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At the Angelus a new appeal by the Pope - Against modern slavery

Mon, 07/31/2017 - 13:39
Dear brothers and sisters, Good Morning! The parable discourse of Jesus which groups seven parables in the 13th chapter of Matthew’s Gospel concludes with today’s three similar stories: the hidden treasure (v 44), the fine pearl (45-46) and the fishing net (v. 47-48). I will pause on the first two [parables] which highlight the protagonists’ decision to sell everything in order to obtain what they found. The first case has to do with a farmer who casually runs into a hidden treasure in the field he is working. As the field is not his property, he must purchase it in order to take possession of the treasure: he therefore decides to risk all his possessions so as not to lose that truly exceptional opportunity. In the second case, we find a merchant of precious pearls; as an expert, he has spotted a pearl of great value. He too decides to wager everything on that pearl, to such an extent, as to sell all his other ones. These similar [stories] highlight two characteristics regarding possession of the Kingdom of God: the search and sacrifice. It is true that the Kingdom of God is offered to all — it is a gift, it is a present, it is a grace — but it is not available on a silver platter: it requires dynamism: it is about searching, trying to walk, working hard. The attitude of searching is the essential condition for finding. The heart must burn with the desire to reach the precious good, that is, the Kingdom of God which is made present in the person of Jesus. He is the hidden treasure; he is the pearl of great value. He is the fundamental discovery who can make a decisive change in our lives, filling it with meaning. Faced with the unexpected search, both the farmer and the merchant realize that they are before a unique opportunity which should not be missed, hence, they sell all they own. The evaluation of the inestimable value of the treasure brings to a decision that also implies sacrifice, detachment and surrender. When the treasure and the pearl are discovered. that is, when we have found the Lord, it is necessary not to let this discovery become sterile, but rather to sacrifice every other thing to it. It is not a question of disliking everything else but to place it subordinately to Jesus, putting him in first place; Grace in first place. The disciple of Christ is not someone who has deprived himself of something that is essential; he is someone who has found much more: he has found the complete joy that only the Lord can give. It is the evangelical joy of the sick who have healed; of the pardoned sinners, of the thief for whom the doors of heaven open. The joy of the Gospel fills the heart and the entire life of those who encounter Jesus. Those who allow themselves to be saved by Him are freed from sin, sadness, inner emptiness and isolation. With Jesus Christ, joy is always born and reborn (cf. Apo. Exhort Evangelii gaudium , 1). Today we are called to contemplate the joy of the farmer and the merchant in the parables. It is the joy of each of us when we discover the closeness and the comforting presence of Jesus in our lives. A presence which transforms the heart and opens us to the needs and the welcome of our brothers, especially the weaker ones. Let us pray for the intercession of the Virgin Mary so that each of us can know how to bear witness, in daily words and gestures to the joy of having found the treasure of the Kingdom of God, that is, the love that the Father has given us through Jesus. After the Angelus, Dear brothers and sisters, today is World Day against the trafficking of persons, promoted by the United Nations. Each year thousands of men, women and children are innocent victims of work and sexual exploitation and of organ trafficking and it seems that we have become so accustomed to this, as to consider it a normal thing. This is ugly, it is cruel, it is criminal! I wish to call on the commitment of all so that this perverse plague, a form of modern slavery, may be adequately contrasted. Let us pray together to the Virgin Mary so that she may support the victims of trafficking. Let us pray together to Our Lady: Hail Mary.... I now extend a greeting to all the pilgrims from Italy and from various countries, in particular the Murialdine Sisters of Saint Joseph, the Novices of Mary Help of Christians, altar servers from various Italian parishes and the Italian Hockey Club Femenino from Buenos Aires. I wish you all a Happy Sundayand please do not forget to pray for me. Have a good Lunch and Arrivederci!...

Pope Francis at Angelus: Gospel joy opens hearts

Sun, 07/30/2017 - 20:16
(Vatican Radio) Ahead of the Sunday Angelus prayer with pilgrims and tourists in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis shared a reflection on two of the three parables from the 13 th chapter of the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew , which were read during Mass on Sunday. Click below to hear our report Focusing exclusively on the parables of the hidden treasure and the pearl of great price , the Holy Father said, “This day, we are exhorted to contemplate the joy of the farmer,” who sells all he has in order to purchase the field wherein he had hidden the treasure he discovered, “and of the merchant,” who sells all he had in order to purchase the pearl of great price. “It is the joy of each of us when we discover the closeness and consoling presence of Jesus in our lives,” he said. “A presence,” Pope Francis went on to say, “that transforms the heart and opens us to [meet] the needs and to welcome our brothers and sisters, especially the weakest ones.” (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope Francis appeals for end to human trafficking

