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Monday, March 31, 2014


Vatican City, 31 March 2014 (VIS) – This morning, in the the Sala Clementina of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father met with the participants in the General Chapter of the Salesian Society of St. John Bosco, which will take as its theme “Witnesses of Gospel Radicalism”. “When one thinks of working for the good of souls, one overcomes the temptation of spiritual worldliness, and one does not seek other things, only God and His Kingdom. Temperance is a sense of moderation, of acceptance, a simple life”.

The Pope highlighted their work with the young and remarked that the experience of Don Bosco and his “preventative system” helped them in their commitment to living with them. “It is necessary to prepare the young to work in society in the spirit of the Gospel as workers for justice and peace, and to live as agents of the Church. … The presence of the community among them is marked by the tenderness that Don Bosco called 'amorevolezza', kindness, experimenting with new languages, but being well aware that the language of the heart is the fundamental language for being close to them and becoming their friends”.

Before concluding Francis spoke about the vocational dimension and mentioned that next year, which will be dedicated to consecrated life, will be a good opportunity to present the beauty of vocations to the young. Likewise, he gave thanks to God for the fact that they work “not as isolated individuals, but as a community supports the entire apostolate” and encouraged them to revive the charisma of their Founder, the bicentenary of whose birth will be celebrated soon.


Vatican City, 31 March 2014 (VIS) – Pope Francis' universal prayer intention for April is: “That governments may foster the protection of creation and the just distribution of natural resources”.

His intention for evangelisation is: “That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness”.


Vatican City, 31 March 2014 (VIS) – This morning a press conference was held in the Holy See Press Office to present the initiatives forming part of the preparations for the canonisations of Blesseds John XXIII and John Paul II, to be celebrated on 27 April. The speakers were Cardinal Agostino Vallini, vicar of His Holiness for the diocese of Rome, along with Msgr. Giulio Dellavite, secretary general for the Curia of Bergamo, Msgr. Walter Insero, head of the Office for Social Communications for the Vicariate of Rome, and Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., director of the Holy See Press Office.

The initiatives will include a digital platform, the aim of which is to enable the faithful and pilgrims to have access to news and information regarding the ceremonies as well as a series of spiritual reflections on the life and teachings of both popes. Indeed, the official site www.2papisanti.org is an almost-completed portal which offers contacts, sections for press offices, information, videos and images as well as biographical documentation on John XXIII and John Paul II. It will be available in five languages: Italian, English, French, Spanish and Polish.

The application entitled “Santo Subito”, which may be downloaded free in both Android and IOS formats (in Italian, English, Spanish and Polish) and whose title draws on the famed saintliness of both Popes even during their lifetimes, will offer logistical information, as well as access to the main news on the canonisations, and will allow material relating to the various liturgical events to be downloaded.

Existing media include:

Official page of the Postulation with content in five languages:

Official Twitter page with content in five languages:

YouTube channel for the Postulation:

Portal: www.karol-wojtyla.org

This latter, developed in 2011 for the beatification of Karol Wojtyla, gives a detailed illustration of the stages in the canonical process leading to the recognition of the saintliness of John Paul II and is available in several languages: Italian, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish and Romanian.

The parallel project #2popesaints, realised in collaboration with the students of communication sciences from the Roman university LUMSA involves a series of networks enabling young people to get to know the lives, teachings and testimony of faith of the two new saints. There will be a Facebook page entitled 2popesaints; on Twitter, the account @2popesaints; on Instagram, #2popesaints; and on YouTube, 2popesaints. Every day each one of the above will propose a theme relating to both popes in the media, starting from 16 April until the canonisation, and each event will be transmitted live on each network.

On Google+ there will be the possibility of following in a “hangout” the daily briefings during the week leading up to the canonisation. A QR code will also be created to allow rapid access to the site 2popesaints.org. The initiative “Rome connecting to the World”, a form of “twinning” between the faithful arriving in Rome and the young people of the city, will make it possible to get to know the most important locations in Rome along with the history of John XXIII and John Paul II, providing information on the Facebook page.

