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Friday, October 11, 2013


Vatican City, 11 October 2013 (VIS) – “As Bishop of Rome, I feel particularly close to the life of the Jewish community of the Urbe: I know that, with over two thousand years' uninterrupted presence, you may claim to be the most ancient in western Europe”. This morning, with these words, Pope Francis received in audience the Jewish community of Rome, led by the chief rabbi Riccardo Di Segni, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the deportation of the Jews of Rome.

For many centuries the Jewish community and the Church of Rome have co-existed in this city, with a history that has, as we well know, often been marred with misunderstandings and real injustice”, he continued. “However, by now this history includes, with the help of God, many decades of the development of friendly and brotherly relations. On the Catholic side, the reflection of the Second Vatican Council has certainly contributed to this change in mentality, but a no less important contribution has come from the life and action, on both sides, of wise and generous men, capable of recognising the call of the Lord and of courageously walking new paths of encounter and dialogue”.

The Pope went on to mention the “common tragedy of the war” which, paradoxically, “taught us to walk together”, and he made reference to the 70th anniversary of the deportation of the Jews of Rome on 16 October 1943. On that day, more than a thousand Roman Jews were rounded up and deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland; only sixteen of them returned home. “We remember and pray for the many innocent victims of human barbarism, and for their families. It will also be an occasion to recall the importance of remaining vigilant in order that we do not regress, under any pretext, to any forms of intolerance and anti-Semitism, in Rome and in the rest of the world I have said it before, and I would like to repeat once more: it is a contradiction for a Christian to be anti-Semitic. His roots are in part Jewish. A Christian cannot be anti-Semitic! May anti-Semitism be banished from the heart and the life of every man and woman!” exclaimed Pope Francis.

He continued, “This anniversary also reminds us how the Christian community has known how to reach out to its brothers in difficulty during their darkest hours. We know that many religious institutions, monasteries and indeed the Papal Basilicas, in accordance with the wishes of the Pope, opened their doors to provide a fraternal welcome, and that Christians offered the assistance, great or small, that they were able to give. The great majority were certainly not aware of the need to improve their Christian understanding of Judaism, and perhaps they knew little of the life of the Jewish community. However, they had the courage to do what was, in that moment, the right thing – to protect their brother in danger. I like to underline this aspect, because while it is true that it is important for both sides to deepen their theological reflection through dialogue, it is also true that there exists a vital dialogue, that of everyday experience, that is no less fundamental. Indeed, without this, without a true and concrete culture of encounter, that leads to the forging of genuine relations without prejudices or suspicions, effort in the intellectual field would be of little worth. Again, here, as I often like to emphasise, the People of God have their own insight and intuit the path that God asks them to follow”.

I hope to contribute, here in Rome, as bishop, to this nearness and friendship, as I received the grace, and it was a grace, of being able to do with the Jewish community in Buenos Aires. Among the many things we have in common there is the testimony to the ten words, the Decalogue, as the solid foundation and source of life also for our societies, disorientated as they are by a relativism that leads us to lose solid and secure points of reference”.

I invoke with you the protection and blessing of the Almighty for this, our joint path of friendship and trust. May He, in his infinite benevolence, concede His peace in our days”, concluded the Holy Father.


Vatican City, 11 October 2013 (VIS) – We publish below the message presented to the Riccardo Di Segni, chief rabbi of the Jewish community of Rome, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the deportation of Roman Jews on 16 October 1943.

I wish to join with you, in spiritual closeness and prayer, in the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the deportation of the Jews of Rome. While we return in memory to the those tragic hours of October 1943, it is our duty to keep before our eyes the destiny of those deportees, to imagine their fear, their pain, their desperation, so as not to forget them, to keep them alive in our memory and in our prayer, along with their families, their relatives and friends who mourned their loss and who remain disheartened by the depths of barbarity to which humankind can sink”.

However, to conserve the memory of an event “does not simply mean having a recollection; it also and most importantly means making the effort to understand what message this may represent for our times, so that the memory of the past may offer a lesson for the present day and become a light to illuminate our future path. Blessed John Paul II wrote that memory is called upon to carry out 'a necessary role in in the process of shaping a future in which the unspeakable iniquity of the Shoah will never again be possible', and at Auschwitz Benedict XVI commented, 'the past is never simply the past. It always has something to say to us; it tells us the paths to take and the paths not to take'.”

Therefore, today's commemoration “could be defined as a 'memoria futuri', a call to the new generations not to allow themselves to merely fall into line, not to let themselves be caught up by ideologies, never to justify the evil they encounter, and not to lower their guard against anti-Semitism and against racism, regardless of where they are from. I hope that initiatives like this one may promote the interweaving and growth of networks of friendship and brotherhood between Jews and Catholics in this, our beloved city of Rome”.

The Pope quoted the prophet Jeremiah, according to whom the Lord said, “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”, and added, “The memory of past tragedies becomes a commitment for all of us to adhere with all our strength to the future that God wishes to prepare and build for and with us. Shalom”.


Vatican City, 11 October 2013 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Cardinal Angelo Amato S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. During the audience he extended the liturgical cult of Blessed Angela of Foligno (1248-1309) to the universal Church, inscribing her in the catalogue of saints. He also authorised the promulgation of decrees concerning the following causes:


- Servant of God Maria Assunta Caterina Marchetti, Italian co-foundress of the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of St. Charles (1871-1948).


