POPE FRANCIS WELCOMES LEBANON’S PRIME MINISTER-DESIGNATE – POOR TO RECEIVE SECOND VACCINE AT VATICAN ON POPE’S NAME DAY – FAMILY LOVE: A VOCATION AND A PATH TO HOLINESS

Weekly edition in English of L’Osservatore Romano:ING_2021_017_2304.pdf (osservatoreromano.va)

Pope Francis will be a special guest speaker today when the earthday.org website starts coverage at 12 noon ET of events and special speakers: Earth Day: The Official Site | EARTHDAY.ORG   He tweeted about Earth Day this morning: “We have broken the bonds of our relationship with the Creator, with out fellow human beings and with the rest of creation. We need to heal the damaged relationships that are essential to supporting us and the entire fabric of life. #EarthDay”

POPE FRANCIS WELCOMES LEBANON’S PRIME MINISTER-DESIGNATE 

From Holy See Press Office Director Matteo Bruni: “I can confirm that this morning the Holy Father met in a private audience with the Prime Minister-designate of Lebanon, Saad Hariri. During the talks, which lasted about thirty minutes, the Pope wanted to reiterate his closeness to the Lebanese people, who once lived of great difficulty and uncertainty, and recalled the responsibility of all political forces to urgently commit themselves to the benefit of the nation. In reaffirming their desire to visit the country as soon as the conditions are right, Pope Francis expressed the hope that Lebanon, with the help of the international community, returns to incarnate “the fortress of the cedars, the diversity that from weakness becomes strength in the great reconciled people”, with its vocation to be a land of encounter, coexistence and pluralism.” (vaticannews photo)

POOR TO RECEIVE SECOND VACCINE AT VATICAN ON POPE’S NAME DAY

A communique today from Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, papal almoner, noted the Vatican’s continuing campagn to vaccinate the poor and marginalized and announced that tomorrow, Friday April 23, liturgical memorial of St. George martyr, Pope Francis’s name day, the poor will again be at the center of the Holy Father’s attention. The communique explained that “a group of 600 people, among the most fragile and marginalized, will receive the second dose of the vaccine against Covid-19 in the Paul VI Hall in the Vatican. These women and men are part of the approximately 1,400 beneficiaries of the vaccination campaign started during Holy Week by the Apostolic Almoner in collaboration with other associations.” (vaticannews photo)

“In addition to receiving the vaccine, people will participate in festivites for the Holy Father’s name day with a surprise offered by the Pope. “The Apostolic Almoner takes this opportunity to thank those many people and realities who participated in the “Suspended vaccine” initiative for their generosity that allowed, with a small gesture of closeness, countries otherwise unable to access the vaccine.”

FAMILY LOVE: A VOCATION AND A PATH TO HOLINESS

The Diocese of Rome and the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life today presented the official prayer for the 10th World Meeting of Families to be held in Rome from June 22 to 26, 2022. The official hashtag is also ready: #WMOF2022.

Cardinal Kevin Farrell, prefect of the dicastery, made the point in a note on the website that “praying is a way to enter into the heart of the Amoris Laetitia Year and the preparation for the event in Rome.” He added that, “many families and communities have been waiting a long time to be able to set out on their way, at least spiritually, to Rome. Prayer will accompany them and help them to grasp the message of the gathering.”

For the prayer and other news: Family love: a vocation and a path to holiness. The official prayer of the 10th World Meeting of Families (laityfamilylife.va)

 

POPE ASKS THAT MAY BE DEDICATED TO PRAYER MARATHON – POPE AT AUDIENCE: VOCAL PRAYER IS A SURE WAY SPEAK WITH GOD – VATICAN NEWS ON THE CHAUVIN VERDICT

POPE ASKS THAT MAY BE DEDICATED TO PRAYER MARATHON

A communique this afternoon from the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization announced that “it is the Holy Father’s heartfelt wish that the month of May be dedicated to a marathon of prayer on the theme “From the whole Church the prayer to God went up incessantly (Acts 12,5).”

The council notes that, “this initiative will involve in a special way all the shrines of the world, so that they become promoters for the faithful, families and communities of the recitation of the Rosary to invoke the end of the pandemic.

Thirty representative shrines from around the world will lead the Marian prayer, which will be broadcast live daily on the official channels of the Holy See at 18:00 (6 pm Rome time).”

Pope Francis will open this great prayer on May 1st and end it on May 31st.

