Pope Francis to Huntington’s sufferers: you are precious to God

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis welcomed hundreds of people who suffer from a rare degenerative neurological condition known as Huntington’s Disease on Thursday in the Paul VI Hall, along with their families and caregivers, as well as research leaders and patient-advocates. Click below to hear our report

Huntington’s Disease is a genetic disorder that affects between 5 and 10 people per 100 thousand on average, worldwide – though the prevalence of the disease varies greatly from place to place, with the prevalence in much of Asia at 1 per 1 million, while in the Lake Maracaibo region of Venezuela the prevalence is as high as 700 per 100 thousand people. The onset of the disease typically comes between 30 and 45 years-of-age, and often manifests through Parkinson’s-like symptoms, though end-stage Huntington’s usually involves full-blown dementia as well as severe physical disability. Huntington’s Disease has no cure. In his remarks to Huntington’s sufferers, their family-members, caregivers, researchers, and advocates on Thursday in the Paul VI Hall, Pope Francis said, “For far too long, the fears and difficulties that characterize the life of people affected by Huntington’s Disease have surrounded them with misunderstandings and barriers, veritably excluding them.” The Holy Father went on to say, “In many cases the sick and their families have experienced the tragedy of shame, isolation and abandonment. Today, however, we are here because we want to say to ourselves and all the world: ‘HIDDEN NO MORE!’” Pope Francis promised the support of the Church to sufferers, saying, “May none of you ever feel you are alone; may none of you feel you are a burden; may no one feel the need to run away. You are precious in the eyes of God; you are precious in the eyes of the Church!” The Holy Father encouraged researchers to continue their work, and called for concrete solidarity in this regard, in a manner consistent with the inherent and unalienable dignity of the human person. “May the Lord bless your task,” Pope Francis prayed, adding, “I encourage you to always pursue it with means that do not contribute to fuelling that ‘throw-away culture’ that at times infiltrates even the world of scientific research. Some branches of research, in fact, utilize human embryos, inevitably causing their destruction. But we know that no ends, even noble in themselves, such as a predicted utility for science, for other human beings or for society, can justify the destruction of human embryos.” Finally, the Holy Father expressed the hope that the lives of every person who suffers from Huntington’s, and of those who work every day to support the sick in their pain and difficulty, be a living witness to the hope that Christ has given to all humanity. (from Vatican Radio)…

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Pope welcomes Nepal’s new ambassador to the Holy See

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis on Thursday welcomed to the Vatican Nepal’s new ambassador to the Holy See, Ramesh Prasad Khanal, and 5 others.  At a formal ceremony in the Vatican, all 6 ambassadors presented their credentials to the Pope at the start of their diplomatic mission with the Holy See.  The other ambassadors are from Mauritania, Trinidad e Tobago, Sudan, Kazakhstan and Niger.  The Nepalese Ambassador to Germany, residing in Berlin, is the accredited non-residential Ambassador to the Holy See.   Pope Francis delivered a common address to the 6 ambassadors The Holy See and the Kingdom of Nepal established diplomatic relations on 10 September, 1983 and on 7 October 1983, the Holy See erected the Mission sui Iuris of Nepal, meaning ‘in its own right‎’ or an independent mission.  Prior to that, Nepal’s Catholics were under the jurisdiction of the Indian Diocese of Patna. Fr. Anthony Francis Sharma, the first native Jesuit, was appointed the first Ecclesiastical Superior of Nepal and he was installed on 8th ‎December 1984. ‎ The following year, Archbishop Agostino Cacciavillan presented his credentials to the Nepalese King as the Holy See’s first Pro-nuncio to the kingdom.  Currently, Archbishop Giambattista Diquattro is the non-residential Apostolic Nuncio or Holy See’s ambassador to India and Nepal, residing at the Apostolic Nunciature in New Delhi. The Holy See raised the Mission Sui Iuris to the rank of Prefecture Apostolic on 8 November, 1996, with Msgr. Sharma as the first Prefect Apostolic of Nepal.  As the Church grew in the Himalayan nation, it was raised to the rank of Vicariate Apostolic with Msgr. Sharma becoming its first Vicar Apostolic.  He was consecrated bishop at Kathmandu’s Assumption Cathedral on 5 May, 2007, thus becoming Nepal’s first bishop.   After Bishop Sharma retired on 25th April, 2014, Pope Francis appointed Fr. Paul Simick, a priest of the Indian Diocese of Darjeeling, the Vicar Apostolic of Nepal.  Bishop Sharma passed away on 8 Dec 2015, at the age of 77.   Pope Francis on 25 April, 2014.  However, Nepal is a fully-fledged diocese as yet. Once the world’s only Hindu state, Nepal ceased to be so following a declaration by the Parliament in 2006.  Over 81% of its some 26.5 million population is Hindu, followed by Buddhists (9%), while Christians are a tiny minority of 1.4%.  According to estimates by the Catholic charity ‘Aid to the Church in Need” (ACN), Catholics number around 8,000 faithful.  Protestant communities, notably the Evangelical and Pentecostal groups have a strong presence. Khanal, Nepal’s new ambassador to the Holy See is a 55-year old diplomat.  The father of two children has diplomas in journalism and Japanese language, and has also has done specialized studies in security.  He is law graduate and has also a Master’s degree in political science. Khanal has held the following posts: *  Under-secretary of the Department for  Europe-America, and South, South-East and North Asia at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1988-1994) *  Second and later First Secretary at the Nepali Embassy in China (1994-1998) *  Under-secretary of the Departmant of Protocol and of international organizations and the United Nations at  the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1998-2001) *  First Secretary at Nepal’s Embassy in Saudi Arabia (2001-2004) *  Counsellor and later Minister Counsellor at the Nepal’s embassy in Bangladesh (2005-2009) *  Under Secretary of the Multilateral Economic Affairs Division‎ and of Passports  at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2009-2010) *  Minister Counsellor at Nepal’s Embassy in Israel (2010-2013) *  Director General of the Department of Passports at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2013-2014) *  Chief of Protocol at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2015-2016) (from Vatican Radio)…

