POPE FRANCIS AT FAMILY FESTIVAL PRAYER VIGIL: FAMILIES ARE FACTORIES OF HOPE

POPE FRANCIS AT FAMILY FESTIVAL PRAYER VIGIL: FAMILIES ARE FACTORIES OF HOPE

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis participated in a great gathering of families on Saturday evening in Philadelphia, host city of the World Meeting of Families, for a vigil of prayer and a celebration of the family. The following is Chris Altieri’s report for Vatican Radio from Philadelphia:
POPE- FAMILIES VIGIL

Hosted by actor Mark Wahlberg, and with a rundown that numbered several A-list personalities and legendary performers including vocalist Aretha Franklin and tenor Andrea Bocelli, the event was punctuated by the testimony of six couples representing various ages and conditions of family life:

An engaged couple from Australia, Camillus O’Kane and Kelly Walsh, whose faith gives them inspiration, courage and direction as they prepare for married life in a cultural context that is not always friendly to the idea of lifelong, selfless commitment.

A Ukrainian immigrant woman and her two sons, one of whom has special needs, and who have struggled to make a life for themselves here in the United States, and whose faith sustains them in their trials.

Nidal Mousa and Nida Joseph, a Christian family from Jordan with their two daughters, Faten and Dema, who minister to people in serious poverty, religious persecution, immigration, and war.

Ifeyinwa and Chidi, a couple from Nigeria with four children, whao are about to celebrate 24 years of marriage and who shared their experience of injury, healing and forgiveness.

Leona and Rudy Gonzales from New York, grandparents and great-grandparents of 12, who offered their witness to the indispensable role of extended family in family life.

Mario and Rosa from Argentina: married 60 years, they spoke of the need for families to rest in God’s providence.

In his own remarks to the participants, Pope Francis put aside his prepared speech, and spoke of the family as God’s great gift, and the most beautiful part of God’s creation. The family is the channel and reflection of God’s own beauty, truth, and goodness. “The family,” founded on the marital love of a man and a woman that alone can generate and nurture life according to God’s own plan, “is like a factory of hope.”

Though there are no perfect families, and though in every family there are tensions, difficulties, conflicts, challenges, there is in the family also the abiding love by which all these can be overcome. “Families have their difficulties, in families we quarrel,” he said. “Sometimes plates can fly and children bring headaches and I won’t speak about mothers-in-law! But in the family there is always light because the love of God, the Son of God opened also that door of love. But just as there are problems in families we must remember there is the light of the Resurrection.”

“Only love is able to overcome,” said Pope Francis, who went on to discuss also the intergenerational nature of the family, calling all present to remember and to care for children and elderly family members. “Children, younger and older are the future, the strength that moves us forward. Grandparents are the living memory of the family, they passed on the faith to us – to look after grandparents and children is the expression of love.”

The stakes are high – indeed they could be no higher. “A People that is not able to look after their children and grandparents is a people that has no future, because it doesn’t have strength or the memory to go forward.”

“God bless you and give you hope,” concluded Pope Francis. “God give you the strength to go forward: lets protect the family – and please pray for me.”

CLICK HERE FOR ORIGINALLY SCHEDULED PAPAL TEXT: http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-thanks-families-for-witnessing-to-truth-goodn

What was it actually like to be at the Prayer Meeting for the Festival of Families in Philadelphia on Saturday night? Vatican Radio’s correspondent Seán Patrick Lovett was there and got a bird’s eye view of the Pope, the performers and the people in the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. He reports:

The noise is always the same. It starts as a “whoop” and ends as a “yell” – thousands of vocal chords vibrating in unison. And it always means the same thing: he’s arrived.

When Pope Francis arrived on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia on Saturday night for the Festival of Families, all I could think was: don’t his arms ever get tired? I mean, the Parkway is nearly ten kilometers long and, driving in the popemobile through the immense crowds lining the route since early afternoon, the Pope never stopped waving and blessing to left and right the entire way. My own arms were aching just watching him.

