Vatican News

Pope Francis speaks with ISS commander and crew

Vatican News - Thu, 10/26/2017 - 09:37
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis spoke via satellite link with the crew of the International Space Station on Thursday. Astronaut Randolph Bresnik of the US commands the current, 53rd ISS expedition, which has a complement of 5 mission specialists: Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli; Russian astronauts Sergey Ryanzansky and Alexander Misurkin; and US astronauts Joe Acaba and Mark Vande Hei. Click below to hear our report The video link-up lasted about 20 minutes, with the Holy Father speaking to the astronauts from the "auletta" of the Paul VI Hall, in the presence of the President of the Italian Space Agency (ASA), Roberto Battiston, and the Director of Earth Observation Programmes of the European Space Agency (ESA), Josef Aschbacher. During the course of the virtual visit, Pope Francis asked questions of the astronauts, on topics ranging from the place of humanity in the universe, to the difference in perspective that living on the ISS brings, to the role of the "That Love which moves the sun and the other stars," in their work of understanding, to their reasons for desiring to explore space. Watch the full video below... (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope at daily Mass: Easy-going Christians don't exist

Vatican News - Thu, 10/26/2017 - 06:58
(Vatican Radio) “Jesus calls us to change our lives, to change paths, calls us to conversion .” And this means fighting against evil, even in our own hearts, “a struggle that does not give you ease, but gives you peace.” That was the message of Pope Francis in his reflection during the morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta . Inspired by the day’s Gospel , Pope Francis explained that this is the “fire” that Jesus sets on earth – a fire, he said, that calls for change: “Changing our way of thinking, changing our way of feeling. Your heart, which was worldly, pagan, now becomes Christian with the strength of Christ: to change, this is conversion. And changing your manner of acting: your works must change.” It is, he continued, a conversion that “involves everything, body and soul, everything.” Pope Francis emphasized: “It is a change, but it is not a change that is made with make-up. It is a change that the Holy Spirit makes, within. And I have to make it mine so that the Holy Spirit can act. And this means a battle, fighting!” “Easy-going Christians, who don’t fight, don’t exist,” the Pope added. “Those are not Christians, they are lukewarm .” The tranquility necessary for sleep can be found “even with a pill,” he said, “but there are no pills” for inner peace. “Only the Holy Spirit,” can give “that peace of the soul that gives strength to Christians.” And, he said, “we must help the Holy Spirit,” by “making space in our hearts.” A daily examination of conscience “can help us in this,” the Pope said. It can help us “to fight against the maladies the enemy sows,” which he called “maladies of worldliness .” “The fight Jesus wages against the devil, against evil, is not something old, it is a modern thing, a thing of today, of all days,” Pope Francis said, because “the fire that Jesus has come to bring us is in our hearts.” And so we must allow Him to enter, and must “ask ourselves, each day: how have I passed from worldliness, from sin, to grace? Have I made room for the Holy Spirit, so that He could act?” “The difficulties in our lives are not resolved by watering down the truth. The truth is this: Jesus has brought fire, and struggle. What am I going to do?” For conversion, Pope Francis concluded, “a generous and faithful heart” is needed: “generosity that always comes from love,” and “is faithful, faithful to the Word of God.” Listen:  (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis receives Church of Scotland delegation

Vatican News - Thu, 10/26/2017 - 06:39
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Thursday addressed representatives from the Church of Scotland telling them that the mutual purification of memory is one of the most significant fruits of our common ecumenical journey. Listen to our report:  In his remarks to representatives of the Church of Scotland on Thursday, Pope Francis recalled that their meeting was taking place during the fifth centenary of the Reformation, which the Holy Father himself joined in commemorating last year in Lund, Sweden. Fraternity The Pope then gave thanks to the Lord for was he called “the great gift of being able to live this year in true fraternity, no longer as adversaries, after long centuries of estrangement and conflict.” He went on to say that,  “this has been possible, with God’s grace, by the ecumenical journey that has enabled us to grow in mutual understanding, trust and cooperation.  “ The mutual purification of memory is one of the most significant fruits of this common journey , the Holy Father said, adding, the past cannot be changed, yet today we at last see one another as God sees us.” Addressing those gathered, Pope Francis underlined that “in the spirit of the Gospel, we are now pursuing the path of humble charity that leads to overcoming division and healing wounds.  He continued, we have begun a dialogue of communion, employing language befitting those who belong to God.  Such language is essential to evangelization , for how can we proclaim the God of love if we do not love one another?” Persecuted Christians During his discourse, the Pope turned his attention in particular to  those Christians who today face grave trials and sufferings, enduring persecution for the name of Jesus.  The Holy Father said, “so many of them bear a heavy cross as they profess their faith, many to the point of martyrdom.  He also emphasized that the dialogue directed to full unity, “our witness and our shared service, our commitment to pray for one another and to overcome the wounds of the past were also a response that is owed to them.” Concluding his remarks Pope Francis expressed the hope that the journey to visible unity would continue daily and “bear rich fruits for the future, as it has in the recent past.” (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope at General Audience: ‘he who knows Jesus will never despair’

Vatican News - Wed, 10/25/2017 - 06:57
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has told the faithful never to despair, as the Lord’s grace is always present to those who put their trust in him. The Pope’s was speaking to the faithful at the Wednesday General Audience , during which he continued his catechesis on Christian hope. Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni : Pope Francis greeted the crowds in St. Peter’s square telling them that this is the last catechesis on the subject of Christian hope, which has accompanied us since the beginning of the liturgical year.  And so, he said: “I will end by talking about heaven, as the goal of our hope”. Paradise "Paradise" the Pope said is one of the last words spoken by Jesus on the cross when he addresses the good thief.  Reflecting on that scene from the Gospel, the Pope said “Jesus is not alone. Next to him, right and left, there are two offenders”. Perhaps, he said, passing in front of those three crosses hoisted on Golgotha, someone may even have breathed a sigh of relief thinking that justice was finally done. In fact, Francis said “On Calvary, on that tragic and Holy Friday, for Jesus it was the extreme moment of solidarity with sinners. As the prophet Isaiah said: “He was counted among the ungodly.” Pope Francis remarked that it is interesting to note that this is the only instance in which the word “Paradise” appears in the gospels. The good thief He recalled the “poor devil” who, on the cross, had the courage to express the most humble of wishes: “Remember me when you enter into your kingdom.” “He did not have good deeds to assert, he had nothing, but he put his trust into Jesus, and his humble words of repentance were enough to touch the heart of Jesus” he said. This tells us, he said, that the Lord’s solidarity with us sinners culminated on the cross where, in one of his final acts, he opened the gates of heaven to a repentant criminal. Trust in God's mercy Thus, at the heart of the Pope’s catechesis was the message that we can only trust in God’s mercy, and, at every hour of our life, turn to him with hope in his promises.  This miracle, he said, is repeated countless times in hospitals and prison cells: “there is no person, no matter how bad, to whom grace is denied” God, he said, desires that nothing be lost of what he has redeemed.   No one must despair  “No one, he explained, should despair, for his grace is always present to those who put their trust in him”. Paradise, Francis continued, is not a fairy tale, nor is it an enchanted garden. Paradise is an embrace with God, it is infinite Love, it is a place we enter thanks to Jesus, who died on the cross for us. “Where there is Jesus, there is mercy and happiness; without Him there is the cold and darkness” he said. Love and charity never end If we believe this, the Pope said, we stop being afraid of death and we can hope to leave this world in a serene and trusting way. “At the hour of death, a Christian must say to Jesus: ‘Remember me’ and even if there is no one who remembers us, Jesus is there, beside us” he said.  At that moment, the Pope concluded, we will no longer need anything, we will not see in a confused way, we will not weep unnecessarily, because everything will be gone except for love that remains because: “charity never ends”. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis tells Canadian youth in video message to ‘build bridges’

Vatican News - Tue, 10/24/2017 - 10:00
