Wednesday, July 3, 2013

POPE FRANCIS "ALWAYS LOOK TO THE LORD" AND LATEST FROM VATICAN


Vatican Radio REPORT: Christians are called to be courageous in their weakness. We must recognize that we are weak and that, at times, we have to flee from sin without nostalgia, without looking back. We must not let temptation or fear keep us from God. Instead we must learn that ‘he who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day!’ This was the lesson at the heart of Pope Francis’ homily at morning Mass on Tuesday. 


Acting with hesitancy, always looking back, being afraid to turn to the Lord, the grace of the Holy Spirit. Pope Francis took his cue from the daily readings to dwell on four "possible attitudes in conflict situations, in difficult situations." The first attitude is that of the "slowness" of Lot. He decided to leave the city before it was destroyed, but he does so slowly. The angel tells him to run away, but he carries within an '"inability to detach himself from evil and sin." The Pope noted that we want to go out, we are determined, "but there is something that pulls us back," and so Lot begins to negotiate even with the angel. 


"It’s so hard to cut ties with a sinful situation. It is hard! Even in a temptation, it's hard! But the voice of God tells us this word: 'Escape! You cannot fight there, because the fire, the sulfur will kill you. Escape!' St. Therese of the Child Jesus taught us that sometimes, in some temptations, the only solution is to escape and not be ashamed to escape; to recognize that we are weak and we have to escape. And our popular wisdom, in its simplicity, says as much, somewhat ironically: 'he who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day.' Escaping to go forward along the path of Jesus."

The Pope continued that the angel then says "do not look back," to escape and keep your eyes faced forward. Here, he said, is some advice on how to overcome our nostalgia of sin. Think of the People of God in the desert, he stressed: "They had everything, promises, everything." And yet "they were nostalgic for the onions of Egypt" and this "longing made them forget that they ate those onions on the table of slavery." There was the "longing to go back, to return." And the advice of the angel, the Pope observed, "is wise: Do not look back! Move ahead!" We must not do as Lot's wife, we must "leave behind all nostalgia, because there is also the temptation of curiosity."


"Faced with sin, we must escape without any nostalgia. Curiosity does not help, it hurts! 'But, in this sinful world, what can we do? What is this sin like? I would like to know . . . ' No, do not! This curiosity will hurt you! Run away and do not look back! We are weak, all of us, and we must defend ourselves. The third situation is on the boat: it is fear. When there is great upheaval at sea, the boat was covered with the waves. 'Save us, Lord, we are lost!' they say. Fear! Even that is a temptation of the devil: to be afraid to move forward on the path of the Lord.”

There is a temptation that says it is "better to stay here," where I'm safe. "But this – warned the Pope - is the slavery of Egypt." "I fear moving forward - the Pope said - I'm afraid of where the Lord will bring me.” Fear, however, "is not a good counselor." Jesus, he added, "so many times, said: 'Do not be afraid.' Fear does not help us." The fourth attitude "is the grace of the Holy Spirit." When Jesus calms the agitated sea, the disciples on the boat are filled with awe. "Faced with sin, nostalgia, fear," he said, we must always turn to the Lord.


"Looking to the Lord, contemplating the Lord. This gifts us the beautiful wonder of a new encounter with the Lord. 'Lord, I am being tempted: I want to stay in this situation of sin, Lord, I am curious to know about these things, Lord, I'm afraid.' And they looked to the Lord: 'Save us, Lord, we are lost!' And wonder at a new encounter with Jesus followed. We must not be naive nor lukewarm Christians, but brave, courageous. We are weak, but we must be courageous in our weakness. And often our courage must be expressed in escaping without looking back, so as not to fall into the trap of wicked nostalgia. Do not be afraid and always look to the Lord! "
Mass was concelebrated by Cardinal Manuel Monteiro de Castro and Archbishop Beniamino Stella, and was attended by a group of priests and employees of the Tribunal of the Apostolic Penitentiary, and a group from the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy. 

SHARED FROM RADIO VATICANA
AUDIENCES
Vatican City, 3 July 2013 (VIS) - Today, the Holy Father received in audience Archbishop Jean-Louis Brugues O.P., archivist and librarian of the Holy Roman Church.
OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS
Vatican City, 3 July 2013 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father:
- appointed Archbishop Tarcisius Gervazio Ziyaye as archbishop of Lilongwe (area 24,025, population 5,064,000, Catholics 1,550,000, priests 84, religious 195), Malawi. Archbishop Ziyaye was previously archbishop of Blantyre, Malawi. He succeeds Archbishop Remi Joseph Gustave Sainte-Marie, M. Afr., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
- appointed Bishop Victor Henry Thakur as archbishop of Raipur (area 60,819, population 15,986,000, Catholics 69,453, priests 146, religious 580), India. Archbishop Thakur was previously bishop of Bettiah, India. He succeeds Archbishop Joseph Augustine Charanakunnel, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
- appointed Fr. Jose Maria Chaves dos Reis, of the clergy of Cameta, Brazil, as bishop of Abaetetuba (area 28,256, population 490,000, Catholics 351,000, priests 32, religious 40), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Oeiras do Para, Brazil in 1962 and was ordained a priest in 1996. Currently vicar general and rector of the“Bom Pastor” major seminary in Cameta, he also previously served in the same diocese in the roles of rector of the “Padre Josimo” minor seminary, vicar of the “San Joao Batista” cathedral, and parish priest in the Cathedral of Cameta.
- appointed Msgr Joseph Arshad as bishop of Faisalabad (area 35,300, population 36,207,000, Catholics 155,000, priests 42, permanent deacons 4, religious 129), Pakistan. The bishop-elect was born in Lahore, Pakistan in 1964 and was ordained a priest in 1991. Currently nunciature counsellor to the apostolic nunciature in Bosnia-Herzegovina, he has held roles in the diplomatic service of the apostolic nunciatures of Malta, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Madagascar.
- appointed Msgr Joao Gilberto de Moura, of the clergy of Ituiutaba, Brazil, as bishop of Jardim (area 69,972, population 397,000, Catholics 277,000, priests 15, permanent deacons 3, religious 23), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Ituiutaba, Brazil in 1963 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1995. He was named prelate of honour by his Holiness in 2008. Currently parish priest in the cathedral “Cristo Rei”, judicial vicar of the Ecclesiastic Tribunal of Ituiutaba, and procurator, economist and vicar general of the diocese of Ituiutaba, he has served in a number of pastoral roles in the same diocese.
- appointed Cardinal John Onaiyekan, archbishop of Abuja, Nigeria as apostolic administrator ad nutum Sanctae Sedis of the diocese of Ahiara, Nigeria.

