Friday, January 23, 2015

Saint January 24 : St. Francis de Sales : Catholic press; Confessors; Deaf people; Educators ; Writers; journalists



Information:
Feast Day:January 24
Born:
21 August 1567, Château de Thorens, Savoy
Died:28 December 1622, Lyon, France
Canonized:19 April 1665, Rome by Pope Alexander VII
Major Shrine:Annecy, France
Patron of:Catholic press; confessors; deaf people; educators; writers; journalists
Bishop of Geneva, Doctor of the Universal Church; born at Thorens, in the Duchy of Savoy, 21 August, 1567; died at Lyons, 28 December, 1622. His father, Francois de Sales de Boisy, and his mother, Francoise de Sionnaz, belonged to old Savoyard aristocratic families. The future saint was the eldest of six brothers. His father intended him for the magistracy and sent him at an early age to the colleges of La Roche and Annecy. From 1583 till 1588 he studied rhetoric and humanities at the college of Clermont, Paris, under the care of the Jesuits. While there he began a course of theology. After a terrible and prolonged temptation to despair, caused by the discussions of the theologians of the day on the question of predestination, from which he was suddenly freed as he knelt before a miraculous image of Our Lady at St. Etienne-des-Gres, he made a vow of chastity and consecrated himself to the Blessed Virgin Mary. In 1588 he studied law at Padua, where the Jesuit Father Possevin was his spiritual director. He received his diploma of doctorate from the famous Pancirola in 1592. Having been admitted as a lawyer before the senate of Chambery, he was about to be appointed senator. His father had selected one of the noblest heiresses of Savoy to be the partner of his future life, but Francis declared his intention of embracing the ecclesiastical life. A sharp struggle ensued. His father would not consent to see his expectations thwarted. Then Claude de Granier, Bishop of Geneva, obtained for Francis, on his own initiative, the position of Provost of the Chapter of Geneva, a post in the patronage of the pope. It was the highest office in the diocese, M. de Boisy yielded and Francis received Holy Orders (1593).

