Home - VIS Vatican - Receive VIS - Contact us - Calendar

The Vatican Information Service is a news service, founded in the Holy See Press Office, that provides information about the Magisterium and the pastoral activities of the Holy Father and the Roman Curia...[]

Last 5 news

VISnews in Twitter Go to YouTube

Monday, October 13, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 11 OCT 2008 (VIS) - The Tenth General Congregation of the Twelfth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops was held this morning. The president delegate on duty was Cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer, archbishop of Sao Paulo, Brazil.

  Following are excerpts from the speeches given:

BISHOP JOSEPH VO DUC MINH, COADJUTOR OF NHA TRANG, VIETNAM. "The Church of Christ in Vietnam ... has led a life full of crosses. Through the high and low points of its history, like the Jews at the time of their exile, the Vietnamese Catholics understood that only the Word of God remains and never deceives. This Word ... has become a source of comfort and strength that gives a sense of security to all the members of the People of God and, at the same time, is the focal point that helps them to discover their future. The Word of God helps discover the true figure of Jesus Christ, Who incarnates the saving love of God, through the mystery of the Cross. Because of the painful experience lived by the Church of Christ in Vietnam, the Mystery of the Cross has become not only close to daily life, but also an essential element that reunites the People of God".

ARCHBISHOP STANISLAV ZVOLENSKY OF BRATISLAVA, SLOVAKIA. "In history we meet many men and women who have read Sacred Scripture in a way that led them to reorient their lives completely, to change their way of thinking and acting, or at least to find new reasons for their position of faith. The history of the Church is continually characterised by a return to the existential radicalism of Scripture. The sanctity of many Christians is a consequence of the sincere and often radical response to the call of the Word of God. ... By way of example we may use the Franciscan reading of the Bible, which we will undoubtedly find surprising if we look at it from the viewpoint of modern scientific criteria of interpretation or from the viewpoint of the faith such a reading has aroused. One of the characteristics of this reading was the 'sine glossa' principle which involved welcoming the Word of God as it is written in Sacred Scripture, without any academic commentary. According to St Francis, Divine Truth is not materialised in the words and phrases of the Bible, it is not always available to provide an answer to all problems. It can only be discovered in an integral and individual context, not concentrating on the textual material but on the action of God".

BISHOP ENRIQUE DIAZ DIAZ, AUXILIARY OF SAN CRISTOBAL DE LAS CASAS, MEXICO. "'Faithfulness to the Word of God exists when the first form of charity is realised in a respect for the rights of the human person and in defence of the oppressed and those who suffer'. The indigenous of our communities in Latin America are among those who suffer. ... In many places a relationship has begun to be established between the Word and autochthonous cultures. In a certain way, the Bible is very close to their beliefs and cosmogonies because of the rural culture they share. Creation, the concept of God, the meaning of Redemption and the Cross, life in community, offer many possibilities for encounter. Yet they are different cultures, a journey that has just begun and that must be continued with care so as not to condemn what we do not understand, so as to clarify and give worth to the revealed Word, to avoid destroying cultures and truly to incarnate the Gospel in our people. On the part of Catholics, little has been done to translate the Bible into indigenous languages and there has been little understanding of their culture and their concepts. Until the revealed Word becomes 'living word, written in their cultures and in their lives', it will be very difficult for it to reach and penetrate the heart and be incarnated in these peoples. As Church, we must proclaim this incultured 'Good News'".

BISHOP GEORG MULLER, SS.CC., PRELATE OF TRONDHEIM, NORWAY. "In a Church scattered among Christians of other Churches and ecclesial communities, the Synod underlines the importance of Scripture and of the Word of God. Biblical collaboration is an ample forum for ecumenism. Collaborating with the national biblical societies, for many years now we have been using an edition of the Bible that was not produced by us alone. At the same time, this communion is understood and seen in different ways. This has an important effect on the understanding of Christian doctrine and on its application in life. In an ever more secularised world, the Church must discover new ways to find a living spaces for the Word of God and to emphasise the positive experiences it brings. The Catholic Church in Scandinavia is a small minority. In our countries the faithful often find it difficult to reach ecclesial communities because of the great distances separating them from churches, the scattered towns, ... the linguistic and cultural differences. This situation of diaspora is the focus of our reflections, while in the past we compared ourselves to the great Churches in Europe. We are a minority in a secular society. But if we look at ourselves, we don't call ourselves the Church of the diaspora, since we are used to being few".

