The Vatican Today

Subscribe to The Vatican Today feed
Updated: 55 min 26 sec ago

Pope Francis to discuss Venezuela crisis with country’s bishops

Tue, 06/06/2017 - 18:36
(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis will receive the Presidential Council of the Episcopal Conference of Venezuela in a private audience on Thursday. The meeting was announced on Tuesday in a statement by the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Greg Burke. The statement reads, “The encounter was requested by the Episcopal Conference itself, which desires to speak to the Pope about the situation in Venezuela.” (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope tells missionaries to be attentive to dialogue with Islam

Mon, 06/05/2017 - 20:53
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has urged missionaries to reserve special attention for dialogue with Islam, to promote the dignity of women and the values of the family, to be sensitive to issues of justice and peace The Pope was addressing Consolata Missionaries who have begun their 13th General Chapter in Rome. The Chapter will officially end on June 20th, the feast of Our Lady  Pope Francis expressed his joy at being able to welcome both the male and female branches of the Religious Family founded by Blessed Giuseppe Allamano and he highlighted his appreciation for their particular mission that takes them into challenging situations. In view of the effort to continue to produce abundant good fruits in the Consolata communities and in the missionary activity of the Church, the Pope told the religious that in light of new pastoral urgencies and new forms of poverty they are called to deepen their charism and renew their impetus for evangelization. “While I thank the Lord for the good that you are doing in the world, I urge you use great discernment and consideration of the situations in which the peoples you are working with find themselves in” he said. Encouraging them never to tire of bringing comfort to populations that are often marked by great poverty and acute suffering, as in so many parts of Africa and Latin America, he said: “Let yourself continually be provoked by the concrete realities with which you come in contact and try to offer the testimony of charity that the Spirit has poured into your hearts in a proper way.” Remarking on the fact that - just like that of any family - the history of the religious communities is marked by joys and sorrows, by lights and shadows, and recently, he said “it has been made fruitful thanks to the Cross of Christ”. “How can we not mention your brothers and sisters who loved the Gospel of charity more than themselves and who crowned their missionary service with the sacrifice of their lives? Their evangelical choice highlights your missionary commitment and encourages you to pursue your particular mission in the Church with renewed generosity” he said. The Pope said that to pursue this difficult mission it is necessary to live in communion with God with an enhanced awareness of the Lord’s love and mercy for us. “It is more important, he said, to be aware of God’s love for us, rather than of how much we love Him.” The Pope said that we all need to rediscover the love and mercy of the Lord in order to become more ‘familiar’ with God. Consecrated persons, he continued, need to rediscover that love and mercy in order to conform more closely to Christ, with freedom, spontaneity and a sense of awe for the wonders He performs. In this perspective, the Pope said, religious life can become a journey of rediscovery of divine mercy, “helping you in your attempts to imitate Christ’s virtues and His humanity as you carry out your pastoral ministry”.  He also encouraged them to joyfully be open to the many incentives for renewal and commitment that derive from true contact with the Lord Jesus through the work of the Holy Spirit.  This, the Pope noted, will allow you to be actively present in  new arenas of evangelization with openness and attentiveness to situations of particular need that are emblematic of our time -  even should this imply some sacrifice. Pope Francis urged those present to always look to the example of their blessed Founder and not to tire of giving new impetus to missionary work. He remarked on their responsibility to support Christian communities that have been entrusted to them “especially those of a recent foundation” and called for sensitivity towards inculturation of the Gospel, respect for co-workers and the choice of being present in simplicity and poverty. The Pope invited them to reserve special attention for dialogue with Islam, to promote the dignity of women and the values of the family, to be sensitive to issues of justice and peace. He concluded encouraging the Consolata brothers and sisters to continue in their missionary journey with hope and expressed his trust that it may increasingly provide a vivid and sanctifying encounter with Jesus, source of consolation, peace and salvation for all men.     (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope: works of mercy means sharing suffering of others

