VATICAN TO PROVIDE SHOWERS FOR HOMELESS IN ST. PETER’S SQUARE – SISTINE CHOIR CD OF MUSIC FROM 2013 CONCLAVE PRESENTED – USCCB OFFERS ONLINE CATHOLIC CATECHISM FOR ADULTS – GERMAN CARITAS TO PARLIAMENT ON EUTHANASIA

Some interesting stories today – and quite a variety: a CD of papal election music, showers in the Vatican for the homeless, an online catechism and a call against euthanasia from Germany.

VATICAN TO PROVIDE SHOWERS FOR HOMELESS IN ST. PETER’S SQUARE

The Vatican will provide three showers in St. Peter’s Square for homeless people to use, the papal almoner Archbishop Konrad Krajewski announced. He explained that the decision for the work that will begin on Monday was taken after a homeless man from Sardinia refused his offer to a free meal at a restaurant because he “smelled.”

The showers will be built within the public restrooms for pilgrims under St. Peter’s colonnades for the homeless to wash and change near the Apostolic Palace.

Many parishes in Rome in the neighborhoods most frequented by the homeless have been offered money from the Vatican to build similar facilities. The service will be available to all those who are near the Basilica.

“It is not easy because it is always easier to make sandwiches (for the homeless) than to build showering facilities,” Krajewski said.

The service will require volunteers and donations of soap, towels and clean underwear, Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, the papal almoner, told the American Catholic News Service. “We have to be evangelical, but intelligent, too.”

Several people living on the streets of Rome or in tents say it is not difficult to find a parish or charity that will give them something to eat, but finding a place to wash is much more difficult.

The news site Vatican Insider first reported the news that Archbishop Krajewski had asked the office governing Vatican City State to include showers in an already-approved project to remodel the public loos in St Peter’s Square.

The remodelling work and installation of the showers was scheduled to begin next week. The archbishop said the three shower stalls would be located in the public bathrooms a few steps north of Bernini’s Colonnade, just behind the Vatican post office. (CNS, Buenos Aires Herald)

SISTINE CHOIR CD OF MUSIC FROM 2013 CONCLAVE PRESENTED

Last Wednesday, Msgr. Massimo Palombella, director of the Sistine Chapel, presented Pope Francis with a CD: “Habemus Papam. La musica del Conclave (We Have a Pope. Music from the Conclave).” The CD contains the music used during the liturgical ceremonies surrounding the election of Pope Francis: The “Missa pro eligendo Pontifice,” (Mass for the Election of a Pope), the “Veni Creator” used during the entrance into the Sistine Chapel, the music of the Mass celebrated with the College of Cardinals the day after his election, the music of the inaugural Mass of Pope Francis and, for the first time, 11 minutes containing the announcement “Habemus Papam” and the first words of Pope Francis on the evening of March 13, 2013.

This morning, the CD – actually a double CD – was presented to the public by Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture; Msgr. Palombella, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., director general of Vatican Radio, and Mirko Gratton, director of the Classical Division of Deutsche Grammophon Italia, the agency that signed an exclusive contract with the choir. The second CD consists of studio recordings by the Sistine Chapel Choir of its characteristic repertoire, music composed throughout history for papal celebrations.

The double CD “Habemus papam”, on sale in Italy on November 11 and will be available in the rest of the world on November 28.. Msgr. Palombella said today that, “this publication is presented as the first historical documentation of the music of a Conclave They are all live recordings, with the qualities and limits that this entails.”

The Pontifical Choir is the oldest choral institution in the world and is composed of 20 permanent adult singers and around 30 child choristers. Normally performing at papal celebrations, the choir’s concert activity is directed exclusively towards evangelization and to the promotion of ecumenical dialogue. In September, the Choir made an historic tour in China, performing in Hong Kong, Macao and Taipei.

Fr. Lombardi highlighted the experience accumulated by Vatican Radio in the field of sound recording and broadcasting of numerous concerts in the Vatican, especially in the Paul VI Hall. He recalled the extraordinary 1937 Christmas concert in the Hall of Blessings, broadcast live to 23 countries, “directed by the Maestro Lorenzo Perosi, Msgr. Palombella’s predecessor, with the Pontifical Sistine Chapel Choir, recorded by Vatican Radio and broadcast with the help of German technology” (to read more: http://www.news.va/en/news/habemus-papam-first-historical-documentation-of-th

USCCB OFFERS ONLINE CATHOLIC CATECHISM FOR ADULTS

The website of the USCCB – United States Conference of Catholic Bishops – has a special gift for Catholics, its online United States Catholic Catechism for Adults in both English and Spanish. The online catechism has a very workable search engine, easy index, allows pages to be bookmarked and the reader can even make notes. AND, readers can share a particular age on Twitter, Facebook, etc.

