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Thursday, October 1, 2015

Catholic News World : Thurs. October 1, 2015 - SHARE

2015


#PopeFrancis #Prayer Intentions for #October - “That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated”.


Pope Francis' prayer intentions for October
 Vatican City, 30 September 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father's universal prayer intention for October is: “That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated”.
 His intention for evangelisation is: “That with a missionary spirit the Christian communities of Asia may announce the Gospel to those who are still awaiting it”.


#PopeFrancis "...never, ever, ever should our heart’s longing for God be extinguished.” #Homily

Pope Francis at Mass, Oct 1, 2015 - OSS_ROM
Pope Francis at Mass, Oct 1, 2015 - OSS_ROM
01/10/2015 12:12


(Vatican Radio) The joy of the Lord is our strength, and in Him we discover who we really are: this was the focus of Pope Francis’ reflection following the readings of the day at Mass in the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta on Thursday morning, the feast of St. Therese of Lisieux. The Holy Father focused especially on the need to cultivate nostalgia – deep yearning – for God in the Christian life.
Click below to hear our report
Drawing on the First Reading, from the Book of the Prophet Nehemiah, Pope Francis reflected on the people of Israel, who, after long years of exile, had at last returned to Jerusalem. He recalled that, in the years of Babylonian captivity, the people always remembered their homeland. After so many years, the day of return finally came, and with it the rebuilding of Jerusalem, as narrated in the First Reading. Nehemiah asked the scribe Ezra read to the people the Book of the Law, and the people were happy, “They were weeping in their joy, and felt God's Word; the experienced joy, and also weeping, all together,” he said.
The joy of the Lord is our strength
Asking how we might understand this intense confluence of emotion, Pope Francis explained, “Simply, these people not only had found their city, the city where the people was born, the city of God: hearing the Law, they also rediscovered their identity, and for that, the people wept with joy.”:
“They wept with joy, crying because they had encountered their [true] identity, the identity that had weakened somewhat during the years of exile. It was a long journey, theirs: ‘Be not sad,’ said Nehemiah, ‘for the joy of the Lord is our strength’. It is the joy that the Lord gives when we discover who we really are – and our own identity is lost on the way, is lost in many deportations – or self-deportations, when we make a nest here, a nest there, and do not dwell in the house of the Lord: to find one’s own identity.”
Only in God we find our true identity
The Pope then asked how we can find our own identity. “When you have lost what was yours, your home, what was your own, there is this nostalgia, and this nostalgia brings you back home,” he said. “This people,” he added, “with this longing, felt that they were happy, they wept for joy, for the nostalgia they experienced for their true identity led them to find their home again – a grace of God”:
“If we, to offer one example, are full of food, we do not starve. If we are comfortable, quiet where we are, we do not need to go elsewhere – and I ask myself, and it would be good that we all ask ourselves today: ‘I am calm, happy, do I not need anything – spiritually speaking – in my heart? Is my nostalgia turned off?’ Let us look on this happy people, who wept and were joyful: a heart that has no nostalgia, do not know joy – and joy, really, is our strength: the joy of God. A heart that does not know what nostalgia is, is incapable of [genuine] festivity – and this journey that has been underway for years, ends in a feast.”
Let not the longing for God be extinguished in our hearts
The people, recalled Francis, rejoice with joy because they had “understood the words that had been proclaimed to them. They had found that, which the nostalgia – the longing of their heart – made them feel, and spurred them forward.”:
“Let us ask ourselves how our own nostalgia for God is doing: are we content, are we happy as we are, do we have each day the desire to move forward? May the Lord give us this grace: that never, ever, ever should our heart’s longing for God be extinguished.”

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Thurs. October 1, 2015

Memorial of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church
Lectionary: 458


Reading 1NEH 8:1-4A, 5-6, 7B-12

The whole people gathered as one in the open space before the Water Gate,
and they called upon Ezra the scribe
to bring forth the book of the law of Moses
which the LORD prescribed for Israel.
On the first day of the seventh month, therefore,
Ezra the priest brought the law before the assembly,
which consisted of men, women,
and those children old enough to understand.
Standing at one end of the open place that was before the Water Gate,
he read out of the book from daybreak until midday,
in the presence of the men, the women,
and those children old enough to understand;
and all the people listened attentively to the book of the law.
Ezra the scribe stood on a wooden platform
that had been made for the occasion.
He opened the scroll
so that all the people might see it
(for he was standing higher up than any of the people);
and, as he opened it, all the people rose.
Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God,
and all the people, their hands raised high, answered,
“Amen, amen!”
Then they bowed down and prostrated themselves before the LORD,
their faces to the ground.
As the people remained in their places,
Ezra read plainly from the book of the law of God,
interpreting it so that all could understand what was read.
Then Nehemiah, that is, His Excellency, and Ezra the priest-scribe
and the Levites who were instructing the people
said to all the people:
“Today is holy to the LORD your God.
Do not be sad, and do not weep”–
for all the people were weeping as they heard the words of the law.
He said further: “Go, eat rich foods and drink sweet drinks,
and allot portions to those who had nothing prepared;
for today is holy to our LORD.
Do not be saddened this day,
for rejoicing in the LORD must be your strength!”
And the Levites quieted all the people, saying,
“Hush, for today is holy, and you must not be saddened.”
Then all the people went to eat and drink,
to distribute portions, and to celebrate with great joy,
for they understood the words that had been expounded to them.

Responsorial PsalmPS 19:8, 9, 10, 11

R. (9ab) The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul;
The decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
giving wisdom to the simple.
R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
The command of the LORD is clear,
enlightening the eye;
R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever;
The ordinances of the LORD are true,
all of them just.
R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
They are more precious than gold,
than a heap of purest gold;
Sweeter also than syrup
or honey from the comb.
R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.

AlleluiaMARK 1:15

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Kingdom of God is at hand;
repent and believe in the Gospel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelLK 10:1-12

Jesus appointed seventy-two other disciples
whom he sent ahead of him in pairs
to every town and place he intended to visit.
He said to them,
“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest.
Go on your way;
behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves.
Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals;
and greet no one along the way.
Into whatever house you enter, first say,
‘Peace to this household.’
If a peaceful person lives there,
your peace will rest on him;
but if not, it will return to you.
Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you,
for the laborer deserves his payment.
Do not move about from one house to another.
Whatever town you enter and they welcome you,
eat what is set before you,
cure the sick in it and say to them,
‘The Kingdom of God is at hand for you.’
Whatever town you enter and they do not receive you,
go out into the streets and say,
‘The dust of your town that clings to our feet,
even that we shake off against you.’
Yet know this: the Kingdom of God is at hand.
I tell you,
it will be more tolerable for Sodom on that day than for that town.”

Saint October 1 : St. Therese of Lisieux : Patron of #AIDS, Illness, and #Missionaries


St. Therese of Lisieux
DISCALCED CARMELITE MYSTIC, DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH
Feast: October 1
Information:
Feast Day:
October 1
Born:
January 2, 1873, Alençon, France
Died:
September 30, 1897, Lisieux, France
Canonized:
May 17, 1925 by Pope Pius XI
Major Shrine:
Basilique de Sainte-Thérèse, Lisieux, France
Patron of:
AIDS sufferers; aviators; bodily ills; florists; France; illness; loss of parents; missionaries; tuberculosis

The spread of the cult of St. Therese of Lisieux is one of the impressive religious manifestations of our time. During her few years on earth this young French Carmelite was scarcely to be distinguished from many another devoted nun, but her death brought an almost immediate awareness of her unique gifts. Through her letters, the word-of-mouth tradition originating with her fellow-nuns, and especially through the publication of Histoire d'un ame, Therese of the Child Jesus or "The Little Flower" soon came to mean a great deal to numberless people; she had shown them the way of perfection in the small things of every day. Miracles and graces were being attributed to her intercession, and within twenty-eight years after death, this simple young nun had been canonized. In 1936 a basilica in her honor at Lisieux was opened and blessed by Cardinal Pacelli; and it was he who, in 1944, as Pope, declared her the secondary patroness of France. "The Little Flower" was an admirer of St. Teresa of Avila, and a comparison at once suggests itself. Both were christened Teresa, both were Carmelites, and both left interesting autobiographies. Many temperamental and intellectual differences separate them, in addition to the differences of period and of race; but there are striking similarities. They both patiently endured severe physical sufferings; both had a capacity for intense religious experience; both led lives made radiant by the love of Christ.
The parents of the later saint were Louis Martin, a watchmaker of Alencon, France, son of an army officer, and Azelie-Marie Guerin, a lacemaker of the same town. Only five of their nine children lived to maturity; all five were daughters and all were to become nuns. Francoise-Marie Therese, the youngest, was born on January 2, 1873. Her childhood must have been normally happy, for her first memories, she writes, are of smiles and tender caresses. Although she was affectionate and had much natural charm, Therese gave no sign of precocity. When she was only four, the family was stricken by the sad blow of the mother's death. Monsieur Martin gave up his business and established himself at Lisieux, Normandy, where Madame Martin's brother lived with his wife and family. The Guerins, generous and loyal people, were able to ease the father's responsibilities through the years by giving to their five nieces practical counsel and deep affection.
The Martins were now and always united in the closest bonds. The eldest daughter, Marie, although only thirteen, took over the management of the household, and the second, Pauline, gave the girls religious instruction. When the group gathered around the fire on winter evenings, Pauline would read aloud works of piety, such as the Liturgical Year of Dom Gueranger. Their lives moved along quietly for some years, then came the first break in the little circle. Pauline entered the Carmelite convent of Lisieux. She was to advance steadily in her religious vocation, later becoming prioress. It is not astonishing that the youngest sister, then only nine, had a great desire to follow the one who had been her loving guide. Four years later, when Marie joined her sister at the Carmel, Therese's desire for a life in religion was intensified. Her education during these years was in the hands of the Benedictine nuns of the convent of Notre-Dame-du-Pre. She was confirmed there at the age of eleven.
In her autobiography Therese writes that her personality changed after her mother's death, and from being childishly merry she became withdrawn and shy. While Therese was indeed developing into a serious-minded girl, it does not appear that she became markedly sad. We have many evidences of liveliness and fun, and the oral tradition, as well as the many letters, reveal an outgoing nature, able to articulate the warmest expressions of love for her family, teachers, and friends.
On Christmas Eve, just a few days before Therese's fourteenth birthday, she underwent an experience which she ever after referred to as "my conversion." It was to exert a profound influence on her life. Let her tell of it—and its moral effect—in her own words: "On that blessed night the sweet infant Jesus, scarcely an hour old, filled the darkness of my soul with floods of light. By becoming weak and little, for love of me, He made me strong and brave: He put His own weapons into my hands so that I went on from strength to strength, beginning, if I may say so, 'to run as a giant."' An indelible impression had been made on this attuned soul; she claimed that the Holy Child had healed her of undue sensitiveness and "girded her with His weapons." It was by reason of this vision that the saint was to become known as "Therese of the Child Jesus."
The next year she told her father of her wish to become a Carmelite. He readily consented, but both the Carmelite authorities and Bishop Hugonin of Bayeux refused to consider it while she was still so young. A few months later, in November, to her unbounded delight, her father took her and another daughter, Celine, to visit Notre-Dame des Victoires in Paris, then on pilgrimage to Rome for the Jubilee of Pope Leo XIII. The party was accompanied by the Abbe Reverony of Bayeux. In a letter from Rome to her sister Pauline, who was now Sister Agnes of Jesus, Therese described the audience: "The Pope was sitting on a great chair; M. Reverony was near him; he watched the pilgrims kiss the Pope's foot and pass before him and spoke a word about some of them. Imagine how my heart beat as I saw my turn come: I didn't want to return without speaking to the Pope. I spoke, but I did not get it all said because M. Reverony did not give me time. He said immediately: 'Most Holy Father, she is a child who wants to enter Carmel at fifteen, but its superiors are considering the matter at the moment.' I would have liked to be able to explain my case, but there was no way. The Holy Father said to me simply: 'If the good God wills, you will enter.' Then I was made to pass on to another room. Pauline, I cannot tell you what I felt. It was like annihilation, I felt deserted.... Still God cannot be giving me trials beyond my strength. He gave me the courage to sustain this one."
Therese did not have to wait long in suspense. The Pope's blessing and the earnest prayers she offered at many shrines during the pilgrimage had the desired effect. At the end of the year Bishop Hugonin gave his permission, and on April 9, 1888, Therese joined her sisters in the Carmel at Lisieux. "From her entrance she astonished the community by her bearing, which was marked by a certain majesty that one would not expect in a child of fifteen." So testified her novice mistress at the time of Therese's beatification. During her novitiate Father Pichon, a Jesuit, gave a retreat, and he also testified to Therese's piety. "It was easy to direct that child. The Holy Spirit was leading her and I do not think that I ever had, either then or later, to warn her against illusions.... What struck me during the retreat were the spiritual trials through which God wished her to pass." Therese's presence among them filled the nuns with happiness. She was slight in build, and had fair hair, gray-blue eyes, and delicate features. With all the intensity of her ardent nature she loved the daily round of religious practices, the liturgical prayers, the reading of Scripture. After entering the Carmel she began to sign letters to her father and others, "Therese of the Child Jesus."
In 1889 the Martin sisters suffered a great shock. Their father, after two paralytic strokes, had a mental breakdown and had to be removed to a private sanitarium, where he remained for three years. Therese bore this grievous sorrow heroically.
On September 8, 1890, at the age of seventeen, Therese took final vows. In spite of poor health, she carried out from the first all the austerities of the stern Carmelite rule, except that she was not permitted to fast. "A soul of such mettle," said the prioress, "must not be treated like a child. Dispensations are not meant for her." The physical ordeal which she felt more than any other was the cold of the convent buildings in winter, but no one even suspected this until she confessed it on her death-bed. And by that time she was able to say, "I have reached the point of not being able to suffer any more, because all suffering is sweet to me."
In 1893, when she was twenty, she was appointed to assist the novice mistress, and was in fact mistress in all but name. She comments, "From afar it seems easy to do good to souls, to make them love God more, to mold them according to our own ideas and views. But coming closer we find, on the contrary, that to do good without God's help is as impossible as to make the sun shine at night."
In her twenty-third year, on order of the prioress, Therese began to write the memories of her childhood and of life at the convent; this material forms the first chapters of Histoire d'un ame, the History of a Soul. It is a unique and engaging document, written with a charming spontaneity, full of fresh turns of phrase, unconscious self-revelation, and, above all, giving evidence of deep spirituality. She describes her own prayers and thereby tells us much about herself. "With me prayer is a lifting up of the heart, a look towards Heaven, a cry of gratitude and love uttered equally in sorrow and in joy; in a word, something noble, supernatural, which enlarges my soul and unites it to God.... Except for the Divine Office, which in spite of my unworthiness is a daily joy, I have not the courage to look through books for beautiful prayers. . . . I do as a child who has not learned to read, I just tell our Lord all that I want and he understands." She has natural psychological insight: "Each time that my enemy would provoke me to fight I behave like a brave soldier. I know that a duel is an act of cowardice, and so, without once looking him in the face, I turn my back on the foe, hasten to my Saviour, and vow that I am ready to shed my blood in witness of my belief in Heaven." She mentions her own patience humorously. During meditation in the choir, one of the sisters continually fidgeted with her rosary, until Therese was perspiring with irritation. At last, "instead of trying not to hear it, which was impossible, I set myself to listen as though it had been some delightful music, and my meditation, which was the 'prayer of quiet,' passed in offering this music to our Lord." Her last chapter is a paean to divine love, and concludes, "I entreat Thee to let Thy divine eyes rest upon a vast number of little souls; I entreat Thee to choose in this world a legion of little victims of Thy love." She counted herself among these. "I am a very little soul, who can offer only very little things to the Lord."
In 1894 Louis Martin died, and soon Celine, who had of late been taking care of him, made the fourth sister from this family in the Carmel at Lisieux. Some years later, the fifth, Leonie, entered the convent of the Visitation at Caen.
Therese occupied herself with reading and writing almost up to the end of her life. That event loomed ever nearer as tuberculosis made a steady advance. During the night between Holy Thursday and Good Friday, 1896, she suffered a pulmonary haemorrhage. Although her bodily and spiritual sufferings were extreme, she wrote many letters, to members of her family and to distant friends, as well as continuing Histoire d'un ame. She carried on a correspondance with Carmelite sisters at Hanoi, China; they wished her to come out and join them, not realizing the seriousness of her ailment. She had a great yearning to respond to their appeal. At intervals moments of revelation came to her, and it was then that she penned those succinct reflections that are now repeated so widely. Here are three of them that give the flavor of her mind: "I will spend my Heaven doing good on earth." "I have never given the good God aught but love, and it is with love that He will repay." "My 'little way' is the way of spiritual childhood, the way of trust and absolute self-surrender."
A further insight is given us in a letter Therese wrote, shortly before she died, to Pere Roulland, a missionary in China. "Sometimes, when I read spiritual treatises, in which perfection is shown with a thousand obstacles in the way and a host of illusions round about it, my poor little mind soon grows weary, I close the learned book, which leaves my head splitting and my heart parched, and I take the Holy Scriptures. Then all seems luminous, a single word opens up infinite horizons to my soul, perfection seems easy; I see that it is enough to realize one's nothingness, and give oneself wholly, like a child, into the arms of the good God. Leaving to great souls, great minds, the fine books I cannot understand, I rejoice to be little because 'only children, and those who are like them, will be admitted to the heavenly banquet.’"
In June, 1897, Therese was removed to the infirmary of the convent. On September 30, with the words, "My God . . . I love Thee!" on her lips she died. The day before, her sister Celine, knowing the end was at hand, had asked for some word of farewell, and Therese, serene in spite of pain, murmured, "I have said all . . . all is consummated . . . only love counts."
The prioress, Mother Marie de Gonzague, wrote in the convent register, alongside the saint's act of Profession: ". . . The nine and a half years she spent among us leave our souls fragrant with the most beautiful virtues with which the life of a Carmelite can be filled. A perfect model of humility, obedience, charity, prudence, detachment, and regularity, she fulfilled the difficult discipline of mistress of novices with a sagacity and affection which nothing could equal save her love for God...."
The Church was to recognize a profound and valuable teaching in 'the little way'—connoting a realistic awareness of one's limitations, and the wholehearted giving of what one has, however small the gift. Beginning in 1898, with the publication of a small edition of Histoire d'un ame, the cult of this saint of 'the little way' grew so swiftly that the Pope dispensed with the rule that a process for canonization must not be started until fifty years after death. Almost from childhood, it seems, Therese had consciously aspired to the heights, often saying to herself that God would not fill her with a desire that was unattainable. Only twenty-six years after her death she was beatified by Pope Pius XI, and in the year of Jubilee, 1925, he pronounced her a saint. Two years later she was named heavenly patroness of foreign missions along with St. Francis Xavier.
Saint Therese of Lisieux, Virgin. Celebration of Feast Day is October 1.

