Vatican News

Pope Francis prays for victims of Sierra Leone mudslide

Vatican News - Wed, 08/16/2017 - 07:59
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has expressed his “closeness” to those who have loved ones in the tragic mudslide that struck Sierra Leone . A telegram signed by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin says the Holy Father is praying for all those who have died; and that he invokes “divine blessings of strength and consolation” on their grieving family and friends. The telegram assures rescue workers of Pope Francis’ solidarity and support. The full text of the telegram, addressed to Archbishop Charles Edward Tamba of Freetown, can be read below: Deeply saddened by the devastating consequences of the mudslide on the outskirts of Freetown, His Holiness Pope Francis assures those who have lost loved ones of his closeness at this difficult time.  He prays for all who have died, and upon their grieving families and friends he invokes the divine blessings of strength and consolation.  His Holiness likewise expresses his prayerful solidarity with the rescue workers and all involved in providing the much needed relief and support to the victims of this disaster. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis prays Angelus for Solemnity of the Assumption

Vatican News - Tue, 08/15/2017 - 09:04
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis reflected on the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the Angelus on Tuesday. The feast of the Assumption, also known as Ferragosto , is an important religious and civil holiday in Italy, and thousands of faithful were present in St Peter’s Square to celebrate with the Holy Father. In his remarks, Pope Francis reflected on the Gospel reading, which relates the meeting of Mary with Elizabeth, and records Mary’s triumphant song of praise, the Magnificat . “The greatest gift that Mary brings to Elizabeth,” the Pope said, “is Jesus, who already lives within her – not in faith and hope, as in so many women in the Old Testament: Jesus has taken human flesh from the Virgin, for His mission of salvation.” Elizabeth, the Pope said, had already received the joy of pregnancy, after having felt for so long the sorrow of not having a baby. Now, at the arrival of Mary, her joy “overflows and bursts from her heart, because the invisible but real presence of Jesus fills her senses.” That joy is echoed by Mary in the Magnificat, a song of praise for God, who accomplished His plan of salvation through the poor and humble. God is able to do great things through the humble because, the Pope said, “ humility is like an emptiness that leaves room for God.” The humble person “is powerful because he is humble, not because he is strong.” He challenged the faithful to reflect on their own efforts to foster the virtue of humility. In the house of Elizabeth and her husband Zechariah, the Pope continued, “the coming of Jesus through Mary creates not only a climate of joy and fraternal communion, but also a climate of faith that leads to hope, to prayer, to praise.” And we too, Pope Francis continued, desire these things for our homes. “Celebrating Mary Most Holy, Assumed into Heaven,” he said, “we would like her, once more, to bring to us, to our families, to our communities, that immense Gift, that unique Grace that we must always seek first and above all other graces that we have at heart: the grace that is Jesus Christ!” Mary, the Pope said in conclusion, “is the model of virtue and of faith. In contemplating her today assumed into heaven, at the final completion of her earthly journey, we give thanks that she always goes before us in the pilgrimage of life and of faith.” And, he said, “we ask that she protect and sustain us; that we might have a strong, joyful, and merciful faith; that she might help us to be saints, to meet together with her, one day, in Paradise.” Following the Angelus, Pope Francis entrusted to Mary, as Queen of Peace , “the anxieties and sorrows of peoples who, in many parts of the world, are suffering on account of natural calamities, of social tensions or of conflicts.” He prayed, “May our heavenly Mother obtain consolation for all, and a future of serenity and of concord.” (from Vatican Radio) ...
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Angelus: Listen to the Lord not horoscopes or fortune tellers

