Her reported appearances, visions experienced often by very poor children living in remote or conflict-wracked areas, have intensified her mystery and aura. And when the children can’t be shaken from their stories—especially if the accounts are accompanied by inexplicable “signs” such as spinning suns or gushing springs—her wonder grows.
Michael O’Neill is the Virgin Mary’s big data numbers cruncher. On Miraclehunter.com, he has codified every known apparition of Mary back to A.D. 40. Mary is everywhere: Marigolds are named for her. Hail Mary passes save football games. The image in Mexico of Our Lady of Guadalupe is one of the most reproduced female likenesses ever. Mary draws millions each year to shrines such as Fátima, in Portugal, and Knock, in Ireland, sustaining religious tourism estimated to be worth billions of dollars a year and providing thousands of jobs. She inspired the creation of many great works of art and architecture (Michelangelo’s “Pietà,” Notre Dame Cathedral), as well as poetry, liturgy, and music (Monteverdi’s Vespers for the Blessed Virgin). And she is the spiritual confidante of billions of people, no matter how isolated or forgotten.
Muslims as well as Christians consider her to be holy above all women, and her name “Maryam” appears more often in the Koran than “Mary” does in the Bible. In the New Testament Mary speaks only four times, beginning with the Annunciation, when, according to Luke’s Gospel, the angel Gabriel appears to her and says she will bear “the Son of the Most High.” Mary answers, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord.” Her only extended speech, also in Luke, is the lyrical Magnificat, uttered in early pregnancy: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed.” Indeed they have...
Read the Rest of the Article: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2015/12/virgin-mary-text Photo: National Geographic
- Year XXII - Num. 200
|- To Slovak bishops: the Church is called to proclaim and bear witness to the welcome of migrants|
|- Francis greets the members of the Don Guanella family: the worst famine is the lack of charity|
|- Pope's video message to the National Eucharistic Congress of India|
|- Message to Cardinal Rylko: the conciliar basis of the vocation and mission of the laity|
|- Declaration by Fr. Federico Lombardi on current investigations in the Vatican|
|- Communique from the Holy See Press Office on the activity of APSA|
|- Communique by the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples on ownership of real estate|
|- Other Pontifical Acts|
|To Slovak bishops: the Church is called to proclaim and bear witness to the welcome of migrants|
Vatican City, (VIS) – This morning the Pope received the bishops of the Episcopal Conference of Slovakia at the end of their five-yearly “ad Limina” visit. In the discourse he handed to them at the end of the audience he encouraged them to consider the phenomenon of migration as an opportunity for encounter, also recalling that the Church is called upon to proclaim and bear witness to the welcome of migrants in the context of observance of the law.
Francis begins his discourse by referring to the pastoral work of bishops and a situation characterised by rapid changes in many sectors of human life, affected also by the phenomenon of globalisation. A situation, he writes, in which “at times we perceive threats to less populous nations, but at the same time elements that can offer new opportunities. One opportunity, which has become a sign of the times, is the phenomenon of migration, which demands to be understood and confronted with sensitivity and a sense of justice. The Church is required to proclaim and bear witness to the welcome of the migrant in a spirit of charity and respect for the dignity of the human person, in the context of the necessary observance of the law”.
“Faced with the prospect of an increasingly extensive multicultural environment, it is necessary to assume attitudes of mutual respect to promote encounter. It is to be hoped that the Slovak people will maintain their cultural identity and heritage of ethical and spiritual values, strongly linked to the Catholic tradition. In this way they will be able to open up without fear to exchange on the broadest continental and global horizon, contributing to a sincere and fruitful dialogue, also on themes of vital importance such as the dignity of human life and the essential function of the family. Today, more than ever, it is necessary to enlighten the path of peoples with Christian principles, seizing the opportunities that the current situation offers to develop an evangelisation that, using a new language, makes Christ's message easier to understand. For this reason it important for the Church to give hope, so that all the present changes may be transformed into a renewed encounter with Christ, that guides the people towards authentic progress”.
