Home - VIS Vatican - Receive VIS - Contact us - Calendar

The Vatican Information Service is a news service, founded in the Holy See Press Office, that provides information about the Magisterium and the pastoral activities of the Holy Father and the Roman Curia...[]

Last 5 news

VISnews in Twitter Go to YouTube

Monday, November 3, 2014

The communion born of faith is not interrupted by death

Vatican City, 1 November 2014 (VIS) – “The first two days of November represent for all of us an intense moment of faith, prayer and reflection on the 'last things' in our lives. Indeed, celebrating all the Saints and commemorating all the departed faithful, the earthly pilgrim Church lives and expresses in the liturgy the spiritual bond that unites her with the heavenly Church”, explained the Holy Father to the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square to pray the Angelus.

“Today's Solemnity thus helps us to consider a fundamental truth of the Christian faith that we profess in the 'Creed': the communion of saints. It is the communion that comes from faith and unites all those who belong to Christ by Baptism. It is a spiritual union that is not broken by death, but continues in the next life. In fact there is an unbreakable bond between us living in this world and those who have crossed the threshold of death. We here on earth, along with those who have entered into eternity, form one great family. This beautiful communion between heaven and earth achieves its highest and most intense manifestation in the Liturgy, and especially in the celebration of the Eucharist, which expresses and fulfils the deepest union between the members of the Church. In the Eucharist, we encounter the living Jesus and His strength, and through Him we enter into communion with our brothers and sisters in the faith, those who live with us here on earth and those who have gone before us into the next life, life without end. This reality of communion fills us with joy: it is good to have so many brothers and sisters in the faith who walk alongside us, supporting us with their help and together we travel the same road toward heaven. And it is comforting to know that we have other brothers and sisters who have already reached heaven ahead of us and who pray for us, so that together in eternity we can contemplate the glorious and merciful face of the Father”.

Finally, the Pope emphasised that in the great assembly of the saints, “God has reserved the first place for the Mother of Jesus. Mary is at the centre of the communion of saints, as a unique custodian of the bond between the universal Church and Christ, the bond of th family. … For those who want to follow Jesus on the path of the Gospel, she is a safe guide because she is the first disciple, an attentive and caring Mother, to whom we can entrust every desire and difficulty”.

After the Angelus prayer, Francis commented that this Sunday's liturgy refers to the glory of the heavenly Jerusalem, and invited the faithful to pray that the “The Holy City, dear to Jews, Christians and Muslims, that in these days bears witness to different tensions, may increasingly be the sign and harbinger of the peace that God wishes for all the human family”.

He also recalled that today in Vitoria, Spain, the martyr Pedro Asúa Mendía is beatified. “A humble and austere priest, he preached the Gospel with the sanctity of his life, catechesis and devotion to the poor and needy. Arrested, tortured and killed for having expressed his desire to remain faithful to the Lord and to the Church, he is a wonderful example of strength in the faith and witness of charity for us”.

All Saints' Day: a multitude of unknown and suffering saints

Vatican City, 2 November 2014 (VIS) – Yesterday, 1 November, Pope Francis presided at the mass for the Solemnity of All Saints at the ceremony of Verano, attended by numerous Roman faithful. During the celebration the relics of Saints John XXIII and John Paul II, the two recently canonised popes, were displayed for veneration, and at the end of the ceremony the Holy Father blessed the tombs.

Commenting on the reading from the Book of Revelation, Francis spoke in his homily on the devastation of creation by humanity and the many suffering peoples whose only hope is placed in God. “Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees”, cried the Angel to the four Angels who were to devastate the earth and the sea and to destroy everything, and the Pope affirmed that “We are capable of devastating the Earth more fully than the Angels. And this is what we are doing. We devastate Creation … we devastate life, we devastate culture, we devastate values, we ravage hope. And how we are in need of the Lord's strength, to seal us with his love and his strength, to stop this mad race of destruction! The destruction of what He gave us, of the most beautiful things that He made for us, for us to nurture, to make them grow and bear fruit. Man has appropriated everything, believing himself to be God, believing himself to be king. And wars: wars continue, and as a system it is not exactly helping to sow the seeds of life, but is instead destroying it. It is an industry of destruction. And it is also a system in which that which cannot be fixed is discarded; children are discarded, the elderly are discarded, the young unemployed are discarded … entire populations are discarded”.

