Rome, Italy, Jul 26, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - After being closed for three years for restructuring and restoration, the Apostolic Vatican Library will reopen on September 20. The renewed facilities will provide easier access to the wealth of information the library houses.
The announcement of the reopening originally came from the prefect of the Vatican library, Msgr. Cesare Pasini, last December, but speaking with Vatican Radio on Sunday, he refreshed the anticipation for the occasion.
He explained in an interview that having the library closed for the last three years has permitted "so many works" to be carried out which will shortly be available for the benefit of scholars. It will be easier to move in the library, he said, and access to the contents of the library will be made easier through "more refined computerized services."
The Vatican library maintains more than one million printed books, over 150,000 manuscript volumes, hundreds of thousands of coins and medals and around 70,000 prints and engravings.
During the years of renovation, Msgr. Pasini said "Everything has been repainted, spruced up, restructured, renovated ... "
A week before the date chosen for this fall's inauguration, the Vatican librarian, Cardinal Raffaele Farina, will present the entirety of the project in a press conference. He will also highlight future plans for the facilities, including the next item of business: remodeling the Sistine Hall of the Vatican Library to be a reading room.
The first major initiative set to take place in the library this fall, according to the library's newsletter, is a conference in November to examine it as "a place for research and as an institution at the service of scholarship."
Barcelona, Spain, Jul 26, 2010 (CNA/Europa Press) -
On November 7, the one-of-a-kind Church of the Holy Family, or "Sagrada Familia," will be consecrated by Pope Benedict and also designated as a basilica.
During a press conference regarding the details of the Pope’s visit to Spain, the Archbishop of Barcelona, Cardinal Lluis Martinez Sistach, said that the church will be designated as a basilica due to its artistic uniqueness.
The church has been under construction intermittently since the death of its designing architect, Antoni Gaudi, in 1926. Cardinal Sistach said on Feb. 17 that although it's still unfinished, both sides of the central nave will be covered by November so the church can be consecrated.
Only 7,000 people will be allowed inside the church for the dedication, although it has room for 10,000. Giant screens and thousands of chairs will be set up outside to allow up to 500,000 to follow the ceremony.
Cardinal Sistach said the invitations to attend the dedication will be sent to parishes, pastoral councils, priests, diocesan delegations, and especially families, the sick, young people and those with disabilities.
The country's King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia also plan on attending the ceremony.
After visiting Santiago de Compostela for the Year of St. James, which is being celebrated in Spain this year, the Pope will travel to Barcelona on November 6 and will spend the night at the cardinal’s residence.
Catalan, Spanish and Latin
At 9:15 a.m. on November 7, the Holy Father will ride through the city in the Popemobile to the Church of the Holy Family, where Mass will begin at 10:00 a.m.
The Mass will include parts in Catalan, Spanish and Latin, as was the cause for the beatification of Father Josep Tous, celebrated by Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.
At noon the Pope will pray the Angelus at the church’s nativity scene and then will have lunch with the bishops and the papal entourage of about 50 people.
In the afternoon the Pope is scheduled to meet with children suffering from mental and physical disabilities. “The Pope will be with these families, he will pray with them and listen to them,” Cardinal Sistach said, adding that the Pontiff has expressed his wish that the visit be carried out with “great austerity.”
Dream for 2026
Beyond November's consecration of the church, which will then be able to be used for liturgical celebrations, Cardinal Sistach expressed his “dream” that the construction work began by Antonio Guadi would be completed by 2026, when 100th anniversary of the architect’s death will be celebrated.
Vatican City, Jul 26, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - St. Anne's Church, the pontifical parish in the Vatican, celebrated the feast of its patroness and her husband on Monday. During Mass to mark the occasion, the cardinal vicar general of the Vatican prayed that Christian families would "wake up" and fulfill their purpose by openly loving each other and bearing witness to the faith.
Two cardinals presided over Eucharistic celebrations on the Vatican parish's special day. Cardinal Angelo Comastri, Vicar General of Vatican City, said noon Mass, while Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, presided over a late afternoon celebration.
During his homily at noon, Cardinal Comastri called for all Christian families to live their faith openly as an example in this time in history when, using the words of John Paul II, "an atom bomb has exploded" within the family.
In a world "continually penetrated by messages ... and examples against the family," he said that he felt the duty to reflect on the family and address the role of each of us in protecting it.
He compared the widespread damage done with the collapse of a family to that caused to so many innocent people in the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki or even the collapse of a building.
Underscoring the importance of love, not possessions or status, for building strong families, he pointed out that "The most beautiful gift a father can give his children is loving their mother," employing a thought from the John Paul II. "And, the most beautiful gift a mother can give her children is loving their father
"How much wisdom in these words!" he exclaimed.
