Vatican News

Pope Francis' prayer intention for June: Eliminate arms trade

Vatican News - Fri, 06/02/2017 - 09:52
(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis has released his video message accompanying his monthly prayer intention for June. This month’s intention is for the elimination of the arms trade. The text of the video message reads: "It is an absurd contradiction to speak of peace, to negotiate peace, and at the same time, promote or permit the arms trade. Is this war or that war really a war to solve problems or is it a commercial war for selling weapons in illegal trade and so that the merchants of death get rich? Let us put an end to this situation. Let us pray all together that national leaders may firmly commit themselves to ending the arms trade which victimizes so many innocent people." The Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network of the Apostleship of Prayer  developed the "Pope Video" initiative to assist in the worldwide dissemination of monthly intentions of the Holy Father in relation to the challenges facing humanity. (from Vatican Radio)...
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All set for the 2017 Uganda Martyrs Day celebration

Vatican News - Fri, 06/02/2017 - 09:20
Last minutes preparations are in full swing for the 2017 Uganda Martyrs Day celebration due Saturday, 3 June at Namugongo Catholic Shrine. The Chairperson of the Organising Committee, Dr Kiiza Aliba, who is also the Executive Secretary of the Justice and Peace Department of the Uganda Episcopal Conference, said that preparations are at the final stage with 95 percent of the work complete. “We only need some additional touches on technical aspects which will be finalised today, 2 June. So far we have already received thousands of pilgrims from within and outside the country, and more are still registering. We expect the Shrine to be flooded with millions of pilgrims by Saturday morning,” Aliba said. The Uganda Martyrs Day celebration usually attracts millions of enthusiastic pilgrims from across the world. The majority of these pilgrims often come to the shrine on foot as a demonstration of their faith. Others, use various means of transport to reach Namugongo shrine. Last year, Tanzania had the largest contingent of registered pilgrims (4,961) from the East African Community member countries besides hosts Uganda. Kenya had at least 4,000 registered pilgrims while 800 came from the Democratic Republic of Congo, 300 from Rwanda, 712 from Burundi, and 105 from South Sudan. Other international Pilgrims also came from the United States of America (7), Nigeria (117), Mexico (4), Malawi (100), Italy, Zambia, Australia, Singapore, South Africa, Ireland, United Kingdom, Germany, and Canada. The annual celebration commemorates the heroic faith of the 45 Martyrs, both Catholic and Anglican, who were burnt to death on the orders of Kabaka Mwanga II, then King of Buganda between 1885 and 1887. Twenty-two Catholic Martyrs were beatified on 6 June 1920, by Pope Benedict XV and on 18 October 1964, Pope Paul VI canonised them Saints. In addition to the Catholic Martyrs, there are two Catechists from Paimol: Blessed Daudi Okello and Blessed Jildo Irwa who were killed in 1918 and were beatified by John Paul II on October 20, 2002. Meanwhile, the Catholic faithful across Uganda will on Friday conclude a novena to the Uganda Martyrs. The nine-days of prayer started on Thursday, 25 May. Hundreds of pilgrims have also participated in the second ‘Walk of Faith pilgrimage’ which took place on Saturday 27 May. The ‘Walk of Faith’ pilgrimage was introduced in 2016 as part of the Uganda Martyrs celebrations. The walk started from Munyonyo Martyrs Shrine to St. Matia Mulumba Parish in Old Kampala, where St. Matia Mulumba (one of the Catholic martyrs) was killed. Uganda’s Diocese of Hoima will animate the 2017 Uganda Martyrs Day celebration under the theme, “Stand Firm in Faith That We Have Been Taught” (Colossians 2:7). A total budget of US$ 166,064 (Ugandan Shillings 597million) has been allocated for the preparation of this year’s event. (Jacinta W. Odongo/ Media Officer, Uganda Episcopal Conference) Email:       (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis holds audience with president of Latvia