(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis has sent a video message to the young people of Canada gathered in preparation for the Synod of Bishops 2018. The Holy Father invited them to build bridges through social communications, without letting their youthful enthusiasm for the Gospel be snuffed out. Listen to Devin Watkins’ report: In his video message to the young people of Canada, Pope Francis reflected on the “marvels of technology” which now allow “encounters and exchanges that were unthinkable until a short while ago.” He invited them to use new channels of communication positively and “not to let them be ruined by those bent only on exploiting and destroying them”. Spread youthful joy of Gospel Rather, the Pope told them to flood the places they live “with the joy and enthusiasm” typical of their age and “to water the world and history with the joy of the Gospel”. He said this is possible only through an encounter with Jesus, “who has intrigued you and drawn you to be with him”, he said. “Don’t let your youth be stolen from you,” Pope Francis told the young people of Canada. “Don’t build walls of division. Build bridges, like this one which you are crossing and which allows you to communicate from the shores of two oceans.” Ever-present call to discipleship Pope Francis went on to remind them that Jesus’ call to discipleship can never be drowned out by the noise of modern communications. “Jesus turns his gaze to you and invites you to come to him… Have you heard his voice?... I’m sure that, even though din and daze seem to reign in the world, this call continues to sound in your being, calling you to open up to the fullness of joy.” This, he said, is possible only when they have sought out expert spiritual guides “to discover God’s project” for their life. Courageous young people Pope Francis also told the young people that the Church needs courageous young people. “The world and the Church need courageous young people, who are not afraid of adversity, who confront any difficulty, keeping their eyes and heart open to reality, so that no one may be rejected, fall victim to injustice or violence, or be deprived of their dignity as a human person.” The Holy Father said he had no doubt their “young hearts” would remain open to the cry for help of their age mates, “who seek freedom, work, studies, and the possibility to give meaning to their lives.” Open to Christ Finally, Pope Francis invited them to open themselves to Christ. “Let him speak to you, embrace you, console you, heal your wounds, and dissolve your doubts and fears. Thus you will be ready for the fascinating adventure of life.” Jesus, he said, “is with you and awaits from you a resounding ‘Here I am’.” (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Mass: Enter into the mystery of Jesus

Vatican News - Tue, 10/24/2017 - 06:44
(Vatican Radio) The centre of the mystery of Jesus Christ is that he "loved me" and "gave himself" up to death, for me. Those were the Pope’s words at Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Tuesday morning, which he said was a meditation on the Passion of the Lord, the Via Crucis. It is good to go to Mass, pray, to be good Christians, continued Pope Francis, but the central question is whether you have entered the mystery of Jesus Christ. Listen to this report: His homily began with the First Reading from the Letter to the Romans, in which Saint Paul uses  sin, disobedience, grace, forgiveness, to try to "bring us to understand something." Behind all this, there is the story of salvation. Therefore, since there are not enough words to explain Christ, Paul "drives us", because we fall in the midst of the mystery of Christ, "explained the Pope. These contrasts, therefore, are merely steps in the journey to fall into the mystery of Christ, which is not easy to understand. To understand "who is Jesus Christ for you," "for me," "for us," the Pope commented, is to fall into this mystery. In another passage, Saint Paul, looking to Jesus, says, "He loved me and gave himself for me." He also notes, “there is someone willing to die for a just person, but only Jesus Christ wants to give life "for a sinner like me." With these words, said the Holy Father, Saint Paul tries to get us into the mystery of Christ. It's not easy, "it's a grace." Not only the canonized Saints have understood this, but also so many saints "hidden in daily life," humble people who only put their hope in the Lord: they entered the mystery of the crucified Jesus Christ, "which is a madness," says Paul noting that if he were to boast of something, only he could boast of "his sins and of the crucified Jesus Christ," not of the study with Gamaliel in the synagogue, or of any other. "Another contradiction," is this, which leads us to the mystery of Jesus, crucified, "in dialogue with my sins." Pope Francis emphasized that when we go to Mass, we know that he is in the Word, that Jesus comes, but this, the Pope warned, is not enough to enter the mystery: "Entering into the mystery of Jesus Christ is more, it is to let go into that abyss of mercy where there are no words: only the embrace of love. The love that led him to death for us. When we go to confess because we have sins, we say yes, I must have my sins taken away, let's say; or 'God forgive me for my sins, tell your sins to the confessor, and we will be calm and happy. If we do so, we have not entered into the mystery of Jesus Christ. If I go, I go to meet Jesus Christ, to enter into the mystery of Jesus Christ, to enter into that hug of forgiveness of which Paul speaks; of that gift of forgiveness. " When asked about who is "Jesus for you", you may answer "the Son of God", you could say all the Creed, all the catechism, and it is true but we would come to a point where we would not have been able to say that at the centre of the mystery of Jesus Christ, is that he "loved me" and "gave himself up for me". "Understanding the mystery of Jesus Christ is not a matter of study," the Pope notes, because "Jesus Christ is understood only by pure grace." Thus, a pious exercise helps us: the Way of the Cross, which consists in walking with Jesus when he gives us the "embrace of forgiveness and peace." "It's nice to do the Via Crucis. Do it at home, thinking of moments in the Passion of the Lord. Even the great Saints always advised that we begin the spiritual life with this encounter with the mystery of Jesus Crucified. Saint Teresa advised her nuns: to get to the prayer of contemplation, the high prayer she began with the meditation of the Passion of the Lord. The Cross with Christ. Christ in the Cross. Start and think. And so, trying to understand with the heart that he loved me and gave himself for me, "he gave himself up to death for me." Pope Francis reiterated that in the First Reading, Saint Paul wants to bring us to the abyss of the mystery of Christ. "I am a good Christian, I go to Mass on Sunday, I do works of mercy, I pray, I educate my children well: this is very good. But the question I ask, 'You do all this, but have you entered the mystery of Jesus Christ?' Finally, the Pope’s call was to  look at the Crucifix, "icon of the greatest mystery of creation, of all": "Christ crucified, the centre of history, the centre of my life." (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis meets group from Tel Aviv University

Vatican News - Mon, 10/23/2017 - 09:46
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met on Monday with a delegation from Tel Aviv University, stressing the need to develop a culture of wisdom that can form future leaders who are sensitive to the profound ethical issues facing our societies. Please find below the full text of the Pope’s greeting to the delegation from Tel Aviv University Dear Friends, I offer you a warm welcome, and I thank Professor Joseph Klafter, Rector of Tel Aviv University, for his kind words. To all of you I express my appreciation for your commitment to the education of the young, who represent the present and the future of society.  The work of education, demanding yet essential, calls for great insight and tact, for it seeks to form the whole person.  Carrying out this vital service certainly requires professional and technical knowledge and expertise, but also empathy and sensitivity, in order to foster dialogue with students and to promote their formation both as individuals and as future professionals in their areas of study. In a word, knowledge and wisdom must advance together.  Wisdom, in its biblical sense, urges us to go beyond empirical realities in order to discover their ultimate meaning.  Universities are challenged to foster a culture of wisdom, one capable of harmonizing technical and scientific research with a humanistic approach, in the conviction that the pursuit of the true and the good is ultimately one.  So Solomon, son of David, upon ascending the throne, withdrew in prayer to the temple of Gibeon, and begged the Lord for wisdom in these words: “Give your servant an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil” (1 Kg 3:9). Our world urgently needs to develop a culture of wisdom.  We need to find ways of forming leaders capable of striking out on new paths in the effort to meet today’s needs without prejudice to future generations (cf. Laudato Si’, 53).  Meeting this challenge in an effective way is all the more important in the light of our rapidly evolving global society, marked by social and economic crises and intergenerational conflicts.  I am confident that your University will strive to produce future leaders sensitive to the profound ethical issues facing our societies and the need to protect and care for the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters.  For only by serving an integral human development can science and the arts display their full dignity. I thank you for your visit, and I pray that you will always thirst for that wisdom which is a divine gift enabling us to lead good and productive lives.  May the Lord bless you, your families and your important work. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis: letter to Card. Filoni on World Mission Sunday

