Vatican News

Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi dies at age of 83

Vatican News - Sat, 08/05/2017 - 07:08
(Vatican Radio)  Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi passed away on Saturday at the age of 83 after a long illness. He served as Archbishop of Milan, Italy from 2002 until 2011. Born in the northern Italian town of Renate on 14 March 1934, he entered the Seminary of Venegono Inferiore and received priestly ordination for the Archdiocese of Milan in 1957. He earned his Doctorate in Sacred Theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University. Pope St. John Paul II named him Cardinal on 21 February 1998. After serving as the Archbishop of Ancona-Osimo and then of Genova, he was appointed Archbishop of Milan in 2002. With Cardinal Tettamanzi’s death, the College of Cardinals stands at 121 Cardinal-electors and 102 non-electors. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis sends letter to papal envoy at Oscar Romero centenary

Vatican News - Sat, 08/05/2017 - 06:06
(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis has sent a letter to his special envoy at the centenary of the birth of Blessed Oscar Romero, Cardinal Andrello Ricardo Ezzati of Santiago de Chile. Cardinal Ezzati was chosen to represent Pope Francis at the centenary celebrations in San Salvador, El Salvador, which take place on 15 August. He will be accompanied at the event by Msgr. Rafael Edgardo Urrutia Herrera, Chancellor of the Archdiocese of San Salvador, and Don Reinaldo Sorto Martìnez, parish priest of San José de la Montaña. Click here to find out more about Blessed Romero. Please find the full letter (in Latin) below: Venerabili Fratri Nostro RICHARDO S .R.E. Cardinali EZZATI ANDRELLO , S.D.B. Archiepiscopo Metropolitae Sancti Iacobi in Chile Centum mox anni complentur ab ortu beati Ansgarii Arnolfi Romero, episcopi et martyris, illustris pastoris et testis Evangelii, clari defensoris Ecclesiae et dignitatis hominis. Dilectae terrae Salvatoriae filius gentibus aetatis nostrae de salvifica opera Domini nostri Iesu Christi loquitur eiusque amore erga omnes, potissimum pauperes, derelictos et a societate segregatos. Tum in sacerdotali tum in episcopali navitate singularem progressionem spiritalem ostendit atque iustitiam, reconciliationem et pacem propagavit. Nos, qui ei beatorum honores decrevimus, laeto omnino animo notitiam accepimus Episcopos Salvatoriae simul cum clero fidelique populo in urbe Sancti Salvatoris in America die XV proximi mensis Augusti, in Assumptione videlicet Beatae Mariae Virginis, centesimam anniversariam memoriam ortus beati Ansgarii Arnolfi celebraturos esse, ad sibi suisque fidelibus divina dona per intercessionem huius martyris exposcendum. Fausta hac occasione data, sacri Pastores Salvatoriae in Conferentia mense Ianuario huius anni congregati humanissime Nosmet Ipsos invitaverunt ut sollemni huic celebrationi praeessemus. Grati omnino de invitatione, aliquem tamen eminentem decrevimus Virum seligere, qui Nostras vices in dicta urbe gerat. Ad Te quidem, Venerabilis Frater Noster, decurrimus, qui Metropolitanam Sedem Sancti Iacobi in Chile per Evangelii semitas diligenter ducis quique dignus Nobis videris ad id munus fructuose explendum. Te igitur hisce Litteris MISSUM EXTRAORDINARIUM NOSTRUM nominamus ad celebrationem centesimae anniversariae memoriae ortus beati Ansgarii Arnolfi Romero, episcopi et martyris, quae illo die in urbe Sancti Salvatoris in America sollemni modo agetur. De pondere vitae testimoniique beati loquens, omnes adstantes adhortaberis ut praecepta Domini servent, novis viribus novaque diligentia peculiarem dilectionem Christi Ecclesiae et Evangelii, Beata Maria Virgine intercedente, demonstrent atque (idei zelo in vita cotidiana ferveant, iustam et nobilem societatem aedificantes. Rogamus Te etiam ut nomine Nostro omnes ibi congregatos salutes, Archiepiscopum praesertim Sancti Salvatoris in America ceterosque sacros Pastores, sacerdotes, religiosos viros ac mulieres, christifideles laicos, vicissim Nostram cum beati cultoribus necessitudinem significes. Nos autem Te, Venerabilis Frater Noster, in tua missione implenda precibus comitabimur. Denique Benedictionem Nostram Apostolicam libentes Tibi impertimur, signum Nostrae erga te benevolentiae et caelestium donorum pignus, quam omnibus celebrationis participibus velis transmittere; a cunctis vicissim preces expostulamus, ut pergrave Petrinum munus secundum divinam voluntatem diligenter adimpleamus. Ex Aedibus Vaticanis, die XVIII mensis Iulii, anno MMXVII, Pontificatus Nostri quinto. FRANCISCUS (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis' prayer intention for August: 'For artists'

Vatican News - Fri, 08/04/2017 - 12:09
(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis has released a video message accompanying his monthly prayer intention for August. This month’s intention is for artists: "That artists of our time, though their creativity, may help us discover the beauty of creation." The text of the video message reads: The arts give expression to the beauty of the faith and proclaim the Gospel message of the grandeur of God’s creation. When we admire a work of art or a marvel of nature, we discover how everything speaks to us of Him and of His love. That artists of our time, though their creativity, may help us discover the beauty of creation. The Pope's  Worldwide Prayer Network of the Apostleship of Prayer  developed the "Pope Video" initiative to assist in the worldwide dissemination of monthly intentions of the Holy Father in relation to the challenges facing humanity. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Vatican calls for suspension of Venezuela's Constituent Assembly