From the time of the Reformation the seat of the Bishopric of Geneva had been fixed at Annecy. There with apostolic zeal, the new provost devoted himself to preaching, hearing confessions, and the other work of his ministry. In the following year (1594) he volunteered to evangelize Le Chablais, where the Genevans had imposed the Reformed Faith, and which had just been restored to the Duchy of Savoy. He made his headquarters in the fortress of Allinges. Risking his life, he journeyed through the entire district, preaching constantly; by dint of zeal, learning, kindness and holiness he at last obtained a hearing. He then settled in Thonon, the chief town. He confuted the preachers sent by Geneva to oppose him; he converted the syndic and several prominent Calvinists. At the request of the pope, Clement VIII, he went to Geneva to interview Theodore Beza, who was called the Patriarch of the Reformation. The latter received him kindly and seemed for a while shaken, but had not the courage to take the final steps. A large part of the inhabitants of Le Chablais returned to the true fold (1597 and 1598). Claude de Granier then chose Francis as his coadjutor, in spite of his refusal, and sent him to Rome (1599).
Pope Clement VIII ratified the choice; but he wished to examine the candidate personally, in presence of the Sacred College. The improvised examination was a triumph for Francis. "Drink, my son", said the Pope to him. "from your cistern, and from your living wellspring; may your waters issue forth, and may they become public fountains where the world may quench its thirst." The prophesy was to be realized. On his return from Rome the religious affairs of the territory of Gex, a dependency of France, necessitated his going to Paris. There the coadjutor formed an intimate friendship with Cardinal de Berulle, Antoine Deshayes, secretary of Henry IV, and Henry IV himself, who wished "to make a third in this fair friendship" (<etre de tiers dans cette belle amitie>). The king made him preach the Lent at Court, and wished to keep him in France. He urged him to continue, by his sermons and writings, to teach those souls that had to live in the world how to have confidence in God, and how to be genuinely and truly pious—graces of which he saw the great necessity.
On the death of Claude de Granier, Francis was consecrated Bishop of Geneva (1602). His first step was to institute catechetical instructions for the faithful, both young and old. He made prudent regulations for the guidance of his clergy. He carefully visited the parishes scattered through the rugged mountains of his diocese. He reformed the religious communities. His goodness, patience and mildness became proverbial. He had an intense love for the poor, especially those who were of respectable family. His food was plain, his dress and his household simple. He completely dispensed with superfluities and lived with the greatest economy, in order to be able to provide more abundantly for the wants of the needy. He heard confessions, gave advice, and preached incessantly. He wrote innumerable letters (mainly letters of direction) and found time to publish the numerous works mentioned below. Together with St. Jane Frances de Chantal, he founded (1607) the Institute of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin, for young girls and widows who, feeling themselves called to the religious life, have not sufficient strength, or lack inclination, for the corporal austerities of the great orders. His zeal extended beyond the limits of his own diocese. He delivered the Lent and Advent discourses which are still famous—those at Dijon (1604), where he first met the Baroness de Chantal; at Chambery (1606); at Grenoble (1616, 1617, 1618), where he converted the Marechal de Lesdiguieres. During his last stay in Paris (November, 1618, to September, 1619) he had to go into the pulpit each day to satisfy the pious wishes of those who thronged to hear him. "Never", said they, "have such holy, such apostolic sermons been preached." He came into contact here with all the distinguished ecclesiastics of the day, and in particular with St. Vincent de Paul. His friends tried energetically to induce him to remain in France, offering him first the wealthy Abbey of Ste. Genevieve and then the coadjutor-bishopric of Paris, but he refused all to return to Annecy.
In 1622 he had to accompany the Court of Savoy into France. At Lyons he insisted on occupying a small, poorly furnished room in a house belonging to the gardener of the Visitation Convent. There, on 27 December, he was seized with apoplexy. He received the last sacraments and made his profession of faith, repeating constantly the words: "God's will be done! Jesus, my God and my all!" He died next day, in the fifty-sixth year of his age. Immense crowds flocked to visit his remains, which the people of Lyons were anxious to keep in their city. With much difficulty his body was brought back to Annecy, but his heart was left at Lyons. A great number of wonderful favours have been obtained at his tomb in the Visitation Convent of Annecy. His heart, at the time of the French Revolution, was carried by the Visitation nuns from Lyons to Venice, where it is venerated to-day. St. Francis de Sales was beatified in 1661, and canonized by Alexander VII in 1665; he was proclaimed Doctor of the Universal Church by Pope Pius IX, in 1877.
The following is a list of the principal works of the holy Doctor: (1) "Controversies", leaflets which the zealous missioner scattered among the inhabitants of Le Chablais in the beginning, when t hese people did not venture to come and hear him preach. They form a complete proof of the Catholic Faith. In the first part, the author defends the authority of the Church, and in the second and third parts, the rules of faith, which were not observed by the heretical ministers. The primacy of St. Peter is amply vindicated. (2) "Defense of the Standard of the Cross", a demonstration of the virtue of the True Cross; of the Crucifix; of the Sign of the Cross; an explanation of the Veneration of the Cross. (3) "An Introduction to the Devout Life", a work intended to lead "Philothea", the soul living in the world, into the paths of devotion, that is to say, of true and solid piety. Every one should strive to become pious, and "it is an error, it is even a heresy", to hold that piety is incompatible with any state of life. In the first part the author helps the soul to free itself from all inclination to, or affection for, sin; in the second, he teaches it how to be united to God by prayer and the sacraments; in the third, he exercises it in the practice of virtue; in the fourth, he strengthens it against temptation; in the fifth, he teaches it how to form its resolutions and to persevere. The "Introduction", which is a masterpiece of psychology, practical morality, and common sense, was translated into nearly every language even in the lifetime of the author, and it has since gone through innumerable editions. (4) "Treatise on the Love of God", an authoritative work which reflects perfectly the mind and heart of Francis de Sales as a great genius and a great saint. It contains twelve books. The first four give us a history, or rather explain the theory, of Divine love, its birth in the soul, its growth, its perfection, and its decay and annihilation; the fifth book shows that this love is twofold—the love of complacency and the love of benevolence; the sixth and seventh treat of <affective> love, which is practised in prayer; the eight and ninth deal with <effective> love, that is, conformity to the will of God, and submission to His good pleasure. The last three resume what has preceded and teach how to apply practically the lessons taught therein. (5) "Spiritual Conferences"; familiar conversations on religious virtues addressed to the sisters of the Visitation and collected by them. We find in them that practical common sense, keenness of perception and delicacy of feeling which were characteristic of the kind-hearted and energetic Saint. (6) "Sermons".—These are divided into two classes: those composed previously to his consecration as a bishop, and which he himself wrote out in full; and the discourses he delivered when a bishop, of which, as a rule, only outlines and synopses have been preserved. Some of the latter, however, were taken down < in extenso> by his hearers. Pius IX, in his Bull proclaiming him Doctor of the Church calls the Saint "The Master and Restorer of Sacred Eloquence". He is one of those who at the beginning of the seventeenth century formed the beautiful French language; he foreshadows and prepares the way for the great sacred orators about to appear. He speaks simply, naturally, and from his heart. To speak well we need only love well, was his maxim. His mind was imbued with the Holy Writings, which he comments, and explains, and applies practically with no less accuracy than grace. (7) "Letters", mostly letters of direction, in which the minister of God effaces himself and teaches the soul to listen to God, the only true director. The advice given is suited to all the circumstances and necessities of life and to all persons of good will. While trying to efface his own personality in these letters, the saint makes himself known to us and unconsciously discovers to us the treasures of his soul. (8) A large number of very precious treatises or opuscula.
Migne (5 vols., quarto) and Vives (12 vols., octavo, Paris) have edited the works of St. Francis de Sales. But the edition which we may call definitive was published at Annecy in 1892, by the English Benedictine, Dom Mackey: a work remarkable for its typographical execution, the brilliant criticism that settles the text, the large quantity of hitherto unedited matter, and the interesting study accompanying each volume. Dom Mackey published twelve volumes. Father Navatel, S.J., is continuing the work. We may give here a brief resume of the spiritual teaching contained in these works, of which the Church has said: "The writings of Francis de Sales, filled with celestial doctrine are a bright light in the Church, pointing out to souls an easy and safe way to arrive at the perfection of a Christian life." (Breviarium Romanum, 29 January, lect. VI.)
There are two elements in the spiritual life: first, a struggle against our lower nature; secondly, union of our wills with God, in other words, penance and love. St. Francis de Sales looks chiefly to love. Not that he neglects penance, which is absolutely necessary, but he wishes it to be practised from a motive of love. He requires mortification of the senses, but he relies first on mortification of the mind, the will, and the heart. This interior mortification he requires to be unceasing and always accompanied by love. The end to be realized is a life of loving, simple, generous, and constant fidelity to the will of God, which is nothing else than our present duty. The model proposed is Christ, whom we must ever keep before our eyes. "You will study His countenance, and perform your actions as He did" (Introd., 2nd part, ch. i). The practical means of arriving at this perfection are: remembrance of the presence of God, filial prayer, a right intention in all our actions, and frequent recourse to God by pious and confiding ejaculations and interior aspirations.
Besides the Institute of the Visitation, which he founded, the nineteenth century has seen associations of the secular clergy and pious laymen, and several religious congregations, formed under the patronage of the holy Doctor. Among them we may mention the Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales, of Annecy; the Salesians, founded at Turin by the Venerable Don Bosco, specially devoted to the Christian and technical education of the children of the poorer classes; the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, established at Troyes (France) by Father Brisson, who try to realize in the religious and priestly life the spirit of the holy Doctor, such as we have described it, and such as he bequeathed it to the nuns of the Visitation.

Transcribed by Frank O'Leary


SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/F/stfrancisdesales.asp#ixzz1kU8XCZ9e

Pope Francis "...make a good confession, because going to confession is not like going to the dry cleaners to get a stain removed."

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis said confession is not a judgment but a meeting with God who forgives all our sins, without exception. His words came during his homily at his morning Mass on Friday celebrated in the Santa Marta residence. 
Basing his reflections on an extract from St Paul’s letter to the Hebrews, the Pope said our God forgives all our sins, always and without exception and He rejoices when somebody asks him for pardon.  This God who reconciles, he continued, choose Jesus to set up a new pact with humanity and the cornerstone of this pact is forgiveness for our sins. 
“First of all, God always forgives us.  He never tires of this.  It’s we who get tired of asking for forgiveness.  But HE does not tire of pardoning us.   When Peter asked Jesus: ‘How many times must I forgive? Seven times?’ – ‘Not seven times: seventy times by seven.’ Namely always.  That’s how God forgives us: always.  But if you have lived a life full of so many sins, so many bad things, but in the end, a bit repentant, you ask for forgiveness, He will immediately pardon you!  He always forgives us.”
Pope Francis said a doubt can arrive in a person’s heart over how far God is prepared to forgive us. But, he stressed, all you have to do is repent and ask for forgiveness and you don’t have to pay because Christ has already paid on our behalf. 
“There is no sin which He won’t pardon. He forgives everything.  ‘But father, I don’t go to confession because I have committed so many really bad sins, so many that I can’t be forgiven….’  No, this is not true.  He forgives everything.  If you go (to confession) repentant, He will forgive everything.  When… so many times He doesn’t even let you speak! You start to ask for forgiveness and He lets you feel that joy of forgiveness before you have even finished confessing everything.”
The Pope went on to describe how God rejoices when somebody asks for forgiveness and at the same time He “forgets” or wipes out from his memory our sins.  The reason for this, he explained, is because what matters for God is for us to meet with him. Confession is not a judgment but a meeting with God. 
“Confessions often seem like a procedure, a formality.   Everything is mechanical!  No!  Where’s the meeting in this? The meeting with the Lord who pardons you, hugs you and rejoices.  And this is our God who is so good.  We too need to teach (others): teach our children, our youngsters to make a good confession, because going to confession is not like going to the dry cleaners to get a stain removed.  No!  It’s about going to meet with our Father who reconciles, who forgives us and who rejoices.”   (Text from Radio Vaticana January 23, 2015)

