POPE FRANCIS SENDS VIDEO MESSAGE TO UN CLIMATE ACTION SUMMIT – POPE MAKES SURPRISE VISIT TO “NUOVI ORIZZONTI” COMMUNITY

POPE FRANCIS SENDS VIDEO MESSAGE TO UN CLIMATE ACTION SUMMIT

Pope Francis sent a video message to participants at the United Nations Climate Action Summit 2019, taking place in New York on September 23. Following is the complete text of that message:

Greetings to participants at the UN Climate Action Summit 2019.

I would like to thank the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr António Guterres, for convening this meeting and for drawing the attention of Heads of State and Government – and of the entire international community and world public opinion – to one of the most serious and worrying phenomena of our time: climate change.

This is one of the principal challenges we have to face. To do so, humanity is called to cultivate three great moral qualities: honesty, responsibility and courage.

With the Paris Agreement of 12 December 2015, the international community became aware of the urgency and need for a collective response to help build our common home. However, four years after that historic Agreement, we can see that the commitments made by States are still very “weak”, and are far from achieving the objectives set.

Along with so many initiatives, not only by governments but by civil society as a whole, it is necessary to ask whether there is a real political will to allocate greater human, financial and technological resources to mitigate the negative effects of climate change and to help the poorest and most vulnerable populations, who suffer the most.

While the situation is not good and the planet is suffering, the window of opportunity is still open. Despite everything. Let us not let it close. Let us open it with our determination to cultivate integral human development, to ensure a better life for future generations. “Although the post-industrial period may well be remembered as one of the most irresponsible in history, nonetheless there is reason to hope that humanity at the dawn of the twenty-first century will be remembered for having generously shouldered its grave responsibilities.”

With honesty, responsibility and courage we have to put our intelligence “at the service of another type of progress, one which is healthier, more human, more social, more integral”, capable of placing economy at the service of the human person, building peace and protecting the environment.

The problem of climate change is related to issues of ethics, equity and social justice. The current situation of environmental degradation is connected with the human, ethical and social degradation that we experience every day. This forces us to think about the meaning of our models of consumption and production, and the processes of education and awareness, to make them consistent with human dignity. We are facing a “challenge of civilization” in favor of the common good. This is clear, just as it is clear that we have a multiplicity of solutions that are within everyone’s reach, if we adopt on a personal and social level a lifestyle that embodies honesty, courage and responsibility.

I would like these three key words – honesty, courage and responsibility – to be at the heart of your work today and tomorrow. Thank you very much.

(The video message, shortly before being transmitted to the United Nations in New York, was reduced for reasons of time. Click here to see the 5-minute video in Spanish with English subtitles: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-09/pope-francis-videomessage-climate-action-summit-united-nations.html#play)

POPE MAKES SURPRISE VISIT TO “NUOVI ORIZZONTI” COMMUNITY

In a gesture underlining his admiration for its work, Pope Francis spent the morning at the “Nuovi Orizzonti” (New Horizons) Community, founded by Chiara Amirante in 1993 with the intention of assisting people in need and of taking action in areas of particular social hardship. Accompanied by Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, he visited the Cittadella Cielo (Heavenly City) of the Now Horizons Community in Frosinone, about an hour from Rome.

According to notes from Vaticannews, the Holy Father arrived about 9.40 am and was welcomed into the auditorium by the participants gathered in prayer. After a brief speech by Chiara Amirante and testimonies of a young man and a young woman, Italian singer Andrea Bocelli and his son, invited to the meeting, performed the song “Follow me” and described their commitment in the community.

This was followed by some interventions and questions by young people and adults who changed their lives after meeting the Christian faith through the New Horizons Commnity. The Holy Father answered questions addressed to him, speaking for some time off the cuff. At 12:20 pm, at the end of the meeting, Pope Francis celebrated Mass for the participants which included songs by Andrea Bocelli, at communion time and the end of Mass.

In a background piece, Vaticannews noted that the work of this community include rehabilitation from substance abuse and various forms of addiction, shelter to street children and aid to young people in difficulty. The Community also assists prostituted women, and provides support for anyone who has been rejected, excluded, marginalized – sometimes by their own families.

The projects of the Community
What started out as Chiara Amirante’s own outreach mission to the poor and destitute on the streets of Rome has grown to become an international community, present in many countries around the world.

The projects of “Nuovi Orizzonti” now include over 200 training centers involving around 30,000 collaborators. Their activities include a mission of street evangelization, and a program that aims at the integral reconstruction of the human person, uniting elements of psychology and spirituality.

