VATICAN INSIDER TAKES YOU TO THE VIA LUCIS – CARDINAL PAROLIN: POPE BRINGS PEACE, UNITY TO BULGARIA & NORTH MACEDONIA

Pope Francis departs Sunday for a three-day trip to Bulgaria and North Macedonia. You will be able to follow much of that trip on EWTN’s televised coverage as well as consulting the Vatican media website. Cardinal Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin spoke about that trip to Vaticannews (see below).

As you may know from reports I have done, 6 of the 12 apostles are buried in Rome: Peter, Simon, Jude, (these first three are all in St. Peter’s Basilica!) James the Lesser, Philip and Bartholomew.

Today is the feast day of Saints James and Philip whose remains are in the beautiful church known as Santissimi Apostoli – Most Holy Apostles – just yards from Rome’s famed Piazza Venezia. Run by the Friars Minor Conventual, this church dates from the 6th century. Dedicated originally to St. James and St. Philip, it is now dedicated to all the Apostles and its full name is Santi 12 Apostoli.

St. James the Lesser (we also have St. James the Greater, of course, in Santiago di Compostela, Spain) served as the first bishop of Jerusalem and was martyred there. Thrown from the roof of the temple but still alive, his enemies chose to stone him to death. Tradition says he was buried on the Mount of Olives, overlooking Jerusalem, the city whose shepherd he had been.

As to St. Philip, tradition says that about the year 80 he was arrested in Hieropolis, nailed by his feet to a tree, upside down, just like St. Peter, and finally beheaded. His grave for centuries was the focus of Christian pilgrimages. In the 6th century, Emperor Justinian II moved his relics to Constantinople and, through various iterations, they came to the catacombs in Rome and then to the Church of the Twelve Apostles.

VATICAN INSIDER TAKES YOU TO THE VIA LUCIS

In place of the usual intervew segment this week on Vatican Insider, I have prepared a special on the Via Lucis, a very beautiful post-Easter tradition that not enough people know about.

The Way of the Cross, the Via Crucis, follows the course of Jesus’ passion, death, and burial; it is observed, as we all know, by the devotion to the Stations of the Cross, a collection of 14 images found in virtually all Catholic churches.

The Way of Light,Via Lucis – also known as the Stations of the Resurrection – celebrates the most joyful time in the Christian liturgical year, the 50 days from Easter (the Resurrection) to Pentecost (descent of the Holy Spirit).

Via Lucis – First Station


The Via Lucis is a wonderful tradition and I explain its history and take you through the Stations.

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at http://www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on http://www.ewtn.com. 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.” VI airs at 5am and 9pm ET on Saturdays and 6am ET on Sundays. On the GB-IE feed (which is on SKY in the UK and Ireland), VI airs at 5:30am, 12 noon and 10pm CET on Sundays. Both of these feeds are also available on the EWTN app and on http://www.ewtnradio.net ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/multimedia/audio-library/index.asp (write Vatican Insider where it says Search Shows and Episodes)

CARDINAL PAROLIN: POPE BRINGS PEACE, UNITY TO BULGARIA & NORTH MACEDONIA

The Vatican’s Cardinal Secretary of State looks ahead to Pope Francis’ 29th Apostolic Journey abroad, which takes him to Bulgaria and to North Macedonia from 5 to 7 May.

By Linda Bordoni (vaticannews)

During Pope Francis’ Apostolic Visit to the Balkan nations of Bulgaria and North Macedonia, Cardinal Pietro Parolin says the Pope will be highlighting “that which unites”.

Speaking to Vatican News on the eve of the Pope’s departure, Cardinal Parolin pointed to the logo and motto of the trip to Bulgaria, which is “Pacem in Terris” – Peace on Earth – the title of an encyclical by Pope St. John XXIII, the first visitor and Apostolic Delegate to the country.

“The Pope will be a bearer of peace, a witness to the Risen Christ,” the Cardinal explained, and since we are in Easter time, we remember the apparitions of the Risen Jesus to his disciples when his first greeting was “Peace be with you. Peace I leave you; my peace give you”.

Parolin added that the theme of peace, which was central to John XXIII’s pontificate, will be built upon by Pope Francis with those attitudes of which John XXIII was a witness: “the search for friendship, gentleness, amiability, encounter with the other,” and the capacity to highlight what unites more than what divides.

“These great features of the figure and the Pontificate of John XXIII had already emerged at the time when he was Papal Nuncio in Bulgaria; I believe that it is along these lines that the contribution of Pope Francis during this journey will be placed,” he said.

Ecumenism

With an eye to the Pope’s schedule in Bulgaria that lists a moment of prayer before the Throne of Saints Cyril and Methodius, a meeting with representatives of different religious denominations, and a visit to Patriarch Neophyte – the head of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church – the Cardinal noted that the visit shines the spotlight on some particularly significant figures of the present and past, such as those of the two Saints: the brothers Cyril and Methodius.

They were saints of the Church of the first millennium, the Cardinal said, a Church that was still undivided but where tensions were already being experienced and which would ultimately lead to fracture and division.

The witness they provide in their search for unity, in their desire to evangelize new peoples using new methods and new languages, Parolin said, adds meaning to the Pope’s encounter with the people of Bulgaria that is to take place in a dimension of ecumenical fraternity, “recognizing each other as brothers in the one Lord”, and at the same time striving to overcome the divisions and the tensions that still exist.

It speaks, he said, of the desire to pursue the Christian mission to bring the Gospel to the world, certain that the effect of this evangelization will be all the more profound and incisive the more united we are, proclaiming together the Word of salvation that the Lord has entrusted to us.

