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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Francis celebrates Mass for the souls of cardinals and bishops

Vatican City, 2 November 2015 (VIS) - This morning in St. Peter's Basilica the Holy Father presided at Mass for the souls of cardinals and bishops who died during this last year. “In this earth they loved their bride the Church, and we pray that in God they may enjoy full joy in the communion of saints”, he said. “As we ask for that they be rewarded as 'good and faithful servants', we are called up to renew our decision to serve the Church. … Those who serve and give may be seen to 'lose' in the eyes of the world, but in reality, losing life, they rediscover it. A life given away in love, imitates Christ: it defeats death and gives life to the world. He who serves, saves. On the contrary, he who does not live to serve, does not serve to live”.

“This is how the Son of God lowered Himself to us, stooping like a servant to us to take on all that is ours, to the point of throwing open the doors to life. … This style of God, Who saves us by serving us and annihilating Himself, has much to teach us. We imagine a triumphal divine victory; instead Jesus shows us a very humble victory. Raised on the cross, He lets evil and death beset him, while He continues to love. For us it is difficult to accept this. It is a mystery, but the secret of this mystery, of this extraordinary humility, consists entirely in the strength of love. … In this way Jesus not only takes away evil, but also transforms it into good. He does not change things with words, but with actions; not in appearance, but in substance; not on the surface, but at the root. He transforms the cross into a bridge to life. We too can be victorious with Him, it we choose dutiful and humble love, that remains victorious for eternity. It is a love that does not shout and does not impose itself, but rather knows how to wait with trust and patience since, as the Book of Lamentations reminds us, “it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord”.

“As we offer this Mass for the our dear brother cardinals and bishops, let us ask for ourselves what the apostle Paul exhorts us to do: 'Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things'. May the resurrection of the Lord be enough to let us be free of the worries of ephemeral things, that pass and vanish into nothing. May He be enough for us, He in whom there is life, salvation, resurrection and joy. Then we will be servants according to His heart, not functionaries who offer their services, but rather beloved children who give their life for the world”.

The Pope's profound sorrow at the fire in a Bucharest discotheque

Vatican City, 3 November 2015 (VIS) – Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin has sent a telegram of condolences on behalf of Pope Francis to the president of Romania, Klaus Werner Iohannis, following a fire in a discotheque in Bucharest last weekend in which 27 people died and over 180 were injured.

The Holy Father expresses his profound sadness for the tragic accident in which so many young people lost their lives, and assures his spiritual closeness to the families of the victims, the government authorities and the entire nation, entrusting the deceased to the mercy of the Lord.

Holy See Press Office Communique

Vatican City, 3 November 2015 (VIS) – Early yesterday afternoon, 2 November, the Holy See Press Office issued the following communique:

“As part of criminal investigations by the Vatican Gendarmerie that have been underway for several months, involving the removal and dissemination of news and confidential documents, last Saturday and Sunday two individuals were called in for questioning on the basis of the evidence gathered.

The individuals are an ecclesiastic, Msgr. Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda and Francesca Immacolata Chaouqui, who in the past were respectively secretary and member of COSEA (Commission charged to study and address the organisation of Economic-Administrative Structure of the Holy See, established by the Pope in July 2013 and subsequently dissolved after the completion of its mandate).

Following the results of the interrogation the two people were held in detention in view of the continuing investigation. Today the Office of the Promoter of Justice, Professor Advocate Gian Piero Milano, Promoter of Justice, and Professor Roberto Zannotti, Assistant Promoter of Justice, has validated the arrest of the above individuals, but they released Dr. Chaouqui, against whom there were no precautionary requirements and also due to the fact that she cooperated with the investigation.

The position of Monsignor Vallejo Balda remains under consideration by the Office of the Promoter of Justice.

It should be remembered that disclosure of information and confidential documents is an offence under Law no. IX of the Vatican City State (13 July 2013) Article 10 (art. 116 bis C.P. ).

As for the books announced for publication in the the next few days, let it be clearly stated at this time, as in the past, that such actions are a serious betrayal of trust granted by the Pope and with regard to the authors, an operation intended to take advantage of a grave offence, the unlawful delivery of confidential documents. The legal implications and possible penalties currently being studied by the Office of the Promoter of Justice with a view to possible further measures involving international cooperation. if necessary. Publications of this kind do not contribute in any way to establish clarity and truth, but rather to create confusion and partial and tendentious interpretations. We must certainly avoid the mistake of thinking that this is a way to help the mission of the Pope”.

