TURN TO FAITH, NOT FORTUNE TELLERS, WHEN LIFE GETS TOUGH

Weekend tweets from Pope Francis:

August 12: Dear young people, you are the hope of the Church. Do you dream about your future? Then take part in #synod18! https://t.co/XNDm29yp3s

August 13: In Mary we see that humility is not a virtue of the weak but of the strong who don’t have to treat others badly to feel important.

TURN TO FAITH, NOT FORTUNE TELLERS, WHEN LIFE GETS TOUGH

(Vatican Radio) “When you do not cling to the word of the Lord, but have more security in consulting horoscopes and fortune tellers, you sink”. Those were Pope Francis’ words during his Angelus address on Sunday in St Peter’s Square. He was referring to the Gospel of the day where Jesus walks on the waters of Lake Galilee to save Peter and the disciples from sinking in their boat due to the heavy waves of the sea.

The Pope recounted how this story is rich in symbolism. The boat, he continued, “is the life of each of us, but it is also the life of the Church; The wind represents difficulties and trials.”

Peter’s invocation: “Lord, command me to come to you!” And his cry, “Lord, save me”, the Holy Father noted  “are so much like our desire to feel the closeness of the Lord, but also the fear and anguish that accompany the toughest moments of our lives and our communities, marked by internal fragility and external difficulties.”

Pope Francis explained, that at that moment, Peter was not sure of the word of Jesus, which was like a rope to cling to in hostile and turbulent waters. This is what can happen to us as well, he said,   “when you do not cling to the word of the Lord, but to have more security in consulting horoscopes and fortune tellers you sink”.

The Gospel of today, the Pope underlined, “reminds us that faith in the Lord and in his word does not open a path where everything is easy and quiet for us; It does not take away the storms of life.

But faith, the Holy Father went on to say, “gives us the assurance of a Presence, that is Christ, which pushes us to overcome the existential buffs; Faith, in short, is not a loophole from the problems of life, but it sustains our journey and gives it meaning.

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“SUMMERTIME, AND THE LIVIN’ IS EASY” (EVEN FOR POPES)

Saw this news report this morning: Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced that 755 staff must leave U.S. diplomatic missions by September 1 in retaliation for new U.S. sanctions against Moscow. I read that, on that date, staff levels of U.S. diplomatic personnel in Russia will total 455 people, identical to the number of Russian embassy employees in Washington. Thus, the total US diplomatic staff in Russia (is) was 1210 people. I just have one question – and am guessing I have a lot to learn: Why on earth does one embassy need 1,210 people? I’m sure that includes some chefs and household staff and office cleaning staff and a few drivers – but 1,210 people?

“SUMMERTIME, AND THE LIVIN’ IS EASY” (EVEN FOR POPES)

A song from the musical “Porgy and Bess” has the line “Summertime and the livin is easy,” and that’s pretty much how it is in Italy in July and even more so in August. Many businesses and shops close, sometimes for several weeks, Italians vacate major cities for their summer homes on the beach or in the cooler mountains, traffic is less congested and the noise level goes down noticeably.

It has been torrid in Rome since mid-June at least. Today it’s 95, tomorrow we’ll hit 101 and Wednesday will be 103. In fact, predictions for the next week say every day will be 100+ degrees. We are still waiting to hear if water rationing will go into effect throughout Rome. (photo EFP)

 

I know many places in the U.S. and around the world are experiencing heat waves and, in some places (Italy included), devastating fires, but it may seem hotter here than elsewhere simply because there is not as much air conditioning here as in the US. Many homes do not have AC as it is so expensive to run. Stores will have conditioning but they negate the effects by leaving their doors open. Generally speaking, in the U.S., you’ll be hot while outside but once you are in a car, bus, train, home, store, restaurant – you name it – you’ll find relief with AC.

Coming back this afternoon from Castel Sant’Angelo where I filmed a segment for “At Home with Jim and Joy,” the water in my bottle got so warm I had to empty the bottle – it was undrinkable.

Let’s not talk about public transport in this weather! A relatively small number of busses have fully functioning AC but often, those that have AC leave the windows open and in five minutes you feel like you are travelling in an oven! Right now the transport crisis is less about working AC than it is working drivers. Some drivers are on vacation but many are simply not reporting for work as they’ve not been paid in three months! Thus, fewer buses, longer waits and when your bus does come, chances are people are packed in like the proverbial sardines!

