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Friday, May 17, 2013


Vatican City, 17 May 2013 (VIS) – The Pontifical Missionary Works (POM) are “entirely relevant, even more, they are still necessary today because there are so many peoples who have still not known and met Christ and it is urgent to find new forms and new ways that God's grace might touch the heart of each man and each woman and bring them to him.” With these words, Pope Francis greeted the national directors of the POM for the first time, thanking them because they help him “keep evangelization, the paradigm of every act of the Church, alive.”

The Holy Father noted that the Missionary Works are also called “pontifical” because “they are at the Bishop of Rome's direct disposal, with the specific purpose of acting so that the precious gift of the Gospel might be offered to all.” “Certainly,” he said, “the mission that awaits us is difficult but, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, it becomes an exciting mission. … This is what we should always draw courage from: knowing that the strength of evangelization comes from God, belongs to him. We are called to open ourselves more and more to the Holy Spirit's work … to be instruments of God's mercy, his tenderness, his love for every man and woman, and especially for the poor, the excluded and the marginalized. And this holds for every Christian, for the whole Church. It isn't an optional mission but an essential one.”

The Pope repeated the invitation that Paul VI had given them 50 years before: “to zealously safeguard the universal scope of the Missionary Works” and he urged them to make sure that they “might continue, in the path of their centuries-old tradition, to give life and formation to churches, opening them to the broad dimension of the mission of evangelization.” The POM also properly belong to the concerns of the bishops so that they might be rooted in the life of the particular churches. Therefore, “they must truly become the privileged instrument of education toward a universal missionary spirit and an ever greater communion between churches to proclaim the Gospel to the world. Faced with the temptations communities have to become wrapped up in themselves, worried about their own problems, your job is to recall the 'missio ad gentes', to prophetically witness that the life of the Church and the churches is mission, and it is a universal mission.”

In this context, Francis asked them to give “special attention to the young churches, which often operate in a climate of difficulty, discrimination, and persecution, so that they might be sustained and assisted in witnessing the Gospel in word and in deed.” He concluded his address by encouraging the directors of the POM to continue their work “so that the local churches might ever more generously take on their share of responsibility for the Church's universal mission.”


Vatican City, 17 May 2013 (VIS) - Given below is the calendar of the Holy Father Francis' liturgical celebrations and activities scheduled for the months of May, June, and July.

23 May, Thursday: 6:00pm, Profession of Faith with the Bishops of the Italian Episcopal Conference.

26 May, Sunday, Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity: Pastoral visit to the Roman parish of Sts. Elizabeth and Zechariah. 9:30am, Mass.

30 May, Thursday, Solemnity of Corpus Cristi: 7:00pm, Mass in Piazza St. John Lateran. Procession to St. Mary Major and Eucharistic Blessing.

31 May, Friday: 8:00pm, Pope closes month of May, dedicated to the Virgin, with the Rosary prayed with the faithful in St. Peter's Square.

2 June, 9th Sunday in Ordinary Time: 6:00pm, Worldwide Eucharistic adoration from Vatican Basilica.

16 June, 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time: 10:30am, Mass for “Evangelium Vitae” Day in St. Peter's Square.

29 Saturday, Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul: 9:30am, Mass and imposition of the pallium upon new metropolitans in the papal chapel.

7 July, 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time: 9:30am, Mass with seminarians and novices in the Vatican Basilica.

22-29 July: apostolic trip to Brazil for the 28th World Youth Day.


Vatican City, 17 May 2013 (VIS) – Yesterday, Thursday 16 May, in the Domus Sanctae Marthae chapel, there was a meeting on new religious movements organized by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue that, together with the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and the Pontifical Councils for Promoting Christian Unity and for Culture, have been studying these phenomena for some time.

In 1986, for the first time, a brief provisional report was published entitled: “The Phenomenon of Sects and the New Religious Movements: Pastoral Challenge”, the result of a questionnaire sent out to the Episcopal Conferences two years prior. Since that time, the aforementioned dicasteries have continued their task of reflection, publishing an anthology of texts entitled: “Sects and New Religious Movements: Texts of the Catholic Church (1986-1994)”.

In 2003, “Jesus Christ, Bearer of Living Water. A Christian Reflection on the 'New Age',” was published by the Pontifical Councils for Culture and for Interreligious Dialogue following an International Conference on the New Age.

Yesterday's meeting, attended by around 40 representatives from various Vatican dicasteries, pontifical universities, the Italian Episcopal Conference, and the Vicariate of Rome, is a step further along the path of reflection, study, and the search for effective pastoral responses.

Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, opened and closed the meeting while Fr. Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot, M.C.C.I., secretary of the same dicastery, acted as moderator. Some of the themes covered include: New Religious Movements and the New Evangelization; New Frontiers of the Sacred; Dialogue and Comparison between Faith and Credulity; Catholics and Pentecostals—Identity, Ties, and Perspectives; and New Age, Analysis of the Cultural Context.

Speakers included: Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization; Fr. Michael Fuss and Fr. Michael P. Gallagher, S.J., professors at the Pontifical Gregorian University; Msgr. Juan Usma Gomez, office director of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity; and Fr. Alessandro Olivieri Pennesi, director of the Vicariate of Rome's Office for New Worship.


Vatican City, 17 May 2013 (VIS) – This morning the Holy Father received in separate audiences:

nine prelates from the Sardegna Region of the Italian Episcopal Conference on their "ad limina" visit:

   - Archbishop Arrigo Miglio of Cagliari,
   - Archbishop Paolo Mario Virgilio Atzei, O.F.M. Conv., of Sassari,
   - Archbishop Ignazio Sanna of Oristano,
   - Bishop Antioco Piseddu of Lanusei,
   - Bishop Sebastiano Sanguinetti of Tempio-Ampurias,
   - Bishop Giovanni Dettori of Ales-Terralba,
   - Bishop Mose Marcia of Nuoro,
   - Bishop Giovanni Paolo Zedda of Iglesias, and
   - Bishop Mauro Maria Morfino, S.D.B., of Alghero-Bosa.

and Cardinal Domenico Calcagno, president of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA).

This afternoon he is scheduled to receive Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.


Vatican City, 17 May 2013 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father appointed Bishop Enrique Benavent Vidal as bishop of Tortosa (area 6,450, population 294,000, Catholics 261,000, priests 132, permanent deacons 2, religious 256), Spain. Bishop Benavent, previously auxiliary of Valencia and titular of Rotdon, was born in Quatretonda, Valencia, Spain in 1959, was ordained to the priesthood in 1982, and received episcopal ordination in 2005. On the Spanish Episcopal Conference he is a member of the Commissions for the Doctrine of the Faith and for Seminaries and Universities.
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