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Vatican, World Youth Day officials release pope’s Panama itinerary

Catholic Telegraph - 11/21/2018 - 3:55pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Bob Roller

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — When Pope Francis visits Panama for World Youth Day in January, he will meet with young people not able to attend the festivities: some in jail and with some living with HIV.

He also will dedicate the altar of Panama’s newly renovated 400-year-old cathedral, meet with bishops from Central America and have lunch with some of the young people attending the youth day gathering, according to the schedule released by the Vatican Nov. 20.

The pope’s visit to Panama Jan. 23-27 will be his 26th trip outside of Italy. During his visit, he will deliver seven speeches and celebrate two Masses as well as a penitential liturgy.

The theme for World Youth Day 2019 is taken from the Gospel of St. Luke: "I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word."

The pope’s meeting with young people who will be unable to take part in the activities is a response to the Gospel’s call to clothe the naked, visit the sick and comfort the imprisoned, the organizing committee said in a Nov. 20 statement.

Archbishop Jose Domingo Ulloa Mendieta of Panama said Pope Francis’ meeting with young detainees will be "a very special event" in which "young people deprived of freedom will take part in a penitential liturgy with the Holy Father in an act of repentance, reconciliation and forgiveness," the committee said.

After the closing Mass for World Youth Day, the pope will visit Casa Hogar el Buen Samaritano (Good Samaritan Home), a center dedicated to helping HIV and AIDS patients "regardless of their sex, religion, sexual orientation, geographical origin" and "who lack the resources to live and cope with their illness."

The pope will also pray the Angelus there with young people from the Malambo hospice, which helps people addicted to drugs and alcohol, and from Hogar San Jose, a house for the poor run by the Missionaries of Charity and the Kkottongnae religious congregation.

Here is the detailed schedule released by the Vatican. All times are local, with Eastern Daylight Time in parentheses:

Wednesday, Jan. 23 (Rome, Panama)

— 9:35 a.m. (3:35 a.m.) Departure from Rome’s Fiumicino Airport.

— 4:30 p.m. Arrival at Tocumen International Airport in Panama.

— 4:50 p.m. Transfer to the apostolic nunciature.

Thursday, Jan. 24 (Panama)

— 9:45 a.m. Welcoming ceremony at Palacio de las Garzas presidential palace.

— 10 a.m. Courtesy visit with Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela at Palacio de las Garzas.

— 10:40 a.m. Meeting with government authorities and the diplomatic corps at Bolivar Palace. Speech by pope.

— 11:15 a.m. Meeting with Central American bishops in the Church of St. Francis of Assisi. Speech by pope.

— 5:30 p.m. Welcoming ceremony and gathering with young people in Santa Maria la Antigua Field. Speech by pope.

Friday, Jan. 25 (Panama)

— 10:30 a.m. Penitential liturgy with juvenile delinquents in Las Garzas de Pacora Juvenile Detention Center in Pacora. Homily by pope.

— 11:50 a.m. Transfer by helicopter to the apostolic nunciature.

— 5:30 p.m. Way of the Cross with young people in Santa Maria la Antigua Field. Speech by pope.

Saturday, Jan. 26 (Panama)

— 9:15 a.m. Mass and dedication of the altar of the Cathedral Basilica of Santa Maria la Antigua with priests, men and women religious and lay movements. Homily by pope.

— 12:15 p.m. Lunch with young people at San Jose Major Seminary

— 6:30 p.m. Prayer vigil with young people at St. John Paul II Field. Speech by pope.

Sunday, Jan. 27 (Panama)

— 8:00 a.m. Mass at St. John Paul II Field to mark World Youth Day. Homily by pope.

— 10:45 a.m. Visit to Casa Hogar el Buen Samaritano (Good Samaritan Home). Speech and Angelus by pope.

— 4:30 p.m. Meeting with World Youth Day volunteers, the local organizing committee and benefactors at Rommel Fernandez Stadium. Speech by pope.

— 6:00 p.m. Farewell ceremony at Tocumen International Airport.

— 6:15 p.m. Departure from Tocumen International Airport.

Monday, Jan. 28 (Rome)

— 11:50 a.m. (5:50 a.m.) Arrival at Rome’s Ciampino Airport.

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Helping others can change the world, pope tells young people

Catholic Telegraph - 11/21/2018 - 2:28pm

IMAGE: CNS/Paul Haring

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — In a video message to young men and women around the world, Pope Francis called on them to provoke an uprising of change by serving others.

In helping those who are suffering, both young believers and nonbelievers can find "a strength that can change the world," the pope said in a video message to youths for the upcoming World Youth Day in Panama.

"It is a revolution that can overturn the powerful forces at work in our world. It is the ‘revolution’ of service," he said in the message released by the Vatican Nov. 21.

The theme for the World Youth Day celebrations, which will take place Jan. 22-27, is taken from the Gospel of St. Luke, "May it be done to me according to your word."

In his message, the pope said those words uttered by Mary during the Annunciation are "the positive reply of one who understands the secret of vocation: to go beyond oneself and place oneself at the service of others."

Life, he said, can only find meaning when serving God and others. Like Mary, young people must engage "in conversation with God with an attitude of listening" so that they may discover their calling either in marriage, consecrated life or the priesthood.

"The important thing is to discover what God wants from us and to be brave enough to say ‘yes,’" the pope said. "When God has a proposition for us, like the one he had for Mary, it is not intended to extinguish our dreams, but to ignite our aspirations."

Pope Francis encouraged young people to say ‘yes’ to God’s calling, which is "the first step toward being happy and toward making many people happy."

"Dear young people," the pope said, "take courage, enter within yourselves and ask God: ‘What do you want from me?’ Allow God to answer you. Then you will see how your life is transformed and filled with joy."

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Copyright © 2018 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.

