POPE FRANCIS ASKS FOR “STRUCTURES OF MERCY” TO MARK JUBILEE YEAR – FRANCIS: BE APOSTLES OF MERCY, IT’S IN THE CHRISTIAN DNA – REGINA COELI: POPE ANNOUNCES COLLECTION FOR UKRAINE – POPE MEETS HEAD OF DISSIDENT TRADITIONALIST FRATERNITY SSPX

FYI: Pope Francis put a video on his Instagram account on Divine Mercy Sunday, a short clip from his video-message to the Cuban people ahead of his 2015 September visit: “I want to be among you as a missionary of the mercy and tenderness of God. But allow me to encourage you, too, to be missionaries of this infinite love of God. May no one be without the witness of our faith, of our love. May everyone know that God always forgives, that God is always at our side, that God loves us.”

When the papal account (https://www.instagram.com/franciscus/) opened March 19, it reached 1 million followers faster than any other account in history. Francis now has 2 million followers.

POPE FRANCIS ASKS FOR “STRUCTURES OF MERCY” TO MARK JUBILEE YEAR

At a prayer vigil in St. Peter’s Square before Divine Mercy Sunday, Pope Francis spoke of God’s mercy, noting, “how very many faces has God’s mercy! It is known to us as closeness and tenderness, but also compassion and sharing, as consolation and pardon. The more we receive, the more we have to offer it, to share it. It cannot remain hidden nor kept for itself, It is something that burns hearts, causing them to love, recognizing the face of Jesus above all in those who are distant, weak, confused, marginalized. Mercy is not stationary, it seeks the lost sheep and when they are found, expresses a contagious joy. Mercy knows how to look into the eyes of each person; each one is precious for mercy because each person is unique. How much pain do we feel when we hear, “these people, these people, these poor guys, let’s kick them out, let’s let them sleepin the street….” Is this like Jesus?”

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Addressing the many thousands of apostles of Divine Mercy in the square, the Holy Father then suggested that, ‘structures of mercy’ be built as a lasting tribute to the Jubilee of Mercy: “As a reminder, a ‘monument’ let’s say, to this Year of Mercy, how beautiful it would be if in every diocese there were a structural work of mercy: a hospital, a home for the aged or abandoned children, a school where there isn’t one, a home for recovering drug addicts—so many things could be done. …Let’s think about it and speak with the bishops.”

In his remarks Saturday, Francis also noted that April 2 marked the 11th anniversary of the death of St. John Paul, the Pope who designated the first Sunday after Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday

FRANCIS: BE APOSTLES OF MERCY, IT’S IN THE CHRISTIAN DNA

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis presided over Mass in St Peter’s Square on Sunday for the Feast of Divine Mercy, and encouraged the faithful to be “apostles of mercy” toward those in need.

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“We are all called to become living writers of the Gospel, heralds of the Good News to all men and women today,” the Pope told the crowds during his homily.

“We do this by practicing the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, which are the hallmarks of the Christian life.

“By means of these simple yet powerful gestures, even when unseen, we can accompany the needy, bringing God’s tenderness and consolation.”

Pope Francis referred back to the day’s Gospel taken from John, which recounts the episode in which the Apostle Thomas doubts the Resurrection until he puts his hand in Jesus’ side.

These scenes denote the contrast between the disciple’s “fear” as they hid behind closed doors, and the “mission” on which Jesus sends them: “to proclaim the message of forgiveness,” the Pope said.

“Being apostles of mercy means touching and soothing the wounds that today afflict the bodies and souls of many of our brothers and sisters.”

“Curing these wounds, we profess Jesus, we make him present and alive; we allow others, who touch his mercy with their own hands, to recognize him as ‘Lord and God.’”

Click here for full homily: http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-at-divine-mercy-mass-be-apostles-of-mercy

REGINA COELI: POPE ANNOUNCES COLLECTION FOR UKRAINE

Pope Francis Sunday at the Regina Coeli appealed for peace in Ukraine, involved in a war since April of 2014, and highlighted “the many who are suffering the effects of violence here in Europe.” He said he was “thinking of the ordeal of those who suffer the consequences of the violence in Ukraine: of those who continue to live in lands that are turned upside-down by hostilities that have caused thousands of deaths, and of those – over a million – who have been forced to leave due to  the grave situation that persists.”

