the Winnipeg Ukrainian community.

Tags: Ukraine Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Canada

14 September 2012
Michael J.L. La Civita

Sister Georgette Foukey works with a student at the Franciscan Sisters orphanage school in Egypt. (photo: Sean Sprague)

Pope Benedict XVI — who is now traveling in Lebanon — is being received throughout the Middle East as a herald of peace and hope. The pontiff has a busy schedule, meeting with youth, celebrating the Eucharist, meeting with Christians of all varieties, as well as Muslims and Druze. He will also release an apostolic exhortation, which is “addressed to everyone” and “is intended as a roadmap for the years to come.”

Yet the chief audience for the exhortation, which concludes the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops held in the Vatican in 2010, are those Catholics of the many Eastern churches who live throughout the Middle East, from Egypt to the Persian Gulf. Often these Catholics, who have been emigrating in significant numbers in the last few decades, are the bridge-builders in Middle Eastern societies.

This role is unique to them for a number of reasons. Perhaps the most significant, however, is the role social service efforts of the local churches play throughout the region. Here are five examples of Christian works of mercy. Thanks to friends and benefactors, all these works are supported by CNEWA through our operating agency in the region, the Pontifical Mission. These works are making a difference in the Middle East, and with no distinction of race or religion:

  1. Bethlehem University is the only Catholic institution for higher learning in the occupied West Bank. Founded by Pope Paul VI and administered by the De La Salle Brothers of the Christian Schools, Bethlehem University is an oasis of hope in a land burned by fear and violence.
  2. Mother of Mercy Clinic in Zerqa, Jordan, provides the best in pre- and post-natal care to impoverished Palestinian refugee families. Subsidized by CNEWA and administered by the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena, an Iraqi community based in Mosul, the clinic serves some 30,000 annually, almost all of whom are devout Muslims.
  3. Franciscan School in Abou Kir, near the ancient Egyptian city of Alexandria, enables Christian and Muslim children to receive the finest education is one of the poorer districts of the area. Run by the Lebanese Franciscan Sisters of the Cross, the school also offers the best of care for blind children at its Santa Lucia Home.
  4. Oum el Nour, or “Mother of Light” in Arabic, is a substance abuse rehabilitation and prevention center in Beirut. It began as an act of faith in a tent some 20 years ago, and today Oum el Nour is one of Lebanon’s most successful rehabilitation centers for substance abusers.
  5. The care of Iraqi refugeesand now the displaced from Syria — is not the exclusive work of any one community or institution. But throughout the Middle East, Christians are rolling up their sleeves, helping refugee families find housing, temporary employment, schooling, clothes and food. Bishops, priests, sisters and the laity are working together to help stabilize families driven from their homes by ignorance, hate and violence.

The real work will take place after the pope leaves Lebanon. Join CNEWA and make a difference in the Middle East with a gift.

Tags: Lebanon Middle East Christians Pope Benedict XVI Iraqi Refugees Interreligious

7 September 2012
Greg Kandra

Snake boats get ready to race during the Onam celebration in Kerala.
(photo: Arun Sinha/Wikipedia)

What, exactly, is Onam? Glad you asked.

Onam is the just-completed Hindu harvest festival celebrated in Kerala, India. As Wikipedia puts it:

It is the state festival of Kerala and falls during the month of Chingam (August–September) and lasts for ten days. The festival is marked by various festivities, including intricate flower carpets, elaborate banquet lunches, snake boat races, etc.

The festival has a rich and colorful history, and its observance now extends to all faiths. We asked Thomas Varghese, CNEWA’s vice president for India and Northeast Africa, to share a few things people should know about Onam. He was happy to oblige.

  1. Thripunithura Athachamayam. This is the festival that kicks off all the celebrations. It features a street parade accompanied by decorated elephants and floats, musicians and various traditional Kerala art forms.
  2. Feasting. Bring your appetite! Traditionally, the feasting of Onam is referred to as Onasadya, and it consists of a number of specialties (often more than 20 curries) dished up on a banana leaf.
  3. Pulikkali, or Tiger Play. Hundreds of grown men dress up as tigers and dance to the beat of traditional percussion instruments. It can take hours to decorate just one person—and all body hair has to be removed so that the skin can be painted in intricate detail. There are prizes for best costume, too.
  4. Aranmula Snake Boat Race. This is among the oldest snake boat races in Kerala. The focus is on tradition. About 50 boats take part in the race, which starts in the afternoon and includes religious rituals.
  5. Onam Week. Kerala puts on week-long celebrations around the state’s capital of Trivandrum. Festivities include stage shows, folk art and craft fairs.

