PAPAL AUDIENCE FOCUS IS APOSTOLIC ZEAL: POPE ASKS PRAYERS FOR MURDERED NIGERIAN PRIEST AND SUFFERING UKRAINIANS – A CITY GETS A FACELIFT FOR PAPAL VISIT

Something to ponder: An interesting read about the Francis papacy in the post-Benedict XVI era: MondayVatican – Vatican » Pope Francis, what kind of a future has just begun? | MondayVatican

PAPAL AUDIENCE FOCUS IS APOSTOLIC ZEAL: POPE ASKS PRAYERS FOR MURDERED NIGERIAN PRIEST AND SUFFERING UKRAINIANS

Pope Francis began today’s general audience by noting, “In our continuing catechesis on apostolic zeal, the desire to share with others the joy of the Gospel, we now look to its model and source: the example of Jesus himself. As the eternal Word of God, made flesh for our salvation, Jesus’ entire life was devoted to communicating and dialoguing with others, first with his heavenly Father in profound prayer, and then with others, especially the poor, the outcast and sinners.!

Francis explained that Jesus “proclaimed the coming of God’s Kingdom not only by his preaching, but also by his ministry of healing, reconciliation and forgiveness. As the Good Shepherd, the model for all pastors in the Church, Jesus was completely committed to the welfare of his flock, protecting the fold yet also setting out in search of the lost sheep.

“And when we hear that someone has left the Church, what do we want to say? ‘Let them work it out?’ No. Jesus teaches us to have nostalgia for those who have left. Jesus does not feel anger or resentment but pure longing for us. Jesus feels nostalgic for us and this is God’s zeal.

The Holy Father said he wondered “we, do we have similar sentiments? Perhaps we see those who have left the flock as adversaries or enemies. ‘And this person? Hasn’t he gone to the other side? She lost her faith…. They are going to hell…’ and we are serene.!

“When we meet them at school, at work, on the streets of our city,” he continued, “why don’t we think instead that we have a beautiful opportunity to witness to them the joy of a Father who loves them and has never forgotten them? Not to proselytize, no! But that the Word of the Father might reach them so we can walk together. … Because the Word, Jesus, asks this of us – to always draw near to everyone with an open heart because he is like that.”

Pope Francis concluded: “Following his example, may we, in our daily lives, draw joy and strength from our union with the Father in prayer, allow our hearts to be shaped by pastoral zeal for the word of God, and strive, in all our words and actions, to share with others its saving message.”

During greetings to English-language pilgrims the Pope said, “I offer a warm welcome to the English-speaking pilgrims taking part in today’s audience, especially the groups from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Australia and the United States of America. I offer a special greeting to the many student groups present.

“I ask all of you to join me in praying for Father Isaac Achi of the Diocese of Minna in northern Nigeria, who was killed last Sunday in an attack on his rectory. So many Christians continue to be the target of violence: let us remember them in our prayers! Upon all of you, and upon your families, I invoke the joy and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ. God bless you!

The terrorists set fire to the rectory and Fr. Achi burned to death. They shot and wounded the assistant priest as he tried to flee.

Francis also highlighted Ukraine, as he has done in every public address for almost a year. He asked everyone to pray for Ukrainians who need “our closeness, consolation, and above all peace.”

CITY GETS A FACELIFT FOR PAPAL VISIT

As you know, Pope Francis leaves on January 31 for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and then South Sudan. We are now learning, via a report from Reuters, that the government in Kinshasa is clearing the city’s streets of vendors so that the Pope sees a sanitized city, much as happened when U.S. President Biden recently visited El Paso, Texas, a city that has been overwhelmed by massive numbers of migrants in the last two years. Biden saw no migrants, no crowded housing facilities, no make-shift tents on El Paso streets.

The January 17 Reuters story starts: “Before dawn, sanitary police armed with crowbars and a bulldozer set about demolishing makeshift trader stalls crowding downtown streets in the capital of Democratic Republic of Congo ahead of a four-day visit by Pope Francis starting Jan. 31. Kinshasa has 17 million people. Police demolish trader stalls in Congo capital ahead of Pope visit | Reuters

 

POPE DECRIES ATTACK ON CHURCH IN DCR

Yesterday was Martin Luther King Day in the U.S. and was a holiday for EWTN staff so I had a day off and it was wonderful, as days off should be! The entire Rome EWTN bureau celebrated the exceptional work undertaken in the week of Benedict XVI’s death and funeral and the Epiphany with a wonderful buffet lunch in one of the larger meetings rooms available for such events.

