Mass times for Christmas and Easter
YEAR OF FAITH
from 11 October 2012
to 24 November 2013.
New Photos from Holy Week 2013
Pilgrimage to Lourdes with Fr. Jakob in 2013
World Youth Day 2013
23 - 28 July 2013
Rio de Janeiro
World Youth Day 2013
- Official Prayer
Father, You sent Your Eternal Son to save the world and chose men and
women, through Him, with Him and in Him, to proclaim the Good News to
all nations. Grant us the graces necessary so that joy may shine in the
faces of all young people, the joy of being, by the power of the Holy
Spirit, the evangelists the Church needs in the Third Millennium.
Blessed Chiara Luce Badano
Christ, Redeemer of humanity, the image of Your open arms on the top of
Corcovado welcomes all people. In Your paschal offering, You brought us
by the Holy Spirit to an encounter of sonship with the Father. Young
people, who are fed by Eucharist, hear You in Your Word and meet You as
their brother, need your infinite mercy to run the paths of the world,
missionary-disciples of the New Evangelization.
Oh Holy Spirit,
Love of the Father and the Son, with the splendor of Your Truth and the
fire of Your Love, send Your Light to all young people so that, driven
by their experience of World Youth Day, they may bring to the four
corners of the world faith, hope and charity, becoming great builders of
a culture of life and peace and catalysts of a new world. Amen.
Pray for us.
Born 1971. Died 1990 (aged 18).
(Feastday 29 October)
Blessed Pope John Paul II,
pray for us.
(Feastday 22 October)
Blessed Mother Teresa, pray for us.
(Feastday 5 September)
Missio in Iceland
Editor: Þorkell Örn Ólason.
Hávallagata 16, IS-101 Reykjavík.
Phone: 552-7991. Fax 562 3878. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: 552-7991. Fax 562 3878. E-mail email@example.com
101 Reykjavík, Iceland.
Phone 557 8481.
Donations to support the work of Caritas Ísland can be paid to:
0513, hb. 18, reikn. 430890,
kt. 591289 1369.
can be sent to
the Carmelite Sisters.
Phone 555 0378 or fax 555 0872.
Icelandic language page
LOVE OF LIFE
Letter of the Bishops of
the Nordic Countries
Marriage and the Family
New Photos from Holy Week 2013
Here is an Icelandic translation of the letter that Peter Bürcher, the Catholic bishop in Iceland, sent this evening, 13th March 2013 to the Holy Father, Pope Francis on the occasion of his election.
as the Bishop of Reykjavik and on behalf of all Priests, Brothers and Sisters, as well as all the Lay people in my diocese, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking upon you, the heavy burden of being the shepherd of the whole Church.
In Iceland, a remote island State, where Catholics are in the minority, the feeling of belonging to the Universal Church is a great comfort and encouragement, that connects us even more with the successor of St. Peter the Apostle.
God keep you! May the Holy Spirit help you to be of benefit to everybody, in what you stand for, as the chief shepherd.
Holy Father, for you, our prayers accend to heaven, with our warmest good wishes through Christ and Mary.
+ Peter Bürcher
Holy Mass of Thanksgiving in Cathedral of Christ the King,
of February 2013 Msgr. Peter Bürcher celebrated Holy Mass in the Cathedral of Christ the King to
thank God for the eight successful years of Pope Benedict XVI as head
of the Catholic Church and to call on the Holy Spirit for the conclave.
The Bishop´s Sermon
Dear brothers in the priesthood,
Dear distinguished representatives of the Church, political and diplomatic services
Dear brothers and sisters,
I met Pope Benedict many times. Who was he? He confessed himself to be
a humble worker in the Lord’s vineyard. As pope for nearly eight years
he was this humble worker and he wants to remain so until the end of
his life, but now in a more humble manner.
Every time that I met him, I experienced this natural humbleness. It
was the humility of a great soul. It is the humility of a man of God.
In his recent decision, freely taken, he wants to be the Man of God who
loves the Church of God. He feels himself no longer able to serve her
as before, and will now serve her humbly in the manner of a prophet and
of a man of prayer. He does not forsake the vineyard of the Lord. He
will work there in another way. He will continue to serve the Church as
a man of God. And I am convinced that this humble and new worker will
obtain for the church much fruit, and especially for his successor the
shepherd of the world-church.
With much success and also with difficulties Pope Benedict dared to
encounter God in humility and in the search for truth. Like St. Joseph
his holy patron he was the just one, a man of God. His decision (to
retire) says much about his absolute honesty, his intellectual honesty,
his honesty with himself and his honesty in wanting to serve the Church
for its good. The underlying theme in his eight years pontificate might
be summarized in the words “to put God back again in the first place.
Just two days after making his decision (to retire) known he said: “It
is not easy, publicly to take a stand against decisions, which are
regarded as obvious by many. For this, a call to conversion is
necessary. One of the elements of this conversion is to put God back in
the first place. Then all will be different. We must remember again the
words of God, so as to allow their light to penetrate our life. We
have, so to say, to dare to encounter God, so that we allow Him to be
active in our society.
This is an echo of his first encyclical “Deus Caritas est” from
Christmas 2005, which gave the tone for his pontificate from the
beginning. “In the beginning of Christianity there is no moral
decision, nor a great idea, rather the encounter with an event, with a
person who gives our life a new horizon and thereby a decisive
In his gospel St. John describes this event in the following words:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his Only Son, that whoever
believes in Him should have .. eternal life” (3,16). Is not the
starting point of the Christian life, for us as for the first disciples
this meeting with Jesus Christ? All follows from this encounter, and
Pope Benedict has dedicated himself intellectually in the humble
service of this encounter. Let us listen to his words. In a sermon on
Dec. 1st 2009 he said: We have heard that the Lord praises the Father
because He had hidden the great mystery of the Son, of the Trinitarian
mystery, the Christological mystery from the wise and the learned.
These have not recognized Him, but He has revealed it to the
little-ones, who are not learned, who do not possess great culture.
This leads one to a question which he answers “All leads us to ask: Why
is this so? Is Christianity the religion of fools, of people without
culture, of the uneducated? Does faith stop when reason awakes? How can
we explain this? We must look again at history. What Jesus said, what
one can find in every century, that remains true. But there are
nevertheless those who are small and at the same time learned. This
says much about him who so speaks. He is allergic against poisonous
presumptions, against poisonous ambition. The Christian life is
characterized by humility before the truth, and exactly because of this
should it treasure reason.
The ever-present humility of Benedict XVI lit up and irradiated his
extraordinary intelligence. This attitude of humility allowed him to
let God take charge and make use of him. It is the grace of a true
theologian. To admit ones limitations and weaknesses before God, that
is to cloth humility and intelligence in flesh and blood. “We must be
content to remain poor and powerless, and that is the difficulty St.
Therese of Lisieux, the little Teresa, had already experienced. Thereby
did she become the great saint of modern times. I am certain that
Benedict XVI, the humble worker who will soon, withdraw into a convent
on the Vatican Hill will become more like this saint, that is for the
good of the whole church. Amen.
news comes also to Iceland like „a bolt from the blue”: Pope Benedict
XVI retires from his pontificate at the end of February. He told the
Cardinals in Rome today, that he feels the weight of the task of
guiding the Church. Having repeatedly examined his conscience
before God, he has made his decision in full freedom and for the
good of the Church.
The bishop and the Catholics in Iceland thank the
Holy Father for his exemplary and faithful Petrine service. They
continue to pray in full unity with him and the Church worldwide.
They endorse the personal words of Pope Benedict
XVI: „and now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care
of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy
Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her
maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff.”
With thanks, faith, hope and love.
Bishop Peter Bürcher, Reykjavik
See also here: http://www.vatican.va
Special Sermons for the Year of Faith
Sermon of Bishop Peter Bürcher
in the Year of Faith
“I believe in Jesus Christ ... conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary”.
Dear Brothers and Sisterrs,
What does it mean, “I believe in”? Here, to believe in
Jesus Christ, also means “to trust in”, “to count on”, “I give
him and his word my full trust”. I should therefore not mix this
up with ”I believe that ...”, which means as much as “I suppose that”,
or “I think that“, I am not sure that”. No, this has to do with
my certain belief in Jesus Christ, in the strict sense of the prayer,
“Lord, I do believe, help my unbelief!”
For me the day of my baptism was the most beautiful day of
my life. At this celebration the priest asked: What name do you give
the child? What do you ask of God’s Church? The faith. And he asked
again: Are you ready to raise your child in the Christian faith, so
that it will gain everlasting life? Yes. Whoever wants to gain life
must keep the commandments: “You shall love the Lord your God with all
your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your
strength. And: You shall love your neighbour as yourself”. For me and
my family everything was clear and the three dimensional direction of
life was indicated: Faith, everlasting life and charity.
In this Year of Faith we could look at what the Catechism
of Catholic Church has to say about this. This year we are celebrating
the 20th anniversary of its emergence. (484) The Annunciation to Mary
inaugurates “the fullness of time”, (Gal 4,4): The promises come tru,
the preparations are completed. Mary is called to conceive him in whom
the “whole fullness of deity” would dwell “bodily” (Col 2,9).The divine
response to her question, “How can this be, since I know not man?” (Lk
1,34), refers to the power of the Spirit: “The Holy Spirit will come
upon you” (Lk 1,35).
Yes my dear loved ones, nothing will be impossible to the
Holy Spirit! (485) The mission of the Holy Spirit is always conjoined
to and ordered to that of the Son. The Holy Spirit, “the Lord, the
giver of Life”, is sent to sanctify the womb of the Virgin Mary and to
divinely frutify it, causing her to conceive the eternal Son of the
Father in a humanity drawn from her own.
In this way a woman, indeed an extraordinary woman, thanks
to the Holy Spirit has entered the history of our redemption. A woman
named Mary also has her place in our Apostles’ Creed. Isn’t that of
great importance for our present understanding of the role of
women, and for the ecumenical dialogue of our times?
Yes, Jesus Christ, the Son of God is born of a woman, the
Virgin Mary. In the great Creed (Nicene-Constantinople) we pray too:
“For us men, and for our salvation, He came down from heaven, and was
incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary, and was made man.” The
Council of Chalcedon in 451 declared the term Theotokos (Mother of God)
quite clearly for Mary. The Fathers of the Eastern tradition call the
Mother of God “the All-Holy” (Panagia), and celebrate her as “free from
any stain of sin, so to speak fashioned by the Holy Spirit and formed
as a new creature” (LG 56). By the grace of God Mary remained free of
every personal sin her whole life long (493). The Angel said to Joseph
about Mary: “It is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been
conceived in her” (Lk 1,20). The prophet Isaiah had already said: “The
virgin shall be with child, and bear a son” (Is 7,14).
Christmas is close now! “A child is born for us, it is
named Immanuel, God with us!” Through her word of consent and her
faith, Mary could truly become the Mother of God. In her whole being
she is “the handmaid of the Lord” (Lk 1,38).
Therefore, my dear Brothers and Sisters, we confess and
pray: “I believe in Jesus Christ ... conceived by the Holy Spirit, born
of the Virgin Mary”. Mary will lead us ever more to Christ, the Son of
God, and to our heavenly Father. He will send us his Holy Spirit every
day in abundance for our joy and for our salvation. We will be new
witnesses of the new evangelization. “Lord, I do believe, help my
unbelief! Come, oh, Immanuel!” Amen.
Bishop of Reykjavik
Brothers and Sisters. To lead others to
faith is always the task of each believer. But how much more so,
is this true, during a year dedicated to faith? Jesus Christ our
Lord wants to use us for this purpose. He wants us to radiate his
light in a dark world.
Sr. Denis O´Leary
But it must be his light we radiate, not ours. It must be his
Gospel we share, not ours. It must be his will we act upon, not
ours. In this context it is important to have a deepening
understanding of the Creed. Yes, we know it, recite it and pray
it, but have we ever really stopped to think about what it means?
Have we meditated on it?
But we must go even further than that! The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI wrote in his APOSTOLIC LETTER, PORTA FIDEI:
“Saint Luke recounts that, while he was at Philippi, Paul went on the
Sabbath to proclaim the Gospel to some women; among them was Lydia and
“the Lord opened her heart to give heed to what was said by Paul” (Acts
16:14). There is an important meaning contained within this
expression. Saint Luke teaches that knowing the content to be
believed is not sufficient unless the heart, the authentic sacred space
within the person, is opened by grace that allows the eyes to see below
the surface and to understand that what has been proclaimed is the word
of God.“ That means that we must have
both an open mind and an open heart!
Now, let us turn to the Creed and specifically to the words:
“I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.”
This is a short sentence but rich in meaning.
“I believe in Jesus Christ.” The name “Jesus” means “God
saves”. He saves us from sin. Because sin is always an
offence against God therefore only God himself can forgive it.
