May 19, 2015

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

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

Summary

- Statistics on the Catholic Church in Bosnia and Herzegovina

- The Pope to the Italian bishops: denounce corruption, which impoverishes all

- Other Pontifical Acts

Statistics on the Catholic Church in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Vatican City, 19 May 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father will make an apostolic trip to Sarajevo, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, on 6 June. The following are some statistical data on the Catholic Church in this country, from the Central Office of Church Statistics.

Bosnia and Herzegovina has a surface area of 51,197 sq. km. and a population of 3,833,000 inhabitants, of whom 43,900 are Catholics – 11.5% of the population. There are four ecclesiastical circumscriptions, 304 parishes and one parish centre. The apostolate consists of six bishops, 624 priests, 14 men religious and 537 women religious. There are 68 catechists and 120 major seminarians.

The Catholic Church in Bosnia and Herzegovina has 16 educational centres including pre-school, primary, middle, secondary and high schools, and a university. There are also six clinics, four rest homes for the elderly and disabled, four orphanages and nurseries, six family counselling centres and life protection centres, three centres for social education or re-education, and six centres of other types.

The Pope to the Italian bishops: denounce corruption, which impoverishes all

Vatican City, 19 May 2015 (VIS) - “Our vocation is to listen when the Lord asks us: 'Console my people'. Indeed, we are asked to console, to help, to encourage, without discrimination, all our brothers who are oppressed by the weight of their crosses, without ever tiring of working to lift them up again with the strength that comes only from God”, said Pope Francis yesterday afternoon to the bishops of the Italian Episcopal Conference, as he inaugurated the 68th assembly, to be held in the Vatican to analyse the reception of the Apostolic Exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium” (The Joy of the Gospel).

Proclaiming the Gospel today, a difficult moment in history, requires prelates to “go against the grain: or rather, to be joyful witnesses of the Risen Christ to transmit joy and hope to others”, said the Holy Father, who went on to illustrate the importance of the “ecclesial sensibility”, which means assuming the same sentiments as Christ, “sentiments of humility, compassion, concreteness and wisdom”.

A sensibility that also involves “not being timid … in denouncing and fighting against a widespread mentality of the public and private corruption that shamelessly impoverishes families, pensioners, honest workers and Christian communities, discarding the young, who are systematically deprived of any hope for their future, and above all marginalising the weak and the needy. It is an ecclesial sensibility that, as good pastors, makes us go forth towards the People of God to defend them from ideological colonisations that take away their identity and human dignity”.

This sensibility is also made tangible in pastoral decisions and in the elaboration of documents “where the abstract theoretical-doctrinal aspect must not prevail, as if our directions were intended not for our People or our country, but only for a few scholars or specialists – instead we must make the effort to translate them into concrete and comprehensible proposals”, emphasised Francis.

The strengthening of the essential role of the laity is another of the concrete applications of pastoral sensibility, since “laypeople with an authentic Christian formation should not need a bishop-guide … to assume their own responsibilities at all levels, political to social, economic to legislative. However, they do need a bishop-pastor”.

Finally, the ecclesial sensibility is revealed in a tangible way “in collegiality and in the communion between bishops and their priests; in the communion between bishops themselves; between dioceses which are materially and vocationally rich and those in difficulty; between the periphery and the centre; between episcopal conferences and the bishops, and the Successor of Peter”. He remarked, “in some parts of the world we see a widespread weakening of collegiality, both in pastoral planning and in the shared undertaking of economic and financial commitments. The habit of checking the reception of programmes and the implementation of projects is lacking. For example, conferences or events are organised which promote the usual voices, anaesthetising the Communities, approving choices, opinions and people, instead of allowing us to be transported towards the horizons where the Holy Spirit asks us to go”.

“Why do we let the religious institutes, monasteries and congregations age so much, almost to the point of no longer giving evangelical witness faithful to the founding charism? Why do we not try to regroup them before it is too late?”. This is a global problem that, as the Holy Father stated, indicates a lack of ecclesial sensibility.

“I will end here, after have presented to you a few examples of weakened ecclesial sensibility due to the need to continually face enormous global problems and the crisis that spares not even the Christian and ecclesial identity itself”, he concluded, asking the Lord to grant to all during the Jubilee Year of Mercy “the joy of rediscovering and making fruitful God's mercy, with which we are all called to console every man and every woman of our time”.

Other Pontifical Acts

Vatican City, 19 May 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed:

- Rev. Fr. James Massa and Rev. Fr. Witold Mroziewski as auxiliaries of Brooklyn (area 466, population 4,838,406, Catholics 1,403,137, priests 604, permanent deacons 225, religious 1,053), U.S.A.

Bishop-elect Massa was born in Jersey City, U.S.A., in 1960 and was ordained a priest in 1986. He holds a master's degree in theology from the Yale University School of Divinity, New Haven, and a doctorate in systematic theology from Fordham University, New York. He has served in a number of roles in the diocese of Brooklyn, including parish vicar, chaplain and professor at the Kansas Newman College, professor at the Pope John XXIII national seminary and the seminary of the Immaculate Conception, executive director of the ecumenical and interreligious committee of the U.S.A. episcopal conference, consultor of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, professor of the St. Joseph seminary, moderator of the curia and administrator of the Holy Name Parish.

Bishop-elect Mroziewski was born in Augustow, Poland in 1966 and was ordained a priest in 1991. He holds master's degrees in theology and canon law, and a doctorate in canon law from the Catholic University of Lublin, Poland. He has served in a number of roles, including parish vicar in the diocese of Lomza, Poland, and in Brooklyn, parish vicar, administrator, parish priest, judge at the diocesan tribunal, coordinator of the Polish apostolate, adjunct promoter of justice for criminal causes, member of the presbyteral council and defender of the bond. He is currently parish priest of the Holy Cross parish in Maspeth.

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