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Monday, November 11, 2013


Vatican City, 11 November 2013 (VIS) – Pope Francis, through the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum” has decided to send an aid contribution of 150,000 dollars to assist the population of the Philippines, devastated by the passage of the typhoon Haiyan which violently struck the country this weekend, in particular affecting the islands of Leyte and Samar and causing, according to unconfirmed estimates, more than ten thousand deaths.

This sum, which will be distributed by the local Church in the regions most affected by the disaster, will be used to support aid work for the assistance of displaced persons from the flooded areas, and it is intended as a first and concrete expression of spiritual nearness and paternal encouragement on the part of the Supreme Pontiff in relation to the people and territories devastated by the floods.


Vatican City, 11 November 2013 (VIS) - Pope Francis has sent the following telegram of condolence to the family of Cardinal Domenico Bartolucci, who died today at 96 years of age.

Upon receiving the news of the death of the venerated Cardinal Domenico Bartolucci, I wish to express to the foundation that bears his name, to his family and his Florentine diocesan community my most heartfelt condolences. I recall affectionately this dear and highly esteemed priest, an illustrious composer and musician, who exercised his long and intense ministry, especially through religious music, born of and expressing faith. I also remember with great gratitude his fruitful work as director of the Sistine Chapel Choir and his wise … of the precious gift of polyphony, intended to elevate the heart in praise of God. I raise fervent prayers to the Lord that, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, He may welcome his generous servant and distinguished man of the Church in spiritual joy and eternal peace, and impart the comfort of an apostolic blessing to those who mourn his loss”.

Cardinal Bartolucci's funeral will be celebrated on 13 November at 3.30 p.m. at the altar of the Chair of St. Peter in the Vatican Basilica, by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, along with the cardinals, archbishops and bishops. At the end of the Eucharistic Celebration, the Holy Father will administer the rites of “Ultima Commendatio” and “Valedictio”.


Vatican City, 10 November 2013 (VIS) - “With Jesus, our pilgrimage goes beyond death towards life”, said Pope Francis this morning, as he appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with the thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square. The Holy Father, as is customary, commented on today's gospel which narrates Jesus' encounter with the Sadduccees, a sect who denied resurrection and, in order to ridicule this belief, asked Jesus which of a woman's seven husbands she would be wife to in the hereafter.

Jesus, always docile and patient, first answered that life after death did not have the same parameters as earthly life”, explained the Pontiff. “Eternal life is another life, in another dimension in which, besides, there will no longer be marriage, which is linked to our existence in this world. The resurrected, Jesus explained, will be like angels, and will live in different state, which we cannot now experience or imagine. But he then goes on to counter-attack, so to speak, quoting the Sacred Scriptures, with a simplicity and originality that leave us full of admiration for our Master … and finds the proof of resurrection in the episode of Moses and the burning bush, where God reveals himself to be the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob”.

The name of God is united with those of the men and women who join with Him, and this bond is stronger than death. And we can say: He is our God! … As if He bore our name. It pleases Him to say is, and this is the covenant. This is why Jesus affirmed, 'He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to Him all are alive'. And this is the decisive bond, the fundamental covenant, the covenant with Jesus: He Himself is the Covenant, He Himself is Life and Resurrection, as it is His love on the Cross that vanquishes death. In Jesus, God gives us eternal life, He gives it to everyone, and thanks to Him, everyone has the hope of a life truer than this one”.

The life God prepares for us “is not a simple embellishment to our current lives: it exceeds our imagination, because God continually astonishes us with His love and with His mercy”. Therefore, “It is not this life that is a reference to eternity, to that which awaits us, but rather it is eternity that illuminates and gives hope to the earthly life of each one of us! From a solely human point of view, we are inclined to say that the path of humanity leads from life to death. … But this is only when seen from a human eye. Jesus turns this perspective around and affirms that our pilgrimage is from death to life: full life!”

Therefore, “death lies behind us, not ahead of us. Before us there is the God of the living, the God of the Covenant, the God Who bears my name, our name. … It is the definitive defeat of sin and death, the beginning of a new time of joy and of endless light. But already on this earth, in prayer, in the Sacraments, in brotherliness, we encounter Jesus and His love, and in this way we have a foretaste of life after resurrection. The experience we have of His love and His faithfulness ignite like a flame in our heart and nurture our faith in resurrection. Indeed, God is faithful and loves, not just for a limited time, but for ever! Faith is eternal, it cannot change. God's love is eternal, it cannot change! And it goes forward! He is faithful forever, and awaits us, each one of us; He accompanies every one of us with this eternal fidelity”.


Vatican City, 10 November 2013 (VIS) – Following today's Angelus prayer, Pope Francis greeted those present in St. Peter's Square. He spoke of the typhoon in the Philippines which has claimed many victims and caused enormous damage to the country during recent days, and assured his nearness and prayer for the population. He asked for a minute's silence and prayed a Hail Mary in unison with the faithful. He also mentioned Maria Theresia Bonzel, foundress of the Sisters St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration, who was proclaimed blessed this afternoon in Paderborn, Germany.

Today marks seventy-five years since the so-called 'Kristallnacht', the pogrom during the night between 9 and 10 November 1938 against Jews, synagogues, homes and businesses, which represented a sad step towards the tragedy of the Shoah. We renew our closeness and solidarity with the Jewish people, our elder brothers. And we pray to God that the memory of the past, the memory of past sins, may help us always to be vigilant against any form of hate or intolerance”.

Pope Francis concluded by mentioning the Day of Thanksgiving celebrated today in Italy: “I join with the Bishops in expressing my closeness to the world of farming, and especially to the young people who have chosen to work on the land. I encourage all those in the sector to continue in their efforts to ensure that no-one lacks healthy and adequate sustenance”.


