VATICAN INSIDER: ARCHBISHOP GUSTAVO GARCIA SILLER AND V ENCUENTRO – CARDINAL SEAN O’MALLEY ORDAINS 30 SEMINARIANS TO THE DIACONATE

Many days in my life are so filled with events, celebrations, meetings, people, preparing and doing TV spots and radio programs, and even unexpected events that, on occasion, no time is left for my daily column. Yesterday and today have been two such days.

Yesterday, in particular, was the annual diaconate ordination at the North American College, and a report and photos follow below. Today Pope Francis departed on his three-day pilgrimage – the 16th foreign trip of his pontificate – to Georgia and Azerbaijan.  I’ll let you follow that on EWTN television and on our website.

This weekend I am going to do something I very rarely do in this great, historic and extremely beautiful country, namely, take a two-day weekend and travel to Florence with cousins visiting from Chicago, one of whom has never been to Italy so we are all thrilled to have this occasion.

I hope your weekend will be as special as ours will surely be and I’ll get back to you on Monday, as usual.

VATICAN INSIDER: ARCHBISHOP GUSTAVO GARCIA SILLER AND V ENCUENTRO

My guest this weekend on Vatican Insider is Archbishop Gustavo Garcia Siller of San Antonio. We spoke at the papal residence of Santa Marta during the days that he and Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles were in Rome to present to various Vatican offices a program about, by and for Hispanic Americans in the Church called V Encuentro –the V Encounter. Abp. Gustavo is a dear friend – the oldest of 15 children, by the way! – and our conversation covered V Encuentro, migration, the US elections and much, much more including a few surprises.

I forgot to take photos that day but if you refer to my September 24 Facebook post, you will see the photos that Marthamaria Morales, in Rome with the two archbishops and their delegation, posted on her page that were later shared on mine.

As you know, in the United States, you can listen to Vatican Insider on a Catholic radio station near you (there is a list of U.S. stations at www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio. If you live outside the U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” Vatican Insider airs Saturday mornings at 9:00 am (Eastern time). On the SKY satellite feed to the UK and parts of Europe, VI airs on audio channel 0147 at 11:30 am CET on Saturdays, and 5:30am and 10pm CET on Sundays. It’s also available on demand on the EWTN app and on the website. CHECK FOR YOUR TIME ZONE. Past shows are in VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/file_index.asp?SeriesId=7096&pgnu=

CARDINAL SEAN O’MALLEY ORDAINS 30 SEMINARIANS TO THE DIACONATE

Yesterday, September 29, was a very special day for 29 young men from the United States and 1 from Australia, from the archdiocese of Melbourne, as they were ordained deacons at the Altar of the Chair in St. Peter’s Basilica by Cardinal Sean O’Malley, archbishop of Boston. These 30 future priests all study at the Pontifical North American College and represent 27 U.S. dioceses in addition to the one in Australia. In some cases the bishops of these dioceses were present.

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After the diaconate ordination, NAC offers a reception for the young men and their family and friends who are in Rome for the occasion. It was a very big affair this year and, to be honest, I don’t recall such a large number of family and friends present for this beautiful day. And a beautiful day it was – very warm temperatures and clear, blue skies.

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This has always been a special day for me personally as I have been a big fan and supporter of the North American College for years and know many faculty members and a number of the seminarians.

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What is so lovely about this day is how prominent families are in this celebration, the families of the new deacons and the NAC family.

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Strong, faith-filled families are almost always behind a vocation – families for whom the faith is important, including frequent, often daily, Mass, prayers at mealtimes, learning and passing on the faith and, most importantly on the role of parents who both accept and encourage a vocation to the priesthood.

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Of the young men I have spoken to over the years, all indicated that their family life was behind their choice for the priesthood – prayer life, family rosary, Mass attendance, their parents as role models and the family support for the call to the priesthood.

With their time in Rome, the seminarians and deacons now have an extended family – the wonderful and supportive seminary family at the North American College and, in many ways, the family of the Universal Church in Rome.

