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From: The World Seen From Rome
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Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations, called on November 21, 2017, for the international community to work towards the eradication of slavery by confronting all of its economic, environmental, political and ethical root causes, emphasizing the importance of preventing and ending the wars and conflicts that create conditions for traffickers to exploit victims.

His statement came during the Security Council Open Debate on “Maintenance of International Peace and Security: Trafficking in Persons in Conflict Situations,” at the United Nations in New York.

As long as wars and conflicts rage, trafficking in persons for sexual exploitation, forced labor and similar crimes will continue to flourish, according to Archbishop Auza. The Holy See said that migrants and refugees are particularly vulnerable targets of traffickers. It called on States and religious organizations to work in collaboration to eradicate human trafficking and modern slavery in all its forms, and expressed appreciation for the leaders and followers of various religions who care for those who are forced to live in slave-like conditions.

The statement follows.

Intervention of H.E. Archbishop Bernardito Auza
Apostolic Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the
United Nations
United Nations Security Council Open Debate on
Maintenance of international peace and security:
Trafficking in Persons in Conflict Situations
New York, 21 November 2017

Mr. President,

The Holy See thanks the Presidency of Italy for convening today’s debate and keeping the issue of trafficking in persons in conflict situations high on the Security Council’s agenda.

Security Council Resolution 2331 (2016), which was adopted a year after the landmark Presidential Statement 2015/25 issued in this Council’s first-ever meeting on trafficking in persons, refers to a correlation between trafficking in persons, sexual violence, armed conflict, terrorism and transnational organized crime. The Council has underscored that acts or offences associated with trafficking in persons in conflict may constitute war crimes. The full potential of international criminal justice, however, needs to be exhausted if we are to be effective in our fight against this heinous crime.

To eradicate trafficking in persons, we must confront all its economic, environmental, political, and ethical causes, but it is particularly important to prevent and end the wars and conflicts that make people especially vulnerable to being trafficked. Wars and violent conflicts have become the biggest driving force of forced human displacement. [1] This situation is an enabling environment for human traffickers, who increasingly exploit this tragic humanitarian situation to target refugees, forced migrants and internally displaced persons themselves in their criminal enterprises. As long as wars and conflicts rage, trafficking in persons for sexual exploitation, forced labor and similar crimes will continue to flourish. One of the most effective ways to eradicate trafficking in persons is therefore to prevent conflicts and put an end to wars.

Efforts to end violent conflict, moreover, should be accompanied by measures to protect affected populations from traffickers, in particular those most vulnerable, like women and children. In this regard, the Holy See would like to highlight the importance of the implementation of the Responsibility to Protect in the context of the migration and refugee crises that facilitate trafficking in persons. When States and the international community have failed to protect people from war and atrocities such that people have felt compelled to flee their homes, we all have a great and urgent responsibility to protect them from further harm, including falling into the hands of human traffickers. The criminalization of forced migrants, and of undocumented and irregular migrants in general, exacerbates their vulnerabilities, drives them further into the clutches of traffickers and other extreme forms of exploitation, and renders them less likely to collaborate with the law enforcement
authorities to catch and punish the traffickers.

Mr. President,

Achieving the specific targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aimed at ending trafficking in persons is an integral part of our efforts. Target 5.2 aims to eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls… including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation; Target 8.7 seeks to take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labor, end modern slavery and human trafficking; and 16.2 on the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies, aims to end abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children.

Like the Sustainable Development Agenda as a whole, these targets are immense challenges that no individual, organization or State can achieve alone. But, up until now, the response to these targets and to trafficking in persons in general has not been commensurate to the challenge. Despite significant progress and efforts, like the High-Level Meeting on the UN Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons held on September 27-28 this year, much more still needs to be done to achieve better coordination among governments, the judiciary, law enforcement officials and civil society.

Likewise, leaders and followers of various religions around the world must do all in their power, within their respective communities and beyond, to save the millions of children, women and men who are forced to live in slave-like conditions. In this context, my Delegation wishes to thank all faith-based organizations and religious communities, in particular women religious, who have long been at the forefront in the fight against trafficking in persons, and in the commitment to accompany survivors with loving concern on the long journey back to living a life in freedom and dignity.

Mr. President,

On the World Day against Trafficking in Persons this July, Pope Francis warned us all against “getting used” to trafficking in persons, treating it as if it were a “normal thing,” when in reality it is, he said, “ugly, cruel, criminal, an aberrant plague, a modern form of slavery, a crime against humanity”. [2] In his name, my Delegation renews the appeal for a universal commitment to ending this heinous crime.

Thank you, Mr. President.

1. The UN High Commission for Refugees annual Global Trends report says an unprecedented 65.6 million people, the highest levels since the Second World War, have been uprooted from their homes by wars, conflicts and persecutions at the end of 2016.
2. Pope Francis, World Day against Trafficking in Persons, 30 July 2017, and his Address to the Participants in the International Conference on Human Trafficking, Vatican City, 10 April 2014.

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

 

JF

7 hours 33 min

The Vatican announced November 21, 2017, that two simultaneous art exhibitions will be held starting in spring, 2018, one at the Vatican Museums, the other at the Forbidden City in Beijing.

The announcement came at a press conference at the Vatican featuring representatives of the Vatican Museums and the China Culture Investment Fund.

This will be the first time that the Pope’s Museums have organized an exhibition with Chinese cultural institutions, according to Barbara Jatta, director of the Vatican Museums. She noted that there isn’t “one” exhibition, but exhibitions in both places.

“I believe, however, that the real novelty is the spirit that has inspired us from the beginning, and on whose solid foundations rests this friendship and this relationship with the cultural institutions of China, and which have led to what we will present to you today,”Jatta said.

“Beauty is always an extraordinary vehicle for talking, at every latitude and longitude, physical or temporal,” she continued. “Without fear, without barriers. On behalf of humanity, because I believe that beauty, in the broadest sense of the term, is a need we all share.”

“I am firmly convinced that the upcoming simultaneous Sino-Vatican Exhibition will start a new chapter in the cultural exchanges between the Chinese people and the Vatican, enabling greater closeness and comprehension between two countries with a profound cultural tradition,” said Zhu Jiancheng, secretary general of the China Culture Investment Fund. “We are about to inaugurate the simultaneous Sino-Vatican Exhibition, an event which crosses borders and time and unites cultures, and which will further strengthen the friendship between China and the Vatican, and will favor the normalization of diplomatic relations between China and the Vatican.”

The spirit of the initiative was summarized by master painter Yan Zhang, whose paintings will be included in the exhibitions:

“Dialogue between us is possible and inevitable because of our common sense of goodness. In the twenty-first century, the extraordinary plan to build a solid bridge of dialogue between Beijing and the Vatican will make the Silk Road shine once again! May friendship and peace reign in the world!”

 

Remarks of Barbara Jatta

I am particularly glad to open this press conference, thanking all of you for your presence. Special thanks are due to our illustrious guests, or rather I would say our friends from the People’s Republic of China, gathered here on such a special occasion.

In the life, complex and fascinating, of an institution as multi-faceted as the Vatican Museums, ordinary activities may at times assume particular tones.

Organizing exhibitions is, in effect, I would say a rather everyday activity for an international museum such as ours. We promote some of them directly: a select few. There are far more, dozens every year, in which we participate in various countries throughout the world. At times we do this simply by loaning works, others as co-organizers (there comes to mind the current exhibition in Santiago in Chile, which I recently inaugurated in person).

In this respect, there would be no news in the fact that the Vatican Museums are holding an exhibition, and in all probability, none of you would be here today.

Our meeting is special, however, for a series of reasons.

First and foremost, because it will be the first time that the Pope’s Museums have organized an exhibition with Chinese cultural institutions. This seems to me to be a first fact of primary importance.

Secondly, because it would not really be “one” exhibition, but rather a much wider-ranging project composed of two “corresponding” exhibitions, one in the Vatican and one in China, and this latter will not be limited to one city, but will instead be itinerant. My friends present here on the panel will explain the details, whereas I will limit myself to some brief points.

I believe, however, that the real novelty is the spirit that has inspired us from the beginning, and on whose solid foundations rests this friendship and this relationship with the cultural institutions of China, and which have led to what we will present to you today.

In these months, as this idea gradually took shape, we found ourselves, perhaps unexpectedly, with a shared awareness of the joint task required, more so today than in the past, of realities such as ours: to be able to speak a universal language, that can only be that of beauty, which makes a powerful appeal to harmony and unity.

Beauty is always an extraordinary vehicle for talking, at every latitude and longitude, physical or temporal. Without fear, without barriers. On behalf of humanity, because I believe that beauty, in the broadest sense of the term, is a need we all share.

I think that it is precisely here that we find the key to the success of what in the Vatican Museums we like to define as the “diplomacy of art”, which is certainly not our own discovery, but which belongs instead to the centuries-long tradition of the Church. However, it is up to us today to carry forth and to creatively re-interpret this in constant rapport with the global scenario in front of us. I think that this is what the Holy Father expects of “his” Museums!

I am, therefore, convinced that the activities we will present to you today will bear an abundant harvest and will be a positive sign of hope which, looking around us, we are all in need of.

 

Remarks of Zhu Jiancheng

Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,

First of all, I would like to express my sincere thanks to the Vatican promoter of this event for their scrupulous organization and warm hospitality. In particular, I would like to thank Msgr. Nicolini for all that he has done.

I am firmly convinced that the upcoming simultaneous Sino-Vatican Exhibition will start a new chapter in the cultural exchanges between the Chinese people and the Vatican, enabling greater closeness and comprehension between two countries with a profound cultural tradition.

This event has great significance in the promotion of mutual understanding and reciprocal trust between the two parties.

An ancient Chinese philosopher, Maestro Han Fei Zi (280 B.C. to 233 B.C.) said, “The relations between nations depend upon the closeness between the peoples, and the closeness between peoples depends upon the communication of hearts”. We all know that this is also the thought of Pope Francis.

China has a long history of peace diplomacy. Already 2100 years ago China opened the Silk Road and promoted exchange between eastern and western culture.

Cultural exchange precedes diplomacy. The China Culture Investment Fund was founded in 2011 by the competent governmental departments of the People’s Republic of China, but it is a non-governmental organization dedicated to promoting culture and cultural exchanges with other countries.

It has already carried out a series of significant activities in the field of culture and diplomacy for “world peace”.

On 31 May this year, two large works by Maestro Zhang Yan were donated by us, on behalf of the Chinese people, to the Pope. It was a response to the greeting Pope Francis addressed in 2014 to the Secretary General Xi and to the Chinese people.

We are about to inaugurate the simultaneous Sino-Vatican Exhibition, an event which crosses borders and time and unites cultures, and which will further strengthen the friendship between China and the Vatican and will favor the normalization of diplomatic relations between China and the Vatican.

Today, in the twenty-first century, we hope that with the impetus of the project “One Belt, one Road” proposed by the president Xi Jinping, we will actively carry out an exchange of culture and art between China and the Vatican. Together we will promote the civilization of all the world and the progress of humanity.

 

Remarks of Yan Zhang

His Holiness, Pope Francis, Distinguished guests,

Today for me is a great honor, as my works “Nature and Religion” join more significant and symbolic pieces from the Chinese collections of the Vatican Museums and the National Museum of China, which will be exhibited simultaneously at the Vatican Museums and in Beijing.

At this historical moment, of major efforts to develop the civil relations between China and the Vatican, as a member of the 1,38 billion people of Chinese nationality, I would like to express our sincere homage of true friendship to His Holiness Pope Francis and to all those who have contributed to the cultural exchanges. The two exhibitions represent the two extremes of a bridge of dialogue of civilization. As a messenger of this cultural exchange, it is my pleasure and my privilege to transmit the greetings and friendship of the Chinese people.

The Vatican is the fulcrum of faith for a sixth of the world’s population, and it was the heart of the European Renaissance. From the Renaissance, and then with the First Industrial Revolution, and above all at the end of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first, the world has experienced a great increase in material wealth and technological progress. And yet, on the other hand, the relationship between men, and between man and nature, has never been so strained. Humanity has even developed the capacity to destroy our ecosystem and ourselves. This is true of the 1.2 billion Catholics, the 1.38 billion Chinese and the 7.2 billion inhabitants of our world: we all inevitably face the final challenge posed to the human race. The survival or destruction of life on Earth depends upon our response to this final challenge for humanity.

In 1993, twenty-four years ago, I began a systematic and continuous reflection on these themes, which led me to the realization of more than twenty paintings, including the works Cradling Arm and Iron Staff Lama, which explore the theme of “Nature and Religion” through the use of the expressive and tolerant strength proper to oil painting, and the focus on the final question of man, which is common to both Chinese and western painting and culture. On 31 May 2017, Cradling Arm and Iron Staff Lama – the works that best represent my work and reflection over these last twenty years – were offered as a gift to His Holiness Pope Francis as a sign of friendship on behalf of the 1.4 billion Chinese people, and were then generously given by the Holy Father to the Vatican Museums to be included and displayed in the permanent collection.

I produced a charcoal sketch of the Sacred Mountain, which was presented to the Holy Father. At the request of the Vatican Library, I completed the reproduction by creating a painting of the sketch for the Vatican Library collection.

For me, Kanrenmuqi is the sacred mountain of all humanity, incorporating the essence of religion. It represents the place of a permanent spirit that should be eternity, and cannot be destroyed!

The “Father” is love among the faithful, like father and son: white as snow, white also like the Pope’s robe. The mountain is like the body and with the cross it bears.

In the end, I would say that no matter to what country we belong or what belief we profess, “nothing in the world is irrelevant with us”. Mother Earth, which as Pope Francis says in his Encyclical Laudato si’ is a beautiful mother welcoming us in her arms, shows that the great family of nations can be tolerant and united. Chinese and Vatican cultures too need communication and exchange, as do all the cultures of Earth. The sacred mountain is a natural symbol of the dialogue and civilization of the encounter. Selfless friendship between China and Pope Francis and the idea that we are all a single family will urge men to rethink the relationship between humanity, life, society, and nature. The aesthetics of art will reveal in us the complete awareness of the environment, benevolence, and tolerance.

Dialogue between us is possible and inevitable because of our common sense of goodness. In the twenty-first century, the extraordinary plan to build a solid bridge of dialogue between Beijing and the Vatican will make the Silk Road shine once again! May friendship and peace reign in the world!

 

13 hours 37 min

Cultural and ideological colonization doesn’t tolerate differences and makes everything equal, ending by persecuting believers,” said Pope Francis in his homily of the Mass celebrated this morning, November 21, 2017, in the chapel of Santa Marta Residence.

In his homily, the Holy Father said that “ideological and cultural colonizations only see the present, they deny the past and don’t see the future. They live in the moment, not in time, and that’s why they can’t promise us anything.”

“And with this attitude that all be the same and erase differences, they commit the very bad sin of blasphemy against God the Creator,” he explained. “Every time there is a cultural or ideological colonization, one sins against God the Creator because one wants to change Creation as He made it,” he continued.

The Pontiff based his reflection on the Eleazar’s martyrdom, narrated in the Book of the Maccabees proposed in the First Reading (2 Maccabees 6:18-31).

Persecution

Francis pointed out that there are three main types of persecutions: one that is only religious; another that is politico-religious, such as, for instance, the “Thirty Years War” or “Saint Bartholomew’s Night,” and a third that is purely “cultural,” namely, when “a new culture arrives that wants to make everything new and sweeps away all traditions, history, and even a people’s religion.” This last type of persecution is the one Eleazar met, condemned to die because of his fidelity to God.

“Everything new,” “modernity” is a real ideological colonization, which wants to impose on the people of Israel “this unique custom,” in virtue of which everything is done like this and there is freedom for other things. And some accepted it because it seemed a good thing to them to be like the rest, and thus traditions are eliminated and the people begin to live in a different way, explained Francis.

Some resistances are born to defend the “true traditions,” such as that of Eleazar, a worthy and very respected man, clarified the Bishop of Rome, who pointed out that the story of these martyrs, of these heroes is told in the Book of the Maccabees.

A persecution stemming from ideological colonization always goes on thus: it destroys, “makes everything the same, isn’t capable of tolerating differences,” stressed the Pontiff.

