UN`s official on Syria tells Bonner
UN`s official on Syria tells Bonner
U.N.’s official on Syria tells Bonner-Prendie of road to peace By Lou Baldwin Most, including himself, are fluent in several lanWhen United Nations official Kevin M. Kenguages but as a practical matter English is genernedy, the Regional Humanitarian Coordinator ally understood by all. for the Crisis in Syria, visited Msgr. Bonner and He does find in other countries and especially Archbishop Prendergast High School in Drexel in Europe that people tend to be more informed Hill on March 29 to address the student body, he on foreign affairs than in the U.S. was on familiar turf. “What happens overseas, such as just hapHe graduated from Msgr. Bonner in 1965, pened in Brussels, has a direct impact on the the same year his wife Kathleen graduated from safety and security of the United States,” he said. then-adjoining Archbishop Prendergast High Right now in his sector there is the very difSchool for Girls. But they didn’t meet each other ficult task of trying to broker a peace agreement until they both attended West Chester College, between the various factions in Syria, leading to which is not surprising, considering the coma new government. bined graduating classes for the two sister high A challenge is that the various parties not only schools was about 1,800. disagree but they refuse to meet face to face, and After a distinguished career of 25 years as an the negotiators led by the Russian Federation officer in the United States Marines, including U.N. official Kevin Kennedy and the United States must meet with them sepacommand of the 2nd Battalion 5th Marines for speaks to students March 29 at rately. the liberation of Kuwait during the first Gulf his alma mater, Bonner-PrendAlso, some countries’ leadership, including the ergast High School, that peace United States, believe the current harsh dictatorWar, he retired with the rank of colonel. He joined the United Nations staff in 1993, may eventually come to Syria. ship led by Bashar Assad must be replaced. (Sarah Webb) concentrating on humanitarian emergencies Others, including the Russian Federation, bearound the globe. This has taken him to Africa, lieve a replacement could lead to a more militant Asia, the South Pacific and the Middle East. form of Islam than Assad’s Alawite sect, which could further destaHis humanitarian work can be just as dangerous as active milibilize the region. tary service. “Is there hope for peace?” a student asked. In 2003, when a car bomb destroyed the U.N. headquarters in “People do get tired of fighting eventually and stop fighting, but Baghdad killing about two dozen people, including the U.N. envoy, it won’t be soon,” Kennedy said. he immediately flew there and successfully organized the recovery. In the meantime, “the power of prayer is important; keep prayKennedy, who spoke and took questions from an assembly of ing for peace in Syria,” he advised. all the Bonner-Prendie students this week, also spoke at two Ad“We touched on this situation in class but this was much more vanced Placement Government classes taught by Charlie Wieners. in-depth,” observed Michael Mercanti, a Bonner-Prendie senior. Working with the U.N. has been easier from a family standpoint “He worked in that situation and brought it home to us.” because when he was in the Marines he and Kathleen were raising In all of the presentations the questions centered around Kenfour children and “we had to move 17 times,” Kennedy said. nedy’s U.N. work and as sophomore Jake McGillen explained, “I He noted similarities between the work done by the military and wanted to learn more about this than the military. He knew what that of the U.N. “They are both non-profit working in the public he was talking about and passed that knowledge on to us.” sector,” he said, adding the Marines are more structured and the Katie Innamorato, a senior, plans to focus in college on environU.N. somewhat more flexible. mental science, not political science, but “as general knowledge it His has an international staff and often he is the only American was very interesting and it was definitely good for me to be here,” in the room, although his co-workers are intelligent and dedicated. she said. NEWS BRIEFS See more Catholic news at our website, www.CatholicPhilly.com Pa. bill would ban late-term dismemberment abortions A bill introduced in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives would ban abortions after 20 weeks’ gestation and all abortion procedures in which the fetus is dismembered. Because medical science has determined a fetus can feel stimulation in the womb after 20 weeks and especially pain, western Pa. Republican Rep. Kathy Rapp introduced House Bill 1948 on March 31 to amend the Abortion Control Act and ban such abortions. Cosponsoring with Rapp are 100 Democratic and Republican members of the House. “Dismemberment abortions,” she wrote in a memo accompanying the bill, “occur when a baby’s life is terminated by removing their limbs. As the baby is capable of feeling pain at these gestational ages, it is unconscionable for us to continue to allow them. “This legislation is focused on protecting the unborn child from pain and the mother from additional complications.” The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference said in a statement that the mother bears increased health risks of complications including infection and laceration from such a late-term abortion after 20 weeks. Currently dismemberment abortions are allowed in the state until 24 weeks, or about six months’ gestation. “It’s time to update Pa.’s laws to be in line with the will of most Americans as well as medical advancements that reveal the baby’s ability to feel pain and live outside the womb,” the statement read. “And we should con- tinue to work to support women and men who are faced with unplanned pregnancies, so that they don’t feel abortion is their only option.” The PCC encouraged state residents to support the measure by contacting their representative in the House. Visit the website www.pacatholic.org for more details. Catholics of archdiocese donate $645K to retired religious Catholics of the Philadelphia Archdiocese showed their support for retired religious sisters, brothers and priests by raising $645,385 last year, 80 percent of which, or $516,308, remained in the archdiocese for the care of religious here. The balance of $129,077 was sent to the national 2015 Retirement Fund for Religious, for which Archbishop Charles Chaput received a letter of thanks March 23 from Precious Blood Sister Janice Bader, executive director of the fund. Over the past 28 years of the collection, faithful of the archdiocese have donated more than $4 million to the national collection alone. More than 33,000 retired religious women and men in the United States benefit from the annual collection by Catholics across the country. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops approves collections for the fund in 10-year cycles, and 2017 is the last of the current cycle. Sister Janice’s letter noted that the bishops’ Commission on Religious Life and Ministry “is studying both the progress made and the continued need” for the fund, she wrote. The commission is expected to present its findings at the November 2016 meeting of the USCCB in Baltimore. Data suggest the need for generous support of retired religious will be crucial for the foreseeable future. Of the 49,000 women religious in the U.S. in 2014, 69 percent are over age 70 and 91 percent are over age 60, according to CARA (Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University). Sister Janice wrote that retired religious have pledged to remember the fund’s contributors in daily prayer. “I join my prayers with theirs,” she wrote, “and I again thank you and the faithful of your archdiocese for this generosity and continuing support. May our loving God grant you blessings in abundance!” Outdoor procession to honor Mary set for May 1 The Archdiocese of Philadelphia invites everyone to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary on Sunday, May 1 with a Liturgy of the Word in the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul followed by an outdoor May procession, rosary and crowning of a statue of the Blessed Mother, Our Lady of Mercy. The celebration for the second annual procession, held during the Catholic Church’s Year of Mercy, begins at 2 p.m. in the cathedral, 18th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia. The theme of the procession is, “Who is the Mary in Your Life?” More information is available at www.firstsundayinmay.org. Stay connected at CatholicPhilly.com CatholicPhilly.com is the digital successor to The Catholic Standard and Times, and your online source for Catholic news and information. Visit CatholicPhilly.com and sign up for our free weekly email newsletter.