With Palm Sunday approaching, the Holy See Mission wishes readers a blessed Holy Week and a joyful Easter season.
Tenth Anniversary of the Election of Pope Francis
March 13, 2023 marked the tenth Anniversary of the election of His Holiness Pope Francis. In recognition of this important milestone, Archbishop Caccia welcomed several Ambassadors to the Holy See Mission for a Mass of Thanksgiving in honor of the Holy Father.
Archbishop Caccia Delivers Holy See Statement During UN Water Conference
On March 23, 2023, Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, addressed the Conference on the Midterm Comprehensive Review of the Implementation of the Objectives of the International Decade for Action “Water for Sustainable Development,” 2018-2028.
In his remarks, Archbishop Caccia stressed that water is a source of life and a primary good that should be available to all. Thus universal access to water, and its sustainable and responsible use and management, are indispensable for the achievement of the common good of the entire human family. He recalled the importance of water within each of the three dimensions of sustainable development: economic, social, and environmental. To this end, he called on States to renew their shared commitment to ensure that water is available to all, is suitable for human consumption, and that its management is sustainable and does not harm the environment.
Read the full statement here.
67th Commission on the Status of Women
On March 9, 2023, Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, addressed the 67th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women. The theme for this year’s session is, “Innovation and technological change, and education in the digital age for the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.”
Monsignor Robert Murphy, Deputy Permanent Observer, delivered the statement.
In his remarks, Archbishop Caccia emphasized that education, including digital literacy, is essential for fostering societies which treat men and women equally. He also noted that information and communication technologies (ICTs) can expand opportunities to learn for women and girls such as remote learning and allow women and girls to continue to study during emergencies or while balancing work and family responsibilities. To ensure that women and girls share in the benefits of technological advancement, poverty eradication and social protection programs to reduce inequality are critical.
Innovation must always be directed toward the good of the person, Archbishop Caccia added. Unfortunately, ICTs have been put to uses which harm women and girls, including sex trafficking, prostitution, and pornography. Ensuring respect and equality for women also requires fully accepting women, including their unique capacity for childbearing, which should be valued and respected, and must not be undermined or commodified.
Read the full statement here.
Holy See Mission Side Event Offers a Unique Holistic Perspective on Women's Health
Pictured (left to right): Side Event Speakers Dr. Danielle Koestner (FEMM); Ms. Claudia Toribio (FEMM); Archbishop Gabriele Caccia (Holy See Mission); Ms. LaTisha Downing (Central School, Atchison, Kansas); and Ms. Anna Halpine (FEMM/World Youth Alliance)
Image Source: World Youth Alliance
On March 14, 2023 during the 67th Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, the Holy See Mission collaborated with Fertility Education and Medical Management Foundation (FEMM) to host a side event focused on innovations in technologies for women’s healthcare. The event welcomed experts in health and education to share insights about their experience promoting good health and wellbeing for women and girls.
The discussion, entitled "Elevating the Standards for Women and Girls' Healthcare Through Technology and Education" offered a unique perspective during the Commission: women and girls can utilize technology and innovation to observe and track their own body’s signs and symptoms, and identify whether they are healthy and seek treatment when needed.
The program is grounded in the idea that women have a right to the highest attainable standard of health, which serves as a key enabler for their participation in the social and economic life of their communities.
FEMM is a comprehensive women’s health and wellness program for reproductive health. Representatives from FEMM discussed the ways in which technological advancements offer solutions to address long standing gaps in women's healthcare; FEMM, for example, offers a globally-available health-tracking app, online fertility literacy courses, and the provision of tele-health to women all around the world, thus enabling them to make informed choices and seek higher standards of care.
FEMM also partnered with the World Youth Alliance (WYA), to integrate its teenFEM and teenMEN programs, for girls and boys entering puberty, into the Human Dignity Curriculum (HDC). The HDC is an educational program which teaches children about their inherent dignity and equips them to make healthy decisions now and in the future.
View the full side event webcast here.
Other Holy See Statements Delivered this Month
Holy See Statement To Security Council on Women And Peace And Security
On 7 March 2023, Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, addressed the United Nations Security Council during an Open Debate on Women and Peace and Security.
Monsignor Giuseppe Quirighetti, a Counsellor at the Holy See Mission, delivered the statement.
