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Monday, July 29, 2013


Vatican City, 29 July 2013 (VIS) – At 10.00 a.m. yesterday, Sunday (3.00 p.m. Rome time) the Pope celebrated Holy Mass for the 28th World Youth Day on the beach at Copacabana. The celebration was scheduled to take place at the “Campus Fidei” of Guaratiba, which holds up to two million people, but due to poor weather conditions it was held instead at the carioco beach. Three million pilgrims participated; a further million joined the two million young people who had spent the night on the beach after the Saturday's prayer vigil. The event was attended by 1500 bishops and 15,000 priests, as well as the presidents of Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia and Suriname. The Eucharistic liturgy began with the official hymn of World Youth Day, sung by a choir made up of priests from all over Brazil, including those who evangelise through the medium of religious music. The songs for the Holy Mass were selected by means of a national competition in which young Brazilians participated with their own original compositions.

The Pope based his homily on the theme of the 28th World Youth Day: “Go and make disciples of all nations”, and after reflecting on the excitement of these days, of living faith with people from all four corners of the world, he said that the moment had come to transmit this experience to others. “Three simple ideas”, he said. “Go, do not be afraid, and serve”.

To explain the meaning of the first, Pope Francis spoke to the young about the beauty of meeting Jesus in the company of others during these days, and sensing the joy of faith, but added, “the experience of this encounter must not remain locked up in your life or in the small group of your parish, your movement, or your community. That would be like withholding oxygen from a flame that was burning strongly. Faith is a flame that grows stronger the more it is shared ... so that everyone may know … Jesus Christ, the Lord of life and history”.

Sharing the experience of faith ... proclaiming the Gospel: this is a command that the Lord entrusts to the whole Church, and that includes you”, he continued, “but it is a command that is born not from a desire for domination, from a desire for power, but from the force of love, from the fact that Jesus first came into our midst and gave us, not a part of Himself, but the whole of Himself, and He gave His life in order to save us and to show us the love and mercy of God. Jesus … accompanies us … in our mission of love”.

Where does Jesus send us? There are no borders, no limits: He sends us to everyone. The Gospel is for everyone, not just for some. It is not only for those who seem closer to us, more receptive, more welcoming. … Do not be afraid to go and to bring Christ into every area of life, to the fringes of society, even to those who seem farthest away, most indifferent. The Lord seeks all, He wants everyone to feel the warmth of His mercy and His love”.

The Holy Father emphasised that he wished for Christ’s command, “Go”, to resonate in the young of the Church in Latin America, as “this continent has received the proclamation of the Gospel which has marked its history and borne much fruit. Now … the Church needs you, your enthusiasm, your creativity and the joy that is so characteristic of you”.

Some people might think: 'I have no particular preparation, how can I go and proclaim the Gospel?'” he continued, turning to the second idea, “do not be afraid”. He explained that their fear is not very different from that of Jeremiah, who was also young when he was called by God to be a prophet. “In today's reading he exclaims: 'Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth'. God says the same thing to you as He said to Jeremiah: 'Be not afraid ... for I am with you to deliver you'. He is with us! Jesus … never leaves anyone alone. ... And then, Jesus did not say: “One of you go”, but “All of you go”: we are sent together. Dear young friends, be aware of the companionship of the whole Church and also the communion of the saints on this mission. When we face challenges together, then we are strong, we discover resources we did not know we had. Jesus did not call the Apostles to live in isolation. He called them to form a group, a community”.

Finally, service, explained the Pope, means “allowing our life to be identified with that of Jesus, it is sharing His sentiments, His thoughts, His actions. And the life of Jesus is a life for others. It is a life of service … Evangelizing means bearing personal witness to the love of God, it is overcoming our selfishness, it is serving by bending down to wash the feet of our brethren, as Jesus did”.

Go, do not be afraid, and serve”, he concluded. “If you follow these three ideas, you will experience that the one who evangelizes is evangelized, the one who transmits the joy of faith receives more joy. Dear young friends, as you return to your homes, do not be afraid to be generous with Christ, to bear witness to His Gospel. ... Bringing the Gospel is bringing God’s power to pluck up and break down evil and violence, to destroy and overthrow the barriers of selfishness, intolerance and hatred, so as to build a new world. Jesus Christ is counting on you! The Church is counting on you! The Pope is counting on you!”


