10-11-2015 - Year XXII - Num. 198
|- Francis to workers in Prato: fight the cancer of corruption and the exploitation of labour|
|- Francis to the National Ecclesial Congress: the traits of Christian humanism|
|- Episcopal ordination in the Basilica of St. John Lateran: the Kingdom of God is built with patience|
|- Clarifications from Fr. Federico Lombardi|
|Francis to workers in Prato: fight the cancer of corruption and the exploitation of labour|
Vatican City, 10 November 2015 (VIS) – Pope Francis arrived shortly before at the Lungobisenzio Stadium in the Italian city of Prato, the first brief stop in his visit to the Tuscany region. From there, he transferred the cathedral square where he was awaited by thousands of faithful, some of whom had spent the night there to be able to greet the Pope. Many of them were workers, to whom he addressed a discourse on the dignity of work, in which he condemned exploitation. He also referred to the members of the Chinese community resident in the city who died last year in a fire in a textile factory where they worked and lived illegally.
Francis affirmed that he was passing through the city as part of a larger pilgrimage: “It is little, but at least the intention is there”, and remarked that he would like to spend longer in this “city of Mary”. He began by quoting the biblical passage on the liberation of Israel, when the Lord asked the Jews to celebrate the Passover with “girded loins”.
“To 'gird the loins', to wear the cloak belted at the waist, meant being ready, preparing oneself to leave, to go out to be on one's way”, he said, explaining that today this means being ready “to share the joy of having met the Lord and also the toil of walking His path. We are required to go out towards the men and women of our time. Going out, certainly, means taking risks, but there is no faith without risk. A faith that thinks of itself and is closed in on itself is not faithful to the invitation of the Lord, Who asks His people to take the initiative and to commit themselves fearlessly. Confronted with the often vertiginous transformations of recent years, there is the danger of succumbing to the whirlwind of events, losing the courage to seek out the way. … But the Lord, Who wishes to reach those who do not yet love Him, spurs us on. … He asks the Church, His bride, to walk today's rough paths, to accompany those who have lost their way and to pitch tents of hope, to welcome those who are wounded and expect nothing more from life”.
“For a disciple of Jesus, no closeness can turn into distance. Rather, there exist none who are too far away, only neighbours to be reached”, affirmed Francis, thanking the citizens of Prato for their continuing efforts to integrate all people and to resist the throwaway culture of indifference. “In times distinguished by uncertainty and fear, your initiatives in favour of the weakest and families, that you are also committed to adopting, are praiseworthy. As you seek the best concrete solutions for inclusion, do not be discouraged by difficulties. Do not resign yourselves when faced with what appear to be difficult situations of coexistence; always be encouraged by the wish to establish genuine “neighbourly pacts”.
Finally, the Holy Father recalled that St. Paul invited Christians to wear a particular armour, that of God. “We must gird ourselves with truth. Nothing good can be based on lies or the lack of transparency. Always seeking and choosing the truth is not easy; however it is a vital decision, that must profoundly mark the existence of each person and of society, so that it may be more just and more honest. The sacred nature of every human being requires respect, welcome and dignified work for all. Dignified work! If I may, I would like to remember the five men and two women, Chinese nationals, who died two years ago as a result of a fire in the industrial zone of Prato. They lived and slept inside the same industrial building where they worked: in one area, a small dormitory had been fashioned in cardboard and plasterboard, with bunk beds to make use of the height of the structure. It is a tragedy of exploitation and of inhumane conditions of life. And this is not dignified work! The life of every community demands that we fight the cancer of corruption all the way; the cancer of the exploitation of human beings and labour, and the poison of illegality. Among us and along with others, we must never tire of fighting for truth and justice”.
|Francis to the National Ecclesial Congress: the traits of Christian humanism|
Vatican City, 10 November 2015 (VIS) – Following his brief visit to Prato, the Pope travelled by helicopter to Florence, where he was received by the cardinal archbishop Giuseppe Betori, and by the other civil and religious authorities. He transferred by car to the Baptistery dedicated to St. John the Baptist in the square before the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, and paused a moment before the painting “The White Crucifixion”, currently on display in the “Divine Beauty” exhibition in Palazzo Strozzi. From there, he proceeded to Santa Maria del Fiore on foot to meet with the participants in the Fifth National Ecclesial Congress, dedicated this year to the theme “In Jesus Christ, the new humanism”. In the cathedral, where the 2,500 participants were gathered, he was greeted by Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, president of the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI) and archbishop of Genoa, along with Archbishop Cesare Nosiglia of Turin and Bishop Nunzio Galantino, secretary of the CEI.
The Pope gave an address focusing on the theme of the Congress, extensive extracts of which are published below, in which he spoke about the features of Christian humanism and the temptations to which the Church is exposed.
