HOW TO GET TICKETS FOR PAPAL EVENTS (AN UPDATE) – POPE FOCUSES AUDIENCE CATECHESIS ON HOSPITALITY – POPE FRANCIS GREETS CHINESE MARKING LUNAR NEW YEAR

HOW TO GET TICKETS FOR PAPAL EVENTS (AN UPDATE)

This is a follow up to my Monday post on what seemed to be a big change in procedure for requesting tickets to papal events and liturgies. These changes were indicated in a recent letter sent out by the Prefecture of the Papal Household to dozens of parishes, seminaries, hotels, travel agencies and other Church-related institutions, that said henceforth all tickets requests had to come directly to the prefecture.

Having received the prefecture letter, our parish secretary nonetheless did what she had done for 20 years on Tuesday mornings: she went to the prefecture for tickets. She told me she got “roughly” 200 tickets (a few less than requested) in addition to another copy of the prefecture letter! She asked if there had been changes in the procedure and was told ‘no’. She asked if, under the new rules, she could return next week for tickets and was told ‘yes.’

However, she was told to tell all those who request tickets at our parish that they must now write directly to the prefecture! (http://www.vatican.va/various/prefettura/index_en.html). I am still trying to figure that out!

POPE FOCUSES AUDIENCE CATECHESIS ON HOSPITALITY

As he began the general audience this morning in the Paul VI Hall, Pope Francis announced a new catechesis, having concluded his reflections on the Acts of the Apostles last week.


“Dear Brothers and Sisters,” he said. “Today’s catechesis occurs in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, whose theme this year – on hospitality – was prepared by the Christian communities of Malta and Gozo.

Francis explained that, “the theme is based on Saint Paul’s dramatic experience of being shipwrecked at Malta, and the welcome he and his companions received there. Indeed, in contrast to the sea’s violence, the survivors received ‘unusual kindness’ as we saw in Acts 28:2, reflecting God’s love for them. This hospitality was then repaid when Paul healed many sick people, thus revealing God’s merciful love.”

The Pope continued his reflections by noting that, “hospitality is an important ecumenical virtue, which is open to listening to the experience that other Christians have of God. When we welcome Christians of a different tradition we reveal God’s love to them and receive the gifts that the Holy Spirit has sown in them.

“In this way,” he said, “we Christians are challenged to overcome our divisions and to show Christ’s love more effectively to others, especially the many migrants who, like Paul, face danger at sea, as they flee from peril. Working together like this will make us both better disciples of the Lord and more united as the People of God.

“Today,” underscored the pontiff, “the sea on which Paul and his companions were shipwrecked is, once again, a dangerous place for the lives of other sailors. All over the world migrant men and women face risky voyages to escape violence, to escape war, to escape poverty.”

As he greeted the English-speaking pilgrims present, the Pope said, “I offer a special greeting to the students from the Bossey Ecumenical Institute. I also greet the priests of the Institute for Continuing Theological Education of the Pontifical North American College. Upon all of you and your families, I invoke the joy and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ. May God bless you!”

POPE FRANCIS GREETS CHINESE MARKING LUNAR NEW YEAR

At the end of his general audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis greeted all those who mark the lunar new year according to the traditional Chinese calendar. He urged prayers for peace, dialogue and solidarity among nations.
By Robin Gomes (vaticannews)

Also referred to as the Spring Festival in mainland China, the Chinese New Year is one of the several Lunar New Years of Asia. It is celebrated by ethnic Chinese and non-Chinese people worldwide.

It begins with the first new moon of the lunar calendar and ends on the first full moon of the lunar calendar, 15 days later. The New Year is dedicated to the Rat.

At the end of the general audience the Pope noted that on “January 25, in the Far East and in various other parts of the world, many millions of men and women will celebrate the Lunar New Year.”

“I send them my cordial greetings, wishing them in particular to be places of education in the virtues of welcome, wisdom, respect for each person and harmony with creation,” he said. “I invite all to pray also for peace, dialogue and solidarity among nations: gifts which are so necessary in the world today.”

