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Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Pope arrives in Albania, example of fruitful co-existence between people of different beliefs


Vatican City, 21 September 2014 (VIS) – This morning Pope Francis began his visit to Tirana, Albania - his fourth apostolic trip and the second by a pontiff to the “Land of the Eagles”. The first was by John Paul II in 1993, two years after the fall of the dictatorship and following the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Holy See and the Republic of Albania. On that occasion, the Pope celebrated Mass in the Cathedral of Scutari, which had been transformed into a sports centre under the communist regime, and he blessed the first stone for the reconstruction of the Shrine to Our Lady of Good Counsel, built in 1895 and demolished in 1967. In Tirana in recent years both the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus of the Jesuit Fathers and the Orthodox Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ have been rebuilt.

The Holy Father, who departed from Rome's Fiumicino airport at 7.30 a.m., arrived in Tirana at 9 a.m. and was received at the aerodrome dedicated to Mother Teresa by representatives of the religious and civil authorities, including the apostolic nuncio in Albania, Archbishop Ramiro Moliner Ingles, and the Albanian prime minister Edi Rama. He proceeded by car to the presidential palace of Tirana, where the welcome ceremony took place, and he was greeted by the Albanian president, Bujar Nishani. Following a brief discussion, the president accompanied the Pope to the Salon Scanderberg for a meeting with the authorities, the diplomatic corps, and some of the country's religious leaders.

In his address to those present, the full text of which is published below, the Holy Father spoke about Albania's path to recovering civil liberties and religious freedom, warning of the exploitation of differences between religions and praising the peaceful co-existence and collaboration between those of different religious beliefs in Albania.

“I am very happy to be here with you, in this noble land of Albania, a land of heroes who sacrificed their lives for the independence of the nation, and a land of martyrs, who witnessed to their faith in difficult times of persecution. I am grateful for the invitation to visit your country, called 'the Land of the Eagles', and for your warm welcome.

“Almost a quarter of a century has passed since Albania re-embarked upon the arduous but rewarding path of freedom. This experience has allowed Albanian society to take up the process of material and spiritual reconstruction, to foster an increase of enthusiasm and initiatives, and to create a spirit of cooperation and exchange with countries of the Balkans, the Mediterranean, Europe and indeed with the rest of the world. This rediscovered freedom has helped you look to the future with trust and hope, establishing new projects and renewing friendly relations with countries both near and far.

“Respect for human rights, among which religious freedom and freedom of expression stand out, is the preliminary condition for a country’s social and economic development. When the dignity of the human person is respected and his or her rights recognised and guaranteed, creativity and interdependence thrive, and the potential of the human personality is unleashed through actions that further the common good.

“There is a rather beautiful characteristic of Albania, one which is given great care and attention, and which gives me great joy: I am referring to the peaceful coexistence and collaboration that exists among followers of different religions. The climate of respect and mutual trust between Catholics, Orthodox and Muslims is a precious gift to the country. This is especially the case in these times where an authentic religious spirit is being perverted and where religious differences are being distorted and exploited. This creates dangerous circumstances which lead to conflict and violence, rather than being an occasion for open and respectful dialogue, and for a collective reflection on what it means to believe in God and to follow his laws.

“Let no one use God as a 'shield' while planning and carrying out acts of violence and oppression! May no one use religion as a pretext for actions against human dignity and against the fundamental rights of every man and woman, above all, the right to life and the right of everyone to religious freedom!

“What the experience in Albania shows, rather, is that a peaceful and fruitful coexistence between persons and communities of believers of different religions is not only desirable, but possible and realistic. The peaceful coexistence of different religious communities is, in fact, an inestimable benefit to peace and to harmonious human advancement. This is something of value which needs to be protected and nurtured each day, by providing an education which respects differences and particular identities, so that dialogue and cooperation for the good of all may be promoted and strengthened by mutual understanding and esteem. It is a gift which we need to implore from God in prayer. May Albania always continue to walk this path, offering an inspiring example to other countries.

“Mr President, after a winter of isolation and persecution, the springtime of freedom has finally come. By means of free elections and new institutional structures, a democratic pluralism has been consolidated which is now favouring economic activity. Many people, especially at the beginning, chose to emigrate in search of work and a better standard of living, and in their own way contributed to the advancement of Albanian society. Many others rediscovered reasons for staying in their homeland, wanting to build it up from within. The efforts and sacrifices of all have improved the life of the nation in general.

“The Catholic Church, for her part, has resumed a normal existence, re-establishing her hierarchy and rejoining the threads of a long tradition. Places of worship have been built or rebuilt. Among these, the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Good Counsel at Scutari holds a special place. Similarly, schools and centres of education and healthcare have been established for use by all citizens. The presence of the Church and her activities are therefore rightly seen as a service, not only to the Catholic community, but rather to the whole nation.

“Blessed Mother Teresa, together with the martyrs who witnessed to their faith – to whom we pray and offer our appreciation – most certainly are rejoicing in heaven because of the work of men and women of good will who contribute to the flourishing of civil society and the Church in Albania.