Francis pointed out that the most vulnerable are always involved – the weak, the elderly and children – and said he is always praying for them. He then announced that, “To this end, there will be a special collection in all European churches on Sunday April 24. I invite the faithful to join this initiative with a generous contribution.” He said he wanted to support the Ukrainian people with more than prayer, and. “this gesture of charity, beyond alleviating material suffering, expresses my personal closeness and the solidarity of the entire Church.”

The Pope said he hoped this gesture might be of help in promoting peace and respect for rights in that “worn out land.”

The Pontifical Council Cor Unum will handle the gathering and disbursement of these funds.

Francis also recalled that Monday, April 4 marks the International Day of Awareness Against Antipersonnel Mines. He said that too many people continue to be killed or mutilated by these terrible explosives and that brave men and women risk their lives to clear mined land. “Please, let us renew the commitment for a world without landmines!” he appealed.

POPE MEETS HEAD OF DISSIDENT TRADITIONALIST FRATERNITY SSPX

(Vatican Radio) The Press Office of the Holy See on Monday confirmed that Pope Francis met on Saturday, April 2, 2016, with the head of the dissident traditionalist Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X (SSPX), Bishop Bernard Fellay.

The confirmation came through a one-sentence communiqué from the Press Office, saying, “The Press Office confirms that Saturday, 2 April, a meeting took place in the Vatican between Pope Francis and Bishop Bernard, Fellay, Superior General of the St. Pius X Fraternity.”

The SSPX, as it is commonly known, was founded in 1970 by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in order to preserve the centuries-old tradition of Catholic worship in the Latin Church.

In 1988, Archbishop Lefebvre consecrated four bishops in defiance of explicit Papal dispositions and in violation of an agreement reached a short time before, under the terms of which Lefebvre would have been permitted to consecrate one bishop (in order to guarantee continuity of leadership within the controversial Society).

Since that time, the status of the SSPX has been canonically irregular: efforts to repair the relationship between the SSPX and Church leadership in Rome have continued despite recurrent difficulties.

 

VATICAN INSIDER ASKS: WHO IS THE MAN OF THE SHROUD? – CARDINAL DZIWISZ REMEMBERS MOTHER ANGELICA

This is a brief column today as I will shortly be leaving for a Mass at the Vatican parish of Sant’Anna for the repose of the soul of Mother Angelica. Cardinal George Pell will preside at the Eucharist, which takes place at the same time has her funeral in Alabama.

A note about a special that EWTN will air at 9 pm ET on Divine Mercy Sunday: Divine Mercy – The Canonization Of John Paul II: Join Newt and Callista Gingrich, along with a cast of scholars, witnesses, and pilgrims, as they share their experiences of the canonization of Pope John Paul II and reflect on his legacy. This is a sequel to their celebrated film, “Nine Days that Changed the World.” I have a very small part in this fascinating video.

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VATICAN INSIDER ASKS: WHO IS THE MAN OF THE SHROUD?

In lieu of an interview segment on “Vatican Insider” this Divine Mercy Sunday weekend is Part II of the Special I have prepared on the Shroud of Turin. This week and next I ask the question – and attempt to answer – Who is the Man of the Shroud?

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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 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 9:30 am (Eastern time) and re-airs Sundays at 4:30 pm (ET). Check for your time zone. Past shows are found in Vatican Insider archives: http://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/file_index.asp?SeriesId=7096&pgnu=

CARDINAL DZIWISZ REMEMBERS MOTHER ANGELICA

Following is the letter sent by Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, archbishop of Krakow, Poland, upon learning of the death of Mother Angelica.

Reverend Mother Dolores Marie,

Superior of Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Irondale, Alabama

Dear Mr. Michael Warsaw,

EWTN Chairman and Chief Executive Officer,

I received the sad information regarding Mother Angelica the Founders of EWTN, who the Lord called to the heaven on Easter Sunday March 27, 2016. It is only fitting that the Lord chose this day to call home one of his humble servants.