At the reception with Auxiliary Bishop Rassas of Chicago and one of the very special families that Diane and I met that afternoon.

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In addition to the 30 men ordained yesterday, a number of NAC seminarians were ordained in the U.S. in their home dioceses. All will be ordained to the priesthood at the end of their last year at NAC, returning to their home dioceses for priestly ordination.

Yesterday was a beautiful day here in Rome for the new deacons, for their families and for all of us because, after all, these young men our future pastors!

POPE SENDS CONDOLENCES FOR DEATH OF SHIMON PERES

POPE SENDS CONDOLENCES FOR DEATH OF SHIMON PERES

Pope Francis, upon learning of the death overnight of former Israeli President Shimon Peres, sent the following telegram to current Israeli President Reuven Rivlin:

“I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of His Excellency Shimon Peres, and I wish to convey to you and to all the people of Israel my heartfelt condolences. I fondly recall my time with Mr. Peres at the Vatican and renew my great appreciation for the late President’s tireless efforts in favour of peace. As the State of Israel mourns Mr. Peres, I hope that his memory and many years of service will inspire us all to work with ever greater urgency for peace and reconciliation between peoples. In this way, his legacy will truly be honoured and the common good for which he so diligently laboured will find new expressions, as humanity strives to advance on the path towards enduring peace. With the assurance of my prayers for all who grieve, especially for the Peres family, I invoke the divine blessings of consolation and strength upon the nation. FRANCISCUS PP.”

Pope Francis met President Shimon Peres in 2014 during his three-day trip in late May to Jordan, Bethlehem and Jerusalem.A month later, he welcomed Peres, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople to the Vatican and together they planted an olive tree in the gardens. The pontiff met Peres again in September 2014 in the Vatican. Peres’ term as presidemnt had ended in July of that year-

The closest I ever was to former Israeli President Shimon Peres was on December 29, 2008 when I attended the reception he offered at his residence for the heads of the Christian Churches in Israel. This is a yearly event for the exchange of New Year’s greetings between the president and the religious leaders.

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At the time, I was in Bethlehem at the Jacir Palace Hotel for a 10-day visit over the Christmas period. On the 29th, I had gone to Jerusalem with a pastor friend of mine in Beit Sahour, Fr. Faysal, who had business at the Latin Patriarchate. There was the usual stop at the Israeli checkpoint (Bethlehem is in Palestine), documents were shown, questions were asked and the car was examined from top to bottom. We were okayed to pass through and I spent the day at the Patriarchate before going to President Peres’ home.

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Just last Monday evening in the Vatican, Pope Francis met with members of the World Jewish Congress.

POPE TO EMBARK ON THREE-DAY TRIP TO GEORGIA, AZERBAIJAN

Just one piece of news today – the days are filled with visitors, two cousins who are my houseguests, preparations for the blessing tomorrow of the new EWTN offices and then on Thursday the annual North American College diaconate ordination in St. Peter’s Basilica followed by a reception at the College…a momentous event in the life of the young men who will be ordained priests in their own dioceses next summer.

POPE TO EMBARK ON THREE-DAY TRIP TO GEORGIA, AZERBAIJAN

The Vatican has released details of the Holy Father’s upcoming three-day trip to the republics of Georgia and Azerbaijan, his 16th foreign apostolic visit. The trip will take place on the themes of peace and brotherhood, concluding his message of peace during his June trip to neighboring Armenia last June.

Pope Francis is scheduled to leave the Vatican on Friday morning, headed for the Georgian capital Tbilisi. His first encounter there will be with the president, with government authorities and representatives of civil society gathered at the imposing presidential palace. From there he goes on to meet the country’s Orthodox leader Patriarch Elia, who was also on hand for Pope John Paul II’s visit to the newly independent nation back in 1999.

The final event on Friday will be a visit to the Syro-Chaldean church of St Simon the Tanner, one of three different rites making up the small Catholic community in the former Soviet nation. The Pope will join Syro-Chaldean bishops from around the world to pray for peace in Syria and Iraq.