“Today, however, new challenges arise which must be faced. In a world that tends toward economic and cultural globalization, every effort must be made to ensure that growth and development are put at the service of all and not just limited parts of the population. Furthermore, such development will only be authentic if it is sustainable and just, that is, if it has the rights of the poor and respect for the environment close to heart. Alongside the globalisation of the markets there must also be a corresponding globalisation of solidarity; together with economic growth there must be a greater respect for creation; alongside the rights of individuals, there must be the guaranteed rights of those who are a bridge between the individual and the state, the family being the first and foremost of such institutions. Today Albania is able to face these challenges in an atmosphere of freedom and stability, two realities which must be strengthened and which form the basis of hope for the future”.

“I offer my heartfelt thanks to each of you for your gracious welcome, and, like Saint John Paul II in April 1993, I invoke upon Albania the protection of Mary, Mother of Good Counsel, entrusting to her the hopes of the entire Albanian people. May God abundantly pour out his grace and blessing upon Albania”.

Following his address the Pope continued to Mother Teresa Square where he celebrated Holy Mass.

The living Church in the Land of the Eagles: thank you for your fidelity


Vatican City, 21 September 2014 (VIS) – Thousands of faithful participated in the Holy Mass celebrated by Pope Francis in Latin and Albanian at 11 a.m. in Mother Teresa Square. The liturgical readings reflected aspects of Albania's history. The first, from the Book of Exodus, told how “I bore you on eagle's wings”, whereas the epistle was St. Paul's letter to the Romans in which the apostle tells how he preached in Illyria, which at that time included the current territory of Albania.

However, in his homily the Holy Father commented on the passage from the Gospel of St. Luke, which includes the phrase “Peace be to this house” and which narrates how Jesus, after naming the twelve apostles, convokes another seventy-two disciples and sends them to proclaim the Kingdom of God to peoples and cities.

“He comes to bring the love of God to the world and he wishes to share it by means of communion and fraternity”, said Pope Francis. “To this end he immediately forms a community of disciples, a missionary community, and he trains them how to 'go out' on mission. The method is both clear and simple: the disciples visit homes and their preaching begins with a greeting which is charged with meaning: 'Peace be to this house!'. It is not only a greeting, but also a gift: the gift of peace. Being here with you today, dear brothers and sisters of Albania, in this square dedicated to a humble and great daughter of this land, Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, I wish to repeat to you this greeting: May peace be in your homes. May peace reign in your hearts. Peace in your country. Peace”.

“In the mission of the seventy-two disciples we see a reflection of the Christian community’s missionary experience in every age: the risen and living Lord sends not only the Twelve, but the entire Church; he sends each of the baptised to announce the Gospel to all peoples. Through the ages, the message of peace brought by Jesus’ messengers has not always been accepted; at times, the doors have been closed to them. In the recent past, the doors of your country were also closed, locked by the chains of prohibitions and prescriptions of a system which denied God and impeded religious freedom. Those who were afraid of the truth did everything they could to banish God from the hearts of men and women and to exclude Christ and the Church from the history of your country, even though it was one of the first to receive the light of the Gospel”.

Pope Francis went on to recall the “decades of atrocious suffering and harsh persecutions against Catholics, Orthodox and Muslims”, affirming that “Albania was a land of martyrs: many bishops, priests, men and women religious, lay faithful, and ministers of worship of other religions paid for their fidelity with their lives. Demonstrations of great courage and constancy in the profession of the faith are not lacking. How many Christians did not succumb when threatened, but persevered without wavering on the path they had undertaken! I stand spiritually at that wall of the cemetery of Scutari, a symbolic place of the martyrdom of Catholics before the firing squads, and with profound emotion I place the flower of my prayer and of my grateful and undying remembrance. The Lord was close to you, dear brothers and sisters, to sustain you; he led you and consoled you and in the end he has raised you up on eagle’s wings as he did for the ancient people of Israel. The eagle, depicted on your nation’s flag, calls to mind hope, and the need to always place your trust in God, who does not lead us astray and who is ever at our side, especially in moments of difficulty.

“The doors of Albania have now been reopened and a season of new missionary vitality is growing for all of the members of the people of God: each baptised person has his or her role to fulfil in the Church and in society. Each one must experience the call to dedicate themselves generously to the announcing of the Gospel and to the witness of charity; called to strengthen the bonds of solidarity so as to create more just and fraternal living conditions for all”.

Today, the Pontiff exclaimed, “I have come to give thanks to you for your witness and to encourage you to cultivate hope among yourselves and within your hearts. Do not forget the eagle. The eagle does not forget the nest, but flies high. It flies high! I have come to encourage you to involve the young generations; to nourish yourselves assiduously on the Word of God, opening your hearts to Christ: to the Gospel, to the encounter with God and the encounter among you, which is already taking place. Through this encounter of yours, you offer an example to all Europe”.

