April 18, 2016, Monday — A Project in Rome: Project #1, Exchange Visits
Monday, April 18, 2016
Dear Friend and Fellow Pilgrim,
I hope you are all well. Let me know!
This is an email to our Urbi et Orbi Foundation members and to most of our fellow pilgrims from our Inside the Vatican pilgrimages.
I know you are all busy, and have many duties and obligations, but I was hoping this might interest you…. And I apologize if any of you feel this is an imposition on my part.
And I may have already written a note on this to some of you, so please disregard this email if it is a repeat of something you have already received from me.
I am just back to the USA from Rome.
While in Rome, I was in several meetings regarding the meeting on February 12, 2016, in Havana, Cuba, between Pope Francis and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill — as you know, the first time they have ever met. (photo, with Cardinal Kurt Koch on the left in the back and Metropolitan Hilarion on the right in the back.)
Clearly, this was historic. But what is the next move?
In Rome, in one of my meetings, Cardinal Kurt Koch (photo), who heads the Vatican Council for Christian Unity, asked me to support a new project — a series of exchange visits between Catholic and Russia Orthodox priests. (A letter from the cardinal explaining the project is attached below.)
The Vatican would like this to be one of several projects to follow up the meeting in Cuba, and this will be the first project to “implement” the declaration both men signed at this historic meeting.
I would like to invite you to participate with me in this project by supporting it to make it a reality.
Father Hyacinthe Destivelle (photo) is the Vatican official in charge of dialogue with the Russian Orthodox. He has developed a proposal which the Russian have accepted: to bring 10 Russian Orthodox priests to Rome for a week, May 14-21, to visit the Vatican and Rome.
We can be the official sponsors of this project.
Those who support the project (if they wish) will all be named, and will each receive an official “thank you” letter from the Holy See.
This is not a multi-million dollar project. It is a $15,000 project. But if we are successful in supporting this project, we will accomplish two things:
We will help make a breakthrough in Vatican-Russian Orthodox relations; this will be the first time that such an exchange has ever taken place; and it will lead to more exchanges in the future.So it will help to build on the meeting between the Pope and Patriarch Kirill in Cuba
It will solidify the role of the Foundation as effective supporters of this important initiative in the life of the Church.
We will then be able to be more effective in Rome, and in working along with Rome with other Churches and nations, in the months and years ahead.
This will enable us, for example, to bring our Foundation members to Rome, and to be received by officials of the Holy See.
I am aware that you have many important obligations. I know that all of you have already contributed to support the work of the Foundation. But I hope you will consider helping me to support this initiative.
I am hoping to have all of the funds in by the end of April.
I am sending this letter to about 100 Foundation members and supporters. If each person would give $150, we would reach our goal. If 15 people would give $1,000, we would also reach our goal. And if one person would give $15,000, we would reach the goal immediately.
As always, thank you for your past support.
I remain available to answer any questions on this or our other work, via email or by telephone. My person cell phone in the US is 443-454-3895.
President, Urbi et Orbi Foundation
P.S. If you wish to help, checks can be mailed to:
Urbi et Orbi Foundation
14 West Main St.
Front Royal, VA 22630
Or, you could go to our website and make a donation via credit card, via our shopping cart, under the donation field.
All donations will be tax deductible under US law.
Again, this is the project:
May 2016: Exchange (Moscow-Rome): Support for the visit to Rome of 10 Russian Orthodox priests in mid-May — May 14-21, 2016 (Saturday to Saturday, 8 days). Attend Mass with Holy Father on Sunday, May 15; meet Cardinal Koch on Monday, May 16; lunch at the Lateran University on Thursday, May 19; final dinner, Friday, May 20. Cost: $15,000 (to go to the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity)
Father Hyacinthe has said that members of the Foundation could participate in the visit in some way, including one or more lunches and dinners, visits to Roman sites, and to Vatican offices. I enclose an official letter on the project below.
What is the glory of God?
“The glory of God is man alive; but the life of man is the vision of God.”
—St. Irenaeus of Lyons, in the territory of France, in his great work Against All Heresies, written c. 180 A.D.