Lohodedoo u Lahadi u sha 25 ken Shie u Gbilinii ken Inyom i B sha zwa u Fada Jonathan Yough

  • Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino of Caracas speaks with CNA, Feb. 13, 2015. / Bohumil Petrik/CNA.

    Vatican City, Sep 24, 2021 / 09:00 am (CNA).

    Pope Francis expressed his sorrow on Friday at the death of a Venezuelan cardinal who “gave his life to the service of God and the Church.”

    The pope paid tribute to Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino, the emeritus archbishop of Caracas, in a telegram issued Sept. 24, the day after the cardinal died following his admission to hospital with COVID-19.

    Addressing Cardinal Baltazar Enrique Porras Cardozo, apostolic administrator of Caracas archdiocese, he wrote: “Upon receiving the news of the death of Cardinal Jorge Liberato Urosa Savino, archbishop emeritus of Caracas, I express to your eminence my feelings of sorrow, asking you to kindly convey them also to the relatives of the deceased prelate and to all those who form part of this ecclesial community.”

    “Likewise, remembering this devoted pastor who, for years and with fidelity, gave his life to the service of God and the Church, I assure my prayers for the eternal repose of his soul, so that the Lord Jesus may grant him the crown of glory that does not fade, and I impart to all the Apostolic Blessing, as a sign of Christian hope in the Risen Lord.”

    Porras announced the death of the 79-year-old cardinal on Sept. 23, almost a month after Urosa was hospitalized after testing positive for the coronavirus, reported ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner.

    “Dear Venezuelans, I have to give you the news of the death of my dear brother Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino, who, after a long illness and convalescence, has surrendered his spirit to the Lord,” Porras said in a video message on the Twitter account of Caracas archdiocese.

    “I ask everyone to pray for his eternal rest that grieves the Venezuelan Church and the universal Church. Soon we will be giving details of what we will have to do from the Church of Caracas, Valencia, and all Venezuela to unite in this moment of pain and mourning.”

    “Rest in peace our dear brother, Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino.”

    Urosa was hospitalized on Aug. 27. The following day, the cardinal wrote a message making “a brief declaration of love for God and love for the Church, and of love for the people of Venezuela.”

    In his message, Urosa said that he felt “immensely happy to have been a priest” and asked “forgiveness from God and all my brothers for the faults I may have committed, especially for the faults of omission.”

    "I also express my great affection for the Venezuelan people and my absolute dedication to their freedom, to their institutions, to defending the rights of the people against the abuses committed by national governments,” he said.

    “I hope that Venezuela comes out of this negative situation,” he added.

    Urosa was born on Aug. 28, 1942. He was ordained a priest on Aug. 15, 1967, and incardinated in Caracas archdiocese, which covers Venezuela’s capital city.

    He obtained a doctorate in dogmatic theology in 1971 at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

    He was vice-rector and later rector of the San José Seminary of El Hatillo and rector of the interdiocesan seminary of Caracas, where he was a professor of philosophical anthropology.

    He was also president of the Organization of Venezuelan Seminaries and vice-president of the Organization of Latin American Seminaries.

    Pope John Paul II named him auxiliary bishop of Caracas on July 3, 1982, and he was ordained on Sept. 22 of that year, aged just 40 years old.

    On March 16, 1990, he was appointed archbishop of Valencia, an archdiocese in the northwestern state of Carabobo, where he served for 15 years.

    On Sept. 19, 2005, he was named archbishop of Caracas

    Pope Benedict XVI gave him the red hat at a consistory on March 24, 2006.

    He also attended the family synod in October 2015, standing out for his strong defense of Catholic doctrine, reported ACI Prensa.

    In his speech at the synod, Urosa encouraged the synod fathers not to forget the teachings of Jesus and the Church while discussing the possibility of divorced and remarried Catholics receiving the Eucharist.

    He was also one of the 13 cardinals who sent a letter to Pope Francis expressing concerns about the synod’s procedures.

    The pope accepted Urosa’s resignation as archbishop of Caracas on July 9, 2018, after he passed the retirement age of 75.

    Being an archbishop emeritus, he did not attend the Amazon synod in Rome in October 2019, but he wrote several articles in which he recalled the importance of priestly celibacy and highlighted the need for the proclamation of Christ and his Gospel in the Amazon.

    He was a sharp critic of the socialist regime of Hugo Chávez, which earned him more than one public attack by the late president. He was also critical of the leadership of President Nicolás Maduro, whom he publicly and repeatedly requested, together with the bishops of Venezuela, to leave power, calling for fair and democratic elections.

    For years, he promoted the cause of Dr. José Gregorio Hernández, the doctor of the poor, who was beatified on April 30, 2021.

