By Devin Watkins
As preparations continue for next year’s World Youth Day in Lisbon, thirteen holy men and women are being held up as examples of holiness for young people around the world.
Cardinal Manuel Clemente, the Patriarch of Lisbon, says these patrons “have shown that life in Christ fills and saves the youth of all times.”
In a press statement released on Tuesday, the Cardinal explores the contribution each holy person can make in the lives of young people.
“The patroness par excellence of the next World Youth Day is the Virgin Mary, the young woman who accepted to be the mother of the incarnate Son of God”
Cardinal Clemente also pointed to Pope St. John Paul II, who brought the WYD events to life, “which have brought together and encouraged millions of young people from the five continents.”
He added that all 13 men and women “dedicated themselves to the service of youth”, especially St. John Bosco and St. Vincent.
The Cardinal Patriarch held up the example of 7 saints from Lisbon: St. Anthony, a 13th century Franciscan; St. Bartholomew of the Martyrs, a 16th century Dominican participant in the Council of Trent; St. John de Brito, a 17th century Jesuit missionary and martyr; Blessed Joana of Portugal, a 15th century daughter of a king who gave up everything to become a Dominican nun; Blessed João Fernandes, a 16th century Jesuit martyr; and, Blessed Maria Clara del Niño Jesus, a 19th century aristocratic woman who became a mother to the poor of Lisbon.
Cardinal Clemente tied in four young Blesseds who died at a young age in the past century: Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, an Italian man who encouraged others with “his dynamism, joy, and charity”; Blessed Marcel Callo, a French young man who died in a forced labor camp in Germany; Blessed Chiara Badano, an Italian teenager who died from a painful bone cancer; and, Blessed Carlo Acutis, an Italian teenager who spread the word of God through the nascent internet and later died from leukemia.
Each diocese around the world has also chosen patron saints to help their young people journey towards WYD Lisbon 2023.
The international event takes place on 1-6 August, and will likely see the Pope join “hundreds of thousands of youth from all over the world”.
The first WYD took place in 1986 in Rome, and was later held in Buenos Aires (1987), Santiago de Compostela (1989), Czestochowa (1991), Denver (1993), Manila (1995), Paris (1997), Rome (2000), Toronto (2002), Cologne (2005), Sydney (2008), Madrid (2011), Rio de Janeiro (2013), Krakow (2016), and Panama (2019).
Pope Francis has sent a message of condolence on the death of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates and Sovereign of Abu Dhabi.
The message was addressed to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates.
In it, the Pope writes that he was saddened to learn of the death of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and offers heartfelt condolences and prayers.
He also joins with the people of the Emirates “in mourning his passing and paying tribute to his distinguished and far-sighted leadership in the service of the nation.”
Pope Francis writes that he is “particularly grateful for the solicitude shown by His Highness to the Holy See and to the Catholic communities of the Emirates, and for his commitment to the values of dialogue, understanding and solidarity between peoples and religious traditions solemnly proclaimed by the historic Abu Dhabi Document and embodied in the Zayed Award for Human Fraternity.”
In commending His Highness to the eternal mercies of the Most High God, the Pope also prays that his legacy will “continue to inspire the efforts of men and women of goodwill everywhere to persevere in weaving bonds of unity and peace between the members of our one human family.”
By Deborah Castellano Lubov
Pope Francis has authorised the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated and Societies of Apostolic Life to grant dispensations that would allow non-clerics to hold the office of Major Superior in some cases.
The Holy Father did so in a rescript promulgated on Wednesday, concerning the possibility of a dispensation from Canon 588 §2 of the Code of Canon Law (CIC), which stipulates that that clerical institutes be governed by clerics.
Major superiors, along with their vicars, are those who govern an entire or a part of a clerical institute, and are called to “devote themselves diligently to their office and together with the members entrusted to them are to strive to build a community of brothers or sisters in Christ,” according to the CIC.
The rescript provides for three separate cases: the supreme moderator of an institute of consecrated life or society of apostolic life can name a non-cleric as a superior for a local community with the consent of his council; likewise, the supreme moderator, acting with the consent of his council, can name a non-cleric as a major superior after having received written permission from the Congregation; and a non-cleric can be elected as a supreme moderator or a major superior, in accordance with the law providing for such cases, but such an election must be confirmed in writing by the congregation.
Pope Francis conceded the rescript to the Congregation at an 11 February audience with the Prefect, Cardinal João Braz de Aviz. The rescript regarding major superiors, which will be published in L’Osservatore Romano, and subsequently in the official commentary, the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, enters into force today.
Vatican City, May 18, 2022 / 06:03 am (CNA).
Pope Francis said on Wednesday that learning about St. Charles de Foucauld’s spirituality helped him during a period of crisis as a theology student.
“I would like to thank St. Charles de Foucauld, because his spirituality did me so much good when I was studying theology, a time of maturation and also of crisis,” the pope said on May 18, during a meeting with members of the Spiritual Family of Charles de Foucauld.
The association’s members were in Rome for the May 15 canonization of the French explorer who became a hermit and missionary in Algeria, where he was killed in 1916.
Charles de Foucauld “helped me so much to overcome crises and to find a way of Christian life that was simpler, less Pelagian, closer to the Lord,” the pope said. “I thank the saint and bear witness to this, because he did me so much good.”
During the meeting, held in a room off of the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall before his general audience, Francis did not offer more details about the crisis he experienced as a theology student.
The pope studied theology as a seminarian from 1967 to 1969. In 1986, he spent three months at the Sankt Georgen Graduate School of Philosophy and Theology in Frankfurt, Germany, where he began a doctoral dissertation on Romano Guardini, an Italian-born German priest.
His studies were cut short when the Jesuits called him back to Argentina to be a spiritual director in Córdoba and his dissertation was never finished.
At the meeting on Wednesday, Pope Francis called Charles de Foucauld “a prophet of our time, who was able to bring to light the essentiality and universality of faith.”
The Trappist priest condensed the meaning of belief, the pope said, “into two simple words, in which there is everything: ‘Jesus — Caritas.’”
Francis quoted a letter of the martyred saint, who wrote to his cousin Marie de Bondy in 1915, while “in the silence of the hermit life,” that “we are inclined to put first works, whose effects are visible and tangible, God gives first place to love and then to sacrifice inspired by love and obedience resulting from love.”
“As a Church,” the pope said, “we need to return to the essentials, not to get lost in so many secondary things, at the risk of losing sight of the simple purity of the Gospel.”
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By Vatican News staff writer
Finland and Sweden have officially submitted their applications to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), an intergovernmental military alliance between 30 member states from North America and Europe.
The applications, handed over by Sweden and Finland’s ambassadors to NATO, were received by NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg at the organization’s headquarters in Haren, north-east of Brussels.
This latest decision by Finland and Sweden reflects shifting public opinion among the Nordic Member States of the European Union since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.
It could also bring about an expansion of the Western alliance that Russia had invoked as one of the reasons for the launch of their “special military operation” in Ukraine.
The Finnish Parliament voted in favour of backing the government’s proposal to apply for NATO membership on Tuesday, while Sweden’s prime, Magdalena Andersson, confirmed that a broad majority in Sweden’s parliament backed NATO membership as the best thing for the security of the country.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the move by Finland and Sweden did not threaten Moscow directly, but insisted against any expansion of military infrastructure by the alliance.
At the ceremony to receive the applications on Wednesday, Stoltenberg highlighted that “this is a good day at a critical moment for our security.” He added that “all allies agree on the importance of NATO enlargement. We all agree that we must stand together, and we all agree that this is an historic moment which we must seize.”
