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Holy Father’s Address to World Meeting of Families at Croke Park Stadium

Families are the Vast Majority of the People of God

Following is the address of Pope Francis at the World Meeting of Families on August 25, 2018, in Croke Park Stadium, Dublin.


Dear Brothers and Sisters, good evening!

I am grateful to all of you for your warm welcome. It is good to be here! It is good to celebrate, for celebration makes us more human and more Christian. It also helps us to share the joy of knowing that Jesus loves us, he accompanies us on our journey of life, and each day he draws us closer to himself.

In any family celebration, everyone’s presence is felt: fathers, mothers, grandparents, grandchildren, uncles and aunts, cousins, those who cannot come and those who live too far away. Today in Dublin we are gathered for a family celebration of thanksgiving to God for who we are: one family in Christ, spread throughout the world. The Church is the family of God’s children. A family in which we rejoice with those who are rejoicing, and weep with those who grieve or feel knocked down by life. A family in which we care for everyone, for God our Father has made all of us his children in Baptism. That is one reason why I keep encouraging parents to baptize their children as soon as possible so that they can become part of this great family of God. We need to invite everyone to the party!

You, dear families, are the vast majority of the People of God. What would the Church look like without you? It was to help us recognize the beauty and importance of family, with its lights and shadows that I wrote my Exhortation Amoris Laetitia on the joy of love, and wanted the theme of this World Meeting of Families to be “The Gospel of the Family, Joy for the World”. God wants every family to be a beacon of the joy of his love in our world. What does this mean? It means that we, who have encountered God’s saving love, try, with or without words, to express it in little acts of kindness in our daily routine and in the most hidden moments of our day.

That is what holiness is all about. I like to speak of the saints “next door”, all those ordinary people who reflect God’s presence in the life and history of our world (cf. Gaudete et Exsultate, 6-7). The vocation to love and to holiness is not something reserved for a privileged few. Even now, if we have eyes to see, we can see it being lived out all around us. It is silently present in the heart of all those families that offer love, forgiveness, and mercy when they see the need, and do so quietly, without great fanfare. The Gospel of the family is truly joy for the world, since there, in our families, Jesus can always be found, dwelling in simplicity and poverty as he did in the home of the Holy Family of Nazareth.

Christian marriage and family life are only seen in all their beauty and attractiveness if they are anchored in the love of God, who created us in his own image so that we might give him glory as icons of his love and holiness in the world. Fathers and mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers, children and grandchildren: all of us are called to find, in the family, our fulfillment in love. God’s grace helps us daily to live as one in mind and heart. Even daughters-in-law and mothers-in-law! No one said this would be easy. It is like making tea: it is easy to bring the water to a boil, but a good cup of tea takes time and patience; it needs to brew! So it is that each day Jesus warms us with his love and lets it penetrate our whole being. From the treasury of his Sacred Heart, he offers us the grace we need to heal our infirmities and to open our minds and hearts to hear, understand and forgive one another.

We just heard the testimonies of Felicité, Isaac, and Ghislain, who are from Burkina Faso. They told us a moving story of forgiveness in the family. The poet says that “to err is human, to forgive divine”. And that is true: forgiveness is a special gift from God that heals our brokenness and draws us closer to one another and to him. Small and simple acts of forgiveness, renewed each day, are the foundation upon which a solid Christian family life is built. They force us to overcome our pride, aloofness, and embarrassment, and to make peace. It is true that I like to say that in our families we need to learn three words: “sorry”, “please” and “thank you”. When you quarrel at home, be sure that before going to bed you apologize and say you are sorry. Even if the argument tempts you to sleep in another room, alone and apart, just knock on the door and say: “Please, can I come in?” All it takes is a look, a kiss, a soft word… and everything is back to the way it was! I say this because when families do this, they survive. There is no such thing as a perfect family; without the practice of forgiveness, families can grow sick and gradually collapse.

To “forgive” means to “give” something of yourself. Jesus always forgives us. By the power of his forgiveness, we too can forgive others, if we really want to. Isn’t that what we pray for when we say the Our Father? Children learn to forgive when they see their parents forgiving one another. If we understand this, we can appreciate the grandeur of Jesus’ teaching about fidelity in marriage. Far from a cold legal obligation, it is above all a powerful promise of God’s own fidelity to his word and his unfailing grace. Christ died for us so that we, in turn, might forgive and be reconciled with one another. In this way, as individuals and as families, we can know the truth of Saint Paul’s words that, when all else passes away, “love never ends” (1 Cor 13:8).

Thank you Nisha and Ted, for your testimony from India, where you are teaching your children how to be a true family. You have helped us to understand that social media are not necessarily a problem for families, but can also serve to build a “web” of friendships, solidarity and mutual support. Families can connect through the internet and draw nourishment from it. Social media can be beneficial if used with moderation and prudence. For example, all of you gathered for this World Meeting of Families have formed a spiritual network, a web of friendship; social media can help you to maintain this connection and expand it to even more families throughout the world. It is important, though, that these media never become a threat to the real web of flesh and blood relationships by imprisoning us in a virtual reality and isolating us from the very relationships that challenge us to grow to our full potential in communion with others. Perhaps Ted and Nisha’s story will help all families to question whether they need to cut down on the time they spend with technology, and to spend more quality time with one another and with God.

We have heard from Enass and Sarmaad how a family’s love and faith can be a source of strength and peace even amid the violence and destruction caused by war and persecution. Their story reminds us of the tragic situations endured daily by so many families forced to flee their homes in search of security and peace. But they also show us how, starting from the family, and thanks to the solidarity shown by so many other families, lives can be rebuilt and hope born anew. We saw this support in the video of Rammy and his brother Meelad, where Rammy expressed his deep gratitude for the encouragement and help their family received from so many other Christian families worldwide, who made it possible for them to return to their village. In every society, families generate peace, because they teach the virtues of love, acceptance, and forgiveness that are the best antidote to the hatred, prejudice, and vengeance that can poison the life of individuals and communities.

As a good Irish priest taught us, “the family that prays together, stays together” and radiates peace. In a special way, such a family can be a support for other families that do not live in peace. Following the death of Father Ganni, Enass, Sarmaad, and their family chose forgiveness and reconciliation over hatred and resentment. They saw, in the light of the cross, that evil can only be fought by good, and hatred overcome only by forgiveness. Almost incredibly, they were able to find peace in the love of Christ, a love that makes all things new. Tonight they share that peace with us.

The love of Christ that renews all things is what makes possible marriage and a conjugal love marked by fidelity, indissolubility, unity, and openness to life. It is what I wanted to celebrate in the fourth chapter of Amoris Laetitia. We see this love in Mary and Damian and their family of ten children. Thank you for your testimony and for your witness of love and faith! You experienced the power of God’s love to change your lives completely and to bless you with the joy of a beautiful family. You told us that the key to your family life is truthfulness. From your story, we see how important it is to keep going back to the source of the truth and the love that can change our lives: Jesus, who began his public ministry at a wedding feast. There, in Cana, he changed water into a new and sweet wine that kept the joyful celebration going strong. So it is with conjugal love. The new wine begins to ferment during the time of engagement, which is necessary but fleeting, and matures throughout marriage in a mutual self-giving that enables spouses to become, from two, “one flesh”. And to open their hearts, in turn, to all those in need of love, especially the lonely, the abandoned, the weak and vulnerable so often discarded by our throw-away culture.

Families everywhere are challenged to keep growing, to keep moving forward, even amid difficulties and limitations, just as past generations did. All of us are part of a great chain of families stretching back to the beginning of time. Our families are a treasury of living memory, as children become parents and grandparents in turn. From them, we receive our identity, our values, and our faith. We see this in Aldo and Marissa, who have been married for over fifty years. Their marriage is a monument to love and fidelity! Their grandchildren keep them young; their house is filled with laughter, happiness, and dancing. Their love for one another is a gift from God, and it is a gift that they are joyfully passing on to their children and grandchildren.

A society that does not value grandparents is a society that has no future. A Church that is not mindful of the covenant between generations will end up lacking the thing that really matters, which is love. Our grandparents teach us the meaning of conjugal and parental love. They themselves grew up in a family and experienced the love of sons and daughters, brothers and sisters. So they are a treasury of experience and wisdom for the new generation. It is a big mistake not to ask the elderly about their experience, or to think that talking to them is a waste of time. Here I would like to thank Missy for her words of witness. She told us that, among travelers, the family has always been a source of strength and solidarity. Her witness reminds us that, in God’s house, there is a place at table for everyone. No one is to be excluded; our love and care must extend to all.

I know it is late and you are tired! But let me say one last thing to all of you. As families, you are the hope of the Church and of the world! God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, created mankind in his image to share in his love, to be a family of families, and to enjoy the peace that he alone can give. By your witness to the Gospel, you can help God’s dream to come true. You can help to draw all God’s children closer together so that they can grow in unity and learn what it is for the entire world to live in peace as one great family. For this reason, I wanted to give each of you a copy of Amoris Laetitia, which I wrote as a kind of roadmap for living joyfully the Gospel of the family. May Mary our Mother, Queen of the Family and Queen of Peace, sustain all of you in your journey of life, love, and happiness!

And now, at the conclusion of our evening together, we will recite the prayer for this World Meeting of Families.

Prayer and Blessing

Good night and rest well! See you tomorrow!



La Paz, Bolivia, Jul 9, 2015 / 05:38 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- In an address to international NGOs on Thursday, Pope Francis said the poor and marginalized have an irreplaceable role to play in reversing what he calls the global dictatorship of greed.

“This system is by now intolerable: farmworkers find it intolerable, laborers find it intolerable, communities find it intolerable, peoples find it intolerable,” the Pope said. “The earth itself – our sister, Mother Earth, as Saint Francis would say – also finds it intolerable.”

“You, the lowly, the exploited, the poor and underprivileged, can do, and are doing, a lot,” he continued. “I would even say that the future of humanity is in great measure in your own hands.”

Pope Francis made his comments in a colorful, lengthy address to the Second World Meeting of the Popular Movements in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. The three day congress gathers international NGOs to discuss modern challenges facing the poor and marginalized. The Vatican hosted the First World Meeting of the Popular Movements last October.  

Bolivia is the second of three stops on the Pope’s trip to South America. He visited Ecuador July 5-8 and will spend a few days in Bolivia before heading to Paraguay on July 10 to finish his visit.

During his remarks, the Pope echoed many of the points in his recent environment encyclical, “Laudato Si.” He lamented global exclusion and injustice; the farmer with no land, the family with no home, the worker with no rights. He warned that unfettered greed is the driving force behind these injustices.

“Behind all this pain, death and destruction there is the stench of what Basil of Caesarea called 'the dung of the devil,'” he said. “An unfettered pursuit of money rules. The service of the common good is left behind.”

“Once capital becomes an idol and guides people’s decisions, once greed for money presides over the entire socioeconomic system, it ruins society, it condemns and enslaves men and women, it destroys human fraternity, it sets people against one another and, as we clearly see, it even puts at risk our common home.”

“Let’s not be afraid to say it: we need change; we want change,” he said, adding that even those who are benefiting from the current status quo have become dissatisfied and despondent.  

Pope Francis said change is urgently needed, but it will also take time. He said change is also not dependent on one political decision or change in social structure. To illustrate his point, the Pope adopted a phrase he heard during his time in Bolivia: “process of change.”

“We know from painful experience that changes of structure which are not accompanied by a sincere conversion of mind and heart sooner or later end up in bureaucratization, corruption and failure,” he said.

“That is why I like the image of a “process”, where the drive to sow, to water seeds which others will see sprout, replaces the ambition to occupy every available position of power and to see immediate results.”

He also said human relationships are the major agents of change in society.

“Commitment, true commitment, is born of the love of men and women, of children and the elderly, of peoples and communities...of names and faces which fill our hearts. From those seeds of hope patiently sown in the forgotten fringes of our planets, from those seedlings of a tenderness which struggles to grow amid the shadows of exclusion, great trees will spring up, great groves of hope to give oxygen to our world.”

Pope Francis then laid out three main goals for the NGOs gathered at the Expo Feria in Santa Cruz.

First, put the economy at the service of the people, the Pope said.

“Human beings and nature must not be at the service of money,” he continued. “Let us say NO to an economy of exclusion and inequality, where money rules, rather than service. That economy kills. That economy excludes. That economy destroys Mother Earth.”

The Pope called for communitarian economy, which he said is not only possible but a moral obligation.

“For Christians, the responsibility is even greater: it is a commandment,” he said. “It is about giving to the poor and to the peoples what is theirs by right. The universal destination of goods is not a figure of speech found in the Church’s social teaching. It is a reality prior to private property. Property, especially when it affects natural resources, must always serve the needs of peoples. And those needs are not restricted to consumption.”

The Pope then urged NGOs to work to unite communities in justice and peace. He praised growing collaboration and fraternity between many Latin American countries. But, despite this progress the Pope warned colonialism still rears its head in new and old ways.

“At times it appears as the anonymous influence of mammon: corporations, loan agencies, certain “free trade” treaties, and the imposition of measures of “austerity” which always tighten the belt of workers and the poor,” the Pope cautioned.

“The world’s peoples want to be artisans of their own destiny..They do not want forms of tutelage or interference by which those with greater power subordinate those with less,” he said. “They want their culture, their language, their social processes and their religious traditions to be respected. No actual or established power has the right to deprive peoples of the full exercise of their sovereignty. Whenever they do so, we see the rise of new forms of colonialism which seriously prejudice to possibility of peace and justice.”

The Pope also urged NGOs to work to protect the environment, an issue he described as “perhaps the most important facing us today.”

“Our common home is being pillaged, laid waste and harmed with impunity. Cowardice in defending it is a grave sin,” he said.”

“I ask you, in the name of God, to defend Mother Earth.”

Pope Francis promised his solidarity with the NGOs as they work to uproot global injustice and poverty. Though he admitted that even he doesn’t have a recipe to fix all the problems of the world.

“Don’t expect a recipe from this Pope,” he said. “Neither the Pope nor the Church have a monopoly on the interpretation of social reality or the proposal of solutions to contemporary issues. I dare say that no recipe exists. History is made by each generation as it follows in the footsteps of those preceding it, as it seeks its own path and respects the values which God has placed in the human heart.”

He urged the NGOs to seek creative solutions to modern-day crises. He also cautioned NGOs to be on wary of ideological misguidance.

“Be creative and never stop being rooted in local realities, since the father of lies is able to usurp noble words, to promote intellectual fads and to adopt ideological stances. But if you build on solid foundations, on real needs and on the lived experience of your brothers and sisters, of campesinos and natives, of excluded workers and marginalized families, you will surely be on the right path.”
Forwarded by J. Justin

Teach prayer by praying, announce the faith by believing; offer witness by living!"


Below is the Vatican Radio-provided full English translation of Pope Francis' prepared remarks for the Mass for the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul on Sunday morning in St. Peter's Basilica:


The reading, taken from the Acts of the Apostles, speaks to us of the first Christian community besieged by persecution. A community harshly persecuted by Herod who “laid violent hands upon some who belonged to the Church… proceeded to arrest Peter also… and when he had seized him he put him in prison” (12:1-4).


            However, I do not wish to dwell on these atrocious, inhuman and incomprehensible persecutions, sadly still present in many parts of the world today, often under the silent gaze of all.  I would like instead to pay homage today to the courage of the Apostles and that of the first Christian community.  This courage carried forward the work of evangelisation, free of fear of death and martyrdom, within the social context of a pagan empire; their Christian life is for us, the Christians of today, a powerful call to prayer, to faith and to witness.


            A call to prayerthe first community was a Church at prayer: “Peter was kept in prison; but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the Church” (Acts 12:5). And if we think of Rome, the catacombs were not places to escape to from persecution but rather, they were places of prayer, for sanctifying the Lord’s day and for raising up, from the heart of the earth, adoration to God who never forgets his sons and daughters.


            The community of Peter and Paul teaches us that the Church at prayer is a Church on her feet, strong, moving forward! Indeed, a Christian who prays is a Christian who is protected, guarded and sustained, and above all, who is never alone.


            The first reading continues: “Sentries before the door were guarding the prison; and behold, an angel of the Lord appeared, and a light shone in the cell; and he struck Peter on the side… And the chains fell off his hands” (12:6-7).


            Let us think about how many times the Lord has heard our prayer and sent us an angel?  An angel who unexpectedly comes to pull us out of a difficult situation?  Who comes to snatch us from the hands of death and from the evil one; who points out the wrong path; who rekindles in us the flame of hope; who gives us tender comfort; who consoles our broken hearts; who awakens us from our slumber to the world; or who simply tells us, “You are not alone”.


            How many angels he places on our path, and yet when we are overwhelmed by fear, unbelief or even euphoria, we leave them outside the door, just as happened to Peter when he knocked on the door of the house and the “maid named Rhoda came to answer.  Recognizing Peter’s voice, in her joy she did not open the door” (12:13-14). 


            No Christian community can go forward without being supported by persistent prayer! Prayer is the encounter with God, with God who never lets us down; with God who is faithful to his word; with God who does not abandon his children. Jesus asked himself: “And will not God vindicate his elect, who cry to him day and night?” (Lk 18:7).  In prayer, believers express their faith and their trust, and God reveals his closeness, also by giving us the angels, his messengers.


            A call to faithin the second reading Saint Paul writes to Timothy: “But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength to proclaim the word fully… So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.  The Lord will rescue me from every evil and save me for his heavenly Kingdom” (2 Tim 4:17-18).  God does not take his children out of the world or away from evil but he does grant them strength to prevail.  Only the one who believes can truly say: “The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I shall want” (Ps 23:1).


            How many forces in the course of history have tried, and still do, to destroy the Church, from without as well as within, but they themselves are destroyed and the Church remains alive and fruitful! She remains inexplicably solid, so that, as Saint Paul says, she may acclaim: “To him be glory for ever and ever” (2 Tim 4:18). 


            Everything passes, only God remains.  Indeed, kingdoms, peoples, cultures, nations, ideologies, powers have passed, but the Church, founded on Christ, notwithstanding the many storms and our many sins, remains ever faithful to the deposit of faith shown in service; for the Church does not belong to Popes, bishops, priests, nor the lay faithful; the Church in every moment belongs solely to Christ.  Only the one who lives in Christ promotes and defends the Church by holiness of life, after the example of Peter and Paul. 


            In the name of Christ, believers have raised the dead; they have healed the sick; they have loved their persecutors; they have shown how there is no power capable of defeating the one who has the power of faith!


            A call to witnessPeter and Paul, like all the Apostles of Christ who in their earthly life sowed the seeds of the Church by their blood, drank the Lord’s cup, and became friends of God.


            Paul writes in a moving way to Timothy: “My son, I am already on the point of being sacrificed; the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  From now on there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing” (2 Tim 4: 6-8).


            A Church or a Christian who does not give witness is sterile; like a dead person who thinks they are alive; like a dried up tree that produces no fruit; an empty well that offers no water!  The Church has overcome evil thanks to the courageous, concrete and humble witness of her children.  She has conquered evil thanks to proclaiming with conviction: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”  (cf. Mt 16:13-18).


            Dear Archbishops who today receive the Pallium, it is a sign which represents the sheep that the shepherd carries on his shoulders as Christ the Good Shepherd does, and it is therefore a symbol of your pastoral mission.  The Pallium is “a liturgical sign of communion that unites the See of Peter and his Successor to the Metropolitans, and through them to the other Bishops of the world” (Benedict XVI, Angelus of 29 June 2005).


            Today, by these Palliums, I wish to entrust you with this call to prayer, to faith and to witness.

            The Church wants you to be men of prayer, masters of prayer; that you may teach the people entrusted to your care that liberation from all forms of imprisonment is uniquely God’s work and the fruit of prayer; that God sends his angel at the opportune time in order to save us from the many forms of slavery and countless chains of worldliness.  For those most in need, may you also be angels and messengers of charity!


            The Church desires you to be men of faith, masters of faith, who can teach the faithful to not be frightened of the many Herods who inflict on them persecution with every kind of cross.  No Herod is able to banish the light of hope, of faith, or of charity in the one who believes in Christ!


            The Church wants you to be men of witness. Saint Francis used to tell his brothers: “Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words!” (cf.Franciscan sources, 43).  There is no witness without a coherent lifestyle!  Today there is no great need for masters, but for courageous witnesses, who are convinced and convincing; witnesses who are not ashamed of the Name of Christ and of His Cross; not before the roaring lions, nor before the powers of this world.  And this follows the example of Peter and Paul and so many other witnesses along the course of the Church’s history, witnesses who, yet belonging to different Christian confessions, have contributed to demonstrating and bringing growth to the one Body of Christ. I am pleased to emphasize this, and am always pleased to do so, in the presence of the Delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, sent by my beloved brother Bartholomew I.  


            This is not so straightforward: because the most effective and authentic witness is one that does not contradict, by behaviour and lifestyle, what is preached with the word and taught to others!

Forwarded by J. Justin


Vatican Officially Presents "Laudato Si'"

Fr. Federico Lombardi Says Universal Church United With Pope in Conveying Message of Responsibility to the World 

Vatican City State, June 18, 2015                         

Today, the Holy See officially presented Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato Si': On the Care for Our Common Home. The encyclical was discussed at a press conference held at the New Synod Hall at the Vatican.


Among those present were Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace; Metropolitan John Zizioulas of Pergamo, representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Orthodox Church; Prof. Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, founder and director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research; Professor Carolyn Woo, CEO and President of Catholic Relief Services; and Valeria Marana, a teacher in the outlying areas of Rome.


Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, began by noting the amount of attention that the encyclical has generated worldwide. "I have seen countless documents published but very rarely have I seen such a broad and global wait for a document," he said.

While acknowledging that the subject of ecology was "thoroughly pondered" by the Holy Father, it was also an issue that he did not consider alone, he said.

"For about a month now, thanks to modern technological communications, the Pope has been preparing the promulgation by sending materials to bishops.” Prior to publishing, the Pope also sent a final draft to the bishops along with a handwritten message.


"Dear brother," the Pope wrote, "in the bond of unity, charity and peace in which we live as Bishops, I send my letter Laudato Si': On the Care of Our Common Home, accompanied by my blessing. United in the Lord, and please do not forget to pray for me."

"On this day, we feel that the Universal Church is united to the Pope and conveying to the world a message of responsibility," Fr. Lombardi noted.


A crucial challenge

In his address, Cardinal Turkson noted that the presence of the various presenters is a reminder that the Pope's encyclical "brings into dialogue all people, organizations and institutions that share this same concern."

"This type of dialogue was also employed as the method of preparation that the Holy Father embraced in the writing of the Encyclical. He relied on a wide range of contributions," he said.


"Some, in particular those from many Episcopal Conferences from all the continents, are mentioned in the footnotes. Others who participated in the various phases of this work all the way to the complex final phases of translation and publication, remain unnamed."

The president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace went on to say that Laudato Si’ does not set out to intervene in the climate change debate, which he affirmed “was the responsibility of scientists.”


However, given that human activity is one of the factors contributing to climate change, Cardinal Turkson said that the Church has a “serious moral responsibility to do everything in our power to reduce our impact and avoid the negative effects on the environment and on the poor.”


Speaking on behalf of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Orthodox Church, Metropolitan John Zizioulas praised the publishing of the new encyclical. He also expressed his gratitude to Pope Francis for drawing attention to “protect God’s creation from the damage we humans inflict on it with our behavior towards nature.”


He also said that Laudato Si’ is not only limited to the subject of ecology, but also has an important “ecumenical dimension” that unites all Christians in a common task.

“Pope Francis’ encyclical is a call to unity - unity in prayer for the environment, in the same Gospel of creation, in the conversion of our hearts and our lifestyles to respect and love everyone and everything given to us by God.


Faith and Reason

In his presentation, Professor Schellnhuber noted the uniqueness of Laudato Si’, stating that the encyclical “brings together two strong forces in the world: faith and reason."

The current crisis, he said, “is [not only] an environmental crisis but it’s also a social crisis. And these two things together pose a tremendous challenge and only if faith and reason work together, hand in hand, we can overcome this crisis."


He also said that while the climate has changed throughout the centuries, the change occurring now is different from what the earth has experienced in the past. Professor Schellnhuber went on to present the increase in carbon emissions in the world starting from the Industrial Age to the present.


Presenting a surprising statistic that the 60 wealthiest people on earth have the same amount of wealth as 3.5 billion of the world’s poorest population, Professor Schellnhuber discounted the belief that the increased population of the world, especially in poor countries, is the cause of environmental problems.


“This is utterly wrong,” he exclaimed. The director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research showed that in fact those with high incomes contribute more to greenhouse gas emissions, while the poor have not.


“It’s not poverty that destroys the environment. It is wealth, consumption and waste. And this is reflected in the encyclical,” he said.


Forwarded by J. Justin


Vatican City, May 19, 2015

 Speaking to the Italian bishops' general assembly on Monday, Pope Francis urged them to support the laity through Christian formation, so that they can assume their proper responsibilities in the public square.

An “ecclesial and pastoral sensibility” is “reflected in reinforcing the indispensible role of the laity, who are disposed to take on their responsibilities,” the Pope said May 18 in the Vatican's Synod Hall.

“In truth, the laity who have an authentic Christian formation do not have need of a 'bishop-pilot' or a 'monsignor-pilot', or of clerical input to assume their proper responsibilities, on all levels: from the political to the social, from the economic to the legislative! They have, rather, all the need of a shepherding bishop!”

The Italian bishops' general assembly, being held May 18-21 at the Vatican, is focused on the reception of Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium.

“Our Christian and episcopal vocation is to go against the tide,” the Pope reflected: “to be joyful witnesses of the Risen Christ, so as to transmit joy and hope to others.”

Pope Francis then quoted from Christ's sermon on the mount: “You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how shall it saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden under foot by men.”

With that introduction, the Pope told the bishops that “it is very unsightly to encounter a dejected consecrated person, demotivated or shut down: he is like a dry well where the people cannot find water to quench their thirst.”

He said his questions and concerns “come from a global vision” gleaned from his meetings with bishops conferences worldwide throughout the past two years, “where I noticed how important is what might be called the ecclesial sensibility: namely the appropriation of the very sentiments of Christ, of humility, compassion, mercy … and of wisdom.”

This ecclesial sensibility implies that bishops be neither “shy nor irrelevant in disavowing and defeating the widespread mentality of public and private corruption, which has so shamelessly impoverished families, retired persons, honest workers, Christian communities, and discarded the young, who are systematically deprived of any hope for their future, and has marginalized the weak and the needy.”

Continuing to reflect on this sensibility, the Pope emphasized that the shepherds must “go out to the people of God, to defend them from ideological colonization, which strips away human dignity and identity.”

Ecclesial sensibility “is also manifested in pastoral choices and in the elaboration of documents,” he said, reflecting that abstract, theoretical, and doctrinal aspects “should not prevail” in pastoral documents “as if our guidelines are not destined for our people or our country – but are only for a few specialists and scholars – instead, we must pursue the effort to translate them into concrete and understandable proposals.”

Pope Francis' final point in ecclesial sensibility was its manifestation in collegiality: between bishops and priests; among bishops and dioceses; the peripheries and the center; and between bishops and bishops conferences, and the Successor of Peter.

He denounced a lack of collegiality both in “designing pastoral plans” and in financial commitments, and his other example of “a lack of ecclesial sensibility” was found in asking “why religious institutes, monasteries, and congregations let themselves grow so old that they are no longer faithful, gospel witnesses to their founding charisms?”

“I will stop here,” Pope Francis stated, “having wanted to offer only a few examples of the ecclesial sensibility which is weakened because of a continual confrontation with the enormous problems of the world and because of the crisis which does not spare even the same Christian and ecclesial identity.”

“May the Lord – during the Jubilee of Mercy which will begin next December 8 – grant 'the joy of rediscovering and rendering fruitful God’s mercy, with which we are all called to give comfort to every man and every woman of our time.'”
Forwarded by J. Justin


Pope’s Morning Homily: Gives 2 Criteria How to Distinguish True Love, From Not True Love

During Mass at Casa Santa Marta, Francis Stresses Love Requires Deeds, Communication

Vatican City State, May 07, 2015.

How can you tell it is true love? Pope Francis explored this topic during his daily Mass at Casa Santa Marta this morning.

Reflecting on today’s Gospel when Jesus 'asks us to remain in his love,' the Argentine Pontiff said, "There are two criteria that will help us to distinguish the true from the not-true love."

The first criterion is that love is "more in deeds than in words," he said, noting it is not "a saga of love", "a fantasy," or that which "make our hearts beat a little, but nothing more."

"In other words, true love is real," Francis said. "It is in the works, and is a constant love. It is not a simple enthusiasm. Also, many times it is a painful love: the love we think of in Jesus carrying the cross."

Works of love, the Jesuit Pope went on to stress, must be concrete, as Jesus taught us in the Chapter 25 of St. Matthew. "I was hungry, you gave me something to eat, and so on. Concreteness.”

The second criterion of love, the Pope said, is that it "communicates" and "does not remain isolated." He pointed out the love and selfless giving and receiving between God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.

"There is no love without communicating," he said, "There is no isolated love."

"For those who may wonder, 'But Father, monks and nuns are isolated,'" he said, it is different because they do communicate, especially with the Lord, and they are not selfish, closed in on themselves, seeking their own profit.

To remain in the love of Jesus, the Pope said, requires deeds and communication. Though it is simple, he said, it is not easy because "selfishness, self-interest attracts us.”

Forwarded by J. Justin



Tonight is a night of vigil.


The Lord is not sleeping; the Watchman is watching over his people (cf. Ps 121:4), to bring them out of slavery and to open before them the way to freedom.


The Lord is keeping watch and, by the power of his love, he is bringing his people through the Red Sea. He is also bringing Jesus through the abyss of death and the netherworld.


This was a night of vigil for the disciples of Jesus, a night of sadness and fear. The men remained locked in the Upper Room. Yet, the women went to the tomb at dawn on Sunday to anoint Jesus’ body. Their hearts were overwhelmed and they were asking themselves: “How will we enter? Who will roll back the stone of the tomb?...” But here was the first sign of the great event: the large stone was already rolled back and the tomb was open!


“Entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe...” (Mk 16:5). The women were the first to see this great sign, the empty tomb; and they were the first to enter...


“Entering the tomb”. It is good for us, on this Vigil night, to reflect on the experience of the women, which also speaks to us. For that is why we are here: to enter, to enter into the Mystery which God has accomplished with his vigil of love.


We cannot live Easter without entering into the mystery. It is not something intellectual, something we only know or read about... It is more, much more!


