January 2, 2014

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

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

Summary

- MORE THAN SIX MILLION, SIX HUNDRED THOUSAND FAITHFUL WITH POPE FRANCIS

- MARY, SOURCE OF HOPE AND TRUE JOY

- POPE FRANCIS: PEACE REQUIRES THE STRENGTH OF MEEKNESS

- POPE FRANCIS: THE FACE OF ROME, A MOSAIC MADE UP OF HER INHABITANTS

- OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

- PAPAL AND HOLY SEE HIGHLIGHTS FOR SEPTEMBER - DECEMBER 2013

 

MORE THAN SIX MILLION, SIX HUNDRED THOUSAND FAITHFUL WITH POPE FRANCIS

Vatican City, 2 January 2014 (VIS) – The Prefecture of the Papal Household today published a communique in which it reported that during 2013, since his election on 13 March, more than 6,600,000 faithful participated in the various encounters with Pope Francis: general audiences (1,548,500), private audiences (87,400), liturgical celebrations in the Vatican Basilica and in St. Peter's Square (2,282,000), Angelus and Regina Coeli (2,706,000). These data refer exclusively to activities which took place within the Vatican, and do not include other events in which hundreds of thousands of faithful have gathered around the Holy Father, such as the apostolic visit to Brazil in July for World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, and visits within Italy, to Lampedusa, Cagliari and Assisi, as well as visits within the diocese of Rome. The total number of faithful who have participated in these events is estimated at 6,623,000.

The Prefecture of the Papal Household emphasises that these are approximate data calculated on the basis of requests to participate in events and invitations issued by the Prefecture. Additionally, an estimate has been given for the number of attendees at the Angelus and the major celebrations in St. Peter's Square.

 

MARY, SOURCE OF HOPE AND TRUE JOY

Vatican City, 1 January 2014 (VIS) – This Wednesday, Solemnity of Holy Mary Mother of God, and Octave of Christmas, the Holy Father presided at the Holy Mass in the Vatican Basilica, concelebrated by Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council “Justice and Peace”; Archbishop Pietro Parolin, secretary of State; Archbishop Giovanni Angelo Becciu, substitute secretary of State; and Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States. Today is also 47th World Day of Peace, the theme of which is “Fraternity, the foundation and pathway to peace”.

The full text of Pope Francis' homily is published below:

“In the first reading we find the ancient prayer of blessing which God gave to Moses to hand on to Aaron and his sons: 'The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace'. There is no more meaningful time than the beginning of a new year to hear these words of blessing: they will accompany our journey through the year opening up before us. They are words of strength, courage and hope. Not an illusory hope, based on frail human promises, or a naive hope which presumes that the future will be better simply because it is the future. Rather, it is a hope that has its foundation precisely in God’s blessing, a blessing which contains the greatest message of good wishes there can be; and this is the message which the Church brings to each of us, filled with the Lord’s loving care and providential help.

“The message of hope contained in this blessing was fully realized in a woman, Mary, who was destined to become the Mother of God, and it was fulfilled in her before all creatures.

The Mother of God. This is the first and most important title of Our Lady. It refers to a quality, a role which the faith of the Christian people, in its tender and genuine devotion to our heavenly Mother, has understood from the beginning. We recall that great moment in the history of the ancient Church, the Council of Ephesus, in which the divine motherhood of the Virgin Mary was authoritatively defined. The truth of her divine maternity found an echo in Rome where, a little later, the Basilica of Saint Mary Major was built, the first Marian shrine in Rome and in the entire West, in which the image of the Mother of God – the Theotokos – is venerated under the title of Salus Populi Romani. It is said that the residents of Ephesus used to gather at the gates of the basilica where the bishops were meeting and shout, 'Mother of God!'. The faithful, by asking them to officially define this title of Our Lady, showed that they acknowledged her divine motherhood. Theirs was the spontaneous and sincere reaction of children who know their Mother well, for they love her with immense tenderness. But it is more: it is the sensus fidei of the holy People of God which, in its unity, never errs.

“Mary has always been present in the hearts, the piety and above all the pilgrimage of faith of the Christian people. 'The Church journeys through time… and on this journey she proceeds along the path already trodden by the Virgin Mary'. Our journey of faith is the same as that of Mary, and so we feel that she is particularly close to us. As far as faith, the hinge of the Christian life, is concerned, the Mother of God shared our condition. She had to take the same path as ourselves, a path which is sometimes difficult and obscure. She had to advance in the 'pilgrimage of faith'.