Vatican City, 11 November 2013 (VIS) – Archbishop Pietro Parolin, secretary of State, sent a telegram on behalf of the Holy Father to Benigno Aquino III, president of the Philippines, with regard to the typhoon Haiyan which has devastated various regions, claiming hundreds of victims and causing widespread destruction of dwellings and crops.

Deeply saddened by the destruction and loss of life caused by the super typhoon, His Holiness Pope Francis expresses his heartfelt solidarity with all those affected by this storm and its aftermath. He is especially mindful of those who mourn the loss of their loved ones and of those who have lost their homes. In praying for all the people of the Philippines, the Holy Father likewise offers encouragement to the civil authorities and emergency personnel as they assist the victims of this storm. He invokes divine blessings of strength and consolation for the nation”.


Vatican City, 9 November 2013 (VIS) – This morning, in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall, the Pope received in audience seven thousand members of the Italian National Union for the Transport of the Sick to Lourdes and International Shrines (UNITALSI), an association which has for 110 years been dedicated to the sick or those in frail conditions in an “evangelical” fashion, as the Holy Father said in his address, in which he emphasised that their work “is not a form of welfare or philanthropy, but rather the proclamation of the Gospel of charity and the ministry of consolation”.

The members of UNITALSI are “men and women … who, moved by the love of Christ and following the example of the Good Samaritan, do not turn away when faced with suffering”. The Pope continued, “The poor, even those who are poor in terms of health, are a wealth for the Church, and you, in UNITALSI, along with other ecclesiastical bodies, have received the gift and the commitment of gathering this richness, of helping to recognise its value, and not only for the Church herself but for society as a whole”.

Today's cultural and social context tends to hide physical frailty, to consider it as merely a problem, which requires resignation and pity, or at times the rejection of people. UNITALSI is called to be a prophetic sign and to go against this worldly logic, helping the suffering to be protagonists in society, in the Church and also in the association itself. … This means fully valuing the presence and the witness of frail and suffering people, not only as the focus of the work of evangelisation, but as active subjects themselves of this apostolic action.

Francis encouraged the sick persons present not to think of themselves “solely as the object of solidarity and charity”, but instead as “fully integrated in the life and the mission of the Church. You have your place, a specific role in … all ecclesial environments. Your presence … your prayer, the daily offering of your sufferings in union with those of Jesus crucified for the salvation of the world … are a spiritual resource, an asset to every Christian community. Do not be ashamed of being a precious treasure to the Church”.

The most important moment during the year for UNITALSI is the pilgrimage to the marian sanctuaries, especially to Lourdes, and both the apostolic style and the spirituality of the organisation are of a strongly marian nature. Therefore, the Pope invited them to “discover the deepest reasons” for this and to “imitate the maternity of Mary, the maternal care that she has for each one of us”. He recalled the miracle of the marriage at Cana, when Mary begged Jesus to intervene when the couple were left without wine.

Mary's intervention shows the care of a mother towards humanity. It is a care attentive to our truest needs: Mary knows what we need. She cares for us, intercedes before Jesus for us and asks for each one of us the gift of “new wine”, love, the grace that salves us”.


Vatican City, 9 November 2013 (VIS) - In a letter dated 10 November and made public today, the Holy Father nominated Cardinal Claudio Hummes O.F.M., emeritus prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, as his special envoy at the concluding celebrations of the national pilgrimage to the relics of St. Roque Gonzalez de Santa Cruz and his companion martyrs, on the twenty-fifth anniversary of his canonisation, to be held in Asuncion, Paraguay on 15 November 2013.

The cardinal special envoy will be accompanied by a mission composed of the following members: Rev. Virgilio Rodi Alonso, rector of the metropolitan cathedral of Asuncion and judicial vicar of the interdiocesan tribunal, and Fr. Alberto Luna S.J., provincial of the Jesuits in Paraguay.


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

- Archbishop Andre Dupuy, apostolic nuncio to the Netherlands.

- Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo, apostolic nuncio to the Dominican Republic.

- Archbishop Joseph Marino, apostolic nuncio to Malaysia and East Timor, and apostolic delegate to Brunei.

- Archbishop Jean-Claude Perisset, apostolic nuncio.

- Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer of Regensburg, Federal Republic of Germany.

On Saturday, 9 November 2013, the Holy Father received in audience:

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

- Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, apostolic nuncio to the Federal Republic of Germany.


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

- accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the apostolic vicariate of Nekemte, Ethiopia, presented by Bishop Theodorus van Ruijven, upon having reached the age limit. He is succeeded by Bishop Varghese Thottamkara, coadjutor of the same apostolic vicariate.

On Saturday, 9 November the Holy Father:

- appointed Msgr. Mark O'Toole as bishop of Plymouth (area 12,831, population 3,494,000, Catholics 68,685, priests 103, permanent deacons 31, religious 133), England. The bishop-elect was born in London, England in 1963 and was ordained a priest for the archdiocese of in 1990. He holds degrees from the University of Leicester, Heythrop College Faculty of Theology, Campion Hall Oxford, and the Pontifical University of Louvain. He has served in a number of roles, such as deputy priest of Willesden Green, dean of studies and subsequently rector of the Allen Hall seminary, Westminster, and personal secretary of Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor. He is a member of the ethical committee of the St. John and St. Elizabeth Hospital in London, and of the Heythrop College Faculty of Theology.

- appointed Professors Shinya Yamanaka, lecturer in cellular biology of the University of Kyoto, Japan, and Juan Martin Maldacena, lecturer in theoretical physics at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, U.S.A., as ordinary members of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

- appointed Professor Stefano Zamagni, lecturer in economics at the University of Bologna, as ordinary members of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.

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