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Monday, April 13, 2015

Ninth meeting of the Council of Cardinals

Vatican City, 13 April 2015 (VIS) – This morning the ninth meeting of the Council of Cardinals, to be attended by the Holy Father, began in the Vatican. The Council will continue its work until Wednesday, 15 April.

Mass for the centenary of the Armenian Metz Yeghern: Jesus fills the abyss of sin with the depth of His mercy

Vatican City, 12 April 2015 (VIS) – On the second Sunday of Easter, or Divine Mercy Sunday, Pope Francis celebrated Holy Mass in St. Peter's Basilica to commemorate the centenary of the “martyrdom” (Metz Yeghern, or Great Evil) of the Armenian People, and proclaimed a Doctor of the Church St. Gregory of Narek (c. 951 – c. 1003), Armenian monk, theologian, poet and philosopher, whose feast day is celebrated on 27 February.

His Beatitude Nerses Bedros XIX Tarmouni, Patriarch of Cilicia of the Armenian Catholics concelebrated with the Holy Father, in the presence of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians and His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia. The president of the Republic of Armenia, Serz Sargsyan, also attended the Mass.

In his homily, the Pope commented on the Gospel of St. John, who was in the Upper Room with the other disciples on the evening of the first day after the Sabbath, and who tells us that “Jesus came and stood among them, and said, 'Peace be with you!' and He showed them His hands and His side; He showed them His wounds. And in this way they realised that it was not an apparition: it was truly Him, the Lord, and they were filled with joy. On the eighth day Jesus came once again into the Upper Room and showed His wounds to Thomas, so that he could touch them as he had wished to, in order to believe and thus become himself a witness to the Resurrection”.

To us also, on this Sunday which Saint John Paul II wished to dedicate to Divine Mercy, “the Lord shows us, through the Gospel, his wounds. They are wounds of mercy. It is true: the wounds of Jesus are wounds of mercy. 'With His stripes we are healed'. Jesus invites us to behold these wounds, to touch them as Thomas did, to heal our lack of belief. Above all, He invites us to enter into the mystery of these wounds, which is the mystery of His merciful love”.

“Through these wounds, as in a light-filled opening, we can see the entire mystery of Christ and of God”, said Pope Francis: “His Passion, His earthly life – filled with compassion for the weak and the sick – His incarnation in the womb of Mary. And we can retrace the whole history of salvation: the prophecies – especially about the Servant of the Lord, the Psalms, the Law and the Covenant; to the liberation from Egypt, to the first Passover and to the blood of the slaughtered lambs; and again from the Patriarchs to Abraham, and then all the way back to Abel, whose blood cried out from the earth. All of this we can see in the wounds of Jesus, crucified and risen; with Mary, in her Magnificat, we can perceive that, 'His mercy extends from generation to generation'”.

He continued, “Faced with the tragic events of human history we can feel crushed at times, asking ourselves, 'Why?'. Humanity’s evil can appear in the world like an abyss, a great void: empty of love, empty of goodness, empty of life. And so we ask: how can we fill this abyss? For us it is impossible; only God can fill this emptiness that evil brings to our hearts and to human history. It is Jesus, God made man, Who died on the Cross and Who fills the abyss of sin with the depth of His mercy”.

The saints teach us that “the world is changed beginning with the conversion of one’s own heart, and that this happens through the mercy of God. And so, whether faced with my own sins or the great tragedies of the world, 'my conscience would be distressed, but it would not be in turmoil, for I would recall the wounds of the Lord: “He was wounded for our iniquities”. What sin is there so deadly that it cannot be pardoned by the death of Christ?'”.

“Keeping our gaze on the wounds of the Risen Jesus, we can sing with the Church: 'His love endures forever'; eternal is his mercy. And with these words impressed on our hearts, let us go forth along the paths of history, led by the hand of our Lord and Saviour, our life and our hope”, concluded the Pontiff.

Pope's message to the Armenians

Vatican City, 12 April 2015 (VIS) – At the end of the Holy Mass celebrated in St. Peter's Basilica to commemorate the centenary of the Armenian “martyrdom” (Metz Yeghern) and the proclamation of St. Gregory of Narek as Doctor of the Church, the Pope met with His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, His Beatitude Nerses Bedros XIX Tarmouni, Patriarch of Cilicia of the Armenian Catholic Church, and the president of the Republic of Armenia, Serz Sargsyan. He handed to each of them a signed copy in Italian of his message he read at the beginning of the celebration, with a translation in Armenian. The following is the full text of his message.