Tourists abound at this time of year, of course, but Italians have started their mass vacation exodus as, almost every weekend in July, cars filled with families depart Rome for the seashore or the mountains. Most families have second homes – some an hour’s drive away, others in the northern Alpine areas or on the beaches of Calabria and Sicily in southern Italy. Most Italians drive to their vacation home, some take a ship to the islands and many Italians, of course, travel beyond the borders of Italy to exotic places. July is a big month for vacation but August is traditionally the month when cities seem to literally close.

July and August in Rome is when people walk slower, simply because it is so hot or because they are just strolling for the fun of it, in good company and seemingly aimlessly. These are months when the sun shines mercilessly and you walk on the shady side of the street so that your shoes don’t stick to the sidewalk that appears to be melting under your feet. These are months when stores seem to close a bit earlier than usual, when restaurants remain open later than usual, when gelateria are still selling mouth-watering cones at midnight and watermelons are sold on every fifth street corner, satisfying a national passion – and a national pastime – in the summer.

This afternoon, as I was returning home from taping, I saw quite a number of places – restaurants, cafes, pharmacies, a newsstand, a hardware store – that are shuttered for the holidays. Such places usually put a sign on the shutter that tells when they will re-open. Pharmacies are required to post a list of close by alternative pharmacies that are open.

The Vatican is no exception to the July-August vacation time. Most employees want to escape the heat by heading to a milder clime or, when that is not possible, to seek relief in any form – the mountains, the sea or some place that at least can offer a lot of air-conditioning! Many employees are from overseas and thus return home for a month.

News is scarce because there are few people to make it. The main Vatican newsmaker, Pope Francis, has spent the last month on a relatively quiet working vacation, appearing in public only on Sundays for the Angelus. He resumes his weekly general audience this Wednesday, August 2.

Yesterday at the Angelus, before a fair sized crowd in St. Peter’s Square, notwithstanding the midday heat, he called for increased efforts to end human trafficking. His made his appeal after reciting the Marian prayer with pilgrims and tourists gathered in the square on the 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time and the World Day against Trafficking in Persons.

Francis began by noting, “Today is the World Day against Trafficking in Persons, promoted by the United Nations. Each year, thousands of men, women and children are innocent victims of sexual and organ trafficking, and it seems that we are so accustomed to seeing it as a normal thing. This is ugly, it is cruel, it is criminal! I would like to ask everyone to commit to countering this aberrant plague, a modern form of slavery, Let us pray together to the Virgin Mary to support the victims of trafficking and to convert the hearts of traffickers.”

I remember when papal vacations lasted several months. John Paul – and Benedict XVI in the early years – would often spend part of July in cooler northern Italy, usually at a summer residence owned by a diocese or seminary, and then go to Castelgandolfo for August and most of September. Often the Sunday Angelus was recited in the canopy-covered courtyard of the summer papal residence.

Yes, summertime – and the livin is easy!

C9 CARDINALS EXPRESS FULL SUPPORT FOR PERSON, TEACHING OF POPE – AT ANGELUS, POPE LOOKS AT MURDER, ADULTERY, OATH-TAKING

C9 CARDINALS EXPRESS FULL SUPPORT FOR PERSON, TEACHING OF POPE

The Cardinals Council today began its eighteenth session. They will be meeting until Wednesday of this week. At the beginning of this morning’s meetings at the Domus Sanctae Marthae Cardinal, Oscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, coordinator of the group, after greeting the Holy Father, thanked him on behalf of all the Members for his words in the Christmas address to the Roman Curia last December 22, 2016, expressing gratitude for the Pope’s encouragement of the work of the Council of Cardinals. Regarding recent events, the Council of Cardinals expressed its full support for the work of the Pope, while ensuring full adhesion and support of His person and His Magisterium.

December 2016 address: http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/it/bollettino/pubblico/2016/12/22/0927/02060.html

AT ANGELUS, POPE LOOKS AT MURDER, ADULTERY, OATH-TAKING

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis prayed the Angelus with pilgrims and tourists gathered in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday. In remarks ahead of the traditional prayer of Marian devotion, the Holy Father offered a meditation on the Sermon on the Mount, speaking about how Jesus wishes to help his listeners to reflect on the Mosaic Law.

“What was said in the ancient Covenant was not everything,” the Holy Father explained. “Jesus came to fulfil and promulgate God’s law definitively, to the last iota. He manifests its original purposes and fulfils the authentic aspects, and He does all this through His preaching and, even more so, with the offer of Himself on the cross. In this way Jesus teaches how to carry out fully the will of God, with a ‘higher justice’ than that of the scribes and the Pharisees. A justice inspired by love, charity and mercy, and therefore capable of realising the substance of the commandments, avoiding the risk of formalism. Formalism: I can do this, I can’t do that; I can up to this point, up to here I can’t… No. It is more, more”.

