|BE PASTORS NOT FUNCTIONARIES, POPE SAYS TO NEW PRIESTS|
Vatican City, 21 April 2013 (VIS) – This morning in St. Peter's Basilica, Pope Francis conferred priestly ordination upon ten deacons from several Roman diocesan seminaries: the Major Seminary, the Seminary of the Oblates, the sanctuary of the Virgin of Divine Love, and the Redemptoris Mater Seminary. Concelebrating with the Holy Father were Cardinal Agostino Vallini, vicar general of His Holiness for Rome, Archbishop Filippo Iannone, O. Carm., vice gerent of the diocese of Rome, auxiliary bishops, and the superiors of the seminaries from which the new priests came.
The homily delivered by the Bishop of Rome was based on the one that appears in the Pontificale Romanum for the ordination of priests, with one or two personal additions, mainly emphasizing the mercy that must characterize the new priests. Following are ample extracts from his homily.
“It is true that God has made his entire holy people a royal priesthood in Christ. Nevertheless, our great Priest himself, Jesus Christ, chose certain disciples to carry out publicly in his name, and on behalf of mankind, a priestly office in the Church. For Christ was sent by the Father and he in turn sent the Apostles into the world, so that through them and their successors, the Bishops, he might continue to exercise his office of Teacher, Priest, and Shepherd. Indeed, priests are established co-workers of the Order of Bishops, with whom they are joined in the priestly office and with whom they are called to the service of the people of God.”
“Now ... you are to be raised to the Order of the Priesthood. For your part you will exercise the sacred duty of teaching in the name of Christ the Teacher. Impart to everyone the Word of God which you have received with joy. Remember your mothers, your grandmothers, your catechists, who gave you the Word of God, the faith ... the gift of faith! ... Meditating on the law of the Lord, see that you believe what you read, that you teach what you believe, and that you practise what you teach. Remember too that the Word of God is not your property: it is the Word of God. And the Church is the custodian of the Word of God.”
“You will exercise in Christ the office of sanctifying. … You will gather others into the people of God through Baptism, and you will forgive sins in the name of Christ and the Church in the sacrament of Penance. Today I ask you in the name of Christ and the Church, never tire of being merciful. You will comfort the sick and the elderly with holy oil: do not hesitate to show tenderness towards the elderly.”
“Remember then that you are taken from among men and appointed on their behalf for those things that pertain to God. Therefore, carry out the ministry of Christ the Priest with constant joy and genuine love, attending not to your own concerns but to those of Jesus Christ. You are pastors, not functionaries. Be mediators, not intermediaries.”
“Finally, dear sons, exercising for your part the office of Christ, Head and Shepherd, while united with the Bishop and subject to him, strive to bring the faithful together into one family, so that you may lead them to God the Father through Christ in the Holy Spirit. Keep always before your eyes the example of the Good Shepherd who came not to be served but to serve, and who came to seek out and save what was lost.”
|REGINA COELI: RECOGNIZING JESUS' VOICE AND FOLLOWING IT|
Vatican City, 21 April 2013 (VIS) – At the end of the Mass celebrated in the Vatican Basilica for the ordination of ten deacons, the Holy Father appeared at the window of his study in the Vatican Apostolic Palace to pray the Regina Coeli with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.
The Pope explained that the fourth Sunday of Easter is characterized by the Gospel of the Good Shepherd, citing the four verses that contain “Jesus' entire message”. “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one” (Jn 10:27-30).
“Jesus wants to establish a relationship with his friends that reflects the one he has with the Father: a relationship of mutual belonging in complete confidence, in intimate communion.” To express this it is necessary to use the image of the sheep who recognize the voice of the shepherd and follow him. “The mystery of the voice is suggestive. Already at our mother's breast we learn to recognize her voice, and that of our father. By someone's tone of voice we can perceive love or contempt, affection or coldness. Jesus' voice is unique! If we learn to distinguish it, He guides us on the path of life, a path that even overcomes the abyss of death.”
However, referring to his sheep, Jesus also says: “My Father, who has given them to me. This is very important. It is a profound mystery that is not easy to understand. If I feel attracted to Jesus, if his voice warms my heart, it is thanks to God the Father who has put this desire for love, for truth, for life, for beauty within me. And Jesus is all this completely. This helps us to understand the mystery of vocation, especially of the call to a special consecration.”
“Today there are many young persons in the piazza,” the pontiff observed. “I want to ask you, has there been a time when you have heard the Lord's voice, who through a desire, a restlessness, has invited you to follow him more closely? … Youth needs to put its high ideals into action. Have you thought of this? … Ask Jesus what He wants of you and be courageous! … Behind and before each vocation to the priesthood or the consecrated life there is always someone's strong and intense prayer: a grandmother, a grandfather,a mother, a father, a community. This is why Jesus said 'ask the master of the harvest—that is, God the Father—to send out labourers for his harvest'. Vocations are born in prayer and from prayer. Only in prayer can they persevere and bear fruit. I would like to emphasize that today is the 'World Day of Prayer for Vocations'. Let us pray in particular for the new priests of the Diocese of Rome who I had the joy or ordaining this morning. … And let us call upon the intercession of Mary, who is the Woman of the 'Yes'. She said 'Yes' her entire life. She learned to recognize Jesus' voice from when she carried him in her womb. May Mary, our Mother, help us to always know better Jesus' voice and to follow it, to walk in the path of life.”
|PATHS OF JUSTICE AND PEACEFUL SOLUTIONS FOR VENEZUELA|
Vatican City, 21 April 2013 (VIS) – After the Regina Coeli, the Pope asked for prayers for those suffering from the political violence in Venezuela and from the earthquake in China.