POPE AT AUDIENCE: VOCAL PRAYER IS A SURE WAY SPEAK WITH GOD

At today’s general audience live-streamed from the papal library, Pope Francis explained that, “in our continuing catechesis on Christian prayer, we now consider the importance of vocal prayer. In our dialogue with God, He first spoke to us through His own Word made flesh. He invites us in turn to speak to him in words that embody our deepest thoughts, emotions and experiences. Words do not only express our ideas, they also shape us and often reveal us to ourselves.”

Francis said, “the prayer of the heart and the prayer of our lips can never be separated. As the Catechism tells us, “vocal prayer is an essential element of the Christian life” (No. 2701). Through our spoken or chanted prayer, alone or in common, we find the words that enable us to grow daily in our relationship with God. Prayer thus quietly becomes an essential part of our lives, like the air we breathe. When the disciples asked Jesus to show them how to pray, he responded by teaching them, and us, the words of the Our Father.

In evocative terms, the Holy Father noted that, “We should all have the humility of certain elderly people who, in church… recite softly the prayers they learned as children. That prayer does not disturb the silence, but testifies to their fidelity to the duty of prayer practised throughout their lives, without fail.” These “practitioners of humble prayer … are often the great intercessors of our parishes.”  They too, like all of us, sometimes face dark nights, and “empty moments.” But, the Pope said, “one can always remain faithful to vocal prayer.”

Therefore, Pope Francis concluded, “we must not despise vocal prayer,” which is the only “sure” way “to direct to God the questions He wants to hear.” (source: Vatican media)

VATICAN NEWS ON THE CHAUVIN VERDICT

10:40 AM TODAY:  Conviction announced in George Floyd murder case. Ex-officer Derek Chauvin is convicted for the murder of George Floyd. Almost a year since his murder, jurors have found Derek Chauvin guilty of all three charges on George Floyd’s death. These are: second degree murder, third degree murder and manslaughter. In May last year, the ex-police officer was filmed kneeling on George Floyd for over nine minutes as he arrested him.

We will be bringing you more updates on this story including reactions from the US bishops. (vaticannews.va)

That vaticannews.va update came at 11:30 am with a report on statements by the USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) and by the bishops of Minnesota: US Bishops call for racial healing in wake of Chauvin verdict – Vatican News

FIRST WORLD DAY FOR GRANDPARENTS AND ELDERLY SCHEDULED FOR JULY 25 – CELATA PULCHRITUDO – SECRETS OF THE VATICAN MUSEUMS

FIRST WORLD DAY FOR GRANDPARENTS AND ELDERLY SCHEDULED FOR JULY 25

The Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life announces the first World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly on the theme “I am with you always.”

By Vatican News staff writer

The First World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly will be celebrated on Sunday July 25, said the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life in a press release on Tuesday. (Vatican file photo)

The theme chosen by Pope Francis for this inaugural commemoration is “I am with you always” (Mt 28:20). It expresses the closeness of the Lord and the Church to every older person, especially in these challenging times of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The theme, “I am with you always” is also “a promise of closeness and hope that young and old can mutually share,” notes the press release.

Not only are grandchildren and youths invited to be present in the lives of older people, but older people and grandparents also have a mission of evangelization, proclamation and prayer, and of encouraging young people in their faith.

To further encourage the celebration of the World Day in local churches and associations, the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life will offer pastoral tools from mid-June, which will be available on the website www.amorislaetitia.va

(JFL: The Pope established this day on January 31, 2021: Pope establishes World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly – Vatican News)

CELATA PULCHRITUDO – SECRETS OF THE VATICAN MUSEUMS

In a communiqué released today, the Vatican Museums, in collaboration with Vatican News, announced the launch of “a new series of videos revealing the secrets of the papal collections. Secrets, little-known stories, curiosities are hidden behind the internationally acclaimed beauty of the masterpieces contained in the Vatican collections.”

The series that starts today, entitled “Celata Pulchritudo – The Secrets of the Vatican Museums” is “a new multimedia project produced through a collaboration between Vatican News and the Vatican Museums” and, in “short videos captures the story behind the art collected by the Popes.”

The press release goes on to say that, “from the sources of inspiration that nurtured such great masters such as Michelangelo or Raphael, to the enigmas and mysteries of ancient pre-Christian civilizations – this series takes the viewer behind the scenes of the Museum considered by generations of artists to be ‘the school of the world’, to reveal the knowledge it has inherited, its research, its work in the area of conservation and restoration handed on through the centuries.”