SOURCE EWTN

2015


#PopeFrancis "God always wants to build bridges; we are the ones that build walls!" #Audience

 ZENIT translation of the Holy Father's address during his Wednesday General Audience in St. Peter's Square.
* * *
Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
Today’s Audience will be in two places: here in the Square and also in Paul VI Hall, where many sick are, who are following the Audience on a large screen. As the weather is not very good, we decided they should be there covered and more tranquil. Let us join one another and greet one another.
Recently, I carried out the apostolic journey to Cuba and the United States of America. This was born from my desire to take part in the 8th World Meeting of Families, planned some time ago at Philadelphia. This “original nucleus” was extended to a visit to the United States of America and to the main headquarters of the United Nations, and then also to Cuba, which was the first stage of the itinerary. I express again my gratitude to President Castro, to President Obama and to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for their hospitality to me. I thank from my heart the Bishops and all the collaborators for the great work undertaken and for the love of the Church that animated it.
“Missionary of Mercy” is how I presented myself in Cuba, a land rich in natural beauty, culture and faith. God’s mercy is greater than any wound, any conflict, any ideology, and with this look of mercy I was able to embrace all the Cuban people, in the homeland and abroad, beyond any division. Symbol of this profound unity of the Cuban spirit is the Virgin of Charity of Cobre, who in fact one hundred years ago was proclaimed Patroness of Cuba. I went as a pilgrim to the Shrine of this Mother of Hope, Mother that guides on the path of justice, peace, freedom and reconciliation.
I was able to share with the Cuban people the hope of the fulfilment of Saint John Paul II’s prophecy: that Cuba open itself to the world and the world open to Cuba. No more closure, no more exploitation of poverty, but freedom in dignity. This is the way that makes the heart vibrate of many Cuban young people: not a way of evasion, of easy earnings, but of responsibility, of service to one’s neighbor, of care of fragility. A way that draws strength from the Christian roots of that people, which has suffered so much -- a way in which I encouraged particularly the priests and all the consecrated, the students and the families. May the Holy Spirit, with the intercession of Mary Most Holy, make the seeds grow that we sowed.
From Cuba to the United States of America: it was an emblematic passage, a bridge that, thanks be to God, is being rebuilt. God always wants to build bridges; we are the ones that build walls! And walls collapse, always.
And in the United States I fulfilled three stages: Washington, New York and Philadelphia.
At Washington I met the political authorities, ordinary people, Bishops, priests and consecrated, the poorest and the marginalized. I recalled that the greatest richness of that country and of its people is in the spiritual and ethical patrimony. And thus I wished to encourage that social building be carried forward in fidelity to its fundamental principles, namely that all men are created equal by God and endowed with inalienable rights, such as life, freedom and the pursuit of happiness. These values, shared by all, find in the Gospel their complete fulfilment, as the canonization well evidenced of Father Junipero Serra, Franciscan, great evangelizer of California. Saint Junipero shows the way of joy: to go and share with others the love of Christ. This is the way of the Christian, but also of every man that has known love: not to keep it for himself but to share it with others. The United States of America was born and grew on this religious and moral basis, and on this basis it can continue to be a land of freedom and hospitality and cooperate towards a more just and fraternal world.
At New York I was able to visit the headquarters of the United Nations and to greet the personnel that works there. I had conversations with the Secretary General and the Presidents of the last General Assemblies and of the Security Council. Speaking to the Representatives of the Nations, in the wake of my Predecessors, I renewed the Catholic Church’s encouragement to that Institution and to its role in the promotion of development and peace, recalling in particular the necessity of agreed and active commitment to the care of Creation. I also confirmed the appeal to halt and prevent violence against ethnic and religious minorities and against civilian populations.
We prayed for peace and fraternity at the Ground Zero Memorial, together with representatives of the religions, the relatives of so many who fell and the people of New York, so rich in cultural variety. And I celebrated the Eucharist in Madison Square Garden for peace and justice.
In both Washington and New York I was able to meet some charitable and educational realities, emblematic of the enormous service that Catholic communities – priests, men and women Religious, laity – offer in these fields.
The climax of the trip was the Meeting with Families at Philadelphia, where the horizon extended to the whole world through the “prism”, so to speak, of the family. The family, namely the fruitful bond between man and woman, is the answer to the great challenge of our world, which is a double challenge: fragmentation and massification, two extremes that coexist and sustain one another, and together they sustain the consumerist economic model. The family is the answer because it is the cell of a society that balances the personal and the communal dimension, and which at the same time can be the model of a sustainable management of the goods and resources of Creation. The family is the leading subject of an integral ecology, because it is the primary social subject, which contains within itself the two basic principles of human civilization on earth: the principle of communion and the principle of fecundity. Biblical humanism presents this icon to us: the human couple, united and fecund, placed by God in he garden of the world, to cultivate and protect it.
I wish to express fraternal and warm gratitude to Monsignor Chaput, Archbishop of Philadelphia, for his commitment, his piety, his enthusiasm and his great love of the family in the organization of this event. Looking at it more closely, it was not an accident but providential that the message, in fact the testimony of the World Meeting of Families, took place at this time in the United States of America, namely, the country that in the last century reached the highest economic and technical development without denying its religious roots. Now these roots themselves ask to begin again from the family to rethink and change the model of development, for the good of the entire human family. Thank you.
* * *
Speaker:
Dear Brothers and Sisters:  My recent apostolic journey to Cuba and the United States of America was centred on the Eighth World Meeting of Families.  In Cuba, I wished to embrace all Cubans without exception, to proclaim the transforming power of God’s mercy, and to renew the hope expressed by Saint John Paul II that Cuba will open itself to the world and the world to Cuba.  As a sign of hope and building new bridges, I then travelled to Washington, where, in addressing the nation’s leaders, I recalled the contribution which America’s tradition of religious freedom has made to the life of the nation.  Before the United Nations in New York, I renewed the Church’s encouragement for its efforts to promote peace, justice, integral human development and care for creation.  My visit culminated in the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.  There we celebrated the beauty of God’s plan for the family, which, as the fruitful covenant between a man and a woman, is the key to a future of authentic prosperity and solidarity for our world.
Pope Francis (in Italian):
I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, including those from England, Scotland, Denmark, Norway, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, New Zealand, India, Sri Lanka, Japan, the Philippines, American Samoa, Canada and the United States.  I ask you to pray for the Synod on the Family, and to be witnesses of God’s presence in the world through your family life.  God bless you all!
* * *
I give a cordial welcome to the Italian-speaking pilgrims. I am happy to receive the devotees of Saint Rita of Cascia, accompanied by the Archbishop of Spoleto-Norcia, Monsignor Renato Boccardo. On blessing the great statue of the Saint, I invite everyone to reread, in the forthcoming Jubilee of Mercy, her extraordinary human and spiritual experience as sign of the power of God’s mercy. I greet the faithful of Amaseno, with the Bishop of Frosinone-Veroli-Ferentino, Monsignor Ambrogio Spreafico, on the occasion of the Jubilee Year of Saint Lawrence and the Missionaries of the Royal Priesthood of Christ, who are observing 70 years of their foundation.
I greet the children of the Oncological Sector of the John XXIII Hospital of Bergamo; the priests of the Mexican College and of Saint Paul’s College in Rome; the members of the Mediolanum Bank of Caltanissetta and the seminarians of the Maria Mater EcclesiaePontifical College of Rome. I hope that the visit to the Eternal City constitutes for all an occasion to strengthen hope and enhance charity.
A special thought goes to young people, the sick who are numerous today and are following from Paul VI Hall, and newlyweds. Today we celebrate the Memoria of Saint Jerome. Dear young people, may his passion for Sacred Scripture make you enamoured of the Book of Life; dear sick, may his austerity fill your suffering with meaning; dear newlyweds, may his spiritual vigor strengthen faith in your new home.

[Translation by ZENIT]


 2015

#Novena to St. Therese Little Flower - #LittleFlower - #Litany, #Rosary and Special #Prayers - SHARE


Prayers to St. Therese
of the Child Jesus,
the Little Flower

Patroness of the Missions & Missionaries
O glorious Saint Therese, whom Almighty God has raised up to aid and counsel mankind, I implore your Miraculous Intercession.
So powerful are you in obtaining every need of body and soul our Holy Mother Church proclaims you a "Prodigy of Miracles...the Greatest Saint of Modern Times." Now I fervently beseech you to answer my petition (mention specifics here) and to carry out your promises of spending Heaven doing good upon the earth...of letting fall from Heaven a Shower of Roses.
Henceforth, dear Little Flower, I will fulfill your plea "to be made known everywhere" and I will never cease to lead others to Jesus through you.
Amen.
Little Flower Prayer
St. Therese, the Little Flower, please pick me a rose from the heavenly garden and send it to me with a message of love; ask God to grant me the favor I thee implore and tell Him I will love Him each day more and more. Amen.

The Little Flower Rosary
Make the Sign of the Cross, and say on the first bead:
St. Therese of the Infant Jesus, Patroness of Missions, pray for us!
On each of the remaining 24 beads say 1 Glory be in honor of the Blessed Trinity, in thanksgiving for giving the world the Little Saint who lived only 24 years.
Concluding prayer to St. Therese:
St. Therese, the Little Flower, please pick me a rose from the heavently garden and sent it to me with a message of love. Ask God to grant me the favor I thee implore and tell Him I will love Him each day more and more.

