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

Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Pope offers gifts to Our Lady of Copacabana, patron of Bolivia

Vatican City, 11 July 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father's last day in Bolivia began with Holy Mass celebrated in the chapel of the archbishop's residence in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, and his offering to Our Lady of Copacabana, patron of Bolivia, of the gifts given to him by President Evo Morales last Wednesday during their meeting in the presidential palace.

“The President of the Nation, in a gesture of warmth, was so kind as to offer me two decorative honours on behalf of the Bolivian people. I thank the Bolivian people for their affection and the president for this courteous gesture. I would like to offer these two decorations to the patron saint of Bolivia, the Mother of this noble nation, so that she may always remember her people and from Bolivia, from the shrine where I would like them to be, that she may remember the Successor of Peter and the whole Church and care for them from Bolivia”.

He then recited the following prayer to the Virgin Mary:

“Mother of the Saviour and Our Mother, Queen of Bolivia, from the heights of your Shrine in Copacabana, heed the prayers and needs of your children, especially the poorest and most abandoned, and protect them. Receive as a gift from the heart of Bolivia and as a token of my filial affection these symbols of closeness and warmth that President Evo Morales Ayma has bestowed on me with cordial and generous affection, on behalf of the Bolivian people, on the occasion of this apostolic trip, which I entrusted to your solicitous intercession.

“I pray that these honours, which I leave here in Bolivia at your feet, and which recall the noble flight of the condor in the skies of the Andes and the honoured sacrifice of Fr. Luis Espinal, S.J., may be emblems of the everlasting love and persistent gratitude of the Bolivian people for your solicitous and intense tenderness.

At this moment, Mother, I place in your heart my prayers for all the many petitions of your children, which I have received in these days: I beg you to hear them; to give them your encouragement and protection, and to show to the whole of Bolivia your tenderness as a woman and as Mother of God, who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen”.

In the Santa Cruz-Palmasola penitentiary: reclusion is not the same as exclusion

Vatican City, 11 July 2015 (VIS) – After celebrating Mass in the chapel of the archbishop's residence, the Pope visited the Santa Cruz-Palmasola penitentiary where he met with various groups of inmates – men, women and young people imprisoned for both petty and serious offences. The men's Pavilion PS4, where the meeting with the Pope took place, is open for daily visits and hosts around 2,800 detainees, whose family members (around 1,500 per day) are able to live with them in a sort of village protected and managed by the inmates themselves through a “General Regency” led by State security staff.

The Pope was received by the director of the penitentiary, the chaplain and Msgr. Jesus Juarez, head of prison pastoral ministry of the Episcopal Conference of Bolivia. After hearing testimonies from some of the detainees, he addressed those present.

!I could not leave Bolivia without seeing you, without sharing that faith and hope which are the fruit of the love revealed on the cross of Christ”, he said. “Thank you for welcoming me; I know that you have prepared yourselves for this moment and that you have been praying for me. I am deeply grateful for this”.

He continued, “You may be asking yourselves: 'Who is this man standing before us?'. I would like to reply to that question with something absolutely certain about my own life. The man standing before you is a man who has experienced forgiveness. A man who was, and is, saved from his many sins. That is who I am. I don’t have much more to give you or to offer you, but I want to share with you what I do have and what I love. It is Jesus Christ, the mercy of the Father.

“Jesus came to show the love which God has for us. For you and for me. It is a love which is powerful and real. It is a love which takes seriously the plight of those he loves. It is a love which heals, forgives, raises up and shows concern. It is a love which draws near and restores dignity. We can lose this dignity in so many ways. But Jesus is stubborn: he gave his very life to restore the identity we had lost.

“Here is something which can help us to understand this. Peter and Paul, disciples of Jesus, were prisoners too. They too lost their freedom. But there was something that sustained them, something that did not let them yield to despair, that experience of darkness and meaninglessness. That something was prayer, both individually and with others. They prayed, and they prayed for one another. These two forms of prayer became a network to maintain life and hope. And that network keeps us from yielding to despair. It encourages us to keep moving forward. It is a network which supports life, your own lives and those of your families.

“When Jesus becomes part of our lives, we can no longer remain imprisoned by our past. Instead, we begin look to the present, and we see it differently, with a different kind of hope. We begin to see ourselves and our lives in a different light. We are no longer stuck in the past, but capable of shedding tears and finding in them the strength to make a new start. If there are times when you experience sadness, depression, negative feelings, I would ask you to look at Christ crucified. Look at his face. He sees us; in his eyes there is a place for us. We can all bring to Christ our wounds, our pain, our sins. In his wounds, there is a place for our own wounds. There they can be soothed, washed clean, changed and healed. He died for us, for me, so that he could stretch out us his hand and lift us up. Talk to the priests who come here, talk to them! Jesus wants to help you get up, always.