In the diocese of Rome, on 22 April in the Basilica of St. John Lateran, Cardinal Agostino Vallini will preside at a meeting addressing young people, with the postulators for the causes of both saints: Msgr. Slavomir Oder (John Paul II) and Fr. Giovangiuseppe Califano (John XXIII). On 26 April, starting at 9 p.m., there will be a “White night of prayer” and the churches throughout the centre of Rome will remain open for prayer and confession in various languages.

Similarly, the diocese of Bergamo will pay homage to XIII with the initiative “Le Opere Segno”, a series of activities dedicated to charity, human development and solidarity which affect daily lives. They include an aid project for Haiti to guarantee three years' education in the John XXIII school; an invitation to priests to contribute a month's salary and all the alms collected by the parish communities on 27 April to a fund set up in aid of families afflicted by the economic crisis; and the commemoration, on 12 April, of the publication of the encyclical “Pacem in Terris”, to be attended by ambassadors representing the countries where Angelo Roncalli carried out his diplomatic mission as an apostolic nuncio (Bulgaria, Turkey, Greek and France), and which will be presented by Jacques Delors, former president of the European Commission.


Vatican City, 31 March 2014 (VIS) – At midday the Holy Father appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with the thousands of faithful and pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square. Before the Marian prayer he commented on the Gospel reading from St. John, which relates the story of the man blind from birth to whom Jesus gave sight. The apostle narrates the event in just a few verses as his intention is to attract attention not to the miracle in itself, but rather to the questions it raises.

“Many times a good act, a work of charity, provokes gossip and questions from people who do not want to know the truth. … The cured blind man is first interrogated by the astonished crowd – and then by the doctors of the law. … In the end, the healed man attains faith, and this is the highest grace that he receives from Jesus: not only to see, but to know Him, to see him as the light of the world”, said Francis.

"While the blind man gradually approaches the light, on the contrary the doctors of the law slip ever deeper into inner blindness. Locked away in their arrogance, they believe they already have the light, and so they do not open themselves up to the truth of Jesus and do everything they can to deny the evidence. They call into question the identity of the cured man, and then deny God's action in healing, using the excuse that God does not act on the sabbath and even casting doubt as to whether the man was indeed born blind. Their shunning of the light becomes aggressive and leads to expulsion of the healed man from the temple".

The blind man's path is instead “a journey in stages, starting from knowledge of the name of Jesus. ... Following insistent questioning by the doctors of the law, he first considers him a prophet and then a man close to God. After being removed from the temple, he encounters Jesus again, Who 'opens his eyes' for the second time, revealing his true identity. 'I am the Messiah', he says. At this point, the previously blind man exclaims 'Lord, I believe!', and bows down before Jesus".

“At times our life is sometimes similar to that of the blind man who opens up to the light of God and His grace. Sometimes, unfortunately, it is rather like that of the doctors of law. From the heights of our pride we judge others, even the Lord. Today, we are invited to open ourselves to Christ's light, so that our lives might bear fruit; to eliminate our behaviour that is not Christian; we are all Christians, but we all at times behave in ways which are not Christian, which are sins. We must repent of this, and eliminate these forms of behaviour … to behave like 'children of light', with humility, patience and mercy. … Those doctors of the law had neither humility, nor patience, nor mercy. … We must not be afraid! Let us open ourselves to the light of the Lord, He Who always awaits us, to let us see better, to offer us more light, to forgive us … so we can be reborn to a new life”.

After the Angelus prayer the Bishop of Rome greeted a group of Italian soldiers who had made a pilgrimage on foot from Loreto to Rome “praying for a peaceful and just resolution of conflicts. And this is very good. In the Beatitudes, Jesus says that blessed are those who work for peace".

“And let us not forget”, he continued, addressing all present, “when we return home, to take the Gospel according to John, chapter 9, and read this story of the blind man whose sight was restored, and of those who supposedly could see yet slipped ever further into blindness”.


