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CNEWA’s Bifurcation

by Msgr. Archimandrite Robert L. Stern

What happened? Simply this: CNEWA (Catholic Near East Welfare Association) has been bifurcated – in fact, not once, but twice!

“Bifurcation” is used rarely in American English, but more often in Indian English parlance. It means division into two forks, parts or branches.

I usually associate it with the announcement of the creation of a new diocese in India. The original diocese is usually said to have been bifurcated.

Well, the same thing has happened to CNEWA.

Ever since its establishment by Pope Pius XI in 1926, CNEWA has been centered in the United States but always understood to be an international, Vatican agency.

Although its administrative headquarters is in New York City, it is not associated with the Archdiocese of New York or the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

In recent years, we explored the possibility of opening a branch of CNEWA in Canada with a legal identity as a registered Canadian charity. That, of course, would offer an income tax advantage to Canadian donors.

On 30 October 2003, with the encouragement of the Holy See and led by Archbishop Marcel Gervais of Ottawa, five Canadian archbishops constituted “CNEWA Canada.”

Joining Archbishop Gervais were Marc Cardinal Ouellet of Quebec and Primate of Canada; Ukrainian Greek Catholic Metropolitan Archbishop of Winnipeg, Michael Bzdel, C.Ss.R.; and Archbishops Adam Exner, O.M.I., of Vancouver and Terrence Prendergast, S.J., of Halifax.

Creating CNEWA Canada prompted a closer look at the situation of CNEWA in the United States. Our New York office has always had a dual dimension – it promotes our work in the United States and it serves as the agency’s international administrative center.

Logic suggested creating another national CNEWA organization distinct from the international agency. So, on 11 November 2003 our Board of Trustees did exactly that.

“CNEWA United States” is constituted by Cardinals William Keeler of Baltimore and Francis George, O.M.I., of Chicago; Archbishops Francis Schulte, emeritus of New Orleans, and Alexander Brunett of Seattle; Bishops Daniel Reilly of Worcester, John Nevins of Venice and Joseph Fiorenza of Galveston-Houston; and Ukrainian Bishop Basil Losten of Stamford.

This new branch is responsible for CNEWA’s promotional and fund-raising activities in the United States.

The international organization continues to be led by the Archbishop of New York, Edward Cardinal Egan, now joined by the chairs and vice chairs of the two national branches of CNEWA.

Years ago, when Catholic Near East Welfare Association was founded, it was hoped that it would gradually spread around the world. It seems to have gotten off to a slow start, but it is finally moving in that direction.

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Msgr. Archimandrite Robert L. Stern, Secretary General of CNEWA



Tags: CNEWA Vatican Funding CNEWA Canada