POPE FRANCIS REGISTERS ONLINE FOR WYD 2019 – POPE FRANCIS: HUMAN TRAFFICKING IS A CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY

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)

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POPE FRANCIS: WAR AND THE DAMAGE TO THE ENVIRONMENT – VATICAN DENIES ‘UTTERLY FALSE’ REPORTS OF ECUMENICAL MASS – #RED WEDNESDAY IN THE UK TO HIGHLIGHT PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS

As I was taping a TV segment this afternoon on the rooftop terrace of the building where EWTN offices are located, a huge, extraordinarily colorful, long-lasting rainbow appeared over Rome! One of my colleagues took this photo but it truly does not capture the magical beauty of the rainbow or the way that many of Rome’s buildings became brightly lit in a golden hue against a sky filled with dark gray clouds in the fading sun.

Pope Francis this afternoon in the Santa Marta residence, received former U.N. chief Kofi Annan and members of the NGO, The Elders.

Pope Francis on Monday drew attention to the serious damage that war causes to the environment, and urged all take care of it for future generations.  In a post on his Twitter account @Pontifex, Pope Francis wrote: “War always causes serious damage to the environment. We must not mistreat our common home, but take care of it for future generations.”

The Pope’s tweet came on Nov. 6 to mark the United Nations’ International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict. The environment is a favourite theme with Pope Francis, who has dedicated an entire encyclical to it entitled: “’Laudato Sii’, On Care For Our Common Home”.

In a separate message, the UN chief also urged for the protection of the environment especially in times of armed conflict, saying it is “an essential pillar of peace, security  and sustainable development.”  “War is a dirty business.  Smoke plumes from burning oil wells, looted industrial facilities, abandoned munitions and collapsed buildings are among the hallmarks of conflict,” UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres wrote in a message for Monday’s observance.

For that Message, click here: http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-un-urge-protection-of-environment-in-armed-co

VATICAN DENIES ‘UTTERLY FALSE’ REPORTS OF ECUMENICAL MASS

A news report has said that Archbishop Roche was involved in a commission looking at the possibility of an “ecumenical Mass”.

The Vatican has strongly denied reports that a commission has been established examining the possibility of a setting up an “ecumenical Mass” that would allow Catholics and Protestants to celebrate a shared Eucharist.

Archbishop Arthur Roche, the number two official at the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, told The Tablet that reports of a joint Mass were “utterly false,” while Greg Burke, director of the Holy See Press Office, described them as “simply untrue.” (Source: The Tablet)

#RED WEDNESDAY IN THE UK TO HIGHLIGHT PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS

(Vatican Radio) Catholic schools and churches across the United Kingdom will be floodlit red to highlight the plight of persecuted Christians across the world.

At least ten cathedrals will take part in the #RedWednesday initiative organised by the Aid to the Church in Need charity on November 22 which aims to promote faith and tolerance in society, stand in solidarity with victims of persecution, and oppose violence and oppression carried out in the name of religion.

Organisers – who chose red to symbolise martyrdom and suffering – are appealing for public buildings to be floodlit on the day. Among the schools and churches that have already pledged to take part are England’s National Shrine of Our Lady, Walsingham, Cardinal Newman High School, Bellshill, St Columba’s Church, Inverness, and St Joseph’s, Pontefract.

Patricia Hatton from ACN said: “#RedWednesday is a unique opportunity to stand up for faith and freedom in this country and around the world and to shine a light on the persecution of Christians and other faith groups today.

“Together let’s make a stand for faith and freedom and help Christians and others – especially in the Middle East – who urgently need our support this Christmas.”

The charity is inviting people to a prayer service in Westminster Cathedral Piazza on November 22 at 6pm, which will be preceded by music, film and personal testimonies. They ask for those attending to wear something red.

For more information, visit acnuk.org/campaign/redwednesday

POPE FRANCIS: WAR AND THE DAMAGE TO THE ENVIRONMENT – VATICAN DENIES ‘UTTERLY FALSE’ REPORTS OF ECUMENICAL MASS – #RED WEDNESDAY IN THE UK TO HIGHLIGHT PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS

As I was taping a TV segment this afternoon on the rooftop terrace of the building where EWTN offices are located, a huge, extraordinarily colorful, long-lasting rainbow appeared over Rome! One of my colleagues took this photo but it truly does not capture the magical beauty of the rainbow or the way that many of Rome’s buildings became brightly lit in a golden hue against a sky filled with dark gray clouds in the fading sun.

Pope Francis this afternoon in the Santa Marta residence, received former U.N. chief Kofi Annan and members of the NGO, The Elders.

POPE FRANCIS: WAR AND THE DAMAGE TO THE ENVIRONMENT

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Monday drew attention to the serious damage that war causes to the environment, and urged all take care of it for future generations.  In a post on his Twitter account @Pontifex, Pope Francis wrote: “War always causes serious damage to the environment. We must not mistreat our common home, but take care of it for future generations.”

The Pope’s tweet came on Nov. 6 to mark the United Nations’ International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict. The environment is a favourite theme with Pope Francis, who has dedicated an entire encyclical to it entitled: “’Laudato Sii’, On Care For Our Common Home”.

In a separate message, the UN chief also urged for the protection of the environment especially in times of armed conflict, saying it is “an essential pillar of peace, security  and sustainable development.”  “War is a dirty business.  Smoke plumes from burning oil wells, looted industrial facilities, abandoned munitions and collapsed buildings are among the hallmarks of conflict,” UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres wrote in a message for Monday’s observance.

For that Message, click here: http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-un-urge-protection-of-environment-in-armed-co

VATICAN DENIES ‘UTTERLY FALSE’ REPORTS OF ECUMENICAL MASS

A news report has said that Archbishop Roche was involved in a commission looking at the possibility of an “ecumenical Mass”.

The Vatican has strongly denied reports that a commission has been established examining the possibility of a setting up an “ecumenical Mass” that would allow Catholics and Protestants to celebrate a shared Eucharist.

Archbishop Arthur Roche, the number two official at the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, told The Tablet that reports of a joint Mass were “utterly false,” while Greg Burke, director of the Holy See Press Office, described them as “simply untrue.” (Source: The Tablet)

#RED WEDNESDAY IN THE UK TO HIGHLIGHT PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS

(Vatican Radio) Catholic schools and churches across the United Kingdom will be floodlit red to highlight the plight of persecuted Christians across the world.

At least ten cathedrals will take part in the #RedWednesday initiative organised by the Aid to the Church in Need charity on November 22 which aims to promote faith and tolerance in society, stand in solidarity with victims of persecution, and oppose violence and oppression carried out in the name of religion.

Organisers – who chose red to symbolise martyrdom and suffering – are appealing for public buildings to be floodlit on the day. Among the schools and churches that have already pledged to take part are England’s National Shrine of Our Lady, Walsingham, Cardinal Newman High School, Bellshill, St Columba’s Church, Inverness, and St Joseph’s, Pontefract.

Patricia Hatton from ACN said: “#RedWednesday is a unique opportunity to stand up for faith and freedom in this country and around the world and to shine a light on the persecution of Christians and other faith groups today.

“Together let’s make a stand for faith and freedom and help Christians and others – especially in the Middle East – who urgently need our support this Christmas.”

The charity is inviting people to a prayer service in Westminster Cathedral Piazza on November 22 at 6pm, which will be preceded by music, film and personal testimonies. They ask for those attending to wear something red.

For more information, visit acnuk.org/campaign/redwednesday