Vatican City, Jul 22, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) -
As he boarded the plane for Rio de Janeiro and the 28th World Youth Day, Pope Francis brought his down-to-earth approach with him, carrying his own bag and opting for individual conversations with journalists instead of the typical press conference.
The first visible sign of Pope Francis’ simplicity appeared as boarded the papal plane, an Alitalia Airbus 330, at Rome’s Fiumicino Airport on Monday morning with a black leather bag in hand.
While the sight would not have been unusual for other passengers, the fact was not missed by Vatican watchers, who observed that no Pope in recent memory has carried his own bag.
And while the action was small, it captures the down-to-earth, personable style of Pope Francis that will play out in different ways during the coming events of World Youth Day.
The media aboard the papal plane will also a taste of the new Pope’s way of doing things.
During the pontificates of Blessed John Paul II and Benedict XVI, it was traditional for the Pope to hold an in-flight question and answer session with the press onboard the plane.
But Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican’s press office director, explained to journalists at a July 17 pre-World Youth Day briefing that the Pope will instead spend part of the flight getting to know the journalists traveling with him and have informal discussion with them.
On the ground in Rio, Pope Francis has also decided to make some changes. He will not be using the armored popemobile when he visits Brazil and will simply use the normal open-air jeep that he appears in at each Wednesday audience in St. Peter’s Square, Fr. Lombardi said.
When it comes to his schedule for the coming days in Brazil, the Church’s first Latin American Pope has made a few personal additions to the agenda created for Benedict XVI.
He will visit one of Rio's “favelas,” the slum of Varginha, make a stop at Saint Francis Hospital in Providence – where the Franciscans look after alcohol and drug addicts – and travel to Aparecida, the national shrine of Brazil and the place where the bishops of Latin American and the Caribbean approved a 2007 document aimed at revitalizing the faith of the continent.
The Pope’s plane will touch down after a 12 hour and 15 minute voyage at Rio’s Galeão/Antonio Carlos Jobim Airport around 4:00 p.m. local time.
He will be welcomed to the country about an hour later in Guanabara Palace by civil and religious leaders. Pope Francis’ trip to Brazil will last from July 22 to 29 and is his first overseas visit as pontiff.
Rome, Italy, Jul 22, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) -
Pope Francis said as he flew to Rio de Janeiro that he is going to meet young people and help counter a “throwaway culture” that threatens to isolate them from society.
When “we isolate young people, we do them an injustice: young people belong to a family, a country, a culture, a faith … we must not isolate them, they really are the future of a people,” the Pope said July 22 in brief remarks to journalists aboard the papal plane.
He will arrive in Rio today at 4:00 p.m. local time for the eight-day visit with youth from around the world. The event is expected to draw 1.5 million young people to Brazil’s second largest city.
Pope Francis was also keen to underscore that the future of any successful society depends both on the youth and on the elderly.
The youth “are the future because they have the strength, they are young, they will go forward. But even the elderly, are the future of a people. A people has a future if it goes ahead with both: with the young and with the elderly,” he told reporters. The elderly, he emphasized, also are subjected to injustice when they are disregarded.
They “never stopped giving, they have the wisdom, the wisdom of life, the wisdom of history, wisdom of the country, the wisdom of the family, and this we need,” he noted.
The Pope then described both the unemployment that has plagued young people during the economic crisis and the discarding of the elderly as part of a “throwaway culture.”
He remarked, “we do it often with the aged and now, with this crisis, we are doing the same with the young."
As he looked forward to his meeting with the hundreds of thousands of youth, Pope Francis said he plans to promote a “culture of inclusion, a culture of meeting, to make an effort to carry all in society.”
Mumbai, India, Jul 22, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) -
Pope Francis has sent a telegram of condolence to the Archbishop of Bombay over the July 19 death of his predecessor, Cardinal Simon Pimenta, who served as the city's archbishop from 1978 to 1996.
The Pope commended the “noble soul” to God, acknowledging with gratitude Cardinal Pimenta’s long years of “devoted service” to the Catholic community and his many years of “faithful assistance” to the successor of Peter as a member of the College of Cardinals.
