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Day: October 1, 2015

Pope encourages Comboni Missionaries in General Chapter

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has expressed gratitude and appreciation for the work of Comboni missionaries and reminded them to take their witness of faith into the peripheries of society.
The Pope’s words of encouragement came as he addressed the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus gahtered for their General Chapter which takes place every six years.
During the Chapter participants are involved in a process of discernment that calls them to be deep in communion with the Holy Spirit in order to take steps forward in the fulfilment of their vocation.
In his discourse Pope Francis described their mission as “servants and messengers of the Gospel” as a gift. He said that at the foundation of their particular vocation is their personal relationship with Christ which is rooted in Baptism, confirmed in Confirmation and for some, strengthened by Ordination.
The Pope described the missionaries as servants of God-who-speaks; of God who wishes to speak to the men and women of today, just as Jesus spoke to the men and women of his time.
He said that the grace of Christ is at the heart of their mission making it authentic: “believing in Him one can transmit the Word of God that animates, sustains and fertilizes the commitment of the missionary”.
“That’s why, dear brothers, we must always nourish ourselves with the Word of God, so that we may be his faithful echo” he said.
And he pointed out that in God’s Word there is the wisdom that comes from above and that allows us to find the right language, the right attitude and the right instruments to respond to the challenges of a changing humanity.
Pope Francis said that as Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus “you contribute with joy to the mission of the Church bringing the witness of Saint Daniele Comboni”.       
He encouraged the missionaries to imitate the merciful and meek Jesus and to live their service with a humble heart taking care of those who are most abandoned.
“Never cease asking the Sacred Heart for meekness, which is a daughter of charity, and is patient, kind, hopeful and bears all” the Pope said.
That Sacred Heart, the Pope continued, “pushes you into the peripheries of society to bring witness of the perseverance of patient and faithful love”.
Pope Francis expressed his hope that the contemplation of Jesus’ wounded Heart may always renew the missionaries’ passion for the men and women of our time. A passion that is expressed in solidarity, especially towards the weakest, and in promoting justice, peace and the respect for the dignity of each person.
He concluded his address with the hope that the reflections of General Chapter may enlighten the work of the Institute and its vision for the years to come and help the members always stay in touch with their great patrimony of spirituality and missionary activity.
Recalling the fact that many Comboni missionaries have given their lives as they witnessed the faith, Pope Francis invoked the protection of Our Lady, mother of the Church upon them all.  
(from Vatican Radio)…

Cardinal Parolin visits Holy See pavilion at Milan Expo

(Vatican Radio) The Secretary of State of the Holy See, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, visited the 2015 World’s Fair exposition in Milan, Italy, on Wednesday, Sept. 30 th , touring the pavilion of the Holy See and the Caritas Internationalis exhibit therein.
Speaking of the pavilion, Cardinal Parolin said, “It is almost a ‘translation into plastic’ of the invitation that the Holy Father addressed to the UN,” just a few days earlier in New York, during the course of his Apostolic Journey to Cuba and the United States. In that address, the Pope spoke of issues related to the environment and care for creation, and how those issues are linked to the social exclusion of the poorest of the poor. “This  pavilion has a special dimension,” he said, “because it is an invitation to reflect on humanity’s great problems and on the responses that the Church gives to these problems.”
Particularly significant to the Cardinal Secretary of State was the exhibit’s insistence on showing and telling the stories of real, flesh-and-blood people. “This gallery of faces, the insistence on the concrete, on people and not on abstract topics, on the difficulties experienced by each person, by entire populations, was most striking,” he said.
The 2015 Expo Milan opened on May 1 st , and closes on October 31 st . 
(from Vatican Radio)…

