Thursday, January 28, 2016

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28-01-2016 - Year XXVI - Num. 18 

Summary
- Audience with the president of Togo: joint commitment to peace and security in West and Sub-Saharan Africa
- Presentation of the World Day of the Sick
- Audiences
- Other Pontifical Acts
- General audience: God gives us the legacy of mercy
- The Pope invites faithful to "Cor Unum" retreat and greets circus performers
- Other Pontifical Acts
Audience with the president of Togo: joint commitment to peace and security in West and Sub-Saharan Africa
Vatican City, 28 January 2016 (VIS) - The Holy Father Francis today received in audience the president of the Republic of Togo, Faure Essozimna Gnassingbe, who subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, secretary for Relations with States.
During the cordial discussions the Parties acknowledged the good existing relations between the Holy See and Togo, and the prospects for their further consolidation. Mention was made of the contribution of the Catholic Church to the development of the country and the integral progress of the Togolese population, especially in the field of education.
Attention then turned to various challenges affecting West and Sub-Saharan Africa, with special emphasis on the need for joint commitment to the promotion of security and peace in the Region.
Presentation of the World Day of the Sick
Vatican City, 28 January 2016 (VIS) – This morning in the Holy See Press Office a press conference was held to present the 24th World Day of the Sick, to be celebrated in Nazareth in the Holy Land on 11 February, feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes, on the theme "Entrusting oneself to the merciful Jesus like Mary: 'Do whatever he tells you'”, based on the account of the wedding at Cana according to the Gospel of St. John.
The panel was composed of Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers (Health Pastoral Care), Msgr. Jean-Marie Mate Musivi Mupendawatu, secretary of the same dicastery, Rev. Augusto Chendi, under-secretary, Rev. Fr. Pietro Felet, S.C.I., secretary general of the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land and local referent for the organisation of the World Day of the Sick 2016.
The place where the Day will be held – Nazareth, in the Holy Land – is the first point to highlight, said Archbishop Zimowski. Nazareth is the place of the incarnation, where Jesus began His salvific mission and in Galilee cured many people, as is narrated in the Gospel of St. Mark, read in these days, in which Christ calls to the sick to heal them and, in turn, is called to by them. "In a certain sense we are all constantly called upon, although each person in a different way", explained the prelate. "The human being suffers in different places and, at times, suffers terribly. He calls to another person as he is in need of his help and his presence. At times we are intimidated by the fact of not being able to heal, of not being able to help like Jesus. Let us try to overcome this embarrassment. The important thing is to keep going, to stay beside the man who suffers. He needs, perhaps more than healing, the presence of another person, of a human heart full of mercy, of human solidarity".
"These are doctors, nurses, all the representatives of the healthcare professions. They are the institutions that serve human health. … We must support this great tradition at all costs: the work of doctors and nurses is treated not only as a profession but also and perhaps firstly as a service, as a vocation. Care for the physically impaired and the elderly, care for the mentally ill – these sectors constitute, more than any other aspect of social life, the measure of the culture of a society and the state".
Secondly, the archbishop remarked that the Day occurs in the context of the extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, and that there will be a visit to the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre and the Basilica of the Agony in Gethsemane, the places where Christ gave Himself to the Father for our salvation. "Jesus unites humanity through His Cross, and the celebration of the World Day of the Sick in the Holy Land will help us to realise the wish Pope Francis expressed in the Bull of Indiction, that is, that 'this Jubilee year celebrating the mercy of God will foster an encounter with [Judaism and Islam] and with other noble religious traditions; may it open us to even more fervent dialogue so that we might know and understand one another better; may it eliminate every form of closed-mindedness and disrespect, and drive out every form of violence and discrimination'. Every hospital and clinic, as the Holy Father reminds us, can be a visible sign and place for promoting the culture of encounter and peace, where the experience of sickness and suffering, as well as professional and fraternal help, may contribute to overcoming every limit and division".
Finally, the archbishop spoke about the role of servants at the wedding of Cana, who Mary told to do as Christ told them. "Naturally, the miracle takes place through Christ's work; however, He sought human help in completing the prodigy. He could have made the wine appear directly in the amphorae. But He wants to count on human collaboration, and asks the servants to fill them with water. How precious and pleasing to God it is to be servants of others! This, more than anything else, makes us similar to Jesus, Who 'came not to be served, but to serve'".
"The fruit of this Day must be concrete: the closeness of our hearts that is expressed in mercy towards the sick and needy, who must feel the closeness or proximity, material and spiritual, of the entire Christian community", he concluded. "It is important that they are not left abandoned or alone as they face such a delicate moment in their life".
Fr. Chendi explained that the programme of the Day is divided into three parts: liturgical moments; theological-pastoral insights, with the presence on 9 February in the Pontifical Institute Notre Dame Centre of Jerusalem of the Catholic Ordinaries and Patriarchs and bishops of the sister Churches of the Holy Land; and concrete gestures of charity, such as visits to various hospitals and healthcare structures present in the area.
The under-secretary also mentioned that plenary indulgence granted by Pope Francis to those who participate in this Day, with the explicit intention that, through corporal and spiritual works of mercy "they will encounter a renewed and authentic witness and discover the Christian meaning of suffering and its sharing among brothers".
With regard to the theological and pastoral dimension, the congress of 9 February "will offer the opportunity to identify problems, also of an ethical and pastoral nature, that are urgent from both a legislative and a clinical and care-related point of view. In particular, in the name of the inviolable value of every human life and the unique dignity characteristic of every person, attention will be paid to issues regarding the end of life and the care of people with different pathologies, both physically and psychologically invalidating".
In relation to the charitable dimension, Fr. Chendi explained that the visits to various entities working in the Holy Land, both Catholic and non-Catholic, will constitute "a tangible sign of what Pope Francis describes in his message as Mary's tenderness in Cana of Galilee, which translates into a predisposition towards serving those in need and in particular our brothers and sisters in sickness".
Audiences
Vatican City, 28 January 2016 (VIS) – This morning, the Holy Father received in audience:
- Archbishop George Panikulam, apostolic nuncio in Uruguay;
- Leonardo DiCaprio.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 28 January 2016 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Fr. Jose Hirais Acosta Beltran as bishop of Huejutla (area 6,014, population 557,987, Catholics 502,752, priests 96, religious 67), Mexico. The bishop-elect was born in Pezmatlan, Mexico in 1966 and was ordained a priest in 1993. He has served in a number of pastoral roles in the diocese of Huejutla, including parish vicar, vice rector of the minor seminary, professor and formator at the major seminary and judge at the ecclesiastical tribunal. He is currently diocesan administrator, prefect of studies and spiritual director of the major seminary of Huejutla, defender of the bond in the diocesan tribunal and member of the college of consultors.
27-01-2016 - Year XXVI - Num. 17 


