Tuesday, December 22, 2015

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21-12-2015 - Year XXII - Num. 228 

Summary
- The Pope greets the Roman Curia: return to the essentials
- The Pope receives Vatican employees: live the Jubilee in the domestic church too
- Christmas: encounter Jesus in places of wonder
- The path to ending violence in the Middle East
- Francis praises the Italian Rail service for its solidarity with the poor
- The Pope opens the Holy Door of Charity and repeats that Heaven cannot be bought with money or honours
- Audiences
- Other Pontifical Acts
- Other Pontifical Acts
The Pope greets the Roman Curia: return to the essentials
Vatican City, 21 December 2015 (VIS) – Missionary and pastoral spirit, idoneity and sagacity, spirituality and humanity, example and fidelity, reasonableness and gentleness, innocuousness and determination, diligence and attentiveness, charity and truth, openness and maturity, respectfulness and humility, intrepidness and alertness, and finally, accountability and sobriety. These are the qualities Pope Francis highlighted this morning in his greetings to the Roman Curia, as a practical aid to embracing the time of grace of Christmas and the Year of Mercy and ensuring the fruitfulness of service to the Church. “I would ask the Heads of Dicasteries and other superiors to ponder this, to add to it and to complete it”, he said. “It is a list based on an acrostic analysis of the word 'Misericordia' … with the aim of having it serve as our guide and beacon”.
During his traditional exchange of Christmas greetings with the members of the Roman Curia, the Holy Father addressed the prelates recalling their previous meetings: in 2013, when he stressed “two important and inseparable aspects of the work of the Curia: professionalism and service”, offering St. Joseph as a model to be imitated. Then, last year, as a preparation for the sacrament of Reconciliation, he considered “certain temptations or maladies – the catalogue of curial diseases … which could affect any Christian, curia, community, congregation, parish or ecclesial movement. Diseases which call for prevention, vigilance, care and, sadly, in some cases, painful and prolonged interventions”.
“Some of these diseases became evident in the course of the past year”, he continued, “causing no small pain to the entire body and harming many souls, also by scandal. It seems necessary to state what has been – and ever shall be – the object of sincere reflection and decisive provisions. Reform will move forward with determination, clarity and firm resolve, since Ecclesia semper reformanda. Nonetheless, diseases and even scandals cannot obscure the efficiency of the services rendered to the Pope and to the entire Church by the Roman Curia, with great effort, responsibility, commitment and dedication, and this is a real source of consolation. St. Ignatius taught that 'it is typical of the evil spirit to instil remorse, sadness and difficulties, and to cause needless worry so as to prevent us from going forward; instead, it is typical of the good spirit to instil courage and energy, consolations and tears, inspirations and serenity, and to lessen and remove every difficulty so as to make us advance on the path of goodness'”.
Therefore, “it would be a grave injustice not to express heartfelt gratitude and needed encouragement to all those good and honest men and women in the Curia who work with dedication, devotion, fidelity and professionalism, offering to the Church and the Successor of Peter the assurance of their solidarity and obedience, as well as their constant prayers. Moreover, cases of resistance, difficulties and failures on the part of individuals and ministers are so many lessons and opportunities for growth, and never for discouragement. They are opportunities for returning to the essentials, which means being ever more conscious of ourselves, of God and our neighbours, of the sensus Ecclesiae and the sensus fidei”.
Francis turned to the central theme of his discourse: “this return to essentials … just a few days after the Church’s inauguration of the pilgrimage of the Holy Year of Mercy, a Year which represents for her and for all of us a pressing summons to gratitude, conversion, renewal, penance and reconciliation”. At the time of Christmas, the feast of God’s infinite mercy, as St. Augustine of Hippo tells us, and in the context of the Year of Mercy, he presented to the Roman Curia “a practical aid”, beginning with the theme of missionary and pastoral spirit.