“We can speak about humanism only by starting from the centrality of Jesus, discovering in Him the features of the authentic face of man. And the contemplation of the face of the dead and risen Jesus that recomposes our humanity, fragmented as it may be by the hardships of life, or marked by sin. We must not domesticate the power of the face of Christ. The face is the image of His transcendence. … I do not wish here to draw an abstract image of the 'new humanism', a certain idea of man, but to present with simplicity some features of Christian humanism, which is that of the sentiments, the mind of Jesus Christ. These are not abstract temporary sensations but rather represent the warm interior force that makes us able to live and to make decisions”:
“The first sentiment is humility. … The obsession with preserving one's own glory and 'dignity', one's own influence, must not form part of our sentiments. We must seek God's glory, that does not coincide with ours. God's glory that shines in the humility of the stable in Bethlehem or in the dishonour of Christ's cross always surprises us”.
“Another sentiment is selflessness. '… The humanity of the Christian is always outward-looking. … Please, let us avoid 'remaining shut up within structures which give us a false sense of security, within rules which make us harsh judges, within habits that make us feel safe'. Our duty is to make this world a better place, and to fight. Our faith is revolutionary because of the inspiration that comes from the Holy Spirit”.
“Another of Jesus Christ's sentiments is beatitude. The Christian is blessed. … In the Beatitudes, the Lord shows us the path. By taking it, we human beings can arrive at the most authentically human and divine happiness. … For the great saints, beatitude is about humiliation and poverty. But also in the most humble of our people there is much of this beatitude: it is that of he who knows the richness of solidarity, of sharing also the little he possesses. … The beatitudes we read in the Gospel begin with a blessing and end with a promise of consolation. They introduce us to a path of possible greatness, that of the spirit, and when the spirit is ready all the rest comes by itself”.
“Humility, selflessness, beatitude … they also say something to the Italian Church that today meets to walk together, setting an example of synodality. These features tell us that we must not be obsessed with power, even when this assumes the appearance of a useful or functional power in the social image of the Church. If the Church does not assume Jesus' mind, she is disorientated and loses her way. A Church with these three features – humility, selflessness and beatitude – is a Church that recognises the action of the Lord in the world, in culture, in the daily life of the people. I have said this more than once, and I will repeat it again today to you: 'I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security'”.
“However, we know that there are many temptations we must resist. I will present you at least two of them. The first is that of Pelagianism, which leads the Church not to be humble, selfless and blessed. … Often it leads us even to assuming a style of control, of hardness, normativity. Rules give to the Pelagian the security of feeling superior, of having a precise orientation. In this it finds its strength, not in the soft breath of the Spirit. Faced with the ills or the problems of the Church, it is useless to seek solutions in conservatism or fundamentalism, in the restoration of outdated forms and conduct that have no capacity for meaning, even culturally. Christian doctrine is not a closed system incapable of generating questions, doubts and uncertainties, but it is living, it knows how to disturb and to encourage. Its face is not rigid, it has a body that moves and develops, it has tender flesh; Christian doctrine is called Jesus Christ”.
“A second temptation is the gnosticism that leads us to place our trust in logical and clear reasoning that, however, loses the tenderness of our brother's flesh. … The difference between Christian transcendence and any other form of gnostic spiritualism resides in the mystery of the Incarnation. Not putting into practice, not leading the Word to reality, means building on sand, remaining in the pure idea and degenerating into intimisms that do not bear fruit, that render its dynamism sterile”.
“The Italian Church has great saints whose examples help live faith with humility, generosity and joy, from St. Francis of Assisi to St. Philip Neri. But let us also think of invented characters such as Don Camillo and Peppone. I am struck by how, in the stories of Guareschi, the prayer of a good pastor unites with evident closeness to the people”.
“But then, you will ask, what must we do? What is the Pope asking of us? It is up to you to decide: people and pastor together. And I invite you, again, simply to contemplate the Ecce Homo above us”.
“I ask the bishops to be pastors. Nothing more: pastors. May this be your joy: 'I am a pastor'. It will be the people, your flock, who support you. … May nothing and no-one remove from you the joy of being supported by your people. As pastors, do not be preachers of complex doctrines, but rather announcers of Christ, Who died and rose again for us. Focus on the essential, the kerygma. There is nothing more solid, profound and sure than this announcement. But may it be all the people of God who announce the Gospel, people and pastors”.
“I recommend all the Italian Church what I indicated in the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium: the social inclusion of the poor, who occupy a special place in the People of God, and the capacity for encounter and dialogue to promote friendship and in your country, in search of the common good”.
“May God protect the Church in Italy from any kind of surrogate of power, image and money. Evangelical poverty is creative, it welcomes, supports and is rich in hope. The mother Church … recognises all her abandoned, oppressed and weary children. And this has always been one of your virtues, as you are well aware that the Lord shed his blood not for some, for few or for many, but for all”.
