400 South Adams Ave. Rayne, La 70578

Day: October 3, 2015

Pope Francis at prayer vigil ahead of Synod on the Family

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis is presiding over a prayer vigil in St. Peter’s Square,  ahead of the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family, which is set to begin on Sunday morning in the Vatican.
The outdoor vigil on Saturday evening  has drawn tens of thousands of faithful, many of whom have been present in the Square since the afternoon for a pre-vigil programme.
The pre-vigil event included the testimonies of married and engaged couples, Scripture readings, prayer, singing and reflections on the family, written by Pope Francis and by his predecessors.
The Synod of Bishops itself begins on Sunday, October 4, with an opening Mass presided over by Pope Francis. It follows on from last year’s Extraordinary Synod and is scheduled to end on October 25th.
It will involve 279 bishops from more than 120 nations, as well as 17 married couples and 17 auditors, and other non-voting representatives.
(from Vatican Radio)…

Address of Pope Francis at the Prayer Vigil for the General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops

St Peter’s Square
Saturday, 3 October 2015
[ Multimedia ]
Dear Families,
Good evening! What good is it to light a little candle in the darkness? Isn’t there a better way to dispel the darkness? Can the darkness even be overcome?
At some points in life – this life so full of amazing resources – such questions have to be asked. When life proves difficult and demanding, we can be tempted to step back, turn away and withdraw, perhaps even in the name of prudence and realism, and thus flee the responsibility of doing our part as best we can.
Do you remember what happened to Elijah? From a human point of view, the prophet was afraid and tried to run away. Afraid. “Elijah was afraid; he got up and fled for his life… He walked for forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mountain of God. At that place he came to a cave and spent the night there. Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying: ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’” (1 Kg 19:3,8-9). On Horeb, he would get his answer not in the great wind which shatters the rocks, not in the earthquake nor even in the fire. God’s grace does not shout out; it is a whisper which reaches all those who are ready to hear the gentle breeze – that still, small voice. It urges them to go forth, to return to the world, to be witnesses to God’s love for mankind, so that the world may believe…
In this vein, just a year ago, in this same Square, we invoked the Holy Spirit and asked that – in discussing the theme of the family – the Synod Fathers might listen attentively to one another, with their gaze fixed on Jesus, the definitive Word of the Father and the criterion by which everything is to be measured.
This evening, our prayer cannot be otherwise. For as Metropolitan Ignatius IV Hazim reminded us, without the Holy Spirit God is far off, Christ remains in the past, the Church becomes a mere organization, authority becomes domination, mission becomes propaganda, worship becomes mystique, Christian life the morality of slaves (cf. Address to the Ecumenical Conference of Uppsala, 1968).
So let us b pray that the Synod which opens tomorrow will show how the experience of marriage and family is rich and humanly fulfilling. May the Synod acknowledge, esteem, and proclaim all that is beautiful, good and holy about that experience. May it embrace situations of vulnerability and hardship: war, illness, grief, wounded relationships and brokenness, which create distress, resentment and separation. May it remind these families, and every family, that the Gospel is always “good news” which once again enables us to start over. From the treasury of the Church’s living tradition may the Fathers draw words of comfort and hope for families called in our own day to build the future of the ecclesial community and the city of man.
* * *
Every family is always a light, however faint, amid the darkness of this world.
Jesus’ own human experience took shape in the heart of a family, where he lived for thirty years. His family was like any number of others, living in an obscure village on the outskirts of the Empire.
Charles de Foucauld, perhaps like few others, grasped the import of the spirituality which radiates from Nazareth. This great explorer hastily abandoned his military career, attracted by the mystery of the Holy Family, the mystery of Jesus’ daily relationship with his parents and neighbours, his quiet labour, his humble prayer. Contemplating the Family of Nazareth, Brother Charles realized how empty the desire for wealth and power really is. Through his apostolate of charity, he became everything to everyone. Attracted by the life of a hermit, he came to understand that we do not grow in the love of God by avoiding the entanglement of human relations. For in loving others, we learn to love God, in stooping down to help our neighbour, we are lifted up to God. Through his fraternal closeness and his solidarity with the poor and the abandoned, he came to understand that it is they who evangelize us, they who help us to grow in humanity.
To understand the family today, we too need to enter – like Charles de Foucauld – into the mystery of the family of Nazareth, into its quiet daily life, not unlike that of most families, with their problems and their simple joys, a life marked by serene patience amid adversity, respect for others, a humility which is freeing and which flowers in service, a life of fraternity rooted in the sense that we are all members of one body.
The family is a place where evangelical holiness is lived out in the most ordinary conditions. There we are formed by the memory of past generations and we put down roots which enable us to go far. The family is a place of discernment, where we learn to recognize God’s plan for our lives and to embrace it with trust. It is a place of gratuitousness. of discreet fraternal presence and solidarity, a place where we learn to step out of ourselves and accept others, to forgive and to be feel forgiven.
* * *
Let us set out once more from Nazareth for a Synod which, more than speaking about the family, can learn from the family, readily acknowledging its dignity, its strength and its value, despite all its problems and difficulties.
In the “Galilee of the nations” of our own time, we will rediscover the richness and strength of a Church which is a mother, ever capable of giving and nourishing life, accompanying it with devotion, tenderness, and moral strength. For unless we can unite compassion with justice, we will end up being needlessly severe and deeply unjust.
A Church which is family is also able to show the closeness and love of a father, a responsible guardian who protects without confining, who corrects without demeaning, who trains by example and patience, sometimes simply by a silence which bespeaks prayerful and trusting expectation.
Above all, a Church of children who see themselves as brothers and sisters, will never end up considering anyone simply as a burden, a problem, an expense, a concern or a risk. Other persons are essentially a gift, and always remain so, even when they walk different paths.
The Church is an open house, far from outward pomp, hospitable in the simplicity of her members. That is why she can appeal to the longing for peace present in every man and woman, including those who – amid life’s trials – have wounded and suffering hearts.
This Church can indeed light up the darkness felt by so many men and women. She can credibly point them towards the goal and walk at their side, precisely because she herself first experienced what it is to be endlessly reborn in the merciful heart of the Father.