“To the living Church in this land of Albania, I say 'thank you' for your example of fidelity”, he concluded. “Do not forget the nest, your distant history; do not forget the wounds inflicted, but do not seek to avenge them. Go ahead, working with hope for a great future. So many of your sons and daughters have suffered for Christ, even to the point of sacrificing their lives. May their witness sustain your steps today and tomorrow as you journey along the path of love, the path of freedom, and above all, the path of justice and of peace”.


To the young: yes to acceptance and solidarity


Vatican City, 21 September 2014 (VIS) – Before the end of this Sunday's liturgy, Francis greeted those present from Albania and other neighbouring countries to thank them for their presence and for their witness of faith, and addressed the young in particular. “They say that Albania is the youngest country in Europe”, he commented, smiling, and invited them to “confirm [their] existence in Jesus Christ”.

“He who builds on Christ builds on rock, because He is always faithful, even if we sometimes lack faith”, continued the Holy Father. “Jesus knows us better than anyone else; when we sin, He does not condemn us but rather says to us, 'Go and sin no more'. Dear young people, you are the new generation of Albania, the future of your homeland. With the power of the Gospel and the example of your antecedents and the martyrs, know how to say 'No' to the idolatry of money, 'No' to the false freedom of individualism, 'No' to addiction and to violence; say 'Yes' to a culture of encounter and of solidarity, 'Yes' to the beauty that is inseparable from the good and the true; 'Yes' to a life lived with great enthusiasm and at the same time faithful in little things. In this way, you will build a better Albania and a better world”.

Before the Angelus prayer, the Pope invoked the Virgin Mary, venerated in Albania above all as “Our Lady of Good Counsel”. “I stand before her, spiritually, at her Shrine in Scutari, so dear to you, and to her I entrust the entire Church in Albania and all the people of this country, especially families, children and the elderly, who are the living memory of the people. May Our Lady guide you to walk together with God towards the hope that never disappoints”.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Audience with the president of Armenia: special attention to Christian communities and other religious minorities, and to refugees in conflict zones


Vatican City, 19 September 2014 (VIS) – This morning the Holy Father Francis received in Audience the President of the Republic of Armenia, His Excellency Mr. Serzh Sargsyan, who subsequently met with His Eminence Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by His Excellency Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, Secretary for Relations with States.

During the cordial discussions, satisfaction was expressed for the development and strengthening of bilateral relations, highlighting the special role of Christianity in the history and life of Armenian society.

With regard to the regional political situation, it is hoped that complex and hitherto unresolved issues may be overcome through dialogue between all the interested parties. Furthermore, mention was made of the theme of conflict in the Middle East, and trust was expressed in the common efforts of interested nations and religious communities to achieve a peaceful co-existence of peoples throughout the entire region. Special attention was paid to the situation faced by Christian communities and other religious minorities in the area, and to the humanitarian crisis regarding refugees from the affected zones.

Francis prays at St. Mary Major before his trip to Albania


Vatican City, 19 September 2014 (VIS) – Yesterday afternoon the Pope made a private visit to the Basilica of St. Mary Major to pray in silence before the image of the Virgin “Salus Populi Romani” on the eve of his apostolic trip to Albania, as he has done before his previous trips to other countries. The Holy Father left a floral tribute before the image and stayed in the Basilica, which was closed to the public, for half an hour.


The Pope to visit Naples on 21 March 2015


Vatican City, 19 September 2014 (VIS) – Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, archbishop of Naples, Italy, announced today that the Holy Father will visit Naples on 21 March 2015, confirmed by the Holy See Press Office. Today is the feast day of St. Januarius, patron of the city.

Audiences


Vatican City, 19 September 2014 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:

- Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith;

- Archbishop James Patrick Green, apostolic nuncio in Peru;

- Professor Andrea Riccardi, founder of the Sant'Egidio Community;

- Professor Ignazio Marino, mayor of Rome.

Yesterday, Thursday 18 September, the Holy Father received in audience:

- Archbishop Guido Pozzo, secretary of the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei”;

- Bishop Oscar Vicente Ojea of San Isidro, Argentina;

- A group of cyclists from the “Cruce por la educacion argentina” Association.


Other Pontifical Acts


Vatican City, 19 September 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Bishop Ulrich Neymeyr, auxiliary of the diocese of Mainz, Federal Republic of Germany, as bishop of Erfurt (area 12,000, population 2,188,589, Catholics 152,282, priests 200, permanent deacons 1, religious 240), Federal Republic of Germany.

Notice


Vatican City, 19 September 2014 (VIS) – On Sunday, 21 September, on the occasion of Pope Francis' visit to Tirana, Albania, a special edition of the Vatican Information Service bulletin will be transmitted.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Pope receives the bishops of Cote d'Ivoire: the role of the Church can be crucial in rebuilding your country


Vatican City, 2014 (VIS) – The bishops of Cote d'Ivoire were received by the Holy Father this morning, at the end of their five-yearly “ad Limina” visit, and the written discourse he handed to them emphasised the need for dialogue and brotherhood among prelates and their priests, along with the successful inculturation of faith.

