A DAY IN THE LIFE OF FRANCIS: MASS FOR MIGRANTS AND REFUGEES, A PRAYER BEFORE A MARIAN ICON AND A FLIGHT TO CHILE

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF FRANCIS: MASS FOR MIGRANTS AND REFUGEES, A PRAYER BEFORE A MARIAN ICON AND A FLIGHT TO CHILE

Pope Francis celebrated Mass yesterday in St. Peter’s Basilica for the 104th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, urging the faithful to “overcome fear and to welcome the other’.” The papal liturgy seemed even more international than usual given the music from the young, multilingual voices of the Latin American choirs, the colorful flags and multicultural costumes of the 49 countries represented at the papal Mass, and the presence of ambassadors from 70 countries. In addition, some 460 priests from all over the world concelebrated with the Holy Father. Francis said he wanted to celebrate the World Day of Migrants and Refugees with a Mass of invitation and welcome.

Later, at the Angelus, the Holy Father again spoke of this World Day and quoted from his Message: “Every stranger who knocks on our door is an opportunity to meet Jesus Christ, who identifies himself with the foreigner who has been accepted or rejected in every age.” He also announced that, “for pastoral reasons,” this World Day will henceforth be commemorated on the second Sunday in September.

Francis asked the faithful in St. Peter’s Square to pray for his trip to Chile and Peru and, later Sunday, visited St Mary Major basilica to pray before the beloved icon of Mary, entrusting his trip to her maternal heart.

In fact, Pope Francis departed Rome at 8:55 this morning, Monday, for the 16-hour flight to Santiago, schedule to arrive about 8 pm local time. Rome is 4 hours ahead of Chile.

This may well be one of the Pope’s most difficult trips. There have been attacks on Churches in Chile, including some fire bombs, and in Peru, the country’s replica of the Christ the Redeemer Statue in Rio de Janeiro was set on fire days ago. In one case, the perpetrators of a church firebombed in Santiago, left a note that read: “Pope Francis, the next bomb will be in your robe.”

Needless to say, security will be uppermost in the minds of Vatican officials, gendarmes and Swiss Guards as well as the police and security officials of both Chile and Peru.

(Vatican News – Devin Watkins) Churches attacked in Chile ahead of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Visit – Four churches are vandalized on Friday in Chile’s capital, just ahead of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Visit to the country, and the Apostolic Nunciature is briefly occupied to protest against money spent on welcoming the Holy Father.(http://www.vaticannews.va/en/church/news/2018-01/chile-journey-churches-attacked-before-popes-arrival.html)

There is also anger over sexual abuse cases and the fact that Pope Francis, against advice, appointed a bishop who has been accused of turning a blind eye to abuse cases. Some fear these cases might overshadow the Pope’s desire to focus on the light of indigenous peoples.

In fact, the Holy Father intends to place the situation of indigenous peoples on the front pages of the world’s newspaper and he will focus on them in both Chile and Peru. A sample case of the problems faced by the indigenous is that of large pieces of land that were originally theirs but had been taken forcefully over the centuries, without any compensation. Others own land that criminal gangs are trying to take over – or have succeeded – in an attempt to grow lucrative palm oil or drug-related products.

In a story reported from Peru by the Guardian, for example, tribal leaders, who hail from four Amazon river basins, accuse the government of refusing to carry out a consultation process even though it is negotiating a new 30-year contract for oil block 192 with Frontera Energy, a Canadian firm, whose current contract expires in early 2019.

The so-called prior consultation law, passed in 2011 in Peru, requires the government to seek free, prior and informed consent from indigenous people before approving any development plans that might affect them.

But officials from Peru’s energy ministry refused to confirm if a new consultation process would be undertaken, stating that a 2015 process was still valid. Indigenous leaders representing more than 100 communities in the Marañon, Pastaza, Corrientes and Tigre river basins said that process had been carried out in “bad faith”.

Some say such stories are just the tip of the iceberg vis-à-vis indigenous peoples.

This is Francis’ 4th trip to Latin America but his fellow Argentinians are perplexed – and some angry – that he has not set foot in his homeland since his election in March 2013.

The itinerary for Pope Francis’ six days in Chile and Peru includes several Masses, meetings with civil and religious authorities, meetings with bishops, priests and men and women religious, a visit to a women’s prison, a private meeting with his fellow Jesuits, and encounters with indigenous peoples. A visit to Trujillo in northern Peru to visit those affected by the El Niño rains that left 100 dead and 141,000 displaced in early 2017.

The final event on the papal agenda next Sunday is Mass at Las Palmas Air Base in front of the image of the Lord of the Miracles. Francis and his entourage and the journalists covering this trip will depart for Rome that afternoon, arriving in the Eternal City about 2 p.m. on January 22.

Click here for the full itinerary: http://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2017-11/programme-of-pope-francis–apostolic-visit-to-peru-and-chile-rel.html

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