January 2, 2009

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

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

SUMMARY: 31 DECEMBER - 2 JANUARY


HOPE IN FACING CURRENT DIFFICULTIES

VATICAN CITY, 31 DEC 2008 (VIS) - At six this evening in the Vatican Basilica, the Holy Father presided over the first vespers on the solemnity of Mary the Mother of God, with the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, the singing of the traditional "Te Deum" hymn of thanksgiving concluding the civil year, and the Eucharistic blessing.

 During his homily, the Holy Father asserted that Christmastime "holds a profound Marian connotation; the birth of Jesus, God-man, and the divine maternity of Mary are inseparable realities; the mystery of Mary and the mystery of the only-begotten Son of God made man form a single mystery, in which one helps better understand the other".

 "This afternoon", he said, "we want to place in the hands of the heavenly Mother of God, our hymn of thanksgiving to the Lord for the blessings He has abundantly given us in these past twelve months" and "add our petition for forgiveness for not having always employed our time usefully".

 Addressing particularly the faithful of the Diocese of Rome, Benedict XVI emphasized that "the encounter with Christ renews our personal existence and helps contribute to the construction of a just and fraternal society. That is why, as believers, we can also offer a great contribution in overcoming the current educational emergency. It is as important as ever that the harmony between families, schools, and parishes grows for a deeper evangelization and a courageous promotion of what is human, capable of showing to the greatest number of people possible the richness that wells forth from the encounter with Christ".

 In these times, which are marked by insecurity and worry for the future, it is necessary to feel the living presence of Christ. Mary, the Star of Hope, leads us to Him. With her maternal love she is the one who can lead us, especially the young, to Jesus".

 The Holy Father told those "responsible for the future" of Rome, to "not be afraid of the apostolic work that the Lord has entrusted to you, do not hesitate to choose a lifestyle that does not follow the current hedonist mentality. ... The growing needs of evangelization require many workers in the vineyard of the Lord: do not hesitate to respond to respond readily if He calls you. Society needs citizens who are not merely concerned with their own interests because, as I recalled on Christmas Day, 'if people look only to their own interests, our world will certainly fall apart'".

 "This year", he continued, "concludes with the awareness of a growing economic and social crisis that now affects the entire world; a crisis that demands the greatest sobriety and solidarity of all in order to help, especially, those persons and families in the most serious difficulties". In this context he noted that "the Christian community is already committing itself ... Caritas and other charitable organizations are doing what they can, but it is necessary for all to work together because nobody can think of building happiness for themselves alone".

 "Even if there are many clouds forming on the horizon of our future, we should not be afraid. As believers, our great hope is eternal life in communion with Christ and the entire family of God. This great hope gives us the strength to face and to overcome the difficulties of this worldly life".

 Benedict XVI concluded affirming that "Mary's maternal presence assures us this evening that God never abandons us if we trust in Him and follow His teachings. With filial love and confidence we present our hopes and desires to Mary, as well as our fears and the difficulties that we hold in our heart as we bid farewell to 2008 and prepare ourselves to welcome 2009".

 After the ceremony the Pope visited the creche in St. Peter's Square.

 

FIGHTING POVERTY THROUGH SOBRIETY AND SOLIDARITY

VATICAN CITY, 1 JAN 2009 (VIS) - At 10 this morning in the Vatican Basilica, the Holy Father presided over the Eucharistic celebration on the solemnity of Mary the Mother of God, which also marks the 42nd Wold Day of Peace, the theme of which is "Fighting Poverty to Build Peace" for 2009.

 Commenting on the World Day of Peace during his homily, the Pope explained that there exists, on one hand, "the poverty chosen and proposed by Jesus and, on the other hand, the poverty that must be fought to make the world more just and united".

 "The birth of Jesus in Bethlehem", he said, "shows us that God chose poverty for Himself in His coming among us. ...His love for us prompted Jesus not only to make Himself human but even to make Himself poor".

 Nevertheless, he added, there exists "a poverty that prevents persons and families from living their dignity; a poverty that offends justice and equality and that, as such, threatens peaceful living together".

 In his message this year the Pope recalled that "in the face of diffuse plagues such as pandemic illnesses, the poverty of children, food crises" he had returned to denouncing "the unacceptable arms race". Referring to the phenomenon of globalization, said that it is necessary that nations "make the effort to maintain a high level of solidarity".

 Benedict XVI asked if "we are prepared to read the current economic crisis in its complexity as a challenge for the future and not just as an emergency to which to give short term answers. Are we ready to make a profound change in the dominant model of development together, to correct it concretely and for the long term? Even more than the immediate financial difficulties, the state of the planet's ecological health and, above all, the cultural and moral crisis whose symptoms have been evident all over the world demand it."