Cardinal Pimenta died at the age of 93 in the clergy house in Bombay (Mumbai).
"He had eaten his dinner and was resting when one of the nurses in the home found him slumped in his chair. A doctor was quickly summoned but the end had come by then," Bishop Savio Fernandes, an auxiliary bishop of Bombay, told Vatican Radio July 20.
Cardinal Pimenta was born March 1, 1920 in Marol, a Bombay suburb. He attended Bombay's Saint Pius X Seminary and was ordained a priest of the Bombay archdiocese in 1949.
He then attended the Pontifical Urban University in Rome, and there obtained a doctorate in canon law in 1954.
Cardinal Pimenta served in various capacities as secretary to Cardinal Valerian Gracias, who was archbishop of Bombay from 1950 to 1978. He acted as vice-chancellor, parish priest of the cathedral, professor of liturgy, vicar for the formation of priests, rector of St. Pius X Seminary, and in the diocesan marriage office as defender of the bond.
In 1971, he was consecrated as auxiliary bishop of Bombay, and in 1977 was appointed coadjutor archbishop. When Cardinal Gracias died the following year, Cardinal Pimenta succeeded him as archbishop of Bombay.
Blessed John Paul II appointed him a cardinal in 1988, giving him the titular church of Saint Mary, Queen of the World.
Cardinal Pimenta served three consecutive terms as head of the Indian bishops' conference.
He retired as archbishop of Bombay in 1996, at the age of 76. He is widely acknowledged for his spiritual and various pastoral ministries of charitable works in education and health care in Bombay, with 12 hospitals and 44 clinics opened under his leadership.
Cardinal Pimenta's body will be in Bombay's cathedral the morning of July 23, followed by a Mass in the presence of the body at noon. His funeral Mass will be said that evening at his home parish, St. John the Evangelist in Marol.
Lourdes, France, Jul 22, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) -
The famous Marian shrine in Lourdes, France has received an official declaration from the Bishop of Pavia, Italy stating that the 69th miracle has taken place there.
"I have the joy of reporting to everyone my healing, which just a few days ago was approved as a miracle by my bishop, which is a beautiful thing,” said Mrs. Danila Castelli, who experienced the miracle on May 4, 1989 after visiting the baths in Lourdes.
Castelli said in an interview posted July 18, 2013 on the Lourdes Sanctuary’s YouTube channel that she wants to “thank Our Lady for all of the joy I've received, not just the joy of a healed body - which is also important because health is a gift of God and we have to protect it and ask for it, life is a gift - but the joy that Our Lord has given me throughout my entire life for as long as I can remember.”
Life was fairly normal for Castelli until she suddenly started experiencing high blood pressure at the age of 34. At first, doctors could not determine the cause of her severe spikes in blood pressure and after an ultrasound in 1982 she had a hysterectomy and annexectomy to remove fibrous masses.
However, her condition did not improve, and in Nov. 1982 surgeons removed part of her pancreas. It wasn’t until 1983 that doctors discovered a tumor near her bladder and conducted several surgeries between then and 1988 to try and resolve the issue, all without success.
Danila was planning on visiting the Mayo Clinic in the United States in 1988 when she decided that she would instead make a pilgrimage to Lourdes, fulfilling a longstanding desire.
Together with her husband, an Iranian-born doctor, she made the trek and emerged from the sacred baths with an “an extraordinary feeling of wellbeing.”
Her husband waited for her at the exit, and as soon as he saw her he said, “Danila, I know that everything now has passed. I know that everything is behind us.
“You were right,” he said, referring to her years-long desire to visit Lourdes.
She reported her allegedly miraculous cure to the Lourdes Office of Medical Observations a short time later, beginning the 23-year process that culminated in the June 20, 2013 declaration by Bishop Giovanni Guidici of Pavia that the healing was “prodigious-miraculous” in character.
An official from the Vatican’s Congregation for Saints' Causes who requested anonymity explained in a July 22 conversation with CNA how the process works.
