May 25, 2009

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

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

SUMMARY OF POPE'S VISIT TO CASSINO AND MONTECASSINO: 24 MAY

OTHER NEWS: 23 - 25 MAY


FIND CONVINCING SOLUTIONS TO THE EMPLOYMENT CRISIS

VATICAN CITY, 24 MAY 2009 (VIS) - At 10.15 a.m. today, Benedict XVI celebrated Mass in Piazza Miranda in the Italian town of Cassino, where he arrived by helicopter from the Vatican.

  Focusing his homily on the Ascension of the Lord, which in Italy and many other countries of the world is celebrated today, the Pope told the 20,000 people present that "heaven does not mean a place above the stars, but something much more daring and sublime. It means Christ Himself, the divine Person Who fully and forever welcomes humankind, the One in whom God and man are always inseparably united. And we approach heaven, or rather we enter heaven, in the extent to which we approach Jesus and enter into communion with Him. Hence, today's Solemnity of the Ascension invites us to profound communion with Christ, Who died and rose again, and is invisibly present in the lives of each one of us".

  The Holy Father also mentioned the Rule of St. Benedict which indicates that nothing should be placed before Christ. "This", he said, "does not distract us, on the contrary it encourages us to commit ourselves to building a society in which solidarity is expressed through tangible signs". In this context he recalled how Benedictine spirituality "suggests an evangelical programme summarised in the motto: 'ora et labora et lege' (prayer, work and culture)".

  He explained: "In the first place, prayer, which is the greatest heritage St. Benedict left to his monks, ... is the silent path that leads directly to Gods' heart; it is the breath of the soul that restores peace to us amid the storms of life". The Pope likewise expressed to his listeners the hope that "attentive listening to the divine Word may nourish your prayers and make you prophets of truth and love in a shared commitment to evangelisation and human promotion".

  On the subject of work, Benedict XVI indicated that "humanising the world of work is typical of the soul of monasticism". In this context he spoke of his solidarity "with people living in situations of worrying insecurity, workers made redundant or who have even lost their jobs. May the blight of unemployment which affects this land induce leaders of public life, employers and others in a position to do so, to seek, with everyone's help, convincing solutions to the employment crisis, creating new jobs and safeguarding families".

  "How can we fail to recall that the family today has an urgent need for better protection, because it is threatened at its very roots?" the Pope asked. "I am thinking too of young people who struggle to find dignified employment that enables them to build a family of their own. I would like to say to them today: do not lose heart, dear friends, the Church will not abandon you!"

  The Holy Father also mentioned the care Benedictines dedicate to culture and education. "I know", he said, "that in preparation for my visit you recently held a conference on the theme of education so as to arouse in everyone a strong determination to transmit to young people the irreplaceable values of our human and Christian heritage. In the cultural efforts being made today with the aim of creating a new humanism you, faithful to the Benedictine tradition, rightly intend to emphasise attention to weak and fragile man, to the disabled and to immigrants".

  The Pope concluded: "It is not difficult to see that your community, this portion of the Church that lives around Montecassino, is heir to and repository of the mission - impregnated with the spirit of St. Benedict - to proclaim that no-one and nothing in our lives must dislodge Jesus from first place; the mission to build, in Christ's name, a new humanity that welcomes and helps the weakest".

 

PEACE IS CONSTRUCTED BY OVERCOMING INNER EVIL

VATICAN CITY, 24 MAY 2009 (VIS) - Following this morning's Mass and before praying the Regina Coeli, the Pope pronounced some remarks to the thousands of people gathered in Cassino's Piazza Miranda, which from today will be known as Piazza Benedetto XVI.

  Referring to what he described as "the need of all humankind fully to savour the richness and power of Christ's peace", the Holy Father recalled how the word "Pax" is written over the entrance to the abbey of Montecassino and to all Benedictine abbeys.

  "As you know", he continued, "on my recent visit to the Holy Land I myself became a pilgrim of peace, and today - in this land marked by the Benedictine charism - I have the opportunity to emphasise once again that peace is primarily a gift of God, and therefore its power lies in prayer".

  The gift of peace however, Benedict XVI explained, "is entrusted to human endeavour. ... It is therefore vital to cultivate an authentic life of prayer in order to ensure that social progress comes about peacefully. ... Only by learning, with the grace of Christ, to struggle against and defeat the evil in ourselves and in our relations with others can we become authentic builders of peace and of civil progress.

  "May the Virgin Mary, Queen of Peace", he added, "help all Christians, in their various vocations and life situations, to be witnesses to the peace that Christ gave us", the peace He "left us as a mission to be carried out always and everywhere".