“Our pilgrimage of faith has been inseparably linked to Mary ever since Jesus, dying on the Cross, gave her to us as our Mother, saying: 'Behold your Mother!'. These words serve as a testament, bequeathing to the world a Mother. From that moment on, the Mother of God also became our Mother! When the faith of the disciples was most tested by difficulties and uncertainties, Jesus entrusted them to Mary, who was the first to believe, and whose faith would never fail. The 'woman' became our Mother when she lost her divine Son. Her sorrowing heart was enlarged to make room for all men and women, all, whether good or bad, and she loves them as she loved Jesus. The woman who at the wedding at Cana in Galilee gave her faith-filled cooperation so that the wonders of God could be displayed in the world, at Calvary kept alive the flame of faith in the resurrection of her Son, and she communicates this with maternal affection to each and every person. Mary becomes in this way a source of hope and true joy!

“The Mother of the Redeemer goes before us and continually strengthens us in faith, in our vocation and in our mission. By her example of humility and openness to God’s will she helps us to transmit our faith in a joyful proclamation of the Gospel to all, without reservation. In this way our mission will be fruitful, because it is modelled on the motherhood of Mary. To her let us entrust our journey of faith, the desires of our heart, our needs and the needs of the whole world, especially of those who hunger and thirst for justice and peace, and for God. Let us then together invoke her, and I invite you to invoke her three times, following the example of those brothers and sisters of Ephesus: Mother of God! Mother of God! Mother of God! Amen”.

 

POPE FRANCIS: PEACE REQUIRES THE STRENGTH OF MEEKNESS

Vatican City, 1 January 2014 (VIS) – Following the celebration of Holy Mass on the Solemnity of the Holy Mother of God, and on the 47th World Day of Peace, Pope Francis appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with the faithful and pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square. Before the Marian prayer, the Pontiff made some comments on the theme of peace.

“Following in the footsteps of my predecessors, beginning with Paul VI, I have developed this theme in a message, which today I convey to all. It is based on the conviction that we are all children of one Heavenly Father, we are part of the same human family, and we share a common destiny. Thus we all have the shared responsibility to work to make the world into a community of brothers and sisters who respect each other, accept diversity and take care of each other. We are also called to be aware of the violence and injustice that exist in many parts of the world and to which we should remain indifferent and immobile: the commitment of all is necessary to build a more just and caring society. From every corner of the earth, today believers raise prayers to the Lord for the gift of peace and the ability to bring it to every place."

“On this, the first day of the year”, added the Holy Father, “may the Lord help us to set out more decisively on the path of justice and peace; may the Holy Spirit act in our hearts, loosening bonds and warming hardened hearts so that they open up to the tenderness and weakness of the Child Jesus. Peace requires the force of meekness, the non-violent strength of the truth and of love.

Similarly, Pope Francis encouraged the faithful to place their hopes with filial trust in the hands of Mary. "May she, who extends her maternal love to all mankind, hear the cry for peace of those people oppressed by war and violence, so that the courage of dialogue and reconciliation might prevail over the temptation for revenge, arrogance and corruption. We pray to her that the Gospel of fraternity announced and witnessed by the Church speak to every conscience and break down the walls that prevent enemies from recognising each other as brothers".

After the Marian prayer, Pope Francis wished a happy new year, full of peace, to all the pilgrims and faithful. He thanked the President of the Italian Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, for the words addressed to the him during the president's message to the Italian nation on the night of 31 December, and sent his best wishes to the Italian people so that they "may look to the future with confidence and hope". He also thanked the various groups that have arranged prayer initiatives dedicated to peace, in particular the national March which began on 31 December in Campobasso, Italy, organised by the Italian Episcopal Conference, Caritas and Pax Christi; the Sant'Egidio Community; and the families of the Movement of Family Love, who spent the night praying in St. Peter's Square,and the volunteers of Fraterna Domus. Before concluding, he addressed a special greeting to the "Star Singers" (“Sternsinger”), the children and young people in Germany and Austria who bring the blessing of Jesus to homes and collect donations for children in need.

 

POPE FRANCIS: THE FACE OF ROME, A MOSAIC MADE UP OF HER INHABITANTS

Vatican City, 31 December 2013 (VIS) – On Tuesday 31 December at 5 p.m. in the Vatican Basilica, the Holy Father presided at the first Vespers of the Solemnity of Holy 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 civil year, and the Eucharistic blessing.

“While the year 2013 reaches its end”, said Pope Francis in his homily, “we gather together, as if in a basket, the days, the weeks, the months we have lived, to offer to the Lord. And we ask ourselves bravely how we have lived the time that He has given to us. Have we used it above all for ourselves, for our own interests, or have we known how to use it also for others? And for God? How much time have we set aside to 'be with Him', in prayer and in silence?”