Sun, 07/30/2017 - 19:15
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis called for increased efforts to end human trafficking on Sunday. The Holy Father’s appeal came in remarks following the Angelus prayer with pilgrims and tourists gathered in St. Peter’s Square, on the 17 th Sunday in Ordinary Time and the World Day against Trafficking in Persons , sponsored by the United Nations . “Each year,” said Pope Francis, “thousands of men, women and children are innocent victims of sexual and organ trafficking, and it seems that we are so accustomed to seeing it as a normal thing.” Click below to hear our report The Holy Father went on to say, “This is ugly, it is cruel, it is criminal.” He called human trafficking , “an aberrant plague,” and, “a modern form of slavery ,” renewing his appeal for universal commitment to ending the practice. Pope Francis concluded his appeal by leading everyone present in the recitation of the Hail Mary for the intention of ending human trafficking. Below, please find the full text of Pope Francis’ appeal, in our English translation ************************** Today is the World Day against Trafficking in Persons, promoted by the United Nations. Each year, thousands of men, women and children are innocent victims of sexual and organ trafficking, and it seems that we are so accustomed to seeing it as a normal thing. This is ugly, it is cruel, it is criminal! I would like to draw on everyone's commitment to make this aberrant plague, a modern form of slavery, adequately countered. Let us pray together the Virgin Mary to support the victims of trafficking and to convert the hearts of traffickers. (from Vatican Radio)...

Philippines preparing for 7th Asian Youth Day ‎

Wed, 07/26/2017 - 22:19
(Vatican Radio) The biggest event of the Asian Catholic Church this year, is taking place in Yogyakarta city, Indonesia, next week.  The 7th Asian Youth Day (AYD7) is being hosted by the Archdiocese of Semarang, August 2-6, with over 2000 ‎‎young people from ‎‏‎21 ‎Asian countries rallying around the theme, “Joyful Asian Youth: Living the Gospel ‎in Multicultural Asia‎!” ‎ The continent-level event has been held in various Asian cities since 1999 in intervals of 2, ‎‎3 ‎and 5 years, with the last AYD in Daejeon Diocese in Korea in 2014, in which Pope Francis participated.  Organizers have divided the entire AYD into three events spread across 11 days from July 30 to August 9 .  On arrival, the participants will head to the 11 of Indonesia’s 37 dioceses who will be hosting them from July 30 to August 2 in what is called Days in the Dioceses (DID).  All the participants will then converge in Yogyakarta from August 2 to 6 for the central event of the AYD7 .   The 5 days will include a variety of activities such as adoration, confession, Mass, reflections, testimonies, workshops, group sharing, country exhibits and cultural performances.  After the main event, the Asian Youth Ministers will stay back for a meeting, August 6 to 9. Among the 21 countries participating in the AYD is also the Philippines.  To know about it, we called Fr. Conegundo Garganta, the executive secretary of the Episcopal Commission on Youth of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.  Speaking to us on the phone from Manila Fr. Garganta  first talked about the Philippine youth delegation to the Asian Youth Day. Listen:   Summary: Fr. Garganta said that 69 young people have been officially registered with the AYD7 but with bishops and youth ministers accompanying them, the entire delegation has 82 members.  Peparation The young people will first head to the Indonesian dioceses of Bogor and Jakarta for the Days in the Diocese (DID).  The young people have been preparing for the event following the pre-event modules of the AYD, that recommend reflecting and meditating on the suggested scripture passages, visiting churches, talking to priests, visiting non-Christian families and communities etc.    Philippine contribution to AYD Fr. Garganta also talked about the contribution that the Philippine young people will be brining to the AYD.  He talked about the warmth and friendship of the Filipino people, particularly visible in their smiles, and their strong faith.  They would also display the “multi-culturality” of the Philippines, where there are minority and tribal groups and followers of other faiths, “but still people are able to blend well.” Message The executive secretary of the Philippine Episcopal Commission on Youth ‎sent a message to Filipinos abroad assuring them that despite numerous challenges and struggles, as in many countries, the faith of the Philippine people was leading them to hope  and to continue working for peace . The Church regards the young not merely as hope for the future but much more for the present.  Fr. Garganta urged the country, the Church and the government, also of other countries, to “ really invest in the young people” , because they provide “new perspectives in ways of looking at life…” which promote solidarity, unity, friendship, and understanding.   (from Vatican Radio)...

Italy drought: Vatican turns off fountains to save water

Tue, 07/25/2017 - 13:45
(Vatican Radio) The drought that is affecting the city of Rome and the surrounding areas of the capital has led the Holy See to take measures to save water. The Governorate of Vatican City State has decided to turn off all the fountains, both the external ones located in St. Peter's Square, and the interior fountains including those in the Vatican Gardens. The move is in line with the teachings of Pope Francis in his Encyclical on creation Laudate Si. (from Vatican Radio)...

Vatican on migration: an opportunity for development and fraternity

Tue, 07/25/2017 - 00:54
(Vatican Radio) The integration of migrants and refugees in host nations can and must become an opportunity for new understanding, broader horizons and greater development for everyone. This message was at the heart of a statement released on Monday by Father Michael Czerny at the UN in New York during an Informal Thematic Session in New York  to gather substantive input and recommendations to inform the Global Compact on Migration .  Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni : Father. Michael Czerny, who is the Undersecretary of the Section for Migrants and Refugees in the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development – which answers directly to  Pope Francis himself - focused his intervention on the need to promote a culture in which the consequences and impacts of migration become an opportunity for “human growth, encounter and dialogue in view of the promotion of peace and fraternity among peoples.”    Pointing out that no one should ever be forced to leave his or her home due to lack of development or peace and that tragically the reasons that compel millions to go on the move today are to be found in endemic poverty, hunger, violence, inadequate work, environmental degradation, weak and corrupt institutions, Fr Czerny said that whether the effects of migration become a gain - for them, their families, their countries of destination and hopefully one day perhaps their countries of origin - depends on the extent to which  they are welcomed, protected, promoted and integrated. That gain - he continued – hinges “on whether migrants and refugees are helped to transition from objects of emergency care to dignified subjects of their own development” and are permitted to use the education, skills, ambitions, experiences and cultural wisdom they already have, as well as those that could be enhanced through further schooling and training for the development of society. For this desired win-win to occur, he concluded, migrants must first be received and treated as human beings, with dignity and respect for their rights, and they must be protected against all forms of exploitation and from being permanently cast-away, whether socially, economically or legally.   (from Vatican Radio)...