The Pope prays for the deceased in the Vatican Grottoes

Vatican City, 3 November 2015 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon, as is traditional on All Souls' Day, the Holy Father went down to the Vatican Grottoes to pray privately for the Popes buried there, and for all deceased.

Mass in Verano cemetery: the Beatitudes are the way to happiness

Vatican City, 1 November 2015 (VIS) – This afternoon, on the Solemnity of All Saints, Pope Francis celebrated Holy Mass in the monumental cemetery of Verano, followed by a prayer for the deceased and the blessing of the tombs. The cardinal vicar of Rome, Agostino Vallini, Archbishop Filippo Iannone, vice regent of the diocese of Rome and pastor of San Lorenzo Outside-the-Walls, and Fr. Armando Ambrosi concelebrated with the Holy Father.

The Pope dedicated his homily to the Sermon on the Mount, when Jesus taught the Beatitudes, the way to true happiness, to the disciples and the multitude gathered on the hill by the Sea of Galilee. “It is a difficult path to understand as it goes against the grain, but the Lord tells us that he who takes this path is happy; sooner or later he finds happiness”.

“'Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven'. We might ask ourselves how a person who is poor of heart, whose only treasure is the Kingdom of Heaven, can be happy. But the reason is precisely this: that having a despoiled heart, free of many worldly things, this person is 'awaited' in the Kingdom of Heaven”.

“'Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted'. He who in life has not experienced sadness, anguish and pain will never know the strength of consolation. Happy instead are all those who have the capacity to be moved, to feel the pain that is in their life and in the life of others. They will be happy, because the tender hand of God the Father will console and caress them”.

“'Blessed are the meek'. On the contrary, we are so often impatient, nervous, ready to complain. We make so many demands of others, but when it is our turn, we react by raising our voice, as if we were the owners of the world, while in reality we are all children of God”.

“'Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be satisfied'. Those who have a strong sense of justice, and not only towards others, but first of all towards themselves, they will be satisfied, because they are ready to receive the greatest justice, which only God can give”.

“And then, 'blessed are the merciful, because they will obtain mercy'. Happy are those who are able to forgive, who have mercy on others, who do not judge everything and everyone, but who try to put themselves in the shoes of other people. Forgiveness what we all need, without exception. This is why, at the beginning of Mass we recognise ourselves for what we are, sinners”.

“'Blessed are the peacemakers, because they will be called sons of God'. Let us look at the faces of those who go around sowing discord: are they happy? Those who always seek occasions to embroil, to take advantage of others, are they happy? No, they cannot be happy. Instead those who every day seek with patience to sow peace, are architects of peace, of reconciliation: these are blessed, because they are true children of our Father in Heaven, who always and only sows peace, sending His Son into the world as a seed of peace for humanity”.

“This is the way of holiness, and it is the very way of happiness”, concluded the Holy Father. “It is the way that Jesus followed; or rather, He himself is Way. Those who walk with Him and pass through Him enter into life, eternal life. Let us ask of the Lord the grace to be simple and humble persons, the grace to be able to weep, the grace to be meek, the grace to work for justice and peace, and above all the grace to allow ourselves to be forgiven by God so as to become instruments of His mercy. This is what all the Saints did, those who have preceded us in the celestial homeland. May they accompany us on our earthly pilgrimage and encourage us to go forward”.

Angelus: love and compassion are stronger than death

Vatican City, 1 November 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father appeared at the window of his study in the Vatican Apostolic Palace at midday today to pray the Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square on the solemnity of All Saints. “Today, we feel the reality of the communion of saints to be particularly alive – our great family, made up of all the members of the Church, both those of us who are still pilgrims on earth, and those – far more in number – who have already left and gone on to Heaven”.

Francis recalled the characteristics of the saints, as they are presented in the Book of Revelation. “They are people who belong totally to God, ... a multitude of the 'chosen' clothed in white and marked with the 'seal of God'”, and explained the meaning of bearing this seal – that “in Jesus Christ we have truly become children of God”. He asked, “Are we aware of this great gift? We are all children of God! Do we remember that in Baptism we have received the 'seal' of our Heavenly Father and became His children? ... Here is the root of the vocation to holiness. The saints we remember today are indeed those who lived in the grace of their Baptism, who kept the 'seal' intact, behaving as children of God, seeking to imitate Jesus; and now they have reached their goal because they finally 'see God as he really is'”.