Each monthly episode contributes to a narrative adventure lasting over a year and will be accessible in two versions: a longer video with a more narrative slant will be accompanied by an in-depth article and a second shorter video geared toward the social media audience. Both versions will be published through the Vatican News and Vatican Museums web portals and social media accounts.

The series, highlights the communiqué, seeks to offer a fresh look at the Vatican Museums which never ceased responding to its vocation as a “vivacious place”, even though it has remained closed in the last few months due to the Covid-19 regulations in force.

Click here for first episode: Michelangelo’s “Teacher” – first episode of the series “Celata Pulchritudo” – Vatican News

 

POPE FRANCIS TO ORDAIN NINE PRIESTS FOR THE DIOCESE OF ROME

Just days ago we celebrated Pope emeritus Benedict’s 94th birthday but another April day is important: On this day in 2005 he was elected to the papacy, the day he, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, chose the name Benedict XVI.

On other news: I think we can safely presume that the ordinations the Pope will confer on Sunday will take place at the Altar of the Chair, as all papal liturgies have for over a year now. The space is ample. In past diaconate ordinations for the North American College that have taken place at this altar, the ordinands often numbered about 30.

I’m sure that Pope Francis, especially as bishop of Rome, is delighted to be able to preside at this Mass and ordination. You’ll read some interesting stories about eight of the future priests. I would be curious to know if the young men from Romania, Colombia and Brazil will return to their native countries.

POPE FRANCIS TO ORDAIN NINE PRIESTS FOR THE DIOCESE OF ROME

By Vatican News staff writer

Pope Francis, the Bishop of Rome, will ordain nine deacons to the priesthood at St. Peter’s Basilica, on April25, which coincides with the liturgical celebration of Good Shepherd Sunday.

The Mass will begin at 9:00 am, and will be broadcast live on Vatican media, Telepace, Tv2000 and on the Facebook page of the diocese of Rome.

In-person participation at the ordinations will be strictly in compliance with Covid-19 health regulations, including body temperature checks, wearing masks and hand sanitization. (Vatican file photo)

Formed in different places

A statement issued on Monday by the Press Office of the Vicariate of Rome said the deacons are currently observing a spiritual retreat at a monastery in preparation for their ordination.

They all studied in various diocesan seminaries. Six of them – Georg Marius Bogdan, Salvatore Marco Montone, Manuel Secci, Diego Armando Barrera Parra, Salvatore Lucchesi and Giorgio de Iuri – were formed at the Pontifical Roman Major Seminary.

Two others, Riccardo Cendamo and Samuel Piermarini, studied at the diocesan Redemptoris Mater College, while Mateus Henrique Ataide da Cruz was trained at the Seminary of Our Lady of Divine Love.

Personal stories

The statement also provides some insight into the personal stories of the deacons.

Georg Marius Bogdan from Romania said that that his desire to become a priest was inspired by a book he read when he was 9 years old, on the life St. John Bosco, founder of the Salesians.

The example of St. John Bosco is also a source of inspiration for Salvatore Marco Montone from Calabria who recounts that on the day of his baptism, the priest covered him with a stole because they had run out of white robes for the children. He recalls that the call of the Lord became apparent to him during Eucharistic adoration in church one night while he lived at the Salesian university residence in the Parish of San Giovanni Bosco. Salvatore also has some experience of the “field hospital church” of which Pope Francis speaks in his service to the poor while working with the diocesan Caritas.

Diego Armando Barrera Parra from Colombia volunteered since after high school at a juvenile prison and in a foundation for drug addicts. There, he says, “my desire to be able to help and serve others forever was born.”

Manuel Secci who grew up in Torre Angela in the parish of Sts. Simon and Jude Thaddeus, says his vocation was nurtured by the “sense of community and the beautiful experiences” he has had.

43-year-old Salvatore Lucchesi, who hails from Sicily, gives thanks to God for his call to him during his adolescence, when he moved to Rome for university studies. In prayer, he says, “I had a direct experience of the fact that the Lord was there and did not ask anything of me. This is the grace, the free love of the Lord.”

Mateus Enrique Ataide de Cruz, from Brazil, has lived in Rome for seven years. He recalls that at the age of 15, when he started working for an old man, he was required to pray with him and recite the Rosary as part of his contract. What he first experienced as an imposition has now become a “necessity” for him.

Riccardo Cendamo, 40, who had dreams of being a filmmaker, recounts: “If I look back now, I realize that the call to the priestly vocation had always been there, that love had to mature.”

Finally, Samuel Piermarini, who gave up a football (soccer) contract, and entered in to Redemptoris Mater College to be formed for the priesthood, expresses his eagerness in anticipation of the ordination on Sunday.