“To enter into the mystery” means the ability to wonder, to contemplate; the ability to listen to the silence and to hear the tiny whisper amid great silence by which God speaks to us (cf 1 Kings 19:12).


To enter into the mystery demands that we not be afraid of reality: that we not be locked into ourselves, that we not flee from what we fail to understand, that we not close our eyes to problems or deny them, that we not dismiss our questions...


To enter into the mystery means going beyond our own comfort zone, beyond the laziness and indifference which hold us back, and going out in search of truth, beauty and love. It is seeking a deeper meaning, an answer, and not an easy one, to the questions which challenge our faith, our fidelity and our very existence. 


To enter into the mystery, we need humility, the lowliness to abase ourselves, to come down from the pedestal of our “I” which is so proud, of our presumption; the humility not to take ourselves so seriously, recognizing who we really are: creatures with strengths and weaknesses, sinners in need of forgiveness. To enter into the mystery we need the lowliness that is powerlessness, the renunciation of our idols... in a word, we need to adore. Without adoration, we cannot enter into the mystery.


The women who were Jesus’ disciples teach us all of this. They kept watch that night, together with Mary. And she, the Virgin Mother, helped them not to lose faith and hope. As a result, they did not remain prisoners of fear and sadness, but at the first light of dawn they went out carrying their ointments, their hearts anointed with love. They went forth and found the tomb open. And they went in. They had kept watch, they went forth and they entered into the Mystery. May we learn from them to keep watch with God and with Mary our Mother, so that we too may enter into the Mystery which leads from death to life.


Forwarded by J. Justin


Feb 27, 2015 

by Ann S.


 Fallen away Catholics are being invited to “come home” this Lent through a worldwide initiative led by Pope Francis, which points to confession as a primary way to experience God's merciful embrace.

“So often, people are afraid to come back to church or to the Sacrament of Reconciliation for they feel that, since they have been gone for so long, there is no way back,” said Father Geno Sylva, English language official for the Vatican's New Evangelization council.

“This initiative is to let people know that it is never too late and there is always a way back,” he told CNA.

“24 Hours for the Lord” is a yearly event set for the fourth Friday and Saturday of Lent which began in 2014 under the auspices of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization.

Taking place on Mar. 13-14, this year's theme is “God rich in mercy” (Eph. 2:4) which, Fr. Sylva observed, “is such an important theme of our Holy Father.”

In his 2015 message for Lent, Pope Francis expressed his hope that the Church, “also at the diocesan level,” would observe 24-hour initiative, saying it “is meant to be a sign of this need for prayer.”

The event will begin on the evening of the fourth Friday of Lent with a penance service presided over by Pope Francis in Saint Peter's Basilica. Following the service in the Vatican, Churches throughout Rome will remain open for 24 hours to give pilgrims the opportunity to go to Confession and take part in Eucharistic Adoration.

Fr. Sylva recalled one of the iconic images of Pope Francis during the 2014 penance service for “24 Hours for the Lord,” in which the Pope surprised one of the priests by approaching him for confession before hearing confessions himself.

“There’s something to be said for joining with our Holy Father, joining as a universal Church, in such a prayer experience,” Fr. Sylva said.

He then told of his own experience in 2014 hearing confessions at the church of Saint Agnes in Agony, one of three churches in open Rome throughout the night.

“It was so incredibly moving and inspiring just how many people had come back to the sacrament for the first time many decades,” he said. “When I asked them why they came back, so many of them said they came back because Pope Francis had invited and asked them to. And he had indeed during the Angelus the Sunday before.”

The inspiration for “24 Hours for Prayer” came from the 2012 Synod on the New Evangelization, during which the question of placing“the sacrament of reconciliation once again at the center of pastoral life” came to the surface, Fr. Sylva explained.

While parishes in Rome will be open overnight, Churches elsewhere are invited to adapt the initiative to their local situations and needs. Acknowledging that “every parish has a different history and unique culture,” Fr. Sylva said, “The pastor and the community are simply to invite people to come home.”

For those taking part in this year's event in Rome or elsewhere in the world, especially those who have been away from the Sacraments for a long time, organizers have prepared pastoral aids in Italian, English, Spanish, French and Polish. The English edition can be purchased at the Catholic Publishing Company and is available worldwide.

“There are many different moments and steps in the new evangelization,” Fr. Geno said. “The 24 Hours for the Lord allows the Church the opportunity to demonstrate the great harmony of these moments: We invite, we welcome, we catechize and God forgives.”


Forwarded by J. Justin 



Rome, Italy, Feb 19, 2015 


 In his homily Thursday, Pope Francis said that every day we are faced with choices between good and evil, and stressed that God is always there to help us when the right decision is hard to make.

“The choice is between God and other gods who do not have the power to give us anything other than trivial, pithy little things that pass,” the Pope told Mass attendees Feb. 19.

He recognized that “it is not easy” to make the right choice, and encouraged those present to stop and ask themselves, “What is my lifestyle like? Which path am I on?”

Francis launched his reflection by referencing God’s words to Moses in the first reading, taken from Deuteronomy, in which God says, “Today I have set before you life and prosperity, death and doom. Obey the commandments of the Lord, Your God, which I enjoin on you today.”

It is the same choice that each person is faced with on a daily basis, he said, noting that it is often easier to follow false gods.

“We always have this habit of following the herd, like everyone else. Everyone and no one,” he said. However in today’s liturgy, the Church gives us the good advice to “stop and choose!”

He encouraged attendees to ask themselves whether or not they are following the Lord or if they are on another path. Alongside this question, he said, are deeper ones surrounding our relationship with God and our families, including our parents, siblings, children and spouses.

Pope Francis then turned to Luke’s Gospel, in which Jesus tells his disciples that there is no profit in gaining the world, but losing one’s soul at the same time.

“The search for personal success, for possessions, without a thought for the Lord, for one’s family is always the wrong path to choose,” he observed, and said that the two questions which constantly need to be asked regard the status of our relationship with God and with our family.

A person can work hard to gain everything and yet still fail, Francis said, explaining that even if monuments of the person are built and their portrait painted, they are “a failure” because they “did not choose well between life and death.”

The Pope also questioned those present as to what pace they live their lives at, and whether or not they allow time to reflect on the things they do.

A “little bit of courage” is needed every time we make decisions, he said, and pointed to Psalm 1’s exhortation to put our hope in the Lord as a piece of a good advice on the matter.

“When the Lord gives us this advice – ‘Stop! Choose today, choose’ – he doesn’t abandon us. He is with us and wants to help us. But we have to trust Him; we have to have faith in Him,” Francis said.

He concluded his homily by telling those present to stop and think about the decisions they make, and to remember that the Lord is always there beside us, offering his help.


Forwarded by J. Justin


Vatican City, Feb 2, 2015 / ;- Pope Francis warned consecrated men and women against reducing their religious live to a “caricature,” calling them to instead embrace a life of obedience, which in turn leads to wisdom.

This was the central theme of the Pope's homily for the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord on Feb. 2, which coincides with the World Day for Consecrated Life.

Addressing the congregation gathered in Saint Peter's Basilica on Monday evening, the Holy Father reflected on the Gospel account of Mary and Joseph presenting the Child Jesus in the temple.

Pope Francis described Mary’s arms as the “ladder of God’s condescension” upon which the Son of God “descended” becoming like us, “in order to ascend with us to the Father, making us like himself”, according to Vatican Radio’s translation.

Recalling the image of Mary entering the Temple with the Child Jesus, the Holy Father observed that “the Mother walks, yet it is the Child who goes before her.  She carries him, yet he is leading her along the path of the God who comes to us so that we might go to him.”

“For us too, as consecrated men and women,” the Pope continued, Jesus “opened a path.”

Throughout his homily, Pope Francis emphasized the theme of obedience which reoccurs in the Gospel, and its significance for consecrated men and women.

“Jesus came not to do his own will, but the will of the Father”, he said. “In the same way, all those who follow Jesus must set out on the path of obedience, imitating as it were the Lord’s ‘condescension’ by humbling themselves and making their own the will of the Father, even to self-emptying and abasement” (cf. Phil 2:7-8).

Progress for a religious person means following the path of Jesus who “did not count equality with God something to be grasped”, the Holy Father continued: “to lower oneself, making oneself a servant, in order to serve.”

This path, which “takes the form of the rule” is “marked by the charism of the founder”, he said. “This path, then, takes the form of the rule, marked by the charism of the founder.”

“For all of us, the essential rule remains the Gospel, this abasement of Christ, yet the Holy Spirit, in his infinite creativity, also gives it expression in the various rules of the consecrated life, though all of these are born of that sequela Christi, from this path of self-abasement in service.”

The wisdom which consecrated persons attain through the law is “not an abstract attitude, but a work and a gift of the Holy Spirit, the sign and proof of which is joy.”

Turning to the Gospel account of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, Pope Francis said that this “wisdom is represented by two elderly persons, Simeon and Anna: persons docile to the Holy Spirit.”

Their wisdom, the Pope continued, was “the fruit of a long journey along the path of obedience to his law, an obedience which likewise humbles and abases – even as it also guards and guarantees hope – and now they are creative, for they are filled with the Holy Spirit.”

“The Lord turns obedience into wisdom by the working of his Holy Spirit,” he continued. 

Obedience and docility are not theoretical, but “subject to the economy of the incarnation of the Word,” he said. Whether it be to the founder, to a “specific rule,” to “one’s superior,” or to the Church, docility and obedience are always concrete.

“The strengthening and renewal of consecrated life are the result of great love for the rule, and also the ability to look to and heed the elders of one’s congregation,” he said, adding that the “deposit” of the charism “is preserved by obedience and by wisdom, working together.”

In this way, the Pope said, consecrated men and women “are preserved from living our consecration lightly and in a disincarnate manner.” It would thereby become reduced to a “caricature” of the religious life: “without sacrifice, a prayer that is without encounter, a fraternal life that is without communion, an obedience without trust, a charity without transcendence.”

Pope Francis concluded his homily calling on consecrated men and women to “bring others to Jesus”, while allowing themselves to be led by him.  

“This is what we should be: guides who themselves are guided.”
Forwarded by J.Justin

1. Pope Francis in Sri Lanka to promote reconciliation

Pope Francis arrived in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on 13.01.2015, at the beginning of a week-long visit to Asia that was to see him in both Sri Lanka and the Philippines.
The newly-elected and installed President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, Maithripala Sirisena, offered official words of greeting to Pope Francis, thanking him for the visit and asking his blessing upon himself and his whole nation and people.
The visit of Pope Francis to the island nation, known as "the pearl of the Indian ocean " for its natural beauty, comes as Sri Lankans work to heal the scars of a decades-long civil war that ended in 2009. The need for genuine reconciliation in order to achieve justice and true, lasting peace, was a focal point of the Holy Father’s own remarks at the welcome ceremony.
The role of religious believers in fostering peace and furthering the common good was another theme of the Holy Father’s remarks.
The centerpiece of the Holy Father’s visit to Sri Lanka is the canonization of Blessed Joseph Vaz, a 17th and early 18th century priest, who was great hero of the cause of the Gospel in Sri Lanka – a cause that is very much alive and in the service of the whole Sri Lankan people in this day. RV Asia Newsletter, Vol. 3, no. 2, Jan 23, 2015

2. Pope: religion must never be abused in the cause of war

Pope Francis underlined the importance of interreligious and ecumenical dialogue in Sri Lanka on January 13, which is undergoing a process of reconciliation, following a 26-year-long civil war.
As he entered the International Congress Centre in the Sri Lankan capital, the Pope was greeted by traditional music and drumming, followed by the chanting of a Buddhist blessing by members of the country’s majority religious community.

Buddhist and Hindu leaders welcomed the Pope, speaking of the need for peace, reconciliation and unity in a nation still struggling to overcome the effects of the civil war. A Muslim representative also recalled the need for religious leaders to build bridges, overcome suspicion and promote peaceful coexistence between communities. He mentioned the killing of innocent people in France and Pakistan in the name of Islam, but he said "Islam has no relationship to such evil conduct and deeds".

Pope Francis addressed an interreligious and ecumenical gathering and reaffirmed the Church’s deep and abiding respect for other religions. To the spiritual leaders present at the gathering, the Pope said "at this moment of your nation’s history (…) May the growing spirit of cooperation between the leaders of the various religious communities find expression in a commitment to put reconciliation among all Sri Lankans at the heart of every effort to renew society and its institutions". 

The Pope said interfaith dialogue must be grounded in a full and honest presentation of our own convictions, which will help us to "see more clearly what we hold in common". Interreligious relations, he said, hold "a particular significance and urgency" in Sri Lanka which needs healing and unity, not further conflict and division.
Speaking of the need to serve the poor and destitute, as well as those whose families were torn apart by the war, the Pope said "May the growing spirit of cooperation between the leaders of the various religious communities find expression in a commitment to put reconciliation among all Sri Lankans at the heart of every effort to renew society and its institutions". RV Asia Newsletter, Vol. 3, no. 2, Jan 23, 2015
For the sake of peace, the Pope stressed, "religious beliefs must never be allowed to be abused in the cause of violence and war. We must be clear and unequivocal, he said, in challenging our communities to live fully the tenets of peace and coexistence found in each religion, and to denounce acts of violence when they are committed".
Pope Francis concluded with the wish that this fraternal encounter "confirm all of us in our efforts to live in harmony and to spread the blessings of peace".

3. Pope Francis: We are called to be missionary disciples

Religious freedom and Gospel witness in the service of reconciliation were the themes of Pope Francis’ homily at Mass on Galle Face Green, in Colombo on January 14. During mass the Holy Father canonized Blessed Joseph Vaz (1651-1711) – an Oratorian missionary priest from Goa and Apostle to Sri Lanka, who preached the Gospel there during the time of Dutch Calvinist dominion over much of the island.
Bl. Joseph Vaz is the first non-European native in modern times to found a Mission and Church in a "Third World" country; to found a fully native Catholic Religious Congregation; and to be given the official title of "Apostle" of Sri Lanka by the Church, for his work in rescuing the Church there. His Indian Oratorian Mission is the only fully native, non-European Catholic Mission of our colonial era.
The Holy Father also celebrated three great virtues of St Joseph Vaz, offering him to the whole Church as an example of priestly holiness, of missionary zeal, and of the life of witness lived in the service of reconciliation, justice and peace.

In conclusion, Pope Francis prayed that, following the example of Saint Joseph Vaz, the Christians of Sri Lanka might today be confirmed in faith and make an ever greater contribution to peace, justice and reconciliation in Sri Lankan society. "This," he said, "is what Christ asks of you: this is what Saint Joseph teaches you; this is what the Church needs of you." RV Asia Newsletter, Vol. 3, no. 2, Jan 23, 2015

4. Pope Francis: Marian Prayer at the Shrine of Our Lady of Madhu

Pope Francis arrived at the Shrine of Our Lady of Madhu on January 15, where he greeted over 500,000 faithful who had gathered to hear him speak about the importance of the shrine during the almost three decades long civil war.

The Shrine of Our Lady of Madhu is in Mannar district of Sri Lanka. With a history of over 400 years, this shrine acts as a center for pilgrimage and worship for Sri Lankan Catholics. The site is considered as the holiest Catholic shrine in the island and is a well known place of devotion for both Tamil and Sinhalese Catholics. The church has been a symbol of unity not just between Tamils and Sinhalese, but also between people of different religions, including Buddhists, Hindus and Protestants. Attendance for the August festival at times touched close to a million people before the outbreak of the Sri Lankan Civil War. Situated in the heart of the conflict zone, pilgrimage to this shrine was dramatically affected by the Civil War with the presence of refugee camps around the shrine complex. It was shelled a number of times.
In his words at the shrine, Pope Francis said just as Mary never left the side of her Son on the Cross, so she never leaves the side of her suffering Sri Lankan children as they seek to return to a peaceful existence. Through the intercession of Our Lady of Madhu, he prayed that all people may find inspiration and strength to build a future of reconciliation, justice and peace in the country.

Forwarded by J. Justin


Pope Draws 3 Lessons From Saint He Canonized Today in Colombo

Colombo, January 14, 2015

Pope Francis today pointed to three lessons to be taken from the Church's newest canonized saint, Joseph Vaz, a missionary to Sri Lanka, and the island nation's first canonized saint.

The Pope spoke of St. Joseph Vaz during a Mass for canonization that he celebrated this morning (local time) in Colombo.

He spoke of the life of the saint (1651-1711), a priest of the Oratory in his native Goa, who because of religious persecution, "dressed as a beggar, performing his priestly duties in secret meetings of the faithful, often at night. His efforts provided spiritual and moral strength to the beleaguered Catholic population.”

The Pontiff noted particularly the saint’s desire to minister to the sick and to serve the suffering.

He then went on to speak of three reasons that the saint is an “example and a teacher.”

“First, he was an exemplary priest,” the Pope said. “[...] He teaches us how to go out to the peripheries, to make Jesus Christ everywhere known and loved. He is also an example of patient suffering in the cause of the Gospel, an example of obedience to our superiors, an example of loving care for the Church of God.”

The Holy Father said St. Joseph lived, as we do, in a “period of rapid and profound transformation; Catholics were a minority, and often divided within; there was occasional hostility, even persecution, from without. And yet, because he was constantly united with the crucified Lord in prayer, he could become for all people a living icon of God’s mercy and reconciling love.”


The second lesson the Pope drew from St. Joseph applies directly to the Sri Lankan society, on a path of reconciliation after decades of civil war.

The Church on the island, while a small minority, has a unique role to play given that both Sinhalese and Tamils form part of the Catholic community.

Saint Joseph shows us the importance of transcending religious divisions in the service of peace,” the Pope said. “His undivided love for God opened him to love for his neighbour; he ministered to those in need, whoever and wherever they were.”

Francis said that the Church in Sri Lanka today is following the saint's example, making “no distinction of race, creed, tribe, status or religion in the service she provides through her schools, hospitals, clinics, and many other charitable works.”

“All she asks in return is the freedom to carry out this mission,” he stated. “Religious freedom is a fundamental human right. Each individual must be free, alone or in association with others, to seek the truth, and to openly express his or her religious convictions, free from intimidation and external compulsion.

“As the life of Saint Joseph Vaz teaches us, genuine worship of God bears fruit not in discrimination, hatred and violence, but in respect for the sacredness of life, respect for the dignity and freedom of others, and loving commitment to the welfare of all.”

Reverence for others

Thirdly, the Pope spoke of St. Joseph Vaz as a zealous missionary, characterized by his respect for others.

Saint Joseph knew how to offer the truth and the beauty of the Gospel in a multi-religious context, with respect, dedication, perseverance and humility,” he said. “This is also the way for the followers of Jesus today. We are called to go forth with the same zeal, the same courage, of Saint Joseph, but also with his sensitivity, his reverence for others, his desire to share with them that word of grace (cf. Acts 20:32) which has the power to build them up. We are called to be missionary disciples.”

The Pope concluded by expressing a prayer that the Christians of Sri Lanka might be “confirmed in faith and make an ever greater contribution to peace, justice and reconciliation in Sri Lankan society."

"This is what Christ asks of you," he said. "This is what Saint Joseph teaches you. This is what the Church needs of you.”

Pope Francis: 'Mary Did Not Forget Her Suffering Children'

Ends Second Day of Apostolic Trip with Visit to Marian Shrine in Madhu

Rome, January 14, 2015

"Mary never forgot her children on this resplendent island." These were the words of the Holy Father during his visit to the Marian shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary in Madhu.

The Pope departed to the north of Sri Lanka by helicopter to the shrine, which is located in an area that was the epicenter of the country's 30 year civil war. Pilgrims, both Christian and non-Christian, found refuge there during the violent clashes between the rebel Tamils and government forces.

Upon his arrival, a floral arrangement was placed around the Pope's neck and he was welcomed by various officials and Church authorities. He then boarded the Popemobile, greeted thousands of Sri Lankans who lined the streets to greet him.

Bishop Joseph Rayappu of Mannar, the diocese where the Shrine is located, welcomed the Holy Father saying that he was a "messenger of peace based on truth, justice and reconciliation." He also thanked the Pope for his love for the poor and those who suffering.

For his part, Pope Francis reflected on the Virgin Mary's welcoming presence in the Shrine to all Sri Lankans: Tamil and Sinhalese alike. He also recalled that presence during the violent civil war.

"There are families here today which suffered greatly in the long conflict which tore open the heart of Sri Lanka," he said.

"But Our Lady remained always with you. She is the mother of every home, of every wounded family, of all who are seeking to return to a peaceful existence. Today we thank her for protecting the people of Sri Lanka from so many dangers, past and present. Mary never forgot her children on this resplendent island. Just as she never left the side of her Son on the Cross, so she never left the side of her suffering Sri Lankan children."

The 78 year old Pontiff also stressed the need for forgiveness and reconciliation, which although difficult can only be understood in the light of the Cross.

"Only then can we receive the grace to approach one another in true contrition, offering and seeking true forgiveness," he said. "In this difficult effort to forgive and find peace, Mary is always here to encourage us, to guide us, to lead us. Just as she forgave her Son’s killers at the foot of his Cross, then held his lifeless body in her hands, so now she wants to guide Sri Lankans to greater reconciliation, so that the balm of God’s pardon and mercy may bring true healing to all."

Concluding his address, the Holy Father entrusted the Virgin Mary with the efforts of both Tamil and Sinhalese Sri Lankans to rebuild "the unity which was lost". He also prayed that the Shrine could continue to be a place of prayer and peace.

"Through the intercession of Our Lady of Madhu, may all people find here inspiration and strength to build a future of reconciliation, justice and peace for all the children of this beloved land," he said.

The Pope ended the celebration by blessing the faithful present with a statue of the Virgin Mary as well as placing a rosary on the famed image.


Forwarded by J.Justin


Busy Schedule Awaits Pope Francis on His Sri Lanka-Philippines Voyage

The Holy Father will make his longest apostolic visit to the island-nations Jan. 12-18.

by EDWARD PENTIN 01/09/2015                                   


A Sri Lankan Catholic prays at a church in the capital city of Colombo.


VATICAN CITY — Fostering reconciliation after a bloody civil war, consoling many affected by a catastrophic natural disaster and promoting interreligious dialogue will be some of Pope Francis’ most important tasks when he embarks for Sri Lanka and the Philippines on Monday.

The Holy Father’s seventh and longest apostolic visit outside of Italy will also include the canonization of Sri Lanka’s first saint, three open-air Masses and dining with survivors of a devastating typhoon in the Philippines.

Francis’ apostolic voyage comes exactly 20 years after Pope St. John Paul II made a similar visit to Sri Lanka and the Philippines. Blessed Paul VI also visited both countries in 1970.


The trip, covering tens of thousands of miles over an eight-day period, begins in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo on Monday.

Arriving at 9am, after an 11-hour overnight flight, the Holy Father will deliver the first of 11 discourses and homilies during the week, all of which will be in English, as when he visited South Korea in 2014. The Vatican says he may switch to Italian or Spanish for unscripted remarks.


New President

After meeting with Sri Lanka’s bishops at the apostolic nunciature in the capital (the Pope will not address the episcopate, as he recently met the bishops on their ad limina visit), Francis will transfer to the presidential palace in the afternoon. President-elect Maithripala Sirisena will welcome Pope Francis on his visit to Sri Lanka, as outgoing President Mahinda Rajapaksa has reportedly already left the presidential palace. There will be no papal address at that time.

Rajapaksa, who unexpectedly lost a Jan. 8 presidential election, has promised a “smooth transition of power.” The 69-year-old leader, who is credited with ending the country’s 30-year civil war and who had dominated Sri Lankan politics for a decade, called for an early poll after the papal visit had been confirmed, thereby placing the papal trip in jeopardy.


The Holy See prefers to avoid election periods to minimize political exploitation of the Pope. But after much discussion among officials, and despite the threat of unrest in a closely contested poll, it was decided the visit should go ahead.

In the evening, the Pope will meet interreligious leaders at the Bandaranaike Memorial Conference Hall in Colombo, where he will give an address. Papal spokesman Father Frederico Lombardi said the country is “very religious,” and popes have attributed “great importance” to the meeting in the past.

Buddhists, Hindus, as well as Muslims of Singhalese and Tamil ethnicities, will be present and a Buddhist monk will address the gathering, as Buddhism is the most widely practiced religion in the country.  


Canonization of Joseph Vaz

The second of the Pope’s two full days in Sri Lanka will begin with the canonization Mass of Blessed Joseph Vaz. Beatified in 1995 by St. John Paul II, Joseph Vaz was a 17th-century missionary from Goa, India, who went to evangelize the people of the island-nation. The priest is known as the “Apostle of Ceylon,” the name for Sri Lanka until 1972.


The Pope will then transfer by helicopter to pray at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary in Madhu, the most-visited shrine in the country. There, he will underline the importance of reconciliation, following in the face of the civil war between Tamils and Singhalese, much of which took place in the north, where the shrine is located.


The Church played “an important role” in achieving peace, Father Lombardi said, given that Catholics belong to both Tamil and Singhalese ethnicities. Among those present at the ceremony will be Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, archbishop of Colombo. The Holy Father will return to the Sri Lankan capital in the evening.


On the morning of Jan. 15, the Pope will make a brief visit to the chapel of Our Lady of Lanka in Colombo, where he will pray for peace in the country. After a farewell ceremony at the airport, he will depart on a Sri Lankan Airlines plane for the Philippines — the largest Catholic country in Asia.


Arrival in Manila

The six-hour flight will have him arriving at Villamor Air Base in Manila at 6:45pm, where he will attend an official welcoming ceremony. He will not be giving any discourses that day, but may grant an airborne press conference, Father Lombardi said.


On Jan. 16, the Pope is scheduled for an intense schedule: First, he will be welcomed at the presidential palace and visit President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III. Francis will then meet with public authorities and the diplomatic corps in the palace, where he will deliver a discourse.


Soon after, he will celebrate Mass with bishops, priests and religious at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Manila. The cathedral has suffered much tribulation over the years, due to wars and natural disasters, and has been renovated eight times.


After Mass, the Pope will meet with and address families. The Vatican spokesman stressed the importance of the encounter, as it will encompass different testimonies from family groups regarding poverty, migration and physical disabilities. The first to welcome him will be a 100-year-old woman, along with one of her great-grandsons.


Typhoon-Affected Region

Jan. 17 will be devoted to visiting Tacloban, a region devastated by Typhoon Yolanda in 2013 that cost 7,000-8,000 lives and affected 15 million people. More than 100,000 people are expected to greet the Holy Father, who will take a one-hour flight there. He will celebrate Mass next to Tacloban International Airport and then lunch at the archbishop’s palace, with some 30 survivors of the typhoon, each of whom has been “deeply affected” by the disaster, Father Lombardi said.


The Pope will then bless a new center for the poor and homeless, set up after the typhoon and funded by Cor Unum, the Pope’s charitable arm. Later that afternoon, he will meet with priests, religious, seminarians and families of typhoon survivors at the cathedral of Palo, where he will deliver a discourse. He will fly back to Manila afterwards.


On Jan. 18, Francis will have a brief meeting with the country’s religious leaders, followed by a meeting with up to 30,000 young people. Three young people will give testimonies: a formerly homeless girl, a student studying communications at the local university and a volunteer who helped recovery efforts during the typhoon.


The day will end with an open-air Mass at the same location where Pope St. John Paul II celebrated World Youth Day in 1995 and attracted between 4 and 5 million faithful. The Mass will be celebrated on the feast day of Holy Nino (Baby Jesus), a very popular feast in the Philippines.


President Aquino will attend the Holy Father’s farewell ceremonies at the airport in Manila. He is slated to arrive back in Rome at 5:40pm on Jan. 19.


Encyclical ‘Not Imminent’

Father Lombardi said that, during the trip, the Pope will probably address environmental issues, themes that will be included in the Holy Father’s next encyclical.

When asked when the document will be published, the Vatican spokesman said it is “not imminent,” but that it can be expected “before the summer.”






Today we are reminded of the words of blessing which Elizabeth spoke to the Virgin Mary: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me?” (Lk 1:42-43).

This blessing is in continuity with the priestly blessing which God had given to Moses to be passed on to Aaron and to all the people: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace” (Num 6:24-26). In celebrating the Solemnity of Mary the Most Holy Mother of God, the Church reminds us that Mary, more than anyone else, received this blessing. In her the blessing finds fulfilment, for no other creature has ever seen God’s face shine upon it as did Mary. She gave a human face to the eternal Word, so that all of us can contemplate him.

In addition to contemplating God’s face, we can also praise him and glorify him, like the shepherds who came away from Bethlehem with a song of thanksgiving after seeing the Child and his young mother (cf. Lk 2:16). The two were together, just as they were together at Calvary, because Christ and his mother are inseparable: there is a very close relationship between them, as there is between every child and his or her mother. The flesh (caro) of Christ – which, as Tertullian says, is the hinge (cardo) of our salvation – was knit together in the womb of Mary (cf. Ps 139:13). This inseparability is also clear from the fact that Mary, chosen beforehand to be the Mother of the Redeemer, shared intimately in his entire mission, remaining at her Son’s side to the end on Calvary.

Mary is so closely united to Jesus because she received from him the knowledge of the heart, the knowledge of faith, nourished by her experience as a mother and by her close relationship with her Son. The Blessed Virgin is the woman of faith who made room for God in her heart and in her plans; she is the believer capable of perceiving in the gift of her Son the coming of that “fullness of time”(Gal 4:4) in which God, by choosing the humble path of human existence, entered personally into the history of salvation. That is why Jesus cannot be understood without his Mother.

Likewise inseparable are Christ and the Church; the salvation accomplished by Jesus cannot be understood without appreciating the motherhood of the Church. To separate Jesus from the Church would introduce an “absurd dichotomy”, as Blessed Paul VI wrote (Evangelii Nuntiandi, 16). It is not possible “to love Christ but without the Church, to listen to Christ but not the Church, to belong to Christ but outside the Church” (ibid.). For the Church is herself God’s great family, which brings Christ to us. Our faith is not an abstract doctrine or philosophy, but a vital and full relationship with a person: Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God who became man, was put to death, rose from the dead to save us, and is now living in our midst. Where can we encounter him? We encounter him in the Church. It is the Church which says today: “Behold the Lamb of God”; it is the Church, which proclaims him; it is in the Church that Jesus continues to accomplish his acts of grace which are the sacraments.

This, the Church’s activity and mission, is an expression of her motherhood. For she is like a mother who tenderly holds Jesus and gives him to everyone with joy and generosity. No manifestation of Christ, even the most mystical, can ever be detached from the flesh and blood of the Church, from the historical concreteness of the Body of Christ. Without the Church, Jesus Christ ends up as an idea, a moral teaching, a feeling. Without the Church, our relationship with Christ would be at the mercy of our imagination, our interpretations, our moods.

