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Pope Francis: Be missionaries of hope

Wed, 10/04/2017 - 18:02
(Vatican Radio) In a sunny St Peter’s Square on Wednesday, Pope Francis during his General Audience didn’t disappoint those pilgrims who had come to hear his continuing catechesis on Christian hope. This week the Holy Father turned his attention to the Christian’s calling to be a missionary of hope. Listen to our report: Example of St Francis As an example, he chose a great Saint of the Church and his own namesake St Francis, whose feast day is celebrated on October 4th, calling him “a true missionary of the joyful hope born of Christ’s victory over death…” He went on to says that, “Jesus asks us to be witnesses of that same hope, confident in the transforming power of his Spirit at work in our hearts and in our world.  Joy, the Pope underlined, “ is the sure sign of true Christian hope, but he also noted that, there are times when the gift of hope proves costly.  Persecuted Christians The Holy Father was referring to “fellow Christians who presently experience persecution” and all the martyrs down through the centuries. He said that, “their witness inspires us to continue to hope in Christ’s promises.  As missionaries of hope, may we rejoice in God’s saving power, never lose heart, and help others to look to the future with confidence.” The Pope noted that the task of Christians in this world is to open a space for salvation, adding that, “when the sky is cloudy, it is a blessing for those who know the sun.” Behold, the true Christian is this, said Pope Francis,  “not complacent and angry, but convinced, by the strength of the resurrection…” Middle East Concluding his Audience the Holy Father greeted all the English speaking pilgrims present and in words to visitors from Egypt, the Pope prayed that the Lord would bless them and protect their country, the Middle East and the whole world from all evil and terrorism. (from Vatican Radio)...

General Audience: Pope Francis announces pre-synodal youth meeting

Wed, 10/04/2017 - 17:08
(Vatican Radio) Towards the end of the General Audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis announced that from 19 to 24 March 2018, the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops will convene a pre-synodal meeting inviting young people from different parts of the world, both young Catholics and young people from different Christian denominations and other religions, as well as non-believers. He said, “this initiative is part of the preparations for the next General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which will be on Youth, Faith and Vocation Discernment in October 2018.” With this journey, the Pope continued, “the Church wants to listen to the voice, the sensitivity, of faith and also the doubts and criticisms of young people. Following this, conclusions of the March Meeting will be transmitted to the Synod Fathers.” (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope Francis: General Audience English summary

Wed, 10/04/2017 - 16:26
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis continued his catechesis on Christian hope at his Wednesday General Audience in St Peter's Square. Please find below the official English-language summary: Dear Brothers and Sisters:  In our continuing catechesis on Christian hope, I would now like to speak of our calling to be missionaries of hope.  October is traditionally dedicated to reflection on our participation in the Church’s mission.  Saint Francis of Assisi, whose feast we celebrate today, can serve as our model in this regard.  Francis was a true missionary of the joyful hope born of Christ’s victory over death and our own share in his risen life.  Jesus asks us to be witnesses of that same hope, confident in the transforming power of his Spirit at work in our hearts and in our world.  Joy is the sure sign of true Christian hope, for we know that evil will not have the upper hand, and that God’s love, revealed on the cross, will ultimately triumph.  Certainly, there are times when the gift of hope proves costly.  This is the case with so many of our fellow Christians who presently experience persecution, and with the martyrs in every age.  Their witness inspires us to continue to hope in Christ’s promises.  As missionaries of hope, may we rejoice in God’s saving power, never lose heart, and help others to look to the future with confidence. (from Vatican Radio)...