Vatican City, 29 July 2013 (VIS) – Following Holy Mass, the Pope thanked the young people present “for all the joy you have given me in these days”, and spoke briefly to them before praying the Angelus.

The Immaculate Virgin intercedes for us in heaven as a good mother who watches over her children. May Mary teach us by her life what it means to be a missionary disciple. Every time we pray the Angelus, we recall the event that changed the history of mankind for ever. When the Angel Gabriel proclaimed to Mary that she would become the Mother of Jesus the Saviour, even without understanding the full significance of that call, she trusted God and replied: 'Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to Your word'. But what did she do immediately afterwards? On receiving the grace of being the Mother of the Incarnate Word, she did not keep that gift to herself; she felt responsible and so she set off, she left her home and went in haste to help her kinswoman Elizabeth, who was in need of assistance; she carried out an act of love, of charity, of practical service, bringing Jesus Who was in her womb. And she did all this in haste!”

There, my dear friends, we have our model. She who received the most precious gift from God, as her immediate response sets off to be of service and to bring Jesus. Let us ask Our Lady to help us too to give Christ’s joy to our families, our companions, our friends, to everyone. Never be afraid to be generous with Christ. It is worth it! Go out and set off with courage and generosity, so that every man and every woman may meet the Lord”.

Dear young friends”, he concluded, “we have an appointment for the next World Youth Day in 2016 in Krakow, Poland. Through Our Lady’s maternal intercession, let us ask for the light of the Holy Spirit upon the journey that will lead us to this next stage in our joyful celebration of faith and the love of Christ”.


Vatican City, 29 July 2013 (VIS) – During the afternoon of Sunday, 28 July, Pope Francis met with the forty-five bishops who form the Coordinating Committee of the Latin American Episcopal Conference (CELAM). He focused on the legacy of the meeting of the Fifth General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean, held in Aparecida in May 2007.

He began his address by mentioning four hallmarks or pillars of the Aparecida conference. First, the participation of the Particular Churches as a process of preparation culminating in a document of synthesis, which while serving as a point of reference throughout the Fifth General Conference, was not taken as a starting point; the prayerful setting and the accompaniment in the form of the songs and prayers of the faithful; that Aparecida did not end with a document but instead continued in the Continental Mission; and finally, that it was the first conference of the bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean to be held in a Marian shrine.

The Pope spoke of the two dimensions of the Continental Mission: the programmatic, consisting in a series of missionary activities, and the paradigmatic, setting in a missionary key all the day-to-day activities of the Particular Churches. The Pope explained that “this entails a whole process of reforming ecclesial structures. The 'change of structures' (from obsolete ones to new ones) … will result from the very dynamics of mission. What makes obsolete structures pass away, what leads to a change of heart in Christians, is precisely missionary spirit”. Francis mentioned two of the current challenges of missionary discipleship: “the Church’s inner renewal and dialogue with the world around us”.

The Holy Father went on to outline some “temptations against missionary discipleship”, such as the transformation of the Gospel message into an ideology: “the attempt to interpret the Gospel apart from the Gospel itself and apart from the Church”; functionalism, which “reduces the reality of the Church to the structure of an NGO” and “applies a sort of 'theology of prosperity' to the organization of pastoral work”; and finally, clericalism, “a temptation very present in Latin America” which “explains, in great part, the lack of maturity and Christian freedom in a good part of the Latin American laity”.

The Pope then suggested some ecclesiastical guidelines: first, “the missionary discipleship which Aparecida proposed to the Churches of Latin America and the Caribbean is the journey which God desires for the present 'today' … It is given in the 'today', but also 'in tension'. There is no such thing as static missionary discipleship”, linked neither to the past nor the future.

Second: “The Church is an institution, but when she makes herself a 'centre', she becomes merely functional, and slowly but surely turns into a kind of NGO. … From an 'institution' she becomes a 'enterprise'. She stops being a bride and ends up being an administrator; from being a servant, she becomes an 'inspector'. Aparecida wanted a Church which is bride, mother and servant, a facilitator of faith and not an inspector of faith”.

