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Thursday, January 14, 2016

Merciful like the Father: message for the Jubilee of Mercy for the young

Vatican City, 14 January 2016 (VIS) – Pope Francis' message for the Jubilee of Mercy for young boys and girls was published today. In the text, dated 6 January 2016, Solemnity of the Epiphany, the Holy Father addresses young boys and girls aged 13 to 16, many of whom intend to make a pilgrimage to Rome from 23 to 25 April, and who are "preparing to be Christians capable of making courageous choices and decisions, in order to build daily, even through little things, a world of peace", and encourages those who live in difficult situations not to lose hope as the Lord "has a great dream" for them that He wishes to come true. He invites them not to be "taken in by the messages of hatred or terror all around us", and instead to make new friendships.

The following is the full text of the Message:

"Dear Young Friends,

The Church is celebrating the Holy Year of Mercy, a time of grace, peace, conversion and joy. It is meant for everyone: people of every age, from far and near. There are no walls or distances which can prevent the Father’s mercy from reaching and embracing us. The Holy Door is now open in Rome and in all the dioceses of the world.

This grace-filled moment also concerns you, dear young people. I encourage you to take an active part in this celebration and to realise that each of you is a child of God. I would like to invite you, one by one, calling you by name, as Jesus does each day. For you know that your names are written in heaven, in the heart of the Father, that Merciful Heart which is the source of all reconciliation and kindness.

The Jubilee is a year-long celebration, in which every moment becomes a chance for us to grow in holiness. It is a time when we can discover that life together as brothers and sisters is like a great party, perhaps the most beautiful party we can imagine, the endless party that Jesus has taught us to celebrate by his Spirit. The Jubilee is the party to which Jesus invites us all, without excluding anyone. That is why I also wanted to have some days of prayer and celebration with you. I am looking forward to seeing many of you in April.

'Merciful like the Father'. This is the theme of the Jubilee, but it is also the prayer we make for all of you as we welcome you in the name of Jesus. To be merciful means to grow in a love which is courageous, generous and real. It means to grow physically and spiritually. You are preparing to be Christians capable of making courageous choices and decisions, in order to build daily, even through little things, a world of peace.

Yours is a time of life which is full of amazing changes. Everything seems possible and impossible all at once. I repeat what I said to some of your friends: 'Remain steadfast in the journey of faith, with firm hope in the Lord. This is the secret of our journey! He gives us the courage to swim against the tide. Pay attention, my young friends: to go against the current; this is good for the heart, but we need courage to swim against the tide. Jesus gives us this courage! … With Him we can do great things; He will give us the joy of being His disciples, His witnesses. Commit yourselves to great ideals, to the most important things. We Christians were not chosen by the Lord for little things; push onwards toward the highest principles. Stake your lives on noble ideals'.

Here I cannot forget those of you who are living in situations of war, extreme poverty, daily troubles and loneliness. Don’t ever lose hope! The Lord has a great dream which, with your help, He wants to come true! Your friends, young people your age living in less trying conditions than your own, have not forgotten you; they are working for peace and justice for everyone everywhere. Don’t be taken in by the messages of hatred or terror all around us. Instead, make new friends. Give of your time and always show concern for those who ask your help. Be brave and go against the tide; be friends of Jesus, Who is the Prince of Peace. 'Everything in him speaks of mercy. Nothing in him is devoid of compassion'.

I realise that not all of you can come to Rome, but the Jubilee is truly for everyone and it is also being celebrated in your local Churches. You are all invited to this moment of joy. Don’t just prepare your rucksacks and your banners, but your hearts and your minds as well. Think carefully about the hope and desires you will hand over to Jesus in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and in the Eucharist which we will celebrate together. As you walk through the Holy Door, remember that you are committing yourselves to grow in holiness and to draw nourishment from the Gospel and the Eucharist, the Word and the Bread of life, in order to help build a more just and fraternal world.

