POPE FRANCIS ASKS FOR “STRUCTURES OF MERCY” TO MARK JUBILEE YEAR – FRANCIS: BE APOSTLES OF MERCY, IT’S IN THE CHRISTIAN DNA – REGINA COELI: POPE ANNOUNCES COLLECTION FOR UKRAINE – POPE MEETS HEAD OF DISSIDENT TRADITIONALIST FRATERNITY SSPX

FYI: Pope Francis put a video on his Instagram account on Divine Mercy Sunday, a short clip from his video-message to the Cuban people ahead of his 2015 September visit: “I want to be among you as a missionary of the mercy and tenderness of God. But allow me to encourage you, too, to be missionaries of this infinite love of God. May no one be without the witness of our faith, of our love. May everyone know that God always forgives, that God is always at our side, that God loves us.”

When the papal account (https://www.instagram.com/franciscus/) opened March 19, it reached 1 million followers faster than any other account in history. Francis now has 2 million followers.

POPE FRANCIS ASKS FOR “STRUCTURES OF MERCY” TO MARK JUBILEE YEAR

At a prayer vigil in St. Peter’s Square before Divine Mercy Sunday, Pope Francis spoke of God’s mercy, noting, “how very many faces has God’s mercy! It is known to us as closeness and tenderness, but also compassion and sharing, as consolation and pardon. The more we receive, the more we have to offer it, to share it. It cannot remain hidden nor kept for itself, It is something that burns hearts, causing them to love, recognizing the face of Jesus above all in those who are distant, weak, confused, marginalized. Mercy is not stationary, it seeks the lost sheep and when they are found, expresses a contagious joy. Mercy knows how to look into the eyes of each person; each one is precious for mercy because each person is unique. How much pain do we feel when we hear, “these people, these people, these poor guys, let’s kick them out, let’s let them sleepin the street….” Is this like Jesus?”

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Addressing the many thousands of apostles of Divine Mercy in the square, the Holy Father then suggested that, ‘structures of mercy’ be built as a lasting tribute to the Jubilee of Mercy: “As a reminder, a ‘monument’ let’s say, to this Year of Mercy, how beautiful it would be if in every diocese there were a structural work of mercy: a hospital, a home for the aged or abandoned children, a school where there isn’t one, a home for recovering drug addicts—so many things could be done. …Let’s think about it and speak with the bishops.”

In his remarks Saturday, Francis also noted that April 2 marked the 11th anniversary of the death of St. John Paul, the Pope who designated the first Sunday after Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday

FRANCIS: BE APOSTLES OF MERCY, IT’S IN THE CHRISTIAN DNA

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis presided over Mass in St Peter’s Square on Sunday for the Feast of Divine Mercy, and encouraged the faithful to be “apostles of mercy” toward those in need.

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“We are all called to become living writers of the Gospel, heralds of the Good News to all men and women today,” the Pope told the crowds during his homily.

“We do this by practicing the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, which are the hallmarks of the Christian life.

“By means of these simple yet powerful gestures, even when unseen, we can accompany the needy, bringing God’s tenderness and consolation.”

Pope Francis referred back to the day’s Gospel taken from John, which recounts the episode in which the Apostle Thomas doubts the Resurrection until he puts his hand in Jesus’ side.

These scenes denote the contrast between the disciple’s “fear” as they hid behind closed doors, and the “mission” on which Jesus sends them: “to proclaim the message of forgiveness,” the Pope said.

“Being apostles of mercy means touching and soothing the wounds that today afflict the bodies and souls of many of our brothers and sisters.”

“Curing these wounds, we profess Jesus, we make him present and alive; we allow others, who touch his mercy with their own hands, to recognize him as ‘Lord and God.’”

Click here for full homily: http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-at-divine-mercy-mass-be-apostles-of-mercy

REGINA COELI: POPE ANNOUNCES COLLECTION FOR UKRAINE

Pope Francis Sunday at the Regina Coeli appealed for peace in Ukraine, involved in a war since April of 2014, and highlighted “the many who are suffering the effects of violence here in Europe.” He said he was “thinking of the ordeal of those who suffer the consequences of the violence in Ukraine: of those who continue to live in lands that are turned upside-down by hostilities that have caused thousands of deaths, and of those – over a million – who have been forced to leave due to  the grave situation that persists.”

Francis pointed out that the most vulnerable are always involved – the weak, the elderly and children – and said he is always praying for them. He then announced that, “To this end, there will be a special collection in all European churches on Sunday April 24. I invite the faithful to join this initiative with a generous contribution.” He said he wanted to support the Ukrainian people with more than prayer, and. “this gesture of charity, beyond alleviating material suffering, expresses my personal closeness and the solidarity of the entire Church.”

The Pope said he hoped this gesture might be of help in promoting peace and respect for rights in that “worn out land.”

The Pontifical Council Cor Unum will handle the gathering and disbursement of these funds.

Francis also recalled that Monday, April 4 marks the International Day of Awareness Against Antipersonnel Mines. He said that too many people continue to be killed or mutilated by these terrible explosives and that brave men and women risk their lives to clear mined land. “Please, let us renew the commitment for a world without landmines!” he appealed.

POPE MEETS HEAD OF DISSIDENT TRADITIONALIST FRATERNITY SSPX

(Vatican Radio) The Press Office of the Holy See on Monday confirmed that Pope Francis met on Saturday, April 2, 2016, with the head of the dissident traditionalist Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X (SSPX), Bishop Bernard Fellay.

The confirmation came through a one-sentence communiqué from the Press Office, saying, “The Press Office confirms that Saturday, 2 April, a meeting took place in the Vatican between Pope Francis and Bishop Bernard, Fellay, Superior General of the St. Pius X Fraternity.”

The SSPX, as it is commonly known, was founded in 1970 by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in order to preserve the centuries-old tradition of Catholic worship in the Latin Church.

In 1988, Archbishop Lefebvre consecrated four bishops in defiance of explicit Papal dispositions and in violation of an agreement reached a short time before, under the terms of which Lefebvre would have been permitted to consecrate one bishop (in order to guarantee continuity of leadership within the controversial Society).

Since that time, the status of the SSPX has been canonically irregular: efforts to repair the relationship between the SSPX and Church leadership in Rome have continued despite recurrent difficulties.

 

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