Third: “In Aparecida, two pastoral categories stand out”, Francis said. “They arise from the uniqueness of the Gospel, and we can employ them as guidelines for assessing how we are living missionary discipleship in the Church: nearness and encounter. Neither of these two categories is new; rather, they are the way God has revealed himself to us in history”, he continued, recalling that the pastoral plans which do not take account of these dimensions “can at best provide a dimension of proselytism, but they can never inspire people to feel part of or belong to the Church”, and added that “one touchstone for measuring whether a pastoral plan embodies nearness and a capacity for encounter is the homily”.

The fourth and final aspect: the Pope commented that “Bishops must lead, which is not the same thing as being authoritarian”, and offered some guidelines: “Bishops must be pastors, close to people, fathers and brothers, and gentle, patient and merciful. Men who love poverty, both interior poverty, as freedom before the Lord, and exterior poverty, as simplicity and austerity of life. Men who do not think and behave like 'princes'. Men who are not ambitious, who are married to one church without having their eyes on another. Men capable of watching over the flock entrusted to them and protecting everything that keeps it together: guarding their people out of concern for the dangers which could threaten them, but above all instilling hope: so that light will shine in people’s hearts. Men capable of supporting with love and patience God’s dealings with his people. The Bishop has to be among his people in three ways: in front of them, pointing the way; among them, keeping them together and preventing them from being scattered; and behind them, ensuring that no one is left behind, but also, and primarily, so that the flock itself can sniff out new paths”. In conclusion, Francis added “we are lagging somewhat as far as Pastoral Conversion is concerned. We need to help one another a bit more in taking the steps that the Lord asks of us in the 'today' of Latin America and the Caribbean. And this is a good place to start”.


Vatican City, 29 July 2013 (VIS) – On Sunday, 28 July, before the closing ceremony of Word Youth Day, Pope Francis met with a group of young volunteers. In the Congress Centre Pavilion he encountered 15,000 of the 60,000 volunteers who have worked during the two years of preparation for the Brazilian World Youth Day. The young welcomed him with songs and applause, and Pope Francis did not greeted them warmly with hugs and kisses.

He thanked them for their work and “the countless little ways by which you have made this World Youth Day an unforgettable experience of faith. With your smiles, your acts of kindness and your willingness to serve, you have shown that 'it is more blessed to give than to receive'”.

He compared them to St. John the Baptist, “who prepared the way for Jesus”, he said. “And this is the most beautiful service we can give as missionary disciples: to prepare the way so that all people may know, meet and love the Lord. … May you always be generous with God and with others: one loses nothing thereby, but gains great enrichment in life”.

He continued, “God … has a plan for each of you: to discover that plan and to respond to your vocation is to move toward personal fulfilment. … Some are called to holiness through family life in the sacrament of Marriage”, and he commented that in today's cultural of the ephemeral, many say that marriage is out of fashion. “Many preach the importance of 'enjoying' the moment”, he said; “they say that it is not worth making a life-long commitment, making a definitive decision, for ever, because we do not know what tomorrow will bring”. He urged the young volunteers “to be revolutionaries, to swim against the tide; yes, I am asking you to rebel against this culture that sees everything as temporary and that ultimately believes that you are incapable of responsibility, that you are incapable of true love. ... Have the courage to be happy”.

The Pope went on to say that the Lord calls some to the priesthood or to the religious life, and shared with the young volunteers his experience at the age of 17 of first hearing God's call. “Do not be afraid of what God asks of you! It is worth saying 'yes' to God. In Him we find joy!”

Finally, he addressed those who “may not yet know what you will do with your lives”, and encouraged them to “ask the Lord, and He will show you the way. … Do not forget what you have experienced here! You can always count on my prayers, and I know I can count on yours”.


Vatican City, 29 July 2013 (VIS) – “I depart with many happy memories which I know will nourish my prayers. Already I am beginning to miss Brazil, this great people showing so much affection and friendship. … I shall miss the hope filling the eyes of the young people in the Hospital of Saint Francis. I shall miss the faith and joy shown by the residents of Varginha in the midst of their hardship. … Thank you for the warm welcome and the friendship that have been offered to me. This too I shall miss”.