Vatican News - Sun, 08/13/2017 - 08:07
(Vatican Radio)"When you do not cling to the word of the Lord, but have more security in consulting horoscopes and fortune tellers you sink”. Those were Pope Francis’ words during his Angelus address on Sunday in St Peter’s Square. He was referring to the Gospel of the day where Jesus walks on the waters of Lake Galilee to save Peter and the disciples from sinking in their boat due to the heavy waves of the sea. Listen to Lydia O'Kane's report: The Pope recounted how this story is rich in symbolism. The boat, he continued, “is the life of each of us, but it is also the life of the Church; The wind represents difficulties and trials.” Peter's invocation: "Lord, command me to come to you!" And his cry, "Lord, save me", the Holy Father noted  “are so much like our desire to feel the closeness of the Lord, but also the fear and anguish that accompany the toughest moments of our lives and our communities, marked by internal fragility and external difficulties.” Pope Francis explained, that at that moment, Peter was not sure of the word of Jesus, which was like a rope to cling to in hostile and turbulent waters. This is what can happen to us as well, he said,   “when you do not cling to the word of the Lord, but to have more security in consulting  horoscopes and fortune tellers you sink”. The Gospel of today, the Pope underlined, “reminds us that faith in the Lord and in his word does not open a path where everything is easy and quiet for us; It does not take away the storms of life. But faith, the Holy Father went on to say, “gives us the assurance of a Presence, that is Christ, which pushes us to overcome the existential buffs; Faith, in short, is not a loophole from the problems of life, but it sustains our journey and gives it meaning.       (from Vatican Radio)...
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Centenary of Romero's birth celebrated in Southwark

Vatican News - Fri, 08/11/2017 - 11:05
(Vatican Radio) August 15th 2017 marks the centenary of the birth of Blessed Oscar Romero, the archbishop of San Salvador who was assassinated for speaking out on behalf of the poor and oppressed during his country’s military dictatorship. There are many events planned to mark the anniversary year , both in his native El Salvador but also in countries around the world, where his life and legacy continue to motivate those working for justice and peace today. In the London diocese of Southwark a Mass will be celebrated at St George's Cathedral on August 12th, while an ecumenical evensong will be held in Westminster Abbey on September 23rd. The Archbishop of Southwark Peter Smith will preside at the Mass on Saturday, while Italian Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia will travel from Rome to preach the homily. Archbishop Paglia currently serves as head of the Pontifical Academy for Life and the St John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family. He is also the postulator of the cause for canonisation of Archbishop Romero. Philippa Hitchen talked to Archbishop Paglia about why the murdered Salvadoran Church leader continues to inspire so many people of all faiths and none. Listen to the full interview:   Archbishop Paglia says the example of Romero is “a universal example” and “a clear evangelical witness of love” in a world of difficulties, injustices, war and terror attacks. His voice and his testimony, he says, is clear and understandable for all people, above all for the poor and voiceless. 'Providential link' between Pope and Romero Archbishop Paglia says there is “an interesting alliance between the first Latin American pope and the first martyr of Vatican II” . He describes the “providential link between Romero’s witness and Pope Francis’ engagement” as “a sort of good link between heaven and earth in this current moment”.  In a certain sense, he adds, Pope Francis needs the witness of Romero to continue to preach the Gospel of love for the poor as a strategic pastoral initiative. Hopes for canonisation   After attending the beatification of Romero in San Salvador in May 2015, Archbishop Paglia says he hopes that during the next year the Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Saints may approve a miracle and make its final decision for his canonisation. After the difficulties of those who opposed Romero’s beatification, Archbishop Paglia says “even those who were against him have to accept the decision of the pope”.  The magisterium of Pope Francis is now linked to the witness of Romero, he says, as “a clear sign of the Holy Spirit’s inspiration in the Church”. Building a globalisation of solidarity Archbishop Paglia notes how many people are struck by the example of Romero, not just in the Catholic and Anglican Churches, but followers of other religions “and also a lot of non-believers” Romero continues “to show, to push all of us”, Archbishop Paglia says, “to trust in the Gospel, to accept the Word of God and put into practice the word of the Gospel”.  If we follow this example, he concludes, “we can not only testify to the Gospel” but we can change the world by helping to “construct a better globalization” of solidarity. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope at Audience: ‘Divine mercy is foundation of Christian hope’