“Missionary spirit is what makes the Curia evidently fertile and fruitful; it is proof of the effectiveness, efficiency and authenticity of our activity. Faith is a gift, yet the measure of our faith is also seen by the extent to which we communicate it. All baptised persons are missionaries of the Good News, above all by their lives, their work and their witness of joy and conviction. A sound pastoral spirit is an indispensable virtue for the priest in particular. It is shown in his daily effort to follow the Good Shepherd who cares for the flock and gives his life to save the lives of others. It is the yardstick for our curial and priestly work. Without these two wings we could never take flight, or even enjoy the happiness of the 'faithful servant'”.
With regard to idoneity and sagacity: “Idoneity, or suitability, entails personal effort aimed at acquiring the necessary requisites for exercising as best we can our tasks and duties with intelligence and insight. It does not countenance 'recommendations' and payoffs. Sagacity is the readiness to grasp and confront situations with shrewdness and creativity. Idoneity and sagacity also represent our human response to divine grace, when we let ourselves follow the famous dictum: 'Do everything as if God did not exist and then put it all in God’s hands as if you did not exist'”.
Spirituality and humanity: “Spirituality is the backbone of all service in the Church and in Christian life. It is what nourishes all our activity, sustaining and protecting it from human frailty and daily temptation. Humanity is what embodies the truthfulness of our faith; those who renounce their humanity renounce everything. Humanity is what makes us different from machines and robots which feel nothing and are never moved. Once we find it hard to weep seriously or to laugh heartily – these are just two signs – we have begun our decline and the process of turning from 'humans' into something else. Humanity is knowing how to show tenderness and fidelity and courtesy to all. Spirituality and humanity, while innate qualities, are a potential needing to be activated fully, attained completely and demonstrated daily”.
Example and fidelity: “Blessed Paul VI reminded the Curia – in 1963 – of 'its calling to set an example'. An example of avoiding scandals which harm souls and impair the credibility of our witness. Fidelity to our consecration, to our vocation, always mindful of the words of Christ, 'Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much' and 'If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world for stumbling blocks! Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to the one by whom the stumbling block comes”.
Reasonableness and gentleness: “Reasonableness helps avoid emotional excesses, while gentleness helps avoid an excess of bureaucracy, programmes and planning. These qualities are necessary for a balanced personality: 'The enemy – and forgive me for quoting St. Ignatius once again – pays careful heed to whether a soul is coarse or delicate; if it is delicate, he finds a way to make it overly delicate, in order to cause it greater distress and confusion'. Every excess is a symptom of some imbalance”.
Innocuousness and determination: “Innocuousness makes us cautious in our judgements and capable of refraining from impulsive and hasty actions. It is the ability to bring out the best in ourselves, in others and in all kinds of situations by acting carefully and attentively. It consists of doing unto others what we would have them do to us. Determination is acting with a resolute will, clear vision, obedience to God and solely for the supreme law of the salus animarum”.
Charity and truth: “Two inseparable virtues of Christian life, 'speaking the truth in charity and practising charity in truth'. To the point where charity without truth becomes a destructive ideology of complaisance and truth without charity becomes myopic legalism”.
Openness and maturity: “Openness is honesty and rectitude, consistency and absolute sincerity with regard both to ourselves and to God. An honest and open person does not act virtuously only when he or she is being watched; honest persons have no fear of being caught, since they never betray the trust of others. An honest person is never domineering like the 'wicked servant', with regard to the persons or matters entrusted to his or her care. Honesty is the foundation on which all other qualities rest. Maturity is the quest to achieve balance and harmony in our physical, mental and spiritual gifts. It is the goal and outcome of a never-ending process of development which has nothing to do with age”.
Respectfulness and humility: “Respectfulness is an endowment of those noble and tactful souls who always try to show genuine respect for others, for their own work, for their superiors and subordinates, for dossiers and papers, for confidentiality and privacy, who can listen carefully and speak politely. Humility is the virtue of the saints and those godly persons who become all the more important as they come to realise that they are nothing, and can do nothing, apart from God’s grace”.