“On a number of occasions I have spoken of our time as a time of war, a third world war which is being fought piecemeal, one in which we daily witness savage crimes, brutal massacres and senseless destruction. Sadly, today too we hear the muffled and forgotten cry of so many of our defenceless brothers and sisters who, on account of their faith in Christ or their ethnic origin, are publicly and ruthlessly put to death – decapitated, crucified, burned alive – or forced to leave their homeland.

Today too we are experiencing a sort of genocide created by general and collective indifference, by the complicit silence of Cain, who cries out: 'What does it matter to me? Am I my brother’s keeper?'.

In the past century our human family has lived through three massive and unprecedented tragedies. The first, which is widely considered 'the first genocide of the twentieth century' (John Paul II and Karekin II, Common Declaration, Etchmiadzin, 27 September 2001), struck your own Armenian people, the first Christian nation, as well as Catholic and Orthodox Syrians, Assyrians, Chaldeans and Greeks. Bishops and priests, religious, women and men, the elderly and even defenceless children and the infirm were murdered. The remaining two were perpetrated by Nazism and Stalinism. And more recently there have been other mass killings, like those in Cambodia, Rwanda, Burundi and Bosnia. It seems that humanity is incapable of putting a halt to the shedding of innocent blood. It seems that the enthusiasm generated at the end of the Second World War has dissipated and is now disappearing. It seems that the human family has refused to learn from its mistakes caused by the law of terror, so that today too there are those who attempt to eliminate others with the help of a few and with the complicit silence of others who simply stand by. We have not yet learned that 'war is madness', 'senseless slaughter'.

Dear Armenian Christians, today, with hearts filled with pain but at the same time with great hope in the risen Lord, we recall the centenary of that tragic event, that immense and senseless slaughter whose cruelty your forebears had to endure. It is necessary, and indeed a duty, to honour their memory, for whenever memory fades, it means that evil allows wounds to fester. Concealing or denying evil is like allowing a wound to keep bleeding without bandaging it!

I greet you with affection and I thank you for your witness. With gratitude for his presence, I greet Mr Serz Sargsyan, the President of the Republic of Armenia. My cordial greeting goes also to my brother Patriarchs and Bishops: His Holiness Kerekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians; His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, His Beatitude Nerses Bedros XIX, Patriarch of Cilicia of Armenian Catholics; and Catholicosates of the Armenian Apostolic Church and the Patriarchate of the Armenian Catholic Church.

In the certainty that evil never comes from God, Who is infinitely good, and standing firm in faith, let us profess that cruelty may never be considered God’s work and, what is more, can find absolutely no justification in his Holy Name. Let us continue this celebration by fixing our gaze on Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, victor over death and evil”.

Regina Coeli: “Invited to contemplate Divine Mercy in the wounds of the Risen Christ”

Vatican City, 13 April 2015 (VIS) – At midday on Divine Mercy Sunday, following the celebration of Holy Mass in the Vatican Basilica for the faithful of Armenian Rite, Pope Francis appeared at the window of his study to pray the Regina Coeli with the faithful and pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square. Before the Marian prayer, the Pontiff addressed those present.

“Today is the eighth day after Easter, and the Gospel of St. John tells of the two appearances of the Resurrected Jesus to the apostles gathered in the Upper Room. … The first time, the Lord shows the disciples the wounds on His body. … But Thomas was not present that evening, and he did not believe the account given by the others. … Eight days after – precisely like today – Jesus returned among them and turned immediately to Thomas, inviting him to touch the wounds on His hands and on His side. He reaches out to his incredulity so that, through the signs of the Passion, he is able to reach the fullness of Paschal faith: faith in the resurrection of Jesus”.

“Thomas is a person who is not easily satisfied, a seeker who wishes to check in person, to attain his own personal experience. After his initial resistance and uneasiness, he too finally reaches the point of believing. ... Jesus awaits him patiently and is attentive to the difficulties and insecurities of the last man to arrive. … [Thomas] was able to 'touch' the paschal Mystery that fully demonstrates God's salvific love, rich in mercy. And like Thomas, we too, on this second Sunday of Easter, are invited to contemplate, in the wounds of the Risen Christ, the Divine Mercy that overcomes every human limit and shines through the darkness of evil and sin”.