The Pope expresses his appreciation for the prelates' work with families, which face many difficulties, and reiterates the importance of integral family pastoral ministry at diocesan and national levels, including “adequate accompaniment for all families, including those where members are not present, especially if there are children”. In this regard it is essential to pay special attention to the young, “the hope of the Church and of society”.
The paternal care of bishops for the priests, their main collaborators in pastoral ministry, is another of the themes considered by Francis, who insists on the need for “well-structured programmes of continuing formation in the fields of theology, spirituality, pastoral ministry and social doctrine of the Church, enabling them to become competent evangelisers”. He adds, “Indeed, for the majority of the People of God, they are the principal channel through which the Gospel passes, and also offer the most immediate image through which the mystery of the Church is encountered”.
The Church, “sign and tool of the unity of men with God and with each other, is called upon to be the house and school of communion, in which one learns to appreciate and welcome positive qualities in others”, remarks the Holy Father at the end of his discourse, emphasising that this attitude is also very useful with reference to the good contact it is necessary to re-establish in Slovakia between pastors and consecrated persons, better appreciating the valid contribution of all men and women religious to pastoral ministry. “At the same time”, he noted, “the Church in your country must carry forth the pastoral care of the Rom, through extensive evangelisation that seeks to reach all these people who, unfortunately, continue to live in some ways separated from the rest of society”.
|Francis greets the members of the Don Guanella family: the worst famine is the lack of charity|
Vatican City, (VIS) – This morning in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall the Pope greeted five hundred members of the Family of St. Luigi Guanella, known simply as Don Guanella (1842-1915), the Italian priest who founded the Congregation of the Daughters of St. Mary of Providence and the Order of the Servants of Charity. He was beatified in 1964 and canonised in 2011.
The Don Guanella Family's pilgrimage to Rome coincides with the first centenary of the saint's death and, in his address to the pilgrims, the Holy Father imagined what Don Guanella might have said to his followers to confirm them in faith, hope and charity, using three verbs: to trust, to look, and to make haste.
The first verb is to trust. “The life of Don Guanella had as its centre the certainty that God is the merciful and provident Father. This was for him the heart of faith: knowing himself to be an always beloved son, for whom the Father cared, and therefore a brother to all, called upon to inspire trust. … I think that it displeases the heavenly Father greatly to see that His children do not fully trust in Him; they perhaps believe in a distant God, rather than in a merciful Father. In many people there arises the doubt that God, while being Father, may also be a master. … But this is a great deception; the ancient deception of the enemy of God and man, which conceals reality and disguises good as evil. It is the first temptation: to distance oneself from God, intimidated by the suspicion that His paternity is not truly provident and good. God is instead love alone, pure provident love. He loves us more than we love ourselves, and knows what is truly good for us. He therefore hopes that in the course of life we become what we are at the moment of our Baptism: beloved children, able to vanquish fear and not ceding to lamentation, because the Father takes care of us”.
The second verb is to look. “The Father, the Creator, also inspires creativity in those who live like His children. They then learn to look at the world through new eyes, made more luminous by love and hope. They are eyes that enable us to look within with truth, and to see far in charity. … In the world there is never any lack of problems, and in our time there are unfortunately new forms of poverty and many injustices. But the greatest famine of all is that of charity: we need, most of all, people with eyes renewed by love and a gaze that inspires hope”.
“At times, our spiritual point of view is short-sighted, as we are not able to see beyond our own ego. At other times we are long-sighted: we like to help those who are far away but are not able to stoop to those who live next to us. Sometimes, indeed, we prefer to close our eyes, as we are tired and overcome by pessimism. Don Guanella, who recommended that we look at Jesus starting from His heart, invites us to have the same gaze as the Lord: a gaze that inspires hope and joy, able at the same time to feel a 'profound sentiment of compassion' towards those who suffer”.
