POPE FRANCIS MEETS PRESIDENT OF“GRANDMOTHERS OF PLAZA DE MAYO”
Pope Francis on Wednesday met with Estela de Carlotto, founder and president of the “Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo,” an Argentinian grandmothers’ association set up to track down “los desaparecidos” – the disappeared – the grandchildren abducted from families as well as from female prisoners who gave birth in secret detention centers during the military dictatorship of 1976-1984. She brought several family members, including her grandson Ignacio Guido, the son of her daughter Laura, who was abducted while pregnant, tortured and killed by the military 36 years ago. Ignacio had been missing since then but was found in August this year thanks to a DNA bank set up by families and survivors of the dictatorship. The Argentinian Pope received gifts from the family including a CD of music composed by Ignacio, a musician, and a scarf worn by members of the “Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo.” (Photos from L’Osservatore Romano)
SISTINE CHOIR GIVES POPE A CD OF MUSIC FROM 2013 CONCLAVE
In other news from Wednesday, Vatican Radio reported that Msgr. Massimo Palombella, director of the Sistine Chapel, presented Pope Francis with a CD: “Habemus Papam. La musica del Conclave (We Have a Pope. Music from the Conclave).” The CD contains the music used during the liturgical ceremonies surrounding the election of Pope Francis: The “Missa pro eligendo Pontifice,” (Mass for the Election of a Pope), the “Veni Creator” used during the entrance into the Sistine Chapel, the music of the Mass celebrated with the College of Cardinals the day after his election, the music of the inaugural Mass of Pope Francis and, for the first time, 11 minutes containing the announcement “Habemus Papam” and the first words of Pope Francis on the evening of March 13, 2013. (L’Osservatore Romano)
In an interview with “Avvenire,” the newspaper of the Italian Episcopal Conference, Msgr. Palombella said he wanted to offer the real experience of the events. “There is a cough, or a plane flying over St. Peter’s Square…it makes it seem as if you are there live,” he said.
The CD uses audio tracks provided by Vatican Radio and CTV. It is the first of a planned series produced with Deutsche Grammophon. Future CDs will include the canonization of Popes St. John XXIII and St. John Paul II, as well as a CD of the repertoire of the Sistine Chapel Choir produced in a studio setting.
POPE GREETS DELEGATION FROM WORLD EVANGELICAL ALLIANCE
Thursday morning, Pope Francis welcomed a delegation from the World Evangelical Aliance and said he was confident the Holy Spirit “can inaugurate a new stage in the relations between Catholics and Evangelicals—a stage that allows us to realize more fully the will of the Lord to bring the Gospel even to the furthest ends of the earth.” He said he was “pleased to learn that, in different countries in the world, Catholics and Evangelicals have established relations of brotherhood and collaboration.”
The Pope noted that, “The Sacrament of Baptism reminds us of a fundamental and very consoling truth: that the Lord always goes before us with His love and His grace. It precedes our communities; it precedes, anticipates, and prepares the hearts of those who proclaim the Gospel and of those who welcome the Gospel of Salvation.” He added that, “the Gospel is not merely about our personal relationship with God. … The Gospel is about the kingdom of God; it is about loving God who reigns in our world.”
Francis also acknowledged the “divisions, …rivalries and conflicts” among Christians, saying these “weaken our capacity to fulfil the command of the Lord to preach the Gospel to all nations” and they “disfigure the beauty of the seamless garment of Christ but never completely destroys the profound unity generated by the grace in all the baptized. The efficacy of the Christian announcement would certainly be greater if Christians would overcome their divisions and could celebrate together the Sacraments and together spread the Word of God and witness to charity.”
POPE HIGHLIGHTS MALAWI BISHOPS’ COMMITMNENT TO THE FAMILY
The bishops of Malawi, in Rome on their mandatory quinquennial “ad limina” visit, were received by the Holy Father this morning who offered “a joyful welcome to you who have come from ‘the warm heart of Africa’.” He expressed his “esteem” for each bishop and for their work, singly and collectively for “God’s holy people in Malawi. The effectiveness of your pastoral and administrative efforts is the fruit of your faith as well as of the unity and fraternal spirit that characterize your episcopal conference.!
Francis also expressed his “appreciation for the admirable spirit of the Malawian people, who, though faced with many serious obstacles in terms of development, economic progress and standards of living, remain strong in their commitment to family life. It is in the family, with its unique capacity to form each member, particularly the young, into persons of love, sacrifice, commitment and fidelity, that the Church and society in Malawi will find the resources necessary to renew and build up a culture of solidarity.”
“You yourselves,” stated the Pope, “know well the challenges and the value of family life, and, as fathers and shepherds, you are called to nurture, protect and strengthen it in the context of the ‘family of faith’, which is the Church. Indeed, for Christians, family life and ecclesial vitality depend on and reinforce each other.”
“There is no aspect of family life – childhood and youth; friendship, engagement and marriage; spousal intimacy, fidelity and love; interpersonal relations and support – which is excluded from the healing and strengthening touch of God’s love, communicated through the Gospels and taught by the Church. There is scarcely a greater commitment that the Church can make to the future of Malawi – and indeed, to her own development – than that of a thorough and joyful apostolate to families…. Thus, by doing everything you can to support, educate and evangelize families, especially those in situations of material hardship, breakdown, violence or infidelity, you will bring inestimable benefit to the Church and all of Malawian society.”
He also asked the bishops to be close to orphane children and to victims of AIDS.
SECRETARIAT FOR THE ECONOMY DISTRIBUTES HANDBOOK TO CURIA OFFICES
According to a newsletter from the Secretariat for the Economy, this office has distributed a new handbook this week to all Vatican offices outlining financial management policies that will go into effect on January 1, 2015. The Manual has been endorsed by the Council for the Economy and approved by Pope Francis in forma specifica.
The newsletter quotes Cardinal George Pell, prefect of the secretariat, as saying, “The purpose of the manual is very simple. It brings financial management practices in line with international standards and will help all entities and administrations of the Holy See and Vatican City State prepare financial reports in a consistent and transparent manner.” Cardinal Pell added that, “Having sound and consistent financial management practices and reporting helps provide a clear framework of accountability for all those entrusted with the resources of the Church.”
The new policies will strengthen the planning process for Vatican/Holy See offices,so that resources can be used more effectively and efficiently in serving the mission of the Church. The Secretariat for the Economy will provide training and support to the Vatican/Holy See offices to help implement the new policies. The consolidated Financial Statements will be reviewed by a major international auditing firm.