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Friday, May 11, 2012


Vatican City, 11 May 2012 (VIS) - "At the current time evangelisation, which is always a pressing task, requires the Church to work even more assiduously throughout the world in order to to ensure that all mankind may come to know Christ", said Benedict XVI this morning as he received in audience directors of the Pontifical Missionary Works. That organisation, which oversees missionary cooperation among the Churches of the world, is currently celebrating the annual assembly of its governing council.

"Only in Truth, which is Christ Himself", the Holy Father said, "can humankind discover the meaning of life, find salvation, and develop in justice and peace. All men and all peoples have the right to receive the Gospel of truth. ... Jesus, the Word incarnate, is always the centre of our announcement, the point of reference for our evangelising mission and for its methodology, because He is the human face of God, Who wishes to meet all men and women so as to bring them into communion with Him, in His love".

"The mission today needs to renew its trust in the action of God; it needs to pray more intensely that His Kingdom may come. ... We must invoke light and strength from the Holy Spirit, and commit ourselves with decision and generosity so as to inaugurate, in a certain sense, 'a new era of proclamation of the Gospel ... because, after two millennia, a major part of the human family still does not acknowledge Christ, but also because the situation in which the Church and the world find themselves at the threshold of the new millennium is particularly challenging'", said the Holy Father quoting Blessed John Paul II's Apostolic Exhortation "Ecclesia in Asia". Pope Benedict also expressed his support for the project with which the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples and the Pontifical Missionary Works are supporting the Year of Faith, a project involving "an international campaign which, by praying the Rosary, accompanies the work of evangelisation in the world and helps many of the baptised to rediscover and deepen their faith".

"Announcing the Gospel often involves considerable difficulty and suffering. The growth of the Kingdom of God in the world, in fact, frequently comes about at the cost of His servants' blood. In this period of economic, cultural and political change in which human beings often feel alone, prey to anguish and desperation, the messengers of the Gospel, even if they announce hope and peace, continue to be persecuted as their Master and Lord was. But, despite the problems and the tragic reality of persecution, the Church is not discouraged, she remains faithful to the mandate of her Lord, aware that 'throughout Christian history, martyrs, that is, witnesses, have always been numerous and indispensable to the spread of the Gospel'".

The Pope concluded his address by recalling that the Pontifical Missionary Works had been given the particular task of "supporting the ministers of the Gospel, and helping them preserve the 'joy of evangelising, even when it is in tears that we must sow'. ... Your work of missionary animation and formation lies at the very heart of pastoral care", he told his audience, "because the 'missio ad gentes' is the paradigm for all apostolic activity of the Church. Become an increasingly visible and concrete expression of the sharing of personnel and means among Churches which, as communicating vessels, experience the same missionary vocation and impulse, and which work in every corner of the earth to sow the Word of Truth in all peoples and all cultures".


Vatican City, 11 May 2012 (VIS) - Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. released the following communique this morning concerning a double bomb attack in the Syrian capital Damascus yesterday, which killed 55 people and injured more than 370.

"Having witnessed yesterday's attacks which brought carnage to the streets of Damascus, we cannot but express our strong condemnation and the heartfelt closeness of the Holy Father and the Catholic community to the families of the victims. These attacks should encourage all sides to boost and strengthen their commitment to implementing the Annan Peace Plan, which has been accepted by all sides in the conflict. Yesterday' attacks also show that the situation in Syria requires a firm and joint commitment on the part of the entire international community to implement that plan and, as soon as possible, to send further observers. The appeal made by the Holy Father on Easter Day is now more pressing than ever: it is necessary without delay to make an immediate commitment to the path of respect, dialogue and reconciliation".


Vatican City, 11 May 2012 (VIS) - A note released today by the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff announces that the following cardinals will take possession of their titles or diaconates in coming weeks:

Cardinal Willem Jacobus Eijk, archbishop of Utrecht, Netherlands, will take possession of the title of San Callisto in Piazza San Calisto 16, Rome, at 5.30 p.m. on Thursday 17 May.

Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz, prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, will take possession of the diaconate of Sant’Elena fuori Porta Prenestina in Via Casilina 205, Rome, at 10.30 a.m. on Sunday 20 May.

Cardinal Santos Abril y Castello, archpriest of the papal basilica of St. Mary Major, will take possession of the diaconate of San Ponziano in Via Nicola Festa 50, Rome, at 11.30 a.m. on Sunday 20 May.

Cardinal Domenico Calcagano president of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, will take possession of the diaconate of the Annunciazione della Beata Vergine Maria a Via Ardeatina in Via di Grotta Perfetta 591, Rome, at 17.30 a.m. on Sunday 27 May.


Vatican City, 11 May 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience:

- Seven prelates of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, on their "ad limina" visit:

- Archbishop Thomas Gerard Wenski of Miami.

- Bishop John Gerard Noonan of Orlando.

- Bishop Gerald Michael Barbarito of Palm Beach.

- Bishop Gregory Lawrence Parkes of Pensacola-Tallahassee.

- Bishop Felipe de Jesus Estevez of Saint Augustine.

- Bishop Robert Nugent Lynch of Saint Petersburg.

- Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice.

- Vytautas Alisauskas, ambassador of Lithuania, on his farewell visit.


Vatican City, 10 May 2012 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican Benedict XVI welcomed a delegation from the Latin American Jewish Congress, "the first group representing Jewish organisations and communities in Latin America which I have met here in the Vatican", the Pope said. He went on to recall that "dynamic Jewish communities exist throughout Latin America, especially in Argentina and Brazil, living alongside a large Catholic majority. Beginning with the years of Vatican Council II relations between Jews and Catholics have become stronger, also in your own region, and various initiatives are afoot to make our mutual friendship deeper".

The Holy Father reaffirmed that the Vatican Council II Declaration "Nostra aetate" continues "to be the basis and the guide for our efforts towards promoting greater understanding, respect and cooperation between our communities. The Declaration not only took up a clear position against all forms anti-Semitism, but also laid the foundations for a new theological evaluation of the Church’s relationship with Judaism, expressing the confidence that an appreciation of the spiritual heritage that Jews and Christians share will lead to increasing understanding and esteem".

"In considering the progress made in the last fifty years of Jewish-Catholic relations throughout the world, we cannot but give thanks to the Almighty for this evident sign of His goodness and providence. Thanks to the increase of trust, respect and goodwill, groups whose relations were originally characterised by a certain lack of trust, have little by little become faithful partners and friends, even good friends, capable of facing crises together and overcoming conflicts in a positive manner. Of course there is still a great deal to be done to shake off the burdens of the past, to foment better relations between our communities and to respond to the increasing challenges believers have to face in the modern world. Nonetheless, the fact that we are jointly committed to a path of dialogue, reconciliation and cooperation is a reason for thanksgiving".

"In a world increasingly threatened by the loss of spiritual and moral values - the values that can guarantee respect for human dignity and lasting peace - sincere and respectful dialogue among religions and cultures is crucial for the future of our human family. I hope that your visit today will be a source of encouragement and renewed trust when we come to face the challenge of forming stronger ties of friendship and collaboration, and of bearing prophetic witness to the power of God's truth, justice and love, for the good of all humanity", the Holy Father concluded.


Vatican City, 10 May 2012 (VIS) - "I am very happy to receive you on this day on which you are commemorating fifty years at the current site of the Pontifical Spanish College of St. Joseph, and on the liturgical memory of St. John of Avila, patron of the Spanish secular clergy whom I will soon declare a Doctor of the universal Church", said Benedict XVI to students, rectors superiors and religious of that Roman seminary whom he received in audience this morning.

