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Friday, June 6, 2014


Vatican City, 6 June 2014 (VIS) – On 13 September Pope Francis will pray at the military monument of Redipuglia, Italy, for those who have fallen in all wars, to commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, “an enormous tragedy about which I heard many painful stories from my grandfather, who fought in the Battle of the Piave”. He announced this at the end of his meeting in St. Peter's square with the Carabinieri, Italy's military police corps, celebrating the bicentenary of its foundation.

“Between the Carabinieri and the people there exists a bond of solidarity, trust and dedication to the common good”; said the Pope in his address. “The Carabinieri 'stations', present throughout the national territory, are points of reference for collectivity, even in the most remote and peripheral towns and villages. And this capillary presence requires you to participate in the life of the community to which you belong, seeking to be close to the problems faced by the people, especially the weakest and those in difficulty. Your vocation is service”.

This vocation is made manifest in “the protection of individuals and the environment, in action for security, the respect for the rules for civil co-existence and the common good; it is a concrete and constant commitment to the defence of the rights and duties of individuals and communities. The maintenance of public order and personal safety is an increasingly current issue in a dynamic, open society committed to the protection of civil rights and liberties, such as Italy, where you serve”.

Pope Francis went on to speak about the history of the Carabinieri Corps, mentioning that it numbers among its members the Servant of God Salvo d'Acquisto, who at the age of 23 in Palidoro, near Rome, “offered his young existence to save the lives of innocent people from Nazi brutality”. He also commented on their notable efforts beyond national borders as “peacemakers, to ensure security, respect for human dignity and the defence of human rights in countries racked by conflicts and tensions of every type”. He concluded, “Never cease to give everywhere, in your homeland and elsewhere, a clear and joyful witness of humanity, especially towards the neediest and least fortunate”.


Vatican City, 6 June 2014 (VIS) – This morning in the Vatican Apostolic Palace the Holy Father Francis received in audience the prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, who subsequently went on to meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

During the cordial discussions, the good relations between Japan and the Holy See were evoked, as well as the understanding and collaboration between the Church and State in the fields of education, social welfare and healthcare.

The conversation then turned to several current regional and international themes, with particular reference to initiatives aimed at promoting peace and stability in the Asian continent, Japan’s commitment to cooperation for development, especially in Africa, attention to the environment, and nuclear disarmament.


Vatican City, 6 June 2014 (VIS) – During a briefing held this morning, Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa O.F.M., custodian of the Holy Land, and Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., director of the Holy See Press Office, presented the details of the “Invocation for Peace” initiative scheduled to take place in the Vatican on Sunday. Pope Francis has invited the presidents of Israel and Palestine, Shimon Peres and Mahmoud Abbas, to join him in a prayer encounter.

Peres and Abbas will arrive at the Vatican within a few minutes of each other (the former at 6.15 p.m. and the latter at 6.30). The Holy Father will receive them at the entrance of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, and will then speak briefly with each. All three will then join together, along with the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, and will then proceed by car to the Vatican Gardens where the event will take place, beginning with a musical introduction and an explanation in English of the structure and form of the celebration, which will follow the chronological order of the three religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

At around 7 p.m. there will be a prayer (creation) in Hebrew, a brief musical interlude, a prayer invoking forgiveness, another musical interlude, a prayer invoking peace, and finally, a Jewish musical meditation. The Christian part will follow the same structure, but the first prayer will be in English, the second in Italian, and the third in Arabic. Finally the Muslim part of the celebration will proceed as above, in Arabic.

The reader will then introduce in English the final part of the celebration, beginning with Pope Francis' discourse invoking peace. The Holy Father will then invite each of the two presidents to formulate his own invocation. Shimon Peres will begin, followed by Mahmoud Abbas. As a gesture of peace, in which the Patriarch Bartholomew will also participate, they will all shake hands and the Pope will then accompany them in planting an olive tree, symbol of peace.

At the end of the celebration the four will remain side by side while the delegations pass by to greet them. The Holy Father, the two presidents and the Patriarch will then proceed to the Casina Pio IV to speak in private.

Finally, Shimon Peres and Mahmoud Abbas will leave the Vatican, while Pope Francis and the Patriarch Bartholomew will return to the Domus Sanctae Marthae.


Vatican City, 6 June 2014 (VIS) – Today the Holy Father received in audience:

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

- Lech Walesa, former president of Poland, and entourage.

- Archbishop Brian Udaigwe, apostolic nuncio in Benin and Togo.

- Bishop Domenico Mogavero of Mazara del Vallo, Italy.
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