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The World Seen From Rome
Updated: 24 min 18 sec ago

New Saints Soon

Wed, 03/07/2018 - 5:51 PM
Pope Paves Way for Canonization of Pope Paul VI & Oscar Romero

Francis Approves Decrees for Saints’ Causes

Pope: May Paralympic Games in South Korea “Be Days of Joy & Peace for All’

Holy Father Praises Disabled Athletes Courage, Tenacity, & Consistency

General Audience: Pope: ‘At Every Mass, May We Enter More Fully Into This ‘Mystery of Faith”

Official Summary of the Catechesis — March 7, 2018

Iraq: Fear Persists in Mosul

‘Daesh have robbed and demolished every church’

Papua New Guinea: Pope Expresses Sadness About Earthquake Victims

Late February Quake Killed 67, Second Quake March 7, 2018

Pope Invites Faithful to Experience God’s Mercy in ’24 Hours for the Lord’ Initiative

Holy Father Will Open the Penitential Liturgy

Pope’s Advice for Daily Life: Cultivate an Attitude of Christ’s Disciples

Holy Father Reminds Arabic-speaking Pilgrims to Make Their Lives Gifts of Love

GENERAL AUDIENCE : On the Eucharistic Prayer

‘Lent is a favorable time to intensify the spiritual life’

GENERAL AUDIENCE : On the Eucharistic Prayer

Wed, 03/07/2018 - 9:38 AM

This morning’s General Audience, initially foreseen in St. Peter’s Square, because of the weather conditions was held at 9:40 in Paul VI Hall, where the Holy Father met with groups of pilgrims and faithful from Italy and from all over the world. The faithful and pilgrims, who couldn’t find a place in Paul VI Hall, followed the Audience from the Basilica, where the Pope went, at the end of the Audience, to greet those present.

Continuing with the catechesis on the Holy Mass, in his address in Italian the Pope focused his meditation on the Eucharistic Liturgy: I. Presentation of the gifts.

After summarizing his catechesis in several languages, the Holy Father expressed special greetings to groups of faithful present.

The General Audience ended with the singing of the Pater Noster and the Apostolic Blessing.

* * *

The Holy Father’s Catechesis

Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

Continuing with the catechesis on the Holy Mass, the Liturgy of the Word — on which I reflected in the past catechesis –, is followed by the other constitutive part of the Mass, which is the Eucharistic Liturgy. In it, through the holy signs, the Church renders continually present the Sacrifice of the new Covenant sealed by Jesus on the altar of the Cross (Cf. Second Ecumenical Vatican Council, Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium, 47). The first Christian altar was the Cross, and when we come to the altar to celebrate Mass, our memory goes <back> to the altar of the Cross, where the first sacrifice was made. The priest, who represents Christ in the Mass, carries out what the Lord Himself did and entrusted to the disciples in the Last Supper: He took the bread and the chalice, rendered thanks, and gave them to the disciples, saying: “Take, eat . . . drink: this is my Body . . . this is the chalice of my Blood. Do this in memory of Me.”

Obedient to Jesus’ command, the Church ordered the Eucharistic Liturgy in moments that correspond to the words and gestures done by Him, on the vigil of his Passion. Thus, in the preparation of the gifts, the bread and wine are taken to the altar, namely, the elements that Jesus took in His hands. In the Eucharistic Prayer we give thanks to God for the work of Redemption and the offerings become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. It’s followed by the breaking of the Bread and Communion, through which we relive the experience of the Apostles, who received the Eucharistic gifts from the hands of Christ Himself (Cf. Ordinamento Generale del Messale Romano), 72).

The preparation of the gifts corresponds, then, to Jesus’ first gesture: “He took the bread and the chalice of wine. It’s the first part of the Eucharistic Liturgy. It’s good that it’s the faithful that present the bread and wine to the priest, because they signify the spiritual offering of the Church, gathered there for the Eucharist. It’s beautiful that it’s in fact the faithful that bring the bread and wine to the altar. Although today “the faithful no longer bring, as before, their own bread and wine destined to the Liturgy, yet the rite of the presentation of these gifts keeps its value and spiritual meaning” (Ibid., 73).  And in this connection, it’s significant that, in ordaining a new presbyter, the Bishop, when he gives him the bread and wine, says: “Receive the offerings of the holy people for the Eucharistic sacrifice” (Roman Pontifical – Ordination of Bishops, of presbyters and of deacons). <It’s> the people of God that brings the offering, the bread and wine, the great offering for the Mass! Therefore, in the signs of the bread and wine the faithful people put their own offering in the priest’s hands, who places it on the altar or table of the Lord, “which is the center of all the Eucharistic Liturgy”((OGMR, 73). That is, the center of the Mass is the altar, and the altar is Christ. It’s always necessary to look at the altar, which is the center of the Mass. Offered, therefore, in the “fruit of the earth and the work of man,” is the commitment of the faithful to make of themselves, obedient to the divine Word, a “pleasing sacrifice to Almighty God the Father,” “for the good of all His Holy Church.” Thus “the life of the faithful, their suffering, their prayer, their work, are united to those of Christ and to His total offering, and in this way they acquire a new value” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1368).

Our offering is certainly a small thing, but Christ is in need of this small thing. The Lord asks little of us, and He gives us so much. He asks little of us. He asks us for good will in ordinary life; He asks us for an open heart; He asks us for the will to be better to receive him who offers Himself to us in the Eucharist. He asks us for these symbolic offerings, which will then become His Body and His Blood. An image of this self-giving movement of prayer is represented by incense that, consumed in the fire, gives off a perfumed smoke that goes up on high: to incense the offerings, as is done on feast days, to incense the cross, the altar, the priest and the priestly people manifest visibly the offertory bond that unites all these realities to Christ’s sacrifice (Cf. OGMR, 75). And don’t forget: it’s the altar that is Christ, but always in reference to the first altar, which is the Cross, and on the altar, which is Christ, we bring our little gifts, the bread and wine, which then will become so much: Jesus Himself who gives Himself to us.

