Vatican News

By abiding in Christ, people can do good in the world, pope says

By Carol Glatz Catholic News Service

People hold the national flags of Poland and Mexico in St. Peter's Square as they attend the "Regina Coeli," led by Pope Francis from the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter's Square at the Vatican May 2, 2021. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- People can't be good Christians if they do not choose to remain in Jesus, Pope Francis said.

"We cannot be good Christians if we do not remain in Jesus. With him, though, we can do everything," the pope said before reciting the "Regina Coeli" prayer May 2 with visitors in St. Peter's Square.

"Attached to Christ, we receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and in this way we can do good to our neighbor, we can do good to society, to the church," he said.

The pope reflected on the day's Gospel reading (Jn 15:1-8) in which Jesus tells his disciples, "I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing."

Jesus presents himself as the true vine to which his disciples can remain united when they abide in him and vice versa.

It is an active, reciprocal relationship, the pope said, because branches "need sap to grow and to bear fruit; but the vine, too, needs the branches, since fruit does not grow on the tree trunk."

"It is a question of a reciprocal abiding so as to bear fruit. We abide in Jesus and Jesus abides in us," he said.

Christians must be united to Christ and remain in him before they observe his commandments and the beatitudes, and before performing works of mercy because "we cannot be good Christians if we do not remain in Jesus," he said.

However, Jesus also needs disciples, "he needs our witness," Pope Francis said.

The task of all Christians as Christ's disciples "is to continue to proclaim the Gospel in words and in deeds" so that the fruit that is borne may be borne out of love, he said.

A fruitful life, the pope said, depends on prayer in which one asks to see, think, feel and act like Jesus in order to love others and "bring to the world fruits of goodness, fruits of charity, fruits of peace."

Cardinal Burke, seven others rise in rank in College of Cardinals

By  Catholic News Service

U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke attends the ordination of eight deacons from Rome's Pontifical North American College in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican in this Oct. 1, 2020, file photo. With a consistory to approve the canonization of seven saints as a backdrop, eight cardinals -- including Cardinal Burke -- moved from the rank of cardinal deacons to the rank cardinal priests. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- With a consistory to approve the canonization of seven saints as a backdrop, eight cardinals -- including U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke -- moved from the rank of cardinal deacons to the rank of cardinal priests.

According to the Code of Canon Law, "through a choice made in consistory and approved by the Supreme Pontiff," cardinals can move "from the diaconal order to another diaconia and if they have been in the diaconal order for 10 full years, even to the presbyteral order."

The rankings have their roots in the ancient church when cardinal deacons handled charitable and administrative activities in the pope's name and cardinal priests led the most important parishes in the Diocese of Rome. Today, most officials of the Roman Curia who become cardinals enter the college as cardinal deacons, while cardinals who head dioceses enter as cardinal priests.

The ranking and the date on which the prelate entered the College of Cardinals determines seniority and the cardinal's place in processions and seating arrangements.

In addition to Cardinal Burke, those become cardinal priests at the consistory May 3 were:

-- Cardinal Angelo Amato, retired prefect of the Congregation for Saints' Causes.

-- Cardinal Robert Sarah, retired prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments.

-- Cardinal Francesco Monterisi, retired archpriest of the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls.

-- Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

-- Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, head of the Apostolic Penitentiary, a church court.

-- Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture.

-- Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, retired president of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences.

Pope approves canonizations, but doesn't set date because of pandemic

By Cindy Wooden Catholic News Service

Pope Francis leads an "ordinary public consistory" for the approval of the canonization of seven new saints, at the Vatican May 3, 2021. (CNS photo/Vatican Media) 

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The sainthood causes of seven men and women -- including the hermit Blessed Charles de Foucauld and the Indian martyr Devasahayam Pillai -- cleared their final hurdle May 3 during an "ordinary public consistory," a meeting of the pope, cardinals and promoters of sainthood causes that formally ends the sainthood process.

The meeting included a prayer, an affirmation that church law had been followed in preparing for the candidates' declaration of sainthood and a formal request "in the name of Holy Mother Church" that Pope Francis set a date for the canonizations.

Speaking in Latin, Pope Francis approved the canonizations but said the date for the ceremony would have to be determined later, Vatican News reported, because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Blessed Charles de Foucauld is undoubtedly the best known of the seven saints-to-be.

Pope Francis, in his encyclical "Fratelli Tutti, on Fraternity and Social Friendship," described Blessed de Foucauld as a "person of deep faith who, drawing upon his intense experience of God, made a journey of transformation toward feeling a brother to all."

