POPE FRANCIS ADDRESSES CHALDEAN BISHOPS, SPEAKS OF “HEMORRHAGE OF FAITHFUL” FROM LANDS “DEVASTATED BY HATRED”

POPE FRANCIS ADDRESSES CHALDEAN BISHOPS, SPEAKS OF “HEMORRHAGE OF FAITHFUL” FROM LANDS “DEVASTATED BY HATRED”

The synod on the family that just concluded brought bishops from the universal church to Rome to discuss critical issues and challenges facing the family in contemporary society. Bishops came from far flung corners of the world, including Tonga in the middle of the Pacific to places north and south of the equator to the diocese of Rome whose bishop is Pope Francis.

The Holy Father closed the synod on the family Sunday with a final Mass and homily and on Monday he addressed another synod whose bishops have far more serious problems than some of the ones we have been talking about.

They are in Rome to discuss the very survival of their Church, of their faithful.

Pope Francis, in fact, addressed the synod of Chaldean bishops from around the world as they gather in Rome for five days, relocating to the Eternal City after their planned September 22 synod in Ankawa in northern Iraq had to be postponed. The Pope spoke to the 21 bishops from Chaldean dioceses in Iraq, the Middle East and the diaspora as they gathered in Rome from the United States, Australia and Canada. Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako was already in Rome, having attended the synod on the family.

Ankawa is a suburb of Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan region of Iraq. It is a majority Christian town that is housing great numbers of refugees who have fled incredible dangerous situations in Iraqi cities such as Mosul, where ISIS terrorists have taken over.

I know quite a number of the Chaldean bishops and will be meeting several of them tomorow during their early afternoon break. In fact, it was at the Chaldean seminary in Ankawa that I stayed during both of my visits to this land, and it was then Fr. Warda who was the rector during my first visit. I also got to know his friend, Archbishop Amel Nona of Mosul (he is now in Australia with the diaspora), and became acquainted with Archbishop – now Patriarch – Louis Sako.

IRAQ - LEBANON  2010 115

The Pope’s talk to the bishops Monday brought back so many memories of my two trips to Iraq, the second being to attend the episcopal consecration of my friend Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil. How we became friends is like something out of a movie!

Abp. Warda’s episcopal consecration:

P1080681

The Holy Father’s address speaks not only to the Iraqi and Chaldean situation but to that of the entire Middle East. Yesterday I gave a few excerpts from that talk: Following is his entire address to the prelates.

Dear Brother Bishops, I welcome you with joy and I thank His Beatitude Patriarch Louis Raphaël I Sako for his kind words. I take this occasion to reach out, through you, to the faithful and all those dwelling in the beloved lands of Iraq and Syria in this particularly troubled and sensitive moment, with a message of comfort and Christian solidarity. With the approach of the Jubilee Year, may God’s mercy soothe the wounds of war afflicting the heart of your communities, that no one may feel discouragement in this time when the outcry of violence seems to drown out our heartfelt prayers for peace.

Today the situation in your lands of origin is gravely compromised by the fanatical hatred sown by terrorism, which continues to cause a great hemorrhage of faithful who leave the lands of their fathers, where they grew up firmly rooted in the furrow of tradition. This state of affairs clearly undermines the vital Christian presence in that land which witnessed the beginning of the journey of the Patriarch Abraham, heard the voice of the Prophets who called Israel to hope during the Exile, and saw the foundation of the first Churches upon the blood of many martyrs. There too Christians bore witness to the fullness of the Gospel, made their specific contribution to the growth of society over centuries of peaceful coexistence with our Islamic brothers and sisters. Sadly, these are times which are instead marked by countless examples of persecution, and even martyrdom.

The Chaldean Church, which suffers from the war, is also conscious of the needs of the faithful in the diaspora, who are desirous to maintain their solid roots while becoming part of new situations. So I confirm, today more than ever, the complete support and solidarity of the Apostolic See in favour of the common good of the entire Chaldean Church. I pray that Christians will not be forced to abandon Iraq and the Middle East – I think especially of the sons and daughters of your Church, and their rich traditions. I urge you to work tirelessly as builders of unity in all the provinces of Iraq, fostering dialogue and cooperation among all those engaged in public life, and contributing to healing existing divisions while preventing new ones from arising.

