Audience with a delegation from the “Organization of African Instituted Churches”


At 11.45 this morning, the Holy Father Francis received in audience a delegation from the Organization of African Instituted Churches .

The following is the Pope’s address to those present:

 

Address of the Holy Father

Dear friends,

I greet you warmly in the peace of Christ! I am pleased to welcome, for the first time, a delegation of the Organization of African Instituted Churches . I thank you for your visit and for your willingness to seek closer ties to the Catholic Church.

Your communities, in their relatively short history, have been marked by the struggle for independence on the African continent, and by subsequent efforts to shape societies of justice and peace, capable of defending the dignity of the great variety of African peoples. Sad to say, the promise of progress and justice held out in that process of liberation was not always fulfilled; many countries are still far from peace and from an overall economic, social and political development that can ensure suitable living conditions and opportunities for all their citizens. You are well aware of the challenges that Africa as a whole faces, as well as those faced by the different Churches in carrying out their mission of evangelization, reconciliation and humanitarian assistance. In particular, you are conscious of the enormous challenge of providing stability, education and employment opportunities to the young people who form such an important part of African societies.

Africa today has been compared to the man who went down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell into the hands of robbers who stripped him, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead (cf. Lk 10:30-37). The basic question facing us is how the Christian message is good news for the people of Africa. As a response to the desperation of the poor, the frustration of young people and the cry of pain of the elderly and the suffering, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, passed on and lived out, translates into experiences of hope, peace, joy, harmony, love and unity.

If we are truly convinced that Africa’s problems can be more easily resolved by drawing upon the continent’s human, cultural and material resources, it is clear that our Christian duty is to accompany every effort to favour a wise and ethical use of those resources. In particular, what is urgently demanded is a shared commitment to promoting peace processes in the various areas of conflict, as well as to concrete forms of solidarity towards those in need. It is the duty of church leaders to help individuals to pool their energies and put them at the service of the common good while defending the dignity, freedom and rights of all. More than ever, all Christians need to learn to work together for the common good. Although significant disagreements may exist between us on theological and ecclesiological issues, there are many areas where the leaders and members of the various communities of the Christian family can set common goals and work together for the benefit of all. Especially for the most underprivileged and vulnerable of our brothers and sisters.

The African peoples possess a profound religiosity, a sense of the existence of a Creator God and a spiritual world, the importance of the family, love for life, children as God’s gift, respect for elders, duties towards others, near and far… Do these religious values and these principles of life not belong to all of us as Christians? On the basis of them, then, let us express our solidarity in interpersonal and social relationships.

A particular task of Christians in African societies is that of fostering the coexistence of differing ethnic groups, traditions, languages and religions, a task that often meets with obstacles due to grave mutual antagonisms. For this reason too, I would like to encourage greater encounter and ecumenical dialogue between ourselves and with all the other Churches. May the Holy Spirit shed His light upon us, so that we may succeed in discovering how best to promote cooperation between all – Christians, traditional religions, Muslims – for the sake of a better future for Africa.

Dear friends, I thank you once more for your visit. It is my prayerful hope that these days spent in Rome, the city of the martyrdom of the Apostles Peter and Paul, will help strengthen your conviction of the firm will of the Catholic Church to do everything possible, together with her ecumenical partners, to promote the Kingdom of justice, peace and fraternity that God desires for all humanity. May He look with love upon you, your families and your nations. I ask you too, please, to pray for me, for I have great need of it. Thank you!


Resignations and Appointments


Resignation of auxiliary of the archdiocese of Tokyo, Japan

Appointment of bishop of Machakos, Kenya

Appointment of bishop of Villarrica del Espíritu Santo, Paraguay

Appointment of auxiliary of Malta, Malta

Appointment of apostolic administrator “sede vacante” of the archieparchy of Baghdad of the Armenians, Iraq

Resignation of the eparchial bishop of Sainte-Croix-de-Paris of the Armenians, France, and appointment of the new eparchial bishop

 

Resignation of auxiliary of the archdiocese of Tokyo, Japan

The Holy Father Francis has accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the archdiocese of Tokyo, Japan, presented by H.E. Msgr. James Kazuo Koda.

