Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Gratitude: A Lifestyle


Our present historical, social and cultural situation is one of transition from modernity to post-modernity. Such a context is opposed to any attitude of thankfulness and gratitude, or even a special THANKSGIVING DAY.

Post-modern man lives immersed in a consumer society in which what is desired is obtained through money which comes to us through human work and effort… Thanksgiving is relegated and replaced by materialism and consumer pragmatism which makes it difficult to recognize what is free instead, post-modern man buys, acquires, negotiates…

In such a chain nothing is free and there is no reason to be thankful in commercial competition where what I obtain and possess I owe to my money and commercial and professional accomplishments. Here the only thing that counts is the free exchange of supply and demand, production and consumption, in which human beings are seen as objects and “possessing” takes priority over “being” as the highest ideal to be achieved.

THANKSGIVING, the possibility of being thankful, grateful, comes from another horizon of the understanding of life: it is born out of the recognition that, thanks to God, everything that we are and have, we have freely received, to share freely with others.

Faced with the certainty of what is ours without cost, humans are grateful, they give thanks, they live with the joyful certainty that they are loved freely, with a love that only requires us to love: to give freely what we have freely received (Mt 10,8). In this way, the person who is thankful commits himself to the construction of occasions and opportunities that make possible the expression of freedom and gratitude.

In addition, this certainty of having, receiving and enjoying life as a “gift” makes possible a happy existence, “a joy that no one can take away” (Jn 16,22).

From this perspective, THANKSGIVING DAY is a beautiful national tradition of incalculable worth, that encourages us to gather to express our gratitude, but even beyond the date and social formalities it leads us to ask what kind of individual, family and social life we are building. That is to say, we ask ourselves:
  • Do we perceive that our personal, family and social life is a gift?
  • Does our marketing and the consumer society in which we live allow us to transcend such to discover God’s loving presence in all that we are and have?
  • Is gratitude a permanent possibility in the life of those around us, or is it rather a privilege of a few: of those who have, as opposed to the poor in our society and in the world?
  • Finally, let’s ask ourselves about the deeper reasons that we have to maintain the tradition and to celebrate THANKSGIVING DAY.
As Christians, we live the lifestyle of children. We understand life as a gift from God and therefore we live trusting him, in joyful hope…

THANKSGIVING DAY, more than a religious festival, is a national tradition, and requires of all of us who inhabit this North American society, the construction of a more just and fraternal nation, to be more committed to each other and more equitable, for not only one day a year but every day. Mindful that we can and should always be thankful, and we all have clear and sufficient motives to be optimistic, for hope, and for joy without end.


Monday, November 21, 2016

Pope at General Audience:
What Should We Do With Those People Who Bother Us?...














