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Monday, October 7, 2013


Vatican City, 7 October 2013 (VIS) – Today in the Vatican Apostolic Palace the Holy Father Francis received in audience their Majesties the King of Lesotho, Letsie III, and Queen ‘Masenate Mohato Seeiso. The Sovereign subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, Secretary for Relations with States.

During the cordial discussions, the Parties spoke of the good relations between the Holy See and the Kingdom of Lesotho, with special reference to the importance of religious freedom, to favour positive collaboration between the State and the Church. In this regard, appreciation was expressed for the commitment of the Sovereign and the Government to prioritising healthcare and education, and for the significant ecclesial contribution in the fields of charity, justice and peace.

Finally, mention was made of themes of an ethical and social nature, such as the family, as well as issues relating to the political and economic situation in the Region.


Vatican City, 6 October (VIS) – At midday Francis appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with more than one hundred thousand faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square and in the adjacent Via della Conciliazione.

The Pope began by giving thanks to God for his pastoral visit to Assisi on Friday, revealing that it was the first time he had visited the city, and remarking that “it was a great gift to be able to make this pilgrimage on the feast day of St. Francis”.

He went on to comment on the day's Gospel reading, in which the disciples ask Christ to make their faith grow in them. “It seems to me that we can all make this request our own. We too, like the Apostles, say to the Lord Jesus, 'Increase our faith! Yes, Lord, our faith is small, our faith is weak and fragile, but we offer it to you just as it is, so that you will make it grow'”.

And how does the Lord answer? He replies, 'If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree: 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you. The mustard seed is very small, but Jesus says that it is enough to have a faith like this, small, but true and sincere, to do things that are humanly impossible, unthinkable. And it is true! We all know people who are simple, humble, but with incredibly strong faith, who truly move mountains! Think, for example, of certain mothers and fathers who face very difficult situations, or certain sick people, even those who are gravely ill, who convey serenity to those who visit them. ... How many people among us have this strong, humble faith and do so much good!”

Francis also spoke of the missions, to which the month of October is dedicated, and recalled the “many missionaries, men and women, who have overcome all sorts of obstacles to spread the Gospel. They have truly given their life”, but equally, “each one of us, in his or her everyday life, can bear witness to Christ, with the power of God, the power of faith, the small faith that we have, which is nonetheless strong”. We obtain this strength “from God in prayer. Prayer is the breath of faith: in a relationship of trust, in a relationship of love, dialogue cannot be lacking, and prayer is a dialogue of the soul with God”.

October is also the month of the Rosary, and on this first Sunday it a tradition to recite the Supplication to Our Lady of Pompeii, the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Holy Rosary. “Let us join spiritually in this act of confidence in our Mother”, he added, “and we receive from her hands the beads of the Rosary: the Rosary is a school of prayer; the Rosary is a school of faith!”

Following the Angelus prayer, the Pope referred to the beatification of Rolando Rivi yesterday in Modena. Rivi, killed in 1945 at the age of just fourteen for hatred of the faith at e was a seminarian of that region, Emilia, who was killed in 1945, when he was 14, “guilty only of wearing a cassock during that time of raging violence against the clergy, who spoke out to condemn in the name of God the postwar massacres. But faith in Jesus triumphs over the spirit of the world! Let us give thanks to God for this young martyr, heroic witness to the Gospel!”

He concluded, “I would like to remember with you all those who lost their lives in Lampedusa on Thursday. Let us all pray in silence for these brothers and sisters of ours: women, men, children… Let our hearts weep. Let us pray in silence”, a plea that was heeded by the one hundred thousand people in the square.


Vatican City, 5 October 2013 (VIS) - A letter was published today, in Latin and dated 3 September, in which the Pope appoints Cardinal Joachim Meisner, archbishop of Cologne, Germany, as his special envoy to the celebration of the 750th anniversary of the laying of the first stone of the cathedral of Xanthen, Germany, scheduled to take place on 13 October.

The mission accompanying the cardinal will be composed of Rev. Alfred Mantheny, parish priest and Wolfgang Schmitz, deacon of Rheinberg.


Vatican City, 7 October 2013 (VIS) – On Tuesday 8 October the official medal of the first year of Pope Francis' pontificate will be made available for sale. It was coined by the Polygraphic Institute and the Italian State Mint in gold, silver and bronze, with a diameter of forty-four millimetres, and the image it depicts is the work of the artist Mariangela Crisciotti.

The obverse depicts the Pope and, on the right hand side, the signature of the artist. Around the image there is the phrase “FRANCISCUS PONT. MAX. AN. I”. The rim of the reverse side bears the phrase which profoundly affected the young Jorge Mario Bergoglio when, at the age of seventeen, he received his call from God: “VIDIT ERGO JESUS PUBLICANUM ET QUIA MISERANDO ANTQUE ELIGENDO VIDIT, AIT ILLI SEQUERE ME”.

Around the edge there is the phrase “E CIVITATE VATICANA” and the number of the medal.

Each exemplar shall be accompanied by a guarantee certificate stamped by the Secretariat of State and the Italian State Mint.

Four hundred triptychs will be coined, along with two hundred exemplars in gold, three thousand in silver and three thousand in bronze, all of which will be numbered.

The medals will be on sale at the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA) in Vatican City, and at the Vatican Publishing House at St. Peter's Square, Pius XII Square, and Via di Propaganda, 4.


Vatican City, 7 October 2013 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:

- Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education (from the Institute of Studies).

- Members of the presidency of the United States conference of Catholic Bishops: Cardinal Timothy Michael Dolan, archbishop of New York, president; Archbishop Joseph Edward Kurtz of Louisville, vice president; Msgr. Ronny E. Jenkins, general secretary; Msgr. J. Brian Bransfield, adjunct general secretary.

- Archbishop Luigi Bonazzi, apostolic nuncio to Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia.

- Archbishop Michael A. Blume, apostolic nuncio to Uganda.

On Saturday, 5 October the Holy Father received in audience:

- German Jose Mundarain Hernandez, the new ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the Holy See, presenting his letters of credence.

- Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz, prefect of the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, with Archbishop Jose Rodriguez Carballo, secretary of the same dicastery.

- Ernesto Olivero, founder of the Servizio Missionario Giovanile (SERMIG)

- Fr. Franz Jalics, S.J.


Vatican City, 7 October 2013 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father appointed Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo as apostolic nuncio to the Dominican Republic. Archbishop Okolo was previously apostolic nuncio to the Central African Republic and Chad.

On Saturday, 5 October, the Holy Father appointed:

- Cardinal Walter Brandmuller, deacon of St. Julian of the Flemish, as his special envoy to the celebrations of the 450th anniversary of the conclusion of the ecumenical Council of Trent, to be held in Trento, Italy, on 1 December 2013.

- Cardinal Jorge Liberato Urosa Savino, archbishop of Caracas, Venezuela, as his special envoy to the closing celebrations for the first centenary of the institution of the Ecclesiastical Province of Managua, Nicaragua, scheduled to take place on 2 December 2013.
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