Their second characteristic is that they are “examples to imitate. … Not only those who are canonised, but, so to speak, the saints 'next door' who, with the grace of God, made the effort to practice the Gospel in the ordinariness of their life. ... To imitate their gestures of love and mercy is rather like perpetuating their presence in this world. Indeed, those evangelical gestures are the only ones that resist the destruction of death: an act of tenderness, a generous help, time spent listening, a visit, a good word, a smile. … To our eyes these gestures might seem insignificant, but in God’s eyes they are eternal, because love and compassion are stronger than death”.

Francis to open the Holy Door of the cathedral of Bangui

Vatican City, 1 November 2015 (VIS) – After today's Marian Angelus prayer, the Pope referred to the delicate situation in the Central African Republic following the painful events of recent days, and launched an appeal to the parties involved to put an end to this cycle of violence. “I am spiritually close to the Combonian Fathers of the parish of Our Lady of Fatima in Bangui, which is welcoming many displaced people. I express my solidarity with the Church, other religious confessions and the entire nation, so sorely tried, as they make every effort to overcome divisions and to re-embark on the path of peace”.

“To show the prayerful closeness of all the Church to this afflicted and tormented nation, and to exhort all Central Africans increasingly to be witnesses of mercy and reconciliation, I intend to open the Holy Door of the Cathedral of Bangui on Sunday 29 November, during the apostolic trip I hope to make to this nation”.

Pope's telegram of condolences for the victims of the Sinai air crash

Vatican City, 1 November 2015 (VIS) – Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin has sent a telegram of condolences to the president of the Russian Federation Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin on behalf of the Holy Father, following the crash of a Russian airliner in the Egyptian Sinai peninsula yesterday, 31 October, causing over 200 deaths.

In the text, the Pope expresses his sadness at learning of the tragic event, and conveys his condolences to the president and the Russian people. He assures his prayers for all the deceased and for those who mourn their loss, and invokes the strength and peace of Almighty God upon the nation and all those involved in the recovery efforts.

Audience with the president of Macedonia

Vatican City, 31 October 2015 (VIS) – This morning the Holy Father Francis received in audience in the Vatican Apostolic Palace His Excellency Mr. Gjorge Ivanov, president of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, who subsequently met with His Eminence Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, secretary for Relations with States.

During the discussions, which took place in a cordial atmosphere, the Parties expressed their satisfaction at the existing good bilateral relations, and their hope for the realisation of the country’s aspirations and increasing efforts to join the European Union.

Attention then turned to various themes of international politics in the current global context, also in relation to persistent difficulties of an economic and social nature, and the need for joint efforts to offer assistance to the great number of refugees arriving in the region.

Finally, the Parties recognised the importance of further encouraging the co-existence of and dialogue between the various ethnic and religious groups in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

The Pope to business leaders: increase an entrepreneurial spirit of subsidiarity

Vatican City, 31 October 2015 (VIS) – This morning in the Paul VI Hall, the Pope received seven thousand members of the Christian Union of Business Executives (UCID), a group of Catholic entrepreneurs who seek to be agents of development for the common good, inspired above all by the Social Doctrine of the Church. The UCID, which is an ecclesial association recognised by bishops, grants great importance to Christian formation and carries out its apostolate in the field of work and enterprise.

In his address, the Holy Father exhorts the members of UCID to live their entrepreneurial vocation in the spirit of the lay mission, emphasising that businesses and their managing offices can become “places of sanctification” through common commitment to building fraternal relations between entrepreneurs, managers and workers, promoting co-responsibility and collaboration in mutual interest. “It is fundamental to pay special attention to the quality of the working life of employees, who are the most precious resource of a business, and in particular to favour harmonisation between work and family life”, he added. “I think especially of female workers: the challenge is to protect both their right to fully recognised work and and their vocation to maternity and presence within the family”. Another important aspect, Francis remarked, is the “responsibility of businesses in the defence and care of creation and the realisation of progress that is 'healthier, more human, more social, more integral'”.

The call to be missionaries of the social dimension of the Gospel in the world of work, the economy and enterprise implies “openness and evangelical closeness to the many situations of poverty and fragility”, encouraging programmes for development and assistance. However, it is not enough to provide charitable aid, the Pope adds. “It is necessary to guide economic activity in an evangelical sense, that is, at the service of the person and the common good. From this point of view you are called upon to cooperate to promote the growth of an entrepreneurial spirit of subsidiarity, to face ethical and market challenges together, and above all the challenge of creating good work opportunities”.

