January 25, 2016

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

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

Summary

- Spread the joy of the Gospel in the simplicity of life

- Holy See Press Office communique: Pope to participate in joint Reformation commemoration

- Joint ecumenical commemoration of the Reformation

- Angelus: the mission of the Christian community is to evangelise the poor

- Cardinal Puljic, Pope's special envoy to Dubrovnik

- Audiences

- Other Pontifical Acts

Spread the joy of the Gospel in the simplicity of life

Vatican City, 25 January 2016 (VIS) – "You are preparing to respond to that impulse from the Spirit, to be the 'future of the Church', in accordance with God's heart; not with individual preferences or passing fashions, but as the announcement of the Gospel requires", said the Pope this morning as he received in audience the Pontifical Community of the Lombard Seminary in Rome, in the Clementine Hall. "To prepare oneself well requires not only extensive work, but also an inner conversion, basing daily ministry on the first call of Jesus, and reviving it in the personal relationship with Him, as did the apostle Paul, whose conversion we remember today".

The pope went on to mention St. Charles Borromeo, whose life is presented as "a constant movement of conversion, reflecting the image of the Pastor. He identified with this image, and he nurtured it with his life, aware that discourse becomes reality at the price of blood: the sanguinis ministri were for him the true priests. He achieved this image by losing himself in it; he applied all his passion to reproducing it. In this way, the great work of the theologians of the time, the Council of Trent, was carried out by holy pastors like Borromeo".

Francis also emphasised that they were the heirs of and witnesses to a great history of sainthood, "rooted in your patrons, the bishops Ambrose and Charles; and in more recent times your alumni have included three Blesseds and three Servants of God. This is the goal to strive for. Often, though, a temptation appears on the way, to be rejected: that of 'normality', of a pastor for whom a 'normal' life is enough. This priest then begins to content himself with any attention he receives, judges his ministry on the basis of his successes and gradually goes in search of what he likes, becoming lukewarm and without true interest in others. The 'normality' for us is instead pastoral holiness, the giving of life. If a priest decides merely to become a normal person, he will be a mediocre priest, or worse".

"The words of life can be announced only those who make their own life into a constant dialogue with the Word of God, or better, with God who speaks. In these years you have been entrusted with the mission of training in this dialogue of life: the knowledge of the various disciplines you study is not an end in itself, but must instead be made concrete in the conversation of prayer and in the real encounter with people. It is not beneficial to form oneself in a compartmentalised fashion, as prayer, cultural and pastoral ministry are the cornerstones of the same edifice: they must remain steadfast and united to support each other, well cemented together, so that the priests of today and tomorrow will be spiritual men and merciful pastors, unified within by the love of the Lord and able to spread the joy of the Gospel in the simplicity of life".

The Pope also remarked that to be a good priest, it is essential to maintain contact and closeness with the bishop. "The characteristic of the diocesan priest is precisely his diocesan nature, and the cornerstone of this is frequent contact with the bishop, in dialogue and discernment with him. A priest who does not maintain a close relationship with his bishop is slowly isolated from the diocesan group and his fruitfulness diminishes, precisely because he does not participate in dialogue with the Father of the Diocese". He concluded by asking those present to "cultivate the beauty of friendship and the art of establishing relations, so as to create a priestly fraternity, made stronger by its particular diversities".

Holy See Press Office communique: Pope to participate in joint Reformation commemoration

Vatican City, 25 January 2016 (VIS) – The Holy See Press Office today announced that His Holiness Francis intends to participate in a joint ceremony of the Catholic Church and the World Lutheran Federation to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, scheduled to take place in Lund, Sweden on Monday 31 October 2016.

Joint ecumenical commemoration of the Reformation

Vatican City, 25 January 2016 (VIS) – Pope Francis, Bishop Munib A. Younan and the Rev. Martin Junge, respectively president and general secretary of the World Lutheran Foundation, will preside at a joint commemoration of the Reformation on 31 October in Lund, Sweden, according to a press release issued today by the World Lutheran Foundation and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU).

