Canadians taking action to support those living in ‘global hot spots’

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More than 4,500 donors gave $4.3 million in 2016 in support of CNEWA’s mission to help vulnerable Christians and educate Canadians on the ancient communities of the Eastern Catholic Church

OTTAWA, Ont., March 21, 2017 – Ninety years ago, Pope Pius XI founded the Catholic Near East Welfare Association with the objective of supporting members of the Eastern Catholic Churches* – many of whom were suffering the hardships of war, religious or ethnic division and poverty. Today, the needs of these communities in countries such as Syria, Iraq, Ukraine and Ethiopia are just as high. Despite their struggles, they play an important role in fostering reconciliation and working towards the promise of a peaceful future.

Thousands of Canadians are recognizing this need and see an opportunity to do something about it.

In 2016, more than 4,500 Canadians donated $4.3 million to CNEWA-run programs that provide material assistance to vulnerable persons in the Middle East, Northeast Africa, India and Eastern Europe mainly working with groups within the Eastern Catholic Churches in these affected areas. Through this collected effort, persons affected by human or natural tragedy are getting a second chance to rebuild.

“At first glance, the situation may look bleak,” says Carl Hétu, National Director for CNEWA Canada. “But when we travel the region and meet people, we see that bridges are being re-built daily and that persons of goodwill are fighting hard to serve the most vulnerable persons, defend against hate and sow seeds for a better tomorrow. This is precisely what Pope Francis calls us to do and the opportunity around which Canadians are rallying.”

Forty-two per cent of donations to CNEWA in 2016 – or $1.8 million – were unrestricted with donors entrusting the organization to direct the funds to the most pressing needs. The breakdown of major projects/funds was as follows:

–        Projects in the Middle East, $991,141 or about one-quarter of all donations

–        Projects in Africa (mainly the Horn of Africa),  $277,583 or 6 per cent of donations

–        Projects in Ukraine,  $500,000 or 15 per cent of donations

The remaining amount, close to $700,000, was directed to spiritual formation, training and humanitarian programs in other countries such as Armenia, Georgia, Egypt and India.

“Canadians have shown immense charity over the years,” says Msgr. John E. Kozar, president of CNEWA in New York. “We greatly appreciate the support as our Canadian donors have been a pillar of encouragement, helping us to maintain a variety of active programs in key regions at risk.”

CNEWA continues to appeal to Canadians for support of its mission. Those interested can do so by visiting www.cnewa.ca<http://www.cnewa.ca> or writing a cheque to CNEWA Canada at 1247 Kilborn Place, Ottawa, Ontario, K1H 6K9 or calling 1-866-322-4441. As a registered charity, CNEWA will issue a tax receipt.

About CNEWA Canada

CNEWA, founded by Pope Pius XI in 1926, is well established in the Middle East with offices in Amman, Beirut and Jerusalem. CNEWA currently administers projects and programs in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. Elsewhere, CNEWA works with the local churches in northeast Africa, India and Eastern Europe, including Ukraine.

For more information:

Toronto office:      James Lucas
Tel: 416-341-9929 ext. 225
james@dialogueandgrace.com

Montreal office:   Joanne Lépine
Tel: 514-288-8290 ext. 216
jlepine@torchiacom.com