Finally, to make haste: “The poor are the favoured sons” of the Father, St. Luigi said, and he liked to repeat that 'those who give to the poor, lend to God'. Just as the Father is delicate and concrete with regard to his smallest and weakest children, so we too cannot expect our brothers and sisters in difficulty to wait as, again in the words of Don Guanella, 'misery cannot wait. And we cannot stop as long as there are poor people to tend to'”.
|Pope's video message to the National Eucharistic Congress of India|
Vatican City, (VIS) – “Nourished by the Eucharist to nourish others” is the theme of the National Eucharistic Congress of India, inaugurated today in Mumbai and attended by 700 delegates from all over the country. The Congress will also provide the opportunity to commemorate the presence for the same event fifty years ago of Blessed Paul VI, during his trip to India in 1964. The opening of the Congress, which will conclude on , included a screening of the Pope's video message to the participants in which he expresses his hope that it will be a “herald of joy and happiness” for the whole Indian population. The following are extensive extracts from his message, transmitted in English:
“The Eucharistic Congress is God's gift not just for the Christians of the India but for the entire population of a country culturally so diverse yet spiritually so rich. Over thousands of years India has been permeated by the desire for truth, the search for the divine, the effort at goodness and kindness”.
“The Eucharist as the theme chosen rightly points out nourishes us. As I underlined in the homily of Corpus Domini, 'the Eucharist actualises the Covenant that sanctifies us, purifies us and unites us in the marvellous Communion with God. Thus we learn that the Eucharist is not only a reward for the good but also the strength for the weak and for sinners. It is forgiveness and sustenance which helps us on our journey'”.
“Human beings all over the word today need nourishment. And this nourishment is not just to satisfy physical hunger. There are other hungers – for love, for immortality of life, for affection, for being cared for, for forgiveness, for mercy. This hunger can be satiated only by the bread that comes from above. Jesus himself is the living bread that gives life to the world. His body offered for our sake on the cross, his blood shed for the pardon of the sins of humanity is made available to us in the bread and wine to the Eucharist transformed in the consecration”.
“But the Eucharist does not end with the partaking of the bread and blood of the Lord. It leads us to solidarity with others. The communion with the Lord is necessarily a communion with our fellow brothers and sisters. And therefore the one who is fed and nourished by the very body and blood of Christ cannot remain unaffected when he sees his brothers suffering want and hunger. Those nourished by the Eucharist are called to bring the joy of the gospel to those who have not received it. Strengthened by the living Bread we are called to bring hope to those who live in darkness and in despair”.
|Message to Cardinal Rylko: the conciliar basis of the vocation and mission of the laity|
Vatican City, (VIS) – The Pontifical Council for the Laity, in collaboration with the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, has organised a study day dedicated to the theme “Vocation and mission of the laity: fifty years after the Decree 'Apostolicam Actuositatem'”.
On this occasion, Pope Francis sent a message to Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, and to all the participants in the event, in which he remarks that the Day enters within the context of the 50th anniversary of the conclusion of Vatican Council II, an “extraordinary event of grace, that … led also, among its many fruits, to a new way of looking at the vocation and mission of the laity in the Church and in the world, which is magnificently expressed primarily in the two great conciliar Constitutions Lumen Gentium and Gaudium et Spes. … The Council, therefore, does not look upon the laity as if they were members of a 'second order', in the service of the hierarchy and as simple executors of orders from above, but rather as Christ's disciples who, by virtue of their Baptism and their natural integration 'in the world', are called upon to inspire every environment, every activity,and every human relationship according to the spirit of the Gospel. … Within the overreaching framework of this conciliar doctrine, we find the Decree Apostolicam Actuositatem, which looks more closely at the nature and scope of the lay apostolate. This document clearly reminds us that … the announcement of the Gospel is not reserved to some 'mission professionals', but should instead be the profound wish of all the lay faithful”.
|Declaration by Fr. Federico Lombardi on current investigations in the Vatican|
Vatican City, (VIS) – The director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., made the following declaration late yesterday afternoon:
“The Vatican Gendarmerie, in their role as judicial police, have informed the Vatican prosecutors that the activity carried out by the journalists Gianluigi Nuzzi and Emiliano Fittipaldi may constitute complicity in the crime of disseminating confidential news and documents, pursuant to Law No. IX of Vatican City State, of 13 July 2013 (article 116 bis).
Since the beginning of the investigation the prosecution has obtained pieces of evidence indicating the collaboration in offence by the journalists, who are now therefore under investigation.
