Pope emeritus Benedict XVI today celebrates the 64th anniversary of his priestly ordination! What a beautiful milestone! I would like to express my congratulations as well as my affection, esteem and many prayers. The same for his brother, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger who was ordained the same day.
Lots of important news over the weekend and today, given the Pope’s beautiful homily at the Mass for the solemnity of St. Peter and Paul.
“TEACH PRAYER BY PRAYING, ANNOUNCE THE FAITH BY BELIEVING; OFFER WITNESS BY LIVING!”
Today, solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles and patrons of Rome, Pope Francis blessed 46 palliums that he handed to 46 metropolitan archbishops as a sign of their union with the Successor of Peter, with their brother bishops as well as a sign of their authority in the archdiocese where they are shepherds.
The Pope began his homily by commenting on the passage from the Acts of the Apostles, that “speaks to us of the first Christian community besieged by persecution. A community harshly persecuted by Herod who “laid violent hands upon some who belonged to the Church… proceeded to arrest Peter also… and when he had seized him he put him in prison.”
“However,” said Francis, “I do not wish to dwell on these atrocious, inhuman and incomprehensible persecutions, sadly still present in many parts of the world today, often under the silent gaze of all. I would like instead to pay homage today to the courage of the Apostles and that of the first Christian community. This courage carried forward the work of evangelization, free of fear of death and martyrdom, within the social context of a pagan empire; their Christian life is for us, the Christians of today, a powerful call to prayer, to faith and to witness.”
The Holy Father noted that, “the first community was a Church at prayer. …And if we think of Rome, the catacombs were not places to escape to from persecution but rather, they were places of prayer, for sanctifying the Lord’s day and for raising up, from the heart of the earth, adoration to God who never forgets his sons and daughters.”
He also noted how the first reading of the day tells us that, “Sentries before the door were guarding the prison; and behold, an angel of the Lord appeared, and a light shone in the cell; and he struck Peter on the side… And the chains fell off his hands,”
“Let us think about how many times the Lord has heard our prayer and sent us an angel,” said Francis. “An angel who unexpectedly comes to pull us out of a difficult situation? Who comes to snatch us from the hands of death and from the evil one; who points out the wrong path; who rekindles in us the flame of hope; who gives us tender comfort; who consoles our broken hearts; who awakens us from our slumber to the world; or who simply tells us, ‘You are not alone’.
“How many angels he places on our path, and yet when we are overwhelmed by fear, unbelief or even euphoria, we leave them outside the door, just as happened to Peter when he knocked on the door of the house and the “maid named Rhoda came to answer. Recognizing Peter’s voice, in her joy she did not open the door” (12:13-14).
Highlighting the importance of prayer, the Pope said, “No Christian community can go forward without being supported by persistent prayer! Prayer is the encounter with God, with God who never lets us down; with God who is faithful to his word; with God who does not abandon his children.”
Speaking on the call to faith, the Holy Father said, “God does not take his children out of the world or away from evil but he does grant them strength to prevail. Only the one who believes can truly say: ‘The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I shall want’.”
He asked, “How many forces in the course of history have tried, and still do, to destroy the Church, from without as well as within, but they themselves are destroyed and the Church remains alive and fruitful! She remains inexplicably solid, so that, as Saint Paul says, she may acclaim: ‘To him be glory for ever and ever’.
“Everything passes, only God remains. Indeed, kingdoms, peoples, cultures, nations, ideologies, powers have passed, but the Church, founded on Christ, notwithstanding the many storms and our many sins, remains ever faithful to the deposit of faith shown in service; for the Church does not belong to Popes, bishops, priests, nor the lay faithful; the Church in every moment belongs solely to Christ. Only the one who lives in Christ promotes and defends the Church by holiness of life, after the example of Peter and Paul.
Francis then highlighted his third point, a call to witness:”A Church or a Christian who does not give witness is sterile; like a dead person who thinks they are alive; like a dried up tree that produces no fruit; an empty well that offers no water! The Church has overcome evil thanks to the courageous, concrete and humble witness of her children. She has conquered evil thanks to proclaiming with conviction: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God’.”
The Pope then addressed the archbishops who today receive the pallium; “It is a sign which represents the sheep that the shepherd carries on his shoulders as Christ the Good Shepherd does, and it is therefore a symbol of your pastoral mission. …Today, by these palliums, I wish to entrust you with this call to prayer, to faith and to witness.
“The Church wants you to be men of prayer, masters of prayer; that you may teach the people entrusted to your care that liberation from all forms of imprisonment is uniquely God’s work and the fruit of prayer; that God sends his angel at the opportune time in order to save us from the many forms of slavery and countless chains of worldliness. For those most in need, may you also be angels and messengers of charity!
“The Church desires you to be men of faith, masters of faith, who can teach the faithful to not be frightened of the many Herods who inflict on them persecution with every kind of cross. No Herod is able to banish the light of hope, of faith, or of charity in the one who believes in Christ!
“The Church wants you to be men of witness. Saint Francis used to tell his brothers: ‘Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words!’ There is no witness without a coherent lifestyle! Today there is no great need for masters, but for courageous witnesses, who are convinced and convincing; witnesses who are not ashamed of the Name of Christ and of His Cross; not before the roaring lions, nor before the powers of this world.”
“This is not so straightforward,” concluded Francis, “because the most effective and authentic witness is one that does not contradict, by behaviour and lifestyle, what is preached with the word and taught to others!
“Teach prayer by praying, announce the faith by believing; offer witness by living!”
