His Excellency, Miguel Humberto Diaz, U.S. ambassador to the Holy See, (and 4X Orbis author) addressed the alumni gathering. Ms. Marie Dennis, head of the Maryknoll Office of Global Concerns introduced Tom Quigley, long-time advisor to the U.S. bishops conference on justice issues and Latin America, who introduced Ambassador Diaz.
A summary of Diaz's remarks:
On behalf of President Barack Obama, he congratulated the Maryknoll Society on our Centennary.
It surprises many people that a U.S. Ambassador speaks so many languages. This is just one example of change we can believe in.
Maryknollers are agents of such change. Just as Our Lady of Guatalupe appeared on a hill in Mexico that the good news might go out to all in Latin America, so too from Mary's Knoll, 50 kilometers north of NYC, the message of Jesus goes forth to the poor and marginalized around the world.
But oneness is not to be confused with sameness, and we should take care not to further isolate already marginalized people.
America's motto: E pluribus, unum. Out of many one. Issues of justice and peace often confront problems that arise from our perceived differences. We all work for the common good, that celebrates diversity. The pursuit of the common good cannot be separated from work on behalf of justice.
The on-going displacement of people's (more than 200,000,000 by U.N. estimates) shows the urgent need to overcome our differences. In the catholicity of the Church, we have witnessed E Pluribus, Unum.
President Obama underscores that America is a rich tapestry of diversity, with mutual interdependent and diverse parts. Policies and practices should not force undividuals to exist on islands of isolation.
If you want to cultivate peace, protect creation, to the benefit and service of the common good. We need a new way of seeing to recognize differences and still celebrate diversity.
We must acknowledge that people can experience multiple belongings: ethnic, cultural, racial and religious. Our desire to be One must not be at the cost of exclusion of others.
Fear of others and their otherness has been a pathology that has infected humans for millennia. Otherness is constitutive of unity, not a consequence of unity.
The Christian notion of the unity of the human race takes its inspiration from the Trinity. The Maryknoll family is familiar with contemporary understandings of the human person. You responsibly embrace the differences in others. We are, by nature and by faith, missionary beings, oriented toward reaching out to others different than ourselves precisely to realize the underlying unity of the human race.
Being American and Catholic has enabled Maryknoll to respect human differences as you live out the best of our world, our nation and our church.
Diplomats and religious leaders need each other to help translate our message of peace and justice and mutuality into understandable terms that people different than ourselves can understand.
This was the miracle of Guadalupe; this is the mission of Maryknoll.
I invite all of you here, all Maryknollers, and myself into translating the message of peace into all the diverse languages and symbols of all the cultures of the world.
Maryknollers have committed their lives to this vision. Your ability to live and work in all cultures around the world often exceeds our government's ability to reach the poorest and most in need.
God bless Maryknoll; God bless the United States of America.