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Visit Bologna: Homily at Mass

Mon, 10/02/2017 - 00:48
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis concluded his Pastoral Visit to the cities of Cesena and Bologna with a Solemn Mass in the Dall’Ara Stadium of Bologna. In his homily, for what he called “the first Sunday of the Word ,” Pope Francis reflected on the Word of God, which makes our hearts burn within us, because it makes us feel loved and consoled by the Lord. The day’s Gospel relates Jesus’ parable of the two sons who were asked by their father to go to work in his vineyard. One son said no, but eventually went; while the other said yes, but did not go. “There is a great difference,” the Pope said “between the first son, who is lazy; and the second, who is a hypocrite.” Imagining their inner thoughts, Pope Francis said that the voice of the father resonated in the heart of the son, despite his initial no. In the second, on the other hand, the voice of the father “was buried.” Like the two sons, the Pope said, we can choose to be either sinners on the journey, who continue to listen to the Father, and repent and rise when we fall; or to be seated sinners, hypocrites always ready to justify ourselves, and willing to do only what is convenient. Jesus, he continued, was very severe to the latter, saying that the public sinners would go before them into heaven. They were not wrong, he said, about how they thought about God and religion, but they were mistaken in how one must live the Christian life. He said they were inflexible guardians of human traditions, incapable of understanding that life according to God is a journey , and requires the humility to be open, to repent, and to begin anew. The key word here, Pope Francis said, is repentance , which allows us to not be rigid, to transform the “no” to God into a “yes,” the “no” of sin into the “yes” of love of God. Ultimately, he said, “in the life of each one of us there are two paths: to be penitent sinners or hypocritical sinners . The Word of God, then, penetrates into the heart of each one of us. But it is also a word that calls us back to a relationship, the relationship between the father and his sons. As in the family, so in society, and in the Church, there is a need for encounter. “Never reject encounter , dialogue,” the Pope said. “Never give up on seeking new paths to walk together.” Concluding his homily, Pope Francis offered three Italian “P’s” to help us see where we are headed as a Church: “Parola,” the Word, the compass that points out the way of humble journeying; “Pane,” Bread, the Bread of the Eucharist, which is the starting point of everything; and “poveri,” the poor, not only those who are poor in material terms, but even more, those who are spiritually impoverished. In all of these we find Jesus, because the Lord entered the world in poverty, through an emptying of Himself, as St Paul says. “It would do us good,” the Pope said, “to always remember” these three terms: “the Word,” “Bread,” and “the poor.” He concluded his homily with the prayer that we might never forget these three basic “foods,” that sustain us on our journey.  (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope in Bologna - meeting with priests and religious

Sun, 10/01/2017 - 23:59
(Vatican Radio) During his daylong visit on Sunday to Bologna in northern Italy, Pope Francis met priests, religious, seminarians and deacons in the city cathedral.   He did not deliver a discourse but fielded two questions from them.  Priestly brotherhood The diocesan priests asked the Pope how they could grow in evangelical brotherhood with their fellow priests.   The Pope said they first need to have the sense of what he described as ‘ diocesanità ’ (Italian) or a sense of belonging to the body of priests along with their bishop.  When a diocesan priest lacks this he becomes a loner and runs the risk of becoming ‘infertile’.   In this regard, the Pope recalled the transparency of St. Paul who talked about things clearly without misleading  and had the patience and tolerance for others.  Another trait of a diocesan priest is the figure of pastor among his people .  Opposed to this, is the ‘ clerical pastor ’ like the Pharisees and Saducees of Jesus’time who live in their own world of theology, thoughts and dos and donts of the law.   The Pope regretted that some priests transform their service into a syndicate office with rigid visiting hours.  Careerism and gossip To help deepen their brotherhood with their fellow priests, Pope Francis particularly urged the diocesan priests to keep clear of two vices – careerism and gossip.   He described priests who make a career of their priestly service a career, as ‘climbers’.   He described gossip mongers as pests who create discord in the diocesan presbyterial community, defaming their brother priests.  Poverty The Pope also received a question from religious men and women asking him how to live the religious life with joy and hope without falling into the trap of the ‘ psychology of  survival ’.   The Pope said that the this pessimistic syndrome seeks security in money , contrary to the spirit of poverty.   Religious life, the Pope said, gets corrupt through money, and added that security in religious life does not come from vocations or money  but from the ‘other side’.  Poverty, according to St. Ignatius of Loyola, is a mother that gives life, and a wall that defends us from worldliness , the Pope said.  The Holy Father also told the religious of the need to touch the wounds of Christ in the suffering body of His people.   (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope in Bologna - meeting with migrants

