International Day for Mine Awareness
and Assistance in Mine Action
On April 4, Easter Sunday, which coincided this year with the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, His Holiness Pope Francis addressed the subject of landmines in his traditional Urbi et Orbi Address from St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican after the celebration of Easter Sunday Mass.
"Today, April 4," the Pope said, "marks the International Awareness Day against anti-personnel landmines, insidious and horrible devices that kill or maim many innocent people each year and prevent humanity from walking together on the paths of life without fearing the threat of destruction and death! How much better our world would be without these instruments of death!"
On March 24, Pope Francis sent a letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations in anticipation of the International Awareness Day.
In the letter, Pope Francis expressed his hope that "this yearly observance will lead to a greater awareness of the devastating long-term effects of landmines and other antipersonnel weapons on innocent civilians and entire communities."
He urged the leaders of nations and international organizations to make the decisions necessary to free the world of these destructive devices, which wreak havoc not only against persons but on our common home.
He expressed his prayers and gratitude for this "important initiative" of the United Nations and invoked God's blessings on all those who have experienced injury and the death of loved ones from landmines as well as upon all those engaged in the dangerous work of mine-clearing.
Intern Alumni Reunion
April 6 marked 57 years of the Holy See's being a Permanent Observer at the United Nations. To celebrate the occasion, the Mission hosted a virtual reunion with the alumni of its internship program.
Since 2015, the Holy See Mission to the UN in New York has had 109 interns from 29 different countries – truly reflecting the “catholic” or “universal" nature of the Catholic Church. More than fifty were able to join for the virtual celebration.
In his welcoming remarks, Archbishop Gabriele Caccia said he was happy to meet for the first time those interns who served prior to his arrival in January 2020 and to see again those who have served during his tenure.
He thanked the interns for their hard and high quality work and said that without their assistance, the Mission would not be able to cover as much of the UN’s ever-expanding agenda.
After those remarks, the staff and present cycle of interns greeted the alumni and then there were updates given about the work of the Holy See Mission in the Peace and Security Sector and the Human Rights and Development Sector.
Fr. Roger Landry, the director of the internship program, then gave some updates of changes to the program since many were at the Mission, from renovations to the internship floor to adaptations that have had to be made because of the pandemic.
He also played a video with greetings by Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Permanent Observer of the Holy See from 2014-9, under whom many of the alumni served.
Congratulations, Msgr. Franco!
ANNIVERSARY OF PRIESTLY ORDINATION: On April 9, Msgr. Hilary Franco of the Holy See Mission Staff celebrated the 66th anniversary of his priestly ordination. He is pictured here with one of our youngest interns, Jose Melendez. Staff and interns thanked Msgr. Franco for his decades of service to the Church in the priesthood.
Happy Birthday, JuanPe!
BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS: On April 8, intern Juan Pedro Dubié from Argentina celebrated his 25th birthday. Here he is pictured between fellow interns Andres Polanco Achury (left) and Pedro Perez (right).
Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
April 20 Side Event
On April 20, Archbishop Caccia will deliver opening remarks at a side event organized by the Pan-Amazonian Network of Episcopal Conferences (REPAM) and the NGO Mining Working Group on the topic of human rights violations in the Amazon during the COVID-19 pandemic. All are invited to attend the virtual event by clicking here.