Vatican News - Sun, 10/22/2017 - 10:26
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a letter to the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, on occasion of the 2017 iteration of World Mission Sunday. In the letter, the Holy Father reflects on the upcoming centenary of the great missionary charter of the 20th century, the Apostolic Letter Maximum illud  of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XV, promulgated on November 30th, 1919. Below, please find the full text of the letter in its official English translation ******************************************************** To my Venerable Brother Cardinal Fernando Filoni Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples On 30 November 2019, we will celebrate the hundredth anniversary of the promulgation of the Apostolic Letter Maximum Illud , with which Pope Benedict XV sought to give new impetus to the missionary task of proclaiming the Gospel.  In 1919, in the wake of a tragic global conflict that he himself called a “useless slaughter,” [1] the Pope recognized the need for a more evangelical approach to missionary work in the world, so that it would be purified of any colonial overtones and kept far away from the nationalistic and expansionistic aims that had proved so disastrous.  “The Church of God is universal; she is not alien to any people,” [2] he wrote, firmly calling for the rejection of any form of particular interest, inasmuch as the proclamation and the love of the Lord Jesus, spread by holiness of one’s life and good works, are the sole purpose of missionary activity.  Benedict XV thus laid special emphasis on the missio ad gentes , employing the concepts and language of the time, in an effort to revive, particularly among the clergy, a sense of duty towards the missions. That duty is a response to Jesus’ perennial command to “go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature” ( Mk 16:15).  Obeying this mandate of the Lord is not an option for the Church: in the words of the Second Vatican Council, it is her “essential task,” [3] for the Church is “missionary by nature.” [4]  “Evangelizing is in fact the grace and vocation proper to the Church, her deepest identity; she exists in order to evangelize.” [5]  The Council went on to say that, if the Church is to remain faithful to herself and to preach Jesus crucified and risen for all, the living and merciful Saviour, then “prompted by the Holy Spirit, she must walk the same path Christ walked: a path of poverty and obedience, of service and self-sacrifice.” [6]  In this way, she will effectively proclaim the Lord, “model of that redeemed humanity, imbued with brotherly love, sincerity and a peaceful spirit, to which all aspire.” [7]  What Pope Benedict XV so greatly desired almost a century ago, and the Council reiterated some fifty years ago, remains timely.  Even now, as in the past, “the Church, sent by Christ to reveal and to communicate the love of God to all men and nations, is aware that there still remains an enormous missionary task for her to accomplish.” [8]  In this regard, Saint John Paul II noted that “the mission of Christ the Redeemer, which is entrusted to the Church, is still very far from completion,” and indeed, “an overall view of the human race shows that this mission is still only beginning and that we must commit ourselves wholeheartedly to its service.” [9]   As a result, in words that I would now draw once more to everyone’s attention, Saint John Paul exhorted the Church to undertake a “renewed missionary commitment” , in the conviction that missionary activity “renews the Church, revitalizes faith and Christian identity, and offers fresh enthusiasm and new incentive.   Faith is strengthened when it is given to others!  It is in commitment to the Church’s universal mission that the new evangelization of Christian peoples will find inspiration and support.” [10] In my Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium , drawing from the proceedings of the Thirteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which met to reflect on the new evangelization for the transmission of the Christian faith , I once more set this urgent summons before the whole Church.  There I wrote, “John Paul II asked us to recognize that ‘there must be no lessening of the impetus to preach the Gospel’ to those who are far from Christ, ‘because this is the first task of the Church.’  Indeed, ‘today missionary activity still represents the greatest challenge for the Church’ and ‘the missionary task must remain foremost.’ What would happen if we were to take these words seriously?  We would realize that missionary outreach is paradigmatic for all the Church’s activity .” [11]   I am convinced that this challenge remains as urgent as ever. “[It] has a programmatic significance and important consequences.  