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Monday, June 3, 2013


Vatican City, 3 June 2013 (VIS) – Today in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father received in audience His excellency Mr. Jorge Carlos de Almeida Fonseca, president of the Republic of Cape Verde. President Fonseca then went on to meet with the Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

During the course of the cordial discussions, the good relations between the Holy See and the Republic of Cape Verde were recalled. Spoken of in particular was the Accord between the Republic and the Apostolic See regarding the Catholic Church's juridical status in that country, which will be signed shortly in the capital, Praia, during Archbishop Mamberti's upcoming trip to the archipelago.

Also mentioned was the cultural and religious identity of the Cape Verdean population, which is almost entirely Christian, as well as the role that the Catholic Church has played and continues to carry out in the country with her educational and health institutions.

In conclusion, some important challenges and situations that particularly concern the region and the topic of the presence of numerous Cape Verdeans in various countries around the world were also noted.


Vatican City, 3 June 2013 (VIS) – For the Solemnity of Corpus Christi yesterday, at 5:00 in the afternoon in St. Peter's Basilica, the Holy Father presided over Eucharistic Adoration, an initiative of the Year of Faith inviting the faithful of all the dioceses of the world to unite spiritually.

It was a historic event. For the first time in the history of the Church all the cathedrals around the world where synchronized to the time in Rome and, for an hour, were in communion with the Pope in Eucharistic Adoration, under the theme of “One Lord, One Faith”. The initiative involved not only the world's cathedrals, but also parishes, religious congregations—mainly cloistered monasteries—and lay associations around the globe.

The Sistine Chapel Choir accompanied Pope Francis' journey along St. Peter's central nave where he prayed for the intentions: “For the Church spread throughout the world and united today in the adoration of the Most Holy Eucharist as a sign of unity. May the Lord make her ever more obedient to hearing his Word in order to stand before the world ‘ever more beautiful, without stain or blemish, but holy and blameless.’ That through her faithful announcement, the Word that saves may still resonate as the bearer of mercy and may increase love to give full meaning to pain and suffering, giving back joy and serenity.”

Pope Francis’ second intention was: “For those around the world who still suffer slavery and who are victims of war, human trafficking, drug running, and slave labour. For the children and women who are suffering from every type of violence. May their silent scream for help be heard by a vigilant Church so that, gazing upon the crucified Christ, she may not forget the many brothers and sisters who are left at the mercy of violence. Also, for all those who find themselves in economically precarious situations, above all for the unemployed, the elderly, migrants, the homeless, prisoners, and those who experience marginalization. That the Church’s prayer and its active nearness give them comfort and assistance in hope and strength and courage in defending human dignity.”


Vatican City, 3 June 2013 (VIS) – On 3 June 1963, Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, popularly referred to as 'the Good Pope', died after a five-year long pontificate that left its mark on the Church with historic reforms.

His might have seemed destined to be a transitional pontificate, but the Good Pope John, elected after three days in conclave, “knew how to rejuvenate the Church and resume dialogue with the modern world in loving trust,” according to the words of John Paul II, who declared him a Blessed in September of 2000.

Although John XXIII was not able to see much of the fruit of the changes he had proposed, they profoundly transformed the Catholic Church of the time. He was a Pope who fought for peace in the world, as his 1963 encyclical “Pacem in Terris” (Peace on Earth) demonstrated. He revolutionized the Church by convening the Second Vatican Council to modernize and develop the institution of the Church and reformed the Mass, which came to be celebrated ordinarily in the modern languages rather than in Latin.

The five years of his pontificate did not pass unnoticed and, even a half century later, as he said himself at the time, it continues to “throw open the doors and windows of the Church to let in the fresh air”. It was a phrase that was recalled frequently during the recent election of Cardinal Bergoglio, whom the international press described as “the new Roncalli”.

Early this evening, in St. Peter's Basilica, Pope Francis will receive 2,000 pilgrims from the Good Pope's native province: Bergamo, Italy. They will commemorate Blessed John XXIII, who earned the appreciation and love of the faithful thanks to his generous, caring, and simple nature.


Vatican City, 2 June 2013 (VIS) – At noon today, Pope Francis appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with the thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square, informing them that this past Thursday was the celebration of the Solemnity of Corpus Christi—”the Feast of the Eucharist, the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ”—which in Italy and other countries is celebrated today.

