Popes John XXIII and John Paul II Canonized April 27, 2014, Divine Mercy Sunday | Canonization Decree | Beatification of Pope Paul VI Announced | USCCB Spring General Assembly, June 11-13 | US Supreme Court Allows Prayers Before Public Meetings | Pope Francis to Copts: Journey of Friendship | CMAA Sacred Music Colloquium XXIV | Fota VII Conference on Liturgy July 5-7
Popes John XXIII and John Paul II Canonized April 27, 2014, Divine Mercy Sunday
The simultaneous canonization of two popes is unprecedented; however, when Pope Francis announced his decision in July 2013, it seemed very appropriate. Both Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II were among the most widely revered, respected, and beloved of all spiritual leaders of the 20th century — not only by Catholics but by Christians throughout the world.
While some contrast the simple John XXIII with the intellectually sophisticated John Paul II, this is hardly justified. John XXIII was sophisticated in his own way, and John Paul II’s simplicity of manner accounts for his wide appeal to people.
Pope John convened the Second Vatican Council in 1962. His reason for calling the Council was his recognition of the need for a new evangelization — to bring the truth and love of Christ to the world — after the devastation of the two World Wars and the resulting moral and spiritual decline. He had courageously defended the Jewish people during and after WWII, an example of his fostering ecumenism.
Pope John Paul II beatified his predecessor in 2008, declaring his feast day to be the first day of the Second Vatican Council, October 11. Pope John XXIII’s motto, Obedientia et Pax (obedience and peace), expresses his personal faith and commitment.
Pope John Paul II, the first non-Italian pope in more than 400 years, and the second longest reigning pope in history (1978-2005), had witnessed to his faith under both the Nazi and Communist regimes. While John XXIII had an instinctive sense of the effects of the main currents of modern thought, John Paul II incorporated his knowledge of contemporary thought more fully into a Catholic understanding of the world. For example, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the first such catechism in modern times, authoritatively explained moral and doctrinal issues. Pope John Paul was able to carry the ecumenical program much farther than ever before — especially notable in his overtures to the Orthodox. He carried forward the teaching of the Second Vatican Council; and he continued the evangelization mission of John XXIII in innovative ways, such as the World Youth Days and his frequent travels to many parts of the world.
Pope John Paul II was so greatly loved and widely respected that his successor, Pope Benedict XVI, waived the usual five-year period after his death before the Church considered his cause for canonization. He declared Pope John Paul II “Blessed” in 2011. His feast day is October 22, the anniversary of his inauguration to the papacy in 1978. John Paul II’s motto, Totus Tuus (totally thine), refers to his deep devotion to Mary.
The official formula of canonization of Saints John XXIII and John Paul II, decreed by Pope Francis, April 27, 2014:
“For the honor of the Blessed Trinity, the exaltation of the Catholic faith and the increase of the Christian life, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and our own, after due deliberation and frequent prayer for divine assistance, and having sought the counsel of many of our brother bishops, we declare and define Blessed John XXIII and John Paul II to be saints and we enroll them among the saints, decreeing that they are to be venerated as such by the whole Church.
“In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”
Beatification of Pope Paul VI Announced
The beatification ceremony for Pope Paul VI will take place October 19, 2014, at the close of the Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the family.
The announcement of the beatification was made on Friday, May 9, when Pope Francis received Cardinal Angelo Amato SDB, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, and authorized the Congregation to promulgate the decree approving “the miracle attributed to the inter- cession of the Venerable Servant of God, Paul VI (Giovanni Battista Montini), the Supreme Pontiff; born September 26, 1897 in Concesio (Italy) and died August 6, 1978 at Castel Gandolfo (Italy).”
The beatification of four others was also announced at the same time: two priests from Italy, a Spanish Jesuit, and a French woman founder of the Society of the Daughters of St. Francis de Sales.
USCCB Spring General Assembly, June 11-13
The US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will meet for their annual Spring General Assembly, June 11-13 in New Orleans. The opening Mass of the June general session will be celebrated by USCCB president Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis.
The second day of the general session will include presentations and discussion on two special topics: “Marriage and the Economy” and “the New Evangelization and Poverty.”
According to the USCCB news release May 6, other agenda items include:
*A presentation on the upcoming Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family.
*A presentation on the World Meeting of Families by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, OFM Cap., of Philadelphia; and Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family.
*A presentation from Catholic Relief Services (CRS) regarding the relief efforts in the Philippines in the wake of last November’s Typhoon Haiyan.
*Debate and vote on the request for renewal of the recognitio granted to the National Directory for the Formation, Ministry and Life of Permanent Deacons.
*Consultation on the cause for canonization of Father Paul Wattson, Servant of God.
*Update and vote on a proposal by working group on Faithful Citizenship.
*A presentation on the Annual Progress Report of the bishops’ efforts to protect children and young people from sexual abuse, presented by Francesco Cesareo, PhD, chairman of the National Review Board.
*Debate and vote on the renewal of the bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty for an additional three- year term.
*An update from Archbishop Leonard P. Blair of Hartford, Connecticut, chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee on the Catechism, on the work of the subcommittee.
*An update from Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee on the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, on the subcommittee’s efforts.
AB’s Helen Hull Hitchcock and Susan Benofy plan to attend the USCCB spring meeting as members of the media.
