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Mission Statement

Amidst the upheavals and challenges of the modern world, CNEWA (Catholic Near East Welfare Association) has been a lifeline for those in need throughout the Middle East, Northeast Africa, India and Eastern Europe for more than 75 years.

Founded in 1926 by Pope Pius XI, CNEWA’s mandate is:

• to support the pastoral mission and institutions of the Eastern Catholic churches.

• to provide humanitarian assistance to those in need without regard to nationality or creed.

• to promote Christian unity and interreligious understanding and collaboration.

• to educate people in the West about the history, cultures, peoples and churches of the East.


We are a small agency with a record of big results. We rescued refugees from the Ottoman Empire and founded hospitals and schools in Palestine. We rushed food to famine victims in Ethiopia and revived the churches of Eastern Europe. We rebuilt villages destroyed by the Lebanese Civil War and sheltered displaced families during the Persian Gulf War. Today, we pursue our mission through four main programs:

(1) Caring for Children. Where we work, children suffer from poverty, malnutrition and disease. We tackle these problems by supporting schools and children’s homes that provide education, medical care and nutritious meals to over 50,000 children.

(2) Building Social Infrastructure. Communities remain poor when they cannot sustain institutions that lift people out of poverty. We build hospitals, schools, libraries and universities. We support health clinics, vocational training, agricultural cooperatives and micro-lending programs.

(3) Strengthening Families. Communities require more than schools and hospitals. They need opportunities for families to have fun. We create and support playgrounds, parks, summer camps and community centers. Other agencies overlook this need. We fulfill it.

(4) Rushing Emergency Relief. We aid victims of war and natural disaster. In recent years, we have rushed basic necessities to refugees and internally displaced persons in Gaza and Iraq and to families who lost their homes to a major tsunami in India.

CNEWA employs a unique planning process. Our international staff -- with offices in Eritrea, Ethiopia, India, Jerusalem, Jordan and Lebanon -- collaborates with churches in the countries we serve to identify unmet needs. Together with our experts, church leaders design, implement and monitor relevant projects, and our offices in the United States and Canada raise the necessary funds. We commit our resources to successful projects for the long haul.

CNEWA International’s seven-member board is headed Archbishop Timothy Dolan, president and treasurer, and Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S., vice president. Monsignor Robert Stern, secretary general, oversees day-to-day operations and 116 staff.



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