- General audience: the final destination of the People of God
- Pope's letter for the fifth centenary of the birth of St. Teresa of Avila
- Other Pontifical Acts
General audience: the final destination of the People of God Vatican City, 2014 (VIS) – The final destination of the People of God was the theme of Pope Francis' catechesis during this Wednesday's general audience. The Holy Father began by recalling St. Paul's words to the Thessalonians, when with anxiety they asked what would become of them – “we will be with the Lord forever” – remarking that it was one of the most beautiful phrases of the Sacred Scripture, and inviting those present in St. Peter's Square to repeat it three times. He went on to comment on how, in the Book of Revelation St. John, returning to the intuition of the Prophets, describes the final and definitive dimension in terms of “a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband”. And this, then, is who the Church is: she is the people of God following the Lord Jesus and who prepares herself, day by day, for the encounter with Him, like a bride with her groom. And it is not simply a turn of phrase: it will be a true espousal. Yes, because Christ, who made Himself man like us, and making us one with Him, by His death and resurrection, truly took us as His spouse. And this is none other than the fulfilment of the plan of communion and love, woven by God throughout history, the history of the People of God and the history of each one of us”. There is another element that further consoles us and opens our heart: John says that in the Church, bride of Christ, the “new Jerusalem” is visible. This means that the Church, aside from being a bride, is called to become a city, the quintessential symbol of co-existence and human relations. How beautiful it is to already be able to contemplate, according to another evocative image from Revelation, all the peoples and populations gathered together in this city, as if they were all under the same roof, in God's home. And in this glorious setting there will be no more isolation, abuse or distinctions of any type – social, ethnic or religious – but we will all be one in Christ”. “In the presence of this unprecedented and wonderful scene, hope cannot but be strongly confirmed in our heart”, he added, since “Christian hope is not simply a wish, a hope; for a Christian, hope is awaiting, fervently and with passion, the final and definitive fulfilment of a mystery, the mystery of God's love, in which we are reborn and which we already live. And it is the expectation of someone who is about to arrive: the Lord Christ who is ever closer to us, day after day, and who comes to finally introduce us to the fullness of His communion and His peace”. Pope Francis underlined that the Church therefore has “the task of keeping hope alight and clearly visible, so that it may continue to shine as a sure sign of salvation and may illuminate for all humanity the path that leads to the encounter with the mysterious face of God”. Pope's letter for the fifth centenary of the birth of St. Teresa of Avila Vatican City, 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has sent a message to Bishop Jesus Garcia Burillo of Avila on the occasion of the fifth centenary of the birth of St. Teresa of Avila, whose feast day is celebrated today. In his letter, Pope Francis mentions the joy the saint often spoke of “in encountering the suffering of work and pain”, and how she affirmed that “the Gospel is not a bag of lead that trails heavily behind us, but rather a source of joy that leads the heart to God and urges us to serve our brethren”: St. Teresa emphasised the importance of cheerful perseverance and prayer. For her, contemplative prayer was “a close sharing between friends; … taking time frequently to be alone with him who we know loves us”. The Pope remarks that this advice is “perennially valid”: “In a culture of the temporary”, he says, “to live faithfully 'forever and ever and ever'; in a world without hope, to show the fruitfulness of an enamoured heart; and in a society with many idols, to give witness that 'only God is enough'”. A path that, the Holy Father reiterated, we cannot walk alone; we must do so together and, as the Saint said, with Christ. “Teresa of Jesus recommended three things: to love each other, to free each other, to free oneself of everything, and to aspire to true humility”. “It is this Teresian realism”, writes the Pope, “that demands works instead of emotions, love in the place of dreams, and the realism of humble love instead of eager asceticism”. He concludes, “Let us hope that everyone may be infused by this holy impulse to travel the roads of our own time, with the Gospel in our hand and the Spirit in our heart!”. Other Pontifical Acts Vatican City, 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed: - Bishop Antonio Fernando Brochini, C.S.S., of Jaboticabal, Brazil as bishop of Itumbiara (area 21,152, population 313,000, Catholics 244,000, priests28, permanent deacons 2, religious 26), Brazil. - appointed Rev. Fr. Vittorio Francesco Viola, O.F.M., as bishop of Tortona (area 2,350, population 281,310, Catholics 274,640, priests 175, permanent deacons 20, religious 409), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Biella, Italy in 1965, gave his solemn vows in 1991, and was ordained a priest in 1993. He has served in a number of roles, including definitor or the Seraphic Province of Friars Minor in Umbria, custodian of the convent and the Papal Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli alla Porziuncola, guardian of the convent at St. Clare's Basilica in Assisi, head of the Liturgical Office for the region of Umbria, head of the diocesan office for Education, Schools and University in Assisi, and head of the diocesan Caritas. He was recently appointed as custodian of the protoconvent and shrine of Porziuncola. He also teaches at the St. Anselm Pontifical Athenaeum, Rome, in the Pontifical Liturgical Institute, in the Theological Institute of Assisi, and the Institute of Religious Sciences, Assisi. He succeeds Bishop Martino Canessa, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.