POPE FRANCIS: A GOOD HOMILY NEED BE ONLY 10 MINUTES LONG – POPE FRANCIS APPEALS FOR END TO HUMAN TRAFFICKING – “MAY OLYMPICS BE A FESTIVAL OF FRIENDSHIP AND SPORT,” SAYS POPE – PAPAL TELEGRAM FOR EARTHQUAKE IN TAIWAN – TWO FORMER VATICAN BANK OFFICIALS GUILTY OF MISMANAGEMENT

I read the papal telegram for the earthquake in Hualien, Taiwan and immediately thought of the beauty of the region and its people which I had the privilege to visit in 2001. I hope the numbers of victims does not grow and that re-building comes speedily.

POPE FRANCIS: A GOOD HOMILY NEED BE ONLY 10 MINUTES LONG

At today’s general audience, the Holy Father continued his catechesis on the Eucharist, turn to the culmination of the Liturgy of the Word in the Gospel and in the homily.

He said, “The Gospel sheds the light of the mystery of Christ on the scriptural readings that precede it. By our acclamations and the rites that accompany its proclamation, we venerate the Gospel as the living and saving word of God, who speaks to us in the midst of the liturgical assembly and awaits our response.”

Francis then noted that, “this dialogue between the Lord and his people continues in the homily, which seeks to make God’s word incarnate in our hearts and in our lives. The homily draws us more deeply into the mystery of the communion in Christ that we celebrate in the Eucharist. The homily makes demands on both the homilist and the congregation; both must be disposed to consider how the word of God applies to the here and now of our lives, even when its summons to conversion proves challenging or painful.”

“The preacher must pay due attention, taking on the correct interior dispositions – without subjective pretexts – and knowing that every preacher has strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes the congregation has reason to be bored by a homily that is too long, irrelevant, or incomprehensible; at other times, it is prejudice that becomes an obstacle.”

He then spoke off the cuff, addressing deacons, priests and bishops who preach, telling them a good homily is well prepared and brief. The best way to prepare “is with prayer, study of the Word of God, and a clear, brief synthesis, which must not go over 10 minutes.”

POPE FRANCIS APPEALS FOR END TO HUMAN TRAFFICKING

At the end of today’s general audience, the Holy Father noted that tomorrow, February 8, marks the liturgical memory of St Josephine Bakhita, a Sudanese nun, who as a child had the traumatic experience of being a victim of human trafficking.

February 8 is also, he said, “the World Day of Prayer and Reflection on Human Trafficking. The theme this year is “Migration without Trafficking. Yes to Freedom! No to Trafficking!”

“Having few possibilities of regular channels, many migrants are forced to choose illegal channels of migration where they are submitted to abuses of every kind, exploitation and slavery. Criminal organizations that engage in the trafficking of persons make use of migratory routes to hide their victims among the migrants and refugees.

I therefore invite everyone, citizens and institutions, to join forces to prevent trafficking and to guarantee protection and assistance to the victims. Let us pray that the Lord may convert the hearts of traffickers and give hope to those who suffer because of this shameful scourge so they may regain their freedom.”

“MAY OLYMPICS BE A FESTIVAL OF FRIENDSHIP AND SPORT,” SAYS POPE

Speaking at the end of the weekly general audience, Francis noted that the XXIII Winter Olympics are being inaugurated in the South Korean city of Pyeongchang on Friday, February 9, with the participation of teams from 92 countries.

He said “the traditional Olympic truce takes on a particular significance since delegations from both North and South Korea will be marching together at the opening ceremony and competing together on the same team. This makes up hope for a world in which conflicts can be peacefully resolved through dialogue and mutual respect, reflecting the values which sport embodies.

I greet the International Olympic Committee, the athletes who will participate in the Pyeongchang games and the people of the Korean peninsula. I accompany everyone with my prayer and renew the commitment of the Holy See to support every initiative in favor of peace and meetings among peoples. May these Olympics be a great festival of friendship and sport! May God bless you and keep you!

A Vatican news story noted that the Pope’s words came as North Korea announced that the sister of North Kim Jong-un will attend Friday’s Olympic opening ceremony. Kim Yo-jong, a senior Workers’ Party official promoted to the politburo last year, will be the first member of the immediate Kim family to cross the border between North and South Korea.

