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Pope to Albanian bishops: Work for more priestly vocations

Wed, 05/31/2017 - 22:23
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has urged Albanian bishops to “work more intensely for vocations” and to be attentive to the dangers of a materialistic society. Speaking to the Albanian Bishops Conference on their ad limina visit, the Pope also asked them to form young people in Christian values to help them influence society for the better. Among the bishops was the Maltese Dominican Archbishop George Frendo, recently appointed to the Archdiocese of Tiranë-Durrës. Speaking to Vatican Radio’s Klaudia Bumci, the Archbishop said the prelates expressed concerns to Pope Francis about the financial situation of the Church in Albania which is “very poor”. Archbishop Frendo also spoke to the Pope of his worry about numbers of priests in his diocese. “We have the largest number of Catholics now – 150,000,” he said. “But in this big diocese I only have 30 priests. I have started making my pastoral visits and it’s really painful for me when I go to certain villages when the people tell me ‘Please, send us a priest’. But I cannot. We have a big shortage of priests.” Archbishop Frendo said that Pope Francis told the bishops to work at promoting vocations. “Sometimes it’s only a word of encouragement that is lacking,” the Archbishop added. Speaking about the Pope’s second priority of accompanying young people, Archbishop Frendo said: “We not only have to inform our youths but form them with that Christian spirit which will enable them in the future to influence more the Albanian society.” He said the Church needs young people to be more present in hospitals, universities, and political life. “Thirdly the Pope told us to pay attention, to be aware of what he called a worldly spirit, because it is quite easy for us to be influenced by a materialistic society, a consumerist society.” Instead, “we are to be always living images of the poor, Jesus Christ.” At the end of the ad limina audience, the bishops gave the Pope two books on the lives of the Blessed Albanian martyrs and an image of Our Lady of Good Counsel. Pope Francis urged all members of the Bishops Conference to “walk with hope, dreaming, and looking to the future.” Click here to listen to Archbishop George Frendo's interview with Vatican Radio’s Klaudia Bumci: (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope at Audience: Hope pushes us onward

Wed, 05/31/2017 - 19:34
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis continued his catechesis on Christian Hope at Wednesday’s General Audience, taking as his starting point a reading from St Paul’s Letter to the Romans: Rom 15, 13-14: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. I myself am convinced about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able to admonish one another. The Holy Father said that in light of the upcoming feast of Pentecost, “we cannot fail to speak of the relationship between Christian hope and the Holy Spirit.” Hope, he said, quoting the Letter to the Hebrews, can be compared to an anchor, but also to a sail; like an anchor it gives us security, but like a sail it pushes us forward. Pope Francis focused on the words “God of hope,” saying that God is not simply the object of hope; He also makes us “joyful in hope,” giving us here and now the joy of hoping, not just the hope of having joy in the future. This joy comes from knowing that we are made sons of God, and His heirs. Repeating a constant theme in his preaching, the Pope said that “hope does not disappoint,” because the Spirit is within us, always pushing us onward. But, he continued, the Holy Spirit does not simply give us hope. He also makes us capable of being “sowers of hope.” A Christian can spread bitterness and hopelessness, but one who does that is not a good Christian. Quoting Blessed John Henry Newman, the Pope said we must be “consolers” in the image of the Spirit, always ready to help those most in need. The Spirit, he said, also gives hope to all of creation, and this impels us to respect the world God has created. Pope Francis concluded his reflection by pointing once again to the Solemnity of Pentecost, the “birthday of the Church.” He prayed that the feast may find us united in prayer, with Mary, the Mother and Jesus and our Mother; and prayed, too, that the gift of the Spirit might make us abound in hope.  (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope Francis greets young people at Lednica Lake in Poland

Wed, 05/31/2017 - 17:36
(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis has greeted young people in Poland gathered for an annual prayer meeting at Lake Lednica, where Poland was “baptized” and became a Christian country in the person of its pagan leader Mieszko in 966. During his General Audience, Pope Francis asked Mary to guide the Lednica Youth Meeting , which this year carries the motto “Go forth and love”. He said when Mary heard this call in her heart, she “went to Elizabeth to share the joy of her encounter and to offer her tangible aid.” The Holy Father went on to call Zacchaeus the “second patron” of the meeting. He said Jesus “wishes to come to send you to your brothers, so that you share His love. He knows it isn’t easy, so he sends the Holy Spirit who will fill you with His strength”. The Lednica Youth Movement is a youth ministry promoted by the Dominican friars of Poland.   (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope Francis holds General Audience: English Summary

