September 7, 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 VITERBO AND BAGNOREGIO: 6 SEPTEMBER

OTHER NEWS: 5 - 7 SEPTEMBER


CHRISTIANS MUST BE A SIGN OF THE LIVING GOD

VATICAN CITY, 6 SEP 2009 (VIS) - This morning the Pope travelled by helicopter from Castelgandolfo to Viterbo, "the city of Popes", where, at 10.15 a.m., he presided at a Eucharistic concelebration in the city's Valle Faul in the presence of some 10,000 people.

  Before reaching Valle Faul, the Holy Father paused in piazza San Lorenzo where he blessed the new bronze doors of the cathedral, the work of the Italian sculptor Roberto Ioppolo. He then visited the Palazzo dei Papi and the Hall of the Conclave, where Pope Gregory X was elected in 1271.

  In his homily the Pope commented on the episode from the Gospel of St. Mark in which Jesus heals a deaf man. "In this 'sign'", he said, "we see Jesus' ardent desire to overcome man's solitude and isolation, the result of his egotism, and to give rise to a 'new humanity', a humanity that listens, a humanity of the word, of dialogue, of communication, of communion. A 'good' humanity, ... with no discrimination or exclusion, ... that the world may become 'a place of true brotherhood' for everyone".

  Addressing some remarks to the Church in Viterbo, Benedict XVI identified one particular pastoral priority: "education in the faith, as a search, as Christian initiation, as life in Christ. ... This experience involves parishes, families and various associations. Catechists and all other educators are called to show commitment and to make their contribution to schools, ... and in particular to Catholic schools". In this context he invited the faithful to follow the model of "authentic pioneers of education in the faith" such as St. Rosa Venerini (1656-1728), "a true groundbreaker of female schooling in Italy" and St. Lucia Filippini (1672-1732) who, with the help of the Venerable Cardinal Marco Antonio Barbarigo (1640-1706), founded the 'Pious Matrons".

  "Alongside education is witness of the faith", the Pope went on. "Faith, St. Paul wrote, becomes effective through love. It is in this perspective that the charitable activity of the Church takes form: her initiatives and her actions are signs of the faith and love of God, Who is Love". In this context the Holy Father noted how in Viterbo "the voluntary sector is flowering and must be boosted, both on the personal level and in associations. In Caritas", he added, "it has its driving force and educator".

  Finally the Pope mentioned another aspect of pastoral activity in the diocese of Viterbo: "awareness of the signs of God. ... Listening to His Word and discerning His signs must", he said, "be the concern of all Christians and of each community. And the most immediate of the signs of God is certainly attention to one's neighbour".

  "As Vatican Council II says, each Christian 'must stand before the world as a witness to the resurrection and life of the Lord Jesus and a symbol of the living God'. This must apply primarily to the priest whom Christ has chosen entirely for Himself. During this Year for Priests pray more intensely for priests and seminarians ... that they may be faithful to their vocation! Likewise all consecrated persons and all the baptised must be signs of the living God".

  Turning then to address lay people, the young and families, the Holy Father said "do not be afraid to live and bear witness to the faith in the various areas of society, in the varied circumstances of human existence".

  "The periods of history come and go", he concluded, "social contexts change, but the Christian vocation to live the Gospel in solidarity with the human family does not vary or go out of fashion. This is social commitment, this is the service appropriate to political activity, this is integral human development".

 

RELIGIONS MUST PROMOTE FORGIVENESS AND RECONCILIATION

VATICAN CITY, 6 SEP 2009 (VIS) - At the end of this morning's Eucharistic celebration in the Italian city of Viterbo, the Holy Father prayed the Angelus. Before the Marian prayer he recalled how the local diocese has long been distinguished for its "unique bond of affection and communion with Peter's Successor".

  The Pope also made mention of the saints and Popes who were born in this area of northern Lazio, such as St. Leo the Great, Pope Sabinian who succeeded St. Gregory the Great, and Paul III. He also recalled the period in the second half of the thirteenth century during which Viterbo became the residence of Roman Pontiffs "Five of my predecessors were elected here, and four of them are buried here", he said.

  "Viterbo is rightly called the 'city of Popes' and this for you is a further stimulus to live and bear witness to your Christian faith".

  After praying the Angelus, the Pope greeted participants in the international "Men and Religions" congress currently being held in the Polish city of Krakow on the theme "Faith and cultures in dialogue". Representatives of various religious are attending the meeting at the invitation of the archdiocese of Krakow and the Sant'Egidio Community.