Litany of the Little Flower of Jesus 
Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face
Lord, have mercy on us,
Christ, have mercy on us,
Lord, have mercy on us,
Christ, hear us,
Christ, graciously hear us,
God the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us,
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us
God the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us,
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us,
Holy Mary, Pray for us
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Pray for us
Our Lady of Victory,  Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  servant of God, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  victim of the merciful love of God, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  spouse of Jesus, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  gift of Heaven, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  remarkable in childhood, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  an example of obedience, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  resigned to the Divine Will of God, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  lover of peace, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  lover of patience, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  lover of gentleness, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  heroic in sacrifices, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  generous in forgiving, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  benefactress of the needy, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  lover of Jesus, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  devoted to the Holy Face, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  consumed with Divine love of God, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  advocate of extreme cases, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  persevering in prayer, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  a powerful advocate with God, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  showering roses, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  doing good upon earth, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  answering all prayers, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  lover of Holy Chastity, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  lover of voluntary poverty, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  lover of obedience, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  burning with zeal for God's glory, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  inflamed with the Spirit of Love,  Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  child of benediction, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  perfect in simplicity,  Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  so remarkable for trust in God, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  gifted with unusual intelligence, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  never invoked without some answer, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  teaching us the sure way, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  victim of Divine Love, Pray for us
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O LordLamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
Little Flower of Jesus, pray for us.
   Let us Pray:
         O God, Who didst inflame with Thy Spirit of Love the soul of Thy Servant Therese of the Child Jesus, grant that we also may love Thee and make Thee much loved.   Amen.

For Healing
Dearest Saint Therese, you are the Little Flower of Jesus. Pray this day that I may be made well in body, mind, and spirit. Help me to always see, as you so clearly did, that my sufferings and trials are meant to cleanse and purify me so that I may be more worthy to receive God's unending Love. Amen.

Little Flower Novena (to be prayed for 9 consecutive days)
Prayers to be said each day:
Come Holy Spirit and fill the hearts of the faithful, and kindle in them the fire of divine love.
V. Send forth Your Spirit and they shall be created.
R. And You shall renew the face of the earth.
Let us prayO God, who have instructed the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit; grant that by the gift of the same Spirit, we may be ever truly wise and rejoice in His consolation, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Acts of Faith, Hope, and Love: O my God! I believe in Thee: strengthen my faith. All my hopes are in Thee: do Thou secure them. I love Thee: teach me to love Thee daily more and more.
The Act of Contrition: O my God! I am heartily sorry for having offended You, and I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell, but most of all because they offend You, my God, who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Your grace, to confess my sins, to do penance , and to amend my life. Amen.

Concluding Prayer Prayed Each Day:
O Lord, You have said: Unless you become as little children you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven; grant us, we beg You, so to follow, in humility and simplicity of heart, the footsteps of the Virgin blessed Thérèse, that we may attain to an everlasting reward. Amen.
Special Prayers for Each Day:
First Day
St. Thérèse, privileged Little Flower of Jesus and Mary, I approach you with childlike confidence and deep humility. I lay before you my desires, and beg that through your intercession they may be realized. Did you not promise to spend your heaven doing good upon earth? Grant me according to this promise the favors I am asking from you.
Intercede for us all the days of our life, but specially during this Novena and obtain for us from God the graces and favors we ask through your intercession. Amen.
Thought for the day: Confidence in God. We can never have too much confidence in the good God who is so powerful and so merciful. We obtain from Him as much as we hope for. If you are nothing, do you forget that Jesus is everything? You have only to lose your nothingness in His Infinity and think only of loving Him.
Pray the Concluding Prayer

Second Day
O dear little Saint, now that you see the crucified Jesus in heaven, still bearing the wounds caused by sin, you know still more clearly than you did upon earth the value of souls, and the priceless worth of that Precious Blood which He shed to save them. As I am one of those children for whom Christ died, obtain for me all the graces I need in order to profit by that Precious Blood. Use your great power with our divine Lord and pray for me.
Intercede for us all the days of our life, but especially during this Novena and obtain for us from God the graces and favors we ask through your intercession. Amen.
Thought for the day: Sin. The only grace I ask, O Jesus, is never to offend Thee. By love and not by fear, does a soul avoid committing the least fault. Yes, even if I have on my conscience every possible crime, I should lose none of my confidence; my heart breaking with sorrow, I should go and throw myself into the arms of my Savior. The remembrance of my faults humbles me and makes me afraid to rely on my own strength, which is nothing but weakness.
Pray the Concluding Prayer

Third Day
Dear Little Flower, make all things lead me to heaven and God, Whether I look at the sun, the moon, the stars and the vast expanse in which they float, or whether I look at the flowers of the field, the trees of the forest, the beauties of the earth so full of color and so glorious, may they speak to me of the love and power of God; may they all sing His praises in my ear. Like you may I daily love Him more and more in return for His gifts. Teach me often to deny myself in my dealings with others, that I may offer to Jesus many little sacrifices.
Intercede for us all the days of our life, but especially during this Novena and obtain for us from God the graces and favors we ask through your intercession. Amen.
Thought for the day: The Use of God’s Gifts. How much benefit have I received from the beauties of nature, bestowed in such abundance. How they raise me to Him who placed such wonders in this land of exile which is only to last a day. O sparkling nature, if I did not see God in you, you would be naught but a great tomb. With your little hand which caresses Mary, You sustain the universe and bestow life; and You think of me, O Jesus my little King. I do not wish creatures to have one atom of my love. I wish to give all to Jesus, since He has shown me that He alone is perfect happiness.
Pray the Concluding Prayer

Fourth Day
Dear Little Flower of Carmel, bearing so patiently the disappointments and delays allowed by God, and preserving in the depths of your soul an unchanging peace because you sought only God’s will, ask for me complete conformity to that adorable Will in all the trials and disappointments of life. If the favors I am asking during this Novena are pleasing to God, obtain them for me. If not, it is true I shall feel the refusal keenly, but I too wish only God’s Will, and pray in the words you used, that I "may ever be perfectly fulfilled in me."
Intercede for us all the days of our life, but especially during this Novena and obtain for us from God the graces and favors we ask through your intercession. Amen.
Thought for the day: Abandonment to God. I fear only one thing---to keep my own will; take it, my God, for I choose all that You choose. The only happiness here below is to strive to be always content with what Jesus gives us. I can demand nothing with fervor, except the perfect accomplishment of God’s will in my soul. O my Beloved, I offer myself to You, that You may perfectly accomplish in me Your holy designs, and I will not allow anything created to be an obstacle in their path.
Pray the Concluding Prayer

Fifth Day
Little Flower of Jesus, from the very first moment of your religious life you thought only of denying yourself in all things so as to follow Jesus more perfectly; help me to bear patiently the trials of my daily life. Teach me to make use of the trials, the sufferings, the humiliations, that come my way, to learn to know myself better and to love God more.
Intercede for us all the days of our life, but especially during this Novena and obtain for us from God the graces and favors we ask through your intercession. Amen.
Thought for the day: Patience in Sufferings. I do not fear trials sent by Jesus, for even in the most bitter suffering we can see that it is His loving hand which causes it. When we are expecting nothing but suffering, we are quite surprised at the least joy; but then suffering itself becomes the greatest of joys when we seek it as a precious treasure. Far from resembling those beautiful saints who practiced all sorts of austerities from childhood, my penance consisted in breaking my self-will, in keeping back a sharp reply, in doing little kindnesses to those about me, but considering these deeds as nothing.
Pray the Concluding Prayer

Sixth Day
St. Thérèse, Patroness of the Missions, be a great missionary throughout the world to the end of time. Remind our Master of His own words, "The harvest is great, but the laborers are few." Your zeal for souls was so great, obtain a like zeal for those now working for souls, and beg God to multiply their numbers, that the millions to whom Jesus is yet unknown may be brought to know, love and follow Him.
Intercede for us all the days of our life, but especially during this Novena and obtain for us from God the graces and favors we ask through your intercession. Amen.
Thought for the day: Zeal for souls. Let us work together for the salvation of souls. We have only the day of this life to save souls and to give them to the Lord as proofs of our love. I tell Jesus that I am glad not to be able to see, with the eyes of my soul, this beautiful heaven which awaits me, in order that He may vouchsafe to open it forever to poor unbelievers. I cannot perform brilliant works; I cannot preach the Gospel or shed my blood. But what matter? My brothers work in place of me, and I a little child, keep very close to the royal throne. I love for those who are carrying on the warfare. My deeds, my little sufferings, can make God loved all over the world.
Pray the Concluding Prayer

Seventh Day
O little martyr of Love, you know now even better than in the days of your pilgrimage that Love embraces all vocations; that it is Love alone which counts, which unites us perfectly to God and conforms our will with His. All you sought on earth was love; to love Jesus as He had never yet been loved. Use your power in heaven to make us love Him. If only we love Him we shall desire to make Him loved by others; we shall pray much for souls. We shall no longer fear death, for it will unite us to Him forever. Obtain for us the grace to do all for the love of God, to give Him pleasure, to love Him so well that He may be pleased with us as He was with you.
Intercede for us all the days of our life, but especially during this Novena and obtain for us from God the graces and favors we ask through your intercession. Amen.
Thought for the day: Love of God. I will love God alone and will not have the misfortune of attaching myself to creatures, now that my heart perceive what He has in store for those who love Him. What attracts me to the kingdom of Heaven is the call of our Lord, the hope of loving Him as I have so desired and the thought that I shall be able to make Him loved by a great number of souls who will bless Him forever. When Christ said, "Give Me a Drink," it was the love of His poor creatures that He, the Creator of all things, desired. He thirsted for love. Remember that the dear Jesus is there in the tabernacle expressly for you, for you alone. Remember that He is consumed with a desire to come into your heart.
Pray the Concluding Prayer

Eighth Day
Dear St. Thérèse, like you I have to die one day. I beseech you, obtain from God, by reminding Him of your own precious death, that I may have a holy death, strengthened by the Sacraments of the Church, entirely resigned to the most holy Will of God, and burning with love for Him. May my last words on earth be, "My God. I love You."
Intercede for us all the days of our life, but especially during this Novena and obtain for us from God the graces and favors we ask through your intercession. Amen.
Thought for the day: Death. It says in the catechism that death is nothing but the separation of the soul and body. Well, I have no fear of a separation which will unite me forever with the good God. I am happy to die because I shall be able to help souls who are dear to me, far more than I can here below. Life is not sad; it is very joyous. If you say, "This exile is sad," I understand you. We are wrong to give the name "life" to something which will end; it is only to the things of Heaven that we should apply this beautiful name.
Pray the Concluding Prayer

Ninth Day
Dear Little St. Thérèse, by love and suffering while you were on earth, you won the power with God which you now enjoy in heaven. Since your life there began, you have showered down countless blessings on this poor world; you have been an instrument made use of by your divine Spouse to work countless miracles. I beg of you to remember all my wants. Sufferings must come to me also, may I use them to love God more, and follow my Jesus better. You are especially the little missionary of love. Make me love Jesus more, and all others for His sake. With all my heart I thank the most Holy Trinity for the wonderful blessings conferred on you, and upon the world through you.
Intercede for us all the days of our life, but especially during this Novena and obtain for us from God the graces and favors we ask through your intercession. Amen.
Thought for the day: The Mission of the Little Flower. I do not intend to remain inactive in Heaven. I want to work for the Church and for souls. I have asked this of God and I am certain that He will grant my request. I will spend my Heaven doing good upon earth. This is not impossible, since the angels though always enjoying the beatific vision, watch over us. No, I cannot be at rest until the end of the world. I beseech Thee, O Jesus, to cast Thy divine glance on a great number of little souls. I beg of Thee to choose in this world a legion of little victims, worthy of Thy Love.
Pray the Concluding Prayer



Today's Mass Readings and Video : Wed. September 30, 2015 - SHARE

Memorial of Saint Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church
Lectionary: 457


Reading 1NEH 2:1-8

In the month Nisan of the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes,
when the wine was in my charge,
I took some and offered it to the king.
As I had never before been sad in his presence,
the king asked me, “Why do you look sad?
If you are not sick, you must be sad at heart.”
Though I was seized with great fear, I answered the king:
“May the king live forever!
How could I not look sad
when the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins,
and its gates have been eaten out by fire?”
The king asked me, “What is it, then, that you wish?”
I prayed to the God of heaven and then answered the king:
“If it please the king,
and if your servant is deserving of your favor,
send me to Judah, to the city of my ancestors’ graves,
to rebuild it.”
Then the king, and the queen seated beside him,
asked me how long my journey would take
and when I would return.
I set a date that was acceptable to him,
and the king agreed that I might go.

I asked the king further: “If it please the king,
let letters be given to me for the governors
of West-of-Euphrates,
that they may afford me safe-conduct until I arrive in Judah;
also a letter for Asaph, the keeper of the royal park,
that he may give me wood for timbering the gates
of the temple-citadel and for the city wall
and the house that I shall occupy.”
The king granted my requests,
for the favoring hand of my God was upon me.

Responsorial PsalmPS 137:1-2, 3, 4-5, 6

R. (6ab) Let my tongue be silenced if I ever forget you!
By the streams of Babylon
we sat and wept
when we remembered Zion.
On the aspens of that land
we hung up our harps.
R. Let my tongue be silenced if I ever forget you!
Though there our captors asked of us
the lyrics of our songs,
And our despoilers urged us to be joyous:
“Sing for us the songs of Zion!”
R. Let my tongue be silenced if I ever forget you!
How could we sing a song of the LORD
in a foreign land?
If I forget you, Jerusalem,
may my right hand be forgotten!
R. Let my tongue be silenced if I ever forget you!
May my tongue cleave to my palate
if I remember you not,
If I place not Jerusalem
ahead of my joy.
R. Let my tongue be silenced if I ever forget you!