In the same passage St. John speaks about an immense and uncountable crowd, including every nation, tribe, people and language, an uncountable multitude that the Pope associated with the poor who, “to save their lives, have to flee their homes … and live in tents, suffering the cold, without medicine, hungry, because the 'god-man' has appropriated Creation, all that is good that God made for us. … And this is not ancient history – it is happening today. … It is as if these people, these hungry and sick children, did not count; as if they were of another species, as if they were not human. And this multitude stands before God and begs: 'Salvation, please! Peace, please! Bread, please! Work, please! … And among these persecuted people, there are also those who are persecuted for their faith”.

The Pope compared this multitude to the crowd dressed in white who washing their robes in the blood of the Lamb, as narrated in the Book of Revelation, and affirmed: “Today, on All Saints' Day, I would like us to think of all of them, all of these unknown saints, … all these people who suffer great tribulation. Most of the world experiences this tribulation. And the Lord sanctifies these people, sinners like us, but sanctifies them with tribulation”.

The third image the Pope evoked was that of God, or rather, hope. “And this is the Lord's blessing, that we still have: hope. The hope that He will take pity on His people, that he will take pity on those in their great tribulation, that He will take pity on the destroyers, so that they convert. … What must our attitude be, if we want to become part of this people who walk the path towards the Father, in this world of devastation, in this world of wars, in this world of tribulation? Our attitude, we have heard in the Gospel, is that of the Beatitudes. Only that path can lead us to the encounter with God. Only that path can save us from destruction, from the devastation of the land, of Creation, of morals, of history, of the family, of everything. Only that road: but it will not be easy. It will bring problems and persecution. But it is the only route that will take us forward”.

“May the Lord help us and give us the grace of this hope, but also the grace of the courage to leave behind all that is destruction, devastation, relativism of life, exclusion of others, exclusion of values, exclusion of all that the Lord has given us: the exclusion of peace. May He free us from this and give us the grace to walk with the hope of finding ourselves face-to-face with Him one day. And this hope, brothers and sisters, does not disappoint”.

Commemoration of the departed faithful: pray for those the world has forgotten

Vatican City, 2 November 2014 (VIS) – The Solemnity of All Saints and the commemoration of all the Faithful Departed, are “intimately linked to each other, just as joy and tears find a synthesis in Jesus Christ, Who is the foundation of our faith and our hope”, said Pope Francis to the faithful gathered to pray the Angelus in St. Peter's Square today.

On the one hand, in fact, the Church, a pilgrim in history, rejoices through the intercession of the saints and blessed who support her in the mission of proclaiming the Gospel; on the other, she, like Jesus, shares the tears of those who suffer the separation from loved ones, and like Him and through Him echoes thanks to the Father who has delivered us from the dominion of sin and death.

Today, when we remember our dear departed, many people visit the cemetery which, as its name itself implies, is a “place of rest”, where we await the final awakening. “Jesus himself revealed that the death of the body is like a sleep from which he awakens us”, explained the Holy Father. “With this faith we stop – also spiritually – at the graves of our loved ones. ... But today we are called to remember everyone, even those who no one remembers. We remember the victims of war and violence; the many 'little ones' of the world, oppressed by hunger and poverty. We remember the nameless who rest in common graves. We remember our brothers and sisters killed because they are Christians; and those who sacrificed their lives to serve others”.

“Church tradition has always urged prayer for the dead, in particular by offering the celebration of the Eucharist for them: it is the best spiritual help that we can give to their souls, particularly to the most abandoned ones. The foundation of prayers of remembrance is found in the communion of the Mystical Body. Remembering the dead, caring for their tombs and prayers of suffrage are testimony to confident hope, rooted in the certainty that death does not have the last word on human destiny, as humanity is destined for a life without end, that has its root and its fulfilment in God”, said Francis, who concluded the Angelus with a prayer for the departed by the Passionist Antonio Rungi:

“God of infinite mercy, we entrust to Your immense goodness all those who have left this world for eternity, where you await all humanity, redeemed by the precious blood of Christ Your Son, who died to save us from our sins. Look not Lord, at our poverty, misery and human weaknesses when we present ourselves before You to be judged in happiness or condemned. Gaze upon us with pity, born of Your tender heart and help us to walk the path of purification. May none of your children be lost to the eternal fires of hell, where repentance is no more. We entrust to You Lord, the souls of our beloved departed, of those who died without the comfort of the Sacraments or who did not have the opportunity to repent, not even at the end of their life. May no one fear the encounter with You at the end of their earthly pilgrimage, in the hope of being welcomed within the embrace of your infinite mercy. May sister death find us in prayerful vigilance, and full of all the good we have done during our existence, be it long or short. Lord, may nothing distance us from you on this earth, may everything and everyone support us in our ardent hope to serenely and eternally rest in You. Amen”.