BISHOP GEORGE COSMAS ZUMAIRE LUNGU OF CHIPATA, PRESIDENT OF THE ZAMBIA EPISCOPAL CONFERENCE. "No one can deny the fact that there is an intimate bond between the proclaimed word and the Sacraments in the life and mission of the Church. ... Yet in some parts of the world, especially Africa, the reality is that most of our communities go without the celebration of the Eucharist for weeks, months and sometimes even for years unless Christians are willing to travel long distances to attend Mass. In this context, what about the old, the less able, the children, those who have to look after their fields protecting their crop away from the villages? ... Let the year of St. Paul bring about missionary consciousness that will motivate us into generous sharing of human and material resources in favour of spreading the Word of God. Dioceses should not feel that they are too poor to give or too rich to receive. Now is the time for the Synod Fathers to hear the cry of the poor and do something concrete about it".

BISHOP BEJOY NICEPHORUS D'CRUZE O.M.I. OF KHULNA, BANGLADESH. "The Prophets as men of the Word of God were defenders of the rights of the poor, orphans and widows. They spoke on their behalf. ... Bangladesh is a country where corruption, bribery and injustice are rampant. A small minority is becoming rich and the majority is becoming poorer. The Word of God calls us to justice and integrity in public life. The Church, a tiny minority, makes significant contribution in the areas of education, health and social services. In these areas, the Church has to live its solidarity with the poor and uphold justice for all, especially for the poor in the light of the Word of God. The Word of God invites us to inter-religious dialogue: According to Vatican Council II, the Church rejects nothing which is holy and true in these religions. They often reflect a ray of truth. Hence the Church enters into dialogue with them. In the majority Muslim country of Bangladesh, the minority Christian community has to live in peace and harmony and dialogue".
SE/TENTH CONGREGATION/...                    VIS 20081013 (1250)


VATICAN CITY, 10 OCT 2008 (VIS) - The Ninth General Congregation of the Twelfth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops took place this afternoon. The president delegate on duty was Cardinal George Pell, archbishop of Sydney, Australia.

  Following are excerpts from the speeches given:

ARCHBISHOP CORNELIUS FONTEM ESUA OF BAMENDA, CAMEROON. "It is necessary and urgent to put Sacred Scripture into the hands of the faithful so that it can become a living thing for them in their professions, in their families and in their various life situations, as well as the source and inspiration for the life and activities of small Christian communities. There is also the urgency to inculturate the Christian faith and to dialogue with African Traditional Religion. ... We therefore suggest: ... that priests, religious and the laity be given appropriate formation to become agents of the biblical apostolate; ... that there be general biblical formation of all the faithful, and particularly the youth; ... that the Bible be enthroned in every Christian home for reading, prayer, study and veneration; ... that the Bible be translated into the local languages as the first step of inculturation and in order to make the Word of God more accessible to the faithful in their own language; ... that a biblical institute be established in Africa in order to promote biblical research in the context of the Church in Africa".

BISHOP ANTONIO MENEGAZZO M.C.C.J., APOSTOLIC ADMINISTRATOR OF EL OBEID, SUDAN. "In Sudan the majority of catechumens do not know how to read or write: as a result of this to prepare them properly for Baptism, catechists must explain the Word to them with posters, drawings and their own words. ... We have another great challenge for Justice and Peace, and forgiveness and reconciliation, after 21 years of civil war between the North and South of the country, after so much hatred, injustice and suffering. ... And let us not forget the war in Darfur, which continues with no sign of improvement in the situation. We are convinced that the solution for a peaceful future can only be found in faith in God and in His Word. ... But what can we do when the distances are enormous and the lack of security because of wars and banditry makes contact between priests and the faithful very difficult and dangerous? The lack of priests is another negative factor. Many Christians can receive the Word of God and the Eucharist only rarely, perhaps a few times a year. What is required is more missionary spirit throughout the clergy and more generosity from the countries rich in clergy to help those who find themselves in serious need".

