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Monday, October 22, 2012


Vatican City,  (VIS) - Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi today made the following statement.

"The announced mission to Syria by representatives of the Holy See and the Synod of Bishops is still in the course of being studied and prepared, in order to be put into effect as soon as possible, and to respond effectively to its intended aims of solidarity, peace and reconciliation despite the very serious incidents that have taken place in the region recently".


Vatican City, 21 October 2012 (VIS) - This morning in St. Peter's Square, some eighty thousand people participated in a papal Mass for the canonisation of seven new saints: Jacques Berthieu, French martyr and priest of the Society of Jesus (1838-1896); Pedro Calungsod, Filipino lay catechist and martyr (1654-1672); Giovanni Battista Piamarta, Italian priest and founder of the Congregation of the Holy Family of Nazareth and of the Congregation of the Humble Sister Servants of the Lord (1841-1913); Maria del Carmen (born Maria Salles y Barangueras), Spanish foundress of the Conceptionist Missionary Sisters of Teaching (1848-1911); Marianne Cope, nee Barbara, German-American religious of the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis in Syracuse U.S.A. (1838-1918); Kateri Tekakwitha, American laywoman (1656-1680), and Anna Schaeffer, German laywoman (1882-1925).

In his homily, the Holy Father drew attention to the "happy coincidence" between the current assembly of the Synod of Bishops on new evangelisation World Mission Sunday which falls today, and the readings during today's Mass which, he said, show us "how to be evangelisers, called to bear witness and to proclaim the Christian message, configuring ourselves to Christ and following His same way of life. This is true both for the mission 'ad Gentes' and for the new evangelisation in places with ancient Christian roots.

"The Son of Man came to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many", the Pope added. "These words were the existential blueprint of the seven blessed men and women that the Church solemnly enrols this morning in the glorious ranks of the saints. ... They are sons and daughters of the Church who chose a life of service following the Lord. Holiness always rises up in the Church from the well-spring of the mystery of redemption. ... Today’s canonisation is an eloquent confirmation of this mysterious salvific truth".

The Holy Father then turned his attention to the life and example of each of the new saints, beginning with Jacques Berthieu. Born in France in 1838, he was "a tireless pastor on the island of Sainte Marie, then in Madagascar, he struggled against injustice while bringing succour to the poor and sick. ... He made himself all things to all men, drawing from prayer and his love of the sacred heart of Jesus the human and priestly force to face martyrdom in 1896. ... May the life of this evangeliser be an encouragement and a model for priests that, like him, they will be men of God! May his example aid the many Christians of today persecuted for their faith! In this Year of Faith, may his intercession bring forth many fruits for Madagascar and Africa".

Pedro Calungsod was born around 1654 in the Visayas region of the Philippines. In 1668, he and other young catechists accompanied Father Diego Luis de San Vitores to the Marianas Islands to evangelise the Chamorro people. "Life there was hard and the missionaries also faced persecution arising from envy and slander", the Pope explained. "Pedro, however, displayed deep faith and charity and continued to catechise his many converts, giving witness to Christ by a life of purity and dedication to the Gospel. Uppermost was his desire to win souls for Christ, and this made him resolute in accepting martyrdom. ... May the example and courageous witness of Pedro Calungsod inspire the dear people of the Philippines to announce the Kingdom bravely and to win souls for God".

The Italian priest Giovanni Battista Piamarta "was a great apostle of charity and of young people. He raised awareness of the need for a cultural and social presence of Catholicism in the modern world. ... Animated by unshakable faith in divine providence and by a profound spirit of sacrifice, ... when he was overburdened with work, he increased the length of his encounter, heart to heart, with the Lord, ... to gain spiritual fortitude and so return to gaining people’s hearts".

The educational work of the Spanish religious Maria del Carmen Salles y Barangueras, which she "entrusted to the Immaculate Virgin Mary, continues to bear abundant fruit among young people through the generous dedication of her daughters who, like her, entrust themselves to God for Whom all is possible", the Holy Father said.

Marianne Cope "willingly embraced a call to care for the lepers of Hawaii after many others had refused". Later, on the island of Molokai, she nursed Father Damien and, following his death, continued his work among those stricken with leprosy. "At a time when little could be done for those suffering from this terrible disease, Marianne Cope showed the highest love, courage and enthusiasm".

"Kateri Tekakwitha was born in today’s New York state in 1656 to a Mohawk father and a Christian Algonquin mother. ... She was baptised at twenty years of age and, to escape persecution, took refuge in the St. Francis Xavier Mission near Montreal. There she worked, faithful to the traditions of her people although renouncing their religious convictions, until her death at the age of twenty-four. ... Kateri impresses us by the action of grace in her life in spite of the absence of external help and by the courage of her vocation, so unusual in her culture. In her, faith and culture enrich each other. May her example help us to live where we are, loving Jesus without denying who we are. St. Kateri, Protectress of Canada and the first native American saint, we entrust to you the renewal of the faith in the first nations and in all of North America. May God bless the first nations".