I met her personally, when she was visiting the Holy Father John Paul II in Vatican and I have to give the witness, She was a wonderful women dedicated to Jesus and to the Church. She devoted her life to ministry, converting untold numbers of people to the church. She left an indelible mark on the Catholic Church and the world as a whole. She will be always remembered for her personal sermons and she will live on forever in the hearts of all those that her sermons have touched through her gift to the world, the Eternal Word Television Network.”

other Angelica was a great Apostle of Jesus and gave a wonderful witness to the Love of God in The Eternal Word Television Network. I am convinced She is enjoying the eternal life with our Lord in Heaven.

I would like to express my compassion to the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration in the Convent of Hanceville and to the all Collaborators of EWTN Irondale, Alabama and to assure you, who are mourning after Your Mother, of my prayers.

May Jesus, who conquered death, be the source of hope for you all.

With my prayers,

 

POPE FRANCIS, THE ARMENIANS AND TURKEY – POPE UNDERSCORES DIVINE MERCY IN MASS FOR ARMENIANS – POPE FRANCIS’ MESSAGE TO ARMENIANS

POPE FRANCIS, THE ARMENIANS AND TURKEY

Following are some of the headlines you may have seen after Pope Francis’ homily at Mass Sunday for the faithful of the Armenian Rite in commemoration of the centenary of the “Medz Yeghern” (the “Great Crime”) – the massacre of Armenians by the Ottoman government in what is now Turkey:

AP: Pope sparks Turkish ire by referring to Armenian ‘genocide’ on centenary of slaughter  –  Deutsche Welle: Pope’s move could strain diplomatic ties with Turkey  –  Financial Times: Pope Francis calls Armenian slaughter genocide  –  BBC: Turkey anger at Pope Francis Armenian ‘genocide’ claim  –  Reuters: Turkey recalls Vatican ambassador after pope’s genocide comments

What has been variously termed the Armenian Massacres, Armenian Martyrdom, Armenian Holocaust and “Medz Yeghern” (Armenian for the “Great Crime”) has been described as the Ottoman government’s systematic extermination of its minority Armenian subjects inside their historic homeland which lies within the territory constituting the present-day Republic of Turkey.

Following World War I, the extensive territories and numerous peoples that had previously comprised the Ottoman Empire were divided into several states. With the 1919-1922 Turkish War of Independence, the modern day Republic of Turkey, the successor state to the Ottoman Empire, was established.

Turkey today denies that what happened to Armenians can be called “genocide” and says that the number cited – 1 to 1.5 million Armenians killed – is exaggerated.

Here, in part, is what Pope Francis said on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 12, 2015 in his Message to the Armenian people, quoting St. John Paul (full Message below):

In the past century our human family has lived through three massive and unprecedented tragedies. The first, which is widely considered “the first genocide of the twentieth century” (JOHN PAUL II and KAREKIN II, Common Declaration , Etchmiadzin, 27 September 2001), struck your own Armenian people, the first Christian nation, as well as Catholic and Orthodox Syrians, Assyrians, Chaldeans and Greeks. Bishops and priests, religious, women and men, the elderly and even defenceless children and the infirm were murdered. The remaining two were perpetrated by Nazism and Stalinism. And more recently there have been other mass killings, like those in Cambodia, Rwanda, Burundi and Bosnia. It seems that humanity is incapable of putting a halt to the shedding of innocent blood. It seems that the enthusiasm generated at the end of the Second World War has dissipated and is now disappearing. It seems that the human family has refused to learn from its mistakes caused by the law of terror, so that today too there are those who attempt to eliminate others with the help of a few and with the complicit silence of others who simply stand by. We have not yet learned that “war is madness”, “senseless slaughter” (cf. Homily in Redipuglia , 13 September 2014).

And here is the original paragraph from the Common Declaration of His Holiness John Paul II and His Holiness Karekin II at Holy Etchmiadzin (Republic of Armenia – September 27, 2001) in which the word ‘genocide’ was used:

The most valuable treasure that one generation could bequeath to the next was fidelity to the Gospel, so that, with the grace of the Holy Spirit, the young would become as resolute as their ancestors in bearing witness to the Truth. The extermination of a million and a half Armenian Christians, in what is generally referred to as the first genocide of the twentieth century, and the subsequent annihilation of thousands under the former totalitarian regime are tragedies that still live in the memory of the present-day generation. These innocents who were butchered in vain are not canonized, but many among them were certainly confessors and martyrs for the name of Christ. We pray for the repose of their souls, and urge the faithful never to lose sight of the meaning of their sacrifice.