People must confront their evil desires, beg God for mercy, pope says

Catholic Telegraph - 11/21/2018 - 1:48pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Paul Haring

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — God handed down his commandments not for people to hypocritically follow the letter of the law with a proud and righteous heart, but for people to recognize the truth of their weaknesses and acknowledge their need for help, healing and salvation, Pope Francis said.

"Blessed are those who stop fooling themselves, believing they are able to save themselves from their weakness without God’s mercy," which is the only thing that can heal a troubled heart, he said Nov. 21 during his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square.

"Blessed are those who recognize their evil desires and, with a penitent and humiliated heart, stand before God and humanity, not as one of the righteous, but as a sinner," he said.

The pope continued his series of talks on the Ten Commandments, reflecting on the final commands, "You shall not covet … your neighbor’s wife" and "anything that belongs to your neighbor."

The last commandments, he said, encapsulate the essence of all of God’s commands — that every sin or transgression stems from "coveting" and being caught up in evil thoughts and desires.

The commandments aim to set clear limits, which, if they are crossed, do great harm to oneself and to one’s relationship with God and others, the pope said.

But what compels people to cross those boundaries? he asked.

All transgressions and sins, he said, stem from "one common inner root: evil desires." These desires "stir the heart and one enters the fray and ends up transgressing. But not a formal or legal transgression. A transgression that wounds, wounds oneself, wounds others."

He said Jesus explains in the Gospel of St. Mark that what is evil comes from what is inside a person, what is in their hearts — evil thoughts like, "unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly."

"Each one of us could ask ourselves which of these desires occurs often in me," as part of an examination of one’s heart and recognition of the truth, he said.

The Ten Commandments will have no impact or effect if people do not understand the source of sin is inside them and the challenge is to "free the heart from all of these evil and ugly things," the pope said.

God’s laws could be reduced to just a "beautiful facade of a life that is still the life of a slave and not children" of God, he said.

"Often, behind that pharisaical mask of asphyxiating correctness, something ugly and unresolved is hiding," he added.

"Instead, we must let ourselves be unmasked by the commandments" in order to reveal one’s spiritual poverty and be led to "a holy humiliation," recognizing one’s failings and pleading to God for salvation.

The laws of the Bible are not meant to "deceive people that a literal obedience (to the law) brings one to an artificial and, for that matter, unattainable salvation," he said.

The law is meant to bring people to the truth about themselves — to recognize their poverty and to authentically open themselves up to the mercy of God, "who transforms us and renews us. God is the only one who is able to renew our hearts as long as we open our heart to him. That’s the only condition."

The commandments help people face "the disarray of our hearts in order to stop living selfishly" and become authentic children of God, redeemed by the Son and taught and guided by the Holy Spirit.

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Copyright © 2018 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.

Cardinal DiNardo denies priests named in report 'credibly accused'

EWTN Latest Catholic News - 11/21/2018 - 12:20pm
Houston, Texas, Nov 21, 2018 / 11:20 am (EWTN News/CNA).- Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston, has denied that he allowed two priests to remain in active ministry despite credible allegations of sexual abuse against them.



India: Pontifical Mission Societies Aiding Disaster Victims

Zenit (The World Seen From Rome) - 11/21/2018 - 11:44am

It is urgent to alleviate the devastation and rescue the victims affected by the violent floods registered in the Indian states of Kerala and Karnataka in recent months and also in Tamil Nadu a few days ago: with this spirit the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) appeal to all people of good will, and launch an emergency fundraiser. The President of the PMS, Archbishop Giampietro Dal Toso, in an open letter, explains to the entire international network of the PMS that this was the worst natural disaster of the century in this region.

On receiving data and detailed information from the National Directorate of the PMS in India, Archbishop Dal Toso launched an appeal “to contribute to the PMS emergency Fund so that we can provide the necessary help to repair and reconstruct the ecclesiastical structures for the Christian faithful of India”.

The floods in Kerala last August left more than 1.5 million people homeless, causing estimated damage of at least 2.8 million dollars. Over 57,000 hectares of agricultural land have been flooded, 11,000 homes destroyed and 26,000 houses badly damaged. The Church responded by organizing over 4,000 camps to host refugees and mobilized over 100,000 volunteers. Many churches, shelters, Catholic institutions, dispensaries have been destroyed.

Over the past 50 years, the Pontifical Mission Societies have supported the dioceses of Kerala and Karnataka by offering a stable support for evangelization, as well as funding several thousand projects.

The Church in India has expressed and offered solidarity also towards the victims of the cyclone of Gaja which hit the coast of Tamil Nadu on the morning of 16 November. According to initial reports, 23 people have lost their lives about 82 thousand people find themselves in 471 rescue centers in six districts. The natural disaster caused its upheavals despite the preventive measures taken by the Tamil Nadu government.

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Thanksgiving Day Mass Times

Catholic Telegraph - 11/21/2018 - 11:41am

The Catholic Telegraph Mass Times and More Calendar has released Mass Times for Thanksgiving Day.  A great way to start Thanksgiving Day is with the family and friends and attend a Mass near you. For the calendar, click here

Workshop: Educating Young People about Love and Friendship Through the Classics

Zenit (The World Seen From Rome) - 11/21/2018 - 11:39am

Popular literature, cinema, and fictional series profoundly influence young people’s understanding of love and friendship, as well as other personal and relational dimensions that shape a person’s character.

The workshop Educating young people about love and friendship through the classics aims to offer an in-depth look at six literary classics on these topics, which were then produced as films, so as to cultivate young people’s taste for great stories and to educate them better.

The works will be presented by an international team of writers and teachers with a highly trained educational sensibility.

The workshop Educating young people about love and friendship through the classics is by organized  Familyandmedia Chair Elina Gianoli Gainza of the Department of Communications of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross (Rome).