In his remarks, Archbishop Caccia noted the importance of reassessing how best to address the unique needs of women in conflict and their important role in its prevention and resolution. He highlighted that the current approach is falling short, demonstrated by increased violence against women and girls and decreased women’s representation in peace processes in the past few years.
The Women and Peace and Security agenda, Archbishop Caccia said, cannot be successfully implemented unless the primary drivers that contribute to the worsening circumstances of women and girls are addressed, including conflict and extremism.
Archbishop Caccia concluded with Pope Francis’s words that “the tender love of mothers…and the presence of women are the true alternative to the baneful logic of power that leads to war.”
Read the full statement here.
Holy See Statement to the General Assembly on the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
On 21 March 2023, Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, addressed the General Assembly during the Commemorative meeting to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
In his remarks, Archbishop Caccia stated that racism is based upon the distorted belief that one person is superior to another, which starkly contrasts the fundamental principle that human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. He asserted that racism, a “crisis in human relationships,” can manifest itself either explicitly or on a deeper level, as racial prejudice. The crisis in human relationships resulting from racial prejudice, Archbishop Caccia said, can be countered by the promotion of a culture of encounter, solidarity, and authentic human fraternity.
Archbishop Caccia concluded his comments by expressing the Holy See’s concern for the racism and racial prejudice sometimes directed against migrants and refugees.
Read the full statement here.
Life of the Mission
Vatican Loans Portrait of Philip IV to Metropolitan Museum of Art
Portrait of Philip IV, Attributed to Juan de Pareja (1650)
The Holy See Mission helped facilitate the loan of a painting by Afro-Hispanic artist Juan de Pareja to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
Until earlier this month, Portrait of Philip IV, firmly attributed to seventeenth-century painter Juan de Pareja, hung in the Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, where it likely has been since its creation in 1650.
The painting is an important component of an exhibition, entitled “Juan de Pareja, Afro-Hispanic Painter,” which offers a view into the life and artistic achievements of Pareja, who was enslaved in the studio of Spanish painter Diego Velázquez for two decades before becoming an artist in his own right.
Upon the painting’s arrival in New York, Father Mark Knestout, Attache of the Holy See Mission, represented the Vatican in supervising the painting’s unpacking and installation at the Met.
The exhibition will be open to the public at the Met Fifth Avenue beginning Monday, April 3, 2023. The painting will return to the Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica after the exhibit closes in late July.
Read more about the exhibit here.
Above: The Holy See Mission staff and interns celebrated St. Patrick's Day with some fun and games.
Below: Cardinal Barreto visited the Mission on March 25, 2023, together with some members of the Ecclesial Conference of Amazonia.
The Mission celebrated two birthdays during the month of March:
Ms. Benedetta Viviano, Intern (left) and Sister Silvia Valencia (right).
Currently Accepting Fall 2023 Internship Applications
Since 2015, the Holy See Mission has had 162 interns from 37 different countries.
The internship program provides the opportunity for bright, Catholic, English-speaking college graduates or graduate students to gain experience assisting the Holy See in its multilateral work at the UN, seeking to bring the light of Catholic Social Teaching to the debates of the international community.
Our interns are integral to the work of the Holy See at the United Nations. They attend various UN meetings, conferences, and debates, and then prepare reports that, once reviewed, are sent to the Holy See’s central offices in the Vatican. Our interns also assist with the Mission’s conferences, receptions, and cultural events.
There are three internship cycles each year: Fall, Spring, and Summer, and eight internship positions are available per cycle. The Mission is currently accepting applications for the Fall 2023 session, which will run from late August through December 2023.
This year’s Honoree is Mr. Filippo Grandi, who currently serves as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva. He previously held positions as Commissioner General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East and before that was the United Nations Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan. He has spent much of his working life striving to bring relief and assistance to thousands who have fled home and country for safety from conflict and war. Sadly, there is much work for him as peace continues to elude us in over twenty-five regions of the world.
In January 2023, Mr. Grandi was received in a private audience with the Holy Father, Pope Francis to discuss his current work and the great needs attached to it.
The Gala will take place on Wednesday, May 17th, at The Pierre Hotel, 2 E 61st Street and 5th Avenue, New York.
It will begin with a reception at 6 p.m. followed by dinner at 7 p.m.
We hope that you will be able to join us! For more information regarding purchasing tables or seats, contact by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Path to Peace Foundation
212.370.7885 X 127