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Monday, October 12, 2015

To the Missionary Groups of Argentina: continue to build an outgoing Church

Vatican City, 12 October 2015 (VIS) – Pope Francis has sent a message to the participants in the Fourth National Meeting of Missionary Groups, which took place in Santiago del Estero, Argentina from 10 to 12 October, examining the theme “Mission, a way of life”.

The Holy Father, who spiritually joins with the missionaries, writes: “Let us always remember that we cannot show to others what we ourselves have not seen or heard. Therefore, to be a missionary, before announcing and communicating, it is necessary to see. To see that Jesus, who made Himself small to experience our weakness, who assumed our mortal flesh, to clothe it in His immortality and Who comes forward to meet us every day, to walk with us and to offer us His hand of friendship when we are in difficulty”.

“Never forget the call, your first encounter with Jesus, the joy with which you heard that first proclamation, perhaps from your parents, your grandparents, your catechists or teachers”, said the Holy Father. “And do not neglect to pray, to pray for each other, to support each other with prayer, so that Jesus, through you, and in spite of your weakness, may work wonders before all peoples”.

“Neither must you forget that the mission, as well as being a passion for Jesus, is a passion for His people. Let us look to Jesus, but let us also learn how to look as Jesus does. A look of tenderness, understanding and mercy that leads us to touch the wounds of the Lord in the flesh of our brothers in need. To see Jesus in others purifies the heart, freeing it from selfishness, from any underhand intention, any worldly desire”.

“I hope that these brief reflections will encourage you to continue building an outgoing Church, a fraternal group that works to communicate this joy that the Lord has placed in our hearts”, concluded the bishop of Rome.

The Pope encourages the participants in the World Peoples' Conference on Climate Change and the Defence of Life

Vatican City, 12 October 2015 (VIS) – Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin has sent a message on behalf of the Holy Father to the Second World Peoples' Conference on Climate Change and the Defence of Life, held in Tiquipaya, Cochabamba, Bolivia from 9 to 12 October. In the text, the Pope greets the participants and encourages them always to be guided in their reflections and work by the principles of a just and integral ecology, that takes into account the true good of the human person.

Angelus: faith and attachment to wealth cannot coexist

Vatican City, 12 October 2015 (VIS) – At midday today the Holy Father appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square. Francis reflected on the day's reading, from Chapter 10 of the Gospel of St. Mark, which is divided into three scenes corresponding to three gazes of Jesus. The first scene presents the encounter between the Teacher and the young man who asks, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”. “Eternal life is not only the life of the hereafter, but it is also full life, complete and limitless”, said the Pope. “Jesus' response translates into an intense gaze full of tenderness and affection”. He understands the youth's weakness and answers that he must “give everything he has to the poor and follow Him. But the youth's heart is divided between two masters: God and money, and he goes away sad. This shows us that faith and attachment to riches cannot coexist. Thus, in the end, the initial impulse felt by the youth vanishes in the unhappiness of an invitation to follow that fails”.

In the second scene, Jesus gaze is pensive, and warning. Looking around Him, He says to His disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”. Seeing the wonder of his disciples, who ask, “Then who can be saved?”, Jesus responds with a gaze of encouragement – this is the third gaze – and says, salvation, yes, “For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. If we trust in the Lord, we can overcome all the obstacles that prevent us from following Him on the path of faith. To entrust oneself to the Lord. He will give us strength; He will give us salvation; He will accompany us along the journey”.

Finally, the third scene is that of Jesus' solemn declaration. “I assure you that he who leaves everything to follow me will have eternal life in the age to come and a hundred times more now in this present age”. The Pope explained, “This 'hundred times more' is made up of the things that are first possessed and then left, but which are found infinitely multiplied. We deprive ourselves of goods and receive in exchange the joy of the true good; we free ourselves from slavery to things and we win the liberty of service out of love; we renounce possession and attain the happiness of giving. As Jesus said, 'There is more joy in giving than receiving'”.