ARCHBISHOP RAMZI GARMOU OF TEHRAN OF THE CHALDEANS, AND PATRIARCHAL ADMINISTRATOR OF AHWAZ OF THE CHALDEANS , IRAN. "The whole Bible, from the Book of Genesis to Revelation, tells us that faithfulness to the Word of God leads to persecution. The first persecuted person, par excellence, is Jesus Himself, who suffered persecution from the first days of His birth to His death on the Cross. According to the Gospel, persecution is considered as the most eloquent sign of faithfulness to the Word of God. The growth of the Church and her own path in evangelising people is the fruit of the persecution she was subjected to in all places and in all times. Jesus, in the Gospel, speaks very clearly about persecution. Let us pray to the Holy Spirit so that He may give the Church of the third millennium, in this Pauline Year, the grace and joy to make a true experience of persecution for her faithfulness to the Word of God".

BISHOP DIONISIO LACHOVICZ O.S.B.M., BISHOP OF THE CURIA OF KYIV-HALYC OF THE UKRAINIANS, UKRAINE. "My first observation concerns the unity between the Word and Baptism, and between both of these and the Eucharist. The 'Instrumentum laboris' states that 'Christians have two realities in common: the Word of God and Baptism'. ... Paragraph 35 states that an intimate unity between the Word and the Eucharist also exists. ... Seen in this light, it becomes difficult to understand, from the point of view of ecumenism, why the Eucharist cannot be celebrated with the Orthodox (for example), while we can celebrate the Sacrament of the Word of God with them and we also have Baptism in common. ... We have a feeling that everything that is said about ecumenism is being said for others, for a 'third party', absent at the time it was said. As if this Word could perform a miracle but we remain the same. ... It seems to me also that we are running the risk of exploiting the Word of God. ... One could learn the whole Bible by heart, discuss it competently, but remain outside of it, without nourishing oneself with it, without being incorporated in Christ, without being baptised in Christ".

  Following the speeches by the Synod Fathers, Cardinal Angelo Scola, patriarch of Venice, Italy, delivered a talk on the reception of Benedict XVI's last Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, "Sacramentum caritatis", published following the 2005 Eleventh Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the theme of: "The Eucharist: Source and Summit of the Life and Mission of the Church".
SE/NINTH CONGREGATION/...                    VIS 20081013 (880)


VATICAN CITY, 11 OCT 2008 (VIS) - The Eleventh General Congregation of the Twelfth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops was held this afternoon. The president delegate on duty was Cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer, archbishop of Sao Paulo, Brazil.

  Following are excerpts from the speeches given:

BISHOP LOUIS PORTELLA MBUYU OF KINKALA, PRESIDENT OF THE EPISCOPAL CONFERENCE OF THE CONGO. "In Congo-Brazzaville, a country that has been scarred by a series of internal conflicts, we are seeing an abundance of religious movements that can be classified into two categories. On the one hand, there are movements which practice a liberating reading [of the Bible], even while drawing on elements of traditional religion. These put themselves forward as a counter-reaction to a Christianity which is seen as a negation of African identity. On the other hand, there are movements deriving from the Pentecostal movement of American origin, characterised by a fundamentalist or even magical reading of the Bible. These tend to draw people's consciences away from the concrete problems of life in society. There are also movements that tend towards the esoteric or gnostic, characterised by a symbolic and ideological reading of the Bible. All of this has to be placed in a context of underdevelopment with its baggage of poverty and resignation. Faced with this complex situation, what emerges is the urgent need to help and stimulate Christ's faithful in the Congo to read the Word of God, to meditate on it, to pray it inasmuch as it can 'recreate' an African man who still carries within the consequences of the past. This requires easier access to the biblical text by means of translations. This is one of the pastoral emergencies of our Church. On the other hand, this reading of the Word of God has to inspire in the African reader a realisation of his responsibilities as regards a society that is waiting to be transformed in all its structures according to gospel values".