It is always great to spend time with the extremely talented people of the Rome bureau, to catch up on family news, children and new babies, impending weddings, interviews and documentaries planned, and so on. So many of these people are always behind the cameras. They are the people you don’t see but the ones who bring all the great images and stories that you do see on EWTN.

Before I move on, I want to share something with you that is considered an important part of Pope Benedict’s legacy:

POPE DECRIES ATTACK ON CHURCH IN DCR

Pope Francis is scheduled to leave for Africa on January 31st, visiting the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DCR) and South Sudan. In South Sudan, it will be an ecumenical pilgrimage as he will be joined by the archbishop of Canterbury and by the moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. The trip, originally scheduled for July 2022, had to be postponed on advice of the papal doctors.

Monday, in a telegram, the Pope decried an attack on a Pentecostal church in the DRC that killed at least 14 people and wounded over 40 others. Vatican news reported that the so-called Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, and the Congolese army blamed the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), which is allied to ISIS. The telegram, sent by Cardinal secretary of State Pietro Parolin in the Pope’s name, was addressed to Rev. André Bokundoa-Bo-Likabe, President of the Church of Christ in Congo.

In an interview with Vatican News following the bombing, the Apostolic Nuncio to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Archbishop Ettore Balestrero, said the attack sent a worrying signal, “even more so because it confirms the involution of the situation on the ground.” People of DR Congo await ‘healing’ from Pope’s upcoming visit – Vatican News

(Vatican news also reported that Pope Francis has expressed his condolences for the deaths of at least 70 people who were killed on Sunday in a plane crash in the South Asian nation of Nepal)

POPE FRANCIS TO TRAVEL TO DCR AND SOUTH SUDAN IN 2023

POPE FRANCIS TO TRAVEL TO DCR AND SOUTH SUDAN IN 2023

The Holy See Press Office announced today that the previously scheduled papal trip to the DCR (Democratic Republic of the Congo) and South Sudan, that had been   postponed to health issues for Pope Francis, will now take place from January 31st to February 5th, 2023. The papal schedule was also released.

Tuesday, 31 January 2023 ROME – KINSHASA

Logo and motto of Pope’s journey to Democratic Rep. of Congo released – Vatican News

07:55 Departure by airplane from Rome/Fiumicino International Airport to Kinshasa 15:00 Arrival at Kinshasa “Ndjili” International Airport

15:00 OFFICIAL WELCOME

16:30 WELCOME CEREMONY at the “Palais de la Nation”

16:45 COURTESY VISIT TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC in the “Salle Présidentielle” of the “Palais de la Nation”

17:30 MEETING WITH AUTHORITIES, CIVIL SOCIETY AND THE DIPLOMATIC CORPS in the garden of the “Palais de la Nation” Address of the Holy Father

Wednesday, 1 February 2023 KINSHASA

09:30 HOLY MASS at “Ndolo” Airport – Homily of the Holy Father

16:30 MEETING WITH VICTIMS FROM THE EASTERN PART OF THE COUNTRY at the Apostolic Nunciature – Address of the Holy Father

18:30 MEETING WITH REPRESENTATIVES FROM SOME CHARITIES at the Apostolic Nunciature – Address of the Holy Father

Thursday, 2 February 2023 KINSHASA

09:30 MEETING WITH YOUNG PEOPLE AND CATECHISTS in Martyrs’ Stadium – Address of the Holy Father

16:30 PRAYER MEETING WITH PRIESTS, DEACONS, CONSECRATED PERSONS AND SEMINARIANS in the Cathedral “Notre Dame du Congo” – Address of the Holy Father

18:30 PRIVATE MEETING WITH MEMBERS OF THE SOCIETY OF JESUS at the Apostolic Nunciature

Friday, 3 February 2023 KINSHASA – JUBA

08:30 MEETING WITH BISHOPS at CENCO – Address of the Holy Father

10:10 FAREWELL CEREMONY at Kinshasa “Ndjili” International Airport

10:40 Departure by airplane from Kinshasa “Ndjili” International airport

to Juba

The Holy Father is making the Journey to South Sudan together with the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland

15:00 Arrival at Juba International Airport

 

