The Holy Father’s universal prayer intention for May is: “That, rejecting the culture of indifference, we may care for our neighbours who suffer, especially the sick and the poor.”
His intention for evangelization is: “That Mary’s intercession may help Christians in secularised cultures be open to proclaiming Jesus.”
ARE YOU GOING TO TURIN TO SEE THE CELEBRATED SHROUD? WILL YOU BE TAKING PART IN THE JUBILEE OF MERCY?
If you answered ‘yes’ to one or both of these questions, then I have some good news:
There’s a terrific app to see the Shroud of Turin VERY up close and personal – Shroud 2.0 – a MUST have app, especially if you plan on going to Turin for the 2015 exposition of Shroud! It is available free at App Store/iTunes. I’ve downloaded it on my iPad but so far have not located app for Android. DOWNLOAD HERE: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/shroud-2.0/id614248391?mt=8
We will all take part, at some time or another, in the Jubilee Year of Mercy that opens December 8, 2015 and closes on the feast of Christ the King in November 2016. The Jubilee will be celebrated in Rome, as you know, and in dioceses throughout the world. For all the news and updates about the Holy Year, go to this dedicated website (in 7 languages!) set up by the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization: http://www.iubilaeummisericordiae.va/content/gdm/en.html
POPE FRANCIS SAYS MASS, DINES AT U.S. SEMINARY IN ROME
Saturday, I posted some news on Facebook of the visit that day by Pope Francis to the North American College where he presided at Mass in the seminary’s beautiful chapel and then broke bread with cardinals, bishops, priests, seminarians, faculty and staff in the college dining room. NAC rector, Msgr. James Checchio and Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, president of the USCCB were joined by four U.S. cardinals and a number of bishops, including Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, who had presided at the day of reflection that preceded the papal Mass.
The North American College, in fact, dedicated Saturday to a day of reflection on Blessed Junipero Serra, the Spanish Franciscan who created a series of missions throughout California and Baja California whom Pope Francis will canonize in Washington, D.C. during his late September trip to the U.S.
Click here to see a carousel of photos from the celebration on Saturday. This was the first visit by a Pope to the American seminary in 35 years. As you can see from the photos, “a good time was had by all”: http://www.lastampa.it/2015/05/02/multimedia/esteri/vatican-insider/en/pope-francis-visit-to-the-pontifical-north-american-college-ONdRYlBEvihH0yryyeeflK/pagina.html
The Holy Father, in typical Jesuitical fashion, discussed three aspects of the life of Blessed Junipero – his missionary zeal, his Marian devotion, and his witness of holiness.
“First of all,” explained Francis in his homily, “he was a tireless missionary. What made Friar Junípero leave his home and country, his family, university chair and Franciscan community in Mallorca to go to the ends of the earth? Certainly, it was the desire to proclaim the Gospel ad gentes, that heartfelt impulse which seeks to share with those farthest away the gift of encountering Christ: a gift that he had first received and experienced in all its truth and beauty. Like Paul and Barnabas, like the disciples in Antioch and in all of Judea, he was filled with joy and the Holy Spirit in spreading the word of the Lord.”
“Secondly,” continued the Holy Father, “Friar Junípero entrusted his missionary activity to the Blessed Virgin Mary. We know that before leaving for California, he wanted to consecrate his life to Our Lady of Guadalupe and to ask her for the grace to open the hearts of the colonizers and indigenous peoples, for the mission he was about to begin.”
“And thirdly, brothers and sisters,” the Pope explained, “let us contemplate the witness of holiness given by Friar Junípero. He was one of the founding fathers of the United States, a saintly example of the Church’s universality and special patron of the Hispanic people of the country. In this way may all Americans rediscover their own dignity, and unite themselves ever more closely to Christ and his Church.”
