THE TABLES ARE TURNED ON VATICAN INSIDER – “POVERTY IS THE GREATEST WAR,” POPE TELLS HOMELESS – A NOVEMBER CONCERT TO BENEFIT THE HOMELESS – MERCY FRIDAY: POPE FRANCIS MEETS 7 YOUNG MEN WHO LEFT PRIESTHOOD

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)

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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.

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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.”

 

POVERTY AFFECTS TOO MANY FAMILIES, SAYS FRANCIS – POPE IS “CLOSE TO CHINESE PEOPLE” WHO MOURN SHIPWRECK VICTIMS – CARDINAL PAROLIN ADDRESSES PARIS CONFERENCE, “EDUCATING TODAY AND TOMORROW” – BODIES OF FRANCISCAN CONFESSORS IN ROME FOR JUBILEE OF MERCY

On this day in 1963, Pope St. John XXIII died of stomach cancer, four and a half years after his election. His tomb in St. Peter’s Basilica:

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POVERTY AFFECTS TOO MANY FAMILIES, SAYS FRANCIS

At today’s general audience, Pope Francis said that, in continuing the series of catecheses on the family that he started many months ago, he intended to focus, starting today, on the vulnerabilities that families face in today’s world.

He began by explaining that, “today we consider one of the conditions that afflict too many families, namely, poverty. And yet, in the worst of circumstances, even in wartorn areas, how often these families persevere with dignity, entrusting themselves to the goodness of God. It is a miracle that even in extreme situations families continue to be formed and sustained.”

“Sadly,” said the Holy Father, “our modern economies often promote individual well-being at the expense of the family. As Christians, however, we must always look for ways to strengthen and support families, especially poorer ones.  The Church, as a mother, can never be blind to the sufferings of her children.  For each of us, this means choosing simplicity both individually and in our institutions, so as to break down walls of division and overcome all difficulties, especially poverty.”

As he has said on previous ocasions, including at the very start of his pontificate in March 2013,  Francis said, “a poorer Church will bear fruit for so many of her needy children.  Let us pray for the grace of conversion so that Christian families everywhere will be truly committed to helping their poorer brothers and sisters.”

POPE IS “CLOSE TO CHINESE PEOPLE” WHO MOURN SHIPWRECK VICTIMS

At the end of the weekly general audience, held today under a hot sun in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis expressed his closeness to the Chinese people following the capsizing Monday of a cruise ship on the Yangtze River. He spoke of the victims, their families and the rescue workers involved with the search for survivors from “The Eastern Star,” whose 456 passengers were mostly elderly people. At least 18 people are now confirmed to have died and 14 have been rescued.

“In a particular way I wish to express my closeness to the Chinese people in these difficult moments after the ferry disaster in the Yangtze River.  pray for the victims, their families and for all involved in the rescue efforts” he said.

In his greetings to the many pilgrims groups and associations following the audience catechesis, Pope Francis explained that June is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and that tomorrow, Thursday, is the Feast of Corpus Christi. “We learn from the Lord, who made Himself into sustenance so as to be more available to others, serving all those in need, especially the poorest families.”

To commemorate the feast of Corpus Christi, the Holy Father will say Mass at St. John Lateran, his cathedral church as bishop of Rome, ater which he will process on Via Merulana with the Blessed Sacrament from St. John to St. Mary Major where he will impart a Eucharistic blessing.

CARDINAL PAROLIN ADDRESSES PARIS CONFERENCE, “EDUCATING TODAY AND TOMORROW”

Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin spoke this morning in Paris at the conference “Educating Today and Tomorrow,” organized by the Holy See Permanent Observer Mission at UNESCO and the Congregation for Catholic Education. The conference is celebrating 70 years since the founding of this United Nations body, the 50th anniversary of the conciliar declaration “Gravissimum educationis,” a key text for Catholic education, and 25 years since the Apostolic Constitution “Ex corde Ecclesiae,” a document of reference for Catholic universities.

His text focused on the four main educational challenges and perspectives in today’s “fragmentary and multi-ethnic” world, namely, putting humanity back at the center; comprehensive and quality education; education as shared responsibility; and education in dialogue and fraternity.

Cardinal Parolin stated that, “the Catholic Church has never viewed education and culture as mere instruments of evangelization, but rather as human dimensions with high intrinsic value.” Indeed, investing in the education of young generations is a precondition for the “development of peoples,” as Paul VI stated in “Populorum progressio.” This is why the Catholic Church “has put education at the centre of her mission and continues to view it as a priority.”

He also underlined the importance attributed to this theme by Vatican Council II, in which a full and complete education is proposed, aimed at laying the foundations for an inclusive and peaceful society open to dialogue.Tye cardinal then mentioned some current educational challenges and perspectives, such as the extreme fragmentation of knowledge and the worrying lack of communication between different disciplines.

Importantly, the Secretary of State underscored the need to counteract the concept of the human being as a machine for production, proposing instead a vision of the person, and reiterated the need for formation in dialogue and the construction of fraternity. (sources: VIS, SIR)

BODIES OF FRANCISCAN CONFESSORS IN ROME FOR JUBILEE OF MERCY

Il Mattino di Padova, in its online news edition, reports that Pope Francis has decided to bring the bodies of two beloved Capuchin confessors, Saints Padre Pio and Leopoldo Mandic, to Rome during the Jubilee of Mercy to highlight the importance of the ministry of a confessor.

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The paper says that the exposition of their bodies will probably be one of themost anticipated events and biggest highlights of the entire Holy Year.

Il Mattino says that, while each of the two Franciscan confessors had long, nonstop lines of penitents before their confessionals, those lines will probably pale in comparison to the lines that will form to enter St. Peter’s Basilica on February 10, 2016, Ash Wednesday, the day the exposition begins. The paper quotes Pope Francis who, last year as he blessed a wood statue of Padre Pio, brought to Rome by the friars of San Giovanni Rotondo, said: “Padre Pio, we are now closer. I am blessing you but you, protect me.”

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St. Leopoldo Mandic was a famous Capuchin confessor who died in 1942 in Padua. After his death, he performed numerous and well-documented apparitions that strengthened his fame as a saint and the conviction that, through his intercession, one could obtain graces and miracles.

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At the Capuchin church in Padua, as happens at San Giovanni Rotondo, there is an uninterrupted flow of pilgrims who ask for graces and conversion. Over the years, there have been thousands of votive offerings – “PGR – for graces received”  – relative to prodigious and inexplicable healings. Pope Paul VI beatified Leopoldo on May 2, 1976 and St. John Paul canonized him on October 16, 1983.

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