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January 19, 2020

Archbishop Gabriele Caccia
Arrives at Holy See Mission

Archbishop Gabriele Caccia and the staff of the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See. In the front row, from left to right, are Mother Teodora Juan, Msgr. Fredrik Hansen, Archbishop Caccia, Msgr. David Charters, and Sister Elsa Nacianceno. In the back, from left to right, are Giulia Maniezzi, Fr. Roger Landry, Maddalena Giungi and Ora Duffley. Msgr. Hilary Franco was not present for the photo


On January 16, Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, the seventh Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, arrived to begin his new duties.

He was appointed by Pope Francis on November 16, 2019, after having served as Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines since 2017. Prior to that he had served for eight years as Apostolic Nuncio to Lebanon and for 16 years in the General Affairs Section of the Secretariat of State in the Vatican, including from 2002-2009 serving as Assessor for General Affairs. His first assignment, from 1991-93, was at the Apostolic Nunciature in Tanzania.

He succeeds Archbishop Bernardito Auza, who on October 1, 2019 was appointed Apostolic Nuncio to Spain. Archbishop Auza had served as Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations from 2014-2019. The first five Permanent Observers were Msgr. Alberto Giovannetti (1964-1973), Archbishop (later Cardinal) Giovanni Cheli (1973-1986), Archbishop (later Cardinal) Renato Martino (1986-2002), Archbishop Celestino Migliore (2002-2010), and Archbishop Francis Chullikatt (2010-2014).


To mark his arrival, the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See will hold a welcoming Mass on January 28 at 6:15 pm at the Church of the Holy Family, 315 E. 47th Street, followed by a reception in the Church undercroft. Those interested in coming are asked to RSVP to holyseemission.org/rsvp28January2020 by January 27.



Spring Interns 2020


The Spring 2020 interns for the Holy See Mission after their three day training. Front, left to right: Colleen Leahy (USA), Rensi Pua (Philippines), and Sofia Lesmes (Colombia/USA). Back, left to right: Jeremy Faust (USA), Martin Okoye (Nigeria), Ricardo Sanchez (Peru), Francesco Teruggi (Italy) and Elia Berlingerio (Italy).  

As the Holy See Mission gears up for 2020 and the beginning of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, eight new interns from around the world have joined the Holy See team in New York to assist Archbishop Caccia and the Holy See staff through the end of May. 

After completing a three-day orientation program led by Father Roger Landry, they began covering meetings at the United Nations on January 16. Since 2016, there have been 92 interns at the Mission, from 29 different countries. 

For further information on the Internship Program please click here.

Elia Berlingerio - Italy


From the time he was a boy, Elia Berlingerio has been interested in global issues. In seeking to understand the dynamics that move the world, his initial enthusiasm was linked to his personal experience and land of birth.

Elia was born in Trieste, a disputed territory between Italy and Yugoslavia during the second half of the twentieth century. “My mother was born in Istria and due to the conflict was forced to migrate with her family to Italy, where she obtained refugee status. Therefore, growing up, I was learning about human rights and international affairs.”

Upon finishing high school, Elia joined the course in International Science and Diplomatic Affairs at the University of Bologna where he expanded his knowledge of global affairs and political issues. "In particular, I have been fascinated by the world of the international organizations, such us the United Nations, which currently represents one of my main ambitions. Furthermore, I developed a strong interest in certain disadvantaged parts of the global arena, such us Africa and South America."

Elia was accepted to participate in an exchange programme with the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina in Buenos Aires, where he also worked for a local non-governmental organisation fostering social integration. "This experience helped me to better understand a different reality,” he said, "and has strengthened my passion for global issues."

It was for this reason that Elia chose to continue his studies at the the Geneva School of Diplomacy where he has been able to strengthen his interest in international migration and integral human development. To enhance his formation, he decided to pause his studies to carry out two different working experiences. For six months he worked with the Holy See's Permanent Observer Mission to the United Nations in Geneva, where he became familiar with the UN system and the work carried out by the Holy See in the context of multilateral diplomacy. He sought experience on the ground to boost his competency in the development arena and traveled to Brazil, where he helped an NGO developing local communities. 

After his stay in Brazil, Elia returned to Geneva, where he began writing his final dissertation on the future of global governance in a changing international landscape. Amazed by the experience with the Holy See Mission in Geneva, Elia decided to apply for an internship with the Holy See Mission in New York.

"I am very grateful to be here, there are endless possibilities of learning and the staff welcomed me as a family would do. I could have not asked for a better opportunity, which I hope will become everyday more engaging."