  The Pope then recalled how today, 24 May, "liturgical memory of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Help of Christians - who is venerated with great devotion in the Shrine of Sheshan in Shanghai, China - marks the Day of Prayer for the Church in China. My thoughts go to all the Chinese people", he said. "In particular, I send a most affectionate greeting to Catholics in China and I exhort them, on this day, to renew their communion of faith in Christ and of faithfulness to Peter's Successor. May our joint prayer obtain an effusion of gifts from the Holy Spirit so that unity among Christians, and the catholicity and universality of the Church, may always become more profound and visible".

  Benedict XVI then greeted those present in various languages, expressing the hope that the spiritual witness of St. Benedict "may help the people who live on the European continent to be faithful to their Christian roots and to build a united and cohesive Europe, founded on the search for justice and peace".

  Having completed the Marian prayer, the Holy Father travelled by car to the abbey of Montecassino where he had lunch with the Benedictine monks. On his way there he made a brief stop at the "Casa della Carita" (House of Charity), a structure that helps people in need such as the poor and immigrants. There he unveiled a plaque in honour of his visit and blessed and inaugurated the building.

 

CHRISTIAN HERITAGE: EUROPE'S CULTURAL, SPIRITUAL RESOURCE

VATICAN CITY, 24 MAY 2009 (VIS) - At 4.30 p.m. today, having had lunch at the Italian abbey of Montecassino, the Holy Father met with the monastic community there and greeted those responsible for organising his visit. He and the monks then walked in procession singing the "Laudes regiae" to the basilica of the abbey for the celebration of Vespers.

  The ceremony began at 5 p.m. and was attended by Benedictine abbots, monks and nuns from various communities. Having been greeted by Dom Pietro Vittorelli, ordinary abbot of Montecassino, the Holy Father pronounced his homily.

  He began by recalling how over its history the abbey has been "destroyed and rebuilt four times, the last following the bombardments of World War II sixty-five years ago. ... Montecassino, like the ancient oak planted by St. Benedict, has been 'pruned' by the violence of war, but has grown back stronger than before".

  St. Benedict abandoned everything to follow Jesus and, "incarnating the Gospel in his own life, became the initiator of a vast movement of spiritual and cultural renewal in the West", said the Pope. Referring then to the account of St. Gregory the Great, who explains how St. Benedict "was 'raised aloft' by an indescribable mystical experience", the Holy Father highlighted the fact that the saint "received this divine gift not to satisfy his intellectual curiosity but so that the charism God had granted him could reproduce in the monastery the life of heaven itself, recreating the harmony of the creation through contemplation and work.

  "Rightly so, then", the Pope added, "the Church venerates him as an 'eminent master of monastic life and as a 'doctor of spiritual wisdom in his love for prayer and work'. ... St. Benedict was a shining example of sanctity and indicated Christ to his monks as the one great ideal to follow. He was a master of civilisation who, while presenting a harmonious and balanced view of divine needs and of man's ultimate goal, remained well aware of the requirements and reasons of the heart, teaching and fomenting true and constant fraternity so that, in the interplay of social relationships, a unity of spirit capable of building and nourishing peace should not be lost".

  The Holy Father went on: "It is no coincidence that the word 'Pax' welcomes and visitors at the door of this abbey", which "stands as a silent admonition to reject all forms of violence and build peace: in families, in communities, among peoples and in all humankind".

  Following St. Benedict's example, "monasteries have, over the course of the centuries, become lively centres of dialogue, of meeting and of beneficial fusion among different peoples, brought together by the evangelical culture of peace. Through work and example, the monks were able to teach the art of peace, giving tangible form to the three elements identified by Benedict as being necessary to conserve the unity of the Spirit among mankind: the cross, which is the very law of Christ; the book, in other words culture; and the plough, which stands for work, mastery over matter and time".

  He continued: "Thanks to the work of monasteries, divided into the threefold daily commitment to prayer, study and work, entire peoples on the European continent have known real liberation and beneficial moral, spiritual and cultural development, being educated in a sense of continuity with the past, real activity for the common good, and openness to God and the transcendental. Let us pray that Europe may always appreciate this heritage of Christian principles and ideals which represent such an immense cultural and spiritual resource.

  "This is possible", the Pope added in conclusion, "but only if we accept the constant teaching of St. Benedict: ... that seeking God is man's fundamental task. Human beings do not realise themselves fully, they cannot be truly happy, without God. ... From this place where his mortal remains lie, the patron saint of Europe still invites everyone to continue his work of evangelisation and human promotion".

