AUSTRALIAN HIGH COURT TO HEAR CARDINAL PELL APPEAL – POPE FRANCIS: MARRIED COUPLES, LAITY ARE MODELS FOR THE FAITH – POPE FRANCIS RECEIVES ANGLICAN ARCHBISHOP WELBY

AUSTRALIAN HIGH COURT TO HEAR CARDINAL PELL APPEAL

Catholic News Agency reported that “the Australian High Court announced Wednesday that Cardinal George Pell’s application for special leave to appeal has been referred to the full court for decision. Pell is seeking to appeal an August decision by the Court of Appeal in Victoria to uphold his conviction for child sexual abuse.

“His application will now be considered by all the members of Australia’s highest court, and a decision is expected in March or April.

“Pell’s appeal to the High Court in Canberra, Australia’s supreme court, is his last legal avenue to overturn a conviction which has divided opinion in the country and internationally.”

The Full Court of the High Court has 7 members.

Responding to the news coming out of Australia, the Holy See Press Office had this to say today: “While reiterating its trust in the Australian justice system, the Holy See acknowledges the decision of Australia’s High Court to accept Card. George Pell’s request of appeal, aware that the Cardinal has always maintained his innocence. At this time, the Holy See reaffirms once again its closeness to those who have suffered because of sexual abuse on the part of members of the clergy.”

The High Court rejects about 90% of the appeals that come to it.

Following the High Court’s decision to grant leave to appeal, a spokesperson for Cardinal George Pell said: “This matter is now still before the court and so we are unable to comment.”

Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney released the following statement: “I welcome today’s decision of the High Court that it will hear the appeal of Cardinal George Pell against his conviction. The Cardinal has always maintained his innocence and continues to do so, and the divided judgment of the Court of Appeal reflects the divided opinion amongst jurors, legal commentators and within our community.

“Many questions remain, and it is appropriate that these will be examined by our highest court. For the sake of all involved in this case, I hope that the appeal will be heard as soon as possible. The Church will continue to offer pastoral support to the Cardinal while he remains in prison awaiting the hearing of this appeal, and for all others affected by today’s outcome.”

POPE FRANCIS: MARRIED COUPLES, LAITY ARE MODELS FOR THE FAITH

Pope Francis on Wednesday during his general audience focused his attention on St Paul’s journey to Corinth, and the welcome he received from husband and wife Aquila and Priscilla who, like the Apostle, were tentmakers by trade.

Christian hospitality
Continuing his catechesis on the Acts of the Apostles, the Pope highlighted this devout married couple’s Christian hospitality.

Persecution
He explained to the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square that the couple had been forced to move from Rome to Corinth after the emperor Claudius had ordered the expulsion of the Jews. Dwelling on this point in off the cuff remarks, the Pontiff spoke of the suffering of Jewish people down through history. He said, they were “driven out, persecuted” and suffered many brutalities.


The Pope also underlined that the “habit of persecuting Jews is beginning “to be reborn here and there.” “The Jews are our brothers,” he said, and “they should not be persecuted.”

Returning to the theme of hospitality, the Pope noted how the house of Aquila and Priscilla in Corinth opened its doors not only to the Apostle, but also to their brothers and sisters in Christ.

Domus ecclesiae
Pope Francis described how St. Paul speaks of the “‘community that gathers in their house’ which becomes a ‘house of the Church’, a ‘domus ecclesiae’, a place of listening to the Word of God and of celebrating the Eucharist.”

Even today, he stressed, in some countries where there is no religious freedom and no freedom for Christians, Christians gather in hiding to pray and celebrate the Eucharist.

The role of laity
The Pope pointed out that “among the many collaborators of Paul, Aquila and Priscilla emerge as ‘models of a married life responsibly committed to the service of the entire Christian community’ and remind us that, thanks to the faith and commitment to the evangelization of so many lay people like them, Christianity has come down to us.”

Concluding his catechesis and quoting his predecessor Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, Pope Francis said that, “Christianity from the beginning was preached by the laity. You too, the laity, are responsible for your Baptism to carry on the faith.”