  The aim of the congress is to reflect and pray in favour of peace, seventy years after the outbreak of World War II. "We cannot but remember", said the Pope, "the dramatic events that marked the beginning of one of the most terrible conflicts in history, which caused tens of millions of deaths and caused so much suffering to the beloved people of Poland; a conflict that witnessed the tragedy of the Holocaust and the extermination of so many innocents.

  "May the memory of these events impel us to pray for the victims and for those who still bear the wounds in their bodies and hearts", he added. "May it also be a warning to everyone not to repeat such barbarities and to intensify efforts to build in our own time, still marked by conflicts and contrasts, a lasting peace, transmitting, above all to new generations, a culture and lifestyle characterised by love, solidarity and respect for others.

  "In this context, the contribution religions can and must make is particularly important: promoting forgiveness and reconciliation against the violence, racism, totalitarianism, and extremism that disfigure the image of man's Creator, cancel the horizon of God, and lead to scorn for man himself. May the Lord help us to build peace, on the basis of love and mutual understanding".

 

POPE CALLS UPON THE VIRGIN TO PROTECT FAMILIES

VATICAN CITY, 6 SEP 2009 (VIS) - At 4.30 p.m. today the Pope visited the Marian Shrine of Our Lady of the Oak where he prayed before the Blessed Sacrament and read out a prayer to the Virgin. Among those present at the event were cloistered nuns from various convents in the Viterbo area.

  Addressing the religious the Holy Father said: "To you I entrust my intentions, the intentions of the pastor of this diocese and the needs of everyone who lives in this land. In this Year for Priests I especially entrust you with clergy, seminarians and vocations. ... Offer the Lord the sacrifice of your lives for their sanctification and for the good of souls".

  Benedict XVI went on to invoke "Mary's maternal protection" on "the Successor of Peter and the Church entrusted to his care. ... Queen of peace, obtain the gift of harmony and peace for peoples and for all humankind", he said.

  "Keep our families united, which today suffer threats from all sides, and make them centres of serenity and harmony where patient dialogue dissipates difficulties and contrasts. Watch especially over those that are divided or in crisis".

  The Pope called upon the Virgin to "make the will of those whom the Lord of the harvest calls to be workers in His vineyard firm and decided, so that, resisting all the temptations and pitfalls of the world, they may persevere generously in following the path they have taken and, with your maternal help, be witnesses of Christ, attracted by the brilliance of His Love".

  "Console those who weep, who suffer for human injustice; support those who waver under the burden of fatigue and look to the future without hope; encourage those who work to build a better world in which justice many triumph and fraternity reign, in which egoism, hatred and violence may end. May every form and expression of violence be overcome by the pacifying power of Christ".

 

HOLY FATHER PAYS HOMAGE TO THE WORK OF THEOLOGIANS

VATICAN CITY, 6 SEP 2009 (VIS) - Having visited the Shrine of Our Lady of the Oak in Viterbo, Benedict XVI travelled by helicopter to the nearby town of Bagnoregio, birthplace of St. Bonaventure (1218-1274, disciple of St. Francis of Assisi, bishop and Doctor of the Church), where he arrived at 5.20 p.m. Having been greeted by Mayor Francesco Bigiotti, the Pope visited the cathedral of St. Nicholas where he paused in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament and venerated the relic of St. Bonaventure's arm. He then travelled by car to Bagnoregio's Piazza Sant'Agostino where he greeted the civil and religious authorities and delivered an address to the faithful gathered there.

  "It is not easy to summarise the vast philosophical, theological and mystical doctrine left us by St. Bonaventure", he said. "In this Year for Priests I would especially like to invite the clergy to study this great Doctor of the Church so as to gain a deeper understanding of his teaching of a wisdom rooted in Christ".

  "In recalling this great scholar and lover of knowledge", he went on, "I would also like to encourage and express my esteem for the service which, within the ecclesial community, theologians are called to make to the faith: faith which seeks the intellect, faith which is a 'friend of intelligence' and which becomes new life in accordance with God's plan".

  St. Bonaventure, said Benedict XVI, was "a tireless seeker after God ... until his death. In his writings he showed the path to follow", a path that "involves the entire person in order to reach, through Christ, the transforming love of the Trinity".

  "Faith, then, is the perfecting of our cognitive capacities and participation in the knowledge that God has of Himself and of the world; hope, we see as preparation for the meeting with the Lord which will mark the complete fulfilment of the friendship that even now binds us to Him; while charity introduces us into the divine life, making us consider all men our brothers, according to the will of the one heavenly Father".

  Bonaventure was also a "'cantor of creation' who, in following St. Francis, learned 'to praise God in and though all His creatures'. ... How useful it would be today to rediscover the beauty and value of creation in the light of divine goodness and beauty!"

