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The Diocese of Gallup, New Mexico, has spent $3.5 milion in legal fees and associated costs during its bankruptcy proceedings. The diocese, which filed for federal bankruptcy protection ... 4 hours 39 min
The Catholic bishops have issued a statement urging lawmakers to reject a proposal that would "permit the direct and intentional killing of unborn children with life-limiting ... 5 hours 14 min
Iraqi Christians boycotted a conference on "the protection of peaceful coexistence," sponsored by the country's parliament, to protest the lack of effective action to protect ... 5 hours 20 min
Undaunted by a federal court's injunction against release of undercover videos involving the National Abortion Federation (NAF), the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) has released a new ... 6 hours 33 min
European society needs to re-examine its responsibilities and its cultural roots, Pope Francis said in an interview published February 8 by the Italian daily Corriere della ... 6 hours 48 min
Speaking on February 9 to Capuchin friars from around the world, Pope Francis exhorted them to be good confessors, and “never tire of forgiving.” At a Mass in St. ... 6 hours 58 min
Pope Francis has invited members of an Italian group, devoted to helping divorced Catholics, to attend a papal audience, the Crux news site reports. The Pontiff called Deacon Paolo ... 7 hours 6 min
Pope Francis has appointed Msgr. Peter Wells, a Tulsa priest who has served as Assessor for General Affairs of the Vatican’s Secretariat of State since 2009, as the apostolic nuncio ... 14 hours 56 min
The leaders of the Lutheran World Federation have issued a statement welcoming Pope Francis’s upcoming trip to Sweden to commemorate the anniversary of the Reformation. “It ... 15 hours 14 min
In a statement concluding a recent two-day meeting in Moscow, the bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church emphasized the immutability of doctrine. The bishops cited Archbishop Seraphim ... 15 hours 30 min
Les Innocentes—a French film being released in the United States as Agnus Dei—premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in late January. Based on a true story, director Anne ... 15 hours 54 min
Writing in L’Osservatore Romano, a Maltese bishop called upon confessors to be merciful and to see themselves more as doctors than as judges. Noting that the Second Vatican ... 16 hours 25 min
Government officials from the United States, Indonesia, and other nations renewed their push for family planning at 2016 International Conference on Family Planning, which recently ... 16 hours 59 min
An outspoken member of the special papal commission on sexual abuse has been removed from his role—but refuses to step down quietly. The Vatican announced on February 6 that Peter ... 1 day 3 hours
Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich has called for "a reduction in the number of refugees" entering Germany. Although he has said that Europe should welcome refugees, Cardinal ... 1 day 4 hours
In a message to the people of Mexico, released less than the week before his arrival there, Pope Francis says, "I feel great joy" at the prospect of the visit. "I want to come as a ... 1 day 4 hours
The head of an Australian royal commission investigating the sex-abuse scandal has agreed to take testimony from Cardinal George Pell by a video link. Cardinal Pell, who has already ... 1 day 6 hours
Maronite Catholic Patriarch Beshara al Rai has warned that Lebanon is "on the brink of collapse" because of a long political stalemate that has blocked the election of a new ... 1 day 6 hours
The Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Union (COMECE) has welcomed the European Parliament’s use of the word “genocide” in condemning atrocities ... 1 day 15 hours
Since December 2014, the Pakistani government has closed 182 madrassas, or Muslim schools, for promoting extremism, according to an AsiaNews report. The closings have followed the ... 1 day 15 hours
The heads of the Chaldean Catholic Church and the Melkite Greek Catholic Church have called upon Catholics to pray and fast for the suffering Christians of Syria and Iraq, especially on ... 1 day 15 hours
Decrying “political hooliganism” and repression, Zambia’s bishops recently issued a statement surveying the state of the nation as elections approach in ... 1 day 16 hours
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, has sent a message of condolence following an earthquake that killed dozens in Taiwan. “The Holy Father was ... 1 day 16 hours
Following his February 7 Angelus address, Pope Francis issued an appeal for Syria. “I follow with deep concern the dramatic fate of civilian populations involved in heavy fighting ... 1 day 16 hours
Reflecting on the day’s Gospel reading (Lk. 5:1-11), Pope Francis told the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for his February 7 Angelus address that the mission of Christ ... 1 day 16 hours
Thousands of members of Padre Pio prayer groups, in Rome for the veneration of the relics of St. Pio of Pietrelcina and St. Leopold Mandic, gathered in St. Peter’s Square on February ... 1 day 17 hours

NewsFeeds from Zenit, EWTN, CatholicCulture.org

From: The site of the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.
Posted

By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The director of the new theological-pastoral department of the Vatican Secretariat for Communications is Natasa Govekar, a theologian who specializes in the communication of faith through images.

The Vatican announced Pope Francis’ nomination of Govekar, a Slovenian, Feb. 9. At the same time, the pope named Francesco Masci, a 37-year-old official at the Vatican Internet Office, to direct the secretariat’s technical office.

The communications secretariat was established by Pope Francis to coordinate and streamline Vatican communications. The organizational structure also is expected to include an editorial department, but that director has yet to be named.

Msgr. Dario Vigano, prefect of the secretariat, issued a statement highlighting the youth of the two appointees as well as the pope’s choice of a woman theologian to handle the theological-pastoral aspect of Vatican communications activities. Govekar, who holds a doctorate in missiology from the Pontifical Gregorian University, is a member of the staff of Rome’s Centro Aletti, a study and research center focused particularly on the art and spirituality of Eastern Christianity.

“The Holy Father appointing a woman as head of the theological-pastoral department is an affirmation that attention to the pastoral is not exclusive to pastors, but involves the practices and ways of being church today,” Msgr. Vigano said. “The church is the gathering of men and women disciples of Jesus Christ. I am certain that in reflecting on the role of communications in the church, she will be of great assistance.”

The secretariat’s responsibility includes coordinating the work of the Vatican website, Vatican Television Center, Vatican Radio, the Vatican newspaper and the Vatican press office.

– – –

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 cns@catholicnews.com.

6 hours 22 min

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Confessors have two choices: to be like Jesus who readily forgave sins or like the devil who always condemns, Pope Francis said.

“You can either do the work of Jesus, who forgives, by giving your lives in prayer (and) through many hours seated there or you do the work of the devil who condemns and accuses,” the pope said during Mass Feb. 9 with Capuchin friars from around the world.

The Mass at the Altar of the Chair in St. Peter’s Basilica was held in conjunction with the veneration of the relics of two Capuchins, Sts. Padre Pio and Leopold Mandic; Pope Francis requested their relics be brought to the Vatican for the Year of Mercy.

Both saints, the pope told the friars, spent long hours in the confessional as ministers of God’s mercy and forgiveness.

Recalling the day’s Gospel passage, in which the Pharisees and scribes condemn Jesus and his disciples for not observing traditions, the pope reminded the Capuchins that confessors are called to be “great forgivers in the confessional.”

“The confessional is for forgiving,” he said. “And if you cannot give someone absolution, please, do not ‘beat’ him.”

The pope repeated the story of a former Capuchin provincial who was sent to a shrine as a confessor after his retirement. The friar, who usually had a long line of people waiting for him, “always found a way to forgive or at least leave that person’s soul in peace with a hug.”

However, the priest expressed concern that he was forgiving too much. “And what do you do when you feel that way?” the pope recalled asking him.

“‘I go to the chapel in front of the tabernacle, and I tell the Lord: ‘I’m sorry Lord, forgive me, I think I forgave too much today. But Lord, it was you who gave me a bad example,'” the friar responded.

Forgiveness, the pope explained, is a “caress from God” and confessors who do not forgive become like the scribes in the Gospel “who are always there to accuse,” much like “the great accuser in the Bible: the devil.”

Pope Francis also called on the Capuchins to be humble and sincere if they are not up to the task of forgiving with mercy.

“If you do not feel it, be humble and say: ‘No, no, I’ll celebrate Mass, I’ll clean the floor, I’ll do everything except confess because I do not know how to do it well,” the pope said.

– – –

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 cns@catholicnews.com.

