Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Saint May 23 : St. Jeanne Antide Thouret : Foundress of Sisters of Divine Charity


Jeanne Antide Thouret was born on the 27th November 1765 at Sancy-le-Long in the Diocese of Besançon, in the Doubs area of France.  Jeanne was the fifth child of eight children.  Her mother died when Jeanne was 15, leaving her to care for her father and siblings.
Jeanne wanted to join a community that combined prayer with community living and ministry to the poor.  In 1787, at the age of 22, Jeanne entered the congregation of the Daughters of Charity, hoping to live a life of prayer, community life and service to the poor.
During the suppression of religious orders in the French Revolution in 1793, all Religious orders were banned and their members dispersed throughout the country.  Jeanne was ordered home to a secular life.  She refused, and tried to escape the authorities.  She was captured and beaten so badly that it took her months to recover from her injuries.  This did not deter Jeanne from continuing her work as a Daughter of Charity, namely caring for the sick, the poor and those wounded during the Revolution.
They urged Jeanne to return to France and to take in young women and train them in caring for the sick and educating children.
Jeanne accepted the request and was able to return to France in 1799 where she opened a school, a dispensary, and a soup kitchen for the poor in Besançon.
With this small group of helpers, Jeanne founded a new Congregation of the Sisters of Charity to maintain and develop these works.
In 1810, Jeanne Antide was called to Naples.  There, together with a group of sisters, she was faced with a very hierarchical social system where the wealthy never encountered to poor.  Jeanne Antide was given the responsibility of the Hospital of the Incurable, the largest hospital in the city, with the sisters often visiting the poor and sick in their homes.
In 1819, the Pope approved the Rule of Life, a book she wrote as a guide for the women who followed her.  In fact, the Rule of Life is still used today by the Sisters of Charity of St. Jeanne Antide. Jeanne Antide died in Naples in 1826.  In 1934, Pope Pius XI declared her a Saint.

Jeanne Antide writes...

"Let us love Jesus Christ,let us love Him to the end of our livesand we will be sureto possess Him forever in heaven."
"I would cross the oceans,
I would go to any part of the world,if I knew this to be the will of God."
"To touch the poor
to know, love and serve Godis to do in partwhat the Saviour of the worldcame to do on earth,to bring about the Kingdom of God." 
The Sisters of Charity of St.  Jeanne Antide Thouret embrace the CORE GOSPEL VALUES of love, prayer, and service. 
CHARISMA"In truth I tell you, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me" (Matthew: 25,40).
Love God and serve him in the poor person.
Prayer and the apostolate are the two faces of only one truth to live: Charity.
MISSION
The sisters focus their energy and resources in service to the poor. They are attentive to the needs of the poor, becoming personally involved in their lives and serving them with respect and dignity.
VOWS
The Sisters take four vows: poverty, celibacy, obedience, and service to the poor.
Biography from http://sistersofcharity.azurewebsites.net/

Free Movie : "Mary the Mother of Jesus" : Stars Christian Bale






Mary, Mother of Jesus (1999) TV Movie - 88 min - Drama - 14 November 1999 (USA)
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Pope Francis explains "This is the mystery of Christian prayer...dialogue of love of the Most Holy Trinity." Full Text + Video


GENERAL AUDIENCE

St. Peter's Square
Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Catechesis on the "Our Father": 16. Wherever you are, invoke the Father

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

Today we conclude the cycle of catechesis on the "Our Father". We can say that Christian prayer is born of the audacity to call God with the name of "Father". This is the root of Christian prayer: saying "Father" to God. But it takes courage! It is not a question of a formula, but of a filial intimacy in which we are introduced by grace: Jesus is the revealer of the Father and gives us familiarity with Him. "He does not leave us a formula to be mechanically repeated. As with any vocal prayer, it is through the Word of God that the Holy Spirit teaches the children of God to pray to their Father "(Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2766). Jesus himself used different expressions to pray to the Father. If we read the Gospels carefully, we discover that these expressions of prayer that emerge on the lips of Jesus recall the text of the "Our Father".

