We pray to Jesus, but the key thing is that Jesus is praying for us, Pope Francis said in his morning homily today.
At Mass in the Casa Santa Marta today, the Holy Father focused on Jesus’ prayer, Vatican Radio reported.
“‘Jesus went up to the mountain to pray and he spent the night in prayer to God.’ And then the rest followed, the crowds, the choosing of his disciples, the healings, the casting out of demons… Yes, the cornerstone is Jesus but Jesus who prays,” the Pope said. “Jesus is praying. He prayed and he continues to pray for the Church. The cornerstone of the Church is our Lord in front of the Father who intercedes on our behalf, who is praying for us. We pray to Him but the key thing is that He is praying for us.”
Pope Francis went on to describe how Jesus always prayed for his followers, as we see at the Last Supper or before his miracles, such as when he prayed to the Father before raising Lazarus from the dead.
“Jesus prayed on the Mount of Olives, on the Cross, he ended praying: his life ended in prayer. And this is our security, this is our foundation, this is our cornerstone: Jesus who is praying for us! Jesus who is praying for me! And each of us can say this: I am certain that Jesus is praying for me; that he is in front of the Father and naming me. This is the cornerstone of the Church: Jesus in prayer.”
Another example of Jesus praying for his followers, said the Pope, came before his Passion when Jesus told Peter he had been praying for him to withstand Satan’s temptation and for his faith to hold firm.
“And what Jesus tells Peter, he tells you and you and me, everybody: ‘I have prayed for you, I am praying for you, I am now praying for you’ and when He comes onto the altar, He comes to intercede, to pray for us. As he did on the Cross. And this gives us a great sense of security. I belong to this community that’s solid because Jesus is its cornerstone, Jesus who is praying for me, who is praying for us. Today we’d do well to reflect on the Church, reflect on this mystery of the Church. We are all like a building but its foundation is Jesus, Jesus who is praying for us, Jesus who is praying for me.”
Readings provided by the US bishops’ conference:
Feast of Saints Simon and Jude, Apostles
Reading 1 EPH 2:19-22
Brothers and sisters:
The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
Day pours out the word to day,
and night to night imparts knowledge.
R. Their message goes out through all the earth.
Not a word nor a discourse
whose voice is not heard;
Through all the earth their voice resounds,
and to the ends of the world, their message.
R. Their message goes out through all the earth. Alleluia – See Te Deum R. Alleluia, alleluia.
We praise you, O God,
we acclaim you as Lord;
the glorious company of Apostles praise you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia. Gospel LK 6:12-16
Jesus went up to the mountain to pray,
|1 hour 32 min|
[From Vatican Radio]
Pope Francis has called making war in the name of religion “satanic” and a “blasphemy.” His words came in an interview with the Jesuit Catholic journal La Civiltà Cattolica ahead of his ecumenical Apostolic Trip to Sweden this Monday and Tuesday. The interview was conducted by Father Ulf Jonsson S.J., the director of the Swedish cultural journal of the Jesuits, Signum. Pope Francis mentioned the recent interreligious meeting for peace in Assisi, which he called “very important.”Working translation of the interview here: http://www.laciviltacattolica.it/articoli_download/extra/Interview_with_PF.pdf
“All of us talked of peace and we asked for peace,” – the Pope said – “ We together said strong words for peace, what the religions truly want.”
When asked about the suffering of the Christians in the Middle East, Pope Francis called the region “a land of martyrs.”
“I believe that the Lord does not leave his people on their own,” – the Holy Father said – “He will not abandon them. When we read of the hard trials of the people of Israel in the Bible or remember the trials of the martyrs, we see how the Lord always comes to the aid of his people.”
The purpose of the trip to Sweden is to mark the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, and much of the discussion in the interview covered ecumenical affairs. Speaking about the mutual enrichment possible between Christian communities, the Pope was asked what Catholics could learn from Lutherans.
“Two words come to my mind: ‘reform’ and ‘Scripture’,” – Pope Francis said – “I will try to explain. The first is the word ‘reform’. At the beginning, Luther’s was a gesture of reform in a difficult time for the Church. Luther wanted to remedy a complex situation.
Then this gesture also because of the political situations, we think also of the cuius regio eius religio (whose realm, his religion) — became a ‘state’ of separation, and not a process of reform of the whole Church, which is fundamental, because the Church is semper reformanda (always reforming).”
“The second word is ‘Scripture’, the Word of God,” – the Pope continued – “Luther took a great step by putting the Word of God into the hands of the people. Reform and Scripture are two things that we can deepen by looking at the Lutheran tradition. The General Congregations before the Conclave comes to mind and how the request for a reform was alive in our discussions.”
The Holy Father was later asked about how the Ecumenical movement can move forward. He responded by saying “theological dialogue must continue,” and pointed to the Joint Declaration on Justification as an important point, but added “it will not be easy to go forward because of the different ways of understanding some theological questions.”
“Personally, I believe that enthusiasm must shift towards common prayer and the works of mercy — work done together to help the sick, the poor, and the imprisoned,” – Pope Francis said – “To do something together is a high and effective form of dialogue. I also think about education. It is important to work together and not in a sectarian way. There is a policy we should have clear in every case: to proselytize in the ecclesial field is a sin.”
|1 hour 44 min|
Today a press conference was held at the Vatican to present the Third World Meeting of Popular Movements, to be held in Rome from 3 to 5 November 2016.
The speakers were Archbishop Silvano Maria Tomasi, Holy See Permanent Observer at the United Nations and delegate secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, and Juan Grabois, consulter to the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and co-founder of the Movement of Excluded Workers of the Conference of the Popular Economy.
Following the meetings in Rome 2014 and Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, in 2015, next week around 200 members will meet, representing 92 popular movements from 65 countries. The themes to be considered in the third meeting will again be “ las tres T: Trabajo, Techo, Tierra ”; (“The three Ls: Labour, Lodgings and Land”); care for nature; and migrants and refugees.
Read the Pope’s addresses here:
The meeting will take place at the Pontifical International Maria Mater Ecclesiae College from 2 to 4 November. Then, on 5 November, the Holy Father Francis will receive the participants in audience. The attendees will include Don Luigi Ciotti, founder of the Abel group which fights against abuse by the Mafia throughout Italy; Vandana Shiva, Indian philosopher and environmentalist; and Pepe Mujica, president of Uruguay from 2010 to 2015.
The “popular movements” are grassroots organizations established by those whose inalienable rights to decent work, decent housing and fertile land are undermined, threatened or denied outright. In the main, these movements represent three increasingly excluded social sectors: (a) workers who are at risk or lack job security, in the informal sector or self-employed, migrants, day- labourers and all those unprotected by labour rights or trade unions; (b) landless farmers, family farmers, indigenous people and those at risk of being driven out of the countryside by agro-speculation and violence; (c) the marginalized and forgotten, including squatters and inhabitants of peripheral neighbourhoods or informal settlements, without adequate urban infrastructure. Also taking part in the meeting will be trade unions and social and human rights organisations which are close to these movements
For further information, see:
|1 hour 49 min|
Pope Francis today received in audience participants in the International Congress for Episcopal Vicars and Delegates for Consecrated Life, underway in Rome at the Pontifical University Antonianum from today until October 30.
Here is a translation of the Pope’s address:
* * *
Dear Brothers and Sisters, I greet you warmly and thank you for having come to this first International Congress of Episcopal Vicars and Delegates for Consecrated Life. Through you, I wish to greet all your Bishops and to express my appreciation for the attention they give to consecrated life in its different expressions. I thank Cardinal Braz de Aviz for the words with which he introduced our meeting.
You, dear brothers, are called to help the Bishop in all that concerns consecrated life (cf. CIC, 479 §2). Today I would like to share with you three brief reflections.
Consecrated life is “a spiritual capital that contributes to the good of the whole Body of Christ (cf. Lumen Gentium, 43) and not only of Religious Families” (Apostolic Letter To All the Consecrated on the occasion of the Year of Consecrated Life, III, 5). For this reason, I have asked and ask also today the Pastors and you, Vicars and Delegates of Consecrated Life, receive it “warmly and joyfully” (Ibid.) as a reality that “is in the very heart of the Church” and “as decisive element of her mission,” in as much as it “belongs irrevocably to her life and to her holiness” (Ibid.). Therefore, I encourage the Pastors, and you with them, to manifest a special solicitude in promoting in your Churches the various charisms, be they old or new; to be close to the consecrated, with tenderness and love, and to teach the People of God the value of consecrated life.
I remind the consecrated that a just autonomy and exemption cannot be confused with isolation and independence. Today more than ever it is necessary to live a just autonomy and exemption, in the Institutes that provide them, in close relation with insertion, in such a way that the charismatic freedom and the catholicity of consecrated life are also expressed in the context of the particular Church. The latter would not respond fully to what Jesus desired for His Church, if it were deprived of consecrated life, which is part of her essential structure, in the same way as the laity or the ordained ministry. It is for this reason that, in the light of Vatican Council II, we speak today of the co-essentialness of the hierarchical gifts and of the charismatic gifts (cf. Lumen Gentium, 4), which flow from the one Spirit of God and nourish the life of the Church and her missionary action. All these gifts are destined to contribute in different ways, to the building of the Church, and in harmonious and complementary relation between them. Pastors are called to respect, without manipulating, “the multi-dimensionality that constitutes the Church and through which the Church manifests herself.” On their part, the consecrated must remember that they are not “a closed patrimony,” but “an integrated facet in the body of the Church, attracted to the center, that is Christ” (J.M. Bergoglio, Address to the Synod on Consecrated Life and Its Mission in the Church and in the World, XVI, General Congregation, October 13, 1994).
At the moment of erecting a new Institute one cannot think only of its usefulness for the particular Church. The Bishops, their Vicars and Delegates, as well as the Congregation itself for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, cannot be simplistic when they exercise this grave responsibility. The Pastors must consider that, in erecting a new Institute, they are certainly exercising a right proper to them but that at the same time they are assuming a responsibility in the name of the universal Church, from the moment that such an Institute is destined to grow and to come out of the confines of the Diocese that saw its birth. And, moreover, it is necessary to consider prudently the duty to provide appropriate formation to the candidates. Because it is a delicate decision, it is good that the Bishops allow themselves to be helped by all those that have experience of consecrated life, and you can also be among these, dear brothers.
In addition to the updating of the norms that must govern mutual relations between the Bishops and all forms of consecrated life, masculine and feminine, it is about reflecting further on the value of reciprocity, which commits Pastors and the consecrated. Mutual relations do not exist where some command and others submit themselves, out of fear or convenience. Instead, there are mutual relations where dialogue, respectful listening, and reciprocal hospitality, encounter and knowledge, shared quest for the truth, the desire of fraternal collaboration for the good of the Church, which is “house of communion,” are cultivated. All this is the responsibility both of the Pastors and of the consecrated. In this connection, we are all called to be ‘pontiffs,” builders of bridges. Our time requires communion in respect of diversities. We are not afraid of diversity, which comes from the Spirit.
Finally, I would like to ask you to give special attention to the contemplative Sisters. As I affirmed in the recent Apostolic Constitution Vultum Dei Quaerere, this way of following Christ, rooted “in the silence of the cloister,” represents in the Church and for the Church the “praying heart, custodian of gratuitousness and of rich apostolic fecundity,” which generates “precious fruits of grace and mercy” and of “many-sided holiness” (n. 5). The Church, also the particular Church, is in need of these “lighthouses that indicate the route to reach the port,” of these “torches that accompany the path of men and women in the dark night of time,” of these “watchmen of the morning that herald the rising of the sun” (Ibid., 6). Accompany them with fraternal affection, treating them always as adult women, respecting their own competencies, without undue interferences. Accompany them by giving them help in all that refers to the essential elements of their life, as they are presented in the mentioned Apostolic Constitution (cf . nn. 12ff), and taking into account the Instruction that the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life will produce (cf. Ibid., 14 §1). Focusing all your attention on one element, as important as it might be, such as the case of cloister or that of autonomy, could lead to a vital imbalance that would have sad consequences for the life of these Sisters.
Dear brothers, love consecrated life and to this end proceed so as to know it in depth. Build mutual relations from the ecclesiology of communion, from the principle of co-essentiality, from the just autonomy that corresponds to the consecrated. Greet your Bishops and all the consecrated of your dioceses on my behalf.
I assure you of my prayer and you, please, do not forget to pray for me. Thanks you and have a good Congress!
[Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]
|2 hours 13 min|
Wis 11.22 – 12.2; Ps 145; 2 Thess 1.11 to 2.2; Lk 19,1-10
Is 25,6-10a; Ps 35; Rm 4.18 to 25; Mt 22,1-14
Second Sunday after the Dedication of the Cathedral.
People’s participation to salvation
1) A matter of glances.
In the journey of Jesus toward Jerusalem that, as I said before, does not follow the logic of geography but that of merciful redemption, today we accompany him to Jericho. As we pass with Him through this town, we encounter not only the people but also Zacchaeus, the tax collector-chief of the customs of Jericho, border area of the Roman province. At first glance, this seems like a “difficult case” not only because this man, for his work, was considered a public sinner to avoid as legally impure, but also because he was a cheater and a collaborator with the enemy, the Roman occupant for whom he collected taxes. He is also a rich man, and a short time before, Jesus had said to a rich young man: “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven” (Luke 18:25). Fortunately, the mercy of the Redeemer does not stop in front of difficult cases. Today, we are given the example of the encounter of the Savior with Zacchaeus, whose conversion demonstrates that no human condition is incompatible with salvation: “Today salvation has come to this house”. There He has taken home to rest.
Only Jesus, true man and true God, could do this: enter the house of an excommunicated sinner to rest, and save him. In the Greek text there is the word cataluo that is the same as cataluma which is used twice in the Gospel of Luke: at Jesus’ birth, where the cave is indicated by the word of this passage of the Gospel, and at the Last Supper. Also in this third event the word indicates, as a resting place, the Last Supper, where Christ will celebrate the Eucharist. Today’s text explains very well the meaning and the aim of the Savior’s life from his birth to his death, the Eucharist where he is to be fed to all sinners. He becomes our life if we, repentant sinners, welcome him.
Let’s follow the example of this converted man. Zacchaeus knows that he is a sinner needing God’s forgiveness. With this man, small in stature, let’s climb up the tree to see Jesus. The Redeemer will lift his gaze to each of us and to us too He will say: “’Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house. ’And he came down quickly and received him with joy” (Lk 19: 5-6).
It all starts with an exchange of glances. Zacchaeus (each of us) wants to see Jesus, and this desire corresponds to the need for Jesus to stop and dwell in the house of a sinner that then changes his life, beginning with giving half of his possessions to the poor.
2) Searching for Mercy.
However, it important to note that, as in the case of Zacchaeus, the initiative belongs to Christ and is free. Of course, it is embedded in man’s availability. The encounter with God is always at the same time a gift and the completion of a search. It is the fulfillment of a wish. Not only Zacchaeus was looking for Jesus, but also Jesus was looking for Zacchaeus. The initiative of God precedes that of men, who open their homes God. An English painter painted a Jesus who knocks behind a closed door, while the storm rages. He is in the midst of weeds and brambles. Since the handle is only from the inside, it is not possible to enter until someone opens. It is a beautiful image of God and us! Only we can open the door to Christ. We are the only one who can reverse the way to the source of life, the only ones that can let be welcome by the One who” has mercy on all for the sake of repentance” ( Sap.11,23)
The first step of this journey of conversion- according to today’s Gospel- is the “desire to see”. Zacchaeus wants to see “who Jesus was.” However, I do not think Zacchaeus had left home because he wanted to convert. Certainly in his heart and in his mind there was something: a desire for truth and goodness that urged him. Probably it was curiosity, a desire to know a person of whom many people were talking about. In any case, this curious research is bound to the wanting to see. It is the meeting of the eyes and the acceptance of his invitation, or better, of his self-invitation to stop in our house to dwell with us. Who would have imagined that God “must” abide in each of us? For God this is the “duty” of love that climbs the tree (the cross of life) in our place and save us.
The second step to change life is the “call” of Jesus, who always wants to save the sinner. Jesus invites or rather invites himself, but this self-invitation had already begun in Bethlehem in a cave.
The third step is that Zacchaeus (each of us) “answers”, filled with joy, to the call. The human life is thus a joyful response to the Love that heals and saves. We must let ourselves be surprised by joy because who could imagine that the answer is to host God asking to rest in our house, in our fragile love? With love healed and strengthened by Love, each of us accepts God in the house of his heart, where Christ is resting because he is welcomed and loved. Elsewhere, the Son of God is on the Cross.
Finally, the fourth and fifth step of the conversion are the atonement of sin (“If I stole it, restore it fourfold”) and sharing (“Here’s the half of my goods to the poor”).
The decision for these steps is the answer to salvation that went to Lazarus in Christ. He is the Son of God who came to seek and save what is lost. Let’s remember the parable of the shepherd who says “Come with me! Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.” Jesus is the Son of Man that has come to seek man. It is God who became man to meet every lost man, and so he really is God. He is love, then man becomes again man to be loved and to love and being in the image and likeness of the creator. This is the most beautiful scene of the gospel. It is a scene that refers to the previous passage of today’s Gospel that speaks of the blind man who comes to the light. This is the first little man that comes to light, the very light of God.
Zacchaeus, “sought” and “saved” without conditions, sees his heart now turned into a free source of love despite the “murmurings” and the “scandal” that always an unforeseen conversion causes. Freed from himself, he gives himself without reserve to his brothers, “poor” like him.
Accepting “today” Christ who invites himself into our home through the Church that teaches us with the Word and the sacraments, we can live fully each day. It was “necessary and appropriate”, as stated in the original Greek text, that Christ has “stopped” at the house of Zacchaeus, as “today” in our lives. It was “convenient” for those who are close to us, to whom we can finally give back “four times as much” what we have unjustly taken away. It was “convenient” for the world to which every risen Zacchaeus can proclaim the love he was entitled to, multiplied by the mercy of God.
on Lc 19: 1-10
AMBROSE; Zacchaeus in the sycamore, the blind man by the way side: upon the one our Lord waits to show mercy, upon the other He confers the great glory of abiding in his house.
The chief among the Publicans is here fitly introduced. For who will hereafter despair of himself, now that he attains to grace who gained his living by fraud. And he too moreover a rich man, that we may know that not all rich men are covetous.
CYRIL; But Zacchaeus made no delay in what he did, and so was accounted worthy of the favor of God, which gives sight to the blind, and calls them who are afar off.
TIT. BOST. The seed of salvation had begun to spring up in him, for he desired to see Jesus, having never seen Him. For if he had seen Him, he would long since have given up the Publican’s wicked life. No one that sees Jesus can remain any longer in wickedness. But there were two obstacles to his seeing Him. The multitude not so much of men as of his sins prevented him, for he was little of stature.
AMBROSE; What means the Evangelist by describing his stature, and that of none other? It is perhaps because he was young in wickedness, or as yet weak in the faith. For he was not yet prostrate in sin who could climb up. He had not yet seen Christ.
TIT. BOST. But he discovered a good device; running before he climbed up into a sycamore, and saw Him whom he had long wished for, i.e. Jesus, passing by. Now Zacchaeus desired no more than to see, but He who is able to do more than v e ask for, granted to Him far above what he expected; as it follows,
And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him. He saw the soul of the man striving earnestly to live a holy life, and converts him to godliness.
AMBROSE; Uninvited he invites Himself to his house; as it follows, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down, &c. for He knew how richly He would reward his hospitality. And though He had not yet heard the word of invitation, He had already seen the will.
BEDE; See here, the camel disencumbered of his hunch passes through the eye of a needle, that is, the rich man and the publican abandoning his love of riches, and loathing his dishonest gains, receives the blessing of his Lord’s company. It follows, And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully.
AMBROSE; Let the rich learn that guilt attaches not to the goods themselves, but to those who know not how to use them. For riches, as they are hindrances to virtue in the unworthy, so are they means of advancing it in the good.
PSEUDO-CHRYS. Observe the gracious kindness of the Savior. The innocent associates with the guilty, the fountain of justice with covetousness, which is the source of injustice. Having entered the publican’s house, He suffers no stain from the mists of avarice, but disperses them by the bright beam of His righteousness. But those who deal with biting words and reproaches, try to cast a slur upon the things which were done by Him; for it follows, And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner.
But He, though accused of being a wine-bibber and a friend of publicans, regarded it not, so long as He could accomplish His end. As a physician sometimes can not save his patients from their diseases without the defilement of blood. kind so it happened here, for the publican was converted, and lived a better life. Zacchaeus stood, and said to the Lord, Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have defrauded any man, I restore him fourfold. Behold here is a marvel: without learning he obeys. And as the sun pouring its rays into a house enlightens it not by word, but by work, so the Savior by the rays of righteousness put to flight the darkness of sin; for the light shines in darkness. Now every thing united is strong, but divided, weak, therefore Zacchaeus divides into two parts his substance. But we must be careful to observe, that his wealth was not made up from unjust gains, but from his patrimony, else how could he restore fourfold what he had unjustly extorted. He knew that the law ordered what was wrongly taken away to be restored fourfold, that if the law deterred not, a man’s losses might soften him. Zacchaeus waits not for the judgment of the law, but makes himself his own judge.
THEOPHYL. If we examine more closely, we shall see that nothing was left of his own property. For having given half of his goods to the poor, out of the remainder he restored fourfold to those whom he had injured. He not only promised this, but did it. For he says not, “I will give the half, and I will restore fourfold, but, I give, and I restore. To such Christ announces salvation; Jesus said to him, This day is salvation come to this house, signifying that Zacchaeus had attained to salvation, meaning by the house the inhabitant thereof. And it follows, forasmuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For He would not have given the name of a son of Abraham to a lifeless building.