7 hours 15 min

IMAGE: CNS/Paul Haring

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Confessors have two choices: to be like Jesus who readily forgave sins or like the devil who always condemns, Pope Francis said.

“You can either do the work of Jesus, who forgives, by giving your lives in prayer (and) through many hours seated there or you do the work of the devil who condemns and accuses,” the pope said during Mass Feb. 9 with Capuchin friars from around the world.

The Mass at the Altar of the Chair in St. Peter’s Basilica was held in conjunction with the veneration of the relics of two Capuchins, Sts. Padre Pio and Leopold Mandic; Pope Francis requested their relics be brought to the Vatican for the Year of Mercy.

Both saints, the pope told the friars, spent long hours in the confessional as ministers of God’s mercy and forgiveness.

Recalling the day’s Gospel passage, in which the Pharisees and scribes condemn Jesus and his disciples for not observing traditions, the pope reminded the Capuchins that confessors are called to be “great forgivers in the confessional.”

“The confessional is for forgiving,” he said. “And if you cannot give someone absolution, please, do not ‘beat’ him.”

The pope repeated the story of a former Capuchin provincial who was sent to a shrine as a confessor after his retirement. The friar, who usually had a long line of people waiting for him, “always found a way to forgive or at least leave that person’s soul in peace with a hug.”

However, the priest expressed concern that he was forgiving too much. “And what do you do when you feel that way?” the pope recalled asking him.

“‘I go to the chapel in front of the tabernacle, and I tell the Lord: ‘I’m sorry Lord, forgive me, I think I forgave too much today. But Lord, it was you who gave me a bad example,'” the friar responded.

Forgiveness, the pope explained, is a “caress from God” and confessors who do not forgive become like the scribes in the Gospel “who are always there to accuse,” much like “the great accuser in the Bible: the devil.”

Pope Francis also called on the Capuchins to be humble and sincere if they are not up to the task of forgiving with mercy.

“If you do not feel it, be humble and say: ‘No, no, I’ll celebrate Mass, I’ll clean the floor, I’ll do everything except confess because I do not know how to do it well,” the pope said.

– – –

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 cns@catholicnews.com.

7 hours 15 min
A crown of thorns is seen at St. Bonaventure Church in Paterson, N.J.. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the penitential season of Lent, during which Christians reflect on the suffering of Jesus, especially on Good Friday. (CNS photo/Octavio Duran)

Staff Report

As the first Ash Wednesday Masses let out, thousands of Catholics in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati will leave church with a visible witness to the faith on their heads.

Though one of the most attended Mass days of the year, Ash Wednesday is not a Holy Day of Obligation. Below are some of the rules and regulations binding on Roman Catholics on Ash Wednesday and throughout the penitential season of Lent.

The Catholic Telegraph Lenten Resources
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Summed up succinctly, Roman Catholics must fast and abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Additionally, they must abstain from meat on all Fridays during Lent.

Ash Wednesday is one of two yearly days of obligatory fasting and abstinence for Roman Catholics. According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the norms of fasting are obligatory from age 18 until age 59.

Fasting means a person is permitted to eat one full meal. Two smaller meals may also be taken, but they are not to equal that of a full meal.

The rule of abstinence from meat is binding upon Catholics aged 14 and onwards.

Members of the Eastern Catholic Churches are to observe the particular law of their own sui iuris Church.

For those outside the age limits, Cannon Law notes that “Pastors of souls and parents are to ensure that even those who by reason of their age are not bound by the law of fasting and abstinence, are taught the true meaning of penance.”

Additionally, the USCCB Questions and Answers about Lent page states the non-age related exemptions.

“Those that are excused from fast and abstinence outside the age limits include the physically or mentally ill including individuals suffering from chronic illnesses such as diabetes.  Also excluded are pregnant or nursing women.  In all cases, common sense should prevail, and ill persons should not further jeopardize their health by fasting.”

The other obligatory day of fasting and abstinence is Good Friday, the day on which Catholics remember the death of Jesus on the cross. On the U.S. Bishops website, they explain the Good Friday fast should, when possible, last through the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday night.

While those are the only two days of full fasting and abstinence required, all of Lent should be a time of spiritual formation and preparation for Easter.

“For all other weekdays of Lent, we strongly recommend participation in daily Mass and a self-imposed observance of fasting,” the bishops wrote in the Pastoral Statement on Penance and Abstinence. “In the light of grave human needs which weigh on the Christian conscience in all seasons, we urge, particularly during Lent, generosity to local,national, and world programs of sharing of all things needed to translate our duty to penance into a means of implementing the right of the poor to their part in our abundance. We also recommend spiritual studies, beginning with the Scriptures as well as the traditional Lenten Devotions (sermons, Stations of the Cross, and the rosary), and all the self-denial summed up in the Christian concept of ‘mortification.'”

The Catholic tradition of “giving something up” for Lent is a pious tradition but according to the USCCB website, it is not regulated by church law.

Re-posted Feb. 9, 2016
Posted Feb. 17, 2015

21 hours 25 min

IMAGE: CNS photo/Alexandre Meneghini, Reuters

By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Ukrainian Catholic leaders gave a very cautious welcome to news that Pope Francis would meet in Cuba with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill of Moscow.

“I do not expect that the meeting of Pope Francis with Patriarch Kirill, planned for Feb. 12, will bring any particular changes. Although it is good that the meeting will take place,” said Ukrainian Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Kiev-Halych, the major archbishop of the church.

“I am pleased,” the archbishop said, that “we are no longer considered an obstacle and aren’t being used to justify one’s unwillingness to engage in such dialogue.”

Although both St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI expressed hopes for a meeting with the Moscow patriarch, the Russian Orthodox insisted the activity of the Ukrainian Catholics and of Latin-rite Catholics in Russia amounted to “proselytism” and was an obstacle to such a meeting.

Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, director of foreign relations for the Moscow Patriarchate, told reporters Feb. 5 that the presence and activity of the Ukrainian Catholics were still an obstacle to fully normal church relations; he insisted that Patriarch Kirill agreed to meet the pope because finding a common way to help persecuted Christians in the Middle East is a more pressing matter.

Pope Francis, in an interview published Feb. 8 in an Italian paper, when asked about the meeting, said, “Bridges. They must be constructed step by step until you are able to shake the hand of the person on the other side.”

“Bridges last and promote peace,” the pope told the newspaper Corriere della Sera. Walls not only divide people, but they must be defended, which takes energy. “For this reason, they need to be taken down, not built. Anyway, they are destined to fall, one after another. Think of the Berlin Wall. It seemed eternal and yet, poof, in a day it fell.”

Pope Francis insisted he did little to make the meeting happen. “I just said that I wanted to meet and embrace my Orthodox brothers. Just that. Then there were two years of secret negotiations, conducted well by great bishops,” he said.

Dominican Father Hyacinthe Destivelle, the official of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity who did much of the work on the Vatican side to prepare the meeting, told Vatican Radio it was the culmination of much work, but also is a “point of departure in our relations to the degree that from now on we can have a normal relationship based on trust.”

The two years of negotiations to set up the meeting were accompanied by another complicating factor: The Russian annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and the ongoing war in Eastern Ukraine, which naturally create further tensions between Ukrainian Catholics and Russian Orthodox.

“It is likely that during the meeting of the pope with the patriarch they will also speak of the present situation in Ukraine,” Archbishop Shevchuk said in his statement. “I hope that His Holiness Pope Francis, who always raises his voice in defense of the wronged, will be a voice for Ukrainians, who are engaged in a battle for the unity and integrity of their land.”

Father Peter Galadza, acting director of the Sheptytsky Institute at St. Paul University in Ottawa, Ontario, issued a statement Feb. 5 expressing his hope that the pope not only would raise the issue of Russian aggression against Ukraine, but also the support some Russian Orthodox leaders have given to “the notion of a ‘Russian World'” or “Russkiy Mir,” which sees the entire former Soviet Union as an area needing the special protection of Russia. Father Galadza said the notion “has hampered inter-ethnic harmony and understanding” and “evokes the Russification policies of the USSR.”

