Canadians demonstrate impressive show of compassion, commitment to Lebanon

A mother and her daughter receive food supplies and aid thanks to the generosity of Canadians who contributed to the fundraising initiative. (Photo submitted by CNEWA)

Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA) fundraiser raises more than $500,000 in less than two months

By CNEWA Staff

[Ottawa] –  Two days after the infamous explosion in Beirut, the Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA) launched a global campaign to collect funds for Lebanon. As of Sept. 25, less than two months into the campaign, total funds collected by the Canadian office has exceeded $500,000 — and all expectations.

“Lebanon plays a special role in the Middle East,” said Carl Hétu, national director of CNEWA Canada. “As Saint John Paul II said, ‘Lebanon is more than a country. It is a message.’ It’s truly inspiring to see the extent to which Canadians see this special role. I cannot thank the Canadian public enough for their show of solidarity and compassion.”

CNEWA has been present in Lebanon since 1926. Approximately 95% per cent of all funds collected will go to local churches that offer essential health and emergency services and pastoral outreach. The blast dealt an especially hard blow to Beirut’s Christian communities and, in particular, young people, who are increasingly looking to emigration.

“The weakening of the Christian community would be a huge loss for the country, the Middle East and, indeed, the world,” said Cardinal Bechara Boutros Rai, Maronite Patriarch. “The many churches in Lebanon have invested greatly in education, health and other essential services. Please do not let Lebanon fall into despair. Help us to restore it so that it may be able to play its role and fulfill its own mission.”

The Cardinal spoke to Canadians and Americans, September 10, via a web-based panel conversation organized by CNEWA and Fordham University. Entitled ‘Lebanon’s Tragedy, Lebanon’s Hopes,’ the Cardinal offered a personal update on the crisis. A recording of the live panel as well as the Cardinal’s five-point message are available at

Inspired by Pope Francis’ message on the occasion of the 106th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, CNEWA Canada thanks Canadians for their ongoing show of support, both in prayers and donations, to help vulnerable and marginalized persons in Lebanon and around the world.

“To grow truly, we must grow together, sharing what we have, like the boy who offered Jesus five barley loaves and two fish…yet they proved enough for five thousand people!” said Pope Francis in his message for World Day of Migrants and Refugees Sept. 27.

CNEWA accepts donations to Lebanon throughout the year. Donations can be made online at, clicking on donate and selecting “Lebanon”, or by phone at 1-866-322-4441. Cheques can be mailed to CNEWA Canada at 1247 Kilborn Place, Ottawa, ON K1H 6K9, marked “Lebanon”. Tax receipts will be issued for donations of $10 or more.

Through its 11-person office in Beirut, CNEWA has been at the service of the churches and peoples of Lebanon for close to a century, providing relief to all who are suffering and those who have fallen through the cracks, especially in times of economic and social crises.


An agency of the Holy See, CNEWA works for, through and with the Eastern Catholic 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. CNEWA Canada was incorporated as a registered charity by Canada Revenue Agency in 2003.


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