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Wednesday, February 12, 2014


Vatican City, 12 February 2014 (VIS) – The Eucharist and its relation to our life, as Church and as Christians, was the theme of Pope Francis' catechesis during this Wednesday's general audience in St. Peter's Square.

“How do we live the Eucharist … when we go to Mass on a Sunday? What is it for us? Is it just an opportunity to celebrate, a consolidated tradition, a way of getting one's bearings and feeling better, or is it something more?” asked the Holy Father, who then went on to indicate three signs for understanding how we experience this relation.

The first is our way of living with others. “In the Eucharist Christ renews the gift of Himself that He made on the Cross”, he explained. “His entire life is an act of the fullest sharing of Himself for love. This is why He loved to stay with the disciples and with those He met. For Him, this meant sharing their yearnings, their problems, that which stirred their soul and their life. Now, when we participate in the Holy Mass, we find ourselves with many people … but the Eucharist that I celebrate, does it lead me to consider them as brothers and sisters? Does it inspire me to go towards the poor, the sick, the marginalised? Does it help me to recognise Christ's face in them?”

The grace of being forgiven and willing to forgive is a second sign. “In reality, those who celebrate the Eucharist do not do so because they believe themselves to be better, or wish to appear better than others, but because they are aware that they are always in need of being accepted and regenerated in God's mercy, made flesh in Jesus Christ. If anyone among us does not feel in need of God's mercy, if he does not consider himself to be a sinner, it is better that he not go to Mass! We go to Mass because we are sinners and because we wish to receive God's forgiveness, to participate in Christ's redemption, his forgiveness. That 'I confess' that we say at the beginning is not merely a 'pro forma', it is a true act of penance! … In that bread and that wine we offer and around which we gather, the gift of the body and blood of Christ for the forgiveness of our sins is renewed every time. This best summarises the deepest sense of the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus, and in turn it opens our hearts to the forgiveness of our brothers and to reconciliation”.

The relationship between the Eucharistic celebration and the life of our Christian communities is the third sign. “It must always be clear that the Eucharist is not something that we do; it is not our commemoration of what Jesus said and did. No. It is an act of Christ! It is a gift from Christ, Who is made present and gathers us around Him, to nourish us with His Word and His life. This means that the mission and the very identity of the Church spring from this, from the Eucharist, and there they assume their form. … a celebration may prove to be impeccable, beautiful, from an external point of view, but if it does not lead to an encounter with Jesus, the risk is that it does not lead to the nourishment of our hearts and lives. Through the Eucharist, instead, Christ wishes to enter into our existence and the permeate it with his grace, so that in every Christian community there is coherence between liturgy and life”.

The Pope concluded by encouraging us to “live the Eucharist with a spirit of faith and prayer, of forgiveness, of care for the needs of many of our brothers and sisters, in the certainty that the Lord will grant that which he has promised – eternal life”.

Following the catechesis the Pontiff greeted, among others, a delegation from the Czech Republic, which included a group of prelates from the Czech Bishops' Conference on their “ad limina” visit. Pope Francis asked all those present to pray for him and blessed the Czech Church and population, along with the crowns for the Palladium of the Bohemian Lands, an ancient icon of the Virgin Mary with the child Jesus which is venerated in Stara Boleslav, a few kilometres from Prague, to which the people have always appealed in times of war or danger for the country and the Czech population.


Vatican City, 12 February 2014 (VIS) – On Monday 10 February, at the seat of the Hungarian parliament in Budapest, Archbishop Alberto Bottari de Castello, titular of Oderzo and apostolic nuncio to Hungary, and Zoltan Balog, minister of human resources in Hungary, exchanged the instruments of ratification of the “Agreement between the Holy See and Hungary on the amendment of the Agreement, signed on 20 June 1997, on the financing of public service and other religious activities (“of the life of faith”) undertaken in Hungary by the Catholic Church and on some issues of property ownership, signed in Budapest on 21 October 2013.

The agreement, in conformity with article 7 (2), will enter into force upon the exchange of the instruments of ratification.


Vatican City, 12 February 2014 (VIS) – On February 11 the Bilateral Permanent Working Commission between the Holy See and the State of Israel met in plenary session in the David Citadel Hotel, Jerusalem, to continue negotiations pursuant to article 10, paragraph 2 of the “Fundamental Agreement”.

The meeting was chaired by Mr. Ze’ev Elkin, deputy minister of foreign affairs and by Msgr. Antoine Camilleri, under-secretary for the Holy See's Relations with States.

