POPE THANKS CHURCH OF POLAND FOR WORLD YOUTH DAY 2016 – U.S. ARCHBISHOP NAMED NUNCIO TO GUINEA-BISSAU – UNICEF DETAILS THOUSANDS OF UNACCOMPANIED MINORS MIGRATING TO U.S – ‘BIRTHDAY BOY’ BRINGS 363 PIZZAS TO LA. FLOOD VICTIMS

My second news item today is one I am delighted to offer – a story today about a longtime friend, Abp. Michael Banach whom I first met a number of years ago when both of us were working for the Roman Curia – I for the Vatican Information Service and Michael for the Secretariat of State.

The third story is from Vatican Radio and concerns a matter of great interest to Americans in particular as they consider the hot button but also humane issue of migrants, especially in an election year.

And the final story is simply to bring a smile to your face! We really need these good news stories more often!

TODAY’S PAPAL TWEET: New forms of slavery such as human and organ trafficking, forced labor, and prostitution are true crimes against humanity.

Today is the International Day for Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition.

POPE THANKS CHURCH OF POLAND FOR WORLD YOUTH DAY 2016

Pope Francis sent two ‘thank you’ notes to the Church in Poland, addressing one letter to Archbishop Stanislaw Gądecki, president of the Polish Bishops’ Conference, and another to Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, archbishop of Krakow, the host diocese for the recent World Youth Day celebrations:

To “Venerable brother,” Archbishop Stanislaw Gądecki, archbishop of Poznan,

Having returned from the Apostolic Journey to Poland, I want to renew the expression of my lively gratitude to you, Bishops, priests, consecrated persons and lay faithful, for your warm welcome and for the zeal with which my visit was prepared. I am deeply moved by your strong faith and the unwavering hope that you have kept in spite of difficulties and tragedies, and by your fervent love, which animates your human and Christian pilgrimage.

The memory of the moving Eucharistic celebration at the Shrine of Czestochowa, for the 1050th anniversary of Poland’s Baptism, and the moment of prayer in the concentration camp at Auschwitz is especially dear to me. I find great joy in remembering the encounter with the young people who came from different nations.

I assure you of my prayers so that the Church in Poland may continue advancing on its path with perseverance and courage, showing the Lord’s merciful love to all. Please, also pray for me. I heartily bless you all.

With fraternal greetings, Francis

To His Eminence, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, Archbishop of Krakow

Having returned from my Pastoral Visit to Krakow, during which I had the occasion to express my grateful remembrance of my Venerable Predecessor Saint John Paul II, to live moments of deep communion with your Diocesan Community, and to experience the enthusiasm of faith of the immense crowd of young people from different continents, I wish to express to you, to the priests, the consecrated persons and the entire Diocesan Community my sincere gratitude for the warm welcome in your home, and for the great kindness you showed to me and my collaborators. The memory of the moving liturgical celebrations, characterized by profound participation and animated by lively Faith, are still very present in my heart.

I thank you, the staff of the archdiocesan office, all your collaborators, and those who have worked to ensure the smooth running of these unforgettable days of faith and prayer. I am grateful also for the deep affection for the Successor of Peter, expressed by various ecclesiastical and civil circles, as well as by individual believers: all of this is a sign of love for the Church, in the wake of the perpetual and reverential affection for Pope John Paul II.

While encouraging the Archdiocese of Krakow to perseveringly advance on its path, constantly bearing witness to God’s mercy, I pray, through the intercession of Mary, the Lord for an abundance of gifts and graces for you and all who are entrusted to your pastoral care, especially for the young, that they may grow in an increasingly solid commitment to the Gospel. With these sentiments, I also ask you to pray for me, and I again give to all my Apostolic Blessing.

Fraternally, Francis

U.S. ARCHBISHOP NAMED NUNCIO TO GUINEA-BISSAU

(CNA/EWTN News) – On Monday Pope Francis appointed U.S. Archbishop Michael W. Banach as Apostolic Nuncio to Guinea-Bissau, marking the latest in a string of American nuncio appointments so far this year. The announcement that Archbishop Banach, previously nuncio to several other countries, will now be overseeing the Holy See’s relations with Guinea Bissau came in an Aug. 22 communique from the Vatican.

Designated Titular Archbishop of Memphis in 2013, Archbishop Banach was named nuncio to Senegal and apostolic delegate to Mauritania March 19, and as nuncio to Cape Verde July 9. He will continue to hold these positions in addition to his new appointment as nuncio to Guinea Bissau, all of which sit along the Northwest coast of Africa.