Migrants and refugees
Pope Francis is also scheduled to visit a refugee camp during his journey. Cardinal Parolin recalled the four verbs chosen by the Pope in calling for solidarity and action regarding migrants and refugees: “Welcome, Protect, Promote and Integrate”.

He pointed out that Pope Francis carries forward this teaching with concrete gestures and never tires of bearing witness to this important issue during almost all of his journeys and in many other situations and occasions as well.

“Here, too, he wants to underline this aspect, taking into account that protecting also means defending and protecting the dignity of each of our brothers and sisters who find themselves in a situation of vulnerability and often of marginalization,” he said.

Mother Teresa of Calcutta
In North Macedonia, the Pope will visit the city of Skopje, birthplace of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, focusing attention on the poor.

Together with John XXIII and Saints Cyril and Methodius, Cardinal Parolin said Mother Teresa is clearly a dominant figure of this journey.

“When I was in Macedonia a few years ago, I was able to see how much affection and devotion there is towards Mother Teresa. Naturally, this attention towards the poor, the marginalized, towards those who find themselves in need, translates into something very concrete,” he said.

Mother Teresa, he recalled, compared herself to “just a drop in the ocean, noting however, the ocean would be less because of that missing drop”.

Cardinal Parolin said the Pope is bound to make that teaching his own and insist on asking the faithful to put charity into action.

Challenges and opportunities
“I believe”, Cardinal Parolin said, “there are no challenges, but opportunities in this journey”, especially taking into account the geographical and historical reality of Bulgaria, which, he said, is a crossroads of meetings and peoples, and the multi-ethnic and multi-religious society in North Macedonia.

Once again, he concluded, it is an occasion to launch the theme of the culture of encounter and of the mutual richness provided by diversity.

POPE FRANCIS GREETS PEOPLE OF MOROCCO AHEAD OF VISIT

POPE FRANCIS GREETS PEOPLE OF MOROCCO AHEAD OF VISIT

On the eve of his visit to Morocco, Pope Francis, in a video message, says he is coming to the country as a pilgrim of peace and fraternity.

Pope Francis will travel to Morocco from March 30 to 31 where he will celebrate Mass, travel to a migrant centre, run by the charity Caritas, and visit the Mohammed VI institute, which oversees the training and formation of Imams.

Peace and fraternity
In his video message, the Pope said he was coming to Morocco as “a pilgrim of peace and fraternity, in a world that greatly needs it.”

https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-03/pope-francis-video-message-morocco-papmar.html#play

Pope Francis remarked that both Christians and Muslims believe in God the merciful Creator “who created men and women, and placed them in the world so that they might live as brothers and sisters, respecting each other’s diversity and helping each other in their needs.”

God entrusted to them the earth, our common home, he added, “to guard it responsibly and preserve it for future generations.”

“It will be a joy for me to share these convictions directly with you at the meeting we will have in Rabat”, he said.

Gracious invitation
The Pope expressed his thanks to His Majesty King Mohammed VI for his gracious invitation and to the Moroccan authorities for their considerate participation.

He also thanked the people of Morocco, from the bottom of his heart, for their prayers.

Christian community
Pope Francis underlined that this trip offered him “the precious opportunity to visit the Christian community in Morocco and to encourage its journey.”

The Pope also mentioned that he would be meeting with migrants, who, he said, “together embody an appeal to build a world of greater justice and solidarity.”  (vaticannews)

POPE FRANCIS’ CATECHESIS ON THE OUR FATHER – POPE HONORS ITALIAN MISSIONARY NUN AT GENERAL AUDIENCE – POPE FRANCIS PRAYS FOR FLOOD VICTIMS IN IRAN – POPE TO VISIT MOZAMBIQUE, MADAGASCAR AND MAURITIUS

I posted a separate story on my Facebook page about today’s commemorative Mass in Rome to mark the third anniversary of the death of Mother Angelica, foundress of EWTN. (facebook.com/joan.lewis.10420)

POPE FRANCIS’ CATECHESIS ON THE OUR FATHER

In Wednesday’s general audience, Pope Francis continued his catechesis on the Our Father, focussing on the petition: “Give us this day our daily bread,” and saying this is where we present our needs to God.

“Give us this day our daily bread,” said Francis, reminds us that we are not self-sufficient. Prayer, he said, “begins with our daily concerns, our most pressing, concrete necessities of life,” and he invited the faithful to consider this prayer from the point of view of those who are in real need: “How many mothers, and how many fathers, even today, go to sleep with the anguish of not having sufficient bread for their children for the next day?” Seen from this perspective, “the words of Jesus take on new force.”

The Pope explained that, “with the request for ‘our daily bread’, rather than my daily bread, the ‘Our Father’ includes in itself an ‘attitude of empathy, an attitude of solidarity.” In this way, Jesus teaches us to present the needs of everyone to the Father.

The Pope then told the Gospel story of the feeding of the five thousand. The multiplication of the loaves and fishes was a true miracle, he said; but the greater miracle was the sharing. The young boy who shared his bread and fish “had understood the lesson of the ‘Our Father’, namely “that food is not private property… but providence to be shared, with the grace of God.”

In this miracle, Francis concluded, Jesus anticipated the offering of Himself in the Holy Eucharist: “Only the Eucharist,” he said, “is able to satisfy the hunger for the infinite and the desire for God that animates every human person, even in the search for daily bread.”