Francis ended his homily hoping that Eleazar’s example “will help us in moments, perhaps, of confusion, given the cultural and spiritual colonizations proposed to us.”

Translation by Virginia M. Forrester

 

JF

14 hours 29 min

The 2017 Christmas Concert will be held again in the Vatican this year on December 16. The funds collected will be allocated to educational projects for young people and children: one of the Don Bosco Foundation in the World and another of the organization of pontifical right Scholas Occurrentes.

 In the presentation event, held on Monday, November 20 in the Marconi Room of Vatican Radio, Jose Maria del Corral, President of Scholas Occurrents, announced that in the first semester of 2018, the first meeting will be held in the Vatican of young people victims of bullying and cyber-bullying, and an Observatory will be established against bullying.

The Congregation for Catholic Education is sponsoring the initiative.  Its Secretary, Archbishop Angelo Vincenzo Zani, pointed out: “Our dicastery is concerned with education and, usually, doesn’t sponsor cultural events. However, “to have a secure peace, it’s necessary to invest in education,” to generate a “culture of hospitality and fraternity.”

Thus a concrete answer is given by supporting these two initiatives, said the Archbishop, because recent <statistics> indicate large numbers of illiteracy in the world, especially to “help each person to become a concrete protagonist,” to build a better world.

In addition to “giving positive answers”, the “two projects have two points in common: children and young people.”

Scholas’ Director said that they are “working with young people against ‘cyber-bullying,’” and to do so, they are “using the Internet, in addition to art, culture, and sport.”

Last time we spoke about sports for young people, said Jose Maria del Corral, convinced that the soccer ball and books can go together, which is “not such a modern thing, but old,” as demonstrated by “Don Bosco, Champagnat, and Lasalle, who fomented sports along with study.”

A Way Out through Art

 “Sports, art, technology are Scholas’ working points, and this time, with the Christmas Concert, we are here because of art,” clarified the organization’s Director. Thus Scholas brings together public and private schools of different creeds.

He went on to say that “we have lived an intense experience in Madrid, where young people in a difficult situation found a way out through art.”

Next week in Naples we begin with a project of active citizenship, together with other young people who recently left prison,” he continued.

He mentioned that “in the schools, cell phones are removed ‘as if they were weapons’ and, instead, we, parents, give them to them.” What is desired is that parents help them to know how to use them because we have verified “many situations of bullying,” noted del Corral.

Child Protection

For his part, Father Tullio Order, President of the Don Bosco Foundation in the World, stressed the correctness with which the funds are used. This year, in particular, there are two projects dedicated to child protection.

One project is in India, working to change the tradition that gives girls as brides. The other is in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and neighboring areas, where boys and girls are obliged to work in the mines.

This involves some 4,000 people directly or indirectly, he said. And children who leave this work must be given access to instruction. He also pointed out that each kilo of coltan [dull metallic mineral] used for mobile phones results in the death of two children, due to landslides.

The aim of the Salesian projects is “to put an end to these sores and to reinsert young people in the society,” concluded Monsignor Zani.

Stefania Scorpio, who has promoted the Christmas Concert, explained that in 2006 the Concert ceased being held in Paul VI Hall and that,  it will return there next December 6, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of its establishment.

Translation by Virginia M. Forrester

 

JF

 

14 hours 39 min

The Holy Father has established the Third Section of the Secretariat of State, with the denomination of Section for Diplomatic Staff of the Holy See, reinforcing the current office of the Delegate for Pontifical Representations, it was announced November 21, 2017, in a communique from the Vatican Secretariat of State.

The Section, which will be within the Secretariat of State, will be chaired by the Delegate for Pontifical Representations (currently H.E. Msgr. Jan Romeo Pawlowski).

It will have the aim of manifesting the attention and closeness of the Holy Father and the Superiors of the Secretariat of State to diplomatic personnel. To this end, the Delegate for Pontifical Representations may be expected to make regular visits to the offices of the Pontifical Representations.

The Third Section will deal exclusively with matters relating to the staff who work in the diplomatic service of the Holy See or who prepare to do so – such as, for example, selection, initial and continuing formation, conditions of life and service, promotions, permits, etc.

In the exercise of these functions it will be granted the just autonomy and, at the same time, will seek to establish close collaboration with the Section for General Affairs (which will continue to handle general matters of the Pontifical Representations), and with the Section for Relations with States (which will continue to deal with the political aspects of the work of the Pontifical Representations). In this sense, the Delegate for the Pontifical Representations will participate, along with His Excellency the Substitute for General Affairs and His Excellency the Secretary for Relations with States, in weekly coordination meetings chaired by the Secretary of State. Furthermore, he will convene and chair ad hoc meetings for the preparation of the appointments of Pontifical Representatives. Finally, he will be responsible, along with the President of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, for the selection and formation of candidates.

© Libreria Editrice Vatican

 

JF

18 hours 12 min

Saying he is “especially keen to meet Religious Leaders in Ramna,” Pope Francis sent a video message to Bangladesh on November 21, 2017, just ahead of his upcoming apostolic journey: November 27-30, 2017, in Myanmar; and November 30-December 2, 2017, in Bangladesh.

In his message, the Holy Father said he comes “as a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ” and also wishes “to encounter the entire population.”

Message of the Holy Father

Dear friends,

As I prepare to visit Bangladesh, in just a few days’ time, I wish to send a word of greeting and friendship to all the people. I cannot wait for the moment in which we will be able to stay together.

I come as a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to proclaim His message of reconciliation, forgiveness and peace. My visit is intended to confirm the Catholic community of Bangladesh in its faith and witness of the Gospel, which teaches the dignity of every man and woman, and calls upon us to open our hearts to others, especially the poorest and most in need.

At the same time I wish to encounter the entire population. I am especially keen to meet religious leaders in Ramna. We live in a time in which believers and men of good will in every place are called to promote mutual comprehension and respect, and to support each other as members of the single human family.

I know that many in Bangladesh are hard at work to prepare for my visit, and I thank them. I ask each one of you to pray that the days in which I will be with you may be a source of hope and encouragement for all. I invoke divine blessings of joy and peace upon you and your families! See you soon!

© Libreria Editrice Vatican

 

JF

18 hours 24 min

Pope Francis announced the official dates of the 2018 Youth Synod: it will take place in Rome from October 3 to 28, 2018.

The pope also appointed Brazilian Cardinal Sergio da Rocha as general rapporteur, and two Italian priests as special secretaries: Fathers Giacomo Costa, Jesuit, and Rossano Sala, Salesian.

 

JF

18 hours 45 min

Pope Francis on November 21, 2017, appointed new bishops to the US dioceses of Nashville and Jefferson City.

The Holy Father appointed as bishop of Nashville, Bishop-elect J. Mark Spalding, of the clergy of the Archdiocese of Louisville, currently vicar general and pastor of the “Holy Trinity Parish” and the “Holy Name Parish” in Louisville.

The Pope also appointed bishop of Jefferson City, Bishop-elect W. Shawn McKnight, of the clergy of the diocese of Wichita, currently pastor of the “Church of the Magdalen Parish” in Wichita.

Msgr. J. Mark Spalding

Msgr. J. Mark Spalding was born on January 13, 1965, in Lebanon, Kentucky, in the Archdiocese of Louisville. After attending Bethlehem High School in Bardstown (1979 to 1983), he carried out his studies in philosophy at the “Saint Meinrad College Seminary” in Saint Meinrad, Indiana (1983-1987), and in theology at the “American College” Seminary in Leuven, Belgium (1987-1991), obtaining a licentiate in canon law from the Catholic University of Leuven (1992).

He was ordained a priest on August 3, 1991, for the Archdiocese of Louisville.

Since priestly ordination he has held the following offices: parish vicar of the “Saint Joseph Proto-Cathedral Parish” in Bardstown (1992-1996), of the “Saint Augustine Parish” in Lebanon (1996-1998), and of the “Saint Margaret Mary Parish” in Louisville (1998-1999); judicial vicar (1998-2011); pastor of the “Immaculate Conception Parish” in LaGrange (1999-2011), of the “Holy Trinity Parish” (since 2011) and the “Holy Name Parish” (since 2016) in Louisville, and vicar general (2011-2017). Since 1998 he has been a member of the presbyteral council and the college of consultors.

Rev. W. Shawn McKnight

The Rev. William Shawn McKnight was born on June 26, 1968, in Wichita, in the diocese of the same name. He attended the University of Dallas, obtaining a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry (1990). He entered the Seminary and carried out his ecclesiastical studies in the Pontifical “Josephinum” College in Columbus, Ohio (1990-1994). He subsequently obtained a licentiate (1999) and a doctorate (2001) in sacramental theology from the Pontifical Saint Anselm Athenaeum in Rome. He has published several articles on sacramental pastoral themes.

He was ordained a priest on May 28, 1994, for the diocese of Wichita.

Since priestly ordination, he has held the following offices: parish vicar of the “Blessed Sacrament Parish” in Wichita (1994-1997); parish administrator of the “Saint Patrick Parish” in Chanute (1999); chaplain and adjunct professor at “Newman University” in Wichita (2000-2001); pastor of the “Saint Mark the Evangelist Parish” in Colwich (2000-2003); diocesan director of Divine Worship, diocesan consultor and member of the presbyteral council (2000-2005); director of liturgy (2003-2007), assistant professor (2003-2008), dean of students (2004-2006), director of formation (2006-2007) and vice-president for “Development and Alumni Relations” (2007-2008) at the Pontifical “Josephinum” College in Columbus, Ohio; pastor of the “Blessed Sacrament Parish” in Wichita (2008-2010); Faculty member of the “Saint Meinrad” Seminary in Indiana for the formation of permanent deacons (2005-2010); executive director for the Office of the Clergy and Consecrated Life of the Episcopal Conference of the United States (2010-2015); pastor of the “Church of the Magdalen” parish in Wichita (since 2015).

 

JF

19 hours 3 min

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

Q: Is it possible, in the anointing of the sick within Mass, to use the sacramental form, “Through this holy anointing …,” only once, for all of those to be anointed, and to anoint each individual silently? Would such sacraments be valid? — K.L., Halifax, Massachusetts

A: According to the liturgical and sacramental theology such a practice would not be a valid administration of the sacrament of the anointing of the sick. The introduction to the Rite of Anointing of the Sick, when addressing the anointing of large groups (within or outside of Mass), states the following:

“108. The rites for anointing outside Mass and anointing within Mass may be used to anoint a number of people within the same celebration. These rites are appropriate for large gatherings of a diocese, parish, or society for the sick, or for pilgrimages. These celebrations should take place in a church, chapel, or other appropriate place where the sick and others can easily gather. On occasion, they may also take place in hospitals and other institutions.

“If the Ordinary decides that many people are to be anointed in the same celebration, either he or his delegate should ensure that all disciplinary norms concerning anointing are observed, as well as the norms for pastoral preparation and liturgical celebration. In particular, the practice of indiscriminately anointing numbers of people on these occasions simply because they are ill or have reached an advanced age is to be avoided. Only those whose health is seriously impaired by sickness or old age are proper subjects for the sacrament. The Ordinary also designates the priests who will take part in the celebration of the sacrament.

“The full participation of those present must be fostered by every means, especially through the use of appropriate songs, so that the celebration manifests the Easter joy which is proper to this sacrament.

“109. The communal rite begins with a greeting followed by a reception of the sick, which is a sympathetic expression of Christ’s concern for those who are ill and of the role of the sick in the people of God. Before the rite of dismissal, the blessing is given. The celebration may conclude with an appropriate song.

“110. If there are large numbers of sick people to be anointed, other priests may assist the celebrant. Each priest lays hands on some of the sick and anoints them, using the sacramental form. Everything else is done once for all, and the prayers are said in the plural by the celebrant. After the sacramental form has been heard at least once by those present, suitable songs may be sung while the rest of the sick are being anointed.”

Later in the rite, describing the ritual to be used for anointing within Mass the same principles apply, it says:

“137. The liturgy of the word is celebrated in the usual way according to the instructions in no. 134. The general intercessions are omitted since they are included in the litany. In the homily, the celebrant should show how the sacred text speaks of the meaning of illness in the history of salvation and of the grace given by the sacrament of anointing.

“A brief period of silence may follow the homily.

“138. The priest may adapt or shorten the litany according to the condition of the sick persons.

“139. In silence, the priest lays hands on the head of each sick person. If there are several priests present, each one lays hands on some of the sick.

“140. The priest says a prayer of thanksgiving over blessed oil or he may bless the oil himself (see PCS 21), using one of the following:

“141. The priest anoints the sick person with the blessed oil. If there are large numbers of sick people to be anointed, other priests may assist the celebrant. Each priest anoints some of the sick, using the sacramental form as described in no. 124.”

The sacramental form found in the above-mentioned 124 is:

“First he anoints the forehead, saying:

“Through this holy anointing may the Lord in his love and mercy help you with the grace of the Holy Spirit. R/ Amen

“Then he anoints the hands, saying:

“May the Lord who frees you from sin save you and raise you up. R/ Amen.

“The sacramental form is said only once, for the anointing of the forehead and hands, and is not repeated. Depending upon the culture and traditions of the place, as well as the condition of the sick person, the priest may also anoint additional parts of the body, for example, the area of pain or injury. He does not repeat the sacramental form.”

I think it is therefore clear that the sacramental form must be repeated each time a person is anointed.

In this case, it is like other sacraments where an action takes place while the sacramental form is pronounced, such as baptism and confirmation. In all these sacraments the action and the words must be pronounced by the same person at the same time.

There might be some historical doubt as to whether this is true for baptism since there have been cases of multitudes being baptized in a single occasion, beginning with the 3,000 Christians added on the day of Pentecost.

Ordination, at least in the Roman rite, separates the imposition of hands and the sacramental form so that several men can be ordained to a particular degree of ministry at the same time.

Matrimony is usually simultaneous, but it is possible to be married by proxy in separate venues.

In some special cases, the absolution of a sin has to be delayed so that there is a temporal separation between the matter and form of the sacrament.

The Eucharistic sacrifice and the real presence take place at the words of consecration, but the transformation involves all the hosts intended for consecration by the celebrant and not just the host in his hands.

 * * *

 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.

1 day 3 hours

The Vatican on November 20, 2017, released the Missal that will be used on the Holy Father’s Apostolic Journey November 27-30, 2017, in Myanmar; and November 30-December 2, 2017, in Bangladesh.

20171126-messale-myanmar-bangladesh

The full schedule of the trip is here.

1 day 14 hours

Pope Francis on November 29, 2017, expressed his condolences for the death on November 19, 2017, of Cardinal Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo, of the Title of Santa Maria in Portico, archpriest emeritus of the Papal Basilica of Saint Paul Outside-the-Walls. The Holy Father’s sentiments came in a telegram to the late cardinal’s sister, Marquise Adriana Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo.

Telegram of the Holy Father

MARQUISE ADRIANA CORDERO LANZA DI MONTEZEMOLO

THE DEPARTURE OF YOUR DEAR BROTHER, THE VENERABLE CARDINAL ANDREA CORDERO LANZA DI MONTEZEMOLO, INSPIRES IN MY HEART SENTIMENTS OF SINCERE ADMIRATION FOR A REVERED MAN OF THE CHURCH, WHO LIVED WITH FIDELITY HIS LONG AND FRUITFUL PRIESTHOOD AND EPISCOPATE IN THE SERVICE OF THE GOSPEL AND THE HOLY SEE. I REMEMBER WITH GRATITUDE HIS GENEROUS WORK IN THE PONTIFICAL REPRESENTATIONS OF VARIOUS COUNTRIES, ESPECIALLY IN PAPUA NEW GUINEA, NICARAGUA, HONDURAS, URUGUAY, ISRAEL AND ITALY, WHERE HE DEVOTED HIMSELF WITH WISDOM TO THE GOOD OF THOSE POPULATIONS. AS ARCHPRIEST OF THE PAPAL BASILICA OF SAINT PAUL OUTSIDE-THE-WALLS, HE GAVE THE WITNESS OF A PARTICULARLY INTENSE AND COMPETENT COMMITMENT BOTH FROM A PASTORAL AND ORGANIZATIONAL, AND AN ARTISTIC-CULTURAL POINT OF VIEW, ENDEAVOURING TO RESTORE SPIRITUAL VITALITY TO THE ENTIRE COMPLEX AND NEW ZEAL TO THE ECUMENICAL VOCATION OF THAT PLACE OF WORSHIP. I RAISE FERVENT PRAYERS FOR HIS REPOSE, SO THAT BY THE INTERCESSION OF THE VIRGIN MARY AND THE APOSTLE OF THE PEOPLE, THE LORD MAY RECEIVE THE DEPARTED CARDINAL IN HIS ETERNAL JOY AND PEACE, AND I SEND MY APOSTOLIC BLESSING TO YOU AND OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS, AND TO THOSE WHO MOURN THE PASSING OF THIS ZEALOUS PASTOR.