“I also recommend, in a special way, the capacity for dialogue and encounter. Dialogue is not negotiation. Negotiating is bargaining to obtain your own piece of the common 'pie'. That is not what I mean. Instead it is seeking the common good for all”.
“May the Church be a leaven for dialogue, encounter, unity. Indeed, our very formulations of faith are the fruit of dialogue and encounter between different cultures, communities and claims. We must not be afraid of dialogue; on the contrary, it is precisely comparison and criticism that helps us to preserve theology from being transformed into ideology. Also remember that the best way to engage in dialogue is not that of speaking and discussing, but rather of doing something together, of constructing something, of making projects: not alone, among Catholics, but along with all people of goodwill”.
“But the Church also knows how to give a clear answer to the threats that emerge within public debate: this is one of the forms of specific contributions that the faithful offer to the construction of common society. Believers are citizens. … I appeal above all to the young: overcome apathy. … Do not look down on life from the balcony, but rather get involved, immerse yourselves in broad social and political dialogue. … Our times require us to live problems as challenges and not as obstacles: the Lord is active and at work in the world. … Wherever you are, never construct walls or frontiers, but instead open squares and field hospitals”.
“I would like a restless Italian Church, ever closer to the abandoned, the forgotten, the imperfect. I wish for a joyful Church with the face of a mother, who understands, accompanies and caresses. May you too dream of this Church, believe in her, innovate freely. The Christian humanism that you are called upon to live radically affirms that dignity of every person as Son of God, establishes between all human beings a fundamental fraternity, teaches to understand work, to inhabit creation as our common home, and provides reasons for joy and humour, even in a life that is often very hard”.
Following his encounter with the representatives of the ecclesial congress, shortly before midday, the Pope went to the Basilica of the Santissima Annunziata to pray the Angelus with various sick and disabled people, after which he lunched with the poor in the San Francesco Poverino refectory.
|Episcopal ordination in the Basilica of St. John Lateran: the Kingdom of God is built with patience|
Vatican City, 10 November 2015 (VIS) – Yesterday, 9 November, festivity of the dedication of the Basilica of St. John Lateran, Pope Francis conferred episcopal ordination to Msgr. Angelo De Donatis, of the clergy of Rome, who was appointed auxiliary bishop of Rome on.
The homily pronounced by the Holy Father during the mass was essentially the ritual homily for the ordination of bishops from the Italian edition of the Pontificale Romanum. However, Francis added some phrases dedicated in particular to the proclamation of the Word, the welcome of the poor and vulnerable, and mercy.
“Announcing the Word at every opportunity and also at less opportune moments; admonish … but always kindly, exhort with magnanimity and doctrine. May your words be simple, so that everyone can understand, rather than long homilies. … Remember your father, how happy he was to find nearby another parish where Mass was celebrated without a homily! May your homilies be the transmission of God's grace: simple, that everyone may understand, and so that all wish to become better”.
“With your heart, love like a father and a brother all those whom God entrusts to you; as I have said, first and foremost the priests, deacons and seminarians; but also the poor, the vulnerable, and those who are in need of welcome and help. Exhort the faithful to cooperate in apostolic efforts and listen to them willingly and with patience. Often you will need a lot of patience … but the Kingdom of God is built in this way”.
“As we near the Year of Mercy, I ask you as a brother to be merciful. The Church and the world are in need of great mercy. Teach priests and seminarians the path of mercy. With words, but most of all through your attitude. The Father's mercy always receives, there is always room in His heart, He never turns anyone away. He waits, and waits. … I wish you great mercy”.
During the rite of consigning the episcopal ring, the Pope also added: “Do not forget that, before this ring, there was that of your parents. Defend the family”.
|Clarifications from Fr. Federico Lombardi|
Vatican City, 10 November 2015 (VIS) – The director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., in response to questions from journalists, today affirmed that:
“There is no basis to the reports in some articles claiming that in recent days, as part of the investigations in process in the Vatican, a number of cardinals and high prelates have been heard (it has even been stated that four cardinals were involved). This is absolutely false.
“Similarly, the reports in recent days in some articles regarding contacts with the Italian authorities by Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello in relation to the problems of leaked documents are entirely untrue”.
09-11-2015 - Year XXII - Num. 197
|Audience with the president of Poland: family, the needy and migrants|
Vatican City, 9 November 2015 (VIS) – Today the Holy Father Francis received in audience Andrzej Duda, president of the Republic of Poland, who subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Msgr. Antoine Camilleri, under-secretary for Relations with States.
During the cordial discussions, the Church’s positive contribution to Polish society was emphasised, also in view of the Holy Father’s planned visit to Kraków next year on the occasion of World Youth Day. Attention then turned to various themes of mutual interest, such as the promotion of the family, support for social groups most in need, and the welcome of migrants.
