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Monday, November 4, 2013


Vatican City, 4 November 2013 (VIS) – As is traditional, this morning in St. Peter's Basilica the Pope celebrated Mass for the cardinals and bishops who passed away during the preceding year. “Only man's sin may interrupt his bond with God, but even when this happens, God always seeks him out, He pursues him to re-establish that union that endures even beyond death, a union that culminates in the final encounter with the Father”.

With these words, Pope Francis explained to those present that the departed prelates are now in the hands of God. “This reality, full of hope, is a view of the final resurrection, of eternal life, the destiny of the 'just', of those who welcome the Word of God and are docile in spirit”. The Holy Father concluded by entrusting to the mercy of the Lord “our dear departed brother cardinals and bishops: men dedicated to their vocation and to their service to the Church, whom they loved as a spouse”.


Vatican City, 4 November 2013 (VIS) At midday on Sunday the Holy Father appeared at the window of his study in the Vatican Apostolic Palace to pray the Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square. Francis dedicated his Sunday meditation to the Gospel of St. Luke, who narrates the conversion of Zacchaeus. “There is no profession or social condition, no sin or crime of any type that may cancel from the memory or the heart of God even one of His children. 'God remembers', always, he does not forget anyone He has created; He is the Father, always vigilantly and lovingly awaiting the rebirth of the desire to return home in the heart of His son. And when He recognises this desire, even if it is simply hinted at, and often almost subconsciously, He immediately rushes to His son's side, and with his forgiveness he lightens the task of the conversion and return to the fold”.

If you have a burden on your conscience”, he continued, “if you are ashamed of many things you have done, stop a moment; do not be afraid. Think that someone is waiting for you, because He has never forgotten you; and that someone is your Father, God who awaits you! Climb, like Zacchaeus did; climb the tree of the wish to be forgiven, and I assure you, you will not be disappointed. Jesus is merciful and never tires of forgiving. Remember this well; thus is Jesus. … In the depths of our hearts, let us listen to His voice that says to us: 'Today I must call at your house', that is, your heart, your life. And let us welcome Him with joy: He is able to change us, he is able to transform our hearts of stone into hearts of flesh, he is able to free us from selfishness and make our lives into a gift of love”.


Vatican City, 2 November 2013 (VIS) – Today, on the Solemnity of All Souls, the Holy Father descended into the Vatican Grottoes to pray privately before the tombs of the supreme Pontiffs.

In these Vatican Grottoes, we entrust to the mercy of the Father those who are buried here, and hope in the resurrection of the flesh”, said Pope Francis. In particular, he added, “we entrust the Supreme Pontiffs who have carried out their service as pastors of the Universal Church, so that they may participate in the eternal liturgy of heaven”.


Vatican City, 1 November 2013 (VIS) – This afternoon, at 4 p.m., the Holy Father celebrated Mass at the entrance to the monumental cemetery of Verano in Rome. The concelebrants were Cardinal Agostino Vallini, Archbishop Filippo Iannone, vice-regent of the diocese of Rome, the auxiliary bishops and Fr. Armando Ambrosi, priest of San Lorenzo fuori le Mura (St Lawrence outside the Walls) parish church, where the cemetery is located.

At this time, before sunset”, said the Pope in his homily, “we are gathered in this cemetery to think about our future and about all those who are no more, those who have gone before us in life and are now in the Lord … in the Lord God, beauty, goodness, truth, tenderness, full love. All this awaits us. Those who have preceded us and are departed to the Lord are there. They proclaim that they have been saved not only for their works – they have also done good works – but that they have been saved by the Lord. … It is He Who saves us, it is He Who at the end of our life leads us by the hand like a father, to the Heaven where our ancestors await us”.

We can enter heaven only thanks to the blood of the lamb, the blood of Christ … that has justified us, that has opened the doors to Heaven to us. And if today we recall these brothers and sisters of ours who have preceded us in life and are now in Heaven, it is because they have been washed by the blood of Christ. This is our hope: the hope of the blood of Christ! A hope that does not disappoint. If we walk the path of life with the Lord, He never disappoints us”.

Francis went on to cite the passage in the Gospel of St. John: “'See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him'. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is”. To see God is “to be similar to God: this is our hope. And today, precisely on the day of All Saints and before the day of All Souls, it is necessary to think a little about hope: this hope that accompanies us in life. The first Christians depicted hope as an anchor, as if life was the anchor thrown to the shores of Heaven and all of us set forth towards that shore, grasping the rope of the anchor. It is a beautiful image of hope: to anchor our hearts where our dearly departed await us, where the saints, Jesus and God are. It is the hope that does not disappoint us. Today and tomorrow are days of hope”.