“This certainty makes us work hard to preserve our dignity. Being imprisoned, 'shut in', is not the same thing as being 'shut out'. Detention is part of a process of reintegration into society. I know that there are many things here that make it hard: overcrowding, justice delayed, a lack of training opportunities and rehabilitation policies, violence. All these things point to the need for a speedy and efficient cooperation between institutions in order to come up with solutions. And yet, while working for this, we should not think that everything is lost. There are things that we can do even today.

“Here, in this rehabilitation centre, the way you live together depends to some extent on yourselves. Suffering and deprivation can make us selfish of heart and lead to confrontation, but we also have the capacity to make these things an opportunity for genuine fraternity. Help one another. Do not be afraid to help one another. The devil is looking for rivalry, division, gangs. Keep working to make progress.

“I would ask you to take my greetings to your families. Their presence and support are so important! Grandparents, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, couples, children: all of them remind us that life is worth living and that we should keep fighting for a better world. Finally, I offer a word of encouragement to all who work at this centre: to the administrators, the police officials and all the personnel. They carry out a vital public service. They have an important responsibility for facilitating the process of reintegration. It is their responsibility to raise up, not to put down, to restore dignity and not to humiliate; to encourage and not to inflict hardship. This means putting aside a mentality which sees people as 'good' or 'bad', but instead tries to focus on helping others. This will help to create better conditions for everyone. It will give dignity, provide motivation, and make us all better people.

“Before giving each of you my blessing, I would like for us to pray for a few moments in silence. Each of you, in whatever way you can. I ask you, please, to keep praying for me, because I too have my mistakes and I too must do penance. Thank you”.

The Pope arrives in Paraguay and lauds the role of women in the nation's history

Vatican City, 11 July 2015 (VIS) – After his visit to Palmasola, Pope Francis proceeded to the parish church of La Santa Cruz, where he met with Bolivian bishops (37, including bishops emeritus) for an informal meeting lasting around an hour. He then transferred by car, greeted and applauded by thousands of people, to Viru Viru airport where he left for Paraguay. He arrived in the capital Asuncion two hours later, at 3 p.m. local time.

In the airport he was received by the president of Paraguay Horacio Manuel Cartes Jara, and witnessed a brief choreographic display on the history and culture of Paraguay. He received a floral tribute from a group of children and blessed the plaque commemorating St. John Paul II's visit to this country from 16 to 18 May 1988.

Following the ceremony the Holy Father travelled the fifteen kilometres between the airport and the capital by popemobile. He stopped along the way to greet the inmates at the “Coreccional del Buen Pastor” women's prison, who had written to the Pope asking him to visit them during his trip to Paraguay. As he entered the prison, the choir “Fifty voices of hope” welcomed him by singing for him.

Upon arrival in Asuncion, the Pope transferred to the apostolic nunciature, where he will stay during his days in Paraguay, and from there he travelled by popemobile to the presidential palace, where he was received by President Horacio Manuel Cartes Jara, who introduced his family members, after which they spoke in private.

The President then accompanied the Pope to the garden of the presidential residence, where he met with members of the government, the National Congress, the Supreme Court of Justice and the diplomatic corps. The Pope addressed those present, recalling Paraguay's suffering throughout history, as well as the resilience and their determination to build a prosperous nation. He also emphasised the role of the Catholic Church in the common effort to construct a just and inclusive society in which all members live in harmony.

“A particular word of thanks is due to all those individuals and institutions who worked so hard to prepare this visit and to make me feel at home. It is not hard to feel at home in so welcoming a land. Paraguay is known as the heart of America, not only because of her geographic location, but also because of the warmth of her hospitality and the friendliness of her people.

“From the first days of the country’s independence to recent times, Paraguay has known the terrible sufferings brought on by war, fratricidal conflict, lack of freedom and contempt for human rights. How much suffering and death! Yet the Paraguayan people have also shown an admirable spirit of perseverance in surmounting adversities and in working to build a prosperous and peaceful nation. Here, in the garden of this palace which has witnessed so much of the country’s history – from the time when it was no more than a riverbank used by the Guarani, until the present day – I wish to pay tribute to the many ordinary Paraguayan people, whose names are not written in history books but who have been, and continue to be, the real protagonists in the life of your nation. I would also like to acknowledge with profound admiration the role played by the women of Paraguay in those very dramatic historical moments, especially during that horrible war which almost managed to destroy fraternity among our peoples. As mothers, wives and widows, they shouldered the heaviest burdens; they found a way to move their families and their country forward, instilling in new generations the hope of a better tomorrow. May God bless Paraguayan women, the most glorious of all in the Americas!

“A people which forgets its own past, its history and its roots, has no future; it is a dull people. Memory, if it is firmly based on justice and rejects hatred and all desire for revenge, makes the past a source of inspiration for the building of a future of serene coexistence. It also makes us realise the tragedy and pointlessness of war. Let there be an end to wars between brothers! Let us always build peace! A peace which which grows stronger day by day, a peace which makes itself felt in everyday life, a peace to which each person contributes by seeking to avoid signs of arrogance, hurtful words, contemptuousness, and instead by working to foster understanding, dialogue and cooperation.