With regard to the commandment, “You shall not kill, He affirms that it is violated not only by effective homicide, but also by behaviour that offends the dignity of the person, including insulting words. “Certainly, these do not have the same gravity and culpability as killing, but they are on the same line, as they are its premises and reveal the same malevolence,” the Pope observed.

“Jesus invites us not to establish a scale of offence, but rather to consider them all harmful, inasmuch as they are motivated by the intention to do harm to our neighbour.

And Jesus gives us an example. Insulting: we are used to insulting; it is like saying ‘hello’ And this is along the same lines as killing. When we insult our brother, we kill him in his heart. Please, do not insult! We gain nothing by insulting.”

Another fulfilment is related to matrimonial law. “Adultery was considered a violation of a man’s right of ownership over a woman. Jesus instead goes to the root of the evil. Just as one arrives at homicide through insults and offence, one arrives at adultery through the intentions of possession with regard to a woman other than one’s wife. Adultery, like theft, corruption and other sins, is conceived first within and, once the wrong decision is made in the heart, it is made manifest in concrete behaviour. And Jesus says: he who looks at a woman who is not his own with the spirit of possession is an adulterer in his heart. He has already set out on the path to adultery. Let us think a little about this: the evil thoughts that head in this direction”.

”Jesus also says to His disciples not to take an oath, in as much as the oath is a sign of the insecurity and duplicity of human relations. God’s authority is exploited to guarantee our human affairs. Instead, we are called to establish among us, in our families and in our communities, an atmosphere of clarity and mutual trust, so that we can be considered sincere without resorting to higher interventions to be believed. Diffidence and mutual suspicion always threaten serenity!”

“May the Virgin Mary, woman of docile listening and joyous obedience”, he concluded, “help us draw ever closer to the Gospel, to be Christians of substance, not superficial. “And this is possible with the grace of the Holy Spirit, Who enables us to do everything with love, and thereby to carry out fully the will of God”.

A PAPAL SUNDAY: A CULTURE OF LIFE, A CULTURE OF ENCOUNTER, A WORLD OF PEACE – WORLD DAY OF SICK TO BE CELEBRATED FEBRUARY 11 AT LOURDES

A PAPAL SUNDAY: A CULTURE OF LIFE, A CULTURE OF ENCOUNTER, A WORLD OF PEACE

Just nine days after he sent a message to organizers and participants in the March for Life in Washington, D.C., Pope Francis on Sunday at the Angelus marked Italy’s Day for Life by focusing on creating a culture of life and protecting life at all stages. He called on the faithful to join Italian bishops in promoting a culture of life in which “no one is left alone.….each life is sacred. … So let’s pray together for those children who risk a pregnancy termination and for those who are nearing the end of life. may no one be left alone and may love defend the sense of life.”

Addressing the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square after the recitation of the Marian prayer, Francis urged all believers to respond to “the logic of waste and demographic downturn” by upholding and promoting a “culture of life.” Quoting Saint Teresa of Calcutta who said, “life is beauty, admire it; life is life, fight for it,” the Pope stressed that is true for the child about to be born and for the person who is about to die as “every life is sacred!”

Sunday was also America’s greatest sports celebration – the Super Bowl. How many people know that Pope Francis sent a video message to Super Bowl athletes and fans, saying great sporting events like this annual championship game are “highly symbolic and show that it is possible to build a culture of encounter and a world of peace. By participating in sport, we are able to go beyond our own self-interest – and in a healthy way – we learn to sacrifice, to grow in fidelity and respect the rules. may this year’s super bowl be a sign of peace, friendship and solidarity to the world.”

WORLD DAY OF SICK TO BE CELEBRATED FEBRUARY 11 AT LOURDES

Officials from the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development held a press conference today in the Holy See Press Office to present the 25th World Day of the Sick to be held in Lourdes, France on February 11. They also presented the New Charter for Healthcare Workers.

Msgr. Jean-Marie Mate Musivi Mupendawatu, secretary of this Dicastery explained that the World Day of the Sick was instituted by St. John Paul II in 1992 and, on this 25th anniversary, it will be celebrated in an extraordinary way, at Pope Francis’ behest. Among the many figures who will attend the event in Lourdes on February 11, Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin will be present as papal legate, and will celebrate the solemn Mass on the anniversary of the first apparition of the Virgin to Bernadette Soubirous.

