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)

FRANCIS: MIGRANT SITUATION WORLD’S GREAT TRAGEDY SINCE WWII – ITALIAN LIFEGUARDS GIVE POPE BACKPACKS FOR THE NEEDY

FRANCIS: MIGRANT SITUATION WORLD’S GREAT TRAGEDY SINCE WWII

Pope Francis has called for an ongoing commitment to welcome and integrate forced migrants and refugees and described the current migration phenomenon as the world’s greatest tragedy after the Second World War.

At the audience he spoke specifically to the Italian association, Migrantes Foundation, an arm of the Italian Bishops’ Conference (CEI) that promotes the pastoral care of migrants and refugees arriving in Italy. Noting that it offers services and help to migrants and refugees upon their arrival and a long-term process of integration, the Pope highlighted the rights and the responsibilities of those who receive and of those who are received, and described the current migration crisis as the greatest tragedy after World War 2.

He was addressing the crowd gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the weekly general audience during which he continued his catechesis on Christian hope and appealed to the faithful to ‘re-discover’ the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Pope Francis reflected on a reading from Saint Paul that centers on the attitudes of steadfastness and encouragement, saying they “are intimately connected to the reality of Christian hope because ours is a God of steadfastness as he loves us perseveringly and never tires of consoling us.”

“He is also a God of encouragement,” said Francis, “who calls us to be close to the weak and the needy with whom he asks us to be strong and to be sowers of hope. Even more, Christians are called to spread hope by supporting and encouraging one another, especially those in danger of faltering.  But we do so with the strength provided by the Lord, who is our unfailing source of hope.”

Later, speaking to an Italian association that offers services and help to migrants and refugees upon their arrival and a long-term process of integration, the Pope highlighted the rights and the responsibilities of those who receive and of those who are received, and described the current migration crisis as the greatest tragedy after World War 2.

He was speaking just days before EU Heads of State or Government convene in the city to mark the 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rom that established the European Union.

In an appeal after the catechesis, Pope Francis reminded all Catholic communities to participate in the upcoming “24 hours for the Lord” initiative on March 24 and 25 with churches across the globe offering the Sacrament of Confession as a “privileged moment of grace” during our Lenten journey.

In Rome, on Friday March 24, the churches of Santa Maria in Trastevere and Le Stimmate di San Francesco will remain open from 8pm for Confession and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

On Saturday March 25, a service of thanksgiving will take place at 5pm in the church of Santo Spirito in Sassia. Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, will preside over First Vespers of the Fourth Sunday of Lent.

People around the world can show their support for the initiative by using the #24hoursfortheLord hashtag.  (source Vatican Radio)

ITALIAN LIFEGUARDS GIVE POPE BACKPACKS FOR THE NEEDY

More than 1,500 lifeguards and coastal resort business representatives wearing distinctive red jackets were at Wednesday’s General Audience to give backpacks to the Holy Father containing items like toothpaste and razors.

The initiative was organized by the “Sindacato Italiano Balneari (S.I.B),” an organization that provides vital supervision for bathers at coastal resorts throughout the country.

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The organization president, Riccardo Borgo, said: “With this gesture we came to give a concrete help to Pope Francis and his works in support of the homeless. We also delivered to His Holiness the distinctive symbol of Italian lifeguards, the red shirt with the word ‘Rescue’ identical to the one worn on our beaches by the thousands of boys and girls each summer who supervise and work so that bathing happens in complete safety and tranquility.”

He added, “For this summer, we have other charitable initiatives and solidarity planned in favor of children and the poor.”

More than 1,000 reusable backpacks made up of different products including soap, shaving foam, and deodorants were handed over to the Holy Father for distribution to the poor at Easter. S.I.B came up with the idea following Pope Francis’ initiative launched at the Vatican two years ago that provides showers and barber services for homeless people.

The lifeguards and coastal resort entrepreneurs were joined in St Peter’s Square by their families and were accompanied by the Bishop of Chioggia, Adriano Tessarolo, as well as several priests from coastal regions.

Following the audience, a delegation consisting of one representative for each coastal town met with the papal almoner Archbishop Konrad Krajewski who gave them Rosary beads as a memento of the event.

AT GENERAL AUDIENCE. FRANCIS SAYS IT IS “GRAVE SIN” TO REMOVE JOBS WITHOUT CLEAR REASON; HE GREETS EMOTIONAL CHINESE PILGRIMS – PAPAL ENVOY ASKS PRAYERS FOR HIS MISSION TO MEDJUGORJE

Pope Francis tweeted today: The word of God helps us to open our eyes to welcome and love life, especially when it is weak and vulnerable.

