3339 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008-3687
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
March 16, 1989
Monsignor Robert L. Stern
President, The Pontifical Mission for Palestine
New York, New York
Dear Monsignor Stern:
As the Pontifical Mission for Palestine celebrates the Fortieth Anniversary of its humanitarian service to people of all races and creeds in the Holy Land, I wish to extend to you, your staff and to the countless benefactors and supporters of this charitable endeavor of the Holy See, my heartfelt congratulations and personal best wishes.
It was on June 4, 1949 that His Holiness Pope Pius XII appointed Monsignor Thomas J. McMahon as the first President of the Pontifical Mission for Palestine. On that occasion, the Holy Father clearly outlined the goals of this Papal Mission, namely to coordinate and to render more effective the charitable works and worldwide interest in support of the Holy Places and of the refugees resulting from the conflict in the Holy Land. For four decades, Msgr. McMahon and his competent successors, Archbishop Joseph T. Ryan and Bishop John G. Nolan, have dedicated themselves to realizing the interest of the Holy See in the spiritual and physical well-being of the people who live in that region.
From personal experience, while Apostolic Delegate to Jerusalem and Palestine, I witnessed the good accomplished by this Pontifical Mission in the creation of the Bethlehem University, the erection of the Paul VI Ephpheta Institute for deaf children, the maintenance of many schools, dispensaries, clinics and the establishment of a revolving fund in order to build homes for the newly married. These are only a few of the countless means by which help has been offered to those in need of education and assistance in the Middle East.
His Holiness Pope John Paul II, in reflecting upon the special place which the Holy Land and its people occupy within the hearts of all Christians, remarked, their situation and future cannot but effect everyone and concern everyone. It is in support of this situation and in dedication to this future that the Pontifical Mission has labored faithfully these past forty years.
With renewed expression of my cordial best wishes, I am
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Pio Laghi (sign)