Rome, Italy, Jun 15, 2014 (CNA/EWTN News) -
A Vatican official has said that the period before the upcoming bishops’ synods on the family will be a time of grace and prayer that allows the Church to pray and reflect about the family in all of its aspects.
“We are all working on the family. We should rediscover the family as a domestic church. We are all anyway convinced that family is fundamental for life of society,” Bishop Fabio Fabene, the under-secretary of the Synod of the Bishops, told CNA June 3.
The Synod of Bishops is a Catholic institution that advances the Catholic bishops’ collaboration with the Pope. The synod is preparing for its extraordinary general assembly of 2014 and the ordinary assembly of 2015. Both events will gather together bishops from around the world.
Bishop Fabene wanted to stress that the upcoming synods will deal with “all the richness and beauty of the family.”
“The Church wants to proclaim to today’s world the beauty of God’s project on the human family,” he added.
The Synod of Bishops’ extraordinary general assembly is scheduled for Oct. 5 to 19 this year. It will explore the pastoral challenges related to the family in the context of evangelization.
Bishop Fabene said that the assembly is “a time of grace, but it is also a time of prayer.”
He noted that a movement of prayer has begun since the Feast of the Holy Family, Dec. 29 of last year, when Pope Francis released his prayer for the family.
Since then, the prayer has been recited in many Marian sanctuaries and in three major sanctuaries dedicated to the Holy Family: in Loreto, Italy; in Barcelona, Spain; and in Nazareth in Palestine.
Bishop Fabene invited the Catholic faithful “to take part too in this movement of prayer and to pray for the Synod of Bishops in order that it can fulfill its mission with concern and to pray for the family with the Pope’s prayer.”
Preparatory documents for the extraordinary synod included a questionnaire delivered to all the bishops’ conferences. It included questions about the pastoral role of the family and about how to assist those in irregular family situations.
According to Bishop Fabene, the questionnaire “had a wide feedback from the bishops’ conferences as well as from communities, dioceses and parishes.” This broad feedback proved “that the Church, in all of its articulation, felt involved in the process.”
Bishop Fabene, a newly ordained bishop himself, explained Pope Francis’ relationship with the synod.
“Several times, Pope Francis spoke about the main role the Synod of Bishops may play in governing the Church. Pope Francis underscored the need to find new forms to carry out episcopal collegiality in service of the communion and mission of the Church in the letter he sent to Cardinal (Lorenzo) Baldisseri, general secretary of the synod, to announce to him the decision to ordain me bishop.”
Pope Francis showed his attention to the synod of bishops by taking part in all the meetings of the synod’s council.
“The Pope is a great listener, and he is very attentive in taking all the suggestions and doubts raised during the meetings. He sits down and listens to us,” Bishop Fabene said.
Bishop Fabene said that the synod is a “tool” that can be renewed as needed. When Pope Paul VI established the Synod of Bishops he said that it “might be perfected and fit to the signs of the times,” the bishop explained.
“If the synod wants to assist the Pope in governing the Church, it also wants to help bishops to be part of one sole community, one sole college, so that the mission of the Church is fulfilled in the most appropriate ways.”
Bishop Fabene was ordained bishop by Pope Francis May 30. It is the first time the under-secretary of the General Secretary of the Synod of Bishops is a bishop himself.
“Pope Francis ordained me a bishop because he is the president of the Synod, and we are all his collaborators, and this bond between the Pope and the Synod was made explicit with my episcopal ordination,” said Bishop Fabene.
He recounted that “it was a real gift to be ordained by the Pope.” The ordination “was attended by many people of parishes with many children, and this attendance provided an ecclesiastical and joyful framework to the celebration.”
Rome, Italy, Jun 15, 2014 (CNA/EWTN News) -
Assisting in restoration and reconstruction for artists and architects alike, 3D scanner technology has recently been used to create unique point cloud models of churches and frescoes in Rome.
“The technology of the laser scanner offers great advantages for the technician and the engineer that uses it, especially in terms of the time invested,” said Rome-based architect Danilo Prosperi.
“The time it takes to create a model with the 3D laser scanner is drastically reduced in comparison to the technologies that are conventionally used.”
Laser scanning has been hailed not only for saving time, but for offering an effective way of approaching ecclesiastic edifices and church decorations such as frescos that photography alone cannot provide.
