November 18, 2015

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

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

Summary

- General audience: the Holy Door is the door of God's mercy

- Protecting children is a duty

- Holy Father's calendar for December 2015 and January 2016

- “Recognitio” of the Holy Door of St. Peter's Basilica for the Jubilee of Mercy

- Other Pontifical Acts

General audience: the Holy Door is the door of God's mercy

Vatican City, 18 November 2015 (VIS) – As we approach the Jubilee Year of Mercy, Pope Francis dedicated the catechesis of today's Wednesday general audience to the meaning of the “Holy Door”, which he will open on 8 December in St. Peter's Basilica. This great door is that of God's mercy, which welcomes our repentance and offers us the grace of forgiveness; a door which is opened generously but whose threshold must be crossed with courage.

Francis referred to the recent Synod of Bishops, “which gave all families and all the Church as strong impetus to meet at the threshold of this open door. The Church was encouraged to open her doors, to go forth with the Lord towards His sons and daughters who walk together, at times uncertain, at times lost, in these difficult times. Christian families, in particular, have been encouraged to open the door to the Lord Who waits to enter, bringing His blessing. But the Lord never forces the door; He asks permission to enter through ours, although His doors are always open”.

“There are still places in the world where doors are not locked, but there are also many where reinforced doors have become normal. We must not accept the idea of having to apply this system to our whole life, to life within the family, in the city, in society, and far less so in the life of the Church. … An inhospitable Church, like a family closed in on itself, mortifies the Gospel and makes the world arid. No more reinforced doors in the Church!” he exclaimed.

“The symbolic management of doors – thresholds, passages, frontiers – has become crucial. The door must protect, certainly, but not repudiate. The door must not be forced: on the contrary, it is necessary to ask permission to enter, as hospitality shines in the freedom of welcome, and darkens in the arrogance of invasion. The door is opened frequently, to see if there is anyone waiting outside, who perhaps does not have the courage or even the strength to knock. How many people no longer trust … to knock on the door of our Christian heart, at the doors of our Churches. … We have lost their trust; please, we must not let this happen. The door says many things about the house, and also the Church”.

“We ourselves are the guardians and servants of the Door of God, Who is Jesus”, affirmed Francis. “Jesus is the door that lets us enter and leave. Because God's flock is a refuge, not a prison. … We must pass by the door and listen to Jesus' voice; if we hear His tone of voice, we are safe and sound. … If the guardian hears the voice of the Shepherd, then he opens, and he lets in all the sheep that the Shepherd brings, all of them, including those lost in the woods, that the Good Shepherd has gone to find. The sheep are not chosen by the guardian, but rather by the Good Shepherd. The guardian too obeys the voice of the Shepherd. The Church is the door to the house of the Lord but she is not the proprietor of the house of the Lord”.

The Pope concluded his catechesis by reiterating that the Holy Family of Nazareth knew well what was meant by an open or closed door for someone awaiting the birth of a child, for those who do not have shelter, and for those who must flee danger. May Christian families make the threshold of their home a little sign of the great Door of God's mercy and welcome. It is precisely in this way that the Church must be recognised, in every corner of the earth, “as the guardian of a God Who knocks to enter, with the welcome of a God Who does not close the door in your face with the excuse that you do not belong to the household”.

“With this spirit”, he concluded, “we approach the Jubilee: there will be the Holy Door, but it is the door of God's great mercy. There will also be the door of our heart, to receive all God's forgiveness and to give ours in turn, welcoming all those who knock on our door”.

Protecting children is a duty

Vatican City, 18 November 2015 (VIS) – After today's catechesis the Pope recalled that Thursday 20 November will be the Universal Children's Day. “It is a duty of all to protect children and to place their well-being before any other criterion, so that they are never subjected to forms of servitude or mistreatment”, he said. “I hope that the international community may keep careful watch over the living conditions of children, especially where they are at risk of recruitment by armed groups, and may help families guarantee to every boy and girl the right to schooling and education”.

He also mentioned that on 21 November the Church commemorates the Presentation of Mary in the Temple and therefore asks the grace of the gift of the vocation of men and women who, in monasteries and hermitages, have dedicated their lives to God. So that cloistered communities may fulfil their important mission, in prayer and in active silence, let us ensure they do not lack our spiritual and material closeness”.

Francis cordially welcomed pilgrims from Poland, especially the representatives of the Independent Self-Governing Trade Union “Solidarnosc”. “For thirty-five years your union has been engaged in the world of work, both physical and intellectual, as well as in the protection of the fundamental rights of the person and society. Be faithful to this commitment, so that political or economic interests do not prevail over the values that constitute the essence of human solidarity. I entrust you and all the members of the Union to the protection of your patron, Blessed Don Jerzy Popieluszko, and I impart to you my heartfelt blessing”.