Francis explained that the upcoming Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy will be an intense and prolonged period for welcoming the immense wealth of God's merciful love, and emphasised that the Face of Mercy is Jesus Christ. “Let us keep our gaze upon Him, He Who always seeks us, awaits us, forgives us … and may the Virgin Mary help us to be merciful towards others, as Jesus is with us”.

After the Marian prayer, the Pope greeted those present, especially pilgrims attending the Holy Mass in the Church of the Holy Spirit in Sassia, centre for devotion to Divine Mercy. He mentioned the neocatechumenical communities of Rome, which are beginning a special mission in the city's squares to pray and offer witness of their faith, and congratulated the Oriental Churches which, according to their calendar, celebrate Easter. Finally, he gave thanks for the many Easter greetings that he has received from all over the world.

Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy: path of forgiveness and mercy

Vatican City, 12 April 2015 (VIS) – The Pope presided at the first vespers of the second Sunday of Easter – Divine Mercy Sunday – in St. Peter's Basilica at 5.30 p.m. yesterday, Saturday 11 April. The celebration included the consignment and reading of the official Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, to begin on 8 December 2015 and to close on 16 November 2016.

The Holy Father, accompanied by the cardinals, transferred to the entrance of the Vatican Basilica, and by the side of the Holy Door, he presented the Bull of Indiction to the four cardinal archpriests of the papal basilicas of Rome: St. Peter in the Vatican, St. John Lateran, St. Paul Outside-the-Walls and St. Mary Major. As an expression of his desire that the Jubilee be celebrated both in Rome and throughout the world, the Pope also handed a copy of the Bull to the prefects of the Congregations for Bishops, for Evangelisation of Peoples, and for the Oriental Churches, and thus symbolically to bishops worldwide. A copy of the document was received by Archbishop Savio Hon Tai-Fai on behalf of all the East , and by Archbishop Bartolome Adoukounou for the African continent. Msgr. Khaled Ayad Bishay of the Patriarchal Church of Alexandria of the Copts received the copy destined for the Oriental Churches.

The Regent of the Papal Household, Msgr. Leonardo Sapienza, apostolic protonotary, read a number of extracts from the official document convoking the extraordinary Holy Year, in the presence of the Pope. The Holy Father then went on to preside at first vespers in the Vatican Basilica, and pronounced the following homily.

“The greeting of the Risen Christ to His disciples on the evening of Easter, 'Peace be with you!', continues to resound in us all. Peace, especially during this Easter season, remains the desire of so many people who suffer unprecedented violence of discrimination and death simply because they bear the name 'Christian'. Our prayer is all the more intense and becomes a cry for help to the Father, Who is rich in mercy, that He may sustain the faith of our many brothers and sisters who are in pain. At the same time, we ask for the grace of the conversion of our own hearts so as to move from indifference to compassion.

“St. Paul reminds us that we have been saved through the mystery of the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. He is the Reconciler, Who is alive in our midst offering the way to reconciliation with God and with each other. The Apostle recalls that, notwithstanding the difficulties and the sufferings of life, the hope of salvation which Christ has sown in our hearts nonetheless continues to grow. The mercy of God is poured out upon us, making us just and giving us peace.

“Many question in their hearts: why a Jubilee of Mercy today? Simply because the Church, in this time of great historical change, is called to offer more evident signs of God’s presence and closeness. This is not the time to be distracted; on the contrary, we need to be vigilant and to reawaken in ourselves the capacity to see what is essential. This is a time for the Church to rediscover the meaning of the mission entrusted to her by the Lord on the day of Easter: to be a sign and an instrument of the Father’s mercy.

“For this reason, the Holy Year must keep alive the desire to know how to welcome the numerous signs of the tenderness which God offers to the whole world and, above all, to those who suffer, who are alone and abandoned, without hope of being pardoned or feeling the Father’s love. A Holy Year to experience strongly within ourselves the joy of having been found by Jesus, the Good Shepherd Who has come in search of us because we were lost. A Jubilee to receive the warmth of His love when He bears us upon his shoulders and brings us back to the Father’s house. A year in which to be touched by the Lord Jesus and to be transformed by His mercy, so that we may become witnesses to mercy. Here, then, is the reason for the Jubilee: because this is the time for mercy. It is the favourable time to heal wounds, a time not to be weary of meeting all those who are waiting to see and to touch with their hands the signs of the closeness of God, a time to offer everyone the way of forgiveness and reconciliation.

