THE SYNOD IN PICTURES – POPE WELCOMES PRESIDENT OF SOUTH KOREA – CARDINAL PAROLIN CELEBRATES MASS FOR PEACE ON KOREAN PENINSULA – LOOKING BACK: HOLY SEE NUNCIO TO KOREA, THE TRUMP VISIT, THE CHURCH IN KOREA

THE SYNOD IN PICTURES

https://www.vaticannews.va/en/church/news/2018-10/synod-youth-2018-pope-photo-gallery.html

POPE WELCOMES PRESIDENT OF SOUTH KOREA

Today, in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father Francis received in audience H.E. Mr. Moon Jae-in, President of the Republic of Korea, who subsequently met with His Eminence Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, and with H.E. Msgr. Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States. (AP photos)

During the cordial discussions, the parties evoked the good bilateral relations and the positive contribution offered by the Church in the social, education and healthcare sectors, as well as the promotion of dialogue and reconciliation between Koreans.

Strong appreciation was expressed for the common commitment to fostering all useful initiatives to overcome the tensions that still exist in the Korean Peninsula, in order to usher in a new season of peace and development. Finally, some matters of a regional nature were discussed.

FROM AP: South Korea’s president has met with Pope Francis in a private audience, and his office says that the pontiff indicated his willingness to visit North Korea.
The South Korean presidential office said in a statement that President Moon Jae-in “conveyed North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s desire for a papal visit to North Korea”.

A formal invitation directly from North Korea will follow.
The office said Francis said that, “if the invitation comes, I will surely respond to it, and I can possibly go”.

Mr Kim initially indicated his desire for a papal visit during a Korean summit last month.

If it materialises, such a visit would be the first by a pope to North Korea.

CARDINAL PAROLIN CELEBRATES MASS FOR PEACE ON KOREAN PENINSULA
By Robin Gomes (vaticannews)

Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin celebrated Mass Wednesday evening in St. Peter’s Basilica and prayed for peace in the Korean peninsula, saying that peace without crosses and tribulations is not the peace of Jesus.

Present at the Mass were visiting South Korean President Moon Jae-in (a Catholic), his wife, a large group of Korean faithful, a hundred priests and missionaries, some bishops and many representatives of the Holy See’s diplomatic corps.

The Holy See Press Office had announced that Cardinal Parolin would celebrate the Mass on the eve of a meeting between Moon and Pope Francis.

In his homily, Cardinal Parolin said that they were praying for peace in the world, especially in the Korean Peninsula, so that “after so many years of tension and division, the word peace may finally fully resound.”

Peace – God’s gift amidst tribulations
The secretary of State said that, “peace is built by daily choices, by a serious commitment to the service of justice and solidarity, by the promotion of the rights and dignity of the human person, and especially by caring for the weakest”. “But, for the one who believes, peace, first of all, is a gift that comes from above, from God Himself.”

The cardinal pointed out that peace is something lived concretely in daily life, as Pope Francis often repeats, “a peace in the midst of tribulations”. This is why the peace promised by Jesus is not the as the world gives but as He gives.

Citing Pope Francis again, who said that the world often “anaesthetizes us so that we do not see another reality of life, which is the cross,” the Vatican Secretary of State said that the peace that God offers us goes beyond merely earthly expectations. “It is not the fruit of a simple compromise, but a new reality, which involves all the dimensions of life, even the mysterious ones of the cross and the inevitable sufferings of our earthly pilgrimage. For this reason, he said, Christian faith teaches us that, “a peace without the cross is not the peace of Jesus”.

Educating to love and build peace
Cardinal Parolin also recalled St. Pope Paul VI, who in his message for the Church’s first “World Day of Peace” in 1968, cited St. John XXIII saying, “We must always speak of peace. The world must be educated to love peace, to build it up and defend it.” “Against the resurgent preludes to war […]we must arouse in the men of our time and of future generations the sense and love of peace founded upon truth, justice, freedom and love.”

The Vatican secretary of State urged all to implore God for the grace to make peace an authentic mission in today’s world, trusting in the mysterious power of Christ’s cross and resurrection.

