JOAN’S DAY AT A GLANCE
This morning in St. Peter’s Basilica I attended the annual diaconate ordination of 43 seminarians from the North American College. This is a very special day for these young men and their families and friends – it is always beautiful, solemn, joyful and moving! I have been so close to the entire NAC family for so many years – the successive rectors, the staff and the young men studying there – that the diaconate ordination becomes a red letter day on their calendar and mine! Today was also, as you can imagine, a beautiful day for the Church!
The entire day – Mass and the reception at NAC – was glorious! Right now it is late and I am supposed to go to dinner but have not yet uploaded photos to Facebook (www.facebook.com/joan.lewis.10420) or my 3 videos to Youtube (www.youtube.com/joansrome) . I’ll do what I can before I leave for dinner and tell more of this beautiful story tomorrow – the wonderful people I met – the many fans of Joan’s Rome who are in town (!), etc.
In the meantime here’s a look at Pope Francis’ very full Thursday!
POPE FRANCIS’ DAY AT A GLANCE
DAILY HOMILY: GUARDIAN ANGELS, “OUR COMPANIONS ON LIFE’S JOURNEY” Guardian angels exist, they are not [the fruit of] imaginative doctrine, but companions that God has placed beside us on our life’s journey said Pope Francis Thursday morning at Mass at Casa Santa Marta, on the day when the Church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Guardian Angels.
“According to the tradition of the Church, we all have an angel with us, who protects us, helps us hear things. How often have we heard: ‘I should do this, I should not do this, that’s not right, be careful …’: so often! It is the voice of our traveling companion. Be sure that he will guide us to the end of our lives with advice, and so listen to his voice, don’t rebel against it…because rebellion, the desire to be independent, is something that we all have; this is arrogance, the same arrogance of our father Adam in paradise: the very same. Do not rebel: follow his advice”.
CHARITY IN TRUTH IS THE BASIS FOR PEACE
Pope Francis on Thursday met with participants of the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. In his address, the Holy Father noted the assembly coincides with the fifth anniversary of Benedict XVI’s encyclical “Caritas in veritate,” which Pope Francis called “a foundational document for the evangelization of the social sphere.”
The Holy Father said “it is necessary to keep alive concern for the poor and social justice,” which must involve the sharing of the riches that are produced and “the universalization of free markets in the service of families.” There must also be “the redistribution of sovereignty, both on the national and supra-national levels. Caritas in veritate also addressed other current social issues, including environmental concerns, and especially the link between “environmental ecology and human ecology.”
“WE ARE CLOSE IN FAITH, PERSECUTION”
“No religious, political or economic motives can justify what is happening to hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children:” these are Pope Francis’ words Thursday, calling what is happening to Christians and other minorities in Iraq and Syria “daily persecution.” He was speaking in a audience to Catholicos Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, Mar Dinkha IV. The Patriarch is head of one of the oldest Christian churches – tracing its roots back to the first century in Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey. Though theological discussions are on-going.
In his remarks, Pope Francis noted the suffering that we share from the wars that are crossing different regions in the Middle East and, in particular, from the violence that Christians and the faithful of other religious minorities are subjected to, especially in Iraq and in Syria.”
MIDDLE EAST PAPAL REPRESENTATIVES GATHER IN THE VATICAN TO DISCUSS THE SITUATION OF CHRISTIANS IN THE REGION
The papal representatives in the Middle East are meeting in the Vatican from October 2 to 4, at the Holy Father’s behest, to discuss the presence of Christians in the region, given the grave situation that has prevailed in recent months. The meeting began this morning at the Secretariat of State and was attended by the officials of the Secretariat of State and the Roman Curia directly linked with the issue, as well as the Holy See Permanent Observers at the United Nations in New York and Geneva, and the apostolic nuncio to the European Union. The meeting demonstrates the Holy Father’s closeness and interest in this important question. He opened the meeting, thanking the participants convened to pray and reflect together on what to do to approach the dramatic situation experienced by Christians in the Middle East, along with other religious and ethnic minorities who suffer as a result of the violence that continues to rage throughout the region.
POPE TO EUROPE: OPEN THE DOORS OF YOUR HEART
Last evening Pope Francis met with survivors of the October 3, 2013 Lampedusa migrant tragedy when about 370 people, mostly Eritrean and Syrian asylum-seekers, drowned when the overcrowded boat they were traveling on capsized off the island of Lampedusa. About 50 survivors of that tragedy, mostly living in northern Europe, will travel to Lampedusa Thursday as they press for an international day of memorial for the thousands who perish at sea each year trying to reach Europe.
On the eve of the one-year anniversary of that devastating shipwreck, Pope Francis met privately with the delegation, confessing that he had difficulty in expressing himself to them. He told them “words are not enough to describe what you have suffered, this can only be contemplated in silence, with tears and by trying to find a way to be close to you.” Francis has called on the men and women of Europe to ‘open the doors of their hearts’ and welcome migrants who risk their lives at sea to flee war and poverty.”