Holy See Mission Hosts
Annual UN Prayer Service
Each year since 1986, on the occasion of the opening of the General Assembly of the United Nations, the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations 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, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Prayer Service was held with capacity limited to 150 at the Church of the Holy Family, Manhattan, a block from the United Nations. His Excellency Abdullah Shahid, who became the President of the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, attended with members of his family and team and delivered remarks. Scores of ambassadors, senior UN staff, religious leaders, NGO delegates and interested community members were also in attendance.
Fr. Gerald Murray, Pastor of the Church of the Holy Family, welcomed all in attendance. He reflected that the annual prayer service is a response to Pope St. Paul VI's "desire that all those who work for peace be united in prayer to God for his gift of peace."
Bishop Gregory Mansour of the Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn, gave the meditation, focusing on signs of hope in the midst of present challenges. He praised the United Nations' "great and edifying effort to promote good governance," noting that many problems that scourge our world today are caused by corrupt and ineffective leadership. He expressed hope over the growing awareness of the need to protect and advance religious freedom, like the recent International Religious Freedom Summit, which took place in July in Washington D.C. where religious leaders advocated "so passionately for one another and to call for an end to religious persecution." He stressed that religious freedom is innate by virtue of being human, and such a right "is not conceded to us by nations or by governments."
Drawing on his experience as a Maronite bishop, Bishop Mansour said that the Muslim-Christian experience in Lebanon is both a sign of hope and concern. He urged ambassadors present to support Lebanon so that interreligious harmony might prevail.
Among other signs of hope, Bishop Mansour highlighted efforts to protect "our common home" and increased solidarity among people in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. He cited collective efforts to combat the climate crisis, as well as generosity of international humanitarian aid agencies to support those suffering due to the pandemic.
Continuing the theme of hope, Mr. Shahid urged UN leaders to inspire greater hope. He suggested that this might be achieved by "working hand-in-hand across borders." The COVID-19 pandemic, he said, offered an opportunity to build back better, working towards a global economic recovery that is considerate of the environment. He asked those present to join him in prayer for "more hope, more optimism" to deliver improvements for those in need.
Secretary-General António Guterres addressed those in attendance by video. He said that he believes faith communities "can help transform our world," and welcomed religious leaders' appeals for a Global Ceasefire. Quoting Pope Francis who said last year to the General Assembly that “we never emerge from a crisis just as we were," Guterres thanked the Pope and leaders present for laying "the groundwork for coming out better."
He also expressed his appreciation for their prayers, adding that "we need these prayers for the wisdom to find solutions, the energy to act on them, and the unity that this gathering represents."
Music was provided by the Schola Cantorum of St. Vincent Ferrer Parish, led by James Wetzel.
The Holy See Mission Welcomes the
Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus
FORMER INTERN RETURNS — On Sept. 16, The Holy See Mission was delighted to welcome back to its offices the new Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, Patrick Kelly, together with his wife Vanessa. During the Summer of 2001, Mr. Kelly served as a legal intern at the Holy See Mission. During lunch with the staff and interns of the Mission, he spoke about the surprises God has in store, that he would have never guessed that 20 years after his service at the Mission he would be Supreme Knight of the Catholic Church’s largest fraternal organization. He urged the interns to continue to say yes to the opportunities God gives. He also gave all present holy cards of the founder of the Knights of Columbus, recently beatified Blessed Father Michael McGivney. At the end of their visit, the Kellys took photos with Archbishop Caccia and Father Roger Landry of the Holy See Mission before the photo of Pope Francis as well as in front of the plaque honoring the generosity of the Knights of Columbus that enabled the Holy See Mission, through the Path to Peace Foundation, to acquire its present offices in 1994.
Path to Peace Gala
November 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 Guastavino's 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.
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