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Monday, July 22, 2013


Vatican City, 22 July 2013 (VIS) – Fiumicino Airport, Rome, 8.53 a.m.: the Alitalia Airbus A330 carrying the Pope departed punctually for Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where it is scheduled to land in Galeao Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport at 4.00 p.m. local time, 9.00 p.m. Italian time. The Argentine Pope's first apostolic trip has begun.

Francis travelled carrying his hand luggage, and stood in line waiting to embark alongside the other passengers, accredited journalists and other prelates. The flight is expected to last twelve hours and the aeroplane will fly over Italy, Algeria, Mauritania and Senegal before arriving in the Brazilian capital where multitudes of young people are already awaiting the Pope. Shortly before departing he tweeted: “I am arriving in Brazil in a few hours and my heart is already full of joy because soon I will be with you to celebrate the 28th WYD”. The message has been disseminated to over seven million users who follow the @Pontifex account.


Vatican City, 21 July 2013 (VIS) – The Holy Father's Sunday meditation before praying the Angelus this morning was dedicated to Jesus' visit to the house of Martha and Mary in Bethany in the Gospel of St. Luke, and the two key themes of Christian life: contemplation, listening to the Word of God and the concrete service of our neighbour. These are not to be experienced separately, but rather are two aspects to be lived “in profound unity and harmony”.

The Bishop of Rome explained to the thousands of the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square that the two sisters “both welcome the Lord, but in different ways. Mary sits at Jesus’ feet, listening, whereas Martha is absorbed in domestic tasks and is so busy that she turns to Jesus saying: 'Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me'. And Jesus responds rebuking her with sweetness. 'Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is the need for only one thing'”.

What does Jesus wish to say?” continued the Pope. “Above all it is important to understand that it is not a matter of two contrasting attitudes: listening to the Word of the Lord – contemplation – and concrete service to our neighbour. They are not two opposed attitudes but, on the contrary, they are both aspects that are essential for our Christian life; aspects that must never be separated but rather lived in profound unity and harmony”.

So why does Jesus rebuke Martha? Because she considered only what she was doing to be essential; she was too absorbed and worried about things to 'do'. For a Christian, the works of service and charity are never detached from the principle source of our action: that is, listening to the Word of the Lord, sitting – like Mary – at Jesus’ feet in the attitude of a disciple. And for this reason Mary is rebuked”.

Pope Francis affirmed that “in our Christian life too prayer and action are always profoundly united. Prayer that does not lead to concrete action toward a brother who is poor, sick, in need of help … is a sterile and incomplete prayer. But, in the same way, when in ecclesial service we are only concerned with what we are doing, we give greater weight to things, functions and structures, forgetting the centrality of Christ; we do not set aside time for dialogue with Him in prayer, we run the risk of serving ourselves and not God, present in our brother in need”.

Let us ask the Virgin Mary, Mother of listening and service, who teaches us to meditate on the Word of her Son in our heart, to pray with fidelity, and to be ever more concretely attentive to the needs of our brothers”.


Vatican City, 21 July 2013 (VIS) – Following today's Angelus, Pope Francis, upon reading a banner with the words “Buon Viaggio!” (Have a good trip!), asked the faithful to accompany him spiritually through prayer on his trip to Brazil. He affirmed that this coming week will really be dedicated to youth, and that the young will be its true protagonists. “All those who come to Rio want to hear Jesus’ voice, to listen to Jesus: 'Lord, what should I do with my life? What path I should take?'” Francis asked the young people present in the square to “entrust these questions to the Lord and to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, much loved and venerated in Brazil: those questions that the young people will ask there and those that you will ask today. And may Our Lady help us in this new stage of our pilgrimage”.


Vatican City, 21 July 2013 (VIS) – Yesterday afternoon the Holy Father paid an unscheduled visit to the Basilica of St. Mary Major to ask the protection of the Virgin Mary during his apostolic trip to Brazil, for the young people who will gather in Rio de Janeiro for World Youth Day and for young people all over the world.

The Pope arrived at the Basilica at 4.45 p.m., where he was received by the Cardinal Archpriest Santos Abril y Castello. He entered via the side door of the Sacristy and proceeded straight to the Chapel where the image of Our Lady Salus Populi Romani is held, and where the canons of the Basilica and the Dominican Fathers were gathered. The Pope spent half an hour in silent prayer before the marian icon, then offered a floral tribute and lit a candle, recalling the symbolic logo of World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro.

Since the Basilica was open to the public and many faithful were present, before leaving the Pope stopped before the central altar where he heard a brief address from the cardinal archpriest, and he spoke briefly to those present, asking them too to accompany his trip to Brazil “with prayer, trust and penitence”.

The visit lasted for little more than an hour and at 6 p.m. the Holy Father returned to the Vatican.


Vatican City, 20 July 2013 (VIS) – The Holy See Press Office reported that in the afternoon of Friday, 19 July, Pope Francis visited Pope emeritus Benedict XVI to ask him to accompany the Holy Father's upcoming visit to Brazil for World Youth Day with spiritual nearness and prayer. Pope Francis gave the Pope emeritus the programme for the trip, in order that he might participate spiritually and follow the broadcasts of the various events, and gave him a medal commemorating the trip.