"The formation of priests is always one of the Church's most important priorities", the Pope went on. "Having been sent to Rome to continue your priestly studies you must concentrate, not so much on your own individual good, as on serving the holy people of God, who need pastors who commit themselves to the service of sanctifying the faithful with ability and competence. ... Remember, however, that the priest renews his own life and draws strength for his ministry through contemplating the Divine Word, and through intense dialogue with the Lord. He is aware that he cannot bring his brothers and sisters to Christ, nor see Him in the poor and the sick, unless he first discovers Him in fervent and constant prayer. ... The path of priestly formation is also a school of missionary communion: with Peter's Successor, with your bishop and with your fellow priests, and always at the service of the particular and the universal Church".

"Dear priests, may the life and doctrine of the Holy Master St. John of Avila illuminate and support you during your stay at the Pontifical Spanish College of St. Joseph. His profound knowledge of Holy Scripture, the Fathers, the Councils, liturgy and sound theology, accompanied by his faithful and filial love for the Church, made him a true renovator at a difficult time in ecclesiastical history". Pope Benedict went on to quote words pronounced by Paul VI when he canonised that Spanish saint in 1970. "His was a far-sighted and ardent spirit which, in addition to denouncing evils and suggesting canonical remedies, also cultivated a school of intense spirituality"

"The teaching of the Apostle of Andalucia focuses on the mystery of Christ, Priest and Good Shepherd, experienced in harmony with the Lord's own sentiments and in imitation of St. Paul. ... I invite you, then, to exercise your priestly ministry with the same apostolic zeal that characterised him, with the same austerity of life, and with the same filial affection as he had for the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of priests", the Holy Father concluded.


Vatican City, 10 May 2012 (VIS) - "The Eucharist: Communion with Christ and with one another" is the theme of the fiftieth International Eucharistic Congress, due to be held in the Irish capital Dublin from 10 to 17 June. The initiative was presented this morning in the Holy See Press Office by Archbishop Piero Marini, president of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses; Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, and Fr. Vittore Boccardi S.S.S. of the secretariat of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses.

"The Roman Ritual 'De sacra Communione et de cultu mysterii eucharistici extra Missam' establishes what an International Eucharistic Congress actually is", Archbishop Marini explained. That document, "enacting the principles of Vatican Council II, defines the Congress as a 'statio orbis'; in other words, a 'a pause for commitment and prayer to which a particular community invites the universal Church'. During that time the celebration of the Eucharist becomes the centre and vertex of all forms of piety, ... of theological and pastoral reflections, of social commitment".

"By a noteworthy coincidence", the archbishop went on, "the fiftieth International Eucharistic Congress of Dublin coincides with the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of Vatican Council II; and it is to the Council that the Congress will refer because the theme chosen - 'The Eucharist: Communion with Christ and with one another - has been taken from paragraph 7 of the Dogmatic Constitution 'Lumen gentium'. That theme reminds the baptised that it is by participating in the Eucharist that we construct communion with Christ and, at the same time, with one another; in other words, the most authentic face of the Church. ... Progressive emphasis on the ecclesiology of communion 'according to which the Eucharist has a causal influence at the very origins of the Church', is replete with pastoral, ecclesial and ecumenical consequences, which will be studied in Dublin at a theological symposium to be held before the Congress".

Archbishop Marini explained that the event will be attended by thousands of faithful from all over the world who, apart from celebrating the Eucharist together, will pray and participate in a number of processions, eighteen general conferences and 150 workshops and discussion groups, examining important religious themes and experiencing "authentic ecclesial solidarity".

For his part Archbishop Martin recalled that Dublin had also hosted the thirty-first International Eucharistic Congress in 1932. "The Church in Ireland in 1932 was very different to the Church in Ireland today", he said. "The Eucharistic Congress must address its participants in the context of the culture in which they live". In 2012 it must "reflect and present the Church in Ireland, a Church which has faced and continues to face enormous challenges, but a Church which is alive, energetic and anxious to start a journey of renewal.

