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Monday, October 19, 2015

The Pope canonises four new saints and appeals for peace in the Holy Land

Vatican City, 18 October 2015 (VIS) – This Sunday in St. Peter's Square the Pope celebrated Holy Mass for the canonisation of Blesseds Vincenzo Grossi (1845-1917), diocesan priest and founder of the Institute of the Daughters of the Oratory; Maria Isabel Salvat Romero (Mary of the Immaculate Conception), (1926-1998), superior general of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Company of the Cross; and the spouses Louis Martin (1823-1894) and Zelie Guerin (1831-1877).

In his homily, Pope Francis emphasised that “service is the way for authority to be exercised in the Christian community. Those who serve others and lack real prestige exercise genuine authority in the Church. Jesus calls us to see things differently, to pass from the thirst for power to the joy of quiet service, to suppress our instinctive desire to exercise power over others, and instead to exercise the virtue of humility. … By imitating the Master, the community gains a new outlook on life: 'The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many'”.

“In the biblical tradition, the Son of Man is the one Who receives from God 'dominion, glory and kingship'”, the Holy Father affirmed. Jesus fills this image with new meaning. He shows us that He enjoys dominion because He is a servant, glory because He is capable of abasement, kingship because He is fully prepared to lay down His life. By His passion and death, He takes the lowest place, attains the heights of grandeur in service, and bestows this upon His Church. There can be no compatibility between a worldly understanding of power and the humble service which must characterise authority according to Jesus’ teaching and example. Ambition and careerism are incompatible with Christian discipleship; honour, success, fame and worldly triumphs are incompatible with the logic of Christ crucified”.

Instead, he continued, “compatibility exists between Jesus, 'the man of sorrows', and our suffering. … Jesus knows our difficulties at first hand, He knows from within our human condition; the fact that He is without sin does not prevent Him from understanding sinners. His glory is not that born of ambition or the thirst for power; it is the glory of one Who loves men and women, Who accepts them and shares in their weakness, Who offers them the grace which heals and restores, and accompanies them with infinite tenderness amid their tribulations”.

“The men and women canonised today unfailingly served their brothers and sisters with outstanding humility and charity, in imitation of the divine Master. … The radiant witness of these new saints inspires us to persevere in joyful service to our brothers and sisters, trusting in the help of God and the maternal protection of Mary. From heaven may they now watch over us and sustain us by their powerful intercession”.

Following Mass and before the Sunday Angelus prayer, the Pope spoke about the situation of tension and violence that continues to afflict the Holy Land. “At this time, there is a need for great courage and fortitude to reject hatred and revenge and to make gestures of peace”; he remarked. “We pray that God may reinforce in all, governors and citizens alike, the courage to oppose the violence and to take concrete steps towards pacification. In the current context of the Middle East, it is crucial, more than ever, that there be peace in the Holy Land: God and the good of humanity demand this of us”.

The Synod: walking together

Vatican City, 19 October 2015 (VIS) – On the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the institution of the Synod of Bishops, the Holy Father addressed the Synod Fathers in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall. An introduction was given by Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, and the president of the Episcopal Conference of Austria and cardinal archbishop of Vienna Christoph Schonborn pronounced a commemorative discourse.

Below are extensive extracts from the Holy Father's discourse, in which he reiterated that the very name “Synod” - “walking together” - indicates what the Lord asks of us.

“From Vatican Council II to the current Synod Assembly on the family, we have experienced in an increasingly intense way the beauty of 'walking together'. … We must continue on this road. The world in which we live, and which we are called upon to love and serve even in its contradictions, demands of the Church a strengthening of synergies in all areas of her mission. The path of synodality is the path that God expects from the Church in the third millennium. … In the Apostolic Exhortation 'Evangelii Gaudium' I underlined how 'the People of God is holy thanks to this anointing, which makes it infallible in credendo', adding that 'all the baptised, whatever their position in the Church or their level of instruction in the faith, are agents of evangelisation, and it would be insufficient to envisage a plan of evangelisation to be carried out by professionals while the rest of the faithful would simply be passive recipients'. … It was this conviction that guided me in my wish that the People of God be consulted in the preparation of the dual Synod on the family. … How would it be possible to speak of the family without speaking with families, listening to their joys and hopes, their sorrows and their troubles?”.