Experts say that the process of full accession into NATO could take up to a year as the application must now be weighed by member countries.
However, Stoltenberg said that NATO allies “are determined to work through all issues and reach rapid conclusions.”
Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed reservations about Sweden and Finland joining NATO at a news conference on Monday.
Turkey says its objections are based on Sweden and Finland’s support for members of Kurdish militant groups, and Sweden’s decision in 2019 to impose arms export embargos on Turkey over its military operations in Syria.
Erdogan has also asked both countries not to bother to send delegations to Ankara to try to persuade Turkey to approve their applications.
All NATO member states must agree that a new country can join the alliance, therefore, Turkey’s support is required to further Sweden and Finland’s bid to join NATO.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson welcomed Finland and Sweden’s bid to join NATO, noting in a tweet on Wednesday that it is an “historic day for our alliance and the world.” Canada has also said it expects to ratify the accession protocol of both countries within a few days.
The Vatican’s Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, started a three-day visit to Ukaine on Wednesday to bring Pope Francis’ closeness to the people affected by the ongoing war in the Eastern European country.
The visit is taking place on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Ukraine and is aimed at reaffirming “the importance of dialogue to restore peace”, reads a tweet of Secretariat of State.
It was originally planned before Easter, but had to be postponed due to health reasons.
The mission starts in the city of Lviv where the English prelate is expected to meet the local Greek-Catholic Archbishop Igor Vozniak , and to visit a shelter for internally displaced people. On May 19 he will then meet the president of the Lviv region, Mr. Maksym Kozytskyy, His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk, Major Archbishop of Kyiv-Halic and head of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, and with the president of the Polish Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki.
On Friday, the Secretary for Relations with States is expected to meet Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in Kyiv and visit war sites near the capital. He will also hold a press conference.
Archbishop Gallagher announced his trip to Ukraine last week during a wide-range interview on Italian television programme “Tg2 Post” focused on the war in Ukraine, rearmament, and the international and ecumenical repercussions of the conflict.
In the interview, the Vatican diplomat reaffirmed that the Holy See firmly supports dialogue to find a solution to the crisis, remarking that words “carry a great weight” in diplomatic activity, especially if “people’s lives” depend on them. He further insisted on the need avoid the risk of instrumentalization and to restore “frankness and sincerity”.
Archbishop Gallagher is the the third papal envoy dispatched to the region by Pope Francis, after Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the papal almoner, and Cardinal Michael Czerny, Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, went to Ukraine and bordering countries to assess the humanitarian needs of Ukrainian refugees and bring them the Holy’ Father’s solidarity.
Vatican City, May 18, 2022 / 04:20 am (CNA).
Pope Francis urged Catholics on Wednesday to feel free to protest spontaneously to God when faced with suffering and injustice.
“Sometimes I meet people who approach me and say: ‘But, Father, I protested against God because I have this and that problem…’ But, you know, friend, that protesting is a way to pray when it is done like that,” he said.
“When children, when young people object against their parents, it is a way of attracting their attention and of asking that they take care of them.”
“If you have some wound in your heart, some pain, and you want to object, object even to God. God will listen to you. God is a Father. God is not afraid of our prayer of protest, no! God understands. But be free, be free in your prayer. Don’t imprison your prayer within preconceived paradigms.”
The live-streamed catechesis was the 10th in a cycle on old age that the 85-year-old pope began in February. He entered St. Peter’s Square in a white jeep, stopping to invite a group of children in red hats to join him for part of his journey past rows of pilgrims.
After touring the square, the jeep pulled up behind a raised platform in front of St. Peter’s Basilica. The pope, who suffers from knee pain, was helped to exit the vehicle and walk slowly to the white chair where he gave his address.
The pope described the Book of Job as “a universal literary classic” and meditated on how the prophet Job lost everything but retained his belief in God’s justice, despite being surrounded by spiritually ignorant friends.
He said: “On our catechetical itinerary, we meet Job when he was an old man. We encounter him as a witness of a faith that does not accept a ‘caricature’ of God, but protests loudly in the face of evil until God responds and reveals his face.”
“And in the end, God responds, as always, in a surprising way — He shows Job His glory without crushing him, or better still, with sovereign tenderness, tenderly, just like God always does.”
“The pages of this book need to be read well, without prejudices, without stereotypes, to understand the power of Job’s cry. It would be good for us to put ourselves in his school to overcome the temptation of moralism due to the exasperation and bitterness of the pain of having lost everything.”
The pope noted that Job reached a turning point at the height of his “venting,” when he proclaimed: “I know that my Redeemer lives, and at last he will stand upon the earth” (Job 19:25-27).
“This passage is really beautiful,” he commented. “It makes me think of the end of that brilliant oratorio of Handel, the ‘Messiah,’ after the celebrative Hallelujah, the soprano slowly sings this passage: ‘I know that my Redeemer lives,’ peacefully.”
“And so, after this painful and joyful experience of Job, the voice of the Lord is something else. ‘I know that my Redeemer lives’ — it is truly a beautiful thing. We could interpret it like this: ‘My God, I know You are not a Persecutor. My God will come and do me justice.’”
“It is the simple faith in the resurrection of God, the simple faith in Jesus Christ, the simple faith that the Lord is always waiting for us and will come.”
Pope Francis said that the drama of Job is played out today when “really heavy trials fall on a person, on a family, on a people.” He mentioned parents of children with serious disabilities and people with chronic illnesses.
“These situations are often aggravated by the scarcity of economic resources. At certain junctures in history, the accumulation of burdens gives the impression that they were given a group appointment. This is what has happened in these years with the COVID-19 pandemic, and is happening now with the war in Ukraine,” the pope reflected.
He asked: “Can we justify these ‘excesses’ to the higher intelligence of nature and history? Can we religiously bless them as justified responses to the sins of the victims, as if they deserve it? No, we cannot.”
“There is a kind of right that victims have to protest vis-à-vis the mystery of iniquity, a right that God grants to everyone, that indeed He himself inspires, after all.”
Concluding his address, the pope said that many elderly people walked a similar path to Job, undergoing great suffering but continuing to hold on to God’s promises.
He said: “They have suffered so much in life, they have learned so much in life, they have gone through so much, but in the end, they have this peace, a peace, I would say, that is almost mystical, that is, the peace from an encounter with God to the point they can say, ‘I knew you because I had heard about you, but now I have seen you with my own eyes’ (Job 42:5).”
“These elderly people resemble the peace of the Son of God on the Cross who is abandoned to the Father.”
After the pope’s address, a summary of his catechesis was read out in seven languages.
Addressing English-speaking Catholics, he said: “I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s audience, especially those from the United Kingdom, Denmark, Israel and the Middle East, Canada and the United States of America.”
“In the joy of the Risen Christ, I invoke upon you and your families the loving mercy of God our Father. May the Lord bless you!”
After addressing Italian pilgrims, Pope Francis said: “Finally, my thoughts go, as usual, to the elderly, the sick, the young, and newlyweds.”
“Dear young people, do not be afraid to put your energies at the service of the Gospel, with the enthusiasm characteristic of your age; and you, dear elderly and dear ill people, be aware that you offer a valuable contribution to society thanks to your wisdom; and you, dear newlyweds, let your families grow as places where you learn to love God and your neighbor in serenity and joy.”
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By Deborah Castellano Lubov
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) released the new “State of the Global Climate 2021” report on Wednesday in Geneva, warning that the past seven years have been the hottest years to date and that four key climate indicators set new records last year.
The report will be used as an official document for the UN Climate Change Conference 2022, known as COP27, taking place in Egypt in November.
