Vatican City, Oct 24, 2005 (CNA) - During yesterday’s Mass concluding the ‘Year of the Eucharist’ and the General Synod of Bishops, Pope Benedict XVI canonized 5 new saints--the first of his pontificate.
Some observers say that yesterday’s group could be a sign that Benedict plans to follow in the footsteps of his predecessor, John Paul II, who canonized more saints than any other Pope in history.
The Pope said a few words about each of the newly canonized, referring first to St. Jozef Bilczewski (1860 - 1923), who he called "a man of prayer," whose "profound theological knowledge, faith and Eucharistic devotion ... made him an example for priests and a witness for all the faithful."
The Pope then turned to the Polish St. Zygmunt Gorazdowski (1845 - 1920), a priest and founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph. He "became famous for his devotion rooted in the celebration and adoration of the Eucharist. His experience of Christ's sacrifice drove him to the sick, the poor and the needy."
Chilean Jesuit priest, St. Alberto Hurtado Cruchaga (1901 - 1952), the Pope said, "wished to identify himself with the Lord and to love the poor with the Lord's own love. ... In love and in total commitment to God's will, he found the strength for his apostolate.
“He founded”, Benedict recalled, “the 'Hogar de Cristo' (Home of Christ) for the most needy and the homeless, offering them a family atmosphere full of human warmth. In his priestly ministry he stood out for his simplicity and his readiness to help others."
Next, the Pope spoke about Italian priest, St. Gaetano Catanoso (1879 - 1963). He was founder of the Congregation of the Veronica Sisters of the Holy Countenance, and stressed, the Holy Father said, "daily Mass and frequent adoration of the Sacrament of the altar were the soul of his priestly ministry.”
“With ardent and tireless pastoral charity he dedicated himself to preaching, catechesis, the ministry of Confession, the poor, the sick, and to nurturing priestly vocations."
Lastly, Pope Benedict spoke of St. Felice da Nicosia (1715 - 1787), a member of the Friars Minor Capuchin, who was "austere and penitent, faithful to the most genuine expressions of the Franciscan tradition.”
“[He] helps us”, Benedict said, “to discover the value of small things that give life a precious value, teaching us to perceive the meaning of the family and of service to our brothers and sisters, and showing us that the true and lasting joy, for which all human hearts long, is the fruit of love."
Vatican City, Oct 24, 2005 (CNA) - During a Mass yesterday which concluded the 11th General Synod of Bishops and the “Year of the Eucharist” instituted by John Paul II, Pope Benedict canonized 5 new saints and stressed the centrality of the Eucharist, saying it must be the driving force for the lives of all the faithful.
Speaking to a large crowd, the Holy Father said that "Contemplation of the Eucharist must encourage all members of the Church - and in the first place priests, ministers of the Eucharist - to revive their commitment to faithfulness.”
“In the mystery of the Eucharist, celebrated and adored,” he said, “lie the roots of celibacy which priests have received as a precious gift and a sign of total love towards God and towards others.”
But “for lay people too,” the Pope stressed, “Eucharistic spirituality must be the inner force for all their activities, and there can be no separation between faith and life in their mission of Christian animation of the world."
257 Bishops from around the world have been discussing issues of the Church in the world and the place of the Eucharist for the last two weeks. The conclusion of their Synod, not coincidentally, fell yesterday on World Mission Day.
On this, the Holy Father highlighted how, "this Eucharistic perspective, is an appropriate context for today's World Mission Day, for which the venerated Servant of God John Paul II chose the theme: ‘Mission: Bread broken for the life of the world.’"
"Even today," the Pope said, "before the multitudes, Christ continues to exhort His disciples, 'you give them something to eat.' And in His name missionaries continue to announce and bear witness to the Gospel, at times even sacrificing their lives."
In addition to his Eucharistic message, Pope Benedict, united with the Synod Fathers, and in the name of the entire episcopate, sent a special message to Chinese bishops who were unable to receive permission from government authorities to attend the Synod.
