The topic chosen for this pilgrimage is: Mary, the source of our joy. We will imitate the attitude of the Virgin, who left Nazareth, in nimble steps, to go and meet her cousin Elisabeth - mgr. Brollo explains -. The road was long, the hardships and fears to overcome were many, but at the end of her walk she had her meeting, the mothers hugged each other, and the song of jubilation, the Magnificat, poured out. And this is just the walk I wish to propose to all of you. We will look at Mary, the believing woman who knows how to live the meaning of the feast. She did not let herself be seized by a whirlwind of worries, but she indulged in the joyful song of Gods works. The schedule of the pilgrimage of the three peoples includes the arrival of the pilgrims in front of the shrine of the Blessed Virgin of the Graces at 10.30h. The Eucharistic celebration will begin at 11h and will be officiated by the archbishop of Udine, mgr. Brollo, and co-officiated by the bishop of Gurk-Klagenfurt, mgr. Alois Schwarz, and by the archbishop of Ljubljana, mgr. Alojzij Uran. As usual - the weekly magazine of the diocese of Udine writes -, other bishops will attend the event: they will be coming from dioceses that used to be suffragan of Aquileia. The bishop of Capodistria, mgr. Metod Pirih (his diocese borders on that of Udine, as it covers all the Slovenian side of the Isonzo valley), has confirmed he will be there.
We will express the variety of our cultures, we will show the liveliness of our faith based on our common roots, able to overcome any border and any barrier. With these words, the archbishop of Udine, mgr. Pietro Brollo, describes the meaning of the 27th pilgrimage of the three peoples, due on Saturday August 29th in Udine. It is an initiative that concerns pilgrims from the Italian dioceses of Udine and Gorizia, the Slovenian dioceses of Ljubljana, Maribor and Capodistria, and the Austrian dioceses of Klagenfurt and Graz. Every year, one of these three dioceses hosts the pilgrims: this year, it is the turn of the archdiocese of Udine; the destination of the pilgrimage is the basilica of Piazza Primo Maggio, under the loving glance of the Virgin of the Graces in the shrine that has been faithfully guarded by the Servants of Mary for as many as 530 years, mgr. Brollo points out. The date of August 29th, explains the archbishop in his message to the priests and devotees of the Region Fiuli and published on the latest issue of the diocesan weekly magazine La Vita Cattolica, has been chosen to cater to the needs of the dioceses of Slovenia, which have an important ecclesial meeting before that date. So, as every year, we will find ourselves joining our sister churches of Gurk-Klagenfurt and Ljubljana, to live this new gathering of prayer, friendship and fraternity. (continued)
The Director of the Holy See Press Office also commented on the objections raised by some doctors and relayed by the press concerning the Popes surgery. The type of surgery the Pontiff underwent and the way it was carried out - explained Father Lombardi - were chosen after consulting competent people and taking into consideration, as it is normal in these cases, both the direct knowledge of the patient and concrete circumstances. It is worth observing that the opposing points of view expressed by doctors on the matter are quite theoretical in the sense that they cannot take into account fundamental elements such as the direct knowledge of the patient, his situation and the circumstances in which he is living, which are all crucial elements when considering a surgical intervention like the one it was carried out. According to Father Lombardi, in the current situation, we can be sure that this was the most appropriate solution one could take; there is no point in raising concerns.
The Popes holidays in Les Combes, Val dAosta, are going on well, said Director of the Holy See Press Office, Father Federico Lombardi, in an interview with Vatican Radio. The Pope has now entered the second week of his holidays in Val dAosta. The Holy Father had a very busy day yesterday. He is deeply satisfied with it and is now having some rest. In the following days, said Father Lombardi, he is going to relax and his agenda will be less packed. The Pontiff will celebrate the Vespers in the cathedral of Aosta, along with diocesan priests and representatives from different parishes, on Friday afternoon at 17.30. Four hundred people are expected to attend this beautiful prayer. Then on Sunday, the Holy Father will pray the Angelus in this very place, near his residence. (continued)
The lay Catholics must play a leading role in the pastoral of the Church and in social renewal, with an evangelically-fruitful presence in the institutions, in politics, in the social structures, for the common good of the nation: this is stated in the new pastoral letter of the Bishops Conference of the Philippines, signed by its president, mgr. Angel Lagdameo. This letter is part of the awareness-raising and political education process and the active presence in society that the Filipino Church intends to carry out from now until June 2010 when the population will be called to vote for the presidential election. The period from June 2009 to June 2010 has been proclaimed the year of prayer and commitment for the building of peace and for promoting the participation of lay people in social renewal. Catholic devotees have been asked to say a prayer every Sunday with a special intention for the future of society and for the electoral transition of 2010. The document lingers on the urgent need to give morality back to politics, which has been soiled by the pursuit of personal interests, cynicism, apathy, corruption, dishonesty and sinful structures that impair the good of the nation and the materialisation of the Kingdom of God.
