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Wednesday, May 14, 2014


Vatican City, 14 May 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father, in the catechesis of this Wednesday's general audience, mentioned the first three gifts of the Holy Spirit considered during the previous weeks: wisdom, understanding and counsel, and went on to talk about the fourth gift, fortitude. To explain the importance of this gift, he offered the example of the parable of the sower. The seeds which fall on the road are eaten by birds, and those which fall among the stones dry out; only those that fall on good soil grow and bear fruit.

The sower is the Father, who sows the seeds of His Word. “The seeds often encounter the aridity of our heart and, even when accepted, risk remaining sterile. With the gift of fortitude, however, the Holy Spirit wakes the ground of our heart from its torpor, uncertainty and all the fears that may hold it back, so that the Word of the Lord may be put into practice, in an authentic and joyful manner”. The Pope spoke about all those difficult moments and extreme situations in which the gift of fortitude manifests itself in an extraordinary way, and remarked that the Church is “resplendent with the witness of many brothers and sisters who have not hesitated to give their lives in order to remain faithful to the Lord and to His Gospel”, and that nowadays there are still many Christians who offer witness to their faith in perilous circumstances. He added, “We all know people who have experienced difficult situations and great suffering. But, think of these men, these woman, who lead difficult lives, who struggle to maintain their families, to bring up their children: they do all of this because the spirit of fortitude helps them. ... These brothers and sisters of ours are saints, everyday saints, saints who are concealed among us; they have the gift of fortitude that allows them to carry out their duties as persons, as fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters and citizens. … And it is good for us to think about these people: if they do all this, if they can do it, why can't I? It is good for us to ask the Lord for the gift of fortitude”.

However, “it should not be thought that the gift of fortitude is necessary only on some occasions or in particular situations. This gift must constitute the base note of our Christian being, nurturing in us a sanctity lived in the ordinariness of our daily life”. Pope Francis commented that the phrase of the apostle Paul, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me”. Before concluding, the Pontiff added that “at times we are tempted by idleness or we are discouraged, especially when faced with the burdens and trials of life. In these cases, we must not lose heart, but must instead invoke the Holy Spirit, so that the gift of fortitude might lift our hearts and transmit new strength and enthusiasm to our life and to our following of Jesus”.


Vatican City, 14 May 2014 (VIS) – Following the catechesis of today's general audience, Pope Francis mentioned the 201 victims of the explosion in the mine in Soma, 120 kilometres from Esmima, Turkey, and the other miners, more than 400, who remain trapped underground.

“Bear brothers”, he said, “I invite you to pray for the miners who died yesterday in the mine of Soma, in Turkey, and for those who are still trapped in the tunnels. May the Lord welcome the deceased to His home and give comfort to their families.

“And let us also pray for those who in have lost their lives in the Mediterranean Sea in these days. May human rights be the first priority and may forces unite to prevent these shameful massacres”.


Vatican City, 14 May 2014 (VIS) – In his greetings in various languages at today's general audience, the Holy Father invited Portuguese-speaking pilgrims, among others, to pray the Rosary every day during May, the month of Mary. He also asked the Lord to grant to the faithful of Iraq and Syria the strength to offer, through their actions and their daily life, true witness to Christ and His Gospel.

In Italian he greeted the Daughters of St. Camillo, who are currently celebrating their general chapter, and urged them to be a “joyful sign of God's love among the suffering”. He thanked the faithful of Sardinia in attendance, returning the Pope's visit to the island last year, and encouraged them to “face the problematic situations that still afflict your beautiful island, persevering in hope and solidarity”. I assure you that I have not forgotten you and I pray. I remember well the words you shared with me on the serious problems in Sardinia. I assure you that I am close to you”.

Finally, he addressed a delegation from the “land of fire and poison”, in Campania, so-called on account of the illegal dumping of waste, the incineration of which spreads toxic substances in the atmosphere and in the earth. This is mostly due to the involvement of criminal organisations in the waste management sector, and is causing a high incidence of tumours of various types in the area. Francis expressed his spiritual closeness to the delegation, and emphasised that “the dignity of the human person and the right to health must always take precedence over any other interest”.


Vatican City, 14 May 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has:

- accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Colatina, Brazil, presented by Bishop Decio Zandonade, S.D.B., in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

- appointed Fr. Fernando Barbosa dos Santos, C.M., as bishop prelate of the territorial prelature of Tefe (area 264,677, population 243,000, Catholics 185,000, priests 24, permanent deacons 6, religious 45), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Sertania, Brazil in 1967, gave his perpetual vows in 1995 and was ordained a priest in 1996. He studied philosophy and theology at the Instituto Regional de Pastoral in Olinda, and specialised in letters at the Universidade de Arcoverde, Pesqueira. He has served in a number of pastoral roles, including vicar of the “Santo Antonio” parish in Quixeramobim, formator in the preparatory seminary of the Congregation of the Mission in Fortaleza, formator in the seminary of Belem do Para, provincial superior of the canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law. of Fortaleza, priest in the “Sao Jose” parish in Tucurui, and bursar of the Lazzarist Province of Fortaleza. He is currently priest of the “Nossa Senhora dos Remedios” parish in Fortaleza.

- appointed Fr. Kevin Doran as bishop of Elphin (area 301, population 71,650, Catholics 69,270, priests 75, permanent deacons 6, religious 205), Ireland. The bishop-elect was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1953 and was ordained a priest in 1977. He holds a doctorate in philosophy from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum), Rome. He has served in a number of pastoral and administrative roles, including university chaplain, spiritual director of the Irish College, parish vicar in Foxrock, diocesan and subsequently national direction for vocations, priest of Glendalough, director for the formation of permanent deacons, secretary of the Commission of the Episcopal Conference for Bioethics, member of the managing board of the Mater Misericordiae Hospital in Dublin, and consultor of the Congregation for Catholic Education. He is currently administrator of the “Sacred Heart” parish in Dublin. He succeeds Bishop Christopher Jones, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese, upon reaching the age limit, was accepted by the Holy Father.

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