The young German Anna Schaeffer from Mindelstetten suffered a serious accident which left her with incurable burns on her legs and forced her to be bed-ridden for the rest of her life. "Her sickbed became her cloister cell and her suffering a missionary service", said Benedict XVI. "May her intercession strengthen the Christian hospice movement in its beneficial activity".

"These new saints, different in origin, language, nationality and social condition, are united among themselves and with the whole People of God in the mystery of salvation of Christ the Redeemer. ... May the witness of ... their lives generously spent for love of Christ, speak today to the whole Church, and may their intercession strengthen and sustain her in her mission to proclaim the Gospel to the whole world", the Holy Father concluded.

Before praying the Angelus, the Pope invoked Mary Queen of all saints, recalling how the French Marian shrine of Lourdes is currently suffering the consequences of the flooding of the Gave River. He went on: "Today too we entrust to the protection of the Virgin Mary missionary men and women - priests, religious and lay people - who spread the good seed of the Gospel all over the world. We pray also for the Synod of Bishops which is meeting during these weeks to examine the challenge of the new evangelisation for the transmission of the Christian faith".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - This morning in the Clementine Hall of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, Benedict XVI conferred the "Ratzinger Prize" upon two scholars of theology. The award was established by the "Vatican Foundation: Joseph Ratzinger - Benedict XVI".

The prize winners this year are the French historian Remi Brague, and the American scholar of patrology and theology Fr. Brian Edward Daley S.J.

Following some introductory remarks from Msgr. Giuseppe Antonio Scotti, president of the foundation, and the presentation of the two winners by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, president of the foundation's academic committee, the Holy Father addressed some words to those present.

The winners, he said, "are experts deeply involved in two questions which are vital for the Church in our time: ecumenism and relations with other religions. Fr. Daley, by studying the Fathers of the Church, has entered into the best school for understating and loving the Church, one and undivided though in the richness of her different traditions". Remi Brague "is a great scholar of the philosophy of religions, in particular that of Judaism and Islam in the Middle Ages. Now, fifty years after the opening of Vatican Council II, I would like to join them in re-examining two conciliar documents: the Declaration 'Nostra aetate' on non-Christian religions, and the Decree 'Unitatis redintegratio' on ecumenism. To these, however, I would add another document which has proved to be immensely important: the Declaration 'Dignitatis humanae' on religious freedom".

Benedict XVI went on to recall that both prize winners "are university professors, deeply committed to teaching". This, he said, "highlights an important aspect of coherence" in the activity of the "Vatican Foundation: Joseph Ratzinger - Benedict XVI" which, apart from the prize, also grants bursaries to doctorate students of theology and organises academic conferences.

"People such as Fr. Daley and Professor Brague are exemplary figures for the transmission of a knowledge with brings together science and wisdom, academic rigour and a passion for man, that he may discover the 'art of living'. We need people who, through an illuminated and coherent faith, make God close and credible to mankind today. ... We need people whose intellect has been illuminated by the light of God, so that they can speak to the minds and hearts of others".

The Holy Father concluded: "Working in the Lord's vineyard, where He calls us, so that the men and women of our time may discover or rediscover the true 'art of living': this was also one of the great passions of Vatican Council II, and is more urgent than ever in the context of current efforts towards new evangelisation".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Holy Father, through Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., has sent a telegram to His Beatitude Bechara Boutros Rai, patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, Lebanon, for yesterday’s bomb blast in Beirut which left eight dead and many injured.

"Having learned of the terrible attack in Beirut, which caused so many victims", the telegram reads, "His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI unites himself in prayer with the pain of the mourning families, and with the sadness of all Lebanese. Commending the victims to the all merciful God, and imploring Him to welcome them into His light, the Holy Father expresses his profound closeness to the injured and their families, asking the Lord to help and console them in their time of trial. As he did during his apostolic trip to Lebanon, the Holy Father again condemns the violence which causes so much suffering, and asks God to give the gift of peace and reconciliation to Lebanon and the entire region. With all his heart, His Holiness invokes abundance of divine blessings upon the mourning families and all Lebanese".


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

- Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.

- Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, president of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State and of the Governorate of Vatican City State.


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Machala, Ecuador, presented by Bishop Luis Antonio Sanchez Armijos S.D.B., in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

On Saturday 20 October it was made public that the Holy Father:

- Appointed Bishop Domenico Caliandro of Nardo-Gallipoli, Italy, as archbishop of Brindisi-Ostuni (area 1,253, population 285,396, Catholics 282,396, priests 165, permanent deacons 12, religious 233), Italy.

- Appointed Msgr. Guido Gallese of the clergy of the archdiocese of Genoa, Italy, director of the diocesan office for universities and head of youth pastoral care, as bishop of Alessandria (area 740, population 163,100, Catholics 151,200, priests 96, permanent deacons 9, religious 207), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Genoa in 1962 and ordained a priest in 1990. Among other things he has worked as vice rector of the local archdiocesan seminary, and has been involved in pastoral care in a number of parishes.

- Appointed Bishop Luigi Ernesto Palletti, auxiliary of Genoa, Italy, as bishop of La Spezia-Sarzana-Brugnato (area 881, population 223,535, Catholics 220,921, priests 141, permanent deacons 22, religious 152), Italy.

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