(Lyons) As to the proposal made last night by Patriarch Bartholomew I of setting up a Conference of all the Christian Churches of Europe, Father Duarte da Cunha, secretary general of Ccee, made this comment to SirEuropa: I too believe that the Christian Churches of Europe are called to be united according to the Lords Commandment, "that everyone be one" (John 17,21) so as to serve better contemporary man, who is increasingly confronted by a multitude of complex challenges, including ethical and social ones. This was also what Pope John Paul II asked to do when he wrote, in the Apostolic Exhortation: ‘The strengthening of union within the European Continent urges the Christians to join forces in the integration and reconciliation process through theological, spiritual, ethical and social dialogue (188). As a matter of fact, ‘in the Europe that is moving towards political unity, can we admit the Church of Christ is just a factor of disunity and disagreement? Wouldnt this be one of the greatest outrages of our time? (Ecclesia in Europa, 119). Together, the testimony of the Christian Churches in Europe, enriched by their heritage of faith, values and by their social experiences, will be more trustworthy and will have a greater impact with the European institutions.
And he added: However, I can personally say that this appeal has been listened to. It was a powerful, hopeful and fraternal appeal. Then, the Patriarch spoke to me personally, so that I can bring this message of his to the people concerned. What I can do is write to the Pope, I will tell him I have been at the 50th anniversary of Kek and that Patriarch Bartholomew I entrusted me to be his messenger, a task I am glad to accept. Then, the archbishop pointed out that two levels must be distinguished here: on one side, the concrete ground of cooperation which does exist and can be certainly improved, and, on the other side, the issue of the integration of the structure that needs to be reflected upon. Questioned by the press, Jean Arnold de Clemornt, president of Kek, explained: We believe there can be a Council of all the Christian Churches of Europe, a place where all the Christians of Europe can meet and develop a joint message to be given to the European societies. In other words, this means meeting all together around a table and ask ourselves what are the big issues that Christians can find agreement about. It is a feasible project, especially after the third European Ecumenical Assembly of Sibiu, where 2,500 delegates of all the Churches of Europe said they want to create a joint testimony - and I believe this is possible.
(Lyons) Card. Philippe Barbarin will write directly to the Pope to inform him of the proposal that Patriarch Bartholomew I made last night in Lyons, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Kek, i.e. the idea of setting up a Conference of all the Christian Churches of Europe which the Catholic Church has been called to join in too. This is how the archbishop of Lyons - questioned by the press during the General Assembly of Kek in Lyons - replied to the request that Patriarch Bartholomew I personally made him during his speech. The Patriarch - the cardinal said - expressed the hope that relations with the Catholic Church may become more intensive, and in this statement he went beyond that. The archbishop points out that the proposal made by the Patriarch is not new, because this issue was already raised by the Churches in the past. In addition, the archbishop points out that this issue involves major structural changes and some correlation with the non-participation of the Catholic Church in the World Council of Churches. (continued)
However - Bartholomew I went on -, we believe that a Conference of all, and I insist on the ‘all, the European Churches may respond better and consistently to the sacred commandment of restoring ecclesial communion and serving contemporary man, who is facing a multitude of complex problems. Then, speaking to the archbishop of Lyons, Philippe Barbarin, who was sitting in the front row in the auditorium of Lyons, Bartholomew said: I ask this in particular of card. Barbarin, so that he can ask the people concerned. In resuming his speech, the Patriarch pointed out that only by implementing a close cooperation between the Churches, will dialogue between the European Churches and the European institutions and the European Union be more effectively promoted. The future of the new Europe that is being built, without the Christian spiritual values, said the Patriarch, promises to be sad and uncertain. Christians, Jews and Muslims have been dialoguing for some years now for the promotion of peace and for reconciliation. Everybody is desperately looking for hope. Thats why no retreat would be justified. On the contrary, cooperation between our Churches as well as cooperation with the European leaders in charge of politics, economics and social welfare is not just necessary, it is an imperative.
