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Monday, June 10, 2013


Vatican City, 10 June 2013 (VIS) – In a press release today, the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity states that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, will be in Rome to visit Pope Francis on Friday, 14 June.

This brief visit”, reads the release, “is of particular interest since it is the first meeting of the Archbishop and the Pope since their inaugurations, which took place at about the same time, just over two months ago.”

This visit is an opportunity for the Archbishop and Pope Francis to review the present state of relations between the Roman Catholic Church and Anglican Communion. In particular, the interest shown by Archbishop Welby in global justice and the ethical regulation of financial markets so that they do not oppress men and women, is echoed in the constant teaching of the Holy Father. Ever since his experience as an executive in an oil company, Archbishop Welby has placed great emphasis on reconciliation, and has continued to press for the resolution of conflicts within the Church and society. This also evokes Pope Francis’ own call to build bridges between people of every nation, so that they may be seen not as rivals and threats, but as brothers and sisters.”

Anglicans and Catholics also must work together to provide clear moral guidance to society and Archbishop Justin has collaborated closely with the Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, to safeguard marriage and other Christian values in society. It is a sign of their close relations that Archbishop Nichols will accompany the Archbishop of Canterbury on this visit.”

Following the audience, and brief speeches, there will be a short service of mid-day prayer presided over by the Holy Father and the Archbishop of Canterbury. Earlier in the day, at the Archbishop’s own request, he will visit the Excavations beneath St Peter’s Basilica to pray at the tomb of St Peter, as his predecessor Archbishop Rowan Williams did on his first visit to Rome. He has also asked particularly for a time of prayer before the tomb of Blessed John Paul II. Following this, Archbishop Welby will call upon Cardinal Koch at the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, to renew the acquaintance made at the time of the Archbishop’s inauguration at Canterbury, and to learn about the workings of the Pontifical Council.”


Vatican City, 9 June 2013 (VIS) – Pope Francis appeared at the window of his study at noon today to pray the Angelus with the thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square. He first noted that the month of June is traditionally dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, “the greatest human expression of divine love”.

Popular piety,” he said, “embraces many symbols and the Heart of Jesus is the ultimate symbol of God's mercy. It is not, however, an imaginary symbol but a real symbol that represents the centre, the source from which flows the salvation for all of humanity.” Among various references in the Gospels to the Heart of Jesus, the Pope emphasized the witness of Christ's death according to St. John. When Jesus was already dead, a soldier pierced his side with a lance and immediately blood and water flowed out. “John recognized in that, apparently random, sign the fulfilment of the prophecies: from the heart of Jesus, the Lamb sacrificed upon the Cross, spring forth forgiveness and life for all humanity.”

But Jesus' mercy is not just a feeling. It is a force that gives life, that brings humanity back to life! Today's Gospel reading says the same thing, in the story of the widow of Nain. Jesus, with his disciples, is arriving in Nain, a village in Galilee, at exactly the moment of a funeral. A young man, the only son of a widowed woman is being carried out to be buried. Jesus' gaze immediately fixes upon the crying mother. The Gospel writer Luke tells us: 'When the Lord saw her, He was moved with pity for her'. This compassion is God's love for humanity. It is mercy, that is, God's attitude in contact with human misery, with our indigence, our suffering, our anguish. The biblical term 'compassion' recalls the maternal womb: indeed, a mother feels a reaction all her own when faced with her children's pain. That is how God loves us, Scripture says.”

And what is the fruit of this love, this mercy? It is life! Jesus said to the widow of Nain: 'Do not weep', and he called to the dead son and woke him as if from sleep. Let's think about this. It's beautiful. God's mercy gives life to the man, raises him from the dead. The Lord always looks upon us with mercy … awaits us with mercy. Let us not be afraid to draw near to him! He has a merciful heart! If we show him our inner wounds, our sins, He always forgives us. He is pure mercy!”

After the Marian prayer, the Bishop of Rome noted that today, in Krakow, Poland, two Polish nuns are being beatified: Zofia Czeska-Maciejowska, who founded the Congregation of the Virgins of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the first half of the 17th century, and Malgorzata Lucja Szewczyk, who founded the Congregation of the Daughters of the Sorrowful Mother of God (Seraphic Sisters) in the 19th century. “With the Church in Krakow, let us give thanks to the Lord!”