"When a miracle is recognized by the Medical Bureau of the Sanctuary of Lourdes, the paperwork is sent back to the diocese of origin. When recognized by the local bishop, it is recognized officially by the Church as a miracle through the intercession of Our Lady," he said.
Before making its finding that the event was miraculous, the Lourdes medical bureau met five separate times between 1989 and 2010.
Doctor Alessandro de Franciscis, head of the medical bureau, explained that at its final meeting in 2010, more than 100 doctors and nurses --with one abstention-- approved the cure as miraculous after a “lengthy” and “very passionate” discussion.
“This lady was judged, indeed certified cured in a way unexplained by current medical scientific knowledge,” Dr. de Franciscis stated.
Throughout the years since Mary first appeared to Saint Bernadette Soubirous in 1858 at the Lourdes grotto, the shrine has investigated over 7,000 cases of reported miracles. Since then, 69 have received the official approval of a bishop, with the majority of them coming from France.
Buenos Aires, Argentina, Jul 22, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) -
A group of 67 young people from the slums in Buenos Aires heading to Brazil for World Youth Day will leave an image of Our Lady of Lujan as a gift to the youth in the slums in Rio de Janeiro.
The Argentine young people live in slums often visited by then-Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, thus sharing a unique fraternal encounter with residents in the Varginha slum, or “favela,” in Rio, which Pope Francis will visit July 25.
Father Mario Micelli, the Buenos Aires archdiocesan delegate for World Youth Day, said he did not know if the young people would be able to get close to the Pope, as “everything depends on security officials and on the facilities that organizers provide for us.”
The image of Our Lady of Lujan – the patroness of Argentina – will be brought to Rio by Fr. Hernan Morelli, parochial vicar of Holy Mary Mother of the People. In preparation for the trip, he brought the image to various parish communities for veneration by the faithful, who were invited to leave their prayer intentions, which he said he would try to deliver to the Pope.
Two other images of Our Lady of Lujan will be taken to Brazil.
One is for the Sumare residence, where Pope Francis will stay. The Holy Father will be asked to bless the image before it is taken back to Buenos Aires where it will be venerated in numerous parishes, as well as other dioceses in Brazil.
The other image will be taken to the Cathedral of Saint Sebastian in Rio de Janeiro for the Mass Pope Francis will celebrate there July 27. It will be left there as a gift to the Archdiocese of Rio.
Lima, Peru, Jul 22, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) -
At World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro this week, a group of Peruvian youth with disabilities are set to perform an inspiring musical based on the idea that goals and dreams can become a reality.
Students from “The Joy of the Lord” school in Lima will perform “I can: a dream turned into a musical” as one of 600 artistic presentations to take place July 23-28 during the event's Festival of Youth.
The musical's message is one of strength, faith and optimism, and at the same time is a reminder to those who often give in to the small challenges in their lives, while these handicapped youth fight and overcome much more serious and difficult problems, organizers said.
Students involved in the production have developed sharp listening skills, gestures and other creative expressions to communicate with the audience. For them the musical is a chance to say that with God's help, anything is possible.
“We are very happy to be able to present this show at World Youth Day,” Sister Elizabeth Sanchez, the school's communications director, said. “I think it is a blessing because of everything that it involves, because the effort it has taken. And it is even more of a blessing that the young people can be in Rio.”
Frank Salas, 18, who has needed crutches to walk since he was a toddler yet sings and dances in the musical, said that for him the experience has been “unforgettable,” enabling him “to show what I can do and to express what I feel.”
Andre Zambrano, 16, said, “I surprised myself with what I was able to do. Now I only have two dreams. One is to show that a person with different abilities can do a lot, and the other is a personal dream to meet the Pope and show him also what all people with different abilities can achieve.”
The group Servants of God's Plan, which is directing the musical, will also give a concert of their own during the Festival of Youth on July 23.
For more than 50 years, the “Joy of the Lord” school has provide education, formation and rehabilitation for children and young people who suffer from physical handicaps such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, Spina Bifida or are amputees or burn victims.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Jul 22, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) -
As the official start of World Youth Day nears, Archbishop Orani Joao Tempesta of Rio de Janeiro reflected on the event as a sign that young people always look for God in order to serve him.
