30-03-2015 - Year XXII - Num. 63
|Palm : God humbles Himself for His people|
Vatican City, 30 March 2015 (VIS) – At in St. Peter's Square the Holy Father presided at the solemn liturgical celebration of Palm 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 ìcloud 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”.
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.