Holy Father's calendar for December 2015 and January 2016

Vatican City, 18 November 2015 (VIS) – The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff has published the following calendar of liturgical celebrations at which the Holy Father will preside in the months of December 2015 and January 2016:

DECEMBER

Tuesday 8: Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. At 9.30 a.m. in St. Peter's Basilica, Holy Mass and opening of the Holy Door.

Tuesday 8: Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. At 4 p.m. in Piazza di Spagna, veneration of the image of Mary Immaculate.

Saturday 12: Feast of Blessed Virgin Mary of Guadalupe. At 6 p.m. in the Vatican Basilica, Holy Mass.

Sunday 13: “Gaudete Sunday” Third of Advent. At 9.30 a.m. in the Basilica of St. John Lateran, Holy Mass and opening of the Holy Door.

Sunday 13: “Gaudete Sunday” Third of Advent. At 10.30 a.m. in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls, Holy Mass and opening of the Holy Door, presided by Cardinal James Harvey.

Thursday 24: Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord. At 9.30 p.m. in the Vatican Basilica, Holy Mass.

Friday 25: Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord. Central loggia of the Vatican Basilica, at 12 p.m., “Urbi et Orbi” blessing.

Sunday 27: Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. At 10 a.m. in the Vatican Basilica, Holy Mass for Families.

Thursday 31: Solemnity of Mary Most Holy, Mother of God. At 5 p.m. in the Vatican Basilica, First Vespers and Te Deum, in Thanksgiving for the past year.

JANUARY

Friday 1: Solemnity of Mary Most Holy, Mother of God. 49th World Peace Day. At 10 a.m. in the Vatican Basilica, Holy Mass.

Friday 1: Solemnity of Mary Most Holy, Mother of God. At 5 p.m. in the Basilica of St. Mary Major, Holy Mass and opening of the Holy Door.

Wednesday 6: Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord. At 10 a.m. in the Vatican Basilica, Holy Mass.

Sunday 10: Sunday after the Epiphany: Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. At 9.30 a.m. in the Sistine Chapel. Holy Mass and baptism of babies.

“Recognitio” of the Holy Door of St. Peter's Basilica for the Jubilee of Mercy

Vatican City, 18 November 2015 (VIS) – Yesterday afternoon at 6.30 p.m. the ceremony was held for the “Recognitio” of the Holy Door of St. Peter's Basilica. After a prayer, the cardinal archpriest Angelo Comastri, who led the procession of the Basilica Chapter, and the admonition of the Master of Ceremonies, four workers broke down the wall sealing the Holy Door inside the Basilica, extracting the metal chest held since the moment of closing the door during the Great Jubilee of the year 2000 and containing the “documents” of the last Holy Year, including the key to the Holy Door, the handles, the parchments, the paving stones and commemorative medals.

After praying at the Altar of Confession, the procession reached the chapter house where the metal chest extracted from the door was opened using a blowtorch, in the presence of the Master of liturgical ceremonies of His Holiness, Msgr. Guido Marini, who took delivery of the documents and the objects of the “Recognitio”, and Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation.

On Monday 16 November the same ceremony was held in the Basilica of St. John Lateran, and it will take place tomorrow in the Basilica of St. Mary Major, and on Monday 23 November in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls.

Other Pontifical Acts

Vatican City, 18 November 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has:

- accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Feira de Santana, Brazil, presented by Archbishop Itamar Vian, O.F.M. Cap., upon reaching the age limit. He is succeeded by Msgr. Zanoni Demettino Castro, coadjutor archbishop of the same archdiocese.

- appointed Bishop Juan Antonio Menendez Fernandez, auxiliary of Oviedo, Spain, as bishop of Astorga (area 11,535, population 262,741, Catholics 253,178, priests 214, religious 293), Spain. He succeeds Bishop Camilo Lorenzo Iglesias, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.

- appointed Bishop Manfred Scheuer of Innsbruck, Austria, as bishop of Linz (area 8,261, population 307,500, Catholics 224,800, priests 52, permanent deacons 13, religious 49), Austria. He succeeds Bishop Ludwig Schwarz, S.D.B., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.

- appointed Msgr. Nelio Domingos Zortea as bishop of Jatai, (area 38,997, population 598,000, Catholics 488,000, priests 38, permanent deacons 14, religious 79), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Irai, Brazil in 1963 and was ordained a priest in 1995. He has served in a number of pastoral roles, including bursar and rector of the minor seminary, member of the Presbytery and director of an interdiocesan centre of theology. He is currently parish priest in the Cathedral of the same diocese.

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