AlleluiaPHIL 3:8-9

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I consider all things so much rubbish
that I may gain Christ and be found in him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelLK 9:57-62

As Jesus and his disciples were proceeding
on their journey, someone said to him,
“I will follow you wherever you go.”
Jesus answered him,
“Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests,
but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”
And to another he said, “Follow me.”
But he replied, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.”
But he answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead.
But you, go and proclaim the Kingdom of God.”
And another said, “I will follow you, Lord,
but first let me say farewell to my family at home.”
Jesus answered him, “No one who sets a hand to the plow
and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God.”

#PopeFrancis meets with #Family from #Argentina that traveled 13,000 Miles to see him!

Pope Francis poses with Catire and Noel Walker, and their children, (from left, Cala, Dimas, Mia and Carmin) during a meeting on Sunday at the Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary, in Philadelphia.  - AP
Pope Francis poses with Catire and Noel Walker, and their children, (from left, Cala, Dimas, Mia and Carmin) during a meeting on Sunday at the Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary, in Philadelphia. - AP
28/09/2015 13:17


(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Sunday met with an Argentinian family that had taken a nearly 200-day and 13,000 mile journey across the Americas to see him at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.
Catire and Noel Walker took their four children – ages 3 to 12 -  through 13 countries in a Volkswagen bus.
"The Pope said to me explicitly to say [that he had met with the family] because for him it was a very interesting moment, and the experience of this family has touched him very much." said Father Federico Lombardi, SJ, the head of the Holy See Press Office.
The family met with the Pope early on Sunday morning, at his residence in Philadelphia’s Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary.
Catire Walker told journalists Pope Francis greeted them by saying "Are you the family who traveled from Buenos Aires? You're crazy!”
Walker described the meeting as “casual”, and said he told Pope Francis that thousands of families were praying for him.
Walker said Pope Francis told him he needed the prayers of everyone, and he said the Pope concluded their meeting by jokingly calling his family “troublemakers”.
The family said the meeting was the “best gift of all” after their long journey.

Saint September 30 : St. Jerome : Patron of #Librarians, #Translators, #Archeologists and #Bible Scholars


St. Jerome
DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH
Feast: September 30
Information:
Feast Day:
September 30
Born:
340-342, Stridon, on the border of Dalmatia and Pannonia
Died:
420, Bethlehem, Judea
Major Shrine:
Basilica of Saint Mary Major, Rome, Italy
Patron of:
archeologists; archivists; Bible scholars; librarians; libraries; schoolchildren; students; translators

Born at Stridon, a town on the confines of Dalmatia and Pannonia, about the year 340-2; died at Bethlehem, 30 September, 420.
He went to Rome, probably about 360, where he was baptized, and became interested in ecclesiastical matters. From Rome he went to Trier, famous for its schools, and there began his theological studies. Later he went to Aquileia, and towards 373 he set out on a journey to the East. He settled first in Antioch, where he heard Apollinaris of Laodicea, one of the first exegetes of that time and not yet separated from the Church. From 374-9 Jerome led an ascetical life in the desert of Chalcis, south-west of Antioch. Ordained priest at Antioch, he went to Constantinople (380-81), where a friendship sprang up between him and St. Gregory Nazianzus. From 382 to August 385 he made another sojourn in Rome, not far from Pope Damasus. When the latter died (11 December, 384) his position became a very difficult one. His harsh criticisms had made him bitter enemies, who tried to ruin him. After a few months he was compelled to leave Rome. By way of Antioch and Alexandria he reached Bethlehem, in 386. He settled there in a monastery near a convent founded by two Roman ladies, Paula and Eustochium, who followed him to Palestine. Henceforth he led a life of asceticism and study; but even then he was troubled by controversies which will be mentioned later, one with Rufinus and the other with the Pelagians.
Chronology
The literary activity of St. Jerome, although very prolific, may be summed up under a few principal heads: works on the Bible; theological controversies; historical works; various letters; translations. But perhaps the chronology of his more important writings will enable us to follow more easily the development of his studies.
A first period extends to his sojourn in Rome (382), a period of preparation. From this period we have the translation of the homilies of Origen on Jeremias, Ezechiel, and Isaias (379-81), and about the same time the translation of the Chronicle of Eusebius; then the "Vita S. Pauli, prima eremitae" (374-379).
A second period extends from his sojourn in Rome to the beginning of the translation of the Old Testament from the Hebrew (382-390). During this period the exegetical vocation of St. Jerome asserted itself under the influence of Pope Damasus, and took definite shape when the opposition of the ecclesiastics of Rome compelled the caustic Dalmatian to renounce ecclesiastical advancement and retire to Bethlehem. In 384 we have the correction of the Latin version of the Four Gospels; in 385, the Epistles of St. Paul; in 384, a first revision of the Latin Psalms according to the accepted text of the Septuagint (Roman Psalter); in 384, the revision of the Latin version of the Book of Job, after the accepted version of the Septuagint; between 386 and 391 a second revision of the Latin Psalter, this time according to the text of the "Hexapla" of Origen (Gallican Psalter, embodied in the Vulgate). It is doubtful whether he revised the entire version of the Old Testament according to the Greek of the Septuagint. In 382-383 "Altercatio Luciferiani et Orthodoxi" and "De perpetua Virginitate B. Mariae; adversus Helvidium". In 387-388, commentaries on the Epistles to Philemon, to the Galatians, to the Ephesians, to Titus; and in 389-390, on Ecclesiastes.
Between 390 and 405, St. Jerome gave all his attention to the translation of the Old Testament according to the Hebrew, but this work alternated with many others. Between 390-394 he translated the Books of Samuel and of Kings, Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, the Canticle of Canticles, Esdras, and Paralipomena. In 390 he translated the treatise "De Spiritu Sancto" of Didymus of Alexandria; in 389-90, he drew up his "Quaestiones hebraicae in Genesim" and "De interpretatione nominum hebraicorum." In 391-92 he wrote the "Vita S. Hilarionis", the "Vita Malchi, monachi captivi", and commentaries on Nahum, Micheas, Sophonias, Aggeus, Habacuc. In 392-93, "De viris illustribus", and "Adversus Jovinianum"; in 395, commentaries on Jonas and Abdias; in 398, revision of the remainder of the Latin version of the New Testament, and about that time commentaries on chapters xiii-xxiii of Isaias; in 398, an unfinished work "Contra Joannem Hierosolymitanum"; in 401, "Apologeticum adversus Rufinum"; between 403-406, "Contra Vigilantium"; finally from 398 to 405, completion of the version of the Old Testament according to the Hebrew.
In the last period of his life, from 405 to 420, St. Jerome took up the series of his commentaries interrupted for seven years. In 406, he commented on Osee, Joel, Amos, Zacharias, Malachias; in 408, on Daniel; from 408 to 410, on the remainder of Isaias; from 410 to 415, on Ezechiel; from 415-420, on Jeremias. From 401 to 410 date what is left of his sermons; treatises on St. Mark, homilies on the Psalms, on various subjects, and on the Gospels; in 415, "Dialogi contra Pelagianos".
Characteristics Of St. Jerome's Work
St. Jerome owes his place in the history of exegetical studies chiefly to his revisions and translations of the Bible. Until about 391-2, he considered the Septuagint translation as inspired. But the progress of his Hebraistic studies and his intercourse with the rabbis made him give up that idea, and he recognized as inspired the original text only. It was about this period that he undertook the translation of the Old Testament from the Hebrew.
But he went too far in his reaction against the ideas of his time, and is open to reproach for not having sufficiently appreciated the Septuagint. This latter version was made from a much older, and at times much purer, Hebrew text than the one in use at the end of the fourth century. Hence the necessity of taking the Septuagint into consideration in any attempt to restore the text of the Old Testament. With this exception we must admit the excellence of the translation made by St. Jerome. His commentaries represent a vast amount of work but of very unequal value. Very often he worked exceedingly rapidly; besides, he considered a commentary a work of compilation, and his chief care was to accumulate the interpretations of his predecessors, rather than to pass judgment on them. The "Quaestiones hebraicae in Genesim" is one of his best works. It is a philological inquiry concerning the original text. It is to be regretted that he was unable to continue, as had been his intention, a style of work entirely new at the time.
Although he often asserted his desire to avoid excessive allegory, his efforts in that respect were far from successful, and in later years he was ashamed of some of his earlier allegorical explanations. He himself says that he had recourse to the allegorical meaning only when unable to discover the literal meaning. His treatise, "De Interpretatione nominum hebraicorum", is but a collection of mystical and symbolical meanings. Excepting the "Commenta rius in ep. ad Galatas", which is one of his best, his explanations of the New Testament have no great value. Among his commentaries on the Old Testament must be mentioned those on Amos, Isaias, and Jeremias. There are some that are frankly bad, for instance those on Zacharias, Osee, and Joel. To sum up, the Biblical knowledge of St. Jerome makes him rank first among ancient exegetes. In the first place, he was very careful as to the sources of his information. He required of the exegete a very extensive knowledge of sacred and profane history, and also of the linguistics and geography of Palestine. He never either categorically acknowledged or rejected the deuterocanonical books as part of the Canon of Scripture, and he repeatedly made use of them.
On the inspiration, the existence of a spiritual meaning, and the freedom of the Bible from error, he holds the traditional doctrine. Possibly he has insisted more than others on the share which belongs to the sacred writer in his collaboration in the inspired work. His criticism is not without originality. The controversy with the Jews and with the Pagans had long since called the attention of the Christians to certain difficulties in the Bible. St. Jerome answers in various ways. Not to mention his answers to this or that difficulty, he appeals above all to the principle, that the original text of the Scriptures is the only one inspired and free from error. Therefore one must determine if the text, in which the difficulties arise, has not been altered by the copyist. Moreover, when the writers of the New Testament quoted the Old Testament, they did so not according to the letter but according to the spirit. There are many subtleties and even contradictions in the explanations Jerome offers, but we must bear in mind his evident sincerity. He does not try to cloak over his ignorance; he admits that there are many difficulties in the Bible; at times he seems quite embarrassed.
Finally, he proclaims a principle, which, if recognized as legitimate, might serve to adjust the insufficiencies of his criticism. He asserts that in the Bible there is no material error due to the ignorance or the heedlessness of the sacred writer, but he adds: "It is usual for the sacred historian to conform himself to the generally accepted opinion of the masses in his time" (P.L., XXVI, 98; XXIV, 855).
Among the historical works of St. Jerome must be noted the translation and the continuation of the "Chronicon Eusebii Caesariensis", as the continuation written by him, which extends from 325 to 378, served as a model for the annals of the chroniclers of the Middle Ages; hence the defects in such works: dryness, superabundance of data of every description, lack of proportion and of historical sense. The "Vita S. Pauli Eremitae" is not a very reliable document. The "Vita Malchi, monachi" is a eulogy of chastity woven through a number of legendary episodes. As to the "Vita S. Hilarionis", it has suffered from contact with the preceding ones. It has been asserted that the journeys of St. Hilarion are a plagiarism of some old tales of travel. But these objections are altogether misplaced, as it is really a reliable work.
The treatise "De Viris illustribus" is a very excellent literary history. It was written as an apologetic work to prove that the Church had produced learned men. For the first three centuries Jerome depends to a great extent on Eusebius, whose statements he borrows, often distorting them, owing to the rapidity with which he worked.
His accounts of the authors of the fourth century however are of great value. The oratorical consist of about one hundred homilies or short treatises, and in these the Solitary of Bethlehem appears in a new light. He is a monk addressing monks, not without making very obvious allusions to contemporary events. The orator is lengthy and apologizes for it. He displays a wonderful knowledge of the versions and contents of the Bible. His allegory is excessive at times, and his teaching on grace is Semi-pelagian. A censorious spirit against authority, sympathy for the poor which reaches the point of hostility against the rich, lack of good taste, inferiority of style, and misquotation, such are the most glaring defects of these sermons. Evidently they are notes taken down by his hearers, and it is a question whether they were reviewed by the preacher.
The correspondence of St. Jerome is one of the best known parts of his literary output. It comprises about one hundred and twenty letters from him, and several from his correspondents. Many of these letters were written with a view to publication, and some of them the author even edited himself; hence they show evidence of great care and skill in their composition, and in them St. Jerome reveals himself a master of style. These letters, which had already met with great success with his contemporaries, have been, with the "Confessions" of St. Augustine, one of the works most appreciated by the humanists of the Renaissance. Aside from their literary interest they have great historical value. Relating to a period covering half a century they touch upon most varied subjects; hence their division into letters dealing with theology, polemics, criticism, conduct, and biography. In spite of their turgid diction they are full of the man's personality. It is in this correspondence that the temperament of St. Jerome is most clearly seen: his waywardness, his love of extremes, his exceeding sensitiveness; how he was in turn exquisitely dainty and bitterly satirical, unsparingly outspoken concerning others and equally frank about himself.
The theological writings of St. Jerome are mainly controversial works, one might almost say composed for the occasion. He missed being a theologian, by not applying himself in a consecutive and personal manner to doctrinal questions. In his controversies he was simply the interpreter of the accepted ecclesiastical doctrine. Compared with St. Augustine his inferiority in breadth and originality of view is most evident. His "Dialogue" against the Luciferians deals with a schismatic sect whose founder was Lucifer, Bishop of Cagliari in Sardinia. The Luciferians refused to approve of the measure of clemency by which the Church, since the Council of Alexandria, in 362, had allowed bishops, who had adhered to Arianism, to continue to discharge their duties on condition of professing the Nicene Creed. This rigorist sect had adherents almost everywhere, and even in Rome it was very troublesome. Against it Jerome wrote his "Dialogue", scathing in sarcasm, but not always accurate in doctrine, particularly as to the Sacrament of Confirmation. The book "Adversus Helvidium" belongs to about the same period. Helvidius held the two following tenets:
—Mary bore children to Joseph after the virginal birth of Jesus Christ;—from a religious viewpoint, the married state is not inferior to celibacy.
Earnest entreaty decided Jerome to answer. In doing so he discusses the various texts of the Gospel which, it was claimed, contained the objections to the perpetual virginity of Mary. If he did not find positive answers on all points, his work, nevertheless, holds a very creditable place in the history of Catholic exegesis upon these questions. The relative dignity of virginity and marriage, discussed in the book against Helvidius, was taken up again in the book "Adversus Jovinianum" written about ten years later. Jerome recognizes the legitimacy of marriage, but he uses concerning it certain disparaging expressions which were criticized by contemporaries and for which he has given no satisfactory explanation. Jovinian was more dangerous than Helvidius. Although he did not exactly teach salvation by faith alone, and the uselessness of good works, he made far too easy the road to salvation and slighted a life of asceticism. Every one of these points St. Jerome took up. The "Apologetici adversus Rufinum" dealt with the Origenistic controversies. St. Jerome was involved in one of the most violent episodes of that struggle, which agitated the Church from Origen's lifetime until the Fifth Ecumenical Council (553). The question at issue was to determine if certain doctrines professed by Origen and others taught by certain pagan followers of Origen could be accepted. In the present case the doctrinal difficulties were embittered by personalities between St. Jerome and his former friend, Rufinus. To understand St. Jerome's position we must remember that the works of Origen were by far the most complete exegetical collection then in existence, and the one most accessible to students. Hence a very natural tendency to make use of them, and it is evident that St. Jerome did so, as well as many others. But we must carefully distinguish between writers who made use of Origen and those who adhered to his doctrines. This distinction is particularly necessary with St. Jerome, whose method of work was very rapid, and consisted in transcribing the interpretations of former exegetes without passing criticism on them. Nevertheless, it is certain that St. Jerome greatly praised and made use of Origen, that he even transcribed some erroneous passages without due reservation. But it is also evident that he never adhered thinkingly and systematically to the Origenistic doctrines. Under these circumstances it came about that when Rufinus, who was a genuine Origenist, called on him to justify his use of Origen, the explanations he gave were not free from embarrassment. At this distance of time it would require a very subtle and detailed study of the question to decide the real basis of the quarrel. However that may be, Jerome may be accused of imprudence of language and blamed for a too hasty method of work. With a temperament such as his, and confident of his undoubted orthodoxy in the matter of Origenism, he must naturally have been tempted to justify anything. This brought about a most bitter controversy with his wily adversary, Rufinus. But on the whole Jerome's position is by far the stronger of the two, even in the eyes of his contemporaries. It is generally conceded that in this controversy Rufinus was to blame. It was he who brought about the conflict in which he proved himself to be narrow-minded, perplexed, ambitious, even timorous. St. Jerome, whose attitude is not always above reproach, is far superior to him. Vigilantius, the Gascon priest against whom Jerome wrote a treatise, quarrelled with ecclesiastical usages rather than matters of doctrine. What he principally rejected was the monastic life and the veneration of saints and of relics. In short, Helvidius, Jovinian, and Vigilantius were the mouthpieces of a reaction against asceticism which had developed so largely in the fourth century. Perhaps the influence of that same reaction is to be seen in the doctrine of the monk Pelagius, who gave his name to the principal heresy on grace: Pelagianism. On this subject Jerome wrote his "Dialogi contra Pelagianos". Accurate as to the doctrine of original sin, the author is much less so when he determines the part of God and of man in the act of justification. In the main his ideas are Semipelagian: man merits first grace: a formula which endangers the absolute freedom of the gift of grace. The book "De situ et nominibus locorum hebraicorum" is a translation of the "Onomasticon" of Eusebius, to which the translator has joined additions and corrections. The translations of the "Homilies" of Origen vary in character according to the time in which they were written. As time went on, Jerome became more expert in the art of translating, and he outgrew the tendency to palliate, as he came across them, certain errors of Origen. We must make special mention of the translation of the homilies "In Canticum Canticorum", the Greek original of which has been lost.