“With God’s grace,” he said, “the path of forgiveness becomes possible, the choice of fraternity among peoples becomes a concrete fact, peace becomes a shared horizon even in the diversity of those who make up the international community.”

LOOKING BACK: HOLY SEE NUNCIO TO KOREA, THE TRUMP VISIT, THE CHURCH IN KOREA

NUNCIO IN KOREA: SINGAPORE SUMMIT IS TRULY HISTORIC

The Apostolic Nuncio to Korea Archbishop Alfred Xuereb comments on the outcome of the summit.

The Apostolic Nuncio to Korea and Mongolia, Archbishop Alfred Xuereb hailed Tuesday’s “truly historic” summit between the US President Donald Trump and the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. He said the Church is “full of hope and confidence” but warned, “we’re still at the beginning of a long process.”

Long and arduous road

Speaking from Seoul in an interview with Vatican News, Archbishop Xuereb said that the Korean people and the local Church had been anxiously awaiting “these truly historic events.” He described the summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as “marking an important page at the beginning of a long and arduous road” (towards peace).

At the same time, said Archbishop Xuereb, “we are hopeful because this beginning was very positive, very good” and we’ve moved from rhetoric and words like “fire and fury” and “the complete devastation of North Korea” to more conciliatory words that speak about peace.

Novena for peace

Saying the Church in Korea is living these events “with great faith,” the Nuncio described how the Catholic Cathedral in Seoul has been holding special prayers for peace and reconciliation every Tuesday. He also said the Catholic Bishops of Korea have proposed a novena from the 17th to the 25th of June to pray for peace, reconciliation and unity on the Korean peninsula.

In the wake of this historic summit and the more conciliatory climate engendered by it, Archbishop Xuereb said the Church prays for the evangelization of North Korea.
“The Holy See wishes to offer its support to any initiative in favour of dialogue and reconciliation and also take advantage of this to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to North Korea,” he said. (https://joansrome.wordpress.com/2018/06/12/nuncio-in-korea-singapore-summit-is-truly-historic-church-in-korea-launches-novena-for-peace-on-korean-peninsula/)

CHURCH IN KOREA LAUNCHES NOVENA FOR PEACE ON KOREAN PENINSULA

The Catholic Church in Korea has proposed a novena for peace and reconciliation on the Korean peninsula as a series of summits and declarations mark the way for new diplomatic relationships between the two Koreas and with the United States.
By Linda Bordoni (vaticannews June 12, 2018))

The Catholic Church in Korea has proposed a novena from 17 to 25 June to pray for peace, reconciliation and unity on the Korean peninsula.

As leaders of the United States and North Korea held an historic Summit in Singapore on June 12, the Korean Church called for a novena of prayer and organized a conference for reconciliation and unity between the two Koreas who technically are still at war since the Korean Armistice Agreement signed in 1953.

Singapore Summit

After the Singapore Summit, Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un signed a “comprehensive” document, promising a new relationship between the nations and committing North Korea to work towards “the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.”

Just over a month ago the leaders of North and South Korea, Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un signed an agreement in which they agreed to pursue talks on a peace treaty as well as denuclearization.

Panmunjom Agreement

In the 27 April Panmunjom Agreement, the two leaders committed to bring a swift end to the Cold War relic of longstanding division and confrontation, to boldly approach a new era of national reconciliation, peace and prosperity, and to improve and cultivate inter-Korean relations in a more active manner.

The Catholic Bishops of Korea have indicated a different prayer intention for each day: For healing following the separation of the Korean people; for families who have been separated by the Korean war; for the brothers and sisters who live in the North; for refugees from the North who currently live in the South; for politicians of the North and the South; for the evangelization of the North; for the promotion of exchange and dialogue between South and North; for true reconciliation between the two nations; for the peaceful reunification of the peninsula.

A Conference on the future of the Korean peninsula

The Bishops are also promoting a Conference on 21 June to take place at the Major Seminary of the Archdiocese of Daegu. Dedicated to a new future of the Korean peninsula thanks to fruitful exchanges between South and North, the event foresees the participation of the Bishops of Uijeongbu and Daegu as well as a panel of experts.