“Diligence and attentiveness: “The more we trust in God and his providence, the more we grow in diligence and readiness to give of ourselves, in the knowledge that the more we give the more we receive. What good would it do to open all the Holy Doors of all the basilicas in the world if the doors of our own heart are closed to love, if our hands are closed to giving, if our homes are closed to hospitality and our churches to welcome and acceptance. Attentiveness is concern for the little things, for doing our best and never yielding to our vices and failings. St. Vincent de Paul used to pray: “Lord, help me to be always aware of those around me, those who are worried or dismayed, those suffering in silence, and those who feel alone and abandoned”.
Intrepidness and alertness: “Being intrepid means fearlessness in the face of troubles, like Daniel in the den of lions, or David before Goliath. It means acting with boldness, determination and resolve, 'as a good soldier'. It means being immediately ready to take the first step, like Abraham, or Mary. Alertness, on the other hand, is the ability to act freely and easily, without being attached to fleeting material things. The Psalm says: 'if riches increase, set not your heart on them'. To be alert means to be always on the go, and never being burdened by the accumulation of needless things, caught up in our own concerns and driven by ambition”.
Accountability and sobriety: “Accountable and trustworthy persons are those who honour their commitments with seriousness and responsibility when they are being observed, but above all when they are alone; they radiate a sense of tranquillity because they never betray a trust. Sobriety – the last virtue on this list, but not because it is least important – is the ability to renounce what is superfluous and to resist the dominant consumerist mentality. Sobriety is prudence, simplicity, straightforwardness, balance and temperance. Sobriety is seeing the world through God’s eyes and from the side of the poor. Sobriety is a style of life which points to the primacy of others as a hierarchical principle and is shown in a life of concern and service towards others. The sober person is consistent and straightforward in all things, because he or she can reduce, recover, recycle, repair, and live a life of moderation”.
Following this list of qualities, Francis went on to remind the prelates that “mercy is no fleeting sentiment, but rather the synthesis of the joyful Good News, a choice and decision on the part of all who desire to assume the 'Heart of Jesus' and to be serious followers of the Lord who has asked us to 'be merciful even as your heavenly Father is merciful'. In the words of Father Ermes Ronchi, 'Mercy is a scandal for justice, a folly for intelligence, a consolation for us who are debtors. The debt for being alive, the debt for being loved is only repayable by mercy'.
“And so”, he emphasised, “may mercy guide our steps, inspire our reforms and enlighten our decisions. May it be the basis of all our efforts. May it teach us when to move forward and when to step back. May it also enable us to understand the littleness of all that we do in God’s greater plan of salvation and his majestic and mysterious working”.
To conclude, the Holy Father invited those present to savour the magnificent prayer, commonly attributed to Blessed Oscar Arnulfo Romero, but pronounced for the first time by Cardinal John Dearden:
“Every now and then it helps us to take a step back
and to see things from a distance.
The Kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is also beyond our visions.
In our lives, we manage to achieve only a small part
of the marvellous plan that is God’s work.
Nothing that we do is complete,
which is to say that the Kingdom is greater than ourselves.
No statement says everything that can be said.
No prayer completely expresses the faith.
No Creed brings perfection.
No pastoral visit solves every problem.
No programme fully accomplishes the mission of the Church.
No goal or purpose ever reaches completion.
This is what it is about:
We plant seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted,
knowing that others will watch over them.
We lay the foundations of something that will develop.
We add the yeast which will multiply our possibilities.
We cannot do everything,
yet it is liberating to begin.
This gives us the strength to do something and to do it well.
It may remain incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way.
It is an opportunity for the grace of God to enter
and to do the rest.
It may be that we will never see its completion,
but that is the difference between the master and the labourer.
We are labourers, not master builders,
servants, not the Messiah.
We are prophets of a future that does not belong to us”.
The Pope receives Vatican employees: live the Jubilee in the domestic church too
Vatican City, 21 December 2015 (VIS) – This morning in the Paul VI Hall Pope Francis exchanged Christmas greetings with the employees of the Holy See and Vatican City State, and their families.