  As a "messenger of hope", Bonaventure wrote that "to hope is to fly. ... But hope requires all our limbs to move and project themselves towards the true heights of our being, towards the promises of God".

  "The truth is that we all ask ourselves about our own future and that of the world, and this question has a lot to do with hope", said the Holy Father. "It is indispensable to have a 'trustworthy hope' which, giving us the certainty of reaching a 'great' goal, may justify 'the fatigue of the journey'. Only this 'great hope-certainty' can assure us that, despite the failures of personal life and the contradictions of human history as a whole, we are always protected by the 'indestructible power of Love'".

  "May St. Bonaventure help us to 'open the wings' of the hope that encourages us to be, like him, incessant seekers after God, cantors of the beauties of creation and witness of the Love and that Beauty which 'move all things'".

  Having completed his address, the Holy Father went to the sports ground of Bagnoregio whence, at 6.30 p.m. his helicopter departed for Castelgandolfo, arriving one hour later.

 

WORLD MISSION DAY: THE NATIONS WILL WALK IN ITS LIGHT

VATICAN CITY, 5 SEP 2009 (VIS) - Made public today was the Holy Father's Message for the 83rd World Mission Day, which is due to be celebrated on Sunday 18 October on the theme: " The nations will walk in its light". The message, published in six languages, bears the date of 29 June, Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles.

  Excerpts from the English-language version are given below:

  "The goal of the Church's mission is to illumine all peoples with the light of the Gospel as they journey through history towards God, so that in Him they may reach their full potential and fulfilment. ... It is in this perspective that the disciples of Christ throughout the world work, struggle and groan under the burden of suffering, even offering up their own lives. I strongly reiterate what was so frequently affirmed by my venerable predecessors: the Church works not to extend her power or assert her dominion, but to lead all people to Christ, the salvation of the world. We seek only to place ourselves at the service of all humanity, especially the suffering and the marginalised, because we believe that 'the effort to proclaim the Gospel to the people of today... is a service rendered to the Christian community and also to the whole of humanity'".

  "In truth, the whole of humanity has the radical vocation to return to its source, to return to God, since in Him alone can it find fulfilment through the restoration of all things in Christ. ... This new beginning can already be seen in the resurrection and exaltation of Christ, Who draws all things to Himself, renewing them and enabling them to share in the eternal joy of God. ... The Church's mission is to spread hope 'contagiously' among all peoples. This is why Christ calls, justifies, sanctifies and sends His disciples to proclaim the Kingdom of God, so that all nations may become the People of God".

  "The universal Church, which knows neither borders nor frontiers, is aware of her responsibility to proclaim the Gospel to entire peoples. ... The measure of her mission and service is not limited to material needs, or even to spiritual needs confined to the sphere of temporal existence; rather, it is transcendent salvation, fulfilled in the Kingdom of God. This Kingdom, although ultimately eschatological and not of this world, is also in this world and within its history a force for justice and peace, for true freedom and respect for the dignity of every human person. The Church wishes to transform the world through the proclamation of the Gospel of love. ... With this message I renew my invitation to all the members and institutions of the Church to participate in this mission and this service".

  "It is therefore necessary to renew our commitment to proclaiming the Gospel which is a leaven of freedom and progress, brotherhood, unity and peace. I would 'confirm once more that the task of evangelising all people constitutes the essential mission of the Church', a duty and a mission which the widespread and profound changes in present-day society render ever more urgent. At stake is the eternal salvation of persons, the goal and the fulfilment of human history and the universe".

  "On this day dedicated to the missions, I recall in prayer those who have consecrated their lives exclusively to the work of evangelisation. I mention especially the local Churches and the missionaries who bear witness to and spread the Kingdom of God in situations of persecution, subjected to forms of oppression ranging from social discrimination to prison, torture and death. Even today, many are put to death for the sake of His Name".

  "The Church walks the same path and suffers the same destiny as Christ, since she acts not on the basis of any human logic or relying on her own strength, but rather following the way of the Cross, becoming, in filial obedience to the Father, a witness and a travelling companion for all humanity.

  "I remind Churches of ancient foundation and those that are more recent that the Lord has sent them to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world, and He has called them to spread Christ, the Light of the nations, to the far corners of the earth. They must make the 'Missio ad gentes' a pastoral priority.

  "I am grateful to the Pontifical Mission Societies and I encourage them in their indispensable service of promoting missionary animation and formation, as well as channelling material help to young Churches".

  "Missionary zeal has always been a sign of the vitality of our Churches. ... I therefore ask all Catholics to pray to the Holy Spirit for an increase in the Church's passion for her mission to spread the Kingdom of God and to support missionaries and Christian communities involved in mission, on the front line, often in situations of hostility and persecution.

