Thursday, April 19, 2007

Syriac Orthodox Church

There are many options to choose from when determining your charitable giving. Such giving, which provides for the material support of the Church, is one of the Five Precepts of the Church outlined in The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC, 2042). Hence, adherence to these precepts is obligatory for Catholics. Hopefully, as intentional disciples, we do not give out of a sense of obligation externally imposed, but out of gratitude and love. It is no accident that the giving of our gifts is part of the Eucharistic liturgy- the offertory- which is the bridge between the liturgy of the Word and the liturgy of the Eucharist and so constitutes a vital part of our giving thanks to God, which is the fundamental meaning of Eucharist. The giving of our gifts, therefore, is truly sacramental and indicative of our identity as a priestly people. Of course, we should give by choice and do so cheerfully. When establishing our priorities it is always good to give primary consideration our parish followed by our diocese. Beyond these two obvious priorities there is a mind-boggling number of worthy causes to support. There is one cause I am taking this opportunity to propose for consideration: The Catholic Near East Welfare Association. The association was established by Pope Pius XI in 1926:

-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

For more about how to contribute to this papal agency for humanitarian and pastoral support, please visit the CNEWA website.

(Seated on the right side of the church, according Syriac tradition,
Syriac Orthodox women pray in Baghdad at Easter)

One Church CNEWA supports is the Syriac Orthodox Church. This ancient Church, whose liturgical language is Syriac, a language based on Aramaic, which was the native tongue of our Lord. Syriac Christians exist in southeastern Turkey, northern Syria, and northern Iraq, down into and including Baghdad. In their excellent publication, One, the Syriac Orthodox are profiled in this month's issue of the magazine.

One of the greatest deacons in the history of the Church was St. Ephrem the Syrian. Deacon Ephrem was a Syriac Christian. Even more than St. Francis of Assisi, St. Ephrem is a model for me.

(Click to enlarge)

For anyone interested in really finding out more about our Syriac sisters and brothers, you can go to Syriac Orthodox Resources at Catholic University of America's website Margoneetho.

(Graphics-picture and prayer- from CNEWA's One magazine, Vol 33, Number 2)

1 comment:

  1. Ecumenical Progress re Orthodox and Catholic farthest re Oriental Orthodox:

    "What Divides Us"
    by Ronald G. Roberson, C.S.P.

    Shared Communion in Weddings for Malankara Syrian Orthodox and Roman Catholics

    additional links:


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