Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Latest News from #Vatican and #PopeFrancis

01-04-2015 - Year XXII - Num. 065 

Summary
- Easter Triduum: peak of the liturgical year and of Christian life
- Ten years since the death of St. John Paul II
- Tax agreement between the Holy See and the Italian Republic
- Bull of Indiction for the Jubilee of Mercy: 11 April in St. Peter's Basilica
- Pope Francis' prayer intentions for April
- Declaration of the Vice Director of the Holy See Press Office
- The Holy See on the Sustainable Development Goals
- Other Pontifical Acts
- Palm Sunday: God humbles Himself for His people
- Angelus: the Pope entrusts the victims of the Alps air crash to Our Lady
- St. Teresa, a “remarkable woman”: 500th anniversary of the birth of the founder of Carmel
- Pope's telegram for the death of the Catholicos Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East
- Francis prays for flood victims in Chile and Peru
- Audiences
- Other Pontifical Acts
Easter Triduum: peak of the liturgical year and of Christian life
Vatican City, 1 April 2015 (VIS) – Pope Francis dedicated the catechesis of this Wednesday's general audience to the Easter Triduum, the culmination of the liturgical year, “and of our life as Christians”, which begins tomorrow, Holy Thursday, with the celebration of the Last Supper, in which Jesus offers His Body and Blood to the Father, in the Bread and Wine, and instructs us to perpetuate this offering in His memory.
“The Gospel of this ceremony, recalling the washing of the feet, expresses the same meaning of the Eucharist from another perspective”, said the Holy Father to the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square. “Jesus, like a servant, washes the feet of Simon Peter ad the other eleven disciples. With this prophetic gesture he expresses the meaning of His life and His passion, as service to God and to His brothers. … This also happens in our Baptism, when the grace of God cleanses us of sin and we are clothed in Christ. This happens every time we commemorate the Lord in the Eucharist: we make communion with Christ the Servant to obey His commandment, that of loving each other as He has loved us. If we partake in holy Communion without being sincerely willing to wash each other's feet, we do not recognise the Body of the Lord”.
In the liturgy of Good Friday we consider the mystery of the death of Christ and we worship the Cross. “In the final moments of life, before delivering his spirit to the Father, Christ said, 'It is finished'. … This means that the work of salvation is complete, that all the Scriptures find their fulfilment in the love of Christ, the sacrificial lamb. Jesus, by His sacrifice, transformed the greatest wickedness into the greatest love”.
The Pontiff commented that throughout the centuries men and women have, by the witness of their existence, “reflected a ray of this perfect, full, uncontaminated love”, offering the example of a heroic witness of our times, the Italian priest and missionary in Turkey Andrea Santoro, who shortly before being murdered in the church of Trebisonda on 5 February 2006, wrote: “I am here to live among these people and to let Jesus do so, lending Him my flesh. … We become capable of salvation only by offering our own flesh. The evil of the world must be borne and pain shared, absorbed in one's own flesh unto the end, as Jesus did”. “This example, and many others, sustain us in offering our own life as a gift of love to our brethren, in imitation of Jesus”, exclaimed the Pope.
On Holy Saturday, “the Church contemplates Christ's 'repose' in the tomb after the victorious battle of the Cross. On Holy Saturday the Church once again identifies with Mary: all our faith is encompassed in her, the first and perfect disciple, the first and perfect believer. In the darkness that enshrouds Creation, she alone keeps the flame of faith alight, hoping against all hope in Jesus' Resurrection”.
On the great Easter Vigil, “we celebrate the Risen Christ as the centre and end of the cosmos and of history; we stay awake to await His return, when Easter will manifest itself fully. At times, the darkness of night seems to penetrate the soul; at times we think, 'there is no longer anything to be done', and the heart no longer finds the strength to love. … But it is precisely in that darkness that Christ lights the flame of God's love: a gleam that breaks through the darkness, presage of a new beginning. The stone of suffering is overturned, making space for hope. This is the great mystery of Easter! On this holy night the Church gives to us the light of the Resurrection, so that we no longer have inside us the regret of saying 'by now...', but rather the hope of one who opens up to a present full of the future: Christ has defeated death, and we are with Him. Our life does not end at the tombstone!”.
“During these days of the Holy Triduum, let us limit ourselves to commemorating the Lord's passion, but let us instead enter into the mystery, making His feelings and His attitudes our own, as the Apostle Paul tells us: 'Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus'. Then ours will be a happy Easter”.
Ten years since the death of St. John Paul II
Vatican City, 1 April 2015 (VIS) – In his greetings following today's catechesis, the Pope recalled that tomorrow will be the tenth anniversary of the death of St. John Paul II. “We remember him as a great witness to Christ in His suffering, death and resurrection, and invoke his intercession for us, for the family, for the Church, so that the light of resurrection may shine over all the shadows of our life and fill us with joy and peace”.
Tax agreement between the Holy See and the Italian Republic
Vatican City, 1 April 2015 (VIS) – This morning, in the Secretariat of State, an agreement on fiscal matters was signed by the Holy See and the Italian Republic. It was signed on behalf of the Holy See by Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, secretary for Relations with States, and for the Italian Republic by Pier Carlo Padoan, minister of Economics and Finance, with full powers.
The reforms introduced in 2010 and the creation by the Holy See of institutions with specific experience in economics and finance now enable full administrative cooperation, also with regard to fiscal matters. Within the framework of the special importance of bilateral relations, Italy is the first country with which the Holy See has signed an agreement governing the exchange of information.
In accordance with the current process of establishing transparency in the field of financial relations at a global level, the Convention transposes the most up to date international standard in terms of the exchange of information (article 26 of the OSCE Model) to regulate cooperation between the competent authorities of the two contracting Parties. The exchange of information relates to the fiscal year starting 1 January 2009.
The Convention, from the date on which it enters into force, will enable full compliance, with simplified procedures, with the tax obligations relating to financial assets held by institutions engaging in financial activities in the Holy See by various physical and legal persons resident in Italy. The same persons will be able to have access to a procedure for the regularisation of these activities, with the same effects as established by Law 186/2014.
The Convention will also implement the provisions of the Lateran Treaty regarding tax exemption for property belonging to the Holy See, indicated in the same Treaty.
Finally, the Convention incorporates the Exchange of notes between the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Secretariat of State in July 2007, which provides for the notification of tax acts to the Holy See authorities via diplomatic channels.
31-03-2015 - Year XXII - Num. 064 

