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Monday, October 10, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 9 OCT 2011 (VIS) - Benedict XVI today made a pastoral visit to Lamezia Terme and Serra San Bruno, located in the region of Calabria in southern Italy. He began the day by travelling by plane from Ciampino airport in Rome to Lamezia Terme where he celebrated Mass at an industrial area on the outskirts of the town.

"In this Sunday's liturgy we heard the parable narrating the wedding feast to which many guests were invited", said the Holy Father in his homily. "The image of a banquet is often used in Scripture to indicate joy in communion and in the abundance of the Lord's gifts. ... Many people were invited, but something unexpected happened: they refused to participate in the feast, they had other things to do". However this did not deter the king who was organising the feast. "He was not discouraged but sent his servants out to invite others. The refusal of the first invitees had the effect of extending the invitation to everyone, including the poor, the abandoned and the disinherited. ... However there was a condition to attending this wedding feast: guests had to wear the wedding robe. Entering the hall, the king realised that someone had chosen not to wear it and, for this reason, that guest was excluded from the feast".

To explain the significance of the "wedding robe", the Holy Father quoted from a commentary written by St. Gregory the Great. "In a certain sense, the guest who responded to God's invitation to participate in His banquet had faith, which opened the door of the hall to him, but he lacked something essential: the wedding robe, which is charity, love. ... In symbolic terms the robe is woven with two threads: ... love of God and love of neighbour. We are all invited to be guests of the Lord, to enter with faith into His banquet, but we must wear and preserve the wedding robe, which is charity, we must live with profound love for God and for neighbour".

"I have come to share with you the joys and hopes, the toils and commitments, the ideals and aspirations of this diocesan community", Benedict XVI told the faithful. "This beautiful region is seismic not only in a geological sense, but also in structural, behavioural and social terms. It is a land where problems are acute and destabilising, a land where unemployment is a great concern, where an often pitiless criminality damages the fabric of society, a land which seems to be in a perpetual state of emergency. To that emergency you people of Calabria have responded with surprising readiness, with an extraordinary capacity to adapt to difficulties. ... Never surrender to the lure of pessimism, never close in on yourselves. Draw on the resources of your faith and your human capacities; strive to increase collaboration, to look after one another and the public good; preserve the wedding robe of love".

The Pope then went on to recall that his visit coincided with the end of the five-year pastoral plan of the local Church. He praised the initiatives that had been completed during that time, including a school for the Social Doctrine of the Church, expressing the hope that "such initiatives will produce a new generation of men and women capable of promoting the common good more than private interests". He also had words of encouragement for clergy and lay people who work to prepare Christian couples for marriage and the family "providing a response that is both evangelical and effective to the many challenges facing the family and life today".

Finally, the Holy Father praised priests for the work they do, encouraging them "increasingly to root your own spiritual lives in the Gospel, ... detaching yourselves from the worldly consumer mentality which is such a recurring temptation in the times in which we live. ... Use discernment and ecclesiastical criteria to evaluate groups and movements", he said.

"Do not be afraid to live and bear witness to the faith in the various fields of society, in the multifarious situations of human life", he concluded, addressing the faithful. "Thanks to the light of faith and the force of charity, you have every reason to be strong, trusting and courageous".
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VATICAN CITY, 9 OCT 2011 (VIS) - "I know that there are various Marian shrines here in Calabria and that popular piety is very vibrant", said the Pope in his remarks preceding the Angelus this morning. He invited the faithful to continue to practice that piety "in the light of the teaching of Vatican Council II, of the Apostolic See and of your pastors".

The Holy Father went on: "Let us also invoke the intercession of the Blessed Virgin for the most serious social problems of this area and of all Calabria, especially those affecting the world of work, of the young and of people with disabilities. They require greater attention from everyone, particularly the institutions. In communion with your bishops I invite you, the lay faithful, not to fail to use your skills and responsibilities to contribute to the construction of the common good".

Following the celebration of the Eucharist and the Angelus, the Pope went to the episcopal residence of Lamezia Terme here he had lunch with local bishops. He also offered lunch to the poor at the local Caritas canteen who ate the same menu as the Pope and his entourage. At 4.45 p.m. he boarded a helicopter to travel to Serra San Bruno.
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VATICAN CITY, 9 OCT 2011 (VIS) - At 5.15 p.m. today, the Holy Father arrived by helicopter at Serra San Bruno, then continued his journey by car to the Carthusian monastery of Sts. Stephen and Bruno. He was greeted on the square in front of the monastery by Bruno Rosi, mayor of Serra San Bruno, then addressed some words to the many faithful from the local area who had gathered there to see him.

The Pope recalled the visit made to Serra San Bruno by John Paul II in 1984, noting that it is "a great privilege" to have a "'citadel' of the spirit" such as the Carthusian monastery on one's local territory. "Monasteries have an important, I would say indispensable, role", he said. "Their purpose today is to 'improve' the environment, in the sense that sometimes the air we breathe in our societies is unhealthy, it is polluted by a non-Christian mentality, at times even a non-human mentality, because it is dominated by economic interests, concerned only with worldly things and lacking a spiritual dimension.