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NUNCIO IN KOREA: SINGAPORE SUMMIT IS TRULY HISTORIC – CHURCH IN KOREA LAUNCHES NOVENA FOR PEACE ON KOREAN PENINSULA

NUNCIO IN KOREA: SINGAPORE SUMMIT IS TRULY HISTORIC

The Apostolic Nuncio to Korea Archbishop Alfred Xuereb comments on the outcome of the summit.

The Apostolic Nuncio to Korea and Mongolia, Archbishop Alfred Xuereb hailed Tuesday’s “truly historic” summit between the US President Donald Trump and the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. He said the Church is “full of hope and confidence” but warned, “we’re still at the beginning of a long process.”

Long and arduous road

Speaking from Seoul in an interview with Vatican News, Archbishop Xuereb said that the Korean people and the local Church had been anxiously awaiting “these truly historic events.” He described the summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as “marking an important page at the beginning of a long and arduous road” (towards peace).

At the same time, said Archbishop Xuereb, “we are hopeful because this beginning was very positive, very good” and we’ve moved from rhetoric and words like “fire and fury” and “the complete devastation of North Korea” to more conciliatory words that speak about peace.

Novena for peace

Saying the Church in Korea is living these events “with great faith,” the Nuncio described how the Catholic Cathedral in Seoul has been holding special prayers for peace and reconciliation every Tuesday. He also said the Catholic Bishops of Korea have proposed a novena from the 17th to the 25th of June to pray for peace, reconciliation and unity on the Korean peninsula.

In the wake of this historic summit and the more conciliatory climate engendered by it, Archbishop Xuereb said the Church prays for the evangelization of North Korea.

“The Holy See wishes to offer its support to any initiative in favour of dialogue and reconciliation and also take advantage of this to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to North Korea,” he said.

CHURCH IN KOREA LAUNCHES NOVENA FOR PEACE ON KOREAN PENINSULA

The Catholic Church in Korea has proposed a novena for peace and reconciliation on the Korean peninsula as a series of summits and declarations mark the way for new diplomatic relationships between the two Koreas and with the United States.
By Linda Bordoni

The Catholic Church in Korea has proposed a novena from 17 to 25 June to pray for peace, reconciliation and unity on the Korean peninsula.

As leaders of the United States and North Korea held an historic Summit in Singapore on June 12, the Korean Church called for a novena of prayer and organized a conference for reconciliation and unity between the two Koreas who technically are still at war since the Korean Armistice Agreement signed in 1953.

Singapore Summit

After the Singapore Summit, Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un signed a “comprehensive” document, promising a new relationship between the nations and committing North Korea to work towards “the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.”

Just over a month ago the leaders of North and South Korea, Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un signed an agreement in which they agreed to pursue talks on a peace treaty as well as denuclearization.

Panmunjom Agreement

In the 27 April Panmunjom Agreement, the two leaders committed to bring a swift end to the Cold War relic of longstanding division and confrontation, to boldly approach a new era of national reconciliation, peace and prosperity, and to improve and cultivate inter-Korean relations in a more active manner.

The Catholic Bishops of Korea have indicated a different prayer intention for each day: For healing following the separation of the Korean people; for families who have been separated by the Korean war; for the brothers and sisters who live in the North; for refugees from the North who currently live in the South; for politicians of the North and the South; for the evangelization of the North; for the promotion of exchange and dialogue between South and North; for true reconciliation between the two nations; for the peaceful reunification of the peninsula.

A Conference on the future of the Korean peninsula

The Bishops are also promoting a Conference on 21 June to take place at the Major Seminary of the Archdiocese of Daegu. Dedicated to a new future of the Korean peninsula thanks to fruitful exchanges between South and North, the event foresees the participation of the Bishops of Uijeongbu and Daegu as well as a panel of experts.

POPE APPEALS FOR US-NORTH KOREA SUMMIT IN SINGAPORE

POPE APPEALS FOR US-NORTH KOREA SUMMIT IN SINGAPORE

Ahead of Tuesday’s summit in Singapore between the leaders of the United States and North Korea, Pope Francis prays for a future of peace on the Korean peninsula and throughout the world.
By Devin Watkins

Pope Francis on Sunday renewed his prayers for the “beloved Korean people”.

