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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

POPE FRANCIS' APOSTOLIC TRIP TO SRI LANKA AND THE PHILIPPINES


Vatican City, 29 July 2014 (VIS) – The Holy See Press Office today announced that His Holiness Francis, accepting the invitation from the civil authorities and the bishops, will make an Apostolic trip to Sri Lanka from 12 to 15 January and the Philippines from 15 to 19 January 2015. The program for the trip will be published shortly.


THE POPE TO THE PENTECOSTAL CHURCH: WE ARE ON THE PATH TOWARDS UNITY


Vatican City, 29 July 2014 (VIS) – Unity in diversity and the plea for forgiveness for the lack of understanding shown by some Catholics towards their Pentecostal brothers were the key themes of the Pope's address at the Pentecostal Church of the Reconciliation in Caserta yesterday, during his meeting with his friend, the pastor Giovanni Traettino, whom he known for many years, both in Buenos Aires and as bishop of Rome, engaged in ecumenism. The meeting took place in a cheerful and intimate atmosphere, and was attended by 200 people, mostly Pentecostals from Italy, the United States and Argentina, as well as other countries. “With men like you”, said Pastor Traettino to his friend, Pope Francis, “there is hope for us, as Christians”.

The Pope's address responded to the discourse pronounced by Pastor Traettino, who had remarked that the presence of Jesus and walking in the presence of Jesus should be at the centre of our life. Francis remarked that “walk” was God's first commandment to his people, represented by Abraham – “walk before me faithfully and be blameless” – and added, “I don't understand a Christian who stands still! I don't understand a Christian who doesn't walk. A Christian must walk … because that which is still, that does not move ahead, becomes corrupt. Like still water, which is the first to become stagnant. … There are Christians who confuse walking and moving ahead with moving around. These, instead, are errants who saunter here and there; these are people who lack parrhesia, the boldness to go ahead; they lack hope”.

He went on to cite the story of Jacob who, during a time of famine, sent his eleven sons – ten of whom were guilty of betrayal, having sold their brother Joseph – to Egypt to buy grain. There, they once again found Joseph, who in the meantime had become the vizier. “When we walk in God's presence, we find brotherhood”, asserted the Pope. “When instead we stop, we scrutinise each other too much, and we set out on another path, that of gossip. … And in this way it begins, from the first moment the division of the Church began. And it is not the Holy Spirit who causes division! … From the very beginning there has been this temptation in the Christian community. 'I am from this group, you are from that one', 'No! I am the Church, you are a sect', and so on. … The Holy Spirit creates diversity in the Church … diversity, rich and beautiful. But, at the same time, the Holy Spirit creates unity, and so the Church is one in her diversity. To borrow a phrase used by an evangelical, a phrase I love, it is the 'reconciled diversity' of the Holy Spirit, Who creates both of these things: diversity in charisms, and harmony in charisms”.

To offer an image of how unity in the Church could be, Pope Francis first described a sphere, all of whose points are equidistant from the centre. This, he said, was an example of uniformity, and “the Holy Spirit does not create uniformity”. “Let us imagine, instead, a polyhedron: it is an example of unity, but with many different parts, each with its own peculiarity and charism. This is unity in diversity. This is the path that we Christians take, giving it the theological name of ecumenism: we seek to ensure that this diversity is harmonised by the Holy Spirit and becomes a unity; we seek to walk in the presence of God to be blameless”.

Pastor Traettino had also referred to the incarnation of Jesus, and the Holy Father responded that “the incarnation of the Word is the foundation – it is Jesus Christ! God and man, Son of God and Son of man, true God and true man. This is how the first Christians understood Him to be and they fought hard to maintain this truth: the Lord is God and man. It is the mystery of Christ's flesh. … I love the poor, the widow, the slave, the imprisoned. … I love them all, as these people who suffer are Christ's flesh. … It is not possible to preach a purely intellectual Gospel: the Gospel is the truth but it is also love and beauty! And this is the joy of the Gospel!”.

“On this path, many times we have done the same thing as the brothers of Joseph, when jealous and envy have divided us”, he remarked. “That sad story in which the Gospel for some was lived as truth and they did not realise that behind this attitude there were bad things, things that were not the Lord's, an ugly attempt at division. That sad history, in which there are repeated the same things that Joseph's brother did: denouncements, the laws of these people who 'are against the purity of the race'. … And these laws were ratified by baptised persons! Some of those who enacted these laws, and some of those who persecuted, denounced their pentecostal brothers because they were 'enthusiastic', almost 'crazy', who spoiled the race. … I am a pastor of Catholics, and I beg forgiveness for this. I ask your forgiveness on behalf of those Catholic brothers and sisters who did not understand and who were tempted by the devil, and who did the same thing that Joseph's brothers did. I ask the Lord for the grace to recognise and to forgive”.

