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Day: April 21, 2016

Bulletin for May 1, 2016

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Pope Francis greets Italian Caritas chapters

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis told members of Italy’s Diocesan Caritas chapters their mission is to express “concrete love for every human person, with a preferential option for the poor.”
The Caritas network of Italy is holding its national convention in Rome. The local chapters are part of the international Caritas family, which helps the poor, vulnerable, and excluded across the world.
“Given the challenges and contradictions of our time, Caritas has the difficult – but fundamental – task of making sure charitable service become everyone’s task; that is, the whole Christian community becomes the subject of charity,” said Pope Francis.
“This is the main object of your existence and your actions: to be a stimulus and a soul so that the whole community grows in charity, and knows how to discover new ways to be close to the poorest, to be able to read and confront the situations that oppress millions of our brothers and sisters –  in Italy, in Europe, and in the world,” continued the Holy Father.
Pope Francis then noted the importance of properly recruiting and training Caritas volunteers for their various roles, and acknowledged the “time, resources, and abilities” each volunteer invests.
“Faced with the global challenges that sow fear, guilt, financial speculation – even on food, environmental degradation, and war,” – the Holy Father said – “it is necessary, along with the daily work on the ground, to continue efforts to educate on the respectful and fraternal encounter between cultures and civilizations; and the care of creation, for an ‘integral ecology’.”
The Pope said this includes advocating to civil institutions and promoting “appropriate legislation” in favor of the common good.
“I encourage you not to tire of promoting, with tenacity and patient perseverance, communities who possess a passion for dialogue, to experience conflicts in an evangelical way, without denying them but making them opportunities for growth and reconciliation,” Pope Francis said.
“May you always speak proudly of your desire to go to the causes of poverty, and try to remove them; of your efforts to prevent exclusion; to affect the mechanisms that generate injustice; to work against any structure of sin,” he said. “This begins in the parishes: It is the precious work and capillaries of the parochial Caritas chapters, which must continually spread and multiply through the territory.”
Pope Francis also encouraged the local Caritas chapters to continue to help immigrants, both with solidarity and to help them integrate into the community.
(from Vatican Radio)…

?Mass at Santa Marta – Journey and remembrance

Along the path of life we never walk alone,
and in order to remember that God is beside us, he helps us understand that
salvation is not a momentary event but a history that unfolds day by day, amid
successes and failures, until the final encounter. The parallel between the
history of the people of Israel and that of the individual Christian guided
Pope Francis’ meditation during Mass at Santa Marta on Thursday morning, 21

should appreciate this history, because “remembering brings us closer to God”,
the Pontiff said. Thus, he recalled, the day’s reading from The Acts of the
Apostles (13:13-25) regarding the first preaching by Jesus’ Apostles “was
historic”. In preaching the Gospel, “they arrived at Jesus, but by retelling
the whole history of the People of Israel”, starting with “father Abraham”,
moving on through “Moses, the deliverance from Egypt, the Promised Land”,
until, regarding King David, they concluded: “From this man’s descendants God,
according to his promise, has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus”. In this way
they gave an historical account of the journey that God “had made with his

this, Francis said, “makes us think that Christ’s message, Christ’s salvation,
this gift that God has given us, is not a momentary event and nothing more: it
is a journey!”. It is the journey “that God wanted to make with his people” and
which must not be forgotten. This is why remembrance is repeatedly advised
throughout Scripture. For example, in the Book of Deuteronomy, which is
actually “the book of the memory of Israel”, we read: “Remember, remember!
Remember this!”. Therefore, it is important, the Pontiff explained, “to turn
back to see how God saved us, by following
— with the heart and mind — the path with these memories and in this way
to arrive at Jesus”.

himself had emphasized remembrance and “in the greatest moment of his life”, he
gave us his body and blood “and said: ‘Do this in memory of me’”. Hence, we
must “remember how God saved us”.