The Cardinal’s Biography

Cardinal Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo, Archpriest emeritus of the Papal Basilica of St. Paul-outside-the-Walls, was born on August 27, 1925, in Turin, Italy.

In 1949 he obtained a degree in architecture and while practicing such profession, he obtained from the Pontifical Gregorian University a bachelor’s degree in philosophy (1952) and a licentiate in theology (1954).

He was ordained a priest on March 13, 1954, and attended the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy (1957-1959) and in 1959 obtained a degree in canon law at the Pontifical Lateran University. In the same year, he entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See and for 42 years served as nunciature secretary in various countries: the apostolic delegation in Mexico (1960-1964); the apostolic nunciature in Japan (1964-1965); the apostolic nunciature in Kenya/Uganda/Tanzania (1965-1968); Secretariat of State, council for public affairs (1968-1972).

He was appointed under-secretary and then secretary of the Pontifical Commission Iustitia et Pax, and on April 5, 1977, he was nominated titular Archbishop of Anglona and Apostolic Pro-Nuncio in Papua New Guinea and Apostolic Delegate in the Solomon Islands. On 4 June 1977, he received episcopal ordination.

On October 25, 1980, he was transferred to the apostolic nunciatures in Honduras and Nicaragua, and on 1 April 1986, he was appointed Apostolic Nuncio in Uruguay.

On April 28, 1990, he was appointed Apostolic Delegate in Jerusalem and Palestine. On May 28 of the same year, he was appointed Apostolic Nuncio in Cyprus. Always in 1990, he was appointed Apostolic Delegate in Jordan.

On April 13, 1991, he was transferred to the titular see of Tuscania and from 1994-1998 he served as Apostolic Nuncio in Israel. From March 7, 1998, until April 2001 he served as Apostolic Nuncio in Italy and in San Marino.

On May 31, 2005, Pope Benedict XVI appointed him as Archpriest of the Papal Basilica of St. Paul outside-the-Walls.

An expert in heraldry, he contributed to the design of the coat of arms of Pope Benedict XVI. Archpriest emeritus of the Papal Basilica of St. Paul outside-the-Walls, July 3, 2009.

Created and proclaimed cardinal by Benedict XVI in the consistory of 24 March 2006, of the Title of Santa Maria in Portico (St. Mary in Portico), Diaconry elevated pro hac vice to presbyteral title.

Died on 19 November 2017.

1 day 14 hours

Pope Francis received in audience the Bishops of Uruguay on Thursday, November 16, 2017, at the Vatican for their “ad limina” visit (November 14-21).

Sunday, November 19, they concelebrated Mass with Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Basilica for the first World Day of the Poor, said Vatican Radio.

“We felt our hearts burn,” said Bishop Heriberto Bodeant, Bishop of Melo, after the meeting with Pope Francis, we are ready to go by the roads and continue to invite all our people to live a personal encounter with Jesus -Christ in his church. ”

He stressed that the bishops were listening to the pope’s call to enter the existential and geographical peripheries and that, in this call, they recognized a Latin-American voice: “This is very encouraging for us,” said Bishop Bodeant.

 

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1 day 14 hours

The future of the European project and the presidency of the European Union, which Rumania will assume for the first time in 2019, were the key topics discussed during the visit to Bucharest, from November 13-15, 2017, of Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Vatican Secretary of Relations with States, reported the Italian edition of L’Osservatore Romano on November 18.

Invited by Teodor Melescanu, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Archbishop Gallagher took part in a series of meetings with the Civil Authorities, and he celebrated Mass in Saint Joseph’s Cathedral with the Catholic community of Bucharest. He was accompanied by the Apostolic Nuncio in the country, Monsignor Miguel Maury Buendia, by an official of the Secretariat of State, Monsignor Joseph Murphy, and by the Secretary of the Nunciature, Father Fernando Duarte Barros Reis.

On November 14, during a dinner in honor of Minister of Foreign Affairs Melescanu and in the presence of representatives of the Diplomatic Corps, of the local Church and of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Rumania, Archbishop Gallagher gave a brief address in which he encouraged Rumania to offer its contribution to the reflections on the future of the European project.

On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of Rumania’s entrance in the European Union, he recalled certain essential points stressed recently by Pope Francis, such as the opportunity to revitalize the vision of the Founding Fathers of Europe, the centrality of the notions of the person and the community, and the importance of values and principles such as dialogue, inclusion, solidarity, development and peace.

Rumania’s participation in the work of the European Union was also at the heart of Monsignor Gallagher’s meeting with the President of the Senate, Calin Popescu-Tariceanu, then with the Vice-President of the Chamber of Deputies, Carmen Ileana Mihalcescu. L’Osservatore Romano pointed out that the exchanges concluded by verifying the need of a coordinated evolution to avoid the risk of seeing divergences augment among the member countries of the Union. The discussions also made it possible to see what Rumania can contribute to the future of the European project, by drawing from its rich culture, which highlights values such as those of the family.

During the meeting with Minister Melescanu, there was the issue of the reception of Rumanian migrants of different Christian Confessions in Western European countries, the condition of Christians in different regions of the Middle East, as well as questions linked to the regional and international situation. The Rumanian people’s intense desire to receive the Pope in the country was stressed once again.

On the evening of November 14, Archbishop Gallagher presided over a Mass at the Latin Cathedral of Saint Joseph in Bucharest, which he celebrated with the Apostolic Nuncio and the Archbishop of Bucharest, Ioan Robu. The Mass was celebrated in Latin and Rumanian and was animated by the Cathedral’s choir.

In the course of his homily, Archbishop Gallagher recalled the beautiful tradition of praying especially for the dead during the month of November. In this context, he remembered the Martyrs and Confessors of the faith in Rumania, who encourage the faithful today by their witness, pointing out to them what really counts in life and their teaching to have trust in God.

Translation by Virginia M. Forrester

 

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1 day 15 hours

“Every citizen should feel grateful for the work you do on behalf of the state and of the community, seeking to ensure, through a multitude of functions, the safety of those who travel on the roads and on the trains,” Pope Francis said November 20, 2017, in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace in audience the directors and staff of the Central Directorate for Road and Railway Police.”

“In our world, travel is increasing, so an efficient and secure mobility has become a primary and indispensable requirement for a society that wants to keep pace with development and ensure the well-being of its members,” the Holy Father continued. He cited the dangers caused by use of cell phones by drivers, as well as the competitiveness and haste of our society.

Pope Francis compared the atmosphere of some roads to “Formula One” circuits and that we turn “the traffic lights into a Grand Prix starting line.” In response to this environment, sanctions are not enough and education is needed.

The Pope also noted the “high level of professionalism and specialization” required by those serving as police in the rail system.  He reminded those present that, “Both in control and suppression, it is important to rely on a use of force that never degenerates into violence.”

 

Address of the Holy Father

Dear brothers and sisters,

I am pleased to meet you today and to talk to you, Directors and Officers of the Road and Rail Police. I thank the Chief of Police for his kind words of introduction.

Every citizen should feel grateful for the work you do on behalf of the state and of the community, seeking to ensure, through a multitude of functions, the safety of those who travel on the roads and on the trains. In our world, travel is increasing, so an efficient and secure mobility has become a primary and indispensable requirement for a society that wants to keep pace with development and ensure the well-being of its members.

On the streets, the task of detecting violations, regulating traffic, preventing, aiding and detecting accidents, has to deal with the increasingly complex and tumultuous reality of the streets. Alongside the shortcomings of the road system, which requires substantial investment in terms of modernization and safety, it is important to bear in mind the low level of responsibility on the part of many drivers, who often do not even realize the serious consequences of their negligence (for example through the improper use of cell phones) or their failure to observe the rules.

This is caused by haste and competitiveness as a way of life, which makes other drivers appear to be obstacles or opponents to be overcome, transforming the roads into “Formula One” circuits and the traffic lights into a Grand Prix starting line. In such a context, sanctions are not enough to increase security: there is also a need for educative action, to give greater awareness of our responsibilities for those traveling alongside us.

This action in raising awareness and increasing civic sense, both in the road and in the railway sectors, should draw all the possible fruits of the experience that you, policemen and women, accumulate every day on the roads and railways, in your direct contact with people and with the issues involved. The direct contact between onboard staff and the main office allows you to carry out continuous monitoring throughout the entire territory, in which the task of your managers is essential in ensuring coordination, communication of results and interaction.

The rail sector is also a key area in the life of the country, which also requires maintenance and structural investment, whose inadequacy every day causes discomfort to millions of commuters and travelers, and unfortunately, as recent news has shown us, causes accidents, even fatal. What you encounter every day in the railroad is like a microcosm, passing through the most diverse worlds, with which you travel to offer security and the prevention and suppression of crime.

Within the rail sector, as on the roads, police action requires a high level of professionalism and specialization, and therefore a continuous updating of knowledge of the law and the use of equipment and technology. Constant contact with people means that the measure of your professionalism is shown not only by the high skill required of you but also by a profound righteousness – which leads you to never take advantage of the power you possess – and a high degree of humanity.

Both in control and suppression, it is important to rely on a use of force that never degenerates into violence. This demands great wisdom and self-control, especially when a police offer is regarded with mistrust or almost as an enemy, rather than as guardian of the common good. The latter tendency, unfortunately, is a widespread evil, which in some areas reaches the level of a clash between the social fabric and the state, along with those who represent it.

Also to you, as I did with all of the Church and society during the Jubilee Year of 2015, I suggest a style of mercy in fulfilling your functions. Mercy is not synonymous with weakness, nor does it require the renunciation of the use of force; it instead means being able to avoid identifying the guilty person with the offense committed, which ends up creating harm and generating a sense of vengeance; it also means making the effort to understand the needs and the motivations of the people you encounter in your work. It requires you to use mercy even in the countless situations of weakness and pain that you face every day, not only in the case of wrongdoings of various nature but also in the encounter with those who are in need or disadvantaged.

In conclusion, I refer to your patron, Saint Michael Archangel, described in the Biblical Book of Revelation as he fights against Satan, defending the woman who gave birth to the Savior (cf. Rev 12: 1-6). This biblical image makes us reflect on the ongoing struggle between good and evil, from which we can never withdraw. From the biblical perspective, this confrontation has as its first protagonists God and Satan, one representing the fullness of good and of what is favorable to man, the other incarnating evil and opposing the success of human existence.

Nevertheless, regardless of the point of view of faith, it is important to recognize the reality of this clash, between good and evil, which takes place in our world and even within us. Aware of this decisive challenge, it would be unsound to consent to evil or even just to claim to remain neutral. On the contrary, everyone is asked to take on his portion of responsibility by employing all his energies to counter egoism, injustice, and indifference.

We must all do this, but you are at the forefront in countering what offends man, creates disorder and foments illegality, hindering the happiness and growth of people, especially the youngest. Your service, often not adequately respected, places you at the heart of society and, by its high value, I do not hesitate to define it as a mission, to be performed with honor and deep sense of duty, serving the good of man and the common good.

I invoke God’s paternal blessing and protection for you and your families, and I ask you, please, to pray for me.

© Libreria Editrice Vatican

 

1 day 15 hours

Work and the movement of workers at the center of integral, sustainable and fraternal human development,” will be the topic November 23-24, 2017, at the International Conference “From Populorum Progressio to Laudato si’.  The event is organized by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and will take place in the Vatican in the New Synod Hall.

“Why does the world of work continue to be the key to development in the global world?” This is a key question that will be addressed, according to a statement on November 20, 2017, by the Dicastery.

The conference aims to open up an area of debate and reflection on the world of work and on issues related to professional activities in existing social structures, thanks to the contribution to further study made by the various trade union movements present. At the heart of the conference will be the patrimony of the Social Doctrine of the Church on the subject of work and the perspectives this indicates, the analysis of emerging social realities; the recovery and presentation of positive experiences; and the proposals for joint initiatives in favor of the construction of society placing the person and his dignity at the heart of the social agenda, public policy and an integral human development genuinely driven by both material and spiritual aspects. The conference also proposes further study of the teaching of the Church on the theme, from Blessed Paul VI’s Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio, fifty years after its publication, to Pope Francis’ Laudato si’, in which the Holy Father writes: “Work is a necessity, part of the meaning of life on this earth, a path to growth, human development and personal fulfilment” (128).

The first day will commence with a welcome from the Dicastery, from Fr. Carlos A. Accaputo, director of social pastoral care in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and from a trade union leader. Interventions by Cardinal Peter K.A. Turkson, prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and Guy Ryder, director general of the International Labor Organization, will be followed by a presentation on the guidelines of the preparatory document, which will serve as a basis for the analysis sessions. There will then be interventions by the representatives of the main Italian trade unions: Susanna Camusso, secretary general of CGIL, Annamaria Furlan, secretary general of the CISL, and Carmelo Barbagallo, secretary general of UIL; then, Rudy De Leeuw, president of the FGTB, Belgium, and the European Trade Union Conference; Marta Pujadas, chair of the Trade Union Advisory Council – Cosate-CSA (Organization of American States); Professor Riccardo Petrella, professor of political economics at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium; Fr. Juan Carlo Scannone, S.J., theologian; Vagner Freitas, president of CUT, Brazil; and Stuart Appelbaum, president of RWDS, United States.

In addition to the representatives of the Holy See and of the Dicastery, the meeting will be attended by representatives of the main regional and international trade movements, specialists in the field of social sciences, delegations from over 40 countries, representatives of Christian workers’ movements, and the authorities of the International Labor Organization (ILO).

The meeting with the Holy Father is scheduled for the afternoon of Friday 24 November, at the end of the proceedings.

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1 day 16 hours

On November 20, 2017, Universal Children’s Day, Pope Francis pleaded for children’s smile.

He published this Tweet, in fact, in nine languages on his account @Pontifex: “Let us work together so that children can look at us smiling and keep a limpid look, full of joy and hope.”

This phrase was taken from an address of the Holy Father to the participants in the World Congress of the Pontifical Gregorian University, organized last October on the “The Dignity of the Child in the Numerical World.”

“On many occasions and in numerous different countries, my eyes meet those of children, poor and rich, healthy and sick, joyful and suffering,” stressed the Pontiff on that occasion. “What are we doing so that these children can look at us smiling and keep a limpid look full of trust and hope? What are we doing so that this light is not robbed from them so that their>eyes are not troubled and corrupted by what they find on the network, which will be an integral part of their framework of life?”

Therefore, Pope Francis encouraged: “Let us work together to always have the right, the courage, and the joy to look into the eyes of the children of the world.”

Translation by Virginia M. Forrester

 

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1 day 17 hours
Use Talents Wisely, Pope Reminds

As the Loving, Demanding Father He is, He Gives Us Responsibility

Pope: Fear Discourages Initiative

Need Trust to Move Forward on Life’s Journey

Angelus Address: On the Parable of the Talents and the Importance of a True Idea of God

A “Mistaken Image of God” Makes Us “Live in Fear,” “Paralyzes Us” and Is “Self-Destructive”

Mass for World Day of the Poor

Homily of Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Basilica

1,500 of the Poor Dine with the Pope

Lunch After Mass for World Day of the Poor

Pope Cites Fr. Solanus Casey Beatification

‘Detroit’s Saint’ Beatified in Ford Field Ceremony

2 days 13 hours

Pope Francis noted November 18, 2017, beatification of Fr. Solanus Casey, who took the next step toward sainthood in a huge event at Ford Field in Detroit.

