Search

The book Michael Haddad will be travelling with The book Michael Haddad will be travelling with 

Michael Haddad to receive book blessed by Pope ahead of journey to North Pole

An upcoming event at the Italian Embassy to the Holy See will present Michael Haddad, who will be traveling to the Arctic Circle with the help of an exoskeleton and a book blessed by Pope Francis, to accompany him on his journey across the globe.

By Vatican News staff writer

Pope Francis' message of hope reaches the North Pole in an unprecedented journey. This is how the Vatican's Dicastery for Communication introduces the upcoming journey of Michael Haddad from Lebanon, who is setting out to reach the Arctic Circle. 

"Hope is bold, it knows how to look beyond personal comfort, the small securities and compensations that narrow the horizon, to open up to great ideals that make life more beautiful and dignified," says the Pope in Fratelli tutti.

75% of Michael's body was left paralyzed after a jet-ski accident when he was only 6 years old. Since then he has lost 75% of his motor functions and moves with the help of an exoskeleton.  

Athlete and ambassador

Michael is a professional athlete and UN goodwill ambassador for environmental issues.

He has climbed mountains and crossed deserts, and has also participated in two marathons: one in Cairo, the other in Beirut, in his native Lebanon, to raise funds for the reconstruction of the hospital devastated by the explosion at the port in August 2020.

The adventure

A statement released by the Dicastery on Thursday explains that Michael Haddad is setting out to walk 100km in the North Pole, carrying with him a copy of the book "Why Are You Afraid, Have You No Faith?", specially produced in a special edition by the Holy See's Dicastery for Communication.

This book will be slightly different from all the other copies as it will have been blessed by Pope Francis, enabling Michael to carry the Holy Father's message with him across the world. 

"At the end of the walk Haddad will leave the small six-by-eight centimetre book in the Svalbard seed bunker, the largest and safest in the world, located in Norway, 1300 kilometres beyond the Arctic Circle," reads the statement.

Receiving the message

Haddad, who is a symbol of hope and faith and whose message focuses on the need for urgent action on climate change, care for our common home and inclusion in the face of inequality, "will show his commitment by receiving the message at a meeting at the Italian Embassy to the Holy See" on Friday. 

In this way, continues the statement, for the first time, "a message from Pope Francis will reach the North Pole hand in hand with an ambassador of goodwill and, like a seed of hope, will remain for posterity in the world's largest and safest refuge dedicated to safeguarding the planet's biodiversity."

Friday's meeting is co-organized by UNDP, the Italian Embassy to the Holy See, the Institute for Global Dialogue and Culture of Encounter, and will see the participation of the Holy See's Dicastery for Communication. It will take place on Friday, 17 December, at 11.00 am at the Italian Embassy in Rome.

16 December 2021, 10:51