THIS BOY INVITED POPE FRANCIS ON A PILGRIMAGE – AND HERE’S HOW HE RESPONDED – EXCLUSIVE CHURCHPOP 360° VIDEOS REVEAL THE BEAUTY OF ROME IN A NEW WAY

I am finally back home and sitting at my desk – though just briefly these first days – trying to get back in the groove of things. The serious infection is gone and we’re now working on getting the tendon to 100 percent. I’ll certainly have a new appreciation of tendon issues whenever I read of athletes who injury the Achille’s tendon and need a lot of time and therapy to heal it.

I certainly spent a lot of time thinking about the healthcare bill in the U.S. Congress – or at least attempts to create a new bill to replace Obamacare. Two things are important for me – and probably for millions. Healthcare must cover pre-existing conditions and insurance companies must be allowed to compete in order to offer good policies at reasonable, affordable prices – not prices that will put families in the poor house with a single hospital stay.

The clinic I was in is run by the marvelous Sisters of St. Joseph of Gerona, a Spanish order of nursing nuns. I saw five of them at Mass in the clinic chapel the first weekend I was there – they all remembered me from a prolonged stay 15 years ago, as I did each of them! Loving, caring, ever-smiling sisters.  And Sr. Guadalupe still plays the organ at the 10:30 Mass.  Her real life sister, Sr. Isabella, accompanied the priest who brought me communion every morning at 7.

I had my iPad so could keep up with news during my stay. Today I offer a story by my EWTN colleagues that I found delightful, and then some stunning video images of Rome. Hope you enjoy both!

I cannot leave you with expressing my heartfelt thanks for all the prayers and rosaries and emails that came my way these past days. You’ll never know what they meant! Mille grazie! Thanks a million!

THIS BOY INVITED POPE FRANCIS ON A PILGRIMAGE – AND HERE’S HOW HE RESPONDED

Loreto, Italy, Jul 23, 2017 / 03:57 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Nine-year-old Andrea is an Italian boy who joined 130 children last month for a “Pilgrimage of Joy” to the Marian Shrine of Loreto, Italy.

He was so moved by the experience that he wrote a letter about it to Pope Francis, inviting the Pope to accompany him and the other children for another pilgrimage next year.

And the Pope offered a surprising response, leaving the door open to the possibility in a letter of reply.

“Thanks for the invitation you have made me to go on a pilgrimage with you, being with children is for me the greatest joy. A proverb says: ‘Never say never.’ Therefore let us entrust this dream into the hands of Providence,” the Pope wrote.

Andrea’s letter to Pope Francis was sent on behalf of himself and the 130 other children who traveled to the Marian Shrine of Loreto from June 22-26. The letter was reprinted by several Italian media outlets.

The pilgrimage was organized by the Rome-Lazio chapter of the National Italian Union of Transportation of the Sick to Lourdes and International Shrines (UNITALSI) with the goal of teaching young children the importance of prayer and closeness to God, while at the same time allowing them to play, have fun, and make new friends.

We are more than 130 children, and many are sick, others in wheelchairs and others are going alone and are accompanied by some nuns,” Andrea said in his letter, adding that they are praying for the Pope every day.

Andrea also included a group photo of all the children, and asked for the Holy Father’s blessing.

Pope Francis responded saying that “it was so nice to receive your letter and to hear about the enriching adventure you experienced with UNITALSI during the Pilgrimage of Joy to Loreto for children.”

“Thanks also for the group photo you sent me, where I could see that there are a lot of you, and you all look so nice. As I was looking at each face in the photograph, I was praying to Our Lady of Loreto for you, and I blessed you straight from the heart, along with your parents, volunteers, priests and the UNITALSI leaders,” the Pope said in his reply.