29-09-2015 - Year XXII - Num. 168 

Summary
- The Pope speaks almost an hour with journalists on flight from Philadelphia
- Communication and Mercy: a fruitful encounter
- “Cantate Domino”, the music of Popes, recorded in the Sistine Chapel
- Other Pontifical Acts
- Vatican Radio
- Francis meets with the victims of sexual abuse: perpetrators will be held accountable
- Francis to visiting bishops: Appreciation and gratitude to families must prevail over complaints
- It is painful to see prison systems that do not care for wounds, soothe pain or offer new possibilities: the Pope to inmates at Curran-Fromhold penitentiary
- Concluding Mass at the World Meeting of Families: God wants all His children to take part in the feast of the Gospel
- Francis leaves the United States: I thank the Lord that I was able to witness the faith of God’s people in this country
- Message for World Youth Day in Krakow, 2016: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy”
- World Youth Day and the Year of Mercy coincide to make “a Youth Jubilee at world level”
The Pope speaks almost an hour with journalists on flight from Philadelphia
Vatican City, 29 September 2015 (VIS) – During his return flight to Rome following his apostolic trip to Cuba and the United States, Pope Francis answered a number of questions posed by the journalists who accompanied him on the papal flight.
The Holy Father first commented that he had been surprised in the United States by the warmth and friendliness of the people. He remarked that in Washington D.C. the welcome was very warm but more formal than in New York, where everything was more exuberant, while in Philadelphia it was more expressive. “Three different approaches but the same welcome”.
He also explained the reason for his meeting with the United States episcopate in Washington D.C., where he felt the need to express to the prelates his compassion with regard to cases of sexual abuse. “A horrible thing”, he said, “and many suffer because they did not know about it and are true men of the Church, true pastors. … And I spoke to them using words from the Bible, from the Book of Revelation: you are coming from a great tribulation, because what happened was a 'great tribulation'. .. I would say almost a sacrilege. … We all know that abuse has occurred in many places: in families, in the neighbourhood, in schools, at gymnasiums … But when a priest commits abuse it is very serious, because the vocation of the priest is to make that boy or girl grow in God's love, towards emotional maturity. And instead this is crushed, it is damaged. And this must not be concealed: those who have covered up these events are equally guilty. It is dreadful. And the words I spoke were not intended to say, “Don't worry, it's nothing”. Instead I wanted to say, “It has been awful and I imagine you have wept a lot”. This was the meaning of what I said, and I spoke firmly”.
He affirmed that he understood those victims of abuse and their families who felt unable to forgive the perpetrators. “Yes, I understand them. I pray for them and I do not judge them. Once, at one of these meetings, a woman said to me, 'When my mother discovered I had been abused, she blasphemed against God, lost her faith and died an atheist'. And I understand her. And God, Who is better than me, understands her. I am sure that He welcomed her. Because what was abused, destroyed, was her own flesh, the flesh of her daughter”.
 With regard to the peace process in Colombia, he expressed his joy at the news that an agreement between the FARC and the government will be signed in March. “When I heard this, I asked the Lord, 'Let us arrive in March, may we arrive with this good intention', as some small details remain to be clarified, but the will is present on both sides. Even in the small group; all three are in agreement. We must await March for the definitive accord, which is the point of international justice. I have spoken twice with President Santos on the matter. And the Holy See is very open to assisting as far as possible”.
Attention then turned to the immigration crisis in Europe. “It has become a state of crisis after a long process. This process began years ago, as the wars from which these people flee have been going on for years. Hunger: there has been famine for years. When I think of Africa, I think of it as the exploited continent. … And I believe that instead of exploiting a continent, or a country, or the land, investments should be made so that the people can avoid this crisis. It is true, there is a refugee crisis – as I said in Congress – on a scale we have not seen since the last World War. … But you know what happens to walls. All of them. All walls fall down, today, tomorrow, or a hundred years from now. Eventually they crumble. Walls are not a solution. … The problem remains, and with more hatred”.
Another question addressed the issue of expectations for the upcoming Synod on the family and cases of divorced and civilly remarried Catholics, and the recent Motu Proprio facilitating the process of declaring nullity of marriage, considered by some as opening the way to “Catholic divorce”. Francis said that, “in the reform of methods and procedures, I closed the door to the administrative route, by which divorce could have entered more easily. And it may be said to those who consider this to be Catholic divorce that they are mistaken, since this last document closes the door to divorce that may otherwise enter – it would have been easier – via the administrative route. … The Synod Fathers asked for this: the streamlining of procedures for declaring nullity of marriage. And I stop there. This document, this Motu Proprio, reduces the length of procedures, but it is not a divorce as marriage is indissoluble when there is a sacrament, and the Church cannot change this. It is part of her doctrine. It is an indissoluble sacrament. The legislative procedure is to show that what appeared to be a sacrament was in fact not a sacrament, for instance, due to lack of freedom, or lack of maturity, or mental illness. … Then there is the problem of second marriages, of divorcees who make a new union. It seems to me simplistic to say that the solution for these people is that that they can share in Communion. This is not the only solution. What the Instrumentum laboris proposes is far more. The matter of new unions by divorced persons is not the only problem. In the Instrumentum laboris there are many. For instance, young people who do not get married, who do not want to marry. It is a pastoral problem for the Church. Another problem is the emotional maturity necessary for marriage. Another problem is faith. … The Synod intends to think very carefully about preparation for marriage, which is on e of the most difficult aspects”.
The Holy Father also replied to a question regarding freedom of conscience for public workers requested to sign documents or carry out procedures contrary to their religious convictions. “I cannot bring to mind all the cases of conscientious objection that may exist. But yes, I can say that conscientious objection is a human right. It is a right, and if a person is prevented from exercising their freedom of conscience, they are denied a right. Conscientious objection must exist in all legal frameworks as it is a human right. Otherwise we would end up in a situation where we select what is a right, saying 'this right that has merit, this one does not'.
In relation to the bombing of Isis bases in Syria by the French air force, he commented, “I do not have a good knowledge of how the situation will unfold. I heard that Russia took one position and it wasn’t clear yet about the United States. I truly don’t know what to say because I haven’t fully understood the situation. But, when I hear the word bombing, death, blood… I repeat what I said in Congress and at the UN, to avoid these things. But, I don’t know, I can’t judge the political situation because I don’t know enough about it”.
He went on to answer a question on the relations between the Holy See and China. “China is a great nation that offers the world a great culture and many good things. I said once, in the aircraft flying over China, that I would very much like to visit China. I love the Chinese people. … I hope that there will be opportunities to establish good relations. … We are in contact and we are talking. For me to have a friend in a great country like China, which has so much culture and has so much opportunity to do good, would be a great joy”.
“Will we one day see women priests in the Catholic Church?”, was another question. “No, that cannot be done”, answered the Pope. “After discussion and long reflection St. John Paul II, said so clearly. Not because women don’t have the capacity. In the Church women are more important than men, because the Church is a woman. … The Church is the bride of Jesus Christ. And the Madonna is more important than Popes, bishops and priests. I must admit we are a bit late in developing a theology of women. We have to move ahead with that theology. Yes, that’s true”.
“In the United States you have become a star. Is it good for the Church for the Pope to be a star?” was the final question. “The title Popes use and must is 'Servant of the servants of God'”, replied Francis. “It is different to being a star. … Yes, in the media this word is used, but the reality is quite different. How many stars are there whose light goes out, that fall. It is a fleeting thing. Instead, being the servant of the servants of God, this is good. This does not come to an end”.
Communication and Mercy: a fruitful encounter
Vatican City, 29 September 2015 (VIS) “Communication and mercy: a fruitful encounter” is the theme chosen by the Holy Father for World Communications Day. The choice of theme this year has clearly been determined by the Celebration of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, and the Holy Father undoubtedly desired that World Communications Day would provide the appropriate occasion to reflect on the deep synergy between communication and mercy.
In the Bull of Indiction of the Jubilee Year, in paragraph 12, the Pope affirms that the Church is commissioned to announce the mercy of God, the beating heart of the Gospel, which in its own way must penetrate the heart and mind of every person. He adds that her language and her gestures must transmit mercy, so as to touch the hearts of all people and inspire them once more to find the road that leads to the Father.
It is helpful, in this regard, that communication is a key element for the promotion of a culture of encounter. The Pope, on this occasion, refers to the language and gestures of the Church but the context makes it clear that all men and women in their own communications, in their reaching out to meet others, ought to be motivated by a deep expression of welcome, availability and forgiveness.
The theme highlights the capacity of good communication to open up a space for dialogue, mutual understanding and reconciliation, thereby allowing fruitful human encounters to flourish. At a time when our attention is often drawn to the polarised and judgemental nature of much commentary on the social networks, the theme invokes the power of words and gestures to overcome misunderstandings, to heal memories and to build peace and harmony.
Once again, Pope Francis is reminding us that, in its essence, communication is a profoundly human achievement. Good communication is never merely the product of the latest or most developed technology, but is realised within the context of a deep interpersonal relationship.
World Communications Day, the only annual worldwide event called for by the Second Vatican Council, is celebrated in most countries, on the recommendation of the bishops of the world, on the Sunday before Pentecost (in 2016, May 8th).
The Holy Father's message for World Communications Day is traditionally published on 24 January, in conjunction with the Memorial of St. Francis de Sales, patron of writers.
Communication and Mercy: a fruitful encounter
Vatican City, 29 September 2015 (VIS) “Communication and mercy: a fruitful encounter” is the theme chosen by the Holy Father for World Communications Day. The choice of theme this year has clearly been determined by the Celebration of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, and the Holy Father undoubtedly desired that World Communications Day would provide the appropriate occasion to reflect on the deep synergy between communication and mercy.
In the Bull of Indiction of the Jubilee Year, in paragraph 12, the Pope affirms that the Church is commissioned to announce the mercy of God, the beating heart of the Gospel, which in its own way must penetrate the heart and mind of every person. He adds that her language and her gestures must transmit mercy, so as to touch the hearts of all people and inspire them once more to find the road that leads to the Father.
It is helpful, in this regard, that communication is a key element for the promotion of a culture of encounter. The Pope, on this occasion, refers to the language and gestures of the Church but the context makes it clear that all men and women in their own communications, in their reaching out to meet others, ought to be motivated by a deep expression of welcome, availability and forgiveness.
The theme highlights the capacity of good communication to open up a space for dialogue, mutual understanding and reconciliation, thereby allowing fruitful human encounters to flourish. At a time when our attention is often drawn to the polarised and judgemental nature of much commentary on the social networks, the theme invokes the power of words and gestures to overcome misunderstandings, to heal memories and to build peace and harmony.
Once again, Pope Francis is reminding us that, in its essence, communication is a profoundly human achievement. Good communication is never merely the product of the latest or most developed technology, but is realised within the context of a deep interpersonal relationship.
World Communications Day, the only annual worldwide event called for by the Second Vatican Council, is celebrated in most countries, on the recommendation of the bishops of the world, on the Sunday before Pentecost (in 2016, May 8th).
The Holy Father's message for World Communications Day is traditionally published on 24 January, in conjunction with the Memorial of St. Francis de Sales, patron of writers.
“Cantate Domino”, the music of Popes, recorded in the Sistine Chapel
Vatican City, 29 September 2015 (VIS) – This morning in the Holy See Press Office a conference was held to present the music CD “Cantate Domino. The Sistine Chapel and the music of Popes”, produced by Deutsche Grammophon. The speakers were Archbishop Georg Ganswein, prefect of the Papal Household; Msgr. Massimo Palombella, S.D.B., director of the Pontifical Sistine Chapel Choir; Mark Wilkinson, president of Deutsche Grammophon; and Mirko Gratton, director of the classical music section of Universal Italia.
“The Pontifical Musical Choir, also known as the Sistine Chapel Choir, is among the oldest choral institutions in the world and has the unique characteristic of being the Pope's choir”, explained Archbishop Ganswein. This characteristic makes it part of the life of the “Pope's Home” and places the Pontifical Sistine Chapel Choir within the structure of the Prefecture of the Papal Household, and gives it the specific task of being an entity whose service is entirely devoted to the Pontiff. “The Prefecture is the point of reference for the Choir in terms of its artistic, administrative and disciplinary management. It is a composite and structured entity made up of 20 adult singers regularly employed by the Holy See, with the addition of 20 pueri cantores who attend the private elementary school annexed to the Choir. The release of a musical CD under the prestigious Deutsche Grammaphon label is an unprecedented event in the history of the Pontifical Musical Choir, and attests to the quality and professionalism that this Institution has achieved, thanks to its serious and diligent work under the guidance of Maestro Massimo Palombella”.
The album, released on 25 September, includes Renaissance music written for the Sistine Chapel Choir by Palestrina, Lassus and Victoria. There are also two pieces of Gregorian chant, alongside world premiere recordings of the original version of Allegri’s fabled Miserere (Sistine Codex of 1661) and a Nunc dimittis attributed to Palestrina which is still used during papal celebrations. Cantate Domino offers listeners the chance to hear these pieces as the composers intended – in Latin and in the surroundings for which they were originally written. In order to capture the magic, mystery and beauty of the music in such unique surroundings, Deutsche Grammophon set up a specially constructed studio within the Chapel. The mixing desk was set up in an ante-chamber, next to the “Sala del Pianto” (where the newly elected pontiff first dresses in the papal vestments).
“The Sistine Chapel was consecrated in 1483, and since then it has been home, without interruption, of the Pontifical Musical Choir”, explained Msgr. Palombella. “In recent years, after intense and specific study of Renaissance religious music and its aesthetic importance, we have been able to undertake an interesting and significant recording. My hope is that these musical masterpieces will reach millions of people throughout the world, bringing them into contact with the historical culture and profound spirituality of the Catholic Church”.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 29 September 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed:
- Bishop Hugo Alberto Torres Marin, auxiliary of Medellin, Colombia, as bishop of Apartado (area 26,000, population 561,000, Catholics 403,000, priests 65, religious 118), Colombia.
- Bishop Joao Evangelista Pimental Lavrador, auxiliary of Oporto, Portugal, as coadjutor of the diocese of Angra (area 2,243, population 246,102, Catholics 224,105, priests 147, permanent deacons 5, religious 129), Portugal.
Vatican Radio
Vatican City, 29 September 2015 (VIS) – Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin has appointed Fr. Andrzej Majewksi, S.J., as director of programming for Vatican Radio.
28-09-2015 - Year XXII - Num. 166 

