15 April 2019
We were shocked and saddened, along with so many others around the word this afternoon, when news broke that one of the most beloved churches in the world, the 800-year-old iconic Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, was burning.
Early reports indicated it was caused by renovations and construction underway in the cathedral.
But images, such as those captured live on the video below, told the story.
As Christians around the globe begin to mark the holiest week of the church calendar — and prepare to remember again Christ’s passion, death and resurrection — we pray for the people of Paris and believers everywhere whose hearts are breaking at the destruction, the ruin and the loss of such a beautiful house of prayer.
This afternoon, CNEWA’s chair, New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan, released a statement:
I just went next door to our own beloved Cathedral, Saint Patrick’s, to ask the intercession of Notre Dame, our Lady, for the Cathedral at the heart of Paris, and of civilization, now in flames! God preserve this splendid house of prayer, and protect those battling the blaze.
Mary, Queen of Peace and Help of Christians, pray for us!
1 April 2019
The kids approve! Youngsters from the Father Roberts Institute for the Deaf, north of Beirut, give a cheerful thumbs up to a visitor. (Photo: Chris Kennedy)
As a Catholic organization, we aim to be humble in our work — you won’t see CNEWA’s name stenciled on massive crates of relief supplies, or on warehouses or schools.
Sometimes, though, it’s nice to be recognized for our efforts — as we were today by Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator. We received their coveted rating of 4 stars!
“CNEWA’s exceptional 4-star rating sets it apart from its peers and demonstrates its trustworthiness to the public,” according to Michael Thatcher, President & CEO of Charity Navigator. “Only a quarter of charities rated by Charity Navigator receive the distinction of our 4-star rating. This adds CNEWA to a preeminent group of charities working to overcome our world’s most pressing challenges.”
To our wonderful donors: thank you for your ongoing and generous support. This news demonstrates our commitment to sound fiscal management, accountability and transparency. Your trust is crucial to us, and we never take it for granted.
You can see our detailed rating here.
29 March 2019
The March 2019 edition of ONE is now online.
We’re pleased to announce that the March 2019 edition of ONE is now online. Check it out!
Among the places we visit:
Georgia…where Chorbishop Benyamin Beth Yadgar writes of his efforts to build up the faith of Assyrians and Chaldeans in a land that has endured oppression and injustice…
India…where we hear dramatic accounts of the devastating flood that struck Kerala last summer and learn how the church saved lives and continues to offer hope…
The Holy Land…where three communities of religious sisters are lovingly changing the lives of young people…
Ethiopia…where the church is involved in strengthening marriages and uplifting families.
All these and more can be found in the March 2019 edition of ONE. The digital edition is viewable at this link and the magazine itself will be arriving in mailboxes soon — bringing to your home the acclaimed journalism and stunning photographs that help to show so vividly how CNEWA is making a difference in the lives of many around the world.
For more, check out the video preview from our president, Msgr. John E. Kozar, below.
We couldn’t do it without you. Thank you and God bless you!
18 March 2019
A Dominican sister visits the Church of Sts. Behnam and Sarah in northern Iraq. (photo: Raed Rafei)
We want to share with you some news from our friends over at America Media, about an event CNEWA is proudly helping to present next month. The announcement is below:
WHEN: Wednesday, 10 April 2019 | 6 p.m.
WHERE: America Media - 1212 Avenue of the Americas 11th Fl. - New York, N.Y. 10036
Recent conflicts and shifting geopolitical dynamics have left Christian communities in the Middle East seeking refugee and decimated compared to pre-conflict numbers.
Drew Christiansen, S.J., Distinguished Professor of Ethics and Human Development in Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service, will deliver a lecture on the challenges and hopes for the Christian communities struggling to survive to in the homelands.
Father Christiansen, the former editor in chief of America magazine, is a senior research fellow at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs. His current areas of research include nuclear disarmament, nonviolence and just peacemaking, Catholic social teaching, and ecumenical public advocacy. He is a frequent consultant to the Holy See and a member of the steering committee of the Catholic Peacebuilding Network. He also served on the Atlantic Council’s Middle East Task Force and on the Holy See delegation that participated in the negotiation of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons during summer 2017.