The investigators are also examining some other situations regarding persons who, for reasons of office, could have cooperated in the acquisition the reserved documents in question.
|Communique from the Holy See Press Office on the activity of APSA|
Vatican City, (VIS) – The Holy See Press Office yesterday issued the following communique:
“Various articles have been published by news agencies and in the press referring in a biased and inaccurate way to the content of a confidential document, based on the assumption that in the past the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA) has been used for illegal financial activity. The Vatican legal authorities have opened an investigation into the circulation of this document. APSA has always collaborated with the competent bodies, is not under investigation and continues to conduct its activities in accordance with current regulations”.
|Communique by the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples on ownership of real estate|
Vatican City, (VIS) – The following is the full text of the communique issued yesterday afternoon by the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples on news relating to its ownership of real estate.
“The Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, also known as 'Propaganda Fide', adheres fully to the Holy Father Francis' line of thought and guidance with regard to the life and reform of the Roman Curia; in addition, it his committed to pursuing the institutional aims set forth in the Apostolic Constitution 'Pastor Bonus', as well as respecting the will of donors who over the years have contributed to its missionary work. Therefore, it welcomes all the administrative reforms anticipated by the Secretary for the Economy and submits all the budgets and final accounts to the latter.
Certain insinuations on the part of certain sectors of the media, which circulate news not corresponding to the truth, are therefore unacceptable. It has been written, for example, that the Congregation offers luxury properties for rent at low prices as favours, and even that it hosts a spa or is the proprietor of the Hotel Priscilla.
The real estate belonging to the Congregation, donated for the Missions, is rented at market value; there are exceptions in the case of situations of poverty. The aforementioned properties are rented in accordance with current Italian legislation, to which both the Congregation as the owner and the recipient are subject.
The income deriving from the rent of these properties, for which regular tax is paid in Italy (in 2014 the Dicastery paid IMU – imposta municipale unica, property tax, of 2,169,200 euros in Rome alone) is destined principally for the maintenance of the Congregation, the Pontifical Urbanian University, the Pontifical Collegio Urbano, the missionary institutions and young Churches in the mission territories.
Propaganda Fide is grateful to the benefactors who, with its help, make it possible for the Gospel to be announced and provide support for innumerable educational, social and healthcare initiatives in the poorest countries.
We wish to clarify that, should such dissemination of false or biased information recur, this Congregation will be obliged to protect its image in the appropriate forums”.
Vatican City, (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:
- prelates of the Episcopal Conference of Slovakia, on their “ad Limina” visit:
- Archbishop Stanislav Zvolensky of Bratislava, with his auxiliary, Bishop Josef Hal’ko;
- Bishop Marian Chovanec of Banska Bystrica;
- Bishop Viliam Judak of Nitra;
- Bishop Jan Orosch of Trnava;
- Bishop Tomas Galis of Zilina;
- Archbishop Bernard Bober of Kosice, with the archbishop emeritus Alojz Tkac;
- Bishop Stanislav Stolarik of Rozanava;
- Bishop Stefan Secka of Spis;
- Archbishop Jan Babjak, S.J., of Presov for Catholics of Byzantine rite, with his auxiliary Bishop Milan Lach;
- Bishop Peter Rusnak of Bratislava for Catholics of Byzantine rite;
- Bishop Milan Chautur, C.SS.R., of Kosice for Catholics of Byzantine rite; and
- Bishop Frantisek Rabek, military ordinary.
Yesterday, 11 November, the Holy Father received in audience Cardinal Dominique Mamberti, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura.
|Other Pontifical Acts|
Vatican City, (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Bishop Marcel Damphousse of Alexandria-Cornwall, Canada, as bishop of Sault Sainte Marie (area 265,000, population 436,000, Catholics 239,200, priests 90, permanent deacons 66, religious 174), Canada. He succeeds Bishop Jean-Louis Plouffe, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.
- Year XXII - Num. 199
|Conviviality, a thermometer for measuring the health of family relationships|
Vatican City, (VIS) – This morning's general audience was held in St. Peter's Square, attended by thousands of faithful. Before beginning, the Holy Father invited those present to recite a Hail Mary for the cardinals, bishops, consecrated persons and laypeople who are currently meeting in Florence for the National Congress of the Italian Church.