The Holy Father starts his second day with Mass at a stadium in Tbilisi named after one of Georgia’s most famous footballers. Significantly, a delegation from the Orthodox Patriarchate will also be present at the Mass, a sign of growing friendship despite the many doctrinal difficulties that continue to divide leaders of the two Churches.

In the afternoon, the Pope will meet with priests, religious and seminarians at one of the two Catholic parishes in the capital, before greeting several hundred disabled and vulnerable people being cared for by members of the Camilian order.  The Pope’s final event in Georgia will be a visit to the patriarchal cathedral in the nearby ancient city of Mtshketa, listed as one of UNESCO’s world heritage sites.

On his third and final day, Pope Francis flies from Tbilisi to Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan where he’ll celebrate Mass for the tiny Catholic community at the only parish church run by the Salesian order. In the afternoon he’ll make a courtesy visit to the president and meet the region’s Muslim leader, Sheik Allashukur Pashazade, before taking part in an interfaith encounter with representatives of all the other religious communities in the country.

 

POPE TO CATECHISTS: THE KEY MESSAGE OF THE FAITH IS “THE LORD HAS RISEN!” – POPE FRANCIS RECEIVES PRESIDENT OF DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

POPE TO CATECHISTS: THE KEY MESSAGE OF THE FAITH IS “THE LORD HAS RISEN!”

There was a beautiful Mass Sunday morning in a sun-splashed St. Peter’s Square for the Jubilee of Catechists with tens of thousands of them from around the world filling the Square.

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“On this Jubilee for Catechists,” said the Pope in his homily, “we are being asked not to tire of keeping the key message of the faith front and center: The Lord is risen! Nothing is more important; nothing is clearer or more relevant than this. Everything in the faith becomes beautiful when linked to this centerpiece, this beating heart which gives life to everything is the Paschal proclamation, the first proclamation: the Lord Jesus is risen! The Lord Jesus loves you, and he has given his life for you; risen and alive, he is close to you and waits for you every day.  We must never forget this.”

Francis reminded the catechists that, “Jesus loves us personally! May he give us the strength to live and proclaim the commandment of love, overcoming the blindness of appearances, and worldly sadness. May he make us sensitive to the poor, who are not an afterthought in the Gospel but an important page, always open before all.”

In addressing the faithful in St. Peter’s Square following Mass and ahead of the Angelus, Pope Francis offered prayers for the two Mexican priests who had been abducted and killed the previous Sunday – and just hours before hearing of the same fate for a third Catholic priest.  He prayed that ongoing violence in Mexico might end.

In fact, the archdiocese of Morelia announced that the body of a priest abducted in Mexico a week ago and shot at point blank range has been found, just hours after Pope Francis had issued a heartfelt appeal for an end to the violence in that country. Fr. Jose Lopez Guillen had, like the two priests last week, been robbed and abducted in the western Mexican State of Michocan on the very same day the bodies of the other two priests were found.

The Holy Father also expressed his support for the pro-family and pro-life efforts of the Mexican bishops. Saying: “I am very happy to associate myself with the Bishops of Mexico, in supporting the commitment of the Church and civil society in favor of the family and of life, which in this time require special pastoral and cultural attention in all the world.”

The abduction and murders of the three priests in the space of a week occurs at a time when Church leaders have been requesting increased protection for clergy. The violence against clergy takes place as the Church in Mexico takes a strong stance in defense of traditional marriage, at he same time that the administration of President Enrique Peña Nieto wants to change laws so that to allow legal recognition of same-sex unions and equate them as marriage.

The Catholic Multi-Media Center notes that 15 priests have been murdered in Mexico in less than four years.

POPE FRANCIS RECEIVES PRESIDENT OF DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

The press office today released the declaration that you can read below about the visit by President Joseph Kabila of the Congo to Pope Francis. However, members of the press pool attending the audience noted that the atmosphere seemed decidedly different from other papal audiences with heads of State. AP reported: “The audience Monday was a brief 20 minutes, with interpreters. The pope didn’t greet Kabila in the reception room where, according to Vatican protocol, Francis would normally greet a visiting head of state. Rather, a glum-looking Francis waited for Kabila in his library.” (AP photo)

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Here is the Vatican report:

Today, Monday 26 September 2016, the Holy Father received in audience, in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, His Excellency Joseph Kabila, who subsequently met with His Excellency Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, secretary for Relations with States.

