New PMP Personnel
Msgr. Stern has also appointed Brother Donald Mansir, F.S.C., as director of the Mission’s Jerusalem office. Brother Donald replaces Ann Marriott, who worked with the Mission for three years, becoming its director in July 1988.
Funds Channeled for Refugees
When refugees from Iraqi-controlled Kuwait flooded Jordan last August and September, Catholic Near East Welfare Association channeled more than $60,000 through its sister-agency, the Pontifical Mission for Palestine.
Emergency food, disposable eating utensils, medicines and tents were distributed to the refugees, mostly Egyptians and Asians. The Pontifical Mission also helped channel funds for Catholic Relief Services, the U.S. bishops’ relief agency.
Leaders of the Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches (Armenian, Coptic, Ethiopian and Syrian), in a joint statement, have agreed to lift all anathemas and condemnations which have split the churches for more than 1,550 years.
The agreement, signed near Geneva, Switzerland, made several recommendations which will pave the way for complete communion among these churches.
Ecumenical Grant Given
The Pontifical Council for inter-religious Dialogue, directed by Francis Cardinal Arinze, received a grant of $500,000 from Catholic Near East Welfare Association.
The purpose of the grant is to help promote interfaith dialogue, particularly with Jews and Muslims.
Among the conferences sponsored by the council was a colloquium held in Amman, Jordan, entitled, “The Rights of Children.” Muslims and Christians were represented at the December colloquium.
New Eastern Canon Law
Pope John Paul II presented the new Code of Canon Law to the Synod of Bishops this past October. The synod, composed of bishops from both Roman and Eastern Catholic churches, met in Rome to discuss priestly formation.
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The Eastern Code of Canon Law, which took 63 years to draft, will regulate the administration of the Church’s 21 distinct Eastern Catholic churches.
Among the canons listed are provisions for Eastern Catholics to receive the Eucharist in Orthodox churches where Eastern Catholic parishes do not exist.
Vatican’s Secretary of State Retires
Agostino Cardinal Casaroli, the pope’s top aide who helped engineer the Church’s relationship with the formerly Communist governments of Eastern Europe, retired in December as the Holy See’s Secretary of State. The pope immediately named Archbishop Angelo Sodano to replace the 76-year-old cardinal.
As the foreign affairs advisor to three popes, John XXIII, Paul VI and John Paul II, Cardinal Casaroli sought to preserve the Church’s existence in Eastern Europe for three decades.
Archbishop Sodano has spent many years as a papal nuncio in Latin America, where he repeatedly urged governments to respect human rights.
Knights and Ladies Invested
This past fall, Msgr. Stern presented lectures at investiture ceremonies for the Knights and Ladies of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre. The theme of his presentations to the knights and ladies was “Law and Order in the Holy Land.”
Msgr. Stern attended ceremonies of the Southeastern Lieutenancy in Washington, D.C., (Sept. 21-23) and the Southwestern Lieutenancy in Tulsa, Okla., (Oct. 19-21). He also met with the Northeastern Lieutenancy in Boston, Mass. (Nov 2-4).
Local lieutenancies of the order, which supports the Church’s presence in the Holy Land, will reproduce the presentations for distribution.
First Albanian Public Mass
For the first time since 1967, a public Mass was celebrated in Albania. The November liturgy was held in a cemetery chapel near the city of Shkodra in northern Albania.
In 1967, the communist government declared Albania the world’s first “atheist state.” All churches and mosques were closed. In May 1990, the government lifted its ban on religious propaganda.
Vatican Radio reported that the Mass, celebrated by Archbishop Simon Jubani, was attended by more than 5,000 people. “Christians and Muslims together,” the report said, attended the liturgy.
Vatican Official Visits New York
Archbishop Edward I. Cassidy, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, visited the offices of the Association on Nov 21 during a visit to New York.
The archbishop made a detailed tour through the office and met with staff. The council he heads, which in 1987 was the beneficiary of a $560,000 grant from the Association, fosters ecumenical dialogue among the Christian churches.