“Photography is obviously a two-dimensional image, therefore it does not provide information about the dimensionality of the photographed object,” Prosperi told CNA. “The laser scanner, instead can obtain, through its photography of reality, a faithful, three dimensional model on the computer.”
Prosperi, a scientific researcher who works extensively with the innovative technology, calls this kind of model extremely useful.
“This copy of reality can be used in many different ways and with multiple applications. It produces along with bi-dimensional information, planes, sections and prospects of buildings as well as the analysis of fractured surfaces, the analysis of deformation of surfaces and the three dimensional reconstruction of the edifice in question.”
A masters program titled “Architecture, Sacred Art and Liturgy” at the European University of Rome specializes in this 3D scanning of ecclesiastical surfaces.
But this is not the only innovative approach to architecture in the masters program. The professors want to help the students to deepen their understanding of architecture itself.
“The Master puts a specific emphasis on the field of ecclesiastical patrimony, through a new approach. It tries to look at the beauty of architecture through the eyes of the ancient architects,” Prosperi explains.
“The unity of wisdom of antiquity, the 'Quadrivium,' which is geometry, arithmetic, music and astronomy, are offered to our students as instruments in order for them to discover the beauty of architecture. All are taken together as a unity.”
Multiple projects have already been completed, such as models of excavations of ancient towns and city squares, monumental edifices, castles, ancient walls and churches. Among them, the splendid Rococo church S. Maria Maddalena right next to the Pantheon in the heart of Rome.
“In this church of the Maddalena we have worked in the main naves, as well as in the Rococo-sacristy for restoration purposes in the past year,” he said.
The 3D model of the church helps to single out cracks not visible through conventional methods.
“It was necessary to make a new set of 3D models in order to analyze the fracturing of a wall that was restored already a couple of years back.”
“From the analysis of the deformation of the frescoed wall it was possible to see that there was a four centimeter change and deformation. A new restoration was therefore initiated to fix the problem.”
Vatican City, Jun 15, 2014 (CNA) -
During his Sunday Angelus remarks reflecting on divine love, Pope Francis invited all the Romans and pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square to join in a Eucharistic procession later this week.
“Next Thursday, according to Roman tradition, we will celebrate holy Mass at St. John Lateran and then we will make a procession with the Blessed Sacrament. I invite Romans and pilgrims to participate in order to express our desire to be a people drawn together in the unity of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” he said on June 15 to the crowds filling St. Peter’s Square.
“We look forward to seeing you all next Thursday at 7 p.m., for the Mass and the procession on Corpus Christi,” he added, referring to the feast day celebrating the Eucharist.
Pope Francis linked the upcoming feast with the one celebrated this Sunday, the feast of the Holy Trinity.
“Every Sunday we go to Mass, we celebrate the Eucharist together and the Eucharist is like the ‘burning bush’ in which the Trinity humbly dwells and communicates itself: this is why the Church has placed the feast of the Body of the Lord after that of the Trinity.”
The Holy Father also reflected on the Divine love of the Trinity, “origin and goal of the universe and of every creature.”
He explained that the Trinity acts as a model of the Church where Christians are called to love with the perfect, sacrificial love of Jesus.
Moreover, this love is “distinctive of Christianity, as Jesus has told us: ‘By this they will know that you are my disciples: if you love one another.’”
Pope Francis then spoke emphatically of the impossibility of hatred for a Christian. “It is a contradiction to think of Christians who hate. It’s a contradiction!”
“And the devil always looks for this: to make us hate, because he always sows the seeds of the discord of hatred.”
Christians, rather, are called to give witness to the message that “God is love, that God is not far away from or insensitive to our human affairs.”
God shows his love in the incarnation of the Son, “this love that is very difficult to understand but that we feel when we come close to Jesus. And he always forgives, he always awaits us, he loves us so much. And the love of Jesus that we feel is the love of God.”
God’s love is also communicated through the Holy Spirit who brings us into “the dynamism of the Trinity, that is a dynamism of love, of communion, of reciprocal service, of sharing.”
“A person who loves others for the very joy of love is a reflection of the Trinity,” the pontiff noted.
“True love is without limit, but knows to limit itself, to go to meet the other, to respect the freedom of the other.”
Pope Francis then led the crowds in the Angelus prayer, followed by a special intention to pray for Iraq which has recently experienced much political unrest and violence.