Lastly he addressed a group of pilgrims from the Italian city of Ortona where relics of the Apostle Thomas are venerated, thanking them for the journey “from Thomas to Peter” that they had undertaken.


Vatican City, 9 June 2013 (VIS) – This morning at the beginning of the Mass closing the German National Eucharistic Congress that took place in Cologne, Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum” and the Holy Father's special envoy to the event, read the message that Pope Francis had written to those participating in the Congress.

The theme of the Congress was “Lord, To Whom Shall We Go?”, Peter's question to Jesus after his words in the synagogue in Capernaum when He announced that He was the Bread of Life, scandalizing many who then stopped following him.

We, members of today's Church, also ask ourselves this question,“ the Pope wrote. “Our answer, like that of the Apostle, can only be the person of Jesus. Yes, He lived two thousand years ago. However, we can encounter him in our time when we listen to his Word and are close to him, in a unique way, in the Eucharist. … May the Mass not become a superficial routine for us! May we always draw more and more from its depth! It is precisely what puts us within Christ's immense work of salvation, sharpening our spiritual sight with his love, [becoming part] of his 'prophecy in action' in the Upper Room with which He initiated his gift of Himself upon the Cross and his irrevocable victory over sin and death.”

This is the same question that some contemporaries are asking who—either lucidly or with foreboding—are still in search of the Father of Jesus Christ. The Redeemer wants to meet them through us … With our lives and our words we must proclaim to them what we have recognized together with Peter and the Apostles: 'Lord, You have the words of eternal life.' … All of us, bishops, priests, deacons, religious, and lay persons, have the duty to bring God to the world and the world to God.”


Vatican City, 9 June 2013 (VIS) – Yesterday at 8:30pm, the Holy Father called Bishop Giancarlo Vecerrica of Fabriano-Matelica, who was together with thousands of youth in the Helvia Recina Stadium before the Mass celebrated by Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S., to initiate the 35th pilgrimage on foot from Macerata to Loreto. This year the theme of the pilgrimage is “What can truly satisfy human desire?” and it is promoted by the Communion and Liberation movement.

Pope Francis addressed the youth, from Italy and around the world, who were about to walk the 28 kilometres (over 17 miles) praying the Rosary and singing together. “All of life is a pilgrimage,” said the Pope. “What is important is meeting Jesus on the path of life. … Let yourselves be guided by Jesus. … So many times, even for us, faith is an obvious presupposition of living. We say 'I believe in God'—and that's good—but, how do you live this on the path of life? Faith must become a present experience.”

When we encounter the Lord,” the Holy Father continued, “He surprises us. The Lord can be called the Lord of surprises. Be open to God's surprises. For you too, this evening's event, which grows every year, is a surprise. It is the sign that nothing is impossible with God. How else could you explain that from the 300 of you in 1978 you would have become the 90,000 of last year?”

When you get tired,” Francis added, “and the temptation to go your own way arises, think of this: repeat your 'yes', pray that each one of you might recognize in your body and your spirit the very humanity that needs Christ's humanity, the only one that can truly satisfy human desire.”

The Holy Father bid them farewell, reminding the youth to continue forward with hope. “Please,” he said, “don't let yourselves be robbed of hope. It is the Lord who gives it to you.”


Vatican City, 9 June 2013 (VIS) – “The Ten Commandments are not a limitation, but an indication for freedom.” This was the heart of Pope Francis' video message that was broadcast yesterday at 9:40pm local time to the thousands gathered in Milan's Cathedral Square to participate in the “Ten Squares for Ten Commandments” initiative promoted by the “Renewal in the Spirit” movement in collaboration with the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization as part of the Year of Faith.

Milan is the fourth city to host the initiative, which began under the pontificate of Benedict XVI in September of 2013, following events in Rome, Naples, and Verona. In the coming months, Pope Francis will send video messages to participants gathering in squares in Bari, Genoa, Cagliari, Florence, Palermo, Bologna, and Turin.