Vatican City, 29 March 2014 (VIS) – “Witnesses to the Gospel for a culture of encounter” is the theme of the Day of Sharing organised by the Apostolic Movement of the Blind, with the participation of the Gualandi Mission for the Deaf (the Little Mission for the Deaf-Mute), as well as the Italian Union of the Blind and Partially-Sighted. These organisations were received in audience this morning by Pope Francis, who commented on the theme of the Day.

“The first thing I observe is that this expression ends with the word 'encounter', but first this presupposes another encounter, the one with Christ. Indeed, to be witnesses of the Gospel, it is necessary to have encountered Him, Jesus. … Like the Samaritan woman. … A witness to the Gospel is someone who has encountered Jesus Christ, who knows him, or rather, who feels known by him: recognised, respected, loved, forgiven, and this encounter … fills him with a new joy, a new meaning for life. And this shines through, is communicated, is transmitted to others”.

“I have mentioned the Samaritan woman because she offers a clear example of the type of person Jesus liked to meet, to make them his witnesses: marginalised, excluded, disdained people. The Samaritan woman was this type, inasmuch as she was a woman, and a Samaritan – the Samaritans were despised by the Jews. But let us think also of the many that Jesus wished to encounter, especially people affected by illness and disability, to cure them and to restore their full dignity to them. It is very important that precisely these people become witnesses to a new attitude, that we can call a culture of encounter. A typical example is the man blind from birth … marginalised in the name of a false idea that he had received a divine punishment. Jesus radically refuses this way of thinking – truly blasphemous! - and performs an act of God, giving him the gift of sight. But the important thing is that this man, as soon as this happens to him, becomes a witness to Jesus and His work, that is the work of God, of life, love and mercy. While the Pharisees, from their safe distance, judges both him and Jesus as 'sinners'; the cured blind man, with disarming simplicity, defends Jesus and in the at the end professes his faith in Him, and also shares his fate: Jesus is excluded, and he is excluded too. But in reality the man enters into a new community, based on faith in Jesus and on brotherly love”.

“Here we have the two opposing cultures. The culture of encounter and the culture of exclusion, of prejudice. The sick or disabled person, precisely because of his or her frailty and limits, may become a witness to this encounter: the encounter with Jesus, that opens us to life and faith, and to the encounter with others, with the community. Indeed, only those who recognise their own fragility and their own limits can build bonds of fraternity and unity, in the Church and in society”, concluded the Holy Father.


Vatican City, 29 March 2014 (VIS) – Yesterday afternoon in St. Peter's Basilica the Holy Father presided over the rite of Reconciliation, confessing and imparting individual absolution to several penitents. This ceremony inaugurated an initiative of the Pontifical Council for New Evangelisation, “24 Hours for the Lord”, which has involved the participation of dioceses from all over the world, and during which many churches remained open throughout Friday night and Saturday morning to enable the faithful to confess.

In his homily, the Pope mentioned that during Lent the Church renews her call for conversion and her call for us to change our lives. “Converting is not a question of a moment or a period during the year: it is a life-long commitment. Who amongst us presumes not to be a sinner? No-one. We all are. The Apostle John writes, 'If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness'”. And that is what happens in this celebration and in all this day of penance. The Word of God that we have listened to introduces us to two essential elements of Christian life”.

The first is to “clothe ourselves as new men”. Pope Francis explained, “The new man, 'created to be like God', is born in Baptism, where he receives the same life of God, which makes us His children and incorporates us in Christ and in his Church. This new life allows us to look at reality through different eyes, without being distracted by things that do not count ... from things which come to an end over time. For this reason we are required to abandon sinful behaviour and to focus on the essential. 'A man is more precious for what he is than for what he has'. This is the difference between life deformed by sin and life illuminated by grace”.

Remaining in love is the second element. “Jesus Christ's love lasts for ever, and will never end because it is the very life of God. This love conquers sin and gives the strength to rise and begin again, because through forgiveness the heart is renewed and rejuvenated. We all know this: our Father never tires of loving. ...We can speak about the hope of God: our Father always awaits us; not only does he leave the door open, he awaits us. … God is not only at the origin of love, but in Jesus Christ he calls to us to imitate his own way of loving: 'As I have loved you, so you must love one another'. To the extent that Christians live this love, they become credible disciples of Jesus Christ in the world. Love cannot stand to remain closed up in itself. It is by its nature open, it spreads and it is fruitful, it always generates new love”.

