Papal Tweets, Yesterday and Today:
February 12: I feel deep pain for the many children torn from their families and forced to become child soldiers. This is a tragedy!
February 11: To serve human life is to serve God and life at every stage: from the womb of the mother, to the suffering and sickness of old age.
February 11: May the sick always be shown love in their fragility and respected in their inviolable dignity.
It was a big day at the Vatican yesterday as the Church marked the World Day of the Sick and the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes and the 89th anniversary of the creation of Vatican City State via the Lateran Pacts of 1929.
In addition, February 11 also marked the fifth anniversary of Benedict XVI’s announcement that he would resign the papacy at the end of February 2013!
None of us who were in Rome that day will ever forget that announcement – words that Benedict himself said would “be important for the life of the Church.”
I look back at February 11, 2013 with amazement, with gratitude for being here during an historical period and during a remarkable and rich pontificate, with awe at the events of the months that followed, and once again with gratitude for a Church that could so beautifully transition from one papacy to another.
I posted a lengthy column yesterday about this anniversary in which I also looked back at the courage and humility and love of the Church that prompted Pope Benedict to resign as he feared, sensed, realized that he could not, with diminishing physical capabilities, serve the Church he loved as she deserved.
POPE FRANCIS REGISTERS ONLINE FOR WYD 2019
At the Sunday Angelus in the presence of an estimated 30,000 faithful, Pope Francis spoke of the World Day of the Sick, the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, the Chinese New Year.
Francis said today “we contemplate Jesus as the true physician of our bodies and souls ….. whom God the Father sent into the world to heal humanity, marked by sin and its consequences.” The Pope said it was not sickness or illness that made us unclean – referring to the Gospel story of the leper that Jesus healed – rather, “It is sin that makes us unclean! Selfishness, pride, entering the world of corruption, these are diseases of the heart from which we need to be cleansed, turning to Jesus like the leper did: ‘If you wish, you can cleanse me!’”
Then, completely changing the subject, the Holy Father noted that, “registration opens today for World Youth Day, which will take place in Panama in January 2019. Right now, along with two young people, I too will register on the internet.”
And so, with the aid of two young people flanking him in his study, the Holy Father touched the screen of a tablet, enrolled as a pilgrim to World Youth Day and invited the world’s youth do the same – either by going to Panama or by participating in their communities.
If WYD in Panama is on your agenda for January 22-27, 2019, you can follow the example of Pope Francis and register online here!
Pope Francis then sent cordial greetings to the “millions of men and women who will celebrate the Lunar New Year” on 15 February. “My cordial greeting goes out to all their families, with the hope that they may live ever more solidarity, brotherhood and the desire for goodness, and so contributing to the creation of a society in which everyone is accepted, protected, promoted and integrated. I invite everyone to pray for the gift of peace, a precious treasure that must be sought with compassion, foresight, and courage. I accompany and bless everyone.”
Francis also greeted Rome’s Congolese community, and reminded the faithful that a day of prayer and fasting for peace will be celebrated on February 23rd, especially for the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan
POPE FRANCIS: HUMAN TRAFFICKING IS A CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY
On Monday, in the Clementine Hall in the Vatican, Pope Francis met with participants in the World Day of Prayer and Reflection against Human Trafficking.
For the first time in the history of the event, Pope Francis met with approximately 110 persons representing survivors, young people, and members of the committee organizing the International Day of Prayer and Reflection against Human Trafficking. The theme for this year focused on the role of young people in view of the upcoming Synod of Bishops.
Pope Francis fielded four questions from young people. Two came from victims and two came from young people who participated in events prepared for them by the organizational team. The questions from the victims prompted the Pope to point out the problems in society that make modern-day slavery possible: ignorance, unwillingness to admit the issue, and hypocrisy.
He underlined several times that he has “never lost an occasion to denounce human trafficking as a crime against humanity.” The Pope took the opportunity to encourage the young people present to “meet with the survivors of human trafficking,” and to learn the signs that someone might be living in slavery. He said that because young people are so open, they might have the courage to say what they see happening around them.
Finally, in response to a question regarding whether the voices of young people from the peripheries would be heard at the synod, he asked them to contact Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, who heads the synod of Bishops: “Do me a favor—call him on my behalf—this way you make the work easier.”
Pope Francis and his guests concluded by reciting together a prayer to St Josephine Bakhita, the patron of the victims of human trafficking.
On Friday, Pope Francis had addressed members of the Santa Marta Group as they held their fifth meeting. This is a group of senior law enforcement officers, bishops, religious women and key international organizations whose focus is to update and share best practices in the fight against human trafficking and modern slavery. It was founded in 2014 in the UK, and Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster heads the group. (Vaticannews.va) – Sr. Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp)