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Pope Francis sends message to conference on Paul VI



(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.

Listen to our report:



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)



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Pope sends letter to Card. Parolin for Casamari Cistercian Abbey celebration



(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis sent a letter on Friday to the papal legate for the celebration of the 8th centenary of the consecration of the Basilica of the Casamari Cistercian Abbey in Italy.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, was appointed on 19 August as the papal legate for the celebration, which takes place on 15 September.

Cardinal Parolin is accompanied by a mission composed of the following ecclesiastics:

– Don Ugo Gianluigi Tagni, abbot vicar general of the Congregation of Casamari;

– Rev. Fr. Sebastiano Paciolla, O.Cist., under-secretary of the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life.

The following is the Pope’s full letter to the Cardinal Secretary of State:

Venerabili Fratri Nostro

PETRO S.R.E. Cardinali PAROLIN
Secretario Status

Octingenti transeunt anni ab illo die quo Summus Pontifex Honorius III, Decessor Noster rec. mem., adstantibus Cardinalibus, Episcopis et  fidelibus, in sollemni liturgia Basilicam consecravit Casamariensem, sanctis martyribus Romanis dicatam Ioanni et Paulo nec non Beatae Deiparae et Virgini Mariae. Sacra illa aedes saeculis decurrentibus in provincia potissimum spirituali, morali et cultus divini magni ponderis exstitit non solum in terris circumstantibus, sed etiam in tota Italia media et meridionali. Venusta eius architectura animum monachorum Cisterciensium revelans, magnificum constituit testimonium eorum precis, cantus, meditationis atque apud multos peregrinos et visitatores singularem suscitat admirationem.

Fausta ergo occasione memorati iubilaei data, dilecti sodales Congregationis Cisterciensis Casamariensis evangelici itineris elementa altiore usque modo perscrutantur, Domini vocem diligenter auscultant, spiritali ratione fideles abbatiam invisentes sequuntur ut omnes clare Divinam providentiam misericordiamque experiri possint. Die autem XV proximi mensis Septembris sollemnis agetur in memorata sacra aede celebratio, signum gratitudinis erga Deum omnipotentem ob tanta Eius beneficia quae saeculorum decursu fidelibus ibidem orantibus largiri est dignatus. Quapropter Reverendus Dominus Eugenius Romagnuolo, Abbas Praeses Congregationis Cisterciensis Casamariensis, humanissimas Nobis litteras scripsit quibus Nosmet Ipsos ad celebrationem hanc invitavit. Grati omnino hac de invitatione, quam in corde Nostro tenemus, decernimus tamen eminentem Virum illuc mittere qui Nostras vices Casamarii gerat Nostramque erga Christi discipulos ibi commorantes et adstantes dilectionem significet.

Ad Te ergo, Venerabilis Frater Noster, qui munus Secretarii Status studiose exerces, mentem Nostram vertimus Teque hisce Litteris LEGATUM NOSTRUM nominamus ad octavam centenariam memoriam consecrationis Basilicae Casamariensis, quae memorato die Casamarii sollemniter perficietur.

Praeclaro illo in templo sollemni praesidebis Eucharistiae atque omnes adstantes, sacros Pastores, presbyteros, religiosos viros ac mulieres, christifideles laicos, sermone tuo ad diligentiorem usque Christi vitae imitationem cohortaberis: oportet enim ut novis viribus novaque diligentia peculiarem dilectionem Ecclesiae et Evangelii demonstrent atque fidei virtute cotidie ardeant. Singularem insuper salutationem Nostram dilectis monachis Cisterciensibus transmittes; exoptamus omnino ut omnipotens Deus hanc monasticam Congregationem auxiliis suis foveat ita ut, vestigiis suos antecessores secuti, tum in sanctificatione adipiscenda tum in sacro ministerio explendo uberes iugiter fructus colligant (cfr Pius PP. XII, Litterae apostolicae Cum ex Summi Pontificatus, AAS 35 [1943], 392).

Nos autem Te, Venerabilis Frater Noster, in tua missione implenda precibus comitabimur. Denique Benedictionem Apostolicam, caelestium donorum pignus, libentes Tibi impertimur, quam omnibus celebrationis participibus rite transmittes.

Ex Aedibus Vaticanis, die XXV mensis Augusti, anno MMXVII, Pontificatus Nostri quinto.

(from Vatican Radio)



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Pope Francis sends video message ahead of Colombia visit



(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis on Monday sent a video message to the people of Colombia ahead of his Apostolic Journey to the country on 6-11 September, inviting them to “take the first step” towards peace.

Listen to Devin Watkins’ report:



With just a handful of days to go before his Apostolic Journey, Pope Francis invited all Colombians to “take the first step” in reaching out to their neighbor in a sign of peace.

He thanked those “who welcome me to your land and into your heart” for their many efforts to prepare his visit.

