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The World Seen From Rome
Updated: 9 min 1 sec ago

Pope Francis Visits Tomb of St. John Paul II

1 hour 22 min ago

Pope Francis visited the tomb of St. John Paul II, for a “prayer stop” on the occasion of his feast, October 22, 2018.

John Paul II, who was canonized by Pope Francis on April 27, 2014, is celebrated on October 22, the day of the inauguration of his pontificate (1978).

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Syria: New ‘Nazarenes’ of the Valley of the Christians

1 hour 34 min ago

Working through the Saint Peter’s Aid Centre in Marmarita, the international Catholic pastoral charity, and pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) is helping thousands of displaced Syrians each month.

Nasra is one of the 20 or more villages belonging to the region known as the Valley of the Christians (Wadi Al-Nasara, in Arabic). The word Nasra literally means “Nazarene”, the word used throughout the Arab and Muslim world to refer to Christians. For several years now around a hundred refugee families have been living in this little village, having fled here from other parts of Syria to escape the war. The Mussa family is just one of these families, the new “Nazarenes” of the Valley of the Christians.

Marwan Mussa is the father of the family. “We were forced to flee from Homs, where we were living because the bombing was getting closer and closer to our quarter of the city. The noise of the bombing and the shelling was shattering. We did not know whether from one day to the next we would die in these attacks, as had already happened to some of our neighbors”, he explains. And so they decided to leave for the Valley of the Christians which was just an hour’s drive away and where things were safer. They managed to find a small apartment where they could live for the time being until the fighting ended.

However, the war continued and the Mussa family have now been living in Nasra for over five years. “I used to work as a bricklayer, but now I am helping in a bakery, although I do not earn enough to support us all”, Marwan adds. His family is one of the more than 350 receiving support from the Saint Peter’s Aid Centre in the Melkite Catholic parish of Saint Peter’s in the nearby village of Marmarita. “The Church has literally saved our lives, if it were not for the Church we wouldn’t be here”.

One day, nine months earlier, Marwan was working in an orchard near his house when he suddenly collapsed, unconscious. His son Gabi managed to pick him up and take him to the health center in the village. From there they took him to the hospital in Tartus, on the coast, more than an hour away by car. “I felt an intense pain in my chest”, Marwan explains to a visiting group from ACN. The diagnosis was a serious one: he had had a severe heart attack. However, they were unable to treat him in the hospital in Tartus, so they sent him to a hospital in Homs, another two hours round trip.

“The doctors told me it was a miracle I had survived the operation since my arteries were 90% obstructed. They inserted stents, and now I feel quite well, although I have to be careful not to over exert myself”. Marwan is continuing his treatment and regularly goes for checkups to Mzeina Hospital, also located in the Valley of the Christians.

“My wife, Nahila, is also undergoing treatment there for cancer”, says Marwan. All the medication and the medical care she receives are being supplied by ACN, via the Saint Peter’s Aid Centre in Marmarita. “We are extremely grateful for this help. We knew that many people from different countries were sending help to the center here. We also want to thank the team of volunteers at Saint Peter’s for accompanying and helping us in our most urgent need”, he adds.

Nahila Murad, his wife and the mother of their family, has a gaze of crystalline clarity. She nods in agreement with every word spoken by her husband. “I have bowel cancer. They are helping us to pay for my treatment. When the doctors discovered my tumor they didn’t hold out much hope for me. But I am a woman of strong faith and so I told them to go ahead and operate on me, and now I am feeling better.” They both assured us that they do not know how to thank ACN for the 130 dollars they receive each month to pay for their medication and consultations.

The faith of these true “Nazarenes” is apparent. Nahila tells us how the worst moment they experienced was when they told her that her other son Dani was missing. “We had to get through two years without hearing anything about him. We thought he must have been killed on the front. But then a month ago he came to see us and it was like a fresh miracle of God here in our house.” Dani told them that he had always kept a small Bible close by, from which he read a passage every day. “He never departed from the Word of God, and now we know that the Lord did not abandon him either”, she explains.

Through the intermediary of the Saint Peter’s Aid Centre in Marmarita, the international Catholic pastoral charity and pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) provides monthly help to hundreds of displaced Christian families throughout the region of the Valley of the Christians in western Syria, close to the Lebanese border. The monthly aid of 50,000 US dollars provided by the charity helps to cover the cost of surgical operations, medication and other forms of medical treatment and aid, including examinations, wheelchairs, and spectacles.

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Yemen: Mental Health of Children at Risk Warns Save the Children

1 hour 40 min ago

12-year-old *Khaled was on his way to a picnic when a deadly airstrike hit his school bus, killing 40 children in northern Saada province, Yemen, on August 9. Not only was he badly injured in the attack, putting him in a wheelchair since, the horrifying experience has also left him feeling anguished and numb.

Khaled told Save the Children: “We were happy, we were going to [play]. When we reached the market there were people there, and everything [was as usual]. Then there was firing. I couldn’t find my friends. I feel my friend’s pain and my pain. I don’t feel anything else.”

Following the airstrike, Khaled told Save the Children staff that he has trouble sleeping at night and becomes scared when he hears the sound of airplanes soaring overhead.

Khaled: “I wish that the war stops so I can continue to learn and build my life and achieve my dreams. I want the war to stop so they stop killing children, women, and men. What is their sin?”

Khaled’s mother told Save the Children: “Suddenly I saw people hurry to the bus. What is wrong? What happened? They said the bus was hit, that no kids survived. Everyone was looking for their kids… Then they admitted [my son] to the intensive care unit… We spent 22 days [in hospital]. There was pus coming out of his eyes, his ears bleeding, his nose was stitched, they have operated everywhere on him, behind his ears, fragments in his head. They said his leg is damaged; they [took] 16 x-rays [of him].”

Yemen is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a child today. A child in Yemen has already lived through more than 18,000 airstrikes in his or her lifetime. The ongoing brutality means children are being consistently exposed to extreme violence, further heightening the risk of psychological damage.

The children of Yemen have watched their friends and family members die before their eyes or be buried under the rubble of their collapsing homes. They have watched their schools and hospitals be targeted and destroyed, been denied access to life-saving food and medicine, and have been torn apart from the life they once knew. The prolonged exposure to war, stress, and uncertainty can be extremely upsetting for children and create issues and challenges that last a lifetime.

Yet Yemen has barely any mental health services or sufficient support for children suffering from distress. More than half of all health facilities have closed or are only partially functioning. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2017 only 40 psychiatrists were working in the country–that’s about one psychiatrist for approximately every 700,920 people. To make matters worse, the problems for children suffering mental health issues and the support they need are not well recognized or understood in Yemeni society.

Save the Children is warning that there could be long-term psychological damage to a generation of children as a result of this conflict unless more mental health and psychosocial support is provided. With the right help, many of the harms can be mitigated and healed.

survey published in 2018 that spoke to nearly 1,000 children in Sana’a, found that 79 percent showed signs of serious psychological consequences as a result of the conflict. The study reveals that in the first year of the conflict family members began noticing children bedwetting, refusing to be alone or not wanting to leave the house.

Research in other parts of the Middle East by Save the Children last year found exposure to prolonged conflicts has a devastating effect on children’s mental health and wellbeing. We found evidence of what experts call ‘toxic stress’–the most dangerous form of stress a child can experience, which is caused by strong, frequent or prolonged adversity without adequate caregiver support. If left untreated, ‘toxic stress’ can have a lifelong impact on children’s mental and physical health.

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Middle East: Holy See Affirms Two-State Solution in Palestine

1 hour 42 min ago

The Holy Seen on October 18, 2018, confirmed its ongoing support for a two-state solution to the Palestinian question in the Middle East.  The confirmation came in a statement by Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Apostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer of the Holy See, at the Security Council, Open Debate on Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question inNew York.

Here is the archbishop’s full statement:

Mr. President,

The Holy See thanks the Presidency of the Plurinational Republic of Bolivia for convening this Open Debate on a topic which brings us back to the early days of the United Nations, specifically when by General Assembly resolution 181 of 1947 the mandated territory of Palestine was divided into two States, one Jewish, the other Arab. For some seventy years, the Palestinian Question has been the topic of so many reports, debates, and resolutions in this Chamber and in other United Nations organs.

The Holy See has supported the Two-State Solution from the very beginning, and my Delegation reaffirms once again the Holy See’s unwavering support for the Two-State Solution as the only viable way of fulfilling the aspirations for peaceful coexistence among Israelis and Palestinians alike, and the only feasible peace plan that would allow both nations to live side by side within secure and internationally recognized borders.

The facts on the ground, as presented to this Council monthly by the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, are a source for persistent grave concern. Leaders on both sides bear the heaviest responsibility in guiding their people in the direction of a mutually agreed resolution to the conflict, rather than leading them into deeper conflict. The Holy See calls on both Israel and Palestine to demonstrate wisdom, responsibility and the political will needed to reach a historic peace agreement that would meet the legitimate aspirations of both peoples. Persevering dialogue based on goodwill must replace inflammatory rhetoric, violence, and conflict. Innocent civilians must never be the target of terror or overwhelming military actions.

The Israeli-Palestinian discord and the intra-Palestinian divisions have also been exacerbated by external forces and the geopolitical interests of other countries. The Holy See wishes, therefore, to exhort the regional neighbors and other concerned States from outside the region to facilitate and sustain the peace process, instead of obstructing or scuttling them for their own interests.

