The future of the European project and the presidency of the European Union, which Rumania will assume for the first time in 2019, were the key topics discussed during the visit to Bucharest, from November 13-15, 2017, of Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Vatican Secretary of Relations with States, reported the Italian edition of L’Osservatore Romano on November 18.
Invited by Teodor Melescanu, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Archbishop Gallagher took part in a series of meetings with the Civil Authorities, and he celebrated Mass in Saint Joseph’s Cathedral with the Catholic community of Bucharest. He was accompanied by the Apostolic Nuncio in the country, Monsignor Miguel Maury Buendia, by an official of the Secretariat of State, Monsignor Joseph Murphy, and by the Secretary of the Nunciature, Father Fernando Duarte Barros Reis.
On November 14, during a dinner in honor of Minister of Foreign Affairs Melescanu and in the presence of representatives of the Diplomatic Corps, of the local Church and of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Rumania, Archbishop Gallagher gave a brief address in which he encouraged Rumania to offer its contribution to the reflections on the future of the European project.
On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of Rumania’s entrance in the European Union, he recalled certain essential points stressed recently by Pope Francis, such as the opportunity to revitalize the vision of the Founding Fathers of Europe, the centrality of the notions of the person and the community, and the importance of values and principles such as dialogue, inclusion, solidarity, development and peace.
Rumania’s participation in the work of the European Union was also at the heart of Monsignor Gallagher’s meeting with the President of the Senate, Calin Popescu-Tariceanu, then with the Vice-President of the Chamber of Deputies, Carmen Ileana Mihalcescu. L’Osservatore Romano pointed out that the exchanges concluded by verifying the need of a coordinated evolution to avoid the risk of seeing divergences augment among the member countries of the Union. The discussions also made it possible to see what Rumania can contribute to the future of the European project, by drawing from its rich culture, which highlights values such as those of the family.
During the meeting with Minister Melescanu, there was the issue of the reception of Rumanian migrants of different Christian Confessions in Western European countries, the condition of Christians in different regions of the Middle East, as well as questions linked to the regional and international situation. The Rumanian people’s intense desire to receive the Pope in the country was stressed once again.
On the evening of November 14, Archbishop Gallagher presided over a Mass at the Latin Cathedral of Saint Joseph in Bucharest, which he celebrated with the Apostolic Nuncio and the Archbishop of Bucharest, Ioan Robu. The Mass was celebrated in Latin and Rumanian and was animated by the Cathedral’s choir.
In the course of his homily, Archbishop Gallagher recalled the beautiful tradition of praying especially for the dead during the month of November. In this context, he remembered the Martyrs and Confessors of the faith in Rumania, who encourage the faithful today by their witness, pointing out to them what really counts in life and their teaching to have trust in God.
Translation by Virginia M. Forrester