Bull of Indiction for the Jubilee of Mercy: 11 April in St. Peter's Basilica
Vatican City, 31 March 2015 (VIS) – Following the first announcement of the next extraordinary Holy Year by Pope Francis on 13 March, the Holy Father will proceed with the official indiction of the Jubilee of Mercy with the publication of the Bull of Indiction onSaturday 11 April, at 5.30 pm in St. Peter’s Basilica.
The rite of publication will involve the reading of various passages of the Bull before the Holy Door of the Vatican Basilica. Pope Francis will subsequently preside at the celebration of First Vespers of Divine Mercy Sunday, thus underlining in a particular way the fundamental theme of the extraordinary Holy Year: God’s Mercy.
The term bull (from the Latin bulla = bubble or, more generally, a rounded object) originally indicated the metal capsule used to protect the wax seal attached with a cord to a document of particular importance, to attest to its authenticity and, as a consequence, its authority. Over time, the term began to be used first to indicate the seal, then the document itself, so that nowadays it is used for all papal documents of special importance that bear, or at least traditionally would have borne, the Pontiff’s seal.
The bull for the indiction of a jubilee, for instance in the case of an extraordinary Holy Year, aside from indicating its time, with the opening and closing dates and the main ways in which it will be implemented, constitutes the fundamental document for recognising the spirit in which it is announced, and the intentions and the outcomes hoped for by the Pontiff, who invokes it for the Church.
In the case of the last two extraordinary Holy Years, 1933 and 1983, the Bull of Indiction was published on the occasion of the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord. For the next extraordinary Holy Year, the choice of the occasion on which the publication of the Bull will take place clearly demonstrates the Holy Father’s particular attention to the theme of Mercy.
Pope Francis' prayer intentions for April
Vatican City, 31 March 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father's universal prayer intention for April is: “That people may learn to respect creation and care for it as a gift of God”.
His intention for evangelisation is: “That persecuted Christians may feel the consoling presence of the Risen Lord and the solidarity of all the Church”.
Declaration of the Vice Director of the Holy See Press Office
Vatican City, 31 March 2015 (VIS) – The Vice Director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Ciro Benedettini, C.P., today issued the following declaration:
“Prior to the recent appointment of His Excellency Msgr. Juan de la Cruz Barros Madrid as bishop of Osorno, Chile, the Congregation for Bishops carefully examined the prelate’s candidature and did not find objective reasons precluding the appointment”.
The Holy See on the Sustainable Development Goals
Vatican City, 31 March 2015 (VIS) – Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Holy See Permanent Observer at the United Nations in New York, spoke at the session dedicated to intergovernmental negotiations on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, held on 24 March.
The prelate expressed his appreciation for the “ambitious and compelling nature” of the sustainable development goals (SDGs), and his conviction of the need for a “transformative and action-oriented post-2015 agenda”. “Moreover”, he continued, “we SDGs must integrate in a balanced manner the three pillars of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental development – with an overarching focus on the eradication of poverty and the achievement of a life of dignity for all. It is imperative that the SDGs focus more on the needs of the most vulnerable countries, notably the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Land-Locked Developing Countries (LLDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS), with particular attention to the sectors of the populations where poverty is most pervasive, to those regions where armed conflicts continue to block even the realisation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – and indeed cause further regression towards underdevelopment – and to those areas most affected by natural disasters.
The Holy See delegation, affirmed the Archbishop, “is fully aware that SDGs are a carefully and purposefully crafted package to respond to the desires of the stakeholders”, and therefore does not support “the technical proofing of the goals and targets, as it may lead to the re-opening and re-negotiating of what is already a politically balanced agreement acceptable to the great majority of the stakeholders”. Furthermore, results and progress if the SDGs are implemented “would have to be assessed and verified against indicators agreed by the stakeholders themselves”.
“Therefore”, he continued, “my delegation takes note of the work of the UN Statistical Commission in providing a preliminary list of indicators for the SDGs and targets. We further emphasise that the development of evidence-based indicators should continue to be carried out in an open and transparent manner and guided by Member States. These indicators should not upset the political balance of the SDGs, nor should they serve to impose ideas or ideologies that do not find consensus under the outcome of the Open Working Groups (OWGs)”.
Archbishop Auza concluded by indicating that certain goals and targets “are understood differently in different cultural and religious contexts and will translate differently into their national policies and legislation. We believe the indicators must take these differences into consideration and be drafted in a way that allows countries to assess their results in a way that both reflects and respects their national values, as well as is consistent with their national policies and legislation. … My delegation strongly believes that the indicators should be global, while taking into consideration the national and regional specificities, especially different capacities. Indicators cannot be unrealistic figures that only, or not even, developed countries can achieve”.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 31 March 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed:
- Fr. Christophe Amade, M. Afr., as bishop of Kalemie-Kirungu (area 71,577, population 5,950,013, Catholics 3,663,230, priests 100, religious 125), Democratic Republic of the Congo. The bishop-elect was born in Mune, Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1961 and was ordained a priest in 1990. He studied theology at the London Missionary Institute, England, and holds a doctorate in philosophy from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome. He has exercised his pastoral ministry in Funsi in the diocese of Wa, Ghana, and has served as lecturer and subsequently rector of the Consortium of Philosophy in Jinja, Uganda, and lecturer in philosophy at the Consortium of Philosophy in Kumasi, Ghana and at the St. Augustin University, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo. He is currently provincial superior of the Society of the Missionaries of Africa (“White Fathers”) for Central Africa.
- Fr. Donatien Bafuidinsoni, S.J., and Msgr. Jean-Pierre Kwambamba Masi as auxiliaries of the archdiocese of Kinshasa (area 8,500, population 10,516,000, Catholics 5,830,000, priests 1166, religious 3,643), Democratic Republic of the Congo. Bishop-elect Bafuidinsoni is currently judicial vicar of the same archdiocese; Bishop-elect Kwambamba Masi, currently of the clergy of Kenge, is an official of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.
- Rev. Fr. Giorgio Demetrio Gallaro as bishop of Piana degli Albanese di Sicilia (area 420, population 30,500, Catholics 29,000, priests 28, permanent deacons 4, religious 159), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Pozzallo, Italy in 1948 and was ordained a priest in 1972. He holds a doctorate in oriental canon law from the Pontifical Oriental Institute, Rome, and a licentiate in ecumenical theology from the Pontifical Institute of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum), Rome. In the U.S.A. he has served in pastoral and academic roles in the Melkite eparchy of Newton, Massachusetts, the Ukrainian eparchy of Stamford, Connecticut, and the Ruthenian archieparchy of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is currently syncellus for canonical affairs and judicial vicar in the archieparchy of Pittsburgh, lecturer in canon law and ecumenical theology at the Byzantine Catholic Seminary of Sts. Cyril and Methodius in Pittsburgh, and judge of appeal for the archieparchy of Philadelphia of the Ukrainians.
- Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi, president of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, as prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education.
- Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, archbishop of Koln, Germany, as member of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See.
30-03-2015 - Year XXII - Num. 63 

