Pope Francis blesses the torch of two Paralympic athletes after the General Audience of Wednesday


What the Pope Did in August

Vatian Information Service Gives Recap of Francis’ Activities During Summer Break

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For those who were on vacation during August, a recap provided today by the Vatican Information Service details the Pope’s many activities during August. Here’s the summary. The activities are presented in chronological order under the respective titles:


6. The Pope returns to his reflections on the family and refers to the situation of those who, following the breakdown of their marriage, establish a new cohabitation, and the pastoral attention they require. The Church, he says, knows that this situation contradicts the Christian sacrament, but with a mother’s heart she seeks the good and the salvation of all, without exception.

12. The Holy Father begins a series of reflections on three aspects of family life: rest, work and prayer, starting with the first. The divine commandment to pause in our daily tasks reminds us that man, as the image of God, is a master rather than a slave to work. He urges us to free ourselves of our obsession with economic gain, which undermines human rhythms of life and denies us the time for what is truly important.

19. Francis speaks about work and the family. The management of work, he says, requires a great social responsibility that cannot be left to the mercy of the logic of profit or of a deified market, in which frequently the family is regarded as a burden or an obstacle to productivity.

26. The Pope dedicates his catechesis to prayer in the family and reiterates that, despite the difficulties of finding time in family life, always busy and with many things to do, prayer enables the family to find the peace to face necessary things, and to discover the joy of the Lord’s unexpected gifts, the beauty of rest and the serenity of work.


2. In the first Angelus of August, the Pope recalled that Jesus speaks of going far beyond the immediate satisfaction of material necessities and instead invites the faithful to satisfy instead their “hunger for life”, the hunger for eternity that only the Lord is able to satiate, as He is the “bread of life”.

9. Following the multiplication of the loaves, Jesus explains to the people the meaning of this sign and takes as a starting point the experience of hunger and the symbol of bread to reveal Himself to the people and invite them to believe in Him. “In His flesh, that is, in his concrete humanity, all God’s love is present, which is the Holy Spirit. Those who allow themselves to be attracted by this love go towards Jesus and towards faith, and receive from Him eternal life”.

After the Angelus prayer the Pope mentioned that sixty years ago, on 6 and 9 August 1945, the atomic bomb was dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, a tragic event that urges us to pray for peace. He also expressed his concerns regarding the economic crisis in El Salvador, which has increased the suffering of the population.

15. On the Solemnity of the Assumption, Francis emphasised that that great things the Almighty realised in Mary speak to us of our journey in life and remind us of our destination. Following the Marian prayer, he invited the faithful to pray for the inhabitants of the city of Tianjin in northern China, where a series of explosions in the industrial zone claimed many victims and caused significant damage.

16. Francis devoted the Angelus of the third Sunday of August to the Gospel of John the Evangelist that presents Jesus as the living bread from heaven, and explains the purpose of Mass, emphasising that the Eucharist is a memorial, or rather a gesture that makes real and present the event of the death and resurrection of Jesus.

23. The Pope concludes the reading from the sixth chapter of the Gospel of St. John, which ends with the discourse on the bread of life, pronounced by Jesus after the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and the fishes. The enthusiasm of the multitude wanes as His words on His flesh and blood as food and drink, alluding to His imminent sacrifice are judged unworthy of the Messiah. Jesus’ words, says Francis, always challenge us; in relation, for instance, to the spirit of the world and of worldliness.

On the eve of the national holiday in Ukraine, Peter’s Successor launched a fresh appeal for peace in the country, afflicted for some months by a conflict that has worsened in recent weeks.

30. Superficial adherence to the law is not enough for good Christians, Francis emphasised, commenting on the Gospel of St. Mark which describes the dispute between Jesus and various Pharisees. We run the risk, he states, of considering ourselves to be better than others for the mere fact of following rules and customs, even if we love our neighbour. The literal fulfilment of precepts is fruitless if it does not change our heart and does not translate into concrete acts: opening ourselves up to the encounter with God and His Word, seeking justice and peace, and assisting the poor, the weak and the oppressed”.

After reciting the Angelus prayer, the Pope mentioned that yesterday in Harissa, Lebanon, the Syro-Catholic bishop Flaviano Michele Melki, martyred during a terrible persecution of Christians, was declared blessed. “Today too, in the Middle East and in other parts of the world, Christians are persecuted. May the beatification of this bishop martyr instil in them comfort, courage and hope”.

Finally, he denounced the tragic humanitarian crisis of migrants, many of whom recently lost their lives in Austria and in the Mediterranean, and he underlined the need to prevent these crimes, an affront to the entire human family.


4. Publication of the letter, written in Latin and dated 21 May, in which the Holy Father appoints Cardinal Raul Eduardo Vela Chiriboga, archbishop emeritus of Quito, Ecuador, as his special envoy in the Tenth National Eucharistic Congress of Peru (Piura, 13-16 August).