MILLIONS OF PROTESTERS IN EGYPT CAUSE ARMED FORCES TO ANNOUNCE NEW ELECTION

ASIA NEWS REPORT
After suspending the constitution imposed by the Muslim Brotherhood, General Al-Sisi sets Egypt on a course for new elections. When the announcement is made, celebrations break out in Tahrir Square. The grand sheikh of Al Azhar, Coptic Patriarch Tawadros and opposition leader Mohamed El Baradei endorse the move. Meanwhile, Mohamed Morsi's fate is unknown.


Cairo (AsiaNews) - In a televised address, the Commander of the Egyptian Armed Forces General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi suspended the Egyptian constitution and laid out plans for fresh presidential and parliamentary elections. In making his statement, General al-Sisi was flanked by the top chiefs of the Armed Forces and the main Muslim and Coptic Christian religious leaders.
Al-Sisi, who had met representatives of the country's main religions as well as top opposition leaders earlier in the afternoon, said that until the new elections were held, the head of the Constitutional Court would act as interim president.
This effectively signals the ouster of Mohamed Morsi as president of Egypt. He had been elected under the banner of the Muslim Brotherhood-backed party last year. It is still unclear though where he is at present. Some unconfirmed reports say that he is under house arrest, banned from leaving the country.
In his announcement, General Al-Sisi criticised Morsi's statements. Despite the pressure of millions of protesters who have occupied Egypt's streets for four days, the ousted president refused to resign yesterday.
One of the accusations levelled at him was that of favouring the Muslim Brotherhood and an Islamist reorientation of Egyptian society, marginalising the opposition and other religious and social groups.
The commander of the Armed Forces stressed that it was time for Egypt to build a nation in which everyone can contribute irrespective of their religion or group belongs.
Al-Sisi called for a government of technocrats and experts from various social, cultural and religious groups to rewrite the constitution so that it would better reflect Egypt's pluralism.
At the end of his speech, jubilation broke out in an overflowing Tahrir Square, as people shouted their joy, applauded, set off fireworks, and turned on laser beams.
Immediately after the General al-Sisi's televised speed, Al Azhar Grand Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb spoke, followed by Coptic Patriarch Tawadros and Mohamed El Baradei, the latter representing the anti-Morsi opposition (National Salvation Front). All three stressed the need for national unity and reconciliation.

Shortly after al-Sisi's address, Morsi issued a statement accusing the army of carrying out a coup d'├ętat.
SHARED FROM ASIA NEWS IT 

JOURNEY TO THE PRIESTHOOD OF DANIEL MCCAUGHAN OF AUSTRALIA

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
3 Jul 2013
Sydney Seminarian Daniel McCaughan in St Peter's Square for canonisation of St Mary of the Cross in 2010
On the eve of his priestly ordination by the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell at St Mary's Cathedral this Saturday, Deacon Daniel McCaughan says his over-riding emotion mixed with anticipation and some nervousness is still "a sense of deep calm and profound peace."
"There is also the wonderful knowledge and complete assurance that I am doing what God wants me to do and that this is absolutely the right step," he says.
On 6 July, Deacon Daniel together Deacon Dominic Pham Hong An Nguyen and Deacon Nicholas Rynne will be ordained into the priesthood by His Eminence and the following day, Sunday, 7 July each will celebrate a Thanksgiving Mass at their home parish in Sydney.
"I will be celebrating the 10.30 am Mass at St Peter's Catholic Church in Surry Hills which is where my family goes to Mass and where I was once an altar server," Deacon Daniel says.

The Sunday Mass at St Peter's will not only be the first time the newly ordained priest will celebrate Mass but in honour of this very special and momentous occasion, the St Peter's church choir is undertaking a new Mass setting which will be launched during the Mass.The choir is also currently  rehearsing Stanford's Beati Quorum Via, Thomas Tallis' If Ye Love Me and the return of Cantique de Jean Racine by Gabriel Faure for the Sunday Mass.
Growing up in nearby Kensington 28-year-old Daniel who is the eldest of 11 brothers and sisters shares his family's passion for music. The first of his siblings to participate in the Sydney Conservatorium of Music's program for children, he is not only an accomplished flautist but after entering the Seminary of the Good Shepherd, developed an interest in singing.
A member of the Homebush seminary's renowned Schola, his voice not only won him notice during his years in Sydney but also in Rome where earlier this year he was asked to sing the liturgy at the installation of Pope Francis.
Sydney seminarians Daniel McCaughan and Nicholas Rynne were ordained Deacons in Rome in October last year
"The Pontifical American College in Rome where I lived is well known for training seminarians to sing and chant in Latin, and each year sends a short list to the Vatican's Liturgy Office of deacons who can sing. My name was on this year's short list and I was asked to sing the Gospel in Latin at the installation mass for the Holy Father. But at the last minute it was decided this would be sung in Greek and instead I was asked to carry the Fisherman's Ring and to sing the other Deacon parts of the Mass," Deacon Daniel explains.
He admits he had no idea he would be carrying the Fisherman's ring as part of the ceremony until the night before. He says he still finds it difficult to absorb the great honour he was given when he watches footage of himself on that historic day when Pope Francis because the head of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.
"That certainly was the highlight of my time in Rome," he says describing his role as a "magnificent gift."
"Daniel has been particularly blessed by God," says his father, Dr James McCaughan, Honorary Senior Lecturer with the Department of Physics at the Unversity of Sydney and recalls how while still just a toddler, his son had been embraced and blessed by Blessed John Paul II during the pontiff's visit to Australia in 1986.
"Then in 2000 when Daniel was 15, we went to Rome as a family and on 20 May - a day none of us will ever forget - we met His Holiness, Blessed Pope John II in his private library outside the private chapel of the Vatican. There were too many of us to go inside the chapel but somehow we managed to be part of the 20 or so to meet and talk with the Holy Father," Dr McCaughan says. "The Pontiff looked at our 10 children - our youngest was not yet born - and asked who was the eldest. That's when Daniel stepped forward and John Paul II gave him his wonderful look, blessed him and reached out to put his hand on Daniel's cheek."

The Fisherman's Ring presented to Pope Francis by Australia's Deacon Daniel McCaughan
More recently in December last year, just two months after his ordination as a Deacon, the young Australian was again blessed when he was chosen from 33 fellow deacons to be one of the four deacon assistants selected to serve Pope Benedict XVI at Mass over the coming year.
This saw Deacon Daniel assisting at the New Year's Eve Mass at St Peter's Basilica and again on Ash Wednesday, which was the last Mass celebrated by Benedict before his retirement.