For more, you can check out the link at Wikipedia. You can also read more about this year’s celebration in the Times of India. And you’ll find much more—including details about the festival’s origins and rituals—at

Tags: India Kerala

31 August 2012
Elias D. Mallon, S.A., Ph.D.

Religious leaders hold oil lamps during the gathering for peace outside the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi last October. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)

Not long ago, we received a letter from a reader who was concerned about all the attention CNEWA gives to ecumenism — that is, the efforts to increase understanding and promote unity with other churches and communities. Aside from being a part of CNEWA’s original mandate from the Holy Father, working toward the unity of Christians is woven intricately into the fabric of Catholic teaching. We asked Father Elias D. Mallon, CNEWA’s external affairs officer, to address that in this week’s “Take Five.”

  1. Vatican II (11 October 1962 — 8 December 1965) issued the Decree on Ecumenism (Unitatis Redintegratio) on 21 November 1965. In the decree the council stated: “The restoration of unity among all Christians is one of the principle concerns of the Second Vatican Council” (par. 1). This decree made ecumenism an integral part of 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” (par. 3)
  3. Thirty years later, in his encyclical Ut Unum Sint (That They May Be One) of 25 May 1995, Blessed John Paul II 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...” (par. 20)
  4. The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity is part of the Roman Curia and is responsible for maintaining relations with non-Catholic churches and communities and for sponsoring dialogues with them. Its current president is Cardinal Kurt Koch, former bishop of Basel, Switzerland.
  5. The Joint Working Group between the Catholic Church and the World Council of Churches (Geneva, Switzerland) engages in discussions with Orthodox and Protestant Christians who are members of the World Council of Churches. Among other things, the Joint Working Group helps prepare the theme and text for the annual observance of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (18-25 January). The Week of Prayer is observed by Christians all over the world. The observance of this week was started in 1908 by the Rev. Paul Wattson (d. 1940), founder of the Friars of the Atonement and influential in the founding of The Catholic Near East Welfare Association.

Many dioceses throughout the world have an ecumenical officer who is responsible for local relations with other Christians. This includes local dialogues, prayer services and common community activities. In recent years, the ecumenical officer is also responsible for relations with non-Christians.

Tags: Vatican Ecumenism Christian Unity Pope John Paul II

24 August 2012
Erin Edwards

A child reads Braille at the Shashemene School for the Blind in Shashemene, Ethiopia.
(photo: Nile Sprague)

The work of CNEWA is diverse and varies throughout the regions we serve. But one thing that has been consistent in almost every country is our support for the disabled. Below are five institutions for the disabled in five different countries, all supported by CNEWA:

  1. Shashemene School for the Blind, Ethiopia. The Shashemene School for the Blind in Ethiopia is run by the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul. In the May 2006 issue of ONE we wrote about the Shashemene school:

    “Three days after she was born, Meseret was struck blind. She spent much of her early childhood locked in her room; her parents did not know what to do with her. But a few years ago, Meseret&rsuqo;s family found out about the Shashemene School for the Blind, run by the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, and decided that Meseret would be happier there than at home.

    The school lies within a large, gated compound — a sanctuary in Shashemene, a bustling Ethiopian town of 50,000. It was here that Meseret, now 12, learned Braille. And it was here that she first came to understand that her life, like those of the other 120 blind students enrolled in the school, could be meaningful.”

  2. St. Anthony’s Dayssadan, India. St. Anthony’s Dayssdan is a home for children with physical disabilities run by the Preshitharam Sisters. During his pastoral visit to India, Msgr. John Kozar visited the home and was moved by the children he met:

    “The drama began the instant we arrived, when we were welcomed by all the children gathered at the front entrance to greet me with singing and clapping. Now, what I did not know was that about 80 percent of these beautiful children are not able to walk. They assembled there under their own incredible efforts. When the welcome ended they proceeded to crawl inside the building, down a long corridor (with the marble floor immaculately clean), then up a flight of stairs. I had tears watching them, as they demonstrated how they have overcome their disabilities. As I would easily discern, it is the result of the loving patience of the sisters, their devotion to teach these little ones how to overcome and to share with them the love of God for each of them.”

  3. Franciscan Sisters of the Cross Hospital, Lebanon. Founded in 1933, this hospital houses and cares for some 280 mentally and physically disabled patients. Last winter, Msgr. Kozar visited the hospital and met with the Franciscan sisters and patients they care for:

    “Our most memorable visit was in an area for profoundly mentally challenged boys and men, some of whom have severely physical handicaps. There was a remarkable sister who had a God-given ability to discern in the moans, groans or unabashed sounds of these patients ranging in age from 6 to 45 years a need for some type of attention. She calmly reached out and gave them a little hug, a pat on the check, a little touch on the head, and their anxieties or fears went away. She did it so instinctively and so calmly it might not have been noticed — she did it with love.”

