September 22, 2008

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

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



VATICAN CITY, 20 SEP 2008 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father received participants in the international congress of the Benedictine Federation, which is held in Rome every four years.

  The Pope noted how the abbots and superiors of the independent priories are meeting over these days "to reflect and debate on the means with which to incarnate the Benedictine charism in the current social and cultural context, and to respond to the ever-new challenges this raises for bearing witness to the Gospel".

  "In a sacrilegious world, and in a time marked by a worrying culture of emptiness and of 'non sense', you are called to announce the primacy of God without compromise, and to propose new paths of evangelisation", he said.

  Addressing the abbots and abbesses present at the audience, Benedict XVI recalled how they are "guardians of a heritage and a spirituality deeply rooted in the Gospel". In this context he expressed his appreciation for "the generous and competent cultural and formative work which so many of your monasteries perform, especially in favour of the younger generations, creating a climate of fraternal welcome which favours a unique experience of the Church".

  The Holy Father also highlighted the importance of preparing young people to face "the many demands of society with constant reference to the evangelical message, which is always current, inexhaustible and vitalising. Dedicate yourselves, then, with renewed apostolic ardour to the young, who are the future of the Church and of humanity. In order to build a 'new' Europe, we must begin with the new generations, offering them an intimate experience of the spiritual richness of the liturgy, of meditation, and of 'lectio divina'".

  Referring them to the "renowned Benedictine hospitality", the Pope indicated that "a community capable of truly fraternal life, fervently dedicated to liturgical prayer, study, and work, and cordially open to others who thirst for God, represents the best way to turn hearts, especially those of the young, to the monastic vocation and, in general, to a fruitful journey of faith".

  Addressing himself particularly to Benedictine nuns and female religious, the Holy Father encouraged them not to lose heart, despite the lack of vocations in some countries. "Faithfully persevering in your own vocations you bear witness with great effectiveness, also before the world, to your firm faith in the Lord of history, in Whose hands are the times and destinies of individuals, institutions and peoples". And he concluded: "Adopt the spiritual attitude of the Virgin Mary, who was content to be 'ancilla Domini', utterly compliant to the will of the Heavenly Father".



VATICAN CITY, 20 SEP 2008 (VIS) - Today in the Apostolic Palace at Castelgandolfo, Benedict XVI received a group of around 100 recently-appointed bishops who are participating in a training seminar promoted by the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.

  "The congress in which you are participating", the Pope told them, "is taking place during the Pauline Year, which we are celebrating in the whole Church with the aim of gaining a deeper knowledge of St. Paul's missionary spirit and charismatic personality".

  "I am sure that the spirit of this 'teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth' ... will not fail to illuminate and enrich your pastoral and episcopal ministry", he said, recalling how "the expression 'teacher of the Gentiles' ... opens to the future, projecting the spirit of the Apostle towards all peoples and all generations".

  From St. Paul, the Holy Father explained, the bishops should learn "to look sympathetically upon the people to whom we are sent" and "to seek in Christ the light and grace to announce the Good News today".

  Going on then to refer to the situations the prelates will be called to confront, he noted how their dioceses "are mostly very large and not infrequently lacking roads and means of communication. ... Moreover your societies, like other places, are being hit by the increasingly-violent wind of ... religious indifference, secularisation and the relativisation of values. This creates an environment in which the weapon of preaching may appear - as happened to Paul in Athens - to lack the necessary strength.

  "In many regions", Pope Benedict added, "Catholics are a minority, sometimes a tiny minority. This compels you to deal with other much stronger religions that are not always welcoming towards you. Finally, there is no lack of situations in which, as pastors, you must defend your faithful in the face of persecution and violent attacks".

  The Holy Father went on: "Do not be afraid and do not be discouraged by these inconveniences, which are sometimes very harsh, but allow yourselves to be guided and inspired by St. Paul ... who did not avoid difficulties and sufferings because he was well aware that they are part of the cross which, as Christians, we must carry every day. ... Suffering unites us to Christ and to our brothers and sisters, and expresses the fullness of love, the source and supreme trial of which is Christ's own Cross. ... Paul's deepest motivations were the fact that he was loved by Jesus Christ and his desire to transmit this love to others".