Dear brothers and sisters! Jesus Christ is the blessing for every man and woman, and for all of humanity. The Church, in giving us Jesus, offers us the fullness of the Lord’s blessing. This is precisely the mission of the people of God: to spread to all peoples God’s blessing made flesh in Jesus Christ. And Mary, the first and most perfect disciple of Jesus, the model of the pilgrim Church, is the one who opens the way to the Church’s motherhood and constantly sustains her maternal mission to all mankind. Mary’s tactful maternal witness has accompanied the Church from the beginning. She, the Mother of God, is also the Mother of the Church, and through the Church, the mother of all men and women, and of every people.

May this gentle and loving Mother obtain for us the Lord’s blessing upon the entire human family. On this, the World Day of Peace, we especially implore her intercession that the Lord may grant peace in our day; peace in hearts, peace in families, peace among the nations. The message for the Day of Peace this year is “No Longer Slaves, but Brothers and Sisters”. All of us are called to be free, all are called to be sons and daughters, and each, according to his or her own responsibilities, is called to combat modern forms of enslavement. From every people, culture and religion, let us join our forces. May he guide and sustain us, who, in order to make us all brothers and sisters, became our servant. 

Vatican City,  December 19, 2014   
This morning the Pope received in audience delegations from Verona and Catanzaro, representing those who gave the gift of the Nativity scene and the Christmas tree in Saint Peter’s Square this year.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I meet you on the day that the Crib and Christmas tree are inaugurated in Saint Peter’s Square, and I thank all those who have cooperated, in different ways, to bring this about. I greet you all cordially, beginning with your Bishops, Monsignor Giuseppe Zenti and Monsignor Vincenzo Bertolone. With them I greet the Authorities and representatives of the institutions that have generously fostered this initiative. Thank you for these two beautiful Christmas gifts, which will be admired by numerous pilgrims from all over the world. The Crib with life-size statutes donated by the Arena Foundation of Verona, and the large fir tree with the [other] trees destined to different areas of the Vatican, offered by the Provincial Administration of Catanzaro, express the traditions and spirituality of your Regions. The values of Christianity, in fact, have made fruitful the culture, literature, music and art of your lands; and still today these values constitute a precious patrimony to be preserved and transmitted to future generations.

The Crib and the Christmas tree are Christmas signs that are always thought-provoking and dear to our Christian families: they recall the Mystery of the Incarnation, the Only-Begotten Son of God made man to save us, and the light that Jesus brought to the world with his birth. But the Crib and the tree touch everyone’s hearts, also those who do not believe, because they speak of fraternity, of intimacy and of friendship, calling the men of our time to rediscover the beauty of simplicity, of sharing and of solidarity. They are an invitation to unity, to concord and to peace; an invitation to make room in our personal and social life for God, who does not come with arrogance to impose his power, but who offers us his Omnipotent Love through the fragile figure of a Child. Therefore, the Crib and the tree bring a message of light, of hope and of love. To you here present, to your families and to all the inhabitants of your Regions, Veneto and Calabria, I express the hope that the Birth of our Lord is spent in serenity and intensity. He, the Messiah, became man and came in our midst, to dissipate the darkness of error and sin, bringing to humanity his divine light. Jesus said of himself: “I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). Let us follow him, the true light, so we do not go astray and to reflect in turn light and warmth on all those going through moments of difficulty and interior darkness.

Dear friends, thank you for your gifts! I invoke upon each one of you the maternal protection of the Holy Virgin and I bless you from my heart. Please do not forget to pray for me! Happy Christmas!

Forwarded by J. Justin


Pope's Morning Homily: The Church is Joyful "When She Goes Out of Herself"

Reflects on the Church's Mission in Searching for the 'Lost Sheep

A Church closed in on Herself is a "hopeless Church that is more of a spinster than a mother". These were the words of Pope Francis during his homily at Casa Santa Marta this morning.


According to
Vatican Radio, the Pope reflected on today's Gospel from St. Matthew, in which Jesus tells the story of the shepherd who went in search of the lost sheep. "And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not stray," Jesus says. "In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost.”

The Holy Father explained that the Church is joyful and happy "when she goes out of herself." He also explained that the shepherd in the Gospel could have taken a business approach and see losing one sheep as a small loss.


"No, he has the heart of a shepherd, he goes out and searches for [the lost sheep] until he finds it, and then he rejoices, he is joyful," the Pope said.

“The joy of going out to seek the brothers and sisters who are far off: This is the joy of the Church. Here the Church becomes a mother, becomes fruitful”


However, the Pope warned that when the Church closes in on herself, it becomes stagnant and disheartened. Without joy or peace, he said, it becomes "a Church that seems more like a spinster than a mother."


"The joy of the Church is to give birth; the joy of the Church is to go out of herself to give life; the joy of the Church is to go out to seek the sheep that are lost; the joy of the Church is precisely the tenderness of the shepherd, the tenderness of the mother," he said.

Concluding his homily, the Pope called on the faithful to pray for grace of being joyful Christians, who may have
organizational perfection in the Church, yet are barren and do not give fruit.


"May the Lord console us with the consolation of a Mother Church that goes out of herself and consoles us with the consolation of the tenderness of Jesus and His mercy in the forgiveness of our sins," concluded.


Forwarded by J. Justin


Vatican City, November 26, 2014 (Zenit.org)   


Speaking on Pope Francis' visit to Turkey this weekend, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem says security risks cannot prevent the Jesuit Pontiff from doing his mission and reaching out to the "periphery."


In an interview with ZENIT in the Vatican after the leader of the Italian bishops, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, returned from Gaza and spoke to his nation's bishops in Assisi, His Beatitude Patriarch Fouad Twal not only spoke about the need to courageously confront situations facing Turkey and the Holy Land, but also shared how the January meeting of European bishops will not be held in Europe, but rather in Jerusalem, and why.


Speaking about the dramatic situation in the Holy Land, including Jerusalem's recent upsurge in violence, the Jordanese-born Patriarch made an analogy to a mother and child to show what is to be understood about and done for the region.


ZENIT: Your Beatitude, the Pope visits Turkey this weekend, Nov 28-30. Could you speak on the importance of this visit?

Patriarch Twal: It’s always about the "periphery," you know. Turkey is not in the center of Europe. It’s not very strong, not very rich. I think we have to have good, good relationships with the Muslim countries, with the Muslim people. Reasons such as friendship, collaboration, and further understanding are important, but what is also very important and needs to be fought is relativism, moral relativism. The courage to see the truth is critical. 


ZENIT: Could you speak about whether you believe the Pope’s safety is at risk in making this trip to Turkey, especially given ISIS’s recent advancements?

Patriarch Twal: I don’t think so. I remember when I spoke with the Holy Father who is Saint now, John Paul II, he told me, "The threat I had was here in Rome, not outside." I don’t think these threats can stop us or stop the Pope from making his mission. I don’t think so.


ZENIT: Should one be afraid though to have this view?

Patriarch Twal: As long as we say the truth, we shouldn’t be afraid. If we say something wrong, we must pay the price. But as long as we say the truth, we must be courageous and tell the truth. I think if a mother loves her children, she must have the courage to say what is wrong, for their benefit, for the future, for their health. … If you love, you must have the courage to say what is wrong is wrong, what is good is good. For the well being of all, for being all together. Sometimes you have to say it. We can’t give our blessing to what is bad for others. If you want to believe in peace, you cannot [give it.] 


ZENIT: When you said one must have this courage to say what's being done in a given situation is right or not, is this likewise applicable to Israel?

Patriarch Twal: Continuing the analogy of the mother and children ... This big mother must have the courage to say to her children what is wrong, what is right. So if Israel, the "spoiled child," is doing wrong, we need to have the courage to say this is not for your benefit, not for the future, not for children. We must have a big, big vision for the future, not just for the moment. We can’t just be satisfied with momentaneous victories. We need to think far away, far away, far away. And when I say far away, I think we need more concrete steps from Israel to show Israel wants peace too. Not only to live with or manage the conflict, but to have a solution. We have to solve the conflict for all.

And when I speak in Jerusalem, about peace, I said it needs to be peace for all, as one people can’t enjoy peace without peace for the others.  We are condemned to live together [chuckles], we have no choice, at least we can be condemned to live together as good neighbors. 

I am from Jordan, so I am a little outside the conflict. So from outside, we could be a little more objective.


ZENIT: Turning to Cardinal Bagnasco’s visit to Gaza: Could you speak about the purpose of his visit to Gaza and whether you feel this goal was achieved? Perhaps, you could reflect a little on his remarks to the other Italian bishops at their recent episcopal conference in Assisi, earlier this month.

Patriarch Twal:  We spoke quite a bit on the situation. And the Pope has his own concern about the whole situation. In the last consistory, I launched an appeal for all the cardinals, bishops, presidents of episcopal conferences for two things: first, that they can come visit us in Ankara just to pray with us, and to be with us, for praying for peace in the region. The second part of the appeal to episcopal conference presidents was for dioceses to adopt or buy one house or one land, in Bethlehem or Jerusalem. And if a diocese is poor and it can’t on its own, they can put two dioceses together. Because as you know, in Palestine, in the Holy Land, in Bethlehem, in Jerusalem, the land, the house, is poor … We are losing more and more houses, not just for all people, but for Christians. If we have more houses we can keep more young couples, get them to stay. However, since they cannot buy, they cannot build, and they need [supplies and help] and money, they therefore can’t stay. That’s why. That’s the difficulty.


ZENIT: Has anyone responded to your appeal? Have you seen any positive outcomes?

Patriarch Twal: So Cardinal Bagnasco [President of the Italian bishops’ conference] was the first president of an episcopal conference to say, "I am going."

I have gotten good news for next year. All the presidents of the episcopal conferences will have their meeting in Jerusalem. That’s the first time. Jerusalem is not Europe. They are bishops of European episcopal conferences and normally it would be in Europe. This next year, I invited them. They accepted. This will be a good event for us …. to promote awareness, to promote community, to know about the situation. I think after this, no one will be able to say, "I don’t know." Everybody knows now how we are living.

And this last time, there’s been more violence in Jerusalem, within Jerusalem, and it begged the question whether these walls that Israel built has protection, or not.  If we speak of the war around Gaza, daily, we have rockets going from Gaza to other villages ... we cannot stop rockets. And in recent days, we’ve had a lot of killings and violence, in Jerusalem, inside the Wall, which is a proof that the Wall doesn’t help in any way. These walls. They don’t mean anything, these walls.

The fact that Cardinal Bagnasco came with members of the presidency of the episcopal conference is a lot for us. And I must say that the Italian bishops, even the Italian government more or less, were always close to us, to the patriarchate in Jerusalem. Of the different groups that we receive in the patriarchate in Jerusalem, we have more Italian groups than American groups, than German groups. The Italians have been a little more welcoming, yes. And what is to be learned from this? Well, we learn that early on, there have been links to Italy. In the beginning, we had many Italian patriarchs, priests … We are in some ways more linked with the Italian bishops' conference.


ZENIT: Your Beatitude, what does this gesture, responding to your appeal, signify?

Patriarch Twal: It is a good sign I hope. During the assembly, he [Cardinal Bagnasco] had addressed this situation in the Holy Land, sharing his experience, with the more or less 200 or 250 bishops there, [between] those still active and those already in pension. So it can be a good sign. And if each diocese can follow his example and comes and adopts one project, just one project… It can be a social project, a religious project, an education project, or something like a scholarship, that would be great. If each diocese does something, it could do great things, and would be great for the Holy Land. So this could be a great help.

I’ve had many friends who have helped. So we’ve had many kinds of help and of collaboration, and this one could be very nice. The fact that he spoke to all the bishops was a great step, and I hope and I pray that others will follow his good example.


ZENIT: Is there a certain nation or group that you feel will follow his example, specifically?

Patriarch Twal: For sure. Now we’ve launched the appeal. The Pope spoke. I spoke. We started. Now that it’s near Christmas I don’t think there’s much hope for them [to visit]. But perhaps after Christmas. Many come between Christmas and the end of the year. There are some holy days. Many groups who cancelled their pilgrimage during the war of Gaza are now coming back. For two months, everything stopped. And it was a big loss. For Israel, for Palestine, and so on.


ZENIT: Your Beatitude, do you foresee, in the near future, positive steps or acts of solidarity that will help those suffering in the Holy Land?

Patriarch Twal: Well, the acceptance of my invitation for the European bishops' conference to convene in Jerusalem in January is a great sign. This has been coordinated with the bishops with the goal of giving them, and them having, more information ... but even more, to have more solidarity with the Holy Land. So we started preparing this meeting: who would come, who would speak, and so on.  For me, from an information and advocacy point of view, it’s beneficial.


Forwarded by J. Justin


Vatican City, November 09, 2014       




Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!


Today the liturgy recalls the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica, the cathedral of Rome, that tradition defines as “the mother of all Churches of “Urbe et Orbe”[the City and the World]. The word “mother” refers not only to the sacred edifice of the Basilica, but to the work of the Holy Spirit that is manifested in this building, bearing fruit through the ministry of the Bishop of Rome, in all the communities that remain in unity with the Church which it presides over. This unity presents the nature of a universal family, and as there is a mother in a family, so does the venerated Cathedral of Lateran become a “mother” to the churches of all the communities of the Catholic world.

With this feast, therefore, we profess, in the unity of the faith, the bond of communion that all the local Churches, spread throughout the earth, has with the Church of Rome and with its Bishop, the successor to Peter.


Every time we celebrate the dedication of a Church, one essential truth is recalled: the material temple made of bricks is a sign of the Church alive and active in history. Namely, it is that “spiritual temple”, as the apostle Peter says, of which Christ Himself is “the living stone, rejected by men but chosen and precious in the sight of God” (1 Peter 2, 4-8). By virtue of Baptism, every Christian, as Saint Paul reminds us, is part of “God’s building” (1 Cor. 3,9). As a matter of fact, it becomes the Church of God!  The spiritual building, the Church community of men sanctified by the blood of Christ and by the Spirit of the Risen Lord, asks each one of us to be consistent with the gift of faith and to fulfill a path of Christian witness.


And it is not easy, we all know, the consistency in life between faith and witness; but we should go forward and have daily consistency in our lives. This is a Christian! Not so much for what he says, but for what he does, for the way in which he acts. This coherence, which gives us life, is a grace of the Holy Spirit that we should ask for.


The Church, in the beginning of its life and mission in the world, was nothing more than a community established to confess the faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Redeemer of mankind, a faith that works through charity. They go together!

Even today, the Church is called to be in the world a community that, rooted in Christ through Baptism, professes the faith in Him with humility and courage, while bearing witness to this in charity. Institutional elements, structures and pastoral organizations must be arranged to this fundamental purpose; to this essential aim: to give witness to faith through charity. Charity is precisely the expression of faith and faith is also the explanation and the foundation of charity!


Today’s feast invites us to reflect on the communion of all the Churches, that is of this Christian community.  By analogy it motivates us to strive so that humanity can overcome the barriers of hostility and indifference, to build bridges of understanding and dialogue, to make the whole world a family of people reconciled with each other, fraternal and harmonious.

The Church Herself is a sign and an anticipation of this new humanity, when it lives and spreads the Gospel with Her witness, a message of hope and reconciliation for all mankind. Let us invoke the intercession of the Most Blessed Mary, so that She may help us become like Her, a “house of God”, a living temple of His love.


After the Angelus, Pope Francis said the following: 


Dear brothers and sisters,

25 years ago, on November 9th, 1989, the Berlin Wall fell, which for so long divided the city in two and was a symbol of the ideological division of Europe and of the whole world. The fall happened suddenly, but it was made possible by the long and arduous efforts of so many people who have fought, prayed and suffered for this, some even to the point of sacrificing their lives.

Among those, the saintly Pope John Paul II had a lead role. Let us pray so that, with the help of the Lord and the collaboration of all men and women of good will, a culture of encounter may continue to spread, capable of bringing down all the walls that still divide the world, and that never again will innocent people be persecuted and even killed because of their beliefs and their religion. Where there is a wall there is a closure of the heart. We need bridges, not walls!


Today, in Italy, we celebrate Thanksgiving Day, with this year’s theme “Feeding the Planet: Energy for Life”, which refers to the upcoming Expo Milano 2015. I join the Bishops in expressing a renewed commitment so that no one lacks food daily, which God gives to all. I am close to the world of agriculture, and encourage them to cultivate the earth in a sustainable and harmonious way.

In this context, a diocesan Day for the Care of Creation will take place in Rome, an event that aims to promote lifestyles based on respect for the environment, reaffirming the covenant between mankind, the guardians of creation, and its Creator.

I greet all the pilgrims who have come from different countries, parish groups, associations on this beautiful day that the Lord gives us.

In particular, I greet the representatives of the Venezuelan community in Italy - I can see your flag there -; the youth of Thiene (Vicenza) who have received Confirmation; the university students of Urbino, the faithful of Pontecagnano, Sant’Angelo in Formis, Borgonuovo e Pontecchio.


I wish all of you on this beautiful day a good Sunday, Please, do not forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and goodbye!


Forwarded by J. Justin



Vatican City, Oct 23, 2014.


In his homily on Thursday, Pope Francis said no one has the strength to be a Christian without the Holy Spirit, and encouraged attendees to imitate St. Paul in praying with praise and adoration.

“This is a mystical experience of Paul and it teaches us the prayer of praise and the prayer of adoration…he says to the Father: ‘thank you, because you are able to do what we do not dare to think.’ It is a beautiful prayer, a beautiful prayer,” the Pope told those present in the Vatican’s St. Martha house on Oct. 23.

The Roman Pontiff continued to reflect on the third chapter of St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, the source of the liturgy’s first readings for the past few days.

In his letter, Paul describes an encounter with Jesus that “led him to leave everything behind (because) he was in love with Christ,” the Pope observed, calling this a true “act of adoration.”

First St. Paul adores by kneeling in front of God the Father who is able to accomplish anything. St. Paul also uses “limitless language” describing God, who “is like a sea without beaches, without limitations, an immense ocean,” the Pope said.

St. Paul then prays for all to be strengthened in the Spirit, the pontiff noted, because we are too weak to go forward on our own.

“We cannot be Christians without the grace of the Spirit. It’s the Spirit who changes hearts, who keeps us moving forward in virtue, to fulfill the commandments.”

Pope Francis then observed how the apostle made another request to the Lord by asking for the presence of Christ to help all grow in charity. The love of Christ which goes beyond our comprehension, the pope said, can only be understood through the adoration of such great immensity.

This mystical prayer of St. Paul teaches us to pray in praise and adoration, the Pope continued, saying that in front of “our pettiness, our many, selfish interests, Paul bursts out in praise, in this act of worship and asks the Father to send us the Holy Spirit to give us strength and to be able to move forward.”

In his prayer, Paul helps us to truly understand the love of Christ who “consolidates us in love” by thanking God the Father for his ability to do what we would never imagine is possible.

The Bishop of Rome concluded his homily by noting how, with an inner spiritual life, it is easy to understand why St. Paul gave up everything he had and considered the world “rubbish” in comparison with what he gained by finding and following Jesus.

“It does us good to praise God, to enter this world of amplitude, of grandeur, generosity and love,” he said, and it also does us good “because then we can move forward in the great commandment – the only commandment, which is the basis of all others – love; love God and love your neighbor.”

Forwarded by J. Justin



Vatican City, Oct 18, 2014 / 04:15 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis' address at the conclusion of the Synod on the Family, delivered Saturday, was responded to with a four-minute standing ovation on the part of the bishops attending the Vatican meeting.

Please find below the full text of Pope Francis' address, according to the provisional translation provided by Vatican Radio:

Dear Eminences, Beatitudes, Excellencies, Brothers and Sisters,

With a heart full of appreciation and gratitude I want to thank, along with you, the Lord who has accompanied and guided us in the past days, with the light of the Holy Spirit.

From the heart I thank Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, Secretary General of the Synod, Bishop Fabio Fabene, under-secretary, and with them I thank the Relators, Cardinal Peter Erdo, who has worked so much in these days of family mourning, and the Special Secretary Bishop Bruno Forte, the three President delegates, the transcribers, the consultors, the translators and the unknown workers, all those who have worked with true fidelity and total dedication behind the scenes and without rest. Thank you so much from the heart.

I thank all of you as well, dear Synod fathers, Fraternal Delegates, Auditors, and Assessors, for your active and fruitful participation. I will keep you in prayer asking the Lord to reward you with the abundance of His gifts of grace!

I can happily say that – with a spirit of collegiality and of synodality – we have truly lived the experience of “Synod,” a path of solidarity, a “journey together.”
And it has been “a journey” – and like every journey there were moments of running fast, as if wanting to conquer time and reach the goal as soon as possible; other moments of fatigue, as if wanting to say “enough”; other moments of enthusiasm and ardour. There were moments of profound consolation listening to the testimony of true pastors, who wisely carry in their hearts the joys and the tears of their faithful people. Moments of consolation and grace and comfort hearing the testimonies of the families who have participated in the Synod and have shared with us the beauty and the joy of their married life. A journey where the stronger feel compelled to help the less strong, where the more experienced are led to serve others, even through confrontations. And since it is a journey of human beings, with the consolations there were also moments of desolation, of tensions and temptations, of which a few possibilities could be mentioned:

  - One, a temptation to hostile inflexibility, that is, wanting to close oneself within the written word, (the letter) and not allowing oneself to be surprised by God, by the God of surprises, (the spirit); within the law, within the certitude of what we know and not of what we still need to learn and to achieve. From the time of Christ, it is the temptation of the zealous, of the scrupulous, of the solicitous and of the so-called – today – “traditionalists” and also of the intellectuals.

  - The temptation to a destructive tendency to goodness [it. buonismo], that in the name of a deceptive mercy binds the wounds without first curing them and treating them; that treats the symptoms and not the causes and the roots. It is the temptation of the “do-gooders,” of the fearful, and also of the so-called “progressives and liberals.”

  - The temptation to transform stones into bread to break the long, heavy, and painful fast (cf. Lk 4:1-4); and also to transform the bread into a stone and cast it against the sinners, the weak, and the sick (cf Jn 8:7), that is, to transform it into unbearable burdens (Lk 11:46).

  - The temptation to come down off the Cross, to please the people, and not stay there, in order to fulfil the will of the Father; to bow down to a worldly spirit instead of purifying it and bending it to the Spirit of God.

  - The temptation to neglect the “depositum fidei” [the deposit of faith], not thinking of themselves as guardians but as owners or masters [of it]; or, on the other hand, the temptation to neglect reality, making use of meticulous language and a language of smoothing to say so many things and to say nothing! They call them “byzantinisms,” I think, these things…
Dear brothers and sisters, the temptations must not frighten or disconcert us, or even discourage us, because no disciple is greater than his master; so if Jesus Himself was tempted – and even called Beelzebul (cf. Mt 12:24) – His disciples should not expect better treatment.

Personally I would be very worried and saddened if it were not for these temptations and these animated discussions; this movement of the spirits, as St Ignatius called it (Spiritual Exercises, 6), if all were in a state of agreement, or silent in a false and quietist peace. Instead, I have seen and I have heard – with joy and appreciation – speeches and interventions full of faith, of pastoral and doctrinal zeal, of wisdom, of frankness and of courage: and of parrhesia. And I have felt that what was set before our eyes was the good of the Church, of families, and the “supreme law,” the “good of souls” (cf. Can. 1752). And this always – we have said it here, in the Hall – without ever putting into question the fundamental truths of the Sacrament of marriage: the indissolubility, the unity, the faithfulness, the fruitfulness, that openness to life (cf. Cann. 1055, 1056; and Gaudium et spes, 48).

And this is the Church, the vineyard of the Lord, the fertile Mother and the caring Teacher, who is not afraid to roll up her sleeves to pour oil and wine on people’s wound; who doesn’t see humanity as a house of glass to judge or categorize people. This is the Church, One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic and composed of sinners, needful of God’s mercy. This is the Church, the true bride of Christ, who seeks to be faithful to her spouse and to her doctrine. It is the Church that is not afraid to eat and drink with prostitutes and publicans.


The Church that has the doors wide open to receive the needy, the penitent, and not only the just or those who believe they are perfect! The Church that is not ashamed of the fallen brother and pretends not to see him, but on the contrary feels involved and almost obliged to lift him up and to encourage him to take up the journey again and accompany him toward a definitive encounter with her Spouse, in the heavenly Jerusalem.
The is the Church, our Mother! And when the Church, in the variety of her charisms, expresses herself in communion, she cannot err: it is the beauty and the strength of the sensus fidei, of that supernatural sense of the faith which is bestowed by the Holy Spirit so that, together, we can all enter into the heart of the Gospel and learn to follow Jesus in our life. And this should never be seen as a source of confusion and discord.

Many commentators, or people who talk, have imagined that they see a disputatious Church where one part is against the other, doubting even the Holy Spirit, the true promoter and guarantor of the unity and harmony of the Church – the Holy Spirit who throughout history has always guided the barque, through her Ministers, even when the sea was rough and choppy, and the ministers unfaithful and sinners.

And, as I have dared to tell you , [as] I told you from the beginning of the Synod, it was necessary to live through all this with tranquillity, and with interior peace, so that the Synod would take place cum Petro and sub Petro (with Peter and under Peter), and the presence of the Pope is the guarantee of it all.

We will speak a little bit about the Pope, now, in relation to the Bishops [laughing]. So, the duty of the Pope is that of guaranteeing the unity of the Church; it is that of reminding the faithful of   their duty to faithfully follow the Gospel of Christ; it is that of reminding the pastors that their first duty is to nourish the flock – to nourish the flock – that the Lord has entrusted to them, and to seek to welcome – with fatherly care and mercy, and without false fears – the lost sheep. I made a mistake here. I said welcome: [rather] to go out and find them.

His duty is to remind everyone that authority in the Church is a service, as Pope Benedict XVI clearly explained, with words I cite verbatim: “The Church is called and commits herself to exercise this kind of authority which is service and exercises it not in her own name, but in the name of Jesus Christ… through the Pastors of the Church, in fact: it is he who guides, protects and corrects them, because he loves them deeply. But the Lord Jesus, the supreme Shepherd of our souls, has willed that the Apostolic College, today the Bishops, in communion with the Successor of Peter… to participate in his mission of taking care of God's People, of educating them in the faith and of guiding, inspiring and sustaining the Christian community, or, as the Council puts it, ‘to see to it... that each member of the faithful shall be led in the Holy Spirit to the full development of his own vocation in accordance with Gospel preaching, and to sincere and active charity’ and to exercise that liberty with which Christ has set us free (cf. Presbyterorum Ordinis, 6)… and it is through us,” Pope Benedict continues, “that the Lord reaches souls, instructs, guards and guides them. St Augustine, in his Commentary on the Gospel of St John, says: ‘let it therefore be a commitment of love to feed the flock of the Lord’ (cf. 123, 5); this is the supreme rule of conduct for the ministers of God, an unconditional love, like that of the Good Shepherd, full of joy, given to all, attentive to those close to us and solicitous for those who are distant (cf. St Augustine, Discourse 340, 1; Discourse 46, 15), gentle towards the weakest, the little ones, the simple, the sinners, to manifest the infinite mercy of God with the reassuring words of hope (cf. ibid., Epistle, 95, 1).”

So, the Church is Christ’s – she is His bride – and all the bishops, in communion with the Successor of Peter, have the task and the duty of guarding her and serving her, not as masters but as servants. The Pope, in this context, is not the supreme lord but rather the supreme servant – the “servant of the servants of God”; the guarantor of the obedience and the conformity of the Church to the will of God, to the Gospel of Christ, and to the Tradition of the Church, putting aside every personal whim, despite being – by the will of Christ Himself – the “supreme Pastor and Teacher of all the faithful” (Can. 749) and despite enjoying “supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church” (cf. Cann. 331-334).

Dear brothers and sisters, now we still have one year to mature, with true spiritual discernment, the proposed ideas and to find concrete solutions to so many difficulties and innumerable challenges that families must confront; to give answers to the many discouragements that surround and suffocate families.

One year to work on the “Synodal Relatio” which is the faithful and clear summary of everything that has been said and discussed in this hall and in the small groups. It is presented to the Episcopal Conferences as “lineamenta” [guidelines].

May the Lord accompany us, and guide us in this journey for the glory of His Name, with the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of Saint Joseph. And please, do not forget to pray for me! Thank you!
[The Te Deum was sung, and Benediction given.]

Thank you, and rest well, eh?

Forwarded by J. Justin


Offers Mass of Thanksgiving for Canonization of 2 Canadian Saints

Vatican City, October 12, 2014 (Zenit.org)   

In a Mass of Thanksgiving for the canonization of two Canadian saints, Pope Francis prayed that Quebec might return to a “path of fruitfulness, to giving the world many missionaries.”


François de Laval, the first Bishop of Quebec, and Marie de l’Incarnation, the founder of the Ursulines in Canada, were declared saints by equipollent or equivalent canonization in April.

In his homily Pope Francis encouraged Canadian pilgrims to remember the founders of the Church in Canada.


“The Church of Quebec is prolific! Prolific in many missionaries, who went everywhere. The world was filled with Canadian missionaries, like these two.” The devil, he said, "is envious, and does not tolerate a land that is so prolific in missionaries.”


Pope Francis' homily focused on the vocation of missionaries, taking as his starting point the words of Isaiah, “The Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces.”


Missionaries, he said, “are those who, in docility to the Holy Spirit, have the courage to live the Gospel.” They have gone out into the world to call people to Christ and to the Church. “Missionaries have turned their gaze to Christ crucified; they have received His grace and they have not kept it for themselves.”


The Church’s mission of evangelization, Pope Francis said, “is essentially a proclamation of God’s love, mercy, and forgiveness, revealed to us in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.” Saint François de Laval and Saint Marie de l’Incarnation were models of the missionary vocation.

To the pilgrims from Canada, Pope Francis offered “two words of advice” taken from the reading from St Paul’s Letter to the Hebrews. First, “Remember your leaders, those who spoke the word of God to you.” The memory of the martyrs, he said, sustains us in a time when vocations are few; their example “attracts us, they inspire us to imitate their faith.”


Second, we should “recall those earlier days when, after you had been enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings… Do not therefore abandon that confidence of yours; it brings a great reward. For you need endurance.” The Pope said that in order to honour those who endured suffering to bring us the Gospel, we must ourselves be ready “to fight the good fight of faith with humility, meekness, mercy, in our daily lives.”


