POPE “DEEPLY MOVED BY LOSS OF LIFE, IMMENSE DEVASTATION” OF HURRICANE HARVEY

I leave for vacation this coming Saturday and, in order to depart with peace of mind, I’ve spent most of the past week preparing a number of special segments for “At Home with Jim and Joy” for those Mondays and Thursdays of each week I will be away.  I also prepared four Specials for my weekend radio program, “Vatican Insider.”  It has all been a lot of work but will be worth it as I relax in Chicago, Honolulu and San Diego with friends and family for what everyone says when they leave on vacation, “some well-deserved time off!

I am so in the mood for Waikiki and Pearl Harbor and other amazing places in Oahu, not to mention the best part, my friends, that I’ve set my dining room table with items from Honolulu. My table is set year round for four people (just in case someone drops in) and this is my Hawaii table!

POPE “DEEPLY MOVED BY LOSS OF LIFE, IMMENSE DEVASTATION” OF HURRICANE HARVEY

Pope Francis has sent a Message to Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston and president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, expressing his condolences to the loved-ones of the victims of hurricane Harvey, promising continued spiritual solicitude for all those affected, and asking for the prayerful solidarity that has already been shown, to continue in the days and weeks to come.

The message was sent by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin in the Pope’s name:

“His Holiness Pope Francis asks you kindly to convey the assurance of his spiritual closeness and pastoral concern to all those affected by the violent hurricane that swept through the states of Texas and Louisiana in these days.  Deeply moved by the tragic loss of life and the immense material devastation that this natural catastrophe has left in its wake, he prays for the victims and their families, and for all those engaged in the vital work of relief, recovery and rebuilding.  He likewise trusts that the immense and immediate needs of so many individuals and communities will continue to inspire a vast outpouring of solidarity and mutual aid in the best traditions of the nation.  With these sentiments, and with the renewed promise of his prayers, the Holy Father sends his blessing as a pledge of consolation, strength and peace in the Lord.”

 

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POPE FRANCIS PRAYING FOR VICTIMS, WOUNDED OF BARCELONA ATTACK

POPE FRANCIS PRAYING FOR VICTIMS, WOUNDED OF BARCELONA ATTACK

The following is a declaration from Holy See Press Office director, Greg Burke: “The Holy Father has learned with great concern what has happened in Barcelona. The Pope is praying for the victims of this attempt and wishes to express his closeness to the entire Spanish people, in particular to the wounded and to the families of the victims.”

PEOPLE MUST BE AT THE CENTER OF ALL ACTIVITY, POPE TELLS G20

It has been a very different, and at many moments difficult, week for me, given the continuing problems with my right ankle, problems that almost pale by comparison to the loss of my very dear friend of 33 years, Joaquin Navarro-Valls. As you know by now – and some of you may well remember – this charismatic and talented Spaniard led the Holy See Press Office for 22 years in an historic and remarkable fashion.

I will pray tribute to him as soon as I can. I have a thousand stories to tell, and have already shared some of them on radio.

Family and friends were able to pay tribute to Joaquin as of 4 pm yesterday in the basilica of Sant’Eugenio in Rome. This is also where his funeral took place this morning at 11. A pain almost larger than learning of his death was what I felt at being unable to go to eiether event to say my final arrivederci and grazie.

I’ve spent most mornings and part of one afternoon this week (and many of the preceding weeks) at the Vatican’s health care center, seeing doctors and having additional tests to determine the specific nature (we have no idea of the cause) of the infection in my right ankle. The final test and final visit to a specialist in infections determined that the best option is several days in a hospital with antibiotics administered under medical supervision, given that I normally have very severe allergic reactions to antibiotics.

I’ve been working with my insurance company but do not know, as I write, when I will be admitted. Hopefully I will have to post a note here when that day comes.

The hardest part of my ankle problem has been having to cancel a one week Danube River cruise with my sister! We have never gone on a vacation together! We’ve had family vacations, etc, but never just the two of us! We consider it just postponed, not cancelled. (My advice to travellers, by the way, never say ‘no’ to travel insurance!)

Work has been beneficial for me and I’ve enjoyed doing “Catholic Connection” with Teresa Tomeo, preparing my twice weekly contributions to “At Home with Jim and Joy,” and posting some items on this page. Sitting on my sofa with my laptop (on my lap) has been workable.

