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‘Gospel Truth’ for January 19, 2019

Listen to this week's edition of our reflections on the Gospel reading for the second Sunday in ordinary time, where John the Baptist says, ‘I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from heaven and remain upon him', prepared by the late Jill Bevilacqua.

Pope at Mass: the little prayer that moves God

During the homily at Mass Thursday morning at the Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis says that Jesus is close to us, “His compassion will take upon itself our problems, our sins, our interior diseases”.

Reflections for the II Sunday

Fr. Antony Kadavil reflects and comments on the readings at Mass for the second Sunday in ordinary time. He says that those who are called gradually accept the identity of the One who calls them.

Synod relator advises bishops on presenting Amazon apostolic exhortation

Vatican City, Jan 15, 2020 / 11:52 am (CNA).- Cardinal Claudio Hummes, the relator general of the Amazon synod, sent a letter Monday to some ordinaries indicating that the apostolic exhortation on the synod should be promulgated this month or the next.

“The draft is currently being reviewed and corrected and then needs to be translated. Pope Francis hopes to promulgate it by the end of this month or in early February,” Cardinal Hummes, who is also president of the Pan Amazonic Church Network, wrote in a Jan. 13 letter.

Among the works of REPAM is “protection for the 137 ‘contactless tribes’ of the Amazon and affirmation of their right to live undisturbed.”

Cardinal Hummes said in his letter that Francis is preparing the exhortation “to present the New Paths for the Church and for an Integral Ecology as developed with the guidance of the Holy Spirit” during the Amazon synod.

According to Cardinal Hummes, the exhortation “is keenly awaited and will attract great interest and many different responses.”

The cardinal added that the pope wants ordinaries to receive the text “before it is published and before the world press starts to comment on it, and join him in presenting the Exhortation and making it accessible to the faithful, to fellow believers and all people of good will, and to the media, the academic world, and others in positions of authority and influence.”

Cardinal Hummes offered “some suggestions” to bishops on how to prepare well for the exhortation's release. “The purpose is not to generate publicity or attract attention. Rather, it is quietly to support you the Ordinary, in communion with Pope Francis, as you prepare to receive the Exhortation and pass it on to the People of God in your jurisdiction.”

“Accordingly, with greatest freedom, please make use of the suggestions insofar as they seem helpful.”

The cardinal suggested that “a useful way of preparing would be to read some of the relevant earlier documents referenced below.” He promised that a second letter with more suggestions would be coming shortly.

Cardinal Hummes' suggested reading for ordinaries is composed of: the Amazon synod's final document; Pope Francis' address at a meeting with indigenous people of Amazonia in Puerto Maldonado, Peru, Jan. 19, 2018; the pope's address at the opening of the Amazon synod, Oct. 7, 2019; his own address of the same day; the pope's final speech to the synod of Oct. 26; and Laudato si', the pope's 2015 encyclical on care for our common home, especially its fifth and sixth chapters.

The synod's final document called for the ordination of married men as priests, and for women to be considered for diaconal ordination. It presented the synod assembly’s reflections and conclusions on topics ranging from environmentalism, inculturation in the Church, and the human rights of indigenous communities in the face of economic, environmental, and cultural exploitation.
Four days before the final document was approved,  Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna indicated that it was to be written principally by a team chaired by Cardinal Hummes.

The cardinal noted that, of course, “there will be a celebratory and communications event” at the Vatican's synod hall when the exhortation is promulgated.

He suggested that ordinaries “may also want to begin planning a press briefing or a press conference or other event as soon as convenient after the publication of the Exhortation.”

“you may find it opportune to have the Exhortation presented by yourself along with an indigenous spokesperson if relevant in your area, an experienced pastoral leader (ordained or religious, layman or laywoman), an expert on climate or ecology, and a youth involved in peer ministry.”

Cardinal Hummes asked that the letter be kept confidential, and not shared with the media.

“Please do respect the guidelines,” he added.

The letter was published Jan. 14 by LifeSiteNews in English, and by Aldo Maria Valli in Italian.

CNA understands the letter to have been sent to “concerned bishops” around the world. It was not sent to all ordinaries.

Cardinal Hummes concluded his letter “with the sincere hope that his letter has been helpful.”

He asked for prayers that God the Father would “dispose the People of God in the Amazon and throughout the world to receive it with faith and hope, intelligently and effectively.”

Pope appoints first woman to managerial position in Secretariat of State  

Vatican City, Jan 15, 2020 / 10:53 am (CNA).- Pope Francis has named Dr. Francesca Di Giovanni as undersecretary for multilateral affairs in the Vatican Secretariat of State, marking the first time that a woman has been appointed to a managerial position in the secretariat.

Di Giovanni, 66, was appointed undersecretary for the Section in Relations in States. She has worked as an official in the department for more than 25 years, with specialties including humanitarian law, communications, migrants and refugees, and the status of women, according to Vatican Media.

She will now work with Monsignor Miroslaw Wachowski, who also serves as undersecretary for the Section in Relations in States, but focuses on bilateral affairs. Di Giovanni’s field of multilateral affairs focuses on the interactions between inter-governmental organizations such as the United Nations.

