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Monday, July 28, 2014


Vatican City, 28 July 2014 (VIS) – This morning the Holy Father returned to Caserta, following his pastoral visit on Saturday, 26 July, to meet privately with the evangelical pastor Giovanni Traettino, a friend from his time as archbishop of Buenos Aires.

The Pontiff arrived in Caserta by helicopter at 10.15 a.m. and, following a private and reserved meeting at pastor Traettino's house, he met the community of the Pentecostal evangelical Church at the premises, currently under construction, of the Pentecostal Church of the Reconciliation. The Pope dined with the community and is scheduled to return to the Vatican later this afternoon.


Vatican City, 28 July 2014 (VIS) – The Pope has sent a telegram of condolences to Archbishop Cesare Nosiglia of Turin for the death in Rome yesterday of Cardinal Francesco Marchisano, archpriest emeritus of St. Peter's Basilica, at the age of 85.

“Having heard of the death of Cardinal Francesco Marchisano, an illustrious son of this land”, writes the Pope, “I wish to express my deepest condolences to your excellency, to the presbytery and the friends of the lamented Cardinal. I think with affection of this dear pastor who for many years diligently collaborated with the Apostolic See, especially in the Congregation for Catholic Education, as archpriest of the Vatican Basilica, and finally as president of the Labour Office of the Apostolic See. He leaves us the witness of a life spent in the generous fulfilment of his vocation, as a priest and a bishop attentive to the needs of the faithful and sensitive to the worlds of art and culture. I raise prayers for the eternal repose of his soul, that the Lord may receive him in joy and eternal peace, and I offer to those who mourn his passing the comfort of my apostolic blessing”.

The funeral, presided by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, will be held on Wednesday, 30 July at 8 a.m. at the altar of the Cathedra of St. Peter's Basilica. At the end of the ceremony, the Holy Father will administer the rites of “Ultima Commendatio” and of “Valedictio”.


Vatican City, 27 July 2014 (VIS) – As on every Sunday, Pope Francis appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square. The Pontiff, as in the Mass celebrated the day before in Caserta, spoke about the two parables about the kingdom of Heaven: the jewel merchant who finds a pearl of infinite value and sells everything he owns to buy it, and the farmer who chances upon hidden treasure and sells all his land to buy the field where it lies. Neither the merchant nor the farmer have any doubt about their actions as they are aware of the incomparable value of what they have found.

“It is the same with the kingdom of God”, explained the bishop of Rome. “He who finds it has no doubt, he knows that he has found what he sought and awaited, and which answers his most authentic aspirations. It is truly like this: those who know Jesus, who encounter Him personally, are fascinated, attracted by such goodness, such truth, such beauty, and all this in great humility and simplicity. Seeking and finding Jesus: this is the greatest treasure of all!”.

“How many people, how many saints, reading the Gospel with an open heart, have been so struck by Jesus that they have converted to Him. Let us think of St. Francis of Assisi; he was already a Christian, but lukewarm, a “rose-water” Christian. When he read the Gospel, in a decisive moment during his youth, he encountered Jesus and discovered the Kingdom of God, and from then on all his dreams of earthly glory vanished. The Gospel lets you know the true Jesus, it lets you know the living Jesus; it speaks to your heart and changes your life. And from then on, he left everything. You can effectively change the type of life you lead, or continue to do what you did before, but you are different, you are born again: you have found that which gives meaning, flavour and light to everything, even to hardship, suffering and death”.

The Pope went on to repeat the importance of reading a passage from the Gospel every day; of keeping it in our pockets, our bags, always at hand, as “everything makes sense when you find this treasure that Jesus called 'the Kingdom of God': that is, God Who reigns in your life, in our lives. God is love, peace and joy in every man and in all men. … Reading the Gospel means finding Jesus and receiving this Christian joy, which is a gift from the Holy Spirit”.

“The joy of encountering the treasure of the Kingdom of God becomes clear, it can be seen”, concluded the Pontiff. “The Christian cannot conceal his faith, as it shines through in every word and every gesture, even the simplest everyday ones. The love that God has given us through Jesus shines through. Let us pray, by the intercession of the Virgin Mary, that His Kingdom of love, justice and peace may come to us and to all the world”.


