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Vatican City, Jan 31, 2015 / 12:00 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis told farmers on Saturday that in a world marked by wastefulness and extreme climate change, they have the important vocation of caring for the earth and providing for all of humanity. 

“Care for the earth, making alliance with it, in order that it may continue to be, as God wants, the source of life for the entire human family,” the Pope said.

The Holy Father's remarks were made in the Clementine Hall of the Papal Palace during a Jan. 31 audience with members of Italy’s National Federation of Farmers, who celebrate their 70th anniversary of their foundation this year.

The word cultivate, Pope Francis said in prepared remarks, “calls to mind the care which the farmer has for his land because it gives fruit, and this is shared." 

The Holy Father said that without farming, there is no humanity, and without good food, there is no life for “the men and women of every continent.”

He went on to describe farming as a true vocation which merits deserves to be recognized and valued, and warned against measures which penalize this “valuable activity” and dissuade new generations from taking an interest in this profession. 

The Pope did note, however, that statistics indicate a growth in the number of students enrolling in agricultural studies. 

Pope Francis went on to speak of two “critical areas” of reflection with regard to the farming profession: first, that of poverty and hunger which is still of interest to “a vast part of humanity.”

Noting how the Second Vatican Council “recalled the universal destination of the goods of the earth” (cfr Cost. past. Gaudium et spes, 69), Pope Francis said, “in reality the dominant economic system excludes much of their correct use.”

“The absolutizing of market rules, a throwaway culture” and food wastefulness of “unacceptable proportions, together with other factors, cause misery and suffering for many families,” he said.

In order to consider the second “critical area” of reflection on the farming profession, the Pope continued, it is important to remember “man's call, not only to till the earth, but also to care for it.” (Gen. 2:15).

“Every farmer knows well how it becomes more difficult to till the land at a time of accelerated climate change”. 

Pope Francis stressed the importance of acting swiftly to care for creation, calling on nations to collaborate with one another in this goal.

He then then invited those present in the audience to “rediscover love for the earth as 'mother' – as Saint Francis would say – from which we have taken and to which we are called to constantly return.”

Before bestowing his blessing on the participants, Pope Francis concluded by asking those present to pray for him.

Vatican City, Jan 31, 2015 / 11:32 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The Vatican has confirmed the participation of 48 delegates chosen by bishops' conferences to take part in this year's Synod on the Family. 

Included on the list are all those elected by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, the US' largest archdiocese, and Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, where the upcoming World Meeting of Families will be held, will be among those taking part in October's gathering, according to the Vatican document.

Other US delegates included are Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville and Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, USCCB president and secretary, respectively.

Released Jan. 31, this is the first of several documents listing the delegates elected by the various bishops' conferences around the world who have been approved by the Vatican. 

Delegates listed in the announcement included 7 from Africa; 3 from Asia; 3 from Oceana; 17 from Europe; and 10 from Central and South America.

Not every bishops' conference was represented in Saturday's list, as some still need to hold their general assemblies where they will select their candidates and substitutes before sending the names to the Vatican for approval. These subsequent ratifications will be announced at a later time.

Around 190 prelates worldwide participated in the 2014 Synod on the Family. 

The names of other participants, such as auditors, experts and papal nominees, will also released at a later date in the lead up to the Synod on the Family.

This year's Synod on the Family, to be held on Oct. 4-25, will be the second and larger of two such gatherings to take place in the course of a year. Like its 2014 precursor, the focus of the 2015 Synod of Bishops will be the family, this time with the theme: “The vocation and mission of the family in the church and the modern world.”

The list also confirmed the participation of alternates, Archbishop Blase Cupich of Chicago, and Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, head of the USCCB’s defense and promotion of marriage subcommittee.

A preparatory document for the Synod on the Family, formally known as the Lineamenta, was sent to bishops' conference in Dec. 2014.

The list of all 48 elected delegates is included below: 