Father Destivelle, who is helping draft a joint statement for the pope and patriarch to sign, said it is likely to focus on “areas for collaboration and dialogue, which do not have a theological character but are important for the churches to draw closer together,” including joint efforts on behalf of persecuted Christians in the Middle East, protecting the family and the role of Christians in secularized societies.

– – –

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 cns@catholicnews.com.

1 day 4 hours

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The papal commission on child protection voted that one of its members — a survivor of abuse and victims’ advocate — take a leave of absence and consider other ways to contribute to the advisory body.

Peter Saunders, founder and chief executive officer of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, told reporters, however, that he would not leave his position on the commission.

“I was appointed by His Holiness Pope Francis and I will talk only with him about my position,” he said Feb. 6.

Pope Francis established the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors in 2014 to recommend better ways to protect minors and vulnerable adults and how best to promote “local responsibility in the particular churches” concerning abuse perpetrated by members of the clergy.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, confirmed Feb. 8 that the 17-person commission, which includes another abuse survivor, “approved unanimously with one abstention” that Saunders take a leave of absence to think about other ways to help the commission externally.

U.S. Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston — president of the pontifical commission and one of the pope’s top cardinal advisers — said in a written statement, “Peter Saunders has been asked to advise the commission on the possible establishment of a victim survivor panel to work with the commission.”

Saunders told the Associated Press Feb. 6 that the members concluded they could not trust him to stick to the commission’s mandate as a purely advisory body.

Father Lombardi told reporters Feb. 8 that it was clear the commission’s “course of action is not undertaking a discussion, investigation, judging individual cases” of abuse or lack of accountability.

Saunders has been openly critical of Pope Francis and other top-level church leaders and of the slow pace of the commission’s work when it came to bishops’ accountability in acting upon suspected and known instances of abuse by priests.

He and a group of Chilean Catholics and clerics have voiced particular concern about the pope’s nomination of Bishop Juan Barros in 2015 to the Diocese of Osorno, Chile. The bishop had been accused of covering up for a priest who was known to have committed sexual abuse. Bishop Barros, however, denied having had knowledge of Father Fernando Karadima’s criminal behavior, prior to news about the abuse in the press.

The papal commission, meanwhile, released a press release Feb. 8 saying it was preparing the final version of proposals to make to the pope, including “a request for him to remind all authorities in the church of the importance of responding directly to victims and survivors who approach them.” Members also were working on a recommendation for a universal day of prayer for abuse victims and preparing materials for a special penitential liturgy.

The commission also is developing a website to share best practices for protecting minors, and “workshops on the legal aspects of the protection of minors to establish more transparency around canonical trials” are being planned for later in the year.

– – –

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 cns@catholicnews.com.

1 day 4 hours

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The papal commission on child protection voted that one of its members — a survivor of abuse and victims’ advocate — take a leave of absence and consider other ways to contribute to the advisory body.

Peter Saunders, founder and chief executive officer of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, told reporters, however, that he would not leave his position on the commission.

“I was appointed by His Holiness Pope Francis and I will talk only with him about my position,” he said Feb. 6.

Pope Francis established the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors in 2014 to recommend better ways to protect minors and vulnerable adults and how best to promote “local responsibility in the particular churches” concerning abuse perpetrated by members of the clergy.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, confirmed Feb. 8 that the 17-person commission, which includes another abuse survivor, “approved unanimously with one abstention” that Saunders take a leave of absence to think about other ways to help the commission externally.

U.S. Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston — president of the pontifical commission and one of the pope’s top cardinal advisers — said in a written statement, “Peter Saunders has been asked to advise the commission on the possible establishment of a victim survivor panel to work with the commission.”

Saunders told the Associated Press Feb. 6 that the members concluded they could not trust him to stick to the commission’s mandate as a purely advisory body.

Father Lombardi told reporters Feb. 8 that it was clear the commission’s “course of action is not undertaking a discussion, investigation, judging individual cases” of abuse or lack of accountability.

Saunders has been openly critical of Pope Francis and other top-level church leaders and of the slow pace of the commission’s work when it came to bishops’ accountability in acting upon suspected and known instances of abuse by priests.

He and a group of Chilean Catholics and clerics have voiced particular concern about the pope’s nomination of Bishop Juan Barros in 2015 to the Diocese of Osorno, Chile. The bishop had been accused of covering up for a priest who was known to have committed sexual abuse. Bishop Barros, however, denied having had knowledge of Father Fernando Karadima’s criminal behavior, prior to news about the abuse in the press.

The papal commission, meanwhile, released a press release Feb. 8 saying it was preparing the final version of proposals to make to the pope, including “a request for him to remind all authorities in the church of the importance of responding directly to victims and survivors who approach them.” Members also were working on a recommendation for a universal day of prayer for abuse victims and preparing materials for a special penitential liturgy.

The commission also is developing a website to share best practices for protecting minors, and “workshops on the legal aspects of the protection of minors to establish more transparency around canonical trials” are being planned for later in the year.

– – –

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 cns@catholicnews.com.

1 day 4 hours

IMAGE: CNS photo/Henry Romero, Reuters

By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis is scheduled to have more than two hours alone with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill of Moscow in Cuba in addition to signing a declaration with the patriarch before flying on to Mexico for a Feb. 12-17 visit.

The Vatican announced the pope-patriarch meeting Feb. 5 and, on Feb. 8, released an updated itinerary for Pope Francis’ trip. The pope will leave Rome almost five hours earlier than originally scheduled so that the meeting in Havana with Patriarch Kirill will not impact his schedule in Mexico.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, told reporters that in addition to official events on the schedule in Mexico, the papal motorcades are expected to be long and lively. For example, he said, the route from the airport to the nunciature in Mexico City, where the pope will sleep, is about 12 miles, and people are expected to line most of the route when he arrives from Cuba.

Five popemobiles will be on hand because papal flights to San Cristobal de Las Casas, Morelia and Ciudad Juarez would make it difficult to move the vehicles efficiently each day. Two of the popemobiles are being shipped down from the United States where they were used in September, the spokesman said.

No evening event is planned for Feb. 13 after Pope Francis’ Mass in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the spokesman said. Instead, the pope will have all the time he wants and needs to pray before the image of Mary preserved there, something the pope said he wanted to do. “He did not want to feel under pressure because of his program,” Father Lombardi said.

The trip was designed for the pope and his entourage to return each night to Mexico City and avoid having to sleep in a different city each night, “something which is rather tiring and complicated,” the spokesman said.

Another key in the design, he said, was to fulfill Pope Francis’ desire to visit cities and dioceses that did not have a chance to host either St. John Paul II or Pope Benedict XVI.

The pope’s outdoor morning Mass Feb. 14 has been delayed by one hour. The Mass will be celebrated in Ecatepec, a diocese just outside Mexico City; the indigenous name “Ecatepec” means “windy hill” and overnight temperatures are frigid. Father Lombardi said the Mass was delayed until 11:30 a.m. to allow people to arrive in the morning without attempting to spend the night at the site.

A meeting with “representatives of culture” in Mexico City originally scheduled for the evening of Feb. 14 has been canceled, Father Lombardi said, mainly because of the hour delay of the entire day’s program because of the Mass.

Pope Francis has made it a tradition to invite a lay Vatican employee to join his entourage on trips abroad. This time, Father Lombardi said, it will be one of the Vatican firefighters. “Let’s hope he won’t have to work,” the spokesman joked.

Here is the updated schedule as released by the Vatican. Times listed are local, with Eastern Standard Time in parenthesis when it is different from local time:

Friday, Feb. 12 (Rome, Havana, Mexico City)

— 7:45 a.m. (1:45 a.m.) Departure from Rome’s Fiumicino airport.

— 2 p.m. Arrival at Jose Marti International Airport in Havana.

— 2:15 p.m. Private meeting with Patriarch Kirill.

— 4:30 p.m. Signing of a joint declaration. Speeches by patriarch and by pope.

— 5:30 p.m. Departure from Havana airport for Mexico City.

— 7:30 p.m. (8:30 p.m.) Arrival at Benito Juarez International Airport in Mexico City. Officials to greet pope.