According to the report’s findings, the indicators of sea-level rise, ocean heat, greenhouse gas concentrations, and ocean acidification, set unprecedented highs in 2021.
Despite illustrating the grim reality of how climate is changing in unprecedented ways, the report suggested there are “many options to alleviate the impacts, through both mitigation and adaptation.”
Even if adaptation improves, the text cautioned that climate change will worsen unless the underlying drivers are addressed. Only if all sectors and regions greatly and immediately reduce emissions, it stated, will it be possible to keep warming below 1.5° C.
Underscoring the harsh reality presented in the document, UN Secretary-General António Guterres also issued his own video message, stressing, “Time is running out.”
He proposed five “critical actions” to jump-start the renewable energy transition, including renewable energy technologies, such as battery storage, being treated as essential and freely-available global public goods.
While calling for securing, scaling up, and diversifying the supply of critical components and raw materials for renewable energy technologies, he urged governments “to build frameworks and reform bureaucracies to level the playing field for renewables” and “to shift subsidies away from fossil fuels to protect the poor and most vulnerable people and communities.”
Guterres also urged private and public investments in renewable energy must triple to at least $4 trillion dollars a year.
“If we act together, the renewable energy transformation can be the peace project of the 21st Century,” the UN Secretary-General said.
Warning that “without renewables, there can be no future,” he urged both public and private leaders “to stop talking about renewables as a distant project of the future.”
“As today’s report makes clear, it’s time to jump-start the renewable energy transition before it’s too late”
Paul Samasumo -Vatican City.
The Lesotho workshop organised by the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) under the Lesotho Catholic Bishops Conference was held at the Sisters of St. Joseph’s Elizabeth Residence in Sekamaneng.
The main objective was to train religious congregations on pastoral care for migrants and refugees. The workshop was also seen as complementary to the services of Advocacy for Basotho nationals. The latter is about information on the rights nationals have when they cross the border into South Africa -as migrant workers.
According to Sr. Julia Maeeane, Lesotho has seen refugees from the Comoros, Eritrea, DRC and Uganda in recent years.
“The whole idea was to try and bring Fratelli Tutti into our own context of Lesotho. There is not much awareness about the plight of refugees or migrants in Lesotho. Fratelli Tutti, as you know, is the third encyclical of Pope Francis, and it is on fraternity and social friendships. Through this document, we tried to see how we can better relate with refugees, migrants and people on the move,” said Sr Julia in an interview with Sheila Pires of South Africa.
“43% of the households in Lesotho have at least one of its members living away from home,” said Sr Julia. She added, “apart from migrants, refugees and people on the move who come from outside, there is also in Lesotho internal migration. Generally, these are people who come from rural areas to the city in search of employment or due to natural disasters in their areas of origin,” she said.
Lesotho is located in Southern Africa and is totally surrounded by South Africa. Traditionally Lesotho has been a country that sent migrant workers mainly to South Africa’s mines. For years, migrant work has been an essential source of income for many Basotho families. The decline in South Africa’s mine employment for Basotho has, however, given rise to new forms of migration from Lesotho.
By Vatican News staff reporter
In his continuing catechesis on the meaning and value of old age in the light of God’s word, Pope Francis turned to the great biblical figure of Job.
He told the faithful gathered at Wednesday’s General Audience in St Peter’s Square that Job’s persevering faith amid profound suffering led him to understand that God, who often appears silent in the face of evil, is nonetheless mysteriously present with His redemptive mercy and love.
“We encounter him as a witness of a faith that does not accept a ‘caricature’ of God, but protests loudly in the face of evil until God responds and reveals His face,” said the Pope.
“He shows Job His glory without crushing him, or better still, with sovereign tenderness.”
In his affliction, said Pope Francis, Job rejects the simplistic explanations of evil offered by his friends and pours out all his violent pain and protest before God.
The Father Himself, “rebukes Job’s friends who presumed they knew everything about God and about suffering, and, having come to comfort Job, ended up judging him with their preconceived paradigms,” he noted.
But at the same time, Job places his trust in God’s justice, to be revealed in due course.
The parable of the Book of Job, explained the Pope, “dramatically represents in an exemplary way what truly happens in life – that really heavy trials fall on a person, on a family, on a people that are disproportionate in comparison to human lowliness and frailty.”
All of us know situations where good people endure sufferings that appear unjust and unbearable, yet, like Job, continue to put their faith in God’s promises, he said.
In particular, Pope Francis mentioned the parents of children with serious disabilities, or those who live with a permanent illness, or those who assist a member of their family.
“At certain junctures in history,” he continued, “the accumulation of burdens gives the impression that they were given a group appointment. This is what has happened in these years with the Covid-19 pandemic, and is happening now with the war in Ukraine.”
“God does not shy away from confrontation,” noted Pope Francis, “but, from the beginning, allows Job to give vent to his protest.”
“Prayer must be like this, spontaneous, like that of a son with his father, who tells him everything [that] comes into his mouth because he knows that the father understands him.”
Job’s profession of faith, underlined the Pope, which emerges precisely from his incessant appeal to God, to a supreme justice, concludes with him saying “I had heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You” (42:5).
“This testimony is particularly believable if it is picked up in old age, in its progressive frailty and loss. Those who are old have witnessed so many of these experiences,” the Pope said.
Concluding his catechesis, Pope Francis stressed that the elderly, who find the path of this testimony, who turn their resentment for their loss into a tenacity for awaiting God’s promises “are an irreplaceable garrison for the community regarding the excesses of evil.”
By their example, of prayer and trust, he said, the elderly, grandmothers and grandfathers, can teach us to unite ourselves to the crucified Jesus, who on the Cross surrendered Himself completely into the hands of His heavenly Father.
By Devin Watkins
Just three days after declaring Charles de Foucauld a Saint, Pope Francis met with a delegation of the many women and men inspired by the French missionary’s life and charism.
Speaking to the Association of the Spiritual Family of Charles de Foucauld on Wednesday, the Pope called him a “prophet for our times, who knew how to highlight the essence and universality of the faith.”
He said St. Charles de Foucauld boiled the meaning of faith down into two words: “Iesus – Caritas (“Jesus – Love”).
The Saint discovered that truth by returning to Jesus’ hidden life at Nazareth, after he lived in Jesus’ hometown for a year.
“I encourage you, like Brother Charles, to continue to envision Jesus walking in the midst of people, patiently carrying out a difficult job, and living day-to-day in a family and a city.”
Pope Francis said it must please the Lord to see men and women imitate St. Charles along “the path of littleness, humility, and solidarity with the poor.”
He added that the French missionary discovered the essence of the faith, which he wrote was that “God gives primacy of place to love and then to sacrifice inspired by love and obedience derived from love.”
The Pope urged the Church to return to the “essence of the faith, not to get lost in secondary things and risk losing sight of the pure simplicity of the Gospel.”
Saint Charles de Foucauld, added the Pope, also focused on the universality of faith, living Christianity as a brother to all, especially during his 15 years in the Sahara Desert of Algeria.
“He did not have the objective of converting others, but only of living in the gratuitous love of God, carrying out an ‘apostolate of goodness’.”
The new Saint sought to have “Christians, Muslims, Jews, and idolaters” consider him their brother by opening the doors of his house to all people.
Pope Francis thanked the men and women inspired by St. Charles de Foucauld for helping spread his spirituality and openness, “especially in a time like ours in which we risk closing ourselves off, increasing distances, and losing sight of our brothers and sisters.”
The Pope concluded his speech by inviting the group to focus on St. Charles’ joy, “because joy is the purest witness that we can offer to Jesus in every place and time.”
