VATICAN INSIDER: HOLY CROSS IN JERUSALEM BASILICA – JUNE PRAYER INTENTION: COMPASSION FOR THE WORLD AMIDST COVID-19 PANDEMIC – POPE ON ENVIRONMENT DAY: WE CANNOT PRETEND TO BE HEALTHY IN A WORLD THAT IS SICK

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VATICAN INSIDER: HOLY CROSS IN JERUSALEM BASILICA

Welcome to Vatican Insider and to a special edition whereby we visit Rome’s basilica of Holy Cross in Jerusalem. Download and save this on podcast for the day that you can finally return to Rome and visit this magnificent church in person.

The first Christian Emperor, Constantine, played a pre-eminent role in the building of four of the five papal basilicas in Rome – St. Peter’s, St. John Lateran, St. Paul’s-Outside-the-Walls and St. Lawrence Outside-the-Walls. Our pilgrimage today takes us to the basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem where not Constantine but his mother, the Empress St. Helena, was the inspiration for the church we see today.

In fact, the story of St. Helena, her conversion to Christianity, her trip to the Holy Land and her recovery of relics linked to Christ’s passion and death, which she subsequently brought to Rome, is as interesting – and, in a way, beautiful – as the church itself. St. Helena’s faith, her devotion to the Cross and, of course, the relics themselves – part of the true Cross, a nail, thorns from the Crown of Thorns and the wood inscription affixed to the Cross bearing the words in three languages: “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” – these are all the very raison d’etre for the basilica.

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JUNE PRAYER INTENTION: COMPASSION FOR THE WORLD AMIDST COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Pope Francis, as he does every month, has released a video message to accompany his prayer intention for June: “That all those who suffer may find their way in life, allowing themselves to be touched by the Heart of Jesus.”

June is the month the Church dedicates to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

“Many people suffer due to the great difficulties they endure,” starts the Message. “We can help them by accompanying them along an itinerary full of compassion which transforms people’s lives. It brings them closer to the Heart of Christ, which welcomes all of us into the revolution of tenderness. We pray that all those who suffer may find their way in life, allowing themselves to be touched by the Heart of Jesus.”

These monthly papal prayer intentions are prepared by the Worldwide Prayer Network of the Apostleship of Prayer.

Click here to see the video with English subtitles: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2020-06/pope-francis-prayer-intention-june-2020-compassion.html

POPE ON ENVIRONMENT DAY: WE CANNOT PRETEND TO BE HEALTHY IN A WORLD THAT IS SICK

On World Environment Day, Pope Francis calls for a change in attitudes, so that we may leave a better and healthier planet to later generations.

By Vatican News

World Environment Day is marked annually on 5 June.

The celebrations for this year’s Day, scheduled to take place in Colombia, were held online instead due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In a letter addressed to Colombian President Ivan Duque on Friday, Pope Francis stresses that, “the protection of the environment and respect for the biodiversity of the planet are issues that affect us all.”

“We cannot pretend to be healthy in a world that is sick”, writes the Pope.

“The wounds inflicted on our mother earth are wounds that also bleed in us.” Pope Francis says that caring for ecosystems demands “a view to the future” that is truly concerned for life, rather than “quick and easy profit.”

Pope Francis then warns that our attitude towards the present state of our planet should “make us concerned for and witnesses to the gravity of the situation.”

“We cannot remain silent before the outcry when we realize the very high costs of the destruction and exploitation of the ecosystem,” he adds.

“This is not a time,” the Pope continues, “to continue looking the other way, indifferent to the signs that our planet is being plundered and violated by greed for profit, very often in the name of progress.”

Everything depends on us, says the Pope, stressing that “we have the chance to” commit ourselves to passing a better, healthier world on to future generations.

He then recalls the recent celebrations of the fifth anniversary of his encyclical ‘Laudato Si’. This “drew attention to the cry that mother earth lifts up to us”, he says.

Finally, the Pope expresses his trust that all deliberations and conclusions “will always foster the building of an increasingly habitable world and a more humane society, where all of us have a place and no one is ever left behind.”