Vatican News - Fri, 08/04/2017 - 09:12
(Vatican Radio) The Vatican on Friday issued an urgent appeal to Venezuela’s leaders to suspend the new Constituent Assembly which, it says, is threatening the future of the South American nation. Listen to Philippa Hitchen's report:  The strongly worded communique, issued by the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, says Pope Francis is following closely the situation in Venezuela , where President Nicolas Maduro is headed towards a showdown with the opposition, as he pushes ahead with the inauguration of his new Assembly. The statement comes as the body's 545 delegates were expected to be installed at the legislative palace in the capital, Caracas, close to the chamber where the opposition-controlled National Assembly meets. Erosion of democracy The new Constituent Assembly has been tasked with rewriting the country's constitution and holds powers that override all other government branches. Opposition leaders have denounced the erosion of democracy and vowed they will only be removed by force. Over a hundred and twenty-five people have already been killed in over three months of violent anti-government protests. Respect rights enshrined in Constitution The Vatican statement expresses “profound concern for the radicalisation and worsening of the crisis”, including the increase in deaths, injuries and arrests of protesters. It calls on all the country’s politicians, in  particular, the government, to guarantee “full respect for human rights and basic freedoms, as well as for the existing Constitution”. Suspend Constituent Assembly It says initiatives such as the new Constituent Assembly should be “avoided or suspended” since they “foment a climate of tension and conflict” which “mortgages the future” of the country, rather than fostering reconciliation and peace. The statement calls for a negotiated solution, along the lines already indicated in a previous letter from the Secretary of State on December 1st 2016. These solutions must take into account “the serious suffering of the people”, due to a lack of security, as well as the shortages of food and medicine. Pray for Venezuela Finally, the statement calls on all members of Venezuelan society, in particular the security forces, to avoid violence or an excessive use of force. It says the pope assures all Venezuelans of his prayers and invites people across the globe to pray intensely for the country at this moment of crisis. Please find below the official English-language translation of the statement: The Holy See reiterates its profound concern at the radicalization and worsening of the crisis in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, with the increase in deaths, injuries and detainments. The Holy Father, directly and via the Secretariat of State, is closely following the situation and its humanitarian, social, political, economic, and also spiritual implications, and assures his constant prayer for the country and all Venezuelans, while inviting faithful all over the world to pray intensely for this purpose. At the same time, the Holy See asks that all political actors, and in particular the government, guarantee full respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as for the existing Constitution; avoid or suspend ongoing initiatives such as the new Constituent which, instead of favouring reconciliation and peace, foments a climate of tension and confrontation and puts the future at stake; and create the conditions for a solution negotiated in line with the indications expressed in the letter from the Secretariat of State dated 1 September 2016, taking into account the grave sufferings of the population due to the difficulty of obtaining food and medicine, and the lack of security. Finally, the Holy See addresses a heartfelt appeal to the entire society to avoid any form of violence, inviting the security Forces in particular to abstain from the excessive and disproportionate use of force. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis sends letter to interfaith prayer meeting in Japan

Vatican News - Thu, 08/03/2017 - 12:24
(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis has sent a letter to the 30th Prayer Meeting on Mount Hiei in Kyoto, Japan, inviting all religions to “pray and work together for peace”. “It is my pleasure to send my cordial greetings to you and to the distinguished representatives of the different religious traditions,” he wrote. The Pope’s letter was delivered and read to participants by Cardinal John Tong Hon, Bishop-emeritus of Hong Kong. It was addressed to Venerable Koei Morikawa, the Supreme Priest of the Tendai Buddhist Denomination, with whom Pope Francis met privately in the Vatican on September 16, 2016. “This annual religious summit contributes in a special way to the building up of that spirit of dialogue and friendship which allows the followers of the world’s religions to work together to open new paths for peace in our human family.” Pope Francis also said prayer “inspires and sustains our efforts for peace, because it helps to deepen our reciprocal respect for each other as persons, strengthens the bonds of love between us, and spurs us to make decisive efforts towards promoting just relations and fraternal solidarity.” The annual prayer meeting closes on 6 August in commemoration of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope sends greetings to Knights of Columbus