Card Parolin addresses Child Dignity in the Digital World conference

Wed, 10/04/2017 - 15:20
(Vatican Radio) Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin on Tuesday addressed the Child Dignity in the Digital World   world congress being held at Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University this week. In his speech to the conference the Cardinal spoke about "The Holy See and Its Commitment to Combatting Sex Abuse Online". Please find the English translation of Cardinal Parolin's speech: Dear President of the Senate, Your Eminences, Excellencies, Dear Father General, Ambassadors, Father Rector, Academic Authorities and Professors, Dear Friends, I thank you for inviting me to speak at the opening of this important Congress, thus allowing me to convey the greetings and appreciation of His Holiness Pope Francis and of the Holy See for this initiative. It is an event that is hosted and organized, along with other laudable events, by a prestigious Pontifical University. I greet the distinguished persons and institutions who are participating in this initiative, and I express my gratitude to all those who have contributed concretely to the organization and planning of this Congress. Above all, I wish to express my appreciation for having chosen the topic that will be discussed: the dignity of the child in the digital world. The majority of you, who have worked for a long time in this field, are well aware that the sexual abuse of minors constitutes a vast and widespread phenomenon. Over the past few decades, this tragic reality has come powerfully to the fore in the Catholic Church and extremely grave facts have emerged. The Church has become increasingly aware of the harm experienced by the victims, of their suffering and of the need to listen to them, in order to work on various fronts; these include: a wide range of interventions which must be carried out in order to heal wounds, restore justice, prevent crimes and form educators and persons who deal with minors, with a view to spreading and consolidating a new culture of child protection – a real safeguarding – that effectively guarantees they can grow up in a healthy and safe environment. This is a task requiring deep human care, competence and tenacity; experience tells us that where this commitment is consistent and continuous, the fruits that will come of it are positive and encouraging. The Church’s effort in this sense, even when society in general has not yet developed the necessary awareness, must continue, must be expanded and deepened, with clarity and firmness, so that the dignity and rights of minors may be protected and defended with much greater attentiveness and effectiveness than was done in the past. In this venue, we want to share the experience we have acquired, so that it may prove useful for an ever greater good, thanks to collaboration with all of you. The world into which human persons are today born and raised is characterized, ever more deeply and pervasively, by the development and ubiquity of new communications technologies and new instruments for their use. Handheld phones and tablets and other devices have come to be part of the daily life of an ever greater number of people; these users are ever younger, so much so that we can speak of the young generations as “digital natives.” This has spread to every part of the world, reaching even areas where economic and social development are as yet inadequate and uneven. The phenomenon is now global and so we speak of a “digital world.” We now realize that, supported by ever greater evidence, the scourge of offenses against the dignity of minors, as with so many other dramatic problems in today’s world, spreads through and aligns itself within the new parameters of the digital world. This plague meanders and infiltrates along a labyrinth of paths and through deep, hidden layers of reality. The digital world is not, in fact, a separate part of the world: it is an integral part of the unique reality of the world. Minors who grow up in it are exposed to new risks, or rather, to old risks manifested in new ways; and the culture of the protection of minors that we want to spread must be sufficiently able to address today’s problems. Looking at our contemporary world, Pope Francis continually reminds us that the forms of abuse and violence against minors proliferate in an interwoven manner: the traffic of minors and of human persons generally, the phenomenon of child soldiers, the absence of even the most elementary education, the fact that small children are the first victims of hunger and extreme poverty. On the day dedicated by the Church to the memory of the Holy Innocents, Pope Francis wrote: “We need the courage to respond to this reality, to arise and take it firmly in hand (cf. Mt 2:20)… [We need] the courage to guard this joyfrom the new Herods of our time, who devour the innocence of our children. An innocence stolen from them by the oppression of illegal slave labour, prostitution and exploitation. An innocence shattered by wars and forced migration, with the great loss that this entails. Thousands of our children have fallen into the hands of gangs, criminal organizations and merchants of death, who only devour and exploit their neediness” (Letter to Bishops, 28 December 2016). In all these situations, the horrendous reality of sexual abuse is nearly always present, as a common aspect and consequence of multifaceted and widespread violence that ignores all respect, not only for the body, but more so for the soul, for the profound vulnerability and dignity of every child, of every young boy and girl of whatever nation. And so we recognize the challenges, but realize too that even though we have learned a great deal with respect to this phenomenon, it remains important to understand it ever better, and, more than anything, to continue to make our understanding of the phenomenon accessible to all those who promote the protection of the rights of minors. Only in this way can we effectively fight the battle to protect minors in our digitalized world. The phenomena we observe reach levels of shocking gravity; their dimensions and the speed with which they spread surpass our imagination. Here then is the second reason for my appreciation of the method employed by this Congress: calling together representatives from the various fields of scientific research as well as those who are actively committed to the protection of minors; representatives of leading companies in technological development and communications characteristic of the digital world; those responsible for the common good of human society; legislators, politicians, and law enforcement agencies called upon to combat crimes and abuses; religious leaders and leaders of civil society organizations committed to working for minors. Like some of the other speakers, I too want to insist on a distinguishing characteristic of this assembly, one that makes it new and even unique, namely: establishing a dialogue between the many competent and meritorious people who have made their own the cause of defending the dignity of minors in the digital world. They are doing this by channelling their energies towards a shared commitment in order to overcome the sense of disorientation and powerlessness when faced with such a markedly difficult challenge, and to help us to intervene creatively. Once this basic strategic territory has been identified, we must work to regain control of the development of the digital world, so that it may be at the service of the dignity of minors, and thus of the whole human race of tomorrow. For the minors of today are the entirety of tomorrow’s human race. Following the research and understanding of these problems there must come a commitment and a far-seeing, courageous endeavour on the part of all of us here present; there must also be an appeal for the cooperation of every person in a position of responsibility, in the various countries and sectors of society. Perhaps I may be permitted to offer some further reflections, which I propose for your consideration. The demographic development of humanity is particularly rapid in many countries where economic and social progress is still lacking or uneven. Hundreds of millions of children and young people are growing up in a digital world within a context that is still largely undeveloped. Their parents and teachers may not, perhaps, be culturally equipped to accompany them and help them to grow up in this world, whereas their political leaders will often not know where to begin in order to protect them. We have a responsibility to these children too, as do the companies that promote and drive the development of the digital world. With its international, global and interdisciplinary perspective, this Congress must take responsibility for those minors at the world’s “peripheries”, of which Pope Francis continually speaks: peripheries that are in geographic areas of greater economic poverty, but that are also found within wealthy societies where there is considerable human and spiritual poverty, loneliness and a loss of the meaning of life. It is not by chance that it is minors in all these peripheries who are the preferred target of networks of exploitation and of organized online violence on a global scale. Both in society and in the Church, there has always been insistence on the primary responsibility of the family and of the school in guaranteeing minors a sound education so essential to the protection and promotion of their dignity. This still very much applies today and every effort must be made so that parents and educators may be increasingly able to undertake their duties, even in the face of risks and challenges from the digital world. There is, however, no doubt that in the modern context their ability to influence the formation of young generations is proportionately far less than in the past, and is often frustrated and overtaken by the continual wave of messages and images that come to even the smallest children through countless open avenues provided by the new media. For this reason too, responsibility towards young generations must be shared fully by all the sectors of society that you represent. Finally, we find ourselves hosted here by an institution which depends on the Catholic Church and which is thus particularly attentive to the moral and religious dimensions of the life and development of the human person. I hope that your work may be able also to integrate these perspectives into the shared work of reflection and commitment, and that from them you may draw vigour, inspiration and motivation. For the rest, all of us surely agree on what is affirmed in the second principle of the Universal Declaration of the Rights of the Child, namely, that every child should have the means “to develop physically, mentally, morally, spiritually and socially in a healthy and normal manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity”. Moreover, as John Paul II affirmed in 1990, on the occasion of the World Summit for Children, we stress “the need to do much more to safeguard the well-being of the world’s children, to enunciate the rights of the child and to protect those rights through cultural and legislative actions imbued with respect for human life as a value in itself, independently of sex, ethnic origin, social or cultural status, or political or religious conviction” (Letter to J. Pérez de Cuellar, 22 September 1990. The Holy See adhered to the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1990). The minors of whom we speak and whose dignity we wish to defend and promote are human persons, and the value of each of them is unique and unrepeatable. Each of them must be taken seriously and protected in this ever more digitalized world, so that they may be able to fulfil the purpose of their life, their destiny, their coming into the world. The destiny and the life of each of them is supremely important, precious in the sight of human beings and in the sight of God. According to Scripture, every human being is created “in the image and likeness” of God. According to the New Testament, the Son of God came among us as a vulnerable child, and in needy circumstances, assuming both the fragility and the hope for a future that are intrinsic to an infant. To disparage infancy and to abuse children is for the Christian, therefore, not only a crime, but also – as Pope Francis has stated – sacrilege, a profanation of that which is sacred, of the presence of God in every human being. The forces that drive the technical and economic development of the world seem unstoppable and, as we know, are perhaps often determined and driven by economic and even very powerful political interests, which we must not allow ourselves to be dominated by. The power of sexual desire that dwells in the depth of the human mind and heart is great and wonderful when it advances the path of humanity; but it can also be corrupted and perverted, to become a source of suffering and unspeakable abuse: and so it must be elevated and directed. The sense of moral responsibility in the sight of humanity and in the sight of God, the reflection on the correct use of freedom in the building and orientation of a new world and in learning how to live in it, are thus absolutely necessary and fundamental for our common future. You have come together here to address one of today’s most important and urgent issues for the journey of humanity. I hope that the living sense of the beauty and the mystery of human persons, of the greatness of their vocation to life, and thus of the duty to protect them in their dignity and their growth, may inspire your work and bear concrete and effective fruit.  (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope sends message to Apostleship of Sea congress in Taiwan