Sun, 10/01/2017 - 19:03
(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis is on a day-long visit to the northern Italian region of Emilia-Romagna on Sunday, where he is visiting the cities of Cesena and Bologna.  After holding two meetings in Cesena, he flew to Bologna where his first appointment was the with migrants housed at a regional centre at Via Enrico Mattei.  Christ – accepted or rejected Addressing a round a thousand of them housed there, Pope Francis said that many who don’t know them and are afraid, judge them from far with harshness and coldness.  But, he said one needs to see them from nearby with mercy, for unless we see our neighbour with mercy , we cannot understand his suffering and problems.  “In you, as in every stranger who knocks at our door, I see Jesus Christ, who identifies himself with the stranger of every age and condition, accepted or rejected,” the Holy Father told the migrants. “Fighters of hope” The Pope said he was among them because he wanted to carry their eyes in his eyes, their heart in his heart.  “I want to carry with me your faces that are asking to be remembered, helped, I’d say "adopted", because in the end you look out for someone who bets on you, gives you confidence and helps you find that future for which you have hoped and arrived here.”  But alas some couldn’t  made it, swallowed by the desert or the sea .  “People don’t remember them,” the Pope said, “but God knows their names and welcomes them to Himself.”   The Holy Father thus invited all present there to a moment of silence to remember and pray for them. Reminding the migrants that they are “fighters of hope,” the Pope wished that their hope may never turn into delusion, or worse still, despair, thanks to the many who help them.   In turn, he urged the migrants to work hard for a welcoming city, and follow the laws of the land. Integration Regarding the phenomenon of migrants and refugees, the Pope called for vision and great determination to prevent distortion or exploitation which, he said, becomes even more unacceptable because they are committed on the poor. He urged that increasing number of countries take up private and community support programs for accepting and opening up humanitarian corridors for refugees in more difficult situations to spare them unbearable waiting period and lost time.   Integration, the Pope said, begins with knowing the story of the other. Noting some underage boys and girls among the migrants, the Holy Father said they particularly need tenderness and protection. Pope Francis concluded his meeting with migrants, commending the generosity of Bologna and its Church, saying, “The city is not afraid to donate the five loaves and the two fish.”  “Providence will intervene and everyone will be satisfied,” he added. Before and after his talk, the Holy Father took ample time to meet and greet the migrants individually.    (from Vatican Radio)...

Visit Bologna: Meeting with workers and Angelus

Sun, 10/01/2017 - 19:03
(Vatican Radio) Arriving at Bologna following a morning visit to the town of Cesena, Pope Francis greeted representatives of the world of labour ahead of the Sunday Angelus. In his address to works, Pope Francis emphasized that it is only together that we can come through the present economic crisis and “build the future.” Only dialogue, he said, can help us find new and effective answers that can help everyone. The Holy Father noted that in the region of Bologna, there has been a long experience of cooperation, an experience “that gives birth to the fundamental value of solidarity. Solidarity, he said, must never be bent toward to the logic of financial profit, which would harm the most needy amongst us. “Seeking a more just society,” he continued, “is not a dream of the past but a commitment, a work, that today needs everyone” to cooperate. In particular, the Pope said we must never grow used to the situation of youth unemployment, and job loss. People must never be treated merely as statistics. Speaking to the challenge of fighting poverty, Pope Francis said we cannot truly help the poor without offering them the possibility of finding work and dignity. He pointed to the recent “Pact for Work,” which say all the elements of society, including the Church, “sign a common commitment to help one another in the search for permanent answers, not charity (It: elemosine = almsgiving). This, he said, “is an important method that I hope can bear the hoped-for fruits.” The economic crisis, the Pope said, “has a European and a global dimension”; and it is also “an ethical, spiritual, and human crisis.” And, in strong terms, he says it is rooted in “a betrayal of the common good, on the part of powerful individuals and groups.” And so, he said, it is necessary “to take away the centrality of the law of power and assign it to the person and the common good.” But in order to do so, he continued, it is necessary to increase opportunities for dignified work. Pope Francis delivered his address in the piazza in front of the Basilica of Saint Petronius, known as “Father and Protector.” This saint, the Pope said, is always represented holding the city in his hands. “From this we can see physically three constitutive elements of your city,” he said: “the Church, the Community, and the University.” “When these three elements dialogue and collaborate among themselves,” he said, “it strengthens the precious humanism that they express, and the city, so to speak, ‘breathes,’ has a horizon, and is not afraid to confront the challenges that are present.” He concluded his address by encouraging those present to appreciate this humanism “in order to seek wise and far-seeing solutions to the complex problems of our time, seeing them, yes, as difficulties, but also as opportunities for growth and improvement.” Following his address, the Holy Father led the faithful in the recitation of the Angelus, and afterwards had lunch with the poor in the Basilica.  (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope to Cesena’s citizens, clergy ‎