General audience: God gives us the legacy of mercy
Vatican City, 27 January 2016 (VIS) -God's mercy has always been present throughout the history of the People of Israel, accompanying the way of Patriarchs, endowing them with offspring despite their sterility as in the case of Abraham and Sarah, and leading them on paths of grace and reconciliation, as is shown by the story of Joseph and his brothers. When life became difficult due to slavery in Egypt, God was not indifferent to their suffering. He saved them from the Pharaoh through Moses, he took them out of Egypt and led them through the Red Sea and the desert to the promised land and to freedom. This was the theme of the Holy Father's catechesis during this Wednesday's general audience in St. Peter's Square, entitled "God heard their groaning and He remembered His covenant", drawn from the Book of Exodus.
"Mercy is not indifferent to the pain of the oppressed, to the cry of those who suffer violence and slavery or are condemned to death. Suffering is a sad reality that afflicts every age, including our own, and often makes us feel helpless, tempting us to harden our hearts and think of other things. God, however, is not indifferent; He never turns away from human suffering. The God of mercy … intervenes to save, inspiring men capable of hearing the cry of suffering and of working in favour of the oppressed".
Moses, one of God's chosen ones, saved from the waters of the Nile by divine mercy, becomes a mediator for the liberation of his people. "And we too, in this Year of Mercy, can be mediators … with the works of mercy, being close to our neighbours, to relieve them. They are many good things we can do", added the Pope. "God's mercy always acts to save us. The Lord, through his servant Moses, leads Israel in the desert like a child, educating his people in faith and creating a strong bond of love, like that between a father and son, or a bride and groom. … God possesses all the earth because He has created it, but the people become for Him a different type of possession: His personal reserve of gold and silver, like the treasure King David says he has donated for the construction of the Temple. This is what we become for God by welcoming his covenant and letting ourselves be saved by Him. The Lord's mercy makes man precious, like a personal wealth that belongs to Him, that He conserves and is pleased with".
"These are the wonders of divine mercy, that finds fulfilment in the Lord Jesus, in that 'new and eternal alliance' consummated with His blood, that with forgiveness destroys our sin and definitively makes us children of God, precious jewels in the hands of the good and merciful Father. And if we are sons of God, we have the possibility of inheriting this goodness and mercy. Let us ask the Lord, in this Year of Mercy … to open our heart to reach everyone with the works of mercy, the legacy of the mercy that God the Father has shown to us", concluded the bishop of Rome.
The Pope invites faithful to "Cor Unum" retreat and greets circus performers
Vatican City, 27 January 2016 (VIS) – Following today's catechesis, the Holy Father mentioned that the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum", on the occasion of the Jubilee of Mercy, has arranged a day of spiritual retreat for people and groups involved in charity service. The day, to be held in the individual dioceses during the upcoming Lenten period, "will offer an opportunity to reflect on the call to be merciful like the Father", said Francis, inviting those present to welcome this proposal, following the indications and using the materials prepared by "Cor Unum".
After his special greetings to the young, the sick and newly-weds, the Pope mentioned thattomorrow will be the feast day of St. Thomas Aquinas, patron of Catholic schools. "His example inspires you, dear young people, to see in the merciful Jesus the sole teacher of life; may his intercession obtain for those of you who are sick the serenity and peace present in the mystery of the Cross; and may his doctrine encourage you, dear newly-weds, to trust in the wisdom of the heart to fulfil your mission".
Finally, he greeted a group of circus performers and acrobats, reiterating that their profession is the creation of beauty, and beauty always brings us closer to God.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 27 January 2016 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Fr. Adilson Pedro Busin, C.S., as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Porto Alegre (area 13,530, population 3,423,000, Catholics 2,547,000, priests 359, permanent deacons 59, religious 1,450), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Sarandi, Brazil in 1965, gave his permanent vows in 1992 and was ordained a priest in 1993. He holds a licentiate in science of education from the Pontifical Salesian University of Rome, and has served in a number of roles in his congregation, including vocational animator and rector of the minor seminary of Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, master of novices in Porto Alegre, and provincial superior. He is currently regional vicar for the South American region, president of the Scalabrinian Association for the service of migrants, and master of novices.

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