Vatican News - Thu, 08/03/2017 - 09:42
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent greetings to the Knights of Columbus on the occasion of their 135 th Supreme Convention , which concludes on Thursday in St Louis. The Pope’s message, conveyed in letter from the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin , says the theme of the Convention – “ Convinced of God’s Love and Power ” – points “to the secret source of all Christian life and mission: our conviction that God’s saving love, revealed in the death and resurrection of his Son and poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, impels us to share the Good News of salvation with every man and woman.” This conviction, it continues, “underlies all our enthusiasm for evangelization.” It is this experience of God’s love and power, Cardinal Parolin says, that led to the founding of the Knights of Columbus, and to their continued growth. Cardinal Parolin calls on the Knights, in the spirit of their founder, the Servant of God Father Michael McGivney , to respond generously to the call of Pope Francis to reject the mentality of the contemporary “culture of indifference,” and to commit themselves “to their properly lay vocation of striving for the sanctification of the world from within, by carrying out their daily responsibilities in the spirit of the Gospel and revealing Christ to others through the witness of their lives.” In particular, Cardinal Parolin says that Pope Francis “is especially appreciative of the unremitting efforts of the Knights of Columbus to defend and promote the sanctity of marriage and the dignity and beauty of family life,” noting that the Pope, following the lead of the 2015 Synod of Bishops, has linked the health of the family to the health of society as a whole. “The strengthening of sound family values and a renewed vision of our responsibility for the moral health of the greater community will contribute to overcoming the polarization and general coarsening of the social fabric that is an increasing source of concern even in the most prosperous of our societies.” Finally, Cardinal Parolin’s letter expresses the Holy Father’s gratitude for the Knights’ support of Christians in the Middle East who are suffering from violence and persecution. Below, please find the full text of Cardinal Parolin’s letter, addressed to the Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, Mr Carl A Anderson : Dear Mr. Anderson, His Holiness Pope Francis was pleased to learn that from 1 to 3 August 2017, the 135th Supreme Convention of the Knights of Columbus will assemble in St. Louis, Missouri. He has asked me to convey his warm good wishes to all present, together with the assurance of his closeness in prayer. The theme of this year’s Convention – Convinced of God’s Love and Power – points to the secret source of all Christian life and mission: our conviction that God’s saving love, revealed in the death and resurrection of his Son and poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, impels us to share the Good News of salvation with every man and woman. It is precisely this “conviction” that underlies all our enthusiasm for evangelization, for “we have a treasure of life and love which cannot deceive, and a message which cannot mislead or disappoint” ( Evangelii gaudium , 265). This same experience of God’s love and power, lived in the heart of the Church, led to the founding of the Knights of Columbus as a fraternal and charitable union of Catholic laymen, workers, husbands and fathers. The subsequent history of your Order demonstrates how a spirit of solidarity and mutual concern inspired by God’s love can grow, like the mustard seed in the parable (cf. Lk 13:19), into something immensely greater, contributing to the glory of God, the spread of his Kingdom, and the universal mission of the Church. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom 8:31). Saint Paul’s question to the Romans expressed his own firm conviction that the infinite power of God’s love, revealed in the cross of Christ, prevails over every form of worldly evil. The Holy Father has often observed that in our own day a new world war is being fought piecemeal, as an ungodly thirst for power and domination, whether economic, political or military, is leading to untold violence, injustice and suffering in our human family. He has asked Christians everywhere, truly convinced of the infinite power of God’s love, to reject this mentality and to combat the growth of a global culture of indifference that discards the least of our brothers and sisters. In fidelity to the vision of the Servant of God Father Michael McGivney, may the Knights, in their families, their parishes and their local Councils, respond generously to this challenge, first and foremost by recommitting themselves to their properly lay vocation of striving for the sanctification of the world from within, by carrying out their daily responsibilities in the spirit of the Gospel and revealing Christ to others through the witness of their lives (cf. Lumen gentium , 31). In this way, they will help to lay solid foundations for the renewal of society as a whole, by working to change hearts and build peace, one person and one community at a time. His Holiness is especially appreciative of the unremitting efforts of the Knights of Columbus to defend and promote the sanctity of marriage and the dignity and beauty of family life. In his Apostolic Exhortation Amoris laetitia , echoing the concerns expressed by the 2015 Synod of Bishops, he linked healthy family life to the health of society as a whole, and emphasized the special task of education that, in God’s plan, is entrusted to Christian parents (cf. Nos. 274-279). It is in the family that we come to see that the larger world is also our home, in which we are called to live together, to learn closeness, care and respect for others, and to value the God-given gifts that each of us has to offer for the good of all. The strengthening of sound family values and a renewed vision of our responsibility for the moral health of the greater community will contribute to overcoming the polarization and general coarsening of the social fabric that is an increasing source of concern even in the most prosperous of our societies. Finally, and in a very particular way, Pope Francis has asked me to express his gratitude for the commitment of the Knights to supporting our Christian brothers and sisters in the Middle East in their witness of fidelity to the Lord, often borne at great personal cost. None of us can be blind to the sufferings of those whom fratricidal violence and religious fanaticism have left homeless or forced to flee their ancient homelands. The Knights of Columbus Refugee Relief Fund is an eloquent sign of your Order’s firm commitment to solidarity and communion with our fellow Christians. The Holy Father once more asks the Knights and their families to pray for those in need, for the conversion of hearts, and for an end to the spiral of violence, hatred and injustice in that region. With these sentiments, His Holiness commends the deliberations of the 135th Supreme Convention to the intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church, and assures the Knights and their families of a special remembrance in his prayers. With great affection he imparts his Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of strength and peace in the Lord. Yours sincerely, [Signature] Cardinal Pietro Parolin Secretary of State (from Vatican Radio)...
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7th Asian Youth Day inaugurated with Mass in Yogyakarta ‎