When the papal motorcade drew up beside the massive podium it was in a blaze of flashing police lights, screaming sirens, and roaring security vehicles. I counted 21 motor bikes and 25 bullet-proof behemoths that dwarfed the car they were there to protect. No stopping to drink a cup of maté here, no tossing soccer scarves at the Pope, or even getting closer than a hundred yards to him. Americans, who are used to this kind of thing, are saying they have never seen security like this. Neither have I. Over the past five days I have been searched by the Secret Service, frisked by the FBI, prodded by police, sniffed by bomb squad dogs, and passed through more metal detectors than they have at Heathrow.

But I was talking about Pope Francis and the Family Fest in Philadelphia.

How to describe it? I suppose it was something between a music concert, a variety show, a folk festival, and a multimedia presentation – with the occasional testimony by families thrown in to remind us why we were really there. It was a star-studded evening too: actor/producer, Mark Wahlberg, was master of ceremonies, and singing legend, Aretha Franklin, belted out her very own version of “Amazing Grace”.

Then Pope Francis spoke. Instead of following his prepared speech, he chatted to the gathering about “God’s overflowing love” that resulted in the creation of the world and how the culmination of that creative love is the family.

Thousands of families came from far and wide for the event and didn’t appear in the least deterred – either by the length of the program or by the chill autumn wind that swept down the Parkway. They continued to applaud right to the end. But then, they were making a night of it. For them, the most important event would be the closing Mass on Sunday morning and they weren’t moving. I wish I could say I was as brave

 

FRANCIS TO FUTURE DIPLOMATS: “NEVER FORGET YOUR WHOLE LIFE IS SERVICE TO THE GOSPEL, TO THE CHURCH” – PHILADELPHIA WORLD MEETING OF FAMILIES IS FOCUS OF PRESS CONFERENCE

FRANCIS TO FUTURE DIPLOMATS: “NEVER FORGET YOUR WHOLE LIFE IS SERVICE TO THE GOSPEL, TO THE CHURCH”

Pope Francis Thursday addressed members of the Pontifical Eccesiastical Academy, the Church institution responsible for preparing priests for the diplomatic service of the Holy See, telling them, “Your whole life is at the service of the Gospel and of the Church. Never forget it!”

The Academy, formerly called the Pontifical Academy of Ecclesiastical Nobility, was founded by Pope Clement XI in 1701 with the scope of preparing, through special studies, young ecclesiastics to the Holy See’s diplomatic service. Candidates must be nominated by their bishops. Holy See ambassadors, called apostolic nuncios, are always archbishops (if not so when they are named, they are ordained to the episcopacy).

pontifical ecclesiastical academy

The Cardinal Protector of the Academy is always the Secretary of State, today Cardinal Pietro Parolin.

The future diplomats spend four years at the Academy; two years earning a licentiate in canon law, a JCL, from a Roman university, followed by two years of studies for a doctorate in canon law (JCD). If the students that have been recruited already have a J.C.D. then their time is shortened to two years. Courses include studies in diplomatic history, languages and diplomatic writing and are considered not to be academic, but rather focus on the practical skills needed to serve as a diplomat.

It has happened that a small number of diplomats represent the Holy See who have not been through the formal academic and practical training of the Academy.

The Holy See has diplomatic relations with 180 States, with the European Union and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, and relations of a special nature with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)

In his talk to the diplomats-in-training, Pope Francis said it is only the charity of Christ that makes the Church of Rome “universal and credible” to human beings and to the world. This “is the heart of its truth, which does not build walls of division and exclusion, but makes bridges that build communion and recall the whole human race to unity; this is its secret power, which nourishes its unshakable hope, invincible despite momentary defeats.”

Your service, he said, will be to defend the liberty of the Apostolic See, “in order not to betray its mission before God and for the true good of men.” It must not get caught up in factions or “allow itself to be colonized by the popular thoughts of the day, or by the illusory hegemony of the ‘mainstream’.”

Don’t expect “the ground to be ready,” said Francis. Be prepared to “plow it with your hands… in order to prepare it for the seed” in hopeful expectation of a harvest which they, perhaps, may never see. Don’t “fish in aquariums or fish farms,” rather have the courage to go to the margins, to cast “nets and fishing poles” in lesser known areas, without getting used to “eating fish that others have prepared.”