The Pope concluded by mentioning the initiative, “24 Hours for the Lord”, and inviting young people to participate in this as missionaries of reconciliation, communicating to those they meet “the joy of receiving the Father's forgiveness and of rediscovering full friendship with Him. And tell them”, he concluded, “that our Father awaits us, our Father forgives us, our Father celebrates us. If you go to Him with all your life, even with many sins, instead of reproaching you, he will rejoice: this is our Father. You must say this, you must tell many people, today. He who experiences divine mercy is compelled to become a bringer of mercy to the least and the poorest among us. In 'the least of these brothers and sisters', Jesus awaits us”.


Vatican City, 31 March 2014 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:

- Archbishop Mario Zenari, apostolic nuncio in Syria.

- Steven Todd Green, president of the “American Bible Society”, with his wife and entourage.

- Bishop Lucas Van Looy of Gent, Belgium.

On Saturday, 29 March, the Holy Father received in audience:

- Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

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


Vatican City, 31 March 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Rev. Nicholas Gilbert Hudson as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Westminster (area 3,000, population 4,478,000, Catholics 394,708, priests 419, permanent deacons 78, religious 742), England. The bishop-elect was born in Wimbledon, England in 1959 and was ordained a priest in 1986. He holds a master's degree in history from Jesus College, University of Cambridge, England, and a licentiate in dogmatic theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome. He has served in a number of pastoral roles, including deputy priest in the parish of Canterbury, director of the Christian Education Centre in Southwark, and member of the council of consultors in the same archdiocese, and vice rector and subsequently rector of the Venerable English College in Rome. He is currently priest in the “Sacred Heart” parish of Wimbledon.

On Saturday, 29 March, the Holy Father:

- accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Drohiczyn (area 8,000, population 290,300, Catholics 210,150, priests 233, religious 140) Poland, presented by Bishop Antoni Pacyfik Dydycz O.F.M. Cap., upon reaching the age limit. He is succeeded by Bishop Tadeusz Pikus, formerly auxiliary of the archdiocese of Warsaw, Poland.

- confirmed Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz as prefect of the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life;

- appointed the following members of the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life: Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, archbishop of Mexico, Mexico; Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodrigues Maradiaga S.D.B., archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras; Cardinal George Pell, prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy; Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops; Cardinal Luis Antonio G. Tagle, archbishop of Manila, Philippines; Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture and of the Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archaeology; Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples; Cardinal Domenico Calcagno, president of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See; Archbishop Francesco Cacucci of Bari-Bitonto, Italy; Archbishop Leo Jun Ikenaga S.J. of Osaka, Japan; Archbishop Francisco Chimoio O.F.M. Cap. of Maputo, Mozambique; Archbishop Gianfranco Agostino Gardin, O.F.M. Conv., bishop of Treviso; Archbishop Luis Gerardo Cabrera Herrera, O.F.M. of Cuenca en Ecuador, Ecuador; Archbishop Ricardo Blasquez Perez of Valladolid, Spain; Archbishop Joseph Tobin of Indianapolis, U.S.A.; Archbishop Jaime Spengler O.F.M. of Porto Alegre, Brazil; Bishop Jose Francisco Ulloa Rojas of Cartago, Costa Rica; Bishop Lucas Van Looy S.D.B. of Gent, Belgium; Bishop Vicente Jimenez Zamora of Santander, Spain; Bishop Gregor Maria Hanke O.S.B. of Eichstatt, Germany; Bishop John Corriveau O.F.M. Cap. of Nelson, Canada; Bishop Kieran O'Reilley S.M.A. of Killaloe, Ireland; Bishop Eusebio Hernandez Sola O.A.R. of Tarazona, Spain; Fr. Enrique Figaredo Alvargonzalez, S.J., apostolic prefect of Battambang, Cambodia; and the superior generals Fr. Bruno Marin O.S.B., abbot president of the Subiaco Benedictine Congregation; Fr. Bruno Cadore O.P., minister general of the Order of Preachers; Fr. Mauro Johri O.F.M. Cap., minister general of the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor Capuchin; Fr. Enrique Sanchez Gonzalez M.C.C.I., superior general of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus; Fr. Emili Turu Rofes F.M.S., superior general of the Marist Brothers (Little Brothers of Mary); Fr. Jacob Nampudakam, rector general of the Societas Apostolatus Catholici; Giorgio Mario Mazzola, president general of the Institute “Cristo Re”.