VATICAN INSIDER: THE 100 YEARS OF PAULIST FATHER JIM LLOYD (Part II) – A POPE AND A CHALICE TURN 94

Weekly English-language edition of L’Osservatore Romano: ING_2021_016_1604.pdf (osservatoreromano.va)

VATICAN INSIDER: THE 100 YEARS OF PAULIST FATHER JIM LLOYD (Part II)

In the interview segment of this week’s Vatican Insider, I continue my tribute to a special friend, Paulist Father Jim Lloyd who, on Holy Saturday, April 3 2021, turned 100! As I mentioned in Part I of our conversation, Fr. Lloyd lives at the Paulist Motherhouse in New York City where I’ve been a guest on many occasions. I also said last week that I’ve known many wonderful and interesting priests in my life but I’ve known only two whose life story should be a movie, and Fr. Lloyd is one! The conversation you’ll hear actually took place in New York at the Paulist residence right after Fr. Jim’s 97th birthday and days before his 70th anniversary as a Paulist priest!

Here is a photo of Fr. Jim’ 100th birthday celebration, courtesy of Paulist President, Fr. Eric Andrews.

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on http://www.ewtn.com. 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.” VI airs at 5am and 9pm ET on Saturdays and 6am ET on Sundays. On the GB-IE feed (which is on SKY in the UK and Ireland), VI airs at 5:30am, 12 noon and 10pm CET on Sundays. Both of these feeds are also available on the EWTN app and on www.ewtnradio.net ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: go to https://www.ewtn.com/radio/audio-archive and write the name of the guest for whom you are serarching in the SEARCH box. Below that, will appear “Vatican Insider” – click on that and the link to that particular episode will appear.

A POPE AND A CHALICE TURN 94

Pope emeritus Benedict XVI turns 94 years old today! Millions around the world wish him a very happy and blessed birthday and ask the Lord to continue blessing him (and us, through him). It was my joy over the years to meet him a number of times and to cover the early days of his pontificate when I was working at the Vatican Information Service.

On this very same date 94 years ago, my paternal grandparents gave this chalice to a young man, Leo Raphael Toohey, on his ordination day. When Fr. Toohey died at the age of 52 in 1950, that chalice returned to my grandparents who then gave it to my parents who, in turn, gave it to me.

This was taken a few hours after Benedict XVI celebrated Mass in his private chapel with the chalice. He gave me holy cards and a rosary, one set for me and another for the future recipient of the chalice.  I have no photos of that Mass, most unfortunately!

I had two dreams for that chalice.

The first came true when Pope emeritus Benedict celebrated Mass with that chalice on Saturday, October 19, 2013.

The second will come true on May 15, 2021, when Deacon Ryan Brady, to whom I gave the chalice at Christmastime 2018, will be ordained a priest in Chicago! His first Mass with the chalice will be the following day at Chicago’s Holy Name Cathedral.

I wrote the full story of the chalice in January 2019: A CHALICE GOES HOME….. | Joan’s Rome (wordpress.com)

COUNTDOWN TO “LISTENING FOR GOD CONFERENCE”: C-DAY!

COUNTDOWN TO “LISTENING FOR GOD CONFERENCE”: C-DAY!

As Teresa Tomeo, co-host of this conference, has written on her website: “We are very excited to invite you to our new conference about how to Listen For God in the everyday experiences in your life – those “Godly coincidences” and the moments of being touched by the Holy Spirit in Scripture, prayer and all the special moments of your life. 50+ of the best Catholic speakers will give short talks about where you can hear the still small voice (and sometimes the not so small voice) of the loving Creator who always wants to guide us in life if we will listen.

Today’s the day the conference starts! You probably know that if you registered: Listening For God VIRTUAL Conference (regfox.com)

I have my own stories about how to listen to and for God and I join Teresa’s amazing contributors, friends and colleagues whom I like to call “Catholic notables.”

In addition to fascinating video by each of the 50+ contributors, there is a daily panel discussion. I posted the panel discussion guests for today and tomorrow in yesterday’s column. Here are Sunday’s guests:  

By the by, Teresa suggests considering a Premium Pass when you register that will allow you to listen to all the talks and panel discussions after the Conference and for the rest of the year.