BEDE; Zacchaeus is called the son of Abraham, not because he was born of Abraham’s seed, but because he imitates his faith, that as Abraham left his country and his father’s house, so he abandoned all his goods in giving them to the poor. And He well says, “He also,” to declare that not only those who had lived justly, but those who are raised up from a life of injustice, belong to the sons of promise.
THEOPHYL. He said not that he “was” a son of Abraham, but that he now is. For before when he was the chief among the publicans, and bore no likeness to the righteous Abraham, he was not his son. But because some murmured that he tarried with a man who was a sinner, he adds in order to restrain them, For the Son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost.
PSEUDO-CHRYS. Why do you accuse me if I bring sinners to righteousness? So far am I from hating them, that for their sakes I came. For I came to heal, not to judge, therefore am I the constant guest of those that are sick, and I suffer their noisomeness that I may supply remedies. But some one may ask, how does Paul bid us, If we have a brother that is a fornicator or covetous man, with such not even to take food; whereas Christ was the guest of publicans? They were not as yet so far advanced as to be brethren, and besides, St. Paul bids us avoid our brethren only when they persist in evil, but these were converted.
BEDE; Mystically, Zacchaeus, which is by interpretation “justified,” signifies the Gentile believers, who were depressed and brought very low by their worldly occupations, but sanctified by God. And he was desirous to see our Savior entering Jericho, inasmuch as he sought to share in that faith which Christ brought into the world.
CYRIL; The crowd is the tumultuous state of an ignorant multitude, which cannot see the lofty top of wisdom. Zacchaeus therefore, while he was in the crowd, saw not Christ, but having advanced beyond the vulgar ignorance, was thought worthy to entertain Him whom he desired to look upon.
BEDE; Or the crowd that is, the general habit of vice, which rebuked the blind man crying out, lest he should seek the light, also impedes Zacchaeus looking up, that he might not see Jesus; that as by crying out the more the blind man overcame the crowd, so the man weak in the faith by forsaking earthly things, and climbing the tree of the Cross, surmounts the opposing multitude. The sycamore, which is a tree resembling the mulberry in foliage, but exceeding it in height, whence by the Latins it is called “lofty,” is called the “foolish fig-tree,” and so the Cross of our Lord sustains believers, as the fig-tree figs, and is mocked by unbelievers as foolishness. This tree Zacchaeus, who was little in stature, climbed up, that he might be raised together with Christ; for every one who is humble, and conscious of his own weakness, cries out, God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.
AMBROSE; He has well added, that our Lord was to pass that way, either where the sycamore-tree was, or where he was who was about to believe, that so He might preserve the mystery, and sow the seeds of grace. For He had so come as that through the Jews He came to the Gentiles. He sees then Zacchaeus above, for already the excellence of his faith shone forth amidst the fruits of good works, and the loftiness of the fruitful tree; but Zacchaeus stands out above the tree, as one who is above the law.
BEDE; The Lord as He journeyed came to the place where Zacchaeus had climbed the sycamore, for having sent His preachers throughout the world in whom He Himself spoke and went, He comes to the Gentile people, who were already raised up on high through faith in His Passion, and whom when He looked up He saw, for He chose them through grace. Now our Lord once abode in the house of the chief of the Pharisees, but when He did works such as none but God could do, they railed at Him Wherefore hating their deeds He departed, saying, Your house shall be left to you desolate; but now He must needs stay at the house of the weak Zacchaeus, that is, by the grace of the new law brightly shining, He must take rest in the hearts of tile lowly nations. But that Zacchaeus is bid to come down from the sycamore tree, and prepare an abode for Christ, this is what the Apostle says, Yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we Him no more. And again elsewhere, For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he lives by the power of God. It is plain that the Jews always hated the salvation Of the Gentiles; but salvation, which formerly filled the houses of the Jews, has this day shone upon the Gentiles, forasmuch as this people also by believing on God is a son of Abraham.
THEOPHYL. It is easy to turn this to a moral use. For whoever surpasses many in wickedness is small in spiritual growth, and cannot see Jesus for the crowd. For disturbed by passion and worldly things, he beholds not Jesus walking, that is, working in us, not recognizing His operation. But he climbs up to the top of a sycamore-tree, in that he rises above the sweetness of pleasure, which is signified by a fig, and subduing it, and so becoming more exalted, he sees and is seen by Christ.
GREG. Or because the sycamore is from its name called the foolish fig, the little Zacchaeus gets up into the sycamore and sees the Lord, for they who humbly choose the foolish things of this world are those who contemplate most closely the wisdom of God. For what is more foolish in this world than not to seek for what is lost, to give our possessions to robbers, to return not injury for injury? However, by this wise foolishness, the wisdom of God is seen, not yet really as it is, but by the light of contemplation.
THEOPHYL. The Lord said to him, Make haste and come down, that is, “you have ascended by penitence to a place too high for you, come down by humility, lest your exaltation cause you to sky. I must abide in the house of a humble man. We have two kinds of goods in us, bodily, and spiritual; the just man gives up all his bodily goods to the poor, but he forsakes not his spiritual goods, but if he has extorted any thing from any one, he restores to him fourfold; signifying thereby that if a man by repentance walks in the Opposite path to his former perverseness, he by the manifold practice of virtue heals all his old offenses, and so merits salvation, and is called the son of Abraham, because he went out from his own kindred, that is, from his ancient wickedness.
|2 hours 26 min|
Pope Francis has appointed Fr. Socrates Mesiona, M.S.P., as apostolic vicar of Puerto Princesa, Philippines.
Socrates Mesiona was born in 1963 in Tagbilaran, Philippines, and was ordained a priest in 1989. He holds a licentiate in missiology from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, and has served in a number of roles. He also was member of the council and subsequently superior general of the Mission Society of the Philippines. He is currently national director of the Pontifical Missionary Works.
He succeeds Bishop Pedro D. Arigo, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same apostolic vicariate was accepted by the Holy Father.
The Apostolic Vicariate of Puerto Princesa has a population of some 606,000 with about 413,000 Catholics . They are served by about 50 priests and the same number of religious.
An apostolic vicariate is an ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Latin Church, established in mission regions where the hierarchy of the Latin rite is not yet fully organized.
|2 hours 39 min|
On Thursday, Pope Francis received in audience members of the Academic Community of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family, on the occasion of the opening of the new Academic Year.
Here is a ZENIT working translation of the Pope’s address.
* * *
Most Reverend Excellency,
I am especially happy to open together with you this new Academic Year of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute, the thirty-fifth of its foundation. I thank the Grand Chancellor, His Excellency Monsignor Vincenzo Paglia, and the Principal, Monsignor Pierangelo Sequeri for their words and I extend my gratitude also to all those who have headed the Institute.
The farsighted intuition of Saint john Paul II, who greatly desired this academic institution, can be even better recognized and appreciated today in its fruitfulness and timeliness. His wise discernment of the signs of the times restored with vigor the attention of the Church and of human society itself, to the profundity and delicacy of the bonds that are generated from the conjugal alliance of man and woman. The development that the Institute has had in the five Continents confirms the validity and meaning of the “catholic” form of its program. The vitality of this project, which has generated an institution of such high profile, encourages the further development of initiatives of colloquium and exchange with all academic institutions, also those belonging to different religious and cultural areas, which are committed today to reflecting on this most delicate frontier of the human.
In the present circumstances, the conjugal and family bonds are put to the test in many ways. The affirmation of a culture that exalts narcissistic individualism, a conception of freedom disengaged from responsibility for the other, the growth of indifference to the common good, the imposition of ideologies that attack the family project directly, as well as the growth of poverty that threatens the future of so many families, are all the more reasons for the crisis of the contemporary family. Then there are the open questions of the development of new technologies, which render possible practices which at times are in conflict with the true dignity of human life. The complexity of these new horizons recommends a tighter bond between the John Paul II Institute and the Pontifical Academy for Life. I exhort you to frequent courageously these new and delicate implications with all the necessary rigor, without falling “into the temptation of varnishing them, of perfuming them, of adjusting them somewhat and of domesticating them” (Letter of the Grand Chancellor of the Pontifical Argentine Catholic University, March 3, 2015).
The uncertainty and disorientation that touch the fundamental affections of the person and of life destabilize all the bonds, those of the family and the social, having the “I” prevail increasingly over the “we,” the individual over society. It is a success that contradicts the plan of God, who entrusted the world and history to the alliance of man and woman (Genesis 1:28-31). This alliance — by its very nature — implies cooperation and respect, generous dedication and shared responsibility, ability to recognize difference as richness and promise, not as motive for subjection and malfeasance.
The recognition of the dignity of man and of woman implies a just appreciation of their mutual relationship. How can we know in depth the concrete humanity of which we are made without learning it through this difference? And this happens when man and woman speak to each other and question one another, love one another and act together, with mutual respect and benevolence. It is impossible to deny the contribution of modern culture to the rediscovery of the dignity of the sexual difference. Therefore, it is also very disconcerting to see that now this culture seems to be blocked by a tendency to cancel the difference instead of resolving the problems that mortify it.
The family is the irreplaceable womb of the initiation of the creaturely alliance of man and woman. This bond, sustained by the grace of God the Creator and Savior, is destined to be realized in the many ways of their relationship, which are reflected in the different communal and social bonds. The profound correlation between family figures and the social forms of this alliance – in religion and in ethics, in work, in the economy and in politics, in the care of life and in the relationship between the generations – is now global evidence. In fact, when things go well between man and woman, the world and history also go well. In the opposite case, the world becomes inhospitable and history stops.
The testimony of humanity and of the beauty of the Christian experience of the family must therefore be inspired again more in depth. The Church dispenses God’s love for the family in view of its mission of love for all the families of the world. The Church – which recognizes herself as family people – sees in the family the icon of the God’s covenant with the whole human family. And, in reference to Christ and to the Church, the Apostle affirms that this is a great mystery (cf. Ephesians 5:32). Therefore, the charity of the Church commits us to develop – on the doctrinal and pastoral plane – our capacity to read and interpret, for our time, the truth and the beauty of God’s creative plan. The radiation of this divine project, in the complexity of the human condition, calls for a special intelligence of love. And also a strong evangelical dedication, animated by great compassion and mercy for the vulnerability and fallibility of the love between human beings.
It is necessary to apply oneself with greater enthusiasm to the rescue – I would almost say to the rehabilitation – of this extraordinary “invention” of divine creation. This rescue must be taken seriously, be it in the doctrinal sense as well as the practical, pastoral and testimonial sense. The dynamics of the relationship between God, man and woman, and their children, are the golden key to understand the world and history, with all that they contain. And, finally, to understand something of the profound, which is found in the love of God Himself. Can we succeed in thinking thus “greatly”? Are we convinced of the power of life that this plan of God bears in the love of the world? Are we able to snatch the new generations from resignation and re-conquer them to the audacity of this plan?
We are certainly very aware of the fact that we also bear this treasure in “earthen vessels” (cf. 2 Corinthians 4:7). Grace exists, as does sin. Therefore, we must learn not to be resigned to human failure, but let us sustain the rescue of the creative plan at all costs. It is right, in fact, to recognize that at times “we have presented a theological ideal of marriage that is too abstract, almost artificially constructed, far from the concrete situation and of effective possibilities of families as they are. This excessive idealization, especially when we have not reawakened confidence in grace, has not made marriage more desirable and attractive, but all the contrary” (Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, 36). God’s justice shines in fidelity to His promise. And this splendor, as we learned from Jesus’ revelation, is His mercy (cf. Romans 9:21-23).
The twofold Synodal appointment of the Bishops of the world, cum Petro e sub Petro, has manifested concordantly the necessity to extend the Church’s understanding and care for this mystery of human love, in which the love of God gains ground for all. The Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia makes a treasure of this extension and solicits the entire people of God to render the Church’s family dimension more visible and effective. The families that make up the people of God and build the Lord’s Body with their love, are called to be more aware of the gift of grace that they themselves bear, and to become proud to be able to put it at the disposition of all the poor and the abandoned that despair of being able to find or re-find it. Today’s pastoral topic is not only that of the “distance” of many from the ideal and practice of the Christian truth of marriage and the family; more decisive yet is the topic of the Church’s “closeness”: closeness to the new generations of spouses, so that the blessing of their bond convinces them increasingly and accompanies them, and closeness to the situations of human weakness, so that grace can rescue them, give them new courage and heal them. The Church’s indissoluble bond with her children is the most transparent sign of God’s faithful and merciful love.
The new horizon of this commitment certainly sees your Institute convoked, in an altogether special way, to sustain the necessary opening of the intelligence of the faith at the service of the pastoral solicitude of the Successor of Peter. The fruitfulness of this task of further reflection and study, in favor of the whole Church, is entrusted to the impetus of your mind and your heart. Let us not forget that “good theologians also, as good Pastors, smell of the people and of the street and, with their reflection, pour oil and wine on men’s wounds” (March 3, 2015). Theology and pastoral <care> go together. A theological doctrine that does not let itself be guided and molded by the evangelizing end and by the pastoral care of the Church is all the more unthinkable than a pastoral of the Church that is unable to make a treasure of the revelation and of her tradition in view of a better intelligence and transmission of the faith.
This task calls for being rooted in the joy of the faith and in the humility of joyful service to the Church. Of the Church that exists, not of a Church thought in one’s image and likeness. The living Church in which we live, the beautiful Church to which we belong, the Church of the one Lord and one Spirit, to whom we give ourselves as “unworthy servants” (Luke 17:10), who offer their best gifts. The Church we love, so that all can love her. The Church in which we feel loved beyond our merits, and for which we are ready to make sacrifices, in perfect joy. May God accompany us in this path of communion that we undertake together. And may He bless from now on the generosity with which you are about to sow the furrow entrusted to you.
[Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]
|4 hours 26 min|
Pope Francis today received around a hundred members of the “Santa Marta Group” on the occasion of the third Conference of this international organisation against human trafficking.
Launched in 2014 by Pope Francis and chaired by Cardinal Vincent Nichols, archbishop of Westminster, the Santa Marta Group is composed of police chiefs, bishops, religious sisters and representatives from civil society, and aims to forge relationships of trust between police and the Church, especially religious sisters, enabling this crime to be defeated and the victims to be accompanied, assisted, and ultimately reintegrated into society.
Since 2014 the Santa Marta Group has held conferences in England and Spain, and along with the Holy See permanent observer jointly organised a conference at the United Nations. It has also held regional meetings in Latin America, Africa and Asia, as well as a conference in Ireland to focus on the maritime industry.
The Holy Father cordially greeted the members of the Group and emphasised that human trafficking represents one of the greatest challenges of our time.
“The Santa Marta Group, which brings together ecclesiastical and civil authorities, is making an important contribution to combating the social scourge of human trafficking, linked to new forms of slavery, whose victims are men and women, often minors, exploited on account of their poverty and marginalisation. As I wrote to you a year ago on the occasion of your meeting at El Escorial, what is needed is a concerted, active and consistent effort both to eliminate the causes of this complex phenomenon, and to encounter, assist and accompany those who fall into the snares of trafficking. Unfortunately, the number of these victims, according to international organisations, is growing year by year. They are the most defenceless, who are robbed of their dignity, their physical and psychological integrity, and even their life”.
“Dear friends, I thank you and I encourage you to continue in your efforts. The Lord will know how to compensate for what is done to the least in today’s society. He said, ‘I was hungry, I was thirsty’, and you helped me; today He could also say, ‘I was abused, exploited, enslaved, and you came to my aid.’
|23 hours 10 min|
Pope John Paul II’s “far-sighted intuition” in establishing the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family is ever more clear today, Pope Francis says.
The Pope said this when he received today in the Vatican some 400 people representing these academic institutions.
The Polish Pontiff “vigorously restored to the attention of the Church, and to human society itself, the depth and delicate nature of the bonds that are generated from the conjugal alliance between man and woman,” Francis said.
The Pope emphasised that the development of the Institute on all five continents confirms the validity and meaning of the “Catholic” form of its program, while he added that further initiatives can be developed to foster discussion with people of different religions and cultures.
“At the current moment, conjugal and family bonds are challenged in many ways,” he said, including:
“The uncertainty and disorientation that affect the fundamental affections of the person and of life destabilise all bonds, family and social, causing ‘I’ always to prevail over ‘we’, the individual over society. It is an outcome that contradicts the plan of God, Who entrusted the world and history to the alliance of man and woman. This alliance, by its very nature, implies cooperation and respect, generous dedication and shared responsibility, and the capacity for recognising difference as a wealth and as a promise, not as a reason for subjugation and abuse,” the Holy Father said.
“The Church sees in the family the icon of God’s alliance with the entire human family. … The charity of the Church therefore endeavours to develop, at doctrinal and pastoral level, our capacity to read and interpret, for our time, the truth and the beauty of God’s creative design. The irradiation of this divine plan … requires a special intelligence of love, and also strong evangelical dedication, inspired by great compassion and mercy for the vulnerability and fallibility of love between human beings.”
|23 hours 11 min|
Iraqi Christians, stranded in Kurdish Iraq, have some reason for hope now that the battle for Mosul and the Nineveh Plane has begun. However, the Chaldean archbishop who, for two years now, has played a pivotal role in taking care of the humanitarian and spiritual needs of the exiled community, urges caution in painting too rosy a picture for Iraq’s embattled minorities.
“Iran, Turkey and the Kurds all have a stake in Mosul” and the surrounding area, Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil, the Kurdish capital, told international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need; even after Mosul is retaken from ISIS—and odds are that will happen before the end of the year—a bitter power struggle would likely put Christians seeking to return to their abandoned homes in harm’s way.
For now, the prelate stressed, no concrete plan is in place to protect the Christians and other minorities upon their return to Mosul and the Nineveh Plain. He predicted that it would at least take close to a year before a significant degree of homecoming would be possible.
Meanwhile, the archbishop—who was in New York as the guest of Cardinal Timothy Dolan—continues to care for the flock in Erbil and surroundings, which means drumming up considerable funding to ensure that IDP families can pay their rent, that homes can be heated, that there will be food on the table, and that schools are functioning. For the past two years, the Archdiocese of Erbil has received more than $31 M in funding from Aid to the Church in Need, in addition to support from 16 other Catholic organizations from around the world.
Contrary to some reports, the archbishop insists that 80 percent of the people under his care wish to remain in Iraq. But he adds that “even if the number drops to 10,000 families” or some 60,000 people—down from the current estimated total of 250,000 Christians, including those living in Baghdad—“there will always be Christians in Iraq.”
Archbishop Warda stressed that the Christians bound to stay are not just those who cannot afford to leave—on the contrary, he cites a good number of affluent families who are determined to remain in Iraq, be it in Kurdistan or Iraq proper. A good number of them have already started successful businesses in Erbil. A clear sign of confidence in this future for the local Church, the archbishop has established the Catholic University of Erbil and fundraising for the institution brought him to the US.
Leaving aside the intractable enmity between Shiites and Sunnis—and the growing tensions between Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia—Archbishop Warda said the biggest obstacle in the way of long-term security for Christians and other minorities is Islamic radicalism. “Islam needs reform and, unlike Christian violence that was committed in misinterpretation of Scripture,” he said, “there is a call to violence in the Koran—and that needs addressing.”
It will be a task for courageous Muslim leaders, he continued, and “maybe, just maybe, Christians can lend them a hand.” Surely, the study of the Koran and Islamic tradition will figure prominently at the new Catholic University of Erbil.
Aid to the Church in Need is an international Catholic charity under the guidance of the Holy See, providing assistance to the suffering and persecuted Church in more than 140 countries. www.churchinneed.org (USA); www.acnuk.org (UK); www.aidtochurch.org (AUS); www.acnireland.org (IRL); www.acn-aed-ca.org (CAN) www.acnmalta.org (Malta)
|23 hours 11 min|
[From Vatican Radio]
Pope Francis’ visit to Sweden for a joint ecumenical commemoration of the Reformation is a big step forward because Catholics and Lutherans are “no longer defining themselves in opposition to each other,” but in communion with one another. Those were the words of the director of the Holy See press office, Greg Burke, to journalists at a briefing on Wednesday ahead of the Pope’s departure for southern Sweden on Monday, October 31st. Pope Francis and the heads of the Lutheran World Federation will be jointly presiding at an ecumenical prayer service in Lund cathedral, followed by a public witness event in the nearby city of Malmö. On the following morning, All Saints Day, the Pope will also celebrate Mass in Malmö for Sweden’s tiny Catholic community.
Also addressing journalists in the Vatican press office about the significance of this unprecedented ecumenical event was the General Secretary of the Lutheran World Federation, Rev Martin Junge, and the head of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Cardinal Kurt Koch.
The Cardinal and the Lutheran leader looked relaxed and upbeat as they explained the importance of the Pope’s presence in Sweden for this 500th anniversary commemoration. The event comes as the culmination of years of theological progress, from the signing of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification in 1999, to the publication of a shared history of the Reformation in the 2013 document ‘From Conflict to Communion’.
From the impossible to the possible
A few years ago, Rev. Junge stressed, the idea of Catholics and Lutheran marking together such a historically divisive event would have seemed simply impossible, yet today it’s a powerful sign of Christian witness to our suffering and fragmented world.
“We are working on the last details of what we truly believe is a historic commemoration….. We do this a year ahead of the 500th anniversary, thereby hoping to give a very strong ecumenical signal, that we understand because of our dialogues, because of the trust that has grown among us, because also we have been able to remove some of the obstacles of doctrinal differences among us, that the time is mature, is ripe, to move ‘from conflict to communion’. And this is what we’ll do publically, this is for what we’ll be praying, for God to be with us, this is what we want to encourage our communities, to live out that commitment”.
Three aspects of commemoration
Asked about those Catholics who question the idea of celebrating the Reformation, Cardinal Koch pointed to the three aspects of the common commemoration: gratitude for the past 50 years of progress, common witness as a sign of hope for the future, but also repentance for the terrible religious conflicts which transformed Europe into “a sea of blood” in the 16th and 17th centuries.