EXCLUSIVE CHURCHPOP 360° VIDEOS REVEAL THE BEAUTY OF ROME IN A NEW WAY

https://churchpop.com/2017/07/22/exclusive-churchpop-360-videos-reveal-beauty-rome-new-way/

 

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POPE TO PRIESTS IN AHIARA DIOCESE: “ACCEPT YOUR BISHOP OR BE SUSPENDED A DIVINIS”

Here is a terrific update from the Benedictine Monks of Norcia about the progress in re- building since last fall’s devastating earthquake. I could not get the Facebook icon in their email to work so this is the next best thing: http://mailchi.mp/nursia/springatthemonastery-494285

POPE TO PRIESTS IN AHIARA DIOCESE: “ACCEPT YOUR BISHOP OR BE SUSPENDED A DIVINIS”

(Vatican Radio) At an audience for a delegation from the Nigerian diocese of Ahiara, Pope Francis said he had been “deeply saddened” by the refusal of the diocese to accept the Bishop appointed for them. (photo: news.va)

During the audience, the Pope requested explicitly that the diocese receive Bishop Peter Ebere Okpaleke, who was appointed to Ahiara by Pope Benedict in 2012. In his address to the delegation, the Holy Father, while asking pardon for the harsh language, said the Church in Ahiara “is like a widow for having prevented the Bishop from coming to the diocese.” He called to mind the parable, from the Gospel of Matthew, of the murderous tenants who wanted to steal the inheritance. “In this current situation, the Diocese of Ahiara is without the bridegroom, has lost her fertility, and cannot bear fruit. Whoever is opposed to Bishop Okpaleke taking possession of the diocese wants to destroy the Church.”

In such a situation, Pope Francis continued, where the Church is suffering, “the Pope cannot remain indifferent.”

In response to that situation, which he described as “an attempted taking over of the vineyard of the Lord,” Pope Francis asked “every priest or ecclesiastic incardinated in the Diocese of Ahiara, whether he resides there or works elsewhere, even abroad, write a letter addressed to me in which he asks for forgiveness; all must write individually and personally. We all must share this common sorrow.”

Whoever fails to do so within thirty days, the Pope said, “will be ipso facto [by that very fact] suspended a divinis [‘from divine things,’  such as the celebration of the sacraments] and will lose his current office.”

This course of action was necessary, he continued, “Because the people of God are scandalized. Jesus reminds us that whoever causes scandal must suffer the consequences. Maybe someone has been manipulated without having full awareness of the wound inflicted upon the ecclesial communion.”

Following the Pope’s address, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, Archbishop of Abuja and Apostolic Administrator of Ahiara, thanked the Holy Father. Following his remarks, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, asked the Holy Father that the Diocese of Ahiara, with its Bishop, might make a pilgrimage to Rome to meet with him when the situation was resolved; a request the Pope accepted.

The audience concluded with a prayer to Mary and the blessing of the Holy Father.

Complete text of Papal letter here: http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-receives-delegation-from-nigerian-diocese-of

SOME BACKGROUND FROM CNS:

When Okpaleke was appointed to the diocese, the announcement was met by protests and petitions calling for the appointment of a bishop from among the local clergy.

Nevertheless, he was ordained a bishop in May 2013, although the ordination took place not in the Ahiara diocese, but at a seminary in the Archdiocese of Owerri.

Ahiara is in Mbaise, a predominantly Catholic region of Imo State in southern Nigeria.

Okpaleke is from Anambra State, which borders Imo to the north.

A petition to Pope Benedict launched by the “Coalition of Igbo Catholics” said, “That no priest of Mbaise origin is a bishop today … is mind boggling. Mbaise has embraced, enhanced the growth of and sacrificed for the Catholic Church, has more priests per capita than any other diocese in Nigeria and certainly more than enough pool of priests qualified to become the next bishop of the episcopal see of Ahiara Diocese, Mbaise.”

According to the Vatican, the diocese has close to 423,000 Catholics and 110 diocesan priests.

Trying to calm the situation, in July 2013 Pope Francis appointed Cardinal Onaiyekan to serve as apostolic administrator of the diocese, and the following December he sent Ghanaian Cardinal Peter Turkson, then-president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, to Ahiara to listen to the concerns of the diocesan priests and local laity.

