Much has happened over the weekend but first let’s begin in Rome where on Saturday, Pope Francis paid an official visit to the President of Italy, Sergio Mattarella at the Presidential residence.
During his visit, the pope said that Italy and the whole of Europe is being called to deal with problems such as international terrorism, the widespread migratory phenomenon and persistent social and economic imbalances in many areas in the world.
Pope Francis is often perceived as a loving, grandfatherly man, of dialogue and peace. However, beneath that surface still beats the heart of a Jesuit superior and a demonstration, of that papal muscle to the Nigerian diocese of Ahiara last week, confirms, that when it comes to obedience, the Pope fully and completely expects to get it from his clergy.
Bishop Peter Opkaleke was appointed bishop of Ahiara in 2012 by Pope Benedict, but has been rejected by the clergy because he does not belong to the majority based Mbaise ethnic group at the diocese. And now, the pope is giving his priests and clergy of that diocese 30 days to write a letter promising obedience to him and accepting their appointed bishop or be suspended.
A letter must be received by July 9th, 2017 and whoever doesn’t comply will be suspended and will lose his current office,” the Pope said “Whoever was opposed to Bishop Okpaleke taking possession of the diocese wants to destroy the church. This is forbidden,”. According to the Vatican, the diocese has close to 423,000 Catholics and 110 diocesan priests. I’ll keep you updated on this story as details become available.
The Vatican Press office has released details of a one day trip that the pope plans to make to the northern Italian region on June 20th to visit the graves of two 20th century Italian priests in the towns of Bozzolo and Barbiana.
Both Fr. Lorenzo Milani and Fr. Primo Mazzolari had reputations for being anti-establishment, though they were obedient to the Church throughout their lives. The Pope will visit to their graves but it will be in a private manner, the Vatican statement said. The pope is expected to depart Rome via helicopter at 7:30am to arrive first at Bozzolo where he’ll be welcomed by the Bishop of Cremona and the Mayor. He will then go to the parish of San Pietro and pray at the tomb of Fr. Primo Mazzolari who died in 1959. The Pope will give a commemorative address to those at the Church.
He will then leave Bozzolo at 10:30 to arrive at 11:15 at the Church of Barbiana where he’ll be welcomed by Cardinal Giuseppe Betori, archbishop of Florence and Mayor of Florence. In a private visit to the cemetery, the Pope will pray at the tomb of Fr. Lorenzo Milani on the occasion of the 50th death anniversary. Later in the church garden,he will give a commemorative address to a group of priests from the diocese and some young people housed in family residences. He will depart back to Rome at 12:30. And as usual, we’ll cover some of the events on our network, so be sure to check our schedule for details and times.
And that is all for today… I’m Noel Ocol.