yEAR in Review
December 20, 2019

Year in Review

Thank you for your interest in the work of the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the UN in New York as we strive to uphold the dignity of every human being and advance peace and justice before the international community. Since there are no meetings at the United Nations after Christmas, we are using our “Week in Review” email to do a “Year in Review” and highlight the work of the Mission over the course of 2019.


Archbishop Auza Concludes His Service;
Archbishop Caccia To Arrive

On October 1, Pope Francis appointed Archbishop Bernardito Auza as Apostolic Nuncio to the Kingdom of Spain and the Principality of Andorra and on November 16, Pope Francis appointed Archbishop Gabriele Caccia as new Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in New York.

Archbishop Auza had served as Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in New York since July 1, 2014. During his years of service as Permanent Representative to the United Nations, he welcomed Pope Francis to the United Nations on September 25, 2015, and participated in the negotiations that led to the adoption of various international documents, such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the Treaty on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, the Global Compact on Safe Orderly and Regular Migration and many other multilateral achievements.

He described his years of service at the United Nations as “intense years of learning and understanding more deeply the great international questions of our time.” They were also years, he said, of “knowing and working with the Catholic Church in the tri-State area and beyond,” in particular in ministering to the Filipinos and other migrant communities. He began his service as Apostolic Nuncio to Spain on December 1. 

Archbishop Caccia has been serving as Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines since September 12, 2017. A native of Milan, Italy, he was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Milan on June 11, 1983 and served for three years in a Milanese parish before he was sent to the Vatican’s Diplomatic School, the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy in Rome, where he obtained a Doctorate in Sacred Theology (STD) and a Licentiate in Canon Law (JCL) from the Pontifical Gregorian University. Upon graduation in 1991, he joined the diplomatic service of the Holy See. 

His first assignment was at the Apostolic Nunciature in Tanzania, where he served for two years until in 1993 he returned to Rome to work in the First Section (for General Affairs) of the Secretariat of State of the Vatican. On December 17, 2002, he was appointed Assessor for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State. On July 16, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI named him Apostolic Nuncio in Lebanon and Titular Archbishop of Sepino and he was consecrated bishop by Pope Benedict on September 12, 2009.

About his successor, Archbishop Auza said, “Archbishop Caccia and I have known each other for more than thirty years, since our years together at the Vatican’s Diplomatic School. In the two years he has spent in my home country the Philippines, he has endeared himself so deeply to the Filipinos. While the Philippines will surely miss him, the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations will greatly benefit from his rich diplomatic experience and impressive priestly and human qualities.”

About his new assignment, which he will begin on January 16, Archbishop Caccia said, “I have really loved my time in the Philippines and will miss this beautiful country and its faithful people, to whom I express my deepest gratitude. But I hope to be able to fulfill well the new task Pope Francis has entrusted to me, seeking to bring the light of Catholic social teaching to the discussions and debates of the international community. Next year, the United Nations will celebrate the 75th anniversary of its founding, and I look forward to helping the Holy See assist the United Nations in renewing its commitment to the pillars of its Charter, preventing the scourge of war, defending human dignity and rights, promoting integral development, and fostering respect and implementation of international law and treaties.” 

Archbishop Caccia is the seventh Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in New York since the Holy See became a Permanent Observer State on April 6, 1964. He succeeds Msgr. Alberto Giovannetti (1964-1973), Archbishop (later Cardinal) Giovanni Cheli (1973-1986), Archbishop (later Cardinal) Renato Martino (1986-2002), Archbishop Celestino Migliore (2002-2010), Archbishop Francis Chullikatt (2010-2014) and Archbishop Bernardito Auza (2014-2019).


Statements 2019

This year, the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the UN delivered 85 interventions. Archbishop Auza and the diplomats from the Mission gave 71; Pietro Cardinal Parolin, Secretary of State, Head of Delegation of the Holy See to the United Nations during UNGA74, 11; Then Monsignor, now Archbishop, Antoine Camilleri, former Under-Secretary for Relations with States, gave three.

Here they are, with links to the individual statements: 

Pietro Cardinal Parolin gives the General Debate Address in the General Assembly Hall on September 28, 2019Monsignor Antoine Camilleri, Under-Secretary for Relations with States of the Holy See, delivers an intervention at the United Nations on the subject of international migration. 