Vatican News - Wed, 08/09/2017 - 09:08
(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis continued his catechesis on Christian hope with pilgrims gathered in the Paul VI Hall for the Wednesday General Audience, saying that God’s mercy as embodied by Jesus both transforms us and renews our hope. Listen to Devin Watkins’ report: In his address to pilgrims at the Wednesday General Audience, Pope Francis spoke about God’s mercy and forgiveness as the driving force or the “motor” of Christian hope. He reflected on the passage in Luke’s Gospel (Lk 7:44-50) in which Jesus forgives the sins of the woman who bathed his feet with her tears and a precious ointment. Pope Francis said that Jesus’ merciful action causes scandal, because it overturns the dominant attitude of his time. Jesus, he said, embraced sinners and the “untouchables” of his day, rather than rejecting them as was commonplace. “Jesus, faced with human pain, feels mercy; Jesus’ heart is merciful. Jesus feels compassion. Literally: Jesus feels a tremor within.” The Pope said Jesus’ astonishing attitude to those in desperate situations, even those who have made many mistakes in life, marks our Christian identity with the stamp of mercy. And this gives a sure foundation to our hope. Pope Francis then invited all present to reflect on the cost of sin. “Jesus does not go to the cross because He heals the sick, preaches charity, or proclaims the beatitudes. The Son of God goes to the cross above all because He forgives sins, and because He wants the total and definitive liberation of the human heart.” Finally, Pope Francis said God’s mercy both transforms us and renews our hope. “[W]e are all poor sinners, in need of the mercy of God Who has the strength to transform us and to restore our hope every day.” (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis decries attack on Nigerian churchgoers, violence in CAR

Vatican News - Wed, 08/09/2017 - 06:36
(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis appealed on Wednesday for an end to “every form of hatred and violence”, especially those “perpetrated in places of worship, where the faithful gather to pray”. He was referring to an attack on Catholics attending Sunday Mass in southern Nigeria and to recent violence against Christians in the Central African Republic. Listen to our report: At his General Audience, Pope Francis said he “remains deeply saddened by the massacre, which took place last Sunday in Nigeria inside a church, where innocent people were killed.” At least 13 people were killed and 26 others were wounded when gunmen opened fire on worshippers at St. Philip’s Catholic Church in Ozubulu near the city of Onitsha. The Pope also decried an incident which occurred on Wednesday in the Central African Republic. “And, unfortunately, news has arrived this morning of violent homicides in the Central African Republic against the Christian community.” He expressed his desire that attacks on places of worship should cease. “I hope that all forms of hatred and violence cease, and may such shameful crimes not be repeated, especially those perpetrated in places of worship, where the faithful gather to pray.” After a brief pause, the Holy Father invited all present to think about “our brothers and sisters in Nigeria and in the Central African Republic” and to pray for them. He then led the crowd in the recitation of the Hail Mary. Pope Francis already on Monday sent a telegramme of condolences to Bishop Hilary Paul Odili Okeke of Nnewi following the attack on the church in his diocese. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis' catechesis at General Audience: English Summary

Vatican News - Wed, 08/09/2017 - 05:28
(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis continued his catechesis on Christian hope at the Wednesday General Audience in the Paul VI Hall, reflecting on divine forgiveness as the "driving force of hope". Please find below the official English summary of the Pope's catechesis: In our continuing catechesis, we now consider God’s mercy as the driving force of Christian hope.  When Jesus forgives the sinful woman, his action causes scandal, because it overturns the dominant attitude of the time.  Instead of rejecting sinners, Jesus embraces them, those who are outcast, “untouchable”.  With a compassion that literally causes him to tremble in his depths, he reveals the merciful heart of God.  This astonishing attitude to those in desperate situations, even those who have made many mistakes in life, marks our Christian identity with the stamp of mercy, and gives a sure foundation to our hope.  We who have experienced God’s forgiveness should avoid the danger of forgetting that this mercy was purchased at a great price: Christ’s death on the Cross.  Our Lord died not because he healed the sick, but because he did what only God can do: forgive sins.  This divine mercy both transforms us and renews our hope.  Our Lord, who rejects no one, graciously bestows upon us the mission to proclaim his mercy to the world. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis sends condolences for Nigeria church attack