VATICAN INSIDER this weekend, however, has been prepared by my radio colleagues given that I simply did not have the time this week to dedicate to the three segments – News, the Q&A and the weekly interview. You will hear “The best of” with Kishore Jayabalan, director of the Action Institute’s Rome office. We talk about the mission and work of the Institute but our focus was principally on one of our favorite people and friends, the late, great Michael Novak, and his impact on the world, on Acton and on our personal lives.

In the United States, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (there is a list of U.S. stations at www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio. Outside the U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” Vatican Insider airs Saturday mornings at 9:00am (ET). On the SKY satellite feed to the UK and parts of Europe, VI airs on audio channel 0147 at 11:30 am CET on Saturdays, and 5:30am and 10pm CET on Sundays. It’s also available on demand on the EWTN app and on the website. CHECK YOUR TIME ZONE. Here’s a link to download VI to your iTunes library: http://www.ewtn.com/se/pg/DatService.svc/feed/~LE.xml   For VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/file_index.asp?SeriesId=7096&pgnu=

PEOPLE MUST BE AT THE CENTER OF ALL ACTIVITY, POPE TELLS G20

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a Message to the participants in the G20 meeting taking place in Germany July 7-8. The Message is addressed to the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, and details what the Holy Father recognizes as four principles of action for the building of fraternal, just and peaceful societies: time is greater than space; unity prevails over conflict; realities are more important than ideas; and the whole is greater than the part.

To Her Excellency Mrs Angela Merkel Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany

Following our recent meeting in the Vatican, and in response to your thoughtful request, I would like to offer some considerations that, together with all the Pastors of the Catholic Church, I consider important in view of the forthcoming meeting of the G20, which will gather Heads of State and of Government of the Group of major world economies and the highest authorities of the European Union.  In doing so, I follow a tradition begun by Pope Benedict XVI in April 2009 on the occasion of the London G20.  My Predecessor likewise wrote to Your Excellency in 2006, when Germany held the presidency of the European Union and the G8.

In the first place, I wish to express to you, and to the leaders assembled in Hamburg, my appreciation for the efforts being made to ensure the governability and stability of the world economy, especially with regard to financial markets, trade, fiscal problems and, more generally, a more inclusive and sustainable global economic growth (cf. G20 Leaders Communiqué, Hangzhou Summit, 5 September 2016).  As is evident from the Summit’s programme, such efforts are inseparable from the need to address ongoing conflicts and the worldwide problem of migrations.

In my Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, the programmatic document of my Pontificate addressed to the Catholic faithful, I proposed four principles of action for the building of fraternal, just and peaceful societies: time is greater than space; unity prevails over conflict; realities are more important than ideas; and the whole is greater than the part.  These lines of action are evidently part of the age-old wisdom of all humanity; I believe that they can also serve as an aid to reflection for the Hamburg meeting and for the assessment of its outcome.

Here is full text of Pope Francis’ Message, in its official English translation; http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2017/07/07/pope_francis_message_to_g20/1323678

PAPAL MESSAGE FOR FIRST WORLD DAY OF THE POOR – SYNOD OF BISHOPS LAUNCHES NEW WEBSITE

Pope Francis tweeted today: In his passion, Jesus took upon himself all our suffering. He knows the meaning of pain, he understands and comforts us, giving us strength.

There have been a few rough days lately, given an infection in my right ankle that has made walking difficult and painful. Several days ago, as I was leaving the Vatican medical center and nearing the Sant’Anna entrance to Vatican City to get a taxi, I had a lovely encounter with a Swiss Guard. As two elderly gentlemen were leaving the church of Sant’Anna, one with obvious mobility issues, the Swiss Guard stepped in and helped the gentleman.  As they walked away, I smiled and said to him, “That’s also part of the life of a guard, isn’t it?  His answer (with a smile): “That’s the best part of my life as a Guard!”

May God bless this young man abundantly! He made my day and I’ve thought of that answer every day since.

PAPAL MESSAGE FOR FIRST WORLD DAY OF THE POOR

The Vatican today released Pope Francis’ message for the First World Day of the Poor to be celebrated worldwide next November 19 on the theme, “Let us love, not with words but with deeds.”