MICHAEL BANACH

Born in Worcester, Mass. and ordained a priest for the diocese in July 1988, Archbishop Banach, 53, was originally made a Vatican ambassador in 2013 when he was named apostolic nuncio to Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. His transfer to the four West African nations this year comes amid a string of other appointments by Pope Francis of U.S. Vatican diplomats to the African continent.

In February, the Pope appointed Msgr. Peter Bryan Wells, the highest ranking American in the Vatican Secretariat of State, as both archbishop and his new ambassador to South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho and Namibia. In July he was also appointed nuncio to Swaziland. Aside from the move of Wells and Banach, in March Pope Francis appointed Msgr. Paul Russell, at the time the head of the Vatican nunciature in Taiwan, as nuncio to Turkey and Turkmenistan – an important post given recent tensions between Turkey and the Holy See over Pope Francis’ use of the term “genocide” during a 2015 Mass commemorating the Armenian martyrs, as well as his recent visit to the country.

While there aren’t too many Vatican ambassadors from the U.S., most of them seem to be making their way to the world’s peripheries.

UNICEF DETAILS THOUSANDS OF UNACCOMPANIED MINORS MIGRATING TO U.S.

(Vatican Radio)  A report by UNICEF says thousands of children from Central America are trying to reach the United States, with Mexico being used as their final transit zone.

Mexican border residents march in protest on a road towards a detention center for migrants at the border between the U.S and Mexico – Reuters:

UNICEF MIGRANTS

The UNICEF report says that in the first six months of this year almost 26,000 unaccompanied children were detained at or around the U.S. Border.

Mexican authorities confirm they apprehended more than 16,000 of these migrant children and youngsters. Thirty thousand families of undocumented migrants were also discovered in this region.

Most come from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, which are ravaged by extreme poverty and criminal gangs which recruit by force, and indoctrinate children as young as eight.

Those children who refuse to obey are often murdered. These three countries have some of the worst homicide rates in the world.

Non-governmental organizations estimate that as many as 20,000 Central American would be migrants annually vanish in Mexico on their way to their so called ‘El Dorado’.

They’re often abducted by drug cartels and criminal gangs. And then there’s the option of their families paying a ransom, them joining the cartel, or death. From USA Today

‘BIRTHDAY BOY’ BRINGS 363 PIZZAS TO LA. FLOOD VICTIMS

(USA Today) Youngsville, La. — The day before Carson Boutte’s 9th birthday Saturday, his mom asked what he wanted as a present. He said he wanted lunch — but not for himself.” He said, ‘Really, I know all the poor people whose houses flooded, … what I would really like to do is bring them lunch,’ said his mom, Lanie Boutte. “I suggested sandwiches and chips, and he added cookies. Later that night, the thought of making maybe 500 lunches herself was overwhelming, .“so my husband suggested pizza,” she said. “I said I would spend $100 since that’s what I was going to spend on Carson’s present. I decided to post it on Facebook in case any of my family wanted to chip in, too.”

And the rest is history – click here: http://usat.ly/2bguqtt

CARDINAL GRACIAS: AMORIS LAETITIA A GIFT FOR CHURCH, FAMILIES, SOCIETY – POPE APPOINTS NEW NUNCIO TO THE UNITED STATES – JORDAN’S KING ABDULLAH II TO RESTORE JESUS’ TOMB

Is today’s papal tweet the Holy Father’s answer to fans and critics of Amoris Laetitia? – To understand, forgive, accompany and integrate. That is the mindset which should prevail in the Church.

I am very excited about the final story today. I have many good friends in Jordan, very active wonderful Catholics, whom I manage to see on trips to Jordan and when they come to Rome. I am also an admirer of King Abdullah as an individual and as the ruler of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. His book, “Our Last Best Chance, The Pursuit of Peace in a Time of Peril,” is a must read for anyone who wishes to remotely understand the Middle East. I bought it on my last trip to Jordan and found it to be a page turner. I would love to think people in our State Department have read this, and hopefully they know that Jordan and King Abdullah are very important, trustworthy allies in this part of the world. What’s more, few, if any, leaders in the Middle East have done what King Abdullah has done for Christians living in his country, not to mention the huge number of refugees.

