1 September 2016
Eileen Fay, seen here in 1985, first joined CNEWA in high school. (photo: courtesy Eileen Fay)
For 55 years, one of the most familiar faces and voices at CNEWA has belonged to a diminutive New Yorker by the name of Eileen Fay.
Eileen joined CNEWA in 1961, when she was still attending St. Anthony’s High School in Greenwich Village. She spent a few hours every week after school — filing, typing and answering the phone. Soon, she became a full time employee, and what started as something to do after school grew into a full-fledged career in our New York office — a career that has spanned, incredibly, six popes.
Today, over half a century later, she is still a fixture in the office, working part time as a Donor Relations Representative — serving others as the friendly voice on the other end of the phone, helping to answer questions, provide information and facilitate giving.
Ask her what she has found so satisfying, and her eyes brim with tears.
“It’s the people here that I met,” she says. “It’s the donors who would call and I’d become friendly with. It’s the work that we were doing to help those in distress.”
But the most rewarding part of the job, to her, has been helping people in need.
“The need is so great.” she explains. “It’s just overwhelming, the help that is going overseas. It’s amazing — especially for the children who are suffering over there.”
“This place is in my heart,” she adds. “I enjoy doing what I’m doing. I feel so strongly about Catholic Near East, about the people who work here, the jobs that they do. It gives me a good feeling at the end of the day to feel like I did a good job with our donors. It’s heartwarming, just knowing that you are in touch, talking to another person who’s donating to CNEWA.”
She’s seen a lot of changes over the years. “It was a different world,” she says. “When I first started, it was typewriters and boxes and boxes of work lined up to be done. No computers. You had to make sure everything lined up on the page when you typed.” She laughs. “And it didn’t always line up.”
But what has lined up is her life with the life of CNEWA. And, it seems, it’s been welcome and rewarding intersection. She has now been with the association for more than half of its 90 years — and has no plans to leave any time soon.
“To me, CNEWA means my home. It’s like my second home. I enjoy the work I’m doing, the people I work with, and I just enjoy coming into this building every day.”
Eileen is still working for CNEWA, after 55 years. (photo: courtesy Eileen Fay)
1 September 2016
In this image from April, displaced Iraqis celebrate Mass in Inishke, Iraq. Pope Francis yesterday told Christians in the Middle East to keep the flame of faith alive. (photo: CNS/Paul Jeffrey)
Pope Francis urges Arab Christians to ‘keep the flame of their faith’ (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis told Christians in the Arab-speaking world to “keep the flame of their faith,” despite the darkness of the trial.” The Holy Father was speaking during his General Audience to Arab-speaking pilgrims from Iraq, Jordan, and the Middle East...
Ukraine cease fire holding (BBC) Ukraine’s defence minister says a new ceasefire has been holding in eastern Ukraine since midnight, despite a recent intensification of shelling. “This morning I’m pleasantly surprised that at 09:00 (06:00 GMT), since midnight, we haven’t had a single shot fired,” Stepan Poltorak said. It is the first time there has been a true halt to fighting in 11 months, says BBC correspondent Tom Burridge...
UN: situation in blockaded Gaza ‘grim’ (Andalou Agency) Robert Piper, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator for the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories, has described current living conditions in the Gaza Strip — which continues to groan under a decade-long Israeli/Egyptian blockade — as “grim.” “Gaza continues to face difficult conditions even though the Palestinian people have great potential,” Piper said during a Wednesday visit to Gaza City’s Islamic University, according to a statement issued by the university...
Lebanon’s trash crisis threatens to return (Voice of America) Rubbish is again accumulating on some Beirut streets after protesters blocked access to a dump, raising fears that last summer’s garbage crisis, which provoked unprecedented street protests, could return...
Ecumenical autumn: Pope’s calendar filled with opportunities for dialogue (CNS) Pope Francis will open his season of ecumenical engagements on 20 September when he joins other Christian leaders and representatives of other religions in Assisi to commemorate the 30th anniversary of St. John Paul II’s interreligious peace gathering. Ten days later, Pope Francis flies to Georgia, a predominantly Orthodox nation. In October, he will meet and pray with Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury and, at the end of the month, he will fly to Sweden to take part in ecumenical events launching commemorations of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation...