This event is co-sponsored by the Eastern Lieutenancy of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre, and in partnership with the Catholic Near East Welfare Association and The Anglosphere Society.
RSVP (required) to: firstname.lastname@example.org
14 March 2019
Tags: Refugees CNEWA Middle East
Christians and Muslims of Dalit origin protesting in New Delhi on 12 March to demand the government provide them with the social welfare benefits enjoyed by their Hindu counterparts but denied to them. (photo: Bijay Kumar Minj/ucanews.com)
Hundreds of Dalit Christians and Muslims took to the streets yesterday in India's capital, demanding welfare benefits they say are being denied to them.
The story below comes from UCA News:
Some 500 Christians and Muslims who belong to former untouchable communities came together in New Delhi on 12 March, two days after the schedule for the April-May general elections were announced.
“The country is in election mood. We want to put across our demands to the government that they consider the rights of our Dalit Christian and Muslim brethren,” said Father Devasagaya Raj, secretary of the Indian bishops’ office for Dalit and socially disadvantaged people at the gathering.
Christians and Muslims of Dalit origin demand that they be given social welfare benefits meant for the uplift of Dalit people. Both communities have been denied these benefits since 1950 because the government says their religions do not follow the caste system.
“Six decades is not a small period [that] we have been suffering this injustice,” said Father Raj. “There is a limit for everything. We have decided that we will support a political party who will put our demands in their election manifesto.”
The 1950 presidential order said only Dalit people of the Hindu religion can enjoy constitutional benefits such as reservations in government jobs, education institutions and financial help with studies. The order was amended twice to include Sikhs in 1956 and Buddhists in 1990.
Both Buddhism and Sikhism also do not approve of the caste system, but they were included after the government accepted their argument that a mere change of religion does not change a person’s socio-economic situation.
But the same argument put forward by Dalit Christians and Muslims has not been successful in having another amendment applied. Christian leaders say political parties fear doing so because it could antagonize their majority Hindu voters.
“Most of the political parties have promised to consider our demand but no one has kept their word when they come to power. We want a firm promise now,” Father Raj said.
Delegates from most Indian states attended the rally which was organized by the National Council of Dalit Christians with support of Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India and the protestant National Council of Churches in India.
An estimated 30 percent of India’s 28 million Christians have a Dalit background. They are scatted across different Indian states, and speak different languages making coordination difficult, said leader like M. Mary John, founder member of National Council of Dalit Christians.
11 March 2019
Tags: India Dalits Mumbai
People watch a tractor excavate Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash on 10 March 2019, near Bishoftu, Ethiopia. Among the dead were four Catholic Relief Services staffers: Getnet Alemayehu, Mulusew Alemu, Sintayehu Aymeku and Sara Chalachew.
(photo: CNS/Maheder Haileselassie, Reuters)
This morning, Catholic Relief Services issued a statement regarding the tragedy this weekend in Ethiopia:
“It is with heavy hearts that we share the news that four members of our staff were killed when Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed just after take-off Sunday morning. Their names are: Sara Chalachew, Getnet Alemayehu, Sintayehu Aymeku, and Mulusew Alemu. All four individuals were Ethiopian nationals traveling to Nairobi to attend a training on our behalf.
Although we are in mourning, we celebrate the lives of these colleagues and the selfless contributions they made to our mission, despite the risks and sacrifices that humanitarian work can often entail. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families and all of those who lost loved ones as a result of this tragedy.”
There are further details at the CRS website.
We at CNEWA share in the sorrow and loss, and offer our deepest sympathies and prayers to our friends at CRS.
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
20 February 2019
In a project supported by CNEWA, young Indian women from poor families develop computer skills so they can have a brighter future. (photo: CNEWA)
We recently received the following update from our regional director in India, M.L. Thomas, describing a project CNEWA is supporting to help uplift and support the poor — in particular, helping girls develop vital skills they can use in the future:
More than 300 young women were trained in trades that can help sustain a good quality of life.