Wed, 05/31/2017 - 16:15
(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis continued his catecheses on Christian hope during his Wednesday General Audience in St. Peter's Square, reflecting on how the Holy Spirit makes us abound in hope as St. Paul writes in Romans 15,13-14. Please find below the official English-language synthesis of the Pope's catechesis: Dear Brothers and Sisters:  As we prepare to celebrate the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, our catechesis on Christian hope now turns to the Spirit and his saving work.  Saint Paul concludes his Letter to the Romans by praying that “the God of hope” will make us “abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Rom  15:13).  As a gift of the Spirit, hope is both an anchor (cf. Heb 6:18-19) giving us security amid the storms of life, and a “sail” driving us forward towards the safe harbour of eternal life.  The Spirit bears witness within our hearts to the consoling truth of God’s promises and the inheritance that awaits us as his beloved sons and daughters (cf. Rom 8:16).  Filled with this hope, we can become, in the words of Cardinal Newman, “consolers in the image of the Paraclete… advocates, helpers and bringers of comfort” to others.  The Spirit, who brings hope to all creation (cf. Rom 8:20-22), also inspires in us love and respect for this world in which we live.  May this Pentecost find us, like Mary and the Apostles, gathered in prayer, and may the gift of the Holy Spirit make us “abound in hope”. (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope Francis: 'Shepherds are not the centre of the Church'

Tue, 05/30/2017 - 19:27
(Vastican Radio) The true shepherd knows how to step down from his church, because he knows that he is not at the center of history, but is a free man who has served without compromises and without taking control of his flock. That was Pope Francis ’ message during his homily at Mass celebrated on Tuesday in the Vatican’s Santa Marta residence. Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni : “A shepherd must be ready to step down completely from his church, rather than leave in a partial manner” said the Pope. His words were drawn from the first reading at Mass, where St Paul addressed the church leaders in Ephesus.  The Pope said that this reading could easily be called “A bishop’s leave taking” because Paul has left the Church of Ephesus in order to go to Jerusalem, where the Holy Spirit called him to go. “All shepherds have to step down. There comes a moment where the Lord says ‘go to another place, come here, go there, come to me.’ And it’s one of the steps that a shepherd must take; be prepared to step down in the correct way, not still hanging on to his position. The shepherd who doesn’t learn how to do this because he still has some links with his sheep that are not good, links that are not purified by the Cross of Jesus” said Pope Francis. According to the Pope, St Paul had held a council with all the priests of Ephesus and during this council he had demonstrated three “apostolic attitudes.” The first of these is never turning back. The Pope said that this is the worst of all sins, to turn back. This is the thing which will bring much peace to the shepherd, when he remembers that he is not a shepherd who has led the church through compromising. Pope Francis admitted that this attitude requires much courage. The second attitude is obedience to the Spirit, without knowing what will happen. A shepherd must know that he is on a journey. The Pope said that Paul was a shepherd who serves his sheep. “Whilst guiding the Church he had an uncompromising attitude, at that moment it was the Spirit who asked him to go on his journey, without knowing what would happen to him. And he went because he had nothing of his own, he had not wrongly taken control of his sheep. He had served them. Paul said ‘Now God wants me to leave. I leave without knowing what will happen to me. I know only this - the Spirit had told him this - that the Holy Spirit had testified to me that trials and tribulations are awaiting me from city to city.’ This was what he (St Paul) knew. That I am not retiring. I am going away to serve other churches. The heart is always open to the voice of God, I am leaving this place, I will see what the Lord is asking of me. This is a shepherd without compromises who is now a shepherd on a journey.” The third attitude is “I do not consider my own life to be precious in any way. I am not the center of history. Whether it’s large history or small history, I am not the center, I am a servant” said the Pope. “With this most beautiful example, let us pray for our shepherds, for our parish priests, our bishops, the Pope, that their lives will be lives lived without compromise, lives on a journey and lives where they do not believe that they are the center of history and have learned how to step down. Let us pray for our shepherds.” (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope Francis meets with Canadian Prime Minister

