Fifty-five years ago today, on October 11, 1962, Pope St. John XXIII opened Vatican Council II in St. Peter’s Basilica. Following are two black and white photos from that day:
A cousin of mine from Palm Beach, Florida, attended many sessions of the Council with an American delegation of bishops, including a Florida bishop. After Phil’s death I inherited a copy of a color photo he was given after the opening session. This is a poor photo of that picture (the WordPress device to enlarge photos has never worked for me), which is a bit of family history. I have a bigger, better photo but I needed to rotate it counter clockwise and that did not work either!
“RESIGNATION IS NOT A CHRISTIAN VIRTUE”
Pope Francis, continuing his weekly audience catechesis on the Christian virtue of hope, said Wednesday, “Today I wish to speak about that dimension of hope which we can call attentive waiting. Jesus tells his disciples to be like those who await the return of their master, with lamps alight. As Christians, therefore, we are always attentive, awaiting the Lord’s return, when God will be all in all.”
“Every day,” continued Francis, “is a new opportunity to be attentive to God, to welcome the day as his gift, and to live that day by offering our good works to him. Such attentiveness requires patience, however, if we are not to lose sight of God’s grace when our days are monotonous, or our difficulties many. For no night is so long, as to make us forget the joy that comes with dawn.”
Importantly, Francis stated that, “resignation is not a Christian virtue.”
The Holy Father explained that, “as Christians, we know that Christ will return; that no matter what we may suffer, life has its purpose and deeper meaning, and that the merciful Lord will greet us at its end. Thus we can look upon history and our own lives with confidence and hope, knowing that the future is not guided solely by the work of our hands but by God’s providence.”
The Pope concluded, “May we repeat everyday the words of the first disciples: ‘Come, Lord Jesus!’ And in our most difficult moments, may we hear the consoling response of Jesus: ‘Behold, I am coming soon’.”
In his various greetings at the audience, Pope Francis had special words for Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for Oriental Churches, as its members meet in plenary assembly. He entrusted their work to St. John XXIII whose liturgical memory it was Wednesday, October 11.
The congregation marks its centenary this year, as does the Pontifical Oriental Institute. Pope Francis will visit the institute tomorrow morning, after which he will celebrate a Mass of thanksgiving for both institutions in St. Mary Major Basilica.
After the catechesis on hope, Francis greeted Arab-speaking pilgrims, “in particular those from Lebanon, the Holy Land and the Middle East. Our hope is based on the certainty of Christ’s return and on being ready to receive Him. For this reason let’s not abandon ourselves to the flow of events with pessimism , as if history was a train that lost control. Resignation is not a Christian virtue. May the Lord bless you and protect you from evil!
He also greeted “the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s audience, especially those from England, Scotland, Demark, Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Canada and the United States of America. In particular I greet those who will be celebrating World Sight Day tomorrow, and I assure all who are blind and visually impaired of my closeness and prayers. Upon you and your families, I invoke the grace of the Lord Jesus, that you may be steadfast in hope and trust in God’s providence in your lives. May God bless you!”
A PAPAL PLEA: SAY THE ROSARY FOR PEACE
At the end of the audience catechesis, the Holy Father noted that “Friday, October 13, marks the end of the centenary of the last Marian apparitions in Fatima. With our eyes turned to the Mother of the Savior and Queen of Missions, I invite everyone, especially in this month of October, to pray the holy rosary for the intention of peace in the world. May prayer move the most unruly souls so that they banish violence from their hearts, from their words and from their gestures, and build non-violent communities that care for the common home. Nothing is impossible if we turn to God in prayer. We can all be artisans of peace.”
PAPAL TWITTER ACCOUNT HAS 40 MILLION FOLLOWERS
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis’ Twitter account – @pontifex – has reached a milestone: 40 million followers in 9 languages. The figure is significant not only in itself, but in what it represents for the Holy Father, himself, who, like his predecessor, desires to be a Christian witness among many on the “Digital Continent”, especially through social media.
Alessandro Gisotti spoke to Msgr. Eduardo Viganò, prefect of the Secretariat for Communications. He is entrusted with the co-ordination of the papal accounts on Twitter and Instagram.
“40 million followers means 40 million people, 40 million hearts, minds, and passions,” said Msgr. Viganò. “It is a world, a relationship, a community: this figure emphasizes that so many people continue to follow, day after day, even by way of 140 characters, the Pope’s Magisterium, which reaches people in very different ways: from official speeches, to unscripted encounters, to Twitter characters,” Msgr. Viganò said.
Asked about the Holy Father’s social media presence more specifically, especially on Twitter and Instagram (where Francis shares photos and videos under his @franciscus handle), Msgr. Viganò said, “The Pope takes great care of his social profiles, to such an extent that he closely and carefully checks all the tweets, which are then published.” He went on to say, “This concern speaks to the [Pope’s] care for relationships. So, the Pope who calls himself a ‘grandfather,’ who claims to be far from new technologies, nevertheless intuits that there is a world – the social media world – that is made up of people.”
Msgr. Viganò also said, “The Church is born when the Holy Spirit overwhelms the disciples and opens the doors of the Upper Room and they take to the streets of the world. Today, among these streets are the so-called social communities. That is why the Pope is very attentive to this reality: because any relationship needs care, which is to say cor urat, that is, ‘to warm the heart’ even through a few letters.”
Gisotti asked whether Pope Francis can be taken as an example of how to use social media, so that the Internet is, “a network not of wires but of people,” as he himself wrote in his first Message for the World Day of Social Communications?
“Yes,” responded Msgr. Viganò. “This also collects the inheritance of Pope emeritus Benedict [XVI], who has made some very interesting speeches on the Net. I believe that the further step, the one we might summarize as ‘from the click to the heart’, is to imagine a community of believers, who leave traces of the allure of the Gospel of Mercy even on the Net.”