This is what he does in Jesus, his eternal Son, made man. “There is no
other name under heaven given among men by which we must be
saved.” (Acts 4:12)
The title “Christ” means “Anointed One”. There were several
anointed ones of the Lord in the Old Covenant, pre-eminently King
David. But Jesus is God's Anointed in a unique way: the humanity
the Son assumed was entirely anointed by the Holy Spirit. The Holy
Spirit established him as "Christ." Jesus, in himself, fulfilled
the messianic hope of Israel in his threefold office of priest, prophet
The title “Son of God” signifies the unique and eternal relationship of
Jesus Christ to God his Father. Jesus revealed that God is Father
in an unheard-of sense: he is Father not only in being Creator; he is
eternally Father by his relationship to his only Son who, reciprocally,
is Son only in relation to his Father. To be a Christian, one
must believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
The title “Lord” indicates divine sovereignty. To say: “I believe
in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord”, is to acknowledge that Jesus
is our divine master. The feast of Christ the King, which falls
on the last Sunday of the liturgical year, invites us in a special way,
each year, to meditate on the meaning of the words: “Jesus Christ
St. John Eudes, a French missionary priest who died in 1680, wrote: “I
ask you to consider that our Lord Jesus Christ is your true head, and
that you are one of his members. He belongs to you as the head belongs
to its members; all that is his is yours: his spirit, his heart, his
body and soul, and all his faculties. You must make use of all these as
of your own, to serve, praise, love, and glorify God. You belong to
him, as members belong to their head. and so he longs for you to use
all that is in you, as if it were his own, for the service and glory of
Brothers and Sisters. As we draw nearer to Christmas, we
naturally turn our thoughts to the Virgin Mary - our great model of
faith. Her virginity is a special sign of her faith, which is
“unadulterated by any doubt”, and is the sign of her undivided gift of
herself to God's will. It is her faith that enables her to become
the mother of the Saviour. St. Augustine said of her: “Mary
is more blessed because she embraces faith in Christ, than because she
conceives the flesh of Christ.”
Since, belief in Jesus Christ, is the way to arrive definitively at
salvation; may we firmly believe, and so have hope and
confidence. Let us rejoice in our faith each day! Amen.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Fifty years ago Pope John XXII solemnly opened the Second Vatican
Council in Rome. Thousands of Bishops from all over the world came
together to talk about matters concerning the faith and the life of the
Church and to renew various factors regarding the missionary work.
Bishop Jóhannes Gunnarsson went from Iceland and participated
actively in all the discussions in the four years of the Council.
Following the Vatican Council a great renewal took place in many fields
within the Church, but it is safe to say that some people
misunderstood the message of the Pope and the Bishops and tried
to adapt the Church so much to the spirit of the world that little
remained of the faith in some countries.
Now, fifty years later, the time has truly come to reevaluate the work
of the Vatican Council and to examine the treasures which it contains,
but at the same time to put forward the message of the Church in a
still better and more effictive way in order to better reach the
present generations. Therefore, Pope Benedict has solemnly proclaimed
the Year of Faith which commenced on October 11th, 2012.
Everywhere in the world Christians are encouraged to reconsider the
gift of faith, to renew their thanks to God for enabling them to be
God’s children and to believe in Him, and in this way to give the world
a credible testimony of a faith which is lively and attractive. The
priests in Iceland will play their part in this, and among other things
they will compose a series of homilies specially dedicated to faith and
particularly to the main articles of faith, which we confess in our
But before we discuss particular articles of faith we should briefly
consider faith itself. Man is a person of faith. He believes many
things, not only that which pertains to redemption and life
everlasting, but also many things that matter in daily life. To believe
means to know something or somebody on the basis of the trust we have
in the person that delivers this knowledge to us.
Much knowledge we gather from our own experience and senses. We know
that it is not good to play with fire, once we have touched the flames
ourselves. This is a fact and we need no faith to understand that, but
experience. But our own experience is very limited and brings us
limited knowledge about things. However we gain much more widespread
knowledge by trusting those who know better, or at least should know
better. Culture, and the knowledge it brings, is built upon the trust
we have in those who preceded us und brought us a new understanding.
Let us give one simple example: I have no personal experience of
America. I have never been in America and I have never seen this
continent. Never the less I believe that America exists, that there are
people living there and that it is possible to communicate with those
people. This belief is based on the trust I have in those who have been
to America, who have seen America and returned from there to tell about
their experience. I trust them and I believe what they are saying. Of
course I am free not to believe and insist that there is no America and
that they are either lying or are totally mistaken, or that this is all
one big conspiracy with the intention to mislead me. I am free to
believe that America does not exist but this is an absurd belief which
does not fit to reason and a sane way of thinking and it will result in
me disbelieving everybody around me and finally I will not even trust
myself. In other words, it is simply rational to believe that America
exists, whether I have ever seen this continent or not.
We believe in man. We believe in ourselves and in our neighbour. We
believe in our children. But this is also based on faith. Who has got
proof of himself and proof of other people? Nobody. Our faith is based
on trust, not proof. A human being is an object of faith which we must
associate with in faith and with respect. Parents construct self-
confidence in the soul of their children by trusting them, believing in
them and taking care of them. Faith is always an undeserved gift and it
is the basis for all self-confidence, but without self-confidence a
human being does not exist.
Above everything else the parents give their children, the gift of
faith is the most precious gift. It is more precious than food or
education, things or clothes. All of this we can receive in many ways,
from the family or from society, if necessary, but faith is a gift
borne of love, and it first and foremost comes from the parents.
If the entire human life is in itself faith, and the gift of faith is
built on trust, then it is natural to ask more closely and consider
where this gift comes from. If we talk about a gift we are really
talking about a giver, about somebody who has it within himself to give
trust, to build up the trust that is the fountain of life and faith.
And this giver is God, the creator of heaven and earth. He is the basis
of our existence and the existence of all there is. We have no proof of
the existence of God in the same way we can proof some result of an
experiment in a scientific laboratory, but we have prove of God, our
Creator, in the same moment we perceive our existence as a gift,
especially when we, ourselves, dare to present this gift to others and
become a gift ourselves. At that moment we become aware of that the
giver is not far away from us, but right beside us, constantly caring
St. Paul says this in his famous speech in Athens: “It is He who gives
to everyone life and breath and everything. He made from one the whole
human race to dwell on the entire surface of the Earth. He wanted
people to seek God, even perhaps grope for Him and find Him, though
indeed He is not far from any of us. For in Him we live and move and
have our being.”
In this Year of Faith it is fitting to begin by thanking for the gift
of faith, but also to ask still more for this gift, as the father of
the sick boy did when he begged Jesus: “I do believe, help my
unbelief!” To believe in God and in Jesus is the same as trusting God
and trusting his Son, Jesus Christ, and thereby the fear and insecurity
vanishes which characterise souls that do not believe. Those
words of Jesus are directed to us today: “Do not be afraid; just have
Sr. Jakob Rolland
St. Pedro Calungsod
Missionary, Catechist and Martyr
Beatified on 5 March 2000
Canonized on 21 October 2012
On Saturday, September 29, about 130 people gathered at Kristkirkja and
Landakotsskóli for a diocesan meeting (“Samkoma”) of many of the
movements and groups which are active in the Catholic Church in
Iceland. This was the 6th time this sort of gathering has been
held since 2007, but all of the previous gatherings were at
Maríukirkja in Breiðholt; this was Landakot’s first time to
host the event and it was a great success!
The Samkoma began at
noon with a delicious pot-luck luncheon, and then the
Reykjavík-area parishes (Kristkirkja, Jósefskirkja, and
Maríukirkja) each had approximately one hour during which their
parish organizations and movements gave short presentations about their
history, purpose, and activities; in many cases, these presentations
were augmented by songs, dances, or slide presentations. We were
also blessed to have representatives from Péturskirkja in
Akureyri and some youth from the Oratory in Stykkishólmur!
Anna Björg Harðadóttir and Jesselou Jumapao served as
emcees for the afternoon and they did a great job, keeping the
presentations moving in a timely fashion! Babysitting was
provided for the children; and everyone was invited to "have fun” with
a sports break mid-afternoon! The day’s events concluded with the
celebration of the Holy Mass in the Cathedral at 6pm. Attendees
were given booklets which contained short descriptions and contact
information for the various groups and movements that gave
presentations. This information will also be available soon on
the diocesan website, catholica.is .
Plans are already underway
for the next Samkoma in 2013, and we hope that even more people and
parishes will get involved! This year´s presentations were
given in either Icelandic or English (with corresponding translations
provided on a screen), but next year, we hope to more fully include our
Polish and Spanish brethren. The Samkoma’s purpose was to
familiarize parishioners with the many movements and activities
available which can help strengthen Catholic life here in Iceland, but
next year, rather than covering the same ground again, we hope to
provide some more direct spiritual input, as well as opportunities for
more conversation/discussion between members of the different
parishes. If you have some ideas or are interested in helping to
plan for Samkoma 2013, please contact your parish priest. “Many
hands make light the work!”
May God richly
bless all those who worked so hard to prepare for this year’s wonderful
Samkoma, and we extend a sincere THANK YOU to everyone who participated
on the 29th—it was a great joy to be together in the Lord! May
the Lord use us to bring His light and love to all those around us!
The pilgrimage to Maríulind on Snæfellsnes
was held on
Wednesday 11 July 2012
"Hail Mary, full of grace, The Lord is with thee."
Pastoral letter 2012
of Msgr. Peter Bürcher
Bishop of Reykjavík
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
On January 6, 2012, the Feast of the
Epiphany of Our Lord, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
sent a very interesting note with some pastoral suggestions for the
Year of Faith to the entire Catholic Church. It also concerns us here
“With the Apostolic Letter of 11 October
2011, Porta fidei, Pope Benedict XVI declared a Year of Faith.
This year will begin on 11 October 2012, on the 50th anniversary
of the opening of the Second Ecumenical Vatican Council, and will
conclude on 24 November 2013, the Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ,
This year offers to all the
faithful a good opportunity to understand more profoundly that the
foundation of Christian faith is “the encounter with an event, a
person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive
direction.” Founded on the encounter with the Risen Christ, faith
can be rediscovered in its wholeness and all its splendor. “In our days
too faith is a gift to rediscover, to cultivate and to bear witness to”
because the Lord “grants each one of us to live the beauty and joy of
The beginning of the Year of
Faith coincides with the anniversaries of two great events which
have marked the life of the Church in our days: the fiftieth
anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, called by
Blessed Pope John XXIII (11 October 1962), and the twentieth of
the promulgation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, given to
the Church by Blessed Pope John Paul II (11 October 1992).
The next General Assembly of
the Synod of Bishops, to be held in October 2012, will have as its
theme: The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the
The Year of Faith is
intended to contribute to a renewed conversion to the Lord Jesus and to
the rediscovery of faith, so that the members of the Church will be
credible and joy-filled witnesses to the Risen Lord in the world of
today - capable of leading those many people who are seeking it to the
“door of faith.” This “door” opens wide man’s gaze to Jesus Christ,
present among us “always, until the end of the age” (Mt 28:20). He
shows us how “the art of living” is learned “in an intense relationship
with him.” “Through his love, Jesus Christ attracts to himself the
people of every generation: in every age he convokes the Church,
entrusting her with the proclamation of the Gospel by a mandate that is
ever new. Today too, there is a need for stronger ecclesial commitment
to new evangelization in order to rediscover the joy of believing and
the enthusiasm for communicating the faith.”
“I know him in whom I have
believed” (2 Tm 1:12). These words of St Paul help us to understand
that faith is “first of all a personal adherence of man to God. At the
same time, and inseparably, it is a free assent to the whole truth that
God has revealed.”
The Year of
Faith “will also be a good opportunity to intensify
the celebration of the faith in the liturgy, especially in
the Eucharist.” In the Eucharist, mystery of faith and source of
the new evangelization, the faith of the Church is proclaimed,
celebrated and strengthened. All of the faithful are invited to
participate in the Eucharist actively, fruitfully and with awareness,
in order to be authentic witnesses of the Lord.
Faith is both a personal and a
communal act: it is a gift from God that is lived in the communion of
the Church and must be communicated to the world. Every initiative for
the Year of Faith should be designed to aid in the joyous
rediscovery of the faith and its renewed transmission. The
recommendations provided here have the goal of inviting all of the
members of the Church to work so that this Year may be a
special time in which we, as Christians, may share that which is most
dear to us: Christ Jesus, the Redeemer of mankind, Universal King, “the
leader and perfecter of faith” (Hb 12: 2).
Dear Brothers and Sisters, may this advice already help us to attain a stronger and more joyful faith in Jesus Christ!
I recommend to each of you to recite this
short and beautiful prayer as often as possible from now on: Yes, Lord,
I believe, but strengthen my faith! Amen.
+ Peter Bürcher, Bishop
Sermon of Peter Bürcher
Bishop of Reykjavík
at Christmas, 24 and 25 of December 2011
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Where is Bethlehem? It is not far away: it is indeed where we find
Jesus, especially in poverty and love in Iceland. He has become one of
us, the eternal Son has become a little human child. He has learnt to
laugh and cry.