Francis meets with the victims of sexual abuse: perpetrators will be held accountable
Vatican City, 28 September 2015 (VIS) – The final day of the Pope's apostolic trip began yesterday with his meeting at the St. Charles Borromeo Seminary with victims of sexual abuse perpetrated when they were minors by members of the clergy, or members of their families or teachers. The group was composed of five adults – 3 women and 2 men – accompanied by Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley, archbishop of Boston and president of the Commission for the Protection of Minors, instituted by the Pope, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, and Bishop Michael Joseph Fitzgerald, head of the diocesan office for the protection of minors in the same diocese.
During the meeting, which lasted half an hour, Francis listened to their accounts of their experiences, addressed them as a group and then greeted each one individually. He prayed with them and manifested his participation in their suffering, his pain and his shame for the harm caused by members of the clergy or ecclesiastical collaborators.
“Thank you for corning here today”, he said. “Words cannot fully express my sorrow for the abuse you suffered. You are precious children of God who should always expect our protection, our care and our love. I am profoundly sorry that your innocence was violated by those who you trusted. In some cases the trust was betrayed by members of your own family, in other cases by priests who carry a sacred responsibility for the care of soul. In all circumstances, the betrayal was a terrible violation of human dignity.
“For those who were abused by a member of the clergy, I am deeply sorry for the times when you or your family spoke out, to report the abuse, but you were not heard or believed. Please know that the Holy Father hears you and believes you. I deeply regret that some bishops failed in their responsibility to protect children. It is very disturbing to know that in some cases bishops even were abusers. I pledge to you that we will follow the path of truth wherever it may lead. Clergy and bishops will be held accountable when they abuse or fail to protect children.
“We are gathered here in Philadelphia to celebrate God's gift of family life. Within our family of faith and our human families, the sins and crimes of sexual abuse of children must no longer be held in secret and in shame. As we anticipate the Jubilee Year of Mercy, your presence, so generously given despite the anger and pain you have experienced, reveals the merciful heart of Christ. Your stories of survival, each unique and compelling, are powerful signs of the hope that comes from the Lord's promise to be with us always.
“It is good to know that you have brought family members and friends with you today. I am grateful for their compassionate support and pray that many people of the Church will respond to the call to accompany those who have suffered abuse. May the Door of Mercy be opened wide in our dioceses, our parishes, our homes and our hearts, to receive those who were abused and to seek the path to forgiveness by trusting in the Lord. We promise to support your continued healing and to always be vigilant to protect the children of today and tomorrow.
“When the disciples who walked with Jesus on the road to Emmaus recognised that He was the Risen Lord, they asked Jesus to stay with them. Like those disciples, I humbly beg you and all survivors of abuse to stay with us, to stay with the Church, and that together, as pilgrims on the journey of faith, we might find our way to the Father”.
Francis to visiting bishops: Appreciation and gratitude to families must prevail over complaints
Vatican City, 28 September 2015 (VIS) – Shortly after his meeting with a group of victims, the Holy Father returned to the issue of sexual abuse at the beginning of his address to the three hundred bishops attending the World Meeting of Families, held in the great Chapel of the St. Charles Borromeo Seminary.
“I am deeply pained by the stories, the sufferings and the pain of minors who were sexually abused by priests. I continue to be ashamed that persons charged with the tender care of those little ones abused them and caused them grave harm. I deeply regret this. God weeps. The crimes and sins of sexual abuse of minors may no longer be kept secret; I commit myself to ensuring that the Church makes every effort to protect minors and I promise that those responsible will be held to account. Survivors of abuse have become true heralds of hope and ministers of mercy; humbly we owe our gratitude to each of them and to their families for their great courage in shedding the light of Christ on the evil sexual abuse of minors. I say this because I have just met with a group of persons abused as children, who are helped and accompanied here in Philadelphia with particular care by Archbishop Chaput, and we felt that I should communicate this to you”.
Moving on to the issue of the family, he pronounced a discourse, at times improvised, in which he focused on the characteristics of families in today's society and the mission of bishops, reiterating that as pastors they must not be afraid to stay in the midst of families, with all their problems and their capacities, as “ A Christianity which does little in practice, while incessantly explaining its teachings, is dangerously unbalanced”.
The following are extensive extracts from the Pope's address:
“For the Church, the family is not first and foremost a cause for concern, but rather the joyous confirmation of God’s blessing upon the masterpiece of creation. Every day, all over the world, the Church can rejoice in the Lord’s gift of so many families who, even amid difficult trials, remain faithful to their promises and keep the faith! I would say that the foremost pastoral challenge of our changing times is to move decisively towards recognising this gift. For all the obstacles we see before us, gratitude and appreciation should prevail over concerns and complaints. The family is the fundamental locus of the covenant between the Church and God’s creation. Without the family, not even the Church would exist. Nor could she be what she is called to be, namely 'a sign and instrument of communion with God and of the unity of the entire human race'. Needless to say, our understanding, shaped by the interplay of ecclesial faith and the conjugal experience of sacramental grace, must not lead us to disregard the unprecedented changes taking place in contemporary society, with their social, cultural – and now juridical – effects on family bonds. These changes affect all of us, believers and non-believers alike. Christians are not 'immune' to the changes of their times. This concrete world, with all its many problems and possibilities, is where we must live, believe and proclaim”.
“Until recently, we lived in a social context where the similarities between the civil institution of marriage and the Christian sacrament were considerable and shared. The two were interrelated and mutually supportive. This is no longer the case. To describe our situation today, I would use two familiar images: our neighbourhood stores and our large supermarkets. There was a time when one neighbourhood store had everything one needed for personal and family life. The products may not have been cleverly displayed, or offered much choice, but there was a personal bond between the shopkeeper and his customers. … They trusted one another. They built up trust”.
“Then a different kind of store grew up: the supermarket. Huge spaces with a great selection of merchandise. The world seems to have become one of these great supermarkets; our culture has become more and more competitive. Business is no longer conducted on the basis of trust; others can no longer be trusted. There are no longer close personal relationships. Today’s culture seems to encourage people not to bond with anything or anyone, not to trust. … Today consumerism determines what is important. Consuming relationships, consuming friendships, consuming religions, consuming, consuming... Whatever the cost or consequences. A consumption which does not favour bonding, a consumption which has little to do with human relationships. Social bonds are a mere 'means' for the satisfaction of 'my needs'. The important thing is no longer our neighbour, with his or her familiar face, story and personality”.
“The result is a culture which discards everything that is no longer 'useful' or 'satisfying' for the tastes of the consumer. We have turned our society into a huge multicultural showcase tied only to the tastes of certain 'consumers', while so many others only 'eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table'. This causes great harm. I would say that at the root of so many contemporary situations is a kind of impoverishment born of a widespread and radical sense of loneliness. ... Loneliness with fear of commitment in a limitless effort to feel recognised”.
“Should we blame our young people for having grown up in this kind of society? Should we condemn them for living in this kind of a world? Should they hear their pastors saying that 'it was all better back then'. … No, I do not think that this is the way. As shepherds following in the footsteps of the Good Shepherd, we are asked to seek out, to accompany, to lift up, to bind up the wounds of our time. To look at things realistically, with the eyes of one who feels called to action, to pastoral conversion. The world today demands this conversion on our part. 'It is vitally important for the Church today to go forth and preach the Gospel to all: to all places, on all occasions, without hesitation, reluctance or fear. ... The Gospel is not a product to be consumed; it has nothing to do with consumerist culture”.
“We would be mistaken, however, to see this culture of the present world as mere indifference towards marriage and the family, as pure and simple selfishness. … We must not fall into this trap. Many young people, in the context of this culture of discouragement, have yielded to a form of unconscious acquiescence. They are paralysed when they encounter the beautiful, noble and truly necessary challenges which faith sets before them. Many put off marriage while waiting for ideal conditions, when everything can be perfect. Meanwhile, life goes on, without really being lived to the full. In Congress, a few days ago, I said that we are living in a culture that drives and convinces young people not to form a family, some through lack of material means to do so, and others because they have the means but are comfortable as they are, but this is the temptation – not to form a family”.
“As pastors, we bishops are called to collect our energies and to rebuild enthusiasm for making families correspond ever more fully to the blessing of God which they are! We need to invest our energies not so much in rehearsing the problems of the world around us and the merits of Christianity, but in extending a sincere invitation to young people to be brave and to opt for marriage and the family”.
“A Christianity which 'does' little in practice, while incessantly 'explaining' its teachings, is dangerously unbalanced. I would even say that it is stuck in a vicious circle. A pastor must show that the 'Gospel of the family' is truly 'good news' in a world where self-concern seems to reign supreme! We are not speaking about some romantic dream: the perseverance which is called for in having a family and raising it transforms the world and human history. The world and history is transformed by families”.
A pastor serenely yet passionately proclaims the word of God. He encourages believers to aim high. He will enable his brothers and sisters to hear and experience God’s promise, which can expand their experience of motherhood and fatherhood within the horizon of a new 'familiarity' with God.
A pastor watches over the dreams, the lives and the growth of his flock. This 'watchfulness' is not the result of talking but of shepherding. Only one capable of standing 'in the midst of' the flock can be watchful, not someone who is afraid of questions, contact, accompaniment. … Naturally, experiencing the spirit of this joyful familiarity with God, and spreading its powerful evangelical fruitfulness, has to be the primary feature of our lifestyle as bishops: a lifestyle of prayer and preaching the Gospel. The bishop is charged to be a pastor, but to be a pastor first and foremost by his prayer and preaching, because everything else follows, if there is time”.
“By our own humble Christian apprenticeship in the familial virtues of God’s people, we will become more and more like fathers and mothers ... and less like people who have simply learned to live without a family. Our ideal is not to live without love! A good pastor renounces the love of a family precisely in order to focus all his energies, and the grace of his particular vocation, on the evangelical blessing of the love of men and women who carry forward God’s plan of creation, beginning with those who are lost, abandoned, wounded, broken, downtrodden and deprived of their dignity. This total surrender to God’s agape is certainly not a vocation lacking in tenderness and affection. We need but look to Jesus to understand this”.
“For faith, this is a most valuable sign. Our ministry needs to deepen the covenant between the Church and the family. Otherwise it becomes arid, and the human family will grow irremediably distant, by our own fault, from God’s joyful good news, and will go to the latest supermarket to buy whatever product suits them then and there”.
“If we prove capable of the demanding task of reflecting God’s love, cultivating infinite patience and serenity as we strive to sow its seeds in the frequently crooked furrows in which we are called to plant, then even a Samaritan woman with five 'non-husbands' will discover that she is capable of giving witness. And for every rich young man who with sadness feels that he has to calmly keep considering the matter, an older publican will come down from the tree and give fourfold to the poor, to whom, before that moment, he had never even given a thought”.
“My brothers, may God grant us this gift of a renewed closeness between the family and the Church. Families need it, the Church needs it, and we pastors need it”.
It is painful to see prison systems that do not care for wounds, soothe pain or offer new possibilities: the Pope to inmates at Curran-Fromhold penitentiary
Vatican City, 28 September 2015 (VIS) – After addressing the visiting bishops, the Pope transferred by helicopter to the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility, Philadelphia's largest male prison, which holds 2,800 inmates. Francis met with one hundred of them, along with the directors of the Centre, who awaited him in the gymnasium.
After hearing greetings from some of the detainees and receiving a gift that they had made for him, a chair, Francis thanked those present for welcoming him and giving him the opportunity to share this moment in their lives. “It is a difficult time, one full of struggles. I know it is a painful time not only for you, but also for your families and for all of society. Any society, any family, which cannot share or take seriously the pain of its children, and views that pain as something normal or to be expected, is a society 'condemned' to remain a hostage to itself, prey to the very things which cause that pain. I am here as a pastor, but above all as a brother, to share your situation and to make it my own. I have come so that we can pray together and offer our God everything that causes us pain, but also everything that gives us hope, so that we can receive from him the power of the resurrection”.
 The Pope spoke about the Gospel scene where Jesus washes the feet of His disciples at the Last Supper. “This was something his disciples found hard to accept. Even Peter refused, and told him: 'You will never wash my feet'. In those days, it was the custom to wash someone’s feet when they came to your home. That was how they welcomed people. The roads were not paved, they were covered with dust, and little stones would get stuck in your sandals. Everyone walked those roads, which left their feet dusty, bruised or cut from those stones. That is why we see Jesus washing feet, our feet, the feet of His disciples, then and now”.