Palm Sunday: God humbles Himself for His people
Vatican City, 30 March 2015 (VIS) – At 9.30 a.m. in St. Peter's Square the Holy Father presided at the solemn liturgical celebration of Palm Sunday and the Passion of the Lord. At the centre of the square, near the obelisk, the Pope blessed the palm and olive branches and, at the end of the procession, he celebrated the Holy Mass for the Passion of the Lord. Young people from Rome and other dioceses took part in the celebration, on the occasion of the thirtieth World Youth Day, on the theme “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God”.
The following is the full text of the homily pronounced by Pope Francis following the proclamation of the Passion of the Lord according to Mark:
“At the heart of this celebration, which seems so festive, are the words we heard in the hymn of the Letter to the Philippians: 'He humbled himself'. Jesus' humiliation. These words show us God’s way and, consequently, that which must be the way of Christians: it is humility. A way which constantly amazes and disturbs us: we will never get used to a humble God!
“Humility is above all God’s way: God humbles himself to walk with his people, to put up with their infidelity. This is clear when we read the the story of the Exodus. How humiliating for the Lord to hear all that grumbling, all those complaints against Moses, but ultimately against him, their Father, who brought them out of slavery and was leading them on the journey through the desert to the land of freedom.
“This week, Holy Week, which leads us to Easter, we will take this path of Jesus’ own humiliation. Only in this way will this week be 'holy' for us too. We will feel the contempt of the leaders of his people and their attempts to trip him up. We will be there at the betrayal of Judas, one of the Twelve, who will sell him for thirty pieces of silver. We will see the Lord arrested and carried off like a criminal; abandoned by his disciples, dragged before the Sanhedrin, condemned to death, beaten and insulted. We will hear Peter, the 'rock' among the disciples, deny him three times. We will hear the shouts of the crowd, egged on by their leaders, who demand that Barabas be freed and Jesus crucified. We will see him mocked by the soldiers, robed in purple and crowned with thorns. And then, as he makes his sorrowful way beneath the cross, we will hear the jeering of the people and their leaders, who scoff at his being King and Son of God. This is God’s way, the way of humility. It is the way of Jesus; there is no other. And there can be no humility without humiliation.
“Following this path to the full, the Son of God took on the 'form of a slave'. In the end, humility also means service. It means making room for God by stripping oneself, 'emptying oneself', as Scripture says. This – the pouring out of oneself – is the greatest humiliation of all.
“There is another way, however, opposed to the way of Christ. It is worldliness, the way of the world. The world proposes the way of vanity, pride, success, the other way. The Evil One proposed this way to Jesus too, during his forty days in the desert. But Jesus immediately rejected it. With him, and only by his grace, with his help, we too can overcome this temptation to vanity, to worldliness, not only at significant moments, but in daily life as well. In this, we are helped and comforted by the example of so many men and women who, in silence and concealment, sacrifice themselves daily to serve others: a sick relative, an elderly person living alone, a disabled person, the homeless.
“We think too of the humiliation endured by all those who, for their lives of fidelity to the Gospel, encounter discrimination and pay a personal price. We think too of our brothers and sisters who are persecuted because they are Christians, the martyrs of our own time – and there are many. They refuse to deny Jesus and they endure insult and injury with dignity. They follow him on his way. In truth, we can speak of a √¨cloud of witnesses' – the martyrs of our own time.
“During this week, let us set about with determination along this same path of humility, with immense love for him, our Lord and Saviour. Love will guide us and give us strength. For where he is, we too shall be”.
Angelus: the Pope entrusts the victims of the Alps air crash to Our Lady
Vatican City, 29 March 2015 (VIS) – Following the Eucharistic celebration, the Holy Father prayed the Angelus and greeted all those present, especially the young, whom he exhorted to continue on their path both within the dioceses and in their pilgrimage across continents, leading next year to Krakow, Poland, the homeland of St. John Paul II, who initiated the World Youth Days.
“The theme of this great meeting: 'Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy', harmonises with the Holy Year of Mercy”, he said. “Let yourselves be filled with the tenderness of the Father, to radiate it around you. And now we turn in prayer to Mary, our Mother, so that she might help us to live Holy Week with faith. She too was present when Jesus entered Jerusalem, acclaimed by the crowd; but her heart, like that of her Son, was ready for sacrifice. Let us learn from Her, faithful Virgin, to follow the Lord even when His path leads to the Cross. I entrust to her intercession the victims of last Tuesday's aviation tragedy, among whom there was also a group of German students”.
St. Teresa, a “remarkable woman”: 500th anniversary of the birth of the founder of Carmel
Vatican City, 28 March 2015 (VIS) – Pope Francis has written a letter to Fr. Saverio Cannistra, prepositor general of the Order of Descalced Brothers of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel, to commemorate the fifth centenary of the birth of St. Teresa of Jesus and and to participate in the giving of thanks for the charism of this “remarkable woman”.
“I consider it a providential grace that this anniversary coincides with the year dedicated to consecrated life, in which the Saint of Avila shines as a sure guide and attractive model of total commitment to God. … How much we continue to benefit from the witness of her consecration, born directly of her encounter with Christ, her experience of prayer, as a continual dialogue with God, and her community life, rooted in the maternity of the Church!”
“St. Teresa was above all a teacher of prayer. The discovery of Christ's humanity was central to her experience. Moved by the desire to share this personal experience with others, she describes it in a lively and simple way, accessible to all, as consisting simply in 'a relationship of friendship … with Whom we know loves us'. The prayer of Teresa was not a prayer reserved solely to a space or time of day; it arose spontaneously on the most diverse occasions. … She was convinced of the value of continual, if not always perfect, prayer. … To renew consecrated life today, Teresa has left us a great heritage full of concrete suggestions, ways and methods of praying that, far from closing us in ourselves or leading us merely to inner balance, enable us always to start again from Jesus, and constitute a genuine school for growth in love for God and neighbour”.