Promulgation of Decrees for causes of Saints

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday received in audience the Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Cardinal Angelo Amato, SDB. During the audience, the Holy Father authorized the Congregation to promulgate decrees regarding:
* the martyrdom of the Servant of God Valentino Palencia Marquina, diocesan Priest, and four Companions, killed “in odium Fidei” on 15 January 1937 near Suances, Spain
* the heroic virtue of the Servant of God Giovanni Folci, diocesan Priest and Founder of the Opera del Divin Prigionero (the Work of the Divine Prisoner); born 24 February 1890 in Cagno, Italy; died at Valle Colorina, Italy, 31 March 1963;
* the heroic virtue of the Servant of God Francesco Blachnicki, diocesan Priest; born in Rybnik, Poland, 24 March 1921; died at Carlsberg, Germany, 27 February 1987;
* the heroic virtue of the Servant of God Giuseppe Rivera Ramírez, diocesan Priest; born 17 December 1925 in Toledo, Spain; and died there 25 March 1991
* the heroic virtue of the Servant of God Giovanni Emanuele Martín del Campo, diocesan Priest; born in Lagos de Moreno, Mexico, 14 December 1917; died at Jalapa, Mexico, 13 August 1996;
* the heroic virtue of the Servant of God Antonio Filomeno Maria Losito; Priest of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorists); born in Canosa di Puglia, Italy, 16 December 1838; died at Pagani, Italy, 18 July 1917;
* the heroic virtue of the Servant of God Maria Benedetta Giuseppa Frey (née Ersilia Penelope), professed nun of the Cistercian Order; born in Rome 6 March 1836; died at Viterbo, Italy, 10 May 1913;
* the heroic virtue of the Servant of God Anna Chrzanowska, laywoman, Oblate of the Ursulines of Saint Benedict; born in Warsaw, Poland, 7 October 1902; died at Krakow 29 April 1973. 
(from Vatican Radio)…

Presentation of the Pope’s message for World Day of Migrants and Refugees: “Emigration is not the juxtaposition of cultures, but rather an encounter of peoples”

Vatican City, 1 October 2015 (VIS) – This morning in the Holy See Press Office Cardinal Antonio Maria Veglio, president of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, and Archbishop Joseph Kalathiparambil, secretary of the same dicastery, presented the Holy Father’s Message for World Day of Migrants and Refugees, published today. Cardinal Veglio explained that not only does the Day fit naturally into the context of the Year of Mercy, the point of reference for the Church during the coming months, but also in view of the current situation in which migration is assuming immense proportions and leading to tragedies throughout the world, it must be recognised that this phenomenon in all its forms challenges us to respond. It is hoped that this year the Day, celebrated in all the Church and at both national and diocesan levels as the Jubilee Day of Migrants and Refugees, will therefore provide a concrete opportunity for all the Christian community to reflect, pray and act. “Migration especially affects the local Churches, as they are closest to migrants and refugees. There we meet these people face to face and it is at that level that our encounter can truly assume a dimension nature”. “We cannot remain indifferent or in silence when faced with so many tragedies. We cannot fail to express our heartfelt pain before so many situations of suffering – they are men and women, often poor, hungry, persecuted, spiritually or physically wounded, exploited or victims of war – who seek a better life. … This is the basis of the theme chosen for the Holy Father for the next Day”, added Cardinal Veglio, who went on to outline the issues in the Pope’s document that challenge both individuals and the community as a whole. Firstly, the text refers to the humanitarian crisis in the context of migration that affects not only Europe, but the entire world. This fact, as the Holy Father writes, “necessitates deeper study of the situation to enable us to better understand the causes of migrations, along with the consequences both in the destinations and from a global perspective, and therefore to face the phenomenon in the correct way ensuring the protection of human dignity”. Secondly, the Message highlights the question of identity. “The arrival of immigrants in a new social context requires a process of mutual adaptation to the new situation”, the Cardinal observed. “Integration in the new society also requires inner strength demanding changes in elements of one’s identity to adapt to the new social and cultural context”. Similarly, the arrival of migrants “seriously challenges the various societies who receive them, so that the process of insertion and integration respects values that make us ever more humane and help us to live a balanced relationship with God, others and creation , but at the same time allow migrants to contribute to the growth of the society that receive them. The Holy Father invites us to find a delicate balance between the two extremes, avoiding the creation of a cultural ghetto on the one hand, and any trace of extreme nationalism or xenophobia on the other”. The Message also highlights the theme of welcome, emphasising that the Church has a prophetic word in encouraging welcome, that resonates in the various acts and works that the Christian communities carry out. Faced with these problems and questions, the Pope affirms that “the response of the Gospel is mercy”. Mercy leads to solidarity with others and to cultivating a culture of encounter; “it challenges all of us so that everyone is willing not only to give but also to receive from others, and tends to build communion and unity”. “The complexity of migration makes it difficult to separate the different political legislative, humanitarian and security aspects”, emphasised the prelate. “The perspective of the culture of encounter implies looking at the migrant as a whole, with all of his or her aspects. … In this way the presence of migrants becomes not a mere juxtaposition of different cultures in the same territory, but rather an encounter of peoples, where the proclamation of the Gospel inspires and encourages routes towards the renewal and transformation of all humanity”. The third issue considered by the Holy Father in his Message is the defence of every person’s right to live with dignity, remaining in his or her homeland. … Every person has the right to emigrate – it is one of the fundamental rights ascribed to every human being. But beyond and before this, the right not to have to emigrate should be reaffirmed – that is, to be in the condition of being able to remain in one’s homeland. First of all this implies the need to help those countries migrants and refugees leave behind. … The need for a response is not limited only to the war against smugglers or the tightening of immigration legislation, but must also consider that those who enjoy prosperity should ensure that the poor and needy (both individuals and nations) have the means with which to respond to their needs and to undertake a path of development through an equitable distribution of the planet’s resources”. Finally, the Pope mentions the responsibility of the media and the importance of those who contribute to “unmasking false prejudices regarding migration, presenting it as truthfully as possible”….

