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Monday, May 20, 2013


Vatican City, 19 May 2013 (VIS) – The Mass that Pope Francis celebrated this morning in St. Peter's Square in front of over 200,000 people was the concluding event of the two days of pilgrimage for the ecclesial movements, communities, and lay associations to Rome as part of the Year of Faith celebrations. In his homily, Francis noted that, on the Solemnity of Pentecost, “we contemplate and re-live in the liturgy the outpouring of the Holy Spirit sent by the Risen Christ upon his Church; an event of grace which filled the Upper Room in Jerusalem and then spread throughout the world.”

Newness,” he said, “always makes us a bit fearful, because we feel more secure if we have everything under control, if we are the ones who build, programme, and plan our lives ... This is also the case when it comes to God. ... It is hard to abandon ourselves to him with complete trust, allowing the Holy Spirit to be the soul and guide of our lives ... We fear that God may force us to strike out on new paths and leave behind our all too narrow, closed and selfish horizons in order to become open to his own. Yet throughout the history of salvation, whenever God reveals himself, He brings newness—God always brings newness—and demands our complete trust: Noah, mocked by all, builds an ark and is saved; Abram leaves his land with only a promise in hand; Moses stands up to the might of Pharaoh and leads his people to freedom; the apostles, huddled fearfully in the Upper Room, go forth with courage to proclaim the Gospel. This is not a question of newness for novelty’s sake, the search for something new to relieve our boredom ... The newness which God brings into our life is something that actually brings fulfilment, that gives true joy, true serenity, because God loves us and desires only our good. Let us ask ourselves today: Are we open to 'God’s surprises'? Or are we closed and fearful before the newness of the Holy Spirit? Do we have the courage to strike out along the new paths which God’s newness sets before us, or do we resist, barricaded in transient structures which have lost their capacity for openness to what is new? We would do well to ask ourselves these questions all through the day.”

The Holy Spirit,” the pontiff continued, “would appear to create disorder in the Church, since he brings the diversity of charisms and gifts; yet all this, by his working, is a great source of wealth, for the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of unity, which does not mean uniformity, but which leads everything back to harmony. In the Church, it is the Holy Spirit who creates harmony. ... Only the Spirit can awaken diversity, plurality, and multiplicity, while at the same time building unity. Here too, when we are the ones who try to create diversity and close ourselves up in what makes us different and other, we bring division. When we are the ones who want to build unity in accordance with our human plans, we end up creating uniformity, standardization. But if instead we let ourselves be guided by the Spirit, richness, variety and diversity never become a source of conflict, because he impels us to experience variety within the communion of the Church. ... Having a sense of the Church is something fundamental for every Christian, every community, and every movement. It is the Church which brings Christ to me, and me to Christ; parallel journeys are very dangerous! When we venture beyond the Church’s teaching and community ... and do not remain in them, we are not one with the God of Jesus Christ.”

In his last point, the Pope observed that “early theologians used to say that the soul is a kind of sailboat, the Holy Spirit is the wind which fills its sails and drives it forward, and the gusts of wind are the gifts of the Spirit. Lacking his impulse and his grace, we do not go forward. The Holy Spirit draws us into the mystery of the living God and saves us from the threat of a Church which is gnostic and self-referential, closed in on herself; He impels us to open the doors and go forth to proclaim and bear witness to the goodness of the Gospel ... The Holy Spirit is the soul of mission. The events that took place in Jerusalem almost two thousand years ago are not something far removed from us; they are events which affect us and become a lived experience in each of us. The Pentecost of the Upper Room in Jerusalem is the beginning, a beginning which endures. ... It is the Paraclete, the 'Comforter', who grants us the courage to take to the streets of the world, bringing the Gospel! The Holy Spirit makes us look to the horizon and urges us toward the very outskirts of existence in order to proclaim life in Jesus Christ.”


Vatican City, 19 May 2013 (VIS) – At the end of the Mass celebrating the Solemnity of Pentecost for the movements, new communities, and lay associations, the Holy Father prayed the Regina Coeli with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.