Vatican News - Wed, 08/02/2017 - 11:28
(Vatican Radio)  The 7th Asian Youth Day (AYD7) kicked off with a colourful concelebrated Mass Wednesday evening ‎in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, in a colourful and festive show of unity around Christ and his Gospel ‎amidst the continent's diverse cultures and peoples. After four days of the preliminary ‘Days in the Dioceses’ (DID) live-in programme in 11 Indonesian ‎dioceses, July 30- August 2, the over 2000 young Catholics from 21 countries converged in Yogyakarta , the cultural ‎and intellectual heartland of Indonesia.  The 7th Asian Youth Day on the theme “ Joyful Asian Youth! ‎Living the Gospel in Multicultural Asia ,” will conclude on Aug. 6. ‎ Youth participants had begun pouring in at Yogyakarta’s government facility, Jogja Expo Centre (JEC), ‎since early morning, August 2.  After lunch the various national contingents began celebrating with ‎songs and performances and shared their DID experiences of living with local families in dioceses, in ‎preparation for the Eucharistic celebration. The inaugural AYD7 Mass , that was streamed live by organizers, was presided over by Bangladeshi ‎ Cardinal Patrick D’Rozario of Dhaka, chairman of the Office of Laity and Family of the Federation of ‎Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC), under which comes the Youth Desk that organizes the AYD in ‎collaboration with the country’s bishops’ conference body and its youth commission.  Joining Card. ‎D’Rozario at the altar were 52 bishops, including 6 cardinals and 158 priests .  Among the concelebrants ‎were AYD host Archbishop Robertus Rubiyatmoko of Semarang, Indonesian bishops’ president, ‎Archbishop Ignatius Suharyo of Jakarta and President of Indonesian bishops’ Youth Commission, ‎Bishop Pius Riana Prapdi of Ketapang. ‎ Card. D’Rozario began his homily singing a few lines from the hymn, “Rejoice in the Lord always….” ‎setting the mood of his reflection on the theme of the AYD7– “Joyful Asian Youth! Living the Gospel ‎in Multicultural Asia.”  The young people, many in traditional dress and country t-shirts and holding their ‎country flags, joined in with rhythmic clapping accompanied by the piano.  The cardinal explained that ‎the reason for their joy was that Jesus loves them, despite their unworthiness and sinfulness .   He said ‎when they feel sad or without joy, it is then that Jesus loves them most.  Jesus loves them by calling ‎them, choosing them and sending them out to mission, to proclaim His love,  mercy, compassion and ‎healing to others . Card. D’Rozario compared the AYD gathering to the Pentecost where people of diverse cultures, ‎languages, ethnic groups and nations of Asia were one in the Holy Spirit who manifests Himself in a ‎variety of gifts.   The Holy Spirit was inviting them all to celebrate  their oneness of faith, life and ‎mission at the WYD.  ‎ After dinner, the AYD7 was officially launched with a variety programme in which the participating countries showcased thier cultural richness.    (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis to German soccer team: ‘Be athletes for peace’

Vatican News - Wed, 08/02/2017 - 10:55
(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis met briefly with the managers and players of the German “Borussia Mönchengladbach” soccer team on Wednesday, inviting them to be “athletes for peace”. The Holy Father met with them ahead of his weekly General Audience . He thanked the team for the “friendly relations” built up through the years between the team and the Vatican Employees’ Athletic Association. The teams sometimes face off on the field in Rome and in Mönchengladbach. The Pope said the club “distinguishes itself by being a team ‘at the human level’, in a manner of speaking, and a team which promotes the family.” Pope Francis said he enjoyed seeing “how families live in your Borussia Park and how many athletic and educative initiatives are held to promote young people, in particular the less fortunate,” he said. Finally, the Pope invited those sportsmen present to “be athletes for good and for peace”. “I entrust you, your families, and all your loved ones to the Lord. May He ever accompany you with His blessing.” (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis at Audience: Remember the day of your Baptism

Vatican News - Wed, 08/02/2017 - 09:09
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday resumed his General Audiences, after they were suspended during the month of July for a summer break. The Holy Father once more took up the theme of Christian Hope, focusing on the Sacrament of Baptism, the Gateway of Hope. In his catechesis, Pope Francis spoke about several aspects of the Baptismal liturgy. The older form of Baptism anticipated catechumens making the first part of their profession of faith turned to the west. After rejecting Satan, they turned to the apse, toward the east, where the sun rises, and professed their faith in God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In our times, the Pope said, we have lost our fascination with this rite; we have lost our “sensitivity to the language of the cosmos.” But we have retained the significance of the rite: To be a Christian means “to look to the light, to continue to make the profession of faith in the light, even when the world is wrapped up in the night and in darkness”: Christians, he said, are not exempt from darkness. “They do not live outside the world, but through the grace of Christ received in Baptism, they are men and women who are ‘oriented’: they do not believe in darkness, but in the brightness of the day; they do not succumb to the night, but hope in the dawn; they are not defeated by death, but are yearning to rise again; they are not bent down by evil, because they trust always in the infinite possibilities of goodness. And this is our Christian hope.” The Pope also looked at the symbolism of the gift of a candle during the Baptism ceremony. The candle is lit from the Paschal candle, and recalls the Easter vigil liturgy when the light goes out from the Paschal candle to all the individual candles, and the whole Church is illuminated. The life of the Church, the Pope said – using a strong expression – is a kind of “contamination” by the light of Christ, which is spread from one to another. “The more of the light of Jesus that we have as Christians, the more of the light of Jesus there is in the life of the Church, and the more the Church lives.” Finally Pope Francis gave the faithful a kind of “homework assignment.” He asked those present to remember the day of their Baptism, “which is the date of your rebirth, it is the date of the light, it is the date in which…we were contaminated by the light of Christ.” “What a grace it is,” the Holy Father said in conclusion, “when a Christian truly becomes a ‘Christopher’,” a “bearer of Christ” in the world. “If we would be faithful to our Baptism, we would spread the light of hope – Baptism is the beginning of hope, that hope of God – and we would pass on to future generations reasons for life.” (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis: weekly General Audience summary

