February 23, 2016

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

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

Summary

- Heydar Aliyev Foundation funds restoration of catacombs of Sts. Marcellinus and Peter

- Theological and pastoral perspectives, a decade after "Deus caritas est"

- In memoriam

Heydar Aliyev Foundation funds restoration of catacombs of Sts. Marcellinus and Peter

Vatican City, 23 February 2016 (VIS) – This morning Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archaeology, along with Mehriban Aliyeva, president of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation (HAF), Azerbaijan, presented the results of the restoration of the Roman catacombs of Sts. Marcellinus and Peter "ad duas lauros", entirely funded by the HAF.

On the basis of an agreement signed in 2012, the Foundation presided over by Aliyev has funded the restoration of the paintings of the cubicle of Susanna and the fossor, the niche of Daniel, the arcosolium of Orpheus, the cubicle of Our Lady with two Magi, and the cubicle of the praying matron. The most advanced conservation techniques, especially laser-based cleaning, have enabled the removal of a tenacious black patina that had provided resistant to all traditional cleaning methods. The last procedure, recently completed, involved the cubicle of the "praying matron", in an advanced state of deterioration. The newly-revealed frescoes consist of a central medallion with the Good Shepherd surrounded by the Biblical episodes of Jonah, Daniel among the lions and Noah in the Ark. In the corners there are praying male figures and birds. On the walls there is a rich decorative pattern with floral, plant-based and fantasy elements. On the wall of the entrance there is the notable figure of a praying woman, which although only just recognisable before restoration, now makes a strong visual impact. The figure, framed by two slender trees, may represent the deceased entombed in the cubicle.

During the presentation, which took place at the Pontifical Council for Culture, Cardinal Ravasi and the president of the HAF announced that their collaboration will continue and its next objective will be the restoration of the monumental complex of St. Sebastian Outside-the-Walls on the Via Appia Antica, currently only partially open to the public. The agreement relates to an extraordinary collection of sarcophagi, some situation in the perimeter of the Basilica of St. Sebastian (Museum of Sculptures and Epigraphic Museum), others "in situ" in their mausoleums. The Pontifical Commission for Religious Art has proposed to the HAF a conservation programme for the restoration of around fifteen sarcophagi. Aliyeva expressed her appreciation of the proposal on behalf of the Foundation, and a new agreement will be signed for the financing of the restoration works to render the complex accessible to the public.

Theological and pastoral perspectives, a decade after "Deus caritas est"

Vatican City, 23 February 2016 (VIS) – An international conference entitled "Love will never end. Prospects ten years on from the Encyclical Deus caritas est" will be held on Thursday 25 February in the Vatican's New Synod Hall. Organised by the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum", the conference forms part of the programme of events for the Jubilee of Mercy and has the aim of examining in depth the theological and pastoral implications of Pope Benedict XVI's first Encyclical for today's world, especially in relation to the activity of those who work in the Church's charitable service. The event will be attended by, among others, representatives of the episcopal conferences and Catholic charitable organisations from all over the world.

The conference will begin with greetings from Msgr. Giampietro Dal Toso, secretary of the "Cor Unum", followed by an intervention from Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, entitled "The Encyclical Deus caritas est: a theological reading". The subsequent speakers will be Michel Thio, president of the International Confederation of St. Vincent de Paul, Marina Almeida Costa, director of Caritas Cabo Verde, and Roy Moussali, executive director of the Syrian Society for Social Development. In the afternoon the theme of the meaning of love for the three monotheistic religions will be considered by Rabbi David Shlomo Rosen, director of the Department of Religious Affairs of the American Jewish Committee of Jerusalem, Professor Saeed Ahmed Khan, lecturer at the Wayne State University of Detroit, U.S.A., and the philosopher Fabrice Hadjadj, director of the Institut Philanthropos of the University of Fribourg, Switzerland.

The second day will begin with a presentation from Cardinal Luis Antonio G. Tagle, archbishop of Manila, Philippines and president of Caritas Internationalis, entitled "The importance of Deus caritas est for the charitable service of the Church today", followed by interventions from Alejandro Marius, president of the Asociacion Civil Trabajo y Persona, Venezuela, and Eduardo M. Almeida, representative in Paraguay of the Inter-American Bank. At midday the participants will be received in audience by Pope Francis in the Apostolic Palace. The afternoon session will open with contributions from Rev. Professor Paolo Asolan, lecturer at the Pontifical Lateran University, Rome, and Professor Rainer Gehrig, lecturer at the Catholic University of Murcia, Spain.

The morning sessions will be moderated by Martina Pastorelli, president of Catholic Voices Italia, and the afternoon sessions by Professor Luca Tuninetti, lecturer at the Pontifical Urbanian University, Rome.

Holy Mass will be celebrated on 25 and 26 February at 6 p.m. in the Church of Santa Maria della Pietà in Camposanto dei Teutonici (Our Lady of Mercy in the German Cemetery). On the first day Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, president emeritus of "Cor Unum"; will preside, and on the second, Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

The conference will be fully broadcast by web streaming on the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum" website, at www.corunumjubilaeum.va .

In memoriam

Vatican City, 23 February 2016 (VIS) – The following prelates have died in recent weeks:

- Bishop Ian Murray, emeritus of Argyll and The Isles, Scotland, United Kingdom, on 22 January at the age of 83.

- Bishop Emile Jean Marie Henri Joseph Destombes, M.E.P., apostolic vicar emeritus of Phnom-Penh, Cambodia, on 28 January at the age of 80.

- Bishop John Baptist Kakubi, emeritus of Mbarara, Uganda, on 11 February at the age of 86.

- Bishop Barry Philip Jones of Christchurch, New Zealand, on 13 February at the age of 74.

- Archbishop Carlos Quintero Arce, emeritus of Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico, on 15 February at the age of 96.

- Bishop Gregorio Garavito Jimenez, S.M.M., emeritus of Villavicencio, Colombia, on 16 February at the age of 96.

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