Sun, 10/01/2017 - 17:23
CESENA CITIZENS (Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis on Sunday delivered a lesson on good governance of a city saying it essentially consists in all working together for the common good with the help of good politics .   He was speaking to the people of the northern Italian city of Cesena where he arrived in the morning for a two-stop pastoral visit to the Emilia-Romagna region.  He later visited the regional capital, Bologna, from where he flew back to the Vatican in the evening.  Good politics Addressing Cesena’s citizens in the heart of the city, Piazza del Popolo, the Pope explained that good politics is neither a servant nor a mistress, but a friend and collaborator .  Responsible, brave and prudent at the same time, healthy politics calls for greater involvement and inclusion of all leaving no one in the margins.  Such politics, he said, does not plunder and pollute natural resources , that are not a bottomless pit but a treasure given us by God to be used with respect and intelligence.    Good politics, the Pope further explained, harmonizes the legitimate aspirations of individuals and groups by holding the rudder firm in the interest of all citizens.  This, the Pope said, is the true face of politics, and this is why the social doctrine of the Church considers it a noble form of charity.   Corruption The Holy Father urged all, especially the young, to prepare themselves by assuming right from the start, the perspective of the common good, rejecting any form of corruption, even the least.   According to him, “corruption is the woodworm of the political vocation” that prevents the growth of civilization.   He also invited all to demand from “the protagonists of public life, coherence of commitment, preparation, moral uprightness, capacity for initiative, forbearance, patience and determination to address the challenges of today.”  However, in this they must be realistic, without expecting impossible perfection. Youth and elderly Pope Francis urged that everyone’s voice be heard, especially the young who can carry things forward, and the elderly, who with the wisdom of their age can advise young people and young politicians when they mistake. Noting that in recent years politics seemed to have retreated in the face of aggression and pervasiveness of other forms of power, such as financial and media, Pope Francis called for relaunching good politics and its specific ability to serve the public good by reducing inequalities, promoting the welfare of families with concrete measures, providing a solid framework of rights and duties and making them effective for everyone. The Pope greeted the sick people present at Piazza del Popolo, before proceeding to Cesena cathedral where he addressed representatives of the local Church.  There, in the chapel he greeted a group of sick people.  CESENA CATHEDRAL The principal mission of Christ’s disciples is proclaiming and witnessing the Gospel with joy said Pope Francis speaking to the clergy, consecrated persons, laypeople and pastoral counsellors, members of the Curia and parish representatives in the Cesena cathedral. Focusing on  evangelization, Pope Francis called on the clergy to rediscover the joy of being priests during the different stages of their personal and ministerial journey, to be called by the Lord to follow him to bring his word, his pardon, his love, his grace.   It is a call that never ceases to amaze us, he said.  To make evangelization effective Pope Francis gives them practical guidelines: A call to walk in fraternity and unity Evangelization, the Pope said, is effective to the extent there is sincere collaboration between different ecclesial movements and institutions. A  Church walking in fraternity and unity is itself  an effective witness to faith.  When love of Christ is above all, all legitimate needs will be set aside to meet the needs of the brothers  and always in Christ. A call to be sensitive to the needs of the poor The scars of Jesus'  remain visible even today  in so many men and women who live on the margins of society: marked by suffering, discomfort, abandonment  and poverty. Caring for their bodily and spiritual needs we are purified and transformed by the mercy of God.  Referring to the revolution of charity begun by St Vincent de Paul 400 years ago, the Holy Father said, “now we  too are called to carry on this revolution with apostolic zeal knowing that we cannot do anything on our own” without the Lord. A call to pray and meditate on the Word of God The Pope said, it is necessary to set aside adequate time for prayer and meditation of the Word of God for  prayer gives strength to our mission - as is proved by St. Teresa of Calcutta .  He explained that the constant encounter with the Lord in prayer becomes indispensable both for priests and for consecrated persons and for pastoral workers who are called to go out to the peripheries. “Our deep encounter with the Lord will help us see Jesus who met the people on the streets of Galilee and to look into the eyes of the other with respect and love and create a revolution of tenderness .”   A call to be with the young Pope Francis said it is the young people who most need to experience this love of Jesus.  The young who are a great resource need to be helped to discover the gifts of the Lord and not to fear the challenges of the present times.   He encouraged the clergy  to meet them, to listen to them, to walk with them, so that they may meet Christ and be receptive to his free message of love. A call to show proximity to families Stressing that a Church attentive to young people  is a church of the family, the Holy Father encouraged the clergy in their pastoral work towards families.  He assured them God’s grace, his closeness and prophetic power  will help them even when they lack adequate support.  “We are  called  to be witnesses, mediators of this proximity to families.” In conclusion the  Holy Father called them to be renewed each day through the  Eucharistic celebration and with their encounter with the  people of God to whom “we are sent”.  He exhorted priests, consecrated, deacons, and lay faithful to walk together without being discouraged in the face of  difficulties but to be persistent in bearing witness to the Gospel.   In their  journey he encouraged them to always feel compelled and supported by the power of the Holy Spirit.  (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope meets Italian mayors, municipalities