Vatican City, 27 July 2014 (VIS) – After today's Angelus prayer, the Holy Father, remarking that tomorrow marks the centenary of the beginning of the First World War, launched a new appeal for peace in the Middle East, Iraq and Ukraine, and called for a cessation of hostilities.

“Tomorrow is the one hundredth anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War, which claimed millions of lives and caused immense destruction. This conflict, defined by Pope Benedict XV as a 'senseless slaughter', persisted for four long years and led to a more fragile peace. Tomorrow will be a day of mourning in remembrance of this tragedy. While we remember this tragic event, I hope that we will not repeat the errors of the past, but will instead pay heed to the lessons of history, ensuring that the reason of peace always prevails by means of patient and courageous dialogue”.

“Today, my thoughts extend to three areas of crisis, in particular: the Middle East, Iraq and Ukraine. I ask you to continue to join with me in prayer that the Lord may grant the populations and authorities of these areas the wisdom and strength necessary to proceed with determination along the path of peace, facing every diatribe with the tenacity of dialogue and negotiation, and the strength of reconciliation. May the common good and respect for every person be at the centre of every decision, rather than particular interests. Let us remember that all is lost with war, but nothing is lost with peace”.

“Brothers and sisters: no more war! No more war! I think especially of the children, who are deprived of the hope of a worthwhile life, of a future: children killed, children injured, children mutilated, children orphaned, children who have as toys the remnants of war, children who do not know how to smile. Stop, please! I ask you with all my heart. The time has come to stop. Stop, please!”


Vatican City, 28 July 2014 (VIS) – The Pope left the Vatican by helicopter at 3 p.m., arriving at the heliport of the NCO (Non-Commissioned Officers) School of the Air Force of the Royal Palace of Caserta, where he was greeted by Bishop Giovanni D'Alise of Caserta and other local authorities. He then transferred by car to the Palatine Chapel where he was awaited by the diocesan priests. He set aside his prepared discourse and began a very intimate conversation with the priests, answering the four questions they presented to him.

The Holy Father spoke about the example of unity that bishops must give, that Jesus asked of His Father for the Church. “This cannot be done speaking badly about each other. The unity of bishops is important to the unity of the Church”, he said, adding that the devil revels in and profits from internal conflict. “The bishops must be in agreement in unity, but not in uniformity. Each one has his charism, each one has his way of thinking and his point of view; this is at times the result of mistakes, but it is often the result of the Spirit … a unity in diversity, in which no-one loses his own personality”.

The Pope was then asked for suggestions for a pastoral able to relaunch the primacy of the Gospel without mortifying popular piety. He answered that “true popular piety was born of that Sensus Fidei described in the Encyclical Lumen Gentium and which is guided by devotion to the Saints, to the Virgin, and also by folkloric expressions, in the positive sense of the word”. He added, “the agnosticism that has entered into the Church in groups of intimist piety” are not good, but are instead a form of heresy. … Popular piety is inculturated, it cannot be produced in a laboratory, aseptic … it is always born of life”.

Another question focused on the identity of the priest in the third millennium. “How can we overcome the existential crisis born of the linguistic, semantic and cultural revolution in evangelical witness?”. “With creativity”, replied the Pope. “It is the commandment that God gave to Adam and Jesus to his disciples. And creativity is found in prayer. A bishop who does not pray, a priest who does not pray, has closed the door to creativity”. The fourth question related to the foundations of spirituality for a priest. Francis described the priest's dual capacity for contemplation: towards God and towards man. “He is a man who looks, who fills his eyes and heart with contemplation: with the Gospel before God, and with human problems when among men. The priest must be contemplative in this way. But this must not be confused with monastic life, which is something else”.

The Pope emphasised that diocesan life must be at the centre of the spirituality of the diocesan priest. “Maintaining a relationship with the bishop and with the rest of the priests … simple, but at the same time not easy. The greatest enemy of these relationships is gossip. The devil knows that this seed bears fruit, and he sows it well ... to impede that evangelical, spiritual and fruitful relationship between the bishop and the presbytery”. He remarked that it was better to say things clearly and openly, rather than give satisfaction to the devil who in this way “attacks the centre of the spirituality of the diocesan clergy”. The Holy Father concluded with some comments on the bitterness of some priests and the image of an angry Church. “One may anger at times; it is healthy to be angry at times. But the state of rage is not God's, and leads only to sadness and disunity”.