“This, then, is the joy and the challenge of this pilgrimage of yours: to commemorate the witnesses, the missionaries of the faith in your country. Their memory sustains us always in our journey towards the future, towards the goal, 'when the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces.'”


The Mass was presented at a Vatican press conference on Saturday, given by Cardinal Gerald Cyprien Lacroix, archbishop of Québec, and the Anglican bishop of Quebec, Rev. Dennis Drainville.

Forwarded by J. Justin



Dear Friends,


It is a great pleasure to be here at this meeting which brings together leaders of the main religious confessions present in Albania.  With deep respect I greet each one of you and the communities that you represent; and I wish to express my heartfelt gratitude to Archbishop Massafra for his words of introduction. It is important that you are here together: it is a sign of the dialogue which you experience daily, seeking to build among yourselves bonds of fraternity and cooperation for the good of the whole of society. Thank you for what you do.


Albania sadly witnessed the violence and tragedy that can be caused by a forced exclusion of God from personal and communal life. When, in the name of an ideology, there is an attempt to remove God from society, it ends up adoring idols, and very soon men and women lose their way, their dignity is trampled and their rights violated. You know well how much pain comes from the denial of freedom of conscience and of religious freedom, and how from such a wound comes a humanity that is impoverished because it lacks hope and ideals to guide it.


The changes that have come since the 1990’s have had the positive effect, among other things, of creating the conditions for an exercise of authentic religious freedom. This has made it possible for each community to renew traditions which were never really extinguished, despite ferocious persecution. With this religious freedom has come also the possibility for every person to offer, according to their own religious convictions, a positive contribution; firstly, to the moral reconstruction of the country and then, subsequently, to the economic reconstruction.


In reality, as John Paul II stated during his historic visit to Albania in 1993, “Religious freedom […] is not only a precious gift from the Lord for those who have faith: it is a gift for each person, because it is the basic guarantee of every other expression of freedom […]. Only faith reminds us that, if we have one Creator, we are therefore all brothers and sisters. Religious freedom is a safeguard against all forms of totalitarianism and contributes decisively to human fraternity” (Message to the Albanian People, 25 April 1993).


He immediately then added, “True religious freedom shuns the temptation to intolerance and sectarianism, and promotes attitudes of respect and constructive dialogue” (ibid.).  We cannot deny that intolerance towards those with different religious convictions is a particularly insidious enemy, one which today is being witnessed in various areas around the world.  As believers we must be particularly vigilant so that, in living out with conviction our religious and ethical code, we may always express the mystery we intend to honor. This means that all those forms which present a distorted use of religion, must be firmly refuted as false since they are unworthy of God or humanity. Authentic religion is a source of peace and not of violence! No one must use the name of God to commit violence!   To kill in the name of God is a grave sacrilege. To discriminate in the name of God is inhuman.


Seen in this light, religious freedom is not a right which can be guaranteed solely by existing legislation, although laws are necessary. Rather religious freedom is a shared space, an atmosphere of respect and cooperation that must be built with everyone’s participation, even those who have no religious convictions. Allow me to outline two attitudes which can be especially helpful in the advancement of this fundamental freedom.


The first attitude is that of regarding every man and woman, even those of different religious traditions, not as rivals, less still enemies, but rather as brothers and sisters. When a person is secure of his or her own beliefs, there is no need to impose or put pressure on others: there is a conviction that truth has its own power of attraction. Deep down, we are all pilgrims on this earth, and on this pilgrim journey, as we yearn for truth and eternity, we do not live autonomous and self-sufficient individual lives; the same applies to religious, cultural and national communities. We need each other, and are entrusted to each other’s care. Each religious tradition, from within, must be able to take account of others.


The second attitude which fosters the promotion of religious freedom is the work done in service of the common good.  Whenever adherence to a specific religious tradition gives birth to service that shows conviction, generosity and concern for the whole of society without making distinctions, then there too exists an authentic and mature living out of religious freedom. This presents itself not only as a space in which to legitimately defend one’s autonomy, but also as a potential that enriches the human family as it advances. The more men and women are at the service of others, the greater their freedom!


Let us look around us: there are so many poor and needy people, so many societies that try to find a more inclusive way of social justice and path of economic development! How great is the need for the human heart to be firmly fixed on the deepest meaning of experiences in life and rooted in a rediscovery of hope! Men and women, inspired in these areas by the values of their respective religious traditions, can offer an important, and even unique, contribution. This is truly a fertile land offering much fruit, also in the field of interreligious dialogue.


And then there is always this ghost of "everything is relative"; relativism. There is one clear principle: there can be no dialogue if it does not come from one's own identity. Without identity, dialogue cannot exist. It would be a phantom dialogue, a dialogue "in the air", it does not work. Each one of us has our own religious identity, and we are faithful to it. But the Lord knows where he is carrying this history toward. Let us move towards from our own identity. Not to make believe that there is one. That does not work, it does not help. That is relativism! That which brings us together is the path of life. It is the good will to do good for the brothers and sisters. And as brothers, we go forward together. And each one of us offers the witness of their own identity to the other, and dialogues with the other. Then, when dialogue moves a bit forward on theological matters, that is beautiful but that which is most important is walking together without betraying one's own identity, without masking it, without hypocrisy. It does me well to think about this.

Dear friends, I encourage you to maintain and develop the tradition of good relations among the various religious communities in Albania, and to be united in serving your beloved homeland.

With a bit of a sense of humor, [this room] looks like a soccer match: the Catholics on one side and everyone else; everyone together for the good of the homeland and for humanity.


Continue to be a sign for your country, and beyond, that good relations and fruitful cooperation are truly possible among men and women of different religions.And I ask you a favor: to pray for me, because I need them, I really need them. Thank you.

Forwarded by J .Justin


Full transcript of Pope Francis' in-flight interview

on the way back from Korea


As well as China, pope discussed Iraq, Gaza, ecology and Vatican life.

Posted on August 19, 2014, 10:39 AM


Speaking to journalists aboard the Aug. 18 flight to Italy from South Korea, Pope Francis said he supports international intervention in Iraq and is willing to go to there personally if it will help end the violence against Christians and other religious minorities.

He also addressed topics ranging from peace efforts between Israel and Palestine, future papal visits, to his personal schedule, relationship with Benedict XVI and life at the Vatican.

Below is a full transcript of the discussion between Pope Francis and journalists during Tuesday’s flight.

Korean journalist Sun Yin Park, Yonhap press agency: In the name of the Korean journalists and our people, I wish to thank you for your visit. You have brought happiness to many people in Korea and thank you for your encouragement for the education of our country. Holy Father, during your visit to Korea, you have reached out to the family of victims of the Sewol ferry disaster and consoled them. Two questions. One, what did you feel when you met them? Two, were you not concerned your actions could be misinterpreted politically?

Pope Francis: When you find yourself in front of human sorrow, you do what your heart brings you to do. Today, they will say, ‘oh, he’s done this because he has political intention,’ or that other thing. But you can say anything. But, you think about these men and women, mothers and fathers, who lost their children. Brother and sisters who have lost brothers and sisters…to the great sorrow of such a catastrophe. My heart…I’m a priest, you know, and being able to come close like that is the first thing. I know that the consolation I can give with a word of mine isn’t a remedy, it doesn’t give new life to their dead but the in these moments human proximity gives us strength. There is solidarity. I remember that, as archbishop of Buenos Aires, I lived two of these catastrophes.

One, was a dance hall where you could hear pop music, 193 died (he refers to Cromagnon disco). And then, another time a catastrophe with a train. I think 120 died. In that time, I felt the same, to come close to make them strong. And if we in these sad moments come close to each other, we help each other so much. And then on the other question and then I’d like to say something more. I put this on (the yellow lace from the victims’ relatives). After half a day of wearing it, I took it on for solidarity with them, eh. Someone came up and said, it’s better to take it off, eh. You must be neutral (there is a controversy about the responsibility of the tragedy: relatives of victims have touched on government corruption which led to building a ship with sub-par material). But, listen with human sorrow you can’t be neutral. It’s what I feel. Thanks for this question. Thanks.

American journalist Alan Holdren, Catholic News Agency/ACI PRENSA/EWTN: As you know, not long ago the U.S. military forces have started bombing terrorists in Iraq to prevent a genocide. To protect the future of the minorities, I think also of the Catholics under your guidance, do you approve of this American bombing (campaign)?

Pope Francis: Thanks for such a clear question. In these cases where there is an unjust aggression, I can only say that it is licit to stop the unjust aggressor. I underscore the verb “stop.” I don’t saying to bomb or make war, (but) stop it. The means with which it can be stopped should be evaluated. To stop the unjust aggressor is licit. But we also have to have memory, as well, eh. How many times under this excuse of stopping the unjust aggressor the powers have taken control of nations. And, they have made a true war of conquest. One single nation cannot judge how you stop this, how you stop an unjust aggressor. After the Second World War, there was the idea of the United Nations. It must be discussed there and said ‘there’s an unjust aggressor, it seems so “How do we stop it?” Only that, nothing more. Secondly, the minorities. Thanks for the word because they speak to me of the Christians, poor Christians — it is true, they suffer — and the martyrs — and yes, there are so many martyrs — but here there are men and women, religious minorities, and not all Christian and all are equal before God, no? Stopping the unjust aggressor is a right that humanity has but it is also a right of the aggressor to be stopped so he doesn’t do evil.

French journalist Jean Louis de la Vaiessiere, Agence France Press: As Cardinal Filoni and the Dominican superior Bruno Cadore, Would you be ready to support a military intervention against the jihadists in Iraqi territory? Another question, do you think of someday being able to go to Iraq, maybe to Kurdistan to sustain the Christian refugees and pray with them in the land where they’ve lived for 2000 years?

Thank you. I have been not long ago with the governor of Kurdistan. He had a very clear thought on the situation and how to find a solution but it was before these last aggressions. And the first question I have responded to. I am only in agreement in the fact that when there is an unjust aggressor that he is stopped. Sorry, I forgot about that. Yes, I am available but I think I can say this. When we heard with my collaborators this situation of the religious minorities and also the problems in that moment of Kurdistan which couldn’t receive so many people. It’s a problem. It’s understood. They couldn’t, right? It can’t be done and we’ve thought of so many things. We wrote first of all a communique that Fr. Lombardi wrote in my name. Then, this statement was sent out to all of the nunciatures so that it might be communicated to the governments. Then, we sent a letter to the secretary general of the United Nations. And so many things and in the end we said, eh, sending a personal envoy (who was) Cardinal Filoni. And in the end we have said, and if it were necessary when we return from Korea we can go there. It was one of the possibilities. This was the response. And in this moment, I am ready and right now it isn’t the most, the best thing to do but I am disposed for this.

Italian journalist Fabio Zavattaro, Rai Television: You were the first pope to fly over China. The telegram that you sent to the Chinese president was received without negative comments. Are we passing on to a possible dialogue and would you like to go to China?

Vatican Spokesman Father Federico Lombardi: I can announce that we are now in Chinese airspace so the question is pertinent.

Pope Francis: When we were about to enter into Chinese airspace I was in the cockpit with the pilot. One of them, showed me the registry. Anyway, he said, there were 10 minutes left before entering Chinese airspace. We have ask for authorization. You always ask. ‘Is it normal to ask for permission in every nation? Yes.’ I heard how they asked authorization and how they responded. I was a witness to this. Then the pilot said, now we send the telegram. But I don’t know how they will have done it by like that. So, then i said goodbye to them and went back to my seat and i prayed a lot for that beautiful and noble Chinese people. A wise people. I think of the great Chinese sages, a history of science and knowledge. Also we Jesuits have a history there, also Father (Matteo) Ricci. And, all these things came up to my mind. Do I have a wish to go? Certainly, tomorrow. Yes. We respect the Chinese people. It’s just that the Church ask for freedom for its role and for its work. This is another condition. But, do not forget that fundamental letter for the Chinese problem which was the letter sent to the Chinese by Pope Benedict XVI. That letter today is current. Rereading it is good for you. The Holy See is always open to being in contact, always, because it has a real esteem for the Chinese people.

Spanish journalist Paloma Garcia Ovejero, Radio Cope: The next trip will be Albania, then maybe Iraq and the Philippines and Sri Lanka. But where will you go in 2015? I’ll tell you also just in case, you know that in Avila and Alba de Tormes there are so many expectations, can they still hope?

Pope Francis: Yes, yeah. The madam president of Korea in perfect Spanish told me “hope is the last thing to go.” That’s what she said. Hoping for the unification of Korea, no. That’s what she told me. We can hope, no? But it has not been decided...

Journalist: And after Mexico?

Pope Francis: Now I’ll explain. This year, Albania is planned. Some say that the Pope has a style of starting things from the peripheries. But, I’m going to Albania for two important reasons. First, because they were able to make a government — and let’s think of the Balkans, eh — a government of national unity among Muslims, Orthodox and Catholics with an inter-religious council that has helped a lot and is balanced. And this is good it is harmonized it. The presence of the Pope to all peoples … but you can work well, eh. I’ve that it could be a true aid to that noble people. I’ve also thought of the history of Albania, which of all the nations in the former Yugoslavia was the only one that in its constitution had the practical atheism. If you went to Mass, it was unconstitutional. And then, one of their ministers told me that — and I want to be precise in the number — 1820 churches were destroyed, Orthodox and Catholic, in that time. And then other churches were made into cinemas and others dance halls. I felt like I needed to go. It’s close, done in a day.

Next year, I would like to go to Philadelphia for the encounter of families. I was also invited by the president of the United States to the American Congress and by the secretary general of the United Nations in New York. Maybe the three cities together, no? Mexico. The Mexicans would like me to go to Our Lady of Guadalupe. And we could take advantage of that, but it’s not certain.

And then Spain. The monarchs have invited me. And the episcopate has invited me. But it’s raining invitations to go to Spain, also Santiago di Compostela. But maybe, and I won’t say more, because it isn’t decided, to go in the morning to Avila and Alba de Tormes and return in the afternoon. It would be possible, yes, but it’s not decided. And this is the response. Thank you.

German journalist from KNA: What type of relationship is there between you and Benedict XVI? Is there an habitual exchange of opinions and ideas? Is there a common project after this encyclical?

Pope Francis: We see each other. Before leaving I went to see him. He, two weeks prior, had sent me an interesting text and he asked me an opinion. We have a normal relationship because I go back to this idea and maybe a theologian doesn’t like it. But, I think that the pope emeritus is not an exception. After so many centuries, he’s the first emeritus and let’s think that if I am aged and don’t have the strength, but it was a beautiful gesture of nobility and also humility and courage. But, I think that 70 years ago also the bishops emeritus were an exception. They didn’t exist. Today, the bishops emeritus are an institution. I think that the pope emeritus is already an institution. Why? Our lives are getting longer and at a certain age there is not the capacity to govern well, because the body tires and health perhaps is good but there is the capacity to carry forward all of the problems like those in the governance of the church. I think that Pope Benedict made this gesture of popes emeritus. I repeat that maybe some theologian would say this isn’t just, but I think like this. The centuries will tell if it’s like this or not, we’ll see, but if you can to say to me, ‘but do you think that one day if you don’t feel like it, will you go on?’ But, I would do the same. I would do the same. I will pray, but I would do the same. He opened a door that is institutional not exceptional. And our relationship is one of brothers, truly, but I’ve said that it’s like having a grandfather at home for the wisdom. He has a wisdom with his nuances and it does me well to hear. He encourages me a lot. This is the relationship we have.

Japanese journalist Yoshinori Fukushima: Your Holiness, Pope Francis, first of all many thanks for this first visit to Asia. During this visit, you met people who have suffered. What did you feel when you greeted the seven ‘comfort women’ at mass this morning. And regarding the suffering of people, as in Korea there were hidden Christians in Japan and next year will be the 150th anniversary of their coming out … Would it be possible to pray for them together with you in Nagasaki? Thanks.

Pope Francis:

It would be wonderful. I was invited, eh, both by the government and the episcopate I was invited. But suffering. You go back to one of the first questions. The Korean nation is a people that has not lost its dignity. It was a people invaded and humiliated, it has gone through wars and been divided with so much suffering. Yesterday, when I went to the encounter with young people, I visited the museum of the martyrs there. It’s terrible the suffering of these people. Simply to not step on the cross. It’s a pain, an historical suffering. It has the capacity to suffer this nation and also this is a part of its dignity. Also today, when there were these elderly ladies in front at Mass. Think that during that invasion they were girls taken away to the police stations to be taken advantage of. And they haven’t lost their dignity. They were there today showing their faces. These elderly women, the last of them who remain. It’s a people strong in their dignity. But going back to martyrdom and suffering, also these women are the fruits of war. Today we are in a world of war. Everywhere. Someone told me, ‘you know father that we’re in the third world war, but in pieces. ‘ He understood this, no? It is a world in war where they commit these cruelties.

I would like to speak about two words. First, cruelty. Today, children don’t count. Once they spoke of ‘conventional warfare.’ Today this doesn’t count. I’m not saying that the conventional war is a good thing, but today the bomb goes and kills the innocent with the culpable with the child and the women and mother. They kill everyone. But, we need to stop and think a bit about what level of cruelty we have reached. This should scare us. And, this is not to create fear. We could make an empirical study. The level of cruelty today of humanity is a bit scary. Another word on which I would like to say something in relation with this is torture. Today, torture is one of the almost ordinary means of acts of intelligence services, of judicial processes. And, torture is a sin against humanity. It is a crime against humanity. And, to Catholics I say that torturing a person is a mortal sin. It is a grave sin. But, it’s more. It’s a sin against humanity. Cruelty and torture. I would really like it if you in your media were to make a reflection of how you see these things today, how is the level of cruelty of humanity and what you think of torture. I think it would do us all well to think about this.

American journalist Deborah Ball, Wall Street Journal: Our question is, you have a very, very difficult routine. With very little rest and little vacation and you make these hard trips. And then in the last few months we’ve also seen that you’ve had to cancel some appointments … Should we be concerned about the rhythm you carry?

Pope Francis: Yes, some have told me this. I took my holidays at home as usual. Once I read a book and it’s interesting. The title was “Be happy to be neurotic.” I’ve also got some neuroses. But you have to treat neuroses well, eh. Give them “mate” (an Argentine tea) every day, no? (laughs) One of my neuroses is that I’m too attached to life. The last time I took a vacation outside of Buenos Aires with the Jesuit community was in 1975. But then, I always take holidays. Truly, eh. But at home. I sleep more. I read book that I like. I listen to music. I pray more. In July and a part of August I did this and it was good (for me). The other part of the question, it’s true that I’ve had to cancel. That is true. The day I had to go to Gemelli Hospital. 10 minutes before. That there, I just couldn’t do it. They were certain very busy days. But I need to be more prudent, you’re right.

French journalist Anais Martin, French Radio: In Rio, when the crowd yelled “Francesco, Francesco!” you responded “Cristo, Cristo!” Today, how do you manage this immense popularity? How do you live it?

Pope Francis: I don’t know how to tell you. I live it thanking the Lord that his people are happy. I really do that, hoping the best for the people of God. I live it as generosity towards the people. On the inside, I try to think of my sins and my errors not to flatter myself because I know it won’t last long. Two or three years and then (makes a sound and gesture) up to the house of the Father. It’s not wise to believe this. I live it as the presence of the Lord in his people who uses his bishop, the shepherd of the people to do so many things. I live it more naturally than before. Before I was a bit scared. Also, it comes to mind not to make errors because you can’t do wrong for the people and all these things.

Italian journalist Francesca Paltracca, RAI Radio: For the Pope who came from the ends of the world and found himself in the Vatican, beyond Saint Martha Residence where you have your life and your choice (to live there)? How does the pope live within the Vatican? They always ask us this, but how does he move around? Does he take walks? You go to the cafeteria. … This is surprising. So, what type of life do you have beyond that of St. Martha?

Pope Francis: I try to be free. There are appointments of the office, of work. But my life for me is the most normal that I could have. Truly. I would love to be able to leave but you can’t … You can’t because if you go out the people come so you can’t and that’s a reality. But there inside in the St. Martha, I have a normal life of work and rest and chatting. I have a normal life.

Journalist: Don’t you feel imprisoned, then?

Pope Francis: No, no, at the beginning yes. Now some of the walls on the inside have come down.

Journalist: Which are the walls that have come down?

Pope Francis: I don’t know, the Pope can’t … For example, to have a laugh. One goes to the elevator, someone comes because the Pope can’t go down in the elevator alone. But, go back to your post because I’m going down alone! That’s how it is. It’s normality. It’s a normality.

Argentine journalist: Holy Father, sorry for this but I have to ask you as part of the Spanish group from Argentina. I’m going to have to ask you a question that will exhibit your knowledge. Your team for the first time is the champion of America. I would like to know how you’re living it, how you found out. They tell me that one of the delegation is coming Wednesday and you’re going to receive him during the general audience.

Pope Francis: It’s true that this is the greatest piece of news after the second place (of the Argentine national team) in Brazil. I found out here. In Seoul they told me. Listen, on Wednesday they’re coming, eh. They’re coming. And, it’s a public audience. For me, San Lorenzo is the team for which all of my family were fans. My father played basketball for San Lorenzo. He was a player on the basketball team. And when we were kids, we went and my mom came with us to the Gasometro (San Lorenzo stadium). I remember today the season of 1946. A magnificent team that San Lorenzo had. They came out champions. I live it with joy.

Journalist: Is it a miracle?

Pope Francis: Miracle? No. (laughs) Miracle, no.

German journalist Juergen Erbacher, German TV: Holy Father, they have long spoken of an encyclical on ecology. Can you tell us when it will be released? And, which are the central points?

Pope Francis: This encyclical. I’ve spoken a lot with Cardinal Turkson and also with others and I have asked Cardinal Turkson to bring together all of the contributions. They arrived. And the week before the trip, no, four days before he delivered the first draft to me. The first draft is this big (gestures). I’d say it’s a third bigger than Evangelii Gaudium. And that’s the first draft. Now, it’s not an easy issue because on the protection of creation and the study of human ecology, you can speak with sure certainty up to a certain point then come the scientific hypotheses some of which are rather sure, others aren’t. In an encyclical like this that must be magisterial, it must only go forward on certainties, things that are sure. If the Pope says that the center of the universe is the earth and not the sun, he errs because he says something scientific that isn’t right. That’s also true here. We need to make the study, number by number, and I think it will become smaller. But going to the essence is what we can affirm with certainty. But, you could say in the notes, in the footnotes, that this is a hypotheses and this and this. To say it as an information, but not in the body of the encyclical which is doctrinal and needs to be certain.

Korean journalist Young Hae Ko, Korean daily newspaper: Thank you so much for your visit to South Korea. I’m going to ask you two questions. First one is: just before the final Mass at the Myeong-dong Cathedral, you consoled the comfort women there. What thought came to you? That’s my first question and my second question is Pyongyang sees Christianity as a direct threat to its regime and it’s leadership and we know that something terrible happened to North Korean Christianity but we don’t know exactly what happened. Is there special effort in your mind to change North Korea’s approach to Christianity?

Pope Francis: The first question. I repeat this. Today, these women were there because despite all they have suffered they have dignity and they showed their faces. I have thought also about what I’ve said a little bit ago about the sufferings of war, the cruelty brought by a war. These women were taken advantage of, enslaved, but they are all cruelties. I thought of all of this. The dignity they have and also how much they’ve suffered. Suffering is an inheritance. We say … The first fathers of the Church say that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of Christians. The Korean have planted a lot. A lot. For coherence, no? You now see the fruit of that planting, of the martyrs.
On North Korea, I know what is a sufferance. One, I know for sure, that there are some family members, many family members that cannot reunite and this is true. This is a suffering of that division of the nation. Today in the cathedral where I dressed in the adornments of the Mass, there was a gift they’ve given me which was a crown of thorns of Christ made with the iron wire that divides the single Korea. We’ve got this on the airplane. It’s a gift I’m carrying. The suffering of the division, of a divided family. As I said yesterday I think, I don’t remember, we have a hope. The two Koreas are siblings and they speak the same language. When you speak the same language it’s because you have the same mother and this gives us hope. The suffering of division is great and I understand this and I pray that it ends.

American journalist Phil Pulella, Reuters: I won’t stand up because if I do my colleagues from the televisions will kill me. An observation and a question. As an Italian-American I wanted to compliment you on your English. You shouldn’t be afraid. And if before you go to America, my homeland, you want to practice I’m available.

(Pope inaudible, making faces about the difficulty of English pronunciation).

Whichever accent you want to use: New Yorker…I’m from New York so I’m available.

So the question is this: You spoke about martyrdom. At what point are we in the process for the bishop Romero? And what would you like to see come out of this process?

Pope Francis: The process was in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, “blocked for prudence,” as they said. Now it is unblocked and has passed to the Congregation for Saints and it is following the normal path of a process. It depends on how the postulators move. That’s very important to do it quickly. What I would like is that it’s clarified when there is martyr in odium fidei (for the hatred of the faith) both for confessing the creed and for doing works that Jesus commands with our neighbor. This is a work of the theologians, who are studying it. Because behind him is a long list and there are others. There are others who were killed but weren’t of the same height of Romero. We have to distinguish this theologically, no? For me, Romero is a man of God. He was a man of God. But we have to run the process and the Lord has to give his sign there. But, now the postulators have to move because there are no impediments.

French journalist Celine Noyaux, La Croix: Seeing the war in Gaza, do you think the prayer for peace organized in the Vatican last June 8 was a failure?

Pope Francis: Thanks for the question. That prayer for peace, absolutely was not a failure! First, the initiative didn’t come from me. The initiative to pray together came from the two presidents. The president of the state of Israel and the president of the State of Palestine. They made the restlessness present to me. Then, we wanted to do it there but we couldn’t find the right place because of the political post of each one it was very strong if we did it in one or another part. The nunciature was a neutral site, yes, but to get to the nunciature the president of Palestine had to enter in Israel. The thing wasn’t easy. They said, well, let’s do it in the Vatican. We’ll go. These two men are men of peace. They are men who believe in God. They have lived so many nasty things, so many nasty things. They are convinced that the only path to resolve that situation is negotiation, dialogue, peace.

Your question now. Was it a failure? No, I think that the door is open. All four. With the representative which is Bartholomew. I wanted him to be there as the head of the Orthodox, but the ecumenical patriarch of the Orthodox. I don’t want to use terms that aren’t appreciated by all of the Orthodox. As ecumenical patriarch, it was good that he was with us. But the door to prayer was opened. We said we needed to pray. It’s a gift, peace is a gift. It’s a gift that is merited through our work, but it’s a gift. And to say to humanity that also the path of dialogue which is important, of dialogue also there is prayer. It’s true, after this what happened has happened. But this is given by circumstances. That encounter wasn’t given by circumstances. It’s a fundamental step of the human being, prayer. Now the smoke of the bombs of the wars don’t allow us to see the door but the door is still open from that moment. As I believe in God, I believe that God is watching that door and all who pray and ask that he help us. I like that question. Thanks for having posed it. Thanks.

Father Federico Lombardi: Holy Father, thanks a lot. I think you’ve done more than an hour of conversation also with us and now it’s just that you go relax a bit with the end of the voyage. Anyway, we know that on this trip you’ll probably go on to Our Lady.

Pope Francis: From the airport, I’m going to Our Lady. It’s a nice thing. I asked Dr. Giani (the head of the Vatican’s gendarme police) to bring roses from Korea with the colors of Korea, but then outside the nunciature a little girl came with a bouquet of flowers and we said why don’t we take these flowers from a girl from Korea. That’s what we’ll do. From the airport, we’ll go to pray a bit there and then onwards to home. 

Source: National Catholic Register

Forwarded By J. Justin


Pope's Discourse to Korean Bishops

"Today, I would like to reflect with you as a brother bishop on two central aspects of the task of guarding God's people in this country: to be guardians of memory and guardians of hope"

Seoul, August 14, 2014 (Zenit.org) | 71 hits

Below is the discourse Pope Francis gave the Korean Bishops, at the seat of the Korean Episcopal conference in Seoul at about 5:30 p.m. Thursday, local time:
Dear Brother Bishops,
I greet all of you with deep affection and I thank Bishop Peter U-il Kang for his words of fraternal welcome on your behalf. It is a blessing for me to be here and to witness at first hand the vibrant life of the Church in Korea. As pastors, you are responsible for guarding the Lord’sflock. You are guardians of the wondrous works which he accomplishes in his people. Guarding is one of the tasks specifically entrusted to the bishop: looking after God’s people. Today I would like to reflect with you as a brother bishop on two central aspects of the task of guarding God’s people in this country: to be guardians of memory and guardians ofhope.

To be guardians of memory. The beatification of Paul Yun Ji-chung and his companions is an occasion for us to thank the Lord, who from the seeds sown by the martyrs has brought forth an abundant harvest of grace in this land. You are the children of the martyrs, heirs to their heroic witness of faith in Christ. You are also heirs to an impressive tradition which began, and largely grew, through the fidelity, perseverance and work of generations of lay persons. It is significant that the history of the Church in Korea began with a direct encounter with the word of God. It was the intrinsic beauty and integrity of the Christian message – the Gospel and its summons to conversion, interior renewal and a life of charity – that spoke to Yi Byeok and the noble elders of the first generation; and it is to that message, in its purity, that the Church in Korea looks, as if in a mirror, to find her truest self.

The fruitfulness of the Gospel on Korean soil, and the great legacy handed down from your forefathers in the faith, can be seen today in the flowering of active parishes and ecclesial movements, in solid programs of catechesis and outreach to young people, and inthe Catholic schools, seminaries and universities. The Church in Korea is esteemed for its role in the spiritual and cultural life of the nation and its strong missionary impulse. From being a land of mission, yours has now become a land of missionaries; and the universal Church continues to benefit from the many priests and religious whom you have sent forth.

Being guardians of memory means more than remembering and treasuring the graces of the past; it also means drawing from them the spiritual resources to confront with vision and determination the hopes, the promise and the challenges of the future. As you yourselves have noted, the life and mission of the Church in Korea are not ultimately measured in external, quantitative and institutional terms; rather, they must be judged in the clear light of the Gospel and its call to conversion to the person of Jesus Christ. To be guardians of memory means realizing that while the growth is from God (cf. 1 Cor 3:6), it is also the fruit of quiet and persevering labor, past and present. Our memory of the martyrs and past generations of Christians must be one that is realistic, not idealized or "triumphalistic". Looking to the past without hearing God’s call to conversion in the present will not help us move forward; instead, it will only hold us back and even halt our spiritual progress.