Recounting an anecdote about Mother Teresa, he said that before knowing the love of God, she had already known His love through the "clear and faithful love" of her mother and father.
"This is how the family of St. Joachim and St. Anne must have been with their love," the cardinal remarked.
"Today we are truly living an emergency of the family. We pray that parents, that all Christian families will wake up again, that every Christian family might become missionary, that every Christian home (will) announce that which is God's plan for the family, that they courageously give witness to it with their own lives.
"There will come a day when (people) will come to knock on the doors of the true families," said Cardinal Comastri, "and they will ask, 'Tell us your secret because we no longer know what family is.'
This, he concluded in a voice marked with emotion, is "our mission ... and the mission of true families.
"May Sts. Joachim and Anne help us."
For this year's feast, Cardinal Comastri also composed, in Italian, a prayer to ask for the intercession of St. Anne on behalf of expectant mothers, parents committed to the education of their children, couples experiencing difficulties, children, widows and the elderly.
Vatican City, Jul 26, 2010 (CNA) - The apostolic nuncio to Spain, Archbishop Renzo Fratini, recently sent a message on behalf of Pope Benedict XVI to those celebrating Grandparents' Day on July 26, the feast day of Sts. Joachim and Ann.
The message is addressed to the president of the Messengers of Peace, Father Angel Garcia, and to the organizers and members of the organization, The Golden Age.
“The Holy Father, with appreciation for the religious, spiritual, human and social richness of grandparents, gladly joins in this gesture of affection and gratitude, and he encourages them to persevere in the faith, giving meaning with the light of Christ the Lord to all the moments of their lives,” the message states.
“May the Lord help them with his providence and mercy,” the message continues, “and imploring the protection of the holy grandparents Sts. Joaquin and Ann, and of their daughter, the glorious Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus Christ our Lord, the Holy Father affectionately imparts to you his apostolic blessing, which he joyfully extends to your children, grandchildren and to all those participating in the celebration.”
Bogotá, Colombia, Jul 26, 2010 (CNA) - In the wake of last week’s decision by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to break off diplomatic ties with Colombia, bishops from both countries expressed their firm intentions to cooperate and improve bonds between the two nations.
According to the website of the Colombian Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Ruben Salazar Gomez said he hopes “to return to having peaceful and fraternal relations,” and he called for solidarity with those suffering from the Venezuelan decision to break off ties.
“It makes no sense that we are incapable of solving problems…our nations deserve to live in peace,” said Archbishop Gomez, adding that “the climate of mutual mistrust” between both governments must be overcome. Colombia’s president-elect Juan Manuel Santos previously expressed the importance of having strong relations with neighboring countries.
Archbishop Ubaldo Santana Sequera, president of the Venezuelan Bishops’ Conference, called the situation “worrisome” and expressed hope that the bishops of both countries could “continue working together, bearing witness to fraternity.”
“We hope that any military conflict between the nations will be avoided. Solutions apart from war must be sought out together,” he said.
Asked about the presence of the FARC guerrillas in Venezuela, Archbishop Santana said, “There are too many reports of easy movement (of insurgents) through our borders.”
“The government needs to have a greater presence in the border regions. We are leaving too many gaps for these groups to move about,” he said.
Santiago de Compostela, Spain, Jul 26, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) -
St. James reminds us to be faithful to our apostolic tradition as Christians, the Archbishop of Santiago of Compostela said on Sunday as tens of thousands of pilgrims, the Monarchs of Spain and many members of the Church hierarchy flocked to the famous shrine of St. James for his feast day.
With the feast day falling on Sunday, 2010 is being celebrated as a jubilee year for pilgrims. Over 100,000 pilgrims a year walk great distances along the Camino de Santiago (Way of St. James) to reach the saint's tomb.
The Eucharistic celebration in the Basilica of St. James on Sunday was concelebrated by more than 30 bishops, including Archbishop of Santiago de Compostela Julian Barrio.
During Archbishop Barrio's homily, he said that the solemnity of the patron saint of Spain, "motivates us to be conscious of our Christian condition, commending ourselves to his patronage in order to be faithful to the apostolic tradition that lays the foundations for our faith, revitalizing our identity ... "
Emphasizing the necessity of allowing God to be present in one's life, he said "man is a pilgrim open to the transcendent, capable of transforming society through the love of God poured out in his heart."
Over the past two millenia, Archbishop Barrio noted "there has never been a lack of tests for Christians," and that St. James openly professed his faith amidst persecution. However, he cautioned, "in spite of the suffering (persecutions) cause, they do not consititute the most serious danger for the Church.
"She suffers, in fact, the greatest damage from what contaminates the faith and the Christian life of her members and communities, eroding the integrity of the mystic Body, weakening her capacity of prophecy and witness, tarnishing the beauty of her face."
