Holy See and PLO Sign Agreement
Officials of the Holy See and the Palestinian Liberation Organization signed a historic agreement on 15 February concerning the Catholic Church’s status in the Palestinian territories.
The PLO agreed to recognize the Catholic Church’s ministry through spiritual, religious, moral, charitable, educational and cultural activities; to give full effect to the legal personality of the Catholic Church and its representatives; to recognize church rights in fiscal matters; to uphold freedom of religion and conscience and to offer protection to all believers under Palestinian law.
Both sides agreed to combat all forms of discrimination and threats to human life and dignity, promote interreligious dialogue and continue to respect the centuries-old “status quo.”
Requiescant in Pace
Msgr. Thomas A. Gartland, 76, Assistant Secretary of CNEWA from 1966 to 1969, died on 8 January.
Assigned to our Beirut office in January 1967, Msgr. Gartland supervised operations in the Middle East. He immediately repaired schools in the Dbayeh and Jisr el Basha refugee camps, hiring additional teachers as needed.
A priest of the Archdiocese of New York, Msgr. Gartland returned to this ministry in 1969. He served in the Archdiocese as Comptroller for Education and as pastor of St. Patrick’s Church in Bedford, New York.
The first local employee of the Pontifical Mission in Jerusalem, Manuel Abu Issa, died on 21 February at the age of 85. He had worked closely with the Mission’s first President, Msgr. Thomas McMahon, and retired in 1979 after serving for three decades.
A Very Special Gift
George Doty, one of CNEWA’s most loyal friends, wanted to give his wife, Marie, a very special birthday present. But what could he give her?
Long interested in the plight of the Palestinians in the Holy Land, George thought it might be nice to build a playground in Bethlehem and dedicate it to his wife. Children in Bethlehem, they both knew, had no place of their own to play. And with the help of our Jerusalem staff, plans were quickly made.
On Wednesday, 2 February, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Michel Sabbah, Mayor of Bethlehem Hanna Nasser and Father Guido Gockel, M.H.M., Regional Director for Palestine, Israel and Cyprus, held the official signing of documents connected with the Marie Doty playground. Afterward, Patriarch Sabbah and Father Gockel unveiled a plaque at the site, which the Patriarch then blessed.
Happy birthday, Marie, and many happy returns.
Eastern Catholic Hierarchs Meet
Convened by Bishop Szilard Kerestes, Greek Catholic Bishop of Hajdudorog, Eastern Catholic hierarchs of Europe met at Mariapocs, Hungary, in February to make preliminary plans for an Assembly of Eastern Catholic Hierarchs of Europe.
Requested by the hierarchs to prepare a draft of the structures and statutes for the proposed assembly, Chorbishop John D. Faris, Assistant Secretary General, attended the meeting as a canonical consultant. He assisted the preparatory committee in preparing the draft.
It was announced in January that CNEWA will soon sponsor pilgrimages to the Holy Land.
Father Charles H. Miller, S.M., joined CNEWA on 3 January as Director of Pilgrimages in order to promote, organize and conduct our upcoming pilgrimages.
A Marianist priest and biblical scholar, Father Miller was also a Fulbright scholar in Israel in 1978-79 and has 30 years of experience in study tours and pilgrimages, leading more than 50 trips for St. Mary’s University in San Antonio and St. Louis University in St. Louis.
Father Miller holds degrees from the Catholic University of Fribourg in Switzerland and the Pontifical Biblical Institute and the Pontifical Athenaeum of St. Anselm in Rome. He is also a Knight Commander of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.
Father Miller was previously Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at St. Mary’s University.