Tue, 10/03/2017 - 22:44
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a message to the 24th World Congress of the Apostleship of the Sea which is taking place this week in the Taiwanese port city of Kaohsiung. In the message, signed by Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the pope says he hopes the congress will serve to strengthen all those who support people living and working at sea. The meeting, from October 1st to 7th , is focused on challenges facing the fishing industries, in particular the plight of migrant fishermen. The World Congress of the Apostleship of the Sea is held once every four years but this is the first time that it takes place in Taiwan, which has one of the world’s biggest fishing industries. Please find below the full text of the pope’s message: President of the XXIV World Congress of the Apostleship of the Sea  His Holiness Pope Francis sends cordial greetings and prayerful best wishes to the participants in the twenty-fourth World Congress of the Apostleship of the Sea.  In giving thanks to Almighty God for the many graces received through its work over many years, His Holiness prays that the bishops, priests, religious and lay faithful gathered for this significant Congress, will be strengthened in their support of all those who work at sea.  As you address the particular needs of those who labour in the fishing sector, Pope Francis hopes that Christians may recognize the valuable lesson we can learn from them, “about a Church which makes room for God’s mystery; a Church which harbours that mystery in such a way that it can entice people” and attract them to himself (cf. Address to the Bishops of Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, 27 July 2013). In entrusting all seafarers and their families to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Stella Maris and Stella Matutina, His Holiness gladly imparts his Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of peace and joy in the Lord Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope Francis' Prayer Intention for October: for Workers and the Unemployed

Tue, 10/03/2017 - 21:37
(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis has released a video message accompanying his monthly prayer intention for October . This month’s intention is for Workers and the Unemployed : That all workers may receive respect and protection of their rights, and that the unemployed may receive the opportunity to contribute to the common good” The text of the video message reads: We should always remember the dignity and rights of those who work, condemn situations in which that dignity and those rights are violated, and help to ensure authentic progress by man and society. Let us pray that all workers may receive respect and protection of their rights, and that the unemployed may receive the opportunity to contribute to the common good. The Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network of the Apostleship of Prayer developed the "Pope Video" initiative to assist in the worldwide dissemination of monthly intentions of the Holy Father in relation to the challenges facing humanity. (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope at Mass: 'ask the Lord for the courage to follow Jesus'

Tue, 10/03/2017 - 19:28
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has invited Christians to turn to God to in search of the courage and strength needed to follow Jesus in our lives. Speaking on Tuesday morning during the homily at Mass in the Casa Santa Marta, the Pope reflected on Jesus’s journey to Jerusalem as the moment of His crucifixion drew near. Accepting the will of his Father, Jesus – he said – resolutely determined to undertake that journey and announced His intention to the disciples. Jesus: a model of determination and obedience “Only once, the Pope recalled, in the Garden of Gethsemane did He ask the Father to ‘remove the cup of wrath He was about to drink’, but each time He submitted to the Father’s will.” That’s what the Father wants of us, he said, determination and obedience, and He will await with infinite patience. Francis went on to explain that the disciples did not follow their Master during his journey to Jerusalem. Jesus was alone  “At times the disciples did not understand what Jesus was saying or did not want to understand because they were afraid; other times they hid the truth or they were distracted by other things; or – as we can read in today’s Gospel: they searched for an alibi so as not to think about what was awaiting the Lord” he said. He pointed out that Jesus was alone in his decision because no one understood the mystery of Jesus, and noted that the only one that God sent to strengthen and comfort Him in the Garden of Gethsemane was an angel sent from Heaven. Ask for the grace to follow Jesus   “Let us take some time, the Pope said, to think about Jesus who loved us so much, who walked alone towards the cross: think about Him and thank Him for his obedience and His courage and enter into conversation with Him.”    Speak to Jesus, Francis concluded, acknowledging all the things He has done for us, acknowledging the patience with which he tolerates our sins and our failures. “Take some time today – five, ten, fifteen minutes – either before the crucifix or with your imagination, to ‘see’ Jesus walking determinately towards Jerusalem and ask for the grace to have the courage to follow him closely” he said. (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope Francis prays for victims of Las Vegas shooting