  "You are at the beginning of your episcopal ministry. Do not hesitate to draw from this powerful teacher of evangelisation, learning from him how to love Christ, how to sacrifice yourselves in the service of others, how to identify yourselves with the people among whom you are called to preach the Gospel, how to proclaim and bear witness to the presence of the Risen One".

  "You who, as successors of the Apostles, continue Paul's mission in bringing the Gospel to the Gentiles", said the Pope in conclusion, "draw inspiration from him in seeing your vocation as closely dependent on the light of the Spirit of Christ".



VATICAN CITY, 20 SEP 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Cardinal Franc Rode C.M., prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, as his special envoy to preside at the closing celebrations of the Jubilee Year of the Cistercian abbey of Waldsassen, Germany, due to be held on 23 November 2008, the 875th anniversary of its foundation.



VATICAN CITY, 21 SEP 2008 (VIS) - This morning the Pope celebrated Mass and dedicated a new altar at the cathedral of San Pancrazio in Albano, a town near his summer residence of Castelgandolfo.

  In his homily Benedict XVI spoke of "the love of Christ, charity 'which never ends'", which is "the spiritual energy that unites all those who participate in the same sacrifice and who draw nourishment from the one Bread, broken for the salvation of the world.

  "Is it in fact possible", he asked, "to communicate with the Lord if we do not communicate with each other? How then can we present ourselves at God's altar divided and distant from one another?"

  The Holy Father asked the faithful to ensure that the altar he was about to dedicate "be a constant invitation to love. To it you will always come", he said, "with your hearts ready to accept and to spread the love of Christ, to receive and to grant forgiveness".

  "Each time you come to the altar for the celebration of the Eucharist", the Pope reiterated, "may your souls open to forgiveness and fraternal reconciliation, ready to accept the excuses of those who have hurt you and ready, in your turn, to forgive".

  Benedict XVI went on to explain that "each Eucharistic celebration anticipates Christ's triumph over sin and over the world. And, in the mystery, it demonstrates the splendour of the Church, 'spotless spouse of the spotless Lamb, whom Christ loved and for whom He delivered Himself up that He might sanctify her'".

  The Pope encouraged the members of the diocesan community of Albano "to grow in charity and in apostolic and missionary dedication. What this means in concrete terms", he said, "is bearing witness with your lives to your faith in Christ and to the complete trust you place in Him. It also means cultivating ecclesial communion, which is above all a gift, a grace, the fruit of God's free and gratuitous love, in other words something that is divinely effective, ever present and operative in history, over and above any appearance to the contrary".

  After highlighting how "ecclesial communion is a task entrusted to everyone's sense of responsibility", Pope Benedict concluded by calling on people to experience communion "with collaboration and co-responsibility at all levels: among priests, consecrated persons and the laity, among the different Christian communities of your territory, and among the various lay groups".

  After the Mass, Benedict XVI greeted a number of benefactors and patrons of recent restoration work on the cathedral before returning by car to Castelgandolfo.



VATICAN CITY, 21 SEP 2008 (VIS) - At midday today, having returned from the nearby town of Albano where he celebrated Mass, Benedict XVI appeared at the balcony of the Apostolic Palace in Castelgandolfo to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered there.

  The Pope commented on the parable from the Gospel of St. Matthew which narrates how the lord of the vineyard called labourers to work for him at various times of the day, causing those who were hired first to complain that those hired last received the same pay for having worked fewer hours.

  After recalling how when elected to the pontifical throne he too had presented himself as "a worker in the vineyard of the Lord", Benedict XVI explained that the money mentioned in the parable "represents eternal life, a gift God reserves for everyone. Indeed, precisely those who are considered 'last', if they accept the gift, become 'first', while the 'first' may run the risk of becoming 'last'.

  "The first message of this parable lies in the fact that the owner of the vineyard cannot tolerate ... unemployment. He wants everyone to be employed in his vineyard and, in fact, being called is already a reward: being able to work in the vineyard of the Lord, placing oneself at His service, is of itself a priceless gift which repays any effort. But only those who love the Lord and His Kingdom can understand this; those who work only for pay will never realise the value of this inestimable treasure".

  The Apostle Matthew underwent this experience in person, the Pope explained, because as a publican, a tax-gatherer, he was considered "a public sinner, excluded from the 'vineyard of the Lord'". Yet when Jesus called him "he immediately became a disciple of Christ; from being 'last' he found himself 'first', thanks to the logic of God which - to our good fortune - is different from that of the world".