Angelus: Pope appeals for dialogue after Jerusalem violence

Sun, 07/23/2017 - 20:04
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has appealed for moderation and dialogue after a surge of violence and killings over Jerusalem’s Temple Mount . Addressing the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Sunday  Angelus , the Pope said he is following “with trepidation the grave tensions and violence of the last days in Jerusalem.” Last week Arab gunmen, shooting from the site – which is Holy to Jews and to Muslims -  killed two Israeli policemen sparking a wave of violence in which three Palestinians were killed in street clashes and a Palestinian fatally stabbed three members of an Israeli family. “I feel the need to express a heartfelt appeal for moderation and dialogue” Francis said and he invited all faithful to join him in prayer so that the Lord may inspire all sides to come together with proposals for reconciliation and peace.  Tensions over the site, known to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif and to Jews as the Temple Mount, have surged in the past couple of days following the installation by Israel of metal detectors after two Israeli policemen were killed near there earlier this month. The measures angered the Palestinians, who accuse Israel of trying to take control over a sacred place. Israel now says it is willing to consider alternatives to the controversial metal detectors it installed and has called on the Muslim world to put forward other suggestions.   (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope Francis donates €25 thousand to ease East Africa famine

Fri, 07/21/2017 - 19:56
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has donated €25 thousand to the efforts of the United Nations ’ Food and Agriculture Organisation , FAO , in support of people facing famine and food insecurity in East Africa . The Holy Father had pledged personal assistance in a message to FAO 's Conference on 3 July 2017, in which he said he was "inspired also by the desire to encourage Governments". Click below to hear our report In February of this year, famine was declared in parts of South Sudan (where civil strife has largely interrupted daily life). While the situation has eased after a significant scaling up in the humanitarian response, some 6 million people in the country are still struggling to find enough food every day. Meanwhile, there are an estimated 16 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in five other East African countries: Somalia , Ethiopia , Kenya , Tanzania and Uganda . That figure represents an increase of about 30 percent since late 2016. Below, please find the official statement regarding the donation ************************************* Pope Francis donates to FAO to assist drought and conflict-stricken populations in East Africa Gesture aims to encourage governments to support FAO's emergency response 21 July 2017, Rome - In an unprecedented move, Pope Francis has symbolically donated €25,000 to FAO's efforts supporting people facing food insecurity and famine in East Africa. Pope Francis said the funds are "a symbolic contribution to an FAO programme that provides seeds to rural families in areas affected by the combined effects of conflicts and drought." The pontiff's remarks were contained in a letter written to FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva by Monsignor Fernando Chica Arellano, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the UN food agencies in Rome. Pope Francis' gesture stemmed from a pledge he made in a message to FAO's Conference on 3 July 2017 and was "inspired also by the desire to encourage Governments," Monsignor Chica wrote in the letter. Famine was declared in parts of South Sudan in February and while the situation has eased after a significant scaling up in the humanitarian response, some 6 million people in the country are still struggling to find enough food every day. Meanwhile the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance in five other East African countries - Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda - is currently estimated at about 16 million, which marks an increase of about 30 percent since late 2016. Pope Francis, who has made solidarity a major theme of his pontificate, is set to visit FAO's headquarters on 16 October to mark World Food Day. This year the event is being held under the slogan: "Change the future of migration. Invest in food security and rural development". (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope's Message to World Movement of Christian Workers

Sun, 07/16/2017 - 19:57
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a Message to the International Meeting of the World Movement of Christian Workers which has been taking place in Ávila, Spain, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of its foundation. 120 delegates representing the Movement, present today in 79 countries are attending the event. The theme of the meeting is, "Land, Home and Work for a Worthy Life". The message, signed by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, stresses that "the dignity of the person is closely united to these three realities" that remind us that the fundamental experience of the human being "is to feel rooted in the world, in one Family, in a society. " "Land, home, and work - continues the Message - means fighting because every person lives in a manner consistent with his dignity and nobody is discarded. To this we encourage our faith in God, who sent his Son into the world because, sharing the story of his people, living in a family and working with his hands, he could redeem and save the human person with his Death and resurrection ". Finally, the Pope urges the Christian Workers Movement "to persevere with renewed impetus in the effort to bring the Gospel into the world of work". (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope Francis renews prayer for Venezuela

Sun, 07/16/2017 - 19:35
(Vatican Radio) The Pope during his Angelus  in St Peter's Square on Sunday once again addressed his thoughts to Venezuela. Greeting the Venezuelan Catholic community in Italy he renewed his prayer for what he called, this "beloved country".  Pope Francis' prayer comes on a crucial day for Venezuela: this Sunday marks the popular referendum promoted by the opposition to say no to the constituent assembly proposed by President Maduro. The country's bishops support the initiative, which is not recognized by the authorities, to counteract - they say - the attempt to establish a Marxist military dictatorship. Meanwhile, as the political crisis deepens, the humanitarian crisis worsens. Italian Caritas has published a report entitled which shows that over 11,000 children died in 2016 for lack of medicines and maternal mortality rose by almost 70%. Faced with the food, health and safety crisis, the Italian Bishops' Conference has also offered to contribute 500,000 euros. (from Vatican Radio)...

