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06-07-2015 - Year XXII - Num. 125 

- The Pope arrives in Ecuador, the first stage of his apostolic trip in Latin America
- Francis prays to Our Lady at the Basilica of St. Mary Major before his trip to Latin America
- To the members of Charismatic Renewal movement: share with all the baptism you have received
- Benedict XVI receives Doctorate honoris causa from the Pontifical University of John Paul II and the Musical Academy of Krakow
- Other Pontifical Acts
The Pope arrives in Ecuador, the first stage of his apostolic trip in Latin America
Vatican City, 6 July 2015 (VIS) – At 10 p.m. yesterday, 5 July, Pope Francis arrived in Quito, the capital of Ecuador, on the first leg of his ninth apostolic trip during which he will also visit Bolivia and Paraguay.
The Holy Father left Rome by air at 9 a.m; during the long flight he spoke with the journalists who accompanied him on the aircraft and, as is customary, sent telegrams to the Heads of State of those countries through whose airspace he passed.
Upon arrival in Quito, the Pontiff was received by a group of children dressed in the traditional costumes of the various Ecuadorian peoples: two of them, a boy and a girl, offered him a floral tribute. The president, Rafael Correa, then gave a welcome address in which, in the light of the Encyclical “Laudato si'”, he mentioned that 20% of the national territory is protected in 44 nature reserves and parks, and he underlined the diversity of cultures present in Ecuador, which is home to not only a mestizo majority but also 14 indigenous nationalities with corresponding ancestral languages, including two populations who live in the heart of virgin forest, choosing voluntary isolation. The president also mentioned various documents constituting the pastoral Magisterium, with clear reference to the Social Doctrine of the Church, and concluded amiably: “The Argentines very proudly say 'the Pope is Argentine', and my dear friend Dilma Rousseff, president of Brazil, says, 'very well, the Pope is Argentine, but God is Brazilian!'. Of course the Pope is Argentine, and perhaps God is Brazilian, but one thing is certain: paradise is Ecuadorian!”.
The Pope expressed his joy and gratitude for the warm welcome he received, “a sign of the hospitality which so well defines the people of this noble nation”.
“I thank you, Mr President, for your words and I appreciate the convergence of what you have said with my own way of thinking: you have quoted me far too much, thank you!”, he continued. “I, in turn, express my cordial good wishes for the exercise of your office: that you may achieve your objectives for the good of your people. I greet the distinguished government authorities, my brother bishops, the faithful of the Church in this country, and all those who today have opened to me their hearts, their homes, their nation. To all of you, I express my affection and sincere appreciation”.
“I have visited Ecuador on a number of occasions for pastoral reasons. Today too I have come as a witness of God’s mercy and of faith in Jesus Christ. For centuries that faith has shaped the identity of this people and borne much good fruit, including the outstanding figures of St. Mariana de Jesus, St. Miguel Febres, St. Narcisa de Jesus and Blessed Mercedes de Jesus Molina, beatified in Guayaquil thirty years ago, during the visit of Pope St. John Paul II. These, and others like them, lived their faith with intensity and enthusiasm, and by their works of mercy they contributed in a variety of ways to improving the Ecuadorian society of their day”.
“In our own time too, we can find in the Gospel a key to meeting contemporary challenges, respecting differences, fostering dialogue and full participation, so that the growth in progress and development already registered will be strengthened and ensure a better future for everyone, with particular concern for the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters who are the debt still outstanding in Latin America. In these efforts, Mr President, you can always count on the commitment and cooperation of the Church to serve the Ecuadorian people who move forward with great dignity”.
“Dear friends, I begin my visit filled with excitement and hope for the days ahead. In Ecuador is the point closest to outer space: it is the Chimborazo, which for that reason is called the place 'closest to the sun', the moon and the stars. We Christians identify Christ with the sun, and the moon with the Church; the moon does not have its own light, indeed if it hides from the sun it will be enveloped by darkness. The sun is Jesus Christ and if the Church moves away or hides from him, she will be in darkness and no longer able to offer witness. May the coming days make all of us ever more clearly aware of how close is the sun which 'dawns upon us from on high'. May each of us be a true reflection of his light and his love”.
“From this place, I wish to embrace all of Ecuador. From the peak of Chimborazo to the Pacific coast; from the Amazon rainforest to the Galapagos Islands, may you never lose the ability to thank God for what he has done and is doing for you. May you never lose the ability to protect what is small and simple, to care for your children and for your elderly, who are the living memory of your people, to have confidence in the young, and to be constantly struck by the nobility of your people and the singular beauty of your country, which, according to the President, is nothing short of paradise”.
“May the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to which Ecuador has been consecrated, grant you every grace and blessing. Thank you”, concluded the Pope.