Posted by ZENIT Staff on 16 November, 2016


Pope at General Audience
“We dedicate today’s catechesis to a work of mercy that we all know very well, but perhaps do not put into practice as we should: bearing patiently those who wrong us”, said Pope Francis to the thousands of faithful gathered in a sunny but chilly St. Peter’s Square during this week’s Wednesday general audience.
“We are all very good at identifying the presence of a person who is bothersome: it happens when we meet someone in the street, or when we receive a telephone call. Immediately we think, ‘For how long must I listen to the complaints, gossip, requests or bragging of this person?’ At times, it may be that annoying people are those closest to us: among our relatives there is always one; they are not lacking in the workplace; and even in our spare time we are not free of them”.
“What must we do with these people?” asked the Holy Father, without neglecting to mention that we too can be bothersome to others. He went on to explain why patiently bearing those who wrong us appears among the spiritual works of mercy.
“In the Bible we see that God Himself must use mercy to suffer the complaints of His people”, he said. “For example, in the Book of Exodus the people are truly unbearable: first they weep because they are enslaved in Egypt, and God frees them; then in the desert they complain because there is nothing to eat, and God sends them quails and manna, but in spite of this the complaints do not cease. Moses acts as a mediator between God and His people, and he too at times is bothersome to the Lord. But God was patient and in this way He taught Moses and His people also this essential dimension of faith”.
“A first question therefore comes to us spontaneously”, he added. “Do we ever carry out an examination of conscience, to ask ourselves whether or not we too, at times, can be annoying to others? It is easy to point the finger at the defects and shortcomings of others, but we should learn to put ourselves in other people’s shoes. Let us look above all at Jesus: how much patience He had to have during the three years of His public life! Once, while He was walking with His disciples, He was stopped by the mother of James and John, who said to Him, ‘Promise that in your kingdom these two sons of mine will sit on your right and on your left’. Even in that situation, Jesus took the opportunity to give a fundamental teaching: His is not a kingdom of power and glory like earthly ones, but rather of service and giving to others. Jesus teaches always to go towards the essential and to look further ahead, to assume one’s mission with responsibility”.
The situation narrated in the Gospel of Matthew relates to another two works of spiritual mercy: admonishing sinners and instructing the ignorant. “Let us think of the great effort it takes when we help people to grow in faith and in life. I think, for example, of catechists – among whom there are many mothers and women religious – who dedicate time to teaching children the basic elements of faith. How much effort, especially when the children would prefer to play instead of listening to the catechism!”.
“Accompanying in the search for the essential is good and important, as it lets us share in the joy of tasting the meaning of life. Often it happens that we meet people who dwell on superficial things, ephemeral and banal; at times they have not met anyone to stimulate them to look for something else, to appreciate the true treasures. Teaching to look to the essential is a decisive help, especially in a time like our own, which seems to have lost its bearings and pursues short-sighted satisfactions. Teaching to discover what the Lord wants from us and how we can respond to it means setting out on the road to grow in our own vocation, the road of true joy”.
“So, Jesus’ words to the mother of James and John, and then to all the group of disciples, indicate the way to avoid so as not to fall into the trap of envy, ambition and adulation, temptations that are always lurking even amongst us Christians. The need to advise, admonish and instruct must not make us feel superior to others, but obliges us first and foremost to look inwardly at ourselves to check that we are consistent with what we ask of others. Let us not forget Jesus’ words: ‘Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?’. He concluded, “May the Holy Spirit help us be patient in bearing others, and humble and simple in giving counsel”.
On ZENIT’s Web page:

Posted by ZENIT Staff on 16 November, 2016


A scene of the video One Human Family
Below is the Vatican-provided transcription of the video message Pope Francis sent yesterday to the the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) on Tuesday during their annual fall General Assembly regarding the Fifth National Hispanic Pastoral Encuentro, which will take place in dioceses of the United States from January 2017 to September of 2018:
***
Dear Brother Bishops,
I am pleased to have this opportunity to speak to you. Just a year ago, I was with you during my Pastoral Visit to the United States. There I was impressed by the vitality and diversity of the Catholic community. Throughout its history, the Church in your country has welcomed and integrated new waves of immigrants. In the rich variety of their languages and cultural traditions, they have shaped the changing face of the American Church.
In this context, I would commend the coming Fifth National Hispanic Pastoral Encuentro. The celebration of this Fifth Encuentro will begin in your Dioceses in this coming January and conclude with a national celebration in September 2018.
In continuity with its predecessors, the Encuentro seeks to acknowledge and value the specific gifts that Hispanic Catholics have offered, and continue to offer, to the Church in your country. But it is more than that. It is part of a greater process of renewal and missionary outreach, one to which all of your local Churches are called.
Our great challenge is to create a culture of encounter, which encourages individuals and groups to share the richness of their traditions and experiences, to break down walls and to build bridges. The Church in America, as elsewhere, is called to “go out” from its comfort zone and to be a leaven of communion. Communion among ourselves, with our fellow Christians, and with all who seek a future of hope.
We need to become ever more fully a community of missionary disciples, filled with love of the Lord Jesus and enthusiasm for the spread of the Gospel. The Christian community is meant to be a sign and prophecy of God’s plan for the entire human family. We are called to be bearers of good news for a society gripped by disconcerting social, cultural and spiritual shifts, and increasing polarization.
It is my hope that the Church in your country, at every level, will accompany the Encuentro with its own reflection and pastoral discernment. In a particular way, I ask you to consider how your local Churches can best respond to the growing presence, gifts and potential of the Hispanic community. Mindful of the contribution that the Hispanic community makes to the life of the nation, I pray that the Encuentro will bear fruit for the renewal of American society and for the Church’s apostolate in the United States.
With gratitude to all engaged in the preparation of the Fifth Encuentro, I assure you of my prayers for this important initiative of your Conference. Commending you, and the clergy, religious and lay faithful of your local Churches, to the prayers of Mary Immaculate, I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of grace and peace in the Lord.
[Original text: English] [Vatican-provided text]
***
On the NET:

Posted by Bishop Robert Barron on 16 November, 2016


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I’m in the process of re-reading a spiritual classic from the Russian Orthodox tradition:  The Way of a Pilgrim. This little text, whose author is unknown to us, concerns a man from mid-19th century Russia who found himself deeply puzzled by St. Paul’s comment in first Thessalonians that we should “pray unceasingly.” How, he wondered, amidst all of the demands of life, is this even possible? How could the Apostle command something so patently absurd?
His botheration led him, finally, to a monastery and a conversation with an elderly spiritual teacher who revealed the secret. He taught the man the simple prayer that stands at the heart of the Eastern Christian mystical tradition, the so-called “Jesus prayer.” “As you breathe in,” he told him, say, ‘Lord Jesus Christ,’ and as you breathe out, say, ‘Have mercy on me.’” When the searcher looked at him with some puzzlement, the elder instructed him to go back to his room and pray these words a thousand times. When the younger man returned and announced his successful completion of the task, he was told, “Now go pray it ten thousand times!” This was the manner in which the spiritual master was placing this prayer on the student’s lips so that it might enter his heart and into the rhythm of his breathing in and out, and finally become so second nature to him that he was, consciously or unconsciously, praying it all the time, indeed praying just as St. Paul had instructed the Thessalonians.
In the power of the Spirit, the young man then set out to wander through the Russian forests and plains, the Jesus prayer perpetually on his lips. The only object of value that he had in his rucksack was the Bible, and with the last two rubles in his possession, he purchased a beat-up copy of the  Philokalia, a collection of prayers and sayings from the Eastern Orthodox tradition. Sleeping outdoors, fending largely for himself, relying occasionally on the kindness of strangers, reading his books and praying his prayer, he made his way. One day, two deserters from the Russian army accosted him on the road, beat him unconscious and stole his two treasures. When he came around and discovered his loss, the man was devastated and wept openly: how could he go on without food for his soul? Through a fortuitous set of circumstances, he managed to recover his lost possessions, and when he had them once again, he hugged them to his chest, gripping them so hard that his fingers practically locked in place around them.
I would invite you to stay with that image for a moment. We see a man with no wealth, no power, no influence in society, no fame to speak of, practically no physical possessions—but clinging with all of his might and with fierce protectiveness to two things whose sole purpose is to feed his soul. Here’s my question for you: What would you cling to in such a way? What precisely is it, the loss of which would produce in you a kind of panic? What would make you cry, once you realized that you no longer had it? And to make the questions more pointed, let’s assume that you were on a desert island or that you, like the Russian pilgrim, had no resources to go out and buy a replacement. Would it be your car? Your home? Your golf clubs? Your computer? To be honest, I think for me it might be my iPhone. If suddenly I lost my ability to make a call, my contacts, my music, my GPS, my maps, my email, etc., I would panic—and I would probably cry for sheer joy once I had the phone back, and my fingers would close around it like a claw. What makes this confession more than a little troubling is that, 10 years ago, I didn’t even own a cell phone. I lived my life perfectly well without it, and if you had told me then that I would never have one, it wouldn’t have bothered me a bit.
What I particularly love about the Pilgrim is that he was preoccupied, not about any of the passing, evanescent goods of the world, but rather about prayer, about a sustained contact with the eternal God. He didn’t care about the things that obsess most of us most of the time: money, power, fame, success. And the only possessions that concerned him were those simple books that fed his relationship to God. Or to turn it around, he wasn’t frightened by the loss of any finite good; but he was frightened to death at the prospect of losing his contact with the living God.
So what would you cling to like a desperate animal? What loss would you fear? What do you ultimately love?
Posted by ZENIT Staff on 16 November, 2016


As next Sunday, 20 November, is Universal Children’s Day, dedicated to promoting the rights of the child, Pope Francis today launched an appeal “to the conscience of all, institutions and families, that children always be protected and their wellbeing safeguarded, so that they never fall prey to forms of slavery, recruitment for armed groups, and maltreatment.”
The Pope offered this appeal at the end of the weekly general audience.
“I hope that the international community may watch over their lives, guaranteeing to every boy and girl that right to schooling and education, so that they may grow in serenity and look with trust to the future.”