POPE APPOINTS WOMAN UNDER-SECRETARY IN VATICAN SECRETARIAT OF STATE – POPE FRANCIS ENDS CATECHESIS ON ACTS OF THE APOSTLES

I received an email today from the Pauline multimedia store in Rome: “We would like to inform you that the new book written by Cardinal Sarah with the contribution of Pope Benedict XVI, ‘From the Depths of Our Hearts,’ is available for pre-order now.”

I presume that refers to the English-language edition of the book. This seems to answer in part the question of who authored the book, although Benedict XVI is not referred to as “Pope emeritus.”

I also received great news about a friend in the Vatican’s Secretariat of State!

POPE APPOINTS WOMAN UNDER-SECRETARY IN VATICAN SECRETARIAT OF STATE

(Vatican News) – Pope Francis has appointed Dr. Francesca Di Giovanni, currently an official of the Secretariat of State, as under-secretary for the Section for Relations with States. She will be responsible for the multilateral sector.

Born in Palermo in 1953, Dr. Di Giovanni has worked in the Secretariat for 27 years and holds a law degree. After completing practicum as a notary, she worked in the juridical-administrative area at the International Centre of the Work of Mary (Focolare Movement). On 15 September 1993 she began work as an official in the Section for Relations with States of the Secretariat of State. Di Giovanni has served in the multilateral sector, especially in the areas of migrants and refugees, international humanitarian law, communications, private international law, the status of women, intellectual property, and tourism.

With the appointment of Dr. Di Giovanni, the Section for Relations with States has two under-secretaries: Di Giovanni will work alongside Monsignor Mirosław Wachowski, who will continue to work primarily in the area of bilateral diplomacy.

Vatican News and L’Osservatore Romano interviewed Dr Di Giovanni:

Were you surprised by the appointment as under-secretary?
Yes, absolutely! For several years now we have been thinking about the need for an under-secretary for the multilateral sector: a delicate and demanding sector that needs special attention, because it has its own procedures, in some ways different from those of the bilateral sphere. But I sincerely never would have thought the Holy Father would have entrusted this role to me.

It is a new role and I will try to do my best to live up to the Holy Father’s trust, but I hope not to do it alone: I would like to count on the harmony that has characterized our working group so far.

What exactly is the “multilateral sector”?
Simply speaking, you can say that it deals with relations between inter-governmental organisations at the international level and includes the network of multilateral treaties, which are important because they embody the political will of States with regard to the various issues concerning the international common good: this includes development, the environment, the protection of victims of conflicts, the situation of women, and so on.

What does your work consist of?
I will continue to deal with what I have been following up to now in the Section for Relations with States, although in this new role, I shall be responsible for coordinating the work in this area.

You are the first woman to hold a position at this level in the Secretariat of State…
Yes, actually, it’s the first time a woman has had a managerial position in the Secretariat of State. The Holy Father has made an unprecedented decision, certainly, which, beyond myself personally, represents an indication of an attention towards women. But the responsibility is connected to the job, rather than to the fact of being a woman.

In your opinion, what can the specific contribution be of a woman in this field?
I cannot fail to recall the words of the Holy Father in his homily on 1 January, in which he presented — we could say — a “tribute” to the role of women, saying that, “women are givers and mediators of peace and should be fully included in decision-making processes. Because when women can share their gifts, the world finds itself more united, more peaceful”.

I would like to be able to contribute to the realization of the Holy Father’s vision, with my other colleagues who work in this area of the Secretariat of State, but also with other women — and there are many of them — who are working to build fraternity in this international dimension too. It is important to emphasize the Pope’s attention to the multilateral sector, questioned today by some, but which has a fundamental function in the international community.

A woman may have certain aptitudes for finding commonalities, healing relationships with unity at heart. I hope that my being a woman might reflect itself positively in this task, even if they are gifts that I certainly find in my male colleagues as well.