At a press conference today announcing the papal Message and the November 19 celebration, Archbishop Rino Fisichella, charged with implementing this World Day, said that Pope Francis wil presidet at Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica on November 19, after which there will be a lunch for about 500 poor in the Paul VI Hall.

The archbishop is president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization. That office was also charged with organizing the recent Holy Year of Mercy.

In his Message, in number 3, Francis writes: “We are called, then, to draw near to the poor, to encounter them, to meet their gaze, to embrace them and to let them feel the warmth of love that breaks through their solitude.  Their outstretched hand is also an invitation to step out of our certainties and comforts, and to acknowledge the value of poverty in itself.”

Pope Francis eats lunch with homeless and poor people in Campobasso, Italy (photo Boston Globe)

“Let us, then, take as our example Saint Francis and his witness of authentic poverty,” the Pope wrote. “Precisely because he kept his gaze fixed on Christ, Francis was able to see and serve him in the poor.  If we want to help change history and promote real development, we need to hear the cry of the poor and commit ourselves to ending their marginalization.  At the same time, I ask the poor in our cities and our communities not to lose the sense of evangelical poverty that is part of their daily life.

“We know how hard it is for our contemporary world to see poverty clearly for what it is.  Yet in myriad ways poverty challenges us daily, in faces marked by suffering, marginalization, oppression, violence, torture and imprisonment, war, deprivation of freedom and dignity, ignorance and illiteracy, medical emergencies and shortage of work, trafficking and slavery, exile, extreme poverty and forced migration.  Poverty has the face of women, men and children exploited by base interests, crushed by the machinations of power and money.  What a bitter and endless list we would have to compile were we to add the poverty born of social injustice, moral degeneration, the greed of a chosen few, and generalized indifference!”

In Number 6, the Holy Father explains when this world day was born: “At the conclusion of the Jubilee of Mercy, I wanted to offer the Church a World Day of the Poor, so that throughout the world Christian communities can become an ever greater sign of Christ’s charity for the least and those most in need.  To the World Days instituted by my Predecessors, which are already a tradition in the life of our communities, I wish to add this one, which adds to them an exquisitely evangelical fullness, that is, Jesus’ preferential love for the poor.

“I invite the whole Church, and men and women of good will everywhere, to turn their gaze on this day to all those who stretch out their hands and plead for our help and solidarity.  They are our brothers and sisters, created and loved by the one Heavenly Father.  This Day is meant, above all, to encourage believers to react against a culture of discard and waste, and to embrace the culture of encounter.  At the same time, everyone, independent of religious affiliation, is invited to openness and sharing with the poor through concrete signs of solidarity and fraternity.  God created the heavens and the earth for all; yet sadly some have erected barriers, walls and fences, betraying the original gift meant for all humanity, with none excluded.

“It is my wish that, in the week preceding the World Day of the Poor, which falls this year on 19 November, the Thirty-third Sunday of Ordinary Time, Christian communities will make every effort to create moments of encounter and friendship, solidarity and concrete assistance.  They can invite the poor and volunteers to take part together in the Eucharist on this Sunday, in such a way that there be an even more authentic celebration of the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King, on the following Sunday.  The kingship of Christ is most evident on Golgotha, when the Innocent One, nailed to the cross, poor, naked and stripped of everything, incarnates and reveals the fullness of God’s love.  Jesus’ complete abandonment to the Father expresses his utter poverty and reveals the power of the Love that awakens him to new life on the day of the Resurrection.

“This Sunday, if there are poor people where we live who seek protection and assistance, let us draw close to them: it will be a favourable moment to encounter the God we seek.  Following the teaching of Scripture (cf. Gen 18:3-5; Heb 13:2), let us welcome them as honoured guests at our table; they can be teachers who help us live the faith more consistently.  With their trust and readiness to receive help, they show us in a quiet and often joyful way, how essential it is to live simply and to abandon ourselves to God’s providence.