Mon, 06/05/2017 - 19:51
(Vatican Radio) Doing works of mercy doesn’t mean just giving coins to assuage our consciences. Rather, it means sharing in the suffering of others, even at personal cost to ourselves. That message was at the heart of Pope Francis’ homily on Monday morning at his regular Santa Marta Mass. Listen to Philippa Hitchen's report: Reflecting on the first reading from the book of Tobit, or Tobias, the Pope noted how Tobit was saddened and wept at the murder of a Jewish kinsman, whose body he brought inside to bury after sunset. Pope Francis went on to speak about the 14 corporal and spiritual works of mercy, saying that to do them properly means not just sharing what we possess, but also sharing in the sufferings of others. We do not do works of mercy to assuage our consciences, to make us feel better, he said. Rather, the merciful person is the one who has pity on others and shares in their suffering. We must ask ourselves, am I generous? Do I know how to put myself in another person’s shoes? Do I suffer when I see another person in difficulty? The Pope continued by noting how the Jews in the bible reading had been deported to Assyria and were not allowed a proper burial. Therefore Tobit risked being killed too – just as we must also take risks as we carry out works of mercy. Recalling the Second World War years here in Rome, Pope Francis spoke of all those people, beginning with Pope Pius XII, who risked their own lives to save Jews from deportation and death. Those who carry out works of mercy must take risks, but they may also be mocked by others, just as Tobit was mocked by his neighbours. Doing works of mercy also means being willing to be inconvenienced, the Pope went on, just as Our Lord was inconvenienced – all the way to the Cross – to show mercy to us. We do works of mercy for others, Pope Francis said, because we know that we have been shown mercy by Our Lord first. We think about our mistakes, our sins, and how the Lord has forgiven us, so we do the same with our brothers and sisters. Works of mercy, the Pope concluded, keep us away from egoistic behavior and help us imitate Jesus more closely. (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope Francis pays final respects to Cardinal Husar

Mon, 06/05/2017 - 19:11
(Vatican Radio) In a heartfelt personal letter, Pope Francis has expressed his desire to “be among those praying to the heavenly Father” for the “chosen soul of our Brother” Cardinal Lubomyr Husar. The Holy Father noted the “extraordinary influx of people” paying their respects to the former head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. This, he said, “is an eloquent sign of what he has been: one of the highest and most respected moral authorities of the Ukrainian people in recent decades.” Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, Major Archbishop emeritus of Kyiv-Halyč, died on 31 May 2017, aged 84. In his letter, addressed to Husar’s successor, Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, Pope Francis spoke of the late Cardinal’s efforts to lead his people beyond “the legacy of the ‘catacombs’ into which it was forced by persecutions.” He did so not only by restoring ecclesiastical structures, but especially through “the joy of his own story, founded on faith” that endured “through and beyond suffering.” Pope Francis spoke of Cardinal Husar as “a master of wisdom,” who spoke to his people in simple, yet profound words. “His was the wisdom of the Gospel, the bread of the Word of God broken for the simple, for the suffering, for all those seeking dignity.” After his ministry as “father and head” of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, the Pope said, and with the onset of old age and illness, Cardinal Husar’s presence became “even more intense and rich.” He prayed for all, and when he spoke, “everyone felt that a Christian was speaking, a Ukrainian passionate about his identity, always full of hope, open to the future of God.” Pope Francis praised him for “the warmth of his great humanity and exquisite kindness,” and especially for his ability to welcome and communicate with the young. “It moves me to think that today all of Ukraine weeps for him,” the Pope said, “but also that many people are certain that he already rests in the embrace of the heavenly Father.” They are certain, he said, that after the example of his “credible and coherent life” they will “continue to benefit from his prayer, with which he will continue to protect his people who are still suffering, marked by violence and insecurity, and yet certain that the love of Christ does not disappoint.” Pope Francis concluded with his letter with a note of gratitude for “this unique religious and social presence in Ukraine’s history,” encouraging the faithful to remain committed to Cardinal Husar’s “constant teaching and total abandonment to Providence.” He called on them to continue “to feel his smile and his caress.” (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope Francis at Pentecost: new people, new hearts