And all this is what the prayer over the offerings expresses. In it the priest asks God to accept the gifts that the Church offers Him, invoking the fruit of the wonderful exchange between our poverty and His richness. In the bread and wine, we present our life to Him, so that it’s transformed by the Holy Spirit into Christ’s sacrifice and becomes, with Him, one spiritual offering pleasing to the Father. While the preparation of the gifts is thus concluded, it disposes us to the Eucharistic Prayer (Cf. Ibid, 77).

May the spirituality of the gift of self, which this moment of the Mass teaches, be able to illume our days, our relations with others, the things we do, the sufferings we meet, helping us to build the earthly city in the light of the Gospel.

[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

In Italian

A warm welcome goes to the Italian-speaking faithful.

I am happy to receive the participants in the General Chapter of the Salesian Missionaries of Mary Immaculate, the Christian Brothers Schools and “God’s Volunteers” of the Focolare Movement.

I greet the faithful of Pavullo nel Frignano, accompanied by the Bishop, Monsignor Germano Bernardini; the young people guests of the Hospitality Center of L’Aquila; the school Institutes, especially those of Civitavecchia and of the Pallotine Sisters of Rome; the members of the Order of Malta of Lombardy and Veneto and the FAIPA associates: “The Golden Keys.” I hope that you all can live the faith as service to God and to brothers.

Finally I greet the young people, the sick and the newlyweds. Lent is a favourable time to intensify the spiritual life: may the practice of fasting be of help to you, dear young people, to acquire greater mastery over yourselves; may the thought of the future help you, dear elderly, to give hope to young people: speak with them; may prayer be for you, dear sick, the means to entrust your sufferings to God and to feel Him always close; finally, may the works of mercy help you, dear newlyweds, to live your conjugal life always oriented to the needs of brothers.

[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

I greet the faithful present in St. Peter’s Basilica.

Thank you! Thank you so much for your patience in waiting up to now. May the Lord bless you — bless your patience. But I thought it was better to be here than in the cold, no? Truly? Yes? All right. Now I will give you the Blessing, but first let us pray to Our Lady.

[Hail Mary . . .]


[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

Pope Paves Way for Canonization of Pope Paul VI & Oscar Romero

Wed, 03/07/2018 - 8:41 AM

Pope Francis has signed the decree paving the way for the canonization of Pope Paul VI and Oscar Romero.

The Vatican published this news today after Pope Francis had received Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Cardinal Angelo Amato, in private audience the afternoon of Tuesday, March 6, 2018, during which, he authorized the Congregation to promulgate the following decrees:



– attributed to the intercession of Blessed Paul VI (Giovanni Battista Montini), Supreme Pontiff; born in Concesio, Italy, on 26 September 1897 and died in Castel Gandolfo, Italy, on 6 August 1978

– attributed to the intercession of Blessed Oscar Arnolfo Romero Galdámez, archbishop of San Salvador; born in Ciudad Barrios, El Salvador, on 15 August 1917 and killed in San Salvador, El Salvador, on 24 March 1980

– attributed to the intercession of Blessed Francesco Spinelli, diocesan priest; founder of the Institute of the Sisters Adorers of the Blessed Sacrament, born in Milan, Italy, on 14 April 1853 and died in Rivolta d’Adda, Italy, on 6 February 1913

– attributed to the intercession of Blessed Vincenzo Romano, diocesan priest; born in Torre del Greco, Italy, on 3 June 1751 and died there on 20 December 1831

– attributed to the intercession of Blessed Maria Katharina Kasper, founder of the Institute of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ; born on 26 May 1820 in Dernbach, Germany, and died there on 2 February 1898

– attributed to the intercession of the Venerable Servant of God María Felicia of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament (née María Felicia Guggiari Echeverría), professed nun of the Order of the Discalced Carmelites; born in Villarica, Paraguay on 12 January 1925, and died in Asunción, Paraguay, on 28 April 1959


– of the Servant of God Anna Kolesárová, layperson; born in Vysoká nad Uhom, Slovakia, on 14 July 1928 and killed there in hatred of the faith on 22 November 1944


– of the Servant of God Bernardo Łubieński, professed priest of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer; born in Guzów, Poland, on 9 December 1846 and died in Warszawa, Poland, on 10 September 1933

– of the Servant of God Cecilio Maria Cortinovis (né Antonio Pietro), professed religious of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin; born in Nespello, Italy, on 7 November 1885 and died in Bergamo, Italy, on 10 April 1984

– of the Servant of God Giustina Schiapparoli, founder of the Congregation of the Benedictine Sisters of Divine Providence of Voghera; born in Castel San Giovanni, Italy, on 19 July 1819 and died in Voghera, Italy, on 20 November 1877

– of the Servant of God Maria Schiapparoli, founder of the Congregation of the Benedictine Sisters of Divine Providence of Voghera; born in Castel San Giovanni, Italy, on 19 April 1815 and died in Vespolate, Italy, on 2 May 1882

– of the Servant of God Maria Antonella Bordoni, layperson, of the Third Order of Saint Dominic, founder of the Lay Fraternity of the Little Daughters of the Mother of God, now Little Daughters of the Mother of God; born on 13 October 1916 in Arezzo, Italy, and died in Castel Gandolfo, Italy, on 16 January 1978

– of the Servant of God Alessandra Sabattini, layperson; born on 19 August 1961 in Riccione, Italy, and died in Bologna, Italy on 2 May 1984

Pope’s Advice for Daily Life: Cultivate an Attitude of Christ’s Disciples

Wed, 03/07/2018 - 8:32 AM

“I give a warm welcome to the Arabic-speaking pilgrims, particularly those from the Middle East!”, said Pope Francis during his General Audience of March 7, 2018.

This morning’s General Audience was held at 9:30 in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall where the Holy Father Francis met with groups of pilgrims and faithful from Italy and from all over the world.

The Pope spoke in Italian, translated immediately into Arabic by one of his collaborators in the Roman Curia: “Dear brothers and sisters, I invite you to cultivate the attitude of being a disciple of Christ in your daily lives, making your life a free, gratis gift of love, and constructing concrete communion in the Church and with all.”

Pope Francis concluded, praying: “May the Lord bless you!”

