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MR in NY: Swiss Army Knives, Good Habits, and a Youthful UN

Mary Rose Bacani Valenti

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

On this day it seemed I walked everywhere and did everything:
  • From Holy Family Parish for Mass;
  • To the UN to hear from the Ambassador from Malta and from the Head of Delegation of The International Committee of the Red Cross;
  • From the Sisters of Life Convent to hear about their work with women;
  • To the US Mission to the United Nations to hear about diplomatic relations;
  • And from the World Youth Alliance presentation on empowering youth;
  • To a Holy Hour complete with Compline and Confession.
mr-un21But two things I will talk about and they are these:
First, I learned SO many things from the presenters, and three in particular struck me:
  1. The presentation on the International Committee of the Red Cross: first of all, I always think of Swiss Army knives when I think of the Red Cross symbol. And here, I learned about how this symbol carries so much political history and even a personal history. Henri du Nord was a man who wrote a book based on a dream he had --- of a group of volunteers who would be trained during peacetime to assist the wounded in war. Today, the ICRC is active in 80 delegations/countries all around the world.
  2. The Sisters of Life: this is a wonderful congregation of Sisters who take a fourth vow to preserve and enhance the sanctity of human life from conception till death. They take up to seven women into their convent who may be pregnant and have nowhere to go, or who are dealing with the issue of abortion. It’s incredible how many young people in our group have never heard of the Sisters of Life and what they do, and are now so eager to spread the news about them.
  3. The World Youth Alliance: this global coalition of young people devoted to developing solidarity between developing and developed countries – WOW! It was so exciting to know about a group of young people who believe in the intrinsic dignity of the human person and who make a difference on the international level in the UN.
Second, I learned SO many things from the 51 other participants as well. What I didn’t expect was to meet people who may not all be Catholic or even supportive of all of the Catholic Church’s teachings. So you can imagine the debates people have or the reactions to some of the speakers who bring up life issues. I spoke to one of the seminar leaders about this, and he said, “That’s the Church. People have got to be open to what we present to them all week and say, ‘Hey, I see what the Church presents, and here is where I am.’” We’re definitely not preaching to the choir here, and it’s been a wonderful learning experience.
Tomorrow, we go to Ground Zero, Saint Vincent Medical Centre, Covenant House, and a Cruise around Manhattan! Stay tuned….
And for those who are following, the answers to my questions in the previous blog:
  • The Difference between Holy See and Vatican State: Holy See refers to the Papacy. Vatican State, smallest state in the world (without military, economical or political forces) is meant to guarantee the autonomy of the Pope.
  • Catholic Social Teaching: A collaboration of ideas and theories of the Catholic Church over time on matters of social life. There are seven major themes of CST --- Life and Dignity of the Human Person; Call to Family, Community, and Participation; Rights and Responsibilities; Option for the Poor and Vulnerable; The Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers; Solidarity; and Care for God’s Creation.

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