In addition to being guardians of memory, dear brothers, you are also called to be guardians of hope: the hope held out by the Gospel of God’s grace and mercy in Jesus Christ, the hope which inspired the martyrs. It is this hope which we are challenged to proclaim to a world that, for all its material prosperity, is seeking something more, something greater, something authentic and fulfilling. You and your brother priests offer this hope by your ministry of sanctification, which not only leads the faithful to the sources of grace in the liturgy and the sacraments, but also constantly urges them to press forward in response to the upward call of God (cf. Phil 3:14). You guard this hope by keeping alive the flame of holiness, fraternal charity and missionary zeal within the Church’s communion. For this reason, I ask you to remain ever close to your priests, encouraging them in their daily labors, their pursuit of sanctity and their proclamation of the Gospel of salvation. I ask you to convey to them my affectionate greeting and my gratitude for their dedicated service to God’s people.

If we accept the challenge of being a missionary Church, a Church which constantly goes forth to the world and, especially, to the peripheries of contemporary society, we will need to foster that "spiritual taste" which enables us to embrace and identify with each member of Christ’s body (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 268). Here particular care and concern needs to be shown for the children and the elderly in our communities. How can we be guardians of hope if we neglect the memory, the wisdom and the experience of the elderly, and the aspirations of our young? In this regard, I would ask you to be concerned in a special way for the education of children, supporting the indispensable mission not only of the universities, but also Catholic schools at every level, beginning with elementary schools, where young minds and hearts are shaped in love for the Lord and his Church, in the good, the true and the beautiful, and where children learn to be good Christians and upright citizens.

Being guardians of hope also entails ensuring that the prophetic witness of the Church in Korea remains evident in its concern for the poor and in its programs of outreach, particularly to refugees and migrants and those living on the margins of society. This concern should be seen not only in concrete charitable initiatives, which are so necessary, but also in the ongoing work of social, occupational and educational promotion. We can risk reducing our work with those in need to its institutional dimension alone, while overlooking each individual’s need to grow as a person and to express in a worthy manner his or her own personality, creativity and culture.Solidarity with the poor has to be seen as an essential element of the Christian life; through preaching and catechesis grounded in the rich patrimony of the Church’s social teaching, it must penetrate the hearts and minds of the faithful and be reflected in every aspect of ecclesial life. The apostolic ideal of "a Church of and for the poor" found eloquent expression in the first Christian communities of your nation. I pray that this ideal will continue to shape the pilgrim path of the Church in Korea as she looks to the future. I am convinced that if the face of the Church is first and foremost a face of love, more and more young people will be drawn to the heart of Jesus ever aflame with divine love in the communion of his mystical body.

Dear brothers, a prophetic witness to the Gospel presents particular challenges to the Church in Korea, since she carries out her life and ministry amid a prosperous, yet increasingly secularized and materialistic society. In such circumstances it is tempting for pastoral ministers to adopt not only effective models of management, planning and organization drawn from the business world, but also a lifestyle and mentality guided more by worldly criteria of success, and indeed power, than by the criteria which Jesus sets out in the Gospel. Woe to us if the cross is emptied of its power to judge the wisdom of this world (cf.1 Cor 1:17)! I urge you and your brother priests to reject this temptation in all its forms. May we be saved from that spiritual and pastoral worldliness which stifles the Spirit, replaces conversion by complacency, and, in the process, dissipates all missionary fervor (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 93-97)!

Dear brother Bishops, with these reflections on your role as guardians of memory and of hope, I want to encourage you in your efforts to build up the faithful in Korea in unity, holiness and zeal. Memory and hope inspire us and guide us toward the future. I remember all of you in my prayers and I urge you constantly to trust in the power of God’s grace: "The Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one" (2 Thess 3:3). May the prayers of Mary, Mother of the Church, bring to full flower in this land the seeds planted by the martyrs, watered by generations of faithful Catholics, and handed down to you as a pledge for the future of your country and of our world.

To you, and to all entrusted to your pastoral careand keeping, I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing.

Forwarded by J. Justin

Pope's Angelus: Imitate Jesus in Patiently Waiting for God's Victory Over Evil
Explains Meaning of the Wheat and the Tares Parable

Vatican City, July 20, 2014 (Zenit.org) | 

Before reciting the Angelus prayer at noon today, Pope Francis explained the meaning of today's Gospel reading and the parable of the wheat and the tares.
The parable, he said, is a teaching of Jesus which addresses “the problem of evil in the world and highlights the patience of God.”

The Pope explained how the Devil sows evil amidst the good seed of the world, but God is patient, separating the wheat and the tares at his final judgment. He stressed that unlike mankind, which is “sometimes in a hurry to judge, classify, place the good here and the bad beyond, God knows to wait.”

“He looks at the 'field' of every person’s life with patience and mercy,” the Pope said. “He sees much better than us the dirt and the evil, but He also sees the seeds of good and looks forward with confidence for them to mature. God is patient, he knows to wait.”

He pointed out that it is thanks to this “patient hope” of God that the same weeds, in the end, can become good wheat.
But he cautioned that evangelical patience does not mean indifference to evil. “One cannot make confusion between good and evil,” he said. Instead, the disciple is called to imitate the patience of God, “nourishing hope with the support of an unshakable faith in the ultimate victory of the good, that is of God. “
Eventually, he concluded, the evil will be removed and disposed of. On the day of the final harvest, the judge will be Jesus “who sowed good seed in the world and who himself became a "grain of wheat", died and rose again.”

“At the end, we will all be judged by the same standards by which we judged: the mercy we gave to others will also be used with us,” the Pope said. “Let us ask the Virgin Mary, our Mother, to help us to grow in patience, hope and mercy.“

Forwarded by J. Justin


Pope's Mass: Jesus is our defense lawyer

In his Tuesday morning MassPope Francis said that Jesus, intercedes for mankind, before God.  
He described him as a lawyer who comes to one's defense, despite committed sins. 


"Jesus shows God His wounds and with those wounds Jesus prays for us, as if telling God: 'Father, I paid the price ok? Help them, protect them. They are your children and with these wounds I saved them.” 
The Pope then added that Jesus doesn't just defend His flock. He also prays for it, so their faith may stay strong. 

(Source: Vatican Radio) 
"The apostle John, thinking about these things and speaking of us, who are great sinners, says, 'Do not sin, but if any of you do sin, know that we have an advocate before the Father, one who prays for us, defends us in front Father, justifies us'. I believe we should really think about this truth, about this reality: Jesus is praying for me right now. I can go on in life because I have an advocate who defends me and if I am guilty and I have so many sins ... he is a good defense attorney and will speak of me to the Father".
"He is the first" advocate and then sends the Paraclete. The Pope added that when we encounter problems or needs in the parish, at home, in the family, we must ask Jesus to pray for us. The Pope then asked: "How does Jesus pray? I don’t believe he talks too much with the Father.
"He doesn’t talk: He loves. But there is one thing that Jesus does , today , I'm certain he does this.  He shows his wounds to the Father and Jesus, with his wounds, prays for us as if to say to the Father: ' But, Father, this is the price of these! Help them, protect them. They are your children whom I have saved with these'.
Otherwise, why after the Resurrection did Jesus not have this glorious body, beautiful - with no bruises, no wounds from the scourging, everything nice? - but there were wounds. The Five Wounds . Why did Jesus want to bring them to heaven? Why ? To pray for us. To show the price [he paid] to the Father: 'This is the price, now do not abandon them. Help them'".
"We must have this faith - Pope Francis said – that right now Jesus intercedes before the Father for us, for all of us". And when we pray we must not forget to ask Jesus to pray for us : "'Jesus , pray for me. Show the Father your wounds that are mine too , they are the wounds of my sin. They are the wounds of my problem at this moment in time'. Jesus the intercessor only has to show the Father his wounds. And this is happening today , at this very moment. Look at the words that Jesus said to Peter, 'Peter, I will pray for you that your faith may not fail'". "We are confident that he is doing this for everyone". "We must have faith , concluded the Pope, "in this prayer of Jesus with his wounds before the Father.” 
 Forwarded by J. Justin


Pope: Upper Room is Reminder of Sacrifice, Friendship and Service

Jerusalem, May 26, 2014 (Zenit.org) | 

The Upper Room, where Jesus shared the Last Supper with the apostles, opened up new horizons from where the Church went forth, impelled by the life-giving breath of the Holy Spirit. 

This was one of Pope Francis' reflections on the meaning of this sacred location during his homily at Mass in the Upper Room this evening with Ordinaries of the Holy Land. 

The Upper Room, also known as the Cenacle, is located in a historic building on Mount Zion that is also sacred to both Jews and Muslims. The reputed burial place of King David is on the ground floor of the Cenacle, and a mosque is situated on the roof. 

The Pope said it was “a great gift” to celebrate the Eucharist there, where “Jesus shared the Last Supper with the apostles; where, after his resurrection, he appeared in their midst; where the Holy Spirit descended with power upon Mary and the disciples.”  

“Here the Church was born, and was born to go forth,” he said. “From here she set out, with the broken bread in her hands, the wounds of Christ before her eyes, and the Spirit of love in her heart.”    

Remembering how Jesus sent forth the apostles to “renew the face of the earth”, he stressed that to set out does not mean to forget. “The Church, in her going forth, preserves the memory of what took place here,” he explained. “The Spirit, the Paraclete, reminds her of every word and every action, and reveals their true meaning.” 

The Upper Room, he said, “speaks to us of service,” and Jesus’ washing of the apostles’ feet symbolizes “welcoming, accepting, loving and serving one another” and “serving the poor, the sick and the outcast.”

Through the Eucharist, the Upper Room also points to sacrifice and it reminds us of friendship. “The Lord makes us his friends, he reveals God’s will to us and he gives us his very self,” the Pope said. “This is the most beautiful part of being a Christian and, especially, of being a priest: becoming a friend of the Lord Jesus.” 

It tells us of Jesus’ farewell but also his promise of return, and reminds us “of pettiness, of curiosity – “Who is the traitor?” – and of betrayal.” 

“We ourselves, and not just others, can reawaken those attitudes whenever we look at our brother or sister with contempt, whenever we judge them, whenever by our sins we betray Jesus,” the Pope said. 

“The Upper Room reminds us of sharing, fraternity, harmony and peace among ourselves,” the Pope added. “How much love and goodness has flowed from the Upper Room!  How much charity has gone forth from here, like a river from its source, beginning as a stream and then expanding and becoming a great torrent.” 

Noting that all the saints drew from this source, the Pope said the Upper Room “reminds us of the birth of the new family, the Church, established by the risen Jesus; a family that has a Mother, the Virgin Mary. “Christian families belong to this great family,” he said, “and in it they find the light and strength to press on and be renewed, amid the challenges and difficulties of life.” 

“All God’s children, of every people and language, are invited and called to be part of this great family, as brothers and sisters and sons and daughters of the one Father in heaven,” the Pope said.He closed by saying the Upper Room opens up “new horizons of the Risen Lord and his Church” from where the Church “goes forth, impelled by the life-giving breath of the Spirit.” 

“Gathered in prayer with the Mother of Jesus, the Church lives in constant expectation of a renewed outpouring of the Holy Spirit.  Send forth your Spirit, Lord, and renew the face of the earth!,” the Pope said.

Forwarded by J.Justin


Pope Francis' Homily at Palm Sunday 

Vatican City, April 13, 2014   

This week begins with the festive procession of olive branches: the whole people welcome Jesus. The children, the young people sing, they praise Jesus.
But this week then moves forward into the mystery of the death of Jesus and of his resurrection. We have heard the Passion of the Lord. We will do well to pose just a single question: Who am I? Who am I before my Lord? Who am I before Jesus who enters into Jerusalem? Am I capable of expressing my joy, of praising him? Or do I distance myself from him? Who am I before Jesus who suffers?

We have heard many names, many names. The group of leaders, some priests, some Pharisees, some teachers of the Law, who have decided to kill him. They waited for the opportunity to seize him. Am I like one of them?

We have also heard another name: Judas. 30 pieces of silver. Am I like Judas? We heard other names: the disciples who understood nothing, who slept while the Lord suffered. Do I sleep through my life? Or am I like the disciples, who did not understand what it meant to betray Jesus? Am I like that other disciple who wanted to resolve everything with the sword? Am I like them? Am I like Judas, who pretends to lover and kissed the Master to hand him over, to betray him? Am I a traitor? Am I like the leaders who hastily put together the tribunal and look for false witnesses? Am I like them? And when I do these things, if I do them, do I believe that I save the people in this way?

Am I like Pilate? When I see that the situation is difficult, do I wash my hands and not know how to accept my responsibility and let people be condemned, or condemn them myself?

Am I like that crowd that did not know whether it was in a religious meeting, a trial or a circus, and chooses Barabbas? For them it was the same: it was more entertaining to humiliate Jesus.

Am I like the soldiers who strike the Lord, spit upon him, insult him, have fun humiliating him?

Am I like the Cyrenian who was returning from work, tired, but who had the good will to help the Lord carry the cross?

Am I like those who passed in front of the cross and joked about Jesus: “He was so courageous! Let him come down from the cross and we will believe in him! Joking about Jesus...

Am I like those courageous women, and like Jesus’ Mother, who were there, suffering in silence?

Am I like Joseph, the hidden disciple, who carried Jesus’ body with love, to put him in the tomb?

Am I like the 2 Marys who remain at the tomb crying, praying?

Am I like those leaders who on the following day went to Pilate to say: “Look, he said that he would be raised. Make sure that more deception does not happen!” and hold back life, block the tomb to defend doctrine, so that life does not come out?

Where is my heart? Which of these people am I like? May this question accompany us this whole week.

[Translation by Joseph Trabbic]
Forwarded by J. Justin

Vatican City, Mar 24, 2014 / 07:34 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In his daily homily Pope Francis dedicated his reflections to the virtue of humility, explaining that only the “outcasts” who recognize their need of God know what it means to be saved.

“Jesus tells us: ‘if you do not put yourself on the margins, if you don’t feel what it is to be an outcast, you will not obtain salvation,’” the Pope observed in his March 24 daily Mass.

Addressing those present in the Vatican’s Saint Martha guesthouse, the pontiff began by recalling how in the Gospel Jesus addressed his fellow citizens in Nazareth, saying that “No prophet is accepted in his hometown,” and that he could not work miracles there because the people “had no faith.”

Also drawing attention to how Jesus recalls two Biblical stories of healing, one of the leper Naaman in the first reading, and the other of the meeting of Elijah and the widow of Serapta who gave him her last bit of food and was saved from famine, the Pope explained that “Lepers and widows in those days were the outcasts of society.”

However, he observed that it was these two outcasts who welcomed the prophet’s words and were saved, while the citizens of Nazareth “felt so strong in their faith” and so sure of themselves that they “had no need for other salvation” the pontiff continued.

“It is the tragedy of observing the Commandments without faith” noted the pontiff, describing how some say “‘I save myself because I go to the Synagogue every Saturday, I try to obey the Commandments, I do not want to hear that the leper or the widow is better than me! They are outcasts!’”

“This is humility, the path of humility,” he observed, “to feel so marginalized that we need the Salvation of the Lord. He alone saves us, not our observance of the law.”

Recalling how those who heard Jesus speak were “angry and wanted to kill him,” the Pope explained that this is the same anger that Naaman initially felt in the first reading, when he was asked by Elijah to bathe in the Jordan river seven times in order to be healed, thinking it to be absurd and humiliating.

“The Lord asked him for a gesture of humility, He asked him to obey like a child, to be ridiculous,” the pontiff explained, adding that after Naaman walked away in anger, he returned and did as Elijah asked, and was healed by his act of humility.

“This is the message for today in this third week of Lent: if we want to be healed, we must choose the road of humility,” the Pope went on to say, adding that Mary, in her canticle, “does not say she is happy because God was looking to her virginity, to her kindness or to her sweetness.”

All of these are virtues which she possessed, he affirmed, but she is happy “because the Lord was looking to her humility, the humility of His servant, her smallness.”

Highlighting how “This is what the Lord looks for,” the pontiff emphasized that “we must take heed of this wisdom and put ourselves on the margins so that the Lord may find us.”

“He will not find us at the center of our certainties. That is not where the Lord looks. He will find us on the margins, in our sins, in our mistakes, in our need for spiritual healing, for salvation; that is where the Lord will find us.”

Concluding his homily, Pope Francis expressed that “Christian humility” is not composed of “the virtue of saying: ‘I am not important’ and hiding our pride,” but rather of “telling the truth” that we are sinners.

“‘I am a sinner,’” he stated, noting that “this is our truth,” however “there is another truth: God saves us. He saves us when we are on the margins; He does not save us in our certainties.”

“Let us ask for the grace of having the wisdom to put ourselves on the margins” and “for the grace of humility so that we may receive the Lord’s Salvation” he prayed.

Forwarded by J . Justin

Pope Francis on Wednesday celebrated the Feast of St. Joseph pointing out that he is a model for all fathers and educators.

Speaking to the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the General Audience, the Pope’s catechesis focused on three aspects pertaining to the life and mission of St Joseph: as the “guardian” of the Holy Family; as the teacher and educator of the young Jesus; and as a guide who helped Jesus respond to the working of the Holy Spirit.

And speaking off the cuff, the Pope sent special greetings to all the fathers of the world, thanking them for what they do with their children. "Be close to your children" - the Pope said - "they need you. Just as St. Joseph was close to Jesus in his physical, psychological and spiritual growth, you too must be guardians in age, wisdom and grace".

Please find below the synopsis in English of the Pope’s catechesis:

Dear Brothers and Sisters: Today, we celebrate the feast of Saint Joseph, Spouse of the Virgin Mary and Patron of the universal Church. Saint Joseph is venerated as the “guardian” of the Holy Family, and in this role he serves as a model for all fathers and educators. Joseph watched over Jesus’ human development – his growth, as Saint Luke tells us, “in wisdom, age and grace” (2:52). We think of how Joseph, as the carpenter of Nazareth, taught the young Jesus his trade and the value of work. Joseph also quietly imparted to Jesus that wisdom which consists above all in reverence for the Lord, prayer and fidelity to his word, and obedience to his will. Joseph’s paternal example helped Jesus to grow, on a human level, in his understanding and appreciation of his unique relationship to his heavenly Father. With Our Lady, Joseph guided the young Jesus as he responded to the working of the Holy Spirit in his heart and in his life. By his example and prayers, may Saint Joseph be a sure guide to all parents, priests and teachers charged with the education of our young.

Forwarded by J. Justin

Pope Francis celebrates Mass for the Feast of the Epiphany in St. Peter's Basilica on Jan. 6, 2014. Credit: Kyle Burkhart/CNA.

Vatican City, Mar 5, 2014 / 12:46 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- During his general audience on Ash Wednesday, Pope Francis called Lent a moment of renewal which allows us to look at the needs of others with “new eyes,” and to grow in love.

“Brothers and sisters: today, Ash Wednesday, begins the Lenten itinerary that leads us to the celebration of the Easter Triduum, a memorial of our salvation,” the Pope said in March 5.

“Lent,” he affirmed during his weekly address, “is a 'strong' time of conversion,” and a time “to live our baptism with greater profundity.”

Speaking to the thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square, the pontiff noted that the 40 days leading up to Easter is a “journey of penance, prayer and conversion” which prepares us “for the Church's annual celebration of the saving mysteries of Christ's passion, death and resurrection.”

“In this time we are invited to be more aware of the wonders that the Lord does for our salvation,” the Pope reflected, highlighting how the Church asks us “to ponder with joy and gratitude God's immense love” which is “revealed in the paschal mystery.”

Emphasizing that the time of Lent is also a call “to live ever more fully the new life we have received in Baptism,” the pontiff observed that doing this “will help us to not become accustomed to the difficult situations of misery, violence, poverty or indifference to God.”

“These are not Christian behaviors” he explained, but rather “they are comfortable behaviors and they drug our heart.”

Referring to Lent as a “journey of spiritual renewal in the footsteps of Christ,” the Pope went on to say that this season helps us in a special way “to acknowledge and respond to the growing spiritual and material poverty in our midst.”

“Specifically,” he continued, “it means consciously resisting the pressure of a culture which thinks it can do without God, where parents no longer teach their children to pray, where violence, poverty and social decay are taken for granted.”

“Lent is a time to recover the capacity to react before the reality of evil,” the pontiff emphasized, adding that it is also a time “for personal renewal” and for “community” that “brings us closer to God.”

Highlighting the importance of “confidently” adhering “to his Gospel in order to look at our brothers and the needy with new eyes,” during this season, the Pope observed that it is “a suitable time to convert to be able to love our neighbor.”

This love, he explained, is “a love that generates an attitude of gratitude and of mercy with the Lord, who 'became poor to enrich us with his poverty.'”

Concluding his reflections, Pope Francis prayed that this Lent would “be a time when, as individuals and communities, we heed the words of the Gospel, reflect on the mysteries of our faith, practice acts of penance and charity, and open our hearts ever more fully to God’s grace and to the needs of our brothers and sisters.”

Extending his greetings to groups present from various countries around the world, the Pope offered a special welcome to pilgrims who represent Malta, Denmark, Sweden, Indonesia, Canada, the United States, Spain, Mexico, and Argentina.

“May the Lenten journey we begin today bring us to Easter with hearts purified and renewed by the grace of the Holy Spirit,” he said, inviting all to “invoke with confidence the help of the Virgin Mary.”

The Pope asked that she “accompany us in these days of intense prayer and penance, to arrive to celebrate, purify and to be renewed in the Spirit, the great mystery of the Easter of her Son.”

Forwarded By J. Justin


Vatican City, Jan 29, 2014 / 07:34 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In his Wednesday audience, Pope Francis reflected on the sacrament of confirmation, explaining that it is intrinsically linked to our baptism, and that through it our relationship with the Church is fortified.

“It unites us more firmly to Christ,” the Pope said in his Jan. 29 general audience, referring to the Sacrament of Confirmation, “it strengthens our relationship with the Church and it gives us a special strength from the Holy Spirit to defend the faith and confess the name of Christ.”

The Pope began his weekly audience by addressing the thousands of pilgrims present in St. Peter’s Square, stating that “dear Brothers and Sisters: In our continuing catechesis on the seven sacraments, we now reflect on confirmation.”

Confirmation, he explained “together with baptism and the Eucharist, is one of the sacraments of Christian initiation.”

These three Sacraments, he noted, form part “of the unique process of Christian initiation, through which we are gradually inserted in Christ, dead and risen, and we receive a new life, making us members of the Church.”

Reflecting on the term confirmation, the Pope highlighted that the word “indicates that this sacrament ratifies baptismal grace.”
He then explained that during our confirmation, “through the sacramental sign of anointing with sacred chrism, we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit in order to be more closely conformed to Christ, God’s ‘anointed one.’”

“We are also strengthened – ‘confirmed’ – in the grace of our Baptism and in our mission of bearing daily witness to Christ and his love,” the pontiff continued, adding that “Confirmation is God’s work,” as is every sacrament.

And this particular sacrament, observed the Pope, “ensures that our life be embodied in the image of his son, for us to love like him, infusing his Holy Spirit.”

“This Spirit acts with strength within us, within all people and during one’s whole life,” he emphasized, highlighting that “when we receive him in our hearts, Christ makes himself present and takes shape in our lives.”

“It is He who prays, forgives, infuses hope, serves the brothers most in need, creates communion and seeds peace in our lives. It is He who does that!”

Turning to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit which are received when one is confirmed, Pope Francis noted that the direct works of the Holy Spirit are “reflected” in these “spiritual gifts of wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord.”

Encouraging all present to “thank the Lord for the grace of our confirmation,” the Pope urged them to ask “that, filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit, we may always mirror Christ’s presence in our relations with others, our openness to those in need, and our living witness to the Gospel message of joy and peace.”

He concluded his audience by extending personal greetings to pilgrims present from various countries around the world, including those from Spain, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Scotland, Ireland and the United States.

Giving a special greeting to a group of pilgrims who traveled from the diocese of Rapid City, SD accompanied by their bishop, Robert Gruss, the pontiff then invoked “God’s blessings of joy and peace!”

Forwarded by J. Justin

Pope Francis at the Wednesday general audience in St. Peter's Square on June 5, 2013. Credit: Lauren Cater/CNA.

Vatican City, Jan 2, 2014 / 03:16 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- More than 6.6 million people have taken part in events with Pope Francis at the Vatican since his election to the papacy, the Prefecture of the Papal Household has estimated.

In the nine months since Pope Francis’ March 13 election, more than 2.7 million people have attended the Pope’s Angelus and Regina Coeli prayers. About 2.3 million have attended liturgical celebrations in St. Peter’s Basilica and at St. Peter’s Square. Some 1.5 million people have attended Pope Francis’ general audiences, while 87,400 have attended private audiences with the Pope.

The figures only concern activities at the Vatican and are approximations based on the number of requests to participate in events and invitations issued by the Prefecture of the Papal Household. They also draw on attendance estimates for the Angelus and major celebrations at St. Peter’s Square.

The figures do not include events that took place outside the Vatican, including World Youth Day in Brazil. The figures also do not include attendance estimates for papal events within Italy and the Diocese of Rome, such as his visits to Lampedusa and Assisi.

An estimated 3.2 million Catholic pilgrims attended World Youth Day’s final Mass with Pope Francis at Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro on July 28.

During Pope Benedict XVI’s first year as Pope from April 2005 to April 2006, an estimated 4 million people attended his public events at the Vatican. About 1.9 million attended the Sunday Angelus in that time period, the Prefecture of the Pontifical Household said in 2006.

Forwarded by J. Justin


Vatican City, Dec 17, 2013 / 08:59 am (CNA/EWTN News).-
December 17 is the 77th birthday of Pope Francis, who wanted to celebrate the day in the familial setting of his St. Martha residence.

The Pope asked that those who live and work at the residence join him for the daily 7 a.m. mass there. Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, concelebrated mass with the Pontiff on behalf of the entire College.

During the homily he preached on today’s gospel reading containing the genealogy of Jesus, Pope Francis took the opportunity to remember the names of some of the staff who were present.

Pope Francis then followed his usual custom after mass of greeting everyone in attendance. Today, the Papal Almoner, Msgr. Konral Krajewski, presented four homeless people who live in the Vatican area to the Pontiff.

Everyone sang a birthday song to the Pope before going in to breakfast together at the residence.

The Secretary of State, Msgr. Pietro Parolin, has sent his best wishes and greetings on behalf of everyone in his office.

Several other celebrations have been held throughout Rome in honor of the the Pontiff. A local Catholic center for youth, the “Centro San Lorenzo” has organized a day of prayer and adoration for Pope Francis. The 24 hour vigil will take place just down the road from the Vatican, beginning at midnight on Dec. 16 and ending at the same hour on the seventeenth.

Earlier in the week, the children and staff of the Vatican’s Santa Marta clinic held a birthday party for the Pope, complete with a birthday cake, candles, song and even the gift of a sweater.
Others have sent the Pontiff a four-foot-tall birthday card bearing the image of Mary under her title “Untier of Knots.” In the 1980s, the then Jorge Bergoglio saw this baroque image when he was a student in Germany and brought the devotion back to South America.

Journalists dedicated to special coverage of Vatican activities, known as “vaticanistas,” will gather on Tuesday evening in Rome’s “Campo di Fiori” to celebrate in honor of Pope Francis.
Luis Avellaneda, the secretary of Pope Francis’ childhood church in Buenos Aires, told Vatican Radio that although there are no specific plans for a celebration there, “certainly in Masses of the day we will pray. We will pray for all the intentions of the Holy

Father, who for us is very far away: we're at the end of the world ... But we are very close to the heart of the Holy Father.”

Another special birthday surprise for the Pope came in the form of a victory for his favorite soccer club, “San Lorenzo de Almagro.” Upon being told about their win, one Italian newspaper reports that Pope Francis exclaimed, “what a joy!”

Some players and managers of the soccer club hope to present Pope Francis, who is also their chaplain, with their newly-won league championship trophy.

Forwarded By J .Justin

Pope Francis, The People’s Pope

He took the name of a humble saint and then called for a church of healing. The first non-European pope in 1,200 years is poised to transform a place that measures change by the century

By Howard Chua-Eoan and Elizabeth Dias Dec. 11, 2013   

On the edge of Buenos Aires is a nothing little street called Pasaje C, a shot of dried mud leading into a slum from what passes for a main road, the garbage-strewn Mariano Acosta. There is a church, the Immaculate Virgin, toward the end of the ­pasaje—Spanish for passage—where, on one occasion, the local priest and a number of frightened residents took refuge deep in the sanctuary when rival drug gangs opened fire. Beyond the church, Pasaje C branches into the rest of the parish: more rutted mud and cracked concrete form Pasajes A to K. Brick chips from the hasty construction of squatter housing coagulate along what ought to be sidewalks. The word asesino—­murderer—is scrawled in spray-paint on the sooty wall of a burned-out house, which was torched just days before in retaliation for yet another shooting. Packs of dogs sprawl beneath wrecked cars. Children wander heedless of traffic, because nothing can gather speed on these jagged roads. But even Pasaje C can lead to Rome.
As Cardinal and Archbishop of Buenos Aires, a metropolis of some 13.5 million souls, Jorge Mario Bergoglio made room in his schedule every year for a pastoral visit to this place of squalor and sorrow.­ He would walk to the subway station nearest to the Metropolitan Cathedral, whose pillars and dome fit easily into the center of Argentine power. Traveling alone, he would transfer onto a graffiti-blasted tram to Mariano Acosta, reaching where the subways do not go. He finished the journey on foot, moving heavily in his bulky black orthopedic shoes along Pasaje C. On other days, there were other journeys to barrios throughout the city—so many in need of so much, but none too poor or too filthy for a visit from this itinerant prince of the church. Reza por mí, he asked almost everyone he met. Pray for me.

When, on March 13, Bergoglio inherited the throne of St. Peter—keeper of the keys to the kingdom of heaven—he made the same request of the world. Pray for me. His letter of retirement, a requirement of all bishops 75 and older, was already on file in a Vatican office, awaiting approval. Friends in Argentina had perceived him to be slowing down, like a spent force. In an instant, he was a new man, calling himself Francis after the humble saint from Assisi. As Pope, he was suddenly the sovereign of Vatican City and head of an institution so ­sprawling—with about enough followers to populate China—so steeped in order, so snarled by bureaucracy, so vast in its charity, so weighted by its scandals, so polarizing to those who study its teachings, so mysterious to those who don’t, that the gap between him and the daily miseries of the world’s poor might finally have seemed unbridgeable. Until the 266th Supreme Pontiff walked off in those clunky shoes to pay his hotel bill.
The papacy is mysterious and magical: it turns a septuagenarian into a superstar while revealing almost nothing about the man himself. And it raises hopes in every corner of the world—hopes that can never be fulfilled, for they are irreconcilable. The elderly traditionalist who pines for the old Latin Mass and the devout young woman who wishes she could be a priest both have hopes. The ambitious monsignor in the Vatican Curia and the evangelizing deacon in a remote Filipino village both have hopes. No Pope can make them all happy at once.