"Blessed Charles directed his ideal of total surrender to God toward an identification with the poor, abandoned in the depths of the African desert," the pope wrote. "In that setting, he expressed his desire to feel himself a brother to every human being and asked a friend to 'pray to God that I truly be the brother of all.' He wanted to be, in the end, 'the universal brother.' Yet only by identifying with the least did he come at last to be the brother of all. May God inspire that dream in each one of us."

Born in Strasbourg, France, in 1858, Blessed de Foucauld strayed from the faith during his adolescence, but during a trip to Morocco, he saw how devoted Muslims were to their faith, which inspired him to return to the church.

He joined the Trappists, living in monasteries in France and in Syria, before seeking an even more austere life as a hermit. After his ordination to the priesthood in 1901, he lived among the poor and finally settled in Tamanrasset, Algeria. In 1916, he was killed by a band of marauders. His writings inspired the foundation, after his death, of the Little Brothers of Jesus and the Little Sisters of Jesus.

The martyr of India who will be declared a saint is Blessed Pillai, an 18th-century Catholic layman who was killed for refusing to refute his faith despite being brutally tortured.

Born to an upper-caste Hindu family in 1712 and given the name Neelakanda, Blessed Pillai became a trusted soldier of the Hindu king but later incurred his wrath for embracing Christianity. Baptized in May 1745, he was given the name Devasahayam, a Tamil rendering of the biblical name Lazarus.

He began preaching and converted his wife and others, which made many officials angry. He was arrested and sentenced to death in 1749, but just before he was sent to the gallows, the Hindu king canceled the execution order. Blessed Pillai remained imprisoned for three more years, enduring torture and public beatings and ridicule for refusing to renounce his faith before secretly being taken into the jungle and shot.

The others approved for canonization are:

-- Blessed César de Bus, the France-born founder of the Fathers of Christian Doctrine, a religious congregation dedicated to education, pastoral ministry and catechesis. Born in 1544, he died in 1607.

-- Blessed Luigi Maria Palazzolo, an Italian priest and founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Poor. He was beatified by St. John XXIII in 1963. The sainthood causes of six members of the order who died in Congo in 1995 caring for victims of Ebola also are underway.

-- Blessed Giustino Maria Russolillo, an Italian priest who founded the Society of Divine Vocations for men and the Vocationist Sisters. He was born in 1891 and died in 1955.

-- Blessed Anna Maria Rubatto, founder of the order now known as the Capuchin Sisters of Mother Rubatto. She was born in Carmagnola, Italy, in 1844 and died in Montevideo, Uruguay, in 1904.

-- Blessed Maria Domenica Mantovani, co-founder and first superior general of the Little Sisters of the Holy Family. Born in 1862 in Castelletto di Brenzone, Italy, she dedicated her life to serving the poor and needy as well as assisting the sick and the elderly. She died in 1934.

Vatican approves new invocations for Litany of St. Joseph

By Cindy Wooden Catholic News Service

A statue of St. Joseph is seen as Pope Francis leads his general audience at the Vatican March 24, 2021. With the approval of the pope, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments has published several additions to the Litany of St. Joseph. (CNS photo/Vatican Media) 

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Updating the Litany of St. Joseph, approved in 1909, the Vatican has added seven invocations, including two that address the guardian of Jesus and husband of Mary as "support in difficulty" and "patron of refugees."

The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments published the additions May 1, the feast of St. Joseph the Worker.

The additions were approved by Pope Francis, the congregation said, and drew the new invocations mainly from modern papal texts about St. Joseph, including Pope Francis' December apostolic letter proclaiming a Year of St. Joseph and St. John Paul II's 1989 apostolic exhortation, "Redemptoris Custos" ("Protector of the Redeemer").

Since Pope Francis wanted, as he wrote in his letter, "to increase our love for this great saint, to encourage us to implore his intercession and to imitate his virtues and his zeal," the congregation said, it seemed appropriate to update the 112-year-old litany.

Providing only the Latin-language version of the invocations, the congregation said it would be up to bishops' conferences to translate the phrases and to add others if St. Joseph is invoked by their people in a particular way.

The Latin phrases are: "Custos Redemptoris" (Protector of the Redeemer); "Serve Christi" (Servant of Christ); "Minister salutis" (Minister of salvation); "Fulcimen in difficultatibus" (Support in difficulty); "Patrone exsulum" (Patron of refugees); "Patrone afflictorum" (Patron of the afflicted); and "Patrone pauperum" (Patron of the poor).

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