Angelus: As the sower Jesus performs a spiritual radiography of our heart

Sun, 07/16/2017 - 19:27
(Vatican Radio) During his Angelus address on Sunday to the pilgrims and tourists who braved the heat in St Peter’s Square, Pope Francis recalled the Gospel reading of the day, the famous parable of the sower.  Listen to our report: The Pope explained that the sower is Jesus, but the parable itself, the Pope went on to say concerns us, as it speaks of the soil and not the sower. The Holy Father noted that “Jesus performs, so to speak, a "spiritual radiography" of our heart”, which is the ground upon which the seed of the Word falls. Our heart, he added, "is like the soil, it can be good when the Word bears fruit, but it can also be hard, and waterproof." Pope Francis also described how in between these forms of soil, there are two types of land.  The first, he said, is a stony ground where the seed cannot put down deep roots. This, the Pope added, “is the superficial heart that welcomes the Lord, wants to pray, love and testify, but does not persevere..." The Holy Father continued, then “there is the thorny ground, full of rocks that suffocate the good plants." This form of soil, he said, was the world seduced by wealth and greed, adding that the rocks were the vices that inhabit a person’s heart. With the Lord’s help, underlined Pope Francis, we can reclaim the land in the form of confession and prayer that removes the stones and thorns and purifies our hearts. During his address the Holy Father remembered the Blessed Virgin of Mount Carmel, who is celebrated on July 16th.     (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope endorses campaign to put 'Laudato Sì' into action

Thu, 07/13/2017 - 19:59
(Vatican Radio) Following the 2nd anniversary of the publication of his encyclical “ Laudato Sì – On Care of our Common Home ”, Pope Francis has endorsed a pledge campaign that aims to mobilize at least 1 million people to directly engage in turning the encyclical’s message into action.  Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni : Organized and promoted by the Global Catholic Climate Movement , the pledge  calls on those who sign to answer the call of Laudato Sì by praying with and for creation, living more simply, and advocating to protect our common home. The "Laudato Sì Pledge campaign" has received support from Church leaders from around the globe including Cardinal Turkson, Cardinal Tagle, Cardinal Ribat, Cardinal Cupich and Cardinal Marx. It has also garnered the support of major environmental leaders. Tomás Insua, Executive Director of the Global Catholic Climate Movement, said, "We are grateful and inspired by Pope Francis' endorsement of the Laudato Si' Pledge. With 1.2 billion Catholics around the world, we have a critical role to play in tackling climate change and the wider ecological crisis. Pope Francis has already changed the discussion around climate change and this pledge is inviting us to put the Church's teachings into action and answer the urgent call for strong political action and lifestyle change put forth in Laudato Si'." The Pope's endorsement adds to the momentum of recent Catholic climate action: Pope Francis requested that Angela Merkel uplift the Paris climate accord during the G20 summit, several Catholic organizations recently divested from fossil fuels, GCCM joined other Christian groups calling on governments to take strong action before the G7 last month and the Movement’s Executive Director joined other scientific, political and faith leaders in publishing a letter in Nature Magazine pushing the G20 to recognize the urgency of the climate crisis.  (from Vatican Radio)...

Congregation for Clergy hosts course on priestly formation

Thu, 07/13/2017 - 19:38
(Vatican Radio) More than one hundred seminary rectors from throughout the English-speaking world gathered in Rome earlier this month under the guidance and sponsorship of the Congregation for Clergy to discuss the revised handbook of best practices for the formation of seminarians. Known as the Ratio fundamentalis institutionis sacerdotalis – ratio fundamentalis or just ratio for short – the latest edition of the document is titled, On the Gift of Priestly Vocation . The basic and animating idea of the Ratio is that of helping seminaries all around the world to succeed in their mission of forming men for the priesthood by first firmly grounding them in a self-conscious attitude of missionary discipleship, and then giving them the tools to live their lives as disciples to the fullest, in and through the ministerial priesthood to which God calls them through His Church. One of the participants, Msgr. David L. Toups , rector of  St. Vincent De Paul Regional Seminary  in Boynton Beach, Florida, told Vatican Radio this new document, which brings together the many disparate elements offered as teaching and formation tools by several different dicasteries in the thirty-odd years since the last Ratio was promulgated, and offers best practices to seminary rectors who work in vastly different cultural contexts in service of one mission, is more than welcome. “It’s highly significant for us in the seminary world,” he said. Msgr. Joseph Betchart , rector of Mount Angel Seminary in St. Benedict, Oregon, also took part in the course, and told Vatican Radio he welcomes the holistic approach to formation, with the particular emphasis it puts on discipleship. Click below to hear our conversation with Msgr. Toups and Msgr. Betchart “In order to shepherd the People of God,” he said, “you have to – first of all – be a member of the People of God.” Msgr. Betchart explained that the view this document takes is comprehensive. “It is really focused on forming the man to be first and foremost a disciple of Jesus Christ,” he said, “because, as the axiom goes, ‘You can’t give what you don’t have.’” The course sponsored by the Congregation for Clergy on the fundamental principles of the new Ratio fundamentalis ran from June 26 th to July 7 th in Rome. (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope to catechists: Be creative