Sun, 06/04/2017 - 22:57
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis celebrated Mass on Sunday, the Solemnity of Pentecost, in St. Peter’s Square. Before a crowd of scores of thousands of faithful – many of them pilgrims – gathered beneath a bright and nearly cloudless June sky, the Holy Father preached a homily that turned on two actions of the Holy Spirit, discernible in the readings of the day: He makes a new people and He gives each member of that people a new heart. “[F]irst,” said Pope Francis, “[the Holy Spirit] he rests on each [of the disciples] and then brings all of them together in fellowship,” giving each a gift for the good of the new community He has created. “The same Spirit creates diversity and unity , and in this way forms a new, diverse and unified people: the universal Church.” Click below to hear our report The Holy Father went on to indicate two recurrent temptations we must avoid if we are to be a new people and receive the gifts the Spirit disposes for us. “The first temptation seeks diversity without unity ,” he said. “The opposite temptation is that of seeking unity without diversity .” Pope Francis went on to say, “The prayer we make to the Holy Spirit is for the grace to receive His unity, a glance that, leaving personal preferences aside, embraces and loves His Church, our Church.  It is to accept responsibility for unity among all, to wipe out the gossip that sows the darnel of discord and the poison of envy, since to be men and women of the Church means being men and women of communion. It is also to ask for a heart that feels that the Church is our Mother and our home, an open and welcoming home where the manifold joy of the Holy Spirit is shared.” The second new thing brought by the Spirit, a new heart, is given to the disciples and to us for the forgiveness of sins. “Jesus does not condemn [the disciples] for having denied and abandoned Him during His passion, but instead grants them the spirit of forgiveness. The Spirit is the first gift of the Risen Lord, and is given above all for the forgiveness of sins,” Pope Francis said. “[F]orgiveness is gift to the highest degree: it is the greatest love of all. It preserves unity despite everything, prevents collapse, and consolidates and strengthens. Forgiveness sets our hearts free and enables us to start afresh.” (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope Francis: Message for World Mission Sunday