For example, on the night of Gethsemane Jesus prays in this way: "Abba! Father! Everything is possible to you: remove this cup from me! But not what I want, but what you want "(Mk 14:36). We have already recalled this text of the Gospel of Mark. How can we fail to recognize in this prayer, however brief, a trace of the "Our Father"? In the midst of darkness, Jesus invokes God with the name of "Abbà", with filial trust and, while feeling fear and anguish, asks that his will be fulfilled.

In other passages of the Gospel Jesus insists with his disciples, so that they may cultivate a spirit of prayer. Prayer must be insistent, and above all it must bring the memory of the brothers, especially when we live difficult relationships with them. Jesus says: "When you begin to pray, if you have something against someone, forgive, because even your Father who is in heaven forgive you your faults" (Mk 11:25). How not to recognize in these expressions the assonance with the "Our Father"? And the examples could be numerous, even for us.

In the writings of Saint Paul we do not find the text of the "Our Father", but his presence emerges in that stupendous synthesis where the invocation of the Christian is condensed into a single word: "Abbà" (see Rom 8:15; Gal 4 , 6).

In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus fully satisfies the request of the disciples who, seeing him often secluded and plunge into prayer, one day decide to ask him: "Lord, teach us to pray, as also John - the Baptist - taught his disciples" ( 11.1). And then the Master taught them the prayer to the Father.

Considering the New Testament as a whole, it is clear that the first protagonist of every Christian prayer is the Holy Spirit. But let's not forget this: the protagonist of every Christian prayer is the Holy Spirit. We could never pray without the strength of the Holy Spirit. It is He who prays in us and moves us to pray well. We can ask the Spirit to teach us to pray, because He is the protagonist, the one who does true prayer in us. He blows in the heart of each of us, who are disciples of Jesus. The Spirit enables us to pray as children of God, which we really are for Baptism. The Spirit makes us pray in the "furrow" that Jesus dug for us. This is the mystery of Christian prayer: by grace we are attracted to that dialogue of love of the Most Holy Trinity.

Jesus prayed like this. Sometimes he used expressions that are certainly very far from the text of the "Our Father". Think of the opening words of Psalm 22, which Jesus pronounces on the cross: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Mt 27:46). Can the heavenly Father abandon his Son? No, certainly. Yet the love for us, sinners, has brought Jesus to this point: to the point of experiencing the abandonment of God, his distance, because he has taken upon himself all our sins. But even in the anguished cry, the "my God, my God" remains. In that "mine" there is the nucleus of the relationship with the Father, there is the nucleus of faith and prayer.

This is why, starting from this nucleus, a Christian can pray in every situation. He can assume all the prayers of the Bible, especially of the Psalms; but he can also pray with so many expressions that in millennia of history have gushed from the hearts of men. And to the Father we never cease to tell of our brothers and sisters in humanity, because none of them, especially the poor, remain without a consolation and a portion of love.