The new Charter was then presented. It was defined as a revision and updating of the previous Charter for Healthcare Workers, the theological, moral and medical “vademecum” that resulted from an intuition of the first president of the former pontifical council, Cardinal Fiorenzo Angelini and was translated into 19 languages and was for twenty years a basic text for healthcare workers.

Msgr. Musivi Mupendawatu also noted Pope Francis’ Message for the upcoming 25th anniversary, saying its theme is “Amazement at what God has accomplished: ‘The Almighty has done great things for me…’” (Luke 1:49).

To read the entire summary of the press conference: http://www.news.va/en/news/vatican-presents-25th-world-day-of-sick-new-charte

 

 

HAPPY FEAST DAY, MARY IMMACULATE! – POPE URGES CHRISTIANS TO IMITATE MARY: SAY “YES” TO GOD – HOLY FATHER PAYS HOMAGE TO MARY IMMACULATE

Mass this morning in the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception at the North American College was, as is every liturgy as NAC, truly splendid. Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò was the main celebrant but there were at least 100 in the sanctuary at the offertory, including cardinals, bishops, priests, deacons, and acolytes.

Lunch later was a wonderful moment as well – a great menu, lots of terrific conversation and untold laughs as well. I cherish every moment I can spend with these young men, the newly ordained priests and deacons or the men now in their first, second or third year from dioceses around the U.S. and also Australia.

I did not take a single photo today, just enjoyed every moment. I prayed for everyone who has asked me for prayers for whatever reason and I handed those petitions over to Mary!

HAPPY FEAST DAY, MARY IMMACULATE!

December 8, the Solemnity of the Immacolata, the day devoted to the Immaculate Conception, is a holy day and a national holiday in Italy and hugely important for Italian families. Occurring as it does this year on a Thursday, many working Italians will take Friday off as well, creating a ponte or bridge to a long weekend.

Several main streets in the center of Rome are closed for the traditional afternoon visit by the Pope to both St. Mary Major basilica and to the Spanish Steps, Piazza di Spagna, to pay homage to the image of Mary there. This famous square in the heart of Rome is named for the Palazzo di Spagna, a magnificent building on the piazza that has housed the Spanish embassy to the Holy See since 1647.

Every year, early in the morning of December 8, Roman firemen place a garland atop the statue of Mary Immaculate and by day’s end, thousands of Romans will have followed in their footsteps, offering floral homages to Mary. The column and statue were originally erected with the help of 220 firemen, which is why the floral tributes always include a garland of flowers placed in Our Lady’s arms by a member of Rome’s fire department. The tradition of offering flowers to her image here on this feast day was begun by Pope Pius XII.

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Single flowers as well as bouquets are placed on a table at the foot of the column bearing the statue and, for many hours, Conventual Franciscan Friars and Minim Friars arrange them in an orderly fashion, often creating elegant wreaths.

The ancient Roman column of cipolin marble was found in 1777 in the monastery of Our Lady of the Conception in central Rome and brought to Piazza di Spagna on September 8 (birthday of the Virgin Mary), 1857 to celebrate the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception three years earlier.

Here is the dogmatic definition of the Immaculate Conception as declared on December 8, 1854 by Pope Pius IX in his Bull Ineffabilis Deus: “We declare, pronounce and define that the doctrine which asserts that the Blessed Virgin Mary, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God, and in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, Saviour of the human race, was preserved free from every stain of original sin is a doctrine revealed by God and, for this reason, must be firmly and constantly believed by all the faithful.”

POPE URGES CHRISTIANS TO IMITATE MARY: SAY “YES” TO GOD

At the Angelus on Thursday, Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, Pope Francis reflected on the day’s readings about the Fall of Adam and Eve and the Annunciation, saying “The readings of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary are two crucial passages in the history of the relationship between man and God:  We might say they lead us to the origins of good and evil.”

The first reading, hr said, tell us about the origins of sin, man’s first ‘no’ to God, when “he preferred to look at himself, not his Creator, thus shattering communion with God. … This makes sin, but the Lord does not leave man at the mercy of his evil; He immediately seeks him out and asks a question full of apprehension: ‘Where are you?’ It is the question of a father or a mother searching for a lost child…and this God does with much patience, in order to bridge the distance which arose at the beginning.”