But what makes this Pope so important is the speed with which he has captured the imaginations of millions who had given up on hoping for the church at all. People weary of the endless parsing of sexual ethics, the buck-passing infighting over lines of authority when all the while (to borrow from Milton), “the hungry Sheep look up, and are not fed.” In a matter of months, Francis has elevated the healing mission of the church—the church as servant and comforter of hurting people in an often harsh world—above the doctrinal police work so important to his recent predecessors. John Paul II and Benedict XVI were professors of theology. Francis is a former janitor, nightclub bouncer, chemical technician and literature teacher.
And behind his self-effacing facade, he is a very canny operator. He makes masterly use of 21st century tools to perform his 1st century office. He is photographed washing the feet of female convicts, posing for selfies with young visitors to the Vatican, embracing a man with a deformed face. He is quoted saying of women who consider abortion because of poverty or rape, “Who can remain unmoved before such painful situations?” Of gay people: “If a homosexual person is of good will and is in search of God, I am no one to judge.” To divorced and remarried Catholics who are, by rule, forbidden from taking Communion, he says that this crucial rite “is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.”
Through these conscious and skillful evocations of moments in the ministry of Jesus, as recounted in the Gospels, this new Pope may have found a way out of the 20th century culture wars, which have left the church moribund in much of Western Europe and on the defensive from Dublin to Los Angeles. But the paradox of the papacy is that each new man’s success is burdened by the astonishing successes of Popes past. The weight of history, of doctrines and dogmas woven intricately century by century, genius by genius, is both the source and the limitation of papal power. It radiates from every statue, crypt and hand-painted vellum text in Rome—and in churches, libraries, hospitals, universities and museums around the globe. A Pope sets his own course only if he can conform it to paths already chosen.

And so Francis signals great change while giving the same answers to the uncomfortable questions. On the question of female priests: “We need to work harder to develop a profound theology of the woman.” Which means: no. No to abortion, because an individual life begins at conception. No to gay marriage, because the male-female bond is established by God. “The teaching of the church … is clear,” he has said, “and I am a son of the church, but”—and here he adds his prayer for himself—“it is not necessary to talk about those issues all the time.”

If that prayer should be answered, if somehow by his own vivid example Francis could bring the church into a new relationship with its critics and dissidents—agreeing to disagree about issues that divide them while cooperating in the urgent mission of spreading mercy—he might unleash untold good. “Argue less, accomplish more” could be a healing motto for our times. We have a glut of problems to tackle. Francis says by example, Stop bickering and roll up your sleeves. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good—an important thing for the world to hear, especially from a man who holds an office deemed infallible.

Francesco Zizola / NOOR for TIME

Thousands turn out in Rome to greet Francis during his biweekly audiences.

This papacy begins with a name. Jorge Bergoglio is the first Pope to choose as his namesake Francis of Assisi, the 13th century patron saint of the poor. The choice, coming after 14 Clements, 16 Benedicts and 21 Johns, is clearly and pointedly personal. The 13th century Francis turned to the ministry when, as legend has it, he heard a voice calling to him from a crucifix to repair God’s house. He left his prosperous silk-merchant family to live with the poor. He was a peacemaker, the first Catholic leader to travel to Egypt to try to end the Crusades. He placed mercy at the core of his life.

From that name follows much of Francis’ agenda. While the Catholic Church envisioned by Benedict XVI was one of tightly calibrated spiritual prescriptions, Francis told Father Antonio Spadaro, editor of the Jesuit magazine Civiltà Cattolica, in an interview published at the end of September, that he sees “the church as a field hospital after battle.” His vision is of a pastoral—not a doctrinaire—church, and that will shift the Holy See’s energies away from demanding long-distance homage and toward ministry to and embrace of the poor, the spiritually broken and the lonely. He expanded on this idea in a 288-section apostolic exhortation called “Evangelii Gaudium,” or “The Joy of the Gospel.” “I 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,” he wrote. He made it clear that he does not just want talk—he wants actual transformation.

He has halted the habit of granting priests the honorific title of monsignor as a way to stem careerism in the ranks and put the focus instead on pastoring. He told a gathering of his diplomats that he wanted them to identify candidates for bishop in their home countries who are, he said, “gentle, patient and merciful, animated by inner poverty, the freedom of the Lord and also by outward simplicity and austerity of life.” To Francis, poverty isn’t simply about charity; it’s also about justice. The church, by extension, should not reflect Rome; it should mirror the poor.

Which helps explain why he has turned the once obscure Vatican Almoner, an agency that has been around for about 800 years and is often reserved for an aging Catholic diplomat, over to the dynamic 50-year-old Polish Archbishop Konrad Krajewski and told him to make it the Holy See’s new front porch. “You can sell your desk,” Francis told Krajewski. “You don’t need it. You need to get out of the Vatican. Don’t wait for people to come ringing. You need to go out and look for the poor.” The Archbishop hands out small amounts to the needy, including a recent gift of 1,600 phone cards to immigrant survivors of a capsized boat so they could call family back in Eritrea. Francis often gives Krajewski stacks of letters with his instructions to help the people who have written to him and asked for aid. In what sounds like a necessary precaution, the Vatican recently issued a denial after Krajewski hinted that Francis himself sometimes slips out of the Vatican dressed as an ordinary priest to hand out alms.

Forwarded by J .Justin


Pope Francis: Use intelligence to understand signs of the times
By Elise Harris

Vatican City, Nov 29, 2013 / 09:41 am (CNA/EWTN News).- During his daily Mass, Pope Francis spoke of the importance of man's intellect in understanding the Lord, and cautioned those present to against “restricted” thought which keeps us focused on ourselves.

“What path does the Lord want? Always with the spirit of intelligence with which to understand the signs of the times. It is beautiful to ask the Lord for this grace,” the Pope said in his Nov. 29 daily homily.
Pope Francis directed his reflections to those present in the Saint Martha guesthouse of the Vatican, where he has chosen to reside.

He began by recalling of how in the Gospels, the Lord taught his disciples to pay attention to the signs of the times, which the Pharisees failed to understand, emphasizing how one must think not only with the head, but also with the heart and the spirit in order to fully comprehend “way of God in history.”

“In the Gospel, Jesus does not become angry, but pretends to when the disciples do not understand him,” the Pope explained, adding that at Emmaus Jesus says, “'How foolish and slow of heart.'”

“He who does not understand the things of God is such a person,” noted the pontiff, emphasizing how “The Lord wants us to understand what happens, what happens in my heart, what happens in my life, what happens in the world, in history.”

“What is the meaning of what is happening now? These are the signs of the times!”

“On the other hand,” he continued, “the spirit of the world gives us other propositions, because the spirit of the world does not want a community: it wants a mob, thoughtless, without freedom.”

Explaining that while the spirit of the world tries to lead us down a “restricted path,” the Apostle Paul warns that this spirit “treats us as thought we lack the ability to think for ourselves; it treats us like people who are not free.”

“Restricted thought, equal thought, weak thought, a thought so widespread. The spirit of the world does not want us to ask ourselves before God: ‘But why, why this other, why did this happen?’”

Or, the Pope observed, this worldly spirit “offers a prêt-à-porter ('ready to wear') way of thinking, according to personal taste: ‘I think as I like!’”

While there are many who say that this attitude is ok, the Pontiff noted, the spirit of the world does not want “what Jesus asks of us: free thought, the thought of a man and a women who are part of the people of God, and salvation is exactly this!”

Pope Francs then encouraged the Mass attendees to think of the prophets who proclaimed that “You were not my people, now I say my people,” stating that “so says the Lord.”
“And this is salvation: to make us people, God’s people, to have freedom.”

Reflecting on how Jesus asks us to “think freely…in order to understand what happens,” the Pope stressed that “we are not alone,” and that “we need the Lord’s help” in order to “understand the signs of the times.”

In order to do this, the Pope went on to say, the Holy Spirit “gives us this present, a gift: the intelligence to understand.”

Emphasizing how the Lord always wants us to walk along the path of intelligence, Pope Francis highlighted how “it is beautiful to ask the Lord for this grace, who sends us this spirit of intelligence, in order that we avoid weak thought, we do not have a restricted thought and we do not have a thought according to personal preference.”

We must only have “a thought according to God,” he stated, adding that “with this thought, which is a thought of the mind, of heart, and of soul; with this thought, which is the gift of the Spirit, (we) look for the meaning of things, and to understand the signs of the time well.”  

Bringing his homily to an end, the Pope said that we must ask the Lord for the grace to have “the ability which gives us the spirit” to “understand the signs of the time.”

Forwarded by J.Justin

Vatican City, October 31, 2013

Today the Holy Father received in audience members of Saint Peter’s Circle, which supports the charitable work of the Church.

Here is a translation of his address.
* * *

Dear Members of Saint Peter’s Circle, good morning!

I express to you my gratitude for your work of support of the charitable activities of the Church in favor of the neediest. I greet you all affectionately and I thank your President General, Duke Leopoldo Torlonia, for his kind words.

The Year of Faith is about to end, this providential time of grace, during which the Church has renewed faith in Jesus Christ and revived the joy of walking in his paths. And a faith lived seriously brings about acts of genuine charity. We have so many simple testimonies of people that become apostles of charity in the family, at school, in the parish, in places of work and of social encounter, in streets, everywhere …. They have taken the Gospel seriously! The true disciple of the Lord personally commits himself in a ministry of charity, which extends to the many and inexhaustible poverties of man.

You also, dear friends, feel sent to the poorest, fragile and marginalized sisters and brothers. You do this as baptized persons, seeing it as your task as lay faithful. And not as an exceptional or occasional ministry, but an essential one, in which the Church is identified, exercising it daily. Every day situations present themselves that draw you in. Every day each one of us is called to be a consoler, to be a humble but generous instrument of God’s providence and of his merciful goodness, of his love that understands and sympathizes, of his consolation that relieves and gives courage. Every day we are all called to become “God’s caress” for those who perhaps have forgotten the first caresses, who perhaps have never felt a caress in their lives. You are here, for the Holy See and for Rome, God’s caress! Thank you, thank you so much!

Dear brothers and sisters, continue to be a visible sign of the charity of Christ to all those who are in need, be it in a material sense or in a spiritual sense, as also towards pilgrims who arrive in Rome from all parts of the world.

Today I thank you particularly for Peter’s pence which you collected in the churches of Rome. This is your habitual participation in my solicitude for the neediest persons of this city. I encourage you to continue in this action, drawing the love of giving brothers to the school of divine charity, through prayer and listening to the Word of God.

I entrust you, your families and your activities to the protection of the Holy Virgin, Salus Populi Romani, that she may guide and sustain you, and to the intercession of Saints Peter and Paul. Thank you for being “God’s caress!”

Forwarded By J. Justin 


Vatican's full transcript of the unprecendented 80-minute Q and A with journalists

5 August 2013, 9:00

  This year's World Youth Day was remarkable for an array of reasons: according to the organisers 3.7 million people attended the final events in Rio de Janeiro including the papal Mass on the beach at Copacabana. Many had come from overseas: some 427,000 pilgrims registered from more than 170 nations, with the largest contingents coming from Brazil, Argentina, the US, Chile, Italy, Venezuela, France, Paraguay, Peru, and Mexico. Then there were the 7,814 priests and 644 bishops, including 28 cardinals, who took part. But perhaps the most surprising event of the trip was the impromptu 80-minute press conference Pope Francis held for journalists on the flight home. He had previously said he did not give interviews. Questions were not screened in advance and nothing was off the record.
Below is the Vatican's official transcript.

Fr Federico Lombardi, Holy See spokesman

Now, dear friends, we have the joy of having with us on this return trip, the Holy Father Francis. He has been kind enough to give us a good long time to evaluate the trip with us and answer your questions in total liberty. I give him the floor for a brief introduction and then we will begin with the list of those who registered to talk and we will take them from different national and linguistic groups. Now the floor is yours, You Holiness, to begin.

Pope Francis

Good evening and thank you so much. I am happy. It has been a good trip; it has done me good spiritually. I'm quite tired, but with a joyful heart, and I am well, well: it did me good spiritually. It does one good to meet people, because the Lord works in each one of us; He works in the heart, and the richness of the Lord is such that we can always receive many good things from others. And this does me good. This, as a first evaluation. Then I would say that the kindness, the heart of the Brazilian people is great, is true: its great. They are such kind people, a people that loves celebration, that even in suffering always finds a way to seek the good anywhere. And this is good: they are a happy people, a people who have suffered so much! The joy of Brazilians is contagious, it's contagious! And these people have a great heart. Then I would say of the organizers, from our part as well as that of the Brazilians - but I felt I was in front of a computer, an incarnated computer ... But truly, everything was absolutely punctual, no? But good.

Then we had problems with security theories: security here and there; there wasn't an incident in the whole of Rio de Janeiro in these days, and everything was spontaneous. With less security, I was able to be with the people, to embrace and greet them, without armoured cars. It's the security of trusting people. It's true that there is always the danger that there is a madman ... alas, yes, that there is a madman who does something; but there is also the Lord! But, to make an armoured space between the bishop and the people is madness, and I prefer this madness: [to be] outside and run the risk of the other madness. I prefer this madness: outside. Closeness does good to all.

Then, the organisation of the Day, not something specific, but everything: the artistic part, the religious part, the catechetical part, the liturgical part ... it was very beautiful! They have a capacity to express themselves in art. Yesterday, for instance, they did very beautiful things, very beautiful! Then, Aparecida. For me Aparecida is an intense religious experience. I recall the Fifth Conference. I was there to pray. I wanted to go alone, somewhat hidden, but there was an impressive crowd! It wasn't possible [to be hidden], I knew that before arriving. And we prayed, we did. I don't know ... one thing ... but also from your part. Your work was, I'm told - I didn't read the newspapers during these days, I didn't have the time, I did not watch the TV, nothing --, but I'm told that it was good, good, good work! Thank you, thank you for the collaboration, and thank you for having done this. Then the number, the number of young people. Today - I can't believe it - but today the Governor spoke of three million. I can't believe it. But from the altar -- that's true! - I don't know if you, some of you were at the altar: from the altar, at the end, the whole beach was full, up to the curve, more than four kilometres. But so many young people. And they say, Mgr Tempesta [the Archbishop of Rio, Orani Joao Tempesta] told me, that they were from 178 countries: 178! The Vice-President also gave me this number: that's certain. It's important! Intense!

Juan de Lara (Spanish journalist)

Good evening, Holiness. On behalf of all our companions we want to thank you for these days you have given us in Rio de Janeiro, the work you have done, and the effort it implies and also in the name of all Spanish journalists, we want to thank you for the prayers and the praying for the victims of the train accident of Santiago de Compostela. Thank you very much. And the first question, -- it doesn't have much to do with the trip, but we take advantage of the occasion that gives us this possibility and I wanted to ask you: Holiness, in these four months of pontificate, we see that you have created several commissions to reform the Vatican Curia. I would like to ask you: What type of reform do you have in mind? Do you contemplate the possibility of doing away with the IOR, the so-called Vatican Bank? Thank you.

Pope Francis

The steps I have taken in these four and a half months come from two sources: the content of what had to be done, it all comes from the source of the General Congregations that we Cardinals had. They were things that we Cardinals asked for to the one who'd be the new Pope. I remember that I asked for many things, thinking of someone else. That is, we asked, this has to be done ... for instance, the Commission of eight Cardinals, we know that it's important to have an outside consultation, not the consultations that take place, but from the outside. And this is in line - here I make a sort of abstraction, thinking, however, to explain it - in the line increasingly of the maturation of the relation between the Synodality and the Primacy. That is, these eight Cardinals favour Synodality, they help the different episcopates of the world to express themselves in the government itself of the Church. Many proposals were made, which have not yet been put into practice, such as the reform of the Synod's Secretariat, the methodology; such as the Post-Synodal Commission which has a permanent character of consultation; such as the Cardinals' Consistories with topics that aren't so formal - such as, for instance, canonisation, but also subjects, etc. Well, the source of the contents comes from there. The second source is the opportunity. I'll tell you, it wasn't hard for me, at the end of the first month of pontificate, to create the Commission of the eight Cardinals, which is one thing ...

The financial part I thought I'd address next year, because it's not the most important thing to address. However, the agenda was changed due to the circumstances that you know, which are of the public domain; problems appeared which had to be addressed. The first, the problem of the IOR, namely, how to direct it, how to delineate it, how to reform it, how to heal what has to be healed, and there is the first Commission of Reference, that's its name. You know the, what is requested, those who make it up, and everything. Then we had the meeting of the Commission of the fifteen Cardinals who are concerned with the economic aspects of the Holy See.

They are from all parts of the world. And there, while preparing that meeting, the need was seen to establish a same Reference Commission for the whole economy of the Holy See. That is, the economic problem was addressed outside the agenda, but these things happen when in the office of government, no? One goes here but a goal is kicked from over there and one must intercept it, isn't that right? Then, life is like this and that is what is lovely about life also. I repeat the question you asked me about the IOR, sorry, I'm speaking in Spanish. Sorry ... the answer came to me in Spanish.

With reference to that question you asked me about the IOR, I don't know how the IOR will end; some say that, perhaps, it's best if it's a bank, others that it be an aid fund, others say to close it. Alas! These voices are heard. I don't know. I trust the work of the people of the IOR, who are working on this, also of the Commission. The President of the IOR remains, the same one who was there before; instead the Director and the Vice-Director have resigned. But this, I cannot tell you how this story will end, and this is good also because one finds, one seeks; we are human, in this; we must find the best. But, this yes; but the characteristics of the IOR - whether a bank, an aid fund, whatever it is - must be transparent and honest. This must be so. Thank you.

Fr Lombardi

Many thanks, Your Holiness. So we now pass to a person of the representatives of the Italian group, and we have one whom you know well: Andrea Tornielli, who comes to ask you a question on behalf of the Italian group.

Andrea Tornielli

Holy Father, I have a question that is, perhaps, somewhat indiscreet: the photograph has gone around the world of you, when we left, going up the steps of the plane carrying a black bag, and there were articles throughout the world that commented on this novelty: yes, of the Pope going up ... it never happened, we said, that the Pope went up with his baggage in hand. So, there were even theories about what the black bag contained. Now, my questions are: one, why did you carry the black bag and why was it not carried by a collaborator, and two, can you tell us what was inside? Thank you.

Pope Francis

It didn't have the key of the atomic bomb! Alas! I carried it because I've always done so: when I travel, I carry it. What is inside? There is my razor, there is the Breviary, there is the agenda, there is a book to read - I took one on Saint Therese to whom I am devoted. I have always carried the bag when I travel: it's normal. But we must be normal ... I don't know .. what you are saying is a bit strange to me, that that photo has gone around the world. But we must get used to being normal, the normality of life. I don't know, Andrea, if I've answered you ...

Aura Miguel, Portuguese journalist from Radio Renascenca

Holiness, I want to ask you why you ask so insistently that we pray for you? It's not normal, usual, to hear a Pope ask so much to pray for him.

Pope Francis

I've always asked for this. When I was a priest I asked for it, but not so frequently. I began to ask for it with a certain frequency in my work as Bishop, because I feel that if the Lord doesn't help in this work of helping the People of God to go forward, one can't ... I truly feel I have so many limitations, so many problems, also being a sinner - you know it! - and I must ask for this. But it comes from within! I also ask Our Lady to pray for me to the Lord. It's a habit, but it's a habit that comes from the heart and also from the need I have for my work. I feel I must ask ... I don't know, it's like this ...

Philip Pullella from Reuters

Holiness, thank you, on behalf of the English group, for your availability. The colleague from Lara has already asked the question we wanted to ask, so I'll proceed somewhat on those lines, however: in the search to make these changes, I remember that you said to the group of Latin America that there are so many saints that work in the Vatican, but also persons who are somewhat less saintly, no? Have you met with resistance in your desire to change things in the Vatican? Have you found resistance? The second question is: you live in a very austere world, you have stayed in Saint Martha's, etc. Do you want your collaborators, also the cardinals, to follow this example and perhaps live in community, or is it something for you only?

Pope Francis

The changes ... the changes come also from two sources: what we cardinals requested, and what comes from my personality. You were speaking of the fact that I have stayed at Saint Martha's: but I couldn't live alone in the palace, and it's not luxurious. The papal apartment isn't so luxurious! It's ample, big, but not luxurious, but I can't live alone and with a small tiny group! I need people, to meet people, to talk with people ... And because of this the boys of the Jesuit school asked me: 'Why do you do it? Out of austerity? Poverty? No, no. Simply for psychiatric reasons, because I can't cope psychologically. Everyone must carry his life forward, his way of living, of being.

The cardinals who work in the Curia do not live richly and magnificently: they live in an apartment, they are austere, they are austere. Those that I know, the apartments that APSA gives the cardinals. Then it
seems to me there is something else I would like to say. Each one must live as the Lord asks him to live. But austerity - a general austerity - I think is necessary for all of us who work in the service of the Church. There are so many shades of austerity ... each one must find his way. In regard to the saints, this is true, there are saints: cardinals, priests, bishops, sisters, laymen: people who pray, people who work so much, and also who go to the poor, in a hidden way. I know of some who are concerned with feeding the poor and then, in their free time, go to do their ministry in one or another church ... They are priests. There are saints in the Curia.

And there are also some who aren't so saintly, and these are those who make more noise. You know that a tree that falls makes more noise than a forest that grows. And this grieves me when there are these things. But there are some who give scandal, some. We have this monsignor in jail, I think he's still in jail, he is not in jail because he resembled Blessed Imelda in fact, he isn't a Blessed. These are scandals that cause grief. Something - I have never said this , but I recall - I think the Curia has fallen somewhat from the level that it had some time ago, of those old Curia men ... the profile of the old Curia man, faithful, who did his work. We are in need of such persons. I believe ... they exist, but they are not so many as there were some time ago. The profile of the old Curia man: I would say this. We need more of these. Do I find resistance? Alas! If there is resistance, I haven't seen it yet. It's true that I haven't done so many things, but I can say yes, I have found help, and I have also found loyal people. For instance, I'm pleased when a person says to me: 'I'm not in agreement,' and I have found this. 'But I don't see this, I don't agree: I say it, you do it.' This is a true collaborator. And I've found this in the Curia. And this is good. But when there are those who say: 'Ah, how good, how good, how good,' but then say the opposite on the other side ... Now I can't remember. Perhaps there are some, but I can't remember. Resistance: in four months one can't find so much ....

Patricia Zorzan from Brazil

Speaking on behalf of Brazilians. The society has changed, young people have changed, and we see many young people in Brazil. You have spoken to us about abortion, matrimony between persons of the same sex. In Brazil a law has been approved which extends the right of abortion and has allowed matrimony between persons of the same sex. Why didn't you speak about this?

Pope Francis

The Church has already expressed herself perfectly on this. It wasn't necessary to go back to this, nor did I speak about fraud or lies or other things, on which the Church has a clear doctrine

Patricia Zorzan

But it's an issue that interests young people ...
Pope Francis
Yes, but it wasn't necessary to talk about that, but about positive things that open the way to youngsters, isn't that so? Moreover, young people know perfectly well what the position of the Church is.

Patricia Zorzan

What is the position of Your Holiness, can you tell us?

Pope Francis

That of the Church. I'm a child of the Church.

Antoine-Marie Izoard, Spanish press

Good day, Your Holiness. On behalf of colleagues of the French language on the flight - we are nine on this flight. For a Pope who is not keen on interviews, we are truly grateful to you. Since 13 March, you have introduced yourself as the Bishop of Rome, with very great and strong insistence. So, we would like to understand what the profound meaning is of this insistence, if perhaps more than collegiality there is talk perhaps of ecumenism, for the case of being primus inter pares in the Church? Thank you.

Pope Francis

Yes, on this we must not go beyond what is said. The Pope is bishop, Bishop of Rome, because the Bishop of Rome is the Successor of Peter, Vicar of Christ. There are other titles, but the first title is 'Bishop of Rome,' and everything stems from there. To speak, to think what this means to be primus inter pares, no, this isn't a consequence of that. It's simply the Pope's first title: Bishop of Rome. But there are also others ... I think you said something about ecumenism: I believe this favours ecumenism somewhat. But, this alone ...

Dario Menor Torres

A question about your feelings. You commented a week ago on the child who asked you how you felt, if someone could imagine how he could be Pope and if he could wish for it. You said one had to be mad to do it. After your first multitudinous experience, such as these days in Rio have been, can you tell us how you feel about being Pope, if it's very hard, if you're happy being so and, in addition, if in some way it has enhanced your faith or on the contrary, if you have had doubts. Thank you.

Pope Francis

To do the work of a bishop is a good thing, it's good. The problem is when one seeks that work: this isn't so good, this isn't from the Lord. But when the Lord calls a priest to become bishop, this is good. There's always the danger of thinking oneself superior to others, not as others, somewhat as a prince. These are dangers and sins. But the work of a bishop is good: it's to help brothers to go forward. The bishop in front of the faithful, to show the way; the bishop in the midst of the faithful, to aid communion; the bishop behind the faithful, because the faithful so many times have the scent of the way. The bishop must be like this. The question was if I like it? I like being bishop, I like it. I was so happy at Buenos Aires, so happy! I have been happy, it's true. The Lord has helped me in that. But I was happy as a priest, and I've been happy as a bishop. In this regard I say: I like it!

Question off-screen

And being Pope?

Pope Francis
Also! Also! When the Lord puts you there, if you do what the Lord wants, you are happy. This is my sentiment, what I feel.
Salvatore Mazza of Avvenire

I can't even get up. I'm sorry, I can't even stand up because of the many children I have at my feet. We saw in these days, we saw you full of energy even late in the evening. We are seeing it now with the plane that shakes, that you are standing calmly, without an ounce of hesitation. We wish to ask you: there is much talk of forthcoming trips. There's talk of Asia, Jerusalem, Argentina. Do you already have a more or less definite calendar for the coming year, or is it all yet to be seen?

Pope Francis

Nothing is defined. But I can say something to which thought is being given. It's defined - sorry - 22 September to Cagliari. Then, on 4 October to Assisi. In mind, within Italy, I would like to meet my own one day: go by plane in the morning and return with the others because they, poor things, call me and we have a good relationship. But only one day. Outside of Italy: Patriarch Bartholomew wants to have a meeting to commemorate the 50 years of Athenagoras and Paul VI at Jerusalem. The Israeli Government has also extended a special invitation to go to Jerusalem. I believe the Government of the Palestinian Authority has done the same.

Thought is being given to this: it's not certain whether one will or will not go ... Then, in Latin America, I don't think there is the possibility to return because the Pope is Latin American, the first trip was in Latin America ... goodbye! We must wait a bit! I think we can go to Asia, but this is all in the air. I received an invitation to go to Sri Lanka and also to the Philippines. But we must go to Asia. Because Pope Benedict did not have the time to go to Asia, and it's important. He went to Australia and then to Europe, America, but Asia ... To go to Argentina: at present I think we can wait a bit, because all these trips have a certain priority.

I would like to go to Constantinople, on 30 September, to visit Bartholomew I, but it's not possible, it's not possible because of my agenda. If we meet, we'll do so at Jerusalem.

Question off-screen


Pope Francis

Fatima, there is also an invitation to Fatima, it's true, it's true. There's an invitation to go to Fatima.
Questions off-screen
30 September or 30 November?

Pope Francis

November, November: St Andrew.

Hada Messia of CNN

Hello ... you are holding up better than me ... No, no, no: ok, ok. My question is: when you met with Argentine young people, somewhat jokingly, perhaps somewhat seriously you said to them that you, also, sometimes feel caged: we would like to know what you were referring to, exactly.

Pope Francis

You know how many times I wish to go on the streets of Rome, because at Buenos Aires I used to go on the street, I liked it so much! In this connection, I feel a bit caged. But I mustn't say this because those of the Vatican Gendarmerie are so good; they are good, good, good and I'm grateful to them. Now they let me do a few more things. I believe ... their duty is to guard the security. Caged, in that sense. I would like to go on the street, but I understand it's not possible: I understand it. I said it in that sense. Because my habit was - as we say in Buenos Aires - I was a street priest ...

Pope Francis (aside)

I was asking the time, because they must serve supper, but are you hungry?

Marcio Campos (Brazil)

Your blessing, Holy Father. I want to say to you when you feel longing for Brazil, for the joyful Brazilian people, embrace the flag that they gave you. I want to say also that I want to thank my colleagues of the newspapers Folha de Sao Paulo, Estado, Globo and Veja for representing them with a question. Holy Father, it's very difficult to accompany a Pope. We are all tired. You are fine and we are tired. In Brazil, the Catholic Church has lost faithful over the years. Is the Charismatic Renewal Movement a possibility to avoid the faithful joining the Pentecostal Churches? Thank you very much for your presence, and thank you very much for our being on your flight.

Pope Francis

What you say is very true about the loss of faithful: it's true, it's true. There are statistics. We spoke with the Brazilian bishops about the problem, in a meeting we had yesterday. You asked about the Charismatic Renewal Movement. I'll tell you something. In the years, at the end of the 70s, beginning of the 80s, I couldn't stand them. Once, speaking of them, I said this phrase: 'They confuse a liturgical celebration with a samba school!' I said this. But I repented. Then, I got to know them better. It's also true that the Movement, with good advisers, has gone on a good path. And now I think this Movement has done so much good to the Church in general. At Buenos Aires, I met with them often and once a year had a Mass with all of them in the Cathedral. I've always favoured them, after I was converted, when I saw the good they do. Because at this moment of the Church - and here I lengthen the answer a bit - I think the Movements are necessary. The Movements are a grace of the Holy Spirit. 'But how can one stop a Movement that is so free?' The Church is also free! The Holy Spirit does what He wishes. Then He does the work of harmonising, but I think the Movements are a grace, those Movements that have the spirit of the Church. Because of this, I think that the Charismatic Renewal Movement not only serves to avoid some going to join Pentecostal confessions. But no! It serves the Church! It renews us. And each one seeks his Movement according to his charism, where the Spirit takes him.

Pope Francis (aside)

I'm tired. I'm tired.

Jean-Marie Guenois of Le Figaro

Holy Father, a question with my colleague of La Croix, also: You said that the Church without women loses fecundity. What concrete measures will you take? For instance, a feminine diaconate or a woman head of a dicastery? It's a very small technical question: You said you were tired. Do you have a special preparation for the return? Thank you, Holiness.