At the end of this catechesis, we can repeat that prayer of Jesus: "I praise you, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned and revealed them to the little ones" (Lk 10:21 ). To pray we must make ourselves small, so that the Holy Spirit may come into us and let him guide us in prayer.
Greetings in Various Languages:
Je suis heureux de saluer les pèlerins venus de France et d’autres pays francophones, en particulier des paroissiens d’Hérouville-Saint-Clair et de Roanne et des jeunes de divers collèges de France, ainsi qu’un groupe de pèlerins du Cameroun. Dans les situations de joie et de peine, que l’Esprit Saint nous aide à entrer dans la prière de Jésus, et avec lui, par lui et en lui, comme des enfants pleins de confiance, à prier “Notre Père”. Je voudrais aujourd’hui faire mémoire avec vous de Sœur Inès Nieves Sancho, âgée de 77 ans, éducatrice des jeunes filles pauvres depuis des années, qui a été tuée de manière barbare en Centrafrique, à l’endroit même où elle enseignait aux jeunes filles à coudre. Une femme de plus qui donne sa vie pour Jésus dans le service des pauvres. Prions en silence - [silence puis Ave Maria…] Que Dieu vous bénisse !
I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, especially those from England, Belgium, Tanzania, New Zealand, China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Canada and the United States of America. In the joy of the Risen Christ, I invoke upon you and your families the loving mercy of God our Father. May the Lord bless you all!
Von Herzen grüße ich die Pilger deutscher Sprache, insbesondere die Theologiestudierenden der Universitäten Innsbruck und Salzburg. Bitten wir den Heiligen Geist, uns in unserer Beziehung zum himmlischen Vater zu führen und zu stärken, indem wir seinem göttlichen Sohn Jesus, dem Herrn, treu folgen.
Saludo cordialmente a los peregrinos de lengua española venidos de España y Latinoamérica, como también a los peregrinos de la diócesis de Ebibeyin, Guinea Ecuatorial, acompañados por su Obispo. A todos los animo a que pidan al Señor la gracia de ser hombres y mujeres de oración, y que recuerden ante el Padre a todos nuestros hermanos y hermanas, especialmente a los más necesitados y abandonados, para que a ninguno falte consolación y amor. Que Dios los bendiga.
Dirijo uma cordial saudação aos peregrinos de língua portuguesa, nomeadamente ao grupo da “Rádio Renascença” e aos diversos grupos de brasileiros. São muitos hoje! Neste mês dedicado à Virgem Maria, buscai contemplar mais intensamente a face do Senhor Jesus com a oração do Terço, para que Ele seja o centro dos vossos pensamentos, das vossas ações, da vossa vida. Queria também saudar o Cardeal Falcão, Arcebispo emérito de Brasília, que está festejando o septuagésimo aniversário de ordenação sacerdotal! Um belo exemplo! Obrigado, Eminência, pelo seu testemunho.
أُرحّبُ بالحجّاجِ الناطقينَ باللّغةِ العربيّة، وخاصةً بالقادمينَ من الشرق الأوسط. أيّها الإخوةُ والأخواتُ الأعزّاء، أشجّعكم على أن تتوجّهوا إلى الله كأب يحبنا ويأتي إلى لقائنا. لا نتعبّنَّ أبدًا من التضرّع إليه لأنّه وكأب صالح يأتي ليشفي جراحنا ويعيد إلينا فرح أن نكون أبناءه. ليبارككم الرب!
[I warmly welcome the Arabic-speaking pilgrims, especially those from the Middle East! Dear brothers and sisters, I encourage you to turn to God as a Father who loves us and comes to meet us. Let us not grow tired of invoking Him, because He, as a good Father, comes to heal our wounds and give us back the joy of being his children. The Lord bless you!]
Serdecznie pozdrawiam polskich pielgrzymów. Drodzy bracia i siostry, ożywieni przez Ducha Świętego i zachęceni przykładem naszego Pana Jezusa Chrystusa, z dziecięcą ufnością i oddaniem módlmy się do Ojca niebieskiego za nas, za nasze rodziny, za Kościół i za całą ludzkość, aby dla wszystkich wypełniała się Jego zbawcza wola. Zawierzam was i waszych bliskich matczynej opiece Maryi Wspomożycielki wiernych i z serca wam błogosławię.
Сердечно вітаю українських паломників, а особливо групу військових, які брали участь у щорічному Національному Військовому Паломництві до Люрду.
Постійно молю Воскреслого Господа, щоб наповнив серця українців любов'ю та спокоєм і дарував свій мир усій Країнi. Нехай Господь Бог Благословить усіх Вас!
[I cordially greet the Ukrainian pilgrims, especially the group of soldiers who participated in the annual National Military Pilgrimage in Lourdes. I continually pray to the Risen Lord, so that he fills the hearts of the Ukrainians with love and serenity and gives his peace to the whole country. God bless you all!]
* * *
I warmly welcome the Italian-speaking pilgrims.