By Vatican News
“Considering that the Pontifical Foundation ‘Scholas Occurrentes’ today continues to expand its beneficial action and is structured as a community of communities and an educational movement of international character, it requires a new juridical form in keeping with this new reality,” writes Pope Francis with a chirograph (a papal decree) signed on 19 March 2022.
Scholas Occurrentes’ roots are to be found in educational projects created for children in impoverished areas in the city of Buenos Aires, at the initiative of the then Archbishop, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio. Since the inception of the foundation, it has grown to become a worldwide network of schools that share their assets, with common objectives and special attention to those most in need.
Its mission is to answer the call to create a culture of encounter and bring young people together.
The chirograph notes that “acquiring juridical personality under civil law, in Spain, as a no-profit Foundation, it spread rapidly in more than seventy countries, in the five continents,” in accordance with canonical law, and was recognized as an “autonomous pious foundation” of pontifical law and erected as a private juridical person on the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, on 15 August 2015.
“Echoing the request matured by its Founders, I express my approval for the Pontifical Foundation Scholas Occurrentes to become a Private Association of the Faithful of international character… established as a private juridical person within the canonical order,” writes Pope Francis in the Chirograph.
He notes that these Statutes come into force as of 19 March 2022, and from that date, all the rights and obligations of the Pontifical Foundation Scholas Occurrentes conform with the rights and obligations of an association of this nature.
On Thursday, 19 May 2022, Pope Francis will be present, together with young members of the Association, for the launch of the Scholas Occurrentes International Movement at the Pontifical Urbaniana University in the Vatican.
Roberto Oliva is the Italian kickboxing champion. But the skill in the ring is not his only talent: he is very good with puppets, he knows how to make them move and talk, he knows how to invent stories with Pulcinella and Arlecchino. A trait that was handed down to him by his grandfather Carlo Piantedosi, historical puppeteer of the Gianicolo, with whom Roberto has always had a special relationship. He tells it in the short film “Inheriting a Passion”, which takes us back to an all-Roman tradition and, above all, makes us enter the life of a united family, in which grandparents play an important role.
The catechesis dedicated to “Grandparents and the Elderly” is also a reminder of the importance of those who are advanced in years, the sixth designed to accompany the faithful towards the X World Meeting of Families, scheduled in Rome from 22 to 26 June 2022, organized by the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life and by the Diocese of Rome. The short film, made by the director Antonio Antonelli, is combined with the catechesis, as well as the others already present on the website.
“Even grandparents and the elderly are part of our families,” reads the catechesis. “Today a prevailing throwaway culture tends to consider the elderly unimportant and even insignificant for society. Old age, on the other hand, is a further time to respond to God’s call. It is certainly a new, different and in some respects even more adult and mature response. The vocation to love is a call that God makes to us at every stage of our life. This means that grandparents and the elderly are also called to live the grace of their relationship with the Lord, through relationships with children, grandchildren, young people and children. The response to this call is articulated in two directions: one is given by what they can offer to others through their experience, their patience and their wisdom; the other from what they can receive from others in their condition of fragility, weakness and need. In this way, the elderly offer themselves and those who come into contact with them a further opportunity for human, authentic and mature growth”.
By Salvatore Cernuzio
Structural changes, novelties dictated by present contingencies, processes already underway for years and finally completed: Cardinal Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin, went to the heart of Praedicate evangelium, the Apostolic Constitution reforming the Roman Curia, which was published on 19 March and which will take effect 5 June. With the Apostolic Constitution, Cardinal Parolin said, “one of the main objectives that the present pontificate had set for itself from the beginning has been realized.”
The Cardinal opened a Study Day entitled, “Praedicate Evangelium: Structure, content and novelty,” which was organized by the Institutum Utriusque Iuris of the Pontifical Lateran University. The first major event since the publication of the Constitution, the study day is a significant moment of high-level discussion to understand the framework and criteria of the document with which Pope Francis has harmonized the changes to the Curia that have already been implemented and become operative during his pontificate. In addition to Cardinal Parolin, other speakers included Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, secretary of the Council of Cardinals for many years; the prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, Father Juan Antonio Guerrero Alves; the prefect of the Dicastery for Communication, Paolo Ruffini, and the Auditor General, Alessandro Cassinis Righini. Bishop Marco Mellino, secretary of the Council of Cardinals, who had been scheduled to speak, was absent for health reasons.
In the Aula Magna, in the presence of lecturers and students of the “Ateneo del Papa,” Parolin recalled the stages that, over the past nine years, have led to the drafting of the Constitution reforming the Curia, which he described as “an instrument in the hands of the Pope” for the good of the Church and the service of the bishops.
Praedicate evangelium, he said, is a response to the “repeated requests made by the cardinals during the Congregations prior to the 2013 Conclave.” Among the first acts of his pontificate, the Pope established the Council of Cardinals with the mandate “to study a project for the revision of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus.” Cardinal Parolin explained, “The envisioned reform was implemented progressively over several years, with the creation of new bodies and with inevitable subsequent adjustments, in ‘running’ institutions, entirely new and called to work together.”
Now, he continued, “Praedicate evangelium seeks to draw conclusions from the experiences and adjustments of the past years, taking new steps,” in order “to complete the overall picture,” Cardinal Parolin, said according to three criteria: “the communion of ecclesial institutions, cooperation in inter-office relations, and adjustment of personal attitudes.”
A large part of Cardinal Parolin’s speech focused on the role of the Secretariat of State, which “retains a special status in law because of its specific task of closely assisting the Supreme Pontiff in the exercise of his supreme mission.”
The functions of the Secretariat, he said, “are substantially the same as before,” albeit with some “variations.”
First and foremost, the changes relating to the economic sphere. In this regard, the Cardinal recalled the Motu proprio of 2020 that established that the Secretariat for the Economy would perform “the function of Papal Secretariat for economic and financial matters” and that investments and funds previously entrusted to the Administrative Office of the Secretariat of State would be transferred to the APSA. The new Constitution, he said, consolidated these changes. “The status of Papal Secretariat, as an office that closely assists the pastoral government of the Holy Father, is currently shared by two different curial institutions. In economic and financial matters, this status belongs to the Secretariat for the Economy, and in all other fields to the Secretariat of State,” Cardinal Parolin explained.
Cardinal Parolin also addressed the subject of the official communication of the Holy See, with the reorganization and creation of the Dicastery for Communication which, together with various institutions traditionally linked to the Secretariat of State (L’Osservatore Romano, Vatican Radio), also incorporated the Holy See Press Office.
The new provisions, Cardinal Parolin explained, “provide that the publication of the documents of the Holy See through the official Bulletin Acta Apostolicae Sedis remains reserved to the Section for General Affairs”; on the other hand, “that Section makes use of the Dicastery for Communication with regard to official communications concerning both the acts of the Pope and the activity of the Holy See, providing in this sphere precise ‘indications’ that the Dicastery must execute.”
Father Guerrero’s speech was wide-ranging, illustrating the changes that have taken place over the years in economic and financial matters. He described it as a “tortuous path” that has seen the establishment, suppression, amalgamation, or transfer of competencies of various economic bodies that have now been consolidated into the Council for the Economy, the Secretariat for the Economy, the Office of the Auditor General, and the Commission for Reserved Matters.
These bodies too, the Jesuit has repeatedly stressed, “are at the service of the mission”; and, in fact, they are not the “core business” of the Roman Curia, but an “aid to the service of the mission carried out by various curial Dicasteries and institutions,” where “the constant point of reference” is the Social Doctrine of the Church and “the duty is to preach the Gospel by example.”