He dedicated today's catechesis to conviviality, a typical characteristic of family life. This attitude of sharing the goods of life and of being happy to do so is, he said, “a precious virtue”. He continued, “Its symbol, its icon, is the family gathered around the table, partaking of a meal together – and therefore not merely food, but also sentiments, stories, and events. It is a fundamental experience. When there is a celebration – a birthday, an anniversary – the family gathers around the table. In some cultures it is customary to do so also following bereavement, to stay close to those who suffer for the loss of a family member”.
“Conviviality is a sure thermometer for measuring the health of relations: if in the family there is a problem or a hidden trouble, you understand immediately at the table. A family that almost never eats together, or in does not talk at the table but instead watches the television, or smartphones, is not a close family. Christianity has a special vocation to conviviality, as we all know. The Lord Jesus taught at the table, and represented the Kingdom of God as a festive banquet. Jesus also chose to consign to the disciples His spiritual testament at the table, condensed in the memorial gesture of His Sacrifice”.
Francis explained that the family brings to the Eucharist its own experience of conviviality, and opens it to the grace of a universal conviviality, of God's love for the world. “Participating in the Eucharist, the family is purified of the temptation to close up in itself, fortified in love and in faith, and broadens the boundaries of its own fraternity according to Christ's heart. In our time, marked by closed minds and too many walls, the conviviality generated by the family and extended in the Eucharist becomes a crucial opportunity. The Eucharist and families it nourishes are able to overcome such limitations and to build bridges of acceptance and charity”.
“Nowadays many social contexts impede family conviviality. We must find a way to recover it, if adapting it to the times. Conviviality seems to have become something to buy and sell, but in that way it becomes something else. Nourishment is not always the symbol of a just sharing of goods, able to reach those who have neither bread nor affection. In rich countries we are induced to spend first on excessive consumption, and then again to remedy the excess. This senseless behaviour diverts our attention from the true hunger of the body and the mind”.
“The living and vital alliance of Christian families, which support and embracesin the dynamism of their hospitality the burdens and joys of everyday life, cooperates with the grace of the Eucharist, which is able to create ever new communities with its strength that includes and saves”. The Pope concluded, “the Christian family thus shows the true extent of its horizon, which is the horizon of the Mother Church and all humanity, the abandoned and excluded among all peoples”.
|The Pope meets with President Dragan Covic of Bosnia and Herzegovina|
Vatican City, (VIS) – Before today's general audience, in the study of the Paul VI Hall, the Holy Father received Dragan Covic, the incumbent chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, accompanied by the representatives of the Organising Committee of the State and the Church for his pastoral visit on this year.
“I would like to thank you for your visit”, he said. “I still hold in my heart that many great and beautiful things I have learned from you: your capacity for suffering, your capacity for forgiveness or at least to seek to forgive, your capacity to join and work together, your capacity for dialogue. Many thanks for the examples you give to humanity. I ask you to greet, on my behalf, your people, all the people, the two other presidents, and the communities that have a different religion but which meet, speak, and dialogue for the good of the country. May they speak between themselves and help your homeland to go ahead. And greet your good young people! I remember the questions they asked me. They are the promise of your homeland”.
The Holy Father thanked those present, asking them for their prayers. He gave his blessing to Bosnia-Herzegovina and its families, children and future, encouraging them to continue on their path.
|A humanism with the face of charity, says the Pope at Mass in Florence|
Vatican City, (VIS) – Pope Francis concluded his brief pastoral visit to Florence yesterday with Mass celebrated before fifty thousand people in the “Artemio Franchi” stadium. Even the detainees in the Florentine prison participated in a way, as the altar at which the Holy Father consecrated the Eucharist was produced by them, for which he warmly thanked them.