The festive atmosphere created by thousands of youth coming to Rio de Janeiro from other cities in Brazil and around the world, shows the world that the youth are “animated by Christ, walking with Christ, seeking God, to serve God, to bring the brothers to Life,” the archbishop told CNA.
Archbishop Orani spoke at the Parish of the Resurrection in the Ipanema area of Rio de Janiero on July 21. The Mass began at 5:00 p.m. and was con-celebrated by about 15 priests from the city.
The archbishop voiced enthusiasm over the global youth event as he presided over the Mass in the presence of the World Youth Day Cross and the icon of Our Lady of the World Youth Days – both of which travel to each World Youth Day event around the world. As the cross entered the church, pilgrims sang the official World Youth Day song.
“Young people are excited, happy, to welcome the Holy Father and live with him in these beautiful moments,” the archbishop said of young people's anticipation of Pope Francis' arrival in Rio de Janiero on Monday.
Amid chants, prayers and praises, Archbishop Orani used the Mass to encourage the teens present to participate actively and with joy. He also specifically thanked the Shalom movement and the Charismatic Renewal, and blessed various objects presented to him by pilgrims.
The youth who came to the Parish of the Resurrection did so on foot, singing and praying. As they walked, the pilgrims chanted “Esta es la juventud del Papa!” or “This is the youth of the Pope!” – among other slogans.
World Youth Day will take place in Rio from July 23 - 28, during which Pope Francis will be staying in a modest residency, visiting a slum and traveling without his popemobile.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Jul 22, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - Journalists from across the world heard stories of faith and determination from young people attending World Youth Day 2013 in the hopes of working for a more just and peaceful society.
Archbishop Orani João Tempesta of Rio de Janeiro explained that Pope Francis arrives in Brazil today bearing the hope of “all those who want to build a better world.”
The archbishop welcomed the nearly 6,000 journalists from more than 60 countries who are in Brazil to cover the Papal events.
At a July 22 event to open the international Media Center in Copacabana, Archbishop Tempesta described the Pope as a spiritual leader “who left Latin America and now returns as the ‘first pilgrim’ of World Youth Day.”
While acknowledging difficulties in the country, the archbishop said the gathering of young people and the Holy Father gives him hope.
“We have our problems and there are protests, but we believe the beauty, energy and the hope of so many young people from across the world will help to build a world of greater peace and justice,” he said.
Eduardo Paes, mayor of Rio de Janeiro, said that city officials “see this visit as a great opportunity to better confront the challenges facing Rio.”
“This is a young, growing, diverse city which is looking to be better integrated,” he explained. “This visit, and the dialogue that Pope Francis will have with the people of Rio, will help us greatly.”
Several young people from around the world told their stories of travelling to World Youth Day. Syrian engineer Bashar Khoury, 29, hopes that he can use social media to proclaim a message of peace to those in Damascus.
“What I want to do, as a member of the social media team, is to transmit to the Arab world an authentic image of Christianity and our faith,” he said.
Crespim Mabuluco Stephen came from Mozambique to attend the international event. After taking part in World Youth Day 2011 in Madrid, he said, “I wanted to re-live the experience.”
The 24-year-old explained that he asked his employer “to pay my salary a year and a half in advance to cover the costs of the trip.”
Alberto Pérez spent two months walking from Resistencia Chaco, Argentina, to Rio de Janeiro, documenting the journey on Facebook.
“I felt deep within the need to do something that really was really useful,” the 27-year-old pilgrim reflected.
Pérez also used the opportunity to pray for a heart donation for a two-year-old in Argentina named Renzo.
“The Lord answered my prayer,” he said. “Now I ask that I and other young people in Rio go back home with new hearts.”
Elsa Vázquez said that she came from Mexico to volunteer on the World Youth Day organizing committee for the second time.
Vázquez previously volunteered at the event in Sydney, Australia, and found that it made a deep impression on her.
“There is nothing like it in the world that brings together young people to give them a message of peace and hope,” she said.
“Many people think I’ve given up everything for the Church, but in fact through the Church I’ve been given everything,” she continued, explaining that she even met her husband through World Youth Day.