Mon, 10/02/2017 - 21:52
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has expressed his “spiritual closeness” to victims of the deadly shooting in Las Vegas, which left more than fifty people dead, and hundreds more wounded. In the telegram addressed to the Bishop Joseph Anthony Pepe of Las Vegas, the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, said Pope Francis was “deeply saddened” to learn of “this senseless tragedy.” The Holy Father, he said, “commends the He commends the efforts of the police and emergency service personnel, and offers the promise of his prayers for the injured and for all who have died, entrusting them to the merciful love of Almighty God.” The attack in Las Vegas is being described as the deadliest mass shooting in United States history. The gunman, identified by police as Stephen Paddock, died at the scene. Police said he fired from the 32nd floor of a Las Vegas Strip casino onto an outdoor country music festival Sunday night. Below please find the full text of the telegram sent on behalf of Pope Francis: The Most Reverend Joseph Anthony Pepe Bishop of Las Vegas Deeply saddened to learn of the shooting in Las Vegas, Pope Francis sends the assurance of his spiritual closeness to all those affected by this senseless tragedy. He commends the efforts of the police and emergency service personnel, and offers the promise of his prayers for the injured and for all who have died, entrusting them to the merciful love of Almighty God. Cardinal Pietro Parolin Secretary of State (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope Francis receives Little Sisters of Jesus

Mon, 10/02/2017 - 20:34
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis received the participants in the General Chapter of the Little Sisters of Jesus on Monday in the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican . The Little Sisters are a religious community founded by Little Sister Magdeleine of Jesus (née Madeleine Hutin) in 1939 on the spiritual inspiration and charism of Bl. Charles de Foucauld (+1916). Originally a missionary order of sisters ministering to nomadic peoples on the outskirts of the Sahara, the Little Sisters now have a presence in sixty-three different countries, living in small communities – often of no more than three or four members – and ministering to the poor and marginalized by sharing their day-to-day lives and living conditions. They often stay in rented housing and take ordinary jobs in inner-city neighbourhoods and poor rural areas, as well as among nomadic people. Their spiritual ethos calls them to live among those who are not reached by other Church ministries, or whose daily lives are marked by division, racism, poverty, or violence. In his remarks to the General Chapter on Monday, Pope Francis said, “Do not be afraid to go forward, carrying with yourselves the little baby Jesus in your hearts, going into all the places in which the littlest of our world find themselves.” (from Vatican Radio)...

Donating makes both the giver and the receiver happy - Pope

Mon, 10/02/2017 - 19:59
(Vatican Radio) To the extent God freely granted us the gift of life and the created world, we in turn should donate and share with others to create a better world, Pope Francis said on Monday.  Faced with the ecological crisis we are going through, the perspective of donation received and given to those coming after us is indeed a reason for commitment and hope, he told some 150 members of the Italian Donation Institute (IID) in the Vatican.  "We have the duty to preserve and hand down to future generations an intact planet that we have received as a free gift from God’s goodness,” he told the institute ahead of Italy’s Donation Day on October 4, that it sponsors.   God's gift - life and creation The Pope reminded them that the greatest gift that God has given to each one of us is life, which is part of another divine original gift which is creation. Hence, he said, “All of us must feel it a great responsibility to safeguard and care for creation , protecting it from various forms of degradation.”  Pope Francis explained that both the gift of life and the gift of creation usher from God’s love for mankind.  To the extent to which we open ourselves to and welcome God’s love, we can in turn become the gift of love to our brothers.  This love of God, he said, is particularly demonstrated in the Last Supper where Jesus left his disciples the “new commandment” of love .  The newness of this commandment, he said, lies the donation of his life for us which translates in the service of others. The Pope further explained that this love knows how to humble itself, refuses every form of violence, respects freedom, promotes dignity and rejects every discrimination.  “An unarmed love proves stronger than hatred,” the Pope said, urging all to model themselves to the way of Jesus.    Donation - young people Pope Francis regarded Italy’s Donation Day particularly relevant to children and youth to help them open their minds and hearts to brotherhood and sharing, and building the civilization of love.   He wished that young people be able to discover that donating is freely giving a part of ourselves to others, not to lose it but to increase its value.  Donating makes both the giver and the receiver happy, and creates bonds and relationships that strengthen hope in a better world.  (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope Francis with the University students

Mon, 10/02/2017 - 19:44
The University of Bologna has been a laboratory of humanism for almost a thousand years said Pope Francis speaking to the students during his short visit to Bologna on Sunday. The word   Universitas which entails the idea of a ‘whole’ includes students from Italy, many European countries and even from South America, who work on two ideals that of ‘vertical’ - imbibing knowledge and ‘horizontal’ – sharing the research done for common good the Pope noted. The Pope  particularly focused on three rights: Right to culture. The Holy Father referred not just to the sacred right of everyone to study but also to the fact that today the ‘right to culture’ means to protect wisdom, which is human and humanizing knowledge. For Pope Francis learning serves to ask questions and to seek meaning in life. He said, one also has the right and not to be distracted in order to make strong choices through research, knowledge and sharing.      Culture he said is what nurtures and makes us grow.  Today he said we do not need loud screaming but words that reach the mind and heart.  He called them to devote themselves to education with passion, that is to ‘draw out’ the best from each one for the good of all.  He called them to assert  a culture of humanity that recognizes merits and rewards sacrifices.  Right to hope. Many today the pope said,  experience loneliness and restlessness, feeling the heavy air of abandonment. So it is necessary to provide this right to hope, which he said is not to be invaded by the daily rhetoric of fear and hatred, or be overwhelmed false news.  It is the right he said for the young to grow free of the  fear of  future and know that there are beautiful and lasting realities in life and so it is worth getting involved.   It is a right he said to believe that true love is not disposable and that our labour is not a mirage to achieve, but a promise that needs to be sustained.  He wished that the university classrooms be a haven of hope, where the students learn to be responsible for themselves and for the world.  He urged them to feel the responsibility for the future of our common home.  Right to Peace. Peace is both a right and a duty, inscribed in the heart of humanity the pope affirmed. Referring to Europe’s quest for unity, he noted how the two wars obscured the vision of peace in the continent.  Denouncing war as useless massacre he called the students  to pursue ways of nonviolence and paths of justice which foster peace.    The Pope invoked the right to peace as a right of all to resolve conflicts without violence.   To the students who have come to study law this is a challenge he said to affirm the rights of people and peoples, the weaker ones, those rejected and the creation our common home.  In conclusion he called them not to believe those who say fighting for the right is useless and nothing will change. Instead he urged them to dream big not in their sleep but in broad daylight.  (from Vatican Radio)...