Now as he approaches his ordination to the priesthood on Saturday, Deacon Daniel looks back over the seven years of study and discernment first at the Seminary of the Good Shepherd in Sydney and later at Rome's Pontifical North American College and the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross.
"The seminary is no cakewalk," he insists and points out that every seminarian goes through periods of doubt and darkness. "There are times when we don't see our vocation as clearly as we did when we entered the seminary. But by walking trustingly with our Lord during these dark and difficult times, eventually there is light at the end of the tunnel and you emerge with a faith that is deeper and even stronger."
Deacon Daniel began thinking about a priestly vocation as a 12-year-old during the years he was an altar server at St Peter's Church in Surry Hills and believes that from then on becoming a priest it was always at the back of his mind.
During his final year at Redfield College, Dural he says he felt God's call even more strongly, but this was put aside once more when he began his studies for a BA in political science and history with a minor in journalism at the University of Tasmania in Hobart.
"At Uni I did all the usual student things, hung out with my mates, went out with girls and had a great time. But every time I thought about the future, and one day marrying and starting a family, I felt restless and uneasy. I couldn't understand why I should feel like that way. I'd always been super attracted to the idea of marriage and family, and had been inspired by my own parents' who are a wonderful model of what a Christian marriage should be. But in 2005 I realised at last that while marriage and having a family is a wonderful vocation and blessing, they were not for me."
Deacon Daniel was in his third year when he says it finally hit him that God's call could be ignored no longer.
"I was walking across the campus wondering what I would do post-uni, and what path I would take, when I realised I had no option. The path God had chosen for me was the priesthood," he says.
Laughing he recalls how he threw up his hands and said:  "Okay God, you win!"
Less than two months after graduating with a BA, Deacon Daniel entered the Seminary of the Good Shepherd, Homebush and embarked on his studies for the priesthood.
Deacon Daniel McCaughan carried the Fisherman's Ring at the Inauguration Mass of Pope Francise
"I arrived back in Sydney from Rome last Sunday, so there has been all the excitement of being back with my brothers and sisters, parents and large extended family as well as my friends. There's also been a bit of stress with so much organising and things to do. But the transcendent emotion dominating everything is this wonderful and very deep sense of calm and peace."

Deacon Daniel says he has only felt this profound peace and calm once before in his life and this was in October last year on the eve of his ordination as a Deacon.
Once he is ordained by Cardinal Pell, Deacon Daniel will become a priest of the Archdiocese of Sydney but his stay in the city of his birth will be brief.
"On 15 January I am helping lead a group for outreach missions in Lima and then on to World Youth Day in Rio," he says. This will be followed by a few weeks at home with his what he calls "my fantastic boisterous loving family" before he returns to Rome in September to complete his fifth and final year of studies for his Licentiate in Moral Theology.
All are invited to the Ordination Mass at St Mary's Cathedral on Saturday, 6 July at 10am. Obviously it will be a very special day for Daniel but also one his father will never forget - he celebrates his birthday the same day.
SHARED FROM ARCHDIOCESE OF SYDNEY

"DO CATHOLICS REALLY USE CONDOMS" LECTURE BY FR. BABENDREIER - CHASTITY IS POSSIBLE

CISA NEWS REPORT
Chastity-is-Still-Possible,-says-Priest
MOMBASA, July 02, 2012 (CISA)-100 people, including a number of university students, attended lecture on “Do Good Catholics Really Use Condoms?” at the Hall beside Holy Ghost Cathedral in Mombasa. The lecture was organized by the Archdiocese of Mombasa.
Fr Joe Babendreier, columnist in The Sunday Times and The Seed, ex Manhattan salesman, engineer and Strathmore School chaplain mesmerized his audience with tales of the parties he did attend in New York.
The bottom line is that chastity is possible.
There were representatives present from almost all of the parishes of Mombasa.
The audience fired questions to Fr Joe about how to handle customers in a Chemist shop who ask for contraceptives and also asked why people attack the Catholic Church on these issues. He replied by saying that the Church stands for truth and some people want to attack the truth.
The lecture was in response to the recent push from the so called “Catholic for a Choice” group in relation to use of condoms.
Fr Joe pointed out that the basic moral issue at stake was that premarital and extramarital sex are always evil, that no one can engage in such acts and consider himself “good”, “not a Catholic, not a Protestant, not a Muslim, not a Hindu and not even an atheist.”
Mr Dalmas Omondi, a lawyer, is “in favour of having more of these kind of lectures that inform us on topical issues and help us to know the teaching of the Church clearly, so as to witness to it in the Year of Faith”.
SHARED FROM CISA NEWS 

FREE CATHOLIC MOVIES - FAUSTINA - WITH DOROTA SEGDA - SAINT OF DIVINE MERCY

IN HONOR OF THE YEAR OF FAITH- JCE WORLD NEWS IS SHARING 

Faustina (2004)

Dorota Segda , Danuta Szaflarska , Jerzy Lukaszewicz  
4.5 out of 5 stars 
 Polish with English subtitles.
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Sister Maria Faustina (born Helena Kowalska in Glogowiec, Poland on August 25, 1905) was canonized on April 30, 2000 by Pope John Paul II.
Saint Faustina died in 1938 after a long and painful battle with tuberculosis. A record of her life is her diary covering four years of her life. She was also granted permission by the Church to commission a painting which is now known the world over as the "Divine Mercy."

TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : WED. JULY 3, 2013 - ST. THOMAS APOSTLE

Feast of Saint Thomas, Apostle
Lectionary: 593

Reading 1        EPH 2:19-22
Brothers and sisters:
You are no longer strangers and sojourners,
but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones
and members of the household of God,
built upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets,
with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone.
Through him the whole structure is held together
and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord;
in him you also are being built together
into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

Responsorial Psalm         PS 117:1BC, 2

R. (Mark 16:15) Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
Praise the LORD, all you nations;
glorify him, all you peoples!
R. Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
For steadfast is his kindness for us,
and the fidelity of the LORD endures forever.
R. Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.

Gospel      JN 20:24-29

Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve,
was not with them when Jesus came.
So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.”
But Thomas said to them,
“Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands
and put my finger into the nailmarks
and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
Now a week later his disciples were again inside
and Thomas was with them.
Jesus came, although the doors were locked,
and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”
Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands,
and bring your hand and put it into my side,
and do not be unbelieving, but believe.”
Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me?
Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

