Vatican City, 19 June 2013 (VIS) - Pope Francis dedicated his catechesis of the Wednesdaygeneral audience to the expression “of the body” that the Second Vatican Council used to indicate the nature of the Church: the Church is the body of Christ. The Pope recalled the text of the conversion of Saul, who became Paul, in order to explain how the Apostle, with that experience, tells us how profound the union between Christians and Christ is.

Below a Vatican Radio translation of the Holy Father’s Catechesis, Wednesday, June 20, 2013 
Dear brothers and sisters, good day!

Today I will focus upon another expression with which the Second Vatican Council indicates the nature of the Church: that of the body, the Council says that the Church is the Body of Christ (cf. Lumen Gentium, 7).

I would like to start from a text of the Acts of the Apostles which we know well: the conversion of Saul, who will then be called Paul, one of the greatest evangelists (cf. Acts 9:4-5). Saul was a persecutor of Christians, but while he is on the road leading to the city of Damascus, suddenly a light envelops him, he falls to the ground and hears a voice saying "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? '. He asks: "Who are you, Lord?", And the voice answers: "I am Jesus whom you are persecuting" (v. 3-5). This experience of St. Paul tells us how deep the union between we Christians and Christ Himself. When Jesus ascended into heaven he did not leave us orphans, but with the gift of the Holy Spirit, our union with Him has become even more intense. The Second Vatican Council says that Jesus " communicating His Spirit, Christ made His brothers, called together from all nations, mystically the components of His own Body" (Dogmatic Constitution. Lumen Gentium, 7).

The image of the body helps us to understand this deep Church-Christ bond, which St. Paul has developed especially in the First Letter to the Corinthians (cf. chap. 12). First, the body brings our attention to a living reality. The Church is not an charitable, cultural or political association, but a living body, that walks and acts in history. And this body has a head, Jesus, who guides, feeds and supports it. This is a point I want to emphasize: if the head is separated from the rest of the body, the whole person cannot survive. So it is in the Church, we must remain bound ever more deeply to Jesus. But not only that: just as the body needs the lifeblood to keep it alive, so we must allow Jesus to work in us, that His Word guide us, that His presence in the Eucharist nourish us, animate us, that His love gives strength to our love of neighbor. And this always! Dear brothers and sisters, let us remain united to Jesus, let us trust in Him, direct our life according to His Gospel, nourish ourselves with daily prayer, listening to the Word of God, participation in the Sacraments.

And here I come to a second aspect of the Church as the Body of Christ. St Paul says that as members of the human body, although different and many, we form one body, as we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body (cf. 1 Cor 12:12-13). In the Church, therefore, there is a variety, a diversity of tasks and functions, there is no dull uniformity, but the richness of the gifts that the Holy Spirit distributes. But there is communion and unity: we are all in a relation to each other and we all come together to form one living body, deeply connected to Christ. Let us remember this well: being part of the Church means being united to Christ and receiving from Him the divine life that makes us live as Christians; it means remaining united to the Pope and the Bishops who are instruments of unity and communion, and also means overcoming personal interests and divisions, in order to understand each other better, to harmonize the variety and richness of each member; in a word, to love God and the people who are next to us more, in the family, in the parish, in the associations. In order to live a Body and its limbs must be united! Unity is beyond all conflict. Always! Conflicts, when they don’t end well, separate us from each other, they separate us from God. Conflict can help us to grow but can also divide us. We must not travel the path of division, of conflict among us, no we must all be united – with our differences – but united because that is the path of Jesus!

Unity is beyond all conflict. Unity is a grace that we must ask of the Lord so he may save us from the temptations of the division, from internal struggles and selfishness, from gossip. How much damage gossip does! How much damage! Never gossip about others, never!. How much damage divisions among Christians, being partisan, narrow interests causes to the Church,! Divisions among us, but also divisions among the communities: evangelical Christians, orthodox Christians, Catholic Christians, but why divided? We must try to bring about unity. Let me tell you something, today, before leaving home, I spent 40 minutes more or less, half an hour, with an evangelical pastor. And we prayed together, seeking unity. But we Catholics must pray with each other and other Christians. Pray that the Lord gift us unity! Unity among ourselves! How will we ever have unity among Christians if we are not capable of having it among us Catholics,...in the family, how many families fight and split up? Seek unity, unity builds the Church and comes from Jesus Christ. He sends us the Holy Spirit to build unity!