The shepherds come to Bethlehem. They watch in wonder and tell their
story. Mary does not yet understand everything; she kept all these
things in faith and pondered them in her heart all her life.
Mankind – today and always, and here in Iceland too – moves between
fear and hope. The hope is ultimately based on God’s faithfulness.
Jesus, the Son, is the living yes of God to his promise. Salvation and
deliverance originate with Him – if we accept Him: if we are ready to
receive his Word and his gift.
God said yes to man, to each and every one. To you and to me. God comes
towards us, he adopts us. The Word that He speaks to us is his Son: “To
us a child is born”. God loves us and He awaits our love in return.
We can hear God’s Word, his mercy has become visible: in the Son who
was born and died for us. Between the first coming of Christ and the
revelation of his Glory flows the time of history and of our own life.
It is a time of hope and trial. It is also a hope when dramatic things
happen in our lives or in the world, as lately with the typhoon in the
Philippines. Human soldiarity is always appropriate, as God shows
towards us men.
The Child in the manger, the Bread on the Altar, which is his Body:
only he who can see with his heart can understand this sign of love.
And he receives what he sees: the gift of God “for the life of the
The good tidings, that God cares for the people, has not yet arrived
everywhere. But the “watchmen”, the people with heart awake and
perceiving eyes, proclaim this great joy. There is hope, for “God is
King”. He says to all peoples on the earth: I am here.
“Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord!” (Lk 2, 11).
He is our Saviour. He loves us all immensely. Amen.
A group from Iceland was present
at World Youth Day 2011
in Madrid, Spain.
Jesus, I trust in you!
A delegation from Switzerland visited the Bishop in the summer.
summer the first pilgrimage of the Catholic Diocese of Reykjavik to
Mariulind in Snaefellsnes took place. It was led by Bishop Peter
Burcher. About 100 people
Mariulind or Mary's Spring was also known as Gvendarbrunnur which
means the well of Gudmundur the Good. It flows under the lava of
Hellnar. Nearby is Snæfellsnes Glacier which is the place where the ''Journey to the Center of the Earth'' began.
In 1230, according to oral tradition, Bishop Gudmundur the Good came to
this spring. The Holy Mother appeared to him, accompanied by three
angels. She asked him to bless the spring, which he did. This is one of
very few appearances of the Virgin Mary in the Nordic countries.
During the very enjoyable bus ride people recited prayers and listened
to readings from the Bible and prayed the Rosary together.
There was also lots of time to talk or enjoy some of
the beautiful scenery.
At Mary's Spring Holy Mass was concelebrated by the Bishop and several of the priests working in the Diocese.
INTERNATIONAL PRAYER MEETING
MIEDZYNARODOWE SPOTKANIE MODLITEWNE
DÓMKIRKJA KRISTS KONUNGS 2011
Serdecznie zapraszamy na modlitewne czuwanie w wigilie
Uroczystosci Niedzieli Miłosierdzia Bozego oraz beatyfikacji
Sługi Bozego Jana Pawła II. Odbedzie sie ono 30.04.2011 r., w
katedrze p.w. Chrystusa Króla w Reykjaviku od godz. 20.00-21.30.
W programie m.in. swiadectwa po spotkaniach z Papiezem, ludzi
z róznych stron swiata; wspólny spiew; adoracja NS; modlitwy
prowadzone w wielu jezykach; spotkanie przy kawie.
Dla osób uczestniczacych we Mszy Sw. o godz. 18.00, po Mszy
kawa oraz prezentacja filmu o Janie Pawle II pt.: “Credo”.
Welcome to the prayer vigil on the eve of Divine
Mercy Sunday and of the beatification of the Servant
of God John Paul II by Pope Benedict XVI. It will be held on
30.04.2011, at the Cathedral Christ the King in Reykjavík
The program includes testimonies of those who had met the
Pope; joint singing; adoration of Blessed Sacrament; prayers
in multiple languages; coffee meeting.
The Sunday Vigil Mass is at 18.00 on Saturday 30th April.
There will be coffee after the Mass in the parish hall along
with a showing of the film on Pope John Paul II “Credo”.
Modlitwa o beatyfikacje Jana Pawła II
Boze w Trójcy Przenajswietszej, dziekujemy
Ci za to, ze dałes Kosciołowi Papieza Jana Pawła
II, w którym zajasniała Twoja ojcowska dobroc,
chwała krzyza Chrystusa i piekno Ducha miłosci.
On, zawierzajac całkowicie Twojemu miłosierdziu
i matcz ynemu ws tawiennictwu Mar y i,
ukazał nam zywy obraz Jezusa Dobrego Pasterza, wskazujac
swietosc, która jest miara zycia chrzescijanskiego,
jako droge dla osiagniecia wiecznego zjednoczenia z Toba.
Udziel nam, za jego przyczyna, zgodnie z Twoja wola, tej łaski,
o która prosimy z nadzieja, ze Twój Sługa Papiez Jan Paweł II,
zostanie rychło właczony w poczet Twoich swietych. Amen.
Official Prayer for the Canonization of
Pope John Paul II
O Blessed Trinity, we thank you for having graced the
church with Pope John Paul II and for allowing the tenderness
of your fatherly care, the glory of the cross of Christ,
and the splendor of the Holy Spirit, to shine through him.
Trusting fully in your infinite mercy and in the maternal
intercession of Mary, he has given us a living image of
Jesus the Good Shepherd, and has shown us that holiness
is the necessary measure of ordinary Christian life
and is the way of achieving eternal communion with you.
Grant us, by his intercession, and according to your will, the
graces we implore, hoping that he will soon be numbered
among your saints. Amen.
Jezu Ufam Tobie!
The Holy Father Benedict XVI receives in audience Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, president of the Republic of Iceland.
Pastoral Letter of Peter Bürcher
Bishop of Reykjavík
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I find the statue of Christ the King in
our Cathedral in Reykjavík ever more beautiful. It is
wonderfully beautiful! What does it tell us?
Pope Pius XI gave our Church some special
gifts and two of them we can see there. Over the High Altar there is a
statue of Christ, standing on the terrestrial globe. It is the
original, carved into cedarwood. There are no other copies in the
world, since the artist, Gampanya from Barcelona, prohibited all
replicas of the statue.
The present of the Pope is an honour to us
all. In Reykjavík we have the northernmost Cathedral of the
Catholic dioceses of the world. The Pope is thus interested in
everything to the end of the world, right up to the high north. He has
“anxiety for all the churches” (cf. 2Cor, 11, 28). Without attachment
to the Pope there is no Catholic Church in the true sense of the word.
Maybe this is also demonstrated by the two colours of our statue of
Christ the King, white and yellow, which are indeed the colours of the
Vatican. In addition to that comes the colour of silver. When we think
of our aluminium industry this colour of our statue of Christ the King
might suggest to us its Icelandic identity. For all the joys and
sorrows of a people are those of the Church. This is from the Second
Vatican Council: “The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties
of the men of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way
afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of
the followers of Christ. Indeed, nothing genuinely human fails to raise
an echo in their hearts” (Gaudium et Spes, 1).
There Christ stands on the globe, his
throne. Therefore his left hand holds the sceptre of the King of the
Universe. The right hand of Christ is fully stretched out, and blesses
the world. Isn’t this wonderful? The blessing is for all people of good
will. “Glory to God in the highest, the angels sing, and peace be with
those that are of good will!” The peace is so important today, both in
our homes and in the whole world. In these times we think of all the
victims of violence, especially in the Middle East but also in other
countries where many people have been killed. This is terrible and it
should never happen again, especially not in a church! Everyone should
respect the hand of God. Christ wants to be the King of all of us,
whatever our religion.
What also impresses me in the
contemplation of our beautiful statue of Christ the King is the crown.
It is not a normal crown as with most kings. Here Christ carries a
crown that is more like a crown of thorns. The Gospels (Matthew 27, 29,
Mark 15, 17 and John 19, 2), tell us about the Roman soldiers crowning
Jesus of Nazareth with a crown of thorns. The soldiers gave him
satirical symbols of a king, a staff for a sceptre, and they put a
scarlet robe on him as they mocked and mishandled him. All of this
Jesus suffered for us sinners with great compassion. For he is a King
who gives us his love and even his whole life. Christ’s crown of thorns
is however beautiful because it points to the glory of the Lord. He
will return in glory, as we confess with the whole Church in our creed.
“Christ, who died and was raised up for all, can through His Spirit
offer man the light and the strength to measure up to his supreme
destiny. Nor has any other name under the heaven been given to man by
which it is fitting for him to be saved” (Gaudium et Spes 10).
Our statue is not static. It is full of
movement. Since the reorganization of the liturgy the Feast of Christ
the King is held at the end of the liturgical year. That is supposed to
make it clear to us that the goal is the elevated Lord, towards whom
the pilgrim people of God is going. Am I, are we now on that road? The
yearly Lenten season is for us all an urgent appeal of conversion
to Christ. The words of the two criminals who were crucified with
Christ essentially reflect two images of the kingdom: whilst one of
them mocks him as a Messiah or a king who cannot save himself, the
other recognises in the powerlessness of the crucified one the real
power of the king, and surrenders to his mercy.
Dear brothers and sisters, do we, the
Christian people of the world, not still appear weak and less than
convincing? And evil still seems to have the upper hand. The believing
eyes of the criminal, who was crucified with him, were needed to
recognise the Kingdom of Christ, which should develop in concrete love
in our daily lives.
We believe in a mocked King, a King with a
crown of thorns, a King on the cross, as absurd as it might seem to
many people. We celebrate him because in his powerlessness on the cross
another power emerges: the power of the love of Christ, the
never-ending love which is wonderfully beautiful, like the statue of
Christ in our Cathedral in the north. Our King and Lord awaits us all.
We should not be afraid to approach him, with great love for him and at
the same time for our fellow human beings. Amen.
von Peter Bürcher
Bischof von Reykjavík
Kæru bræður og systur,
Ich finde die Statue des
Christ-Königs in unserer Kathedrale von Reykjavik immer
schöner. Sie ist wunderschön! Was sagt sie uns?
Papst Pius XI hat unserer Kirche einige
kostbare Sachen geschenkt und zwei von ihnen können wir dort
sehen. Über dem Hochaltar steht eine Statue von Christus, wo er
auf der Erdkugel steht. Es ist das Original, in Zederholz geschnitzt.
Es gibt keine anderen Exemplare auf der Welt, denn der Künstler,
Gampanya aus Barcelona, hat alle Nachbildungen der Statue verboten.
Das Geschenck des Papstes ehrt uns alle.
Wir besitzen in Reykjavik die nördlichste Kathedrale der
katholischen Bistümer der Welt. Der Papst zeigt sich so bis auf
alle Grenzen der Welt aufmerksam, bis in den Hohen Norden. Er hat ja
"die Sorge für alle Gemeinden" (s. 2 Ko 11,28). Ohne Verbundenheit
mit dem Papst gibt es im wahren Sinne keine katholische Kirche. Das
zeigen vielleicht auch die zwei Farben unserer
Christ-Königsstatue, weiss und gelb, welche ja die Farben des
Vatikans sind. Dazu kommt noch die Silberfarbe. Wenn wir an unsere
Aluminiumindustrie denken könnte diese Farbe der Statue des
Christkönigs vielleicht ihre isländische Identität
andeuten. Denn alle Freuden und Sorgen eines Volkes sind auch
diejenigen der Kirche. Das sagt das Zweite Vatikanische Konzil: "Freude
und Hoffnung, Trauer und Angst der Menschen von heute, besonders der
Armen und Bedrängten aller Art, sind auch Freude und Hoffnung,
Trauer und Angst der Jünger Christi. Und es gibt nichts wahrhaft
Menschliches, das nicht in ihren Herzen seinen Widerhall fände"
(Gaudium et Spes 1).
Christus steht hier thronend auf der
Weltkugel. Deshalb trägt seine linke Hand das Zepter des
Königs des Weltalls. Die rechte Hand von Christus ist ganz
ausgestrekt und segnet die ganze Welt. Ist dies nicht wunderschön?
Der Segen ist für alle Menschen guten Willens da. "Ehre sei
Gott in der Höhe, singen die Engel, und Friede den Menschen guten
Willens!" Der Friede ist heutzutage so wichtig sowohl in unseren
Häusern wie in der ganzen Welt. Wir denken in diesen Tagen, an
alle Opfer der Gewalt ganz besonders im Mittleren Orient aber
auch in anderen Ländern wo so viele getötet wurden. So
etwas ist schrecklich und soll nie mehr vorkommen ganz besonders in
einer Kirche! Die Hand Gottes soll von allen respektiert werden.
Christus will König sein über uns alle von welcher Religion
wir auch sind.
