ST. JEROME’S OPUS MAGNUS, TRANSLATING THE BIBLE INTO LATIN – POPE FRANCIS INSTITUTES “SUNDAY OF THE WORD OF GOD”

ST. JEROME’S OPUS MAGNUS, TRANSLATING THE BIBLE INTO LATIN

Aware that today is the feast day of St. Jerome, one of the Church’s greatest saints and a Doctor of the Church, I wanted to share one of my experiences related to this 4th-5th century saint.

I well remember visiting and taking photos of what today, in Bethlehem, is known as St. Jerome’s Cave, the place where he spent over 30 years translating the Bible into Latin, what is known as the Vulgate. I could see the photos in my mind’s eye as if I had taken them an hour ago. However, I could not remember on which of my trips to the Holy Land I took the photos, and thus spent considerable time this afternoon going through my tens and tens of thousands of photos. Patience paid off and I am posting a few of those with Jerome’s story.  You can see how moved our pilgrimage group was by being in these caves, in St. Jerome’s Cave, adjacent to the cave of the Nativity!

I found my blogs from that trip but did not given an extended description of St. Jerome’s Cave, so, along with my photos, I offer some brief descriptions from a website about the Cave:

After many years in Rome and what today we call Turkey, St. Jerome, late in the summer of 388 was back in Palestine, and spent the remainder of his life working in a cave near Bethlehem, the very cave where Jesus was born, surrounded by a few friends, both men and women (including Paula and Eustochium), to whom he acted as priestly guide and teacher.

From a cave beneath the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem came the most enduring version of the Bible ever translated.

In this underground study — pleasantly cool in summer but chilly in winter — St Jerome spent 30 years translating the Scriptures from Hebrew and Greek into Latin.

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The scholarly Dalmatian priest had begun his task around AD 386. The text he produced in St Jerome’s Cave was the first official vernacular version of the Bible. Known as the Vulgate, it remained the authoritative version for Catholics until the 20th century.

This version, asserts the historian G. S. P. Freeman-Grenville, was “assuredly heard by more Christians than any other”.

St Jerome (also known as Hieronymus, the Latin version of Jerome) spent more than 36 years in the Holy Land. He was well-known for his ascetic lifestyle and his passionate involvement in doctrinal controversies.

Access to St Jerome’s two-room cave is from the Church of St Catherine. On the right hand side of the nave, steps lead down to a complex of subterranean chambers. At the end, on the right, are the rooms where Jerome lived and worked.

The adjacent caves have been identified as the burial places of Jerome (whose remains were later taken to Rome), his successor St Eusebius, and Sts Paula and Eustochium.

Jerome died in 420. His body was later transferred to Constantinople and then to Rome, where his bones rest today in the Basilica of St Mary Major.

POPE FRANCIS INSTITUTES “SUNDAY OF THE WORD OF GOD”

With the Apostolic Letter “Aperuit illis” – Opened to Them” – Pope Francis has instituted Sunday of the Word of God to be celebrated annually on the Third Sunday of Ordinary Time. This Sunday will be dedicated to the celebration, reflection and spreading of the Word of God.

Given in Rome, at the Basilica of Saint John Lateran, on 30 September 2019, the liturgical Memorial of Saint Jerome, on the inauguration of the 1600th anniversary of his death. FRANCIS

The full Letter was made public this morning in 7 languages. St. Jerome is known for having translated the whole of the Bible into the Latin version which is known as the Vulgate.

POPE ESTABLISHES SUNDAY OF THE WORD OF GOD

Pope Francis, in his Apostolic Letter, Motu proprio “Aperuit illis”, published today by the Vatican, established that “the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time is to be devoted to the celebration, study and dissemination of the Word of God”. Following I the report by Vatican News.

The timing of the document is significant: September 30 is the Feast of Saint Jerome, the man who translated most of the Bible into Latin, and who famously said: “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ”. This year also marks 1600 years since his death.

The title of the document, “Aperuit illis”, is equally important. They are its opening words, taken from St Luke’s Gospel, where the Evangelist describes how the Risen Jesus appeared to His disciples, and how “He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures”.

A response to requests
Recalling the importance given by the Second Vatican Council to rediscovering Sacred Scripture for the life of the Church, Pope Francis says he wrote this Apostolic Letter in response to requests from the faithful around the world to celebrate the Sunday of the Word of God.

