- Year XXII - Num. 091
|- Meeting of the Holy Father with the Heads of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia|
|- Pray for persecuted Christians, says Francis to the women religious in Rome for the canonisation of the Palestinian saints|
|- The Pope canonises four new saints|
|- Regina Coeli: appeal for prayers for Burundi|
|- Francis receives the president of Palestine: the importance of interreligious dialogue and the fight against terrorism|
|- “Never fail to listen to those who knock at your door”, say the Pope to men and women religious in Rome|
|- The Pontifical Council for the Family presents the initiative “The Great Mystery: the Gospel of the family, school of humanity for our times”|
|- Other Pontifical Acts|
|Meeting of the Holy Father with the Heads of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia|
Vatican City, (VIS) – This morning at , in the Sala Bologna of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father met with the heads of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia.
|Pray for persecuted Christians, says Francis to the women religious in Rome for the canonisation of the Palestinian saints|
Vatican City, (VIS) - “I am giving you a mission: pray to the two new saints for peace in your land, so that there may be an end to this interminable war, and to bring peace among peoples”, said Pope Francis this morning as he received in audience the Carmelite Sisters of Bethlehem and the Middle East and the Sisters of the Rosary, in Rome to attend the canonisation of Mary of Jesus Crucified and Marie-Alphonsine Danil Ghattas.
“Pray too for Christians who are persecuted, driven away from their homes and their land, and victims of 'white-gloved' persecution, hidden but present: white-gloved persecution and terrorism. Keep praying for peace”.
The Holy Father, who greeted the women religious during an interval in his meeting with the heads of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia, invited them all to pray a Hail Mary, each in her own language.
|The Pope canonises four new saints|
Vatican City, 17 May 2015 (VIS) - “Each one of Christ’s followers is called to become a witness to His resurrection, above all in those human settings where forgetfulness of God and human disorientation are most evident”, said the Pope in the homily he pronounced during the Mass for the canonisation of four new saints: Jeanne-Emilie de Villeneuve (1811-1854), French nun and founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of Castres; Maria Cristina of the Immaculate Conception (nee Maria Cristina Brando, 1856-1906), Italian nun and founder of the Oblation Sisters of the Holy Sacrament; Marie-Alphonsine Danil Ghattas (nee Maryam Sultanah, 1843-1927), Palestinian co-founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Rosary of Jerusalem; and Mary of Jesus Crucified (nee Maryam Baouardy 1846-1878) Palestinian nun of the Order of Discalced Carmelites. The solemn ceremony, which took place in a packed St. Peter's Square, was attended by more than two thousand Christians from the Middle East, the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal, and an Israeli delegation whom the Pope greeted at the end of the celebration.
In his homily, the Holy Father, citing the Acts of the Apostles, recalls that their mission of announcing Jesus, of whose resurrection they were eyewitnesses, was a community rather than an individual undertaking. Thanks to the witness of the Twelve, many people came to believe; from faith in the risen Lord, Christian communities were born and are born continually. “We too, today, base our faith in the risen Lord on the witness of the Apostles, which has come down to us through the mission of the Church”, he said. “Our faith is firmly linked to their testimony, as to an unbroken chain which spans the centuries, made up not only by the successors of the Apostles, but also by succeeding generations of Christians. Like the Apostles, each one of Christ’s followers is called to become a witness to His resurrection, above all in those human settings where forgetfulness of God and human disorientation are most evident”.
For this to happen, “we need to abide in the risen Christ and in His love, ... like Sister Jeanne Emilie de Villeneuve, who consecrated her life to God and to the poor, the sick, the imprisoned and the exploited, becoming for them and for all a concrete sign of the Lord’s merciful love”. This same love conquered another of the new saints, Sister Maria Cristina Brando, who “from prayer and her intimate encounter with the risen Jesus present in the Eucharist received strength to endure suffering and to give herself, as bread which is broken, to many people who had wandered far from God and yet hungered for authentic love”.
Another essential aspect of witness to the risen Lord is unity among His disciples, in the image of His own unity with the Father. “From this eternal love between the Father and the Son, poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, our mission and our fraternal communion draw strength; this love is the ever-flowing source of our joy in following the Lord along the path of His poverty, His virginity and His obedience; and this same love calls us to cultivate contemplative prayer”. This was the love that Sister Mariam Baouardy experienced: “poor and uneducated, she was able to counsel others and provide theological explanations with extreme clarity, the fruit of her constant dialogue with the Holy Spirit. Her docility to the Holy Spirit also made her a means of encounter and fellowship with the Muslim world”. So too, Sister Marie-Alphonsine Danil Ghattas “came to understand clearly what it means to radiate the love of God in the apostolate, and to be a witness to meekness and unity. She shows us the importance of becoming responsible for one another, of living lives of service one to another”.
