Monthly Archives: September 2013

News Briefs, September 30

Catholic News Service is the official news agency of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. Read their News Briefs for Monday, Sept. 30.

Meetings of the Council of Cardinals begins tomorrow, Oct. 1

Vatican City, 30 September 2013 (VIS) – The first of three meetings between Pope Francis and the Council of Cardinals, instituted by the Holy Father’s Chirograph of 28 September, will take place tomorrow, 1 October.

The council is composed of Cardinals Giuseppe Bertello, president of the Governorate of Vatican City State; Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa, archbishop emeritus of Santiago de Chile, Chile; Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Bombay, India; Reinhard Marx, archbishop of Munich and Freising, Germany; Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, archbishop of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo; Sean Patrick O’Malley O.F.M. Cap., archbishop of Boston, USA; George Pell, archbishop of Sydney, Australia; Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga, S.D.B., archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, in the role of coordinator; and Bishop Marcello Semeraro of Albano, Italy, in the role of secretary.

During the three days the Council will meet in the private library of the third loggia in the papal apartment, and the working sessions will take place in the morning and in the evening. The Holy Father will participate, except on Wednesday morning during the general audience, explained the director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., who went on to clarify that the conversations will be private, so no communication is to be given at the end. He also emphasised that, as stated in the Chirograph published today, the Pope reserves the faculty of configuring the Council in the most suitable form, and may therefore increase the number of members.

He also observed that all the members of the Council, with the exception of the Secretary and Cardinal Bertello (who represents the Curia) are archbishops with large dioceses and in most cases with broad pastoral experience. “The institution of the Council of Cardinals”, he said, “is a further enrichment provided by the Pope to the governance of the Church”, and recalled that during his pontificate Francis has frequently made use of consultation, as is demonstrated by the case of the meeting with the heads of the dicasteries and his interest in reviving the working method of the Synod.

The Council has no relation with other Church institutions and is not an element of the architecture of the latter, but rather an organ of consultation for the Pope, Fr.Lombardi continued, explaining that since the announcement in April of the institution of a group of eight cardinals to assist the Pope in the governance of the Church, the members have received suggestions and proposals in their respective areas of competence. Furthermore, in preparation for the October meeting, contributions of various types have been sent to the Pope, the opinions of the heads of dicasteries have been sought, and the Secretary of State and College of Cardinals have been consulted. “The Council has eighty documents that have been circulated amongst its members, and the secretary, Bishop Semeraro, has prepared a comprehensive synthesis. Similarly, over these months the members have have also spoken with each other and on occasion with the Holy Father”.

From Vatican Information Service

Pope officially institutes “Council of Cardinals”

Vatican City, 30 September 2013 (VIS) – We publish below the full text of the Chirograph by by which the Holy Father institutes a Council of Cardinals to assist him in the governance of the universal Church and to draw up a project for the revision of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor bonus on the Roman Curia.

“Among the suggestions that emerged from the General Congregations of Cardinals prior to the Conclave, mention was made of the expediency of instituting a limited group of Members of the Episcopate, from various parts of the world, with whom the Holy Father could consult, individually or collectively, on specific matters. Once elected to the See of Rome, I have had the opportunity to reflect on this issue on a number of occasions, and consider that such an initiative would be of significant use in fulfilling the pastoral ministry of Peter’s Successor entrusted to me by my brother cardinals.

“For this reason, on 13 April I announced the constitution of the aforementioned group, at the same time indicating the names of those who had been called to participate. Now, following reflection, I consider it opportune that such a group, by means of the present Chirograph, be instituted as a ‘Council of Cardinals’, with the task of assisting me in the governance of the universal Church and drawing up a project for the revision of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor bonus on the Roman Curia. It will be composed of the same persons previously nominated, who may be called upon, both in Council and singly, on matters that I will from time to time consider worthy of attention. The aforementioned Council which, with regard to the number of members, I will compose in the most appropriate way, will constitute a further expression of Episcopal communion and of the aid to the munus petrinum that the Episcopate, disseminated throughout the world, may offer”.

