IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD, ALL EVIL IS BANISHED FOREVER

Pope Francis tweeted today: The Lord is close to all those who are victims of old and new forms of slavery: inhuman labour, illegal trafficking and exploitation.

At today’s general audience, the Pope spoke of Monday’s 4.0 quake on the Italian island of Ischia, a quake that occurred just three days before the one-year anniversary of the devastating quake in central Italy that killed 300 people. In fact tomorow marks that sad anniversary and tonight a candlelit procession is scheduled for the town that lost the most inhabitants and buildings, Amatrice.

How well I remember being awakened in the wee small hours of the morning a year ago –  I looked at my clock when my shaking bed awoke me and it said 3:35 am!

If you are down Naples way on a trip to Italy, Ischia is well worth a visit, a short boat ride, as you will see in a few of the photos I’ve posted below and on this website: http://www.ischiareview.com/

IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD, ALL EVIL IS BANISHED FOREVER

In a filled-to-capacity Paul VI Hall, Pope Francis Wednesday resumed the weekly general audience after a holiday break last week. Continuing his catecheses on the virtue of Christian hope, he began by noting that the Bible tells us that, “the ultimate destination of our Christian pilgrimage will be the heavenly Jerusalem. And on this pilgrimage we encounter the God of surprises who treats us with infinite tenderness, like a father welcoming his children home after a long and difficult journey.”

Francis then spoke of those who “experience life as a prolonged period of suffering,” saying, “I think of the fearful faces of those haunted by violence and war.” At this point, he departed from his prepared remarks, and listed recent violence “that has made news headlines” such as “the attacks in Barcelona and the sad news coming out of the Democratic Republic of Congo,” where there have been attacks on Christians and Catholic churches.

However, the Pope explained, “We believe that neither death nor hatred have the last word, for we Christians see, with great hope, a larger horizon: the Kingdom of God, where all evil is banished forever.  It is Jesus himself who is the light of this new future, and who even now accompanies us on our way.  Creation did not stop on the sixth day of Genesis, because God is continually looking after us, always ready to pronounce his blessing: “Behold, I make all things new!”

At the end of the audience, Pope Francis said his “thoughts and affection turn to those suffering from the earthquake Monday evening on the island of Ischia.”

Ischia is a volcanic island in the Gulf of Naples, Italy, well known for its lovely small towns and its many spas and mineral-rich thermal waters. It is about 19 miles off shore from Naples.

The Holy Father asked the faithful to join him in prayer for the dead and wounded  and their families and those who lost their homes.”

The Ischia quake killed two, injured dozens and destroyed a number of buildings.

 

GOD’S MERCY IS “DRIVING FORCE OF CHRISTIAN HOPE” – POPE “DEEPLY SADDENED” BY CHURCH KILLINGS, VIOLENCE AGAINST CHRISTIANS – THE VATICAN APOSTOLIC LIBRARY HAS AN OWL

GOD’S MERCY IS “DRIVING FORCE OF CHRISTIAN HOPE”

In the coolness of the air-conditioned Paul VI Hall, on yet another day of scorching temps in Rome, Pope Francis presided at the weekly general audience and began by noting, “in our continuing catechesis, we now consider God’s mercy as the driving force of Christian hope.”

He said, “when Jesus forgives the sinful woman, his action causes scandal, because it overturns the dominant attitude of the time.  Instead of rejecting sinners, Jesus embraces them, those who are outcast, ‘untouchable’.  With a compassion that literally causes him to tremble in his depths, he reveals the merciful heart of God. This astonishing attitude to those in desperate situations, even those who have made many mistakes in life, marks our Christian identity with the stamp of mercy, and gives a sure foundation to our hope.”

Francis explained that, “we who have experienced God’s forgiveness should avoid the danger of forgetting that this mercy was purchased at a great price: Christ’s death on the Cross.  Our Lord died not because he healed the sick, but because he did what only God can do: forgive sins.  This divine mercy both transforms us and renews our hope.  Our Lord, who rejects no one, graciously bestows upon us the mission to proclaim his mercy to the world.”

POPE “DEEPLY SADDENED” BY CHURCH KILLINGS, VIOLENCE AGAINST CHRISTIANS

At the end of the general audience on Wednesday; pope Francis once again pleaded for an end to “every form of hatred and violence,” most especially “in places of worship, where the faithful gather to pray.”