31 August 2016
Iraqi refugees celebrate the Divine Liturgy in St. Elias Church in Beirut. To learn more about how displaced Iraqis are surviving outside their homeland, read In Limbo in Lebanon in the
Autumn 2015 edition of ONE. (photo: Tamara Abdul Hadi)
31 August 2016
In this photo from June, Pope Francis poses for a photo with refugees during his general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican. The pope invited more than a dozen refugees to sit near him on stage during his catechesis. Wednesday, the pope created a new dicastery to focus on needs of migrants and refugees. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
Pope creates new dicastery for for migrants and refugees (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has created a new dicastery to better minister to the needs of the men and women the Church is called to serve. The new “Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development” was instituted in a Motu Proprio published on Wednesday in the Osservatore Romano...
Leading ISIS figure reported killed in Syria (Al jazeera) The main spokesman for ISIS, Abu Mohamed al-Adnani, has been killed in the Syrian province of Aleppo, according to an ISIS-linked website. Amaq, the ISIS-affiliated media, said on Tuesday Adnani was killed while monitoring military operations in Aleppo...
Meet Gaza’s only fisherwoman (Forbes) What’s the hardest part of being the only fisherwoman in Gaza? I ask Madeleine Kulab. “Starting the engine is hard and it takes a lot of strength,” she says. Then she shows me how to yank the cord and grab the tiller to steer, and we go spinning over the water, her wooden boat tilting into the small waves. A decade ago Kulab took over her father’s fishing boat as a 13-year-old, after he became disabled. She was the only girl working the waterfront, defying cultural norms to feed her family...
Marking Buhe in Ethiopia (Africannews.com) For weeks in August, Ethiopian boys dress up and perform songs from door to door in neighborhoods across the country. In return, the boys get ‘Mulmul’ — bread freshly baked for the occasion in each house. Known as Buhe, the festival — like most cultural celebrations here has its origins in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. It marks the transfiguration of Jesus on Mount Tabor...
30 August 2016
Father Szulczynski visits with a patient at a clinic in Tbilisi. (photo: Molly Corso)
When she profiled the Rev. Witold Szulczynski a few years ago, writer Molly Corso described him as “probably the only Roman Catholic priest to have ever built a Georgian Orthodox Church.” At the time, Father Szulczynski was doing remarkable work in partnership with CNEWA, through his ministry with Caritas Georgia:
As general director of Caritas Georgia — an international Catholic humanitarian organization — Father Szulczynski has undertaken countless social and economic projects serving Georgia’s needy of all creeds.
Originally from Poland, he has dedicated the last 17 years of his life to Georgia’s poor, Catholic and Orthodox alike. Approximately 80 percent of the country’s 4.7 million people belong to the Georgian Orthodox Church. Only a small fraction are Roman Catholic.
“The Lord is one. On the cross, he gave his life for the Orthodox, the Catholics, the Baptists — for everyone,” explains the priest.
Father Szulczynski and Caritas Georgia have their work cut out for them. More than a third of Georgian’s live below the poverty line.
“Every person that we help, it doesn’t matter whom, is a child of God and that is most important,” says the priest.
However, Father Szulczynski also stresses that his and his agency’s mission is not simply to fill bellies; it is also to elevate souls.
“[A] person — whether a child or a 70-year-old grandmother — needs more than just a piece of bread, or a table and mattress,” he says. “They are human souls and they need something more.”
For Father Szulczynski, building an Orthodox church for Georgia’s needy is essential to helping them bear witness to God’s love.
Growing up in a devoutly Catholic family in Poland, Father Szulczynski remembers receiving the call to priesthood early in life. Surrounded by uncles who were priests, he had plenty of role models.
“I always thought that becoming a priest meant serving the people,” he says. For him, the call was synonymous with helping those in need. As a young man he even defined it as “a symbol of love from the Lord to man.”
Writing in CNEWA’s magazine in 2000, Father Szulczynski noted:
“Those carrying out Christian service should have eyes to see and ears to hear and empathy for human suffering, as well as knowledge of how that suffering can be healed. For Christians, and especially those members of Caritas Georgia, charity is always an available service.”
That spirit inspires us in our work throughout the world. If you’d like to make a difference in the lives of those who are suffering in Eastern Europe, visit this giving page to learn how you can help.
