news-2


Archbishop O'Brien's Pastoral Visit to Romania

Archbishop O'Brien's Pastoral Visit to Romania  
31 August ­ 4 September 2003  

A full report of this visit follows below, photographs of the openingmass and the state orphanage are available in JPEG format from the Catholic Media Office  

Archbishop O'Brien returned from his pastoral visit having experienced at first hand just a little of the hardships of life for the people of Romania.  

His visit began with Mass last Sunday in the Sacred Heart Church in Darmanesti, near Bacau in central Romania. He spoke of the welcome he was given by the parish priest Fr Eugen, the sisters and the young people who had visited his home last month; he recognised the crucifix on the wall of their new Church - it was a gift from St Patrick's Parish Kilsyth, in his own Archdiocese. One of many tangible links between Scotland and Romania.  

In his sermon he told the people how pleased he was at last to visit their country and wanted them to know how grateful we are to them for keeping the faith and growing in love of God and one another. He said;  

"You have experienced many years of suffering and hardship under a cruel regime. You have witnessed in a very real way to the suffering Christ. Now you are experiencing the resurrection of your nation. I urge you to beware of being tempted to settle for less than the best. There are many false gods in the western world."  

Addressing the young people he added;  
" Please treasure the heritage given to you. It has been hard won. Many people have suffered great hardship to allow you to have the freedom to worship God. Do not settle only for material values that do not last. Help your country to grow once again into the great nation it once was and to play its full part in the growth and development of Europe and the world."  

The Archbishop was greeted with a standing ovation, many of the people visibly moved with his words. After Mass he greeted each person at the door of the new Church.  

He then travelled north to Siret in northern Romania, a town two kilometres from the border with Ukraine In the local Church he conducted a simple service with young abandoned people living in the local state orphanage and in homes built thanks to the fundraising efforts of the singer Daniel O'Donnell. The service was an occasion of great joy for the orphans and for the many townspeople who joined them. The archbishop established an instant rapport with the help of his translator Marinella and soon had them all singing and praying. The youngsters from the orphanage were allowed at least for a while to forget the harsh realities of their lives.  

From there he went to visit the state "orphanage." Where 150 young people aged 18 and over live in conditions that can only be described as "shocking". The first thing he noticed was the cages, which are visible from the street. The young people are imprisoned in this institution. Commenting on his impressions of the State orphanage the Archbishop said,  

"Like many people I have seen reports and documentaries on television about conditions in these institutions but nothing could prepare me for the reality. The smell was unbelievable. Other than the youngsters who had been allowed out to the Church service, the residents were half dressed and dirty. We took buns in with us and it was quite apparent that the poor souls were very hungry, fighting one another to get to the food first. It was a very difficult visit but I am glad that I have seen for myself these appalling conditions. Something must be done to improve their circumstances. The Challenge Charity has done great work here but it is really for the Romanian authorities to sort this matter out and do so as a matter of urgency. I have visited very poor people in Africa and in Central America but I never expected to see so many young people consigned to a life of total poverty and squalor in State run institutions in a European country."  

Visiting homes build by Daniel O'Donnell's fundraising campaign, the Archbishop saw young people being cared for in clean and comfortable conditions. He said,  

"The contrast between the state institution and these homes is enormous. Here the young people are treated as individuals and given the respect they are due as human beings. It is also evident that they are responding to their new surroundings by learning to become more independent and taking responsibility for the homes and the grounds." He went on "Daniel O'Donnell and the fans who support him have a lot to be proud of in the provision of these beautiful homes for abandoned young people. I feel privileged to be associated with the great work going on here. It is a real expression of the Gospel in action"  

The following day the Archbishop returned to Darmanesti for the solemn Dedication of the new Church. The celebration began at the train station where Cardinal Meisner from Cologne joined Archbishop O'Brien and the local Bishop Petru Gerghil on an open horse-drawn carriage. Accompanied by twelve outriders bearing standards: the papal colours, the Romanian National flag and a Marian standard: the procession wound its way along the rough track to the new Church. The street was thronged with people being kept in line by a police guard of honour. The children all carried flowers, which they raised in greeting to the prelates. On arrival at the Church there was a formal greeting by the Parish Priest Fr Eugen. He welcomed the visiting church and civic dignitaries. After the prayer of blessing, the three prelates walked around the outside of the building sprinkling it with holy water.  