Full Program

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Archbishop Gallagher: Message for World Fishing Day

Zenit (The World Seen From Rome) - 11/21/2018 - 11:17am

Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Holy See’s Secretary for Relations with States, gave the concluding address at the November 21, 2018, event marking World Fishing Day. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the Mission, of the Permanent Observer of the Holy See, and the Department of Human Development Service
Integrale-Apostolato del Mare section organized the event at the FAO headquarters in Rome. The topic was “Labor rights are human rights – Working together for the rights of the fishermen and to step up the fight against trafficking in human beings and forced labor in the fishing industry.”

Following is Archbishop Gallagher’s Address:

Mr. Director General, Excellencies,

I am grateful for the invitation to participate in this Special event on the theme of Labour rights are human rights: working together to ensure the rights of fishers – fighting trafficking and forced labor in the fishing sector. Allow me to begin by expressing my gratitude to the FAO, the Dicastery for promoting Integral Human Development and the Permanent Mission of the Holy See to the FAO for providing us with the opportunity, on the occasion of World Fisheries Day, to focus our reflection on the importance of respect for fundamental human rights in this sector.

The legal framework of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides an important point of reference in efforts to promote social development and improve governance for fisheries in developing countries. While the fisheries sector in some countries lacks a systematic and sustained monitoring effort to track fundamental human rights concerns, which include, among other issues, forced evictions, detention without trial, child labor, forced labor and unsafe working conditions, as well as violence and personal security, these issues are by no means unique to fisheries. Fundamental human rights concerns affecting fishing communities are in many cases underappreciated and demand a more comprehensive monitoring and response.

The Holy See has always looked with particular attention to the reality of fishers, seafarers and their families. A clear indication of this involvement in the Apostolate of the Sea that has been active for more than a century, and in particular since 1957, when it was formally given its actual name. This initiative works for the pastoral, social, and material welfare of all seafarers and fishermen regardless of color, race or creed.[1]

In line with this tradition, today I would like to speak about fisheries, sustainable development, the dignity of work, and how it is not possible to guarantee dignified work without also ensuring respect of fundamental human rights.

One year ago, as recalled by the ILO Deputy Director General Mr. Moussa Oumaru, the ILO Work in Fishing Convention came into force, 10 years after its adoption. This was good news for more than 58 million people that are engaged in the sector. As the ILO data reported, approximately 37 percent of them are engaged full time, 23 percent part-time, and the remainder are either occasional fishers or of unspecified status. Over 15 million are working full-time on board fishing vessels.[2] In 2016, the total fish production reached an all-time high of 171 million tonnes, of which 88 percent was utilized for direct human consumption that resulted in a record-high per capita annual consumption of 20.3 kg.[3] Such data clearly indicate that this sector is of fundamental importance not only for its economic impact but, even more, in providing food for millions of people and the sustainability for thousands of coastal communities, in particular in the developing world. The goal of the Work in Fishing Convention is to prevent unacceptable forms of work for fishers all over the world, with a special focus on migrant fishers. While commending this important document, we are here today because a lot of work remains to be done to ensure that every employee in the fishing industry can enjoy the full respect of their human dignity.

In the last decades, globalization has witnessed the onset of more competition, inadequate wages and often harsh conditions for workers in this sector. In many countries, labor protections often remain inadequate or unenforced, exploitation is common as well as child labor and human trafficking. Unfortunately, fishery is one of the sectors in which we can see the most degrading and inhuman work conditions that are almost always followed by further negative repercussions, such as ongoing poverty and the absence of due respect for human dignity. We should not forget, furthermore, that the thousands of people involved in the commercial sea routes, which account for 90% of the merchandise transported globally, are often forced to spend weeks far from their families and communities in almost complete isolation. All of these situations that we are speaking about affect entire communities and, disproportionately, the most vulnerable and the poor, fostering marginalization and exclusion.

Moreover, in the attempt to tackle these problems, we face cross-cutting issues that link together not only labor exploitation, child labor and human trafficking, but even climate change and food security. In fact, the sustainability of the environment is at risk due to the excessive exploitation of maritime resources and illegal or unregulated fishing practices. If not properly addressed, these practices may jeopardize the food security of many countries, bringing economical damages and environmental problems, as well as harming the future of the next generations.

The Holy See, indeed, supports the approach presented in the most recent report of the FAO on “The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2018” that affirms how “fisheries are not just seen as resources; they are also viewed as sources of livelihoods (e.g. income, food, employment), sites of expression of cultural values, and a buffer against shocks for poor communities.[4] Indeed, to tackle cross-cutting issues, the focus should be on sustainability and accountability, and international organizations should play a pivotal role in this regard. The international community should push for a more comprehensive and resolute approach, taking into account that, too often, small-scale fishers are left behind, because development policies have failed to address the structural uncertainties linked with their situation.

Since many of the problems of this sector are so firmly rooted, it is difficult to imagine how the action of any one international organization, NGO or even government could solve them on their own. What is needed is the cooperation of all of these actors, so as to obtain effective and concrete results that will allow for change in the lives of millions of poor and marginalized fishermen. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which celebrates its seventieth anniversary on December 10th, represents that kind of “shared” approach, based upon the fundamental cornerstone of the entire human rights framework that we should try to preserve, implement and replicate.

The Universal Declaration on Human Rights is the first and most important document from which began the international juridical discussion on human freedom and dignity. Unfortunately, the consensus that allowed the ratification of that document has weakened and the human rights framework is now facing new challenges and a growing lack of legitimacy all over the world.