Pope Francis also prayed for the victims of terror attacks in the West African nation of Burkina Faso and appealed for the promotion of inter-religious dialogue and harmony. Pope Francis says his thoughts are with the people of Burkina Faso that is “suffering from recurrent episodes of violence, and where a recent attack killed almost one hundred people.”

POPE FRANCIS RECEIVES ANGLICAN ARCHBISHOP WELBY

This afternoon, 13th November 2019, Pope Francis received in audience His Grace Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, accompanied by His Grace Archbishop Ian Ernest, Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome and Representative of the Anglican Communion to the Holy See.

By the Holy See Press Office

During the friendly discussions, the condition of Christians in the world was mentioned, as well as certain situations of international crisis, particularly the sorrowful situation in South Sudan.

At the end of the meeting, the Holy Father and the Archbishop of Canterbury agreed that if the political situation in the country permits the creation of a transitional government of national unity in the coming 100 days, according to the timing set by the recent agreement signed in Entebbe, Uganda, it is their intention to visit South Sudan together.

Click here for photo gallery: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/pope-francis-receives-archbishop-welby-at-casa-santa-marta.html

POPE’S NOVEMBER PRAYER INTENTION: FOR DIALOGUE IN MIDDLE EAST – POPE FRANCIS ON ST. PAUL PREACHING IN ATHENS

FYI:
On Sunday November 10, 2019 at 16.30 in the Cathedral of San Pietro Apostolo in Frascati (Rome) there will be the closing ceremony of the diocesan phase of the cause of beatification and canonization of the Servant of God Chiara Lubich, founder of the Focolare Movement. The ceremony will be presided by the Bishop of Frascati, Mons. Raffaello Martinelli. Maria Voce, president of the Focolare Movement will be present.

If by any chance you have plans to be in Lucerne, Switzerland between November 7 and the 10th, you will have an opportunity to meet two Swiss Guards according to a communique today from their Vatican headquarters: “For the first time, the Pontifical Swiss Guard will have its own stand at the Central Switzerland Education Fair in Lucerne from Thursday November 7 to Sunday the 10th. During the training fair in Lucerne, two active guards will be present in uniform at Stand D 2099, in Hall 2, next to the Lucerne Police. They will present the job of the Pontifical Swiss Guard and will gladly answer the questions of interested visitors.”

As I read today’s general audience catechesis I could not help but think this sounds like what is needed in the Amazon vis a vis evangelization. I know it sounds like over-simplification but do we need thousands of words to describe evangelization? I know the Amazon region also need priests but perhaps the seminaries should be open to indigenous males. If you recall Pope Francis’ closing words at the final meeting of the Amazon synod participants, he said: “There was talk, very forceful, of indigenous Seminaries. I thank Cardinal O’Malley for his courage in this because he put his finger on the sore in something that is a real social injustice, which is, in fact, the Indians are not allowed to go on the seminarian path and on the path of the priesthood.”

That was a stunning affirmation that no one seems to have made note of! I was breathless when I read that sentence and spoke about it on October 30 with Teresa Tomeo on “Catholic Connection” and am looking into this situation to find out why and when the cardinal made his remarks (I do not recall this being highlighted at Vatican press briefings) and to look into regional seminaries.

POPE’S NOVEMBER PRAYER INTENTION: FOR DIALOGUE IN MIDDLE EAST

As he does the first days of each month, Pope Francis released a video message with his prayer intention for November 2019 in which he invites us to pray that, “a spirit of dialogue, encounter, and reconciliation emerge in the Middle East.”

Francis speaks in Spanish as a video is shown with English subtitles.

Following is the full text:
In the Middle East, concord and dialogue among the three monotheistic religions is based on spiritual and historic bonds. The Good News of Jesus, risen out of love, came to us from these lands. Today, many Christian communities, together with Jewish and Muslim communities, work here for peace, reconciliation, and forgiveness. Let us pray that a spirit of dialogue, encounter, and reconciliation emerge in the Middle East.

The prayer intentions and videos are prepared by the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network of the Apostleship of Prayer.