Pope: May Paralympic Games in South Korea “Be Days of Joy & Peace for All’

Wed, 03/07/2018 - 7:57 AM

May the Paralympic Games in South Korea be days of joy and peace for all.

This was the hope Pope Francis expressed toward the conclusion of his General Audience on March 7, 2018, from the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall, as he mentioned this event that follows the Olympic Winter Games in the South Korean city of PyeongChang.

The Olympic Games, the Holy Father observed, “have shown how sport can build bridges between countries in conflict and make a valuable contribution to opportunities for peace among peoples.”

“The Paralympic Games,” the Pope stressed,  prove even more that through sport we can overcome our own handicaps.”

“Paralympic athletes are for all an example of courage, consistency, tenacity not to be overcome by one’s own limits. ”

“Sport is a great school of inclusion, but also an inspiration for life and a commitment to transforming society,” he added.

Greeting the International Paralympic Committee, the athletes, the authorities and the people of Korea, the Pope wished “that this event could be days of peace and joy for all”.

Pope Invites Faithful to Experience God’s Mercy in ’24 Hours for the Lord’ Initiative

Wed, 03/07/2018 - 6:58 AM

Next Friday, in St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis will celebrate the penitential liturgy for the traditional ’24 Hours for the Lord’ initiative.

At the conclusion of his General Audience in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall, the Pope recalled this event, promoted by the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization, encouraging faithful to participate.

“I hope that our churches can remain open long to welcome those who wish to prepare for Easter, celebrating the sacrament of Reconciliation, and, in this way,  experience God’s mercy.”

General Audience: Pope: ‘At Every Mass, May We Enter More Fully Into This ‘Mystery of Faith”

Wed, 03/07/2018 - 6:41 AM

Here is the Vatican-provided English-language summary of the Pope’s address at the General Audience this morning:



Dear brothers and sisters: In our catechesis on the Mass, we now turn to the Eucharistic Prayer, in which, following the Lord’s command, we repeat his words and actions at the Last Supper. In offering the bread and wine which become his body and blood, we unite ourselves to his sacrifice of reconciliation on the cross. The Eucharistic Prayer begins with the Preface, which invites us to lift up our hearts in thanksgiving for God’s blessings. The celebrant then calls down the Holy Spirit upon our offerings, and, by the words of consecration, Christ becomes truly present in the sacrament of his body and blood. As the memorial of the mystery of the Lord’s death and resurrection, the Eucharistic prayer asks that we may be drawn, in the Holy Spirit, into communion with one another in the mystical Body of Christ, and united to the Son in his eternal sacrifice of praise and intercession before the Father. At every Mass, may we enter more fully into this “mystery of faith”, which brings the forgiveness of sin, builds up the Church in unity and prays for the reconciliation and peace of our entire human family.


I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, particularly those from England, Lithuania, Vietnam and the United States of America. With prayerful good wishes that this Lent will be a time of grace and spiritual renewal for you and your families, I invoke upon all of you joy and peace in our Lord Jesus Christ. God bless you!

© Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Papua New Guinea: Pope Expresses Sadness About Earthquake Victims

Wed, 03/07/2018 - 1:49 AM

Pope Francis on March 6, 2018, expressed his sadness and condolences for the victims of the recent earthquake in Papua New Guinea.  He offered his prayers and closeness in a telegram from Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State:

It was with great sadness that His Holiness Pope Francis learned of the tragic loss of life following the recent earthquake in Papua New Guinea.  Commending the souls of the deceased to the mercy of Almighty God, he sends his heartfelt condolences to their families, and he assures all those affected by this disaster of his closeness in prayer. Upon all those who mourn at this difficult time, and upon the emergency personnel involved in the important relief efforts, Pope Francis willingly invokes the divine blessings of strength and consolation.

 Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State

The February 26, 2018, earthquake killed a reported 67.  A second quake occurred early morning of March 7, 2018 (local time).

Iraq: Fear Persists in Mosul

Wed, 03/07/2018 - 1:00 AM

A Christian woman has spoken of her heartbreak seeing Mosul’s desecrated churches – and remains fearful of Daesh (ISIS) collaborators in the city.

Nadia Younis Butti, who returned to Mosul, northern Iraq, for the first time since Daesh seized it in summer 2014, told Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need that the city was still “extremely dangerous”.

Fearing Daesh sympathizers amid the Muslim community, she said: “A lot of Mosul’s inhabitants have worked together with Daesh-jihadists for three years, and some might have relatives or family members who were with Daesh.

“There are a lot of Sunnis, who often supported Daesh.”

She added: “The city was released by the Iraqi army, which is supported by many Iranian Shi‘a. In Mosul, they are met with a lot of distrust – they aren’t seen as allies.”

She said: “For me, the city has not become safe since the recapture of Mosul.”

Describing the situation in the city, Butti said: “It is still extremely dangerous in Mosul. I just spoke to a police officer who lost a colleague this week, near St George’s Monastery. He was shot at night.”

Extremists are still seen as a threat by Christians. Jihadist graffiti on a wall of the devastated 17th-century monastery states ‘Daesh will always remain in Iraq’.

The Islamist group also marked another wall with an arrow pointing towards Mecca so prayers could be recited five times a day.

The destruction has been extensive. The monastery’s dome is now tilted and floors, walls, and arches have been stripped of the marble panels.

Gravestones in the monastery cemetery have been smashed, the church’s altar destroyed and a 14th-century statue beheaded.

Butti also visited the damaged Church of the Holy Spirit, where church walls are marked with graffiti which reads ‘Long lives the caliphate’.

Since the church’s liberation in April last year, the ruins have provided shelter for four internally displaced families from Zummar, northern Iraq – each family lives in a separate room of the church.

Butti said: “Now, Daesh have robbed every church, demolished them and covered them with texts.”

At her own place of worship, the Syriac Orthodox Church of Saint Ephraim, Butti said: “I can’t believe my eyes when I see what Daesh has done to my church.

“I’m not sure my church will ever be fully restored… the reconstruction of this church will cost a lot of money and energy, and for whom are we rebuilding it? All the Christians have left Mosul.”