Sun, 06/04/2017 - 20:14
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has issued his Message for World Mission Sunday, 2017, which is focused on  Mission at the Heart of the Christian Faith . World Mission Sunday is marked each year in October, and this year is on October 22nd.  Please find the full text of the Holy Father's Message, below... ********************************************************* Mission at the heart of the Christian faith Dear Brothers and Sisters, Once again this year, World Mission Day gathers us around the person of Jesus, “the very first and greatest evangelizer” (PAUL VI,  Evangelii Nuntiandi , 7), who continually sends us forth to proclaim the Gospel of the love of God the Father in the power of the Holy Spirit.  This Day invites us to reflect anew on the  mission at the heart of the Christian faith .  The Church is missionary by nature; otherwise, she would no longer be the Church of Christ, but one group among many others that soon end up serving their purpose and passing away.  So it is important to ask ourselves certain questions about our Christian identity and our responsibility as believers in a world marked by confusion, disappointment and frustration, and torn by numerous fratricidal wars that unjustly target the innocent.  What is the  basis  of our mission?  What is the  heart  of our mission?  What are the  essential approaches  we need to take in carrying out our mission? Mission and the transformative power of the Gospel of Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life 1. The Church’s mission, directed to all men and women of good will, is based on the transformative power of the Gospel.  The Gospel is Good News filled with contagious joy, for it contains and offers new life: the life of the Risen Christ who, by bestowing his life-giving Spirit, becomes for us the Way, the Truth and the Life (cf.  Jn  14:6).  He is the  Way  who invites us to follow him with confidence and courage.  In following Jesus as our  Way , we experience  Truth  and receive his  Life , which is fullness of communion with God the Father in the power of the Holy Spirit.  That life sets us free from every kind of selfishness, and is a source of creativity in love. 2. God the Father desires this existential transformation of his sons and daughters, a transformation that finds expression in worship in spirit and truth (cf.  Jn  4:23-24), through a life guided by the Holy Spirit in imitation of Jesus the Son to the glory of God the Father. “The glory of God is the living man” (IRENAEUS,  Adversus Haereses  IV, 20, 7).  The preaching of the Gospel thus becomes a vital and effective word that accomplishes what it proclaims (cf.  Is  55:10-11): Jesus Christ, who constantly takes flesh in every human situation (cf.  Jn  1:14). Mission and the  kairos  of Christ 3. The Church’s mission, then, is not to spread a religious ideology, much less to propose a lofty ethical teaching.  Many movements throughout the world inspire high ideals or ways to live a meaningful life.  Through the mission of the Church, Jesus Christ himself continues to evangelize and act; her mission thus makes present in history the  kairos , the favourable time of salvation.  Through the proclamation of the Gospel, the risen Jesus becomes our contemporary, so that those who welcome him with faith and love can experience the transforming power of his Spirit, who makes humanity and creation fruitful, even as the rain does with the earth.  “His resurrection is not an event of the past; it contains a vital power which has permeated this world. Where all seems to be dead, signs of the resurrection suddenly spring up.  It is an irresistible force” ( Evangelii Gaudium , 276). 4. Let us never forget that “being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a Person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction” (BENEDICT XVI,  Deus Caritas Est , 1).  The Gospel is a Person who continually offers himself and constantly invites those who receive him with humble and religious faith to share his life by an effective participation in the paschal mystery of his death and resurrection.  Through  Baptism , the Gospel becomes a source of new life, freed of the dominion of sin, enlightened and transformed by the Holy Spirit.  Through  Confirmation , it becomes a fortifying anointing that, through the same Spirit, points out new ways and strategies for witness and accompaniment.  Through the  Eucharist , it becomes food for new life, a “medicine of immortality” (IGNATIUS OF ANTIOCH,  Ad Ephesios , 20, 2). 5. The world vitally needs the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Through the Church, Christ continues his mission as the  Good Samaritan , caring for the bleeding wounds of humanity, and as  Good Shepherd , constantly seeking out those who wander along winding paths that lead nowhere.  Thank God, many significant experiences continue to testify to the transformative power of the Gospel.  I think of the gesture of the Dinka student who, at the cost of his own life, protected a student from the enemy Nuer tribe who was about to be killed.  I think of that Eucharistic celebration in Kitgum, in northern Uganda, where, after brutal massacres by a rebel group, a missionary made the people repeat the words of Jesus on the cross: “My God, My God, why have you abandoned me?” as an expression of the desperate cry of the brothers and sisters of the crucified Lord.   For the people, that celebration was an immense source of consolation and courage.  We can think too of countless testimonies to how the Gospel helps to overcome narrowness, conflict, racism, tribalism, and to promote everywhere, and among all, reconciliation, fraternity, and sharing. Mission inspires a spirituality of constant exodus, pilgrimage, and exile 6. The Church’s mission is enlivened by a spirituality of  constant exodus .  We are challenged “to go forth from our own comfort zone in order to reach all the peripheries in need of the light of the Gospel” ( Evangelii Gaudium , 20).  The Church’s mission impels us to undertake a  constant pilgrimage  across the various deserts of life, through the different experiences of hunger and thirst for truth and justice.  The Church’s mission inspires a sense of  constant exile , to make us aware, in our thirst for the infinite, that we are exiles journeying towards our final home, poised between the “already” and “not yet” of the Kingdom of Heaven. 7.  Mission reminds the Church that she is not an end unto herself, but a humble instrument and mediation of the Kingdom.  A self-referential Church, one content with earthly success, is not the Church of Christ, his crucified and glorious Body.  That is why we should prefer “a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security” ( ibid ., 49). Young people, the hope of mission 8. Young people are the hope of mission.  The person of Jesus Christ and the Good News he proclaimed continue to attract many young people.  They seek ways to put themselves with courage and enthusiasm at the service of humanity.  “There are many young people who offer their solidarity in the face of the evils of the world and engage in various forms of militancy and volunteering...  How beautiful it is to see that young people are ‘street preachers’, joyfully bringing Jesus to every street, every town square and every corner of the earth!” ( ibid ., 106).  The next Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, to be held in 2018 on the theme  Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment , represents a providential opportunity to involve young people in the shared missionary responsibility that needs their rich imagination and creativity. The service of the Pontifical Mission Societies 9. The Pontifical Mission Societies are a precious means of awakening in every Christian community a desire to reach beyond its own confines and security in order to proclaim the Gospel to all.  In them, thanks to a profound missionary spirituality, nurtured daily, and a constant commitment to raising missionary awareness and enthusiasm, young people, adults, families, priests, bishops and men and women religious work to develop a missionary heart in everyone.  World Mission Day, promoted by the Society of the Propagation of the Faith, is a good opportunity for enabling the missionary heart of Christian communities to join in prayer, testimony of life and communion of goods, in responding to the vast and pressing needs of evangelization. Carrying out our mission with Mary, Mother of Evangelization 10. Dear brothers and sisters, in carrying out our mission, let us draw inspiration from Mary, Mother of Evangelization.  Moved by the Spirit, she welcomed the Word of life in the depths of her humble faith.  May the Virgin Mother help us to say our own “yes”, conscious of the urgent need to make the Good News of Jesus resound in our time.  May she obtain for us renewed zeal in bringing to everyone the Good News of the life that is victorious over death.  May she intercede for us so that we can acquire the holy audacity needed to discover new ways to bring the gift of salvation to every man and woman. From the Vatican, 4 June 2017 Solemnity of Pentecost (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope Francis: homily for Pentecost, 2017