Here’s a partial list of some of the talks on tap:

  • Listening For God Through Scripture
  • Recognizing the Interior Movements God Gives Us
  • Listening For the Will of God
  • The Saints Reveal the Voice of God
  • God Speaks to Us in Suffering
  • Forgiveness & Healing in Marriage
  • Listening to God in the Voice of the Unborn
  • The Power of the Rosary & How to Pray it More Deeply
  • Mary the Model of Prayer
  • Hearing God in Difficult Events
  • Iconography: Saintly Inspiration
  • Listening For God in Silence
  • Prophetic Voices in the Contemporary Church
  • Recognize the “God-incidences” All Around Us
  • Praying the Rosary Like Never Before
  • God is In Her, She Will Not Fall
  • Being Touched By an Angel

 

COUNTOWN TO “LISTENING FOR GOD CONFERENCE”: – 1 DAY

COUNTOWN TO “LISTENING FOR GOD CONFERENCE”: – 1 DAY

You probably heard the expression “God’s coincidences” when you read Teresa’s latest book, “Listening for God: Discovering the Incredible Ways God Speaks to us.” This is the book, of course that inspired the “Listening for God Conference,” the virtual conference that takes place April 16, 17 and 18.

She speaks of God coincidences as those experiences that give us the chills or cause us to do a doubletake, those moments when our circumstances are just too coincidental to be a mere “coincidence.” That’s God calling us, talking to us.

And you will hear 50+ well-known media personalities and authors talk of their Godincidences, how and when and where and through whom God called to them, spoke to them.

And doubtless, their stories, their testimonies will make you remember such a moment, a person, an instance, an event in your life when you really needed God and He spoke to you, He was there for you

I have a story that will surprise you in Teresa’s book, and I appear at the conference this weekend as well, so be sure to tune in!

I spoke of this conference yesterday and will add more info tomorrow, the day it starts. In the meantime, you can register here: Listening For God VIRTUAL Conference (regfox.com)

By the way, in addition to listening to the speakers live and on demand, there will be three panel discussions:

FRIDAY:

SATURDAY:

Here is what Teresa wrote today to her friends, fans and conference registrants (current and future):

Pope Francis Insists “Getting Closer to God Starts With ‘Listening for God'”

Brothers and sisters, I see the words of the Pope this week, as another “Godincidence.” Now I realize the Pope has no idea about our upcoming virtual conference, but the Holy Spirit does. And I don’t think it is a mere coincidence that the Pope is encouraging us, through the example of my patron and favorite saint, St. Teresa of Avila, that it all begins by listening.

In his letter to the Bishop of Avila, as the diocese and the universal Church marks the 50th anniversary of St. Teresa of Avila being named a Doctor of the Church, the Pope stresses that in order to get with the God program we need to be great listeners.

“In order for our society to become increasingly human, and we can all live in the fraternity that comes from Father, it is a whole program to ‘listen to His invitation to enter us’ to find the Lord and thus to testify that “only God is enough.”

If you want to learn more about truly listening to and for God in your life, I hope you’ll join me and more than 50 speakers for our Listening for God Virtual Conference. Perhaps by attending this online event, we will also learn to be more like the great mystic, and as the Pope also said, “move heaven to earth” and make our lives a true dwelling place for God.

 

IN BRIEF: VATICANNEWS.VA

IN BRIEF: VATICANNEWS.VA

POPE ATTENDS FUNERAL MASS OF FORMER PAPAL ALMONER. Pope Francis, on Thursday morning, participated privately at the funeral Mass of Archbishop Felix del Blanco Prieto, held at the Altar of the Chair in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. Archbishop Prieto died on 10 April at Rome’s Gemelli Hospital at the age of 84. He served as Papal Almoner from 2007 to 2012 under Pope Benedict XVI. Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin presided at the Mass.

POPE TO RETURN TO STUDY WINDOW FOR REGINA COELI. Sunday, April 18, will see Pope Francis, once again reappearing at the window of the Apostolic Palace overlooking St. Peter’s Square, to lead the recitation of the Regina Coeli prayer with the faithful gathered in the Square. The fluctuating course of the pandemic and the precautionary measures taken by the Italian government to curb the spread of the virus, have resulted in the Pope connecting in many occasions with the faithful exclusively through the media from the library of the Apostolic Palace. Last year’s first lockdown kept the faithful away from Bernini’s colonnade between March 8 and May 24, with the Pope leading Sunday prayers via live streaming from the Library of the Apostolic Palace.