POPE HONORS ITALIAN MISSIONARY NUN AT GENERAL AUDIENCE

Pope Francis on Wednesday honored Sr. Maria Concetta Esu for her tireless work as a midwife in Africa over the past 60 years.
By Lydia O’Kane (vaticannews)

Sister Maria Concetta Esu is an Italian nun who for almost 60 years has devoted her life to missionary work in Africa. In her profession as a midwife, Sister Concetta has delivered thousands of babies and at 85 her commitment to children, mothers and families continues.

In recognition of her tireless efforts, Pope Francis at the end of his general audience on Wednesday, honored this Sister from the Congregation of the Daughters of St. Joseph of Genoni, telling her this accolade was “a sign of our affection and our ‘thanks’ for all the work you have done in the midst of our African brothers and sisters, in the service of life…”

The Pope told the pilgrims present that he had met Sr Maria Concetta in Bangui in the Central African Republic during his visit to open the Jubilee of Mercy in 2015, adding, “that day, too, she came from Congo in a canoe, … to do her shopping in Bangui.”

While honoring this religious sister, the Pontiff also took the opportunity to express his gratitude to all the missionaries, priests, religious and laity, who, he said, may not make the news, but “sow the seeds of the Kingdom of God in every part of the world.”

The Pope also spoke of Brazilian Cardinal Cláudio Hummes, who he recounted “goes to the cemetery and visits the graves of missionaries; many young people who have died from diseases…” Pope Francis said that the Cardinal told him, ‘they all deserve to be canonized’, because their life has been ‘consumed’ in service.

Sister Maria Concetta, who is in Rome for a meeting with her Congregation, is due to return to Africa to continue her work. Bidding her farewell, Pope Francis said, “Let us accompany her with prayer. And may her example help us all to live the Gospel wherever we are.”

POPE FRANCIS PRAYS FOR FLOOD VICTIMS IN IRAN

Pope Francis conveyed his solidarity to the people of Iran after devastating floods that have caused many deaths and extensive damage.

By Linda Bordoni (vaticannews)

Pope Francis expressed his sorrow for the loss of life, injury and damage caused by flash floods in northern Iran that have killed at least 26 people.

In a telegram, signed on his behalf by the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Pope Francis on Wednesday conveyed his heartfelt solidarity with all those affected and said he is praying for the deceased.

The floods are being described as an “unprecedented natural disaster”. Rescuers are still searching for survivors and hundreds have reportedly been injured in the country that is more accustomed to drought than to rain.

In his message, the Pope also said he is praying for the emergency personnel involved in rescue efforts and assured the people of Iran that he has invoked divine blessings of consolation and strength on those who grieve.

Meanwhile, President Hassan Rouhani, who is accused by critics of mishandling the crisis, travelled to flooded areas to inspect the damage and promised compensation to all those affected.

Tuesday’s torrential rain struck 25 of Iran’s 31 provinces, and the scale of the disaster has reportedly overwhelmed emergency services in some areas.

Tens of thousands of people have been displaced and thousands are being housed in emergency shelters.

POPE TO VISIT MOZAMBIQUE, MADAGASCAR AND MAURITIUS

A Holy See Press Office statement reveals Pope Francis will undertake an apostolic journey to Mozambique, Madagascar and Mauritius in September.

By Linda Bordoni (vaticannews)

Pope Francis will travel to the Indian Ocean islands of Madagascar and Mauritius and to the Southeast African nation of Mozambique in September 2019.

In a statement on Wednesday, Holy See Press Office interim director Alessandro Gisotti, revealed that the journey is scheduled to take place from 4 to 10 September.

He said the Pope will visit the cities of Maputo in Mozambique, Antananarivo in Madagascar and Port Louis in Mauritius. The program for the visit will be published in due time.

Pope Francis travels to the three nations as a pilgrim of peace, hope and reconciliation, all themes that are reflected in the official logos of the journey.

SHORT TAKES…. – VATICAN RADIO INAUGURATED 88 YEARS AGO

As of early 2017, the name, the term, the words “Vatican Radio” were to be strictly confined to “Radio Vaticana Italia” as this was part of a Vatican communications reorganization that was to be Italian-centric, at least in the beginning. Those of us in communications were enjoined not to use the name Vatican Radio unless we were referring to the Italian language radio.

I wrote a column about “the death of a radio” last March and received an incredible number of emails with people expressing condolences, disappointment, and delusion. https://joansrome.wordpress.com/2018/03/23/for-whom-the-bell-tolls-the-death-of-a-radio/

Today, as you will see below, I offer excerpts from a Vatican Radio report on the 65th anniversary of the inauguration of the radio. It is a fascinating, colorful read for sure, yet sad at the same time in light of the communications reforms. The most popular programs, for example, for the major language at Vatican radio were always the feature programs and it is those programs that basically died a year ago.

The story I offer below would have been typical of what the radio referred to as a “feature program.” I can just hear the voice of a reporter reading this account, the dramatic, yet historic recounting of the birth of a radio. Feature programs – the true art of storytelling!

If you want news a la radio, then scroll down to the bottom of the vaticannews.va website, click on “podcasts” and listen to a selection of language news programs.

SHORT TAKES….

POPE FRANCIS WILL VISIT THE ITALIAN CITY OF NAPLES ON JUNE 21ST to take part in a meeting on “Theology after Veritatis Gaudium in the Mediterranean context.” He is scheduled to arrive around 9 AM and will be welcomed by Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, archbishop of Naples, Bishop Francesco Marino of Nola, and Fr. Arturo Sosa, Jesuit Superior General. Francis will address participants in the conference that is being hosted by the San Luigi section of the Pontifical Theological Faculty of Southern Italy. The Pope is set to return to the Vatican early in the afternoon. He previously visited Naples in March 2015.