Posted by ZENIT Staff on 16 November, 2016


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Pope Francis today concluded his general audience with the traditional greetings to various groups.
In his closing comments, he noted that in this month of November, “the liturgy invites us to pray for the deceased.”
“Let us not forget those who have loved us and have preceded us in faith, and also those whom no-one remembers; the Eucharistic celebration is the best spiritual aid we can offer to their souls,” he said.
The Pope also made particular reference to the victims of the recent earthquake in Central Italy.
“Let us pray for them and for their families, and continue to express our solidarity with those who have suffered damages.”
Posted by ZENIT Staff on 16 November, 2016


Cornfield
Bishop Douglas Crosby of Hamilton, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, has signed a joint ecumenical and interfaith letter with a number of other religious leaders in Canada, as well as representatives from various religious agencies working in the areas of ecumenism or social justice.
The joint letter conveys prayers and support for the Canadian participants at the 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP22) taking place in  Marrakech, Morocco, November 7-18, 2016. The letter was sent to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Honorable Catherine McKenna, who is leading the Canadian delegation. In their letter, the religious leaders state that “religions can truly contribute to building up a safer, healthier and more just society. We thus take to heart this Conference’s deliberations and wish to applaud all the conscientious and selfless efforts that are being made on behalf of the world community, the good of every human person, and the gift of creation itself. ”
Pope Francis likewise sent a message to the Marrakech participants. In it the Holy Father states that “The current situation of environmental degradation … challenges us all, each of us with our own roles and competencies, and brings us together here with a renewed sense of awareness and responsibility.”
Earlier, participants in a symposium organized by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences issued a statement in anticipation of the Marrakech Conference, highlighting its connection with Laudato Si’, the Encyclical Letter of Pope Francis on care for our common home. The Canadian Council of Churches (CCC) also published in 2015 various statements and letters regarding climate change and care for creation. The President of the CCCB was among the signatories of a declaration entitled “On Promoting Climate Justice and Ending Poverty in Canada – Faith Communities in Canada Speak Out”, published in September 2015.
Posted by ZENIT Staff on 16 November, 2016