Mon, 05/29/2017 - 22:09
(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis on Monday met with the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, and his wife, Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau, in a private audience in the Vatican. A communique from the Holy See Press Office said their discussions were "cordial". "[T]he good bilateral relations between the Holy See and Canada were evoked, along with the contribution of the Catholic Church to the social life of the country. The parties then focused on the themes of integration and reconciliation, as well as religious freedom and current ethical issues." The statement also said, "in the light of the results of the recent G7 summit, attention turned to various matters of an international nature, with special attention to the Middle East and areas of conflict." Mr. Trudeau met afterwards with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, and Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States. (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope: 'learn the language of the Holy Spirit'

Mon, 05/29/2017 - 21:12
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has urged Christians to engage with the Holy Spirit, and to open their hearts to the Spirit before taking important decisions. Speaking during the homily at morning Mass on Monday at the Casa Santa Marta , the Pope explained it is the Holy Spirit, which moves our hearts, inspires us and triggers emotions,. Looking ahead to Pentecost Sunday , the Pope said the Church is asking for prayers that the Holy Spirit may come into our hearts, into our parishes and into our communities. Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni : Drawing inspiration from the first reading of the day which, he said, could be called “the Pentecost of Ephesus” he explained that although the community in Ephesus had received the faith, it didn’t even know that the Holy Spirit existed.  “They were good people, people of faith” the Pope said, but they were not aware of this gift of the Father: “When Paul laid his hands on them the Holy Spirit came upon them and they began to speak in tongues”. The Holy Spirit moves the heart The Holy Spirit, the Pope said, moves hearts as we can read in the Gospels that tell of many people who are moved to approach Jesus, like Nicodemus, like the woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, like the Samaritan, like the sinner. Thus the Pope invited the faithful to ask themselves: ‘what place does the Holy Spirit have in my life?’. "Am I able to hear it? Am I able to ask for inspiration before taking a decision or doing something? Or is my heart quiet, lacking in emotion and turmoil?” he said. And he commented on the fact that “should an ECG be performed on some hearts, the result would be a flat line – totally lacking in emotion”. He said that even in the Gospels there are “still” hearts: “we think of the doctors of the law, they believed in God, they knew all the commandments, but their hearts were closed, they were “still”, they were not disturbed”.   Let yourself be engaged by the Holy Spirit The Pope exhorted the faithful to let themselves be “disturbed,” that is to ask the Holy Spirit to help them discern and not to have an “ideological faith”: "Let yourself be disturbed by the Holy Spirit: 'Eh, I felt this…  But Father, isn’t that being sentimental?' - 'No, it may be, but no. If you're on the right track, you're not being sentimental.’' You must be able to feel the urge to go and to visit that sick person or change your life…'” he said. The Pope said the Holy Spirit is the master of discernment. A person who does not have this kind of turmoil in his or her heart does not discern what is happening; he or she “is a person who has a cold faith, an ideological faith”. Ask yourself about your relationship with the Holy Spirit Pope Francis said the “drama” of the doctors of the law who were angry with Jesus derived from the fact that their hearts were closed to the Holy Spirit. “Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you on the path of life and of everyday life. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you the grace to distinguish good from less good, because it is easy to distinguish good from evil” he said. The Pope concluded urging the faithful to look into their hearts and open them to the Holy Spirit.  In the Revelation, the Pope said, the Apostle John begins by inviting the "Seven Churches" - the seven dioceses of that time - to listen to the Holy Spirit: “Let us too ask for the grace of being able to hear what the Spirit says to our Church, to our community, to our parish, to our family, and for the grace to learn the language with which to understand” he said. (from Vatican Radio)...

