Coast to Coast: September 5 to 12

Here’s what’s been going on across the country this week:

Barely a week after being installed as Bishop of Victoria, B.C. Bishop Gary Gordon has launched a new blog on the diocesan website. He’s already making pastoral visits to the further reaches of his new diocese. Visit his blog to keep track of his visits and the gorgeous west coast scenery.

In Alberta, as in many other parts of the world, Catholics are uniting in prayer for Iraq’s religious minorities.

and in Toronto Catholics are remembering the St. John Paul II’s visit to Canada in 1984

The next edition of Coast to Coast will be posted Friday, October 3.

 

Vatican Connections: Friday September 12, 2014

The third season of Vatican Connections has kicked off on our network, and just in time too! There were some notable Episcopal moves in the last couple of weeks, some late breaking announcements, and some surprises. You can hear all about those in this week’s edition of Vatican Connections.

One event that came by surprise, was the news that the head of Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) will meet with Cardinal Gerhard Muller, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, on September 21. The Vatican and the  SSPX have been in talks for years, trying to find a way for the society to once again be recognized by Rome as a religious order. Those talks have been handled by the Ecclesia Dei commision at the CDF.

The announcement of the September 21st meeting was not much of a surprise to insiders, but to the average church watcher it appeared as though the talks had broken down in 2013.

Just before Pope Benedict XVI retired in 2013, the vice president of the Ecclesia Dei commission, Cardinal Augustine Di Noia sent a rather bluntly worded letter to the St. Pius X leadership saying, essentially that the dialogue was at a stalemate over the issue of Vatican II. The letter ended up published by the French newspaper Le Figaro.  Cardinal DiNoia said “something new must be injected” into the talks in order to move forward. After the election of Pope Francis, Bishop Bernard Fellay gave a homily in Kansas City in which he publicly outlined his issues with various statements made by Pope Francis.

External appearances can be deceiving, however. Louis Tofari, the spokesperson for the U.S. District of the Society of Pius X told Salt + Light in a phone interview that the dialogue between the Vatican the SSPX never came to an end, although since 2013 there have been only informal meetings. “It is the society’s wish to continue discussions with the Holy See,” Tofari said, adding that the society’s three bishops “re-affirmed their attachment to the Holy See” in a statement read at the 25th anniversary of their Episcopal ordination.

Tofari said because SSPX maintains it’s attachment to the Holy See and the pope, the group believes solidly that “everything must come from the Holy Father…it is his duty to resolve this.” However, he said the society does not have the same relationship with Pope Francis that they had with Pope Benedict XVI. Tofari pointed out the society had worked with Pope Benedict XVI since he was head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. “We’re waiting to see if Pope Francis will interact with us,” he said.

The meeting between Cardinal Muller and Bishop Fellay will be an informal opportunity for the two men to meet. Tofari said the society does not know what will be discussed, or if details of the meeting will be released afterwards.

***

Some late breaking developments out of the Vatican:

Pope Francis will address the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France on November 25. The president of the European Parliament, Martin Shultz, made the announcement Friday morning and the Vatican immediately confirmed it.

The pope will travel to Strasbourg and back on the same day. His trip will not be considered an apostolic visit to France.

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As promised on this week’s program here some links that might come in handy:

If you’re ever interested in getting a papal blessing for someone’s birthday, ordination, or wedding, you can order on-line directly from the Papal Almoner’s office. visit elemosineria.va  Be advised, you must order the blessing at least one month in advance. 

Finally, Pope Francis took part in a Google Hangout with kids from across five continents. If you’re so inclined, you can watch the full video, about 20 minutes long, on the Scholas Occurrentes youtube channel. Pope Francis speaks in Spanish throughout, the children ask questions in various languages, and there are some English subtitles.

Perspectives: Pope Francis turns his attention to Iraq’s Christians


Today on Perspectives: Pope Francis turns his attention to Iraq’s Christians, the mafia makes death threats against an Italian priest, and the church in Sierra Leone is using the pulpit to educate against Ebola.