He was referring to an attack on Catholics attending Sunday Mass in southern Nigeria and to recent violence against Christians in the Central African Republic.

The Holy Father said he “remains deeply saddened by the massacre, which took place last Sunday in Nigeria inside a church, where innocent people were killed.” At least 13 people were killed and 26 others were wounded when gunmen opened fire on worshippers at St. Philip’s Catholic Church in Ozubulu near the city of Onitsha.

The Pope then added, “unfortunately, news has arrived this morning of violent homicides in the Central African Republic against the Christian community,” and said such attacks on places of worship should cease. “I hope that all forms of hatred and violence cease, and may such shameful crimes not be repeated, especially those perpetrated in places of worship, where the faithful gather to pray.”

He asked the faithful at today’s audience to remember their brothers and sisters in these countries in prayer, and then led the faithful in reciting the Hail Mary.

THE VATICAN APOSTOLIC LIBRARY HAS AN OWL

What do the Vatican Apostolic Library and an OWL have in common?

The answer comes in the latest email missive from Msgr. Cesare Pasini, prefect of the Vatican Apostolic Library. OWL is just wonderful, and ever so instructive, if you are fan of libraries in general and the Vatican Apostolic Library in particular:

Dear Friends,

I am sending you the link to the second edition of OWL, the Official Newsletter of the Vatican Apostolic Library. OWL means Online Window into the Library

In this edition: – The Real “Hidden” Treasures of the Vatican Library: Palimpsests – The Dialogue of the Vatican Apostolic Library with Artists – Ninety Years since the Beginning of the Library’s “American Experience” – “Terra mariana”: the President of Latvia’s Visit to the Vatican Library – The Royal Family of the Netherlands Visit the Apostolic Library – An Encounter with Russian Librarians

Enjoy your summer reading!

BAPTISM MAKES US CHILDREN OF LIGHT IN A WORLD OFTEN DARK – MEET A TRUE “CHILD OF LIGHT,” A “BEARER OF CHRIST” IN THE WORLD

I read today’s second story, a very human, wonderful, moving story, shortly after reading the papal catechesis on Baptism, and I immediately saw the link between Francis’ words and the deeds of this young cashier at a Walmart store.

This article from Aleteia was written by Patty Knap and was entitled, “Serving God and a Woman in Need at Walmart.” It was sub-titled: “This 20-year-old cashier felt nudged by God to help a customer, and ‘When God tells me to do something, I do it’.”

May God bless this young man abundantly (I feel He already has!) as well as the woman he helped!

This will make your day, for sure!

BAPTISM MAKES US CHILDREN OF LIGHT IN A WORLD OFTEN DARK

After spending July in the Santa Marta residence on what we would call a “working vacation,” Pope Francis was again in the spotlight Wednesday as he presided at the weekly general audience. The gathering took place in the air conditioned Paul VI Hall, given the torrid temperatures throughout Italy, especially in larger cities where 100 degrees Fahrenheit has almost become the norm, as have drought conditions throughout the nation.

The Holy Father continued his series of catecheses on Christian hope and highlighted the sacrament of baptism as the gate to eternal life. He began with a beautiful explanation that noted that, “In the early Church, those about to be baptized made their profession of faith facing eastward, seeing the rising sun as a symbol of Christ. Even if our modern world has lost contact with such cosmic imagery, this symbolism retains its power.

In our times, the Pope said, we have lost our fascination with this rite; we have lost our “sensitivity to the language of the cosmos.” But we have retained the significance of the rite: To be a Christian means “to look to the light, to continue to make the profession of faith in the light, even when the world is wrapped up in the night and in darkness”:

“In putting on Christ at baptism we become children of light,” continued the Holy Father. “This light gives us new hope, helps us to know God as Father, and enables us to recognize Jesus in the weakest and poorest. When we were baptized we received a candle that was lit from the Paschal Candle, as a sign of Christ’s victory over the darkness of sin and death. This is also a sign of the life of the Church: to be ablaze with this new light! As Christians, let us remind each other that we have been reborn as children of the light, and, faithful to our baptismal calling, let us share the new hope that Jesus brings.

As he has done on previous occasions when talking about Baptism, Francis asked those present if they knew the date of their Baptism, “which is the date of your rebirth, it is the date of the light, it is the date in which…we were contaminated by the light of Christ.” Holding his hand to his ear, he aked them to repeat their response more loudly.

