wEEK IN Review
June 21, 2019

Celebrating 25 Years of
Diplomatic Relations between the
Holy See and the State of Israel


"No diplomatic relations have had the same significance as the diplomatic relationship with the Holy See," Ambassador Dani Dayan, Consul General of Israel in New York, stated in his remarks during a panel discussion held on Wednesday, June 19 at Fordham University, New York.

"The Vatican Israel Accords: 25 Years of Progress and Challenge" was
organized to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Holy See and the State of Israel. The event was co-sponsored by The Consulate General of Israel in New York and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. 

Ambassador Dayan, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the UN, Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York,  and Professor Adam Gregerman, Associate Professor of Theology and Religious Studies and Co-director of the Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations at St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia, delivered remarks.

All members of the panel described the journey that the Holy See and Israel have taken, overcoming tensions to establish a true friendship. Each speaker acknowledged the particular importance of the 1993 Fundamental Agreement between the two States in cementing this progress, an agreement that is "more than a diplomatic accord, as it had great spiritual, theological, and historical significance."
Ambassador Dayan called the progress "an incredible journey spiritually and politically we have done in nearly 100 years.” The Fundamental Agreement, he said, is "not merely an agreement between two states, but a rapprochement between the Catholic Church and the Jewish people." 

He mentioned the significance of Pope Francis' visit to the grave of Theodore Herzl, a moment he said, that helped "to build a wall of friendship between Israel and the Holy See."

Archbishop Auza described diplomatic relations between the Holy See and the State of Israel as having "a truly special character."

The relationship between the two nations is unique, he said, as it is based upon a shared understanding that flows from the "inextricable bonds between Jewish and Christians faiths, between Jews and Christians" and from the "unique character of the Holy Land." 

The past 25 years have been "a time of deepening mutual understanding, trust, friendship, and cooperation," he said. 

He expressed gratitude for Israel's legal recognition of the Catholic Church in Israel and its commitment to retaining the status quo regarding Christian holy sites, thanking the State of Israel for the "respect and protection it gives for Catholic churches, convents, monasteries, and cemeteries, for its support and encouragement of pilgrimages, and for so many other elements in the Fundamental Agreement."

He emphasized that one of the underlying commitments of the Fundamental Agreement is the determination of both States to combat all forms of "anti-Semitism and all kinds of racism and religious intolerance,” noting the condemnation of anti-Semitism by Vatican II and recent Popes. He also thanked the Jewish people for courageously opposing "growing anti-Christian violence and what we call Christianophobia." 

(Photo below courtesy of Gregory A. Shemitz, Catholic News Service)


Cardinal Timothy Dolan described the establishment of diplomatic relations with the State of Israel as a "masterstroke" of Pope St. John Paul II's pontificate, calling the accord "an historic highlight of vibrant Jewish-Catholic relations." 

Dolan discussed the importance for Catholic Jewish relations of the diplomatic relations based on the Fundamental Agreement. He said it is "proof of the Holy See's constant refrain, that dialogue and diplomacy were the most effective tools for the achievement of justice and peace."  

The cardinal noted that Pope John Paul II had been committed to the idea of strengthening Jewish Catholic relations from the first days of his pontificate, seeing it as a theologically-driven key step in combating anti-Semitism. 

The establishment of diplomatic relations between the State of Israel and the Vatican "inspires us to continue to dare never to be straight-jacketed by apprehensions or hesitancies of the past," the cardinal said. It is a "mandate to action" that has "quite literally made the world a better place." 

Professor Gregerman praised the fact of diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Israel, declaring that there exists "no parallel in history for any two other religious traditions to have made such a dramatic break with the past." Calling it an example of the "genuine friendship" that exists between Israel and the Holy See who are both "committing to work together as allies for a common cause,"

Professor Gregerman referenced the document Rostra Aetate, the Second Vatican Council document on the relationship of the Church with other religions, as a turning point in Holy See-Israeli relations. 

While all acknowledged that challenges in the Holy See-Israel relationship remain, the speakers expressed confidence that the relationship will continue to flourish. 

"Ad multos gloriososque annos—to many and glorious years!,” Archbishop Auza concluded his remarks. 