CARDINAL GRACIAS: AMORIS LAETITIA A GIFT FOR CHURCH, FAMILIES, SOCIETY

The Apostolic Exhortation “is a precious gift for our Church, as well as families and society in Asia,” especially since it comes in this Jubilee Year of Mercy. This Card Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Mumbai and President of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences, said when speaking to AsiaNews about Amoris Laetitia. (photo: news.va)

CARDINAL GRACIAS

For the cardinal, who holds a doctorate in canon law from the Pontifical Urbaniana University and a diploma in jurisprudence from the Pontifical Gregorian University, “Amoris laetitia outlines clearly that marriage is joy, and blessing, a gift from God.” Indeed, the Holy Father “speaks of the beauty and the integrity of this sacrament.

The document, which weaves together the deliberations of the two Synods on the family celebrated in 2014 and 2015, “endorses the social doctrine of the Church” in continuity with the “magisterium of John Paul II and Benedict XVI”. Under no circumstances does it represent a break with Catholic teaching.

It is also “an invitation to apply the medicine of mercy and tenderness,” by promoting an inclusive pastoral ministry that “seeks out those who live on the margins.”

“Citing Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians, the pontiff notes that “love is more than a mere feeling’ (n. 94), but is instead a wilful commitment to embark on a definite path by addressing challenging things – being patient, putting aside envy and rivalry, caring about each other . . .”

In Asia, “families are traditionally very united. It is heartening that the pope connects family concerns with social concerns. He argues that families can only flourish if our societies are set up to support them.”

“It is essential that the Church in Asia get into the heart of this document. Bishops and priests can have a positive impact on our pastoral approach.”

“I would like to see our seminarians study this document, and undergo a change in mind-set and heart. Including rather than excluding is the heart of Jesus – a gift for Asia and India.” (AsiaNews)

(Cardinal Gracias is one of the C9 cardinals, the Council of Cardinals that advises the Pope.)

POPE APPOINTS NEW NUNCIO TO THE UNITED STATES

Pope Francis on Tuesday appointed Archbishop Christophe Pierre as the new Apostolic Nuncio to the United States of America. Archbishop Pierre, a native of France, was previously Apostolic Nuncio to Mexico. He replaces Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, who reached the age of retirement earlier this year. (photo: news.va)

ABP PIERRE

Born January 30, 1946 in Rennes, France, he was ordained a priest in April 1970 and ordained a bishop in 1995. He was named apostolic nuncio to Haiti in 1995, and subsequently to Uganda and Mexico. In that last post, he was charged with organizing Pope Francis’ recent visit to Mexico.

Abp. Pierre succeeds Abp. Carlo Maria Viganò just months after the latter, having turned 75, offered his resignation to Pope Francis. Last Thursday, April 7, the archbishop received the Rector’s Award at the North American College’s annual Rector’s Dinner.

JORDAN’S KING ABDULLAH II TO RESTORE JESUS’ TOMB

(Vatican Radio)  Jordan’s King Abdullah II will fund the restoration of Christ’s Tomb in Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

KING ABDULLAH

Bishop William Shomali, Latin Patriarchal Vicar in Jerusalem, warmly welcomed the decision of King Abdullah: “This is excellent news, news of a highly symbolic character, since the Holy Sepulchre is the most sacred place for Christians of all confessions. This decision shows the kindness of the King towards Christians and his constant concern to preserve the heritage of Christianity, including his role as guarantor of the Holy Places, Christian and Muslim, Jerusalem, according to the Wadi Araba agreement.” (photo: news.va)

SEPULCHRE

Jordan’s Royal Court informed the Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem of the “makruma” (Royal Benefaction) in a letter addressed to His Beatitude Theophilos III on 10 April. For his part, the Orthodox Patriarch praised the generosity of King Abdullah, recalling how His Majesty remains the faithful guardian and custodian of Muslim and Christian Holy Places of Jerusalem.

The Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem and the Latin Custody of the Holy Land announced during Holy Week that restoration works on Christ’s Tomb would begin soon after the Orthodox Easter solemnities. The Holy Sepulchre, also known as the Basilica of the Resurrection, has been the holiest site of Christian pilgrimage since the 4th century. The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem reports that the restoration work was needed because scientific studies had revealed grave problems of moisture from the “condensation of the breath of visitors,” and oxidation due to candle smoke.

The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem says the aedicule, the place of burial and Resurrection of Christ, will be the object of the restoration.  It has remained untouched since 1947 when the British put in place steel support beams as part of a restoration project that never took place. The funds offered by His Majesty for the project will be entrusted to a Greek team led by Professor Antonia Moropoulou of the National Technical University of Athens.

The three main Christian denominations that worship at the Church include the Greek Orthodox, Latin and Armenian Churches.  All have agreed to cooperate for the realization of the restoration effort.