Jeremy Faust - USA


Jeremy Faust grew up in New Jersey with an older sister Erika and his parents Michael and Lizabeth, who are both medical doctors. He attended Regis High School in Manhattan, an all-scholarship, Jesuit institution, and is very “happy to return to the city.”
In 2017, Jeremy graduated from Davidson College with an AB in Political Science. At Davidson, he focused on the history of the Middle East, international organizations and peacekeeping. 
He is currently pursuing a dual Master’s Degree in International Affairs at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, CA and the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), and is working on his master’s thesis, entitled “U.S. Policy Towards the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) and the Risk of Allied Defection.” His academic interests at Middlebury include financial crimes management as it relates to sanctions regimes, nuclear proliferation, terrorism and the Russian Language,  
He has previously worked in both the public and private sectors. In 2015, Jeremy interned with the US Department of State in London and in between his studies at Davidson and Middlebury, he worked for an LA-based philanthropist, for whom he liaised with various policy institutes.
Jeremy found out about the internship program while attending the 2019 Carnegie Nuclear International Policy Conference where he met Dr. Pierce Corden, one of the Holy See experts on Disarmament. Dr. Corden suggested that he look into interning with the Mission.

He is particularly excited to support the Mission’s work at the 2020 Review Conference on the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), marking the 50th anniversary of the treaty’s entry into force. “The NPT stands at the heart of the international nuclear nonproliferation regime and is more important than ever at a time of heightened global tensions.”
At a time when some countries are prioritizing national interests above the common good, Jeremy is inspired by ‘the principle-based approach diplomacy that the Mission provides” and hopes that he can support the Holy See as a bridge builder at the UN. He is looking forward to working with the diverse team at the Mission, where he hopes “to contribute my studies on peacekeeping and disarmament to the Peace & Security team at the Mission.”

Colleen Leahy - USA


Colleen is originally from Omaha, Nebraska, although she has lived with her military family in Washington DC, Virginia, Maryland, Ohio, Iowa, and Florida. 

She studied Political Science and Philosophy at Franciscan University of Steubenville. Through her studies, Colleen developed an interest in Political Philosophy and Thomistic Theology which in turn led to a burgeoning interest in international politics, particularly at the United Nations.

These combined interests led her to apply for the intern program at the Holy See Mission. Colleen believes that her education 'in the Catholic intellectual tradition will aid me in bringing Catholic social teaching to international politics."

Currently in her third year of study at Ave Maria School of Law in Naples, Florida, Colleen's future plans involves practicing as a lawyer. 

For the next three months, however, as part of the Holy See Intern team, Colleen hopes to learn more about papal diplomacy and the role of the Holy See at the United Nations. She is specifically interested in how the Holy See seeks to find common ground with diplomats from different nations and cultures who share a common vision for a peaceful world respecting the dignity of all people. "Given the universal nature of the Church, I look forward to learning about the role of Catholicism in international politics,” she said.
"I am honored to have been selected to intern at the Holy See Mission," she stated.

Sofia Lesmes - Colombia/USA


Sofia is a Colombian and US dual citizen who grew up in Miami with her parents Ruben and Juliette and her younger sister Andrea. She is very happy to be interning for the Mission, expressing that it has been her desire from a young age to work with the Church in international affairs. 

In July 2019, Sofia graduated from her undergraduate studies in History and International Relations at King’s College, London. In February, she will begin part-time study at Columbia University in Cybersecurity. Her academic interests subsequently include the impact of cyberspace on international affairs and the trans-border effects of cyber-attacks. 

Sofia joined the internship program in September 2019. "So far, the internship has been a life-changing opportunity for me to be exposed to the work of the Security Council, especially so soon after graduating from university. Being able to witness meetings on Syria, Israel and Palestine, Yemen, and Colombia has been particularly fascinating."

"I think I still haven't gotten over the feeling of being in such an exciting environment. Seeing diplomacy happen in front of you day after day is really incredible. It has really taught me about the balance between realism and liberalism in international politics, especially for bigger States,” she said.

She is particularly enjoying the atmosphere and community at the Mission, describing it as "nurturing as well as challenging."

Martin Okoye - Nigeria



Martin Onyedika Okoye is a Nigerian born in Nanka, Anambra State, in the southeastern part of the country. He is the second in a family of five, four boys and a girl.

He began his university studies at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria in 2011, and graduated in Law in 2016. The following year he attended the Nigerian Law School where he obtained his Bachelors-at-Law (BL) certificate and was enrolled in the order of Barristers and Solicitors at Supreme Court of Nigeria in the same year.
Before coming to the Holy See Mission, Martin practiced law in Nigeria for two years. He has keen interest in international law and diplomacy and is excited to serve at the Holy See Mission. .

Martin heard about the internship at the Apostolic Nunciature in Abuja where he would go to attend Daily Mass. 

“I am really elated to be here and I am grateful to the Holy See Mission for this rare opportunity. I look forward to attending meetings of the United Nations and participating in all the other activities of the United Nations. I know I will learn a lot about international communities and civil societies.” 