An ecumenical value
In the Motu proprio (literally, “of his own initiative”), Pope Francis declares that, “the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time is to be devoted to the celebration, study and dissemination of the Word of God”. This is more than a temporal coincidence, he explains: the celebration has “ecumenical value, since the Scriptures point out, for those who listen, the path to authentic and firm unity”.
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A certain solemnity
Pope Francis invites local communities to find ways to “mark this Sunday with a certain solemnity”. He suggests that the sacred text be enthroned “in order to focus the attention of the assembly on the normative value of God’s Word”. In highlighting the proclamation of the Word of the Lord, it would be appropriate “to emphasize in the homily the honour that it is due”, writes the Pope.

“Pastors can also find ways of giving a Bible, or one of its books, to the entire assembly as a way of showing the importance of learning how to read, appreciate and pray daily with Sacred Scripture”.

The Bible is for all
The Bible is not meant for a privileged few, continues Pope Francis. It belongs “to those called to hear its message and to recognize themselves in its words”. The Bible cannot be monopolized or restricted to select groups either, he writes, because it is “the book of the Lord’s people, who, in listening to it, move from dispersion and division towards unity”.

The importance of the homily
“Pastors are primarily responsible for explaining Sacred Scripture and helping everyone to understand it”, writes Pope Francis. Which is why the homily possesses “a quasi-sacramental character”. The Pope warns against improvising or giving “long, pedantic homilies or wandering off into unrelated topics”.

Rather, he suggests using simple and suitable language. For many of the faithful, he writes, “this is the only opportunity they have to grasp the beauty of God’s Word and to see it applied to their daily lives”.

Sacred Scripture and the Sacraments
The Pope uses the scene of the Risen Lord appearing to the disciples at Emmaus to demonstrate what he calls “the unbreakable bond between Sacred Scripture and the Eucharist”. Since the Scriptures everywhere speak of Christ, he writes, “they enable us to believe that His death and resurrection are not myth but history, and are central to the faith of His disciples”.
When the sacraments are introduced and illumined by God’s Word, explains the Pope, “they become ever more clearly the goal of a process whereby Christ opens our minds and hearts to acknowledge His saving work”.

The role of the Holy Spirit
“The role of the Holy Spirit in the Scriptures is primordial”, writes Pope Francis. “Without the work of the Spirit, there would always be a risk of remaining limited to the written text alone”. The Pope continues: “This would open the way to a fundamentalist reading, which needs to be avoided, lest we betray the inspired, dynamic and spiritual character of the sacred text”. It is the Holy Spirit who “makes Sacred Scripture the living word of God, experienced and handed down in the faith of His holy people”.

Pope Francis invites us never to take God’s Word for granted, “but instead to let ourselves be nourished by it, in order to acknowledge and live fully our relationship with Him and with our brothers and sisters”.

Practicing mercy
The Pope concludes his Apostolic Letter by defining what he describes as “the great challenge before us in life: to listen to Sacred Scripture and then to practice mercy”. God’s Word, writes Pope Francis, “has the power to open our eyes and to enable us to renounce a stifling and barren individualism and instead to embark on a new path of sharing and solidarity”.

The Letter closes with a reference to Our Lady, who accompanies us “on the journey of welcoming the Word of God”, teaching us the joy of those who listen to that Word – and keep it.

A PRIEST IS “A MAN WHO STANDS IN THE PLACE OF GOD, A MAN CLOTHED WITH ALL THE POWERS OF GOD”

At 11 am yesterday Saturday, September 28, at the Altar of the Chair in St. Peter’s Basilica, Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of Sacraments, celebrated Mass to mark the 50th anniversary of his priestly ordination and the 40th of his ordination as a bishop. Scores of cardinals, bishops and priests concelebrated with the cardinal.

I was privileged to attend this very beautiful and meaningful Eucharist and to be present after Mass in the Paul VI Hall for the reception to which Cardinal Sarah invited his friends and colleagues. It was a joy to meet him, even if briefly, and to thank him for his life, his priesthood and his consistent defense of the faith.

Cardinal Gerhard Mueller, one of the concelebrants at Mass, joined the festivities at the Paul VI Hall and I felt blessed to have a few minutes with him as well.

I had a copy in Italian of Cardinal Sarah’s homily and followed along as he gave it during Mass. I was so moved by his extraordinary words about the priesthood, about the Eucharist that I decided to translate the entire homily into English and I offer it to you today to read and savor and share. You surely know a priest or two who would benefit enormously by the cardinal’s beautiful thoughts on the priesthood, and perhaps see his own priesthood in a new, almost divine light.