In a statement, the Holy See’s Press Office said during the “cordial discussions,” the good relations between the Holy See and the Democratic Republic of the Congo were evoked, “with particular reference to the important contribution of the Catholic Church in the life of the nation, with its institutions in the educational, social and healthcare spheres, as well as in development and the reduction of poverty. In this context, mutual satisfaction was expressed for the signing of the framework Agreement between the Holy See and the State, which took place on 20 May this year.”

Particular attention was paid, the comunique continues, “to the serious challenges placed by the current political challenge and the recent clashes that have occurred in the capital. Emphasis was placed on the importance of collaboration between political actors and representatives of civil society and religious communities, in favor of the common good, through a respectful and inclusive dialogue for the stability of peace in the country.”

Finally, the Parties focused on the persistent violence suffered by the population in the east of the country, and on the urgency of cooperation at national and international levels, in order to provide the necessary assistance and to re-establish civil co-existence.

VATICAN INSIDER: AN INSIDER RECOUNTS HER STORIES OF MOTHER TERESA – CAN THERE BE MORAL CLARITY IN VOTING CHOICES? READ ON…

VATICAN INSIDER: AN INSIDER RECOUNTS HER STORIES OF MOTHER TERESA

My guest this weekend on “Vatican Insider” is Susan Conroy who tells her story of years with St Teresa of Calcutta. Susan made her first trip to Calcutta to work with Mother Teresa and the Missionaries of Charity in 1986. In 1987, at the request of Mother Teresa herself, Susan stayed in the Order’s convent in the South Bronx, New York, in contemplation of the religious life. She did not enter the Order but, in 1991, during Lent, she returned to Calcutta to work with the Sisters among the dying destitutes. She and Mother Teresa kept in touch until Mother’s death in 1997. Susan has written several books on Mother Teresa so stay tuned for that wonderful story.

Susan at the Mass of Thanksgiving for the previous day’s canonization of Mother Teresa:

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As you know, in the United States, you can listen to Vatican Insider on a Catholic radio station near you (there is a list of U.S. stations at www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio. If you live outside the U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” Vatican Insider airs Saturday mornings at 9:00 am (Eastern time). On the SKY satellite feed to the UK and parts of Europe, VI airs on audio channel 0147 at 11:30 am CET on Saturdays, and 5:30am and 10pm CET on Sundays. It’s also available on demand on the EWTN app and on the website. CHECK FOR YOUR TIME ZONE. Past shows are in VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/file_index.asp?SeriesId=7096&pgnu=

CAN THERE BE MORAL CLARITY IN VOTING CHOICES? READ ON…

So many people have told me, in person and via email, that they are quite concerned about how to vote in the 2016 elections, that the choices for presidential candidates pose a real dilemma – morally, politically, personally – and they want guidelines, especially from the U.S. bishops.

Well, there are guidelines at www.usccb.org, including the document “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship” (http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/faithful-citizenship/). And the bishops also note what they call the “Do’s and Don’ts Guidelines During Election Season,” starting with “Political Responsibility Guidelines”  (http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/faithful-citizenship/dos-and-donts-guidelines-during-election-season.cfm).

If you are perplexed, take your time and read these.

I offer an additional guideline for you.

Earlier today, I posted the following on FB, noting that I got this from a FB friend and that I had also just listened, per her link, to the homily at Mass at EWTN by Father Steve! Superlative indeed! The ultimate voters guide – no names mentioned but you’ll get it immediately. Here is what my friend wrote, including the caps: THIS IS A MASTERPIECE OF A HOMILY by Father Stephen Imbarrato on how we as Christians need to VOTE and to THINK and PRAY about how we will vote. PLEASE LISTEN AND PLEASE SHARE!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mq_gdIspz00

You will not have any doubts about voting when you listen to this homily.