South Sudan: Vatican unveils logo and motto of Pope ‘s visit – Vatican News

15:00 WELCOME CEREMONY

15:45 COURTESY VISIT TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC at the Presidential Palace

16:15 MEETING WITH THE VICE-PRESIDENTS OF THE REPUBLIC

17:00 MEETING WITH AUTHORITIES, CIVIL SOCIETY AND THE DIPLOMATIC CORPS in the garden of the Presidential Palace – Address of the Holy Father

Saturday, 4 February 2023 JUBA

09:00 MEETING WITH BISHOPS, PRIESTS, DEACONS, CONSECRATED PERSONS AND SEMINARIANS in the Cathedral of Saint Therese – Address of the Holy Father

11:00 PRIVATE MEETING WITH MEMBERS OF THE SOCIETY OF JESUS at the Apostolic Nunciature

16:30 MEETING WITH INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONS in the “Freedom Hall” – Address of the Holy Father

18:00 ECUMENICAL PRAYER at “John Garang” Mausoleum – Address of the Holy Father

Sunday, 5 February 2023 JUBA – ROME

08:45 HOLY MASS at “John Garang” Mausoleum – Homily of the Holy Father Angelus

11:00 FAREWELL CEREMONY at Juba International Airport

11:30 Departure by airplane from Juba International Airport to Rome

17:30 Arrival at Rome Fiumicino International Airport

POPE: “JOYFUL” TO BE IN LAND WHERE “VERY DIFFERENT REALITIES” CO-EXIST

POPE: “JOYFUL” TO BE IN LAND WHERE “VERY DIFFERENT REALITIES” CO-EXIST

Pope Francis departed Rome this morning for Bahrain on his 39th foreign apostolic trip. During his visit, he will address the Bahrain Forum for Dialogue, a conference that will focus on the theme “East and West for Human Coexistence.”

Boarding the ITA flight to Bahrain:

At the Angelus on November 1, All Saints Day, Pope Francis had invited the faithful to pray for his November 3 to 6 Apostolic Journey to Bahrain so that “every meeting and event might be a fruitful opportunity to promote, in the name of God, the cause of fraternity and peace which our times so desperately and urgently need.’ The Holy Father added that during his trip he will ‘have the opportunity to engage with religious representatives, particularly Islamic.’ ‘

Before leaving for the airport this morning, Pope Francis met with three Ukrainian refugee families hosted by Italian families at Casa Santa Marta. One of them is the wife of an Orthodox priest, along with her two children aged 18 and 14. Her husband and adult son have remained behind in Ukraine. The second family is a 30-year-old mother with two daughters aged 4 and 7, who fled the partially occupied city and region of Zaporizhzhia; while the third family is a 53-year-old woman with a severely disabled 13-year-old son and a 73-year-old mother from Kyiv. They were accompanied by the papal almoner, Cardinal Konrad Krajewski.

Once on the plane, due to knee pain, the Pope did not make the usual rounds among the journalists on the papal flight, but instead asked them to come up for a greeting. One by one the reporters and cameramen accompanying him on the trip then went to greet the Pontiff, who thanked them for their company and work. The visit to Bahrain, Francis added, is “an interesting trip” from which “good news” can emerge.

On his arrival at 4:45 local time, the Pope made a courtesy visit to King Hamad at the Sakhir Royal Palace and met with Bahrain’s authorities, civil society, and diplomatic corps.

“I express my deep gratitude,” said Francis, “to His Majesty for his invitation to visit the Kingdom of Bahrain, his warm and gracious welcome and his kind words. I greet you all most cordially. I would like to address a word of friendship and affection to everyone living in this country: to each believer and individual and to the members of every family, which the Constitution of Bahrain defines as ‘the basis of society’.

“To all I express my joy to be in your midst. Here, where the waters of the sea surround the sands of the desert, and imposing skyscrapers rise beside traditional Oriental markets, very different realities come together: ancient and modern converge; tradition and progress mix; and above all, people from various backgrounds create a distinctive mosaic of life.”

