I returned to Rome yesterday, safe and sound and with all my luggage and, after a great night’s sleep, I now face the ever-bustling, there’s-something-on-the-calendar-every-day fall season of visitors, special events, concerts and embassy receptions, houseguests, parish council meetings, the diaconate ordination at the North American College and the blessing of new EWTN offices for CNA.
Speaking of travel, I received the following advisory today from the U.S. Embassy and wanted to pass it on in the event you might have a reservation on Alitalia for tomorrow: “The U.S. Embassy in Italy informs U.S. citizens that a union representing Alitalia pilots and flight attendants has announced its intention to strike on Thursday, September 22 as part of ongoing negotiations. Multiple Alitalia flights could be affected. Please note that the strike may be cancelled depending on the status of these negotiations; travelers should check with Alitalia prior to their scheduled travel for the latest information.”
And now, the news, including a fun story about a Roman bridge, and this September 21 papal tweet: Dialogue is born when I am capable of recognizing others as a gift of God and accept they have something to tell me.
“BE MERCIFUL AS THE FATHER,” A CALL TO “BE SIGNS, CHANNELS AND WITNESSES TO HIS MERCY”
Before presiding the weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square this morning, Pope Francis stopped in the Paul VI Hall to greet a number of faithful who were ill. Weather reports had predicted rain this morning and the Vatican felt it prudent to move some people indoors.
Actually, the audience went off without a hitch and Pope Francis enjoyed his usual ride in the popemobile, greeting the faithful, kissing babies and small ones and being serenaded by a group of musicians from Indonesia. (photo news.va)
His weekly catechesis was focused on mercy, as it has been during this Holy Year of mercy, noting that, “merciful love is the only path, for by it we are able to make known the Father’s mercy that has no end.”
“Dear Brothers and Sisters,” he said in the English summary, “In our Gospel passage this morning, we are reminded of our call to be merciful even as our heavenly Father is merciful. When we look at salvation history, we see that God’s whole revelation is his untiring love for humanity which culminates in Jesus’ death on the Cross. So great a love can be expressed only by God.”
“Jesus’ call to humanity to be as merciful as the Father,” continued the Holy Father, “however, is not a question of quantity. Instead it is a summons to be signs, channels and witnesses to his mercy. This is the Church’s mission, to be God’s sacrament of mercy in every place and time.
Francis went on to explain that, “as Christians, therefore, God asks us to be his witnesses, first by opening our own hearts to his divine mercy, and then by sharing that mercy towards all people, especially those who suffer. In this way, our works of mercy and charity will offer to the world a glimpse of the face of Christ. In the Gospel, Jesus explains that we especially show the Father’s mercy when we pardon one another, for we express the free gift of God’s love, and help one another on the way of conversion. Jesus invites us also to give freely, for all we have has been freely given to us by God, and we will receive only in the measure that we freely give to others. Merciful love is the only path, for by it we are able to make known the Father’s mercy that has no end.”
The Pope stressed throughout the catechesis how important it is to forgive in order to achieve a merciful heart. We all need to give, but also to forgive. “If God has forgiven us, why can we not forgive? Are we bigger than God?” And he said; “Mercy is to give, forgiving is to give.”
POPE CONDEMNS KILLING OF TWO PRIESTS IN MEXICO
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has expressed his sadness for the killing of two Mexican priests and has sent a telegram of condolences assuring their diocese and families of his prayers.
Father Alejo Nabor Jimenez Juarez and Father José Alfredo Suarez de la Cruz were abducted from their Church in the State of Veracruz’s northern city of Poza Rica on Sunday. Their bodies, with bullet wounds, were found the following day. (photo news.va)
The telegram, sent by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin on behalf of the Holy Father, expressed the Pope’s profound sadness for the killing of the priests who were respectively the parish priest and the vicar of the Our Lady of Fatima church in Poza Rica.
The Pope strongly condemned the brutal attacks on the lives and on the dignity of the people involved and urged the clergy and all members of the diocese to continue to pursue their mission despite the difficulties.
He said he is praying for the eternal rest of the priests, for their families and for the entire parish community.
The telegram was addressed to Bishop Trinidad Zapata of Papantla.
Poza Rica and its surrounding territory has been the scene of drug-related gang violence and trafficking for many years. But it’s unclear why the Catholic priests were targeted.
Priests have been killed before in Mexico, but many of the killings have occurred in the Pacific coast state of Guerrero. The two murders bring the total number of Catholic priests killed in Mexico since 2012 to 14.
AN ANGELIC ROMAN BRIDGE
(From ChurchPOP – September 21) Rome is overflowing with beautiful art. On every corner, it seems, there’s some gorgeous church, or ancient fountain, or stunning masterpiece from a famous artist. For visitors who aren’t used to it, it can be a bit overwhelming!
The Ponte Sant’Angelo, or Bridge of Angels, is one of these incredible sights. But unless you look closely, you’ll miss its deeper meaning.
The Ponte Sant’Angelo goes all the way back to the first century. During the medieval period, it was sometimes called the “Bridge of St. Peter” since it was how most pilgrims crossed the Tiber River to get to St. Peter’s Basilica. But the bridge took on a new meaning in the 17th century when Pope Clement IX commissioned new statues.
Artistic genius Gian Lorenzo Bernini came up with the plan. There’d be 10 statues of angels, but each would be holding something special: the arma Christi, or instruments of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
It’s really easy to miss if you’re not looking carefully; the average person probably just sees beautiful angels. But sure enough, all the angels are holding objects related to the suffering and death of Christ.
It’s a really beautiful way to remember and honor the sacrifice of our Lord, especially for pilgrims making their way to one of the most important churches of Christendom!
Below are pictures of all the statues look like and what each angel is holding.
PS FROM JOAN: Two of the original statues are in the church of Sant’Andrea delle Fratte near the Spanish Steps! This is truly one of Rome’s must see churches!
Click here to see those photos! https://churchpop.com/2016/09/20/the-powerful-meaning-of-romes-bridge-of-angels-most-people-miss/