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Here is a ZENIT working translation of Pope Francis’ prepared address during this morning’s General Audience in St. Peter’s Square.
***
Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
We dedicate today’s catechesis to a work of mercy that we all know very well, but that perhaps we do not put into practice as we should: to endure patiently people who annoy us. We are all very good in identifying a presence that can annoy us: it happens when we meet someone on the street, or when we receive a phone call … We immediately think: “How long will I have to hear the complaints, the gossip, the requests or the boasts of this person?” It also happens some times that annoying persons are those closest to us: among relatives there is always one; they are not lacking in the workplace and not even in free time are we exempted. What should we do with annoying persons? But we also many times are annoying to others. Why has this also been inserted among the works of mercy? To endure patiently people who annoy us?
In the Bible, we see that God Himself must exercise mercy to endure the complaints of His people. For instance, in the Book of Exodus the people are truly unbearable: first they weep because they are slaves in Egypt, and God delivers them; then, in the desert, they complain because there is nothing to eat (cf. 16:3), and God sends quails and manna (cf. 16:13-16), yet despite this, the complaints do not cease. Moses was the mediator between God and the people, and sometimes the Lord also annoyed him. However, God had patience and thus He also taught Moses and the people this essential dimension of faith.
Then a first question comes spontaneously: do we ever make an examination of conscience to see if we also, sometimes, are annoying to others? It is easy to point the finger at the defects and lacks of others, but we should learn to put ourselves in others’ shoes.
We look above all at Jesus: how much patience He had to have during the three years of His public life! Once, when He was walking with His disciples, he was stopped by the mother of James and John, who said to Him: “Command that these two sons of mine sit, one at your right and the other at your left, in your kingdom” (Matthew 20:21). The mother was lobbying for her sons, but she was the mother …
Jesus takes that situation also as a starting point to give a fundamental teaching: His is not a kingdom of power and glory as the earthly ones, but of service and donation to others. Jesus teaches to go always to the essential and to look beyond to assume one’s mission with responsibility. We can see here the recalling to two other works of spiritual mercy: to admonish sinners and to teach the ignorant. We think of the great commitment we can give when we help people to grow in faith and in life. I am thinking, for instance, of catechists – among whom there are so many mothers and so many women religious – who dedicate time to teach youngsters the basic elements of the faith. How much effort, especially when youngsters prefer to play rather than to listen to the catechism!
It is good and important to accompany in the search for the essential, because it makes us share the joy of relishing the meaning of life. It often happens that we meet persons who stop at superficial, ephemeral and trivial things, sometimes because they have not met someone who would stimulate them to seek something else, to appreciate the true treasures. To teach to look at the essential is a determinant help, especially in a time like ours, which seems to have lost the way and chases short-term satisfactions. To teach to discover what the Lord wants from us, and how we can correspond to Him, means to set out on the way to grow in one’s vocation, the way of true joy. Thus were Jesus’ words to the mother of James and John, and then to the whole group of the disciples, indicating the way to avoid falling into envy, ambition and adulation, temptations that are always lurking also among us Christians. The need to counsel, admonish and teach must not make us feel superior to others, but obliges us first of all to enter within ourselves to verify if we are coherent with all that we ask of others. Let us not forget Jesus’ words: “Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own? (Luke 6:41).” May the Holy Spirit help us to be patient in enduring and humble and simple in counseling.
[Original text: Italian] [Working Translation by ZENIT]
In Italian
A warm welcome goes to the Italian-speaking pilgrims. I greet the Masters of Work Federation, which is observing the sixtieth anniversary of its foundation and I hope that the occasion will contribute to foster social and economic inclusion, especially of the weakest sectors of the population.
I greet the Sons of God Community of Florence; the Red Cross of Spoltore; the “Christmas Oranges” Association of Camisano Vicentino; the parish groups and the students. In the imminence of the end of the Extraordinary Jubilee may each one remember how important it is to be merciful as the Father and may love for brothers make us more human and more Christian.
A special greeting goes to young people, the sick and newlyweds. In the month of November, the liturgy invites us to pray for the deceased. Let us not forget how much they loved us; they have preceded us in faith, as well as those that no one remembers: the suffrage in the Eucharistic Celebration is the best spiritual help that we can offer their souls. We remember with particular affection the victims of the recent earthquake in Central Italy: we pray for them and for their relatives and we continue to be solidaristic with all those who have suffered damages.
The Holy Father’s Appeal
This coming Sunday, November 20th, the International Day of the Rights of Childhood and Adolescence will be observed. I appeal to the conscience of all, institutions and families, may children and their wellbeing always be protected, so that they never fall into forms of slavery, are recruited into armed groups and mistreated. I hope that the International Community will watch over their life, guaranteeing to every boy and girl the right to school and to education, so that their growth is serene and they look at the future with confidence.
[Original text: Italian] [Working Translation by ZENIT]



Posted by ZENIT Staff on 16 November, 2016


Pope at Audience CTV
Here is the Vatican-provided English-language summary of Pope Francis’ General Audience this morning in St. Peter’s Square:
***
Speaker: Dear Brothers and Sisters: In our catechesis for this Holy Year of Mercy, we now consider the spiritual work of mercy which is bearing wrongs patiently. In showing patience to those who wrong us and, by extension, to those we find irritating, we imitate God’s own patience with us sinners. Exercising patience with others also challenges us to reflect on our own conduct and failings. Patience is also required in two related spiritual works of mercy: admonishing sinners and instructing the ignorant. We think of the patience shown by the many parents, catechists and teachers who quietly help young people to grow in faith and knowledge of the important things in life. Helping others to look past the ephemeral, to discover the Lord’s will in their lives and thus to find lasting joy, is a great act of charity. By serving our brothers and sisters in this way, our own minds and hearts are purified and renewed. May the Holy Spirit grant us the generosity and patience needed to support and encourage those around us, so that together we may cherish the things that truly matter
Speaker: I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, particularly those from Great Britain, Ireland, Denmark, Iceland, Malta, Nigeria, Indonesia, Malysia, the Philippines, New Zealand, Canada and the United States of America. With prayerful good wishes that these final days of the Jubilee of Mercy will be a moment of grace and spiritual renewal for you and your families, I invoke upon all of you joy and peace in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Scripture: It's not just for Protestants, says Papal Nuncio


Credit: Ryk Neethling via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).