Was mich bei der Betrachtung unserer
wunderschönen Statue des Christkönigs auch beeindruckt ist
die Krone. Es ist nicht eine gewöhnliche Krone wie bei den meisten
Hier trägt Christus eine Krone die
der Dornenkrone ähnlich ist. Die Evangelien berichten
(in Matthäus 27, 29, Markus 15, 17
und Johannes 19, 2), dass Jesus von
Nazaret von römischen Soldaten eine Krone aus
Dornen aufgesetzt wurde. Zusammen mit
einem Schilfrohr als Zepter und einem roten Umhang
statteten ihn die Soldaten mit satirischen "königlichen" Symbolen
aus, während sie ihn misshandelten und verspotteten. Dies alles
hat Jesus für uns Sünder mit grosser Liebe gelitten. Denn Er
ist ein König der uns seine Liebe schenkt und sogar sein ganzes
Leben für uns hingibt. Die Dornenkrone Christi ist aber schön
weil sie auf die Herrlichkeit des Herrn hinweisen will. Er wird kommen
in Herrlichkeit, bekennen wir mit der ganzen Kirche in unserem Credo.
"Christus, der für alle starb und auferstand, schenkt dem Menschen
Licht und Kraft durch seinen Geist, damit er seiner höchsten
Berufung nachkommen kann; es ist kein anderer Name unter dem Himmel den
Menschen gegeben, in dem sie gerettet werden sollen" (Gaudium et Spes
Unsere Statue ist nicht statisch. Sie ist
voll Bewegung. Seit der Neuordnung der Liturgie wird das
Christkönigsfest am Ende des Kirchenjahres gefeiert. Damit
soll deutlich werden, dass das Ziel der erhöhte Herr ist, zu
dem hin das pilgernde Gottesvolk unterwegs ist. Bin ich, sind wir jetzt
schon zu ihm unterwegs? Die jährliche Fastenzeit ist eine für
alle dringende Einladung zur Bekehrung zu Christus. In den Worten
der beiden Verbrecher welche mit Christus gekreuzigt sind spiegeln sich
im Grunde beide Bilder von Königtum: während ihn der
eine als Messias/König verhöhnt, der sich selbst nicht helfen
kann, erkennt der andere in der Ohnmacht des Gekreuzigten die
wahre Königsmacht und übergibt sich seiner Barmherzigkeit.
Liebe Brüder und Schwestern,
erscheinen wir ChristInnen in der Welt nicht noch immer schwach,
zu wenig überzeugend? Und das Böse scheint stets die Oberhand
zu behalten. Es braucht die glaubenden Augen des mitgekreuzigten
Verbrechers, um im Gekreuzigten das Königtum Christi zu
erkennen das sich in unserem alltäglichen Leben in der konkreten
Liebe entfalten soll.
Wir glauben an einen verspotteten
König, einen König mit Dornenkrone, einen König am
Kreuz, so absurd das für viele Menschen auch erscheinen mag. Wir
feiern ihn, weil in seiner Ohnmacht am Kreuz eine andere Macht
deutlich wird: die Macht der Liebe Christi, der unendlichen Liebe
welche wunderschön ist wie unsere Christkönigsstatue in
unserer nordischen Kathedrale. Unser König und Herr wartet auf uns
alle. Haben wir keine Angst zu ihm zu kommen, mit grosser Liebe zu Ihm
und zugleich zu unseren Mitmenschen. Amen
Umiłowani Bracia i Siostry!
Odkryłem na nowo piękno figury Chrystusa Króla, która
znajduje się w naszej Katedrze w Reykjaviku. Naprawdę jest przepiękna.
Co chce nam przekazać?
Papież Pius XI ofiarował naszemu Kościołowi pewien specjalny dar.
Nad ołtarzem głównym w naszej katedrze znajduje się figura
Chrystusa, stojąca na kuli ziemskiej. Jest to oryginał zrobiony z
drzewa cedrowego. Na świecie nie ma ani jednej kopii tej figury,
gdyż jej twórca, Gampanya z Barcelony, zabronił jej kopiowania.
Łączność z Papieżem jest dla nas wszystkim wielkim zaszczytem. W
Reykjaviku znajduje się najdalej wysunięta na północ Katedra
diecezji katolickiej na świecie. Ojciec Święty ma w sercu wszystkich,
aż po krańce ziemi, aż po daleką północ. Papież troszczy się o
wszystkie kościoły (por. 2 Kor, 11, 28). Bez więzi z Ojcem
Świętym Kościół katolicki nie ma prawa bytu - nie byłby tym czym
być powinien. Łączność z Papieżem wyrażona jest również
poprzez kolory naszej figury Chrystusa Króla – żółty i
niebieski, które jednocześnie są oficjalnymi kolorami Watykanu.
Dostrzega się również kolor srebrny. Jeśli wspomnimy w tym
miejscu nasz przemysł aluminiowym to ten kolor figury Chrystusa
Króla może wyrażać jej islandzką tożsamość. Wszystkie radości i
smutki ludzi są też doświadczeniem Kościoła. Potwierdza to
również Sobór Watykański II: „Radość i nadzieja, smutek i
trwoga ludzi współczesnych, zwłaszcza ubogich i wszystkich
cierpiących, są też radością i nadzieją, smutkiem i trwogą
uczniów Chrystusowych; i nie ma nic prawdziwie ludzkiego, co nie
miałoby oddźwięku w ich sercu.” (Gaudium et Spes, 1).
Chrystus stoi na kuli ziemskiej niczym na swoim tronie. Dlatego
też w lewej dłoni dzierży
berło Króla Wszechświata. Zaś prawe ramię Chrystusa jest
wyciągnięte i błogosławi światu. Czyż to nie cudowne?
Błogosławieństwo dla wszystkich ludzi dobrej woli. "Chwała Bogu na
wysokościach, śpiewają aniołowie, a na ziemi pokój ludziom
dobrej woli!" Pokój dziś jest bardzo ważny, zarówno w
naszych domach jak i na całym świecie. Wspomnijmy w tym miejscu
wszystkie ofiary przemocy, w szczególności na Bliskim Wschodzie,
ale również w innych krajach, gdzie wiele osób zostało
zamordowanych. To jest przerażające i nie powinno się nigdy
powtórzyć, zwłaszcza w Kościele! Powinniśmy przestrzegać Prawa
Pańskiego. Chrystus pragnie być Królem każdego człowieka,
niezależnie od wyznawanej religii.
Kolejnym szczegółem, który mnie fascynuje w naszej
pięknej figurze Chrystusa Króla, jest jego korona. Nie jest to
zwyczajna korona jaką ma większość królów. Chrystus ma na
głowie koronę, która bardziej przypomina koronę cierniową
niż królewską. Ewangelie (Mateusza 27, 29, Marka 15, 17 i Jana
19, 2), informują nas o rzymskich żołnierzach którzy
ukoronowali Jezusa z Nazaretu koroną cierniową. Kpiąc z niego
podali mu również insygnia królewskie - berło oraz
okryli go płaszczem szkarłatnym – a następnie szydzili z niego i
wyśmiewali go. Wszystko to Jezus wycierpiał z ogromną miłością za nas,
grzeszników. On jest Królem, który daje nam swoją
miłość, a nawet całe życie. Korona cierniowa Chrystusa jest piękna,
ponieważ wskazuje na chwałę Pana.
On powróci w chwale, jak wyznajemy z całym kościołem w Credo.
„Chrystus, który za wszystkich umarł i zmartwychwstał, może
człowiekowi przez Ducha swego udzielić światła i sił, aby zdolny był
odpowiedzieć najwyższemu swemu powołaniu; oraz, że nie dano ludziom
innego pod niebem imienia, w którym by mieli być zbawieni.”
(Gaudium et Spes, 10).
Nasza figura nie jest statyczna. Jest w pełnym ruchu.
Od czasu reorganizacji liturgii święto Chrystusa Króla przypada
na koniec roku liturgicznego. Ma to nam uświadomić, że celem jest
wywyższenie Pana, do którego Lud Boży pielgrzymuje.
Czy jestem na tej drodze?
Czy jesteśmy na tej drodze?
Jak co roku okres Wielkiego Postu jest dla nas wszystkich nawoływaniem
by powrócić do Chrystusa. Słowa dwóch łotrów,
których ukrzyżowano z Chrystusem zasadniczo
odzwierciedlają dwie wizje królestwa: podczas gdy pierwszy
drwi z niego jako Mesjasza - z króla, który nie
może wybawić siebie - drugi w bezsilności
Ukrzyżowanego odkrywa jedynego króla i oddaje się Jego
Umiłowani Bracia i Siostry! Czy chrześcijanie na całym świecie nie
wydają się być słabymi i mało przekonanymi? Wydaje się, że zło ma
ciągle przewagę. Pełne wiary oczy złoczyńcy, który został
ukrzyżowany z Chrystusem, są niezbędne by rozpoznać Chrystusa
Króla, a ta wiara powinna rozwijać się poprzez konkretne uczynki
miłości w życiu codziennym.
Wierzymy w Króla wyszydzonego, w Króla w koronie
cierniowej, w Króla na krzyżu. Wielu ludziom może się to wydawać
absurdalne. Obchodzimy to święto ponieważ w jego niemocy na krzyżu
odkrywamy inną moc: moc miłości Chrystusa, miłości która nie ma
końca, która jest cudownie piękna, tak jak figura Chrystusa w
naszej Katedrze na Północy. Nasz Król i Pan czeka na nas
wszystkich. Nie bójmy się przyjść do Niego. Pokażmy
Mu jak bardzo go kochamy, kochając również naszych
CLICK HERE FOR
MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI
FOR THE NINETEENTH WORLD DAY OF
CLICK HERE FOR
THE MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS
FOR THE WORLD MISSION SUNDAY 2010.
Click here for more on
Pope Benedict XVI opening of
the Synod for the Middle East.
Pope John Paul's II Theology of the Body
A brief summary
The Body Reveals God
person with a body and soul, made in the image and likeness of God, we find the
meaning of life through finding out what it means to image God – not only with
our soul, but with our body, with our whole person. We not only image God
through our free- will
and reason, but also through being in union and communion with others. “To be
human means to be called to interpersonal communion.” Why? Because God himself is a communion of persons
in the Holy Trinity. John Paul explains, “Man became the “image and likeness”
of God not only through his own humanity, but also through the communion of
persons which man and woman form right from the beginning.” (TOB, Nov 14, 1979)
“Man Cannot Live Without Love”
“communion of persons” occurs when two people freely give themselves to each
accept one another in love. In fact, true love consists precisely in this
As we see in the Gospels, the main point of the Christian life is to love. “Man
without love. He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life
if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does notexperience
love and make it his own, if he does not participate intimately in it.”
Redeemer of Man)
The Body Is Not Some Little ‘Add-on’ To Creation
does the human body have to do with all of this? Today the body is so often
as an object for one’s pleasure or as a machine which doesn’t have much to do
our spiritual nature. The body is not some little “add-on” to creation. Rather
it is a vital
part of who we are as human persons. Why? Because the physical body reveals the
reality of the person. For example, you can tell that someone is happy through
smile on his face. Happiness is not a physical, tangible, visible thing, so you
sign to express it.
The Spousal Meaning of the Body
sexual union of man and woman in marriage is meant to be a physical expression
spiritual union, of the union of their whole persons. In the same way that a
if one is not really happy, sexual union is empty without spiritual communion.
does their physical communion point to an invisible communion, but it actually
us that love, self-gift, is what we are called to and what we were created for.
our bodies as male and female specifically to show us that we are called to
the reason for our existence is to love, to make a gift of ourselves to others.
‘spousal meaning of the body’: “The human body includes right from the
beginning… the capacity of expressing love, that love in which the person
becomes a gift – and by means of this gift – fulfills the meaning of his being
and existence.” (ToB, Jan 16, 1980) This gift of self is meant to be lived in
all of our relationships, but the most concrete and profound physical
expression of the gift of self is the sexual union of a man and woman in
The Language of the Sexual Union
union is meant to be a sign of God’s desire for complete union with us (which
though not sexual). It is a sign of Christ’s love for his people. It therefore
us something about God. The married couple is called to be a witness to the
world of this love. In their sexual union their bodies speak the language of
total self-gift. We are called to speak the truth with our bodies: “This
language of the
something more than mere sexual reaction. As authentic language of the
it is subject to the demands of truth, that is, to objective moral norms.
level of this language, man and woman reciprocally express themselves in the most
profound way possible to them.” (ToB, Aug 22, 1984) The only way to speak the
with the body is to reserve sexual union to marriage. In marriage the couple’s
union is the outward expression of the commitment of their entire lives to one
the commitment that they made with their wedding vows.
That Our Hearts Become Truly Free!
of love is not hate but use, the use of another as an object, as a means to
Lust is using a person as an object for sexual gratification. In this way, our
have become “battle places between love and lust” (ToB, 23. Juli 1980). Our
are like a deep well: There is a lot of muddy water, but when we go all the way
bottom, we will find a fresh and living spring. The heart is a lot deeper than
it isn’t enough to keep the commandments as if they were a heavy burden. He
us and our desires, so that it becomes quite natural for us to live according
plan. Then, we are no longer under the law, as Paul writes to the Romans. Then,
able to live with a spouse in love and truth.
appeals to our hearts and calls us to freely choose to live our sexuality in
our dignity as persons made in the image and likeness of God! Only in living
our true dignity as men and women created in the image of God will we be truly
fulfilled, will we be happy in the deepest possible sense. This is the life
that we were designed and
to live from the beginning.
