18-April-2008 -- ZENIT.org News Agency |

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Pontiff Thanks UN Staff

NEW YORK, APRIL 18, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Before leaving the United Nations today, Benedict XVI wanted to thank the staff that keeps the organization up and running.

The Pope arrived in New York this morning for the second leg of his two-city U.S. visit. His much awaited address to the U.N. General Assembly focused on human rights. And after that address, he took time to speak to the U.N. staff.

The Holy Father began with a comparison of the offices used by the United Nations with Vatican City State: "Here, within a small space in the busy city of New York, is housed an organization with a worldwide mission to promote peace and justice.

"I am reminded of the similar contrast in scale between Vatican City State and the world in which the Church exercises her universal mission and apostolate. The 16-century artists who painted the maps on the walls of the Apostolic Palace reminded the Popes of the vast extent of the known world. In those frescoes, the Successors of Peter were offered a tangible sign of the immense outreach of the Church's mission at a time when the discovery of the New World was opening up unforeseen horizons.

"Here in this glass palace, the art on display has its own way of reminding us of the responsibilities of the United Nations Organization. We see images of the effects of war and poverty, we are reminded of our duty to strive for a better world, and we rejoice in the sheer diversity and exuberance of human culture, manifested in the wide range of peoples and nations gathered together under the umbrella of the international community."

Benedict XVI then expressed his appreciation, and "that of the whole Church," to the many U.N. employees.

"To all of you -- translators, secretaries, administrative personnel of every kind, maintenance and security staff, development workers, peace-keepers and many others -- thank you, most sincerely," he said. "The work that you do makes it possible for the organization to continue exploring new ways of achieving the goals for which it was founded."

Noting that the staff of the organization is selected from a wide range of cultures and nationalities, the Pope observed that "the personnel here constitute a microcosm of the whole world, in which each individual makes an indispensable contribution from the perspective of his or her particular cultural and religious heritage."

"On a day-to-day level, it is you who lay the foundations on which that work is built, by the concern you show for one another in the workplace, and by your solicitude for the many peoples whose needs and aspirations you serve in all that you do," the Pontiff added. "May Almighty God bless you always and comfort you with his grace and his peace, so that through the care you offer to the entire human family, you can continue to be of service to him."

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