“Starting from her encounter with Jesus, St. Teresa lived 'another life'; she transformed herself into a tireless communicator of the Gospel. Keen to serve the Church, and faced with the great problems of her time, she did not limit herself to being an observer of the situations surrounding her. … In this way she began the Teresian reform in which she asked her sisters not to waste time discussing 'matters of little importance' with God while “the world is in flames'. This missionary and ecclesial dimension has always distinguished the Discalced Carmelites. As she did during her times, St. Teresa opens up new horizons to us today; she calls us to a great enterprise, to look upon the world through Christ's eyes, to seek what He seeks and to love what He loves”.
“St. Teresa knew that neither prayer nor mission could sustain an authentic community life. Therefore, the foundation she laid in her monasteries was fraternity. … She was very careful to warn her sisters of the danger of self-referentiality in fraternal life”, emphasising the need to “'place what we are at the service of others. To avoid such risks, the Saint of Avila reminded her sisters above all of the virtue of humility, which is neither outward neglect nor inner timidness of the soul; instead, it involves each person being aware of their own possibilities and of what God can achieve in us. The contrary is what she refers to as a 'false point of honour', a source of gossip, jealousy and criticism, that seriously harm relations with others. … With these noble roots, Teresian communities are called to become houses of communion, able to bear witness to the fraternal and maternal love of the Church, presenting to the Lord the needs of the world, riven by divisions and wars”.
Pope's telegram for the death of the Catholicos Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East
Vatican City, 28 March 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has sent a telegram of condolences to His Beatitude Mar Aprem Locum Tenens of the Assyrian Church of the East for the death of the His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV, Catholicos Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East.
The Pope assures the Assyrian faithful of the spiritual closeness of all Catholics, and remarked that the Christian world has lost “an important spiritual leader, a brave and prudent pastor, who faithfully served his community in extremely difficult times”.
His Holiness Mar Dinka “suffered greatly as a result of the tragic situation in the Middle East, especially in Iraq and in Syria”, he continues, “resolutely calling attention to the plight of our Christian brothers and sisters and other religious minorities suffering daily persecution. I recall how we spoke of this at length during the recent visit of His Holiness to Rome. I give heartfelt thanks to Almighty God for the enduring commitment of His Holiness to improving relations among Christians and in particular between the Catholic Church and the Assyrian Church of the East. May the Lord receive him and grant him eternal repose, and may the memory of his long and devoted service to the Church live on as a challenge and an inspiration to us all”.
Francis prays for flood victims in Chile and Peru
Vatican City, 28 March 2015 (VIS) – Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin has sent a telegram on behalf of the Holy Father to Archbishpo Ivo Scapolo, apostolic nuncio in Chile, on account of the floodings and landslides caused by intense rainfall, that have already claimed six lives and left 19 people missing and thousands injured in the north of Chile; in southern Peru a further six people have been killed. The torrential rains have caused a total of at least 4,000 victims in both countries.
“Due to the severe flooding that has affected areas of Peru and Chile, causing casualties and heavy damage to property, the Holy Father offers prayers for the eternal repose of the deceased and asks for the Lord to grant consolation and strength to those affected by this disaster.
The Holy Father furthermore exhorts all institutions and persons of good will, motivated by sentiments of fraternal solidarity and Christian charity, to offer assistance to overcome these difficult moments, and offers them his heartfelt blessing”.
Audiences
Vatican City, 30 March 2015 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:
- Archbishop Jose Rodriguez Carballo, secretary of the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life;
- Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity;
- Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, archbishop of Genoa, Italy, president of the Italian Episcopal Conference;
- Msgr. Jean-Louis Brugues, archivist and librarian of the Holy Roman Church;
- Cardinal Angelo Comastri, archpriest of the Papal Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican; vicar general of His Holiness for Vatican City State; president of the Fabric of St. Peter;
- Bishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 30 March 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed:
- Fr. Alberto Vera Arejula, O. de M., as auxiliary of the diocese of Xai-Xai (area 75,709, population 1,664,000, Catholics 298,000, priests 27, religious 81), Mozambique. The bishop-elect was born in Aguilar del Rio Alhama, Spain in 1957, gave his solemn vows in 1981, and was ordained a priest in the same year. He studied theology and psychology and, in his pastoral ministry has served in a number of roles including parish vicar, formator of postulants and promoter of vocations in the Vicariate of Central America in Guatemala; provincial counsellor and head of youth and vocational pastoral ministry for the Province of Aragon, Spain; formator of the community, superior of the Community of Matola-Mozambiqye, rector of studies of the Mercedarian Seminary, parish priest, primary and secondary school director, and diocesan counsellor for Caritas in Maputo, Mozambique. He is currently provincial delegate for the Mercedarian Fathers in Mozambique and parish priest in Xai-Xai.
On Sunday, 29 March, the Holy Father appointed Bishop Michael Goro Matsuura, auxiliary of the archdiocese of Osaka, Japan, as bishop of Nagoya (area 25,306, population 12,379,569, Catholics 26,666, priests 115, permanent deacons 3, religious 268), Japan. He succeeds Bishop Augustinus Jun-ichi Nomura, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.
On Saturday, 28 March, the Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Makurdi, Nigeria, presented by Bishop Athanasius Atule Usuh, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law. He is succeeded by Bishop Wilfred Chikpa Anagbe, C.M.F., coadjutor of the same diocese.

