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Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Vatican City, 22 May 2013 (VIS) – Pope Francis dedicated his Wednesday general audience catechesis to the Holy Spirit, without whom, “the Church could not live or carry out the mission that Jesus has entrusted us with, of going out and making disciples of all nations. Evangelisation is the Church's mission, not just of a few, but my, your, our mission. … To evangelize, then, it is necessary to open ourselves once again to the action of God's Spirit, without fear of what He might ask us or where He might lead us. Let us entrust ourselves to him. He will enable us to live and to bear witness to our faith. He will illuminate the hearts of those we meet. This was the experience of Pentecost: of the Apostles gathered with Mary in the Upper Room.”

The Holy Spirit, descending upon the Apostles, makes them go out of the room in which they had locked themselves out of fear. He makes them go out of themselves and transforms them into heralds and witnesses ' of the mighty acts of God'. This transformation, wrought by the Holy Spirit, is reflected in the crowd that rushed to the scene, coming 'from every nation under heaven' so that each might hear the Apostles' words as if they were proclaimed in their own language.”

This is the first important effect of the Holy Spirit … unity, communion.” … At Pentecost, these divisions [the confusion of languages as in the Biblical story of the tower of Babel] are overcome. …A new language, that of the love that the Holy Spirit 'pours out into our hearts' [is established]. … We must all ask ourselves: how am I letting myself be guided by the Holy Spirit so that my life and my witness to the faith might be of unity and communion? … What am I doing with my life?” Pope Francis asked, raising his voice. “Am I creating unity? Or am I dividing, with my gossip, criticism, and jealousies? What am I doing? Let's think about this.”

A second effect of the Holy Spirit's action, the pontiff continued, “is the courage to proclaim the newness of the Gospel of Jesus to all, frankly and out loud, in every time and in every place. … Let us never close ourselves to this action! Let us live the Gospel with humility and courage. … Evangelising, proclaiming Jesus give us joy.”

I will just mention a third element, which is particularly important, however: a new evangelisation, a Church that evangelises must always begin from prayer, from asking, as did the Apostles in the Upper Room, for the fire of the Holy Spirit. Only a faithful and intense relationship with God allows us to go out of our own closures and announce the Gospel with 'parrhesia' (boldly).”

Before concluding, Pope Francis recalled the words of Benedict XVI: “Today the Church 'feels the wind of the Holy Spirit who helps us, who shows us the right road; and so, we are on our way ... with new enthusiasm' … Let us renew each day our trust in the Holy Spirit's action. Let us let ourselves be guided by him. Let us be men and women of prayer who witness to the Gospel with courage, becoming instruments of God's unity and communion in our world.”

At the end of his catechesis the Holy Father greeted the nearly 50,000 people gathered in St. Peter's Square. He particularly encouraged everyone to pray for the victims, especially the children, of the disaster that occurred in Oklahoma, USA.


Vatican City, 22 May 2013 (VIS) – At the end of this morning's general audience, the Holy Father—noting that this Friday, 24 May, is the day dedicated to the liturgical memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Help of Christians, who is venerated with great devotion at the National Shrine of Sheshan in Shanghai, China—launched an appeal, inviting “Catholics around the world to join in prayer with our brothers and sisters in China; to implore of God the grace to proclaim Christ, dead and risen, with humility and joy; to be faithful to his Church and the Successor of Peter; and to live their everyday lives in service to their country and their fellow citizens in a manner consistent with the faith they profess.”

The Pope offered these words to be said in order to call upon Mary's intercession: “Our Lady of Sheshan, in their everyday struggles, sustain the commitment of all those in China, so that they may continue to believe, to hope, to love, and so they may never fear to speak of Jesus to the world and of the world to Jesus.”

Mary, Virgin most faithful, support Chinese Catholics. Make their commitments, which are not easy, ever more precious in the eyes of the Lord and help the affection and the participation of the Church in China to grow in the path of the universal Church.”


Vatican City, 22 May 2013 (VIS) – This afternoon in the Press Office of the Holy See, Rene Brulhart, director of the Vatican Financial Information Authority (L’Autorità di Informazione Finanziara, AIF), presented the AIF's first annual report, which examines their activities and statistics from 2012. The AIF is the competent authority of the Holy See and the Vatican City State for financial intelligence and for supervision and regulation in the prevention and countering of money laundering and financing of terrorism. It was established in 2010 and became operational in April of 2011.

Over the course of the year,” reads a press release accompanying the conference, “AIF reported the submission of six Suspicious Transaction Reports, up from only one in the previous year. AIF itself forwarded two Suspicious Transaction Reports to the Vatican Promoter of Justice for further investigation.”

"The statistics and trends from 2012 are encouraging and indicates that the system is consistently improving," said Dr. Brulhart. In 2012, AIF also initiated the systematic screening and analysis of Cash Transaction Reports submitted by the obliged entities.

In our efforts to actively tackle any potential abuse of the financial system,” continued Director Brulhart, “we initiated a close and constructive interaction with the Secretariat of State, the Gendarmeria, the Promoter of Justice and the institutions under our oversight in order to improve awareness and safety and ensure a coordinated internal cooperation in AML/CFT matters.”