But seeing an image of Christ’s face, she added: “When I just looked up, I suddenly felt intense happiness. I saw that the blue dome with Jesus’s image had survived the occupation of Daesh reasonably well.

“And, although not much of its beauty has remained, this image shows how beautiful my church was.

“The jihadists have only been able to destroy the edges of the picture. Seeing Jesus above me, in this destroyed church, gave me great joy.”

ACN is supporting thousands of returning Christians to their towns and villages in the Nineveh Plains of northern Iraq, including the rebuilding of more than 780 families’ homes.

A Punch to Defend a Nun?

Tue, 03/06/2018 - 1:20 PM

No, the Pope didn’t punch anyone, especially not a nun.  But a man who had hated the Catholic Church but later was cared for in the hospital by nuns became a great defender of the sisters and did throw a punch at their critic.

Pope Francis recalls the story in the forward to a new biography of Father Etienne Pernet, founder of the Little Sisters of the Assumption, the order of the punch-defended nuns – and an order the Holy Father had contact with during his youth.

The biography is by Italian journalist Paola Bergamini. Entitled “Il Vangelo guancia a guancia” (The Cheek to Cheek Gospel), the 192-page book will hit bookshops from March 6 and will receive an official launch in Milan on March 8, according to Vatican News.

In the text, the Pope writes: “I have many memories tied to these religious women who, as silent angels enter the homes of those in need, work patiently, look after, help, and then silently return to their convent. They follow their rule, pray and then go out to reach the homes of those in difficulty, becoming nurses and governesses, they accompany children to school and prepare meals for them.”

The Little Sisters of the Assumption, established in France in 1865, have communities in more than 25 countries across the world.

Vatican Looks Forward to a Hacking (of sorts)

Tue, 03/06/2018 - 12:44 PM

In 2018, the first-ever hackathon at The Vatican, known as VHacks, will take place from March 8th to the 11th. Combining the words “hacking” and “marathon”, a hackathon is a sprint-like event in which multi-disciplinary teams (including computer programmers, graphic designers, project managers, etc.) collaborate to create solutions under a time constraint.

VHacks brings the concept of a hackathon to The Vatican. Organized by OPTIC, a global think-tank dedicated to ethical issues of disruptive technologies and The Vatican’s Secretariat for Communication, this global event will bring together innovators of all faiths and ethnicities. The Pontifical Council for Culture and Migrants & Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Integral Human Development are co-organizing the event. Combined with the support of student volunteers from Harvard and MIT, VHacks is committed to bridging technology with human-centered values.

VHacks will target important global issues, including social inclusion, interfaith dialogue, and the migrant & refugee crisis.

Specifically, the mission of VHacks is to:

  1. Leverage technology to address current global problems centered on hackathon themes. 2018 Hackathon themes center on 3 key issues: social inclusion, interfaith dialogue, and migrants and refugees.
  2. Promote collaboration among youth leaders across diverse academic, ethnic, and religious backgrounds.
  3. Encourage value-based institutions to embrace technology to further their missions.

The event will be a true celebration of all cultures and beliefs, bringing together the world’s brightest students with diverse academic, ethnic, and religious backgrounds. Participants will be selected through a combination of top-tier partner universities providing teams and an open, online application process where any student enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program is eligible to apply. 120 participants are chosen based on academic accomplishments, innovative thinking, and alignment with our mission statement.

The capstone to the event will include panels exploring the implications of technological advancement on human development and a post-hackathon virtual expo. Speakers will hail from leading tech firms and Vatican institutions. Selected hackathon participants, corporate partners, and institutions will showcase their innovations in the virtual VHacks Expo.

More information about the event can be found on our:

Cardinal Parolin: Change of Attitude Toward Migrants Needed

Tue, 03/06/2018 - 12:32 PM

Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin on March 6, 2018, recalled the words of Pope Francis: “a change of attitude towards migrants and refugees is needed on the part of everyone, moving away from attitudes of defensiveness and fear, indifference and marginalization – all typical of a throwaway culture – towards attitudes based on a culture of encounter, the only culture capable of building a better, more just and fraternal world.”(Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, 2014).

The Cardinal made his assertion in an address to the Plenary Assembly of the International Catholic Commission for Migration (ICMC), taking place in Rome March 6-8, 2018. He stressed that it is a “crucial moment” for the ICMC to provide “effective answers to new questions and to consider the most appropriate contemporary way for it to carry out its commitment in situations of migration.”

Cardinal Parolin recalled that the ICMC was created by Pope Pius XII in the wake of World War II to help deal with the massive displacement of refugees.  He spoke favorably of the group’s efforts, noting that it now works closely with the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.

Again citing the words of the Holy Father, the secretary of state reminded the group that migrants “are not numbers: they are people, women, men, children, who have a face, who often suffer and are discarded. A human face in which we recognize that of Christ, whom we want to serve especially in the smallest and those in need.”

He went on to stress the importance of helping migrant families, both those who have moved and those who remain in the country of origin.  And he pointed out that in today’s world, migration has become more than emergency, it “has become a characteristic element of our societies.”

“One of the purposes for which the ICMC was created is to support migrant families, who often emigrate in search of safety and a dignified life, especially for their children.,” Cardinal Paroline continued. “Many of these, however, reach their point of arrival having experienced violence and abuse on the journey, only to then face new experiences of misery and previously unthinkable difficulties. The closeness of the Christian community and the tangible and specialized help of organizations such as yours can help to keep these families together and so prevent children from seeking the answer to their frustrations in alternative networks.”

Cardinal Parolin’s Full Address


Burkina Faso: Pope Supports Medical Center for the Poorest

Tue, 03/06/2018 - 11:36 AM

In a congress held in the Seraphicum College (Saint Bonaventure College) in Rome, Pope Francis encouraged the work of the Medical Center of the Friars Minor Conventual for the poorest of Sabou, Burkina Faso.

In a message published by Vatican News on March 5, 2018, the Holy Father urged them “to continue the generous work of spreading the Gospel and of constant support to the Church in Burkina Faso, always favoring the poor and working in the geographic and existential peripheries, with the precious commitment to evangelization and promoting human dignity.”