“May the Mother of God open our eyes, so that we may comprehend the task to which we have been called; and may she obtain for us the grace to experience this Jubilee of Mercy as faithful and fruitful witnesses of Christ”.

Summary of the “Misericordiae Vultus”, Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy

Vatican City, 12 April 2015 (VIS) – The following is a summary of the Papal Bull “Misericordiae Vultus”, by which Pope Francis convoked the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy.

The Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy is composed of 25 numbered sections. Pope Francis has described the most salient features of mercy, focusing primarily on the theme of the light of Christ’s face. Mercy is not an abstract word, but rather a face to recognise, contemplate and serve. The Bull is developed in a Trinitary fashion (Nos. 6-9) and extends to a description of the Church as a credible sign of mercy: “Mercy is the very foundation of the Church’s life” (No.10).

Pope Francis indicates the salient phases of the Jubilee. The opening coincides with the 50th anniversary of the closing of the Vatican II Ecumenical Council: “The Church feels a great need to keep this event alive. With the Council, the Church entered a new phase of her history. The Council Fathers strongly perceived, as a true breath of the Holy Spirit, a need to talk about God to men and women of their time in a more accessible way. The walls which too long had made the Church a kind of fortress were torn down and the time had come to proclaim the Gospel in a new way” (No. 4). The conclusion will take place “with the liturgical Solemnity of Christ the King on 20 November 2016. On that day, as we seal the Holy Door, we shall be filled, above all, with a sense of gratitude and thanksgiving to the Most Holy Trinity for having granted us an extraordinary time of grace. We will entrust the life of the Church, all humanity, and the entire cosmos to the Lordship of Christ, asking him to pour out his mercy upon us like the morning dew, so that everyone may work together to build a brighter future.” (no.5).

A special feature of this Holy Year is the fact that it will be celebrated not only in Rome, but also in all the other dioceses of the world. The Holy Door will be opened by the Pope at St. Peter’s on 8 December, and on the following Sunday in all the Churches of the world. Another novelty is that the Pope will grant the possibility of opening the Holy Door also in Sanctuaries, where many pilgrims will go in order to pray.

Pope Francis resumes the teaching of St. John XXIII, who spoke of the “medicine of Mercy”, and of Paul VI who identified the spirituality of Vatican II with that of the Samaritan. The Bull explains, furthermore, various salient aspects of the Jubilee: firstly, the motto, “Merciful like the Father”, then the meaning of pilgrimage and above all the need for forgiveness. The theme that is particularly close to the Pope’s heart is found in section No. 15: the works of corporal and spiritual mercy are to be resumed in order to “reawaken our conscience, too often grown dull in the face of poverty. And let us enter more deeply into the heart of the Gospel where the poor have a special experience of God’s mercy”. A further indication is offered by Lent, with the sending out of the “Missionaries of Mercy” (No. 18), a new and original initiative by which the Pope intends to emphasise his pastoral care in a more concrete way. In paragraphs 20 and 21 the Pope considers the theme of the relationship between justice and mercy, showing that he does not stop at a legalistic view, but rather aims at a path that leads to merciful love.

Paragraph 19 is a powerful appeal against organised violence and against those who are “advocates and accomplices” of corruption. The Pope uses strong words to denounce this “festering wound”, and insists that during this Holy Year there must be true conversion: “This is the opportune moment to change our lives! This is the time to allow our hearts to be touched! When confronted with evil deeds, even in the face of serious crimes, it is the time to listen to the cry of innocent people who are deprived of their property, their dignity, their feelings, and even their very lives. To stick to the way of evil will only leave one deluded and sad. True life is something entirely different. God never tires of reaching out to us. He is always ready to listen, as I am too, along with my brother bishops and priests. All one needs to do is to accept the invitation to conversion and submit oneself to justice during this special time of mercy offered by the Church” (No. 19).

The granting of indulgences as a traditional theme of the Jubilee year is expressed in section No. 22. A final original aspect is offered by Pope Francis with regard to mercy as a theme shared also by Jews and Muslims: “I trust that this Jubilee year celebrating the mercy of God will foster an encounter with these religions and with other noble religious traditions; may it open us to even more fervent dialogue so that we might know and understand one another better; may it eliminate every form of closed-mindedness and disrespect, and drive out every form of violence and discrimination” (No. 23).