Your visit enables me to renew my heartfelt appeal to the international community to adopt every useful strategy aimed at bringing peace to countries terribly devastated by hatred, so that the life-giving breeze of love will once more be felt in places which have always been a crossroads for peoples, cultures and nations. May the peace for which we all hope arise on the horizon of history, so that the grievous tragedies caused by violence may yield to a climate of mutual coexistence.

The Synod which you are celebrating these days in Urbe , is a “journeying together”, a favorable moment of exchange amid the diversities which enrich your fraternal communion under the gaze of Christ, the Good Shepherd. As I had occasion to say in commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Synod of Bishops, “Journeying together is an easy concept to put into words, but not so easy to put into practice… Let us never forget this! For the disciples of Jesus, yesterday, today and always, the only authority is the authority of service, the only power is the power of the cross. As the Master tells us: “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave” ( Mt 20:25-27). It shall not be so among you : in this expression we touch the heart of the mystery of the Church, and we receive the enlightenment necessary to understand our hierarchical service” (Address for the Fifieth Anniversary of the Synod of Bishops , 17 October 2015).

I ask, then, to take up the Apostle Paul’s exhortation to have among you the mind of Christ (cf. Phil 2:5), acting with mercy, humility, patience and a mutual acceptance which gives rise to communion.

May the work of the Synod reflect a sense of responsibility, participation and service. Keep always before you the image of the Good Shepherd who is concerned for the salvation of his sheep, and is especially concerned for those who have strayed. May you imitate him: zealous in seeking the salus animarum of priests as well as laity, realizing full well that the exercise of communion sometimes demands a genuine kenosis , a self-basement and self-spoliation.

I encourage you to be a father to your priests and all consecrated men and woman, who are your primary collaborators, and, in respect for tradition and canonical norms, to be accepting of them, benevolent and understanding of their needs, discerning ways to help them be ever more aware of the demands of their ministry and service to the faithful. In doing so, you will bridge distances and discern the response to be given to the pressing needs of the Chaldean Church today, in your native lands and in the diaspora. In this way the reflections which emerge from your discussions will be able to provide fruitful solutions to your current needs and points of convergence for resolving liturgical and more general issues.

As I urge you to carry on your pastoral responsibilities with fraternal communion and a missionary spirit, I ask all of you, their pastors, to bring my words of encouragement to the faithful of the Chaldean Church. May they echo on your lips as a caress from the Pope that warms their hearts.

Entrusting the Chaldean Church to the maternal protection of the Virgin Mary, I impart to you, your priests and religious, and all the faithful, my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of hope and consolation in the love of our Merciful God.

Advertisements

“VATICAN INSIDER” GOES INSIDE THE EBOLA CRISIS – POPE FRANCIS HONORS OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE WITH CREOLE MASS – POPE MEETS WITH SYRIAC PATRIARCH, BISHOPS, FAITHFUL – POPE FRANCIS WRITES MESSAGE TO NOBEL PEACE LAUREATES – SECRETARIAT FOR ECONOMY PREPARING 2015 BUDGET – CHALDEAN PATRIARCH PROPOSES ACTS OF PENANCE DURING ADVENT

The news yesterday that Pope Francis will create new cardinals on February 14, 2015 has prompted speculation in the U.S. as to whether or not the Pope might name Archbishops Cupich of Chicago, Chaput of Philadelphia and/or Gomez of Los Angeles as cardinals. While the Holy Father may certainly follow or bend any rules involving the creation of cardinals, it is customary to have only one under-80, voting-age cardinal from each See. Because the former archbishops of Chicago (Cardinal Francis George), Philadelphia (Cardinal Justin Rigali) and Los Angeles (Cardinal Roger Mahony) are all under the age of 80 (although Cardinal Rigali, emeritus of Philadelphia, turns 80 on April 19, 2015), it is viewed as unlikely (though not impossible) that the Pope will elevate any of these three to the red hat.