Finally, some themes regarding the international community were discussed, such as peace and security, the conflict in Ukraine and the situation in the Middle East.
|Angelus: generosity is not a question of the wallet, but of the heart|
Vatican City, 8 November 2015 (VIS) – Before Angelus the Pope commented on the day's Gospel reading, divided into two parts: the first on how not to be a follower of Christ and the second, conversely, on the model of an ideal Christian. “In the first part, Jesus criticises the scribes, teachers of the law, for three defects in their lifestyle: pride, greed and hypocrisy”. Under their solemn appearances “they are hiding falsehood and injustice. … There is a risk that these attitudes exist even in our day. For example when prayer is separated from justice, because we cannot worship God and cause harm to the poor. Or when one claims to love God, and instead offers God one’s vainglory, to one’s own advantage”.
The second part describes the scene in the Temple of Jerusalem, precisely in the place where people threw coins as offerings. “There are many rich people who pay a lot of money, and there is a poor woman – a widow – contributing just two mites, two small coins. … The rich gave with great show what for them was superfluous, while the widow, with discretion and humility, gave – Jesus says – “all she had to live”; for this – Jesus says – she gave the most of all”.
Today, continued the Holy Father, “Jesus also tells us that the measurement is not quantity but fullness. There is a difference. ... It is possible to have a lot of money but to be empty. There is no fullness in a heart like this”.
He concluded by encouraging all those present to think during this week of the difference between quantity and fullness. “It is not a question of the wallet, but of the heart. Faced with the needs of others, we are called to deprive ourselves of essential things, not only the superfluous; we are called to give the necessary time, not only the surplus that is left over; we are called to give immediately and unconditionally some of our talent, not only after using it for our own purposes or for those of our group”.
|Pope Francis: the theft of private documents will not divert me from the task of reform|
Vatican City, 9 November 2015 (VIS) – After the Angelus prayer, the Holy Father addressed some words to those present on the events of recent days in the Vatican:
“I know that many of you are concerned by the news that has circulated in recent days regarding reserved documents of the Holy See that have been stolen and published. Therefore, I would like to say to you, first and foremost, that stealing those documents is a crime. It is a deplorable and unhelpful act. I myself had asked for that study to be undertaken; my collaborators and I were very familiar with the documents and measures had been taken that had started to bear fruit, including some that were visible”.
“Therefore I wish to assure you that this sad event will certainly not divert me from the work of reform that we are carrying forward with my collaborators and with the support of all of you. Yes, with the support of all the Church, because the Church is renewed with the prayer and daily sanctity of every baptised person. Therefore, I thank you and I ask you to continue to pray for the Pope and for the Church, without letting yourselves be disturbed, but instead going ahead with trust and hope”.
He went on to speak about the Italian Day of Thanksgiving, whose theme this year is “The earth, a common good”. “I join with the bishops in hoping that all will act as responsible administrators of an inestimable common good, the earth, whose fruits have a universal destiny. I wish to express my gratitude to the world of agriculture, and encourage the cultivation of the earth in such a way as to conserve its fertility so that it produces food for all, today and for future generations”.
|On the defence of working rights|
Vatican City, 9 November 2015 (VIS) – The right to rest, a retirement pension and maternity leave, among other workers' rights, “based on the very nature of the person and his or her transcendent dignity”, were the key themes of Pope Francis' address in St. Peter's Square this morning to 23,000 member of the Italian National Social Security Institute (INPS).
The Pope emphasised the meaning of safeguarding the right to rest. “I do not refer only to that rest that is supported by an legitimised by social policy (such as the weekly day of rest and annual leave, to which every worker is entitled), but also and above all to a dimension of the human being that does not lack spiritual roots”.
God, Who instructs man to rest, also chose to rest on the seventh day. “Rest, in the language of faith, is therefore a human and divine dimension at the same time”, commented Francis. “With a single prerogative, though: that of not being a simple abstention from ordinary labour and effort, but rather an opportunity to fully live one's condition as creatures elevated to filial dignity by God Himself. The need to 'sanctify' rest is therefore linked to that – offered each week – of a time that enabled family, cultural, social and religious life to be taken care of, making a space and time for God and for many in all these aspects”.
The Pope then referred to the complex situations in the world of work nowadays, from unemployment to precarious guarantees for employees. “If you live like this, how can you ever rest? Rest is a right we all have when we work, but if the situation of unemployment, social injustice, illegal work and precariousness is so serious, how can I rest? What can we say? We can say – it is shameful – 'But do you want to work?'. 'Yes!'. 'Very well, let's make a deal. You can start work in September, but until July, and then July, August, and part of September you will neither eat nor rest...”. This happens these days! And it happens all over the world; it happens here in Rome, too! Rest, when there is work; otherwise there is no rest”.