Hope, he continued, “is like leaven, that enlarges the soul; there are difficult moments in life, but with hope the soul forges ahead and looks to what awaits us. … Hope also purifies us, and lightens us: this purification in hope in Jesus Christ allows us to go on swiftly. As the sun starts to set today, each one of us can think of the sunset of our own lives”. And if we look forward with joy to being welcomed by the Lord, “this is a Christian thought, that brings peace to us. Today is a day of joy, but it is a serene and tranquil joy, the joy of peace. Let us think of the sunsets of the many brothers and sisters who have preceded us, and let us think of our own sunset, when it arrives. And let us think of our hearts, and ask ourselves, 'Where is my heart anchored?' If it is not anchored well, let us anchor it there, on that shore, in the knowledge that hope never disappoints, because the Lord Jesus never disappoints”.

At the end of the Mass, the Pope blessed the tombs and concluded, “I would like to pray especially for our brothers and sisters who have died seeking freedom, a more worthwhile life. We have seen the photographs depicting the cruelty of the desert; we have seen the sea where many have drowned. Let us pray for them. And let us also pray for the survivors, who now languish in shelters, in the hope that the necessary legal procedures will be completed swiftly so that they might move on to other more comfortable places, in other centres”.


Vatican City, 1 November 2013 (VIS) - “The Solemnity of All Saints, which we celebrate today, reminds us that the end of our earthly existence is not death, but instead paradise!” said the Holy Father, who appeared at the window of his study at midday today to pray the Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.

The saints “are not supermen, nor were they born perfect. They are like us, like each of us, they are people who before reaching the glory of heaven lived a normal life, with joy and pain, weariness and hope”, but “when they knew God's love, they followed him with all their heart, without conditions or hypocrisy; they spent their life in the service of others, they endured suffering and adversity without hate and responding to evil with good, spreading joy and peace. … The saints never hated. Understand this: love comes from God, but where does hate come from? Hate does not come from God, but from the devil! And the Saints distanced themselves from the devil; the Saints are men and women who have joy in their hearts and transmit it to others. Never hate, but serve others, those most in need; pray and live in joy; this is the route to sanctity”.

Being saints is not a privilege of the few, “as if one had a great inheritance. All of us, in baptism, receive the inheritance of being able to become saints. Saintliness is a vocation for all. For all of us, and this is why we are called to walk the path of holiness, and this path has a name and a face: the face of Jesus Christ. He teaches us how to become saints. In the Gospel, He shows us the path: that of the Beatitudes. The Kingdom of Heaven, indeed, is for those who do not base their security in material things, but rather in the love of God; for those with a simple and humble heart, who do not presume to be right and do not judge others; for those who know how to suffer alongside those who suffer, and to rejoice with those who rejoice; who are not violent, but instead merciful and who seek to be architects of reconciliation and peace”.

In this feast, the Pope concluded, “the Saints say to us: trust in the Lord, because the Lord never disappoints”, and “they show to us through their lives that those who remain faithful to God and to His Word already experience on earth the comfort of His love, which is multiplied one hundred-fold in eternity. This is what we hope and ask of the Lord for our deceased brothers and sisters. The Church has, in her wisdom, placed in succession the feast of All Saints and the commemoration of all the faithful departed. To our prayer in praise of God and veneration of the blessed spirits we unite our prayer for the souls of those who precede us in passing from this world to eternal life”.

Following the Angelus prayer, the Pope mentioned that in the afternoon he would celebrate Mass at the Roman cemetery of Verano, and that he would pray in particular “for the victims of violence, especially for the Christians who have lost their life due to persecution” and also “for our brothers and sisters, men, women and children who have died from thirst, hunger and fatigue, journeying in search of a better life. In these days we have seen in the newspapers that cruel image of the desert; let us all pray in silence for these brothers and sisters of ours”.


Vatican City, 4 November 2013 (VIS) - Today, the Holy Father:

- accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Salzburg, Austria, presented by Archbishop Alois Kothgasser S.D.B., upon having reached the age limit.

- appointed Msgr. Carlo Bresciani of the clergy of Brescia as bishop of San Benedetto del Tronto-Ripatransone-Montalto (area 456, population 138,267, Catholics 131,059, priests 113, permanent deacons 14, religious 190), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Nave, Italy in 1949 and was ordained a priest in 1975. He holds a licentiate in psychology and a doctorate in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University. He has served in a number of pastoral and academic roles, including lecturer at the Catholic University of Milan, ecclesiastical assistant of the Associazione dei Medici Cattolici Italiani, director of the Higher Institute of Religious Sciences at the Catholic University, Brescia, director of the Higher Institute of Formators in Brescia, linked to the Institute of Psychology of the Pontifical Gregorian University, consultor of the Congregation for Catholic Education, and rector of the diocesan seminary of Brescia. He succeeds Bishop Gervasio Gestori, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