To read Archbishop Auza's full statement, please click here:


New and Departing Staff
at the Holy See Mission


Welcome, Giulia Maniezzi!


Giulia, what is your new role at the Mission?
I am working as a negotiator covering mainly the Second Committee of the UN General Assembly, which is the Economic and Financial Committee.

Tell us about your family and educational background.
I was born into a Catholic family, the younger of two sisters, in Vigevano, a small city in the north of Italy. I studied philosophy at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart of Milan. I earned a Ph.D. in philosophical ethics from the Catholic University of Milan and the Catholic University of Toulouse in France. 

How did you come to the Holy See Mission?

After finishing my doctorate, I discovered that the Toniolo Institute at the Catholic University of Milan offers a fellowship at the Holy See Mission in New York City. I competed for the fellowship and happily was chosen. I spent six months at the Mission during the first half of last year. During the fellowship I mainly covered the Security Council and was involved in the events co-sponsored by the Holy See. Between the fellowship and my return as negotiator, I worked as an assistant professor of philosophy at the Catholic University of Toulouse.
What does a typical day look like for you?
We start the day with Morning Prayer at the Mission, and then we have a meeting with Archbishop Auza and the staff to discuss our schedule and commitments for the day and the various processes taking place at the UN. I spend some days at the UN for negotiations and others working at the office. The day usually concludes at the Mission, where I report and share the events of the day with my colleagues and superiors.
How has your work corresponded to the expectations you had before you started?
The reality is better than I could have imagined! It is both an honor and a great responsibility to serve the Mission. I know that through our work representing the Holy See we can make an impact in the international context and beyond. Our team approach is one of the best things about working here and I feel very supported by the whole Mission.
What has been your most memorable experience so far in your new role?
My first negotiation! The first time I took the floor was special, when other delegations asked me about our position and interacted with me as a negotiator.
How was your transition to New York City?

I love New York, but I was a little overwhelmed at the beginning.  I have spent most of my life in a very small Italian city, and now I am in a metropolis! I was fascinated and a little bit scared, especially about the lifestyle here. In Italy, you have the sun and a different approach to space and time. I feel privileged to live in this amazing city with its energy and its atmosphere.


Welcome, Ora Duffley!



Ora, what is your role at the Mission?

I am an attaché at the Holy See Mission, where I work in public relations as an Assistant for Communications, Events and Special Projects. I assist Fr. Roger Landry in organizing and coordinating so many of the activities of the Mission. 
Tell us about your family and educational background.
I grew up in a Catholic family in the heart of Ireland, the eldest of three. I have two younger brothers. My father, Joseph, is a carpenter, and my mother, Deirdre, is a stay-at-home mom. I completed a Bachelor of Arts with an honors degree at University College Dublin and went on to study Education, training both as a primary school and a high school teacher. After my studies, I worked as a teacher in Dublin before moving to Australia, where I lived in Melbourne and Brisbane. 

How did you come to the Holy See Mission?
I firmly believe that it is God's providence that I am here, and it is a beautiful thing to know that we are all in His hands. I spent the last twelve months working as a volunteer for the Church in Syria and Djibouti, East Africa. As my time in Africa was coming to an end, I was wondering about my next step. It was then that I received an email from a friend, who had received an email from a friend, advertising the position at the Holy See Mission. I was so inspired and impressed by the work of the Holy See at the United Nations. I wanted to be part of this unique Mission, so I applied for the position, worked, and prayed, and here I am.

What does a typical day look like for you?
Each morning we recite Morning Prayer together in the chapel of the Mission followed by a staff meeting. Then we take a coffee together and prepare for the events of the day. There are many different activities involved in my position. Some days I work at the office, and other days I go to the UN. I accompany the Nuncio to some events, I work on conferences for the Mission at the UN and keep communications from the Mission up to date. My daily work is varied, fast-paced and engaging. In the morning I might be taking guests to the UN, mid-morning I could be writing articles, in the afternoon I could be sending out statements and press releases, whilst also checking in with our interns and taking them under my wing if they need. The Holy See Mission is a hive of activity!