An estimated congregation of 2500 people filled the church and the piazza all the way down to the street. In an impressive ceremony the altar and the church walls were anointed with oil as the people sang in wonderful harmony.  

At the end of the Mass of dedication everyone was invited to the party. Romanian Challenge workers had come down from Siret and alongside parishioners had prepared a banquet for everyone. Archbishop O'Brien said,  

"When I learned some weeks ago that Father Eugen's dream would be to host a reception for everyone, not just visiting dignitaries, I offered to help realise his dream. The ordinary people of this parish have been hands-on building this beautiful new church building. It has taken eleven years. This is a day for them more than anyone to celebrate. I was only too happy to help make that possible. I am very proud of the parishes and individuals back home who have helped make this day possible through their fundraising and support."  

The following morning the Archbishop joined Father Eugen in a visitation of some of the housebound parishioners who had been unable to attend the ceremony of dedication. The elderly people were visibly moved as he prayed with them. One old man said,  

"This is the best day of my whole life. Never did I think I would have an Archbishop in my home. Only last year our home was burned to the ground and we lost everything. We now have a new home thanks to the generosity of the  
people of Scotland. We can never thank them enough Never did I imagine I  
would have a new home and a visit from an Archbishop. My life is now complete. I am happy to die because nothing greater can happen to me now in this life."  

Later in the day the Archbishop drove south to Bucharest where he met up again with Cardinal Meisner, as well as Metropolitan Archbishop Robu and the papal Nuncio. On the way there, the car he was travelling in was broken into while he was visiting a famous Church in the city of Brasov. The thieves took passports, credit cards, mobile telephone, various documents as well as his vestments and the pectoral cross he was given by the Holy Father at the last Synod of Bishops. Speaking of the incident he said,  

"It was in hindsight obviously careless to leave our documents in the car.  
In all my travels I have never done so. In mitigation I can only say that  
we have felt so secure since we arrived that we were caught unawares. Everywhere we have gone we have felt protected and welcome. It is a hard lesson but one that will be remembered." The archbishop refused to allow the incident to colour his experience in Romania. He said, "This pastoral visit has been a time of great joy for me. To see the obvious deep faith of people who have had such great difficulty in holding on to their faith against the odds has been a great privilege. I have also been very impressed with the dedication and commitment of very many people from our country in working to alleviate the suffering and poverty of the abandoned thousands in so many institutions here."  

The archbishop was less positive about the role played by the British authorities in resolving the matter of stolen passports. He said,  

"When we arrived at the Consulate in Bucharest on Wednesday morning we were shepherded to a building where hundreds of Romanians were waiting for UK visas. We were told we were wasting our time trying to get replacement passports. Eventually we were given emergency passports. At the airport that afternoon however, Romanian Immigration guards would not allow us to travel  
- it seemed we needed an exit visa stamped on our passports- no one in the embassy had told us this. With the help of Archbishop Robu's of Bucharest and his secretary, Father Ionut we succeeded after 24 hours of queuing, pleading and phoning with consular staff in the British Embassy, to obtain the necessary documentation. No apology for the dismal failure of the Consulate to provide any support or help during our difficulties was received. This is especially galling since the Consul James Cameron is a Scot from Glasgow as are one of the vice consuls Stuart Lochrie and a senior official Bob Napier. In short, the Consulate gave us little or no support. I was amazed therefore to read a statement from the Foreign Office dated 9 September, stating; "We have apologised to the Archbishop for the oversight which led to his difficulties on this occasion. When this error came to light, our consular team provided all the assistance they could, including accompanying the Archbishop to the Romanian Visa Department to ensure that he obtained the correct exit visa." This is entirely untrue. No apology was given nor did a member of the Consular team accompany us to the Romanian Visa Office. Thankfully the very positive experience of this pastoral visit where he witnessed the marvellous results of the fruitful partnership between the Scottish and Romanian Church far outweighed the miserable performance of the British Embassy. At the very least the Consular Office even at this late stage should be honest, admit their shortcomings, and issue a public apology."  

