VIS -Vatican Information Service

Vatican City, April 2014 (VIS) – Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran and Fr. Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot, M.C.C.J., respectively president and secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, have signed the message that this dicastery sends each year to followers of Buddhism on the festival of Vesakh.

Vesakh is the principal Buddhist holy day that commemorates the birth, enlightenment, and death of Gautama Buddha. According to tradition, the historical Buddha was born, achieved enlightenment and passed away during the full moon of the month of May; therefore, the date on which Vesakh is celebrated varies from year to year and from country to country. On those days, Buddhists visit local temples to offer the monks food and to hear the teachings of the Buddha, taking special care to meditate and to observe the eight precepts of Buddhism.

This year's message is entitled: “Buddhists and Christians: Together Fostering Fraternity”. Extensive extracts from the text are published below:
Vatican City, April 2014 (VIS) – “Why do you seek the living one among the dead?”. With this question Pope Francis began his first catechesis following Holy Week, on the feast of St. George, the Holy Father's name day. He continued, “How often we look for life among dead things, things that cannot give life, that are here today and gone tomorrow!”.

The Pope explained that these words help us “when we close ourselves within any form of selfishness or complacency; when we allow ourselves to be seduced by earthly powers and the things of this world, forgetting God and neighbour; when we place our trust in worldly vanities, in money, in success”, and he commented that for us, as for Thomas and Mary Magdalene, “it is not easy to open oneself to Jesus; it is not obvious to accept the life of the Risen Christ and His presence among us”.
Vatican City, 23 April 2014 (VIS) – Following today's general audience, the Holy Father launched an appeal for the workers of the Lucchini steelworks in Piombino, which closed down a few days ago causing mass layoffs. Pope Francis urged them not to despair, remarking that “when human hopes are extinguished, the divine hope that never disappoints always remains alive”. He appealed to those in positions of responsibility to use all their creativity and generosity “to reignite hope in the hearts of our brothers and sisters and in the hearts of all those who have been left jobless as a result of waste and the economic crisis. Please, open your eyes and don’t stand there with your arms crossed!”
Vatican City, 24 April 2014 (VIS) – On Friday 18 the Holy Father accepted the resignation of Rev. Dom Umberto Beda Paluzzi, O.S.B., from the pastoral care of the territorial abbey of Montevergine in Italy, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.
Vatican City, 17 April 2014 (VIS) – At 9.30 this morning, in the Vatican Basilica, Pope Francis presided over the Holy Chrism Mass which is celebrated today, Holy Thursday, in all Cathedral Churches throughout the world. The Holy Father concelebrated with the Cardinals, Bishops and priests (diocesan and religious) present in Rome. During the Eucharistic celebration, the priests renewed the vows they made on the day of their ordination; the oils used for catechumens, to anoint the sick, and for confirmation were then blessed. Following the Gospel reading, the Pope pronounced the following homily:

“In the eternal 'today' of Holy Thursday, when Christ showed his love for us to the end, we recall the happy day of the institution of the priesthood, as well as the day of our own priestly ordination. The Lord anointed us in Christ with the oil of gladness, and this anointing invites us to accept and appreciate this great gift: the gladness, the joy of being a priest. Priestly joy is a priceless treasure, not only for the priest himself but for the entire faithful people of God: that faithful people from which he is called to be anointed and which he, in turn, is sent to anoint.
Vatican City, April 2014 (VIS) – At 5 p.m. the Holy Father left the Vatican for the St. Mary of Providence Centre of the Don Carlo Gnocchi Foundation, where at 5.30 p.m. he celebrated Holy Mass “in Cena Domini”, with which the Easter Triduum begins. This Maundy Thursday celebration includes the announcement of the commandment to love and the ritual washing of the feet, a gesture of love and humility. When the Holy Father was Cardinal Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he used to celebrate this Mass in a hospital, a prison or a reception centre for the poor and marginalised, and likewise the Don Gnocchi Foundation is an institution dedicated to the care of people with all types of disabilities, both physical and mental.