Vatican News - Wed, 08/02/2017 - 06:04
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis held a General Audience on Wednesday, August 2nd, the first of his weekly appointments with pilgrims and tourists after their suspension for the month of July. The Holy Father continued his series of catechetical reflections on Christian hope, this Wednesday focusing on the Sacrament of Baptism, which he described as the “gateway to hope”. Below, please find the full text of the English-language summary of his prepared remarks, which was read after the main catechesis. *********************** Dear Brothers and Sisters: In our continuing catechesis on Christian hope, we now consider the sacrament of baptism as the gate to eternal life. In the early Church, those about to be baptized made their profession of faith facing eastward, seeing the rising sun as a symbol of Christ. Even if our modern world has lost contact with such cosmic imagery, this symbolism retains its power. For what does it mean to be Christian, but to confess our faith in the light, a light that casts out gloom and darkness? In putting on Christ at baptism we become children of light. This light gives us new hope, helps us to know God as Father, and enables us to recognize Jesus in the weakest and poorest. When we were baptized we received a candle that was lit from the Paschal Candle, as a sign of Christ’s victory over the darkness of sin and death. This is also a sign of the life of the Church: to be ablaze with this new light! As Christians, let us remind each other that we have been reborn as children of the light, and, faithful to our baptismal calling, let us share the new hope that Jesus brings. Greetings: I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, particularly those from Japan, Nigeria, Iraq and the United States of America. I am especially pleased to welcome the pilgrims from the Chaldean Patriarchate, accompanied by Bishop Shlemon Warduni. Upon all of you, I invoke the grace of the Lord Jesus, that you may be a sign of Christian hope in your homes and communities.  May God bless you! (from Vatican Radio)...
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Vatican releases message for World Tourism Day 2017

Vatican News - Tue, 08/01/2017 - 11:20
(Vatican Radio)  Cardinal Peter Turkson, Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, has released a message for World Tourism Day 2017, which will be held on 27 September. The theme chosen for this year is: “Sustainable tourism: a tool for development”. We bring you the official English-language version below: “Sustainable Tourism – a tool for development” 1. On the annual occasion of World Tourism Day, celebrated every 27 September 2017, the Church joins civil society in addressing this phenomenon, in the conviction that every genuinely human activity must find its place in the hearts of Christ’s disciples [1]. For the first time, this message is issued by the new Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, as part of its mission. The United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed 2017 the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. Opportunely, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has followed in the same vein by choosing Sustainable Tourism: a tool for development as the theme for this year’s Day. 2. When we say tourism, we are talking about a phenomenon of major importance, both in light of the number of people involved (travellers and workers) and for the many benefits that it can bring to society (economic, cultural and social), but also given the risks and dangers that it can create in many areas. According to the World Tourism Organization’s latest Barometer, for the year 2016, the number of international tourist arrivals is around 1.2 billion. Worldwide, the sector accounts for 10% of GDP and 7% of total exports, also considering that 1 out of 11 jobs are in tourism. It therefore occupies an important place in the economies of individual states and in policies that focus on inclusive development and environmental sustainability globally. 3. Tourism can be an important tool for growth and the fight against poverty. Nevertheless, according to the Church’s social doctrine, true development “cannot be restricted to economic growth alone”. In fact, “to be authentic, it must be well rounded”; that is, “it must foster the development of each man and of the whole man”, as the Encyclical Populorum progressio [2] notes. In this regard, Paul VI stressed the need to promote a “full-bodied humanism”, including the material and spiritual needs for the full development of each person in dignity [3]. Twenty years later, in 1987, the UN introduced the concept of sustainable development as a development that “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” [4]. For the Church, the concept of integrality, when connected to the expression human development, also includes the United Nations’ idea of sustainability, and embraces all aspects of life: social, economic, political, cultural, and spiritual, making them elements in a single synthesis, the human person. The UNWTO has applied these ideas to promoting sustainable tourism [5]. This means that it must be responsible, and not destructive or detrimental to the environment nor to the socio-cultural context of the locality. Moreover, it must be particularly respectful of the population and their heritage, with a view to safeguarding personal dignity and labour rights, especially those of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable people. Holiday time cannot be a pretext either for irresponsibility or for exploitation: in fact, it is a noble time in which everyone can add value to one’s own life and that of others. Sustainable tourism is also a development tool for economies in difficulty if it becomes a vehicle of new opportunities and not a source of problems. In its 2017 Resolution, the United Nations recognizes “the important role of sustainable tourism as a positive instrument towards the eradication of poverty, the protection of the environment, the improvement of quality of life and the economic empowerment of women and youth and its contribution to the three dimensions of sustainable development, especially in developing countries” [6]. In this sense, three dimensions of sustainability are promoted: the ecological, aiming for the maintenance of ecosystems; the social, which develops in harmony with the host community; and the economic, which stimulates inclusive growth. In the context of Agenda 2030, this International Year is therefore an opportunity to encourage governments to adopt appropriate policies, the industry to embrace good practice, and to raise awareness among consumers and local people, highlighting how an integral conception of tourism can contribute to sustainable development. 4. Conscious that “in all her being and actions, the Church is called to promote the integral development of the human person in the light of the Gospel” [7], we Christians want to offer our contribution so that tourism can assist in the development of peoples, especially the most disadvantaged. We therefore propose our reflection. We recognize God as the creator of the universe and father of all human beings, and He who makes us brothers. We must put the human person as the focus of our attention; we recognize the dignity of each person and the relationships among persons; we must share the principle of the common destiny of the human family and the universal destination of earthly goods. The human being acts not as a master, but as a “responsible steward” [8]. In acknowledging each other as brothers, we will understand “the principle of gratuitousness and the logic of gift” [9] and our duties of solidarity, justice and universal charity [10]. We now ask ourselves: how can these principles be practically applied to the development of tourism? What are the consequences for tourists, entrepreneurs, workers, governors, and local communities? It is an open reflection. We invite all those involved in the sector to engage in serious discernment and to promote practices towards attaining this, accompanying behaviours and lifestyle changes towards a new way of relating to each other. The Church is making its own contribution, launching initiatives that really place tourism in the service of the integral development of the person. This is why we talk about tourism with a human touch, which is based on projects of community tourism, cooperation, solidarity, and an appreciation of the great artistic heritage which is an authentic way of beauty [11]. In his address to the United Nations, Pope Francis stated: “The common home of all men and women must continue to rise on the foundations of a right understanding of universal fraternity and respect for the sacredness of every human life, of every man and every woman [...]. This common home of all men and women must also be built on the understanding of a certain sacredness of created nature”[12]. May we live out our commitment in the light of these words and these intentions! Vatican City, 29 June 2017 Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson Prefect ________________________________________ [1] Council II, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes, 7 December 1965, no. 1. [2] Pope Paul VI, Encyclical Populorum progressio, 26 March 1967, no. 14. [3] Pope Paul VI, Encyclical Populorum progressio, 26 March 1967, no. 42. [4] World Commission On Environment and Development, Our Common Future (also known as the Brundtland Report), August 1987. This Commission was created by the UN General Assembly in 1983. [5] World Tourism Organisation, The Hague Declaration on Tourism, 10-14 April 1989, Principle III. [6] United Nations Organization, Resolution A/RES/70/193 approved by the General Assembly on 22 December 2015. [7] Pope Francis, Apostolic Letter Humanam progressionem in the form of a ‘Motu Proprio’, with which the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development was established, 17 August 2016. [8] Pope Francis, Encyclical Laudato si’, 24 May 2015, no. 116. [9] Pope Benedict XVI, Encyclical Caritas in veritate, 29 June 2009, no. 36. [10] Pope Paul VI, Encyclical Populorum progressio, 26 March 1967, no. 44. [11] Pope Francis, Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, 24 November 2013, no. 167. [12] Pope Francis, Address to the members of the General Assembly of the United Nations Organization, 25 September 2015. (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope Francis sends message to Brazilian youth meeting in Aparecida

