Daily Archives:February 8th, 2019

St. Paul VI’s feast to be celebrated May 29

Pope St. Paul VI. Public Domain

Vatican City – The Vatican announced Wednesday that Pope St. Paul VI’s feast day will be celebrated annually on May 29 as an optional memorial.

“Before and after becoming Pope, Saint Paul VI lived with his gaze constantly fixed on Christ whom he considered and proclaimed as a necessity for everyone,” Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, commented on the papal decree.

With this declaration, published Feb. 6, the pope who guided the Church through the Second Vatican Council will have his memorial inserted into the renewed General Roman Calendar and liturgical books that he promulgated in 1969.

The date of the memorial, May 29, is significant as the ordination anniversary of Paul VI — then Giovanni Battista Montini — to the priesthood in 1920. Just four years later, Montini began his service to the Holy See, serving both Pope Pius XI and Pius XII. He was made Archbishop of Milan and then a cardinal before being elected pope in 1963.

“A saint is someone who brings divine grace to fruition in what they do, conforming their own life to Christ, Pope Saint Paul VI did this by responding to the call to holiness as a Baptized Christian, as a priest, as a Bishop, and Pope, and he now contemplates the face of God,” Cardinal Sarah wrote.

The feast day for canonized saints is typically chosen as the date of their death, or “birth to eternal life,” Sarah explained, but Pope Paul VI died on August 6, 1978, a date which is already celebrated in the Church as the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord.

Just before his death, Paul VI wrote in his meditation, “Pensiero alla morte,” “I pray that the Lord will give me the grace to make of my approaching death a gift of love to the Church. I can say that I have always loved her and I feel that I have lived my life for her and for nothing else.”

For Paul VI, “the Church was always, indeed his constant love, his principal concern, the object of constant reflection, the first and most fundamental thread of his whole pontificate. He wished nothing other than the Church would have a greater knowledge of herself in order to be ever more effective in proclaiming the Gospel,” Sarah said.

With the papal decree, the Vatican also published the new texts for the memorial of St. Paul VI to be added to the Roman Calendar, Missal, Liturgy of the Hours, and Martyrology.

“The Collect prayer resonates with all that God accomplished in his faithful servant: ‘who entrusted your Church to the leadership of Pope Saint Paul VI, a courageous apostle of your Son’s Gospel’,  and it asks: ‘grant that, illuminated by his teachings, we may work with you to expand the civilization of love,’” Sarah said.

He explained, “Here is synthesized the principal characteristics of his pontificate and his teaching: a Church, which belongs to the Lord (Ecclesiam Suam), dedicated to the proclamation of the Gospel, as recalled in Evangelii nuntiandi, and called to bear witness that God is love.”

The second reading in the Office of Readings for Paul VI’s memorial is taken from passages of his homily during the last public session of the Second Vatican Council on Dec. 7, 1965.

Paul VI was canonized by Pope Francis on Oct. 14, 2018 along with Oscar Romero, and five other new saints. As pope, Paul VI oversaw much of the Second Vatican Council, which had been opened by Pope St. John XXIII, and in 1969 promulgated a new Roman Missal. He died in 1978, and was beatified by Pope Francis Oct. 19, 2014.

Apart from his role in the council, Paul VI is most widely known for his landmark encyclical Humanae Vitae, which was published in 1968 and reaffirmed the Church’s teaching against contraception in wake of the sexual revolution.

Paul VI also made history as the first pope to leave Europe. With his first apostolic journey to the Holy Land in 1964, Paul VI paved the way for the frequent worldwide travels that characterize the modern papacy with trips to Jordan, India, the U.S., Turkey, Colombia, Uganda, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Iran, among others.

Cardinal Sarah explained, “Like Saint Paul he spent his life for the Gospel of Christ, crossing new boundaries and becoming its witness by proclamation and dialogue, a prophet of a Church facing outwards, looking to those far away and caring for the poor.”- Courtney Grogan, 6Feb2019, (CNA/EWTN News)

Bishop Ayuso: ‘Abu Dhabi Document roadmap for interreligious dialogue’

Pope Francis’ historic visit to the United Arab Emirates is being widely seen as a milestone in interreligious dialogue.