Click here for complete Message: http://www.news.va/en/news/first-world-day-of-the-poor-message-released

SYNOD OF BISHOPS LAUNCHES NEW WEBSITE

The General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops announced a new website on Tuesday in preparation for the October 2018 synod that be dedicated to the role of young people in the life of the Church. That site will be active as of tomorrow, June 14: http://youth.synod2018.va

A statement from the Secretariat explains that the site is designed to promote the broad, interactive participation of young people from all around the world in preparations for the Assembly.

The new website includes an online questionnaire addressed directly to young people in different languages ​​(Italian, English, French, Spanish and Portuguese), with answer due in by November 30, 2017.

The statement goes on to encourage young people especially to visit the site and respond to the Questionnaire, saying that wide and fulsome response will be of great use in the process of preparing the Synod Assembly, and will be part of the extensive consultation that the General Secretariat is doing at all levels of the people of God. (Vatican radio)

 

POPE FRANCIS TAPES VIDEO MESSAGE FOR SUPER BOWL PLAYERS, FANS AND VIEWERS

POPE FRANCIS TAPES VIDEO MESSAGE FOR SUPER BOWL PLAYERS, FANS AND VIEWERS

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Sunday reached out to Americans urging them to make this year’s Super Bowl a sign of peace, friendship and solidarity to the world.

In a specially recorded video message for the event, which will hold the attention of much of the nation and command a television audience larger than for any other event of the year, the Pope points out that great sporting events like the championship game of the National Football League are highly symbolic, and show that it is possible to build a culture of encounter and a world of peace.

https://youtu.be/KIjJ4BTNzUQ

“By participating in sport, we are able to go beyond our own self-interest – and in a healthy way – we learn to sacrifice, to grow in fidelity and respect the rules. May this year’s Super Bowl be a sign of peace, friendship and solidarity to the world” he said.

The 2017 Super Bowl takes place in Houston and features the final NFL showdown between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons.

Vice President Mike Pence, who is scheduled to attend, will be the fourth sitting vice president to see the game in person.

PAPAL MESSAGE FOR LENT: “I DESIRE MERCY, AND NOT SACRIFICE”

PAPAL MESSAGE FOR LENT: “I DESIRE MERCY, AND NOT SACRIFICE”

The Vatican today published Pope Francis’ Message for Lent 2016 – “I desire mercy, and not sacrifice (Mt 9:13). The works of mercy on the road of the Jubilee.” It was dated October 4, 2015, Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi.

LENT 2016

The heart of the Pope’s Message is in Number 3, The works of mercy, where he quotes Misericordiae vultus, the Bull of Indiction for the Jubilee of Mercy:

“God’s mercy transforms human hearts; it enables us, through the experience of a faithful love, to become merciful in turn. In an ever-new miracle, divine mercy shines forth in our lives, inspiring each of us to love our neighbour and to devote ourselves to what the Church’s tradition calls the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. These works remind us that faith finds expression in concrete everyday actions meant to help our neighbours in body and spirit: by feeding, visiting, comforting and instructing them. On such things will we be judged. For this reason, I expressed my hope that “the Christian people may reflect on the corporal and spiritual works of mercy; this will be a way to reawaken our conscience, too often grown dull in the face of poverty, and to enter more deeply into the heart of the Gospel where the poor have a special experience of God’s mercy” (ibid., 15). For in the poor, the flesh of Christ “becomes visible in the flesh of the tortured, the crushed, the scourged, the malnourished, and the exiled… to be acknowledged, touched, and cared for by us” (ibid.). It is the unprecedented and scandalous mystery of the extension in time of the suffering of the Innocent Lamb, the burning bush of gratuitous love. Before this love, we can, like Moses, take off our sandals (cf. Ex 3:5), especially when the poor are our brothers or sisters in Christ who are suffering for their faith.”