  4. Ephpheta Institute, Palestine. The Ephpheta Institute, in Bethlehem, is a school for the speech and hearing impaired which has long been supported by CNEWA. During his first pastoral trip to the Holy Land, Msgr. Kozar paid the sisters and students at Ephpheta a visit:

    “Of course, the highlight was being with the children, all 125 of them. The very youngest receive wonderful one-on-one training and speech therapy, rendered in a most loving way. After a few years of such intense instruction and training, the children are ready to begin primary school education. It was so edifying to see the progression of the children as they learned first to repeat sounds, then words, then to speak in sentences. The biggest surprise was the upper level kids who were actually bi-lingual, speaking in Arabic and English. I was so proud of each and every one of them.”

  5. Santa Lucia’s Home for the Blind, Egypt. The Santa Lucia Home for the Blind in Egypt, run by the Franciscan Sisters of the Cross, has cared for blind children since the 1980s. We profiled this pioneering project in the May 2010 issue of ONE:

    “Having a blind parent or sibling, however, does not safeguard a blind child from abuse or neglect. One such child is 7-year-old Bishoi. His father is blind and never attended a day of school. Before coming to Santa Lucia, Bishoi spent most of his days on the street in a village in Upper Egypt.

    ‘His mom and dad stayed at home, and just left him in the street, where he cursed and roughhoused with other children,’ says Sister Hoda. ‘This is what happened to him because there was no one to take care of him. He did not even go to school.’

    Many parents, such as Bishoi’s, are simply at a loss as to what to do with a disabled child. Lucky for Bishoi’s parents, their dilemma was resolved when they learned about Santa Lucia from a Franciscan priest who visited their local parish. His parents called Sister Souad that day and soon after, they put Bishoi on a train to Alexandria.”

Visit our website to learn how you can help support these institutions and others.

Tags: CNEWA Children Disabilities

17 August 2012
Antin Sloboda

Carl Hétu, left, and Father Thomas Rosica, CEO of Salt+Light Television, participated in a panel discussion at the “Across the Divide” screening in Vancouver earlier this summer.
(photo: The B.C. Catholic Paper)

Antin Sloboda is a development assistant in our Canada office.

Many of you may know that CNEWA’s headquarters are in New York City. But what you may not know is that we have another office in North America, in Canada.

Below are some interesting facts about CNEWA’s Canadian family:

  1. We have an archbishop for a neighbor. Our national office is based in Ottawa, situated in the same building on 1247 Kilborn Place where the Archdiocese of Ottawa has its administrative headquarters. It’s also just a short walk to the offices of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. Being based in Canada’s capital helps us to work closely with our church leadership as well as to interact with other NGOs and country leaders that play a crucial role in areas important to CNEWA’s mission.

  2. We’re the new kids on the block. Among all CNEWA’s offices, the Canadian one is the youngest. We’ve only been in existence since 2005. We were established with the support and endorsement of the Archbishop of Ottawa, Marcel André J. Gervais.

  3. We’re busy. We support projects in all regions where CNEWA has been historically present. Since the day of CNEWA Canada’s founding, its priorities have been focused on helping people in the Middle East, in particular the Christian minorities of Iraq. A lot of our energy these days is devoted to assisting the victims of violent conflicts in Syria and Egypt. Our Eastern European program is also well-established and grows as needs arise.

  4. We have some special projects, too. Among our special projects this year is a public awareness campaign on the important role that Bethlehem University plays in the Holy Land. This project has been undertaken in cooperation with the Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation, which produced a special documentary about the university, “Across the Divide”. This summer the documentary is being screened in many cities across Canada. At recent screenings in Vancouver and Halifax, auditoriums were filled to capacity. There are also plans to show the film in Toronto, Ottawa and Windsor.

    Another special initiative undertaken this year is a joint project with the Catholic Women’s League of Canada (CWL). The project is called “Velma’s Dream” and it aims to assist children from Christian minorities in Jerusalem. It will help to create favorable learning conditions for children, so more of them will be able to succeed in school and life. Last Monday, a detailed presentation of the project was given by our National Director, Carl Hétu at the National CWL Convention in Edmonton, and it was enthusiastically received by the convention’s delegates who represented over 100,000 Canadian Catholic Women.