We have learned that Donald Trump has enlisted a large group of conservative, pro-life Americans as advisors to his campaign. Read the following piece by Joan Frawley Desmond for information about Trump’s reasons and learn who these advisors are:

(National Catholic Register) WASHINGTON — Donald Trump has tapped a leading abortion-rights foe to launch a nationwide effort to mobilize pro-life voters in the final weeks before U.S. voters go to the polls.

The appointment of Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of the Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List), as the leader of Trump’s national pro-life coalition marked a new front in his battle to activate the GOP base. In a recent letter to pro-life leaders, Trump also vowed to support the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would end late-term abortions nationwide,” protect the Hyde Amendment, which bars federal funding of elective abortions, and defund Planned Parenthood.

“As we head into the final stretch of the campaign, the help of leaders like you is essential to ensure that pro-life voters know where I stand, and also know where my opponent, Hillary Clinton, stands,” wrote Trump in a letter that outlined his pro-life policy goals.

“Your help is crucial to make this contrast clear in the minds of pro-life voters,” Trump continued, “especially those in battleground states.”

“The whole plan is to rally pro-life voters around the nation, especially in battleground states, and let them know where the Trump ticket is on life issues,” Marilyn Musgrave, vice president of the Susan B. Anthony List and a former GOP congresswoman from Colorado, told the Register.

Dannenfelser’s endorsement signaled that some pro-life leaders and grassroots activists had finally warmed to Trump, after a long and often acrimonious courtship.

Back in January, Dannenfelser was among a group of pro-life leaders who warned Iowa Republicans not to trust the real estate tycoon, who once described himself as “pro-choice.” Not only did she challenge the candidate’s pro-life credentials, she also raised questions about his character.

But as Trump clinched the necessary delegate votes, pledged to put a pro-life jurist on the U.S. Supreme Court, and selected pro-life Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana as his running mate, some of the skepticism began to fade.

Asked to explain Dannenfelser’s about-face, Musgrave told the Register that Trump had earned her support.

“The commitments that Donald Trump has made to the pro-life community are extraordinary,” she said.

“We have never gotten these commitments from any other candidate, including the last two candidates who were pro-life.”

“While Clinton and the Democratic Party have talked about doing away with the Hyde Amendment, Trump has pledged to make the Hyde Amendment permanent,” she explained.

To read the entire article by Joan Frawley Desmond, click here:

http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/trump-makes-strong-play-for-pro-life-vote-as-race-tightens

To see those names and read more about the Trump appointments, click here: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/kschiffer/donald-trump-names-33-members-to-council-of-catholic-advisers

POPE TO JOURNALISTS: FOSTER TRUTH, PROFESSIONALISM, RESPECT FOR HUMAN DIGNITY

Today is one of those days when even a 15-minute delay in back to back appointments can wreak havoc on a schedule. Because of a slew of meetings that start late afternoon and go into mid-evening, I don’t have time to post all the items I had planned but below you will find the most important piece of news today, a talk by Pope Francis to an Italian group of journalists.

What the Holy Father said must be an integral party of our work – truth, professionalism and respect for human dignity – is what I try to do with every word I write, every TV segment I tape, every radio show on which I appear.  All the extra time I spend in researching a statement or getting background on a story so that only the truth is being told, is eminently worth it. I want to stand tall at the end of a work day, knowing I have helped people to learn and understand, that I have cleared up doubts, not created them, that I have straightened out confusion, not contributed to it.

A great talk by the Holy Father – think of it the next time you pick up a paper or go online for a story!

The photo in this story is from ANSA at news.va – if you substitute yours truly for the fellow with the mic, you have an image of what I do twice weekly for At Home with Jim and Joy (tune in today at 2 pm ET!)

POPE TO JOURNALISTS: FOSTER TRUTH, PROFESSIONALISM, RESPECT FOR HUMAN DIGNITY

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Thursday met with the Italian National Council of the Order of Journalists, telling them that truth, professionalism and respect for human dignity were essential elements in their work.

