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Featured in Fides 2/24

Featured in Fides 2/24

Vatican announces motto of Jubilee Year 2025: ’Pilgrims of Hope’

Pope Francis has given his approval for the theme of the upcoming Holy Year. According to the President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, the Pope’s main concern is that the 2025 Jubilee Year be prepared in the best possible way.

Speaking after an audience with Pope Francis on 3 January, Archbishop Rino Fisichella said that during the meeting the Pope approved the motto proposed for the upcoming Jubilee Year, a motto he said, “that can be summed up in two words: Pilgrims of hope.”

Plenary Session of the The Nordic Bishops’ Conference in Luxembourg

The Nordic Bishops’ Conference (NBK) finished its Spring meeting on Friday 15.3.24. Much time was spent preparing for the second part of the Synod of Bishops. The question published by the General Secretariat of the Synod ”How to be a synodal Church on mission?” will be addressed at different levels in all the countries of the Bishops’ Conference. ”Synodality is not just an option – it is what we need in order to overcome the divisions and confrontations of our time,” said President of the Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Czeslaw Kozon in his opening address.

Disapproval and Sadness – ”The Russian Aggression Also Affects Our Own Countries”

The Nordic bishops expressed in clear terms solidarity with the people of Ukraine as well as their disapproval of the Russian war and their sorrow for the many lives lost. ”Russia’s aggression raises concern also in our countries: E.g. a few days ago Russia announced the placement of its troops on the Finnish border.” Meanwhile, more than 200 000 Ukrainian refugees have sought refuge in the Nordic countries, and in Iceland their numbers have increased 20-fold in recent years, reports Bishop Bohdan Dzyurakh, Apostolic Exarch of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Germany and Scandinavia.

Petition for Israeli Hostages and Humanitarian Aid for the Gaza Strip

At present, at least 2.2 million Palestinians are at risk of starvation – the majority of Gaza’s population. ”We pray full of hope and in the spirit of solidarity call for an immediate ceasefire in the Middle East. For the release of hostages and the provision of humanitarian aid for the Gaza Strip, urgent negotiations are needed. Through dialogue, International efforts can open a new political path to lasting peace, as is also needed in other war zones in the world.”

The number of pilgrims in the Holy Land has fallen dramatically. It is a grim reality for those who depend economically on these pilgrimages. The Bishops thank everyone for their prayers and for their financial contributions for the Holy Land given in the collections on Good Friday of 2024.

A Native Finn Ordained a Priest in England

Francisco Hintikka CO, a native of Finland, was ordained to the priesthood in England on January 24, 2024. Fr. Hintikka is a member of the Bournemouth Oratory of the Sacred Heart and is a so-called Oratorian. Three Finnish priests were also present at the ordination: Prelate Tuomo T. Vimpari, Fr. Anders Hamberg and Fr. Tuomas Nyyssölä.
Hintikka was ordained by Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth, who in his sermon remarked that it was a rare event, as Fr. Hintikka is ”only the eleventh native-born Finnish Catholic priest since the Reformation”. The sermon can be read in full via the link below.

The Oratorians belong to The Confederation of Oratories of Saint Philip Neri (Confoederatio Oratorii Sancti Philippi Nerii). Its members are not bound by monastic vows, as is most religious orders, but by a strong ”bond of love”. This means that the Oratorians commit themselves to a single local, autonomous Oratory. The first Oratory was founded in Rome in 1575 by St. Filippo Neri. Perhaps the most famous Oratorian was St. John Henry Newman, who founded the first Oratory in England in 1848. There are currently ca. 86 Oratories in the world.

Sermon of Bishop Egan:
Bournemouth Oratory:

New Priests’ Council Meets in Turku

Bishop Raimo Goyarrola’s new Priests’ Council met for the first time at the Bridgettine Guest House in Turku on March 4-5, 2024.

It is significant that all priests in the Helsinki diocese are now members of the Priests’ Council, which will bring a broader perspective and increase the cooperation between priests. Bishop Goyarrola chose Fr. Martti Savijoki SCJ as the secretary of the Council and Fr. Tri Nguyen was elected the Vice-Chairman of the Council.

During the meeting, Bishop Raimo gave a comprehensive overview of the situation, plans and projects in the Diocese. The updating of the map of the Diocese as well as the devoping of the parishes were also discussed. As the amount of members in the Diocese keeps increasing, new spaces for meetings are needed. Meanwhile, however, the tight financial situation of the Diocese has to be taken into account.

