Coptic pope visits New York
Last September, His Holiness, Pope Shenouda III, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark, arrived in New York on the first leg of a pastoral visit to the United States and Canada.
Under Pope Shenouda’s leadership, the Coptic Orthodox Church has emerged as a vibrant church and has flourished in the United States and Canada. He has successfully established 41 communities throughout the United States and nine in Canada, inaugurating new programs in youth ministry and social development.
In New York, John Cardinal O’Connor hosted a dinner in his honor with representatives of several Christian communities.
Gorbachev requests ties with Vatican
In a personal message to Pope John Paul II, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev requested stronger diplomatic ties between the Soviet Union and the Vatican. The message, delivered by a high-ranking Russian Orthodox delegation, outlined the “drastic issues of the present times: elimination of the threat of nuclear war, consolidation of peace and justice on earth.”
The Holy See considers the ongoing persecution of the Ukrainian Catholic Church a hindrance to a closer relationship.
Ecumenism in New York
Representatives from the Armenian Apostolic, Coptic, Ethiopian and Syrian Churches met with representatives of the Catholic Church in New York this past June to discuss the challenges of reconciliation.
These churches severed ties with the churches of Rome and Constantinople in the fifth century after the Council of Chalcedon. Some now regard the differences between the churches as semantic or cultural rather than dogmatic.
New account on intifada written
Brother Patrick White, F.S.C., a Christian Brother from the United Kingdom, has written an account of the Palestinian intifada, its causes and effects, entitled, “Let Us Be Free” (The Kingston Press, Inc., 1989). Brother Patrick has taught English at Bethlehem University, now closed due to the intifada.
Pastoral ministry or social work?
“There are those who would restrict or limit the Gospel message to a merely humanitarian action of good neighborliness or to a work of social ‘progress,’“ Pope John Paul II told a group of Indian bishops this past September at Castel Gandolfo.
The pope said that “explicit reference to Christ׆ is needed for all pastoral ministry.
New Maronite Order Established
The Maronite Monks of the Most Holy Trinity became the church’s newest order in a solemn ceremony September 8 at their monastery in Petersham, Mass. The community was founded 11 years ago by Rev. William Driscoll to “answer a need and a call to a life of adoration in the ancient Eastern tradition.”
Archbishop receives pallium
On the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, William H. Keeler, Archbishop of Baltimore and vice president of Catholic Near East Welfare Association, received the pallium from Pope John Paul II.
The pallium, a white wool stole adorned with black crosses, is a sign of communion between the bishop of Rome and the metropolitan archbishop.
“What this trip was about was unity and communion with Rome,” remarked Archbishop Keeler after the June 29 ceremony, “I can’t say enough good things about the Holy Father and his staff.”
Papal desire to visit Lebanon
Pope John Paul II has reiterated his desire to work for peace and visit Lebanon. His visit would include all Lebanese, Christians, Muslims and Druse.
L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, cited the ongoing destruction as “a genocide… The Holy Father wants to go as a pilgrim… to be with the people who suffer, forced to live alongside violence and death.”
Thousands attend Ukranian Liturgy
An estimated 100,000 people attended a public Mass September 17 in the Ukrainian city of Lvov. The liturgy exhibited the Ukrainians’ attempt to persuade the Soviet Union to legalize the Ukrainian Catholic Church.
Second Lithuanian seminary opens
In the Soviet Socialist Republic of Lithuania, a second seminary has been opened to serve the increasing demand for priests. Tass, the official Soviet news agency, stated that one seminary was insufficient. Lithuania curently has 655 parishes and only 25 priests.
Under Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev’s economic and political reforms, Lithuania and her sister republics, Estonia and Latvia, have increased their demands for autonomy and relaxed tensions between church and state.
The Baltic republics were independent from 1918 until 1941 when they were absorbed by the Soviet Union.