I am pleased to welcome the participants in the meeting promoted by the World Union of Catholic Women's Organizations; and the Sisters of Our Lady.

I greet the parish groups, in particular those of San Giuseppe Vesuviano and Vaglio di Basilicata; the Congolese Catholic Community of Rome; the Kairòs multisetting missionary association; the Italian Sports Center of Latina; and educational institutions, especially that of Giulianova Lido.

I am particularly interested in young people, the elderly, the sick and newlyweds.

Saint Rita of Cascia, of which today is the memory, was a woman, wife, mother, widow and nun of her time. Today's women, on her example, can express the same enthusiasm for life and, at the same time, be capable of the same love that she reserved for everyone unconditionally.

APPEAL


Next Friday, May 24, we will celebrate the feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary "Help of Christians", particularly venerated in China at the Shrine of "Our Lady of Sheshan", near Shanghai.

This happy occasion allows me to express special closeness and affection to all Catholics in China, who, between daily trials and trials, continue to believe, to hope and to love.

Dear faithful in China, our Heavenly Mother will help you all to be witnesses of charity and fraternity, keeping you always united in the communion of the universal Church. I pray for you and I bless you.

Let us pray together with Our Lady: Hail Mary ...


FULL TEXT + Image Share from Vatican.va - Unofficial Translation

BREAKING Louisiana Senate passes Pro-Life Amendment to protect Unborn


Live Action News reports that the Louisiana Senate has passed the Love Life Amendment, sponsored by Democratic Rep. Katrina Jackson. The Amendment, if passed, will clarify that the Louisiana constitution in no way protects a right to abortion or requires that abortion be funded.
 As previously reported by Live Action News, the bill would need a two-thirds majority in both the House and Senate to pass, and then it would be added to the November 16th ballot in 2019. The bill must now must go back to the House for passage again because, as ABC News pointed out, of “a Senate change that added language declaring lawmakers reserve the right to regulate and pass laws about abortion. Senators included the language to ensure they can enact exceptions to abortion limits to protect the life of a pregnant woman or for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest.” ABC News reported that the vote was 31 in favor to four opposed.
“The legislation, backed by Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards and the majority-GOP Legislature, would come into play if the U.S. Supreme Court ever reverses the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion,” said ABC. Pro-life lawmakers have been frequently by abortion supporters of seeking to harm women with legislation protecting preborn humans. But Rep. Jackson, who has been vocally pro-life, pointed out that this isn’t the case. ABC News said that Jackson was “surrounded by a half-dozen female lawmakers,” when she said, “I’m here to say that I’m pro-woman, I’m pro-life because abortions hurt more women than anything else.” As Live Action News previously mentioned, “Louisiana already has a “trigger law” which would make abortion illegal in the event that Roe v. Wade is ever overturned.”
Source: Live Action News

#BreakingNews Shooting in Front of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Mexico leaves 2 youths Killed


AMERICA/MEXICO - Shooting in front of the church: Bishops call for respect for the sacredness of life and fundamental values
Tuesday, 21 May 2019


Veracruz (Agenzia Fides) - "With deep sorrow, we express our sadness and consternation, in the face of the acts of violence that took place outside the rectory of Our Lady of Guadalupe, in Fortín de las Flores in Cordoba, Veracruz. We join Mgr. Eduardo Patiño, Bishop of the Diocese of Córdoba, parish priest Jorge Montero, and especially the families who were victims of this intolerable attack": this is what the Mexican Bishops’ Conference writes in the text sent to Fides condemning the violent attacks of Sunday evening 19 May, in which two young people were killed just before starting mass for a 15-year-old party.

In fact, according to a strong Latin American tradition, when a girl turns 15, a big party is organized that brings together the whole family, together with friends and neighbors. The party in Mexico begins with a mass, to thank God for the gift of life.