The Holy See’s own financial actions are aimed at “aiding and obtaining material means to facilitate and make possible the Curia’s mission,” Father Guerrero stressed, “without causing the Church’s evangelization to lose credibility.” He insisted, “Efforts must be made so that the functioning of the Curia does not become an impediment to its mission”.
Father Guerrero went on to highlight a number of novelties introduced by Praedicate evangelium, such as the fact that financial transactions in investments must go through the IOR (the so-called “Vatican Bank”), or that the same investments, if over €500,000, must be approved by the Secretariat for the Economy (with the pandemic, the threshold was lowered to €100,000).
Finally, the Jesuit priest desired to clarify the nature and mission of the Commission for Reserved Matters, set up in September 2020 as envisaged by the so-called “Procurement Code.” It is a necessary clarification, he said, because the very name “reserved matters” could raise concerns that there are secret funds or financial actions that escape control. “No, there is no secrecy about the economy,” said the prefect. “Transparency” remains one of the guiding principles, but “in cases concerning the security of the State or of the Pope, or to preserve other Church assets, it is necessary that some activity or contract be submitted to the control of the competent bodies and the Commission’s authorization be requested.”
In the morning, Bishop Andrea Ripa, Secretary of the Apostolic Signatura, spoke on the topic of “conflicts of attribution” in what is commonly referred to as the Vatican’s “Constitutional Court.”
Professors Emile Kouveglio and Patrick Valdrini, respectively professor in office and professor emeritus of Canon Law at PUL, then spoke. The former dwelt on the theme of “primacy and episcopate” in Praedicate evangelium, starting from the “healthy decentralization” so often invoked by the Pope; the latter on how the Constitution moves in the constitutional law of the Church, taking up “the concept of a Curia with the character of a diakonia” [ministry of service]. Or rather of an “instrument,” as Paul VI described it, to which John Paul II added, “in the hands of the Pope.”
By Benedict Mayaki, SJ
The 5th Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour is taking place in Durban, South Africa from 15 – 20 May.
For the occasion, Pope Francis has sent a message extending his warm greetings and prayers to the participants in a letter addressed to Mr. Guy Rider, the Director-General of the International Labour Organization.
The six-day event aims to raise awareness about child labour and to accelerate efforts towards its elimination at a time when about 160 million children – almost one in ten worldwide – are being forced to work, according to the UN.
Pope Francis notes that in spite of the significant progress that has been made in eliminating child labour from society, the tragedy has been worsened by the impact of the global health crisis and the spread of extreme poverty in many parts of the world “where the lack of decent work opportunities for adults and adolescents, migration, and humanitarian emergencies condemn millions of young girls and boys to a life of economic and cultural impoverishment.”
More so, “too many small hands are busy plowing fields, working in mines, traveling great distances to draw water and doing work that prevents them from attending school,” the Pope lamented, thinking also of the victims of child prostitution which has “robbed millions of children of the joy of their youth and their God-given dignity.”
Pointing at poverty as the chief factor that exposes children to labour exploitation, Pope Francis encouraged the participants to deliberate on the “structural causes of global poverty and the scandalous inequality that continues to exist among the members of the human family.”
He also expressed confidence that the conference will lead to increased awareness on the part of social actors and relevant bodies – both national and international – to work towards finding “appropriate and effective ways of protecting the dignity and rights of children, especially through the promotion of social protection systems and access to education on the part of all.”
Pope Francis went on to highlight the Church’s particular concern on the issue of child labour, noting that the social teachings stress that ensuring the present and future of children also ensures the present and future of the entire human family.
Indeed, he added, “the way we relate to children, the extent to which we respect their innate human dignity and fundamental rights, expresses what kind of adults we are and want to be, and what kind of society we want to build.”
He then restated the Holy See’s commitment to working towards ensuring that the international community perseveres in its efforts to combat child labour exploitation resolutely, jointly and decisively, “so that children will be able to enjoy the beauty of this stage of life, while also cultivating dreams for a bright future.”
Concluding, Pope Francis thanked the organizers and promoters of the conference and prayed that their deliberations may be “a pledge of lasting growth and a prosperous future for children throughout the whole world.”
By Giancarlo La Vella
The incident took place as Shireen Abu Aqleh’s coffin was being transported from St. Joseph’s Hospital to the Greek-Melkite Cathedral Church. The denunciation of the Churches in the Holy Land issued with a common statement decried the attitude of the Israeli police, who broke into the hospital, “disrespecting the memory of the deceased and forcing the pallbearers almost to drop the coffin.”
The condemnation follows that already expressed by UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, after news of the death of the reporter, who worked for the Al Jazeera television network. Shireen Abu Aqleh was shot in the head during an operation by the Israeli security forces in the city of Jenin, in the West Bank. Guterres called for an independent investigation to clarify the facts of what happened.
“The Israeli Police’s invasion and disproportionate use of force,” the statement reads, “attacking mourners, striking them with batons, using smoke grenades, shooting rubber bullets, frightening the hospital’s patients, is a severe violation of international norms and regulations, including the fundamental human right of freedom of religion, which must be observed also in a public space.”
“The St. Joseph Hospital has always proudly been a place of encounter and healing for all, regardless of their religious or cultural belonging, and it intends to continue to be so,” the statement points out. The Church leaders conclude: “What happened last Friday deeply wounded not only the Christian community, the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Apparition, owner of the Hospital, and all the hospital staff, but also all peoples who in that place have found and still find peace and hospitality. The Sisters and the staff of St. Joseph Hospital will keep their commitment to be a place of healing. The tragic episode of last Friday makes this commitment even stronger than ever.”
By Benedict Mayaki, SJ
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is offering prayers for the support and healing of families, friends, and communities of those impacted by the violent incidents in Buffalo, New York, and Laguna Woods, California, over the weekend.
On Saturday, an 18-year-old man opened fire at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, killing ten people and wounding three others. The following day, a gunman attacked a lunch banquet in a Taiwanese church in Laguna Woods, killing one person and wounding five others. The shootings are not related.
In a statement on Monday, the Bishops offered prayers for the injured and those who lost their lives, as well as for those on the front lines who risk their lives responding to calls for help, and for those in the medical fields who minister to those who have been harmed.
Reports on the deadly incident in Buffalo say that the shooter, a white male, drove to Tops Friendly Market in the afternoon of 14 May, clad in military gear and live streaming with a helmet camera, and opened fire with an assault weapon on the victims.
Police said that he shot eleven black and two white victims before surrendering to authorities. He was later arraigned on first-degree murder charges.
The deadly shooting in Buffalo has been described by authorities as a “hate crime and racially motivated extremism.”
In a statement, US President Biden said he and the first lady were praying for the victims and their families. He added that there is still more to be learned about the motivation for the shooting as law enforcement does its work.
However, “We don’t need anything else to state a clear moral truth: A racially motivated hate crime is abhorrent to the very fabric of this nation,” Biden said. “Any act of domestic terrorism, including an act perpetrated in the name of a repugnant white nationalist ideology, is antithetical to everything we stand for in America.”
US Vice President, Kamala Harris also expressed sorrow for the victims of the attack and added that the “epidemic of hate across our country that has been evidenced by acts of violence and intolerance” must be called out and condemned.
“Racially-motivated hate crimes or acts of violent extremism are harms against all of us, and we must do everything we can to ensure that our communities are safe from such acts,” Harris said.
Law enforcement officials in the US state of California also suspect that the gunman who opened fire at a church in Laguna Woods, California, on Sunday, may have been motivated by political hatred of Taiwan.