Saint January 23 : St. Marianne Cope of Molokai in Hawaii - Born in Germany

(1838-1918)
Though leprosy scared off most people in 19th-century Hawaii, that disease sparked great generosity in the woman who came to be known as Mother Marianne of Molokai. Her courage helped tremendously to improve the lives of its victims in Hawaii, a territory annexed to the United States during her lifetime (1898).
Mother Marianne’s generosity and courage were celebrated at her May 14, 2005, beatification in Rome. She was a woman who spoke “the language of truth and love” to the world, said Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes. Cardinal Martins, who presided at the beatification Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, called her life “a wonderful work of divine grace.” Speaking of her special love for persons suffering from leprosy, he said, “She saw in them the suffering face of Jesus. Like the Good Samaritan, she became their mother.”
On January 23, 1838, a daughter was born to Peter and Barbara Cope of Hessen-Darmstadt, Germany. The girl was named after her mother. Two years later the Cope family emigrated to the United States and settled in Utica, New York. Young Barbara worked in a factory until August 1862, when she went to the Sisters of the Third Order of Saint Francis in Syracuse, New York. After profession in November of the next year, she began teaching at Assumption parish school.
Marianne held the post of superior in several places and was twice the novice mistress of her congregation. A natural leader, three different times she was superior of St. Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse, where she learned much that would be useful during her years in Hawaii.
Elected provincial in 1877, Mother Marianne was unanimously re-elected in 1881. Two years later the Hawaiian government was searching for someone to run the Kakaako Receiving Station for people suspected of having leprosy. More than 50 religious communities in the United States and Canada were asked. When the request was put to the Syracuse sisters, 35 of them volunteered immediately. On October 22, 1883, Mother Marianne and six other sisters left for Hawaii where they took charge of the Kakaako Receiving Station outside Honolulu; on the island of Maui they also opened a hospital and a school for girls.
In 1888, Mother Marianne and two sisters went to Molokai to open a home for “unprotected women and girls” there. The Hawaiian government was quite hesitant to send women for this difficult assignment; they need not have worried about Mother Marianne! On Molokai she took charge of the home that St. Damien de Veuster [May 10, d. 1889] had established for men and boys. Mother Marianne changed life on Molokai by introducing cleanliness, pride and fun to the colony. Bright scarves and pretty dresses for the women were part of her approach.
Awarded the Royal Order of Kapiolani by the Hawaiian government and celebrated in a poem by Robert Louis Stevenson, Mother Marianne continued her work faithfully. Her sisters have attracted vocations among the Hawaiian people and still work on Molokai.
Mother Marianne died on August 9, 1918 and was beatified in 2005 and canonized seven years later.
Shared from AmericanCatholic

Espousal of Mary and Joseph and Novena Prayer - Feast January 23


(DESPONSATIO BEATÆ MARIÆ VIRGINIS) A feast of the Latin Church. It is certain that a real matrimony was contracted by Joseph and Mary. Still Mary is called "espoused" to Joseph ("his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph", Matthew 1:18) because the matrimony was never consummated. The term spouse is applied to married people until their marriage is consummated (Colvenerius, Cal. Marian., 23 Jan.). Peter d'Ailly, chancellor of the University of Paris. (died 1420), and his famous disciple, Jean Charlier, called Gerson, were the first energetic propagators of the devotion in honour of St. Joseph. Gerson worked many years to effect the institution of a special votive feast (Thursday of ember week in Advent), the object of which should be the virginal espousal of Mary and Joseph. Gerson's friend, Henry Chicoti, canon of the cathedral chapter of Chartres, had bequeathed a certain sum for the celebration in the cathedral of this votive feast, for which Gerson had composed a proper Office. It seems that Gerson carried out the will of his friend, but tradition does not tell us on what day the feast was celebrated.  (Text from Catholic Encyclopedia) 

NOVENA PRAYER for Espousal of Mary and Joseph

Hail to our patrons, happy songs we tender,
As we observe the day of their chaste wedding,
Anew the faithful enjoy the holy splendor
Shining about them,
How beautiful thou art, O Virgin Mary,
The trinity has covered thee with graces
The lavish godhead splendidly adorns thee
As thou art married.
O blessed Joseph, to thee also we sing,
Thy virtue raises thee to highest summits
Thy sanctity is a mirror reflecting,
Thy saintly Mary.
Jesus was happy to be known as your Son
How much He loved you, parents of such virtue
From your belov’d arms to the world His mission
Already is started.
O Blessed couple, Light of earth and heaven,
Continue to inspire us with your blessing,
While the renown of your names we may leaven
By our devotion.
Eternal praise be to the mighty Godhead
Who, by the gift of Mary and Saint Joseph,
To our poor lives have, by their merits, added,
Gifts of Divine peace. Amen.
In preparation for the Feast of the holy espousals of the Blessed Virgin Mary with Saint Joseph
Dear brothers, we shall attentively and devoutly meditate upon the wonderful virtues practiced by the Blessed Virgin Mary in company with Saint Joseph, her most chaste Spouse, and in their memory we shall humbly beg to imitate them, by saying:
1. Most holy Virgin, by those virginal Espousals you did celebrate with Saint Joseph, your most chaste Spouse, grant that my soul may be spiritually espoused to Jesus, your Son and my Lord. Hail Mary…
2. O spotless Virgin, by that intact Virginity you did keep with Saint Joseph, your most pure Spouse, grant that my soul may with a pure heart serve Jesus, your Son and my Lord. Hail Mary…
3. Most amiable, Virgin, by that tender affection you showed to Saint Joseph, your most dear Spouse, grant that my soul may incessantly love Jesus, your Son and my Lord. Hail Mary…
4. Most glorious Virgin, by that perfect obedience you showed to Saint Joseph, your most prudent Spouse, grant that my soul may perfectly obey Jesus, Your Son and my Lord. Hail Mary…
5. Most merciful Virgin, by that strict poverty you practice with Saint Joseph, your most resigned Spouse, grant that my soul may renounce all things for the love of Jesus, your Son and my Lord. Hail Mary…
6. Most humble Virgin, by that deepest humility you practiced with Saint Joseph, your most meek Spouse, grant that my soul may be subject to all for the love of Jesus, your Son and my Lord. Hail Mary…
7. O most holy Virgin, by that fullness of virtues you acquired with Saint Joseph, your most praiseworthy Spouse, grant that my soul may be enamored with all the virtues, so that it may ever be more pleasing to Jesus, your Son and my Lord. Hail Mary…
V. Pray for us holy Spouses Mary and Joseph:
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Prayer: As in the Proper