The move is widely being seen as an effort to ease tensions between the two neighbours who never signed a peace treaty at the end of the Korean War in 1953. The border, or demilitarized zone between the two countries, remains one of the most heavily fortified borders in the world today.

PAPAL TELEGRAM FOR EARTHQUAKE IN TAIWAN

 

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, secretary of State, sent the following telegram in Pope Francis’ name to Bishop Philip Huang Chao-ming Bishop of Hualien.

“His Holiness Pope Francis wishes to express his solidarity with all those affected by the earthquakes in Taiwan these past days, and he offers the assurance of his prayers for those who have lost their lives and for those who have been injured. As he encourages the civil authorities and emergency personnel engaged in rescue efforts, His Holiness willingly invokes upon all the Taiwanese people the divine blessings of strength and peace.”

The magnitude 6.4 quake hit the island at 11:50 last evening, local time. As of 10 this morning Rome time (3 am Taiwan), there was notable damage, collapsed roads, bridges and buildings, 4 dead, 200 injured and140 missing.

TWO FORMER VATICAN BANK OFFICIALS GUILTY OF MISMANAGEMENT

The following was released by IOR, commonly called the Vatican bank, at 8:30 pm Rome time last night. Shortly afterwards I posted it on Facebook.

PRESS RELEASE
Vatican City State, February 6th, 2018 –
By a decision published today, the Civil Court of the Vatican City State found two former senior managers of IOR liable for mismanagement. The Court has ordered them to compensate IOR for the resulting damages.

The Court’s decision is the outcome of a civil liability action started by IOR in September 2014 supported by a comprehensive review of financial investments made by IOR before mid 2013.

This ruling is an important step illustrating the significant work of IOR senior management over the last 4 years to transform the Institute. It demonstrates IOR’s continuing commitment to strong governance, transparency to its operations and its determination to meet best international standards. It confirms IOR’s will to pursue by judicial proceedings any misconducts carried out to its detriment, no matter where and by whom.

 

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POPE DONATES $50,000 TO VICTIMS OF TAIWAN EARTHQUAKE

Here is a link to my Facebook page with photos from last night’s book-signing event at the Domus Carmelitane residence with pilgrims from Divine Mercy parish in Paulding Ohio, and their pastor, Fr. Joseph T. Poggemeyer, and Fr. Matt Frisbee: https://www.facebook.com/joan.lewis.10420

Both the parish and the pastor have fascinating stories as you can see on the parish website (http://divinemercycatholic.com/our-parish/). Divine Mercy is in the diocese of Toledo, led by my good friend, Bishop Danny Thomas (we met in 1990, both of us newly arrived to work at the Vatican).

divine mercy -paulòding

The group leader, Maggie McDaniels and I had met at a Santa Susanna Mass a few months back. We have mutual friends and, as Maggie explained the group’s pilgrimage to Rome, I naturally mentioned the new must have guide to the Jubilee! You can find Maggie and Teresa Grodi at www.catholicfaithjourneys.com

POPE DONATES $50,000 TO VICTIMS OF TAIWAN EARTHQUAKE

FROM ASIA NEWS: Taipei – Pope Francis has sent a donation of $50,000 for the families of the victims and the survivors of the terrible earthquake that struck the southern part of the island of Taiwan last Feb. 6. This is confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taipei: the sum was sent to the Chinese Regional Bishops’ Conference through the Pontifical Council Cor Unum.

The 6.4 magnitude earthquake occurred in Tainan. There were 117 victims, of which 115 residents in a single building complex that collapsed in Yongkang district. The authorities are currently engaged in an investigation to understand how the total collapse of the recently built Weiguan Jinlong ( “Golden Dragon”) was possible.

The day after the disaster, which occurred in conjunction with the Chinese New Year, the Pope sent a telegram signed by the Secretary of State Card. Parolin. In the text, the Pope says he  “was saddened to learn of the suffering caused by the deadly earthquake which struck in Tainan, leaving many people dead or seriously injured.  He sends prayerful condolences to the families of the deceased and injured, as well as to rescue personnel and the civil authorities. His Holiness, commending the souls of the departed to the tender mercy of God, invokes abundant divine blessings of consolation and strength upon those who mourn and upon all who have been affected by this tragedy”.