This was one of the highlights of the project supported by CNEWA in 2018. CNEWA accompanied a few church institutions to support the poor, particularly the Dalits, to help them earn a living on their own. This was made possible through the support of generous donors of CNEWA.
CNEWA helped 352 young women through these dioceses/institutions:
Archdiocese of Trivandrum helped 90
Diocese of Marthandom helped 89
Diocese of Thuckalay helped 65
Diocese of Palghat helped 64
St. Joseph’s After Care Home, Changanassery helped 44
St. Joseph’s After Care Home has been helping poor children for the last 24 years. Many grew up to become qualified nurses, who completed their schooling in the orphanage.
The Catholic Church, a pioneer of educating the young, has helped bring revolutionary changes to India in terms of providing basic education to the poor and to Dalit children. The Church is now working to support the poor in higher education and job training.
More than 300 young women have been trained in a variety of jobs, including nursing and health care. (photo: CNEWA)
In normal circumstances, the parents —being poor—would opt to send the young women away in marriage. Such women are often not prepared to take up the responsibility of running the home and raising children, and their lot in life never improves. So we need to help give them skills to make a living and have other opportunities.
During the last few years, CNEWA has helped hundreds of young women in their studies. Most have been able to settle into and well-paying jobs in nursing, computer or tailoring that give them a secure footing for the future and help them support their families.
We remain grateful to our generous donors for making all this possible, and helping to change the lives of India’s poor for the better!
11 February 2019
The staff and students of Bethlehem's Paul VI Ephpheta Institute. (photo: Ephpheta/CNEWA)
We recently received this report on the most recent semester at Bethlehem's Paul VI Ephpheta Institute for the Deaf, which CNEWA has supported for decades. As we described it in the pages of our magazine:
Ephpheta was founded at the Pope’s request after his visit to the Holy Land in 1964. Supported almost entirely by CNEWA, Ephpheta admits children on the basis of need, not their parents’ ability to pay. Ephpheta is run by the Sisters of Saint Dorothy, a largely Italian community dedicated to spreading the love of Christ through fostering human and Christian development. Although engaged in many types of educational and social work, the sisters have specialized in educating the deaf.
Currently, there are 182 students attending classes at Ephpheta Institute; at the beginning of the school year, the number of students fluctuated (more or less) according to various reasons: new students enrolled at the school while some students due to several factors such as difficult access issues; expensive transportation costs which parents cannot afford; change of residence; and other personal reasons/ decisions taken by parents. Currently, there are 14 or 15 students enrolled in the kindergarten and preschool; in the upper classes, the attendance tends to decrease.
Teacher training and activities (divided by class), were drawn up in accordance with the new academic programs offered by the Palestinian Ministry of Education. The common goal agreed upon, is to deepen the value of respect and cooperation towards oneself and others. This value involves teachers and students and will be implemented within the year through various initiatives and activities.
During the past four months, several initiatives have been implemented to help develop the skills of the students and help them overcome, at least in part, the “barrier” which may affect them psychologically, and their ability to communicate. The initiative included various activities such as Arabic dance, art, music, cooking and student-to-student exchange with semester.
Students learn to express themselves through fingerpainting. (photo: Ephpheta/CNEWA)
Students also had the opportunity to get creative, participating in a course by “CheArte” an organization dedicated to children’s expression through art. During the course, both students and teachers learned how to express their emotions using art forms and color. They learned how emotions can deeply affect us and by using art, to express their inner feelings, helping them to improve their wellbeing.
The teachers also participated in a workshop and ‘formation courses’ in cooperation with the Ministry of Education which taught them how to present the new revised curriculum to students. Ephpheta Institute also continued to offer parents workshops that raised awareness and enhance understanding of the needs of deaf children and how to be an effective, supportive parent.
Finally, all operators, teachers, speech therapists, specialists, continue to demonstrate commitment in carrying out their role with the aim to accompany and help students towards a positive assimilation into Palestinian society.