“VATICAN INSIDER” GOES INSIDE THE EBOLA CRISIS

Join me this weekend for Part II of my conversation with Msgr. Robert Vitillo, health advisor for Caritas Internationalis and Dr. Timothy Flanigan, MD, professor of Infectious Diseases at Brown University Medical School, and also a permanent deacon in the diocese of Providence, Rhode Island. Both men had spent some time in Liberia and had cone to Rome for a Caritas-sponsored conference on the Ebola crisis, and that is when we spoke. Our conversation is riveting – you will learn a lot about Ebola and things you have not heard or read elsewhere about how Africans cope with this insidious virus.

As you know, in the United States, you can listen to Vatican Insider on a Catholic radio station near you (there is a list of U.S. stations at www.ewtn.com) or on Sirius-XM satellite radio. If you live 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.” Vatican Insider airs Saturday mornings at 9:30 am (Eastern time) and re-airs Sundays at 4:30 pm (ET). Check for your time zone. Past shows are found in Vatican Insider archives:

http://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/file_index.asp?SeriesId=7096&pgnu=

POPE FRANCIS HONORS OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE WITH CREOLE MASS

In a very short time as I write these words, Pope Francis will preside at what is known as a Creole Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica to honor today’s feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas and commonly referred to as the Queen of Mexico.  A Creole Mass is marked by the use of indigenous instruments and rhythms with prayers in Spanish. Photos from news.va

Our Lady of Guadalupe

The dictionary definition of “Creole” is “original to, or born in Louisiana” and/or “any person who claims decent from the region’s earliest settlers or inhabitants.”

The 6 pm Mass will be preceded by the recitation of the Rosary of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Advent prayers and popular Latin-American hymns. According to Vatican Radio, the Mass itself will feature hymns from the “Misa Criolla,” written by Argentinian composer Ariel Ramìrez, directed by his son Facundo Ramirez, sung by an Argentinian musical group and accompanied by a Roman choir, called “Musica Nuova.”

Concelebrants include Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation of Bishops and president of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America; Cardinal Norbert Rivera Carrera of Mexico City; Cardinal Raymundo Damasceno Assis of Aparecida; Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley of Boston; and Cardinal Francisco Javier Errázuriz Ossa, archbishop-emeritus of Santiago.

Guzman Carriquiry of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America told Rome Reports that, “more than 750 priests will concelebrate the Mass with Pope Francis. In fact, many Cardinals and Bishops will travel to Rome, specifically to take part in this celebration.” He noted that Our Lady of Guadalupe “is the Patroness of the Americas and the queen of the entire continent. In fact, she is also the Patroness of the Philippines.”

Pope Francis, the first Pope from the Americas, travels to the Philippines in January 2015.

In 2011 Pope Benedict XVI celebrated a Creole Mass in the Vatican.

Click here for libretto for the Mass: http://www.vatican.va/news_services/liturgy/libretti/2014/20141212-libretto-madonna-guadalupe.pdf

POPE MEETS WITH SYRIAC PATRIARCH, BISHOPS, FAITHFUL

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis Friday morning met with Patriarch Ignace Youssif III Younan, and the bishops and faithful of the Syriac Catholic Church, and urged them to coordinate their efforts with the other Churches in the Middle East and seek to meet the humanitarian needs of the people affected by the violence and unrest in the region.

His Beatitude was accompanied to the meeting by the bishops of the Syriac Catholic Church, who held their annual Synod in Rome this week, as well as members of the faithful.

SYRIAC PATRIARCH

In his remarks, the Pope extended his greetings to the Eastern Catholic “communities scattered throughout the world” and expressed his “encouragement, in particular to those of Iraq and Syria, who are living times of great suffering and fear in the face of violence.” He also assured them of his prayers.

POPE FRANCIS WRITES MESSAGE TO NOBEL PEACE LAUREATES

A Message in Pope Francis’ name, signed by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, has been sent to to the participants of the 14th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, which opened in Rome on Friday.

