May 21, 2013

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

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

Summary

- POPE PRAYS FOR VICTIMS OF OKLAHOMA TORNADO

- FR. LOMBARDI ON ALLEGED EXORCISM PERFORMED BY POPE

- MICHELANGELO'S PIETA 40 YEARS AFTER RESTORATION

- OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

 

POPE PRAYS FOR VICTIMS OF OKLAHOMA TORNADO

Vatican City, 21 May 2013 (VIS) – “Let us pray for the victims and those who are missing, especially children, affected by the violent tornado that hit Oklahoma City yesterday. Hear us, O Lord,” said Pope Francis this morning during daily Mass celebrated in the Domus Sanctae Marthae chapel.

Subsequently, Pope Francis launched a tweet from his @Pontifex account: “I am close to the families of all who died in the Oklahoma tornado, especially those who lost young children. Join me in praying for them.”

The tornado that struck the state of Oklahoma, USA, yesterday has caused 91 deaths, 20 of whom were children, and destroyed over 7,000 buildings. Entire neighbourhoods on the outskirts of Oklahoma City were destroyed. There are over a hundred wounded and still missing persons.

 

FR. LOMBARDI ON ALLEGED EXORCISM PERFORMED BY POPE

Vatican City, 21 May 2013 (VIS) – In response to questions from reporters about an alleged exorcism performed by the Holy Father Francis in St. Peter’s Square after last Sunday’s Mass, the Director of the Holy See Press Office Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., said: “The Holy Father had no intention to perform any exorcism. Instead, as he frequently does for the sick and suffering persons who approach him, he simply meant to pray for a suffering person who was presented to him.”

 

MICHELANGELO'S PIETA 40 YEARS AFTER RESTORATION

Vatican City, 21 May 2013 (VIS) – On 21 May 1972, Michelangelo's Pieta, exhibited to the public in St. Peter's Basilica, was attacked by a hammer-wielding tourist who had managed to elude the sanctuary's guards. Hungarian-born Australian geologist Laszlo Toth, who suffered from sever mental problems, threw himself at the sculpture shouting, “I am Jesus Christ, risen from the dead!” and he struck the Pieta 15 times destroying the Madonna's nose, breaking off her left forearm, and smashing that arm's elbow into over 50 pieces.

Today, 41 years later, the Vatican Museums are dedicating a study day to the sculpture's reconstruction entitled: “Michelangelo's Pieta: In Memory of 21 May 1972 – A Restoration Story”. During the course of the day's planned events, the complex and delicate task of restoration that took place between 1972 and 1973 in the Vatican Museums under the care of then-director, the Brazilian Deoclecio Redig de Campos, will be analysed. Thanks to the existence of numerous casts, the skill of several specialists, and reusing original fragments as well as a paste made of glue and marble dust, it was possible to faithfully restore the work.

The Pieta is considered Michelangelo's first masterpiece—he was little more than twenty when he sculpted it—and it is the only one he signed. The sash running across the Virgin's chest reads: “MICHAEL.A[N]GELVS BONAROTVS FLORENT[INVS] FACIEBAT”. The study day will reveal, among other things and thanks to documents conserved by the Office of the Fabric of St. Peter's, the various places the statue resided before its placement, in 1779, in the first chapel on the right of the nave of St. Peter's Basilica where it is visible today, but protected after the attack, by bullet-proof glass that separates it from the visitors to the basilica. The only time that the Pieta has left Vatican territory was in 1964 when it travelled to the Universal Expo in New York to be admired by over 21 million people. On that occasion, the photographer Robert Hupka immortalized it in a book entitled “An Act of Love”. Another little-known fact about the work regards the crowns that have adorned the Virgin's head throughout the centuries, which will be discussed by the archaeologist Pietro Zander.

The study day will also have the exclusive viewing of the documentary “Violence and the Pieta”, restored in colour and digital format by the recently deceased Brando Giordani in collaboration with RAI's Department of Culture, that narrates the entire process of the statue's reconstruction. The documentary was filmed by the express will of Pope Paul VI who compared the shattered statue with an image of the Church in tears, attacked by evil.

Another of Michelangelo's celebrated statues, the David, which is found in Florence's Accademia Art Gallery, was also attacked by a mentally unsound person with a hammer in 1991. The toe's of the statue's left foot were broken off. That restoration process, undertaken by the Opificio delle Pietre Dure (workshop of semi-precious stones) in Florence, will be presented in the afternoon, serving to introduce one of the Vatican Museum's latest initiatives: the creation of a virtual gipsoteca (plaster cast gallery) with 3D models and “clones” of the collections' most irreplaceable works.

 

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

Vatican City, 21 May 2013 (VIS) – Today the Holy Father appointed:

   - Fr. Rafael Valdez Torres as bishop of Ensenada (area 52,646, population 557,000, Catholics 439,000, priests 53, religious 106), Mexico. The bishop-elect was born in Santiago Tangamandapio, Michoacan, Mexico in 1959 and was ordained a priest in 1985. Since ordination he has served in several parochial and diocesan level roles, most recently as pastor and rector of the Shrine of Our Lord of the Miracles in San Juan Nuevo and, since 2008, as bursar of the diocesan Mutual Sacerdotal.

   - Fr. Luzizla Kiala as bishop of Sumbe (area 60,000, population 1,191,000, Catholics 369,969, priests 47, religious 59), Angola. The bishop-elect was born in Damba, Uige Province, Angola and was ordained a priest in 1992. Since ordination he has served in several pastoral, administrative, and diocesan roles, most recently as vicar general of the Diocese of Uije and pastor of the cathedral.

   - Bishop Claude Jean Narcisse Rault, M. Afr., of Laghouat, Algeria, as a member of the Special Council for Africa of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops.

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