“And let us think also of this city of Rome”, continued the Holy Father. “What has happened this year? What is happening, and what will happen? How is the quality of life in this city? This depends on all of us! How is the quality of our 'citizenship?' This year did we make our own 'small contribution', to make it more liveable, tidier and friendlier? Indeed, the face of a town is like a mosaic whose pieces are all those who live there. Of course, those vested with authority a have greater responsibility, but we are all jointly responsible, for better or for worse".

"Rome is a city of unique beauty. It has an extraordinary spiritual and cultural heritage. Yet, even in Rome there are so many people whose lives are marked by material and moral misery, the poor, the destitute, the suffering, that appeal to the conscience of every citizen. Perhaps this contrast between the majestic surroundings full of artistic beauty, and social hardship of those in need is even more keenly felt in Rome. Rome is a city full of tourists, but also full of refugees. Rome is full of working people, but also people who are unable to find employment or who work in underpaid and sometimes undignified jobs, and everyone has the right to be treated with the same attitude of acceptance and fairness, because every one of us is the bearer of human dignity".

“It is the last day of the year. What will we do, how will we act next year, to make our city a little better? Rome in the coming year will be even more beautiful if she is richer in humanity, more hospitable and welcoming; if all of us are attentive and generous towards those in difficulty; if we collaborate in a constructive and supportive spirit, for the good of all. Rome in the new year will be better if people do not simply look on from afar, as if at a picture postcard, observing life 'from the balcony' without getting involved in human problems, the problems faced by men and women who, in the end … and indeed from the beginning, whether we like it or not, are our brothers and sisters”.

“From this point of view, the Church of Rome is committed to her duty of giving her contribution to the life and future of the city; to animating her with the leaven of the Gospel and being a sign and instrument of God's mercy”, concluded the Holy Father.

Following the Eucharistic celebration, the Pope visited the Nativity display arranged next to the obelisk in St. Peter's Square.

 

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

Vatican City, 2 January 2014 (VIS) - Today, the Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral governance of the archdiocese of Tororo (area 8,837, population 3,251,000, Catholics 705,363, priests 95, religious 227) Uganda, presented by Archbishop Denis Kiwanuka Lote, upon reaching the age limit. He is succeeded by Bishop Emmanuel Obbo, formerly bishop of Soroti, Uganda.

 

PAPAL AND HOLY SEE HIGHLIGHTS FOR SEPTEMBER - DECEMBER 2013

Vatican City, 13 December 2013 (VIS) - Following are highlights of the activities of Pope Benedict XVI and of the Holy See for the months of September to December 2013.

SEPTEMBER

2: Beatification, in Messina, Italy, of Antonio Franco, ordinary prelate of Santa Lucia del Mela who lived between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

2: The Holy Father receives in audience Veselin Sukovic, ambassador of Montenegro to the Holy See, presenting his credential letters.

4: The Holy Father receives in audience Antonella Mularoni and Denis Amici, Captains Regent of the Republic of San Marino.

6: The Holy Father receives in audience the president of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, Juan Evo Morales Ayma.

7: Pope Francis convokes a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, in the Middle East and throughout the world.

7: The Holy Father receives in audience Peter Sopko, the new ambassador of the Slovak Republic to the Holy See, presenting his letters of credence.

9: The Holy Father receives in audience Piotr Nowina-Konopka, the new ambassador of Poland to the Holy See, presenting his letters of credence.

10: Meeting of the Holy Father with the heads of all the dicasteries of the Roman Curia, the president of the Governorate and the cardinal vicar general of Rome.

10: Private visit of Pope Francis to the Centro Astalli in Rome, the Italian seat of the Jesuit Refugee Service.

12: The Holy Father receives in audience the prime minister of Thailand, Yingluck Shinawatra.

13: The Pope receives in audience Denis Fontes De Souza Pinto, ambassador of Brazil to the Holy See, presenting his letters of credence.

14: Audience with Kiril Liubomirov Topalov, ambassador of Bulgaria to the Holy See, presenting his letters of credence.

14: Beatification in Cordoba, Argentina of Fr. Jose Gabriel Brochero (1840-1914), priest and missionary, known as the “gaucho priest”.

16: Meeting of the Pope with the Clergy of Rome in the Basilica of St. John Lateran.

19: Pope Francis receives in audience the prime minister of the Republic of Lithuania, Algirdas Butkevicius.

