(Vatican Radio) Celebrating 85 years since the foundation of Saint Josaphat’s Ukrainian Pontifical College in Rome, Pope Francis encouraged Ukrainian seminarians to become shepherds of communities in which love and respect for others will flourish.
The Saint Josaphat College was founded upon the wish of Pope Pius XI and is currently run by the Basilian monastic order.
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In his message to future Ukrainian priests, Pope Francis recalled that the institution was built with the intent of conveying a message of love and closeness to those faithful “who live in areas of suffering and persecution”.
He invited them to prepare for their apostolic mission as deacons and priests studying the Church’s Social Doctrine and recalling the example of Pope Pius XI whom, he said, “always and firmly raised his voice in defending the faith, the freedom of the Church and the transcendent dignity of every human person” while condemning the atheistic and inhumane ideologies that bloodied the 20th century.
“Also today the world is world is wounded by wars and violence” the Pope said with a particular reference to the beloved Ukrainian nation “from which you came and to where you will return” after having completed your studies in Rome.
Backing his encouragement to spread a culture of peace and acceptance with words from the Gospel, the Pope said “to you, seminarians and priests of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, these challenges may seem out of your reach; but let us remember the words of the Apostle John: I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the Word of God abideth in you, and you have overcome the wicked one.”
The Pope said that by loving and proclaiming the Word they will become true shepherds of the communities that will be entrusted to them.
“It [the Word] will be the lamp that illuminates your heart and your home, whether you prepare for celibacy or for married priesthood, according to tradition of your Church” he said.
Francis invited them to love and to guard their traditions avoiding all forms of sectarianism and he urged them to ask their flocks “to learn to love and respect each other, to abandon their weapons, to reject war and all kinds of abuse”.
“Never forget the Covenant between God and mankind” he said.
The Pope invoked the intercession of the Holy Mother of God who is venerated in the Ukrainian National Shrine of Zarvanytsya.
“She wants the priests of her Son to be like the torches lit at night in front of her Shrine reminding everyone, especially the poor and the suffering, and even those who perpetrate evil and sow violence and destruction, that the people who walked in the darkness saw a great light; that a light shone upon those who lived in a land of shadows” he said.
Pope Francis concluded revealing a personal devotion to the Ukrainian icon of Our Lady of Tenderness, a gift of the Major Archbishop from when they were together in Buenos Aires, and sharing his memory of a Ukrainian priest, Father Stepan Chmil, whom he knew when he was a young boy back in 1949 and from whom he learnt how to be an altar boy for the Ukrainian Mass: “He spoke of the persecutions, of the suffering, of the ideologies that persecuted Christians. And he taught me to be open to a different liturgy, something I always keep in my heart”.
The Pope also said that last time he was in Buenos Aires, Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church had asked him for testimonies with which to open the canonization process of Father Chmil who was ordained bishop in secrecy: “I wanted to remember him today because it is an act of justice to thank him before you for the good that he did to me”.
(from Vatican Radio)…
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a message to participants at a conference taking place in Rome on the theme ‘Pope Paul VI, the pope of modernity”.
In the message Pope Francis notes that the conference is taking place 50 years after the publication of his predecessor’s encyclical ‘ Popolorum Progressio ’, often described as one of the key Catholic Social Teaching documents.
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That encyclical, he said, sought to be a “solemn appeal for concerted action in favour of integral human development”. The appeal remains just as urgent today, Pope Francis said, as poverty increases and peace is threatened on a daily basis in different parts of the world.
In order to build peace, he continued,Pope we must eliminate the causes of discord, starting with injustice, since peace is the work of justice. Thus, he said, the conference reflections focused on ‘justice among peoples’ is particularly topical, inspired by a sense of ‘The Gospel in motion’, bringing Christian faith, hope and charity to the men and women of today.
Finally, Pope Francis noted that the conference is also exploring the theme of Paul VI’s love for Italy. He emphasized the fact that the soul of the Italian people bears witness to a genuine solidarity which is at the basis of all our human communities. We must never tire of promoting this witness of authentic humanism, he said, without which our dignity is at risk.
(from Vatican Radio)…
Pope Francis on Thursday spoke about the duty of every Christian of “building the Church, safeguarding the Church and Purifying the Church”. Delivering a homily at his morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta residence in the Vatican, he spoke about the three tasks on the liturgical feast the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica, the Cathedral of Rome Diocese, known as the “mother of all the Churches”. The Pope said this title is not a “cause of pride but of service and of love.”
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Regarding building the Church, the Pope said one must first of all know that Jesus Christ is its foundation. The Pope said, “He is the corner stone of this building,” and “without Jesus Christ there is no Church.” A Church without foundation will just collapse, he warned. A Church without a living Jesus will come down.
He further explained that “we are the living stones” of this Church. All are not same but each one is different, and this, the Pope stressed, is the wealth of the Church. Each one of us builds according to the gift God has given us, he said, adding, a uniform Church is not a Church.
Speaking about safeguarding the Church, the Pope said it means being aware of the Holy Spirit who is in us. The Pope lamented that many Christians know Jesus Christ and the Father because they pray the “Our Father”. But speak to them about the Holy Spirit, and He is associated with a dove and nothing more. But the Pope insisted that the Holy Spirit is the life of the Church and He is your and my life. We, the temple of the Holy Spirit, he said, must safeguard Him as St. Paul urges Christians not to “sadden the Holy Spirit”, i.e. not to go against the harmony that the Holy Spirit creates in us and in the Church. He is harmony, and He creates harmony in the building.