Pope Francis went on to comment on Pastor Traettino's words, “The truth is an encounter”. “An encounter between people”, he emphasised. “The truth is not made in a laboratory, it is made in life, seeking Jesus in order to find Him. But the greatest and most beautiful mystery is that when we find Jesus, we realise that He sought us first, that He had found us first, because He arrives before us. I like to use the Spanish verb 'primerea' to describe this, meaning that He precedes us, and always awaits us. … That encounter that transforms us: everything comes from that encounter. This is the path of Christian sanctity: seeking Jesus every day in order to meet him, and letting oneself be sought and found by Jesus every day”.

“We are on that path of unity, among brothers”, he concluded. “Some people will be surprised: they will say, the Pope has gone to the evangelicals! He has gone to meet his brothers! Yes! Because – and this is the truth – they came to me first, in Buenos Aires. … And so this friendship began, this closeness between the pastors in Buenos Aires, and here today. I thank you, and I ask you to pray for me, as I need your prayers”.

Following the meeting, in the mid afternoon, the Pope returned to the Vatican by helicopter.


FIFTY THOUSAND MINISTRANTS IN PILGRIMAGE TO ROME


Vatican City, 29 July 2014 (VIS) – From 4 to 8 August, more than fifty thousand ministrants from Germany, Austria and Switzerland will make a pilgrimage to Rome, a trip organised every August by German dioceses. This event is intended to strengthen the spiritual potential of an group that is important to German pastoral ministry, consisting of more than 430,00 children, adolescents and young adults who carry out altar service.

The week's program includes diocesan religious functions, guided tours on themes related to history, culture and spirituality, and cultural and religious excursions including a trip to Assisi. However, the key moment of the pilgrimage, eagerly awaited by all the participants, will be the audience with Pope Francis, who will receive them in the Vatican on Tuesday, 5 August.

Monday, July 28, 2014

POPE FRANCIS' PRIVATE VISIT TO THE EVANGELICAL PASTOR GIOVANNI TRAETTINO IN CASERTA


Vatican City, 28 July 2014 (VIS) – This morning the Holy Father returned to Caserta, following his pastoral visit on Saturday, 26 July, to meet privately with the evangelical pastor Giovanni Traettino, a friend from his time as archbishop of Buenos Aires.

The Pontiff arrived in Caserta by helicopter at 10.15 a.m. and, following a private and reserved meeting at pastor Traettino's house, he met the community of the Pentecostal evangelical Church at the premises, currently under construction, of the Pentecostal Church of the Reconciliation. The Pope dined with the community and is scheduled to return to the Vatican later this afternoon.


TELEGRAM FOR THE DEATH OF CARDINAL MARCHISANO


Vatican City, 28 July 2014 (VIS) – The Pope has sent a telegram of condolences to Archbishop Cesare Nosiglia of Turin for the death in Rome yesterday of Cardinal Francesco Marchisano, archpriest emeritus of St. Peter's Basilica, at the age of 85.

“Having heard of the death of Cardinal Francesco Marchisano, an illustrious son of this land”, writes the Pope, “I wish to express my deepest condolences to your excellency, to the presbytery and the friends of the lamented Cardinal. I think with affection of this dear pastor who for many years diligently collaborated with the Apostolic See, especially in the Congregation for Catholic Education, as archpriest of the Vatican Basilica, and finally as president of the Labour Office of the Apostolic See. He leaves us the witness of a life spent in the generous fulfilment of his vocation, as a priest and a bishop attentive to the needs of the faithful and sensitive to the worlds of art and culture. I raise prayers for the eternal repose of his soul, that the Lord may receive him in joy and eternal peace, and I offer to those who mourn his passing the comfort of my apostolic blessing”.

The funeral, presided by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, will be held on Wednesday, 30 July at 8 a.m. at the altar of the Cathedra of St. Peter's Basilica. At the end of the ceremony, the Holy Father will administer the rites of “Ultima Commendatio” and of “Valedictio”.

ANGELUS: THE NEED TO READ THE GOSPEL


Vatican City, 27 July 2014 (VIS) – As on every Sunday, Pope Francis appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square. The Pontiff, as in the Mass celebrated the day before in Caserta, spoke about the two parables about the kingdom of Heaven: the jewel merchant who finds a pearl of infinite value and sells everything he owns to buy it, and the farmer who chances upon hidden treasure and sells all his land to buy the field where it lies. Neither the merchant nor the farmer have any doubt about their actions as they are aware of the incomparable value of what they have found.