Commenting on the Gospel that narrates the miracle of the loaves and fish, the Bishop of Rome said that there is an aspect of this story that always surprises him and causes him to reflect. “We are on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Evening draws near. Jesus is concerned for the people who, for so many hours, have been with him. There are thousands of them and they are hungry. What is to be done? The disciples are also discussing the problem and they say to Jesus: 'Dismiss the crowd' so they can go to the nearby villages and find something to eat. Instead, Jesus tells them: 'Give them some food yourselves'. The disciples are baffled and answer: 'Five loaves and two fish are all we have', that is, just enough for us.”

Jesus knows well what must be done but he wants to involve his disciples, wants to educate them. The disciples' attitude is the human one, which seeks the most realistic solution, the one that doesn't create too many problems: Dismiss the crowd, they say, and let each of them fend for themselves. Anyway, you have already done so much for them: you have preached, you have healed the sick … Dismiss the crowd.”

Jesus' attitude is completely different and is dictated by his union with the Father and his compassion for the people—by that compassion that Jesus has for us all. Jesus hears our problems, feels our weaknesses and our needs. Faced with those five loaves, Jesus thinks: here's providence. From this little bit God can bring forth what everyone needs. Jesus trust completely in the heavenly Father, knowing that, with Him, everything is possible. Therefore he tells the disciples to seat the people of groups of fifty. This isn't an accident—it means that they are no longer a crowd but become communities, nourished by the bread of God.”

Then he takes the bread and the fish, lifts his eyes to heaven, recites the blessing—which is a clear reference to the Eucharist—then breaks them, begins to give them to his disciples, and the disciples distribute it. And the bread and fish don't stop … here is the miracle! More than a multiplication it is a sharing, inspired by faith and prayer. They all ate and there were leftovers. This is the sign of Jesus, the bread of God for humanity.”

The disciples,” the Pope noted, “saw, but they didn't grasp the message. They were caught up, like the crowd, in this success. Once again they followed human logic, not that of God, which is the logic of service, love, and faith. The Feast of Corpus Christi asks us to convert to faith in Providence, asks us to know how to share the little that we are and that we have, and asks that we not ever get locked up in ourselves. Let us ask our Mother Mary to help us in this conversion, to truly follow more closely Jesus whom we adore in the Eucharist.”


Vatican City, 2 June 2013 (VIS) – After praying the Angelus, the Pope expressed his great concern regarding the continuation of the conflict that, “for more than two years now has inflamed Syria, especially affecting the civilian population that aspires to peace in justice and understanding.”

This troubled situation of war bears with it tragic consequences: death, destruction, massive economic and environmental damage, as well as the scourge of kidnapping. In denouncing these events I wish to assure my prayers of solidarity for those who have been kidnapped and their families and I appeal to the humanity of the kidnappers for the release of the victims.”

But the Holy Father also noted that, although there are many conflicts taking place around the world, there are also “many signs of hope” and encouraged “the recent steps taken in many Latin American countries toward reconciliation and peace”, asking for them to be accompanied by our prayers.

Finally, he noted that the Mass that he had celebrated that morning with wounded soldiers and family members of servicemen who had fallen in “peacekeeping missions that seek to promote reconciliation and peace in countries where so much blood of one's brothers and sisters is still spilled in wars that are always madness”. “Everything is lost in war. Everything is gained with peace. I ask you to pray for the fallen, the wounded, and their families,” the Pope explained, for the first time asking for silence in St. Peter's Square. “Let us together now, in silence, in our hearts—all together—say a prayer” for those wounded and fallen in peacekeeping missions.


Vatican City, 2 June 2013 (VIS) – At 9:30 this morning, the Pope celebrated Mass at the Domus Sanctae Marthae with family members, mostly parents, of the Italian armed forces who have been killed on peacekeeping missions—especially in Afghanistan—in the past few years, as well as service members who have been wounded on those missions with their family members. The group was accompanied by Archbishop Vincenzo Pelvi, military ordinary for Italy, who concelebrated with the Holy Father.

