Wednesday, February 5, 2014

POPE FRANCIS "THAT IS WHY IT IS SO IMPORTANT TO GO TO MASS ON SUNDAYS..."

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis was greeted by a sea of people taking cover under umbrellas as he made his way into St Peter’s Square on Wednesday for his weekly General Audience. Making reference to the rainy weather the Pope said “it’s not a nice day is it”.
In his continuing Catechesis on the Sacraments, the Holy Father focused his attention on the Eucharist saying that it accompanies us every step of the way on our pilgrimage of faith.
Reflecting on the Mass, Pope Francis said it was a banquet that nourishes us not only with the bread of life but also with the proclamation of God’s word in the Scriptures.
The Pope went on to say that at the Last Supper, Christ gave us this sacrament when he broke bread and offered the cup as the foreshadowing of his sacrifice on the Cross. In this Eucharistic sacrifice, he added, Jesus gave us the supreme prayer of thanksgiving to God our merciful Father. 
The Holy Father underlined that the celebration of the Eucharist is more than simply a banquet; it is he said a memorial of the Lord’s passion, death and resurrection, and makes present the paschal mystery in all its saving power. 
Departing from his prepared remarks Pope Francis stressed that we can never thank the Lord enough for the gift of the Eucharist adding, "that is why it is so important to go to Mass on Sundays, to go to Mass, not only to pray, but to receive Communion, the bread which is the Body of Jesus Christ, that saves us, forgives us, and unites us with the Father."


Text from Vatican Radio website 

LATEST NEWS FROM VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE - SUMMARY

05-02-2014 - Year XXII - Num. 24 

Summary
- THE EUCHARIST: CHRISTIAN INITIATION, PEAK OF SALVATION
- SOLIDARITY WITH THOSE AFFECTED BY FLOODS IN ITALY
- PRESS RELEASE ON OBSERVATIONS OF THE UNITED NATIONS COMMITTEE ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD
- POPE FRANCIS TO RECEIVE QUEEN ELIZABETH II OF THE UNITED KINGDOM
- FR. FEDERICO LOMBARDI IS AWARDED THE ¡BRAVO! PRIZE BY THE SPANISH EPISCOPAL COMMISSION FOR SOCIAL COMMUNICATIONS
- OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS
THE EUCHARIST: CHRISTIAN INITIATION, PEAK OF SALVATION
Vatican City, 5 February 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father's catechesis in today's general audience focused on “the Eucharist, heart of Christian initiation and source of the life of the Church”. “The Word and the Bread, during Mass, become one, like in the Last Supper, when all Jesus' words, all the signs he had made, were condensed into the gesture of breaking bread and offering the chalice in anticipation of the sacrifice of the Cross”.
Pope Francis remarked that Jesus' gesture during the Last Supper is “the extreme giving of thanks to the Father for His love and for His mercy”, and recalled that “thanksgiving”, in Greek, is “eucaristia”. This is why the term Eucharist encompasses all of this gesture, which is the gesture of God and man, a gesture of Jesus Christ, true God and true Man”.
The Pope repeated that each time we celebrate this Sacrament, it does not simply mean remembering, but rather sharing in “the mystery of Christ's passion, death and resurrection”. “The Eucharist”, he said, “is the peak of the action of God's salvation: the Lord Jesus, making himself into bread, broken for us, indeed pours over us all His mercy and His love, thereby renewing our hearts, our existence and our way of relating with Him and with our brothers”.
Pope Francis concluded by inviting those present to pray to the Lord so that “this Sacrament may continue to keep its presence alive, within the Church, and to model our communities in charity and communion, in accordance with the heart of the Father. And this continues all through our lives, although it begins on the day our our first Communion. It is important that children prepare well for their first Communion and that every child does so, as it is the first step to this strong bond of belonging to Jesus Christ, following Baptism and Confirmation”.
 
SOLIDARITY WITH THOSE AFFECTED BY FLOODS IN ITALY
Vatican City, 5 February 2014 (VIS) – In his greetings following the catechesis at this Wednesday's general audience, Pope Francis recalled in a special way those affected by the heavy downpours which have affected the regions of Tuscany and Latium for some days now, causing flooding and inundations and leaving many families homeless. “We are all praying for you and are close to you with our efforts, with our solidarity and with our love”.
He also greeted a group of bishops taking part in a congress promoted by the Sant'Egidio Community, and participants in a study week on human formation for candidates to the priesthood organised by the Pontifical University of the Sacred Heart, expressing his hope that their visit to the tomb of St. Peter be a “propitious occasion for the renewal of missionary commitment to the proclamation of the Gospel, especially to the marginalised and the poor”.
Finally, he mentioned the sick, who were gathered today in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall rather than in St. Peter's Square on account of the bad weather, commenting that he had greeted them prior to arriving in the square, and that they were able to follow the audience on screen.
 