Click here to discover for yourself: http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/what-we-believe/catechism/us-catholic-catechism-for-adults/

The website notes that, “The presence of the Catholic Church in the United States reaches back to the founding days of our country through the leadership of Archbishop John Carroll, the first Catholic bishop in the United States. His story, like other stories at the start of the chapters in the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults, gives us a glimpse into the lives of Catholics who lived out their faith throughout our country’s history. Each chapter in the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults includes stories, doctrine, reflections, quotations, discussion questions, and prayers to lead the reader to a deepening faith. The United States Catholic Catechism for Adults is an excellent resource for preparation of catechumens in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults and for ongoing catechesis of adults.

Do you like the feel of turning paper pages with your fingers? You can also get the paper edition in bookstores and online.

 GERMAN CARITAS TO PARLIAMENT ON EUTHANASIA

“Dying with dignity means acting so that one can die with dignity, not deciding the time of one’s death,” said Msgr. Peter Neher, the president of Caritas Germany, in a message today addressed to the German Members of Parliament who, at the Bundestag this morning, startinged discussing euthanasia. According to Neher, “the discussion must be focussed on the way seriously ill and dying people may be supported well, because what matters is finding adequate pain treatment, good care and a good pastoral service.”

According to Caritas, it is the fear of pain, the loss of control, the shame for one’s sickness, the humiliation of being a burden on others and the fear of loneliness “that drive people to want to put an end to their lives.” Msgr. Neher said, “We must take such fears very seriously and give special support at this stage of life.” A solution may be outpatient palliative treatment, which must be funded by standard healthcare and (Germany’s) national health service. Outpatient palliative treatment “must be improved.” In his opinion, terminally ill people must be able to be treated at home. According to Msgr. Neher, “if the social revision of the concept of a liveable life makes one internalize that being sick means not being worth living, the fact one’s decision about euthanasia is a free decision and how free it is, is very questionable.”

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POPE FRANCIS MEETS PRESIDENT OF“GRANDMOTHERS OF PLAZA DE MAYO” – SISTINE CHOIR GIVES POPE A CD OF MUSIC FROM 2013 CONCLAVE – POPE GREETS DELEGATION FROM WORLD EVANGELICAL ALLIANCE – POPE HIGHLIGHTS MALAWI BISHOPS’ COMMITMNENT TO THE FAMILY – SECRETARIAT FOR THE ECONOMY DISTRIBUTES HANDBOOK TO CURIA OFFICES

POPE FRANCIS MEETS PRESIDENT OF“GRANDMOTHERS OF PLAZA DE MAYO”

Pope Francis on Wednesday met with Estela de Carlotto, founder and president of the “Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo,” an Argentinian grandmothers’ association set up to track down “los desaparecidos” – the disappeared – the grandchildren abducted from families as well as from female prisoners who gave birth in secret detention centers during the military dictatorship of 1976-1984. She brought several family members, including her grandson Ignacio Guido, the son of her daughter Laura, who was abducted while pregnant, tortured and killed by the military 36 years ago. Ignacio had been missing since then but was found in August this year thanks to a DNA bank set up by families and survivors of the dictatorship. The Argentinian Pope received gifts from the family including a CD of music composed by Ignacio, a musician, and a scarf worn by members of the “Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo.” (Photos from L’Osservatore Romano)

Argentina Grandmothers 1 Argentina - Grandmothers 2

SISTINE CHOIR GIVES POPE A CD OF MUSIC FROM 2013 CONCLAVE

In other news from Wednesday, Vatican Radio reported that Msgr. Massimo Palombella, director of the Sistine Chapel, presented Pope Francis with a CD: “Habemus Papam. La musica del Conclave (We Have a Pope. Music from the Conclave).” The CD contains the music used during the liturgical ceremonies surrounding the election of Pope Francis: The “Missa pro eligendo Pontifice,” (Mass for the Election of a Pope), the “Veni Creator” used during the entrance into the Sistine Chapel, the music of the Mass celebrated with the College of Cardinals the day after his election, the music of the inaugural Mass of Pope Francis and, for the first time, 11 minutes containing the announcement “Habemus Papam” and the first words of Pope Francis on the evening of March 13, 2013. (L’Osservatore Romano)

Conclave CD

In an interview with “Avvenire,” the newspaper of the Italian Episcopal Conference, Msgr. Palombella said he wanted to offer the real experience of the events. “There is a cough, or a plane flying over St. Peter’s Square…it makes it seem as if you are there live,” he said.