The “luminous example” of the four new saints, who abide in God and in His love, inspires us, in our lives as Christians, “to proclaim by our words and our lives the resurrection of Jesus, to live in unity with one another and with charity towards all”, concluded Pope Francis.
|Regina Coeli: appeal for prayers for Burundi|
Vatican City, 17 May 2015 (VIS) – Following the Mass for canonisation and before praying the Regina Coeli, the Pope greeted all those present in St. Peter's Square to pay homage to the four new saints, and in particular the official delegations from Palestine, France, Italy, Israel and Jordan. “May their intercession renew the missionary impulse in their countries of origin. Inspired by their example of mercy, charity and reconciliation, may the Christians of these lands look with hope to the future, continuing their path of solidarity and fraternal co-existence”.
He also addressed the faithful of the Czech Republic, gathered today in the shrine of Svaty Kopecek to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of St. John Paul II's visit. He also noted that yesterday in Venice, Italy, the priest Luigi Carburlotto was proclaimed blessed. Founder of the Daughters of St. Joseph, this “exemplary pastor … led an intense spiritual and apostolic life, entirely dedicated to the good of souls”.
He concluded by inviting those present “to pray for the dear people of Burundi, who are experiencing a delicate moment. May the Lord help all to flee from violence and to act responsibly for the good of the country”.
|Francis receives the president of Palestine: the importance of interreligious dialogue and the fight against terrorism|
Vatican City, 16 May 2015 (VIS) – Today the Holy Father Francis received in audience Mahmoud Abbas, president of the State of Palestine, who subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, secretary for Relations with States. President Abbas will attend canonisation of the two Palestinian nuns, for which he thanked the Holy Father.
During the cordial discussions, great satisfaction was expressed for the accord reached on the text of a comprehensive Agreement between the Parties on various essential aspects of the life and the activity of the Catholic Church in Palestine, to be signed in the near future.
Attention then turned to the peace process with Israel, and the hope was expressed that direct negotiations between the Parties be resumed in order to find a just and lasting solution to the conflict. To this end the wish was reiterated that, with the support of the international Community, Israelis and Palestinians may take with determination courageous decisions to promote peace. Finally, with reference to the conflicts that afflict the Middle East, and in reaffirming the importance of combating terrorism, the need for interreligious dialogue was underlined.
|“Never fail to listen to those who knock at your door”, say the Pope to men and women religious in Rome|
Vatican City, 16 May 2015 (VIS) – Thousands of men and women religious from Rome – representing the 25 thousand who belong to the Pope's diocese – gathered in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall this morning to meet with the Holy Father, who spoke with them for over an hour, answering all their questions on consecrated life and its difficulties and joys, the relationship between the bearers of different charisms in the Church, and the rapport between cloistered monasteries and the outside world.
The first question, asked by a nun, related to the balance between cloistered life and involvement in diocesan life, and between silent prayer and proclamation.
“Your vocation is a tension between enclosure and visibility, between God's call to a hidden life and His call to make oneself visible in a certain way, to give a sign”, answered the Pope. “One of the things you must never, ever leave behind is time to listen to people. … It is important to have a connection with the world, to know what is happening, as your vocation is not a refuge: it is about going straight onto the battlefield, it is about fighting, calling to the heart of the Lord for your city. … Like Moses who lifted his hands up in prayer as his people fought. There are also monasteries that set aside half an hour or an hour a day to give food to those who come to ask for it, and this does not go against enclosure in God. … It is a service, it is a smile”.
The second question, again from a religious sister, concerned the similarities between marriage and consecrated virginity in the vocation to love, and the help that consecrated persons can offer Christian spouses and vice versa.
“In female consecration there is a spousal element”, said Francis. “It is present in male consecration too: we say that a bishop is the spouse of the Church, in Jesus' place. But do not forget that the Church is feminine: she is Jesus' bride. We often forget this, as we forget that the love of nuns is maternal, since the love of the Church is maternal, and the love of Our Lady is maternal. Faithfulness, the expression of the love of the consecrated woman, should – not as a duty but as a natural characteristic – reflect the faithfulness, love and tenderness of the Mother Church and the Mother Mary. … It is the concrete love … that we find in the Beatitudes. … Jesus' plan is concrete. I often think that the Beatitudes are the Church's first encyclical”.