Click here to see video and text: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/pope-francis-november-prayer-intention-for-middle-east.html

POPE FRANCIS ON ST. PAUL PREACHING IN ATHENS

As he has done for weeks now, Pope Francis today continued his weekly general audience catechesis on the Acts of the Apostles, focusing on St. Paul who, in his myriad travels, preached in Athens, seeking to explain the Gospel to non-believers.

“Dear brothers and sisters,” began Pope Francis as he addressed pilgrims who sat through rain and then very blue skies in St. Peter’s Square. “In our catechesis on the Acts of the Apostles, we now see the Apostle Paul preaching before the Areopagus in Athens, the cultural capital of the pagan world. In a city filled with idols, Paul proclaims the Gospel by appealing to the religiosity of his hearers and their desire to know the truth.”

The Holy Father explained that, “Seeing an altar dedicated to an ‘unknown god’, Paul states that God, the transcendent Creator of the world, has indeed made himself known, and sent his Son among us to call all people to conversion and the fullness of truth.”

“Yet,” he emphasized, “when Paul begins to speak of Christ’s death and resurrection, his listeners lose interest. The mystery of the cross, in which God’s wisdom and power are revealed, appears as folly in the eyes of the Greeks. Yet Paul’s preaching bears fruit in the conversion of some Athenians, including Dionysius the Areopagite and Damaris.”

Francis told the faithful, “As we think of our own culture, may we, like Paul, be sensitive to people’s deepest yearnings in order to propose the mystery of Christ and his saving love.”

POPE AT AUDIENCE: THE HOLY SPIRIT AND THE UNCHAINED POWER OF THE GOSPEL – POPE URGES IRAQIS TO PURSUE DIALOGUE, AS HUNDREDS KILLED IN PROTESTS – POPE FRANCIS BLESSES OUR LADY OF LUJÁN STATUES DURING GENERAL AUDIENCE

If you attended this morning’s weekly general audience, you heard Pope Francis deliver a catechesis on the Acts of the Apostles and St. Paul’s travels and appeal to Iraqis to pursue dialogue in the face of violence in their country and saw him bless two statues of Our Lady of Lujan, one for the UK, a second for Argentina.

POPE AT AUDIENCE: THE HOLY SPIRIT AND THE UNCHAINED POWER OF THE GOSPEL

Pope Francis during his weekly General Audience says the Holy Spirit is the protagonist of the Church’s mission.

By Lydia O’Kane (vaticannews)

Despite pilgrims and tourists having their umbrellas to the ready for Wednesday’s general audience, the brief drizzle that descended on St Peter’s Square eventually turned into a clear sky as Pope Francis reflected on his continuing catechesis on the Acts of the Apostles.

He told those gathered that in this book, one can see how “the Holy Spirit is the protagonist of the Church’s mission: it is He who guides the journey of the evangelizers showing them the path to follow.”

St Paul’s missionary journey
The Pope said this can be clearly seen when the Apostle Paul, having come to Troad, receives a vision begging him to come to Macedonia and help the people there. The Apostle, said Pope Francis, has no hesitation; he leaves for Macedonia, sure that it is God Himself who sends him, and arrives in Philippi.

The conversion of Lydia
The Pontiff explained to those present that the power of the Gospel is directed above all to the women of Philippi, in particular to Lydia, a merchant dealing in purple dye, and a believer in God to whom the Lord opens her heart “to adhere to the words of Paul”.

Lydia, continued Pope Francis in fact, “welcomes Christ by receiving Baptism together with her family and welcomes those who belong to Christ, hosting Paul and Silas in her house. … Here we have the witness of the arrival of Christianity in Europe: the beginning of a process of inculturation that still lasts today.” he said.

The Pope went on to describe how, after having received hospitality at Lydia’s house, Paul and Silas then find themselves having to deal with the harshness of prison. He remarked that they go from the consolation of this conversion of Lydia and her family, to the desolation of prison where the key is thrown away for having healed a slave girl in the name of Jesus.

Speaking off the cuff, the Pope said that this slave’s masters made much money out of getting her to tell people’s fortunes.

Even today, Pope Francis commented, “there are people who pay for this” recalling that in his former diocese, in a very large park, there were more than 60 tables where fortune tellers read palms and people believed and paid.