“I invite all of you to unite yourselves to my prayer for the dear nation of Iraq, above all for the victims and for those who suffer the major part of the consequences of the expanding violence, in particular for the many people, among which there are many Christians, who have had to leave their own homes.”
“I hope, for the whole population, security and peace and a future of reconciliation and justice where all Iraqis, whatever might be there religious affinity, together can build their homeland, making it a model of life together,” he stressed.
The Holy Father also announced that he will visit the city of Tirana in Albania on the 21st of September. “With this short trip I want to confirm the faith of the Church in Albania and witness to my encouragement and love in a country that has suffered for a long time in consequence of the ideologies of the past.”
Pope Francis concluded his Angelus by greeting the various pilgrim groups, wishing everyone a “good Sunday and a good lunch,” and asking everyone to pray for him.
Rome, Italy, Jun 15, 2014 (CNA/EWTN News) -
In a visit to a community dedicated to serving the poor and needy, Pope Francis warned of the poverty of Europe which faces a declining birthrate, hidden forms of euthanasia, and high rates of unemployment.
“Today I speak of Europe. Europe is tired. We have to help rejuvenate it, to find its roots. It’s true: it has disowned its roots. It’s true. But we need to help it find them,” he said to the St. Egidio community in Rome’s Santa Maria in Trastevere Basilica on June 15.
“The treatment of the elderly, as that of children, is an indicator showing the quality of a society. When the elderly are discarded, when the elderly are isolated and sometimes closed off without affection, it’s a bad sign!” he exclaimed.
The St. Egidio community provides various forms of social outreach to the impoverished, homeless, refugees and immigrants, elderly, disabled, and young people. Their service also consists of inviting people to participate in a deeper life of prayer.
Several members of the St. Egidio community shared their testimony with the Holy Father, explaining how they had been in a difficult situation due to poverty or immigration or disability, when the community reached out to them to offer help and spiritual support.
Pope Francis affirmed their work, noting “How good it is, rather, that alliance I see between young people and the elderly in which everyone receives and gives.”
“The elderly and their prayers are a richness for St. Egidio. A people that does not safeguard its elderly, that does not take care of its young people, is a people without a future, a people without hope. Because the youth - the children, the young people - and the elderly carry history forward.”
He noted that although young people provide “biological strength” for society, the elderly “give them their memory.”
“When a society loses memory, it’s over. It’s finished. It’s terrible to see a society, a people, a culture that has lost memory,” he lamented.
An economic world which holds “the idol of money” at its center rather than “man and woman,” risks becoming a “throw-away culture,” Pope Francis warned.
“Children are thrown away: no children. Just think of the growth rate of children in Europe: in Italy, Spain, France. The elderly are thrown away with these attitudes, behind which is a hidden euthanasia, a form of euthanasia: uselessness. That which isn’t useful is thrown away.”
“And today the crisis is so great that young people are discarded: when we think of these 75 million young people of 25 years or younger, who are ‘neither-nor’ - neither working, nor studying. Without. It happens today, in this tired Europe, eh?”
The Pope went on to criticize a “speculative economy” which makes the poor “more and more poor, depriving them of the essentials, such as home and work.”
He noted the importance of solidarity - a word which “many want to remove it from the dictionary, eh? Because to a certain culture seems to be a dirty word.”
“Oh no: it is a Christian word, solidarity!” he exclaimed.
Pope Francis then thanked the St. Egidio community for being a place of welcome and solidarity not just to local people, but also to immigrants who have arrived after “painful and risk filled travel.”
The Holy Father extended his thanks to all involved in the work of the community beyond Rome “in other countries of the world. I also encourage them to be friends of God, of the poor, and of peace: whoever lives like this will find blessing in life and will be a blessing for others.”
He stressed the importance of such outreach, particularly in “hectic and sometimes confusing city life.”
“It all starts with prayer. Prayer preserves the anonymous man of the city from the temptations which can also affect us: the attention-seeking in which everything revolves around oneself, indifference, victimhood.”
“Prayer is the first work of your community, and consists in listening to the Word of God - this bread, the bread that gives us the strength that is there, that keeps us going forward - but also in turning our eyes to him, as in this basilica,” the Pope explained.
The evening then concluded with a brief prayer service, including the reading of a Gospel passage and prayers of intercession.