BISHOP GREGOR MARIA HANKE O.S.B., OF EICHSTATT, GERMANY. "The Word of God does not end with the published Bible nor with the announcement of the Word. In fact, the written Word does not have the same depth as the Word-Logos revealed in the Incarnation. The force of the written and proclaimed Word nourishes itself on the continuous presence in world history of this greater Word-Action. This is what turns the letters that make up Holy Scripture into the Word of God, which accompanies modern mankind on his journey and opens in him the dialogue of God with man. However, the Eucharist is the place where the Word of action is made present, with all its history of salvation and eschatology".

HIS BEATITUDE NERSES BEDROS XIX, PATRIARCH OF CILICIA OF THE ARMENIAN CATHOLICS, HEAD OF THE SYNOD OF THE ARMENIAN CATHOLIC CHURCH. "According to tradition, the origin of the Armenian Church, evangelised by St. Gregory the Illuminator, can be traced to the adoption of Christianity as the State religion of Armenia in the year 301. At that time, the Armenian alphabet did not exist and Bible readings were proclaimed in Greek or Syriac. The reader then would translate it into Armenian. This did not help in understanding the Word of God by the Armenian neophytes. This led to the idea of inventing an alphabet to translate the Bible into the language of the people. ... We can conclude without hesitation that the invention of the Armenian alphabet in the year 406 had no other goal but that of evangelisation. This evangelisation helped maintain the Christian faith which was often endangered, as in 451 - the Bible had just been translated - and during the centuries to follow. The Word of God supported the Church and the Armenian people during their painful history. It impregnated and animated all of Armenian culture down the centuries. The lives of the Armenians were continually penetrated and guided by the Word of God".

BISHOP RICARDO ERNESTO CENTELLAS GUZMAN, AUXILIARY OF POTOSI, BOLIVIA. "Today's reality shows us that the Word of God and ancient and modern cultures are separate and parallel worlds. ... This is where the great pastoral challenge arises: to relaunch a true incarnation of the Word of God with its specific identity in real situations that commit us to a project for society in order to respond to the historical, social and cultural needs of our communities, so that we can better our lives in accordance with the life of Jesus of Nazareth. We cannot continue reading and meditating on the Word without the necessary relationship with cultures and without the consequence of social commitment. Contextual reading of the Word is a priority, a reading capable of transforming peoples and structures. ... Every action, project, group and movement, institution and structure of our Church must renew their true motivations and start once again on the basis of biblical inspiration. It is urgent to show the world a new way of being Church".

BISHOP FRIEDHELM HOFMANN OF WURZBURG, GERMANY. "How can we reach those persons who do not come to church? ... God's revelation is not limited to the Word of God in the Bible. It can also be found in nature and in culture. Of course, the highest and most intense revelation by God is the Incarnation of His Word in Jesus Christ. This is what needs to be explained. ... The Word of God has been incultured in the most diverse cultures. It has an impact on art. In Europe, we see an impressive cultural Christian history, almost 2000 years. Extraordinary architecture, works of figurative art, music and literature, all have been born of faith and embraced the witness of faith. Now, we must make this faith speak anew. During the Middle Ages the 'Biblia pauperum' was known, it visually explained parts of the history of salvation to those who could not read. Today, Christian culture must be explained because many persons no longer understand this language and no longer dedicate themselves directly to the Holy Scripture. ... Even in today's culture, however, one must search for the traces of faith and bring them back to their use as bridge. If it is true that artists are the seismographers of their time, then it would be good to take advantage of this and involve them in the proclamation of the Word of God".

