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Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Pope decrees that not only men may be chosen for the washing of the feet in the Liturgy of Holy Thursday

Vatican City, 21 January 2016 (VIS) – The Holy Father has written a letter, dated 20 December 2014 and published today, to Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, in which he decrees that from now on, the people chosen for the washing of the feet in the liturgy of Holy Thursday may be selected from all the People of God, and not only men and boys.

The Pope writes to the cardinal that he has for some time reflected on the "rite of the washing of the feet contained in the Liturgy of the Mass in Coena Domini, with the intention of improving the way in which it is performed so that it might express more fully the meaning of Jesus' gesture in the Cenacle, His giving of Himself unto the end for the salvation of the world, His limitless charity".

"After careful consideration", he continues, "I have decided to make a change to the Roman Missal. I therefore decree that the section according to which those persons chosen for the Washing of the feet must be men or boys, so that from now on the Pastors of the Church may choose the participants in the rite from among all the members of the People of God. I also recommend that an adequate explanation of the rite itself be provided to those who are chosen".

The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments has today published a decree on the aforementioned rite, dated 6 January 2016, the full text of which is published below:

"The reform of the Holy Week, by the decree Maxima Redemptionis nostrae mysteria of November 1955, provides the faculty, where counselled by pastoral motives, to perform the washing of the feet of twelve men during the Mass of the Lord's Supper, after the reading of the Gospel according to John, as if almost to represent Christ's humility and love for His disciples.

In the Roman liturgy this rite was handed down with the name of the Mandatum of the Lord on brotherly charity in accordance with Jesus' words, sung in the Antiphon during the celebration.

In performing this rite, bishops and priests are invited to conform intimately to Christ who 'came not to be served but to serve' and, driven by a love 'to the end', to give His life for the salvation of all humankind.

To manifest the full meaning of the rite to those who participate in it, the Holy Father Francis has seen fit to change the rule by in the Roman Missal (p.300, No. 11) according to which the chosen men are accompanied by the ministers, which must therefore be modified as follows: 'Those chosen from among the People of God are accompanied by the ministers' (and consequently in the Caeremoniale Episcoporum No. 301 and No. 299 b referring to the seats for the chosen men, so that pastors may choose a group of faithful representing the variety and unity of every part of the People of God. This group may consist of men and women, and ideally of the young and the old, healthy and sick, clerics, consecrated persons and laypeople.

This Congregation for Divine Worship and the Disipline of the Sacraments, by means of the faculties granted by the Supreme Pontiff, introduces this innovation in the liturgical books of the Roman Rite, recalling pastors of their duty to instruct adequately both the chosen faithful and others, so that they may participate in the rite consciously, actively and fruitfully".

Pilgrimage to shrines: an eloquent expression of faith

Vatican City, 21 January 2016 (VIS) – "Making a pilgrimage to shrines is one of the most eloquent expressions of the faith of a people for God … This popular religiosity is an authentic form of evangelisation that must be promoted and emphasised, without minimising its importance", said Pope Francis this morning as he received in the Paul VI Hall three thousand leaders of pilgrimages and rectors of shrines, participating in the Jubilee.

"It would be a mistake to think that those who go on a pilgrimage live a spirituality that is not personal but rather of the 'masses'. The reality is that the pilgrim carries within him hos own history and faith, and the lights and shadows of his own life. Each person carries within his or her heart a special wish and a particular prayer. Those who enter the shrine immediately feel they are at home, welcomed, understood and supported. … Therefore, the key word I would like to underline today with you is 'welcome'. … An affectionate, celebratory, cordial and patient welcome. … Jesus spoke about welcome, but most of all He practised it. When we read that sinners such as Matthew and Zacchaeus welcomed Jesus in their home and at their table, it is because they felt welcomed first by Jesus, and this had changed their lives".

Francis commented that the pilgrim often reaches a sanctuary tired, hungry and thirsty. "And very often this physical condition reflects the inner condition", he observed. "Therefore, every person needs to be welcomed well both materially and spiritually. … Whoever they may be, young or old, rich or poor, sick and troubled or simply a curious tourist, we must find the right way to welcome them, because in each one of them there is a heart that seeks God, at times without being fully aware".