Onaiyekan joined Okpaleke on the “ad limina” visit to Rome, as did Kaigama and Archbishop Anthony Obinna of Owerri. Three priests, a religious sister and a traditional elder also made the trip.

 

 

POPE CALLS CHILDREN AT GENOA PEDIATRIC HOSPITAL

Today is Ascension Thursday and a holiday in the Vatican, so no news bulletin, no papal meetings, no press conferences, etc. I am betting that a number of you reading this column remember well when the entire Church marked Ascension Thursday on (gasp!) Thursday! It was a holy day of obligation, including Mass.

Today we had a tweet from Pope Francis and piece of papal news from yesterday afternoon.

Pope Francis tweeted today: With the Ascension of Jesus, we participate in the fullness of life with God. Let us carry this in our hearts in our daily lives.

And this piece of news:

POPE CALLS CHILDREN AT GENOA PEDIATRIC HOSPITAL

(Vatican Radio) On Saturday, May 27th, Pope Francis will travel to the northern Italian city of Genoa for a one-day apostolic visit.

One of the highlights of the day will undoubtedly be represented by his meeting with sick children and their families in the “Giannina Gaslini” Paediatric Hospital.

Awaiting Francis’ visit, many of the little patients have been busy preparing small gifts and messages, but meanwhile,  the Pope himself decided to surprise them ahead of time with a personal greeting.

Linking-up live via telephone to a parish radio in Genoa that broadcasts a Wednesday weekly program especially dedicated to the children’s hospital, Pope Francis told the little patients that it is with joy that he is preparing to be with them.

“Dear children of the Gaslini Hospital in Genoa, I greet you all with affection” he said.

The Pope said he is coming to be close to them, to listen to them, and to bring the caress of Jesus.

“He is always close to us especially when we are in difficulty and in need. He always gives us trust and hope” he said.

Pope Francis concluded his call with assurances that he is praying for the sick children and their families, and as he always does, he asked them to pray for him!

 

LIFE, RELIGIOUS LIBERTY, FREEDOM OF CONSCIENCE ON AGENDA FOR POPE FRANCIS AND PRESIDENT TRUMP

LIFE, RELIGIOUS LIBERTY, FREEDOM OF CONSCIENCE ON AGENDA FOR POPE FRANCIS AND PRESIDENT TRUMP

(CNA/EWTN)After months of anticipation, Pope Francis and U.S. President Donald Trump finally met at the Vatican Wednesday in a friendly encounter which included an emphasis on protection of life and freedom of conscience.

According to a May 24 Vatican communique, Pope Francis and Trump expressed satisfaction “for the good existing bilateral relations between the Holy See and the United States of America, as well as the joint commitment in favor of life, and freedom of worship and conscience.”

The Pope and Trump met at the Vatican May 24, at 8:30a.m., immediately before the weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square.

Trump arrived to Italy May 23 after stopping in both Saudi Arabia and Israel as part of his first international trip. He is also set to attend a NATO meeting in Brussels on May 25 and a G7 summit in Sicily on May 26 before returning to the U.S.

President Trump arrived to the Vatican via the side entrance by Casa Santa Marta around 8:15a.m. and was greeted by a group of Swiss Guards in the San Damaso courtyard. After stepping out of the car, Trump and First Lady Melania greeted Archbishop Georg Ganswein and other Vatican dignitaries before entering the Apostolic Palace. (photos:ansa; CTV)

Pope Francis and Trump smiled as they sat down at the Pope’s desk in the papal library. Pope Francis said, “Welcome!” and Trump responded, “Thank you very much, this is such a great honor.”

Smiling, Francis explained that he doesn’t speak English well and needs a translator, but added that he was “very happy to meet” Trump

After the cameras left the two began the private portion of their conversation, which lasted about 30 minutes. In addition to Pope Francis and Trump, only the Pope’s English translator, Msgr. Mark Miles, was present.

During the “cordial discussions,” the two expressed hope for peaceful collaboration between the government and the Catholic Church in the United States, that it may be “engaged in service to the people in the fields of healthcare, education and assistance to immigrants,” the Vatican communique stated.