The Pope entrusted to the Virgin Mary, Queen of the Missions, and to Saint Maximilian Kolbe, the fruitfulness of the missionary service of the Order and sent his Apostolic Blessing. Among the participants in the initiative is Nicolas Meda, Minister of Health of Burkina Faso, who will address the gathering.

The Saint Maximilian Medical Center opened in 2003. It offers free health services to more than 110,000 inhabitants, including emergency services, general medicine, maternity, pediatrics and, soon, radiology and surgery.

Cardinal Parolin’s Address to Plenary Assembly of the International Catholic Commission for Migration

Tue, 03/06/2018 - 9:33 AM

Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin addressed this morning the inauguration of the Plenary Assembly of the International Catholic Commission for Migration, taking place in Rome March 6-8, 2018. Here is the Vatican-provided text of his address:


Intervention of the Cardinal Secretary of State

Your Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear friends,

I am very pleased to have this opportunity to greet you and to offer a few thoughts. This is a crucial moment in which the International Catholic Commission for Migration is called to provide for the Church and the world, as well as for itself, effective answers to new questions and to consider the most appropriate contemporary way for it to carry out its commitment in situations of migration.

Everyone here knows that the ICMC was established by Pope Pius XII following the upheavals caused by the Second World War. He wanted an international Catholic body of information, coordination and representation for migration, in order to cope with the massive displacement of refugees.

Since its beginnings, the Episcopates of the nations most affected by the phenomenon of migration were involved, through their representatives, in the drawing up of its statute, which was formally approved by the Holy Father with a letter dated 12 April 1951, and signed by the Substitute of the Secretariat of State, Mgr Giovanni Battista Montini. The Commission’s main purpose was to promote the application of Christian principles on migration and on policies concerning populations, and to seek the adoption of such principles by international organizations, both governmental and non-governmental, particularly in favour of the protection of the rights of families.

In the long years of its activity as a Catholic organization at the international level, the ICMC, faithful to the purpose for which it was established, has distinguished itself for its concrete action and for the professional competence of its staff, establishing relationships with various organizations and institutions at different levels. This is shown by the respect that the ICMC has earned in the international community, through cooperating, in keeping with its Catholic identity, with international agencies and other governmental and non-governmental institutions at various levels and in different countries. In this regard, I particularly wish to emphasize the ability, acquired by the ICMC in the course of its activity, to establish dialogue between different subjects: governments and civil society; humanitarian and security agencies; Catholic organizations and those belonging to other Christian denominations or those that do not identify with any religious affiliation, but intend to work for the good of migrants. For years, then, the ICMC has coordinated, on behalf of the various host governments, the whole process of participation, at a global level, of civil society organizations in the meetings of the Global Forum on Migration and Development, including the successful organisation of the Civil Society Days.

It is also worth remembering that the ICMC has published research and guidelines on migration in conjunction with important international institutions (the EU and the Council of Europe, IOM, UNHCR) and civil society.

I hope that it will be possible to carry forward and extend this definite and expert experience of dialogue in order to create and sustain that network of solidarity, which alone can respond to today’s pressing needs and, together, guarantee the implementation of those agreements which are so greatly needed at the international level.

As to its scope and aims, the ICMC is now working in close contact with the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. Even though this cooperation began a little more than a year ago, it has already yielded positive results and has made available to the Section the wealth of learning and experience acquired by the ICMC.

In the same way, on account of its constant activity with international organizations, the ICMC works in close contact with the Section for Relations with States of the Secretariat of State and with the Permanent Missions of the Holy See. Especially in this year, and in the past two years, you have been specifically committed to offering, in collaboration with the Permanent Missions in New York and Geneva, your valuable contribution to the preparation of the Global Compact on safe, orderly and peaceful Migration, and the Global Compact on Refugees.

We truly hope that these two documents, currently in the stages of negotiation and consultation respectively, will genuinely respond to the need for better protection and safeguarding of human rights, when faced with the reticence, re-evaluations and indecision of various States, and that they will lead, at an international level, to a real and fair cooperation and sharing of the responsibilities and burdens associated with the reception of migrants.

In these days you will have the opportunity to review the path you have travelled and consider how the ICMC can continue the work for which it was founded, a work that we have already seen honoured by a fruitful commitment, which now asks you to be open to new horizons of service to migrants and refugees. As Pope Francis always reminds us, they are not numbers: they are people, women, men, children, who have a face, who often suffer and are discarded. A human face in which we recognize that of Christ, whom we want to serve especially in the smallest and those in need.

One of the purposes for which the ICMC was created is to support migrant families, who often emigrate in search of safety and a dignified life, especially for their children. Many of these, however, reach their point of arrival having experienced violence and abuse on the journey, only to then face new experiences of misery and previously unthinkable difficulties. The closeness of the Christian community and the tangible and specialized help of organizations such as yours can help to keep these families together and so prevent children from seeking the answer to their frustrations in alternative networks.

Moreover, while Migrants’ progress is linked to economic contribution at the social and family level, within their countries of origin themselves there is an aspect that the Church cannot overlook. It is that of family members who have remained in their homeland, often with children to support, where one of the spouses, or both, emigrates, thus leaving the other spouse, or elderly grandparents, responsible for the home, but left in poverty given that the remittance payments do not always arrive or are insufficient. Sometimes the spouse does not even return home. This is a delicate feature of migration, unfortunately widespread, which calls for greater attention and support.

Another aspect that presents itself to the ICMC at a global level is the refusal to welcome. Even though nations, especially the most economically advanced, undeniably owe a great deal of their development to migrants, and although the sometimes terrible experiences that lead to migration, or that are encountered on the journey, are widespread, migration is seen today only as an emergency, or a danger, even though it has become a characteristic element of our societies.

Pope Francis reminds us that “a change of attitude towards migrants and refugees is needed on the part of everyone, moving away from attitudes of defensiveness and fear, indifference and marginalization – all typical of a throwaway culture – towards attitudes based on a culture of encounter, the only culture capable of building a better, more just and fraternal world.”(Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, 2014).