“It is the same with the kingdom of God”, explained the bishop of Rome. “He who finds it has no doubt, he knows that he has found what he sought and awaited, and which answers his most authentic aspirations. It is truly like this: those who know Jesus, who encounter Him personally, are fascinated, attracted by such goodness, such truth, such beauty, and all this in great humility and simplicity. Seeking and finding Jesus: this is the greatest treasure of all!”.

“How many people, how many saints, reading the Gospel with an open heart, have been so struck by Jesus that they have converted to Him. Let us think of St. Francis of Assisi; he was already a Christian, but lukewarm, a “rose-water” Christian. When he read the Gospel, in a decisive moment during his youth, he encountered Jesus and discovered the Kingdom of God, and from then on all his dreams of earthly glory vanished. The Gospel lets you know the true Jesus, it lets you know the living Jesus; it speaks to your heart and changes your life. And from then on, he left everything. You can effectively change the type of life you lead, or continue to do what you did before, but you are different, you are born again: you have found that which gives meaning, flavour and light to everything, even to hardship, suffering and death”.

The Pope went on to repeat the importance of reading a passage from the Gospel every day; of keeping it in our pockets, our bags, always at hand, as “everything makes sense when you find this treasure that Jesus called 'the Kingdom of God': that is, God Who reigns in your life, in our lives. God is love, peace and joy in every man and in all men. … Reading the Gospel means finding Jesus and receiving this Christian joy, which is a gift from the Holy Spirit”.

“The joy of encountering the treasure of the Kingdom of God becomes clear, it can be seen”, concluded the Pontiff. “The Christian cannot conceal his faith, as it shines through in every word and every gesture, even the simplest everyday ones. The love that God has given us through Jesus shines through. Let us pray, by the intercession of the Virgin Mary, that His Kingdom of love, justice and peace may come to us and to all the world”.


POPE FRANCIS' NEW APPEAL FOR PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST, IRAQ AND UKRAINE


Vatican City, 27 July 2014 (VIS) – After today's Angelus prayer, the Holy Father, remarking that tomorrow marks the centenary of the beginning of the First World War, launched a new appeal for peace in the Middle East, Iraq and Ukraine, and called for a cessation of hostilities.

“Tomorrow is the one hundredth anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War, which claimed millions of lives and caused immense destruction. This conflict, defined by Pope Benedict XV as a 'senseless slaughter', persisted for four long years and led to a more fragile peace. Tomorrow will be a day of mourning in remembrance of this tragedy. While we remember this tragic event, I hope that we will not repeat the errors of the past, but will instead pay heed to the lessons of history, ensuring that the reason of peace always prevails by means of patient and courageous dialogue”.

“Today, my thoughts extend to three areas of crisis, in particular: the Middle East, Iraq and Ukraine. I ask you to continue to join with me in prayer that the Lord may grant the populations and authorities of these areas the wisdom and strength necessary to proceed with determination along the path of peace, facing every diatribe with the tenacity of dialogue and negotiation, and the strength of reconciliation. May the common good and respect for every person be at the centre of every decision, rather than particular interests. Let us remember that all is lost with war, but nothing is lost with peace”.

“Brothers and sisters: no more war! No more war! I think especially of the children, who are deprived of the hope of a worthwhile life, of a future: children killed, children injured, children mutilated, children orphaned, children who have as toys the remnants of war, children who do not know how to smile. Stop, please! I ask you with all my heart. The time has come to stop. Stop, please!”


THE POPE WITH THE PRIESTS OF CASERTA


Vatican City, 28 July 2014 (VIS) – The Pope left the Vatican by helicopter at 3 p.m., arriving at the heliport of the NCO (Non-Commissioned Officers) School of the Air Force of the Royal Palace of Caserta, where he was greeted by Bishop Giovanni D'Alise of Caserta and other local authorities. He then transferred by car to the Palatine Chapel where he was awaited by the diocesan priests. He set aside his prepared discourse and began a very intimate conversation with the priests, answering the four questions they presented to him.

The Holy Father spoke about the example of unity that bishops must give, that Jesus asked of His Father for the Church. “This cannot be done speaking badly about each other. The unity of bishops is important to the unity of the Church”, he said, adding that the devil revels in and profits from internal conflict. “The bishops must be in agreement in unity, but not in uniformity. Each one has his charism, each one has his way of thinking and his point of view; this is at times the result of mistakes, but it is often the result of the Spirit … a unity in diversity, in which no-one loses his own personality”.

