Annual Lenten Collection

25-cnewa-jordanChristian Syrian refugees pass into Jordan leaving everything behind


This collection is taken up on Good Friday. Proceeds are shared amongst religious communities and apostolates that have a connection with the diocese to be used for their work with the poor. Funds will also be directed to the Catholic Near East Welfare Association, a papal agency for humanitarian and pastoral support. This year Bishop Mulhall will focus on three areas helped by the Pope's agency: Egypt, Iraq and Syria.


Awhile ago, One Magazine, a publication of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association, touched on the issue of religious conversion in Egypt and how it affects children in an article on Coptic women.

This article raises interesting issues that shed light on why a father’s conversion comes with some of the same difficulties as being orphaned, from a different perspective than that of Coptic Orphans:

The divorce has devastated the lives of the young woman, her two younger sisters and of course her mother. Under Egyptian family law, the father receives custody of the children when he converts to Islam and files for divorce. To keep her children, the mother sent each of her two youngest daughters to live with different relatives. She then moved to a cramped apartment in a low-income neighborhood in Cairo. As Simone El Gohany explains, Egyptian authorities can only remove children from their mother if they live in a residence belonging to one or both of the parents. Since the divorce, the children’s father has made no attempt to contact the girls or his ex-wife. He does not pay child support, and Egyptian law does not require him to do so. Still, the children fear he will show up one day or another and demand the girls move in with him. As a result, the girls no longer attend school.




A sister tends to a patient at the Mother of Mercy Clinic in Zerqa, Jordan. (photo: John E. Kozar)

Where is CNEWA? We just might be closer than you think — and we might even be in your own backyard.

We work closely with local church leaders to identify the crucial needs of their communities and to find and implement sustainable solutions. So, for this week’s “Take Five,” here are five regions where CNEWA has an impact:

  1. Middle East. In this volatile region, the churches and peoples in Jordan and Iraq, Lebanon and Syria and Palestine and Israel are in great need of assistance. CNEWA comes to their aid through its offices in Amman, Beirut and Jerusalem. One example of our work is the Mother of Mercy Clinic in Zerqa, Jordan, run by the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena. Specializing in prenatal and postnatal care, the clinic offers impoverished mothers and babies health care for free.

  2. Northeast Africa. CNEWA supports a variety of programs in Egypt, Ethiopia and Eritrea. While political instability dominates the headlines, poverty and hunger — especially in the Horn of Africa — are always a concern. CNEWA works primarily with children in need throughout the region. Thanks to our person-to-person sponsorship program, children go to school, where they are nourished, body, mind and soul.

  3. India. CNEWA’s work is mainly in the state of Kerala, which has a significant population of Christians. According to ancient tradition, St. Thomas the Apostle (a.k.a. “Doubting Thomas”) brought the faith there and was martyred in the year 72. One CNEWA project in India reaches out to the so-called “untouchables” or Dalits, a caste of people living in abject poverty. One of the ways we help restore their dignity is by providing them with a modest house to call home.

  4. Eastern Europe. It is a region of the world still struggling with the legacy of Communism. CNEWA has been serving the churches and peoples primarily in Armenia, Georgia and Ukraine. The elderly were especially affected by poverty in Georgia, and were largely forgotten. Caritas Georgia, one of CNEWA’s partners, gives much-needed assistance to the vulnerable elderly through its soup kitchens — providing them with at least one good meal a day — and by nursing the sick.

  5. North America. You can find CNEWA offices in New York City in the United States and in Ottawa in Canada. Acting like a bridge, CNEWA connects generous North Americans with those in need living in remote parts of the world, educating them about the Eastern churches and cultures through ONE magazine, processing their gifts, keeping financial accounts and updating the website and blog with news and stories, to name a few.

Those are just a few ways CNEWA helps others to help themselves in some corners of the world. You can discover more at our website, in the pages of our award-winning magazine ONE, and here on this blog.

Together with your help, we build the church, alleviate poverty, encourage dialogue, affirm human dignity and inspire hope. Although each region is unique, they are united through CNEWA to fulfill Christ’s prayer “that all may be one.”


The following information regarding these areas have been provided for us:

Egypt: Christianity came to Egypt with the apostle Mark. Now, Christians are leaving to escape poverty, discrimination and sometimes outright persecution. Six Christians were murdered Christmas Eve outside a church in the village of Nag Hamadi.

Iraq: 1 million Christians used to live in Iraq. Fewer than 300,000 remain. 1 in 5 Iraqis was a Christian in 1932; today it is 1 in 33. 66% of Iraq's Christians belong to the Chaldean Catholic Church, the rest are members of the Armenian, Assyrian and Syriac Catholic and Orthodox churches.

Syria: The army is using deadly force against protestors. Almost 370,000 refugees have fled to other countries recently, 75% of whom are women and children. As violence worsens, Pope Benedict XVI is calling for peace and asking us to support Christians in the Middle East.

Donations can also be directed to those organizations which some parishioners have specifically supported:

Dr. Simone (Food for Children) |

Aid to the Church in Need |

Sisters of Trzebnica |

If your contribution is by cheque, please make it out to "St. Hedwig Parish". If you wish the funds to go to a specific purpose, please indicate so on the cheque.


Related News:

Christians of the Holy Land

A representive of this group will be present at the Masses on the weekend of March 23/24 with items produced in the Holy Land by Christians still living there.

Our support is crucial in helping these people remain in their homeland and in maintaining a Christian presence. A variety of beautifully carved wooden religious items and other religious goods will be available.



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