  "St. Paul, whose Jubilee Year we are currently celebrating, also experienced the joy of being called by the Lord to work in His vineyard", and he "understood that working for the Lord is in itself a recompense on this earth".

  The Holy Father concluded his remarks by affirming that the Virgin Mary "is the prefect branch of the Lord's vine. From her sprang the blessed fruit of divine love: Jesus, our Saviour".



VATICAN CITY, 21 SEP 2008 (VIS) - After praying the Angelus this morning, the Holy Father made a call in favour of Caribbean countries, particularly Haiti, Cuba and the Dominican Republic, as well as the U.S. state of Texas, which have all been struck by cyclones in recent weeks.

  "Once again", he said, "I would like to ensure all those dear people of a special mention in my prayers. I trust that aid may soon arrive in the most severely damaged areas. May it be the Lord's will that, at least in these circumstances, solidarity and fraternity prevail over all else".

  Benedict XVI then went on he recall how on 25 September in New York, within the context of the 63rd U.N. General Assembly, a high level meeting will be held to verify the achievement of the goals laid down in the Millennium Declaration, which was adopted at a summit of world leaders on 8 September 2000.

  The Holy Father renewed his invitation for everyone "courageously to take and apply the measures necessary to eradicate extreme poverty, hunger, ignorance and pandemics, which especially strike the most vulnerable. Such a commitment, though requiring particular sacrifices at this time of world economic difficulties, will not fail to produce important benefits, both for the development of nations which need external aid, and for the peace and wellbeing of the entire planet".



VATICAN CITY, 22 SEP 2008 (VIS) - Today in the Apostolic Palace at Castelgandolfo, Benedict XVI received a group of recently-appointed bishops who are participating in a congress promoted by the Congregation for Bishops and by the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.

  Having recalled that this year is dedicated to St. Paul, the Pope indicated that "the example of the great Apostle calls us as bishops to grow daily in sanctity of life, so as to experience the same sentiments as were in Christ Jesus".

  "A bishop's primary spiritual and apostolic commitment must", the Pope explained, "be that of progressing on the way of evangelical perfection", above all by listening to the Word of God. "I exhort you to confide in the Word of God so as to become masters of faith and true educators of your faithful".

  With the approach of the Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, said the Holy Father, "I entrust you to the power of the Word of the Lord that you may be faithful to the promises you expressed before God and the Church on the day of your episcopal consecration, unrelenting in carrying out the ministry entrusted to you, faithful in safeguarding the deposit of faith pure and complete, firm in ecclesial communion with the entire order of bishops".

  "Progressing along the path of sanctity", he continued, "you will express that indispensable moral authority and prudent wisdom which are required of those placed at the head of the family of God. Today, such authority is more necessary than ever. Your ministry will be pastorally fruitful only if it is founded on the sanctity of your lives".

  Referring then to priests, the Pope called on the neo-bishops to help them "grow in dedication to Christ and in faithfulness to the priestly ministry. Seek to promote true priestly fraternity that may contribute to overcoming isolation and solitude, favouring mutual support. It is important for all priests to be aware of the paternal closeness and friendship of their bishop".

  "In order to construct the future of your particular Churches, encourage and guide the young", the Holy Father told the prelates. In this context he underlined how "priests and educators should know how to transmit to new generations, apart from enthusiasm for the gift of life, love for Jesus Christ and for the Church".

  The Holy Father concluded by asking the bishops to dedicate particular attention to seminarians, "with an awareness that the seminary is the heart of the diocese. Do not fail to present the young with the possibility of donating themselves fully to Christ in the priestly or religious life. Raise awareness among families, parishes and educational institutions, that they may help new generations to seek and discover God's plan for their lives".



VATICAN CITY, 22 SEP 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

 - Six prelates from the Uruguayan Episcopal Conference, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Julio Cesar Bonino Bonino of Tacuarembo.

     - Bishop Orlando Romero Cabrera of Canelones, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Leopoldo Hermes Garin Bruzzone.

    - Bishop Pablo Jaime Galimberti di Vietri of Salto, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Heriberto Andres Bodeant Fernandez.

    - Bishop Rodolfo Pedro Wirz Kraemer of Maldonado - Punta del Este.

  On Saturday 20 September he received in audience Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, archbishop of Genoa, Italy, and president on the Italian Episcopal Conference.

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