TO UNDERLINE HIS CONSTANT ATTENTION TO WELCOMING MIGRANTS, on Friday February 15, at 4.00 pm at the Fraternal Domus of Sacrofano (Rome), Pope Francis will preside the Eucharistic Celebration that opens the “Free from Fear” meeting on the realities of welcoming and receiving migrants organized by the Migrantes Foundation, by Italian Caritas and by the Centro Astalli. The three-day meeting starts February 15, 2019. The visit will have a private character, so the presence of journalists and communication operators is excluded. Vatican television will supervise the live broadcast of this event.

TODAY, FEBRUARY 12, MARKS THE 88TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE INAUGURATION OF VATICAN RADIO on Thursday February 12, 1931. Pope Pius XI transmitted the first radio message in Latin in the presence of Guglielmo Marconi, inventor of the radio and creator of Vatican Radio, and Fr. Giuseppe Gianfranceschi S.I., first director of the radio.

VATICAN RADIO INAUGURATED 88 YEARS AGO

On February 12, 1931, the Marquis Guglielmo Marconi spoke these historical words:

“I have the highest honor of announcing that in only a matter of seconds the Supreme Pontiff, Pope Pius XI, will inaugurate the Radio Station of the Vatican City State. The electric radio waves will transport to all the world his words of peace and blessing. With the help of Almighty God, who allows the many mysterious forces of nature to be used by man, I have been able to prepare this instrument which will accord to the Faithful of all the world the consolation of hearing the voice of the Holy Father. Most Holy Father, the work that Your Holiness has deigned to entrust to me, I, today return to You…may you deign, Holy Father, to allow the entire world to hear your august words.”

It is exactly 4:49 p.m. on the Twelfth of February, Nineteen Thirty-One.

The rich text of the first radio message was written in Latin by Pius XI himself. The Pope imbued his message with passages from the Sacred Scriptures which emphasize the universality of the Gospel message. Pius XI concluded the first line of the discourse in this manner: “Listen, O Heavens, to that which I say; listen, O Earth, listen to the words which come from my mouth…Listen and hear, O Peoples of distant lands!” He continued, speaking in the voice of the Old Testament prophet, To the City and to the World! Now, we turn to the reporting of the event and to the story that preceeded it.

As early as 1925, the Director General of Communications for Vatican City, Jesuit Father Giuseppe Gianfranceschi, was in the process of drawing up plans for the establishment of a wireless station in the Vatican. A letter written by Fr. Gianfranceschi dated July 25, 1925 speaks about the establishment of such a transmission station.

Two years later Fr. Gianfranceschi contacted the Italian scientist Guglielmo Marconi to undertake initial plans and meetings for the realization of this project for the Pope. Marconi demonstrated much enthusiasm for this project and offered his complete availability to the Pontiff. Additionally, he stated that he would perform the work for the Church without charge. Two more years passed before the work would begin. Actually, it was the signing of the Lateran Treaty in 1929 that gave rise to the initiation of the work on this transmission station in the Vatican Gardens. Only four days after the signing of the Lateran Treaty, Marconi received official permission to begin construction of this project for the Vatican City State.

Inauguration of Vatican Radio
On the inauguration day of Vatican Radio a large group of reporters and cameramen from Paramount News of the United States was present. They brought equipment of the highest quality to record the event. The cameras, although hand-powered, shot for the first time in the history of cinema exterior footage with live soundtrack. The film footage of the event, which is conserved in the archives of Vatican Radio, is an irreplaceable testimony of the event in the history of the Church and telecommunications.

It is a cold clear day, with a light wind coming from the mountains in the north…at exactly 3:00 p.m. a Papal gendarme orders the evacuation of the premises. Two Papal banners suspended from each side of the building flutter in the wind. Inside everything is prepared and ready for the first broadcast. The transmitters have been tested for the last time. At 3:30 p.m. the Marquis Marconi arrives; the illustrious inventor goes directly to the Amplification Studio, places the earphones on his head, and begins the transcontinental conversations. The voice arrives clearly in New York, Melbourne, and Quebec. Fr. Gianfranceschi works with his usual conentration in preparing the final arrangements for the broadcast of the Pope. Although beseiged with many questions he responds with his characteristic smile and kindness. His manner serves to reduce the commotion and nervousness of the day. After several moments the equipment is shut down and will be reactivated only after the arrival of the Pontiff.

The first signal to be sent out is in Morse code. The technician types the words, In nomine Domini, Amen, that is In the Name of the Lord, amen! At this very instant radio stations, ships, and anyone who has the equipment to receive the signal hears this benediction and invitation. After a brief introduction of the Pope by Marconi, Pius XI takes the microphone and inaugurates the first world-wide radio message ever given by a Pope.

