POPE FRANCIS ON CHRISTIAN HOPE AND THE REALITY OF DEATH – FRANCIS DEPLORES TERROR ATTACK IN MOGADISHU – POPE MEETS RELIGIONS OF PEACE DELEGATION

In case you did not see Pope Francis’ tweet today: May artists spread the beauty of the faith and proclaim the grandeur of God’s creation and His boundless love for all.

FYI: The October 20, 21 and 22 Damien and Marianne Catholic Conference that I am attending, covering and speaking at will be streamed via Youtube as well as on www.hictv.com (Hawaii Catholic TV). Hawaii Catholic TV, by the way, has been kind enough to help me film my segments for my Monday and Thursday appearances on “At Home with Jim and Joy.”

The schedule of conference events including speakers, break out sessions and the Tongan Mass on Saturday with Cardinal Mafi is here: www.dmcchawaii.org   Check the time in your part of the world. Honolulu is 6 hours behind the East Coast (ET) and 3 behind Pacific Time.

POPE FRANCIS ON CHRISTIAN HOPE AND THE REALITY OF DEATH

The papal catechesis this morning at the weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square focused, as Francis himself told pilgrims, “on Christian hope and the reality of death, a reality which our modern world so often leaves us unprepared to face.  Past civilizations had the courage to face death, and older generations taught the younger to see that inescapable event as a call to live for something enduring, greater than themselves.  For our days, no matter how many they are, pass like a breath.”

Francis explained that, “It is Jesus, however, who ultimately helps us to confront this mystery.  He shows us that it is natural to mourn the loss of a loved one.  For he too wept at Lazarus’ death.  But he did not only mourn; he also prayed to the Father and called Lazarus from the tomb.”

The Holy Father also spoke of the Gospel story of Jairus who turned to Jesus to ask him to save his sick daughter. Jesus answered Jairus’ faith-filled request: “Do not fear, only believe.” And this is what the Pope urged Christians: belief, not fear.

Francis said: “We are all small and defenseless before the mystery of death, but if we keep the flame of faith alive in our hearts, Jesus will take us by the hand, just as he did with Jairus’ daughter when he said: ‘Talitha cum’ which means, ‘Little girl, I say to you, arise’. To each of us, he will say: ‘I say to you, arise’.”

“Here is our Christian hope,” the Pope summarized. “Jesus has come to heal us, to save us from death. He says: ‘I am the resurrection and the life’; if we believe in him, even if we die, we will live.  In the face of our sorrow, Jesus invites us to faith in him.  This is our hope: when we mourn, we know that Christ remains always close to us.  And one day, when we too face death, we will hear Jesus’s voice: “I say to you, arise.”.

FRANCIS DEPLORES TERROR ATTACK IN MOGADISHU

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has condemned the terrorist attack that killed over 300 people, including children, in the Somali capital Mogadishu. (photo news.va)

 

Speaking during the weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope said he wished to express his sorrow for the massacre that took place on Saturday.

“This terrorist act , he said, deserves to be most strongly deplored, also because it falls on a population that is already suffering deeply”. Linda Bordoni reports:

The Pope said he is praying for the dead, for the wounded, for their families and for the whole people of Somalia.

“I implore the conversion of those who are violent and send my encouragement to those, who with enormous difficulties, are working for peace in that tortured land” he said.

On the ground in Mogadishu nearly 70 people are still missing  from Saturday’s bomb blast that killed more than 300 people in one of the world’s deadliest attacks in years

The death toll of 302 is expected to rise.

Somalia’s government has blamed the attack on the al-Shabab extremist group, which has not commented.

POPE MEETS RELIGIONS OF PEACE DELEGATION

Pope Francis on Wednesday met a delegation of 80 members of “Religions for Peace,” in a small room of the Paul VI Hall before presiding at the weekly general audience.  He told them, “Religions, with their spiritual and moral resources, have a specific and ‎unique role to play in building ‎peace. They cannot be neutral, much less ‎ambiguous, where peace is concerned.”