Prison and a jailer’s baptism
By praying fervently to the Lord, said the Pope, “Paul and Silas are freed of their chains by a sudden earthquake. This prompts their jailer to ask how he too can be saved, and after hearing the word of the Lord, he receives baptism together with his family.”

Concluding his catechesis, the Pope underlined how “in these events we see the working of the Holy Spirit and the unchained power of the Gospel.”

POPE URGES IRAQIS TO PURSUE DIALOGUE, AS HUNDREDS KILLED IN PROTESTS

Pope Francis appeals to all citizens of Iraq to pursue the path of dialogue and reconciliation in search of solutions, after nearly a week of renewed anti-government protests that have left hundreds of people dead.
By Devin Watkins (vatcannews)

At least 250 people have died throughout Iraq in connection with massive anti-government protests during the month of October.

On Monday, masked gunmen murdered 18 protesters and wounded over 800 others in the Shiite holy city of Karbala. Protesters said they were unsure if the gunmen were special forces, riot police, or militias backed by Iran.

Dialogue and reconciliation

Pope Francis sent his thoughts to all Iraqis on Wednesday and appealed for both the government and protesters to pursue the path of dialogue. He was speaking at the end of the weekly general audience.

“As I express my condolences for the victims and my closeness to their families and the wounded, I invite the authorities to listen to the cry of the people who are asking for a dignified and peaceful life,” said the Pope. “I urge all Iraqis, with the support of the international community, to pursue the path of dialogue and reconciliation and to seek the right solutions to the challenges and problems of the country.”

Pope Francis also assured the nation’s people of his constant prayer that they “may find peace and stability after so many years of war and violence, in which they have suffered so much.”

“Where are Iraq’s riches?”
Bishop Shelmon Warduni, the president of Caritas Iraq, voiced his appreciation for the Pope’s appeal, in an interview with Vatican Radio.

The emeritus auxiliary bishop of Baghdad called on Iraq’s leaders to stop protecting their own interests and “their own pockets” but rather to think about their citizens who are poorly treated.

He urged the international community to pay attention to those poor people “who studied hard but can’t find work.” Bishop Warduni said Iraqis are protesting to demand that their rights be respected by “a government that exploits its own people. … How is it possible for Iraq to be so rich – so rich – but the people are still forced to cry out for work?”

Corruption breeding discontent
Widespread discontent over economic hardship and corruption sparked the first wave of protests earlier in October in which 149 people were killed. A second wave of anti-government demonstrations began on Friday. At least 73 people have died since then.

The unrest is centered in Shiite-majority areas, and most of the anger seems directed at Shiite political parties and militias, which are often supported by neighboring Iran.

POPE FRANCIS BLESSES OUR LADY OF LUJÁN STATUES DURING GENERAL AUDIENCE

During the general audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis met bishops of the Armed Forces – the military ordinariate – from both the UK and Argentina where they exchanged a replica of the statue of Our Lady of Luján, which was brought to the UK by British troops during the Falkland War in 1982.

During the ceremony in St Peter’s Square, two copies were blessed by Pope Francis.

The statue of the Virgin Mary, Patroness of Argentina, will be returned to its native country. A replica will be presented to the Catholic Military Cathedral of St. Michael and St. George in Aldershot, England.

After his installation as bishop of the Armed Forces, Bishop Mason was contacted by Bishop Olivera, who asked if the statue could be returned.

The offer of a replica for the Aldershot Cathedral was also made, which Bishop Paul was more than happy to accept.

The story goes that when Argentinian troops invaded the Falkland Islands in April 1982, they brought with them the statue, a copy of the 1630 original, which is located in the Basilica of Lujan in Argentina.

St. John Paul II visited the original statue in Luján in 1982.

The statue which was left behind in a Church in Port Stanley was then packed up on a military transport to the UK and ended up at the Catholic Military Cathedral of St Michael and St George in Aldershot.

It has stayed there since as a focus for prayer offered for the fallen of both sides of the Falklands conflict.