The Pope’s wish is that this Year, experienced also in the sharing of divine mercy, may be “dedicated to living out in our daily lives the mercy which the Father constantly extends to all of us. In this Jubilee Year, let us allow God to surprise us. He never tires of throwing open the doors of his heart and repeats that he loves us and wants to share his love with us. … In this Jubilee Year, may the Church echo the word of God that resounds strong and clear as a message and a sign of pardon, strength, aid, and love. May she never tire of extending mercy, and be ever patient in offering compassion and comfort. May the Church become the voice of every man and woman, and repeat confidently without end: ‘Be mindful of your mercy, O Lord, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old’”.

The Pope “in harmony” with the theme of the Seventh Summit of the Americas: “Prosperity with equity”

Vatican City, 11 April 2015 (VIS) – Pope Francis has sent a message to Juan Carlos Varela Rodriguez, president of Panama, host country of the Seventh Summit of the Americas, which on this occasion takes as its theme “Prosperity with equity: the challenge of cooperation in the Americas”. The Holy Father commented that he is “in harmony” with the theme chosen for the Summit, affirms that he is “convinced … that inequality, the unjust distribution of wealth and resources, is a source of conflicts and violence among peoples, as it presupposes that the progress of some is built on the necessary sacrifice of others and that, to be able to live in a dignified fashion, one must fight with others”.

“Well-being reached in this way is unjust at its root and attacks the dignity of the person”, he writes. “There are 'basic goods', such as the earth, work and a home, and 'public services', such as health, education, security and the environment, from which no human being should be denied access. This desire – which we all share – is unfortunately still far from reality. … The great challenge of our world is the globalisation of solidarity and fraternity in the place of the globalisation of discrimination and indifference, and until a more equitable distribution of wealth is achieved, the ills of our society will not be resolved”.

Francis remarks that many countries have certainly experienced significant economic development in recent years, but “it is equally true that others remain prostrated in poverty. Moreover, in the emerging economies, a large part of the population does not benefit from general economic progress, to the point that frequently a greater rift opens up between rich and poor. 'Trickle down' theories have been shown to be erroneous: it is not enough to hope that the poor may gather the crumbs that fall from the table of the rich. It is necessary to take direct action in favour of the most disadvantaged, attention to should be a priority for governors, as it is for the smallest within a family”.

He then turns his attention to the problem of immigration. “The immense disparity of opportunities between some countries and others ensures that many people feel compelled to abandon their homeland and their family, thus becoming easy prey for human trafficking and slave labour, without rights or access to justice. In some cases, the lack of cooperation between States leaves many people unprotected by the law and unable to guarantee their own rights, and thus obliged to ally themselves with those who take advantage of others, or to resign themselves to being victims of abuse. These are situations in which it is not enough to safeguard the law to defend the basic rights of the person, and in which the rules, without pity and mercy, do not respond to justice. Within every country, at times, scandalous and offensive differences are created, especially between indigent peoples, in rural areas or in the peripheries of large cities. If it fails to genuinely defend these people against racism, xenophobia and intolerance, the rule of law loses its very legitimacy”.

“Efforts to build bridges, to establish channels of communication, to build relationships and to seek agreement are never in vain. The geographical situation of Panama, in the centre of the American continent, making it a point of encounter between north and south, between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, is certainly a call, pro mundi beneficio, to generate a new order of peace and justice, and to promote solidarity and collaboration, respecting the just autonomy of every nation”, writes the Pope, who concludes by expressing his hope that the Church “may also be an instrument of peace and reconciliation between peoples”.

To formators of consecrated persons: not only teachers, but also witnesses of following Christ

Vatican City, 11 April 2015 (VIS) – “To live in Christ according to the form of life of the Gospel” is the title of an international conference for formators of consecrated persons, held in Rome from 7 to 11 April. This morning around 1,400 participants were received in audience by the Pope, who exclaimed, “Seeing so many of you, you would not believe that there is a crisis of vocations!”, and went on to highlight the beauty and importance of consecrated life for the world and for the Church.