Saturday, Feb. 13 (Mexico City)

— 9:30 a.m. (10:30 a.m.) Welcoming ceremony at the National Palace. Courtesy visit with the president of the republic.

— 10:15 a.m. (11:15 a.m.) Meeting with representatives of civil society and the diplomatic corps. Speech by pope.

— 11:30 a.m. (12:30 p.m.) Meeting with Mexico’s bishops in the city’s cathedral. Speech by pope.

— 5 p.m. (6 p.m.) Mass in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Homily by pope.

Sunday, Feb. 14 (Mexico City, Ecatepec, Mexico City)

— 10:15 a.m. (11:15 a.m.) Transfer by helicopter to Ecatepec.

— 11:30 a.m. (12:30 p.m.) Mass in the area of the “study center” of Ecatepec. Homily by pope. Pope recites Angelus.

— 2 p.m. Lunch with the papal entourage in the Ecatepec diocesan seminary.

— 4:45 p.m. (5:45 p.m.) Transfer by helicopter to Mexico City.

— 5:15 p.m. (6:15 p.m.) Arrival in Mexico City.

— 5:45 p.m. (6:45 p.m.) Visit to the Federico Gomez Children’s Hospital of Mexico. Greeting by pope.

Monday, Feb. 15 (Mexico City, Tuxtla Gutierrez, San Cristobal de Las Casas, Mexico City)

— 7:30 a.m. (8:30 a.m.) Departure by plane for Tuxtla Gutierrez.

— 9:15 a.m. (10:15 a.m.) Transfer by helicopter to San Cristobal de Las Casas.

— 10:15 a.m. (11:15 a.m.) Mass at the city’s sports center with the indigenous community from Chiapas. Homily by pope.

— 1 p.m. (2 p.m.) Lunch with representatives of the indigenous community and the papal entourage.

— 3 p.m. (4 p.m.) Visit to the cathedral of San Cristobal de Las Casas.

— 3:35 p.m. (4:35 p.m.) Transfer by helicopter to Tuxtla Gutierrez.

— 4:15 p.m. (5:15 p.m.) Meeting with families at the Victor Manuel Reyna Stadium at Tuxtla Gutierrez. Speech by pope.

— 6:10 p.m. (7:10 p.m.) Departure by plane for Mexico City.

— 8 p.m. (9 p.m.) Arrival at the Mexico City airport.

Tuesday, Feb. 16 (Mexico City, Morelia, Mexico City)

— 7:50 a.m. (8:50 a.m.) Departure by airplane for Morelia.

— 10 a.m. (11 a.m.) Mass with priests, seminarians, religious men and women, and consecrated persons. Homily by pope.

— 3:20 p.m. (4:20 p.m.) Visit to the city’s cathedral.

— 4:30 p.m. (5:30 p.m.) Meeting with young people at the Jose Maria Morelos Pavon Stadium. Speech by pope.

— 6:30 p.m. (7:30 p.m.) Departure by plane for Mexico City.

— 7:35 p.m. (8:35 p.m.) Arrival in Mexico City.

Wednesday, Feb. 17 (Mexico City, Ciudad Juarez)

— 8:35 a.m. (9:35 a.m.) Departure by plane for Ciudad Juarez.

— 10 a.m. (12 p.m.) Arrival at Abraham Gonzalez International Airport in Ciudad Juarez.

— 10:30 a.m. (12:30 p.m.) Visit to Cereso prison. Speech by pope.

— 12 p.m. (2 p.m.) Meeting with workers and employers at the Colegio de Bachilleres of the Mexican state of Chihuahua. Speech by pope.

— 4 p.m. (6 p.m.) Mass at the fairgrounds of Ciudad Juarez. Homily and greeting by pope.

— 7 p.m. (9 p.m.) Departure ceremony at the Ciudad Juarez International Airport.

— 7:15 p.m. (9:15 p.m.) Departure by plane for Rome.

Thursday, Feb. 18 (Rome)

— 2:45 p.m. (8:45 a.m.) Arrival at Rome’s Ciampino Airport.

– – –

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 cns@catholicnews.com.

1 day 5 hours

IMAGE: CNS photo/Jose Luis Gonzalez, Reuters

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis said his reasons for going to Mexico are “easy and simple.”

“I want to come as a missionary of mercy and peace,” the pope said in a video message to the Mexican people released by the Vatican Feb. 7. “I want to meet with you to profess our faith together and share a fundamental truth in our lives: that God loves us very much, that he loves us with an infinite love, beyond our merits.”

The pope said he was “very happy” for his apostolic visit Feb. 12-17 and that he carries the people of Mexico in his prayers and in his heart.

“I want to be as close as possible to you, but in a special way to those who suffer, to hug them and tell them that Jesus loves them very much, that he is always at their side,” he said.

One of his “greatest desires” during the six-day visit, he said, is to visit the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which houses the image of Mary that was miraculously imprinted on the cloak of St. Juan Diego. The pope said that to feel the “tenderness of her gracious presence” would be a “beautiful” experience.

“There I will look in her eyes and plead that she never stops looking upon us with mercy because she is our mother in heaven,” he said.

– – –

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 cns@catholicnews.com.

1 day 7 hours
Archbishop of Cincinnati Dennis M. Schnurr presides at a Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion rite in 2013. (CT Photo/Jeff Unroe)Archbishop of Cincinnati Dennis M. Schnurr presides at a Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion rite in 2013. (CT Photo/Jeff Unroe)

This year 880 adults and children will enter the Roman Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, beginning Sunday Feb. 14 with the Rite of Election and the Call to Continuing Conversion. For the first time since 2013, the number of those preparing to enter the church at Easter is higher than the preceding year.

Those participating in the Rite of Election and the Call to Continuing Conversion mark the most public counting of people who become Catholic each year. While there is no requirement to participate in these public events to become a Catholic, most who enter the church through the RCIA process do so.

Over the past eight years, the number of those entering the church at Easter in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati has generally declined. In 2009, 1,125 entered while in 2015 there were just 857. The last increase over a preceding year came in 2013 when 1,023 entered the church, up from 1,016 in 2012.

The Rite of Election is celebrated with those who are unbaptized and preparing to receive the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist at the Easter Vigil.  The Call to Continuing Conversion is celebrated with those already baptized, but desiring to be received into the Roman Catholic Church.  Additionally, baptized Catholics who are completing their initiation through the sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist are also called to continuing conversion at this celebration.

The Rite of Election and the Call to Continuing Conversion marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. This season of the Church year is dedicated in a particular way to the final preparation period of these men, women, and children as they prepare to enter the Church.

The term “election” refers to the fact that God has chosen these catechumens for membership into Christ’s Body. During this public celebration, the Church discerns their readiness and affirms their intention to advance toward the Easter Sacraments.

Nearly 4,000 catechumens, candidates, parish members, family and friends will gather for these rites that mark this step on the journey of faith.  These gatherings are one way in which the Archbishop and Auxiliary Bishop can be involved in the initiation process of these soon-to-be Catholics.  Also, it is an opportunity for those involved in the initiation process to experience a sense of being incorporated into the larger Roman Catholic community.

This year there will be four celebrations, all on Sunday, Feb. 14. Two celebrations will take place at the Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains. The first is 3:30 p.m. and the second at 7:30 p.m. Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr will preside at both.

In Dayton, two celebrations will take place at Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church also at 3:30 and 7:30 p.m. with Auxiliary Bishop Joseph R. Binzer presiding.

Parishes have been assigned to a particular celebration according to the deanery in which they are located.

Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion numbers since 2009
2009 – 1,125
2010 — 1,049
2011 — 1,100*
2012 — 1,016
2013 — 1,023
2014 — 946
2015 — 857
2016 — 880
*Estimate

1 day 12 hours
Comboni Missionary Father Rodolfo Coaquira Hilaje, right, was installed as chaplain moderator of the San Carlos Borromeo Hispanic Community. (Courtesy Photo)Comboni Missionary Father Rodolfo Coaquira Hilaje, right, was installed as chaplain moderator of the St. Charles Borromeo Hispanic Community by Auxiliary Bishop of Cincinnati Joseph R. Binzer, center. Father Louis Gasparini, left, had been the interim chaplain moderator. (Courtesy Photo)

St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Hispanic community has a newly appointed chaplain moderator in the person of Father Rodolfo Coaquira Hilaje, a Peruvian Comboni Missionary.