Reassessing Luther’s life and legacy
Questioned about the possibility of lifting Luther’s excommunication, the cardinal said that’s not something the Church can actually do, but he pointed to the very many positive statements that recent popes have made in reassessing Luther’s contribution to the understanding of our common Christian faith.
“The Catholic Church cannot lift the excommunication because it’s just finished by the death of a person. But on the other side is what we can say about Luther, and here we have many beautiful things that the popes have said…..the words of John Paul II on his visit in Germany, in Mainz, he said that we can learn many things from Luther. Then we have the beautiful speech of Pope Benedict in Erfurt, where he said the greatest concern of Luther was the question of God, the centrality of the question of God and the Christocentrism are the key concerns in the life and work of Luther and Pope Benedict recongised this very well. This is, for me, more important — what we can say about Luther and what we can learn from the theology and concerns of Luther”.
Longing for Eucharistic sharing
While theological differences around ministry, the Church and the Eucharist remain, the Cardinal and the Lutheran leader said they hope the events in Sweden will give impetus to new understanding and even new agreements on sharing at the Eucharistic table.
On the Net:
Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the World Lutheran Federation: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/documents/rc_pc_chrstuni_doc_31101999_cath-luth-joint-declaration_en.html
|23 hours 15 min|
Today Pope Francis received in audience the principal Christian religious leaders of South Sudan: Archbishop Paulino Lukudu Loro of Juba, Rev. Daniel Deng Bul Yak, Archbishop of the Province of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan & Sudan, and Rev. Peter Gai Lual Marrow, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan.
In the context of the tensions that divide the population to the detriment of coexistence in the country, during the meeting with the Holy Father it was acknowledged that good and fruitful collaboration exists among the Christian Churches, who wish primarily to offer their contribution to promoting the common good, protecting the dignity of the person, protecting the helpless and implementing initiatives for dialogue and reconciliation.
In the light of the Year of Mercy in progress in the Catholic Church, it was underlined that the fundamental experience of forgiveness and acceptance of the other is the privileged path to building peace and to human and social development. In this regard, it was confirmed that the various Christian Churches are committed, in a spirit of communion and unity, to service to the population, promoting the spread of a culture of encounter and sharing.
Finally, all parties reiterated their willingness to journey together and to work with renewed hope and mutual trust, in the conviction that, drawing from the positive values inherent in their respective religious traditions, they may show the way to respond effectively to the deepest aspirations of the population, which keenly thirsts for a secure life and a better future.
|23 hours 47 min|
Today, Pope Francis received in audience members of the Santa Marta Group, on the occasion of the conference promoted by this international organism against the traffic of human beings (October 26-27, 2016).
Here is a translation of the Pope’s words of greeting to those present at the audience.
* * *
Dear Brother Bishops,
Distinguished Gentlemen and Ladies,
I meet you with great pleasure on the occasion of this conference, which develops your collaboration against the traffic of human beings and in support of the victims. I thank Cardinal Nichols for his words and for his commitment to this cause, which constitutes one of the major challenges of our time.
The Santa Marta Group, which brings together ecclesiastical and civil Authorities, is making an important contribution to oppose the social plague of human trafficking, linked to new forms of slavery, with victims who are men and women, often minors, exploited, taken advantage of in their poverty and marginalization. As I wrote you a year ago, on the occasion of your meeting at the Escorial, what is useful is a concerted commitment, active and constant, be it to eliminate the causes of this complex phenomenon, be it to meet, assist and accompany individuals who fall into the snares of trafficking. The number of these victims – international organizations tell us – grows, unfortunately, every year. They are the most vulnerable, whose dignity, physical and psychic integrity and even life is robbed.
Dear friends, I thank you and encourage you to continue in this commitment. The Lord will know how to recompense all that is done for these little ones of today’s society. He has said: “I was hungry … I was thirsty …” and you helped me. Today He could also say: “I was abused, exploited, enslaved …” and you rescued me.
I continue to accompany you with my closeness and my prayer. You too, please, pray for me. Thank you.
[Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]
|23 hours 58 min|
Today at a press conference at the Vatican, two survivors of human trafficking gave their testimony, along with Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the archbishop of Westminster. The cardinal chairs the Santa Marta Group, which is having its third Conference. The international group was launched in 2014 by Pope Francis to combat human trafficking.
Here are the testimonies, as provided by the Vatican:
1. Testimony of Al Bangura
Al Bangura was born and raised in Sierra Leone but now lives in London with his wife and young children. He is a professional footballer who has played for Watford Football Club in the UK’s Premier League. Al is also a survivor of human trafficking. This is his story…
I was like any ordinary young boy growing up. I loved to run around, laugh and play with my friends. My bare feet were a permanent shade of orange, coloured by the hours spent kicking a ball around on the dusty ground near my home.
I grew up with my two younger sisters, my mother and my father, who at the time was head of a secret society. I was just a one-year old when he died but by the time I turned 15 I was put under lots of pressure to take on my father’s position. During this time, Sierra Leone had experienced a brutal civil war and fearing for my life and family, I was sent to Guinea.
I was desperate to protect and provide for my mother and sisters but I was in a strange country and didn’t know who to turn to. It was here that I met a Frenchman who promised the world – the opportunity many young men and I in particular had dreamt of – the chance to play professional football. I began to trust this man but it was here my nightmare truly began.
I was taken to Paris on the promise that I would play for a European football team. From there though I was taken to London. It quickly became clear that something wasn’t right. I was taken to a hotel and left there, alone. Very soon, older men began to turn up and tried to get close to, then touch and then rape me. Scared and afraid I didn’t know what was happening, couldn’t speak English and had no one to turn to for help. I felt trapped. However, against all odds, and I still don’t know how, I managed to escape.
I found someone who spoke my language and he paid for my bus ticket to the UK’s Home Office. They couldn’t verify my age, as I didn’t have any identification. I was put into a home in Chertsey in the South East of England and it was there that I started to play football. Amazingly a scout for Watford Football Club spotted me and I was signed to play for the team. I was able to help get them promoted to the Premier League and ended up playing in front of thousands of people at some of the most famous stadiums in the world.
I realised how lucky I was to have got away. Sadly so many others in my position don’t. In countries all over the world, trafficking not only exists but is thriving. In West Africa, my story is not uncommon. Thousands of young boys, many aspiring to be footballers, are sold a dream, which ends in a nightmare. In fact I still hear stories like mine from back home.
The truth is, slavery doesn’t just happen in far away countries. It happens in our cities, towns, and neighbourhoods. It is happening now and it has to stop. Its perpetrators need to be brought to justice…for me, for other victims, for you. Traffickers need to go to prison so they can’t continue their criminal activity.
Football is my passion and it has given me everything I have. Most importantly it gave me freedom. What happened still affects my everyday life. I find it hard, for example, to trust football agents who claim to represent my best interests and I’ve struggled to make the most of my talents. It has sometimes impacted my ability to provide for my family in these latter days of my career. However, when I play football I still feel free. I find my confidence. I start to smile.
I am now proud to now be an ambassador for Sport for Freedom, a charity that uses the positive power of sport to raise awareness about human trafficking and help rehabilitate its survivors.
Just a week ago I spoke at Football for Freedom, an International U16’s Tournament hosted by our charity in partnership with the Premier League. It brings together young academy players from the UK as well as international teams. I shared the stage with Kevin Hyland, the UK’s fantastic Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner who has already achieved a great deal in his first year, and I was able to educate and tell my story to the young boys who are at the start of their footballing careers.
I was also truly honoured to speak at a service to commemorate the work of William Wilberforce and the UK’s current fight against modern slavery. The British Prime Minister, Theresa May, who has been an inspirational champion for this important cause, was also in attendance and spoke passionately about the need to combat trafficking and modern slavery. She spoke to me privately and thanked me for the work I am doing.
Being here today though and having the opportunity to share my story with all of you and meeting His Holiness is one of the most special moments of my life.
I will continue to represent Sport for Freedom and use the power of sport to educate others about this awful crime. It is amazing to see how even an hour of sport or physical activity can bring some relief to survivors who have experienced real terror. It can help build trust, hope and confidence again. Sport can rebuild lives and it can bring communities together. That’s how I’ve chosen to help and I hope you can all find it in your hearts to do whatever you can. I’m confident that by working together we can help end human trafficking and modern day slavery.
My name is Princess Inyang, I was a victim of trafficking.
The traffickers brought me from Nigeria through London and France in 1999. They promise to give me a good job in Europe as a cook because I was a cook in my country.
But when I arrived in Italy the traffickers carried me to one Madam and she forced me to prostitution and also forced me to pay a debt of € 45,000,00. However I paid more than this, because the house rent was more than the main debt.
Life on the street was so difficult untill I found my savior Mossino Alberto who gave me a hand, Mr Piero Vercelli that after became my manager and Don Gallo the priest of Caritas in Asti.
I escaped from the traffickers and then I founded PIAM Onlus with the idea of helping victims of prostitution, because I had felt as they feel. I am a living testimony of the dangers and atrocities to which many Nigerian women are subjected. My heart blead for joy whenever I can help one.
PIAM was founded between 1999 and 2000 with the help of the people mentioned before. We started with outreach street team to recognize the victims on the road and let them come to our office to give them basic information on health and the contacts of other offices in their profits.
Moreover, PIAM assist victims, asking for a residence permit in accordance with Italian law, and we guarantee to the victim a shelter, education and vocational training.
This serves to educate and train and helps them to integrate into the italian culture and social life, by giving them job opportunities,
Between 2004 2009, we worked in Nigeria against trafficking in collaboration with some local NGOs and we also set up a clinic for the control and treatment for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
This was a way of creating opportunities to reach the girls in Edo State and discourage them to join the traffickers and this network has worked to reduce the number of victims in Italy in those years.
But we can see that traffickers continue their work more than ever, although NGOs did their best to assist the victims, but there are three things worthy of note with which we could help to reduce the number of victims.
1) more international projects in the country of origin, not only a collaboration with leading NGOs in Edo State, but focused in local areas to create skills and scholarships for young girls, because this might convince them not to come in Europe with traffickers.
2) the international law enforcement agencies should work strongly together to track down traffickers operating in Nigeria, Niger and Libya to reduce the sex trade and criminal events.
3) in conclusion, more shelters should be granted in Europe for victims of trafficking and more funds for protection programs for the numerous victims that are seeking for help.
My name is Crystal and I was trafficked from the Caribbean to work in domestic servitude. I was trying to escape from a violent marriage but ended up working 18 hours a day/ seven days a week for a middle-class Nigerian family. I knew no one in this country; therefore I relied totally on my traffickers. I was not allowed to speak to the neighbours/anyone. When I was trafficked to London the ages of my four children were (13, 10, 7 and 4).
Even today what baffles me the most is that my traffickers held very high positions in the church where they fellowshipped. I had a friend (or so I thought) whom I had confided in whilst I was back home in the Caribbean. This lady had travelled to the UK before, unbeknown to me, this lady also worked as a recruiter for the traffickers. After I had confided in her that I wanted to leave to my abusive husband, she then explained to me that unless I left the Caribbean it will be useless, especially since our island was a very tiny place. Because I had tried running away from my abusive husband in the past and it only resulted in him finding me, beating me and taking me back home like a piece of property, I trusted this lady.
Prior to travelling to the UK, I had never travelled outside of my country, far less heard about anything about human trafficking. Therefore I had no reason to doubt her. When she stated that she would assist me to make all of the necessary arrangement, I didn’t expect her to put me in the situation from which I ended up in.
The Lady told me about a Christian family she’d been in contact with in the UK, she then introduced me to the wife over the phone. The wife would then call me on a regular basis and eventually I started opening up to her more and more. She then explained to me that she herself experienced domestic violence from a previous relationship, she knew what I was going through. Once again, I was told that the only way to escape this vicious cycle was to leave my country and travel to the UK. I was assured that they (the Christian family) will also help get my kids over, once I had settled in. I looked at this as a lifeline. Oh my God, is this really happening to me? Is this the end of life of pain? I felt as though a saviour had come to my rescue. I called her my guardian angel. I was very naïve. The thing with traffickers is they are predators; they definitely sort out their preys.
After a long seven year ordeal to have my case settled with Home Office, I am happy to state that my two youngest children, who are now 19 and 16 respectively, migrated to the UK last year and they have settled in exceedingly well. My first born is currently here on a six week vacation. (I haven’t seen her in over a decade!!) and life is going great.
Also, I have been able to successfully gain and sustain full-time employment as an administrator/employment advisor for a welfare/back to work charity in South East London.
Although my dream job would be to work with victims/saviours of Human Trafficking some time in the future.
(1) Because the traffickers are well organised, they normally moved us around quite a bit. The traffickers moved me around a few times. Initially I was moved to St. Albans, then to Reading and lastly to Dartford.
(2) I spent a period of 4 years living as a domestic servitude for three different families
(3) I was arrested at the last family home, in Dartford. The lone female immigration officer asked me how did I come to be living at that address and after I told her my story she then advised me to once I got to the station, after being booked in I should ask to speak to a First Response Human Trafficking Officer. I was very grateful for this advice because it was only after that initial meeting then I actually started to understand why the immigration officer advised me on that.
(4) Firstly, after securing my bail, the police then handed me in the care of Migrant Helpline. A few other organisations then came to my aid, such as: Medaille Trust, Refugee and Migrant Justice, The Poppy Project, The Helen Bamber Foundation, Women and Girls Network, The Human Trafficking Foundation, HERA (Women Entrepreneurs Against Trafficking), Refugee Council (to name a few).
(5) Some of the main challenges after I had escaped my traffickers, were as follows:
-Being believed by Home Office. Even though they acknowledged that I was a credible witness. It still took them 5 years for my Refugee Status to final be successful
-Due to lack of proper training when dealing with victims of human trafficking, some of my experience with the police was quite horrendous to say the least
-Lack of effective communication amongst main stakeholders (such as Home Office, NGO’s, the Police and victims) caused a massive delay
-The NRM conclusive decision for my case was a total waste by the time it was actually delivered. It took them over 3 years; they finally came back with a negative decision. Even though that decision should have been made within 45 days of a reasonable grounds decision
-Due to the lengthy delay in my human trafficking case, the CPS advised that my traffickers would not be prosecuted. However they were both arrested
-Throughout the duration of 5 years whilst I was awaiting a decision from Home Office, I was moved around over 11 times (which included supported accommodation and NASS accommodation)
From this experience I have learnt that the Lord is more than able to take us through any circumstances or situation. My spiritual walk with Christ has definitely grown a lot stronger because I was able to rely on my inner strength; something I didn’t even knew I had.
|1 day 2 min|
Here is the latest column from Bishop James Conley of Lincoln, Nebraska, reprinted from the Southern Nebraska Register.
Each time we pray as Jesus taught us, we ask God to “deliver us from evil.”
Evil is real. Evil is not only an abstract idea or the absence of good. Evil is a person, Satan: the Evil One. Satan is the angel who opposes God and who desires to disrupt the power of God in our lives. Satan, the father of all lies, wants to trap us in evil in order to prevent God’s plan from being accomplished in our lives, to keep us from doing good in the world, and to keep us from eternal intimacy with God in heaven.
Evil can keep us from living as God made us to live; evil can keep us from becoming the saints God wants us to be, evil can make us slaves, and ultimately, evil can lead us to final separation from God in eternal damnation. But the Lord conquers all evil. And St. Paul taught that “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
Through the power of God, in the presence of the Holy Spirit, evil can be conquered, and we can be set free.
When Christ became a man, and when he died and conquered death in his resurrection, he assured us that we can be delivered from evil through his victory. He assured us that we can conquer even the great evil of death, because he conquered it, and by his grace, we share in that victory.
We are delivered from evil through baptism and confirmation, through confession, through the most Holy Eucharist. But our lives can be entangled with the evil of sin, and that evil can bind us. The evil of anger, of self-doubt, of fear, of pride, or shame, or mistrust, or laxity, or scrupulosity can work its way into our lives and prevent us from living in the real freedom God has planned for us. Christ can cast out these spirits and each time we pray the Lord’s prayer; we can be delivered from evil.
Satan works most often in ways that are subtle, that begin almost unnoticed, and that grow and fester over time into serious problems. Satan wants his work to be unnoticed in our lives. In The Screwtape Letters, the Christian apologist CS Lewis says that Satan wants to tempt us with “the safest road to Hell… the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.”
To be sure, there are those who encounter Satan in more dramatic ways, in the manifestations of demonic possession. Those occurrences are addressed, through the power of Jesus Christ, by a priest who is properly trained to identify them, understand them, and rebuke them. But Satan usually works through less apparent pathways: through whispered temptations, which can lodge themselves in our hearts in subtle and unnoticed ways.
To be sure, God wants to us to be free of the influence of evil in our lives. He wants to deliver us from all evil. And praying for deliverance, as a specific intention and with confidence in God’s power, can transform our lives.
In the Diocese of Lincoln, many Catholics have experienced the grace of freedom, of deliverance from entanglements with evil, through the ministry of Unbound teams. Unbound is a ministry which helps Catholics to pray for deliverance from the influence of evil in specific ways.
Through Unbound ministry, Catholics repent and seek freedom from their sins. They renounce the specific ways in which Satan’s lies have impacted them in the authority of Jesus, and then seek the blessing of God the Father through the prayers of other faithful Catholics. The ministry of Unbound is not a ministry of exorcism; it is instead an exercise of prayer—of entrusting all things to the power of Jesus Christ, and asking him for true and lasting freedom.
Evil is real. But grace is also real. And the power of God’s grace conquers all evil—and can conquer the evils present in our own lives. St. Paul says that the “fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” God desires to bring those spirits into our lives, and to deliver us, and set us free, from everything that keeps us from him. Oh Lord, deliver us from evil.
|1 day 34 min|
Here is the statement given Monday by Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Permanent Observer of the Holy See, at the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Agriculture development, food security and nutrition.
The Secretary General’s report (A/71/283) on agricultural development, food security and nutrition provides both a timely and candid account of progress being made on the two fundamental global concerns of ending hunger and eliminating malnutrition for all.
The Secretary General’s report serves as a stark reminder of the magnitude of the challenges that still lie ahead if we are to end hunger, improve nutrition, and achieve food security by 2030. Despite progress made since 1990 in reducing hunger, nearly 800 million people are still undernourished, at a time when global challenges to reducing malnutrition are becoming increasingly more complex. An equally troubling fact is that more than two billion suffer from micronutrient deficiencies, among whom are some of the most vulnerable members of the world’s population, including more than 200million children under the age of five years, who are either stunted or wasted.
The challenges to increase agricultural productivity, to address the effects of climate changes, and to reduce food losses are compounded by mass migrations of peoples, both within and between countries, and by war and violence that have uprooted large populations from productive areas. Consequently, as the Secretary General’s report observes, it is already clear that without a “firm political and societal commitment, large segments of the world’s population will remain undernourished by 2030.”
This “political and societal commitment” is fundamental if we are to reach the second sustainable development goal “to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture” by 2030.
In his June 2016 Address to the World Food Programme in Rome, Pope Francis warned of the dangers of seeing hunger and poverty purely as statistics and of slowly becoming immune to other people’s tragedies, viewing them almost as something “natural” and thus inevitable in the world in which we live. We must thus “denaturalize” extreme poverty by seeing it as a troubling reality and not as an inevitable statistic, “because” – as the Pope affirmed – “poverty has a face: it has the face of a child; it has the face of a family; it has the face of people, young and old; it has the face of widespread unemployment; it has the face of forced migrations, and of empty and destroyed homes.”
The Pope also asked to “debureaucratize” hunger. In his Address to the Second International Conference on Nutrition of the Food and Agricultural Administration in November 2015, Pope Francis spoke of the paradox that, while there is more than enough food for everyone, yet not all can eat, even as we witness “waste, excessive consumption and the use of food for other purposes.” The “bureaucratization” of hunger also finds expression in the paradox that whereas various forms of aid and development projects are obstructed by political decisions and policies, by skewed ideologies and by impenetrable customs’ barriers, the trade in weaponry is not. The Pope lamented the fact that “it makes no difference where arms come from; they circulate with brazen and virtually absolute freedom in many parts of the world. As a result, wars are fed, not persons. In some cases, hunger itself is used as a weapon of war.”
In closing, my delegation reiterates its commitment to the goal of ending hunger and eliminating malnutrition for all by 2030. For it to become a reality, however, we will need not only increased food production and better food distribution: we must also summon the finest human qualities of peace, social justice, solidarity, compassion and empathy, so that we may be aware of the hungry and thirsty around us and around the world.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
1. Stunted: Low height for their age;Wasted: Low weight for their height.
|1 day 4 hours|
Pope Francis says we are to open our hearts and find new ways to help meet others’ needs, and has warned against the trap of closing in ourselves.
The Pontiff encouraged faithful to do this today, during his address at his weekly General Audience, in which he continued his catechesis on the theme of mercy as the Jubilee Year nears its end. This week, Francis focused on the fact that among the works of mercy, are those of welcoming the stranger and clothing the naked.
Jesus, the Holy Father reminded, mentions both of these will be considered during the Last Judgement.
While observing that nowadays, the “stranger” is often the immigrant in our midst, the Latin American Pontiff underscored that in every age, immigration calls for a response of openness and solidarity.
As he reflected on this, Francis departed from his prepared remarks to share an anecdote, of an elderly woman who helped an immigrant. As the lady came across this young man, who was without shoes, they began to speak and she asked him, “What are you searching for?”
“Saint Peter’s to go through the Holy Door,” he responded to her question.
Moved with sympathy, she thought to herself: “But how can he walk? .. He doesn’t even have shoes. She insisted on offering a taxi to bring him. When the taxi driver stopped however, he was hesitant to accept the passenger, as he smelled very badly.