However, he noted that the decreasing number of new vocations is an undeniable fact, and “this make the task of formation even more urgent”. He expressed his conviction that “there is not a vocational crisis where there are consecrated persons able to transmit, by their own witness, the beauty of consecration. And it is a fruitful witness. If there is not witness, there is no coherence, and if there is no coherence, there will be no vocations”. He added, they are “not only teachers, but above all witnesses of following Christ in their own charism”, as the mission and task of formators is to “truly mould the heart of Jesus in the heart of the young, so that they have the same sentiments”.

“In these days of the Resurrection, the word that frequently resounded to me in prayers was 'Galilee', where it all began, as Peter tells us in his first discourse. Events occurred in Jerusalem, but they began in Galilee. Our life, too, began in a 'Galilee': each one of us has had the experience … of encountering the Lord, that encounter that cannot be forgotten, but that many times ends up obscured by things, by work, by worries, and also by sins and worldliness. To offer witness it is often necessary to make a pilgrimage to one's own Galilee, to revive the memory of that encounter, that wonder, and to start again from there. But if you do not follow the road of memory there is the risk of remaining stuck where you are, and also the danger of not knowing why you are there”.

“Consecrated life is beautiful: it is one of the most valuable treasures of the Church, rooted in the baptismal vocation. Therefore, it is beautiful to be its formators, as it is a privilege to participate in the work of the Father, which forms the heart of the Son in those to whom the Spirit calls. At times, this service may be felt as a weight, as if it draws us away from something more important”, the Pontiff observed. “But this is a deception, a temptation. The mission is important, but it is equally important to educate in the mission, in the passion of proclamation, of going everywhere, to every periphery, to say to all that the love of Jesus Christ, especially for those who are most distant, to tell this to the small and the poor, and also to allow oneself to be evangelised by them. All this requires a solid foundation, a Christian structure of personality that families themselves are rarely able to give. And this increases your responsibility”.

“It is not true that today's young people are mediocre or not generous; but they need to experience that 'It is more blessed to give than to receive', that there is great freedom in a life of obedience, great fruitfulness in a virgin heart, great wealth in possessing nothing. From this there arises the need to be lovingly attentive to the path of each person and evangelically demanding in every phase of the formative journey, beginning with vocational discernment, so that the eventual crisis in terms of quantity does not lead to a far more serious crisis of quality. And this is the danger. Vocational discernment is important: all those who understand the human personality – be they psychologists, spiritual fathers, spiritual mothers – tell us that young people who at a subconscious level feel they … have some problem of balance or deviation subconsciously seek out strong structures to protect them, and to protect them against themselves. And here lies discernment: knowing how to say no. Without driving them away – this, no. “I will accompany you, go, go … and just as you accompany them as they enter, accompany them to the exit, so that they may find their path in life, with the necessary help”.

He continued, “Initial formation, this discernment, is only the first step in a process destined to last a lifetime, and the young people must develop with the humble and intelligent freedom of allowing himself to be educated by God the Father every day of his life, at every age, in the mission as in fraternity, in action as in contemplation”.

“In this mission, neither time nor energy must be spared. And we must not be discouraged when results do not fulfil our expectations. It is painful, when a boy or a girl says after three or four years: 'I cannot continue; I have found another love that is not against God, but I cannot continue, I am leaving'. This is hard. But it is also your martyrdom. Even missteps, these missteps from the formator's point of view, can contribute to your journey of continual formation. And if at times you may have the feeling that your work is not sufficiently appreciated, know that Jesus is following you with love, and the entire Church is grateful to you”.


Vatican City, 13 April 2015 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:

- Archbishop Carlos Jose Nanez of Cordoba, Argentina.

On Saturday, 11 April, the Holy Father received in audience:

- Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops;

- Daniele Mancini, new ambassador of Italy to the Holy See, presenting his credential letters;

- Archbishop Antonio Guido Filipazzi, apostolic nuncio in Indonesia.