You can read more about the institute below:
The Miracle of Ephpheta
A Milestone: Ephpheta’s First High School Graduation
6 February 2019
Tags: CNEWA Bethlehem
Jim Kingham and Anastasia Shkilnyk. (photo: courtesy Jim Kingham)
The current edition of ONE contains the hope-filled story of how Caritas Ukraine — with support from CNEWA — is offering the elderly poor a Window to the World, giving new life and possibility to some of the country’s neediest men and women.
In the course of his reporting, writer Mark Raczkiewycz spoke with Jim Kingham from Canada who, along with his now deceased wife, Anastasia Shkilnyk, has been an ardent supporter of this work:
They have contributed more than a half million dollars to implement a program in Ukraine similar to one in Canada: Medical equipment is purchased for Caritas, which in turn lends or rents it to the elderly. Family members then are shown how to use walkers and other life-easing equipment with their older relatives.
They started donating because, as he told us, “we felt that … elderly people have given so much to their children, too often not appreciated or recognized, that the least we could do is offer a little comfort, with freedom from financial worries when they need medical equipment, while still preserving their dignity.”
Five years ago, we told the story of the Kinghams on our blog — and noted with sadness the death of Jim’s wife, Anastasia:
We have known Anastasia as a generous person who strived to make the world a better place and who succeeded in changing many hearts.
Being a Ukrainian Canadian, she cared particularly about the marginalized people of Canada and Ukraine; however, her generosity knew no geographic borders. During her fulfilling life, she championed the principles of social justice and spent enormous amounts of personal time and resources to help victims of discrimination.
In 2013, together with her husband Dr. Jim Kingham, she established with CNEWA Canada a special endowment fund to support social justice projects in Ukraine. A modest woman, Anastasia refused to have the endowment named after her. This year, the endowment will start continuously supporting the charitable initiatives of Caritas Ukraine. One of these projects will be lending medical equipment, free of charge, to poor people with serious temporary and permanent disabilities.
The legacy of Anastasia’s writings, actions and of her sacrificial love will continue transforming lives in many countries. You can read more about her remarkable life in this tribute*, on the website for Ukrainian Catholic University.
To discover more of the good fruits of the Kinghams’ generosity — and the generosity of so many others around the world — read Windows to the World in the December 2018 edition of ONE.
* [Editor’s note: The original “tribute” hyperlink destination no longer exists; the link in the text now points to an Archive.Org preserved copy. For another Ukrainian Catholic University piece celebrating the life of Anastasia Shkilnyk, click here.]
1 February 2019
Tags: Ukraine CNEWA Canada Caritas
The corridors at the Rosary Sisters School used to be open to the cold and rain. (photo: CNEWA)
We received the following good news from Laura Schau-Tarazi in our Jerusalem office:
Every winter, students and teachers of the Rosary Sisters School in Bethlehem had to brave the harsh conditions of the second and third floor corridors, which were open to the rain and covered with large puddles due to the lack of windows. Many classes are held on both floors and hundreds of students and teachers use the corridor daily in order to get to and from class. All of the students and teachers needed to wear winter coats, hats and gloves every day for the entire season. Teachers complained that the open corridors created cold, damp conditions in the classrooms, putting everyone at risk for contracting viruses, colds and the flu. The school building is well over 100 years old and the need for rehabilitation work continues to be a serious issue, especially since the building must meet modern safety codes.
The sisters appealed to CNEWA to help the school enclose the corridors with panels containing large aluminum windows. With a generous grant from the Representative Office of Germany in Ramallah, we were able to procure and install the windows that sealed off both corridors.
CNEWA helped provide a grant to enclose the corridors. (photo: CNEWA)
Plaster and paint were also applied to the problem areas. Additionally, the project hired three local laborers as well as a local engineer who inspected the work.
The work was completed during the Christmas break, allowing students and teachers to return to a warmer, dryer school!
Now the students and their teachers are able to walk the corridors without worrying about the weather. (photo: CNEWA)
Tags: Education Bethlehem