In particular the Holy Father reminded them that their mission will take them all over the world: “To Europe, needing to be awakened; to Africa, thirsty for reconciliation; to Latin America starving for nourishment and interiority; to North America, intent upon rediscovering the roots of an identity that does not define itself in terms of exclusion; in Asia and Oceania, challenged by the capacity of fermenting in diaspora and dialogue with the vastness of ancestral culture.”

PHILADELPHIA WORLD MEETING OF FAMILIES IS FOCUS OF PRESS CONFERENCE

This morning in the Holy See Press Office a press conference was held to present the Eighth World Meeting of Families to be held in Philadelphia, U.S.A., from September 22 to 27 on the theme “Love is our mission. The family fully alive.”

World Meerting of Families

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, emphasised that the Meeting is a valuable opportunity to place the family at the center of the Church and of civil society. “The family builds the Church and sustains society. … During the days of the conference, we will present the results of some international research that has scientifically studied this positive influence. The family constantly asks for help and support in the entire ecclesial community – and in the next few days I will write to all the monasteries of the world to ask them to accompany these very important days with their prayers – and from civil society as a whole, which cannot remain indifferent to such beauty and goodness that is so effective and so viable.”

He stressed that “The family is the heritage of all humanity, at every latitude, in every culture; it is blessed by all religions. That is why we wanted a significant presence of other Christian denominations and of major world religious traditions. … We are working so that delegations from around the globe and especially from the world’s poorest local Churches will be present.”

This universality will be enshrined in the final gesture of the meeting, according to Archbishop Paglia who explained that, at the end of Mass on Sunday, September 27, Pope Francis will give the Gospel of Luke, “the Good News of God’s mercy, which is Jesus, to families from big cities on the five continents: Kinshasa, Africa; Havana, America; Hanoi, Asia; Sydney, Australia; and Marseilles, Europe. This is a symbolic gesture that will announce the sending of a million copies of this book to the five cities involved. We want the Gospel of Mercy to be announced in the great cities of the world so that they may build bonds of love between them, in the Church and in society.”

Presenters today also included Bishop John J. McIntyre and Jerry and Lucille Francesco, a couple from the archdiocese, married for fifty years.

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia noted that more than a million people are expected to attend, adding that representatives of more than a hundred nations have registered. So far 6,100 volunteers have offered assistance of various types and the event organisers intend to make more than 5,000 buses available. More than 1,600 people have signed up to the “Host a Family” program.

For more information on the events linked to the meeting, visit: http://www.worldmeeting2015.org/

(Vatican Radio) During the course of the conference this morning, journalists learned that the week of festivities will include ecumenical, interreligious, and multicultural celebrations of the family involving an expected 15,000 participants from more than a dozen countries around the globe. For the Holy Father’s public engagements on September 26 and 27, between 1 and 2 million people are expected to take part.

In an exclusive interview with Vatican Radio following the press conference, the Archbishop of Philadelphia, Charles J. Chaput, OFM Cap. spoke of the irreplacable contribution the Church has to make to the ongoing discussion of the place of the family in society. “The only unique thing that the Church brings to a discussion of family life is the teaching of Jesus Christ,” he said, “and so it seems to me that the most important contribution we make, is to make that teaching very clear, announcing it in a joyful and positive way.”

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter told Vatican Radio his city and its people are ready to welcome Pope Francis.

“It is a tremendous honor to be the host city for the World Meeting of Families,” said Nutter, “and of course, for the visit of Pope Francis.” The mayor went on to say, “Our plans are basically in place: to anticipate over a million people, perhaps as many as 1.5 million,” adding, “the logistics, the security, the transportation,” are all going very well. “We’re very excited,” said Mayor Nutter, “we’re ready.”

 

POPE FRANCIS STARTS NEW CATECHESIS ON THE FAMILY, RECOUNTS “THE TRUE SYNOD” – POPE WRITES MESSAGE FOR PHILADELPHIA MEETING OF FAMILIES – “SLAVES NO MORE, BUT BROTHERS AND SISTERS”

There was a broad, beautiful, thought-provoking array of news today at the Vatican, including Pope Francis’ weekly general audience with a new catechesis on the family, the publication of the Pope’s message for the January 1, 2015 World Day of Peace, entitled “Slaves no more, but brothers and sisters,” and his Message to Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, head of the Pontifical Council for the Eighth World Meeting of Families in September 2015 in Philadelphia on the theme, “Love is our mission: the family fully alive.”

