Click here if you don’t see subscription options
Catholic News ServiceApril 21, 2020
A worker sanitizes a door at a hospital to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Damascus, Syria, March 19, 2020. In the name of Pope Francis, the Congregation for Eastern Churches said it is sending 10 ventilators to Syria and three to St. Joseph's Hospital in Jerusalem to respond to the pandemic. (CNS photo/Omar Sanadiki, Reuters) 

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- In the name of Pope Francis, the Congregation for Eastern Churches said it is sending 10 ventilators to Syria and three to St. Joseph's Hospital in Jerusalem to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

The donations were among the first items announced by the congregation as it launched an emergency fund in response to the pandemic.

The congregation's announcement April 18 said the 10 ventilators sent to Syria would be shared by three hospitals run by Catholic orders of women religious: the Salesians in Damascus, the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Apparition in Aleppo and the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul in Damascus.

In addition to the ventilators for the Jerusalem hospital -- also run by the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Apparition -- the congregation said it would purchase and supply diagnostic kits for people in Gaza and would make an "extraordinary contribution" to Holy Family Hospital in Bethlehem, West Bank, which specializes in maternity and neonatal critical care.

The Congregation for Eastern Churches supports the Eastern Catholic churches throughout the world and also looks after the needs of Catholics of all rites in Egypt, Eritrea and northern Ethiopia, southern Albania and Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Jordan and Turkey.

The emergency fund, the congregation said, is a response to the invitation of Pope Francis "not to abandon the suffering, especially the poorest, in facing the global crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic" and would work with the pandemic-response commission the pope asked the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development to coordinate.

The fund will operate "thanks to the active collaboration of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA) and the Pontifical Mission for Palestine," the statement said. Both organizations are based in New York and have offices in Canada.

CNEWA -- with its operating vehicle in the Middle East, the Pontifical Mission -- is an agency of the Holy See specifically founded by Pope Pius XI to support the churches and peoples under the jurisdiction of the Congregation for Eastern Churches.

CNEWA works with many partners, but its primary collaborator is the congregation, "which has moved quickly in responding to Pope Francis' call not to abandon the suffering, especially the poorest, as they confront this global pandemic. CNEWA is deeply committed to supporting this emergency effort of the Holy Father," it said in an April 20 statement.

The Congregation for Eastern Churches said some of the relief efforts also will be paid for using funds from the annual Good Friday collection for the Holy Land, which has been postponed this year to Sept. 13.

At the same time, it said, "despite the economic uncertainty" being created by the pandemic, the congregation and the agencies that work with it regularly "will assure the aid it annually sends to schools and Catholic universities, as well as assistance to the displaced in Syria and Iraq and the refugees in Lebanon and Jordan."

To support the pope's effort in helping those confronting the pandemic, visit CNEWA's web site at cnewa.org. When making a donation, please note the purpose of the gift. 

We don’t have comments turned on everywhere anymore. We have recently relaunched the commenting experience at America and are aiming for a more focused commenting experience with better moderation by opening comments on a select number of articles each day.

But we still want your feedback. You can join the conversation about this article with us in social media on Twitter or Facebook, or in one of our Facebook discussion groups for various topics.

Or send us feedback on this article with one of the options below:

We welcome and read all letters to the editor but, due to the volume received, cannot guarantee a response.

In order to be considered for publication, letters should be brief (around 200 words or less) and include the author’s name and geographic location. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.

We open comments only on select articles so that we can provide a focused and well-moderated discussion on interesting topics. If you think this article provides the opportunity for such a discussion, please let us know what you'd like to talk about, or what interesting question you think readers might want to respond to.

If we decide to open comments on this article, we will email you to let you know.

If you have a message for the author, we will do our best to pass it along. Note that if the article is from a wire service such as Catholic News Service, Religion News Service, or the Associated Press, we will not have direct contact information for the author. We cannot guarantee a response from any author.

We welcome any information that will help us improve the factual accuracy of this piece. Thank you.

Please consult our Contact Us page for other options to reach us.

City and state/province, or if outside Canada or the U.S., city and country. 
When you click submit, this article page will reload. You should see a message at the top of the reloaded page confirming that your feedback has been received.

The latest from america

In Part II of his exclusive interview with Gerard O’Connell, the rector of the soon-to-be integrated Gregorian University describes his mission to educate seminarians who are ‘open to growth.’
Gerard O’ConnellApril 23, 2024
Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, center, holds his crozier during Mass at the Our Lady of Peace chapel in the Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center on April 13, 2024. (OSV News photo/Sinan Abu Mayzer, Reuters)
My recent visit to the Holy Land revealed fear and depression but also the grit and resilience of a people to whom the prophets preached and for whom Jesus wept.
Timothy Michael DolanApril 23, 2024
The Gregorian’s American-born rector, Mark Lewis, S.J., describes how three Jesuit academic institutes in Rome will be integrated to better serve a changing church.
Gerard O’ConnellApril 22, 2024
Speaking at a conference about the synod in Knock, County Mayo, Cardinal Mario Grech, secretary-general of the synod, said that “Fiducia Supplicans,” will not affect the forthcoming second session of the Synod on Synodality.