“The fraternal communion that unites the bishops of a nation around Christ is essential for the growth of the Church as well as for the progress of society as as whole”, he writes. “This is especially true in a country that has suffered serious divisions and is in need of your witness and your firm commitment to rebuilding fraternity. Let us not be robbed of the ideal of brotherly love! By really being brothers, open to dialogue and mutual trust, listening to all – even when there are differences and contradictions – and making space for everyone, especially the youngest among you, you will provide a new missionary impulse and will truly transform society, so that it is more consistent with the Gospel ideal”.

“Therefore”, he continued, “I can only encourage you to take on the role that is yours in the task of national reconciliation, setting aside any personal involvement in political disputes at the expense of the common good. However, it is important to maintain constructive relations with the authorities within the country, as well as with the various components of society, so as to spread the true evangelical spirit of dialogue and collaboration. The role of the Church – which is valued and listened to – can be crucial. … I urge you to continue in your dialogue with Muslims, so as to discourage any drift towards violence or any incorrect religious interpretation of the conflict you have experienced”.

“Of course, you are not alone in facing the enormous task of evangelisation and the conversion of hearts: you have the support of the clergy, generous and motivated, and whose numbers continue to grow”, he remarks. “However, to avoid difficulties and shortcomings that some priests encounter, the best approach is without doubt to ensure the quality of formation, both initial and permanent, the encouragement of a priestly fraternity that overcomes ethnic divisions and, in particular, the closeness and attention that, like loving and caring fathers, you must give to each one of them. Use, wherever possible, gentleness, persuasion and encouragement to awaken pastoral zeal, rather than immediate sanctions or severity. I urge you to visit your priests often in order to listen to them and get to know them better. The formation of a fraternal, united 'presbyterium' around the bishop is necessary for a priest to remain attached to his own diocese and to prioritise its needs, rather than giving in to the temptation to leave it, to the detriment of the people of God who need his ministry”.

The Pope offers warm thanks to the consecrated persons for “the considerable task they take on, along with laypersons working alongside them, in the sectors of education, health and development. Their work is appreciated by all and is absolutely indispensable in view of the intimate connection between evangelisation and human development”: He also invites the bishops to ensure their pastoral closeness to all the lay faithful, but especially families, “who are more fragile nowadays, both on account of the secularisation of Ivorian society and the movement of the population and divisions caused by the conflict, as well as by less morally demanding temptations that arise all around them”. The Pontiff also draws attention to the elderly as, “despite the traditional African mentality that reserves a special veneration for them, many now find themselves alone and abandoned, due to the 'throwaway' culture that has appeared in your societies. However, their participation is essential for the equilibrium of the people and the education of the young”.

Francis concludes by expressing his joy and gratitude for the great work of evangelisation that is being carried out in Cote d'Ivoire. “However”, he warns, “faith remains fragile and the wind does not blow in its favour. Often, as the recent conflicts have unfortunately shown, ethnic particularism overrides evangelical fraternity, and many baptised persons, tired or disillusioned, drift away from the light of truth in search of easier solutions, whereas others simply do not put the demands of faith into practice in their lives. Undoubtedly the key for the future is found partly in ensuring the Word of God is more deeply rooted in people's hearts. It is certainly also necessary to enter into deeper dialogue with cultural, religious and traditional reality in order to achieve a true inculturation of our faith, unambiguously rejected what is contrary to it while welcoming and nurturing what is good. I therefore encourage you to continue ceaselessly in your work of evangelisation. In this way, the Church in Cote d'Ivoire can face the challenges of the future with serenity”.

Francis to bishops: men able to cultivate God's fields


Vatican City, 2014 (VIS) – This morning the Holy Father received in audience the bishops appointed during the last year, who are participating in the congress organised by the Congregation for Bishops and the Congregation for the Oriental Churches. Francis commented that he was happy to meet them and said that they were “the fruit of the arduous work and tireless prayer of the Church who, when she chooses her pastors, recalls that entire night the Lord spent on the mount, in the presence of the Father, before naming those He wanted to stay with him and to go forth into the world”.

The Pope asked them now that they have overcome their initial fears and excitement of their consecration, never to take for granted the ministry entrusted to them, never to lose their wonder before God's plan nor the awe of walking aware of His presence and the presence of the Church who is, first and foremost, His. He also reminded them of “the inseparable bond between the stable presence of the bishop and the growth of the flock”. “When the pastor is missing or unavailable, pastoral care and the salvation of souls is at risk. In fact, in the pastors Christ gives to the Church, He shows His love for His bride and gives His life for her”.

He continued, “we do not need superficially happy bishops; it is necessary to dig deeper to discover what the Spirit continues to inspire in your Bride. You are not fixed-term bishops, who always need to change address, like medicines that lose their power to cure, or like those insipid foodstuffs that have to be thrown away because they have lost their usefulness. It is important not to block the curative force that springs from within the gift you have received, and this defends you from the temptation to come and go aimlessly, because no wind is favourable to he who does not know where he is going. And we have learned where we are going: we are always going towards Jesus”. He added, “in this way, your watch over your flock will never fail to encounter the flame of the Risen Christ”.