“What a grace it is,” the Holy Father concluded, “when a Christian truly becomes a ‘Christopher’, a ‘bearer of Christ’ in the world. If we would be faithful to our Baptism, we would spread the light of hope – Baptism is the beginning of hope, that hope of God – and we would pass on to future generations reasons for life.”

MEET A TRUE “CHILD OF LIGHT,” A “BEARER OF CHRIST” IN THE WORLD

A frazzled looking woman showed up at the checkout line of a Walmart in Newcastle, Oklahoma, and a row of impatient customers quickly formed behind her.

She had three active kids with her as she loaded a lot of groceries on to the belt. As she got out a card, a few customers let it be known that they were annoyed it was taking so long.

The 20 year-old cashier, Nicholas Tate, wasn’t impatient, though. He was calm and compassionate as he casually asked, “Has it been one of those days?”

The woman responded yes and said she was a foster parent and had just signed up for a federal program that helps low-income families – WIC.  It was her first time using her WIC card.

“She apologized beforehand because she was using WIC and had never used it before,” the Austin Bible Institute student said. He told her it wouldn’t be a problem.

But it turned out there was a problem. The foster mom’s new card wasn’t working for several items, including the main thing she needed — baby formula.

Cashier Nicholas was about to call for a manager but felt prompted to intercede himself.  “I felt like God was calling for me to pay for her bill,” he said. “It was without a doubt – God was saying, ‘Pay for this.’”

So that’s just what he did.  He got out his own credit card to pay for the $60 worth of groceries. The foster mom was so flabbergasted she burst into tears and left the store.

“When God tells me to do something, I do it,” Nicholas said. “God told me, ‘I put you in this place at the right time and I knew you were ready for this – to pay for this. So without hesitation, I pulled my card out and swiped it.”

A few days later, another customer came up to Nicholas and showed him a Facebook post, and asked if he was the cashier mentioned in the posting. The foster mom had been so shocked by the young cashier’s kindness and generosity that she hadn’t thanked him. She decided to post a message on Facebook hoping to find the cashier’s name so she could thank him.

Thanks to social networking, she was able to do just that, and more.

“I don’t remember everything he said to me after [swiping his card] but I do know he told me that I wasn’t failing and that what we were doing was an amazing thing,” the woman explained.

“I have been able to get into contact with this young man … and thank him again as well as his mom and tell her how incredibly blessed we were by her son and thank her for raising such an exceptional young man,” she wrote. “Additionally multiple managers from Wal-Mart have contacted me regarding this issue to figure out who it was, wanting to help make it right and help however they can. As well as someone from WIC.”

Meanwhile Nicholas, who hopes to be a missionary in Honduras some day, says he’s surprised how many people have been touched by his kindness to a stranger. “It was pretty cool getting to talk to her. I was just trying to bless someone and make their day and it turned into something incredible,” he said.

“It’s not what I did,” Nicholas said. “It’s what God did through something so small. He took something so small and He glorified his name with it.”

(JFL: The name Nicholas is Greek in origin and means ‘victory of the people’)

 

FRANCIS GREETS DELEGATION FROM NFL HALL OF FAME – THE SAINTS ARE WITNESSES AND COMPANIONS OF HOPE – WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT VATICAN DICASTERIES?

As you will see in the third story, I mention the SPC, the Secretariat for Communications. I had reason to look up a name today in the Vatican’s 2017 phone directory and was surprised to see that the SPC has 11 pages of phone numbers (Secretariat of State has only 4 and a half), having combined all the Vatican communications offices (newspaper, CTV, radio, press office, etc) under one umbrella. Took me quite a while to find the one name I needed!

FRANCIS GREETS DELEGATION FROM NFL HALL OF FAME

Before today’s general audience, Pope Francis received a delegation from the National Football League Hall of Fame, including six previous inductees, one team owner who will be inducted in August, and members of the Hall of Fame’s Board of Trustees.Francis said. “I am pleased to greet you, the members and directors of the American Pro Football Hall of Fame, and to welcome you to the Vatican.  As many of you know, I am an avid follower of ‘football’, but where I come from, the game is played very differently!”

The Pope highlighted the “traditional values of sportsmanship that you (NFL) seek to embody, both on the field and in your own lives, your families and your communities.  Our world, and especially our young people, need models, persons who show us how to bring out the best in ourselves, to use our God-given gifts and talents, and, in so doing, to point the way to a better future for our societies.”

