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Wednesday, April 2, 2014


Vatican City, 2 April 2014 (VIS) – Pope Francis concluded his series of catechesis dedicated to the Sacraments by speaking about marriage. “A sacrament that leads us to the heart of God's plan, which is a plan of alliance with his People, with all of us, a plan of communion”. To explain this, he quoted a phrase from the Book of Genesis: “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. … That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh”. “The image of God is a married couple, man and woman, not only man, not only woman, but rather both. This is the image of God: love, God's alliance with us is represented in the alliance between man and woman”, he said.

“We were created to love, as a reflection of God and his love. And in matrimonial union the man and woman realise this vocation, as a sign of reciprocity and the full and definitive communion of life”. When a man and a woman receive the Sacrament of marriage, “God is, so to say, 'mirrored' in them, he imprints in them the features and indelible nature of His love. Marriage is the icon of God's love for us. Indeed, God too is communion: the three Persons of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit have always lived and live for ever in perfect unity. And this is the mystery of marriage: God makes married couples into one existence. The Bible uses a strong term: it says one 'flesh' only, so intimate is the union between man and woman in marriage. And this is the mystery of marriage: God's love that is reflected in the couple who decide to live together”.

Francis mentioned that, in his Letter to the Ephesians, St. Paul emphasizes that Christian married couples reflect the great mystery of the relationship that Christ establishes with the Church, which means that “marriage responds to a specific vocation and must be considered as a consecration. The man and woman consecrate themselves in their love. Married couples, thanks to the Sacrament, are invested with a genuine mission, that of making visible, starting with simple and ordinary things, the love Christ has for His Church”.

“The plan inherent in marriage is a truly wonderful! It is expressed in the simplicity, and also the fragility, of the human condition. We are well aware of the many difficulties and trials there may be in the life of a married couple. ... The important thing is to keep alive the link with God, which is at the basis of the matrimonial bond. When a husband prays for his wife, and a wife for her husband, the bond remains strong; each one prays for the other. It is true that married life has many difficulties: work, there isn't enough money, there are problems with the children ... and often the husband and wife become irritable and argue amongst themselves. There are always arguments in marriages, and at times even plates are thrown. But we must not be sad about this: this is the human condition. And the secret is that love is stronger than the moments in which we argue, and I therefore always advise married couples never to let the day draw to an end without making peace. There is no need to call in the United Nations peacekeepers. A little gesture is enough: a caress, see you tomorrow, and tomorrow we start afresh. This is life, and we must face it in this way, with the courage of living it together. Married life is beautiful, and must be protected”.


Vatican City, 2 April 2014 (VIS) – In his greetings following today's general audience, the Pope addressed the group Jemo Nnanzi of L'Aquila, five years after the earthquake that devastated the city. “I join in prayer for the many victims, and entrust those who still live in difficult conditions to the protection of Our Lady of Roio. I encourage all to keep their hope alive! May the reconstruction of homes be accompanied by the rebuilding of churches, which are houses of prayer for all, and the recovery of artistic heritage, which is linked to the revival of the area”.


Vatican City, 2 April 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has:

- confirmed the erection of the archiepiscopal esarchate of Kharkiv, Ukraine by His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk, major archbishop of Kyiv-Halyc, with the consent of the Synod of the Greek Catholic Church, with territory from the current archiepiscopal esarchate of Donetsk-Kharkiv, Ukraine.

- gave his assent to the canonical election by the Synod of the Greek Catholic Church of Fr. Vasyl Tuchapets, O.S.B.M., as first bishop of the archiepiscopal eparchy of Kharkiv, Ukraine. The bishop-elect was born in Yavoriv, Ukraine in 1967 and was ordained a priest in 1997. He holds a licentiate in theology from the Pontifical theological faculty in Warsaw. He has served in pastoral roles in Zolochiv, Krekhiv and Zhovkva, and taught ascetics at the institute for formation of the Basilian Salvatorian Order in Zolochiv. He is currently superior of the monastery of St. Basil the Great in Kyiv, vicar and councillor of the province of the Basilian Order of St. Josaphat in Ukraine.

- acknowledged the canonical election by the Synod of the Greek Catholic Church of Bishop Taras Senkiv, O.M., as bishop of the eparchy of Stryj of the Ukrainians, Ukraine, transferring him from the office of apostolic administrator.

- gave his assent to the canonical election by the Synod of the Greek Catholic Church of Fr. Bohdan Manyshyn as auxiliary of the eparchy of Stryj of the Ukrainians, Ukraine. The bishop-elect was born in Novyj Rozkil, Ukraine in 1972 and was ordained a priest in 2002. He holds a licentiate in pastoral theology from the Catholic University of Lublin, Poland, and has served as military chaplain in Lviv and vicar in various parishes in the eparchy of Stryj of the Ukrainians. He is currently protosyncellus of the same eparchy.

- appointed Archbishop Franco Coppola, apostolic nuncio in the Central African Republic, as apostolic nuncio in Chad.
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