Vatican News - Fri, 06/02/2017 - 09:07
(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis on Friday met with Raimonds Vējonis, President of the Republic of Latvia, and his wife, Iveta Vejone, in a private audience in the Vatican. A communique from the Holy See Press Office said, "During the cordial discussions, appreciation was expressed for the cordial bilateral relations and the positive contribution of the Catholic Church to Latvian society. Attention then turned to themes of common interest, such as the acceptance of migrants and the prospects for the future of the European project, focusing on the regional context." Mr. Vējonis then met with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State, and Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope at Mass: ‘Shepherd the people of God with humility’

Vatican News - Fri, 06/02/2017 - 07:47
(Vatican Radio)  Jesus entrusted his sheep to Peter, the most sinful of the remaining eleven apostles, and invited him to shepherd the People of God with humility and love, despite his mistakes and sins. That was Pope Francis’ message at Mass on Friday morning in the Casa Santa Marta. Listen to Devin Watkins’ report: Pope Francis commented on the Gospel of the day (Jn 21:15-19), in which the Risen Jesus converses with Peter on the lake shore where he had first been called. The Pope said it was a calm, serene dialogue between friends and took place in the atmosphere of the Resurrection. In that event, Jesus entrusts his sheep to Peter, asking him three times if he loved him. “Jesus,” the Pope said, “chose the most sinful from among the apostles. The others escaped but Peter denied him: ‘I don’t know him.’ And Jesus asked him, ‘Do you love me more than these?’ Jesus chose the worst sinner.” Shepherd the People of God with humility, despite mistakes The Holy Father said Jesus’ choice to choose the most sinful of the remaining eleven apostles to shepherd the People of God with love “makes us think”. “Do not shepherd with your head held high,” he said, “like a conqueror. No, shepherd with humility, with love, as Jesus did. This is the mission which Jesus gives to Peter. Yes, with sins and mistakes. In affirmation of this, right after this dialogue Peter slips up, makes a mistake, and is tempted by curiosity to say to the Lord, ‘But this other disciple, where will he go, what will he do?’ But with love, in the midst of his mistakes and sins… with love: ‘Because these sheep are not your sheep but mine,’ says the Lord. ‘Love. If you are my friend, you must be a friend to these.’” Peter chooses to be crucified with his head down Pope Francis then recalled how Peter denied Jesus before the High Priest’s servant and how Jesus looked at him in that moment, he who had just denied his Lord. But, he said, the apostle who is “courageous in denying is capable also of bitter tears”. “After an entire life spent in service of the Lord,” the Pope said, “his life ended like his Lord’s: on the cross. But he does not boast: ‘I end as did my Lord!’ Rather he asks, ‘Please, put me on the cross with my head down, so that at the very least it is seen that I am not the Lord but a servant.’ This is what we can learn from this beautiful, serene, friendly, and modest dialogue: We hold our heads high for the dignity that God gives us, but we lower our head, knowing that we are sinners and that the only Lord is Jesus; we are servants.” (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope sends condolences for death of Cardinal Husar