The, we have the Annunciation, said Francis, when “God comes to dwell among us, [and] he becomes man like us. … And this was made possible by ‘a great yes,’ that of Mary at the Annunciation. Through this ‘yes’ Jesus began his way along the road of humanity; it began in Mary, spending the first months of his life within mother’s womb; not appearing already an adult and strong, but by following the entirety of the path of what it means to be human.”

Pope Francis underscored the fact Mary is described as “full of grace,” meaning there is “no room for sin…without a shadow of evil.”

The Holy Father then encouraged Christians to give their “Yes” to God, as this allow the Lord to create for us a “new story,” as opposed to sin, which makes us “old inside.”

In Advent, especially, said the Pope, “God desires to see us and awaits our ‘yes’.'”

After reciting the Marian prayer, Pope Francis offered his prayers for the victims and families of the 6.5 earthquake that the Aceh Province of Indonesia on Wednesday, killing at least 100 people. The same region of Indonesia was hit by the December 2004 earthquake and subsequent tsunami that killed over 100,000 people in just this one province and tens of thousands more in faraway lands.

“I wish to assure you of my prayers for the victims and their families, for the injured and for those who have lost their homes. May the Lord give strength to the population and support the rescue efforts.”

HOLY FATHER PAYS HOMAGE TO MARY IMMACULATE

Pope Francis visited the Piazza di Spagna in Rome on Thursday for the celebration of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, where he laid a bouquet of white roses near the Column of the Immaculate Conception and prayed especially for families and for workers. He made his way to Rome’s Spanish Square to pay homage to the Immaculate Virgin, just as the Bishop of Rome has annually for the past 50 years.

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Flanked by the Rome’s mayor, Pope Francis placed a bouquet of white roses at the base of the column of the Immaculate Conception and led those present in a prayer for her feast day. He prayed especially for abandoned children, for families struggling to make ends meet, and for men and women in search of work.

He said, “We have need of your immaculate heart, to love freely, without secondary aims but seeking the good of the other, with simplicity and sincerity, renouncing masks and tricks.”

Above all, the Holy Father prayed Our Lady to “Let us not give in to discouragement, but that, trusting in your constant help, we may engage ourselves fully in renewal of self, of this city and of the entire world.”

After the prayer, the Pope greeted many of those gathered in the square and blessed the sick and elderly. He then made a short stop at the Basilica of St. Mary Major’s, before returning to the Vatican, to pray silently before the image of Maria Salus Populi Romani, the protectress of the people of Rome.

Click here for his full prayer: http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2016/12/08/pope_makes_traditional_visit_to_immaculate_conception_statue/1277760

THE SIX NEW BEATITUDES OF POPE FRANCIS – BE SALT AND LIGHT: EXPRESS FAITH IN PRAYER, SACRAMENTS AND SERVICE TO THE SUFFERING

THE SIX NEW BEATITUDES OF POPE FRANCIS

In his homily this morning at Mass for the small Catholic population of Sweden, Pope Francis focussed on the Beatitudes as recounted in the day’s Gospel according to Matthew, and added some “new” Beatitudes of his own.

In what was the final event of his overnight stay in southern Sweden to mark the start of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, the Holy Father celebrated Mass under gray skies and very chilly temperatures in a stadium in Malmo, where the faithful included Catholics from other Nordic countries as well as Filippino immigrants who work in these nations. (photo: news.va)

malmo-mass

“The Beatitudes,” said Francis, “are the image of Christ and consequently of each Christian.  Here I would like to mention only one: ‘Blessed are the meek’.  Jesus says of himself: ‘Learn from me for I am meek and lowly in heart’.  This is his spiritual portrait and it reveals the abundance of his love.  Meekness is a way of living and acting that draws us close to Jesus and to one another.  It enables us to set aside everything that divides and estranges us, and to find ever new ways to advance along the path of unity.

He explained that “the Beatitudes are in some sense the Christian’s identity card.  They identify us as followers of Jesus.  We are called to be blessed, to be followers of Jesus, to confront the troubles and anxieties of our age with the spirit and love of Jesus.  Thus we ought to be able to recognize and respond to new situations with fresh spiritual energy.”

Pope Francis then created his own list of six Beatitudes: “Blessed are those who remain faithful while enduring evils inflicted on them by others, and forgive them from their heart.  Blessed are those who look into the eyes of the abandoned and marginalized, and show them their closeness.  Blessed are those who see God in every person, and strive to make others also discover him.  Blessed are those who protect and care for our common home.  Blessed are those who renounce their own comfort in order to help others.  Blessed are those who pray and work for full communion between Christians.  All these are messengers of God’s mercy and tenderness, and surely they will receive from him their merited reward.”