- confirmed the following members of the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life: Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez Rodriguez, Cardinal Francis Eugene George O.M.I., Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier O.F.M., Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, Cardinal Agostino Vallini, Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley O.F.M. Cap., Cardinal Dominik Duka O.P., Cardinal Paolo Sardi S.T.L., Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi, Archbishop Thomas Menamparampil S.D.B., Bishop Pierre Raffin O.P., Fr. Adolfo Nicolas Pachon S.J., prepositor general of the Society of Jesus.

- confirmed the Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran as president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and Fr. Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot, M.C.C.J., as secretary of the same dicastery.

- confirmed, until the completion of their respective mandates, the members and consultors of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, and appointed His Beatitude Louis Raphael I Sako, Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, Iraq, as a member.

- appointed the following consultors of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue: Archbishop Tomash Bernard Peta of Mary Most Holy in Astana, Kazakhstan; Bishop William Hanna Shomali, auxiliary and vicar general of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Jerusalem; Msgr. Francois Bousquet, France, rector of the convent of San Luigi dei Francesi in Rome, Italy; Don Valentino Cottini, rector of the Pontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies, Italy; Fr. Clarence Devadass, secretary for the Commission for Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue, Malaysia; Fr. Claudio Monge O.P., president of the Union des Religieux et des Religieuses de Turquie, Turkey; Fr. Jose Manuel H. Arenas, S.J., secretary of the Commission for Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue, Chile; Fr. William Skudlarek O.S.B., of St. John's Abbey in Collegeville, U.S.A., secretary general of Monastic Interreligious Dialogue in Rome; Sister Carmen Sammut S.M.N.D.A., Malta, superior general of the Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa; Dr. Ilaria Morali, director of the department of Missiology at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Italy.

- confirmed Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi as president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, and Bishop Carlos Alberto de Pinho Moreira Azevedo and Bishop Barthelemy Adoukonou respectively as delegate and secretary of the same dicastery.

- confirmed, until the completion of their respective mandates, the members and consultors of the Pontifical Council for Culture, and appointed the following members of the same dicastery: Cardinal Bechara Boutros Rai, Patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, Lebanon; Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz, archbishop of Warsaw, ordinary of the Polish Ordinariate of the faithful of eastern rites without their own ordinary, Poland; Archbishop Denis James Hart of Melbourne, Australia; Archbishop Arthur Roche, secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments; Archbishop Alfonso Cortes Contreras of Leon, Mexico; Archbishop Victor Manuel Fernandez, rector of the Pontifical Catholic University S. Maria de los Buenos Aires, Argentina; Archbishop Paul-Andre Durocher of Gatineau, Canada; Bishop Filomeno Do Nascimento Vieira Dias of Cabinda, Angola; Bishop Cecilio Raul Berzosa Martinez of Cuidad Rodrigo, Spain; Bishop Joaquim Giovanni Mol Guimaraes, auxiliary of Belo Horizonte, Brazil; Bishop Franz-Josef Overbeck of Essen, Military Ordinary for the Federal Republic of Germany; Bishop Linus Lee Seong-Hyo, auxiliary of Suwon, Korea; Bishop Charles Morerod O.P. of Lausanne, Geneva and Fribourg, Switzerland; Rafael Vicuna, professor of molecular biology at the Pontifical Catholic University of Santiago, Chile.
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