The Holy Father went on to note that until just a short while ago it was normal to associate retirement and pensions with reaching old age in which it was possible to enjoy a well-earned rest and offer wisdom and advice to the new generations. However, “the contemporary age has significantly altered these rhythms. On the one hand, the possibility of rest has been brought forward, at times diluted, and at times renegotiated to aberrant extremes, to the point of distorting the very idea of ceasing to work. On the other hand, existential needs have not diminished for those who have lost or never had a job, or for those who are obliged to stop working for the most varied reasons. If you stop working, you can find yourself without healthcare”.
In this regard, the task of institutions such as INPS is to contribute to ensuring that the funds are not lacking for the subsistence of unemployed workers and their families. “Special attention for female work should not be missing from your priorities; nor should maternity assistance, which should always allow for the protection of a new life and those who serve this on a daily basis. There should be no lack of insurance for old age, sickness, and work-related accidents. The right to a pension must not be neglected, and I underline, the right, as this is what it is”.
“In the final analysis, working means prolonging God's work in history, contributing in a personal, useful and creative way. Supporting employment, you support this work too. Furthermore, by guaranteeing dignified income to those who have to leave work, you affirm the most profound reality: work must not be another cog in the perverse mechanisms that grinds resources to obtain ever greater profits; it cannot therefore be prolonged or reduced in relation to the earnings of the few or of forms of production that sacrifice values, relationships and principles. This applies to the economy in general … and also to all the social institution whose subject and aim is and must be the human person”.
“Do not forget the person: this is imperative”, he concluded. “Love and serve the person with awareness, responsibility and willingness. Work for those who work, and not least for those would like to but cannot. Do this not as a work of solidarity but as a duty of justice and subsidiarity. Support the weakest, so that no-one lacks the dignity and freedom to live an authentically human life”.
|Cardinal Ranjith, Pope's special envoy to India's National Eucharistic Congress|
Vatican City, 9 November 2015 (VIS) – In a letter published today, written in Latin and dated 12 October, the Holy Father appoints Cardinal Albert Malcolm Ranjit Patabendige Don, archbishop of Colombo, Sri Lanka, as his special envoy to the National Eucharistic Congress of India, to be held in Mumbai from .
The mission accompanying the cardinal will be composed of Rev. Fr. Steven Fernandes, lecturer in moral theology at the seminary of Mumbai, and Rev. Fr. Jervis S'Souza, judicial vicar.
Vatican City, 9 November 2015 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:
- Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, archbishop of Valencia, Spain;
- Archbishop Michael A. Blume, apostolic nuncio in Uganda;
- Archbishop Jose Antonio Eguren Anselmi of Piura, Peru.
On Saturday 6 November the Holy Father received in audience:
- Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops;
- Cardinal Agostino Vallini, vicar general of His Holiness for the diocese of Rome;
- Larry Yu-yuan Wang, ambassador of the Republic of China, on his farewell visit.
- Members of the “Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet”, awarded the Nobel Peace Prize 2015: Mohamed Fadhel Mahfoudh, Abdessatar Ben Moussa, Wided Bouchamaoui and Houcine Abbassi.
|Other Pontifical Acts|
Vatican City, 9 November 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Fr. Herve Gosselin as bishop of Angouleme (area 5,956, population 365,851, Catholics 275,000, priests 75, religious 176, permanent deacons 10), France. The bishop-elect was born in 1956 in Nantes, France, and was ordained a priest in 1994. He holds a licentiate in moral theology and has served in a number of roles, including parish vicar, chaplain in the Rennes prison for men, professor of moral theology, spiritual director and treasurer of the interdiocesan seminary of Rennes. He is currently director of the “Foyer de Charite” of Tressaint. He succeeds Bishop Claude Dagens, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.
On Saturday 6 November the Holy Father appointed:
- Fr. Lorenzo Piretto, O.P., as archbishop of Izmir (Catholics 15,000, priests 17, religious 19), Turkey. The bishop-elect was born in Mazze, Italy in 1942, gave his religious vows in 1963, and was ordained a priest in 1966. He holds a licentiate in theology from the University of Bologna and a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Turin. He has occupied a number of academic roles at the F.I.S.T. of Turin and the University of Marmara in Istanbul. He has also served within his order as superior of the Convent of Istanbul, and as provincial vicar of Turkey, as in a number of pastoral roles including parish priest and vicar general. He is currently superior of the Convent of Izmir. He succeeds Archbishop Ruggero Franceschini, O.F.M. Cap., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.