(Lyons) Only by dialoguing and cooperating very closely will the Churches be able to proclaim the Gospel of Christ to the world in a convincing and effective way. These words opened in Lyons, yesterday afternoon, the much-awaited speech of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, in the Auditorium of the Congress Centre, where over 750 delegates from 126 Christian Churches (Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican and Old Catholic ones) celebrated the 50th anniversary of Kek (1959). In his speech, the Patriarch addressed the future of the ecumenical movement in Europe. In this respect - he said -, we would like to point out that cooperation between Kek and the Council of European Bishops Conferences has been essential and productive. To improve such ecumenical work, we propose that such cooperation between these two organisations should be organised and structured better. The Catholic Church is not a member of Kek, although it has close relations with it. The two European organisations have co-promoted initiatives and important ecumenical events in Europe. Considering the possibility for Ccee to join the Kek - the Patriarch admitted - would involve preliminary work and amendments to the regulations. (continued)
(Lyons) A big ship amidst the sea. This is the image that opened in Lyons, yesterday afternoon, the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Conference of European Churches. A feast with singing, music, plays, which went over, with the aid of stories and black and white photographs, 50 years in the ecumenical life of the Churches in Europe. A story, that of the ecumenical movement, that has gone hand in hand with the greatest events that have upset the European continent, from 1959 to date: the devastation of the Second World War, the Cold War, the fall of the Berlin Wall, September 11th, the war in Iraq. 50 years of history - said the resigning president of Kek, pastor Jean-Arnold De Clermont, as he opened the celebrations - now enable the Churches to look critically at our weaknesses. It is a time to repent but it is also a time of hope, because with Gods grace we are ready to start all over again. The celebration took place to coincide with the XIII General Assembly of the Conference of European Churches that will be ending this morning with a series of decisions and the publication of two final documents. The meeting also focussed on the election of a workgroup composed of 15 members that from now to 2011 will have to develop a draft structural revision of Kek.
Your diocese - observed Benedict XVI - owes much to the sons and daughters of Don Bosco, for their fruitful and widespread presence throughout the area since the time when the Holy Founder was still alive. This is a further encouragement for your diocesan community to increasingly engage in the fields of education and vocational guidance, continued the Pontiff. Finally the invocation to obtain the the protection of Mary, the Virgin assumed into Heaven and Patroness of the Diocese, Help of Christians, a mother loved and venerated in a special way in numerous shrines dedicated to Her in the mountains of Grand Paradise and in the Po Valley. May her maternal presence points us to and lead us along the way of hope like the star led the Magi. May Our Lady of the Star watch over you all from the hill that dominates Ivrea, Monte Stella, which is dedicated to Her and to the Three Kings. After the Angelus, Benedict XVI had lunch at the family home of cardinal Bertone. A commemorative plaque was then attached by the relatives of the cardinal outside the house to thank the Pope for his visit.
The fundamental values of family and respect for human life, attention to social justice, the ability to tackle hard work and sacrifice, the strong bonds with the Christian faith through parish life and especially participation in the Holy Mass have been your true strength over the centuries, Benedict XVI continued. These same values will allow today‘s generations to build their future with hope, giving life to a truly united and fraternal society, in which all the various spheres, institutions and economy are imbued with an evangelical spirit. Then the Pope spoke about the young saying that we must think in an educational perspective. Here, as everywhere, we must ask ourselves what kind of culture they are confronted with, what kind of examples and models are proposed to them, and we must assess whether they are likely to encourage them to follow the ways of the Gospel and real freedom. Young people are full of resources, but they must be helped to overcome the temptation of easy and deceptive paths, to find the road to true and full Life. In this land of yours, rich in Christian traditions and human values, numerous vocations have flourished among men and women, especially for the Salesian Family, like that of Cardinal Bertone. (continued)
I have come with great joy to your beautiful town, to your beautiful church, to visit the native town of my chief colleague, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. Before praying the Angelus, Benedict XVI stressed that his visit to Romano Canavese was a tribute to cardinal Bertone who was born there. After greeting Mgr Arrigo Miglio, bishop of Ivrea, and Mgr Luigi Bettazzi, the Pope recalled the long history of faith of the Canavese land whose inhabitants are well known for their love and their attachment to work. Presently, however, I know that here too, in Ivrea, many families are experiencing a difficult economic situation because of the scarcity of jobs, said the Pontiff. Hence the encouragement. Dear friends, do not be discouraged! Providence always helps those who do good and are committed to justice; it helps those who think not only of themselves but also of those who are worse off. And you know this well, for even your grandparents were forced to emigrate because of the lack of jobs, but then economic development brought well-being and others immigrated here from other regions of Italy and from abroad. (continued)
As you can see, I am somewhat limited in my movements because of my injury, but it is with great joy and with a full heart that I am here with you today!. Yesterday morning, Benedict XVI was received by a crowd of several thousand people at Romano Canavese, a village in the province of Ivrea (Piedmont), where he recited the first of the two Sunday Angelus characterising his summer holidays in the mountains. Recalling the fracture to his right wrist and the plaster cast which did not prevent him from imparting his apostolic blessing with the right hand, the Pope said: At this moment, I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to everyone: many have shown me, at this time, their closeness, their warmth, their affection and have prayed for me, thus reinforcing the network of prayer that unites us in every part of the world. First of all, continued the Pope, I would like to express my gratitude to the doctors and the medical personnel of Aosta who have treated me with skill and courtesy and, as you can see, with success - we hope!. I would also like to thank the State authorities, the Church officials and all the simple people who mailed me or showed me their affection and their closeness.