Mr. President,

The Holy See wishes to reaffirm the historic status quo of Jerusalem, in accordance with the relevant United Nations resolutions and rejects any unilateral measure aimed at changing it. At the same time, it calls upon the UN to carefully consider the status of Jerusalem as recommended by the General Assembly resolution 181 of 1947. My Delegation believes that the Holy City should be a place of convergence and peace and that the followers of the three monotheistic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam should be guaranteed free and unhindered access to the Holy Places. Therefore, the initial proposal of an international status, guaranteed by the United Nations still remains of great importance towards fulfilling the City’s singular calling. Indeed, the Holy City of Jerusalem beyond doubt holds a very special place not only in the hearts of the inhabitants of Jerusalem but also for the followers of the three monotheistic religions throughout the world. May it become truly what its name means: City of Peace!

Mr. President,

My Delegation notes with great concern the dire humanitarian situation that the Palestine refugees and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) are facing. The Agency provides a range of essential support for some 5.6 million registered Palestine refugees, supplying the most basic human needs from housing to education, health care, and social services. In a situation that shows no sign of being resolved quickly, a fully functional UNRWA remains the best means to prevent the situation in the region from worsening in a way that would bring both greater cost and likely greater expenditures to the international community.

Like UNRWA, various charitable action groups and organizations of the Catholic Church provide education, health-care and social services to Palestine refugees and to Palestinians in general. The Holy See hopes and prays that, sooner rather than later, a fair and durable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict may be reached, through the resumption of final status negotiations, aimed at reaching a Two-State solution, with Israel and a Palestinian State living side by side in peace and security within internationally recognized borders.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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Australia: Catholic Church Stands with Prime Minister, Renews Apology

1 hour 45 min ago

The leaders of Catholic Religious Australia (CRA) and the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) have welcomed Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s apology to survivors of institutional child sexual abuse and recommitted to working with the community to eliminate the scourge of child sexual abuse.

This is according to a statement released by the bishops on October 22, 2018, following the prime minister’s address to parliament and release of a statement of apology.

“The National Apology today and the apologies made by institutions during the life of the Royal Commission and since have been an important validation of the courage of survivors of abuse in seeking truth, justice, and healing. We think first of them at this time,” said CRA president Sr Monica Cavanagh RSJ.

“On behalf of the Catholic bishops and religious leaders of Australia, we renew our profound and heartfelt apology to all victims and survivors of abuse and to their families, friends, and supporters, who have shared their suffering.”

Archbishop Mark Coleridge, president of the ACBC, said abuse perpetrated by priests, brothers, sisters and lay people was “an utter betrayal of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and it should never have happened”.

He said the Catholic Church acknowledges that today’s apology was for survivors and their supporters, not for representatives of institutions.

Many Catholic dioceses, communities, schools, ministries and agencies are holding local events to mark the National Apology – something Archbishop Coleridge called “a significant moment in our ongoing efforts to make Australia safe for all children and young people”.

The Prime Minister’s Official Statement

Today the Australian Government and this Parliament, on behalf of all Australians, unreservedly apologises to the victims and survivors of institutional child sexual abuse.

For too many years our eyes and hearts were closed to the truths we were told by children.

For too many years governments and institutions refused to acknowledge the darkness that lay within our community. Today, we reckon with our past and commit to protect children now and into the future.

Today, we apologise for the pain, suffering and trauma inflicted upon victims and survivors as children, and for its profound and ongoing impact.

As children, you deserved care and protection. Instead, the very people and institutions entrusted with your care failed you. You suffered appalling physical and mental abuse, and endured horrific sexual crimes.

As fellow Australians, we apologise for this gross betrayal of trust and for the fact that organisations with power over children — schools; religious organisations; governments; orphanages; sports and social clubs; and charities — were left unchecked.

Today, we say we are sorry. Sorry that you were not protected, sorry that you were not listened to. We are sorry for refusing to trust the words of children, for not believing you.

As we say sorry, we also say we believe you. We say what happened was not your fault.

We are sorry that perpetrators of abuse were relocated and shielded rather than held to account, that records have been withheld and destroyed, and accountability avoided.

We are sorry that the justice and child welfare systems that should have protected you, were at times used to perpetrate yet more injustices against you.

We apologise for the lifelong impacts this abuse has had on your health, your relationships, and your ability to live life to its full potential.

We also extend this apology to your children, your parents, siblings, families, friends and supporters; all those who have helped carry the burden of your experiences and helped advocate for accountability.

We regret that your children’s lives have been changed and relationships have been broken by the enduring effects of abuse. We hear the rage, despair and hurt of parents whose trust was betrayed along with your own.

We admit that we failed to protect the most vulnerable people in our society from those who abused their power.

Our community believed people and institutions who did not deserve our trust, instead of believing the children who did.

Because of our inaction, too many victims are no longer with us to hear this apology. They did not live to see the justice they deserved.  But today we remember them, and we extend this apology, along with our sincere sympathies, to their families, friends and supporters.

As we say sorry, we honour the courage of survivors and advocates who spoke out to expose sexual abuse in our institutions, often at great personal cost. Your voices saved lives. Your bravery has allowed us to uncover this dark chapter of our national life and understand what we must now do to protect children.

We also acknowledge the many victims and survivors who have not spoken of their abuse. Your suffering is no less anguished for your silence.

Together, as a Government, a Parliament and a community we must all play a role in the protection of children from abuse. We must accept our responsibility to keep our eyes and ears open and speak out to keep our children safe.

We must listen to children and believe what they tell us.

Child sexual abuse is a serious criminal act, and a violation of Australian law. Perpetrators must and will be held to account.

Today, we commit to take action, to build awareness in our community and strengthen our systems to promote children’s safety across Australia. We commit to ensuring that all of our institutions are child-safe.

We know that we must and will do better to protect all children in Australia from abuse and that our actions will give true and practical meaning to this apology.

Our children deserve nothing less.

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Colombia: Pope Received President Iván Duque Márquez

2 hours 43 min ago

Pope Francis on October 22, 2018, received in audience, in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the President of the Republic of Colombia, Iván Duque Márquez, who subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Rev. Msgr. Antoine Camilleri, under-Secretary for Relations with States.

During the discussions, which took place in what the Vatican called a cordial atmosphere, satisfaction was expressed for the good bilateral relations. In such a context, the contribution of the Holy See and the local Church in the peace process and in favor of the reconciliation of the Colombian people was evoked. In addition, the importance of constant dialogue between the Church and the State to face current social challenges was underlined, with special reference to matters of mutual interest such as the protection of life, the fight against corruption and drug trafficking, the promotion of legality and care for the environment.

Finally, there was a fruitful exchange of views on the political and social situation of the region, with special attention to migrations.

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Korea: A Summit for Pope Francis and Kim Jong-Un?

2 hours 52 min ago

Last year in October, US President Donald Trump tweeted out to the world: “being nice to Rocket Man hasn’t worked in 25 years, why would it work now?” Just months before he had called North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un “little rocket man” and threatened him with fire and fury like the world has never seen”.

One year later, the tone on the Korean peninsula changed completely. The two Korean leaders have met three times after a peace- and charm offensive before and during the Olympic Winter Games paving the way for summits, family reunions, as well as a considerable amount of political and cultural exchange. Donald Trump also held a summit with Kim, now publicly praising his personality, calling him “very talented”, “a smart cookie”, and he wants to see him again after the elections.

The latest development in this almost theatrical performance: Kim Jong-Un reportedly would “enthusiastically” welcome the Holy Father, if he should be willing to visit Pyeongyang. South Korean President Moon Jae-in is en route to the Vatican next week, carrying in his briefcase an invitation for the Pontiff.

All this is a good reason to get excited, but not for everyone in Korea to applause enthusiastically.

Although a majority of Koreans, especially the younger generation, seems euphoric about this prospect, there are voices heard, which would not welcome the Holy Father’s visit to the North. Many question the true motives and willingness of the “Young Marshal” to break with the politics of his father and grandfather. They doubt he would give up his nuclear arsenal and lead his country towards peace and reconciliation. For them, a Papal visit to Pyeongyang would look as if the Catholic church would forgive crimes against humanity, as well as the persecution of Christians even before the perpetrators, have been brought to justice. Crimes have undoubtedly been committed by the brutal Kim dictatorship in the past. The Catholic Church, in the eyes of the critics, should be the advocate of the regime’s victims and denounce its crimes, rather than helping Kim to polish his negative image and offering a stepping-stone onto the world stage and into the presidential palaces of the international community.

But, until now, nothing substantial has happened. The Vatican has not accepted the invitation. Neither is it is not the first time that Pyongyang called for a Papal visit. During the period of political rapprochement and the so-called “sunshine policy” of former president Kim Dae-Jung at the beginning of the new Millennium, Pope John Paul II was also invited to visit the DPRK. But the Holy Father did not accept.

If Pope Francis should take the decision to travel to Pyeongyang, he would not do so naively. He could demand concessions, such as the acceptance of a permanent presence of priests in North Korea. Or he could promise to come after “verifiable and irreversible” progress in other fields.

Should he accept the invitation, this would certainly not happen without a previous series of unofficial contacts and negotiations. The president of the Korean Bishop’s Conference and other religious leaders were also part of the delegation that personally met Kim Jong-un last month. Archbishop Hyginus Kim Hee-jong has already been to Pyeongyang with a delegation of South Korean bishops and priests a few years ago and was appointed presidential “special envoy to the Vatican” by South Korean president Moon Jae-in, who is himself a devout Catholic. Therefore, all critics can rest assured the Holy Father will take an elaborate and well-informed decision.