“Humble and faithful disciple of Christ, he was distinguished for his tireless service to the poor,” the Holy Father said. “May his witness help priests, Religious and laity to live with joy the bond between the proclamation of the Gospel and love of the poor.”

Born November 25, 1870, Francis Solanus Casey came from an Irish immigrant family of 16 children in Oak Grove, Wisconsin. At the age of 21, after working as a recorder, streetcar operator, and prison guard, he entered St. Francis Seminary in Milwaukee, where studies were difficult for him. He left the seminary in 1896, and joined the Capuchin Friars Minor in Detroit, taking the name of Solanus.

On July 24, 1904, he was ordained a priest, but since his knowledge of theology was considered weak, Solanus was not allowed to preach and hear confessions. During his 14 years as a sexton in Yonkers, New York, he is however recognized as an excellent speaker.

He served in the parishes of Manhattan and Harlem before returning to Detroit, where he served as a sexton for 20 years at the monastery of St. Bonaventure. Every Wednesday afternoon, he conducted services for the sick.

In 1946, weakened and ill, he was transferred to the Capuchin novitiate in Huntington, Indiana, where he lived until 1956 when he was hospitalized in Detroit. He died on July 31, 1957, at the age of 86. Pope John Paul II declared him venerable in 1995.

 

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2 days 13 hours

For the first “World Day of the Poor”, on November 19, 2017, Pope Francis had lunch with some 1,500 destitute people in the Paul VI Hall of the Vatican.

In the morning, the Pope celebrated a Mass with them in St. Peter’s Basilica. Representatives of the poor from all over the world who served the altar, did the readings, brought forward the gifts, and were honored during the celebration.

SS. Papa Francesco – Pranco con i poveri
19-11-2017
@Servizio Fotografico – L’Osservatore Romano

The lunch followed Mass, with tables arranged in the hall: “Welcome everyone,” the Pope said as people arrived.

“Let’s get ready for this moment together. Each of us, with a heart full of goodwill and friendship towards others … and wishing us the best for each other,”he encouraged.

The Pope blessed the meal: “bless this meal, bless those who have prepared it, bless all of us, bless our hearts, our families, our desires, our lives and our lives. that he gives us health and strength. Amen.”

He also addressed a blessing “to all who are in the other canteens in Rome; because Rome is full of that today. A salute and an applause to them from here.”

Thousands of poor people have indeed participated in a festive lunch in Catholic canteens, seminaries and colleges of the Eternal City.

 

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2 days 13 hours

Pope Francis spoke before the Angelus on November 19, 2017, in St. Peter’s Square, of the parable of the talents from Matthew’s Gospel, pointing the need to overcome fear and grow in trust. In the parable, a master leaves on a journey, giving each of three servants “coins of notable value” to invest in his absence.

“The servant that received five talents was entrepreneurial and made them yield, earning another five,” the Holy Father explained. “The servant who received two behaved in the same way and earned another two. Instead, the servant that received one dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s coin.”

Why did the third servant fail so miserably?  The Holy Father explains that the servant suffered from fear and lack trust.

“This servant doesn’t have a relationship of trust with his master but is afraid of him, and this blocks him,” Francis said. “Fear always immobilizes and often makes one carry out mistaken choices.

“Fear discourages one from taking initiatives; it induces one to take refuge in secure and guaranteed solutions, and thus one ends by not doing anything good. One must not be afraid; one must have trust to go forward and to grow in life’s journey.”

* * *

The Pope’s Remarks before the Angelus

Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

In this penultimate Sunday of the Liturgical Year, the Gospel presents the parable of the talents (Cf. Matthew 25:14-30). Before leaving on a journey, a man gave his servants talents, which at the time were coins of notable value: to one servant five talents, to another two, and to another one, according to each one’s ability. The servant that received five talents was entrepreneurial and made them yield, earning another five. The servant who received two behaved in the same way and earned another two. Instead, the servant that received one dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s coin.

It’s this same servant that explained to his master, on his return, the reason for his gesture, saying: “Lord, I know you are a hard man, who reap where you have not sown and gather where you have not winnowed. I was afraid and I went and hid your talent in the ground (vv. 24-25). This servant doesn’t have a relationship of trust with his master but is afraid of him, and this blocks him. Fear always immobilizes and often makes one carry out mistaken choices.” Fear discourages one from taking initiatives; it induces one to take refuge in secure and guaranteed solutions, and thus one ends by not doing anything good. One must not be afraid; one must have trust to go forward and to grow in life’s journey.

This parable makes us understand how important it is to have a true idea of God. We must not think that He is a wicked master, hard and severe who wants to punish us. If this mistaken image of God is within us, then our life can’t be fecund because we’ll live in fear and this won’t lead us to anything constructive, rather, fear paralyzes us, it’s self-destructive. We are called to reflect to discover what is truly our idea of God. Already in the Old Testament He revealed Himself as “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (Exodus 34:6). And Jesus always showed us that God isn’t a severe and intolerant master, but a Father full of love, of tenderness, a Father full of goodness. Therefore we can and must have immense trust in Him.

Jesus shows us the generosity and care of the Father in many ways: with His word, with His gestures, with His reception of all, especially of sinners, little ones and the poor – as the World Day of the Poor reminds us today –; but also with His admonitions, which reveal His interest so that we won’t waste our life uselessly. In fact, it’s a sign that God esteems us greatly: this awareness helps us to be responsible persons in all our actions. Therefore, the parable of the talents calls us to a personal responsibility and a fidelity that becomes also the capacity to set out continually on new paths, without burying our talent, namely, the gifts that God has entrusted to us, and of which He will ask us to account.

May the Holy Virgin intercede for us, so that we remain faithful to the Will of God, making the talents fructify with which He has gifted us. Thus we will be useful to others and, on the last day, the Lord will receive us, <and> will invite us to take part in His joy.

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

2 days 14 hours

Pope Francis stressed the importance of using one’s talents wisely during his Homily November 19, 2019, in his homily for World Day of the Poor in St. Peter’s Basilica. He referenced the parable of the talents from the Gospel of Matthew, noting the important message that each person receives talents from God.

“Indeed, as the loving and demanding Father that he is, he gives us responsibility. In the parable, we see that each servant is given talents to use wisely,” the Holy Father said. “But whereas the first two servants do what they are charged, the third does not make his talents bear fruit; he gives back only what he had received.”

The Pope noted that the third servant guarded his gift, but did not multiply it, which is what God asks.  He said this can lead to “omission” or “failing to do good.”

“All too often, we have the idea that we haven’t done anything wrong, and so we rest content, presuming that we are good and just,” admitted Pope Francis. But he warned: “But in this way we risk acting like the unworthy servant: he did no wrong, he didn’t waste the talent, in fact, he kept it carefully hidden in the ground. But to do no wrong is not enough.”

The Holy Father explained that we find Jesus in the poor: “In the poor, Jesus knocks on the doors of our heart, thirsting for our love.” The response he recommends is “not seek for ourselves more than we need, but rather what is good for others, and nothing of value will be lacking to us.”

The Pope’s Homily

We have the joy of breaking the bread of God’s word, and shortly, we will have the joy of breaking and receiving the Bread of the Eucharist, food for life’s journey. All of us, none excluded, need this, for all of us are beggars when it comes to what is essential: God’s love, which gives meaning to our lives and a life without end. So today too, we lift up our hands to him, asking to receive his gifts.

The Gospel parable speaks of gifts. It tells us that we have received talents from God, “according to the ability of each” (Mt 25:15). Before all else, let us realize this: we do have talents; in God’s eyes, we are “talented”. Consequently, no one can think that he or she is useless, so poor as to be incapable of giving something to others. We are chosen and blessed by God, who wants to fill us with his gifts, more than any father or mother does with their own children. And God, in whose eyes no child can be neglected, entrusts to each of us a mission.

Indeed, as the loving and demanding Father that he is, he gives us responsibility. In the parable, we see that each servant is given talents to use wisely. But whereas the first two servants do what they are charged, the third does not make his talents bear fruit; he gives back only what he had received. “I was afraid – he says – and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours” (v. 25). As a result, he is harshly rebuked as “wicked and lazy” (v. 26). What made the Master displeased with him? To use a word that may sound a little old-fashioned but is still timely, I would say it was his omission. His evil was that of failing to do “good. All too often, we have the idea that we haven’t done anything wrong, and so we rest content, presuming that we are good and just. But in this way we risk acting like the unworthy servant: he did no wrong, he didn’t waste the talent, in fact, he kept it carefully hidden in the ground. But to do no wrong is not enough. God is not an inspector looking for unstamped tickets; he is a Father looking for children to whom he can entrust his property and his plans (cf. v. 14). It is sad when the Father of love does not receive a generous response of love from his children, who do no more than keep the rules and follow the commandments, like hired hands in the house of the Father (cf. Lk 15:17).

The unworthy servant, despite receiving a talent from the Master who loves to share and multiply his gifts, guarded it jealously; he was content to keep it safe. But someone concerned only to preserve and maintain the treasures of the past is not being faithful to God. Instead, the parable tells us, the one who adds new talents is truly “faithful” (vv. 21 and 23), because he sees things as God does; he does not stand still, but instead, out of love, takes risks. He puts his life on the line for others; he is not content to keep things as they are. One thing alone does he overlook: his own interest. That is the only right “omission”.

Omission is also the great sin where the poor are concerned. Here it has a specific name: indifference. It is when we say, “That doesn’t regard me; it’s not my business; it’s society’s problem”. It is when we turn away from a brother or sister in need when we change channels as soon as a disturbing question comes up, when we grow indignant at evil but do nothing about it. God will not ask us if we felt righteous indignation, but whether we did some good.

How, in practice can we please God? When we want to please someone dear to us, for example by giving a gift, we need first to know that person’s tastes, lest the gift prove more pleasing to the giver than to the recipient. When we want to offer something to the Lord, we can find his tastes in the Gospel. Immediately following the passage that we heard today, Jesus says, “Truly I tell you that, just as you did it to one of the least of these, my brothers, you did it to me” (Mt 25:40). These least of our brethren, whom he loves dearly, are the hungry and the sick, the stranger and the prisoner, the poor and the abandoned, the suffering who receive no help, the needy who are cast aside. On their faces we can imagine seeing Jesus’ own face; on their lips, even if pursed in pain, we can hear his words: “This is my body” (Mt 26:26).

In the poor, Jesus knocks on the doors of our heart, thirsting for our love. When we overcome our indifference and, in the name of Jesus, we give of ourselves for the least of his brethren, we are his good and faithful friends, with whom he loves to dwell. God greatly appreciates the attitude described in today’s first reading that of the “good wife”, who “opens her hand to the poor, and reaches out her hands to the needy” (Prov 31:10.20). Here we see true goodness and strength: not in closed fists and crossed arms, but in ready hands outstretched to the poor, to the wounded flesh of the Lord.

There, in the poor, we find the presence of Jesus, who, though rich, became poor (cf. 2 Cor 8:9). For this reason, in them, in their weakness, a “saving power” is present. And if in the eyes of the world they have little value, they are the ones who open to us the way to heaven; they are our “passport to paradise”. For us, it is an evangelical duty to care for them, as our real riches, and to do so not only by giving them bread but also by breaking with them the bread of God’s word, which is addressed first to them. To love the poor means to combat all forms of poverty, spiritual and material.

And it will also do us good. Drawing near to the poor in our midst will touch our lives. It will remind us of what really counts: to love God and our neighbor. Only this lasts forever, everything else passes away. What we invest in love remains, the rest vanishes. Today we might ask ourselves: “What counts for me in life? Where am I making my investments?” In fleeting riches, with which the world is never satisfied, or in the wealth bestowed by God, who gives eternal life? This is the choice before us: to live in order to gain things on earth, or to give things away in order to gain heaven. Where heaven is concerned, what matters is not what we have, but what we give, for “those who store up treasures for themselves, do not grow rich in the sight of God” (Lk 12:21).

So let us not seek for ourselves more than we need, but rather what is good for others, and nothing of value will be lacking to us. May the Lord, who has compassion for our poverty and needs, and bestows his talents upon us, grant us the wisdom to seek what really matters, and the courage to love, not in words but in deeds.

© Libreria Editrice Vatican

 

 

2 days 14 hours

We have the joy of breaking the bread of God’s word, and shortly, we will have the joy of breaking and receiving the Bread of the Eucharist, food for life’s journey. All of us, none excluded, need this, for all of us are beggars when it comes to what is essential: God’s love, which gives meaning to our lives and a life without end. So today too, we lift up our hands to him, asking to receive his gifts.

The Gospel parable speaks of gifts. It tells us that we have received talents from God, “according to ability of each” (Mt 25:15). Before all else, let us realize this: we do have talents; in God’s eyes, we are “talented”. Consequently, no one can think that he or she is useless, so poor as to be incapable of giving something to others. We are chosen and blessed by God, who wants to fill us with his gifts, more than any father or mother does with their own children. And God, in whose eyes no child can be neglected, entrusts to each of us a mission.

Indeed, as the loving and demanding Father that he is, he gives us responsibility. In the parable, we see that each servant is given talents to use wisely. But whereas the first two servants do what they are charged, the third does not make his talents bear fruit; he gives back only what he had received. “I was afraid – he says – and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours” (v. 25). As a result, he is harshly rebuked as “wicked and lazy” (v. 26). What made the Master displeased with him? To use a word that may sound a little old-fashioned but is still timely, I would say it was his omission. His evil was that of failing to dogood. All too often, we have the idea that we haven’t done anything wrong, and so we rest content, presuming that we are good and just. But in this way we risk acting like the unworthy servant: he did no wrong, he didn’t waste the talent, in fact he kept it carefully hidden in the ground. But to do no wrong is not enough. God is not an inspector looking for unstamped tickets; he is a Father looking for children to whom he can entrust his property and his plans (cf. v. 14). It is sad when the Father of love does not receive a generous response of love from his children, who do no more than keep the rules and follow the commandments, like hired hands in the house of the Father (cf. Lk 15:17).

The unworthy servant, despite receiving a talent from the Master who loves to share and multiply his gifts, guarded it jealously; he was content to keep it safe. But someone concerned only to preserve and maintain the treasures of the past is not being faithful to God. Instead, the parable tells us, the one who adds new talents is truly “faithful” (vv. 21 and 23), because he sees things as God does; he does not stand still, but instead, out of love, takes risks. He puts his life on the line for others; he is not content to keep things as they are. One thing alone does he overlook: his own interest. That is the only right “omission”.

Omission is also the great sin where the poor are concerned. Here it has a specific name: indifference. It is when we say, “That doesn’t regard me; it’s not my business; it’s society’s problem”. It is when we turn away from a brother or sister in need, when we change channels as soon as a disturbing question comes up, when we grow indignant at evil but do nothing about it. God will not ask us if we felt righteous indignation, but whether we did some good.

How, in practice can we please God? When we want to please someone dear to us, for example by giving a gift, we need first to know that person’s tastes, lest the gift prove more pleasing to the giver than to the recipient. When we want to offer something to the Lord, we can find his tastes in the Gospel. Immediately following the passage that we heard today, Jesus says, “Truly I tell you that, just as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me” (Mt 25:40). These least of our brethren, whom he loves dearly, are the hungry and the sick, the stranger and the prisoner, the poor and the abandoned, the suffering who receive no help, the needy who are cast aside. On their faces we can imagine seeing Jesus’ own face; on their lips, even if pursed in pain, we can hear his words: “This is my body” (Mt 26:26).

In the poor, Jesus knocks on the doors of our heart, thirsting for our love. When we overcome our indifference and, in the name of Jesus, we give of ourselves for the least of his brethren, we are his good and faithful friends, with whom he loves to dwell. God greatly appreciates the attitude described in today’s first reading that of the “good wife”, who “opens her hand to the poor, and reaches out her hands to the needy” (Prov 31:10.20). Here we see true goodness and strength: not in closed fists and crossed arms, but in ready hands outstretched to the poor, to the wounded flesh of the Lord.