Vatican News - Tue, 08/01/2017 - 10:43
(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis has sent a message to the National Youth Meeting at the Sanctuary of Aparecida in Brazil, inviting young people to turn their lives into leaven for a better Brazilian society. His message came at the conclusion of the “Rota” (Way) 300 project, which closed on July 29 with a large celebration at the sanctuary. The initiative celebrated 300 years since the discovery of the statue of Our Lady of Aparecida in the Paraiba do Sul River. Listen to our report: Pope Francis told the young people that Mary is a sign of hope and that she knows the difficulties awaiting young people. He also encouraged them to live with a missionary spirit. “Dear friends, in the midst of daily uncertainties and insecurities and in the midst of the precariousness created by unjust situations, you have one certainty. Mary is a sign of hope who will impel you with a great missionary drive. She knows the difficulties with which you live. Her attention and motherly care help you know that you are not alone.” The Holy Father also recalled the Brazilian story of the poor fishermen, who, after an unfruitful fishing expedition in the Paraiba do Sul River, cast their nets one more time and discovered to their surprise a broken statue of Our Lady, encrusted with mud. They first found the statue's body and then its head. “As I told the Brazilian bishops in 2013, this story holds an important symbolism. What was divided has been reunited, just like the heart of those fishermen and colonial Brazil once divided by slavery, realities which found unity in the faith, which the black statue of Our Lady has inspired.” Pope Francis then invited the young people to let their hearts be transformed by the encounter with the Mother of Aparecida. “May she transform the ‘nets’ of your lives – nets of friendship, social networks, material and virtual nets – realities which are often divided, into something more meaningful. May they become communities! Missionary communities ‘going out into the world’! Communities which are light and leaven for a more just and fraternal society.” The Pope also recalled his message to the CELAM Meeting earlier this year, asking young people “not to be afraid to take risks and to work to build a new society, imbuing social, political, economic, and university environs with the force of the Gospel!” “Do not be afraid to fight corruption, and do not let yourselves be seduced by it! Trusting in the Lord, whose presence is the source of abundant life, and under Mary’s mantle, you can rediscover the creativity and strength of being protagonists for a culture of unity and, therefore, create new paradigms to guide the life of Brazil.” Pope Francis concluded his message with a prayer. “May Our Lady – who in her youth knew how to courageously embrace the call of God for her life and go forth to those most in need – walk ahead of you, guiding you in all her ways!” (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope Francis at Angelus: Gospel joy opens hearts

Vatican News - Sun, 07/30/2017 - 09:16
(Vatican Radio) Ahead of the Sunday Angelus prayer with pilgrims and tourists in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis shared a reflection on two of the three parables from the 13 th chapter of the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew , which were read during Mass on Sunday. Click below to hear our report Focusing exclusively on the parables of the hidden treasure and the pearl of great price , the Holy Father said, “This day, we are exhorted to contemplate the joy of the farmer,” who sells all he has in order to purchase the field wherein he had hidden the treasure he discovered, “and of the merchant,” who sells all he had in order to purchase the pearl of great price. “It is the joy of each of us when we discover the closeness and consoling presence of Jesus in our lives,” he said. “A presence,” Pope Francis went on to say, “that transforms the heart and opens us to [meet] the needs and to welcome our brothers and sisters, especially the weakest ones.” (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope Francis appeals for end to human trafficking