“We all know that life is a journey, along different roads, different paths, which leave their mark on us”, said the Pope. “We also know in faith that Jesus seeks us out. He wants to heal our wounds, to soothe our feet which hurt from travelling alone, to wash each of us clean of the dust from our journey. He doesn’t ask us where we have been, He doesn’t question us what about we have done. Rather, He tells us: 'Unless I wash your feet, you have no share with me'. Unless I wash your feet, I will not be able to give you the life which the Father always dreamed of, the life for which he created you. Jesus comes to meet us, so that He can restore our dignity as children of God. He wants to help us to set out again, to resume our journey, to recover our hope, to restore our faith and trust. He wants us to keep walking along the paths of life, to realise that we have a mission, and that confinement is never the same thing as exclusion”.
“Life means 'getting our feet dirty' from the dust-filled roads of life and history”, he continued. “All of us need to be cleansed, to be washed. All of us. Myself, first and foremost. All of us are being sought out by the Teacher, Who wants to help us resume our journey. The Lord goes in search of us; to all of us He stretches out a helping hand. It is painful when we see prison systems which are not concerned to care for wounds, to soothe pain, to offer new possibilities. It is painful when we see people who think that only others need to be cleansed, purified, and do not recognise that their weariness, pain and wounds are also the weariness, pain and wounds of society. The Lord tells us this clearly with a sign: He washes our feet so we can come back to the table. The table from which He wishes no one to be excluded. The table which is spread for all and to which all of us are invited”.
“This time in your life can only have one purpose: to give you a hand in getting back on the right road, to give you a hand to help you rejoin society. All of us are part of that effort, all of us are invited to encourage, help and enable your rehabilitation. A rehabilitation which everyone seeks and desires: inmates and their families, correctional authorities, social and educational programs. A rehabilitation which benefits and elevates the morale of the entire community and society. I encourage you to have this attitude with one another and with all those who in any way are part of this institution. May you make possible new opportunities; may you blaze new trails, new paths. All of us have something we need to be cleansed of, or purified from. All of us. May the knowledge of this fact inspire us all to live in solidarity, to support one another and seek the best for others”.
“Let us look to Jesus, Who washes our feet”, concluded Francis “He is 'the way, and the truth, and the life'. He comes to save us from the lie that says no one can change, the lie of thinking that no one can change. Jesus helps us to journey along the paths of life and fulfilment. May the power of His love and His resurrection always be a path leading you to new life”.
Concluding Mass at the World Meeting of Families: God wants all His children to take part in the feast of the Gospel
Vatican City, 28 September 2015 (VIS) – Hundreds of thousands of people attended the concluding Mass of the Eighth World Meeting of Families celebrated by Pope Francis in Philadelphia's Benjamin Franklin Parkway yesterday at 4 p.m. local time (10 p.m. in Rome). During the event, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, announced that the next Meeting will be held in Dublin, Ireland in 2018.
In his homily, Pope Francis commented on the two readings of the day's liturgy, which present the scandal of the people before the miracles and the unexpected prophecies. In the first reading, Joshua tells Moses that two members of the people are prophesying, speaking God’s word, without a mandate. In the Gospel, John tells Jesus that the disciples had stopped someone from casting out evil spirits in the name of Jesus. “Here is the surprise”, remarked the Pope. “Moses and Jesus both rebuke those closest to them for being so narrow! Would that all could be prophets of God’s word! Would that everyone could work miracles in the Lord’s name!”
Jesus encountered “hostility from people who did not accept what He said and did. For them, His openness to the honest and sincere faith of many men and women who were not part of God’s chosen people seemed intolerable. The disciples, for their part, acted in good faith. But the temptation to be scandalised by the freedom of God, Who sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous alike, bypassing bureaucracy, officialdom and inner circles, threatens the authenticity of faith. Hence it must be vigorously rejected. Once we realise this, we can understand why Jesus’ words about causing 'scandal' are so harsh. For Jesus, the truly 'intolerable' scandal consists in everything that breaks down and destroys our trust in the working of the Spirit”.
“Our Father will not be outdone in generosity and He continues to scatter seeds. He scatters the seeds of His presence in our world, for 'love consists in this, not that we have loved God but that He loved us' first. That love gives us a profound certainty: we are sought by God; He waits for us. It is this confidence which makes disciples encourage, support and nurture the good things happening all around them. God wants all His children to take part in the feast of the Gospel. Jesus says, 'Do not hold back anything that is good, instead help it to grow!' To raise doubts about the working of the Spirit, to give the impression that it cannot take place in those who are not 'part of our group', who are not 'like us', is a dangerous temptation. Not only does it block conversion to the faith; it is a perversion of faith”.
“Faith opens a 'window' to the presence and working of the Spirit. It shows us that, like happiness, holiness is always tied to little gestures. 'Whoever gives you a cup of water in my name will not go unrewarded', says Jesus. These little gestures are those we learn at home, in the family; they get lost amid all the other things we do, yet they do make each day different. They are the quiet things done by mothers and grandmothers, by fathers and grandfathers, by children. They are little signs of tenderness, affection and compassion. Like the warm supper we look forward to at night, the early lunch awaiting someone who gets up early to go to work. Homely gestures. Like a blessing before we go to bed, or a hug after we return from a hard day’s work. Love is shown by little things, by attention to small daily signs which make us feel at home. Faith grows when it is lived and shaped by love. That is why our families, our homes, are true domestic churches. They are the right place for faith to become life, and life to become faith”.
“Jesus tells us not to hold back these little miracles. Instead, He wants us to encourage them, to spread them. He asks us to go through life, our everyday life, encouraging all these little signs of love as signs of His own living and active presence in our world. So we might ask ourselves: How are we trying to live this way in our homes, in our societies? What kind of world do we want to leave to our children? We cannot answer these questions alone, by ourselves. It is the Spirit who challenges us to respond as part of the great human family. Our common house can no longer tolerate sterile divisions. The urgent challenge of protecting our home includes the effort to bring the entire human family together in the pursuit of a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change. May our children find in us models and incentives to communion! May our children find in us men and women capable of joining others in bringing to full flower all the good seeds which the Father has sown”.
“We Christians, the Lord’s disciples, ask the families of the world to help us!” exclaimed Francis. “How many of us are here at this celebration. This is itself something prophetic, a kind of miracle in today’s world. Would that we could all be prophets. Would that all of us could be open to miracles of love for the sake of all the families of the world, and thus overcome the scandal of a narrow, petty love, closed in on itself, impatient of others”.
“How beautiful it would be if everywhere, even beyond our borders, we could appreciate and encourage this prophecy and this miracle”, concluded the Holy Father. “May God grant to all of us, as the Lord’s disciples, the grace to be worthy of this purity of heart which is not scandalised by the Gospel”.
Following the Eucharist, Pope Francis gave the Gospel of St. Luke to five families representing the five continents, from, respectively, Kinshasa (Africa), Havana (America), Hanoi (Asia), Syney (Australia) and Marseilles (Europe).
Francis leaves the United States: I thank the Lord that I was able to witness the faith of God’s people in this country
Vatican City, 28 September 2015 (VIS) – Following Holy Mass at Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the Pope travelled by car to the airport in Philadelphia where he embarked on his return flight to Rome. He was welcomed at the airport by five hundred people, mostly members of the Organising Committee and volunteers and benefactors of the World Meeting of Families, as well as the vice president of the United States, Joe Biden. The Holy Father expressed his gratitude to them and to the families who had shared their witness during the Meeting.
 “It is not so easy to speak openly of one’s life journey! But their honesty and humility before the Lord and each of us showed the beauty of family life in all its richness and diversity. I pray that our days of prayer and reflection on the importance of the family for a healthy society will inspire families to continue to strive for holiness and to see the Church as their constant companion, whatever the challenges they may face”.
The Pope thanked all those who had prepared for his stay in the archdioceses of Washington, New York and Philadelphia. “It was particularly moving for me to canonise St. Junipero Serra, who reminds us all of our call to be missionary disciples, and I was also very moved to stand with my brothers and sisters of other religions at Ground Zero, that place which speaks so powerfully of the mystery of evil. Yet we know with certainty that evil never has the last word, and that, in God’s merciful plan, love and peace triumph over all”.
He asked the vice president, Joe Biden, to renew his gratitude to President Obama and to the Members of Congress, together with the assurance of his prayers for the American people. “This land has been blessed with tremendous gifts and opportunities”, he remarked. “I pray that you may all be good and generous stewards of the human and material resources entrusted to you”.
“I thank the Lord that I was able to witness the faith of God’s people in this country, as manifested in our moments of prayer together and evidenced in so many works of charity. Jesus says in the Scriptures: 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me'. Your care for me and your generous welcome are a sign of your love for Jesus and your faithfulness to Him. So too is your care for the poor, the sick, the homeless and the immigrant, your defence of life at every stage, and your concern for family life. In all of this, you recognise that Jesus is in your midst and that your care for one another is care for Jesus Himself.
“As I leave, I ask all of you, especially the volunteers and benefactors who assisted with the World Meeting of Families: do not let your enthusiasm for Jesus, His Church, our families, and the broader family of society run dry. May our days together bear fruit that will last, generosity and care for others that will endure. Just as we have received so much from God –gifts freely given us, and not of our own making – so let us freely give to others in return”.
“Dear friends, I embrace all of you in the Lord and I entrust you to the maternal care of Mary Immaculate, Patroness of the United States. I will pray for you and your families, and I ask you, please, to pray for me. May God bless you all. God bless America!” concluded Francis.
At 8 p.m. local time (2 a.m., 28 September in Rome), the aircraft carrying the Holy Father departed from Rome, where it landed this morning at 9.58 a.m. On the way back to the Vatican he paused at the Basilica of St. Mary Major to pray before the image of the Salus Populi Romani and to thank the Virgin for the fruits of this apostolic trip.
Message for World Youth Day in Krakow, 2016: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy”
Vatican City, 28 September 2015 (VIS) – The following is the full text of the Pope's message for the 31st World Youth Day, to be held in Krakow, Poland in July 2016.
“Dear Young People,
We have come to the last stretch of our pilgrimage to Krakow, the place where we will celebrate the 31st World Youth Day next year in the month of July. We are being guided on this long and challenging path by Jesus’ words taken from the Sermon on the Mount. We began this journey in 2014 by meditating together on the first Beatitude: 'Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven' (Mt 5:3). The theme for 2015 was: 'Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God' (Mt 5:8). During the year ahead, let us allow ourselves to be inspired by the words: 'Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy'.
1. The Jubilee of Mercy
With this theme, the Krakow 2016 WYD forms part of the Holy Year of Mercy and so becomes a Youth Jubilee at world level. It is not the first time that an international youth gathering has coincided with a Jubilee Year. Indeed, it was during the Holy Year of the Redemption (1983/1984) that St. John Paul II first called on young people from around the world to come together on Palm Sunday. Then, during the Great Jubilee of the year 2000, over two million young people from around 165 countries gathered in Rome for the 15th World Youth Day. I am sure that the Youth Jubilee in Krakow will be, as on those two previous occasions, one of the high points of this Holy Year!
Perhaps some of you are asking: what is this Jubilee Year that is celebrated in the Church? The scriptural text of Leviticus can help us to understand the meaning of a 'jubilee' for the people of Israel. Every fifty years they heard the sounding of a trumpet (jobel) calling them (jobil) to celebrate a holy year as a time of reconciliation (jobal) for everyone. During that time they had to renew their good relations with God, with their neighbours and with creation, all in a spirit of gratuitousness. This fostered, among other things, debt forgiveness, special help for those who had fallen into poverty, an improvement in interpersonal relations and the freeing of slaves.
Jesus Christ came to proclaim and bring about the Lord’s everlasting time of grace. He brought good news to the poor, freedom to prisoners, sight to the blind and freedom to the oppressed. In Jesus, and particularly in his Paschal Mystery, the deeper meaning of the jubilee is fully realised. When the Church proclaims a jubilee in the name of Christ, we are all invited to experience a wonderful time of grace. The Church must offer abundant signs of God’s presence and closeness, and reawaken in people’s hearts the ability to look to the essentials. In particular, this Holy Year of Mercy is 'a time for the Church to rediscover the meaning of the mission entrusted to her by the Lord on the day of Easter: to be a sign and an instrument of the Father’s mercy'.
2. Merciful like the Father
The motto for this Extraordinary Jubilee is 'Merciful like the Father'. This fits in with the theme of the next WYD, so let us try to better understand the meaning of divine mercy.
The Old Testament uses various terms when it speaks about mercy. The most meaningful of these are hesed and rahamim. The first, when applied to God, expresses God’s unfailing fidelity to the Covenant with his people whom he loves and forgives forever. The second, rahamim, which literally means 'entrails', can be translated as 'heartfelt mercy'. This particularly brings to mind the maternal womb and helps us understand that God’s love for his people is like that of a mother for her child. That is how it is presented by the prophet Isaiah: 'Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you'. Love of this kind involves making space for others within ourselves and being able to sympathise, suffer and rejoice with our neighbours.