Finally, he said that priests offer a special welcome in these shrines as ministers of God's forgiveness, as the shrine is the "house of forgiveness, where each person encounters the tenderness of the Father who is merciful to all, without excluding anyone. Those who approach the confessional do so because they repent of their sins. … Priests who carry out their mission in sanctuaries must always have a heart full of mercy: their attitude must be that of a father".

Pope's message to the World Economic Forum: "Do not forget the poor"

Vatican City, 21 January 2016 (VIS) – "Do not forget the poor", writes Pope Francis to the founder and executive president of the World Economic Forum, Klaus Schwab, in the message he sent tot he annual meeting of the forum that opened yesterday in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, on the theme " Mastering the Fourth Industrial Revolution". In the text, which was consigned by Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council "Justice and Peace", the Pope emphasises that this "revolution" has been accompanied by unemployment affecting millions of people, and expresses his hope that the development of advanced technologies may lead to the creation of dignified work for all, the consolidation of economic rights and the defence of the environment.

The Holy Father also warns against the danger that a culture of prosperity numbs people, rendering them insensitive to the problems of others, and reiterates that business activity is a noble vocation directed towards the production of wealth and the improvement of the world for all, when it is understood as a service to the common good. He concludes by expressing his hope that the World Economic Forum may be a platform for the defence and protection of creation, as well as for the achievement of a "healthier, more human, more social, more integral" progress.

Pope Francis begins by offering to Klaus Schwab his good wishes "for the fruitfulness of this meeting, which seeks to encourage continuing social and environmental responsibility through a constructive dialogue on the part of government, business and civic leaders, as well as distinguished representatives of the political, financial and cultural sectors".

"The dawn of the so-called 'fourth industrial revolution' has been accompanied by a growing sense of the inevitability of a drastic reduction in the number of jobs. The latest studies conducted by the International Labour Organisation indicate that unemployment presently affects hundreds of millions of people. The financialisation and technologisation of national and global economies have produced far-reaching changes in the field of labour. Diminished opportunities for useful and dignified employment, combined with a reduction in social security, are causing a disturbing rise in inequality and poverty in different countries. Clearly there is a need to create new models of doing business which, while promoting the development of advanced technologies, are also capable of using them to create dignified work for all, to uphold and consolidate social rights, and to protect the environment. Man must guide technological development, without letting himself be dominated by it".

"To all of you I appeal once more: 'Do not forget the poor!' This is the primary challenge before you as leaders in the business world. Those who have the means to enjoy a decent life, rather than being concerned with privileges, must seek to help those poorer than themselves to attain dignified living conditions, particularly through the development of their human, cultural, economic and social potential. We must never allow the culture of prosperity to deaden us, to make us incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people’s pain, and sensing the need to help them, as though all this were someone else’s responsibility and not our own. Weeping for other people’s pain does not only mean sharing in their sufferings, but also and above all realising that our own actions are a cause of injustice and inequality. Let us open our eyes, then, and see the misery of the world, the wounds of our brothers and sisters who are denied their dignity, and let us recognise that we are compelled to heed their cry for help. May we reach out to them and support them so they can feel the warmth of our presence, our friendship, and our fraternity. May their cry become our own, and together may we break down the barriers of indifference that too often reign supreme and mask our hypocrisy and egoism".

Once we realise this, he continues, "we become more fully human, since responsibility for our brothers and sisters is an essential part of our common humanity. Do not be afraid to open your minds and hearts to the poor. In this way, you will give free rein to your economic and technical talents, and discover the happiness of a full life, which consumerism of itself cannot provide. In the face of profound and epochal changes, world leaders are challenged to ensure that the coming 'fourth industrial revolution', the result of robotics and scientific and technological innovations, does not lead to the destruction of the human person – to be replaced by a soulless machine – or to the transformation of our planet into an empty garden for the enjoyment of a chosen few. On the contrary, the present moment offers a precious opportunity to guide and govern the processes now under way, and to build inclusive societies based on respect for human dignity, tolerance, compassion and mercy. I urge you, then, to take up anew your conversation on how to build the future of the planet, 'our common home', and I ask you to make a united effort to pursue a sustainable and integral development".