Religions for Peace is the world’s largest and most representative multi-religious coalition that advances common action among the world’s religious communities to transform violent conflict, advance human development, promote just and harmonious societies, and protect the earth.

 

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“RESIGNATION IS NOT A CHRISTIAN VIRTUE” – A PAPAL PLEA: SAY THE ROSARY FOR PEACE – PAPAL TWITTER ACCOUNT HAS 40 MILLION FOLLOWERS

 

Fifty-five years ago today, on October 11, 1962, Pope St. John XXIII opened Vatican Council II in St. Peter’s Basilica. Following are two black and white photos from that day:

A cousin of mine from Palm Beach, Florida, attended many sessions of the Council with an American delegation of bishops, including a Florida bishop.  After Phil’s death I inherited a copy of a color photo he was given after the opening session. This is a poor photo of that picture (the WordPress device to enlarge photos has never worked for me), which is a bit of family history. I have a bigger, better photo but I needed to rotate it counter clockwise and that did not work either!

“RESIGNATION IS NOT A CHRISTIAN VIRTUE”

Pope Francis, continuing his weekly audience catechesis on the Christian virtue of hope, said Wednesday, “Today I wish to speak about that dimension of hope which we can call attentive waiting.  Jesus tells his disciples to be like those who await the return of their master, with lamps alight.  As Christians, therefore, we are always attentive, awaiting the Lord’s return, when God will be all in all.”

“Every day,” continued Francis, “is a new opportunity to be attentive to God, to welcome the day as his gift, and to live that day by offering our good works to him.  Such attentiveness requires patience, however, if we are not to lose sight of God’s grace when our days are monotonous, or our difficulties many.  For no night is so long, as to make us forget the joy that comes with dawn.”

Importantly, Francis stated that, “resignation is not a Christian virtue.”

The Holy Father explained that, “as Christians, we know that Christ will return; that no matter what we may suffer, life has its purpose and deeper meaning, and that the merciful Lord will greet us at its end.  Thus we can look upon history and our own lives with confidence and hope, knowing that the future is not guided solely by the work of our hands but by God’s providence.”

The Pope concluded, “May we repeat everyday the words of the first disciples: ‘Come, Lord Jesus!’ And in our most difficult moments, may we hear the consoling response of Jesus: ‘Behold, I am coming soon’.”

In his various greetings at the audience, Pope Francis had special words for Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for Oriental Churches, as its members meet in plenary assembly. He entrusted their work to St. John XXIII whose liturgical memory it was Wednesday, October 11.

The congregation marks its centenary this year, as does the Pontifical Oriental Institute. Pope Francis will visit the institute tomorrow morning, after which he will celebrate a Mass of thanksgiving for both institutions in St. Mary Major Basilica.

After the catechesis on hope, Francis greeted Arab-speaking pilgrims, “in particular those from Lebanon, the Holy Land and the Middle East. Our hope is based on the certainty of Christ’s return and on being ready to receive Him. For this reason let’s not abandon ourselves to the flow of events with pessimism , as if history was a train that lost control. Resignation is not a Christian virtue. May the Lord bless you and protect you from evil!

He also greeted “the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s audience, especially those from England, Scotland, Demark, Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Canada and the United States of America.  In particular I greet those who will be celebrating World Sight Day tomorrow, and I assure all who are blind and visually impaired of my closeness and prayers.  Upon you and your families, I invoke the grace of the Lord Jesus, that you may be steadfast in hope and trust in God’s providence in your lives.  May God bless you!”

A PAPAL PLEA: SAY THE ROSARY FOR PEACE

At the end of the audience catechesis, the Holy Father noted that “Friday, October 13, marks the end of the centenary of the last Marian apparitions in Fatima. With our eyes turned to the Mother of the Savior and Queen of Missions, I invite everyone, especially in this month of October, to pray the holy rosary for the intention of peace in the world. May prayer move the most unruly souls so that they banish violence from their hearts, from their words and from their gestures, and build non-violent communities that care for the common home. Nothing is impossible if we turn to God in prayer. We can all be artisans of peace.”