Visit Bologna: Homily at Mass

Mon, 10/02/2017 - 00:48
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis concluded his Pastoral Visit to the cities of Cesena and Bologna with a Solemn Mass in the Dall’Ara Stadium of Bologna. In his homily, for what he called “the first Sunday of the Word ,” Pope Francis reflected on the Word of God, which makes our hearts burn within us, because it makes us feel loved and consoled by the Lord. The day’s Gospel relates Jesus’ parable of the two sons who were asked by their father to go to work in his vineyard. One son said no, but eventually went; while the other said yes, but did not go. “There is a great difference,” the Pope said “between the first son, who is lazy; and the second, who is a hypocrite.” Imagining their inner thoughts, Pope Francis said that the voice of the father resonated in the heart of the son, despite his initial no. In the second, on the other hand, the voice of the father “was buried.” Like the two sons, the Pope said, we can choose to be either sinners on the journey, who continue to listen to the Father, and repent and rise when we fall; or to be seated sinners, hypocrites always ready to justify ourselves, and willing to do only what is convenient. Jesus, he continued, was very severe to the latter, saying that the public sinners would go before them into heaven. They were not wrong, he said, about how they thought about God and religion, but they were mistaken in how one must live the Christian life. He said they were inflexible guardians of human traditions, incapable of understanding that life according to God is a journey , and requires the humility to be open, to repent, and to begin anew. The key word here, Pope Francis said, is repentance , which allows us to not be rigid, to transform the “no” to God into a “yes,” the “no” of sin into the “yes” of love of God. Ultimately, he said, “in the life of each one of us there are two paths: to be penitent sinners or hypocritical sinners . The Word of God, then, penetrates into the heart of each one of us. But it is also a word that calls us back to a relationship, the relationship between the father and his sons. As in the family, so in society, and in the Church, there is a need for encounter. “Never reject encounter , dialogue,” the Pope said. “Never give up on seeking new paths to walk together.” Concluding his homily, Pope Francis offered three Italian “P’s” to help us see where we are headed as a Church: “Parola,” the Word, the compass that points out the way of humble journeying; “Pane,” Bread, the Bread of the Eucharist, which is the starting point of everything; and “poveri,” the poor, not only those who are poor in material terms, but even more, those who are spiritually impoverished. In all of these we find Jesus, because the Lord entered the world in poverty, through an emptying of Himself, as St Paul says. “It would do us good,” the Pope said, “to always remember” these three terms: “the Word,” “Bread,” and “the poor.” He concluded his homily with the prayer that we might never forget these three basic “foods,” that sustain us on our journey.  (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope in Bologna - meeting with priests and religious

Sun, 10/01/2017 - 23:59
(Vatican Radio) During his daylong visit on Sunday to Bologna in northern Italy, Pope Francis met priests, religious, seminarians and deacons in the city cathedral.   He did not deliver a discourse but fielded two questions from them.  Priestly brotherhood The diocesan priests asked the Pope how they could grow in evangelical brotherhood with their fellow priests.   The Pope said they first need to have the sense of what he described as ‘ diocesanità ’ (Italian) or a sense of belonging to the body of priests along with their bishop.  When a diocesan priest lacks this he becomes a loner and runs the risk of becoming ‘infertile’.   In this regard, the Pope recalled the transparency of St. Paul who talked about things clearly without misleading  and had the patience and tolerance for others.  Another trait of a diocesan priest is the figure of pastor among his people .  Opposed to this, is the ‘ clerical pastor ’ like the Pharisees and Saducees of Jesus’time who live in their own world of theology, thoughts and dos and donts of the law.   The Pope regretted that some priests transform their service into a syndicate office with rigid visiting hours.  Careerism and gossip To help deepen their brotherhood with their fellow priests, Pope Francis particularly urged the diocesan priests to keep clear of two vices – careerism and gossip.   He described priests who make a career of their priestly service a career, as ‘climbers’.   He described gossip mongers as pests who create discord in the diocesan presbyterial community, defaming their brother priests.  Poverty The Pope also received a question from religious men and women asking him how to live the religious life with joy and hope without falling into the trap of the ‘ psychology of  survival ’.   The Pope said that the this pessimistic syndrome seeks security in money , contrary to the spirit of poverty.   Religious life, the Pope said, gets corrupt through money, and added that security in religious life does not come from vocations or money  but from the ‘other side’.  Poverty, according to St. Ignatius of Loyola, is a mother that gives life, and a wall that defends us from worldliness , the Pope said.  The Holy Father also told the religious of the need to touch the wounds of Christ in the suffering body of His people.   (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope in Bologna - meeting with migrants