In his recent address to the Diplomatic Corps, the Pope spoke about the multilateral system, calling for its reform…
In the international community, the Holy See also has the mission of ensuring that the interdependence between people and nations be developed in a moral and ethical dimension, as well as in the other dimensions and various aspects that relations are acquiring in today’s world. One must never tire of encouraging dialogue at all levels, always seeking diplomatic solutions.

For example, in his recent speech to the Diplomatic Corps, the Pope recalled, among other things, the many positive results of the United Nations, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year. We want to continue seeing the UN as a necessary means for achieving the common good, even if this does not exempt us from asking for changes or reforms where deemed necessary.

POPE FRANCIS ENDS CATECHESIS ON ACTS OF THE APOSTLES

Today’s general audience began about 9:15 in the Paul VI Hall as an enthusiastic crowd of pilgrims greeted the Holy Father. After shaking hands and waving to people, Francis settled into the papal chair and began his audience catechesis by announcing he was concluding his months-long series on the Acts of the Apostles

“Dear Brothers and Sisters,” he began. “Today we conclude our catechesis on the Acts of the Apostles with Paul’s arrival in Rome, in chains, to appeal his case to Caesar. As we have seen, Saint Luke’s account of the spread of the Gospel largely coincides with Paul’s missionary journeys.”

He noted that, “In Rome, Paul is welcomed by the Christian community and permitted to remain under house arrest. Luke ends the Book of Acts not with Paul’s martyrdom but by describing his tireless proclamation of the Gospel, showing the power of God’s word that can never be chained. Paul’s missionary journeys, culminating in this city, reveal the power of God’s grace to open hearts to the Gospel and its saving message.”

“Having in these past months followed the spread of the Good News throughout the world,” concluded Francis, “let us ask the Holy Spirit to renew in each one of us the call to be courageous and joyful missionary disciples of Christ. In this way, we – in the footsteps of Paul – will fill our world with the Gospel and make our communities places of fraternity where all can encounter the risen Lord.

The Pope then greeted the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s audience,”especially the groups from Finland and the United States of America. Upon you and your families, I invoke the joy and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ. May God bless you!”

Later, he spoke to a group after the catechesis was summarized in Arabic: “I cordially welcome the Arabic-speaking pilgrims, especially those from the Middle East! Dear brothers and sisters, the joy of the Gospel comes from the encounter with Jesus. It is when we meet the Lord that we are flooded with that love of which he alone is capable, and therein lies the source of evangelizing action. So let us not be afraid of making mistakes and fear of taking new paths, because our poverty is not an obstacle, but a precious tool, because the grace of God loves to manifest himself in weakness. The Lord bless you!”

POPE SENDS CONDOLENCES FOLLOWING IRAN AIR CRASH – POPE AT AUDIENCE: LIVE TRIALS BY CLINGING TO CHRIST – POPE FRANCIS: I AM CLOSE TO THE AUSTRALIAN PEOPLE

POPE SENDS CONDOLENCES FOLLOWING IRAN AIR CRASH

The Pope Wednesday expressed sadness and condolences after a passenger plane crashes in Iran with 176 people on board. Pope Francis sent a message of condolence to all those who lost loved ones following an air crash in Tehran, Iran. (vaticannews)

The Ukrainian International Airlines passenger plane went down on Wednesday morning after taking off from Imam Khomeini airport in Tehran en route to Kyiv. The plane was carrying 176 passengers, mostly from Iran and Canada.

In the message, signed by Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Pope Francis “commends the souls of the deceased to the merciful love of the Almighty, and he sends condolences to the families and friends of those who have lost their lives”. The Pope also invoked God’s blessings of strength and peace upon all affected by the tragedy.

