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July 9, 2021

"The global HIV epidemic will not end without addressing the root causes for its spread" 

On July 8, Monsignor Fredrik Hansen, Chargé d'Affaires ad interim of the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations, gave an intervention during the General Debate of the High-level Meeting on HIV/AIDS being held at UN Headquarters. The July 8 session was a continuation of the High-Level Meeting, which started June 8-10 and then was postponed until July 8. 

In his statement, he welcomed the progress achieved in reducing AIDS-related mortality, improved access to anti-retroviral treatment, and decreased HIV infection rates in many places, but also noted that in other places HIV infections are increasing and that 38 million are living with HIV, 12 million are not receiving treatment, and 7 million are unaware that they have HIV. The global HIV epidemic will not end, he said, without addressing the root causes for its spread, particular risk-taking behaviors among young people. 

He called attention to the need for better HIV prevention and care for children with HIV and mentioned last year's high-level dialogues hosted by the Holy See's Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development focusing, among other things, on gaps in pediatric HIV prevention and treatment. Catholic institutions, he said, provide 25 percent of AIDS care worldwide. 

His remarks can be found in full here.


Poverty eradication strategies and COVID recovery measures must compass new forms of poverty

On July 7, Monsignor Fredrik Hansen, Chargé d’Affaires ad interim of the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the UN, addressed the 2021 High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development on the topic of "SDGs in focus: how do we get on track to end poverty and hunger, and transform towards inclusive and sustainable economies."

Monsignor Hansen began by welcoming the efforts of this year's High-Level Political Forum to focus on ending poverty and hunger, especially given the impact of COVID-19, which, he said, has reversed many gains toward meeting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. He urged that poverty eradication strategies be strengthened and integrated in post-pandemic recovery measures and encompass the new forms of poverty, like “pharmaceutical poverty” and increased food insecurity, that have been revealed or caused by the pandemic. 

He highlighted the Holy See's and the Catholic Church's role in providing assistance to the poor and alleviating hunger for those in need and said the international community "must come together and renew its commitment to multilateralism" in order to meet the needs of the poor and respect the inherent dignity of every person. 

His remarks can be found in full here.


Welcome, Maria de Sousa Leitão!

This past month the Holy See Mission welcomed Maria de Sousa Leitão as its new Office Manager. 

Born in Portugal, her career has spanned many countries. She started out working in her home country for a TV company and later gained an MBA before working as a financial director at a law firm.

Then "unexpectedly," she recounted, "I received a phone call asking me if I would like to go to East Timor to open a maternity hospital. It was an enormous surprise and it corresponded fully to my aspirations." She left feeling "very convinced that humanitarian work was made for me."

After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, she returned to development work, serving as a head of mission for an NGO helping in the aftermath of the earthquake.

Following this, she worked in Mozambique and Kenya in refugee camps, before returning to Portugal. 

She applied for the Office Manager role as she was "looking for another international experience" and wanted to "give my availability to the Lord. And what better place could there be to serve?" 

After her first two weeks, she said, "I haven't stopped since I got here – learning so many things every day!" She said that she has "found a wonderful team" and hopes to "be of help and bring joy to the office."

Since 1993, she has been a consecrated member of Memores Domini, a branch of the Communion and Liberation movement founded in 1969 by Monsignor Luigi Giussani. Memories Domini is a lay association of those in the Communion and Liberation movement who pursue a vocation of total dedication to God while living in the world. Promising the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience, they seek to live their professional occupations mindful and reminding others of the presence of Jesus. She lives in community with other Memores Domini consecrated women in Bronxville. 

She has enjoyed the transition to New York. "I love New York and I feel at home," she says, but noted, "The big challenge will be when the winter comes..."

Welcome, Maria!


Save the Date – 
Sept. 13 Prayer Service
for the United Nations

Each year since 1986, on the eve of the opening of the General Assembly of the United Nations, the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See has sponsored a prayer service for the United Nations diplomatic community and personnel, together with religious and ecumenical leaders in the New York area.
This year the Prayer Service will take place on September 13, 2021, at 6:00 p.m. at the Church of the Holy Family, 315 East 47th Street.

Archbishop Bashar Mattia Warda, Archbishop of Erbil, Iraq, will deliver the meditation. He was instrumental in the March 2021 visit of Pope Francis to Iraq and will share poignant and relevant lessons from that visit as well as from the Iraqi peace rebuilding process.

As customary, the Holy See Mission has also invited the Secretary General, the President of the 75th Session of the General Assembly, H.E. Volkan Bozkir of Turkey, and the President-elect of the 76th Session of the General Assembly, H.E. Abdulla Shahid of The Maldives, to participate and give brief remarks.
Invitations will be sent to senior UN personnel, Permanent Representatives and Observers, NGO delegates, and religious and ecumenical leaders in the greater New York area. 


Path to Peace Gala, Nov. 16, 2021

New York, NY — UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres will be awarded the prestigious Path to Peace Award by Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations and President of the Path to Peace Foundation at the Foundations’s annual gala on November 16, 2021 at the Pierre Hotel in Manhattan.

Guterres was originally scheduled to receive the award in May 2020, but the 2020 Gala was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Guterres was chosen by the Path to Peace Foundation Board in honor of the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations and its long-term commitment to securing peace in the world. 

"The Path to Peace Foundation will honor the United Nations’ work for peace during the last 75 years and support its continuing efforts to bring an end to hostilities,” said Archbishop Caccia in announcing Guterres as the honoree. 

“The first pillar of the U.N. Charter, written as World War II horrors were concluding, is to ‘save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.’ During the past 75 years, the United Nations has worked to make and build lasting peace, which must be achieved anew by every generation,” Archbishop Caccia added.

He also indicated that the Path to Peace Foundation will honor the particular contributions of Secretary-General Guterres “for his many years of service in the cause of peace, as the ninth Secretary-General, and previously as United Nations High Commission for Refugees, Prime Minister of Portugal, and in multiple other roles stretching back decades.”

Prior to Christmas in 2019, Mr. Guterres met with Pope Francis in the Vatican and together they recorded an unprecedented joint appeal that the peace on earth and good will to all men and women marked by Jesus’ birth might irradiate all situations of war and places where human dignity is violated.

Mr. Guterres will be the third U.N. Secretary-General of the United Nations to receive the Path to Peace Award, following Boutros Boutros-Ghali (1993) and Kofi Annan (2000). The award has been bestowed on Kings and Queens, Princes and Princesses, Presidents and Prime Ministers, Vatican Secretaries of State, Ambassadors, Grand Masters, courageous Archbishops, and heroes in the humanitarian and peace-building fields.

The Path to Peace Foundation was established in 1991 to support the Holy See Mission and spread the message of peace by which the Catholic Church, through the words and activities of the Pope and of the Holy See, strives to “guide our steps into the path of peace” (Lk 1:79). The Foundation is tax-exempt 501c3 foundation.

Funds raised allow the Path to Peace Foundation, among other things, to help the Holy See Mission to keep a vigorous presence at the United Nations and to bring the light of Catholic Social teaching to problems in the world. The Foundation also keeps at the forefront of considerations matters of conscience, peace, justice, the dignity of every person, interreligious harmony, the good of the family, the poor and the environment.

To REGISTER or for more information go to holyseemission.org/rsvp/PathtoPeaceGala2021


Exploring the Beautiful
Churches of Manhattan

EXPLORING MANHATTAN – In June, as part of the Summer 2019 interns' assimilation to New York, Fr. Roger Landry led them on a "Pilgrimage to the Most Beautiful Churches of Manhattan." Among the churches visited were St. Patrick’s Cathedral, St. Thomas the Apostle, St. Vincent Ferrer, St. Jean Baptiste, St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. John the Divine, St. Paul the Apostle, St. Francis Xavier and Old St. Patrick’s Basilica.