He prayed that the upcoming summit between the leaders of the United States and North Korea “may contribute to the development of a positive path to assure a future of peace on the Korean peninsula and throughout the world.”

The Pope was referring to a meeting scheduled for Tuesday, June 12th, in Singapore between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Pope Francis invited all people around the world to pray for the first meeting between a North Korean leader and a sitting US president.
“Let us together invoke Our Lady, Queen of Korea. May she guide these talks,” he said.

Both men arrived in Singapore on Sunday, where they meet separately with Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong before the summit.

WEBSITE STANDS BEHIND STORY ABOUT BOLIVIAN CARDINAL-ELECT – NEW APOSTOLIC NUNCIO ARRIVES IN SOUTH KOREA

WEBSITE STANDS BEHIND STORY ABOUT BOLIVIAN CARDINAL-ELECT

This is a follow-up to what I posted yesterday about the news broken in a tweet by Edward Pentin that the Bolivian cardinal-elect, retired Bishop Toribio Ticona, is reported to have a “wife” and “children.” The original story appeared in Adelante La Fe. Pentin has asked the Vatican to respond to this: no answer as I write these words. (https://joansrome.wordpress.com/2018/05/29/vatican-asked-to-confirm-if-bolivian-cardinal-elect-is-married-with-children/)

I re-read the original article in Spanish and also followed the comments and tweets on the story. One reader asked: what is the source for this story?

I saw an answer to this question written by one Miguel Angel Yanez who is, it seems, the director (editor, moderator)) of Adelante La Fe. Following is his tweet – and following that is my translation:

Miguel Angel Yáñez Moderador emma • hace 2 días
Las fuentes somos nosotros, que hemos dado la noticia en exclusiva. Está totalmente documentada, sólo por motivos de confidencialidad no podemos publicar ni revelar las fuentes. Esto es un tema sobradamente conocido en su diócesis y del cual tienen pleno conocimiento las autoridades, incluida la nunciatura en Bolivia.

YANEZ: “We are the sources who gave that news in exclusive. It is totally documented, only for reasons of confidentiality we cannot publish or reveal the sources. This is a matter that is more than well known in his diocese, about which the authorities are fully aware, including the nunciature in Bolivia.”

I tried to tweet the following in response to his tweet: This is too important not to have the truth – la verdad. Faithful Catholics have a right to know. Please furnish concrete details. At this point, confidentiality could be damaging to far more people than just one “family.”

I also tried to reach him via Facebook but had to send a friend request – no answer as I write these words. (Just about to hit POST when I heard from Yanez – in a word, he stands 100% behind the Adelante La Fe story)

In the meantime Adelante la Fe has posted an update in answer to the statement made yesterday afternoon by Bishop Ticona (see below).

To summarize and translate just the first lines, the update says: “The information is totally truthful and has been in the public domain at all levels in the diocese of Oruro for many years now. The nunciature in Bolivia (and the site shows a photocopy of a page of a nunciature document with names blacked out to protect confidentiality) for some days now has a detailed two-page report made under oath that details the names of witnesses, houses where the couple lived and including the school of the children. This is not a question of rumors but of first hand witnesses, including neighbors.”

Specific school names and home addresses are then outlined, as is the name of the pharmacy where the family bought medicines (witness given by the pharmacist). The website notes that, since the publication of this news, there are many who are trying to silence the witnesses.

The last sentence before the photo of the nunciature document (with a seal); “This is the truth and only the truth, no matter who may disagree.”

Yesterday, the Bolivian Episcopal Conference released a statement by Bishop Toribio Ticona. Here is the CNA story from Bolivia:

La Paz, Bolivia, May 29, 2018 / 12:25 pm (CNA).- In a statement Tuesday, Bolivian bishop and Cardinal-elect Toribio Ticona strongly denounced rumors that he has a wife and children.

“As a result of the false accusation which is being spread in the media regarding my private life, it is my duty to declare and emphatically make clear that its content does not correspond to the truth,” Bishop Ticona said in a statement released by the Bolivian Bishops’ Conference.
The bishop said he interprets the rumors as an attack not only against himself, but against Pope Francis, who recently chose him to be elevated to the position of cardinal.