PAPAL TWITTER ACCOUNT HAS 40 MILLION FOLLOWERS

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis’ Twitter account – @pontifex – has reached a milestone: 40 million followers in 9 languages. The figure is significant not only in itself, but in what it represents for the Holy Father, himself, who, like his predecessor, desires to be a Christian witness among many on the “Digital Continent”, especially through social media.

Alessandro Gisotti spoke to Msgr. Eduardo Viganò, prefect of the Secretariat for Communications. He is entrusted with the co-ordination of the papal accounts on Twitter and Instagram.

“40 million followers means 40 million people, 40 million hearts, minds, and passions,” said Msgr. Viganò. “It is a world, a relationship, a community: this figure emphasizes that so many people continue to follow, day after day, even by way of 140 characters, the Pope’s Magisterium, which reaches people in very different ways: from official speeches, to unscripted encounters, to Twitter characters,” Msgr. Viganò said.

Asked about the Holy Father’s social media presence more specifically, especially on Twitter and Instagram (where Francis shares photos and videos under his @franciscus handle), Msgr. Viganò said, “The Pope takes great care of his social profiles, to such an extent that he closely and carefully checks all the tweets, which are then published.” He went on to say, “This concern speaks to the [Pope’s] care for relationships. So, the Pope who calls himself a ‘grandfather,’ who claims to  be far from new technologies, nevertheless intuits that there is a world – the social media world – that is made up of people.”

Msgr. Viganò also said, “The Church is born when the Holy Spirit overwhelms the disciples and opens the doors of the Upper Room and they take to the streets of the world. Today, among these streets are the so-called social communities. That is why the Pope is very attentive to this reality: because any relationship needs care, which is to say cor urat, that is, ‘to warm the heart’ even through a few letters.”

Gisotti asked whether Pope Francis can be taken as an example of how to use social media, so that the Internet is, “a network not of wires but of people,” as he himself wrote in his first Message for the World Day of Social Communications?

“Yes,” responded Msgr. Viganò. “This also collects the inheritance of Pope emeritus Benedict [XVI], who has made some very interesting speeches on the Net. I believe that the further step, the one we might summarize as ‘from the click to the heart’, is to imagine a community of believers, who leave traces of the allure of the Gospel of Mercy even on the Net.”

CHRISTIANS ARE CALLED TO BE JOY-FILLED MISSIONARIES OF HOPE – POPE ANNOUNCES 2018 PRE-SYNOD MEETING FOR YOUTH – EGYPT, “A LAND OF COHABITATION, HOSPITALITY AND ENCOUNTER, OF HISTORY AND OF CIVILIZATION”

The Catholic American Community of Saint Patrick’s Church is holding a Prayer Vigil to honor the victims of the tragedy in Las Vegas tomorrow, Thursday, October 5 at 5 PM., Via Boncompagni, 31. All are welcome.

October is the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi. Pope Francis tweeted the following today: Like Saint Francis of Assisi, let us be transformed by the love of Christ in order to live in simplicity and joy.

CHRISTIANS ARE CALLED TO BE JOY-FILLED MISSIONARIES OF HOPE

Pope Francis Wednesday continued his catechesis on Christian hope at the weekly general audience in a sun_splashed St Peter’s Square. This week he turned his attention to the Christian’s calling to be a missionary of hope.

“I would like to speak of our calling to be missionaries of hope,” began the Pope. He expèlained that “October is traditionally dedicated to reflection on our participation in the Church’s mission.  Saint Francis of Assisi, whose feast we celebrate today, can serve as our model in this regard.  Francis was a true missionary of the joyful hope born of Christ’s victory over death and our own share in his risen life.”

Francis stated that “Jesus asks us to be witnesses of that same hope, confident in the transforming power of his Spirit at work in our hearts and in our world.  Joy is the sure sign of true Christian hope, for we know that evil will not have the upper hand, and that God’s love, revealed on the cross, will ultimately triumph.”

“However,” noted the Holy Father, “there are certainly times when the gift of hope proves cost. This is the case with so many of our fellow Christians who presently experience persecution, and with the martyrs in every age.  Their witness inspires us to continue to hope in Christ’s promises.  As missionaries of hope, may we rejoice in God’s saving power, never lose heart, and help others to look to the future with confidence.”