However, the driver agreed, as the immigrant and the lady got in and chatted on the way to the Vatican. They spoke about his history, what he has lived through, the trials, the war, etc.
By the end of the ride, the lady went to pay, and the driver, who hesitated to accept them, said: “No, Signora. It is I who must pay for you, because you made me listen to a story that changed my heart.”
In our own day, the Pontiff observed, the growing influx of refugees fleeing war, famine and dire poverty is a summons to welcome and care for these brothers and sisters.
Moreover, Francis encouraged those present to be inspired by the many committed Christians who have gone before us, such as Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, and like them, “find generous and creative ways of meeting their immediate needs.”
“Clothing the naked,” he stressed, implies caring for those whose dignity has been stripped from them, and ensuring it is safeguarded and upheld.
As Christians, the Pope underscored, we are never to close our hearts to those in need.
Pope Francis concluded, praying we are open to others, restoring their God-given dignity, so our lives are enriched and our societies, more peaceful.
On ZENIT’s Web page:
Full text: To be made available shortly
|1 day 23 hours|
Pope Francis is proposing that the rosary is a “summary” of God’s mercy, since in the mysteries, we contemplate Jesus who “radiates the mercy of the Father Himself.” And he is inviting newlyweds to make of the rosary a “privileged moment of spiritual intimacy in your new family.”
The Pope said this today at the end of the general audience, as he greeted various language groups.
“We are nearing the end of the month of October, dedicated to the prayer of the Rosary. This is a summary of Divine mercy. In the mysteries of the Rosary, with Mary, we contemplate the life of Jesus that radiates the mercy of the Father Himself. Let us rejoice in his love and forgiveness, receiving it in strangers and those in need, and let us live every day of His Gospel,” he said.
Among the Italian-speaking pilgrims, he greeted the women religious participating in the meeting organised by the USMI, to whom he expressed his hope that their pilgrimage during the Holy Year may revive their communion with Peter’s Successor and with the universal Church, making them witnesses to Divine Mercy in their local churches.
He also mentioned the specialists from the Umberto I Hospital, with boys and girls affected by Apert Syndrome and their families, and participants in the congress of the National Society for Organ Transplants.
“At the end of this month of October I would like to recommend the prayer of the Rosary. This simple Marian prayer shows you, dear young people, the way to interpret God’s will in your lives; love this prayer, dear sick people, as it brings consolation to the mind and to the heart. May it become for you, dear newly-weds, a privileged moment of spiritual intimacy in your new family.”
|1 day 23 hours|
Here is a ZENIT working translation of Pope Francis’ prepared address during this morning’s general audience in St. Peter’s Square.
THE HOLY FATHER’S CATECHESIS
Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
We continue with the reflection on the works of corporal mercy, which the Lord Jesus has given us to keep our faith always alive and dynamic. These works, in fact, make evident that Christians are not tired and lazy in awaiting the final encounter with the Lord, but they go to encounter Him every day, recognizing His face in that of the many individuals who ask for help. Today we reflect on this word of Jesus: “I was a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me” (Matthew 25:35-36). How much more timely in our time is the work regarding strangers. The economic crisis, armed conflicts and climate changes drive many people to emigrate. However, migrations are not a new phenomenon, but belong to humanity’s history. It is a lack of historical memory to think that they are in fact only of our years.
The Bible gives us so many concrete examples of migration. Suffice it to think of Abraham. God’s call drives him to leave his country and go to another: “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you” (Genesis 12:1). It was so also for the people of Israel, who from Egypt, where they were slaves, went marching for forty years in the desert until they reached God’s Promised Land. The Holy Family itself – Mary, Joseph and the little Jesus – was constrained to emigrate to flee from Herod’s threat: “Joseph rose and took the child and His Mother by night, and departed to Egypt, where he remained until Herod’s death” (Matthew 2:14-15). The history of humanity is the history of migrations: in all latitudes there are no people that have not known the migratory phenomenon.
In this connection, in the course of the centuries we witnessed great expressions of solidarity, even though social tensions were not lacking. Today, unfortunately, the context of economic crisis fosters the emergence of closed and unwelcome attitudes. Walls and barriers rise in some parts of the world. It seems sometimes that the silent work of many men and women, who spend themselves in different ways to help and assist refugees and migrants, is overshadowed by the noise of others who give voice to an instinctive egoism. But closure is not a solution; rather it ends by fostering criminal trafficking. The only way of solution is that of solidarity — solidarity with the migrant, solidarity with the stranger.
Christians’ commitment in this field is as urgent today as it was in the past. To look only at the last century, we recall the stupendous figure of Saint Frances Cabrini, who dedicated her life, together with her companions, to immigrants in the United States of America. Today we are also in need of these testimonies so that mercy can reach the many who are in need. It is a commitment that involves everyone; no one is excluded. The dioceses, the parishes, the Institutes of Consecrated Life, the Associations and Movements, as well as individual Christians, we are all called to receive brothers and sister fleeing from war, from hunger, from violence and from inhuman conditions of life. All of us together are a great force of support for all those who have lost their homeland, family, work and dignity. A little story happened a few days ago in the city. A refugee was looking for a street and a lady approached him and said to him: “But are you looking for something?” That refugee was without shoes. And he said: “I would like to go to Saint Peter’s to enter the Holy Door.” And the lady thought: “But he doesn’t have shoes, how can he walk?” And she called a taxi. But that migrant, that refugee stank and the driver of the taxi almost did not want him to get in, but in the end he let him get into the taxi. And, in the course of the trip, the lady, who was beside him, asked him about his story as a refugee and migrant: <it took> ten minutes to arrive here. The man told his story of grief, of war, of hunger and why he fled from his country to migrate here. When they arrived, the lady opened her purse to pay the taxi driver and the driver, who at first did not want the migrant to get in because he stank, said to the lady: “No, lady, I should pay you because you made me hear a story that has changed my heart.” This lady knew the pain of a migrant because she had Armenian blood and knew the suffering of her people. When we do something of this sort; initially we refuse because it gives us some bother, “but … he stinks …” But in the end, the story perfumes our soul and makes us change. Think of this story and let us think what we can do for the refugees.
And the other thing is to clothe the naked: what does it mean if not to restore dignity to one who has lost it? Certainly, to give garments to those deprived of them, but we think also of the women victims of trafficking thrown out on the streets, or of the others, too many ways of using the human body as merchandise, even of minors. And so, also, to not have work, a home, a just salary is a form of nakedness, or to be discriminated because of race or because of faith – they are all forms of ‘nakedness,” in face of which as Christians we are called to be attentive, vigilant and ready to act.
Dear brothers and sisters, let us not fall into the trap of withdrawing into ourselves, indifferent to the needs of brothers and concerned only about our interests. It is precisely in the measure in which we open to others that life becomes fecund, societies re-acquire peace and individuals recover their full dignity. And do not forget that lady, do not forget that migrant who stank and do not forget the driver whose soul was changed by the migrant.[Original text: Italian] [Working Translation by ZENIT]
Greeting in Italian
A warm welcome goes to the Italian-speaking pilgrims! I am happy to receive the faithful of the Diocese of Ivrea, with the Bishop, Monsignor Edoardo Cerrato; the “Fidei Donum” priests of the Diocese of Brescia; generous diocese, that gives “Fidei Donum” priests …; and the women religious participants in the meeting promoted by USMI. Dear brothers and sisters, may your pilgrimage for the Holy Year revive your communion with the Successor of Peter and the universal Church and render you witnesses of Divine Mercy in your local Churches.
I greet the specialists of the Umberto I Polyclinic, with the youngsters affected by the Apert syndrome and their relatives; the participants in the national congress of the Society of Organ Transplants; the Welcome Network Association; the Daughters of Charity with the little ones of the “Puppies of Aquila” family home of Mollas in Albania and the numerous students, in particular those of the De Carlo Lyceum of Giugliano di Campania and of the Gerini-Torlonia Institute of Rome.
Finally, my greeting goes to young people, the sick and newlyweds. At the end of the month of October, I want to recommend the prayer of the Rosary. May this simple Marian prayer indicate to you, dear young people, the way to interpret God’s will in your life; love this prayer, dear sick, because it bears in it consolation for the mind and heart. May it become for you, dear newlyweds, a privileged moment of spiritual intimacy in your new family.[Original text: Italian] [Working Translation by ZENIT]
|1 day 23 hours|
Here is the statement given Tuesday by Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, at the Security Council Open Debate on Women, Peace, and Security.
The Holy See is pleased that the Russian Federation Presidency has submitted this topic for Open Debate in this Council and brought it to the attention of the International Community.
The Holy See has long advocated for an increased involvement of women in making, maintaining and building peace. Thus it appreciates the initiatives promoted by the Security Council and Governments to raise awareness and arrive at a fuller recognition of the vital role of women in preventing the outbreak of war through mediation and preventive diplomacy, in reconciling, rehabilitating and rebuilding societies in post-war situations, and in avoiding relapses into armed conflicts. Women can and should play much greater roles in all of these processes. Their special capacities to bring order out of chaos, community out of division, and peace out of conflict and their special gifts in educating people to be more receptive and sensitive to the needs of others is essential in order to spare our world from further scourges of war and help heal the wounds of previous and present violent conflicts.
To harness the special capacities of women in peace and security, however, an international effort should be made to enable them to succeed, something that will be difficult to achieve if women still represent a disproportionate number of the world’s disadvantaged. The lack of access for women and girls to education, in particular, quality education, must be addressed. Sad to say, as Pope Francis pointed out in his 25 September 2015 Address to the General Assembly, not everywhere are girls and women given full access to education; most of the time, this results in condemning them to a second-class role within society and in giving them no possibility of being heard. Education is the great enabler for women to be able to contribute fully to the promotion and consolidation of peace and harmony not only in the family, but also in local communities, and the entire world.
The Catholic Church has long placed great emphasis on the absolute necessity of giving young women and girls access to education. Today, young women and girls constitute the majority in many of the more than 100,000 schools of the Catholic Church worldwide, from kindergarten through university, in particular, in regions where women and girls still suffer discrimination. They learn the skills to become well-trained educators and professionals, that may greatly contribute to a secure and safe society. The priority of ensuring a quality education for girls and women is also essential if we hope that they will transmit to boys and men the necessary values to desist from violence and conflict, for the role and influence of the mother are vital in the education of children and youth in the values of peace and mutual respect, of reconciliation and healing. The peacemaking role of the mother in the family is of the essence not merely fora peaceful and secure home but also for a peaceful, inclusive and safe society.
Setting up women to succeed in using their talents for making, maintaining and building peace also requires combatting poverty and ensure access to other fundamental resources. In both urban and rural areas, it is far more common for women to lack access to basic services, including health-care and social protections. In vast areas of the world, the lack of consistent and nutritious food, clean water and sanitation services, as well as the lack of employment opportunities and decent pay, continue to undermine women’s abilities to play their role in the life of their own families and society as a whole.
Helping women to bring healing to the world by addressing the causes and consequences of war and violence also means protecting them in this vital mission. The close to fifty conflicts raging in different parts of the world today call on us to concentrate our efforts on the plight of women and girls in violent situations. Women who have fallen victims to violence must be helped to overcome the stigma and the shame to which they are subjected to in certain societies, and to seek justice. It is so much more difficult for women to sustain the family and care for family members maimed by violence if their own wounds are not being treated and the injustices they have suffered not being remedied. With so much money available for weapons, can’t the world spare resources to compensate for the loss of life and limb, of the families and homes of these innocent victims, to help them overcome the ravages of conflict and enable them to become peacemakers?
That women suffer disproportionately from conflicts and wars that they did not cause creates the false impression that women are only victims and not also peacemakers. It is high time – indeed, high time is long past – that this flawed image be laid to rest. And one sure way of achieving that is to harness to the full the active role of women in all phases of conflict prevention, mediation, conflict resolution and post-conflict peacebuilding. Without the inputs and specific skills of women, the most comprehensive understanding possible of the causes of conflicts and the most effective solutions to end them and build peace may never be fully attained.
Thank you, Mr. President.
|2 days 1 hour|
Pope Francis has named Fathers Louis Corriveau and Marc Pelchat as auxiliary bishops of the Archdiocese of Québec.
The two will be assisting Cardinal Gérald Cyprien Lacroix, archbishop of Québec and Primate of Canada.
Louis Corriveau was born March 23, 1964, in Sainte-Marie-de-Beauce, Quebec. He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Québec on June 16, 1990. He served as Vocation Director (1994-1995) and as a member of the Formation Committee of the Grand Séminaire (1996-1997). In 1997-1998, he audited courses in spirituality at the Centre Sèvres in Paris and, after returning to the Archdiocese of Québec, was once again assigned to formation work and spiritual direction at the Grand Séminaire until 2011. Since 2009 he has been spiritual director for the Teams of Our Lady Canada.
Marc Pelchat was born May 3, 1950, in Saint-Samuel du Lac Drolet (Gayhurst), in Quebec’s Eastern Townships. He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Québec on June 19, 1976. That same year he also obtained a Master’s degree in theology from Laval University. He then studied at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, obtaining a doctorate in theology in 1986. In 2013 he became an adjunct professor. From 1986 to 1996, he was a member of the formation group of the Grand Séminaire of Québec. He is the author of numerous publications on ecclesiology, the theology of ministry and pastoral theology.
According to the CCCB 2016 Directory, the Archdiocese of Québec has 201 parishes and missions, with a Catholic population of 917,045 served by 359 diocesan priests, 262 priests who are members of institutes of consecrated life, 89 permanent deacons, 2,596 religious Sisters and Brothers who are also members of religious institutes, as well as 59 lay pastoral workers.
|2 days 3 hours|
To implement the agreement reached at the fifth Meeting of the Vietnam-Holy See Joint Working Group in Ha Noi (September 2014), the sixth Meeting of the group took place in Vatican City, concluding today.
The Meeting was co-chaired by Bui Thanh Son, Permanent Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Head of the Vietnamese delegation, and Msgr. Antoine Camilleri, under-secretary for Relations with States, Head of the Holy See Delegation.
The Vietnamese side reiterated the consistent and practical improvement of the legal framework and policies on the promotion and protection of freedom of belief and religion; encouragement and continued facilitation of the active engagement of the Catholic Church in Vietnam in the national cause of socio-economic development.
The Holy See, while reaffirming the freedom of the Church to carry out its mission for the good of the whole of society, expressed appreciation to the Vietnamese government for the attention given to the needs of the Catholic Church, as recently witnessed through the establishment of the Catholic Institute of Vietnam, and for the assistance in the organisation of important ecclesial ceremonies and events.
The two sides agreed that the Catholic Church in Vietnam will continue to be inspired by the Magisterium of the Church regarding the practice of ‘living the Gospel in the nation’ and being, at the same time, good Catholics and good citizens. The Holy See reaffirms that Pope Francis has a keen interest in the development of Vietnam – Holy See relations and it looks forward to the continued and invaluable contribution offered by the Catholic community, in cooperation with other actors in Vietnamese society, and in accordance with the applicable laws, to national development and the promotion of the common good.
The two sides acknowledged the progress in Vietnam – Holy See relations, including regular contacts and consultations, the exchange of high level delegations and frequent pastoral visits to Vietnam by the papal representative and non-resident special envoy, Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli.
The meeting took place in an atmosphere of cordiality, frankness and mutual respect.
The two Parties agreed to maintain constructive dialogue, in a spirit of good will with a view to increasing mutual understanding and further promoting relations between the two sides. They also agreed to convene the seventh meeting of the Vietnam – Holy See Joint Working group in Hanoi. The date of the meeting will be arranged through diplomatic channels.
Before departing from the Vatican, the Vietnamese delegation paid courtesy visits to Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, and Archbishop Paul Gallagher, secretary for Relations with States. They also visited some religious institutions of the Holy See.
|2 days 4 hours|
Here is the Vatican-provided English-language summary of Pope Francis’ General Audience this morning in St. Peter’s Square:
Speaker: Dear Brothers and Sisters: In our catechesis for this Holy Year of Mercy, we now consider two particular corporal works of mercy: welcoming the stranger and clothing the naked. Jesus mentions both of these in connection with the Last Judgement (cf. Mt 25:35-36). Nowadays, the “stranger” is often the immigrant in our midst. In every age, the phenomenon of immigration calls for a response of openness and solidarity. In our own day, the growing influx of refugees fleeing war, famine and dire poverty is a summons to welcome and care for these brothers and sisters. Like so many committed Christians who have gone before us, such as Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, we need to find generous and creative ways of meeting their immediate needs. So too, “clothing the naked” increasingly means caring for those whose dignity has been stripped from them, and working to ensure that it is upheld and safeguarded. As followers of Christ, may we never close our hearts to those in need. For by openness to others, our lives are enriched, our societies enjoy peace and all people can live in a way befitting their God-given dignity.
Speaker: I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, particularly those from England, Wales, Ireland, Finland, Norway, Israel, Australia, Indonesia, China, Japan, Canada and the United States of America. With prayerful good wishes that the present Jubilee of Mercy will be a moment of grace and spiritual renewal for you and your families, I invoke upon all of you joy and peace in our Lord Jesus Christ.
[Original text: English] [Vatican-provided text]
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On Saturday 15 October 2016 in Vatican City, the Executive Commission of the Argentine Episcopal Conference, met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, and other officials of the Secretariat of State, for an evaluation of the work of cataloguing and digitalisation of the archive material from the period of the Military Dictatorship (1976-1983), conserved in the Archives of the Argentine Episcopal Conference, the Secretariat of State and the Apostolic Nunciature in Buenos Aires.
It was acknowledged that this process of organisation and digitalisation, which was carried out in compliance with the decisions and indications of the Holy Father and represents the continuation of work already initiated years ago by the Argentine Episcopal Conference, has been completed.
On the basis of a protocol to be established shortly, access can be given to the relative documents for consultation by victims and direct relatives of the desaparecidos and detainees and, in the case of religious or ecclesiastics, also their major superiors.
It is to be emphasised that this work was carried out in the interest of service to truth, justice and peace, in the continuation of the wish for dialogue and a culture of encounter.
The Holy Father and the Argentine episcopate commend the homeland to the merciful protection of Our Lady of Luján, trusting in the intercession of beloved St. José Gabriel del Rosario Brochero.