“I also beg you not to fall prey to the temptation to change the people. Love the people that God has given you, even when they have committed grave sins, without tiring of turning to the Lord for forgiveness and a new beginning, even at the cost of having to cancel your false images of the divine face or the fantasies you have nurtured of how to ensure their communion with God”. The Church, he added, is to offer “welcome to all without discrimination, offering the firmness of the authority that enables growth and the gentleness of paternity that generates. Do not fall prey the temptation to sacrifice your freedom by surrounding yourself with courts, networks or choirs of assent, as the Church and the world always have the right to hear from the lips of bishops the Gospel that sets them free”.

Pope Francis advised the bishops to imitate Moses' patience in leading his people, as “nothing is more important than introducing people to God!”. He therefore urged them to begin with the young and the elderly, “because the first are our wings, and the second are our roots. Wings and roots without which we do not know what we are, much less where we are going”. He added that he saw the bishops as sentinels, able to awaken their Churches; “men able to cultivate and ripen God's fields and pastors able to restore unity. “Do not waste energy in conflict and disagreement, but rather use it to build and to love”, he concluded, wishing them “fruitfulness, patience, humility and much prayer”.


Audiences


Vatican City, 18 September 2014 (VIS) – Today the Holy Father received in audience fourteen prelates from the Episcopal Conference of the Cote d'Ivoire on their “ad Limina” visit:

- Cardinal Jean Pierre Kutwa, archbishop of Abidjan;

- Bishop Alexis Touabli Youlo of Agboville;

- Bishop Raymond Ahoua, F.D.P., of Grand-Bassam;

- Archbishop Paul-Simeon Ahouanan Djro, O.F.M., of Bouake;

- Bishop Ziri Boniface Gbaya of Abengourou;

- Bishop Marcellin Yao Kouadio of Yamoussoukro;

- Archbishop Joseph Ake Yapo of Gagnoa;

- Bishop Maurice Konan Kouassi of Daloa;

- Bishop Gaspard Beby Gneba of Man;

- Bishop Jean-Jacques Koffi Oi Koffi of San Pedro-en-Cote d'Ivoire;

- Archbishop Marie-Daniel Dadiet of Korhogo;

- Bishop Ignace Bessi Dogbo of Katiola;

- Bishop Antoine Kone of Odienne;

- Bishop Jean Salomon Lezoutie, coadjutor of Yopougon.


Other Pontifical Acts


Vatican City, 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Bishop Anthony Colin Fisher of Parramatta, Australia, as metropolitan archbishop of Sydney (area 1,264, population 2,482,000, Catholics 664,000, priests 484, permanent deacons 3, religious 1,537), Australia.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Church, universal and missionary, cannot be wrapped up in herself


Vatican City, 17 September 2014 (VIS) – The meaning of the terms “Catholic” and “apostolic” when we speak about the Church was the theme of Pope Francis' catechesis at this morning's Wednesday general audience in St. Peter's Square, attended by 50,000 faithful.

When we profess the Creed, we state that we believe in a Catholic and apostolic Church. “Catholic means universal”, said the Holy Father, “and a clear sign of this Catholicity is that she speaks all languages. This is none other than the effect of the Pentecost: indeed, it was the Holy Spirit that enabled the Apostles and the entire Church to communicate to all, to the very ends of the earth, the Good News of salvation and of God's love. Thus, the Church was born Catholic – that is, 'symphonic' since the beginning, and she cannot be otherwise, destined as she is for evangelisation and for encountering everyone”: The Pope, remarking that everyone is able to read the Word of God in his or her own language, again encouraged those present always to carry a copy of the Gospel and to read one or two passages each day.

“If the Church is born Catholic, it means that she was born to go forth, missionary”, continued Pope Francis. “If the Apostles had stayed in the Cenacle without going out to preach the Gospel, the Church would have remained there, in that city, in that country, in that room. It is what we express when we describe her as 'apostolic'. But they went forth. An apostle spreads the good news of Jesus' resurrection. This term reminds us that the Church, on the foundations of the Apostles and in continuity with them, is sent to proclaim the Gospel to all humanity, with the signs of the tenderness and strength of God. The Apostles went forth, they travelled the world, they founded new churches, they consecrated new bishops and in this way, we continue their work”.

“And this too derives from the Pentecost. Indeed, the Holy Spirit is able to overcome any resistance, to defeat the temptation to remain wrapped up in ourselves, an elect few, and to consider ourselves as the only ones destined to receive God's blessing. Imagine if a group of Christians were to consider itself in this way; they would die out. First in soul and then in body, as they would not be able to generate new life. They would not be apostolic. The Holy Spirit leads us towards our brothers, even to those who are far away in every sense, so that they can share with us the gift of love, peace and joy that the Risen Lord has left us”.