Pope Francis and President Trump also exchanged views “on various themes relating to international affairs, the promotion of peace in the world through political negotiation and interreligious dialogue, with particular reference to the situation inthe Middle East and the protection of Christian communities.”

After their formal conversation, gifts were exchanged between Francis, Trump and the president’s official delegation. There were 12 people in his entourage, including First Lady Melania Trump; daughter Ivanka, Tump’s assistant and his son-in-law Jared Kushner, his assistant and senior advisor.

Also present for the meeting with Pope Francis were U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs H.R. McMaster and Louis Bono, American Chargé d’Affaires ad interim to the Holy See until Calista Gingrich us officially approved as ambassador.

Despite their differing opinions on climate change, Pope Francis gave Trump a copy of his environmental encyclical Laudato Si’, as well as copies of his 2015 Apostolic Exhortation on the family “Amoris Laetitia” and his 2013 exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium.”

In addition to the customary gift of these three documents, Francis also gave President Trump a copy of his message for the 2017 World Day of Peace, saying: “I signed it personally for you.” Trump responded that he would be reading them.

The Pope also gifted the U.S. President with a medallion he said symbolized peace and unity, which, after the translator explained in English, he added in Spanish: “Have it so that you become an instrument of peace.” In response, Trump said that “we can use peace.”

On his part, President Trump gifted Pope Francis a set of books by Martin Luther King, Jr., saying: “I think you’ll enjoy them, I hope you do.”

Members of the delegation each received a medal and a rosary from the pontiff. When greeting Francis, First Lady Melania told him that she would afterward be visiting the hospital. Joking, the Pope asked her if they had given her potica, a traditional Slovenian dessert, to eat, to which she responded, “yes, potica,” as they both laughed.

Departing with a handshake, Trump said to Francis: “Thank you, thank you, I won’t forget what you said.”

After meeting with Pope Francis, Trump met with Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin and Secretary for Relations with States Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, as is customary for heads of state.

Pope Francis went immediately to begin the Wednesday general audience with thousands of pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square.

After the meeting, First Lady Melania paid a visit to the Vatican-owned Pediatric hospital Bambino Gesu, also known as the “Pope’s hospital.”

Bambino Gesu sits next to the Pontifical North American College on top of Rome’s Gianicolo hill, and is among the most important pediatric hospitals in the world. Founded in 1869 by the Duchess Arabella Salviati, the hospital was donated to Pius XI in 1924, with the aim of giving it a more stable future.

At the same time, Trump’s daughter and high-profile adviser, Ivanka, will make her way to the Roman neighborhood of Trastevere to meet with the Community of Sant’Egidio to discuss efforts to oppose human trafficking.

The Sant’Egidio Community is often praised by Pope Francis for their work with the poor and refugees, in particular.

Ivanka is participating in each of the seven days of Trump’s first trip abroad as president, and was also present for the public portion of his meeting with Francis.

Before leaving with her father on his first international tour, Ivanka hosted an anti-human trafficking roundtable discussion at the White House May 17.

During her meeting with Sant’Egidio, she is expected to meet with several women who are victims of trafficking, and discuss various ways in which the Church and the U.S. government can collaborate on the issue.

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis and U.S. President Donald Trump met in the Vatican on Wednesday, discussing issues of peace, interfaith dialogue and religious freedom, as well as the role of the American Church in education, healthcare and support for immigrants.

The American leader spent half an hour in conversation with the Pope behind closed doors in the Apostolic Palace, before meeting with Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Holy See’s Secretary for Relations with States or foreign minister.

A statement from the Vatican press office said during the course of the cordial encounter, the two men discussed the good bilateral relations that exist between the U.S. and the Holy See. They also spoke of their “joint commitment in favour of life, religious liberty and freedom of conscience”.

The statement expressed the hope for a “serene cooperation between the State and the Catholic Church in the United States”, which is engaged in service to people “in the fields of health care, education and assistance to immigrants”.