I hope that all communities will devote the necessary effort to advancing along the path of a pastoral and missionary conversion that cannot leave things as they presently are.  ‘Mere administration’ can no longer be enough.  Throughout the world, let us be ‘permanently in a state of mission.’” [12]  Let us not fear to undertake, with trust in God and great courage, “a missionary option capable of transforming everything, so that the Church’s customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can be suitably channeled for the evangelization of today’s world rather than for her self-preservation.  The renewal of structures demanded by pastoral conversion can only be understood in this light: as part of an effort to make them more mission-oriented, to make ordinary pastoral activity on every level more inclusive and open, to inspire in pastoral workers a constant desire to go forth and in this way to elicit a positive response from all those whom Jesus summons to friendship with himself.  As John Paul II told the Bishops of Oceania, ‘All renewal in the Church must have mission as its goal if it is not to fall prey to a kind of ecclesial introversion.’” [13] The Apostolic Letter Maximum Illud called for transcending national boundaries and bearing witness, with prophetic spirit and evangelical boldness, to God’s saving will through the Church’s universal mission.  May the approaching centenary of that Letter serve as an incentive to combat the recurring temptation lurking beneath every form of ecclesial introversion, self-referential retreat into comfort zones, pastoral pessimism and sterile nostalgia for the past.  Instead, may we be open to the joyful newness of the Gospel.  In these, our troubled times, rent by the tragedies of war and menaced by the baneful tendency to accentuate differences and to incite conflict, may the Good News that in Jesus forgiveness triumphs over sin, life defeats death and love conquers fear, be proclaimed to the world with renewed fervour, and instil trust and hope in everyone. In the light of this, accepting the proposal of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, I hereby call for an Extraordinary Missionary Month to be celebrated in October 2019, with the aim of fostering an increased awareness of the missio ad gentes and taking up again with renewed fervour the missionary transformation of the Church’s life and pastoral activity.  The Missionary Month of October 2018 can serve as a good preparation for this celebration by enabling all the faithful to take to heart the proclamation of the Gospel and to help their communities grow in missionary and evangelizing zeal.  May the love for the Church’s mission, which is “a passion for Jesus and a passion for his people,” [14] grow ever stronger! I entrust you, venerable Brother, the Congregation which you head, and the Pontifical Missionary Societies with the work of preparing for this event, especially by raising awareness among the particular Churches, the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, and among associations, movements, communities and other ecclesial bodies.  May the Extraordinary Missionary Month prove an intense and fruitful occasion of grace, and promote initiatives and above all prayer, the soul of all missionary activity.  May it likewise advance the preaching of the Gospel, biblical and theological reflection on the Church’s mission, works of Christian charity, and practical works of cooperation and solidarity between Churches, so that missionary zeal may revive and never be wanting among us. [15] From the Vatican, 22 October 2017 XXIX Sunday of Ordinary Time Memorial of Saint John Paul II World Mission Sunday [1] Letter to the Leaders of the Warring Peoples , 1 August 1917: AAS IX (1917), 421-423. [2] Benedict XV, Apostolic Letter Maximum Illud , 30 November 1919: AAS 11 (1919), 445. [3] Decree on the Missionary Activity of the Church Ad Gentes , 7 December 1965, 7: AAS 58 (1966), 955. [4] Ibid. , 2: AAS 58 (1966), 948. [5] Paul VI, Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi , 8 December 1975, 14: AAS 68 (1976), 13. [6] Decree Ad Gentes , 5: AAS 58 (1966), 952. [7] Ibid. , 8: AAS 58 (1966), 956-957. [8] Ibid. , 10: AAS 58 (1966), 959. [9] Encyclical Letter  Redemptoris Missio, 7 December 1990, 1:  AAS  83 (1991), 249. [10] Ibid. , 2: AAS  83 (1991), 250-251. [11] Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium 15: AAS 105 (2013), 1026. [12] Ibid. , 25: AAS 105 (2013), 1030. [13] Ibid ., 27: AAS 105 (2013), 1031. [14] Ibid ., 268: AAS 105 (2013), 1128. [15] Ibid. , 80: AAS 105 (2013), 1053. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis at Angelus: on being Christian in the world

Vatican News - Sun, 10/22/2017 - 09:52