Also taking place in the Vatican is the December 9-11 meeting of the C9, the Council of Cardinals who are advising the Pope on the reform of the curia and many other matters. The C9 members are Cardinals Giuseppe Bertello, president of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State; Francisco Javier Errazuria Ossa, archbishop-emeritus of Santigo de Chile; Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Bombay; Reinhard Marx, archbishop of Munich; Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, archbishop of Kinshasa; Sean Patrick O’Malley OFM Cap, archbishop of Boston; George Pell, prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy; Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga, SDB, archbishop of Tegucigalpa and Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State.

I am giving a lot of attention to the Pope’s general audience catechesis (a new one) on the family today for a number of reasons. In the first place, the title of today’s audience was “The True Synod.” I found that fascinating as it made me think of the many news stories, one often quite at variance with another, that came out of the October synod, causing not a little consternation among faithful Catholics who thought that some teachings of the Church were being too easily bandied about and subject to change.

It seems that Pope Francis today – can we say, “at last” – has answered some of those questions and put doubts to rest. And surely we will hear a lot more in coming weeks, and perhaps months, on the topic of the past and future synods and the focus of the new catecheses – the family

Below you will find the VIS account of the entire audience, and that is followed by some “short takes” on the other news of the day, especially Pope Francis’ Message for World Day of Peace where he speaks of “globalizing fraternity, not slavery or indifference,” “the many faces of slavery, yesterday and today,” and the phenomenon of man’s subjugation by man.” A sad, sad commentary on the world we live in!

Here are some of my favorite phrases from Pope Francis’ catechesis today (translated from the Italian):

“During the synod, the media did its work – there was great anticipation, much attention – and we thank them because they did their work in abundance. So many pieces of news. So many! This was all possible thanks to the press office that had a briefing every day. But often the media’s vision was a little in the style of a sports or political (writer): they often spoke of ‘two teams’, ‘for and against’, ‘conservative or progressive’, etc., etc. Today I want to tell you what the synod was.”

“No speech ever put into discussion the fundamental truth of the Sacrament of Matrimony, that is: indissolubility, unity, fidelity and openness to life. This was not touched.”

“Everything took place ‘cum Petro et sub Petro’, that is, with the presence of the Pope, which is the guarantee for everyone of freedom and trust, and a guarantee of orthodoxy. And at the end, with my speech I gave a summary of the synodal experience. Therefore, the documents that came out of the synod are three: The Final message, the Final Report and the final speech of the Pope. There are no others.”

POPE FRANCIS STARTS NEW CATECHESIS ON THE FAMILY, RECOUNTS “THE TRUE SYNOD”

(VIS) – Having concluded his weekly series of catecheses on the Church, Pope Francis began a new series dedicated to the family at today’s general audience, saying this is “a new cycle in this intermediate period between two synod assemblies dedicated to this important reality.” Before considering the different aspects of family life, Francis began by speaking about the synod held this past October on the theme, “Pastoral challenges to the family in the context of new evangelization.”

The Pope explained that, first of all he asked the Synod Fathers to speak frankly and courageously and to listen with humility.

The Holy Father first praised the work of the Holy See Press Office during the Synod, and the good work accomplished by the media responsible for covering the assembly. He went on to mention the events and results of the assembly, and emphasised that at no point was there any form of censorship and that the Synod Fathers were entirely free to speak frankly. “The only think I asked of them was that they speak with sincerity and courage, and listen with humility.”

 (Vatican Radio reported that,“The Holy Father told the thousands of faithful present that he wanted to share with them what took place and what the Synod has produced. He said that, that during this time there was much media attention on the work being done at the Synod and for that the Pope expressed his thanks. But, Pope Francis added, often the vision of the media was a bit ‘in the style of sports or political coverage: “they often spoke of two teams, pro and con, conservatives and liberals, and so on.”

