BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA DIOCESE CELEBRATES A NATIVE SON – VATICAN INSIDER AND SAINT JOHN HENRY NEWMAN

Synod participants met yesterday and again today in circoli minores, that is, small language groups, for discussions. As they have done by publishing syntheses of speeches given in the synod hall, the Vatican does not publish remarks from or about these language groups.

BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA DIOCESE CELEBRATES A NATIVE SON

As the diocese of Birmingham in England prepares to celebrate the canonization Sunday of English Cardinal John Henry Newman, another diocese of Birmingham – this time in Alabama – is rejoicing today as a native son, Archbishop Joseph Marino was named by Pope Francis to head the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, the Vatican school for diplomats.

Archbishop Marino has been in the Holy See’s diplomatic service since 1988, having served in the Philippines, Uruguay, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Malaysia, East Timor and Brunei.

His studies include degrees in theology and biblical theology from the Rome’s Jesuit-run Pontifical Gregorian University while he was in residence at the North American College from 1975 to 1980. He was an associate pastor at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Birmingham for four years. In 1984 he entered the very academy that he now heads, the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy and also returned to the Gregorian for a doctorate in canon law.

Ordained a priest in Birmingham in 1979, he was ordained to the episcopate by the late Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran in Birmingham’s cathedral of St. Paul in March 2008.

VATICAN INSIDER AND SAINT JOHN HENRY NEWMAN

Such an exciting weekend here in Rome as English Cardinal John Henry Newman will be canonized this very Sunday as the first new English saint in about 50 years. Learn more about this prolific prelate, a convert from the Anglican Church to Catholicism, in my conversation with Sister Birgit Dechant, FSO of the International Center of Newman Friends in Rome.

Sr. Birgit is a follower of, expert on and author about the life, work and writings of Cardinal Newman. We examine why Cardinal Newman was so exceptional, his life as an Anglican, his conversion, his work and body of writings as a Catholic priest and his impact on millions over his life ….a rich and multifaceted life…. and since his death.

By the way, on Sunday the Holy Father will give the Universal Church 5 new saints! In addition to Cardinal Newman, the new saints will include Indian Sister Marian Thresia, founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family, Italian Sister Giuseppina Vannini, co-foundress of the Daughters of St. Camillus, Brazilian Sister Dulce Lopes Pontes, founder of the Charitable Works Foundation of Sister Dulce and Marguerite Bays, a Swiss consecrated virgin of the Third Order of St. Francis.

I learned that Cardinal John Henry Newman is not only the first new English saint in about 50 years, he is the first English person who has lived since the 17th century officially recognized as a saint!

Why was Newman special? Born in 1801, he was ordained as a Church of England, that is, Anglican priest and was famous already in his 30s for his homilies and writings, including poems, and his dialectical skills. Newman went on to found the Oxford Movement that tried to return to the Church of England many Catholic beliefs and liturgical rites present before the Reformation. In 1845 Newman, joined by some of the Oxford Movement followers, left the Church of England and his teaching post at Oxford University and converted to Catholicism, a life-changing decision after which huge numbers of friends and followers deserted him. But this also enriched the Catholic Church with his thoughts and writings.

Benedict XVI said of Cardinal Newman at his 2010 beatification in Birmingham, English: “Cardinal Newman is a modern man, who took on all of the problems of modernity, he experienced the problem of agnosticism, the impossibility of knowing God, of believing; a man who throughout his life was on a journey, a journey to let himself be transformed by the truth, in a search of great sincerity and great willingness, to learn more, to find and to accept the path to true life.” And we are always on a journey of faith transformed by truth so let’s allow ourselves be inspired by this great English saint.

So tune in Sunday to EWTN to watch the Eucharistic liturgy with the always-moving rite of canonization presided over by Pope Francis

FRANCIS TO FUTURE DIPLOMATS: “NEVER FORGET YOUR WHOLE LIFE IS SERVICE TO THE GOSPEL, TO THE CHURCH” – PHILADELPHIA WORLD MEETING OF FAMILIES IS FOCUS OF PRESS CONFERENCE

FRANCIS TO FUTURE DIPLOMATS: “NEVER FORGET YOUR WHOLE LIFE IS SERVICE TO THE GOSPEL, TO THE CHURCH”

Pope Francis Thursday addressed members of the Pontifical Eccesiastical Academy, the Church institution responsible for preparing priests for the diplomatic service of the Holy See, telling them, “Your whole life is at the service of the Gospel and of the Church. Never forget it!”

The Academy, formerly called the Pontifical Academy of Ecclesiastical Nobility, was founded by Pope Clement XI in 1701 with the scope of preparing, through special studies, young ecclesiastics to the Holy See’s diplomatic service. Candidates must be nominated by their bishops. Holy See ambassadors, called apostolic nuncios, are always archbishops (if not so when they are named, they are ordained to the episcopacy).

pontifical ecclesiastical academy

The Cardinal Protector of the Academy is always the Secretary of State, today Cardinal Pietro Parolin.