One of the difficult tasks most urgently demanded today is precisely that of working to bring about this change of attitude, abandoning the dominant culture of waste and rejection. Providing information and raising awareness are ways in which your Commission can help the Catholic Church to dispel many unfounded prejudices and fears regarding the reception of foreigners. Without ignoring the many commitments that such welcome requires, you will also help promote a balanced and positive perception of migration.

This is an important contribution in preparation for the Global Compact on Migration, also in the period between the conclusion of the intergovernmental negotiations and the Marrakech Conference (10-11 December 2018), where it should be adopted. This delicate time calls for unhesitating guidance so that UN member states can share the appeal with awareness and determination.

In contrast to closed attitudes, however, we see the positive approach of many young people who consider migration to be a normal dimension of society, which has been made so interdependent by fast connections, by communications, and by the need for relationships on a global scale. These are dimensions in which we can certainly see the “signs of the times” that prompt solidarity on a global scale.

From your varied experiences in the field, then, comes another special contribution, a discrete and competent one, for creating alternative and safe paths of migration, especially where they are caused by violent events or disasters. I encourage you to continue this work, which based on your competence, capacity for dialogue and discretion, is one of the best ways to save lives: avoiding dangerous journeys and the use of traffickers; keeping families together; protecting minors in need; creating bonds of mutual trust between countries in this field, so as to prevent social concerns that also have political repercussions.

I am aware that although the elements just singled out are urgent, they are but a few of the larger concerns of your work. Now migration is on the agenda of every meeting I have with the governmental authorities who come to the Vatican, or whom I go to visit. I often receive their appreciation and gratitude for the contribution that the Catholic Church offers in their countries, also through the organizations inspired by its principles, to enable us to “welcome, protect, promote and integrate”, as Pope Francis invites us, with a sense of responsibility and of humanity, these migrant and refugee brothers and sisters. In continuity with its origins, the ICMC is now called to renewal. This happens, naturally, when managerial frameworks change. In fact, during this Assembly, the members of the Steering Committee will change and a person will be chosen for the task of President, which, we should remember, is also a service. Furthermore, “strengthened in a spirit of prophetic solidarity” you will also discuss the need for a renewed vigorous commitment in favour of migrants, not only in external projects, but also internally. With this dimension of communion, also among yourselves, you are called to strengthen the structures and unity of those who work for the ICMC based upon principles, approaches and aims guided by the Church’s Social Doctrine, so that the scope of your work does not remain merely humanitarian. In this way, the people you help will appreciate the influence of “witness” that only a personal experience of faith can offer.

We hope that this unity and communion will involve all the members of the Commission in this ecclesial service and those who are committed to achieving its goals. In this regard, I trust that my brother Bishops will increasingly appreciate the service offered by the ICMC, and so promote it and help it to grow according to its features as an institution “of the Church” and “for the Church”.

Assuring you of a special remembrance in prayer for your work and that the International Catholic Commission for Migration will increasingly continue to be a concrete sign of fraternity in the world and in the Church, I would like to recall what Pope Francis said at the conclusion of the spiritual exercises on 23 February: “the Church is not a cage for the Holy Spirit, […] the Spirit also flies out and works outside. (…) works in non-believers, in “pagans”, in people of other religious beliefs: it is universal, it is the Spirit of God, who is for everyone”. We bring to all people, through our concrete love, this free proclamation of the love of God, who welcomes, protects, knows how to value and makes you feel part of his family. May God, who knows how to reward every effort, every gesture of good will, help us to open ourselves without fear and reserve to the new appeals of the Spirit, for the good of our brothers and sisters. I hope, therefore, that your work will be good and fruitful!

[Original text: Italian] [Vatican-provided text]

Pope’s Morning Homily: God Pardons Us 77 Times, But We Must Forgive Others

Tue, 03/06/2018 - 8:45 AM

God pardons us 77 times, but that is with the presumption that we too forgive others.

According to Vatican News, Pope Francis gave this reminder during his daily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta as he reflected on the readings of the day, also warning that Satan tries to discourage us from forgiveness, ‘enslaving us’ to hatred.

The Holy Father’s homily centered on acknowledging our sinfulness and, in order to be forgiven by God, forgiving others.

Recalling today’s First Reading from the Book of Daniel, the Pontiff remembered Azariah. Even after being thrown into a burning furnace for refusing to deny the Lord,  Azariah does not complain to God for his suffering nor blame Him, but continues professing God’s greatness.

Accusing ourselves, as Francis described it, is the first step towards forgiveness, and also demonstrates Christian wisdom.

When we approach the sacrament of penance, Francis stressed, we ought to have this attitude, of realizing that despite how much God has given me and continues to give me, that I have sinned against Him. Sorry for offenses, we ask Him for salvation.

The Jesuit Pontiff recalled that once at a confessional there was a woman who tried to justify herself by sharing a long list of the sins of her mother-in-law. The confessor, he told those present, cut her short asking her to start confessing her own sins.

The Lord loves a contrite heart, Francis noted, saying those who trust in God are never disappointed.

“A contrite heart tells the truth to the Lord. And what the Lord does is shuts our mouth, like the father does to the Prodigal Son. He does not allow him to speak, but covers him with love, forgiving everything.”

The Holy Father invited Christians not to be ashamed of admitting their sins, assuring them that the Lord justifies us by forgiving us, “not just once but always,” but, reminding that there is the condition that we forgive others.

It is not easy to forgive, the Pope acknowledged, because rancor “makes a nest in our hearts, always leaving behind a bitter taste. We often narrate a lot of things others have done to us.”

Pope Francis concluded, warning Christians against being enslaved to hatred and urging them to keep two things in mind: one, we need to praise the Lord and acknowledge our sins; and two, God pardons us seventy times seven, provided we forgive others.


Pope Thanks Couple Celebrating 75th Anniversary for Their Witness of Faith & Union

Tue, 03/06/2018 - 8:03 AM

Pope Francis has thanked a couple celebrating their 75th wedding anniversary for their witness of faith and union.

According to L’Osservatore Romano, at the end of his daily morning Mass at his residence Casa Santa Marta on March 5, 2018, the Pope greeted and blessed Maria Martorella and Carmine Persichetti.

