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Agency marks 90 years of service to Eastern churches, humanitarian aid


  • Msgr. John E. Kozar, secretary of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association, is pictured with children in a 2015 photo. The agency is celebrating 90 years of service to Eastern Catholic churches and the poor in the Middle East, northeast Africa, India and Eastern Europe. (CNS photo/courtesy John E. Kozar, CNEWA)
  • Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chairman of Catholic Near East Welfare Association, comforts a child in 2014 at an unknown hospital. The agency is celebrating 90 years of service to Eastern Catholic churches and the poor in the Middle East, northeast Africa, India and Eastern Europe. (CNS photo/John E. Kozar, CNEWA)
  • Msgr. John E. Kozar, secretary of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association, is pictured talking with a woman in a village in 2015. The agency is celebrating 90 years of service to Eastern Catholic churches and the poor in the Middle East, northeast Africa, India and Eastern Europe. (CNS photo/courtesy John E. Kozar, CNEWA)
  • A religious sister is seen comforting a sick woman at an unknown hospital in 2016. Catholic Near East Welfare Association is celebrating 90 years of service to Eastern Catholic churches and the poor in the Middle East, northeast Africa, India and Eastern Europe. (CNS photo/courtesy John E. Kozar, CNEWA)

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NEW YORK (CNS) -- An "invisible" Catholic organization celebrated 90 years of quiet service to the poor in the Middle East, northeast Africa, India and Eastern Europe.

Msgr. John E. Kozar, secretary of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association, said the agency maintains a low profile because it works through and with the local church.

"They know best how to represent the face of Christ. We trust their experience, holiness and knowledge about how to govern and care for their people," he said in a Feb 28 interview with Catholic News Service.

The mission of the organization is to serve and accompany Eastern Catholic churches in pastoral and humanitarian activities, generally at the level of the diocese or eparchy, Msgr. Kozar said. A secondary mission is to share the needs of the Eastern churches with people in North America who may be confused about where Eastern churches fit in the larger Catholic picture.

Eastern Catholic churches have their origins in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, India or northeast Africa; have distinctive liturgical and legal systems; and are often identified by the national or ethnic character of their region of origin. Members of the 22 Eastern Catholic churches enjoy the same dignity, rights and obligations as members of the Latin Church.

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