Wed, 07/12/2017 - 19:33
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a message to an International Catechetical Symposium which is taking place this week at the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina in Buenos Aires, and has as its theme “blessed are those who believe”. Listen:  In the message to the symposium, the Holy Father points out that “being a catechist is a vocation of service in the Church, that has been received as a gift from the Lord and must in turn be transmitted.” He goes on to say that the catechist walks with Christ, therefore is not a person who starts from his own ideas and tastes. He or she  looks for the Lord and that searching makes their heart burn. Pope Francis also notes in his message that the role of the catechist is a creative one because this person seeks different ways and means to announce the good news of Christ. The Pope adds that “this quest to make Jesus known as supreme beauty leads us to find new signs and forms for the transmission of the faith.” The means may be different, the Holy Father underlines, “but the important thing is to keep in mind the style of Jesus, who adapted to the people around him in order to bring them the love of God.” The Pope continues that, it is necessary to know how to "change" and adapt, in order to transmit God’s message even though the message itself is always the same. Finally, Pope Francis encourages catechists taking part in the symposium to be joyful messengers, guardians of good and beauty who shine in the faithful life of the missionary disciple.”   (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope to beatify a bishop and a priest in Colombia

Tue, 07/11/2017 - 22:09
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis will beatify two martyred Colombian clerics when he travels to visit their South American nation in September. The director of the Holy See Press office, Greg Burke, said that Bishop Jesus Emilio Jaramillo Monsalve of Arauca and Father Pedro Ramirez Ramos will be beatified on September 8th during an open-air Mass in the city of Villavicencio presided over by the Pope.   Linda Bordoni reports: It was thanks to Bishop Jaramillo’s work of evangelization and promotion of the local Church in a vast territory where contraband and drug trafficking were rampant that development was made possible. Jaramillo was taken hostage in 1989 by armed bandits some 800 kilometers east of Bogota, and found dead the following day, shot with four bullets to the head. Francis also recognized the martyrdom of Father Pedro Ramirez who was killed at the start of the Colombian civil war in 1948 when guerrilla factions set upon him as he sought refuge in his parish church. He refused to flee and abandon the people so the insurgents destroyed the door of the building, seized him and accused him of hiding weapons in the adjacent convent. They killed him on April 10 and impeded the faithful from giving a Christian burial to his mortal remains for some ten days. To this day, Father Pedro is known in Colombia as “the martyr of Armero.” Pope Francis is scheduled to make his first apostolic visit to Colombia from 6 to 11 September, visiting the cities of Bogotá, Villavicencio, Medellín and Cartagena. The journey is a pastoral one but is widely expected to further cement the peace accords signed by the government and the FARC rebel group aimed at putting an end to five decaded of civil conflict. The country’s second largest guerrilla group – the ELN – is also currently holding peace negotiations in neighboring Ecuador.   (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope names Card. Bertello special envoy for diocesan celebration in Italy

