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Pope Francis proclaims World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly

January 31, 2021 CNA Daily News 2

Vatican City, Jan 31, 2021 / 06:30 am (CNA).- Pope Francis announced Sunday the establishment of an international day to honor grandparents and the elderly to take place each year in July.

“The Holy Spirit … arouses thoughts and words of wisdom in the elderly today: their voice is precious because it sings the praises of God and guards the roots of peoples. They remind us that old age is a gift and that grandparents are the link between generations, to transmit to young people an experience of life and faith,” Pope Francis said in the library of the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace Jan. 31.

“Grandparents are often forgotten and we forget this wealth of preserving and passing on the roots. For this reason, I have decided to establish the World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly,” the pope said.

The World Day for the Grandparents and the Elderly will take place annually on the fourth Sunday of July, close to the feast of the grandparents of Jesus, Saints Joachim and Anne.

This year it will take place on Sunday, July 25, and Pope Francis will offer a special Mass to mark the occasion, according to the Vatican Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life.

In his Angelus address — offered via a live video broadcast due to the COVID-19 pandemic — the pope recalled the upcoming liturgical celebration of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple by Mary and Joseph.

“The day after tomorrow, February 2, we will celebrate the feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, when Simeon and Anna, both elderly, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, recognized Jesus as the Messiah,” the pope said.

Pope Francis also pointed to the example of the Virgin Mary who “always kept Jesus’ words and gestures in her heart and followed Him with total willingness and faithfulness.”

“May she help us too to listen to Him and follow Him, to experience the signs of His salvation in our life,” he prayed.

The pope said that Jesus “speaks not with human authority, but with divine authority, because he has the power to be the definitive prophet, that is, the Son of God who saves us, heals us all.”

He asked: “Do we listen to the words of Jesus which are authoritative?”

“Always, do not forget, carry a small Gospel in your pocket or bag, to read it during the day, to listen to that authoritative word of Jesus,” he said.

The pope explained that Jesus’ ministry of healing, exorcisms, and “preaching with authority” show that Christ “aimed at defeating the evil present in humankind and in the world.”

“Jesus’ teaching has the same authority as God speaking; in fact, with a single command he easily frees the possessed from the evil one and heals him,” he said.

“His word points directly at the kingdom of Satan: it puts him in crisis and makes him retreat, forcing him to leave,” Francis said.

After the Angelus prayer, children from the diocese of Rome joined the pope in the Apostolic Palace to read a letter about the importance of peace. The children are participants in the virtual “Caravan of Peace” organized by Catholic Action.

Pope Francis also highlighted World Leprosy Day, which occurs each year on the last Sunday of January. He appealed to world leaders to join efforts to treat those suffering from leprosy – officially called Hansen’s Disease – and to work for their social inclusion.

“I express my closeness to those who suffer from this disease, and I encourage missionaries, health workers and volunteers committed to their service,” the pope said.

“The pandemic has confirmed how necessary it is to protect the right to health for the most vulnerable people.”


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Mexican nuns in need of help after Covid hits community

January 30, 2021 CNA Daily News 1

Mexico City, Mexico, Jan 30, 2021 / 06:01 am (CNA).- The Dominican Nuns of the St. Catherine of Siena Monastery in Mexico City sent an urgent request for “fervent prayers” to local and international Catholics after 10 of their 24 religious fell ill with Covid-19 early this week.

The superior of the community sent a letter to supporters and Catholic news organizations explaining that most of the infected religious have mild symptoms, but the required isolation is preventing them from producing the sweets, bread, and cakes whose sales constitute the financial pillar of the community.

“Two of our sisters have been in very bad condition and have been transported to a hospital, while our older sister, 87 year-old Sister Teresa Coronado, died of COVID late last week.
Most of us continue to be in stable condition, with minor flu symptoms, but social distancing is preventing us from fulfilling our regular duties. Please keep us in your prayers so that God’s will may always be done.”