POPE AT AUDIENCE: CHURCH MUST ALWAYS BE OPEN, EXPANDING, WELCOMING

POPE AT AUDIENCE: CHURCH MUST ALWAYS BE OPEN, EXPANDING, WELCOMING

In his catechesis at the Wednesday general audience, Pope Francis reflects on how the first Christians resolve their differences at the Council of Jerusalem under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

By Francesca Merlo (vaticannews)

Pope Francis began his catechesis by saying that the Book of Acts recounts the long journey of the Word of God. “This journey,” said the Pope, began after a “strong persecution.” During this persecution, Christians were forced to flee taking the Word with them, rather than being discouraged from evangelising.

Among those fleeing persecution were Paul and Barnabas, who took the Word of the Gospel to the Jewish community of Antioch in Syria.

“The book of Acts reveals the nature of the Church,” who is “not a stronghold, but a tent, capable of widening her space” so that all may enter. The Church is “outgoing. … She is either walking and expanding or she is not Church.”

The Pope then used the example of certain churches he has seen both in Rome and in Buenos Aires in Argentina with their doors closed, describing it as a “bad sign,” because the Church’s doors must be always open.

Pope Francis then went on to explain that these “open doors” are the cause of some controversy, because many people ask themselves “open to whom?”

The Pope recalled that some of the Jews who had converted stressed the necessity to perform ancient Jewish rituals, such as circumcision, before baptism “in order to be saved.”

Reject idolatry
Therefore, Paul goes to Jerusalem to consult with Peter and James, who were considered the “columns” of the early Christian Church. At the “Council of Jerusalem,” the Apostles find a middle way, saying that non-Jewish members are not required to be circumcised but must reject idolatry and all its expressions.

Pope Francis said this way of addressing differences offers us a key to resolving conflict. “It reminds us that the ecclesial method of resolving conflicts is based on dialogue through careful and patient listening and discernment in the light of the Spirit.”

In concluding, Pope Francis invited the faithful gathered to live in dialogue, listening and encounter in faith, with our brothers and sisters around the world.

At the end of the audience catecheses and language greetings to groups present, the Pope said he was following events in Chile: “I hope that, by putting an end to the violent demonstrations, dialogue will be used to find solutions to the crisis and to deal with the difficulties that have generated it, for the benefit of the entire population.”

Rioting, arson attacks and violent clashes wracked Chile for a fifth day Tuesday, as the government raised the death toll to 15 in an upheaval that has almost paralyzed the South American nation.

The unrest was sparked last week when the government announced a rise in subway fares. Anger flared with demands for improvements in education, health care and wages.

President Sebastian Pinera announced a program Tuesday night calling for modest boosts to the lowest incomes and increased taxes on the wealthiest as he sought to calm anger in the streets.

About half of Chile’s 16 regions remained under an emergency decree and some are a under military curfew.

WHAT A WEEK! – POPE AT GENERAL AUDIENCE: HOLY SPIRIT IS THE PROTAGONIST OF EVANGELIZATION

WHAT A WEEK!

And it’s only just begun!

Last Sunday Pope Francis celebrated Mass for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees.

On Monday the Vatican announced a papal document by which Pope Francis instituted the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time as Sunday of the Word of God.

On Tuesday, October 1, the Holy Father celebrated Vespers at six in the evening in St. Peter’s to open the extraordinary missionary month of October.

Also Tuesday: Vatican prosecutors seized documents and electronic devices in a raid at the offices of the general affairs section of the Secretariat of State in connection with an investigation following complaints brought in early summer by the Institute for Religious Works (known as the Vatican Bank) and the office of the Auditor General.

Today, Wednesday was the general audience in Saint Peter Square at which Pope Francis continued his catechesis on the Acts of the Apostles, focusing, this week on the episode of the deacon Philip converting the Ethiopian. (see below).

Also Wednesday: It was announced that Pope Francis has named Bishop Mario Grech of Gozo, Malta as pro-secretary general of the Synod of Bishops. He will become secretary general when the mandate of the current secretary general, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, ends. Bishop Grech will act as apostolic administrator of Gozo until a new bishop is named.

Tomorrow, Thursday 34 young men, seminarians at the Pontifical North American College, will be ordained to the diaconate in a morning Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica

On Friday afternoon in St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis will confer Episcopal ordination on three priests whom he had earlier appointed as apostolic nuncios or ambassadors. They will have the rank of archbishop.