“What does it mean, for our communities and for each of us, to be part of a Church that is Catholic and apostolic? First of all, it means taking to heart the salvation of all humanity, not to be indifferent or removed from the fate of so many of our brothers, but rather to be open and in solidarity with them. It also means having a sense of the fullness, the completeness, the harmony of Christian life, always rejecting partial and unilateral positions that close us up in ourselves”.

Being part of the apostolic Church means “being aware that our faith is anchored in the proclamation and the witness of Jesus' Apostles, and therefore always being aware that were are sent out, in communion with the successors of the Apostles, with our hearts full of joy, to proclaim Christ and His love for all humanity”.

Pope Francis recalled the “heroic life” of all the missionaries who leave their homelands to take the Gospel to others, encouraging those present to give thanks to God for the missionaries the Church has had and will continue to need.

“Let us ask the Lord to renew in us the gift of His Spirit, so that every Christian community and baptised person may be an expression of the Catholic and apostolic Holy Mother Church”.

The Pope to the faithful: accompany me in Albania in prayer


Vatican City, 17 September 2014 (VIS) – At the end of today's general audience, the Holy Father greeted those present in various languages. In his greetings in Arabic, he addressed the faithful of the Holy Land “from where the light of proclamation issued forth to the ends of the earth”, urging them always to be, “despite difficulties, courageous and joyful bearers of the Message of salvation, truth and blessing”.

Before his greetings in Italian, the Pope spoke about his trip to Albania this coming Sunday, 21 September, and invited the faithful to accompany him in prayer. “I decided to visit this country because it has suffered greatly as a result of a terrible atheist regime and is now realising the peaceful co-existence of its various religious components”.

Decrees of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints


Vatican City, 17 September 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father today received in audience Cardinal Angelo Amato S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. During the audience he authorised the promulgation of decrees concerning the following causes:

MIRACLES

- Blessed Maria Cristina of the Immaculate Conception (nee Adelaide Brando), Italian foundress of the Oblation Sisters of the Holy Sacrament (1856-1906);

- Venerable Servant of God Pio Alberto del Corona, Italian professed priest of the Order of Preachers, bishop of San Miniato and founder of the Dominican Sisters of the Holy Spirit (1837-1912);

- Venerable Servant of God Marie-Elisabeth Turgeon, Canadian foundress of the Sisters of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary (1840-1881).

The Pontiff also approved the votes of the Ordinary Session of the Cardinal and Bishop Fathers in favour of the canonisation of Blessed Joseph Vaz, Indian priest of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri, founder of the Oratory of the Holy Cross of Miracles in Goa (1651-1711).

Finally, the Holy Father decided that a Consistory will be convoked shortly for the canonisation of Blessed Joseph Vaz and Blessed Maria Cristina of the Immaculate Conception, nee Adelaide Brando.


Sixth meeting of the Council of Cardinals


Vatican City, 17 September 2014 (VIS) – This morning, the director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., provided an update on the sixth meeting of the Council of Cardinals, which began on Monday, 15 September and will conclude this afternoon. As usual, the Holy Father was present at all sessions apart from this morning's, due to the Wednesday general audience.

“In the previous meetings, the Cardinals had worked by examining all the Congregations and Pontifical Councils, but they had also assigned a significant amount of time to hearing the referring Commissions on economic and organisational questions (COSEA and CRIOR) and on matters pertaining to the economic Dicasteries. Work in this area may now be considered complete, following the constitution of the Council and the Secretariat for the Economy. The press conference held by Cardinal Pell in July focused on the results of this work and on the initiation of the activities of these new organs.

“Therefore, in this meeting the Council of Cardinals resumed work on the other Dicasteries. In the meantime, several contributions had been prepared by various members of the Council on the different issues within their sphere of competence, which were proposed or presented to the Council. During these days, the Council focused on two principal “hotspots”.

“The first includes the themes of the laity and the family. It is a very broad area, encompassing many issues, including for instance the role of women in society and in the Church, youth, childhood, or matters related to lay associations and movements, and so on.

“The second comprises themes linked to justice and peace, charity, migrants and refugees, health, and the protection of life and ecology, especially human ecology.

“As can be seen, the discussions therefore involved many of the major issues that fall within the competences of the current Pontifical Councils, and how to face them in a coordinated and integrated fashion.

“The Council of Cardinals, as we are aware, does not make decisions, but formulates proposals for the Pope, who certainly intends to consult in further depth, also with regard to the various Dicasteries, involving those in roles of responsibility. Therefore, the Council’s proposals will be studied further, and it is to be expected that the Pope will speak about them, for instance, during the meetings with the Heads of the Dicasteries, which are convoked regularly and will certainly take place in the coming months.

“A draft Introduction for the new Constitution was also drawn up and distributed.

“In order to speed up this new phase in the work of the Council, the coordinator Cardinal Maradiaga has prepared an overall plan to facilitate the organisation of the contributions and reflections already offered during the previous meetings and the integration of new ones.