Sun, 10/01/2017 - 19:03
(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis is on a day-long visit to the northern Italian region of Emilia-Romagna on Sunday, where he is visiting the cities of Cesena and Bologna.  After holding two meetings in Cesena, he flew to Bologna where his first appointment was the with migrants housed at a regional centre at Via Enrico Mattei.  Christ – accepted or rejected Addressing a round a thousand of them housed there, Pope Francis said that many who don’t know them and are afraid, judge them from far with harshness and coldness.  But, he said one needs to see them from nearby with mercy, for unless we see our neighbour with mercy , we cannot understand his suffering and problems.  “In you, as in every stranger who knocks at our door, I see Jesus Christ, who identifies himself with the stranger of every age and condition, accepted or rejected,” the Holy Father told the migrants. “Fighters of hope” The Pope said he was among them because he wanted to carry their eyes in his eyes, their heart in his heart.  “I want to carry with me your faces that are asking to be remembered, helped, I’d say "adopted", because in the end you look out for someone who bets on you, gives you confidence and helps you find that future for which you have hoped and arrived here.”  But alas some couldn’t  made it, swallowed by the desert or the sea .  “People don’t remember them,” the Pope said, “but God knows their names and welcomes them to Himself.”   The Holy Father thus invited all present there to a moment of silence to remember and pray for them. Reminding the migrants that they are “fighters of hope,” the Pope wished that their hope may never turn into delusion, or worse still, despair, thanks to the many who help them.   In turn, he urged the migrants to work hard for a welcoming city, and follow the laws of the land. Integration Regarding the phenomenon of migrants and refugees, the Pope called for vision and great determination to prevent distortion or exploitation which, he said, becomes even more unacceptable because they are committed on the poor. He urged that increasing number of countries take up private and community support programs for accepting and opening up humanitarian corridors for refugees in more difficult situations to spare them unbearable waiting period and lost time.   Integration, the Pope said, begins with knowing the story of the other. Noting some underage boys and girls among the migrants, the Holy Father said they particularly need tenderness and protection. Pope Francis concluded his meeting with migrants, commending the generosity of Bologna and its Church, saying, “The city is not afraid to donate the five loaves and the two fish.”  “Providence will intervene and everyone will be satisfied,” he added. Before and after his talk, the Holy Father took ample time to meet and greet the migrants individually.    (from Vatican Radio)...

Visit Bologna: Meeting with workers and Angelus

Sun, 10/01/2017 - 19:03
(Vatican Radio) Arriving at Bologna following a morning visit to the town of Cesena, Pope Francis greeted representatives of the world of labour ahead of the Sunday Angelus. In his address to works, Pope Francis emphasized that it is only together that we can come through the present economic crisis and “build the future.” Only dialogue, he said, can help us find new and effective answers that can help everyone. The Holy Father noted that in the region of Bologna, there has been a long experience of cooperation, an experience “that gives birth to the fundamental value of solidarity. Solidarity, he said, must never be bent toward to the logic of financial profit, which would harm the most needy amongst us. “Seeking a more just society,” he continued, “is not a dream of the past but a commitment, a work, that today needs everyone” to cooperate. In particular, the Pope said we must never grow used to the situation of youth unemployment, and job loss. People must never be treated merely as statistics. Speaking to the challenge of fighting poverty, Pope Francis said we cannot truly help the poor without offering them the possibility of finding work and dignity. He pointed to the recent “Pact for Work,” which say all the elements of society, including the Church, “sign a common commitment to help one another in the search for permanent answers, not charity (It: elemosine = almsgiving). This, he said, “is an important method that I hope can bear the hoped-for fruits.” The economic crisis, the Pope said, “has a European and a global dimension”; and it is also “an ethical, spiritual, and human crisis.” And, in strong terms, he says it is rooted in “a betrayal of the common good, on the part of powerful individuals and groups.” And so, he said, it is necessary “to take away the centrality of the law of power and assign it to the person and the common good.” But in order to do so, he continued, it is necessary to increase opportunities for dignified work. Pope Francis delivered his address in the piazza in front of the Basilica of Saint Petronius, known as “Father and Protector.” This saint, the Pope said, is always represented holding the city in his hands. “From this we can see physically three constitutive elements of your city,” he said: “the Church, the Community, and the University.” “When these three elements dialogue and collaborate among themselves,” he said, “it strengthens the precious humanism that they express, and the city, so to speak, ‘breathes,’ has a horizon, and is not afraid to confront the challenges that are present.” He concluded his address by encouraging those present to appreciate this humanism “in order to seek wise and far-seeing solutions to the complex problems of our time, seeing them, yes, as difficulties, but also as opportunities for growth and improvement.” Following his address, the Holy Father led the faithful in the recitation of the Angelus, and afterwards had lunch with the poor in the Basilica.  (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope to Cesena’s citizens, clergy ‎