“Only in welcoming with humble gratitude the Lord’s love do we free ourselves from the seduction of idols and the blindness of our illusions. Money, pleasure and success dazzle us, only to disappoint us later. They promise life but bring death. The Lord asks us to detach ourselves from these false riches to enter into true life, a full life, that is authentic and luminous”. Before imparting his blessing, the Pope asked those present if they had felt Jesus' gaze upon them, and how they would want to respond. “Do you prefer to leave this square with the joy that Jesus gives us, or with the sadness in your heart that worldliness offers us?”, he said, asking Our Lady to help open our heart to Jesus' love.

The Pope's profound sadness for the attack in Turkey

Vatican City, 11 October 2015 (VIS) – After praying the Angelus today, the Pope expressed his profound sadness for the attack against a demonstration for peace in Ankara, Turkey, causing more than 100 deaths and numerous injuries. Francis described the attack as a “terrible massacre” and sadness that the attack was aimed at defenceless people demonstrating together for peace. “I pray for this dear country and ask the Lord to receive the souls of the deceased and to console the suffering and their families. Let us pray in silence together”, he added.

The Holy Father then mentioned that Tuesday 13 October is International Day for the Reduction of Natural Disasters. “Unfortunately it must be recognised that the effects of such calamities are often aggravated by a lack of care for the environment by man. I unite with all those who, in a far-sighted way, are committed to the care of our common home, to promote a global and local culture for the reduction of disasters and greater resilience when they occur, harmonising new and traditional knowledge, and paying particular attention to the most vulnerable populations”.

The archbishop of Corfu, Zante and Cefalonia reflects with the Synod Fathers on external worship and inner adhesion to the Word of God

Vatican City, 10 October 2015 (VIS) – During this morning's Terce prayer with the Synod Fathers, Archbishop Ioannis Spiteris O.F.M. Cap. of Corfu, Zante and Cefalonia reflected on the biblical reading from the Book of Samuel. In the text the prophet accuses the king Saul of not having rigorously observed the law that demanded he sacrifice all his loot to God. The king not only kept it for himself but also passed the blame to his soldiers. But in the text, as Archbishop Spiteris observed, Samuel also reproaches Saul who wishes to compensate for the lack of faith and obedience to God through sacrifices, an external sign of his devotion.

“The Author, by placing two attitudes before the man who wishes to please God, does not invite him to choose between sacrifice and mercy (being docile), but rather makes him understand that God appreciates one more than the other; that His eyes do not rest on appearances but instead look to the heart. … And Samuel shows Saul that sacrifice and listening to God's voice do not have the same value: 'To obey is better than sacrifice'”.

“Throughout the history of the Church, on paths beaten by saints, this affirmation has and continues to illuminate. No, holiness (that is, the communion with God as Love that is expressed in the commitment to living well with love one's human and Christian commitments) does not consist in the primacy of sacrifice, of external and soulless worship, but rather in loving obedience to God, in putting into practice His quintessential commandment, reciprocal love. It may indeed be a fatal deception, this imposition of exorbitant sacrifices, not so much for making life better and more serene for oneself and for others, but rather for appearing better and holier than others, like the Pharisee in the parable who boasts of his own merits and scorns the other, considered a publican and a sinner. The Phariseeism which prevailed in Jesus' time is always ready to resurface where insufficient attention is paid to the Word to be welcomed with joy and put into practice”.

“May we all, sacrificing the wish to listen to the many inner voices that urge us to seek the salvation of our own good works, silencing the voice of the Lord Who invites us to loving communion with Him, be able to entrust ourselves to He Who is able to do all and Whose arms are continually open to welcome us”, concluded the Prelate.