TODAY'S SAINT: JULY 3: ST. THOMAS THE APOSTLE


St. Thomas
APOSTLE
Feast: July 3


Information:
Feast Day:July 3
Died:72 in India
Patron of:against doubt, architects, blind people, builders, East Indies, geometricians, India, masons, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, surveyors, theologians
Little is recorded of St.Thomas the Apostle, nevertheless thanks to the fourth Gospel his personality is clearer to us than that of some others of the Twelve. His name occurs in all the lists of the Synoptists (Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6, cf. Acts 1:13), but in St.John he plays a distinctive part. First, when Jesus announced His intention of returning to Judea to visit Lazarus, "Thomas" who is called Didymus [the twin], said to his fellow disciples: "Let us also go, that we may die with him" (John 11:16). Again it was St. Thomas who during the discourse before the Last Supper raised an objection:" Thomas saith to him : Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?" (John 14:5). But more especially St. Thomas is remembered for his incredulity when the other Apostles announced Christ's Resurrection to him: " Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe" (John 20:25); but eight days later he made his act of faith, drawing down the rebuke of Jesus: "Because thou hast seen me, Thomas, thou hast believed; blessed are they that have not seen, and have believed" (John 20:29).
This exhausts all our certain knowledge regarding the Apostle but his name is the starting point of a considerable apocryphal literature, and there are also certain historical data which suggest that some of this apocryphal material may contains germs of truth. The principal document concerning him is the "Acta Thomae", preserved to us with some variations both in Greek and in Syriac, and bearing unmistakeable signs of its Gnostic origin. It may indeed be the work of Bardesanes himself. The story in many of its particulars is utterly extravagant, but it is the early date, being assigned by Harnack (Chronologie, ii, 172) to the beginning of the third century, before A. D. 220. If the place of its origin is really Edessa, as Harnack and others for sound reasons supposed (ibid., p. 176), this would lend considerable probability to the statement, explicitly made in "Acta" (Bonnet, cap. 170, p.286), that the relics of Apostle Thomas, which we know to have been venerated at Edessa, had really come from the East. The extravagance of the legend may be judged from the fact that in more than one place (cap. 31, p. 148) it represents Thomas (Judas Thomas, as he is called here and elsewhere in Syriac tradition) as the twin brother of Jesus. The Thomas in Syriac is equivalant to XXXXX in Greek, and means twin. Rendel Harris who exaggerates very much the cult of the Dioscuri, wishes to regards this as a transformation of a pagan worship of Edessa but the point is at best problematical. The story itself runs briefly as follows: At the division of the Apostles, India fell to the lot of Thomas, but he declared his inability to go, whereupon his Master Jesus appeared in a supernatural way to Abban, the envoy of Gundafor, an Indian king, and sold Thomas to him to be his slave and serve Gundafor as a carpender. Then Abban and Thomas sailed away until they came to Andrapolis, where they landed and attended the marriage feast of the ruler's daughter. Strange occurences followed and Christ under the appearence of Thomas exhorted the bride to remain a Virgin. Coming to India Thomas undertook to build a palace for Gundafor, but spend the money entrusted to him on the poor. Gundafor imprisoned him; but the Apostle escaped miraculously and Gundafor was converted. Going about the country to preach, Thomas met with strange adventures from dragons and wild asses. Then he came to the city of King Misdai (Syriac Mazdai), where he converted Tertia the wife of Misdai and Vazan his son. After this he was condemed to death, led out of city to a hill, and pierced through with spears by four soldiers. He was buried in the tomb of the ancient kings but his remains were afterwards removed to the West.
Now it is certainly a remarkable fact that about the year A.D. 46 a king was reigning over that part of Asia south of Himalayas now represented by Afghanistan, Baluchistan, the Punjab, and Sind, who bore the name Gondophernes or Guduphara. This we know both from the discovery of coins, some of the Parthian type with Greek legends, others of the Indian types with the legends in an Indian dialect in Kharoshthi characters. Despite sundry minor variations the identity of the name with the Gundafor of the "Acta Thomae" is unmistakable and is hardly disputed. Further we have the evidence of the Takht-i-Bahi inscription, which is dated and which the best specialists accept as establishing the King Gunduphara probably began to reign about A.D. 20 and was still reigning in 46. Again there are excellent reasons for believing that Misdai or Mazdai may well be transformation of a Hindu name made on the Iranian soil. In this case it will probably represent a certain King Vasudeva of Mathura, a successor of Kanishka. No doubt it can be urged that the Gnostic romancer who wrote the "Acta Thomae" may have adopted a few historical Indian names to lend verisimilitude to his fabrication, but as Mr. Fleet urges in his severely critical paper "the names put forward here in connection with St.Thomas are distinctly not such as have lived in Indian story and tradition" (Joul. of R. Asiatic Soc.,1905, p.235).
On the other hand, though the tradition that St. Thomas preached in "India" was widely spread in both East and West and is to be found in such writers as Ephraem Syrus, Ambrose, Paulinus, Jerome, and, later Gregory of Tours and others, still it is difficult to discover any adequate support for the long-accepted belief that St. Thomas pushed his missionary journeys as far south as Mylapore, not far from Madras, and there suffered martyrdom. In that region is still to be found a granite bas-relief cross with a Pahlavi (ancient Persian) inscription dating from the seventh century, and the tradition that it was here that St. Thomas laid down his life is locally very strong. Certain it is also that on the Malabar or west coast of southern India a body of Christians still exists using a form of Syriac for its liturgical language. Whether this Church dates from the time of St. Thomas the Apostle (there was a Syro-Chaldean bishop John "from India and Persia" who assisted at the Council of Nicea in 325) or whether the Gospel was first preached there in 345 owing to the Persian persecution under Shapur (or Sapor), or whether the Syrian missionaries who accompanied a certain Thomas Cana penetrated to the Malabar coast about the year 745 seems difficult to determine. We know only that in the sixth century Cosmas Indicopleustes speaks of the existence of Christians at Male (?Malabar) under a bishop who had been consecrated in Persia. King Alfred the Great is stated in the "Anglo-Saxon Chronicle" to have sent an expedition to establish relations with these Christians of the Far East. On the other hand the reputed relics of St. Thomas were certainly at Edessa in the fourth century, and there they remained until they were translated to Chios in 1258 and towards to Ortona. The improbable suggestion that St. Thomas preached in America (American Eccles. Rev., 1899, pp.1-18) is based upon a misunderstanding of the text of the Acts of Apostles (i, 8; cf. Berchet "Fonte italiane per la storia della scoperta del Nuovo Mondo", II, 236, and I, 44).
Besides the "Acta Thomae" of which a different and notably shorter redaction exists in Ethiopic and Latin, we have an abbreviated form of a so-called "Gospel of Thomas" originally Gnostic, as we know it now merely a fantastical history of the childhood of Jesus, without any notably heretical colouring. There is also a "Revelatio Thomae", condemned as apocryphal in the Degree of Pope Gelasius, which has recently been recovered from various sources in a fragmentary condition


source: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/T/stthomas.asp#ixzz1R4TkmFUX

POPE FRANCIS "ALONG THE PATH OF JESUS" AND LATEST FROM VATICAN


Vatican Radio REPORT: Christians are called to be courageous in their weakness. We must recognize that we are weak and that, at times, we have to flee from sin without nostalgia, without looking back. We must not let temptation or fear keep us from God. Instead we must learn that ‘he who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day!’ This was the lesson at the heart of Pope Francis’ homily at morning Mass on Tuesday.



Acting with hesitancy, always looking back, being afraid to turn to the Lord, the grace of the Holy Spirit. Pope Francis took his cue from the daily readings to dwell on four "possible attitudes in conflict situations, in difficult situations." The first attitude is that of the "slowness" of Lot. He decided to leave the city before it was destroyed, but he does so slowly. The angel tells him to run away, but he carries within an '"inability to detach himself from evil and sin." The Pope noted that we want to go out, we are determined, "but there is something that pulls us back," and so Lot begins to negotiate even with the angel.