Recognizing the legal framework already in place, we may identify three possible areas of action for facilitating a human rights-based approach in reforming the fisheries sector: (a) strengthening the capacity of this framework, to raise awareness of it, and to respond to specific incidents of fundamental human rights abuse; (b) applying a human rights-based approach to address the roots of vulnerability and exclusion in fishing-dependent communities; and (c) supporting fundamental human rights advocacy as a driver in the reform of the fisheries sector. These priorities for action, if implemented together, may help reduce the incidence of rights violations in fishing communities and improve the recourse available when there are legitimate grievances. Pursuing these priorities necessarily means a shift in orientation—or an expansion of the realm of attention—for many initiatives aimed at reforming the fisheries sector. Fundamental human rights advocacy can help create the conditions for small-scale fishing communities to have a voice in decisions regarding the allocation of resource rights, as well as to argue for social justice more broadly. Only then can we reasonably expect local fishing communities to commit themselves to build sustainable resource management over the long term. Regional economic and political groupings (such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, African Union, and the European Union), UN agencies, and other international institutions can exert different forms of pressure on States to act in accordance with international treaties on human rights. They can also incorporate fundamental human rights principles in global codes of conduct and regional agreements, as the European Union has done recently in its new fishing agreements with developing countries. Fishery sector organizations, from state agencies to producer and community organizations, can also play a critical role as proponents of reform, as monitors of progress, and as advocates of best practices to share with others. To remain grounded in local priorities, however, all such efforts need to recognize and reinforce the efforts of those whose rights are at risk.

In conclusion, we need to collaborate today more than ever before. We should propose a broader and more inclusive approach to the issues related to fisheries, aware of the suffering of so many brothers and sisters employed along the full length of the supply chain.

In this seventieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we should take the consensus that allowed the approval of this fundamental document as an example of overcoming a strictly economic approach, so as to emphasize the right to decent and safe work for everyone.

The Holy See strongly supports the efforts of the international community to put an end to the abuse and criminal practices still present in the fishery sector, it commends the work done by the FAO and assures its cooperation, as much as possible, through the involvement of Catholic institutions.

Thank you for your kind attention.

[1] http://www.apostolatusmaris.org/about/

[2] https://www.ilo.org/global/industries-and-sectors/shipping-ports-fisheries-inland-waterways/fisheries/lang– en/index.htm [

3] http://www.fao.org/3/i9540en/I9540EN.pdf [

4] http://www.fao.org/3/i9540en/I9540EN.pdf [01880-EN.01] [Original text: English]

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Archbishop Auza Urges Stronger UN Peacekeeping Operations in Africa

Zenit (The World Seen From Rome) - 11/21/2018 - 10:50am

“In a world that is increasingly fragmented, peacekeeping operations provide a concrete opportunity for the international community to collaborate — through diplomatic activities, financial contributions, expertise, troops, and personnel,” said Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Apostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer of the Holy See, during the Security Council Open Debate on Peace and Security in Africa: Strengthening peacekeeping operations in Africa, on November 20, 2018, in New York.

“Frequently working amid immense challenges, these missions have the arduous task of re-establishing peace, protecting civilians and facilitating political processes with a view to restoring justice and laying the foundations for lasting stability,” the archbishop said. “At times, men and women serving under the UN flag literally ‘build bridges’, only to have the enemies of peace destroy them. Armed groups and terrorist organizations on the African continent, often manipulated by political machinations from within or from without the borders of their country, cause chaos to reign.”

The Archbishop’s Full Statement

Mr. President,

The Holy See thanks the Presidency of the People’s Republic of China for convening this open debate on Peace and Security in Africa: a topic affecting the whole international community, whose response has come in part in the form of peacekeeping operations, seven of which are currently active on the African continent.

It is through the presence of the immediately recognizable Blue Helmets that the United Nations is most visible around the globe. In a world that is increasingly fragmented, peacekeeping operations provide a concrete opportunity for the international community to collaborate — through diplomatic activities, financial contributions, expertise, troops, and personnel. Frequently working amid immense challenges, these missions have the arduous task of re-establishing peace, protecting civilians and facilitating political processes with a view to restoring justice and laying the foundations for lasting stability. At times, men and women serving under the UN flag literally “build bridges”, only to have the enemies of peace destroy them. Armed groups and terrorist organizations on the African continent, often manipulated by political machinations from within or from without the borders of their country, cause chaos to reign.

A peacekeeping operation can be, at times, something of a misnomer; it seemingly implies that peace is already enjoyed and simply needs to be maintained. Sadly, we know that, all too often, this is not the case. Today, UN peacekeepers serve in some of the most dangerous and hostile environments on the planet, risking their lives to ensure the delivery of the most basic services to those in need. Caught in conflicts they have come to defuse, some have made the supreme sacrifice. We are right to pay tribute to them, making sure also that the positive impacts that UN peacekeeping missions have made and continue to make are not overlooked or undermined in the face of unrealistic expectations, stretched or limited resources, or because of the abhorrent cases of human rights abuses and sexual exploitation that have come to light.

While it may be true that significant financial resources are devoted to Africa in terms of development programmes, it is nonetheless worthwhile recalling that the cost of peacekeeping represents only a minuscule portion of the world’s military spending — a very small fraction indeed. Strengthening peacekeeping operations certainly requires increased financial support, which should go hand in hand with the indispensable diplomatic efforts aimed at preventing or resolving conflicts. For this to happen, the international community must be prepared to invest. As Secretary-General Guterres has remarked: “Chances of success increase dramatically when we work together with Member States and share burdens, risks, and responsibilities. We urgently need a quantum leap in collective engagement.”[1]

Mr. President,

For a truly effective and collective engagement, we must look to the young and vibrant populations of Africa, who deserve to have better access to quality education and to decent work so as to realize their great potential, thus enabling these young men and women to be key players in building up their own countries and taking their rightful place as future leaders. The alternative is the sad reality that leaves many young

Africans without schooling or formation of any kind. Without prospects, they become prey to a future of exploitation and violence. As a preventative measure, the international community, in particular through the UN’s peacekeeping missions, should seek greater collaboration with local populations to put the incredible resources — both human and natural — with which the African continent has been endowed, to good use.