This event, ahead of the 500 th anniversary of Luther's Reformation in 2017, will highlight the solid ecumenical developments between Catholics and Lutherans and the joint gifts received through dialogue and will include common worship based on the recently published Catholic-Lutheran “Common Prayer” liturgical guide.

“The LWF is approaching the Reformation anniversary in a spirit of ecumenical accountability,” says LWF General Secretary Rev. Dr Martin Junge. “I’m carried by the profound conviction that by working towards reconciliation between Lutherans and Catholics, we are working towards justice, peace and reconciliation in a world torn apart by conflict and violence.”

Cardinal Koch, President of the PCPCU explains further: “By concentrating together on the centrality of the question of God and on a Christocentric approach, Lutherans and Catholics will have the possibility of an ecumenical commemoration of the Reformation, not simply in a pragmatic way, but in the deep sense of faith in the crucified and resurrected Christ.

The Lund event is part of the reception process of the study document From Conflict to Communion, which was published in 2013, and has since been widely distributed to Lutheran and Catholic communities. The document is the first attempt by both dialogue partners to describe together at international level the history of the Reformation and its intentions.

Earlier this year, the LWF and PCPCU sent to LWF member churches and Catholic Bishops’ Conferences a jointly prepared “Common Prayer”, which is a liturgical guide to help churches commemorate the Reformation anniversary together. It is based on the study document From Conflict to Communion: Lutheran-Catholic Common Commemoration of the Reformation in 2017, and features the themes of thanksgiving, repentance and commitment to common witness with the aim of expressing the gifts of the Reformation and asking forgiveness for the division which followed theological disputes.

The year 2017 will also mark 50 years of the international Lutheran-Catholic dialogue, which has yielded notable ecumenical results, of which most significant is the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (JDDJ). The JDDJ was signed by the LWF and the Catholic Church in 1999, and affirmed by the World Methodist Council in 2006. The declaration nullified centuries’ old disputes between Catholics and Lutherans over the basic truths of the doctrine of justification, which was at the centre of the 16th century Reformation.

Angelus: the mission of the Christian community is to evangelise the poor

Vatican City, 25 January 2016 (VIS) – The evangelising activity of Jesus was the theme of Pope Francis' reflection in this Sunday's Angelus. The Holy Father explained to the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square for the Marian prayer that Christ was very different to the teachers of his time because, among other things, He did not open a school for the study of the Law, but instead "went about everywhere to preach and teach: in the synagogues, in the streets, in the houses. Jesus also differs from John the Baptist, who proclaims the imminent judgement of God, while Jesus proclaims the forgiveness of the Father".

Francis cites the Gospel of St. Luke, who narrates the scroll of the prophet Isaiah in the Synagogue of Nazareth, when Jesus stands to read the Holy Scripture and recites the passage "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor". Then, after a moment of expectant silence, He says, to general amazement: "Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing".

"To evangelise the poor: this is the mission of Jesus, according to what He Himself says", affirmed the Pope. "This is also the mission of the Church, and of every person baptised in the Church. To be Christian and to be a missionary is the same thing. To proclaim the Gospel, with words, and, even before that, with one’s life, is the principle end of the Christian community and of each of its members. It is known that Jesus addresses the Good News to everyone, without excluding anyone; and yet, He privileges those who are furthest away, the suffering, the sick, those discarded by society. But let us ask ourselves a question. What does it mean to evangelise the poor? It means above all being close to them, having the joy of serving them, freeing them from oppression, and all this in the name of and with the Spirit of Christ, because He is the Gospel of God, He is the Mercy of God, He is the liberation of God. It is He Who was made poor in order to enrich us with His poverty. … The messianic proclamation of the Kingdom of God that has come amongst us is addressed in a preferential way to the marginalised, to prisoners, to the oppressed."

"Probably in the time of Jesus these people were not at the centre of the community of faith. And we can ask ourselves: today, in our parish communities, in the associations, in the movements, are we faithful to Christ's programme? Is the evangelisation of the poor, bringing them the good news, our priority? This is not about providing social assistance, much less about political activity. It is about the strength of the Gospel of God, Who converts hearts, heals the wounded, and transforms human and social relationships according to the logic of love. Indeed, the poor are at the centre of the Gospel".