The Pope was then asked for suggestions for a pastoral able to relaunch the primacy of the Gospel without mortifying popular piety. He answered that “true popular piety was born of that Sensus Fidei described in the Encyclical Lumen Gentium and which is guided by devotion to the Saints, to the Virgin, and also by folkloric expressions, in the positive sense of the word”. He added, “the agnosticism that has entered into the Church in groups of intimist piety” are not good, but are instead a form of heresy. … Popular piety is inculturated, it cannot be produced in a laboratory, aseptic … it is always born of life”.

Another question focused on the identity of the priest in the third millennium. “How can we overcome the existential crisis born of the linguistic, semantic and cultural revolution in evangelical witness?”. “With creativity”, replied the Pope. “It is the commandment that God gave to Adam and Jesus to his disciples. And creativity is found in prayer. A bishop who does not pray, a priest who does not pray, has closed the door to creativity”. The fourth question related to the foundations of spirituality for a priest. Francis described the priest's dual capacity for contemplation: towards God and towards man. “He is a man who looks, who fills his eyes and heart with contemplation: with the Gospel before God, and with human problems when among men. The priest must be contemplative in this way. But this must not be confused with monastic life, which is something else”.

The Pope emphasised that diocesan life must be at the centre of the spirituality of the diocesan priest. “Maintaining a relationship with the bishop and with the rest of the priests … simple, but at the same time not easy. The greatest enemy of these relationships is gossip. The devil knows that this seed bears fruit, and he sows it well ... to impede that evangelical, spiritual and fruitful relationship between the bishop and the presbytery”. He remarked that it was better to say things clearly and openly, rather than give satisfaction to the devil who in this way “attacks the centre of the spirituality of the diocesan clergy”. The Holy Father concluded with some comments on the bitterness of some priests and the image of an angry Church. “One may anger at times; it is healthy to be angry at times. But the state of rage is not God's, and leads only to sadness and disunity”.


THE PRIMACY OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND THE COURAGE TO SAY NO TO EVIL


Vatican City, 26 July 2014 (VIS) – More than two hundred thousand people attended the Mass celebrated by the Holy Father in the square in front of the Royal Palace of Caserta at 6 p.m. yesterday.

The Pope spoke in his homily about the “kingdom of Heaven”, based on the parables of the hidden treasure and the pearl. In the first, the “kingdom” is similar the treasure hidden in a field, that the farmer finds and hides again, full of joy, then sells everything he has to buy the field. In the second, a merchant who seeks fine pearls encounters one of great value and sells everything he owns in order to buy it.

The farmer and the merchant, explains the Pope, have the same sentiment in common: the surprise and joy of the fulfilment of their desires and, through these two parables, “with simple words that everyone can understand”, Jesus explains what the kingdom of heaven is, how it is found and what one can do to obtain it.

Jesus does not concern Himself with describing the “kingdom”, although He has announced it since the beginning of His Gospel; however, He shows it indirectly, through reflection. “He prefers to let it be understood through parables and similarities, especially by revealing its effects: the kingdom of Heaven is able to change the world, like the leaven concealed in the dough”. Both parables help us understand that the kingdom of God is present in the person of Jesus Himself. He is the hidden treasure and the valuable pearl. The joy of the farmer and the merchant are comprehensible – they have found what they sought! It is the joy of each one of us when we discover the closeness and the presence of Jesus in our life. His is a presence that transforms our existence and opens us to the needs of our brethren; a presence that invites us to welcome every other presence, even that of the foreigner or the immigrant”.

To encounter the kingdom of God, each one of us takes his or her own path. For some, the encounter with Jesus is awaited, hoped for and long sought, as we see in the parable of the merchant who travels the world seeking something of value. For others it happens unexpectedly, almost by chance, as in the parable of the farmer. This reminds us that God lets us meet Him anyway, as it is He Who is the first to wish to meet us. ... He came in order to be 'God with us'. … It is He Who seeks us out, it is He Who lets Himself be found even by those who are not looking for Him, at times in unusual places and at unexpected moments. When we find Jesus we are fascinated, we are won over, and it is a joy to leave behind our usual way of life, often arid and apathetic, to embrace the Gospel, and to allow ourselves to be guided by the new logic of love”.