    A version of this story wasfirst published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner, written by Walter Sánchez Silva. It has been adapted by CNA.

  • Pope Francis at his general audience address in the library of the Apostolic Palace May 5, 2021. / Vatican Media.

    Vatican City, Sep 24, 2021 / 07:10 am (CNA).

    Pope Francis appointed Friday a special delegate to oversee Memores Domini, the lay consecrated branch of the Communion and Liberation movement.

    Archbishop Filippo Santoro of Taranto, Italy, will temporarily assume the governance of the association “in order to safeguard its charism and preserve the unity of the members,” the Vatican announced Sept. 24.

    In addition, the Vatican Dicastery for the Laity, Family, and Life maintains its appointment of Fr. Gianfranco Ghirlanda, S.J., as the pontifical assistant for canonical matters relating to Memores Domini.

    Ghirlanda, a specialist in canon law, was previously appointed by the dicastery in June 2020 to guide the revision of the association’s statutes.

    Fr. Luigi Giussani, Communion and Liberation’s late founder, helped to establish the Memores Domini in 1964 for lay members dedicated to “living the Gospel in the world.”

    The Pontifical Council for the Laity recognized the Memores Domini as an international association of the faithful in 1988.

    Four female members of Memores Domini worked in Benedict XVI’s papal household and also moved with him to the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery after his retirement.

    Archbishop Santoro will take over governance of the association starting Sept. 25, when the current general government of the association will be dissolved.

    Thirty-seven years ago, Santoro was asked by Giussani to help Communion and Liberation in Brazil as a fidei donum priest, a diocesan priest sent to carry out a temporary service.

    Santoro then became responsible for Communion and Liberation in Latin America from 1988 to 1996.

    Benedict XVI later appointed Santoro as the metropolitan archbishop of the southern Italian city of Taranto, Puglia, in 2011.

    Since then, the 74-year-old bishop has also taken on a leadership position in the Italian bishops’ conference as president of the bishops’ social justice commission.

    Italian media reported in 2015 that Santoro wrote to Pope Francis after the pope gave a speech to Communion and Liberation members in which he spoke about what it means to be faithful to one’s charism.

    “Faithfulness to the charism does not mean ‘to petrify it’ -- the devil is the one who ‘petrifies,’ do not forget. Faithfulness to the charism does not mean to write it on a parchment and frame it,” Francis said.

    “Fr. Giussani would never forgive you if you lost the liberty and transformed yourselves into museum guides or worshippers of ashes. Pass on the flame of the memory of that first encounter and be free,” he said.

    After the speech, Santoro reportedly replied to the pope in a letter that thanked him for his words on charisms, with the comment that the “Jesuits have made more mistakes in their admirable history as missionaries and saints than us.”

    Pope Francis met with representatives of lay Catholic associations, movements, and new communities last week at the Vatican, and gave a speech warning that the desire for power and recognition are temptations that could hinder their call to serve the Church.

    The pope underlined that governance in the Church is “nothing but a call to serve.”

    He highlighted the Vatican decree issued on June 11 that set term limits for the leaders of international associations of the faithful and new communities. The pope said that it was implemented because “the reality of the last few decades has shown us the need for the changes.”

    “The exercise of government within associations and movements is a theme that is particularly close to my heart, especially considering... the cases of abuse of various kinds that have also occurred in these realities and which always find their root in abuse of power,” Pope Francis.

    “Not infrequently the Holy See, in recent years, has had to intervene, starting not easy processes of reorganization. And I think not only of these very bad situations, which make noise; but also to the diseases that come from the weakening of the foundational charism, which becomes lukewarm and loses the capacity of attraction.”

  • Patriarch Raphaël Bedros XXI Minassian. / Courtesy photo.

    Vatican City, Sep 24, 2021 / 06:15 am (CNA).

    Pope Francis met Friday with the newly elected patriarch of the Armenian Catholic Church.

    Patriarch Raphaël Bedros XXI Minassian was elected as the 21st Catholicos-Patriarch of Cilicia of Armenian Catholics during the Eastern Catholic Church’s synod in Rome this week.

    The 74-year-old succeeds Patriarch Gregory Peter XX Ghabroyan, who died last May at the age of 86.

    “The election of Your Beatitude took place at a time when people are particularly tested by various challenges,” Pope Francis wrote in a letter to the patriarch on Sept. 23.

    “I am thinking of the sufferings of Syria and Lebanon -- countries where the Church of Cilicia of the Armenians is present -- as well as of the pandemic, which is still far from being overcome in many parts of the world.”

    The pope wrote that he wished “to join in the joy” of the Armenian Catholic Church and the universal Church at the election of the new patriarch, to which Pope Francis said he gladly granted the required ecclesiastical communion in accordance with tradition.