Dialogue and negotiations

It said the Pope and the President also exchanged views on international affairs and on the promotion of peace through political negotiations and interfaith dialogue, mentioning especially the situation in the Middle East and the protection of Christian communities.

Trump, who was accompanied by his wife Melania, as well as his daughter and son-in-law, is on the third leg of a nine day presidential tour that has already taken him to Saudi Arabia, Israel and Palestine.

Sistine chapel visit

After the papal audience, Trump was taken on a tour of St Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel, before meeting with Italian President Sergio Mattarella and with Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni.

Melania Trump, meanwhile, visited Rome’s ‘Bambin Gesù’ Children’s Hospital, while the president’s daughter, Ivanka, was scheduled to meet with victims of trafficking together with members of Rome’s Sant’Egidio lay Catholic community.

Please find below the full statement from the Holy See Press Office:

This morning, Wednesday 24 May 2017, the Honorable Donald Trump, President of the United States of America, was received in Audience by the Holy Father Francis and subsequently met with His Eminence Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by His Excellency Msgr. Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States.

During the cordial discussions, satisfaction was expressed for the good existing bilateral relations between the Holy See and the United States of America, as well as the joint commitment in favour of life, and freedom of worship and conscience. It is hoped that there may be serene collaboration between the State and the Catholic Church in the United States, engaged in service to the people in the fields of healthcare, education and assistance to immigrants.

The discussions then enabled an exchange of views on various themes relating to international affairs and the promotion of peace in the world through political negotiation and interreligious dialogue, with particular reference to the situation in the Middle East and the protection of Christian communities.

 

POPE TO CHILDREN: YOU CAN BEST FOLLOW JESUS BY BRINGING HIM JOY

I posted yesterday about the five new cardinals named by Pope Francis at the Regina Coeli so no need to review that today. However, I want to tell you about his other big moment of the day – a visit to a parish outside of Rome. I think you’ll really enjoy his dialogue with young childten so offer Vatican Radio’s transcript of that event.

This afternoon I was briefly in Pza. Pio XII, the small piazza just in front of and adjacent to St. Peter’s Square. The Vatican has been busy preparing for the president’s visit to Pope Francis and the Vatican Wednesday morning. Platforms are going up in Pza. Pio XII for the media, some streets already have parking restrictions and that will get a lot worse by tomorrow evening.

Stay tuned –

POPE TO CHILDREN: YOU CAN BEST FOLLOW JESUS BY BRINGING HIM JOY

Sunday, after his surprise announcement at the Regina Coeli that he will create five new cardinals on June 28, Pope Francis went to the parish of San Pier Damiani ai Monti di San Paolo in Casal Bernocchi, Acilia, south of Rome. He was accompanied to a sports center where, as he usually does on parish visits, he met with children, young adults awaiting confirmation and youth who attend the center.

At about 4:15 pm he went directly to the parish where he greeted the sick, the Neocatechumenal community and the poor people assisted by the diocesan Caritas. Before celebrating Mass at 5:55 pm, the Pope confessed four penitents At Mass he delivered an off-the-cuff homily.

Following is the English transcript from Vatican Radio of the Q&A session the Pope had with children at the Sports Center :

Pope Francis, I would like to ask you what sport you practised at my age – I am 11. I would also like to know if you played football and, if so, in which position.

Pope Francis: When I was your age, I played soccer, but I wasn’t ‘bravo’ at playing soccer, and where I come from, they call you ‘pata dura,’ ‘stiff leg.’I was a ‘pata dura’ and that’s why I usually was the goalie, so I wouldn’t have to move around. It is not a curse, this, you can say it: pata dura , it is not a swear word.

Child: What can we do to help the world?

Pope Francis : It is a good question! You asked this: “What can we do to save, to help”. You said “to save the world”. But the world is large! Can a child – think, think carefully before answering – can a boy, a child, a girl, help in the salvation of the world? Can he or she do this, or not?

Children : He can’t…

Pope Francis : Can’t he do anything? Don’t you count at all? Can you or not?

Children : Yes, we can!