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|(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Friday addressed the organizers and participants in the first-ever International Conference for the Vicars and Episcopal Delegates for Consecrated Life. Organized by the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life for the purpose of the conference is to respond to the call, which the Holy Father made to Pastors of particular Churches around the world when he proclaimed the Year for Consecrated Life, “[T]o show special concern for promoting within [their] communities the different charisms, whether long-standing or recent.” In the Letter , the Holy Father went on to ask them to do this by support and encouragement, assistance in discernment, and, “tender and loving closeness to those situations of suffering and weakness in which some consecrated men or women may find themselves.” “Above all,” Pope Francis wrote, “do this by instructing the People of God in the value of consecrated life, so that its beauty and holiness may shine forth in the Church.” In remarks prepared for the roughly 200 people involved in the initiative and delivered in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace on Friday, Pope Francis spoke of the bridge-building and relationship-strengthening roles of Vicars and Delegates – especially those serving newer communities and congregations. “Build mutual relations on the basis of an ecclesiology of communion, on the principle of co-essentiality, and on the autonomy that belongs rightfully to consecrated persons.” The three-day formation congress is being hosted by the Pontifical University Antonianum , the flagship university of the Franciscan order in Rome, and closes Sunday. (from Vatican Radio)...||1 hour 35 min|
|(Vatican Radio) Details of the upcoming Third World Meeting of Popular Movements taking place in Rome from 2-5 November were presented in the Vatican on Friday. Please find below a communique in English from the Holy See’s Press Office: This morning in the Holy See Press Office a press conference was held to present the Third World Meeting of Popular Movements, to be held in Rome from 2 to 5 November 2016. The speakers were Archbishop Silvano Maria Tomasi, Holy See Permanent Observer at the United Nations and delegate secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, and Juan Grabois, consulter to the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and co-founder of the Movement of Excluded Workers of the Conference of the Popular Economy. Following the two meetings in Rome 2014 and Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia in 2015, next week around two hundred members will meet, representing 92 popular movements from 65 countries. The themes to be considered in the third meeting will again be “las tres T: Trabajo, Techo, Tierra”; (“The three Ls: Labour, Lodgings and Land”); care for nature; and migrants and refugees. The meeting will take place at the Pontifical International Maria Mater Ecclesiae College from 2 to 4 November. Then, on 5 November, the Holy Father Francis will receive the participants in audience in the Paul VI Hall. The attendees will include Don Luigi Ciotti, founder of the Abel group which fights against abuse by the Mafia throughout Italy; Vandana Shiva, Indian philosopher and environmentalist; and Pepe Mujica, president of Uruguay from 2010 to 2015. For further information, see: http://www.iustitiaetpax.va http://movimientospopulares.org/ (from Vatican Radio)...||1 hour 48 min|
|(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has given an interview with the Jesuit Catholic journal La Civiltà Cattolica ahead of his ecumenical Apostolic Trip to Sweden. The interview was conducted by Father Ulf Jonsson S.J., the director of the Swedish cultural journal of the Jesuits, Signum . Pope Francis mentioned the recent interreligious meeting for peace in Assisi, which he called “very important.” “All of us talked of peace and we asked for peace,” – the Pope said – “ We together said strong words for peace, what the religions truly want.” When asked about the suffering of the Christians in the Middle East, Pope Francis called the region “a land of martyrs.” “I believe that the Lord does not leave his people on their own,” – the Holy Father said – “He will not abandon them. When we read of the hard trials of the people of Israel in the Bible or remember the trials of the martyrs, we see how the Lord always comes to the aid of his people.” The purpose of the trip to Sweden is to mark the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, and much of the discussion in the interview covered ecumenical affairs. Speaking about the mutual enrichment possible between Christian communities, the Pope was asked what Catholics could learn from Lutherans. “Two words come to my mind: ‘reform’ and ‘Scripture’,” - Pope Francis said – “I will try to explain. The first is the word 'reform'. At the beginning, Luther’s was a gesture of reform in a difficult time for the Church. Luther wanted to remedy a complex situation. Then this gesture —also because of the political situations, we think also of the cuius regio eius religio (whose realm , his religion) —became a ‘state’ of separation, and not a process of reform of the whole Church, which is fundamental, because the Church is semper reformanda (always reforming).” “The second word is ‘Scripture’, the Word of God,” – the Pope continued – “Luther took a great step by putting the Word of God into the hands of the people. Reform and Scripture are two things that we can deepen by looking at the Lutheran tradition. The General Congregations before the Conclave comes to mind and how the request for a reform was alive in our discussions.” The Holy Father was later asked about how the Ecumenical movement can move forward. He responded by saying “theological dialogue must continue,” and pointing to the Joint Declaration on Justification as an important point, but added “it will not be easy to go forward because of the different ways of understanding some theological questions.” “Personally, I believe that enthusiasm must shift towards common prayer and the works of mercy -- work done together to help the sick, the poor, and the imprisoned,” – Pope Francis said – “To do something together is a high and effective form of dialogue. I also think about education. It is important to work together and not in a sectarian way. There is a policy we should have clear in every case: to proselytize in the ecclesial field is a sin." The full text of the interview can be found on the website of La Civiltà Cattolica here . (from Vatican Radio)...||1 hour 57 min|
|(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis said the cornerstone of life for Christians is Jesus who is praying for us, pointing out that Jesus always turned to prayer at all the key moments in his life. His remarks came during his Mass celebrated on Friday morning in the chapel of the Santa Marta residence. Listen to this report by Susy Hodges with clips of the Pope's voice: Taking his cue from the Gospel reading recounting how Jesus spent the night in prayer before choosing his disciples, the Pope’s homily reflected on the fundamental importance of prayer for Christians. He said whilst Jesus is the cornerstone of the Church and there is no Church without Him, the key to this cornerstone is Jesus who is praying for us. The cornerstone of the Church is Jesus in front of the Father who is praying for us “‘Jesus went up to the mountain to pray and he spent the night in prayer to God.’ And then the rest followed, the crowds, the choosing of his disciples, the healings, the casting out of demons… Yes, the cornerstone is Jesus but Jesus who prays. Jesus is praying. He prayed and he continues to pray for the Church. The cornerstone of the Church is our Lord in front of the Father who intercedes on our behalf, who is praying for us. We pray to Him but the key thing is that He is praying for us.” Our security is Jesus praying for each one of us Pope Francis went on to describe how Jesus always prayed for his followers, be it at the Last Supper or before performing a miracle such as when he prayed to the Father before raising Lazarus from the dead. “Jesus prayed on the Mount of Olives, on the Cross, he ended praying: his life ended in prayer. And this is our security, this is our foundation, this is our cornerstone: Jesus who is praying for us! Jesus who is praying for me! And each of us can say this: I am certain that Jesus is praying for me; that he is in front of the Father and naming me. This is the cornerstone of the Church: Jesus in prayer.” Another example of Jesus praying for his followers, said the Pope, came before his Passion when Jesus told Peter he had been praying for him to withstand Satan’s temptation and for his faith to hold firm. “And what Jesus tells Peter, he tells you and you and me, everybody: ‘I have prayed for you, I am praying for you, I am now praying for you’ and when He comes onto the altar, He comes to intercede, to pray for us. As he did on the Cross. And this gives us a great sense of security. I belong to this community that’s solid because Jesus is its cornerstone, Jesus who is praying for me, who is praying for us. Today we’d do well to reflect on the Church, reflect on this mystery of the Church. We are all like a building but its foundation is Jesus, Jesus who is praying for us, Jesus who is praying for me.” (from Vatican Radio)...||5 hours 33 min|
|(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met in the Vatican on Thursday with participants at an international conference on combatting human trafficking. The Santa Marta Group , which organised the two day conference, was established in 2014 to pledge closer cooperation on anti-trafficking initiatives between the Catholic Church and law enforcement agencies worldwide. At a concluding press conference Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster , one of the founding members of the group, and two survivors of human trafficking spoke of the progress that has been made over the past couple of years. Listen to Philippa Hitchen's report: In his words to the group of bishops and religious, police and security officials, Pope Francis described trafficking as "one of the major challenges of our time" and he praised participants for the important contribution they’re making to end this scourge of modern slavery. The number of victims, he noted, keeps growing year by year and it’s essential both to support victims of trafficking, but also to tackle the complex problems that lead to their exploitation. Cardinal Nichols told journalists the group had presented the pope with the a report of positive developments in the 30 countries that are now part of the Santa Marta process ... “ Above all perhaps, what this report shows is that human slavery and trafficking is not so hidden as it used to be. There is an increasing awareness that this, in the phrase of the Holy Father, is an open wound in the flesh of humanity, and that voices that were once completely hidden are now being heard ”. Those voices include that of Nigerian survivor Princess Inyang , who was trafficked into Italy in 1999 and forced into prostitution, until she was able to escape, with help from a priest working in the northern city of Asti. She shared her story at the conference and called for deportation of the traffickers, as well as more education and skills training for vulnerable girls in her home country... “ The women are vulnerable because of the poverty in Nigeria, the background of the polygamy system of the families, the non-employment, and now we know that the traffickers go into the rural areas to get these young women because of their serious problems ”. Another survivor, who also works to help others avoid the traffickers, is former Premier League player Al Bangura , originally from Sierra Leone. A keen footballer from an early age, he was tricked into going to England with promises of a dream career. He managed to escape the traffickers and now serves as ambassador for a UK based charity called Sport for Freedom. “ With everything I’ve been through, I want to be out there to share my story, to educate kids and talk to parents who’re desperate for their kids to achieve….we also work with the Premiership… to make sure the kids are going in the rights direction and make sure we stop this slavery thing .” From Africa to Latin America, from Asia to Europe, the U.S. and the Middle East, the conference heard many encouraging stories of success in combatting the trade in people for prostitution, forced labour or sale of their body parts. But as their report also underlines, there is much frustration too, coupled with a renewed determination to work more effectively together for an end to what Pope Francis himself describes as a “crime against humanity”. (from Vatican Radio)...||1 day 39 min|
|(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis said God weeps over today's calamities, the wars waged to worship ‘the idol of money’ and over the many innocent victims killed by the bombs. He stressed that God weeps because humanity does not understand “the peace that He offers us.” His words came during the Mass celebrated on Thursday morning in the chapel of the Santa Marta residence. Listen to this report by Susy Hodges that includes clips of the Pope's voice: Taking his inspiration from a reading from the gospel of Luke where Jesus weeps over Jerusalem, the “closed” city that “kills the prophets and stones those sent” to it, Pope Francis’ homily reflected on some of the moments of weeping during Christ’s ministry. He explained that Jesus had the tenderness of His Father looking at his children when he wept over the city of Jerusalem in the gospel account saying: “How many times I yearned to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were unwilling.” “Somebody said that God became man in order to be able to weep, to weep over what His children had done. The weeping in front of the tomb of Lazarus is the weeping of a friend. This is the weeping of the Father.” In the same way, the Pope continued, we can look at the behaviour of the father of the prodigal son and what happens when this son asks for his inheritance and leaves home. He said the father did not go to his neighbours to say “Look what has happened to me! This horrible thing he did to me! But I will curse this son…” Pope Francis said he is certain that the father did not do this although maybe he went “to weep alone in his bedroom.” “And why do I tell you this? Because the Gospel does not talk about this, it says that when his son returned home, he saw him from afar: this means that the Father was continually going up onto the terrace to look at the road to see if his son was coming back. And a father who does this is a father who lives in tears, waiting for his son to return home. This is the weeping of God the Father. And with his weeping, the Father recreates through his Son all of creation.” Turning next to the moment when Jesus is carrying the cross to Calvary, Pope Francis reflected on the pious women who were weeping, saying they were not weeping over Him but over their own children. He stressed that this weeping like that of a father and of a mother is one that God still continues to do in our times. “Even nowadays in front of the calamities, the wars waged in order to worship the god of money, the many innocent people killed by the bombs launched by those who worship the idol of money, God still weeps and He also says: ‘Jerusalem, Jerusalem, my children, what are you doing?’ And he also says this to the poor victims, to the arms traffickers and to all those who sell the life of people. We’d do well to think both about how God our Father became man in order to be able to weep and how God our Father weeps nowadays: he weeps over humanity that ends up not understanding the peace that He offers us, the peace of love.” (from Vatican Radio)...||1 day 4 hours|
|(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis addressed the administration, faculty, students, and staff of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family in Rome on Thursday, at the opening of the Institute’s academic year. The Holy Father’s address was also in view of the Institute’s upcoming 35 th anniversary, to be marked in November. In remarks prepared for the occasion and delivered on Thursday morning in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace, Pope Francis described the Church’s understanding of the family based on marriage as an expression and fulfilment of human nature and ordered to the general flourishing of the human race as a “great treasure” that is in need of “ransom” from several alarming intellectual, cultural, and social trends threatening it in many political societies around the world. “It is necessary,” said Pope Francis, “to apply ourselves with greater enthusiasm to the work of rehabilitating – I would almost say the ‘ransom’ of this amazing ‘invention’ – of this divine creation,” which is marriage and the family. “This work of ransom must be taken seriously,” he said, “both in the doctrinal sense in the practical senses of ministry and witness: the dynamics of the relationship between God, man and woman, and their children, are the golden key to understanding the world and history, with all that they contain.” Click below to hear our report Pope Francis went on to explain that, as we are about our work in the world, we must not be unmindful of the frailty and wickedness in human nature. “Let us bear always in mind that we carry this treasure in ‘vessels of clay’,” he said. Quoting from his recent post-Synodal exhortation, Amoris laetitia , Pope Francis went on to say, “At times we have also proposed a far too abstract and almost artificial theological ideal of marriage, far removed from the concrete situations and practical possibilities of real families. This excessive idealization, especially when we have failed to inspire trust in God’s grace, has not helped to make marriage more desirable and attractive, but quite the opposite.” “Theology and pastoral solicitude go hand-in-hand,” said Pope Francis. “A theological doctrine that does not let itself be guided and shaped by the evangelizing purpose and the pastoral concern of the Church is just as unthinkable as a pastoral plan for the Church that does not know how to make a treasure of revelation and tradition with a view to the better understanding and transmission of the faith.” (from Vatican Radio)...||1 day 5 hours|
|(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday reminded the faithful that the month of October is dedicated to the Rosary and invited all believers to recite the Marian prayer. In a tweet, just a few days ago, on the day when the Church celebrates the feast of the Blessed Virgin of the Rosary, the Pope said “the Rosary is the prayer that always accompanies my life: it is also the prayer of simple people and saints...it is the prayer of my heart”. At the conclusion of the weekly General Audience , he explained that the Rosary is “a synthesis of Divine Mercy”: “With Mary, in the mysteries of the Rosary we contemplate the life of Jesus which irradiates the mercy of the Father. Let us rejoice in His love and forgiveness, let us recognize it in foreigners and in those who are needy, let us live His Gospel every day”. And greeting the young, the sick and the newly wedded, Pope Francis said: “May this simple Marian prayer show you, young people, the way to give life to God’s will in your lives; dear sick people, love this prayer because it brings consolation for the mind and the heart; and dear newly wedded spouses, may it represent a privileged moment of spiritual intimacy within your new family”. Pope Francis gives all people he meets a Rosary. “Our Lady – he says – is always close to Her children and ready to help when we pray to her, when we ask for her protection… let us remember she is always ready to serve and never keeps anyone waiting”. (from Vatican Radio)...||2 days 2 hours|
|(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday called for solidarity with migrants and refugees. Speaking to the crowd gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the weekly General Audience , the Pope reflected on two particular corporal works of mercy - welcoming the stranger and clothing the naked – and said that the growing numbers of refugees fleeing war, famine and dire poverty calls us to welcome and care for these brothers and sisters. Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni : Pope Francis reflected on the many stories of migration that are to be found in the Bible and on how, through the centuries, so many committed Christians have found generous ways of meeting the needs of people fleeing violence and injustice. “Today – he said – the current economic crisis unfortunately fosters attitudes of closure instead of welcome”. “In some parts of the world walls and barriers are being built. It appears that the silent work of men and women who, in different ways, do what they can to help and assist refugees and migrants, is being drowned out by the noise made by those who give voice to an instinctive egoism” he said. And saying that closure is never a solution, the Pope said it actually ends up favouring criminal trafficking. The only solution, he said, is solidarity: “Solidarity with the migrant, solidarity with the foreigner…” Pope Francis reiterated that this is a commitment that we must all make: “no one excluded”. “Dioceses, parishes, religious institutes, organisations and individual Christians: we are all called to welcome our brothers and sisters who are fleeing war, hunger, violence and cruel conditions of life” he said. And setting aside his text, Pope Francis told the story of a lady who was approached by a refugee asking directions for the Holy Door. The man, the Pope said, was dirty and barefoot but wanted to go to St. Peter’s Basilica to cross the holy threshold. The woman took stock of his bare feet and called a taxi, but the taxi driver initially didn’t want him on board because he was ‘smelly’. The taxi driver ended up boarding the woman and the man who, during the drive, told his story of pain, war, hunger and migration. Upon destination, Pope Francis recounted that the taxi driver, the same man who initially didn’t want the refugee to board his taxi because he was ‘smelly’, refused to accept payment for his service from the woman because he said: “It is I who should pay you because thanks to you I have listened to a story that has changed my heart”. The Pope continued saying that the woman was well aware of the pain of a migrant because she had Armenian blood and knew the suffering of her people. “When we do something like that initially there is some discomfort – ‘a smell’ – but at the end, a story like this brings fragrance to our soul, and changes us. Think about this story and think what you can do for refugees” he said. So too, ‘clothing the naked’ he said, increasingly means caring for those whose dignity has been stripped from them, and working to ensure that it is upheld and safeguarded. And this, he explained, means literally giving clothes to those who have none, but it also means thinking of women whose bodies are exploited by human traffickers and of the many other ways people – even minors – are used as a form of merchandise. “Having no job, no home, no just salary is also a form of nakedness, as is suffering discrimination because of race or faith. These are all forms of ‘nakedness’ that we Christians are called to act upon” he said. As followers of Christ, Pope Francis concluded, may we never close our hearts to those in need. By being open to others, our lives are enriched, our societies can enjoy peace and all people can live in a way befitting their dignity. (from Vatican Radio)...||2 days 4 hours|
|(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday urged the faithful to offer welcome and care to refugees fleeing war, famine and poverty. He was speaking during the weekly General Audience in St. Peter's Square. Please find below the English language summary of his catechesis: Dear Brothers and Sisters: In our catechesis for this Holy Year of Mercy, we now consider two particular corporal works of mercy: welcoming the stranger and clothing the naked. Jesus mentions both of these in connection with the Last Judgement (cf. Mt 25:35-36). Nowadays, the “stranger” is often the immigrant in our midst. In every age, the phenomenon of immigration calls for a response of openness and solidarity. In our own day, the growing influx of refugees fleeing war, famine and dire poverty is a summons to welcome and care for these brothers and sisters. Like so many committed Christians who have gone before us, such as Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, we need to find generous and creative ways of meeting their immediate needs. So too, “clothing the naked” increasingly means caring for those whose dignity has been stripped from them, and working to ensure that it is upheld and safeguarded. As followers of Christ, may we never close our hearts to those in need. For by openness to others, our lives are enriched, our societies enjoy peace and all people can live in a way befitting their God-given dignity. (from Vatican Radio)...||2 days 6 hours|
|Washington D.C., Oct 28, 2016 / 10:28 am (EWTN News/CNA).- In an exclusive interview on the Eternal Word Television Network, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump appealed to Catholic voters and other voters of faith, saying that his rival Hillary Clinton will be hostile to them.||2 hours 13 min|
|Vatican City, Oct 28, 2016 / 09:15 am (EWTN News/CNA).- Ahead of his upcoming trip to Sweden for the joint commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, Pope Francis granted a lengthy, wide-ranging interview to a Jesuit magazine in which he talks about his expectations, and Catholic-Lutheran unity.||3 hours 26 min|
|Jerusalem, Israel, Oct 28, 2016 / 07:01 am (EWTN News/CNA).- Have you ever wondered what the tomb of Jesus Christ looks like? National Geographic recently detailed the "moment of revelation" at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, which exposed the rock slab on which Christ's body is held to have been placed after his death.||5 hours 40 min|
|Washington D.C., Oct 28, 2016 / 04:02 am (EWTN News/CNA).- When Kentucky t-shirt designer Blaine Adamson declined to print promotional shirts for a gay pride festival, he found himself facing a discrimination ruling from the county's human rights commission.||8 hours 39 min|
|Princeton, N.J., Oct 27, 2016 / 12:21 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- As the contentious 2016 campaign season draws to a close, hundreds of university students are coming together to focus on strong marriages and sexual integrity as the bedrock of a health society.||1 day 20 min|
|Washington D.C., Oct 27, 2016 / 07:36 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- Leading religious freedom advocates called for the release of all "prisoners of conscience" worldwide on International Religious Freedom Day.||1 day 5 hours|
|Washington D.C., Oct 27, 2016 / 07:18 am (EWTN News/CNA).- Both major presidential candidates say that the future of the Supreme Court depends on this election but how important is the Court to Catholics, and will the next president really shape it?||1 day 5 hours|
|Vatican City, Oct 27, 2016 / 05:51 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- Doctrine and theological reflection are to be formed by its evangelizing purpose and by pastoral concerns, Pope Francis told the faculty and students of the John Paul II Institute on Thursday.||1 day 6 hours|
|Rome, Italy, Oct 27, 2016 / 04:26 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- Helping the victims of human trafficking is not enough we must go to the root to solve the problem, said one survivor at an event with Pope Francis on Thursday.||1 day 8 hours|
|Vatican City, Oct 27, 2016 / 01:11 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- Ahead of Pope Francis' coming trip to Sweden to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, Catholic and Lutheran leaders have said that while there is still a long way to go toward unity, seemingly impossible steps have already been made.||1 day 11 hours|
|Brussels, Belgium, Oct 27, 2016 / 01:08 am (EWTN News/CNA).- The genocide of Yazidis and Christians in the Middle East and the refugee crisis should be a priority for Europe, the EU special envoy for religious freedom has said.||1 day 11 hours|
|Washington D.C., Oct 27, 2016 / 01:02 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- A reputed "Catholic Spring" is in the news after hacked emails from John Podesta, now Hillary Clinton's campaign manager, indicated plans for an effort to sow revolution within the Church.||1 day 11 hours|
|Vatican City, Oct 26, 2016 / 11:48 am (EWTN News/CNA).- The Vatican will host a concert for the poor and homeless of Rome next month, not only using the concert to raise money for Pope Francis' charities, but also inviting the poor to attend as the guests of honor.||2 days 53 min|
|Catania, Italy, Oct 26, 2016 / 07:01 am (EWTN News/CNA).- The tragic death of a mother in Italy after late-term pregnancy complications and miscarriage is being pinned on the doctor's refusal to perform a late-term abortion, despite appearances that the mother died of complications of the miscarriage.||2 days 5 hours|
|Vatican City, Oct 26, 2016 / 06:09 am (EWTN News/CNA).- When we perform the corporal works of mercy specifically welcoming the stranger in the form migrants and refugees we are welcoming Christ in them, and helping to restore their full dignity as humans, Pope Francis said Wednesday.||2 days 6 hours|
|Jerusalem, Israel, Oct 26, 2016 / 04:50 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- Suspected burglars' desecration of the Church of the Transfiguration has prompted outcry from leading Christians in the Holy Land.||2 days 7 hours|
Los Angeles, Calif., Oct 26, 2016 / 03:03 pm (EWTN News).- On Tuesday, students from 80 Catholic schools in Los Angeles, Ventura,
and Santa Barbara counties participated in a pro-life event encouraging
service to the community.
||2 days 9 hours|
|Tucson, Ariz., Oct 26, 2016 / 01:22 am (EWTN News/CNA).- Catholic unity transversed the border on Sunday when Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the new apostolic nuncio to the U.S., celebrated Mass at Arizona's border with Mexico.||2 days 11 hours|
Note: This letter appeared in the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Letter to the Editor on October 27, 2016
Sr. Simone Campbell’s opinion piece in Monday’s Enquirer (“Follow Pope’s Example of ‘Meddling’ in Politics”) may sow confusion about the authentic Catholic teaching on responsible voting.
She writes: “This election can’t be about a single issue, it cannot just be about protecting the unborn, but also about protecting immigrants, Muslims, women, children and people in poverty.” She is indeed correct that Catholics cannot be single issue voters. We must examine candidates’ positions on critical concerns affecting human life, dignity, and care for creation.
However, not all issues have the same moral weight. The Catholic Church teaches that the direct destruction of innocent human life is not just one issue among many. In the summary of their non-partisan teaching document on “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” the Catholic bishops of the United States state, “As Catholics we are not single-issue voters. A candidate’s position on a single issue is not sufficient to guarantee a voter’s support. Yet a candidate’s position on a single issue that involves an intrinsic evil, such as support for legal abortion or the promotion of racism, may legitimately lead a voter to disqualify a candidate from receiving support.”
The bishops go on to note, “These decisions should take into account a candidate’s commitments, character, integrity, and ability to influence a given issue,” guidance which should be applied to all candidates of all parties.
Learn more at: www.faithfulcitizenship.org.
