Thank you Msgr. Franco, it’s a privilege to be introduced by such a dear friend.
Your Royal Highness Princess Haya Bint al Hussein,
Your Excellency Archbishop Auza,
Your Eminence Cardinal Martino,
Your Excellency Mogens Lykkotoft, President of the UN General Assembly,
Your Excellency Herve’ Ladsous, Undersecretary General for Peacekeeping Operations, representing the UN Secretary General,
Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:
On behalf of my co-chair, Susan Whelan and myself, we welcome you one and all to this incredible evening. Tonight is the largest Path to Peace Gala ever. In fact as you may have figured out, this is not the beautiful Delegate’s Dining Room where we have always held this dinner. We had a wonderful problem this year and that is we had too many people. In fact we have over 600 guests this evening and we can’t thank you enough for your incredible support. And I do want to mention that I hope your generosity will continue with our silent auction items which continue to be on display until the auction is closed at about 9:00 this evening
Since there are so many new faces in the room this evening, we are going to seize upon the opportunity to provide you with information about the Path to Peace Foundation and the organization it supports, the Holy See Mission to the United Nations. A bit later His Excellency, Archbishop Auza, the Apostolic Nuncio to the United Nations and our host for the evening will tell you about their important work representing the Holy Father and the Vatican at the United Nations.
We all go to a lot of dinners in New York. But tonight we are very fortunate to be in a most unique setting at the UN and to have the opportunity to be among Archbishop Auza and his amazing team of diplomats and volunteers who represent the Holy See at this incredible place of peace, the United Nations.
Before I close, I want to take a moment to thank the Nuncio and the members of the staff, especially Msgr. Franco, who along with his colleagues and some amazing volunteers made tonight possible. I also want to acknowledge an individual who in reality made most of tonight happen. I’ve had the pleasure of volunteering for the Mission for various projects over the past several years and this year I found myself helping to coordinate the restoration of parts of the Mission’s residence in preparation for Pope Francis’s visit. This individual of whom I speak, was like a whirlwind making sure every detail, down to the number of threads in the sheets was exactly right. She and I were then given the honor of being hosts at the residence while the Holy Father was staying there. Proving that no good deed goes unpunished, we were then asked to co-chair this dinner.
Well I have come to find out that when Susie Whelan asks her friends to support something they come out in droves. The vast majority of you are here tonight because of her, and this night would not have been possible without her. Please join me in thanking my co-chair, Susan Whelan.
Thank you all for your incredible generosity in supporting the work of the Holy Father at the UN, and I hope you enjoy the evening.