20: Pope Francis receives in audience Porfirio Lobo Sosa, president of the Republic of Honduras.

20: The Holy Father receives in audience Janos Ader, president of Hungary.

22: Pastoral visit to Cagliari, Italy, to the shrine of Our Lady of Bonaria.

23: Audience with Juan Carlos Gamarra, ambassador of Peru to the Holy See, presenting his letters of credence.

24: Message from the Holy Father for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, to be celebrated on 19 January 2014, on the theme “Migrants and Refugees: towards a better world”.

28: Chirograph by by which the Holy Father institutes a Council of Cardinals to assist him in the governance of the universal Church and to draw up a project for the revision of the Apostolic Constitution “Pastor bonus”, on the Roman Curia.

29: Holy Mass on the occasion of the Day of Catechists.

30: During the Ordinary Public Consistory, the Pope decrees that Blesseds John XXIII and John Paul II be inscribed in the book of saints on Sunday, 27 April 2014, Second Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday.

OCTOBER

1: First of Pope Francis' three meetings with the Council of Cardinals.

1: The Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR) publishes for the first time, on its website, its annual report for 2012.

4: Pastoral visit to Assisi, Italy.

5: Publication of the Pontifical Letter in which the Pope appoints Cardinal Joachim Meisner, archbishop of Cologne, Germany, as his special envoy to the celebration of the 750th anniversary of the laying of the first stone of the cathedral of Xanthen, Germany, scheduled to take place on 13 October.

7: Pope Francis receives in audience their Majesties the King of Lesotho, Letsie III, and Queen ‘Masenate Mohato Seeiso.

8: The Holy Father Francis convenes the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, to be held in the Vatican from 5 to 19 October 2014, on the theme “The pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelisation”.

10: Pope Francis received in audience Ivo Josipovic, president of the Republic of Croatia.

11: The Holy Father extends the liturgical cult of Blessed Angela of Foligno (1248-1309) to the universal Church, inscribing her in the catalogue of saints.

12: The Pope receives in audience Carlos Avila Molina, ambassador of Honduras to the Holy See, presenting his letters of credence.

13: Holy Mass on the occasion of the Marian Day, in the context of the Year of Faith celebrations.

15: Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. concludes his mandate as secretary of State, as announced on 31 August 2013, when the Pope accepted his resignation in accordance with canon 354 of the Code of Canon Law, asking him however to serve until 15 October 2013.

15: Archbishop Pietro Parolin, appointed as the new secretary of State, takes office.

17: The Holy Father Francis receives in audience Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian National Authority.

18: The Holy Father Francis receives in audience the president of the Republic of Cameroon, Paul Biya.

21: The Pope receives in audience Kenneth F. Hackett, the new ambassador of the United States to the Holy See, presenting his credential letters.

24: Pope Francis receives in audience His Royal Highness Prince Guillaume, hereditary Grand-Duke of Luxembourg, with Princess Stephanie and entourage.

25: The Holy Father Francis receives in audience the president of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.

26: Publication of the Letter by which the Pope appoints Cardinal Raffaele Farina, S.D.B., archivist and librarian emeritus of the Holy Roman Church, as his special envoy to the celebration of first centenary of the Sophia University of Tokyo, Japan, scheduled for 1 November.

27: Holy Mass on the occasion of the Day of the Family, in the context of the Year of Faith celebrations.

31: The Pope announces his intention to convoke a Consistory for the creation of new cardinals on the occasion of the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, 22 February.

NOVEMBER

1: Solemnity of All Saints: Holy Mass at the Cemetery of Verano, Rome.

5: Publication of the preparatory document for the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, on the theme “The pastoral challenges for the family in the context of evangelisation”.

7: The Holy Father decides on the themes for the next three World Youth Days:

Twenty-ninth World Youth Day, 2014: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mt. 5:3).

Thirtieth World Youth Day 2015: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” (Mt. 5:8).

Thirty-first World Youth Day 2016 (Krakow): “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy” (Mt. 5:7).

8: The Holy Father receives in audience the president of the Republic of Costa Rica, Laura Chinchilla Miranda.

8: Presentation of the first issue of the new series of the journal “Latinitas”, published by the Pontifical Academy Latinitas, instituted by Pope Benedict XVI in November 2012.

9: The Holy Father nominates Cardinal Claudio Hummes O.F.M., prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Clergy, as his special envoy at the concluding celebrations of the national pilgrimage to the relics of St. Roque Gonzalez de Santa Cruz and his companion martyrs, on the twenty-fifth anniversary of his canonisation, to be held in Asuncion, Paraguay on 15 November 2013.