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(photos by Evandro Inetti CNA-EWTN)

You might want to look at one or all of these books by Cardinal Sarah: The Day Is Now Far Spent, The Power of Silence, A Conversation on Faith, and God or Nothing (three of which are book-length interviews with Nicolas Diat)

A PRIEST IS “A MAN WHO STANDS IN THE PLACE OF GOD, A MAN CLOTHED WITH ALL THE POWERS OF GOD”

Your Eminences,
Dear Brothers in the Episcopate,
Ambassadors,
Dear Priests,
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We are here in St. Peter’s Basilica to celebrate the Eucharist, that is, to give thanks to the Lord on the occasion of my fiftieth anniversary of priestly Ordination and the fortieth anniversary of the Episcopate. The heart of this celebration is Jesus Christ, the Heavenly High Priest … “holy, innocent, without blemish, separated from sinners and raised above the heavens” (Heb 7:26). But also the Virgin Mary, our Most Holy Mother, finds herself among us and invokes upon us the outpouring of the Spirit of Love, of Truth and Holiness.

Before having the joy and the privilege of offering you a brief meditation on the priesthood, starting from the biblical texts we have heard, let me first of all thank you, each and every one, from the bottom of my heart, as you have gathered here to surround me with your affection, your prayer and the strength of your Faith: I really need your Faith, the support of your friendship and your Christian fervor, to help me raise my gratitude to the Lord on this blessed day.

In fact, alone, I am too inadequate, too covered with miseries and sins. Alone, I am a no one who dares to present myself before God and express my immense gratitude for having called me to the priesthood and for the countless wonders that he has worked in me, in the course of my whole life. God amazes with his choices. He is wonderful and surprising in his generosity and in his love for each of us. This fiftieth is actually the anniversary of us all. Listen to what he says to each of us today: “Before forming you in the womb, I knew you, before you came out into the light, I consecrated you; I have made you a prophet of the nations”(Jer 1: 5).

Here is what the Lord has been for me: I was born in a humble and poor environment like that of Nazareth and in an animist and pagan culture, and He made me a Christian, a priest and a Bishop. Through baptism and priestly ordination he transformed me from nothing into his humble servant, into his beloved son. What I have become is truly the work of God and the fruit of the enormous sacrifices and heroic renunciations of Spiritan missionaries.

What I have become I also owe to my parents: Alexandre and Marie Claire. The priest – here is the most magnificent work, the most generous gift that God has given to humanity – is the most precious and inconceivable treasure that exists on earth: the Curé of Ars, Saint John-Mary Vianney was deeply convinced of it.

He said: “If we had faith, we would see God hidden in the priest like a light behind the glass, like wine mixed with water. How great is the priest! If he really understood (this), he would die. … God obeys him: he says two words and Our Lord descends from heaven at hearing this voice and closes himself in a small host.” The priest is “a man who stands in the place of God, a man who is clothed with all the powers of God. …Look at the power of the priest! His tongue makes God of a piece of bread!”

However, this happens only if we priests agree to be crucified with Christ, if each of us is ready to say, like Saint Paul, in the concrete web of our existence: “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (cf .Gal 2.19-20). Christ, the Son of God, only through the Cross and at the end of an extraordinary descent into an abyss of humiliation, comes to confer on priests the divine power to celebrate the Eucharist and to tear men, his earthly brothers, from the slavery of sin and death, to make them partakers of his divinity.

The Eucharist takes place only if our life is marked by the Cross. According to St. Josemaría Escrivà, the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ is the vital motivation of the priest, the pillar on which his priestly existence is built. In his motto he wrote it this way: “in laetitia nulla dies sine cruce: in joy, no day without the Cross”. The priest lives joy in its fullness in the Holy Mass, which is the raison d’être of his existence, what gives meaning to his life.

During the Mass, on the paten and in the chalice, the priest is close to the Host, he is truly before and together with our Lord Jesus Christ: Jesus looks at him and he looks at Jesus. Are we really fully aware of what the real presence of Christ himself really means before our eyes, under the Eucharistic species? During daily Mass the priest comes face to face with Jesus Christ and at that precise moment, he is identified, he becomes identified with Christ, becoming not only an Alter Christus, another Christ, but he is really Ipse Christus, Christ Himself. He is conscious of being invested by the Person of Christ himself, configured in a specific sacramental identification with the High Priest of the eternal Covenant (cf. Ecclesia de Eucharistia n.29).