Sun, 10/01/2017 - 17:23
CESENA CITIZENS (Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis on Sunday delivered a lesson on good governance of a city saying it essentially consists in all working together for the common good with the help of good politics .   He was speaking to the people of the northern Italian city of Cesena where he arrived in the morning for a two-stop pastoral visit to the Emilia-Romagna region.  He later visited the regional capital, Bologna, from where he flew back to the Vatican in the evening.  Good politics Addressing Cesena’s citizens in the heart of the city, Piazza del Popolo, the Pope explained that good politics is neither a servant nor a mistress, but a friend and collaborator .  Responsible, brave and prudent at the same time, healthy politics calls for greater involvement and inclusion of all leaving no one in the margins.  Such politics, he said, does not plunder and pollute natural resources , that are not a bottomless pit but a treasure given us by God to be used with respect and intelligence.    Good politics, the Pope further explained, harmonizes the legitimate aspirations of individuals and groups by holding the rudder firm in the interest of all citizens.  This, the Pope said, is the true face of politics, and this is why the social doctrine of the Church considers it a noble form of charity.   Corruption The Holy Father urged all, especially the young, to prepare themselves by assuming right from the start, the perspective of the common good, rejecting any form of corruption, even the least.   According to him, “corruption is the woodworm of the political vocation” that prevents the growth of civilization.   He also invited all to demand from “the protagonists of public life, coherence of commitment, preparation, moral uprightness, capacity for initiative, forbearance, patience and determination to address the challenges of today.”  However, in this they must be realistic, without expecting impossible perfection. Youth and elderly Pope Francis urged that everyone’s voice be heard, especially the young who can carry things forward, and the elderly, who with the wisdom of their age can advise young people and young politicians when they mistake. Noting that in recent years politics seemed to have retreated in the face of aggression and pervasiveness of other forms of power, such as financial and media, Pope Francis called for relaunching good politics and its specific ability to serve the public good by reducing inequalities, promoting the welfare of families with concrete measures, providing a solid framework of rights and duties and making them effective for everyone. The Pope greeted the sick people present at Piazza del Popolo, before proceeding to Cesena cathedral where he addressed representatives of the local Church.  There, in the chapel he greeted a group of sick people.  CESENA CATHEDRAL The principal mission of Christ’s disciples is proclaiming and witnessing the Gospel with joy said Pope Francis speaking to the clergy, consecrated persons, laypeople and pastoral counsellors, members of the Curia and parish representatives in the Cesena cathedral. Focusing on  evangelization, Pope Francis called on the clergy to rediscover the joy of being priests during the different stages of their personal and ministerial journey, to be called by the Lord to follow him to bring his word, his pardon, his love, his grace.   It is a call that never ceases to amaze us, he said.  To make evangelization effective Pope Francis gives them practical guidelines: A call to walk in fraternity and unity Evangelization, the Pope said, is effective to the extent there is sincere collaboration between different ecclesial movements and institutions. A  Church walking in fraternity and unity is itself  an effective witness to faith.  When love of Christ is above all, all legitimate needs will be set aside to meet the needs of the brothers  and always in Christ. A call to be sensitive to the needs of the poor The scars of Jesus'  remain visible even today  in so many men and women who live on the margins of society: marked by suffering, discomfort, abandonment  and poverty. Caring for their bodily and spiritual needs we are purified and transformed by the mercy of God.  Referring to the revolution of charity begun by St Vincent de Paul 400 years ago, the Holy Father said, “now we  too are called to carry on this revolution with apostolic zeal knowing that we cannot do anything on our own” without the Lord. A call to pray and meditate on the Word of God The Pope said, it is necessary to set aside adequate time for prayer and meditation of the Word of God for  prayer gives strength to our mission - as is proved by St. Teresa of Calcutta .  He explained that the constant encounter with the Lord in prayer becomes indispensable both for priests and for consecrated persons and for pastoral workers who are called to go out to the peripheries. “Our deep encounter with the Lord will help us see Jesus who met the people on the streets of Galilee and to look into the eyes of the other with respect and love and create a revolution of tenderness .”   A call to be with the young Pope Francis said it is the young people who most need to experience this love of Jesus.  The young who are a great resource need to be helped to discover the gifts of the Lord and not to fear the challenges of the present times.   He encouraged the clergy  to meet them, to listen to them, to walk with them, so that they may meet Christ and be receptive to his free message of love. A call to show proximity to families Stressing that a Church attentive to young people  is a church of the family, the Holy Father encouraged the clergy in their pastoral work towards families.  He assured them God’s grace, his closeness and prophetic power  will help them even when they lack adequate support.  “We are  called  to be witnesses, mediators of this proximity to families.” In conclusion the  Holy Father called them to be renewed each day through the  Eucharistic celebration and with their encounter with the  people of God to whom “we are sent”.  He exhorted priests, consecrated, deacons, and lay faithful to walk together without being discouraged in the face of  difficulties but to be persistent in bearing witness to the Gospel.   In their  journey he encouraged them to always feel compelled and supported by the power of the Holy Spirit.  (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope meets Italian mayors, municipalities

Sat, 09/30/2017 - 20:03
(Vatican Radio)  The image of a city that the New Jerusalem evokes is one of a human society that is based on true solidarity, whereas where envy, unbridled ambitions and spirit of adversity grow, it condemns itself to the violence of chaos. The common good Pope Francis made the point on Saturday while addressing some 300 members of the National Association of Italian Municipalities (ANCI) in the Vatican.   The model of the city or town that the Pope proposed to them is one that “does not permit a one-way traffic of exasperated individualism,” that does not tolerate the “blind alleys of corruption ” that breeds disintegration , and where there are no “walls of the privatization of public spaces, where the "us" is but a rhetoric ploy that “masks the interest of a few .” The Pope urged the town and city officials to have “the passion for the common good” that grants each one and his family the possibility to realize themselves and open themselves in communion with others .  Solidarity and human brotherhood Speaking about areas that lack quality services he said it is here where new “ pockets of poverty and marginalization ” breed.  “This,” he said, “is where the city moves on a double lane .”  “On the one hand there is a highway of those who are overly cared for and on the other there are the “ bottlenecks of the poor and unemployed , the numerous families and immigrants who have no one to count on.”  “We must not accept these plans that divide and make the life of one be the death of the other,” the Pope said, adding, “the struggle itself ends up destroying any sense of solidarity and human brotherhood.” Learn from the poor The Pope thus urged the city and town administrations to visit the urban, social and existential peripheries under them, saying the “point of view of the least is the best school that will make us understand the true needs”  and their solutions .  While making us feel the “ pulse of injustice ” they will also show us the way to eliminate it and create a community where each one is recognized as a person and citizen with rights and duties.   The Pope said that if a mayor is close to his people, things go well always. Migrants, refugees Speaking about Italy’s massive problem with migrants and refugees, the Pope said he can well understand the difficulties of the nation grappling with an economic crisis, local communities’ unpreparedness and inadequate measures to deal with the emergencies.  He said this difficulty can be overcome by offering spaces for personal encounter and knowledge of one another .  He commended initiatives that “promote the culture of encounter, mutual exchange of artistic and cultural riches, and the knowledge of the places and communities of origin of the new arrivals.”  Pope Francis expressed satisfaction that many city and town administrations have adopted the “the good practice of welcome and integration, with encouraging results” which he said should be spread wide.  (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope at Mass celebrates archangels who accompany us on our journey