“If these accusations persist, I will have no problem filing a libel lawsuit against those promoting or propagating this,” he said.

Ticona said that similar rumors surfaced in 2011, but “ended up being simple calumny.”

“Personally, I am happy that these accusations should come out at this time, in order to definitively close the case,” he added.

Earlier this week, the blog Adelante la Fe reported that “It is a well-known fact that while (Ticona) was serving his office in Corocoro, he was living (as husband and wife) with a lady in Oruro’s chancery. She and her children are proud to be called wife and children of the Patacamaya bishop, as Bishop Toribio Ticona is also known.”

However, in a May 29 article in Italian newspaper Il Messaggero, journalist Franca Giansoldati reported that the Vatican has carried out “deep investigations” of the claims, which found that “nothing is true” regarding the rumors.

The Vatican has not yet responded publicly to the claims.

Earlier this month, Pope Francis announced that he would be holding a June consistory to create 14 new cardinals who express the “universality” of the Church. Francis made particular note of his election of Bishop Ticona along with two other bishops, saying that they “have distinguished themselves for their service to the Church.”

Ticona, 81, is Bishop Emeritus of the Cora Cora Prelature in Bolivia, and has been described as a charismatic figure and an advocate for the poor.
Upon being named a cardinal by Pope Francis, Ticona said it was “a great surprise” and that he thanked God for the honor.

Ticona was born to a poor Bolivian family in 1937, and worked as a shoe shiner, newspaper vendor and a mayor. Influenced heavily by the Belgian priests at his home parish, Ticona entered San Cristóbal seminary in 1960 and on January 29, 1967 was ordained a priest.

He was named Auxiliary Bishop of Potosí in 1986, and in 1992 was made the Prelature of Cora Cora in La Paz.

After learning of his election as a cardinal, the Bolivian Bishops’ Conference said that, “Bishop Toribio embodies the vocation of a humble priest who serves. Our Church joins in giving thanks to the Lord for this gift.”

NEW APOSTOLIC NUNCIO ARRIVES IN SOUTH KOREA

A news story on a happier note by Robin Gomes (Vatican news):

Archbishop Alfred Xuereb of Malta, Apostolic Nuncio to South Korea conveyed Pope Francis’ blessing and wishes for the Church and for peace and reconciliation on the peninsula, and pledged to further the unity of the country’s Catholics and pastors with the Holy See.

Archbishop Xuereb, the Holy See’s new Apostolic Nuncio to South Korea and Mongolia, arrived in Seoul on May 27 at the start of his diplomatic mission in South Korea.

Korean bishops and representatives of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea (CBCK) welcomed him at Incheon International Airport where he addressed a press conference.

Commitment to Church

“The prime role of a nuncio,” he said, “is to help worshippers and pastors at local churches. I will meet with bishops in Korea as soon as possible and listen to what they have to say.”

“I will also work to more closely unify the Holy See and the Korean church,” the Maltese archbishop said.

He said that during a farewell Mass with Pope Francis in the Vatican on Thursday, the Holy Father send his apostolic blessing to the Korean bishops and faithful.

Korean peace and reconciliation
He said that the Pope is well informed about the situation on the Korean peninsula and has great hopes that the peace and reconciliation talks that started with the April 27 summit at the Truce Village of Panmunjom will continue and be successful so that future generations will have a peaceful and prosperous future.

“He told me, ‘Please assure the Korean people and also the bishops that he will continue praying that future generations will have a future of stability and prosperity,’” the 59-year old archbishop said during Sunday’s press conference. “As a papal representative in South Korea,” he said, “I will convey his thoughts and wishes to authorities in Korea.”

In the Vatican since 2000, Archbishop Xuereb has served Popes John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Pope Francis. On February 26, Pope Francis appointed him archbishop and Apostolic Nuncio to South Korea and Mongolia. Pope Francis consecrated him bishop on March 19 in Rome’s St. Peter’s Basilica.