"With heartfelt sorrow”, Benedict said, “we felt the absence of their four representatives. Yet I would like to assure all Chinese prelates that, in prayer, we remain close to them, to their priests and to their faithful. The troubled path of their communities ... will not fail to bear fruit."
Vatican City, Oct 24, 2005 (CNA) - Before praying the angelus prayer yesterday in St. Peter‘s Square, Pope Benedict entrusted the fruits of the just-concluded General Synod of Bishops to the Virgin Mary and stressed the unique bond between the Church’s mission and the centrality of the Eucharist.
The Synod was held over the past two weeks marking the close of the ‘Year of the Eucharist‘, established by John Paul II, and studied the theme: ‘The Eucharist: Source and Summit of the Life and Mission of the Church.’
During the closing Mass for both the Synod and ‘Year of the Eucharist’ yesterday, the Pope also canonized five new saints--the first of his pontificate.
"These new saints," he said, "whom we contemplate in their heavenly glory, invite us to resort in all circumstances to the maternal protection of the Virgin Mary, in order to progress ever more along the road of evangelical perfection, upheld by constant union with the Lord, truly present in the Sacrament of the Eucharist.”
"In this way," Pope Benedict continued, "we will be able to live the vocation to which all Christians are called, that of being 'bread broken for the life of the world,' as today's World Mission Day most appropriately reminds us.”
“The bond between the Church's mission and the Eucharist is more significant than ever. ... Those who welcome Christ in His Body and Blood cannot keep this gift for themselves, but feel compelled to share it in courageous witness of the Gospel, in the service of their brothers and sisters in difficulty, and in forgiveness of injuries.”
He added that “For some people, what is more, the Eucharist is the seed of a specific call to leave everything in order to go and announce Christ to those who do not yet know Him."
Calling Mary the, "Eucharistic woman," the Pope entrusted the "spiritual fruits of the Synod and of the Year of the Eucharist” to her care.
“May she watch over the Church's journey”, he said, “and teach us to grow in communion with the Lord Jesus, that we may be witnesses of His love, wherein the secret of joy lies."
Following the Angelus, the Holy Father greeted pilgrims, civil authorities and religious leaders from the home regions of each of the new saints.
Newark, N.J., Oct 24, 2005 (CNA) - Archbishop John Myers of Newark has been appointed by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to work with all U.S. bishops and oversee the process by which Anglican/Episcopalian clergy, who wish to convert to Catholicism, can be ordained as Catholic priests.
The archdiocese announced the news in the Oct. 19 edition of The Catholic Advocate. In his new role as Ecclesiastical Delegate for the Pastoral Provision, he will report to Archbishop William Levada, former ordinary of San Francisco, who serves as prefect of the congregation.
“I’m grateful that the Holy Father and Archbishop Levada have placed their trust in me to assist in welcoming these men into the Church, and to work with my brother bishops on this delicate but important service,” said Archbishop Myers.
In 1980, Pope John Paul II made possible the ordination of married Episcopal priests, who were seeking full communion with the Catholic Church. He also authorized the establishment of personal parishes, which retain certain liturgical elements proper to the Anglican tradition, yet they are Catholic, and submit to the authority of the local bishop.
Since 1983, 78 former Episcopalian priests have been ordained for Catholic ministry in the U.S., and seven personal parishes - five in Texas, and one each in Massachusetts and South Carolina - have been formed.
Currently, there are three men in process for ordination in the U.S. Rome is considering the request of another four. Six others have made inquiries.
Vatican City, Oct 24, 2005 (CNA) - On Saturday, the final message of the General Synod of Bishops, entitled, ‘The Eucharist: Living Bread for the Peace of the World’, was made public in five languages by the Vatican.
It stresses, above all, a call to Eucharistic centrality in the life of all the faithful, and a particular call to priests and laity alike, to be “workers in the vineyard.”
While many had speculated about dissent, particularly in the realm of celibacy and intercommunion, the bishops held closely to Church teaching and practice, stressing the importance of unity with the Magisterium and Chair of Peter--the Pope.