"In such a climate not only God but also our fellow man is pushed to the margins, and we do not commit ourselves to the common good. Monasteries, however, are models of societies which have God and fraternal relations at their core. We have great need of them in our time".

Benedict XVI completed his remarks by exhorting the faithful of Serra San Bruno "to treasure the great spiritual tradition of this place, and seek to put it into practice in your daily lives".
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VATICAN CITY, 9 OCT 2011 (VIS) - Having addressed the local people of Serra San Bruno, the Holy Father entered the Carthusian monastery of Sts. Stephen and Bruno where he was greeted by the prior, Fr. Jacques Dupont. At 6 p.m. the Pope presided at Vespers with the monastic community in the monastery church.

In his homily the Pope explained that the aim of his visit was to confirm the Carthusian Order in its mission, "more vital and important today than ever before", he said. The spiritual core of the Carthusians, founded by St. Bruno, lies in the desire "to enter into union of life with God, abandoning everything which impedes such communion, allowing oneself to be seized by the immense love of God and living from that love alone", through solitude and silence.

Technological progress, the Holy Father noted, has made man's life more comfortable but also "more agitated, even convulsive". The growth of the communications media means that today we run the risk of virtual reality dominating reality itself. "People are increasingly, even unwittingly, immersed in a virtual dimension, thanks to the audiovisual images that accompany their lives from morning to evening. The youngest, having been born in this state, seem to fill each vacant moment with music and images, almost as if afraid to contemplate the void. ... Some people are no longer capable of remaining silent and alone".

This situation of modern society and culture "throws light on the specific charism of the Carthusian monastery as a precious gift for the Church and for the world, a gift which contains a profound message for our lives and for all humanity. I would summarise it in these terms: by withdrawing in silence and solitude man, so to speak, 'exposes' himself to the truth of his nakedness, he exposes himself to that apparent 'void' I mentioned earlier. But in doing so he experiences fullness, the presence of God, of the most real Reality that exists. ... Monks, by leaving everything, ... expose themselves to solitude and silence so as to live only from what is essential; and precisely in living from the essential they discover a profound communion with their brothers and sisters, with all mankind".

This vocation, the Pope went on, "finds its response in a journey, a lifelong search. ... Becoming a monk requires time, exercise, patience. ... The beauty of each vocation in the Church lies in giving time to God to work with His Spirit, and in giving time to one's own humanity to form, to grow in a particular state of life according to the measure of maturity in Christ. In Christ there is everything, fullness. However we need time to possess one of the dimensions of His mystery. ... At times, in the eyes of the world, it seems impossible that someone should spend his entire life in a monastery, but in reality a lifetime is hardly sufficient to enter into this union with God, into the essential and profound Reality which is Jesus Christ".

"The Church needs you and you need the Church", the Holy Father told the monks at the end of his homily. "You, who live in voluntary isolation, are in fact at the heart of the Church; you ensure that the pure blood of contemplation and of God's love flows in her veins".

Following the celebration, the Holy Father met with the monastic community in the refectory, he signed the visitors book then visited a cell and the infirmary of the monastery. He then returned by helicopter to Lamezia Terme whence he departed by plane for Rome at 8 p.m.
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VATICAN CITY, 10 OCT 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

- Bishop Barthelemy Adoukonou, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture, accompanied by members of his family.

- Bishop Giuseppe Sciacca, secretary general of the Governorate of Vatican City State, accompanied by members of his family.
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VATICAN CITY, 10 OCT 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Nuno Bras da Silva Martins, rector of the major seminary of "'Cristo Rei' dos Olivais", as auxiliary of the patriarchate of Lisbon (area 3,735, population 2,233,000, Catholics 1,867,000, priests 608, permanent deacons 75, religious 1,559), Portugal. The bishop-elect was born in Vimeiro, Portugal in 1963 and ordained a priest in 1987. Since his ordination he has worked as a vice pastor, editor of a diocesan weekly newspaper and professor of theology. He has published a number of works on theological subjects and was rector of the Pontifical Portuguese College in Rome from 2002 to 2005.

On Saturday 8 October it was made public that the Holy Father:

- Appointed Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, as his special envoy to celebrations marking the centenary of the cathedral of Yangon, Myanmar, due to take place on 8 December.

- Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Sonsonate, El Salvador, presented by Bishop Jose Adolfo Mojica Morales, upon having reached the age limit, appointing Bishop Fabio Reynaldo Colindres Abarca, military ordinary for El Salvador, as apostolic administrator "ad nutum Sanctae Sedis" of the same diocese.

- Appointed Fr. Marek Solarczyk of the clergy of the diocese of Warszawa-Praga, Poland, pastor of the cathedral, as auxiliary of the same diocese (area 3,300, population 1,138,000, Catholics 1,098,000, priests 643, religious 1,542). The bishop-elect was born in Wolomin, Poland in 1966 and ordained a priest in 1992. Having gained his doctorate in theology from the Pontifical Academy of Theology in Warsaw he worked as vice pastor in a number of parishes. From 2005 to 2009 he was vice rector of the diocesan seminary and continues to teach in high schools and the seminary.
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