There, in the poor, we find the presence of Jesus, who, though rich, became poor (cf. 2 Cor 8:9). For this reason, in them, in their weakness, a “saving power” is present. And if in the eyes of the world they have little value, they are the ones who open to us the way to heaven; they are our “passport to paradise”. For us it is an evangelical duty to care for them, as our real riches, and to do so not only by giving them bread, but also by breaking with them the bread of God’s word, which is addressed first to them. To love the poor means to combat all forms of poverty, spiritual and material.

And it will also do us good. Drawing near to the poor in our midst will touch our lives. It will remind us of what really counts: to love God and our neighbour. Only this lasts forever, everything else passes away. What we invest in love remains, the rest vanishes. Today we might ask ourselves: “What counts for me in life? Where am I making my investments?” In fleeting riches, with which the world is never satisfied, or in the wealth bestowed by God, who gives eternal life? This is the choice before us: to live in order to gain things on earth, or to give things away in order to gain heaven. Where heaven is concerned, what matters is not what we have, but what we give, for “those who store up treasures for themselves, do not grow rich in the sight of God” (Lk 12:21).

So let us not seek for ourselves more than we need, but rather what is good for others, and nothing of value will be lacking to us. May the Lord, who has compassion for our poverty and needs, and bestows his talents upon us, grant us the wisdom to seek what really matters, and the courage to love, not in words but in deeds.

© Libreria Editrice Vatican

 

JF

2 days 20 hours

Here is a ZENIT translation of the address Pope Francis gave today, before and after praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

* * *

Before the Angelus:

Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

In this penultimate Sunday of the Liturgical Year, the Gospel presents the parable of the talents (Cf. Matthew 25:14-30). Before leaving on a journey, a man gave his servants talents, which at the time were coins of notable value: to one servant five talents, to another two, and to another one, according to each one’s ability. The servant that received five talents was entrepreneurial and made them yield, earning another five. The servant who received two behaved in the same way, and earned another two. Instead, the servant that received one dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s coin.

It’s this same servant that explained to his master, on his return, the reason for his gesture, saying: “Lord, I know you are a hard man, who reap where you have not sown and gather where you have not winnowed. I was afraid and I went and hid your talent in the ground (vv. 24-25). This servant doesn’t have a relationship of trust with his master, but is afraid of him, and this blocks him. Fear always immobilizes and often makes one carry out mistaken choices.” Fear discourages one from taking initiatives; it induces one to take refuge in secure and guaranteed solutions, and thus one ends by not doing anything good. One must not be afraid; one must have trust to go forward and to grow in life’s journey.

This parable makes us understand how important it is to have a true idea of God. We must not think that He is a wicked master, hard and severe who wants to punish us. If this mistaken image of God is within us, then our life can’t be fecund, because we’ll live in fear and this won’t lead us to anything constructive, rather, fear paralizes us, it’s self-destructive. We are called to reflect to discover what is truly our idea of God. Already in the Old Testament He revealed Himself as “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and a bounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (Exodus 34:6). And Jesus always showed us that God isn’t a severe and intolerant master, but a Father full of love, of tenderness, a Father full of goodness. Therefore we can and must have immense trust in Him.

Jesus shows us the generosity and care of the Father in many ways: with His word, with His gestures, with His reception of all, especially of sinners, little ones and the poor – as the World Day of the Poor reminds us today –; but also with His admonitions, which reveal His interest so that we won’t waste our life uselessly. In fact, it’s a sign that God esteems us greatly: this awareness helps us to be responsible persons in all our actions. Therefore, the parable of the talents calls us to a personal responsibility and a fidelity that becomes also the capacity to set out continually on new paths, without burying our talent, namely, the gifts that God has entrusted to us, and of which He will ask us to account.

May the Holy Virgin intercede for us, so that we remain faithful to the Will of God, making the talents fructify with which He has gifted us. Thus we will be useful to others and, on the last day, the Lord will receive us, <and> will invite us to take part in His joy.

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

 

After the Angelus:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Yesterday Francis Solano, priest of the Friars Minor Capuchin, was proclaimed Blessed at Detroit, in the United States of America.  Humble and faithful disciple of Christ, he was distinguished for his tireless service to the poor. May his witness help priests, Religious and laity to live with joy the bond between the proclamation of the Gospel and love of the poor.

It’s what we wished to recall with today’s World Day of the Poor, which is expressed in Rome and in dioceses worldwide in many initiatives of prayer and sharing. I hope that the poor will be at the center of our communities and not only in moments such as this, but always, because they are at the heart of the Gospel; in them we encounter Jesus, who speaks to us and challenges us through their sufferings and their needs.

I wish to remember today in a particular way the populations that experience painful poverty caused by war and conflicts. Hence, I renew my heartfelt appeal to the International Community, to make every possible effort to foster peace, in particular, in the Middle East. A special thought goes to the dear Lebanese people and I pray for the country’s stability, so that it can continue to be a “message” of respect and coexistence for the whole Region and for the entire world.

I pray also for the persons of the crew of the Argentine military submarine, <all> traces <of which> have been lost.

Today is also the Day to remember road victims, instituted by the UN. I encourage public institutions in the commitment to prevention, and I exhort drivers to prudence and respect of the norms, as the first form of protection of oneself and others.

I greet all of you, families, parishes, Associations and individual faithful, who have come from Italy and from many parts of the world. In particular, I greet the pilgrims of the Dominican Republic; the participants in the solidarity race from Kosice (Slovakia) to Rome; and the Ecuadorian community resident in Rome, which is celebrating the Virgin of Quinche. I greet the fraternities of the Italian Trinitarian Secular Order, the faithful of Civitanova Marche, Sanzeno, Termoli, Capua and Nola, and the young Confirmation candidates of Mestrino (Padua).

I wish you all a happy Sunday. And, please, don’t forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and goodbye!

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

 

JF

 

2 days 20 hours

NewsFeeds from Zenit, EWTN, CatholicCulture.org

From: The site of the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.
Posted

IMAGE: CNS photo/Rebecca Hale, National

By Rhina Guidos

WASHINGTON (CNS) — In the nation’s capital, a $15 museum ticket and pair of 3-D glasses is the passport Christian pilgrims and others need to experience what may be the holiest site in Christianity.

Employing state-of-the-art technology, the National Geographic Museum in Washington Nov. 15 opened an exhibit that virtually transports visitors to the streets of Jerusalem and through the doors of a small church that protects what is believed to be the site of Christ’s burial and, to Christians, the site of his resurrection.

“We put you in the Old City, we talk to you a little about the walls of the city, how they move over time and where the Gospels say that the Crucifixion took place, and try to give you the context,” said Kathryn Keane, vice president of exhibitions for National Geographic during a Nov. 9 interview with Catholic News Service.

After an introductory video explaining some of the tumultuous history surrounding the tomb of Christ site, where structures above have been built and torn down repeatedly over the centuries, visitors walk toward a set where a virtual guide projected on a wall welcomes them to a courtyard just outside the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. 

It’s a visual appetizer to get them ready for the experience of, not just entering via 3-D through its doors, but also of flying over it and witnessing, from a bird’s eye view, a time-lapse of the structure’s physical history.

“We’re not only taking you in the church the way it looks today but we also go up above the church and we take you back through time,” said Keane. “It’s a bit of a time machine and we show you all the evolutions of the building, from the time that it was, under (Roman emperor) Hadrian, a pagan temple.”

“This is not what I would consider a traditional exhibit. It’s more an experience than it is an exhibit,” said National Geographic archaeologist Fred Hiebert, whose unique experience inside the church led to “Tomb of Christ: The Church of Holy Sepulchre Experience,” which runs at the Washington museum until August 2018.

Last year, Hiebert witnessed various stages of a nine-month-long, $3 million restoration of the small shrine within the Holy Sepulcher that protects the tomb of Christ. The shrine often is referred to as the Edicule, Latin for “little house.” During the process, the three religious groups with jurisdiction over the structure, and who had agreed on its restoration — the Armenians, the Franciscans and the Greek Orthodox — agreed to also allow restorers to put a moisture barrier around the the tomb itself.

The tomb likely had not been opened in centuries and, at some point, marble slabs were placed on top, perhaps to keep pilgrims from taking home parts of it. It has been venerated since the time of Constantine, the first Christian Roman Emperor who, in the fourth century, sent a team in search of the holy burial site. Soon after, they identified a quarry as that place and Constantine’s mother, Helena, had a shrine built around it.

The exhibit explains how the effects of weather, earthquakes and also great numbers of pilgrims, many of whom light candles that contribute to a buildup of soot, had brought the structure to the brink of collapse.

It also explains the dilemma religious leaders faced when they learned that by injecting liquid mortar into the shrine to reinforce it, it presented the possibility that it would seep into the tomb itself — defeating the purpose of protecting the most important part. They had to swiftly decide to shut down the shrine to allow the team to protect the tomb — and that meant briefly opening it.

“They said, ‘Do it, but don’t take more than 60 hours to do it,'” said Hiebert.

When restorers temporarily shut down the site, Hiebert and other members of the National Geographic team were present to witness the opening of the tomb, which exposed the original limestone bed and the walls of the cave, which Christians believe witnessed Christ returning to life.

“To think that we, we were some of the few people who were locked in that church, got to see what people for hundreds and hundreds of years of Christianity hope to see, and we had a chance to see that … if there’s anything that drove me to do a virtual exhibit, it was that guilt,” Hiebert said to an audience gathered at the museum on the opening night of the exhibit. “We have to tell the world about this.”

The National Geographic team scanned the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the smaller structure inside, the Edicule, in such detail, that visitors who stop by the exhibit can don a VR, or virtual reality, headset and enter the tiny shrine, navigate the small passage way that leads to the tomb, a space that accommodates no more than three or four people, and see an exact visual representation of the tomb, without the real-life inconveniences.

“As tourist, you get maybe 15 seconds in the tomb and then they move you out,” explained National Geographic engineer Corey Jaskolski at the opening night event. “Part of capturing this and being able to share it with the world through the National Geographic Museum is that we can let people spend as long as they want in the tomb. You can go in there and have your own personal experience and be able to see it in all its glory without the interruptions and bustle of the crowd around.”

The exhibit explains some of the technology the restoration team from the National Technical University of Athens used, as well as what National Geographic used to scan the images that made the visual aspect of the exhibit possible.

“We can tell a story about great science and there’s a certain great aspect of faith to it, too,” said Hiebert.

Keane said the project is an intersection of history, architecture, science, technology and faith.

“All of these things aren’t at odds with each other,” she said.

The exhibit displays the document that Greek Orthodox, Armenian and Franciscan leaders signed in 2016, which made the restoration possible, while also noting in a timeline that the groups had agreed in principle in 1959 that the “little house” needed the renovations.

Hiebert applauded the cooperation among the religious groups as a “brave” and said of their ability to agree, “That happens once in a lifetime with these guys.”

The project shows, Hiebert said, that there can be cooperation among different groups in the Middle East.

“Having reviewed the history of the (Holy Sepulcher) church, and realizing that it’s a contested space, in a contested area ‘ here was a project that was bringing people together to do something that was positive,” he said. “That is a metaphor for optimism in the Middle East. In a place as difficult as Jerusalem, as complex as the Middle East, it’s still possible to do an optimistic idealistic project.”

Archaeologist Hiebert said the exhibit, as well as a TV show about the restoration of the tomb of Christ that National Geographic documented, will debut Dec. 3 on its cable channel. The December cover story of National Geographic magazine also focuses on archaeology and what it reveals about the life of Christ. It shows that science and faith can go hand in hand, Hiebert said.

“When we look back on the history of exploration and even the history of National Geographic, we realize that this idea that science is divorced from faith is not true,” he said. “It seemed to me natural that National Geographic would be in a position of, here’s a site, which is sacred and historic, and we’re about to embark on an epic adventure.”

– – –

Follow Guidos on Twitter: @CNS_Rhina.

– – –

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13 hours 2 min

“On your marks, get set — bake!”

Local Catholic fans of “The Great American Baking Show” (formerly “The Great Holiday Baking Show” will see a familiar face when the ABC Christmas series launches Dec. 7: One of the 10 contestants is Father Kyle Schnippel.

A Twitter promo for the show, featuring its new hosts and judges.

Currently pastor of Corpus Christi and St. John Neumann parishes in Cincinnati, and former director of the archdiocese’s Vocations Office, Father Schnippel is one of two contestants from Cincinnati, and the only priest in the history of the American show and its British predecessor.

Father Schnippel, whose Instagram account frequently features photos of his latest bakes, can be glimpsed on the show’s first commercial (not available yet online)l, while a choir sings the words “doughs made with yeast… baked by a priest.”

For its third season, the show will have new hosts and new judges, and will not include the reigning queen of British bakers, Mary Berry. But for local viewers those missing faces should be more than made up by the addition of two locals. The other is Jessie Salzbrun, Head of Product at FamilyTech, a company that produces software and apps to help families organize chore time. Salzbrun grew up attending Good Shepherd Church in Montgomery, and attended Mount Notre Dame High School before moving to Florida for her senior year.

According to the press release:

As part of “25 Days of Christmas,” the most festive and friendliest competition on television is back when season three of “The Great American Baking Show” (formerly “The Great Holiday Baking Show”) premieres with slices of cake and delicious morning treats, THURSDAY, DEC. 7 (9:00–11:00 p.m. EST), on The ABC Television Network, streaming and on demand.

Based on the hit U.K. series “The Great British Bake Off,” “The Great American Baking Show” features bakers from across the country battling through 18 total challenges with six challenges throughout each two-hour themed episode, all in the hopes of being crowned “America’s Best Amateur Baker.” Ayesha Curry and Anthony “Spice” Adams host. James Beard Award-winning pastry chef Johnny Iuzzini returns with best-selling cookbook author and baker Paul Hollywood as judges.

This season’s bakers are Jessie Salzbrun and Father Kyle Schnippel, Cincinnati; Molly Brodak, Atlanta; Nick Bryan, Los Angeles; Hector De Haro, Glendale, California; JC Greg, Kansas City; Vallery Lomas, New York; Antwine Love, Charlotte, North Carolina; Cindy Malinak, Medway, Massachusetts; and Bryan McKinnon, Alpine, Utah.

Each episode focuses on a specific discipline of baking (i.e. cakes, cookies, patisserie, etc.), which become progressively more difficult as the series unfolds.  Every episode features three types of challenges: The Signature Challenge allows the bakers to show off their tried and true recipes; The Technical Challenge gives all the bakers the same surprise recipe; and The Showstopper Challenge where the bakers must really push wow the judges with their creativity and flair.

At the end of each episode, the judges, name one “Star Baker” of the week, and also ask one baker to go home.  In the Final, only three bakers remain and the best baker that week wins the title of “America’s Best Amateur Baker,” along with a beautiful trophy and bragging rights.

Father Schnippel plans a watch party at St. John Neumann for the premiere. Look for a story about his baking career, how he got on the show, and what it was like to be there in our January issue.

And no, we won’t tell you who wins!

An Instagram post by Father Schnippel shows one of his cakes.
18 hours 30 min

From the History in your backyard series, enjoy the video of St. Lawrence Church.

20 hours 28 min

IMAGE: CNS photo/Mike Blake, Reuters

By

WASHINGTON (CNS) — As the nation made preparations to celebrate Thanksgiving Day, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops expressed gratitude for “the gift of immigrants and refugees to the country,” but also appealed for their protection.

“As we do every year, we will pause this coming Thursday to thank God for the many blessings we enjoy in the United States,” Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston said in a statement Nov. 20, a week after the U.S. bishops opened their annual fall assembly.

The longest and most passionate discussion on the first day of the fall assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Nov. 13 focused on immigrants, on how to help them but also how to drive home the point that they, too, are our brothers and sisters and should not be demonized.

Cardinal DiNardo said his Thanksgiving Day statement was prompted by the bishops urging he “speak out on their behalf.”

He referenced that floor discussion, noting that he and his brother bishops “were attentive in a special way to those who are often excluded from this (nation’s) great abundance — the poor, the sick, the addicted, the unborn, the unemployed and especially migrants and refugees.”

The bishops “expressed a shared and ever-greater sense of alarm — and urgency to act — in the face of policies that seemed unthinkable only a short time ago,” he said.

Those policies, Cardinal DiNardo said, include the deportation of “Dreamers,” the beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. These are “young hard-working people who should be the lowest priority for deportation,” he said.

