Accepting Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio’s invitation, the recently named Apostolic Nuncio to the U.N. visited the Brooklyn Diocese and celebrated Mass Dec. 17 at the Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph, Prospect Heights.
Bishop DiMarzio said he and the diocese can learn much from Archbishop Bernardito Cleopas Auza, who was assigned as Pope Francis’ representative to the U.N. in July. The Bishop of Brooklyn commended the nuncio on his abilities as a diplomat and his great insight into the Church.
After climbing into the pulpit in St. Joseph, Archbishop Auza admitted fear of heights to the congregation eager to hear his insights. The nuncio could see the newly restored cathedral adorned in gilded images and the likenesses of Mary under various national and cultural titles. He commented on the temple’s beauty and large seating capacity.
“This is a sign that the diocese is very much alive,” he said.
During his homily, Archbishop Auza spoke to the congregation in a pastoral manner commenting on technology and the family. He also explained the importance of the Church’s role at the U.N.
“We are able to share our millennial experience with the international community,” he said. “My primary duty is to represent our Holy Father and in general the Catholic Church before this international forum.”
“It has its shortcomings,” the archbishop said of the U.N. These are in part due to the lack of commitment from the major world powers. However, the Holy Father continues to encourage the international community to tap into the collaborative force of the U.N.
“We still believe in this forum, where international commitment can be reached,” the nuncio said.
He told the congregation that in the context of the U.N., as in all aspects of the Church, it is the Church’s primary mission to spread Truth and Gospel values.
“I can only accomplish this mission with your prayers and your support,” he said.
It was the faithful from the Filipino and Haitian apostolates that welcomed the nuncio to Brooklyn. The Filipino-born archbishop served with the U.N. delegation from the Holy See, 2006-2008, prior to serving as the apostolic nuncio to Haiti until earlier this year.
Also present at the co-cathedral was Haitian-born retired Auxiliary Bishop Guy Sansaricq.
Faithful from both apostolates said they feel reassured that there is someone who understands their communities representing the Church at the U.N.
“I’m very pleased to have him right here in New York where our voice can be heard if something happened in our country,” said Gladys Marvielle, a member of the Haitian diocesan apostolate.“We want to welcome him,” said Pura Gonzalez, a member of the choir.
“We want him to know that there are Filipinos here and are active in the Church.”
On his part, Archbishop Auza said he would like to foster a working relationship with the diocese. He spoke to Msgr. Kieran Harrington, rector of the co-cathedral and diocesan vicar of communications, about possibly appearing on his weekly talk show, In the Arena, airing on Sundays on WOR 710AM at 8 a.m., and on NETTV at 8 p.m.
The Mass with the Archbishop was televised live on NET-TV.