A F R I C A   Burundi   Delegate: Bishop Gervais BASHIMIYUBUSA, Bishop of Ngozi, president of the bishops' conference.   Alternate: Bishop Joachim NTAHONDEREYE, Bishop Muyinga.   Ethiopia and Eritrea   Delegate: Bishop Tsegaye Keneni DERERA, Apostolic Vicar of Soddo, titular bishop of   Maximiana of Byzacena.   Alternate: Bishop Markos GEBREMEDHIN, C.M., Titular bishop of Gummi in Proconsolari, Apostolic Vicar of Jimma­Bonga (Ethiopia).   Ghana   Delegate: Archbishop of Gabriel Charles PALMER­BUCKLE, Archbishop of Accra.   Alternate: Bishop Anthony Kwami ADANUTY, bishop of Keta­Akatsi.   Kenya   Delegate: Cardinal John NJUE, Archbishop of Nairobi, president of the bishops' conference.   Delegate: Bishop James Maria WAINAINA KUNGU, bishop of Muranga.   Alternate: Bishop Emanuel BARBARA, O.F.M. Cap., bishop of Malindi.   Madagascar   Delegate: Archbishop Désiré TSARAHAZANA, bishop di Toamasina, president of the bishops' conference.   Alternate: Jean de Dieu RAOELISON, titular bishop of Corniculana, auxiliary of Antananarivo.   Rwanda   Delegate: Bishop Antoine KAMBANDA, bishop of Kibungo.   Alternate: Bishop Smaragde MBONYINTEGE, bishop of Kabgayi, president of the bishops' conference.   THE AMERICAS   Argentina   Delegate: Bishop Pedro María LAXAGUE, titular bishop of Castra s\Severiana, and auxiliary of Bahía Blanca.   Delegate: Archbishop José María ARANCEDO, Archbishop of Santa Fe de la Vera Cruz, president of the bishops' conference.   Delegate: Cardinal Mario Aurelio POLI, archbishop of Buenos Aires.   Alternate: Archbishop Andrés STANOVNIK, O.F.M. Cap., Archbishop of Corrientes.   Alternate: Héctor Rubén AGUER, Archbishop of La Plata.   Chile   Delegate: Bishop Bernardo Miguel BASTRES FLORENCE, S.D.B., bishop of Punta Arenas.   Delegate: Cardinal Ricardo EZZATI ANDRELLO, S.D.B., archbishop of Santiago de Chile, president of the bishops' conference.   Alternate: Bishop Cristián CONTRERAS VILLARROEL, bishop of Melipilla, secretary general of the bishops' conference.   Cuba   Delegate: Archbishop Juan de la Caridad GARCÍA RODRÍGUEZ, archbishop of Camagüey.   Alternate: Bishop Marcelo Arturo GONZÁLEZ AMADOR, bishop of Santa Clara.   Ecuador   Delegate: Archbishop Antonio ARREGUI YARZA, archbishop of Guayaquil.   Delegate: Archbishop Luis Gerardo CABRERA HERRERA, O.F.M., archbishop of Cuenca.   Alternate: Bishop Julio PARRILLA DÍAZ, bishop of Riobmba.   Alternate: Bishop Marcos Aurelio PÉREZ CAICEDO, bishop of Babahoyo, vice president of the bishops' conference.   Honduras   Delegate: Bishop Luis SOLÉ FA, C.M., bishop of Trujillo.   Alternate: Bishop Ángel GARACHANA PÉREZ, C.M.F., bishop of San Pedro Sula.   Mexico   Delegate: Bishop AGUILAR MARTÍNEZ, bishop of Tehuacán.   Delegate: Cardinal Norberto RIVERA CARRERA, archbishop of México.   Delegate: Francisco Javier CHAVOLLA RAMOS, bishop of Toluca.   Delegate: Cardinal Francisco ROBLES ORTEGA, archbishop of Guadalajara, president of the bishops' conferece.   Alternate: Bishop Alfonso Gerardo MIRANDA GUARDIOLA, titular bishop of Idrica, auxiliary of Monterrey.   Alternate: José Francisco GONZÁLEZ GONZÁLEZ, bishop of Campeche.   United States of America   Delegate: Archbishop Joseph Edward KURTZ, archbishop of Louisville, president of the bishops' conference.   Delegate: Archbishop Charles Joseph CHAPUT, O.F.M. Cap., archbishop of Philadelphia.   Delegate: Cardinal Daniel N. DI NARDO, archbishop of Galveston­Houston, vice­president of the bishops' conference.   Delegate: Archbishop José Horacio GÓMEZ, archbishop of Los Angeles.   Alternate: Archbishop Blase J. CUPICH, archbishop of Chicago.   Alternate: Archbishop Salvatore Joseph CORDILEONE, archbishop of San Francisco.   Uruguay   Delegate: Bishop Jaime Rafael FUENTES MARTÍN, bishop of Minas.   Alternate: Bishop Rodolfo Pedro WIRZ KRAEMER, bishop of Maldonado­Punta del Este, president of the bishops' conference.   ASIA   Pakistan   Delegate: Bishop Joseph ARSHAD, bishop of Faisalabad.   Alternate: Archbishop Sebastian Francis SHAW, archbishop of Lahore.   Vietnam   Delegate: Archbishop Paul BÙI V?N ?OC, archbishop of Thành­Phô Hô Chí Minh, Hôchiminh Ville, president of the bishops' conference.   Delegate: Bishop Joseph ?INH ?ÚC ?AO, titular bishop of Gadiaufala, auxiliary of Xuân Lôc.   Alternate: Bishop Pierre NGUYÊN V?N KHAM, bishop of My Tho.   EUROPA   Albania   Delegate: Bishop George FRENDO, O.P., titular bishop of Butrinto, auxiliary of Tiranë­Durrës.   Alternate: Bishop Ottavio VITALE, R.C.I., Bishop of Lezhë, Lesh.   Austria   Delegate: Bishop of Benno ELBS, bishop of Feldkirch.   Alternate: Bishop Kalus KÜNG, bishop of Sankt Pölten.   Bosnia and Herzegovina   Delegate: Bishop Tomo VUKŠI?, military bishop of Bosnia and Herzegovina.   Alternate: Bishop Marko SEMREN, O.F.M., titular bishop of Abaradira, auxiliary of Banja Luka.   France   Delegate: Archbishop Georges PONTIER, archbishop ofMarseille, president of the bishops' conference.   Delegate: Cardinal André VINGT­TROIS, archbishop of Paris.   Delegate: Bishop Jean­Luc BRUNIN, bishop of Le Havre.   Delegate: Bishop Jean­Paul JAMES, bishop of Nantes.   Alternate: Bishop Olivier DE GERMAY, bishop of Ajaccio.   Alternate: Bishop Bruno FEILLET, titular bishop of Gaudiaba, auxiliary of Reims.   Great Britain (England and Wales)   Delegate: CardinalVincent Gerard NICHOLS, archbishop of Westminster, president of the episcopal conference.   Delegate: Peter John Haworth DOYLE, bishop of Northampton.   Alternate: Bishop Philip Anthony EGAN, bishop of Portsmouth.   Greece   Delegate: Bishop Fragkiskos PAPAMANOLIS, O.F.M. Cap., emeritus bishop of Syros, president of the bishops' conference.   Alternate: Archbishop Nikolaos FOSKOLOS, archbishop emeritus of Ath?nai.   Ireland   Delegate: Archbishop Diarmuid MARTIN, archbishop of Dublin.   Delegate: Archbishop Eamon MARTIN, archbishop of Armagh, president of the bishops' conference.   Alternate: Archbishop Kieran O'REILLY, S.M.A., Arcivescovo di Cashel.   Lithuania   Delegate: Cardinal Audrys Jouzas BA?KIS, archbishop emeritus of Vilnius.   Alternate: Rimantas NORVILA, bishop of Vilkaviškis.   Netherlands   Delegate: Cardinal Willem Jacobus EIJK, archbishop of Utrecht.   Alternate: Bishop Johannes Wilhelmus Maria LIESEN, bishop of Breda.   Spain   Delegate: Cardinal Ricardo BLÁZQUEZ PÉREZ, archbishop of Valladolid, president of the bishops' conference.   Delegate: Bishop Mario ICETA GAVICAGOGEASCOA, bishop of Bilbao.   Delegate: Archbishop Carlos OSORO SIERRA, archbishop of Madrid.   Alternate: Bishop Juan Antonio REIG PLÁ, bishop of Alcalá de Henares.   OCEANIA   Australia   Delegate: Bishop Daniel Eugene HURLEY, bishop of Darwin.   Delegate: Bishop Mark Benedict COLERIDGE, archbishop of Brisbane.   Alternate: Archbishop Philip Edward WILSON, archbishop of Adelaide.   New Zealand   Delegate: Bishop Charles Edward DRENNAN, bishop of Palmerston North.   Alternate: Cardinal John Atcherley DEW, archbishop of Wellington, president of the bishops' conference.  