 

Appointment of bishop of Machakos, Kenya

The Pope has appointed as bishop of Machakos, Kenya, H.E. Msgr. Norman King’oo Wambua, currently bishop of the diocese of Bungoma.

 

Appointment of bishop of Villarrica del Espíritu Santo, Paraguay

The Holy Father has appointed as bishop of the diocese of Villarrica del Espíritu Santo, Paraguay, H.E. Msgr. Adalberto Martínez Flores, currently military ordinary of Paraguay.

H.E. Msgr. Adalberto Martínez Flores

H.E. Msgr. Adalberto Martínez Flores was born in Asunción, Paraguay, on 8 July 1951. After attending the Faculty of Economics of the National University, he moved to Washington, United States of America, where he obtained a bachelor of arts degree in the Faculty. of the Oblate College. He then attended the International School of Priests of the Focolare Movement in Frascati, Rome, and obtained a bachelor’s degree in theology from the Pontifical Lateran University.

He was ordained a priest on 24 August 1985, for the North American diocese of the Virgin Islands, where he exercised his ministry for several years in the formation of seminarians and assistants for apostolic movements.

Back in Paraguay, in 1993 he was incardinated in the archdiocese of Asunción, holding the positions of parish vicar, parish priest, secretary general of the diocesan synod and pastoral supervisor of Radio Caritas and of youth ministry.

On 14 August 1997 he was appointed as auxiliary bishop of Asunción, and received episcopal consecration on 8 November. On 18 May 2000 he was appointed as first bishop of the new diocese of San Lorenzo. On 19 February 2007 he was transferred to the diocese of San Pedro Apóstol and on 14 March 2012 he was appointed as military ordinary of Paraguay.

 

Appointment of auxiliary of Malta, Malta

The Pope has appointed as auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese of Malta, Malta, the Rev. Msgr. Joseph Galea-Curmi, of the clergy of the same archdiocese, currently vicar general, assigning him the titular see of Cebarades.

Rev. Msgr. Joseph Galea-Curmi

The Rev. Msgr. Joseph Galea-Curmi was born in was born in Balzan, Malta, on 1 January 1964. After secondary school, he completed his studies at the major seminary in Malta, attending the faculty of theology of the local university, where he obtained a bachelor’s degree and a licentiate. Subsequently, between 1993 and 1998, he also obtained a doctorate in theology at the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome.

He was ordained a priest on 5 July 1991 for the archdiocese of Malta.

He subsequently held the following offices: between 1991 and 1993, head of the archdiocesan Commission for Pastoral Care for the world of work; between 1998 and 2014, assistant secretary for the pastoral care of the archdiocese; and between 1999 and 2003, coordinator of the archdiocesan Synod.

Since 1999 he has provided pastoral service in the parish of the annunciation in Balzan, Malta, and teaches as professor of pastoral theology, at the Faculty of Theology of the University of Malta.

In 2015 he was appointed as canon of the Cathedral Chapter and Vicar General.

 

Appointment of apostolic administrator “sede vacante” of the archieparchy of Baghdad of the Armenians, Iraq

The Holy Father has appointed Rev. Nersès (Joseph) Zabbara, of the clergy of Aleppo of the Armenians, as apostolic administrator “sede vacante” of the archieparchy of Baghdad of the Armenians, Iraq.

Rev. Nersès (Joseph) Zabbara

The Rev. Nersès (Joseph) Zabbara was born in Aleppo (Syria) on 6 June 1969. He entered the seminary in Aleppo in 1990 and in Rome in 1992. After an additional year at the Pontifical Oriental Institute, he continued the path of philosophy and theology at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, obtaining a bachelor’s degree in both disciplines.

On 31 October 1999, he was ordained a priest for the archieparchy of Aleppo.

He has held various pastoral ministries: deputy parish priest of Santa Barbara in Aleppo (1999-2002), school director (2002-2004), pastor of the Holy Cross parish (2004-2016), and teacher in the Institute of Christian Theology of Aleppo.