Pope Francis then went on to give a sort of litany of American saints and holy people, saying, “with the universal communion of saints and, in particular, with the assembly of American saints, may Friar Junípero Serra accompany us and intercede for us, along with the many other holy men and women who have distinguished themselves through their various charisms:
- contemplatives like Rose of Lima, Mariana of Quito and Teresita de los Andes;
- pastors who bear the scent of Christ and of his sheep, such as Toribio de Mogrovejo, Francois de Laval, and Rafael Guizar Valencia;
- humble workers in the vineyard of the Lord, like Juan Diego and Kateri Tekakwitha;
- servants of the suffering and the marginalized, like Peter Claver, Martín de Porres, Damian of Molokai, Alberto Hurtado and Rose Philippine Duchesne;
- founders of communities consecrated to the service of God and of the poorest, like Frances Cabrini, Elizabeth Ann Seton and Katharine Drexel;
- tireless missionaries, such as Friar Francisco Solano, José de Anchieta, Alonso de Barzana, Maria Antonia de Paz y Figueroa and Jose Gabriel del Rosario Brochero;
- martyrs like Roque Gonzalez, Miguel Pro and Oscar Arnulfo Romero; and so many other saints and martyrs, whom I do not mention here, but who pray before the Lord for their brothers and sisters who are still pilgrims in those lands.”
AND POPE FRANCIS ALSO DID THIS …..
ON SUNDAY HE RECITED THE REGINA COELI with the faithful in St. Peter’s Square. Before the Marian prayer he reflected on the day’s Gospel about Jesus’ parable of the vine and the branches – Jesus is the true vine, and we are the branches, dependent on Him. Through this parable, “Jesus wants us to understand the importance of remaining united to Him.” “Jesus is the vine,” Pope Francis continued, “and through Him, the very love of God passes” to us “the branches”. Following the prayer, the Holy Father had a special greeting for the Méter Association on the Day for Child Victims of Violence, thanking them for their “commitment to preventing these crimes. We must all commit ourselves so that every human person, and especially children, might always be defended and protected.”
SUNDAY AFTERNOON, THE POPE celebrated Mass at the Roman parish of Regina Pacis (Queen of Peace) in the seaside suburb of Ostia. Before Mass, the Holy Father met with members of the parish, including they elderly and the sick. He spoke about their wisdom of life, which comes from experience – an experience the has the wisdom of sorrows, and of patience. “It is a wisdom we often forget,” he said. But the elderly have an experience of life that they hand down to their children, giving them “the memory of our people, the memory of our family.” The sick, he said, are similar to Jesus in their suffering: they suffer with Him, and bear the Cross as Jesus did. In that sense, they are privileged. Pope Francis spoke, too, about the children of the parish, who will carry life forward – with the wisdom, the patience, the constancy of those who go before them. As he concluded his visit with the sick and elderly, the Pope asked for prayers for himself, noting that he too “is a little old, a little sick,” but “not too much!” he said, laughing.
MONDAY, FRANCIS RECEIVED BISHOPS from the Republic of Congo and encouraged them to continue in their efforts of cooperation with other faiths because “unity in diversity is a feature of the Church’s requirements.” The bishopd are in Rome for their Ad Limina visit. The Holy Father also expressed his joy before the “young and dynamic Christian communities seeking to take root in the love of the Lord.” He said the recent creation of three new dioceses shows the vitality of the Catholic Church in Congo, and the zeal of its pastors in their push for evangelization.
MONDAY MORNING, THE POPE RECEIVED Antje Jackelén, the head of the Church of Sweden and Archbishop of Uppsala. Originally from Germany, Archbishop Jackelén is Sweden’s first foreign-born archbishop since the 12th century and the first female head of the Church there. Lutheran-Catholic dialogue was at the heart of their conversation.
ALSO MONDAY, POPE FRANCIS sent a message to Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, on the occasion of a celebration held at the Italian Senate on Monday morning marking the 750th anniversary of the birth of the poet Dante Alighieri. In the message, the Pope said that he joined “the chorus of those who believe Dante Alighieri is an artist of the highest universal value, who still has much to say and to give, through his immortal works, to all those who are willing to walk the path of true knowledge.”
FRANCIS MET WITH SWISS GUARDS and their families on Monday, ahead of the annual May 6th swearing-in ceremony for new Guards. He said the meeting was an opportunity to “strengthen a [significant] friendship,” noting the words of Christ who said “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
Pope Francis said a Swiss Guard is “a person who truly seeks to follow the Lord Jesus and who loves in a particular way the Church; [he] is a Christian with a genuine faith.” He underscored how prayer and an active sacramental life will help them in their service. “So when you meet the people, the pilgrims, you convey – with your kindness and competence – this ‘greater love’ that comes from friendship with Christ,” Pope Francis said. “In effect, Swiss Guards are a ‘billboard’ of the Holy See!” (added source: Vatican Radio)