“Let us take the first step” is the theme of his Apostolic Journey to Colombia, and the Holy Father said it “urges us to be the first to love, in order to build bridges and create solidarity.”

He said Colombia has long yearned and worked for peace, which, he said, should be “a stable and lasting peace, so that we see and treat each other as brothers and not as enemies.”

“Peace,” he said, “reminds us that we are all children of the same Father, who loves and consoles us.”

Pope Francis went on to say he is “honored to visit this land so rich in history, culture, and faith.”

He called Colombia a land “of men and women who have labored with tenacity and perseverance to make it a place where harmony and solidarity reign, where the Gospel is known and loved, and where saying ‘brother and sister’ seems not out of place but a true treasure to protect and defend.”

Finally, the Holy Father said the Church is called “to the task of promoting reconciliation, both with the Lord and between brothers, as well as reconciliation with the environment, which is God’s Creation and which we are savagely exploiting.”

Please find below a Vatican Radio English-language translation of the video:

Dear people of Colombia, in just a few days I will visit your country. I come as a pilgrim of hope and peace to celebrate with you the faith in our Lord and also to learn from your charity and perseverance in search of peace and harmony.

I cordially greet and thank the President of the Republic and the bishops of the Episcopal Conference for the invitation to visit Colombia. I also thank each of you, who welcome me to your land and into your heart. I know that you have worked so very hard to prepare this encounter. My appreciation goes to all who have collaborated – and continue to – so that it may become a reality.

“Let us take the first step” is the theme of this Journey. It reminds us that a first step is always required for any activity or project. It also urges us to be the first to love, in order to build bridges and create solidarity. Taking the first step encourages us to reach out to our neighbor, to extend a helping-hand, and to offer a sign of peace. Peace is what Colombia has sought after for a long time, and she is working to achieve it: A stable and lasting peace, so that we see and treat each other as brothers and not as enemies. Peace reminds us that we are all children of the same Father, who loves and consoles us. I am honored to visit this land so rich in history, culture, and faith. [It is a land] of men and women who have labored with tenacity and perseverance to make it a place where harmony and solidarity reign, where the Gospel is known and loved, and where saying ‘brother and sister’ seems not out of place but a true treasure to protect and defend. Today’s world needs specialists in peace and dialogue. The Church also is called to the task of promoting reconciliation, both with the Lord and between brothers, as well as reconciliation with the environment, which is God’s Creation and which we are savagely exploiting.

My dear Colombian brothers and sisters, I yearn to live these days with you with a joyous spirit and with gratitude to the Lord. I warmly embrace you and ask the Lord to bless you, to protect your country, and to give you peace. And I ask our Mother, the Holy Virgin, to watch over you. And, please, don’t forget to pray for me. Thank you and see you soon.

 

(from Vatican Radio)



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Pope Francis sends condolences for Nigeria church attack



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Monday sent a message of condolences following an attack at a Church in southeastern Nigeria. At least 11 people were killed and 18 others were wounded when gunmen opened fire on worshippers who had gathered early on Sunday at St Philip’s Catholic church in Ozubulu near the city of Onitsha.

In the message, signed by Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the pope says he is “deeply saddened to learn of the loss of life and injury”. He extends his “heartfelt condolences” to the local bishop and to “all the faithful of the diocese of Nnewi, in particular the families of the deceased and all those affected by this tragedy.”

Police said they believe the attack may have been linked to drug trafficking and was carried out following a feud between local residents and member of the community living outside Nigeria.

Please see below the full text of the message from Pope Francis to the bishop of the diocese of Nnewi in Nigeria

The Right Reverend Hilary Paul Odili Okeke

Bishop of Nnewi

Deeply saddened to learn of the loss of life and injury following the violent attack in Saint Philip’s Catholic Church, Ozubulu, His Holiness Pope Francis extends heartfelt condolences to you and to all the faithful of the Diocese of Nnewi, in particular the families of the deceased and all those affected by this tragedy. Upon the entire Diocese, His Holiness willingly invokes the divine blessings of consolation and strength.

                                                                 Cardinal Pietro Parolin

                                                                Secretary of State

(from Vatican Radio)



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Pope sends video message to Church in Peru



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a video message to Catholics in Peru, ahead of his planned pastoral visit there next January. The short video message was published on the website of the archdiocese of Lima by Archbishop Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne.

Listen to our report: 

In the message Pope Francis talks about the wealth of human resources that characterize the past and present of the Church in the South American nation. Peru has many great saints, he says, who have contributed to the building up of the Church, helping it to move from fragmentation to unity.

Saints work for unity

A saint, the pope continues, is someone who always work to create unity, just as Jesus did, and a saint must always follow in his footsteps.