“A Synodal Church is a Church who listens, aware that listening is more than hearing. It is a process of mutual listening in which each person has something to learn. The faithful, the Episcopal College, the bishop of Rome: each one listening to the others, and all listening to the Holy Spirit, the 'Spirit of truth'. … Synodality, as a constitutive dimension of the Church, offers us the best interpretative framework for understanding her hierarchical ministry … in which no-one may be 'higher' than the others. On the contrary, within the Church it is necessary to stoop to put oneself in service to one's brothers along the way. Jesus constituted the Church, placing at the summit the apostolic College, in which the apostle Peter is the 'rock', he who must 'confirm' his brothers in the faith. But in this Church, as in an upturned pyramid, the summit is below the base. Therefore, those who exercise authority are called 'ministers': because in accordance with the original meaning of the word, they are the least of all”.

“In an synodal Church, the Synod of Bishops is only the most evident manifestation of a dynamism of communion that inspires all ecclesial dimensions. The first level of the exercise of synodality occurs in the particular Churches. … The Code of Canon Law reserves ample space to those who are usually referred to as the 'organs of communion' of the particular Church: the presbyteral Council, the College of Consultors, the Chapter of Canons and the pastoral Council. These instruments, that at times proceed wearily, must be accorded their due value as offering opportunities for listening and sharing. … The second level is that of the Ecclesiastical Provinces or Regions, the Particular Councils and, in special way, the Episcopal Conferences. … In a synodal Church, as I have already stated, 'it is not advisable for the Pope to take the place of local bishops in the discernment of every issue which arises in their territory. In this sense, I am conscious of the need to promote a sound decentralisation'. … The final level is that of the universal Church. Here the Synod of Bishops, representing the entire Catholic episcopate, becomes an expression of episcopal collegiality within an entirely synodal Church”.

“I am convinced that, in a synodal Church, more light could also be cast on the exercise of the Petrine primacy. The Pope is not alone and above the Church, but rather within her, baptised among the baptised, and within the episcopal College as a bishop among bishops, called upon at the same time, as the Successor of the apostle Peter, to guide the Church of Rome who presides in love among all the Churches. While I repeat the need and urgency to think of a 'conversion of the papacy' … I am convinced that I have, in this respect, a particular responsibility, above all in ascertaining the ecumenical aspiration of the majority of Christian communities and in listening to the request that is presented to me to find a way of exercising this primacy that, while not renouncing in any way the essence of its mission, is open to a new situation”.

“Our gaze also extends to humanity. A synodal Church is like a standard borne among the nations in a world that, while invoking participation, solidarity and transparency in public administration, frequently leaves the destiny of entire populations in the rapacious hands of small powerful groups. As a Church who 'walks together' with mankind, participating in the labours of history, we cultivate the dream that the rediscovery of the inviolable dignity of peoples and the function of the service of authority may also help in the edification of civil society in justice and fraternity, giving rise to a world that is more beautiful and worthier of humanity for the generations to follow us”.

Programme of the Holy Father's trip to Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic

Vatican City, 17 October 2015 (VIS) – Today the programme was published for Pope Francis' apostolic trip to Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic, to take place from 25 to 30 November.

The Holy Father will depart from Rome's Fiumicino airport on 7.45 a.m. on Wednesday 25 November, destined for “Jomo Kenyatta” airport in Nairobi, Kenya, where he is due to arrive at 5 p.m. Following the welcome ceremony at State House, he will pay a courtesy visit to the president of the Republic and will meet with the authorities and diplomatic corps.

On Thursday 26 November, the Pope will attend an interreligious and ecumenical meeting in the apostolic nunciature in Nairobi, after which he will celebrate Holy Mass on the University of Nairobi campus. This will be followed by a meeting with the clergy, men and women religious and seminarians at the St. Mary's School sports field. The day will conclude with a visit to the United Nations Office at Nairobi.

Friday 27 November will begin with a visit to the poor quarter of Kangemi in Nairobi, after which he will meet first with young people in the Kasarani Stadium, and then with Kenyan bishops. After the farewell ceremony at “Jomo Kenyatta” airport, the Pope will depart for Entebbe, Uganda at 3.30 p.m, where he will arrive at 4.50 p.m.

After the welcome ceremony at Entebbe International airport, the Pope will pay a courtesy visit to the president in the State House, and will meet the authorities and diplomatic corps in the conference hall. The third day of his apostolic trip will conclude with a visit to Munyonyo and greetings to catechists and teachers.

