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Wednesday, July 3, 2013


Vatican City, 3 July 2013 (VIS) – This morning, during Holy Mass at Santa Marta on the feast of St. Thomas Apostle, the Holy Father affirmed that “to encounter the living God it is necessary to tenderly kiss Jesus' wounds in our hungry, poor, sick and incarcerated brothers and sisters”.

After the Resurrection Jesus appears to the apostles, but Thomas is not there: “He wanted him to wait a week”, said Pope Francis. “The Lord knows why He does such things. And He allows the time He believes best for each of us. He gave Thomas a week. Jesus reveals himself with His wounds: His whole body was clean, beautiful and full of light”, continued the Pope, “but the wounds were and are still there, and when the Lord comes at the end of the world, we will see His wounds. Before he could believe, Thomas wanted to place his fingers in the wounds. He was stubborn. But that was what the Lord wanted - a stubborn person to make us understand something greater. Thomas saw the Lord and was invited to put his finger into the wounds left by the nails; to put his hand in His side. He did not merely say, 'It's true: the Lord is risen'. No! He went further. He said: 'God'. He was the first of the disciples to confess the divinity of Christ after the Resurrection. And he worshipped Him”.

"And so”, continued the Pope, “we understand what the Lord’s intention was when He made him wait: He wanted to take his disbelief and guide him not just to an affirmation of the Resurrection, but an affirmation of His Divinity. The path to our encounter with Jesus-God are his wounds. There is no other. In the history of the Church several mistakes have been made on the path towards God. Some have believed that the Living God, the God of Christians can be found by the path of meditation, and indeed that we can reach higher levels through meditation. That is dangerous! How many are lost on that path, never to return? Yes, perhaps they arrive at a knowledge of God, but not of Jesus Christ, Son of God, the second Person of the Trinity. They do not arrive at that. It is the path of the gnostics, isn't it? They are good, they work, but they have not found the right path. It is very complicated and does not lead to a safe harbour”.

Others”, the Pope continued, “have thought that to arrive at God we must mortify ourselves, through austerity and the path of penance - penance and fasting alone. These do not arrive at the Living God, Jesus Christ, either. They are the Pelagians, who believe that they can arrive by their own efforts. But Jesus tells us that the path to encountering Him is to find His wounds. We find Jesus’ wounds in carrying out works of mercy, giving to the body – the body – the soul too, but – I stress - the body of your wounded brother, because he is hungry, because he is thirsty, because he is naked, because he is humiliated, because he is enslaved, because he is incarcerated, because he is in hospital. These are the wounds of Jesus today. And Jesus asks us to take a leap of faith, towards Him, but through these His wounds. 'Ah, good! Let's set up a foundation to help these people, to do so many good things to help them'. That is important, but if we remain on this level, we will be merely philanthropists”.

We need to touch Jesus' wounds, caress Jesus' wounds, bind them with tenderness; we must kiss Jesus' wounds, literally. Just think: what happened to St. Francis, when he embraced the leper? The same thing that happened to Thomas: his life changed. To touch the living God”, Pope Francis concluded, “we do not need to attend a 'refresher course' but to enter into the wounds of Jesus, and to do so, all we need to do is go out onto the street. Let us ask of St. Thomas the grace to grant us the courage to enter into the wounds of Jesus with tenderness and thereby we will certainly have the grace to worship the living God".


Vatican City, 3 July 2013 (VIS) - Today, the Holy Father received in audience Archbishop Jean-Louis Brugues O.P., archivist and librarian of the Holy Roman Church.


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

- appointed Archbishop Tarcisius Gervazio Ziyaye as archbishop of Lilongwe (area 24,025, population 5,064,000, Catholics 1,550,000, priests 84, religious 195), Malawi. Archbishop Ziyaye was previously archbishop of Blantyre, Malawi. He succeeds Archbishop Remi Joseph Gustave Sainte-Marie, M. Afr., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

- appointed Bishop Victor Henry Thakur as archbishop of Raipur (area 60,819, population 15,986,000, Catholics 69,453, priests 146, religious 580), India. Archbishop Thakur was previously bishop of Bettiah, India. He succeeds Archbishop Joseph Augustine Charanakunnel, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

- appointed Fr. Jose Maria Chaves dos Reis, of the clergy of Cameta, Brazil, as bishop of Abaetetuba (area 28,256, population 490,000, Catholics 351,000, priests 32, religious 40), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Oeiras do Para, Brazil in 1962 and was ordained a priest in 1996. Currently vicar general and rector of the“Bom Pastor” major seminary in Cameta, he also previously served in the same diocese in the roles of rector of the “Padre Josimo” minor seminary, vicar of the “San Joao Batista” cathedral, and parish priest in the Cathedral of Cameta.

- appointed Msgr Joseph Arshad as bishop of Faisalabad (area 35,300, population 36,207,000, Catholics 155,000, priests 42, permanent deacons 4, religious 129), Pakistan. The bishop-elect was born in Lahore, Pakistan in 1964 and was ordained a priest in 1991. Currently nunciature counsellor to the apostolic nunciature in Bosnia-Herzegovina, he has held roles in the diplomatic service of the apostolic nunciatures of Malta, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Madagascar.

- appointed Msgr Joao Gilberto de Moura, of the clergy of Ituiutaba, Brazil, as bishop of Jardim (area 69,972, population 397,000, Catholics 277,000, priests 15, permanent deacons 3, religious 23), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Ituiutaba, Brazil in 1963 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1995. He was named prelate of honour by his Holiness in 2008. Currently parish priest in the cathedral “Cristo Rei”, judicial vicar of the Ecclesiastic Tribunal of Ituiutaba, and procurator, economist and vicar general of the diocese of Ituiutaba, he has served in a number of pastoral roles in the same diocese.

- appointed Cardinal John Onaiyekan, archbishop of Abuja, Nigeria as apostolic administrator ad nutum Sanctae Sedis of the diocese of Ahiara, Nigeria.
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