St. Josemaria says again: “All priests – whether we are sinners or saints – when they celebrate Holy Mass are no longer themselves. They are Christ who renews his divine Calvary Sacrifice on the Altar.” In fact, on the altar I do not preside over anything, not even this Eucharist that gathers us here today. Although unworthily, Jesus is truly in me, I am Christ: what a terrifying statement! What a fearful responsibility! It makes me tremble with terror, but it is true: I am at the altar in His name and in His stead. It is in persona Christi that I consecrate the bread and wine, after having given him my body, my voice, my poor heart, profaned so many times by my many sins and that I ask him to purify.

On the eve of every Eucharistic celebration, the Virgin Mary, who welcomes us as children in her arms, prepares us herself and urges us to consign ourselves, soul and body, to Jesus Christ so that the miracle of the Eucharist may be fulfilled. The Cross, the Eucharist and the Virgin Mary shape, structure, nourish and consolidate our Christian and priestly life. You will understand why all Christians, but especially priests, must build their inner life on these three realities: CRUX – HOSTIA and VIRGO; Cross, Eucharist and Virgin Mary. The Cross makes us born into divine life. Without the Eucharist we cannot live and the Virgin watches over our spiritual development as a mother and educates us to grow in faith. Jesus reveals to us the secret of this heavenly food, in which His very flesh that nourishes us allows us to live in his own life, in the unheard-of intimacy of friendship with him. Priests and faithful Christians are truly Jesus’ friends.

The term “friend” introduces us to today’s Gospel. Jesus addresses these wonderful words to us: “You are my friends, if you do what I command you. I no longer call you servants … but I have called you friends, because all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you”(Jn 15,14-15). Of course, we often have the feeling of being useless servants (cf. Lk 17:10), an absolute and incontestable truth, but the Lord calls us his friends, he makes us his friends, he generously offers us his friendship.

Note that the Lord defines friendship by emphasizing two essential aspects. First of all He teaches us that among friends there are no secrets, friends say it all, with the utmost confidence and transparency. Precisely because we are his friends, the Lord told us priests what He learned from his Father. He then explains to us that friends trust each other blindly: Jesus therefore has complete trust in us and for this reason offers us a perfect knowledge of Himself and his Father, reveals his face and his heart to us, shows us his tenderness and his passionate love that will reach the folly of the cross.

He trusts us completely, giving us the power to speak on his name and in his place: for this we can say: “This is my Body … This is my Blood. Take it and eat it all … Take it and drink it all …”. He entrusts in our hands his body, his Church, the unfathomable mystery of the One and Triune God, the God who so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son as a ransom for many (Cf. Jn 3, 16; Mk 10:45).

If God has loved and chosen us, are we able to understand all the consequences that derive from being his friends and therefore introduced into his intimacy? Do we understand that if he has loved us and chosen us as priests, it is to go and bear much fruit? The Love, Friendship and Faith received from God must be revealed to others: we have received the faith to pass it on to others. We are priests to be humbly at the service of God and our brothers and sisters up to the oblation of our lives.

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Pray for priests, pray for me, because today the priesthood is going through a deep crisis. In this Eucharist we entrust the Church and all priests to the maternal goodness of the Virgin Mary, our Mother and Mother of the Church. Once again, thank you very much for being present at this Mass of thanksgiving and God bless you. Amen.

VATICAN INSIDER AND JRS: JESUIT REFUGEE SERVICE (PART II) – FUNERAL FOR CARDINAL LEVADA HELD IN ST. PETER’S – PAPAL CONDOLENCES FOR DEATH OF CARDINAL LEVADA

VATICAN INSIDER AND JRS: JESUIT REFUGEE SERVICE (PART II)

Tune in this weekend to Vatican Insider for part II of my interview with Jesuit Fr. Tom Smolich, the international director of JRS, Jesuit Refugee Service. He has riveting stories about the JRS, where it serves, whom the Jesuits and their countless volunteers help and how we should get to know and better understand who refugees actually are. Do you know, for example, that many men and women classified as refugees today are degreed people – doctors, teachers, etc. Father Tom also tells us about JRS’ recent campaign to help a religious minority in Iraq. In addition, I ask Father about his great challenges and his greatest joys – memorable answers!

I took this photo in the JRS headquarters in Rome and told Father Tom I’d have to come back some day just to do a story about the scores of crucifixes and crosses that cover one wall of his office. They really tell the story of JRS!