Pope Francis holds audience with Banco Alimentare

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis on Saturday held an audience with the members of the Banco Alimentare, a charitable network which redistributes unused food products to the poor and needy.
Founded in 1989 by Sir Danilo Fossati and Father Luigi Giussani,  Banco Alimentare is a Food Bank whose charitable efforts promote the recovery of excess food and redistribute it to charitable structures within Italy.  Around 2,000 volunteers per day work to redistribute unused food, helping nearly 2 million people.
Listen to Devin Watkins’ report: 

In his address to the members of Banco Alimentare in the Vatican on Saturday, Pope Francis praised them for their “charitable network”, calling the levels of hunger in the world a “true scandal”. 
“Hunger”, the Holy Father said, “has assumed dimensions of a true ‘scandal’ which threatens the life and dignity of many people.” 
He called it an injustice that thousands of people go without food in a world ever more rich in alimentary resources.
The Holy Father also admitted the situation in Europe has been aggravated with the arrival of so many migrants and refugees who have fled from wars and violence in their home countries.
Recalling Jesus’ words in the Gospel of Matthew “I was hungry and you gave me food”, Pope Francis thanked the members for their efforts to feed Italy’s hungry.  “Though we cannot do a miracle as did Jesus,” he said, “we can do something humble … above all, we can educate ourselves in humanity to recognize the humanity present in every person in need.”
“Never forget”, he continued, “they are persons and not numbers … Remember to look them in the eye, shake their hand, recognize in them the body of Christ, and help them to reconquer their dignity.”
(from Vatican Radio)…

Fr Lombardi reacts to revelations by gay prelate

(Vatican Radio) The director of the Holy See press office Father Federico Lombardi on Saturday reacted to revelations by a high-ranking Vatican official that he is in a gay relationship.
43 year old Polish Monsignor Krzysztof Charamsa has been living in Rome for 17 years and has worked at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith since 2003. He also serves as assistant secretary of the International Theological Commission and teaches theology at two of Rome’s Pontifical universities , the Gregorian and the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum.
In the brief statement, Fr Lombardi said “the decision to make such a pointed statement on the eve of the opening of the Synod appears very serious and irresponsible, since it aims to subject the Synod assembly to undue media pressure”. He added that Msgr. Charamsa “will certainly be unable to continue to carry out his previous work in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Pontifical universities, while the other aspects of his situation shall remain the competence of his diocesan Ordinary”.
Please find below the statement by the director of the Holy See press office Father Federico Lombardi:
With regard to the declarations and interview given by Msgr. Krzystof Charamsa it should be observed that, notwithstanding the respect due to the events and personal situations, and reflections on the issue, the decision to make such a pointed statement on the eve of the opening of the Synod appears very serious and irresponsible, since it aims to subject the Synod assembly to undue media pressure. Msgr. Charamsa will certainly be unable to continue to carry out his previous work in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Pontifical universities, while the other aspects of his situation shall remain the competence of his diocesan Ordinary.
(from Vatican Radio)…

Methodology of the Synod of Bishops on the family which will commence on 4 October – An open and participatory debate

The next Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, dedicated to
the theme of the family, will be structured in a way that allows ample space
for the voices of the 270 bishops to be heard. This was announced by Cardinal
Lorenzo Baldisseri, Secretary General of the Synod, in a press conference on
Friday morning, 2 October, in the Holy See Press Office.The bishops will be joined by around 90
religious, auditors, experts, collaborators and fraternal delegates. The Synod
will commence on Sunday 4 October with a mass celebrated by Pope Francis in St.
Peter’s basilica. Cardinal
Baldisseri highlighted three ways in which participants can take action during
the work: through programmed participation during the general congregations,
the space reserved for free interventions at the end of each day, and small
group discussions divided into different languages. One
of the novelties of this fourteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod,
which has been dedicated to the theme “the vocation and mission of the family
in the Church and the contemporary world”, is the number of Circuli minori,
which are thirteen (one German, four Englishmen, three Spaniards, two Italians
and three French), and are five more than the previous ordinary meeting which
took place in 2012. Another novelty is that at the end of each week the Working
Groups will make their reports public. Considering that the work will be
divided into three parts, one for each section of the Instrumentum laboris (dedicated
to listening to the challenges faced by the family, and to discerning its
vocation and mission today), in total 39 reports will be made public. At
the end of the work a final text will be presented to be approved by the Synod
Fathers. To ensure transparency, the Commission for the Elaboration of the
Final Report was established and appointed by Pope Francis. The Commission will
oversee the development of each of the three parts of the report, the final
text of which will be presented in plenary session. Cardinal Baldisseri said
that this will “harmonise the various positions that emerge. The Commission of
the ten will ensure greater transparency.” If there are amendments “they will
be added in the final text that will be read in its entirety, followed by the
voting.” At the end of the three weeks, “a text will result as the fruit of the
reflections and various interventions of the Synod Fathers.” There will be no
obstacles to discussion.  …