March 26, 2014

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

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

Summary

- FRANCIS TO THE FAITHFUL: HELP YOUR PASTORS NOT TO BE MEDIOCRE

- TELEGRAM FROM THE POPE FOR THE DEATH OF ADOLFO SUAREZ

- COMMUNIQUE ON THE DIOCESE OF LIMBURG, GERMANY

- THE POPE ENTRUSTS TO MARY ALL THE CITIZENS OF LEBANON

- THE VIRGIN MARY IN ISLAMIC-CHRISTIAN DIALOGUE

- OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

 

FRANCIS TO THE FAITHFUL: HELP YOUR PASTORS NOT TO BE MEDIOCRE

Vatican City, 26 March 2014 (VIS) – “The Sacraments of the Holy Orders and Matrimony, two specific vocations and two great paths to the Lord” were the theme of the Holy Father's catechesis during today's general audience in St. Peter's Square. “The ministers who are chosen and consecrated for this service prolong Jesus' presence over time, and they do so with the power of the Holy Spirit in the name of God, and with love”.

“Those who are ordained are placed at the head of the community. Yes, they are at the 'head', but for Jesus this means placing their authority at the service of the community. … 'whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant and whoever wants to be first must be your slave'. … A bishop who does not serve his community does not do good; a priest or a curate who does not place himself at the service of his community does not do good, he is mistaken”.

Pope Francis emphasised that “impassioned love for the Church” is a characteristic that always derives from this sacramental union with Christ. “The bishop, the priest, love the Church in their own community, they love the Church greatly. How? How Christ loves His Church. … The spouse loves his wife as Christ loves His Church. ... The priesthood and matrimony are two Sacraments that represent the path by which people habitually reach the Lord”.

Finally, the Pope cited the words of St. Paul to Timothy when he advised him not to neglect, but rather always to revive the gift given to him. “When the ministry is not nurtured by prayer, by listening to the Word of God, with the daily celebration of the Eucharist, and also with regular confession, the authentic sense of one's own service is inevitably lost from view, along with the joy that comes from profound communion with Jesus. … The priest who does not do these things loses, over time, his union with Jesus and becomes mediocre, which is not good for the Church. Therefore, we must help bishops and priests to pray, to listen to the Word of God that is our daily bread, to celebrate the Eucharist every day and to confess regularly”.

“Access to the priesthood cannot be sold. This is an initiative the Lord takes. The Lord calls”, he added, and concluded by encouraging the young who hear this call to “cherish this invitation and pray so that it might grow and bear fruit in all the Church”.

 

TELEGRAM FROM THE POPE FOR THE DEATH OF ADOLFO SUAREZ

Vatican City, 26 March 2014 (VIS) – We publish below the full text of the telegram sent by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, on behalf of the Holy Father, to Bishop Jesus Garcia Burillo of Avila, Spain, on the occasion of the funeral of Adolfo Suarez, prime minister of Spain from 1976 to 1981, who died on 23 March at the age of 81. The funeral was held in the Cathedral of Avila.

“Profoundly saddened by the news of the death of Mr. Adolfo Suarez Gonzalez, ex-president of the government of Spain, His Holiness conveys his most heartfelt condolences, and raises prayers to the Lord for the eternal repose of this distinguished figure in recent Spanish history. He imparts to the family and loved ones of the departed the comfort of his apostolic blessing, as a sign of Christian hope in the Risen Lord”.

 

COMMUNIQUE ON THE DIOCESE OF LIMBURG, GERMANY

Vatican City, 26 March 2014 (VIS) – The Holy See Press Office today issued the following communique:

“With reference to the administration of the diocese of Limburg in Germany, the Congregation for Bishops has carefully studied the report of the Commission instituted by the bishop and by the Cathedral Chapter to undertake further investigations in relation to the responsibility for the construction of the 'St. Nikolaus' diocesan centre.

Awaiting the diocese of Limburg to ascertain a situation that impedes the fruitful exercise of his ministry on the part of Msgr. Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, the Holy See has accepted the resignation presented by the prelate on 20 October 2013 and has appointed Msgr. Manfred Grothe as apostolic administrator “sede vacante”.

The former Bishop Tebartz-van Elst will in due course be assigned a different role.

The Holy Father entreatas the clergy and faithful of Limburg to accept the decisions of the Holy See with docility and willingness to rediscover a climate of charity and reconciliation”.

