VATICAN INSIDER: MSGR. TOM POWERS, NEW RECTOR AT NORTH AMERICAN COLLEGE
Welcome to Vatican Insider on this final weekend of August and what a weekend it promises to be in Rome! My guest this week in the interview segment is Msgr. Tom Powers, the new rector of the Pontifical North American College and a wonderful friend of many years! In Part I of our talk, he tells how he was invited to be rector, looks back a bit at his own years in Rome as a seminarian under two rectors, now Cardinals, Edwin O’Brien and Timothy Dolan and explains exactly what the duties of a rector are.
The new seminarians had just arrived and Msgr. Powers spoke about how they all met and exchanged inspirational vocation stories. He spoke of the vocation stories as “moments of God’s grace.” He said “my work here, our work here, is to form men to the heart of Christ.” Among his powerful remarks were his words on answering the call this past spring to become the rector, saying: “My priesthood has been one of saying yes to the Church.”
Photo taken in rectory where he was pastor before coming to Rome:
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POPE ON L’AQUILA VISIT: “FORGIVENESS ONLY WEAPON AGAINST WAR”
Pope Francis speaks to a local news publication of L’Aquila ahead of his pastoral visit on Sunday, and says it is harder to forgive than to make war, in reference to the Celestinian Pardon that he will inaugurate while in the central Italian city.
By Devin Watkins (vaticannews)
“It takes more strength to forgive than to wage war… Forgiveness is the only possible weapon against all war.”
Pope Francis offered that message on Friday in an interview with “Il Centro”, a local news publication in L’Aquila.
He is scheduled to make a pastoral visit to the central Italian city in the Abruzzo region on Sunday morning, where he will open the holy door of the annual Celestinian Pardon.
Overcoming evil with good
Referring to the war in Ukraine and other conflicts, the Pope recalled that “evil is never overcome by evil, but only with good.”
Forgiveness, he said, requires great interior and cultural maturity, as well as a culture of peace.
“Without this effort,” said the Pope, “we will remain stuck in the logic of evil, which is beholden to the promotion of the self-interests of those who take advantage of conflicts to enrich themselves.”
Pope Celestine V, who instituted the Celestinian Pardon in 1294, “knew how to promote humility and love for the poor,” he said, adding that our contemporary society can learn much from these attitudes.
Mystery of suffering
Asked about the devastating earthquake of 2009 that killed 309 people, Pope Francis recalled that, “pain and suffering are always a mystery.”
“Jesus Himself experienced this darkness of feeling alone and defeated. But at the same time, he taught us that it is precisely in these moments when everything seems lost that we can make an unexpected gesture: entrust ourselves to the Lord!”
The Pope added that there can be no rebirth in the wake of destruction without the act of entrusting ourselves to the Lord.
However, he said, our interior certitude in God’s mercy is a gift which must be requested and “protected from everything that would seek to snuff it out.”
Praising a Church close to the poor
Pope Francis then praised the many ways in which the local Church in L’Aquila has reached out to support the poor and those who have suffered due to the earthquake.
Many houses and buildings still need to be rebuilt in the city, including the Catholic Cathedral.
“I thank the city’s pastors,” said the Pope. “And I especially thank all priests and men and women religious who, along with lay people, have sought to rebuild, an effort which involves not only homes but also the soul itself of the people.”
“We cannot go very far if we walk alone. Unity alone can allow us to make truly difficult changes. We must leave behind all those things which divide us and hold up instead everything which unites us.”
Encouragement in the faith
Pope Francis concluded the interview with “Il Centro” by saying that he comes to encourage the people of L’Aquila in their faith.
“Humility, love, closeness, forgiveness, and mercy truly are the best way to proclaim the Gospel to the men and women of today and of all times.”
POPE WILLING TO GO TO NORTH KOREA IF INVITED
Pope Francis has expressed willingness to visit North Korea, asking the regime to invite him to the country.
In an interview with KBS at the Vatican’s Paul VI Audience Hall on Wednesday, the pontiff said he is willing to travel to North Korea upon receiving the invitation, which he will not reject.
Pope Francis, the 266th head of the Roman Catholic Church, has repeatedly indicated that he is willing to visit North Korea, but it is rather unusual that he has requested an invitation from North Korea using such direct and strong rhetoric.
The pope devoted a considerable part of the 30-minute interview to the subject of war and peace, while citing weapons production a major concern.
He prayed that God will be with all people, both in South and North Korea. He asked South Koreans, in particular, to work for peace as they are well aware of what a war is like, having experienced the pain of armed conflict.
The interview will air on KBS 1 TV at 8:30 p.m. on Friday and at 10 p.m. on September 1. (source: Pope Francis Asks for Invitation to Visit N. Korea l KBS WORLD)