Following a brief private audience with President Correa, the Pope travelled by popemobile the forty kilometres between Mariscal Sucre airport and the centre of Quito, the best conserved capital of all South America. It was the first, along with the Polish city of Krakow, to be declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 1978. During his journey the Pope was greeted by thousands of people who had gathered around Quito to await his arrival. Upon arrival at the apostolic nunciature, where he was to dine and rest for a few hours, Francis went out into the street to greet the faithful, who applauded him. “I come to bless you before we go to rest, and let the neighbours sleep!” he said, and after reciting the Lord's Prayer with them, he returned inside the nunciature.
This afternoon the Pope will transfer to Guayaquil where he will visit the Shrine of Divine Mercy and celebrate Holy Mass.
Francis prays to Our Lady at the Basilica of St. Mary Major before his trip to Latin America
Vatican City, 4 July 2015 (VIS) – At 7 p.m. today, the eve of his departure for Latin America, the Holy Father went to the Basilica of St. Mary Major to commend his imminent apostolic trip to Our Lady. He left a floral tribute before the image of the Virgin, composed of flowers in the colours of the flags of the three countries he will visit, and spent around twenty minutes in prayer.
To the members of Charismatic Renewal movement: share with all the baptism you have received
Vatican City, 4 July 2015 (VIS) – Unity in diversity and ecumenism of prayer, word and blood were the key themes of the Pope's improvised address to the thousands of members of the Renewal in the Holy Spirit movement yesterday afternoon, on the occasion of their 38th National Convocation, held in Rome from 3-4 July on the theme “Ways of Unity and Peace – Voices of prayer for the martyrs of today and for a spiritual ecumenism”. The encounter began at 4 p.m. in St. Peter's Square, and was attended by Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches; Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, president of the Italian Episcopal Conference, along with the Orthodox and Catholic oriental Patriarchs, Anglican and Lutheran bishops, and Pentecostal pastors.
In his address, the Pope emphasised that unity does not mean uniformity. It is not a “spherical” unity in which “every point is equidistant from the centre and there is no difference between one point and another. The model is the polyhedron, which reflects the confluence of all the parts that nonetheless maintain their originality, and these are the charisms, in unity but also diversity. … The distinction is important because we are speaking about the work of the Holy Spirit, not our own. Unity in the diversity of expressions of reality, as many as the Holy Spirit has wished to inspire”.
Another point the Holy Father considered very important to clarify related to those who guide. “There exists a great temptation for leaders to believe themselves indispensable, step by step to head towards authoritarianism, to personality cults, and not to allow the communities renewed in the Holy Spirit to thrive. This temptation renders 'eternal' the position of those who consider themselves indispensable. … We must be very clear that only the Holy Spirit is indispensable in the Church and Jesus is the only Lord. There are no others. … A time limit should be established for roles in the Church, which are in reality a form of service. An important service carried out by lay leaders is to facilitate the growth and the spiritual and pastoral maturity of those who will take their place at the end of their service. It would be opportune for all roles of service in the Church to have a time limit – there are no lifelong leaders in the Church”.
The Holy Father asked the members of Renewal in the Holy Spirit to share with all in the Church the baptism they have received. “It is the most important service that we can give to all in the Church”, he emphasised: “helping the people of God in their personal encounter with Jesus Christ, Who transforms us into new men and women, in small groups, humble but effective, because the Spirit that works within them. Do not focus on large-scale meetings that often go no further, but instead on the 'artisanal' relationships that derive from witness, in the family, at work, in social life, in parishes, in prayer groups, with everyone!”.
Another strong sign of the Spirit in Charismatic Renewal is the search for unity in the Body of Christ. “You, as Charismatics, have the special grace of praying and working for Christian unity, so that the current of grace flows through all Christian Churches. Christian unity is the work of the Holy Spirit and we must pray together. … We have all received the same baptism, we all follow Jesus' path. … We have all caused these divisions throughout history, for different reasons, but not good ones. But now is the time that the Spirit makes us think that these divisions are a sort of 'counter-witness', and we must do all we can to walk side by side: spiritual ecumenism, the ecumenism of prayer”.
There is also another form of unity: “the unity of the blood of martyrs, that makes us one. There is the ecumenism of blood. We know that those who kill Christians in hatred of Jesus Christ, before killing, do not ask: 'But are you a Lutheran, Orthodox, Evangelical, Baptist, Methodist?' They say, 'You are Christian', and behead them. … Fifty years ago, Blessed Paul VI, during the canonisation of the young martyrs of Uganda, referred to the fact that for the same reason the blood of their Anglican companion catechists had been shed. They were Christians, they were martyrs. Forgive me, and do not be scandalised, but they are our martyrs! Because they gave their lives for Christ, and this is ecumenism of blood. We must pray in memory of our common martyrs”.