Tomorrow, November 4, the Holy Father is scheduled to attend the closing session of the Bahrain Forum for Dialogue. He’ll also meet privately with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar and hold an audience with the members of the Muslim Council of Elders. Later, he will hold an ecumenical meeting and prayer for peace in the Our Lady of Arabia Cathedral in Awali. (source: Vatican news)

 

ALL SOULS DAY: POPE PRESIDES AT MASS, VISITS TEUTONIC CEMETRY, PRAYS AT ST. MARY MAJOR BASILICA

ALL SOULS DAY: POPE PRESIDES AT MASS, VISITS TEUTONIC CEMETRY, PRAYS AT ST. MARY MAJOR BASILICA

Today, All Souls Day, Pope Francis presided at Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica for the repose of the souls of those cardinals and bishops who died in the last year. After Mass, he went to the small, historical and very beautiful Teutonic cemetery in Vatican City. He has made visiting cemeteries on All Souls Day a hallmark of his pontificate.

He was greeted by the Sisters Handmaids of Christ the Priest, who care for the cemetery, and the rector and vice rector of the Pontifical Teutonic College of Santa Maria. The Holy Father stopped briefly for private prayer and blessed a number of the tombs with holy water before returning to his residence in the Casa Santa Marta.

This is one of my favorite places to visit in Vatican City. Following are some of the photos I’ve taken on various occasions:

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This afternoon, as is his custom before embarking on an apostolic trip, Pope Francis went to St. Mary Major Basilica to pray before the beloved icon of Salus Populi Romani. During this, his 100th visit to the basilica of his pontificate, he entrusted Our Lady with his three-day journey to Bahrain that starts tomorrow.

 

POPE TO TRAVEL TO ASTI, ITALY, TO MEET RELATIVES – GENERAL AUDIENCE: RE-READING OUR LIFE’S STORY TO DISCOVER CHRIST

POPE TO TRAVEL TO ASTI, ITALY, TO MEET RELATIVES 

The director of the Holy See Press Office announced today that, “on the afternoon of Saturday, November 19, Pope Francis will go to Asti, Italy on a private visit to meet family on the occasion of the 90th birthday of a cousin. Sunday November 20, the Solemnity of Christ the King, the Holy Father will preside over the Eucharist at 11:00 am in the Cathedral of Asti, to meet the diocesan community from which his relatives emigrated to Argentina. In the afternoon the Holy Father will return to the Vatican.”

Pope Francis previously met some of his Italian relatives in 2015 on a visit to Turin, as well as during a visit to Genoa in May, 2017.

GENERAL AUDIENCE: RE-READING OUR LIFE’S STORY TO DISCOVER CHRIST

Wednesday at the general audience, in the presence of a large crowd of pilgrims, Pope Francis circled a sun-splashed St. Peter’s Square in the papal jeep, giving a ride to five school children.

Rome has been marked by beautiful clear skies and unseasonably warm temperatures in what the Italians call “le ottobrate romane,” the equivalent of the English term “Indian summer.”

In his catechesis in Italian, later summarized in French, English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic and Polish, Pope Francis continued his catechesis on discernment, saying, “we now consider the importance of interpreting, in the light of God’s provident care, our own life story. Through prayer and spiritual insight, we can learn to discern the thread of God’s grace running through our lives.”

“Our life is the most precious ‘book’ that is given to us, a book that unfortunately many do not read, or rather they do so too late, before dying.”

He explained that, “taking stock of our personal history in this way can make us aware of negative attitudes harmful for our spiritual growth, but also open our eyes to the often hidden events and encounters that quietly reveal the Lord’s loving plan for our eternal happiness.”

The more we reread our life’s story, he added, the more refined our perception becomes, making it easier to discover God’s action in our lives.

The Holy Father noted that, “the lives of the saints also shed light upon our personal path to holiness. In the Confessions, Saint Augustine shared his gradual understanding of how God mysteriously led him to discover and embrace the truth that alone satisfies the deepest desires of our heart.”

Francis then underlined how “Saint Ignatius Loyola, another great spiritual guide, drew upon his own journey of conversion in order to teach us how to discern God’s voice speaking deep within us, guiding our steps through life, and calling us to ever deeper union with himself.”

Later, in greeting English-speaking pilgrims at the audience, the Pope welcomed pilgrims “from Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Indonesia, Canada and the United States of America, including the priests of the Institute for Continuing Theological Education at the Pontifical North American College.

He then had special words for “pilgrims present from Nigeria. I think of the violent rains that have fallen on their country in these days, causing flooding, numerous deaths and tremendous damage. Let us pray for all who have lost their lives and for everyone affected by this devastating natural disaster. May these, our brothers and sisters, experience our solidarity and the support of the international community.”