Coast to Coast: August 21 to 29

Vancouver’s Archbishop Michael Miller and Bishop Jean Louis Plouffe of Sault Sainte Marie visited the Philippines to personally witness the post-typhoon rebuilding projects assisted by Development & Peace.

At the same time Vancouver’s vice-chancellor Barb Dowding was in Fredricton, taking the reigns as national president of the Catholic Women’s League. Dowding spoke to S+L earlier this summer about her work both at the archdiocese and with the CWL.

In Edmonton, some Catholic schools have been trying out a year-round school year. Edmonton’s WCR has more details.

And one Ontario Catholic school teacher took part in a unique program for teachers, sponsored and run by Google.

 

Vatican Connections: August 29, 2014

With the pope’s one major summer trip over and done with, attention can now return to what we could call “housekeeping” matters: appointing new bishops to dioceses that have been awaiting appointments, and filling up the papal agenda for this fall.

This week Pope Francis named the new Archbishop of Madrid, Spain. Cardinal Antonio Rouco Varela turned 75 in 2011.  During World Youth Day Madrid 2011 Cardinal Rouco Varela delivered his resignation letter directly to Pope Benedict XVI. The appointment of a successor, like many others, was delayed.

After much speculation by Vatican watchers, the cardinal’s sucessor was finally made public: Archbishop Carlos Osoro Sierra, currently leading the Archdiocese of Valencia, will move to Spain’s capital. That left an opening in Valencia, a vibrant, seaside diocese brimming with vocations. In an unexpected move, the pope moved Cardinal Antonio Cañizarez Llovera from the head of the Congregation for Divine Worship to his home diocese of Valencia.

Cañizarez Llovera’s time in the Roman Curia was undoubtedly coming to an end – he was one of the few curial officials who had not been permanently confirmed in his job by Pope Francis. However, forgetting that this pope has no qualms about breaking unwritten “rules”, most believed Cañizarez Llovera would be named to Madrid.

Quashing any notion that the appointment was some sort of punishment or humiliation, the cardinal told Vatican Insider, a vatican news web site run by the Italian paper La Stampa, “It was my wish. I said to Francis: I want to have the odor of sheep. I asked to go back to a diocese, to whichever diocese he wanted to send me.” The cardinal comes from Utiel, a town in the autonomous region of Valencia and sees the appointment as a welcome homecoming.

***

On the North American side there is one major appointment expected soon: the replacement for Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, 77.

The cardinal submitted his resignation in 2012 when he turned 75. This year when he revealed that he was once again dealing with cancer, the Vatican informed that a replacement would be surfaced quickly for Chicago.

Cardinal George  was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2006 and suffered a relapse in 2012. Earlier this year he revealed the cancer was once again showing signs of activity and he would under go a more aggressive round of chemotherapy. This week the archdiocese announced the cardinal had cancelled a scheduled trip to Rome in October in order to undergo treatment as part of a clinical trial run by the University of Chicago.

 

 

 

 

Supporting Iraqi’s Minorities: Perspectives Daily


Supporting Iraqis' Minorities
Today on Perspectives, Pope Francis leads prayers for peace in Iraq while Church leaders around the world call for the international community to help displaced Iraqis. Also, Pope Francis prepares for his Korean trip with a pre-departure video message for Koreans.

Vatican Connections: Friday, August 8, 2014

Most of the 80,000 Iraqi Christians forced out of their villages in recent days and weeks have taken refuge around the churches in Ain Kawa, a Christian neighbourhood of Erbil, according to aid officials in Iraq.

A member of the Sant’Egidio Community in Iraq reported to the Catholic Near East Welfare Association that Christian churches are working together in Erbil to create and “emergency unit” in order to provide urgent care for displaced Christians.

Pope Francis renewed his call for peace, this time asking all Christians to pray for peace. On Friday he appointed Cardinal Fernando Filoni as his special envoy to Iraq. The cardinal will travel to Iraq to meet Church and government officials as well as Christians displaced from their homes.

Vatican spokesperson Father Federico Lombardi told journalists Cardinal Filoni will travel to the Iraqi Kurdistan region where most Christians have taken refuge.

