WE ARE CHURCH: A SPIRITUAL REALITY WITH VISIBLE DIMENSION – POPE OFFERS PRAYERS FOR STUDENTS KILLED IN MEXICO – HOLY FATHER PRAYS AGAIN FOR VICTIMS OF EBOLA

A recurring incident of an injury suffered many years ago from a car accident forced a doctor’s visit today and, as a result, for a period I have to spend a little less time sitting for long hours at my desk. However, I know that I can keep my legs elevated and work easily with a laptop (though, technically a lap only exists when you sit!), so this column should not suffer too much.

It is not yet Halloween but there is Christmas news from Italy. Pope Francis, via an audiovisual link up, on December 7 will light the largest Christmas tree in the world as Pope emeritus Benedict XVI did in 2011. By pressing a button on a tablet, the Holy Father will light thousands of small bulbs that form the shape of a Christmas tree in Gubbio on the slopes of Mount Ingino. A press conference this Friday in Gubbio will provide more details!

WE ARE CHURCH: A SPIRITUAL REALITY WITH VISIBLE DIMENSION

The Pope observed that the Church represents the Body of Jesus, and that its visible dimension- that is the structures and people who make up the Church – are at the service of its spiritual reality, witnessing to God’s love for all mankind.

He underlined that the Church visible is not just the priests, bishops or Popes.  It is made up of Baptized men and women all over the world who carry out immeasurable acts of love. Families who are firm in the faith, parents who give their all to transmit the faith to their children, the sick who offer their suffering to the Lord.

Pope Francis noted that often as a Church we experience our fragility and our limitations, which rightly  provoke profound displeasure, especially when we give bad example and become  a source of scandal, “because people go by our witness” as Christians.

“Through her Sacraments and her witness to Christ in our world, the Church seeks to proclaim and bring God’s merciful love to all, particularly the poor and those in need”.

“Dear Brothers and Sisters,” began the English summary of the audience “In our catechesis on the Church, we have seen that the Church is a spiritual reality, the mystical Body of Christ. Yet we know that the Church is also a visible reality, expressed in our parishes and communities, and in her institutional structures. This visible reality is itself mysterious, for it embraces the countless and often hidden works of charity carried out by believers throughout the world. To understand the relationship between the visible and the spiritual dimensions of Christ’s Body, the Church, we need to look to Jesus himself, both God and man.

“Just as Christ’s humanity serves his divine mission of salvation, so too, with the eyes of faith, we can understand how the Church’s visible dimension is at the service of her deepest spiritual reality. Through her sacraments and her witness to Christ in our world, the Church seeks to proclaim and bring God’s merciful love to all, particularly the poor and those in need. Let us ask the Lord to enable us to grow in holiness and to be an ever more visible sign of his love for all mankind. (Source: Vatican Radio)

POPE OFFERS PRAYERS FOR STUDENTS KILLED IN MEXICO

(From Vatican Radio) In greeting Spanish speaking pilgrims at the general audience Wednesday, Pope Francs spoke of the 43 Mexican students who disappeared on  September 26 in Iguala, in the southern state of Guerrero, and were burned alive by drug traffickers.

The Pope said : “I would like to raise a prayer and draw close in our hearts to the people of Mexico, who are suffering from the loss of these students and many similar problems. May our hearts be close to them, in prayer at this time.”

The archdiocese of Mexico City has issued a statement in response to the disappearance of 43 trainee teachers.  An editorial published in the archdiocesan newspaper Desde la Fe reads:  “The evil that Mexico suffers is a true decomposition of the social fabric, an evil from which no sector of the country escapes.”

“The seriousness of the crisis demands a deep replanting of our morals, our laws and the social and political organization of our homeland.”

“It is necessary to reconstruct the country. It is urgent that there be a commitment from all sectors of society to combat the immorality, impunity, corruption and cynicism that has our nation on its knees and covered in shame. The political class has showed itself to be unworthy and their parties have shown themselves to be totally incompetent for such a large task”.

Catholic News Service reports that the trainee teachers went missing on September 26 in Iguala, 120 miles south of Mexico City. Classmates and authorities said the students went to collect money for a trip to the capital, but were pulled over, shot at by police, detained and turned over to a criminal group known as Guerrero Unidos.

Mexican Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam said the attack was ordered by Iguala Mayor Jose Luis Abarca and his wife, Maria de los Angeles Pineda, in order to prevent the students from protesting an event organized by Pineda.

Authorities said organized crime paid the mayor of Iguala and his wife — whose whereabouts remain unknown — more than $200,000 per month and plied the police with more money. Political observers say the collusion is unsurprising and increasing in some places as politicians on the local level are often unaccountable and feel free to act with impunity and without oversight.

HOLY FATHER PRAYS AGAIN FOR VICTIMS OF EBOLA

At the conclusion of the Wednesday general audience, Pope Francis once again spoke of his concern for those affected by Ebola, stating, “In the face of the worsening Ebola epidemic, I wish to express my deep concern about this relentless disease that is spreading especially in the African continent, above all among the most disadvantaged population.” He expressed his prayerful closeness to the victims, their families and all the caregivers, including volunteers, religious institutes and associations who, he said, “are working heroically to help our brothers and sisters who are sick.”

The Pope then made another heartfelt appeal to the international community, asking that it “make all necessary efforts to eradicate this virus, effectively relieving the hardships and sufferings of those who are so sorely tried.” He invited the faithful to pray for the victims, those who are ill and those who have died.

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