I have had to schedule even my bedtime these past few days as they have been super-filled with events – interviews, dinners, speeches and committee meetings – and friends in town. And they have also been super happy days.
This morning was quite special as I accompanied 9 members of the USA Water Polo Team for a three-hour visit of Vatican City and the gardens and then St. Peter’s Basilica. We took tons of photos and one of the guys has a GoPro camera and video – an awesone piece of techology – I just may have to get one!
Our guide was Santiago Perez who heads the Vatican’s Sports Desk at the Council for the Laity. He was super and the whole morning meant a lot to all of us. I think the team was delightfully surprised to learn the Vatican had a Sports Desk – founded by our most athletic recent Pope, St. John Paul in 1994. I told them to do some PR for this office – let people know!
Here is just one photo from the morning – we are at the replica of the Grotto of Lourdes in the gardens:
I have been preparibg some scripts for “At Home” and for an interview I have tomorrow moring for “Vatican Insider” so have had little time to dedicate to this column. However, in view of the publication on Thursday of the Pope’s encyclical on the environment, “Laudatio si,” I thought the Pope’s brief words at the Angelus and an editorial from Civilta Cattolica, a highly respected, very authoriative Jesuit fortnightly – might be helpful as a prelude to the document.
ENVIRONMENT ENCYCLICAL “IS FOR EVERYONE” SAYS FRANCIS
Pope Francis has invited everyone to pay attention to environmental issues.
Speaking after the Sunday Angelus in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis said his first encyclical will be published on Thursday, and he said: “This encyclical is aimed at everyone”
Calling on everyone to accompany this event with renewed attention to environmental degradation, and the need to act to salvage one’s territory, the Pope said of his encyclical: “Let us pray that everyone can receive its message and grow in responsibility toward the common home that God has entrusted to us.”
The document entitled “Laudato Si’, On the Care of Our Common Home” will be launched at a Vatican news conference this week.
The Pope’s appeal followed a reflection on the Gospel reading of the day that speaks of the seed that sprouts and grows and of the mustard seed which is the smallest of all seeds but becomes the largest of plants.
Francis said that through these images Jesus speaks to us of strength of God’s life-giving Word, and of how Christ’s love transforms that what is small and modest into something that makes the whole world and all of history ferment.
And reminding those present to always carry a pocket-sized copy of the Gospel, and to read a passage every day, the Pope said in the Gospel is the strength that makes the Kingdom of God germinate and sprout within us.
Above all – he said – the two parables teach us something important: the Kingdom of God is a gift of the Lord, but it requires our collaboration.
He said that although our contribution may appear meagre before the complexity of problems in the world, thanks to God’s love each seed of goodness will sprout and grow, and this – Pope Francis said – gives life to hope; notwithstanding the injustice and pain we may come across, the seed of charity and peace will yield its fruits thanks to the mysterious love of God.
PROTECTING THE WHOLE OF CREATION
A service that the Bishop of Rome is called to carry out
Pope Francis’ Encyclical on ecology will be published soon. With its publication, the Church’s Magisterium takes the environmental issue to the heart of its social doctrine. The Editorial summarizes the ecological path which the Popes have indicated in the last 50 years until today. In fact, at the beginning of his pontificate, Pope Francis said that «to guard the entire Creation» is «a service which the Bishop of Rome is called to do». Pope Francis has always strived for the harmony between all living beings: he has an anthropological, but not anthropocentric view. His commitment leads us towards an ecological spirituality which is a spiritual and sacramental life that is not alienated from the fact that we inhabit the created world as our «home». The editorial is an excellent background to the long awaited encyclical letter of Pope Francis on ecology that will be released this coming Thursday at the Vatican.