For those of you who will be in Rome early next month and want to see the mortal remains of St. Padre Pio for the days they will be in the Eternal City and in Vatican City, click here (the official Vatican Jubilee website) for details: http://www.im.va/content/gdm/en/news/evidenza/2016-01-06-pcpne.html
POPE TO FAMILIES: PATCH UP PROBLEMS IN YEAR OF MERCY
It was a fun day for pilgrims attending Pope Francis’ weekly general audienc, held this week in a sun-splashed St. Peter’s Square, because the circus was in town and performed in front of the Holy Father who gave every indication of greatly enjoying the colorful performance. (CNS photo)
“I greet the circus performers,” he said after they had performed, “and I thank them for their very welcome exhibition. You are champions of beauty: you make beauty, and beauty is good for the soul.” Then, extemporaneously, he said, “Beauty brings us closer to God, but behind this spectacle of beauty, how many hours of training there are! Go forward, keep it up!”
Earlier, the Pope delivered his weekly audience catechesis in Italian, with summaries delivered in seven other languages by monsignori from the Secretariat of State. (photo new.va)
“Continuing our weekly catecheses inspired by this Holy Year devoted to divine mercy,” began Francis, “we now consider God’s mercy at work in the history of the Chosen People. The Scriptures show the Lord’s merciful concern for Israel throughout its history, beginning with the call of Abraham. God’s mercy is expressed particularly, however, in the experience of the exodus from Egypt. God heard the cry of his people, as he hears the cry of the poor and oppressed in every age. He raised up Moses to be the mediator of his mercy and salvation.
“Through Moses,” continued the Pope, “he led Israel to freedom and, through the covenant, he made them his own possession, “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation”, a people precious in his eyes. The mystery of God’s mercy culminates in the sending of his Son, the Lord Jesus, in that “new and eternal covenant” inaugurated in his blood, whereby we are granted the forgiveness of our sins and become truly God’s children, beloved sons and daughters of our good and merciful Father.
The Holy Father explained that, “Moses, one of God’s chosen ones, saved from the waters of the Nile by divine mercy, becomes a mediator for the liberation of his people. “And we too, in this Year of Mercy, can be mediators … with the works of mercy, being close to our neighbours, to relieve them. They are many good things we can do.
In off-the-cuff remarks, Francis said, “I think about so many brothers and sisters who are estranged from their families; they don’t speak to each other. This Year of Mercy is a good occasion to meet up again, to embrace each other and forgive each other, to leave bad things behind.” And he urged those with such issues to try and settle them, to patch things up, to take advantage of this year of mercy
Pope Francis emphasized performing both spiritual and corporal works of mercy uring this Holy Year – and beyond – and this was also the core of his just-released 2016 Message for Lent.
A JUBILEE YEAR RETREAT FOR THOSE AT SERVICE OF CHARITY
(Vatican Radio) During his General Audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis called attention to a Jubilee Year initiative of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, promoting a day of spiritual retreat for persons and groups dedicated to the service of charitable works. These days of retreat, to be offered in each diocese during the coming Lent, will offer an opportunity to reflect on the call to be merciful as the Father is merciful. “I invite you to welcome this initiative,” Pope Francis said, “making use of the suggestions and materials prepared by Cor Unum.”
The day of retreat will have as its theme “Caritas Christi urget nos” (2 Cor 5,14: the love of Christ compels us). In a letter announcing the initiative, Cor Unum suggests that each individual charitable group should celebrate its own day of reflection, citing the Holy Father’s desire that the Jubilee be celebrated in local communities. The letter suggests the retreat be organized in three parts: “a penitential celebration with individual confessions; a time of sharing in group and the Eucharistic celebration.”
More information on the Day of Spiritual Retreat can be found here.
The Pontifical Council Cor Unum was instituted by Pope Paul VI in 1971 and, in the words of Pope Benedict XVI, its tasks are to orient and coordinate the Organizations and charitable activities promoted by the Catholic Church.