Francis thanked all present for their work and for their efforts in doing all things well, even when there is no recognition. He addressed in particular those who have carried out the same type of work for many years, acknowledging that routine is not always easy to accept as “we are not machines … at times we need an incentive, or to change a little. … Thank you! Let us continue to go ahead, in our various workplaces, collaborating with patience and endeavouring to help each other.”
The Holy Father also apologised for the scandals that have taken place in the Vatican. “But I would like my and your attitude, especially in these days, to be that of prayer: praying for those involved so that they may repent and return to a righteous path”.
“There is another thing I wish to say to you, possibly the most important: I encourage you to take care of your marriage and your children. Look after them, do not neglect them. Marriage is like a plant. It is not like a cupboard that you put in a room and perhaps dust every now and then. A plant is living and must be cared for every day. ... Marriage is a living reality: the life of a couple must never be taken for granted, in any phase during the progress of a family. Let us remember that the most valuable gift for children … is their parents' love. And I do not mean only the love of parents for their children, but also the love between parents themselves, that is, the conjugal bond. This is good for you and for your children”.
“Therefore, first and foremost cultivate the plant of marriage, as spouses, and at the same time take care of the relationship with your children; here too, focus on the human relationship rather than material things. Focus on mercy in your daily relations, between husband and wife, parents and children, brothers and sisters; and take care of grandparents. The Jubilee must be lived also in the domestic church, not only in major events! The Lord love those who practice mercy in ordinary situations. This is my wish for you: to experience the joy of mercy, starting with your family. Happy Christmas!”.
Christmas: encounter Jesus in places of wonder
Vatican City, 20 December 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father appeared at the window of his study in the Vatican Apostolic Palace at midday today to pray the Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square. Among those present there was a large group of children from the Oratories who eagerly awaited the blessing of their figurines of the Baby Jesus for their nativity displays. On the fourth Sunday of Advent the Pope explained that, for celebrate Christmas in a fruitful way, we must stop in places of 'wonder'.
“The first place is the 'other', whom we recognise as our brother or sister, as since the birth of Jesus, every face bears a resemblance to the Son of God, and especially when it is the face of a poor person, because God entered the world in poverty and allowed Himself to be approached first by the poor”. The second place of wonder is history. “Very often we think we see things in the right way, and instead we risk reading things backwards. This happens, for instance, when history seems to us to be determined by the market economy, regulated by finance and business, dominated by the powers that be. The God of Christmas is instead a God who 'shuffles the deck'.
“The third place of wonder is the Church”, he continued. “To look on her with the wonder of faith means considering the Church not merely as a religious institution – which the Church is – but to feel that she is also a mother in whom, despite her warts and wrinkles – there are so many! – the contours of the bride beloved of and purified by Christ the Lord shine through. A Church who knows how to recognise the many signs of faithful love that God continuously sends her. A Church for whom the Lord Jesus will never be a possession to be zealously defended; those who do this are mistaken. The Lord Jesus will always be the One who comes to meet her, Whom she knows to await with trust and joy, giving a voice to the hopes of the world. The Church who calls to the Lord, 'Come Lord Jesus'. The Mother Church whose doors are always open, whose arms are open to welcome everyone. The Mother Church goes out from her own doors to seek, with a mother's smile, all of those who are far away to bring them to God's mercy. This is the wonder of Christmas”.
He emphasised that “At Christmas, God gives Himself to us fully by giving His one and only Son, Who is all his joy. It is only with the heart of Mary, the humble and poor daughter of Zion, who become the Mother of the Son of the Most High, that we can rejoice and be glad for the great gift of God and for His unexpected surprise. … The encounter with Jesus will let us too feel this great wonder. But we cannot have this wonder and we cannot meet Jesus, if we do not meet Him in the other, in history and in the Church”, he concluded.