On Saturday 28 November, the Pope will visit the Anglican and Catholic shrines to martyrs in Namugongo, and will celebrate Mass for the martyrs of Uganda in the area of the Catholic shrine. After meeting with the young at the Kololo Air Strip at Kampala, he will visit the Nalukolongo House of Charity. At 6 p.m. he will meet with Ugandan bishops in the archbishop's residence, followed by an encounter with the clergy, men and women religious and seminarians in the cathedral.

After a farewell ceremony at Entebbe airport, at 9.15 a.m. the Holy Father will depart for the Central African Republic, the third leg of his apostolic trip, where he is scheduled to arrive at the International “M'Poko” airport of Bangui at 10 a.m. He will first pay a courtesy visit to the Head of State of the Transition in the presidential palace “de la Renaissance” and will meet with members of the governing class and diplomatic corps. This will be followed by a visit to a refugee camp and an encounter with the bishops of the country. In the afternoon he will meet with evangelical communities at the faculty of evangelical theology in Bangui, and will celebrate Mass with the clergy, men and women religious, catechists and the young in the cathedral of Bangui. He will then confess some young faithful and, in the evening, will inaugurate a prayer vigil outside the Cathedral.

On Monday 30 November, Pope Francis will begin the final day of his eleventh apostolic trip with a meeting with the Muslim community in the central mosque of Koudoukou in Bangui. After celebrating Mass in the Stadium of the Barthelemy Boganda Sports Complex, he will transfer to “M'Poko” International airport and at 12.30 p.m., following a brief farewell ceremony, he will depart for Rome where he is expected to arrive at Ciampino airport at 6.45 p.m.

Cardinal Maung Bo to take possession of his titular church

Vatican City, 19 October 2015 (VIS) – The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff today announced that on Wednesday, 21 October, at 6.30 p.m., Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, S.D.B., archbishop of Yangon, Myanmar, will take possession of the title of Sant'Ireneo a Centocelle (Via dei Castani, 291).


Vatican City, 19 October 2015 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience Archbishop Paolo Pezzi of Madre di Dio a Mosca, Moscow, Russian Federation.

Other Pontifical Acts

Vatican City, 17 October 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed:

- Msgr. Francesco Manenti as bishop of Senigallia, (area 580, population 130,012, Catholics 121,260, priests 86, permanent deacons 11, religious 110), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Sergnano, Italy in 1963 and was ordained a priest in 1975. He holds a licentiate in theology from the theological faculty of northern Italy in Milan, and has served in a number of pastoral roles in the diocese of Crema, including parish vicar at the Cathedral, chaplain, spiritual director of the episcopal seminary, teacher at the “Dante Alighieri” diocesan school, head of the diocesan centre for spirituality and diocesan director of the family office. He is currently vicar general of the diocese of Crema, parish priest, lecturer in theology and member of the Commission for the permanent formation of the clergy. He succeeds Bishop Giuseppe Orlandoni, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.

- Msgr. José Melitón Chávez as bishop of Añatuya (area 68,000, population 155,800, Catholics 138,000, priests 43, religious 110), Argentina. The bishop-elect was born in Romera Pozo in Argentina in 1957, and was ordained a priest in 1985. He has served in various roles in the archdiocese of Tucumán, including parish vicar, pastor, vicar forane, formator, vice rector and rector of the major seminary of Tucumán, assessor for Catholic Action, vicar general, episcopal vicar for soliarity and member of the pastoral council and college of consultors. He is currently pastor of the El Salvador parish.

- Msgr. José Luis Henao Cadavid as bishop of Libano – Honda (area 3,477, population 257,049, Catholics 238,710, priests 48, religious 83), Colombia. The bishop-elect was born in Andes, Colombia in 1954 and was ordained a priest in 1979. He holds a licentiate in canon law from the Pontifical Gregorian University of Rome, and has served in a number of roles, including parish vicar, pastor, rector of the minor seminary, defender of the bond, judge in the ecclesiastical tribunal of Medellin, diocesan delegate for social and lay pastoral ministry, diocesan vicar for pastoral ministry and pastor of the Cathedral. He is currently pastor of the “Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes” parish in Andes.

- Cardinal Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez, archbishop of Santo Domingo, as his special envoy to the celebration of the fifth centenary of the city of Cumana, Venezuela, origin of the evangelisation of South America, scheduled for 27 November 2015.
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