“When you give yourself wholly to God, He can act in us,” she stressed.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Jul 22, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - Award-winning Catholic musician Matt Maher sees this year’s World Youth Day gathering as an opportunity to recognize the universal nature of the Catholic Church throughout diverse nations and cultures.
“One of the things that I’m most looking forward to is just experiencing the global Church,” Maher told CNA shortly after arriving in Rio de Janeiro on July 21 for the start of World Youth Day 2013.
“I think there’s definitely a spirit of excitement,” he observed.
The Grammy-nominated singer and songwriter is one of the performers scheduled to provide entertainment for more than a million pilgrims who are expected to flood the Brazilian city for the July 23-28 gathering with the Holy Father.
Although this is the fourth World Youth Day he has attended, Maher said this one is unique because it is probably the first in which English speakers are “definitely going to be a huge minority.”
“Which I’m excited for,” he continued. “I think it’s a reminder of how big the Church is globally.”
Maher said that like the other pilgrims arriving in the city, he is excited to see Pope Francis.
“The spirit of his pontificate has obviously been very complementary to Pope Benedict’s, but also very timely,” the singer reflected, describing the election of Pope Francis as “an event of the Holy Spirit.”
“His spirituality, his simplicity. It’s definitely inspiring, I think it’s what younger generations of Catholics have been sort of longing to see,” he remarked.
He also observed that the Pope speaks to Western culture in a powerful way.
“He’s bringing out the counter-cultural side of the Gospel that isn’t so much confrontational as much as it is revolutionary,” Maher said, adding that this challenges each person hearing the message of Holy Father.
The words of Pope Francis create “a conflict,” he said, “but it’s one that probably will happen within the interior life of every person.”
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Jul 22, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) -
Affirming the “great heart” of the Brazilian people, Pope Francis said at a welcome ceremony that he comes to World Youth Day in the name of Jesus to encourage fraternal love among humanity.
“I ask permission to come in and spend this week with you,” Pope Francis told the assembled representatives of the Brazilian nation. “I have neither silver nor gold, but I bring with me the most precious thing given to me: Jesus Christ!”
“I have come in his name, to feed the flame of fraternal love that burns in every heart; and I wish my greeting to reach one and all: The peace of Christ be with you!”
Shortly after landing at Rio de Janeiro's international airport on July 22, Pope Francis spoke in a ceremony at the governmental palace of the state of Rio de Janeiro. He was welcomed by the state governor and by the Brazilian president, Dilma Rousseff.
He expressed gratitude for God's “loving providence” which had allowed that his first international trip as pope “should take me back to my beloved Latin America.”
Pope Francis then greeted the bishops present, Archbishop Orani Tempesta of Saint Sebastian of Rio de Janeiro and Cardinal Raymundo Damasceno Assis, archbishop of Aparecida.
He acknowledged his Petrine office, saying that “with this visit, I wish to pursue the pastoral mission proper to the Bishop of Rome of confirming my brothers in their faith in Christ, of encouraging them to give an account of the reasons for the hope which comes from him, and of inspiring them to offer everyone the inexhaustible riches of his love.”
Pope Francis then turned his attention to the young people whom he has come to see in the week-long event, who are “drawn to the open arms of Christ the Redeemer” and find refuge “in his embrace, close to his heart.”
Despite the many cultures and languages from which World Youth Day pilgrims come, the Bishop of Rome said that “a pure truth and an authentic love” will “bind them together.”
“There is no force more powerful than the one released from the hearts of young people when they have been conquered by the experience of friendship with him. Christ has confidence in young people and entrusts them with the very future of his mission: 'Go and make disciples.'”
He said that his generation is called to “create the material and spiritual conditions” which will encourage youth's “full development” and to “give them a solid basis on which to build their lives.”
“How to pass on to them lasting values that make life worth living,” he added. “How to give them a transcendent horizon for their thirst for authentic happiness and their creativity for the good … and how to awaken in them their greatest potential as builders of their own destiny, sharing responsibility for the future of everyone.”