"It’s so hard to cut ties with a sinful situation. It is hard! Even in a temptation, it's hard! But the voice of God tells us this word: 'Escape! You cannot fight there, because the fire, the sulfur will kill you. Escape!' St. Therese of the Child Jesus taught us that sometimes, in some temptations, the only solution is to escape and not be ashamed to escape; to recognize that we are weak and we have to escape. And our popular wisdom, in its simplicity, says as much, somewhat ironically: 'he who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day.' Escaping to go forward along the path of Jesus."

The Pope continued that the angel then says "do not look back," to escape and keep your eyes faced forward. Here, he said, is some advice on how to overcome our nostalgia of sin. Think of the People of God in the desert, he stressed: "They had everything, promises, everything." And yet "they were nostalgic for the onions of Egypt" and this "longing made them forget that they ate those onions on the table of slavery." There was the "longing to go back, to return." And the advice of the angel, the Pope observed, "is wise: Do not look back! Move ahead!" We must not do as Lot's wife, we must "leave behind all nostalgia, because there is also the temptation of curiosity."


"Faced with sin, we must escape without any nostalgia. Curiosity does not help, it hurts! 'But, in this sinful world, what can we do? What is this sin like? I would like to know . . . ' No, do not! This curiosity will hurt you! Run away and do not look back! We are weak, all of us, and we must defend ourselves. The third situation is on the boat: it is fear. When there is great upheaval at sea, the boat was covered with the waves. 'Save us, Lord, we are lost!' they say. Fear! Even that is a temptation of the devil: to be afraid to move forward on the path of the Lord.”

There is a temptation that says it is "better to stay here," where I'm safe. "But this – warned the Pope - is the slavery of Egypt." "I fear moving forward - the Pope said - I'm afraid of where the Lord will bring me.” Fear, however, "is not a good counselor." Jesus, he added, "so many times, said: 'Do not be afraid.' Fear does not help us." The fourth attitude "is the grace of the Holy Spirit." When Jesus calms the agitated sea, the disciples on the boat are filled with awe. "Faced with sin, nostalgia, fear," he said, we must always turn to the Lord.


"Looking to the Lord, contemplating the Lord. This gifts us the beautiful wonder of a new encounter with the Lord. 'Lord, I am being tempted: I want to stay in this situation of sin, Lord, I am curious to know about these things, Lord, I'm afraid.' And they looked to the Lord: 'Save us, Lord, we are lost!' And wonder at a new encounter with Jesus followed. We must not be naive nor lukewarm Christians, but brave, courageous. We are weak, but we must be courageous in our weakness. And often our courage must be expressed in escaping without looking back, so as not to fall into the trap of wicked nostalgia. Do not be afraid and always look to the Lord! "
Mass was concelebrated by Cardinal Manuel Monteiro de Castro and Archbishop Beniamino Stella, and was attended by a group of priests and employees of the Tribunal of the Apostolic Penitentiary, and a group from the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy. 

SHARED FROM RADIO VATICANA

PROGRAMME OF THE POPE'S TRIP TO LAMPEDUSA
Vatican City, 2 July 2013 (VIS) – The programme of Pope Francis' trip to Lampedusa onMonday 8 July was announced today.
The Holy Father will depart from Rome's Ciampino military airport at 8.00 a.m., landing at Lampedusa airport at 9.15 a.m., where he will be welcomed by Archbishop Francesco Montenegro of Agrigento and Giuseppina Nicolini, mayor of Lampedusa. The Holy Father will then go on by car to Cala Pisana, where he will board a boat in order to reach Lampedusa by sea. He will be accompanied by fisherman in their boats, and will commit a wreath to the sea in memory of those who lost their lives in the shipwreck. He will arrive at the port of Punta Favarolo at 9.30 a.m., where he will greet the groups of immigrants awaiting him at the dock.
He will then go on to the “Arena” sports camp in the Salina quarter, where he will celebrate Mass at 10.00 a.m. At 11.30 a.m., following the celebration of the Eucharist, the Pope will continue by car to the parish of San Gerlando, where he will make a brief stop. He will leave the parish at12.30 p.m. and will be transported to Lampedusa airport by car. At 12.45 p.m. the papal aeroplane will depart from Rome, where it is expected to land at Ciampino airport at 1.45 p.m.The Holy Father will return immediately to Vatican City.
 
DIRECTOR AND DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF THE IOR RESIGN
Vatican City, 2 July 2013 (VIS) – A communique was issued in English by the Holy See Press Office late yesterday afternoon, the full text of which is given below:
“IOR-Director Comm. Paolo Cipriani and Deputy Director Dott. Massimo Tulli have offered their resignations from their current positions. After many years of service both have decided that this decision would be in the best interest of the Institute and the Holy See. The Oversight Council and the Commission of Cardinals have accepted their resignations and asked President Ernst von Freyberg to assume the functions of the General Director ad interim with immediate effect. The Vatican regulator AIF has been informed accordingly. The Special Commission appointed on June 26 2013 has acknowledged the decision.
“Ernst von Freyberg will be supported by Rolando Marranci as acting Deputy Director and Antonio Montaresi in the newly created position as acting Chief Risk Officer with the remit of overseeing compliance and special projects. Previously Rolando Marranci served as Chief Operating Officer at a leading Italian bank in London. Antonio Montaresi has served as Chief Risk and Chief Compliance Officer with various banks in the US.
“'In the name of the Oversight Council I thank Mr. Cipriani and Mr. Tulli for their personal dedication over the past years,' said President Ernst von Freyberg. 'I welcome Rolando Marranci and Antonio Montaresi as outstanding professionals,' he said. 'Since 2010 the IOR and its management have been working hard to bring structures and processes in line with international standards for anti-money laundering. While we are grateful for what has been achieved, it is clear today that we need new leadership to increase the pace of this transformation process. Our progress is in no small measure due to the continued support from the governing bodies of the Institute and its personnel.'
“The Oversight Council has also initiated a selection process with the aim of appointing a new General Director and Deputy Director in the near future.
“Elizabeth McCaul, Partner-in-charge of the New York Office and Chief Executive Officer of Promontory Europe and Raffaele Cosimo, Chief Operating Officer of Promontory Europe were mandated this past May by the President of the Oversight Council to strengthen the Institute’s anti-money laundering program in seven work streams including conducting a forensic review and screening its client relationships. Mr von Freyberg has also asked Elizabeth McCaul and Raffaele Cosimo to serve as Senior Advisors to support the management. Previously, Ms. McCaul served as New York Superintendent of Banks and is considered a leader in regulatory circles. Mr. Cosimo is an expert in bank governance and operations.”
About the IOR
“The 'Istituto per le Opere di Religione' (IOR) is an institute founded in 1942 by Papal Decree. The IOR’s purpose is to serve the Holy See and in the Catholic Church throughout the world, as set out in its Statutes. The IOR safeguards the assets of a clearly defined group of legal and natural persons that have an affiliation to the Catholic Church defined by Canonical or Vatican Law. A Cardinals’ Commission, a Prelate, an Oversight Council and a Directorate constitute the IOR’s corporate governance structure. The IOR, which has 114 employees, is exclusively situated on the sovereign territory of the Vatican City State.”
 