In the video the pope invites all Peruvians to follow on this path and to work for unity, looking to the future with hope, rather than with bitterness or skepticism. A Christian always looks ahead with hope, he concludes, because he or she always hopes to see the realization of what the Lord has promised.

Pope to visit Chile and Peru

Pope Francis is scheduled to travel to Chile and Peru from January 15th to 21st, visiting the Peruvian cities of Puerto Maldonado and Trujillo, as well as the capital Lima.

(from Vatican Radio)



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Pope Francis sends letter to interfaith prayer meeting in Japan



(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis has sent a letter to the 30th Prayer Meeting on Mount Hiei in Kyoto, Japan, inviting all religions to “pray and work together for peace”.

“It is my pleasure to send my cordial greetings to you and to the distinguished representatives of the different religious traditions,” he wrote.

The Pope’s letter was delivered and read to participants by Cardinal John Tong Hon, Bishop-emeritus of Hong Kong.

It was addressed to Venerable Koei Morikawa, the Supreme Priest of the Tendai Buddhist Denomination, with whom Pope Francis met privately in the Vatican on September 16, 2016.

“This annual religious summit contributes in a special way to the building up of that spirit of dialogue and friendship which allows the followers of the world’s religions to work together to open new paths for peace in our human family.”

Pope Francis also said prayer “inspires and sustains our efforts for peace, because it helps to deepen our reciprocal respect for each other as persons, strengthens the bonds of love between us, and spurs us to make decisive efforts towards promoting just relations and fraternal solidarity.”

The annual prayer meeting closes on 6 August in commemoration of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.

(from Vatican Radio)



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Pope Francis sends letter in support of migration info portal



(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis has sent a letter to the Italian news agency ANSA (Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata), expressing his approval and support for the new InfoMigrants news portal aimed at providing migrants with accurate information.

InfoMigrants.net was launched in March by ANSA, in coordination with France’s Media Monde and Germany’s Deutsche Welle, and publishes content in English, Arabic, and French.

Pope: ‘Project promotes integration’

In the letter to ANSA’s Editor-in-Chief, Luigi Contu, Pope Francis said he learned “with pleasure” about the “important project”. The service seeks to provide migrants and prospective migrants with information regarding all aspects of the journey to Europe and life there once they have arrived.

“I wish to express my sincere appreciation for the important project, and I hope, on the one hand, that it promotes the integration of these persons with all due respect for the laws of the countries which welcome them and, on the other, that it elicit within society a renewed commitment to an authentic culture of welcome and solidarity,” the Pope wrote.

Opportunity for human growth

He went on to describe the phenomenon of migration as an “opportunity for human growth”.

“The presence of so many brothers and sisters who experience the tragedy of immigration is an opportunity for human growth, encounter, and dialogue between cultures in view of the promotion of peace and fraternity among peoples.”

Pope Francis assured those involved in the project his prayers and invoked the protection of God, “Father of all, that He may accompany all who are constrained to leave their homelands because of armed conflicts, terrorist attacks, famine, and oppressive regimes.”

Finally, the Pope said he hoped migrants encounter “brothers and sisters under every sky, who share with them bread and hope along our common journey.”

(from Vatican Radio)



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Pope Francis sends message to UN Food and Agriculture Organization: Full Text



(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis on Monday sent a message to participants in the 40th General Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in Rome.

The message was read out by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State.

At the end of the message, Cardinal Parolin officially announced that Pope Francis will visit the Rome headquarters of the FAO on World Food Day, 16 October 2017, at the invitiation of its Director-General, José Graziano da Silva.

Please find below the official English translation of the message:

Message of His Holiness Pope Francis to the Participants in the 40th General Conference of FAO

3 July 2017

Mr President,

I offer my respectful and cordial greetings to you, and to all the Representatives of the Member States of FAO, as you assemble for the Organization’s fortieth Conference.

My greeting also goes to the Director-General and to the leaders of the other International Organizations present at this meeting, which is called to provide appropriate responses to issues involving the agricultural and food production sector, on which the expectations of millions of people depend.

1. I regret that I cannot be present with you today, as has been an established tradition dating back to the beginning of FAO’s presence in Rome.  I have therefore asked Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State, to convey to you my message of encouragement and support, as well as my respect and esteem for the demanding task that you must carry out.

The Holy See closely follows the work of the international community and wishes to assist its efforts to promote not mere progress or development goals in theory, but rather the actual elimination of hunger and malnutrition.  All of us realize that the intention to provide everyone with his or her daily bread is not enough.  Rather, there is a need to recognize that all have a right to it and they must therefore benefit from it.  If the goals we continue to propose still remain distant, that is largely dependent on the lack of a culture of solidarity, which fails to make headway amid other international activities, which often remain bound only to the pragmatism of statistics or the desire for efficiency that lacks the idea of sharing.