This “renewed Pentecost,” the Pope said, “has transformed St. Peter's Square into an Upper Room under the heavens. We have re-lived the experience of the nascent Church, praying with Mary, the Mother of Jesus. In the diversity of these charisms we have experienced the beauty of unity, of being one. This is the work of the Holy Spirit who always creates unity in the Church anew.”

The bishop of Rome thanked the ecclesial movements, communities, and associations, calling them “a gift and a wealth for the Church” and especially thanking them for having come from Rome and so many parts of the world to gather together. “Always carry with you the strength of the Gospel! Do not be afraid! Always have joy and passion for communion in the Church! May the Risen Lord be always with you and Our Lady protect you!”

At the end of the Regina Coeli, the Pope recalled in his prayers the population of Emilia Romagna in northern Italy who, at this time last year, suffered an earthquake, also praying for the Italian Federation of Associations of Volunteers in Oncology.


Vatican City, 18 May 2013 (VIS) – Today and yesterday, events for ecclesial movements of new lay communities and associations to reflect on the theme “I Believe! Increase our Faith!” were held in Rome as part of the Year of Faith. Over 120,000 people were gathered in St. Peter's Square this afternoon when the Pope arrived at 5:30pm and, after greeting the pilgrims, initiated the Pentecost Vigil.

After the opening welcome by Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, the image of the Virgin Mary Salus Populi Romani was brought in a procession to the centre of the square and then enthroned. After a series of readings, songs, and testimonials, Pope Francis answered four questions asked by representatives of the movements. Following are the questions with a summary of the Holy Father's answers.

Q: “How were you able to achieve certainty of faith in your life, and what path can you indicate to us so that each one of us can overcome our fragility of faith?”

A: “I have had the good fortune to grow up in a family where the faith was lived in a simple and concrete manner ... The first proclamation is in the home, within the family, right? And this makes me think of the love of so many mothers and so many grandmothers in the transmission of the faith. … We do not find our faith in the abstract, no! It is always a person who preaches it to us, who tells us who Jesus is, who gives us the faith, who gives us the first announcement. … But there is a very important day for me: September 21, 1953. I was almost 17. It was the 'Students' Day'.... Before going to the festival, I went to my parish and met a priest I did not know, but I felt the need to confess. … After confession I felt that something had changed. I was not the same. I felt a voice call me: I was convinced that I had to become a priest. This experience of faith is important. We say that we must seek God, go to him to ask for forgiveness ... but when we go, He is already waiting for us. He is the first one there! ... And this creates wonder in the hearts of those who do not believe, and this is how faith grows! With an encounter with a Person, with an encounter with the Lord.”

Regarding fragility: “Fragility’s biggest enemy curiously enough, is fear. But do not be afraid! We are weak, we know it but He is stronger! If you are with him, then there is no problem! A child is fragile—I see many today—but they are with their fathers and their mothers so they are safe! We too are safe with the Lord; we are secure. Faith grows with the Lord, out of the very hands of the Lord.”

Q: The second question concerned the challenge of evangelization and what the movements should do to put the task have been called to into practice.

A: “I will say just three words. First: Jesus. … If we move forward with planning and other things, beautiful things indeed, but without Jesus, then something is wrong. Jesus is the most important thing. … The second word is prayer. Look at the face of God, but above all ... know that you are being looked at in return. … And third, 'witness'. … the faith can only be communicated through witness and that is through love. Not with our ideas, but by living the Gospel in our own lives, which the Holy Spirit brings to life within us. … Not so much speaking, but speaking through the way you live: the consistency of your life … which means living Christianity as an encounter with Jesus that leads me towards others and not as a social fact. Socially this how we are. Are we Christians? Wrapped up in ourselves? No, not that. Witness!”

Q: The third question was how to live as “a poor Church, for the poor”.