Jesus is very clear that when He refers to the possession of the “kingdom”, enthusiasm and the joy of discovery are not enough. “It is necessary to place the precious pearl of the kingdom before all other earthly goods; it is necessary to put God in first place in our life. According primacy to God means having the courage to say no to evil, to violence, to oppression; to live a life of service to others and in favour of legality and the common good. … One must be a friend of God, love one's brothers, and be committed to the protection of their lives and health, also respecting the environment and nature”. Francis emphasised, “This is particularly important in this beautiful land, which needs to be protected and preserved; it takes courage to say no to every form of corruption and illegality – and we all know the name of these forms of corruption and illegality. It requires that everyone is a servant to the truth and assumes in every situation an evangelical lifestyle, which is manifested in the gift of the self and care for the poor and excluded”.

The Pope went on to speak about the festivity of St. Ann, the patron saint of Caserta, which brought together in the square several components of the diocesan community, the bishop, the civil authorities and the representatives of various social sectors. “I would like to encourage al of you to experience the festivity of your patron saint free of preconceived ideas, as a pure expression of the faith of a people who recognise themselves as the family of God and strengthen the bonds of fraternity and solidarity. St. Ann perhaps heard her daughter pronounce the words of the Magnificat: 'He has brought down rulers from their thrones, but has lifted up the humble; He has filled the hungry with good things'. May she help you to find the only treasure, Jesus, and teach you to discover the criteria of God's action: He turns worldly judgements on their head, coming to the aid of the poor and the least among us, and brings abundance to the humble, who entrust their existence to Him. Have hope, hope does not disappoint. And I like to repeat to you: do not let yourselves be robbed of hope!”

Following the Mass and before the final blessing, Francis gave thanks to all those present for their warm welcome, and to Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, archbishop of Naples, adding, “I have heard that the Neapolitans are a little jealous of this visit, but I wish to assure them them that this year I will certainly visit them too”.

After the Eucharistic celebration, the Pope transferred to the military airport and left for Rome by helicopter.

COMMUNIQUE FROM THE FAMILY OF FR. PAOLO DELL'OGLIO, A YEAR AFTER HIS DISAPPEARANCE IN SYRIA


Vatican City, 28 July 2014 (VIS) – The family of Fr. Paolo Dell'Oglio, the Italian Jesuit priest of whom there has been no news for a year following his disappearance in the Syrian city of Raqqa, today issued the following communique:

“One year has already passed since we last knew of our son and brother Paolo, priest, Jesuit, Italian, who disappeared in Syria on July 29th 2013.

This has also been a long time, too long, for a land ravaged by war and infinite suffering like Syria.

We ask those responsible for the disappearance of a good man, a man of faith, a man of peace, to have the dignity to let us know of his fate.

We would like to once again hold him in our arms, however we are also prepared to mourn him.

Tomorrow, 29th of July, one year after his disappearance, many of us will be praying for him and standing by him, as we will be doing for those who have been kidnapped, unjustly detained and for the many who are suffering because of this war.”

The video message of their plea can be seen at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3MMoCGrggE&feature=youtu.be

CHALDEANS IN IRAQ: PREPARE, LIKE ABRAHAM, TO LEAVE FOR THE LAND GOD WILL SHOW TO YOU


Vatican City, 28 July 2014 (VIS) – Yesterday, Sunday, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, presided at the Divine Liturgy in the Cathedral of St. Paul the Apostle of the Chaldeans in San Diego, U.S.A. He prayed for the Christians persecuted in Iraq, the motherland of the Chaldean Church, and also included in his prayer those in Syria, Palestine and Egypt, as well as those who belong to the Greek-Catholic community in Ukraine, who are currently experiencing difficult situations.

The bishop of the eparchy, Sarhad Yawsip Hermiz Jammo, thanked the cardinal for the consolation that his visit and his prayers, as the representative of Pope Francis, offered to al the Christians of the East, and added that, in communion with Peter's Successor, they would persist in the faith of Abraham and, like the patriarch, they would prepare to leave for the land God will show to them, learning to read history in a higher dimension.

In his homily, Cardinal Sandri thanked those present and those Christians who suffer for their faith in the Gospel in situations of conflict, and assured them of Pope Francis' prayers and blessing and the closeness of all the Church. He expressed his hope for peace and justice for all those who have been afflicted by incredible and senseless violence.

The prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, in his visit to California, met with the Maronite and Syro-Malabar communities of Los Angeles and San Diego. During the coming days he will visit the Armenians and greet the priests of the Syrian, Coptic, Greek-Melkite and Romanian Greek-Catholic Churches who exercise their pastoral ministry in this region of the United States. The already populous Eastern is expected to increase significantly, especially from Iraq, due to the current conflict. He underlined that immigration is a pastoral challenge of historical proportions, and requires great efforts on the part of the Latin Church in support of the Oriental Churches.