The first definite knowledge of a feast in honour of the espousals of Mary dates from 29 Aug., 1517, when with nine other Masses in honour of Mary, it was granted by Leo X to the Nuns of the Annunciation, founded by Sainte Jeanne de Valois. This feast was celebrated on 22 October as a double of the second class. Its Mass, however, honoured the Blessed Virgin exclusively; it hardly mentioned St. Joseph and therefore did not correspond to the idea of Gerson. Also purely as a feast of Mary it appears in the Missal of the Franciscans, to whom it was granted 21 Aug., 1537, for 7 March (double major). About the same time the Servites obtained the feast for 8 March. The Office of the Nativity of Mary was recited, changing the word Nativilas to Desponsatio. After the religious orders, among the dioceses which adopted the feast of the Espousals of Mary, Arras takes the lead. It has been kept there since 23 Jan., 1556. The first proper Office was composed by Pierre Doré, O. P. (died 1569), confessor of Duke Claude of Lorraine. This Office followed the outlines given by Gerson and commemorated both Joseph and Mary. Pierre Doré in 1546 unsuccessfully petitioned Paul III to extend the feast of the Desponsatio B. M. V. to the Universal Church. But even without the recommendation of the Apostolic See, the feast was adopted by many Churches. In Moravia it was in the sixteenth century kept on 18. July. 
In subsequent times Rome did not favour any further extension of the feast, but after it had been refused (1655) to the King of Spain, it was granted to the German Emperor for Austria, 27 Jan., 1678 (23. Jan.); in 1680 it was conceded to Spain, but transferred (13 July, 1682) to 26 Nov., because in Spain the feast of St. Ildephonsus or St. Raymond is kept 23. Jan. In 1680 it was extended to the entire German Empire, 1689 to the Holy Land (double, second class), 1702 to the Cistercians (20 Feb.), 1720 to Tuscany, and 1725 to the Pontifical States. In our days it is kept in nearly the entire Latin Church on 23 Jan., in the Spanish-speaking countries on 26 Nov., but it has never been extended to the Universal Church. Since Pius V abolished the Office of Pierre Doré and introduced the modern Office, it is again a feast of Mary. The commemoration of St. Joseph in Mass, Vespers, Lauds (decree 5 May, 1736) can only be made by a special privilege.  (Text Catholic Encyclopedia - Images shared from Google Images)

#BreakingNews King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia Dies - RIP


SAUDI ARABIA
King Abdullah, the timid Saudi reformer, is dead
He is succeeded by his half-brother Salman. The Crown Prince is Moqren. Ambiguous relations with the United States, but also with China. Proponent of a peace plan for Israel and Palestine, but opposed to the Arab spring. His meeting with Benedict XVI. Supporter of the opponents of Bashar Assad and Iran's enemy. The Wahhabi kingdom must defend itself against al Qaeda and the Islamic State.

Riyadh (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz died last night at o'clock (local time), after a few weeks in the hospital with pneumonia. The sovereign was 90 years old (his exact date of birth is unknown). The Royal House announced that his funeral and burial will take place today, after Islamic prayers in the afternoon. It also announced that his successor is his half-brother Abdullah Salman, 79, and that the crown prince is Moqren, 69.
Abdullah ascended to the throne in 2005 upon the death of King Fahd, but in fact reigned since '95, due to his stepbrother's poor health.

Among the first to pay tribute to the memory of the deceased king was US President Barack Obama and French President François Hollande.

The news of the death of Abdullah has caused little  surprise: he was ill for years and often spent periods in hospital. Analysts view him as a cautious reformer of the dynasty and Saudi society. During his reign, in the only country in the world that does not allow women to drive a car, he granted them the opportunity to vote in municipal elections. He also reduced the influence of the religious police (muttawa) in the private lives of the Saudis. He also worked for peace between Israel and Palestine, proposing in 2002 a comprehensive peace plan between the Arab countries and Israel in exchange for the creation of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders. The plan was thwarted by the United States and categorically refused by Israel.
After 9/11, relations with the US faltered, since most of the terrorists involved in the attack on the Twin Towers were Saudis. Abdullah tried to maintain relations with the United States, but in 2003, with the international invasion of Iraq, he would not grant US aircraft permission to have a base in Saudi Arabia. In 2009 he stepped up relations with China, which has become the main customer of the oil rich kingdom. But in 2011 he bought weapons from the US for nearly34 billion US dollars.

In 2007, a year after the Regensburg speech, critical of the violence in Islam, the Saudi King became the first in history to meet with a Pope, Benedict XVI.


With the outbreak of the Arab Spring, for fear of seeing the end of his reign, he used military force against the riots in the country and in neighboring countries (see Bahrain) and poured more than  130 billion US dollars into the domestic economy to appease popular discontent. At the same time he has curbed the press freedom and launched an anti-terrorism law that allows security forces to arrest anyone suspected of criminal actions for at least six months.

Saudi Arabia is home to the two most important holy places of Islam, Mecca and Medina, popular places of pilgrimage. During his reign, Abdullah also had to fight the Iranian influence on the Muslim world. In Syria, the Kingdom also continues to fund the fundamentalist opponents of Bashar Assad, while Iran supports the latter. Shared from AsiaNews IT

Home to Wahhabi Islam, the most fundamentalist and combative form of Islam, Saudi Arabia is facing the threat of al Qaeda in the Islamic peninsula and those of the Islamic State on the border with Iraq. Both radical groups count supporters in the Kingdom.

Full Text Communications Day Message of #PopeFrancis Family Theme - "...we are working to build a better future for the world in which we live."


Pope Francis watches as Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications shows him news on a tablet - REUTERS
23/01/2015 12:


(Vatican Radio) The Vatican has issued Pope Francis’ Message for the 49THWorld Day of Social Communications, the only worldwide celebration called for by the Second Vatican Council (Inter mirifica, 1963).  The theme of this year’s message: “Communicating the Family – a Privileged Place of Encounter with the Gift of Love.”
The World Day of Social Communications is celebrated in almost all countries on the Sunday before Pentecost. The announcement comes on the eve of 24 January, the feast of St. Francis de Sales, patron of journalists, and the day on which the message traditionally is released.
This year’s message calls on the faithful to see families as “a resource rather than as  a problem for society” and invites families to be examples of Christ’s love, kindness and fellowship.
“In a world where people often curse, use foul language, speak badly of others, sow discord and poison our human environment by gossip, the family can teach us to understand communication as a blessing,” the Pope writes.  “In situations apparently dominated by hatred and violence, where families are separated by stone walls or the no less impenetrable walls of prejudice and resentment, where there seem to be good reasons for saying “enough is enough”, it is only by blessing rather than cursing, by visiting rather than repelling, and by accepting rather than fighting, that we can break the spiral of evil, show that goodness is always possible, and educate our children to fellowship.”
Below please find the complete text of Pope Francis’ Message for the 49th World Day of Social Communications:
Communicating the Family:  A Privileged Place of Encounter with the Gift of Love
The family is a subject of profound reflection by the Church and of a process involving two Synods: the recent extraordinary assembly and the ordinary assembly scheduled for next October.  So I thought it appropriate that the theme for the next World Communications Day should have the family as its point of reference.  After all, it is in the context of the family that we first learn how to communicate.  Focusing on this context can help to make our communication more authentic and humane, while helping us to view the family in a new perspective.
We can draw inspiration from the Gospel passage which relates the visit of Mary to Elizabeth (Lk 1:39-56).  “When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit cried out in a loud voice and said, ‘Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb’.” (vv. 41-42)
This episode first shows us how communication is a dialogue intertwined with the language of the body.  The first response to Mary’s greeting is given by the child, who leaps for joy in the womb of Elizabeth.  Joy at meeting others, which is something we learn even before being born, is, in one sense, the archetype and symbol of every other form of communication.  The womb which hosts us is the first “school” of communication, a place of listening and physical contact where we begin to familiarize ourselves with the outside world within a protected environment, with the reassuring sound of the mother’s heartbeat.  This encounter between two persons, so intimately related while still distinct from each other, an encounter so full of promise, is our first experience of communication.  It is an experience which we all share, since each of us was born of a mother.
Even after we have come into the world, in some sense we are still in a “womb”, which is the family.  A womb made up of various interrelated persons: the family is “where we learn to live with others despite our differences” (Evangelii Gaudium, 66).  Notwithstanding the differences of gender and age between them, family members accept one another because there is a bond between them.  The wider the range of these relationships and the greater the differences of age, the richer will be our living environment.  It is this bond which is at the root of language, which in turn strengthens the bond.  We do not create our language; we can use it because we have received it.  It is in the family that we learn to speak our “mother tongue”, the language of those who have gone before us. (cf. 2 Macc 7:25,27).  In the family we realize that others have preceded us, they made it possible for us to exist and in our turn to generate life and to do something good and beautiful.  We can give because we have received.  This virtuous circle is at the heart of the family’s ability to communicate among its members and with others.  More generally, it is the model for all communication.
The experience of this relationship which “precedes” us enables the family to become the setting in which the most basic form of communication, which isprayer, is handed down.  When parents put their newborn children to sleep, they frequently entrust them to God, asking that he watch over them.  When the children are a little older, parents help them to recite some simple prayers, thinking with affection of other people, such as grandparents, relatives, the sick and suffering, and all those in need of God’s help.  It was in our families that the majority of us learned the religious dimension of communication, which in the case of Christianity is permeated with love, the love that God bestows upon us and which we then offer to others.
In the family, we learn to embrace and support one another, to discern the meaning of facial expressions and moments of silence, to laugh and cry together with people who did not choose one other yet are so important to each other.  This greatly helps us to understand the meaning of communication as recognizing and creating closeness.  When we lessen distances by growing closer and accepting one another, we experience gratitude and joy.  Mary’s greeting and the stirring of her child are a blessing for Elizabeth; they are followed by the beautiful canticle of the Magnificat, in which Mary praises God’s loving plan for her and for her people.  A “yes” spoken with faith can have effects that go well beyond ourselves and our place in the world.  To “visit” is to open doors, not remaining closed in our little world, but rather going out to others.  So too the family comes alive as it reaches beyond itself; families who do so communicate their message of life and communion, giving comfort and hope to more fragile families, and thus build up the Church herself, which is the family of families.
More than anywhere else, the family is where we daily experience our ownlimits and those of others, the problems great and small entailed in living peacefully with others.  A perfect family does not exist.  We should not be fearful of imperfections, weakness or even conflict, but rather learn how to deal with them constructively.  The family, where we keep loving one another despite our limits and sins, thus becomes a school of forgiveness.  Forgiveness is itself a process of communication.  When contrition is expressed and accepted, it becomes possible to restore and rebuild the communication which broke down.  A child who has learned in the family to listen to others, to speak respectfully and to express his or her view without negating that of others, will be a force for dialogue and reconciliation in society.
When it comes to the challenges of communication, families who have children with one or more disabilities have much to teach us.  A motor, sensory or mental limitation can be a reason for closing in on ourselves, but it can also become, thanks to the love of parents, siblings, and friends, an incentive to openness, sharing and ready communication with all.  It can also help schools, parishes and associations to become more welcoming and inclusive of everyone.
In a world where people often curse, use foul language, speak badly of others, sow discord and poison our human environment by gossip, the family can teach us to understand communication as a blessing.  In situations apparently dominated by hatred and violence, where families are separated by stone walls or the no less impenetrable walls of prejudice and resentment, where there seem to be good reasons for saying “enough is enough”, it is only by blessing rather than cursing, by visiting rather than repelling, and by accepting rather than fighting, that we can break the spiral of evil, show that goodness is always possible, and educate our children to fellowship.
Today the modern media, which are an essential part of life for young people in particular, can be both a help and a hindrance to communication in and between families.  The media can be a hindrance if they become a way to avoid listening to others, to evade physical contact, to fill up every moment of silence and rest, so that we forget that “silence is an integral element of communication; in its absence, words rich in content cannot exist.” (BENEDICT XVI, Message for the 2012 World Communications Day).  The media can helpcommunication when they enable people to share their stories, to stay in contact with distant friends, to thank others or to seek their forgiveness, and to open the door to new encounters.  By growing daily in our awareness of the vital importance of encountering others, these “new possibilities”, we will employ technology wisely, rather than letting ourselves be dominated by it.  Here too, parents are the primary educators, but they cannot be left to their own devices.  The Christian community is called to help them in teaching children how to live in a media environment in a way consonant with the dignity of the human person and service of the common good.
The great challenge facing us today is to learn once again how to talk to one another, not simply how to generate and consume information.  The latter is a tendency which our important and influential modern communications media can encourage.  Information is important, but it is not enough.  All too often things get simplified, different positions and viewpoints are pitted against one another, and people are invited to take sides, rather than to see things as a whole.
The family, in conclusion, is not a subject of debate or a terrain for ideological skirmishes.  Rather, it is an environment in which we learn to communicate in an experience of closeness, a setting where communication takes place, a“communicating community”.  The family is a community which provides help, which celebrates life and is fruitful.  Once we realize this, we will once more be able to see how the family continues to be a rich human resource, as opposed to a problem or an institution in crisis.  At times the media can tend to present the family as a kind of abstract model which has to be accepted or rejected, defended or attacked, rather than as a living reality.  Or else a grounds for ideological clashes rather than as a setting where we can all learn what it means to communicate in a love received and returned.  Relating our experiences means realizing that our lives are bound together as a single reality, that our voices are many, and that each is unique.
Families should be seen as a resource rather than as a problem for society.  Families at their best actively communicate by their witness the beauty and the richness of the relationship between man and woman, and between parents and children.  We are not fighting to defend the past.  Rather, with patience and trust, we are working to build a better future for the world in which we live.
From the Vatican, 23 January 2015
Vigil of the Memorial of Saint Francis de Sales

Today's Mass Readings : Friday January 23, 2015


Friday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 315

Reading 1HEB 8:6-13
Brothers and sisters:
Now our high priest has obtained so much more excellent a ministry
as he is mediator of a better covenant,
enacted on better promises.