VATICAN INSIDER: KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS AND “TERESA OF CALCUTTA. NO GREATER LOVE” – POPE FRANCIS GIVES INFLGHT PRESS CONFERENCE

VATICAN INSIDER: KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS AND “TERESA OF CALCUTTA. NO GREATER LOVE”

Returning this week to the interview segment of “Vatican Insider” are Patrick Kelly, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, and David Naglieri, writer and director of the film produced by the Knights, “Teresa of Calcutta: No Greater Love.”

Last week, we talked about what inspired the Knights of Columbus to do this film, how David was brought in as writer and director, and the stages of filming and some of the highlights.

This week we look at some of the challenges and highlights of filming this documentary, and I ask both Patrick and David if they learned something they never knew about Mother Teresa during the filming.

As I wrote after the Rome premiere: “Teresa of Calcutta’s love was a no-holds-barred love that embraced all of God’s children but absolutely above all, ‘the least of God’s children,’ the heart-wrenchingly poor and destitute, the forgotten and rejected ones such as the disabled, victims of leprosy, the starving, those who were left to die in the hovels they called home or on the streets of their villages or towns, on the peripheries of large, well-to-do urban centers where people truly did not care about the “people they could not see.”

I interviewed Patrick and David at one of the sports centers built in Rome by the Knights of Columbus. They have an office in Rome as well (another story for another day).

The movie premiered in Rome at the end of August and will be shown in 940 theaters in the United States for two days only, Monday, October 3 and Tuesday, October 4. Go to motherteresamovie.com for tickets.

The official website (where you can watch a trailer): Mother Teresa: No Greater Love Film – HOME (motherteresamovie.com)

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on http://www.ewtn.com. 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.” VI airs at 5am and 9pm ET on Saturdays and 6am ET on Sundays. On the GB-IE feed (which is on SKY in the UK and Ireland), VI airs at 5:30am, 12 noon and 10pm CET on Sundays. Both of these feeds are also available on the EWTN app and on www.ewtnradio.net ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: go to https://www.ewtn.com/radio/audio-archive and write the name of the guest for whom you are searching in the SEARCH box. Below that, will appear “Vatican Insider” – click on that and the link to that particular episode will appear.

POPE FRANCIS GIVES INFLGHT PRESS CONFERENCE

Yesterday, September 15, on his six-hour flight from Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan to Rome, Pope Francis gave an in-flight press conference to the 80 journalists who had accompanied him on his 38th international apostolic trip.

Here are two reports you might like to read that summarize the Q and A:

Pope: ‘Difficult to dialogue with those who started a war, but it must be done’ – Vatican News

Pope Francis: ‘The West has taken the wrong paths’ | Catholic News Agency

POPE TO KAZAKHSTAN CLERGY: ‘BEAR WITNESS TO JOY OF THE GOSPEL’ – POPE AT 7TH CONGRESS IN KAZAKHSTAN: ‘WE NEED PEACE, WOMEN, YOUNG PEOPLE’

Pope Francis departed Kazakhstan’s Nur-Sultan airport just before 5:20 pm local time this afternoon, and is due to arrive in Rome about 8 pm, Rome time. The nation’s president Kassym-Jomart Tokayev was on hand to bid the Holy Father farewell.

This morning the Pope spoke to the Church’s bishops, clergy and religious men and women, and later made remarks at the concluding session of the 7th Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions. Links to both of those events follow. There are some great photos and video in the first report.

Earlier, on Twitter and Facebook, I posted the wonderful, happy story of the family of 23 who musically entertained the Pope (video and photos): Muslim family of 23 plays for Pope Francis in Kazakhstan – Vatican News

POPE TO KAZAKHSTAN CLERGY: ‘BEAR WITNESS TO JOY OF THE GOSPEL’

In his address to the Church’s ministers in Kazakhstan, Pope Francis encourages bishops, priests, and religious men and women to embrace their spiritual inheritance with joy and “bear generous witness to it,” in order to testify to the promise of Christian hope.

By Sophie Peeters (vaticannews)

The strength in diversity of the Church and the richness in different experiences must be shared with others to witness to the living Church.