Dear brothers and sisters, let us ask God to help us to be members of the Body of the Church always deeply united to Christ, help us not to hurt the Body of the Church with our conflicts, our divisions, selfishness: help us to be living members bound to each other by a single power, that of love, which the Holy Spirit pours into our hearts (cf. Rom 5:5).

Vatican City, 19 June 2013 (VIS) – After giving his catechesis at the general audience, the Holy Father spoke of World Refugee Day, which is commemorated on this day. This year the pontiff asked for “special consideration of the situation of refugee families who are often forced to quickly leave their home and homeland and who lose their every good and safety in order to flee from violence, persecution, or severe discrimination on religious grounds, or for belonging to a particular ethnic group, or for their political views.”
“In addition to the dangers of the journey, these families often find themselves at risk of being torn apart and, in the country that receives them, they have to deal with cultures and societies that are different from their own. We cannot be insensitive to these families or towards our refugee brothers and sisters. We are called to help them, opening ourselves to understanding and hospitality. May there be no lack of persons and institutions around the world to assist them. In their faces is etched the face of Christ!”
The Pope then recalled that last Sunday, as part of the Year of Faith, “we celebrated God who is Life and the source of life, Christ who gives us the divine life, and the Holy Spirit who keeps us in the vital relationship of true children of God. I wish to extend once more,” he added, “the invitation to receive and to proclaim the 'Gospel of life', to promote and defend life in all its dimensions and all its stages. The Christian is the one who says 'yes' to life, the one who says 'yes' to God, the Living One.”
Vatican City, 19 June 2013 (VIS) – Today, Archbishop Luigi Travaglino, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations Organisations for Food and Agriculture (FAO, IFAD, and WFP), spoke at the 38th session of the FAO Conference held in Rome from 15-22 June.
In his address, Archbishop Travaglino emphasized that the Delegation from the Holy See wanted to reiterate its appreciation of the FAO's actions in favour of development and guaranteeing food security, as well as to reaffirm its availability to sustain this work, which concerns a fundamental aspect of personal and communal life.
The prelate recalled that, in this particularly difficult moment for the global economy, the Delegation from the Holy See encourages all the parties concerned to further the implementation of the Organisation's programmes carried out in the various areas of agriculture, forestry, and fisheries, especially in view of the objective of food security, which has become indispensable. It is therefore necessary to move from words to deeds, making the necessary resources available to the FAO.
At the same time, referring to the planning for the next biennium, he said that the Delegation from the Holy See hopes for a broadening of the forms of support to the artisanal activities and practices that constitute the basic economic reality for the majority of developing countries, which have in their monocultures, forest resources, exploitation of marine resources, or agricultural activities, an essential reference—unfortunately often the sole reference—for their economies and their food supply.
He also pointed out that the Holy See's reference to the sustainability of food supply systems cannot be limited to manufacturing techniques, the conservation of resources, or the exchange of information. “It appears to us that the approach of sustainability that is linked to the human person can help give meaning to the responsibility that each of us has towards future generations.”
Vatican City, 19 June 2013 (VIS) – The following prelates passed away between April and June of this year:
   - Bishop Celso Yegros Estigarribia, emeritus of Carapegua, Paraguay, on 6 April at the age of 77.
   - Archbishop François-Wolff Ligonde, emeritus of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on 8 April at the age of 85.
   - Bishop Luis Antonio Nova Rocha, of Facatativa, Colombia, on 9 April at the age of 69.
   - Cardinal Lorenzo Antonetti, president emeritus of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, on 10 April at the age of 90.