Click here to read the full text of the Common Declaration by John Paul II and Karekin II:http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/speeches/2001/september/documents/hf_jp-ii_spe_20010927_decl-jp-ii-karekin-ii.html

Pope Francis did, as you see, use the word “genocide” but not all the media reports made it clear that he was quoting Pope John Paul II and Catholicos Karekin II.

Following are the Vatican Radio reports of the Holy Father’s homily on Divine Mercy Sunday and his Message to the Armenian faithful who came to Rome for Sunday’s Mass, including the president of Armenia.

POPE UNDERSCORES DIVINE MERCY IN MASS FOR ARMENIANS

(Vatican Radio) On Divine Mercy Sunday, the Second Sunday of Easter, Pope Francis celebrated Solemn Mass for the Centenary of the Armenian Martyrdom. During the Liturgy, the Holy Father proclaimed the great Armenian Saint Gregory of Narek a Doctor of the Church. Pope Francis processed into the basilica flanked by the Catholicos Karekin II and Catholicos Aram I of the Armenian Apostolic Church, with the Patriarch Catholicos Nerses Bedros XIX a few paces ahead. Patriarch Nerses concelebrated Mass with the Holy Father. (photos: news.va)

POPE FRANCIS - ARMENIA HOMILY

Following is the Pope’s homily:

Saint John, who was in the Upper Room with the other disciples on the evening of the first day after the Sabbath, tells us that Jesus came and stood among them, and said, “Peace be with you!” and he showed them his hands and his side (Jn 20:19-20); he showed them his wounds.  And in this way they realized that it was not an apparition: it was truly him, the Lord, and they were filled with joy.

On the eighth day Jesus came once again into the Upper Room and showed his wounds to Thomas, so that he could touch them as he had wished to, in order to believe and thus become himself a witness to the Resurrection.

To us also, on this Sunday which Saint John Paul II wished to dedicate to Divine Mercy, the Lord shows us, through the Gospel, his wounds.  They are wounds of mercy.  It is true: the wounds of Jesus are wounds of mercy.

Jesus invites us to behold these wounds, to touch them as Thomas did, to heal our lack of belief.  Above all, he invites us to enter into the mystery of these wounds, which is the mystery of his merciful love.

Through these wounds, as in a light-filled opening, we can see the entire mystery of Christ and of God: his Passion, his earthly life – filled with compassion for the weak and the sick – his incarnation in the womb of Mary.  And we can retrace the whole history of salvation: the prophecies – especially about the Servant of the Lord, the Psalms, the Law and the Covenant; to the liberation from Egypt, to the first Passover and to the blood of the slaughtered lambs; and again from the Patriarchs to Abraham, and then all the way back to Abel, whose blood cried out from the earth.  All of this we can see in the wounds of Jesus, crucified and risen; with Mary, in her Magnificat, we can perceive that, “His mercy extends from generation to generation” (cf. Lk 1:50).

Faced with the tragic events of human history we can feel crushed at times, asking ourselves, “Why?”  Humanity’s evil can appear in the world like an abyss, a great void: empty of love, empty of goodness, empty of life.  And so we ask: how can we fill this abyss?  For us it is impossible; only God can fill this emptiness that evil brings to our hearts and to human history.  It is Jesus, God made man, who died on the Cross and who fills the abyss of sin with the depth of his mercy.

Saint Bernard, in one of his commentaries on the Canticle of Canticles (Sermon 61, 3-5: Opera Omnia, 2, 150-151), reflects precisely on the mystery of the Lord’s wounds, using forceful and even bold expressions which we do well to repeat today.  He says that “through these sacred wounds we can see the secret of [Christ’s] heart, the great mystery of love, the sincerity of his mercy with which he visited us from on high”.