“For some years now, Paraguay has sought to build a solid and stable democracy. It is proper to recognise with satisfaction progress made in this direction, thanks to the efforts of everyone, even amid great difficulties and uncertainties. I encourage you to continue working to strengthen the democratic structures and institutions, so that they can respond to the legitimate aspirations of the nation’s people. The form of government adopted by your Constitution, a 'representative, participative and pluralistic democracy' based on the promotion of and respect for human rights, must banish the temptation to be satisfied with a purely formal democracy, one which, as Aparecida put it, is content with being 'founded on fair election procedures'. That is a purely formal democracy.

“In every sector of society, but above all in public service, there is a need to reaffirm that dialogue is the best means of promoting the common good, on the basis of a culture of encounter, respect and acknowledgement of the legitimate differences and opinions of others. In the effort to overcome a spirit of constant conflict, unity is always better than conflict; convictions born of ideology or partisan interest should blend advantageously with love of the country and its people. That love must be the incentive to increased administrative transparency and unceasing efforts to combat corruption. I know that today there exists a firm desire to root out corruption.

“Dear friends, in the desire to serve and promote the common good, the poor and needy have to be given priority of place. Paraguay has done much to advance along the path of economic growth. Important steps have been taken in the areas of education and health care. May all social groups work to ensure that there will never again be children without access to schooling, families without homes, workers without dignified employment, small farmers without land to cultivate, or campesinos forced to leave their lands for an uncertain future. May there be an end to violence, corruption and drug trafficking. An economic development which fails to take into account the weakest and underprivileged is not an authentic development. Economic progress must be measured by the integral dignity of persons, especially the most vulnerable and helpless.

“Mr President, dear friends, in the name of my brothers, the bishops of Paraguay, I also wish to assure you of the commitment and cooperation of the Catholic Church in the common effort to build a just and inclusive society where each person can live in peace and harmony. All of us, including the Church’s pastors, are called to be concerned with building a better world. Our sure faith in God, who willed to become man, to live among us and to share our lot, urges us to press forward. Christ opens up to us the path of mercy, which, founded on justice, goes beyond it to inspire works of charity, so that no one will remain on the fringes of this great family which is Paraguay, a land you love and wish to serve.

“With great joy that I have come to this country consecrated to the Blessed Virgin of Caacupe – and here I would like to remember in a special my Paraguayan brothers and sisters in Buenos Aires, my former Diocese; they belong to the parish of the Virgin of the Miracles of Caacupé – I invoke the Lord’s blessings on each of you, your families and all the beloved people of Paraguay. May this country be fruitful, as symbolised by the pasiflora fower on Our Lady’s mantle, and may the national colors which decorate her image draw all the Paraguayan people to embrace the Mother of Caacupe. Thank you very much”.

After his discourse, the Pope attended a musical show with works from the era of the Jesuit Reductions. The Reductions were pioneering missionary villages in which the Christian Indios, separated from the Spanish, lived under the protection of European missionaries. At their height, in around 1731, there were approximately 150,000 Christian Indios in the Jesuit Reductions, but the experience came to an end in 1767 with the expulsion of the Jesuits from all the settlements.

Today, 11 July, the Holy Father will visit the “Ninos de Acosta Nu” paediatric hospital, and will then celebrate Mass in the Marian Shrine of Caacupe. Upon his return to Asuncion he will meet with representatives of civil society; the day will conclude with Vespers and an address to the clergy in the Cathedral of Asuncion.

Trial of ex-nuncio Jozef Wesolowski postponed due to ill health

Vatican City, 11 July 2015 (VIS) – This morning, at 9.30, at the Vatican City State Tribunal, the first hearing took place in the criminal trial of the ex-nuncio to the Dominican Republic Jozef Wesolowski, indicted for the crime of possession of child pornography and for paedophile acts.

The panel of judges is composed of Professor Giuseppe Dalla Torre, president; Professor Piero Antonio Bonnet; Professor Paolo Papanti-Pellettier; and Professor Venerando Marano, substitute.

The promoter of Justice is Professor Gian Piero Milano, assisted by Professor Alessandro Diddi and Professor Roberto Zannotti. The defence counsel is Antonello Blasi.

At the opening of the trial the promoter of Justice announced that the defendant was not present in court as he has been admitted to hospital.

The Court took due note of the impediment to the presence of the defendant, following the onset of an unexpected illness necessitating his transfer to a public hospital where he is currently in the intensive care unit.

In accordance with Article 471 c.p.p. the Tribunal suspended the trial and postponed it until a later date, awaiting the termination of the cause that has given rise to the postponement.
Copyright © VIS - Vatican Information Service