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September, 2019
Volume 45, Number 3
28 February 2013
Greg Kandra

Pope Benedict XVI addresses the College of Cardinals at the Vatican on 28 February, the final day of his papacy. In attendance were 144 cardinals, including many of the 115 younger than 80 who are eligible and expected to vote in the upcoming conclave. Read the text of his final remarks to the cardinals here. (photo: CNS/L’Osservatore Romano via Reuters)

Tags: Pope Benedict XVI Vatican Pope Papacy

28 February 2013
J.D. Conor Mauro

A helicopter carrying Pope Benedict XVI takes off from inside the Vatican on its way to the to the papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo, Italy, on 28 February, the final day of his papacy. (photo: CNS/Stefano Rellandini, Reuters)

Pope Benedict XVI begins the last day of his pontificate (Vatican Radio) The Pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI will come to an end with the Sede Vacante (“Vacant See”) beginning at 8 p.m. Rome time (2 p.m. EST). Shortly before 5 p.m., the Pope bid farewell to the pontifical household and departed the Apostolic Palace by car from the San Damaso Courtyard. From there, he was driven to the Vatican heliport and seen off by the Dean of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Angelo Sodano. After being flown to Castel Gandolfo, the Holy Father will then briefly greet the faithful of the Diocese of Albano from the central balcony of the Apostolic Palace. This will be the last public appearance of Pope Benedict XVI while in office. At 8 p.m, the reign of the 265th Pope, the 264th successor of St. Peter, will come to an end, having lasted 7 years, 10 months, and 9 days…

Pope pledges obedience to next pope (CNS) On 28 February, hours before resigning from the papacy, Pope Benedict XVI briefly addressed the College of Cardinals in Clementine Hall, calling for unity and harmony among the men who will choose his successor and pledging his “unconditional reverence and obedience” to the next pope. The pope addressed 144 cardinals, including many of the 115 under the age of 80 who are eligible and expected to vote in the upcoming conclave. “I will continue to be close to you in prayer, especially in the next few days, so that you may all be fully docile to the action of the Holy Spirit in the election of the new pope. May the Lord show you what is wanted of you”…

Ethiopian Orthodox patriarch elected (Global Post) The Ethiopian Orthodox Church has elected a new patriarch to replace the previous head who died in August, officials say. Archbishop Abune Matthias of Jerusalem was elected on Thursday, 28 February 2013, with about 500 out of 806 votes cast by members of the church living in Ethiopia and elsewhere. The patriarch-elect, 71, has lived abroad for over 30 years, initially fleeing Ethiopia following a military coup by Hailemariam Mengistu in 1974. He has since traveled throughout Europe and North America, and will now settle in Ethiopia to serve as the head of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church…

Flow of Syrian refugees into Jordan surges (Al Jazeera) Ten thousand Syrian refugees have arrived in Jordan in the last 72 hours, army sources at the border have told local Jordanian media. Jeffrey Feltman, United Nations under secretary-general, said on Tuesday that a record 150,000 people fled Syria this month to escape the worsening conflict now trapped in a “destructive military spiral.” He told the U.N. Security Council that abuses committed by President Bashar al Assad’s forces were “significantly” worse than those of the opposition, even though both could face war crimes charges. “The humanitarian situation is becoming worse in Syria,” Feltman said. There are now 413,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan, a number the U.N. expects to reach 500,000 as early as the end of next month. Four million people in the country now need humanitarian assistance. Of these, two million are internally displaced…

Tags: Syrian Civil War Jordan Pope Benedict XVI Vatican Ethiopian Orthodox Church

27 February 2013
Bradley H. Kerr

This 13th-century icon of the Theotokos Orans is found in the Spasky Cathedral in Yaroslavi, Russia. (image: Wikipedia)

We’ve had a ton of positive feedback about the special Way of the Cross With Pope Benedict XVI booklet that we sent to our friends and benefactors for Lent. Many thanks to all who called and wrote. But I was struck by a note from Father J.S. Custer, pastor of Resurrection Byzantine Catholic Church in Smithtown, N.Y. He writes:

The vast majority of your benefactors must be Roman Catholics who have already been exposed to the Way of the Cross in some form. What CNEWA might offer, consistent with your mission, is … what the Byzantine “lung” of the church experiences during Great Lent.