Pope Francis at daily Mass: joy of the Lord our strength

(Vatican Radio) The joy of the Lord is our strength, and in Him we discover who we really are: this was the focus of Pope Francis’ reflection following the readings of the day at Mass in the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta on Thursday morning, the feast of St. Therese of Lisieux. The Holy Father focused especially on the need to cultivate nostalgia – deep yearning – for God in the Christian life.
Click below to hear our report

Drawing on the First Reading, from the Book of the Prophet Nehemiah, Pope Francis reflected on the people of Israel, who, after long years of exile, had at last returned to Jerusalem. He recalled that, in the years of Babylonian captivity, the people always remembered their homeland. After so many years, the day of return finally came, and with it the rebuilding of Jerusalem, as narrated in the First Reading. Nehemiah asked the scribe Ezra read to the people the Book of the Law, and the people were happy, “They were weeping in their joy, and felt God’s Word; the experienced joy, and also weeping, all together,” he said.
The joy of the Lord is our strength
Asking how we might understand this intense confluence of emotion, Pope Francis explained, “Simply, these people not only had found their city, the city where the people was born, the city of God: hearing the Law, they also rediscovered their identity, and for that, the people wept with joy.”:
“They wept with joy, crying because they had encountered their [true] identity, the identity that had weakened somewhat during the years of exile. It was a long journey, theirs: ‘Be not sad,’ said Nehemiah, ‘for the joy of the Lord is our strength’. It is the joy that the Lord gives when we discover who we really are – and our own identity is lost on the way, is lost in many deportations – or self-deportations, when we make a nest here, a nest there, and do not dwell in the house of the Lord: to find one’s own identity.”
Only in God we find our true identity
The Pope then asked how we can find our own identity. “When you have lost what was yours, your home, what was your own, there is this nostalgia, and this nostalgia brings you back home,” he said. “This people,” he added, “with this longing, felt that they were happy, they wept for joy, for the nostalgia they experienced for their true identity led them to find their home again – a grace of God”:
“If we, to offer one example, are full of food, we do not starve. If we are comfortable, quiet where we are, we do not need to go elsewhere – and I ask myself, and it would be good that we all ask ourselves today: ‘I am calm, happy, do I not need anything – spiritually speaking – in my heart? Is my nostalgia turned off?’ Let us look on this happy people, who wept and were joyful: a heart that has no nostalgia, do not know joy – and joy, really, is our strength: the joy of God. A heart that does not know what nostalgia is, is incapable of [genuine] festivity – and this journey that has been underway for years, ends in a feast.”
Let not the longing for God be extinguished in our hearts
The people, recalled Francis, rejoice with joy because they had “understood the words that had been proclaimed to them. They had found that, which the nostalgia – the longing of their heart – made them feel, and spurred them forward.”:
“Let us ask ourselves how our own nostalgia for God is doing: are we content, are we happy as we are, do we have each day the desire to move forward? May the Lord give us this grace: that never, ever, ever should our heart’s longing for God be extinguished.”
(from Vatican Radio)…