Sun, 06/04/2017 - 19:02
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis celebrated Mass on Sunday, the Solemnity of Pentecost, in St. Peter’s Square. Below, please find the full text of his homily in its official English translation ************************************ Homily of His Holiness Pope Francis Solemnity of Pentecost 4 June 2017 Today concludes the Easter season, the fifty days that, from Jesus’ resurrection to Pentecost, are marked in a particular way by the presence of the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit is in fact the Easter Gift par excellence.  He is the Creator Spirit, who constantly brings about new things.  Today’s readings show us two of those new things.  In the first reading, the Spirit makes of the disciples a new people ; in the Gospel, he creates in the disciples a new heart . A new people .  On the day of Pentecost, the Spirit came down from heaven, in the form of “divided tongues, as of fire… [that] rested on each of them.  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak in other languages” ( Acts 2:3-4).  This is how the word of God describes the working of the Spirit: first he rests on each and then brings all of them together in fellowship.  To each he gives a gift, and then gathers them all into unity.  In other words, the same Spirit creates diversity and unity , and in this way forms a new, diverse and unified people: the universal Church.   First, in a way both creative and unexpected, he generates diversity, for in every age he causes new and varied charisms to blossom.  Then he brings about unity: he joins together, gathers and restores harmony: “By his presence and his activity, the Spirit draws into unity spirits that are distinct and separate among themselves” (CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA, Commentary on the Gospel of John , XI, 11).  He does so in a way that effects true union, according to God’s will, a union that is not uniformity, but unity in difference . For this to happen, we need to avoid two recurrent temptations .  The first temptation seeks diversity without unity .  This happens when we want to separate, when we take sides and form parties, when we adopt rigid and airtight positions, when we become locked into our own ideas and ways of doing things, perhaps even thinking that we are better than others, or always in the right.  When this happens, we choose the part over the whole, belonging to this or that group before belonging to the Church.  We become avid supporters for one side, rather than brothers and sisters in the one Spirit.  We become Christians of the “right” or the “left”, before being on the side of Jesus, unbending guardians of the past or the avant-garde of the future before being humble and grateful children of the Church.  The result is diversity without unity.  The opposite temptation is that of seeking unity without diversity .  Here, unity becomes uniformity, where everyone has to do everything together and in the same way, always thinking alike.  Unity ends up being homogeneity and no longer freedom.  But, as Saint Paul says, “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” ( 2 Cor 3:17). So the prayer we make to the Holy Spirit is for the grace to receive his unity, a glance that, leaving personal preferences aside, embraces and loves his Church, our Church.  It is to accept responsibility for unity among all, to wipe out the gossip that sows the darnel of discord and the poison of envy, since to be men and women of the Church means being men and women of communion.  It is also to ask for a heart that feels that the Church is our Mother and our home, an open and welcoming home where the manifold joy of the Holy Spirit is shared. Now we come to the second new thing brought by the Spirit: a new heart .  When the risen Jesus first appears to his disciples, he says to them: “Receive the Holy Spirit.  If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them” ( Jn 20:22-23).  Jesus does not condemn them for having denied and abandoned him during his passion, but instead grants them the spirit of forgiveness.  The Spirit is the first gift of the risen Lord, and is given above all for the forgiveness of sins.  Here we see the beginning of the Church, the glue that holds us together, the cement that binds the bricks of the house: forgiveness .  Because forgiveness is gift to the highest degree; it is the greatest love of all.  It preserves unity despite everything, prevents collapse, and consolidates and strengthens.  Forgiveness sets our hearts free and enables us to start afresh.  Forgiveness gives hope; without forgiveness, the Church is not built up. The spirit of forgiveness resolves everything in harmony, and leads us to reject every other way: the way of hasty judgement, the cul-de-sac of closing every door, the one-way street criticizing others.  Instead, the Spirit bids us take the two-way street of forgiveness received and given, of divine mercy that becomes love of neighbour, of charity as “the sole criterion by which everything must be done or not done, changed or not changed” (ISAAC OF STELLA, Or. 31).  Let us ask for the grace to make more beautiful the countenance of our Mother the Church, letting ourselves be renewed by forgiveness and self-correction.  Only then will we be able to correct others in charity. The Holy Spirit is the fire of love burning in the Church and in our hearts, even though we often cover him with the ash of our sins.  Let us ask him: “Spirit of God, Lord, who dwell in my heart and in the heart of the Church, guiding and shaping her in diversity, come!  Like water, we need you to live.  Come down upon us anew, teach us unity, renew our hearts and teach us to love as you love us, to forgive as you forgive us.  Amen”. (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope Francis: prayers for victims of London terror attacks