For if that first covenant had been faultless,
no place would have been sought for a second one.
But he finds fault with them and says:
Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord,
when I will conclude a new covenant with the house of
Israel and the house of Judah.
It will not be like the covenant I made with their fathers
the day I took them by the hand to lead
them forth from the land of Egypt;
for they did not stand by my covenant
and I ignored them, says the Lord.
But this is the covenant I will establish with the house of Israel
after those days, says the Lord:
I will put my laws in their minds
and I will write them upon their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.
And they shall not teach, each one his fellow citizen and kin, saying,
“Know the Lord,”
for all shall know me, from least to greatest.
For I will forgive their evildoing
and remember their sins no more.


When he speaks of a “new” covenant,
he declares the first one obsolete.
And what has become obsolete
and has grown old is close to disappearing.

Responsorial PsalmPS 85:8 AND 10, 11-12, 13-14

R. (11a) Kindness and truth shall meet.
Show us, O LORD, your mercy,
and grant us your salvation.
Near indeed is his salvation to those who fear him,
glory dwelling in our land.
R. Kindness and truth shall meet.
Kindness and truth shall meet;
justice and peace shall kiss.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
and justice shall look down from heaven.
R. Kindness and truth shall meet.
The LORD himself will give his benefits;
our land shall yield its increase.
Justice shall walk before him,
and salvation, along the way of his steps.
R. Kindness and truth shall meet.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ,
and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 3:13-19

Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted
and they came to him.
He appointed Twelve, whom he also named Apostles,
that they might be with him
and he might send them forth to preach
and to have authority to drive out demons:
He appointed the Twelve:
Simon, whom he named Peter;
James, son of Zebedee,
and John the brother of James, whom he named Boanerges,
that is, sons of thunder;
Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew,
Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus;
Thaddeus, Simon the Cananean,
and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him.

