The Vatican Today

Subscribe to The Vatican Today feed
Updated: 25 min 56 sec ago

Pope Francis baptises 28 babies in the Sistine Chapel

Sun, 01/08/2017 - 19:26
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Sunday baptised 28 babies during Mass in the Sistine chapel, telling their families that Jesus’ first sermon was the sound of his crying in the stable at Bethlehem. Surrounded by the sounds of baby noises, the Pope gave a short, off-the-cuff homily on the faith which is given to children in Baptism. Faith, he said, does not just mean reciting the Creed on Sundays, but rather it means believing in the truth, trusting in God and teaching others with the example of our lives. Faith, the Pope continued, is also the light which grows in our hearts – that’s why a lighted candle is given to every person being baptized. In the early years of the Church, he noted, baptism was called ‘illumination’ to show the way in which faith helps us see things in a different light. To the parents who had brought their children to be baptized, he said “you have the task of making that faith grow, of nurturing it, so that it may bear witness to others”. As the sounds of crying grew louder, the Pope joked that the concert had begun. The babies are crying, he said, because they are in an unfamiliar place, or because they had to get up early, or sometimes simply because they hear another child crying. Jesus did just the same, Pope Francis said, adding that he liked to think of Our Lord’s first sermon as his crying in the stable. And if your children are crying because they are hungry, the Pope told the mothers present, then go ahead and feed them, just as Mary breastfed Jesus.  (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope Angelus: Choose to be guided by the star of Jesus

Fri, 01/06/2017 - 19:28
(Vatican Radio) "We learn from the Magi not to devote only spare time and some thoughts every now and then. Like the Magi, let us set out, clothe ourselves in the light following the star of Jesus, and love the Lord with all our might". Those were Pope Francis’ words to the thousands of people gathered in St. Peter's Square for the Angelus of the Epiphany, to which he donated a book on Mercy distributed by the poor attendance. Like the Magi chose to be guided by the star of Jesus - said the Pope, "even in our life there are several stars. It's up to us to choose which to follow." "There are flashing lights that come and go, like the small pleasures of life: although good, they are not enough… “ The Magi invite us to follow the true light that is Lord - said Pope Francis - "a light that does not dazzle, but it accompanies and gives a unique joy. Follow today, among the many shooting stars in the world, the bright star of Jesus! Following it, we will have the joy, like  that of the Magi. " "I would like, the Pope said, to invite everyone not to be afraid of this light and open up to the Lord. Above all I would say to those who have lost the strength to look, to those who, are dominated by the darkness of life, …Courage, the light of Jesus can overcome the darkest darkness. " "We learn from the Magi not to devote to Jesus only spare time and some thoughts every now and then…” Concluding the Angelus, Pope Francis donated to those present in St Peter’s Square a small booklet on Mercy which was distributed by more than 300 poor people present in St Peter's Square to whom the Pope offered lunch. "The Magi offered their gifts to Jesus, And speaking of gifts, I thought I'd give you a little gift: The "Icons of mercy" booklet. The gift of God is Jesus, the Father's mercy; and so, to remember this gift of God, I will give this gift that will be distributed by the poor, the homeless and refugees along with many volunteers and religious whom I cordially greet and thank you wholeheartedly. " (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope Epiphany: Magi personify all who believe and long for God

Fri, 01/06/2017 - 19:05
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Friday celebrated Mass for the feast of the Epiphany telling the faithful in St Peter's Basilica the Magi personify all those who believe and long for God. Listen to Lydia O'Kane's report: The 6th of January is synonymous with the Magi who, following a star are led to the Christ child in Bethlehem. And it was next to a manger containing the baby Jesus in St Peter’s Basilica that Pope Francis in his homily spoke about these three Kings who, he said, “personify all those who believe, those who long for God, who yearn for their home, their heavenly homeland.”  They reflect, he added,  “the image of all those who in their lives have not let their hearts become anesthetized.” Like these kings, the Pope explained, “a holy longing for God helps us keep alert in the face of every attempt to reduce and impoverish our life.  That longing keeps hope alive in the community of believers, which from week to week continues to plead: “Come, Lord Jesus”.” Longing for God, continued the Holy Father, “has its roots in the past yet does not remain there: it reaches out to the future.  Pope Francis said, “believers who feel this longing are led by faith to seek God, as the Magi did, in the most distant corners of history, for they know that there the Lord awaits them.  They go to the peripheries, to the frontiers, to places not yet evangelized, to encounter their Lord.” But the Pope noted, “an entirely different attitude reigned in the palace of Herod, … He slept, anesthetized by a cauterized conscience.  He was bewildered, afraid.  It is the bewilderment which, when faced with the newness that revolutionizes history, closes in on itself and its own achievements, its knowledge, its successes.”  A bewilderment, the Holy Father stressed,  “born of fear and foreboding before anything that challenges us, calls into question our certainties and our truths, our ways of clinging to the world and this life.”  The Magi, underlined Pope Francis, “had to discover that what they sought was not in a palace, but elsewhere, both existentially and geographically.  There, in the palace, they did not see the star guiding them to discover a God who wants to be loved.  For only under the banner of freedom, not tyranny, the Pope said, “is it possible to realize that the gaze of this unknown but desired king does not abase, enslave, or imprison us.” It is a merciful gaze, noted the Pope, that heals, forgives, and comforts those who suffer. What the Magi found in Bethlehem concluded Pope Francis. “was a promise of newness.  There something new was taking place.  The Magi were able to worship, because they had the courage to set out.  And as they fell to their knees before the small, poor and vulnerable Infant, the unexpected and unknown Child of Bethlehem, they discovered the glory of God.”   (from Vatican Radio)...