The chirograph is dated 28 September 2013, the first year of Francis’ Pontificate

From Vatican Information Service

We must never resign ourselves to the pain of war

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Monday addressed participants of the International Meeting for Peace in the spirit of Assisi organised by the Rome-based Community of Saint Egidio.

The meeting, held from September 29 to October 1 sees the participation of religious leaders of all denominations and of men and women who are committed to building peace in the world. Read more

Canonization dates for John XXIII and John Paul II

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Monday morning held the Public Ordinary Consistory for the forthcoming Canonization of Blessed Pope John XXIII and Blessed Pope John Paul II. During the course of the Consistory in the Vatican’s Consistory Hall, the Pope decreed that his two predecessors will be raised to Sainthood on April 27, 2014, the day on which the Church celebrates the Second Sunday of Easter and Divine Mercy.

Angelus Message: Pope greets faithful, catechists, and Orthodox Patriarch

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis prayed the Angelus with the faithful gathered in St Peter’s Square at the end of Mass to mark the worldwide Day for Catechists, organised by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelisation. In his brief remarks, the Holy Father thanked the scores of thousands of catechists who came from all around the world to participate in the two-day catechetical conference sponsored by the same Pontifical Council, and make pilgrimage to the tombs of the Apostles. Pope Francis also had special greetings for His Beatitude, Youhanna X, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East. The Pope said that the Patriarch’s presence offers an invitation to all the Christian faithful everywhere to renew their prayers for peace in Syria and throughout the entire Mideast region. Below, please find Vatican Radio’s translation of the Holy Father’s remarks before the Angelus prayer.
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Dear brothers and sisters,
Before concluding this celebration, I would like to greet you all and thank you for your participation, especially the catechists come from so many parts of the world.
A special greeting to my brother, His Beatitude Youhanna X, greek orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East. His presence invites us to pray once again for peace in Syria and the Middle East.
I greet the pilgrims who have come from Assisi on horseback, as well as the Italian Alpine Club, on the 150th anniversary of its founding.
Saludo con afecto a los peregrinos de Nicaragua, recordando que los pastores y fieles de esa querida Nación celebran con alegría el centenario de la fundación canónica de la Provincia eclesiástica. [I greet with affection the pilgrims from Nicaragua, recalling that the pastors and the faithful of that beloved nation are celebrating with joy the hundredth anniversary of the canonical foundation of their Ecclesiastical Province.]
With joy we recall that yesterday, in Croatia, Miroslav Bulešić, a diocesan priest, who was martyred in 1947, was beatified. We praise the Lord, who gives the defenseless the strength to offer the ultimate witness.

Pope Francis homily at Mass for catechists

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis celebrated Mass on Sunday morning in St Peter’s Square to mark the International Day for Catechists organised by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelisation in the context of the Year of Faith. The dangers of complacency and the need for catechists to have the core and essence of the Gospel at the centre of their lives and work were the themes of the Holy Father’s remarks. Read the official English translation of the Holy Father’s homily

Lectio Divina for 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

(Zenit.org) by Monsignor Francesco Follo

1) A lesson to live the present and a bewildering command

The first reading and the gospel of the Roman Liturgy about the parable of the poor Lazarus and of the rich glutton, [i] give the direction how to live the present. They don’t have the aim of terrifying us regarding the future punishment if we do not behave. These texts from the Bible tell us that the one who looks only for his or her overabundance cannot take care of the brothers in need and cannot recognize the Son of God in the poor Lazarus. Lazarus is Christ who has suffered all our pain and who has the wounds of the crucified love. He is at our door and waits.

Let’s contemplate the scene narrated by Christ. We see a rich man without name (or better his name are his riches) and a second man named Lazarus[ii]( = the one helped by God because he has nothing). Both men are under the look of the Almighty but they receive His presence in a different way.

The first doesn’t need it; he is so well off that he can enjoy –independently from God – a life with abundant banquets and elegant garments. The other has no one except God; he doesn’t have anything to eat and his body is covered in sores. Nobody goes near him, only dogs approach and console him.