The Ten Commandments,” the pontiff affirmed, “are a gift from God. The word 'commandment' isn't fashionable. To today's persons, it recalls something negative, someone's will that imposes limits, that places obstacles to our lives. … Unfortunately history, even recent history, is marked by tyranny, ideologies, mindsets that have been imposed and oppressive, that haven't sought the good of humanity but rather power, success, and profit. The Ten Commandments, however, come from a God who created us out of love, from a God who established a covenant with humanity, a God who only wants the good of humanity. Let us trust in God! … The Ten Commandments show us a path to travel and also constitute a sort of 'moral code' for building just societies that are made for men and women. How much inequality there is in the world! How much hunger for food and for truth! How much moral and material poverty resulting from the rejection of God and from putting so many idols in his place! Let us be guided by these Ten Words that enlighten and guide those seeking peace, justice, and dignity.”

It is important to remember when God, through Moses, gave the people of Israel the Ten Commandments. At the Red Sea the people had experienced great deliverance. They had seen first hand the power and faithfulness of God, the God who liberates. Now God himself, upon Mount Sinai, indicates to his people and to all of us the way to remain free, a path that is engraved upon the human heart as a universal moral Law. We shouldn't see the Ten Commandments as restriction upon our freedom; no, not that way. We should see them as signs for our freedom. … They teach us how to avoid the slavery to which the many idols that we ourselves build reduce us. … They teach us to open ourselves to a wider dimension than the material one; to live with respect for others; overcoming the greed of power, possessions, and money; to be honest and sincere in our relationships; to protect all of creation and to nurture our planet with high, noble, and spiritual ideals. Following the Ten Commandments means being faithful to ourselves, to our most authentic nature, and walking towards the true freedom that Christ taught us in the Beatitudes.”


Vatican City, 8 June 2013 (VIS) – The official state visit of the President of Italy, Giorgio Napolitano, to Pope Francis “once again confirms—even after troubled and painful events—the normalcy and excellence of relations between Italy and the Holy See”. The dialogue between the two “has the good of the Italian people as its principle goal and has its historically unique role in Europe and the world as its ideal backdrop”.

Those were the words of the Bishop of Rome this morning on receiving for the first time in his pontificate the representative of Italy's highest institution. He thanked the president, as well as all the entire Italian population, for the warm welcome that they have given him, saying that they have made him feel “at home again”. At the same time the pontiff expressed the wish that Italy might always be “a welcoming home for all”.

President Napolitano, the first head of state to officially visit Pope Francis, arrived in the Vatican shortly before 11:00am, accompanied by the Italian minister of Foreign Affairs, Emma Bonino, and Italy's ambassador to the Holy See, Francesco Maria Greco. Upon arriving he was greeted by the Prefect of the Papal Household, Archbishop Georg Ganswein, and an honour guard of the Swiss Guard in the San Damaso Courtyard. After a private conversation with the Pope in the Sala del Tronetto (“little throne room”) of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, they moved to the Library where they both delivered speeches.

The Pope noted that, after the conciliation and the inclusion of the Lateran Pacts in the Italian Constitution and further, in a new light after the Second Vatican Council and the revision of the Treaty, relations between Italy and the Holy See have developed well. “In Italy,” he added, “the collaboration between State and Church, always focused on the interest of the people and of society, is carried out in the daily relationship between civil agencies and those of the Catholic community, represented by the Bishops and their offices, and in a very particular way, by the Bishop of Rome. Thus, even this first visit of the President to the Pope can be effectively expressed with the image of the two hills, the Quirinal and the Vatican, that look upon one another with esteem and fondness.”

The Pope then observed that 2013 marks the 1700th anniversary of the Edict of Milan, a symbol for many of the first affirmation of the principle of religious freedom, noting that, a century ago, the commemoration of the Edict of Milan represented “a stage in the historical process that favoured the awareness and the contribution of Catholics in the construction of Italian society. … In today's world, religious freedom is more often asserted than accomplished. … The serious outrages inflicted on this primary right are a source of serious concern.”

Against every attack, the unanimous reaction of the world's countries must be seen reaffirming the inviolable dignity of the human person. It is the duty of all to defend religious freedom and to promote it for all. In sharing the protection of this moral good is also found a guarantee of the growth and development of the entire community.” Continuing, he mentioned the “profound and persistent” world crisis, which also affects Italy, “emphasizing the economic and social problems, which weigh especially upon the weakest part of society”. He noted some particularly troubling phenomena such as “the weakening of family and social ties, the decreasing population, the prevalence of mentalities favouring profit over work, and the insufficient attention paid to younger generations and their formation”.