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Meeting with the assembled Italian journalists in the Vatican’s Clementine Hall on Thursday, Pope Francis told them that there were few professions that have “so much influence on society like that of journalism.” He noted that they are usually the ones who are there to record what he called,  the “first draft of history”, “the building of the news agenda and introducing people to the interpretation of events.”

He also noted that the journalistic profession was one that was continually adapting to changes in the way people digest news through new forms of media.

In his discourse the Pope stressed three essential elements in the work of a journalist, that he said, could serve to “improve the society in which we live”: To love the truth, to embody professionalism and to respect human dignity.

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He said that loving the truth meant not only stating it, but living it  and bearing witness to it in their work, adding, “even in journalism we must be able to discern between shades of grey surrounding the events that we are called to tell.”

Speaking about the second element, professionalism, Pope Francis underlined that when there was professionalism, journalists remained “a cornerstone, a fundamental element for the vitality of a free and pluralistic society.”

Respecting human dignity

On the subject of human dignity, the Pope stressed the importance of responsible journalism and he reiterated earlier comments he made about rumors being a form of “terrorism,” and how you can kill a person with language. The Holy Father went on to say that “journalism cannot become a weapon of destruction “of people and even nations.” Criticism, is legitimate, he added, “as well as the denunciation of evil, but this must always be done respecting the other, his life, his affections.”

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Pope Francis during his discourse also commented on the changing communication’s environment of the Holy See. He said that it was experiencing a renewal process from which journalists should benefit, adding “the Secretariat for Communication will be the natural point of reference for your valuable work.”

 

“BE MERCIFUL AS THE FATHER,” A CALL TO “BE SIGNS, CHANNELS AND WITNESSES TO HIS MERCY” – POPE CONDEMNS KILLING OF TWO PRIESTS IN MEXICO – AN ANGELIC ROMAN BRIDGE

I returned to Rome yesterday, safe and sound and with all my luggage and, after a great night’s sleep, I now face the ever-bustling, there’s-something-on-the-calendar-every-day fall season of visitors, special events, concerts and embassy receptions, houseguests, parish council meetings, the diaconate ordination at the North American College and the blessing of new EWTN offices for CNA.

Speaking of travel, I received the following advisory today from the U.S. Embassy and wanted to pass it on in the event you might have a reservation on Alitalia for tomorrow: “The U.S. Embassy in Italy informs U.S. citizens that a union representing Alitalia pilots and flight attendants has announced its intention to strike on Thursday, September 22 as part of ongoing negotiations.  Multiple Alitalia flights could be affected.  Please note that the strike may be cancelled depending on the status of these negotiations; travelers should check with Alitalia prior to their scheduled travel for the latest information.”

And now, the news, including a fun story about a Roman bridge, and this September 21 papal tweet: Dialogue is born when I am capable of recognizing others as a gift of God and accept they have something to tell me.

“BE MERCIFUL AS THE FATHER,” A CALL TO “BE SIGNS, CHANNELS AND WITNESSES TO HIS MERCY”

Before presiding the weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square this morning, Pope Francis stopped in the Paul VI Hall to greet a number of faithful who were ill. Weather reports had predicted rain this morning and the Vatican felt it prudent to move some people indoors.

Actually, the audience went off without a hitch and Pope Francis enjoyed his usual ride in the popemobile, greeting the faithful, kissing babies and small ones and being serenaded by a group of musicians from Indonesia. (photo news.va)

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His weekly catechesis was focused on mercy, as it has been during this Holy Year of mercy, noting that, “merciful love is the only path, for by it we are able to make known the Father’s mercy that has no end.”

“Dear Brothers and Sisters,” he said in the English summary, “In our Gospel passage this morning, we are reminded of our call to be merciful even as our heavenly Father is merciful.  When we look at salvation history, we see that God’s whole revelation is his untiring love for humanity which culminates in Jesus’ death on the Cross.  So great a love can be expressed only by God.”