“It may be assumed that, with the next two meetings of the Council (9-11 December 2014 and 9-11 February 2015), the draft Constitution will reach an advanced stage of preparation, making it possible for the Pope to proceed with further consultations”.

With regard to the Commission for the Protection of Minors, the director of the Holy See Press Office commented that the appointment of the Secretary, Msgr. Robert Oliver, had been made public during recent days, adding: “In the next few weeks other very important aspects will be specified regarding the Statutes and further members of the Commission. It is expected that these will be clarified at the time of the next meeting of the Commission itself, scheduled for early October (4-5)”.

“With regard to the Commission on Vatican media, chaired by Lord Chris Patten, the first meeting will be held from 22-24 September at the Domus Sanctae Marthae. As a first meeting, it will be dedicated primarily to drawing up a framework for the common base of information necessary to enable the work of the members (several of whom are from contexts external to the Vatican), the planning of the work to be done over the coming months, and the method to be used. The Commission itself, during its first meeting, will establish its own strategy of communication. Therefore, interviews or communications will not be given prior to the meeting”, he concluded.


“Evangelii gaudium” and pastoral ministry: three day meeting in the Vatican


Vatican City, 17 September 2014 (VIS) – The international meeting “The Pastoral Project of 'Evangelii gaudium'”, organised by the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation, will be held in the Vatican from 18 to 20 September and will be attended by more than two thousand pastoral workers from seventy countries worldwide. Bishops, priests, catechists, consecrated persons, pastoral workers and members of associations and movements will explore in depth the content of the apostolic Exhortation that Pope Francis has indicated as the programmatic document of his papacy. Renowned speakers will discuss specific themes in relation to pastoral ministry and evangelisation. The meeting will culminate with an encounter with the Holy Father on Friday afternoon.

A detailed programme of the event can be found at www.novaevangelizatio.va

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Presentation of the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, 2015


Vatican City, 16 September 2014 (VIS) – This morning in the Holy See Press Office, Archbishops Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family and Charles Joseph Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., of Philadelphia, U.S.A., presented the World Meeting of Families on the theme “Love is our mission: the family fully alive”, which will take place in the North American city from 22 to 27 September 2015.

In his presentation Archbishop Chaput commented on Philadelphia's deep religious roots and expressed his hope that Pope Francis may be present at next year's meeting, at which between ten and fifteen thousand people from all over the world are expected to attend. He also explained that the theme of the Meeting was based on St. Irenaeus' famous words, “the Glory of God is man fully alive”. “In like manner, the glory of men and women is their capacity to love as God loves. Life in a family is a summons to embody that love in everyday life”.

The event in Philadelphia will be accompanied by an official document, a catechesis that “will help parish and diocesan leaders, catechists and other interested persons prepare Catholics across the globe for next year's meeting. … It develops its teaching in ten simple steps. It starts with the purpose of our creation and moves into the nature of our sexuality; the covenant of marriage; the importance of children; the place of priesthood and religious life in the ecology of the Christian community; the Christian home as a refuge for the wounded heart; the role of the Church; and the missionary witness of Christian families to the wider world”.

“The text gives us a foundation for all of the different programming that will go into the World Meeting of Families”, continued Archbishop Chaput, “from major talks, to panels and breakout sessions, to family entertainment throughout the event. The text is currently available in English and Spanish. Portuguese, French and other language editions are planned this fall through the efforts of the Pontifical Council for the Family. The catechesis also includes the special prayer we commissioned to prepare for the 2015 gathering”.

In addition, a specially-commissioned oil painting will be displayed in Philadelphia's Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul throughout the World Meeting. By the artist Neil Carlin, it represents the Holy Family – Jesus, Mary and Joseph – along with Mary's parents, Sts. Anne and Joachim. “They are a reminder that, today and throughout history, the Christian family includes both the young and the elderly; it reaches beyond parents and child to include grandparents and many other extended relations”.

Archbishop Paglia presented the events that will be organised by his dicastery this year and the next, in relation to the theme of the family. On 18 September, with the collaboration of Caritas International, a seminar will be held on “Family and poverty”, in which it 150 experts on the theme are expected to participate. On 28 September, with the theme “The blessing of longevity”, the elderly and grandparents will meet with Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square. From 22 to 24 January 2015, an international congress of associations, movements and groups for the family and for life will meet with the aim of “Reviewing together the Extraordinary Synod on the Family”, and on 24 March, anniversary of the publication of St. John Paul II's encyclical “Evangelium vitae”, a prayer vigil will be held in the Roman basilica of St. Mary Major.

Finally, the president of the Pontifical Council for the Family reported that every day until the opening of the Synod (5 October) on the site www.familia.va, there will be a special edition of “Jarà – the spectacle of life”, which will present through words and images the main themes of the Synod and explain how they figure in the Instrumentum Laboris. During the assembly there will be a weekly note presenting and summarising the work of the Synod fathers. All this will be supplemented with exclusive interviews with bishops and experts.