  Following Vespers the Holy Father venerated the relics of St. Benedict and St. Scholastica, buried behind the major altar of the basilica.

 

POPE PRAYS FOR THE FALLEN OF ALL WARS AND ALL NATIONS

VATICAN CITY, 24 MAY 2009 (VIS) - At 6 p.m. today, after celebrating Vespers, the Pope travelled by car to the Polish military cemetery at Montecassino which contains the bodies of 1,052 soldiers who died in the battle of May 1944 against German forces occupying the hill on which the abbey stands.

  The Holy Father lit a votive candle and recited the following prayer for the fallen of all countries in all wars:

"O God, our Father,

endless source of life and peace,

welcome into Your merciful embrace

the fallen of the war that raged here,

the fallen on all wars that have bloodied the earth.

Grant that they may enjoy the light that does not fail,

which in the reflection of Your splendour

illumines the consciences of all men and women of good will.

You, Who in Your Son Jesus Christ gave suffering humanity

a glorious witness of Your love for us,

You, Who in our Lord Christ

gave us the sign of a suffering that is never in vain,

but fruitful in Your redeeming power,

grant those who yet suffer

for the blind violence of fratricidal wars

the strength of the hope that does not fade,

the dream of a definitive civilisation of live,

the courage of a real and daily activity of peace.

Give us your Paraclete Spirit

so that the men of our time

may understand that the gift of peace

is much more precious than any corruptible treasure,

and that while awaiting the day that does not end

we are all called to be builders of peace for the future of Your children.

Make all Christians more convinced witnesses of life,

the inestimable gift of Your love,

You Who live and reign for ever and ever

Amen".

  Having completed his visit to the cemetery, the Holy Father travelled back to the abbey. There he greeted the civic authorities who had welcomed him on his arrival in the morning, then boarded his helicopter, arriving back in the Vatican at 7.30 p.m.

 

PRIESTS: INNER STRENGTH, DEDICATION TO SOULS

VATICAN CITY, 23 MAY 2009 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, the Holy Father received students of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, led by Archbishop Beniamino Stella, president of that institution.

  The Pope told the priests that service in apostolic nunciatures, for which they are training, "may to some extent be considered as a specific priestly vocation, a pastoral ministry that involves a particular approach to the world and to its often highly complex social and political problems".

  "The dialogue with the modern world that is asked of you, as well as your contact with people and the institutions they represent, require an inner strength and a spiritual firmness capable of safeguarding - indeed of giving ever more prominence to - your Christian and priestly identity". This, he explained, is necessary in order to avoid "the negative effects of the worldly mentality and not allow yourselves to be attracted or contaminated by an overly earthly logic".

  "In moments of darkness and inner difficulty", Benedict XVI told the priests, "turn your gaze to Christ. ... Always remember that it is vital and fundamental for the priestly ministry, however practised, to maintain a personal bond with Christ, He wants us as His 'friends', friends who seek intimacy with Him, who follow His teaching and who undertake to make Him known and loved by everyone.

  "The Lord", the Pope added, "wants us to be saints, in other words entirely 'His', not concerned with building a career that is interesting and comfortable in human terms, not seeking success and the praise of others, but entirely dedicated to the good of souls, ready to do our duty unto the end, aware of being 'useful servants' and happy to offer our poor contribution to the spreading of the Gospel".

  The Holy Father called upon his audience to be "men of intense prayer who cultivate a communion of love and life with the Lord. Without this solid spiritual base, how would it be possible to continue our ministry? Those who work in the Lord's vineyard in this way know that what is achieved with dedication, with sacrifice and for love, is never lost".

  The Year of Priests, which is due to begin on 19 June, "represents a valuable occasion to renew and strengthen your generous response to the Lord's call, in order to intensify your relationship with Him", the Pope concluded. "Use this opportunity to the utmost so as to be priests in accordance with the dictates of Christ's heart, like St. Jean Marie Vianney, 'Cure of Ars', the 150th anniversary of whose death we are preparing to celebrate".

 

CARDINAL DE GIORGI, SPECIAL ENVOY TO SARSINA

VATICAN CITY, 23 MAY 2009 (VIS) - Made public today was a Letter from the Holy Father in which he appoints Cardinal Salvatore De Giorgi, archbishop emeritus of Palermo, Italy, as his special envoy to closing celebrations marking the millennium of the dedication of the co-cathedral of Sarsina, Italy, due to take place on 31 May. The Letter, written in Latin, is dated 2 April.

  The names of the members of the mission accompanying Cardinal De Giorgi have also been made public. They are: Fr. Fabrizio Messina Checchetti, prior of the Benedictine abbey of Santa Maria del Monte in Cesena, Italy, and Msgr, Pierluigi Tonelli, pastor of the parish of the Madonna delle Rose, also in Cesena.