Mgr. Rugambwa opens the Assembly of the Pontifical Mission Societies

Mon, 05/29/2017 - 16:34
Rome - "Let us reflect together on the ‘mission heart of the Christian faith’ in the light of the Apostolic Missionary Exhortation of Pope Francis’ Evangelii Gaudium. Let us have the courage of conversion, discernment, and authentic reform of each of us and of the institutions we serve, that is to say the Pontifical Mission Societies". This is how His Exc. Mgr. Protase Rugambwa, Adjunct Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and President of the Pontifical Mission Societies , opened the works of the General Assembly of the PMS this morning, which will take place in Rome until Saturday, June 3 . In greeting and thanking all those who "work on behalf and in favor of the Pontifical Mission Societies", Archbishop Rugambwa emphasized: "In full communion with the Holy Father, Pope Francis, let us not stop animating each other so that without fear and with great joy, may the announcement of the risen Christ make the Church a community of reconciled, open to welcome everyone, always ready to bring and communicate to everyone the efficacy of salvation. No one is excluded, all at the heart of evangelization, so that Churches rediscover at the center of their Christian faith the only mission assigned to them by the Lord Jesus Christ. " Tracing a budget of the activities carried out in the past year, the President of the PMS cited the conclusion of the integration work in the Statutes of the texts concerning the Administrative Office and the Finance Committee; the establishment of a humanitarian disaster Committee; the Continental meeting of the National Directors of the PMS, which represent "an important tool for exchanging, verifying and growing of communion and unity at the service of mission and animation". Mgr. Rugambwa then announced the Holy Father's approval of the proposal to "convene an Extraordinary Missionary Month, in October 2019 to commemorate the centenary of the enactment of the encyclical Maximum illud and to promote the missionary commitment of the Church in line with Evangelii Gaudium". The General Assembly will dedicate some of the work to the topic by elaborating proposals for Missionary October 2019. The President also thanked the Commission that is working on the introduction of a common brand, "to help us better assert the unique identity of PMS internationally in respect of differences and local needs". In the second part of his speech, Mgr. Rugambwa focused on presenting some challenges, recalling his previous five-year intervention: "We have not yet exhausted our reflection and our discussion of the PMS as Societies which belong to the Pope and Bishops, the relationship between the Universal Mission of the Church and the PMS, their collocation and cooperation with other mission forces, civil law on charitable organizations, prospects and work plans". The Archbishop thus called for a frank and open confrontation, "on the future of institutions that cannot simply be dragged by the obsolete repetition of what has always been done", to have "boldness and creativity in discerning and rethinking our structures, styles and methods" to "rediscover the mission as the heart of the Christian faith". "At the center and at the outskirts of our work of animation, collection and distribution - he stressed - we must grow in greater harmony and cooperation thanks to an ever-changing conversion that overcomes inadequate and annoying forms of anti-evangelical attention-seeking behaviour". Mgr. Rugambwa thus concluded his speech: "These provocations require to be better reflected, thought, analyzed, and prayed. It is not about doing everything and immediately. This is not a violent distortion. It is rather a change of mentality and modes of the apostolic work of the Pontifical Mission Societies. The more we focus on our interest, our passion, the true needs of the mission, the more our conversion takes place, to end protagonism and begin the ecclesial, fraternal and evangelical service that saves". ...

Pope says murdered Copts are martyrs and prays for conversion of terrorists

Sun, 05/28/2017 - 20:12
(Vatican Radio) On the second day running, Pope Francis has expressed his solidarity with Egypt's Coptic Christians following an attack on a bus carrying Coptic pilgrims to a remote desert monastery. Leading thousands of pilgrims in the Regina Caeli prayer in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday, the Pope said he wished to express, yet again, his closeness to his dear brother, Pope Tawadros II and to the whole Egyptian nation that two days ago suffered “another act of ferocious violence.” “The victims, amongst which were also children, were killed after having refused to renounce their Christian faith” he said. The Pope prayed that the Lord “may welcome these courageous witnesses, these martyrs, in his peace and convert the hearts of the terrorists”. The Islamic so-called State group claimed responsibility for Friday's attack, which killed 29 people. On Saturday during a visit to Genoa, Francis prayed for the victims and lamented that there were more martyrs today than in early Christian times.   (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope Francis prays for victims of Manchester attack

Sun, 05/28/2017 - 19:49
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Sunday asked for prayers for the victims of the Manchester concert attack and decried how “so many young lives were cruelly broken”. Speaking to the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Regina Caeli, Pope Francis also said he is “close to the relatives and all those who are weeping for the dead.” British investigators are still looking for other suspects in the May 22 bombing at an Ariana Grande concert that killed 22 people. Police have 11 suspects in custody but are looking for other members of the network of attacker Salman Abedi, a 22-year-old Briton of Libyan descent   (from Vatican Radio)...