The first to approach the big microphone is the great architect. Guglielmo Marconi is 56 years old and two years earlier, Pius XI – who wanted a state-of-the-art radio station for the newborn Vatican City – proposed the company to him. The inventor of the radio visits the Vatican on 11 June 1929, just four days after the exchange of ratifications by the Lateran Pacts. The construction work is fast and when the second anniversary of the Pacts … is approaching, the inauguration of the radio is also approaching. …At the microphone, an excited Marconi underlines the most striking aspect of the novelty. After “twenty centuries” of papal Magisterium that has “made itself felt” with the documents, it is the “first time” in which it can be heard “simultaneously” by the Pope’s “living voice”

(http://www.vatican.va/news_services/radio/multimedia/storia_ing.html)

PS: Marconi’s daughter Maria Eletra lives in Rome

Click here for photos and video from those days in 1931with Pope Pius XI: https://www.vaticannews.va/it/vaticano/news/2019-02/radio-vaticana-anniversario-88-papa-pio-xi-guglielmo-marconi.html#play

POPE FRANCIS: JOURNEY TO UAE PART OF THE “SURPRISES” OF GOD – FEAST OF ST PAUL VI TO BE CELEBRATED MAY 29 AS OPTIONAL MEMORIAL – DICASTERY FOR PROMOTING INTEGRAL HUMAN DEVELOPMENT ANNOUNCES WEBSITE

Does excommunication remain a viable option in today’s Catholic Church?
Join EWTN’s Vice President of Theology Colin Donovan & the Roundtable crew as they discuss the use of sanctions, such as excommunication, to protect the unity of the People of God, this Friday on Theology Roundtable, 3:00 PM Eastern on the EWTN Global Catholic Radio Network.

POPE FRANCIS: JOURNEY TO UAE PART OF THE “SURPRISES” OF GOD

As traditionally happens after a Pope has been on an apostolic journey, Francis dedicated his weekly audience catechesis to his just-completed trip to the UAE – the United Arab Emirates.

“Dear Brothers and Sisters,” he began, “I have just completed a brief visit to the United Arab Emirates, brief but important, for it marked a step forward in inter-religious dialogue and in the commitment to promoting peace in the world.”

He explained that his trip “was the first papal visit to the Arabian peninsula and took place eight hundred years after Saint Francis of Assisi visited Sultan al-Malik al-Kamil. The providence of God wished to see a Pope named Francis make such a journey, and I thought often of the Saint for it helped me keep the Gospel and the love of Jesus Christ close to my heart.”

He then thanks his many hosts, “the Crown Prince, the President, the Vice President and all the Authorities who welcomed me, and Bishop Paul Hinder for preparing the event with the Catholic community. My affectionate thanks go to the priests, religious and lay faithful who enliven the Christian presence in that land.

“Beyond all the speeches,” the Holy Father went on, “one further step was taken in Abu Dhabi when the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar and I signed the Document on Human Fraternity. There we affirm the common vocation of all men and women to be brothers and sisters as children of God, we reject every form of violence – especially that committed in the name of religion – and we dedicate ourselves to defending authentic values and peace in the world. Let us pray that the seeds sown during the visit may bear much fruit according to his holy will.”

After summaries of the papal catechesis and greetings in many languages to the faithful, Pope Francis issued an appeal:

“Last Saturday, near the archipelago of the Bahamas, a boat sank with dozens of migrants coming from Haiti and looking for hope and a future of peace. My affectionate thought goes to the families suffering from the pain, as well as to the Haitian people struck by this new tragedy. I invite you to join my prayer for those who have disappeared so dramatically and for the injured.”

FEAST OF ST. PAUL VI TO BE CELEBRATED MAY 29 AS OPTIONAL MEMORIAL

From the offices of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, 25 January 2019, on the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, Apostle.
Signed by Robert Cardinal Sarah, Prefect, + Arthur Roche, Archbishop Secretary:

The decree published today began by noting that “Jesus Christ, the fullness of humanity, living and working in the Church, invites all people to a transforming encounter with Him, who is “the way, the truth and the life”. This is the journey of the Saints. Paul VI made it following the example of the Apostle whose name he assumed at the moment when the Holy Spirit chose him as Successor of Peter.” (CNA photo)

It went out to outline the saintly life and work of Paul VI, and continued: “God, the Shepherd and Guide of all the faithful, entrusts his pilgrim Church through the ages, to those whom he himself has established as Vicars of his Son. Among these, Paul VI shines out as one who united in himself the pure faith of Saint Peter and the missionary zeal of Saint Paul. His consciousness of being the Successor of Peter is evident when we recall that on 10 June 1969, during a visit to the World Council of Churches in Geneva, he introduced himself by saying “My name is Peter”. Nevertheless, he also acknowledged by the name he chose the mission for which he had been elected…..”

The substance of the decree states: “Having considered this Pope’s holiness of life, witnessed to by his works and words, and having taken account of the great influence of his apostolic ministry for the Church throughout the whole world, Pope Francis, assenting to the petitions and desires of the People of God, has decreed that the celebration of Pope Saint Paul VI, should be inserted into the Roman Calendar on 29 May with the rank of optional memorial.

“This new memorial will be inserted into all Calendars and Liturgical Books for the celebration of the Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours; the liturgical texts to be adopted, attached to this Decree, must be translated, approved and, after the confirmation of this Dicastery, be published by the Episcopal Conferences.”

DICASTERY FOR PROMOTING INTEGRAL HUMAN DEVELOPMENT ANNOUNCES WEBSITE

The Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Develoment today announced the release of its website http://www.humandevelopment.va that contains news, information, publications and useful tools related to the Dicastery’s activities and mission.

It provided link to two videos the dicastery has produced aimed at introducing and spreading the Church’s understanding of Integral Human Development. “We are proud to share them both with you,” said the dicastery announcement, “with the hope that you will like and share them through your social media.”

Here are the links that you can enjoy, “like” and “share”!

http://www.humandevelopment.va/en/il-dicastero/chi-siamo.html

http://www.humandevelopment.va/en.html

POPE IN UAE: “TOGETHER, WE BUILD OUR FUTURE” – CHRISTIANS IN UAE: A LITTLE TREE THAT RESTORES OXYGEN – SAINT FRANCIS AND THE SULTAN

Pope Francis has returned to Rome and, though I’ve not seen confirmation as I write, I’m sure he stopped off at St, Mary Major Basilica to pray, as he always does before and after a trip, before the image of Mary, noted to Romans as Salus populi romani.