The Archbishop of Seoul and president of ACN Korea, Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-Jung, who is also Apostolic Administrator of Pyeongyang, recently said he was “waiting for the day” when he could send missionaries, priests as well as monks and nuns to North Korea, so that he could celebrate the sacraments together with them. He continued: “I knew that Pope Francis has a lot of concern for peace on the Korea Peninsula and that he prayed several times for us. So, I want all these efforts to work like a trigger for a ‘self-priming pump’ for peace on the Korean Peninsula.”

“When the groundwork is done, the Pope can go”, Bishop Lazarus You Heung-Sik, another Korean bishop close to the Holy Father is quoted. The Holy Father’s visit would be a “gigantic step, a qualitative step for the Korean peninsula, for its pacification” he said.

Catholics, regardless of their political views, should always trust that Our Lord will also watch carefully over these developments. Let us pray that – should Pope Francis make a historic journey to Pyongyang – will hold not only bilateral talks with Kim Jong-un but a trilateral summit led by the Holy Spirit. And that the Holy Spirit will guide the way to peace and stability in Korea and beyond.

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Pope to Passionists: Be Ministers of Spiritual Healing and Reconciliation

2 hours 57 min ago

Pope Francis on October 22, 2018, received in audience — in the Hall of the Consistory of the Apostolic Palace — the participants in the 47th General Chapter of the Congregation of the Passion of Jesus Christ (Passionists), underway in Rome from October 6-27, 2018.

Here is a ZENIT translation of the Pope’s address to those present at the meeting.

* * *

The Holy Father’s Address

 Dear Brothers,

I’m happy to meet with you on the occasion of your General Chapter, and I thank the Superior for his words. During these days, your reflections were guided by the theme: “Renewing Our Mission: Gratitude, Prophecy, and Hope.” These three words, gratitude, prophecy and hope express the spirit in which you wish to stimulate your Congregation to a renewal in the mission. In fact, in addition to electing the Institute’s government, you propose to implement a new way of continuous formation for your Community, rooted in the experience of daily life. Moreover, you intend to bring about discernment on pastoral methodology in the approach to the young generations.  Your founder, Saint Paul of the Cross gave himself and his companions this motto: “May the Passion of Jesus Christ be always in our hearts.” His first biographer, Saint Vincent Maria Strambi, said of him: “It seemed that Almighty God chose Father Paul especially, to teach people how to seek Him within their heart.” Saint Paul of the Cross wanted your Communities to be schools of prayer, where one could have an experience of God. His holiness was lived between darkness and desolations, but also with a joy and peace that touched the heart of anyone who met him.

The Passion of Jesus is at the center of your life and your mission, which the Founder described as “the greatest and most stupendous work of the love of God” (Letter II, 499). The vow that distinguishes you, with which you commit yourselves to keep alive the memory of the Passion, puts you at the foot of the Cross, from which flows the healing and reconciling love of God. I encourage you to be ministers of spiritual healing and reconciliation, so necessary in today’s world, marked by old and new wounds. Your Constitutions call you to dedicate your whole selves to the “evangelization and re-evangelization of peoples, preferring the poorest in the most abandoned places” (Constitution 70). Your closeness to the people, expressed traditionally through the popular missions, spiritual direction and the Sacrament of Penance, is a precious witness. The Church needs ministers that speak with tenderness, listen without condemning and receive with mercy.  The Church today hears strongly the appeal to go out of herself and to go to the peripheries, be they geographic be they existential. Your commitment to embrace the new frontiers of the mission implies not only to go to new territories to take the Gospel but also to address the new challenges of our time, such as migrations, secularism, and the digital world. This means being present in those situations where the people perceive the absence of God, and seek to be close to those that, are suffering in whatever way or form.

In this time of changes, which is rather a change of age, you are called to be attentive to the presence and action of the Holy Spirit, reading the signs of the times. New situations call for new answers. Saint Paul of the Cross was very creative in responding to the needs of his time, acknowledging  — as the Rule states — that “the love of God is very ingenious and is not shown so much with words as with works and with the example of one who loves” (XVI). A creative fidelity to your charism will enable you to respond to the need of people today, staying close to the suffering Christ so as to bring His presence to a suffering world.

Your Congregation has given the people of god many examples of holiness. We think of Saint Gabriel of the Addolorata, a youth whose joyful following of Christ still speaks to young people today. The witness of Saints and Blesseds of your Religious Family manifests the fruitfulness of your charism and represents a model to inspire your apostolic choices. The strength and simplicity of your message, which is the love of God revealed on the Cross, can still speak to today’s society, which has learned no longer to rely on words alone and to allow itself be convinced only by facts. For many youths that are seeking God, the Passion of Jesus can be the source of hope and of courage, teaching them that each one is loved personally and to the end. May your witness and your apostolate continue to enrich the Church, and may you remain always close to Christ crucified and to His suffering people.

May the Apostolic Blessing, which I impart from my heart to you, Chapter Members and to the whole Passionist Family, accompany you on your journey. And, please, don’t forget to pray for me.

© Libreria Editrice Vatican

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

 

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Saint John Paul II: ‘Be Not Afraid’

3 hours 29 min ago

“Brothers and sisters, do not be afraid to welcome Christ and accept his power. Help the Pope and all those who wish to serve Christ and with Christ’s power to serve the human person and the whole of mankind. Do not be afraid. Open wide the doors for Christ. To his saving power open the boundaries of States, economic and political systems, the vast fields of culture, civilization, and development. Do not be afraid. Christ knows ‘what is in man’. He alone knows it.”

These were words of St. John Paul II that we would hear many times during his long and remarkable pontificate. But he spoke them for the first time as Pope 40 years ago today, October 22, 1978, to the crowds gather in St. Peter’s Square for his inaugural homily. He was elected on October 16, 1978, and served until his death on April 2, 2005.

John Paul II was the second longest-serving pope in modern history after Pope Pius IX, who served for nearly 32 years from 1846 to 1878. Born in Poland, John Paul II was the first non-Italian pope since the Dutch Pope Adrian VI, who served from 1522 to 1523.

April 2, 2017, marked the 12th anniversary of Pope Saint John Paul II’s death, and Pope Francis paid homage to him today during his Wednesday audience when greeting the Polish pilgrims present in St. Peter’s Square.

The Pontiff recalled that John Paul II gave to the world two great Messages: that of the merciful Jesus and that of Fatima. The first was remembered during the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy; the second, related to the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary over evil, “of which the centenary of the apparitions of Fatima reminds us.”

“Let us accept these Messages so that they fill our hearts” and “let us open the doors to Christ,” he said, recalling the Polish Pope’s words just after being elected.

“These years have made us understand how John Paul II has entered people’s heart; he lives with us and his memory is always alive. The affection for him is demonstrated by the people that visit his tomb and invoke his intercession,” said Monsignor Slawomir Oder, Postulator of Pope John Paul II’s canonization, in an interview with SIR Agency on the eve of the 12th anniversary of his death, which occurred at 9:37 pm on April 2, 2005.

“The sentiment evidenced at the moment of his death, namely, the loss of a dear person, remains, but in the awareness that in any case he is close to us and accompanies us on our journey,” affirmed Monsignor Oder. “As Postulator I can say that still today, after so many years of his death, I continue to receive so many signs of affection regarding John Paul II and letters left on his tomb, the objective of so many pilgrims. Pope Wojtyla marked an epoch in the life of the Church and generations of Christians: we certainly carry him in our heart,” he said.

What can John Paul II still say today, in Pope Francis’ Church? “The central message of the Church, which Pope Francis continues to interpret, in keeping with his own charism and enriching it with his experience, wisdom, and holiness,” answered Monsignor Oder. The cry we heard at the beginning of the Polish Pope’s pontificate  — ‘Do Not Be Afraid, Open Wide the Doors to Christ’ –, we hear constantly today, in the Church led by Pope Francis, as an invitation to authenticity of life and of the Christian spirit, and to recognize Christ’s presence in the Church and in our brothers who live in difficulties,” he added.

On a purely statistical basis, his papacy was astonishing. He was one of the most traveled world leaders in history, visiting 129 countries during his pontificate. He beatified 1,340 people and canonised 483 saints, more than the combined total of his predecessors during the preceding five centuries. By the time of his death, he had named most of the College of Cardinals, consecrated or co-consecrated a large number of the world’s bishops, and ordained many priests.

Under his leadership, the Church reformed canon law and issued the Catechism of the Catholic Church; his own writing was voluminous. He helped to make the Church a significant player in international affairs, including the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe.

******

HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS JOHN PAUL II
FOR THE INAUGURATION OF HIS PONTIFICATE

St. Peter’s Square
Sunday, 22 October 1978

  1. “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mt 16:16). These words were spoken by Simon, son of Jonah, in the district of Caesarea Philippi. Yes, he spoke them with his own tongue, with a deeply lived and experienced conviction—but it is not in him that they find their source, their origin: “…because it was not flesh and blood that revealed this to you but my Father in heaven” (Mt 16:17). They were the words of Faith.

These words mark the beginning of Peter’s mission in the history of salvation, in the history of the People of God. From that moment, from that confession of Faith, the sacred history of salvation and of the People of God was bound to take on a new dimension: to express itself in the historical dimension of the Church.

This ecclesial dimension of the history of the People of God takes its origin, in fact is born, from these words of faith, and is linked to the man who uttered them: “You are Peter—the rock—and on you, as on a rock, I will build my Church.”

  1. On this day and in this place these same words must again be uttered and listened to:

“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Yes, Brothers and sons and daughters, these words first of all.

Their content reveals to our eyes the mystery of the living God, the mystery to which the Son has brought us close. Nobody, in fact, has brought the living God as close to men and revealed him as he alone did. In our knowledge of God, in our journey towards God, we are totally linked to the power of these words: “He who sees me sees the Father.”  He who is infinite, inscrutable, ineffable, has come close to us in Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, born of the Virgin Mary in the stable at Bethlehem.