Maria is 93, and Carmine, 94. They are from Bomba in Abbruzz0’s province of Chieti, and have three daughters and four grandchildren.

The Holy Father paused briefly to talk with them and with Donatina, one of the daughters who accompanied them. Pope Francis was given as a gift a bird that Carmine himself had carved in the wood.

During the Pope’s Mass, his homily stressed that religion and faith are not “a spectacle” and that faithful should convert their way of thinking.

Archbishop Jurkovič: Quarter of World’s Children Facing Disaster

Mon, 03/05/2018 - 8:32 PM

One of four children in the world were affected by humanitarian disasters in 2017, according to Archbishop Ivan Jurkovič Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the UN and Other International Organizations in Geneva.

His comment came at the 37th Session of the Human Rights Council Annual Full Day Meeting: Rights of the Child, on March 5, 2018. He went on to lament the growing number of humanitarian situations in all regions of the world.

“While some progress has been made, we are deeply concerned by the fact that, in 2017, around 535 million children1 were affected by humanitarian disasters; this represents one child out of four in the world.,” according to the archbishop. “Many innocent children are trapped in vulnerable situations just because they are living in the poorest parts of the world, they belong to ethnic or religious minorities, are refugees or migrants, sometimes unaccompanied or suffering disabilities.”

The Archbishop’s full statement:

Mr. President,

My Delegation takes note of the High Commissioner’s Report on protecting the rights of the child in humanitarian situations and commends its special focus on child protection and the implementation of the rights to health and education in emergency situations. While some progress has been made, we are deeply concerned by the fact that, in 2017, around 535 million children1 were affected by humanitarian disasters; this represents one child out of four in the world.

We are experiencing a growing number of humanitarian situations in all regions of the world, which affect too many people, especially our children, our future. Armed conflicts, local crises and natural disasters due to climate change are creating waves of refugees, migrants, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and suffering people every day. Many innocent children are trapped in vulnerable situations just because they are living in the poorest parts of the world, they belong to ethnic or religious minorities, are refugees or migrants, sometimes unaccompanied or suffering disabilities. Most of all, they risk to be victims of unscrupulous individuals or organizations, suffering abuses, smuggling, trafficking for sexual or labor slavery, or removal of organs, or even recruitment as soldiers.

My Delegation would like to highlight that this year’s seventieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – which sets the protection, promotion and respect of the dignity of human person as the pivotal concern of the international community – should remind us that the dignity of our children is at risk and that the best interests of the child should be a priority within every humanitarian situation. Such situations have an enormous impact on children’s formative years, affecting their survival, their mental, social and environmental development as well as their physical well-being.

Mr. President,

Let me point out that the human rights to education and to health shape the future of every child. However, children cannot benefit from these and other human rights unless they are registered at birth. If a proper path of education and development is not resumed, these children are at risk of becoming a lost generation. Prevention is the best medicine, and this begins with access to citizenship, health, education and promoting a culture of respect of human rights and human dignity of every child. In fact, as underlined by the UN Secretary-General, the legal framework to protect children is in place, it just needs to be applied. However, “if we leave the next generation traumatized, seething with grievances, we betray those we serve and we betray ourselves”2.

Mr. President,

My delegation calls on the international community, governments, civil society, NGOs and all relevant stakeholders to collaborate closely to protect children. The common good and the best interest of the child should be the guiding principles in all circumstances and without any conditions, based on solidarity and on the awareness that the future is in the hands of our children.

Children require heightened attention, by all members of the human family who must share the responsibility to protect and help them to enjoy their God-given human dignity. In fact, as remembered by Pope Francis, “a people that does not take care of its elderly, its children and its youth have no future because it abuses both memory and promise”3.

Let us reject the throw-away culture that plagues our world and feeds tendencies toward greed, corruption, violence, war and environmental degradation. Let us insist that all citizens of this world have a responsibility to care for the safety and the physical and emotional health of children, who constitute the future of our society.

Thank you, Mr. President.

1 UNICEF, “Humanitarian Action for Children 2017”.

2 Guterres, A. “Remarks to the Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict”, 31 October 2017.

3 Pope Francis, “Message of Holy Father Francis to participants in the 47th Social Week of Italian Catholics”, Turin, 12-15 September 2013

Copyright © 2017 Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations, All rights reserved.

Liturgy Q & A: Colored Vestments During Exposition and Benediction

Mon, 03/05/2018 - 7:02 PM


Answered by Legionary of Christ Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy and dean of theology at the Regina Apostolorum university.

Q: Your article “Vestments for Exposition and Benediction” helped me a lot. I was interested in the possibility of using different liturgical colors during adoration. Is there a liturgical document that says that it is OK to use a green cope and humeral veil, during Eucharistic adoration outside of Mass, while praying Sunday Evening Prayer II of Ordinary time? Or violet during Lent and so on? — E.C., Orange, New Jersey

A: The original reply from April 25, 2017, already hinted at this possibility when we mentioned that, while the usual norm was white vestments, the norms themselves imply possible exceptions with respect to exposition. For example, when exposition is during Mass the priest would expose wearing the chasuble and stole of the corresponding day. Since this form of exposition is not tied to particular feasts, the exposition could use any liturgical color.

We continued:

“The above would be the most common exception. Another would be if solemn vespers are celebrated at the conclusion of a prolonged period of adoration. In this case, the celebrant could wear a stole and cope of the proper liturgical color of the office and then give the Benediction using a white humeral veil. Otherwise, he could wear white for the hour of the Divine Office.

“Due to these exceptions, we cannot say that the rule that white is always the required color is a strict rule. However, the exceptions are always in the context of another liturgical act being in some way combined with exposition or Benediction.

“In the case mentioned by our reader, if solemn lauds or vespers were to immediately follow exposition, then it could be an option to expose in a cope of a different color than white.

“If this is not the case, then it would not be correct to use stoles or copes of any color other than white for the moment of exposition and Benediction.”

To further clarify this reply we could say that when a liturgical act such as the Liturgy of the Hours is carried out before the Blessed Sacrament exposed it would usually follow its normal rubrics except in such aspects as directly relate to the veneration of the Blessed Sacrament.