ON THE POPE'S POSSIBLE PARTICIPATION IN THE PHILADELPHIA MEETING OF FAMILIES


Vatican City, 26 July 2014 (VIS) – The director of the Holy See Press Office has stated, with regard to Pope Francis' possible attendance at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, U.S.A. in September 2015, that the Holy Father has received several invitations to travel to America and, as usual, considers them carefully. “The Pope has made it known that he is willing to participate in the meeting of families, but at the present moment he has not initiated any concrete plan or programme for travel to the United States or Mexico”. He added, “It should be taken into account, however, that the Philadelphia meeting will be held in over a year's time”.


OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS


Vatican City, 26 July 2014 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father:

- appointed Bishop Anthony Pappusamy of Dindigul, India as archbishop of Madurai (area 6,266, population 2,068,000, Catholics 145,213, priests 59, religious 275), India. He succeeds Archbishop Peter Fernando, whose resignation upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.

- appointed Bishop Pierre Nguyen Van Kham, auxiliary of the archdiocese of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, as bishop of My Tho (area 9,262, population 5,280,320, Catholics 126,560, priests 125, religious 282), Vietnam.

- appointed Cardinal Justin Francis Rigali, archbishop emeritus of Philadelphia, U.S.A., as his special envoy to the solemn Eucharistic celebration in the new Cathedral of St. Louis, U.S.A., to be held on 24 August, commemorating the 250th anniversary of the founding of the city.

- appointed Cardinal Angelo Scola, archbishop of Milan, Italy, as his special envoy to the celebration of the 850th anniversary of the translation of the relics of the Magi to Cologne, Germany, to be held on 28 September.

Friday, July 25, 2014

TELEGRAM FOR THE VICTIMS OF THE AIR CRASH OVER MALI


Vatican City, 25 July 2014 (VIS) – Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin has sent a telegram on behalf of Pope Francis to Archbishop Ghaleb Moussa Abdalla Bader of Algiers, Algeria, in response to yesterday's tragic accident involving an Air Algerie aircraft above Mali, which claimed many lives. “His Holiness Pope Francis joins in prayer with the suffering of those who have lost loved ones”, he writes. “He wishes to convey his condolences and to assure them of his profound sympathy, and prays that the Lord may receive the souls of the departed and bring consolation and hope to all those affected by the disaster”.


THE POPE RECEIVES MERIAM, THE SUDANESE CHRISTIAN IMPRISONED FOR APOSTASY


Vatican City, 25 July 2014 (VIS) – Yesterday afternoon, at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, the Holy Father Francis received in audience Ms. Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag, the Sudanese Christian woman imprisoned and condemned to death for apostasy, and subsequently freed with the intervention of the international community.

Meriam was accompanied by her husband Daniel Wani and their two small children, Martin (aged one and a half) and Maya, born in prison two months ago. The family was accompanied by the Italian deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lapo Pistelli, who completed negotiations in Sudan yesterday and accompanied Meriam and her family to Italy, where they are preparing to move to the United States.

The meeting lasted for slightly less than half an hour and took place in a serene and affectionate atmosphere. The Pope thanked Meriam and her family for their courageous witness of constancy in faith. Meriam gave thanks for the great comfort and support she received from the prayer of the Pope and many other believers and persons of good will. The Pope’s secretary, Msgr. Yohannis Gaid, acted as interpreter. The Pope then greeted the Italian staff accompanying Meriam and her family in their stay in Italy.

With this gesture, the Pope wished to demonstrate his closeness, attention and prayer for all those who suffer for their faith and, in particular, for Christians who suffer persecution or curtailment of their religious freedom.


CONFLICT BETWEEN ISRAEL AND PALESTINE: THE VOICE OF REASON SILENCED BY THE BLAST OF WEAPONS


Vatican City, 25 July 2014 (VIS) – Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Holy See permanent observer at the United Nations and other international organisations in Geneva, spoke at the 21st Special Session of the Human Rights Council dedicated to the question of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory including East Jerusalem, which took place on 23 July.

“As the number of people killed, wounded, uprooted from their homes, continues to increase in the conflict between Israel and some Palestinian groups, particularly in the Gaza Strip, the voice of reason seems submerged by the blast of arms. Violence will lead nowhere either now or in the future. The perpetration of injustices and the violation of human rights, especially the right to life and to live in peace and security, sow fresh seeds of hatred and resentment. A culture of violence is being consolidated, the fruits of which are destruction and death. In the long run, there can be no winners in the current tragedy, only more suffering. Most of the victims are civilians, who by international humanitarian law, should be protected. The United Nations estimates that approximately seventy percent of Palestinians killed have been innocent civilians. This is just as intolerable as the rockets missiles directed indiscriminately toward civilian targets in Israel. Consciences are paralysed by a climate of protracted violence, which seeks to impose solution through the annihilation of the other. Demonising others, however, does not eliminate their rights. Instead, the way to the future lies in recognising our common humanity”.