Latest News from #Vatican and #PopeFrancis


23-01-2015 - Year XXII - Num. 017 

Summary
To the Tribunal of the Roman Rota: do not ensnare salvation in the constraints of legalism
- Pope's Message for 49th World Communications Day
- The wisdom of parents must guide children in the digital world
- Decrees of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints
- Audiences
- Catholics and Lutherans together can bear witness to God’s mercy in our societies
- The Pope praises the service of the Public Security Inspectorate in the Vatican
- Audiences
- Other Pontifical Acts
To the Tribunal of the Roman Rota: do not ensnare salvation in the constraints of legalism
Vatican City, 23 January 2015 (VIS) – Pope Francis today received in audience the dean, prelate auditors, officials and collaborators of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota, in order to inaugurate the legal year. In his address, the Holy Father focused on the human and cultural context in which matrimonial intent is formed. He emphasised that the crisis of values in society is not a recent phenomenon, and recalled that forty years ago Pope Paul VI had already denounced the ailments of modern man, “at times wounded by a systematic relativism, that bends to the easiest choices of circumstance, of demagogy, of fashion, of passion, of hedonism, of selfishness, so that externally he attempts to dispute the mastery of the law, and internally, almost without realising, substitutes the empire of moral conscience with the whim of psychological consciousness”.
The Pope highlighted the role of the judge, who is require to perform his judicial analysis where there is doubt regarding the validity of marriage, to ascertain whether there was an original shortcoming in consent, either directly in terms of a defect in the validity of intention or a grave deficit in the understanding of marriage itself to the extent of determining will. The crisis in marriage, indeed, not infrequently has at its root the crisis in knowledge enlightened by faith, or rather by adhesion to God and His plan of love realised in Jesus Christ”.
“Pastoral experience teaches us that today there is a great number of faithful in irregular situations, whose histories have been strongly influenced by the widespread worldly mentality”, he continued. “There exists, indeed, a sort of spiritual worldliness, which hides behind the appearance of piety and even love for the Church, and which leads to the pursuit not of the glory of God, but rather of personal well-being. One of the consequences of this attitude is a faith hemmed in by subjectivism, interested solely in a given experience or a series of arguments and areas of knowledge believed to console or enlighten, but in which the subject in reality remains imprisoned by the immanence of his or her own reason or emotions. … Therefore, the judge, in evaluating the validity of the consent given, must take into account the context of values and faith”.
Pope Francis urged greater commitment and passion in the ministry of the judge, whose role is “to protect the unity of the jurisprudence of the Church”, and “pastoral work for the good of many couples, and many children, who are often the victims of these situations. Here too there is a need for pastoral conversion on the part of ecclesiastical structures to be able to offer the opus iustitiae to all those who turn to the Church to shed light on their matrimonial situation. This is your difficult mission: … do not ensnare salvation in the constrictions of legalism. The function of law is guided towards the salus animarum on the condition that, avoiding sophisms distant from the living flesh of people in difficulty, it may help to establish the truth of the moment of consent”.
The Pope stressed the importance of the presence at every ecclesiastical Tribunal of persons competent to offer sound advice on the possibility of initiating a suit for the annulment of marriage. “In the hope that in every Tribunal these figures may be present to encourage real access to the justice of the Church for all the faithful, I would like to underline that a significant number of cases dealt with before the Roman Rota are enabled by legal aid granted to those whose economic situation would not otherwise allow them to engage the services of lawyer”.
Pope's Message for 49th World Communications Day
Vatican City, 23 January 2015 (VIS) – The Pope's message for the 49th annual World Communications Day was published today, the vigil of the feast day of St. Francis de Sales, patron saint of journalists. The Day will be celebrated on Sunday 17 May 2015, and this year's theme is “Communicating the family: a privileged place of encounter with the gift of love”. The message was published in English, French ,German, Portuguese and Spanish.
The full text of the message is reproduced below:
“The family is a subject of profound reflection by the Church and of a process involving two Synods: the recent extraordinary assembly and the ordinary assembly scheduled for next October. So I thought it appropriate that the theme for the next World Communications Day should have the family as its point of reference. After all, it is in the context of the family that we first learn how to communicate. Focusing on this context can help to make our communication more authentic and humane, while helping us to view the family in a new perspective.
“We can draw inspiration from the Gospel passage which relates the visit of Mary to Elizabeth. 'When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb”'. This episode first shows us how communication is a dialogue intertwined with the language of the body. The first response to Mary’s greeting is given by the child, who leaps for joy in the womb of Elizabeth. Joy at meeting others, which is something we learn even before being born, is, in one sense, the archetype and symbol of every other form of communication. The womb which hosts us is the first 'school' of communication, a place of listening and physical contact where we begin to familiarise ourselves with the outside world within a protected environment, with the reassuring sound of the mother’s heartbeat. This encounter between two persons, so intimately related while still distinct from each other, an encounter so full of promise, is our first experience of communication. It is an experience which we all share, since each of us was born of a mother.
“Even after we have come into the world, in some sense we are still in a 'womb', which is the family. A womb made up of various interrelated persons: the family is 'where we learn to live with others despite our differences'. Notwithstanding the differences of gender and age between them, family members accept one another because there is a bond between them. The wider the range of these relationships and the greater the differences of age, the richer will be our living environment. It is this bond which is at the root of language, which in turn strengthens the bond. We do not create our language; we can use it because we have received it. It is in the family that we learn to speak our 'mother tongue', the language of those who have gone before us. In the family we realise that others have preceded us, they made it possible for us to exist and in our turn to generate life and to do something good and beautiful. We can give because we have received. This virtuous circle is at the heart of the family’s ability to communicate among its members and with others. More generally, it is the model for all communication.
“The experience of this relationship which 'precedes' us enables the family to become the setting in which the most basic form of communication, which is prayer, is handed down. When parents put their newborn children to sleep, they frequently entrust them to God, asking that he watch over them. When the children are a little older, parents help them to recite some simple prayers, thinking with affection of other people, such as grandparents, relatives, the sick and suffering, and all those in need of God’s help. It was in our families that the majority of us learned the religious dimension of communication, which in the case of Christianity is permeated with love, the love that God bestows upon us and which we then offer to others.
“In the family, we learn to embrace and support one another, to discern the meaning of facial expressions and moments of silence, to laugh and cry together with people who did not choose one other yet are so important to each other. This greatly helps us to understand the meaning of communication as recognising and creating closeness. When we lessen distances by growing closer and accepting one another, we experience gratitude and joy. Mary’s greeting and the stirring of her child are a blessing for Elizabeth; they are followed by the beautiful canticle of the Magnificat, in which Mary praises God’s loving plan for her and for her people. A 'yes' spoken with faith can have effects that go well beyond ourselves and our place in the world. To 'visit' is to open doors, not remaining closed in our little world, but rather going out to others. So too the family comes alive as it reaches beyond itself; families who do so communicate their message of life and communion, giving comfort and hope to more fragile families, and thus build up the Church herself, which is the family of families.
“More than anywhere else, the family is where we daily experience our own limits and those of others, the problems great and small entailed in living peacefully with others. A perfect family does not exist. We should not be fearful of imperfections, weakness or even conflict, but rather learn how to deal with them constructively. The family, where we keep loving one another despite our limits and sins, thus becomes a school of forgiveness. Forgiveness is itself a process of communication. When contrition is expressed and accepted, it becomes possible to restore and rebuild the communication which broke down. A child who has learned in the family to listen to others, to speak respectfully and to express his or her view without negating that of others, will be a force for dialogue and reconciliation in society.
“When it comes to the challenges of communication, families who have children with one or more disabilities have much to teach us. A motor, sensory or mental limitation can be a reason for closing in on ourselves, but it can also become, thanks to the love of parents, siblings, and friends, an incentive to openness, sharing and ready communication with all. It can also help schools, parishes and associations to become more welcoming and inclusive of everyone.
“In a world where people often curse, use foul language, speak badly of others, sow discord and poison our human environment by gossip, the family can teach us to understand communication as a blessing. In situations apparently dominated by hatred and violence, where families are separated by stone walls or the no less impenetrable walls of prejudice and resentment, where there seem to be good reasons for saying 'enough is enough', it is only by blessing rather than cursing, by visiting rather than repelling, and by accepting rather than fighting, that we can break the spiral of evil, show that goodness is always possible, and educate our children to fellowship.
“Today the modern media, which are an essential part of life for young people in particular, can be both a help and a hindrance to communication in and between families. The media can be a hindrance if they become a way to avoid listening to others, to evade physical contact, to fill up every moment of silence and rest, so that we forget that 'silence is an integral element of communication; in its absence, words rich in content cannot exist'. The media can help communication when they enable people to share their stories, to stay in contact with distant friends, to thank others or to seek their forgiveness, and to open the door to new encounters. By growing daily in our awareness of the vital importance of encountering others, these 'new possibilities', we will employ technology wisely, rather than letting ourselves be dominated by it. Here too, parents are the primary educators, but they cannot be left to their own devices. The Christian community is called to help them in teaching children how to live in a media environment in a way consonant with the dignity of the human person and service of the common good.
“The great challenge facing us today is to learn once again how to talk to one another, not simply how to generate and consume information. The latter is a tendency which our important and influential modern communications media can encourage. Information is important, but it is not enough. All too often things get simplified, different positions and viewpoints are pitted against one another, and people are invited to take sides, rather than to see things as a whole.
“The family, in conclusion, is not a subject of debate or a terrain for ideological skirmishes. Rather, it is an environment in which we learn to communicate in an experience of closeness, a setting where communication takes place, a 'communicating community'. The family is a community which provides help, which celebrates life and is fruitful. Once we realise this, we will once more be able to see how the family continues to be a rich human resource, as opposed to a problem or an institution in crisis. At times the media can tend to present the family as a kind of abstract model which has to be accepted or rejected, defended or attacked, rather than as a living reality. Or else a grounds for ideological clashes rather than as a setting where we can all learn what it means to communicate in a love received and returned. Relating our experiences means realising that our lives are bound together as a single reality, that our voices are many, and that each is unique.
“Families should be seen as a resource rather than as a problem for society. Families at their best actively communicate by their witness the beauty and the richness of the relationship between man and woman, and between parents and children. We are not fighting to defend the past. Rather, with patience and trust, we are working to build a better future for the world in which we live”.
The wisdom of parents must guide children in the digital world
Vatican City, 23 January 2015 (VIS) – A press conference was held in the Holy See Press Office this morning in which Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, and Professor Chiara Giaccardi of the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan, Italy, presented the Holy Father's Message for the 49th World Day of Communications, entitled “Communicating the family: a privileged place of encounter with the gift of love”.
Archbishop Celli explained, “From this text there emerges a positive overall message, given that the Pope affirms that the family continues to be a great resource and not merely a problem or an institution in crisis. As we can see, the Pope is not interested principally in the problem between the family and communication linked to new technologies. He instead focuses on the most profoundly true and human dimension of communication”.
The message affirms, he continued, that the family “has the capacity to communicate itself and to communicate, by virtue of the bond that links its various members”, and he noted that “a paragraph is dedicated to prayer, defined as a fundamental form of communication that finds in the family its truest environment of discovery and experience”.
“In this context”, he added, forgiveness is understood “as a dynamic of communication, since when contrition is expressed and accepted, it becomes possible to restore and rebuild the communication which broke down”. He also remarked that a long paragraph is devoted to the most modern media and their influence on communication in and among families, both as a help and a hindrance. He noted that the text clearly restates what has already been underlined in the teachings of St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. “But it is important to rediscover yet again that the parents are the first educators of their children, who are increasingly present in the digital sphere. The presence of parents does not have a primarily technological dimension – generally children know more than their parents in this field – but is important on account of the wisdom they contribute”.
“It is well-known that one of the great risks is that children or teenagers may isolate themselves in a 'virtual world', significantly reducing their necessary integration in real everyday life and in the interrelationships of friendship. This is not to say that the relationships of affection or friendship that develop in the context of the web are not real. It must also be remembered that the young – and the not so young – are called upon to give witness to Christ in the digital world too, in the social networks we all inhabit”.
Decrees of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints
Vatican City, 23 January 2015 (VIS) – Yesterday afternoon the Holy Father Francis received in a private audience Cardinal Angelo Amato, S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, during which he authorised the Congregation to promulgate the following decrees:
MIRACLES
- attributed to the Venerable Servant of God Maria Teresa Casini, Italian foundress of the Oblate Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (1864-1937);
MARTYRDOM
- Servants of God Fidela (nee Dolores Oller Angelats) and two companions, Spanish professed nuns of the Institute of Sisters of St. Joseph, killed in hatred of the faith in Spain between 26 and 29 August 1936;
- Servants of God Pio Heredia Zubia and seventeen companions, of the Trappists of Cantabria and the Cistercian nuns of the Congregation of St. Bernard, killed in hatred of the faith in Spain in 1936;
- Servant of God Tshimangadzo Samuel Benedict Daswa (ne Bakali), South African layperson, killed in hatred of the faith in South Africa on 2 February 1990.
HEROIC VIRTUES
- Servant of God Ladislao Bukowinski, Ukrainian diocesan priest (1904-1974);
- Servant of God Aloysius Schwartz, American diocesan priest, founder of the Sisters of Mary of Banneux and the Brothers of Christ (1930-1992);
- Servant of God Cointa Jauregui Oses, Spanish professed nun of the Company of Mary Our Lady (1875-1954);
- Servant of God Teresa Gardi, Italian layperson of the Third Order of St. Francis (1769-1837);
- Servant of God Luis De Trelles y Nuogerol, Spanish layperson and founder of the Nocturnal Adoration Society in Spain (1819-1891);
- Servant of God Elisabeth Maria (nee Erizabe-to Maria) Satoko Kitahara, Japanese layperson (1929-1958);
- Servant of God Virginia Blanco Tardio, Bolivian layperson (1916-1990).
Audiences
Vatican City, 23 January 2015 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:
- Cardinal George Pell, prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy;
- Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith;
- Msgr. Pio Vito Pinto, dean of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota;
- College of the Prelate Auditors of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota;
- Maja Marija Lovrencic Svetek, ambassador of Slovenia, on her farewell visit.
Yesterday, Thursday 22 January, the Holy Father received in audience Cardinal Angelo Amato, S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.
22-01-2015 - Year XXII - Num. 016 