Pope Francis’ homily was quite beautiful, encouraging all of us aim high, as the saints did, and to remember that today’s Solemnity of All Saints, is a “celebration of holiness.  A holiness that is seen not so much in great deeds and extraordinary events, but rather in daily fidelity to the demands of our baptism.  A holiness that consists in the love of God and the love of our brothers and sisters.  A love that remains faithful to the point of self-renunciation and complete devotion to others.”

Click here for that full homily:  http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-celebrates-mass-at-malmo

BE SALT AND LIGHT: EXPRESS FAITH IN PRAYER, SACRAMENTS AND SERVICE TO THE SUFFERING

Following Mass in the Malmo stadium Tuesday, Solemnity of All Saints, Pope Francis had a message for the faithful before reciting the Angelus. Thanking God for his visit, Francis said, “As Catholics, we are part of a great family and are sustained in the same communion.  I encourage you to express your faith in prayer, in the sacraments, and in generous service to those who are suffering and in need.  I urge you to be salt and light, wherever you find yourselves, through the way you live and act as followers of Jesus, and to show great respect and solidarity with our brothers and sisters of other churches and Christian communities, and with all people of good will.” (photo news.va)

malmo-angelus

The Pope noted that, “In our life, we are not alone; we have the constant help and companionship of the Virgin Mary.  Today she stands before us as first among the saints, the first disciple of the Lord.  We flee to her protection and to her we present our sorrows and our joys, our fears and our aspirations.  We put everything under her protection, in the sure knowledge that she watches over us and cares for us with a mother’s love.

Francis asked those present to keep him in their prayers, adding, “I keep you all very present in my own. Now, together, let us turn to Our Lady and pray the Angelus.”

Earlier the Pope expressed his “gratitude to Bishop Anders Arborelius of Stockholm for his kind words, and to the civil authorities and all who helped in the planning and execution of this visit.” He also greeted the president and the secretary general of the Lutheran World Federation, the archbishop of the Church of Sweden, members of the ecumenical delegations and the diplomatic corps present for the occasion.

POPE FRANCIS AT THE ANGELUS: COURAGE IN MISSION, HEARTBREAK FOR IRAQ

POPE FRANCIS AT THE ANGELUS: COURAGE IN MISSION, HEARTBREAK FOR IRAQ

Sunday the Church marked both World Mission Day and, in the context of the Holy Year of Mercy, the Jubilee of Choirs and Liturgical Animators. At noon Pope Francis appeared at the window of his study in the Apostolic Palace and reflected on the life of St. Paul, his dedication to the mission, his courage in proclaiming the Gospel and the courage needed today by the faithful as they share in the mission.

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Francis reflected on the day’s second reading taken from the second letter of St. Paul to Timothy, and said, “Today is a time of mission and it is time of courage: courage to strengthen hesitant steps, to rediscover the delight of spending ourselves for the Gospel, to regain confidence in the strength that mission brings with itself.”

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“What is required of us today,” said the Holy Father, “is courage to be an alternative in the world, without ever becoming argumentative or aggressive. What is required of us is the courage to be open to all, without ever diminishing the absoluteness and uniqueness of Christ, the one Savior of all. … Courage is required of us to stand up to unbelief, without becoming arrogant.”

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Departing from his prepared text, Francis said, “There is also required of us in this day the courage of the publican in today’s Gospel,”according to St. Luke, with the parable of the proud Pharisee and the humble tax collector who averts his eyes from heaven and begs the Lord forgiveness – the parable that concludes with the admonition “whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted. “

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After praying the Angelus, Pope Francis, in a voice marked by sadness, called for prayers for Iraq. “At such a tragic time, we are close to the people of Iraq as a whole, especially to the people of the city of Mosul. Our hearts are shocked by the heinous acts of violence that have been committed for far too long against innocent citizens, be they Muslim, Christian or members of other ethnic groups and religions. I was saddened to hear news of the cold-blooded killing of many people of that beloved land, including many children. Such cruelty makes us weep, leaving us speechless! To these words of solidarity, I add the assurance that I shall remember in prayer so that Iraq, while suffering, may be both strong and firm in the hope of moving towards a future of security, reconciliation and peace.”

The Pope and the pilgrims in the square prayed silently for a moment and then together prayed the Hail Mary.