January 4, 2010

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

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

SUMMARY: 31 DECEMBER 2009 - 4 JANUARY 2010


MESSAGE FOR THE OPENING OF THE COMPOSTELA HOLY YEAR

VATICAN CITY, 31 DEC 2009 (VIS) - The Pope has sent a Message to Archbishop Julian Barrio Barrio of Santiago de Compostela, Spain, for the solemn opening of the Compostela Holy Year which took place this evening in the cathedral of Santiago. The Holy Year is celebrated in years in which the feast of the Apostle James (25 July) falls on a Sunday.

  In the message, which Archbishop Barrio read out during the course of the Eucharistic celebration that followed the opening of the Holy Door, Benedict XVI writes that the theme of this latest Compostela Holy year - "On pilgrimage towards the light" - and the pastoral letter written for the occasion - "Pilgrims of faith and witnesses of the risen Christ" - are in faithful keeping with tradition and "re-present that tradition as a call to evangelisation to the men and women of today, recalling the essentially pilgrim nature of the Church and of Christians in this world".

  "Pilgrims, open to wonder and to transcendence, must allow themselves to be instructed by the Word of God so as to divest their faith of ungrounded beliefs and fears", the Pope writes. "This is what the Lord did with His disciples who, dazed and discouraged, travelled the road to Emmaus".

  The Holy Father asks God "to accompany pilgrims, to make Himself known and enter their hearts. ... This is the true goal, the grace which the mere physical journeying of the Way cannot achieve alone, and which leads pilgrims to become witnesses before others to the fact that Christ lives and is our undying hope of salvation".

  "During this Holy Year, in keeping with the current Year for Priests, a decisive role falls to the clergy, whose spirit of welcome and commitment to the faithful and to pilgrims has to be particularly generous", writes Pope Benedict. In this context he calls on priests to pay particular heed to "the administration of the Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist, because the most sought-after, valuable and characteristic element of the Holy Year is forgiveness and the encounter with the living Christ".

  Benedict XVI likewise expresses his "particular closeness to the pilgrims who are arriving and will continue to arrive in Santiago", inviting them "to treasure the profound experiences of faith, charity and fraternity they encounter on their journey, and to seek especially to live the Way as an interior experience, responding to the call that the Lord makes to each one of them".

  "I invite them too", he concludes, "as they say their prayers, not to forget those who were unable to accompany them, their families and friends, the sick and the needy, emigrants, those whose faith is fragile and the People of God with their pastors".

 

INCREASE THE SENSE OF BELONGING TO THE CHURCH

VATICAN CITY, 31 DEC 2009 (VIS) - In the Vatican Basilica at 6 p.m. today, the Pope presided at first Vespers of the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God. This was followed by the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, the singing of the traditional "Te Deum" of thanksgiving for the conclusion of the year, and the Eucharistic blessing.

  Commenting on the reading from today's liturgy in which St. Paul the Apostle speaks of "the fullness of time", the Pope explained that "with the incarnation of the Son of God, eternity entered into time and the history of mankind was opened to fulfilment in the absoluteness of God. Time was, so to say, 'touched' by Christ, Son of God and of Mary, and from Him received new and surprising meanings: it became a time of salvation and grace.

  "It is from this point of view that we must consider the year that is ending and that which is beginning", the Pope added, "in order to place the various events of our lives - the large and the small, simple or undecipherable, joyful or sad - under the sign of salvation and accept the call God makes to us to lead us towards a goal that is beyond time: the goal of eternity".

  Referring then to God's closeness to all humankind, which is a specific aspect of the mystery of Christmas, Benedict XVI explained that "God became man and man was given the unprecedented chance to become the son of God. All this fills us with great joy and makes us raise praises to Him" as is customary on this day with the singing of the "Te Deum".

  Pope Benedict gave thanks for the "abundant graces" the diocese of Rome has received over the last twelve months and expressed his appreciation for the "pastoral decision to dedicate time to studying the progress made thus far" which, he said, will "increase the sense of belonging to the Church and favour pastoral co-responsibility".

  After then highlighting how "many families, numerous teachers and parish communities dedicate themselves to helping young people build their future upon solid foundations, in particular upon the rock that is Jesus Christ", the Pope pointed out that "the Word - believed, announced and lived - impels us to perform acts of solidarity". In this context he encouraged people "to continue their commitment to alleviating the difficulties facing so many families today, sorely-tried by the economic crisis and unemployment".