Vatican News - Sun, 07/30/2017 - 08:15
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis called for increased efforts to end human trafficking on Sunday. The Holy Father’s appeal came in remarks following the Angelus prayer with pilgrims and tourists gathered in St. Peter’s Square, on the 17 th Sunday in Ordinary Time and the World Day against Trafficking in Persons , sponsored by the United Nations . “Each year,” said Pope Francis, “thousands of men, women and children are innocent victims of sexual and organ trafficking, and it seems that we are so accustomed to seeing it as a normal thing.” Click below to hear our report The Holy Father went on to say, “This is ugly, it is cruel, it is criminal.” He called human trafficking , “an aberrant plague,” and, “a modern form of slavery ,” renewing his appeal for universal commitment to ending the practice. Pope Francis concluded his appeal by leading everyone present in the recitation of the Hail Mary for the intention of ending human trafficking. Below, please find the full text of Pope Francis’ appeal, in our English translation ************************** Today is the World Day against Trafficking in Persons, promoted by the United Nations. Each year, thousands of men, women and children are innocent victims of sexual and organ trafficking, and it seems that we are so accustomed to seeing it as a normal thing. This is ugly, it is cruel, it is criminal! I would like to draw on everyone's commitment to make this aberrant plague, a modern form of slavery, adequately countered. Let us pray together the Virgin Mary to support the victims of trafficking and to convert the hearts of traffickers. (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Philippines preparing for 7th Asian Youth Day ‎

Vatican News - Wed, 07/26/2017 - 11:19
(Vatican Radio) The biggest event of the Asian Catholic Church this year, is taking place in Yogyakarta city, Indonesia, next week.  The 7th Asian Youth Day (AYD7) is being hosted by the Archdiocese of Semarang, August 2-6, with over 2000 ‎‎young people from ‎‏‎21 ‎Asian countries rallying around the theme, “Joyful Asian Youth: Living the Gospel ‎in Multicultural Asia‎!” ‎ The continent-level event has been held in various Asian cities since 1999 in intervals of 2, ‎‎3 ‎and 5 years, with the last AYD in Daejeon Diocese in Korea in 2014, in which Pope Francis participated.  Organizers have divided the entire AYD into three events spread across 11 days from July 30 to August 9 .  On arrival, the participants will head to the 11 of Indonesia’s 37 dioceses who will be hosting them from July 30 to August 2 in what is called Days in the Dioceses (DID).  All the participants will then converge in Yogyakarta from August 2 to 6 for the central event of the AYD7 .   The 5 days will include a variety of activities such as adoration, confession, Mass, reflections, testimonies, workshops, group sharing, country exhibits and cultural performances.  After the main event, the Asian Youth Ministers will stay back for a meeting, August 6 to 9. Among the 21 countries participating in the AYD is also the Philippines.  To know about it, we called Fr. Conegundo Garganta, the executive secretary of the Episcopal Commission on Youth of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.  Speaking to us on the phone from Manila Fr. Garganta  first talked about the Philippine youth delegation to the Asian Youth Day. Listen:   Summary: Fr. Garganta said that 69 young people have been officially registered with the AYD7 but with bishops and youth ministers accompanying them, the entire delegation has 82 members.  Peparation The young people will first head to the Indonesian dioceses of Bogor and Jakarta for the Days in the Diocese (DID).  The young people have been preparing for the event following the pre-event modules of the AYD, that recommend reflecting and meditating on the suggested scripture passages, visiting churches, talking to priests, visiting non-Christian families and communities etc.    Philippine contribution to AYD Fr. Garganta also talked about the contribution that the Philippine young people will be brining to the AYD.  He talked about the warmth and friendship of the Filipino people, particularly visible in their smiles, and their strong faith.  They would also display the “multi-culturality” of the Philippines, where there are minority and tribal groups and followers of other faiths, “but still people are able to blend well.” Message The executive secretary of the Philippine Episcopal Commission on Youth ‎sent a message to Filipinos abroad assuring them that despite numerous challenges and struggles, as in many countries, the faith of the Philippine people was leading them to hope  and to continue working for peace . The Church regards the young not merely as hope for the future but much more for the present.  Fr. Garganta urged the country, the Church and the government, also of other countries, to “ really invest in the young people” , because they provide “new perspectives in ways of looking at life…” which promote solidarity, unity, friendship, and understanding.   (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Italy drought: Vatican turns off fountains to save water

Vatican News - Tue, 07/25/2017 - 02:45
(Vatican Radio) The drought that is affecting the city of Rome and the surrounding areas of the capital has led the Holy See to take measures to save water. The Governorate of Vatican City State has decided to turn off all the fountains, both the external ones located in St. Peter's Square, and the interior fountains including those in the Vatican Gardens. The move is in line with the teachings of Pope Francis in his Encyclical on creation Laudate Si. (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Vatican on migration: an opportunity for development

