Before delivering his address to the General Assembly, Pope Francis thanked the staff of the United Nations for their “quiet and devoted work” behind the scenes.
Meeting with officials, secretaries, translators down to cooks, cleaners and security personnel, the Pope also conveyed his gratitude for their work in preparing for this visit.
In a lighthearted moment, the Pope also asked them to greet those who were not present.
“I would ask you also to offer my greetings to the members of your families and to your colleagues who could not be with us today…because of the lottery,” he said, drawing laughter at the reference to the drawing of the New York Lottery’s $31 million jackpot.
The Holy Father arrived at the UN headquarters in New York early in the morning, choosing to meet with staff and laying a wreath of flowers at a memorial for staff members killed in the line of duty.
“The vast majority of the work done here is not of the kind that makes the news,” he noted. “Behind the scenes, your daily efforts make possible many of the diplomatic, cultural, economic and political initiatives of the United Nations, which are so important for meeting the hopes and expectations of the peoples who make up our human family.”
The Pope said that the staff members, who come from all over the world, are microcosm of the people represented by the UN. He also called on them to care for one another “today and everyday.”
“Be close to one another, respect one another, and so embody among yourselves this Organization’s ideal of a united human family, living in harmony, working not only for peace, but in peace; working not only for justice, but in a spirit of justice,” he said.
Concluding his brief address, Pope Francis asked for their prayers and blessed them.
“I will pray for you and your families,” he said, and I ask each of you, please, to remember to pray for me. And if any of you are not believers, I ask you to wish me well. God bless you all.