Sun, 06/04/2017 - 18:50
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis offered prayers for the victims of the Saturday evening terror attacks in London, as well as for the families of the victims. The prayers of the Holy Father came at the end of Mass on Pentecost Sunday, during the course of remarks to the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square, as they prepared to pray the Regina coeli with him. “May the Holy Spirit grant peace to the whole world,” Pope Francis prayed, “may He heal the wounds of war and of terrorism, which even this [Saturday] night, in London, struck innocent civilians: let us pray for the victims and their families.” Seven people are dead and 48 others are injured in London after a van drove into pedestrians on London Bridge, after which the occupants of the vehicle emerged and began stabbing people in Borough Market. Witness reports say the assailants cried, “This is for Allah,” as they stabbed their victims repeatedly. Armed police shot and killed the three attackers. (from Vatican Radio)...

Children from earthquake-stricken central Italy visit Pope

Sat, 06/03/2017 - 22:10
(Vatican Radio) On Saturday, Pope Francis welcomed to the Vatican a number of young children from the towns Norcia, Cascia, Accumoli, Amatrice, Arquata del Tronto, and Acquasanta – communities that were devastated by a series of earthquakes that struck central Italy last year. The children had come to Rome aboard a special “Children’s Train” especially to meet with the Holy Father. In the Paul VI Hall, Pope Francis conversed familiarly with the children. “They tell me I have to speak, but I like to listen!” he said, inviting them to tell him their stories. He called several of the children to himself so he could ask them questions and listen to their responses. The Pope asked them about the effects of the earthquake, and how the children were responding in the wake of the catastrophe. After speaking individually with more than a dozen boys and girls, Pope Francis offered a word of instruction. “What you’ve gone through is truly ugly,” he said, “because it’s a disaster, and disasters wound the soul.” But, he told them, “the Lord helps us to start again!”: “Do you trust in the Lord?” the Pope asked them. “Yes!” they replied. “Are you sure?” “Yes!” “And also in the Madonna?” “Yes!” “And now, if we have faith, let us thank the Madonna for the good things she has given us in this disaster: Hail Mary…” After leading the children in the Hail Mary, the Holy Father told the children, ‘One of the things that Jesus likes best, one of the words that the Lord likes best, is the word “thank you very much.’” He thanked them for their visit.  (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope Francis greets Evangelical Leaders

