This final Jubilee of Mercy events, prior to the closing in coming days and next Sunday of the Holy Doors of the papal basilicas, take place this weekend and they feature the poor and homeless, as you shall see.
Today, contrary to my usual lunch routine, I took a brief break outside the office and met some friends from the U.S. for lunch as that was the only free time they had in their Italian pilgrimage. As I walked the three blocks to “La Vittoria,” scores of people were walking towards me, each person carrying one or more sizeable square white boxes on top of which was a small aluminum container like the kind you’d put leftover food in. I am guessing the boxes contained either a meal or a gift for the homeless who had just spent time with the Pope. As I was running a few minutes late for lunch, I did not stop to ask what the boxes were so that is just an educated guess but, knowing Pope Francis’ many gestures of this kind in the last three years, that would not surprise me..
THE TABLES ARE TURNED ON VATICAN INSIDER
Join me this weekend on Vatican Insider when the tables are turned and I am the guest in Part II of an interview by Paulist Fr. Dave Dwyer, host of the very popular Sirius radio program, “Busted Halo.” Fr. Dave interviewed me when I was in New York for a book-signing event, and we talk about my book, “A Holy Year in Rome,” my work, the Vatican, and so many topics. So tune in for a fun conversation, including a story about a unique day in my life.
I want to thank Fr. Dave as well as Sirius Radio for giving me the chance to air this fun program. I had a ball doing it and I think you’ll be able to tell when you listen – and you’ll probably laugh right along with us at several moments. Fr. Dave is really quite special and he touches the lives of many people through Busted Halo (http://bustedhalo.com/).
As you know, in the United States, you can listen to Vatican Insider on a Catholic radio station near you (there is a list of U.S. stations at www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio. If you live 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.” Vatican Insider airs Saturday mornings at 9:00 am (Eastern time). On the SKY satellite feed to the UK and parts of Europe, VI airs on audio channel 0147 at 11:30 am CET on Saturdays, and 5:30am and 10pm CET on Sundays. It’s also available on demand on the EWTN app and on the website. CHECK FOR YOUR TIME ZONE. Past shows are in VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/file_index.asp?SeriesId=7096&pgnu=
“POVERTY IS THE GREATEST WAR,” POPE TELLS HOMELESS
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Friday welcomed to Rome more than 6000 people, men and women from various European nations, who have lived, or are even now, living on the street. The Jubilee for Socially Excluded Persons embraced not only the homeless, but also disadvantaged persons and people living in poverty. (photo news.va)
The event was made possible with the help of “Fratello”, an association which organizes and hosts events with and for people in situations of exclusion, in partnership with associations assisting such people.
Following testimonies from two of the participants, Pope Francis addressed the crowd, speaking off the cuff and thanking them for coming to Rome to meet with him and to pray for him. The Holy Father reflected on some of the ideas brought up by the two men who spoke before him.
The first was that average human beings do not differ from the “great” of the world. All men and women, the great and the small, have their own passions and dreams. “Don’t stop dreaming!” the Pope insisted. The poor, he continued, are at the heart of the Gospel; they came to Jesus precisely because they dreamed that the Lord would help and heal them.
Pope Francis then turned to another expression, “Life becomes beautiful.” This signifies dignity, he said. “The ability to encounter beauty, even in things that involve the most sadness and suffering, is something that only men and women who have dignity can have.” He emphasized the virtue of solidarity, when people – especially those whose lives are difficult – are able to have compassion for others who are suffering even more. And he thanked those present for their example of solidarity, asking them to teach solidarity to the world.
Finally, Pope Francis spoke on the theme of peace, calling on everyone to continue to work in favour of peace in the world. “The greatest poverty is war!” he said. “It is the poverty that destroys… We need peace in the world! We need peace in the Church!”
Following his address, a group of the poor and disadvantaged, who had joined Pope Francis on the stage, gathered round the Pope, placing their hands on him, and praying for him.
