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A new era was about to begin; three months later, on 13 March, Pope Pius XI merged The Catholic Near East Welfare Association and the Catholic Union into a new pontifical association with Father Walsh as its President. Catholic Near East Welfare Association was retained as the name of this new pontifical organization. The Board of Trustees agreed to continue to use the original civil charter.

The new CNEWA incorporated the purposes of both groups, including emergency relief in Asia Minor, the Balkans, Greece and Russia; religious welfare; education and the needs of the Eastern Catholic churches.

On 15 September 1926, the American Catholic bishops formally endorsed the new organization at their meeting in Washington, D.C., and named CNEWA as the sole instrumentality authorized to solicit funds for Catholic interests in Russia and the Near East:

The Hierarchy of the United States in conference assembled express their full approval and adoption of the program of the Holy See providing for the unification of all societies now working in the United States of America for Russia and the Near East. The resultant organization, the Catholic Near East Welfare Association, Inc., shall be the sole instrumentality authorized to solicit funds for Catholic interests in those regions and shall be so recommended to the entire Catholic population of the United States simultaneously in all dioceses on a given Sunday, the date to be arranged in consultation with the respective Ordinaries.

In 1926, Father Walsh launched a fund-raising drive for emergency relief that had grossed more than a million dollars by January 1927, an astonishing sum at that time. The funds were used to support the Sacred Congregation for the Eastern Church; Bishop Calavassy’s work in Athens; Palestine’s schools and orphanages; Syria’s schools and hospitals for refugees; the Russian refugee orphanage in Danzig (now Gdansk, Poland); the school for Russian refugees in Belgium; the works of the Catholic Church in Bulgaria, Poland and Romania, Berlin and Paris; the Oriental Institute and the Russian College, both in Rome.

Subsequently, CNEWA awarded grants to a wide variety of charitable works, including the evacuation of Russian refugees from Istanbul and, with the approval of the Pope, the relief of flood victims in Louisiana and earthquake relief assistance in Puerto Rico.

Mindful of CNEWA’s mandate to educate, Father Walsh published The Papal Annual, which contained articles and illustrations publicizing the achievements of the church in international affairs not covered by the Propagation of the Faith. The Annual never really got off the ground, however, and the 1927 edition was the only one ever published.

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