All of you who are still seeking God, all of you who already have the inestimable good fortune to believe, and also you who are tormented by doubt: please listen once again, today in this sacred place, to the words uttered by Simon Peter. In those words is the faith of the Church. In those same words is the new truth, indeed, the ultimate and definitive truth about man: the son of the living God—”You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

  1. Today the new Bishop of Rome solemnly begins his ministry and the mission of Peter. In this city, in fact, Peter completed and fulfilled the mission entrusted to him by the Lord.

The Lord addressed him with these words: “…when you were young you put on your own belt and walked where you liked; but when you grow old you will stretch out your hands and somebody else will put a belt round you and take you where you would rather not go” (Jn 21:18).

Peter came to Rome!

What else but obedience to the inspiration received from the Lord guided him and brought him to this city, the heart of the Empire? Perhaps the fisherman of Galilee did not want to come here. Perhaps he would have preferred to stay there, on the shores of the Lake of Genesareth, with his boat and his nets. But guided by the Lord, obedient to his inspiration, he came here!

According to an ancient tradition (given magnificent literary expression in a novel by Henryk Sienkiewicz), Peter wanted to leave Rome during Nero’s persecution. But the Lord intervened: he went to meet him. Peter spoke to him and asked. “Quo vadis, Domine? “—” Where are you going, Lord?” And the Lord answered him at once: “I am going to Rome to be crucified again.” Peter went back to Rome and stayed here until his crucifixion.

Yes, Brothers and sons and daughters, Rome is the See of Peter. Down the centuries new Bishops continually succeeded him in this See. Today a new, Bishop comes to the Chair of` Peter in Rome, a Bishop full of trepidation, conscious of his unworthiness. And how could one not tremble before the greatness of this call and before the universal mission of this See of Rome!

To the See of Peter in Rome there succeeds today a Bishop who is not a Roman. A Bishop who is a son of Poland. But from this moment he too becomes a Roman. Yes—a Roman. He is a Roman also because he is the son of a nation whose history, from its first dawning, and whose thousand-year-old traditions are marked by a living, strong, unbroken and deeply felt link with the See of Peter, a nation which has ever remained faithful to this See of Rome. Inscrutable is the design of Divine Providence!

  1. In past centuries, when the Successor of Peter took possession of his See, thetriregnumor tiara was placed on his head. The last Pope to be crowned was Paul VI in 1963, but after the solemn coronation ceremony he never used the tiara again and left his Successors free to decide in this regard.

Pope John Paul I, whose memory is so vivid in our hearts, did not wish to have the tiara; nor does his Successor wish it today. This is not the time to return to a ceremony and an object considered, wrongly, to be a symbol of the temporal power of the Popes.

Our time calls us, urges us, obliges us to gaze on the Lord and immerse ourselves in humble and devout meditation on the mystery of the supreme power of Christ himself.

He who was born of the Virgin Mary, the carpenter’s Son (as he was thought to be), the Son of the living God (confessed by Peter), came to make us all “a kingdom of priests”.

The Second Vatican Council has reminded us of the mystery of this power and of the fact that Christ’s mission as Priest, Prophet-Teacher and King continues in the Church. Everyone, the whole People of God, shares in this threefold mission. Perhaps in the past, the tiara, this triple crown, was placed on the Pope’s head in order to express by that symbol the Lord’s plan for his Church, namely that all the hierarchical order of Christ’s Church, all “sacred power” exercised in the Church, is nothing other than service, service with a single purpose: to ensure that the whole People of God shares in this threefold mission of Christ and always remains under the power of the Lord; a power that has its source not in the powers of this world but in the mystery of the Cross and Resurrection.

 The absolute and yet sweet and gentle power of the Lord responds to the whole depths of the human person, to his loftiest aspirations of intellect, will and heart. It does not speak the language of force but expresses itself in charity and truth.

The new Successor of Peter in the See of Rome, today makes a fervent, humble and trusting prayer: Christ, make me become and remain the servant of your unique power, the servant of your sweet power, the servant of your power that knows no eventide. Make me be a servant. Indeed, the servant of your servants.

  1. Brothers and sisters, do not be afraid to welcome Christ and accept his power. Help the Pope and all those who wish to serve Christ and with Christ’s power to serve the human person and the whole of mankind. Do not be afraid. Open wide the doors for Christ. To his saving power open the boundaries of States, economic and political systems, the vast fields of culture, civilization and development. Do not be afraid. Christ knows “what is in man”. He alone knows it.

So often today man does not know what is within him, in the depths of his mind and heart. So often he is uncertain about the meaning of his life on this earth. He is assailed by doubt, a doubt which turns into despair. We ask you therefore, we beg you with humility and trust, let Christ speak to man. He alone has words of life, yes, of eternal life.

Precisely today the whole Church is celebrating “World Mission Day”; that is, she is praying, meditating and acting in order that Christ’s words of life may reach all people and be received by them as a message of hope, salvation, and total liberation.

  1. I thank all of you here present who have wished to participate in this solemn inauguration of the ministry of the new Successor of Peter.

I heartily thank the Heads of State, the Representatives of the Authorities, and the Government Delegations for so honouring me with their presence.

Thank you, Eminent Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church.

I thank you, my beloved Brothers in the Episcopate.

Thank you, Priests.

To you, Sisters and Brothers, Religious of the Orders and Congregations, I give my thanks.

Thank you, people of Rome.

 Thanks to the pilgrims who have come here from all over the world.

Thanks to all of you who are linked with this Sacred Ceremony by radio and television.

  1. I speak to you, my dear fellow-countrymen, pilgrims from Poland, Brother Bishops with your magnificent Primate at your head, Priests, Sisters and Brothers of the Polish Religious Congregations—to you representatives of Poland from all over the world.

What shall I say to you who have come from my Krakow, from the See of Saint Stanislaus of whom I was the unworthy successor for fourteen years? What shall I say? Everything that I could say would fade into insignificance compared with what my heart feels, and your hearts feel, at this moment.

So let us leave aside words. Let there remain just great silence before God, the silence that becomes prayer. I ask you: be with me! At Jasna Gora and everywhere. Do not cease to be with the Pope who today prays with the words of the poet: “Mother of God, you who defend Bright Czestochowa and shine at Ostrabrama”. And these same words I address to you at this particular moment.

  1. That was an appeal and a call to prayer for the new Pope,  an appeal expressed in the Polish language. I make the same appeal to all the sons and daughters of the Catholic Church. Remember me today and always in your prayers!

To the Catholics of French-speaking lands, I express my complete affection and devotedness. I presume to count upon your unreserved filial assistance. May you advance in the faith! To those who do not share this faith, I also address my respectful and cordial greetings. I trust that their sentiments of goodwill may facilitate the spiritual mission that lies upon me, and which does not lack repercussions for the happiness and peace of the world.

To all of you who speak English I offer in the name of Christ a cordial greeting. I count on the support of your prayers and your goodwill in carrying out my mission of service to the Church and mankind. May Christ give you his grace and his peace, overturning the barriers of division and making all things one in him.

[The Holy Father spoke in similar terms in German, Spanish, Portuguese, Czechoslovakian, Russian, Ukranian and Lithuanian].

I open my heart to all my Brothers of the Christian Churches and Communities, and I greet in particular you who are here present, in anticipation of our coming personal meeting; but for the moment I express to you my sincere appreciation for your having wished to attend this solemn ceremony.

And I also appeal to all men—to every man (and with what veneration the apostle of Christ must utter this word: “man”!)
— pray for me!
— help me to be able to serve you! Amen.

© Copyright 1978 – Libreria Editrice Vaticana

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Angelus: An Antidote to the Loss of Apostolic Zeal

10/21/2018 - 5:24pm

“The path of love is always” at a loss “because to love means to leave aside selfishness, self-reference, to serve others,” recalls Pope Francis.

According to his habit, the Pope commented on the Gospel this Sunday, before the October 21, 2018, noonday Angelus in St. Peter’s Square, in front of some 20,000 people.

He pointed out that often apostolic zeal can be “polluted” by “the spirit of the world”, “careerism”, and he has indicated “the antidote” in the “service” of others.

Here is our translation, from Italian, of the commentary of Pope Francis.

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

Today’s Gospel page (cf. Mk 10: 35-45) describes Jesus who, once again and with great patience, tries to correct his disciples by converting them from the mentality of the world to that of God. The opportunity is given to him by the brothers James and John, two of the very first that Jesus met and called to follow him. By now they have come a long way with him and belong to the group of the twelve Apostles. Therefore, while they are on their way to Jerusalem, where the disciples are anxiously hoping that Jesus, on the occasion of Easter, will finally establish the Kingdom of God, the two brothers become courageous, approach and address their request to the Master: « Grant us to sit, in your glory, one on your right hand and one on your left “(v. 37).

Jesus knows that James and John are animated by great enthusiasm for him and for the cause of the Kingdom, but he also knows that their expectations and their zeal are polluted, by the spirit of the world. Therefore he answers: “You do not know what you are asking” (v. 38). And while they spoke of “thrones of glory” on which to sit next to Christ the King, He speaks of a “cup” to drink, of a “baptism” to be received, that is, of his passion and death. James and John, always aiming for the privileged hoped, say of impulse: yes, “we can”! But, even here, they do not really realize what they say. Jesus announces that his cup will drink it and his baptism will receive it, that is that they too, like the other Apostles, will participate in his cross, when their time comes. However – concludes Jesus – “to sit on my right or on my left is not for me to grant it; it is for those for whom it was prepared “(v.40). How to say: now follow me and learn the way of love “at a loss”, and the heavenly Father will think about it. The way of love is always “at a loss” because to love means to leave aside selfishness, self-referentiality, to serve others.

