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Wednesday, June 18, 2014


Vatican City, 18 June 2014 (VIS) – During this Wednesday's general audience Pope Francis began a new series of catechesis on the Church, “like a son who speaks about his mother, about his own family. The Church is not an institution that exists for its own ends, or a private association, an NGO; neither must she limit her view to the clergy or the Vatican. The Church is a far broader entity, open to all humanity, and not born unexpectedly. She was founded by Jesus but consists of a people with a long history behind them, prepared long before Christ Himself”.

“This story, or 'prehistory' of the Church, is already found in the pages of the Old Testament. According to the Book of Genesis, God chose Abraham … and asked him to leave his earthly homeland behind to go towards another land, that He would show to him. But God did not call upon Abraham alone, as an isolated individual, but instead from the very beginning He involved all of his family, his relatives and all those who served in his house. … The first important fact is this: starting with Abraham, God formed a people in order to bring His blessing to all families on earth. And Jesus was born within this population”.

The second element is that it was not Abraham who convoked the people around him. … Typically man sought the divine, seeking to bridge the distance and invoking support and protection. In this case, however, we see something unprecedented: it was God Himself Who took the initiative and addressed His word to man, creating a bond and a new relationship with him. In this way God constitutes a people of all those who listen to His word and who set out on their path, trusting in Him. This is the sole condition: trusting in God. If you place your trust in God, listen to Him and set out on His path, this means being a Church. God's love precedes everything … He precedes us. The prophet Jeremiah said that God was like the flower of the almond-tree, as it is the first tree that flowers in spring, meaning that God always flowers before us. When we arrive, He is already there waiting for us. … He is always there before us”.

“Abraham and his family listened to the call of God and set out on their way. … But this does not mean that they are always convinced and faithful. On the contrary, ever since the beginning there has been resistance, man has withdrawn into himself and his own interests, and has been tempted to bargain with God in order to solve problems on his own terms. There are the betrayals and sins that mark the path of the people throughout the history of salvation, which is the history of God's fidelity to His people, and the infidelity of the people of God. However, God never tires, He is patient and over time He continues to educate and form His people, like a father with his son. He maintains this same attitude with the Church”.

“Indeed, we too, in spite of our intention to follow the Lord Jesus, experience every day the selfishness and hardness of our hearts. However, when we recognise ourselves as sinners, God fills us with His mercy and His love. This is what enables us to grow as the people of God, as a Church; it is not our cleverness, our merits, but rather the daily experience of how much the Lord loves and cares for us. This is what makes us truly feel that we are His, that we are in His hands,and it enables us to grow in communion with Him and among ourselves. Being Church means having a sense of being in the hands of God, Who is our father and loves us, Who awaits us”.

The Pope underlined that this is God's plan: “to form a people blessed by His love and able to bring his blessing to all populations on earth. This project does not change, and is always in process. It found its culmination in Christ, and God continues to carry it out in the Church to this day. Let us then ask the grace to remain faithful in following the Lord Jesus and in listening to His Word, ready to set out every day, like Abraham, towards the land of God and man, our true homeland, and thus to become a blessing and sign of God's love for all His children”.

He added, “I like to think that a synonym, another way we could describe Christians is this: we are men and women, we are people who bless. The Christian, through his life, should always bless, should bless God and others. We Christians are people who bless, who know how to bless. It is a beautiful vocation”.


Vatican City, 18 June 2014 (VIS) – After his greetings in various languages at today's general audience, the Holy Father mentioned that Friday 20 June will be World Day for Refugees, dedicated by the international community to those who are forced to leave their homelands to flee from conflict and persecution. “The number of our brethren who become refugees is increasing and, in recent days, thousands more people have had to leave their homes to save themselves. Millions of refugee families from many countries, of every religious faith, live through dramatic and painful events from which it is difficult for them to recover and heal. Let us be close to them, sharing their fears and uncertainty for the future, and alleviating their suffering in a concrete way. May the Lord support those people and institutions who work generously to guarantee welcome and dignity for refugees, and to give them reasons for hope”.