POPE FRANCIS: “BRAZIL’S COVID CRISIS HAS LEFT NO ONE UNTOUCHED”. In a video message to the country’s Bishops’ Conference, meeting in its 58th general assembly, Pope Francis urged Brazil’s bishops to help reconcile the nation and comfort the many people whose lives have been affected by the pandemic. Intended as a message for “all Brazilians,” the Pope said Brazil is undergoing “one of the most difficult trials in its history.” He expressed his closeness to the hundreds of thousands of families who have lost a loved one due to Covid-19. “Young people and elderly, fathers and mothers, health care providers and volunteers, Church ministers, the rich and the poor,” he said, “the pandemic has left no one untouched in its trail of suffering.” Brazil has confirmed over 13.6 million coronavirus cases and more than 361,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR CULTURE TO EXPLORE HOLISTIC PATH TO HEALTH.Exploring the Mind, Body & Soul. How Innovation and Novel Delivery Systems Improve Human Health” is the title of an international event that will bring together physicians, scientists, ethicists, religious leaders, patient rights advocates, policymakers, philanthropists and commentators to discuss the latest breakthroughs in medicine and healthcare as well as the human implications and cultural impact of technological advances. Jointly organized by the Pontifical Council for Culture and the “Cura Foundation” – an organization of healthcare experts whose mission it is to improve human health and increase quality of life globally, it will take place in a virtual format from May 6 to 8, 2021.  Detailed information can be found on the website of the Pontifical Council for Culture and at VaticanConference2021.org.

 

THE CHURCH: A HOUSE AND SCHOOL OF COMMUNION AND PRAYER – PAPAL CONDOLENCES FOR DEATH OF CARDINAL CASSIDY

THE CHURCH: A HOUSE AND SCHOOL OF COMMUNION AND PRAYER

Once again the Wednesday general audience was live-streamed from the papal library in the Apostolic Palace and again, Pope Francis dedicated the weekly catechesis to prayer, focusing on how the Church, as the house and school of communion, is also the house and school of prayer.

He began by noting that, “the Church is a great school of prayer. Many of us learned how to whisper our first prayers on our parents’ or grandparents’ laps. We might, perhaps, cherish the memory of our mommy and daddy who taught us to say our prayers before going to bed. … This is good to remember.”

“We become aware,” continued the Pope, “that the gift we received with simplicity in infancy is a great heritage and source of wealth and that the experience of prayer is worth deepening more and more, …And the breath of faith is prayer: we grow in faith inasmuch as we learn to pray. After certain passages in life, we become aware that without faith we could not have made it through and that our strength was prayer.”

(photo from vatican media)

The Pope then highlighted how “communities and groups dedicated to prayer flourish in the Church. … There are monasteries, convents, hermitages in the Church where persons consecrated to God live. … They are cells that are vital not only for the ecclesial fabric, but that of society itself. Let us think of the role that monasticism played in the birth and growth of European civilization, and other cultures as well. Pray and working in community keeps the world going.

The Holy Father explained that, “everything in the Church originates in prayer and everything grows thanks to prayer. When the Enemy, the Evil One, wants to combat the Church, he does so first by trying to drain her fonts, hindering them from praying.”

Recognizing that, “holy women and men do not have easier lives than other people” because “they have their own problems and are often the objects of opposition,” Francis said, “their strength is prayer. They always draw from the inexhaustible “well” of Mother Church. Through prayer they nourish the flame of their faith, as oil used to do for lamps.” Citing a parable in the Gospel of Luke, he said, “Therefore, we can conclude that the lamp of faith will always be lit on earth as long as there is the oil of prayer.”

“This is the Church’s essential task, to pray and to teach how to pray,” concluded Pope Francis. . To transmit the lamp of faith and the oil of prayer from generation to generation. … Without faith everything collapses; and without prayer faith is extinguished. For this reason, the Church, as the house and school of communion, is the house and school of prayer.

PAPAL CONDOLENCES FOR DEATH OF CARDINAL CASSIDY

The Vatican today published the following telegram sent by Pope Francis to Archbishop Adolfo Tito Yllana, apostolic nuncio in Australia, upon news of the death of Cardinal Edward Idris Cassidy at the age of 96 on April 10. Cardinal Cassidy was president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity:

“Having learned with sadness of the death of Cardinal Edward Idris Cassidy, I offer my heartfelt condolences. Recalling with gratitude the late cardinal’s years of valued service to the Holy See, his zeal for the spread of the Gospel and his commitment to the promotion of Christian unity, I commend his noble soul to the merciful love of God our heavenly Father. To all who mourn Cardinal Cassidy in the sure hope of the resurrection I cordially impart my Apostolic blessing as a pledge of consolation and peace in the Lord. Franciscus pp.”