Tue, 07/11/2017 - 21:44
(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis has appointed Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, President of the Governorate of Vatican City State, as his Special Envoy for the bicentennial celebrations of the founding of the Diocese of Cuneo in Italy. Celebrations will be held on 16 July in the Cathedral, St. Mary of the Woods. Cardinal Bertello is to be accompanied by Msgr. Giovanni Battista Riberi, Vicar General of the diocese, and Msgr. Don Roberto Mondino, Secretary of the Presbiteral Council. Pope Francis sent the following letter to Cardinal Bertello for the occasion. Venerabili Fratri Nostro IOSEPHO S.R.E. Cardinali BERTELLO Praesidi Praefecturae Civitatis Vaticanae Cuneensis dioecesis, quam Decessor Noster Pius VII rec. mem., pastorales necessitates attente considerans, die XVII mensis Iulii anno MDCCCXVII bulla "Beati Petri Apostolorum Principis" condidit, laetanter ducentesimam celebrat anniversariam suae fundationis memoriam. Dilecti quidem fideles Cuneenses, actuoso Pastore et sacerdotibus moderantibus, hunc eventum recolentes, Domini vocem diligenter exaudire cupiunt atque spiritale iter studiose sequi. Quaedam etenim adimplentur pastoralia incepta, quae Venerabilis Frater Petrus Delbosco, Episcopus Cuneensis et Fossanensis, suis proposuit fidelibus, ut in huius gregis historia Domini misericordiam et largitatem clare admirari possent atque incitamentum experiri ad renovatam vitam sub Christi lumine assidue sequendam. Novimus insuper die XVI proximi mensis Iulii, in memoria videlicet Beatae Mariae Virginis de Monte Carmelo, sollemnem Eucharistiam celebratum iri, veluti anniversariae memoriae praecipuum eventum. Hanc ob rem memoratus sacer Praesul humanissime Nos rogavit ut aliquem eminentem Virum mitteremus, qui Nostras vices Cunei gereret Nostramque erga istum gregem dilpctionem manifestaret. Ad Te autem, Venerabilis Frater Noster, qui, Italiae insignis Filius, pergrave munus exerces Praesidis Praefecturae Civitatis Vaticanae, mentem Nostrarn vertimus Teque hisce Litteris MISSUM EXTRAORDINARIUM NOSTRUM nominamus ad dictam celebrationem, quae memorato die XVI proximi mensis Iulii prope cathedrale templum Cuneense, Sanctae Mariae a Silva dicatum, perficietur. Sollemni ergo praesidebis Eucharistiae atque Episcopum Cuneensem et Fossanensem aliosque sacros Praesules, sacerdotes, religiosos viros mulieresque, publicas auctoritates atque universos christifideles Nostro salutabis nomine. Omnes adstantes sermone tuo ad diligentiorem usque Christi vitae imitationem hortaberis. Optamus denique ut cuncti, venustam historiam dioecesis Cuneensis recolentes, novis viribus novaque caritatis diligentia peculiarem dilectionem erga Christi Ecclesiam et Evangelium demonstrent atque spirituali assiduitate in cotidiana vita emineant. Nos autem Te, Venerabilis Frater Noster, in tua missione implenda precibus comitabimur. Denique Benedictionem Nostram Apostolicam libentes Tibi impertimur, signum Nostrae erga Te benevolentiae et caelestium donorum pignus, quam omnibus celebrationis participibus rite transmittes. Ex Aedibus Vaticanis, die XVI mensis lunii, anno MMXVII, Pontificatus Nostri quinto. (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope Francis creates new category for beatification: oblatio vitae