Jesus then realizes that the other ten Apostles are angry with James and John, thus proving to have the same worldly mentality. And this offers him the inspiration for a lesson that applies to Christians of all time, even for us. He says: “You know that those who are considered the rulers of the nations dominate over them and their leaders oppress them. But it is not so among you, but whoever wants to be great among you will be your servant, and whoever wants to be the first among you will be a slave to all “(v. 42-44). It is the rule of the Christian. The message of the Master is clear: while the great of the Earth build themselves “thrones” for their own power, God chooses an awkward throne, the cross, from which he reigns giving life: “The Son of Man – says Jesus – is not he came to be served, but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many “(v. 45).

The way of service is the most effective antidote against the disease of the search for the first places; it is medicine for climbers, this search for the first places, which infects so many human contexts and does not spare even the Christians, the people of God, even the ecclesiastical hierarchy. Therefore, as disciples of Christ, we welcome this Gospel as a call to conversion, to witness with courage and generosity a Church that bows at the feet of the last, to serve them with love and simplicity. May the Virgin Mary, who fully and humbly adhered to the will of God, help us to joyfully follow Jesus on the path of service, the high road that leads to Heaven.
After the Angelus

Dear brothers and sisters,

Yesterday, in Malaga (Spain), the Jesuit priest Tiburzio Arnáiz Muñoz, founder of the Missionaries of Rural Doctrines, was beatified. We thank the Lord for the testimony of this zealous minister of reconciliation and tireless announcer of the Gospel, especially among the humble and the forgotten. His example impels us to be agents of mercy and courageous missionaries in every environment; his intercession supports our journey. To the Blessed Tiburti applause, everyone!

Today we celebrate World Mission Day on the theme “Together with the young we bring the Gospel to all”. Together with the young: this is the way! And it is the reality that, thanks to God, we are experiencing in these days in the Synod dedicated to them: listening to them and involving them we discover many testimonies of young people who found the meaning and joy of life in Jesus. And often they met him thanks to other young people, already involved in his company of brothers and sisters that is the Church. We pray that the new generations should not miss the proclamation of the faith and the call to collaborate in the mission of the Church. I think of many Christians, men, and women, lay people, consecrated persons, priests, bishops, who have spent their lives and spend it still far from their homeland, announcing the Gospel. To them our love, our gratitude, and our prayer. Pray for them an “Ave Maria” [prayer recites]

And now I greet all of you, pilgrims coming from Italy and from various countries. In particular, those of the diocese of Płock and of the school “San Giovanni Paolo II” of Kartuzy, in Poland; those of Braço do Norte (Brazil), Santa Fe (New Mexico) and the “Saint Chaumond” Lyceum of Poitiers (France). And a group of young people from Buenos Aires and Cordoba, Argentina. I greet the Italian Secular Trinitarian Order and the boys of the “Village of the simple” of San Cataldo, in Sicily. And also the Galimignano confirmers, whom I see there.

A special thought I address to the group of Caritas Internationalis, led by President Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, with some Bishops and people from various countries of the world. You have made a short pilgrimage to Rome, to express the desire to walk together, thus learning to know each other better. I encourage this initiative of “sharing the journey”, which is promoted in many cities and which can transform our relationship with migrants. Many thanks to Caritas! And I wish everyone a good Sunday. Please do not forget to pray for me. Good lunch and goodbye.

© Libreria Editrice Vatican

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Angelus: Proclaim the Gospel with Youth People

10/21/2018 - 4:12pm

“Today is World Mission Day on the theme of With the young, let us bring the gospel to all “. Together with young people: it’s the way! said, Pope Francis in his remarks on October 21, 2018, after praying the Angelus with the crowd of some 20,000 pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square.

The Pope made the link with the synod on “the young, the faith, and the discernment of vocations” (October 3-28, 2018): “And this is the reality that, thanks to God, we live these days in the Synod dedicated to them: by listening to them and by involving them, we discover many testimonies of young people who have found the meaning and joy of living in Jesus. And often, they met him thanks to other young people, already involved in his company of brothers and sisters who is the Church. ”

The pope has invited to be copied so that “the new generations do not miss the proclamation of the faith and the call to collaborate in the mission of the Church”.

The Pope invited the more than 20,000 people present to pray with him for missionaries who leave their families and their country to bring the Gospel away from home: “I think of many Christians, men, and women, lay people, consecrated persons, priests, bishops, who have spent their lives and are still spending it away from their homeland to proclaim the Gospel. To them our love, our gratitude, and our prayer. Pray for them an “Ave Maria”. “

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Share the Journey Initiative: Pope Thanks Caritas Internationalis

10/21/2018 - 3:21pm

Pope Francis encouraged the initiative of Caritas Internationalis to better know and understand migrants, during the “Share the Journey” initiative – “Share the Journey”. He made his comments after praying the noonday Angelus on October 21, 2018, with the pilgrims assembled in St. Peter’s Square.

The pope then published on his Twitter account @Pontifex, this invitation: “Join us in Caritas to make a million kilometers with migrants and refugees. We are all on the road to Emmaus, called to look at the Face of Christ. #sharejourney “.

After the Angelus the pope greeted a group that participated in this initiative in Rome, with Cardinal Tagle, this Sunday, October 21, 2018, saying: “I address a special thought to the group of Caritas Internationalis, led by the President, Cardinal Luís Antonio Tagle, with some bishops and people from various countries of the world. ”

It is a question of “transforming” the relationship with migrants, explained the pope: “You made a short pilgrimage to Rome to express the desire to walk together and thus to get to know each other better. I encourage this initiative to “share the journey”, which is promoted in many cities and can transform our relationship with migrants. Thank you very much to Caritas! “

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Synod2018: Christ as Paradigm of Ecclesial Activities

10/21/2018 - 8:51am
The call to holiness, Christ as the paradigm of ecclesial activities, and the Church’s Social teaching were the subjects of the Synod2018 session on October 20, 2018. The morning session was devoted to the transmission of relations from particular language groups. Attention was paid to the call of the young to holiness, Christ as a paradigm of ecclesial activities, and the matter of transmitting the Church’s social teaching to young. “One of the groups presented the call to holiness as the basis for working with young people. Attention is drawn to the classical—both cardinal and theological—virtues that are needed to advance on the path to holiness. At the same time, the whole process of personal sanctification must contribute to sanctifying temporal reality. The point is for young people to become great Catholic lawyers, doctors, journalists, economists, creators of economic life. In doing so, they will have to fight corruption and oppressive forms of government, pay attention to social dysfunctions and ideological colonization,” said Archbishop Stanisław Gadecki, President of the Polish Bishops’ Conference. It was pointed out that this sanctification of the young can be achieved through the liturgy, but also through evangelization carried out in social media. “Young people often have contact with the Gospel earlier through social media than through the Church. On the Internet, they have access to the content of faith 24/7, and, thus, the Semina Verbi—that is, the seeds of the Word—can reach every young person,” Archbishop Gądecki recounted. Relationships also referred to Christ as the paradigm of all ecclesial activities. “The theme of this synod is not the young as such but youth, the message of faith, and vocation. For, if we cannot relate everything to the model of  Christ, then we cannot expect greater results in the local Churches,” said Archbishop Gądecki. Many spoke out calling for the involvement of young people in social life based on the Church’s social teaching. “In order for the young people to get involved in social life, they must first become acquainted with the social teaching of the Church. The problem, however, is that we don’t know it well. However, it is very important because it places man at the center of social life; yet, at the same time, it is deeply Christological because it highlights Christ’s presence in personal and social life. Therefore, here, this concerns building a relationship with society on the basis of Catholic Social Science,” said Bishop Marian Florczyk.

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India: Pope Offers Condolences to Victims of Train Wreck

10/21/2018 - 8:41am

We publish below the telegram of condolences for the victims of the railway accident that occurred October 19, 2018, in Amritsar, in the state of Punjab, India, sent in the name of the Pope Francis to the ecclesiastical authorities and local civilians by the Cardinal Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin. Local officials say at least 60 died and dozens were injured.

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Saddened to learn of the train derailment near Amritsar, His Holiness Pope Francis expresses heartfelt solidarity with all those affected by this tragedy. With the assurance of his prayers for the deceased and those who mourn their loss, His Holiness invokes the divine blessings of healing, strength, and peace upon the injured and their loved ones, as well as the civil authorities and emergency personnel.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin
Secretary of State

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Vatican: The Pontifical Mission Societies On World Mission Day

10/21/2018 - 8:27am

“The Pontifical Mission Societies were born of young hearts as a means of supporting the preaching of the Gospel to every nation and thus contributing to the human and cultural growth of all those who thirst for knowledge of the truth. The prayers and the material aid generously given and distributed through the Pontifical Mission Societies enable the Holy See to ensure that those who are helped in their personal needs can in turn bear witness to the Gospel in the circumstances of their daily lives. No one is so poor as to be unable to give what they have, but first and foremost what they are”. This is what the Holy Father wrote in his Message for World Mission Day 2018, included in a report on October 19, 2018, by Fides News Agency.

Born in churches of ancient Catholic tradition to support the work of the missionaries among non-Christian peoples, the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) have become an institution of the universal Church and of every particular Church. According to the Council, the central role of missionary cooperation must be given to them.
The PMS constitute a single institution which includes four distinct branches. In common they have the main purpose of promoting the missionary and universal spirit within the People of God, through the dissemination of information on missions, the promotion of missionary vocations, the collection and distribution of subsidies to missionaries, their works and the young Churches, encouraging communion with the other Churches for the exchange of goods, aid, and personnel.