The power of Christians lies in prayer and preaching – Pope in Genoa

Sun, 05/28/2017 - 00:28
“Christian prayer is not a way of being a little bit at peace with oneself or finding some interior harmony; we pray in order to bring all to God, to entrust the world to Him,” Pope Francis said on Saturday.  He was delivering a homily at an evening Mass in the Italian port city of Genoa.  The Mass at the Kennedy Square seafront was the final event of his day-long visit to the city, during which he met the clergy and religious, youth, prisoners, children and staff of a pediatric hospital and lunched with the poor and the marginalized.    Prayer – God's power and strength Commenting on the scripture readings of Sunday, the Pope explained that in Christ’s Ascensio n “the power of Jesus, the strength of God” is revealed that has “linked earth with heaven for us”.  And this power continues even today and will last forever in Christ’s unceasing prayers and intercession for us before the Father, every moment….especially at every Mass.   And  “Jesus has gifted this capacity to intercede also to us, to his Church, that has the power and also the duty to intercede and pray for all.” The power of prayer lies in anchoring ourselves on God with our burdens, persons and situations in order not to be submerged by what he described as this “evil of living”.  Prayer allows God to enter our time.   “ Prayer is intercession. It’s not tranquility, it’s charity ,” the Pope stressed.  The Pope said our power lies not in triumphing or shouting loud according to the logic of the world but in exercising the ‘gentle power of prayer’, with which one can even stop wars and obtain peace.  Proclamation - reachig out, not closed in Another power of Jesus revealed in the Ascension is that of proclamation.   When Jesus sent his disciples to proclaim Him with the power of the Holy Spirit, He trusted us with all our shortcomings.  And in this, a great imperfection that we need to overcome immediately is that of closing ourselves.  It’s because the Gospel cannot be shut in and sealed, because God's love is dynamic and wants to reach others .  Hence to proclaim Him, one needs to go out, come out of oneself. With the Lord is it is forbidden to relax in acquired comforts.  A Christian is always on the move with the Lord towards other.  He is a pilgrim, a missionary, a hopeful marathon man, gentle but intent on walking, the Pope said.  The Lord desires that the proclamation goes ahead with his strength, not with that of the world, with the limpid and meek strength of joyful witnessing.   This, the Pope said, is urgent.  (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope Francis visits Genoa's Giannina Gaslini Pediatric Hospital

Sat, 05/27/2017 - 23:12
“Faith works primarily through charity and without it, it is dead. So I encourage you to carry out your delicate work motivated by charity", said Pope Francis  to the staff members of  “Giannini Gaslini” Pediatric Hospital during his day long visit to the Italian city of Genoa on Saturday.   The Pope said that he couldn’t miss this visit where children are cared for, because the suffering of children is certainly something very difficult to accept. And added that  it is there that the Lord called him to be,  though briefly, close to the children and their relatives.  "Often and again I ask myself: 'Why do children suffer?', and I don't find any explantion," the Pope said.  "I only look at the crucifix and stand still there."  Pope Francis commended the devoted service of the hospital staff, the President of the Foundation, the Archbishop of Genoa, physicians, paramedics,  the various specialized staff, as well as the Cappucchin Friars Minor and all those who assist and help the children with love and dedication and said that they in fact also need their  gestures of friendship, of  understanding, of affection and paternal and maternal support. This institute is an act of love of Senator Gerolamo  Gaslini he said who in honour of his daughter who died of a tender age had founded the hospital by sacrificing all he had: companies, establishments, property, money, and even his home. This is why this hospital is known and appreciated in Italy and around the world and has a special role of continuing to be a symbol of generosity and solidarity he said.   In founding of the Hospital he observed, Gaslini said: "It is my firm will that this Institute has the Catholic faith as its foundation and guide [...] that it ferments every activity and comforts every pain." The pope called them to  often think of the "good Samaritan" of the Gospel- attentive to the needs of their small patients, accepting tenderly  their fragility, and seeing the Lord in them. Whoever serves the sick with love serves Jesus who opens the Kingdom of Heaven he affirmed. The Pope hoped that the Hospital, faithful to its mission, will continue its appreciated work of care and research through the generous and disinterested contribution and contribute to all categories and at all levels. He concluded assuring the staff, patients and their relatives of his prayer and blessings. Earlier on Wednesday linking-up live via telephone to a parish radio in Genova that broadcasts a Wednesday weekly programme especially dedicated to the children’s hospital, Pope Francis told the little patients that it is with joy that he is preparing to be with them. "Istituto Giannina Gaslini" is a tertiary level pediatric hospital affiliated to the University of Genoa and  is considered one of the foremost children’s hospitals in Europe and is formally recognized as a Scientific Institute for Research, Hospitalization and Healthcare. (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope to Genovese clergy: creative fidelity key to mission