Archbishop O'Brien and Father Fallon both expressed very great admiration for everyone involved in the great apostolate of support for the abandoned young people and they look forward to welcoming Father Eugen to Scotland next month and hope to repay the wonderful hospitality extended by him and his people.  

As Archbishop O'Brien said in his opening sermon in Romania,  

"It has been a privilege for the people of Scotland to continue to share in the resurrection of the people of Romania."  

ENDS  

Peter Kearney  
Director  
Catholic Media Office  
5 St. Vincent Place  
Glasgow  
G1 2DH  
0141 221 1168  
pk@scmo.org  
www.scmo.org  

Subscribe to Updates

Subscribe to:
Like   Back to Top   Seen 162 times   Liked 0 times

Subscribe to Updates

If you enjoyed this, why not subscribe to free email updates ?

Subscribe to News updates

Enter your email address to be notified of new posts:

Subscribe to:

Alternatively, you can subscribe via RSS RSS

‹ Return to News

We never share or sell your email address to anyone.

I've already subscribed / don't show me this again

Recent Posts

Homily for the Requiem of Archbishop Philip Tartaglia

| 4 days ago | Blogging

Thursday 21 January 2021         In his homily at the funeral of Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, the President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, Bishop Hugh Gilbert, describes the late Archbishop as “a great tree felled unexpectedly in the middle of the night” a loss that “has changed the landscapes of so many lives.”   The full text of the homily is shown below:   ENDS   Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 0141 221 116807968 122291 pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org   Homily for the Requiem of Archbishop Philip Tartaglia St Andrew’s Cathedral, 21 January 2021   “Anyone who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I shall raise him up on the last day.” There are so many settings in which to have known Archbishop Philip: as a member of his family, or in his school and student days, in Rome, in the seminaries and parishes he served, as Bishop of Paisley and Archbishop of Glasgow. There were the many circles he moved in: of ecumenical dialogue, Catholic education about which he was so engaged and realistic, the civic life of Glasgow, not forgetting its sport. So many people touched by him, so many aspects to a life, so many perspectives to view it from. Three score years and ten. Our memories are fragments of a greater whole, and that whole – the mystery of a person - is in the mind and hands of God. “On the earth the broken arcs, in the heaven a perfect round.” Today, in Christ, we remember Philip’s life, we give thanks for it and we pray for its completion and the comfort of the bereaved. We bring him and ourselves before God in a literal and metaphorical great Eucharistic prayer of hope and affection. The image that comes to me is of a great tree felled unexpectedly in the middle of the night – Storm Covid. And only when we woke up the day following did we begin to divine what had happened, did we begin to grasp the depths of its roots, to see the space this tree occupied, the shelter it gave, and what we’ve personally and collectively lost. This uprooting has changed the landscapes of so many lives. “Tree” seems right. The timber of this man was sound. It was sound all through. At a time when hollowness or rottenness seem to surface with disheartening regularity, this was a comfort. I think we felt this soundness and relied on it more than we knew. Eulogy is no part of a liturgy. It’s the last thing Philip would have wanted; he was not a self-advertising man. It’s not what we want; we are probably still too numb. But the prohibition of eulogy doesn’t mean we have to talk abstractions. Surely we can acclaim the providence of God, the presence of Christ and the action of the Holy Spirit within him, from his birth seventy years ago to his committal today, from his baptism to this Eucharist, from the pouring of that first water to the final sprinkling of his remains. There seems a rare wholeness here. Surely we can acknowledge how the grace of his baptism and of his ordination grew and flowered in him, how the Lord was indeed his shepherd and through him shepherded others, how his priesthood became a true spiritual fatherhood which has left its trace on all of us. Looking at it from our side, we are commending to God today someone who wasn’t small in any sense, someone of gravitas, and someone in whom head and heart came together, possessed of intellectual force and clarity and at the same time of great human warmth. There have been so many testimonies to this (and my thanks to all who have sent condolences). He might have passed his life in the green pastures of dogmatic theology, by the restful waters of seminary teaching (if they exist) or of promising ecumenical dialogue, but he accepted pastoral assignments and he cherished them. He had a gift for friendship and insight into people. During our Ad Limina visit with the Pope in 2018 he said to the Holy Father, “I miss the parish”, and got a delighted papal thumbs-up. As a pastor, esp...

