CNEWA Begins Emergency Campaign for Lebanon


The Catholic Near East Welfare Association last week embarked on an emergency campaign to rally prayers and collect funds for Lebanon as the nation heads deeper into its worst crisis since its civil war, 1975-1990.

The agency’s announcement came a day after a massive Aug. 4 explosion in Beirut killed more than 100 people and injured thousands. The government’s three-month emergency supply of grain was lost in the explosion

“Our staff, as with the entire city, is really shaken,” said Michel Constantin, CNEWA’s Beirut-based regional director. “Our building was damaged, our offices are filled with shattered glass that could have been deadly had we not left for the day.

 “Lebanon is on the brink of economic, political and social collapse. This will not stop us from doing our work. More than ever, the people of Lebanon need our help and, most especially, the help of the local and universal church.”

The explosion, which severely damaged three Christian hospitals, occurred in a nation battling the coronavirus as well as months of socioeconomic and political chaos.

“With all the major issues devastating Lebanon—crises in political leadership, overwhelming debt, financial collapse, shuttered banks, unemployment, corruption and the Covid-19 pandemic—(the) horrific incident only deepens what many describe as an existential catastrophe not only for Lebanon as a nation, but for the existence of a culturally and religiously diverse Middle East,” said Msgr. Peter I. Vaccari, the president of CNEWA.

 “CNEWA recalls the words of St. John Paul II, who reminded the world that Lebanon is not just a country, but a message.

“CNEWA has been at the service of the churches and peoples of Lebanon for decades, and we are firmly committed to assisting Lebanon’s Christian communities in gathering financial and prayerful support to provide immediate relief to all who are suffering, and those who have fallen through the cracks, especially those facing homelessness and in need of medical care and food.”

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