Sat, 05/27/2017 - 19:27
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met with the bishops, priests, religious and seminarians of the Archdiocese of Genoa and the whole region of Liguria on Saturday, during the course of a one-day pastoral visit. The questions from clergy and religious came from two secular priests, Don Andrea Carcasole and Don Pasquale Revello: the President of the Italian Union of Women Religious Superiors for the Liguria Region; and  Fr. Andrea Caruso, O.F.M. Cap. Their queries focused on the search for ways to maintain hope and nourish the interior life of faith in today’s frenetic world – and the Holy Father’s responses centered on the imitation of Christ, the fostering of a sense of fraternity among the clergy and of genuine diocesan ecclesial unity, and the cultivation of a rich, mission-focused interior life of prayer. “What we want,” said Pope Francis, “is pastoral conversion, missionary conversion.” The Pope also condemned the practice – diffuse in Latin America and at one time not too long ago present also in Italy and other places, of encouraging poor young women to join a religious congregation as novices – often in order to shore up diminishing numbers – and then to abandon the girls and young women for whom religious life is not their calling. “It is a scandal,” said Pope Francis. “Work [to foster vocations – (It. lavoro vocazionale )] is difficult, but we must do it,” he said. “It is a challenge,” Pope Francis continued. “We need to be creative.” (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope Francis in Genoa: Work essential to human flourishing

Sat, 05/27/2017 - 17:30
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis began an intense day-long pastoral visit to Genoa on Saturday morning, with a meeting with workers, management, industrialists, union leaders and representatives of unemployed persons at the ILVA steel works in the city. World of Labour Pope Francis’ meeting with the world of labour included four questions regarding the issues ranging from the challenges of ossified and unresponsive bureaucracy to the dehumanizing effects of technology and large forces on the workplace and the labour market: one each from a worker, an entrepreneur, a business-owner, and a union representative. Right and Duty to Work for All In each of his responses, Pope Francis focused on the primacy of the human person over the reality and rights of labour and capital, insisting that only a correct vision of human nature can inform and direct our efforts to build a just and harmonious society. The Pope also insisted forcefully on work as something given to man in the order of creation, and essential to genuine human flourishing. “It is necessary, therefore, to look fearlessly and a sense of responsibility on the technological transformations of the economy and of life, he said, “without resigning ourselves to the ideology that seems to be gaining a foothold wherever one looks, which envisions a world in which only a half or maybe two-thirds of employable people actually work, and the others maintained with a welfare cheque.” “It must be clear,” Pope Francis continued, “that the true objective to reach is not ‘income for all’ but ‘work for all’.” Also on the Agenda With a departure at 7AM, the schedule of the visit to the northern Italian port city on the Ligurian coast included five other major appointments, in addition to the meeting with the “world of labour”: With the Bishops, priests, seminarians, and religious of Liguria, along with lay curial collaborators and representatives of other religious confessions at the Cathedral of San Lorenzo; An encounter with young people attached to the Diocesan Mission at the Marian Sanctuary of the Madonna della Guardia; Lunch at the sanctuary with a number of poor and homeless persons, refugees, and prisoners; A moment with children from the various departments of the Giannina Gaslini Pediatric Hospital; Solemn Mass at the Piazzale Kennedy, named for the first Catholic President of the United States. We will be brining you coverage of the trip throughout the day. (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope meets with steel workers in Italian port city of Genoa

Sat, 05/27/2017 - 14:37
Pope Francis has begun a one-day visit to the northern Italian port city of Genoa to meet with workers, poor and homeless people, refugees and prisoners. His opened his visit at ILVA, a troubled steel-making company, where workers in hard hats awaited him. The visit puts a focus on the plight of workers whose lives have been made precarious by years of economic crisis. He traveled through a large factory hall in a small electric car, waving and reaching out to shake hands with admirers, many of whom held small white-and-yellow papal flags. People snapped photos with smart phones and said ``viva il papa!'' _ which means ``long live the pope!'' Later the pontiff is to also meet with poor and homeless people as well as refugees and prisoners....