Di Giovanni hails from Palermo, Italy. She has a degree in law and has worked for the Focolare Movement.

She told Vatican News and L’Osservatore Romano that her appointment shows the pope’s commitment to involving women in the Vatican.

“A woman may have certain aptitudes for finding commonalities, healing relationships with unity at heart,” she said. “I hope that my being a woman might reflect itself positively in this task, even if they are gifts that I certainly find in my male colleagues as well.”

She recalled the words of Pope Francis in his homily this year for the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God: “Women are givers and mediators of peace and should be fully included in decision-making processes, because when women can share their gifts, the world finds itself more united, more peaceful.”

Di Giovanni said she hopes to cooperate with the other men and women in her working group and hopes to live up to the trust that Pope Francis is placing in her.

She told Vatican News and L’Osservatore Romano that she was surprised by her appointment, although the discussion has arisen in recent years about the need for an additional undersecretary in the field.

The multilateral sector, she said, is “a delicate and demanding sector that needs special attention, because it has its own procedures, in some ways different from those of the bilateral sphere.”

The sector covers multilateral treaties, which Di Giovanni said are significant “because they embody the political will of States with regard to the various issues concerning the international common good: this includes development, the environment, the protection of victims of conflicts, the situation of women, and so on.”

She reiterated the pope’s commitment to the multilateral sector, which she said “has a fundamental function in the international community.”

Di Giovanni noted that in his recent address to the Holy See’s Diplomatic Corps, Pope Francis praised the accomplishments of the United Nations while calling for reform in the multilateral system.

“In the international community, the Holy See also has the mission of ensuring that the interdependence between people and nations be developed in a moral and ethical dimension, as well as in the other dimensions and various aspects that relations are acquiring in today's world,” she said.

She stressed the importance of dialogue and diplomacy and said the Holy See views the UN “as a necessary means for achieving the common good,” while at the same time calling for reform and change where necessary.

 

Pope Francis: The Church never tires of announcing God’s love

Vatican City, Jan 15, 2020 / 04:00 am (CNA).- While often persecuted and misunderstood, the Church never tires of announcing the love of God made present in Jesus Christ, Pope Francis said Wednesday.

With this reflection, the pope completed an eight-month long series of weekly Biblical meditations on every chapter of the Acts of the Apostles.

“Dear brothers and sisters, at the end of this journey, lived together following the race of the Gospel in the world, the Holy Spirit revives in each of us the call to be courageous and joyful evangelizers,” Pope Francis said Jan. 15 in the Pope Paul VI Hall.

The Acts of the Apostles expresses the “dynamism of the Word of God,” the pope said. He called God’s word “an active yeast” in history that is “capable of transforming situations and opening new paths."

Paul’s journey in the book of Acts, the pope said, is “proof that the routes of men, if lived in faith, can become a transit space for the salvation of God.”

Upon his arrival in Rome, Paul, a prisoner under house arrest, told the leaders of the Jews, “it is on account of the hope of Israel that I wear these chains.”

Pope Francis noted that the Acts of the Apostles does not end with Paul’s martyrdom, but with “the abundant sowing of the Word.”

The last verses of the Acts of the Apostles records Paul “bearing witness to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus from the law of Moses and the prophets.”

“Paul recognizes himself as deeply Jewish and sees in the Gospel that he preaches, that is, in the proclamation of the dead and risen Christ, the fulfillment of the promises made to the chosen people,” Pope Francis said.

The last line of the book of Acts concludes: “He [Paul] remained for two full years in his lodgings. He received all who came to him, and with complete assurance and without hindrance he proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Pope Francis said that this “house open to all hearts”  is an image of the Church, which “although persecuted, misunderstood and chained, never tires of welcoming every man and woman with a motherly heart to announce to them the love of the Father who has made himself visible in Jesus.”

“Make us, like Paul, capable of filling our houses with the Gospel and making them cenacles of fraternity, where we can welcome the living Christ, who comes to meet us in every man and in every age,” he prayed.

North Macedonia discovers dozens of migrants in truck

Officials say police in North Macedonia have discovered dozens of migrants packed in a truck during a routine investigation. The case comes as many migrants and refugees use the Balkan route to reach the European Union.

Cardinal asks President of DR Congo for solutions for North Kivu

President Tshisekedi of DR Congo meets with the Cardinal Archbishop of Kinshasa ahead of his audience with the Pope. Among the things discussed were solutions to ongoing conflicts in the country.

Australian Bishops support proposed climate Change Bill

Australia’s Catholic Bishops support a proposed Climate Change Bill that aims to provide a national framework for action in response to climate change emergencies.

Philippine Church appeals for solidarity for volcano evacuees

One of the most active volcanoes of the Philippines, Taal Volcano, in the middle of a lake about 70 km south of the capital, Manila, has been spewing smoke and ash since Sunday. The government has ordered about half million people to evacuate from within a 14-km radius of the volcano.