The third question, from a monk, was dedicated to the concrete collaboration between bearers of different charisms in the local Church, without friction or competition.
“The Church is currently thinking of offering and restoring an old document on the relations between consecrated persons and the bishop”, the Holy Father explained. “The 1994 Synod called for the document 'Mutuae relationes' (14 May 1978). Many years have passed and it has not been done. The relationship between consecrated persons and the bishop, the diocese and priests is not an easy one. However it is necessary to face this task together. In the prefectures, how does one work on the pastoral plan for this quarter, all together? So it should be in the Church too. The bishop should not use consecrated persons as substitutes, and equally the religious should not see the bishop as the head of a company providing work”.
The last question regarded the accompaniment and spiritual direction of consecrated persons, over 80% of whom are women.
“The accompaniment of men and women religious can be a problem”, acknowledged the Pope. “In my former diocese, I always said to the nuns who came to ask for advice, 'Tell me, in your community or your congregation, is there not a wise sister, one who lives the charism well, a good sister with experience, who might be your spiritual guide?'. 'But she is a woman! But it is a charism of the laity'. Yes, spiritual direction is not the exclusive charism of presbyters: it is a charism of the laity. In primitive monasticism the laity were the great directors. … The spiritual director is one thing, the confessor is another. I tell the confessor my sins … but I tell the spiritual director what is happening in my heart. … Superiors have the responsibility of finding those in the community, in the congregation, and in the province, who have this charism, of giving them this mission and of forming them and helping them in this. … I think that in this respect, however, we are still immature”.
|The Pontifical Council for the Family presents the initiative “The Great Mystery: the Gospel of the family, school of humanity for our times”|
Vatican City, 16 May 2015 (VIS) – This morning a press conference was held in the Holy See Press Office for the presentation of the project “The Great Mystery: the Gospel of the Family, school of humanity for our times”, promoted by the Pontifical Council for the Family and by Maestro Andrea Bocelli. It is a series of events, in particular light and sound shows, to take place in different European cities during the year dedicated to reflection on the family in view of the upcoming Synod assembly in October. The speakers at the conference were Bishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, the tenor Andrea Bocelli, and Cardinal Lluis Martinez Sistach, archbishop of Barcelona, the first city to host the event in the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia.
Cardinal Martinez Sistach recalled the universal dimension of Barcelona's basilica, which is visited by more than three million people every year, and its wealth of biblical, theological and liturgical symbolism. He emphasised that the initiative of the Pontifical Council, which will open during a time dedicated to the holy family, will propose, through beauty, music and thought, to “present the beauty and transcendence of the mystery of the Christian family, which consists of an intimate community of life and love between spouses and between parents, children, brothers and sisters, in the bosom of a much larger family, in society and in the Church. The great virtues and values of today's Christian family are necessary and very urgent. We must not forget that Vatican Council II, speaking of marriage and the family, tells us that the well-being of people, society and the Church are strictly linked to the prosperity of the conjugal and family communities”.
“The basilica of the Sagrada Familia is a manifestation of the great mystery of God and man”, explained the archbishop of Barcelona. “In our time, in which man attempts to build a life without God, as if He had nothing to say to us, this magnificent temple has great meaning. Gaudi, in his masterpiece, shows us that God is the true measure of man. That the secret of his authentic originality resides, as he himself said, in returning to his origins, which are God. The basilica, in the middle of this great city, a space of beauty, faith and hope, leads man to the encounter with He Who is Truth and Beauty itself”.
Vatican City, 16 May 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father received in separate audiences:
- Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, archbishop of Genoa, Italy, president of the Italian Episcopal Conference;
- Archbishop Alberto Bottari de Castello, apostolic nuncio in Hungary;
- Archbishop Nicola Girasoli apostolic nuncio in Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Jamaica, Grenada, in the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, St. Kitts and Nevis, Santa Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Suriname; apostolic delegate in the Antilles;
- Jean-Baptiste de Franssu, president of the Supervisory Board of the Institute for the Works of Religion.
- Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, penitentiary major, with the regent of the apostolic penitentiary, Msgr. Krzysztof Josef Nykiel.
|Other Pontifical Acts|
Vatican City, 16 May 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father appointed Rev. Dariusz Buras as apostolic administrator of Atyrau (area 747,600, population 2,395,000, Catholics 2,000, priests 8, religious 4), Kazakhstan. Rev. Buras was born in Skrzyszow, Poland in 1971 and was ordained a priest in 1998. He has served as parish vicar of the Cathedral Church of Oslo and head of continuing formation of the priests of the diocese of Tarnow, Poland in service in Norway.