- Servant of God Blessed Amato Ronconi, Italian founder of the Hospital-Hospice of the Poor Pilgrims of Saludecio, Rimini, now the “Casa di Riposo Opera Pia Beato Amato Ronconi” (1226-1292).

- Servant of God Pio Alberto Del Corona, Italian bishop, founder of the Congregration of the Domenican Sisters of the Holy Spirit (1837-1912).

- Servant of God Maria Elisabetta Turgeon, Canadian foundress of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary of St. Germain (1840-1881).

- Servant of God Maria di San Francesco Wilson, Indian foundress of the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of Our Lady of the Victories (1840-1916).

- Servant of God Maria Eleonora Giorgi, Italian professed nun of Sisters Servants of Our Lady of Sorrows, Florence (1882-1945).

- Servant of God Attilio Luciano Giordani, Italian layperson and father, co-operator of the Salesian Society of St. John Bosco (1913-1972).


Vatican City, 11 October 2013 (VIS) – This morning, a press conference was held in the Holy See Press Office to present the key event of the Year of Faith, the Marian Day, which is scheduled to take place in Rome on 12 and 13 October. The speakers at the conference were Archbishop Rino Fisichella, Bishop Jose Octavio Ruiz Arena, and Msgr. Graham Bell, respectively president, secretary and under-secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelisation.

In his address, Archbishop Fisichella, stated that at the beginning of the Year of Faith it was decided that it would be fundamental to retrace the history of our faith, and for this reason Benedict XVI placed in the foreground the figure of Mary, who represents for believers the first response of complete and total faith, in which we fully abandon ourselves to God. Therefore, on Saturday 12 October the original statue of Our Lady of Fatima will arrive in Rome, and will return to Fatima on Sunday evening. The archbishop emphasised the importance of this event, recalling that “the statue never leaves the shrine, except in the case of entirely exceptional and extraordinary events. The last time was during the Great Jubilee of the year 2000 when, on 13 May, Blessed John Paul II carried out the act of consecration to the Virgin. … The date of 13 October has been chosen as it recalls the final appearance of the Virgin to the three shepherd children in 1917”.

As is traditional in these events, on Saturday morning there will be a pilgrimage to the Tomb of Peter and in the afternoon, Pope Francis' catechesis. In the afternoon St. Peter's Square will open to pilgrims at 2.30 p.m. At 3 p.m. there will be a moment of reflection, and at 4 p.m. the procession of the Virgin around the square will begin. In accordance with tradition, pilgrims are asked to wave with white handkerchiefs as the statue of the Virgin of Fatima passes. At 5 p.m. the Holy Father will greet the statue of the Virgin in front of the Basilica. Following a moment of prayer in St. Peter's Square, the statue will be transported to the Santuario del Divino Amore, where an all-night prayer vigil will take place. On Sunday morning, the Virgin will return to the Vatican where the procession across St. Peter's Square will be repeated at 9.30 a.m., followed by Holy Mass celebrated by Pope Francis. Finally, the Pope will carry out the act of consecration to the Virgin and will pray the Angelus with the pilgrims present.

It is expected that over 150,000 pilgrims from all over the world will participate, with international representations from 48 countries.


Vatican City, 11 October 2013 (VIS) - Today, the Holy Father received in audience:

- Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament, and entourage.

- Jean-Claude Mignon, president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

- Rev. Don Julian Carron, president of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation.

- Professor Riccardo Di Segni, chief rabbi of Rome.

- Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.


Vatican City, 11 October 2013 (VIS) - Today, the Holy Father:

- appointed Rev. Tsegaye Keneni Derera, vicar general of the apostolic vicariate of Nekemte, as coadjutor of the apostolic vicariate of Soddo (area 46,786, population 5,085,000, Catholics 144,747, priests 39, religious 41), Ethiopia. The bishop-elect was born in Metcha Borodo, Ethiopia in 1943 and was ordained a priest in 1976. He holds a masters degree in pastoral theology from the Loyola University of Chicago, U.S.A., and has served in a number of pastoral and administrative roles, including general secretary of the Catholic Secretariat of Addis Abeba, executive secretary of the Bishops' Conference of Ethiopia and Eritrea, project director of the Catholic St. Thomas Aquinias University of Ethiopia.

- appointed Rev. Andrew H. Cozzens, U.S.A., as auxiliary of Saint Paul and Minneapolis (area 17,225, population 3,231,000, Catholics 839,000, priests 444, permanent deacons 214, religious 777), U.S.A. The bishop-elect was born in Stamford, U.S.A. in 1968 and was ordained a priest in 1997. He holds a doctorate in dogmatic theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) and has served in a number of pastoral and roles, including parish vicar at the Cathedral of Saint Paul and in the parish “Sacred Heart-Saint Lawrence-Immaculate Conception” at Faribault, chaplain for the Missionaries of Charity in Rome, and assistant director of the archdiocesan Office of Worship. He is currently assistant professor, formator and director of worship at the Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity, Saint Paul, member of the Mission Advisory Council and Corporate Board of the Institute for Priestly Formation in Omaha, and of the St. Paul's Outreach Board of Directors at Saint Paul, and co-chaplain of the Twin Cities Serra Club. He is a founding member of the diocesan priestly association “Companions of Christ”.
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