Vatican City, 26 July 2014 (VIS) – More than two hundred thousand people attended the Mass celebrated by the Holy Father in the square in front of the Royal Palace of Caserta at 6 p.m. yesterday.

The Pope spoke in his homily about the “kingdom of Heaven”, based on the parables of the hidden treasure and the pearl. In the first, the “kingdom” is similar the treasure hidden in a field, that the farmer finds and hides again, full of joy, then sells everything he has to buy the field. In the second, a merchant who seeks fine pearls encounters one of great value and sells everything he owns in order to buy it.

The farmer and the merchant, explains the Pope, have the same sentiment in common: the surprise and joy of the fulfilment of their desires and, through these two parables, “with simple words that everyone can understand”, Jesus explains what the kingdom of heaven is, how it is found and what one can do to obtain it.

Jesus does not concern Himself with describing the “kingdom”, although He has announced it since the beginning of His Gospel; however, He shows it indirectly, through reflection. “He prefers to let it be understood through parables and similarities, especially by revealing its effects: the kingdom of Heaven is able to change the world, like the leaven concealed in the dough”. Both parables help us understand that the kingdom of God is present in the person of Jesus Himself. He is the hidden treasure and the valuable pearl. The joy of the farmer and the merchant are comprehensible – they have found what they sought! It is the joy of each one of us when we discover the closeness and the presence of Jesus in our life. His is a presence that transforms our existence and opens us to the needs of our brethren; a presence that invites us to welcome every other presence, even that of the foreigner or the immigrant”.

To encounter the kingdom of God, each one of us takes his or her own path. For some, the encounter with Jesus is awaited, hoped for and long sought, as we see in the parable of the merchant who travels the world seeking something of value. For others it happens unexpectedly, almost by chance, as in the parable of the farmer. This reminds us that God lets us meet Him anyway, as it is He Who is the first to wish to meet us. ... He came in order to be 'God with us'. … It is He Who seeks us out, it is He Who lets Himself be found even by those who are not looking for Him, at times in unusual places and at unexpected moments. When we find Jesus we are fascinated, we are won over, and it is a joy to leave behind our usual way of life, often arid and apathetic, to embrace the Gospel, and to allow ourselves to be guided by the new logic of love”.

Jesus is very clear that when He refers to the possession of the “kingdom”, enthusiasm and the joy of discovery are not enough. “It is necessary to place the precious pearl of the kingdom before all other earthly goods; it is necessary to put God in first place in our life. According primacy to God means having the courage to say no to evil, to violence, to oppression; to live a life of service to others and in favour of legality and the common good. … One must be a friend of God, love one's brothers, and be committed to the protection of their lives and health, also respecting the environment and nature”. Francis emphasised, “This is particularly important in this beautiful land, which needs to be protected and preserved; it takes courage to say no to every form of corruption and illegality – and we all know the name of these forms of corruption and illegality. It requires that everyone is a servant to the truth and assumes in every situation an evangelical lifestyle, which is manifested in the gift of the self and care for the poor and excluded”.

The Pope went on to speak about the festivity of St. Ann, the patron saint of Caserta, which brought together in the square several components of the diocesan community, the bishop, the civil authorities and the representatives of various social sectors. “I would like to encourage al of you to experience the festivity of your patron saint free of preconceived ideas, as a pure expression of the faith of a people who recognise themselves as the family of God and strengthen the bonds of fraternity and solidarity. St. Ann perhaps heard her daughter pronounce the words of the Magnificat: 'He has brought down rulers from their thrones, but has lifted up the humble; He has filled the hungry with good things'. May she help you to find the only treasure, Jesus, and teach you to discover the criteria of God's action: He turns worldly judgements on their head, coming to the aid of the poor and the least among us, and brings abundance to the humble, who entrust their existence to Him. Have hope, hope does not disappoint. And I like to repeat to you: do not let yourselves be robbed of hope!”

Following the Mass and before the final blessing, Francis gave thanks to all those present for their warm welcome, and to Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, archbishop of Naples, adding, “I have heard that the Neapolitans are a little jealous of this visit, but I wish to assure them them that this year I will certainly visit them too”.