Appointments to the IOR Board of Superintendence finalised


Vatican City, 16 September 2014 (VIS) – The Commission of Cardinals for the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR) has appointed Mauricio Larrain (Chile) and Carlo Salvatori (Italy) as members of the IOR Board of Superintendence, according to a press release published by the Institute today.

On the occasion of the nomination Cardinal Santos Abril y Castello, President of the IOR’s Supervisory Commission of Cardinals, said: “The IOR is looking forward to working with these two new board members who will add significant financial experience and global perspective at a time when the role of IOR is being reinforced and confirmed to meet the objectives of the Holy Father.” With these appointments, the IOR Board of Superintendence is now complete. Besides Mauricio Larrain and Carlo Salvatori, it is composed of Mr. Jean-Baptiste de Franssu (France), President of the Board, Mr. Clemens Boersig (Germany), Prof. Mary Ann Glendon (USA) and Sir Michael Hintze (UK), who assumed office on 9 July 2014. In addition to these six lay members of the Board, Monsignor Alfred Xuereb, Secretary-General of the Secretariat for the Economy, serves as its non-voting Secretary.

As set out in the Institute’s revised Statute from 1990, the IOR Board of Superintendence defines strategy and ensures oversight of operations. The members of the Board of Superintendence are nominated in accordance with the new legal framework and for a period of five years. The nomination of a non-voting Secretary and a sixth member to the IOR Board of Superintendence as well as the nomination of a sixth member to the IOR Cardinals’ Commission will be formalised upon completion of the current review of the Institute’s Statute.

Mauricio Larrain is external director of Santander Bank Group Chile and general director of the ESE Business School from the Los Andes University of Chile. He served as the Santander Bank Group Chile’s Chairman and General Director from 1992 until 2014 and was president of Santander Chile Holding S.A. And Universita Chile S.A. from 2000 until 2014. During this period, Santander Bank Group Chile was chosen as the Best Bank in Latin America in six different years by the America Economia Magazine.

Carlo Salvatori has served as president of the investment bank Lazard Italy since June 2010 and of the insurance company Allianz SpA since May 2012. Furthermore, he is amember of the Board of Directors of the Sacred Heart Catholic University, of the Bambino Gesu Children’s Hospital, of Chiesi Pharmaceuticals and of the Riso Gallo Group and he also is President of the Christian Union of Business Executives’ Milanese section.

The Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR) was founded on 27 June, 1942, by papal decree to serve the Holy See and its customers in the Catholic Church all over the world. Its origins date back to the "Commissione ad Pias Causas" established in 1887 by Pope Leo XIII. The IOR’s purpose is set by its Statute, amended by Pope John Paul II in 1990, and related by-laws. It is “to provide for the custody and administration of goods transferred or entrusted to the Institute by physical or juridical persons, designated for religious works or charity. The Institute can accept deposits of assets from entities or persons of the Holy See and of the Vatican City State”.

The IOR strives to serve the global mission of the Catholic Church by protecting and increasing the patrimony of and providing worldwide payment services to the Holy See and related entities, religious orders, other Catholic institutions, clergy, employees of the Holy See and the accredited diplomatic corps. As of 31 December 2013, the IOR was entrusted with customers’ assets (including deposits, assets held in custody and assets held under portfolio management agreements) totalling EUR 5.9bn, and shareholders’ equity of EUR 720m. The IOR is situated exclusively on the sovereign territory of the Vatican City State, and is supervised and regulated by the "Autorità di Informazione Finanziaria" (AIF), the financial supervisory body for the Vatican City State.


The Pontifical Sistine Chapel Choir to sing in Macao, Hong Kong and Taipei


Vatican City, 16 September 2014 (VIS) – The Pontifical Sistine Chapel Choir is to perform for the first time in Macao, Hong Kong and Taipei. The concerts will be made possible through the Hong Kong Institute for Promotion of Chinese Culture, in collaboration with the Coro Perosi of the Diocese of Macao and the Taipei Philharmonic Foundation. By sharing the rich musical traditions of East and West, these concerts aim to promote cultural exchange through art and music, thereby creating new channels of communication and communion.

The concerts, entitled “Reverberating Heavenly Tunes in Greater China”, will include pieces from notable composers such as Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, Orlando di Lasso, Gregorio Allegri and Lorenzo Perosi, whose works historically form part of the repertoire of papal celebrations.

The concerts will take place on 19 September 2014 at 6 p.m. in the Cathedral of Macao; 21 September at 8 p.m. at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre; and 23 September at 7:30 p.m. at the National Concert Hall in Taipei.

In addition, on 21 September at 11 a.m. in the Cathedral of Hong Kong the Sistine Choir will assist, with the authorisation of the Cardinal Secretary of State, at the Sunday celebration of the Eucharist, at which Cardinal John Tong Hon will preside.

The Pontifical Sistine Music Chapel Choir (Sistine Choir), which has its origins in the former Roman Schola Cantorum, has for centuries preserved the musical traditions of the Church and is composed of trained vocal musicians who sing at Papal liturgies and at other celebrations convoked by the Holy Father.
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