The Pope's homily on the feast of the Epiphany

Fri, 01/06/2017 - 16:49
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis presided over Mass for the feast of the Epiphany which was celebrated on Friday in St Peter's Basilica. Below is an English translation of the Pope's homily. “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews?  For we have observed his star in the East, and have come to worship him” (Mt 2:2). With these words, the Magi, come from afar, tell us the reason for their long journey: they came to worship the newborn King.  To see and to worship.  These two actions stand out in the Gospel account.  We saw a star and we want to worship. These men saw a star that made them set out.  The discovery of something unusual in the heavens sparked a whole series of events.  The star did not shine just for them, nor did they have special DNA to be able to see it.  As one of the Church Fathers rightly noted, the Magi did not set out because they had seen the star, but they saw the star because they had already set out (cf. Saint John Chrysostom).  Their hearts were open to the horizon and they could see what the heavens were showing them, for they were guided by an inner restlessness.  They were open to something new.              The Magi thus personify all those who believe, those who long for God, who yearn for their home, their heavenly homeland.  They reflect the image of all those who in their lives have let their hearts be anesthetized.             A holy longing for God wells up in the heart of believers because they know that the Gospel is not an event of the past but of the present.  A holy longing for God helps us keep alert in the face of every attempt to reduce and impoverish our life.  A holy longing for God is the memory of faith, which rebels before all prophets of doom.  That longing keeps hope alive in the community of believers, which from week to week continues to plead: “Come, Lord Jesus”.             This same longing led the elderly Simeon to go up each day to the Temple, certain that his life would not end before he had held the Saviour in his arms.  This longing led the Prodigal Son to abandon his self-destructive lifestyle and to seek his father’s embrace.  This was the longing felt by the shepherd who left the ninety-nine sheep in order to seek out the one that was lost.  Mary Magdalen experienced the same longing on that Sunday morning when she ran to the tomb and met her risen Master.  Longing for God draws us out of our iron-clad isolation, which makes us think that nothing can change.  Longing for God shatters our dreary routines and impels us to make the changes we want and need.   Longing for God has its roots in the past yet does not remain there: it reaches out to the future.  Believers who feel this longing are led by faith to seek God, as the Magi did, in the most distant corners of history, for they know that there the Lord awaits them.  They go to the peripheries, to the frontiers, to places not yet evangelized, to encounter their Lord.  Nor do they do this out of a sense of superiority, but rather as beggars who cannot ignore the eyes of those who for whom the Good News is still uncharted territory.             An entirely different attitude reigned in the palace of Herod, a short distance from Bethlehem, where no one realized what was taking place.  As the Magi made their way, Jerusalem slept.  It slept in collusion with a Herod who, rather than seeking, also slept.  He slept, anesthetized by a cauterized conscience.  He was bewildered, afraid.  It is the bewilderment which, when faced with the newness that revolutionizes history, closes in on itself and its own achievements, its knowledge, its successes.  The bewilderment of one who sits atop his wealth yet cannot see beyond it.  The bewilderment lodged in the hearts of those who want to control everything and everyone.  The bewilderment of those immersed in the culture of winning at any cost, in that culture where there is only room for “winners”, whatever the price.  A bewilderment born of fear and foreboding before anything that challenges us, calls into question our certainties and our truths, our ways of clinging to the world and this life.  Herod was afraid, and that fear led him to seek security in crime: “You kill the little ones in their bodies, because fear is killing you in your heart” (SAINT QUODVULTDEUS, Sermon 2 on the Creed: PL 40, 655).              We want to worship.  Those men came from the East to worship, and they came to do so in the place befitting a king: a palace.  Their quest led them there, for it was fitting that a king should be born in a palace, amid a court and all his subjects.  For that is a sign of power, success, a life of achievement.  One might well expect a king to be venerated, feared and adulated.  True, but not necessarily loved.  For those are worldly categories, the paltry idols to which we pay homage: the cult of power, outward appearances and superiority.  Idols that promise only sorrow and enslavement.             It was there, in that place, that those men, come from afar, would embark upon their longest journey.  There they set out boldly on a more arduous and complicated journey.  They had to discover that what they sought was not in a palace, but elsewhere, both existentially and geographically.  There, in the palace, they did not see the star guiding them to discover a God who wants to be loved.  For only under the banner of freedom, not tyranny, is it possible to realize that the gaze of this unknown but desired king does not abase, enslave, or imprison us.  To realize that the gaze of God lifts up, forgives and heals.  To realize that God wanted to be born where we least expected, or perhaps desired, in a place where we so often refuse him.  To realize that in God’s eyes there is always room for those who are wounded, weary, mistreated and abandoned.  That his strength and his power are called mercy.  For some of us, how far Jerusalem is from Bethlehem!              Herod is unable to worship because he could not or would not change his own way of looking at things.  He did not want to stop worshiping himself, believing that everything revolved around him.  He was unable to worship, because his aim was to make others worship him.  Nor could the priests worship, because although they had great knowledge, and knew the prophecies, they were not ready to make the journey or to change their ways.              The Magi experienced longing; they were tired of the usual fare.  They were all too familiar with, and weary of, the Herods of their own day.  But there, in Bethlehem, was a promise of newness, of gratuitousness.  There something new was taking place.  The Magi were able to worship, because they had the courage to set out.  And as they fell to their knees before the small, poor and vulnerable Infant, the unexpected and unknown Child of Bethlehem, they discovered the glory of God.  (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope meets with survivors of central Italy's earthquakes