Pope Francis

We begin with the last. This plane doesn't have special preparations. I'm in front, in a good armchair, common, but ordinary, such as everyone has. I had a letter written and a telephone call made to say that I didn't want special preparations on the plane: is it clear? Second, women. A Church without women is like the Apostolic College without Mary. The role of women in the Church is not only maternity, the mother of the family, but it's stronger: it is, in fact, the icon of the Virgin, of Our Lady, the one who helps the Church grow! But think that Our Lady is more important than the Apostles! She is more important! The Church is feminine: she is Church, she is spouse, she is Mother. But women in the Church, not only must ... I don't know how it's said in Italian ... a woman's role in the Church must not end only as mother, as worker, limited. No! It's something else! But the Popes ... Paul VI wrote a very beautiful thing on women, but I think we must go further in making the role and charism of women more explicit. A Church without women can't be understood, but active women in the Church, with their profile, which they carry forward.

I'm thinking of an example that has nothing to do with the Church, but it's an historical example: in Latin America, in Paraguay. For me, the Paraguayan woman is the most glorious of Latin America. Are you Paraguayan? After the war, there were eight women for every man and these women made a rather difficult choice: the choice of having children to save the homeland, the culture, the faith and the language. In the Church, it must be made more explicit. I think we have not yet made a profound theology of woman in the Church. She can only do this or that, now she is an altar server, then she does the reading, she is president of Caritas. But there is more! A profound theology must be made of woman. This is what I think.
Pablo Ordaz of El Pais

We wanted to know your working relationship, not so much as a friend, but in collaboration with Benedict XVI. There's never been a circumstance like this before, and if you have frequent contacts, and if he is helping you with this burden. Thank you very much.

Pope Francis

I believe the last time there were two Popes, or three Popes, they didn't speak to one another; they were fighting to see who was the true one. There were three in the Western Schism. There is something that ...

There is something that qualifies my relation with Benedict: I love him so much. I've always loved him. For me he is a man of God, a humble man, a man who prays. I was so happy when he was elected Pope. Also when he gave his resignation, it was for me an example of greatness! A great man. Only a great man does this! A man of God is a man of prayer. He now lives in the Vatican, and some say to me: but how can this be? Two Popes in the Vatican! But, doesn't he encumber you? Doesn't he make a revolution against you? All these things that are said, no? I've found a phrase to say this: 'It's like having a grandfather at home,' but a wise grandfather. When a grandfather is at home with a family, he is venerated, loved, listened to. He is a man of prudence! He doesn't meddle. I've said to him so many times: 'Holiness, you receive, make your life, come with us.' He came for the inauguration and blessing of the statue of Saint Michael. There, that phrase says everything. For me he is like having a grandfather at home: my father. If I had a difficulty or something I didn't understand, I would telephone him: 'But, tell me, can I do that?' And when I went to talk about that big problem of Vatileaks, he told me everything with a simplicity ... at the service. It's something I don't know if you know, I think so, but I'm not sure: when he spoke to us, in his farewell address on February 28, he said to us: 'The next Pope is among you: I promise obedience to him.' But he's a great man, he is a great!

Anna Ferreira (Brazil)

Holy Father, good evening. Thank you. I would like to say 'thank you' so many times: thank you for having brought so much joy to Brazil, and thank you also for answering our questions. We, journalists, are so fond of asking questions. I would like to know, why, yesterday, you spoke to the Brazilian Bishops about women's participation in our Church. I'd like to understand better: how should this participation be for us, women in the Church? If you ... what do you think of the ordination of women? What should our position in the Church be?

Pope Francis

I would like to explain a bit what I said on the participation of women in the Church: it can't be limited to being altar servers or presidents of Caritas, catechists ... No! It must be more, but profoundly more! Even mystically more, with what I've said of the theology of woman. And, with reference to the ordination of women, the Church has spoken and she said : 'No.' John Paul II said it, but with a definitive formulation. That is closed, that door is closed, but I'd like to say something about this. I've said it, but I repeat it. Our Lady, Mary, was more important than the Apostles, than bishops, deacons and priests. In the Church, woman is more important than bishops and priests; how, it's what we must seek to make more explicit, because theological explicitness about this is lacking. Thank you.

Gian Guido Vecchi of Corriere della Sera

Holy Father, during this trip you have spoken many times about mercy. In regard to access to the sacraments of divorced persons who have remarried, is there a possibility that something will change in the discipline of the Church? That these sacraments be an occasion to bring these people closer, rather than a barrier that separates them from the other faithful?

Pope Francis

This is a subject that is always asked about. Mercy is greater than the case you pose. I believe this is the time of mercy. This change of era, also so many problems of the Church – such as the witness that's not good of some priests, also problems of corruption in the Church, also the problem of clericalism, to give an example – have left so many wounds, so many wounds. And the Church is Mother: she must go to heal the wounds with mercy. But if the Lord does not tire of forgiving, we have no other choice than this: first of all, to cure the wounds. The Church is Mother and must go on this path of mercy. And find mercy for all. But I think, when the Prodigal Son returned home, his father didn't say: 'But you, listen sit down: what did you do with the money?' No! He had a feast! Then, perhaps, when the son wished to speak, he spoke. The Church must do likewise. When there is someone ... not just wait for them: go to find them! This is mercy. And I believe that this is a kairos: this time is a kairosof mercy. But John Paul II had this first intuition, when he began with Faustina Kowalska, the Divine Mercy ... he had something, he had intuited that it was a necessity of this time. With reference to the problem of Communion, it's not a problem, but when they are in a second union, they can't. I think that it's necessary to look at this in the totality of matrimonial ministry. And because of this it's a problem. But also -a parenthesis - the Orthodox have a different practice. They follow the theology of the economy, as we call it, and give a second possibility, they allow it. But I think this problem - I close the parenthesis - must be studied in the framework of matrimonial ministry. And because of this, two things: first, one of the subjects to be consulted with these eight of the Council of Cardinals, with whom we will meet, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd of October, is how to go forward in matrimonial ministry, and this problem will arise there. And, a second thing: Fifteen days ago, the secretary of the Synod of Bishops was with me, for the topic of the next Synod. It was an anthropological topic, but speaking and speaking again, going and returning, we saw this anthropological topic: how faith helps the planning of the person, but in the family, and to go, therefore, to matrimonial ministry. We are on the way for a somewhat profound matrimonial ministry. And this is everyone's problem, because there are so many, no? For instance, I'll mention only one: Cardinal Quarracino, my predecessor, said that for him half of all marriages are null. Why did he say this? Because they get married without maturity, they marry without remembering that it's for the whole of life, or they marry because socially they must marry. And the matrimonial ministry also comes into this.

And also the judicial problem of the nullity of marriages, this must be reviewed, because the Ecclesiastical Tribunals are not enough for this. The problem of the matrimonial ministry is complex. Thank you.

Caroline Pigozzi from Paris Match

Good evening, Holy Father. I would like to know if you, since you've been Pope, still feel yourself a Jesuit.

Pope Francis
It's a theological question, because Jesuits take the vow of obedience to the Pope. But if the Pope is a Jesuit, perhaps he should take a vow of obedience to the General of the Jesuits ... I don't know how this is resolved ... I feel myself a Jesuit in my spirituality, in the spirituality of the Exercises, spirituality, the one I have in my heart. But I feel so much like this that in three days I'll go to celebrate with Jesuits the feast of Saint Ignatius: I will say the morning Mass. I haven't changed my spirituality, no. Francis, Franciscan: no. I feel myself a Jesuit and I think like a Jesuit. Not hypocritically, but I think as a Jesuit. Thank you.Nicole Winfield, from Associated Press
Holiness, thank you again for having come 'among the lions'. Holiness, at the fourth month of your pontificate, I would like to ask you to make a small evaluation. Can you tell us what was the best thing of being Pope, an anecdote, and what was the worst thing, and what was the thing that surprised you most in this period?

Pope Francis

But I don't know how to answer this, really. Big thing, big things didn't happen. Beautiful things, yes, for instance, the meeting with Italian bishops was so good, so good. As bishop of the capital of Italy, I felt I was at home with them. And that was lovely, but I don't know if it was the best. Also a painful thing, which affected my heart a lot, the visit to Lampedusa. But that's something to weep about, that did me good. But when these boats arrive they leave some thousands there before the coast and they must arrive alone with the boat. And this makes me grieve because I think that these persons are victims of a global socio-economic system. But the worst thing - I'm sorry - that happened to me was sciatic – truly! – I had that the first month because to do the interviews I sat in an armchair, and this gave me some grief. It's a very painful sciatic, very painful! I don't wish it on anyone! But these things: to talk with people; the meeting with seminarians and women religious was very lovely, was very lovely. Also the meeting with the students of the Jesuit colleges was very lovely, good things.


What is the thing that surprised you most?

Pope Francis
The people, the people, the good people I've met. I've met so many good people in the Vatican. I thought what I should say, but that is true. I do justice, saying this: so many good people. So many good people, so many good people, but good, good, good!Elisabetta Pique from Argentina

The above press conference took place on the flight back from World Youth Day in Rio which finished on 28 July

Forwarded by J.Justin

Pope Francis: homily at Marian Shrine at Aparecida
Apostolic Journey of Pope Francis to Brazil
Homily of the Holy Father

My Brother Bishops and Priests,

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

What joy I feel as I come to the house of the Mother of every Brazilian, the Shrine of our Lady of Aparecida! The day after my election as Bishop of Rome, I visited the Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome, in order to entrust my ministry as the Successor of Peter to Our Lady. Today I have come here to ask Mary our Mother for the success of World Youth Day and to place at her feet the life of the people of Latin America.
There is something that I would like to say first of all. Six years ago the Fifth General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean was held in this Shrine. Something beautiful took place here, which I witnessed at first hand. I saw how the Bishops – who were discussing the theme of encountering Christ, discipleship and mission – felt encouraged, supported and in some way inspired by the thousands of pilgrims who came here day after day to entrust their lives to Our Lady. That Conference was a great moment of Church. It can truly be said that the Aparecida Document was born of this interplay between the labours of the Bishops and the simple faith of the pilgrims, under Mary’s maternal protection. When the Church looks for Jesus, she always knocks at his Mother’s door and asks: “Show us Jesus”. It is from Mary that the Church learns true discipleship. That is why the Church always goes out on mission in the footsteps of Mary.

Today, looking forward to the World Youth Day which has brought me to Brazil, I too come to knock on the door of the house of Mary – who loved and raised Jesus – that she may help all of us, pastors of God’s people, parents and educators, to pass on to our young people the values that can help them build a nation and a world which are more just, united and fraternal. For this reason I would like to speak of three simple attitudes: hopefulness, openness to being surprised by God, and living in joy.

1. Hopefulness. The second reading of the Mass presents a dramatic scene: a woman – an image of Mary and the Church – is being pursued by a Dragon – the devil – who wants to devour her child. But the scene is not one of death but of life, because God intervenes and saves the child (cf. Rev 12:13a, 15-16a). How many difficulties are present in the life of every individual, among our people, in our communities; yet as great as these may seem, God never allows us to be overwhelmed by them. In the face of those moments of discouragement we experience in life, in our efforts to evangelize or to embody our faith as parents within the family, I would like to say forcefully: Always know in your heart that God is by your side; he never abandons you! Let us never lose hope! Let us never allow it to die in our hearts! The “dragon”, evil, is present in our history, but it does not have the upper hand. The one with the upper hand is God, and God is our hope! It is true that nowadays, to some extent, everyone, including our young people, feels attracted by the many idols which take the place of God and appear to offer hope: money, success, power, pleasure. Often a growing sense of loneliness and emptiness in the hearts of many people leads them to seek satisfaction in these ephemeral idols. Dear brothers and sisters, let us be lights of hope! Let us maintain a positive outlook on reality. Let us encourage the generosity which is typical of the young and help them to work actively in building a better world. Young people are a powerful engine for the Church and for society. They do not need material things alone; also and above all, they need to have held up to them those non-material values which are the spiritual heart of a people, the memory of a people. In this Shrine, which is part of the memory of Brazil, we can almost read those values: spirituality, generosity, solidarity, perseverance, fraternity, joy; they are values whose deepest root is in the Christian faith.

2. The second attitude: openness to being surprised by God. Anyone who is a man or a woman of hope – the great hope which faith gives us – knows that even in the midst of difficulties God acts and he surprises us. The history of this Shrine is a good example: three fishermen, after a day of catching no fish, found something unexpected in the waters of the Parnaíba River: an image of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. Whoever would have thought that the site of a fruitless fishing expedition would become the place where all Brazilians can feel that they are children of one Mother? God always surprises us, like the new wine in the Gospel we have just heard. God always saves the best for us. But he asks us to let ourselves be surprised by his love, to accept his surprises. Let us trust God! Cut off from him, the wine of joy, the wine of hope, runs out. If we draw near to him, if we stay with him, what seems to be cold water, difficulty, sin, is changed into the new wine of friendship with him.

3. The third attitude: living in joy. Dear friends, if we walk in hope, allowing ourselves to be surprised by the new wine which Jesus offers us, we have joy in our hearts and we cannot fail to be witnesses of this joy. Christians are joyful, they are never gloomy. God is at our side. We have a Mother who always intercedes for the life of her children, for us, as Queen Esther did in the first reading (cf Est 5:3). Jesus has shown us that the face of God is that of a loving Father. Sin and death have been defeated. Christians cannot be pessimists! They do not look like someone in constant mourning. If we are truly in love with Christ and if we sense how much he loves us, our heart will “light up” with a joy that spreads to everyone around us. As Benedict XVI said: “the disciple knows that without Christ, there is no light, no hope, no love, no future” (Inaugural Address, Fifth General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean, Aparecida, 13 May 2007, 3).

Dear friends, we have come to knock at the door of Mary’s house. She has opened it for us, she has let us in and she shows us her Son. Now she asks us to “do whatever he tells you” (Jn 2:5). Yes, dear Mother, we are committed to doing whatever Jesus tells us! And we will do it with hope, trusting in God’s surprises and full of joy. Amen.


Pope Francis' First Encyclical Released Today
Holy See Presents "Lumen Fidei" During Press Conference

By Junno Arocho Esteves
, July 05, 2013 (Zenit.org) - 

The Holy See presented this morning the first encyclical of Pope Francis’ papacy entitled “Lumen Fidei” (The Light of Faith). Presenting the new work was Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, along with Archbishop Gerhard Muller, prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization.
Beginning the presentation was Archbishop Gerhard Muller began the conference explaining the content of the encyclical, which is divided into four parts.

“In the first part”, he said, “we move from the faith of Abraham, the man who recognised in the voice of God 'a profound call which was always present at the core of his being', to the faith of the People of Israel.”

Archbishop Muller went onto say that the history of the faith is united and fulfilled in the history of Christ. “In Jesus we are able to say definitively that 'we know and believe the love that God has for us' because He is 'the complete manifestation of God’s reliability'.”

“In the second part, the encyclical forcefully raises the question of truth as one which is 'central to faith'. Because faith has to do with knowledge of reality it is intrinsically linked to truth: 'faith without truth does not save… it remains a beautiful story…or it is reduced to a lofty sentiment',” Archbishop Mueller continued.

“Faith, which opens us to the love of God, transforms the way we see things 'because love itself brings enlightenment'. Love is authentic when it binds us to the truth and truth attracts us to itself with the force of love. 'This discovery of love as a source of knowledge, which is part of the primordial experience of every man and woman' is confirmed for us in the 'biblical understanding of faith' and is one of the most beautiful and important ideas emphasised in this encyclical”.
Highlighting several points, Archbishop Mueller said that the encyclical  points out the fact that faith is an encounter “which takes place in history” and “is passed on by contact from one person to another.”

Following his presentation, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, emphasized the significance of the encyclical, given that the work on it was started by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and finished by Pope Francis.

“A pillar was lacking in Benedict XVI’s trilogy on the theological virtues,” the Cardinal said. Providence willed that this missing pillar should be both a gift from the Pope Emeritus to his successor and a symbol of unit. For in taking up and completing the work begun by his predecessor, Pope Francis bears witness with him to the unity of the faith.”

“The light of faith,” he continued, “is passed from one pontiff to another like a baton in a relay [race], thanks to the “gift of the apostolic succession.”
Cardinal Ouellet said that the encyclical is an “integral profession of faith, in the form of a catechesis written ‘by four hands’ of the successors of Peter.
Concluding the conference was Archbishop Rino Fisichella, who noted the significance of the encyclical’s release during the Year of Faith and signed on the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, the “first witnesses to the faith of the Church of Rome.”

According to Archbishop Fisichella, Benedict XVI was asked to write an encyclical on faith, given that his previous works were  on love and hope. At first not convinced that he would be able to take on the task, Benedict XVI ultimately decided to begin working on it and release it towards the end of the Year of Faith.

“However, history took a different turn and this encyclical is now offered to us today by Pope Francis,” Archbishop Fisichella said, “as a 'programme for how to continue to live this Year of Faith which has seen the Church involved in many highly formative experiences.”
Pope Francis has just released his first encyclical, Lumen Fidei. Here are 14 things you need to know about it. Pope Francis has just released his first encyclical, Lumen Fidei, or “the light of faith.”The first encyclical of a pope is always closely watched, because it frequently signals the way in which he intends to govern the Church.This new encyclical is even more intriguing because much of it was actually written by former Pope Benedict.Here are 14 things you need to know . . . 
1. What is an encyclical?
An encyclical is a kind of letter. Papal encyclicals usually deal with matters of Church teaching (doctrine). Popes write them when they feel they have something important to say about particular teachings.Although they are not infallible, encyclicals are authoritative.The word “encyclical” comes from the Greek word for “circle,” indicating that it is to be circulated among different people.The encyclical Lumen Fidei is addressed to “the bishops, priests, and deacons, consecrated persons, and the lay faithful.” This indicates a broad audience.You can read the full encyclical here. 
2. How did this encyclical come to be?
The encyclical was originally begun by Pope Benedict in order to commemorate the Year of Faith and to complete a trilogy of encyclicals he had been writing on the three theological virtues—faith, hope, and charity.The preceding two were Deus Caritas Est, on the theological virtue of charity, and Spe Salvi, on the virtue of hope.Pope Benedict’s health did not allow him to remain in office, however, and so the draft of the encyclical was inherited by Pope Francis, who chose to complete it. 
3. Has this ever happened before?
Yes. In fact, Pope Benedict’s first encyclical was based, in part, on an encyclical that John Paul II had begun preparing but had not finished. 
4. Does
Lumen Fidei acknowledge Pope Benedict’s role in its composition?Yes. In it, Pope Francis writes:These considerations on faith — in continuity with all that the Church’s magisterium has pronounced on this theological virtue — are meant to supplement what Benedict XVI had written in his encyclical letters on charity and hope. He himself had almost completed a first draft of an encyclical on faith. For this I am deeply grateful to him, and as his brother in Christ I have taken up his fine work and added a few contributions of my own. [LF 7]. 
5. Does
Lumen Fidei sound like Pope Benedict?Much of it does. It includes many of the characteristic touches and themes of his writings.For example, it contains many references to history, including early Christian history, Jewish history, and pagan history.It contains references to the thought of historical figures, including the Church Fathers Justin Martyr and Irenaeus.It also refers to the thought of recent intellectual figures, including the Catholic thinker Romano Guardini, the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber, the agnostic philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, and the atheist philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. 
6. Do particular passages sound like Pope Francis?

This is harder to judge. He is mostly known for his speaking style, and his own voice for a document of this nature may take time to emerge.
One touch that is distinctly Pope Francis, though, is the way he signs the encyclical.Normally popes give their name in Latin, followed by “PP” (a Latin abbreviation for “pope”) and followed by their number.Pope Benedict, for example, signed Spe Salvi by writing “Benedictus PP XVI.”Pope Francis, being the first pope to use this name, does not have a number, so you wouldn’t expect that in his signature.He does, however, seem to prefer not to use the title “pope,” preferring “bishop of Rome,” instead.Thus he leaves out the “PP” in his signature and simply signs the encyclical “Franciscus.” 
7. How is the encyclical structured?

The encyclical, which takes about two hours to read in full, is structured this way:
·      Introduction (1-7)·      Chapter One: We Have Believed in Love (8-22)·      Chapter Two: Unless You Believe, You Will Not Understand (23-36)·      Chapter Three: I Delivered To You What I Also Received (37-49)·      Chapter Four: God Prepares a City for Them (50-60) 
8. What does the introduction cover?
The introduction introduces the idea of “the light of faith” (Latin, lumen fidei) and the role it plays in our lives.It discusses the inadequacy of pagan, pre-Christian faiths and the neglect of faith in our own time. It also stresses the need to rediscover the role that the light of the Christian faith can and should play in our lives and in society.A favorite quote, right from the beginning of the encyclical is this:The pagan world, which hungered for light, had seen the growth of the cult of the sun god, Sol Invictus, invoked each day at sunrise.Yet though the sun was born anew each morning, it was clearly incapable of casting its light on all of human existence.The sun does not illumine all reality; its rays cannot penetrate to the shadow of death, the place where men’s eyes are closed to its light."No one — Saint Justin Martyr writes — has ever been ready to die for his faith in the sun" [LF 1]. 
9. What does the first chapter cover?
The first chapter retraces the history of the true faith, beginning with Abraham, moving forward through the faith of the people of Israel, to the fullness of the Christian faith.It also discusses salvation by faith and the “ecclesial form of faith”—that is, the role of the Church in the life of faith, that our faith is not to be lived in isolation from the Church.A notable quotation from this section:Faith is not a private matter, a completely individualistic notion or a personal opinion: it comes from hearing, and it is meant to find expression in words and to be proclaimed.For "how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher?" (Rom 10:14).Faith becomes operative in the Christian on the basis of the gift received, the love which attracts our hearts to Christ (cf. Gal 5:6), and enables us to become part of the Church’s great pilgrimage through history until the end of the world [LF 22]. 
10. What does the second chapter cover?
Philippa Hitchens summarizes:Chapter two insists on the essential link between Faith and Truth, without which our beliefs seem nothing more than a fairy story, an illusion of happiness, unable to sustain us when the going gets tough.Contemporary society, the encyclical says, tends to see technological progress and individual pleasure as the only objective truth, viewing any broader questions about the origins of our existence with deep suspicion.Without love in our hearts, truth becomes cold, impersonal, oppressive, unable to transform the lives of others.But by listening, seeing and believing in Christ’s presence in our lives today, we can broaden our horizons and find better ways of serving the common good.The light of our faith in Christ can also contribute to a more fruitful dialogue with non-Christians and non-believers, showing how all those who search for God or seek for truth will be welcomed and illuminated by that light. 

11. What does the third chapter cover?
Hitchens again summarizes:The third chapter of the encyclical centers on the Church as the place where the light of faith is safeguarded and transmitted from one generation to the next.Through the sacraments of Baptism and Eucharist, through profession of the Creed, praying the Our Father and obeying the Ten Commandments, the Church teaches the language of faith and draws us into the Trinitarian relationship of love, so that ‘whoever believes is never alone’. 
12. What does the fourth chapter cover?
Finally, Hitchens notes:The final chapter focuses on Faith and the common good and shows how the light of faith can promote peace and reconciliation, and teach respect for God’s creation.The encyclical also considers those areas illuminated by Faith, starting with the family based on marriage, understood as a stable union between man and woman.Faith, writes the Pope, cannot eliminate suffering in our world, but it can accompany us and bring a new sense of hope in God’s love.The encyclical ends with a prayer to Mary, Mother of Jesus and icon of faith, who can lead us into the light of God’s love. 
13. Does it stress the fact that marriage is the union of man and woman?
Yes. It does not mention the idea of homosexual “marriage” explicitly, but it clearly stresses the Church’s understanding of what marriage is:The first setting in which faith enlightens the human city is the family.I think first and foremost of the stable union of man and woman in marriage.This union is born of their love, as a sign and presence of God’s own love, and of the acknowledgment and acceptance of the goodness of sexual differentiation, whereby spouses can become one flesh (cf. Gen 2:24) and are enabled to give birth to a new life, a manifestation of the Creator’s goodness, wisdom and loving plan [LF 52]. 
14. Does this encyclical tell us much about how Pope Francis will govern the Church?
Not as much as you might think. Unlike Pope John Paul II’s first encyclical, Redemptor Hominis, it does not appear to lay out a blueprint for his entire pontificate.This is largely due to the fact that he inherited an almost complete first draft of the encyclical from Pope Benedict. Thus Pope Francis’s second encyclical may actually shed more light on the agenda for his own pontificate.It does, however, contain some intriguing clues, including the emphasis on the role of faith in society, the allusion to marriage as the union of man and woman, and his own personal style, as illustrated by his signature.   

Forwarded by J. Justin

Pope at Mass: How to pray the Our Father     

2013-06-20 Vatican Radio

To pray the Our Father we have to have a heart at peace with our brothers. We don't pray "my Father," but "our Father," because "we are not an only child, none of us are”. This was the focus of Pope Francis' homily at Mass Thursday morning in Casa Santa Marta. The Pope emphasized that we believe in a God who is a Father, who is "very close" to us, who is not anonymous, not "a cosmic God."

Prayer is not magic, rather it is entrusting ourselves to the Father’s embrace. Pope Francis centered his homily on the prayer of the "Our Father" taught by Jesus to His disciples, of which the Gospel speaks today. Jesus, he said, immediately gives us a piece of advice in prayer: "In praying, do not babble", do not make "worldly noises, vain noises”. And he warned that "prayer is not a magical thing, there is no magic with prayer." Someone once told me that when he went to a "witch doctor" they said a lot of words to heal him. But that "is pagan." Jesus teaches us, "we should not turn to Him with so many words," because "He knows everything." He adds, the first word is "Father," this "is the key of prayer." "Without saying, without feeling, that word – he warned - you cannot pray":

"To whom do I pray? To the Almighty God? He is too far off. Ah, I can’t hear Him. Neither did Jesus. To whom do I pray? To a cosmic God? That’s quite normal these days, is it not? ... praying to the cosmic God, right? This polytheistic model that comes from a rather light culture ... You must pray to the Father! It is a strong word, 'Father '. You must pray to Him who generated you, who gave you life. Not to everyone: everyone is too anonymous. To you. To me. To the person who accompanies you on your journey: He knows all about your life. Everything: what is good and what is not so good. He knows everything. If we do not start the prayer with this word, not just with our lips but with our hearts, we cannot pray in a Christian language".

"Father," he reiterated, "is a strong word" but "opens the door". At the time of sacrifice, the Pope said, Isaac realized that "something was wrong" because "he was missing a sheep," but he trusted his father and “confided his worries to his father’s heart" . "Father" is the word that "the son" who left with his legacy "and then wanted to return home" thought of. And that father "sees him come and goes running" to him, "he threw himself in his arms", "to cover him with love." "Father, I have sinned:" this is, the Pope said, "the key of every prayer, to feel loved by a father":

"We have a Father. Very close to us, eh! Who embraces us ... All these worries, concerns that we have, let's leave them to the Father, He knows what we need. But, Father, what? My father? No: Our Father! Because I am not an only child, none of us are, and if I cannot be a brother, I can hardly become a child of the Father, because He is a Father to all. Mine, sure, but also of others, of my brothers. And if I am not at peace with my brothers, I cannot say 'Father' to Him."

This, he added, explains the fact that Jesus, after having taught us the Our Father, stresses that if we do not forgive others, neither will the Father forgive us our sins. "It's so hard to forgive others – said the Pope - it is really difficult, because we always have that regret inside." We think, "You did this to me, you wait '... and I’ll repay him the favour ":

"No, you cannot pray with enemies in your heart, with brothers and enemies in your heart, you cannot pray. This is difficult, yes, it is difficult, not easy. 'Father, I cannot say Father, I cannot'. It’s true, I understand. 'I cannot say our, because he did this to me and this ...' I cannot! 'They must go to hell, right? I will have nothing to do with them'. It’s true, it is not easy. But Jesus has promised us the Holy Spirit: it is He who teaches us, from within, from the heart, how to say 'Father' and how to say 'our'. Today we ask the Holy Spirit to teach us to say 'Father' and to be able to say 'our', and thus make peace with all our enemies. "

Forwarded by J. Justin


Pope Francis Calls Newly Confirmed to Be Steadfast in Faith

The Holy Father confirmed 44 young people at Mass yesterday in St. Peter’s Square.

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis encouraged the youth of the world to persist in their faith even in the midst of obstacles at a Mass where he confirmed 44 young people.
“Remaining steadfast in the journey of faith, with firm hope in the Lord, is the secret of our journey,” he told more than 70,000 young people gathered yesterday in St. Peter’s Square.
“There are no difficulties, trials or misunderstandings to fear, provided we remain united to God as branches to the vine, provided we do not lose our friendship with him, provided we make ever more room for him in our lives,” he said during the 10am Mass.

The Mass marked the ending of a two-day celebration as part of the Year of Faith, which gathered thousands of youths from around the world.The day before, the young people had met with teachers of faith, or catechists, at St. Peter's Square for a pilgrimage to the tombs of St. Peter and Blessed John Paul II.
The Eucharistic celebration was dedicated to the 44 young people from around the world to whom the Pope imparted the sacrament of confirmation and to those who had already received the sacrament earlier this year.
“To go against the current, this is good for the heart, but we need courage to swim against the tide,” Pope Francis noted. “Jesus gives us this courage.”
Examining the day's Gospel reading, the Holy Father observed that the Holy Spirit “makes all things new” and “changes us.”
“The Holy Spirit is truly transforming us, and through us he also wants to transform the world in which we live,” explained the Pope.“How beautiful it would be,” he said, “if each of you, every evening, could say: Today at school, at home, at work, guided by God, I showed a sign of love towards one of my friends, my parents, an older person.”He noted that when God makes all things “new,” they are not like “the novelties of this world, all of which are temporary,” but are “lasting, not only in the future, but today as well.”
Pope Francis also explained that “we must undergo many trials if we are to enter the Kingdom of God.”“To follow the Lord, to let his Spirit transform the shadowy parts of our lives, our ungodly ways of acting, and cleanse us of our sins, is to set out on a path with many obstacles, both in the world around us, but also within us, in the heart,” he said.
He explained that trials are “part of the path that leads to God's glory,” and he told the pilgrims that they will always encounter difficulties in life.“Do not be discouraged,” the Pope said. “We have the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome these trials!”
 Forwarded By J. Justin

Letter from Pope to Jesuit brother highlights gratitudeBuenos Aires,
Argentina, Apr 26, 2013 / 12:09 pm (
.- Mario Rafael Rausch, a Jesuit brother from Argentina who lives at the San Miguel School in Buenos Aires, said that Pope

Francis taught him an important lesson on gratitude back in 1979. 
 In an interview with CNA, Brother Rausch, who joined the Jesuits in 1977, explained that he wrote a letter thanking the Pope – who was then known as Father Jorge Bergoglio – for his service as provincial of Argentina for over six years.