Today's Mass Readings : Wednesday April 1, 2015


Wednesday of Holy Week
Lectionary: 259


Reading 1IS 50:4-9A

The Lord GOD has given me
a well-trained tongue,
That I might know how to speak to the weary
a word that will rouse them.
Morning after morning
he opens my ear that I may hear;
And I have not rebelled,
have not turned back.
I gave my back to those who beat me,
my cheeks to those who plucked my beard;
My face I did not shield
from buffets and spitting.

The Lord GOD is my help,
therefore I am not disgraced;
I have set my face like flint,
knowing that I shall not be put to shame.
He is near who upholds my right;
if anyone wishes to oppose me,
let us appear together.
Who disputes my right?
Let him confront me.
See, the Lord GOD is my help;
who will prove me wrong?

Responsorial PsalmPS 69:8-10, 21-22, 31 AND 33-34

R. (14c) Lord, in your great love, answer me.
For your sake I bear insult,
and shame covers my face.
I have become an outcast to my brothers,
a stranger to my mother’s sons,
because zeal for your house consumes me,
and the insults of those who blaspheme you fall upon me.
R. Lord, in your great love, answer me.
Insult has broken my heart, and I am weak,
I looked for sympathy, but there was none;
for consolers, not one could I find.
Rather they put gall in my food,
and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.
R. Lord, in your great love, answer me.
I will praise the name of God in song,
and I will glorify him with thanksgiving:
“See, you lowly ones, and be glad;
you who seek God, may your hearts revive!
For the LORD hears the poor,
and his own who are in bonds he spurns not.”
R. Lord, in your great love, answer me.