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Pope Francis postpones Corpus Christi celebrations

(Vatican Radio) The director of the Holy See Press Office has made an announcement that Pope Francis has decided to postpone Corpus Christi celebrations.
Greg Burke announced on Thursday 18th May 2017: “The Holy Father has decided to postpone the liturgical celebration of Corpus Christi, from Thursday 15th June to Sunday 18th June.”
Burke explained that the decision was “in favour of a better participation of the People of God, of priests and of the faithful of the Church in Rome.” He added, “There is a second reason: Thursday is a weekday and so there will be less inconvenience in Rome.”
On the Feast of Corpus Christi, the faithful celebrate the belief in the body and blood of Jesus Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist. 
(from Vatican Radio)…

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Pope Francis greets newly accredited Ambassadors to the Holy See

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Thursday morning greeted Ambassadors from Kazakhstan, Mauritania,Nepal, Niger, Sudan and Trinidad and Tobago who presented their letters of credentials to the Holy Father.
Below please find the Pope’s discourse to the news accedited Ambassadors.
 
Address of His Holiness Pope Francis
for the Presentation of Credential Letters
by the Ambassadors of Kazakhstan, Mauritania,
Nepal, Niger, Sudan and Trinidad and Tobago
accredited to the Holy See
          I am pleased to receive you on the occasion of the presentation of the Letters by which you are accredited as Ambassadors Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of your countries to the Holy See: Kazakhstan, Mauritania, Nepal, Niger, Sudan and Trinidad and Tobago.  I offer a particular welcome to Mrs M’Haiham, the first Ambassador of Mauritania to the Holy See.  I would ask all of you kindly to convey my sentiments of gratitude and respect to your respective Heads of State, with the assurance of my prayers for them and for the peoples whom they represent.
            The international scene is at present marked by great complexity, nor is it free of dark clouds.  This requires a greater awareness of the approaches and actions needed to pursue the path of peace and to lessen tensions.  Among the factors aggravating problems is an economic and financial system that, rather than being at the service of people, is set up principally to serve itself and to evade oversight by public authorities.  Those authorities are responsible for the common good, yet they lack the means necessary to moderate the disproportionate appetites of the few.
            We also see a greater readiness to have recourse to force, not as a last resort but practically as one means among many, ready to be used without a full consideration of its consequences.
            Yet another factor exacerbating conflicts is fundamentalism, the abuse of religion to justify a thirst for power, the manipulation of God’s holy name to advance by any means possible one’s own plans to gain power.
            The response to these distortions and the risks they pose to world peace must be the creation of a responsible economic and financial system responsive to the needs of individuals and the communities in which they live.  Men and women, not money, must once more become the goal of the economy!  We must also confront differences with the courageous patience of dialogue and diplomacy, with initiatives of encounter and peace, and not with shows of force and its hasty and ill-advised use.  It is likewise essential to isolate those who seek to turn a religious affiliation or identity into a motive of hate for all others.  Those who befoul the image of God in this way need to be confronted by a concerted commitment to demonstrating that those who honour God’s name save lives, not take them; they bring reconciliation and peace, not division and war; they show mercy and compassion, not indifference and brutality.  If we move decisively in this direction, the cause of peace and justice – the conditions of a balanced development for all – will make tangible progress.
            Dear Ambassadors, I would like to express, through you, my greetings to the pastors and faithful of the Catholic communities present in your countries.  I encourage them to continue their witness of faith and to offer their generous contribution to the common good.
            As you officially begin your new mission, I extend to you my best wishes and I assure you of the constant support of the various offices of the Roman Curia in the fulfilment of your responsibilities.  To this end, I willingly invoke upon you and your families, as well as all your fellow citizens, an abundance of divine blessings.
 
(from Vatican Radio)…

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