The commitment of each country to increase its own level of nutrition, to improve agricultural activity and the living conditions of the rural population, is embodied in the encouragement of the agricultural sector, in increased production or in the promotion of an effective distribution of food supplies.  Yet this is not enough.  In effect, what those goals demand is a constant acknowledgment that the right of every person to be free of poverty and hunger depends on the duty of the entire human family to provide practical assistance to those in need.

Hence, when a country is incapable of offering adequate responses because its degree of development, conditions of poverty, climate changes or situations of insecurity do not permit this, FAO and the other intergovernmental institutions need to be able to intervene specifically and undertake an adequate solidary action.  Since the goods that God the Creator has entrusted to us are meant for all, there is an urgent need for solidarity to be the criterion inspiring all forms of cooperation in international relations.

2. A glance at the current world situation does not offer us a comforting picture.  Yet we cannot remain merely preoccupied or, worse, resigned.  This moment of evident difficulty must make us even more conscious that hunger and malnutrition are not only natural or structural phenomena in determined geographical areas, but the result of a more complex condition of underdevelopment caused by the indifference of many or the selfishness of a few.  The wars, acts of terrorism and forced displacements that increasingly hinder or at least strongly condition even cooperative efforts are not inevitable, but rather the consequence of concrete decisions.  We are dealing with a complex mechanism that mainly burdens the most vulnerable, who are not only excluded from the processes of production, but frequently obliged to leave their lands in search of refuge and hope.  Likewise, decisions taken in full freedom and conscience determine the data relative to assistance given to poor countries.  This continues to decrease daily, in spite of reiterated appeals in the face of ever more devastating crisis situations emerging in different areas of the planet.

We need to be aware that in these cases the freedom of choice of each must take into account solidarity towards all, in relation to actual needs, and the fulfilment in good faith of commitments undertaken or proclaimed.  In this regard, inspired also by the desire to encourage governments, I would like to make a symbolic contribution to the FAO programme that provides seeds to rural families in areas affected by the combined effects of conflicts and drought.  This gesture is offered in addition to the work that the Church continues to carry out, in accordance with her vocation to stand at the side of the earth’s poor and to accompany the effective commitment of all on their behalf.

This commitment is asked of us today by the 2030 Development Agenda, when it restates the idea that food security is a goal that can no longer be put off.  Yet only an effort inspired by authentic solidarity will be capable of eliminating the great number of persons who are undernourished and deprived of the necessities of life.  This is a very great challenge for FAO and for all the Institutions of the international community.  It is also a challenge that the Church is committed to on the front lines.

It is my hope that the sessions of this Conference can give renewed impulse to the work of the Organization and provide the practical responses needed and desired by millions of our brothers and sisters.  For they see in the activity of FAO not only a technical contribution to increase resources and to distribute the fruits of production, but also a concrete and even unique sign of a fraternity that helps them to look to the future with confidence.

May Almighty God, who is rich in mercy, bless you and your service, and grant you the strength needed to contribute to the authentic progress of our human family.

From the Vatican, 3 July 2017

(from Vatican Radio)



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Pope sends condolences for death of Cardinal Husar



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a telegram his condolences on the death of His Beatitude, Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, Major Archbishop emeritus of Kyiv-Halyč. The telegram is addressed to Major Archbishop Sviatoslav (Shevchuk), Cardinal Husar’s successor as head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. The UGCC is the largest of the sui iuris Eastern Catholic Churches, with more than 4.5 million faithful.

In the telegram, signed by the Pope himself, the Holy Father describes Cardinal Husar as a zealous pastor, and recalled “his tenacious faithfulness to Christ, despite the hardships and persecutions against the Church, as well as his fruitful apostolic activity to promote the organization of Greek Catholic faithful, descendants of families forced to leave western Ukraine, and his efforts to find new ways for dialogue and collaboration with the Orthodox churches.”

Below, please find the full text of Pope Francis’ telegram of condolences for the death of His Beatitude Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, Major Archbishop emeritus of Kyiv-Halyč:

His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk
Major Archbishop of Kyiv-Halyč

I have learned of the departure of Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, Major Archbishop emeritus of Kyiv-Halyč, and I raise fervent prayers to God that He may grant eternal repose to this zealous pastor. I unite spiritually with the faithful of this diocesan community where he exercised his pastoral ministry, endeavouring with care to serve the rebirth of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. I remember his tenacious faithfulness to Christ, despite the hardships and persecutions against the Church, as well as his fruitful apostolic activity to promote the organization of Greek Catholic faithful, descendants of families forced to leave western Ukraine, and his efforts to find new ways for dialogue and collaboration with the Orthodox churches. In expressing my condolences to the relatives of the departed cardinal, to the clergy and to those who were aided by his episcopal ministry, I wholeheartedly impart a consoling apostolic blessing, as a sign of faith and Christian hope in the risen Lord.

Franciscus pp.

(from Vatican Radio)



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