Jesus’ call to humanity to be as merciful as the Father,” continued the Holy Father, “however, is not a question of quantity.  Instead it is a summons to be signs, channels and witnesses to his mercy.  This is the Church’s mission, to be God’s sacrament of mercy in every place and time.

Francis went on to explain that, “as Christians, therefore, God asks us to be his witnesses, first by opening our own hearts to his divine mercy, and then by sharing that mercy towards all people, especially those who suffer.  In this way, our works of mercy and charity will offer to the world a glimpse of the face of Christ.  In the Gospel, Jesus explains that we especially show the Father’s mercy when we pardon one another, for we express the free gift of God’s love, and help one another on the way of conversion.  Jesus invites us also to give freely, for all we have has been freely given to us by God, and we will receive only in the measure that we freely give to others.  Merciful love is the only path, for by it we are able to make known the Father’s mercy that has no end.”

The Pope stressed throughout the catechesis how important it is to forgive in order to achieve a merciful heart. We all need to give, but also to forgive. “If God has forgiven us, why can we not forgive? Are we bigger than God?” And he said; “Mercy is to give, forgiving is to give.”

 POPE CONDEMNS KILLING OF TWO PRIESTS IN MEXICO

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has expressed his sadness for the killing of two Mexican priests and has sent a telegram of condolences assuring their diocese and families of his prayers.

Father Alejo Nabor Jimenez Juarez and Father José Alfredo Suarez de la Cruz were abducted from their Church in the State of Veracruz’s northern city of Poza Rica on Sunday.  Their bodies, with bullet wounds, were found the following day. (photo news.va)

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The telegram, sent by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin on behalf of the Holy Father, expressed the Pope’s profound sadness for the killing of the priests who were respectively the parish priest and the vicar of the Our Lady of Fatima church in Poza Rica.

The Pope strongly condemned the brutal attacks on the lives and on the dignity of the people involved and urged the clergy and all members of the diocese to continue to pursue their mission despite the difficulties.

He said  he is praying for the eternal rest of the priests, for their families and for the entire parish community.

The telegram was addressed to Bishop Trinidad Zapata of Papantla.

Poza Rica and its surrounding territory has been the scene of drug-related gang violence and trafficking for many years. But it’s unclear why the Catholic priests were targeted.

Priests have been killed before in Mexico, but many of the killings have occurred in the Pacific coast state of Guerrero. The two murders bring the total number of Catholic priests killed in Mexico since 2012 to 14.

AN ANGELIC ROMAN BRIDGE

(From ChurchPOP – September 21)  Rome is overflowing with beautiful art. On every corner, it seems, there’s some gorgeous church, or ancient fountain, or stunning masterpiece from a famous artist. For visitors who aren’t used to it, it can be a bit overwhelming!

The Ponte Sant’Angelo, or Bridge of Angels, is one of these incredible sights. But unless you look closely, you’ll miss its deeper meaning.

The Ponte Sant’Angelo goes all the way back to the first century. During the medieval period, it was sometimes called the “Bridge of St. Peter” since it was how most pilgrims crossed the Tiber River to get to St. Peter’s Basilica. But the bridge took on a new meaning in the 17th century when Pope Clement IX commissioned new statues.

Artistic genius Gian Lorenzo Bernini came up with the plan. There’d be 10 statues of angels, but each would be holding something special: the arma Christi, or instruments of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

It’s really easy to miss if you’re not looking carefully; the average person probably just sees beautiful angels. But sure enough, all the angels are holding objects related to the suffering and death of Christ.

It’s a really beautiful way to remember and honor the sacrifice of our Lord, especially for pilgrims making their way to one of the most important churches of Christendom!

Below are pictures of all the statues look like and what each angel is holding.

PS FROM JOAN: Two of the original statues are in the church of Sant’Andrea delle Fratte near the Spanish Steps! This is truly one of Rome’s must see churches!

Click here to see those photos! https://churchpop.com/2016/09/20/the-powerful-meaning-of-romes-bridge-of-angels-most-people-miss/