Pope Francis: condolences for murder of Coptic Christians

Sat, 05/27/2017 - 13:46
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a telegram to Egypt's President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, expressing condolences over the murder of dozens of Coptic Christians in Egypt, and condemning the killings as "[a] senseless act of hatred." As many as 10 gunmen opened fire on a bus carrying Coptic Christians on pilgrimage to the monastery of St. Samuel the Confessor some 140km from the capital, Cairo, killing at least 28 of them and injuring some 23 others. Many of the victims were women and children. In the telegram, signed by the Holy See's Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Pope Francis promises prayers for the deceased and for their loved ones, as well as for the whole people of Egypt. Please find the full text of the telegram, below... ********************************* His Excellency Abdel Fattah Al Sisi President of the Arab Republic of Egypt Cairo Deeply saddened to learn of the barbaric attack in central Egypt and of the tragic loss of life and injury caused by this senseless act of hatred, Pope Francis expresses his heartfelt solidarity with all those affected by this violent outrage.  Mindful in a particular way of those children who have lost their lives, His Holiness commends the souls of the deceased to the mercy of the Almighty.  He assures their grieving families and all who have been injured of his ardent prayers, and he pledges his continued intercession for peace and reconciliation throughout the nation. Cardinal Pietro Parolin Secretary of State (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope urges sisters to be 'missionaries without frontiers'

Fri, 05/26/2017 - 20:59
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met on Friday with the Little Missionary Sisters of Charity who are holding their 12th General Chapter in Rome this month. The theme of their assembly is focused on the need “to give oneself completely to God, to be completely given to one’s neighbour: missionary disciples and joyful witnesses to charity in the suburbs of the world”. Listen to our report: In his words to the sisters, Pope Francis noted that their institute, founded by Don Luigi Orione, is dedicated to caring especially for the poor and most marginalized members of society. Thanking them for the work they do, the Pope urged them to be "missionaries without frontiers", bringing God’s love and mercy to all they meet. Be bold and creative Missionaries, he said, are called to be bold and creative people, capable of rethinking “the goals, structure, style and method” of their mission. We are living, he stressed, in a time when “it is necessary to rethink everything in light of what the Spirit is asking us”. Be free from all ties Pope Francis said missionaries are also called to be free and able to live with nothing but the word of the Lord to sustain them. He urged the sisters to free themselves from all material or emotional ties which hinder them from setting out on their missionary journey. Be led by the Spirit As missionaries, he continued, you are called to be filled with the Spirit, letting yourselves be guided as you bring the Gospel to the most unlikely places. Be prophets of mercy Finally, Pope Francis told the sisters they are called to be prophets of mercy, letting themselves be provoked by the call for help from so many situations of pain and suffering. Together with the other institutes founded by Don Orione, he urged them to work together in a spirit of encounter and cooperation as they share God’s love and forgiveness with all who are searching for Him in today’s world. (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope: The Christian's gaze is on heaven, his feet on earth

Fri, 05/26/2017 - 20:12
(Vatican Radio) The Christian’s place is in the world, in order to proclaim Jesus; but his gaze is turned to heaven in order to be united to Him: that was the message of Pope Francis at the morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta on Friday. Galilee, the place of the first encounter with Jesus The Scriptures, Pope Francis said in his homily, give us three words, three points of reference for the Christian journey. The first word is “ memory .” The risen Jesus tells the disciples to go before Him to Galilee, and this was the first encounter with the Lord. Each one of us “has his own ‘Galilee,’” where Jesus shows Himself for the first time, where we have known Him and have had “this joy, this enthusiasm for following Him.” In order “to be a good Christian it is necessary to always have this memory of the first encounter with Jesus, or of subsequent encounters.” It is “the grace of memory” which in “the moment of trial gives me certainty.” A gaze fixed in heaven, our feet in the world The second point of reference is “ prayer .” When Jesus ascended into heaven, the Pope explained, He did not break off His relationship with us: “Physically, yes, but He is always joined to us by interceding for us. He shows the Father His wounds, the price He has paid for us, for our salvation.” And so “we must ask for the grace to contemplate heaven, the grace of prayer, the relationship with Jesus in prayer, that in the moment He hears us, He is with us”: “Then there is a third [point of reference]: “ the world .” Jesus, before He left them—as we heard yesterday in the Gospel of the Ascension—says to the disciples: ‘Go into the world and make disciples.’ Go: the Christian’s place is in the world in order to proclaim the Word of Jesus, in order to say that we are saved, that He is come to give us grace, to bring us all with Him before the Father.” Memory, prayer, and mission This, the Pope said, is “the topography of the Christian spirit,” the three points of reference of our life: memory, prayer, mission; and the three words for our journey: Galilee, heaven, the world: “A Christian must move in these three dimensions, and request the grace of memory: saying to the Lord, ‘Don’t let me forget the moment when You chose me, don’t let me forget the moment we met.’ Then, praying, looking to heaven because He is there, interceding. He intercedes for us. And then, going on mission: that is, not saying that everyone has to go to the foreign missions; [rather] going on mission is living and bearing witness to the Gospel, it is making Jesus known to all people. And doing so through witness and through the Word: because if I tell people about Jesus, and about the Christian life, and then live like a pagan, that won’t do. The mission will not go forward.” The Christian life is joyful If, instead, we live in memory, in prayer, and on mission, Pope Francis concluded, the Christian life will be beautiful, and also joyful: “And this is the final word Jesus speaks to us today in the Gospel: ‘On that day, the day in which you live the Christian life in this way, you will know all things and no one will be able to take your joy away from you.” No one, because I have the memory of my encounter with Jesus; I have the certainty that Jesus is in heaven in this moment and He is interceding for me, He is with me; and I prayer and I have the courage to speak, to go out of myself, and to speak to others and bear witness with my life that the Lord is risen, He is alive. Memory, prayer, mission. May the Lord give us the grace to understand this topography of the Christian life and to go forward with joy, with that joy that no one can take from us.” (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope makes surprise telephone call to sick children in Genoa