Tue, 07/11/2017 - 19:51
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis issued an Apostolic Letter motu proprio on Tuesday, by which he created a new category, distinct from martyrdom, under which a Servant of God may be declared Blessed: oblatio vitae , or “the free offering (i.e. “oblation”) of [one’s] life”. The Letter, Maiorem hac dilectionem , takes its title from the words of Our Lord as recorded in the Holy Gospel according to St. John, “Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends, (Jn 15:13)”. The Letter creates a new category - a facti species  in technical language - called,  oblatio vitae , and distinguishes it from the facti species  of martyrdom, by five (5) criteria: The free and voluntary offering of one’s life, and heroic acceptance propter caritatem of a certain and soon-to-come death; A nexus – i.e. close relation – between the offering of one’s life and the premature death of the one who offers it; The exercise, at least in ordinary degree, of the Christian virtues before the subject’s offering of his or her life and, afterward, perseverance in those virtues unto death; The existence of fama sanctitatis – i.e. the reputation for holiness – on the part of the subject, and of signs [in confirmation thereof], at least after death; The necessity, for beatification, of a miracle, one that occurred after the death of the Servant of God, and by said Servant’s intercession. The oblatio vitae of the Servant of God, in order that it be valid and efficacious for beatification, must respond to all of the aforementioned criteria. The positio prepared by the diocesan inquest into the Cause of the Servant of God must respond to the following question: An constet de heroica oblatione vitae usque ad mortem propter caritatem necnon de virtutibus christianis, saltem in gradu ordinario, in casu et ad effectum de quo agitur , which is, “Does [the case of the Servant of God] consist of [an] heroic offering of his/her life up to death for the sake of supernatural love of God ( propter caritatem ) and also of the Christian virtues, at least in the ordinary degree, on the occasion and to the effect for which [the subject’s offering of his/her life] was made?” Below, please find the full text of the Apostolic Letter motu proprio, Maiorem hac dilectionem, in the original Latin… *******************************      LITTERAE APOSTOLICAE MOTU PROPRIO DATAE DE OBLATIONE VITAE « Maiorem hac dilectionem nemo habet, ut animam suam quis ponat pro amicis suis» (Io 15,13). Singulari existimatione et honore digni sunt illi christifideles, qui Iesu Christi vestigia ac placita proxime sequentes, vitam suam pro aliis voluntarie ac libere praebuerunt et hoc in proposito usque ad mortem perseveraverunt. Omnibus compertum habetur heroicam vitae oblationem, caritate monitam ac fultam, Christi veram, plenam ac praestantissimam imitationem exprimere, quapropter ea digna est illa admiratione, quae fidelium communitas reservare illis solet, qui voluntarie vitam immolaverunt sanguinis martyrio occumbentes vel heroico in gradu christianas virtutes exercuerunt. Faventi consilio a Congregatione de Causis Sanctorum edito, quae Plenaria in Sessione diei 27 mensis Septembris anno 2016 diligenter perscrutata est an huiusmodi christifideles beatificationis sint digni, has quae sequuntur statuimus normas servandas: ARTICULUS I Vitae oblatio nova facti species est itineris ad beatificationem et canonizationem, quae a specie super martyrio et super heroicitatem virtutum differt. ARTICULUS II Vitae oblatio, ut sit apta atque efficax ad Servi Dei beatificationem haec requirit: a)   libera ac voluntaria sui vitae oblatio et heroica propter caritatem certae ac tempore proximae mortis acceptio; b)   nexus inter vitae oblationem et praematuram mortem; c)   exercitium, saltem ordinario gradu, christianarum virtutum ante vitae oblationem et, deinceps, usque ad mortem; d)   exsistentia famae sanctitatis et signorum saltem post mortem; e)   necessitas miraculi, beatificationis intuitu, quod post Servi Dei mortem et per eiusdem intercessionem eveniat. ARTICULUS III Dioecesanae vel Eparchialis Inquisitionis celebratio una cum pertinenti Positione ad normam Apostolicae Constitutionis Divinus perfectionis Magister diei 25 mensis Ianuarii anno 1983 in Actis Apostolicae Sedis, volumine 75 (1983), 349-355 editae, et secundum Normas Servandas in inquisitionibus ab Episcopis faciendis in Causis Sanctorum diei 7 mensis Februarii eiusdem anni promulgatas in Actis Apostolicae Sedis, volumine 75 (1983), 396-403 editas, praeter sequentia, temperata est. ARTICULUS IV Positio super oblatione vitae ad dubium respondeat “ An constet de heroica oblatione vitae usque ad mortem propter caritatem necnon de virtutibus christianis, saltem in gradu ordinario, in casu et ad effectum de quo agitur ”. ARTICULUS V In articulis subscriptae Apostolicae Constitutionis haec sequentia innoventur:         Ad art. 1: « Episcopis dioecesanis vel Hierarchis ceterisque in iure aequiparatis, intra fines suae iurisdictionis, sive ex officio, sive ad instantiam singulorum fidelium vel legitimorum coetuum eorumque procuratorum, ius competit inquirendi circa vitam, virtutes, vitae oblationem vel martyrium ac famam sanctitatis vel vitae oblationis vel martyrii, asserta miracula, necnon, si casus ferat, antiquum cultum Servi Dei, cuius canonizatio petitur ». Ad art. 2,5: « Inquisitio de assertis miraculis ab inquisitione de virtutibus vel de vitae oblatione vel de martyrio separatim fiat ». Ad art. 7,1: « Una cum externis cooperatoribus causis sibi commissis studere atque Positiones super virtutibus vel super vitae oblatione vel super martyrio parare».   Ad art. 13,2: « Si Congressus iudicaverit causam instructam fuisse ad legis normas, statuet cuinam ex Relatoribus committenda sit; Relator vero una cum cooperatore externo Positionem super virtutibus vel super vitae oblatione vel super martyrio conficiet iuxta regulas artis criticae in hagiographia servandas ». ARTICULUS VI In articulis supradictarum Normarum servandarum in inquisitionibus ab Episcopis faciendis in Causis Sanctorum haec innoventur: Ad art. 7: « Causa potest esse recentior aut antiqua; recentior dicitur, si martyrium vel virtutes vel vitae oblatio Servi Dei per orales depositiones testium de visu probari possunt; antiqua vero, cum probationes de martyrio vel de virtutibus vel de vitae oblatione dumtaxat ex fontibus scriptis erui possunt ». Ad art. 10,1°: « In causis tam recentioribus quam antiquis, biographiam alicuius historici momenti de Servo Dei, si extat, vel, ea deficiente, accuratam relationem chronologice digestam de vita et gestis ipsius Servi Dei, de eius virtutibus vel vitae oblatione vel martyrio, de sanctitatis et signorum fama, non omissis iis quae ipsi causae contraria vel minus favorabilia videntur ». Ad art. 10,3°:         « In causis recentioribus tantum, elenchum personarum quae ad eruendam veritatem circa virtutes vel vitae oblationem vel martyrium Servi Dei, necnon circa sanctitatis vel signorum famam conferre possunt vel adversari ». Ad art. 15,a: « Relatione accepta, Episcopus omnia usque ad illud tempus acquisita promotori iustitiae vel alii viro perito tradat, ut interrogatoria conficiat quae apta sint ad verum indagandum et inveniendum de Servi Dei vita, virtutibus vel vitae oblatione vel martyrio, fama sanctitatis vel vitae oblationis vel martyrii ». Ad art. 15,b: « In causis antiquis vero interrogatoria dumtaxat famam sanctitatis vel vitae oblationis vel martyrii adhuc vigentem necnon, si casus ferat, cultum recentioribus temporibus Servo Dei praestitum respiciant ». Ad art. 19: « Ad probandum martyrium vel virtutum exercitium vel vitae oblationem et signorum famam Servi Dei qui pertinuerit ad aliquod Institutum vitae consecratae, notabilis pars testium inductorum debent esse extranei, nisi, ob peculiarem Servi Dei vitam, id impossibile evadat ». Ad art. 32: « Inquisitio super miraculis separatim instruenda est ab inquisitione super virtutibus vel vitae oblatione vel martyrio et fiat iuxta normas quae sequuntur ». Ad art. 36: « De Servis Dei, quorum sanctitas vitae adhuc legitimo examini subiecta est, quaelibet sollemnia vel panegyricae orationes in ecclesiis prohibentur. Sed etiam extra ecclesiam abstinendum est ab iis actis quibus fideles induci possint ad falso putandum inquisitionem ab Episcopo factam de Servi Dei vita et virtutibus vel vitae oblatione vel martyrio certitudinem secum ferre futurae eiusdem Servi Dei canonizationis » Haec omnia, quae his Apostolicis Litteris motu proprio statuimus, mandamus ut rite funditusque serventur, contrariis quibuscumque etiam speciali mentione dignis minime obstantibus et publici iuris fiant per editionem super actis diurnis scilicet “ L’Osservatore Romano ” et ab hoc ipso die vigere incipiant et deinceps in Actis Apostolicae Sedis referri mandamus. Datum apud Sanctum Petrum, die XI mensis Iulii, anno Domini MMXVII, Pontificatus Nostri quinto. (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope at Angelus: Find true rest in the Lord