On Sunday evening a group of men arrived at the churchyard of Our Lady of Guadalupe, with the intention of taking a person hostage. Seeing the reaction of the young people present, who were about to enter the church, the criminals fired many shots, killing two young men and injuring two others seriously. The next day, 4 more people were killed in Veracruz, in the municipality of Minatitlán.

Delinquency prevails in the area with its violent acts: in the municipality of Vega de Alatorre (also Veracruz) on May 16, 4 lemon sellers were killed. According to the statement of the Public Security office in Veracruz, all security members have mobilized to find those responsible and stop the wave of armed violence that has already caused 6 deaths in less than two days.

The Bishops' text thus concludes: "The violence we are experiencing in our cities and communities, as in many parts of the country, generates a social decomposition that has profoundly deteriorated the harmonious and peaceful coexistence of our society. We ask society to recover the sense of the sacredness of life and the essential values of the person. We ask the authorities, once again, to thoroughly investigate, until the facts have been clarified, to act in accordance with truth and justice".

"Only a short time ago, holidays and holy places were respected by all. Now the criminals do not even stop in front of the authorities or the police (the police station is in front of the church of Guadalupe), they do not respect anything, not even the church", comments a Mexican on Facebook. (CE) (Full Text Source: Agenzia Fides, 21/5/2019)

Pope Francis opens Italian Bishops' Assembly "...based on the unconditional love witnessed by Jesus on the cross..." Full Text + Video


OPENING OF THE WORKS OF THE 73rd GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE ITALIAN EPISCOPAL CONFERENCE (C.E.I.)

SPEECH OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
AT THE ITALIAN EPISCOPAL CONFERENCE

Synod Hall
Monday, May 20, 2019

Dear brothers,

I thank you for this meeting that I would like to have a moment of help for the pastoral discernment on the life and mission of the Italian church. I also thank you for the effort you offer every day in carrying out the mission that the Lord has entrusted to you and in serving the people of God with and according to the heart of the Good Shepherd.

Today I would like to talk to you again about some of the issues that we discussed in our previous meetings in order to deepen them and integrate them with new questions to see together where we stand. I will give you the word later to address to me the questions, the perplexities and the inspirations the criticisms, all that you carry in the heart. There are three points I would like to talk about.

1 - Synodality and collegiality

On the occasion of the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the institution of the Synod of Bishops, held on 17 October 2015, I wanted to clarify that "the path of synodality is the path that God expects from the Church of the third millennium [...] is a constitutive dimension of Church ", so that" what the Lord asks us, in a certain sense, is already all contained in the word synod ". [1]

Also the new document of the International Theological Commission, on the synodality in the life and mission of the Church, during the Plenary Session of 2017, states that «synodality, in the ecclesiological context, indicates the specific modus vivendi et operandi of the Church People of God which concretely manifests and realizes its being communion in walking together, in gathering in assembly and actively participating in all its members in its evangelizing mission ". And it continues as follows: "While the concept of synodality recalls the involvement and participation of the whole People of God in the life and mission of the Church, the concept of collegiality specifies the theological meaning and the form of exercise of the ministry of Bishops at the service of the Particular Church entrusted to the pastoral care of each one and in the communion between the particular Churches within the one and universal Church of Christ, through the hierarchical communion of the Episcopal College with the Bishop of Rome. Collegiality, therefore, is the specific form in which the ecclesial synodality is manifested and realized through the ministry of the Bishops on the level of communion between the particular Churches in a region and on the level of communion between all the Churches in the universal Church. Every authentic manifestation of synodality requires by its very nature the exercise of the collegial ministry of the Bishops ". [2]

I therefore welcome the fact that this assembly wanted to study this topic in more depth, which actually describes the medical record of the state of health of the Italian Church and of your pastoral and ecclesiastical work.