Events 2019

In 2019, the Holy Mission sponsored 15 events at the United Nations. Here are a list of articles for each event, which contain links to Archbishop Auza’s opening remarks for each event, to the interventions of various speakers, and to the video from UN Web TV. 


Fight Against Human Trafficking - On March 12, the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations sponsored an even on Social Protection Systems Necessary In The Fight Against Human Trafficking.

The Importance of Valuing Unpaid Caregiving - On March 15, 2019, during the Commission on the Status of Women, the Holy See Sponsored an event entitled Valuing Unpaid Work And Caregiving

Protecting Femininity and Human Dignity in Women's Empowerment and Gender Equality - On March 19, 2019, the Holy See sponsored an event on protecting femininity in efforts to advance women and gender equality, ensuring that women’s authentic dignity is promoted in efforts claiming to advance the cause of women and equality between men and women.

Gender Equality and Gender Ideology: Protecting Women and Girls - On March 20, 2019, the Holy See Mission sponsored an event examining the recent phenomenon of gender ideology and its impact on the advancement of women.

Greater Protection Of Unborn Children With Down Syndrome — On March 21, 2019, which is International Down Syndrome Day, the Holy See sponsored a side event on protecting children with Down Syndrome from death in the womb, how to advance the human rights of those with Down Syndrome, and how to learn from those with Down Syndrome. 

Responding to the Urgent Cries and Horizons of the Amazon — On April 26, the Holy See sponsored a side event with REPAM on the needs of the indigenous people in the Amazon, in anticipation of the Synod on the Amazon that would be held in the Vatican in October. 

Big Data In The Fight Against Human Trafficking And Modern Slavery — On June 7, 2019 the Holy See sponsored a side-event on the use of big data, particularly from corporations, in the fight against modern slavery. 

"Building A Civilization Of Love” — On June 8, 2019, the Holy See sponsored a conference on Educating to Fraternal Humanism to Build a Civilization of Love together with the International Organization of Catholic Education, at the conclusion of their 2019 World Conference.

Good Parenting Builds Society: The Importance of Motherhood and Fatherhood — On June 10, 2019, the Holy See held a side event together with Djibouti, Belarus and the Universal Peace Federation on the importance of motherhood and fatherhood. It was commemorating the Global Day of Parents.I

Countering Terrorism and Other Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief : On June 24, 2019, the Holy See participated in a side event with several other Missions and the UN Office of Counter Terrorism on countering terrorist attacks against religious believers. Archbishop Auza is pictured with several Permanent Representatives.

Caring for Our Common Home  - On July 11 the Holy See to the UN, took part in a side event during the High Level Political Forum, entitled "Youth Aspirations and Climate Urgency." Archbishop Auza is pictured with youth representatives of the Don Bosco Alliance.

Nuns Healing Hearts  - On July 29, 2019, on the eve of the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the UN held an event entitled "Faces in the Fight Against Human Trafficking”  together with an exhibition entitled, "Talitha Kum: Nuns Healing Hearts," featuring the work of the Talitha Kum sisters through the photographs of of Lisa Kristine. It was co-sponsored by the Galileo Foundation and the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

Ensuring a Future for Persecuted Christians — On September 27, 2019, The Permanent Mission of Hungary sponsored a side-event on ensuring a future for persecuted Christians, particularly in the Middle East, involving ministers from Hungary, Brazil, the Philippines and the Holy See. Here Cardinal Parolin delivers remarks featuring his trip last Christmas to Iraq and his first-hand witness of the struggles and heroism of Christians in the Nineveh Plain.

Listening to the Survivors Of Religious Persecution — On November 20, the Holy See sponsored an event with Aid to the Church in Need USA  entitled  "Listening To Survivors of Religious Persecution: The Call To Religious Freedom,” in which first-hand accounts of the sufferings of Christians in Pakistan, the Philippines and Sri Lanka were heard. The United States of America and Hungary likewise participated.