BISHOP ZBIGNIEW KIERNIKOWSKI OF SIEDLCE, POLAND. "Modern man, not having heard the Word, often stands before it dumbstruck. ... 'Kerygma' is a very important moment. If however 'kerygma' is not followed by real formation in listening to the Word within the bosom of the community of faith, there is a risk of being led into various kinds of moralism, or falling into different types of fanaticism, or other forms of subjective interpretation. ... The approach used in the Neo-Catechumenal Way is based on initial 'kerygma' and followed by a serious process of initiation under the guidance of the Church (bishops, parish priests and catechists) carried out in small communities and with all the necessary stages of Christian initiation. In this way, the catechumenate makes the neophytes follow an itinerary that teaches them to refer the Word to their own lives".
SE/ELEVENTH CONGREGATION/...                VIS 20081013 (1210)


VATICAN CITY, 13 OCT 2008 (VIS) - The Twelfth General Congregation of the Twelfth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops took place this morning. The president delegate on duty was Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

  Following are excerpts from the speeches given:

CARDINAL GEORGE PELL, ARCHBISHOP OF SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA. "Bishops are called to clear the way for the Spirit to work effectively when the Word of God encounters individuals and communities. Hence the following suggestions: (1) The formation of young adult lay teams to witness to Christ in youth groups, parishes, schools, and universities. (2) The development of contemporary equivalents of the medieval Mystery Plays to bring the Word of God to the people. The World Youth Day (WYD) Ways of the Cross at Sydney and Toronto are two examples; also Oberammergau and 'The Passion of the Christ' film. (3) Develop and support online Catholic social networks in cyberspace such as XT3, Christ for the Third Millennium (www.xt3.com), a Catholic 'facebook' with almost 40,000 members launched at Sydney WYD. ... (4) The development of a central Institute for Bible Translation so the Bible can be translated more quickly and accurately into local languages in Asia, Africa and Oceania. A collection to help finance the work of translation would be useful. (5) Request the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to produce guidelines on inerrancy in Scripture".

CARDINAL STANISLAW RYLKO, PRESIDENT OF THE PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR THE LAITY. "One of the most precious fruits of Vatican Council II was undoubtedly the wider diffusion of Sacred Scripture and the greater knowledge the people of God acquired of it, according to the theological and pastoral indications provided in the Dogmatic Constitution 'Dei Verbum'. This also involved the rediscovery of the 'munus propheticum' as a substantial dimension of the identity of the lay faithful. The rediscovery of the place of the Word of God in the life of the baptised was then especially favoured by the ecclesial movements and new communities. ... For many lay people, movements and communities have become true 'laboratories of the Word of God' in which to acquire familiarity with Sacred Scripture, to learn to appreciate the Word of God and to live it in the ordinary conditions of lay life at the heart of the world. Another great sign of hope for the relationship of the baptised with the Word of God comes from the younger generations. The World Youth Days have given and continue to give a notable contribution to the spread of the knowledge of the Word of God among the young".

CARDINAL RENATO RAFFAELE MARTINO, PRESIDENT OF THE PONTIFICAL COUNCIL "JUSTICE AND PEACE". "Faith which springs from the Word of God must establish, as is clearly seen in the first chapters of the Compendium of Social Doctrine, the ever-present and indispensable horizon of social doctrine. ... It must be remembered that the study of Sacred Scripture and that of social doctrine - though they use different conceptual and methodological instruments - nevertheless represent knowledge 'in faith'. ... In Sacred Scripture it is possible to discover the guiding principles of social doctrine, such as the preferential option for the poor, the commitment to the promotion of justice, and the principle of the universal destination of goods, which are clearly of biblical derivation".

CARDINAL JEAN-LOUIS TAURAN, PRESIDENT OF THE PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR INTER-RELIGIOUS DIALOGUE. "The Word has always had a decisive role in the understanding of religious phenomenon. ... All the great religions have their own Sacred Books. Islam, in particular, is considered by its followers as the 'Religion of the Book' par excellence. ... From these religions, Christians can learn much, even if Christianity would not be included in the 'religions of the Book'. It would be opportune for future priests, religious and pastoral workers to be formed in the direct reading of the founding texts of other religions rather than limiting themselves to a commentary on them. But it is just as important to proclaim the Bible to our partners in inter-religious dialogue, in particular our hermeneutic approach to the sacred text. In sharing our respective spiritual patrimonies, without Irenism or syncretism, we will be led to discover that we are all men and women who desire to be taught by God".