 

THE POPE ENTRUSTS TO MARY ALL THE CITIZENS OF LEBANON

Vatican City, 26 March 2014 (VIS) – Yesterday afternoon Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin sent a message, on behalf of the Holy Father Francis, to the participants in the eighth Islamic-Christian Prayer Meeting, “Together around Mary, Our Lady”. The meeting, which took place in Beirut, Lebanon, to celebrate the Solemnity of the Annunciation, was organised by the St. Joseph University Alumni Assocation and the College of Our Lady of Jamhour.

The Holy Father shows his joy at seeing “Christians and Muslims united in their devotion to the Virgin Mary”, and comments that “the shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon in Harissa is a blessed place where everyone can go to invoke her”. He also encourages Christians and Muslims to “work together for peace and for the common good, thus contributing to the full development of the person and the edification of society”, and entrusts the participants in the meeting “and all the inhabitants of Lebanon to the maternal intercession of the Virgin Mary, Queen of Peace and Protectress of Lebanon”.

 

THE VIRGIN MARY IN ISLAMIC-CHRISTIAN DIALOGUE

Vatican City, 26 March 2014 (VIS) – “The Virgin Mary and Islamic-Christian dialogue” was the theme of the address given by Fr. Miguel Angel Ayuso, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, during the eighth meeting of the Islamic-Christian Prayer Meeting which took place yesterday in Beirut, Lebanon, on 25 March, Solemnity of the Annunciation, which is celebrated by both Christians and Muslims. It is an important occasion and was declared a national holiday by the Lebanese government in 2010. In his address, which focused both on the figure of Mary and on the mission of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Fr. Ayuso emphasised that the feast of 25 March was “a true example of the co-existence between Muslims and Christians that characterises Lebanese history, in the midst of so many difficulties, and which also constitutes an important example for many other nations”.

“Since Vatican Council II, the Catholic Church recognises that Muslims honour the Virgin mother of Jesus, Mary, and invoke her with piety. … Mary is mentioned various times in the Koran. Respect for her is so evident that when she is mentioned in Islam, it is usual to add 'Alayha l-salam' ('Peace be upon her'). Christians also willingly join in this invocation. I must also mention those shrines dedicated to Mary which welcome both Muslims and Christians. In particular, here in Lebanon, how can we forget the shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon in Harissa?”

“Devotion creates sentiments of friendship: it is a phenomenon open to everyone. The cultural experiences that our communities can share encourage collaboration, solidarity and mutual recognition as sons and daughters of a single God, members of the same human family. Therefore, the Church addresses the followers of Islam with esteem. During the last fifty years, a dialogue of friendship and mutual respect has been constructed”.

With reference to the dialogue between Muslims and Christians, he went on to explain that the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue “seeks to establish regular relationships with Muslim institutions and organisations, with the aim of promoting mutual understanding and trust, friendship and, where possible, collaboration. In fact, there exist agreements with various Muslim institutions enabling the possibility of holding periodical meetings, in accordance with the programmes and procedures approved by both parties. With regard to the methods of interreligious dialogue and, therefore, the dialogue between Christians and Muslims, we must recall that dialogue is a two-way form of communication. … It is based on witness of one's own faith and, at the same time, openness to the religion of the other. It is not a betrayal of the mission of the Church, and much less a new method of conversion to Christianity. The document 'Dialogue and Proclamation', published jointly by the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples and the Council for Interreligious Dialogue in 1991, identifies four different forms of interreligious dialogue: the dialogue of life, the dialogue of works, the dialogue of theological exchange and the dialogue of religious experience. These four forms demonstrate that it is not an experience confined to specialists”.

Fr. Ayuso concluded by analysing the role of Mary, in the light of the motto of the national holiday in Lebanon, “Together around Mary, Our Lady”. “In the Apostolic Exhortation 'Marialis Cultus', promulgated in 1974 by Pope Paul VI, Mary is presented as 'the Virgin who listens', 'the Virgin who prays', 'the Virgin in dialogue with God'. … But there is also the image of a model of dialogue of seeking when, addressing the Archangel Gabriel, she asks, 'How is it possible?'. Mary, a model for Muslims and Christians, is also a model of dialogue, teaching us to believe, not to close ourselves up in certainties, but rather to remain open and available to others”.

 

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

Vatican City, 26 March 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has:

- appointed Bishop Manoel Joao Francisco of Chapeco, Brazil, as bishop of Cornelio Procopio (area 6,715, population 216,000, Catholics 183,000, priests 38, religious 40), Brazil. He succeeds Bishop Getulio Teixeira Guimaraes, S.V.D., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese, upon reaching the age limit, was accepted by the Holy Father.

- accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Limburg, Germany, presented by Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

Yesterday, Tuesday 25 March, the Holy Father appointed Bishop Nunzio Galantino of Cassano all'Jonio as secretary general of the Italian Episcopal Conference.

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