POPE AT AUDIENCE: LIVE TRIALS BY CLINGING TO CHRIST

Pope Francis resumed his weekly general audience on Wednesday following the Christmas break, continuing his catechesis on the Acts of the Apostles.
By Lydia O’Kane (vaticannews)

A new year but a continuing catechesis on the Acts of the Apostles. Pilgrims and tourists joined Pope Francis in the Paul VI Hall on Wednesday to hear him deliver another installment of this book of the Bible, which sees St Paul continue his journey not only by land but by sea.

The Pope recalled how Paul, now a prisoner, is taken by ship to Rome into the heart of the Empire, so that the word of the Risen One may be realized: “You will be witnesses to me … to the ends of the earth”.

The Pontiff described how on leaving Crete, the journey becomes dangerous and they are shipwrecked; but St Paul encourages all on board not to be afraid.

God’s providential care
Pope Francis noted that on landing on Malta, the travelers experience a warm welcome but, he goes on to say, their time there is not without hazards. Paul himself is bitten by a viper but is unharmed and he goes on to heal many people on the island.

The Pope pointed out that Paul’s sea voyage can serve as a symbol of God’s providential care for us through our passage from death to life in the waters of baptism.

He also emphasized that “a ‘tried’ Christian can certainly become closer to those who suffer, making his heart open and sensitive to solidarity with others.”

Live trials by clinging to Christ
Paul teaches us to live trials by clinging to Christ, said Pope Francis, “in order to mature the ‘conviction that God can act in any circumstance, even in the midst of apparent failure’ and the ‘certainty that those who offer themselves and give themselves to God out of love will surely be fruitful’”.

Concluding his catechesis, the Pope prayed that the Lord would “sustain us in our own trials and open our hearts to those who today experience shipwrecks and arrive on our shores.”

POPE FRANCIS: I AM CLOSE TO THE AUSTRALIAN PEOPLE

At the general audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis calls for prayers for Australia, which is battling massive wildfires.

By Christopher Wells (vaticannews)
Pope Francis asked everyone “to pray to the Lord to help the people [of Australia] in this difficult time” as major fires rage across the nation. Addressing Australian- speaking pilgrims at the general audience, the Holy Father said “I am close to the Australian people”.

Major bushfires have broken out around Australia, with more than 10.3 million hectares (25.5 million acres) of land burned in recent weeks. More than twenty people have lost their lives in the fires.

Authorities warn of revitalized blazes
Australian authorities warned people on Wednesday to prepare for another wave of evacuations as temperatures in the country’s southeast began to rise after a days-long cool spell, bringing the danger of revitalised blazes.

Firefighters have used the break from extreme heat and high winds to strengthen containment lines around several major fires, as the military continued efforts to provide supplies to thousands of people who have been left homeless.

Complicating the recovery effort, authorities have forecast another temperature spike as soon as Friday, with little rain, meaning a return to hazardous conditions.

Response of the Church in Australia
Earlier this week, the president of the Australian Bishops Conference, Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane, issued a statement about the “unprecedented” crisis facing the country. Like Pope Francis, he too called for prayer, noting that, “A genuine Catholic response to a crisis of this magnitude must draw strength from prayer which inspires concrete and compassionate action”.

Archbishop Coleridge announced that the Bishops Conference is preparing a national response to the fires, including assistance to those affected by the fires, collaboration with aid agencies, and a special collection to be taken up this weekend.

“With broad and deep roots across the nation”, the Archbishop said, “the Church stands ready to walk alongside people throughout their journey of recovery”.

THE CHRISTMAS CRÈCHE IS A KIND OF LIVING GOSPEL

THE CHRISTMAS CRÈCHE IS A KIND OF LIVING GOSPEL

Pope Francis dedicated the catechesis of today’s general audience, the last of the year and exactly one week before Christmas, to how we prepare to receive the Lord Jesus and the importance of the nativity scene in that preparation.

“Dear Brothers and Sisters,” began Francis, “In these last days of Advent, we do well to ask ourselves: How am I preparing for the birth of Jesus?