Saturday, the College of Cardinals will receive 13 new members as Pope Francis holds another consistory. Ten of the 13 are under the age of 80 and will be eligible to vote in a conclave until they reach 80.

Sunday, The Holy Father will preside Mass in St. Peter’s Square to open the October 6 to 27 synod on the Amazon.

The above schedule does not include all the press conferences and other events related to the consistory for new cardinals, the synod for the Amazon and the October 13th canonization of Cardinal John Henry Newman, one of 5 to be canonized that day. So yes, what a week!

POPE AT GENERAL AUDIENCE: HOLY SPIRIT IS THE PROTAGONIST OF EVANGELIZATION

Continuing his catechesis on the Acts of the Apostles at Wednesday’s General Audience this week, Pope Francis explains on how the Holy Spirit leads the deacon Philip to help the senior official of the Queen of Ethiopia to embrace Christ.
By Robin Gomes (vaticannews)

Pope Francis began his catechesis, explaining how after the persecution of Christians following the martyrdom of Stephen, the spread of the Gospel appeared to suffer a setback. As a result, many Christians dispersed elsewhere.

But persecution that appears to be the hallmark of Christ’s disciples, the Pope explained, “instead of extinguishing the fire of evangelization, feeds it even more”.

The deacon Philip, who was proclaiming the Gospel along with healing and casting out evil spirits in Samaria, is impelled by the Holy Spirit to meet a stranger with a heart open to God. With enthusiasm, he set off on a deserted and dangerous road to meet a senior official of the Queen of Ethiopia, the administrator of her treasures. The Jewish proselyte, a eunuch, was travelling home after worshipping in Jerusalem. In his carriage, he was reading a passage from the Prophet Isaiah on the “servant of the Lord”, but understood nothing.

Humility and Word of God
Philip approached the carriage and asked him if he understood the passage. The Ethiopian said he could not unless someone guided him. The Pope noted that this powerful man recognized the need to be guided in order to understand the Word of God.

“He was the great banker, he was the minister of economy, he had all the power of money,” the Pope noted, “but he knew that without the explanation he could not understand. He was humble.”

Word of God transforms life
Drawing a lesson from this conversation, the Holy Father said, “it is not enough to read Scripture, it is necessary to understand its meaning, to find the “juice” going beyond the “rind”, to draw the Spirit that animates the letter.”

In this regard, he recalled Pope Benedict XVI on exegesis, who said that the true reading of Sacred Scripture is not just a literary phenomenon, it is the movement of one’s existence. Pope Francis explained that entering the Word of God means to be willing to go beyond one’s own limits to encounter God and to conform oneself to Christ who is the living Word of the Father.

In fact, the Holy Father continued, Philip helped the Ethiopian understand that the “meek suffering servant” he was reading about was none other than Christ whom the whole Church was proclaiming. The Ethiopian finally recognized Christ and asked for Baptism and professed his faith in the Lord Jesus.

Holy Spirit – the protagonist of evangelization
Pope Francis said that it is the Holy Spirit who pushed Philip into the desert to meet this man, stressing, “The Holy Spirit is the protagonist of evangelization”. “If there is no Holy Spirit there is no evangelization,” he said, adding without Him it can be proselytism, advertising, anything… In evangelization, the Holy Spirit makes you leave, pushing you to proclaim with testimony, even with martyrdom and words.”

CLICK AND SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTO ALBUM OF PAPAL AUDIENCE: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-10/pope-francis-general-audience-acts-philip-ethiopian-holy-spirit.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.