Brothers and sisters, behold the way which God has opened for us to finally go out from our slavery to sin and death, and thus enter into the land of life and peace.  Jesus, crucified and risen, is the way and his wounds are especially full of mercy.

The saints teach us that the world is changed beginning with the conversion of one’s own heart, and that this happens through the mercy of God.  And so, whether faced with my own sins or the great tragedies of the world, “my conscience would be distressed, but it would not be in turmoil, for I would recall the wounds of the Lord: ‘he was wounded for our iniquities’ (Is 53:5). What sin is there so deadly that it cannot be pardoned by the death of Christ?” (ibid.).

Keeping our gaze on the wounds of the Risen Jesus, we can sing with the Church: “His love endures forever” (Ps 117:2); eternal is his mercy.  And with these words impressed on our hearts, let us go forth along the paths of history, led by the hand of our Lord and Saviour, our life and our hope.

POPE FRANCIS’ MESSAGE TO ARMENIANS

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis delivered a Message to all Armenians on Sunday, presenting President Serž Azati Sargsyan of Armenia, Catholicos Karekin II, Catholicos Aram I, and Patriarch Nerses Bedros XIX, with copies at the end of Mass marking the centenary of the Medz Yeghern in which more than 1 million Armenians under Ottoman rule were driven from their homes, dispossessed and killed. Below, please find the full text of the Message in its official English translation.

POPE FRANCIS - ARMENIA MESSAGE

Dear Armenian Brothers and Sisters,

A century has passed since that horrific massacre which was a true martyrdom of your people, in which many innocent people died as confessors and martyrs for the name of Christ (cf. John Paul II and Karekin II, Common Declaration, Etchmiadzin, 27 September 2001).  Even today, there is not an Armenian family untouched by the loss of loved ones due to that tragedy: it truly was “Metz Yeghern”, the “Great Evil”, as it is known by Armenians.  On this anniversary, I feel a great closeness to your people and I wish to unite myself spiritually to the prayers which rise up from your hearts, your families and your communities.

Today is a propitious occasion for us to pray together, as we proclaim Saint Gregory of Narek a Doctor of the Church.  I wish to express my deep gratitude for the presence here today of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, and His Beatitude Nerses Bedros XIX, Patriarch of Cilicia of Armenian Catholics.

Saint Gregory of Narek, a monk of the tenth century, knew how to express the sentiments of your people more than anyone.  He gave voice to the cry, which became a prayer, of a sinful and sorrowful humanity, oppressed by the anguish of its powerlessness, but illuminated by the splendour of God’s love and open to the hope of his salvific intervention, which is capable of transforming all things.  “Through his strength I wait with certain expectation believing with unwavering hope that… I shall be saved by the Lord’s mighty hand and… that I will see the Lord himself in his mercy and compassion and receive the legacy of heaven” (Saint Gregory of Narek, Book of Lamentations, XII).

Your Christian identity is indeed ancient, dating from the year 301, when Saint Gregory the Illuminator guided Armenia to conversion and baptism.  You were the first among nations in the course of the centuries to embrace the Gospel of Christ.  That spiritual event indelibly marked the Armenian people, as well as its culture and history, in which martyrdom holds a preeminent place, as attested to symbolically by the sacrificial witness of Saint Vardan and his companions in the fifth century.

Your people, illuminated by Christ’s light and by his grace, have overcome many trials and sufferings, animated by the hope which comes from the Cross (cf. Rom 8:31-39).  As Saint John Paul II said to you, “Your history of suffering and martyrdom is a precious pearl, of which the universal Church is proud.  Faith in Christ, man’s Redeemer, infused you with an admirable courage on your path, so often like that of the Cross, on which you have advanced with determination, intent on preserving your identity as a people and as believers” (Homily, 21 November 1987).

This faith also accompanied and sustained your people during the tragic experience one hundred years ago “in what is generally referred to as the first genocide of the twentieth century” (John Paul II and Karekin II, Common Declaration, Etchmiadzin, 27 September 2001).  Pope Benedict XV, who condemned the First World War as a “senseless slaughter” (AAS, IX [1917], 429), did everything in his power until the very end to stop it, continuing the efforts at mediation already begun by Pope Leo XIII when confronted with the “deadly events” of 1894-96.  For this reason, Pope Benedict XV wrote to Sultan Mehmed V, pleading that the many innocents be saved (cf. Letter of 10 September 1915) and, in the Secret Consistory of 6 December 1915, he declared with great dismay, “Miserrima Armenorum gens ad interitum prope ducitur” (AAS, VII [1915], 510).