The Holy Father, as he has done on many occasions when addressing sports figures and groups and young people in general, stressed the importance of “teamwork, fair play and the pursuit of personal excellence” saying these “are the values – in the religious sense, we can say virtues” that are also “urgently needed off the field, on all levels of our life as a community.  They are the values that help build a culture of encounter, in which we anticipate and meet the needs of our brothers and sisters, and combat the exaggerated individualism, indifference and injustice that hold us back from living as one human family.  How greatly our world needs this culture of encounter!”

THE SAINTS ARE WITNESSES AND COMPANIONS OF HOPE

The Holy Father Wednesday, contin uing his series of catecheses on Christian hope, reflected on the Saints as witnesses and companions of Hope.

“Dear Brothers and Sisters,” began Francis, “we now look to the saints, to ‘those who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith’.  The Letter to the Hebrews speaks of the saints as ‘a great cloud of witnesses’ who support us on our pilgrim way through this present life.  In the sacraments of baptism, marriage and ordination, we pray the Litany of the Saints to implore their intercession and help in the particular vocation we have received.”

The Pope went on to note that, “the lives of the saints remind us that the Christian ideal is not unattainable.  Despite our human weakness, we can always count on God’s grace and the prayers of the saints to sustain us in faith and in hope for the transfiguration of this world and the fulfilment of Christ’s promises in the next.”

“May the Lord enable all of us,” concluded Francis, “to become saints, to be living images of Christ in our time.  May he strengthen us to be his witnesses and to bring the Gospel to all our brothers and sisters, especially the suffering and those most in need of its message of undying hope.”

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT VATICAN DICASTERIES?

Click on (then save) the following link and you’ll see the chart I posted below. I’ve not visited every site before posting this today, just a few, however some of them are still from the http://www.vatican.va site and have not been updated in quite some time. Other are quite interesting. I’m guessing this is all part of the Secretariat for Communication’s (SPC) planned reform in the area of communications and that some day there will be a totally new website that will be updated frequently, if not daily.

ttp://www.vatican.va/siti_va/index_va_en.htm

   
CONGREGATIONS
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith www.doctrinafidei.va www.memoriafidei.va www.acdf.va
Pontifical Commission for Latin America (Congregation for Bishops) www.americalatina.va
Pontifical Mission Societies (Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples) www.ppoomm.va
Museum of Propaganda Fide (Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples) www.museopropagandafide.va
Historical Archive “de Propaganda Fide” (Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples) www.archiviostoricopropaganda.va
Congregation for the Clergy www.clerus.va
Congregation for Catholic Education (for Institutes of Study) www.educatio.va
Congregation for the Causes of Saints www.causesanti.va
Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life www.congregazionevitaconsacrata.va
TRIBUNALS
Apostolic Penitentiary www.penitenzieria.va
Roman Rota www.rotaromana.va
PONTIFICAL COUNCILS
Pontifical Council for the Laity www.laici.va
Pontifical Council for the Family www.familia.va
Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace www.iustitiaetpax.va www.laudatosi.va
Pontifical Council for Culture www.cultura.va
Pontifical Council for Social Communications www.pccs.va www.intermirifica50.va
The Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization www.novaevangelizatio.va www.annusfidei.va www.iubilaeummisericordiae.va
Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts www.delegumtextibus.va
Pontifical Council Cor Unum www.corunum.va www.corunumjubilaeum.va
DICASTERIES
Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life www.laityfamilylife.va
SYNOD OF BISHOPS
XIV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (Holy See Press Office’s Communications Channel) synod15.vatican.va
XV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops youth.synod2018.va
OFFICES
PONTIFICAL COMMISSIONS
Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors www.protectionofminors.va
OTHER INSTITUTIONS
Pontifical Musical Chorus of the Sistine Chapel: www.cappellamusicalepontificia.va
Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice Foundation www.centesimusannus.va
Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem www.oessh.va
Campo Santo Teutonico www.camposanto.va www.camposantoteutonico.va www.erzbruderschaft.va www.paepstlichespriesterkolleg.va www.pontificiocollegioteutonico.va www.deutscherfriedhof.va www.cimiteroteutonico.va www.priesterkolleg.va www.collegioteutonico.va
OTHER COMMISSIONS AND COMMITTEES
Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses www.congressieucaristici.va
Pontifical Swiss Guard www.guardiasvizzera.va
Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences www.historia.va
INSTITUTIONS CONNECTED WITH THE HOLY SEE
Vatican Secret Archives asv.vatican.va (www.archiviosegretovaticano.va) www.scuolavaticanapaleografia.va
Vatican Library www.vaticanlibrary.va
L’Osservatore Romano www.osservatoreromano.va
Vatican Publishing House www.libreriaeditricevaticana.va
Vatican Radio www.radiovaticana.va
Photografic Service of L’Osservatore Romano www.photo.va
Office of Papal Charities www.elemosineria.va
Holy See’s Agency for the Evaluation and Promotion of Quality in Ecclesiastical Universities and Faculties (AVEPRO) www.avepro.va
Financial Intelligence Authority (AIF) www.aif.va
Vatican Television Center (CTV) www.ctv.va
Excavations Office (Fabric of St. Peter) www.scavi.va
LABOUR OFFICE OF THE APOSTOLIC SEE
ULSA (Labour Office of the Apostolic See) www.ulsa.va
VATICAN CITY STATE
Vatican City State www.vaticanstate.va
Vatican Museums www.museivaticani.va
Online Ticket Office of the Vatican Museums biglietteriamusei.vatican.va
The Vatican Observatory 2014 Summer School www.voss2014.va
Vatican Observatory www.vaticanobservatory.va
PONTIFICAL ACADEMIES
Pontifical Academy of Sciences www.casinapioiv.va www.endslavery.va
Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences www.pass.va
Pontifical Academy of Saint Thomas Aquinas www.past.va
INSTITUTES OF STUDIES
Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music www.musicasacra.va
SECTIONS OF THE OFFICIAL SITE
Abuse of minors. The Church’s response www.resources.va
Pontifical Council Cor Unum www.corunum.va
Photo Galleries www.photogallery.va
FOUNDATIONS
The Joseph Ratzinger Vatican Foundation www.fondazioneratzinger.va
Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice Foundation www.centesimusannus.va
Paediatric Medical Foundation of Santa Marta www.dispensariosantamarta.va
OTHER
Pontifical Parish of St Anne in the Vatican www.santanna.va
Institute for Religious Works (IOR) www.ior.va
PONTIFICAL DELEGATIONS
Pontifical Delegation for the Basilica of St. Anthony in Padua

