V Encuentro results to pope
VATICAN CITY — A delegation of U.S. bishops and laypeople came to Rome to share with Pope Francis and Vatican officials the joyful experiences and valuable recommendations that came out of last year’s Fifth National Encuentro. Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, vice president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said he was looking forward to announcing what they’ve learned and how the process has been unfolding. “When we talked to the Holy Father” as they were still preparing for the September 2018 event, the archbishop said forming and inspiring missionary disciples across the nation “was our dream, and now we can share with him that it is happening.” The materials offer a summary of the challenges, opportunities, recommendations and successful practices when it comes to pastoral care and accompaniment of Hispanic and Latino communities in the United States and their call to be missionary disciples.
Diocese of Rochester, N.Y., files bankruptcy
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — In the wake of nearly 50 lawsuits filed against it since New York’s Child Victims Act took effect Aug. 14, the Diocese of Rochester filed for reorganization Sept. 12, under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. The petition was filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court Western District of New York. “This is a very difficult and painful decision,” Rochester Bishop Salvatore R. Matano said in a video and letter to parishes released Sept. 12. The bishop read the letter at the beginning of a news conference held late that day at the diocesan pastoral center in Gates. “But after assessing all reasonable possibilities to satisfy the claims, reorganization is considered the best and fairest course of action for the victims and for the well-being of the diocese, its parishes, agencies and institutions,” he said.
Religion has ‘valuable role’ in forming culture of peace, says U.N. nuncio
UNITED NATIONS — Religion can make an important contribution “to forming a culture of peace,” both to “empower and transform individuals” and “humanity as a whole,” the Vatican’s nuncio to the United Nations said Sept. 13. “It seems vital to underline the valuable role of religion — not the distorted forms of religious fanaticism or sectarianism which all too often make the headlines, but rather authentic religious belief and teaching — in promoting a culture of peace,” said Archbishop Bernardito Auza, who heads the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations. This is particularly important “among the younger generations who are looking for guidance as they seek meaning and direction in their lives,” he added in his comments at a high-level U.N. forum on “The Culture of Peace.” He referenced the Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together, which rejects violence and terrorism and promotes identity, dialogue and harmony. It was signed in the United Arab Emirates Feb. 4 by Pope Francis and Egyptian Sheikh Ahmad el-Tayeb, grand imam of al-Azhar, a leading authority for many Sunni Muslims.
Vatican officials offer
guidance for German Church gathering
VATICAN CITY — The German bishops’ plans for a two-year process of consultation and deliberation on key issues facing the Catholic Church must conform to universal Church law and must be approved by the pope, said the prefect of the Congregation for Bishops. Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect, sent a letter dated Sept. 4 to Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising and attached an analysis by the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts of proposed statutes for the German “synodal way.” The pontifical council said that, in proposing a process that would include “binding deliberations” on new rules for the Church in Germany, the bishops were, in effect, planning a “plenary council,” which would require prior approval by Pope Francis. Matthias Kopp, spokesman for the German bishops’ conference, said Sept. 13, “The assessment of the pontifical council deals with the draft version of the statutes as of June 2019 and does not yet take into account the version updated in July and after the meeting of the permanent council (of the bishops’ conference) in August.”
Roll up your sleeves, get ready to get dirty, pope tells new bishops
VATICAN CITY — New bishops need to prepare for a life filled with God’s surprises, with daily plans that change at the last minute and, especially, for a life dedicated to spending time with God and with the people, Pope Francis said. “God surprises us and often likes to mess up our appointment books: prepare for this without fear,” the pope told about 130 bishops attending a course for bishops ordained in the past year. Bishops exist to make tangible God’s love for and closeness to his people, the pope told them Sept. 12. “But one cannot communicate the closeness of God without experiencing it every day and without letting himself be infected by His tenderness.” Pope Francis told the new bishops that no matter what else is going on in their lives and ministries, they must spend time in prayer. “Without this intimacy cultivated daily in prayer, even and especially in times of desolation and dryness, the nucleus of our episcopal ministry splits apart,” he said.
Pope to visit Thailand, Japan in November
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis will finally fulfill his desire to be a missionary to Japan when he visits the country, as well as Thailand, Nov. 20-26, the Vatican announced. Pope Francis, a Jesuit, has said he had entered the order hoping to become a missionary to Japan in the footsteps of St. Francis Xavier and other great Jesuits. He also has spoken frequently of his admiration for Japanese Catholics who kept the faith alive through decades of persecution. The pope will leave Rome Nov. 19, arriving in Thailand for a visit Nov. 20-23, said Matteo Bruni, director of the Vatican press office. He will then fly to Japan and visit Tokyo, Nagasaki and Hiroshima Nov. 23-26, Bruni said Sept. 13. Further details about the trip and were to be released later.
— Catholic News service