Annual Prayer Service


Annual Prayer Service — 

On September 16, Bishop Paul Hinder, Apostolic Vicar of Southern Arabia, UN Secretary-General António Guterres, His Excellency Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, President of the 74th Session of the General Assembly, His Excellency Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Permanent Observer of the Holy See Mission and Fr. Gerald Murray, Pastor of Holy Family Church, delivered remarks at the Annual Prayer Service sponsored by Holy See Mission for the UN Diplomatic Community and personnel, together with religious and ecumenical leaders in the New York area on the occasion of the opening of the 74th Session of the General Assembly.
To see photos of the event, please click here:


Welcomes and Goodbyes at the Holy See Mission

2019 was not only a year in which the Head of Mission, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, was reassigned to Spain and Andorra and replaced by Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, but when several other staff members departed the Mission for other assignments and their duties were assumed by new team members. 

In July the Holy See Mission said goodbye to Monsignor Tomasz Grysa (right), who served for three years in New York and was appointed as First Counsellor at the Apostolic Delegation of the Holy See in Jerusalem. In September, we welcomed his replacement, Monsignor Fredrik Hansen (left), who had been serving at the Holy See’s Mission to the UN in Vienna. 



In March, Timothy Herrman (right), who after four years as a negotiator for the Holy See’s Mission in New York, moved to Rome to continue working for the Holy See at the Secretariat of State. In May, Giulia Maniezzi, Ph.D. (left), who was teaching ethics at the University of Toulouse and had previously served an internship at the Holy See Mission, joined the team as a negotiator on the Second Committee, covering Economic, Financial and Environmental Issues. 



In May, Ora Duffley (left) joined the team in May as an attaché working on communications, events and special Projects for the Mission. She took over from Anna Fata (right), who after four years at the Mission, left for Barcelona to pursue an MBA. 



In October, we welcomed Sr. Elsa Nacianceno, a Missionary Catechist of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, to the Mission to succeed Sr. Lourdes Nerva as business manager and archivist. Sr. Lourdes left at the end of October for the Philippines, after having served three years with us.





Path to Peace Gala
Dinner 2019


On May 22, the Path To Peace Foundation honored Aid To The Church In Need at the 27th Path to Peace Gala. 540 attendees gathered at the Pierre Hotel as Mr. Thomas Heine-Geldern, Executive President of Aid to the Church in Need International. recieved the award in the name of the papal foundation. Aid to the Church in Need assists Christians throughout the world persecuted for their faith.Left: Mrs. Vicki Downey, 2019 Path to Peace Gala Dinner Chairperson, and Eastern Lieutenant of the Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre, together with Mr. Thomas Heine-Geldern, Executive President Aid to the Church in Need and Archbishop Bernardito Auza. Right: Guests enjoy the banquet at the Path to Peace Gala in the Pierre Hotel.


To read more about the 2019 Path to Peace Gala Dinner, click here.
To see more photos from the event, click here.


Holy See Mission Interns 2019

The Holy See Mission has continued to benefit enormously from the presence of interns to assist the work. Here are photos from the Spring, Summer and Fall Intern Cycles.  


Spring Interns 2019: L-R: Roxanne Heidrich (Germany/Italy), Jose Villanueva (Peru), Lia Alejo (Philippines), Chiara Mocchi (Italy), Luke Miller (USA), Corrine Vidales (USA), Alexander MacDonald (Canada), and Guilia Iop (Italy).


Summer Interns 2019: L-R: Melinda Davis (USA), Olivia Owino (Uganda), Pedro Weizenmann (Brazil), Siobhan Heekin-Canedy (USA/Ukraine), Johannes Ludwig (Germany), Portia Berry-Kilby (United Kingdom) and John Ketcham (USA).


Fall Interns 2019: L-R: Veronica Czarnik (USA), Sofia Lesmes (USA), Christabel Fernandez (Singapore), Aaron Humphriss (United Kingdom), Patrick Fernandez (Philippines), Carmen Tate (USA), Collette Power  (United Kingdom) and Emily Ghazoul (USA).


Renovations at
Holy See Mission

There have also been changes at the Mission office as renovations were done in August and September to the chapel, which is the most important part of the Mission, and the internship floor, to make it more conducive to the work that the interns do in support of the Mission.


The heart of our Mission — Our newly renovated chapel Ready for work and collaboration — Thanks to the generosity of the Path to Peace Foundation, we were able to renovate the second floor so that our interns can work effectively and efficiently.