 

POPE FRANCIS: GOD’S UNCONDITIONAL LOVE IS SOURCE OF HOPE – C9 OFFERS SERIOUS PROPOSALS FOR DECENTRALIZATION OF ROMAN CURIA

One of my favorite days during the years has always been June 14 when we celebrate Flag Day in America. Maybe because it was just as summer began and summer was marked by vacation time, bar-b-ques, beach parties and cookouts, July 4th and our independence. Everywhere you went, you’d find an American flag; wherever a flag could be hung or unfurled or simply placed in the sand at a beach, there it was, the Stars and Stripes.

There were then and are today rules for displaying the flag. I remember always having a flag on our home. We took it down at night because a flag could not be displayed at night unless a light was shining on it.

My heart breaks today when I read of people being unable to display the US flag at their home because of homeowers association regulations, or regulations from some other group.

Today I wish all my fellow Americans a Happy Flag Day, whether it is waving in the wind at your home or you are wearing a flag pin.

POPE FRANCIS: GOD’S UNCONDITIONAL LOVE IS SOURCE OF HOPE

Before he began today’s general audience just before 9:30 in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis paid a visit to the Paul VI Hall to greet sick people and their family members.

According to Vatican Radio which records such papal remarks, the Holy Father greeted to the sick, “Good morning to you all! Please be seated, be seated… Today we will hold the audience in two different places, but we will be joined by the maxi-screen, and so you will be more comfortable here, because in the square it is very hot! It will be a Turkish bath today!

“Thank you very much for coming,” continued the Pope, “And afterwards, listen to what I will say, but with the heart joined to those who are in the square: the Church is like this. A group here, a group there, but all united. And who unites the Church? The Holy Spirit. Let us pray to the Holy Spirit to unite us all here today, in this audience. Veni, Sancte Spiritus … Our Father… Hail Mary…

”And now, I give you my blessing……Thank you, and pray for me! Do not forget! And we will continue to see each other…

A half hour later, Francis reached St. Peter’s Square, addressing groups of pilgrims and faithful from Italy and around the world on the theme of Christian hope.