A: “First of all, the main contribution we can make is to live the Gospel. The Church is not a political movement or a well-organized structure: That is not her. … The Church is the 'salt of the earth, the light of the world’. She is called to make the leaven of the Kingdom of God present in society and do it first by witness, her witness of fraternal love, solidarity … When you hear some say that solidarity is not a value, that it's a 'basic attitude' that needs to disappear ... this is wrong! … Moments of crisis, such as the one we are experiencing ... are not only an economic crisis, not a cultural crisis. It is a crisis of humanity: it is humanity that is in crisis. And what can be destroyed is mankind! But mankind is the image of God!”

In this time of crisis we can't just worry about ourselves, can't get wrapped up in loneliness or discouragement … Please do not get locked away in yourselves! That is a danger: locking ourselves away inside our parish, among our friends, in our movement, with people who think the same way we do ... But you know what is happening? When the Church becomes closed up in itself it gets sick. ,,, The Church must go out from herself. Where? Towards the boundaries of existence, whatever those might be, but get out. Faith is an encounter with Jesus and we must do the same as Jesus, meet others. .… We have to bring about encounter. We have to make our faith a 'culture of encounter' and of friendship, a culture wherein we find brothers and sisters, where we can talk even with those who do not think like us, even with those with which have a different faith … Everyone has something in common with us: they are made in the image of God! … We must go out to meet with everyone without negotiating about the faith we belong to.”

And another important point: we must go out to meet the poor. … Today, imagine, all the children who don't have something to eat is not news. This is serious. We cannot stay calm! We cannot become starch-pressed Christians, those Christians who are too highly educated, who speak of theological issues over tea, calmly. No! We must become courageous Christians and go out in search of those who are the flesh of Christ. … Poverty, for us Christians, is not a sociological or philosophical or cultural category. No. It is a theological category. I would say, perhaps, the first category, because God, the Son of God, humbled himself, became poor to walk along the road with us. This is our poverty: the poverty of the flesh of Christ; the poverty that has brought us the Son of God with his Incarnation.”

Q: The fourth question was: How can we help our brothers and sisters if there is little we can do to change the socio-political climate they are living under?

A: “Two virtues are needed to proclaim the Gospel: courage and patience. They are in the Church of patience. They suffer and there are more martyrs today than in the early centuries of the Church. … It should be noted that many times these conflicts do not have a religious origin. Often there are other causes of a social and political nature and unfortunately, religious affiliations are used like fuel to the fire. A Christian must always know how to respond to evil with good, although it is often difficult. We must try to make them feel—these brothers and sisters of ours—that we are deeply united ... to their situation, that we know that they are Christians who have 'entered a state of patience'. … they experience the limits, the very limits, between life and death. And for us, this experience should lead us to promote religious freedom for all: for everyone! Every man and woman should be free in their religious confession, whatever it may be. Why? Because that man and that woman are children of God.“

The vigil ended with the profession of faith, prayer intentions, and the singing of the Regina Coeli.


Vatican City, 18 May 2013 (VIS) – This morning, Saturday 18 May 2013, in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Federal Chancellor of Germany, Her Excellency Ms. Angela Merkel, was received in audience by the Holy Father Francis. Chancellor Merkel then went on to meet with Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

During the cordial conversations, the long history of relations between the Holy See and Germany was recalled and topics of common interest were focused on, including the socio-political, economic, and religious situation in Europe and the World. In particular, the protection of human rights, the persecution of Christians, religious freedom, and international collaboration for the promotion of peace were discussed.

Finally, there was an exchange of viewpoints on Europe as a community of values and its responsibilities in the world, with the expression of the desire for all civil and religious elements to commit to a development founded upon the dignity of the person and inspired by principles of subsidiarity and solidarity.


Vatican City, 20 May 2013(VIS) – “Inner Peace, Peace Among Peoples” was the theme of the fourth Buddhist-Christian Colloquium held at the Pontifical Urbaniana University, sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue in collaboration with the Office of Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Italy. The participants, coming from Italy, Japan, the Republic of China (Taiwan), Vietnam, South Korea, Thailand, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and India, reaffirmed the need of mutual responsibility to maintain or to restore peace and to contribute to friendship and solidarity among persons and peoples.