Catholic bishops urge governments to renew search for Middle East peace

| 4 days ago | Blogging

Thursday 21 January 2021   Following a series of online meetings with Christians in Gaza, the Palestinian territories and Israel, the Catholic bishops who are members of the Holy Land Coordination group have urged “Israeli and Palestinian leaderships (to) recommit to direct negotiations.” The fifteen bishops from eleven countries also urged “our own governments and political leaders urgently to renew their active participation in the search for a just peace, supporting dialogue between all sides, upholding international law, and reaffirming the plurality of Jerusalem, given its unique significance for Jews, Christians and Muslims”   The full text of their statement is shown below:   ENDS   Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 0141 221 116807968 122291 pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org   Holy Land Coordination 2021 Final Communiqué This is the first time we have been prevented from meeting physically in the Holy Land. Yet we remain resolutely committed to supporting our sisters and brothers in the homeland of Christ. Over the past week we have been privileged and moved to hear from Christians across the West Bank, Gaza and Israel about their mission, resilience and witness in these unprecedented circumstances. Through our dialogue, it has become painfully clear that there is today less cause for optimism than at any time in recent history. The health challenges of Covid-19, felt by the entire world, are compounded by conflict, occupation and blockade. The absence of international pilgrims has exacerbated widespread economic hardship, increased levels of unemployment and pushed many more families into poverty. The lack of political progress, along with relentless expansion of illegal settlements and the impact of Israel’s Nation-State law, continues to erode any prospect of a peaceful two-state solution. Now is a critical moment for us all to strengthen our expression of solidarity with the people of the Holy Land “not as a vague sentiment but as a ‘firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good’”.1 We stress the importance of the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships recommitting to direct negotiations. We call upon our own governments and political leaders urgently to renew their active participation in the search for a just peace, supporting dialogue between all sides, upholding international law, and reaffirming the plurality of Jerusalem, given its unique significance for Jews, Christians and Muslims. Furthermore, the international community must hold Israel accountable for its moral, legal and humanitarian responsibility to make Covid-19 vaccines accessible for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, and encourage cooperation by the Palestinian Authority, heeding Pope Francis’ message that “in the face of a challenge that knows no borders, we cannot erect walls.”2 While many of our own countries continue to face severe hardship amid the pandemic, we have a profound responsibility to support our fellow Christians in the Holy Land. Church schools, clinics, hospitals and other social projects including the work of Caritas, while under severe pressure, are models of charity, justice, and peace. These Christian institutions are vital in bringing together people from many different backgrounds to serve the common good of all. 1 Pope Francis, World Day of Peace 2021 2 Pope Francis, Urbi et Orbi 2020   The Christian community, though small, is an important guarantor of social cohesion and a bearer of hope for a better future. We eagerly await a time when Christians from across the world can once again make pilgrimages to the Holy Land to witness and support this first- hand. Until that point, we encourage our communities to provide any assistance that may be possible and hold all the region’s peoples in our prayers. Bishop Declan Lang England and Wales (Chair of the Holy Land Coordination) Bishop Udo Bentz Germany Archbishop Stephen Bris...