In this difficult context, which certainly is not easy, it is essential to guarantee and to develop the overall system of the democratic institutions to which Italian Catholics have decisively, loyally, and creatively contributed in recent decades. In a time of crisis such as this one it is, therefore, urgent that a new consideration of political commitment, above all among young persons, might arise and that believers and non-believers together might collaborate in promoting a society in which injustice can be overcome and every person can be welcomed and can contribute to the common good. … The distance between the letter and the spirit of laws and democratic institutions is always to be recognized and we need the commitment of all involved to bridge it every time again. We Catholics also have the duty to always strive more along the serious journey of spiritual conversion so that we might every day draw closer to the Gospel, which compels us to concretely and effectively serve persons and society.”

The Pope ended his discourse repeating that “what faith assures us of is true even in the civil sphere: we must never lose hope. How many examples of this have our parents and grandparents given us, facing the hardships of their times with great courage and spirit of sacrifice. On various occasions, Benedict XVI repeated that the current crisis should be an opportunity for the fraternal renewal of human relationships. Even the Italian people, drawing confidently and creatively from their rich Christian tradition and from the examples of their patron saints, Francis of Assisi and Catherine of Siena, … can and must overcome every division and grow in justice and peace, continuing thus to play their unique role in the European context and in the family of nations, and working to create a culture of encounter.”

After the addresses, the head of the Italian State met with Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., secretary of State, and with the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See. Before leaving, he went to the Vatican Basilica where he visited the Chapel of the Pieta.


Vatican City, 10 June 2013 (VIS) – The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff today announced that this coming Saturday, 15 June, at 6:30pm, Cardinal Luis Antonio G. Tagle, archbishop of Manila, Philippines, will take possession of the title of San Felice da Cantalice a Centocelle in Piazza San Felice da Cantalice, 20.


Vatican City, 10 June 2013 (VIS) – Today the Holy Father received:

   - the credential letters of the new ambassador of Mexico to the Holy See, His Excellency Mr. Mariano Palacios Alcocer,

   - Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples,

   - Bishop Javier Echevarria Rodriguez, prelate of personal prelature Opus Dei and titular of Cilibia.

   - Her Excellency Ms. Anna Suchocka, ambassador of Poland; His Excellency Mr. Almir Franco de Sa' Barbuda, ambassador of Brazil; and His Excellency Mr. Alejandro Emilio Valladares Lanza, ambassador of Honduras on their farewell visits.

On Saturday, 8 June, Pope Francis received Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.


Vatican City, 8 June 2013 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father:

   - appointed Fr. Jeremiah Madimetja Masela as bishop of Polokwane (area 69,533, population 2,658,000, Catholics 94,700, priests 27, permanent deacons 8, religious 50), South Africa. The bishop-elect, previously apostolic administrator of the diocese, was born in Bergzich, Western Cape, South Africa and was ordained a priest in 1958. Since ordination he has served in several parochial and diocesan roles, most recently as vicar general of the diocese and pastor of Doorspruit. He has been the apostolic administrator of the diocese since 2011.

On Saturday, 8 June, the Holy Father:

   - appointed Bishop Giuseppe Petrocchi as metropolitan archbishop of L'Aquila (area 1,516, population 112,500, Catholics 111,100, priests 118, permanent deacons 8, religious 167), Italy. Bishop Petrocchi, previously of Latina-Terracina-Sezze-Priverno, Italy, succeeds Archbishop Giuseppe Molinari, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

   - appointed Archbishop Miroslaw Adamczyk, apostolic nuncio to Liberia, as apostolic nuncio to Gambia.

   - appointed Bishop Jean Teyrouz, I.C.P.B., of Sainte-Croix-de-Paris of the Armenians, France, as apostolic visitor to Armenian Catholic faithful resident in Western Europe without their own ordinary. He succeeds Bishop Gregoire Ghabroyan, I.C.P.B., whose resignation from the same office the Holy Father accepted in accordance with canon 210 para. 1 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches (CCEO).
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