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 20:54
(Vatican Radio) On Saturday, May 27th, Pope Francis will travel to the northern Italian city of Genoa for a one-day apostolic visit . One of the highlights of the day will undoubtedly be represented by his meeting with sick children and their families in the “Giannina Gaslini” Paediatric Hospital. Awaiting Francis’ visit, many of the little patients have been busy preparing small gifts and messages, but meanwhile,  the Pope himself decided to surprise them ahead of time with a personal greeting. Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni : Linking-up live via telephone to a parish radio in Genoa that broadcasts a Wednesday weekly programme especially dedicated to the children’s hospital, Pope Francis told the little patients that it is with joy that he is preparing to be with them. “Dear children of the Gaslini Hospital in Genoa, I greet you all with affection” he said. The Pope said he is coming to be close to them, to listen to them, and to bring the caress of Jesus. “He is always close to us especially when we are in difficulty and in need. He always gives us trust and hope” he said. Pope Francis concluded his call with assurances that he is praying for the sick children and their families, and as he always does, he asked them to pray for him!         Established in 1931, the Istituto Giannina Gaslini is a tertiary level paediatric hospital affiliated with the University of Genoa. It is considered one of the foremost children’s hospital in Europe and it is formally recognized as a Scientific Institute for Research, Hospitalization and Healthcare. (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope Francis: Jesus journeys with us even in bad times

Wed, 05/24/2017 - 23:28
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has told pilgrims that God walks with us always, “even in the most painful moments” of our lives as he did with the disciples on the road to Emmaus.  Pope Francis continued his series of reflections on Christian hope at his Wednesday General Audience shortly after his meeting with US president Donald Trump. The Pope spoke about the disciples’ meeting with Jesus on the Road to Emmaus, in Luke’s Gospel, as “a journey of hope”.  He told pilgrims gathered in St Peter’s Square that Christians today are a bit like those two disciples: so often we find ourselves “a step away from happiness” but then experience sadness and disappointment. The Pope said Jesus’ accompaniment of the two disciples shows a “therapy of hope” which “gradually opens us to trust in God’s promises”. Hope, the Pope said, is “never a small price” to pay and always involves defeats and sufferings. However, walking with the disciples in a discreet way, he said, Jesus is able to rekindle their hope. Pope Francis explained that it was only when the disciples witnessed Jesus breaking the bread that he is revealed to them as the Risen Lord, who is present in their midst. This, the Pope said, “shows us the importance of the Eucharist in which, like the bread, Jesus ‘breaks our lives’ and offers them to others”. Noting how the disciples return to Jerusalem after their encounter with the Risen Lord to proclaim the good news, the Pope said that “we too are sent forth to encounter others, to hear their joys and sorrows, and to offer them words of life and hope, based on God’s unfailing love.” “All of us,” the pope said, have had difficult and dark times, when there is “just a wall in front” of us. But “Jesus is always beside us to give us hope, warm our hearts and say, "Go forward, I'm with you. Go forward.” Listen to Richard Marsden’s report here:   (from Vatican Radio)...

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