Vatican News - Thu, 06/01/2017 - 10:10
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a telegram his condolences on the death of His Beatitude, Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, Major Archbishop emeritus of Kyiv-Halyč. The telegram is addressed to Major Archbishop Sviatoslav (Shevchuk), Cardinal Husar’s successor as head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. The UGCC is the largest of the sui iuris Eastern Catholic Churches, with more than 4.5 million faithful. In the telegram, signed by the Pope himself, the Holy Father describes Cardinal Husar as a zealous pastor, and recalled “his tenacious faithfulness to Christ, despite the hardships and persecutions against the Church, as well as his fruitful apostolic activity to promote the organization of Greek Catholic faithful, descendants of families forced to leave western Ukraine, and his efforts to find new ways for dialogue and collaboration with the Orthodox churches.” Below, please find the full text of Pope Francis’ telegram of condolences for the death of His Beatitude Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, Major Archbishop emeritus of Kyiv-Halyč: His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk Major Archbishop of Kyiv-Halyč I have learned of the departure of Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, Major Archbishop emeritus of Kyiv-Halyč, and I raise fervent prayers to God that He may grant eternal repose to this zealous pastor. I unite spiritually with the faithful of this diocesan community where he exercised his pastoral ministry, endeavouring with care to serve the rebirth of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. I remember his tenacious faithfulness to Christ, despite the hardships and persecutions against the Church, as well as his fruitful apostolic activity to promote the organization of Greek Catholic faithful, descendants of families forced to leave western Ukraine, and his efforts to find new ways for dialogue and collaboration with the Orthodox churches. In expressing my condolences to the relatives of the departed cardinal, to the clergy and to those who were aided by his episcopal ministry, I wholeheartedly impart a consoling apostolic blessing, as a sign of faith and Christian hope in the risen Lord. Franciscus pp. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis meets with Dragan Čović in private audience

Vatican News - Thu, 06/01/2017 - 09:57
(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis on Thursday received in audience Dragan Čović, Croatian Member of the Collegial Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the Vatican Apostolic Palace. A statement from the Holy See Press Office said, "During the cordial discussions, satisfaction was expressed for the good bilateral relations, consolidated by the Basic Agreement of 2006, and the parties considered the situation of the country, the challenges it finds itself facing and its European aspirations, with an exchange of views on themes of interest such as peace, reconciliation, interreligious dialogue and the presence of the Catholic community in the country." It went on to say they also spoke about "various situations in currently international political affairs, with special reference to the regional context". Mr. Čović subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis to Clergy Plenary: prayer key to mission

Vatican News - Thu, 06/01/2017 - 08:47
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis addressed the participants in the Plenary Assembly of the Congregation for Clergy on Thursday. The Plenary Assembly opened on May 30 th , with a packed schedule that included the introduction, consideration, and discussion of several major documents, one of which was the draft text of an Instruction “On some questions regarding the parish, the ministry of the parish priest, the grouping (It. raggruppamento ) of parishes within the diocese, and some possible configurations of pastoral care” in light of Canon 517 , which deals with ways of organizing and managing parishes under circumstances in which there is a critical shortage of priests. Clergy Plenary in brief The Plenary Assembly was also slated to consider texts on subjects ranging from the rules regarding the incardination of clerics who are members of public associations of clergy, to the figure and role of the exorcist in diocesan ministry. Pope Francis focused his remarks on the recently promulgated document on priestly formation: the Ratio Fundamentalis Institutionis Sacerdotalis . Pope Francis to Clergy: allure of vocation and demands of priestly service Here, the Holy Father’s reflection turned on a two-pronged lynchpin: the allure of the priestly vocation and the demanding path of priestly ministry for which formation must prepare the one who is called. “It is necessary to admit that often young people are judged in a somewhat superficial way,” Pope Francis said, “and too easily they are labeled as a ‘liquid’ generation, devoid of passions and ideals.” While there certainly are some young people who are fragile, disoriented, fragmented or infected by the culture of consumerism and individualism, “[T]his must not prevent us from recognizing that young people are capable of ‘firmly’ betting on life and playing with generosity; of looking to the future and thus being an antidote to the resignation and loss of hope that marks our society; of being creative and imaginative, courageous in changing, magnanimous when it comes to spending themselves for others or for ideals such as solidarity, justice and peace.” “With all their limitations,” said Pope Francis, “[such young people] remain even today a resource.” The life of prayer was the key Pope Francis indicated to young priests, who might be concerned with regard to the management of the tension between the poles of the allure of the priestly vocation and the demands of the way of priestly service. Prayer the key “Pray tirelessly,” Pope Francis said, “because we can be ‘fishers of men’ only if we first recognize that we have been ‘fished’ by the tenderness of the Lord. Our vocation began when, abandoning the land of our individualism and personal projects, we walked on the ‘holy journey’ by handing ourselves over to the Love that sought us in the night and the Voice that made our heart quick.” “So,” he continued, “like the fishermen of Galilee, we left our nets to grab those that the Master delivered us. If we do not keep close to Him, our fishing will not be successful.” (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope on St Paul: model of preaching, persecution and prayer