Media Arrangements for Archbishop Tartaglia's Funeral

| 5 days ago | Blogging

Media Arrangements for Archbishop Tartaglia's Funeral   The Archbishop’s Funeral Rites will be celebrated in St Andrew's Cathedral, Glasgow, subject to the restrictions that are in place. Under current regulations only 20 of the Archbishop’s closest family and friends will attend and no media presence in the Cathedral will be possible.  However media outlets are free to make use of the following arrangements:   Vigil ceremony and Reception of Remains of Archbishop Tartaglia on Wednesday 20th January at 6.30 pm accessible by using this video link: https://youtu.be/idlkb2sNUcc     The Archbishop's Funeral Mass will take place on Thursday 21st January at 12 noon, and will be accessible by using this video link: https://youtu.be/tS6rtYC0DhMS   Still photos of the ceremonies will be available shortly after each liturgy at the following address and can be freely downloaded and used by the media. https://www.flickr.com/photos/archdioceseofglasgow/  The main celebrant of the Requiem Mass for Archbishop Tartaglia will be Bishop Hugh Gilbert of Aberdeen, President of the Bishops' Conference of Scotland. His sermon will be made available to the media and can be used after 12 noon on Thursday January 21.   Please note that external photography is not an option as the Cathedral ceremonies will be held behind closed doors. The coffin of the Archbishop will not be carried from the Cathedral as it will be buried in the Cathedral Crypt immediately after the Requiem Mass.   ENDS   For further information, contact   Ronnie Convery, Director of Communications RCAG - 07735 224789   ...

Statement from Bishop Stephen Robson on the death of Bishop Vincent Logan

| 14th January 2021 | Blogging

14 January 2021    Following the death of Bishop Emeritus Vincent Logan, the current Bishop of Dunkeld, Bishop Stephen Robson, has issued the following statement:    My Dear People   It is with deep regret that I must share with you the sad news that Bishop Vincent, Emeritus Bishop of this Diocese, has died.  Bishop Vincent was 79.    Vincent Logan was Bishop of the diocese of Dunkeld for almost 32 years before his retirement on June 30th, 2012.  He was appointed to Dunkeld by Saint John Paul II and consecrated Bishop by Cardinal Gordon Joseph Gray on 26th February 1981.  Sadly his retirement years, from 2012 to the present were affected by a good deal of ill health which affected his mobility. He died earlier this morning, 14th January 2021, the day after his good friend Archbishop Philip Tartaglia of Glasgow alongside whom he served on the Bishops Conference of Scotland. Both bishops succumbed to the lethal effects of the Coronavirus.    Bishop Vincent is survived by one remaining brother, James, and by two nephews Vincent and James, to whom our condolences are offered.  His faithful PA, Press Officer and friend of 40 years, Elaine Harrison, has cared for him in an exemplary manner especially over the years of his retirement.  Though devastated by his death, Elaine is happy that Bishop Vincent is now at peace with the Good Lord.   Bishop Vincent Logan was born in Bathgate, West Lothian, on 30th June 1941. After education in St Mary’s Academy, Bathgate, St Mary’s College, Blairs and St Andrew’s College, Drygrange,  Vincent was ordained priest by Cardinal Gray in Edinburgh on 14th March 1964. Following on from a number of diocesan appointments as assistant priest in Edinburgh, and further studies in catechetics in Corpus Christi College London, Vincent was appointed, Diocesan Advisor in RE, Director of the RE Office in the Archdiocese of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh, and finally Vicar Episcopal for Education in the Archdiocese from 1977-1981. His final parochial appointment in the Archdiocese was as Parish Priest of St Mary’s, Ratho, from 1977-1981. Following on from his consecration as Bishop of Dunkeld on 26th February 1981, he served for 32 very energetic and innovative years both in the Diocese and in the Bishops Conference. His work was greatly appreciated at all times.    Much can be said about Bishop Vincent’s achievements, but these can wait for a more leisurely time once the pandemic dangers have passed and we can Celebrate Bishop Vincent’s Requiem Mass more appropriately. The funeral arrangements are as yet unknown, but the Mass and burial will be recorded and streamed, so that all who have access to the internet will be able to participate.   With every blessing to you all and a request for prayers for Bishop Vincent.   + Stephen Robson Bishop of Dunkeld   ENDS    Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 0141 221 116807968 122291 pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org                     Note to Editors:   An image of Bishop Logan is available here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/139632090@N07/50833807603/in/album-72157717885467253/  ...