President Donald Trump in September ended the Obama-era program and directed Congress to pass a legislative solution.

Cardinal DiNardo also described “the anxiety and uncertainty of those with Temporary Protected Status from countries like Haiti, El Salvador and Honduras, which are still recovering from natural disasters and remain ill-equipped to humanely receive and integrate them.”

The Trump administration in early November announced an end to TPS for 2,500 Nicaraguans who have been living in the United States for nearly 20 years. A decision on TPS for 57,000 Hondurans has been delayed for six months, and decisions are due in several weeks from the Department of Homeland Security on that status for people from El Salvador and Haiti.

Cardinal DiNardo also lamented that the number of refugees the country will admit over the next year has been capped at 45,000.

He called it “an unprecedented reduction in the number of people we will welcome this year into our country who seek refuge from the ravages of war and religious persecution in their countries of origin.”

“One common feature of all these developments is their tendency to tear apart the family, the fundamental building block of our, or any, society,” Cardinal DiNardo said. “These threats to so many vulnerable immigrant and refugee families must end now.

“My brothers have urged me to speak out on their behalf to urge the immediate passage — and signature — of legislation that would alleviate these immediate threats to these families,” he said.

Policies that threaten immigrant and refugee families also are “symptoms of an immigration system that is profoundly broken and requires comprehensive reform.”

“This is a longer-term goal, one that the bishops have advocated for decades to achieve, and one that must never be overlooked,” he continued. “Only by complete reform will we have the hope of achieving the common goals of welcoming the most vulnerable, ensuring due process and humane treatment, protecting national security, and respecting the rule of law. We are committed to such reforms and will continue to call for them.”

He repeated his gratitude “for the gift and contributions of immigrants and refugees to our great nation” and prayed “that next year, families now under threat will not be broken and dispersed, but instead will be united in joy around their tables, giving thanks for all the blessings our nation has to offer. Have a Happy Thanksgiving all!”

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1 day 6 hours

IMAGE: CNS photo/Natalie Hoefer, The Criterion

By Natalie Hoefer

INDIANAPOLIS (CNS) — The sound of more than 20,000 teens screaming and singing along with racuous music of Christian hip-hop band TobyMac was loud.

The sound of the same number of youths in silent prayer was deafening.

These external and internal forms of praise formed bookends to the opening general session of the National Catholic Youth Conference Nov. 16 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

After two hours of music, entertainment — including cultural dancing by the Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Movement — and an entrance procession of banners from each diocese present, the participants were greeted by Indianapolis Archbishop Charles C. Thompson.

Although each person came “from many dioceses, many states ‘ and with many titles,” he said, “we are first and foremost children of God. And that God who knows us desires to be known by us. ‘ God wanted us to know him … through a personal relationship with a human being, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

“We are beloved children of God, called by name, claimed by Christ,” he continued, referring to the conference theme of “Called.” “We begin this NCYC weekend by embracing that reality of who we are.”

Chris Stefanick, an internationally acclaimed author, speaker and founder of Real Life Catholic, used humor and life experience to speak about the reality of who we are and of God’s love for each person.

He spoke of the “love story” upon which the Catholic faith is founded.

“When you remove the love story, what are you left with?” he asked. “Rules that we have to follow. Rituals that we’re not sure why we keep them alive but they take a lot of time. Doctrines that have nothing to do with your life. That’s how the world has come to see Catholicism. ‘ The world has forgotten the love story, and so often we’ve forgotten the love story.”

That story, he said, “begins very simply with the words ‘(I) believe in one God.'”

So many youths today chose not to believe, he said, including an atheist who once told him that belief that God created the universe “is as stupid as a kid coming down on Christmas morning and, seeing presents under the tree, thinks, ‘There are presents, therefore there must be a Santa..'”

“You say there’s no God?” Stefanick asked. “That’s like a flea not believing in the dog. That’s like a kid coming down on Christmas morning and seeing presents under the tree and saying, ‘Oh look! Presents! They must have exploded themselves here!’ ‘ Just so, the universe did not put itself here, and the more we learn about the universe, the more it shouts to us about the existence of God.”

And because God’s love created us, he said, no other form of love will satisfy.

“We feel so small in this world,” he told the crowd that came from as far away as Hawaii and Alaska. “We feel so insignificant in this universe.

“I think God looks down from heaven and says, ‘You are huge next to all this.’ As big as a mountain is, can it know someone? As big as an ocean is, can it make a choice? As big as a galaxy is, can it choose to love? No, but you can. … You’re a huge deal!”

But because of human rejection of God, Stefanick continued, sin and brokenness entered the world. To applause and shouts of “Amen!” he modified the words of John 3:16 to note that therefore, “‘God so loved you that he gave his only Son.’ Whoa. ‘”

This love story — which continues in the sacraments, Stefanick noted –“doesn’t just show you who God is. It shows you who you are.”

” ‘Who am I?’ ‘I’m precious.’ ‘What am I worth?’ ‘I’m worth dying for,’ ” he said in a solo dialogue. “‘ Sin is not your name-Jesus gives you your name. And what is your name? ‘Beloved.’ I don’t matter because of who I am-I matter because of whose I am. I’m not somebody, I’m somebody’s. I’m precious and I’m worth dying for. This is the best news ever.”

He encouraged the crowd to use their will to “say ‘yes’ to the love that created space and time and perpetually invites us to himself.”

Father Joseph Espaillat, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, who was one of the evening’s emcees, led the more than 20,000 present through a period of silent prayer to close. He suggested using the word “pray” as an acronym to guide their prayer — “P” for praising God, “R” for repenting of sins, “A” for asking God for needs rather than wants, and “Y” for yielding to his will

It was this prayer time more than any of the evening’s other events that most affected Abby White of the Diocese of Covington, Kentucky.

“I thought it was really powerful,” she said of the quiet time. “I like saying that you’re sorry to God. It’s been awhile since I’ve been to confession, and I really want to go to confession this weekend. I felt like that [prayer time] empowered me to want to go.”

While Abby has attended NCYC before, Garrett Randel of Seneca, Kansas, was exuberant with the joy of one experiencing the event for the first time.

“I thought it was really cool,” he said of the opening session. “The speaker was really inspiring. I thought it was one of the best experiences I’ve had in my Catholic faith.”

Caitlin Dusenbury of the Diocese of Lansing, Michigan, couldn’t agree more. The NCYC first-timer’s eyes lit up and a smile brightened her face when she spoke of her experience that evening.

“I really like it so far,” she told The Criterion, newspaper of the Indianapolis Archdiocese. “It’s impacted me a lot. I’ve never seen so many Catholics together.

“The highlight for me was Chris speaking. ‘It’s not who you are, but whose you are’ — that quote stuck with me.”

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Hoefer is a reporter at The Criterion, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

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Copyright © 2017 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

1 day 12 hours

By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The theological work and papal teaching of retired Pope Benedict XVI “continue to be a living and precious heritage for the church,” Pope Francis said.

The pope met Nov. 18 with the winners of the 2017 Ratzinger Prize, named for the retired pope to honor those who make significant contributions to theology and culture.

The three winners had met the day before with Pope Benedict in his residence in the Vatican gardens.

Pope Francis told the group that Pope Benedict’s “prayer and his discreet and encouraging presence accompany us on our common journey.”

The Ratzinger Prize is awarded each year by the Vatican-based Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI Foundation, and Pope Francis urged the foundation to pay tribute to the retired pope not only by promoting the study of his writings, but to continue the spirit of his work by “entering into new fields in which modern culture asks for dialogue with the faith.”

“The human spirit always has an urgent and vital need for this dialogue,” the pope said. And faith needs dialogue as well to ensure that it does not become abstract, but “incarnates in time.”

“Joseph Ratzinger continues to be a master and friendly interlocutor for all those who exercise the gift of reason to respond to the human vocation of searching for truth,” he said.

“Co-workers of the truth,” the motto the retired pope chose in 1977 as his episcopal motto, “expresses well the whole sense of his work and his ministry,” the pope said.

Pope Francis said he was happy the three winners for 2017 come from different Christian traditions and he was pleased to approve the expansion of the prize to include the arts because it “corresponds well to the vision of Benedict XVI, who so often spoke in a touching way about beauty as a privileged path for opening us up to transcendence and an encounter with God.”

The prize winners were German Lutheran theologian Theodor Dieter, German Catholic theologian Father Karl-Heinz Menke and the Estonian composer Arvo Part, an Orthodox Christian.

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1 day 14 hours

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Putting the brakes on dangerous and distracted driving, Pope Francis criticized using mobile phones when at the wheel and treating roads like racetracks.

While praising the work and sacrifice of police officers dealing with transit and highway patrol, he also cautioned them against turning the just use of force into brutality.

“Wisdom and self-control are needed, especially when the police officer is viewed with mistrust or seen almost as an enemy, instead of as a guardian of the common good,” he said.

The pope made his remarks in a speech Nov. 20 to staff and managers of the central administration of the Italian police in charge of traffic and highway patrol and of the railways.

Whenever officers must check or constrain someone, “it’s important to rely on a use of force that never degenerates into violence,” he said, particularly in places where the police are looked upon with distrust, which unfortunately is widespread and, in some cases, pits society against the state.

Mercy is essential, he said; mercy is not weakness nor does it mean renouncing all use of force.

“Instead, it means being able to not equate the culprits with the crime they commit, ending up causing damage and creating a feeling of revenge; it also means making an effort to understand the needs and motives of the people that you encounter in your work,” he said.

The pope asked the officers and their supervisors to “use mercy in the countless situations of weakness and pain that you confront daily” not just with victims of crime or accidents, but with the poor and vulnerable, too.

With so many people depending on increased mobility, the pope said traffic officers have a lot to do, especially when driving and commuting has become “increasingly complex and unruly.”

Not only do roads and safety measures lack needed improvements and investments, officers must deal with the “poor sense of responsibility by many drivers, who often seem not to realize the even serious consequences of being distracted — for example, with the improper use of cellphones –– or being reckless.”

He said these behaviors were caused by people being in too much of a hurry or competitive, which turns “other drivers into hurdles or adversaries to overtake, transforming roads into ‘Formula One’ racetracks and traffic lights into the starting line for a grand prize.”

Increased sanctions will not be enough, he said. Education and a greater awareness of responsibility and a civic duty toward one’s fellow travelers are needed.

The pope encouraged the officers to carry out their duty and mission “with honor and a deep sense of duty” in serving others.

While often they are not appreciated enough, the officers are “on the front lines” in fighting that which harms others, creates chaos and feeds unlawfulness that hinders progress and happiness, he said.

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1 day 14 hours

By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Vatican announced it had launched a new investigation into reports about sexual abuse in a pre-seminary for young adolescents run by the Diocese of Como, Italy, but located inside the Vatican.

Greg Burke, Vatican spokesman, issued a statement Nov. 18 saying that beginning in 2013 when “some reports, anonymous and not,” were made, staff of the St. Pius X Pre-Seminary and the bishop of Como both conducted investigations.

“Adequate confirmation was not found” regarding the allegations, which involved students and not staff. Some of the students already had left the pre-seminary when the first investigations were carried out, the statement said.

However, “in consideration of new elements that recently emerged, a new investigation is underway to shed full light on what really happened,” the statement said.

In early November, the Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi, whose books based on leaked Vatican documents were at the heart of two Vatican trials, published a new book, “Original Sin.” The book included allegations about sexual abuse at the pre-seminary where boys in middle school and high school live. They serve Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica and attend a Catholic school in Rome while considering applying to a seminary when they are older.

The allegation in Nuzzi’s book about one student abusing another was followed by an investigation by the Italian television program “Le Iene.”

In the program, a young Polish man, identified only as 21-year-old Kamil, said he arrived at the pre-seminary at age 13, wanting to be an altar server for the pope. He said he was thinking only vaguely of becoming a priest one day.

Kamil claimed another student, one given responsibility by the rector for determining the liturgical roles of all the students at papal Masses, regularly sexually abused his roommate.

Kamil said the older student would come into their room at night, get into bed with his roommate and abuse him. The alleged abuser was ordained to the priesthood last summer, “Le Iene” reported.

In the program, the roommate is referred to as Marco, who is now 24 years old. He confirmed the allegations Kamil made.

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Copyright © 2017 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

1 day 14 hours

John Leyendecker, who runs the School of Faith, shared with The Catholic Telegraph some photos of the Mass for Blessed Solanus in Detroit Michigan.


For the story on the Beatification of Father Solanus Casey, click here

1 day 19 hours

We look at the great gift of The Athenaeum of Ohio, the heartbeat of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

1 day 20 hours

IMAGE: CNS/Paul Haring

By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — People have a basic choice in the way they live: either striving to build up treasures on earth or giving to others in order to gain heaven, Pope Francis said.

“What we invest in love remains, the rest vanishes,” the pope said in his homily Nov. 19, the first World Day of the Poor.

Between 6,000 and 7,000 poor people attended the Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica as special guests, the Vatican said. While almost all of them live in Europe, they include migrants and refugees from all over the world.

Among the altar servers were young men who are either poor, migrants or homeless. The first reader at the Mass, Tony Battah, is a refugee from Syria. Those presenting the gifts at the offertory were led by the Zambardi family from Turin, whom the Vatican described as living in a “precarious condition” and whose 1-year-old daughter has cystic fibrosis.

In addition to the bread and wine that were consecrated at the Mass, the offertory included a large basket of bread and rolls that were blessed to be shared at the lunch the pope was offering after Mass. Some 1,500 poor people joined the pope in the Vatican’s audience hall for the meal, while the other special guests were served at the Pontifical North American College — the U.S. seminary in Rome — and other seminaries and Catholic-run soup kitchens nearby.

Preaching about the Gospel “parable of the talents” (Mt 25:14-30), Pope Francis said the servant in the story who buried his master’s money was rebuked not because he did something wrong, but because he failed to do something good with what he was given.

“All too often, we have the idea that we haven’t done anything wrong, and so we rest content, presuming that we are good and just,” the pope said. “But to do no wrong is not enough. God is not an inspector looking for unstamped tickets; he is a Father looking for children to whom he can entrust his property and his plans.”

If in the eyes of the world, the poor they have little value, he said, “they are the ones who open to us the way to heaven; they are our ‘passport to paradise.’ For us it is an evangelical duty to care for them, as our real riches, and to do so not only by giving them bread, but also by breaking with them the bread of God’s word, which is addressed first to them.”

Where the poor are concerned, the pope said, too many people are often guilty of a sin of omission or indifference.

Thinking it is “society’s problem” to solve, looking the other way when passing a beggar or changing the channel when the news shows something disturbing are not Christian responses, he said.

“God will not ask us if we felt righteous indignation,” he said, “but whether we did some good.”

People please God in a similar way to how they please anyone they love. They learn what that person likes and gives that to him or her, the pope said.

In the Gospels, he said, Jesus says that he wants to be loved in “the least of our brethren,” including the hungry, the sick, the poor, the stranger and the prisoner.

“In the poor, Jesus knocks on the doors of our heart, thirsting for our love,” he said. True goodness and strength are shown “not in closed fists and crossed arms, but in ready hands outstretched to the poor, to the wounded flesh of the Lord.”

Before joining his guests for lunch, Pope Francis recited the Angelus prayer with thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square.

The previous day in Detroit, he told the people, Capuchin Father Solanus Casey was beatified. “A humble and faithful disciple of Christ, he was known for his untiring service to the poor. May his witness help priests, religious and laypeople live with joy the bond between the proclamation of the Gospel and love for the poor.”

Pope Francis told the crowd that he hoped “the poor would be at the center of our communities not only at times like this, but always, because they are at the heart of the Gospel. In them, we encounter Jesus who speaks to us and calls us through their suffering and their needs.”

Offering special prayers for people living in poverty because of war and conflict, the pope asked the international community to make special efforts to bring peace to those areas, especially the Middle East.

Pope Francis made a specific plea for stability in Lebanon, which is in the middle of a political crisis after its prime minister announced his resignation. He prayed the country would “continue to be a ‘message’ of respect and coexistence throughout the region and for the whole world.”

