Flushing, New York (Dec. 4, 2021) Don Victor Mooney, a devout Catholic, was joined with his family for a moment with Pope Francis at the conclusion of his General Audience on World AIDS Day, December 1, 2021.
Mooney presented a wetsuit with Papa Francisco inscribed in bright yellow colors and the AIDS ribbon below, which he wore on his first transatlantic rowing attempt from Goree Island, Senegal. Pope Francis listened with a microscopic ear as Mooney shared his ten-year journey in fighting AIDS and the Papal blessing 17 years ago by St. John Paul II. The Pontiff encouraged Mooney to keep fighting against AIDS.
On a fourth try, Mooney completed a transatlantic row from Maspalomas, Gran Canaria, a part of the Canary Islands to New York' Brooklyn Bridge. His was to encourage voluntary HIV testing.
Rome, Italy (November 30, 2021) - H.E., Janusz Kotanski , Ambassador for Poland to the Holy See welcomed Don Victor Mooney to their embassy this morning for the handover ceremony of rowing oars.
Mr. Mooney used the oars for training before his fourth and successful transatlantic row from Canary Islands to New York's Brooklyn Bridge. A necklace worn during his 14 day adrift in life raft was included in the ceremony. The Mooney family have been invited to Warsaw, Poland.
Vatican City (November 30, 2021) - On the eve of World AIDS Day and 17 years anniversary of H.R. 1242 Resilience Project President, Don Victor Mooney audience with St. John Paul II at the Vatican, he visits the tomb of St. John Paul II at St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City.
It turned out to be an emotional moment. The area around St. Sebastian Chapel was quiet and peaceful, giving St. John Paul II eternal rest. While the Basilica is home to many, I came for one person, said Mooney."
Vatican City, Italy - (November 28, 2021) - With deep humility, Don Victor Mooney, Pres. of H.R. 1242 Resilience Project will ceremonially lay a pair oars at the tomb of St. John Paul II at St. Peter's Basilica following 7 AM Mass as a tribute on November 30.
Mooney holds in high honor St. John Paul II. The oars are painted in the national colors of Poland. After a short prayer, Mooney will remove the oars and bring them to the Polish Embassy, where the Ambassador will be expecting him.
Mooney received support from the airline he and his family flew on from John F. Kennedy Airport in New York. TAP Air Portugal waived all fees for shipping the rowing oars, tennis rackets, and boxes of in home HIV testing kits.
Rome, Italy (November 28, 2021) - Don Victor Mooney spent his Sunday at Nostra Signora di Guadalupe a Monte Mario, the home church of New York's Cardinal Dolan. Don Franco blessed Mooney and the ladies of the church offered hospitality for the day.
On World AIDS Day, Mooney and his family have been invited to attend Pope Francis General Audience on December 1, 2021. On December 1, 2004, then Pope John Paul II blessed Mooney ahead of his transatlantic rowing journey. On a 4th try, he completed the row from Canary Islands to Brooklyn, New York to encourage HIV testing.
Washington, D.C. (November 26, 2021) - Don Victor Mooney, President
of H.R. 1242 Resilience Project has written to H.E. Mr. Domingos Fezas, Portugal Ambassador, requesting help to have TAP Air Portugal waive excess charges for HIV testing kits, humanitarian and apostolic gifts.
Ana Teresa Alexandre Freitas, Secretary for the Ambassador, spoke with Mr. Mooney concerning his request earlier this week. H.R. 1242 Resilience Project delegation departs this evening to Italy.
Rome, Italy (November 26, 2021) - Don Victor Mooney, President of H.R. 1242 Resilience Project along with his family will meet His Excellency, Ambassador Janusz Kotański at the Poland Embassy following the ceremonial laying of the oars at St. John Paul II tomb.
In Warsaw, Poland, Aleksandra Czechowicz from Woźniak of Muzeum Sportu i Turystyki w Warszawie recommended the Museum of John Paul II and Primate Wyszyński and Museum of the Holy Father John Paul II Family Home in Wadowice as possible locations for Mooney's donation.
On the 100th anniversary of the birth of Karol Wojtyła, Ambassador Janusz Kotański and his wife laid a wreath of flowers on behalf of the President of the Republic of Poland Andrzej Duda and the Polish Nation at the tomb of St. John Paul II.
Rome, Italy (November 26, 2021) - Don Victor Mooney, President of H.R. 1242 Resilience Project recently sent a courtesy note to Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and Embassies about his unofficial tribute at the tomb of St. John Paul II inside St. Peter's Basilica and his attendance for Pope Francis General Audience on December 1, World AIDS Day.
"Some have laid flowers, I plan to lay a pair of rowing oars as a lasting tribute for St. John Paul II global humanitarian spirit, said Mooney. in his note."
On a 4th try, Mooney successfully rowed from Maspalomas, Gran Canaria to New York's Brooklyn Bridge to encourage voluntary HIV testing. Mooney's first boat was christened John Paul the Great.
Flushing, New York (November 22, 2021) - Don Victor Mooney story was shared with thousands of New York commuters that read the Metro newspaper on February 1, 2011. The two-page print story had the headline: Brotherly vow: Row, row again.
There was another vow made in St. Peters Square on November 30, 2004. This was to His Eminence, Cardinal Francis Arinze, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments at that time. He helped secure Mooney's audience with Pope John Paul II on World AIDS Day, December 1, 2004.
"I wept openly when the Papal invitation touched my hands. All I could think of was my parents sacrifice in giving us a Catholic upbringing. I told the Cardinal, by God's grace I'll return to the Vatican with my family after crossing the Atlantic Ocean," said Don Victor Mooney.
Raleigh, North Carolina (November 19, 2021) - Coolie Nation, a local business in Raleigh just completed the artwork for a wetsuit, which now says "Papa Francisco" in bright yellow with the red AIDS ribbon below.
On World AIDS Day, December 1, Don Victor Mooney will present Pope Francis this wetsuit used for his first attempt to row from Africa to New York during General Audience at the Vatican. Mooney competed the row on a 4th try.
Vatican City, Italy (November 19, 2021) - Don Victor Mooney will lay a pair of rowing oars at the tomb of St. John Paul II in the Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican on November 30, 2021 following 7AM Polish speaking Mass.
The oars accompanied Mooney's Brazilian built ocean rowboat from the Port of Santos, São Paulo to the Maritime Technology Program at Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn. The oars were used during sea trials before Spirit of Malabo was sent to Canary Islands for the start of Mooney's fourth attempt to row across Atlantic Ocean.
The oars were painted in the national colours of Poland, white and red, The white color in the flag represents freedom, purity, and indulgence of the Polish people, the red color represents the blood of martyrs in the war of independence.
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