“We think that Jesus was a refugee, who had to flee for His life, with St. Joseph and the Virgin”, remarked the Pope. “He went to Egypt as a refugee”. The Holy Father concluded by asking the faithful to pray a Hail Mary for the Virgin “who knows the suffering of refugees”.


Vatican City, 18 June 2014 (VIS) – Today the programme of Pope Francis' apostolic trip to Korea (13-18 August), to attend the 6th Asian Youth Day, was published.

The Pope will depart on Wednesday 13 August at 4 p.m. from Rome's Fiumicino airport and will arrive in Seoul at 10.30 a.m. on Thursday 14. After celebrating Holy Mass in private at the apostolic nunciature, he will make a courtesy visit to the president of the Republic and will meet with the political authorities, whom he will address at the Blue House. The first day will conclude with a meeting with the bishops of Korea at the offices of the Episcopal Conference.

On Friday 15, Solemnity of the Assumption, the Pope will transfer by helicopter to Daejeon where he will celebrate Mass in the World Cup Stadium. He will then lunch with some young people in the major seminary and from there will proceed by helicopter to the shrine of Solmoe to meet with the young of Asia, returning to Seoul in the late afternoon.

On Saturday 16, he will visit the shrine of the Martyrs of Seo So Mun and at 10 a.m. he will celebrate Mass for the beatification of Paul Yun Ji-Chung and 123 companion martyrs at the Gwanghwamun Gate in Seoul. Following the ceremony he will transfer, again by helicopter, to Kkottongnae, where he will visit the House of Hope, a rehabilitation centre for the disabled. Shortly after he will meet with the religious communities of Korea in the “School of Love” Training Centre. At 6.30 p.m. he will meet with leaders of the apostolic laity at the Spirituality Centre, before returning to Seoul around 7 p.m.

On Sunday 17, the Pope will meet with the bishops of Asia in the shrine of Haemi. After lunching with the prelates, Francis will celebrate Holy Mass at 4.30 p.m. to mark the closing of the 6th Asian Youth Day in the castle of Haemi, from where he will fly to Seoul.

On Monday, 18 August, the Holy Father will spend his final day in Korea meeting with religious leaders in the building of the old Curia of the Archdiocese of Seoul. At 9.45 a.m. he will celebrate Mass for peace and reconciliation in the cathedral of Myeong-dong, at 12.45 p.m. there will be a farewell ceremony at the Seoul air base, and finally at 1 p.m. he will depart. He is expected to arrive at Rome's Ciampino airport at around 5.45 p.m.


Vatican City, 18 June 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has:

- appointed Bishop Philippe Mousset of Pamiers, France, as bishop of Perigueux (area 9,060, population 412,082, Catholics 355,900, priests 91, permanent deacons 9, religious 184), France. He succeeds Bishop Michel Mouisse, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese, upon having reached the age limit, was accepted by the Holy Father.

- appointed Bishop Segundo Rene Coba Galarza, auxiliary of Quito, Ecuador, as military ordinary of Ecuador (priests 60, religious 10). He succeeds Bishop Miguel Angel Aguilar Miranda, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same military ordinariate, upon having reached the age limit, was accepted by the Holy Father.

- appointed Msgr. Luis Gabriel Ramirez Diaz, as bishop of El Banco (area 12,535, population 484,000, Catholics 449,000, priests 20, religious 16), Colombia. The bishop-elect, currently apostolic administrator of the same diocese, was born in Margarita, Colombia in 1965 and was ordained a priest in 1993. He has served in a number of pastoral roles, including priest of the parish of “San Pedro martir de Verona”, administrator of the parish of “La Inmaculada Concepcion” in Remolino, vocational promoter, formator and rector of the “San Jose” major seminary of the diocese of Santa Marta, priest of the parish of “San Sebastian”, delegate for priestly pastoral in the diocese of El Banco, priest of the parish of “La Inmaculada Concepcion” in Plato, and vicar general of El Banco.


Vatican City, 18 June 2014 (VIS) – Tomorrow, Thursday 19 June, Solemnity of Corpus Domini and feast day in the Vatican, the VIS will not transmit its daily bulletin. Service will resume on Friday, 20 June.
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