The abundant natural resources in Africa become a curse when their exploitation does not benefit the people and, worse when wars and conflicts are exacerbated or even artificially provoked to provide a smokescreen for illicit and abusive exploitation of those precious resources. During his in-flight press conference on his return to Rome from the Central African Republic, Pope Francis noted the sad reality that “there are powers who seek only to take the great wealth of Africa … but they don’t think about helping it to grow.” [2]

Mr. President,

Heightened attention to peace and security on the African continent, as well as the very specific role of strengthened peacekeeping operations, will help African countries to prosper. This will benefit not only the countries of the region but even those beyond it.

I thank you, Mr. President.

1. António Guterres, Remarks to Security Council High-Level Debate on Collective Action to Improve UN Peacekeeping Operations, 28 March 2018.
2. Pope Francis, In-flight Press Conference from the Central African Republic to Rome, 30 November 2015.

Copyright © 2018 Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations, All rights reserved.

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Pope Francis Thanks Those in Contemplative Life

Zenit (The World Seen From Rome) - 11/21/2018 - 10:26am

Pope Francis on November 21, 2018, make it clear that he would not want to contemplate a Church without those who give of themselves in contemplative life.

His thoughts came in a messsage sent to the participants in the meeting organized by the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life on the occasion of the Pro Orantibus Day, held November 21 in the Pontifical Lateran University and in the Papal Basilica of Saint John Lateran.

“What would become of the Church without the contemplative life?” the Holy Father asked. “What would become of the weaker members of the Church who find in you a support to continue the journey? What would happen to the Church and the world without the beacons that signal the port to those who are lost on the high seas, without the torches that illuminate the dark night we are going through, without the sentinels announcing the new day when it is still night?

“Thank you, sisters and contemplative brothers because you offer all this for the world: support for the weak, beacons, torches and sentinels. Thank you for enriching us with so many fruits of holiness, mercy, and grace.”

In addition to expressing his praise and gratitude, the Pope stressed the need for solid formation to prepare those who enter contemplative life.

“In order for your contemplative life to be meaningful for the Church and for today’s world, it is necessary to focus on a formation that is adapted to the needs of the present moment: an integral formation, personalized and well-accompanied,” the Pople reminded. “Such formation will nurture and safeguard your creative fidelity to the charism received, both of each of the sisters and of the whole community.”

Full Message of the Holy Father

Dear brothers and sisters!

On the liturgical feast of the Presentation of Mary, today we celebrate, in its 65th edition, the Pro Orantibus Day. This year the Day, celebrated in the Pontifical Lateran University and in the Papal Basilica of Saint John Lateran, is dedicated to the presentation of two documents that directly concern female contemplative life: the Apostolic Constitution Vultum Dei quaerere and the Implementing Instruction Cor orans.

On this occasion, I am grateful to greet all of you participating in the Day. Through you, I greet all the men and women religious who follow Christ in the contemplative life, seeking the face of God, and who participate in the Church’s mission as her praying heart.

Thank you for responding to the invitation to take part in this meeting and this celebration, addressed to you, with my encouragement, by the Cardinal Prefect and the Archbishop Secretary. And I also thank the Pro Monialibus Secretariat, which prepares this Day with great care and takes care of the sisters with special needs in the Villa della Meditazione and helps the monasteries in difficulty.

I would like to take advantage of this Day to express to you once again the great appreciation of the Church for your form of life. What would become of the Church without the contemplative life? What would become of the weaker members of the Church who find in you a support to continue the journey? What would happen to the Church and the world without the beacons that signal the port to those who are lost on the high seas, without the torches that illuminate the dark night we are going through, without the sentinels announcing the new day when it is still night? Thank you, sisters and contemplative brothers because you offer all this for the world: support for the weak, beacons, torches and sentinels (cf. Apostolic Constitution Vultum Dei quaerere, I, 6). Thank you for enriching us with so many fruits of holiness, mercy, and grace (cf. ibid., I, 5).

With the whole Church, I also pray that the Lord may “be ever present and active in your heart and transform you entirely in Him, the ultimate aim of the contemplative life, and may your communities or fraternities become true schools of contemplation and prayer. The world and the Church need you. … This should be your prophetic witness” (ibid., I, 36).

In this circumstance, I invite you to take seriously the challenge of formation, which, as you well know, consists of “a path of gradual identification with the attitude of Christ towards the Father” (Saint John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Vita Consecrata, 65). This is why, since formation clearly continues throughout a lifetime, it is also necessary to accept with responsibility that it is a slow process, for which it is important not to be hasty. In this context, I also remind you of the importance of discernment and of the spiritual and vocational accompaniment of candidates, without ever allowing oneself to be filled with anxiety over numbers and efficiency (cf CIVCSVA, Ripartire da Cristo, 19 May 2002, 18) as well as the formation of formators and sisters called to provide the service of authority.

In order for your contemplative life to be meaningful for the Church and for today’s world, it is necessary to focus on a formation that is adapted to the needs of the present moment: an integral formation, personalized and well-accompanied. Such formation will nurture and safeguard your creative fidelity to the charism received, both of each of the sisters and of the whole community.

Dear sisters and brothers, may this day spent in fraternity bring light and life to your communities; may the Virgin Mary, model of contemplation, teach you to constantly seek the face of God and to remain faithful to your mission of being the praying heart of the Church. I impart my Apostolic Blessing to you with affection and ask you, please, to pray for me.