What a great idea! And so I tracked down one of Father Custer’s helpful suggestions to share with you today: the Akathist Hymn to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The hymn is more than its name suggests. It is actually an entire service — and a very beautiful one, I might add — devoted to the Mother of God. Parts are used throughout the Lenten season, and the entire hymn is chanted on the fifth Friday of Lent.

Here is a taste:

By singing praise to your maternity, we all exalt you as a spiritual temple, Mother of God! For the One Who Dwelt Within Your Womb, the Lord Who Holds All Things in His Hands, sanctified you, glorified you, and taught all men to sing to you:

Hail, O tabernacle of God the Word!
Hail, O Holy One, more holy than the saints!
Hail, O ark that the spirit has gilded!
Hail, inexhaustible treasure of life!
Hail, precious crown of rightful authorities!
Hail, sacred glory of reverent priests!
Hail, unshakable tower of the church!
Hail, unbreachable wall of the kingdom!
Hail, O you, through whom the trophies are raised!
Hail, O you, through whom the enemies are routed!
Hail, O healing of my body!
Hail, O salvation of my soul!
Hail, O bride and maiden ever-pure!

To read and pray the entire Akathist Hymn to the Blessed Virgin Mary, you can find it here. Plus, check out this article from our magazine for more about this devotion. It just might enrich your Lenten journey and deepen your love of Christ.

In the meantime, you can also get a sense of this beautiful devotion in the video below:

27 February 2013
Greg Kandra

Signs salute Pope Benedict XVI with words of gratitude as he arrives to lead his final general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican on 27 February. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)

Pope Benedict XVI held his final public audience this morning. CNS describes the scene:

On his last full day as pope, Pope Benedict XVI delivered an unusually personal and emotional farewell address, thanking the faithful around the world for their support and assuring them that he would remain in their service even in retirement.

“I will continue to accompany the path of the church with prayer and reflection, with that dedication to the Lord and to his bride that I have tried to live every day till now and that I want to live always,” the pope told a crowd in St. Peter’s Square on 27 February, the eve of his resignation.

Under a clear blue sky with temperatures in the low 40s, the pope arrived for his last public audience shortly after 10:30 a.m., standing and waving for almost 15 minutes as his white popemobile made a circuit through the square. Cheering pilgrims waved national flags and banners with slogans such as “always with the pope” and “you will never be alone.”

The crowd spilled over into the adjacent Via della Conciliazione, which had been closed to motorized traffic, and the Vatican estimated turnout at 150,000.

Abandoning his usual practice of giving a catechetical talk on a devotional text or theme at public audiences, the pope spoke about his time as pope and his historic decision to resign. He looked tired but composed as he read his speech, and he smiled at the frequent interruptions by applause.

Pope Benedict recalled his almost eight-year pontificate as a time of “joy and light, but also difficult moments.”

“The Lord has given us so many days of sun and light breeze, days in which the catch of fish has been abundant,” he said, likening himself to St. Peter on the Sea of Galilee.

“There have also been moments in which the waters were turbulent and the wind contrary, as throughout the history of the church, and the Lord seemed to be asleep,” he said. “But I have always known that the Lord is in that boat and that the boat of the church is not mine, it is not ours, but it is his and he does not let it sink.”