 "In order to fight the iniquitous poverty that oppresses many men and women and threatens the peace of all, it is necessary to rediscover sobriety and solidarity as evangelical and, at the same time, universal values. Misery cannot be effectively fought" if "the gap between those who waste the superfluous, and those who don't even have the necessary is not lessened", he affirmed.

 The Holy Father entrusted to the Virgin Mary "the deep desire of living in peace that dwells in the hearts of the great majority of Israeli and Palestinian peoples who are once more placed in danger by the intense violence in the Gaza Strip in response to other violence".

 "Violence, hate, and distrust are also forms of poverty - perhaps the worst - that must be fought". In this sense he also expressed "the justified hope that, with wisdom and the far-sighted contribution of all, it will not be impossible to listen to one another, to meet with one another, and to give concrete answers to the diffuse desire to live in peace, security, and dignity".

 

PROMOTING A NEW WORLD ORDER WORTHY OF THE HUMAN BEING

VATICAN CITY, 1 JAN 2009 (VIS) - At noon today, shortly after celebrating Mass in the Vatican Basilica, Benedict XVI addressed the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square to pray the Angelus.

 The Pope wished a happy New Year to all present and to those who were following the Angelus on radio or television, assuring them that "with the Lord's grace - and only with it - can we have ever-new hope that the future will be better than the past".

 With the message for the World Day of Peace, the theme of which is "Fighting Poverty to Build Peace" in 2009, he affirmed that his wish "is to dialogue anew with those responsible at national levels and in international organizations, offering the Catholic Church's contribution in promoting a new world order worthy of the human being".

 "At the beginning of the new year", he said, "my first objective is precisely to invite all leaders and ordinary citizens not to be disheartened in the face of difficulties or failures, and to renew their commitments".

 The Holy Father noted that "in the second part of 2008, an economic crisis of vast proportions arose. This crisis must be examined in detail as a serious symptom that requires intervention at its roots. It is not enough - as Jesus would say - to take a piece from a new cloak to patch an old one. Putting the poor in first place means decidedly moving toward the global solidarity that John Paul II pointed out as necessary, co-ordinating the potentialities of the market with those of civil society in constant respect of the law and tending always to the common good".

 "Jesus Christ", the Pope concluded, "did not organize campaigns against poverty but proclaimed the Gospel for a complete ransom from moral and material misery to the poor. The Church, with its unceasing labors of evangelization and human promotion, does the same. We call on the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, to help all men and women walk together the Path of peace".

 

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

VATICAN CITY, 2 JAN 2009 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father accepted the resignation of Archbishop Raymond O. Roussin, S.M., of the metropolitan archdiocese of Vancouver, Canada, in conformity with canon 401§ 2 of the Code of Canon Law. He is succeeded by Archbishop J. Michael Miller, C.S.B., formerly coadjutor archbishop of the same archdiocese.

 Last 31 December, it was made public that the Holy Father appointed:

- Fr. Jan de Groef, M. Afr., member of staff formation for the White Fathers in the archdiocese of Durban, South Africa, as Bishop of Bethlehem (area 34,965, population 956,000, Catholics 74,009, priests 26, permanent deacons 5, religious 79), South Africa. The bishop-elect was born in Beigem, Belgium in 1948 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1979. He succeeds Bishop Hubert Bucher, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

- Fr. Stanislaw Jan Dziuba, O.S.P.P.E., as Bishop of Umzimkulu (area 15,275, population 2,036,000, Catholics 151,600, priests 16, religious 28), South Africa. The bishop-elect, formerly vicar general of the same diocese, was born in Radomsko, Poland 1960 and ordained to the priesthood in 1986.

 

NOTICE

VATICAN CITY, 2 JAN 2009 (VIS) - During 2009, the Vatican Information Service will transmit a bulletin every Monday through Friday with the following exceptions:

  • 6 January (Tuesday)
  • 11 February (Wednesday)
  • 19 March (Thursday) feast of the Holy Father's name-day
  • 9 April (Holy Thursday)
  • 10 April (Good Friday)
  • 13 April (Easter Monday)
  • 14 April (Easter Tuesday)
  • 1 May (Friday)
  • 21 May (Thursday)
  • 11 June (Thursday)
  • 29 June (Monday)
  • The entire month of August.
  • 2 November (Monday)
  • 8 December (Tuesday)
  • 24 December (Thursday)
  • 25 December (Friday)
  • 31 December (Thursday)

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