”The Pope explained that, first of all he asked the Synod Fathers to speak frankly and courageously and to listen with humility. He also stressed there was no prior censorship and that everyone had the chance to say what was in his heart.)

He explained that the Instrumentum laboris always remained the basis of all the interventions that took place, and that this document was the result of a previous consultation involving all of the Church. He remarked that “no intervention challenged the fundamental truths of the Sacrament of Marriage: indissolubility, unity, fidelity and openness to life.” All these interventions, in a second phase, were gathered together and gave rise to the Relatio post disceptationem or the post-discussion report, which was divided into three sections: listening to the context and the challenges to the family; looking steadily at Christ and the Gospel of the family, and comparison with pastoral perspectives. The third phase, the group discussions, followed this first approach at a summary. Finally, at the end of its work, each group presented a report and all the group reports were published immediately, “with transparency, so that what was happening was made known”.

Finally, a commission examined all the suggestions that emerged from the groups and the a Final Report was produced, maintaining the same structure as before – listening, looking to the Gospel and pastoral ministry – which was then sent to all the Episcopal Conferences worldwide to enable discussion prior to the Ordinary Assembly, scheduled for October 2015. As always, a Final Message from the Synod was approved, more concise and informative compared to the Report. The Holy Father remarked that the Synod Fathers “did not argue, but there were animated discussions. This is the freedom of the Church”, and added that there are three official Synod documents: the Final Message, the Final Report, and the Pope’s concluding discourse.

The Bishop of Rome emphasized that the Synod is not a parliament but rather a protected space that allows the Holy Spirit to intervene, and that now the work of prayer, reflection and fraternal discussion must continue in the particular Churches in preparation for the upcoming Assembly. “Let us commend it to the protection of the Virgin Mother, so that she may help us to follow God’s will in making pastoral decisions that offer greater and better help to families”, he concluded.

POPE WRITES MESSAGE FOR PHILADELPHIA MEETING OF FAMILIES

(VIS) – The 7th World Meeting of Families will take place from 22 to 27 September 2015 in Philadelphia, U.S.A., and its theme will be “Love is our mission: the family fully alive”, as announced by Pope Francis in a letter addressed to Bishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, in which he also confirms his attendance at the event.

Francis remarked that during the recent Synod on the family the most urgent issues affecting the family in our society were identified, and he underlined that “we cannot qualify a family with ideological concepts, we cannot speak about a conservative family or a progressive family. The family is the family! The values and virtues of the family, its essential truths, are the strong points on which the family nucleus rests, and they cannot be called into question”. We are required, instead, to “review our style of life, that is always open to the risk of being ‘contaminated’ by a worldly mentality – individualist, consumerist, hedonistic – and to rediscover the high road, to live and to propose the greatness and beauty of marriage and the joy and being and forming a family.”

For entire Message in English, click here: http://www.news.va/en/news/papal-message-for-the-world-meeting-of-families-in

“SLAVES NO MORE, BUT BROTHERS AND SISTERS”

Two excerpts from the Holy Father’s Message for the 48th World Day of Peace, to be held on January 1, 2015 on the theme “Slaves no more, but brothers and sisters.’ For the full text, click on the link below:

“At the beginning of this New Year, which we welcome as God’s gracious gift to all humanity, I offer heartfelt wishes of peace to every man and woman, to all the world’s peoples and nations, to heads of state and government, and to religious leaders. In doing so, I pray for an end to wars, conflicts and the great suffering caused by human agency, by epidemics past and present, and by the devastation wrought by natural disasters. I pray especially that, on the basis of our common calling to cooperate with God and all people of good will for the advancement of harmony and peace in the world, we may resist the temptation to act in a manner unworthy of our humanity.”

“…..Tragically, the growing scourge of man’s exploitation by man gravely damages the life of communion and our calling to forge interpersonal relations marked by respect, justice and love. This abominable phenomenon, which leads to contempt for the fundamental rights of others and to the suppression of their freedom and dignity, takes many forms. I would like briefly to consider these, so that, in the light of God’s word, we can consider all men and women ‘no longer slaves, but brothers and sisters’.”

For entire Message, click here: http://www.news.va/en/news/2015-world-day-of-peace-message-no-longer-slaves-b