Catholics and Lutherans together can bear witness to God’s mercy in our societies
Vatican City, 22 January 2015 (VIS) – “The fact that you come here together is itself a witness to the importance of efforts for unity. The fact that you pray together is a witness to our belief that only through the grace of God can that unity be achieved. The fact that you recite the Creed together is a witness to the one common faith of the whole of Christianity”. St. John Paul II addressed these words to the first Finnish ecumenical delegation of the Lutheran Church to come to Rome thirty years ago, and this morning, Pope Francis repeated them to the delegation present today on their annual ecumenical pilgrimage to celebrate the feast of St. Henry of Uppsala, the patron of Finland. The Pope mentioned that this year the visit coincides with the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, to reflect this year on Jesus' words to the Samaritan woman at the well: “Give me to drink”.
“We are reminded that the source of all grace is the Lord himself, and that His gifts transform those who receive them, making them witnesses to the true life that is in Him alone”, said the Holy Father. “As the Gospel tells us, many Samaritans believed in Jesus because of the woman’s testimony. As you, Bishop Vikstrom, have said, there is so much that Catholics and Lutherans can do together to bear witness to God’s mercy in our societies. A shared Christian witness is very much needed in the face of the mistrust, insecurity, persecution, pain and suffering experienced so widely in today’s world”.
He continued, “This common witness can be sustained and encouraged by progress in theological dialogue between the Churches. The Joint Declaration on the Doctrine on Justification, which was solemnly signed some fifteen years ago between the Lutheran World Federation and the Catholic Church, can produce further fruits of reconciliation and cooperation between us. The Nordic Lutheran–Catholic dialogue in Finland and Sweden, under the related theme Justification in the Life of the Church, has been reflecting on important questions deriving from the Joint Declaration. Let us hope that further convergence will emerge from that dialogue on the concept of the Church, the sign and instrument of the salvation brought to us in Jesus Christ”.
The Pope praises the service of the Public Security Inspectorate in the Vatican
Vatican City, 22 January 2015 (VIS) – This morning Pope Francis received in audience a group of agents from the General Inspectorate for Public Security in the Vatican, accompanied by their families. This institution will celebrate the seventieth anniversary of the presence of the Italian forces of order in the Vatican. The Pope thanked them for the work they carry out on a daily basis “with professionalism and dedication”. He continued, “We began a new year a short while ago, and we have many hopes and expectations. We also see on the horizon the shadows and dangers that trouble humanity. As Christians we are called upon not to lose heart or to be discouraged. Our hope rests upon an immovable rock: God's love, revealed and given in Christ Jesus, our Lord”.
In his address, the Holy Father recalled the comforting words of the apostle Paul: “'Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? ... Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him Who loved us'. … In the light of this firm hope, your work assumes a different meaning, that brings human and Christian values into play. Indeed, you have the task of protecting and supervising places of the utmost importance for the faith, and of guaranteeing the security of millions of pilgrims. Many people who come to visit the heart of Christian Rome frequently turn to you”.
He added, “May every person feel helped and protected by your presence and your care. … We are all called to be our neighbour's guardians. The Lord will call us to account for the responsibilities entrusted to us, for the good and the bad we have brought upon our neighbours”.
Audiences
Vatican City, 22 January 2015 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:
- Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation;
- Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata; apostolic nuncio, former vice-camerlengo of the Apostolic Camera;
- Ignazio Marino, mayor of Rome.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 22 January 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Quimper, France, presented by Bishop Jean-Marie Le Vert, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.