The current issues of two magazines have arrived in the last couple of days.
"New City" is the magazine of Focolare in the UK. The cover article for February is about the Vatican's mission at the United Nations. The article is largely an interview with Archbishop Migliore, who heads the mission of the Holy See at the United Nations. He tells an interesting story of how the Holy See's representation was able to facilitate meetings between a delegation from the Great Lakes area of Africa and different offices and officials of the UN. The delegation were particularly anxious for the UN to take steps to reduce the flow of armaments into their home region, armaments which were fuelling violence. A couple of weeks after the visit of the delegation, the UN adopted a strong resolution on the issue, which paved the way for an international protocol among the local nations to control the traffic in armaments in the region. A second article in "New City" is a presentation of Pope Benedict XVI's encyclical "Spes Salvi".
The January-February issue of "Lourdes Magazine" has a focus on the new mosaics that were unveiled on the 8th December 2007. These have been placed in the facade of the Rosary Basilica, facing out onto the piazza in front of the Basilica. They will therefore form a backdrop to the conclusion of the Rosary procession each evening of the pilgrimage season. The mosaics represent the five Mysteries of Light. I suspect that the style of the mosaics will appeal to some and not to others. The photographs in the magazine have not really given me any feel for what it will be like to see the mosaics in situ. Two things have caught my attention, though. The mosaic of the Wedding Feast at Cana portrays two "couples": the bride and groom of the wedding, and, portrayed side by side as if they are also bride and groom, Jesus and his Mother. I think that this richly expresses the connections from Cana, to the sacrifice of the Lamb on Calvary, to the Church-Mary born on Calvary, and on to the nuptial relationship of Christ and the Church-Mary represented in the Eucharist and on Calvary. The second thing that caught my attention was the choice of images to represent the third Mystery of Light, the proclamation of the Gospel and the call to repentance. These two images are the lowering of the paralytic through the ceiling of the house (Jesus instructs the paralytic to rise and walk, as his sins are forgiven) and Jesus giving the Apostles the power to forgive sins after His Resurrection.
Take, and read.