Verse Before The Gospel

Hail to you, our King;
you alone are compassionate with our errors.

Or

Hail to you, our King, obedient to the Father;
you were led to your crucifixion like a gentle lamb to the slaughter.

GospelMT 26:14-25

One of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot,
went to the chief priests and said,
“What are you willing to give me
if I hand him over to you?”
They paid him thirty pieces of silver,
and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over.

On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread,
the disciples approached Jesus and said,
“Where do you want us to prepare
for you to eat the Passover?”
He said,
“Go into the city to a certain man and tell him,
‘The teacher says, “My appointed time draws near;
in your house I shall celebrate the Passover with my disciples.”’”
The disciples then did as Jesus had ordered,
and prepared the Passover.

When it was evening,
he reclined at table with the Twelve.
And while they were eating, he said,
“Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”
Deeply distressed at this,
they began to say to him one after another,
“Surely it is not I, Lord?”
He said in reply,
“He who has dipped his hand into the dish with me
is the one who will betray me.
The Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him,
but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed.
It would be better for that man if he had never been born.”
Then Judas, his betrayer, said in reply,
“Surely it is not I, Rabbi?”
He answered, “You have said so.”

Saint April 1 : St. Hugh of Grenoble : Confessor Bishop



Information:
Feast Day:April 1
Born:1053 at Chateauneuf, Dauphiné, France
Died:1 April 1132
Canonized:1134 by Pope Innocent II
The first tincture of the mind is of the utmost importance to virtue; and it was the happiness of this saint to receive from his cradle the strongest impressions of piety by the example and care of his illustrious and holy parents. He was born at Chateau-neuf, in the territory of Valence, in Dauphine, in 1053. His father, Odilo, served his country in an honourable post in the army, in which he acquitted himself of his duty to his prince with so much the greater fidelity and velour, as he most ardently endeavoured to sanctify his profession, and all his actions, by a motive of religion. Being sensible that all authority which men receive over others is derived from God, with an obligation that they employ it, in the first place, for the advancement of the divine honour, he laboured, by all the means in his power, to make his soldiers faithful servants of their Creator, and by severe punishments to restrain vices, those especially of impurity and lying. By the advice of his son, St. Hugh, he afterwards became a Carthusian monk, when he was upwards of fourscore years old, and lived eighteen years in great humility and austerity  under St. Bruno and his successors, in the Great Chartreuse, where he died one hundred years old, having received extreme unction and the viaticum from the hands of his son. Our saint likewise assisted in her last moments his mother, who had for many years, under his direction, served God in her own house, by prayer, fasting, and plenteous alms-deeds. Hugh, from the cradle, appeared to be a child of benediction. He went through his studies with great applause, and his progress in piety always kept pace with his advancement in learning. Having chosen to serve God in an ecclesiastical state, that he might always dwell in his house and be occupied in his praises, he accepted a canonry in the cathedral of Valence. In this station, the sanctity of his life and his extraordinary talents rendered him the ornament of that church; and the gentleness and affability of his deportment won him the affection of all his colleagues. He was tall and very comely, but naturally exceeding bashful; and such was his modesty that for some time he found means to conceal his learning and eloquence; nevertheless, his humility served only to show afterwards those talents to more advantage and with greater lustre. For no virtue shines brighter with learning than modesty, as nothing renders scholars more odious or despicable than haughtiness and pride, which they discover by their obstinacy and clamours, by the contempt with which they treat those who dissent from them in opinion, and by their ostentatious pedantry in embracing every occasion of exhibiting their supposed superior wit and extraordinary parts.
Hugh, then Bishop of Die, but soon after Archbishop of Lyons, and also cardinal legate of the holy see, was so charmed at first sight of the saint when he happened to come to Valence that he would not be contented till he had taken the good man into his household. He employed him in extirpating simony, and in many other affairs of importance. In 1080, the Legate Hugh held a synod at Avignon, in which he took under consideration the desolate condition and the grievous disorders into which the church of Grenoble was sunk through the sloth and bad example of its late mercenary pastor. The eyes of the legate and of the whole council were fixed on St. Hugh as the person best qualified, by his virtue and prudence, to reform these abuses and restore the ancient glory of that church; and with them the voice of the whole city conspired. But his reluctance and fears were not to be overcome till he was compelled by the repeated commands of the legate and council. The legate took our newly appointed bishop with him to Rome, in order to his receiving the  episcopal consecration from the hands of Gregory VII, who then sat in the chair of St. Peter. The servant of God was glad of this opportunity of consulting the vicar of Christ concerning his own conscience; for during a great part of his life he had been extremely molested with troublesome temptations of importunate blasphemous thoughts against the divine providence. Pope Gregory, who was a man very well versed in the interior trial of souls, assured him that this angel of Satan was permitted by God, in his sweet mercy, to buffet him only for his trial and crown: which words exceedingly comforted the saint, and encouraged him to bear his cross with patience and joy. A devout soul. under this trial, which finds these suggestions always painful and disagreeable, ought not to lose courage; for by patience and perseverance she exceedingly multiplies her crowns, and glorifies God, who has laid it upon her shoulders, and who will, when he sees fit, scatter these mists, and on a sudden translate her from this state of bitterness and darkness into the region of light, Joy, and the sweetest peace. St. Hugh prayed earnestly to be freed from this enemy, but received for a long time the same answer with St. Paul.1 In the mean while, his patience and constancy were his victory and his crown: and assiduous meditation on the sufferings of our divine Redeemer, who was made for us a man of sorrows, was his comfort and support.