He surely is tired after a hectic and very brief time in the UAE, the long flight back to Rome and the traditional on board press conference but Francis is scheduled to preside tomorrow morning at the weekly general audience.

POPE IN UAE: ‘TOGETHER, WE BUILD OUR FUTURE’

Pope Francis on Tuesday wrapped up his Apostolic Visit to the United Arab Emirates, and our correspondent in Abu Dhabi reflects on the historic occasion. (vaticannews)
By Linda Bordoni – Abu Dhabi

As soon as I looked at the programme for Pope Francis’ visit to the United Arab Emirates, I categorized it as a two-fold affair: day one for meeting the Muslim world and pursuing inter-religious dialogue; day two for being with Catholics and affirming them in their faith.

That’s what it looked like on paper, with Monday unfolding in an Arabian Palace, a Mosque, and at an interfaith Conference. And Tuesday started with a visit to Abu Dhabi’s Catholic Cathedral and ended with the celebration of Holy Mass in the presence of 180,000 people.

But no sooner had Pope Francis boarded the papal plane taking him back home to the Vatican, my perception of this intense, whirlwind visit, began to change.

One plea for everyone’s ears
There was no division, I realised, between day one and day two. He was not speaking separately to Muslims and then to Catholics. His vision and his mission are – as always – for one human family, and his plea to build a future together “or there will be no future”, was for everyone’s ears.

Someone who never tires of condemning divisiveness, separation, and the erection of barriers of every kind would never perpetrate that kind of mistake!

In fact, at all moments and in all occasions, the first-ever meeting of a Pope with the peoples of the UAE took place in a joyful atmosphere of mutual respect.

The solemnity of the historic occasion was felt by all, as was a palpable gratitude towards the Crown Prince of the UAE for issuing the invitation and towards Pope Francis for accepting it.

The pledge and the message
Of course, many important words were spoken. A pledge of fraternity between a Pope and a Grand Imam was signed to work together in perpetuity and to reject violence and radicalism. The Pope’s own Catholic flock was reminded it is never alone with Jesus at its side.

But at the heart of Pope Francis’ pilgrimage was an urgent reminder to all – no one excluded – that we are called to look after each other as one human family.

The visit will undoubtedly go down in the books as a milestone in Catholic-Muslim relations. But I was in Abu Dhabi for the occasion, and will never forget that over-arching cry for justice, fraternity, and an end to human misery.

Click here for some video highlights of the papal trip: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-02/pope-francis-uae-highlights-video.html#play

CHRISTIANS IN UAE: A LITTLE TREE THAT RESTORES OXYGEN

Pope Francis offers a “re-reading” of the Beatitudes during the celebration of Mass at the conclusion of his brief visit to Abu Dhabi.
By Andrea Tornielli

Seeing them gathered together in the Zayed Sports City Stadium, the “little flock” of Emirati Christians did not seem so little, as Pope Francis told them that living the evangelical Beatitudes did not consist in grand gestures. Although Jesus left no writings of His own, and did not build anything imposing, His very life showed that the Christian faith plays out in the actions of everyday life, and in “littleness.”

Christians are not called to perform great works or accomplish striking, extraordinary, superhuman acts. It is in the extraordinariness of the ordinary that they bear witness. It is thanks to the holiness of everyday life, without extraordinary signs, that the most surprising miracles occur. Thus Christianity flourishes, is communicated by osmosis, without need of marketing strategies, media cleverness, torrents of words, or the abilities of supermen.

The Beatitudes, turning worldly criteria on their head, “invite us keep our hearts pure, to practice meekness and justice despite everything, to be merciful to all, to live affliction in union with God.” It is like a tree, Pope Francis explained, in dry land – like that of the desert that characterises this region of the world – which every day absorbs the polluted air and restores oxygen.

The invitation to this “little flock” of Christians in the UAE is to continue to be an oasis of peace, of meekness, and of mercy – because it is the person who responds to accusations with meekness, who is blessed, rather than the one that attacks or desires to oppress others. The one who considers others as brothers and sisters is blessed, and not the one who sees only enemies.

Pope Francis points to the example of St. Francis of Assisi who, instructing the friars who were leaving for Arab lands, asked them not to quarrel or argue, but to be “subject to every human creature for love of God”, confessing to being Christians. In an age, like today, in which many people clothe themselves in armour (perhaps only virtual), the Pope recalled that Christians set out “armed only with their humble faith and concrete love.” Because the Christian lives only on these, and knows that today it is only by means of this witness that the Gospel is proclaimed. (Analysis by vaticannews)

SAINT FRANCIS AND THE SULTAN

Andrea Tornielli in his last paragraph in the previous article, speaks of St. Francis and his friars in Arab lands, and I found a fascinating story precisely about that visit 800 years ago by Fr. Jack Wintz, OFM on the Franciscan webpage:

FRANCISCANS AND MUSLIMS: EIGHT CENTURIES OF SEEKING GOD

Franciscans and Muslims encountered one another during the lifetime of Saint Francis (1181-1226). Indeed, he sent friars to the Holy Land in 1217. Two years later, Crusaders fought Muslim soldiers at Damietta, Egypt, near the mouth of the Nile. At considerable risk, Saint Francis engaged Sultan Malik al-Kamil, their leader, in peaceful dialogue.