Benedict XVI assured him of his prayers, recalling the intense and wonderful experience of previous meetings with the young in Cologne, Sydney and Madrid.

The meeting began with a moment of prayer together in the Chapel followed by a cordial discussion, and lasted around two hours.


Vatican City, 20 July 2013 (VIS) – The Holy See Press Office today published the message sent by Pope Francis to Cardinal Agostino Vallini, vicar general of the diocese of Rome, for the 70th anniversary of the bombardment of the San Lorenzo quarter of Rome.

I am spiritually united with you, with the Capuchin friars and all those gathered in the Basilica of San Lorenzo outside-the-Walls to commemorate the violent bombardment of 19 July 1943, which inflicted serious damage on the sacred building and the entire quarter, as in other parts of the city, sowing death and destruction”.

Francis mentioned in his message that Pope Pius XII, in those terrible hours, was close to his co-citizens who had been so gravely afflicted. Pope Pacelli did not hesitate to hasten to the quarter of San Lorenzo, immediately and without escort, where he assisted and comforted the stricken population. Again, on that occasion, he showed himself to be a caring Pastor among his flock, especially in the hour of need, willing to share in the suffering of his people”.

The Holy Father also made mention of all those who, in such a dramatic moment, joined in offering moral and material assistance, and in particular Giovanni Battista Montini, the future Pope Paul VI, then acting Secretary of State, who accompanied Pius XII to the quarter of San Lorenzo.

Many bishops, priests and consecrated persons in Rome and throughout Italy were like the good Samaritan in the parable of the Gospel”, continued the Pope, “tending to the brother in his suffering, to help him and to bring consolation and hope. It was a race to extend charity to every human being in danger and in need of attention and support”.

Pope Francis concluded by recalling the words of Pius XII: “'Nothing is lost by peace; everything may be lost by war'. Peace is a gift from God, which today too must find willing hearts to welcome it and to work as builders of reconciliation and peace”.


Vatican City, 20 July 2013 (VIS) - The Holy Father has sent a telegram of condolence to Cardinal Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Bombay for the death of Cardinal Simon Ignatius Pimenta, archbishop emeritus of the same archdiocese. Cardinal Pimenta died on Friday, 19 July at the age of 93.

In the message the Pope expresses his closeness to the Cardinal's family and imparts an apostolic blessing as a pledge of consolation and strength in the Lord.


Vatican City, 22 July 2013 (VIS) – The Holy Father appointed Bishop Vittorio Lanzani, delegate of the Fabric of St. Peter, as pontifical delegate for the Basilica of St. Anthony in Padua.

On Saturday, 20 July, the Holy Father:

- appointed Cardinal Angelo Scola, archbishop of Milan, as his special envoy to the celebration of the 1700th anniversary of the Edict of Milan, to be held in Nis, Serbia on 20-21 September 2013.

- appointed Archbishop Ramzi Garmou of Tehran of the Chaldeans as apostolic visitor for the Chaldeans resident in Europe, previously administered “ad nutum Sanctae Sedis” by Chorbishop Philip Najim.

- appointed Fr. Viktors Stulpins as bishop of Liepaja (area 13,210, population 277,000, Catholics 27,700, priests 14, religious 14), Latvia. The bishop-elect was born in Riga, Latvia in 1971 and was ordained a priest in 1995. He has served in a number of pastoral roles, as a priest in the parishes of Aizkraukle, Irsi, Koknese, Skriveri, Vecbebri and St. Francis in Riga, and as vice rector of the major seminary of Riga. He is also a professor at the Theological Institute of Riga and a member of the Commission on Religious Art in Riga.

- appointed Bishop Angel Polivio Sanchez Loaiza as bishop of Machala (area 5,819, population 574,000, Catholics 545,000, priests 47, permanent deacons 1, religious 116), Ecuador. Bishop Sanchez Loaiaza, previously bishop of Guaranda, Ecuador, was born in Ayapamba, Ecuador, in 1946, was ordained to the priesthood in 1975, and received episcopal ordination in 2004.

- appointed Msgr. Maurizio Gervasoni as bishop of Vigevano (area 1,509, population 192,827, Catholics 182,600, priests 109, permanent deacons 10, religious 168), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Sarnico, Italy in 1953 and was ordained a priest in 1977. He received a doctorate in theology from the Gregorian Pontifical University in 1982 and has held a number of roles, including: professor of theological anthropology at the seminary of Bergamo, vice-director of the theology course at the Giovanni XXIII Seminary, professor of spirituality at the diocesan presbytery, director of the Pastoral Office for Culture, director of the Office for Social, Employment and Economic Pastoral Care, director of the Office for Associations, Movements and Groups, bishop's delegate for the Formation and Education of the People of God, diocesan president of Caritas, bishop's delegate for the Proclamation of the Word and the Liturgy; director of the Catechistic Office and director of the Liturgical Office, and professor of anthropology of religions and of history of religions at the University of Bergamo. In 2012 he was appointed provost of the parish of St. Lucia in Bergamo and episcopal vicar of the same city. He was named prelate of honour by his Holiness in 1999.
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