He was ordained in 1992 in his home country and spent 15 years in pastoral ministry to the people of Zambia, Africa. He also did missionary work in his native Peru. While visiting the United States for mission appeals, he picked up on the vital need for ministry to Hispanic immigrants and requested to be assigned to the Comboni Missionaries’ North American Province.

Upon his arrival in September of 2015, Father Coaquira took up residence at St. Charles and worked side by side with Father Louis Gasparini, the acting interim chaplain. Because of Father Gasparini’s experience as Hispanic ministry director for the archdiocese for the past five years, he has had much to offer in the way of information and counsel.

“Before starting my ministry, it was important to observe what was already in place,” said Father Coaquira, “to ask questions, and to listen to both those in charge and the people I am going to serve.”

“I’ve known Fr. Rodolfo for many years,” said Father Gasparini. “He is a man who lives the true spirit of mission. He and I dreamed together of the day when he would provide pastoral care for the flock of St. Charles, and now that dream is realized. I thank God for that.”

Father Coaquira said his time in Africa helped to prepare him for his new assignment. His exposure to different cultures, to people who speak different languages and have different religious experiences helped him develop an attitude of openness. “It’s not always easy,” he said, “but what helps is an acceptance that the church does not belong to you; then the Holy Spirit takes the lead in your ministry.”

In his dreams, Father Coaquira still sees the people in Zambia he had to leave, especially the orphans. They truly became his adopted family.

“But I was called to be a missionary, and as such, I am ready to serve wherever the church needs me. I pray that the Lord will show me how best to serve the people of San Carlos. To me, being on the move is a blessing, and it is even more of a blessing to serve people who are on the move, the immigrants.”

Father Coaquira is keenly aware that the St. Charles Borromeo community is one of immense cultural and religious diversity. Its members are from many Latin American countries, each with its own cultural heritage. People from Ecuador, for example, don’t understand the social and religious customs of people from Honduras or Mexico.

Although they speak the same language, Spanish, and share the same faith, he finds himself very much in a multicultural reality. Father Coaquira said that one major challenge he faces is to build a community where members not only share the same Table and listen to the same Word of God, but truly recognize themselves as brothers and sisters.

“When I meet people, I often hear, ‘Father, we will support you; we will work together.’ My hope and prayer is that the people will carry their good will and desire into action.”

 

This story by Mary Bertolini first appeared in the February 2016 print edition of The Catholic Telegraph.