The Plenary received a report on the few remaining issues concerning the Single Document. The Parties took note of the progress achieved, in a thoughtful and constructive atmosphere, since the last Plenary of June 2013, and agreed on future steps, in view of the next Plenary meeting to be held in June 2014 in Vatican City.


Vatican City, 12 February 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has:

- appointed Fr. Antonio Carlos Cruz Santos, M.S.C. as bishop of Caico (area 9,372, population 301,000, Catholics 288,000, priests 89, permanent deacons 9, religious 104), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1961 and was ordained a priest in 1992. He studied philosophy at the “Paulo VI” seminary in Nova Iguacu and theology at the Jesuit faculty in Belo Horizonte, and holds a licentiate in philosophy from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais. He has held a number of pastoral roles, including vicar of the “Pai Eterno e Sao Jose” parish in Rio de Janeiro, formator of “Juniores” in Contagem, Belo Horizonte, formator of postulants in Belford Roxo, Nova Iguacu, and master of novices in Pirassununga, Limeira. He is currently pro-provincial superior of the Society of Missionaries of the Sacred Heart in Niteroi.

- appointed Bishop Nelson Francelino Ferreira as bishop of Valenca (area 3,996, population 380,000, Catholics 275,000, priests 31, religious 91), Brazil. Bishop Ferreira was previously auxiliary of Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro. He succeeds Bishop Elias James Manning, O.F.M. Conv., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

On Tuesday, 11 February the Holy Father:

- appointed Bishop Daniel Fernando Sturla Berhouet, S.D.B., as archbishop of Montevideo
(area 540, population 1,404,000, Catholics 889,000, priests 258, permanent deacons 40, religious 631), Uruguay. Bishop Sturla Berhouet was previously auxiliary of the same archdiocese.

- appointed Msgr. Edward Bernard Scharfenberger as bishop of Albany (area 26,975, population 1,374,000, Catholics 337,200, priests 248, permanent deacons 105, religious 774) U.S.A. The bishop-elect was born in Brooklyn, U.S.A. in 1948 and was ordained a priest in 1973. He holds a bachelor's degree in philosophy from the “Cathedral College of the Immaculate Conception” in Douglaston, a bachelor's degree in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University, a licentiate in moral theology from the Alphonsianum Academy, Rome, a licentiate in canon law from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and a “Juris Doctor” in civil law from the Fordham University in the Bronx. He has served in the following pastoral roles: vicar in the parish of “St. Stanislaus Kostka” in Maspeth and the “St. Ephrem” parish in Brooklyn; judicial vicar; priest in the “St. Matthias” parish, Ridgewood; promoter of justice and episcopal vicar for strategic planning. He is currently episcopal vicar for the territory of Queens. He succeeds Bishop Howard J. Hubbard, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

- appointed Fr. John Joale Tlhomola, S.C.P., as bishop of Mohale's Hoek (area 5,799, population 691,000, Catholics 416,200, priests 16, religious 94) Lesotho. The bishop-elect was born in Pulane Ha Mosiuoa, Lesotho in 1966, gave his solemn vows in 1995 and was ordained a priest in 1998. He has served in the following pastoral roles: parish vicar and subsequently priest-in-charge in the cathedral of Maseru; priest of the Christ the Priest Mission, Motsekuoa; and bursar of the St. Augustine major seminary and lecturer in liturgy and spirituality in the preparatory seminary, Lesotho. He is currently director general of the Servants of Christ the Priest in Hammanskraal, Pretoria, South Africa. He succeeds Bishop Sebastian Koto Khoarai, O.M.I., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese upon having reached the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.

- appointed Msgr. Andrzej Jerzy Zglejszewski as auxiliary of the diocese of Rockville Centre (area 3,164, population 3,529,000, Catholics 1,738,000, priests 463, permanent deacons 276, religious 1,250), U.S.A. The bishop-elect was born in Bialystok, Poland in 1961 and was ordained a priest in 1990. He holds a master's degree in theology from the seminary of the Immaculate Conception, Huntingdon. He has served in a number of pastoral roles, including deputy priest of the “St. Christopher” parish, Baldwin, the “St. Thomas the Apostle” parish in West Hempstead, and the “St. Rose of Lima” parish, Massapequa, and adjunct professor at the seminary of the Immaculate Conception, Huntingdon. He has been director of the diocesan office of worship since 2007 and co-chancellor of the diocese of Rockville Centre since 2012. He was named Chaplain of His Holiness in 2010.
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