Thus, for example, if solemn lauds or vespers are prayed within the context of a prolonged exposition, which will continue after the celebration of the office, then the priest would wear stole and cope of the proper liturgical color (green, white, red or violet).

The celebrant’s chair is usually placed at an angle in such a way that he is turned toward the Blessed Sacrament, without necessarily facing away from the people.

If the altar is to be incensed during the Benedictus or Magnificat, then, having prepared the thurible at the chair, the celebrant and ministers would come to the front of the altar, genuflect and kneel while the celebrant incenses the Blessed Sacrament in the usual manner. They would then go up to the altar, genuflect again and continue the incensing the altar. They would also genuflect together whenever they pass the monstrance.

If desired, the concluding intercessions of the office may be made, as the celebrant and ministers stand before the altar with the monstrance.

The final blessing and dismissal are omitted.

The priest and ministers then genuflect and withdraw.

With respect to humeral veils, as mentioned in the previous article, there is some tradition for using red or violet humeral veils to transfer the Blessed Sacrament during the services of Holy Week.

When it comes to imparting Benediction, however, as far as I know, the custom is that the humeral veil should always be white, even if the cope is of a different liturgical color.

 * * *

 Readers may send questions to zenit.liturgy@gmail.com. Please put the word “Liturgy” in the subject field. The text should include your initials, your city, and your state, province or country. Father McNamara can only answer a small selection of the great number of questions that arrive.


ACN Poll of US Catholics Measures Concerns on Key Issues

Mon, 03/05/2018 - 12:46 PM

Forty percent of US Catholics believe that Christian persecution around the world is “severe.” Four-in-ten Catholics say that half or more of religiously-based attacks around the world are directed at Christians.

However, US Catholics say they are less concerned about Christian persecution than about human trafficking, poverty, climate change, and the global refugee crisis.

A nationwide poll examining the views on global Christian persecution on US Catholics was conducted by Aid to the Church in Need-USA/McLaughlin & Associates. Results were released March 1, 2018. The survey aimed to measure:

  • The extent to which American Catholics are aware of Christian persecution around the world;
  • The countries and regions where they consider Christians to most severely persecuted;
  • Specific measures and policies they want the US and other Western governments to pursue;
  • The extent to which they feel that the Pope, their bishops and their parishes are making the issue of Christian persecution a priority;
  • Actions they believe they can and should take themselves;

When ranking the severity of Christian persecution in 14 countries, US Catholics ranked in the top five countries where they believe Christian persecution is “extremely severe” in the following order: North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Pakistan.

In terms of possible US and other Western government policies to deter Christian persecution, US Catholics say diplomatic pressure is most important, followed by economic sanctions, granting victims of persecution emergency asylum, supporting persecuted Christian communities financially, and military intervention

When asked what they themselves should do to help persecuted Christians around the world, American  Catholics ranked prayer highest, followed by raising awareness at the parish level, donating to agencies that work to support persecuted Christians, and contacting their Members of Congress. However, almost half of US Catholics have not donated in the past year to an organization that comes to the aid of persecuted Christians

A significant number of US Catholics is unsure about the engagement level of the Catholic Church on the issue of Christian persecution. Almost half of US Catholics say that Pope Francis is “very engaged” on the issue, while only 27% say that of their local bishop is very engaged, and 24% believe that their parish is very involved with the issue.

“What the survey reveals quite clearly,” said George Marlin, chairman of Aid to the Church in Need-USA (ACNUSA), “is that there is a need to increase the engagement level of the US Catholic Church when it comes to global Christian persecution—both at the grassroots and leadership levels. The issue has to become a priority.”

“What we hope our poll will do is show the bishops and their priests that the laity need more education and leadership to give them a stronger sense of the seriousness and pervasiveness of Christian persecution around the world. We have an obligation to raise our voice and stand up for persecuted Christians,” Marlin concluded.


Syria: New Soles for Souls

Mon, 03/05/2018 - 11:45 AM

More than 450 of the poorest elderly people in Syria have received new shoes – thanks to a grant from the UK office of Aid to the Church in Need (CAN). The charity provides for people in Aleppo in their 60s and 70s, many of them living alone and lacking the income to cover the most basic needs.

ACN project partner Sister Annie Demerjian told the charity: “I am very happy for the [elderly people] to have warm shoes as they do not have heating in their rooms or they are working outside.

“They depend on God and the emergency aid given to them.

“Their children may have fled aboard or they remain in the city but are so poor that they cannot help.”

She added: “Sometimes I see my dad and mum in these elderly people when I visit them suffering at the end of their life.”

“When they were trying on the new shoes we saw that five or six persons were wearing plastic bags in their shoes to protect their feet from the water.”

Each pair of shoes cost on average £11 – a good price according to ACN Middle East project partners, given Syria’s rampant inflation.

Sister Annie spoke of how young families are struggling in Syria.

She said: “Life has become expensive 100,000 Syrian pounds (£140) is needed for medicine and rent every month. None of the families can afford this – they earn less than half this amount.

“It is very difficult for people to find work here and those who do work earn very little. This is especially true for the old people.”

Sister Annie said that in response she and her 10 volunteers reach out to people in need across Aleppo and, working with others, she provides help including blankets and clothes in other Syrian towns and cities, including Homs, Maaloula and Hassake.

She added: “The volunteers give the [needy people] cash for electricity and daily necessities and vouchers for food at local supermarkets. Also, many families need help with rent.”

“We are helping Christian families that we know are in desperate need – we help any family that knocks on our door and we do not ask them their religion.

“In east Aleppo – now open again – we distributed coats and goods to the children.”

Speaking of aid recipient Janet Kassar, aged 79, Sister Annie said: “One volunteer, Joseph gives aid to [Janet] and every time they meet she lights a candle and opens hands offering a prayer of thanks to ACN’s benefactors.

Thanking the charity on behalf of Mrs. Kassar and the hundreds of others, the Sister added: “I want to say a big thank you for remembering our brothers and sisters in Christ. I want to assure you of the grateful thanks of families that pray every day for the help they receive.”

Last year, Aid to the Church in Need fulfilled more than 140 projects in Syria, most of them involving emergency aid.