Sat, 09/30/2017 - 20:03
(Vatican Radio)  The image of a city that the New Jerusalem evokes is one of a human society that is based on true solidarity, whereas where envy, unbridled ambitions and spirit of adversity grow, it condemns itself to the violence of chaos. The common good Pope Francis made the point on Saturday while addressing some 300 members of the National Association of Italian Municipalities (ANCI) in the Vatican.   The model of the city or town that the Pope proposed to them is one that “does not permit a one-way traffic of exasperated individualism,” that does not tolerate the “blind alleys of corruption ” that breeds disintegration , and where there are no “walls of the privatization of public spaces, where the "us" is but a rhetoric ploy that “masks the interest of a few .” The Pope urged the town and city officials to have “the passion for the common good” that grants each one and his family the possibility to realize themselves and open themselves in communion with others .  Solidarity and human brotherhood Speaking about areas that lack quality services he said it is here where new “ pockets of poverty and marginalization ” breed.  “This,” he said, “is where the city moves on a double lane .”  “On the one hand there is a highway of those who are overly cared for and on the other there are the “ bottlenecks of the poor and unemployed , the numerous families and immigrants who have no one to count on.”  “We must not accept these plans that divide and make the life of one be the death of the other,” the Pope said, adding, “the struggle itself ends up destroying any sense of solidarity and human brotherhood.” Learn from the poor The Pope thus urged the city and town administrations to visit the urban, social and existential peripheries under them, saying the “point of view of the least is the best school that will make us understand the true needs”  and their solutions .  While making us feel the “ pulse of injustice ” they will also show us the way to eliminate it and create a community where each one is recognized as a person and citizen with rights and duties.   The Pope said that if a mayor is close to his people, things go well always. Migrants, refugees Speaking about Italy’s massive problem with migrants and refugees, the Pope said he can well understand the difficulties of the nation grappling with an economic crisis, local communities’ unpreparedness and inadequate measures to deal with the emergencies.  He said this difficulty can be overcome by offering spaces for personal encounter and knowledge of one another .  He commended initiatives that “promote the culture of encounter, mutual exchange of artistic and cultural riches, and the knowledge of the places and communities of origin of the new arrivals.”  Pope Francis expressed satisfaction that many city and town administrations have adopted the “the good practice of welcome and integration, with encouraging results” which he said should be spread wide.  (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope at Mass celebrates archangels who accompany us on our journey