    Before his election as patriarch, Minassian served as the bishop of Armenian Catholics in Eastern Europe since 2011.

    He told CNA earlier this year that he felt uncomfortable being addressed as “Your Excellency.”

    “I leave everything to divine providence because I’m a very simple clergy working for the Church,” he explained. “‘Excellency,’ etc., are for other people, not for me,” he said in an interview last January.

    As patriarch, Raphaël is now responsible for the more than 700,000 members of the Armenian Catholic Church throughout the world.

    The Armenian Catholic Church is one of 23 Eastern Catholic Churches sui iuris [of its own right] and in full communion with the Catholic Church under the leadership of the pope.

    On the day of the patriarch’s meeting with the pope, Sept. 24, the delegation of Armenian Catholics that accompanied him prayed in St. Peter’s Basilica and sang a hymn in front of the tomb of St. Peter.

    The main cathedral of the Patriarch of Cilicia is the Cathedral of St. Elias and St. Gregory the Illuminator, in Beirut.

    Minassian was born to an Armenian family in Lebanon on Oct. 24, 1946. He was ordained in 1973 in Beirut as a priest of the Patriarchal Congregation of Bzommar, an Armenian Catholic religious congregation of priests founded in 1750.

    From 1990 to 2006, he served as a pastor in California, where he helped to create a foundation supporting humanitarian projects in Armenia. He also initiated the construction of St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Catholic Church in Glendale.

    In 2005, he was appointed leader of the Armenian Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate of Jerusalem and Amman. In 2009, he established perpetual Eucharistic adoration at the church marking the Fourth Station of the Way of the Cross on the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem.

    When he was appointed as bishop of Armenian Catholics in Eastern Europe nine years ago, he decided to prioritize the Catholic Church’s social and spiritual mission.

    He told CNA that Armenian Catholics show the utmost respect for members of the Armenian Apostolic Church, one of the six ancient Oriental Orthodox Churches and Armenia’s national church.

    "There is no difference in the proclamation of the faith between the Armenian Catholic Church and the Armenian Apostolic Church. They have the same creed. They have the same liturgy. They have the same prayer,” he said.

    He added that, while some clergy emphasized the differences between the two communions, “we don’t have any difficulty or any problematic situation working with everybody and assisting everybody.”

    In Pope Francis’ letter to the patriarch, the pope encouraged Armenian Catholics to walk to meet the “Crucified One who is Risen.”

    “We know the Armenian people as experts in suffering because of the many trials throughout the more than 1,700 years of Christian history, but also because of its inexhaustible capacity to flourish and bear fruit, through the holiness and wisdom of its saints and martyrs,” the pope wrote.

    “The Church which Your Beatitude has been called to lead is fully inserted in the affairs of the Armenian people, preserving their memory and traditions, and at the same time deeply linked to the Successor of the Apostle Peter: I entrust to you the care of the younger generations, the promotion of vocations, and the wise harmony that you must be able to find among the different branches of your community,” he said.

  • Pope Francis celebrates Mass in St. Peter's Basilica. / Daniel Ibanez/CNA

    Vatican City, Sep 23, 2021 / 09:50 am (CNA).

    Pope Francis invited Europe’s bishops Thursday to not just worry about secularization and a growing lack of faith, but to do something about it by introducing people to the joy of an encounter with Jesus.

    “So many people are induced to feel only material needs, and not a need for God,” the pope said at a Sept. 23 Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica. “Certainly, we are ‘preoccupied’ by this, but are we really ‘occupied’ with responding to it?”

    “It is easy, but ultimately pointless, to judge those who do not believe or to list the reasons for secularization,” he underlined. “The word of God challenges us to look to ourselves. Do we feel concern and compassion for those who have not had the joy of encountering Jesus or who have lost that joy? Are we comfortable because deep down our lives go on as usual, or are we troubled by seeing so many of our brothers and sisters far from the joy of Jesus?”

    Pope Francis addressed 39 bishops from Europe during a Mass for the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences (CCEE). The Mass marked the opening of the CCEE’s plenary assembly, which is taking place in Rome Sept. 23-26.

    In his homily, Francis reflected on a reading from the Book of the Prophet Haggai.

    “Those words – ‘Reflect on your ways!’ – are challenging because today, in Europe, we Christians can be tempted to remain comfortably ensconced in our structures, our homes and our churches, in the security provided by our traditions, content with a certain degree of consensus, while all around us churches are emptying and Jesus is increasingly forgotten,” he said.

    He urged them to think about how many people have lost their hunger and thirst for God, because “there is no one to awaken in them a hunger for faith and to satisfy that thirst in the human heart, that ‘innate and perpetual thirst’ of which Dante speaks (Par., II, 19) and which the dictatorship of consumerism gently but insistently tries to suppress.”

