CNEWACatholic Near East Welfare Association
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New York City-based CNEWA has been serving the needs of Christians and others in the Middle East for 90 years.
"We have learned to listen; to proceed quickly but prudently; to plan, but to be flexible, as the fluidity of the theater can make your plans a fool's folly," said Michael La Civita, CNEWA's communications director.
The church always struggles with the question of whether people convert for material or spiritual sustenance, La Civita of CNEWA says.
You saw today what the people say to us when we saw the magnificent doctors and pharmacists: "Sometimes we don't have the medicine." So let's not apologize for letting our people in the United States know that they need to be extraordinarily generous, as is their character, to organizations like CNEWA and like Aid to the Church in Need.
"Only a politically stable Iraq will win back these refugees," La Civita of CNEWA says.
According to CNEWA, about 10 percent of the about 1.5 million Iraqis who have fled to Syria are Christian, though Christians make up less than 3 percent of the Iraqi population overall.
John Komi: president of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA), put it, "We are witnessing, at the hands of extremist thugs, the eradication of Christianity in the cradle of civilization."A recent CNEWA release noted that fewer than 150,000 Christians remain in Iraq, where more than a million coexisted with multiple Islamic and other religious communities prior to 1991.
John Kozar of the Pittsburgh diocese became president of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA), the New York City-based papal agency.
Ronald Roberson shows in his Guide to the Eastern Churches (in the CNEWA Web site version), Muslims emigrate from Lebanon at somewhat higher numbers than Christians.
* Catholic Near East Welfare Association--phone: (800) 442-6392; online:; or mail to: CNEWA, 1011 First Ave., New York NY 100224195.
Morrison, who has more than 25 years experience in book, magazine and newspaper publishing, most recently was executive editor of CNEWA World, magazine of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association.