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.