"There are divisions within the Irish Church", he added, "sometimes unhealthy divisions. I believe it is helpful to look back to 1932 and to Irish society of the time, which less than a decade previously had been lacerated by a harsh civil war lasting two years. It is a fact of great honour to my predecessor Archbishop Edward Byrne that he celebrated the Congress as a moment of reconciliation and rediscovered unity. For the first time in the newly independent Ireland, men and woman on both sides of a bitter divide met to work together on a shared project. The Eucharist has the power to reconcile. Communion with Christ nourishes communion and reconciliation with others".

Archbishop Martin went on: "The fiftieth International Eucharistic Congress of Dublin will again be a moment of renewal and reconciliation; an event reawakening awareness among all Catholics of the central place of the Eucharist in the life of the Church, the true summit to which all Church activities strive, the source whence all Church life pours forth". The Congress will remind the Church in Ireland "of the centrality of spiritual renewal and of the significance of the Church as the Body of Christ", he said.

The archbishop of Dublin also announced that the Congress will have an ecumenical aspect, with the participation of other Christian Churches in Ireland. The event will conclude in Croke Park on 17 June with a Mass celebrated by Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops and pontifical delegate to the Congress. During the Mass a televised message from the Pope will be broadcast.


Vatican City, 10 May 2012 (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 extended the liturgical cult of St. Hildegard of Bingen (1089-1179) to the universal Church, inscribing her in the catalogue of saints. He also authorised the promulgation of decrees concerning the following causes:


- Servant of God Tommaso da Olera (ne Tommaso Acerbis), Italian professed layman of the Order of the Friars Minor Capuchin (1563-1631).

- Servant of God Maria Troncatti, Italian professed sister of the Congregation of the Daughters of Our Lady of Help (1883-1969).


- Servants of Gods Frederic Bachstein and thirteen companions of the Order of Friars Minor, killed in hatred of the faith at Prague, Czech Republic in 1611.

- Servants of God Raimundo Castano Gonzalez and Jose Maria Gonzalez Solis, professed priests of the Order of Friars Preachers, killed in hatred of the faith at Bilbao, Spain in 1936.

- Servants of God Jaime Puig Mirosa and eighteen companions of the Congregation of the Sons of the Sacred Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, and Sebastian Llorens Telarroja, layman, killed in hatred of the faith in Spain between 1936 and 1937.

- Servant of God Odoardo Focherini, Italian layman, killed in hatred of the faith at Hersbruck, Germany in 1944.


- Servant of God Raffaello Delle Nocche, Italian bishop of Tricarico and founder of the Sisters Disciples of the Eucharistic Jesus (1877-1960).

- Servant of God Frederic Irenej Baraga, Slovene American, first bishop of Marquette (1797-1868).

- Servant of God Pasquale Uva, Italian diocesan priest and founder of the Congregation of Sisters Handmaidens of Divine Providence (1883-1955).

- Servant of God Baltazar Manuel Pardal Vidal, Spanish diocesan priest and founder of the Secular Institute of the Daughters of Mary's Nativity (1886-1963).

- Servant of God Francesco Di Paola Victor, Brazilian diocesan priest (1827-1905).

- Servant of God Jacques Sevin, French professed priest of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and founder of the Catholic Scouts of France and of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross of Jerusalem (1882-1951).

- Servant of God Maria Josefa of the Blessed Sacrament (nee Maria Josefa Recio Martin), founder of the Congregation of Hospitaller Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (1846-1883).

- Servant of God Miriam Teresa Demjanovich, American professed sister of the Congregation of the Sisters of Chraity of St. Elizabeth (1901-1927).

- Servant of God Emilia Engel, German member of the Secular Institute of Sisters of Maria of Schonstatt, (1893-1955).

- Servant of God Rachele Ambrosini, Italian lay woman (1925-1941).

- Servant of God Maria Bolognesi, Italian lay woman (1924-1980).

