POPE’S OCTOBER PRAYER INTENTION: ‘MAY ALL CHRISTIANS BE MISSIONARY DISCIPLES’

I’m working on sorting out all of my photos from the past month and I expect many of you know that is no small task. Add to that the notice from Gmail that my storage is above 90% and needs to be cleaned or I can no longer send or receive emails! I actually spent about two hours trying to clean out mail boxes as well as my immense photo archive, transferring many thousands of pictures to my external hard drive. All in a day’s work!

More cleaning tomorrow but for now, some papal news…..

POPE’S OCTOBER PRAYER INTENTION: ‘MAY ALL CHRISTIANS BE MISSIONARY DISCIPLES’

Pope Francis released his prayer intention for the month of October, calling on everyone to pray that all Christians might be missionary disciples and open to the demands of the Church’s evangelizing mission.

By Devin Watkins (vaticannews)

“Jesus asks us all, and you as well, to be missionary disciples. Are you ready?”

Pope Francis opened The Pope Video—containing his prayer intention for the month of October—with that invitation to all Christians.

The Pope said we are all invited to be open to Jesus’ call and to live united to Him in the mundane events of our daily lives.

“Work, meeting other people, our daily duties, and the chance events of each day”: These are the opportunities we have to allow ourselves to be “guided by the Holy Spirit,” said the Pope.

He said other people easily take notice when our every action is motivated by Christ.

“And your testimony of life will inspire admiration, and admiration inspires others to ask themselves, ‘How is it possible for this person to be this way?’ ‘What is the source of the love with which this person treats everyone —the kindness and good humor?’”

Availability for the mission
Pope Francis also recalled that the mission is evangelization and not proselytism.

“The mission is based on an encounter between people, on the testimony of men and women who say, ‘I know Jesus, and I’d like you to know Him too’,” he said.

The Pope then urged all baptized Christians to be open to the demands of the Gospel.

“Let us pray that every baptized person may be engaged in evangelization, available to the mission, by being witnesses of a life that has the flavour of the Gospel,” he said.

Synodal and missionary Church
A press release accompanying The Pope Video, which is prepared by the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, noted that the October intention comes during the same month in which the synodal process begins and World Mission Day is celebrated.

The Synod process kicks off on 10 October, and will launch a call for all Catholics to walk together as the “pilgrim and missionary people of God.”

According to the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, Cardinal Mario Grech, a “synodal Church cannot be other than a missionary Church, because the mission necessarily starts with the dynamism of mutual listening.”

Discernment of the Spirit
Another aspect of Pope Francis’ prayer intention for October is the invitation to “discern and recognize how the Spirit of the Lord is calling us to face the challenges facing humanity and the mission of the Church.”

Fr. Frederic Fornos, SJ, International Director of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, said the Pope is inviting all Christians to participate in that discernment process by rooting our actions in prayer.

Click here for video of Pope Francis’ message (with subtitles in English): Pope’s October prayer intention: ‘May all Christians be missionary disciples’ – Vatican News

 

POPE FRANCIS TURNS TO ST. PAUL’S TEACHING ON JUSTIFICATION – “LISTEN!” IS THEME FOR WORLD COMMUNICATIONS DAY

Greetings from Rome! I’m back in town after a marvelous, memorable and very, very happy vacation time that included, at the very end, four days in Cincinnati for a meeting with Knights and Dames of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre. Those were four of the most remarkable days of my life, not just of my vacation.

I’ve been working today on uploading photos – hundreds of them – in an effort to share with you some small idea of where I have been and what I have been doing this past month – an idea of what a vacation could and should be!

Thanks for staying with me in this period. I heard from a number of you in this time and am grateful for your interest and friendship! Stay tuned for coming posts!

Here are two stories from the Vatican today……

POPE FRANCIS TURNS TO ST. PAUL’S TEACHING ON JUSTIFICATION

At today’s general audience held in the Paul VI Hall, Pope Francis announced that, “in our continuing catechesis on the Letter to the Galatians, we now consider Saint Paul’s teaching on justification.” (Vatican photo)

He defined justification in his opening paragraph, speaking in part off the cuff: “What is justification? We, who were sinners, have become just. Who justified us? This process of change is justification. We, before God, are just. It is true, we have our personal sins. But fundamentally, we are just. This is justification. …In the Letter to the Galatians, just as in the Letter to the Romans, Paul insists on the fact that justification comes through faith in Christ. “But, Father, I am just because I keep all the commandments!” Yes, but justification does not come from that. It comes before that. Someone justified you, someone made you just before God. “Yes, but I am a sinner!” Yes, you justified, but a sinner. But fundamentally, you are just. Who justified you? Jesus Christ. This is justification.

“For the Apostle,” said the Holy Father, “God in his mercy, through the death and resurrection of Jesus, has offered definitive forgiveness and salvation to sinners, thus reconciling us to Himself. Paul’s encounter with the risen Lord on the road to Damascus led him to understand that we are justified not by the observance of precepts and our own efforts, but by the grace of God through faith in Christ.”