Anastasia M. Northrop is the president of TOBIA,
the Theology of the Body
Cathedral of Christ the King, Landakot, Reykjavík
Sermon, Sunday August 22, 2010
Cardinal Miloslav Vlk
My dear Brother Peter,
thank you for inviting me to take part in this feast of your diocese. I
come here with joy to celebrate with you that ten years ago this
Cathedral of Christ the King was given the title Basilica minor. With
great joy I take part in your feast for many reasons...
the first time I have come to a diocese so far in the north. But at
this moment we are all here together with the entire Church of this
world under the leadership of the Holy Father but also with the entire
Church of Heaven with your Saints and your predecessors who are in
Heaven. Around this altar we are one family of the children of God. I
pray for your Bishop, for your whole diocese and for you all. First, I
want you to take seriously my first words addressed to you, when I
said: “The Lord be with you”. It is precisely in this fact, in the real
presence of the living and resurrected Jesus, who is a real King, that
we celebrate this feast.
Dear brother Bishop, dear priests, dear brothers and sisters,
celebrate something means to really live what we are celebrating. In my
introduction I pointed out to you the real presence of the Risen Jesus.
He is not standing far away from us in his Kingdom in Heaven. He is
also right here among us. He says to us: “I am with you always, to the
end of this world.” This means that He is also with us today. Those
words of his are real. For He said: “Heaven is in your midst...”
Word of the Lord, which we heard today, is the living Word of the Lord
through the prophet Isaiah: “I come to gather nations of every language
on my holy mountain, Jerusalem.” The holy mountain Jerusalem does not
only mean a place, i.e. the Mount Sion in Jerusalem in Israel. The
Gospels sometimes speak of the “New Jerusalem”, which is the Church.
Through the course of history God has step by step gathered so many
nations from all over the world into a new Jerusalem, the Church, which
is in Africa, in America and the Far East, and reaches all the way to
us here in the North. In your diocese there are people of many
nationalities, speaking different languages, and therefore those words
of God are also realized in your diocese.
the text that I have referred to there is an important sentence: “my
holy mountain Jerusalem”. In another place the Lord says: “The kingdom
of God is in your midst.” Our God is a present God. The world of today
is not a godless world. The majority of people do not reject the
existence of God. But rather they are convinced that God is far away in
his heaven in Paradise and that He is not present in this world.
Regretfully even the faithful sometimes think that God is in his
Kingdom far away and that we are waiting to meet him when we die. But
this s a wrong opinion. In the Catechism we learn that God is infinite,
omnipotent and always present. All that He created is in him,
regardless of our consciousness and certainly also regardless of our
will. Nothing can exist without him. This is precisely the truth that
we can neither deny nor change. This is a matter of faith. But people
in our secularized world don’t want to believe that this is so. They
want to experience him with their senses, it can even be said that they
want to touch God.
God is endless love. He loves us enormously. In addition to his
presence everywhere He wanted to reach out to us in order to give
us the possibility of getting closer to him, to touch him in some way.
He became flesh, He entered our world as a man in a human body and was
born of Mary. After his life, after death, He rose in his changed body
(not material, although human), so that He could be with us in every
place in this world and so that we could become convinced of his
presence. He said that himself after his resurrection with the words:
“I am with you as the Risen one all days until the end of the world.”
Already in the Old Testament there is a very important sentence: “My
sincere wish, says God, is to be among the children of men.” God wants
to be among us.
presence of the Risen One is not a presence totally independent of us.
Jesus told his apostles one sentence which explains what we have to do
in order to be able to have him among us in his Risen Body. He said:
“Where two or three are gathered togther in my name, there I am in the
midst of them.” God’s name is love. ‘In my name’ means that the love of
the Holy Spirit enters into our hearts. To explain this fact I want to
describe what happened with us in the communist time. As young people
we could not meet or gather freely but only secretly in the mountains
or in the woods. We also could not have priests with us to handle the
Eucharist. That was forbidden. In this time we knew the reality of the
Risen Christ who was present among us in his conquering love. This we
learnt from the spirituality of the Focolare-movement. If one lives his
life in this way, one detects His presence in joy and peace and His
presence encouraged us for a change of mind. Sometimes it happened when
somebody entered our community, that he said: There, something
remarkable is happening.
spirituality of the Risen Jesus has spread for over seventy years in
the whole world and so many Christians have been touched by it.
It is possible to touch Jesus, to become aware of of Him. The world,
which thinks about a distant God, can perceive Him as being very close,
exactly in this world. It can meet this present God. Pope Benedict XVI
asks us to bring God into this world, where we detect the absence of
the living God, the present God. In order to be able to do that, it is
necessary to first know and detect the Risen Jesus, who is present
among us, throuh our conquering love and to get personally acquainted
with the presence of the Risen One. I think this is a great challenge
for Christians in a diocese which is dedicated to the Risen Christ the
King and his Kingdom... In the first reading of the Mass God says
through the Prophet Isaiah: “I will gather nations of every language on
my holy mountain, the Church, to be among them, Christ the King in your
midst.” At the beginning of every Mass the priests reminds you of that:
“The Lord be with you.” This means “the Risen One be with you.” And
through this experience we can, like the Holy Father asks us to do,
bring the living God, the present God into this world.
we pray in this spirit when we celebrate this feast of your Cathedral
and of your Diocese. You have received me in love. I have come and
talked to you in love. Thus you have listened to me and what unites us
is the Spirit of love and Jesus comes in the Holy Spirit. Jesus always
comes in this way, in this Mass he also comes in the Eucharist, in the
Holy Sacrament, in the power of the Holy Spirit. We shall thank the
eternal Father in the name of Jesus for his grace in all the many years
of your Cathedral and Basilica. Amen.
MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS
FOR THE WORLD MISSION SUNDAY 2010
First Holy Communions in
Christ the King Cathedral
2 May 2010
Christ the King Cathedral
18 April 2010
First Holy Communions
23 May 2010
THE PASTORAL LETTER
OF THE NORDIC BISHOPS
TO THE CONGRESS OF THE FAMILY
14-16 JUNE 2010
family holds a special place in the mission of the Church. On the
one hand the church has the task to support and protect the family and
on the other she recognizes that the family is an important channel for
passing on the faith and to build the community of the Church.
The role of the family and its structure has undergone changes
throughout the ages. But in essence the family is a union of a
man and a woman as it is expressed in the marriage covenant. The
unitive nature of the love between a man and a woman is an image of the
triune God. Although man and woman are different God has given
them the task of being one flesh and to be fruitful and multiply.
couple obey this mandate when they, through their mutual love,
procreate life and thus become partners in God‘s work of creation.
view of marriage and the family has changed rapidly because of changes
in lifestyle, an altered view of man, and the availability of
contraceptives. Human sexuality is no longer seen or engaged in
as an expression of mutual love and openness between husband and
wife. Now, the purpose of sex as bringing forth life is also
questioned if not altogether denied.
Paul VI discussed this problem already forty years ago in his
encyclical “Humanae vitae” published on 25 July 1968. The
encyclical and its message was the source of much debate when it was
first published. Ever since it has led to many interpretations of
human sexuality, the Christian moral teachings and even magisterial
ideas that were discussed in the encyclical are still of topical
interest; especially the value of human life, the protection of every
person‘s dignity and, not least, the promotion of conjugal love.
Strong criticism has been directed at the encyclical seen, as it is,
through an individualistic viewpoint which has been formed in the name
of liberty. But the so-called free vision of sexuality has
neither made people happier nor strengthened marriage.
the other hand, during this time, we have acquired a better knowledge
of human sexuality which makes it possible to use methods of natural
family planning that the encyclical recommends, which takes into
consideration a woman‘s natural biological rhythm. In this way
both the partners can take full responsibility for their mutual sex
Nordic bishops, once again stand behind the message of the encyclical
“Humanae Vitae” and its continued relevance. As Pope Benedict XVI
said in his address to the International Congress on the 40th
anniversary of “Humanae Vitae”: “The Magisterium of the Church
cannot be exonerated from reflecting in an ever new and deeper way on
the fundamental principles that concern marriage and procreation.
What was true yesterday is true also today.”
teachings of the Church as expressed in “Humanae Vitae” is, for many
people, not easily accessible and seems difficult to implement in their
life situation. But the innermost core and basic message is now,
and always will be, the truth about responsible conjugal love. In
order for young people and married couples to deepen their
understanding of this, they need support and encouragement from
dedicated priests. These have the task of both proclaiming the
whole truth and unselfishly assisting people in the challenges of life.
the past months the church, also in our diocese, has been deeply shaken
by the disclosures of sexual abuse of minors by priests and other
co-workers. The representatives of the church have committed
terrible crimes against young, innocent people. These crimes are
awful because they not only wound but, may perhaps, totally destroy all
trust that they had for the priest and thus also the Church.
we would like to express our sympathy to those who have been abused in
body and soul, and we ask for pardon in the name of the Church.
We know that both lay people, priests and clergy suffer from these
exposed wounds and suffer shame and are distraught. Many people,
rightly wonder how the Church can continue to teach her sexual morality
in the situation that has arisen. But this will always be the
Church‘s position: to proclaim the truth even when she finds
herself in a situation where sin has darkened those in her own ranks.
The encyclical, “Humanae vitae” defends the respect for human life and the value of every individual person.
begins at conception and from that moment to the very end of natural
life it must be protected from killing, abuse, violence and
humiliation. To remind us of this we once again recommend that we
celebrate “respect for life day” in our Nordic dioceses.
a “respect for life day” is already celebrated in Sweden on the third
Sunday of Advent. We wish now that this Sunday which is a
preparation for the birth of Christ, will be a thanksgiving day for the
gift of life in all our dioceses. Thanksgiving for the gift of
life is also a challenge to defend and respect life and its dignity in
all its phases, and in every way possible protect the weak and
Paul VI defended the dignity of life with his encyclical “Humanae
Vitae” and Pope Benedict XVI has underlined the relevance of the
message of the encyclical in our day. We, the Bishops of the
Nordic countries join the Pope in his message and recommend to all the
faithful to read it with open hearts and without prejudice.
May the Lord lead you all with His blessings,
Your Bishops in the Nordic Countries.
Pastoral Letter of the Bishops’ Conference of the Nordic Countries
Concerning the Catechumenate and Reception into the Church
is the entrance?” If someone needs to ask this question, the architect
has made a mistake. Entrances need to be recognizable and inviting,
unless one wants to keep away uninvited guests. What, then, about the
entrance to the house of the Church, the entering of persons into the
community of the faithful? Can the entrance be easily recognized, or
must one enquire about it from someone? For centuries this did not pose
a problem: becoming Christian and entering into the community of the
faithful, the Church, took place through Baptism.
is personally encountering Jesus Christ and becoming his disciple.
Continuous effort is required in order to think as He thinks, to be of
the same opinion as He, to live as He lived. St. Cyprian of Carthage
was once asked, “What would you do to convince a person of
Christianity?” He responded, “I would let him live with me for one
currently happens to those adults interested in the Christian and
Catholic faith who are received into communion with the Church and who
wish to enter into this home, the Church? This question is often posed
by the people of the Nordic countries. Due to changes of Church and
society, no longer are all children baptized as infants, as in some
instances, parents want to let the children decide about matters of
faith by themselves; in other instances, the parents themselves have
left the Church. In our Nordic countries there is, however, a growing
number of converts; that is, people originally from other Christian
communities and Churches, who wish to become part of the Catholic
For these adults, who are in search of the Church’s entrance, the
Second Vatican Council has revived the way which had existed from
almost the beginning of the long history of the Church: the
Catechumenate. This Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, which came
into effect in 1972, was meant especially for the “young Churches” of
Africa and Latin America. Conversely in Europe, today often the only
way to prepare for Baptism is by receiving private instruction from a
priest. Fortunately, the catechesis for adults offers us in the Nordic
countries an excellent opportunity to preach the Gospel to both those
who are searching as well as to the parishes.
Catechumenate is not a door to the Church, but rather a way, which
should last for a sufficiently long time—according to experience, at
least one year. Why is this? Being a Christian presupposes becoming a
Christian; the decision to give oneself and one’s life to be governed
by the Lord Jesus Christ requires development. It may be that people
become interested in the Christian faith and, particularly, the
Catholic Church after having experienced and participated in one of the
great feasts of the liturgical year. The liturgy and communality have
drawn them to the Church. Some have experienced God's closeness, which
has lit a fire in the search and longing to proceed towards Him. These
are good and important preconditions, although alone they are not
enough for making the decision.
one needs to settle one’s ideals, values, expectations and hopes for
life. The relationship with God and Jesus Christ must grow and mature,
deepen and be able to overcome challenges to the faith. To meet these
ends, the Catechumenate offers different phases on the way to becoming
a Christian, each of which is started solemnly with its own rite. The
person feels a compelling force through the liturgy and catechesis,
which results in a living and lasting growth into communion with the
Church. Those who are baptized when being received into the
Catechumenate are asked for example, “What do you ask of God's Church?”