Let’s now have a look at ourselves: we too have sores that we can hide under our riches, but God knows them. These sores make us lie down on earth and implore the heaven. They sharpen our hunger for completeness and are “loopholes” that open us to the Mystery. We are blessed when we miss being “poor” because this is the truth of our being a person. We are poor but we do not deny it to ourselves so that it disguises what we are; if we do not put ourselves at God’s level we think that we can do without him. What do we have that we didn’t receive from Him? Let’s remember that the kingdom of heaven is ours because we are poor of heart, we are sons and daughters, we are men and women … like Jesus… for this reason we are “rich,” rich of His love, rich of having God as Father.

Then we will be able to do the impossible: “to love our enemies” (as we are remembered in today’s Gospel of the Ambrosian liturgy).

A monk from Mount Athos comments this stupefying command of Christ: “There are men that wish suffering and agony in the eternal fire to their enemies and to the enemies of the Church. In thinking so they don’t know God’s love. The one that has the love and the humility of Christ cries and prays for the entire world. Maybe you say: this one is an evildoer and he must burn in the eternal flame. But I ask you: let’s suppose that the Master gives you a place in his kingdom. If you see burning in the eternal fire the one to whom you have wished eternal suffering, would you not have compassion for him even if he had been an enemy of the Church? Do you have a heart of stone? In the Kingdom of Heaven there is no room for stones. There, the humility and the heart of Christ who has mercy of everybody, are required” He ends with this prayer:” Master, as you have prayed for your enemies, teach us through the Holy Spirit to love them and even to pray for them. However it is a difficult thing for us sinners if your grace is not with us.”

Let’s look at Saint Francis of Assisi who was poor and humble, because there is nothing greater than to learn the humility and the begging of Christ (Lazarus is the symbol of Jesus mendicant of love). The humble person lives poor and happy, all is good to his heart. Only the one who is humble and poor of heart sees God in the Holy Spirit. Humility is the light in which we see God who is the light: in his light we see light. Our dawn “dies” in God’s day.

2) Death is not a level, it is a scale

The counterbalance is seen in the second part of the parable where the parts are inverted: now the rich in under and Lazarus is up. Death shows that the Kingdom of God has won. When one dies, he opens his eyes. Death is the time when we see things as they really are. Death is the dramatic door that allows the sunset of our human dawn to “die” in the light of the everlasting day of God.

Now comes on stage also the other five brothers of the rich man (the sixth brother) who continue to live “carefree” in their riches. It is their way of living that makes them blind in front of the “seventh” (seven is a number that is the symbol of completeness) brother (Jesus) who is near, just over the door through which they don’t want to look because there is the wounded poor. They are blind in front of the Holy Scriptures (that yet are very clear).

The rich man of this parable doesn’t oppose God and doesn’t oppress the poor; he just doesn’t see him and lives as if God doesn’t exist nor has anything to do with him.

Now the rich man asks the poor for a drop of water for himself and to warn his brothers. What good would do to warn them? They have the prophets and Moses and don’t need anything else. There are not the voices that are missed, not the evidences, but the freedom to understand and the clear mind to see. It is the way of living as a rich man that makes blind.

The way to the Cross is a road of light that takes to Heaven. This road has a name: charity, with lot of synonyms: mercy, pity, compassion, sharing, solidarity, communion, unity, welcoming, participation and assumption.

The road that takes to Heaven is Called Christ. There are no other ways. There are no other roads. There are no other lanes. It is a love pure, true, real, spiritual, made of concreteness and of the gift of one’s life and riches that takes to Heaven. On this road we find the consecrated Virgins. On the day of their consecration the Bishop prayed: “Give them the warmth of love to love you above all others. Make their lives deserve praise without seeking to be praised. May they give you glory by holiness of action and purity of heart. May they love you and fear you; may they love you and serve you. Be you their glory, their joy, their whole desire. Be their comfort in sorrow, their wisdom in perplexity, their protection in the mist of justice.” ( Rite of the Consecration of the virgins)

From zenit.org

News Briefs, September 27

Catholic News Service is the official news agency of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. Read their news briefs for Friday, September 27.

Scripture Commentary for Sunday.

Catholic News Service provides a “Word to Life” series on the Sunday readings. Read the commentary for the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time, September 29, 2013.