He answered his question by suggesting, “One way to prepare for Christmas is to set up a nativity scene in our homes, churches and public spaces, a lovely tradition that began with Saint Francis of Assisi. The Christmas crèche is a kind of living Gospel, a touching reminder that the Lord showed his love for us by being born as one of us, in order to share in our daily lives, hopes and concerns.”

Pope Francis, in fact, visited the celebrated shrine of Greccio on Sunday, December 1 where he signed his Apostolic Letter Admirabile signum, a reflection on the meaning of the nativity scene. The small grotto here resembles the grotto of Bethlehem where the Mary gave birth to Jesus.

Continuing his weekly catechesis, the Holy Father said, “The name Bethlehem, which means ‘house of breadì, and the image of the manger evoke the meals that we share as families, and the centrality of Jesus, the living bread come down from heaven, in our family life.”

“In this world of frenetic activity,,” stated the Pope, “the Christmas crèche also encourages us to pause and contemplate what is truly important in life. Everything in the nativity scene speaks of the harmony and peace that only Christ the Saviour can bring to our lives and to our world.”

Francis concluded: “As we gaze upon the lowly scene of Jesus’ birth, let us invite him into our hearts, so that each new day can bring spiritual rebirth and preserve in us the joy of Christmas.”

The following photos are of the Vatican’s nativity scene in St. Peter’s Square.

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For a story about this nativity scene: click here: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/vatican-city/news/2019-12/the-vatican-prepares-for-the-inauguration-of-the-nativity-scene.html

VATICAN INSIDER VISITS VICE POSTULATOR FOR VENERABLE FULTON SHEEN – POPE FRANCIS SUMMARIZES ASIA JOURNEY AT GENERAL AUDIENCE – TRANSCIPT OF PAPAL PRESSER ON TOKYO-ROME FLIGHT

VATICAN INSIDER VISITS VICE POSTULATOR FOR VENERABLE FULTON SHEEN

As I mentioned last week in this same spot, you all know by now that the Vatican has approved a miracle through the intercession of Venerable Servant of God Archbishop Fulton Sheen, and the diocese of Peoria in Illinois where he is buried announced on Monday, November 18 that Sheen will be beatified in Peoria on December 21st.

Given that great news, last weekend I re-aired Part I of a conversation I had some time ago with Msgr. Richard Soseman, a pastor in the diocese of Peoria and also the vice postulator of the cause for sainthood of Archbishop Sheen. This weekend, I will re-air Part II of that conversation.

We talk about Msgr’s priestly life, his time studying in Rome and then working at Congregation for clergy, how his life and priesthood was impacted by Sheen, how he was assigned to the cause for sainthood, the role of a vice postulator and the miracle that led to Sheen’s beatification. A second miracle, by the way, is needed for canonization.

So stay tuned after the News and Q&A for Part II of that conversation.

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at http://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 http://www.ewtnradio.net ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: https://www.ewtn.com/radio/audio-archive (write Vatican Insider where it says Search Shows and Episodes)

Here is Part I of my interview with Msgr. Soseman about Venerable Fulton Sheen – soon to be Blessed Fulton Sheen – that aired last weekend: https://soundcloud.com/ewtn-radio/vatican-insider-112319-archbishop-fulton-j-sheen

POPE FRANCIS SUMMARIZES ASIA JOURNEY AT GENERAL AUDIENCE

Though he had to be exhausted after his long and grueling trip to Asia, Pope Francis presided at the Wednesday general audience Wednesday in St. Peter’s Square. As is customary after an apostolic visit, Francis focused the general audience catechesis on his just-completed trip to Thailand and Japan. He began by thanking civil and religious authorities and all those responsible for preparing the visit.

“In Thailand,” said the Pope, “I met with the Supreme Buddhist Patriarch as a sign of esteem and of the importance of promoting respect and cooperation between the religions, and I encouraged the local Church’s support of the sick and poor at Saint Louis hospital. Among the highlights of my visit were the meetings with priests, consecrated men and women, the bishops and finally a group of young people. In the two celebrations of Mass we saw clearly how the Gospel is being inculturated among the Thai people.