Fri, 09/29/2017 - 20:12
(Vatican Radio) Celebrating the feast day of the three archangel s, Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, Pope Francis said we share their vocation “cooperating together in God’s salvific design”. Speaking during the homily at Mass in the Casa Santa Marta, he reflected on the Collect for the Day in which we sing the Lord’s praises in the sight of angels. Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni : Angels, Pope Francis said, are masters of contemplation: they serve and contemplate the Lord who has sent them to accompany us on the path of life.  Michael protects us against evil    Michael, Gabriel and Raphael in particular, he continued, have an important role in our journey towards salvation. “Michael, he said, is the one who fights against the devil” and protects humanity from the snares of evil. He protects us against the serpent that seduces us, makes us fall and then accuses us before God claiming us as his own. “Michael, the Pope explained, was asked by the Lord to fight the devil” and he helps us resist temptation on our earthly journey towards heaven. Gabriel brings the good news Gabriel – another archangel we celebrate today – is the one who “brings the good news”; he’s the one who announced to Zachariah the forthcoming birth of John the Baptist and to Mary and Joseph, the birth of Jesus. “Gabriel too accompanies us and helps us on our journey when we “forget” the Gospel.”  He reminds us that “Jesus came to save us”. Raphael accompanies us The third archangel we celebrate today, the Pope said, is Raphael: “he walks with us taking care of us on our journey and helping us not take the wrong step”. These are our companions, Francis concluded, at our and at God’s service. And he prayed: “Michael: help us in our battle – each of us has a battle to fight in our lives; Gabriel: bring us news, bring us the good news of salvation; Raphael: take us by the hand and lead us forward without taking the wrong turning. Always walking forward, but with your help!”               (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope to focus on “fake news” in message for World Communications Day 2018‎

Fri, 09/29/2017 - 18:35
(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis will focus on the harmful effects of fake news against journalism for peace, in his message for peace for World Communications Day next year.  ““ The truth will set you free” (Jn 8:32). Fake news and journalism for peace, ” is the theme of the annual Catholic Church observance that the Pope announced with a post on Twitter (@Pontifex) on Friday. World Communications Day, the only worldwide celebration called for by the Second Vatican ‎Council ‎‎( “Inter Mirific a”, 1963), is marked in most countries, on the recommendation of the bishops of ‎the ‎world, on the Sunday before Pentecost, which in 2018 will fall on May 13.   In some countries, the day is marked as the solemnity of Ascension. The announcement of the ‎theme is traditionally made on Sept. 29 , the feast of the Archangels Michael, ‎Raphael and Gabriel, with ‎ Gabriel being designated the patron saint of telecommunications .  The Holy ‎Father's message for World ‎Communications Day is traditionally published in conjunction with January ‎‎24 , feast of St. Francis de ‎Sales , patron of journalists, to allow bishops' conferences, diocesan offices and ‎communications ‎organizations sufficient time to prepare audiovisual and other materials for national ‎and local ‎celebrations. ‎ ‎ The first World Communications Day was observed on May 7, 1967, under the pontificate of Blessed Pope Paul VI, who wanted to draw attention to the communications media and the enormous power they have for cultural transformation.  Next year’s observance will be the 52nd edition. Church's contribution Commenting on the theme of next year’s World Communications Day, the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communication said that false information contributes to creating and fueling strong polarization of opinions. This often consists in distortion of facts , with possible "repercussions on individual ‎and collective behaviours."  In a situation in which social media groups, institutions and the political world are reacting to this phenomenon, the Secretariat said, “the Church would like make its contribution by proposing a ‎ reflection on the causes, logic and consequences of misinformation in the media and helping to promote ‎professional journalism, always seeking the truth , and thus a journalism of peace that promotes ‎understanding among people .‎”   (from Vatican Radio)...

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