AUDIENCES
Vatican City, 2 July 2013 (VIS) - Today, the Holy Father received in audience:
- Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches
- Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy

SATANIC GROUPS CAPTURE TEENAGERS FOR RITUALS IN INDIA

Agenzia Fides REPORT - The teenagers of the state of Nagaland in Northeast India are seduced by satanic groups that spread also through social networks. According to Fides sources, only in the last few months, more than 3,000 young people "worshipers of Satan" have been identified in Kohima, capital of Nagaland, and the cult is defending itself like wildfire. This is the alarm sent to Fides Agency by the various local Christian communities that, since April have started an actual "crusade" to find the teenagers involved and to pull them out from satanic groups. To save their children, the mothers of the "Catholic Association of the Women of Nagaland" (NCWA) took to the streets, who in the seminar held in past days reiterated concerns and risks and have put in place a program to stop "the terrible practice that touches our children".
According to rev. Zotuo Kiewhuo, Pastor of the Baptist Church in Kohima, satanic worship is widely practiced by young people in schools and universities, and over the past five years, the phenomenon has assumed significant proportions. Children absorb and spread the satanic culture mainly through websites and social network like "Facebook" and "Twitter". Now, the local Christians note, it is time to take adequate measures, due to the hazardous social, cultural and spiritual phenomenon. According to some sources, in Nagaland, a state with a 95% Christian population - a "satanic underground Church has already been established."
As reported to Fides, the Catholic mothers have reiterated their commitment to strengthen the children's knowledge of the Christian faith, without which they easily fall prey to confusion and, given the crisis of traditional cultural models, are exposed to the temptations of the devil and satanic worship. "The Family" – they stressed - is the first place where to present Jesus Christ as the only Lord and Savior, as the source of love. "
Pastor Shan Kikon, of the Protestant community "Faith Harvest Church" in Nagaland, told Fides that he had personally met a 12-year-old student who told him he practices Satanic worship. As in other youth fashions " friends, foreign culture, the mass media and social networks count," notes the Pastor, who many parents have turned to in order to save their children. According to Fides sources, "Satan has already invaded associations and Christian communities by creating confusion, mistrust, division" and the satanic sect could have "ministers and missionaries to mislead the Christians, put them against God and to extend its kingdom" .
Fr. Charles Irudayam, Secretary of the Commission "Justice and Peace" in the Episcopal Conference of India says to Fides: "We are shocked to learn about this news. Satanism is not, however, a widespread phenomenon in India. Those groups in the Northeast are an alarm bell. The Catholic Church and other Christian communities intend to work hard to deepen and strengthen faith in children and young people through pastoral programs of formation. Thus, in this Year of Faith, we could eradicate this evil". (PA)

OOBERFUSE BAND CHOSEN TO PLAY AT WORLD YOUTH DAY

IND. CATH. NEWS REPORT
London band chosen to play at WYD Rio | Ooberfuse, WYD, Rio, World Youth Day Rio 2013
London band Ooberfuse is the only UK band performing at World Youth Day Rio 2013, the largest gathering of international young people assembling in Brazil later this month.
This month, more than three million people are expected to converge on Rio de Janeiro to take part in what is described as the largest street party on earth, wyd. Playing a key role in the World Youth Day festivities is ooberfuse, who will be performing the Official English Anthem of the event that has already received over 300,000 You Tube hits. They will also be headlining several concerts in some of Rio's premier cultural venues.
Cherrie front-woman for the band said: "It's an amazing privilege to perform the World Youth Day Rio 2013 festival's Official English Anthem, which is the soundtrack for the event. As the only UK band to be flying to Brazil to perform several concerts this month, we are honoured and excited!"

Hal from Ooberfuse said : "many people are thinking twice about visiting Rio in light of the recent protests that have claimed six lives following recent social agitation in cities across Brazil. We are in sympathy with the bus drivers and other ordinary people of Brazil and will definitely be going ahead with our plans to take up the invitation. The song, Hope of the Dawn offers a message of hope for the future."
See Ooberfuse perform the anthem on these sites: https://Soundcloud.com/rio2013-1/sets/wyd-rio2013-hymn


POPE FRANCIS "RECEIVING A GRACE FROM GOD" AND LATEST FROM VATICAN

Vatcan Radio Report - Pope Francis on Monday urged Christians to pray to the Lord with courage and tenacity like Abraham, as Jesus Himself taught us. Delivering a homily at the morning Mass he celebrated in the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta residence in the Vatican, the Pope reflected on the way Abraham vigorously negotiated with God, against the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, as if bargaining with a Phoenician merchant. “And he does it with insistence,” the Pope said, adding prayer must be courageous. The Pope went on to say that Jesus Himself teaches us to pray with courage and insistence when speaks about the parable of the unjust judge and the importunate widow or the man who knocks at the door of his friend at night. In fact, Jesus, expresses admiration for the Syro-Phoenician woman who went on arguing with Him to heal her daughter. Praying with persistence, the Pope admitted, is tiring, but it is the attitude of prayer. He recalled St. Teresa saying prayer is a sort of negotiation with the Lord, which is possible in an atmosphere of familiarity with Him. “It is tiring, it’s true,” the Pope repeated, but “this is prayer, this is receiving a grace from God.” 

POPE FRANCIS' FIRST ENCYCLICAL, “LUMEN FIDEI”, TO BE PUBLISHED 5 JULY
Vatican City, 1 July 2013 (VIS) - Pope Francis' first encyclical, entitled “Lumen Fidei”, will be published on Friday 5 July. The document, described as “not very extensive” by the director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., will be presented at a Press Conference by Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization.
 
POPE FRANCIS WILL PRAY FOR IMMIGRANTS IN LAMPEDUSA
Vatican City, 1 July 2013 (VIS) – The Holy See Press Office today communicated that the Holy Father will visit the island of Lampedusa, Sicily, on Monday 8 July. The communique states that the Pope, “profoundly moved by the recent wreck involving a boat transporting migrants from Africa, the latest in a series of similar tragedies, intends to pray for those who have lost their lives at sea, to visit the survivors and refugees, to give encouragement to the island's inhabitants and to appeal to the responsibility of all to care for these brothers and sisters in extreme need. Due to the specific nature of the circumstances, the visit will be carried out as discreetly as possible, also with regard to the presence of bishops from the region and the civil authorities.
 