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at http://www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on http://www.ewtn.com. OUTSIDE THE U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” VI airs at 5am and 9pm ET on Saturdays and 6am ET on Sundays. On the GB-IE feed (which is on SKY in the UK and Ireland), VI airs at 5:30am, 12 noon and 10pm CET on Sundays. Both of these feeds are also available on the EWTN app and on http://www.ewtnradio.net ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: https://www.ewtn.com/radio/audio-archive (write Vatican Insider where it says Search Shows and Episodes)

FUNERAL FOR CARDINAL LEVADA HELD IN ST. PETER’S

The funeral of American Cardinal William Levada, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, took place this morning at the Altar of the Chair in St. Peter’s Basilica. The cardinal died in the early morning hours of September 26.

At the end of Mass, celebrated by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Pope Francis presided over the rite of the final commendation and the “valedictio.” Fourteen cardinals concelebrated, along with 21 archbishops, bishops and priests, including Archbishop Jan Romeo Pawlowski, delegate for the pontifical representatives.

Joining members of the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See, were Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra, deputy secretary of State, and Monsignor Joseph Murphy, head of the protocol office. Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo assisted the rite, directed by the papal master of ceremonies. Among those present were many religious, including the sisters who assisted the cardinal. Archbishop Georg Gänswein, prefect of the Papal Household, also attended the Mass.

A photo of Pope Francis over the casket of Cardinal Levada was on the front page of the Vatican’s newspaper. L’Osservatore Romano, that came out this afternoon with tomorrow’s date. All of page four was dedicated to Cardinal Levada, and included Cardinal Bertone’s homily.

PAPAL CONDOLENCES FOR DEATH OF CARDINAL LEVADA

The following telegram was published at 6 pm Rome time today:

To The Most Reverend Salvatore J. Cordileone, Archbishop of San Francisco

Having learned with sadness of the death of Cardinal William J. Levada, Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and Archbishop Emeritus of San Francisco, I hasten to offer my heartfelt condolences to you and to the clergy, religious and faithful of the Archdiocese. Recalling with immense gratitude the late Cardinal’s years of priestly and episcopal ministry among Christ’s flock in Los Angeles, Portland and San Francisco, his singular contributions to catechesis, education and administration, and his distinguished service to the Apostolic See, I willingly join you in commending his noble soul to the infinite mercies of God our heavenly Father. To all those who mourn Cardinal Levada’s passing in the sure hope of the Resurrection, I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of consolation and peace in the Lord.

FRANCISCUS PP.

POPE: MORE CHURCH SECTORS NEEDED IN FIGHT AGAINST HUMAN TRAFFICKING

Yesterday, I posted the list of events to take place in the Vatican in the space of only one week and today we learned there is a new event, namely, Pope Francis will confer Episcopal ordination on four priests on Friday, October 4 at 5 pm in St. Peter’s Basilica, including Cardinal-elect Michael Czerny, SJ, who will receive the red hat a day later from the Pope. He is the under-secretary of the section for migrants and refugees of the Dicastery for Integral Human Development.

On September 3, the Pope named three monsignori as apostolic nuncios (Holy See ambassadors) and will confer Episcopal ordination on them as well. They will have the title of Archbishop, as do all nuncios. The only exception is the nuncio to Syria whom the Pope made a cardinal in 2016, Cardinal Mario Zenari.

The new apostolic nuncios are Msgr. Paolo Borgia of the clergy of the archdiocese of Manfredonia-Vieste-San Giovanni Rotond, Italy, Msgr. Antoine Camilleri of the archdiocese of Valletta, Malta, under-secretary for Relations with States in the Secretariat of State of the Holy See, and Msgr. Paolo Rudelli of the clergy of the diocese of Bergamo, Italy.

POPE: MORE CHURCH SECTORS NEEDED IN FIGHT AGAINST HUMAN TRAFFICKING

Pope Francis today welcomed members of the first general assembly of Talitha Kum as they meet in Rome to celebrate the first plenary as well as the 10th anniversary of this worldwide network of religious that combats trafficking in people. The name “Talitha Kum” means “little girl” in Aramaic, and is referred to in the Gospel story by Mark in which Jesus brings a girl back from death with those words:

Mark 5: While he was still speaking, people from the synagogue official’s house arrived and said, “Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?” 36 Disregarding the message that was reported, Jesus said to the synagogue official, “Do not be afraid; just have faith.” 37 He did not allow anyone to accompany him inside except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. 38 When they arrived at the house of the synagogue official, he caught sight of a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. 39 So he went in and said to them, “Why this commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but asleep.” 40 And they ridiculed him. Then he put them all out. He took along the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and entered the room where the child was. 41 He took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talitha kum,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise!”