Philadelphia, Pa., Nov 8, 2016 / 06:53 am (CNA/EWTN News).- While reading the Bible may be associated with Protestantism in the minds of some, love of Scripture is at the core of the Catholic Church, said the apostolic nuncio to the United States.

“The love and veneration of the Word of God is an expression of the heart of the Catholic Church which is increasingly promoting a ‘new hearing’ of God’s Word through the new evangelization of our cultures,” Archbishop Christophe Pierre said Oct. 26. “This new hearing is a recovering of the centrality of the divine Word in our Christian life and in our dialogue with those who do not share our Catholic faith.”

The archbishop addressed a gathering of the American Bible Society in Philadelphia, where the 200-year-old organization is now based. The non-denominational organization is dedicated to translating, publishing and distributing editions of the Bible.

Among those present for the nuncio’s remarks were Archbishop of Philadelphia Charles J. Chaput and Dr. Roy Peterson, the president and CEO of the American Bible Society.

Archbishop Pierre said Sacred Scripture is “at the very heart of the Christian life.” He noted the ancient Catholic tradition to teach and pray Sacred Scripture. The Church Fathers venerated God’s word and prayed it through the practice of Lectio Divina.

“The nature of the Sacred Scriptures calls for an audience of faith who opens the sacred texts to discover the presence of the living God speaking to the soul of the believer,” he said.

This has helped drive the Church’s concerns for proper renditions and translations of the sacred texts, the nuncio recounted.

Different Latin variants of Sacred Scripture in the early Church put at risk the shared story of the Church. In the year 382, responding to concerns about the variant texts of the Bible, Pope Damasus I commissioned St. Jerome to revise the texts for a new version “that would embrace more faithfully the truth of the revelation,” the archbishop noted.

“His dedication to Scripture motivated Jerome to further study the Hebrew and the Semitic tradition involved in the sacred texts. Thus Jerome grew in a deeper and more profound union with the mystery of God though the knowledge of Scriptures,” Archbishop Pierre said.

Over time, the Latin language itself became an obstacle to spreading the Biblical message, as Latin’s use became restricted to a small group of educated people. The Latin Vulgate maintained its dominance as the official version of Scripture in the Roman Catholic Church, while other translations were regarded with suspicion for misleading the faithful.

“The love and devotion of the Catholic Church was, and continues to be, the true motivation behind the faithful custody and zealous preservation of the truth that God wanted put into sacred writings for the sake of salvation,” the archbishop said.

He reflected on Martin Luther’s “painful separation” from the Catholic Church. Though he praised the Protestant leader’s dedication to accessible Scripture, he noted that Luther modified the biblical canon from 46 books to 39 and modified the Letter of the Romans’ text to add his concept of “through faith alone.”

The response to the Protestant movement by the Council of Trent established that all Sacred Scripture “must be read according to the spirit in which they were written.”

“This implies that Scripture must go hand-in-hand with the holy Tradition preserved in the ecclesiastic experience of the faith of the apostles,” Archbishop Pierre said.

The development of different languages continued to separate people from a close reading of the Latin Scriptures and, the archbishop said, separated them from “having a personal encounter with the risen Lord manifested in the Bible.”

“The separation produced by the Protestant Reform left a painful wound in the mystical body of Christ and as a consequence of this, the belief that a personal reading of the Bible is a typical Protestant practice grew in the common Catholic mindset,” he said. “The reality manifested in our Roman Catholic Tradition, however, indicates that this common assumption is far from the truth.”

Archbishop Pierre recounted developments since the pontificate of Pope Leo XIII. In the mid-20th century, Pope Pius XII opened the way for translation of Scripture to help Christians return to the sources of faith, while the Second Vatican Council opened the way to dialogue with Protestant Christians in its main document on Scripture, “Dei Verbum.”