In both the Christian and Buddhist journeys,” a communique released today states, “inner freedom, purification of the heart, compassion, and the gift of self are the essential conditions for the inner peace of the individual as well as for social peace. In spite of differences, both Buddhist and Christian ethical teaching on respect for life is a search for common good based on loving kindness and compassion. The participants expressed that dialogue between Buddhists and Christians be strengthened to face new challenges such as threat to human life, poverty, hunger, endemic diseases, violence, war, etc., which belittle the sanctity of human life and poison peace in human society.“


Vatican City, 20 May 2013 (VIS) – This morning the Holy Father received in separate audiences:

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

   - Archbishop Salvatore Gristina of Catania,
   - Archbishop Salvatore Pappalardo of Siracusa,
   - Archbishop Calogero La Piana, S.D.B., of Messina-Lipari-Santa Lucia del Mela,
   - Bishop Ignazio Zambito of Patti,
   - Bishop Paolo Urso of Ragusa,
   - Bishop Salvatore Muratore of Nicosia,
   - Bishop Antonio Stagliano of Noto,
   - Bishop Calogero Peri, O.F.M. Cap., of Caltagirone, and
   - Bishop Antonino Raspanti of Acireale.

Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, president emeritus of the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei”, and

Cardinal Robert Sarah, president of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum”.

This afternoon in the Domus Sanctae Marthae chapel he is scheduled to receive nine prelates from the Sicilia Region of the Italian Episcopal Conference on their "ad limina" visit:

   - Cardinal Paolo Romeo, archbishop of Palermo and apostolic administrator "sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis" of the eparchy of Piana degli Albanesi (of the Italo-Albanians), with the auxiliary of Palermo:
   - Bishop Carmelo Cuttitta, titular of Novi,
   - Archbishop Francesco Montenegro of Agrigento,
   - Archbishop Michele Pennisi of Monreale,
   - Archbishop Alessandro Plotti, emeritus of Pisa and apostolic administrator "sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis" of Trapani,
   - Bishop Vincenzo Manzella of Cefalu,
   - Bishop Mario Russotto of Caltanissetta,
   - Bishop Domenico Mogavero of Mazara del Vallo, and
   - Msgr. Giovanni Bongiovanni, diocesan administrator of Piazza Armerina.

On Saturday, 18 May, the Holy Father received in separate audiences:

   - Archbishop Miroslaw Adamczyk, apostolic nuncio to Liberia and titular of Otriculum, and

   - Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.


Vatican City, 20 May 2013 (VIS) - Today, the Holy Father appointed Archbishop William Goh Seng Chye as archbishop of Singapore, (area 639, population 5,076,700, Catholics 189,094, priests 144, religious 417). Archbishop Goh, previously coadjutor of that same archdiocese, succeeds Archbishop Nicholas Chia Yeck Joo, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

On Saturday, 18 May, the Holy Father appointed:

   - Bishop Manuel Jose Macario do Nascimento Clemente as patriarch of Lisbon (area 3,735, population 2,235,000, Catholics 1,869,000, priests 604, permanent deacons 79, religious 1,507), Portugal. Bishop Macario do Nascimento Clemente, previously of Porto, Portugal, currently serves as the vice president of the Portuguese Episcopal Conference. Since 2012 he has been a member of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. He succeeds Cardinal Jose da Cruz Policarpo, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same patriarchy the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

   - Archbishop Michael Wallace Banach as apostolic nuncio to the Solomon Islands. Archbishop Banach, titular of Memphis, is also apostolic nuncio to Papua New Guinea.

   - Bishop Jozef Piotr Kupny as archbishop of Wroclaw (area 8,850, population 1,200,300, Catholics 1,153,600, priests 858, religious 1,204), Poland. Archbishop-elect Kupny, previously auxiliary of Katowice and titular of Vanariona, was born in Dabrowka Wielka, Lodz Voivodeship, Poland, in 1956, was ordained to the priesthood in 1983, and received episcopal ordination in 2005. He was recently elected a member of the permanent council of the Polish Episcopal Conference and is president of the Council for Social Questions and delegate to Catholic Movements and Associations. He succeeds Archbishop Marian Golebiewski, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
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