POPE ANNOUNCES 2018 PRE-SYNOD MEETING FOR YOUTH

(Vatican Radio) After delivering his general audience catechesis on Christian hope, Pope Francis announced that the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops will convene a pre-synodal meeting from March 19 to 24, 2018, to which it will invite young people from different parts of the world, including young Catholics, young people from different Christian denominations and other religions, and non-believers.

“This initiative is part of the preparations for the next General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which will be on ‘Youth, Faith and Vocation Discernment’ in October 2018. With this journey, the Church wants to listen to the voice, the sensitivity, of faith and also the doubts and criticisms of young people. Following this, conclusions of the March Meeting will be transmitted to the Synod Fathers.”

EGYPT, “A LAND OF COHABITATION, HOSPITALITY AND ENCOUNTER, OF HISTORY AND OF CIVILIZATION”

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis Wednesday had a special greeting for an Egyptian delegation led by the country’s Tourism Minister, in Rome to promote a pilgrimage in the footsteps of the Holy Family’s flight into Egypt.

Speaking during the Wednesday general audience in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope recalled his Apostolic Journey to Egypt last April saying that he has fond memories of the visit.

He said Egypt is “a land where Saint Joseph, the Virgin Mary and the Baby Jesus, as well as many prophets lived: a land that has been blessed with the precious blood of martyrs spilt throughout the centuries”.

And describing Egypt as a land of cohabitation and hospitality; a land of encounter, of history and of civilization, the Pope imparted his blessing on Egyptians and prayed the Lord to protect the nation, the Middle East and the whole world from all kinds of terrorism and from evil.

The Pope also blessed an icon that represents the Flight of the Holy Family to Egypt.

The Egyptian delegation, led by the Minister of Tourism Yahya Rashed, is meeting with tourism officials in Rome in an effort to promote the Holy Family in Egypt route as an important  pilgrimage destination.

 

POPE FRANCIS INAUGURATES “SHARE THE JOURNEY” CAMPAIGN

An interesting note about Vatican Radio: I tuned in to Vatican Radio this morning, intending to listen to the usual 8:30 am news broadcast in English, a program that follows the 8 am news slot in Italian and the 8:15 program in French. Instead, I heard a commentary in Italian. Seems that, in the continuing “reform” of the Vatican’s communications offices, the morning broadcast in English on VR has disappeared and, additionally, listeners in Rome can no longer hear the evening news broadcast in English unless they happen to have a digital radio. Progress?. Will we need a reform of the reform?!

Here’s a terrific story! But not a surprising one!  The Catholic Church, through Catholic Charities, Caritas and her hospitals and clinics and other institutions, always steps up to the bat when there is need. As Bishop Robert Baker of Birmingham said a few years back when there was a serious storm and flooding situation locally, and EWTN employees were granted some paid time off to help victims, “We do this not because they are Catholic but because we are Catholic.” http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/archdiocese-of-mexico-city-offers-free-medical-care-to-earthquake-victims

Some trivia for people with blue eyes: Researchers from The University of Copenhagen discovered a genetic mutation that happened somewhere between 6,000 to 10,000 years ago in one person, likely in Europe. That person passed along the mutation to their descendants who then passed it on to their children. Thousands of years later, the current 200 million people in the world that have blue eyes are all bound together by this common ancestor.

FYI: The current world population is 7.5 billion people. 200 million is 2.7 percent of that populace, so we blue-eyed people are a distinct, and it seems we can say historical, minority!

POPE FRANCIS INAUGURATES “SHARE THE JOURNEY” CAMPAIGN

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis loudly and clearly welcomed migrants, refugees and asylum seekers while expressing his support and gratitude for the Caritas Internationalis “Share the Journey” campaign.

Speaking during his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square on Wednesday, the Pope also had special words of welcome for Caritas representatives gathered to officially launch the two-year campaign aimed at activism and awareness-raising about the plight of migrants,

The campaign encourages people to actually meet with migrants and listen to their stories, rather than treat them as mere numbers and statistics imbued with negative stereotypes.