Pope Francis offered that encouragement in his address to Bishops, priests, deacons, consecrated persons, seminarians and lay pastoral workers on Thursday morning at the Cathedral of the Mother of God of Perpetual Help in Nur-Sultan, Kazakstan. Pope to Kazakhstan clergy: ‘Bear witness to joy of the Gospel’ – Vatican News

POPE AT 7TH CONGRESS IN KAZAKHSTAN: ‘WE NEED PEACE, WOMEN, YOUNG PEOPLE’

In his concluding remarks at the 7th Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, Pope Francis urges all religions and societies to involve women and young people in the quest for world peace.

By Francesca Merlo (vaticannews)

Concluding the 7th Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, on his 38th Apostolic Journey abroad, Pope Francis thanked those present for coming from so many different parts of the world.

“We have travelled this road together,” he said. The Holy Father added that the members’ commitment in the service of dialogue over the course of the conference is more valuable than ever “when the problems of the pandemic have been compounded by the utter folly of war.” Pope at 7th Congress in Kazakhstan: ‘We need peace, women, young people’ – Vatican News

 

A CAPITAL NAME CHANGE? – POPES OF PEACE VISIT KAZAKHSTAN

A CAPITAL NAME CHANGE?

There has been one very interesting development during Pope Francis’ visit to Kazakhstan and its capital Nur-Sultan for the inter-religious meeting. The capital was named Astana until three years ago when the current president Tokayev agreed to change the name to Nur Sultan to honor his predecessor Nursultan Nazarbayev who led the country for three decades after declaring independence from what was once the USSR, the Soviet Union.

It seems that the nation’s capital will once again be named Astana.

The first indication was a tweet today from President Tokayev’s press secretary that said, “The president of Kazakhstan supports the initiative of members of parliamentary to rename the capital of the country from Nur Sultan to Astana.”

It seems the president was informed of this initiative by the MPs who had put forth this proposal, having talked among themselves, and also to citizens who supported the name change during a referendum.

The June referendum called for constitutional changes, one of which, according to a bill written by parliament, will be the name change of the nation’s capital.

The Vatican always prepares a fascinating, informative booklet for the journalists covering a papal trip. In that booklet, the name Nur Sultan is used for the capital, as it is in Vatican news reports, thus suggesting that the name change has not officially taken place.

POPES OF PEACE VISIT KAZAKHSTAN

St. John Paul II was the first pontiff to visit this central European nation, visiting shortly after the September 11 attacks in the United States in 2001. At the time, he applauded the peaceful coexistence of religions and ethnicities such as Kazakh, Russian, Ukrainian, and many others, within the country. The capital of Kazakhstan in 2001 was Astana.

At the September 23 Angelus, John Paul said: “To Mary I entrust all of you: Christians and non-Christians, believers and non-believers. She is the Mother of all, because Christ her Son is the Saviour of all. May Mary help all of you, dear Brothers and Sisters, to accomplish in your daily lives Christ’s command: “Love one another”, which is the guiding theme of this pastoral visit of mine. To the perpetual help of the Queen of peace I also entrust the countries bordering Kazakhstan, and I greet especially the pilgrims who have come today from those lands to demonstrate their faith and affection.”

Pope Francis’ trip to Kazakhstan shared one aspect with Pope John Paul’s trip that took place right after the 9-11 attacks in the US, Pope Francis trip took place just after the 21st anniversary of those attacks. (Vatican photo)

In words spoken at the end of today’s Mass, the Holy Father pointed to areas of the world marked by violence and war, especially Ukraine, and stressed that the world must never grow accustomed to war or resigned to its perceived inevitability. “The one solution is peace and the only way to arrive at peace is through dialogue. …What still needs to happen, and how many deaths will it still take, before conflict yields to dialogue for the good of people, nations and all humanity?”

Inviting prayers from everyone so that the world can learn to create peace, Francis said, “I thank all those who believe in this. I thank all of you, and all those men and women who are heralds of peace and unity!”

Francis had said Sunday at the Angelus that his trip would be a “pilgrimage of peace. … It will be an opportunity to meet a great many religious representatives and to dialogue as brothers and sisters, animated by our common desire for peace, peace for which our world is thirsting.”