The biblical concept of mercy also includes the tangible presence of love that is faithful, freely given and able to forgive. In the following passage from Hosea, we have a beautiful example of God’s love, which the prophet compares to that of a father for his child: 'When Israel was a child I loved him; out of Egypt I called my son. The more I called them, the farther they went from me... Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, who took them in my arms; I drew them with human cords, with bands of love; I fostered them like one who raises an infant to his cheeks... I stooped to feed my child'. Despite the child’s wrong attitude that deserves punishment, a father’s love is faithful. He always forgives his repentant children. We see here how forgiveness is always included in mercy. It is 'not an abstract idea, but a concrete reality with which he reveals his love as of that of a father or a mother, moved to the very depths out of love for their child. It gushes forth from the depths naturally, full of tenderness and compassion, indulgence and mercy.
The New Testament speaks to us of divine mercy (eleos) as a synthesis of the work that Jesus came to accomplish in the world in the name of the Father. Our Lord’s mercy can be seen especially when he bends down to human misery and shows his compassion for those in need of understanding, healing and forgiveness. Everything in Jesus speaks of mercy. Indeed, he himself is mercy.
In Chapter 15 of Luke’s Gospel we find the three parables of mercy: the lost sheep, the lost coin and the parable of the prodigal son. In these three parables we are struck by God’s joy, the joy that God feels when he finds and forgives a sinner. Yes, it is God’s joy to forgive! This sums up the whole of the Gospel. 'Each of us, each one of us, is that little lost lamb, the coin that was mislaid; each one of us is that son who has squandered his freedom on false idols, illusions of happiness, and has lost everything. But God does not forget us; the Father never abandons us. He is a patient Father, always waiting for us! He respects our freedom, but He remains faithful forever. And when we come back to him, He welcomes us like children into His house, for He never ceases, not for one instant, to wait for us with love. And His heart rejoices over every child who returns. He is celebrating because He is joy. God has this joy, when one of us sinners goes to Him and asks his forgiveness'.
God’s mercy is very real and we are all called to experience it firsthand. When I was seventeen years old, it happened one day that, as I was about to go out with friends, I decided to stop into a church first. I met a priest there who inspired great confidence, and I felt the desire to open my heart in Confession. That meeting changed my life! I discovered that when we open our hearts with humility and transparency, we can contemplate God’s mercy in a very concrete way. I felt certain that, in the person of that priest, God was already waiting for me even before I took the step of entering that church. We keep looking for God, but God is there before us, always looking for us, and He finds us first. Maybe one of you feels something weighing on your heart. You are thinking: I did this, I did that. Do not be afraid! God is waiting for you! God is a Father and He is always waiting for us! It is so wonderful to feel the merciful embrace of the Father in the sacrament of Reconciliation, to discover that the confessional is a place of mercy, and to allow ourselves to be touched by the merciful love of the Lord Who always forgives us.
You, dear young man, dear young woman, have you ever felt the gaze of everlasting love upon you, a gaze that looks beyond your sins, limitations and failings, and continues to have faith in you and to look upon your life with hope? Do you realise how precious you are to God, who has given you everything out of love? St. Paul tells us that 'God proves His love for us in that, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us'. Do we really understand the power of these words?
I know how much the WYD cross means to all of you. It was a gift from St. John Paul II and has been with you at all your World Meetings since 1984. So many changes and real conversions have taken place in the lives of young people who have encountered this simple bare cross! Perhaps you have asked yourselves the question: what is the origin of the extraordinary power of the cross? Here is the answer: the cross is the most eloquent sign of God’s mercy! It tells us that the measure of God’s love for humanity is to love without measure! Through the cross we can touch God’s mercy and be touched by that mercy! Here I would recall the episode of the two thieves crucified beside Jesus. One of them is arrogant and does not admit that he is a sinner. He mocks the Lord. The other acknowledges that he has done wrong; he turns to the Lord saying: 'Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom'. Jesus looks at him with infinite mercy and replies: 'Today you will be with me in Paradise'. With which of the two do we identify? Is it with the arrogant one who does not acknowledge his own mistakes? Or is it with the other, who accepts that he is in need of divine mercy and begs for it with all his heart? It is in the Lord, Who gave his life for us on the cross, that we will always find that unconditional love which sees our lives as something good and always gives us the chance to start again.
3. The amazing joy of being instruments of God’s mercy
The Word of God teaches us that 'it is more blessed to give than to receive'. That is why the fifth Beatitude declares that the merciful are blessed. We know that the Lord loved us first. But we will be truly blessed and happy only when we enter into the divine 'logic' of gift and gracious love, when we discover that God has loved us infinitely in order to make us capable of loving like Him, without measure. St. John says: 'Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love... In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he He loved us and sent His Son as expiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another'.
After this very brief summary of how the Lord bestows his mercy upon us, I would like to give you some suggestions on how we can be instruments of this mercy for others.
I think of the example of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati. He said, 'Jesus pays me a visit every morning in Holy Communion, and I return the visit in the meagre way I know how, visiting the poor'. Pier Giorgio was a young man who understood what it means to have a merciful heart that responds to those most in need. He gave them far more than material goods. He gave himself by giving his time, his words and his capacity to listen. He served the poor very quietly and unassumingly. He truly did what the Gospel tells us: 'When you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing,so that your almsgiving may be secret'. Imagine that, on the day before his death when he was gravely ill, he was giving directions on how his friends in need should be helped. At his funeral, his family and friends were stunned by the presence of so many poor people unknown to them. They had been befriended and helped by the young Pier Giorgio.
I always like to link the Gospel Beatitudes with Matthew 25, where Jesus presents us with the works of mercy and tells us that we will be judged on them. I ask you, then, to rediscover the corporal works of mercy: to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger, assist the sick, visit the imprisoned and bury the dead. Nor should we overlook the spiritual works of mercy: to counsel the doubtful, teach the ignorant, admonish sinners, comfort the sorrowful, forgive offences, patiently bear with troublesome people and pray to God for the living and the dead. As you can see, mercy does not just imply being a 'good person' nor is it mere sentimentality. It is the measure of our authenticity as disciples of Jesus, and of our credibility as Christians in today’s world.
If you want me to be very specific, I would suggest that for the first seven months of 2016 you choose a corporal and a spiritual work of mercy to practice each month. Find inspiration in the prayer of St. Faustina, a humble apostle of Divine Mercy in our times:
“Help me, O Lord,
…that my eyes may be merciful, so that I will never be suspicious or judge by appearances, but always look for what is beautiful in my neighbours’ souls and be of help to them;
… that my ears may be merciful, so that I will be attentive to my neighbours’ needs, and not indifferent to their pains and complaints;
… that my tongue may be merciful, so that I will never speak badly of others, but have a word of comfort and forgiveness for all;
… that my hands may be merciful and full of good deeds;
… that my feet may be merciful, so that I will hasten to help my neighbour, despite my own fatigue and weariness;
… that my heart may be merciful, so that I myself will share in all the sufferings of my neighbour” (Diary, 163).
The Divine Mercy message is a very specific life plan because it involves action. One of the most obvious works of mercy, and perhaps the most difficult to put into practice, is to forgive those who have offended us, who have done us wrong or whom we consider to be enemies. 'At times how hard it seems to forgive! And yet pardon is the instrument placed into our fragile hands to attain serenity of heart. To let go of anger, wrath, violence, and revenge are necessary conditions to living joyfully'.
I meet so many young people who say that they are tired of this world being so divided, with clashes between supporters of different factions and so many wars, in some of which religion is being used as justification for violence. We must ask the Lord to give us the grace to be merciful to those who do us wrong. Jesus on the cross prayed for those who had crucified Him: 'Father, forgive them, they know not what they do'. Mercy is the only way to overcome evil. Justice is necessary, very much so, but by itself it is not enough. Justice and mercy must go together. How I wish that we could join together in a chorus of prayer, from the depths of our hearts, to implore the Lord to have mercy on us and on the whole world!
4. Krakow is expecting us!
Only a few months are left before we meet in Poland. Krakow, the city of St. John Paul II and St. Faustina Kowalska, is waiting for us with open arms and hearts. I believe that Divine Providence led us to the decision to celebrate the Youth Jubilee in that city which was home to those two great apostles of mercy in our times. John Paul II realised that this is the time of mercy. At the start of his pontificate, he wrote the encyclical Dives in Misericordia. In the Holy Year 2000 he canonised Sister Faustina and instituted the Feast of Divine Mercy, which now takes place on the Second Sunday of Easter. In 2002 he personally inaugurated the Divine Mercy Shrine in Krakow and entrusted the world to Divine Mercy, in the desire that this message would reach all the peoples of the earth and fill their hearts with hope: 'This spark needs to be lighted by the grace of God. This fire of mercy needs to be passed on to the world. In the mercy of God the world will find peace and mankind will find happiness'.
Dear young people, at the Shrine in Krakow dedicated to the merciful Jesus, where He is depicted in the image venerated by the people of God, Jesus is waiting for you. He has confidence in you and is counting on you! He has so many things to say to each of you. Do not be afraid to look into His eyes, full of infinite love for you. Open yourselves to His merciful gaze, so ready to forgive all your sins. A look from Him can change your lives and heal the wounds of your souls. His eyes can quench the thirst that dwells deep in your young hearts, a thirst for love, for peace, for joy and for true happiness. Come to Him and do not be afraid! Come to him and say from the depths of your hearts: 'Jesus, I trust in You!'. Let yourselves be touched by His boundless mercy, so that in turn you may become apostles of mercy by your actions, words and prayers in our world, wounded by selfishness, hatred and so much despair.
Carry with you the flame of Christ’s merciful love – as St. John Paul II said – in every sphere of your daily life and to the very ends of the earth. In this mission, I am with you with my encouragement and prayers. I entrust all of you to Mary, Mother of Mercy, for this last stretch of the journey of spiritual preparation for the next WYD in Krakow. I bless all of you from my heart”.
World Youth Day and the Year of Mercy coincide to make “a Youth Jubilee at world level”
Vatican City, 28 September 2015 (VIS) – Pope Francis' third message to the young, for World Youth Day (WYD), like the first two, is dedicated to the theme of the Beatitudes and is intended to accompany young people throughout the world on their long and challenging spiritual journey to Krakow, where in July next year World Youth Day will be held.
According to a press release from the Pontifical Council for the Laity, issued today, the WYD is a precious heritage left by St. John Paul II, and over the past thirty years it has become a powerful instrument of evangelisation of young people and a wonderful opportunity for dialogue between the Church and the younger generations. This spiritual adventure has already mobilised millions of young people from all continents. WYD has moved many of them to make big changes in their lives, and has led them to the discovery of a call, one that is an intrinsic part of being young: many are the vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life following each WYD, and many young people, after sharing this experience, have chosen to join with another as a couple in the sacrament of marriage.
In his message, the Holy Father remarked that the theme of the 31st World Youth Day places the event in the heart of the Holy Year of Mercy, and this makes it 'a Youth Jubilee at world level'. As the Successor of Peter reminds us, it is the third time that an international gathering of young people coincides with a Jubilee Year. It happened during the Holy Year of Redemption (1983/1984) when St. John Paul II invited young people from around the world for Palm Sunday for the first time. Then, during the Great Jubilee of 2000, more than two million young people from about 165 countries met in Rome for the 15thWorld Youth Day. Pope Francis says, “I am sure that the Youth Jubilee in Krakow will be, as on those two previous occasions, one of the high points of this Holy Year!”.
The Pope goes on to explain to young people how God revealed his mercy in the Holy Scriptures by showing his untiring loyalty and eternal love, always ready to forgive. In the New Testament, mercy is presented to us as“a synthesis of the work that Jesus came to accomplish in the world in the name of the Father […] Everything in Jesus speaks of mercy. Indeed, he himself is mercy”.
The Holy Father invites young people to have firsthand experience of the Lord's mercy. He says: “When I was seventeen years old, it happened one day that, as I was about to go out with friends, I decided to stop into a church first. I met a priest there who inspired great confidence, and I felt the desire to open my heart in Confession. That meeting changed my life! I discovered that when we open our hearts with humility and transparency, we can contemplate God’s mercy in a very concrete way”.
After explaining how God shows us his mercy, the Pope invites young people to become, in turn, instruments of that mercy towards others. He suggests a very concrete way of responding to this call: “I would suggest that for the first seven months of 2016 you choose a corporal and a spiritual work of mercy to practice each month”.
At the end of his message, Pope Francis renews his warm invitation to young people: “Only a few months are left before we meet in Poland. Krakow, the city of St. John Paul II and St. Faustina Kowalska, is waiting for us with open arms and hearts. I believe that Divine Providence led us to the decision to celebrate the Youth Jubilee in that city which was home to those two great apostles of mercy in our times. [...] At the Shrine in Krakow dedicated to the merciful Jesus, where He is depicted in the image venerated by the people of God, Jesus is waiting for you [...].Come to Him and say from the depths of your hearts: ‘Jesus, I trust in You’”.
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