Rome (AsiaNews) -
The East, near and far, "has an admirable apostolic and missionary impulse,
helping the West to rediscover the Christian faith and the values of
solidarity and hospitality. Even in the midst of the most stringent difficulties
caused by war and tensions,
they always start from Christian values. They are an example for us all". This is
the conclusion of Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for Eastern
The cardinal, 69 years old, participated yesterday at the opening of the annual CNEWA meeting here in Italy (the Catholic Near East Welfare Association), the American agency based in New York - headed by Cardinal Timothy Dolan - founded in 1926 by Pope Pius XI and responsible for supporting the "Near East Christians," from the Middle East to Africa through Northeast India.
Speaking to AsiaNews the Cardinal says: "Hospitality is the main quality that characterizes the people of the Eastern rite, a quality that we should give greater value to here in the West. Proof of this hospitality and love is visible in the refugee camps. But especially, seeing this myriad of refugees and exiles who had to flee from war - I think especially of the Syrians - and the solidarity shown them by their brothers who have very little to offer, is particularly striking".
But the work of the Congregation and of CNEWA is not limited to the Middle East: "I want to send a message of admiration for the Indian Church, a Church which is not restricted in its many limitations, but it has a very strong apostolic zeal. We encourage people to overcome the difficulties to proclaim the Christian message. Now we are working on a way to help the pastoral growth, because the Indian diaspora is a reality to be reckoned with. The Church aims to be close to all of these communities, so that they can keep the faith they have received and that they bring to the West. "
"To help in a concrete way - said the bishop - what can we do? Certainly words of sympathy and closeness are not enough, however sincere they may be. There are concrete actions that can be done in a simple way, such as donations and volunteer work through many active Catholic organizations. In this sense, I want to thank AsiaNews for all the news and information it provides about the situation in the Middle East, but also for its work to raise awareness among our brother and sisters here in Italy".