“The business is an asset of common interest. While it may be a private asset, managed privately, for the simple fact that it pursues aims of general interest and relevance, such as economic development, innovation and employment, it must be protected as an asset in its own right. This protection must be provided firstly by the institutions, but also by entrepreneurs, economics, financial bodies and banks, and all those involved must act with competence, honesty and a sense of responsibility. The economy and business need ethics in order to function correctly; and not merely any ethical code, but rather one that places the person and the community at the forefront”, the Holy Father concluded.

Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, Pope's special envoy to the 500th anniversary of the arrival of the sacred image of the Madonna at Lask

Vatican City, 31 October 2015 (VIS) – In a letter published today, written in Latin and dated 12 October, the Holy Father appoints Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Catholic Education, as his special envoy to the closing celebration of the 500th anniversary of the arrival from Rome of the sacred image of the “Madonna of Lask” in the sanctuary of the same name in the archdiocese of Lodz, Poland, to take place on Sunday 8 November.

The mission accompanying the cardinal will be composed of Msgr. Tadeusz Ciupinski, canon of the Collegiate Chapter in Lask, and Msgr. Zbigniew Tracz, canon of the Cathedral Chapter in Lodz.

The Pope ordains new auxiliary bishop of Rome in the Basilica of St. John Lateran

Vatican City, 3 November 2015 (VIS) – The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff today announced that on Monday 9 November at 5 p.m. in the papal Basilica of St. John Lateran the Pope will confer episcopal ordination to Msgr. Angelo De Donatis of the clergy of the diocese of Rome. Appointed as auxiliary bishop of Rome on 14 September 2015, Msgr. De Donatis was born in 1954 in Casarano, Italy.


Vatican City, 31 October 2015 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in separate audiences:

- Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith;

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

Other Pontifical Acts

Vatican City, 3 November 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed:

- Bishop Pedro Maria Laxague, auxiliary of Bahia Blanca, Argentina, as bishop of Zarate-Campana (area 5,924, population 728,000, Catholics 660,000, priests 88, permanent deacons 13, religious 178), Argentina. He succeeds Bishop Oscar Domingo Sarlinga, whose resignation in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law was accepted by the Holy Father.

- appointed Fr. Carlos Azpiroz Costa, O.P., as coadjutor archbishop of Bahia Blanca (area 82,625, population 757,000, Catholics 647,000, priests 83, permanent deacons 18, religious 202), Argentina. Fr. Azpiroz Costa, O.P., was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1956, gave his religious vows in 1984 and was ordained a priest in 1987. He holds a bachelor's degree in philosophy from the University of the North “Santo Tomas de Aquino” (UNSTA) in the Argentine Dominican province, a bachelor's degree in theology from the Pontifical Argentine Catholic University, and a doctorate in canon law from the University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum), Rome. He has served in a number of roles within his order, most notably as Master General, and as a lecturer at the University FASTA of Mar del Plata, Argentina. He is currently superior of the Dominican community of Mar del Plata.

On Saturday, 31 October, the Holy Father:

- appointed Fr. Abel Szocska, O.S.B.M., as apostolic administrator sede vacante of the eparchy of Nyiregyhaza, Hungary, for Catholis of Byzantine rite, without episcopal rank. Fr. Szocska was born in Vinohradiu, Nagyszolos, Ukraine in 1972, gave his religious vows in 2001 and was ordained a priest in the same year. He is currently provincial superior of the Basilian Fathers in Hungary, pastor of the parish of Mariapocs, and protosyncellus of the eparchy of Miskolc.

- gave his assent to the canonical election by the Synod of Bishops of the Maronite Church of Fr. Joseph Tobji as archbishop of Aleppo of the Maronites, Syria. The bishop-elect was born in 1971 and was ordained a priest in 1996. He holds a licentiate in canon law from the Pontifical Urbanian University and has served as chaplain and parish priest, and as promoter of justice and defender of the bond in a number of ecclesiastical tribunals. He is currently secretary of the Assembly of Catholic Bishops.

- accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the diocese of Elblag, Poland, presented by Bishop Jozef Wysocki upon reaching the age limit.
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