- Bishop Eugeniusz Miroslaw Popowicz as archbishop of the archieparchy of Przemysl-Warszawa of the Byzantines (Catholics 30,000, priests 47, religious 97), Poland. Msgr. Popowicz is currently auxiliary of the same archieparchy. He succeeds Archbishop Jan Martyniak whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archieparchy upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.
- Rev. Fr. Damase Zinga Atangana as bishop of Kribi (area 11,000, population 150,000, Catholics 85,000, priests 44, religious 17), Cameroon. The bishop-elect was born in Nkog Bong, Cameroon in 1964 and was ordained a priest in 1992. He holds a doctorate in moral theology and a diploma in history and science of religions from the Charles de Gaulle University in Lille, France. He has served in a number of roles in the diocese of Obala, Cameroon, including rector of the minor seminary, vicar general, parish priest, and diocesan chaplain. He is currently vicar general of Obala.
- Rev. Fr. Pedro Manuel Salamanca Mantilla and Rev. Fr. Luis Manuel Ali Herrera as auxiliaries of the archdiocese of Bogota (area 4,019, population 4,580,000, Catholics 3,925,000, priests 844, permanent deacons 107, religious 2,481), Colombia.
Rev. Fr. Salamanca Mantilla was born in Bucaramanga, Colombia in 1961 and ordained a priest in 1986. He holds a licentiate in biblical theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome. He has served in a number of pastoral roles in the archdiocese of Bogota, including parish vicar, pastor, and formator in the major seminary. He is currently archdiocesan delegate for the coordination of permanent formation of the clergy, and parish priest.
Rev. Fr. Ali Herrera was born in Barranquilla, Colombia in 1967 and was ordained a priest in 1992. He holds licentiates theology and psychology from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome. He has served in a number of pastoral roles in the archdiocese of Bogota, including parish vicar, secretary and notary of the episcopal vicar, parish priest, university chaplain, and formator in the major seminary. He is currently parish priest and member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.
- Msgr. Ricardo Orlando Seirutti as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Cordoba (area 13,717, population 755,000, Catholics 698,179, priests 83, religious 169), Argentina. The bishop-elect was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1956 and was ordained a priest in 1988. He holds a licentiate in theology from the Catholic University of Cordoba and has served as formator in the minor seminary, assessor for youth pastoral ministry, chaplain and formator of candidates to the permanent diaconate. He is currently vicar forane and parish priest.
REMEMBRANCE DAY or Armistice Day is celebrated on November 11.
1. On November 11, many people wear a red poppy in memory of the war veterans and victims. It was at 11 o'clock on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 that the Armistice was signed signaling the end of World War I.
2. At that point the guns stopped after 4 years of war.
3.Remembrance Day was instituted by King George the V in 1919 and is celebrated in Commonwealth countries. In the USA it is celebrated as Veteran's Day.
4.The red from the Poppy flower, which grew over several battlefields, sybolized the blood shed by the troops.
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
- John McCrae
Let us pray for these victims and all victims of war. May we learn to live in peace with one another and with God.
FROM USCCB OFFICIAL PRAYERS FOR WAR
Prayers in a Time of War
Feast: November 11
316, Savaria, Hungary
November 8, 397, Candes, France
gainst poverty; against alcoholism; beggars; Beli Manastir; Buenos Aires; Burgenland; cavalry; Dieburg; Edingen equestrians; Foiano della Chiana; France; geese; horses; hotel-keepers; innkeepers; Kortrijk; diocese of Mainz; Olpe; Pietrasanta; Pontifical Swiss Guards; quartermasters; reformed alcoholics; riders; diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart; soldiers; tailors; Utrecht; vintners; Virje; wine growers; wine makers; Wissmannsdorf
Today, November 11, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Martin of Tours (also known as “Martin the Merciful” and the “Glory of Gaul,” 316-397), bishop, and theologian. Saint Martin saw himself as a member of the “Army of God,” not the army of man. Zealous in his love for the Lord, he served (sometimes reluctantly, but ever obediently) those in need, and those who sought him out, for his eight-one years on the earth. Remembered for his great charity, Saint Martin inspires us still today to help those in need, as Christ would have helped them.
Martin was born to pagan parents in Sabaria (modern-day Hungary). The family soon moved to Italy, where Martin discovered Christianity and entered himself into the catechumenate at age 10. Of course, his parents were greatly opposed to his conversion, and attempted to dissuade him, but by age 12, his love for the Lord was so strong, he wished to live as a hermit and devote himself completely to prayer and contemplation. His father, an officer in the Roman army, conscripted Martin against his will into the army when he was just 15, in accordance with a Roman law forcing the sons of veterans to enlist. Martin, convinced that his belief in Christ was in direct opposition to military service, refused to present when required, and was taken by force, in chains, to make his oath. Out of obedience, once his oath was administered, he felt bound to obey. Due to his reluctance to fight, he was assigned to a ceremonial duty, designed to accompany the emperor, and rarely saw combat. Martin became a member of the Roman army prior to his baptism, as preparation for baptism at that time took several years. However, by his active duty, he was basically living the life of a monk, rather than a soldier, much to the irritation of his fellow soldiers and officers in the legion. He was promoted to officer, and because of this was entitled to a servant. However, he insisted on switching roles with his servant, cleaning the servant's boots instead of the other way around!