The participating priests shared about the situation and activities of their parishes and communities. In particular, the growing number of believers, the increasing internationalization, the lack of staff, the inadequacy and, in some cases, the poor state of the facilities were all highlighted. It also became apparent that there is a growing emphasis on youth work in different parts of Finland.

The meeting also included training on the Diocesan document on marriage and its significance, the annulment procedure and the pastoral work for priestly vocations. Members of the Priests’ Council enjoyed the fellowship and fraternity in a friendly atmosphere, while getting to know each other better. The food prepared by the Sisters was also excellent.

The Nordic Bishops: “We applaud Ukraine’s perseverance and the efforts of all people of good will to feed the hungry, to comfort the grieving and to care for the sick.”

On March 11, 2022, we, the Members of the Nordic Bishops’ Conference, issued a statement in which we expressed ”our deep communion with the people of Ukraine and our indignation at the war of aggression waged by the Russian Federation. With this war, Russia shows contempt for Ukraine’s sovereignty and causes incalculable suffering to millions of innocent people.”
Two years later, our outrage is still strong, only sharper out of grief for the many lives lost, the many injured, for those that have lost their homes, for the trauma suffered by children, and for the systematic destruction of national, cultural and religious heritage.

Russia’s aggression is also a cause for concern in our countries: a few days ago, Russia announced the placement of troops on the Finnish border. Confrontations of the past are coming back to mind. In such a climate, mental strength and clear thinking are needed. Europe needs a long-term vision for its stability, which would make it possible for peace to flourish in a context of lasting justice. When our continent is shaken by threatening winds, we must ensure that our roots are deep. The Catholic Church in the Nordic Countries wants to contribute to this work.

We applaud Ukraine’s perseverance and the efforts of all people of good will to feed the hungry, to comfort the grieving and to care for the sick. It id through these actions that the flame of hope can penetrate the darkness numbed by hatred. We especially praise the work of Caritas in Ukraine. Just like last year, on Pentecost our countries will unite to raise funds for the humanitarian work of Caritas in Ukraine.

Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian refugees have been integrated into our Nordic parishes and communities during the past two years. We welcome them. They enrich us with the spiritual riches they bring. For a thousand years, a strong bond of friendship has united our countries with the Rus region of Kiev. We pray to God, protector of the poor, who laughs at the assumptions of princes (Ps. 2:4), to restore peace to Ukraine.

As we enter the season of Lent, we look to Jesus, who is our peace (Eph 2:14) and who stands before Pontius Pilate. We remember that peace in our world which is sickened by sin requires speaking the truth to those in power. May the saving Easter of Christ, the foundation of our existence, renew the face of the earth. May the Spirit of Christ make us truly wise.

Luxembourg, March 15, 2024

  • Czeslaw Kozon, Bishop of Copenhagen, President
  • Cardinal Anders Arborelius OCD, Bishop of Stockholm,
  • Bernt Eidsvig Can.Reg, Bishop of Oslo
  • David Tencer OFM Cap, Bishop of Reykjavik
  • Erik Varden OCSO, Bishopric of Trondheim and
    Apostolic Administrator of Tromsø
  • Raimo Goyarrola, Bishop of Helsinki
  • Peter Bürcher, Bishop Emeritus of Reykjavik
  • Berislav Grgic, Bishop Emeritus of Tromsø

The Pope’s Prayer Intentions for 2024

For the role of women
We pray that the dignity and immense value of women be recognized in every culture, and for the end of discrimination that they experience in different parts of the world.

For the formation of religious and seminarians
We pray that religious women and men, and seminarians, grow in their own vocations through their human, pastoral, spiritual and community formation, leading them to be credible witnesses to the Gospel.


In March the newly-ordained Bishop of Helsinki, Raimo Goyarrola, spoke with the Journal Fides about the past couple of months and also introduced his plans for the future. The Bishop, who is very busy, is full of both joy and trust.

Juventus Catholica re-established

What is JC?

Juventus Catholica is the youth organization of our Diocese, whose activities are run by the young people themselves. The organization works under the guidance of the Bishop of Helsinki and in collaboration with the moderator (Fr. Eze Charles Nwoko) appointed by him. The purpose of the organization is 1) to support young Catholics in the knowledge of the faith and the pursuit of holiness; 2) to bring together young Catholics living in different parts of Finland; 3) to act as a counter-force to the harmful influences encounteredby Catholic youth; and 4) to spread the Catholic faith in Finland by equipping young people for the mission of the Church

The organization carries out its purpose primarily by organizing camps, pilgrimages and other events.
Full membership of the organization is open to Catholics aged 15-28. In addition, anyone who wishes to support the aims and activities of the association may become a patron of the organization. The patrons are prayed for by the youth in addition to Masses being offered for them. They will also receive regular updates about the activities of the organization.
To become a member, visitäseneksi
Social media accounts and websites:

Pope’s speech to the Ecumenical Delegation from Finland

Pope Francis met with the Ecumenical Delegation from Finland on Friday 19.1.2024.