From the Vatican, 21 November 2018

Memory of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Pro Orantibus Day

© Libreria Editrice Vatican

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Cardinal Turkson Reviews Results of ‘Pope for Ukraine’ Initiative

Zenit (The World Seen From Rome) - 11/21/2018 - 10:10am

From November 14-18, 2018, Cardinal Peter K.A. Turkson, Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, and Msgr. Segundo Tejado Muñoz, undersecretary, carried out a mission to Ukraine to visit some humanitarian projects carried out on the behest of the Holy Father as part of the “Pope for Ukraine” initiative. Msgr. Claudio Gugerotti, apostolic nuncio in Ukraine, H.E. Msgr. Jan Sobiło, auxiliary bishop of Kharkiv-Zaporizhia, H.E. Msgr. Eduard Kawa, auxiliary bishop of Lviv, Msgr. Joseph Grech, first nunciature secretary, and Dr. Roberto Paglialonga, Official of the Dicastery, participated in the mission.

On November 14-16, Bishop Tejado visited the regions of Donetsk and Kharkiv, which suffered most from the military operations begun in 2014, meeting some of the families who benefited from the installation of heating boilers, and visiting: a center for the psycho-social recovery of children suffering from post-traumatic disorders, the “Kramatorsk City Hospital”, to which, on this occasion, donations were made of equipment for cardiological examinations; a social center for the poor and homeless at the Church of the Assumption of Mary in Kharkiv; and a home for single mothers in the suburb of Korotych, the hub of the project activities of the Greek-Catholic Church.

On November 17 and 18 in the apostolic nunciature, Cardinal Turkson and Msgr. Tejado met representatives of the civil authorities, the diplomatic corps, the episcopates of the Ukrainian Roman Catholic Church and the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, took part in a prayer meeting with the Catholic faithful for peace in the country, and celebrated mass in Saint Andrew’s Cathedral in Kiev. Finally, they went to the soup kitchen for the poor and homeless, organized in Kiev by the nuns of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, conversing with the guests. There was a significant meeting with the Church’s charitable organizations and with the international and local organizations that collaborated in the papal action.

With the “Pope for Ukraine” Project, launched in June 2016, Pope Francis wished to show deep affection and solidarity with all the Ukrainian people, and with those who suffer as a result of the protracted dramatic conditions caused by the war, without any distinction on the basis of religion, confession or ethnicity. The action, entrusted to the supervision of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, was carried out on site – through constant collaboration with the apostolic nunciature – by a Technical Committee located in Zhaporizhia for the first year, and by the Technical Secretariat based in Kiev for the following year. The two bodies worked in concert with the Church’s charitable organizations and with the international organizations specifically appointed for the purpose.

The results of the initiative were presented during a press conference at the Interfax agency in Kiev. Over two years, 16 million euros were collected – the result of a collection carried out in all the dioceses of Europe and of a personal donation by the Holy Father – reaching about 900,000 beneficiaries, throughout the area of military operations and neighbouring territories, as well as in areas with the most migrants (Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhia, the region and the city of Kiev).

The funds were used, in particular, for emergency projects in the following sectors: preparation for the winter, which in the country often reaches temperatures close to -25°C (installation of boilers in private and family homes, supply of covers and winter clothes, repair or renovation of houses, educational and health facilities): more than 6 million euros to assist over 107 thousand beneficiaries; health (supply of medicines, organization of mobile clinics, purchase of medical-pharmaceutical equipment): 2.5 million euros for over 400 thousand beneficiaries; food and hygiene (long-term foods and health products, baby food and hot meals for the poor, hygiene products for newborns and pregnant women): almost 6 million euros to assist 319 thousand people; psycho-social support for post-traumatic stress disorder (activities in rehabilitation facilities, renovation of psychological centres, psychological assistance to children and adults): more than 1 million euros for about 15 thousand beneficiaries.

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Pope Francis’ Schedule for World Youth Day 2019 in Panama

Zenit (The World Seen From Rome) - 11/21/2018 - 9:46am

The Vatican on November 21, 2018, released the Holy Father’s schedule for World Youth Day, in January in Panama:

******

Wednesday 23th

From Rome, Pope Francis will arrive at Panama’s Tocumen International airport. Following an official welcome, he will travel to the Nunciature.

Thursday 24th

There will be a welcoming ceremony at the Presidential Palace followed by a meeting with state authorities and the diplomatic corps.

Later in the day, the Pope will meet with the Bishops of Central America in the Church of St Francis of Assisi before opening World Youth Day at Cinta Costera.

Friday 25th

Pope Francis will visit a youth center where there will be a penance service.

In the afternoon he will attend a Youth Way of the Cross at the Cinta Costera area of Panama City.

Saturday 26th

The Pope will preside over Mass in the Basilica of Santa Maria la Antigua where he will consecrate the altar of the Cathedral which has been newly restored.

Following Mass, Pope Francis will lunch with young people.

Later in the evening, he will participate at a vigil with young people at Metro Park.

Sunday 27th

On this, the final day of his visit to Panama, the Pope will celebrate the concluding Mass of WYD at Metro Park.

After the Eucharistic celebration, he will visit the house of the Good Samaritan followed by a meeting with WYD volunteers.

Pope Francis will return to Rome that evening following a farewell ceremony at Panama International Airport.

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Pope’s Video Message in Advance of World Youth Day 2019

Zenit (The World Seen From Rome) - 11/21/2018 - 9:35am

Pope Francis on November 21, 2018, released a video to young people in advance of World Youth Day, January 22-27, 2018, in Panama.

The Text of the Video

Dear young people,

World Youth Day is fast approaching. It will be held in Panama in January and the theme is Mary’s response to God’s call, “I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38).

Her words are a brave and generous “yes”. It is the positive reply of one who understands the secret of vocation ‒ to go beyond oneself and place oneself at the service of others. Our lives only find meaning in service to God and to other people.

There are many young people, both believers, and nonbelievers, who when they come to the end of a stage in their studies, feel a desire to do something for those who are suffering. This is a strength in young people, a strength that all of you possess. It is a strength that can change the world. It is a revolution that can overturn the powerful forces at work in our world. It is the “revolution” of service.