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Copyright © 2017 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

2 days 17 hours

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(Vatican Radio) Cultural and ideological colonization does not tolerate differences and makes everything the same, resulting in the persecution even of believers. Those were Pope Francis’ reflections in his homily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, which centered on the martyrdom of Eleazar, narrated in the book of Maccabees from the First Reading (Maccabees 6: 18-31). The Pope noted that there are three main types of persecution: a purely religious persecution; a “mixed” persecution that has both religious and political motivations, like the Thirty Years War or the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre”; and a kind of cultural persecution, when a new culture comes in wanting “to make everything new and to make a clean break with everything: the cultures, the laws and the religions of a people.” It is this last type of persecution that led to the martyrdom of Eleazar. The account of this persecution began in the reading from Monday’s liturgy. Some of the Jewish people, seeing the power and the magnificent beauty of Antiochus Ephiphanes (a Greek king of the Seleucid Empire), wanted to make an alliance with him. They wanted to be up-to-date and modern, and so they approached the king and asked him to allow them “to introduce the pagan institutions of other nations” among their own people. Not necessarily the ideas or gods of those nations, the Pope noted, but the institutions. In this way, this people brought in a new culture, “new institutions” in order to make a clean break with everything: their “culture, religion, law.” This modernizing, this renewal of everything, the Pope emphasized, is a true ideological colonization that wanted to impose on the people of Israel “this unique practice,” according to which everything was done in a particular way, and there was no freedom for other things. Some people accepted it because it seemed good to be like the others; and so the traditions were left aside, and the people begin to live in a different way. But to defend the “true traditions” of the people, a resistance rose up, like that of Eleazar, who was very dignified, and respected by all. The book of Maccabees, the Pope said, tells the story of these martyrs, these heroes. A persecution born of ideological colonization always proceeds in the same way: destroying, attempting to make everyone the same. Such persecutions are incapable of tolerating differences. The key word highlighted by the Pope, beginning with Monday’s reading is “perverse root” – that is Antiochus Epifanes: the root that came to introduce into the people of God, “with power,” these new, pagan, worldly” customs: “And this is the path of cultural colonization that ends up persecuting believers too. But we do not have to go too far to see some examples: we think of the genocides of the last century, which was a new cultural thing: [Trying to make] everyone equal; [so that] there is no place for differences, there is no place for others, there is no place for God. It is the perverse root. Faced with this cultural colonization, which arises from the perversity of an ideological root, Eleazar himself has become [a contrary] root. In fact, Eleazar dies thinking of the young people, leaving them a noble example. “He gives [his] life; for love of God and of the law he is made a root for the future.” So, in the face of that perverse root that produces this ideological and cultural colonization, “there is this other root that gives [his] life for the future to grow.” What had come from the kingdom of Antioch was a novelty. But not all new things are bad, the Pope said: just think of the Gospel of Jesus, which was a novelty. When it comes to novelties, the Pope said, one has to be able to make distinctions: “There is a need to discern ‘the new things’: Is this new thing from the Lord, does it come from the Holy Spirit, is it rooted in God? Or does this newness come from a perverse root? But before, [for example] yes, it was a sin to kill children; but today it is not a problem, it is a perverse novelty. Yesterday, the differences were clear, as God made it, creation was respected; but today [people say] we are a little modern... you act... you understand ... things are not so different ... and things are mixed together.”  The “new things” of God, on the other hand, never makes “a negotiation” but grows and looks at the future: “Ideological and cultural colonizations only look to the present; they deny the past, and do not look to the future. They live in the moment, not in time, and so they can’t promise us anything. And with this attitude of making everyone equal and cancelling out differences, they commit, they make an particularly ugly blasphemy against God the Creator. Every time a cultural and ideological colonization comes along, it sins against God the Creator because it wants to change Creation as it was made by Him. And against this fact that has occurred so often in history, there is only one medicine: bearing witness; that is, martyrdom. Eleazar, in fact, gives the witness by giving his life, considering the inheritance he will leave by his example: “I have lived thus. Yes, I dialogue with those who think otherwise, but my testimony is thus, according to the law of God.” Eleazar does not think about leaving behind money or anything of that kind, but looks to the future, “the legacy of his testimony,” to that testimony that would be “a promise of fruitfulness for the young.” It becomes, therefore, a root to give life to others. And the Pope concludes with the hope that that example “will help us in moments of confusion in the face of the cultural and spiritual colonization that is being proposed to us.” (from Vatican Radio)... 20 hours 17 min
While commending Italy’s police force for ensuring the safety and security of those travelling by road and train, Pope Francis on Monday called on them to also inculcate humanity, uprightness ‎and “mercy”.  ‎  The Pope met some 100 top leaders and officials of Italy’s road police that celebrating its 70th anniversary and railway police that is marking its 110 years.  Click below to listen:   Road safety Talking about road safety, Pope Francis told the group it is necessary to deal with the low level of responsibility on the part of many drivers, who often do not even realize the serious consequences of their inattention (for example, with improper use of cell phones ) or their disregard.  He said this is caused by a hurried and competitive lifestyle that regards other drivers as obstacles or opponents ‎to overcome, turning roads into "Formula One" tracks and the traffic lights as the starting line of a Grand Prix race.  In such a context, the Pope said, sanctions are not just enough to increase security, but there is a need for an ‎educative action, which creates greater awareness of one’s responsibilities for those traveling ‎alongside. ‎ Beyond professionalism The Pope told the police men and women that the fruit of their experience on the road and the railway will help in raising awareness and increase civic sense. Their professionalism not only depends on their skills but also on their “profound uprightness ” which never takes ‎advantage of the powers they possess, thus helping develop a “high degree of humanity .”  The Pope said that in surveillance and prevention, it is important to ensure never to let the use of force degenerate into ‎ violence , especially when a policeman is regarded with suspicion or almost as an enemy instead of a guardian of the common good . Mercy In fulfilling their functions, the Holy Father suggested the police have a “sort of mercy”, which he said is not synonymous with ‎weakness.  Neither does it mean renunciation of the use of force.  It means not identifying the ‎ offender with the offence he has committed, that ends up creating harm and generating revenge.  Their work requires them to use mercy even in the countless situations of weakness and pain that they face daily, ‎not only in various types of accidents but also in meeting needy or disadvantaged people. ‎ Good vs evil The Pope also asked the road and railway police to recognize the presence of the clash between good and evil in the world and within us, and to do everything possible to fight egoism, injustice and  ‎indifference and whatever offends man, creates ‎disorder and foments illegality, hindering the happiness and growth of people.  (from Vatican Radio)... 1 day 20 hours
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis celebrated Mass on Sunday – the XXXIII Sunday in Ordinary Time and the first-ever World Day of the Poor – in St. Peter’s Basilica. The Holy Father announced the World Day of the Poor during the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, and entrusted its organization and promotion to the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization . There were some 4 thousand needy people in the congregation for the Mass, after which Pope Francis offered Sunday lunch in the Paul VI Hall. Speaking off the cuff to guests at the luncheon, the Holy Father said, “We pray that the Lord bless us, bless this meal, bless those who have prepared it, bless us all, bless our hearts, our families, our desires, our lives and give us health and strength.” The Holy Father went on to ask God's blessing on all those eating and serving in soup kitchens throughout the city. “Rome,” he said, “is full of this [charity and good will] today.” Click below to hear our report The World Day of the Poor is to be marked annually, on the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time. In the homily he prepared for the occasion and delivered in St. Peter’s Basilica following the Gospel reading, Pope Francis said, “In the poor, Jesus knocks on the doors of our heart, thirsting for our love.” He went on to say, “When we overcome our indifference and, in the name of Jesus, we give of ourselves for the least of his brethren, we are his good and faithful friends, with whom he loves to dwell.” Reminding the faithful that it is precisely in the poor, we find the presence of Jesus, who, though rich, became poor (cf. 2 Cor 8:9), and that there is therefore in each and every poor person, a “saving power” present, Pope Francis said, “[I]f in the eyes of the world they have little value, they are the ones who open to us the way to heaven.” “For us,” the Pope continued, “it is an evangelical duty to care for them, as our real riches, and to do so not only by giving them bread, but also by breaking with them the bread of God’s word, which is addressed first to them. “To love the poor,” Pope Francis said, “means to combat all forms of poverty, spiritual and material: and it will also do us good. Drawing near to the poor in our midst will touch our lives. It will remind us of what really counts: to love God and our neighbour. Only this lasts forever, everything else passes away.”  (from Vatican Radio)... 2 days 18 hours
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis celebrated Mass on Sunday – the XXXIII Sunday in Ordinary Time and the first-ever World Day of the Poor – in St. Peter’s Basilica. Below, please find the full text of his homily on the occasion, in its official English translation … *************************** We have the joy of breaking the bread of God’s word, and shortly, we will have the joy of breaking and receiving the Bread of the Eucharist, food for life’s journey. All of us, none excluded, need this, for all of us are beggars when it comes to what is essential: God’s love, which gives meaning to our lives and a life without end. So today too, we lift up our hands to him, asking to receive his gifts. The Gospel parable speaks of gifts. It tells us that we have received talents from God, “according to ability of each” (Mt 25:15). Before all else, let us realize this: we do have talents; in God’s eyes, we are “talented”. Consequently, no one can think that he or she is useless, so poor as to be incapable of giving something to others. We are chosen and blessed by God, who wants to fill us with his gifts, more than any father or mother does with their own children. And God, in whose eyes no child can be neglected, entrusts to each of us a mission. Indeed, as the loving and demanding Father that he is, he gives us responsibility. In the parable, we see that each servant is given talents to use wisely. But whereas the first two servants do what they are charged, the third does not make his talents bear fruit; he gives back only what he had received. “I was afraid – he says – and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours” (v. 25). As a result, he is harshly rebuked as “wicked and lazy” (v. 26). What made the Master displeased with him? To use a word that may sound a little old-fashioned but is still timely, I would say it was his omission. His evil was that of failing to do good. All too often, we have the idea that we haven’t done anything wrong, and so we rest content, presuming that we are good and just. But in this way we risk acting like the unworthy servant: he did no wrong, he didn’t waste the talent, in fact he kept it carefully hidden in the ground. But to do no wrong is not enough. God is not an inspector looking for unstamped tickets; he is a Father looking for children to whom he can entrust his property and his plans (cf. v. 14). It is sad when the Father of love does not receive a generous response of love from his children, who do no more than keep the rules and follow the commandments, like hired hands in the house of the Father (cf. Lk 15:17). The unworthy servant, despite receiving a talent from the Master who loves to share and multiply his gifts, guarded it jealously; he was content to keep it safe. But someone concerned only to preserve and maintain the treasures of the past is not being faithful to God. Instead, the parable tells us, the one who adds new talents is truly “faithful” (vv. 21 and 23), because he sees things as God does; he does not stand still, but instead, out of love, takes risks. He puts his life on the line for others; he is not content to keep things as they are. One thing alone does he overlook: his own interest. That is the only right “omission”. Omission is also the great sin where the poor are concerned. Here it has a specific name: indifference. It is when we say, “That doesn’t regard me; it’s not my business; it’s society’s problem”. It is when we turn away from a brother or sister in need, when we change channels as soon as a disturbing question comes up, when we grow indignant at evil but do nothing about it. God will not ask us if we felt righteous indignation, but whether we did some good. How, in practice can we please God? When we want to please someone dear to us, for example by giving a gift, we need first to know that person’s tastes, lest the gift prove more pleasing to the giver than to the recipient. When we want to offer something to the Lord, we can find his tastes in the Gospel. Immediately following the passage that we heard today, Jesus says, “Truly I tell you that, just as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me” (Mt 25:40). These least of our brethren, whom he loves dearly, are the hungry and the sick, the stranger and the prisoner, the poor and the abandoned, the suffering who receive no help, the needy who are cast aside. On their faces we can imagine seeing Jesus’ own face; on their lips, even if pursed in pain, we can hear his words: “This is my body” (Mt 26:26). In the poor, Jesus knocks on the doors of our heart, thirsting for our love. When we overcome our indifference and, in the name of Jesus, we give of ourselves for the least of his brethren, we are his good and faithful friends, with whom he loves to dwell. God greatly appreciates the attitude described in today’s first reading that of the “good wife”, who “opens her hand to the poor, and reaches out her hands to the needy” (Prov 31:10.20). Here we see true goodness and strength: not in closed fists and crossed arms, but in ready hands outstretched to the poor, to the wounded flesh of the Lord. There, in the poor, we find the presence of Jesus, who, though rich, became poor (cf. 2 Cor 8:9). For this reason, in them, in their weakness, a “saving power” is present. And if in the eyes of the world they have little value, they are the ones who open to us the way to heaven; they are our “passport to paradise”. For us it is an evangelical duty to care for them, as our real riches, and to do so not only by giving them bread, but also by breaking with them the bread of God’s word, which is addressed first to them. To love the poor means to combat all forms of poverty, spiritual and material. And it will also do us good. Drawing near to the poor in our midst will touch our lives. It will remind us of what really counts: to love God and our neighbour. Only this lasts forever, everything else passes away. What we invest in love remains, the rest vanishes. Today we might ask ourselves: “What counts for me in life? Where am I making my investments?” In fleeting riches, with which the world is never satisfied, or in the wealth bestowed by God, who gives eternal life? This is the choice before us: to live in order to gain things on earth, or to give things away in order to gain heaven. Where heaven is concerned, what matters is not what we have, but what we give, for “those who store up treasures for themselves, do not grow rich in the sight of God” (Lk 12:21). So let us not seek for ourselves more than we need, but rather what is good for others, and nothing of value will be lacking to us. May the Lord, who has compassion for our poverty and needs, and bestows his talents upon us, grant us the wisdom to seek what really matters, and the courage to love, not in words but in deeds. (from Vatican Radio)... 2 days 20 hours

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From: Insightful and in depth analysis of issues important to Catholics.
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Justice is a slippery concept. So often we are punished for things we do inadvertently (consider a traffic accident), and even more often we receive no punishment for evil words or deeds in which we willingly engage. The same is true for all, which makes justice in this world very slippery indeed. There are interesting lessons about this slipperiness in several books of Scripture, including the Second Book of Chronicles.