The Catholic Church keeps growing – situation at the beginning of 2024

In Finland

Steady growth in the membership of the Catholic Church in Finland seems to have continued steadily during 2023. With the reform of the diocesan, or rather parish, membership register, there is some uncertainty in some of the data, but the direction is clear. The number of members of our Diocese at the turn of the year 2023-2024 was ca. 17 243. Compared with the previous year, this is an increase of about 500 members, or 3.0%.

As usual, the growth factors were above all baptisms, emigration – 200-300 each – and new faithful received into the Church. There were 37 marriages, 13 of which were between two Catholics. 237 members received their First Communion and 199 received the Sacrament of Confirmation.


About 17.7 % of the world’s population belongs to the Catholic Church. At the beginning of 2022, there were 1.376 billion Catholics (five years ago the number was 1.29 billion). Almost half of them live in North or South America, about 21% in Europe, 19% in Africa, 11% in Asia and the rest in Oceania. In Europe, the number of Catholics is slowly declining, while elsewhere it is increasing, in some places rapidly.

Apart from the Diocese of Rome, the Catholic Church has a dozen Patriarchates, more than six hundred Archdioceses, and more than two thousand Dioceses.

At the beginning of 2022, the Catholic Church had 5 340 bishops, 407 872 priests, 49 176 permanent deacons, 49 774 male religious, and 608 958 female religious.

Positive Development in Income from Membership

The 2023 data on the development of income from members has been completed. Last year
a total of 980 638 euros was collected in membership income, which is more than in any previous year. The increase from the previous year was more than 8%. The biggest change was in the increase in Mass collections. The average income per member last year was ca. 57 euros.

The increase in collections is mainly due to the fact that there is an increasing number of people at Mass. This is, of course, a source of great joy. On the other hand, it is important to remember that the membership fee should be the main form of support for the parish. Unfortunately, however, the trend in membership fees has not been as favorable.

Support the Work of the Parish And the Church

In addition to membership fees, collections and donations, you can support the work of the church and the parish by contributing directly to fundraising activities for specific needs. You can find out more at
Many of the parishes already offer the possibility to donate via the MobilePay app during the collection at Mass. In addition to giving financial support, it is always a good idea to ask if you can to help the parish in other concrete ways.

St. Joseph – The vocation to serve

Today the Church celebrates the Feast of St. Joseph. With his life Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus, shows us the heart of Christianity: A spirit of quiet service, tirelessly focused on helping others, is the way to a holy life. Jesus himself says to us: ”For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). St. Joseph proves the truthfulness of this message: the call to live one’s life for God, in the service of others.

The same calling applies to all Christians regardless of their status and situation in life. In the case of Joseph, it is made concrete in the family, which includes Jesus and Mary. As the father, it is his task to ensure a safe home for them, to serve and to love them, and to make sure that God’s will is done in the life of the Holy Family. For this St. Joseph is prepared to make all kinds of sacrifices, to leave his own home, to go as a refugee in a foreign land, and to start from the beginning over and over again. The quiet example and reputation of St. Joseph is noteworthy. When Jesus was already known as a teacher, the people of his home village wondered: ’Is he not the carpenter’s son?” (Matthew 13:55).

The Bible does not tell us about the death of Joseph. However, it is easy to imagine that he died just as he lived: close to Mary and Jesus, without drawing attention to himself, giving his life for others. In year 2013 Pope Francis ordered that the name of St. Joseph be from then on mentioned in each of the Eucharistic Prayers, in other words, at the very heart of Holy Mass. This decision shows clearly the great value of a life dedicated entirely to the service of God and to others.

During this Year of Prayer, St Joseph can also serve as a sure way for us as we seek to grow ever closer to Christ and His Mother Mary, who is also our Mother. Close to them, it is natural for us to turn our gaze also towards other people and to receive God’s grace in order to serve them.

Saint Joseph, Father of Jesus and Spouse of the Virgin Mary, Patron of the Universal Church, pray for us.

Helsinki March 19, 2024

+ Raimo

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