It could be helpful to address in this context of any lack of collegiality and participation in the conduct of the CEI Conference both in determining pastoral plans and in economic-financial planning commitments.

On synodality, even in the context of a probable Synod for the Italian Church - I have heard a "noise" lately about this, it has arrived as far as Santa Marta! -, there are two directions: synodality from the bottom up, that is the need to take care of the existence and good functioning of the Diocese: the councils, the parishes, the involvement of the laity ... (see CIC 469-494) - start from the dioceses: you cannot make a great synod without going to the base. This is the movement from the bottom up - and the evaluation of the role of the laity; and then the synodality from the top down, in accordance with the speech I made to the Italian Church in the V National Convention in Florence, 10 November 2015, which still remains in force and must accompany us on this journey. If someone thinks of making a synod on the Italian Church, we must start from the bottom up, and from the top down with the Florence document. And this will take, but you will walk on the safe side, not on ideas.

2 - Reform of marriage proceedings

As you well know, with the two Motu proprio Mitis Iudex Dominus Iesus and Mitis et Misericors Iesus, published in 2015, the matrimonial processes were reorganized and established, establishing three types of process: ordinary, brief and documentary.

The need to streamline procedures has led to simplifying the ordinary process, with the abolition of the mandatory double compliant decision. From now on, if there is no appeal on time, the first sentence declaring the nullity of the marriage becomes enforceable. Then there is the other type of process: the short-term one. "This form of process is to be applied in cases where the accused nullity of the marriage is supported by the joint request of the spouses, obvious arguments, since the evidence of nullity of marriage is a quick demonstration. With the request made to the Bishop, and the trial prepared by the judicial Vicar or by an instructor, the final decision, of declaration of nullity or referral of the case to the ordinary process, belongs to the Bishop himself, who - by virtue of his pastoral office - is with Peter the greatest guarantor of Catholic unity in faith and discipline. Both the ordinary process and the short-term one are processes of a purely judicial nature, which means that the nullity of the marriage can be pronounced only if the judge achieves moral certainty on the basis of the documents and evidence gathered ". [3]

Thus, the short-term process introduced a new typology, namely the possibility of addressing the Bishop, as head of the Diocese, asking him to express himself personally on some cases, in the most obvious cases of nullity. And this because the pastoral dimension of the Bishop includes and also demands his personal function as judge. This not only manifests the proximity of the diocesan pastor to his faithful, but also the presence of the Bishop as a sign of Christ the sacrament of salvation. For this reason the Bishop and the Metropolitan, with an administrative act, must proceed to the erection of the diocesan tribunal, if it has not yet been constituted, and in the case of difficulties, they can also access a diocesan or interdiocesan adjoining tribunal. This is important.

This procedural reform is based on proximity and gratuitousness. Proximity to wounded families means that the judgment, as far as possible, is celebrated in the diocesan Church, without delay and without unnecessary prolongation. The term gratuity refers to the evangelical mandate according to which gratuitously one is received and gratuitously must be given (cf. Mt 10: 8), for which it requires that the ecclesiastical pronouncement of nullity does not amount to a high cost that poor people are unable to sustain . This is very important.

I am well aware that you, in the 71th General Assembly of the Italian Episcopal Conference, and through various communications, [4] have provided an update on the reform of the administrative regime of ecclesiastical courts in matrimonial matters. However, I regret to see that the reform, after more than four years, remains far from being applied in the great part of the Italian Dioceses.
I reiterate clearly that the Rescript I gave, in December 2015, abolished the Motu Proprio of Pius XI Qua cura (1938), which established the Regional Ecclesiastical Tribunals in Italy and, therefore, I sincerely hope that the application of the two aforementioned Motu You find your full and immediate implementation in all the Dioceses where you have not yet done so.

In this regard, dear confreres, we must never forget that the reforming thrust of the canonical marriage process, characterized - as I have already said above - by the proximity, speed and gratuitousness of procedures, is aimed at showing that the Church is mother and cares for good of one's children, which in this case are those marked by the wound of a broken love; and therefore all the operators of the Court, each for its part and its competence, must act in order for this to be realized, and consequently not to place anything else that can prevent or slow down the application of the reform, of any nature or interest. be.