US Supreme Court Allows Prayers Before Public Meetings
The US Supreme Court ruled May 5 that prayers said before town council meetings in Greece, New York, do not violate the Constitution. In their 5-4 decision, the justices noted a historical precedent for opening local legislative meetings with a prayer, and stressed that the predominantly Christian nature of the prayers in the town was not coercive.
In 2008, two residents sued the town, arguing that the prayers violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the Constitution. Since the lawsuit, the town has made an effort to invite a variety of faith leaders to present these prayers, but the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in 2012 found the prayer practice unconstitutional and emphasized that the majority of the prayers were Christian.
Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy said the prayers “evoked universal themes.” He noted the historical precedence of such prayers, pointing out that the US House and Senate have official chaplains and a majority of the states have the practice of legislative prayer. Kennedy wrote that the “inclusion of a brief, ceremonial prayer as part of a larger exercise in civic recognition suggests that its purpose and effect are to acknowledge religious leaders and the institutions they represent, rather than to exclude or coerce nonbelievers.”
Justice Elena Kagan, writing the dissent in the Greece v. Galloway case, said this case differed because “Greece’s town meetings involve participation by ordinary citizens, and the invocations given — directly to those citizens — were predominantly sectarian in content.”
Pope Francis to Copts: Journey of Friendship
Pope Francis sent a message on May 5 to the Coptic Pope Tawadros II, the Patriarch of the See of Saint Mark, to commemorate the first anniversary of their meeting in Rome on May 10, 2013. Pope Francis noted that this meeting “strengthened those spiritual bonds between the See of Peter and the See of Mark.”
Pope Francis continued: “It is with thanksgiving to the Lord that we reflect on the journey of reconciliation and friendship which we have undertaken together. With God’s help, we have learned better to understand one another and to build solid foundations for overcoming long-standing differences. Conscious that what unites us is far greater than what separates us, we already experience a real communion, while recognizing that it is neither full nor perfect. With trust in the Lord’s grace, we continue to strive through dialogue in charity and truth to overcome the remaining obstacles to full communion. Building upon our shared moment of prayer in the course of Your Holiness’s visit to Rome, let us continue to pray to God that all His children, born to new life through the waters of baptism and enlightened by faith, may also become one in love. For my part, I assure Your Holiness of my unceasing prayer for all Christians in Egypt and throughout the Middle East. May the Lord inspire in those who are responsible for the destiny of peoples in these lands, a firm resolve to seek just and peaceful solutions respectful of the rights of all.
“On this joyful occasion, which has rightly become known as the day of friendship between Copts and Catholics, I exchange with Your Holiness a fraternal embrace of peace in Christ our Lord.”
A request to unify the dates of Easter was sent to Pope Francis by Pope Tawadros II of the Coptic Orthodox Church, as reported by Fides news agency May 8. The desire to unify the dates of the celebration of Easter is especially strong in North Africa and the Middle East because the different churches and Christian communities are in the same areas but have different dates for Easter, depending on whether it is celebrated according to the Julian or Gregorian calendar.
The apostolic nuncio to the Arab Republic of Egypt, Archbishop Jean-Paul Gobel, responded to the request by inviting the Coptic Church to send a representative to the extraordinary Synod of Bishops that will be held in Rome in October 2014.
CMAA Sacred Music Colloquium XXIV
The Sacred Music Colloquium of the Church Music Association of America will be held Monday, June 30, to Sunday, July 6, in Indianapolis. In recent years, it has become the largest teaching conference and retreat on sacred music in the world.
The primary focus of the colloquium is instruction and experience in chant and the Catholic sacred music tradition, participation in chant choirs, daily and nightly lectures and performances, and daily celebrations of liturgies in both English and Latin.
Professional musicians will appreciate the rigor of the instruction, while volunteer singers and beginners new to the chant tradition — even those who choose not to sing at all — will have a unique opportunity to learn about and experience the Catholic heritage of sacred music from an expert faculty.
A partial list of faculty for Colloquium XXIV includes:
Dr. William Mahrt, CMAA President, Stanford University; Dr. Horst Buchholz, Vice President, music director of the Archdiocese of St. Louis and St. Louis Cathedral Basilica; Dr. Mee-Ae Cecelia Nam, Eastern Michigan University; Wilko Brouwers, Monteverdi Choir, the Netherlands; Charles Cole, Westminster Cathedral and Brompton Oratory; Dr. Jennifer Donelson, CMAA Academic Liaison, Nova Southeastern University; David J. Hughes, St. Mary, Norwalk, Connecticut; and Dr. Denis McNamara, Liturgical Institute of the University of Saint Mary of the Lake/ Mundelein Seminary, Chicago.
Attendance is open to anyone interested in improving the quality of music in Catholic worship.
For details of chant courses, rehearsals, an opportunity for university credit from Duquesne University, and much more, visit the special CMAA Colloquium website: musicasacra.com/events/colloquium.
Fota VII Conference on Liturgy July 5-7
The seventh international conference on liturgy, sponsored by the St. Colman’s Society for Catholic Liturgy, will be held in Cork, Ireland, July 5-7, 2014.
The conference theme this year is “Agens in Persona Christi: Aspects of the Ministerial Priesthood.” Invited speakers include experts from Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, Brazil, and Italy.
Further details may be obtained from St. Colman’s Society for Catholic Liturgy. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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