The Pope celebrates Mass for the cardinals and bishops departed during the last year

Vatican City, 3 November 2014 (VIS) – Following tradition, this morning the Holy Fther celebrated Mass in the Vatican Basilica in memory of all the cardinals and bishops deceased during the last twelve months, whom he remembered with gratitude, and recalling their service to the Church. “This celebration, thanks to the Word of God, is completely illuminated by faith in the Resurrection”, he affirmed.

“All divine revelation is the fruit of the dialogue between God and His people, and also faith in the Resurrection is linked to this dialogue, which accompanies the people of God in history. It is not surprising that such a mystery as great, decisive and superhuman as the Resurrection had to come all the way up to Jesus Christ. He was able to say “I am the resurrection and the life”, as in Him this mystery is not only fully revealed, but also put into effect, becoming reality for the first time and definitively. … Every one of us is invited to enter into this event. We are called first to stay before Jesus' cross, to hear the cry of Jesus, his last breath, and finally that silence that lasts the whole of Holy Saturday. And then we are called to His tomb, to see that the great stone has been set aside, to hear the announcement: 'He has risen! He is not here'. And herein lies the answer. Here there is the foundation, the rock. Not in 'persuasive and knowing discourse, but in the living word of the Cross and of Jesus' resurrection.

“This is what the apostle Paul preached: Jesus Christ, crucified and resurrected. If He had not risen again, our faith would be empty and inconsistent. But since He rose again, or rather, He is the Resurrection, our faith is full of truth and eternal life”.

The Holy See at the United Nations advocates a peaceful use of space

Vatican City, 3 November 2014 (VIS) – “For a peaceful use of space” was the theme of the intervention by Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Holy See Permanent Observer at the United Nations, during the session of the Special Political and Decolonisation Committee which took place on 17 October and focused on “International cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space”.

“Since the earliest days of human history, humanity has looked to the sky with wonder, longing to understand celestial realities and their meaning in relation to humanity itself”, observed the nuncio. “Because of the fundamental questions it has always raised, the exploration of the universe has also deepened the understanding of faith and its rapport with science. The Holy See believes that faith is capable of both expanding and enriching the horizons of reason; thus, it rejoices in the marvellous progress of science, seeing it both as a product of the enormous God-given potential of the human mind and as manifestation of the vastness and richness of creation”.

“Our responsibility is to ensure that the fruits of these advances also benefit the poor around the world”, he continued. “My delegation is fully aware of the constraints to a universal access to the beneficial uses of outer space, considering the huge investments put into explorations and questions related to intellectual property, patents, etc. However, in a time when outer space has become a huge economic asset and hosts information and communications technologies, States must work together to ensure that these benefits do not become yet another cause of increasing economic and social inequalities, but rather a shared resource for the common good of the entire global community. Vital to promoting this common good is ensuring the peaceful use of outer space. To this end, the ongoing discussion on the development of an International Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities represents a positive step toward furthering a fairer and safer use of outer space. It would undoubtedly help toward preventing an arms race in outer space and, consequently, toward averting a new, grave threat to international peace and security”.

The archbishop went on to emphasise the importance of using outer space for an ever greater understanding of our planet. “Satellites monitor the health of oceans and forests. They provide data on water cycles, climate patterns and other atmospheric phenomena. We trust that this knowledge can convince us to change lifestyles and practices detrimental to our environment. If we do not work together, there will be no winners, only losers”.

“The Holy See wishes to highlight the use of satellites in the diffusion of knowledge and the elimination of illiteracy”, he concluded. “Indeed, satellites can reach not only those places where illiteracy is a thing of the past, but also those where many still cannot read or write, especially in far-flung areas. However, care must be taken that this outer space technology does not become an instrument of dominion and a vehicle to impose certain cultures and values on others”.

Other Pontifical Acts

Vatican City, 3 November 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Chiclayo, Peru, presented by Bishop Jesus Moline Labarta upon reaching the age limit. He has appointed Rev. Fr. Robert Francis Prevost, O.S.A., as apostolic administrator of the same diocese. The bishop-elect was born in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. in 1955, gave his solemn vows in 1981 and was ordained a priest in 1982. He holds a degree in canon law from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum), Rome, and has served in a number of pastoral roles, including chancellor of the diocese of Chulucanas, Peru; promoter of vocational pastoral care and director of missions of his Order in the Province of Chicago, U.S.A.; director of the seminary of his Order in Trujillo, Peru, and prior general of the Augustinian Province of Chicago. He is currently director of formation in the Convent of St. Augustine in Chicago and provincial vicar of the Province Our Lady of Good Counsel.

Copyright © VIS - Vatican Information Service