The archbishop mentioned that in his pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Pope Francis demanded that the present unacceptable situation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict be brought to an end. “The time has come for everyone to find the courage to be generous and creative in the service of the common good, the courage to forge a peace which rests on the acknowledgement by all of the right of two States to exist and to live in peace and security within internationally recognised borders”.

“The legitimate aspiration to security, on one side, and to decent living conditions, on the other, with access to the normal means of existence like medicines, water and jobs, for example, reflects a fundamental human right, without which peace is very difficult to preserve. The worsening situation in Gaza is an incessant reminder of the necessity to arrive at a cease-fire immediately and to start negotiating a lasting peace. 'Peace will bring countless benefits for the peoples of this region and for the world as a whole', adds Pope Francis, 'and so it must resolutely be pursued, even if each side has to make certain sacrifices'. It becomes a responsibility of the international community to engage in earnest in the pursuit of peace and to help the parties in this horrible conflict reach some understanding in order to stop the violence and look to the future with mutual trust”.

“The media should report in a fair and unbiased manner the tragedy of all who are suffering because of the conflict, in order to facilitate the development of an impartial dialogue that acknowledges the rights of everyone, respects the just concerns of the international community, and benefits from the solidarity of the international community in supporting a serious effort to attain peace. With an eye to the future, the vicious circle of retribution and retaliation must cease. With violence, men and women will continue to live as enemies and adversaries, but with peace they can live as brothers and sisters”.


OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS


Vatican City, 25 July 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has:

- appointed Bishop Florentino Galang Lavarias of Iba, Philippines, as metropolitan archbishop of San Fernando (area 2,180, population 3,561,000, Catholics 3,324,000, priests 176, religious 155), Philippines. He succeeds Archbishop Paciano Aniceto, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.

- appointed Rev. Severo C. Caermare as bishop of Dipolog (area 7,205, population 977,000, Catholics 787,000, priests 68, permanent deacons 1, religious 58), Philippines. The bishop-elect was born in Poblacion, Philippines in 1969 and was ordained a priest in 1996. He holds a master's degree in theology and pastoral ministry from the St. John Vianney theological seminary of Cagayan de Oro City, and has served in a number of pastoral roles, including administrator of the parishes of “Our Mother of Perpetual Help” and “San Isidore” in Zamboanga del Norte; formator, rector, professor and liturgist at the Cor Jesu Seminary of Dipolog City; and formator, professor, dean and rector of the St. Mary's Theologate of Ozamis City. He is currently administrator of the “St. Anthony of Padua” parish in Gulayon, Dipolog City, and rector of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary in Dipolog City. He succeeds Bishop Jose R. Manguiran, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.

- appointed Rev. Fr. Celestino Aos Braco, O.F.M. Cap., as bishop of Copiapo (area 75,176, population 272,000, Catholics 207,000, priests 23, permanent deacons 35, religious 76), Chile. The bishop-elect was born in Artaiz, Spain in 1945, gave his perpetual vows in 1967 ad was ordained a priest in 1968. He holds a licentiate in psychology from the University of Barcelona, Spain, and has served in a number of pastoral roles in Chile, including superior of the community of Los Angeles, Santa Maria de Los Angeles; priest of the parish of “San Miguel” in Vina del Mar; superior of the community of Recreo, and episcopal vicar for consecrated life of the diocese of Valparaiso. He is currently vicar of the parish of “San Francisco de Asis” in Los Angeles. He has also served as provincial bursar for the order in Chile, promoter of justice at the ecclesiastical tribunal of Valparaiso, and judge at the tribunal of the archdiocese of Concepcion.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

TELEGRAM FOR THE AVIATION ACCIDENT IN MAGONG


Vatican City, 24 July 2014 (VIS) – Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin has sent a telegram on behalf of Pope Francis to the archbishop of Taipei and president of the regional Conference of bishops of China, John Huong Shan-chuan, with reference to the accident that occurred at Magong airport, Taiwan, in which a TransAsia Airways aircraft had to make an emergency landing, resulting in 48 deaths and leaving 10 injured.

In the text, the Holy Father expresses his sadness for the accident, as well as his closeness to the relatives of the victims, and assures them of his prayers for all those affected by the tragedy, asking God to grant them consolation, strength and peace.