Rensi Pua - The Phillippines


Rensi joins the Mission from the Phillippines. She has eight years of experience in private sector consultancy and three years of experience with nonprofits. Rensi began her career as a private banker at ING Bank and continued as a branding and communications consultant at Millward Brown International, where she was a manager.

After working in global markets such as the UK and Hong Kong, she changed course and moved to the mountains in the Philippines as a Jesuit Volunteer (JV). She was assigned to Mindanao, where she served as a resource development officer for a nonprofit that provides education access and youth development for indigenous peoples. Upon returning, she worked with Smarter Good Inc. in the field of grants management and with Jesuit Volunteers Philippines Inc. in fundraising and donor management.

She heard about the Holy See’s diplomatic internship through Fordham University in New York, where she recently completed her master’s degree in International Political Economy and Development (Fordham IPED), which is providing a fellowship to fund her internship. Her experience working with the Church as a Jesuit Volunteer inspired her to apply for the internship.

“There are many meaningful opportunities for private sector professionals like me to contribute to the Church’s work. Under Pope Francis’ leadership, the Church practices compassion in a deeply impactful way. I wanted to be a part of that endeavor,” she says.

Ricardo Sanchez - Peru


Ricardo Sanchez is a second-year graduate student at the School of Diplomacy and International Relations at Seton Hall University where he is specializing in International Security, Foreign Policy Analysis, and the Middle East. He is a member of Sigma Iota Rho, a National Honor Society for International Relations, and serves as a Social Media Associate at the Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations.

During his first year in Seton Hall, he participated in a course at the United Nations for graduate students, advanced undergraduates, and mid-career professionals. This course allowed him to gain experience in the political dynamics of the United Nations, familiarizing him with the inner workings of the UN by bringing him together with distinguished practitioners working in the field of multilateral diplomacy. He attended official sessions at UN Headquarters, such as meetings of the Security Council, as well as briefings at the United Nations Association of the USA and the United Nations Foundation. 

Born and raised in Lima, Peru, he was educated at San Agustin College, which hasamong its alumni illustrious people of world diplomacy, such as Javier Perez de Cuellar, Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1982 to 1991. "Being in Catholic school provided me integral formation and Catholic values, offered me various opportunities for experiential encounters with God, and developed Catholic leadership skills by participating  in social organization and various responsibilities,” he said. 

Later, he went to the San Martin de Porres University, School of Law. "Since my education was always in Catholic institutions, it wasn’t difficult for me to enroll at Seton Hall University, an institution with an historic Catholic tradition."

Ricardo believes that as a foreign policy student, one of the most important things to learn and practice is mediation and reconciliation, something that the Holy See has carried out in many contexts. As a young boy, he remembers the constant calls for negotiation and peace made by the Catholic Church in the late eighties and early nineties, when his country confronted the terror of the Shining Path. This experience marked him  and led him to dedicate himself to learning and putting into practice the principles of neutrality, genuine engagement, and the unbiased interest of the mediator to help the parties find the best possible solution, even and especially in moments of chaos and despair.

"I value the mission of the Holy See, as a follower of the Catholic doctrines that address oppression, human dignity, and the common good. I welcome the opportunity to use my training and learning to advance the Holy See's work and contribute to bring Catholic Social Teaching to the debates of the international community."

Francesco Teruggi - Italy


Francesco Teruggi was born in Italy in 1993 and lived with his parents in a small village in the northern part of the country. He moved to Milan to study at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, graduating with a Bachelor in Social Psychology for Organizations. On completing his studies, Francesco spent seven months in the Netherlands. He decided then to enroll for a Masters in Middle Eastern Studies at the School of Economics and International Relations (ASERI) in Milan. His final dissertation focused on the conflict devouring Yemen, adopting a post-structuralist perspective.

From October 2018, Francesco worked at the Oasis International Foundation, a research center founded in 2004 by Cardinal Angelo Scola that studies the interaction and fosters mutual understanding between Christians and Muslims within the global context.

He later applied for a fellowship provided by the Toniolo Institute of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan for the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See. Francesco was greatly interested in this internship because he “wanted to explore the role of the Holy See at the UN, how it is principle-driven, rather than political-motivated, and how diplomacy works.”  Furthermore, he said “the UN represents an organization in which States can actually advance some concrete policies that can have a real impact on our world, rediscovering the need of multilateralism that may seem lost nowadays.”

Francesco hopes that with a background in both Psychology and Middle-Eastern issues, he can be of service to the Mission. With three days of “outstanding” intern training now completed, Francesco enthusiastically commented that he is “very glad to be here and to join this fantastic team.”


Upcoming Events


RSVP: holyseemission.org/rsvp27January2020

by January 22