After the Eucharistic celebration, the Pope transferred to the military airport and left for Rome by helicopter.


Vatican City, 28 July 2014 (VIS) – The family of Fr. Paolo Dell'Oglio, the Italian Jesuit priest of whom there has been no news for a year following his disappearance in the Syrian city of Raqqa, today issued the following communique:

“One year has already passed since we last knew of our son and brother Paolo, priest, Jesuit, Italian, who disappeared in Syria on July 29th 2013.

This has also been a long time, too long, for a land ravaged by war and infinite suffering like Syria.

We ask those responsible for the disappearance of a good man, a man of faith, a man of peace, to have the dignity to let us know of his fate.

We would like to once again hold him in our arms, however we are also prepared to mourn him.

Tomorrow, 29th of July, one year after his disappearance, many of us will be praying for him and standing by him, as we will be doing for those who have been kidnapped, unjustly detained and for the many who are suffering because of this war.”

The video message of their plea can be seen at:



Vatican City, 28 July 2014 (VIS) – Yesterday, Sunday, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, presided at the Divine Liturgy in the Cathedral of St. Paul the Apostle of the Chaldeans in San Diego, U.S.A. He prayed for the Christians persecuted in Iraq, the motherland of the Chaldean Church, and also included in his prayer those in Syria, Palestine and Egypt, as well as those who belong to the Greek-Catholic community in Ukraine, who are currently experiencing difficult situations.

The bishop of the eparchy, Sarhad Yawsip Hermiz Jammo, thanked the cardinal for the consolation that his visit and his prayers, as the representative of Pope Francis, offered to al the Christians of the East, and added that, in communion with Peter's Successor, they would persist in the faith of Abraham and, like the patriarch, they would prepare to leave for the land God will show to them, learning to read history in a higher dimension.

In his homily, Cardinal Sandri thanked those present and those Christians who suffer for their faith in the Gospel in situations of conflict, and assured them of Pope Francis' prayers and blessing and the closeness of all the Church. He expressed his hope for peace and justice for all those who have been afflicted by incredible and senseless violence.

The prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, in his visit to California, met with the Maronite and Syro-Malabar communities of Los Angeles and San Diego. During the coming days he will visit the Armenians and greet the priests of the Syrian, Coptic, Greek-Melkite and Romanian Greek-Catholic Churches who exercise their pastoral ministry in this region of the United States. The already populous Eastern is expected to increase significantly, especially from Iraq, due to the current conflict. He underlined that immigration is a pastoral challenge of historical proportions, and requires great efforts on the part of the Latin Church in support of the Oriental Churches.


Vatican City, 26 July 2014 (VIS) – The director of the Holy See Press Office has stated, with regard to Pope Francis' possible attendance at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, U.S.A. in September 2015, that the Holy Father has received several invitations to travel to America and, as usual, considers them carefully. “The Pope has made it known that he is willing to participate in the meeting of families, but at the present moment he has not initiated any concrete plan or programme for travel to the United States or Mexico”. He added, “It should be taken into account, however, that the Philadelphia meeting will be held in over a year's time”.


Vatican City, 26 July 2014 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father:

- appointed Bishop Anthony Pappusamy of Dindigul, India as archbishop of Madurai (area 6,266, population 2,068,000, Catholics 145,213, priests 59, religious 275), India. He succeeds Archbishop Peter Fernando, whose resignation upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.

- appointed Bishop Pierre Nguyen Van Kham, auxiliary of the archdiocese of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, as bishop of My Tho (area 9,262, population 5,280,320, Catholics 126,560, priests 125, religious 282), Vietnam.

- appointed Cardinal Justin Francis Rigali, archbishop emeritus of Philadelphia, U.S.A., as his special envoy to the solemn Eucharistic celebration in the new Cathedral of St. Louis, U.S.A., to be held on 24 August, commemorating the 250th anniversary of the founding of the city.

- appointed Cardinal Angelo Scola, archbishop of Milan, Italy, as his special envoy to the celebration of the 850th anniversary of the translation of the relics of the Magi to Cologne, Germany, to be held on 28 September.
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