CARDINAL ODILO PEDRO SCHERER, ARCHBISHOP OF SAO PAULO, BRAZIL. "Immigrants should not be seen simply as an object of pastoral concern: they are, or can become, true missionaries. ... I believe that the Synod may make two particular recommendations: (1) Encourage those who find themselves in situations of migration or travelling to bring the Word of God with them, even the book of Sacred Scripture, knowing that they carry a priceless wealth which is not limited by geographical or cultural confines, but is a gift to be lived in the new country and to share with the host people. (2) To those who receive immigrants at their destination, a positive welcoming attitude toward these brothers is recommended, toward these who come from other nations bringing 'the good news' with them in their bags, facilitating their introduction into the local community and the sharing of faith experiences and Christian life which they bring with them".

ARCHBISHOP TOMAS MENAMPARAMPIL S.D.B., OF GUWAHATI, INDIA. "How do we bring the Word to those who do not come to church, those who have never heard the Gospel? ... I plead that where we are unable to reach ourselves, we do so through others; that we always remain pastorally creative so that where our members cannot reach, our ideas may reach; that we develop the skills and evolve strategies needed to persuade and convince, not refute and reject. ... The Word of God must be brought to situations of conflict, contexts of injustice and of absolute poverty. We do not win a hearing through self-righteous condemnations, truth claims and pretensions to a higher moral ground, but evident human concern, Gospel-inspired commitment to the suffering, attention to various cultural sensitivities. The 'Word' reveals its power in actual life-contexts: it challenges unjust societies, it reconciles, it uplifts the poor, it brings peace".
SE/TWELFTH CONGREGATION/...                VIS 20081013 (1030)


VATICAN CITY, 11 OCT 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences eight prelates from the Ecuadorian Episcopal Conference, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop German Trajano Pavon Puente of Ambato.

    - Bishop Angel Polivio Sanchez Loaiza of Guaranda.

    - Bishop Victor Alejandro Corral Mantilla of Riobamba, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Fausto Feliciano Gaibor Garcia.

    - Archbishop Lorenzo Voltolini Esti of Portoviejo.

    - Bishop Jose Victoriano Naranjo Tovar of Latacunga, accompanied by Bishop emeritus Raul Holguer Lopez Mayorga.

    - Bishop Miguel Angel Aguilar Miranda, military ordinary.
AL/.../...                                VIS 20081013 (100)


VATICAN CITY, 12 OCT 2008 (VIS) - At 10 a.m. today, Benedict XVI celebrated the Eucharist in St. Peter's Square. During the ceremony he canonised the Blesseds: Gaetano Errico, Italian priest and founder of the Congregation of the Missionaries of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary (1791-1860); Maria Bernarda Butler (nee Verena), Swiss foundress of the Congregation of the Missionary Franciscan Sisters of Mary Help of Christians (1848-1924); Alfonsa of the Immaculate Conception (nee: Anna Muttathupandathu), Indian professed sister of the Congregation of Poor Clares of the Third Order of St. Francis (1910-1946), and Narcisa de Jesus Martillo Moran, Ecuadorian lay woman (1833-1869).

  In his homily the Pope commented on the Gospel parable of the wedding banquet, telling the more than 40,000 people present that "the banquet of the Eucharist anticipates the final feast of heaven, to which the Lord invites us every day and in which we should participate with the wedding garments of His grace. Should we sully or tear this clothing with sin, the goodness of God does not turn us away, nor does it abandon us to our fate, rather it offers us the possibility to restore the integrity to the wedding garments necessary for the feast through the Sacrament of Reconciliation".