Respecting the freedom of faith, the outcome of an interreligious marriage

Vatican City, 12 October 2015 (VIS) – During the Sixth General Congregation of the Synod, held on Saturday, the Baiai couple spoke before the Holy Father and the Synod Fathers. Catholic and married to for 39 years to a Hindu, Penelope Baiai spoke about her
experience of interreligious marriage as a couple, and in terms of faith and community, emphasising that the outcome of an interreligious marriage is mutual respect so that neither of the spouses feel obliged to renounce their faith. “This religious freedom made the path of our marriage smooth and successful”.

She also spoke about her experience as the mother of two children, who accompanied her to Church and attended Sunday School, but were not baptised. “It was my husband's desire that both our children should be allowed the freedom of choosing their own religion and I accepted it with a very large lump in my throat”, she said, commenting that, however, “the differences of religion were never a deterrent to us, for little magic words like compromise, humility and sorry helped us to lose our ego and live for the other”.

“Is there someone out there who knows how a perfect marriage takes place?”, she joked, remarking that “we are still learning and understanding our marriage every day. If if were not for my husband's tolerance and love of Christianity and my love and understanding of where he comes from, we would never have been able to celebrate our life and inter-community differences”.

Telegram for the attack in Turkey

Vatican City, 10 October 2015 (VIS) – Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin sent a telegram on behalf of the Holy Father to the president of the Republic of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, following the attack against peace demonstrators in Ankara that caused around a hundred deaths and many injuries.

“His Holiness Pope Francis is deeply saddened to learn of the loss of life and the injuries caused by the explosions in Ankara this morning, and he expresses his heartfelt solidarity with those affected by this tragedy. While His Holiness deplores this barbaric act, he asks you to convey his spiritual closeness to all the families affected during this time of grief, and to the security and emergency personnel working to assist the wounded. Commending the souls of all who have died to the loving mercy of the Almighty, Pope Francis invokes divine strength and peace upon their grieving relatives”.

Plenary Session of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors

Vatican City, 12 October 2015 (VIS) – The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors gathered in Plenary Assembly, from 9 to 11 October in Rome. It is the second time that the full Commission has gathered together.

The Plenary Assembly began with Mass with the Holy Father in the Domus Sanctae Marthae. Members then focused their sessions on listening to and discussing progress reports presented by the Working Groups formed in the February 2015 Plenary.

These Working Groups cover key areas of the mission that has been entrusted to the Commission by the Holy Father, namely to advise him, his collaborators and the local church on the following areas of the protection of minors. The Working Groups are:

- Guidelines for the safeguarding and protection of minors;
- Healing and care for victims, survivors and their families;
- Formation of candidates to the priesthood and religious life and the education of Church leadership;
- Education of families and communities;
- Theology and spirituality;
- Canonical and civil norms.

Particular areas of focus of these working groups include research into the assessment and ongoing formation of candidates to the priesthood and religious life; the use of forensic assessments with people accused of a crime; the provision of liturgical materials for the pastoral care of victims, survivors and communities. The Commission does not address individual cases, it does not exercise oversight, and is not a decision-making body.

Since its establishment, the Commission for the Protection of Minors has been invited by Church leaders to place the inter-disciplinary expertise of its members at the service of Church in various parts of the world.

Commission members have taken part in workshops, conferences and seminars on the protection of minors in Ireland, the United Kingdom, France, New Zealand, the Pacific Islands and recently in the Philippines, where 76 bishops attended. Next month, Commission members will also address all of the bishops of Central America.

Very positive feedback has been received from the Commission's participation in these initiatives. The Commission’s contribution has been seen as a resource for the local Church worldwide as Bishops’ Conferences continue to develop sound and culturally effective guidelines that reflect the local reality.

The Commission plans to hold its next Plenary Assembly in February, 2016.