A further important element of the report is the progress made in international cooperation that builds on the clear commitment of the Holy See to be a credible partner in the international fight against money laundering. 2012 saw the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with relevant authorities in Belgium and Spain. Dr. Brulhart stated that “it will continue to be our policy in 2013 to further strengthening international cooperation by signing several more Memorandum of Understanding with our partners in other relevant countries and jurisdictions.”

The outlook for 2013 foresees a further strengthening of the AML/CFT system including the implementation of Moneyval Recommendations through appropriate new or amended legislation and a continuation of the awareness enhancing process across all relevant authorities and institutions.

The full-year report is available at:


Vatican City, 22 May 2013 (VIS) – “My presence here this afternoon represents, first of all, a heartfelt 'thank you' to the Missionaries of Charity founded by Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, who have worked here for 25 years, with many volunteers, for the many people who are in need of assistance. Thank you! All of you make the Church's love for the poor visible … and with your daily service you are—as the Psalm says—'You open wide your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing'. … How many people have you fed in these years; how many wounded, above all wounded spiritually, have you cared for!”

With these words Pope Francis addressed the missionaries, volunteers, and residents in the Gift of Mary Hospitality House located within Vatican City, just outside St. Peter's Square. He visited the community yesterday, Tuesday 21 May, at around 5:30pm in the afternoon, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Blessed John Paul II's placing the house under the care of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta. The Pope was welcomed by Cardinal Angelo Comastri, vicar general of His Holiness for Vatican City, and the Superior General of the Missionaries of Charity, Sr. Mary Prema Pierick, M.C., and the sisters placed a garland of flowers around the pontiff's neck, in a gesture from Hindu tradition. The house accommodates around 25 women and feeds around 60 people on a daily basis.

In his brief speech to the community, the Pope focused on three words: house, gift, and Mary.

This structure, built and inaugurated by Blessed John Paul II,” he said, “… is a 'home'. And when we say 'home', we mean a place of welcome … where you can feel good, re-find yourself, feel part of … a community. Even more profoundly, 'home' is a word with a typically familial flavour that recalls the warmth, affection, and love that can be felt in a family. A 'home' thus represents the most precious human wealth, that of encounter, that of the relationships between persons of different ages, cultures, and histories, but who live together and who, together, help one another to grow. … And that is what this house has sought to be for 25 years! At the border between the Vatican and Italy, it is a powerful reminder to all of us—to the Church, to the city of Rome—to always be more of a family, a 'home' in which we are open to welcome, to attention, and to fraternity.”

Then there is a second very important word, 'gift', which qualifies this house and defines it typical identity. … I mean that this house gives welcome, material and spiritual support to you, dear guests, coming from various parts of the world. But you also are a gift for this house and for the Church. You tell us that loving God and our neighbour is not something abstract but profoundly concrete. It means seeing in every person the face of the Lord to serve and serving him concretely. … Here is lived a an open hospitality, regardless of one's nationality or religion, according to Jesus' teaching: 'Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.' We must recover the entire sense of gift, of gratuity and solidarity. A savage capitalism has taught the logic of profit at any cost, give in order to get, exploitation without looking at persons …. and we see the results in the crisis we are living through! This house is a place that teaches charity, a 'school' of charity, that teaches us to go out to every person, not for profit, but out of love.”

Finally, there is one more feature of this house: it is qualified as a gift 'of Mary'. … Mary is an example and an inspiration for those who live in this house, and for all of us, to live charity towards our neighbour, not out of a type of social duty, but starting from God's love, from God's charity. … Mary is the one who leads us to Jesus and who teaches us how to go out from Jesus … For us Christians, love for one's neighbour is born from the love of God and is the clearest expression of it. Here you seek to love your neighbour, but also to let yourselves be loved by them. These two attitudes go hand in hand. There cannot be one without the other.”


Vatican City, 22 May 2013 (VIS) – Yesterday afternoon, the Holy Father sent a message, through Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., to Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA, for the tornado that devastated the city and suburbs, causing numerous victims and wounded on Monday, 20 May.

The Holy Father,” reads the text, “has followed with deep concern the aftermath of the devastating tornado which has struck Oklahoma and he asks you convey to the entire community the assurance of his solidarity and closeness in prayer. Conscious of the tragic loss of life and the immensity of the work of rebuilding that lies ahead, he asks Almighty God to grant eternal rest to the departed, comfort to the afflicted, and strength and hope to the homeless and the injured. In a particular way he commends to the Father of mercies the many young children among the victims and their grieving families. Upon the local civil and religious leaders, and upon all involved in the relief efforts, His Holiness invokes the Risen Lord’s gifts of consolation, strength, and perseverance in every good.”


Vatican City, 22 May 2013 (VIS) – After this morning's general audience, the Holy Father received the President of the Republic of Benin, Dr. Thomas Yayi Boni, in the study adjoining the Paul VI Audience Hall.
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