Pope Francis : Good! A bit louder, I can’t hear…

Children : [shouting] Yes, we can!
Pope Francis : And I would like to hear you, which of you is the best at answering this question. Think carefully: how can I help Jesus to save the world? How can I help Jesus to save the world? Raise your hands, those of you who want to answer. … Raise your hand if you want to answer. [Someone says: “With prayer”]. With prayer can we help Jesus to save the world? Can we, or not?

Children : We can!

Pope Francis : But what is happening? Are you all asleep?

Children : No! Pope Francis : Ah, the sun… the sun sends us to sleep. With prayer. Very good. Another thing. You…

Child : Respecting people.

Pope Francis : Respecting people. And people, should they be respected?

Children : Yes!

Pope Francis : Dad, mother, grandfather, grandmother: are they to be respected?

Children : Yes!

Pope Francis : And the people we do not know, are they to be respected?

Children : Yes!

Pope Francis : And the people who live on the street, the homeless, are they to be respected?

Children : Yes!

Pope Francis : Yes. Everyone, all people are to be respected. Shall we say it together?

Pope and children : All people are to be respected!

Pope Francis : And a person who isn’t good to me, must I respect him?

Children : Yes!

Pope Francis : Are you sure?

Children : Yes!

Pope Francis : But wouldn’t it be better just to give him a slap?

Children : No!

Pope Francis : Really?

Children : Yes.

Pope Francis : Good: even a person who is not good to me must be respected.

Pope and children : Even a person who is not good to me must be respected.

Pope Francis : And a person who has done me harm, think carefully about this: what must I do? If a person has done harm to me, can I do harm to him?

Children : No!

Pope Francis : No. It is not nice. Can I telephone the mafia to ask them to do something?

Children : No…

Pope Francis : You aren’t convinced… Can we do this?

Children : No!

Pope Francis : Can we make agreements with the mafia?

Children : No!

Pope Francis : No! Even those [who do harm] must be respected. You have answered well. You see in how many ways we can help Jesus save the world. And this is good, it is very good! And if I have done my homework and my mother lets me go out and play with my friends, or have a match, is this good?

Children : Yes!

Pope Francis : Playing – think hard – playing, playing well, does this help Jesus save the world?

Children : Yes…

Pope Francis : You are not convinced…

Children : Yes!
Pope Francis : Yes! Because joy helps Jesus save the world. Let us all say it together.

Children : Joy helps Jesus save the world

Pope Francis : Joy is something very beautiful, very beautiful. You, today, are you joyful?

Children : Yes!

Pope Francis : Yes? Are you joyful?

Children : Yes!

Pope Francis : And this is very good. And I think that with this I have answered to “what can I do to help Jesus save the world?”. And so think about it, later, always. Another question was: how did I become aware of my vocation. Every person has a place in life. Jesus wants one person to get married, to have a family; he wants another to be a priest, another to be a nun… But each one of us has a path in life. And for the majority it is for them to be like you, to be like everyone, to be like your parents: lay faithful who have a beautiful family, who raise their children, who make faith grow. … And I was in a family: we were five brothers and sisters and we were happy. Father went to work, and came home from work – in that time there was work – and we played. Once – this will make you laugh, but do not do what I am telling you! – we had a competition to play at being parachutists, and we took an umbrella and went onto the terrace, and one of my brothers was the first to jump off, down from the terrace. He survived, only just! These are dangerous games. But we were happy. Why? Because father and mother helped us to get along, at school, and they were also concerned with us. It is very good, very good. Listen well: it is very good in life to be married, it is very good. And it is very good to have a family, a father and a mother, to have grandparents, aunts and uncles. Do you understand? It is very good, it is a grace. And each one of you has parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, a family. And why don’t we greet them now? Let’s applaud them, all of them [applause]. Your parents make sacrifices for you, to let you grow, and this is a good thing, a beautiful vocation: having a family. But there is another vocation: being a nun, being a priest. And one day I felt – all of a sudden – I was sixteen and I felt that the Lord wanted me to be a priest. And here I am! I am a priest. This is the answer. You feel it in your heart: when a boy feels warmth in his heart, and then that warmth goes further, and he feels love for a girl, and then they get engaged and then they marry, that is what it is like in your heart when the Lord says to you: “You must go ahead on the path to become a priest”.  And that is what I felt. Just as we feel the good things in life. Because it is a beautiful thing! Do you understand? Good, you must be tired of staying here, the sun is strong.