Sun, 07/09/2017 - 19:06
(Vatican Radio) “Come to me, all you who are weary and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” This passage, from the day’s Gospel reading, was the starting point for Pope Francis’ reflections ahead of the Sunday Angelus. Jesus, the Pope said, addresses this invitation to everyone, without exception, who feels weary or burdened by life. “Jesus knows how hard life can be,” he said. He knows how many things can cause our hearts to grow weary. In the face of all these burdens of life, the first word of Jesus’ invitation is “Come.” When things are going badly, Pope Francis said, it is a mistake to remain where we are. Although this might seem evident, he continued, it is natural in moments of darkness to turn in on ourselves, to brood on the injustices of life, the ingratitude of others, or the wickedness of the world. But Jesus wants to pull us out of this “quicksand.” The way out is in the relationship, in reaching out our hand and lifting our gaze toward the one Who truly loves us. But going out of ourselves is only the first step, the Pope said: we must also know where to go. In life, many of our goals can be deceptive, promising us rest and distracting us for a while, but ultimately leaving us as alone as when we started. They are like fireworks. And this is why Jesus says, “Come to me.” We often turn to others in times of difficulty – we must not forget to turn to Jesus, to open ourselves up to Him, and to entrust our difficulties to Him. The Lord is waiting for us in order to help us, but this does not mean He will magically take away our difficulties. “Jesus does not take the Cross from us,” the Holy Father said; rather “He carries it with us.” When we come to Jesus, we receive peace, a peace that remains even in trials and difficulty. The Lord Himself promises this to us, repeating again at the end of the day’s Gospel reading, “Learn from me… and you will find rest for your life.” “Let us learn to go to Jesus,” Pope Francis said in conclusion. “And while, in these summer months, we seek some respite from those things that weary the body, let us not forget to find true rest in the Lord.” (from Vatican Radio)...

Telegram of condolence for apartment block tragedy

Sun, 07/09/2017 - 17:37
(Vatican Radio) Through a telegram from Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, Pope Francis has sent his “ profound condolences ” to victims of a collapsed apartment block in Torre Annunziata outside of Naples. The building collapsed on Friday, leaving eight people dead, including two children. In the telegram, addressed to the Archbishop of Naples, Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe , Cardinal Parolin assured those affected by the tragedy of the Pope’s “fervent prayers of suffrage” for those who died. The telegram said that Pope Francis was praying to the “God of mercy” that he might bring comfort to those who were injured and to all those who are suffering as a result of having lost loved ones. It concludes by noting that the Holy Father has sent his Apostolic Blessing as a sign of his “spiritual closeness.”  (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope’s message to Philippine bishops’ plenary assembly ‎

Sat, 07/08/2017 - 20:46
Pope Francis has expressed his “prayerful solidarity” with the Catholic bishops of the Philippines as they began their plenary assembly in the capital Manila on Saturday, CBCP News reported.‎  Members of the Catholics Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) are holding their ‎115th  plenary meeting at the ‎Pope Piux XII Center, 8-10 July, to discuss some of the challenges facing the Church and the nation.  Pope Francis hoped the plenary assembly “ may bear spiritual fruit and that you yourselves may grow ‎in deeper faith, hope and charity ”.‎    ‎“ In this way, together with your priests, you will encourage all young Filipinos to become ‘joyful ‎messengers of challenging proposals [and] guardians of the goodness and beauty which shine forth in a ‎life of fidelity to the Gospel,’ ” the Holy Father added.  CBCP News said the Pope’s message was relayed by Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin to ‎CBCP President Archbishop Socrates Villegas, who has stepped down at the end of 2 terms as conference leader.  Succeeding him is Archbishop Romulo Valles of Davao, who was elected CBCP president at the start of the assembly,  on 8 July.   ‎Among the issues up for discussion during the 3-day meeting are the new priestly formation programme ‎and the challenges faced by the young people in preparation for next year’s Synod of Bishops in Rome.‎   Among the challenges facing the cardinals and bishops are issues such as extrajudicial killings in the war on drugs, the Islamist terrorism in the south, revival of the death penalty, the need for ‎ethical standards in social media and political engagement. Pope Francis is not new to the Philippines.  During his weeklong  visit to the country in January, 2015, he celebrated Mass under driving rain in Tacloban ,  during which he told the faithful his main purpose to visit their land was to show his closness and solidarity with the people of Visayas who were devastated by the typhoon Yolanda in November 2013.   (Source: CBCP News) (from Vatican Radio)...

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