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On 30 July 1927, Pius XI wrote to Father Walsh to express his gratitude to American Catholics for their generosity and his satisfaction that CNEWA was now constituted on a permanent basis as a pontifical organization. The next year, on 23 October 1928, the pope sent an autographed letter to the bishops of the United States praising the work of both the Society for the Propagation of the Faith and of CNEWA, expressing his appreciation for the funds raised and transmitted to him by both of the organizations, and distinguishing their respective roles.

Reorganization and clarification of mission

Father Walsh’s vision for CNEWA, however, was not universally accepted. By 1929 there was a strong reaffirmation on the part of the Holy See that the new organization was to respond to the spiritual and material needs of the East. It also made it clear that its mission was to be clearly distinguished from that of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith.

Better to clarify the competencies of the two societies and to establish a closer relationship between activities in favor of the home and foreign missions and those in favor of the spiritual needs of the missions and apostolate of the Near East and Russia, on 28 June 1930, Pope Pius XI established new regulations for these activities and for these two American organizations promoting them. He entrusted their implementation to the Cardinal Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith and the Cardinal Secretary of the Sacred Congregation for the Oriental Church, in conjunction with the American hierarchy.

The next year the Holy Father sent Msgr. Amleto G. Cicognani, the Assessor of the Sacred Congregation for the Oriental Church, to the United States as his personal representative to convey his dispositions for CNEWA and to see to their implementation. On 6 June 1931, a special meeting of CNEWA’s Board of Directors was held in New York City for the purpose of reorganizing CNEWA in accordance with the directives of the Holy Father. At that meeting, the archbishop of New York was elected its president and treasurer, and CNEWA was placed entirely under hierarchical control.

The satisfaction of Pope Pius XI with these new arrangements was communicated to the archbishop of New York and to the cardinal prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Oriental Church. The pope also made some further dispositions for CNEWA. They included the provision that it was to remain under the presidency of the cardinal archbishop of New York, a charge to the Sacred Congregation for the Oriental Church to furnish information to the secretary of CNEWA about the church in the Orient, a mandate to CNEWA also to concern itself with public relations and the education of the faithful about the condition of the communities of the East, and some additional instructions about the apportionment and handling of the Mission Sunday collection.

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