Finally, there is “unity in work with the poor and the needy, who also need baptism in the Holy Spirit. It would be good to organise seminars on life in the Spirit, along with other Christian charismatic entities, for those brothers and sisters who live on the streets: they too have the Spirit within them that pushes for someone to throw open the door from outside”.
Before imparting his final blessing, the Pope invited those present to go forth and preach the good news of Jesus “to the poor, to the marginalised, the blind, the sick, the imprisoned, to all men and women. In each one of them there is the Spirit, Who wants to be helped to throw open the door so as to be revived. May the Lord accompany you in this mission, always with the Bible in your hand, always with the Gospel in your pocket, with the Word of Christ”.
Benedict XVI receives Doctorate honoris causa from the Pontifical University of John Paul II and the Musical Academy of Krakow
Vatican City, 4 July 2015 (VIS) – Pope emeritus Benedict XVI today received a Doctorate honoris causa from the Pontifical University of John Paul II and the Musical Academy of Krakow, Poland, granted by the rectors of both institutions and conferred this morning at Castel Gandolfo by Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, archbishop of Krakow and grand chancellor of the university dedicated to St. John Paul II.
Benedict XVI received the nomination with a discourse in which he recalled how St. John Paul II demonstrated by example that “the joy of great religious music and the role of popular participation in holy liturgy, the solemn joy and simplicity of the humble celebration of the faith, go hand in hand”.
“In the Vatican Council II Constitution on the liturgy it is written very clearly: 'The treasure of sacred music is to be preserved and fostered with great care'. On the other hand, the text highlights, as a fundamental liturgical category, the participatio actuosa of all the faithful in holy action. But what remained peacefully together in the Constitution has often subsequently, in the reception of the Council, been in a relationship of dramatic tension. Significant parts of the liturgical movement believed that there would be space for the great choral works and even orchestral masses only in concert halls, not in the liturgy, in which there would have been space only for the hymns and common prayer of the faithful. On the other hand, there was dismay at the cultural impoverishment of the Church that would necessarily have resulted. How could the two aspects be reconciled? These were the questions asked by many of the faithful, including simple people, not only those with a theological education”.
“At this point, perhaps it is correct to ask the underlying question: what is music? Where does it come from and where does it lead? I think there are three 'places' from which music arises. The first wellspring is the experience of love. When human beings were seized by love, another dimension of being opened up within them, a new greatness and breadth of reality, driving them to express themselves in a new way. Poetry, hymn and music in general were born of the opening up of this new dimension of life. A second origin of music is the experience of sadness, of being touched by death, by suffering and by the abysses of existence. In this case too, in the opposite direction, there open up new dimensions of life that do not find answers in discourse alone. Finally, the third origin of music is the encounter with the divine, which from the beginning is part of what defines the human being. … It may be said that the quality of music depends on the purity and the greatness of the encounter with the divine, with the experience of love and pain. The purer and more authentic the experience, the purer and greater will be the music that emerges and develops from it”.
“Certainly, western music goes far beyond the religious and ecclesial environment. However, it finds its deepest source in the liturgy in the encounter with God. In Bach, for whom the glory of God ultimately represents the aim of all music, this is entirely evident. The great and pure response of western music developed in the encounter with that God Who, in the liturgy, made Himself present in us in Jesus Christ. That music, for me, is a demonstration of the truth of Christianity. Where this form of response develops, the encounter with the truth, with the true Creator of the world, takes place. Therefore, the great religious music is a reality of theological level and lasting meaning for the faith of all Christianity, even though it is not at all necessary for it to be performed always and everywhere. On the other hand, it is also clear that it cannot disappear from the liturgy and its presence can be an entirely special form of participation in holy celebration and in the mystery of the faith”.
“If we think of the liturgy celebrated by St. John Paul II in all continents, we see the full breadth of the expressive possibilities of faith in the liturgical event, and we also see how the great music of the western tradition is not external to the liturgy, but instead originated and grew within it and in this way continually contributes to its formation. We do not know the future of our culture and of religious music. But one thing is clear: where there takes place the encounter with the living God Who in Christ comes towards us, there too develops the response, whose beauty comes from the truth itself”, concluded Benedict XVI.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 4 July 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father appointed:
- Joaquin Hermes Robledo Romero of Carapegua, Paraguay, as bishop of San Lorenzo (area 1,944, population 823,239, Catholics 813,000, priests 41, permanent deacons 29, religious 106), Paraguay.
- Bishop Jean Laffitte, secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Family, as prelate of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.