Vatican News - Mon, 08/07/2017 - 12:12
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Monday sent a message of condolences following an attack at a Church in southeastern Nigeria. At least 11 people were killed and 18 others were wounded when gunmen opened fire on worshippers who had gathered early on Sunday at St Philip’s Catholic church in Ozubulu near the city of Onitsha. In the message, signed by Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the pope says he is “deeply saddened to learn of the loss of life and injury”. He extends his “heartfelt condolences” to the local bishop and to “all the faithful of the diocese of Nnewi, in particular the families of the deceased and all those affected by this tragedy.” Police said they believe the attack may have been linked to drug trafficking and was carried out following a feud between local residents and member of the community living outside Nigeria. Please see below the full text of the message from Pope Francis to the bishop of the diocese of Nnewi in Nigeria The Right Reverend Hilary Paul Odili Okeke Bishop of Nnewi Deeply saddened to learn of the loss of life and injury following the violent attack in Saint Philip’s Catholic Church, Ozubulu, His Holiness Pope Francis extends heartfelt condolences to you and to all the faithful of the Diocese of Nnewi, in particular the families of the deceased and all those affected by this tragedy. Upon the entire Diocese, His Holiness willingly invokes the divine blessings of consolation and strength.                                                                  Cardinal Pietro Parolin                                                                 Secretary of State (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope sends video message to Church in Peru

Vatican News - Mon, 08/07/2017 - 07:55
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a video message to Catholics in Peru, ahead of his planned pastoral visit there next January . The short video message was published on the website of the archdiocese of Lima by Archbishop Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne. Listen to our report:  In the message Pope Francis talks about the wealth of human resources that characterize the past and present of the Church in the South American nation. Peru has many great saints, he says, who have contributed to the building up of the Church, helping it to move from fragmentation to unity. Saints work for unity A saint, the pope continues, is someone who always work to create unity, just as Jesus did, and a saint must always follow in his footsteps. In the video the pope invites all Peruvians to follow on this path and to work for unity, looking to the future with hope, rather than with bitterness or skepticism. A Christian always looks ahead with hope, he concludes, because he or she always hopes to see the realization of what the Lord has promised. Pope to visit Chile and Peru Pope Francis is scheduled to travel to Chile and Peru from January 15th to 21st, visiting the Peruvian cities of Puerto Maldonado and Trujillo, as well as the capital Lima. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis prays at tomb of Pope Paul VI

Vatican News - Mon, 08/07/2017 - 05:12
(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis on Sunday prayed at the tomb of Blessed Pope Paul VI on the 39th anniversary of his death. Blessed Paul VI is buried in the Vatican in the crypt of St. Peter's Basilica. He was beatified by Pope Francis on 19 October 2014, and his liturgical feast is celebrated on the day of his birth (26 September). Born Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini in 1897, he became Pope on 21 June 1963 until his death on 6 August 1978.  Upon succeeding Pope St. John XXIII, he reigned over the Second Vatican Council until its close in 1965 and implemented its reforms, also fostering improved ecumenical relations with Eastern Orthodox and Protestant Christians. Click here to find out more about the papacy of Paul VI in our feature programme on his life and legacy. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis sends message to Asian Youth Day 2017 in Indonesia