THE HOLY FATHER'S PROGRAMME FOR AUGUST
Vatican City, 1 July 2013 (VIS) – According to a communique issued today by the Prefecture of the Papal Household, the general audiences will be suspended during the month of August and will recommence on Wednesday 4 September.
Throughout the entire month of August, the Angelus Marian prayer will continue in the Vatican, with the exception of Thursday 15 August, solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. On that day, the Holy Father will celebrate the Holy Mass in the parish of Castel Gandolfo and will subsequently pray the Angelus from the apostolic palace of his summer residence.
 
SIX THOUSAND YOUNG PEOPLE BEAR WITNESS TO THEIR VOCATION
Vatican City, 01 July 2013 (VIS) – This morning in the Holy See Press Office a presentation was given for the “Great Event of the Year of Faith, a Day for seminarians, novices, and all those who have taken the path of vocation”. The participants were Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization, Archbishop Jose Octavio Ruiz Arenas, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization, and Msgr Graham Bell, under-secretary of the same Pontifical Council. The initiative is entitled “I trust in you”, to indicate the act by which the young may still find the strength and courage to consecrate themselves to the Lord and to the priestly or consecrated life as a sign of generosity to the Lord Who calls upon them to follow Him.
The event will begin on 4 July with a pilgrimage to the tomb of St. Peter. It will depart from the gardens of Castel Sant'Angelo and continue along the entire length of Via della Conciliazione, concluding at St. Peter's Basilica where Cardinal Angelo Comastri will address those present.
The following day, 5 July, will be dedicated to catechesis in various languages, and will take place in designated churches throughout the historic centre of the capital. The day will conclude at Piazza del Campidoglio where there will be a celebration with various singers; two seminarians and a young Italian nun will relate their own experiences.
The morning of Saturday 6 July will be dedicated to the celebration of reconciliation and Eucharistic adoration. For the superiors accompanying the young seminarians and religious there will be the opportunity to reflect on matters of formation at the Lateran University. In the afternoon, in the Paul VI Hall, Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, will offer some thoughts prior to an encounter with Pope Francis, who will offer privileged testimony of his own vocation. Musical accompaniment will be provided by the Irish group “The Priests” and by the nun Glenda. Finally, there will be a Marian procession in the Vatican Gardens, concluding at St. Peter's Basilica with a final address from Cardinal J. Braz de Aviz, prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life.
On the morning of Sunday 7 July, the Pope will celebrate Mass in St. Peter's Basilica followed by the Angelus.
It is hoped that some six thousand young people from 66 different countries will participate in the initiative; representatives, according to Archbishop Fisichella, of the “thousands and thousands of other young people who will be spiritually united with them in bearing witness to their vocation”.
 
POPE FRANCIS RECALLS BENEDICT XVI'S EXAMPLE
Vatican City, 30 June 2013 (VIS) – Jesus' steadfast decision to set out on the path to Jerusalem, his final destination and the place where He fulfilled His mission of salvation, and His freedom of conscience were the themes of the Pope's final Angelus in the month of June, prayed with tens of thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.
“From that time forth after His steadfast decision, Jesus aims straight for the finish line, and even to the people he meets and who ask to follow Him, He clearly states the conditions: not having a permanent abode; knowing how to detach oneself from familiar affections; not succumbing to nostalgia for the past. But Jesus also said to his disciples, charged with preceding Him on the way to Jerusalem to announce His coming, not to impose anything: if they do not find willing welcome, they are simply to continue, to move on. Jesus never imposes” Pope Francis emphasized. “Jesus is humble. Jesus extends invitations: 'If you want, come'. The humility of Jesus is like this: He always invites us. He does not impose”.
“All this makes us think … of the importance, even for Jesus, of conscience: listening in his heart to the Father's voice, and following it. Jesus, in his earthly life, was not, so to speak, 'remote-controlled': He was the Word made flesh, the Son of God made man, and at one point he made a firm decision to go up to Jerusalem for the last time - a decision taken in His conscience, but not on His own: ??with the Father, in full union with Him! ... For this reason, then, the decision was steadfast: because it was taken together with the Father. In the Father, then, Jesus found the strength and the light for His journey. Jesus was free. His decision was a free one. Jesus wants us Christians to be free as he is: with that liberty, which comes from this dialogue with the Father ... Jesus wants neither selfish Christians, who follow their egos and do not speak with God, nor weak Christians, without will: 'remote-controlled' Christians, incapable of creativity, who seek always to connect with the will of another ... Jesus wants us free, and this freedom – where is it found? It is to be found in the inner dialogue with God in conscience. If a Christian … does not know how to listen to God, in his own conscience, then he is not free – he is not free”.
“So we also must learn to listen more to our conscience. Be careful, however: this does not mean we ought to follow our ego, do whatever interests us, whatever suits us, whatever pleases us. That is not conscience. Conscience is the interior space in which we can listen to and hear the truth, the good, the voice of God. It is the inner place of our relationship with Him, who speaks to our heart and helps us to discern, to understand the path we ought to take, and once the decision is made, to move forward, to remain faithful”.
Pope Francis highlighted a wonderful example of how this relationship with God in one's own conscience may be: Pope Benedict XVI, “when the Lord showed him in prayer the step he had to take, followed his conscience with a great sense of discernment and courage; that is, he followed the will of God that spoke to his heart”. This example “is of benefit to all of us, as an example to follow”.
“May Mary help us to become more and more men and women of conscience, free in our conscience … able to hear the voice of God and follow it with decision” concluded the Pope.
After the Angelus, the Holy Father remarked that today in Italy we celebrate the Day of charity of the Pope, and he thanked the bishops and all the parishes, especially the poorest, for the prayers and offerings that support the many pastoral initiatives and charitable activities of the Successor of Peter in every part of the world.
 
POPE'S MESSAGE TO YOUNG LITHUANIANS
Vatican City, 30 June 2013 (VIS) – The Pope has written a message to the participants in the Sixth Youth Day, to be held in Kaunas, Lithuania from 28 to 30 June.
The Pope writes, “Jesus wants to be your friend, … a master of truth and life who will show you the path to happiness, to your self-realization according to God's plan for each of you. And this, Jesus' friendship, which brings us mercy and the love of God, is 'free', a pure gift. He asks nothing of you in return, He asks only that you welcome Him. Jesus wishes to love you for what you are, even in your fragility and weakness as, touched by His love, you may be renewed”.
“The encounter with God's love in the friendship of Christ is possible first and foremost through the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist and the Reconciliation. … Jesus always forgives us. Another privileged way to grow in Christ's friendship is to listen to His word. The Lord speaks to us … through the Sacred Scriptures, He speaks to us through prayer. … And here I would like to emphasize the beauty of simple contemplative prayer, accessible to all, old and young, the cultured and the simple; it is the prayer of the Sacred Rosary. … Indeed, in the Rosary, repeating Hail Mary, we meditate upon the Mysteries, the events in the life of Christ, in order to know him and love him more”.
“Christ's love is not an illusion … neither is it reserved to the few. … Do not be afraid to live in faith! Be witnesses to Christ in your daily lives, with simplicity and courage. To those you meet, to your peers, show above all the face of the mercy and love of God, Who always forgives, encourages and gives hope. Always show care for others, especially to the poorest and weakest, thereby living in fraternal love, against all forms of egotism and narrow-mindedness”.
 