AT GENERAL AUDIENCE. FRANCIS SAYS IT IS “GRAVE SIN” TO REMOVE JOBS WITHOUT CLEAR REASON; HE GREETS EMOTIONAL CHINESE PILGRIMS

The Holy Father’s general audience catechesis in St. Peter’s Square today focused on hope, with a look at charity. After the catechesis in Italian and summaries in seven other languages, Pope Francis said, in off the cuff remarks: “Those who for economic reasons or to conclude unclear negotiations, close factories and business ventures and take away jobs, this person is committing a very grave sin.” The comments came after he had appealed for a resolution to a labor dispute at the satellite company, Sky Italia, whose Rome employees are facing job cuts and relocation Sky moves offices from Rome to Milan. The Holy Father called for a solution that respects the rights of all, “especially families.”

In a rather remarkable moment at the audience today, there was a very emotional encounter between the Pope, as he circled St. Peter’s Square in his jeep, and a small group of Chinese pilgrims where he stopped the car. Rome Reports carried video and explained how excited the Chinese were: A father and his son approached Pope Francis to ask for his blessing. The Pope kissed the little boy, who was in the arms of his father, who was crying and then knelt to kiss the ground. Others came forward, crying and filled with emotion, and asked him to bless their statue of Our Lady of Fatima. Pope Francis embraced them, kissed them and gave them his blessing.

Chinese pilgrims wave flags as Pope Francis leads his Wednesday general audience, in Saint Peter’s square at the Vatican March 15, 2017. REUTERS/Tony Gentile

PAPAL ENVOY ASKS PRAYERS FOR HIS MISSION TO MEDJUGORJE

(from Aleteia.org)

I wish to ask Aleteia readers to pray for the success of my mission in Medjugorje, for coming as close as possible to objective truth and for obtaining very good, concrete results, Archbishop Henryk Hoser tells our readers.

Pope Francis appointed the archbishop in February to be the Holy See’s special envoy to the site, where millions of pilgrims have visited since the apparitions were said to begin, in 1981.

The archbishop told Aleteia some of the details of his mission.

Konrad Sawicki: When will Your Excellency leave for Medjugorje?

Archbishop Hoser: I have recently heard that I am allegedly there and that I have been miraculously healed by the Holy Virgin Mary… Joking aside, my first visit to Medjugorje, an orientation one, will start at the end of March.

I will meet first with the Apostolic Nuncio to Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Archbishop of Sarajevo. Then, naturally, I will meet with the local Bishop of Mostar and the Franciscan friars who work in the shrine. First of all, however, I will listen intently to different opinions and examine the local pastoral situation.

This will be Your Excellency’s first visit to the shrine. Yet this is not going to be Your Excellency’s first special mission, is it?

It is true I have never visited Medjugorje myself, but a lot of the faithful from my Diocese of Warsaw-Praga go there and I am well-familiar with their accounts.

It is also true that this is not going to be my first mission as a special envoy of the pope. I have so far held three such missions. Two apostolic visitations were short; I have spent two weeks in Togo and Benin, respectively. I looked into the questions of seminaries there. The third mission was long; I spent one and a half years in Rwanda immediately after the genocide. This experience gives me courage to embark on another visitation, to Medjugorje.

As to the Marian apparitions in Medjugorje and their authenticity, let us clarify the current situation for our readers.

In 2010 the Holy See appointed a special doctrinal commission led by His Eminence Cardinal Camillo Ruini. In 2014 the commission concluded its operation and submitted its conclusions to the Holy Father. He subsequently forwarded the case to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. To date, the Congregation has not adopted its final position.

Your Excellency’s mission concerns not only the apparitions themselves; it is pastoral in character. However, not everyone understands why a Polish archbishop received a special mission from Francis. One website announced that Your Excellency is to “examine the conflict concerning Marian apparitions.” 

The mission entrusted to me is auxiliary to what the doctrinal commission has accomplished. Every year the shrine is visited by 2 to 2.5 million pilgrims from across the world. It has become a charismatic place. The fact that Medjugorje is visited by so many faithful, who are no doubt spiritually enriched there, is something to be borne in mind.

A demand for pastoral care in this place is huge. Imagine – there are 50 confessionals on the premises. The problem is that often there are not enough confessors speaking different languages.