“In Japan,” said the Pope, “the motto for my visit was ‘Protect All Life’: a vital theme for a county that experienced the devastation of the atom bomb and more recent disasters. I was able to spend time in prayer at Nagasaki and Hiroshima, where I met with survivors and their families, and I repeated my appeal for the abolition of nuclear weapons. In my meeting with young people, I encouraged them to face the future without fear by opening their hearts to God’s love in prayer and in service of others. I ask you to join me in entrusting the people of Thailand and Japan to God’s loving providence. May he bless them with prosperity and peace.”

During his audience, the Holy Father announced that on Sunday, December 1, he will go to Greccio in Italy’s Lazio region to pray at the site of the first living nativity scene set up here by St. Francis in 1223. It is said that Francis wished to attract pilgrims to the presepe or nativity scene in Greccio and to discourage them from going to the real first Nativity scene in Bethlehem because of the dangers to traveling pilgrims as the Holy Land was then under control of Muslims. Since 1223 there has been a living nativity scene here every Christmas season.

Francis previously visited Greccio on January 4, 2016.

Addressing Italian pilgrims, Pope Francis spoke of Albania and its people who have suffered greatly as a result of an earthquake that struck on Tuesday. The Pope said he was praying for the dead, the injured and their families and was close to all the Albanian people. He also noted that Albania was the first country in Europe that he wanted to visit.

TRANSCIPT OF PAPAL PRESSER ON TOKYO-ROME FLIGHT

Following is the transcript in English of the press conference held aboard the papal flight from Tokyo to Rome yesterday, November 26. As you will read at the end, “This unofficial transcript and translation is a collabortion of journalists at CNA, and its Italian and Spanish language news partners. Every effort is made for accuracy and clarity.”

I will go into detail in a separate post about the Pope’s remarks on Vatican finances, questionable transactions, possible corruption and the use of Peter’s Pence funds for investments such as buying real estate.

https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/full-text-of-pope-francis-in-flight-press-conference-from-japan-36598

AUSTRALIAN HIGH COURT TO HEAR CARDINAL PELL APPEAL – POPE FRANCIS: MARRIED COUPLES, LAITY ARE MODELS FOR THE FAITH – POPE FRANCIS RECEIVES ANGLICAN ARCHBISHOP WELBY

AUSTRALIAN HIGH COURT TO HEAR CARDINAL PELL APPEAL

Catholic News Agency reported that “the Australian High Court announced Wednesday that Cardinal George Pell’s application for special leave to appeal has been referred to the full court for decision. Pell is seeking to appeal an August decision by the Court of Appeal in Victoria to uphold his conviction for child sexual abuse.

“His application will now be considered by all the members of Australia’s highest court, and a decision is expected in March or April.

“Pell’s appeal to the High Court in Canberra, Australia’s supreme court, is his last legal avenue to overturn a conviction which has divided opinion in the country and internationally.”

The Full Court of the High Court has 7 members.

Responding to the news coming out of Australia, the Holy See Press Office had this to say today: “While reiterating its trust in the Australian justice system, the Holy See acknowledges the decision of Australia’s High Court to accept Card. George Pell’s request of appeal, aware that the Cardinal has always maintained his innocence. At this time, the Holy See reaffirms once again its closeness to those who have suffered because of sexual abuse on the part of members of the clergy.”

The High Court rejects about 90% of the appeals that come to it.

Following the High Court’s decision to grant leave to appeal, a spokesperson for Cardinal George Pell said: “This matter is now still before the court and so we are unable to comment.”

Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney released the following statement: “I welcome today’s decision of the High Court that it will hear the appeal of Cardinal George Pell against his conviction. The Cardinal has always maintained his innocence and continues to do so, and the divided judgment of the Court of Appeal reflects the divided opinion amongst jurors, legal commentators and within our community.