is an invitation that the Church accepts each day in the Liturgy of the
Eucharist. In this regard the Pope pointed out that in the prayer at the
beginning of the day’s Mass there was an invocation to “God who had redeemed
man and lifted him beyond the ancient splendour”. The Pope then added: “the
people must remember” that God did all of this “on the journey” with his

every Eucharist we celebrate “the memory of this salvation; the memorial of
Jesus who is present on the altar to give his life to us”. But, Francis added,
“we too, in our own personal life, must do the same: remember our journey”,
because “each of us has made our way, accompanied by God”, close to God, close
to the Lord”, at times even “distancing ourselves from the Lord”. In any case,
the Pontiff advised, “it does the heart good” for every Christian to remember
“his own path” and understand how God “led him or her here”, how God led us by
the hand.

In retracing the journey made, we should
also be cognizant of the times we have said to the Lord: “No! Move away! I don’t want…!” — and “the
Lord”, the Pope emphasized, “is respectful” even of this — but it is important
to remember “our own life and our own journey”.

It is helpful to repeat this practice often
and to remember: “At that moment God gave me this grace and I responded in this
way…”, to tell ourselves: “I did this, this, and that”, and to realize that
God has always accompanied us. In this way, the Pope said, “we arrive at a new
encounter”, one which could be called the “encounter of gratitude”, in which we
could pray in this way: “Thank you Lord for the company you have given me, for
this journey you have made with me!”. We could also ask forgiveness for the
sins and mistakes that we may be aware of, knowing that God “walks with us and
is not afraid of our malevolence”; he is “always there!”.

this regard, the Pontiff added: “How often have we closed the door in his face;
how often have we pretended not to see him, not to believe the he was there
with us; how often have we denied his salvation…. But he was there!”. It is
important “to remember all of this”, as it is to remember “our good deeds”. How
often, for example, “have we helped others, cared for a sick person”.

Pope then advised that we “remember the whole journey” because “remembering
brings us closer to God”. It is, Francis explained, a sort of “re-creation”, of
“regeneration, which leads us beyond the ancient splendour that Adam had in the
first creation”. To end his homily the Pope repeated several times this simple
advice: “Remember!”. Whether remembering the entire course of one’s life,
remembering the course of today’s events or those of the past year, it always
good to ask: “How has my relationship with the Lord been?”, and to remember,
the Pontiff concluded, “the great and beautiful things the Lord has done in
each of our lives”.