The future diplomats spend four years at the Academy; two years earning a licentiate in canon law, a JCL, from a Roman university, followed by two years of studies for a doctorate in canon law (JCD). If the students that have been recruited already have a J.C.D. then their time is shortened to two years. Courses include studies in diplomatic history, languages and diplomatic writing and are considered not to be academic, but rather focus on the practical skills needed to serve as a diplomat.

It has happened that a small number of diplomats represent the Holy See who have not been through the formal academic and practical training of the Academy.

The Holy See has diplomatic relations with 180 States, with the European Union and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, and relations of a special nature with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)

In his talk to the diplomats-in-training, Pope Francis said it is only the charity of Christ that makes the Church of Rome “universal and credible” to human beings and to the world. This “is the heart of its truth, which does not build walls of division and exclusion, but makes bridges that build communion and recall the whole human race to unity; this is its secret power, which nourishes its unshakable hope, invincible despite momentary defeats.”

Your service, he said, will be to defend the liberty of the Apostolic See, “in order not to betray its mission before God and for the true good of men.” It must not get caught up in factions or “allow itself to be colonized by the popular thoughts of the day, or by the illusory hegemony of the ‘mainstream’.”

Don’t expect “the ground to be ready,” said Francis. Be prepared to “plow it with your hands… in order to prepare it for the seed” in hopeful expectation of a harvest which they, perhaps, may never see. Don’t “fish in aquariums or fish farms,” rather have the courage to go to the margins, to cast “nets and fishing poles” in lesser known areas, without getting used to “eating fish that others have prepared.”

In particular the Holy Father reminded them that their mission will take them all over the world: “To Europe, needing to be awakened; to Africa, thirsty for reconciliation; to Latin America starving for nourishment and interiority; to North America, intent upon rediscovering the roots of an identity that does not define itself in terms of exclusion; in Asia and Oceania, challenged by the capacity of fermenting in diaspora and dialogue with the vastness of ancestral culture.”

PHILADELPHIA WORLD MEETING OF FAMILIES IS FOCUS OF PRESS CONFERENCE

This morning in the Holy See Press Office a press conference was held to present the Eighth World Meeting of Families to be held in Philadelphia, U.S.A., from September 22 to 27 on the theme “Love is our mission. The family fully alive.”

World Meerting of Families

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, emphasised that the Meeting is a valuable opportunity to place the family at the center of the Church and of civil society. “The family builds the Church and sustains society. … During the days of the conference, we will present the results of some international research that has scientifically studied this positive influence. The family constantly asks for help and support in the entire ecclesial community – and in the next few days I will write to all the monasteries of the world to ask them to accompany these very important days with their prayers – and from civil society as a whole, which cannot remain indifferent to such beauty and goodness that is so effective and so viable.”

He stressed that “The family is the heritage of all humanity, at every latitude, in every culture; it is blessed by all religions. That is why we wanted a significant presence of other Christian denominations and of major world religious traditions. … We are working so that delegations from around the globe and especially from the world’s poorest local Churches will be present.”

This universality will be enshrined in the final gesture of the meeting, according to Archbishop Paglia who explained that, at the end of Mass on Sunday, September 27, Pope Francis will give the Gospel of Luke, “the Good News of God’s mercy, which is Jesus, to families from big cities on the five continents: Kinshasa, Africa; Havana, America; Hanoi, Asia; Sydney, Australia; and Marseilles, Europe. This is a symbolic gesture that will announce the sending of a million copies of this book to the five cities involved. We want the Gospel of Mercy to be announced in the great cities of the world so that they may build bonds of love between them, in the Church and in society.”

Presenters today also included Bishop John J. McIntyre and Jerry and Lucille Francesco, a couple from the archdiocese, married for fifty years.

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia noted that more than a million people are expected to attend, adding that representatives of more than a hundred nations have registered. So far 6,100 volunteers have offered assistance of various types and the event organisers intend to make more than 5,000 buses available. More than 1,600 people have signed up to the “Host a Family” program.

For more information on the events linked to the meeting, visit: http://www.worldmeeting2015.org/

(Vatican Radio) During the course of the conference this morning, journalists learned that the week of festivities will include ecumenical, interreligious, and multicultural celebrations of the family involving an expected 15,000 participants from more than a dozen countries around the globe. For the Holy Father’s public engagements on September 26 and 27, between 1 and 2 million people are expected to take part.

In an exclusive interview with Vatican Radio following the press conference, the Archbishop of Philadelphia, Charles J. Chaput, OFM Cap. spoke of the irreplacable contribution the Church has to make to the ongoing discussion of the place of the family in society. “The only unique thing that the Church brings to a discussion of family life is the teaching of Jesus Christ,” he said, “and so it seems to me that the most important contribution we make, is to make that teaching very clear, announcing it in a joyful and positive way.”

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter told Vatican Radio his city and its people are ready to welcome Pope Francis.

“It is a tremendous honor to be the host city for the World Meeting of Families,” said Nutter, “and of course, for the visit of Pope Francis.” The mayor went on to say, “Our plans are basically in place: to anticipate over a million people, perhaps as many as 1.5 million,” adding, “the logistics, the security, the transportation,” are all going very well. “We’re very excited,” said Mayor Nutter, “we’re ready.”