KOREA’S RELIGIOUS LEADERS APPEAL FOR PEACE AHEAD OF SUMMIT

This story is about the Korean summit tomorrow, Friday, April 27 that Pope Francis asked us to pray for yesterday –

KOREA’S RELIGIOUS LEADERS APPEAL FOR PEACE AHEAD OF SUMMIT

The Korean Conference of Religions for Peace has called on other governments to support the move for reconciliation on the divided peninsula
By Philippa Hitchen (vaticannews)

Religious leaders in Korea have appealed to the United States. China, Russia and Japan to support this week’s summit between Seoul and Pyongyang.

In a statement, the Korean Conference of Religions for Peace (KCRP), supported by Archbishop Kim Hee-joong, president of the Catholic bishops’ conference, said the country “is longing for” the arrival of a “springtime of peace”.

Ahead of Friday’s meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean president Moon Jae-in, the statement recalls that the division between the two parts of the peninsula is the last barrier left by the Cold War. (vaticannews photo)

Pursue dialogue and understanding

The religious leaders call on the governments of the north and south to fulfil their obligations to pursue dialogue and mutual understanding. The statement urges the North Korean leadership to take advantage of the opportunity to “break the chains that have bound and limited this land for over seventy years”.

They also appeal to all political leaders involved in the rapprochement process to back these efforts at reconciliation, adding that “the United States is a key country for bringing peace to the Korean Peninsula”. They call on the U.S., China, Russia and Japan to support the summit, as well as a planned meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and the North Korean leader next month.

Pope prays for reconciliation

On Wednesday Pope Francis also prayed for a successful outcome of this week’s encounter, describing it as an opportunity for “transparent dialogue and a concrete path to reconciliation” in order to guarantee peace on the peninsula and throughout the world.

Speaking at his general audience in St Peter’s Square, the Pope assured the people of Korea of his prayers, adding that the Holy See “accompanies, supports and encourages every useful and sincere initiative” to build peace and friendship between peoples. He urged all political leaders to have “the courage of hope” and to become builders of peace.

Meeting in Demilitarized Zone

Kim Jong-un is due to meet Moon Jae-in at 9.30 in the morning local time (just after midnight GMT), marking the first time a north Korean leader has crossed the military demarcation line since the end of the Korean war over 60 years ago.

The two will meet in the Demilitarized Zone between their two countries, which are still technically at war since a peace treaty was never signed when the war ended in 1953.

PAPAL CATECHESIS ON BAPTISM, STRENGTH AGAINST EVIL – HOLY SEE PRESS OFFICE COMMUNIQUES

Today, April 25, is Liberation Day, a national holiday in Italy that marks the fall of Mussolini’s Italian Social Republic and the end of the Nazi occupation in Italy in 1945, towards the end of the Second World War. I always know when it’s a holiday in Rome – even without a calendar – because of the extreme quiet in the neighborhood. Many stores are closed and there’s little traffic and hardly any movement or noise on the streets adjacent to my building, just across from Vatican City. I don’t know what it’s like in the center of Rome or around historic monuments but I know I’m loving the peace and quiet!

On another topic: We all have interests and passions and hobbies, whether in the fields of sports, handicrafts, the arts, travel, languages, libraries, cuisine, or merely collecting items – stamps, coins, dolls or, as I do, plates and bells. When it comes to my interest in languages and travel and history, I think you know of my passion for the Middle East and the Holy Land, for the story of the Catholic Church, for the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, in that part of the world.

If you have a similar interest, I’d like to point you to an excellent site for news from and about that region: http://en.abouna.org/en/world

Fr. Rifat Bader, a friend of mine from Jordan, began this site years ago. He also launched CCSM – the Catholic Center for Studies and Media in Jordan – on April 25, 2012 to serve as a media arm for the Latin Patriarchate. By the way, the word “abouna” in the website means “father.” Happy anniversary, Abouna Rifat and CCSM!

Father Rifat and I met over the years in his native Jordan, in both Cyprus and Lebanon during trips by Pope Benedict, in the Holy Land for Francis’ three-day trip in 2014 and a number of times here in Rome. When it was just a seed, the CCSM was the subject of many of our conversations and emails and I am delighted to follow its success.