  "At the same time I ask everyone, as a credible sign of communion among Churches, to offer financial assistance, especially in these times of crisis affecting all humanity, to enable the young local Churches to illuminate the nations with the Gospel of charity".

 

CELEBRATIONS TO BE PRESIDED BY POPE: SEPTEMBER-NOVEMBER

VATICAN CITY, 5 SEP 2009 (VIS) - The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff today published the calendar of celebrations to be presided by the Holy Father between the months of September and November:

SEPTEMBER

 - Saturday 12 : At 10 a.m. in the Vatican Basilica, episcopal ordination.

 - Saturday 26 - Monday 28: Apostolic trip to the Czech Republic.

OCTOBER

 - Sunday 4: 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time. At 9.30 a.m. in the Vatican Basilica, opening of the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops.

 - Saturday 10: At 6 p.m. in the Paul VI Hall, praying of the Rosary with students of Roman universities.

 - Sunday 11: 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time. At 10 a.m. in St. Peter's Square, canonisation of the following blesseds: Zygmunt Szczesny Felinski, Francesc Coll y Guitart, Jozef Damian de Veuster, Rafael Arnaiz Baron, Mary of the Cross Jugan (nee Jeanne).

 - Sunday 25: 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time. At 9.30 a.m. in the Vatican Basilica, conclusion of the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops.

NOVEMBER

 - Thursday 5: At 11.30 a.m. at the altar of the Cathedra in the Vatican Basilica, Mass for cardinals and bishops who died over the course of the year.

 - Sunday 8: 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time. Pastoral visit to Brescia, Italy.

 

TO BRAZILIAN BISHOPS: SOCIETY THIRSTS FOR SPIRITUALITY

VATICAN CITY, 7 SEP 2009 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father received a group of prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil (West 1-2), who have just completed their "ad limina" visit.

  The Pope began his remarks by recalling his own 2007 visit to the Brazilian city of Aparecida for the opening of the Fifth General Conference of the Episcopate of Latin America and the Caribbean, during which he was able "to experience the Brazilian people's affection for Peter's Successor".

  Turning then to consider the challenges and concerns the bishops had described to him, the Holy Father remarked upon "the striking distances that, together with your priests and others responsible for the mission, you have to cover in order to serve your faithful, many of whom have to face the problems of a relatively recent urbanisation in which the State does not always mange to promote justice and the common good".

  The Holy Father encouraged the prelates not to lose heart and to remember that "announcing the Gospel and adhering to Christian values ... is not just useful but indispensable for building a good society and achieving true integral human development".

  Speaking then of the lack of priests in Brazil, where nonetheless "the harvest is abundant", he reminded the bishops that part of their ministry is "the generation of new pastors" because, "although God alone is capable of sowing the call to pastoral service of His people in the human heart, all members of the Church should question themselves on the urgency of this cause and the personal commitment with which they feel and experience it".

  Benedict XVI also told the bishops that in modern society, in which "so many people seem to want to live everything in a single minute, while others give themselves up to boredom, inertia, or various forms of violence", in reality "these desperate lives are seeking hope, a fact evinced by the widespread and at times confused need for spirituality, and the renewed search for points of reference to resume the journey of like".

  In the decades following Vatican Council II "many Christian communities sank into self-secularisation. ... At the present time there is a new generation born into this secularised ecclesial environment which, instead of demonstrating openness and consent, sees in society an ever-deepening gulf of differences and contrasts to the Magisterium of the Church, especially in the field of ethics. In this godless desert, the new generation thirsts for transcendence".

  Modern youth "needs formators who are true men of God, priests completely dedicated to formation who bear witness of the gift of self to the Church through celibacy and an austere life, according to the model of Christ the Good Shepherd. In this way the young will learn to be open to the meeting with the Lord, though daily participation in the Eucharist. They will love silence and prayer and seek primarily the glory of God and the salvation of souls".

  The Holy Father concluded by asking the bishops to reflect upon the theme of the formation of seminarians and priests "in faithfulness to the universal norms of the Church", which was the subject of their plenary assembly of last April.

 

AUDIENCES

VATICAN CITY, 7 SEP 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops.

 - Bishop Leonardo Ulrich Steiner O.F.M., prelate of Sao Felix, Brazil, on his "ad limina" visit.

  On Saturday 5 September he received in separate audiences four prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Neri Jose Tondello of Juina.

    - Bishop Antonio Emidio Vilar S.D.B. of Sao Luis de Caceres.

    - Bishop Gentil Delazari of Sinop.

    - Bishop Vital Chitolina S.C.I., prelate of Paranatinga.

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