June 17, 2002

Religious Activity – Paths to reconciliation

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Meeting at the organisation’s local offices, Rabbis Simón Moguilevsky and Marcos Edery; Auschwitz concentration camp survivor Jack Fuchs and composer Ben Molar, among others, shared a toast with Moreno – who holds a PhD in Law from the UBA (University of Buenos Aires), and is the leading force behind the Martínez parish of Our Lady of Fatima, with its prestigious school and a theatre within the premises.

During the meeting, journalist Nicholas Tozer, former editor of the daily newspaper Buenos Aires Herald, presented a report about the Fatima-Reconciliation Project launched by the Raoul Wallenberg International Foundation, which involves setting up a mural symbolising the bringing together Jews and Christians on a site close to the great Marian sanctuary in Portugal.

This project was recently announced during a meeting called in New York by Archbishop Renato Martino, Apostolic Nuncio to the UN, with the presence of the Bishop of Fatima, Monsignor Serafín Ferreira. Speaking there the Argentine born founder of the Wallenberg Foundation, Baruch Tenembaum, proposed a toast to hope, ”a transcendental concept that it is shared by Christians and Jews alike”.

This idea extends an earlier Wallenberg Foundation initiative that in 1997 became a reality in Buenos Aires when the Holocaust Remembrance Mural was unveiled in a chapel at the Metropolitan Cathedral – a place in which the man who was at the time the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Cardinal Antonio Quarracino, asked that his remains be laid to rest after his death. In a letter sent to Tenembaum in December that year, Quarracino told him, three months before his death, that he hoped that similar initiatives were repeated around the world.

In a dialogue with LA NACION newspaper from New York, Tenembaum said that – while in pursuance of these objectives – he had been greatly impressed by both the quantity and the quality of the testimonies collected in an investigation initiated more than a year and a half ago looking into the humanitarian actions undertaken by Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, who would later become Pope John XXIII, to save Jewish men and women from the killings carried out by the Nazis, at the time when he was Nuncio in Istanbul during the Second World War.

The celebration of Father Horacio Moreno‘s 84th birthday, one of the founders in 1966 of Casa Argentina en Jerusalén Tierra Santa (Argentine House in Jerusalem – Holy Land) and its current president, was the occasion for an entertaining reception at which approaches between and respect among people of different cultures and religions, specially between Christians and Jews, was main topic of conversation.