   - Bishop Bernhard Rieger, auxiliary emeritus of Rottenburg-Stuttgart, Germany, on 10 April at the age of 90.
   - Bishop Jaime Enrique Duque Correa, M.X.Y., of El Banco, Colombia, on 14 April at the age of 70.
   - Bishop Reinhard Lettmann, emeritus of Munster, Germany, on 16 April at the age of 80.
   - Bishop Martinus Petrus Maria Muskens, emeritus of Breda, Netherlands, on 16 April at the age of 77.
   - Bishop Peter Michael Chenaparampil, emeritus of Alleppey, India, on 18 April at the age of 83.
   - Bishop William Edward Murray, emeritus of Wollongong, Australia, on 21 April at the age of 93.
   - Bishop Jose de Jesus Castillo Rentería, M.N.M., emeritus of Tuxtepec, Oaxaca, Mexico, on23 April at the age of 85.
   - Bishop Joseph Peter O’Connell, auxiliary emeritus of Melbourne, Australia, on 27 April at the age of 81.
   - Bishop Arthur Joseph O’Neill, emeritus of Rockford, Illinois, USA, on 27 April at the age of 95.
   - Bishop Julio Ojeda Pascual, O.F.M., vicar apostolic emeritus of San Ramon, Peru, on 28 April at the age of 81.
   - Bishop Pietro Garlato, emeritus of Tivoli, Italy, on 29 April at the age of 85.
   - Bishop Patrick Taval, M.S.C., of Kerema, Papua New Guinea, on 29 April at the age of 57.
   - Bishop Tito Buss, emeritus of Rio do Sul, Santa Catarina, Brazil, on 30 April at the age of 87.
   - Bishop Joseph Patrick McFadden, of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA, on 2 May at the age of 65.
   - Bishop Severo Aparicio Quispe, O. de M., auxiliary emeritus of Cuzco, Peru, on 6 May at the age of 89.
   - Archbishop Andre Sana, emeritus of Kerkuk of the Chaldeans, Iraq, on 8 May at the age of 92.
   - Bishop Felix Ramananarivo, M.S., emeritus of Antsirabe, Madagascar, on 12 May at the age of 79.
   - Archbishop Dominic Kodwo Andoh, emeritus of Accra, Ghana, on 17 May at the age of 84.
   - Archbishop Michael Kpakala Francis, emeritus of Monrovia, Liberia, on 19 May at the age of 77.
   - Bishop Mykola Simkaylo, of Kolomyia-Chernivtsi of the Ukrainians, Ukraine, on 21 May at the age of 60.
   - Bishop Silverio Jarbas Paulo de Albuquerque, O.F.M., emeritus of Feira de Santana, Baia, Brazil, on 28 May at the age of 96.
   - Cardinal Stanislaw Kazimierz Nagy, S.C.I., cardinal deacon of Santa Maria della Scala, on 5 June at the age of 91.
   - Bishop Joseph Michael Sullivan, auxiliary emeritus of Brooklyn, New York, USA, on 7 June at the age of 83.
   - Bishop Olavio Lopez Duque, O.A.R., vicar apostolic emeritus of Casanare, Colombia at the age of 81.
   - Bishop Jose de Lima, emeritus of Sete Lagoas, Minas Gerais, Brazil, on 12 June at the age of 89.
Vatican City, 19 June 2013 (VIS) – In the sitting room of the Paul VI Hall after the general audience, the Holy Father received participants in the meeting promoted by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue with the International Islamic Forum for Dialogue from Saudi Arabia.
Vatican City, 19 June 2013 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father:
   - appointed Fr. Jose Carlos Brandao Cabral as bishop of Almenara (area 15,738, population 192,800, Catholics 147,300, priests 18, religious 39), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Tupa, Sao Paulo, Brazil, in 1963 and was ordained a priest for the diocese of Limeira in 1993. Since ordination he has served in several pastoral, judicial, and diocesan-level roles, most recently, since 1993, as pastor of the “Menino Jesus” parish in the Diocese of Limeira, since 2005, as judge auditor of the Interdiocesan Ecclesiastic Tribunal and, since 2008, as diocesan chancellor. He succeeds Bishop Hugo Maria Van Steekelenburg, O.F.M., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
   - appointed Bishop Jose Carlos Chacorowski, C.M., as bishop of Caraguatatuba (area 1,992, population 292,000, Catholics 179,600, priests 21, permanent deacons 6, religious 53), Brazil. Bishop Chacorowski was previously auxiliary of Sao Luis do Maranhao, Maranho, Brazil, and titular of Casae Nigrae.
   - appointed Fr. Joseph Mopeli Sephamola, O.M.I., as bishop of Qacha’s Nek (area 11,500, population 400,000, Catholics 200,000, priests 22, religious 104), Lesotho. The bishop-elect was born in Tsoelike Ha Atlali, Lesotho, in 1960 and was ordained a priest in 1991. Since ordination, he has served as a missionary in Zambia, as a delegate for the Oblates in Rome and novitiate master in Quthing, Qacha's Nek, as a delegate for studies in Spirituality in South Africa, and, most recently, as provincial of the Oblate Fathers in Lesotho.