Answering this requires a process of reasoning and decision.
during the Catechumenate, the candidate is initiated into the Christian
doctrine, he participates in the feasts of the liturgical year, and
learns better and better to explain and understand the happenings of
everyday life based on the Gospel. With this he naturally needs help,
as one cannot be a Christian or become a Christian alone. Consequently,
the way into the Church is always a way which is walked within a
community. This community is found in the Catechumenate groups (they
are the Church in miniature form). In addition to those who ask for
Baptism or convert the groups also include some members of the parish,
a priest and sponsors, who remain present with those being baptized.
the liturgical feasts and the phases of the Catechumenate assist them
on their way. For example, in one such celebration, those asking for
Baptism are given the “Our Father” prayer, which they may pray with the
parish henceforth. In this way, the baptismal candidate grows step by
step, to take his place in the parish. The candidate learns that being
Christian means also taking responsibility for the life of the parish,
and giving one’s strengths and gifts to be used, in order that the
parish be living and growing. The celebration of becoming Christian
through Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist forms the summit of the
Catechumenate. However, the Catechumenate is not only a good
opportunity for the baptized or converted to follow the path which
leads into the Church; it also offers a great opportunity to the parish
itself. As the sponsors accompany the candidates who go before the
parish, questions are raised also about their respective Baptisms and
belonging to the Church; each candidate questions his own faith and
voluntarily asks to be baptized and to be received into communion with
the Church. It then becomes clear that the Church does not only have a
mission; it is the mission itself and it cannot relinquish the duty of
Catechumenate makes one sensitive to the task of this mission, which
has been given to all Christians: “Go therefore and make disciples of
all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son
and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have
commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”
(Matthew 28:18-20) When people come to us and ask, “How may I enter?”
it is not enough that we guide them to priests or others working in
pastoral tasks. Parishioners are also needed, who prepare the newcomer
a kind and friendly reception, and are willing to share with him their
own faith. This sharing enables the parishioners to strengthen their
faith and renew their Baptism.
practice of the Catechumenate with its rites and celebrations helps in
its part to revive the sacramental signs and rites. There are plenty of
these symbols and rites, especially in our Catholic liturgy. However,
habit and obviousness accompany the danger that the meaning and
meaningfulness of these holy rites is obscured. Supporting a person
desiring Baptism or converting on the way of Catechumenate may itself
become a catechesis for the parish, during which also active Catholics
can regain the richness of liturgy and can be nourished by it. Here in
the Nordic countries we are already using the Catechumenate in some
parishes. Let us imagine that even more parishes would begin to take
advantage of the Catechumenate and a larger amount of those asking for
Baptism might grow in this manner on the way towards communion with the
Church. Through this, what could change in our parishes? New groups
would be formed, the members of the parish would have the possibility
to again find their faith, the newly-baptised who are inspired by the
Holy Spirit would commit actively to the parish, for example as
catechists, lectors, etc. The responsibility for others would grow, as
the members of the parish would be concretely responsible for the
soon-to-be-baptized person in need of support. The consciousness of the
mission of the parish and the whole Church would grow, and the
connection between life and faith would become clearer. The parishes
would gain a attractive and radiant power and, as a consequence, draw
more people to themselves. In this manner, beginning the Catechumenate
would aid the renewal of the whole parish.
bishops wish to encourage all the faithful, priests, parish councils,
pastoral councils and the councils of the different religious orders to
discuss within themselves and ponder this: can a Catechumenate be
founded in more parishes, and if so, how could it be done? We would
like to encourage—maybe one step at a time—that the different phases
and rites would be realized for the adults who are preparing for
Baptism and for the reception into full communion with the Church.
We wish you God's blessings for the approaching Season of Lent.
+ Anders Arborelius OCD
Bishop of Stockholm
+ Czeslaw Kozon
Bishop of Copenhagen
+ Bernt Eidsvig Can.Reg.
Bishop of Oslo
Administrator of Trondheim
+ Peter Bürcher
Bishop of Reykjavik
+ Teemu Sippo SCJ
Bishop of Helsinki
+ Berislav Grgic
Bishop-Prelate of Tromsø
+ Gerhard Schwenzer SS.CC.
Bishop Emeritus of Oslo
Earthquake in Haiti: A Call for Prayer and Solidarity
in Iceland, just like everyone here, have been following the news of
the many casualties that have occurred in Haiti and of the difficult
circumstances of the survivers. In union with
Bishop Karl Sigurbjörnsson, Bishop Peter Bürcher
of Reykjavík Diocese, asks everybody to pray, to show solidarity
with the people of Haiti and to remember those who have died in the
Thursday 21 Jan 2010 at 18:30 an ecumenical prayer service will be held
in Christ the King Cathedral in Landakot. Bishop Peter asks that
those who attend will also remember the people of Haiti in their prayers.
Peter has also decided that the Lenten Collection for 2010 will be for
Haiti and those who are suffering there. Catholics are encouraged
to show their concern by giving generously to the Caritas Island
Collection and indicate that it is for Haiti:
Íslandsbanki nr. 513-14-202500.
Kennitala Caritas: 591289-1369.
Peter thanks everyone in advance for their prayers and
generosity. God hears the prayers of all Christians in Iceland
and in the world. Haiti, which is one of the poorest countries in
the world, needs our help.
Sermon of Bishop Peter Bürcher
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
3rd Sunday of Advent
Feast of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe
Mary Mother of Europe
in the Cathedral in Reykjavik
December 12, 2009
December 12, 2009. It is the third Sunday of Advent and we are also
remembering Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe and Mary, Mother of
Europe. I would also like to invite you to a journey. It is a beautiful
and a graceful journey: really a pilgrimage. We go from
Reykjavík to Nazareth, Rome, Trent, Mexico, Guadalajara,
Jerusalem and then by Freiburg back to Europe, from the West
(Gibraltar) to the East (Berezniki) and then from South (Gnadenweiler)
back to Reykjavík in the North. What a journey! It is free of
charge... you only have to listen.
deliverance from sin began in the “yes” of Mary of Nazareth. It is the
Immaculate Conception of Mary which opened the way to salvation for all
Christians. Pope Benedict XVI pointed this out in his message this week
at the Angelus-prayer in Rome.
is based on a long tradition in the Church. Already in the Middle ages
and then at the Council of Trent, Mother of God was time and time again
declared free of the sins into which every man is born. How else could
she have taken part in the work of redemption? However this exemption
from sin does not originate in Mary herself, but it is given to her in
advance by God in Jesus, so that she could become Mother of God.
simplicity of the house of Nazareth lives the ‘holy rest’ of Israel”,
the Pope said, “from where God will arouse his people again, like a
young tree, which spreads its branches over the whole world and offers
all humanity the good fruit of salvation. In contrast to Adam and Eve
Mary was obedient to the will of God, with the whole of her being she
proclaims “yes” and gives herself totally to the divine plan. She is
the new Eve, the true Mother of all living people, of all those who
receive new life through the belief in Christ.
December 12, 2009. On December 12, 1531, in Mexico, Juan Diego, who
recently had converted to the Catholic faith and had shortly before
been baptized, was on his way to Tlatelolco to fetch a priest for his
sick uncle, who wished to go to confession. He took another path to get
into town since he didn’t want to be detained by the “Lady”. But she
met him anyway and Juan Diego told her what had happened to his uncle.
She told him not to worry about his uncle, he was already getting
by those words Juan Diego fulfilled the wish of Virgin Mary and went to
the top of the hill where he – in accordance with wish of the bishop –
picked fresh roses. Virgin Mary rearranged the flowers with her own
hands and put them into his gown. After that Juan went to see the
bishop. Kneeling, he told him about the wish of Virgin Mary and opened
up his gown in front of him so that the roses fell to the floor.
Suddenly a picture of the everlasting Virgin Mother of God appeared on
his gown. The bishop and all those present saw this beautiful and
wonderful picture, which has existed to this day. Juan Diego was
canonized in 2002.
disciples gathered around Mary after the ascension of our Lord to
heaven” (Acts 1, 12-14), “so also the nations of Europe are invited to
gather around Mary and under her protection to follow the road of the
pilgrimage of faith to the promised destinatio”, recently the
Archbishop of Freiburg and the president of the German Bishops’
Conference wrote to me. “This invitation is offered precisely today by
“Mary, Mother of Europe” – from her shrines in Gibraltar, Gnadenweiler
and Berezniki. Those shrines offer a home to the people that come to
her, and give them courage and strength to follow in the footsteps of
Christ. They build bridges from the West (Gibraltar) to the East
(Berezniki) and soon – God willing – also from the South (Gnadenweiler)
to the North (Iceland). And they make the sign of the cross over Europe
– the sign of salvation and of new life, the sign of hope and unity
beyond death. The shrines of the Mother of God – “Mary, Mother of
Europe” – are more than places of meditation and prayer. They are a
promise for Europe, the Western World, and point to the powers from
which it has grown and lived. It is Mary who wants to unite the nations
of Europe and will succeed in doing so. Her shrines are places of
blessing and hope for our continent. May the peoples of Europe under
the protection of the Mother of God grow ever more in faith, hope and
charity and get ever closer under her protection.
December 12, 2009. And we are again in Reykjavík. My beloved,
our pilgrimage ends here and now with a grace-filled news. The
Archabbot of St. Martin in Beuron, Theodor Hogg OSB, wrote to me on the
feast of St. Martin: “Father Notker, a monk in our monastery, who since
1986 has been assigned to the pastoral care of our neighbouring
parishes Bärenthal and Hausen im Tal, a few years ago built a
chapel, which he called “Mary, Mother of Europe” on the terrain of
Bärenthal-parish, in a part of the community called
“Gnadenweiler”. This confrère was worried by the thought that
our Christian faith in Europe was in grave danger. His goal was to
counteract this through a network of prayer-sites. In this way he wants
to help with the “new evangelization” in our part of the world. Father
Notker has communicated with the bishop of Gibraltar and a Catholic
priest of Russia in order to advance this matter. I wish him and his
assistants a good journey and that their endeavour be fruitful. May the
prayer site “Mary, Mother of Europe” be established in Iceland and
become a place of blessing for the fruitful renewal and strengthening
of the Christian faith and life in our countries”. Father Notker came
to Reykjavík with the mayor of Beuron and a friendly Swabian
delegation. I have received their request with joy and gratitude. “The
fourfold prayer-community,” Father Notker wrote, “has existed since
Saturday, the 21st of November 2009, with the “Fiat” of the bishop,
which is a seed for the building of a sanctuary of “Mary, Mother of
Europe” on Icelandic soil. In winter the wheat grows”.
Brothers and Sisters, the time of prayer has arrived. The “New
Evangelization” shall also start in Iceland. You are all heartily
invited to take part through your deeds and prayers! Our Bishop’s
Chapel in Reykjavik is from today, December 12, 2009, dedicated to
“Mary, Mother of Europe”.
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of good will!”
Year for Priests
the 19th June 2009, which was the feast day of the Most Sacred Heart of
Jesus, Pope Benedict XVI opened a “Year for Priests” in celebration of
the 150th anniversary of the death of John Mary Vianney, the patron
saint of priests world-wide. The Year will conclude on the same
feast day in 2010 which is the 11th June.
AN OFFICIAL SUMMARY OF THE NEW PAPAL ENCYCLICAL "CARITAS IN VERITATE" CAN BE FOUND AT:
24 May 2009
First Holy Communions in Maríukirkja
Sunday 24 May 2009
Link to: - MESSAGE OF THE HOLY FATHER
FOR THE 43rd WORLD DAY
20. 5. 2009
in Memory of the Pastoral Visit of
Pope John Paul II to Iceland
Christ the King Cathedral, Landakot, Reykjavík.
• Pope John Paul II in Iceland 1989.
Confirmations in Christ the King Cathedral
17 received the Sacrament of Confirmation in
Peter Bürcher, Bishop of Reykjavík,
for Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd of February 2009
Dear Brothers and Sisters.
“We have never seen anything like this!” (Mark 2, 12).
You know that since June 28, 2008, in the entire Catholic Church there
have been many lectures, congresses and liturgical celebrations. All
this has been to commemorate the birth of St. Paul the Apostle 2000
years ago, and he was the greatest missionary of all times. Pope
Benedict XVI established this Pauline year and it will end on June 29th
of this year. Therefore we have decided, together with the whole Church
to honour the memory of St. Paul and to get to know him better in the
Diocese of Reykjavík as well. Then his life and work will bear more
fruit in our country. In the Gospel of today are these words which we
have just heard: “We have never seen anything like this!” (Mark 2, 12)
and they could also be about St. Paul. At first Saul was the ruthless
persecutor of the Christians: “I am the least of the apostles and do
not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the
church of God” (1Cor 15, 9). Then came his amazing conversion on the
road to Damascus. And he received a calling as the apostle of the
Who is he then, this Paul? We hear something from him almost every
Sunday. Why should Pope Benedict XVI have dedicated this special year
to him? This year and its celebrations are based on the conjecture that
he was born in the year 8 AD. But that is only a conjecture. However we
can say that Paul was the contemporary of Jesus. He was born in Tarsus,
the capitol of Cilicia, and his parents were Jews and Pharisees. In the
Acts of the Apostles he was said to have been a Roman citizen from his
birth. Therefore he carries, in addition to his Jewish name Saul, the
Roman name Paul as well.