Holy See addresses Meeting on minority education rights

(Vatican Radio) The Permanent Representative of the Holy See to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Msgr. Janusz S. Urbańczyk, addressed the Organization’s High Level Meeting on the 20th Anniversary of the Hague Recommendations on the Education Rights of National Minorities, taking place Wednesday and Thursday of this week in Geneva.
Below, please find the official English version of his prepared remarks
Mr. Chairman,
The  Holy  See  takes  this  opportunity  to  reiterate  its  gratitude  to  the  OSCE  High  Commissioner  on  National  Minorities  for  her  role  in  providing  early warnings  and, as appropriate, early action  in  relation  to tensions involving  national minority issues that have conflict potential within the OSCE area.
We are gathered here today to reflect on the Hague Recommendations  which  were  not  intended  to  be  comprehensive  but  to  serve  as  a  general  framework whose goal was to “assist States in the process of minority education  policy development”.
At this point in human history, when various negative forces threaten the  legitimate aspirations for peaceful co-existence that exist in many regions of the  world, my  Delegation  would  like  to  use  this  opportunity  to  explore  the  responsibility shared by all participating States, as well as  by  civil society, in  doing everything possible to educate  their  people, especially the young,  so that  they  become  peace-makers  and  promoters  of  true  tolerance  and  nondiscrimination.
The  Holy  See  wishes  to  underline  the  importance  of  the  religious  identity of national minorities. It  has a  distinctive duty to insist on the role of  religion, not  for  purely  partisan reasons  nor  because it  is  uninterested in other  aspects  of the issue, but because  it feels that  religion  has left, and  continues to  leave,  a mark in  the history, identity, culture and social life of our societies and  communities.
Education, especially at school, plays a great role in  the  promotion  of  religious tolerance and non-discrimination because it addresses  the roots of the  phenomenon. Mingling with students who belong to different religions is in  itself a great help to understand the unity of mankind. Moreover, it is  important  that schools  teach about different religions and  allow  each student to manifest  and  express plainly and openly  her or his belief. Knowledge about  the  other’s  religion can reduce harmful misunderstandings and stereotypes.
Educational programmes should be developed and strengthened in order  to promote a better understanding and respect for different cultures, ethnicities  and religions. These programmes should also hand on some  paramount  values  like  the dignity of every person and the solidarity amon g peoples. Education in  respect  for  human rights and fundamental freedoms is no less important, both  for students at all levels,  as well as for  students  attending military, police and  public service schools.
According  to  the  indivisibility,  interdependence  and  interrelation  of  human  dimension  commitments,  in  developing  and  implementing  these  programmes,  participating States should always respect the right of parents to  ensure  the  religious  and  moral  education  of  their  children  in  conformity with  their own convictions, a right that is enshrined in both the International  Covenants on Human Rights as well as in the OSCE commitments.
In this regard,  it should be noted that such parental right s  do not imply  only  the  right  of  parents  to  choose  their  children’s  schools,  other  than  those  established  by  public  authorities,  or  the  rights  to  establish  and  manage  alternative  educational  institutions;  it  also  requires  States  to  ensure  that  instruction  in  public  schools  does  not  pursue  an  aim  of  indoctrination  and  to  ensure that  children  are not  forced to attend  lessons  that are  inconsistent with  the convictions of their parents.
Many States, in fact, provide –  or intend to provide  –  in public schools,  compulsory  classes  on  ethical  or  religious  subjects.  Such  instruction  is  appreciated but it should be  borne  in mind that States cannot pursue an aim of  indoctrination and that children shouldn’t be forced to participate in courses that  are  not  consistent  with  the  convictions  of  their  parents.  Therefore, it is  preferable  that  such  teachings  be  facultative,  and,  when  they  are  compulsory,  participating States should provide non-punitive and non-discriminatory opt-out  possibilities.
In  the  Catholic  Church’s  view,  all  people  of  whatever  race,  nation,  religion,  sex  or  age,  in  virtue  of  their  dignity  as  human  persons,  have  an  inalienable right to education. This education should be suitable to the particular  destiny of the individual person, and should be conducive to fraternal relations  within  diverse  societies  in  order  to  build  stable  multi-ethnic  societies  and  promote true unity and peace between the countries of the OSCE region.
Children and young people who are molded by an education oriented  towards respect  for  national and religious minorities today, will be the building  blocks  on  which  the  society of tomorrow  can  be  constructed.  But  in  order  to  reach  that  goal, there is a long way to go, since building a  just  and  peaceful  society: “requires  a  wholehearted  commitment  to  eliminate  not  only  evident  discrimination  but  also  all  barriers  that  divide  groups…The increased  awareness… regarding the situation of minority groups constitutes for our own  times  a  hopeful  sign  for  the  coming  generations  and  for  the  aspirations  of  minority  groups  themselves…  respect  for  minorities  is  to  be  considered  the  touchstone of social harmony and the index of the civic maturity attained by a  country and its institutions” .
Finally, my Delegation is confident that, through the commitments of  the OSCE and the efforts of its High Commissioner on National Minorities,  participating States will make progress in ensuring that national minorities  enjoy a quality education that will be a helpful tool in preventing conflicts, by  inculcating values of tolerance, pluralism, respect and international and intercommunal harmony, capable of preserving regional peace and security.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
(from Vatican Radio)…