To be at the service of others does not only mean to be ready for action. It means also to be in conversation with God with an attitude of listening, just like Mary. She listened to what the angel said to her and then she responded. It is by relating to God in the silence of our hearts that we discover our identity and the vocation to which God is calling us. It can be expressed in different ways: in marriage, in consecrated life, in the priesthood… All these are ways of following Jesus. The important thing is to discover what God wants from us and to be brave enough to say “yes”.

Mary was a happy woman, and this is because she replied generously to God and opened her heart to God’s plan for her. When God has a proposition for us, like the one he had for Mary, it is not intended to extinguish our dreams, but to ignite our aspirations. Propositions like this are meant to make our lives fruitful and produce many smiles and happy hearts. To respond to God positively is to take a first step towards being happy and towards making many people happy.

Dear young people, take courage, enter within yourselves and say to God: “What do you want from me?” Allow God to answer you. Then you will see how your life is transformed and filled with joy.

With the upcoming World Youth Day in our sights, I invite you all to prepare for it by following and taking part in the initiatives that are happening. They will help you on your path towards this goal. May Our Lady be with you on this pilgrimage, and may her example encourage you to be brave and generous in your response.

Have a good journey on your way to Panama! And, please, do not forget to pray for me. See you soon.

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Pope Gives Thanks for Gift of Cloistered Communities

Zenit (The World Seen From Rome) - 11/21/2018 - 9:21am

Pope Francis on November 21, 2018, asked the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for his General Audience to pray for the members of cloistered religious communities:

“Today, liturgical Memorial of the Presentation of Mary Most Holy in the Temple, we observe the Day Pro Orantibus, dedicated to remembering Cloistered Religious Communities: there are so many! It is an occasion all the more opportune to thank the Lord for the gift of so many persons that, in monasteries and hermitages, dedicate themselves totally to God in prayer, in silence, and in hiddenness. May these Communities not lack the affection, closeness, and support, also material, of the whole Church!”

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Pope Francis Shows the Path of the Commandments to the Heart

Zenit (The World Seen From Rome) - 11/21/2018 - 8:31am

“The whole journey undertaken in the Decalogue would be of no use if it didn’t arrive at touching this level: man’s heart…we must let ourselves be unmasked by these Commandments on desire because they show us our poverty, in order to lead us to a holy humiliation.”

Pope Francis come to the end of the Ten Commandments during his General Audience on November 21, 2018, and explained their depth and significance beyond a list of what to do and not do. They give us our boundaries, the boundaries that make our hearts pure and prevent self-destruction. And commandments nine and ten are significant, although they seem to echo earlier prohibitions on adultery and theft.

“These are not only the last words of the text but much more: they are the fulfillment of the journey through the Decalogue, touching the heart of all that has been given to us in it.,” Francis explained. “In fact, in hindsight, they don’t add a new content: the indications ‘do not covet the wife [. . . ] or anything that belongs to your neighbor’ is at least latent in the Commandments on adultery and on theft; what, then, is the function of these words?

“Let us keep very present that all the Commandments have the task to indicate the boundary of life, the limit beyond which man destroys himself and his neighbor, spoiling his relationship with God. If you go beyond, you destroy yourself; you also destroy the relationship with God and the relationship with others. The Commandments point this out.”

The Holy Father pointed out that all sin springs from “evil desires…all sins are born from a wicked desire — all. The heart begins to move there, and one enters that wave and ends up in a transgression.”

The danger in the resulting transgression isn’t just that it may be a “legal” violation.  It harms oneself and others. The commandments are designed to free the heart.

“This is the challenge: to free the heart from all these wicked and awful things,” Francis said. “God’s precepts can be reduced to being only the beautiful facade of a life, which in any case remains an existence of slaves and not of children. Often, behind the Pharisaic mask of asphyxiating correctness, something awful and unresolved hides.

“Instead, we must let ourselves be unmasked by these Commandments on desire because they show us our poverty, in order to lead us to a holy humiliation. Each one of us can ask him/herself: but what ugly desires come often to me? Envy, greed, gossip? — all these things that come to me from within. Each one can ask him/herself and it will do him/her good.

“Man is in need of this blessed humiliation, that humiliation by which he discovers that he cannot free himself on his own; that humiliation by which he cries to God to be saved. Saint Paul explains it in an insuperable way, precisely in referring to the Commandment not to covet (Cf. Romans 7:7-24).”

The Pope emphasized that the purpose of the Law is not to force man into “literal obedience” but to lead many to truth. For this, we need an open heart.

“The task of the Law is to lead man to his truth, namely, to his poverty, which becomes a genuine opening and personal opening to God’s mercy, which transforms us and renews us,” Francis concluded. “God is the only one able to renew our heart, on the condition that we open our heart to Him: it’s the only condition. He does everything, but we must open our heart to Him.”

The Holy Father’s Full Commentary

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General Audience: Pope Continues Teachings on Ten Commandments

Zenit (The World Seen From Rome) - 11/21/2018 - 7:30am

Pope Francis continued the  series of catecheses on the Commandments, in his address in Italian the Pope focused his meditation on the theme: “Do not covet another’s spouse; do not covet another’s goods” (Biblical passage: From the Book of Exodus, 17), at his General Audience on November 21, 2018.

After summarizing his catechesis in several languages, the Holy Father expressed special greetings to groups of faithful present. Then he invited to remember Religious Cloistered Communities on the occasion of the Day Pro Orantibus, which is observed today.

The General Audience ended with the singing of the Pater Noster and the Apostolic Blessing.