“Many questions remain, and it is appropriate that these will be examined by our highest court. For the sake of all involved in this case, I hope that the appeal will be heard as soon as possible. The Church will continue to offer pastoral support to the Cardinal while he remains in prison awaiting the hearing of this appeal, and for all others affected by today’s outcome.”

POPE FRANCIS: MARRIED COUPLES, LAITY ARE MODELS FOR THE FAITH

Pope Francis on Wednesday during his general audience focused his attention on St Paul’s journey to Corinth, and the welcome he received from husband and wife Aquila and Priscilla who, like the Apostle, were tentmakers by trade.

Christian hospitality
Continuing his catechesis on the Acts of the Apostles, the Pope highlighted this devout married couple’s Christian hospitality.

Persecution
He explained to the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square that the couple had been forced to move from Rome to Corinth after the emperor Claudius had ordered the expulsion of the Jews. Dwelling on this point in off the cuff remarks, the Pontiff spoke of the suffering of Jewish people down through history. He said, they were “driven out, persecuted” and suffered many brutalities.


The Pope also underlined that the “habit of persecuting Jews is beginning “to be reborn here and there.” “The Jews are our brothers,” he said, and “they should not be persecuted.”

Returning to the theme of hospitality, the Pope noted how the house of Aquila and Priscilla in Corinth opened its doors not only to the Apostle, but also to their brothers and sisters in Christ.

Domus ecclesiae
Pope Francis described how St. Paul speaks of the “‘community that gathers in their house’ which becomes a ‘house of the Church’, a ‘domus ecclesiae’, a place of listening to the Word of God and of celebrating the Eucharist.”

Even today, he stressed, in some countries where there is no religious freedom and no freedom for Christians, Christians gather in hiding to pray and celebrate the Eucharist.

The role of laity
The Pope pointed out that “among the many collaborators of Paul, Aquila and Priscilla emerge as ‘models of a married life responsibly committed to the service of the entire Christian community’ and remind us that, thanks to the faith and commitment to the evangelization of so many lay people like them, Christianity has come down to us.”

Concluding his catechesis and quoting his predecessor Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, Pope Francis said that, “Christianity from the beginning was preached by the laity. You too, the laity, are responsible for your Baptism to carry on the faith.”

Pope Francis also prayed for the victims of terror attacks in the West African nation of Burkina Faso and appealed for the promotion of inter-religious dialogue and harmony. Pope Francis says his thoughts are with the people of Burkina Faso that is “suffering from recurrent episodes of violence, and where a recent attack killed almost one hundred people.”

POPE FRANCIS RECEIVES ANGLICAN ARCHBISHOP WELBY

This afternoon, 13th November 2019, Pope Francis received in audience His Grace Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, accompanied by His Grace Archbishop Ian Ernest, Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome and Representative of the Anglican Communion to the Holy See.

By the Holy See Press Office

During the friendly discussions, the condition of Christians in the world was mentioned, as well as certain situations of international crisis, particularly the sorrowful situation in South Sudan.

At the end of the meeting, the Holy Father and the Archbishop of Canterbury agreed that if the political situation in the country permits the creation of a transitional government of national unity in the coming 100 days, according to the timing set by the recent agreement signed in Entebbe, Uganda, it is their intention to visit South Sudan together.

Click here for photo gallery: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/pope-francis-receives-archbishop-welby-at-casa-santa-marta.html

POPE’S NOVEMBER PRAYER INTENTION: FOR DIALOGUE IN MIDDLE EAST – POPE FRANCIS ON ST. PAUL PREACHING IN ATHENS

FYI:
On Sunday November 10, 2019 at 16.30 in the Cathedral of San Pietro Apostolo in Frascati (Rome) there will be the closing ceremony of the diocesan phase of the cause of beatification and canonization of the Servant of God Chiara Lubich, founder of the Focolare Movement. The ceremony will be presided by the Bishop of Frascati, Mons. Raffaello Martinelli. Maria Voce, president of the Focolare Movement will be present.