Other Pontifical Acts

Vatican City, 13 April 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed:

- Msgr. Paolo Rocco Gualtieri, nunciature counsellor, as apostolic nuncio in Madagascar, elevating him to the dignity of archbishop;

- Bishop Francois Eid, emeritus of Cairo of the Maronites and procurator of the Maronite Patriarchate at the Holy See, as apostolic visitator for the Maronite faithful in Bulgaria, Greece and Romania:

- the following cardinals, created in the Consistory of 14 February 2015, as Members of the Dicasteries of the Roman Curia:

- in the Council of Cardinals and Bishops of the Section for Relations with States of the Secretariat of State: Cardinal Dominique Mamberti, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura;

- in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: Cardinal Ricardo Blazquez Perez, archbishop of Valladolid, Spain;

- in the Congregation for the Oriental Churches: Cardinals Berhaneyesus Demerew Souraphiel, archbishop of Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, and Edoardo Menichelli, archbishop of Ancona-Osimo, Italy;

- in the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments: Cardinal Dominique Mamberti, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura;

- in the Congregation for the Causes of Saints: Cardinal Dominique Mamberti, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura;

- in the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples: Cardinals John Atcherley Dew, archbishop of Wellington, New Zealand; Pierre Nguyen Van Nhon, archbishop of Ha Noi, Viet Nam; Francis Xavier Kriengsak Kovithavanij, archbishop of Bangkok, Thailand; Arlindo Gomes Furtado, bishop of Santiago de Cabo Verde, Cape Verde; and Soane Patita Paini Mafi, bishop of Tonga;

- in the Congregation for the Clergy: Cardinals Manuel Jose Macario do Nascimento Clemente, patriarch of Lisbon, Portugal, and Alberto Suarez Inda, archbishop of Morelia, Mexico;

- in the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life: Cardinals Charles Maung Bo, archbishop of Yangon, Myanmar, and Daniel Fernando Sturla Berhouet, archbishop of Montevideo, Uruguay;

- in the Congregation for Catholic Education: Cardinal Jose Luis Lacunza Maestrojuan, bishop of David, Panama;

- in the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity: Cardinal John Atcherley Dew, archbishop of Wellington, New Zealand;

- in the Pontifical Council “Justice and Peace”: Cardinals Pierre Nguyen Van Nhon, archbishop of Ha Noi, Viet Nam, and Alberto Suarez Inda, archbishop of Morelia, Mexico;

- in the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum”: Cardinals Francesco Montenegro, archbishop of Agrigento, Italy; Arlindo Gomes Furtado, bishop of Santiago de Cabo Verde, Cape Verde; and Soane Patita Paini Mafi, bishop of Tonga;

- in the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples: Cardinals Berhaneyesus Demerew Souraphiel, archbishop of Addis Abeba, Ethiopia; and Francesco Montenegro, archbishop of Agrigento, Italy;

- in the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Health Care Workers: Cardinal Edoardo Menichelli, archbishop of Ancona-Osimo, Italy;

- in the Pontifical Council for Culture: Cardinals Charles Maung Bo, archbishop of Yangon, Myanmar; Ricardo Blazquez Perez, archbishop of Valladolid, Spain; and Jose Luis Lacunza Maestrojuan, bishop of David, Panama;

- in the Pontifical Council for Social Communications: Cardinals Manuel Jose Macario do Nascimento Clemente, patriarch of Lisbon, Portugal, and Francis Xavier Kriengsak Kovithavanij, archbishop of Bangkok, Thailand;

- in the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation: Cardinal Daniel Fernando Sturla Berhouet, archbishop of Montevideo, Uruguay.

On Sunday, 12 April, the Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Taunggyi, Myanmar, presented by Archbishop Matthias U. Shwe in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law, and appointed Bishop Basilio Athai, auxiliary of the same archdiocese, as apostolic administrator “sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis”.

On Saturday, 11 April, the Holy Father appointed:

- appointed Bishop Jean de Dieu Raoelison, auxiliary of Antananarivo, Madagascar, as bishop of Ambatondrazaka (area 21,000, population 1,536,000, Catholics 277,000, priests 42, religious 208), Madagascar. He succeeds Bishop Antoine Scopelliti, O.SS.T., whose resignation upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.

- Rev. Fr. Dante Gustavo Braida as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Mendoza, (area 63,839, population 1,250,000, Catholics 1,086,000, priests 157, permanent deacons 61, religious 258), Argentina. He bishop-elect was born in Reconquista, Argentina in 1968 and was ordained a priest in 1996. He has served as parish vicar in Villa Ocampo, missionary ad gentes in Cuba, parish priest in Calchaqui, diocesan assessor for vocational pastoral ministry, formator of the “La Encarnacion” interdiocesan seminary, and member of the presbyteral council and college of consultors. He is currently vicar general of the diocese of Reconquista and parish priest of the “La Inmaculada” parish.
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