On 14 March, the Supreme Pontiff authorised the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to promulgate the decree regarding the heroic virtues of Servant of God Felix Francisco Jose de la Concepcion Varela Morales, Cuban diocesan priest (1788-1853).


Vatican City, 10 May 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Appointed Bishop Jose Roberto Ospina Leongomez, auxiliary of Bogota, Colombia, as bishop of Buga (area 3,997, population 626,000, Catholics 563,000, priests 107, permanent deacons 3, religious 160), Colombia. He succeeds Bishop Hernan Giraldo Jaramillo, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Bishop Andrew Yeom Soo jung, auxiliary and vicar general of the archdiocese of Seoul, Korea, as archbishop of the same archdiocese (area 606, population 10,575,446, Catholics 1,417,695, priests 905, religious 2,380). He succeeds Cardinal Nicholas Cheong Jinsuk, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.


Vatican City, 9 May 2012 (VIS) - "From the first moment of my election as Successor of St. Peter I have always felt supported by the prayers of the Church, by your prayers, especially at moments of greatest difficultly, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart", said Benedict XVI today during his general audience. "Constant choral prayer is also an important way to overcome any trials that may arise on life's journey, because it is by being profoundly united to God that we can also be profoundly united to others".

As part of a series of catecheses dedicated to the early Church, this morning the Holy Father focused his remarks on the last episode of St. Peter's life recounted in the Acts of the Apostles, when he was imprisoned by Herod Agrippa then freed by an angel of the Lord.

The Pope reminded the 10,000 faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square that, while the Apostle was in prison, the Church prayed for him constantly. Thus, the Holy Father explained, "the power of the Church’s incessant prayer rose up to God; the Lord listened and sent His angel to ensure the Apostle was freed by an inconceivable and unexpected act of liberation".

The Pope then turned to consider Peter's actions while in prison, and the fact that he was sleeping which the angel came. "In such a critical and dangerous situation, this may seem strange, but it actually denotes tranquillity and trust", he said. "Peter trusted in God, he knew he was surrounded by the solidarity and support of his followers and so abandoned himself entirely into the hands of the Lord. This is how our prayer must be: assiduous, united with others, an expression of complete trust in God Who knows us in our most intimate selves and looks after us".

Once free, Peter went to the house of Mark's mother where many disciples were gathered in prayer. As in other episodes in the Acts of the Apostles, so also on this occasion "the response of the community to difficulties and peril was to entrust themselves to God, to intensify their relationship with Him", Pope Benedict said. In this context he also dwelt on another moment of difficult faced by the early Church, motivated by envy and disputes within the community. According to St. James, who recounts the episode, there were two reasons for the crisis: the fact that people allowed themselves to be dominated by their passions, especially selfishness, and the lack of prayer. That situation will change, the Apostle says, if the entire community prays together, assiduously and cohesively. This recommendation, the Pope explained, is "also an important call for us and for our communities, both small communities such as the family, and larger communities such as the parish, the diocese and the Church as a whole".

The liberation of St. Peter, the Holy Father concluded, "tells us that the Church, and each one of us, must suffer difficulties, but the incessant vigilance of prayer supports us. ... With constant and trusting prayer the Lord frees us from our chains and guides us. ... He gives us serenity of heart to face the difficulties of life, even rejection, opposition and persecution. ... The Apostle Peter, though in chains, was calm and certain that he was not alone: the community was praying for him, the Lord was close. He knew that 'the power of Christ is fully expressed in weakness'".


Vatican City, 9 May 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Roque Costa Souza of the clergy of the archdiocese of Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, rector of the "Sao Jose" major seminary, as auxiliary of the same archdiocese (area 1,261, population 6,215,000, Catholics 3,772,000, priests 604, permanent deacons 144, religious 1,061). The bishop-elect was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1966 and ordained a priest in 1994. He has worked in pastoral care in a number of parishes and as chaplain to the military police in the State of Rio de Janeiro.

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