Vatican News - Thu, 06/01/2017 - 08:32
(Vatican Radio) The life of St Paul, characterised by preaching, persecutions and prayer, can be a model for all Christians today. That was the theme of Pope Francis’ homily at his Santa Marta Mass on Thursday morning. Philippa Hitchen reports: Reflecting on the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, Pope Francis described St Paul as the ultimate action man. It’s hard to imagine him, relaxing under a beach umbrella, he said, because he was always on the go and rarely to be found sat in front of a desk. Passion for preaching Instead, the Pope said, St Paul was driven by a passion for preaching and was always on the move, announcing Jesus Christ to the world. This passion for preaching led to a second characteristic of the apostle’s life which was the persecutions he suffered at the hands of the religious leaders of his day. But the Pope noted how Paul was inspired by the Spirit and was able to sow divisions between the Sadducees, who didn’t believe in the Resurrection and the Pharisees, who did.   Resisting persecution Speaking in front of the Sanhedrin, Paul said: "My brothers, I am a Pharisee, the son of Pharisees; I am on trial for hope in the resurrection of the dead." Immediately an argument broke out, the Pope noted, because these custodians of the Law were all divided in their beliefs. They had lost their faith, he said, because they had transformed their laws and doctrine into ideologies. Man of prayer The third aspect of Paul’s life, which Pope Francis spoke about was that of prayer, of his intimate relationship with the Lord. Alongside this tireless mission of preaching to the ends of the earth and struggling against his persecutors, Paul displays a mystic dimension of his encounter with the Risen Christ, whom he first met on the road to Damascus. Paul’s strength, the Pope said, comes from being a man of prayer who constantly seeks and encounters the Lord. Pope Francis concluded with a wish that we too may be given the grace to learn these three attitudes of preaching, of resisting persecution and of encountering Christ through prayer. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis: The family, Europe's most precious treasure

Vatican News - Thu, 06/01/2017 - 07:34
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis received in audience on Thursday members of the European Federation of Catholic Family Associations or (FAFCE). The federation was meeting the Pope on the occasion of its 20th Anniversary. FAFCE represents Catholic family associations from 14 European countries and has participatory status with the Council of Europe. Listen to Lydia O’Kane’s interview with the President of the European Federation of Catholic Family Associations, Antoine Renard who spoke earlier this week about this important anniversary and the challenges facing the family today. In his prepared words to those gathered for this anniversary, Pope Francis said that the family was Europe’s most precious treasure. He continued by saying that families were not “museum pieces, but through them, the gift is made concrete in mutual commitment and generous openness to children, but also in service to society.”  Families, the Pope added, “are thus a kind of leaven that helps to make the world more humane and more fraternal, where no one feels rejected or abandoned.” Crises in the family During his speech Pope Francis noted that, “crises of different types are presently springing up in Europe, not least in the institution of the family.”  But, he said, “crises are incentives to work harder and better, with trust and hope.” The Holy Father noted four crises in particular that are affecting Europe at the present time, highlighting demographics, migration, employment and education.  He stressed that “these crises might find positive outcomes precisely in the culture of encounter, if different social, economic and political actors were to join in shaping policies supportive of families.”  In conclusion, the Holy Father said that families had much to learn from the wisdom of their elders. With this wisdom he underlined, “your service to the sacredness of life takes concrete form in the covenant between generations and in service to all, especially those most in need,... in defending the right to life of the unborn who have no voice, and in ensuring dignified living conditions for the elderly."              (from Vatican Radio)...
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