Among the characteristics that distinguish the PMS from other organisms of missionary cooperation, is first of all their universality, as they are the Pontifical Societies of the Pope and depend on the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. At the same time, they are also the Bishops’ Societies, expressing their universality in the animation and missionary formation addressed to all the Churches and to all the members of the People of God, in the assistance offered equally to all the Churches in mission territories. Their primary purpose is evangelization, a fundamental duty of the Church, not neglecting the concrete participation in the integral human promotion.

The four Pontifical Mission Societies

Propagation of the Faith (POPF)
Founded in Lyon in 1822 through Pauline Marie Jaricot’s intuition and has the task of promoting missionary cooperation in all Christian communities. To this end, together with the collection of aid, it takes care of missionary vocations, education to the missionary spirit, especially in the missionary month of October, and organizes World Mission Day.

St. Peter the Apostle (POSPA)
Founded in Caen by Jeanne and mother Stephanie Bigard in 1889, this Society is concerned with supporting the formation of local clergy in mission churches, as well as that of candidates for religious life, both male and female.

Holy Childhood or Missionary Childhood (POIM)
Founded in 1843 by Mgr. Charles de Forbin Janson, Bishop of Nancy, to educate children in the missionary spirit, interested in the needs of their peers in mission countries, offering prayers and material help.

Pontifical Missionary Union (PUM)
Founded in Italy in 1916 by Blessed Father Paolo Manna, it is committed to the missionary animation of the Pastors and animators of the People of God: priests, men, and women religious, members of secular institutes, committed laymen. The same function is carried out in relation to the other three Societies.

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Pope Francis Message for World Mission Day 2018

10/21/2018 - 8:25am

Pope Francis on May 19, 2018, released his message for World Mission Sunday 2018, held October 21, 2018.  The theme: “Together with young people, let us bring the Gospel to all”.

“What leads me to speak to everyone through this conversation with you is the certainty that the Christian faith remains ever young when it is open to the mission that Christ entrusts to us,” the Pope said in directing his message to young people. “The Synod to be held in Rome this coming October, the month of the missions, offers us an opportunity to understand more fully, in the light of faith, what the Lord Jesus wants to say to you young people, and, through you, to all Christian communities.”

In his message, the Holy Father stressed that each person has a mission in life and the Church proclaims Christ’s message and shares with young people “the way and truth which give meaning to our life on this earth.”

“This transmission of the faith, the heart of the Church’s mission, comes about by the infectiousness of love, where joy and enthusiasm become the expression of a newfound meaning and fulfillment in life,” the Pope continued.  “The Pontifical Mission Societies were born of young hearts as a means of supporting the preaching of the Gospel to every nation and thus contributing to the human and cultural growth of all those who thirst for knowledge of the truth.”

Pope Francis on May 28, 2018, asked for prayers for missionaries, stressing their important work around the world.

His remarks came in a video message sent for the opening of the General Assembly of the Pontifical Mission Societies, taking place in the Fraterna Domus of Sacrofano, Rome, through June 2, 2018.

“Why are the Pontifical Mission Societies important?” Pope Francis asked. His answer: “They are important first and foremost because we must pray for missionaries, for the evangelizing action of the Church. Prayer is the first ‘missionary work’- the first – that every Christian can and must do, and it is also the most effective, even though this cannot be measured. Indeed, the principal agent of evangelization is the Holy Spirit, and we are called upon to collaborate with Him.

World Mission Sunday raises funds for more than 1,000 mission projects around the world.  It was established by Pope Pius XI in 1926 as a day of prayer for missions.

Message of the Holy Father

Together with young people, let us bring the Gospel to all

Dear young people, I would like to reflect with you on the mission that we have received from Christ. In speaking to you, I also address all Christians who live out in the Church the adventure of their life as children of God. What leads me to speak to everyone through this conversation with you is the certainty that the Christian faith remains ever young when it is open to the mission that Christ entrusts to us. “Mission revitalizes faith” (Redemptoris Missio, 2), in the words of Saint John Paul II, a Pope who showed such great love and concern for young people.

The Synod to be held in Rome this coming October, the month of the missions, offers us an opportunity to understand more fully, in the light of faith, what the Lord Jesus wants to say to you young people, and, through you, to all Christian communities.

Life is a mission

Every man and woman is a mission; that is the reason for our life on this earth. To be attracted and to be sent are two movements that our hearts, especially when we are young, feel as interior forces of love; they hold out promise for our future and they give direction to our lives. More than anyone else, young people feel the power of life breaking in upon us and attracting us. To live out joyfully our responsibility for the world is a great challenge. I am well aware of lights and shadows of youth; when I think back to my youth and my family, I remember the strength of my hope for a better future. The fact that we are not in this world by our own choice makes us sense that there is an initiative that precedes us and makes us exist. Each one of us is called to reflect on this fact: “I am a mission on this Earth; that is the reason why I am here in this world” (Evangelii Gaudium, 273).

We proclaim Jesus Christ

The Church, by proclaiming what she freely received (cf. Mt 10:8; Acts 3:6), can share with you young people the way and truth which give meaning to our life on this earth. Jesus Christ, Who died and rose for us, appeals to our freedom and challenges us to seek, discover and proclaim this message of truth and fulfillment. Dear young people, do not be afraid of Christ and His Church! For there we find the treasure that fills life with joy. I can tell you this from my own experience: thanks to faith, I found the sure foundation of my dreams and the strength to realize them. I have seen great suffering and poverty mar the faces of so many of our brothers and sisters. And yet, for those who stand by Jesus, evil is an incentive to ever greater love. Many men and women and many young people have generously sacrificed themselves, even at times to martyrdom, out of love for the Gospel and service to their brothers and sisters. From the cross of Jesus, we learn the divine logic of self-sacrifice (cf. 1 Cor 1:17-25) as a proclamation of the Gospel for the life of the world (cf. Jn 3:16). To be set afire by the love of Christ is to be consumed by that fire, to grow in understanding by its light and to be warmed by its love (cf. 2 Cor 5:14). At the school of the saints, who open us to the vast horizons of God, I invite you never to stop wondering: “What would Christ do if He were in my place?”

Transmitting the faith to the ends of the earth

You too, young friends, by your baptism have become living members of the Church; together we have received the mission to bring the Gospel to everyone. You are at the threshold of life. To grow in the grace of the faith bestowed on us by the Church’s sacraments plunges us into that great stream of witnesses who, generation after generation, enable the wisdom and experience of older persons to become testimony and encouragement for those looking to the future. And the freshness and enthusiasm of the young make them a source of support and hope for those nearing the end of their journey. In this blend of different stages in life, the mission of the Church bridges the generations; our faith in God and our love of neighbor are a source of profound unity.

This transmission of the faith, the heart of the Church’s mission, comes about by the infectiousness of love, where joy and enthusiasm become the expression of a newfound meaning and fulfillment in life. The spread of the faith “by attraction” calls for hearts that are open and expanded by love. It is not possible to place limits on love, for love is strong as death (cf. Song 8:6). And that expansion generates encounter, witness, proclamation; it generates sharing in charity with all those far from the faith, indifferent to it and perhaps even hostile and opposed to it. Human, cultural and religious settings still foreign to the Gospel of Jesus and to the sacramental presence of the Church represent the extreme peripheries, the “ends of the earth”, to which, ever since the first Easter, Jesus’ missionary disciples have been sent, with the certainty that their Lord is always with them (cf. Mt 28:20; Acts 1:8). This is what we call the missio ad gentes. The most desolate periphery of all is where mankind, in need of Christ, remains indifferent to the faith or shows hatred for the fullness of life in God. All material and spiritual poverty, every form of discrimination against our brothers and sisters, is always a consequence of the rejection of God and His love.

The ends of the earth, dear young people, nowadays are quite relative and always easily “navigable”. The digital world – the social networks that are so pervasive and readily available – dissolves borders, eliminates distances and reduces differences. Everything appears within reach, so close and immediate. And yet lacking the sincere gift of our lives, we could well have countless contacts but never share in a true communion of life. To share in the mission to the ends of the earth demands the gift of oneself in the vocation that God, Who has placed us on this earth, chooses to give us (cf. Lk 9:23-25). I dare say that, for a young man or woman who wants to follow Christ, what is most essential is to seek, to discover and to persevere in his or her vocation.

Bearing witness to love

I am grateful to all those ecclesial groups that make it possible for you to have a personal encounter with Christ living in His Church: parishes, associations, movements, religious communities, and the varied expressions of missionary service. How many young people find in missionary volunteer work a way of serving the “least” of our brothers and sisters (cf. Mt 25:40), promoting human dignity and witnessing to the joy of love and of being Christians! These ecclesial experiences educate and train young people not only for professional success but also for developing and fostering their God-given gifts in order better to serve others. These praiseworthy forms of temporary missionary service are a fruitful beginning and, through vocational discernment, they can help you to decide to make a complete gift of yourselves as missionaries.

The Pontifical Mission Societies were born of young hearts as a means of supporting the preaching of the Gospel to every nation and thus contributing to the human and cultural growth of all those who thirst for knowledge of the truth. The prayers and the material aid generously given and distributed through the Pontifical Mission Societies enable the Holy See to ensure that those who are helped in their personal needs can in turn bear witness to the Gospel in the circumstances of their daily lives. No one is so poor as to be unable to give what they have, but first and foremost what they are. Let me repeat the words of encouragement that I addressed to the young people of Chile: “Never think that you have nothing to offer, or that nobody needs you. Many people need you. Think about it! Each of you, think in your heart: many people need me” (Meeting with Young People, Maipu Shrine, 17 January 2018).