The path to ending violence in the Middle East
Vatican City, 20 December 2015 (VIS) – After today's Angelus prayer, the Pope spoke about the recent agreements regarding the Middle East reached by the international community. “I encourage everyone to continue, with a generosity and dedication, towards a cessation of violence and a negotiated settlement leading to peace”. Similarly, he mentioned the situation in Libya, where “the recent working agreement among the parties for a government of national unity invites hope for the future”. He also commented on the commitment to collaboration between Costa Rica and Nicaragua, expressing his hope that “a renewed spirit of fraternity will further strengthen dialogue and mutual cooperation between them and among the countries of the region”.
He also mentioned the populations of India, recently stricken by a major flood, and asked those present to pray a Hail Mary for these afflicted brothers and sisters. Finally, he greeted all, and especially the many children in St. Peter's Square who had brought figurines of the Baby Jesus from their Nativity displays to be blessed by the Pope. “Dear children, when you pray before your Nativity, remember me, as I will remember you”.
Francis praises the Italian Rail service for its solidarity with the poor
Vatican City, 19 December 2015 (VIS) - “The history of the Italian rail service (Ferrovie dello Stato shows its special attention to the poorest, with different initiatives of solidarity, both in the past and in the present”, said Pope Francis this morning, as he received in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall seven thousand employees in the sector. He also commemorated the workers who lost their lives during the construction of the country's rail network, expressing his hope that accidents of this type may never be repeated.
The initiatives of solidarity Francis mentioned include the Help Centres present in many Italian cities, which as well as offering help and advice to those who find themselves in difficulty, also function as “antennae”, which “enable us to grasp the signs of what is happening around us, to perceive the suffering of others, without remaining insensible to this. These centres are way in which the rail service contributes to keeping the country united, not only in a geographical sense, but also at a social level”. Another important initiative is the Termini Station hostel, dedicated to Don Luigi Di Liegro, founder of Caritas Roma, renovated by the Ferrovie dello Stato in collaboration with Caritas. A structure that welcomes hundreds of visitors on a daily basis, and which is preparing a day service to receive people seeking shelter.
“May the Holy Year, which began just a few days ago, teach us this, above all, and impress it in our mind and our heart that mercy is the first and truest medicine for humanity, that every one of us urgently needs. It flows continuously and in superabundance from God, but we must become able to give it in turn, so that each person can live fully his or her humanity. This is what is communicated to us by the Holy Doors, which are opened in all the dioceses of the world in these days. That of the Termini Station Hostel has become the Holy Door of Charity: those who pass through with love will find forgiveness and consolation, and will be driven to give and give themselves with greater generosity, for their salvation and that of their brothers. Let us allow ourselves to be renewed by passing through this spiritual door, so that it marks our inner life. Let us get involved in the Jubilee of Mercy, so as to renew the fabric of all our society, to make it fairer and more fraternal.
At the end of the audience the Bishop of Rome referred to the last monograph in the series “L'Italia del Treno”, a collection of photographs depicting the Pontiffs' journeys by train, and expressed his hope that “the esteem that links us, of which this day is a sign, may be strengthened during this Holy Year, so that Italy and all the countries of the world may become places of fraternal, more truly human networks, increasingly capable of rejoicing in God's love and mutual communion”.
The Pope opens the Holy Door of Charity and repeats that Heaven cannot be bought with money or honours
Vatican City, 19 December 2015 (VIS) – Yesterday afternoon Pope Francis another Holy Door, that was not however located in a church or cathedral. It was the entrance to the Caritas hostel at Termini Station, Rome, where the frailest members of society receive welcome and assistance. This door, in the hostel named after its founder Don Luigi Di Liegro, is now called the Door of Charity and, passing through it, the Pope entered the refectory dedicated to St. John Paul II, where he was awaited by two hundred men and women, accompanied by the volunteers from the Centre. He celebrated Holy Mass and pronounced a homily in which he reaffirmed that power is not the path of salvation and the Heaven cannot be bought with money.
