POPE FRANCIS RELIVES AFRICAN TRIP AT GENERAL AUDIENCE – ISRAEL, VATICAN ISSUE STAMP MARKING 25 YEARS OF DIPLOMATIC TIES

Here is a link to the lengthy but very interesting press conference held aboard the papal plane last night as it brought Pope Francis, his entourage and members of the media back to Rome from Africa at the end of the Pope’s three-nation, six-day visit. Many a media summary has been offered of the Pope’s answers to questions on the plane, and a careful reading of this Vatican news report can be helpful in separating the wheat from the chaff. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-09/pope-francis-inflight-press-conference-full-text.html

POPE FRANCIS RELIVES AFRICAN TRIP AT GENERAL AUDIENCE

Barely resting up after his return to Rome last night from a six-day trip to Africa – his fourth to that continent – Pope Francis presided at the weekly general audience in a sun-splashed St. Peter’s Square this morning. As is traditional upon returning from an apostolic voyage, the Pope dedicated the general audience catechesis to a summary of that trip. (photo Vaticannews)

“Dear Brothers and Sisters,” he began, “Last night I returned to Rome from my apostolic journey to Mozambique, Madagascar and Mauritius. I went as a pilgrim of peace and hope to share the message of Christ as the true foundation of fraternity, freedom and justice in our world.”

He noted that, “in Mozambique, I encouraged the authorities to work together for the common good, the young to play their part in building up their country, and bishops, priests and religious to give a generous ‘yes’ to God. In Madagascar, I shared my hope that people there, with their traditional spirit of solidarity, will be able to contribute to a future of development, combined with respect for the environment and social justice. I also encouraged many contemplative nuns, bishops, priests, religious and young people to respond generously to God’s call.”

Then, speaking of his penultimate day in Africa, Francis said, “in Mauritius, a land of diverse cultures, I expressed to all my appreciation for their efforts to foster harmony between different groups. The Gospel at our final Mass reminded us how the Beatitudes – the identity card of Christ’s disciples – are the source of peace and hope. Let us pray that, from the seeds sown during this visit, God will bring forth abundant fruit for the people of Mozambique, Madagascar and Mauritius.”

Interestingly enough, according to a study by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, since 1980 the Catholic population in Africa has risen by 238%, the largest growth anywhere in the world.

ISRAEL, VATICAN ISSUE STAMP MARKING 25 YEARS OF DIPLOMATIC TIES

A communiqué this morning from the Israeli Embassy to the Holy See announced that “Israel’s ambassador to the Holy See Oren David was at this morning’s weekly general audience at which he met with Pope Francis and presented a stamp jointly issued by the Israeli philatelic service and the Vatican Post Office to mark the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations. The stamp depicts the church of Saint Peter and the synagogue of Capernaum in Galilee, an image that well represents the close ties between Judaism and Christianity and between the state of Israel and the Holy See. On this occasion Ambassador David invited Pope Francis to visit Capernaum and the holy places of Galilee.”

(JFL: On June 15, 1994, the Holy See established full diplomatic relations with Israel, setting up an apostolic nunciature in Tel Aviv, and naming Archbishop Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo as the first apostolic nuncio or ambassador.)

COMMITTEE TO ACHIEVE GOALS OF FRATERNITY DOCUMENT MEETS AT SANTA MARTA

COMMITTEE TO ACHIEVE GOALS OF FRATERNITY DOCUMENT MEETS AT SANTA MARTA

Today, 11th September 2019, at 8:30 a.m., the first meeting of the Higher Committee for achieving the goals contained in the Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together, established in August this year, took place in Casa Santa Marta. The date was chosen as a sign of the will to build life and fraternity where others sowed death and destruction. (photos Vatican media)

The Committee is made up of 7 members. The Holy See is represented by H.E. Mons. Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot, MCCJ, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, and by Mons. Yoannis Lahzi Gaid, Personal Secretary of the Holy Father. The University of Al-Azhar participates with its Head, Prof. Dr Mohamed Husin Abdelaziz Hassan, and with Mohamed Mahmoud Abdel Salam, Judge and Ex Advisor to Grand Imam Al-Tayyib. The United Arab Emirates are represented by H.E. Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Culture, Yasser Saeed Abdulla Hareb Almuhairi, writer and journalist, and Sultan Faisal Al Khalifa Alremeithi, Secretary General of the Muslim Elders.

The Holy Father greeted the members and heads of the secretariat of the Committee and gave the members a copy of the Document on Human Fraternity realized by the Vatican Apostolic Library. He then expressed some words of gratitude and encouragement to the members of the Committee, “artisans of fraternity,” for them to be at the origin of new policies “not only of outstretched hands, but of open hearts.”

After being received by the Substitute of the Secretariat of State, H.E. Mons. Edgar Peña Parra, the Committee returned to Casa Santa Marta to start its works. During the session, the members appointed the President of the Committee, H.E. Mons. Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot, MCCJ, and the Secretary, Mohamed Mahmoud Abdel Salam, as well as the members of the Executive Office, Mons. Yoannis Lahzi Gaid, Yasser Saeed Abdulla Hareb Almuhairi and Sultan Faisal Al Khalifa Alremeithi.

They also worked on the text of the Statutes that will regulate the Committee’s activity. The Committee expressed its gratitude to Pope Francis, for his welcome and encouragement, to Grand Imam Al-Tayyib for his encouraging words, and to His Highness Muhamad Ben Zaid, for the support he has offered the Committee. The Committee then identified some concrete steps to initiate its activity. These include the proposal, to be made to the United Nations, to define a date, between 3rd and 5th February, to be proclaimed Day of Human Fraternity, and the decision to invite representatives of other religions to be part of the Committee.

Finally, the members set the Committee’s next meeting on 20th September 2019, in New York. The meeting ended at 1:00 p.m. and each member prayed, according to his own faith, for the victims of 11th September and of every act of terrorism.