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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

General audience: together, let us take mercy to every part of the world

Vatican City, 20 January 2016 (VIS) – In this morning's general audience, held in the Paul VI Hall, the Holy Father dedicated his catechesis to the Week of Prayer for Christian unity, taking place this year from 18 to 25 January, on the theme "Called to proclaim the mighty acts of the Lord". "The first letter of St. Paul is addressed to the first generation of Christians to make them aware of the gift received in Baptism, and the demands that this involves", said the Pope. "We too, in this Week of Prayer, are invited to rediscover all this, and to do so together, overcoming our divisions. Sharing Baptism means that we are all sinners and that we all need to be saved, redeemed, liberated from evil".

"When we as Christians decide to share one Baptism, we affirm that we all – Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox – share the experience of being called from the unforgiving and alienating darkness, towards the encounter with the living God, full of mercy. We all, unfortunately, experience selfishness, which generates division, closed-mindedness, contempt. Starting over from Baptism means rediscovering the source of mercy, the source of hope for all, because no-one is excluded from God's mercy".

"Sharing this grace creates an indissoluble bond between the Baptised: by virtue of our Baptism we can consider ourselves brothers", he continued. "We are truly the holy people of God, even though, as a result of our sins, we are not yet a fully united people. God's mercy, that works in Baptism, is stronger than our divisions. To the extent that we welcome the grace of mercy, we become ever more fully the people of God, and we also become capable of proclaiming all His wonderful works, starting from a simple and fraternal witness of unity".

"By the grace of Baptism", he concluded, "we have obtained God's mercy and we have been welcomed into His people. We all – Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants – form a royal priesthood and a holy nation. This means that we have a common mission, which is that of transmitting the mercy we have received to others, starting from the poorest and the abandoned". Pope Francis concluded by urging all disciples of Christ to "find a way to collaborate together to take the mercy of the Father to every part of the world".


Vatican City, 20 January 2016 (VIS) – The Holy Father received in audience:

- A Muslim delegation, presenting an official invitation to the Holy Father to attend the Great Mosque in Rome;

- Bishops from Sudan and South Sudan, attending a meeting organised by the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.

Yesterday he received in audience Bishop Cesar Daniel Fernandez of Jujuy, Argentina.

Other Pontifical Acts

Vatican City, 20 January 2016 (VIS) – The Holy Father has:

- appointed Bishop Canisio Klaus of Santa Cruz do Sul, Brazil, as bishop of Sinop (area 191,000, population 650,000, Catholics 534,000, priests 52, permanent deacons 2, religious 69), Brazil. He succeeds Bishop Gentil Delazari, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.

- erected the Maronite apostolic exarchate of Bogota, Colombia.

- appointed Fr. Fadi Abou Chebel, O.M.M., as the first apostolic exarch of the new exarchate of Bogota, Colombia. The bishop-elect was born in Deir al Qamar, Lebanon in 1969, took his solemn vows in 1994 and was ordained a priest in 1995. He holds a licentiate in pastoral theology and has served in a number of pastoral and administrative roles, including deputy priest, spiritual assistant for young seminarians, general director of the Notre Dame college of Louaize, university chaplain and general director of university pastoral ministry in Lebanon.

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