The name seems so appropriate for an organization that tries worldwide to bring people back from the dead, in a way, to give them new life by saving them from perverse traffickers in human beings.

Pope Francis welcomed Talitha Kum members this morning and urged more congregations and Church sectors to join in the fight against human trafficking.

Following is the report by Robin Gomes of Vaticannews:

Pope Francis is urging the collaboration and commitment of other sectors of the Church in order to make the fight against the scourge of trafficking in persons more prompt, effective and widespread.

He made the call on Thursday while meeting in the Vatican some 120 participants in the first general assembly of Talitha Kum, an international network of consecrated men and women fighting human trafficking.

Talitha Kum is a project of the International Union of Superiors General (UISG) that brings together the women’s religious congregations, in collaboration with the men’s Union of Superiors General (USG).

Notable achievements
The Pope expressed admiration for the impressive achievement of the initiative that began in 2009 and today includes 52 networks of women’s congregations active in 92 countries of the world. It includes 2,000 volunteers who have helped more 15,000 victims and reached out to more than 200,000 people in prevention and awareness-raising activities.

“The numerous congregations that have worked and are working in the “forefront” of the Church’s missionary action against the scourge of trafficking in persons,” the Pope said, “deserve gratitude.”

Problems and solutions
He pointed to two main issues that the general assembly is focusing on. Firstly, great differences, mainly due to socio-cultural factors, still mark the condition of women in the world. Secondly, the limits of the neo-liberal development model, with its individualistic vision, risks depriving the state of responsibility.

The assembly, he noted, is identifying proposals for solutions, and highlighting the resources needed to implement them. He appreciated their pastoral planning for a more qualified and fruitful assistance to the local Churches.

In this regard, he suggested that the “Pastoral Guidelines on Trafficking in Persons” by the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development will be useful.

Invitation to join in the fight
While encouraging the women’s congregations engaged in the fight against human trafficking and in assisting the victims, the Pope also appealed to other congregations, both male and female, to adhere to this missionary work, putting in their personal service and resources so that they can reach every place.

The Holy Father urged those congregations preoccupied with their internal problems, to join the fight against human trafficking saying their problems will be solved by going out to the streets and letting in fresh air.

“Considering the scale of challenges posed by human trafficking,” the Pope said, “it is necessary to promote a synergistic commitment on the part of the various ecclesial realities.” He hopes for the involvement of the local bishops in the planning and pastoral action of men’s and women’s congregations and Catholic organizations present in their territory so that the work of the Church is more timely and effective.

However, the Pope stressed that the path of consecrated life, both feminine and masculine, is the path of ecclesial insertion because outside the Church and in parallel to the local Church, things don’t work.

(FYI: Vaticannews did a separate story on Talitha Kum, noting in particular that trafficking in humans is a phenomenon that currently affects at least 40 million vulnerable people, 70% of whom are women and children. One of the participants in Talitha Kum’s General Assembly was Australian Sister Angela Reed who spoke to Vaticannews. Click here to read that story: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/church/news/2019-09/talitha-kum-general-assembly-human-trafficking-sister-reed.html)

CARDINAL WILLIAM LEVADA DEAD AT AGE 83

CARDINAL WILLIAM LEVADA DEAD AT AGE 83

Cardinal William Joseph Levada died in Rome during the night between September 25 and 26.

He was Prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, President emeritus of the Pontifical Biblical Commission and International Theological Commission, President emeritus of the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei.”

Cardinal Levada was born on 15 June 1936 in Long Beach, California. He was ordained a priest on 20 December 1961 and held a degree in sacred theology.

After five years of pastoral ministry in Los Angeles, he was appointed as an official of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1976.

On 25 March 1983 he was appointed titular Bishop of Capri and Auxiliary of Los Angeles. He received episcopal ordination on 12 May of the same year.

On 17 August 1995 he was appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of San Francisco and was named as the Archbishop of San Francisco on 27 December of that year.

In 2000, he was appointed a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

On 13 May 2005, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Cardinal Levada as his successor as Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He is also president of the Pontifical Biblical Commission and International Theological Commission.

On 24 June 2008 he was appointed President Delegate of the XII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, “The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church” (5-26 October 2008).

On 8 July 2009, he was nominated President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei.

Prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, President emeritus of the Pontifical Biblical Commission and International Theological Commission, President emeritus of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, 2 July 2012.