In Mexico, there have been 1.8 million cases of Covid-19, and more than 153,000 deaths. Of the dead, 166 have been clerics and 11 religious.


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Cardinal Parolin on Vatican finances: ‘Talking about a crisis is a bit excessive’

January 30, 2021 CNA Daily News 2

Rome Newsroom, Jan 30, 2021 / 06:00 am (CNA).- Cardinal Pietro Parolin has said that he does not consider the Vatican’s financial scandals to be “a crisis,” but pointed to the recent headlines as a sign of the Vatican’s transparency.

In a television interview aired by French Catholic network KTO on Jan. 29, the Vatican Secretary of State downplayed the reports of financial mismanagement that led to the conviction of the former president of the Vatican bank, the forced resignation of Cardinal Angelo Becciu, and the dismissal of several employees from the Secretariat of State.

“Perhaps talking about a crisis is a bit excessive in my opinion,” Parolin said.

“If we look at history, there have always been difficult times. There have always been situations, how to put it … not entirely transparent. … We can even refer to the recent past as well.”

Pope Francis issued a new law transferring financial responsibilities away from the Vatican’s Secretariat of State to the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA) one month ago. This shake up was first announced in an Aug. 25 letter to Cardinal Parolin that was made public on Nov. 5 after the Secretariat of State was engulfed in accusations of financial mismanagement, particularly regarding an investment in a London property.

The Vatican official said in the French interview that Pope Francis wanted to “directly face these problems which have arisen precisely to make the Roman Curia as transparent as possible, precisely so that she can … really exercise the service to which she is called … the service of the Gospel.”

“You know very well that people today will not accept the Gospel except from a totally transparent Church,” Parolin said, according to a transcript of the interview provided by KTO.

The cardinal said he believed that “considerable progress” had already been made in the pope’s reform of the Roman Curia, particularly with regard to Vatican finances, pointing to the creation of the Council for the Economy, the Secretariat for the Economy, and the Office of the Revisor General.

He said that further reforms might entail the merger of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples with the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization and the combination of the Congregation for Catholic Education with the Pontifical Council for Culture.

“But these are minor actions compared to what has already been done,” he said. “Now it is a question of giving homogeneity to all the reforms which have been made, by means of the new apostolic constitution which has for at least provisional title: ‘Predicate Evangelii.’”

The apostolic constitution overhauling the Roman Curia — entitled  “Praedicate evangelium,” which means “Preach the Gospel” — is largely finished, according to Parolin, who said that the text should be published “before the end of this year.”

During the 30-minute sit-down interview conducted before Parolin’s trip to Cameroon, the cardinal was also asked about the Vatican’s provisional agreement with China on the appointment of bishops, a diplomatic effort in which Parolin himself has played a leading role.

“First of all, I would say that I deeply respect anyone who has a different opinion and who criticizes, say, criticizes the Holy See’s policy on China. And it is a right to do so, because it is an extremely complex and difficult situation. There can be different points of view,” he said.

The Vatican Secretary of State said that the agreement signed with the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party was “a small step from which to start to seek to improve the situation of the Church,” comparing it to the Gospel parable of the sower who plants a seed hoping that it will grow and bear fruit.

“This agreement was not intended to be, and could not, be an agreement to solve all the problems that the Church faces in China,” he said.

Parolin was also asked if Pope Francis intends to visit France to which he said: “I think that there is an availability and a desire of the pope to come and visit France, but don’t ask me for the date!”

Pope Francis’ next scheduled international trip is to Iraq on March 5-8. The cardinal said that interreligious dialogue will “certainly be one of the themes that the pope will address,” in addition to encouraging “the political stability of the country.”

“But the pope wants to go to Iraq above all to encourage Christians. Today Iraq, and all the countries in the region, have suffered a hemorrhage of Christians, due to the situation of war, conflict, due to which the Christian community has been reduced to the strict minimum. The Pope feels the need to go there, to give courage to these Christians, to invite them to continue to bear witness in these circumstances which are not easy,” Parolin said.