Thu, 01/05/2017 - 19:38
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met on Thursday with hundreds of Italians from the archdiocese of Spoleto-Norcia, devastated by a series of powerful earthquakes over the past six months. The central Italian town of Amatrice and surrounding areas were hit by a 6.3 magnitude quake in August which killed nearly 300 people. Other powerful quakes caused major damage in the same region on October 26th and 30th, with the latest tremors reported in Spoleto last Monday, January 2nd. Listen to Philippa Hitchen's report:  Around 800 people, led by their Bishop Renato Boccardo and local civic authoraties, travelled to Rome for the audience in the Paul VI hall. Many of them had lost their houses, livelihoods and friends or family members in the largest earthquakes which reduced parts of many towns and villages to piles of rubble.   Pope Francis sat and listened as a survivor and a local parish priest described the immense suffering of people, now seeking to rebuild their shattered communities. In his off-the-cuff response, the Pope said the worst thing to do in such circumstances was to offer a prepared sermon, but instead he reflected on the work of physical, mental and spiritual reconstruction that has been taking place throughout the region. Pope Francis spoke of the wounds which have affected those who’ve lost their loved ones and the importance of crying together as they seek to heal the pain. He spoke too of the healing hands of doctors, nurses, firemen and all those who worked together to pull survivors from the rubble or offer help to those most in need. Finally the Pope spoke of the spirit of solidarity and nearness which is vital for the reconstruction process. While everyone affected by the earthquakes will continue to bear scars, he said it’s important to find the courage to dream again.  Sharing and remaining close together, he said, makes us more courageous and more human as we face this daunting task. The Pope’s words come three months after he made a surprise visit to Amatrice and two neighbouring towns to meet with survivors and relatives of victims. During the visit, he said he had not come to make speeches, but simply to be close to those suffering and to pray with all those affected by the earthquakes. (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope: fostering vocations requires passion and gratitude

Thu, 01/05/2017 - 17:52
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met on Thursday with participants in a Conference organized by the national Office for Pastoral Care for Vocations of the Italian Episcopal Conference. The theme of the conference is “Arise, go forth, and fear not. Vocations and sanctity: I am on a mission.” During the encounter, Pope Francis spoke off-the-cuff; his extemporaneous remarks will be published when they become available. Listen to Christopher Wells' report:  In prepared remarks, which were consigned to participants, the Pope said, “The complete and generous ‘yes’ of a life that is given is like a spring of water, hidden for a time deep within the earth, that is waiting to gush forth in a stream of purity and freshness.” Young people, he continued, “have a need to quench their thirst and then continue on their journey of discovery.” The duty of calling for and accompanying vocations requires “passion and a sense of gratitude”, the Pope said: the passion of personal involvement and care for those who are called; and gratitude “of service in the Church that involves great respect” for those who are called to be “companions on the journey.” “In order to be credible and to be in harmony with young people,” the Pope continued, it is necessary to be particularly devoted to listening, to be able to “waste time” in order to hear and understand the questions and desires of young people. Recalling the theme of the conference, Pope Francis said it is important to be convinced that “I am on a mission,” and not simply that “I have a mission.” “To be continually on a mission requires courage, daring, imagination, and a desire to go beyond, to go further,” again recalling the theme, “Arise, go forth, and fear not.” The Holy Father concluded his written remarks with the plea, “May we feel ourselves pushed by the Holy Spirit to identify new ways in the proclamation of the Gospel of vocation, to be men and women who, as sentinels, know how to welcome the rays of light of a new dawn, in a renewed experience of faith and of passion for the Church and for the Kingdom of God.” (from Vatican Radio)...

Pages