In his letters Paul says he earned his living as a tentmaker. Usually
children had the same profession as their fathers in those times.
Therefore this has been supposed to have been the profession of his
father too. This was a normal profession of a common man, which could
provide for the needs of the family, but nothing more than that. The
parents of Paul were Jews who lived far from their native land, but
they were among many other Jews who had been driven far away from their
land for many reasons, but especially by persecutions. They had however
been loyal to their traditions. In his infancy Paul had been
circumcised like every other Jewish boy. He was raised in adherence to
the law of Moses. But Tarsus was a cosmopolitan city. As soon as Paul
walked out of the door of his parents’ house, he breathed in the
Hellenic atmosphere and got acquainted with many different cultures. He
spoke Hebrew and Aramaic at home but Greek elsewhere. He therefore was
raised with an open mind, especially until he became 12 or 13 years
old. He then went to Jerusalem exclusively to study the Jewish law, the
Torah, with Rabbi Gamaliel the Elder, a renowned Rabbi. From then on,
all his interest turned towards the Jewish Law and the Israelite
There is a description or information about Paul that is constantly
repeated. It is said he was of a small stature, that he was fat,
bow-legged and that his eyebrows had grown together, but yet he was
like an angel. But this description is from the late second century. In
traditional icons he is depicted as a bearded and a bald man, which is
quite consistent with the ideas people had about philosophers in the
In his second letter to the Corinthians Paul mentions that he has
difficulties speaking. Therefore some have thought that he stammered.
In his letter to the Galatians he said: “You would have torn out your
eyes and given them to me!” (15, 4). Therefore some have thought he had
poor eyesight. I think we must look at those words in a metaphorical
way for we knew he met with great difficulties in his life: he had long
waking hours, he fasted and suffered from cold; three times he was
shipwrecked and he covered thousands of kilometres by foot.. He was
stoned and the Jews beat him five times and the Romans three times. He
was often imprisoned and all of this shows us that his character must
have been unusual. His will was strong and he could easily adjust to
the circumstances. It also says much about his character that he
persecuted the Christian community prior to the great conversion on the
road to Damascus.
He understood that the Christians doubted some of that which the Jews
honoured and therefore he persecuted them rigorously. He could, for
example, be compared to the Talibans of our time. ... Then came
Damascus and the big change. After that he became remarkably steadfast,
too much for some people, but he always insisted on charitable
behaviour. He likened himself to a father but also to a mother. His
psychology is extremely complex and diverse. In his letter to the
Romans he explicitly says that one should always receive everyone and
make peace with them and also embrace those that have other opinions.
This is so-called Irenism, the spirit of hospitality and conciliation,
which is entirely consistent with the spirit of the Gospel.
The work of St. Paul is mostly preserved in his letters. The letters of
St. Paul were written and usually developed because of the necessity
for completing the verbal mission of St. Paul, which he had of course
brought to various Christian communities. In the letters there are also
answers to some questions and light thrown on the diverse and new
conditions. The style is usually direct. In our Bible the letters are
in this order: Romans, 1st and 2nd Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians,
Philippians, Colossians, 1st and 2nd Thessalonians, 1st and 2nd
Corinthians, 1st and 2nd Timothy, and Titus and Philemon. From a
historical point of view the order is different.
Dear brothers and sisters, finally I would like to repeat what is said
in the Gospel: “We have never seen anything like this!” (Mark 2, 12).
Here is a comparison that could help all of us in Iceland in these
times; we need not only economic reforms. Like Paul we also need the
grace of God for our inner conversion. Paul was in a difficult
situation regarding the hope of eternal life. At the end of his 2nd
letter to the Corinthians he repeats a prayer from the first Christian
community in Palestine: Marana tha! – Come, Lord Jesus! We are also
permitted to pray like that, Pope Benedict XVI has explained. It might
however be rather difficult for modern man to pray for the ending of
the world. But we are allowed to pray like that because we are not
praying for the end of this world, but for the end of the unjust world.
“We want the world to change fundamentally, that justice and peace may
reign, for a world without violence, without hunger.” All of that is
only possible through the presence of Christ. “Come in your way and
renew our modern world,” the Holy Father prayed. “Come also into our
hearts. Come and renew our lives! Come into our hearts so that we can
also become the light of God, your presence.”
With those words, which are entirely appropriate in our country at this
moment, I end my letter to you. I hope that we can get to know St. Paul
a little bit more so that it will be easier for us to accept his
message, which explains the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This we want to do
in this country, each of us individually and in common in these
difficult, yet hopeful times, which are now at hand. With heartfelt
Your Bishop Peter.
Appointments in the Diocese of Reykjavík
following announcement of Bishop Peter Bürcher was read in all the
Masses in the Catholic churches and chapels in the Diocese of
Reykjavík on July 27, 2008
Our Bishop has made the following decisions:
Fr. Patrick Breen has been appointed Vicar General of the Diocese of
Reykjavík, as well as Parish-priest in the Parish of Christ the
King in Reykjavík.
Fr. Jürgen Jamin has asked for a restricted leave for further
education. He is relieved of his duties as Parish-priest in the Parish
of Christ the King in Reykjavík. At the beginning of September
he will start his Sabbatical time in the Holy Land. When he returns he
will be given a new task in the Diocese of Reykjavík.
Fr. Hjalti Thorkelsson is appointed Parish-priest in the Parish of St.
Peter in Akureyri and also Episcopal delegate for Catechism in the
Fr. Marek Zygadlo is, with the agreement of the Provincial of his
Congregation, appointed Chaplain in the Parish of St. Joseph in
Hafnarfjörður. His main task will be the pastoral service for
his Polish-speaking parishioners.
Fr. Jakub Budkiewicz is appointed Chaplain in the Parish of Christ the
King in Reykjavík. His main task will be to study Icelandic.
These appointments are effective from September 1, 2008.
Many thanks in advance for a friendly reception of those priests in their new offices, and for your prayers.
Reykjavík, July 27, 2008
on the Consecration Day of the Cathedral and Basilica
of Christ the King in Reykjavík.
WORLD YOUTH DAY 2008 IN SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA
The World Youth Day was held in Sydney,
Australia, July 15-20, 2008. From Iceland went Tinna
Lárusdóttir and Anna Björg Harðardóttir
accompanied by Sister Cielos from Hafnarfjörður.
Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney, opened the festival with
Holy Mass. The Cardinal asked all men to listen to the message of
Christ. “The call of Christ is for all who suffer, not just for the
Catholics and other Christian people, but especially for those who have
no religion. Christ is calling you home, to charity, healing and
community.” He confirmed the words of the Pope on hope: “While life
exists, there is always a possibility of hope and with the Christian
hope comes belief and charity.”
Half a million young people attended the Mass of Pope Benedict XVI on
July 17. In his sermon the Pope said among other things: “In several
ways the apostles were normal people. None of them could claim to be a
perfect disciple. They failed to recognize Christ, they were ashamed of
their search for distinction and they even denied Him. However they
were fascinated by the truth in the Gospel of Christ when they had been
filled by the Holy Spirit and the were determined and unafraid to
proclaim Him.” The Pope continued: “Dear young people, let me now ask
you a question... How are you using the gifts you have been given, the
“power” which the Holy Spirit is even now prepared to release within
you? What legacy will you leave to young people yet to come? What
difference will you make?” In his final Mass Pope Benedict XVI
announced that the World Youth Day would next be held in Madrid, Spain
Sister Cielos, Tinna and Anna Björg returned home from Australia
after a flight of 26 hours, but that was not a problem since the were
good humoured all the way. In the World Youth Day they expereinced the
truth of those words of Christ: “By this all men will know that you are
my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13, 35).
Rev. Fr. August George SMM
Rev. Fr. August George, Vicar General of
the Diocese of Reykjavík, and former director of the
Landakot-School in Reykjavík, died on the morning of June 16,
2008, at Landspítalinn in Reykjavík.
Requiescat in pace.
Fr. George was born on April 5, 1928 in the village of Wijlre in the
Limburg-district of Holland, the fifth in a row of six siblings. He is
survided by a sister. He attended the Boys’ school of the
Montfort-congregation in Schimmert and later joined the Seminary of the
congregation in Oirschot in Holland. He was ordained priest on March
Fr. George was sent to Iceland in the fall of that year and worked here
since that time, uninterrupted for more than half a century. He soon
started teaching at the Landakot-School and later took over as its
director. He directed the school for 34 years. In 1994 the President of
Iceland, Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, honoured him with the
Order of the Falcon for his work in the field of education. From 1969
Fr. George was also Vicar General of the Diocese. When there was no
bishop appointed here 1986–1988 and again 1994–1995, he served as the
Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese. From 1988 he was the financial
director of the diocese as well.
A requiem Mass was sung for Rev. Fr. George in Christ’s Church in Landakot on June 24, 2008.
Rev. Fr. Sæmundur F. Vigfússon
Rev. Fr. Sæmundur F. Vigfússon was born in Reykjavík
January 27, 1926.
Requiescat in pace.
He died in the nursing home Eir in Reykjavík on June
Fr. Sæmundur joined the Catholic Church as a young man and decided to
become a priest. For that he studied at a school acquainted with the
Propagande Fide in Rome. He was ordained priest on December 20, 1961.
He was Chaplain at Christ the King in Reykjavík and a priest for many
years in Hafnarfjörður. Since the nineteen-eighties he lived in the
Priests’ House in Landakot, assisting at Masses in the church, but
mainly translating liturgical texts from Latin into Icelandic.
In his last years, due to his deteriorating health, Fr. Sæmundur lived in the nursing home Eir in Reykjavík.
A requiem was sung for Fr. Sæmundur Christ’s Church in Landakot on June 23, 2008.
A successful Peter’s Pence Collection
On Sunday, June 29, 2008, the collection for Peter’s Pence was held in all the Catholic churches and chapels in Iceland.
The collection is in fact held all over the world and the amount of
money that is collected is sent to the Pope, who uses all the Peter’s
Pence to help the needy. In Iceland we collected quite a sum, 150,657.-
krónur and the amount has already been sent to the Pope.
We would like to thank all of you, who have contributed to this worthy cause, and ask God to bless you all and your families.
The Saint of the Month
The Sorrowful Mary
No one knows where
the hymn “Stabat mater dolorosa” comes from, and no one knows who sang
it first. Perhaps it was Brother Jacopone de Todi from the Order of St.
Francis of Assisi or St. Bonaventura, Cardinal and Doctor of the
Church, or Pope Innocent III, the most influential Pope of the Middle
Ages. Also, no one knows for sure, who wrote this hymn which describes
the sorrows of Virgin Mary. One thing is sure though, it was first sung
in the 13th century and it has been sung since and will be sung as long
as there are people living on this earth, who piously consider the
sorrows of Virgin Mary. The hymn seems to rise straight out of the
sorrowful heart of a man seeking consolation, by contemplating the
sorrows of Virgin Mary, “mater dolorosa”.
Many composers have written
unforgettable music to accompany this hymn. “Stabat mater” was the last
piece of Palestrina. Joseph Haydn forgot his own sorrows when he
contemplated this hymn. It sounded anew in the compositions of Rossini
and Dvorak. However one feels the best interpretation of Stabat mater
is to be found in the Gregorian chant. Here we find nothing but a
crying and brokehearted human soul seeking solace with the Mother of us
Traditionally the sorrows of Mary are seven in number:
The Prophecy of Simeon.
Reading: Luke 2: 25-35.
When Mary and Joseph present the infant Jesus in the temple, Simeon predicts that a "sword" (of sorrow) will pierce her soul.
The flight into Egypt.
Reading: Matthew 2: 13-15.
When King Herod orders the death of all male children age two or younger, Mary and Joseph flee to Egypt with the infant Jesus.
The Child Jesus Lost in the Temple.
Reading: Luke 2: 41-50.
Mary and Joseph search for the child Jesus for three days, fnding him at last in the temple.
Mary meets Jesus carrying the cross.
Reading: Luke 23: 27-29.
Mary shares Jesus' suffering as He carries the cross through the streets of Jerusalem.
Mary at the foot of the cross.
Reading: John 19: 25-30.
Mary witnesses the crucifixion and death of Jesus.
Mary receives the body of Jesus.
Reading: Psalm 130.
Jesus is taken down from the cross and his body is placed in Mary's arms.
Mary witnesses the burial of Jesus.
Reading: Luke 23: 50-56.