What follows is a brief description of that encounter, based on accounts written soon afterward. The Christian and Muslim armies stood opposite each other at close quarters. The sultan had decreed that anyone who brought him the head of a Christian should be rewarded with a gold piece. Francis, however, the knight of Christ, was unafraid and hoped to realize his ambition of dying as a martyr for Christ. Friar Illuminatus accompanied him.

The Muslim soldiers seized them fiercely and dragged them before the sultan. When he asked why they were sent and by whom, Francis replied courageously that they had been sent by God, not by man, to show him and his subjects the way of salvation and to proclaim the truth of the gospel message. Francis proclaimed the triune God and Jesus Christ, the savior of all, with steadfastness, courage and spirit.

When the sultan saw the little friar’s enthusiasm and courage, he listened to him willingly and pressed him to stay with him. Then he offered Francis a number of valuable gifts, but the saint was anxious only for the salvation of souls and refused the sultan’s gifts. The sultan, astonished at Francis’ utter disregard for worldly wealth, felt greater respect than ever for the saint. (In fact, Francis accepted an ivory horn that is displayed in Assisi’s Basilica of St. Francis.)

Bishop Jacques de Vitry, who was a contemporary of Francis, wrote that the sultan “had Francis led back to [the Christian] camp with many signs of honor and with security precautions, but not without saying to him: ‘Pray to God for me, that God may reveal to me the law and the faith that is more pleasing to him.’” (These texts are from Saint Bonaventure’s Life of St. Francis and from Jacques de Vitry’s History of the Orient in St. Francis of Assisi: Omnibus of Sources, St. Anthony Messenger Press, 2008.)

To continue reading: https://www.franciscanmedia.org/franciscans-and-muslims-eight-centuries-of-seeking-god/

POPE IN UAE: HUMBLE SHEPHERD RECEIVES THE WELCOME OF A KING – POPE AT UAE INTERRELIGIOUS MEETING: DIALOGUE AND PRAYER FOR PEACE – PRESS OFFICE DIRECTOR ON FRATERNITY DOCUMENT

As I write, Pope Francis is spending his first and only full day in the UAE – the United Arab Emirates, a federation of 7 states on the southern coast of the Persian Gulf.

The first Pope ever to visit the Emirates, he arrived at 10 pm local time Sunday night – the UAE is 3 hours ahead of Rome – and will be back in Rome tomorrow, Tuesday February 5. The theme of the 27th foreign apostolic trip is, ‘Make Me a Channel of Your Peace’.

Pope Francis a short while ago concluded his talk to the International Interfaith Meeting on Human Fraternity organized by the Muslim Council of Elders (see summary below). The working sessions focus on how different religions can work together to help build peace, especially in places where religion had been a source of conflict

The highlight of this trip will be the papal Mass tomorrow morning, February 5, at Abu Dhabi’s Zayed Sports City, which some 135,000 people are expected to attend. A multinational 120-member choir comprising of singers from 9 churches of the UAE has been formed to sing at the papal Mass. Members are from among 283 singers from 120 church choirs who appeared for auditions.

The Catholic Church on the Arabian Peninsula is divided into two vicariates – the Apostolic Vicariate for Northern Arabia (Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar) and the Apostolic Vicariate for Southern Arabia – The UAE, Oman and Yemen. The Southern vicariate is hosting the papal visit.

Both the Vicariates have been placed under the protection of Our Lady of Arabia.

There are no native Christians on the Arabian peninsula. The 3 million Catholics in a population of 65 million inhabitants are all labor migrants from 100 nations, the majority from the Philippines and India. About 80% of the Catholics are of Latin Rite.

In Saudi Arabia and Yemen, by contrast, churches are not permitted and all worship must be done privately.

POPE IN UAE: HUMBLE SHEPHERD RECEIVES THE WELCOME OF A KING

Pope Francis was welcomed in grand style on his first day in the United Arab Emirates. Our correspondent in Abu Dhabi gives her impressions on the ground.
By Linda Bordoni – Abu Dhabi

Say what you like about the opulence, but one thing is for sure: the Emiratis know how to put on a welcome ceremony and Pope Francis was certainly treated to the full shebang.

I could see it coming: having lived in Italy for many years I can say I am quite accustomed to the beauty of Carrara marble and exquisite art work, but never have I seen such a lavish use of precious marble, crystal chandeliers, towering domes, and gold decorations of all shapes and sizes.

Such a historic visit as this, along with the attention of the international media, provides a unique occasion to show the world how guests are welcomed and pampered in the United Arab Emirates.

For days the acrobatic pilots of a special air team practiced their aerial acrobatics above the bay. Today, they greeted Pope Francis from above, spurting trails of yellow and white smoke in honour of the Vatican colours.

The papal motorcade itself was accompanied by over a dozen horsemen on beautiful Arab stallions. They made their way through perfectly manicured lawns and wide avenues carrying Vatican and UAE flags.

Message of love and solidarity
I asked a UAE media person why there was no one lining the roads to greet Francis as he travelled through a deserted landscape: “Because it is all happening inside the sprawling Presidential Palace grounds” he answered, which cover an area of 150 hectares.

The majestic Arabian-style white palace itself boasts over 70 mosaic, glass, and golden domes. The handles on the doors of the grandiose entrance are four metres high, and the doors themselves are so heavy they function thanks to a system similar to that of a hydro-electric dam.

We all know that Pope Francis is not one for luxury and riches, but he will surely make the most of this kind of attention to boost his energy and speak powerfully to all who want to hear his message of love and solidarity for those in need.