Vatican News - Mon, 08/07/2017 - 04:53
(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis has sent a message to the 7th Asian Youth Day which took place in Indonesia, saying he prays that the young people of Asia "respond with faith and courage to their vocation". In the message, signed by the Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, the Pope greeted the young people of Asia gathered in Yogyakarta with "prayerful best wishes" as the event came to a close on Sunday. Pope Francis invited them "to look to the Mother of the Lord as a model of missionary discipleship, to speak to her as they would to a mother, and to trust always in her loving intercession." "In this way, as they seek to follow Christ Jesus more closely, they too, like the young woman of Nazareth, can truly 'improve the world and leave an imprint that makes a mark on history'". Finally, the Holy Father imparted his Apostolic Blessing "as a pledge of peace and joy in the Lord." Please find below the full message: His Holiness Pope Francis sends warm greetings and prayerful best wishes to all gathered in Yogyakarta for the seventh Asian Youth Day.  He prays that young people from across Asia will listen ever more attentively to God’s call and respond with faith and courage to their vocation.  As they prepare for the next World Youth Day, His Holiness invites them to look to the Mother of the Lord as a model of missionary discipleship, to speak to her as they would to a mother, and to trust always in her loving intercession.  In this way, as they seek to follow Christ Jesus more closely, they too, like the young woman of Nazareth, can truly “improve the world and leave an imprint that makes a mark on history” (Message to Young People, 21 March 2017).  Entrusting all the youth and their families to the maternal intercession of Our Lady, Pope Francis gladly imparts his Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of peace and joy in the Lord. Cardinal Pietro Parolin Secretary of State (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope reflects on Transfiguration, summer vacation at Angelus

Vatican News - Sun, 08/06/2017 - 07:54
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis focused his Angelus reflection on the feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord , which is celebrated each year on 6 August. “The event of the Transfiguration of the Lord,” he said, “offers us a message of hope: it invites us to encounter Jesus, to be at the service of our brothers.” The disciples’ journey to Mount Tabor, he continued, helps us “to reflect on the importance of detaching ourselves from worldly things, in order to complete our journey to the heights and to contemplate Jesus.” This involves conforming ourselves to Christ’s attitude of "attentive listening and prayer,” which allows us to welcome the Word of God into our lives. Summer time, the Pope said, can be a providential moment to grow in our commitment to seek after and encounter the Lord. “In this period, students are free from their scholastic commitments, and many families take their vacations; it is important that in the period of rest and of detachment from daily occupations, the strength of the body and of the spirit can be restored, deepening the spiritual journey.” These spiritual heights, though, are not an end in themselves. Following the experience of the Transfiguration, the disciples came down from the mountain with “eyes and hearts transfigured by the experience of the Lord." Pope Francis said that we too can “come down from the mountain, recharged by the power of the divine Spirit, to decide on new steps of authentic conversion, and to constantly bear witness to charity as the law of daily life.” This transfiguration will allow us to be “signs of the life-giving love of God” for all, especially those who suffer. In the Transfiguration, the Pope said, we hear the voice of the Father saying, “This is My beloved Son. Listen to Him!” Pope Francis encouraged us to look to Mary, “the Virgin of Listening ,” and pray that she might help us “to enter into symphony with the Word of God, that Christ might become the light and the guide of our lives.” He concluded his reflection by entrusting everyone’s vacations to God, and by praying for all those who are unable to take vacations, that summer may be for them, too, a time of relaxation, “gladdened by the presence of friends and joyful moments.”     (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis sends condolences on death of Card. Tettamanzi

Vatican News - Sat, 08/05/2017 - 10:30
(Vatican Radio) Following the death of Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi , Pope Francis has sent a telegram of condolence to A rchbishop Mario Delpini , Archbishop-elect of Milan. “I think with affection and remember with gratitude the intense cultural and pastoral work accomplished by this praiseworthy brother, who in his fruitful life has borne witness with joy to the Gospel, and docilely served the Church,” the Pope said. He remembered Cardinal Tettamanzi’s service “first as a priest of the Archdiocese of Milan, then as Bishop of Ancona-Osimo, secretary of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, and Archbishop of Genoa, later as Archbishop of the beloved Ambrosian Church, and finally as Apostolic Administrator of Vigevano.” Cardinal Tettamanzi, Pope Francis said, “always distinguished himself as a caring pastor, totally dedicated to the needs and well-being” of his priests and people. In particular, he noted the Cardinal’s expertise in the fields of family , marriage , and bioethics . Concluding the telegram, Pope Francis prayed “that, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary,” the Lord “might welcome this His faithful servant, whom I loved so much, into joy and eternal peace.”  (from Vatican Radio)...
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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)...
Categories: Vatican News

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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