1 day 12 hours

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(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Tuesday evening met with the Missionaries of Mercy, who are priests given special faculties to absolve even sins reserved to the Holy See. The Missionaries of Mercy are being commissioned by the Holy Father during the Ash Wednesday Mass to be “a living sign of the Father’s welcome to all those in search of his forgiveness,” and will be preaching mercy and hearing confessions in dioceses around the world during the Jubilee of Mercy. Pope Francis, meeting with the Missionaries the day before their commissioning, told them they are a “sign of special importance” which characterizes the Jubilee of Mercy, and offered some brief reflections to give practical help in their task. Listen: “First of all, I would like to remind you that in this ministry you are called to express the maternal nature of the Church,” Pope Francis said. “The Church is a Mother because she always creates new children in faith; the Church is a Mother because she nourishes this faith; and the Church is a Mother because she offers the forgiveness of God, regenerating to a new life, the fruit of conversion,” he continued. The Holy Father also told the priests they must know how to “look into the desire of the heart of the penitent,” which through grace is the beginning of conversion. “The heart turns to God acknowledging the evil which has been done, but with the hope of obtaining pardon,” Pope Francis said. “This desire is reinforced when the person decides in his heart to change his life and does not want to sin again. It is the moment when we trust  the mercy of God, and you have complete confidence you will be understood, forgiven and supported by Him.” The final point brought up by the Pope was one he said “was often not spoken about,” but is a crucial subject: Shame. “It is not easy to accuse yourself before another man, knowing that he represents God, and confess your sin,” he said. “A person feels shame both for what he has done, and for having to confess it to another person.” He called on confessors to have “an attitude of respect and encouragement” when encountering a person’s shame. “Do not forget: in front of us there is no sin, just the repentant sinner,” – Pope Francis said – “A person who feels the desire to be accepted and forgiven… Therefore, we are not called to judge, with a sense of superiority, as if we were immune from sin; on the contrary, we are called to act as Shem and Japheth, the sons of Noah, who took a blanket and put it over their father and hid his shame.” He said the confessor is to “cover the sinner with a blanket of mercy,” so they can recover their dignity. “It is, therefore, not with the club of judgment that we will bring back the lost sheep to the fold, but with the holiness of life which is the principle of renewal and reform in the Church,” Pope Francis said. (from Vatican Radio)... 8 hours 20 min
(Vatican Radio) The latest meeting of the Council of Cardinals, Pope Francis’ closest advisers, ended on Tuesday. During their meetings, the cardinals discussed the theme of ‘synodality’ and Pope Francis’ call at last year’s Synod of Bishops for the Church to move towards “a healthy decentralization.”  The other main item on the agenda was a discussion and approval of the cardinals’ final proposals concerning the two new dicasteries that are being set up within the Roman Curia.  Pope Francis attended all three sessions, held on Monday morning and afternoon and on Tuesday morning. Often called the G-9, the Council of Cardinals is a group of cardinals chosen by the Pope to advise him on governing the Church and reforming the Roman Curia. It meets at regular intervals.  At a briefing following the end of this meeting, Father Federico Lombardi, the Director of the Holy See’s Press Office, summarized the main issues discussed.  Father Lombardi said the first session of the G-9 discussed the issues raised during the Pope’s keynote speech at the Synod of Bishops on October 17th 2015. This speech reflected on the theme of synodality within the Church and spoke of the need “to proceed towards a healthy decentralization” and Father Lombardi said this call by the Pope remains an importance reference point for the ongoing work of reforming the Curia.  The next item on the G-9’s agenda was the reading and the approval of the cardinals’ final proposals concerning the two new dicasteries that are being set up as part of the reforms of the Curia. The two new dicasteries are “Laity, Family and Life” and “Justice, Peace and Migration” and the cardinals’ proposals were approved and then handed over to the Pope who will take the final decision. Father Lombardi said the G-9 cardinals are still in the throes of discussing planned reforms for two other dicasteries: the Secretariat of State and the Congregation for Divine Worship. He defined this as still “a work in progress.” Turning next to the work of the Commission for the Protection of Minors, Father Lombardi said the Commission’s head, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, gave an update on the commission’s activities and the proposals he has put forward for the safeguarding of children. Cardinal O’Malley said questions of a juridical and disciplinary nature will be the object of further studies by experts in this field. As is normal at the G-9 meetings, Cardinal George Pell, Prefect of the new Secretariat for the Economy updated the cardinals on the reforms being carried out concerning the economic affairs of the Holy See and the Roman Curia.  In conclusion, the G-9 cardinals received documentation on the so-called vade mecum or reference manual drawn up by the Tribunal of the Roman Rota for putting into practice the reforms of the canonical process concerning the validity of marriages. The vade mecum will be sent to dioceses around the world.  Listen to this report on the above by Susy Hodges:   (from Vatican Radio)... 10 hours 28 min
Pope: new appointments to Vatican Communications Secretariat (Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis has appointed Dr. Nataša Govekar, professor at the "Theology Atelier Card . T. Špidlík"  of the Aletti Center in Rome as the new Director of the Department of Pastoral Theology of the recently established Vatican Secretariat for Communications.   The Holy Father has also named as Director of the Technology Department of the Communications Secretariat Francesco Masci, hitherto responsible for the Technical Department of the Vatican Internet Service. From Slovenia to Rome Nataša Govekar was born in 1975 at Šempeter pri Gorici, Slovenia. She studied Theology and Slovene at the University of Ljubljana. She received her Doctorate in Missiology from the Pontifical Gregorian University, writing her doctoral thesis on ‘The Transmission Of Faith Through Images.' The Centro Aletti was founded in 1993 by St. John Paul II in order to encourage research on the meaning of faith and art in the eastern Catholic tradition, and to provide a bridge between the Churches of east and west. The center, attached to the mission of the Society of Jesus at the Pontifical Oriental Institute, fosters intellectual research and spirituality.     (from Vatican Radio)... 14 hours 7 sec
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis is the inaugural contributor to a Lenten pastoral effort of the Prelature of the Pontifical Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii . “ Keep Lent ” is an initiative of the Prelature’s youth ministry office, which reports several thousand subscribers already from throughout all of Italy and from around the world, including the United States. The initiative begins on Ash Wednesday , and is based on social media: it will provide a daily Gospel reading and commentary from leading clergymen and lay catechists. In his 2016 Lenten Message to all the faithful, Pope Francis said, “The digital world is a public square, a meeting-place where we can either encourage or demean one another, engage in a meaningful discussion or unfair attacks,” and encouraged Catholics to lead the way in making good use of God’s gifts in cooperation with the best of human ingenuity. “In a broken, fragmented and polarized world,” said Pope Francis , “to communicate with mercy means to help create a healthy, free and fraternal closeness between the children of God and all our brothers and sisters in the one human family.” (from Vatican Radio)... 16 hours 10 min
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis was the principal celebrant at a Mass offered for the worldwide Capuchin community on Tuesday morning in St. Peter’s Basilica. The Mass was offered in connection with the presence in Rome and at St. Peter’s of the relics of two great Capuchin saints , who were renowned in their earthly lives as priest-confessors: St. Pius of Pietralcina (or St. Padre Pio as he is popularly known) and St. Leopold of Mandic. “I speak to you as a brother,” said Pope Francis to the Capuchins present, “and through you I would like to speak to all confessors, especially in the Year of Mercy: the confessional is for pardon – and [even] if you cannot give absolution – let me say hypothetically – please, do not beat up on the penitent; one who comes [to the confessional], comes seeking comfort, pardon, peace in his soul; let him find a father who embraces him and says, ‘God loves you,’ and makes the penitent feel that God really does.” Click below to hear our report The Holy Father went on to express a desire to see confessors everywhere with broad minds and open hearts, who never tire of being vehicles of divine pardon, and who understand the suffering of penitents because they know themselves to be sinners and the first to be in need of God’s saving mercy. “Either you perform the office of Jesus, who forgives, giving His [whole] life in prayer – so many hours there [in the confessional], seated as were those two [Sts. Pius and Leopold] there,” said Pope Francis, “or, you perform the office of the devil who condemns, who accuses – I do not know – I can tell you nothing else.” (from Vatican Radio)... 16 hours 17 min
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a greeting to the people of Mexico as they await his arrival telling them that he is travelling to the nation as a “missionary of mercy and peace”. Four days before the start of his apostolic journey to Mexico, the Pope sent a video message to those awaiting him. In the message, in his native Spanish, the Pope highlights the fact that he wants to embrace all Mexican people, especially those who suffer. He also speaks of his devotion for the Blessed Virgin and he expresses his joy at being able to visit the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe.    Listen to the report:   Please find below Vatican Radio’s translation of the Pope’s video message : Dear brothers and sisters, With not long to go before my visit to Mexico, I am happy, I feel great joy. In my prayers, I always have a thought for all Mexicans. I carry them in my heart. Now I will be able to visit them and tread the soil of this blessed land, so beloved by God and so close to the Virgin Mary. It’s possible that you may be asking yourselves: "What does the Pope want with this journey?" The answer is immediate and it is simple: I want to come as a missionary of mercy and peace; I want to meet with you so we can confess our faith in God together and share a fundamental truth in our lives: that is that that God loves us very much, He loves us with an infinite love which goes well beyond our merits. I want to be as close to you as possible, especially to those of you who are suffering, I want to embrace you and tell you that Jesus loves you very much, that He is always at your side. I am glad to know that you are preparing for the visit by praying a lot. Prayer opens our hearts and prepares it to receive God’s gifts. Prayer gives us the light to see others as God sees them, to love as God loves. Thank you for praying for me because I need your prayers. Would you like me to share with you one of my greatest wishes? It is to be able to visit the home of the Virgin Mary. Like one of her many children, I will go up to the Mother and lay at Her feet all that I carry in my heart. It’s  wonderful to be able to visit the maternal home and feel the tenderness of Her benevolent presence. There, I will look into Her eyes and beg Her to never stop looking upon us with mercy, because She is our Mother in Heaven. From this moment, it is to Her that I entrust my journey and all of you, my dear Mexican brothers and sisters. May Jesus bless you and may the Blessed Virgin assist you.   (from Vatican Radio)... 1 day 11 hours
(Vatican Radio) The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors has released a communiqué at the end of its week-long Plenary Assembly at the Vatican. Dated February 8, 2016, the statement details the focal points and proposals that emerged from the six Working Groups of the session, including a request for Pope Francis to remind all authorities in the Church of the importance of responding directly to victims and survivors who approach them, the finalization of a Universal Day of Prayer, and a penitential liturgy. The communiqué goes on to list upcoming activities of the Commission and partner organizations, including workshops on the legal aspects of the Protection of Minors with a view to to establishing greater transparency around canonical trials, and the development of a website to facilitate sharing of best practices for the protection of minors around the world. Below, please find the full text, in its official English version, of the communiqué from the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors  *************************************** News Release Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors 8 February 2016 TO BE RELEASED IMMEDIATELY The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors has had seven full days of meetings in Rome. Meetings of the six Working Groups focused on updates for current projects, and developing and drafting proposals. Outside collaborators who assisted the Working Groups included the Catholic Fund for Overseas Development (CAFOD), and an expert in Penal Canon Law. Draft proposals were presented to the Plenary Assembly for further discussion and decision about policies to propose to the Holy Father. Policies endeavor to recognize the diversity of information and guidance currently available to the Church around the world. Examples of proposals being finalized for Pope Francis’ consideration include: a request for him to remind all authorities in the Church of the importance of responding directly to victims and survivors who approach them; the finalization of a Universal Day of Prayer and a penitential liturgy. Workshops on the legal aspects of the Protection of Minors to establish more transparency around canonical trials, with participation of external collaborators, are planned for later in the year and a report and recommendations will be provided at the next Plenary Assembly. A website is also being developed to share Best Practice for the Protection of Minors around the world. In order to fulfill the mission of the Holy Father’s Chirograph for the Institution of the Commission to promote local responsibility, Commission members are actively in contact with numerous Bishops Conferences, and members of the Commission have presented to Religious Conferences and Congregations on safeguarding minors.  Over the past year or so, Commission members have met with Bishops and child protection authorities in: Philippines, Austria, Pacific Islands, New Zealand, Scotland, Poland, Central America (in Costa Rica), United States National Safe Environment (SECs) and Victims Assistance Coordinators (VACs). As an outcome of the workshop conducted by members of the Commission last August in the Philippines, the Philippine Bishops’ Conference created a child safeguarding office and Pastoral Exhortation on the pastoral care and protection of minors. A meeting is planned in March in Ghana with Secretaries General of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM), and a second meeting with child protection practitioners drawn from the Association of Member  Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA) in Tanzania. Commission members are also attending the Anglophone Safeguarding Conference in Rome and the United States National Safe Environment and Victims Assistance Coordinators 2016.  In 2017 the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) has requested a workshop with Commission members. The Commission likewise welcomes the recent announcement that in a week’s time the first course offering a diploma in the Safeguarding of Minors at the Pontifical Gregorian University will start with 19 participants from four continents: Africa, Europe, America and Asia. The September 2016 meeting of the Commission will have a strategic focus on safeguarding minors in Catholic schools, and will invite contributions from experts in Latin America, England and Wales. The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors was created by Pope Francis in March of 2014. The Chirograph of His Holiness Pope Francis states specifically, “The Commission’s specific task is to propose to me the most opportune initiatives for protecting minors and vulnerable adults, in order that we may do everything possible to ensure that crimes such as those which have occurred are no longer repeated in the Church. The Commission is to promote local responsibility in the particular Churches, uniting their efforts to those of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, for the protection of all children and vulnerable adults.” (from Vatican Radio)... 1 day 12 hours
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a message of condolences for all those killed and injured in the earthquake that shook southern Taiwan on Saturday. Rescuers on Sunday pulled more survivors from the remains of a high-rise apartment building but more than 100 people are believed to be still buried in the rubble. Over 170 people have been rescued but at least 26 are known to have died. Below, please find the text of the message sent by Cardinal Pietro Parolin on behalf of Pope Francis The Holy Father was saddened to learn of the suffering caused by the deadly earthquake which struck in Tainan, leaving many people dead or seriously injured.  He sends prayerful condolences to the families of the deceased and injured, as well as to rescue personnel and the civil authorities. His Holiness, commending the souls of the departed to the tender mercy of God, invokes abundant divine blessings of consolation and strength upon those who mourn and upon all who have been affected by this tragedy.                                                                                   Cardinal Pietro Parolin                                                                                   Secretary of State (from Vatican Radio)... 2 days 11 hours
(Vatican Radio) Do not be afraid but trust in the word of the Lord: that was Pope Francis message to the crowds gathered in a windswept St Peter’s Square on Sunday for the recitation of the Angelus prayer. Listen to our report :  The Pope based his reflections on the Gospel reading which tells the story of Jesus calling his first disciples by Lake Galilee. After fishing all night without a catch, they are washing their nets when Jesus gets into Simon Peter’s boat so that he can preach to the crowds of people gathered on the shore. Peter trusts in Jesus' words When he has finished speaking, Jesus tells Peter to put out into the deep water and let down the nets for a catch. Peter replies that they have been working hard all night without catching anything, but he trusts in his Master’s words and lets down the nets. His faith is rewarded, the Pope says, as they catch so much fish that their nets begin to break. You will be fishing for people Amazed by this extraordinary event, Peter throws himself at Jesus feet saying, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinner”. Peter, the Pope explained, is aware that Jesus is the Lord and feels a strong sense of being unworthy. But Jesus tells him: “Do not be afraid, from now on you will be fishing for people”. Jesus cannot leave him as a sinner, the Pope said, any more than a doctor can abandon a sick person. Share God's love through hospitality and mercy Peter and the other disciples are reassured by Jesus’ words which are at the heart of his ministry and of the mission of the Church. Pope Francis said going fishing for men and women does not mean to proselitise but to restore dignity and freedom to them through the forgiveness of sins. This is the essence of Christianity, he said, to share the free and regenerative love of God through hospitality and mercy to all.  Mexico, Cuba and Chinese New Year After reciting the Angelus prayer, the Pope looked ahead to his forthcoming visit to Mexico and to the historic meeting he will have in Cuba with Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church. The Pope also noted that on Monday the Church celebrates a day of prayer against human trafficking and he wished a serene and peaceful New Year to all those who’ll be marking the start of the Chinese new year on Monday. Watch Pope Francis' Angelus address from his window overlooking St Peter's Square on Sunday: (from Vatican Radio)... 2 days 11 hours
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Sunday made another urgent appeal for peace in Syria, calling on the international community to spare no effort to bring all the parties in conflict to the negotiating table. Speaking to the crowds gathered in St Peter’s Square for his Angelus address, the Pope said he is following with great concern the “dramatic fate of the civilian population” caught up the fighting and “forced to abandon everything as they flee from the horrors of war”. He appealed for “generous solidarity” in order to provide for the needs of these refugees and guarantee them a dignified standard of living. At the same time he called on the international community to work urgently for a negotiated solution to the conflict, saying only a political solution can guarantee “a future of reconciliation and peace for that dear and devastated nation”. Pope Francis asked the crowds to pray fervently for peace in Syria, inviting them to join him in reciting the Ave Maria. Watch the Pope's appeal for an end to the Syria conflict :   (from Vatican Radio)... 2 days 12 hours