In the message, the Bishops say that they were, "Called to Rome by Pope John Paul II, of venerable memory, and confirmed by His Holiness Benedict XVI,” to “come from the five continents of the world to pray and reflect together on the Eucharist, 'Source and Summit of the Life and Mission of the Church.'“
“The goal of the Synod” they point out, “was to offer proposals to the Holy Father that might help him to update and deepen the Eucharistic life of the Church. We have been able to experience what the Holy Eucharist has been from the very beginning: one faith and one Church, nourished by one bread of life, in visible communion with the successor of Peter.”
The Bishops implored the faithful, "Christian brothers and sisters of every confession,” to “pray more fervently that the day of reconciliation, and the full visible unity of the Church, might come in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist in conformity with Jesus' prayer on the eve of His death: 'That all may be one'."
They also recalled the testimonies, given by many bishops throughout the course of the Synod, on the various situations of relativism, secularism and even violent opposition in which the faithful live around the world.
In this light, the group vowed to continue to fight against abuses of human dignity and the scourge of relativism which seeks to undermine the Christian faith.
Speaking specifically on the Eucharistic liturgy in the Mass, the Bishops declared that they “firmly believe and we teach in the constant tradition of the Church that the words of Jesus pronounced by the priest at the Mass, in the power of the Holy Spirit, effect what they signify. They bring about the real presence of the Risen Christ."
"Forty years after Vatican Council II”, they said they “wanted to examine to what extent the mysteries of the faith are adequately expressed and celebrated in our liturgical assemblies.”
The Synod reaffirmed “that Vatican Council II provided the necessary basis for an authentic liturgical renewal. It is necessary now to cultivate the positive fruits of this reform, and to correct abuses that have crept into liturgical practice.”
“We are convinced”, they said, “that respect for the sacred character of the liturgy is transmitted by genuine fidelity to liturgical norms of legitimate authority. No one should consider himself master of the Church's liturgy."
Here, the bishops noted many positive strides which have been made toward greater recognition and respect for the Eucharist in the Church.
These include; a “renewed consciousness of the importance of the Sunday Mass; the increase in the number of vocations to the priesthood and to consecrated life in various places of the world; the powerful experiences of World Youth Days, culminating at Cologne in Germany; the development of numerous initiatives for the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament almost everywhere in the world; the renewal of the catechesis on Baptism and the Eucharist in the light of the Catechism of the Catholic Church; the growth of movements and communities forming missionaries for the new evangelization."
At the same time however, they lamented a loss of the sense of sin and Sacrament of Penance among many of the faithful, as well as dropping Mass attendance and priest shortages in many regions.
Issuing a special call to priests and seminarians, the bishops challenged them to be, “with us and following the example of the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, 'humble workers in the vineyard of the Lord,' following a consistent priestly life."
"To all young seminarians,” the bishops said that they wished “to express our hope that their formation will be permeated by an authentic Eucharistic spirituality.”
Throughout the course of the Synod, the value of celibacy has been strongly reaffirmed as a valuable and vital practice, despite criticism from many referring to the sexual abuse scandal in the U.S.
The Bishop also extended their challenge of Eucharistic centrality to all married couples and lay people, as well as deacons and consecrated religious in particular.
The 257 prelates closed their message likening their own experience to that of the disciples whom Jesus appeared to on the road to Emmaus in the Gospels.
"At the end of this Synod”, they wrote, “we experience that peace full of hope which the disciples of Emmaus, with burning hearts, received from the Risen Lord. They arose and returned in haste to Jerusalem, to share their joy with their brothers and sisters in the faith. We hope that you will go joyfully to meet Him in the Holy Eucharist, and that you will experience the truth of His words: 'And I am with you until the end of the world'."
, Oct 24, 2005 (CNA) - The bishop of Hong Kong said Friday that the ordination of Chinese bishops, appointed by the government but approved by the Vatican, is a breakthrough in relations between the Vatican and China.
Bishop Joseph Zen told his fellow bishops in Rome at the three-week Synod of Bishops that the “overwhelming majority" of Chinese bishops appointed by the government had now been legitimized by Rome, reported the Associated Press.
