Here’s a great write-up from CNS about the place where I’m proud to work, which just completed it’s 90th anniversary year:
An “invisible” Catholic organization celebrated 90 years of quiet service to the poor in the Middle East, northeast Africa, India and Eastern Europe. Msgr. John E. Kozar, president of Catholic Near East Welfare Association, said the agency maintains a low profile because it works through and with the local church. “They know best how to represent the face of Christ. We trust their experience, holiness and knowledge about how to govern and care for their people,” he said in a 28 February interview with Catholic News Service. The mission of the organization is to serve and accompany Eastern Catholic churches in pastoral and humanitarian activities, generally at the level of the diocese or eparchy, Msgr. Kozar said. A secondary mission is to share the needs of the Eastern churches with people in North America who may be confused about where Eastern churches fit in the larger Catholic picture. Eastern Catholic churches have their origins in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, India or northeast Africa; have distinctive liturgical and legal systems; and are often identified by the national or ethnic character of their region of origin. Members of the 22 Eastern Catholic churches enjoy the same dignity, rights and obligations as members of the Latin Church. Msgr. Kozar said people in North America have little exposure to Eastern churches and he takes it in stride when asked if Eastern Catholics are “really Catholic” and if they are under the authority of Pope Francis. “I say, ‘Yes! We are one church with two very enriching traditions, Latin and Eastern.’” He said Eastern Catholic churches are typically smaller than Latin churches. Many have deep historic roots and are in areas of suffering and religious persecution. Catholic Near East Welfare Association was founded in 1926 in response to a request by Pope Pius XI to unite all American Catholic organizations providing aid to Russia and the Near East. Near East is an imprecise geographic term that encompasses southwest Asia and the Arabian Peninsula. As a papal organization, it has a mandate from the Vatican to support the Eastern Catholic Church. Another mandate of the agency is to work for union among Catholic and non-Catholic Eastern churches, including the Orthodox churches.
Photo: John E. Kozar/CNEWA