The event that is most often cited as changing the life of Martin occurred one cold day in France, where Martin had been stationed on garrison duty. As he was making his patrol, he noticed a nearly naked beggar, freezing, and ignored by those whom he implored for help. Martin did not have a penny to give him, but he remembered the text of the Gospel: “I was naked, and you clothed Me.”
“My friend,” he said, “I have nothing but my weapons and my garments.”
And taking up his sword, he divided his cloak into two parts and gave one to the beggar. slicing the heavy and luxurious fabric with his sword. That night, Martin received the Lord in a dream. Jesus appeared to him, wrapped in the cloak Martin had given away, and said to him, “Martin, yet a catechumen, has covered me with this garment.” Following his dream, Martin proceeded with haste to be baptized, officially entering the Church at age 18. Martin’s military career proceeded without incident for several years, and at age 20, after five years of service, he was summoned before Caesar to receive a gift of money reserved for soldiers of outstanding service. Martin refused the gift, saying to Caesar, “I have served you as a soldier. Let me now serve Christ. Give the bounty to these others who are going to fight, but I am a soldier of Christ and it is not lawful for me to fight.” The emperor, of course, was irritated by this lack of gratitude and respect, and accused Martin of cowardice. For his part, Martin replied that he was willing to go into battle unarmed and stand between the opposing parties in the name of Christ. He was immediately thrown into prison for refusing to fight, but received his discharge soon after, as truce was declared and the war was over. Upon discharge, Martin was drawn again to life as a hermit, wishing to lead a quiet life of prayer and contemplation. Saint Hilary recognized in Martin a man of extraordinary virtue, and took him as a disciple, repeatedly attempting to ordain him as a deacon. Martin, however, continually refused ordination, preferring to live a solitary life on some land given to him in Liguge. There, he was joined by other hermits, and together, they founded the first monastic community in Gaul. Saint Martin codified the model of monastic lives of the hermits—models used by other saints since that time. He performed miracles and exorcisms, and confronted demons not with threats, but through subduing them by prayer. On a trip over the Alps to visit his parents, Saint Martin was attacked by robbers who not only wanted to steal what he owned but threatened to take his life. Calm and unperturbed, the saintly man spoke to the robbers about God. One was so impressed he converted and became a law-abiding citizen. But Martin was to find even more trouble in his own home town. Though his mother converted to Christianity, his father stubbornly refused. When Martin began to denounce publicly the Arian heretics that were then in power throughout the empire -- even within the Church at that time -- he was whipped and driven out of his own hometown! When the second bishop of Tours died, the congregation there, knowing of Martin’s piety, demanded that he take his place. He refused, but was taken by force by a mob of townspeople to the church, where the bishops had gathered to consecrate him. Dirty, ragged, and disheveled, the bishops were appalled, and refused to consecrate him, thinking him unworthy of such an important office. However, the people demanded his consecration, stating that they didn’t chose him based upon his outward appearance, but because of his holiness, poverty, charity, and grace. Their minds changed by the acclamations of the people, Martin was consecrated the third bishop of Tours. As a bishop, Saint Martin continued to live his austere life, taking up a modest cell near the church, but soon retreating to an isolated place which would eventually become the famed monastic abbey at Marmoutiers. There, he was joined by eighty monks, living in wooden cells or caves in a nearby cliff. The monks spent their days in prayer and writing, rather than art or business as was the custom in the day. Martin personally instructed each of them, leading them in the faith, and creating an army of God. Many of the monks went on to hold important positions in the Church, having been firmly grounded in doctrine and faith by Saint Martin. Saint Martin became a model bishop, traveling from house to house through his mainly rural community and preaching to individuals and families (rather than limiting his efforts to the cities, or expecting rural Christians to travel into town for Mass). Once converted, he organized these rural communities under the direction of a priest or monk, and would visit each of his communities throughout his diocese at least once per year. He traveled on foot, or by donkey, exchanging the fine robes of a bishop for the simple cloak of a pilgrim monk. This system of rural communities became the model for modern-day rural dioceses, and his practice of visiting every community each year is still practiced by bishops today. Saint Martin was also a champion of social justice, and insisted on the freedom of prisoners who were mistreated, wrongly accused, or held for periods of time that did not befit their crimes. Many leaders began refusing to see him, knowing he would request freedom for prisoners, and they would feel obliged to acquiesce. One day a general named Avitianus arrived at Tours with ranks of prisoners he intended to torture and execute the next day. As soon as Martin heard of this cruel plan, he left his monastery for the city. Although he arrived well after midnight, he went straight to the