The Pope and the Community
Pope Francis has admired the work done by New Horizons for some time. On June 8th this year, to mark the Community’s 25th anniversary, he made a personal phone call, sent a letter of congratulations, and recorded a video message expressing his affection and encouragement to the more than 3,000 people gathered to celebrate the event.

“Never lose your memory,” said the Pope in that message. “In your memory you will meet God: the God who has accompanied you, who has made you grow.”

“Nuovi Orizzonti” is registered as a non-profit organization, and is recognized by the Vatican Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life. Its headquarters and international center is in Frosinone, about one hour’s drive south of Rome.

A TAXI DRIVER’S PRAYER – POPE FRANCIS VISITS THE VATICAN APOSTOLIC LIBRARY

A TAXI DRIVER’S PRAYER

I had such a singular experience this morning that I felt I had to write about it.

I had an appointment in the Vatican’s medical center with an orthopedic surgeon for a reading of an MRI and for an update on the fractured vertebra I’ve been living with for two months. October was a very trying time but over the last month, the pain diminished a bit every week and Monday I felt as close to normal as I have in two months but I will still quite anxious about the MRI results. The written report accompanying the CD of the MRI was quite lengthy but in medical terms I did not understand at all.

I called a taxi, even though on foot I could reach the Vatican’s Sant’Anna entrance in probably 10 minutes or less. I’ve been very careful as walking has been tough, thus taxis have pretty much been my mode of transport.

I gave the driver the Sant’Anna address and said we could enter Vatican City as I had a Vatican ID. On the way, I jokingly said it would have been closer for me to walk but I was being careful because of a painful back issue. He asked what was wrong, I replied “a fractured vertebra” and he said “that must be so painful.” I said I was improving and would see a doctor this morning.

A few minutes later he asked if I was a believer (I’m sure it was related to the fact I was going to the Vatican), and I said, yes, I’m a practicing Catholic. He turned and smiled and said, “then you believe in the power of prayer to heal. That prayer can heal as well as – or perhaps even better than – doctors.”

I said I totally agreed and that I try to end my prayers, especially of supplication, with “God willing!”

A few minutes later, we entered Vatican City and I directed him to the medical center. When he stopped, he turned around and asked if it would be OK to pray together for my healing! He asked my name and then he prayed, asking the Lord to send the Holy Spirit on me to heal me and watch over me. He then prayed that “the doctor will be amazed at how Joan has healed.”

He said this with a bowed head and with such conviction, I was speechless! I said “God bless you today and always.” He smiled, saying “have a great day” and pulled away.

I think I stood outside for a minute, pondering this amazing encounter.

Half an hour later, after Dr. Buzzelli had studied the MRI documents and CD and made me do some movements and asked questions, he had a broad smile and said, “The fracture has clinically healed!” He said healing will continue, mentioned some limitations and then prescribed medicine to strengthen bones.

I asked if I could have a minute of his time to share an amazing story. At the end, he said he knows so many wonderful people that what this driver said did not surprise him!

If you saw it, on Thanksgiving Day I wrote: “Dear Lord, how have you blessed me? Let me count the ways…..Listing some of those ways, I wrote: “Does a day pass that You do not bring some unique, new person into my life? The newest member of my wonderful, large family? A friend from another country? Another wonderful seminarian or priest added to the many who have made my life and my faith so fulfilling? The list is so very long!

“Does a day pass that I am not enriched and blessed by some amazing event that You placed in my path as a learning moment, a time of prayer, a period of silent Thanksgiving?”

I can only say “Amen.”

POPE FRANCIS VISITS THE VATICAN APOSTOLIC LIBRARY

Pope Francis on Tuesday paid a surprise visit to the Vatican Apostolic Library.
As you can see in the photographs published on the Library’s official Twitter account @VaticanLibrary, the Pope was accompanied by Archbishop José Tolentino Calaça de Mendonça, Archivist of the Vatican Secret Archives and Librarian of the Vatican Library, and by the Prefect of the Library, Monsignor Cesare Pasini.

If you want to tour the library, click here: https://www.vaticanlibrary.va/home.php?ling=eng

I learned about the visit when I stopped by to say hello to a gal I know who has a great store just outside the door to my building. As Emanuela and I were chatting, a couple stopped by to share some good news. Their daughter Federica, who lives in my building and has a top position in the Vatican Library, had told them about the papal visit and they shared that news with us and thus we heard about it before it was published.