Another fascinating link: You can access the annual magazine of the Grand Magisterium of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, “Jerusalem Cross” here: http://www.oessh.va/content/ordineequestresantosepolcro/en/media/le-nostre-pubblicazioni/la-croce-di-gerusalemme-2017.html

PAPAL CATECHESIS ON BAPTISM, STRENGTH AGAINST EVIL

Pope Francis bases his General Audience catechesis on Philippians 4:12-13: “I can do all things in him who strengthens me”. Through our Baptismal anointing we receive the strength needed for the spiritual struggle.

By Sr. Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp (vaticannews)

Pope Francis continued reflecting on the Sacrament of Baptism during the catechesis portion of the Wednesday General Audience. He focused on the anointing with the oil of catechumens that is part of the Rite of Baptism.

Faith is a response to the Gospel

Those who request Baptism have responded to the Gospel that has prompted them to believe, the Pope said. They have learned how to listen to Jesus’ teaching and works. They experience the thirst of the Samaritan woman. Their eyes are opened like the blind man. They come forth from the dead like Lazarus.

Not alone

Those who approach the baptismal font are accompanied by the entire Church. This is concretely expressed with the Litany of the Saints before the exorcism and anointing with the oil of catechumens at the beginning of the Rite of Baptism. “They are gestures that, since ancient times, assure those who are preparing to be reborn as children of God that the prayer of the Church assists them in the fight against evil”, Pope Francis said.

Strength against evil

Pope Francis reminded those present that Jesus “fought against and cast out demons to manifest that the kingdom of God had come” (cf Mt 12:28). His victory over evil is a clear sign of his lordship. Through Baptism, which is not magic but a “gift of the Holy Spirit”, Jesus gives us the ability “to fight against the spirit of evil”. Pope Francis cited the Baptismal Rite: “God sent his Son into the world to destroy the power of satan and to transfer man from darkness to the kingdom of infinite light”.

Anointing with oil

The Baptismal candidates receive a second anointing on their chest. Pope Francis explained that long ago, “fighters would cover themselves with oil in order to tone their muscles and in order to more easily escape their enemy’s grasp”. Unpacking this sacramental sign, Pope Francis concluded his catechesis saying that the Christian life is one long, tiring struggle against evil. But we are accompanied by “Mother Church who prayers that her children, regenerated by Baptism, might not succumb to the snares of the evil one, but might conquer by the power of Christ’s Passover.” Therefore, “we too can repeat with the faith of St Paul: “I can do all things in him who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13).

At the end of the audience, Francis made the following appeal:

Next Friday, April 27 in Panmunjom, an inter-Korean summit will be held in which the leaders of the two Koreas – Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong Un – will take part. Such an encounter will be a good occasion to start a transparent dialogue and a concrete path of reconciliation and rediscovered fraternity with the goal of guaranteeing peace on the Korean peninsula and in the entire world.

I assure the Korean people, who so ardently desire peace, of my personal prayer and the closeness of the entire Church. The Holy See accompanies, supports and encourages every useful and sincere initiative to build a better future, as the sign of an encounter and friendship among people.

I ask those responsible for direct political talks to have the courage of hope, to make yourselves artisans of peace while I also exhort you to pursue with trust the path undertaken for the common good.

As God is the Father of all and the Father of peace, I invite you to pray the Our Father, God, Father of all, for the Korean people, those in the South and those in the North.

HOLY SEE PRESS OFFICE COMMUNIQUES

I. Next July 7, Pope Francis will travel to Bari (on Italy’s Adriatic coast), window to the East that is the guardian of the the relics of St. Nicholas, for a day of reflection on and prayer for the dramatic situation in the Middle East that afflicts so many of our brothers and sisters in the faith. He intends to invite to this ecumenical encounter for peace the Heads of Churches and Christian communities in that region. As of now, Pope Franccis exhorts all to prepare for this event with prayer.