It is the responsibility not only of the Armenian people and the universal Church to recall all that has taken place, but of the entire human family, so that the warnings from this tragedy will protect us from falling into a similar horror, which offends against God and human dignity.  Today too, in fact, these conflicts at times degenerate into unjustifiable violence, stirred up by exploiting ethnic and religious differences.  All who are Heads of State and of International Organizations are called to oppose such crimes with a firm sense of duty, without ceding to ambiguity or compromise.

May this sorrowful anniversary become for all an occasion of humble and sincere reflection, and may every heart be open to forgiveness, which is the source of peace and renewed hope.  Saint Gregory of Narek, an extraordinary interpreter of the human soul, offers words which are prophetic for us: “I willingly blame myself with myriad accounts of all the incurable sins, from our first forefather through the end of his generations in all eternity, I charge myself with all these voluntarily” (Book of Lamentations, LXXII).  How striking is his sense of universal solidarity!  How small we feel before the greatness of his invocations: “Remember, [Lord,]… those of the human race who are our enemies as well, and for their benefit accord them pardon and mercy… Do not destroy those who persecute me, but reform them, root out the vile ways of this world, and plant the good in me and them” (ibid., LXXXIII).

May God grant that the people of Armenia and Turkey take up again the path of reconciliation, and may peace also spring forth in Nagorno Karabakh.  Despite conflicts and tensions, Armenians and Turks have lived long periods of peaceful coexistence in the past and, even in the midst of violence, they have experienced times of solidarity and mutual help.  Only in this way will new generations open themselves to a better future and will the sacrifice of so many become seeds of justice and peace.

For us Christians, may this be above all a time of deep prayer.  Through the redemptive power of Christ’s sacrifice, may the blood which has been shed bring about the miracle of the full unity of his disciples.  In particular, may it strengthen the bonds of fraternal friendship which already unite the Catholic Church and the Armenian Apostolic Church.  The witness of many defenceless brothers and sisters who sacrificed their lives for the faith unites the diverse confessions:  it is the ecumenism of blood, which led Saint John Paul II to celebrate all the martyrs of the twentieth century together during the Jubilee of 2000.

Our celebration today also is situated in this spiritual and ecclesial context.  Representatives of our two Churches are participating in this event to which many of our faithful throughout the world are united spiritually, in a sign which reflects on earth the perfect communion that exists between the blessed souls in heaven.  With brotherly affection, I assure you of my closeness on the occasion of the canonization ceremony of the martyrs of the Armenian Apostolic Church, to be held this coming 23 April in the Cathedral of Etchmiadzin, and on the occasion of the commemorations to be held in Antelias in July.

I entrust these intentions to the Mother of God, in the words of Saint Gregory of Narek:

“O Most Pure of Virgins, first among the blessed,

“Mother of the unshakeable edifice of the Church,

“Mother of the immaculate Word of God,

“Taking refuge beneath your boundless wings which grant us the protection of your intercession,

“We lift up our hands to you, and with unquestioned hope we believe that we are saved”.

(Panegyric of the Theotokos)

VATICAN INSIDER TALKS TO MARY MCFARLAND OF JC-HEM – JUBILEE YEAR BULL OF INDICTION TO BE READ AT HOLY DOOR

VATICAN INSIDER TALKS TO MARY MCFARLAND OF JC-HEM

And you ask: What is JC-HEM?

Tune in this weekend and you’ll hear Mary McFarland explain the organization of which she is co-founder and international director  – Jesuit Commons: Higher Education at the Margins (JC-HEM). She will tell the remarkable story of how JC-HEM created distance learning for higher education in refugee camps.