Underscoring that Christian commitment needs to continue today in spite of pessimism and the temptation to give up earthly responsibilities, he said, "we must not ignore the necessities of the faith."
Living in a world where "wheat and chaff" grow together, "the effort to reduce evil must be persistent, knowing that the offering of the Gospel is a humanizing route for the future," the archbishop said.
Pope Benedict XVI also remembered the feast day after Sunday's Angelus, recalling the "deep" roots of the tradition of venerating St. James and saying he hoped to make his own pilgrimage there in November. "Following the footsteps of St. James," he prayed, "let us continue the journey of our lives while bearing constant witness of faith, hope and charity."
Halifax, Canada, Jul 26, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - The 400th anniversary celebration of a Nova Scotian chief's baptism will be held next week. His baptism, along with others from the Mi'kmaq people represent the first conversions to the Roman Catholic Church in the area.
The celebration commemorating 400 years since the baptism of Grand Chief Henri Membertou of the Mi'kmaq People will take place on Chapel Island, Nova Scotia this coming Aug. 1.
A letter released by the Holy See's Press Office on Saturday announced that newly appointed prefect of the Congregation for bishops, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, will be attending on the Pope's behalf.
Bishop of Antigonish, Brian Joseph Dunn, explained the significance of the occasion in a pastoral letter earlier this month. Congratulating the Mi'kmaq people on their faith since the leader converted to Christianity four centuries ago, Bishop Dunn recalled why this anniversary is "such a momentous occasion for all in this diocese."
Grand Chief Henri Membertou was baptized by French explorers, thus becoming the first indigenous leader to become Christian, being joined in baptism that day in 1610 by the rest of his family. Bishop Dunn said that he took on his responsibilities as a committed Christian, also urging Jesuit missionaries to preach in the Mi'kmaq language.
Following his lead, the Christian faith became a part of the people's culture, he wrote, and has continued up to today, "to such an extent that virtually each Mi’kmaq person continues the tradition of being baptized.
"The Mi’kmaq people are truly the first Roman Catholics in this land and their descendants practiced the Christian faith even before the arrival of any permanent European settlement."
Bishop Dunn said that the Great Chief's baptism has served to "bridge the gap between the native and non-native cultures" and ensured that the legacy of the faith was passed down through the ages, in spite of great difficulties.
Turning to the celebration at hand, the Bishop of Antigonish invited all members of the diocese, Mi'kmaq and otherwise, to take part in the Eucharistic celebration to be presided over by Cardinal Ouellet on Aug. 1.
He also hoped that the 400-year milestone would challenge the diocese "to foster a vision for the future that recognizes the great diversity that exists within the unity of (the) diocese.
"May it enable us to grow in our appreciation for the Mi’kmaq people and their contribution to this whole diocese."
Glasgow, United Kingdom, Jul 26, 2010 (CNA) - Responding to reports that people are being asked to pay a donation for free tickets to the papal Mass during Pope Benedict’s visit to Scotland, organizers have said that the fee is intended to recoup expenses for an entire parish group, not for individuals. One bishop suggested parishes have creative fundraisers to defray costs.
Parishioners have been told there is an expected donation of £20, about $31, to cover transportation costs and a pilgrim pack for the Sept. 16 Mass at Bellahouston Park. The Herald reports the pack contains a CD, an information booklet, and a pass required for attendees.
“Scottish pilgrims travelling to the papal Mass at Bellahouston Park will not be expected to pay a charge to attend,” a church spokesman said, according to The Herald. “Instead, parishes will be asked to contribute to the overall cost of the event. We hope that spreading the costs in this way will ensure that all those who wish to attend can do so regardless of their means.”
In a July 26 letter to all priests of the Diocese of Paisley, Bishop Philip Tartaglia urged parishes to use innovative means to raise funds to cover the event costs. Costs should be spread in a way that will ensure that “all those who wish to attend can do so regardless of their means.”
The papal Mass would be “a once-in-a-generation Mass with the Holy Father on Scottish soil,” the bishop added, noting that the cost would exceed £1 million, about $1.5 million. He attributed these costs to “the nature of the event itself” with 100,000 people “coming together in one place to meet with the Successor of Peter.”
“A principle of the organization was that costs should be shared evenly throughout Scotland to make it feasible for people to come from all parts,” Bishop Tartaglia commented.
He told priests it is fair to regard parishioners who attend the Mass as in some way representatives of their parish.
“I accept that you may not be able to meet the cost of your allocation from your ordinary parish budget. I therefore encourage you – and so many of you are so good at this – to organize a fundraising event or events to meet the cost of your allocation.
“I believe your parishioners would readily see the appropriateness of this so that the people from the parish can go to Mass with the Holy Father.”