Children : No!

Pope Francis : Now there is a bit of a breeze, but… I don’t remember: if someone is not good to me, must I give him a slap?

Children : No!

Pope Francis : Ah, I had forgotten. And must I pray for the people who hate me?

Children : Yes!

Pope Francis : Yes, yes: pray for those who are not good to me, for this… I must pray. And must I be obedient to my mother and father?

Children : Yes!

Pope Francis : I, or my neighbour?

Children : Everyone!

Pope Francis : Ah, everyone! Someone said “I”.

Children : I!

Pope Francis : I must obey my mother and father: everyone!

Children : I must obey my mother and father.

Pope Francis : It is very important, because they make sacrifices for us. Do you understand?

Children : Yes.

Pope Francis : Very good. And now, what shall we do?

Well, let us pray. In the first question we spoke about prayer. Now let us pray for each other. Everyone, hold hands. Like brothers, like friends. Hold each other by the hand. And let us pray to Our Lady, who is our Mother: Ave O Maria… And now I will give the blessing to all of you. In silence, each one of you, think of your parents, of your relatives, your friends; think also of your enemies, of the people who hate you or do not wish you well. And may this blessing descend upon them too, upon everyone. [Blessing] Thank you!

A LENTEN PILGRIMAGE IN ROME: SAN GIORGIO IN VELABRO – POPE FRANCIS ADDRESSES ROME’S PASTORS

A LENTEN PILGRIMAGE IN ROME: SAN GIORGIO IN VELABRO

Today’s Lenten Station Church in Rome is San Giorgio in Velabro. For further info, visit the following sites.

https://www.pnac.org/station-churches/week-of-ash-wed/thursday-after-ash-wednesday-san-giorgio/

http://rometour.org/church-san-giorgio-velabro.html

Stephen Weigel, son of author George Weigel, put this video together for the North American College – a video pilgrimage of Rome’s Lenten Station Churches: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQa1QwNZ5Yw

POPE FRANCIS ADDRESSES ROME’S PASTORS

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Thursday addressed the parish priests of the Diocese of Rome, reflecting with them on the ‘progress of faith’ in the life of a priest.

He was welcomed to Rome’s Cathedral by his Vicar, Cardinal Agostino Vallini, and heard the confessions of around a dozen priests before delivering his address.

Pope Francis spoke to Rome’s parish priests on Thursday about the progress of faith in the life of a priest in three main points: memory, hope, and discernment of the moment.

In remarks prepared for the event, the Holy Father said, “Memory, as the Catechism says, is rooted in the faith of the Church, in the faith of our fathers; hope is that which sustains our faith; and discernment of the moment I hold present at the moment of acting, of putting into practice that ‘faith which operates through charity’.”

pope-pastors

Growth in faith

He said that “growing in faith” implies a “path of formation and of maturation in the faith”.

Turning to Evangelii Gaudium as a guide, he said, “Taking this seriously means that ‘it would not be right to see this call to growth exclusively or primarily in terms of doctrinal formation.’ (EG, n.161) Growth in faith happens through encounters with the Lord during the course of our lives. These encounters act as a treasure of memory and are our living faith, in a story of personal salvation.”

To illustrate, he gave the example of a basketball player who pivots on a stable foot while remaining flexible with the rest of his body to protect the ball from his opponent. “For us that foot pinned to the ground, around which we pivot, is the cross of Christ.”

Memory is remembering the promise of the Lord

Pope Francis said a faith nourished on memory of past graces “confers on our faith the solidity of the Incarnation”.