The shooter, a man in his 60s, targeted the Geneva Presbyterian Church on Sunday, which is frequented by many people of Taiwanese descent. The churchgoers had just finished their morning service and were gathered for lunch when gunfire erupted. One person was killed and five other senior citizens were injured in the attack before the attacker was stopped and hog-tied by parishioners from the church.
An official of the Orange Country Sheriff’s office said that the shooter left notes in his car stating that he did not believe Taiwan should be independent of China.
According to the official, the shooter, who is of Chinese descent, had lived in the US for many years but also resided in Taiwan at some point. It is believed that his hatred of Taiwan may be related to his experiences while living there.
In their Monday statement, the US Bishops called for “an honest dialogue rooted in Christ in addressing the persistent evil of racism in our country” and highlighted the role of the Church as a “consistent voice for rational yet effective forms of regulation of dangerous weapons.”
The USCCB also restated its commitment to advocating for “an end to violence, and for the respect and dignity of all lives.”
Concluding their statement, the Bishops prayed for “support and healing of the communities impacted and for all the victims of violence and that Christ’s peace be upon all affected.”
An ACN Feature
In July 2013, Shagufta and Shafqat Emmanuel, a Catholic couple in Mian Channu, a small town 155 miles south of Lahore, Pakistan, were arrested on false charges of blasphemy. After eight years on death row, separated from each other and from their four children, they were finally released on 3 June 2021 by the Lahore High Court. Free at last, Shagufta shares her story with ACN, in her own words.
“I was born into a family with a strong Christian faith. I regularly attended Mass and received Communion, and I was always very eager to go to the catechism and recite the rosary. My father and my mother taught me and my six brothers and sisters to be strong in our faith, and to be ready for all kinds of sacrifices or persecutions.
“Most families in our village were Muslim, but there was also a good number of Christians. We had very cordial relations with Muslims. I remember playing with Muslim girls and we visited each other’s homes and exchanged greetings and sweets during Christmas and Eid al-Fitr. My brothers also had very good Muslim friends. I do not remember any fight or dispute in the name of religion.
“A few years after marrying Shafqat Emmanuel we moved to Gojra, and my husband got a job there. Tragically he was paralysed by a stray bullet, while trying to break up a fight, about 12 years ago. Life was hard after that, but we were fortunate to get jobs at St John’s High School, in Gojra. After school hours, my husband used to repair cell phones, to make some extra money for family expenses.
“Then, one day in July 2013, we were terrified to see several police vans pull up, with dozens of officers. They raided our house and arrested my husband and I on charges of blasphemy in the form of an offensive message about Mohammed, sent via our mobile SIM card. The phone was registered in my name and was used by my husband as well. The offending message was written in English, a language neither my husband nor I speak or read. We were kept in police custody for one night; the next day we were transferred to jail.
“In jail, we were tortured. The officers told my husband that if he did not confess, they would rape me in front of him, and so he confessed, even though we were both innocent.
“We were in jail for eight months before a judge found us guilty and sentenced us to death. Our lawyer was not allowed to complete his closing arguments, and neither of us was heard. I fainted when I heard this judgment of death. The sentencing was a great blow to us and to our family and shocked the whole Christian community in Pakistan and elsewhere.
“Shafqat was taken to the Faisalabad Jail, while I was taken to a cell on death row in Multan. We were on death row for eight long years. You can imagine how hard this was on my children, at that time my sons were 13, 10, and 7 years old and my daughter was only 5 years old. They had to keep moving and spent their time hiding from Muslim fundamentalists who threatened to attack them and only visited me every five or six months, for about 20 to 30 minutes. I cried every day for not being with my children. My life was terrifying, and I kept thinking that one day my husband and I would be hanged.
“Despite all these frightening nightmares, I never lost hope or my faith. I prayed daily, without fail. I read the Bible and sang Psalms and hymns in Urdu and Punjabi, and I took great comfort in that. I never lost faith and hope that since my husband and I were innocent, my ever-living Lord Jesus Christ – who defeated death and rose from the dead on the third day – would set us free and raise me up from death.
“Several times I was told that if I converted to Islam my death sentence would be turned into life in prison and that eventually I would be released. I always said no. The Risen Lord Jesus Christ is my life and Savior. Jesus Christ sacrificed his life for me though I am a sinner. I will never, ever change my religion and convert to Islam. I would rather be hanged than deny Jesus Christ.
“Meanwhile, divine intervention kicked in, and very strong voices were raised against our unfair trial and sentence in the European Parliament, by human rights organizations around the world, as well as by the Catholic Church, and Aid to the Church in Need. They prayed for our release and offered us moral and spiritual support. My husband and I will always be grateful to all our supporters. Thank you very much! God bless them all!
“For a while, Asia Bibi, who was also sentenced to death on false charges of blasphemy, was my neighbour on death row in Multan. Whenever we met, we used to pray together, console each other and renew our firm faith in Jesus Christ. At Christmas time we would share cake with other Muslim and Christian prisoners.
“When I heard that Asia was set free, my heart was filled with joy, and I was convinced that one day I too would be released. Finally, it happened, and my husband and I were set free. But how unfortunate it is that, just like Asia Bibi, Shafqat and I could not stay in Pakistan with our family and had to get asylum and settle in another country, because fanatic and extremists Muslim were set on killing us if we stayed in Pakistan.
“However, we are very happy that a European country has given us asylum and now our family is reunited. We are safe here, and we are free to practice our religion.
“I hope and pray that these false accusations of blasphemy, which are often made to settle personal scores, will stop in Pakistan and that those who are found guilty of falsely accusing others will be punished.
“All praise and glory be to my living Lord Jesus Christ, and my merciful God, who is a God of Justice.”
With thanks to Father James Channan who carried out the original interview.
By Devin Watkins
“As Pope Francis said in the days leading up to COP26, only if we all stop hiding behind our borders and work together can we create climate resilience and create solutions.”
Dalit Wolf Golan offered that perspective to Vatican News ahead of an event in Rome about climate change and women’s role in finding solutions.
“Thinking Green Together: A Feminine Perspective on Climate Change and Sustainability” is the title of the conference hosted on Tuesday at the Pontifical Faculty of Educational Sciences Auxilium, which was organized by the Embassy of Israel to the Holy See and the Association of Women in the Vatican (DIVA).
Ms. Wolf Golan, the Deputy Director of EcoPeace Middle East, works to turn a common problem in the Holy Land—the lack of potable water—into an issue on which to build consensus.
Some households in the Middle East, she said, live with an intermittent water supply, with access to water only once a week, once every 2-3 weeks, or even once every 3 months in the summer.
“Now, imagine running a household like that,” she said. “You have a tank on your roof that stores water. But how can you bridge that gap when it becomes two weeks, three weeks, three months?”
This daily hardship can greatly affect the quality of life of women in her region.
Though the burden of water shortage falls heavily on women, noted Ms. Wolf Golan, most political leaders are men, who potentially have the tools to effect change but at the same time often lack the interest to make the issue a priority.
“What we can do to bridge this gap is to make sure that the women’s voices on these issues are heard by the leaders.”
So, EcoPeace Middle East seeks to educate residents of Israel, Jordan, and Palestine about the realities of water in their region and about how climate change will aggravate the situation.
Palestine and Israel, for example, have a water arrangement that dates back to the 1995 Oslo Accords and which allocates 75% of water to Israel and 25% to Palestine, according to Ms. Wolf Golan. The arrangement remains unchanged because water is among the 5 “permanent status issues” that must be hashed out between Palestine and Israel.
Ms. Wolf Golan pointed out that the situation has changed greatly since 1995 regarding water. Israel, she said, has more than enough water due to increases in desalination capacity and ability to reuse wastewater.