6. Publication of the Pope’s letter to Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, dated 25 July, in which the latter is appointed as papal legate to the celebration of the fifth centenary of the evangelisation of the Democratic Republic of East Timor (15 August).

The Holy Father writes to Bishop Maroun Lahham, auxiliary of Jerusalem of the Latins and patriarchal vicar for Jordan, on the situation faced by refugees from these countries.

7. Publication of the letter, dated 2 June, in which Pope Francis appoints Cardinal Paul Poupard, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Culture, as his special envoy to the celebration of the 1000th anniversary of the founding of the Cathedral of Strasbourg, France (15 August).

8. Publication of the letter, dated 20 May, in which the Holy Father appoints Cardinal Josip Bozanic, archbishop of Zagreb, Croatia, as his special envoy to the celebration of the third centenary of the Shrine of Our Lady of Miracles held in Sinj, Croatia (15 August).

10. Message to Cardinal Ricardo Blazquez Perez, archbishop of Vallidolid, Spain, and president of the Spanish Episcopal Conference, for the European Youth Meeting (Avila, 5-9 August) on the theme “In troubled times, strong friends of God”, commemorating the fifth centenary of the birth of St. Teresa of Avila.

With a letter to Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council “Justice and Peace”, and Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, the Pope institutes the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation.

18. Telegram of condolences to Cardinal Peter Erdo, archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary, for the death on 17 August of Cardinal Laszlo Paskai, O.F.M. Cap., archbishop emeritus of the same archdiocese.

19. Message to Brother Alois and the Taize Community for the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Community on 20 August, in the year of the centenary of the birth of founder Brother Roger Schutz and the tenth anniversary of his death.

Message to Bishop Francesco Lambiasi of
Rimini for the 36th Meeting for friendship between peoples, held in Rimini from 20 to 26 August.

20. Telegram from Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, on behalf of the Holy Father, to His Majesty Bhumibol Adulyadej, King of Thailand, following the terrorist attacks on the Hindu Erawan shrine and the Sathorn district of Bangkok.

22. Publication of the letter, dated 25 July, in which the Holy Father designates Cardinal Angelo Scola, archbishop of Milan, as his special envoy to the Mass in Bobbio, Italy on 30 August for the 18th International Meeting of Columbanian Communities, on the 1400th anniversary of the death of St. Columbanus.

23. Message to Bishop Pier Giorgio Debernardi of Pinerolo, Italy, on the occasion of the Synod of the Methodist and Waldensian Churches, in Torre Pellice, Italy, from 23 to 28 August.

29. Publication of the letter dated 11 July in which the Holy Father appoints Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa, archbishop emeritus of Santiago del Chile, Chile, as his special envoy to the Sixth National Eucharistic Conference of Mexico (Monterrey, 9-13 September).


1: The Holy Father appoints Msgr. Alberto Ortega as apostolic nuncio in Jordan and Iraq, at the same time elevating him to the dignity of archbishop.

He also appoints Professor Alfredo Pontecorvi director of the Department of Health and Hygiene of the Governorate of Vatican City State. The new director is professor of Endocrinology and director of the School of Specialisation in Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases at the Agostino Gemelli Teaching Hospital.

4. Bishop Fernando Jose Castro Aguayo, auxiliary of Caracas, Venezuela, is appointed as bishop of Margarita in Venezuela.

6. The Pope accepts the resignation of Bishop Joseph Kunnath, C.M.I., from the pastoral care of the eparchy of Adilabad of the Syro-Malabars, India. Bishop Kunnath is succeeded by Fr. Anthony Prince Panengaden, former protosyncellus and parish priest in the same eparchy.

He erects the apostolic exarchate for the Syro-Malabars in Canada and appoints Fr. Jose Kalluvelil as the first exarch, elevating him to the dignity of bishop.

8. Appointment of Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois, archbishop of Paris, France, as the Holy Father’s special envoy to the consecration of the new cathedral of the diocese of Creteil, France, to be held on 20 September 2015.

The Pope appoints Professor Fabrizio Soccorsi, former head physician of hepatology at San Camillo Hospital, Rome, as his personal doctor.

10. The Holy Father appoints Fr. Juan Carlos Bravo Salazar, parish priest of Nuestra Senora de Belen en Guasipati, as bishop of Acarigua-Araure, Venezuela.

Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley, O.F.M. Cap., archbishop of Boston, U.S.A., is appointed as the Holy Father’s special envoy to the ceremony for the 450th anniversary of the first founding mass of the city of St. Augustine, Florida, U.S.A.

14. The Holy Father appoints Fr. Paolo Bizzetti, S.J., as apostolic vicar in Anatolia, Turkey, elevating him to episcopal rank. The new apostolic vicar was formerly rector of the Patavina Residentia Antonianum.