  Before concluding his homily, the Holy Father reiterated "Rome's need for priests who courageously announce the Gospel and, at the same time, reveal the merciful face of the Father. I invite young people not to be afraid to respond, with the complete giving of their lives, to the call the Lord makes to them to follow Him on the path of priesthood or consecrated life".

  Following the celebration, the Pope made a brief visit to the nativity scene in St. Peter's Square.

 

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

VATICAN CITY, 31 DEC 2009 (VIS) -The Holy Father appointed Fr. Matthieu Nguyen Van Khoi, pastor of the cathedral of Quy Nhon, Vietnam, and professor at the "Maria Stella" seminary of Nha Trang, as coadjutor of Quy Nhon (area 17,087, population 3,734,903, Catholics 68,011, priests 89, religious 400). The bishop-elect was born in Phuoc Son, Vietnam in 1951 and ordained a priest in 1989.

 

COMMITMENT TO BUILDING A WORLD MORE WORTHY OF MANKIND

VATICAN CITY, 1 JAN 2010 (VIS) - In the Vatican Basilica at 10 a.m. today, Benedict XVI presided at a Eucharistic celebration for the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God and the forty-third World Day of Peace, which has as its theme this year: "If You Want to Cultivate Peace, Protect Creation".

  At the beginning of his homily the Pope explained that "the entire biblical narrative can be read as a progressive discovery of the face of God, up until His complete revelation in Jesus Christ. ... God took on a human face, allowing Himself to be seen and recognised in the Son of the Virgin Mary who, for this reason, we venerate with the exalted title of 'Mother of God'".

  After them highlighting how "meditation on the mystery of the face of God and of man is a privileged path that leads to peace", the Holy Father pointed out that peace actually "begins by looking at the face of others with respect and recognising therein a person, whatever the colour of their skin, nationality, language or religion".

  "Only if we have God in our hearts", Pope Benedict continued, "are we able to see in the face of the other a brother in humanity, not a means but an end, not a rival or an enemy but another self, another facet of the infinite mystery of human beings. Our perception of the world and, in particular, of our fellow man, essentially depends on the presence of the Spirit of God within us".

  "In order, then, to recognise and respect one another as we truly are - that is, as brothers - we need to refer to the face of a common Father Who loves us all, despite our limitations and our errors.

  "From earliest childhood it is important we be educated to respect others, even when different from ourselves", the Pope added. And in this context he explained that "the face of children are like a reflection of God's vision of the world. Why, then, dampen their smiles?" he asked. "Why poison their hearts? Unfortunately the icon of the tender Mother of God has its tragic opposite in the disturbing images of so many children and their mothers who are at the mercy of wars and violence. ... Faces hollowed out by hunger and sickness, faces disfigured by suffering and desperation".

  And he went on: "The faces of these little innocents are a silent appeal to our sense of responsibility. In the face of their defencelessness, all the false justifications for war and violence collapse. We must simply turn to projects of peace, lay down arms of all kinds and together commit ourselves to building a world more worthy of mankind".

  Turing then to comment on the theme of his Message for the forty-third World Day of Peace - "If You Want to Cultivate Peace, Protect Creation" - the Pope explained that "man is capable of respecting other creatures in the degree to which he carries in his own spirit a complete sense of the meaning of life, otherwise he will be led to despise himself and his surroundings and to have no respect for the environment in which he lives: the creation".

  "There is, in fact, a close correlation between respect for man and the protection of creation", said the Holy Father. "If man is degraded, the environment in which he lives is degraded; if culture tends towards nihilism (if not theoretical, then practical) nature cannot but pay the consequences".

  "Thus I renew my appeal to invest in education", he concluded. "An education that has as its objective, apart from the necessary transmission of technical-scientific knowledge, a broader and deeper 'ecological responsibility' based on respect for man and his fundamental rights and duties. Only in this way can commitment to the environment truly become education for peace and construction of peace".

 

WE ARE ALL RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CREATION

VATICAN CITY, 1 JAN 2010 (VIS) - At midday today, shortly after celebrating Mass in the Vatican Basilica, Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his private study to pray the Angelus with thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square.

  Recalling the theme of his Message for the forty-third World Day of Peace - "If You Want to Cultivate Peace, Protect Creation" - the Pope pointed out that "we are all responsible for the protection and care of creation. Hence education is vital in this field too: in order to respect nature we 'must increasingly begin with far-reaching decisions on the part of individuals, families, communities and States'.