Read the full text of the pope’s remarks here. Below, CNS has posted a video of the final blessing of the general audience:

Tags: Pope Benedict XVI Vatican Pope Papacy

27 February 2013
J.D. Conor Mauro

Pope Benedict XVI waves as he leaves his final general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican on 27 February. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)

Pope expresses gratitude, trust during final general audience (Vatican Radio) “During this Year of Faith, we have been called to renew our joyful trust in the Lord’s presence in our lives and in the life of the church. I am personally grateful for his unfailing love and guidance in the eight years since I accepted his call to serve as the Successor of Peter. I am also deeply grateful for the understanding, support and prayers of so many of you, not only here in Rome, but also throughout the world. The decision I have made, after much prayer, is the fruit of a serene trust in God’s will and a deep love of Christ’s church. I will continue to accompany the Church with my prayers, and I ask each of you to pray for me and for the new pope. In union with Mary and all the saints, let us entrust ourselves in faith and hope to God, who continues to watch over our lives and to guide the journey of the Church and our world along the paths of history…”

Conclave start date may not be known until next week (CNS) It is possible the world’s cardinals will not begin meeting at the Vatican until 4 March, and they cannot set a start date for the conclave until they have met, the Vatican spokesman said. Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, will send out letters on 1 March formally informing the world’s cardinals that the papacy is vacant and calling them to meet at the Vatican. In addition, he said, while many cardinals were arriving in Rome before the papacy ended on 28 February, “the cardinals will not live at the Domus Sanctae Marthae” — the Vatican guesthouse used during the conclave — “until almost the eve of the conclave.” The rooms must be cleaned, the televisions and telephones disconnected and the place swept for listening devices, Father Lombardi said. “It’s completely normal”…

Cardinal Sandri pays tribute to Sts. Cyril and Methodius (L’Osservatore Romano) This week, a conference was held at the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome to commemorate the 1150th anniversary of the beginning of the mission of Sts. Cyril and Methodius among the Slavs. The brothers were “authentic precursors of ecumenism, for they labored in service of unity and of the multiform fullness of the church, as they made incarnate the spirit of the originally undivided church,” says Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches. “The great intuition of Cyril and Methodius aided the Slavic peoples, whom they had evangelized, to praise God in their own tongue and in respect for the their proper cultural characteristics, at the same time insisting on the unity between all Christians, of the East and of the West, in the sole and universal church of Christ. Their invitation remains today, for a dynamic vision of Catholicity as the symphony of the diverse liturgies in all the languages of the world, as a harmonious chorus of different voices and pitches.”…

Egypt opposition vows to boycott parliamentary elections (Christian Science Monitor) Egypt’s main opposition coalition announced today it intends to boycott upcoming parliamentary elections, deepening the political crisis in Egypt. The National Salvation Front (N.S.F.) coalition of leftist, liberal and socialist parties announced it would not take part in the elections, scheduled to begin in April, because the law governing the elections is unfair, and the president has not met their demands to change the cabinet or amend the new constitution. The vote will elect a new parliament to replace the one dissolved last year after a court found the law the elections were based on to be unconstitutional. The president’s office rescheduled the vote after a controversy erupted because the original schedule had them falling during the Coptic Orthodox Church’s celebration of Palm Sunday and Easter…

Tags: Egypt Pope Benedict XVI Vatican Saints Cardinal Leonardo Sandri

26 February 2013
Greg Kandra

In this image from 2008, Pope Benedict XVI and Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, left, stand in front of the tomb of St. Peter at the conclusion of a Mass on the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican June 29. (photo: CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano via Reuters)

Yesterday, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople paid tribute to Pope Benedict XVI and called him a “friend of the Orthodox Church”:

Pope Benedict leaves an indelible mark on the life and history of the Roman Catholic Church, sealed not only by his brief papacy, but also by his broad and longstanding contribution as a theologian and hierarch of his Church, as well as his universally acknowledged prestige.

His writings will long speak of his deep theological understanding, through his knowledge of the Fathers of the undivided Church, his familiarity with contemporary reality, and his keen interest in the problems of humankind.

We Orthodox will always honor him as a friend of our Church and a faithful servant of the sacred proposition for the union of all. Moreover, we shall rejoice upon learning of his sound health and the productivity of his theological work.

The photograph above is a reminder of the fraternal closeness of the patriarch and the pope: the successor of Peter and the successor of Peter’s brother, Andrew.