Cardinal Filoni was the Vatican Nuncio to Jordan and Iraq from 2001 to 2006. He was the only diplomat who remained in Iraq during the 2003 U.S. -led invasion.

In an interview with Vatican Radio Cardinal Filoni said it would not be easy to organize his trip because the region he intends to visit is not easy to reach. He said his first goal is to show the pope’s solidarity with Iraqi Christians.

No date has been set for his visit to Iraq but Fr. Lombardi said Cardinal Filoni would not be joining Pope Francis on his up coming trip to Korea August 13 to 16.

***

As the Vatican gears up for the Extraordinary Synod on the Family in October, one Vatican department is bearing the fruit of the 2005 Synod on the Eucharist. The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments sent a circular letter to episcopal conferences around the world about the Sign of Peace during the Mass.

Nine years after the Synod, during which bishops questioned whether the sign of peace should be moved within the liturgy, the congregation determined the sign of peace should stay where it is.

However, it should be carried out simply. If for some reason “it is forseen that it will not take place properly” it can be omitted.  The congregation also said the priest should not leave the altar in order to exchange the sign of peace with the congregation, and there should not be any special music selected or played specifically for the exchange of peace.

 

 

Pope speaks out on Iraq: Perspectives

Today on Perspectives: Pope Francis has called on the international community to step up and take responsibility for displaced Christians and religious minorities in Iraq. Sebastian Gomes talks to Cardinal Gerard Lacroix about fraternity, and Canada has a new Ambassador to the Holy See.

Perspectives Daily: KofC and Gary Sinese helping wounded veterans

Today on Perspectives: The Knights of Columbus annual convention continues. At the states dinner the KofC announced their latest joint project with the Gary Sinese Foundation, Cardinal Gerald Lacroix reflects on the power of fraternity, and Pope Francis’ resumes his General Audiences. Also, the Ebola virus touches the religious men and women working on the front lines in Western Africa.

Vatican Connections: August 2, 2015

Last summer Pope Francis was sending millions of young people into a frenzy at World Youth Day Rio. This summer he will be attending the Asian Youth Day in Daejon, Korea, It will be the first time a pope has attended this Asian youth event.

In truth, Asian Youth Day will be one part of a packed itinerary. Only two of the pope’s 11 scheduled public events are related to the youth event. His other activities include a beatification Mass in Seoul, and visits to two shrines dedicated to Korean Martyrs.

Upon arrival in Seoul, Pope Francis will have the usual protocol visits, meeting with Korean President Park Geunhye and civil authorities, as well as the Korean bishops

His first full day in Korea will have him celebrating Mass at the World Cup stadium in Daejeon and meet with Asian youth at Solmoe Sanctuary, the shrine dedicated to St. Andrew Kim. The shrine marks the site where St. Andrew Kim was born lived until he was seven years old. His remains are buried in the nearby Cathedral.

On August 16 the pope will celebrate a Mass at Seoul’s Gwanghwamun Gate where he will beatify Paul Yun Ji Chung.

Chung was a young man from a noble Korean family who discovered Catholicism around 1783 and catechized his family. In 1790 the bishop of Beijing banned Asian Catholics from using Confucian ancestral rites. Chung and his cousin burned the family’s ancestral tablets so they could not be used again. When Chung’s mother died, he gave her a Catholic funeral.

News of the Catholic funeral reached the Royal Court. Chung and his cousin were arrested and interrogated but refused to renounce their faith. They were sentenced to death and beheaded. It was nine days before the family received the bodies for burial, but the blood stains were still fresh and there was no decomposition. The faithful soaked handkerchiefs in the still-fresh blood. Reportedly, people who came into contact with these handkerchiefs were miraculously healed.

Chung and 123 companions will be beatified by the pope.

To close Asian Youth Day, Pope Francis will celebrate Mass at Haemi Castle which was the backdrop of the 1864 Donghak Rebellion.

On the final day of the visit Pope Francis will celebrate a Mass for Peace and Reconciliation at Seoul’s Meyongdong Cathedral.