“God comes to save us, and He finds no better way to do so than to walk with us, to make our life His”, said Francis.”And the moment of choosing the path, He did not choose a great city of a great empire; He did not choose as a mother a princess, a countess, an important person; He did not choose a luxurious mansion. It seems that all of this was done intentionally almost in secret. Mary was a girl aged just sixteen or seventeen, in a remote village in the outskirts of the Roman Empire, that nobody knew of. Joseph was boy who loved her and who wished to marry her, a carpenter who worked for a living. In total simplicity … And when he repudiated her – because they were engaged, and in such a small village, you know how gossip circulates. All in secret, in spite of slander and gossip. And Joseph realised that she was pregnant, but he was righteous. All hidden, despite the slander and gossip. And the Angel explains the mystery to Joseph: “'This Son that your fiancee carries in her womb is the work of God, the work of the Holy Spirit. When Joseph awoke from his dream, he did what the Angel of the Lord had ordered him to do: he went to Mary and took her as his wife. But all in secret, all humbly. The great cities of the world knew nothing of this. In this way God came in our midst. If you want to find God, seek in in humility, in poverty, look for Him where He is hidden: in those most in need, in the sick, the hungry, the imprisoned”.
“When Jesus speaks about life, He also tells us know we will be judged. He will not say, come to me because you … are a benefactor of the Church. … No. You do not pay your way to Heaven. He will not say, you are very important, you have studied a lot and have many honours, come to Heaven. No. Honours do not open the door to Heaven. What will Jesus say to open to us the door to Heaven? 'For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me'. Jesus is in humility”.
“Jesus' love is great”, the Pope exclaimed. “Therefore today as I open this door, I would like the Holy Spirit to open the heart of all Romans, and let them see the way to salvation! It is not luxury, it is not the way of great riches, it is not the route of power. It is the road of humility. The poorest, the sick, the imprisoned – Jesus says even more – the greatest sinners, if they repent, will precede us in Heaven. They have the key. He who acts in charity is the one who allows himself to be embraced by God's mercy”.
“Today we open this Door and we ask for two things. First, that the Lord open the door of our heart. We are all in need of this as we are all sinners; we all need to hear the Word of the Lord. … Second, may the Lord help us understand that the path of presumptuousness, the road of wealth, the road of vanity, the road of pride, are not roads to salvation. May the Lord let us understand that in His caress as a Father, there is His mercy, His forgiveness, and when we draw close to those who suffer, those who are discarded by society: there we find Jesus. This Door, that is the Door of Charity, the Door where may people are helped, many who are discarded, shows us that it would be good if all of us, all Romans, to know what it means to be discarded, and to feel the need for God's help. Today let us pray for Rome, for all the inhabitants of Rome, starting with me, that the Lord may give us the grace to feel discarded, that we have no worth; only He can give us mercy and grace. To approach that grace we must draw closer to the rejected, the poor, those who are most in need, because it is on this closeness that we will be judged”.
May the Lord today, opening this door, give this grace to all of Rome, to every inhabitant of Rome, so as to move forward in that embrace of mercy, in which the father takes his wounded son, but the wounded one is the father: God is wounded by love, and for this reason He is able to save all of us. May the Lord grant us this grace”.
After the Mass, the Pope greeted the participants and commented that Christmas is drawing hear and the Lord is now close. “But when he was born, in that manger, no-one realised that He was God. This Christmas, I would like the Lord to be born in the heart of every one of us … hidden, as if nobody knew it, but He was there. This is what I would like, this close of the Lord. Pray for me, and I will pray for you”.
Audiences
Vatican City, 21 December 2015 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience Bishop Vincenzo Pisanello of Oria, Italy.
On Saturday 19 December the Holy Father received in audience:
- Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops;
- Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, apostolic nuncio in India and Nepal;
- Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, apostolic nuncio in the Federal Republic of Germany.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 21 December 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed:
- Stefano D'Agostini, Italy, technical head of the Vatican Television (CTV), as director of the CTV.
- Gregory Burke, communications adviser at the Secretariat of State, as deputy director of the Holy See Press Office.