Tags: Pope Benedict XVI Ecumenism Orthodox Church Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I

26 February 2013
J.D. Conor Mauro

In this 15 May 2012 photo, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches, leads a meeting with U.S. bishops from Eastern Catholic churches during their “ad limina” visits to the Vatican. U.S. bishops from the Armenian, Chaldean, Ruthenian, Maronite, Melkite, Romanian, Syriac and Ukrainian Catholic churches make ad limina visits to the Vatican to report on the status of their dioceses. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)

Cardinal expresses solidarity with Christians of the Holy Land (VIS) Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches, has sent a letter to the bishops of the world concerning the traditional Good Friday collection for the Holy Land. The letter, which also bears the signature of Archbishop Cyril Vasil, S.J., secretary of the congregation, has the purpose of sensitizing the Catholic Church around the world with regard to the Holy Land, and of promoting initiatives of prayer and fraternal charity towards Christians of Jerusalem, Israel, Palestine and neighboring countries…

Bulgarian Orthodox Church selects new patriarch (ABC News) Patriarch Neofit of Ruse was elected Sunday as the new spiritual leader of Bulgaria’s Orthodox Christians amid social unrest threatening to throw the Balkan country in a serious political crisis. He is considered a compromise candidate after a power struggle within the church over who will succeed the late Patriarch Maxim. Maxim, highly popular among around 6 million Bulgarian Orthodox Church followers, died after a long illness on Nov. 6 aged 98. The enthronement ceremony for Patriarch Neofit was held at Sofia’s Alexander Nevski Cathedral Church. In attendance were church elders, state officials, representatives of other religious groups and dozens of believers…

Pope Benedict XVI will be ‘pope emeritus’ (VIS) Father Federico Lombardi, S.J., director of the Holy See Press Office, reported in a press conference that Pope Benedict XVI will become “pontiff emeritus” or “pope emeritus.” He will keep the name of “His Holiness, Benedict XVI” and will dress in a simple white cassock without the mozzetta (elbow-length cape)…

Syrian government offers to meet with opposition (Christian Science Monitor) Syria said Monday it is prepared to hold talks with armed rebels bent on overthrowing President Bashar al Assad, the clearest signal yet that the regime is growing increasingly nervous about its long-term prospects to hold onto power as opposition fighters make slow but persistent headway in the civil war. The Syrian talks offer, made by Foreign Minister Walid al Moallem during a visit to Moscow, came hours before residents of Damascus and state-run TV reported a huge explosion and a series of smaller blasts in the capital, followed by heavy gunfire…

Tags: Syrian Civil War Pope Benedict XVI Ecumenism Eastern Churches Bulgarian Orthodox Church

25 February 2013
Greg Kandra

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, Pope Benedict XVI, Rabbi David Rosen and Wande Abimbola, representative for the Yoruba religion of Nigeria, smile as a dove is held up during the interfaith meeting for peace outside the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi, Italy,
on 27 October 2011. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)

In October of 2011, Pope Benedict made a pilgrimage to Assisi to meet with other religious leaders and mark the 25th anniversary of the first interfaith gathering for peace there, hosted by Pope John Paul II in 1986.

As CNS reported at the time:

After a train ride of almost two hours from the Vatican, Pope Benedict and his guests arrived in Assisi and were driven to the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels for the morning gathering focused on “testimonies for peace.”

Entering the basilica before the pope, the delegates created an unusually colorful congregation: They wore white, black or crimson robes or business suits; on their heads were skullcaps, turbans, scarves or veils.

The pope condemned the use of religion to excuse violence and the use of violence to impose a religion, as well as the growing violence resulting from “the loss of humanity” that comes from denying the existence of God and of objective moral standards.

“As a Christian, I want to say at this point: Yes, it is true, in the course of history, force has also been used in the name of the Christian faith. We acknowledge it with great shame,” Pope Benedict said.

Christian leaders, like all religious leaders, he said, must work constantly to help their followers purify their faith and be “an instrument of God’s peace in the world, despite the fallibility of humans.”

But a lack of religion is not the answer to world peace, he said.