The success of the reform necessarily passes through a conversion of structures and people; and therefore we do not allow the economic interests of some lawyers or the fear of losing the power of some Judicial Vicars to hold back or delay the reform.

3 - The relationship between priests and bishops

The relationship between us Bishops and our priests is, unquestionably, one of the most vital issues in the life of the Church, it is the backbone on which the diocesan community is based. I quote the wise words of His Eminence Cardinal Bassetti when he wrote: "If this relationship were to break the whole body would be weakened. And the same message would end up fading ". [5]

The Bishop is the pastor, the sign of unity for the entire diocesan Church, the father and the guide for his priests and for the whole community of believers; he has the imperative task of caring primarily and carefully for his relationship with his priests. Unfortunately, some Bishops are struggling to establish acceptable relationships with their priests, thus risking to ruin their mission and even weaken the mission of the Church itself.

The Second Vatican Council teaches us that presbyters constitute a single presbytery with their bishop, although destined for different offices (see Const. Lumen Gentium, 28). This means that there is no Bishop without his presbytery and, in turn, there is no presbytery without a healthy relationship cum episcopo. Even the conciliar decree Christus Dominus states: "All priests, both diocesan and religious, in union with the Bishop participate in the one priesthood of Christ and therefore are constituted providential cooperators of the episcopal order. [...] Therefore they constitute one presbytery and one family, of which the Bishop is the father "(n. 28).
The solid relationship between the Bishop and his priests is based on the unconditional love witnessed by Jesus on the cross, which represents the only true rule of behavior for bishops and priests. In reality, priests are our closest collaborators and brothers. I'm the next neighbor! It is also based on mutual respect which manifests fidelity to Christ, love for the Church, adherence to the Good News. Hierarchical communion, in truth, collapses when it is infected by any form of personal power or self-gratification; but, on the contrary, it is strengthened and grows when it is embraced by the spirit of total abandonment and service to the people of God.

We Bishops have a duty of presence and closeness to the Christian people, but in particular to our priests, without discrimination and without preferences. A true pastor lives in the midst of his flock and his presbyters, and knows how to listen and welcome everyone without prejudice.

We must not fall into the temptation to approach only the sympathetic priests or flatterers and to avoid those who, according to the bishop, are unpopular and outspoken; to hand over all responsibilities to available priests or "climbers" and to discourage introverted or mild or timid priests, or problematic priests. Being the father of all his priests; take an interest in and look for everyone; visit all; always know how to find time to listen whenever someone asks or needs it; to make everyone feel valued and encouraged by his Bishop. To be practical: if the bishop receives the call of a priest, answer within the day, at most the next day, so that priest will know that he has a father.

Dear confreres, our priests continually feel under mediatic attack and often ridiculed or condemned because of some mistakes or crimes of some of their colleagues, and they need to find in their Bishop the figure of the elder brother and the father who encourages them in difficult times; it stimulates them to spiritual and human growth; it encourages them in times of failure; corrects them with love when they make mistakes; it comforts them when they feel alone; he raises them when they fall. This requires, first of all, closeness to our priests, who need to find the Bishop's door and his heart always open. Requires to be Bishop-father, Bishop-brother!

Dear brothers, I wanted to share with you these three topics as points for reflection. Now I leave the word to you and I thank you in advance for your sincerity and frankness. And thank you very much!


[1] AAS 107 (2015), 1139.
[4] https://giuridico.chiesacattolica.it/il-motu-proprio-mitis-iudex-dominus-iesus-e-la-riforma-dei-processi-matrimoniali-2/
[5] “Il rapporto tra il vescovo e i suoi preti per servire il popolo di Dio”: L’Osservatore Romano, 7 marzo 2015.