He participated in the conclave of March 2013 that elected Pope Francis.
Created and proclaimed cardinal by Benedict XVI in the consistory of 24 March 2006, of the Title of Santa Maria in Domnica (St. Mary in Domnica), Deaconry elevated pro hac vice to Presbyteral title. (https://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/en/documentation/cardinali_biografie/cardinali_bio_levada_wj.html)

AT GENERAL AUDIENCE, POPE SPEAKS OF “MARTYRDOM OF DAILY FIDELITY TO THE GOSPEL” – UPCOMING EVENTS IN THE VATICAN

FYI: If you want to get a head start on knowing what will happen in Japan when the Pope makes a trip there in November (he’ll also visit Thailand), the official website has just gone up: https://popeinjapan2019.jp/en/

AT GENERAL AUDIENCE, POPE SPEAKS OF “MARTYRDOM OF DAILY FIDELITY TO THE GOSPEL”

Continuing his catechesis on the Acts of the Apostles, Pope Francis today spoke about the first martyr of the Church, Saint Stephen.

“Dear Brothers and Sisters,” began the Pope, “In our catechesis on the Acts of the Apostles, we continue to follow the spread of the Gospel throughout the world. In the early Christian community some complained that their widows were being neglected in the distribution of bread.

Francis explained that, “the Apostles, aware of their principal calling to preach the Word of God, discerned a solution to maintain the harmony between the service of the Word and service to the poor. They instituted seven men, on whom they imposed hands, to carry out works of charity.

“One of these seven deacons, Stephen, proclaimed Christ’s Paschal Mystery as the key to the whole history of the covenant, but his words met with resistance. Yet, even when condemned to death, Stephen entrusted his life into the Lord’s hands and forgave his adversaries.

Pope Francis noted that, “the actions of this first martyr teach us that our identity as God’s children consists in abandoning ourselves to the Father and forgiving those who offend us. Let us ask the Lord that, by contemplating the martyrs of the past and present, we may live a full life, accepting the martyrdom of daily fidelity to the Gospel and conformity to Christ.”

Following the audience catechesis, Francis said, “I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s audience, especially the groups from England, Scotland, Denmark, Malta, Norway, Kenya, Australia, Mariana Islands, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka and the United States of America. In a particular way my greeting goes to the new seminarians of the Venerable English College as they begin their priestly formation here in Rome. Upon all of you, and your families, I invoke the joy and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ. May God bless you!

UPCOMING EVENTS IN THE VATICAN

Here’s a brief look at the upcoming calendar of events in the Vatican for just one week:

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 28 – A ticket only event is the Mass to be celebrated this Saturday, September 28 by Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of Sacraments to mark the 50th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood. The cardinal will celebrate Mass at the Altar of the Chair in St. Peter’s Basilica and will meet guests afterwards in the Paul VI Hall.

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 29 – Pope Francis will preside at Mass at 10:30 am in St. Peter’s Square to mark the World Day of Migrants and Refugees.

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 1 – Memory of St. Teresa of the Child Jesus – At 6 pm in St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis will preside at Vespers on the occasion of the start of the month dedicated to the Mission and Missionaries.

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 3 – The Pontifical North American College will celebrate the ordination to the diaconate of 34 young men at Mass at 9:30 am at the Altar of the Chair in St. Peter’s Basilica. Bishop Robert Deeley of Portland in Maine will preside.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 5 – Pope Francis will hold a consistory to create 13 new cardinals, 10 of whom are under the age of 80 and will be electors in a conclave. He named them at the September 1 Angelus. As of September 4, there were 213 cardinals, 118 of whom are cardinal electors. Electors will increase to 128 on Oct. 5. As of today, there are 86 countries that have cardinals, 63 of which have cardinal electors. Among the cardinal electors, the countries with the greatest percentages are Italy with 22 electors, the United States with 9 and Spain with 5.

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 6 – The Holy Father Pope Francis will preside at Mass in St. Peter’s Square to mark the opening of the October 6 – 27 synod on the Amazon.

POPE FRANCIS SENDS VIDEO MESSAGE TO UN CLIMATE ACTION SUMMIT – POPE MAKES SURPRISE VISIT TO “NUOVI ORIZZONTI” COMMUNITY

POPE FRANCIS SENDS VIDEO MESSAGE TO UN CLIMATE ACTION SUMMIT

Pope Francis sent a video message to participants at the United Nations Climate Action Summit 2019, taking place in New York on September 23. Following is the complete text of that message:

Greetings to participants at the UN Climate Action Summit 2019.

I would like to thank the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr António Guterres, for convening this meeting and for drawing the attention of Heads of State and Government – and of the entire international community and world public opinion – to one of the most serious and worrying phenomena of our time: climate change.

