Fr. Mathew Vattamattam explores the Possibilities and Challenges of Ministry at the UN During a Visit to New York City

By Nelson P Thomas | UN Presence, Solidarity & Mission

The Superior General of the Claretian Missionaries, Father Mathew Vattamattam, embarked on his first visit to the Claretian Community of Jersey City, New Jersey, USA, from January 24 to 29, 2023. The Claretian Missionaries have been actively involved with the United Nations (UN) for several years, and Father Mathew’s visit aimed to strengthen this engagement further.

Father Mathew’s visit involved a packed schedule of meetings and discussions, including a visit to the UN Headquarters in New York City, where he met with the UN Claretian team to discuss this ministry’s possibilities and challenges. During this conversation, he also met with Karina Diaz and Ericka Leynes, the Claretian youth representatives at the UN, who shared their dreams and expectations for this new ministry.

Father Mathew also met with Archbishop Gabriele Giordano Cassia, the Apostolic Nuncio, and the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the UN, to discuss the challenges and opportunities the Church has in a multilateral scenario such as the UN. He inquired about what the Church expects from a Congregation such as the Claretian Missionaries at the UN and highlighted the importance of raising the voices of those whose voices have been silenced for too long.

Moreover, Father Mathew had a fruitful meeting with the ‘Religious at the UN’ (RUN), an informal group of women and men religious whose congregations have a presence at the UN. They discussed the challenges, advances, and lessons learned in advocacy and lobbying work at different levels at the UN.

During his visit, Father Mathew was warmly welcomed and hosted at the Claretian Community of Jersey City, where he met with the parish community of St. Joseph in Jersey City and Our Lady of Fatima in Perth Amboy. These parishes are places where the Claretians engage in pastoral ministry in the eastern part of the United States. Additionally, Most Rev. Gregory Studerus, the Regional Bishop for Hudson County of the Archdiocese of Newark, visited the Claretian Community of Jersey City to greet Father Mathew.

Father Mathew’s visit was an important step in the Claretian Missionaries’ engagement with the UN and in advancing their mission of promoting peace, justice, and the dignity of all people. Their association with the UN Department of Global Communications since 2012, and Special Consultative status to the UN Economic and Social Council in 2017; in 2021, the congregation was accredited with the United Nations Environment Programme in Nairobi, Kenya.