“Dear Brothers and Sisters,” he began. “In our catechesis on Christian hope, we have found the source of that hope in God’s unconditional love, revealed for us in the coming of the Son and the gift of the Holy Spirit.  None of us can live without love. Happiness comes from the experience of knowing love, freely given and received.

Francis went on to say, in very comforting words, “So much unhappiness in our world is born of the feeling of not being loved for our own sake.  Faith teaches us that God loves us with an infinite love, not for any merit of our own, but out of his sheer goodness.  Even when we stray from him, God seeks us out, like the merciful father in the parable of the prodigal son, offers us forgiveness, and restores us to his embrace.

The Pope explained that, “In the words of Saint Paul: ‘While we still were sinners, Christ died for us’ so that we might become beloved sons and daughters of our heavenly Father.  Through the resurrection of Jesus and the grace of the Holy Spirit, we become sharers in God’s own life of love.  May all of us find in God’s embrace the promise of new life and freedom.  For in his love is the source of all our hope.”

C9 OFFERS SERIOUS PROPOSALS FOR DECENTRALIZATION OF ROMAN CURIA

 At 13.00 today, the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Greg Burke, gave a briefing on the twentieth meeting of the Council of Cardinals attended by the Holy Father Francis. The Council of Cardinals met with the Holy Father for three days: Monday 12, Tuesday 13 and Wednesday 14 June. All members of the Council were present apart from Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston.

Pope Francis was absent this morning owing to the general audience.

The working sessions took place in the morning from 9.00 to 12.30, and in the afternoon from 16.30 to 19.00, and were dedicated to further consideration of the ways in which the Roman Curia can better serve the local Churches. For example, a larger consultation board made up also of members from consecrated life and the laity, for candidates proposed for appointment as bishop.

Among other proposals, the possibility of transferring some functions from the Roman Dicasteries to the local bishops or episcopal councils, in a spirit of healthy decentralization. For example, the transfer from the Congregation for the Clergy to the Episcopal Conference for examination and authorization for: the priestly ordination of an unmarried permanent deacon; the passage to new marriage for a widowed permanent deacon; the request for priestly ordination by a widowed permanent deacon.

The Cardinals gave further consideration to various Dicasteries of the Curia, in particular the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

The Council studied and reread texts proposed for submission to the Holy Father regarding the Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue; the Dicastery for the Oriental Churches; the Dicastery for Legislative Texts; and three tribunals: the Apostolic Penitentiary, the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Segnatura and the Tribunal of the Roman Rota.

Cardinal George Pell provided an update on the work of the Secretariat for the Economy, of which he is the president. Particular attention was paid to the steps ahead made in the process of planning of economic resources and in monitoring financial plans for the first trimester of 2017 which have substantially confirmed, with few exceptions, the budget data. Shortly the budget process will begin for 2018, and the monitoring for the second trimester of 2017.

The prefect of the Secretariat for Communications, Msgr. Dario Edoardo Viganò, presented a report on the state of the reform of the communication system of the Holy See; he illustrated the economic and management progress of the SPC, demonstrating positive results. He then explained the projects in the realization phase of the new communication system, in accordance with the Holy Father’s recent address on the occasion of the Dicastery’s first Plenary.

The next meeting of the Council of Cardinals will take place on 11, 12 and 14 September 2017. (Holy See Press Office)

 

MARY MAGDALEN IS AN APOSTLE OF HOPE

MARY MAGDALEN IS AN APOSTLE OF HOPE

Pope Francis continued his series of catecheses on Christian hope at today’s general audience and highlighted “Mary Magdalene, Apostle of Hope.”

He centered his talk on the Gospel of St John (20:15-18) where Mary ran to the tomb, looking for Jesusì body: “Jesus said to her, Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for? She thought it was the gardener and said to him, Sir, if you carried him away, tell me where you laid him, and I will take him. Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni,” which means Teacher. Jesus said to her, “Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’Mary of Magdala went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,”

The Holy Father explained that “St. John tells us on Easter morning Mary had gone to the tomb of Jesus; she saw that it was empty, and returned to tell this news to Peter and the other disciples.  Returning to the tomb, yet still not understanding what had happened, Mary encounters the Risen Lord, but does not recognize him until he calls her by name.

“This first appearance of Jesus after rising from the dead,” said Francis, “is thus something intensely personal.  We know that just as he did with Mary Magdalen, so too Jesus calls each of us by name and fills us with joy at his presence.  Our encounter with him brings freedom and opens up new vistas of life; it transforms our world and brings undying hope.