There were 55 relatives commemorating 24 fallen servicemen and 13 wounded servicemen. During the celebration, all fallen soldiers were prayed for, as well as for peace. Today was chosen for this meeting as it coincides with Italy's Republic Day (“Festa della Repubblica”) when the entire nation, as Archbishop Pelvi noted during his greeting to the Pope, “expresses its debt of love for the military family with various manifestations”.

In his homily, the Pope commented on the Gospel story of the centurion who asks Jesus to heal his slave. “Our God,” he said, “is personal. He listens to everyone with his heart and He loves 'wholeheartedly'. Today we have come to pray for our dead, for our wounded, for the victims of the madness that is war! It is the suicide of humanity because it kills the heart. It kills precisely that which is the Lord's message: it kills love! War grows out of hatred, envy, and the desire for power, as well as—how very many times we see it—from the hunger for more power.”

So many times we’ve seen the great ones of the earth wanting to solve local problems, economic problems, and economic crises with war. Why?” the Holy Father continued. “Because, for them, money is more important than people! And war is just that: it is an act of faith in money, in idols, in the idols of hatred, in that idol that leads to killing one’s brother, that leads to killing love. It reminds me of God our Father's words to Cain, who, out of envy, had killed his brother: ‘Cain, where is your brother?’ Today we can hear this voice: it is God our Father who weeps, weeps for this madness of ours, who asks all of us: ‘Where is your brother?’ Who says to the powerful of the earth: ‘Where is your brother? What have you done!’”

Pope Francis urged those present to pray to the Lord so that He might “take all evil far away from us,” and to repeat this prayer “even with tears, with the tears of the heart”: “'Turn to us, O Lord, and have mercy on us, because we are sad, we are in anguish. See our misery and our pain and forgive our sins'; because behind war there are always sins: the sin of idolatry, the sin of exploiting persons on the altar of power, of sacrificing them. ‘Turn to us, O Lord, and have mercy, because we are sad and in anguish.’ ... We are confident that the Lord will hear us and will do everything to give us the spirit of consolation. So be it.”

On concluding Mass, the “Prayer for Italy”, composed by Blessed John Paul II in 1994, was prayed. Then, as is his custom, the Pope personally greeted each of those present with warmth and affection. The ecclesial community of the Military Ordinary gave the Holy Father a terracotta piece of Neapolitan artisanry that portrayed St. Joseph the Worker teaching the carpentry tools of his trade to a young Jesus who is carrying a basket with the objects symbolizing the crucifixion: nails, hammer, and pincers.


Vatican City, 1 June 2013 (VIS) – This morning the Holy Father Francis received in audience His excellency Mr. Jose Alberto Mujica Cordano, president of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, who then went on to meet with the Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

The cordial discussions allowed an exchange of information and reflection upon the country's socio-political situation and its role within the region. In this context, issues of common interest were treated, including the total development of the person, the respect of human rights, justice, and social peace. The Catholic Church's contribution in the public debate on these issues was not overlooked, as well as her service in all areas of society, particularly in the areas of welfare and education.


Vatican City, 1 June 2013 (VIS) – Today was made public the letter, written in Latin and dated 8 May, in which Pope Francis appoints Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum”, as his special envoy to Germany's National Eucharistic Congress that will take place in Cologne this 9 June.

The cardinal will be accompanied by a mission composed of the following members: Msgr. Winfried Haunerland, professor of Liturgy at the University of Munich, and Fr. Stefan Rau, pastor of St. Josef in Munster.


Vatican City, 1June 2013 (VIS) – At 8:00 yesterday evening, Pope Francis participated in the praying of the Rosary held in St. Peter's Square concluding the Marian month of May. The celebration was presided by Cardinal Angelo Comastri, vicar general of His Holiness for Vatican City and archpriest of the Vatican Basilica. At the conclusion of the prayer and before imparting the Apostolic Blessing to the many faithful present, the Holy Father recalled the feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Elizabeth and offered a meditation dedicated to the mystery that shows how Mary faces life's journey with great sensibility, humanity, and care.

Three words sum up Mary's attitude: listening, decision, and action. They are words that also show us the path before us of what the Lord asks of us in life,” the Holy Father said.

Mary knows how to listen to God. But be careful: this is not a simple 'hearing' but a 'listening based on paying attention, a welcoming, an openness toward God. It isn't the distracted manner that we sometimes have when dealing with the Lord or others when we hear their words, but we don't really listen.”