After Mass this morning, Pope Francis went to his study in the apostolic palace and , speaking from the window, he prayed the Angelus with the faithful inSt. Peter’s Square. He asked for prayers for his July 5 to 12 pilgrimage to Ecuador, Bolivia, and Paraguay: “I ask you all to accompany me with prayer, that the Lord will bless my journey on the continent of Latin America so dear to me, as you can imagine. I express to the dear peoples of Ecuador, Bolivia, Paraguay my joy at being in their homelands, and I ask you, in a particular way, to pray for me and for this trip, that the Virgin Mary might give us the gift of accompanying all of us with her maternal protection.”
POPE FRANCIS CREATES SECRETARIAT FOR COMMUNICATIONS
This entire story will be very interesting to follow. Having worked for many years at the Vatican Information Service (VIS), I am familiar with all the communications offices that the Pope refers to in this document. However, I did not see VIS mentioned by name in the Motu proprio which notes. “the following Organizations will be incorporated: Pontifical Council for Social Communications, the Holy See Press Office, Vatican Internet Service, Vatican Radio, the Vatican Televisi… Radio, the Vatican Television Center (CTV), the Osservatore Romano, Vatican Typography, Photograph Service, and the Vatican Publishing House (Libreria Editrice Vaticana). VIS was considered an office within the Holy See Press Office so perhaps that is the answer to my observation.
No mention was made of the future of the men who now lead CTV, the radio, the council for social communications, etc, though several are near retirement age.
,At the end of the Motu, Pope Francis notes: The new Department, in agreement with the Secretary of State, will assume the institutional website of the Holy See: www.vatican.va and the Twitter account of the Supreme Pontiff: @pontifex The Secretariat for Communications will begin its duties on June 29, 2015, having as a provisional headquarters Palazzo Pio, Piazza Pia, 3, 00120 Vatican City.
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis promulgated on Saturday, 27 June 2015, a Motu Proprio instituting the Secretariat for Communications and nominating Rev. Msgr. Dario Edoardo Viganò as Prefect of the new Secretariat.
The Motu Proprio establishes that all communications offices will be incorporated under the direction of the new Secretariat for Communications, including the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, the Holy See Press Office, Vatican Internet Service, Vatican Radio, the Vatican Television Center (CTV), the Osservatore Romano, Vatican Typography, Photograph Service, and the Vatican Publishing House (Libreria Editrice Vaticana).
The new Dicastery will also work in union with the Secretariat of State for the direction of the institutional website of the Holy See, http://www.vatican.va and the Twitter account of the Holy Father: @pontifex
Please find below a Vatican Radio translation of the Motu Proprio: “The current communicative context”
APOSTOLIC LETTER IN THE FORM OF ‘MOTU PROPRIO’ OF THE SUPREME PONTIFF FRANCIS
Establishment of the Secretariat for Communications
The current communication context, characterized by the presence and the development of digital media, by the factors of convergence and interactivity, requires a rethinking of the information system of the Holy See and dedication to a reorganization which, recognizing the history of internal development of the asset of communications of the Apostolic See, must proceed decisively towards integration and a unified management.
For these reasons, I desire that all organizations which, thus far have dealt with communications in different ways, be brought together in a new Dicastery of the Roman Curia, to be called the Secretariat for Communications. Thus, the communication system of the Holy See will respond in an ever more efficacious manner to the needs of the mission of the Church.
Therefore, after reviewing reports and studies, and recently having received the study on feasibility and having heard the unanimous opinion of the Council of Cardinals, I institute the Secretariat for Communications and establish the following:
Into the Dicastery, as presented by the Commission of Vatican Media, instituted on April 30, 2015, the following Organizations will be incorporated: Pontifical Council for Social Communications, the Holy See Press Office, Vatican Internet Service, Vatican Radio, the Vatican Television Center (CTV), the Osservatore Romano, Vatican Typography, Photograph Service, and the Vatican Publishing House (Libreria Editrice Vaticana).
These organizations, from the date of publication of this Motu Proprio, must continue their own activities, in accordance, however, with the indications given by the Secretariat for Communications.
The new Department, in agreement with the Secretary of State, will assume the institutional website of the Holy See: http://www.vatican.va and the Twitter account of the Supreme Pontiff: @pontifex
The Secretariat for Communications will begin its duties on June 29, 2015, having as a provisional headquarters Palazzo Pio, Piazza Pia, 3, 00120 Vatican City.
Everything which I have deliberated with this Apostolic Letter issued under the form of Motu Proprio, I prescribe it to be observed in all its parts, notwithstanding anything to the contrary, even if worthy of special mention, and I establish that it be promulgated by publication in the newspaper L ‘ Osservatore Romano and, subsequently, in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis.
Given in Rome, at Saint Peter’s, on June 27 of the year 2015, the third of my Pontificate.
PRAYERS AND SOLIDARITY WITH VICTIMS OF TERROR ATtACKS
Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin on Saturday sent telegrams of condolences in the Holy Father’s name to France, Kuwait and Tunisia for the victims of the terror attacks in those countries on Friday. The Pope expressed solidarity, saying he was united in prayer with the relatives of the victims, and praying for the souls of those who perished in the attacks. Pope Francis offered his condolences to those who were wounded and to their families.
In each of the messages, Pope Francis condemned yet again “the violence that causes so much suffering” and prayed that God “might grant the gift of peace.”
PARENTS OF ST THERESE OF LISIEUX TO BE CANONIZED
Saturday, during an Ordinary Consistory in the apostolic palace, it was announced that the Holy Father has approved the decrees allowing for the canonization of Louis and Zelie Martin, the parents of St. Therese of the Child Jesus of Lisieux. They will be the first to be canonized together as husband and wife