In his homily, the Holy Father began from Christ's question to His disciples: “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”. “Jesus is interested in what people think, not to keep them happy, but to be able to communicate with them”, he explained. “Without knowing what people think, the disciple isolates himself and begins to judge people according to his own thoughts and convictions. Maintaining a healthy contact with reality, with what people experience, their tears and their joys, is the only way of being able to help them … to open their hearts to God. In reality, when God wanted to speak with us He incarnated Himself. Jesus' disciples must never forget where they were chosen from – that is, among the people – and must never give in to the temptation to assume detached attitudes, as if what the people think and live did not affect them or as if it were of little importance to them. … This also applies to us. The fact that we are gathered today to celebrate Holy Mass in a sports stadium is a reminder of this. The Church, like Jesus, lives amid the people and for the people. For this reason the Church, throughout her history, has always carried within her the same question: who is Jesus for the men and women of today?”.
“Safeguarding and announcing the true faith in Jesus Christ is at the heart of our Christian identity, since in recognising the mystery of the Son of God made man, we can enter into the mystery of God and the mystery of man. … Today, too … our joy is sharing this faith and answering the Lord Jesus together: 'You, for us, are the Christ, the Son of the living God'. Our joy is also that of going against the grain and surmounting current opinion, that, like then, does not manage to see Jesus as more than a prophet or a teacher. Our joy is recognising in Him the presence of God, the envoy of His Father, the Son who came to make Himself an instrument of salvation for humanity”.
“At the root of the mystery of salvation is “the will of a merciful God, who does not give up when confronted with man's incomprehension, blame and misery, but rather gives Himself to him, to the point of making Himself man in order to encounter every person in his or her true condition. This, God's merciful love, is what Simon Peter recognises in Jesus' face. It is the same face that we are called upon to recognise in the forms in which the Lord assures us of His presence among us: in His Word, that illuminates the darkness of our minds and our heart; in the Sacraments, that regenerate us from our death to new life; in fraternal communion, that the Holy Spirit generates among His disciples; in boundless love, that renders generous and tender service to all; in the poor, who reminds us that Jesus wished for the supreme revelation of Himself and His Father to take the image of Himself humiliated and crucified. This truth of faith, this truth scandalises … those who do not tolerate the mystery of God impressed on the face of Christ”.
“In reality, the communion between the divine and the human, fully realised in Jesus, is our aim, the culmination of human history according to the Father's plan. … God and man are not the two extremes of an opposition: they always seek each other, as God recognises in man His own image and man recognises himself only by looking at God. … This is the road on which we can encounter humanity … with the spirit of the good Samaritan. It is not by chance that humanism, to whose most creative moments the city of Florence bears witness, has always had the face of charity”.
“At the end of the Mass the Pope greeted the cardinal archbishop of Florence, Giuseppe Betori, and the members of the Italian Episcopal Conference, and thanked the detainees who had constructed the altar. He then transferred by car to the “Luigi Ridolfi” stadium where he departed by helicopter to return to the Vatican.
|The Holy See at UNESCO: the importance of education on climate change|
Vatican City, (VIS) – Archbishop Francesco Follo, Holy See permanent observer at UNESCO, addressed the 38th General Conference of this body, which took place from 25 October to 10 November in Paris.
“UNESCO is heavily involved in the preparations for the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP 21) and I am sure that the Organisation, through its Global Action Programme on Education for Sustainable Development, plays and will continue to play a very important role in making education in climate change a central and visible element of the international response to this theme. Therefore, the Holy See welcomes with satisfaction … the UNESCO Road Map for the implementation of the programme. Its objective is to help people understand the impact of global warming and to familiarise the young, in particular, with climate change. In order to achieve this, the programme strengthens Member States' capacity to guarantee a quality education in climate change, to encourage innovative education approaches to incorporating education in climate change in school curricula, and to promote awareness of climate change as well as the strengthening of informal education programmes through the communication media, networks and associations”.
Archbishop Follo commented that the 70th anniversary of UNESCO offered a good opportunity to take stock of our history and to reflect on our common future, responding to the Holy Father's urgent invitation to engage in a “new dialogue on the way in which we are constructing the future of the planet” and to promote “an 'ecological' education that must take into account the ethics of life and dialogue”.