Vatican City, Jan 30, 2015 / 11:20 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In his homily Friday Pope Francis encouraged Christians to remember the first time they felt the love of God, and warned that those who forget this moment risk becoming lukewarm and losing salvation.

“Lukewarm Christians: they’re there, immobile. Yes, they’re Christians, but they’ve lost the memory of that first love. And they’ve also lost their enthusiasm,” the Pope told Mass attendees Jan. 30.

“In addition, they’ve lost their patience to tolerate life’s problems with the spirit of Jesus’ love, to tolerate, and to bear difficulties on their shoulders…Lukewarm Christians, poor things, they’re in grave danger,” he said.

Pope Francis centered his reflection on the day’s first reading from the Book of Hebrews, in which St. Paul encourages the people to remember when they were enlightened by the Lord, and to keep that memory as a motivation to endure through trials.

Our memory, the pontiff noted, “is so important for recalling the grace received, because if we chase away that enthusiasm which comes from the memory of that first love, then a huge danger arrives for Christians: a lukewarm (faith).”

Those who are lukewarm become “immobile” and lose their ability to deal with life’s difficulties in faith, the Pope continued. He said whenever he thinks about lukewarm Christians two disturbing images come to his mind.

The first image is when Peter in his second letter explains that, “…the dog turns back to his own vomit, and the sow is washed only to wallow in the mire.”

The second image is when Jesus in the Gospels recounts how a person chases away an evil spirit, but lets that spirit back in once it returns with many others. Doing this, the Pope said, is like returning to the vomit of evil that was previously rejected.

A Christian, he observed, has “two parameters: memory and hope. We must evoke our memory so as not to lose the beautiful experience of that first love which feeds our hope.”

Often times hope appears in the midst of darkness, but a Christian still goes forward because they have the assurance that “hope never disappoints,” and that this hope is found in Jesus, the Holy Father noted.

These two parameters of memory and hope, he said, “are the very frames within which we can safeguard the salvation of the good people which comes from the Lord.”

Pope Francis then observed how this salvation must be safeguarded like the tiny mustard seed which grows and bears a large amount of fruit, saying that it’s “painful and heartbreaking” to see so many Christians who only go halfway on the journey to Christ.

“(There are) so many Christians who’ve failed along this road toward a meeting with Jesus…they’ve lost the memory of that first love and no longer have any hope,” the pope lamented.

He concluded his homily by praying that all would receive the grace “to safeguard this gift, the gift of salvation.”

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