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Mary is my special guest this week, and we first met at the March 8 Voices of Faith event in the Vatican. Celebrated on International Woman’s Day, Voices of Faith was founded by Chantal Goetz, executive director of the Goetz Foundation, whose story you heard here a few weeks back

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Mary’s stories of how many refugees, now adults, have lived in camps their entire lives is a moving one. How she and JC-HEM try to get them out of the abyss of ignorance is an even more moving tale.  So tune in this weekend and listen to Mary McFarland on Saturday or Sunday.

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 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 9:30 am (Eastern time) and re-airs Sundays at 4:30 pm (ET). Check for your time zone. Past shows are found in Vatican Insider archives:http://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/file_index.asp?SeriesId=7096&pgnu=

JUBILEE YEAR BULL OF INDICTION TO BE READ AT HOLY DOOR

(VIS) – At 5.30 p.m. tomorrow, Saturday April 11, the vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday, in St. Peter’s Basilica, the Pope will officially convoke the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy with the publication of the Bull of Indiction, “Misericordiae vultus.” The Jubilee Bull, aside from indicating the duration, opening and closing dates, and the main ways in which the Holy Year will unfold, constitutes the basic document for understanding the spirit in which it was convoked, as well as Pope Francis’ intentions and the fruit he hopes the Year will bear.

POPE FRANCIS - JUBILEE

For the proclamation, the Holy Father, accompanied by the cardinals, will proceed to the entrance of the Vatican Basilica. At the side of the Holy Door, the Bull of Indiction will be handed to the four cardinal archpriests of the papal basilicas of Rome: Cardinal Angelo Comastri, archpriest of the Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican; Cardinal Agostino Vallini, archpriest of the Basilica of St. John Lateran; Cardinal James Michael Harvey, archpriest of St. Paul’s Outside-the-Walls; and Cardinal Santos Abril y Castello, archpriest of the Basilica of St. Mary Major.

ST PETER'S  HOLY DOOR

To express his wish that the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy be celebrated in Rome and throughout the world, Pope Francis will consign a copy of the Bull, thus presenting it symbolically to all bishops, to Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops; to Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples; and to Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches. A copy will be received by Archbishop Savio Hon Tai-Fai, born in Hong Kong and now secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, on behalf of all the East. The African continent will be represented by Archbishop Bartolome Adoukonou, a native of Benin and currently secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture. For the Oriental Churches, the Holy Father will present the Bull to Msgr. Khaled Ayad Bishay of the Patriarchal Church of Alexandria of the Copts.

The Regent of the Papal Household, Msgr. Leonardo Sapienza, as apostolic protonotary, will read various extracts from the official document convoking the extraordinary Holy Year. Finally, the Holy Father will preside at the celebration of First Vespers of Divine Mercy Sunday.

(For those wishing to follow this event live on EWTN, here is a link to the booklet that will be used for this ceremony and for the First Vespers of Divine Mercy Sunday that follow the publication of the Bill of Indiction: http://www.vatican.va/news_services/liturgy/libretti/2015/20150411-libretto-consegna-bolla-anno-santo.pdf)

(News.va) On March 13, the day Pope Francis surprised the world with his announcement of the Holy Year of Mercy, the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization published this explanatory note for the upcoming Holy Year, the Jubilee of Mercy:

In St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis announced today, March 13, 2015, the celebration of an “extraordinary Holy Year.” This “Jubilee of Mercy” will commence with the opening of the Holy Door in St. Peter’s on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, 2015, and will conclude on November 20, 2016 with the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. At the start of the new year, the Holy Father had stated: “This is the time of mercy. It is important that the lay faithful live it and bring it into different social environments. Go forth!”

The Jubilee announcement had been made on the second anniversary of the election of Pope Francis, during his homily for the penitential liturgy with which the Holy Father opened the “24 Hours for the Lord”. This initiative, proposed by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, promotes throughout the world the opening of churches for an extended period of time for the purpose of inviting people to the celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The theme for this year has been taken from the Letter of St. Paul to the Ephesians, “God rich in mercy” (Eph 2:4).

The opening of this next Jubilee will take place on the fiftieth anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Council in 1965. This is of great significance, for it impels the Church to continue the work begun at Vatican II.