This dialogue begins with “becoming aware that inhabiting the earth means living 'in her' with respect, sobriety and simplicity in terms of what we require, take and receive from her”. But we should also live 'with her and care for her'. … A human attitude that derives from work and the assumption of responsibility is required.
Indeed, it is important not to forget that the relationship between humanity and nature “is synthesized by work. In effect, on the one hand nature is the expression of a design of love and truth. It precedes us and was given to us by God as a living environment, Who established it according to an intrinsic order to guide man in cultivating and maintaining it”. With regard to responsibility, “in simple terms, we all know where we area, and in equally simple terms, we all know where we wish to go: we must leave the earth habitable, or render it newly habitable for future generations if we have ransacked it”.
“This purpose is inspired by the encyclical “Laudato si'” that Pope Francis dedicated to our common home”, concluded Archbishop Follo, citing Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, who had encouraged the development of a “human ecology”, since “intelligence requires us to respect others as well as the home where we live. … Pope Francis says that intelligence also commands us to respect our common home as by doing so, we demonstrate our love for our neighbour”.
|Other Pontifical Acts|
Vatican City, (VIS) – The Holy Father has:
- appointed Fr. Karel Choennie as bishop of Paramaribo (area 163,829, population 505,580, Catholics 115,221, priests 18, permanent deacons 4, religious 16), Suriname. The bishop-elect was born in Suriname in 1958 and was ordained a priest in 1985. He holds a licentiate in pastoral theology from the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium, and has served in a number of pastoral roles in the diocese of Paramaribo, including parish priest, episcopal vicar, member of the diocesan curia and vicar general. He is currently pastor of the St. Clement parish.
- accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the archdiocese of Detroit, United States of America, presented by Archdiocese Francis R. Reiss, upon reaching the age limit.
ARCHBISHOP AND MARTYR
Feast: November 12
1580 at Volodymyr, Lithuania (modern Ukraine)
12 November 1623 at Vitebsk, Belarus
Josaphat is one of those figures in history caught in a web of controversy where even good people find it hard to keep their heads. He was caught in a battle between Catholic and Orthodox, Latin and Byzantine, and found himself criticized and opposed on every side: by the Orthodox for being Catholic and by the Latins for being Byzantine. He held firmly to Catholic unity against the Orthodox and just as firmly to Byzantine rights against the Latins. At that period of history, it was a no-win situation, and he is the great martyr to the cause of unity.
St. Josaphat was born in Lithuania about 1580 into a Catholic family and early promoted Catholic unity in a country divided between Orthodox and Catholic. He entered the Byzantine monastery of Holy Trinity in Vilna in 1604 and was elected Catholic archbishop of Polotsk in 1614. While clinging firmly to unity with Rome, he firmly opposed those Latins who saw unity only in Latin terms and would suppress Byzantine traditions in the name of Catholic unity. He firmly opposed the Latinization of his people and made enemies and severe critics among the Latin clergy of Poland.
Politically, the Catholic and Orthodox clergy were rivals in Lithuania, and the archbishopric of Polotsk was one of the contested sees. An Orthodox archbishop of Polotsk was appointed, and Josaphat was accused of taking office invalidly. Many of his Byzantine Catholics were won over to allegiance to Orthodoxy. Even the king of Poland wavered in his support of Josaphat, especially when Polish bishops accused him of betraying his faith by not Latinizing his diocese.
One of the hotbeds of trouble in Josaphat's diocese was Witebsk, and in November of 1623 he went there to bring about peace in his flock, preaching in the churches and trying to reconcile differences. On November 12, a mob broke into the house where he was staying, shouting hatred and violence. When he confronted them, he was struck in the head with a halberd and shot. His mangled body was dragged out and thrown into the river. He was canonized by Pope Pius IX in 1867.
Thought for the Day: It is important to say that there was a martyr for unity on the Orthodox side as well, and even good men were uncertain where truth and justice lay. St. Josaphat died working for reconciliation, and peacemakers often find themselves hated by both sides. It is part of the risk of being a true follower of Christ.
From 'The Catholic One Year Bible': What is faith? It is the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen. It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead. Men of God in days of old were famous for their faith.—Hebrews 11:1-2