Pope Francis visits UAE  (ANSA)

Vatican – Bishop Miguel Ángel Ayuso, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, told Vatican News that the Abu Dhabi document signed by the Pope and the Grand Imam of Al-Ahzar, is a precious roadmap for peace, and contains indications that must be spread throughout the world.

Bishop Ayuso describes the Pope’s journey to the Gulf Region as historical.

He says Pope Francis was a true “peacemaker” in this journey to the Arab Emirates, and that the signing of the “Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together” Document, together with the Great Imam of Al-Azhar, calls on each of us to become instruments of much needed inter-religious dialogue and peace. 

This document, he says, has its roots in the necessity to safeguard the future of mankind and of the world and is particularly poignant in the face of “a wounded humanity”.

As Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Bishop Ayuso issues an appeal to make the text of the Declaration known, through the will of Pope Francis, to all men and women of good will also through social media, describing it as “road map of interreligious dialogue for the future”.

“Because universal fraternity is key” he says “so that through a culture of dialogue, joint collaboration and mutual knowledge may be the pillars for building a better world”. – Linda Bordoni,07Feb2019

Pope says UAE trip was ‘new page’ in dialogue between Christians, Muslims

Pope Francis at the general audience Feb. 6, 2019. Credit: Daniel Ibanez/CNA

Vatican City – Pope Francis said Wednesday that his recent trip to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates was a step forward in Catholic-Muslim dialogue and promoting peace among religions.

Though a brief visit, the “scattered seeds” of the Feb. 3-5 trip will bear fruit according to God’s will, he said during the general audience Feb. 6.

The visit to the UAE, and second meeting with the Muslim Grand Imam of al-Azhar, “wrote a new page in the history of dialogue between Christianity and Islam and in the commitment to promote peace in the world on the basis of human brotherhood.”

Pope Francis first met the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, Ahmed el-Tayeb, during a 2017 apostolic visit to Egypt. The two signed a joint document on human fraternity Feb. 4.

In the document, “we condemn all forms of violence, especially those with religious motivation, and we commit ourselves to spreading authentic values and peace throughout the world,” the pope stated.

In this era, he said, when there is strong a temptation to discord between Christian and Islamic cultures, and considering religions as sources of conflict, “we wanted to give a further, clear and decisive sign, that instead it is possible to meet, it is possible to respect and dialogue.”

He added that he recommends people read the document and try to understand it, because it has helpful points for how to carry out a dialogue on human fraternity.

“Despite the diversity of cultures and traditions, the Christian and Islamic world appreciate and protect common values: life, family, religious sense, honor for the elderly, the education of young people, and still other things,” he said.

Francis’ trip to the UAE, the first of a pope to the Arabian Peninsula, also fell 800 years after St. Francis of Assisi visited the Sultan Malik al Kamil in Egypt. Pope Francis said it was “Providence” that a pope named Francis made the historic trip on the 800th anniversary of the saint’s visit.

“I often thought of Saint Francis during this journey: he helped me to keep the Gospel, the love of Jesus Christ in my heart, while I was living the various moments of the visit,” he said.

“In my heart there was the Gospel of Christ,” he said, “the prayer to the Father for all his children, especially for the poorest, for the victims of injustice, wars, misery; prayer because the dialogue between Christianity and Islam is a decisive factor for peace in today’s world.”

During the audience, Francis also recalled his meetings with two 90-year-old priests who have both served in the UAE for many years. One, he said, is now blind and in a wheelchair, but a smile never left his lips. “The smile of having served the Lord and done very good.”

Another highlight of the trip, he pointed out, was the Mass he celebrated in the stadium in Abu Dhabi Feb. 5, which was attended by around 150,000 people. “There were so many people!” he said. “We prayed in a special way for peace and justice, with special intention for the Middle East and Yemen.” – Hannah Brockhaus, 6Feb2019 (CNA/EWTN News)

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