May the Lord bless your journey towards the Holy Door. I pray that the Holy Spirit will guide your steps and enlighten you. For you and your families, and for all who help you to grow in goodness and in grace, may the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of us all, be true Door of Mercy".

Apostolic almoner: afternoon at the circus for the homeless

Vatican City, 14 January 2016 (VIS) – The Apostolic Almoner reports that this afternoon a group of homeless people, refugees, prisoners and people living in poverty, will have the opportunity to attend a circus show offered by the Rony Roller Circus, which will make two thousand seats available for the event.

The show will begin with a song dedicated to Pope Francis by a Spanish singer-songwriter, also homeless, which will serve as the opening prayer. The Holy Father, during a general audience in 2015, commented that circus performers are "creators of beauty", which is good for the soul and which we are greatly in need of. This gift, offered by circus artistes, who with consistency, commitment and many sacrifices manage to create and give beauty to themselves and others, may encourage our poorest brethren to overcome to hardships of life.

In addition, during this charitable event, the attendees will have the opportunity to be assisted by doctors and nurses from the Vatican Health Services who will be present with a dedicated Vatican camper van and ambulances.

Vatican parishes welcome refugees

Vatican City, 14 January 2016 (VIS) – As our readers will recall, following the Angelus prayer on Sunday 6 September 2015, the Holy Father invited all parishes to host a family of refugees, starting in the diocese of Rome.

The two Vatican parishes, St. Anna and St. Peter, immediately took steps to respond to this invitation, in collaboration with the Apostolic Almoner Archbishop Konrad Krajewski and the Sant'Egidio Community. The St. Anna parish community in the Borgo area hosts a Syrian family made up of a couple with two children.

Similarly, the parish of St. Peter's Basilica, in a large apartment situated in the area of Via Gregorio VII, hosts an Eritrean family composed of a mother and five children, three of whom are already with her in the apartment. Her other two children are still in a refugee camp in Ethiopia, but the Sant'Egidio Community is working to reunite the family by the end of the month or within a few weeks. The youngest child, just a few months old, was born in Norway where the family had arrived, and from where they were sent back to Italy in accordance with the Dublin Convention. The family shares the apartment with a young friend and her young son.


Vatican City, 14 January 2016 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:

- Archbishop Giovanni D'Aniello, apostolic nuncio in Brazil;

- Archbishop Marek Zalewski, apostolic nuncio in Zimbabwe;

- Archbishop Hector Miguel Cabrejos Vidarte of Trujillo, Bishop Norbert Klemens Strotmann Hoppe of Chosica and Bishop Robert Francis Prevost of Chiclayo, Peru;

- Jean Todt, president of the Federation Internationale d'Automobile (FIA), and entourage,

- Fabrizio Palenzona, president of the "Aeroporti di Roma", and entourage;

- Maria Romana De Gasperi, honorary president of the De Gasperi Foundation;

- Community of the Collegio Sacerdotale Argentino in Rome.

Other Pontifical Acts

Vatican City, 14 January 2016 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed:

- accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Mannar, Sri Lanka presented by Bishop Rayappu Joseph upon reaching the age limit. He appointed Bishop Joseph Kingsley Swampillai, emeritus of Trincomalee, Sri Lanka, as apostolic administrator of the same diocese.

- given his assent to the canonical election by the Synod of Bishops of the Greek-Catholic Ukrainian Church of Fr. Volodymyr Hrutsa, C.Ss.R., as auxiliary bishop of Lviv (area 3,767, population 1,067,200, Catholics 730,525, priests 468, permanent deacons 4, religious 513), Ukraine. The bishop-elect was born in Dobromyl, Ukraine in 1976, gave his religious vows in 2000 and was ordained a priest in 2001. He holds a doctorate in dogmatic theology from the University of Innsbruck, Austria and has served in a number of roles within his congregation, including director of studies of the Province of Lviv and master of novices of the same province, and lecturer of dogmatic theology at the Catholic University of Ukraine, the major seminary of Lviv and the seminary of Basilian fathers in Bryukhovychi.
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