The pious Countess Maud would needs be at the whole charge of the ceremony of his consecration: she also gave him a crosier and other episcopal ornaments, with a small library of suitable books, earnestly desiring to be instructed by his good counsels and assisted by his prayers. St. Hugh, after his ordination, hastened to his flock; but being arrived at Grenoble, could not refrain his tears, and was exceedingly afflicted and terrified when he saw the diocese overrun with tares which the enemy had sown while the pastor slept. He found the people in general immersed in a profound ignorance of several essential duties of religion, and plunged in vice and immorality. Some sins seemed by custom to have lost their name, and men committed them without any scruple or sign of remorse. The negligence and backwardness of many in frequenting the sacraments indicated a total decay of piety, and could not fail introducing many spiritual disorders in their souls, especially a great lukewarmness in prayer and other religious duties. Simony and usury seemed, under specious disguises, to be accounted innocent, and to reign almost without control. Many lands belonging to the church were usurped by laymen; and the revenues of the bishopric were dissipated, so that the saint, upon his arrival, found nothing either to enable him to assist the poor, or to supply his own necessities, unless he would have had recourse to unlawful contracts, as had been the common practice of many others, but which he justly deemed iniquitous; nor would he by any means defile his soul with them. He set himself in earnest to reprove vice and reform abuses. To this purpose he endeavoured by rigorous fasts, watchings, tears, sighs, and prayer to draw down the divine mercy on his flock; and so plentiful was the benediction of heaven upon his labours that he had the comfort to see the face of his diocese in a short time exceedingly changed. After two years, imitating therein the humility of some other saints, he privately resigned his bishopric, presuming on the tacit consent of the holy see; and, putting on the habit of St. Bennet, he entered upon a noviciate in the austere abbey of Chaise-Dieu, or Casa-Dei, in Auvergne, of the reformation of Cluni. There he lived a year a perfect model of all virtues to that house of saints, till Pope Gregory VII commanded him, in virtue of holy obedience, to resume his pastoral charge. Coming out of his solitude, like another Moses descending from the conversation of God on the mountain, he announced the divine law with greater zeal and success than ever. The author of his life assures us that he was an excellent and assiduous preacher.
St. Bruno and his six companions addressed themselves to him for his advice in their pious design of forsaking the world, and he appointed them a desert which was in his diocese, whither he conducted them in 1084. It is a frightful solitude, called the Chartreuse, or Carthusian Mountains, in Dauphine, which place gave name to the famous order St. Bruno founded there. The meek and pious behaviour of these servants of God took deep root in the heart of our holy pastor; and it was his delight frequently to visit them in their solitude, to join them in their exercises and austerities, and perform the meanest offices amongst them, as an outcast and one unworthy to bear them company. Sometimes the charms of contemplation detained him so long in this hermitage that St. Bruno was obliged to order him to go to his flock, and acquit himself of the duties which he owed them. He being determined to sell his horses for the benefit of the poor, thinking himself able to perform the visitation of his diocese on foot, St. Bruno, to whose advice he paid an implicit deference, opposed his design, urging that he had not strength for such an undertaking. For the last forty years of his life he was afflicted with almost continual headaches, and pains in the stomach; he also suffered the most severe interior temptations. Yet God did not leave him entirely destitute of comfort; but frequently visited his soul with heavenly sweetness and sensible spiritual consolations, which filled his heart under his afflictions with interior joy. The remembrance of the divine love, or of his own and others' spiritual miseries, frequently produced a flood of tears from his eyes, which way soever he turned them; nor was he able sometimes to check them in company or at table, especially whilst he heard the holy scriptures read. In hearing confessions, he frequently mingled his tears with those of his penitents, or first excited theirs by his own. At his sermons it was not unusual to see the whole audience melt into tears together; and some were so strongly affected that they confessed their sins publicly on the spot. After sermons, he was detained very long in hearing confession. He often cast himself at the feet of others, to entreat them to pardon injuries, or to make some necessary satisfaction to their neighbours. His love of heavenly things made all temporal affairs seem to him burdensome and tedious. Women he would never look in the face, so that ho knew not the public news or reports, for fear of detraction, or at least of dissipation. His constant pensioners and occasional alms (in the latter of which he was extremely bountiful) were very expensive to him: insomuch, that though, in order to relieve the poor, he had long denied himself every thing that seemed to have the least appearance of superfluity, still, for the extending his beneficent inclination, he even sold, in the time of famine, a gold chalice, and part of his episcopal ornaments, as gold rings and precious stones. And the happy consequence of St. Hugh's example this way was, that the rich were moved by it to bestow of their treasures to the necessitous, whereby the wants of all the poor of his diocese were supplied.