(AP) – Pope Francis asked homeless people during a moving ceremony Friday to pardon all the Christians who turn away from the poor instead of helping them.
Francis stood silently in a Vatican auditorium with his head bowed as he let several homeless individuals place their hands on his shoulders or clutch his cassock.
Some 4,000 people from 22 countries who either are now homeless or who spent years living on streets filled the auditorium in one of Francis’ final events during the Catholic Church’s Holy Year of Mercy.
“I ask pardon,” the Pope said, on behalf of Christians who, “faced with a poor person or a situation of poverty, look the other way.”
After some of the homeless recounted their difficult lives, Francis praised the poor for holding fast to their dignity.
He asked his homeless guests to stay seated while he stood to pray that God “teach us to be in solidarity because we are brothers.”
A NOVEMBER CONCERT TO BENEFIT THE HOMELESS
The Vatican will host a concert for the homeless of Rome tomorrow, November 12, in the Paul VI Hall at 6:30 pm, with the homeless and poor as the guests of honor. All proceeds will be sent to Pope Francis for his charities. Among the sponsors is the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, the council that has been in charge of the Holy Year of Mercy.
Dubbed “With the Poor and for the Poor,” there will be the possibility at the end of the convert for attendees to give free-will donations for the papal charities, including the building of a new cathedral in Moroto, Uganda, and an agrarian school in Burkina Faso.
Following the concert, Jubilee Year volunteers and members of the choir of the Diocese of Rome will distribute a meal and a small gift to the invited guests as a reminder of the evening.
Performers include the Roman Symphonic Orchestra and the National Choir of Saint Cecilia, directed by Academy Award-winner Ennio Morricone. Some of his best works will be featured. Msgr. Marco Frisina will direct the choir of the Diocese of Rome.
Tomorrow morning at 10, in 8 Roman churches, there will be testimonies by homeless people from around Europe in as many languages. Those churches are: San Salvatore in Lauro (English) – Santa Monica (Dutch) – San Luigi dei Francesi (Portuguese) – Santi XII Apostoli (French) – San Giovanni Battista dei Fiorentini (Polish) – Santa Maria in Vallicella (Chiesa Nuova) (German) – Santa Maria sopra Minerva (Italian) – Sant’Andrea della Valle (Spanish) and Santa Maria Maddalena in Campo Marzio (Slovakian).
At 5 tomorrow evening, there is a prayer Vigil of Mercy in St. Paul’s Outside the Walls.
MERCY FRIDAY: POPE FRANCIS MEETS 7 YOUNG MEN WHO LEFT PRIESTHOOD
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Friday met a group of young men who have left the priesthood during the past years to show his closeness and affection towards them. His surprise visit to an apartment in the outskirts of Rome to meet with the group made up of five Italians, a Spaniard and a man from Latin America, came as part of his traditional gestures of Mercy on one Friday a month during this Jubilee Year.
A Vatican statement said the young men in question took the difficult decision to leave the priesthood despite opposition in many cases from their fellow priests or their families after serving for several years in parishes where loneliness, misunderstanding, fatigue arising from their many responsibilities prompted them to rethink their choice. It said the men spent months and years wrestling with uncertainty and doubts before coming to the decision they had made a mistake by becoming priests and therefore decided to leave and form a family.
CNA added this: According to the Vatican, when the Pope entered the apartment he was met with “great enthusiasm” both on the part of the children, who gathered around his legs to give him a hug, as well as the parents.
The young men felt the Pope’s “closeness, and the affection of his presence.”
Francis listened attentively to each of their stories, paying particular attention to the development of the legal proceedings in each of the individual cases. When a man leaves the priesthood, he must undergo a process called “laicization,” in which his priestly faculties for administering the sacraments are removed.
The Pope conveyed to everyone his friendship and personal interest, the communique noted.
By visiting the young men and their families, Pope Francis “wanted to give a sign of mercy to those who live in a situation of spiritual and material hardship, highlighting the need that no one feel deprived of the love and solidarity of the pastors.”