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From: Live Catholic Headlines
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Vatican City, Nov 21, 2017 / 07:33 am (EWTN News/CNA).- On Tuesday, Pope Francis sent a video greeting to the people of Bangladesh ahead of his Nov. 30-Dec. 2 visit to the country, saying he is looking forward to meeting everyone, especially Catholics and other religious leaders, and to bringing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 20 hours 55 min
Vatican City, Nov 21, 2017 / 06:34 am (EWTN News/CNA).- On Tuesday, the Vatican announced Pope Francis' appointment of Fr. Shawn McKnight as the next bishop of the Diocese of Jefferson City, and Msgr. Mark Spalding as the new leader of the Diocese of Nashville. 21 hours 54 min
Irondale, Ala., Nov 21, 2017 / 06:20 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- EWTN Global Catholic Network has introduced a new service allowing free on-demand access to a large library of its video content, with more than 12,000 programs available, and more being added regularly. 22 hours 8 min
London, England, Nov 21, 2017 / 05:01 am (EWTN News/CNA).- An English chemist charged with murder for the 2015 killing of his 85-year-old father, who wished to die, was freed on Friday by a judge who said, "Your acts of assistance were acts of pure compassion and mercy." 23 hours 27 min
Marseilles, France, Nov 21, 2017 / 02:08 am (EWTN News/CNA).- At age 113, Sister André is one of the oldest religious sisters in the world. 1 day 2 hours
Vatican City, Nov 21, 2017 / 02:00 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- Relations with mainland China have long been an interest for the Holy See, and the Vatican Museums have now partnered with a Chinese cultural institute in hopes of building stronger ties with the country through art. 1 day 2 hours
Vatican City, Nov 20, 2017 / 01:05 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- Pope Francis sent a telegram Monday for the death of long-time Vatican diplomat Cardinal Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo, who died in Rome Sunday at the age of 92. 2 days 3 hours
Vatican City, Nov 19, 2017 / 07:52 am (EWTN News/CNA).- Pope Francis on Sunday cautioned against having a "mistaken" idea of God as harsh and punishing, saying this fear will end up paralyzing us and preventing us from doing good, rather than spreading his love and mercy. 2 days 20 hours
Washington D.C., Nov 19, 2017 / 05:52 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- Thanksgiving is a time of food and family for many Americans. But for those experiencing poverty and homelessness, it can be a time of pain and loneliness. 2 days 22 hours
Vatican City, Nov 19, 2017 / 04:34 am (EWTN News/CNA).- On the first World Day for the Poor, Pope Francis said caring for the needy has a saving power, because in them we see the face of Christ, and urged Christians to overcome indifference and seek ways to actively love the poor that they meet. 2 days 23 hours

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From: Reliable world news and analysis from a Catholic perspective.
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The chairmen of 2 US bishops’ committees called on Congress to allocate $10 million to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. 23 hours 16 min
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The nation of 18.4 million is 70% Muslim and 26% Christian (primarily Russian Orthodox). 23 hours 17 min
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Pope Francis received the Hungarian bishops, who were in Rome for their ad limina visit, as well as the directors and staff of the Central Directorate for Road and Railway Police, to whom the Pontiff delivered an address. 1 day 16 min
Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Vatican’s Secretary for Relations with States, spent 3 days in Romania. The nation of 21.6 million is 82% Orthodox, 6% Protestant, and 5% Catholic. 1 day 16 min
COP23, the 2017 UN Climate Change Conference, took place from November 6 to 18 in Bonn. 1 day 17 min
The conference is entitled “From Populorum Progressio to Laudato si’. Work and the movement of workers at the center of integral, sustainable and fraternal human development. Why does the world of work continue to be the key to development in the global world?” 1 day 17 min
In his preface, Pope Francis called upon permanent deacons to look to St. Francis of Assisi as their example in their service to the poor. In a 2016 address, the Pope seemed less than enthusiastic about the permanent diaconate, characterizing it (at least in certain cases) as a clericalization of the laity. 1 day 17 min
Pope Francis appointed 2 new bishops in Argentina. 1 day 17 min
The Catholic bishops of Scotland have asked political leaders for “renewed discussions” on abortion policy, noting that since a majority of the Scottish people do not support liberal abortion laws, “the decision to ease them appears to be in conflict with public opinion.” 1 day 1 hour
Cardinal Janis Pujats, the retired Archbishop of Riga, Latvia, told an interviewer that “it is necessary to clarify “Amoris Laetitia. The cardinal said that the document the text is “too liberal” in its outlook. 1 day 1 hour
L’Osservatore Romano (11/20-11/21 Italian ed.) devoted front-page coverage to this story. 1 day 1 hour
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has signed legislation that requires all health-insurance policies to include coverage for contraception. The law—which allows for no exceptions—reverses the effect of a Trump administration policy allowing employees to opt out of contraceptive coverage for moral reasons. 1 day 1 hour
Representatives of the bishops’ conferences of the US and Mexico have joined in a call for the reworking of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), saying that the pact has “consequences beyond the economic sphere.” 1 day 1 hour
The conference, entitled “Irritated Systems,” featured speakers who called for continued vigilance in addressing the sexual abuse of minors. Father Hans Zollner, president of the Center for Child Protection at Pontifical Gregorian University, said that “sexual abuse in the ecclesial realm should not lead to a self-styling as a victim institution” and challenged participants to focus on the human suffering of victims rather than on institutional security. 1 day 1 hour
At a November 21 press conference, officials of the Vatican Museums and the Forbidden City in Beijing outlined plans for joint exhibits that will open in early 2018. Barbara Jatta, the director of the Vatican Museums, said that the effort represents a bid to draw closer to China through the “diplomacy of art.” 1 day 1 hour
In a talk that was videotaped without his knowledge, an Italian priest who hiked with St. John Paul II recalled that the late Pontiff predicted an Islamic “invasion” of Europe, and said that it could not be met with weapons but only by “faith lived with integrity.” The Polish Pontiff also told US President George W. Bush that he was sacrificing human dignity for US security, according to Msgr. Mauro Longhi. 1 day 1 hour
Looking forward to his visit to Bangladesh, which will take place November 30 to December 2, Pope Francis has sent a video message to that nation’s people. The Pope emphasizes his desire to meet with the leaders of different religious groups in Bangladesh, saying that “believers and men of good will in every place are called to promote mutual comprehension and respect.” 1 day 1 hour
The Vatican has confirmed that— as reported here yesterday—Pope Francis has reorganized the Secretariat of State, creating a new department to supervise Vatican diplomats.
The new section will be headed by Archbishop Jan Romeo Pawlowski, a Polish cleric already working in the Secretariat of State.
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The Pope dined with 1,500 poor persons on November 19. 1 day 1 hour
In his homily at morning Mass on November 21, Pope Francis said efforts to impose ideology lead to persecution. Reflecting on the day’s reading from the Book of Maccabees, he said that the Maccabees suffered from a “cultural persecution,” which he characterized as a bid “to make everything new and to make a clean break with everything: the cultures, the laws and the religions of a people.” 1 day 1 hour
L’Osservatore Romano (11/20-11/21 Italian ed.) devoted front-page coverage to this story. 1 day 1 hour
As the military takes control from 93-year-old strongman Robert Mugabe, a spokesman for the bishops’ conference called for respect for human rights and “free and fair elections.” 1 day 1 hour
The ordinary council of the Synod of Bishops met in Rome this week, to continue preparations for the October 2019 meeting, which will focus on youth and vocation. The discussions, held November 16 and 17, centered on the preparation of the working document for the meeting, and the efforts to solicit more input from young people. 1 day 1 hour
Russian pro-life leaders have presented Kremlin lawmakers with a petition signed by 1 million citizens, calling for legal protection of human life from conception until natural death. 1 day 1 hour
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Rev. Jamie Johnson of the Anglican Church in North America resigned as director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Center for Faith-Based & Neighborhood Partnerships. 2 days 2 hours
Nicholas W. Black Elk, Sr. (1863-1950)—also known simply as Black Elk—was baptized in 1904 and later became a catechist who helped lead hundreds of others to the faith. 2 days 2 hours
Cardinal Pietro Parolin’s remarks appear on page 6. 2 days 2 hours
In separate audiences, the Pope received the prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, Cardinal Charles Maung Bo (Myanmar), Cardinal Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino (Cuba), the head of a UN health agency, the Pontifical Council for Culture, and the Joseph Ratzinger- Benedict XVI Vatican Foundation. 2 days 3 hours
Addressing participants in a conference on addressing global health inequalities, Pope Francis cited the parable of the Good Samaritan and said that “while a well-structured organization is essential for providing necessary services and the best possible attention to human needs, healthcare workers should also be attuned to the importance of listening, accompanying and supporting the persons for whom they care.” 2 days 3 hours
Pope Francis appointed a successor to a Canadian bishop who resigned for reasons of age. He also appointed new bishops in Poland and Micronesia. 2 days 3 hours
Pope Francis has named Cardinal Sérgio da Rocha, archbishop of Brasilia and president of the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, as the relator general of the next Synod of Bishops. He will be responsible for delivering addresses to the bishops before and after their discussion of youth, faith, and vocational discernment. The Pope also named Father Giacomo Costa (an Italian Jesuit) and Father Rossano Sala (an Italian Salesian) as the synod’s special secretaries. 2 days 3 hours
Italian media reports alleged that the Diocese of Como, Italy, ordained a seminarian who had demanded homosexual relations with a younger seminarian under his authority. The diocese stated that a positive evaluation from authorities in Rome factored into the decision to ordain the older seminarian. The Vatican Press Office questioned the reports but said that “a new investigation is underway, to shed full light on really happened.” 2 days 3 hours
Speaking recently at a conference on Our Lady of Fatima, Cardinal Raymond Burke said that the Church “appears not to know herself, her identity in Christ, Who comes to us through the unbroken Apostolic Tradition.” The prelate criticized “those who exercise the pastoral office” for “their failure to teach the faith, in fidelity to the Church’s constant doctrine and practice, whether through explicit declarations and actions or through a superficial, confused or even worldly approach.” 2 days 3 hours
An estimated 60,000 people attended the beatification Mass of the Capuchin Franciscan friar, who was born in 1870 and died in 1957. 2 days 4 hours
Addressing the Pontifical Council for Culture, Pope Francis cited developments in medicine and genetics, the neurosciences, and “autonomous and thinking machines.” He then spoke of three principles: an “appreciation of the sciences, which we have not always known how to manifest”; “the universal destination of goods, which also regards those of knowledge and technology”; and “not all that is technically possible or feasible is therefore ethically acceptable.” 2 days 4 hours
“Even non-Catholics are happy Pope Francis will visit us,” said Archbishop Paul Grawng. “This is truly a unique and glorious occasion for all of us.” Myanmar, a nation of 56.9 million, is 88% Buddhist, 6% Christian, and 4% Muslim. 2 days 4 hours
Pope Francis said that Pope Benedict XVI’s “work and his teaching continue to be a living and precious heritage for the Church and for our service.” During the ceremony (video), Pope Francis conferred the prize upon Lutheran theologian Theodor Dieter, Catholic theologian Father Karl-Heinz Menke, and Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. 2 days 4 hours
The meal took place in Paul VI Audience Hall following Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica. 2 days 4 hours
Warning against a distorted image of God, Pope Francis reflected on Matthew 25:14-30 during his November 19 Angelus address (video). 2 days 4 hours
“Whilst the few enjoy most of the benefits of free market economics, large numbers are condemned to abject poverty,” said Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, who served as Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship from 2005 to 2009 under Pope Benedict. 2 days 4 hours
Click here for video of the Mass, here for the booklet for the celebration, and here for the Pope’s message for the day, entitled “Let us love, not with words but with deeds.” 2 days 4 hours
The submarine disappeared on November 15, according to a BBC report. 2 days 5 hours

Pope Francis has created a new section of the Vatican Secretariat of State, to coordinate the work of papal diplomats, the veteran Vatican journalist Sandro Magister of L’Espresso reports.

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Cardinal Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo, the retired archpriest of the Roman basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, died on November 19 at the age of 92.
Born into a prominent Italian family in Turin, Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo was ordained as a priest of the Rome diocese in 1954. He spent much of his life as a Vatican diplomat, serving in Mexico, Japan, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Honduras, Nicaragua, Israel, and finally Italy before taking his post as archpriest of the basilica, from which he finally retired in 2009 at the age of 83. He was raised to the College of Cardinals by Pope Benedict XVI in 2006.
With the death of the Italian prelate there are now 217 members of the College of Cardinals, of whom 120 are eligible to take part in a papal election.
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In a November 20 meeting with the staff of Italy’s Road and Railway Police, Pope Francis decried the “low level of responsibility on the part of many drivers, who often do not even realize the serious consequences of their negligence.” The Pope said the problem is related to “haste and competitiveness as a way of life.” He also called for more public investment in safe highways. 2 days 6 hours

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From: Latest News Releases from USCCB
Posted

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has named Father J. Mark Spalding of the Archdiocese of Louisville as the new bishop of Nashville. Pope Francis has also named Father Shawn McKnight, a priest of the Diocese of Wichita, as the new bishop of Jefferson City after accepting the resignation of Bishop John R. Gaydos. 

The appointments were publicized in Washington on November 21, 2017 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Father J. Mark Spalding was born January 13, 1965 and was ordained a priest on August 3, 1991. 

He attended St. Meinrad College Seminary in St. Meinrad, Indiana where he studied philosophy. He later attended the American College at Louvain in Belgium (1991) where he earned a degree in theology. He later attended the Catholic University of Louvain, where he earned a Licentiate of Canon Law in 1992.

Assignments after ordination included parochial vicar, St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral, Bardstown (1992-1996); parochial vicar, St. Augustine Parish, Lebanon (1996-1998); parochial vicar, St. Margaret Mary Parish, Louisville (1998-1999); pastor, Immaculate Conception Parish, LaGrange (1999-2011); pastor, Holy Trinity Parish, Louisville (2011-present).   

Father Spalding also served as judicial vicar for the Archdiocese of Louisville from 1998-2011 and is currently vicar general for the Archdiocese, 2011-present.  

Father Shawn McKnight was born June 26, 1968. He was ordained a priest for the diocese of Wichita on May 28, 1994.  

He earned a master of arts degree and a master of divinity degree from the Pontifical College Josephinum (1993-1994) and later earned a Licentiate of Sacred Theology from the Pontifical Athenaeum of St. Anselm in Rome in 1999. In 2001, he earned a Doctor of Sacred Theology also from the Pontifical Athenaeum of St. Anselm.

Assignments after ordination include: associate pastor, Blessed Sacrament Parish, Wichita (1994-1997); pastoral administrator, St. Patrick Parish, Chanute (1999); chaplain, Newman University, Wichita (2000-2001); priestly service, St. Mary's Parish, Delaware (2003-2008); pastor, Blessed Sacrament Parish, Wichita (2008-2010); priestly service, parishes in the Archdiocese of Baltimore and Washington (2010-2015); presbyteral council and college of consultors, Wichita (2000-2005); pastor, Church of the Magdalen, Wichita (2015-present).

Father McKnight formerly served as executive director of the Secretariat for Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations (CCLV) of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) from 2010-2015. He has also held numerous academic, professional and academic society positions among them serving as director of Liturgy and director of Formation at the Pontifical College Josephinum.  

Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Bishop John R. Gaydos, who has served as the third bishop of Jefferson City.  

Bishop Gaydos was born August 14, 1943 and will turn 75 this August. On June 25, 1997, Gaydos was appointed bishop of Jefferson City by Pope John Paul II. He was ordained as bishop on August 27, 1997. 

He also served within the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops as Chairman of the Committee on Priestly Life and Ministry, now known as the Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations (CCLV). 

The Archdiocese of Louisville comprises 8,124 square miles. It has a total population of 1,408,733 people of which 177,725 or 7 percent, are Catholic.  

The Diocese of Jefferson City comprises 22,127 square miles. It has a total population of 920,234 people of which 81,958 or 11 percent, are Catholic.  

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio, Bishop John R. Gaydos, Father J. Mark Spalding, Archdiocese of Louisville, Nashville, Father W. Shawn McKnight, Jefferson City

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1 day 3 hours

WASHINGTON— Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), offers a Thanksgiving Day message to the nation with special gratitude for the gift of immigrants and refugees.

Full statement follows:

"As we do every year, we will pause this coming Thursday to thank God for the many blessings we enjoy in the United States. My brother bishops and I, gathered last week in Baltimore, were attentive in a special way to those who are often excluded from this great abundance—the poor, the sick, the addicted, the unborn, the unemployed, and especially migrants and refugees.

My brothers expressed a shared and ever-greater sense of alarm—and urgency to act—in the face of policies that seemed unthinkable only a short time ago: the deportation of Dreamers, young hard-working people who should be the lowest priority for deportation; the anxiety and uncertainty of those with Temporary Protected Status from countries like Haiti, El Salvador, and Honduras, which are still recovering from natural disasters and remain ill-equipped to humanely receive and integrate them; and an unprecedented reduction in the number of people we will welcome this year into our country who seek refuge from the ravages of war and religious persecution in their countries of origin.

One common feature of all these developments is their tendency to tear apart the family, the fundamental building block of our, or any, society. These threats to so many vulnerable immigrant and refugee families must end now. My brothers have urged me to speak out on their behalf to urge the immediate passage—and signature—of legislation that would alleviate these immediate threats to these families.

Another common feature of these policies is that they are symptoms of an immigration system that is profoundly broken and requires comprehensive reform. This is a longer-term goal, one that the bishops have advocated for decades to achieve, and one that must never be overlooked. Only by complete reform will we have the hope of achieving the common goals of welcoming the most vulnerable, ensuring due process and humane treatment, protecting national security, and respecting the rule of law. We are committed to such reforms and will continue to call for them.

So this year, I give thanks for the gift and contributions of immigrants and refugees to our great nation. I also pray that next year, families now under threat will not be broken and dispersed, but instead will be united in joy around their tables, giving thanks for all the blessings our nation has to offer.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving all!"

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Keywords: USCCB, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Thanksgiving Day, America, blessings, migrants, refugees, comprehensive reform, family reunification

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Judy Keane
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