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis prayed the Angelus with pilgrims and tourists gathered in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday. Addressing them ahead of the traditional prayer of Marian devotion, Pope Francis shared a reflection on the Reading from the Sunday Gospel , which this week came from St. Matthew and contains the maxim, “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar ’s, and render unto God what is God ’s.” Pope Francis explained that the episode teaches us both the legitimacy of earthly authority and the primacy of God in human affairs and over all the universe. “The Christian is called to be concretely committed in human and social realities,” said Pope Francis , “without putting God and ‘Caesar’ in contraposition.” He said that counterposing God and Caesar would be, “a fundamentalist attitude.” “The Christian ,” Pope Francis continued, “is called upon to engage concretely in earthly realities, but enlightening them with the light that comes from God . Entrusting oneself to God in the first, and placing one’s hope in Him, do not require us to escape from reality, but rather to work diligently to render unto Him, all that it His. That is why the believer looks to future reality, to that of God : that he might live his earthly life in fullness, and respond with courage to its challenges.” (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis at Angelus: Church's mission entrusted to Pope St. John Paul II

Vatican News - Sun, 10/22/2017 - 08:39
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has proclaimed October, 2019 an “Extraordinary Missionary Month” to be marked and celebrated in the whole Church throughout the world, and entrusted the mission of the Church in the world especially to Pope St. John Paul II . The Holy Father recalled his intention to celebrate the Extraordinary Missionary Month on Sunday – World Mission Sunday – during the course of remarks to pilgrims and tourists gathered in St. Peter’s Square beneath the window of the Papal apartments in the Apostolic Palace, to pray the traditional Angelus with him at noon. “Today,” said Pope Francis , “ World Mission Day is celebrated, on the theme: Mission at the heart of the Christian faith . I urge everyone to live the joy of mission by witnessing the Gospel in the environs where each one lives and works.” The Holy Father went on to say, “At the same time, we are called upon to support with affection, concrete help, and prayer, the missionaries who have gone out to proclaim Christ to those who still do not know Him.” “I also recall,” he continued, “that I intend to promote an Extraordinary Missionary Month in October 2019 , in order to nourish the ardor of the evangelizing activity of the Church ad gentes . On the day of the liturgical memory of Saint John Paul II , missionary Pope, we entrust to his intercession the mission of the Church in the world.” (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope promises to send special message to FAO meeting in Ethiopia

Vatican News - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 10:49
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis marked World Food Day this week with a visit to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) where he called on world leaders and policymakers to work for a concrete, practical consensus to prevent the most tragic effects of climate change hitting the weakest and most defenseless. “We need to change our lifestyles, the use of resources, production and consumption patterns,” the Pope said, and he decried what he described as the “negligence” that is damaging the “delicate balances of the ecosystems” and the “arrogance of manipulating and controlling” the planet. Hosting the Pope at FAO’s Headquarters in Rome was FAO Director-General, José Graziano da Silva , who immediately afterwards spoke to Vatican Radio: Listen :  Da Silva points out that the Vatican has Permanent Observer Status at FAO but most important, he says, as the spiritual leader of the Catholic Church he represents values that FAO shares: solidarity, dignity, and hope in a better world. “We share those values in FAO and Pope Francis is a continuing inspiration for us, and not only through ‘Laudato Sì’ where he approaches the issue of climate change – a very important common global value” he says. He says that Pope Francis is one of those rare people who have dedicated their entire lives to promoting important values: “these people are indispensable”. “I think that Pope Francis is one of those people who have worked hard all of their lives and that he is one of the few indispensable people in the world today” he says. Before addressing his audience at FAO, da Silva says he had the opportunity to speak with Pope Francis personally about some of the programmes his organization shares with the Vatican. “We discussed particularly the need to concentrate our efforts in Africa and to stop the conflicts, and also to deal with the impact of climate change” he says. Da Silva also revealed that Pope Francis promised to send a special message for the meeting that FAO is organizing during the African Union Summit that FAO is organizing next January 2018 in Addis Ababa.         (from Vatican Radio)...