  5. We have our own board. CNEWA Canada is overseen by a Board of Directors consisting of six bishops. It is chaired by Most Rev. Terrence Prendergast, S.J, Archbishop of Ottawa. The other five bishops represent different regions of Canada. Our vice chair is Cardinal Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto.

    In our Ottawa office, there are five of us who implement CNEWA’s mission on a daily basis: Carl Hétu, Judith Poitevien, Melodie Gabriel, Francois Moniz and myself. We’re a small team, but we work well together, sharing our tasks, challenges and hopes.

    We also share various responsibilities, from fundraising to data processing and managing donor relations — and writing occasional posts for CNEWA’s blog!

Tags: Canada CNEWA Canada

10 August 2012
Megan Knighton

A Palestinian doctor examines a child at the N.E.C.C. Mother and Child Clinic in Gaza City.
(photo: Eman Mohammed)

The Gaza Strip has been under siege for years. Continuing blockades prohibit much-needed healthcare commodities from entering the region — such as medicines, advanced technology and other medical supplies, even medical staff. The situation remains highly tenuous as community health needs continue to grow.

But there is hope! Last year CNEWA, in partnership with our generous donors, successfully advanced the health and well-being of communities throughout the Gaza Strip by sponsoring healthcare projects offered by the clinics of the Near East Council of Churches (N.E.C.C.). Together, we worked to promote and restore dignity for families and children by helping to provide basic medical care.

Here are five things you’ve helped us to accomplish:

  1. Raised awareness. The N.E.C.C. clinics, working with local organizations, held over 2,000 public health campaigns covering topics like breastfeeding, personal hygiene, nutrition education and psychosocial counseling.
  2. Brightened smiles. Mobile dental clinics were set up to administer basic free dental care to remote, under-served communities throughout Gaza. Dental exams increased from 6,479 to 7,056.
  3. Immunized kids. Over 9,000 children were newly registered last year at the clinics. That means each child received a free checkup and any missing vaccinations and inoculations. Early registration of infants increased, too!
  4. Stocked shelves. Ensured fully stocked pharmacies throughout the year at all clinics, allowing them to provide services to families and at-risk groups unable to receive full treatment at other under-stocked clinics in the area.
  5. Cared for pregnant mothers. Through our clinics, over 1,500 mothers received excellent pre- and postnatal care, including classes and lectures about good habits for raising healthy children and caring for families and women’s empowerment. Each mother and newborn also received thorough follow-ups from clinic staff.

You can read more about recent efforts to help the people of Gaza in “Behind the Blockade” from the March 2012 issue of ONE. And visit our “Ways to Give” page to learn how you can make a difference yourself!

Tags: Gaza Strip/West Bank Health Care Women

3 August 2012
Erin Edwards

A family prepares muttsmala for the Malabar Food Festival in Ernakulam, Kerala.
(photo: Peter Lemieux)

There is a vast array of cuisines unique to the cultures and regions of the world CNEWA serves. Below are five delicious recipes:

  1. Sambar. Sambar is a vegetable soup made with tamarind and pigeon peas. It is one of the most popular dishes in South India, accompanying most meals. Enjoy it over white rice, idli (steamed rice cake) or dosa (pancake made with black gram and rice). We featured the recipe for this South Indian favorite in the November 2008 issue of ONE.

  2. Dosa. Dosa, as mentioned above, is a pancake made with black gram and rice. It can be enjoyed with any number of the flavorful stews, sauces or soups in Indian cuisine. You can find the recipe for dosa in the November 2008 issue of ONE as well.

  3. Tisza Fisherman’s Soup. Tisza Fisherman’s Soup, originating in Hungary, is a paprika-based river fish soup, best served hot and spicy. The original fisherman’s soup is prepared with fish from the Danube and Tisza rivers. The recipe for Tisza Fisherman’s Soup can be found in the September 2005 issue of ONE.

  4. Sfeeha (Meat Pies). Sfeeha, or meat pies, can be found in various parts of the Middle East and Armenia. Sfeeha are a pizza-like dish filled with a combination of spices, vegetables and either beef or lamb. The recipe for Sfeeha was featured in the July 2006 issue of ONE.

  5. Injera. Injera, a spongy flatbread made from teff, is the Ethiopian staple bread. It is used to scoop up meat and vegetable stews. It also lines the trays on which the stews are served and soaks up the juices from the meal. A meal is complete only after the last injera is eaten. The recipe for injera can take a few days preparation.

Respond in the comments and let us know if you try any of these tasty recipes!

Tags: India Ethiopia Middle East Eastern Europe Cuisine

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