We can only guess how loud his words will echo through these marble corridors, but I am sure the breeze of the Arabian Gulf will carry them into the peripheries of the peninsula and much further abroad.

CLICK HERE a GREAT PHOTO SLIDESHOW AT END OF STORY: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-02/pope-francis-uae-official-welcome-of-king.html

POPE AT UAE INTERRELIGIOUS MEETING: DIALOGUE AND PRAYER FOR PEACE

Pope Francis addresses the Human Fraternity Meeting at the Founder’s Memorial in Abu Dhabi on Monday, and confirms how, “God is with those who seek peace”.
By Seán-Patrick Lovett

Monday’s Interreligious Meeting took place within the context of the Global Conference of Human Fraternity, currently underway in Abu Dhabi. The Conference has brought together hundreds of religious leaders and scholars. It is dedicated to examining interfaith dialogue, religious freedom, combatting extremism, and promoting peace.

All of these themes were present in Pope Francis’ discourse, which he delivered at the Founder’s Memorial, before some of the highest authorities in the United Arab Emirates, and members of the Diplomatic Corps.

Pope Francis began by describing himself as “a believer thirsting for peace”.

Speaking about the Interreligious Meeting itself, the Pope continued: “We are here to desire peace, to promote peace, to be instruments of peace”.

The Ark of Fraternity
Referencing the biblical story of Noah, the Pope suggested that, in order to safeguard peace, we too “need to enter together as one family into an ark which can sail the stormy seas of the world”. This means acknowledging, “God is at the origin of the one human family”. “No violence can be justified in the name of religion”, he said.

“Religious behavior”, said Pope Francis, “needs continually to be purified from the recurrent temptation to judge others as enemies and adversaries”. The “perspective of heaven”, he said, “embraces persons without privilege or discrimination”.

Expressing his “appreciation” for the commitment of the United Arab Emirates “to tolerating and guaranteeing freedom of worship, to confronting extremism and hatred”, the Pope then posed the question: “How do we look after each other in the one human family?”

The Courage of Otherness
Pope Francis proposed what he called “the courage of otherness”: recognizing the freedom and fundamental rights of others. “Without freedom”, he said, “we are no longer children of the human family, but slaves”.

Religious freedom, he continued, is not just freedom of worship: it means seeing the other as “a child of my own humanity whom God leaves free, and whom no human institution can coerce, not even in God’s name”.

Dialogue and Prayer
Pope Francis then turned to the importance of dialogue and prayer. Prayer, he said, “purifies the heart from turning in on itself. Prayer of the heart restores fraternity”.

Encouraging religions to “exert themselves with courage and audacity” in building paths of peace: “We will either build the future together”, he said, “or there will be no future”.

Education and Justice
In order to fly, continued Pope Francis, peace requires “the wings of education and justice”. Investing in culture, he said, “encourages a decrease of hatred and a growth of civility and prosperity”, because “education and violence are inversely proportional”.

The Pope again encouraged religious leaders to be “the voice of the least”, to “stand on the side of the poor”, to be “vigilant warnings to humanity not to close our eyes in the face of injustice”.

The desert that flourishes
Using the image of the “desert that surrounds us”, Pope Francis spoke of the United Arab Emirates as “an important crossroads” between East and West, North and South.

While praising the way the “desert has flourished” and become what he called “a place of development”, the Pope also warned of the “indifference” that risks converting “flourishing realities into desert lands”.

Pope Francis provided examples of this indifference in failing to “care about the future of creation”, or “about the dignity of the stranger”. A fraternal “living together, founded on education and justice, a human development built upon a welcoming inclusion and on the rights of all: these are the seeds of peace which the world’s religions are called to help flourish”.

Demilitarizing the human heart
Pope Francis concluded with a criticism of the arms race and an appeal to “demilitarize the human heart”.

“War cannot create anything but misery”, he said. “Its fateful consequences are before our eyes”. Here, the Pope mentioned specifically “Yemen, Syria, Iraq, and Libya”.

“Our being together today is a message of trust”, said the Pope, not to “surrender to the floods of violence and the desertification of altruism. God is with those who seek peace”.

PRESS OFFICE DIRECTOR ON FRATERNITY DOCUMENT

Interim press office director Alessandro Gisotti made the following statement about the Fraternity document signed this evening in Abu Dhabi:

The Document on “Human Fraternity for world peace and living together”, signed by the Pope and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, represents an important step forward in the dialogue between Christians and Muslims and is a powerful sign of peace and hope for the future of humanity. The Document is a vibrant appeal to respond with good to evil, to reinforce interreligious dialogue and to promote mutual respect in order to block the road to those who add fuel to the fire of the clashes between civilizations.

At Abu Dhabi, Francis and Al-Tayyib have together indicated a way of peace and reconciliation on which not only Christians and Muslims can walk, but all people of good will.

The Document is courageous and prophetic because it confronts, and calls by name, the most urgent issues of our day on which those who believe in God are encouraged to question their own conscience and to confidently assume their own responsibility so as to give life to a more just and united world. With unambiguous words, the Pope and the Grand Imam declare that no one is ever authorized to exploit God’s name to justify war, terrorism or any other form of violence.

In addition, they affirm that life must always be safeguarded and, at the same time, that the rights of women are to be fully recognized, and every discriminatory practice in their regard rejected.

Before humanity, wounded by so many divisions and ideological fanaticisms, the Pontiff and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar demonstrate that promoting a culture of encounter is not a utopia, but is the necessary condition for living in peace and leaving for future generations a better world than the one in which we live.