Feast of the Ascension in the Traditional Church calendar and the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima

    104th Anniversary of the First Appearance of Our Lady of Fatima to the Three Shepherd Children on May 13, 1917

    40th Anniversary of the Assassination Attempt of Pope John Paul II in St. Peter’s Square by Turkish Gunman Ali Agca

Announcing Our Newest Initiative:

Unitas: “Come, Rebuild My Church”

    Dear friend,


    Today, Thursday, May 13, 2021, the Feast of the Ascension and the anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady to the three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal in 1917, we are announcing our newest initiative: Unitas: “Come, Rebuild My Church.”

    Through our writings, conferences, pilgrimages, lectures, on all media platforms, we will seek to build:

    Unity… within the Catholic Church.

    Unity… between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

    Unity… between individual souls and God.

    We will be a media hub, in Europe, America and globally, to promote these goals of unity, researching, writing, and carrying out “bridge-building” initiatives to help achieve these goals.

    The Beginnings

    The idea of Unitas is rooted in a question posed to me as a graduate student at Yale in 1984. One of my professors, a scholar with thoroughly secular views, asked me, a lifelong Catholic, “Can you explain to me what happened to the Roman Catholic Church? When I was young, the Church appeared so rock solid. Now it seems divided into many opposing factions.”

    In 1986, I found myself in Rome – searching, perhaps, for the answer to his question. I was now working on my doctoral dissertation in the Eternal City, at the center of the Catholic Church I loved. Pope John Paul II was in his 8th year as Pope, and new winds were blowing through the Church and the world.

    I saw the winds of change bringing renewal, yes, but also division, confusion – even the very beginnings of schism. Our precious unity was in clear danger.

    And not only was our Catholic unity threatened: the 1,000-year fracture between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches was crippling Christianity, as each of our Churches struggled, alone, to confront unprecedented secularization, moral chaos, and even persecution.

    It was then that I visited Assisi, not far from Rome, and heard echoing in my ears the words spoken by Christ to the beloved saint, Francis of Assisi in 1205 A.D. from the cross in the crumbling chapel of San Damiano: “Francis, come, rebuild my Church, which, as you can clearly see, is falling into ruin.”

    There was truly a darkness descending, yet somehow I felt I could contribute to lighting the way — to healing the divisions and confusion in the Catholic Church, to reaching out to our Orthodox brothers and sisters in faith.

    At that point, everyday Catholics in the West, especially the U.S., felt their ties to the Vatican and the Pope slipping away. “We are American Catholics, not Roman Catholics,” some said. In response, I started two separate magazines about the Vatican, about the meaning of “Rome.” Yet each time I found myself restricted in what I could cover.


    Then, in 1993, I started the completely independent Inside the Vatican magazine. For almost 30 years, it has remained the only fully editorially free journal on the Vatican and the Catholic world, connecting Catholics in 150 countries to the heart of their Church.

    But John Paul II’s words, “The Church must breathe with both her lungs!” convinced me that the struggle to rebuild and renew the Church could not really be successful without our final reunification with the Orthodox.

    Since 1993, Urbi et Orbi Communications, publisher of Inside the Vatican magazine, has taken up the torch for unity — both within the Catholic Church, and with our Orthodox brothers and sisters. Our work to unite and rebuild has grown beyond our magazine. Through our numerous projects, we’ve built a structure of friendships between Catholics and Orthodox, brick by brick, around the world.

    St. Francis, at first, picked up stones to rebuild one ruined chapel, but he soon realized his task was much broader: to rebuild the Church, not one crumbling chapel. He began an order of men, the Friars Minor, who brought the light of Christ close to the people of their time, and lit up the darkness of the age in a way we have not forgotten.

    Urbi et Orbi Communications, too, seeks to answer the plea of Christ, “Rebuild my Church,” so that we “all may be one.” We see the darkness of secularism closing in around us – and we must respond, together in spiritual and tangible ways.

    The answer, I believe, is to hold high, like a torch, the profound beauty and truth of our faith: it is the source of our unity, and our strength.