THE BISHOP OF ROME IS CALLED TO CONFIRM IN FAITH, LOVE AND UNITY
Vatican City, 29 June 2013 (VIS) - This morning, on the solemnity of the apostles Peter and Paul, Pope Francis celebrated the Holy Mass in St. Peter's Basilica, during which the Pallium, a symbol of the bond of unity with the See of Peter, was imposed upon thirty-four new metropolitan archbishops.
The Holy Father concelebrated the Eucharist with the new archbishops. As is traditional on the feast of the patrons of Rome, the Pope received in audience a delegation from the ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, sent on behalf of ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomaios I and led by the metropolitan of Pergamo Ioannis (Zizioulas), co-president of the Mixed Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.
In his homily, Pope Francis spoke of the meaning of the verb “to confirm” in the context of the Petrine ministry, in response to the question, “What has the Bishop of Rome been called to confirm?”.
“First, to confirm in faith”, he said. “The Gospel speaks of the confession of Peter: 'You are Christ, the Son of the living God', a confession which does not come from him but from our Father in heaven. Because of this confession, Jesus replies: 'You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church'. The role, the ecclesial service of Peter, is founded upon his confession of faith in Jesus, the Son of the living God, made possible by a grace granted from on high. In the second part of today’s Gospel we see the peril of thinking in worldly terms. When Jesus speaks of his death and resurrection, of the path of God which does not correspond to the human path of power, flesh and blood re-emerge in Peter: 'He took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him ... This must never happen to you'. Jesus’ response is harsh: 'Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me'. Whenever we let our thoughts, our feelings or the logic of human power prevail, and we do not let ourselves be taught and guided by faith, by God, we become stumbling blocks. Faith in Christ is the light of our life as Christians and as ministers in the Church!”
“To confirm in love” is the second answer. “In the second reading we heard the moving words of Saint Paul: I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith'”, continued the Holy Father. “But what is this fight? It is not one of those fights fought with human weapons which sadly continue to cause bloodshed throughout the world; rather, it is the fight of martyrdom. Saint Paul has but one weapon: the message of Christ and the gift of his entire life for Christ and for others. It is precisely this readiness to lay himself open, personally, to be consumed for the sake of the Gospel, to make himself all things to all people, unstintingly, that gives him credibility and builds up the Church. The Bishop of Rome is called himself to live and to confirm his brothers and sisters in this love for Christ and for all others, without distinction, limits or barriers. And not only the Bishop of Rome: each of you, new archbishops and bishops, have the same task: to let yourselves be consumed by the Gospel, to become all things to everyone. It is your task to hold nothing back, to go outside of yourselves in the service of the faithful and holy people of God”.
Finally, the Pope continued, “To confirm in unity. Here I would like to reflect for a moment on the rite which we have carried out. The pallium is a symbol of communion with the Successor of Peter, 'the lasting and visible source and foundation of the unity both of faith and of communion'. And your presence today, dear brothers, is the sign that the Church’s communion does not mean uniformity. The Second Vatican Council, in speaking of the hierarchical structure of the Church, states that the Lord 'established the apostles as college or permanent assembly, at the head of which he placed Peter, chosen from their number'. To confirm in unity: the Synod of Bishops, in harmony with the primate. Let us go forward on the path of synodality, and grow in harmony with the service of the primacy. And the Council continues, 'this college, in so far as it is composed of many members, is the expression of the variety and universality of the people of God'. In the Church, variety, which is itself a great treasure, is always grounded in the harmony of unity, like a great mosaic in which every small piece joins with others as part of God’s one great plan. This should inspire us to work always to overcome every conflict which wounds the body of the Church. United in our differences: there is no other Catholic way to be united. This is the Catholic spirit, the Christian spirit: to be united in our differences. This is the way of Jesus! The pallium, while being a sign of communion with the Bishop of Rome and with the universal church, with the Synod of Bishops, also commits each of you to being a servant of communion”.
“To confess the Lord by letting oneself be taught by God; to be consumed by love for Christ and his Gospel; to be servants of unity. These, dear brother bishops, are the tasks which the holy apostles Peter and Paul entrust to each of us, so that they can be lived by every Christian”, the Holy Father concluded.
 
SAINTS PETER AND PAUL TRANSMIT TO THE CHURCH THE FAITH IN A GOD OF LOVE AND GRACE
Vatican City, 29 June 2013 (VIS) – Following the Holy Mass celebrated in St. Peter's Basilica, Pope Francis appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus on Sunday with the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square, and recalled that the solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul was a special feast for the Church of Rome, founded on the martyrdom of both apostles, and also for the Universal Church, “since all the People of God owe to them the gift of faith”.
While Peter “was the first to confess that Jesus is Christ, the Son of God, Paul spread this news throughout the Greek-Roman world. And Providence wished that both of them might reach Rome and there shed blood for the faith. The Church of Rome therefore became, spontaneously, the point of reference for all Churches around the world. Not for the power of the Empire, but for the strength of martyrdom and witness to Christ! In the end, it is always and only the love of Christ that generates faith and sustains the Church along her way”.
The Holy Father remarked that when Peter confessed his faith in Jesus, “he did not do so because of His human capacities, but rather because he had been moved by the grace Jesus emanated, by the love he felt in His words and saw in His gestures”. And the same happened to Paul when, as a young man and enemy of Christians, he was called upon by the Risen Christ on the road to Damascus and transformed by his vision: “He understood that Jesus was not dead, but alive, and loved even he who was His enemy. It was this experience of mercy, of God's forgiveness through Jesus Christ: this is the Good News, the Gospel the Peter and Paul experienced themselves and for which they gave their lives. Mercy, forgiveness! The Lord always forgives, the Lord has mercy, is merciful, has a merciful heart and awaits us always … what joy it is to believe in a God Who is all love, all grace! This is the faith that Peter and Paul received from Christ and which they have transmitted to the Church”.
Pope Francis also spoke of the apostle Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, who shared with him his experience of faith in Jesus, and who had indeed encountered Him first. “I like to remember him also because today, in accordance with a beautiful tradition, Rome receives the delegation of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, whose patron is indeed the apostle Andrew”. The Pope went on to invite those present to pray together a Hail Mary for Patriarch Bartholomaios I, and to pray also for the metropolitan archbishops of the various Churches who received the Pallium this morning.
After the Marian prayer, the Pope greeted the pilgrims who had gathered to celebrate with the metropolitan archbishops: “I pray for their communities, and in particular I encourage the central African people, sorely tested at this time, to continue on their path with faith and hope”.