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Vatican City, Feb 9, 2016 / 05:03 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- Pope Francis met with 650 of the 1,000 priests who've been chosen as Missionaries of Mercy, telling them to show the tenderness of God's love to those who confess to them during the Jubliee. 15 hours 24 min
Vatican City, Feb 9, 2016 / 04:33 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- As Pope Francis' ongoing process of reform continues to move forward, his council of advisers have finished their proposals for two new Vatican departments, which would merge several others together. 15 hours 54 min
Vatican City, Feb 9, 2016 / 04:07 am (EWTN News/CNA).- On Tuesday it was announced that Pope Francis has appointed Msgr. Peter Bryan Wells, the highest ranking American in the Vatican Secretariat of State, as his new ambassador to South Africa and Botswana. 16 hours 20 min
Vatican City, Feb 9, 2016 / 02:20 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- Priests who are good confessors must recognize their own sins in order to forgive and comfort penitents, Pope Francis said one day before the start of the Lenten season. 18 hours 7 min
Indianapolis, Ind., Feb 8, 2016 / 05:23 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- An Indiana anti-discrimination bill failed in the state senate because it would have proved disastrous for religious freedom, one legal expert has said. 1 day 15 hours
Vatican City, Feb 8, 2016 / 04:38 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- Pope Francis sent his condolences to those affected by a deadly earthquake which struck the southern Taiwanese city of Tainan on Saturday, causing a building collapse that has killed dozens of people. 1 day 15 hours
Vatican City, Feb 7, 2016 / 10:37 am (EWTN News/CNA).- The plight of Syrian civilians involved in the nation's ongoing conflict was at the heart of Pope Francis' appeal to the international community on Sunday, in an address where he also called for a renewed commitment to the protection of life at all stages. 2 days 9 hours
Vatican City, Feb 7, 2016 / 06:23 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- The Vatican's recent financial reforms have the common good – not just efficiency – as their end, said an economist on the Holy See's financial council.   2 days 14 hours

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From: Tristate Catholic news and features, daily
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Zim

Fr. Tom McQuillen and Connie Song, Director of the Eugene Maly Library at The Athenaeum of Ohio, sort books to be mailed to a seminary in Zimbabwe.

From The Athenaeum of Ohio/Mount St. Mary’s Seminary of the West:

A belated Christmas present arrived at the St. Augustine Seminary in Zimbabwe last month, thanks to the generosity of seminarians, lay students, faculty and staff at The Athenaeum.

The Eugene Maly Library library staff rasied created ornaments with book titles requested by the faculty at the African seminary for an Advent Giving Tree.“We received several books and more than $1,000 in cash donations,” said  Director Connie Song. “They sent us a list of books they hoped to receive. Not only were we able to fill their wish list, but we also selected and purchased other relevant titles to help build their collection.”

The seminar in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, is connected to the seminary in Cincinnati through Fr. Tom McQuillen. Now Dean of Men at Mount St. Mary’s, Fr. McQuillen keeps in contact with the African seminary where he served from 2006-2010. Over the years, he has helped raise money for some of its urgent needs. While he was visiting last summer, the faculty told Fr. McQuillen of their need for pertinent, updated books on spirituality, philosophy, catechetics, and biblical studies.

“Knowledge is something they will pass down for generations,” said Fr. McQuillen. “I understand El Niño has caused a severe drought in the area and terrible crop failure. They are very appreciative of any help they can get.”  

The donated books were mailed in January. Those organizing the effort, including Mrs. Song, expressed gratitude for all the heartfelt generosity.

“One seminarian donated his favorite book – The Spirit of the Liturgy – a gift from one seminarian to another, two worlds apart.”

Photo courtesy Mount St. Mary’s Seminary of the West.

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20 hours 11 min
Musical comedy with a rockabilly twist -- Antsy McClain and the Trailer Park Troubedors defy description.

Musical comedy with a rockabilly twist — Antsy McClain and the Trailer Park Troubadours defy description. See them live this month.