Dan Andriacco is the Communications Director of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati
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IMAGE: CNS photo/Laura Elizabeth Pohl,
By Rhina Guidos
BALTIMORE (CNS) — Many mornings Carolyn Y. Woo has arrived to the relative solitude of a chapel at the Baltimore headquarters of Catholic Relief Services, and as the bustling city comes to life, she has looked inside the serene space for a particular quiet spot, the place where she arms herself with prayer.
“That plant is my coffee table,” she said inside the chapel, pointing to a leafy pot nearby where she hides papers, coffee or whatever she might be holding on her way in.
“I do my readings for the day,” she said, explaining her morning routine during an October interview with Catholic News Service, one of the last she’ll do as CEO of the agency. “I sit with the Blessed Mother. There’s one chair there … that’s where I do my prayer and then I start the day.”
Prayer is something she’s needed while managing one of the largest charities in the country. The days have meant little sleep and lots of meetings, lots of visitors, lots of travel and challenges, joy and sadness, some which she never expected she’d see at the official international humanitarian agency of the country’s Catholic community.
The end of 2016 will mark the end of her five-year stint with CRS but also more than four decades of a demanding professional life largely rooted in the halls of business academia and board rooms, and one which led her to the halls of Vatican, as well to the world’s poorest communities.
Soon, she’ll be trading that in for drawing classes, piano lessons, line dancing, flower arrangement and trying to learn to speak Spanish so she can sing with others at Mass.
“Everybody tells me that I’m going to be bored,” she said speaking of her upcoming retirement. “But I’m so excited. They say women look forward to their retirement while men dread it. I think of it as ‘refirement,’ not retirement.”
The way Woo, 62, sees it, some of the best parts of her life are about to start.
“My life always had a set of professional identities: professor, administrator, dean, and so on. … I’m now going to that phase of my life where I’m going to let go of those titles for my most important roles: mother, wife, sister, aunt, friend and a servant of God,” she said.
However, when you’re the kind of person the pope has invited to help present one of his most important encyclicals — which Woo did when she helped present “Laudato Si'” in 2015 — it’s hard to just ride off, or line dance, into the sunset.
“I’ll continue to serve on several boards. I write a column for CNS, that will continue. There are speeches, but more important, I want to experience and do things that I’m not good at,” she said.
For now, she’s busy wrapping up the past five years of her life, reviewing the challenges, successes but also the opportunities of managing the U.S. bishops’ overseas relief and development agency. She’s been witness to the work of her colleagues in the 100 or so countries where CRS serves the poorest and most marginalized communities on the planet.
She said that while she didn’t know as much as her colleagues about international relief and development when she took over in 2012, she knew about business, especially about strategy, which could help CRS position itself for the future. She comes alive when talking about the intricacies of strategy, how she got students to explore it at the University of Notre Dame when she was the dean of the top-rated Mendoza Business School. She gave up tenure there after CRS tapped her to become its CEO in 2011.
“I actually don’t know of any other Chinese immigrant who has given up tenure,” she said. “I’ve worked for stability. Security and stability were my brass rings. Everything else just happened to come along because I tend to over-prepare.”
At CRS, she has aimed to make the agency a more effective organization, she said, one that develops its leadership from within, one that looks at the short-term and long-term benefits for those it serves, and one that communicates its Catholic identity to the world.
“The most important thing to me is that we represent the church well, and that we understand the privilege of being able to serve the people that God sends to us, the people we serve,” she said.
That means having enough resources to help alleviate poverty, to respond to increasing natural disasters such as the recent hurricane that swept through Haiti or to the historic displacement of people around the world who are forced to flee their homelands.
Her tenure has seen one of the largest displacements of people in history: 65.3 million at the end of 2015, according to figures from the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. It surpasses the number of those displaced after two world wars, one which led to the founding of CRS in 1943, as the Catholic bishops of the United States established the agency to help war-torn Europe and its refugees recover. As it did in the past, CRS has helped the present wave of displaced people with basic necessities, as well education and counseling.
“The magnitude of the problems exceeds the resources in the world, but it does not exceed our ingenuity and our ability to solve problems, if we can work together,” she said.
That’s not an easy task when you consider that most people haven’t come in contact with the displaced, whether refugees or migrants, making it hard to understand what they face, said Woo.
“They just watch this on television. There are different stories. There are stories about migrants. There are stories about terrorism. They’re all kind of put together,” she said. “I think when we run across situations, where people don’t see things the way we do, when they don’t agree. I think the key is not to label them, it’s not to get frustrated, but it’s to say, ‘Would you like to meet some of these people?'”
Fighting, attacking, labeling, none of it helps to carry out the work of the Gospel, she said, and she’s certainly seen her share of it at the helm of the agency.
She remembers a particularly difficult day that began with an email about a blog post accusing CRS of storing and distributing condoms in Madagascar, saying that the bishops there were angry at the agency because Catholic Church teaching prohibits artificial birth control and the agency was violating that teaching.
“This was so far from the truth,” she said. “You can imagine the type of sadness, to be accused of something that is completely false.”
Meetings with the Madagascar bishops, New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, then president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, had to be arranged, translators had to be hired, schedules across several time zones had be arranged, all just to clean up a baseless attack, she said.
“The day when I got that email was a very bad day,” she recalled. “In addition to addressing these particular issues, it’s sort of a loss of idealism to recognize that there a bodies within the church that would do that ‘ not only is it false, not only is it malicious, but actually it prevented us from spending our energies serving the people who needed help.”
The Madagascar bishops refuted the reports and publicly supported CRS in 2013 but the attacks continued.
“I could not imagine this type of malice to be in the church,” she said. “I think that was the part that I was unprepared for.”
While attacks may come and go, the mission of CRS remains, she said, and it’s one that began with Christ and will continue when Sean Callahan, the present chief operating officer, takes over the top spot at the start of 2017.
“The mission of CRS comes from the Gospel, which is where Jesus told us to go out serve, particularly raising up those who are without power, those who are without wealth, those at the margins of society,” Woo said.
It’s a mission she hopes to continue but on a different path, and one kept in focus by the fleeting images of those she’s met on her CRS journey, of families like hers, selling everything they own to help a son or daughter escape toward a safer or better future, of a young man who reminded her of one of her two sons but lives with shrapnel embedded in his body.
“We can pat ourselves on the back and say, ‘We served 100 million people,’ or we could ask the question ‘what about the (others who aren’t receiving help),” she says. “I hope that’s one thing I’ve done, to say have courage ‘ step up. ‘ I’d like to have our colleagues not be afraid to hold ourselves accountable because we do all this to serve (people) and to serve God. And if we trust in the Lord, the Lord will take us there.”
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Follow Guidos on Twitter: @CNS_Rhina.
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Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at email@example.com.
|20 hours 36 min|
IMAGE: CNS/Paul Haring
By Carol Glatz
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — An unrelenting, coordinated commitment is needed to prevent people from falling prey to traffickers and to help victims caught in their snares, Pope Francis told representatives of law enforcement agencies and church leaders.
The growing number of people being trafficked and exploited are “the most vulnerable” people in society; they are stripped of their dignity, physical and mental integrity and sometimes even their life, the pope said Oct. 27 during an audience with the Santa Marta Group.
Thanking and encouraging the group members for their fight against this “social evil,” Pope Francis reiterated that “what is needed is a coordinated, effective and constant commitment, both to eliminate the causes of this complex phenomenon and to reach, assist and accompany the people who fall into the snares of trafficking.”
The Santa Marta Group is an international coalition of senior law enforcement chiefs and members of the Catholic Church — including bishops’ conferences and religious orders — working together to end human trafficking. The group was founded in 2014 as part of an initiative begun by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. The name “Santa Marta” refers to the Vatican guest house, where Pope Francis lives, and where police chiefs and Catholic bishops held their first meeting.
The group, which now has members in more than 30 countries, met at the Vatican Oct. 26-27 to detail progress being made, share best practices and update the pope on their efforts. Nearly 21 million people, including minors, are believed to be victims of human trafficking, according to the International Labor Organization.
English Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster, the group’s president, told reporters that while human trafficking is still not a top priority in many parts of the world, much has been done to finally expose “this great evil.”
“Voices that were once completely hidden are now being heard and misery that was once unacknowledged is now being acknowledged,” he said at a Vatican news conference Oct. 27.
Two survivors of trafficking — Al Bangura and Princess Inyang — also spoke at the conference and detailed how they were tricked by traffickers with promises of legitimate job offers and opportunities.
Bangura, a talented soccer player in Sierra Leone, was lured to Paris then London as a teenager by a man claiming to be an agent signing him up to play for a European soccer team; instead he was trapped in a hotel “where older men began to turn up” and rape him.
Inyang worked as a cook in Nigeria and headed to Europe to pursue a job offer there. Instead she was forced into prostitution in Italy and coerced into paying the “madam” 45,000 euro (more than $49,000) in fees and even more in rent.
Both managed eventually to escape their captors, rebuild their lives, and now they help raise awareness to prevent others from being tricked.
Better prevention also entails giving young people real opportunities by setting up more educational scholarships and skills-building projects in countries of origin, Inyang told reporters.
Law enforcement also needs to do more to investigate, prosecute and arrest traffickers, not the victims, she said. “Reception” or protection shelters should be set up for suspected victims of trafficking instead of housing them in detention centers while their cases are investigated, she added.
It’s not always easy for police responding to an incident to clearly identify whether a person breaking the law has been coerced into it by traffickers, said Kevin Hyland, the former detective inspector of Scotland Yard’s trafficking and organized crime unit.
Traffickers often delegate riskier crimes, for example, petty theft or tending illegal cannabis farms, to their victims, he told Catholic News Service.
Very often victims are found in situations that make them “look the same as an offender” to an untrained officer or to one “unwilling to explore further,” he said.
In an effort to improve law enforcement’s response, the United Kingdom passed the Modern Slavery Act, giving officers new mandates meant to increase protection for victims and increase convictions and tougher sentencing on criminals.
Hyland said the 2015 act created his new role as Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, a role designed to better identify and support victims, improve the legal and justice systems’ response to trafficking and build diverse and effective partnerships.
For example, the close collaboration between law enforcement and the church with the Santa Marta Group “is actually quite a natural fit because the church reaches out to the vulnerable, offers that extended arm and support, and the police are there then to actually remove the threat of those committing these crimes.”
Police officers, too, have become more sensitive and cooperative with other agencies over the years, he said.
For example, three decades ago, an officer responding to domestic violence would not have understood the psychological coercion at play preventing a battered spouse from pressing charges or getting help, he said.
“Now the approach has changed” and “policing does know how to deal with vulnerability,” which might include looking for other ways to deal with the situation and requesting “other interventions” from different kinds of agencies. “Also taking away the offender and putting in protection for the victim is essential,” he added.
“So within law enforcement there is that ability to show compassion, to work in a way that deals with the victim’s needs and also pursues the perpetrators,” he said.
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Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|20 hours 46 min|
The staff of The Catholic Telegraph wishes to express our gratitude to the following women and men religious celebrating jubilees in 2016 for their steadfast faith and dedicated service to the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.
Sisters of Mercy
Sister Marie Hartmann
Sister Marie is a former president of the Sisters of Mercy, Regional Community of Cincinnati.
She is a graduate of Mercy School of Nursing, Hamilton, and Our Lady of Cincinnati College with a bachelor of science degree in nursing. She earned a master’s degree in administration from the University of Notre Dame. She has served as a nurse, operating supervisor, administrator, vice president and president of several Mercy Health facilities.
Sister Marie has also served on multiple boards and was a corporate Mmember of Catholic Healthcare Partners (now Mercy Health) and is an Emeritus Board member. She is still active at Mercy Health, serving three days a week in the Ministry of Presence at the Michael D. Connelly Building in Bond Hill.
Sister Caritas Martinez
60 years as a Sister of Mercy. BA: English Literature, Rosemont College, Rosemont PA; MA: Teaching of English, Villanova University, Villanova PA; MA: Religious Studies, Mt. St. Joseph University, Cincinnati. Substitute teacher in seven elementary and junior high schools in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, 12 years; catechist/coordinate and teach adult Bible study 12 years, St. James of the Valley; coordinate and teach adult bible study, one year, Peace Center, Franciscan Sisters of the Poor; second year, teach Parish School of Religion, St. Clare; presently coordinate and teach adult Bible study, St. Bartholomew.
Sister Carol Ann Wenning
Sr. Carol Ann entered the Sisters of Mercy in Cincinnati on Sept. 8, 1966. In the course of her 30 years in education throughout the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, she taught in elementary schools for nine years and served in school administration for 21 years. She presently serves as a formation minister and coordinator for new membership ministry for the Sisters of Mercy South Central Community.Sister Marie Hartmann (Courtesy Photo) Sister Caritas Martinez (Courtesy Photo) Sister Carol Ann Wenning (Courtesy Photo)
Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur
Sister Jeanette DeBrosse (formerly Sister Mary Urban) served 30 years as a classroom teacher, 23 of which were at schools in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. They included Summit Country Day and Mount Notre Dame High School in Cincinnati, and Holy Angels in Dayton. She also served as primary and middle school teacher for 10 years in Columbus. Sister Jeanette then spent 25 years serving as administrative assistant, library assistant and tutor in the archdiocese. She is currently serving in the ministry of prayer at Mount Notre Dame Health Center in Cincinnati.
Sister Rita Schirtzinger (formerly Sister St. Clement) served 36 years as a classroom teacher and principal, 27 of which were at schools in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. They included St. James (Wyoming) and Sts. Peter and Paul in Cincinnati; St. Stephen in Hamilton; Holy Angels, Immaculate Conception and Holy Family in Dayton; St. Francis de Sales in Lebanon; and St. John in Logan. She then spent 15 years as tutor and finance assistant for the Alliance for Work-Based Education and GED tutor at St. Mary Center, both in Dayton. Sister Rita is currently serving in the ministry of prayer and community service at Mount Notre Dame Health Center in Cincinnati.
Sister Rose Zuber (formerly Sister Ann Eugene) served 48 years as a staff and head nurse for the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur at convents in Cincinnati and Dayton. She continues to serve as a medical driver for the Mount Notre Dame Health Center in Cincinnati.Sister Jeanette DeBrosse (Courtesy Photo) Sister Rita Schirtzinger (Courtesy Photo) Sister Rose Zuber (Courtesy Photo)
Sister Carol DeFiore (formerly Sister August Mary) served 17 years as a classroom teacher, 12 of which were at schools in the Archdiocese of Cincinnat,i including St. Paul, St. Richard Chichester and Corryville Catholic in Cincinnati; Immaculate Conception in Dayton; and Queen of Peace in Hamilton. She was novice director for three years before serving for 29 years in pastoral ministry and spiritual direction at Nativity, St. John the Evangelist, Our Lady of the Rosary, St. Bartholomew, St. Bernard (Winton Place), Holy Trinity and the Milford Retreat Center. Sister Carol is currently serving as a volunteer at Holy Trinity Parish in Norwood.
Sister Claire Foley (formerly Sister Mary Harold) served for 26 years as an educator and principal at schools in the archdiocese, including Mt. Notre Dame Academy, St. Susanna and Corryville Catholic in Cincinnati; and St. Agnes and Holy Family in Dayton. She also served three years as assistant superintendent of schools in Dayton. Sister Claire then went on to serve her Sisters for 20 years in province leadership and community life, and for six years as director of associates. She is currently serving as a volunteer for the Sisters’ Clean Water Project.
Sister Ann Rene McConn served for five years at Project SNAP in Cincinnati before founding and serving 21 years as director of Cincinnati Housing Partners, a non-profit organization which helped lower income families qualify for affordable loans and purchase homes. She went on to serve two years at the Marianist Social Justice Collaborative before founding and serving four years as director at Westwood Community Urban Development Corp. Sister Ann Rene is currently engaged in the ministry of prayer and presence at Mount Notre Dame Health Center in Cincinnati.
Sister Joan Shields (formerly Sister Edmund Mary) has been an educator and principal for 39 years at schools in Ohio and Illinois, including the following schools in the Archdiocese: Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in Cincinnati, St. Helen in Dayton and St. Veronica in Hamilton. Since 1998, she has been serving as co-director of religious education at Our Lady of the Wayside Parish in Arlington Heights, IL, where she continues to serve.
Sister Judith Wessels (formerly Sister Judith Anne) spent 26 years as a classroom teacher and religious education coordinator, 11 of which were at schools in the archdiocese. They included Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Sts. Peter and Paul, and Summit Country Day in Cincinnati. She then provided nursing services for five years at Mount Notre Dame Convent in Cincinnati. Sister Judith went on to serve 19 years as receptionist at the Faber House Jesuit Residence. She currently serves as province librarian at the Mount Notre Dame Convent in Cincinnati.
Sister Barbara Mary Wilde served as a classroom teacher for 12 years at schools in the archdiocese, including St. George, Sts. Peter and Paul and Summit Country Day in Cincinnati; and Immaculate Conception and Julienne High School in Dayton She went on to serve for 14 years as pastoral and outreach minister at St. Agnes Parish in Dayton, then spent another 14 years as director of programming at Life Essentials, Inc. in Dayton. Sister Barbara Mary is currently serving in the ministry of prayer and community service at Mount Notre Dame Health Center in Cincinnati.Sister Carol DeFiore (Courtesy Photo) Sister Claire Foley (Courtesy Photo) Sister Ann Rene McConn (Courtesy Photo)
Sister Joan Shields (Courtesy Photo) Sister Judith Wessels (Courtesy Photo) Sister Barbara Mary Wilde (Courtesy Photo)
Sister Mary Ellen Dow served 15 years as an elementary and high school religion teacher at schools in Ohio and Illinois, including Chaminade Julienne High School in Dayton. She served the sisters for 12 years in vocation and formation ministry. In 1997, Sister Mary Ellen began her 17-year career in campus ministry at Merrimack College, Bridgewater State College and Trinity University in Washington, D.C. She is currently serving in the ministry of prayer and community service at Mount Notre Dame Health Center in Cincinnati.
Sister Judith Merkle spent 10 years as a primary and middle school teacher and principal at schools in the archdiocese, including St. George, Summit Country Day and St. Susanna in Cincinnati; St. James in Dayton and St. Mark in Lancaster. She went on to obtain her PhD in theology, and since 1985, has been teaching at the college level at Xavier University and the Athenaeum of Ohio/ Mt. St. Mary Seminary and in Cincinnati; St. Michael’s College in Toronto and Niagara University in Niagara, NY, where she continues to serve as a tenured professor in the religious studies department.
Sister Mary Ellen Dow (Courtesy Photo) Sister Judith Merkle (Courtesy Photo)
|21 hours 14 min|
The staff of The Catholic Telegraph wishes to express our gratitude to the following women and men religious celebrating jubilees in 2016 for their steadfast faith and dedicated service to the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.
Adrian Dominican Sisters
Sister Marie Therese EmerySister Marie Therese Emery (Courtesy Photo)
Sister Marie Therese, a native of St. Louis, is marking 75 years in religious life. Sister Marie Therese graduated from St. Joseph Academy in Adrian, Mich., and entered the congregation in June 1946, from St. John Parish, Ypsilanti. She professed first vows on Dec. 31, 1947, and final vows on Dec. 31, 1952.
Sister Marie Therese holds a bachelor’s degree in social science from Siena Heights College (now university) in Adrian; a master’s degree in history from the University of Detroit; and master’s degree in curriculum and a doctorate in education, with a focus on administration and curriculum, both from Michigan State University. In addition to certificates in education, she holds a license as a radio operator and three pilot’s licenses from the Federal Aviation Administration. She has been a pilot since 1973 and is still current in her pilot’s license.
From 1946 to 1972, Sister Marie Therese ministered in education as teacher or administrator at Catholic schools in Michigan, Illinois, and Ohio. She took one year out from teaching – 1961 to 1962 – to serve as vocation director for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. She remained in Cincinnati to serve as teacher and assistant principal at St. Antoninus from 1962 to 1963, and as teacher and principal at St. Vincent Ferrer. “I have taught every grade from Grade 1 through university graduates,” she recalled. “I loved and respected the pupils God gave me.”
Sister Marie Therese then took on less traditional ministries: as the fleet safety project supervisor for the State of Michigan, 1972 to 1973, and as an engineering and automotive consultant for the American Automobile Association (AAA) in Washington, D.C, 1973-1974. Her work at AAA included working with teachers and writing manuals for them on traffic safety and bike safety.
Sister Marie Therese ministered at Michigan State University from 1974 to 1997 as a traffic safety specialist, administrator of the traffic safety program, computer teacher, and director of the Technology Lab. She said she especially enjoyed her work as a computer teacher. “Everything was new and no one had done it yet,” she recalled. “I stayed up all night to learn,” and then taught the computer lesson the next day.
She retired from formal ministry in 1997, and has been residing at the Dominican Life Center in Adrian since 2012.
In reflecting on her Jubilee year, Sister Marie Therese said, “My vocation was God’s invitation to me, to love, serve and obey Him through vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience and give service to the Catholic Church. I have made every effort to grow in virtue.”
Sister Patricia MartinSister Patricia Martin (Courtesy Photo)
Sister Patricia, formerly known as Sister John Martin, is celebrating 70 years as an Adrian Dominican Sister. She had served for four years at St. Theresa Home in Cincinnati. A native of Detroit, she was taught by Adrian Dominicans at St. Bridget’s in first grade before the family moved to a farm in Lenawee County, Mich., when she was four.
After graduating from Morenci High School, Morenci, Mich., in 1945, Sister Pat began to attend Siena Heights College (now University), where she decided to enter the Adrian Dominican Congregation on Feb. 2, 1946. She made first profession in August 1946 and final profession in August 1952. Ultimately, Sister Pat earned her bachelor’s degree in nutrition from Siena Heights in 1956.