IMITATING THE APOSTLES, SPREADING THE GOSPEL WITH COURAGE – PRIESTS ALLEGED TO HAVE ABUSED ALTAR BOYS TO STAND TRIAL – POPE FRANCIS WELCOMES PATRIARCH BARTHOLOMEW

IMITATING THE APOSTLES, SPREADING THE GOSPEL WITH COURAGE

Pope Francis this morning continued his weekly general audience series of catecheses on the Acts of the Apostles, telling the faithful in St. Peter’s Square, “we now reflect on how Saint Peter and the Apostles respond with courage to those who wanted to stop the spread of the Gospel.” He said that, “strengthened by the experience of Pentecost, the Apostles become the ‘megaphone’ of the Holy Spirit, proclaiming the saving word of God that cannot be silenced.” (photo Vatican media)

The Holy Father explained that, “in the midst of the Sanhedrin, which feels threatened by the Apostolic preaching, a different voice is heard. The highly regarded doctor of the Law, Gamaliel, demonstrates the ‘art of discernment’. Filled with prophetic wisdom, he invites the leaders of the people not to give in to haste, but to wait for developments over time. This kind of discernment is valuable for the Church because it invites us to be farsighted, to contemplate events and not to make hasty judgments.”

“Discernment,” emphasized the Pope, “is an art that does not provide standardized solutions. It is an exercise of spiritual intelligence carried out by the children of God who learn to see traces of the Father’s presence within history. Let us ask the Holy Spirit to help us acquire the habit of discernment in order to learn that both time and the faces of our brothers and sisters are messengers of the living God.”

At one point in his talk, the Pope recalled the 21 Coptic Orthodox Christians – Egyptian construction workers – who were martyred for their faith in 2015 on a beach in Libya at the hands of the so-called Islamic State. “Their last word was ‘Jesus, Jesus’. They did not deny their faith, because the Holy Spirit was with them. Modern martyrs,” he said.

After the various language greetings at the end of the audience, Francis remembered those affected by Alzheimer’s disease, urging prayers for them, especially with the approach of World Alzheimer’s Day on Saturday, September 21. The Pope noted that Alzheimer’s “is a disease that affects many men and women who often become victims of violence, maltreatment and abuse that trample their dignity. We pray for the conversion of hearts and for those affected by Alzheimer’s, their families and those who care for them with love,”

PRIESTS ALLEGED TO HAVE ABUSED ALTAR BOYS TO STAND TRIAL

Late yesterday afternoon the Vatican released the following communiqué: “The Promoter of Justice of the Vatican City Tribunal, following provisions of September 16 and 17, requested the indictments of, respectively Fr. Gabriele Martinelli on charges of sexual abuse that would have taken place in the Saint Pio X pre-seminary in years before 2012 , and Fr. Enrico Radice, rector of the pre-seminary at the time of the facts, on charges of aiding and abetting (the abuse).

“The investigations were started in November 2017 following news released by the press. Although the reported facts date back to years in which the law in force at the time prevented the trial in the absence of a complaint by the injured person to appear within a year of the disputed facts, the postponement was made possible by virtue of a special provision of the Holy Father of July 29 (2019), which removed the ban on proceeding.”

POPE FRANCIS WELCOMES PATRIARCH BARTHOLOMEW

(Tuesday, September 17, late afternoon) From Holy See Press Office Director Matteo Bruni: “As scheduled, the Holy Father met Patriarch Bartholomew. The meeting took place in a fraternal atmosphere and was followed by lunch together with the respective delegations at Santa Marta residence. Before the meeting, at the invitation of Bishop Marcel Semeraro, Secretary of the Council of Cardinals, the Patriarch briefly greeted the Cardinals members of the Council and emphasized the value of synodality in the Church and assurances of his prayer.”

You will recall that, on the June 29th feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles, Pope Francis gave the Orthodox delegation that was in Rome to attend the June 29 events honoring the Apostles, a reliquary containing 9 fragments of bones of St. Peter that had been found in the Vatican scavi leading to his tomb. The 9 fragments were chosen from among many fragments by Paul VI to be put in a container to rest of the chapel of the private apartments of the Pope in the Apostolic Palace.

The Vatican wrote at the time: “Of those bones now preserved in the necropolis under St. Peter, Paul VI had nine fragments handed over to keep them in the private chapel of the papal apartment, inside a bronze box bearing this inscription: “Ex ossibus quae in Arcibasilicae Vaticanae hypogeo invents Beati Petri Apostoli esse putantur “(From the bones found in the hypogeum of the Vatican Basilica, which are believed to be of Blessed Peter the Apostle).”

The Vatican note on Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I’s visit to Francis never gave a reason for the visit but it can be presumed that it was to thank the Holy Father for his remarkable and historical gift.