“During the decades after ‘Dei Verbum,’ the magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church has insisted on the continued study, research, and education of Holy Scripture by the faithful people of God, establishing stronger bonds of ecumenical dialogue and relationships of unity with our brothers and sisters of different denominations,” he said.

The archbishop cited the work of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, the Biblical studies in Rome’s pontifical universities, and the biblical institutes throughout the Catholic world that train pastors and the laity to bring biblical truth “to those who are hungry for the nourishment of God’s Word.”

The nuncio praised the American Bible Society as “a providential instrument that exemplifies the ecumenical bonds built upon the treasure of the Scriptures.” He welcomed its collaboration with Catholic ministries, saying its propagation of the Word of God is “a vivid expression of the love of God that unifies us with the purpose of inspiring hunger and thirst for the Scriptures.”

The Bible society supported the October 2008 Synod of Bishops and has created a polyglot Bible. It has distributed Bibles to Spanish-language Catholic communities and has supported Catholic pastoral activities like the World Youth Day events in Poland and Brazil. The society also collaborated with the 2015 World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.

It is presently working with the U.S. bishops’ conference to present the Bible as the Book of Mercy for National Bible Week Nov. 13-19.


Click here to view event photos.
Click here to read the Apostolic Nuncio's speech in English. 
Click here to read the Apostolic Nuncio's speech in Spanish.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Gabriela Mistral Campus - September 22, 2016








 Gloria Garafulich-Grabois, President, Gabriela Mistral Foundation and Carmen Fariña,
 New York City Schools Chancellor & head of the New York City Department of Education.
  


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

A Celebration for Reflection




Each year, by decree of Congress, we celebrate NATIONAL HISPANIC HERTIAGE MONTH in the United States, from September 15 to October 15. During this time, the entire North American society recognizes the Hispanic presence in our society and the contributions of the Hispanic community in building this nation. For our part, as Hispanics, this is a unique opportunity each year for us to return to the fundamental questions regarding our existence and role as the Hispanic community in this nation, and our legacy in the progress of this nation.

Questions such as:
• Where and who are the leaders of the Hispanic Community in the United States?
• What training do they have in carrying out this leadership?
• Where is the US Hispanic Community going and advancing, and what type of leaders are overseeing this progress, if they exist?
• We celebrate NATIONAL HISPANIC HERTIAGE MONTH, but what is it that we are celebrating?
• What is our best inheritance and values ​​as Hispanics?
• What is the future of our past?
• Is our Hispanic presence in this nation occurring as a social phenomenon of "integration" - without forgetting our Hispanic identity and preserving the best of our culture - or as a social phenomenon of "assimilation" by and in the dominant culture, with the loss of our identity and the best of our past, our origins, our values ​​and our history?

We live today at a worldwide level and like never before in the history of humanity: the worldwide drama of the displaced, the exiles, the migrants, the deported, those seeking asylum, the refugees, etc.

Here and now, where and when everything is quantified and systematized technologically, we are measuring statistics and getting into all kinds of losses, diseases, human dramas and pains; however, there is a pain, a human drama of which few speak and nothing is measured: the suffering of the millions of men and women - around the entire world – who leave or are forced to leave their loved ones, and all that is theirs, their first loves and beloved places, to pursue the dream of a better life. 

The leaders of developed countries – destinations of the largest waves of immigrants – do not stop – however – defining government policies, on a large scale, that succeed in achieving solutions for this issue and the human problem it represents.

In times of election campaigns in this country, the topic of immigration always appears and the Hispanics in this nation must always be alert to election promises so that they do not change us into a community that can be manipulated, a puppet and easy prey for politicians in power and - in this specific topic of immigration reform – continue as a community that is passed over and disappointed.

The act of voting by which we elect leaders is a definitive democratic exercise for the present and future of every nation and, therefore, in the one in which we live. But, it cannot be an exercise tied to the colors or interests of political parties that today are failing and leaving behind a trail of despair because they do not correspond with the interests of the common good. 