“I am following attentively the events that are happening in Venezuela,” the Pontiff said. “I accompany them with deep concern, with intense prayer, and with the hope that you will seek and find ways to overcome, with justice and peace, this moment of serious difficulty that the country is undergoing. I call upon the beloved Venezuelan people, especially institutional and political decision makers, to firmly reject any type of violence and to establish a dialogue based in truth, mutual recognition, in the search for the common good, and in love for the Nation. I ask believers to pray and work for reconciliation and peace. Let us join together in a prayer full of hope for Venezuela, placing it in the hands of Our Lady of Coromoto.”
“My thoughts are also with, the pontiff continued, “those who have been affected by the earthquake that struck the south-west of mainland China. We pray for the victims and those who are suffering because of the violent earthquake.”
The Pope also noted that, this afternoon in Sondrio, Italy, Fr. Nicolo Rusca, who lived between the 16th and 17th centuries, will be beatified. “For a long time he was an exemplary pastor in Sondrio and he fell victim to the political-religious conflicts that were afflicting Europe at that time. Let us give thanks to God for his witness.”
Finally, he spoke of the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, which was “born 50 years ago thanks to the happy intuition of Pope Paul VI. I invite everyone to pray that the Lord send many workers to his vineyard. St. Annibale Maria di Francia, apostle of prayer for vocations, remind us of this very important task.”
|POPE WRITES PRESIDENT OF ITALIAN REPUBLIC|
Vatican City, 20 April 2013 (VIS) – Pope Francis has written a telegram to the President of the Italian Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, on the occasion of his re-election.
“At this moment in which you, with ready willingness and a spirit of sacrifice, have again accepted the supreme magistrature of the Italian State as President of the Republic, I wish to express my most sincere and heartfelt best wishes. Wishing that you may continue your enlightened and wise activity, supported by the responsible cooperation of all, I invoke upon your person and your exalted service to the Nation, constant divine assistance. I wholeheartedly impart to you and to the beloved Italian Nation, the Apostolic Blessing, as encouragement to building a future of harmony, solidarity, and hope.”
|TELEGRAM FOR EXPLOSION IN WEST, TEXAS, USA|
Vatican City, 20 April 2013 (VIS) – Following is the text of the telegram sent, on behalf of the Holy Father, by Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone to Bishop Joe S. Vasquez of Austin, Texas, USA for the explosion Wednesday night of a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, USA which has caused 14 deaths and hundreds of wounded to date.
“Saddened by news of the destruction caused by the explosion in West, the Holy Father asks you kindly to convey his heartfelt condolences to the civil authorities and the afflicted families. He prays for the eternal rest of the victims and implores God’s blessings of consolation and peace upon those who mourn and all who generously aid in the continuing work of relief.”
|NEW LIFE IN HISTORIC RUSSIAN CONVENT OF DORMITION OF THE MOTHER OF GOD IN ROME|
Vatican City, 20 April 2013 (VIS) - Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, accompanied by Msgr. Maurizio Malvestiti, under secretary of the same dicastery, visited the Russian Monastery of the Dormition in Rome on the occasion of the arrival of some aspirants to the monastic life these past months.
The cardinal recalled the great richness of the Eastern monastic tradition at the heart of the Church of Rome, called to preside in charity over the entire Church, and offering its prayers in a special way for the intentions of the universal Pastor, Pope Francis. These prayers, the prefect affirmed, will sustain the life of all the Oriental Catholic Churches, which are often beset by suffering and persecution, and they will represent an inestimable assistance on the path toward the reconciliation and unity of all Christians.
The community, which supported itself in the past by creating icons and liturgical vestments for bishops and priests, will resume the activity of its workshops.
The Monastery of the Dormition of Mary (Uspenskij in Slavic) was officially established on 15 December 1957, in realization of the wishes and commitment of the then-secretary of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, Cardinal Eugenio Tisserant, as well as the dedication of the Jesuit fathers. Founded during the years of persecution that the Church behind the Iron Curtain suffered, the monastery was blessed by Pope Pius XII so that it might contribute, with its prayers, to the spiritual rebirth of the Eastern European lands, especially Russia. In an audience granted to Cardinal Tisserant in 1956, he agreed to the establishment in Rome of a Russian monastery for women in order to “beg the clemency of God Almighty toward the Russian peoples”.
The monastery's liturgy, as Cardinal Tisserant desired, is in the Byzantine Rite, always carried out in communion with the Bishop of Rome, who is named seven times in the daily office of prayers. For more than 50 years this prayer has continued without interruption. The monastery has been considered an island of Russia, through which Russian students, prelates, monks, and nuns have passed, feeling themselves at home. One such visitor was the current patriarch of Moscow, Kirill I, who came to know the monastery when he was a young priest.
Vatican City, 22 April 2013 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in separate audiences:
eight prelates of the Umbria region of the Italian Episcopal Conference on their "ad limina" visit:
- Archbishop Gualtiero Bassetti of Perugia-Città della Pieve,
- Archbishop Domenico Sorrentino, bishop of Assisi-Nocera Umbra-Gualdo Tadino,
- Archbishop Renato Boccardo of Spoleto-Norcia,
- Bishop Mario Ceccobelli of Gubbio,
- Bishop Benedetto Tuzia of Orvieto-Todi,
- Bishop Domenico Cancian, F.A.M., of Città di Castello,
- Bishop Gualtiero Sigismondi of Foligno,
- Bishop Ernesto Vecchi, titular Bishop of Lemellefa, Apostolic Administrator of Terni-Narni-Amelia, and
Cardinal George Pell, archbishop of Sydney, Australia.
On Saturday, 20 April, the Holy Father received:
- Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, and
- Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family.