Finally, regarding the task of “purifying the Church,” the Holy Father said, it begins with us. For this, he said, all need to recognized our sinfulness. Anyone claiming not be a sinner would be a good curiosity, he said. Since we all are sinners, we need to purify ourselves continuously. This in turn purifies the community, the diocesan community, the Christian community and the universal community of the Church. This is what makes the Church grow, the Pope said.
(from Vatican Radio)…
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis is putting a stop to the sale of cigarettes and tobacco inside Vatican City State.
A statement released on Thursday by Greg Burke , Director of the Holy See Press Office, explained that the Holy See “cannot be cooperating with a practice that is clearly harming the health of people.”
Citing the World World Health Organization statistics that smoking causes more than seven million deaths worldwide every year, he said cigarettes will not be sold at the Vatican as from the beginning of next year.
Burke acknowledged that the sale of cigarettes has been a source of revenue for the Holy See, but he said “no profit can be legitimate if it is costing people their lives.”
“Although the cigarettes sold to employees and pensioners in the Vatican at a reduced price are a source of revenue for the Holy See, no profit can be legitimate if it puts lives at risk” the statement said.
He added that the sale of large cigars would continue for the time being because the smoke is not inhaled.
(from Vatican Radio)…
Pope John Paul I has moved a step closer to sainthood with the recognition of his heroic virtues. Pope Francis on Wednesday authorized the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to promulgate the decree approving his predecessor’s heroic virtues which confers on him the title ‘ Venerable’.
Pope Francis also authorized 7 other decrees along with that of John Paul I – two of them on martyrdom and 5 on heroic virtues.
Venerable Servant of God Pope John Paul I
Pope John Paul I whose heroic virtues Pope Francis has approved and declared him ‘ Venerable Servant of God’ had a brief papacy of just 33 days, yet has left an indelible mark on the Catholic Church.
A ‘ Smiling Pope’ as he is called in that short duration of his pontificate gave nine speeches, three messages, wrote three Apostolic letters and four other official letters, gave two homilies and had five Sunday ‘Angelus’ prayers and four Wednesday general audiences. This short encounter if not his vast experience as a priest, bishop, Patriarch of Venice and then the Cardinal has proved him to be a person of faith, humble and meek person yet tough when it comes to Church teachings. Love of God and love of neighbor was his special hallmark.
Born on 17th Oct 1912 at “Forno di Canale (Belluno, Italy), Albino Luciani was son of Giovanni Luciani and Bortola Tancon. He was baptized the same day at home, by the midwife, as he was in danger of death but formalized two days later in the Church by the curate. On 2nd Feb 1935 he was ordained deacon and on 7 th July 1935 Ordained to the priesthood at St. Peter’s Church of Belluno diocese of Belluno e Feltre.
In February 1947 he Graduated from the Gregorian University in Rome with a doctorate in Sacred Theology, his thesis being, “The origin of the human soul according to Antonio Rosmini”. 27 th December 1958 he was Consecrated Bishop by John XXIII at St. Peter’s Basilica together with the newly consecrated bishops, Gioacchino Muccin and Girolamo Bortignon.
In 1977 he participated in the IV Ordinary General Assembly in Rome of the Synod of Bishops regarding “Catechetics in Our Time”. August 10 the following year brought him again to the Vatican after the death of Pope Paul the VI.
On 26 th August during the second day of the conclave, he was elected Supreme Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church and he chose his name John Paul I, wishing to serve the Church as his predecessors did. During his first Sunday Angelus he humbly acknowledged that he chose that name knowing that he neither had the wisdom of the heart of Pope John nor the preparation and culture of Pope Paul. With this name he became the first Pope to take up a dual name in papal history.
Luciani vowed to serve as a teacher and a servant and had taken up Humilitas (Humility) as his episcopal motto which was evident even after he was appointed a pope. He wished to do away with Papal Coronation mass and chose to have just papal inauguration. He also preferred not to use the ‘sedia gestatoria’ or the ceremonial throne like an armchair on which the Pope travels from St Peter’s Square.
Luciani a warm, gentle and kind man with a friendly disposition was loved by the people who were in awe of his persona. He had impressed people with his excellent oratory skills. His ideologies reflected the spirit of humanity and showcased the immense love and warmth that he had for God and his people.
His swift six point plan defined what the journey of his pontificate would be. He planned to renew the Church through the policies implemented by Vatican II, to revise canon law, to remind the Church of its duty to preach the Gospel, to promote Church unity without watering down doctrine, to promote dialogue and to encourage world peace and social justice.
His successors looked upon him as a gentle soul with a heart filled with love. If his immediate successor Cardinal Karol Wojtyła spoke of his values of faith, hope and love, Benedict XVI commented that it was due to his virtues that despite holding papacy for just 33 days, he was able to win the people’s hearts. For Pope Francis, John Paul I was an icon of mercy and humility and he has quoted him in his homilies and in an interview. His qualities of heart and mind made him affable.
Already two miracles are attributed to his intercession and are under examination. If any of them is recognized, he would be cleared for Beatification.
(from Vatican Radio)…