Pope Francis stated that, “While the law remains a holy gift of God, and obedience to the commandments is essential to our spiritual life, the grace of God, freely bestowed in Christ, is primary. The faith born of our experience of God’s saving love should transform every aspect of our lives and bear fruit in acts of charity…”

Following the catechesis, Francis said he had “learned with sorrow of the news of the armed attacks last Sunday against the villages of Madamai and Abun, in northern Nigeria. I pray for those who have died, for those who were wounded, and for the entire Nigerian population. I hope that the safety of every citizen might be guaranteed in the country.”

Click here for full catechesis in English and video of the general audience: General Audience – Activities of the Holy Father Pope Francis | Vatican.va

“LISTEN!” IS THEME FOR WORLD COMMUNICATIONS DAY

Pope Francis has chosen the single word, “Listen!” as the theme for the 56th World Communications Day, which will be celebrated in 2022. Announcing next year’s theme, the Holy See says, “Pope Francis is asking the world to listen again.”

By Holy See Press Office

This is the theme that the Holy Father Francis has chosen for the 56th World Communications Day, to be celebrated in 2022: “Listen!”

After the Message of 2021, which focused on going and seeing, in his new Message for World Communications Day 2022 Pope Francis asks the world of communication to learn to listen again.

The pandemic has affected and wounded everyone, and everyone needs to be heard and comforted. Listening is also fundamental for good information. The search for truth begins with listening. And so does witnessing through the means of social communication. Every dialogue, every relationship begins with listening. For this reason, in order to grow, even professionally, as communicators, we need to relearn to listen a lot.

Jesus himself asks us to pay attention to how we listen (cf. Lk 8:18). To be able to truly listen requires courage, and a free and open heart, without prejudice.

At this time when the whole Church is invited to listen in order to learn to be a synodal Church, we are all invited to rediscover listening as essential for good communication.

FOREVER CHANGED …

FOREVER CHANGED …

Nine days after the 9-11 attacks on New York and Washington, I wrote an email to everyone in my address book at that time, family and friends alike. Today, as we commemorate the 20th anniversary of those attacks, I thought about that letter and how I described my feelings, the reactions in Rome and in Europe, and how people marked September 11th, one of the blackest days in American history.

I am in California on vacation with family and friends as I write. I went back to read that email, although I almost know it by heart and have posted it several times since 2001, a time when I was working at the Vatican Information Service. I titled it “Forever Changed” and I’d like to share it with you.

In 2018 I visited Ground Zero and the amazing Museum erected to memorialize that event and the lives of the 2,977 people who died. The memorial fountains honor 2,983 people as they added the names of the 6 people killed in an attack on the Twin Towers in 1993.

I offer two slideshows of photos from Ground Zero –

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Dear Family and friends,

I had all the best intentions of writing to you last week, following the horrific, unspeakable events in our nation, but too many things got in the way and time just ran out each day. I had just returned to Rome from the States on September 10th so there was some jet lag, but mainly a great deal of work as soon as I came back. And then our days became filled with and dominated by nonstop TV coverage of doubtless the most incredible week in our nation’s history. I am not sure the magnitude of that terrorist attack is truly implanted in my brain yet.

Please sit down and have a second cup of coffee for this will be a long letter. Today I wanted to share with you not only my feelings but life in Rome as of 2:46 p.m. (local time on Black Tuesday.

On September 11, just before 3 p.m. Rome time (9a.m. in NYC), my colleague Alfonso called from his office next to mine and told me to turn my TV on CNN to see something horrendous. I did so and thought for about one minute that I was looking at a horrible plane accident. And then I saw – right there on my screen, bigger than life – a second plane directly hit the other Twin Tower – and I knew it was terrorism. I was riveted to the screen, my brain not yet totally processing what my eyes had seen – and then the news that the Pentagon was burning! And then that a fourth plane, with terrorist commandos, had crashed in the Pennsylvania countryside. Real became surreal.

The impossible became possible.

I watched TV in the office for a few hours and then went home. Since my satellite dish has not been working since July, I watched a bit of Italian news and then took a nap, trying to shake off jet lag, and later joined American friends for dinner that night at their house. These were times when one craved the company and comfort of friends, especially American friends.

The next hours and days the TV became like another limb on my body – I could not get through the days without it – especially because we were cut off from America. For a day or two it was tough or impossible to reach New York and Washington via phone and for a number of days there was no physical way to get to the United States from Rome – or anywhere else in the world. You’ll never understand that feeling – although some of you to whom I’m writing live in Rome or abroad so you DO understand.

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I know all of you have been watching TV and I am sure you are fully aware of the support for the U.S. around the world – the candlelight vigils and processions, the myriad church services, the flying of flags at half mast, the countless bouquets of flowers laid near embassies or consulates, the Europeans who stopped their American friends – or even strangers – to pat their arms, express their condolences, give them a hug, buy them a meal or ask if they needed someone to be near them.

The three young children of an American colleague of mine in the press office all asked Joy if they could donate blood to help the wounded Americans. My friends at Zi Gaetana’s restaurant in Rome helped some of the Americans stranded here last week by offering them their meals. I am sure such stories were repeated throughout Italy – and the world.