Pope Francis noted that, “the risen Lord tells Mary not to cling to him, but to go and tell the good news of his resurrection to the others.  Mary Magdalen thus becomes the apostle of Christian hope.  By her prayers, may we be encounter anew the risen Lord, who calls us by name, turns our sorrow into joy, and sends us forth to proclaim by our lives that he is truly risen.”

After the audience catechesis, the Pope paid tribute to Polish military veterans who fought in the 1944 Battle of Montecassino because former soldiers from the Polish army’s Second Corps are in Rome for the anniversary of the Second World War battle and they attended today’s audience.

Francis praised the veterans who “fought for the freedom of your country and for other nations,” saying the “sacrifice of life” of their companions had helped bring peace to Europe and the whole world.

Well known here in Italy and a major event in history books, the Battle of Montecassino ivolved four allied assaults on German positions during a four month period and, as a result, tens of thousands died on both sides.

The Holy Father also greeted two orders of nuns as they celebrate their General Chapters in Rome, the Montfort Missionaries of the Company of Mary and the Perpetual Adorers of the Blessed Sacrament, urging both commnuties to renew their commitment to passing on the love of God to others and to “ renew their adherence to their respective charisms.”

AUDIENCE CATECHESIS: HOPING AGAINST HOPE – FRANCIS: PROFOUND SORROW FOR VICTIMS OF BLOODY CONFLICT IN IRAQ – POPE TO YOUNG PEOPLE: REFLECT ON CHALLENGES OF EVANGELIZATION – 25,000 JOIN LENTEN WALKING PILGRIMAGE IN INDIA

After reports on the weekly general audience, the papal appeal for Iraq and his meeting with religious leaders from that nation and the Holy Father’s Message to young people in Barcelona, I offer an interesting story about the Catholic Church in India. We know the word “catholic” means universal but on occasion we can forget about the faithful in nations other than the ones we live in, the believers around the world in the Universal Church.

POPE FRANCIS TWEETED TODAY: The peace that springs from faith is a gift: it is the grace of feeling that God loves us and that he is always beside us.

AUDIENCE CATECHESIS: HOPING AGAINST HOPE

Pope Francis at today’s general audience again focused the weekly catechesis on hope, this time linking that virtue to faith. Above all, he explained how the faithful should put their trust in God’s word, even at those times when hope seems humanly impossible, hoping against hope.

“In the chapter from the Letter to Romans that opened today’s audience,” said the Pope, referring to the reading that precedes the weekly catechesis in all languages, “Saint Paul presents Abraham not only as our father in faith, but also as our father in hope.  Paul tells us that Abraham put his faith in the God who gives life to the dead, who calls all things into being.  Hoping against hope, he trusted in God’s promise that, despite his old age and that of Sarah his wife, he would become the father of many nations.

“In Abraham, we see the close bond existing between faith and hope.  Abraham’s hope in God’s promises was fulfilled in the birth of his son Isaac, and, in the fullness of time, in the ‘many nations’ gathered into a new humanity set free from sin and death by the power of Christ’s resurrection.”

Francis explained that, “faith teaches us, in fact, to hope against hope by putting our own trust in God’s word even at those times when hope seems humanly impossible.  In our Lenten journey to Easter, may we be confirmed in faith and hope, and show ourselves children of Abraham by accepting the promise of new life given us in the Lord’s resurrection.”

“And now, said the Holy Father, “I would like to ask you a question: are we all convinced of this? Are we convinced that God wishes us well and that all that He promised us is able to bring it to fruition? But Father, how much do we have to pay for this? There is just one price: opening your hearts. Open your hearts and this strength of God will lead you ahead, it will do miraculous things and will teach you what hope is. This is the only price: open your heart to faith and He will do the rest. This is the paradox and, at the same time, the strongest, highest element of our hope! A hope based on a promise that from a human point of view seems uncertain and unpredictable, but which is no less even when faced with death, when it is the God of Resurrection and life Who promises. This is not a promise from anyone? He Who promises is the God of Resurrection and of life.

“Today we are all in the square, we praise the Lord, we will sing the Lord’s Prayer, then we will receive the blessing. But this passes. But this is also a promise of hope. If today we have an open heart, I assure you that all of us will meet in the square of Heaven that never comes to an end. This is God’s promise, and this is our hope, if we open our hearts. Thank you.”