She added that this new reality offers the “technical and real possibility for these allocations to be discussed, if there is the political will to do so.”
“This is something that very few people are aware of in communities that suffer from water crisis. What we want to do is to create a demand from the population for these issues to be resolved. And women, who are on the front line of the people who suffer most from the current realities, are the most important voices that need to be heard.”
Though borders between Jordan, Israel, and Palestine are more or less open, Ms. Wolf Golan pointed out that very little political or common contact occurs between the three and that “there is a lot of mistrust.”
She highlighted her NGO’s work to break down the misconceptions through education and focusing attention on shared challenges.
“It shows that we all have a self-interest to address these environmental challenges, which in our case are usually connected to water or a lack of water. And if we work on this self-interest, not because we want to be friends but because we want to achieve our own aims and we want to meet our own needs, then if we do together, we’ll find out that our self-interests come together into mutual gain. And once you achieve that, then everything is possible.”
Religion in the Holy Land—rather than being a barrier—can help galvanize people into overcoming their differences to work toward a common goal.
Ms. Wolf Golan noted that the Jordan River is holy to Christianity, Islam, and Judaism but that it currently runs at 5% of its ancient flowrate.
“It’s also a symbol of a problem that cannot be solved unless we work together,” she said. “It’s a border. It doesn’t matter if one side cleans up the river, if the other side doesn’t.”
Yet, as a religious symbol, leaders from various faiths can engage each other in working to seek out a solution on the political level.
The example shows how the environment can help different nationalities “come together to work on a common problem,” said Ms. Wolf Golan.
Vatican City, May 16, 2022 / 10:40 am (CNA).
Pope emeritus Benedict XVI has said that receiving congratulatory messages from around the world on his 95th birthday made him “very happy.”
On the website of the Tagespost Foundation, originally launched by Benedict XVI, the pope emeritus thanked well-wishers.
He said: “On the occasion of my 95th birthday, I received a great number of messages from around the world wishing me a happy birthday. These many expressions of devotion and solidarity have made me very happy. In my gratitude, I feel united with everyone in prayer.“
The messages were mainly written in German, English, Italian, and Polish.
Archbishop Georg Gänswein, the private secretary of the pope emeritus, showed Benedict XVI the messages on a tablet at his residence, the Vatican’s Mater Ecclesiae Monastery.
“The pope emeritus has asked me to express his heartfelt gratitude to everyone who wished him a happy birthday on the website benedictusXVI.org,“ Gänswein said.
“He was filled with great joy and deeply touched by the many warm and affectionate messages that were sent to him there.“
The retired pope’s birthday fell this year on Holy Saturday, as it did when he was born on April 16, 1927, in Marktl am Inn, a small Bavarian town not far from Austria.
Looking back to his birth in his memoir, he wrote: “The fact that the birthday was the last day of Holy Week and the eve of Easter was always noted in the family history, because it was connected with the fact that I was baptized right on the morning of my birthday with the water that had just been consecrated in the ‘Easter Vigil’ celebrated at that time in the morning. To be the first baptized with the new water was considered a significant providential event.”
He continued: “The fact that my life was thus immersed in the Paschal Mystery from the beginning in this way has always filled me with gratitude, for this could only be a sign of blessing.”
“Admittedly — it had not been Easter Sunday, but only Holy Saturday. But the longer I think about it, the more it seems to me to be in keeping with the essence of our human life, which is still waiting for Easter, not yet in full light, but nevertheless confidently moving toward it.”
Among those congratulating Benedict XVI on his 95th birthday was Bishop Wolfgang Ipolt of Görlitz, eastern Germany.
He wrote: “I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you have given to the Church in your writings. I am sure that you have helped many people to find God and to know and love Christ more deeply. May the Lord reward you for this effort one day in His glory!”
BenedictusXVI.org said that the birthday wishes would also be presented to the pope emeritus in a printed and bound volume.
Vatican City, May 16, 2022 / 09:55 am (CNA).
Pope Francis on Monday praised the courage of Pauline Jaricot, the laywoman who founded the Society for the Propagation of the Faith when she was just 23 years old.
The Society for the Propagation of the Faith is the oldest of four Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS), an umbrella group of Catholic missionary societies under the pope’s authority. The first three bodies were granted the title “Pontifical” 100 years ago.
The PMS is holding its general assembly on May 16-23 in Lyon in a year with several significant missionary anniversaries.
“So you are meeting in Lyon because there, 200 years ago, a young woman of 23, Pauline Marie Jaricot, had the courage to found a work to support the missionary activity of the Church,” Pope Francis said in his May 16 message.
“A few years later,” he noted, “she started the ‘Living Rosary,’ an organism devoted to prayer and the sharing of offerings.”
“From a wealthy family, she died in poverty: with her beatification, the Church attests that she knew how to accumulate treasures in heaven,” he said.
Jaricot established the Association of the Propagation of the Faith in 1822 as a way for all Catholics to assist the missions through prayer and small donations.
“Pauline Jaricot liked to say that the Church is missionary by nature and that therefore every baptized person has a mission; indeed, is a mission,” the pope said.
He emphasized that the “evangelizing thrust has never waned in the Church and always remains its fundamental dynamism,” explaining that this was why he gave a “special role” to the new Dicastery for Evangelization in the new apostolic constitution, Praedicate evangelium.
When the constitution comes into full effect on June 5, the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization will be merged into the Dicastery for Evangelization, presided over directly by the pope.
Francis pointed out three aspects of the PMS which he said had contributed to the success of the missions over time, together with the action of the Holy Spirit.
“First of all, missionary conversion: the goodness of mission depends on the journey of exit from self, the desire not to center life on self, but on Jesus, on Jesus who came to serve and not to be served,” he said.
“In this sense, Pauline Jaricot saw her existence as a response to God’s compassionate and tender mercy: from her youth she sought identification with her Lord, even through the sufferings she went through, in order to kindle the flame of his love in every man,” he said.
“Therein lies the source of the mission, in the ardor of a faith that is not satisfied and that, through conversion, becomes day by day imitation, in order to channel God’s mercy onto the streets of the world.”
The second aspect, prayer, makes the first aspect possible, the pope said.
“It is not by chance that Pauline placed the Work of the Propagation of the Faith alongside the Living Rosary, as if to reiterate that mission begins with prayer and cannot be accomplished without it,” he said.
“Yes, because it is the Spirit of the Lord that precedes and enables all our good works: the primacy is always of his grace. Otherwise, the mission would become a running in vain.”
The last aspect is charity, Pope Francis said.
“Together with the prayer network, Pauline initiated a collection of offerings on a large scale and in a creative form, accompanying it with information about the missionaries’ lives and activities,” he said.
“The offerings of so many simple people were providential for the history of the missions.”
The year 2022 is also the fourth centenary of the founding of the Congregation de Propaganda Fide, which oversaw the dramatic expansion of the Catholic world following its foundation by Pope Gregory XV. The body is known today as the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.
By Linda Bordoni
“In this special year you have gathered in Lyon, the city where the Pontifical Missionary Societies originated and where the beatification of Pauline Jaricot, will be celebrated,” writes Pope Francis in a message to members of the Pontifical Mission Societies who are marking a series of anniversaries including the 200 years from the foundation of their institution.
Pauline Jaricot was a French laywoman who felt the call to missionary life and founded the association of the “Propagation of the Faith” which was approved by Pope Pius VII in 1823.