    Pope Francis also warned about seeing the faith as “a relic of the past,” which he said happens when people have not seen Jesus at work in their own lives.

    “Often this is because we, by our lives, have not sufficiently shown him to them,” he told the bishops and others present.

    “God makes himself seen in the faces and actions of men and women transformed by his presence,” he said. “If Christians, instead of radiating the contagious joy of the Gospel, keep speaking in an outworn intellectualistic and moralistic religious language, people will not be able to see the Good Shepherd.”

    Francis explained that people “will not see the One whose incredible passion we preach: for it is a consuming passion, a passion for mankind. This divine, merciful and overpowering love is itself the perennial newness of the Gospel.”

    “It demands of us, dear brothers, wise and bold decisions, made in the name of the mad love with which Christ has saved us.”

    According to Pope Francis, “Jesus does not ask us to make arguments for God, but to show him, in the same way the saints did, not by words but by our lives.”

    The saints, he said, “were not concerned about dark times, hardships and those divisions that are always present. They did not waste time criticizing or laying blame. They lived the Gospel, without worrying about relevance or politics.”

    With the gentle strength of God’s love, the saints “built monasteries, reclaimed land, enlivened the spirit of individuals and countries,” the pope continued. “They did not have a ‘social program,’ in quotes, but the Gospel alone.”

    “Let us help today’s Europe, faint with weariness – this is the sickness of Europe today – to rediscover the ever youthful face of Jesus and his Bride. How can we fail to devote ourselves completely to making all people see this unfading beauty?” he concluded.

  • Pope Francis takes part in an online meeting of the Council of Cardinals at the Vatican, Sept. 21, 2021. / Vatican Media.

    Vatican City, Sep 22, 2021 / 13:00 pm (CNA).

    Pope Francis and his cardinal advisers discussed the upcoming synod on synodality on Tuesday.

    The meeting of the Council of Cardinals took place at 4 p.m. on Sept. 21, according to the Holy See press office.

    Joining the virtual meeting from his residence, the Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis referred to two addresses in which he set out his vision of synodality.

    The first was his 2015 speech marking the 50th anniversary of the institution of the Synod of Bishops, in which he described synodality as the path that “God expects of the Church of the third millennium.”

    The second was last Saturday’s address to Catholics from the Diocese of Rome. In that discourse, he said that the two-year process leading to the 2023 synod on synodality is not about “gathering opinions,” but “listening to the Holy Spirit.”

    The Holy See press office said that the pope told the cardinals “how at the heart of the reflection is not so much the deepening of this or that theme as the learning of a way of living the Church, marked at all levels by listening to one another and by a pastoral attitude, particularly in the face of the temptations of clericalism and rigidity.”

    Vatican Media.
    Vatican Media.

    The Vatican announced in May that the synod on synodality would open with a diocesan phase lasting from October 2021 to April 2022.

    A second, continental phase will take place from September 2022 to March 2023.

    The third, universal phase will begin at the Vatican in October 2023 with the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, dedicated to the theme “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission.”

    Honduran Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga, German Cardinal Reinhard Marx, U.S. Cardinal Sean O’Malley, Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias, and Congolese Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo Besungu took part in Tuesday’s meeting from their home countries, the Holy See press office said.

    Vatican Media.
    Vatican Media.

    Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, the outgoing president of the Governorate of Vatican City State, and Bishop Marco Mellino, the secretary of the Council of Cardinals, joined the meeting from the Vatican.

    The cardinals last met with the pope in June, when they discussed synodal processes around the world.

    A month earlier, they held a virtual discussion of revisions to a draft of the new constitution to govern the Roman Curia, known as Praedicate evangelium.

    The group of cardinal advisers, sometimes referred to as the C9 because it previously had nine members, was established by Pope Francis in 2013, to “assist him in the governance of the universal Church,” as well as to revise the text of the 1988 apostolic constitution Pastor bonus.

    At one of the council’s first meetings, it was decided that projected revisions to Pastor bonus would be substantial enough to warrant an entirely new constitution.

    The cardinals have been working on drafting and revising the text since 2014, soliciting feedback from bishops’ conferences last year. An updated draft was presented to Pope Francis last summer and suggestions from Vatican departments are being evaluated. But the Vatican has given no projected date for the constitution’s publication.

    The Holy See press office said on Wednesday that the seven cardinals offered reflections on the synodal path, highlighting the need to “overcome sectarianism and partisan interests.”

    The next meeting of the Council of Cardinals is scheduled for December. The Vatican hopes the meeting will take place in person, rather than on screen.

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