My mission, as has been stipulated in the communiqué released by the Holy See, is to closely examine the local pastoral situation, in particular the needs of the pilgrims. I am also supposed to indicate possible new pastoral initiatives. The underlying objective is to enhance pastoral outreach and to better coordinate local pastoral actions.

After the nomination of the special envoy and the publication of a letter by the local bishop, which contests the authenticity of the apparitions, many faithful around the world are concerned. Was their pilgrimage to no avail? Were their prayers untrue? – they ask. Could Your Excellency as a papal pastoral envoy explain the current situation to them and dispel their worries?

We should by no means worry! The Church has not yet spoken on the authenticity of the apparitions. We should calmly wait for the final position. This is by no means the first situation when the Church is slow to take a decision, especially given that the form of the Marian apparitions in Medjugorje significantly differs from that of earlier well-known apparitions.

Besides, this issue will not change anything in the teaching of the Church concerning Marian veneration. If Marian devotion has flourished in Medjugorje, if such multitudes arrive there, it is therefore a place where veneration will continue, since Our Lady can be venerated everywhere, especially in those locations where this veneration is so fruitful, as we hear it has been from so many testimonies.

The Holy Father is aware of it and therefore would like to examine not only the pastoral situation in Medjugorje, but also, if necessary, find methods of improving the pastoral care provided to the pilgrims in this place, so strongly dedicated to Our Lady.

Let me take this opportunity to greet Your Excellency on behalf of the editors and readers of Aleteia and wish you a complete and fast recovery. Would Your Excellency like to address our staff and readers?

I would like to ask the Aleteia readers to pray for the success of my mission in Medjugorje. I embark on this mission on behalf of the Church, entrusted to me by the Holy Father. I want this mission to come closest to objective truth and to produce very good and concrete results.

I am an emissary of the Church but the Church should pray for me, as She prayed at one time for St. Peter and St. Paul. After all, prayer is the driving force of our actions in the Church, both the tangible and the invisible ones.

Henryk Hoser, Bishop of the Diocese of Warsaw-Praga, was born in 1942 in Warsaw. A graduate of a university school of medicine, in 1968 he entered the Society of Catholic Apostolate (the Pallottines). Having obtained degrees in philosophy and theology and having been ordained to the priesthood, he left for Paris and then for a mission to Rwanda (1975–1996). In 1978 he established a Medical and Social Centre in Kigali and led it for 17 years. He also set up the Family Formation Center (Action Familiale). After the civil war in Rwanda, the Holy See appointed him apostolic visitor in Rwanda. In 2005 John Paul II appointed him archbishop and auxiliary secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and Chairman of the Pontifical Missionary Works. In 2008 Benedict XVI named him Bishop of the Diocese of Warsaw-Praga. On 11 February 2017 Pope Francis nominated him a special envoy of the Holy See to Medjugorje. At the beginning of 2017 Archbishop Hoser revealed that he is suffering from malaria.

C9 COUNCIL OF CARDINALS CONTINUES STUDY OF CURIA REFORM – POPE MEETS INDIGENOUS PEOPLES, TALKS HOPE AT WEEKLY AUDIENCE – THERE’S ALSO THIS…..

C9 COUNCIL OF CARDINALS CONTINUES STUDY OF CURIA REFORM

A briefing was held at the Holy See Press Office this morning to summarize the 18th meeting of the C9 Council of Cardinals that ended a three-day meeting that began Monday, February 13.

Press office Vice Director Paloma Garcia Ovejero noted that Pope Francis was not present for the second part of the Monday morning meeting because of the ad limina visit of the of Costa Rica. He was absent this morning due to the weekly general audience but will be present at the afternoon session of the C9. Following is the summary of this week’s meetings:

c9

On Monday and Tuesday the Cardinals concelebrated Mass with the Pope.

Following their first meeting on February 13, the Cardinals released the following statement through the Holy See Press Office:

The Council of Cardinals began its eighteenth session today.

At the beginning, Cardinal Oscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, coordinator of the group, after greeting the Holy Father, thanked him on behalf of all the Members for his words in the Christmas address to the Roman Curia on 22 December 2016, acknowledging his encouragement and guidance for the work of the Council. In relation to recent events, the Council of Cardinals pledges its full support for the Pope’s work, assuring him at the same time of its adhesion and loyalty to the figure of the Pope and to his Magisterium.

The working sessions of the Council’s meeting took place each morning from 9:00-12:30, and each afternoon from 16:30-19:00; and were dedicated to further considerations concerning the different curial dicasteries. In particular, they continued the discussion on the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (Propaganda Fide), the Congregation for Oriental Churches, and the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue.