The Nazi death camps clearly proved that “the denial of God corrupts man, robs him of his criteria (for judging right and wrong) and leads him to violence,” the pope said.

On the other hand, he said, many nonbeliever also are “pilgrims of truth, pilgrims of peace.”

Tags: Pope Benedict XVI Ecumenism Orthodox Interfaith Judaism

25 February 2013
Greg Kandra

Pope Benedict XVI leads his final Angelus as pope from the window of his apartment overlooking St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican on 24 February.
(photo: CNS/L’Osservatore Romano via Reuters)

Pope issues new rules for conclave (Vatican Radio) Pope Benedict XVI issued an Apostolic letter motu proprio on Monday, in which he introduced a series of modifications to the laws governing the period sede vacante and the election of a new Bishop of Rome...

Patriarch Bartholomew praises pope as friend of the Orthodox (Vatican Radio) Upon being informed on the way to his native island of Imvros of the imminent retirement of Pope Benedict XVI from the Petrine ministry, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew issued a formal declaration and personal statement to the media, responding with sadness to the news: “It is with regret that we have learned of the decision by His Holiness Pope Benedict to retire from his Throne, because with his wisdom and experience he could have provided much more to the Church and the world...”

Gregory III appeals: “The sending of arms to Syria must stop” (Fides) “We appeal to the whole world to stop arms from being sent to Syria.” This call was part of a statement sent to Fides by His Beatitude, Greek Catholic Melkite Patriarch Gregory III Laham, following explosions in a district of Damascus last week...

Copts protest elections scheduled at Easter (Fides) The decision taken by President Morsi to hold parliamentary elections in Egypt on a date which would coincide with Coptic Easter celebrations may be reconsidered, following a protest by Egyptian Christians...

Ethiopia’s underground churches (New Zealand Herald) Awe-struck visitors often call Lalibela’s underground churches the most impressive sight in all of Africa. They’re also arguably Africa’s most mysterious attraction....

Tags: Egypt Pope Benedict XVI Orthodox Coptic Christians Greek Catholic Church

22 February 2013
Cristina Tortalla

St. Anne’s Orphanage in Trichur, India, is served by the Carmelite Sisters and supported by CNEWA. With corporate matching gifts, any donation will be doubled, and do twice as much good. (photo: John E. Kozar)

Cristina Tortalla coordinates corporate matching gifts for CNEWA.

Want to know a secret? This actually may be the best-kept secret in the world of charitable giving. But it’s one every donor should know about.

There’s a way you may be able to double your support for the poor and the churches of the East, and it won’t cost you a dime. The secret is corporate matching gifts. It’s a terrific way to make a gift go even further, and do even more good.

Here are five things you should know about matching gift programs:

  1. A corporate matching gift is a means by which your employer matches your donations to charitable organizations such as CNEWA. Recent survey data estimates that some 83 percent of companies match at least some charitable gifts. So there’s a good chance your employer offers you this benefit, too.

  2. The idea has been around for a while. It actually got its start at General Electric. The company’s foundation began to match gifts to colleges and universities in 1954.

  3. Corporate matching gifts are worth more than you may think. In 2011, U.S. employers donated about $14.55 billion. Among companies participating in matching programs, matching gifts accounted for about 12 percent of corporate giving. That means employers matched almost $1.5 billion of charitable giving, doubling the efforts of countless generous individuals. That kind of support can do a great deal of good in the world!

  4. Even if you are retired, you may still be eligible to take part in matching gifts. A surprising number of companies match the charitable gifts of their retirees.

  5. Your human resources department is the place to find out if your employer will match your charitable gifts. Why don’t you head over there first thing Monday morning and ask?

Corporate matching gifts are the secret to doubling your support for the great work of CNEWA and people we serve. Unlike most secrets, I don’t mind if you share it. Tell someone you know and spread the word!

If you have any questions about corporate matching gifts, feel free to reach out to me — Cristina Tortalla — at 1-800-442-6392 ext. 519 or I look forward to hearing from you!

Tags: CNEWA Donors CNEWA Canada CNEWA Pontifical Mission

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