Commission members:

Cardinal Sean O'Malley, OFM Cap.,United States of America, President; Msgr. Robert Oliver, United States of America, Secretary; Rev. Fr. Luis Manuel Ali Herrera, Colombia; Catherine Bonnet, France; Marie Collins, Ireland; Gabriel Dy-Liacco, Philippines; Sheila Baroness Hollins, United Kingdom; Bill Kilgallon, New Zealand; Sr. Kayula Lesa, RSC, Zambia; Sr. Hermenegild Makoro, CPS, South Africa; Kathleen McCormack, Australia; Claudio Papale, Italy; Peter Saunders, United Kingdom; Hanna Suchocka, Poland; Krysten Winter-Green, United States of America; Rev. Fr. Humberto Miguel Yanez, S.J., Argentina, and Rev. Fr. Hans Zollner, S.J., Germany.

New dormitory for the homeless near the Vatican

Vatican City, 12 October 2015 (VIS) – “Dono di Misericordia” (“Gift of Mercy”) – is the name of the new dormitory for the homeless, newly established near Santo Spirito Hospital and the Church of the same name in Rome. In an extraterritorial zone, the dormitory is a gift to the Pope from the General House of the Society of Jesus in response to the Pope's appeal to religious communities and orders to house people in need or in difficulty in their properties.

It is a “Gift of Mercy” as it is offered as a gift from the community, and mercy is the second name of the love expressed through concrete and generous gestures towards others, according to a press release from the Apostolic Almoner, which financed and carried out the works necessary to adapt the structure to the needs of its users. It was funded by the proceeds from the sale of parchments of the Apostolic Blessing and by generous contributions from private individuals. The Almoner, along with the Sisters of Mother Teresa, will continue to provide economic support for the Dormitory.

The structure is able to house 34 men. The religious sisters engaged in its administration are those who already assist people in need at Termini Station and San Gregorio Magno al Celio. According to the regulations of the Gift of Mercy Dormitory, guests are received following an interview with the Sisters for reception and registration of applicants (at the Casa Dono di Maria in the Vatican), and may stay for a maximum period of thirty days. There is a precise timetable regarding entry into the dormitory (between 6 and 7 p.m.), waking time (6.15 a.m.) and closing time (8 a.m., to allow general tidying and cleaning). There are also rules regarding personal hygiene and the personal maintenance of each bed and cupboard.

Guests who stay the night may also dine at the canteen at the Casa Dono di Maria before arriving at the Dormitory, and are offered breakfast prepared at the Dormitory before they leave. They may use the showers available under the Colonnade of St. Peter's Square.

It should be recalled that since 1988, in the Casa Dono di Maria in the Vatican, fifty beds are available to accommodate women for overnight stays, of which around thirty are occupied on a stable basis.

Cardinals to take possession of their titular churches

Vatican City, 12 October 2015 (VIS) – The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff today announced that on Sunday 18 October the following cardinals will take possession of their titular churches:

At 11 a.m., Cardinal Berhaneyesus Demerew Souraphiel, C.M., archbishop of Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, will take possession of the title of San Romano Martire (Largo Antonio Beltramelli, 23).

At 6.30 p.m., Cardinal Jose Luis Lacunza Maestrojuan, O.A.R., bishop of David, Panama, will take possession of the title of San Giuseppe da Copertino (Via dei Genieri, 12).

Cardinal Cordes, Pope's special envoy to the First National Eucharistic Congress of the Czech Republic

Vatican City, 10 October 2015 (VIS) – In a letter published today, written in Latin and dated 17 September 2015, the Holy Father appointed Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum”, as his special envoy to the closing celebrations of the First National Eucharistic Congress of the Czech Republic, to be held in Brno on 17 October 2015.

The mission accompanying the cardinal will be composed of: Don Radek Tichy of the clergy of the archdiocese of Prague, lecturer in liturgy at the Catholic Theological Faculty of the University of Carlo in Prague; and Don Zdenek Mares of the clergy of the diocese of Ceske Budejovice, lecturer in systematic theology at the Theological Faculty of the University of South Bohemia.


Vatican City, 11 October 2015 (VIS) – Today the Holy Father received in audience Archbishop Alberto Ortega Martin, apostolic nuncio in Jordan and Iraq, with family members.
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