PRESS RELEASE ON OBSERVATIONS OF THE UNITED NATIONS COMMITTEE ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD
Vatican City, 5 February 2014 (VIS) – This morning the Holy See Press Office issued a communique on the observations of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, the full text of which is published below:
“At the end of its 65th session, the Committee on the Rights of the Child has published its Concluding Observations on the reviewed Reports of the Holy See and five States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (Congo, Germany, Portugal, Russian Federation and Yemen).
According to the proper procedures foreseen for the parties to the Convention, the Holy See takes note of the Concluding Observations on its Reports, which will be submitted to a thorough study and examination, in full respect of the Convention in the different areas presented by the Committee according to international law and practice, as well as taking into consideration the public interactive debate with the Committee, held on 16 January 2014.
The Holy See does, however, regret to see in some points of the Concluding Observations an attempt to interfere with Catholic Church teaching on the dignity of the human person and in the exercise of religious freedom.
The Holy See reiterates its commitment to defending and protecting the rights of the child, in line with the principles promoted by the Convention on the Rights of the Child and according to the moral and religious values offered by Catholic doctrine”.
 
POPE FRANCIS TO RECEIVE QUEEN ELIZABETH II OF THE UNITED KINGDOM
Vatican City, 5 February 2014 (VIS) – On 3 April Pope Francis will receive in audience Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. This was made public by Buckingham Palace and confirmed yesterday afternoon by the Holy See Press Office.
Queen Elizabeth II, accompanied by Prince Philip of Edinburgh, will be in Rome upon invitation by the president of the Republic of Italy, Giorgio Napolitano. The Queen and Prince Philip will lunch in private with President Napolitano, and will then be received in audience by the Pope. It will be the first encounter between Pope Francis and the Queen, as at the Holy Mass at the beginning of his pontificate the United Kingdom was represented by Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester. President Napolitano's invitation was first presented last year, but neither the Queen nor Prince Philip were able to accept for reasons of ill health. Since then, Pope emeritus Benedict XVI resigned from the papacy and Pope Francis was elected.
The Italian Head of State renewed his invitation earlier this year and Queen Elizabeth decided to take the opportunity to meet with the new Pontiff. The same occurred on her last visit to Rome, in 2000, when she was received by Blessed John Paul II. The Queen met with Benedict XVI during his apostolic visit to the United Kingdom in September 2010.
 
FR. FEDERICO LOMBARDI IS AWARDED THE ¡BRAVO! PRIZE BY THE SPANISH EPISCOPAL COMMISSION FOR SOCIAL COMMUNICATIONS
Vatican City, 5 February 2014 (VIS) – The director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., will today receive in Madrid, Spain, the ¡Bravo! Prize awarded every year by the Commission for Social Communication Media of the Spanish Episcopal Conference (CEE).
Every year the CEE awards the ¡Bravo! Prize in recognition of the valuable work of all professionals in the field of communication in the various media, distinguished by their service to the dignity of man, human rights and the values of the Gospel. Fr. Lombardi will receive the ¡Bravo! Special Prize for his “intense service to Church communication” and for having promoted “closeness between the Church institution and the social communication media”.
The director of the Holy See Press Office will also attend an assembly of diocesan delegates in the field of social communications, where he will give a conference on the theme “Spokesmanship in the Vatican”.
 
OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS
Vatican City, 5 February 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Archbishop Santo Gangemi, apostolic nuncio in Guinea, as apostolic nuncio in Mali.

UN CRITICIZES VATICAN ON RIGHTS OF THE CHILD AND VATICAN RESPONSE

(Vatican Radio) Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Holy See’s representative to the UN in Geneva, has denounced “a really negative approach” by the UN’s Committee on the Rights of the Child to all that the Vatican “has been doing and has already achieved” in the area of child protection. Stressing that every single case of child abuse is “a case too much,” the Archbishop said it’s hard to find “other institutions or even other states” that have done as much for child protection as the “package of measures” taken by the Vatican and local bishops conferences.
Archbishop Tomasi was responding to a report, published on Wednesday, criticizing the Vatican for policies which it says allowed priests to sexually abuse thousands of children worldwide. It follows on from a meeting between the UN Committee and Holy See representatives in Geneva on January 16th.
A statement issued by the Vatican press office also says the Holy See takes note of comments contained in the new report, but expresses regret over what it terms “an attempt to interfere with Catholic Church teaching on the dignity of human person and in the exercise of religious freedom.” It stressed the Holy See remains committed to defending and promoting the rights of children, according to the principles set out in the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child. 
Archbishop Tomasi said the Committee appears to have difficulty understanding the teachings of the Catholic Church regarding the protection of life in the womb and the freedom for believers to express their deeply held convictions. He noted the UN report asks the Church to accept the practice of abortion, something he described as “a contradiction with the principle of life” that the UN Convention itself should be upholding, that is the protection of children before and after birth. 
The Archbishop added that, as a state party to the UN Convention, the Holy See intends to continue “carrying out all the elements” for the protection of children and explaining its position to the UN Committee.
In December American Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston announced that Pope Francis was establishing a new commission on child protection and care for victims of abuse. He said it would work closely with church leaders worldwide to develop best practices, building on the norms that Bishops Conferences and other religious organizations have already been asked to draw up to ensure the safety of children and vulnerable adults in dioceses across the globe. 
Text from Vatican Radio website