This era in which we find ourselves living is more a change of era than an era of changes. We are witnessing a change in the ways humans exist and behave; there is a change in mentality and human inclinations across the world that requires of this nation’s Hispanic community: preparation, education, training and awareness of this very important moment, so definitive and so defining in the present and in the future of this nation.

Our Hispanic past comes with a huge burden of ancestral values: rooted and impressed into our cultural ethos, such as the value of family, of friends, of the Transcendent, of work, of ideals to attain, of entertainment and of social gatherings.  But this way of being and behaving "Hispanic" has to be integrated as much with the changing socio-cultural environment of this nation, as with that of the larger world: that all human beings journey with the hope for a better world than we have.

For the construction of that better American society and for the better world that we crave, the Hispanics in the United States of North America have much to contribute, much to offer provided that we do not abandon the best of "what is properly Hispanic" for the sake of mirages imposed by the materialistic, consumerist and hedonistic culture that surrounds us and that we remain attentive to the best of our past and, therefore, to the better future that we anticipate.

In 2016, let’s make HISPANIC HERITAGE month an occasion for celebration for everyone, but - above all - an important opportunity for serious reflection.



Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The Challenge of the the 2016 Elections


We find ourselves immersed in the debate that will conclude with the election of the next president of the United States of America. The contest is between the candidates of the nation’s largest and most traditional political parties: the candidate for the Republican party, Donald Trump, and that of the Democrats, Hillary Clinton.

The Republican party, traditionally conservative and allied with the powerful interests that have sustained the capitalist system and promoted the material and economic success of this great nation, faces today, with their candidate Trump — among others — two serious problems. On the one hand, he promotes discrimination and intolerance; on the other, this candidate does not belong to the traditional political structure of the Republican party.

The discourse of Trump gathers and exploits the worst sentiments of those who, like himself, forget the condition of immigrants while claiming to be natives and owners of a land that does not belong to them; they forget that this nation has always been a land of immigrants. It has been this so-called melting pot, precisely, that has enabled America to become a powerful nation before the rest of the world. It is for this reason that this discourse becomes populist, demagogic, hurtful and dangerous for the political and social stability of the United States and the world.

The party of the Democrats, on the other hand, traditionally liberal and allied with the cause of the working class, those who have fewer opportunities to access the social benefits provided by this nation, has embraced — indiscriminately and finally — a series of causes and laws of a postmodernist type such as abortion or marriage between people of the same sex, that discount the traditions and fundamental human values upon which this nation was founded, like the right to life and the family; issues that, although novel, protect a few minorities and satisfy postmodern tendencies according to which each one — seeking their personal pleasure and satisfaction — build their own life as they please, distort and hide the truth in the midst of a thousand half-truths and take us dangerously close to the border of disaster with a moral relativism where it is no longer possible to discern — for the good of individuals as well as for society — what is fundamental from what is accessory, what is essential from what is accidental, what is permanent from what is transitory and ephemeral.

Given these political circumstances, succinctly described, today it is more difficult to decide for whom to vote, what person or political group to elect to guide the destiny of this nation. Today, the great majority of voters feel confused, uncertain and discouraged when it is time to choose between the political alternatives just described. Political alternatives — Democrats or Republicans — with extreme positions, both populist and equally dangerous — as we have said — for the near future of families, society, this nation and the world.

Moreover, and to worsen the political electoral atmosphere in which we find ourselves immersed, other social institutions that would have the role and the moral responsibility to orient Americans for the best political choice possible, find themselves today — as never before — discredited and, for that reason, without authority to guide us in this historical crossroad that is political, social, cultural and electoral.

We face a political choice will not be between two good proposals for the nation, or between a good proposal and a bad one; rather we find ourselves obliged to choose between them or, as they say in philosophy, to choose between the lesser of two evils.

In this situation, the electoral panorama proposed to us is very difficult and between which we must make a choice. The scene reveals the moral and spiritual decadence of our society according to which our material and economic progress as a society does not coincide with the human, moral and spiritual progress, unveiling the lack of political leaders who are well formed morally to fight for the common good and, finally, a political panorama that — for all that we have said — urges us to continue struggling in the search to establish and continue consolidating this society and nation in the grand values of humanity, such as the truth for liberty, justice for peace and solidarity for survival. Therefore, we have to choose between the lesser of two evils!