If by any chance you have plans to be in Lucerne, Switzerland between November 7 and the 10th, you will have an opportunity to meet two Swiss Guards according to a communique today from their Vatican headquarters: “For the first time, the Pontifical Swiss Guard will have its own stand at the Central Switzerland Education Fair in Lucerne from Thursday November 7 to Sunday the 10th. During the training fair in Lucerne, two active guards will be present in uniform at Stand D 2099, in Hall 2, next to the Lucerne Police. They will present the job of the Pontifical Swiss Guard and will gladly answer the questions of interested visitors.”

As I read today’s general audience catechesis I could not help but think this sounds like what is needed in the Amazon vis a vis evangelization. I know it sounds like over-simplification but do we need thousands of words to describe evangelization? I know the Amazon region also need priests but perhaps the seminaries should be open to indigenous males. If you recall Pope Francis’ closing words at the final meeting of the Amazon synod participants, he said: “There was talk, very forceful, of indigenous Seminaries. I thank Cardinal O’Malley for his courage in this because he put his finger on the sore in something that is a real social injustice, which is, in fact, the Indians are not allowed to go on the seminarian path and on the path of the priesthood.”

That was a stunning affirmation that no one seems to have made note of! I was breathless when I read that sentence and spoke about it on October 30 with Teresa Tomeo on “Catholic Connection” and am looking into this situation to find out why and when the cardinal made his remarks (I do not recall this being highlighted at Vatican press briefings) and to look into regional seminaries.

POPE’S NOVEMBER PRAYER INTENTION: FOR DIALOGUE IN MIDDLE EAST

As he does the first days of each month, Pope Francis released a video message with his prayer intention for November 2019 in which he invites us to pray that, “a spirit of dialogue, encounter, and reconciliation emerge in the Middle East.”

Francis speaks in Spanish as a video is shown with English subtitles.

Following is the full text:
In the Middle East, concord and dialogue among the three monotheistic religions is based on spiritual and historic bonds. The Good News of Jesus, risen out of love, came to us from these lands. Today, many Christian communities, together with Jewish and Muslim communities, work here for peace, reconciliation, and forgiveness. Let us pray that a spirit of dialogue, encounter, and reconciliation emerge in the Middle East.

The prayer intentions and videos are prepared by the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network of the Apostleship of Prayer.

Click here to see video and text: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/pope-francis-november-prayer-intention-for-middle-east.html

POPE FRANCIS ON ST. PAUL PREACHING IN ATHENS

As he has done for weeks now, Pope Francis today continued his weekly general audience catechesis on the Acts of the Apostles, focusing on St. Paul who, in his myriad travels, preached in Athens, seeking to explain the Gospel to non-believers.

“Dear brothers and sisters,” began Pope Francis as he addressed pilgrims who sat through rain and then very blue skies in St. Peter’s Square. “In our catechesis on the Acts of the Apostles, we now see the Apostle Paul preaching before the Areopagus in Athens, the cultural capital of the pagan world. In a city filled with idols, Paul proclaims the Gospel by appealing to the religiosity of his hearers and their desire to know the truth.”

The Holy Father explained that, “Seeing an altar dedicated to an ‘unknown god’, Paul states that God, the transcendent Creator of the world, has indeed made himself known, and sent his Son among us to call all people to conversion and the fullness of truth.”

“Yet,” he emphasized, “when Paul begins to speak of Christ’s death and resurrection, his listeners lose interest. The mystery of the cross, in which God’s wisdom and power are revealed, appears as folly in the eyes of the Greeks. Yet Paul’s preaching bears fruit in the conversion of some Athenians, including Dionysius the Areopagite and Damaris.”

Francis told the faithful, “As we think of our own culture, may we, like Paul, be sensitive to people’s deepest yearnings in order to propose the mystery of Christ and his saving love.”