The body of Jesus is laid in the tomb and Mary awaits the Resurrection.
Here is the hymn “Stabat mater dolorosa”, in an English translation.
At the Cross her station keeping,
stood the mournful Mother weeping,
close to Jesus to the last.
Through her heart, His sorrow sharing,
all His bitter anguish bearing,
now at length the sword has passed.
O how sad and sore distressed
was that Mother, highly blest,
of the sole-begotten One.
Christ above in torment hangs,
she beneath beholds the pangs
of her dying glorious Son.
Is there one who would not weep,
whelmed in miseries so deep,
Christ's dear Mother to behold?
By the Cross with thee to stay,
there with thee to weep and pray,
is all I ask of thee to give.
For the sins of His own nation,
She saw Jesus wracked with torment,
All with scourges rent:
She beheld her tender Child,
Saw Him hang in desolation,
Till His spirit forth He sent.
Can the human heart refrain
from partaking in her pain,
in that Mother's pain untold?
O thou Mother! fount of love!
Touch my spirit from above,
make my heart with thine accord:
Make me feel as thou hast felt;
make my soul to glow and melt
with the love of Christ my Lord.
Holy Mother! pierce me through,
in my heart each wound renew
of my Savior crucified:
Let me share with thee His pain,
who for all my sins was slain,
who for me in torments died.
Let me mingle tears with thee,
mourning Him who mourned for me,
all the days that I may live:
Let me, to my latest breath,
in my body bear the death
of that dying Son of thine.
Virgin of all virgins blest!,
Listen to my fond request:
let me share thy grief divine;
Wounded with His every wound,
steep my soul till it hath swooned,
in His very Blood away;
Be to me, O Virgin, nigh,
lest in flames I burn and die,
in His awful Judgment Day.
Christ, when Thou shalt call me hence,
by Thy Mother my defense,
by Thy Cross my victory;
When my body dies,
let my soul be granted
the glory of Paradise. Amen.
On the 30th of October Pope Benedict XVI has appointed
His Excellency Bishop Pierre Bürcher
Bishop of Reykjavík. The appointed Bishop has been Auxiliary
Bishop of Lausanne, Genève and Fribourg in Switzerland since
The new Bishop will be installed
on Saturday the 15th of December during a solemn Holy Mass in the
Cathedral in Landakot, Reykjavík,
beginning at 10.30 a.m.
Welcome, Bishop Pétur!
October 7 Bishop Jóhannes became 75 years old. According to
Church Law a few months before he reached that limit he offered Pope
Benedict XVI his resignation. Then the Pope asked him to occupy his
post until his successor had been found. On the 30th of October Pope
Benedict appointed Pétur (Pierre) Bürcher, Auxiliary bishop
of the Diocese of Lausanne-Genève and Fribourg in Switzerland to
be bishop of Reykjavík. Bishop Pétur was born in the
Fiescher-Valley in Oberwallis in Switzerland on December 20, 1945. He
was ordained priest in Genève on March 27, 1971, and served
after that for 18 years as chaplain, priest and dean in many parishes
before he became rector of the Priest-seminary of Villar-sur-Glane in
Fribourg. On the 3rd of February 1994 Pope John Paul II appointed him
Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Lausanne-Genève and Fribourg.
Bishop Peter is a specialist on the Church in the Middle-East,
especially in the Holy Land. He is a member of the Vatican Congregation
for the Oriental Churches and he has often visited the Holy Land as a
pilgrim. In the Swiss Bishops’ Conference the newly appointed Bishop of
Reykjavík was among other things responsible for catechism and
youth education and as such he has often participated in the World
Youth Day. On behalf of the Bishops’ Conference he also took care of
ecumenical matters and the dialogue with other religions. His
appointment as Bishop of Reykjavík came as a total surprize to
him, he said, since he had never even visited Iceland, but out of
faithfulness to the office of sheperd, he agreed to take on this
new Bishop of Reykjavík can in his work depend on his 36 year
pastoral experience and his innumerable connections with Christians of
wide and different origin. Our diocese has in the last few years grown
dramatically. When Bishop Jóhannes took over, registered
Catholics were around 2500 but are now more than 8000 (mostly people
looking for work or immigrants). However the number of Catholics is
probably much higher, since not nearly everyone registers with the
authorities according to their religion (since that is no duty and many
also don’t know about this possibility). This enormous growth in few
years has made the development of the “infrastructure” of the Church
unavoidable, and the outgoing Bishop has done much in this field. The
Catholic Church is now present in ten different places in Iceland,
either in churches, chapels, educational centres or monasteries. Bishop
Jóhannes has built a number of new churches and chapels, in
Ísafjörður in the Westfjords 1999, Akureyri in the
North 2000, Riftún in the South 2005, and in
Reyðarfjörður in the East 2007 (at the same time a
Capuchin monastery was established there). Maríu-Church in
Breiðholt was enlarged 1999 and the Cathedral of Christ the King in
Landakot, Reykjavík, was thoroughly renovated and in 2000 was
elevated to the status of “basilica minor”, the first church in the
Nordic Countries. This was done on the occasion of the 1000 years of
Christianity in Iceland. Parishes have increased from 3 to 5, and 3 new
rectorates have been established. Four new congregations of
sisters have settled down in Iceland, doing indispensable work
for the Church. The Catholic Church is growing rapidly based on the
high number of births, and as a result baptisms, among the faithful.
The relation between births, baptisms and deaths or funerals is
revealing, and it is certainly quite different from what we see in
Europe in our times. In 2006 there were 142 baptisms and only 15
funerals. Also a few Icelanders every year seek catechism classes and
as a result join the “Mother Church”. After the “outer” growth of the
last years the new bishop hopes for some results with the “inner
growth”. By this he particularly means the youth work and the unity
within the diocese, because, despite many language and ethnic groups,
Catholics in Iceland – as everywhere else – should form one Church. The
attention must be pointed especially toward Catholic Icelanders
who now live in a kind of “double Diaspora”, as Catholics in Iceland
and as Icelanders within their own diocese.
we thank Bishop Jóhannes we hope that he will have many good
years in his home town of Sittard in the Netherlands. We warmly welcome
Bishop Pétur and wish him God’s blessing for his many years of
service in Iceland.
Sr. Jürgen Jamin
Notes on the Office of Bishop
word bishop originally comes from the Greek “episkopos”, meaning
manager, supervisor, guardian. In the early Church the bishop was the
leader of the local Church and he preached and led the divine services.
He was supported by the elders and the deacons. His sphere of action
has been preserved to this day, although the terminology is somewhat
different now. At the end of the time of the apostles, in the second
century, more and more bishops were ordained, in addition to the local
bishops, supervising a number of parishes. In those cases the
presbyters (priests) led the divine services as representatives of the
local bishop. The deacons were the co-workers of the bishop amongst the
parishioners. The province of the bishop was called a diocese, usually
a town and the adjacent villages and then the town became the residence
of the bishop. When f.e. Germany and Switzerland were christianized,
there were no big and important cities. Therefore the dioceses were
stretched over relatively large areas. This is the reason why the
dioceses in Germany were much larger than in Italy, where real cities
had existed from early on.
The Bishop and the Doctrine of the Church
all kinds of heresies, three main standards were developed in order to
distinguish the Catholic faith from other doctrines: the books of the
Bible, the tradition and the episcopacy as a decisive authority on
doctrine and liturgy. Consequently the bishops were given different
spheres of authority and many bishops, usually those in a provincial
centre, became supervisors of the other bishops in the region,
subsequently developing into a successive order of patriarch,
metropolit, archbishop and bishop. At the top was and is the Pope, the
bishop of Rome. The bishop first must be ordained deacon and then
priest. The appointment, removal and transfer of a bishop is only made
by the Pope, and the bishops are only responsible to him, and if
necessary will be judged by him.
The Apostolic Succession
the bishops the doctrinal and guiding authority survives, which Jesus
gave to his apostles. In an unbroken and successive imposition of hands
(Apostolic Succession), all the bishops are connected with the
apostles. Thus the office of the bishop belongs to the socalled “divine
right”. The highest duty of the bishop of Rome, as the official
successor of St. Peter, is to preserve the unity. The bishop of a
diocese is its director and holds its sole power of government.
As such he is the highest authority of doctrinal and judicial matters
in his diocese and is only responsible to the Pope. Assisting the
bishop with the administration of the diocese are several officials in
the diocesan office (curia), such as the Vicar general (the general
and permanent representative of the bishop). His appointment is
left up to the bishop. The Official (dómari) is appointed by the
bishop and occupies the regular power of justice. He must have have
knowledge of legal matters. Priests and lay people have advisory
functions. The local bishop can be assisted by auxiliary bishops, who
usually are given charge of a part of the diocese under the supervision
of the diocesan bishop.
The Bishop ...
is the first to administer the sacraments in his diocese. The further
administration of the sacraments follows through a delegation to the
priests, coming from the bishop. Reserved to him is the sacrament of
ordination (ordination of a bishop, priest and decaon) and
confirmation. In cases of emergency the confirmation can be delegated
to a priest.
office of bishop is a life long commitment. At the end of the 75th
year, the bishops, according to Church Law from 1983, Can. 401 §1
CIC, must offer their resignation from office to the Pope. The insignia
of a bishop are his socalled pontificials; mitre, crozier (accentuating
his function as shepherd), the bishop’s ring and the pectoral cross.
thoughts show us how important the office of a bishop really is. The
bishop should therefore be treated with respect and obedience. A
bishop’s visit to his parishes is always a festive occasion.
The Apostolic Nuntio visited Iceland
Among the provisions made regarding the
coming designation of a new bishop of Reykjavík, was the visit
of the Papal Nuntio for the Nordic Countries, archbishop Giovanni
Tonucci, to Iceland March 6 to 8. Tuesday the 6th of March in the
afternoon he took part in a retreat with the priests in
Hafnarfjörður and celebrated Holy Mass with them in the St.
Joseph’s Church there. On Wednesday morning the 7th of March he visited
the Carmel sisters in Hafnarfjörður and asked them to pray for
the election of a suitable bishop. In the afternoon he met with the
priests of the diocese and representatives of the sisters, as well as
with representatives of the various societies of the diocese and the
parishes (financial committe, parish committes, lay-societies and
He explained the procedure to them and asked them
for their opinion regarding the situation of the diocese, expectations
about the future and the necessary dispostion and abilities of the new
bishop. However no specific persons were discussed as possibilities.
The Nuntio said that he would consider the information that he got.
They would be kept in mind during the search for suitable men to take
over the charge of bishop. In the afternoon the Nuntio celebrated Mass
together with the bishop of Reykjavík, Jóhannes Gijsen,
and the priests in the cathedral. Also took part the sisters and the
representatives of the lay, that had been present at the meeting
earlier, as well as many faithful.
After this “survey” of the Nuntio he will put before the
relevant authorities in Rome a list of possible candidates for the
office of bishop of Reykjavík. If necessary he will seek further
information about them. The results of his investigation will be put
before the Pope and his advisors. The Pope will then decide who will be
the new bishop. This decision can be expected later in this year.
As we all know, bishop Jóhannes Gijsen will
be 75 years old on October 7 this year. Then the Pope, according to
Canon Law, will relieve him of his duties as bishop of Reykjavík.
The Nuntio emphasized that the most important thing that
now awaited us, the faithful of the diocese of Reykjavík, was to
pray for the Holy Spirit to influence all those that take part in the
designation of the new bishop, so that the right representative be
Patron Saint of Iceland
1133 - 1193
Statue of Saint Thorlac,
Patron Saint of Iceland,
located in Christ the King Cathedral, Reykjavik
Thorlac was born in the south of Iceland in
parents were quite poor. They lost their farm and the family broke up
while he was still a boy. Thorlac had two sisters. Before he was 20
Thorlac became a priest. For a few years he served as a parish priest
and is said to have been very conscious of his duties. He managed to
save some money in order to study abroad. He was 6 years in Paris,
France and then some time in Lincoln, England.
When he returned to
Iceland he spent some time at Kirkjubaer
south-east of Iceland. He supported his mother and sisters. He loved
kirkjubaer very much and later as bishop, he established the first
nunnery in Iceland at this place.
When Thorlac had
spent 6 years at Kirkjubaer, the first
Canonry in Iceland was founded at Thykkvibaer. Thorlac became the first
Abbot. He seems to have regulated the Augustinian Rule in Iceland.
Some years later
Thorlac was elected Bishop of
Skálholt. He was
consecrated bishop in Norway on the 2nd July 1178. He was Bishop of
Skálholt for 15 years, until his death in 1193, aged 60.
Thorlac worked hard
to reform the Nation and to strengthen the
This proved to be a tremendous undertaking. Although not always
successful, he did pave the way for future improvements.
Thorlac lived a
holy life and after his death hundreds of
attributed to his intercession. He was canonized locally in 1198 and on
the 14th of January 1984, the Holy Father, John Paul II, declared
Thorlac to be the Patron Saint of Iceland. Thorlac has 2 feast days,
20th July and 23rd December.