Sat, 06/03/2017 - 21:25
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Saturday morning met with Evangelical leaders who are in Rome for the Vigil of Pentecost. In a brief words of greeting, the Holy Father thanked them for their work for the unity of Christians, “which the Lord wants.” “Let us walk together,” he said, “let us help the poor together, let us perform acts of charity together, let us work for education together.” At the same time, he said, theologians can do their part and help in the effort for Christian unity. “But we are always on the journey, never stopping, never stopping… and together,” he said. Pope Francis concluded his remarks by asking all those present to pray together, “as brothers,” the Our Father, each in his own language.  (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope to Pont. Mission Societies: fidelity key to renewal

Sat, 06/03/2017 - 19:15
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis received the participants in the Assembly of the Pontifical Mission Societies on Saturday. A main focus of the week-long Assembly has been the Extraordinary Missionary Month scheduled for October 2019 to commemorate the centenary of the promulgation of the encyclical Maximum illud , by which Pope Benedict XV sought to give a new élan to Catholic missionary endeavor in the wake of World War I’s devastation. The Missionary Month is also aimed at promoting the missionary commitment of the Church in line with Pope Francis’ own 2013 missionary Exhortation, Evangelii gaudium . In remarks prepared for the occasion and delivered to the roughly 170 participants on Saturday morning in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace, Pope Francis focused on the need to cultivate personal habits of life conducive to holiness, and to practice an openness and docility toward the Holy Spirit, in order to discern new paths and channels by which the more efficaciously to communicate the Good News of our salvation in the One Divine Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. “Renewal requires conversion,” said Pope Francis, “it requires living the mission as a permanent opportunity to proclaim Christ, to bring people to meet Him through [personal] witness and bringing others to participate in our personal encounter with Him.” The Holy Father went on to express the hope that the spiritual and material assistance to the Churches that the Pontifical Mission Societies give will make those Churches ever more solidly founded on the Gospel and On the baptismal involvement of all the faithful – laymen and clergy alike – in the Church's one and only mission: “[T]o make God’s love close to every man, especially to those most in need of His mercy.” Pope Francis went on to pray that the Extraordinary Month of Prayer and Reflection on Mission as First Evangelization might serve this renewal of ecclesial faith, “that the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the only Savior, Lord and Spouse of his Church, be ever at work in His Church.” (from Vatican Radio)...

Uganda Martyrs were ordinary people

Sat, 06/03/2017 - 17:30
The Uganda Martyrs Day celebration has taken place at Uganda’s Namugongo shrine. According to Uganda’s Daily Monitor Newspaper, by 8 am all the pavilions where pilgrims sit were already full even though people were still trying to make the security clearances to get inside the shrine for the Mass.  Some pilgrims arrived at the shrine six days ago in order to have an assured place at the arena. Uganda’s Bishop of Hoima Diocese, Vincent Kirabo whose Diocese is hosting this year's Martyrs’ day was the principal celebrant at the Holy Mass. Speaking during Mass, monitored on Uganda’s NTV Youtube live stream , the Bishop invited the faithful to be faithful witnesses to the message of Christ just as the martyrs were. “The Uganda Martyrs were ordinary people with admirable human qualities ... because of these qualities the were leaders at the Kabaka’s palace,” the Bishop said. He told the faithful that there is documented evidence that as Catechumens, the martyrs would sometimes forgo sleep at night to go the house of the White Father Missionaries to learn the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The Bishop also announced that documents for the beatification of the White Father missionaries, that is Fr. ‘Mapeera’ Lourdel and Brother Amans who ministered to the Uganda Martyrs had been submitted to the Vatican. The country’s Vice President Edward Ssekandi is the guest of honour and was expected to give a speech later in the day.                      Uganda’s Martyrs Day, which falls on 3 June, every year commemorates the heroic faith of the 45 Martyrs, both Catholic and Anglican, who were burnt to death on the orders of Kabaka Mwanga II, then King of Buganda between 1885 and 1887. Twenty-two Catholic Martyrs were beatified on 6 June 1920, by Pope Benedict XV, and on 18 October 1964, Pope Paul VI canonised them as Saints. ( (from Vatican Radio)...