FRANCIS: PROFOUND SORROW FOR VICTIMS OF BLOODY CONFLICT IN IRAQ

Before today’s weekly general audience in a sun-splashed St. Peter’s Square, in a room adjacent to the Paul VI Hall, Pope Francis received participants in the meeting of the permanent Committee for Dialogue between the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and the Iraqi superintendents: Shiite, Sunni, and those for the Christians, Yazidis, Sabeans/Mandaeans.

At the end of the weekly catechesis in Italian, Pope Francis greeted that delegation of Iraqi superintendents, noting it was “composed of representatives of different religious groups, accompanied by His Eminence Cardinal Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. The richness of the dear Iraqi nation consists precisely in this mosaic that represents unity in diversity, strength in union, prosperity in harmony.

“Dear brothers,” continued the Holy Father, “I encourage you to go ahead on this road and I invite you to pray that Iraq may find peace, unity and prosperity in reconciliation and harmony between the various ethnic and religious groups. My thoughts go to the civil populations trapped in the western districts of Mosul and those displaced by war, to whom I feel united in suffering, through prayer and spiritual closeness. In expressing my profound sorrow for the victims of the bloody conflict, I renew to all my appeal for every effort to be made to protect civilians, an imperative and urgent obligation.”

POPE TO YOUNG PEOPLE: REFLECT ON CHALLENGES OF EVANGELIZATION

Pope Francis has sent a Message to a symposium for youth in Barcelona, Spain telling the young people they should reflect on the challenges of evangelization. The theme of the four-day meeting that began March 28 is “He walked by their side (Lk 24:15) – Accompanying young people to freely respond to Christ’s call.

The symposium was organized by the CCEE, Council of European Catholic Bishops’ Conferences, the Spanish Catholic Bishops’ Conference and the archdiocese of Barcelona. Joining Archbishop Juan José Omella of Barcelona are other church leaders including Cardinal Vincent Nichols, archbishop of Westminster, and Archbishop Marek Jedraszewski of Krakow.

The message was sent in the Pope’s name by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin. The Holy Father urged youth “to conduct a reflection on the challenges of evangelization and on the accompaniment of young people, so that – through dialogue and encounter and as living members of the family of Christ – young people may be enthusiastic bearers of the joy of the Gospel in all areas.”

25,000 JOIN LENTEN WALKING PILGRIMAGE IN INDIA

About 25,000 people took part in the annual Lenten Walking Pilgrimage in the western Indian city of Mumbai (formerly Bombay) in which Catholics, members of other Christian Churches and other religions also participated. A large number of priests, religious, Catholic lay people and members of other confessions and religions participated in the overnight march led by the Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Bombay.    The pilgrimage began at night on March 25 from Cross Maidan, wound its way to the Basilica of Mount Mary (some 20 kilometers distant) the following morning, Sunday, where it concluded with Holy Mass.

Cardinal Gracias, president of India’s Latin-rite bishops, began the pilgrimage with his blessings and reciting prayers to the Virgin, interceding for the city of Mumbai and the whole of India.  He prayed in particular for harmony and peaceful coexistence among the different components of Indian society, asking that,”Christians in India may live their faith in peace.”

More than 50 percent of the participants were boys and girls from remote villages of Goral, Uttan, Vasai Agassi, Korlai, Roha and from the suburbs of Maharashtra. Cardinal Gracias recited a special prayer for the young people: “Mary Seat of Wisdom guide our young people, and direct their steps towards mission, both for the country and for the Church, and intercede for the young people present, to contribute mission of the Church and the growth of the nation. We also pray for our young people for their faith and for their vocational discernment.”

The cardinal led the pilgrimage for a short distance, reuniting with the crowd at the time of recitation of the Holy Rosary. The pilgrims walked for seven hours at night, animated by prayers, songs and the many volunteers.  Felix Sequeira, one of the pilgrimage organizers told AsiaNews: “About 25,000 pilgrims carried four statues in procession decorated with flowers and lights: Mary Queen of Peace, Jesus carrying the Cross, Mary Mother of Sorrows and St. Joseph Patron of the pilgrimage.”

The pilgrimage is held every year in March, during the season of Lent. The first edition took place in the Marian Year 1988, when some devotees have decided to organize a Lenten march for peace. “Since then, the number of participants has grown from year to year with people of every creed and caste,” Francis Fernandes, president of Marian Seva Sangh, a main organizer, told AsiaNews. (Source: AsiaNews)