The CD uses audio tracks provided by Vatican Radio and CTV. It is the first of a planned series produced with Deutsche Grammophon. Future CDs will include the canonization of Popes St. John XXIII and St. John Paul II, as well as a CD of the repertoire of the Sistine Chapel Choir produced in a studio setting.

POPE GREETS DELEGATION FROM WORLD EVANGELICAL ALLIANCE

Thursday morning, Pope Francis welcomed a delegation from the World Evangelical Aliance and said he was confident the Holy Spirit “can inaugurate a new stage in the relations between Catholics and Evangelicals—a stage that allows us to realize more fully the will of the Lord to bring the Gospel even to the furthest ends of the earth.” He said he was “pleased to learn that, in different countries in the world, Catholics and Evangelicals have established relations of brotherhood and collaboration.”

The Pope noted that, “The Sacrament of Baptism reminds us of a fundamental and very consoling truth: that the Lord always goes before us with His love and His grace. It precedes our communities; it precedes, anticipates, and prepares the hearts of those who proclaim the Gospel and of those who welcome the Gospel of Salvation.” He added that, “the Gospel is not merely about our personal relationship with God. … The Gospel is about the kingdom of God; it is about loving God who reigns in our world.”

Francis also acknowledged the “divisions, …rivalries and conflicts” among Christians, saying these “weaken our capacity to fulfil the command of the Lord to preach the Gospel to all nations” and they “disfigure the beauty of the seamless garment of Christ but never completely destroys the profound unity generated by the grace in all the baptized. The efficacy of the Christian announcement would certainly be greater if Christians would overcome their divisions and could celebrate together the Sacraments and together spread the Word of God and witness to charity.”

 POPE HIGHLIGHTS MALAWI BISHOPS’ COMMITMNENT TO THE FAMILY

The bishops of Malawi, in Rome on their mandatory quinquennial “ad limina” visit, were received by the Holy Father this morning who offered “a joyful welcome to you who have come from ‘the warm heart of Africa’.” He expressed his “esteem” for each bishop and for their work, singly and collectively for “God’s holy people in Malawi. The effectiveness of your pastoral and administrative efforts is the fruit of your faith as well as of the unity and fraternal spirit that characterize your episcopal conference.!

Francis also expressed his “appreciation for the admirable spirit of the Malawian people, who, though faced with many serious obstacles in terms of development, economic progress and standards of living, remain strong in their commitment to family life. It is in the family, with its unique capacity to form each member, particularly the young, into persons of love, sacrifice, commitment and fidelity, that the Church and society in Malawi will find the resources necessary to renew and build up a culture of solidarity.”

“You yourselves,” stated the Pope, “know well the challenges and the value of family life, and, as fathers and shepherds, you are called to nurture, protect and strengthen it in the context of the ‘family of faith’, which is the Church. Indeed, for Christians, family life and ecclesial vitality depend on and reinforce each other.”

“There is no aspect of family life – childhood and youth; friendship, engagement and marriage; spousal intimacy, fidelity and love; interpersonal relations and support – which is excluded from the healing and strengthening touch of God’s love, communicated through the Gospels and taught by the Church. There is scarcely a greater commitment that the Church can make to the future of Malawi – and indeed, to her own development – than that of a thorough and joyful apostolate to families…. Thus, by doing everything you can to support, educate and evangelize families, especially those in situations of material hardship, breakdown, violence or infidelity, you will bring inestimable benefit to the Church and all of Malawian society.”

He also asked the bishops to be close to orphane children and to victims of AIDS.

SECRETARIAT FOR THE ECONOMY DISTRIBUTES HANDBOOK TO CURIA OFFICES

According to a newsletter from the Secretariat for the Economy, this office has distributed a new handbook this week to all Vatican offices outlining financial management policies that will go into effect on January 1, 2015. The Manual has been endorsed by the Council for the Economy and approved by Pope Francis in forma specifica.

The newsletter quotes Cardinal George Pell, prefect of the secretariat, as saying, “The purpose of the manual is very simple. It brings financial management practices in line with international standards and will help all entities and administrations of the Holy See and Vatican City State prepare financial reports in a consistent and transparent manner.” Cardinal Pell added that, “Having sound and consistent financial management practices and reporting helps provide a clear framework of accountability for all those entrusted with the resources of the Church.”

The new policies will strengthen the planning process for Vatican/Holy See offices,so that resources can be used more effectively and efficiently in serving the mission of the Church. The Secretariat for the Economy will provide training and support to the Vatican/Holy See offices to help implement the new policies. The consolidated Financial Statements will be reviewed by a major international auditing firm.