  "And if we must care for the creatures that surround us", he added, "how much more consideration must we have for people, for our brothers and sisters! how much respect for human life!"

  On this first day of the year Benedict XVI also launched "an appeal to the consciences of members of armed groups of whatever kind. To all of you I say: stop, reflect and abandon the way of violence. In the immediate, this step may seem impossible but, if you have the courage to take it, God will help you and you will feel the joy of peace return to your hearts, a joy you may perhaps have long forgotten. I entrust this appeal to the intercession of Mary Mother of God".

  After recalling how Jesus' name means "God saves", the Holy Father affirmed that "Jesus is the face of God, He is a blessing for all individuals and all peoples, He is the peace of the world. Thank you, Most Holy Mother, for having given birth to the Saviour, the Prince of peace".

 

PAPAL CONDOLENCES FOR DEATH OF CARDINAL DALY

VATICAN CITY, 2 JAN 2010 (VIS) - Benedict XVI has expressed his profound condolences for the death of Cardinal Cahal Brendan Daly, archbishop emeritus of Armagh, Ireland, who died on 31 December at the age of 92.

  In a telegram made public today and addressed to Cardinal Sean Baptist Brady, current archbishop of Armagh, the Holy Father gratefully recalls "Cardinal Daly's long years of devoted pastoral service to the Church as priest, bishop and primate of all Ireland, his assistance as a member of the College of Cardinals, and especially his sustained efforts in the promotion of justice and peace in Northern Ireland".

 

OUR HOPE IS IN GOD WHO GUIDES US TO HIS KINGDOM

VATICAN CITY, 3 JAN 2010 (VIS) - "On this Sunday - the second after Christmas and the first of the new year - I am happy to renew my best wishes for all good in the Lord", said the Pope before praying the Angelus with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.

  "There is no lack of problems, in the Church and in the world, as well as in the everyday life of families. But, thanks to God, our hope does not take account of improbable prognostications, and not even of economic forecasts, important though they may be.

  "Our hope is in God", the Pope added, "but not in the sense of a generic religiosity, or of a fatalism dressed up as faith. We trust in the God Who in Jesus Christ fully and definitively revealed His will to remain with men and women, to share their history and to guide us all to His Kingdom of love and life. It is this great hope that animates and sometimes corrects our human hopes".

  "Humanity's real reason for hope is this: history has a meaning because it is 'inhabited' by the Wisdom of God. Nonetheless the divine plan is not accomplished automatically, because it is a project of love and love generates freedom and demands freedom. The Kingdom of God will certainly come - or rather, its is already present in history and thanks to the coming of Christ has already defeated the negative power of evil - but each man and woman is responsible for welcoming it into their own lives day by day. And hence the year 2010 will be more or less 'happy' in the measure to which each person ...  is able to collaborate with the grace of God".

  The Holy Father called upon the faithful to turn to the Virgin Mary "in order to learn this spiritual attitude from her. The Son of God became flesh through her, and not without her consent. Each time the Lord wishes to take a step forward, with us, towards the 'promised land', He first knocks at the doors of our heart and, so to speak, awaits our 'yes', in the little choices as in the great.

  "May Mary", the Pope added in conclusion, "help us always to welcome God's will with humility and courage so that even the trials and sufferings of life my help to hasten the coming of His Kingdom of justice and peace".

 

MSGR. GAENSWEIN VISITS WOMAN WHO CAUSED POPE TO FALL

VATICAN CITY, 3 JAN 2010 (VIS) - Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. today confirmed that "Msgr. Georg Gaenswein, personal secretary of the Pope, has made a private visit to Susanna Maiolo, expressing to her the Holy Father's interest in her situation.

  "As for the investigations launched by the magistrates of Vatican City State, they will follow their course to their conclusion".

 

NOTICE

VATICAN CITY, 4 JAN 2010 (VIS) - During the year 2010, the VIS bulletin will be transmitted every week from Monday to Friday, except on the following days:

  • 6 January (Wednesday)
  • 11 February (Thursday)
  • 19 March (Friday)
  • 1 April (Holy Thursday)
  • 2 April (Good Friday)
  • 5 April (Easter Monday)
  • 6 April (Easter Tuesday)
  • 19 April (Monday)
  • 13 May (Thursday)
  • 3 June (Thursday)
  • 29 June (Tuesday)
  • The entire month of August
  • 1 November (Monday)
  • 2 November (Tuesday)
  • 8 December (Wednesday)
  • 24 December (Friday)
  • 27 December (Monday)
  • 31 December (Friday)

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