11: Cardinal Domenico Bartolucci, deacon of the Most Holy Names of Jesus and Mary in Via Lata and former director of the “Sistina” Pontifical Choir dies at the age of 96.

14: Official visit of the Holy Father Francis to the Quirinal Palace in response to the visit to the Vatican by the president of the Italian Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, on 8 June.

15: The Governorate of Vatican City State, by agreement with the Pontifical Commission for Reference on the Organisation of the Economic and Administrative Structure of the Holy See, mandates an international team from Ernst & Young to carry out the task of auditing and consultation in relation to the economic activities and administrative management procedures of the Entity.

18: Publication of the Apostolic Letter issued Motu Proprio of 15 November 2013, by which Pope Francis approves the new Statutes of the Financial Intelligence Authority (F.I.A.).

18: Pope Francis receives in audience the prime minister of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, Perry Gladstone Christie.

22: Holy Father Francis receives in audience Vjekoslav Bevanda, prime minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

23: Publication of the letter by which the Holy Father appoints Cardinal Walter Brandmuller, deacon of St. Julian of the Flemings, as his special envoy at the commemoration of the 450th anniversary of the Council of Trent, to be held in the cathedral of Trento, Italy on 1 December 2013.

24: The Holy Father presents the Apostolic Exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium” to 36 representatives of the People of God at the end of the Eucharistic Celebration on the occasion of the closing of the Year of Faith, inaugurated by Pope Benedict XVI on 11 October 2012.

25: Pope Francis receives in audience Horacio Manuel Cartes Jara, president of the Republic of Paraguay.

25: Vladimir V. Putin, president of the Russian Federation, received in audience by the Holy Father Francis.

28: The Holy Father appoints Msgr. Alfred Xuereb as delegate for the Pontifical Commission for Reference on the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR) and for the Pontifical Commission for Reference on the Organisation of the Economic-Administrative Structure of the Holy See.

30: Publication of the letter by which the Holy Father nominates Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez Rodriguez, archbishop of Santo Domingo, as his special envoy at the concluding celebrations of the centenary of the institution of the Ecclesiastical Province of Managua, scheduled to be held on 2 December 2013.

DECEMBER

1: Pastoral visit to the Roman parish of “San Cirillo Alessandrino” at Tor Sapienza.

2: The Holy Father Francis receives in audience Benjamin Netanyahu, prime minister of the State of Israel.

2: Pope Francis receives in audience a group of prelates from the Bishops' Conference of the Netherlands on their “ad limina” visit.

2: The Board of Superintendence of the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR) appoints Rolando Marranci as General Director.

3: Second series of meetings of the Council of Cardinals.

3: From today, ancient texts held in the Vatican Apostolic Library and the Bodleian Libraries, Oxford, may be viewed online.

5: Upon request by the Council of Cardinals, the Pope announces that a Commission for the Protection of Minors will be instituted.

6: Publication of Pope Francis' message for the 22nd World Day of the Sick 2014, to take place on 11 February 2014, liturgical memory of the Blessed Virgin Maria of Lourdes, with the theme “Faith and Charity: we too must give our lives for the brethren”.

9: The Holy Father received in audience the president of the Republic of the Congo, Denis Sassou N'Guesso.

11: Pope Francis is elected “Person of the Year” by Time Magazine.

12: Presentation of the Holy Father's message for the 47th World Day for Peace, 1 January 2014, entitled “Fraternity, the foundation and pathway to peace”.

16: The Pope receives in audience Francesco Kyung-surk Kim, the new ambassador of Korea to the Holy See, presenting his credential letters.

17: The Holy Father sends a telegram of condolences for the death, at the age of 87, of Cardinal Ricardo Maria Carles Gordo, archbishop emeritus of Barcelona, Spain.

18: The Pope extends the liturgical cult of Blessed Pietro Favre, professed priest of the Society of Jesus (1506-1546) to the universal Church, inscribing him in the catalogue of saints.

19: The Pope receives in audience the prime minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Everard Gonsalves.

20: The Pope receives in audience James K. Bebaako-Mensah, new ambassador of Ghana to the Holy See, presenting his credential letters.

21: Visit to the Bambino Gesu Paediatric Hospital, Rome.

23: The Holy Father receives in audience Rodney Alejandro Lopez, new ambassador of Cuba to the Holy See, presenting his letters of credence.

28: The Holy Father Francis appoints Bishop Nunzio Galantino of Cassano dell'Jonio, Italy, as “ad interim” secretary general of the Italian Episcopal Conference.

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