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About Us

image (photo: L’Osservatore Romano) 

Amid the bloodshed following the partition of Palestine, Pope Pius XII mobilized worldwide Catholic aid, establishing in 1949 a temporary agency — the Pontifical Mission for Palestine — to feed, clothe and educate Palestinian refugees.

The pope entrusted CNEWA (Catholic Near East Welfare Association) with the administration of this Pontifical Mission, which has now become the Holy See’s relief and development agency for the entire Middle East.

The Mission’s Beirut office works throughout Lebanon, but also oversees projects and programs in neighboring Syria and Egypt. In partnership with priests, religious brothers and sisters and laypeople, the Pontifical Mission tackles issues — care of needy children, needs of the handicapped and infirmed, health care concerns, the formation of priests and religious, interreligious dialogue and unemployment — that impact Lebanese, Syrians and Egyptians, regardless of national origin or creed.

“Misery did not discriminate among its victims in Palestine,” noted the founding president of the Pontifical Mission, Msgr. Thomas McMahon. “Neither does the Pontifical Mission for Palestine.”