POPE'S MESSAGE FOR THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE ARGENTINE SHRINE OF ST. PANTALEON


Vatican City, 24 July 2014 (VIS) – The shrine is “a temple that seems still, but that the people of God carry forward. In this way it has moved ahead for fifty years in the hearts of the many faithful who have come to venerate the saint, to implore for health, and to profess their faith. In this way it has moved into the heart of the area, projecting itself onto the whole city”, said the Pope in the message he sent to the faithful who will meet in the neighbourhood of Mataderos in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the shrine of St. Pantaleon. “I ask the Lord to grant you the grace to continue on your path, to continue this pilgrimage of the heart in the midst of this great city”.

The Holy Father went on to recall with nostalgia the time during which, as archbishop of Buenos Aires, he personally visited the parish dedicated to the doctor saint of Nicomedia. “I wish to be close to you to be able to relive in some way the occasions in which I was able to visit the shrine on 27 July to help the priests in confession. I returned home spiritually strengthened by this witness of faith. The good I received is unimaginable. And I wish to give thanks for all this good. May the Lord reward you plentifully”.

The pontiff concluded by assuring the faithful of his closeness and prayer and asked them to pray for him. “In these days of celebration … I am close to you. … May Jesus bless you and the Holy Virgin protect you”.

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS


Vatican City, 24 July 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Ref. Joy Alappat as auxiliary of the eparchy of St. Thomas the Apostle of Chicago of the Syro-Malabars (Catholics 87,000, priests 53, religious 31), U.S.A. The bishop-elect was born in Parappukara, India, in 1956 and was ordained a priest in 1981. He holds a master's degree in theology from the St.Joseph's Pontifical Institute, Aluva, and the Adheva University, Wattair, and completed the Clinical Pastoral Education programme at Georgetown University, U.S.A. He has held a number of pastoral roles both in India – in the eparchal cathedral in Chalakudy and as chaplain of the Syro-Malabar community in Chennai – and in the U.S.A., as chaplain of Georgetown University, and parish priest in New Milford, Newark and Garfield. He is currently rector of the eparchal Cathedral in Bellwood, Illinois.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

NINETY MINUTES FOR PEACE


Vatican City, 23 July 2014 (VIS) – An “Interreligious Match for Peace” will be held on 1 September at 8.45 p.m., at the Olympic Stadium in Rome. The event will involve the participation of world level players and coaches such as Lionel Messi, Gianluigi Buffon, Zinedine Zidane, Javier Zanetti, Roberto Baggio, Andrea Pirlo, Yuto Nagatomo and Samuel Eto'o, and the proceeds will be donated to charity.

The idea for the match originates from April 2013, when the Pope met with the Argentine and Italian teams following a friendly match between them. On that occasion, the footballer Javier Zanetti communicated to the Pope his idea of organising a sporting event uniting people of different religions. A year later, the idea took shape. Tickets for the event will be available from Friday 25 July, and all the proceeds will be donated to “Scholas Occurrentes” and to the P.U.P.I. Foundation.

Scholas Occurrentes is an educational organisation, supported by Pope Francis through the Pontifical Council for Sciences, that uses technology, art and sport to promote social integration and the culture of encounter. The P.U.P.I. Foundation is a non-profit organisation created by Paula and Javier Zanetti over ten years ago, promotes and supports distance adoption programmes and assistance for children in difficult social conditions.

AUDIENCES


Vatican City, 23 July 2014 (VIS) – Today the Holy Father received in audience Archbishop Charles John Brown, apostolic nuncio in Ireland.

Yesterday afternoon, 22 July, the Holy Father received in audience Archbishop Giorgio Lingua, apostolic nuncio in Jordan and Iraq.


OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS


Vatican City, 23 July 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Fr. Jan Kot O.M.I. as bishop of Ze Doca (area 35,110, population 332,000, Catholics 305,000, priests 25, permanent deacons 1, religious 30), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Mokon, Poland in 1962, gave his perpetual vows in 1986 and was ordained a priest in 1992. He holds a licentiate history of the Church from the University of Rybnik, Poland, and has served as priest in the parishes of Siedlce, Poland, and in Jussarval and subsequently Vitoria di Santo Antao, in the archdiocese of Olinda and Recife, Brazil. He is currently priest of the “Sagrado Coracao de Maria” parish in Campo Alegre do Fidalgo, Brazil. He succeeds Bishop Carlo Ellena, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese, upon reaching the age limit, was accepted by the Holy Father.
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