 

COMPENDIUM OF HOLY FATHER'S LETTER TO THE CHURCH IN CHINA

VATICAN CITY, 23 MAY 2009 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office today released a note concerning the publication on the Holy See website, as of 24 May, of the Compendium of the Letter of the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI to the Church in China.

  The note recalls how on 27 May 2007 the Pope sent a Letter to the bishops, priests, consecrated persons and lay faithful of the Catholic Church in the People's Republic of China.

  Through that Letter, the Holy Father intended "to offer some guidelines concerning the life of the Church and the task of evangelisation in China, in order to help Chinese Catholics discover what the Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, 'the key, the centre and the purpose of the whole of human history', wants from them", the English-language note says.

  "The usefulness of the Letter has been confirmed by the highly favourable reception given to it by the Chinese Catholics who had access to it. From the information that is arriving from China, it is clear that the papal document has given rise not only to study sessions exploring its content but also to many pastoral initiatives: it is becoming a reliable point of reference for the resolution of the various problems that the Catholic community is having to address on both the doctrinal level and the practical, disciplinary level.

  "On the second anniversary of the publication of the papal Letter, the Holy See is offering the Church in China a 'Compendium' which, following the catechetical literary genre of questions and answers, presents once again the basic elements expressed by Benedict XVI.

  "The Compendium faithfully reproduces, both in structure and language, the content of the original Letter, quoting extended passages from it. With the addition of some footnotes and two short appendices, the Compendium is presented as an authoritative tool facilitating a deeper understanding of His Holiness' thought on some particularly delicate points.

  "The Holy Father has approved the Compendium and has authorised its publication as a document of the Apostolic See. The document will be available on the official website of the Holy See in Chinese (using simplified and traditional characters) and English, from 24 May".

 

AUDIENCES

VATICAN CITY, 25 MAY 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

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

 - Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, archbishop of Genoa, Italy, and president of the Italian Episcopal Conference.

 - Rita Levi Montalcini, professor emeritus of neurobiology at the C.N.R. Institute of Neurobiology, winner of the Nobel Prize for medicine in 1986, and member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

 - Bartolomej Kajtazi, ambassador of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, on his farewell visit.

  On Saturday 23 May he received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Ivan Dias, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.

 - Thirteen prelates from the Peruvian Episcopal Conference, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Archbishop Pedro Ricardo Barreto Jimeno S.J. of Huancayo.

     - Bishop Jaime Rodriguez Salazar M.C.C.J. of Huanuco.

     - Bishop Richard Daniel Alarcon Urrutia of Tarma.

    - Bishop Antonio Santarsiero Rosa O.S.I. of Huacho

    - Bishop Julian Garcia Centeno O.S.A., apostolic vicar of Iquitos.

    - Bishop Santiago Maria Garcia de la Rasilla Dominguez S.J., apostolic vicar of Jaen en Peru.

    - Bishop Gaetano Galbusera Fumagalli S.D.B., apostolic vicar of Pucallpa.

    - Bishop Francisco Gonzalez Hernandez O.P., apostolic vicar of Puerto Maldonado.

    - Bishop Juan Tomas Oliver Climent O.F.M., apostolic vicar of Requena.

    - Bishop Alberto Campos Hernandez O.F.M., apostolic vicar of San Jose del Amazonas.

    - Bishop Anton Zerdin O.F.M., apostolic vicar of San Ramon.

    - Bishop Jose Luis Astigarraga Lizarralde C.P., apostolic vicar of Yurimaguas.

    - Bishop Jose Ignacio Alemany Grau C.SS.R., emeritus of Chachapoyas.

 - Archbishop Beniamino Stella, president of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy.

 

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

VATICAN CITY, 25 MAY 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Nikola Kekic, rector of the Greek-Catholic seminary of Zagreb, Croatia and pastor of the co-cathedral of Sts. Cyril and Methodius, as bishop of the eparchy of Krizevci for the faithful of Byzantine rite (Catholics 21,354, priests 28, religious 58), Croatia. The bishop-elect was born in Stari Grad, Croatia in 1943 and ordained a priest in 1970. He succeeds Bishop Slavomir Miklovs, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same eparchy the Holy Father accepted, in accordance with canon 201 para. 1 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches.

  On Saturday 23 May it was made public that he appointed Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne, archbishop of Lima, Peru, as his special envoy to celebrations marking the fourth centenary of the archdiocese of Ayacucho, Peru, due to take place on 20 July.

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