The issue of appointing bishops has been a major obstacle in relations between the Vatican and China, but Bishop Zen believes progress is now being made in Vatican-Chinese relations.
The bishop said he believes episcopal appointments in China first come from the Pope. Then the local bishop tries to have this candidate admitted, and then the government has the choice to ordain the bishop, he told the AP. The practice has been in place for some time but has not been publicized, he said.
China forced Catholics to cut ties with the Vatican in 1951, shortly after the Communist Party took power. Worship is allowed only in government-controlled churches, which recognize the Pope as a spiritual leader but appoint their own priests and bishops. Millions of Chinese, however, belong to unofficial congregations loyal to Rome.
Beijing should realize it is losing its tight control over Roman Catholics in China, Bishop Zen reportedly said.
Dallas, Texas, Oct 24, 2005 (CNA) - The Diocese of Dallas has confirmed that Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers is not Catholic; neither did she receive any of the sacraments of initiation in the Catholic Church.
The diocese reviewed its records after the media reported that the longtime Dallas lawyer reported that she had attended Catholic mass as a child. Acquaintances of Miers had also said she worshipped as a Catholic and attended Episcopalian and Presbyterian services.
Records show, however, that for 25 years, Miers has been a congregant at Valley View Christian Church. Recently, she and about 150 of the church's members formed a separate congregation after a disagreement about worship styles.
The White House has said Miers attends St. John's Episcopal Church, located across from the White House where President George Bush often worships, when she is in Washington.
Bogotá, Colombia, Oct 24, 2005 (CNA) - During a public audience at the Colombian Senate last week, the Institute on Family Policy of Colombia said the high rate of maternal mortality in the country is not due to illegal abortion, and therefore it should not be considered a public health problem, as it has been categorized by abortion supporters.
The Institute was responding to the comments by the government’s Director of Public Health, Lenis Urquijo, who said that international statistics confirm that in countries where abortion is legal, there is a lower index of maternal deaths as the procedure is performed under safe conditions.
According to Urquijo, 25% of maternal deaths in Colombia are directly related to abortion. But Maria Carolina Ortegon of the Institute on Family Policy maintained that in “the case of Colombia, there is no correlation between maternal mortality and abortion, and moreover there is no scientific basis to claim that a more liberal abortion policy leads to a decrease in maternal mortality.”
Former Senator Carlos Corsi Otalora, president of the political movement Laity for Colombia, lamented the contradictory messages coming from the country’s President regarding abortion. “President Uribe reiterates that he does not agree with abortion in special cases, while his wife, the First Lady, is calling for its legalization.”
, Oct 24, 2005 (CNA) - On Friday, November 25, Pope Benedict XVI will preside at the opening of the academic year at the Catholic University “Sacro Cuore” of Italy.
The event will take place at the Rome campus of the historic university, where the Pontiff will be received for the first time by the rector, Lorenzo Ornaghi.
Pope John Paul II opened the academic year at the university for the last time in 2000, during the Great Jubilee.
Valencia, Fla., Oct 24, 2005 (CNA) - On Sunday a photo exhibit on the sorrowful mysteries of the Rosary was opened in Valencia, Spain, at the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary.
Entitled, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”, the exhibit is by renowned photographer Manolo Guallart and features accompanying Scripture passages and quotes from John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter, “Rosarium Virginis Mariae.”
The exhibit will be open to the public throughout the week.
In 2004, Guallart put on an exhibit entitled, “The Way of the Cross,” with images of Holy Week in Valencia.
Vatican City, Oct 24, 2005 (CNA) - The Italian press revealed this Monday that Pope Benedict XVI will publish the first encyclical letter of his pontificate on the emblematic date of December 8.
According to the article, not confirmed nor refuted by the Holy See Press Office, the encyclical will be presented on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and will evolve around the theme of the Centrality of Jesus Christ for the life and mission of the Church.
This document, made of about 50 pages, stresses on the theme of divine love and Christian charity in the midst of the world, which fundament is the love of God, expressed in the Word made flesh.