The Pope concluded by asking that the Virgin Mary, "Mother of evangelisers", help us to "feel strongly the hunger and thirst for the Gospel that exists in the world, especially in the heart and the flesh of the poor" so that each one of us and every Christian community may "bear concrete witness to the mercy that Christ has given to us".

Cardinal Puljic, Pope's special envoy to Dubrovnik

Vatican City, 23 January 2016 (VIS) - In a letter published today, written in Latin and dated 30 December 2015, the Holy Father appoints Cardinal Vinko Puljic, archbishop of Vrhbosna, Croatia, as his special envoy at the events scheduled to take place in Dubrovnik on 3 February to commemorate the seventeenth centenary of the martyrdom of St. Blaise, patron of the diocese, and the 600th anniversary of the Ragusan law against the slave trade.

The mission accompanying the cardinal will be composed of Msgr. Ivan Simic, dean of the deanery of Dubrovnik, and Rev. Slavko Grubsic, former rector of the church of St. Blaise in Dubrovnik.

Audiences

Vatican City, 25 January 2016 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:

- Neven Pelicaric, ambassador of Croatia, presenting his credential letters;

- Archbishop Miguel Maury Buendia, apostolic nuncio in Romania and Moldavia;

- Archbishop Wojciech Zaluski, apostolic nuncio in Burundi;

- Archbishop Mario Antonio Cargnello of Salta, Argentina;

- Budiarman Bahar, ambassador of Indonesia, on his farewell visit;

- Cardinal Giuseppe Betori, archbishop of Florence, Italy.

On Saturday 23 January, the Holy Father received in audience:

- Matthew S. Lee, ambassador of the Republic of China, presenting his credential letters;

- His Beatitude Cardinal Bechara Boutros Rai, patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, Lebanon;

- Prefect Francesco Paolo Tronca, Commissioner of the Municipality of Rome;

- Cardinal Ruben Salazar Gomez, archbishop of Bogota, Colombia, with Archbishop Luis Augusto Castro Quiroga of Tunja, president of the Episcopal Conference of Colombia; Archbishop Oscar Urbina Ortega of Villavicencio, deputy president; Bishop Jose Daniel Falla Robles, auxiliary of Cali, general secretary.

Bishop Roberto Rodríguez, emeritus of La Rioja, Argentina.

In the afternoon of Friday 22 January, the Holy Father received in audience Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

Other Pontifical Acts

Vatican City, 25 January 2016 (VIS) – The Holy Father has:

- erected the diocese of San Francisco de Asis de Jutiapa (area 3219, population 458,321, Catholics 389,573, priests 24, religious 82), Guatemala, with territory taken from the diocese of Jalapa, making it a suffragan of the archdiocese of Santiago de Guatemala.

- appointed Fr. Antonio Calderon Cruz as bishop of the new diocese of San Francisco de Asis de Jutiapa, Guatemala. The bishop-elect was born in Guatemala City, Guatemala in 1959 and was ordained a priest in 1986. He has served in a number of pastoral roles, including administrator, head of diocesan youth pastoral ministry, formator in the "Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion" national major seminary, parish priest, episcopal vicar for pastoral ministry, and diocesan administrator. He is currently parish priest in the diocese of San Marcos.

On Saturday 23 January the Holy Father has appointed Msgr. Miroslaw Milewski as auxiliary of Plock (area 11,000, population 3,779,000, Catholics 69,900, priests 106, permanent deacons 34, religious 89), Poland. The bishop-elect was born in Ciechanow, Poland in 1971 and was ordained a priest in 1997. He holds a doctorate from the Catholic University of Lublino, Poland, and has served in a number of pastoral and academic roles, including deputy priest, prefect of discipline in the major seminary of Plock, and adjunct professor of Social Doctrine of the Church at the Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University of Warsaw. He is currently vicar general and chancellor of the Curia, lecturer at the major seminary of Plock, and member of the College of Consultors, the presbyteral council and the pastoral council. In 2012 he was named Chaplain of His Holiness.

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