In his “cordial greetings to all gathered for this occasion,” Pope Francis notes, “In the heart of every man and woman is the desire for a full life, including that irrepressible longing for fraternity that draws us to fellowship with others and enables us to see them not as enemies or rivals but as brothers and sisters to be accepted and embraced.”

“His Holiness,” continues the greeting to the Nobel peace laureates, “is deeply grateful for the commitment of the Summit participants to promoting peace and fraternity among peoples, and for their efforts in finding solutions to the conflicts of our day. As this meeting honors the memory of Nelson Mandela, whose legacy of non-violence and reconciliation continues to inspire the world, Pope Francis prays that all present may be renewed and encouraged in their urgent work, and that their labours may bear an abundant harvest of peace for the world.”

One of those laureates, the Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists who won the eace prize in 1989, is garnering big headlines for the reports that the Pope will not meet with him. Fr. Federico Lombardi, papal spokesman, declined to say whether Pope Francis had personally turned down a request for a meeting with the Dalai Lama, but he did say, “Pope Francis obviously holds the Dalai Lama in very high regard, but he will not be meeting any of the Nobel laureates.”

Given the enormous difficulties between Tibet and China (Tibet sees itself as an independent nation – China sees Tibet as part of mianland China), many see the non-meeting between the Pope and Dalai Lama as the Vatican’s way of not doing anything that would irritate Chinese leadership with whom they want to have closer ties to protect Christians living and practicing their faith in China, most of the time under difficult circumstances imposed by the authorities.

SECRETARIAT FOR ECONOMY PREPARING 2015 BUDGET

The latest news bulletin from the Secretariat for the Economy, presided over by the prefect, Cardinal George Pell, explains that “the preparation of the 2015 budget of the Holy See is well under way” and it is “being prepared in accordance with the new Financial Management Policies distributed to all entities of the Holy See and the Vatican City State in November following the approval by the Holy Father.”

“To assist and support entities with the new budgeting process and budget template,” says the bulletin, “the Secretariat offered training sessions in November and December. More than 160 staff members, representing 79 entities participated in these sessions. Each session was organized as a meeting of collaborators rather than a classroom, and included a detailed explanation of the reasons for the new policies. Participants were invited to ask questions, seek clarification and discuss some of the challenges of implementation as we reviewed the main objectives of the new Policies:

– Establishment of sound and consistent financial management policies, practices and reporting at the Holy See, the Vatican City State, and all related entities.

– Facilitation of decision making at a local level and provision of a clear framework for accountability of those entrusted with the resources of the Church.

– Strengthening of the planning process so that economic resources are allocated where they can be most effectively used.

– Increase of available economic resources for the mission.”

The bulletin further notes that, “training and support material distributed to all participants was reviewed and discussed so that all were clear about the new polices and accounting practices that will be implemented from 2015 and beyond. We were very grateful for the positive feedback and encouragement participants provided in the training sessions and in our discussions afterwards.” The Secretariat found “helpful” the “engagement and dialogue.”

The 2015 budget is scheduled for publication in spring of 2015.

CHALDEAN PATRIARCH PROPOSES ACTS OF PENANCE DURING ADVENT

Fides news agency reports from Baghdad that Patriarch Louis Raphael I of the Chaldean Church has proposed to the faithful acts of penance during the Advent season as an invocation to God “for the release of Mosul and the Nineveh Plain and to demonstrate concrete closeness and solidarity to all Iraqi refugees, forced to leave the cities and villages that have fallen under the control of the jihadists of the Islamic State (IS). Those acts include fasting, prayer and penance in the three days before Christmas and the invitation to give up parties with music and dancing at Christmas and New Year.

Patriarch Sako wrote Fides, saying “During Advent,we prepare for Christmas by fasting, prayer, penance and works of charity.” He asks “’all the sons and daughters’ of the Chaldean Church to fast from Monday, December 22 until the evening of December 24, to invoke the Lord for the gift of release of Mosul and the Nineveh plain, so that all the refugees might return safely to their homes, to their work and to their schools.” In his message, Patriarch Sako expressed confidence that “Christ will hear our prayers.”