house where the general was staying and threw himself on the threshold crying out in a loud voice. Avitianus was awakened by an angel who told him Martin was outside. Avitianus went to the door and told Martin, "Don't even say a word. I know what your request is. Every prisoner shall be spared.” Martin served the Lord until his eighty-first year. As death approached, his followers begged him not to leave them. He prayed, "Lord, if your people still need me, I do not refuse the work. Your will be done." When about to die: He saw the devil standing near and cried out, 'Blood stained beast, what are you doing here? You will find nothing of yours in me, you living death. I go to the arms of Abraham.' These were his last words. Then he surrendered his soul to God. From a letter by Sulpicius Severus, his hagiographer: “Martin knew long in advance the time of his death and he told his brethren that it was near. Meanwhile, he found himself obliged to make a visitation of the parish of Candes. The clergy of that church were quarreling, and he wished to reconcile them. Although he knew that his days on earth were few, he did not refuse to undertake the journey for such a purpose, for he believed that he would bring his virtuous life to a good end if by his efforts peace was restored in the church. He spent some time in Candes, or rather in its church, where he stayed. Peace was restored, and he was planning to return to his monastery when suddenly he began to lose his strength. He summoned his brethren and told them he was dying. All who heard this were overcome with grief. In their sorrow they cried to him with one voice: “Father, why are you deserting us? Who will care for us when you are gone? Savage wolves will attack your flock, and who will save us from their bite when our shepherd is struck down? We know you long to be with Christ, but your reward is certain and will not be any less for being delayed. You will do better to show pity for us, rather than forsake us.”
Thereupon he broke into tears, for he was a man in whom the compassion of our Lord was continually revealed. Turning to our Lord, he made this reply to their pleading: “Lord, if your people still need me, I am ready for the task; your will be done.”
Here was a man words cannot describe. Death could not defeat him nor toil dismay him. He was quite without a preference of his own; he neither feared to die nor refused to live. With eyes and hands always raised to heaven he never withdrew his unconquered spirit from prayer. It happened that some priests who had gathered at his bedside suggested that he should give his poor body some relief by lying on his other side. He answered: “Allow me, brothers, to look toward heaven rather than at the earth, so that my spirit may set on the right course when the time comes for me to go on my journey to the Lord.” At his request, he was buried in the Cemetery of the Poor.
Saint Martin was prone to lengthy fasts, many of which were accompanied by ecstatic visions of the Lord. Today, beginning the day after his feast day, and continuing until Christmas, some Christian communities continue to practice “Saint Martin’s Fast.” During this fast, the penitents engage in acts of penance and charity, as well as limit their food intake (of particular loved items, for example). The Fast of Saint Martin is meant to prepare the penitent to celebrate the Solemnity of Christmas. The fast reminds the penitent of several truths:
1. Our lives must be centered on God, not on self.
2. Our self denial is a prayer of the body to Our Lord Who came as an Infant to teach us and to redeem us.
3. Martin's act of cutting his cloak in two was both penitential and loving. All penances, if they are to have any merit spiritually, must be done in love.
4. We must be willing to give up anything and everything which keeps us from full union with God.
5. As soldiers of Christ, our struggle is to be against evil, not against others. We are always to be peacemakers as Martin was.
Saint Martin, a member of the “Army of God,” is also known as the patron saint of soldiers. On this, veterans day, we turn to him with a prayer of intercession for the protection of all those serving in armed forces around the world.
Prayer to Saint Martin of Tours for our soldiers
St. Martin, you were first a soldier like your father. Converted to the Church, you became a soldier of Christ, a priest and then a Bishop of Tours. Lover of the poor, and model for pagans and Christians alike, protect our soldiers at all times. Make them strong, just, and charitable, always aiming at establishing peace on earth. Amen.
Prayer to Continue to Fight for God (written by Saint Martin of Tours)
Lord, if your people still have need of my services, I will not avoid the toil. Your will be done. I have fought the good fight long enough. Yet if you bid me continue to hold the battle line in defense of your camp, I will never beg to be excused from failing strength. I will do the work you entrust to me. While you command, I will fight beneath your banner. Amen
Lord God of hosts, who clothed your servant Martin the soldier with the spirit of sacrifice, and set him as a bishop in your Church to be a defender of the catholic faith: Give us grace to follow in his holy steps, that at the last we may be found clothed with righteousness in the dwellings of peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
Almighty God our Heavenly Father, guide the nations of the world into the way of justice and truth, and establish among them that peace which is the fruit of righteousness, that they may become the kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. Story of St. Martin by 365RosariesBlog