Sister Pat’s earliest missions, from 1950 to 1979, involved teaching in Catholic schools in Illinois and Michigan. In 1979, while taking the necessary steps to becoming a registered dietitian, Sister Pat became the food service director at St. Theresa Home in Cincinnati. She served there until 1983, when she returned to Michigan to serve first as a dietitian and then ad parish coordinator for ministry to the aging.
Now retired and living in Adrian, Michigan, Sister Pat volunteers at the motherhouse, with Housing Help of Lenawee County; and with Share the Warmth, a volunteer-run homeless shelter in Adrian, open during the winter months. “It’s been a very enriching, life-giving experience for me, knowing the Lord and serving God’s people,” she said.
Sister Jean Irene McAllisterSister Jean Irene McAllister (Courtesy Photo)
Sister Jean Irene, also celebrating her 70-year Jubilee, is a native of the Detroit area. She entered the congregation in June 1946 and completed her high school education at St. Joseph Academy in Adrian in 1947. Sister Jean Irene professed first vows on Dec. 30, 1947, and final vows on Dec. 31, 1952. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Siena Heights College (now university) in Adrian.
After serving her first assignments in the Chicago area, Sister Jean Irene traveled to Ohio. She taught from 1953 to 1958 at St. Francis Xavier in Medina, Ohio, in the Diocese of Cleveland, then moved to the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, where she taught from 1958 to 1964 at St. Vincent Ferrer in Cincinnati. Her later assignments took her to schools in Florida and Michigan.
Sister Jean Irene also served as pastoral minister from 1979 to 1988 at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Melbourne, Fla., and from 1988 to 2003 at Rocky Creek Village, a senior living community in Tampa. While serving in Rocky Creek, she was part of a line dance group and kitchen band that performed at nursing homes, senior centers, and parish festivals. She retired to Adrian in 2003.
Sister Jean Irene described her vocation as “a gift and a shared journey with other members of our Congregation. …My heart overflows with gratitude for my 70 years as an Adrian Dominican.”
Sister Kathleen SchanzSister Kathleen Schanz (Courtesy Photo)
Sister Kathleen, who recently completed her six-year term as a member of the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ General Council, is marking 50 years with the congregation. The former Sister Georgine Marie was born in Detroit; graduated from Regina High School in Harper Woods, Mich.; and entered the congregation from St. Jude’s Parish in Detroit on August 28, 1965. She professed her first vows on Aug. 4, 1967, and her final vows on Aug. 2, 1975.
After her first assignment in Cleveland, Sister Kathleen was transferred in 1969 to teach at St. Antonitus in Cincinnati until 1973. She then taught in schools in California, Michigan, and Ohio. “As a teacher, I hold special, fond memories in Cincinnati at the school and parish,” she said. “I loved it there!”
Sister Kathleen’s ministerial focus changed in 1989, when she began service at the congregation’s Office of Mission and Ministry. She later served as director of Weber Retreat and Conference Center in Adrian, , from 1994 to 2002; director of Athena International in Chicago from 2003 to 2004; and director of Lenawee County (Michigan) United Way from 2004 to 2010. That year, she was elected to serve a six-year term on the General Council of the Adrian Dominican Sisters. She left office on July 2, 2016.
“To celebrate a Jubilee marks a significant passage in my life,” Sister Kathleen said. “It marks the deepening of relationships with my God, with my family and friends, and with my Adrian Dominican community.”
Congregation of Divine Providence
Sister Margaret Mary Austing served as an elementary teacher at St. Aloysius School, Elmwood, from 1945-50, and at Assumption School, Mt. Healthy, from 1969-1970.
Sister Elizabeth Kelemen served as elementary teacher at St. John School, Dry Ridge, from 1977 to 2008.
Sister Mary of the Angels Becker served as an elementary teacher at St. Michael School, Ripley, 1953-1958, and as DRE there from 1982-1984; also as an elementary teacher at Assumption School, Mt. Healthy, from 1982-1984 and in pastoral care to shut-ins at Assumption Parish from 1989-1990.
Sister Claire Osburg, formerly served as a social worker at St. Joseph Orphanage and for Catholic Social Services, Cincinnati.Sister Margaret Mary Austing (Courtesy Photo) Sister Elizabeth Keleman (Courtesy Photo) Sister Mary of the Angels Becker (Courtesy Photo) Sister Claire Osburg (Courtesy Photo)
Sister Carolyn Marie Betsch from Assumption Parish, Mt. Healthy
Sister Lucy Zientek from St. Vincent de Paul Parish, Bayonne, NJ, presently serving as pastoral associate at St. Ignatius Parish, Cincinnati, since 2006; previously at St. Monica-St. George Parish as pastoral associate and campus minister from 1991 to 2001.Sister Carolyn Marie Betsch (Courtesy Photo) Sister Mary Carol Henggeler (Courtesy Photo) Sister Grace Ann Schmersal (Courtesy Photo) Sister Lucy Zientek (Courtesy Photo)
|23 hours 4 min|
IMAGE: CNS/Populus Summorum Pontificum
By Junno Arocho Esteves
ROME (CNS) — U.S. Archbishop Alexander K. Sample was preparing to celebrate Mass Oct. 26 with Benedictine monks in Norcia when the first of two powerful earthquakes struck.
“I had no sooner finished (the vesting) prayer to be protected from the assaults of Satan when bang: It just hit and it hit with a vengeance. It didn’t last very long, but it really shook the building we were in,” Archbishop Sample of Portland, Oregon, told Catholic News Service in Rome the next morning.
No casualties were reported from the quakes. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, an earthquake measuring 5.5 struck shortly after 7 p.m. local time and a 6.1 magnitude quake followed two hours later. Both were centered in Italy’s Marche region, not far from Norcia.
Archbishop Sample and other Portland pilgrims were visiting Norcia, the birthplace of St. Benedict, during a trip to Italy for the fifth annual Populus Summorum Pontificum pilgrimage, an international gathering for Catholics devoted to the extraordinary form of the Mass.
Speaking by telephone from Norcia, the archbishop said that despite feeling aftershocks during the Mass, he finished celebrating and was already in his hotel room when the second earthquake struck.
Although things seem to calm down, “there were a number of aftershocks” throughout the night, he said.
“I think about three times during the night, I was halfway out of bed to get to the door,” he said. “I confess, I’m a bit of a chicken and I slept in my clothes last night in case I had to run outside; I wanted to be properly attired. It was not the most restful night.”
While Archbishop Sample was with the Benedictine monks, he said another group from Portland, led by Father John Boyle, also had “a harrowing experience” during the earthquake while celebrating Mass in the crypt of the Basilica of St. Benedict in Norcia.
“Father Boyle was just beginning the preparatory prayers for holy Communion when it hit and he took shelter underneath the altar and instructed the other pilgrims to take cover under the pews,” the archbishop told CNS.
When the earthquake ended, Archbishop Sample said, the pilgrims went outside the church and Father Boyle brought them Communion.
The archbishop said that Father Boyle found it “very moving to see the people kneeling on the ground to receive holy Communion; it was beautiful.” After Mass, several monks helped retrieve the pilgrim’s personal items from the church before they returned to their hotel.
Pope Francis took to social media to express his solidarity with those affected, tweeting: “I am close in prayer to the people struck by the new earthquake in central Italy.”
The earthquakes, which came two months after a powerful quake devastated several towns in the region, left several churches with major damage.
Avvenire, the newspaper of the Italian bishops’ conference, reported that one of the destroyed buildings was the 13th-century church of San Salvatore in Campi,” just outside the center of Norcia.
The church “no longer exists,” Archbishop Renato Boccardo of Spoleto-Norcia told Avvenire. “I’m trying to contact the pastor but communications are interrupted at this time.”
The rose window of Sant’ Eutizio Abbey, one of Italy’s oldest monasteries dating back to the 5th century, also collapsed following the first earthquake.
The 6.1 quake Oct. 26, the U.S. Geological Survey said, “is currently the largest aftershock” of the Aug. 24 quake that struck central Italy. The epicenter of the August earthquake was close to Norcia; with a magnitude of 6.2, it caused the deaths of close to 300 people.
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Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.
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Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at email@example.com.
|23 hours 5 min|
Saint Robert Bellarmine (Courtesy Photo)
by Sarah Patterson
St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622) is the official patron of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Did you know that we also have two minor patrons? They are St. Albert the Great (c. 1200–1280) and St. Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621). Below is a letter written by Abp. John T. McNicholas on 4 July 1938 announcing our two new minor patrons and the reason for their selection. Mentioned in the letter, the Institutum Divi Thomae was a school of scientific research founded by the Archbishop in 1935 to promote scientific research and show that science and religion are not opposed to each other.
“Our Holy Father on 4 May, 1938, approved the decision of the Sacred Congregation of Rites that St. Robert Bellarmine and St. Albert the Great are to be venerated in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati as co-patrons minus principales sub ritu duplici maiori.
“St. Robert Bellarmine and St. Albert the Great cannot but appeal strongly to our priests and people if they realize how providentially these saints have been given to us as patrons in these critical times. We urge the clergy and the faithful of all parishes to cultivate a special devotion to these two heroic servants of God.
For past Throwback Thursdays
Welcome to Throwback Thursday, an online feature wherein users of social media share an old photo or anecdote about times gone by. The Catholic Telegraph partners with the Archdiocese of Cincinnati Chancery Archives’ blog Laboring on the Mission to bring you a bit of local history each week.
|1 day 1 hour|
St. Xavier Marching Band (Courtesy Photo)
WEEK 10 Schedule for October 28th, 29th
Archbishop Alter (Kettering) vs. Chaminade Julienne (Dayton) at home Friday, October 28th at 7:00 p.m.
Bishop Fenwick (Franklin) at Carroll (Dayton) Friday, October 28th at 7:00 p.m.
Carroll (Dayton) vs. Bishop Fenwick (Franklin) at home Friday, October 28th at 7:00 p.m.
Catholic Central (Springfield) vs. West Liberty Salem (West Liberty) at home Friday, October 28th at 7:00 p.m.
Chaminade Julienne (Dayton) at Archbishop Alter (Kettering) Friday, October 28th at 7:00 p.m.
Elder vs. LaSalle at home Friday, October 28th at 7:00 p.m.
LaSalle at Elder Friday, October 28th at 7:00 p.m.
Lehman (Sidney) at Waynesfield Goshen (Waynesfield) Friday, October 28th at 7:00 p.m.
McNicholas at Stephen T. Badin (Hamilton) Friday, October 28th at 7:00 p.m.
Moeller vs. Royal Imperial Collegiate (St. Catherine Canada) at home (Gerry Faust Athletic Complex) Saturday October 29th at 1:00 p.m.
Purcell Marian vs. Roger Bacon at home Saturday October 29th at 1:00 p.m.
Roger Bacon at Purcell Marian Saturday October 29th at 1:00 p.m.
St. Xavier vs. St. Xavier (Louisville Ky) at home Friday, October 28th at 7:00 p.m.
Stephen T. Badin (Hamilton) vs. McNicholas at home Friday, October 28th at 7:00 p.m.
Summit Country Day Regular Season ended Record: 7-3
All Archdiocese High School Standings
Archbishop Alter Knights (Kettering) 9-0 (Ranked 5th Division IV Region 16)
|1 day 4 hours|
Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (CNS photo/Bob Roller)
As the presidential nominees prepare for their third and final debate this Wednesday evening and just weeks away from Election Day, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz has released the following video statement. The video is a follow-up to his written statement of last week which invites Catholics to take time prior to the elections to deeply reflect on the founding principles of our republic and the gospel truths. The video also directly addresses public officials in calling them to respect the rights of people to live their faith without interference from the state.
Video Can be seen Here
Editors Note: This link will take you to the video and in the upper right hand corner, click the arrow to download.
Catholics are also encouraged to take a moment to also read Forming Consciences of Faithful Citizenship, the USCCB teaching document on the political responsibility of Catholics: www.faithfulcitizenship.org.
|1 day 4 hours|
WASHINGTON (CNS) — Seventy Catholic women, including the presidents of two leading Catholic organizations, expressed concern for the “toxic politics of fear” that has dominated this year’s presidential campaign.
Saying that “elections should be a national examination of conscience,” the signers of the statement called for civil debate in the final weeks of the campaign leading to Election Day Nov. 8.
Signers included Dominican Sister Donna Markham, president of Catholic Charities USA, and Sister Carol Keehan, a Daughter of Charity, who is president and CEO of Catholic Health Association.
Others signing the letter were Helen Alvare, professor of law at George Mason University; Marie Dennis, co-president of Pax Christi International; Patricia McGuire, president of Trinity Washington University; Helen Osman, former secretary of communications at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops; and Dolores Leckey, founding executive director of the Secretariat for Family, Women, Laity and Youth at the USCCB.
Titled “Catholic Women and Mothers for the Common Good,” the statement noted that democracy remains healthy through civic debate and that “neither party has a monopoly on wisdom or effective policies.”
“At a time when nearly one in five children grows up poor, thousands of migrant children are torn from their parents, and when so many families are excluded from economic opportunity, the urgency of our collective task is bigger than our partisan preferences or personal ideologies,” the Oct. 24 statement said.
The signers maintain in the statement that Catholic social teaching “does not fit neatly into partisan boxes.”
“Our faith calls us to affirm the sacred dignity of all life. This is why our church defends life in the womb, the undocumented immigrant and the inmate on death row. As Pope Francis reminds us, we must also say no to an ‘economy of exclusion and inequality’ that ‘kills,’ and act to address environmental devastation that is disproportionately hurting the poor.”
The statement also urged the presidential candidates as well as others seeking public office nationwide “to recognize that ‘family values’ isn’t simply a buzzword on the campaign trail.” It pointed to the importance of upholding the dignity of families, which “requires rejecting a consumer culture where sex is viewed as a commodity; a commitment to ensuring mothers and fathers have access to paid parental leave; quality, affordable child care; jobs that pay living wages; and a human immigration system that keeps families together.”
The statement was to be published as advertisements in three Catholic publications, including Our Sunday Visitor Oct. 30, National Catholic Reporter Nov. 4 and America magazine Nov. 7.
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Editor’s Note: The full text of the statement can be found online at www.catholicwomencare.org.
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|1 day 18 hours|
IMAGE: CNS photo/Jim Lo Scalzo, EPA
WASHINGTON (CNS) — The U.S. bishops will discuss ways to promote peace in U.S. communities torn apart by violence, vote on ways to implement priority areas for their conference approved last year and elect new leaders during their Nov. 14-16 fall general assembly in Baltimore.
The discussion about restoring peace in the nation will stem from a report to be presented to the bishops from a task force formed this past summer after shootings by police and of police took place in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Minneapolis; and Dallas.
When Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, who is president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, announced the USCCB Task Force to Promote Peace in Our Communities, he said there needed to be “ways of nurturing an open, honest and civil dialogue on issues of race relations, restorative justice, mental health, economic opportunity and addressing the question of pervasive gun violence.”
The task force is chaired by Atlanta Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory, who told reporters in September that the U.S. bishops are in beginning stages of developing a pastoral letter that will examine racism in society and the church and will encourage dialogue on the issue as well as describe steps Catholics can take to bring about healing and reconciliation.
As part of the USCCB’s 2017-2020 strategic plan, the bishops will discuss and vote on an action plan to support the five priorities they approved last November: evangelization; family and marriage; human life and dignity; religious freedom; and vocations and ongoing formation.
They also will be given an update on preparations for the convocation of Catholic leaders from all across the country taking place next July in Orlando, Florida, and focusing on “The Joy of the Gospel in America.” It is an initiative of bishops’ Working Group on the Life and Dignity of the Human Person.
The bishops will convene key leaders from dioceses and Catholic organizations from across the country “to assess the challenges and opportunities of our time,” particularly in the context of the U.S. Catholic Church, according to the USCCB.
Inspired by Pope Francis’ 2013 apostolic exhortation, “Evangelii Gaudium” (“The Joy of the Gospel”), the convocation “will form leaders who will be equipped and re-energized to share the Gospel as missionary disciples,” the USCCB said.
Archbishop Kurtz will give his final address as USCCB president; his three year-term ends at the conclusion of the fall assembly. Also ending his three-term is the current vice president, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston.
During their meeting, the bishops will elect a new president and vice president, whose three-year terms will begin at the conclusion of the assembly. Each office is elected from a slate of 10 candidates who have been nominated by their fellow bishops.
The nominees are: New Orleans Gregory M. Aymond; Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput; Oklahoma City Archbishop Paul S. Coakley; Cardinal DiNardo; Texas Bishop Daniel E. Flores of Brownsville; Los Angeles Archbishop Jose H. Gomez; Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori; Detroit Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron; Miami Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski and New Mexico Archbishop John C. Wester of Santa Fe.
USCCB bylaws provide that the first election is that of the president by simple majority vote of members who are present and voting. Following the election of the president, the vice president is elected from the remaining nine candidates.
In either election, if a candidate does not receive more than half of the votes cast on the first ballot, a second vote is taken. If a third round of voting is necessary, that ballot is a run-off between the two bishops who received the most votes on the second ballot.
During the meeting, the bishops also will vote for new chairmen-elect of the following five USCCB committees: Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance; Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs; Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis; Committee on International Justice and Peace; and Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People. They serve one year as chairmen-elect and then over as chairmen at the conclusion of the bishops’ fall assembly in 2017.
The nominees are:
— Canonical Affairs and Church Governance: Bishops Robert P. Deeley of Portland, Maine, and David M. Malloy of Rockford, Illinois.
— Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs: Bishops Joseph C. Bambera of Scranton, Pennsylvania, and Michael C. Barber of Oakland, California.
— Evangelization and Catechesis: Auxiliary Bishop Robert E. Barron of Los Angeles and Bishop Frank J. Caggiano of Bridgeport, Connecticut.
— International Justice and Peace: Bishop Robert W. McElroy of San Diego and Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the U.S. Archdiocese of the Military Services.
— Protection of Children and Young People: Bishops Timothy L. Doherty of Lafayette, Indiana, and Joseph J. Tyson of Yakima, Washington.
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|1 day 20 hours|
IMAGE: CNS/Paul Haring
By Cindy Wooden
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The extension of Pope Francis’ trip to Sweden by one day to accommodate a papal Mass for the nations’ Catholics does not detract from the ecumenical power of the trip, but actually highlights the need for Christian unity, said the general secretary of the Lutheran World Federation.
Initially, Pope Francis had planned to make a day trip to Sweden Oct. 31 to take part in two ecumenical events launching a year of commemorations of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. But at the urging of local Catholics, the pope decided to spend the night and celebrate Mass Nov. 1 before returning to Rome.
The Rev. Martin Junge, general secretary of the LWF, told reporters at the Vatican Oct. 26 that the Lutherans fully understand the desire of Catholics in Sweden to have Mass with the pope and the pastoral responsibility of the pope to fulfill that request.
“Of course,” he said, “it is also going to reveal that we are not yet united; it is going to reveal a wound that remains there” since the divisions between Catholics and Lutherans mean that in general Eucharist sharing still is not possible.
While Rev. Junge and other Lutheran leaders have accepted an invitation to attend the Mass, the fact that they will not receive Communion “is going to be a strong encouragement to continue working toward unity,” he said.
Both Rev. Junge and Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, said the biggest breakthrough in Lutheran-Catholic relations was the signing in 1999 of a joint declaration on justification, or how people are made righteous in the eyes of God and saved. But before eucharistic sharing and full unity are possible, they said, further agreement must be found on Catholic and Lutheran understandings about the church, the Eucharist and ministry.
Cardinal Koch said marriages between a Protestant and a Catholic are a pastoral concern for both churches, particularly in finding ways to encourage continued church participation and in dealing with the question of going to Communion together.
As a pastor in Switzerland, where about half the population is Catholic and half is Protestant, Cardinal Koch said he began studying ecumenical theology specifically to understand how to best minister to such couples. “It’s a most pastoral concern and, I think, very close to the heart of Pope Francis.”
A year ago, during a visit to a Lutheran church in Rome, a Lutheran woman married to a Catholic man asked Pope Francis what she and her husband could do to receive Communion together; the pope said he could not issue a general rule on shared Communion, but the couple should pray, study and then act according to their consciences.
“We sense that our ability to come with relevant responses and answers to the very complex questions around sharing the Eucharist table has an urgency in the life of the people,” Rev. Junge told reporters at the Vatican. “I really hope the joint commemoration (of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation) gives us a strong encouragement to be faster, to be bolder, to be more creative” in addressing remaining differences, “with a very strong focus on where people feel the lack of unity the heaviest: around the table.”
Asked if there were any plans for Pope Francis to lift the excommunication of Martin Luther, Cardinal Koch said no because “excommunication ends with the death of a person.” It is a penalty imposed by the church during a person’s lifetime with the hope of getting the person to return to full communion with the church.
Briefing reporters on the logistics of the trip to Sweden, Greg Burke, Vatican spokesman, said that because the trip does not include Stockholm where the nuncio and the only Catholic bishop live, Pope Francis would be staying at Igelosa, a medical research company near Lund where the Scandinavian bishops have stayed during their annual meetings.
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Follow Wooden on Twitter: @Cindy_Wooden.
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|1 day 21 hours|
IMAGE: CNS/Paul Haring
By Carol Glatz
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Closing doors to immigrants and refugees is not the answer — in fact, it only helps encourage the crime of human trafficking, Pope Francis said.
“The only way for resolution is through solidarity,” where everyone pitches in because “all together we are a powerful force of support for those who have lost their homeland, family, work and dignity,” he said Oct. 26 at his weekly general audience.
In his talk, the pope continued his series of reflections on the works of mercy, focusing on welcoming the stranger and clothing the naked.
He said clothing the naked is about caring for those whose dignity has been stripped from them and helping restore and protect that dignity.
So in addition to providing clothing to those in need, be on the lookout for and ready to help victims of human trafficking and those — including children — whose bodies are being bought and sold like some kind of commodity, he said.