30 August 2016
An altar server assists with Communion at the Chaldean Church of the Mother of God in Detroit. To learn how Arab-Americans have formed a community of faith in Michigan, read Forging a New Detroit in the January 2010 edition of ONE. (photo: Fabrizio Costantini)
30 August 2016
In the video above, Muslim leaders speak out to condemn Islamic radicals, in a chorus of public criticism that is growing louder. (video: Rome Reports)
Human rights group: Iraq recruiting displaced children to fight ISIS (Human Rights Watch) Iraqi government-backed militias have recruited children from at least one displaced persons camp in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq to fight against Islamic State forces. All security forces and armed groups should abide by international law and demobilize any fighters under age 18...
U.S. welcomes 10,000th Syrian refugee (CNN) he Obama administration will reach its target Monday of resettling 10,000 Syrian refugees by 1 October, National Security Adviser Susan Rice announced in a statement. Rice said that the final Syrian refugee to hit this target would be arriving Monday afternoon, more than a month ahead of schedule...
Turkey detains more journalists (Indian Express) Turkish authorities detained an editor at the prominent Hurriyet newspaper in the latest round-up of journalists and others accused of links to last month’s failed coup, Hurriyet’s English-language publication said on Tuesday...
Russian Orthodox cathedral nears completion in Paris (The Tablet) A huge Russian Orthodox cathedral complex is to be dedicated in October in central Paris, according to a senior official, at a ceremony attended by Patriarch Kirill and President Vladimir Putin. “This center will provide a great educational environment, with training and formation programmes in Russian,” premier Dmitri Medvedev told a World Forum of Compatriots in Moscow. “Its main pearl will, of course, be the Holy Trinity cathedral, which will conform with the traditional canons of Russian Orthodoxy...”
29 August 2016
A girl lights a candle in the original wooden church in Butovo, Russia. To learn more about efforts to keep the flame of faith alive in Russia, read Orthodoxy Renewed in the March 2010
edition of ONE. (photo: Julia Vishnevets)
29 August 2016
Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Sako of Baghdad, Iraq, is seen at the Vatican in this 2014 file photo. The patriarch recently said the political future of parts of Iraq remains “uncertain.”
(photo: CNS/Paul Haring)
Pope sends message to Catholic-Orthodox meeting (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a message to Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, on the occasion of the XIV Inter-Christian Symposium taking place in Thessalonika from 28-30 August...
Patriarch: unwise to talk now of self-determination in Iraq (Fides) The future political and administrative arrangement of Mosul and the Nineveh Plain, after the eventual liberation of those areas, is an issue which is “still uncertain,” and “it is not wise to talk about self-determination,” according to Chaldean Patriarch Raphael Louis I said during a meeting he had on Thursday, 25 August...
Turkish forces deepen push into Syria (Reuters) Turkish-backed forces pushed deeper into northern Syria on Monday and drew a rebuke from NATO ally the United States, which said it was concerned the battle for territory had shifted away from targeting ISIS. At the start of Turkey’s now almost week-long cross-border offensive, Turkish tanks, artillery and warplanes provided Syrian rebel allies the firepower to capture swiftly the Syrian frontier town of Jarablus from Islamic State militants...
Israel delays delivery of textbooks to Gaza (Haaretz) The Palestinian school year began on Sunday, but Israel has yet to deliver thousands of textbooks for over half a million students to Gaza Strip schools, the Palestinian Education Ministry said on Saturday. An Israeli official in the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) said the books must first be examined and approved by Israel, before being allowed into the Gaza Strip...
Pope to discuss nonviolence in World Peace Day message (CNS) When nonviolence is the basic approach of political decisions and public policy, it promotes the restoration and consolidation of peace, the Vatican said. In his message for the 1 January celebration of World Peace Day, Pope Francis will offer reflections on the importance of nonviolence as a political choice, the Vatican said in a statement on 26 August...
Seminar in India: Practice mercy in the media (Fides) Put into practice mercy even in working with the media: in this spirit the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians in Mumbai lived a seminar in which they deepened some techniques and the use of certain computer software and shared competences in the field of communication...
26 August 2016
At the Bird’s Nest, an Armenian orphanage in Lebanon, women make miters and vestments. To learn more about the Church of Armenia, read our profile from the September 2008
edition of ONE. (photo: Armineh Johannes)