During the Jubilee, the Sunday readings for Ordinary Time will be taken from the Gospel of Luke, the one referred to as “the evangelist of mercy”. Dante Alighieri describes him as “scriba mansuetudinis Christi”, “narrator of the meekness of Christ”. There are many well-known parables of mercy presented in the Gospel of Luke: the lost sheep, the lost coin, the merciful father.

The official and solemn announcement of the Holy Year will take place with the public proclamation of the Bolla in front of the Holy Door on (the vigil of) Divine Mercy Sunday, the Feast instituted by Saint John Paul II and celebrated on the Sunday after Easter.

In the ancient Hebrew tradition, the Jubilee Year, which was celebrated every 50 years, was meant to restore equality among all of the children of Israel, offering new possibilities to families which had lost their property and even their personal freedom. In addition, the Jubilee Year was a reminder to the rich that a time would come when their Israelite slaves would once again become their equals and would be able to reclaim their rights. “Justice, according to the Law of Israel, consisted above all in the protection of the weak” (St. John Paul II, Tertio millenio adveniente 13).

The Catholic tradition of the Holy Year began with Pope Boniface VIII in 1300. Boniface VIII had envisioned a Jubilee every century. From 1475 onwards – in order to allow each generation to experience at least one Holy Year – the ordinary Jubilee was to be celebrated every 25 years. However, an extraordinary Jubilee may be announced on the occasion of an event of particular importance.

Until present, there have been 26 ordinary Holy Year celebrations, the last of which was the Jubilee of 2000. The custom of calling extraordinary Jubilees dates back to the XVI century. The last extraordinary Holy Years, which were celebrated during the previous century, were those in 1933, proclaimed by Pius XI to celebrate XIX hundred years of Redemption and in 1983, proclaimed by John Paul II on the occasion of the 1950 years of Redemption.

The Catholic Church has given to the Hebrew Jubilee a more spiritual significance. It consists in a general pardon, an indulgence open to all, and the possibility to renew one’s relationship with God and neighbor. Thus, the Holy Year is always an opportunity to deepen one’s faith and to live with a renewed commitment to Christian witness.

With the Jubilee of Mercy, Pope Francis focuses attention upon the merciful God who invites all men and women to return to Him. The encounter with God inspires in one the virtue of mercy.

The initial rite of the Jubilee is the opening of the Holy Door. This door is one which is only opened during the Holy Year and which remains closed during all other years. Each of the four major basilicas of Rome has a Holy Door: Saint Peter’s, St. John Lateran, St. Paul Outside the Walls and St. Mary Major. This rite of the opening of the Holy Door illustrates symbolically the idea that, during the Jubilee, the faithful are offered an “extraordinary pathway” towards salvation.

The Holy Doors of the other Basilicas will be opened after the opening of the Holy Door of St. Peter’s Basilica.

Mercy is a theme very dear to Pope Francis, as is expressed in the episcopal motto he had chosen: “miserando atque eligendo”. This citation is taken from the homily of Saint Bede the Venerable during which he commented on the Gospel passage of the calling of Saint Matthew: “Vidit ergo lesus publicanum et quia miserando atque eligendo vidit, ait illi Sequere me” (Jesus therefore sees the tax collector, and since he sees by having mercy and by choosing, he says to him, ‘follow me’). This homily is a tribute to divine mercy. One possible translation of this motto is “With eyes of mercy”.

During the first Angelus after his elections, the Holy Father stated: “Feeling mercy, that this word changes everything. This is the best thing we can feel: it changes the world. A little mercy makes the world less cold and more just. We need to understand properly this mercy of God, this merciful Father who is so patient” (Angelus, March 17, 2013).

In his Angelus on January 11, 2015, he stated: “There is so much need of mercy today, and it is important that the lay faithful live it and bring it into different social environments. Go forth! We are living in the age of mercy, this is the age of mercy”. Then, in his 2015 Lenten Message, the Holy Father expressed: “How greatly I desire that all those places where the Church is present, especially our parishes and our communities, may become islands of mercy in the midst of the sea of indifference!”

In the English edition of the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium the term mercy appears 32 times.

Pope Francis has entrusted the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization with the organization of the Jubilee of Mercy.

The background piece then listed all previous Jubilee years and their Popes.