“Faith feeds on and is nourished by memory: The memory of the Covenant which the Lord has made with us. He is the God of our fathers and grandfathers. He is not a God of the last moment, a God without a family history, a God which – to respond to each new paradigm – should throw out precedents as if they were old and ridiculous.”

He said faith can even progress “backwards” in a “revolutionary return to the roots”.

“The more lucid the memory of the past, the more clear the future opens up, because it is possible to see the truly new path and distinguish it from the path already taken, which has never led anywhere meaningful.”

Hope is the guiding star which indicates the horizon

The Holy Father went on to speak of hope, which “opens faith to the surprises of God.”

“Faith is sustained and progresses thanks to hope. Hope is the anchor anchored in the Heavens, in the transcendent future, of which the temporal future –considered in a linear form – is only an expression. Hope is that which gives dynamism to the rearwards-looking glance of faith, which conduces one to find new things in the past – in the treasures of the memory – so that one can encounter the same God, which one hopes to see in the future.”

Discernment at every fork in the road to find next step in love

The Pope then examined discernment, which “is what makes faith concrete…, what permits us to give credible witness”.

He said, “The discernment of the opportune time (Kairos) is fundamentally rich in memory and in hope: remembering with love, I aim my gaze with clarity to that which best guides to the Promise.”

He also spoke of two moments in the act of discernment: first, a step back “to better see the panorama”; second, a step forward “when, in the present moment, we discern how to concretize love in the possible good, that is, for the good of the other. The highest good of the other is to grow in faith.”

Pope Francis then examined the figure of Saint Peter who was “sifted like grain” (Luke 22:31).

He said the paradox of Saint Peter is that “he who must confirm us in the faith is the same one whom the Lord often rebukes for his ‘lack of faith’”.

“We see that Saint Peter’s faith has a special character: it is a proven faith, and for this he has the mission to confirm and consolidate the faith of his brothers, our faith.”

 

POPE FRANCIS HOLDS EMOTIONAL ENCOUNTER WITH EARTHQUAKE VICTIMS

Papal tweet on January 5: May charity and nonviolence govern how we treat each other.

POPE FRANCIS HOLDS EMOTIONAL ENCOUNTER WITH EARTHQUAKE VICTIMS

Pope Francis met on Thursday with hundreds of Italians from the archdiocese of Spoleto-Norcia, devastated by a series of powerful earthquakes over the past six months. The central Italian town of Amatrice and surrounding areas were hit by a 6.3 magnitude quake in August which killed nearly 300 people. Other powerful quakes caused major damage in the same region on October 26th and 30th, with the latest tremors reported in Spoleto last Monday, January 2nd.

earthquke-victims

Around 800 people, led by their Bishop Renato Boccardo and local civic authorities, travelled to Rome for the audience in the Paul VI hall. Many of them had lost their houses, livelihoods and friends or family members in the largest earthquakes which reduced parts of many towns and villages to piles of rubble.

Regional reconstruction: Pope Francis sat and listened as a survivor and a local parish priest described the immense suffering of people, now seeking to rebuild their shattered communities. In his off-the-cuff response, the Pope said the worst thing to do in such circumstances was to offer a prepared sermon, but instead he reflected on the work of physical, mental and spiritual reconstruction that has been taking place throughout the region.

Healing hands: Pope Francis spoke of the wounds which have affected those who’ve lost their loved ones and the importance of crying together as they seek to heal the pain. He spoke too of the healing hands of doctors, nurses, firemen and all those who worked together to pull survivors from the rubble or offer help to those most in need.

Sharing and solidarity: Finally the Pope spoke of the spirit of solidarity and nearness which is vital for the reconstruction process. While everyone affected by the earthquakes will continue to bear scars, he said it’s important to find the courage to dream again.  Sharing and remaining close together, he said, makes us more courageous and more human as we face this daunting task.

Amatrice visit: The Pope’s words come three months after he made a surprise visit to Amatrice and two neighbouring towns to meet with survivors and relatives of victims. During the visit, he said he had not come to make speeches, but simply to be close to those suffering and to pray with all those affected by the earthquakes. (Vatican Radio)