How has your work corresponded to the expectations you had before you started?
My work corresponds well to my expectations. It is fast-paced, challenging, and exciting. I think it suits me very well! I am learning so much and am very proud to be part of a beautiful team here. It is a unique working environment. We are like a family, a joyful, committed team with a common bond and an ethos of hard-work.
What has been your most memorable experience so far in your new role?
Writing my first article about the night of the Path to Peace Gala. This year the Path to Peace Foundation honored Aid to the Church in Need for their work supporting persecuted Christians. As I have spent time with the Christians of the Middle East both in Iraq and Syria, it was very special to write this particular article.  
How was your transition to New York City?
New York is an incredible city and a little overwhelming! I am gradually finding my way and making new friends. For sure, life is much faster and busier here than in Africa, so it has been a culture shock of sorts. There are many places to explore and sights to see. I never dreamed I would live in New York; it is an incredible opportunity, and I feel privileged to be here. 



Farewell to Anna Fata!



Anna, what was your journey to the Holy See Mission?

I studied journalism at the University of Texas with the ultimate goal of becoming the next Barbara Walters, but these plans were disrupted when I began deepening my faith in college. After graduation, I took a detour to work as a Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) Missionary on college campuses instead of pursuing a career in journalism. I wasn't even aware of the Diplomatic Corps of the Holy See until I encountered diplomats on a mission trip to the UN with FOCUS during the Commission on the Status of Women. I wasn't even initially supposed to be on that Mission trip! But a snap decision changed the course of my life, and a few months later, I was hired to help with public relations before Pope Francis came on his 2015 visit to New York and the UN. And suddenly, one year has become four. It's a huge testament to what incredible things can happen when you surrender your plans to God.
Where are you going now?
In August, I will be an MBA Candidate at IESE Business School in Barcelona. I think it was a natural next step. So many of the world’s problems have economic roots, which means they often have economic solutions. Good business practices can transform the world on the ground in very effective ways if business leaders are willing to be creative and place human flourishing at the center.

What have you been doing at the Mission for the past four years?
When I began, this role didn't exist yet. I worked with my superiors to see how my skills could best serve the needs of the Mission, so my tasks have gradually increased. I wear a lot of hats! In my role as a press officer, I am responsible for sharing the invaluable work my colleagues and superiors do at the UN with the press and public, so I'm the one sending press releases, updating the website, writing articles, advertising our events and creating the weekly newsletter. Over the years, I have also taken on more and more, helping to coordinate the annual Path to Peace Gala and various logistics for the events we hold at the UN. I love the creative and intellectually stimulating parts of the job, but the most rewarding thing for me is to help contribute to the strong family culture at the office. So I'm also the “cake lady” responsible for celebrations of birthdays, anniversaries and feast days and I take a special interest in helping to ensure our interns — who come from all over the world and can sometimes be overwhelmed by the new environment — are thriving mentally, emotionally and spiritually. It's been a great way to practice my future mom skills!
Your happiest memories of working at the Holy See Mission. 
The most notable memory would be the visit of Pope Francis to the UN. It was such an incredible way to start my work and that framed the rest of my time. After his visit, I would be working hard to advance what he spoke about before the General Assembly. Whether I was helping put on an event, writing an article, planning the gala, or performing day to day tasks, I would always try to connect to the fact that I was working to advance very important issues, even in small ways. My favorite parts of the job are always when I’m busiest: during the high level week of the UN General Assembly, the Commission on the Status of Women, planning the gala. I feel that I make the biggest contribution during those times as well as that I am witnessing and playing a tiny role in history. My happiest memories always involve the incredible people I have been privileged to work with here. Daily prayer, the morning meetings, lunches, and special dinners at the Residence will always stand out to me.
How has working at the Holy See Mission prepared you for the next step?
At the UN, I have seen how bad business practices can contribute to human trafficking and modern slavery, the degradation of the environment, threats to peace and security and so much more.  But I have also learned the role good business practices can play in overcoming these scourges.
On a very practical level, I learned the importance of a strong familial culture in an office. I am so glad to have experienced it here and hope to carry it into whatever comes in my path. The Mission has taught me to be person-centered at every level