Fri, 09/29/2017 - 20:12
(Vatican Radio) Celebrating the feast day of the three archangel s, Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, Pope Francis said we share their vocation “cooperating together in God’s salvific design”. Speaking during the homily at Mass in the Casa Santa Marta, he reflected on the Collect for the Day in which we sing the Lord’s praises in the sight of angels. Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni : Angels, Pope Francis said, are masters of contemplation: they serve and contemplate the Lord who has sent them to accompany us on the path of life.  Michael protects us against evil    Michael, Gabriel and Raphael in particular, he continued, have an important role in our journey towards salvation. “Michael, he said, is the one who fights against the devil” and protects humanity from the snares of evil. He protects us against the serpent that seduces us, makes us fall and then accuses us before God claiming us as his own. “Michael, the Pope explained, was asked by the Lord to fight the devil” and he helps us resist temptation on our earthly journey towards heaven. Gabriel brings the good news Gabriel – another archangel we celebrate today – is the one who “brings the good news”; he’s the one who announced to Zachariah the forthcoming birth of John the Baptist and to Mary and Joseph, the birth of Jesus. “Gabriel too accompanies us and helps us on our journey when we “forget” the Gospel.”  He reminds us that “Jesus came to save us”. Raphael accompanies us The third archangel we celebrate today, the Pope said, is Raphael: “he walks with us taking care of us on our journey and helping us not take the wrong step”. These are our companions, Francis concluded, at our and at God’s service. And he prayed: “Michael: help us in our battle – each of us has a battle to fight in our lives; Gabriel: bring us news, bring us the good news of salvation; Raphael: take us by the hand and lead us forward without taking the wrong turning. Always walking forward, but with your help!”               (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope to focus on “fake news” in message for World Communications Day 2018‎

Fri, 09/29/2017 - 18:35
(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis will focus on the harmful effects of fake news against journalism for peace, in his message for peace for World Communications Day next year.  ““ The truth will set you free” (Jn 8:32). Fake news and journalism for peace, ” is the theme of the annual Catholic Church observance that the Pope announced with a post on Twitter (@Pontifex) on Friday. World Communications Day, the only worldwide celebration called for by the Second Vatican ‎Council ‎‎( “Inter Mirific a”, 1963), is marked in most countries, on the recommendation of the bishops of ‎the ‎world, on the Sunday before Pentecost, which in 2018 will fall on May 13.   In some countries, the day is marked as the solemnity of Ascension. The announcement of the ‎theme is traditionally made on Sept. 29 , the feast of the Archangels Michael, ‎Raphael and Gabriel, with ‎ Gabriel being designated the patron saint of telecommunications .  The Holy ‎Father's message for World ‎Communications Day is traditionally published in conjunction with January ‎‎24 , feast of St. Francis de ‎Sales , patron of journalists, to allow bishops' conferences, diocesan offices and ‎communications ‎organizations sufficient time to prepare audiovisual and other materials for national ‎and local ‎celebrations. ‎ ‎ The first World Communications Day was observed on May 7, 1967, under the pontificate of Blessed Pope Paul VI, who wanted to draw attention to the communications media and the enormous power they have for cultural transformation.  Next year’s observance will be the 52nd edition. Church's contribution Commenting on the theme of next year’s World Communications Day, the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communication said that false information contributes to creating and fueling strong polarization of opinions. This often consists in distortion of facts , with possible "repercussions on individual ‎and collective behaviours."  In a situation in which social media groups, institutions and the political world are reacting to this phenomenon, the Secretariat said, “the Church would like make its contribution by proposing a ‎ reflection on the causes, logic and consequences of misinformation in the media and helping to promote ‎professional journalism, always seeking the truth , and thus a journalism of peace that promotes ‎understanding among people .‎”   (from Vatican Radio)...

Mons Viganò: Radio an antidote to fake news

Thu, 09/28/2017 - 19:44
(Vatican Radio) The Prefect of the Secretariat for Communications , Mons Dario Edoardo Viganò on Thursday addressed a workshop in Milan entitled "Journalism in the age of Fake News. The frontier of radio ". Facts versus fiction In remarks prepared for the occasion,  Mons Viganò began by stressing the importance of fact and source checking in this era of fake news , saying that it was “worth remembering that the verification of sources is the primary rule of journalism, adding that, in the age of contemporary information truth runs the risk of becoming a secondary aspect.” The Prefect went on to say that, “because of a continuous technological evolution, it is difficult to use the conceptual categories of the past,” and he noted the role of the internet and Social Media which have played their part in changing the media boundaries that people have become accustomed to. Mons Viganò said that what was required in this era of fake news was “to reiterate the need to recover the foundations of ethics and the ethics of the journalistic profession that are based precisely on the verification of sources as well as on other principles.” He also commented that there was a need for critical thinking on the part of social media users who often share information on their own profiles without paying too much attention to the text. Radio and Fake news Turning his attention to Radio, the Prefect, said that in this age of fake news  “…Radio is a strategic key to 'anti fake news',” which can not only counteract this phenomenon but can facilitate an opposing logic. By exploiting the new media, he said, “Radio has strengthened its identity at all times and has kept its appeal intact both in terms of audience, advertising and economic investments.” Mons Viganò underlined, that Radio enjoys consistent credibility among young people who put it in pole position among the traditional media, such as TV and newspapers. In short, the Prefect said, Radio involves an extraordinary narrative immediacy that has a fundamental value. Mons Viganò was participating at the workshop ahead of the 69th edition of Gran Prix Italia, the Rai International Competition dedicated to innovative radio and TV programs and high-quality cultural and artistic programs. (from Vatican Radio)...

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