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for the very first time

25 Sep

Today the flag of the Vatican was raised at the United Nations for the first time, yes, the first time with the flags of the 193 United Nations member states.

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On September 10 the General Assembly overwhelmingly approved a Palestinian-sponsored resolution allowing the flags of non-voting observer states to fly alongside those of member states. The Holy See and Palestine are the only two observer states.

The U.S. flag flew for the first time today.

The Palestinian flag will fly for the first time on September 30.

They both flew at my house today.Vatican flag and Palestinian flag 01

because [of] the lottery

25 Sep

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The address of Pope Francis to the leaders of government and heads of state at the United Nations today will get much commentary and critique.

Before he went to the main hall, he spoke first to staff, whom he called the “backbone of this Organization.”

We know who is the “backbone” of any organization, business or parish: the ones to whom he spoke before he went upstairs.

There was laughter and applause when he went off prepared text, making reference to the “lottery” by which they were chosen and others were not. Part of the charm of his remark was his being comfortable enough with them to leave his written text – and his missing the word “of” in his addition.

Dear Friends,

On the occasion of my visit to the United Nations, I am pleased to greet you, the men and women who are, in many ways, the backbone of this Organization.  I thank you for your welcome, and I am grateful for all that you have done to prepare for my visit.  I would ask you also to offer my greetings to the members of your families and to your colleagues who could not be with us today [because the lottery].

The vast majority of the work done here is not of the kind that makes the news.  Behind the scenes, your daily efforts make possible many of the diplomatic, cultural, economic and political initiatives of the United Nations, which are so important for meeting the hopes and expectations of the peoples who make up our human family.  You are experts and experienced fieldworkers, officials and secretaries, translators and interpreters, cleaners and cooks, maintenance and security personnel.  Thank you for all that you do!

Your quiet and devoted work not only contributes to the betterment of the United Nations.  It also has great significance for you personally.  For how we work expresses our dignity and the kind of persons we are.

Many of you have come to this city from countries the world over.  As such, you are a microcosm of the peoples which this Organization represents and seeks to serve.  Like so many other people worldwide, you are concerned about your children’s welfare and education.  You worry about the future of the planet, and what kind of a world we will leave for future generations.  But today, and everyday, I would ask each of you, whatever your capacity, to care for one another.  Be close to one another, respect one another, and so embody among yourselves this Organization’s ideal of a united human family, living in harmony, working not only for peace, but in peace; working not only for justice, but in a spirit of justice.

Dear friends, I bless each one of you from my heart.  I will pray for you and your families, and I ask each of you, please, to remember to pray for me.  And if any of you are not believers, I ask you to wish me well.  God bless you all.

Thank you.

U.N. personnel take pictures as Pope Francis arrives to greet UN staff members at United Nations headquarters on Sept. 25, 2015.

with God as Creator

25 Sep

The children were beautiful.

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Their voices were down to earth and heavenly.

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Their hope-filled plea to God made us want the same for all children, made us ready to desire it, and made us think that it is really possible.

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They sang at the end of the interfaith prayer service with Pope Francis at Ground Zero. The sang in front of leaders of religions. They sang on behalf of all children of our world.

may I ask of you to sing a song for me? … be courageous! … very kind of you.

31 Aug

In preparation for his visit to the U.S., and because he will not be visiting the cities in which these young people live, Pope Francis made a “virtual visit” with them.

Pope Francis teen sings

If you do not watch the whole piece – Chicago Teen Sings for Pope Francis – at least skip to minute 2:30.

There is an hour long program on Friday at 10:00 p.m. on ABC. Set yourself up to watch it or set your DVR to watch it for you.