Opening his arms wide in a powerfully symbolic gesture, Francis said “Christ urges us to welcome our brothers and sisters with our arms truly open, ready for a sincere embrace, a loving and enveloping embrace”.

And pointing to the beautiful Bernini colonnade that encircles St. Peter’s Square, he said our embrace of migrants should mimic the colonnade “which represents mother Church who embraces everyone by sharing in our common journey”.

The Pope thanked Caritas members and other Church organizations for their constant commitment in favour of migrants saying that they are the sign of an “open, inclusive and welcoming Church.”

The campaign launched  on Wednesday aims to challenge negative myths and perceptions regarding migrants through websites featuring the stories of individuals, the true impact of immigration and  explanations of Church teaching on the culture of encounter.

Caritas Internationalis is asking Catholics to take public action in support of migrants, posting pro-immigrant messages on social media and participating in programmes where they can meet migrants and refugees.

In his greetings to all those who work to support and advocate for migrants and refugees the Pope also welcomed a petition that seeks new legislation on migration “which is more pertinent to the current context.”

After the audience, Pope Francis personally greeted a group of some 50 refugees who were in the Square for the occasion.

“Brothers, don’t be afraid of sharing the journey. Don’t be afraid of sharing hope” Pope Francis said.

His appeal to replace prejudice with tolerance was enmeshed in his continuing catechesis on Christian hope during which he reflected on the importance of combatting all that threatens our hope.

And pointing out that it is hope itself that motivates so many of our brothers and sisters forced to leave their homes in search of a better life, Francis said that hope is especially the virtue of the poor.

“God came into this  world among the poor, to bring the good news of our salvation” he said.

And appealing to Christians to never allow themselves to be robbed of hope, he said that hope is also the virtue of the young who risk being deprived of it by an often soulless and materialist society.

Pope Francis concluded reminding the faithful that we are not alone in our fight against desperation and spiritual emptiness: “if God is with us no one will rob us of that virtue which is necessary to look to the future: no one will rob us of hope”.

JFL: Here is my translation of Pope Francis’ words at the end of the weekly general audience about the Share the Journey campaign:

I am happy to receive the representatives of Caritas who are here to launch the “Share the Journey” campaign that I wanted to coincide with this audience. I welcome the migrants, those asking for asylum and the refugees who, together with the staff from Caritas Italiana and other Catholic organizations, are the sign of a Church that seeks to be open, inclusive and welcoming. Thanks to all of you for your tireless service. They all truly merit a great applause!

With your daily commitment, you remind us that Christ himself asks us to welcome our brother and sister migrants and refugees with open arms – precisely in this way, with open arms, ready for a sincere, affectionate and enveloping embrace, a little like this colonnade here at St. Peter’s that represents Mother Church who embraces everyone in this shared journey.

I welcome the representatives of so many organizations of civil society who are involved in helping migrants and refugees and who, together with Caritas, have given their support to the gathering of signatures for a new migration law more in tune with the current context.

The general audience again focused on hope. Following is the English-language summary of the general audience:

Dear Brothers and Sisters: In our continuing catechesis on Christian hope, I would now like to reflect on the importance of combating all that threatens our hope. As the ancient story of Pandora’s box teaches us, hope remains as the treasure enabling mankind to face with trust in God’s providence every evil let loose in this world. In our own day, hope motivates so many of our brothers and sisters forced to leave their homes in search of a better life, but also those who welcome them, “sharing the journey” with them and trusting in a better tomorrow. Hope is especially the virtue of the poor. As the mystery of Christmas teaches us, God came into this world among the poor, to bring the good news of our salvation. Hope is also the virtue of the young, who deserve not to be robbed of it by an often soulless and materialist society. Hope’s greatest enemy is spiritual emptiness, the “noon-day devil” that tempts us to stop fighting and to yield to discouragement. Let us ask the Lord for the grace to hope more firmly in his promises, confident that his victory over the world will fill our hearts with joy as we face the future and all that it has in store for us.

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’)