CNEWA launches COVID campaign in partnership with Holy See’s Congregation for the Eastern Churches

By Catholic Near East Welfare Association

[Ottawa, April 24, 2020] – In response to the plea of Pope Francis to remember the vulnerable and the poor during the COVID-19 pandemic, Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA) has launched a campaign that invites Canadians to help those most in need who are cared for by the Eastern churches in the Middle East, Northeast Africa, India and Eastern Europe.

As the Holy Father said in his “Urbi et Orbi” message this Easter: “This is not a time for indifference, because the whole world is suffering and needs to be united in facing the pandemic. May the risen Jesus grant hope to all the poor, to those living on the peripheries, to refugees and the homeless.”

CNEWA president Msgr. John E. Kozar noted that CNEWA’s on-the-ground directors and program coordinators are working with a number of partners — the Holy See’s Congregation for the Eastern Churches, delegates and nuncios of the Holy See, local church superiors and religious and lay leaders — to rush help to those most in need. This includes families living in poverty, children and the elderly, people with special needs, refugees and internally displaced persons. For many, the care offered by the peoples and services of the Eastern churches is their only source of solace and healing.

“No place has gone untouched by this pandemic — and that includes the places we serve where people were already living in harsh poverty,” says Carl Hétu, national director of CNEWA Canada.

“Unfortunately, the instructions to ‘wash hands’ or ‘self-isolate’ do not work well in places where there is no running water or multiple families to a room. More than ever, the Church is needed to bring hope and the light of Christ to the furthest corners of the world.  I understand that this is a difficult time for Canadians, and so it is not lightly that I ask people to join our effort, if they can.”

As a registered charity with well established and rigorous donation policies and programs in countries such as Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Ethiopia, Ukraine and India, CNEWA Canada is able to send money right to the ground – fast. Donations can be made online at; by phone 1-866-322-4441 or by mail with cheques made payable to CNEWA Canada at 1247 Kilborn Place, Ottawa, ON K1H 6K9.  Donations should be marked “COVID-19 fund.” Tax receipts will be issued for donations of $10 or more.


An agency of the Holy See, CNEWA works for, through and with the Eastern churches throughout the Middle East, Northeast Africa, India and Eastern Europe. Founded by Pope Pius XI in 1926, CNEWA provides pastoral and humanitarian support to the churches and people of the East.


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