He earnestly solicited Pope Innocent II for leave to resign his bishopric, that he might die in solitude; but was never able to obtain his request. God was pleased to purify his soul by a lingering illness before he called him to himself. Some time before his death he lost his memory for everything but his prayers; the psalter and the Lord's prayer he recited with great devotion, almost without intermission; and he was said to have repeated the last three hundred times in one night. Being told that so constant an attention would increase his distemper, he said, "It is quite otherwise; by prayer I always find myself stronger." In the time of sickness, a certain forwardness and peevishness of disposition is what the best of us are too apt to give way to, through weakness of nature and a temptation of the enemy, who seeks to deprive a dying person of the most favorable advantages of penance and patience, and to feed and strengthen self-love in the soul while upon the very cross itself; and in the crucible in. which she is thrown by a singular mercy, in order to her coming forth refined and pure. In this fiery trial, the virtue of the saints shows itself genuine, and endued with a fortitude which renders it worthy its crown. By the same test is pretended virtue discovered: self-love can no longer disguise itself: it cries out, murmurs, frets, and repines: the mask which the hypocrite wore is here pulled off: saints, on the contrary, under every degree of torture cruelty can invent, preserve a happy patience and serenity of soul. Hence the devil would not allow the virtue of Job to be sincere before it had been approved under sickness and bodily pain.2 St. Hugh left us by his invincible patience a proof of the fervour of kits charity. Under the sharpest pains, he never let fall one word of complaint nor mentioned what he suffered; his whole concern seemed only to be for others. When any assisted him, he expressed the greatest confusion and thankfulness: if he had given the least trouble to anyone, he would beg to receive the discipline, and because no one would give it to him, would confess his fault, as he called it, and implore the divine mercy with tears. The like sentiments we read in the relation of the deaths of many of the holy monks of La Trappe. Dom. Bennet, under the most racking pains, when turned in his bed, said, "You lay me too much at my ease." Dom. Charles would not cool his mouth with a little water in the raging heat of a violent fever. Such examples teach us at least to blush at and condemn our murmurs and impatience under sickness. The humility of St. Hugh was the more surprising, because everyone approached him with the greatest reverence and affection, and thought it a happiness if they were allowed in any thing to serve him. It was his constant prayer, in which he begged his dear Carthusians and all others to join him, that God would extinguish in his heart all attachment to creatures, that his pure love might reign in all his affections. One said to him, "Why do you weep so bitterly, who never offended God by any wilful crime?" He replied, "Vanity and inordinate affections suffice to damn a soul. It is only through the divine mercy that we can hope to be saved, and shall we ever cease to implore it?" If anyone spoke of news in his presence, he checked them, saying, "This life is all given us for weeping and penance, not for idle discourses." He closed his penitential course on the 1st of April, in 1132, wanting only two months of being eighty years old, of which he had been fifty-two years bishop. Miracles attested the sanctity of his happy death; and he was canonized by Innocent II in 1134.
There is no saint who was not a lover of retirement and penance. Shall we not learn from them to shun the tumult of the world, as much as our circumstances will allow, and give ourselves up to the exercises of holy solitude, prayer, and pious reading. Holy solitude is the school of heavenly doctrine, where fervent souls study a divine science, which is learned by experience, not by the discourses of others. Here they learn to know God and themselves; they disengage their affections from the world, and burn and reduce to ashes all that can fasten their hearts to it. Here they give earthly things for those of heaven, and goods of small value for those of inestimable price. In blessed solitude, a man repairs in his soul the image of his Creator, which was effaced by sin, and, by the victory which he gains over his passions, is in some degree freed from the corruption of his nature, and restored in some measure to the state of its integrity and innocence by the ruin of vice, and the establishment of all virtues in his affections; so that, by a wonderful change wrought in his soul, he becomes a new creature, and a terrestrial angel. His sweet repose and his employments are also angelical, being of the same nature with those of the blessed in heaven By the earnest occupation of the powers of his soul on God and in God, or in doing his will, he is continually employed in a manner infinitely more excellent and more noble than he could be in governing all the empires of the world; and in a manner which is far preferable to all the vain occupations of the greatest men of the world during the whole course of their lives. Moreover, in the interior exercises, of this state, a soul receives certain antepasts of eternal felicity, by which she intimately feels how sweet God is, and learns to have no relish for anything but for him alone. "Oh, my friends," cried out a certain pious contemplative, "I take leave of you with these words, and this feeling invitation of the Psalmist: '<Come, taste yourselves, and see by your own experience how sweet the Lord is.>'" But these, and other privileges and precious advantages, only belong to the true solitary, who joins interior to exterior solitude, is never warped by sloth or remissness, gives no moments to idleness, uses continual violence to himself in order perfectly to subdue his passions, watches constantly over his senses, is penetrated to the heart with the wholesome sadness of penance, has death always before his eyes, is always taken up in the exercises of compunction, the divine praises, love, adoration, and thanksgiving, and is raised above the earth and all created things by the ardor of his desires of being united to God the sovereign good.


SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/H/sthughofgrenoble.asp#ixzz1qnnzlxkt