Mary,” Pope Francis continued, “also listens to the facts. She reads the events of her life and observes concrete reality without stopping at the surface of things but going in depth to grasp its meaning. … This is also true in our lives: listening to God who speaks to us and listening to our everyday reality, paying attention to people and to facts because the Lord is at the door in our lives and He calls in many ways, putting signs along our path and giving us the ability to see them.”

The second word,” the Holy Father continued, “is decision. … Mary doesn't let herself be carried away by events, doesn't avoid the burden of making decisions. … In life, it is difficult to make decisions. Often we tend to postpone them, to let others decide for us. Often we prefer to be caught up by events, chasing the fashion of the moment. Sometimes we know what we have to do, but we don't have the courage or it seems too difficult because it means going against the grain. … Mary goes against the current. She listens to God, reflects and tries to understand the reality [of the situation] and decides to entrust herself completely to God.”

Action,” said the pontiff, “is the third word. … Mary , despite the difficulties and criticism she received for her decision to leave, doesn't stop at anything. ...Mary isn't rushed, doesn't let herself by carried away by the moment. But when it's clear what God is asking of her, what she must do, she doesn't linger, doesn't hold back but goes 'in haste'.”

Sometimes,” the Pope concluded, “even we stop with just listening, just reflecting on what we should do, perhaps we are even clear about what decision we should make, but we don't take the steps to act upon it. Above all we don't put ourselves in play, don't move 'in haste' toward others to bring them our assistance, our understanding, or our charity.”


Vatican City, 1 June 2013 (VIS) – Yesterday afternoon, in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, Pope Francis met with a group of 22 sick children who are being treated at the department of paediatric oncology at the Agostino Gemelli Hospital in Rome. They were accompanied by their parents, representatives of the hospital staff and volunteers, and sisters and priests who are travelling with them on pilgrimages to Lourdes and Loreto.

For one of those trips, the children had sent the Pope drawings of the Grotto of Lourdes together with a letter offering to come and pray with him. The meeting took place in an atmosphere of prayer and great emotion, particularly joy. The Holy Father prayed the Our Father together with the children and they later sang the “Ave Maria of Lourdes”.

While speaking with the Pope, one little girl ask that he pray for all the sick children in the world and that he bless their families. Pope Francis spoke with them, listening and answering their questions, reminding them that Jesus is at their side because “Jesus loves you very much”.

Francis imparted the Apostolic Blessing, explaining to the children that it was “like a hug from God”. At the end of the meeting, the Holy Father, as is his custom, individually greeted all those present with great affection.


Vatican City, 3 June 2013 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in separate audiences:

   - His Beatitude Nerses Bedros XIX Tarmouni, patriarch of Cilicia of the Armenian Catholics, and

   - Cardinal Manuel Monteiro de Castro, major penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary.

On Saturday, 1 June, the Holy Father received Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.


Vatican City, 3 June 2013 (VIS) – Today the Holy Father:

   - appointed Cardinal Antonio Maria Veglio, president of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, as member of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State.

   - appointed Fr. Michele Fiorentino, previously with the Secretariat and assigned to the Prefecture of the Papal Household, as defender of the bond at the Tribunal of the Roman Rota.

   - appointed Fr. Donald Kos, O.F.M. Conv., as judicial vicar of the Ecclesiastic Tribunal of Vatican City State. To the same tribunal the Holy Father has also appointed:
   - Msgr. Antonio Nicolai as judge;
   - Fr. Luigi Sabbarese, C.S., as interim promotor of Justice and defender of the bond.

   - appointed Msgr. Vittorio Gepponi as judicial vicar of the Appellation Tribunal for the Vicariate of Rome. The Holy Father has also appointed:
   - Msgr. Slawomir Oder as judicial or official vicar of the Ordinary Tribunal for the Vicariate of Rome.

   - appointed Cardinal Peter Erdo, archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary, as his special envoy to the celebration of the Sixth Centenary of the evangelization of Samorgizia (a Western region of Lithuania), which will take place together with a Eucharistic Congress in Telsiai, Lithuania, from 2 to 4 August, 2013.
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