And Francis continues, pointing to the need for conversion, another central point of his Lenten Message:

“In the light of this love, which is strong as death (cf. Song 8:6), the real poor are revealed as those who refuse to see themselves as such. They consider themselves rich, but they are actually the poorest of the poor. This is because they are slaves to sin, which leads them to use wealth and power not for the service of God and others, but to stifle within their hearts the profound sense that they too are only poor beggars. The greater their power and wealth, the more this blindness and deception can grow. It can even reach the point of being blind to Lazarus begging at their doorstep (cf. Lk 16:20-21). Lazarus, the poor man, is a figure of Christ, who through the poor pleads for our conversion. As such, he represents the possibility of conversion which God offers us, and which we may well fail to see. Such blindness is often accompanied by the proud illusion of our own omnipotence, which reflects in a sinister way the diabolical “you will be like God” (Gen 3:5), which is the root of all sin. This illusion can likewise take social and political forms, as shown by the totalitarian systems of the twentieth century, and, in our own day, by the ideologies of monopolizing thought and techno-science, which would make God irrelevant and reduce man to raw material to be exploited. This illusion can also be seen in the sinful structures linked to a model of false development based on the idolatry of money, which leads to lack of concern for the fate of the poor on the part of wealthier individuals and societies; they close their doors, refusing even to see the poor.

“For all of us, then, the season of Lent in this Jubilee Year is a favourable time to overcome our existential alienation by listening to God’s word and by practising the works of mercy….”

The full papal Lenten message is here: http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/events/event.dir.html/content/vaticanevents/en/2016/1/26/messaggioquaresima.html

MERCIFUL LIKE THE FATHER: MESSAGE FOR THE JUBILEE OF MERCY FOR THE YOUNG – VATICAN HOSTING TWO REFUGEE FAMILIES – HOMELESS AND POOR ATTEND CIRCUS, THANKS TO PAPAL ALMONER

MERCIFUL LIKE THE FATHER: MESSAGE FOR THE JUBILEE OF MERCY FOR THE YOUNG

(VIS) – Pope Francis’ message for the Jubilee of Mercy for young boys and girls was published today. In the text, dated 6 January 2016, Solemnity of the Epiphany, the Holy Father addresses youngsters aged 13 to 16, many of whom intend to make a pilgrimage to Rome from 23 to 25 April, and who are “preparing to be Christians capable of making courageous choices and decisions, in order to build daily, even through little things, a world of peace., He encourages those who live in difficult situations not to lose hope as the Lord “has a great dream” for them that He wishes to come true. He invites them not to be “taken in by the messages of hatred or terror all around us”, and instead to make new friendships.

Click here to read the message in English: http://www.news.va/en/news/merciful-like-the-father-message-for-the-jubilee-o

VATICAN HOSTING TWO REFUGEE FAMILIES

A communique announced today that two refugee families are now being hosted by the two parishes of the Vatican, in response to the September 6, 2015, Angelus appeal of Pope Francis for every parish in Europe to welcome a family of refugees, starting with his own diocese of Rome.

The parish of Sant’Anna has provided a nearby apartment for a Christian Syrian family, consisting of the parents and two children, whereas the parish of St. Peter’s Basilica has provided an apartment for an Eritrean family consisting of a mother and her five children. Three of those children, including one only several months old, are already in Italy, and two others are in a refugee camp in Ethiopia, but are expected to be reunited in Rome the coming weeks. Another woman and her child also live in the apartment which the Vatican communique described as ‘large’.

This entire project has been under the direction of Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, the papal Almoner, and the Sant’Egidio Community. Pope Francis met briefly with the Syrian family shortly after they moved into their apartment in September.

HOMELESS AND POOR ATTEND CIRCUS, THANKS TO PAPAL ALMONER

(Vatican Radio) The Office of the Papal Almoner has announced a unique charity event scheduled for Thursday afternoon in Rome: a circus for the poor. (AP photo: news.va)

ALMONER

The homeless, refugees, prisoners, and those most in need, were invited to the entertainment, offered free of charge at the Rony Roller Circus, which made all 2000 seats under its big top available for the event.

A press release with details of the spectacle highlights the show’s opening number: a song composed by a Spanish singer-songwriter, who was also homeless at one time, dedicated to Pope Francis and written to serve as an opening prayer and expression of gratitude to the Holy Father for his closeness to the guests.

In a January audience last year Pope Francis said that those who create circus shows create beauty which is good for the soul. “How much we need beauty,” he said. He applauded circus artists who with perseverance and sacrifice give beauty to others.

The Almoner’s announcement also explained that medical personnel from Vatican Health Services would be available to give treatment free of charge to any of the event’s attendees with a mobile camper and Vatican ambulances. A small snack will be offered the end of the show.