15. The Pope appoints Bishop Michael Didi Adgum of El Obeid, Sudan, as coadjutor archbishop of Jartum, Sudan, and apostolic administrator of El Obeid.

22. Cardinal Daniel Fernando Sturla Berhouet, S.D.B., archbishop of Montevideo, Uruguay, is appointed as the Holy Father’s special envoy to the Fifth Eucharistic Congress of Bolivia (Traija, 16-20 September).

The Pope appoints Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum” as his special envoy to the concluding ceremony of the First National Eucharistic Congress of the Czech Republic (Brno, 17 October).

24. The Holy Father accepts the resignation presented by Bishop Gilberto Delio Goncalves Canavarro dos Reis from the pastoral ministry of the diocese of Setubal, Portugal, upon reaching the age limit, and appoints Fr. Jose Ornelas Carvalho, S.C.I., superior general of the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (Dehonians) as the new bishop of Setubal.

26. The Holy Father extended the eparchy of Mandya of the Syro-Malabars, India, to include the six civil districts around Bangalore in which Syro-Malabar faithful are resident: Bengaluru Urban, Bengaluru Rural, Chickballapur, Kolar, Ramnagara and Tumkur.

The Pope gave his assent to the election by the Synod of the Syro-Malabar Major Archiepiscopal Church of Fr. Antony Kariyil C.M.I., former director of the Rajagiri School of Engineering and Technology, Cochin, India, as eparchal vicar of Mandya of the Syro-Malabars.

28. Appointment of Fr. Jean-Pierre Cottanceau, S.S.C.C., as apostolic administrator of the archdiocese of Papeete, French Polynesia.


5. Audience with the ambassador of Nigeria, Francis Chukwuemeka Okeke, on his farewell visit.

7. The Pope receives in the Paul VI Hall the members of the Eucharistic Youth Movement.

8. Audience with Cardinal Angelo Amato S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, during which Pope Francis authorises the promulgation of the decree regarding the martyrdom of Servant of God Flaviano Miguel Melki, born in 1858 in Kalaat Mara, present-day Turkey, and bishop of Gazireth of the Syrians, killed in hatred of the faith in Gazireth, present-day Turkey, in 1915.

12. Audience with the ambassador of Hungary, Gabor Gyorivanyi, on his farewell visit.

29. Audience with Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

31. The Pope receives in separate audiences:

– Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, archbishop of Perugia-Citta della Pieve, Italy;

– Cardinal Giuseppe Betori, archbishop of Florence, Italy;

– Archbishop Piero Pioppo, apostolic nuncio in Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea;

– Archbishop Rino Passigato, apostolic nuncio in Portugal;

– Archbishop Ettore Balestrero, apostolic nuncio in Colombia;

– Archbishop Giacinto Berloco, apostolic nuncio in Belgium and Luxembourg;

– Fr. Pascal Burri, chaplain of the Swiss Guard Corps, on his farewell visit.


4. The Pope meets with several thousand altar servers from more than twenty countries, participating in an international pilgrimage to Rome on the theme “Here I am! Send me”.

11. The Pontifical Council “Justice and Peace” makes public the theme chosen by the Holy Father for the 49th World Day of Peace (1 January 2016): “Overcome indifference and win peace”.

20. The Holy Father chooses the theme for the 102nd World Day of Migrants and Refugees (17 January 2016): “Migrants and refugees challenge us. The response of the Gospel of Mercy”.


14. The Holy See and the Democratic Republic of East Timor sign an agreement defining the legal status of the Catholic Church and regulating various matters including Catholic marriage, places of worship, religious education.

28. Press release regarding the raising of flags of Observer States in the central headquarters and offices of the United Nations.

28. The Holy See Press Office issues a communique on the death at home, by natural causes, of Msgr. Josef Wesolowski, former apostolic nuncio.

29. The Holy See Press Office announces that, following the death of former nuncio Josef Wesolowski in the evening of 27 August, the Office of the Promoter of Justice, in the fulfilment of its required functions, has ordered that a post-mortem examination take place, and has appointed a commission of three experts to perform the task, coordinated by the Giovanni Arcudi, professor of forensic medicine. The first conclusions of the autopsy, carried out in the afternoon of 28 August, confirm the natural cause of death, due to cardiac failure. In the forthcoming days, the Office of the Promoter of Justice will obtain the results of the laboratory tests performed by the Commission.

30. Cardinal Secretary
of State Pietro Parolin sends a letter on behalf of the Holy Father to Bishop Gianni Ambrosio of Piacenza-Bobbio, Italy, on the occasion of the 18th International Meeting of the Columbanian Communities on the 1400th anniversary of the death of St. Columbanus.

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