Vatican News - Mon, 07/24/2017 - 13:54
(Vatican Radio) The integration of migrants and refugees in host nations can and must become an opportunity for new understanding, broader horizons and greater development for everyone. This message was at the heart of a statement released on Monday by Father Michael Czerny at the UN in New York during an Informal Thematic Session in New York  to gather substantive input and recommendations to inform the Global Compact on Migration .  Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni : Father. Michael Czerny, who is the Undersecretary of the Section for Migrants and Refugees in the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development – which answers directly to  Pope Francis himself - focused his intervention on the need to promote a culture in which the consequences and impacts of migration become an opportunity for “human growth, encounter and dialogue in view of the promotion of peace and fraternity among peoples.”    Pointing out that no one should ever be forced to leave his or her home due to lack of development or peace and that tragically the reasons that compel millions to go on the move today are to be found in endemic poverty, hunger, violence, inadequate work, environmental degradation, weak and corrupt institutions, Fr Czerny said that whether the effects of migration become a gain - for them, their families, their countries of destination and hopefully one day perhaps their countries of origin - depends on the extent to which  they are welcomed, protected, promoted and integrated. That gain - he continued – hinges “on whether migrants and refugees are helped to transition from objects of emergency care to dignified subjects of their own development” and are permitted to use the education, skills, ambitions, experiences and cultural wisdom they already have, as well as those that could be enhanced through further schooling and training for the development of society. For this desired win-win to occur, he concluded, migrants must first be received and treated as human beings, with dignity and respect for their rights, and they must be protected against all forms of exploitation and from being permanently cast-away, whether socially, economically or legally.   (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Angelus: Pope appeals for dialogue after Jerusalem violence

Vatican News - Sun, 07/23/2017 - 09:04
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has appealed for moderation and dialogue after a surge of violence and killings over Jerusalem’s Temple Mount . Addressing the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Sunday  Angelus , the Pope said he is following “with trepidation the grave tensions and violence of the last days in Jerusalem.” Last week Arab gunmen, shooting from the site – which is Holy to Jews and to Muslims -  killed two Israeli policemen sparking a wave of violence in which three Palestinians were killed in street clashes and a Palestinian fatally stabbed three members of an Israeli family. “I feel the need to express a heartfelt appeal for moderation and dialogue” Francis said and he invited all faithful to join him in prayer so that the Lord may inspire all sides to come together with proposals for reconciliation and peace.  Tensions over the site, known to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif and to Jews as the Temple Mount, have surged in the past couple of days following the installation by Israel of metal detectors after two Israeli policemen were killed near there earlier this month. The measures angered the Palestinians, who accuse Israel of trying to take control over a sacred place. Israel now says it is willing to consider alternatives to the controversial metal detectors it installed and has called on the Muslim world to put forward other suggestions.   (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope Francis donates €25 thousand to ease East Africa famine

Vatican News - Fri, 07/21/2017 - 08:56
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has donated €25 thousand to the efforts of the United Nations ’ Food and Agriculture Organisation , FAO , in support of people facing famine and food insecurity in East Africa . The Holy Father had pledged personal assistance in a message to FAO 's Conference on 3 July 2017, in which he said he was "inspired also by the desire to encourage Governments". Click below to hear our report In February of this year, famine was declared in parts of South Sudan (where civil strife has largely interrupted daily life). While the situation has eased after a significant scaling up in the humanitarian response, some 6 million people in the country are still struggling to find enough food every day. Meanwhile, there are an estimated 16 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in five other East African countries: Somalia , Ethiopia , Kenya , Tanzania and Uganda . That figure represents an increase of about 30 percent since late 2016. Below, please find the official statement regarding the donation ************************************* Pope Francis donates to FAO to assist drought and conflict-stricken populations in East Africa Gesture aims to encourage governments to support FAO's emergency response 21 July 2017, Rome - In an unprecedented move, Pope Francis has symbolically donated €25,000 to FAO's efforts supporting people facing food insecurity and famine in East Africa. Pope Francis said the funds are "a symbolic contribution to an FAO programme that provides seeds to rural families in areas affected by the combined effects of conflicts and drought." The pontiff's remarks were contained in a letter written to FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva by Monsignor Fernando Chica Arellano, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the UN food agencies in Rome. Pope Francis' gesture stemmed from a pledge he made in a message to FAO's Conference on 3 July 2017 and was "inspired also by the desire to encourage Governments," Monsignor Chica wrote in the letter. Famine was declared in parts of South Sudan in February and while the situation has eased after a significant scaling up in the humanitarian response, some 6 million people in the country are still struggling to find enough food every day. Meanwhile the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance in five other East African countries - Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda - is currently estimated at about 16 million, which marks an increase of about 30 percent since late 2016. Pope Francis, who has made solidarity a major theme of his pontificate, is set to visit FAO's headquarters on 16 October to mark World Food Day. This year the event is being held under the slogan: "Change the future of migration. Invest in food security and rural development". (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope's Message to World Movement of Christian Workers

Vatican News - Sun, 07/16/2017 - 08:57
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a Message to the International Meeting of the World Movement of Christian Workers which has been taking place in Ávila, Spain, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of its foundation. 120 delegates representing the Movement, present today in 79 countries are attending the event. The theme of the meeting is, "Land, Home and Work for a Worthy Life". The message, signed by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, stresses that "the dignity of the person is closely united to these three realities" that remind us that the fundamental experience of the human being "is to feel rooted in the world, in one Family, in a society. " "Land, home, and work - continues the Message - means fighting because every person lives in a manner consistent with his dignity and nobody is discarded. To this we encourage our faith in God, who sent his Son into the world because, sharing the story of his people, living in a family and working with his hands, he could redeem and save the human person with his Death and resurrection ". Finally, the Pope urges the Christian Workers Movement "to persevere with renewed impetus in the effort to bring the Gospel into the world of work". (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

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