I am also sure you saw the extraordinarily moving images of how Europe mourned last Friday when everyone and everything stopped for 3 minutes at noon and stores kept their doors closed for 10 minutes starting at noon.

Whoever they were – simple citizens, government leaders, tourists, salespeople, business men and women – alone, in twos, groups of 10, 100 and 100,000 – and wherever they were at noon – at outdoor markets, in churches, touring, eating lunch in a fancy restaurant or a fast food place, at work in factories, offices and stores – they simply stopped, frozen in their tracks, silent in prayer and reflection for 3 minutes. It was like the biblical story of Lot’s wife being turned into a pillar of salt.

To see the images on the Italian news that afternoon and evening was remarkable, moving and unforgettable. One station played “Amazing Grace” for 3 minutes and simply showed images of how Europeans stopped, put their lives on hold for 3 minutes and mourned.

Here in the Vatican the staff members of each office in the Roman Curia prayed the angelus at noon and sang the requiem. I sincerely hope you all saw the unforgettable pictures of an anguished Pope John Paul praying in his private chapel at Castelgandolfo. And, in a first in the history of weekly general audiences, the Holy Father dedicated his weekly catechesis during the September 12 audience in St. Peter’s Square, not to a religious or spiritual theme, but entirely to the attack in the United States. And that is what my show on Vatican Radio that Wednesday was dedicated to – as were many shows in many languages.

Italians have called and written me (and just about every American living in this great country) to express their condolences, horror, indignation, disbelief, anger and support for our country. They have also expressed in recent days their fears that the U.S. will retaliate in such a way that they will stoop to the level of the terrorists and ending up killing innocent people. Europeans, to a man, woman and child, have said they are all Americans now. Every Italian who has spoken to me has said how well they know that their country, that Europe, would not be what it is today had it not been for America during and after World War II – especially the Marshall Plan. “For once in our lives, we can now help America,” is what they tell me.

As the hours, then the days, then the first week passed, feelings have changed very little. If anything they are more profound. The mourning will be lengthy, the anger deep, the revulsion everlasting. All of us STILL want to wake up – because we know this was all just a terrible nightmare and things will be right when dawn comes and the sun rises and warms us and dissipates the darkness that surrounds us.

We have, like it or not, awakened – only to discover that this has not been a dream or a nightmare but rather our worst nightmare come true. And the full impact will come in small ways and large: a greater police presence at monuments, embassies, government buildings, military bases and “symbols” such as the Eiffel Tower, the Colosseum, St. Peter’s, etc. There will be more requests for IDs as we move about, and also a terrific impact on the world of travel – passengers, airline employees, travel agents, airport employees and so on.

I’d  like to interject two personal notes here: 1. I don’t mind if some of my rights are abbreviated if the new measures being enacted will help to eradicate terrorism in the world; 2. I do not agree with the media who feel that the public “has a right” to know everything that is going on. We do not have a right – nor do we need to know what the government is planning. I don’t want America to cease being an open society – but we don’t have to know what the CIA, FBI, etc., etc., are doing to entrap and/or capture terrorists, to infiltrate their organizations, to destroy their economic base.

This past Sunday at 10:30 at the church of Santa Susanna here in Rome, the parish for Americans which has been run by the Paulist Fathers since 1922, there was an extraordinarily touching and beautiful Mass for the victims and families and friends of the victims of this attack. American Cardinal Edmund Szoka presided, about 50 priests (one of whom lost a relative) concelebrated and I was honored to be one of the three lectors. There were so many people that they flowed out of the church and onto the adjacent piazza. The new ambassador to the Holy See, Jim Nicholson was there with his wife Suzanne, as well as former Ambassador Thomas Melady and his wife, Margaret. A surprise guest, who found himself stranded in Rome after the attacks, was Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and his wife.

Father Paul Robichaud, our rector, gave a beautiful homily and tried to answer the questions “Where was God?” and “Why did God allow this to happen?” Half of Sunday’s collection will be sent to New York to help the families of the victims.

At the end of Mass Cardinal Szoka offered some stirring reflections in both English and Italian and then Ambassador Nicholson spoke. He had paper in front of him but rarely looked at it – the words came straight from his heart. As we processed out of church, we three lectors were last and Richard Zaccaroli carried the U.S. flag – which received an enormous round of applause. We stood outside the church and sang patriotic songs, reluctant to leave each other.

I know that what we did here in Rome was repeated thousands of time, in tens of thousands of churches, all around the world. Our fears, our hurt and anger, our pride, our solidarity, our patriotism, our hopes, our prayers – the entire spectrum of emotions – you felt and lived these and so did we.

Well, dear family and friends, I think that is it for now. I’m sure I will think of things I missed, but thanks for hanging in there.

A closing note before I leave you: I have a colorful sign on my desk that I’d like to share with you: “Don’t just live the length of your life, Live the width of it as well.”

God bless you one and all! May He protect you and yours – and may He give you an extra big hug today!