Pope Francis concluded by exhorting all the World Youth Day pilgrims “to show consideration towards each other” and “the sympathy needed to establish friendly dialogue.”
He then spread his arms to “embrace all of Brazil” in its complexity and richness, “from the Amazon Basin to the pampas,” the lowland plains that cover southern Brazil and his own city of Buenos Aires, Argentina.
“No one is excluded from the Pope's affection,” the Pope assured.
He gave his blessing, and promised to “remember all of you before Our Lady of Aparecida,” patroness of the nation.
Following his address, Pope Francis will meet in private with Rousseff, as well as the governor and mayor of Rio de Janeiro. He will then be transferred by automobile to his residence for the week, Sumaré house.
The pontiff will have no public schedule until his Wednesday visit to Our Lady of Aparecida.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Jul 22, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - Around 6,000 journalists from around the globe are flocking to Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana beach this week to cover the Pope Francis’ first World Youth Day.
“It’s a very big challenge to give the right message about the Pope,” said Chloe Martial, a volunteer for World Youth Day’s media center.
“We’ve been giving a lot of accreditations and some people were missing because of the amount we had,” she told CNA July 22.
The 24-year-old is just one of around 50 volunteers working at the accreditation center to hand out journalists their press passes for this week's event.
The journalists represent 1,500 press and broadcast media from over 60 countries. Rio de Janeiro's archbishop, Orani João Tempesta, and the mayor of Rio, Eduardo Paes, officially opened the international Media Centre July 22 in Copacabana, alongside five young people from different countries.
Archbishop Tempesta then went to the airport to receive Pope Francis. “He left Latin America and now returns as the first pilgrim of World Youth Day,” the archbishop said. “Christ the Redeemer welcomes him with open arms.”
“Pope Francis comes with the hope of all those who want to build a better world,” he added.
He admitted to social discontent in Brazil, but added that civilians believe young people’s “beauty, energy and hope from across the world will help to build a world of greater peace and justice.”
Mayor Paes affirmed that city authorities see this visit “as a great opportunity to better confront the challenges facing Rio.”
“This is a young, growing, diverse city which is looking to be better integrated,” Paes said.
“This visit and the dialogue that Pope Francis will have with the people of Rio will help us greatly in this aim,” he added.
The media volunteer, who came from Paris eight days ago, noted she thinks World Youth Day will change the city of Rio.
“There are also a lot of local, good, Catholic people who are willing to make this good,”
“They are really involved and there are so many police and security everywhere, too,” she added.
The volunteer said she came to Rio after hearing experiences from family and friends who had attended previous ones.
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do before turning 25 and I’m almost there,” she said. “I think it’s something amazing, too, because people change when they go there so I really wanted to experience it myself, too.”
Aparecida, Brazil, Jul 22, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - The Brazilian military discovered an improvised bomb in a parking garage bathroom at the shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida July 22, which Pope Francis is due to visit on Wednesday, July 24.
“It was a homemade device with little potential to cause fatalities,” according to a statement from the Brazilian Air Force. “It is worth pointing out that such episodes formed part of our security forces’ training in Aparecida and at no point were civilians' lives in danger.”
The bomb has already been destroyed. It was discovered around 11:30 am in Rio, during the completion of simulated exercises by security forces, according to Brazil's Grupo Estado.
Pope Francis landed in Rio de Janeiro this afternoon and was driven through the city in a car with its windows down, as tens of thousands of faithful swarmed around the Roman Pontiff.
He was transferred to an open-air popemobile, and later addressed representatives of the Brazilian government and met in private with the nation's president, Dilma Rousseff.
During his address, Pope Francis urged World Youth Day pilgrims “to show consideration towards each other” and “the sympathy needed to establish friendly dialogue.”
He added that he had come to Brazil in Jesus' name, “to feed the flame of fraternal love that burns in every heart.”
Pope Francis is due to arrive at the Aparecida shrine the morning of July 24, venerating the image of Brazil's patroness. He will say Mass at the basilica at 10:30 a.m., and then meet with local bishops and seminarians.
Aparecida will have around 5,000 members of various security forces on duty when Pope Francis visits to the city.