The cardinals also began their examination of the “Diakonia of Justice,” and thus considerable time was dedicated to the tribunals: the Apostolic Penitentiary, the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Segnatura, and the Tribunal of the Roman Rota.

During the meetings, the Council also studied the process for the selection of candidates to the Episcopate.

Cardinal George Pell reported on his work at the Secretariat for the Economy, entrusted to him for the full realization of the economic reform requested by the Holy Father, with particular attention to the activity of personal formation and human resources.

The prefect for the Secretariat for Communications, Msgr. Dario Edoardo Viganò, presented the current state of the reform of the communications of the Holy See, or the unification of Vatican Radio and the Vatican Television Center in the dicastery entrusted to him. Meetings have been initiated with the Secretariat of State, the Secretariat for the Economy, APSA, and the Labor Office to accompany this new phase of the reform. Further, the plan for restructuring Vatican Radio frequencies, and the new policies for the world of social networks were presented. Finally, there was a reflection on the project for the beginning of the reform of the Vatican publishing house, the Libreria Editrice Vaticana.

The next meeting of the Council of Cardinals will take place April 24-26, 2017.

POPE MEETS INDIGENOUS PEOPLES, TALKS HOPE AT WEEKLY AUDIENCE

The Pope’s Wednesday morning meeting with the faithful took an interesting turn today when Pope Francis, before the start of the weekly audience in the Paul VI Hall, met separately with a group of indigenous attending the Third Indigenous Peoples’ Forum convened by IFAD, the International Fund for Agricultural Development. Noting that they have have come together “to identify ways of giving greater economic empowerment to indigenous peoples,” Francis said: “I believe that the central issue is how to reconcile the right to development, both social and cultural, with the protection of the particular characteristics of indigenous peoples and their territories. (photo: news.va)

indigenous

He went on to say, “This is especially clear when planning economic activities which may interfere with indigenous cultures and their ancestral relationship to the earth. In this regard, the right to prior and informed consent should always prevail, as foreseen in Article 32 of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Only then is it possible to guarantee peaceful cooperation between governing authorities and indigenous peoples, overcoming confrontation and conflict.”

Those words were seen as indirect criticism of the Trump administration’s plan, over opposition from Indian groups, to allow the building of the multi-billion dollar Dakota oil pipeline. The Vatican has said this is not the case, according to media reports.

Later, in the Paul VI Hall, the Holy Father continued his weekly catechesis on Christian hope, saying that God’s peace, God’s love for us, remains with us, no matter what, even in fears, sufferings and disappointment. “Christian hope then is not based on who we are or what we are capable of, but on God’s love for each one of us. May we be instruments of hope, so that our greatest boast will be of a Father who excludes no one, but opens his home to all. And may we be a people who sustain one another with this message of Christian hope.”

THERE’S ALSO THIS…..

CARDINAL RAYMOND BURKE HAS BEEN SENT TO GUAM to oversee a Church trial that is investigating accusations of sexual abuse by Archbishop Anthony Apuron of Agana. The former head of the Church’s supreme court, the Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, and the patronus of the Order of Malta, arrived today in Guam and will start meetings with witnesses Thursday morning. Cardinal Burke will preside a five-member “tribunal of the first instance” that was set up for this case last fall. Four other bishops acting as judges are also members of this tribunal. When Abp. Apuron, who claims he is innocent of the charges made as long ago as the 1970s, refused to resign, Pope Francis named a former Detroit auxiliary bishop as coadjutor, giving him full authority over the archdiocese. Bishop Michael Byrnes was named to this post last October by Pope Francis. Prior to that appointment, Pope Francis had named Abp. Savio Hon Tai Fai, secretary of the Congregation for Evangelization, to oversee the Catholic Church on Guam.

ORDER OF MALTA GOVERNING COUNCIL TO CONVENE APRIL 29 TO ELECT NEW GRAND MASTER – The electing body will meet in the Order’s Magistral Villa in Rome. On 29 April the Council Complete of State, the Order’s constitutional body, will elect the next Grand Master of the Sovereign Order of Malta (or, as provided for in the Constitution, a Lieutenant of the Grand Master, to hold office for a year). Following the resignation of the 79th Grand Master Fra’ Matthew Festing, on 28 January, the government of the Order of Malta – the Sovereign Council – met this morning in Rome, and established the April date.