In 2016, he was appointed eparchial administrator of the archieparchy of Baghdad.

In addition to Armenian and Arabic, he speaks Italian, French and English.

 

Resignation of the eparchial bishop of Sainte-Croix-de-Paris of the Armenians, France, and appointment of the new eparchial bishop

The Holy Father Francis has accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the eparchy of Sainte-Croix-de Paris of the Armenians, France, presented by H.E. Msgr. Jean Teyrouz.

The Pope has appointed as bishop of the eparchy of Sainte-Croix-de Paris of the Armenians, France, the Rev. Elie (Yéghia) Yéghiayan, of the Institute of the Patriarchal Clergy of Bzommar, currently parish priest of the Holy Cross in Zalka, Lebanon.

Rev. Elie (Yéghia) Yéghiayan

The Rev. Elie (Yeghia) Yéghiayan was born in Aleppo (Syria) on 29 May 1950. He entered the Institute of the Patriarchal Clergy of Bzommar, and was ordained a priest on 24 March 1974. He has held a number of offices: school director, rector of the minor seminary of Bzommar, rector of the Pontifical Armenian College of Rome, member of the Board of Directors and bursar general of Bzommar.

In 2016, he was entrusted with the pastoral care of the Parish of the Holy Cross of Zalka in Lebanon. In addition to Arabic and Armenian, he speaks Italian and French.


Audience with a delegation of the Emouna Fraternité Alumni Association


At 12.15 today, in the Sala dei Papi of the Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father Francis received in audience a delegation of the Emouna Fraternité Alumni Association.

The following is the Pope’s address to those present:

 

Address of the Holy Father

Dear friends,

I welcome you with joy on the occasion of your trip to Rome. I thank the Co-Presidents for the presentation of the Association and I extend my cordial greeting to all of its members, as well as to the people of different religions and spiritualities with whom you are in relation.

I give thanks to God for the existence of your Association, which was established within the context of the “Emouna - L'Amphi des religions” programme, proposed and initiated by the Institute of Political Studies in Paris, with the participation of the great religions present in France. Indeed, I rejoice in the shared aspiration within your Association, which aims to strengthen the bonds of fraternity among the members of different religions, by furthering research work. In fact, within your course of study, whose initiators and participants I greet with gratitude, you demonstrate the possibility of living a healthy pluralism, respectful of the differences and values each of you brings.

You also witness, in a spirit of openness, the ability of religions to take part in public debate in a secularized society (see Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium , 183; 255). And, moreover, thanks to the fraternal bonds established between you, you show that dialogue between believers of different religions is a necessary condition for contributing to peace in the world. I therefore encourage you to persevere on your path, taking care to combine three fundamental attitudes to foster dialogue: the duty of identity, the courage of otherness and the sincerity of intentions (cf. Address to participants in the International Peace Conference, Cairo, 28 April 2017).

You know, in fact, that true fraternity cannot be lived other than with this attitude of openness to others, which never seeks a conciliatory syncretism; on the contrary, it always seeks sincerely to enrich itself with differences, with the will to understand them in order to respect them better, because the good of each resides in the good of all. I invite you therefore to demonstrate with the quality of your relationships that “religion is not a problem but part of the solution: [...] it reminds us that it is necessary to raise the soul on High to learn to build the city of men” ( Ibid .).

Thus, you can support each other to be like well-planted trees, rooted in the terrain of history and of your respective traditions; and, by doing so, contribute, with men and women of good will, to transform “every day the air polluted by hatred in the oxygen of fraternity” ( ibid .). I encourage you to nurture a culture of meeting and dialogue, to promote peace and to defend, with gentleness and respect, the sacredness of every human life against any form of physical, social, educational or psychological violence. Urging you to pray for one another, I ask God for the gift of peace for each one of you. And I invoke the Father of all men to help you to walk as brothers on the path of encounter, dialogue and harmony in a spirit of collaboration and friendship.

With this hope, I invoke divine blessings on each of you and on the members of the “Emouna Fraternité Alumni” Association, as well as on all those participating in the “Emouna - L'Amphi des religions” programme. And do not forget, please, to pray for me too. Thank you.