"As I have often said, and now willingly reiterate, business is a noble vocation, directed to producing wealth and improving our world, especially if it sees the creation of jobs as an essential part of its service to the common good. As such, it has a responsibility to help overcome the complex crisis of society and the environment, and to fight poverty. This will make it possible to improve the precarious living conditions of millions of people and bridge the social gap which gives rise to numerous injustices and erodes fundamental values of society, including equality, justice and solidarity".

"In this way, through the preferred means of dialogue, the World Economic Forum can become a platform for the defence and protection of creation and for the achievement of a progress which is healthier, more human, more social, more integral with due regard also for environmental goals and the need to maximise efforts to eradicate poverty as set forth in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and in the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change".

The Year of Consecrated Life comes to an end

Vatican City, 21 January 2016 (VIS) – The Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Lfie and the Societies of Apostolic Life (CIVCSVA) has announced the events relating to the conclusion of the Year of Consecrated Life, to be held from 28 January to 2 February in Rome, which are expected to be attended by more than four thousand consecrated persons from all over the world.

On the theme "Consecrated life in communion. The common foundation in the variety of forms", on these days there will be meetings, prayer vigils, times for regrouping and examining in greater depth the specifics of each form, looking prophetically towards the future".

The aims of the meeting are to get to know better the great mosaic of consecrated life, to live communion rediscovering the single call uniting the variety of forms (Ordo Virginum, monastic life, apostolic institutes, secular institutes, new institutes and new forms of consecrated life), starting out together on the path of the great Jubilee of Mercy that once more gives all consecrated persons the specific mandate of their vocation: to be guided by the Father's mercy, witnesses and builders of an authentically lived fraternity.

The first event will take place on 28 January: a vigil in St. Peter's Basilica, presided by Archbishop Jose Rodriguez Carballo, secretary of the CIVCSVA, and in which Cardinal Joao Braz De Aviz, prefect of the Congregation, will participate. On 29 January, all consecrated persons will gather in the Paul VI Hall, while on 30 and 31 January, in five locations in Rome, representatives of each form of consecrated life will meet to explore in greater depth various specific aspects of their vocation. They will subsequently meet in the Paul VI Hall again on 1 February, for an audience with the Holy Father and the Oratory "On the trail of beauty", directed by Msgr. Marco Frisina.

The events will end on 2 February with the morning Jubilee pilgrimage and the Eucharistic celebration for the twentieth World Day of Consecreted Life, celebrated by Pope Francis.

Cardinal Maung Bo, papal legate at the International Eucharistic Conference of the Philippines

Vatican City, 21 January 2016 (VIS) - In a letter published today, written in Latin and dated 18 November, the Holy Father appoints Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, S.D.B., archbishop of Yangon, Myanmar, as papal legate at the 51st National Eucharistic Congress of the Philippines, to be held in Cebu from 24 to 31 January 2016.

The mission accompanying the cardinal will be composed of Fr. Dominic Bar Bu, special secretary for the papal delegation, and Fr. Marvin Mejia, general secretary of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines.


Vatican City, 21 January 2016 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:

- Archbishop Eliseo Antonio Ariotti, apostolic nuncio in Paraguay;

- Robert Compaore, ambassador of Burkina Faso, presenting his credential letters;

- Bishop Ruben Oscar Frassia of Avellaneda-Lanus, Argentina;

- Friars from the Abbey of the Tre Fontane in Rome, with the lambs that will be blessed on the feast of St. Agnes, and whose wool will be used to weave the pallium the Holy Father will impose upon the metropolitan archbishops on 29 June, solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul.

Other Pontifical Acts

Vatican City, 21 January 2016 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed:

- Rev. Can. Marco Brunetti as bishop of Alba (area 1,050, population 157,526, Catholics 142,526, priests 137, permanent deacons 10, religious 293), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Turin, Italy in 1962 and ordained a priest in 1987. He holds a licentiate in theology and health pastoral ministry, and has served as parish priest, member of the Presbyterium and of the national council for health pastoral ministry.

- Msgr. Giuseppe Russo, Italy, as under-secretary of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA).
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