    Be the hands that help “Rebuild My Church”!

    It is my sincere hope that every one of you who reads this will recognize – as some of you already have – the call to step forward, to be a torchbearer with us, to help light the way of Truth in the gathering darkness – in unity with God, within the Catholic Church, and with our Orthodox brothers and sisters.

    You may go to these links to send a contribution: link and link. If you would like to become one of our principal sponsors, we are seeking 24 “Elders” and 153 “Founding Members” of the project. Click here if you would like more information. If you wish to offer prayers for this work, we are always very grateful for that spiritual support.    

    We continue to rely on your understanding and friendship in these times so filled with challenge and promise. God bless you,

    Robert Moynihan, Ph.D.

    Editor, Inside the Vatican magazine

    Why Unitas now?

    Be the hands that help “Rebuild My Church”

    In unity, as Christ taught us, is our strength, for “a house divided against itself cannot stand.” (Mark 3:25)     

    Because you care about our Catholic Church, you realize the extent to which an increasingly secularized culture is causing divisions in the Church, dividing the Church into “liberals” and “conservatives,” confusing and disheartening ordinary Catholics.

    You see it with your own eyes: our beliefs and traditions are being strategically dismantled in the wider culture. Your children and grandchildren are being pulled away from the Faith.

    And the global changes brought about by the Covid Pandemic have made the work of Unitas more essential than ever. Souls are deeply troubled and divided in their very depths… even, at times, our own.

    Become an essential partner in our work to shine the light of Christ’s truth into all this disunity and confusion, using all the avenues available — both traditional and 21st-century — to get authentic Catholic teaching and spiritual nourishment into the hands, and hearts, of Catholics all over the globe.

    You have seen with sorrow how the corruption within the Church, both moral and financial, has destroyed her moral credibility.

    And abuse by Church leaders has a still more terrible effect: it destroys the souls of the abused.

    The “culture of coverup” must end.

    At the same time, Catholics need to see the tremendous good done by many unsung priests and bishops.

    By supporting our Shine the Light project, you can join with Catholics who are poised to confront and expose Church corruption, while building the Church up rather than tearing her down.

    Together, we will rebuild His Church and restore Church unity.

    You know how weak the divided body of Christians has been in confronting an increasingly “post-Christian” western culture. In 1054, the Great Schism tore the Body of Christ in two, separating Western from Eastern Christians, Roman Catholics from Orthodox. Our sad division has weakened us; we are indeed “a house divided.”

    By supporting Unitas, you become part of joint Catholic-Orthodox initiatives to oppose an increasingly aggressive secular culture. Our unity will ensure that the Christian vision guiding us over the centuries acquires a much greater influence in the vital social and cultural debates of our time.

    You have seen the intense pressures on millions of Christians in the Middle East. In recent years, a quarter of Lebanon’s Christians have fled the country. Thousands more are planning to leave. Yet, Lebanese Maronite-rite Catholics still live side by side by Orthodox Christians. History will judge our efforts to help them remain and thrive there. Support our Friends of Lebanon project. You will become the catalyst to preserve the Christian presence in the land where Christ Himself walked and performed miracles.

    By supporting our Unitas Campaign, you also become the hands that build unity within the Catholic Church, just as you become the hands that reach out to our Orthodox brothers and sisters as we confront together this common danger, the extinguishing of our one Faith.

    Together we will work toward our eventual reunification as one Body of Christ.

    In doing so, each of us will be fostering a deeper unity between our own souls and God.

    We know there are historical and doctrinal reasons for the divisions between Catholics and Orthodox. But we also know that we share very much in common. We would like to work to overcome the divisions, beginning with small initiatives to build friendship and trust.

    We will strive in these coming years to make reasoned arguments for the faith, to give a reasoned defense for the hope that is in us, received through our parents and families and all who came before us down through the centuries.

    Our hope and prayer is that unity in truth may still in these trying times keep the followers of Christ united in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.

    Please consider joining with us in this new initiative: Unitas.

    Through Unitas, you can be the hands that help “Rebuild My Church.”

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