Canadian Financial Assistance to Lebanon: Pope Benedict XVI invites Catholics for a special day of prayer on Sunday July 23

Wednesday, July 19 2006

(CCCB – Ottawa)… This Sunday, Canadians and other Catholics around the world are invited to pray to help stop the violence in the Middle East.

Faced with worsening situation in the Middle East, the Apostolic Nunciature in Canada (Embassy of the Holy See) has today declared that “the Holy Father is following with great concern the destinies of all the peoples involved and has proclaimed this Sunday, July 23, as a special day of prayer and penance, inviting the pastors and faithful of all the particular Churches, and all believers of the world, to implore from God the precious gift of peace.”

According to the Nunciature’s statement, the Holy Father hopes that prayers for an immediate cease fire between the warring sides, for humanitarian corridors to be opened in order to bring assistance to the suffering people, and for reasonable and responsible negotiations to begin to put an end to objective situations of injustice that exist in that region, as already indicated by Pope Benedict XVI at the Angelus on Sunday, July 16.

The Lebanese have the right to see the integrity and sovereignty of their country respected, the Israelis the right to live in peace in their State, and the Palestinians have the right to have their own free and sovereign homeland. At this sorrowful moment, His Holiness also makes an appeal to charitable organizations to help all the people struck by this pitiless conflict”, the written statement said.

Financial Assistance

Development and Peace, an international solidarity organization created by the Canadian Catholic Bishops, has provided $100,000 to alleviate the suffering of those affected by the escalating violence in Lebanon. These funds will be divided equally between two sister organizations, Caritas Lebanon and Caritas Lebanon – Migrant Center (CLMC), to help displaced families as well as numerous refugees and migrant workers caught in the precarious situation now facing the country. The projects will be coordinated in collaboration with Lebanese officials, as well as with other NGOs and United Nations agencies in the region.

These emergency relief projects follow on the heels of a project supported by Development and Peace last June in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which provided $80,000 to Caritas Jerusalem, to help 2,600 people in need in the Palestinian territories.

Similarly to Development and Peace, Caritas Lebanon and the CLMC are members of Caritas Internationalis, a network of 162 autonomous, Catholic, emergency relief, development and social service organizations working in 200 countries and territories.

To help finance efforts for victims of the conflict in the Middle East, please send your donations to “Emergency in the Middle East” via the Internet at, by calling 1-888-664-3387 or by sending a cheque to: Development and Peace, 5633 Sherbrooke St. East, Montréal (Quebec) H1N 1A3.

Relief Fund

Another organization based in Canada, Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA), has launched an emergency appeal inviting Canadians to aid Lebanese families displaced.

Founded in 1926 by Pope Pius XI, CNEWA is a special agency of the Holy See providing support to the churches and peoples of the Middle East, Northeast Africa, India and Eastern Europe. Its projects include needy child, seminarian and religious sister sponsorship programs; village redevelopment; health care and education; and public awareness and interreligious dialogue programs. Present in Canada since 2003, five Canadian Archbishops are members of its Board of directors: Archbishop Marcel Gervais, Ottawa, Marc Cardinal Ouellet, Archbishop of Quebec, Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, S.J., of Halifax, Emeritus Metropolitan Archbishop Michael Bzdel, C.Ss.R., of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Winnipeg and Archbishop Raymond Roussin, S.M., of Vancouver.

Already, CNEWA’s Beirut-based staff has surveyed displacement centers and report urgent need for drinking water, powdered milk, blankets, canned food, soap, detergents and sponge mattresses.

Contributions, which are tax-deductible, can be sent by mail to CNEWA Canada, 1247 Kilborn Place, Ottawa, Ontario K1H 6K9, or through CNEWA’s web site, or by phone 1-866-322-4441.

For More information Contact:
Sylvain Salvas
Director, Communications Service
Tel: (613) 241-9461
Fax: (613) 241-9048