This is one of the principal challenges we have to face. To do so, humanity is called to cultivate three great moral qualities: honesty, responsibility and courage.

With the Paris Agreement of 12 December 2015, the international community became aware of the urgency and need for a collective response to help build our common home. However, four years after that historic Agreement, we can see that the commitments made by States are still very “weak”, and are far from achieving the objectives set.

Along with so many initiatives, not only by governments but by civil society as a whole, it is necessary to ask whether there is a real political will to allocate greater human, financial and technological resources to mitigate the negative effects of climate change and to help the poorest and most vulnerable populations, who suffer the most.

While the situation is not good and the planet is suffering, the window of opportunity is still open. Despite everything. Let us not let it close. Let us open it with our determination to cultivate integral human development, to ensure a better life for future generations. “Although the post-industrial period may well be remembered as one of the most irresponsible in history, nonetheless there is reason to hope that humanity at the dawn of the twenty-first century will be remembered for having generously shouldered its grave responsibilities.”

With honesty, responsibility and courage we have to put our intelligence “at the service of another type of progress, one which is healthier, more human, more social, more integral”, capable of placing economy at the service of the human person, building peace and protecting the environment.

The problem of climate change is related to issues of ethics, equity and social justice. The current situation of environmental degradation is connected with the human, ethical and social degradation that we experience every day. This forces us to think about the meaning of our models of consumption and production, and the processes of education and awareness, to make them consistent with human dignity. We are facing a “challenge of civilization” in favor of the common good. This is clear, just as it is clear that we have a multiplicity of solutions that are within everyone’s reach, if we adopt on a personal and social level a lifestyle that embodies honesty, courage and responsibility.

I would like these three key words – honesty, courage and responsibility – to be at the heart of your work today and tomorrow. Thank you very much.

(The video message, shortly before being transmitted to the United Nations in New York, was reduced for reasons of time. Click here to see the 5-minute video in Spanish with English subtitles: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-09/pope-francis-videomessage-climate-action-summit-united-nations.html#play)

POPE MAKES SURPRISE VISIT TO “NUOVI ORIZZONTI” COMMUNITY

In a gesture underlining his admiration for its work, Pope Francis spent the morning at the “Nuovi Orizzonti” (New Horizons) Community, founded by Chiara Amirante in 1993 with the intention of assisting people in need and of taking action in areas of particular social hardship. Accompanied by Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, he visited the Cittadella Cielo (Heavenly City) of the Now Horizons Community in Frosinone, about an hour from Rome.

According to notes from Vaticannews, the Holy Father arrived about 9.40 am and was welcomed into the auditorium by the participants gathered in prayer. After a brief speech by Chiara Amirante and testimonies of a young man and a young woman, Italian singer Andrea Bocelli and his son, invited to the meeting, performed the song “Follow me” and described their commitment in the community.

This was followed by some interventions and questions by young people and adults who changed their lives after meeting the Christian faith through the New Horizons Commnity. The Holy Father answered questions addressed to him, speaking for some time off the cuff. At 12:20 pm, at the end of the meeting, Pope Francis celebrated Mass for the participants which included songs by Andrea Bocelli, at communion time and the end of Mass.

In a background piece, Vaticannews noted that the work of this community include rehabilitation from substance abuse and various forms of addiction, shelter to street children and aid to young people in difficulty. The Community also assists prostituted women, and provides support for anyone who has been rejected, excluded, marginalized – sometimes by their own families.

The projects of the Community
What started out as Chiara Amirante’s own outreach mission to the poor and destitute on the streets of Rome has grown to become an international community, present in many countries around the world.

The projects of “Nuovi Orizzonti” now include over 200 training centers involving around 30,000 collaborators. Their activities include a mission of street evangelization, and a program that aims at the integral reconstruction of the human person, uniting elements of psychology and spirituality.

The Pope and the Community
Pope Francis has admired the work done by New Horizons for some time. On June 8th this year, to mark the Community’s 25th anniversary, he made a personal phone call, sent a letter of congratulations, and recorded a video message expressing his affection and encouragement to the more than 3,000 people gathered to celebrate the event.

“Never lose your memory,” said the Pope in that message. “In your memory you will meet God: the God who has accompanied you, who has made you grow.”

“Nuovi Orizzonti” is registered as a non-profit organization, and is recognized by the Vatican Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life. Its headquarters and international center is in Frosinone, about one hour’s drive south of Rome.