Not having a home, a job or fair wages and being discriminated against because of race or faith are all forms of nakedness that “as Christians, we are called to be on the alert (for), vigilant and ready to act.”
While voluntary or forced migration has been part of human history, the call to welcome the stranger is even more necessary than ever given that so many people today are on the move because of economic crises, armed conflict and climate change, he said.
There have been many “great expressions of solidarity” over the centuries, even though there have been social tensions, too, the pope said.
“Unfortunately, today’s context of economic crisis prompts the emergence of an attitude of closure and not welcome. In some parts of the world walls and barriers are appearing,” he said.
“Sometimes it seems that the silent work of many men and women who, in different ways, strive to help and assist refugees and migrants is overshadowed by the noise of others who give voice to an instinctive selfishness,” he said.
“Closure is not a solution, rather it ends up encouraging criminal trafficking,” he said.
The pope asked that people never be tempted by the “trap” of closing in on oneself, never become indifferent to people’s needs and never become focused only on one’s own personal interests.
The more a person opens up to others, he said, the more one’s life is enriched, the more society opens itself up to peace and people recover their full dignity.
Looking up from his written remarks, the pope told the more than 25,000 people gathered in the square about a “little story” that happened a few days ago in Rome.
He said a woman had asked a man who was barefoot and looked lost if he needed help, and the man said he wanted to go to St. Peter’s Basilica and walk through the Holy Door. The woman wondered how the man would ever get there without shoes, so she hailed a taxi, the pope said.
At first the cab driver did not want to let the man inside because “he smelled,” but he eventually gave in. During the 10-minute ride, the woman asked the man about his life, and he talked about his trials of being a refugee escaping war and hunger. The pope said the women knew “the pain of a migrant” because of her Armenian roots.
When they arrived at their destination, “the woman opened her bag to pay the cab driver, but the driver, who at first didn’t want this immigrant to get in because he smelled, told the woman, ‘No, ma’am, I’m the one who must pay because you made me hear a story that changed my heart.'”
Pope Francis said, “When we do something like this, at first we refuse because it makes us feel a bit uncomfortable” or awkward, but in the end, carrying out an act of mercy or assistance makes the soul smell sweet and “makes us change. Think about this story and let us think about what we can do for refugees.”
The pope also recalled the “stupendous figure” of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, who founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and who emigrated to New York from Italy in 1889 to minister to fellow immigrants, opening schools, orphanages and hospitals for the poor. She became the first U.S. citizen to be declared a saint.
“It is urgent today as is in the past” for all Christians to be assisting immigrants and refugees, he said. “It is a task that involves everyone, without exception.”
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Follow Glatz on Twitter: @CarolGlatz.
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|1 day 23 hours|
Alliance Defending Freedom attornies Matt Sharp and Kellie Fiedorek (CT/Photo Gail Finke)
By Gail Finke
“The other side does a phenomenal job at messaging,” said Kellie Fiedorek, an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), at a hastily-organized Cincinnati presentation this month. “Laws follow culture, and they’re winning the culture. We have to get better at saying ‘We’re not denying you a good or a service, we’re declining to participate in an event that violates our religious beliefs.’”
ADF is a law organization that defends the religious freedom rights of Christians at no charge. Cincinnati-based Citizens for Community Values organized the meeting here after Fiedorek and another ADF attorney, Matt Sharp, scheduled a meeting with client Barronelle Stutzman in Columbus.
Stutzman, a florist from Washington State, is facing separate lawsuits from her state’s attorney general and the ACLU because she declined to arrange the flowers for a long-time client’s same-sex wedding. She turned down two plea deals that would have required her to agree to arrange flowers for such ceremonies, and is currently appealing a loss at a bench trial.
“The judge told me I had religious freedom, because I was free to believe,” Stutzman said. “But he said I had to keep it in the four walls of the church – and that’s the same as telling Rob and Kurt [the men whose event she declined] they can’t be a gay couple outside their home.”
If Stutzman loses the appeal, she will owe more than $1 million in court costs to the ACLU, which will bankrupt her, her husband, and her business.
The three altered their schedule to make the Cincinnati meeting, attended by about 25 lawyers, lawmakers, and CCV members, because it is the home of Jim Obergefell, namesake of Obergefell v. Hodges. That Supreme Court decision, all three said, meant that Stutzman’s case is the harbinger of things to come.
Although Fiedorek called Stutzman’s case “unprecedented” because of the Washington attorney general’s insistence that leaving religious beliefs at home is part of the cost of doing business, Sharp cited numerous cases in states that have made people with same-sex attraction and those who identify as a different sex an official protected class. The plaintiff in a similar case from Arizona, in which a calligrapher declined to address invitations, faces even harsher punishment.
“In Phoenix, a person found guilty of discrimination against a protected class faces not only fines, but 365 days in jail per violation,” he said. Business owners are also prohibited from posting statements of their beliefs about marriage, “because such statements make it a hostile environment.”
Like Stutzman, people prosecuted in similar cases have not refused to serve people who consider themselves gay or transgender. Instead, they refused work related to same-sex weddings.
Business owners in Ohio, the ADF says, should be prepared for such lawsuits. Although free speech has traditionally been help nearly inviolable, Sharp said, judges are increasingly willing to allow other rights, particularly those of people deemed as part of a protected class, to come first.
“Obergefell will be overturned,” Fiedorek said, exhorting religious believers not to lose heart. “It’s demoralizing that tens of millions voted for laws protecting marriage, and were disenfranchised. But God has put us here for a reason. There are big battles being fought about who we are, and why our country was founded to have freedoms in the first place.”
For more on religious freedom issues, see the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’s web page on the issue, www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/. On November 2, Archbishop William Lori, Chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Religious Liberty will speak on “The Gift and Challenge of Religious Liberty” at The Athenaeum of Ohio/Mount St. Mary’s Seminary of the West. There is no charge for the 7 pm talk. For information see our events calendar.
|2 days 19 hours|
Composer Paul Stanbery (Courtesy Photo)
As Paul Stanbery was composing a piece to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the martyrdom of St. Maximilian Kolbe, he felt an eerie sensation that he was being led to the various elements he used in the tribute.
The composition will make its debut Oct. 29 on the anniversary of the saint’s namesake parish — St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish in Liberty Township. The Hamilton/Fairfield Symphony Orchestra will be conducted by Stanbery, with the parish choir’s hand bell section.
Soloist Christopher Scott Wyatt sang the piece adapted from “De Profundis of St. Maximilian Kolbe, Prisoner 16670” by Jerzy Sito. Sito was Poet Laureate of Poland and his work is a reflection on Saint Maximilian’s martyrdom
As Stanbery was creating the tribute, “something told me (to look into) the church bells of Kraków,” he said. “It is the second-largest city in Poland. It’s where John Paul II was archbishop. He became Pope … Kraków is close to Auschwitz … and Maximilian’s Kolbe’s hometown is not far from Kraków. I wrote a part in the piece (with bells) and, as soon as I got that done something else said to me, ‘What about a trumpet call over the top of it?’ So, I wrote that.”
Stanbery said after including the bells, he ‘Googled’ the cathedral and discovered, “Kraków Cathedral is an ancient, 600 to 700-year-old cathedral, a beautiful place, and it turns out that the second largest church bell in the world swings and rings every day from that cathedral. So, the church bells of Kraków are part of it.”
The next concept Stanbery considered was a trumpet call. “So, I ‘Googled’ that. And, it turns out that on the hour every day a bugle or trumpet plays in the bell tower right next to the bell. The bugler or trumpeter is abruptly interrupted before he can finish because in the 1600s an army, coming in taking over Poland, shot him with an arrow and killed him before he could finish.
“The bells ring. That is in my peace and I had it written before I even found out about this stuff and what interrupts in my piece is not an arrow but the Nazis.
“When I realized what happened, I got chills,” Stanbery said. “It sounds as if someone is guiding me I like to think it was Maximilian.” The choir’s hand bell section told Stanbery “in the summertime that they have been praying for me for a year. I told them I was going to complete the piece and I wanted to tie it to the parish anniversary and have some of the music ministry involved. They had been praying for me in this process, and I like to think that affected what went on.”
Jeremy Helmes, pastoral associate for worship who helps coordinate choir and music, said the orchestra has been playing concerts at the church for a few years.
“Paul had the idea of (composing a piece) for the 75th anniversary of the martyrdom and… he approached me last year. He has a Polish background. He was intrigued by Maximilian Kolbe’s story… and wanted to write something. I told him I would be overjoyed so he got to work on it… He wrote it with the intention of including hand bells partially because he wanted to replicate the sound of church bells that would’ve been heard in Poland as Kolbe was growing up as a priest and during his life,” Helmes said.
Stanbery noted other times when he felt a guiding hand was leading him.
“Maximilian comes out in the middle of the piece. In the entire scenario, there was a hymn that Maximilian would sing to his followers and in the starvation bunker at Auschwitz to the Immaculate Mary, which we sing.
“I also quote the Polish National Anthem to give a (location) identity to Auschwitz and Maximilian who actually lived in Warsaw. That’s where his friary was. To represent the Nazis, I used what’s called the ‘Horst Wessel’ song, a song Hitler liked a lot. The ‘Horst Wessel’ song is from a very old recording made back in the 1930s. I think no one ever wants to play that tune again because of its association with Hitler. In the iconic films the Third Reich would produce, it’s the tune playing in the background, usually a bunch of men singing in a very clipped, rugged way. That’s the ‘Horst Wessel song.
“I quote that in my music as well. I have a separate theme that shows the anxiety and an anxious Europe and anxious Poland at the time of the Nazi invasion and persecution. Underlying it all, is this inevitable death march that repeats over and over again, a subliminal thing, the inevitable thing of martyrdom.”
St. Maximilian died on Aug. 14, 1942. “When I finished the piece, I looked at the date. It was August 14. I did not know the date of his death at the time. I finished the piece on the 14th because they bumped a heart procedure I needed by a week.”
The concert also included the opening of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and Brahms’ Academic Festival Overture.
For information on the Tillman Concert, click on http://hfso.org/concert-season/
|2 days 20 hours|
IMAGE: CNS/Paul Haring
By Cindy Wooden
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Professing belief in the resurrection of the dead and affirming that the human body is an essential part of a person’s identity, the Catholic Church insists that the bodies of the deceased be treated with respect and laid to rest in a consecrated place.
While the Catholic Church continues to prefer burial in the ground, it accepts cremation as an option, but forbids the scattering of ashes and the growing practice of keeping cremated remains at home, said Cardinal Gerhard Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
“Caring for the bodies of the deceased, the church confirms its faith in the resurrection and separates itself from attitudes and rites that see in death the definitive obliteration of the person, a stage in the process of reincarnation or the fusion of one’s soul with the universe,” the cardinal told reporters Oct. 25.
In 1963, the congregation issued an instruction permitting cremation as long as it was not done as a sign of denial of the basic Christian belief in the resurrection of the dead. The permission was incorporated into the Code of Canon Law in 1983 and the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches in 1990.
However, Cardinal Muller said, church law had not specified exactly what should be done with “cremains,” and several bishops’ conferences asked the congregation to provide guidance.
The result, approved by Pope Francis after consultation with other Vatican offices and with bishops’ conferences and the Eastern churches’ synods of bishops, is “Ad resurgendum cum Christo” (“To Rise with Christ”), an instruction “regarding the burial of the deceased and the conservation of the ashes in the case of cremation.”
Presenting the instruction, Cardinal Muller said, “shortly, in many countries, cremation will be considered the ordinary way” to deal with the dead, including for Catholics.
Cremation, in and of itself, does not constitute a denial of belief in the immortality of the soul and the resurrection of the body, the instruction says. Nor does it “prevent God, in his omnipotence, from raising up the deceased body to new life.”
However, the Catholic Church wholeheartedly recommends continuing the “pious practice of burying the dead,” Cardinal Muller said. It is considered one of the corporal works of mercy and, mirroring the burial of Christ, it more clearly expresses hope in the resurrection when the person’s body and soul will be reunited.
In addition, he said, when a person is buried in the ground — and, at least to some extent — when the urn of the person’s ashes is placed in a columbarium or tomb, the final resting place is marked with the person’s name, the same name with which the person was baptized and by which the person is called by God.
“Belief in the resurrection of the flesh is fundamental,” he said. “A human cadaver is not trash” and an anonymous burial or scattering of ashes “is not compatible with the Christian faith. The name, the person, the concrete identity of the person” is important because God created each individual and calls each individual to himself.
In fact, when asked if there was any way to rectify the situation when a person’s ashes already had been scattered, Cardinal Muller suggested making a memorial in a church or other appropriate place and including the name of the deceased.
What is more, he said, labeling an urn or tomb in a public place is an expression of belief in the “communion of saints,” the unending unity in Christ of all the baptized, living and dead.
“Other believers have a right to pray at the tomb” and to remember deceased members of the Catholic Church on the feast of All Saints and All Souls.
Keeping ashes at home on the mantel, he said, is a sign not only of love and grief, but also of not understanding how the loved one belonged to the entire community of faith and not just to his or her closest relatives.
“Only in grave and exceptional cases,” the instruction says, local bishops may give permission for ashes to be kept in a private home. Cardinal Muller said it was not up to him, but to local and national bishops’ conferences to determine what those “grave and exceptional” circumstances might be.
Placing the ashes in a sacred place also “prevents the faithful departed from being forgotten or their remains from being shown a lack of respect,” which is more likely to happen as time goes on and the people closest to the deceased also pass way, the instruction said.
Asked specifically about the growing trend in his native Germany of “forest burials,” where people pay to have their ashes in urns interred at the base of a tree in a designated forest burial ground, Cardinal Muller said the German bishops were not thrilled with the idea, but accepted it with the proviso that the tree be marked with the name of the person buried at its base.
In the United States and other countries, a growing number of Catholic cemeteries set aside sections for “green burials” for bodies that have not been embalmed and are placed in simple wooden caskets that eventually will biodegrade along with the body.
“We believe in the resurrection of the body and this must be the principle of our understanding and practice,” Cardinal Muller told Catholic News Service, noting that there is a difference between allowing for the natural decay of the body while protecting the environment and seeing the body of the deceased primarily as fertilizer for plants and trees.
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Editors: The English text of the instruction can be found at: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20160815_ad-resurgendum-cum-christo_en.html
The Spanish text is here: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20160815_ad-resurgendum-cum-christo_sp.html
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Follow Wooden on Twitter: @Cindy_Wooden.
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|2 days 22 hours|
Jim Rice Assistant Development Director (Courtesy Photo)
CINCINNATI – Jim Rice was hired as Assistant Development Director for Glenmary Home Missioners.
Rice will assist the Director of Development, Father Don Tranel, in the planning, coordination, direction and management of Glenmary’s development activities. He is also responsible for the cultivation and solicitation of major gift prospects and management of the activities of the planned giving department.
Rice has nearly 30 years of development experience. He has helped raised over $250 million in capital campaigns for more than 50 faith-based clients and has organized and trained hundreds of volunteers. He is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
Rice attended Roger Bacon High School in Cincinnati, Davidson College and Northern Kentucky University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in History. Rice resides in Cincinnati with his wife, Judy. They have six children and soon-to-be 12 grandchildren.
|2 days 23 hours|
By Junno Arocho Esteves
VATICAN CITY — God’s kingdom is not a well-organized structure where only strict adherents of the law can enter but a path that is walked upon every day with meekness and docility, Pope Francis said.
Christians are called to walk that path of the kingdom and not fall victim to “a behavior of rigidity” that prevents the Holy Spirit from growing, the pope said in his homily Oct. 25 during his morning Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae.
“The kingdom does not grow in this way and neither do we grow. It is docility to the Holy Spirit that makes us grow and be transformed,” he said.
The pope reflected on the day’s Gospel from St. Luke, in which Jesus compares the kingdom of God to a mustard seed that grows into a large bush and like yeast that is mixed with flour “until the whole batch of dough is leavened.”
Jesus’ comparison of the kingdom to a mustard seed and the yeast, the pope said, is a reminder that in order for the Holy Spirit to grow, it must first “die” and transform into something great in one’s life.
However, it can only grow “through docility to the strength of the Holy Spirit,” he said.
“The flour ceases to be flour and becomes bread because it is docile to the strength of the yeast, and the yeast allows itself to be mixed in with the flour” and becomes bread for everyone, the pope said.
Men and women who are docile to the action of the spirit, he continued, also become like the mustard that, “although it loses its identity as a seed, becomes something else, something bigger, it transforms.”
Christians who do not walk this path of transformation, he warned, will instead become rigid and orphaned.
“A rigid person only has masters and no father. The kingdom of God is like a mother that grows and is fertile; she gives of herself so that her children have food and lodging, according to the example of the Lord,” Pope Francis said.
“It is docility to the Holy Spirit that makes us grow and be transformed like the yeast and the seed. May the Lord give us all the grace of this docility,” he said.
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Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.
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|2 days 23 hours|
During a recent meeting of EU bishops, four British and Irish bishops discussed the UK voters’ decision to leave the European Union.
|11 hours 15 min|
El Salvador’s leading prelate has appealed to lawmakers from the ruling and opposition parties to work together to avoid defaulting on the nation’s debt payments.
|11 hours 25 min|
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, has written the introduction to a new book on papal teaching on cooperative economic institutions.
|11 hours 57 min|
During Pope Francis’s apostolic journey to Sweden, leaders of Caritas Internationalis and Lutheran World Services will sign a declaration of intent to strengthen collaboration on such issues as refugees, peace, and climate change.
|12 hours 30 min|
Two Catholic cathedrals in England will be floodlit in red during all of November in order to draw attention to the plight of persecuted Christians.
|12 hours 46 min|
The number of American children born to unmarried mothers, which has been rising for years, is levelling off, according to a Pew Research study.
|23 hours 39 min|
As an international military offensive moves toward Mosul, liberating towns from the hold of the Islamic State, Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako has visited towns on the Nineveh Plains, and seen the destruction and desecration of Christian churches.
|23 hours 49 min|
Catholics and Lutherans are “no longer defining themselves in opposition to each other,” Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said at an October 27 briefing in anticipation of the visit by Pope Francis to Sweden, to join in observances for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
|23 hours 58 min|
“The dynamics of the relationship between God, man and woman, and their children, are the golden keys to understanding the world and history, with all they contain, and finally to understand something profound that is found in the love of God Himself,” Pope Francis said in an October 27 address to the Pontifical St. John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family.
|1 day 40 min|
Pope Francis met on October 27 with members of the Santa Marta Group, an international organization that works to curb human trafficking, and saluted them for “an important contribution to combating the social scourge of human trafficking.”
|1 day 1 hour|
Pope Francis met on October 27 with a group of Christian religious leaders from South Sudan, to discuss prospects for ending the country’s bloody civil war.
|1 day 3 hours|
Archbishop Denis Hart of Melbourne, Australia has made a surprise announcement that he will close down the Australian branch of the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and the Family.
|1 day 4 hours|
Archbishop Alexander Sample of Portland, Oregon, was preparing to celebrate Mass at the Benedictine monastery in Norcia, Italy, when an earthquake hit central Italy on October 26.
|1 day 4 hours|
At the conclusion of his October 26 general audience, Pope Francis emphasized the importance of the Rosary.
|1 day 11 hours|
Catholics in the Archdiocese of Chicago have welcomed Amoris Laetitia as an “authentic and inspired expression of the Spirit of the Magisterium of the Church,” Archbishop Blase Cupich wrote in a column in the October 27 edition of L’Osservatore Romano.
|1 day 11 hours|
Representatives of the Holy See and Vietnam held their sixth official meeting since 2009 with a view to establishing full diplomatic relations.
|1 day 11 hours|
The Church of the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor in Israel was desecrated during the night on October 24.
|1 day 12 hours|
A Christian lawmaker in the Iraqi parliament decried the passage of a law that bans the importation, sale, and production of alcohol.
|1 day 12 hours|
Representatives from the EU’s executive body conducted a dialogue seminar on migration with representatives of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community (COMECE) and the ecumenical Conference of European Churches (CEC).
|1 day 12 hours|
Describing sterilization as “essential health care,” the American Civil Liberties Union has filed a complaint with the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights against Ascension Health, the nation’s largest Catholic hospital system, as well as a subsidiary, Genesys Health System.
|1 day 13 hours|
The Pakistani Supreme Court justice who recused himself from hearing the appeal of Asia Bibi, thus forcing a postponement of the case, has submitted his resignation.
|2 days 51 min|
Australian police have interviewed Cardinal George Pell in Rome, questioning him about sex-abuse charges.
|2 days 1 hour|
Pope Francis has written the preface to Non avere paura di perdonare, a biography of Father Luis Dri written by Andrea Tornielli and Alver Metalli.
|2 days 10 hours|
Continuing his series of addresses on the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, Pope Francis devoted his October 26 general audience to welcoming the stranger and clothing the naked.
|2 days 11 hours|
L’Osservatore Romano devoted a page of its October 26 edition to Storia del Concilio Ecumenico Vaticano II, a new history of the Second Vatican Council by Piero Doria, an historian who works for the Vatican Secret Archives.
|2 days 11 hours|
Prelates, religious sisters, police chiefs, and human trafficking victims are meeting at the Vatican on October 26 and 27 to discuss ways to combat human trafficking and offer assistance to its victims.
|2 days 12 hours|
The Chaldean Catholic archbishop of Erbil said that the United States government bears a moral responsibility towards Christians and other minorities in Iraq.
|2 days 12 hours|
The Irish bishops have invited Catholics to pray for peace in Syria on October 31.
|2 days 13 hours|
WASHINGTON—The annual collection for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) will be held in most parishes the weekend of November 19-20, on the Solemnity of Christ the King and the close of the Jubilee Year of Mercy.
|2 days 7 hours|