(photo: L’Osservatore Romano)
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 churchs concern for the well-being of all people in Palestine and throughout the Middle East.
Reversing the effects of isolation and despair and restoring to fullness the respect for dignity of the human person is the goal of the Pontifical Mission’s Jerusalem office, located in the Old City. In partnership with devoted priests, religious brothers and sisters and laypeople, the Mission’s Jerusalem staff tackle issues such as poor housing, child care, needs of the handicapped, health care concerns and interreligious dialogue, which affect Palestinians and Israelis of all ages and creeds.
“Misery did not discriminate among its victims in Palestine,” noted the founding president of the Pontifical Mission, Msgr. Thomas McMahon. “Neither does the Pontifical Mission for Palestine.”