Dear young people, this coming October, the month of the missions, we will hold the Synod devoted to you. It will prove to be one more occasion to help us become missionary disciples, ever more passionately devoted to Jesus and His mission, to the ends of the earth. I ask Mary, Queen of the Apostles, Saint Francis Xavier, Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and Blessed Paolo Manna to intercede for all of us and to accompany us always.

© Libreria Editrice Vatican

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Cardinal Commentary

10/20/2018 - 6:51pm
Cardinal Cupich Tells Zenit Catholic Church’s Efforts to Combat Chicago’s Violence

Archbishop of Chicago Admits Won’t Be Solved Overnight, But Says We Are There Day In & Day Out

Synod2018: Different Language Groups Offer Reports on 3rd Part of Instrumentum Laboris (Full Texts)

14 Groups Offers Insights

Vatican: Catholic Church Statistics 2018

Fides News Agency Releases Statistics

Netherlands: Pope Francis Welcomes New Ambassador

Caroline Weijers Presents Credential Letters

Spain: Beatification of Jesuit Tiburcio Arnaiz Muñoz

Presided Over by Cardinal Angelo Becciu, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints

Angelus: An Antidote to the Loss of Apostolic Zeal

Do Not be Polluted by the Spirit of the World

Angelus: Proclaim the Gospel with Youth People

Pope Reminds Faithful of World Mission Day

Share the Journey Initiative: Pope Thanks Caritas Internationalis

A ‘Global’ Pilgrimage

Synod2018: Christ as Paradigm of Ecclesial Activities

Polish Bishops Offer Summary of October 20 Session

Pope Francis Message for World Mission Day 2018

‘Together with young people, let us bring the Gospel to all’

Vatican: The Pontifical Mission Societies On World Mission Day

Proclaiming the Gospel and Helping People Worldwide

India: Pope Offers Condolences to Victims of Train Wreck

Many Dead and Injured in Amritsar, in the State of Punjab

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Spain: Beatification of Jesuit Tiburcio Arnaiz Muñoz

10/20/2018 - 3:33pm

Cardinal Angelo Becciu, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, on October 20, 2018, presided over the beatification ceremony of Tiburcio Arnáiz Muñoz, priest of the Society of Jesus in the cathedral of Malaga, Spain.

Arnáiz was born in Valladolid on August 11, 1865. He was ordained to the priesthood on April 20, 1890, and from 1893 served as the parish priest at Villanueva de Duero until at least 1896. He joined the Jesuits on March 30, 1902.

In 1911 he was in Málaga where he dedicated himself to tending to the poor and those in need. He soon became concerned with those living in farms and in other rural locations, though also spent some time in Loyola.  In 1922 he co-founded the Missionaries of the Rural Parishes, alongside the Servant of God María Isabel González del Valle Sarandeses, whom he had come to know. This organization would be of use to the priest in his unwavering commitment to the moral and cultural wellbeing of the poor with an added emphasis on those who lived in remote and rural areas.

In June 1926, he fell ill when preaching the novena for the Sacred Heart of Jesus. He suffered from a high fever, and a car was sent for him to take him to his residence where he was confined to bed and soon diagnosed with He died from this a month later, and his remains were interred in the church of the Corazón de Jesús in Málaga after his Jesuit compatriots secured special permission to do so.

Homily of Cardinal Angelo Becciu

“I tell you, whoever publicly acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God” (Lk 12: 8).

Dear brothers and sisters,

These words we have heard in the Gospel remind us of our responsibility to be witnesses to Jesus. While He was surrounded by the crowd that followed Him, Jesus, before speaking to the thousands of people, addresses His disciples and reminds them of an event that will happen at the end of time: the final judgment. This will be pronounced by God the Father, a just judge, surrounded by angels, and in the decisive presence of the Son of man. This is none other than Jesus himself. He, while speaking to the disciples, is aware that the Father has intended Him to act as the Son of man on the last day, when He will act as the advocate of the just, that is, the One Who has the power to decide for each person before God’s tribunal. And this is what will happen: whoever is recognized by Him will be saved; whoever is not recognized by Him will be condemned. The intervention of the Son of man in our favor will depend on a specific fact: have we recognized Jesus or not in the course of our life? To recognize or deny him in this world will be decisive for our final destiny. The position we assume before Christ will be decisive for our eternal destiny; everything will be played out in two phrases: “he will acknowledge me” or “he will deny me”.

To recognize Christ means not to have the fear of declaring oneself Christians, being witnesses of His Gospel and of the values contained therein. To deny Christ means to reject both Him and His teaching of life, of love, of justice, of peace, of fraternity. Moreover, denying Christ means not having experienced His love!

And the acknowledgment of Jesus must be performed “before men”, that is, publicly; indeed, shortly before He Himself had remembered: “what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs” (Lk 12: 3). The love of God that has touched our hearts at some point in our life must come forth and become effusive and operative. If it were dry, everything would lose color, meaning, and light. We would be like branches separated from the vine, which serve only to be thrown onto the fire.

The faith professed with the lips must be manifested in an attitude of total love towards the world and towards the realities that surround us. The believer is called to be a living and penetrating presence of the Gospel in the cultural and social fabric in which he lives. In this sense, the Holy Father Francis affirmed: “Let us all remember this: one cannot proclaim the Gospel of Jesus without the tangible witness of one’s life. Those who listen to us and observe us must be able to see in our actions what they hear from our lips” (Homily in the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside-the-Walls,14  April 2013).

Blessed Tiburcio Arnáiz Muñoz, with the intense flavor of his faithful testimony of the Gospel to heroism, knew how to imbue the environment in which he lived the doctrine of Christ, thus contributing to the mission of the Church in the world. With his life, marked by good works, he offers us a clear example of sincere and profound faith, enriched by the sense of the presence of God and by the willingness to conform his existence to the divine will. The intense and fruitful apostolic ministry of this zealous priest and spiritual son of Saint Ignatius of Loyola was exercised on the foundation of faith and charity, all oriented towards the edification of souls and the salvation of those who were the object of his pastoral care. His lively and warm preaching became a decisive motive for the conversion of many, especially during the popular missions, through which he carried out intense and fruitful evangelization and social promotion.

He was a pastor following the heart of Christ and a missionary of faith and charity. He was a typical example of the “shepherd with the odor of his sheep”, as Pope Francis would say today. He was an intrepid herald of the Gospel, especially among the most humble and forgotten of the so-called “corralones”, the poorest neighborhoods and also the most hostile to the Church of Malaga, spending his life for his neighbor, sustained by a great love for God. He found the fundamental value of his priestly and religious life precisely in the gift of himself and in the fervent ministry of the Word. With this essential feature of his pastoral approach, he enlisted a group of lay faithful committed to catechesis in rural areas, who even today, in the society of apostolic life of the rural Missionaries of the Doctrines, carry out an appreciable apostolate.

Where did all the apostolic ardor of Blessed Tiburcio Arnaiz Muñoz come from? From an intense spiritual life, which found its culmination in prayer and in the Eucharist: precisely from here he obtained the strength to be able to spend himself without reserve in the priestly ministry. This union with the Lord, the fruit of faith, was the reason for his hope and then manifested itself in love for others. In the prayerful encounter with Christ, heart to heart, he gradually matured in that knowledge of the Lord (cf. Eph 1,17), to which Saint Paul invites us in the second reading, thus obtaining a “spirit of wisdom” (ibid.) through which he formed and guided consciences in the tireless activity of the confessional, a point of reference in the Church of the Heart of Jesus for the penitents of Malaga and elsewhere, of spiritual direction, of retreats and, above all, of the Spiritual Exercises preached to people of all social classes.

Dear brothers and sisters, what is the message that Blessed Tiburcio Arnáiz Muñoz offers to the Church and to today’s society? He represents for all of us, especially for priests and consecrated persons, the example of a man was not satisfied with what had already been conquered but who, in obedience to the demands of the spirit, intended to surrender himself to God with greater radicalism. This was at the origin of his decision to enter the Society of Jesus after twelve years of diocesan ministry. He responded to God’s love through a growing commitment to his ministry and love for the least, the rejected. How great a need there is, in our times, to open our hearts to the spiritual and material needs of so many of our brothers and sisters, who expect from us words of faith, consolation, and hope, as well as gestures of attentive welcome and generous solidarity!

To present Tiburcio Arnáiz Muñoz, today, to the Church, means to reaffirm the priestly sanctity, but above all, it means to make known a minister of God who made of his existence a constant, luminous and heroic path of total dedication to God and to brothers, especially the weakest. He felt co-responsible for spiritual and moral evils, as well as the social wounds of his time, and he was aware that he could not save himself without saving others.

This assumption of responsibility, this maturity of faith, this style of priestly and Christian presence in the world, are also necessary in the current ecclesial and social context, which is in extreme need of the presence and commitment of priests, consecrated persons and lay faithful who know how to bear witness with courage and firmness, with enthusiasm and impetus, to their own feeling of being with Christ, in Christ, and for Christ, thus becoming credible witnesses of the Gospel.

The new Blessed represents for the Church today a model who encourages us to live of Christ, and for all of society, he is a beacon capable of illuminating the history of our times.

May his example be with us and his intercession sustain us. Therefore, let us invoke him: Blessed Tiburcio Arnáiz Muñoz, pray for us!