-appointed Msgr. Valerio Lazzeri as bishop of Lugano (area 2,811, population 317,000, Catholics 241,000, priests 257, permanent deacons 6, religious 470), Switzerland. The bishop-elect was born in Dongio, Switzerland in 1963 and was ordained a priest in 1989. He holds a doctorate in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University and has served in a number of roles, including vice-rector and lecturer at the Collegio Papio in Ascona, parish vicar in Locarno, lecturer in spiritual theology and patristics at the faculty of Lugano, and episcopal vicar for the Religious. In Rome he served in the Congregation for Catholic Education. He succeeds Bishop Pier Giacomo Grampa, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

- appointed Msgr. Jozef Gorzynski and Msgr. Rafal Markowski as auxiliary bishops of Warszawa (area 3,350, population 1,543,700, Catholics 1,429,000, priests 1,220, permanent deacons 1, religious 2,604), Poland.
Bishop-elect Gorzynski, of the clergy of Warszawa, was born in Zelechow, Poland in 1959 and ordained to the priesthood in 1985. He holds a licentiate in liturgy from the St. Anselm Pontifical Athenaeum, and a doctorate from the Academy of Catholic Theology in Warszawa, now the Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University, and has served in a number of roles, such as vicar in the parish of Grojec, prefect of discipline in the major seminary of Warszawa, president of the theological commission at the national college of co-ordinators of Renewal in the Spirit, vice-president of the liturgical commission of the archdiocese of Warszawa, and priest in the parish of “Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary” in Warszawa. He is currently moderator of the metropolitan Curia.
Bishop-elect Markowski was born in Jozefow, Poland in 1958, and was ordained to the priesthood in 1982. He holds a doctorate in theology from the Academy of Catholic Theology in Warszawa, now the Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University, and has served in a number of roles, including parish vicar in Warka, prefect of discipline in the major seminary of Warszawa, and director of the “Plus” radio station, subsequently “Radio Jozef”. He is currently spokesman and administrator for the archbishop of Warszawa, rector of the church of “Blessed Virgin Mary Mother of God”, adjunct professor at the Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University and member of the Commission of the Polish Episcopal Conference for dialogue with non-Christian religions.
Bishops-elect Gorzynski and Markowski succeed Bishop Marian Dus, whose resignation from the office of auxiliary of the same archdiocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.

- appointed Msgr. Eugeniusz Miroslaw Popowicz as auxiliary bishop of the archieparchy of Przemysl-Warszawa of the Byzantines.(catholics 30,000, priests 48, permanent deacons 4, religious 90), Poland. Bishop-elect Popowicz was born in Czluchow, Poland in 1961 and was ordained a priest in 1986. He holds a doctorate in eastern canon law from the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome, and has held a number of roles including parish vicar at Elblag and Paslek; judicial vicar and lecturer at the major seminary of Leopoli; episcopal vicar and parish priest at Gorowo Ilaweckie and Lelkowo; and member of the presbyteral Council and of the College of consultors and the economic Council. He is currently priest of the Byzantine cathedral of Przemysl and protosyncellus of the archieparchy.

- appointed Fr. Georges Abou Khazen, O.F.M., as apostolic vicar of Alep of the Latins, Syria, at the same time elevating him to the dignity of bishop. Bishop-elect Abou Khazen was born in Ain Zebdeh, Lebanon in 1972 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1973. He has served as parish priest in Bethlehem and in Jerusalem, and is guardian and parish priest of St. Francis in Aleppo and vicar general for the north of Syria. He is currently apostolic administrator “sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis” of the vicariate of Alep of the Latins.

- accepted the resignation from the office of esarch and superior general of the Congregation of Italy of the Basilian Monks, presented by the Archimandrite Father Emiliano Fabbricatore, O.S.B.I., in conformity with Canon 210, para 2 of the Code of Canons of the Oriental Churches

- appointed Bishop Marcello Semeraro of Albano, Italy, as apostolic administrator “ad nutum Sanctae Sedis” of the Esarchic Monastery of St. Mary of Grottaferrata.

- appointed Abbot Michel Van Parys, O.S.B., as superior of the territorial abbey of St. Mary of Grottaferrata.

On Friday, 1 November the Holy Father:

- accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Mombasa, Kenya presented by Bishop Boniface Lele, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law, and appointed Bishop Emmanuel Barbera, O.F.M. Cap. of Malindi as apostolic administrator “sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis” of the archdiocese of Mombasa.

- accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the diocese of Cleveland, U.S.A., presented by Bishop Roger W. Gries, O.S.B., upon having reached the age limit.

- appointed Bishop Max Leroy Mesidor of Fort-Liberté, Haiti, as coadjutor archbishop of Cap-Haitien.
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