December 5, 2007

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

The following, in it's entirety, is a copyrighted transcript of the Vatican Information Service.

SUMMARY:


ST. CHROMATIUS INVITES US TO ENTER INTO CONTACT WITH GOD

 VATICAN CITY, DEC 5, 2007 (VIS) - In today's general audience, which was held in the Paul VI Hall, Benedict XVI dedicated his remarks to the figure of St. Chromatius, bishop of Aquileia in northern Italy, "a dynamic center of Christian life located in the 'Decima regione' of the Roman empire, 'Venetia et Histria'."

   "Between the middle of the third century and the early years of the fourth," said the Pope, "the persecutions of Decius, Valerian and Diocletian had produced a large number of martyrs." At the same time, the Church of Aquileia was facing "the threat of the Arian heresy."

   In 381 Chromatius, then a priest and the expert assistant of Bishop Valerian of Aquileia, participated in a synod "to eliminate the last residues of Arianism in the West."

   The Holy Father recalled how Chromatius was born in Aquileia in the year 345, "he was ordained a deacon then a priest and finally elected as pastor of that church in 388. Having received episcopal consecration from St. Ambrose, he dedicated himself courageously and energetically to a task of immense proportions because of the vastness of the lands entrusted to his care: the ecclesial jurisdiction of Aquileia stretched to what is currently the territory of Switzerland, Bavaria, Austria and Slovenia, even reaching as far as Hungary." The saintly bishop died an exile in Grado in 407, the same year as St. John Chrysostom.

   The Holy Father indicated that of St. Chromatius' works, more than 40 sermons and over 60 commentaries on the Gospel of St. Mark survive. "He was wise master and a zealous pastor," said the Pope. "In his teaching he always began from the Word of God and to that he always returned. Among subjects particularly dear to him were, primarily, the Trinitarian mystery which he considered in its revelation throughout the history of salvation, the theme of the Holy Spirit, ... and the mystery of Christ. The incarnate Word is true God and true man: He fully assumed the human condition so as to give it His own divinity."

   His "insistence on the human nature of Christ led Chromatius to speak of the Virgin Mary," said the Pope, pointing out how the saint described Mary in various ways such as "the evangelical virgin capable of accepting God," and compared her with the Church, both being "virgins and mothers." The Holy Father then explained that "Chromatius' ecclesiology is developed above all in his commentary on Matthew," where he writes that "the Church is unique, she is born from the blood of Christ."

   Chromatius "knew how to address his people using a fresh, vivacious and incisive language." As a "good pastor, in troubled times such as his own marked by the barbarian incursions, he stood alongside the faithful to comfort them and open their souls to faith in God, Who never abandons His children."

   In off-the-cuff remarks at the end of his talk, the Pope noted how "St. Chromatius reminds us that Advent is a time of prayer, in which we must enter into contact with God. God knows us, He knows me, He knows each of us. He loves me, He does not abandon me. Thus trustingly, let us proceed into the liturgical time that has just begun."

 

PLENARY INDULGENCE FOR THE 150TH ANNIVERSARY OF LOURDES

 VATICAN CITY, DEC 5, 2007 (VIS) - According to a decree made public today and signed by Cardinal James Francis Stafford and Bishop Gianfranco Girotti, O.F.M. Conv., respectively penitentiary major and regent of the Apostolic Penitentiary, Benedict XVI will grant the faithful Plenary Indulgence for the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Lourdes.

   "The forthcoming 150th anniversary of the day in which Mary Most Holy, revealing herself as the Immaculate Conception to Bernadette Soubirous, wished a shrine to be erected and venerated in the place known as 'Massabielle' in the town of Lourdes," the decree reads, "calls to mind the innumerable series of prodigies through which the supernatural life of souls and the health of bodies has drawn great advantage from the omnipotent goodness of God."

   "Indeed, by venerating the Blessed Virgin Mary in the place 'upon which her feet trod,' the faithful draw nourishment from the Holy Sacraments, expressing the firm intention to lead in the future Christian lives of increasing faithfulness" and they "achieve a vivid vivid perception of the significance of the Church. ... Indeed the succession, over time, of marvelous events ... enables us to glimpse the joint operation of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Church: in the year 1854 the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary was defined," and "in the year 1858 Mary Most Holy showed herself to ... Bernadette Soubirous using the words of the dogmatic definition: 'I am the Immaculate Conception.'

   "In order to draw increased fruits of renewed sanctity from this holy anniversary," the decree adds, "the Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI has decided to concede the gift of Plenary Indulgence" to the faithful under the usual conditions (sacramental Confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer in keeping with the intentions of the Holy Father), in the following way:

   A) "If between December 8, 2007 and December 8, 2008 they visit, preferably in the order suggested: (1) the parish baptistery used for the Baptism of Bernadette, (2) the Soubirous family home, known as the 'cachot,' (3) the Grotto of Massabielle, (4) the chapel of the hospice where Bernadette received First Communion, and on each occasion they pause for an appropriate length of time in prayer and with pious meditations, concluding with the recital of the Our Father, the Profession of Faith, ... and the jubilee prayer or other Marian invocation."

   B) "If between February 2, 2008 ... and February 11, 2008, Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Lourdes and 150th anniversary of the apparition, they visit, in any church, grotto or decorous place, the blessed image of that same Virgin of Lourdes, solemnly exposed for public veneration, and before the image participate in a pious exercise of Marian devotion, or at least pause for an appropriate space of time in prayer and with pious meditations, concluding with the recital of the Our Father, the Profession of Faith, ... and the invocation of the Blessed Virgin Mary."

   The decree concludes by recalling that faithful who "through sickness, old age or other legitimate reason are unable to leave their homes, may still obtain the Plenary Indulgence ... if, with the soul completely removed from attachment to any form of sin and with the intention of observing, as soon as they can, the usual three conditions, on the days February 2 to 11, 2008, in their hearts they spiritually visit the above-mentioned places and recite those prayers, trustingly offering to God, through Mary, the sickness and discomforts of their lives."

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