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Netherlands: Pope Francis Welcomes New Ambassador

10/20/2018 - 3:00pm

Pope Francis on October 20, 2018, received Caroline Weijers, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the Holy See, on the occasion of the presentation of her credential letters.

The following is a brief biography of the new ambassador:

Caroline Weijers
Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the Holy See

Caroline Weijers was born in Amsterdam on 6 September 1959.

She graduated in history from the Catholic University of Nijmegen in 1986.

She has held the following positions: official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1987); embassy clerk in Maputo, Mozambique; attaché of the Permanent Representation to the European Union; officer of the Africa Directorate at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; head of the Political Department in Pretoria (2000-2003); deputy head of the Mission in Rabat (2003-2006); ambassador to Cotonou (2006-2009); ambassador to Tunis (2009-2012); head of the Department for Travel Documents, Legalization, and Fight against Fraud at the Directorate for Consular Affairs in the field of politics (2012-2016); project manager for the Conference of Honorary Consuls at the Directorate General of Political Affairs / Diplomatic Commission (since 2017).

She speaks English.

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Vatican: Catholic Church Statistics 2018

10/20/2018 - 1:51pm

As every year, in view of World Mission Day, which this year celebrates its 92nd anniversary on Sunday, October 21, 2018, Fides News Service offers some statistics chosen to give a panorama of the missionary Church all over the world. The tables are taken from the latest edition of the “Church’s Book of Statistics” published (updated to December 31, 2016) regarding members of the Church, church structures, healthcare, welfare, and education. Please note that variations, increase or decrease, emerging from our own comparison with last year’s figures (2015), are marked increase + or decrease – in brackets

World population
To December 31, 2016, the world population was 7.352.289.000 with an increase of 103.348.000 units compared with the previous year. Population growth was registered on every continent, including Europe: increases were registered above all in Asia (+ 49.767.000) and Africa (+ 42.898.000), followed by America (+ 8.519.000), Europe (+ 1.307.000) and Oceania (+ 857.000).

Catholics
On the same date Catholics in the world numbered 1.299.059.000 units with an overall increase of 14.249.000. The increase affects all continents, except Europe for the third consecutive year (- 240.000). Increases were registered above all in Africa (+6.265.000) and in America (+ 6.023.000) followed by Asia (+ 1.956.000) and Oceania (+ 254.000). The world percentage of Catholics decreased by 0.05 %, settling at 17.67%. By continent: increases were registered in America (+ 0.06), Asia (+ 0,01) and Oceania (+ 0.02), decrease in Africa (- 0.18) and Europe (- 0,11).

Persons and Catholics per priest
This year the number of persons per priest in the world increased by 254 units, average 14,336. The distribution by continent: increase in Africa (+ 271), America (+ 108), Europe (+ 66) and Oceania (+ 181). The only decrease in Asia (- 264).
The number of Catholics per priest in the world increased by 39 units, average 3.130. There are increases in Africa (+ 7), America (+ 74); Europe (+ 22), Oceania (+ 52). Asia unvaried (-13).

Ecclesiastical circumscriptions and mission stations
The number of ecclesiastical circumscriptions is 10 more than the previous year to 3,016 with new circumscriptions created in Africa (+3), America (+3), Asia (+3), Europe (+1). Oceania unvaried.
Mission stations with a resident priest number 2,140 (581 more than in the previous year). The decrease was registered only in Africa (- 63), while and an increase was registered in America (+ 98), Asia (+ 151) Europe (+ 364) and Oceania (+ 31).
Mission Stations without a resident priest decreased in number by 513 units, to 142.487. Increase was registered in Africa (+ 135), Europe (+ 456), and Oceania (+ 91). The number dropped in America (- 35) and Asia (- 1.160).

Bishops
The total number of Bishops in the world increased by 49 units, to 5,353. Diocesan Bishops and Religious Bishops increased in numbers. Diocesan Bishops number 4,063 (27 more), while Religious Bishops number 1,263 (22 more).
The increase in diocesan Bishops is registered in America (+ 20); Asia (+ 9), Europe (+ 3), while a decrease was registered in Africa (- 2) and Oceania (- 3). The number of religious Bishops increased in all continents except Asia (- 7): Africa (+ 5), America (+ 14), Europe (+ 8), Oceania (+ 2).

Priests
The total number of priests in the world decreased even this year, to 414.969 (- 687). The only continents which registered a major decrease was again Europe (- 2.583). There was also a decrease in America (-589). Increases were registered in Africa (+ 1.181) and Asia (+ 1.304) Oceania unvaried. Diocesan priests increased by 317 units, reaching a total of 281.831 with a decrease only in Europe (- 1.611) and increases in Africa (+ 983); America (+ 180), Asia (+ 744) and Oceania (+ 21). The number of Religious priests decreased by 1.004 units to a total 133.138. Increases were registered as in recent years in Africa (+ 198) and in Asia (+ 560), whereas numbers dropped in America (- 769), Europe (- 972), Oceania (- 21)

Permanent Deacons
Permanent deacons in the world increased by 1.057 units to 46.312. The highest increase was registered again in America (+842) followed by Europe (+145), Oceania (+45), Africa (+22) and Asia (+3).
Permanent Diocesan deacons in the world are 45.609, with an overall increase of 982 units. They increased on every continent except in Asia (- 38): Africa (+ 36), America (+ 807), Europe (+130) and Oceania (+ 47).
Religious permanent deacons number 703, increased by 75 units compared to the previous year, with decreases in Africa (- 14) and Oceania (- 2), increases in Asia (+41), America (+35) and Europe (+15).

Men and women religious
The number of non-religious priests decreased for the fourth consecutive year by 1.604 units to 52.625. Situation: a decrease was registered in all continents: in Africa (-50), America (-503), Asia (-373), Europe (-614) and Oceania (-64). Even this year there is an overall decrease in the number of women religious by 10.885 units to 659.445. An increase was registered in Africa (+ 943) and Asia (+ 533), decrease in America (- 3.775), Europe (-8.370) and Oceania (-216).

Members of secular institutes, male and female
Members of male secular institutes number 618 with a decrease of (-79) after an increase compared to the previous year. At a continental level, there is an increase in Africa (+2) and Asia (+ 4), while a decrease in America (- 77), and Europe (-8), Oceania unvaried also this year.
The members of female secular institutes decreased this year, by 459 units to a total of 22.400 members. Increase only in Africa (+ 113), while a decrease was registered in America (-33), Asia (-35) Europe (- 502) and Oceania (-2).

Lay missionaries and Catechists
The number of lay missionaries in the world is 354.743 units, with an overall increase of 2.946 units in particular in America (+ 4.728) and Africa (+759). Decrease was registered in Asia (- 1.569), Europe (-921) and Oceania (- 55). Catechists in the world decreased by 36.364 units to a total of 3.086.289. An increase was registered in only in Africa (+ 10.669). A decrease was registered in America (- 20.407), Asia (- 12.896), Europe (- 13.417) and Oceania (- 313).

Major seminarians
The number of major seminarians, diocesan and religious decreased this year, they are globally 683 units, reaching a total of 116.160. Increases occurred in Africa (+1.455) and in Asia (+9), while even this year a decrease in America (-1.123), Europe (-964) and Oceania (-60).
Major diocesan seminarians number 71.117 (+999 more than the previous year) and Religious major seminarians 45.043 (-1.682). Diocesan seminarians increased in Africa (+1.059), America (+16) and Asia (+310). Decreases are in Europe (-381) and Oceania (-5). Religious Seminarians increased only in Africa (+396), while decreased in America (-1.139), Asia (-301), Europe (-583) and Oceania (-55).

Minor seminarians
The number of minor seminarians, diocesan and religious this year decreased by 2.735 units to 101.616. Overall decrease on all continents: Africa (-69), America (-1.299), Asia (-871), Europe (-581), Oceania (-5).
Minor diocesan seminarians number 78.369 (-1.729) and religious seminarians number 23.247 (-1.006). The number of diocesan minor seminarians increased in Africa (+ 236) and Oceania (+7). Decrease in America (-684), Asia (-988), Europe (-300), Religious minor seminarians increased in number only in Asia (+207), while decreases in Africa (-305), America (-615), Europe (-281) and Oceania (-12).

Catholic schools and Education
In the field of education, the Catholic Church runs 72.826 kindergartens with 7.313.370 pupils; 96.573 primary schools with 35.125.124 pupils; 47.862 secondary schools with 19.956.347 pupils. The Church also cares for 2.509.457 high school pupils, and 3.049.548 university students.

Catholic charity and healthcare centers
Charity and healthcare centers run in the world by the Church include: 5.287 hospitals, most of them in America (1.530) and Africa (1.321); 15.937 dispensaries, mainly in Africa (5.177); America (4.430) and Asia (3.300); 610 Care Homes for people with Leprosy, mainly in Asia (352) and Africa (192); 15.722 Homes for the elderly, or the chronically ill or people with a disability, mainly in Europe (8.127) and America (3.763); 9.552 orphanages, mainly in Asia (3.660); 11.758 creches, mainly in Asia (3.295) and America (3.191); 13.897 marriage counselling centres, mainly in Europe (5.664) and America (4.984); 3.506 social rehabilitation centres and 35.746 other kinds of institutions.

Ecclesiastical Circumscriptions dependent on the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples
The ecclesiastical Circumscriptions dependent on the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (Cep) are 1.114 with an increase of 3 circumscriptions compared to last year. Most of the ecclesiastical circumscriptions are mainly in Africa (511) and in Asia (482), followed by America (75) and Oceania (46).

Download PDF with Statistics and Tables Here See Audiovisual Presentation of Data Here

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