  After highlighting how "the ministry of Reconciliation never loses its relevance" the Holy Father recalled how Gaetano Errico "dedicated himself to this ministry with diligence, assiduity and patience, without ever refusing or holding himself back. Thus he inscribes himself among the extraordinary figures of the priesthood who, unceasingly, made the confessional the place to dispense the mercy of God, helping men to find themselves, to fight against sin and to progress in the path of spiritual life. The street and the confessional were the privileged places for pastoral action of this new saint. The street allowed him to encounter the persons to whom he would address his usual invitation: 'God loves you, when will we see you?', and in the confessional he made it possible for them to encounter the mercy of the heavenly Father".

  Going on to consider the figure of Maria Bernarda Butler, Benedict XVI mentioned the "deep love for the Lord" she experienced while still very young. The Eucharist, he said, was "this new saint's source and rock as it also was of the missionary impetus that led her to leave her homeland, Switzerland, to open new evangelical horizons in Ecuador and Colombia. Throughout the terrible adversities she had to face, including exile, she carried impressed in her heart the exclamation of the psalm we heard today: 'Even were I to walk in a ravine as dark as death I should fear no danger, for you are at my side'".

  St. Alfonsa of the Immaculate Conception, said the Pope, lived "a life of extreme physical and spiritual suffering. This exceptional woman, who today is offered to the people of India as their first canonised saint, was convinced that her cross was the means of reaching the heavenly banquet prepared for her by the Father. ... May we imitate her in shouldering our own crosses so as to join her one day in paradise".

  St. Narcisa de Jesus Martillo Moran, "to serenely follow the action of the Holy Spirit in her soul, always looked for advice and guidance from good and expert priests, considering spiritual direction as one of the most effective instruments to achieve holiness". She "shows us a path of Christian perfection that is accessible to all the faithful. Despite the abundant and extraordinary graces received, she lived her life with great simplicity, dedicated to her work as a seamstress and to her apostolate as a catechist. In her passionate love for Jesus, which led her to follow a path of intense prayer and mortification and to identify herself for evermore with the Mystery of the Cross, she offers a fascinating witness and a complete example of a life totally dedicated to God and to others".

  The Pope concluded his homily by expressing the hope that the intercession of the four new saints "may sustain us in the daily struggle, so that we too, one day, can attain and share with them and all the saints the joy of the eternal banquet in the heavenly Jerusalem".
HML/CANONISATION/...                        VIS 20081013 (720)


VATICAN CITY, 12 OCT 2008 (VIS) - Following this morning's Mass during which he canonised the Blesseds Gaetano Errico, Maria Bernarda Butler, Alfonsa of the Immaculate Conception and Narcisa de Jesus Martillo Moran, and before praying the Angelus, Benedict XVI greeted the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square.

  The Pope gave assurances of his prayers "during this difficult time" for Christians in India, homeland of Alfonsa of the Immaculate Conception. "Commending to the providential care of Almighty God those who strive for peace and reconciliation", he said, "I urge the perpetrators of violence to renounce these acts and join with their brothers and sisters to work together in building a civilisation of love".

  He then called upon faithful from Colombia and Ecuador to continue "the example of coherence in faith and charity towards others" shown by Maria Bernarda Butler and Narcisa de Jesus Martillo Moran, so as "to invigorate the Christian roots of the people" and to build "a more just and united society".

  "At the crossroads of life's journey, we are invited to be bold witnesses of the Word of God so as to invite everyone we meet to the wedding feast of the Gospel" said the Holy Father to French pilgrims. To Polish faithful - who had come to Rome for the ceremony on the day Poland dedicates to celebrating the memory of John Paul II - he gave assurances of his support "for any initiative commemorating" his predecessor.

  Finally the Pope turned to address pilgrims from Italy, homeland of Gaetano Errico, praising "their constancy in praying the Rosary as a daily means of union with Jesus", and he invited them all "to pray for reconciliation and peace in certain situations that are causing great alarm and suffering" such as "that being experienced by the people of North Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo" and "the violence against Christians in Iraq and India".
ANG/.../...                                VIS 20081013 (330)

Copyright © VIS - Vatican Information Service