II. POPE TO RECEIVE CHILEAN ABUSE VICTIMS THIS WEEKEND

(I published this earlier this morning as a separate column) – In response to questions by journalists about an encounter of the Holy Father Francis with several victims of abuse in Chile, Holy See press office director Greg Burke this morning declared the following:

“This coming weekend the Holy Father will receive at the Santa Marta residence three victims of abuse committed by clergy in Chile; respectively Juan Carlos Cruz, James Hamilton and José Andres Murillo.

The Pope thanks them for having accepted his invitation. During these days of personal and fraternal encounter he wants to ask pardon of them and to share their pain and his shame for what they have suffered, and above all listen to all their suggestions with the scope of avoiding that such terrible facts repeat themselves.

The Pope will receive victims individually, allowing each one to speak for all the time they need.

The Holy Father asks for prayers for the church in Chile in this very sad moment, expressing the hope that these encounters can take place in a climate of serene trust and that they might be a fundamental step to remedy and to avoid for all time abuses of conscience, power and, in particular, sexual abuse in the heart of the Church.”

POPE FRANCIS’ PRAYER INTENTION FOR FEBRUARY: SAY “NO” TO CORRUPTION – SUPER PRELATES MAKE A WINNING BET

IN BRIEF: According to the Vatican paper, L’Osservatore Romano, for the first time ever, the CIO – International Olymic Committee – has formally invited a delegation of the Holy See to participate in the inauguration of the Winter Games in Pyeonchang, Korea on February 9. Led by under-secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture, Msgr. Melchior Sanchez de Toca, the delegation will also be able to attend an Olympic session as an observer from February 5 to 7. This meeting is a kind of general assembly of CIO members as they discuss great themes of the world’s sport agenda.

POPE FRANCIS’ PRAYER INTENTION FOR FEBRUARY: SAY “NO” TO CORRUPTION

Pope Francis has released a video message accompanying his monthly prayer intention for February 2018.

http://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2018-02/pope-francis-prayer-intention-february-corruption.html#play

This month’s intention – “Say ‘No’ to Corruption” – is that those who have material, political or spiritual power may resist any lure of corruption.

The text of the video message reads: “What is at the root of slavery, unemployment, and disregard for nature and goods held in common? Corruption, a process of death that feeds the culture of death. Because the thirst for power and possessions knows no limits.

“Corruption is not countered with silence. We must speak about it, denounce its evils, and try to understand it so as to show our resolve to make mercy reign over meanness, beauty over nothingness. Let us pray that those who have material, political or spiritual power may resist any lure of corruption.”

The Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network of the Apostleship of Prayer developed the “Pope Video” initiative to assist in the worldwide dissemination of monthly intentions of the Holy Father in relation to the challenges facing humanity.

SUPER PRELATES MAKE A WINNING BET

Minneapolis, Minn., Jan 31, 2018 / 05:00 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- On Sunday, the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles will go head-to-head in Super Bowl LII, facing off to claim the Lombardi Trophy at the U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The archbishops of Boston and Philadelphia have already placed wagers on the game.

The archbishops jointly announced a bet Wednesday: Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia said he would donate $100 to Catholic Charities Boston if the Patriots prevail, while Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston said he would donate $100 to St. John’s Hospice in Philadelphia if the Eagles win.

Catholic Charities Boston offers social services to thousands of individuals and families in the Massachusetts area. St. John’s Hospice is an emergency service provider to the homeless in Philadelphia and also helps the homeless to find stable residences.

To raise the stakes, Archbishop Chaput and Cardinal O’Malley, who are both Capuchin Franciscans and friends from their seminary days, also said they would add Philadelphia cheesesteaks and Boston lobsters to the wager.

“Each year the Super Bowl is viewed by millions of people throughout the world,” read a Jan. 31 statement.

“In the spirit of friendly competition, we have issued our wager because we have confidence in our teams and, more importantly, based on our admiration for the commitment of the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots to assist their local communities and respond to the needs of the less fortunate,” the statement continued.

Archbishop Chaput and Cardinal O’Malley also made predictions for the Super Bowl outcome. The Philadelphia shepherd is counting on an Eagle’s victory, 24-20, while the Boston shepherd believes the Patriots will claim the trophy, 34-21.

No matter the outcome, they both pray for a safe sporting event for everyone involved.