His Holiness Pope Shenouda III’s Pastoral Visit to America and Mexico

STATEN ISLAND:
His Holiness Pope Shenouda III will consecrate Archangel Michael and St. Mena Coptic Orthodox Church in Great Kills, New Yrok during a service on Sunday, Febuary 3, 2007. H.H. last visited the church in 1998. H.H. will also consecrate another St. Mary and St. George Church in Staten Island on Wednesday, February 7, 2007.

PITTSBURG:
His Holiness consecrated St. Mary Coptic Orthodox Church in Ambridge, the only church in the region of Pittsburg, on Friday, Februrary 2, 2007, with His Grace Bishop Botros, His Grace Bishop Youannis, His Grace Bishop David and His Grace Bishop Eremia. Several priests and several hundred Copts from western Pennsylvania were also in attendance.

His Holiness said there, “One point is very essential in our church … that was the movement of Sunday schools…Children grow up and become youth inside the church, so we don’t have such serious problems.” When asked by reporters what is the greatest challenge facing his people in Egypt, H.H. replied “Our sins.” “We don’t consider that there is any challenge where the grace of God is working,” H.H. said, “A time came in such a period when we had two bishops…Now we have 110 bishops. The church is growing and the church may grow better through difficulties. Through difficulties we see how God is working…Christianity without the cross is not real Christianity.”

MEXICO:
From January 26-29, 2007 His Holiness consecrated the first Coptic Church in Mexico, St. Mary and St. Mark. He was welcomed at the airport by the representative of the Republic of Mexico by Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, the secretary of Interior, and Francisco Javier Ramirez. H.H. accepted their warm welcome and wished success for the new government of Mexico. During this visit, H.H. also met the Alicia Buenrostro Massieu, of the office for External Relations Secretary for Africa and the Middle East, and Servando Garci’a Pineda, director of Registry and Certification of Religious Associations. Accompaning H.H. on this visit was His Grace Bishop Serapion, as well as many Coptic Orthodox bishops.

We pray for the safe of arrival of H.H. in Egypt on February 11, 2007. May the Lord keep him for us for many years and peaceful times.