And so, yesterday afternoon, Pope Francis said goodbye to Brazil. During the farewell ceremony at Galeao/Antonio Carlos Jobim airport, the Holy Father thanked President Dilma Roussef “for expressing the sentiments of the entire population of Brazil towards the Successor of Peter”, the bishops and their collaborators, the volunteers, the media workers and all those who in one way or another participated in the organisation and hosting of the event, and finally, “the many people who prayed ... for this World Youth Day to be an authentic experience of growth in faith”.

However, the young people were at the heart of the celebrations. “I will always place my hopes in the young people of Brazil and in the young around the world: through them, Christ is preparing a new springtime all over the earth. I have seen its first fruits and I know that others will joyfully reap the full harvest … Many of you came here as disciples; I have no doubt that all of you will leave as missionaries. Through your joyful witness and service, help to build a civilization of love. Show, by your life, that it is worth giving your time and talents in order to attain high ideals, it is worth recognizing the dignity of each human person, and it is worth taking risks for Christ and His Gospel”.

Finally, before embarking the aircraft, Francis recalled his visit to the shrine of Aparecida, where “I knelt to pray for the entire human family and in particular for all Brazilians”, and implored Mary to strengthen them in their Christian faith, “which forms part of the noble soul of Brazil, as indeed of many other countries; this faith is your culture’s treasure and serves as encouragement and support in the task of building a renewed humanity in harmony and solidarity”.

As he departs, the Pope says to all of you affectionately: 'see you soon'. He asks you not to forget to pray for him. The Pope needs the prayers of all of you. I offer you an affectionate embrace. May God bless you!”

At 7.00 p.m. (local time) the aircraft carrying the Holy Father departed from Rio de Janeiro and, after a flight lasting eleven and a half hours, landed this morning at Rome's Ciampino military airport at 11.30. From there, the Pope proceeded to the Basilica of St. Mary Major to give thanks for the return journey, as he did previously before departing for Rio de Janeiro, and after a moment of prayer before the Marian image, he returned by car to the Vatican.


Vatican City, 29 July 2013 (VIS) – On 26 July the Financial Intelligence Authority (AIF) of the Holy See and Vatican City State signed a Memorandum of Understanding with its Italian counterpart, the Unità di Informazione Finanziaria (UIF) of the Bank of Italy, according to a memorandum published today.

The Memorandum was signed in Rome by Cardinal Attilio Nicora, President of AIF, and Dr. Claudio Clemente, director of UIF.

A Memorandum of Understanding is standard practice and formalizes the cooperation and exchange of financial information to fight money laundering and terrorist financing across borders between the competent authorities of both countries. It is based on the model Memorandum of Understanding prepared by the Egmont Group, the global organisation of national Financial Intelligence Units, and contains clauses on reciprocity, permitted uses of information and confidentiality.

The Holy See and the Vatican City State take international responsibilities concerning Anti-Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism very seriously, and Italy is an especially important partner for us,” said AIF director Rene Bruelhart. “We look forward to continuing our work with the Italian Authorities in a constructive and fruitful manner. The Memorandum of Understanding is a clear commitment to strengthen our bilateral relationship and will facilitate the our joint efforts and fight against money laundering.”

AIF became a member of the Egmont Group in July of this year and over the last several months signed MOUs with the Financial Intelligence Units of the United States, Belgium, Spain, Slovenia and the Netherlands. More are expected to be signed in the course of this year.

AIF is the competent authority of the Holy See/Vatican City State to fight money laundering and financing of terrorism. It was established on Dec. 30, 2010.


Vatican City, 29 July 2013 (VIS) – The Holy Father has sent a telegram of condolences to Archbishop Lorenzo Ghizzoni of Ravenna, Italy, for the death of Cardinal Ersilio Tonini, former archbishop of that archdiocese who died yesterday, Sunday, at the age of 99.

In the text, the Holy Father joins the community of Ravenna in mourning, and expresses his gratitude and admiration for his “fruitful and varied” apostolic activity, recalling that he was a “zealous and generous pastor … committed and amiable … inspired by the wish to proclaim Christ in simple and incisive language and to give authentic and coherent testimony to men and women of our time”.


Vatican City, 29 July 2013 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Yaounde, Cameroon, presented by Bishop Simon-Victor Tonye Bakot, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law. The Holy Father has appointed Bishop Jean Mbarga of Ebolowa, Cameroon, as apostolic adminstrator "sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis" of the archdiocese of Yaounde.
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