POPE FRANCIS BEGINS HIS APOSTOLIC JOURNEY TO KAZAKHSTAN – A FUTURISTIC NUR-SULTAN READY TO WELCOME POPE FRANCIS TO KAZAKHSTAN – POPE’S PRESENCE IN KAZAKHSTAN TO HELP ‘MAP WAY OUT OF CONFLICTS’

I am following Pope Francis’ trip to Kazakhstan as many of you are – on television and online for news reports. Television brings the living, colorful, in-the-moment images, as I know you have seen today and will for the next two days. Below are three stories from Vatican news about the papal trip to Kazakhstan, including video, photos and commentary.

A preview of the trip was given last night on EWTN News Nightly by EWTN’s Alexey Gotovsky of our Rome office: EWTN News | News from a true Catholic perspective

POPE FRANCIS BEGINS HIS APOSTOLIC JOURNEY TO KAZAKHSTAN

Pope Francis departs from Rome’s Fiumicino airport aboard the papal plane bound for Nur-Sultan, as he begins his Apostolic Journey to Kazakhstan.

By Devin Watkins (vaticannews)

The papal plane took off from Rome’s Fiumicino airport on Tuesday at 7:36 AM with Pope Francis aboard, along with a compliment of around 80 journalists in the papal entourage.

The Pope’s 38th Apostolic Journey abroad takes him to the Nur-Sultan, the capital of Kazakhstan, where he is expected to arrive at around 5:45 PM local time (GMT+6) after a roughly 6.5-hour flight.

His first official visit comes soon afterwards on Tuesday as he makes a courtesy visit to President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, before meeting with the country’s authorities, civil servants, and diplomatic corps. FOR MORE: Pope Francis begins his Apostolic Journey to Kazakhstan – Vatican News

A FUTURISTIC NUR-SULTAN READY TO WELCOME POPE FRANCIS TO KAZAKHSTAN

As Pope Francis prepares to depart for Kazakhstan on Tuesday, our correspondent in Nur-Sultan takes a look at his upcoming participation in the 7th Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, as well as the small Catholic community’s great joy to receive the Holy Father.

By Deborah Castellano Lubov – Nur-Sultan (vaticannews)

Catholics and non-Catholics alike in the immense Central Asian nation of Kazakhstan are preparing and looking forward to welcoming Pope Francis to their country on Tuesday.

Pope Francis will embark on his 38th Apostolic Visit abroad, marking his 57th country visited and his fourth Apostolic Journey since the beginning of the year.

Working day and night

“They have been working day and night,” Fr. Pawel, a Franciscan priest, told Vatican News during a visit to the pavilion where the Holy Father’s Mass will be held for the nation’s Catholics, though not only Catholics will be present.

According to the rector of the Cathedral where the Pope will meet bishops, clergy, religious, and those pursuing vocations on Thursday, not only the Catholics are greatly anticipating the Mass, but even Kazakhs of other faiths.

To some non-Catholics, Pope Francis is like a father

He says even some Muslims will be there. “When I inquired as to their reasoning or interesting in being present, they said to me ‘Pope is Papa.’ He is also like a father to us.” FOR MORE: A futuristic Nur-Sultan ready to welcome Pope Francis to Kazakhstan – Vatican News

POPE’S PRESENCE IN KAZAKHSTAN TO HELP ‘MAP WAY OUT OF CONFLICTS’

As Pope Francis prepares to take part in an interfaith congress in Kazakhstan, Professor Azza Karam, Secretary General of Religions for Peace, says the Pope can help religious leaders map out ways of resolving and avoiding conflicts.

By Devin Watkins (vaticannews)

“Pope Francis is a faith leader whom many others, even outside the Catholic community, tend to listen to and respect very highly.”

The Secretary General of Religions for Peace, Prof. Azza Karam, offered that insight into the Pope’s footprint in interreligious dialogue.

Prof. Karam spoke to Vatican News ahead of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Journey to Kazakhstan, on 13-15 September, which will see him participate in the 7th Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions in Nur-Sultan.

Nearly 100 delegations are expected to attend from 60 nations, representing Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Shintoism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, and other religions.

Pope a ‘spokesperson for peace’

Pope Francis will join religious leaders in seeking to plot a course for humanity’s renewal in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, amidst numerous wars and conflicts across the globe.”Pope Francis has positioned himself by virtue of his speech and what he symbolizes to be, in some respects, the spokesperson of what peace should look like in people’s ordinary lives, but also on the level of government.” FOR MORE: Pope’s presence in Kazakhstan to help ‘map way out of conflicts’ – Vatican News