Four days letter, in December 1979, he received a reply from then-Fr. Bergoglio.“Your letter of December 8 is one of gratitude, and being thankful is a virtue that St. Ignatius wanted for his Jesuits,” the future Pope told him.

“To know how to thank one’s superiors and brothers is a sign that one’s heart is grateful to God our Lord, and a grateful heart is always a source of grace for the entire body of the Society and the Church.”

The provincial encouraged Brother Rausch to “thank the Lord for so many graces he has given you – your family, your vocation, the novitiate, your piety, your virtues.” He also encouraged gratitude for the witness of the saints and the members of his community.

“And finally, offer many prayers of thanksgiving, that the Lord will help you to always be good.”
Brother Rausch said he still has the letter, now more than 30 years old, and takes good care of it.He explained that then-Father Bergoglio not only answered his letter, but would also call him on his birthday. This year was no exception, as he received a phone call from Pope Francis on March 23.

“The Pope called me to say hello just as he has on that day for many years. He did these kind things because he was very close with many people,” the Jesuit brother said.
His secretary, Raquel Beterette, became very emotional when she picked up the phone and recognized the Pope’s voice.  

“She transferred the call to me right when I was working in my bookbinding workshop, and she told me very surprisingly, ‘The Pope is calling you!’” Brother Rausch said.
“‘Happy Birthday,’ he said to me. And I said, ‘How are you Jorge? Well, now Francis.’ He likes people to call him Jorge, as always.”  

“He sounded happy and in the mood for jokes,” the Jesuit brother recalled. “We didn’t talk for long because it was a long distance call and I tried to be brief, because while he is very thoughtful, he is also very austere, so the conversation was short.”

Brother Rausch said he was not surprised that Cardinal Bergoglio was elected Pope. The news of his election brought great joy, he said, as Pope Francis is “good teacher, father, brother and now friend.”

Forwarded by J. Justin


Vatican City April 8, 2013.  Here is a translation of the address Pope Francis gave Sunday before and after praying the midday Regina Caeli with those gathered in St. Peter's Square. 
Dear brothers and sisters! Buon giorno! 
On this Sunday that concludes the Octave of Easter I renew Easter greetings to everyone with the words of the risen Jesus himself: “Peace to you!” (John 20:19, 21, 26). It is not salutation nor a simple greeting: it is a gift, indeed, the precious gift that Christ offers to his disciples after having passed through death and the netherworld (“inferi”). He gives peace as he promised: “I leave you peace, my peace I give you. Not as the world gives it do I give it to you” (John 14:27). This peace is the fruit of the victory of God’s love over evil, it is the fruit of forgiveness. And this is exactly how it is: true peace, profound peace, comes from the experience of the mercy of God. Today is Divine Mercy Sunday, established according to the wishes of Blessed John Paul II, who died on the very eve of this celebration.
The Gospel of John tells us that Jesus appeared twice to the Apostles who had locked themselves inside the upper room: the first was on the very evening of the Resurrection, and Thomas was not there, Thomas, who said: if I do not see and do not touch I will not believe. The second time, eight days later, Thomas was present. And Jesus addressed himself precisely to him, inviting him to look at the wounds and to touch them; and Thomas exclaimed: “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28). Then Jesus said: “Because you saw me you believed; blessed are those who have not seen and have believed!” (20:29). And who are these others who believed without seeing? Other disciples, other men and women of Jerusalem who, although they had not encountered the risen Jesus, believed on the testimony of the Apostles and the women. This is a very important consideration with respect to the faith, we might call it the beatitude of faith. Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed: this is the beatitude of faith! In every time and in every place those people are blessed who, through the Word of God, proclaimed by the Church and witnessed to by Christians, believe that Jesus Christ is the love of God incarnate, Mercy incarnate. And this is true for all of us!
Together with his peace, Jesus granted his Apostles the Holy Spirit, so that they could bring the forgiveness of sins into the world, that forgiveness that only God can give and whose cost was the Blood of his Son (cf. John 20:21-23). The Church is sent by the risen Christ to transmit the remission of sins to men, and in this way to make the Kingdom of love grow, to sow peace in hearts, so that peace also be affirmed in relationships, in societies, in institutions. And the Spirit of the risen Christ drives fear out of the Apostles’ hearts and drives them out of the upper room to spread the Gospel. We too have more courage to witness to the faith in the risen Christ! We must not be afraid to be Christians and to live as Christians! We must have this courage to go proclaim Christ risen because he is our peace, he made peace with his love, with his forgiveness, with his blood, with his mercy.
Dear friends, this afternoon I will celebrate the Eucharist in the Basilica of St. John Lateran, which is the cathedral of the Bishop of Rome. Let us pray to the Virgin Mary that she help us, bishop and people, to walk together in faith and charity, always confident in the mercy of the Lord: He always waits for us, he loves us, he forgave us with is blood and he forgives us every time we go to him to ask forgiveness. Let us have faith in his mercy!
[Following the recitation of the “Regina Caeli” the Holy Father greeted those present. Here are some of his greetings:]
I offer a cordial greeting to the pilgrims who participated in the holy Mass celebrated by the cardinal vicar of Rome in the church of Santo Spirito in Sassia, the center of devotion to Divine Mercy. Dear bothers and sisters, be messengers and witnesses of God’s mercy!
I am happy to greet the numerous members of the movements and associations that are present for our time of prayer together, especially the Neocatechumenal communities of Rome, who begin today a special mission in the piazzas of the city. I invite everyone to bring the Glad Tidings to every sphere of life, “with sweetness and respect”! (1 Peter 3:16). Go into the public places and proclaim Jesus Christ, our Savior.
[In conclusion the Holy Father said:]
May the Lord bless you, and have a good lunch!
[Translation by Joseph G. Trabbic]

Pope's Easter Vigil Homily
VATICAN CITY, March 31, 2013 (Zenit.org) - Here is the translation of Pope Francis’  homily  at yesterday ‘s Easter Vigil , held in St. Peter’s Basilica.

 Dear Brothers and Sisters,

1. In the Gospel of this radiant night of the Easter Vigil, we first meet the women who go the tomb of Jesus with spices to anoint his body (cf. Lk 24:1-3). They go to perform an act of compassion, a traditional act of affection and love for a dear departed person, just as we would. They had followed Jesus, they had listened to his words, they had felt understood by him in their dignity and they had accompanied him to the very end, to Calvary and to the moment when he was taken down from the cross. We can imagine their feelings as they make their way to the tomb: a certain sadness, sorrow that Jesus had left them, he had died, his life had come to an end. Life would now go on as before. Yet the women continued to feel love, the love for Jesus which now led them to his tomb. But at this point, something completely new and unexpected happens, something which upsets their hearts and their plans, something which will upset their whole life: they see the stone removed from before the tomb, they draw near and they do not find the Lord’s body. It is an event which leaves them perplexed, hesitant, full of questions: "What happened?", "What is the meaning of all this?" (cf. Lk 24:4). Doesn’t the same thing also happen to us when something completely new occurs in our everyday life? We stop short, we don’t understand, we don’t know what to do. Newness often makes us fearful, including the newness which God brings us, the newness which God asks of us. We are like the Apostles in the Gospel: often we would prefer to hold on to our own security, to stand in front of a tomb, to think about someone who has died, someone who ultimately lives on only as a memory, like the great historical figures from the past. We are afraid of God’s surprises.  

Dear brothers and sisters, we are afraid of God’s surprises! He always surprises us! The Lord is like that.

Dear brothers and sisters, let us not be closed to the newness that God wants to bring into our lives! Are we often weary, disheartened and sad? Do we feel weighed down by our sins? Do we think that we won’t be able to cope? Let us not close our hearts, let us not lose confidence, let us never give up: there are no situations which God cannot change, there is no sin which he cannot forgive if only we open ourselves to him. 

2. But let us return to the Gospel, to the women, and take one step further. They find the tomb empty, the body of Jesus is not there, something new has happened, but all this still doesn’t tell them anything certain: it raises questions; it leaves them confused, without offering an answer. And suddenly there are two men in dazzling clothes who say: "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; but has risen" (Lk 24:5-6). What was a simple act, done surely out of love – going to the tomb – has now turned into an event, a truly life-changing event. Nothing remains as it was before, not only in the lives of those women, but also in our own lives and in the history of mankind. Jesus is not dead, he has risen, he is alive! He does not simply return to life; rather, he is life itself, because he is the Son of God, the living God (cf. Num 14:21-28; Deut 5:26; Josh 3:10). Jesus no longer belongs to the past, but lives in the present and is projected towards the future; Jesus is the everlasting "today" of God. This is how the newness of God appears to the women, the disciples and all of us: as victory over sin, evil and death, over everything that crushes life and makes it seem less human. And this is a message meant for me and for you dear sister, for you dear brother. How often does Love have to tell us: Why do you look for the living among the dead? Our daily problems and worries can wrap us up in ourselves, in sadness and bitterness... and that is where death is. That is not the place to look for the One who is alive!

Let the risen Jesus enter your life, welcome him as a friend, with trust: he is life! If up till now you have kept him at a distance, step forward. He will receive you with open arms. If you have been indifferent, take a risk: you won’t be disappointed. If following him seems difficult, don’t be afraid, trust him, be confident that he is close to you, he is with you and he will give you the peace you are looking for and the strength to live as he would have you do.

3. There is one last little element that I would like to emphasize in the Gospel for this Easter Vigil. The women encounter the newness of God. Jesus has risen, he is alive! But faced with empty tomb and the two men in brilliant clothes, their first reaction is one of fear: "they were terrified and bowed their faced to the ground", Saint Luke tells us – they didn’t even have courage to look. But when they hear the message of the Resurrection, they accept it in faith. And the two men in dazzling clothes tell them something of crucial importance: remember. "Remember what he told you when he was still in Galilee… And they remembered his words" (Lk 24:6,8). This is the invitation to remember their encounter with Jesus, to remember his words, his actions, his life; and it is precisely this loving remembrance of their experience with the Master that enables the women to master their fear and to bring the message of the Resurrection to the Apostles and all the others (cf. Lk 24:9). To remember what God has done and continues to do for me, for us, to remember the road we have travelled; this is what opens our hearts to hope for the future. May we learn to remember everything that God has done in our lives.

On this radiant night, let us invoke the intercession of the Virgin Mary, who treasured all these events in her heart (cf. Lk 2:19,51) and ask the Lord to give us a share in his Resurrection. May he open us to the newness that transforms, to the beautiful surprises of God. May he make us men and women capable of remembering all that he has done in our own lives and in the history of our world. May he help us to feel his presence as the one who is alive and at work in our midst. And may he teach us each day, dear brothers and sisters, not to look among the dead for the Living One. Amen.

Forwarded by J. Justin

Full Text of the Homily of Pope Francis during the Chrism Mass in St Peter’s Basilica on Maundy Thursday, March 28th at 9.30 a.m.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

            This morning I have the joy of celebrating my first Chrism Mass as the Bishop of Rome.  I greet all of you with affection, especially you, dear priests, who, like myself, today recall the day of your ordination.

            The readings of our Mass speak of God’s “anointed ones”: the suffering Servant of Yahweh of Isaiah, King David and Jesus our Lord.  All three have this in common: the anointing that they receive is meant in turn to anoint God’s faithful people, whose servants they are; they are anointed for the poor, for prisoners, for the oppressed…  A fine image of this “being for” others can be found in the Psalm: “It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down upon the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down upon the collar of his robe” (Ps 133:2).  The image of spreading oil, flowing down from the beard of Aaron upon the collar of his sacred robe, is an image of the priestly anointing which, through Christ, the Anointed One, reaches the ends of the earth, represented by the robe.

            The sacred robes of the High Priest are rich in symbolism.  One such symbol is that the names of the children of Israel were engraved on the onyx stones mounted on the shoulder-pieces of the ephod, the ancestor of our present-day chasuble: six on the stone of the right shoulder-piece and six on that of the left (cf. Ex 28:6-14).  The names of the twelve tribes of Israel were also engraved on the breastplate (cf. Es 28:21).  This means that the priest celebrates by carrying on his shoulders the people entrusted to his care and bearing their names written in his heart.  When we put on our simple chasuble, it might well make us feel, upon our shoulders and in our hearts, the burdens and the faces of our faithful people, our saints and martyrs.

            From the beauty of all these liturgical things, which is not so much about trappings and fine fabrics than about the glory of our God resplendent in his people, alive and strengthened, we turn to a consideration of activity, action.  The precious oil which anoints the head of Aaron does more than simply lend fragrance to his person; it overflows down to “the edges”.  The Lord will say this clearly: his anointing is meant for the poor, prisoners and the sick, for those who are sorrowing and alone.  The ointment is not intended just to make us fragrant, much less to be kept in a jar, for then it would become rancid … and the heart bitter.

            A good priest can be recognized by the way his people are anointed.  When our people are anointed with the oil of gladness, it is obvious: for example, when they leave Mass looking as if they have heard good news.  Our people like to hear the Gospel preached with “unction”, they like it when the Gospel we preach touches their daily lives, when it runs down like the oil of Aaron to the edges of reality, when it brings light to moments of extreme darkness, to the “outskirts” where people of faith are most exposed to the onslaught of those who want to tear down their faith.  People thank us because they feel that we have prayed over the realities of their everyday lives, their troubles, their joys, their burdens and their hopes.  And when they feel that the fragrance of the Anointed One, of Christ, has come to them through us, they feel encouraged to entrust to us everything they want to bring before the Lord: “Pray for me, Father, because I have this problem”, “Bless me”, “Pray for me” – these words are the sign that the anointing has flowed down to the edges of the robe, for it has turned into prayer.  When we have this relationship with God and with his people, and grace passes through us, then we are priests, mediators between God and men.  What I want to emphasize is that we need constantly to stir up God’s grace and perceive in every request, even those requests that are inconvenient and at times purely material or downright banal – but only apparently so – the desire of our people to be anointed with fragrant oil, since they know that we have it.  To perceive and to sense, even as the Lord sensed the hope-filled anguish of the woman suffering from hemorrhages when she touched the hem of his garment.  At that moment, Jesus, surrounded by people on every side, embodies all the beauty of Aaron vested in priestly raiment, with the oil running down upon his robes.  It is a hidden beauty, one which shines forth only for those faith-filled eyes of the woman troubled with an issue of blood.  But not even the disciples – future priests – see or understand: on the “existential outskirts”, they see only what is on the surface: the crowd pressing in on Jesus from all sides (cf. Lk 8:42).  The Lord, on the other hand, feels the power of the divine anointing which runs down to the edge of his cloak.

            We need to “go out”, then, in order to experience our own anointing, its power and its redemptive efficacy: to the “outskirts” where there is suffering, bloodshed, blindness that longs for sight, and prisoners in thrall to many evil masters.  It is not in soul-searching or constant introspection that we encounter the Lord: self-help courses can be useful in life, but to live by going from one course to another, from one method to another, leads us to become pelagians and to minimize the power of grace, which comes alive and flourishes to the extent that we, in faith, go out and give ourselves and the Gospel to others, giving what little ointment we have to those who have nothing, nothing at all.

            A priest who seldom goes out of himself, who anoints little – I won’t say “not at all” because, thank God, our people take our oil from us anyway – misses out on the best of our people, on what can stir the depths of his priestly heart.  Those who do not go out of themselves, instead of being mediators, gradually become intermediaries, managers.  We know the difference: the intermediary, the manager, “has already received his reward”, and since he doesn’t put his own skin and his own heart on the line, he never hears a warm, heartfelt word of thanks.  This is precisely the reason why some priests grow dissatisfied, lose heart and become in some sense collectors of antiques or novelties – instead of being shepherds living with “the smell of the sheep”, shepherds in the midst of their flock, fishers of men.  True enough, the so-called crisis of priestly identity threatens us all and adds to the broader cultural crisis; but if we can resist its onslaught, we will be able to put out in the name of the Lord and cast our nets.  It is not a bad thing that reality itself forces us to “put out into the deep”, where what we are by grace is clearly seen as pure grace, out into the deep of the contemporary world, where the only thing that counts is “unction” – not function – and the nets which overflow with fish are those cast solely in the name of the One in whom we have put our trust: Jesus.

            Dear lay faithful, be close to your priests with affection and with your prayers, that they may always be shepherds according to God’s heart.

            Dear priests, may God the Father renew in us the Spirit of holiness with whom we have been anointed.  May he renew his Spirit in our hearts, that this anointing may spread to everyone, even to those “outskirts” where our faithful people most look for it and most appreciate it.  May our people sense that we are the Lord’s disciples; may they feel that their names are written upon our priestly vestments and that we seek no other identity; and may they receive through our words and deeds the oil of gladness which Jesus, the Anointed One, came to bring us.  Amen.



 "There is no true peace without truth"

Material and spiritual poverty. Relativism. Islam. Nonbelievers. Care for creation. The speech by pope Jorge Mario Bergoglio to the ambassadors and to the world. Including to "those few countries that do not yet have diplomatic relations with the Holy See," like China
by Francis

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Heartfelt thanks to your Dean, Ambassador Jean-Claude Michel, for the kind words that he has addressed to me in the name of everyone present. It gives me joy to welcome you for this exchange of greetings: a simple yet deeply felt ceremony, that somehow seeks to express the Pope’s embrace of the world. Through you, indeed, I encounter your peoples, and thus in a sense I can reach out to every one of your fellow citizens, with their joys, their troubles, their expectations, their desires.

Your presence here in such numbers is a sign that the relations between your countries and the Holy See are fruitful, that they are truly a source of benefit to mankind. That, indeed, is what matters to the Holy See: the good of every person upon this earth! And it is with this understanding that the Bishop of Rome embarks upon his ministry, in the knowledge that he can count on the friendship and affection of the countries you represent, and in the certainty that you share this objective.

At the same time, I hope that it will also be an opportunity to begin a journey with those few countries that do not yet have diplomatic relations with the Holy See, some of which were present at the Mass for the beginning of my ministry, or sent messages as a sign of their closeness – for which I am truly grateful.

As you know, there are various reasons why I chose the name of Francis of Assisi, a familiar figure far beyond the borders of Italy and Europe, even among those who do not profess the Catholic faith.

One of the first reasons was Francis’ love for the poor. How many poor people there still are in the world! And what great suffering they have to endure! After the example of Francis of Assisi, the Church in every corner of the globe has always tried to care for and look after those who suffer from want, and I think that in many of your countries you can attest to the generous activity of Christians who dedicate themselves to helping the sick, orphans, the homeless and all the marginalized, thus striving to make society more humane and more just.

But there is another form of poverty! It is the spiritual poverty of our time, which afflicts the so-called richer countries particularly seriously. It is what my much-loved predecessor, Benedict XVI, called the "tyranny of relativism", which makes everyone his own criterion and endangers the coexistence of peoples.

And that brings me to a second reason for my name. Francis of Assisi tells us we should work to build peace. But there is no true peace without truth! There cannot be true peace if everyone is his own criterion, if everyone can always claim exclusively his own rights, without at the same time caring for the good of others, of everyone, on the basis of the nature that unites every human being on this earth.

One of the titles of the Bishop of Rome is Pontiff, that is, a builder of bridges with God and between people. My wish is that the dialogue between us should help to build bridges connecting all people, in such a way that everyone can see in the other not an enemy, not a rival, but a brother or sister to be welcomed and embraced! My own origins impel me to work for the building of bridges. As you know, my family is of Italian origin; and so this dialogue between places and cultures a great distance apart matters greatly to me, this dialogue between one end of the world and the other, which today are growing ever closer, more interdependent, more in need of opportunities to meet and to create real spaces of authentic fraternity.

In this work, the role of religion is fundamental. It is not possible to build bridges between people while forgetting God. But the converse is also true: it is not possible to establish true links with God, while ignoring other people.

Hence it is important to intensify dialogue among the various religions, and I am thinking particularly of dialogue with Islam. At the Mass marking the beginning of my ministry, I greatly appreciated the presence of so many civil and religious leaders from the Islamic world.

And it is also important to intensify outreach to non-believers, so that the differences which divide and hurt us may never prevail, but rather the desire to build true links of friendship between all peoples, despite their diversity.

Fighting poverty, both material and spiritual, building peace and constructing bridges: these, as it were, are the reference points for a journey that I want to invite each of the countries here represented to take up. But it is a difficult journey, if we do not learn to grow in love for this world of ours. Here too, it helps me to think of the name of Francis, who teaches us profound respect for the whole of creation and the protection of our environment, which all too often, instead of using for the good, we exploit greedily, to one another’s detriment.

Dear Ambassadors, Ladies and Gentlemen,


Thank you again for all the work that you do, alongside the Secretariat of State, to build peace and construct bridges of friendship and fraternity. Through you, I would like to renew to your Governments my thanks for their participation in the celebrations on the occasion of my election, and my heartfelt desire for a fruitful common endeavour. May Almighty God pour out his gifts on each one of you, on your families and on the peoples that you represent.
Thank you!
Forwarded By J. Justin


 Vatican City, 19 March 2013 (VIS) – Following is the complete text of the homily that Pope Francis gave during the Mass inaugurating his Petrine ministry. Beginning with the image of St. Joseph, the “protector”, the Pope stressed that the vocation to protect creation and humanity concerns everyone. He urged all to not be afraid of goodness or even of tenderness. 

“Dear Brothers and Sisters, I thank the Lord that I can celebrate this Holy Mass for the inauguration of my Petrine ministry on the solemnity of Saint Joseph, the spouse of the Virgin Mary and the patron of the universal Church. It is a significant coincidence, and it is also the name-day of my venerable predecessor: we are close to him with our prayers, full of affection and gratitude.”

“I offer a warm greeting to my brother cardinals and bishops, the priests, deacons, men and women religious, and all the lay faithful. I thank the representatives of the other Churches and Ecclesial Communities, as well as the representatives of the Jewish community and the other religious communities, for their presence. My cordial greetings go to the Heads of State and Government, the members of the official Delegations from many countries throughout the world, and the Diplomatic Corps.”

“In the Gospel we heard that 'Joseph did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took Mary as his wife' (Mt 1:24). These words already point to the mission that God entrusts to Joseph: he is to be the 'custos', the protector. The protector of whom? Of Mary and Jesus; but this protection is then extended to the Church, as Blessed John Paul II pointed out: 'Just as Saint Joseph took loving care of Mary and gladly dedicated himself to Jesus Christ’s upbringing, he likewise watches over and protects Christ’s Mystical Body, the Church, of which the Virgin Mary is the exemplar and model' (Redemptoris Custos, 1).”

“How does Joseph exercise his role as protector? Discreetly, humbly, and silently, but with an unfailing presence and utter fidelity, even when he finds it hard to understand. From the time of his betrothal to Mary until the finding of the twelve-year-old Jesus in the Temple of Jerusalem, he is there at every moment with loving care. As the spouse of Mary, he is at her side in good times and bad, on the journey to Bethlehem for the census and in the anxious and joyful hours when she gave birth; amid the drama of the flight into Egypt and during the frantic search for their child in the Temple; and later in the day-to-day life of the home of Nazareth, in the workshop where he taught his trade to Jesus.”

“How does Joseph respond to his calling to be the protector of Mary, Jesus and the Church? By being constantly attentive to God, open to the signs of God’s presence and receptive to God’s plans and not simply to his own. This is what God asked of David, as we heard in the first reading. God does not want a house built by humans, but faithfulness to his word, to his plan. It is God himself who builds the house, but from living stones sealed by his Spirit. Joseph is a “protector” because he is able to hear God’s voice and be guided by his will; and for this reason he is all the more sensitive to the persons entrusted to his safekeeping. He can look at things realistically, he is in touch with his surroundings, he can make truly wise decisions. In him, dear friends, we learn how to respond to God’s call, readily and willingly, but we also see the heart of the Christian vocation, which is Christ! Let us protect Christ in our lives, so that we can protect others, so that we can protect creation!”

“The vocation of being a 'protector', however, is not just something involving us Christians alone; it also has a prior dimension which is simply human, involving everyone. It means protecting all creation, the beauty of the created world, as the Book of Genesis tells us and as Saint Francis of Assisi showed us. It means respecting each of God’s creatures and respecting the environment in which we live. It means protecting people, showing loving concern for each and every person, especially children, the elderly, those in need, who are often the last we think about. It means caring for one another in our families: husbands and wives first protect one another, and then, as parents, they care for their children, and children themselves, in time, protect their parents. It means building sincere friendships in which we protect one another in trust, respect, and goodness. In the end, everything has been entrusted to our protection, and all of us are responsible for it. Be protectors of God’s gifts!”
“Whenever human beings fail to live up to this responsibility, whenever we fail to care for creation and for our brothers and sisters, the way is opened to destruction and our hearts are hardened. Tragically, in every period of history there are 'Herods' who plot death, wreak havoc, and mar the countenance of men and women.”

“Please, I would like to ask all those who have positions of responsibility in economic, political, and social life, and all men and women of goodwill: let us be 'protectors' of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment. Let us not allow omens of destruction and death to accompany our world's journey! But to be 'protectors', we also have to keep watch over ourselves! Let us not forget that hatred, envy, and pride defile our lives! Being protectors, then, also means keeping watch over our emotions, over our hearts, because they are the seat of good and evil intentions: intentions that build up or tear down! We must not be afraid of goodness or even tenderness!”

“Here I would add one more thing: caring, protecting, demands goodness; it calls for a certain tenderness. In the Gospels, Saint Joseph appears as a strong and courageous man, a working man, yet in his heart we see great tenderness, which is not the virtue of the weak but rather a sign of strength of spirit and a capacity for concern, for compassion, for genuine openness to others, for love. We must not be afraid of goodness, of tenderness!”

“Today, together with the feast of Saint Joseph, we are celebrating the beginning of the ministry of the new Bishop of Rome, the Successor of Peter, which also involves a certain power. Certainly, Jesus Christ conferred power upon Peter, but what sort of power was it? Jesus’ three questions to Peter about love are followed by three commands: feed my lambs, feed my sheep. Let us never forget that authentic power is service, and that the Pope too, when exercising power, must enter ever more fully into that service which has its radiant culmination on the Cross. He must be inspired by the lowly, concrete, and faithful service which marked Saint Joseph and, like him, he must open his arms to protect all of God’s people and embrace with tender affection the whole of humanity, especially the poorest, the weakest, the least important, those whom Matthew lists in the final judgement on love: the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick, and those in prison (cf. Mt 25:31-46). Only those who serve with love are able to protect!”

“In the second reading, Saint Paul speaks of Abraham, who, 'hoping against hope, believed' (Rom 4:18). Hoping against hope! Today too, amid so much darkness, we need to see the light of hope and to be men and women who bring hope to others. To protect creation, to protect every man and every woman, to look upon them with tenderness and love, is to open up a horizon of hope; it is to let a shaft of light break through the heavy clouds; it is to bring the warmth of hope! For believers, for us Christians, like Abraham, like Saint Joseph, the hope that we bring is set against the horizon of God that has opened up before us in Christ. It is a hope built on the rock that is God.”
“To protect Jesus with Mary, to protect the whole of creation, to protect each person, especially the poorest, to protect ourselves: this is a service that the Bishop of Rome is called to carry out, yet one to which all of us are called, so that the star of hope will shine brightly. Let us protect with love all that God has given us!” 

“I implore the intercession of the Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph, Saints Peter and Paul, and Saint Francis, that the Holy Spirit may accompany my ministry, and I ask all of you to pray for me! Amen.”



Forwarded by J. Justin


"When we walk without the cross…"

"...we are worldly. We are bishops, priests, cardinals, popes, but not disciples of the Lord." The first homily of Pope Francis, Thursday, March 14, in the Sistine Chapel with the cardinals who elected him

by Jorge Mario Bergoglio

In these three readings I see that there is something in common: it is movement. In the first reading, movement in walking; in the second reading, movement in the building up of the Church; in the third, in the Gospel, movement in confession.

To walk, to build up, to confess.

To walk. “House of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord.” This is the first thing that God said to Abraham: Walk in my presence and be without reproach. To walk: our life is a journey and when we stop it is no good. To walk always, in the presence of the Lord, in the light of the Lord, seeking to live with that irreproachability which God asked of Abraham, in his promise.

To build up. To build up the Church. Stones are spoken of: the stones have substance; but living stones, stones anointed by the Holy Spirit. To build up the Church, the bride of Christ, on that cornerstone which is the Lord himself. This is another movement of our lives: to build up.

Third, to confess. We can walk as much as we wish, we can build many things, but if we do not confess Jesus Christ, it is no good. We will become a humanitarian NGO, but not the Church, bride of the Lord.

When one does not walk, one halts. When one does not build on stone what happens? That happens which happens to children on the beach when they make sand castles, it all comes down, it is without substance. When one does not confess Jesus Christ, I am reminded of the expression of Léon Bloy: "He who does not pray to the Lord prays to the devil.” When one does not confess Jesus Christ, one confesses the worldliness of the devil, the worldliness of the demon.

To walk, to build/construct, to confess. But the matter is not so easy, because in walking, in building, in confessing, at times there are shocks, there are movements that are not properly movements of the journey: they are movements that set us back.

This Gospel continues with a special situation. The same Peter who has confessed Jesus Christ says to him: You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. I will follow you, but let us not speak of the cross. This has nothing to do with it. I will follow you with other possibilities, without the cross.

When we walk without the cross, when we build without the cross and when we confess Christ without the cross, we are not disciples of the Lord: we are worldly, we are bishops, priests, cardinals, popes, but not disciples of the Lord.

I would like that everyone, after these days of grace, should have the courage, truly the courage, to walk in the presence of the Lord, with the cross of the Lord; to build up the Church upon the blood of the Lord that was shed upon the cross; and to confess the only glory: Christ crucified. And in this way the Church will move forward.

I hope for all of us that the Holy Spirit, through the prayer of the Virgin Mary, our Mother, may grant us this grace: to walk, to build up, to confess Jesus Christ crucified. So may it be.


The three readings of the Mass “pro Ecclesia," on which Pope Francis commented, were taken from the book of Isaiah (2:2-5), from the first letter of Peter (2:4-9), and from the Gospel according to Matthew (16:13-19)

The pope delivered the homily in Italian, without any written text. What is reproduced here is the complete transcription of his words.


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