The Greater Cincinnati Performing Arts Society will present Antsy McClain and the Trailer Park Troubadours Saturday evening, Feb. 27 at the St. Xavier Performance Center.

 

Antsy McClain and his cadre of top-notch Nashville players take you on a humorous tour of life in the trailer parks. His shows have been described as Jimmy Buffett meets Andy Griffith. Singer, songwriter, humorist and small town philosopher Antsy McClain writes what he knows: The good life.

 

Staging his live shows from a small, fictitious trailer park called Pine View Heights (patterned after his own childhood surroundings and experiences), McClain touches upon Country, Rockabilly, Jazz, Swing, and a number of Pop culture references. He’s worked with some of the most talented musicians and performers in the world, including Waylon Jennings, Tommy Smothers, guitar legend Tommy Emmanuel and cowboy poet Baxter Black — with such mentors, it’s no wonder that he marches to the beat of a different drum.

 

After a Nashville record deal proved unfruitful, in 1999 McClain took the reins himself and blazed one of the industy’s first fiercely independent campaigns, producing some of Americana’s most innovative projects and relying on involvement from fans (“Flamingoheads”) to finance each album and help promote live shows and events.

 

Before music found him, Antsy was an award-winning illustrator and designer. As the DIY movement took hold, McClain was one of the first artists of note to not only record, mix and produce his own albums, but to serve as art director and designer for everything involving his music career  from CD package design to website design to merchandise. The band’s t-shirts are one-of-a-kind boutique item originals, often signed and numbered when sold.

 

“I’ve always just tried to save myself money,” McClain says. “I was a self-employed guy with five kids. We had an agreement that my wife was to be home while they were young, and it worked out great. But I didn’t have a thousand dollars to pay somebody for a logo. If I was going to have one, I’d have to do it.”

 

See what caused the sensation at the 7:30 pm show. Tickets are $35 in advance, $40 at the door.

 

The Greater Cincinnati Performing Arts Society is a registered non-profit charity that hosts an annual series of seven concerts and donates proceeds to tuition assistance programs at Catholic elementary schools throughout Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. For tickets and show information, go to www.gcparts.org or call 513-570-0652.

 

Photo courtesy Antsy McClain and the Trailer Park Troubadors.

 

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20 hours 16 min

Three saints: St. Kateri Tekakwitha, Our Lady of Guadalupe, and St. Philomena spotted at The Good Shepherd Catholic Montessori School 

Students at The Good Shepherd Catholic Montessori School (Cincinnati) dressed up as saints on Monday, the first day of Catholic Schools Week — Church Appreciation Day. The school also held Adoration in its chapel.

You can see all our 1000 Words photos at once: Click on “1000 Words” in the menu at the top of the page, or click here. To submit a photo, send it to TheCatholicBeat@gmail.com.

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20 hours 21 min

ANOTHER undercover video from the Center for Medical Progress released Monday morning shows showing yet again why the National Abortion Federation wants a permanent injunction to keep footage about them from going public.
For information about David Daleiden’s defense, including how to contribute to his legal defense fund, see this page from the Thomas More Society.
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1 day 11 hours
 Putting on the Armor of God" in St. Leon, IN. Photo courtesy Christopher West.

Theology of the Body author Christopher West will be the keynote speaker at the March 5th men’s conference “E6: Putting on the Armor of God” in St. Leon, IN. Photo courtesy Christopher West.

All area men are invited the “E6: Putting on the Armor of God,” Catholic Men’s Conference in St. Leon (IN) on March 5th.

 

Featuring speakers Christopher West and Fr, John Hollowell, the day-long conference will focus on Ephesians 6:10-17:

 

Finally, draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power. Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil. For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens. Therefore, put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground. So stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate, and your feet shod in readiness for the gospel of peace. In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to quench all [the] flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (New American Bible, Revised Edition)

 

The day-long conference will also feature Eucharistic Adoration, opportunities for Confession, Mass with Indianapolis Archbishop Joseph Tobin and talks by Mark Houk and Fr. Jonathan Meyer.

 

e6 logo

The E6 logo exhorts men to “put on the armor of God.”

Author Christopher West speaks around the world on Theology of the Body, and is the co-founder of the Theology of the Body Institute near Philadelphia. Fr. Hollowell’s moving documentary on holiness and healing for Catholics attracted to people of the same sex, “The Third Way,” has won international acclaim. Mark Houk, co-founder of The King’s Men, speaks around the country on chastity, life, and manhood, and is the host of “The King’s Men” radio show on Holy Spirit Radio (Philadelphia). Fr. Mayer , an Indiana pastor, is also associate director for youth and young adult ministry for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

 

The conference will be held at East Central High School in St Leon, 30 minutes northwest of Cincinnati. from 9 am – 3:30 pm. Tickets are $35 ($50 at the door) for men 25 and older; $15 for young men 16 – 25, and $35 each for groups of 10 or more.

 

 

For information or to register, see E6CatholicMensConference.com.

 

Looking for more Catholic events? To see our continually updated long-term calendar, see our Events page.

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1 day 20 hours
 Fr. George Hajj at Mass with the relics of St. Sharbel -- and his statue -- at St. Anthony of Padua Maronite Church (Walnut Hills/Cincinnati)  this fall.

Let us pray: Fr. George Hajj at Mass with the relics of St. Sharbel — and his statue — at St. Anthony of Padua Maronite Church (Walnut Hills/Cincinnati) this fall.

Fr. George Hajj, pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Maronite Church (Walnut Hills/Cincinnati) with a statue of St. Sharbel and relics of the Lebanese saint that were traveling to Maronite parishes throughout the country this fall. For our story about the visit, click here.

Photo courtesy St. Anthony of Padua Church

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2 days 20 hours

NewsFeeds from Zenit, EWTN, CatholicCulture.org

From: Insightful and in depth analysis of issues important to Catholics.
Posted

Having examined the fundamental difference between the quest for religious unity and evangelization, it seems sensible to ask what, in the modern period, has caused evangelization (with its supernatural end) to so often be subordinated to religious unity (with its natural end). If we can understand how this came about, we will be one step closer to restoring effective evangelization to our world.

1 day 10 hours

NewsFeeds from Zenit, EWTN, CatholicCulture.org

From: Latest News Releases from USCCB
Posted

 WASHINGTON—Archbishop Blase J. Cupich of Chicago will serve as the first Catholic co-chair of a new National Catholic-Muslim Dialogue, sponsored by the Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). Archbishop Cupich's tenure as dialogue co-chair will begin January 1, 2017.

The bishops' ecumenical and interreligious committee has co-sponsored three regional Catholic-Muslim dialogues for over two decades. Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski of Springfield, Massachusetts, chair of the committee, said the time is right to begin a national dialogue.

"As the national conversation around Islam grows increasingly fraught, coarse and driven by fear and often willful misinformation, the Catholic Church must help to model real dialogue and good will," said Bishop Rozanski. "Our current dialogues have advanced the goals of greater understanding, mutual esteem and collaboration between Muslims and Catholics, and the members have established lasting ties of friendship and a deep sense of trust. I am grateful to Archbishop Cupich for agreeing to represent our Conference in this crucial conversation."

The current regional Catholic-Muslim dialogues are the Mid-Atlantic (partnering with the Islamic Circle of North America), Midwest (partnering with the Islamic Society of North America) and West Coast (partnering with the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California and the Islamic Educational Center of Orange County). Each is co-chaired by a bishop and a Muslim leader from the corresponding regional organization. These dialogues will continue to meet and will work collaboratively with the members of the new national dialogue.

The National Catholic-Muslim Dialogue follows a July 2014 statement of the bishops' ecumenical and interreligious committee, reaffirming their commitment to dialogue with Muslims:  www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/ecumenical-and-interreligious/interreligious/islam/dialogue-with-muslims-committee-statement.cfm
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Keywords: Archbishop Blase J. Cupich, Chicago, National Catholic-Muslim Dialogue, USCCB, U.S. bishops, Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski, Islamophobia, dialogue, Islam

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1 day 14 hours