* * *

 The Holy Father’s Catechesis

 Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

Our meetings on the Decalogue lead us today to the last Commandment. We heard it at the opening. These are not only the last words of the text but much more: they are the fulfillment of the journey through the Decalogue, touching the heart of all that has been given to us in it. In fact, in hindsight, they don’t add a new content: the indications “do not covet the wife [. . . ] or anything that belongs to your neighbor” is at least latent in the Commandments on adultery and on theft; what, then, is the function of these words? Is it a summary? Is it something more? Let us keep very present that all the Commandments have the task to indicate the boundary of life, the limit beyond which man destroys himself and his neighbor, spoiling his relationship with God. If you go beyond, you destroy yourself; you also destroy the relationship with God and the relationship with others. The Commandments point this out. Highlighted through this last Word is the fact that all transgressions stem from a common interior root: evil desires. All sins are born from a wicked desire — all. The heart begins to move there, and one enters that wave and ends up in a transgression. But not a formal, legal transgression: it’s a transgression that wounds oneself and others. The Lord Jesus says it simply in the Gospel: ”From within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, fornication, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a man” (Mark 7:21-23).

We understand, therefore, that the whole journey undertaken in the Decalogue would be of no use if it didn’t arrive at touching this level: man’s heart. From where are all these awful things born? The Decalogue is lucid and profound on this aspect: the point of arrival — the last Commandment — of this journey is the heart and if this, if the heart isn’t freed, the rest is of little use. This is the challenge: to free the heart from all these wicked and awful things. God’s precepts can be reduced to being only the beautiful facade of a life, which in any case remains an existence of slaves and not of children. Often, behind the Pharisaic mask of asphyxiating correctness, something awful and unresolved hides.

Instead, we must let ourselves be unmasked by these Commandments on desire because they show us our poverty, in order to lead us to a holy humiliation. Each one of us can ask him/herself: but what ugly desires come often to me? Envy, greed, gossip? — all these things that come to me from within. Each one can ask him/herself and it will do him/her good. Man is in need of this blessed humiliation, that <humiliation> by which he discovers that he cannot free himself on his own; that <humiliation> by which he cries to God to be saved. Saint Paul explains it in an insuperable way, precisely in referring to the Commandment not to covet (Cf. Romans 7:7-24).

It’s vain to think that one can correct oneself without the gift of the Holy Spirit. It’s vain to think we can purify our heart in a titanic effort of our will alone: this isn’t possible. It’s necessary to open oneself to a relationship with God, in truth and in freedom: only thus can our efforts bear fruit because it’s the Holy Spirit that leads us forward.

The task of the biblical Law is not to deceive man that a literal obedience will lead him to a doctored salvation and, moreover, unreachable. The task of the Law is to lead man to his truth, namely, to his poverty, which becomes a genuine opening and personal opening to God’s mercy, which transforms us and renews us. God is the only one able to renew our heart, on the condition that we open our heart to Him: it’s the only condition. He does everything, but we must open our heart to Him. The Last Words of the Decalogue educate all of us to acknowledge ourselves beggars; they help to put us before the disorder of our heart, to stop living egotistically and to become poor in spirit, authentic before the Father, letting ourselves be redeemed by the Son and taught by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the Teacher that guides us: we must let ourselves be helped. We are beggars; let us ask for this grace. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 5:3). Yes, blessed are those that stop deceiving themselves, believing that they can save themselves from their weakness without God’s mercy, which alone can heal. Only God’s mercy heals the heart. Blessed are those that acknowledge their wicked desires and with a repentant and humiliated heart are not before God and other men as just ones but as sinners. What Peter says to the Lord is beautiful: “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” This is a beautiful prayer: “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”

These are the ones who are able to have compassion, who are able to have mercy on others because they experience it in themselves.

[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

 In Italian

 A warm welcome goes to the Italian-speaking pilgrims.

I’m happy to receive the groups of faithful of parishes, especially those of Sant’Elpidio a Mare and of Salerno; and the group Laboratory of Courage, accompanied by the Archbishop, Monsignor Renato Boccardo.

I greet the Delegation of the Basket Project in the Holy Land; the Food Bank; the International Police Association of Puglia and the Garibaldi-Leone Institute of Trinitapoli

A particular thought goes to young people, the elderly, the sick and newlyweds.

Today we celebrate the Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We look at Her who generated Christ and we venerate Her as Mother and powerful Help of Christians. From Her, we learn what it means to be entirely consecrated to the plan God has for each one of us and for the whole world.

[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

 The Holy Father’s Appeal

 Today, liturgical Memorial of the Presentation of Mary Most Holy in the Temple, we observe the Day Pro Orantibus, dedicated to remembering Cloistered Religious Communities: there are so many! It is an occasion all the more opportune to thank the Lord for the gift of so many persons that, in monasteries and hermitages, dedicate themselves totally to God in prayer, in silence, and in hiddenness. May these Communities not lack the affection, closeness, and support, also material, of the whole Church!

[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

© Libreria Editrice Vatican

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Church has great appreciation for contemplative life, Pope says in message (Vatican Press Office)

Catholic News - 11/21/2018 - 7:11am
November 21, the memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, has also been observed since 1953 as Pro Orantibus day: a day to pray for those who pray. In addition to the papal message, addressed to participants in a meeting organized by the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life, Pope Francis, at the conclusion of his general audience, asked pilgrims to pray for, and offer material assistance to, cloistered religious.

Vatican newspaper praises Capuchin's new book on prayer (L'Osservatore Romano (Italian edition, p. 5))

Catholic News - 11/21/2018 - 7:11am
The Vatican newspaper has published a positive and long (full-page) review of a new book on prayer: Capuchin Franciscan Father Prospero Rivi’s “Con tutto il cuore e con tutta l’anima. Una via francescana alla contemplazione” [With all the heart and with all the soul: A Franciscan way to contemplation].

Pope Francis: God alone can heal the wounds of sin

EWTN News - Vatican News - 11/21/2018 - 6:13am
Vatican City, Nov 21, 2018 / 05:13 am (EWTN News/CNA).- People need the mercy of God and the healing of the Holy Spirit to root out the sin in their lives – they cannot do it on their own, Pope Francis said at the general audience Wednesday.
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