In his message, the Pope highlights the fact that these anniversaries are part of the celebration for the 400th anniversary of the Congregation De Propaganda Fide, to which the Missionary Works are closely linked and with which they collaborate in supporting the Churches in the territories entrusted to the Dicastery.
Propaganda Fide, he notes was established to support and coordinate the spread of the Gospel in hitherto unknown lands, but the evangelizing thrust has never waned in the Church and always remains its fundamental dynamism.
“Therefore, it is my wish that within the renewed Roman Curia, the Dicastery for Evangelization takes on a special role in order to foster the missionary conversion of the Church (Praedicate Evangelium, 2-3), which is not proselytism, but witness: going out of oneself to proclaim with one’s life the gratuitous and saving love of God for us, who are all called to be brothers and sisters”.
He notes that the meeting is taking place in Lyon because it’s where, 200 years ago, a young woman aged just 23 – Pauline Marie Jaricot – had the courage to found an association to support the missionary activity of the Church.
“A few years later she started the Living Rosary which is devoted to prayer and the sharing of offerings,” he recalls.
Adding that she came from a wealthy family, but died in poverty, the Pope said that with her beatification, the Church attests that “she knew how to store up treasures in Heaven” (Mt 6:19), treasures that are born from the courage of giving and reveal the secret of life: only by giving is it possessed, only by losing it is it found (Mk 8:35).
“Pauline Jaricot liked to say that the Church is missionary by nature (Ad gentes, 2) and that therefore every baptized person has a mission,” the Pope writes.
Upholding the service the Pontifical Mission Societies perform “with the Pope and in the name of the Pope,” the Holy Father says this link between the PMS and the Petrine ministry, established a hundred years ago, translates into concrete service to the bishops, to the Churches, to the whole People of God.”
“At the same time, it is your task, according to the Council, to help the bishops open each particular Church to the horizons of the universal Church,” he writes.
Pope Francis goes on to say the jubilees being celebrated and the beatification of Pauline Jaricot give him the opportunity to highlight three aspects that, thanks to the action of the Holy Spirit, have contributed so much to the spread of the Gospel in the history of the PMSs.
First: missionary conversion. The goodness of mission, he says depends on “the journey of going out of oneself, on the desire not to center one’s life on oneself, but on Jesus, on Jesus who came to serve and not to be served.” In this sense, he points to the example of Pauline Jaricot “who saw her existence as a response to God’s compassionate and tender mercy and channeled God’s mercy on the streets of the world.”
Second: prayer. Only through prayer, the Pope continues, is this possible as it is “the Spirit of the Lord who precedes and enables all our good works.”
Finally: the concreteness of charity. Together with the prayer network, the Pope concludes, Pauline initiated a large-scale collection of offerings accompanying it with information about the life and activities of the missionaries. The oblations of so many simple people, he says, were providential for the history of missions.
Pope Francis ends his message expressing his wish that all the members of the PMS General Assembly “walk in the furrow traced by this great missionary woman, letting yourselves be inspired by her concrete faith, bold courage, and generous creativity.”
Vatican City, May 16, 2022 / 08:20 am (CNA).
Pope Francis on Monday urged young Christians engaged in politics to promote fraternity, while shunning “violent confrontation” and ideology.
The pope outlined his vision for the renewal of politics in a May 16 address to members of the Chemin Neuf Politics Fraternity, which brings together people aged 18 to 35 seeking to “be active in politics according to the heart of God.”
He gave the young people present in the Vatican’s Clementine Hall three watchwords — encounter, reflection, and action — and encouraged them to show “unconditional acceptance and respect” for others.
“Without such a change of heart, politics often risks turning into a violent confrontation, where people try to impose their own ideas and pursue particular interests over the common good, contrary to the principle that ‘unity prevails over conflict,’” he said, referring to a maxim his 2013 apostolic exhortation Evangelii gaudium.
He recalled that the author of “Reflections on the Revolution in France” told his constituents after he was elected to the British Parliament that he would not only serve their interest but also “the interest of the entire country, the general good.”
The pope said: “As Christians, we recognize that politics is practiced not only through encounter, but also through shared reflection in the pursuit of this general good, not simply through the clash of differing and often opposed interests.”
He added: “Our own compass for advancing this common project is the Gospel, which brings to the world a profoundly positive vision of humanity as loved by God.”
Members of the international fraternity issued a manifesto in Poland in 2016 recalling that Pope Pius XI described politics as “the highest form of charity” and committing themselves to strive “for justice and peace, through our political commitment.”
The pope highlighted the group’s “efforts on behalf of migrants and ecology,” as well as an initiative in which members “have chosen to live together in a working-class quarter of Paris, in order to listen to the voices of the poor.”
“That is a Christian way of engaging in political life,” he commented. “Don’t forget these things, that realities are more important than ideas: politics cannot be practiced with ideology. That the whole is greater than the part, and that unity prevails over conflict. Always seek unity and do not get lost in conflict.”
By Vatican News staff reporter
In his address to University Rectors from Italy’s Lazio region, Pope Francis stressed the importance of these places of learning “in this particular historical moment,” saying they are entrusted “with a task of great responsibility.”
He told those gathered that the pandemic years, war in Europe, the global environmental issue, and the growth of inequalities, “challenge us in an unprecedented and accelerated way.”
“We have to tell ourselves the truth: we are in crisis,” said the Pope in off-the-cuff remarks.
But he added that being in a crisis can be a good thing because it “makes us grow.”
The danger, he pointed out, “is when the crisis turns into conflict: conflict is closed and destroys. But we must learn to live in crisis, as we do now, and to bring forward the young people who are [in]our universities, teaching them to live in crisis and to overcome crisis.”
The Pope underlined that young people “call us to our responsibilities,” which is why now is the time for a major educational investment.
“This is why the Global Compact on Education is being developed, a joint working project on a global scale, involving so many stakeholders, from major religions to international institutions, to individual educational institutions.”
Pope Francis also mentioned the signing of the document on human brotherhood in Abu Dhabi on 4 February 2019, where it was agreed that “we care about an integral education that is summed up in knowing oneself, one’s brother, creation and the Transcendent”.
“This, in concrete terms, is the horizon of peace, which we rightly claim today and for which we pray intensely,” said the Pope.
He emphasised, that certainly, “there is much to be done, to ensure technological and scientific development, but also to guarantee human sustainability.”
“Great changes demand that we rethink our economic, cultural and social models, to recover the central value of the human person,” he said.
In this regard, Pope Francis underscored that the service that the university can provide is truly important, and offers an environment to “rethink and adapt our models of development, bringing together the best intellectual and moral energies.”
During his address to the university rectors, the Pope invited them to listen to their students and colleagues.
He also urged them to “listen to the social and institutional reality, the neighbouring one and the global one, because the university has no borders: knowledge, research, dialogue, and confrontation cannot but overcome all barriers and be all-embracing.”
In another piece of advice, the Pope stressed the importance of training young people in respect: “respect for oneself, respect for one’s neighbour, respect for creation and respect for the Creator.”
He called on universities to continue to reach out and welcome students, researchers and teachers “who are victims of persecution, war and discrimination in various countries of the world.”
“I hope that yours will be living communities, transparent, active, welcoming, responsible communities, in a fruitful climate of cooperation, exchange and dialogue, valuing each and every one.”
In unscripted remarks to those gathered, the Pope warned against ideologies, saying that they destroy creativity and one’s heart because they only make us see one way and close off the universal panorama.
In conclusion, Pope Francis recalled the Jubilee of 2025 which has as its motto, “Pilgrims of Hope.”
The Pope expressed his hope that this event would offer the Church and universities a chance to work together towards shared goals of life, goodness and fraternity.
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