On Sunday 20 December, the Holy Father accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the diocese of Orange, United States of America, presented by Bishop Dominic Mai Luong upon reaching the age limit.
On Saturday 19 December the Holy Father appointed:
- Fr. Joseph Raja Rao Thelegathoti, S.M.M., as bishop of Vijayawada (area 8,374, population 5,898,011, Catholics 283,062, priests 229, 1,132 religious), India. The bishop-elect was born in Peddautapally, India in 1952, gave his religious vows in 1980 and was ordained a priest in the same year. He holds a licentiate in biblical theology from the Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram in Bangalore, India and a doctorate in spiritual theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome. He has served in a number of roles, including rector of the minor seminary and of the Montfort Theologate in Bangalore, provincial counsellor, provincial superior, deputy president of the Conference of Religious of India, director of the Anugraha Institute for Poor Girls, director of the Montfort Marian Centre, Bangalore, and procurator general and postulator of the Congregation of Montfort Fathers in Rome. He is currently provincial of his congregation in Rome.
- Msgr. Leszek Leszkiewicz as auxiliary of Tarnow (area 7,566, population 1,097,479, Catholics 1.091,829, priests 1,455, religious 1.145), Poland. The bishop-elect was born in Gorlice, Poland in 1970 and was ordained a priest in 1996. He holds a licentiate in missiology from the Pontifical Urbanian University in Rome, and has served in a number of roles including parish vicar, missionary in Ecuador, deputy director of the department for missions of the diocese of Tarnow, and prefect of discipline in the major seminary of Tarnow. He is currently vicar forane and pastor of the parish of St. Nicholas, and custodian of the shrine to the Blessed Virgin in Bochnia.
- Cardinal Vinko Puljic, archbishop of Vrhbosna, Bosnia and Herzegovina, as his special envoy to the celebrations to be held on 3 February 2016 to commemorate the 17th centenary of the martyrdom of St. Blaise, patron of the diocese of Dubrovnik, Croatia, and the 600th anniversary of the abolition of slavery by the Republic of Ragusa.
- Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers (for Health Pastoral Care) as his special envoy to the celebration of the 24th World Day of the Sick, to be held in Nazareth on 11 February 2016.
- Msgr. Paul Tighe, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, as adjunct secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture, elevating him to the dignity of bishop.
22-12-2015 - Year XXII - Num. 229 

Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 22 December 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed:
- Bishop Ruben Antonio Gonzalez Medina, C.M.F., of Caguas, Puerto Rico, as bishop of Ponce (area 2,045, population 628,300, Catholics 489,500, priests 112, permanent deacons 102, religious 257), Puerto Rico. He succeeds Bishop Felix Lazaro Martinez, Sch. P., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.
- Fr. Gerard County, C.S.Sp., as bishop of Kingstown (area 388, population 118,060, Catholics 102,000, priests 6, permanent deacons 7, religious 10), Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The bishop-elect was born in Trinidad and Tobago in 1960, gave his religious vows in 1994 and was ordained a priest in 1996. He has served in a number of offices within his Congregation in Mexico, including bursar and director of youth pastoral care, parish priest of St. David Roldan Lara in the diocese of Tampico, superior provincial of Mexico. He is currently a member of the community of Spiritan Fathers in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.
- Fr. Claude Hamelin as auxiliary of the diocese of Saint-Jean-Longueuil (area 2,075, population 735,941, Catholics 625,500, priests 103, permanent deacons 4, religious 387), Canada. The bishop-elect was born in Sherington, Canada in 1952 and was ordained a priest in 1977. He holds a bachelor's degree in theology and a master's degree in pastoral theology from the University of Montreal, Canada, and a licentiate in moral theology from the Pontifical Alphonsianum Academy, Rome. He has served as chaplain in a private school, parish priest of St. Mark in Candiac, episcopal vicar for the central, northern and western region of the diocese of Saint-Jean-Longueuil, and head of the diocesan office for the clergy. He is currently vicar general of the same diocese.

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