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Monday, July 9, 2012


Vatican City,  (VIS) - Benedict XVI this morning made a private visit to the "Ad Gentes Centre" of the Missionaries of the Divine Word, located in the village of Nemi. It was in that building, then called the International Centre of the Society of the Divine Word, that the Vatican Council II Commission on Missions met from 29 March to 3 April 1965. Among the participants was a young theologian and expert of the conciliar assembly, Joseph Ratzinger.

The Holy Father left Castelgandolfo by car at 11.30 a.m. and was welcomed on his arrival at Nemi by Fr. Heinz Kuluke, superior general elect; Fr. Antonio Pernia superior general, and Fr. Giancarlo Girardi, procurator general. The Holy Father then moved on to the chapel to meet with the 150 participants in the general chapter of the order and the community of the Mother House in Rome. After adoring the Blessed Sacrament, and listening to a welcome address from Fr. Pernia, the Pope made some brief remarks.

Having completed his visit, Benedict XVI returned to the Apostolic Palace.


Vatican City, 8 July 2012 (VIS) - At midday today, his first Sunday at Castelgandolfo, the Pope emerged onto the balcony overlooking the inner courtyard of the Apostolic Palace to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered below. He remarked on today's reading from St. Mark's Gospel concerning the refusal of the people of Nazareth to recognise the divinity of Jesus, and the scandal provoked by the fact that "the carpenter, the son of Mary" who had lived among them, should preach like a prophet.

In this context, the Holy Father mentioned the phrase "Nemo propheta in patria", meaning no one is a prophet in his own land. This, he said, "is understandable because their human familiarity made it hard for them to go further and open themselves to the divine dimension. It was difficult for them to believe that this son of a carpenter was the Son of God", while Jesus Himself drew on the example of the prophets of Israel who were likewise disdained. Because of this spiritual closure in Nazareth, "Jesus 'could do no deeds of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them'. Indeed, the miracles of Christ were not a show of power, but signs of God's love, which is realised wherever it finds reciprocity in the faith of man".

"The astonishment and scandal of His fellow citizens was met with amazement on the part of Jesus. In a certain sense, He too was scandalised. Although He knew that no prophet is accepted in his own land, yet His own people's closure of heart was something obscure and impenetrable to Him. How was it possible that they did not recognise the light of Truth? Why did they not open to the goodness of God Who chose to share our humanity?. The man Jesus of Nazareth is the transparency of God, God dwells in Him fully and, while we always seek other signs, other prodigies, we do not realise that the true sign is Him, God made flesh. He is the greatest miracle of the universe: all the love of God contained in a human heart and a human face".

After praying the Angelus the Pope greeted French-speaking pilgrims saying: "During the summer do not take a vacation from God; pray and go to Sunday Mass".

He then addressed some words to Polish faithful, particularly participants in a pilgrimage organised by the Family of Radio Maria to the shrine of Jasna Gora where they are praying "for the homeland, families and freedom of expression". He also greeted members of the "Work of the New Millennium" Association who are meeting in Lublin with followers of other religions and who this evening will gather to pray for peace in the former concentration camp of Majdanek. "I participate spiritually in these initiatives", the Pope said, "and implore goodness and peace for the world, for Poland and for each one of you".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of Ischia, Italy, presented by Bishop Filippo Strofaldi, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

- Appointed Msgr. Sebastian Francis, vicar general of the diocese of Melaka-Johor, Malaysia, as bishop of Penang (area 46,855, population 6,500,000, Catholics 66,000, priests 46, religious 97), Malaysia. The bishop-elect was born in Johor Bahru, Malaysia in 1951 and ordained a priest in 1977. He studied in Rome and has been active in pastoral care and in education. He succeeds Bishop Antony Selvanayagam, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, as pontifical legate to the consecration of the cathedral of the diocese of Karaganda, Kazakhstan, due to take place on 9 September.

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