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World Methodist Council: dialogue must reach local level

Vatican News - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 08:57
(Vatican Radio) Methodist and Catholic theologians are meeting just outside Rome this week, marking the 50th anniversary of the first ecumenical dialogue group following the Second Vatican Council. That first session of the Methodist-Roman Catholic International Commission was held in the hill town of Ariccia in October 1967. Pope Francis met with members of the current Commission on Thursday, together with leaders of the World Methodist Council, saying that half a century of dialogue has set us free from estrangement and suspicion and helped us to recognize each other as brothers and sisters in Christ. South African Bishop Ivan Abrahams is General Secretary of the World Methodist Council. He talked to Philippa Hitchen about the concrete fruits of this ecumenical journey…. Listen: He says two of the key ingredients that have marked this “50 year pilgrimage or journey” are the love and trust that has been built up and that are reflected in the seven joint reports that have been produced thus far. One of the great challenges, he says, is to let the fruits of this dialogue “ percolate to the local level and we need to see how we can do that much more effectively”. 'That they may be one' He notes that the latest dialogue report entitled ‘ A Call to Holiness: from glory to glory ’ stresses that working for unity is “a fundamental part of our mission and our witness to the world, to see that Jesus’ high priestly prayer is made reality”. Speaking about the situation in his native South Africa, Abrahams says that as he saw the demise of apartheid in his lifetime, “I’d hoped to see the reality of “that they may be one” in my lifetime”. Autonomy in mission and witness Talking about the Methodist model of governance, he says there’s no compromise on key issues of faith, but “we don’t apply the ‘one size fits all’ model”, leaving the various conferences autonomy to make their own decisions about mission and witness. Asked about Pope Francis’ efforts to give local Catholic bishops’ conferences with more autonomy over pastoral decision making, Abrahams says “I think that it is really the only way to go, if we speak about the integrity of the Gospel, because every cultural context is uniquely different ”. Pope Francis embodies unity While practical cooperation on issues like migration, refugees or climate change are important, he says, consensus in the theological dialogue remains crucial because “we need to clarify so we can walk together ”. Finally Bishop Abrahams praises Pope Francis’ way of reaching out to young generations, saying he is “ a beacon of hope ” and “somebody who embodies the unity that we’re seeking to live”. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope meets students, staff of “Institution des Chartreux”‎

Vatican News - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 07:23
(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis on Thursday urged students of a French Catholic School to watch out against the lure and slavery of money, and train themselves to be promoters and defenders of equality and justice in the world.  Some 80 students and staff of Institution des Chartreux of Lyons , in Rome as part of their semester, met the Pope in the Vatican.  Known commonly as Les Chartreux, the private school is managed by the Carthusians.  Lure and slavery of money The Pope expressed satisfaction that while they were preparing themselves to enter the big commercial schools to pursue professional careers in the world of finance, their current academic formation at Les Chartreux was providing them a strong human, philosophical and cultural dimension.  “It is essential,” he said, “that from now on and in your future professional life you learn to be free from the ‘lure of money’, from the slavery into which money shuts those who worship it.”    He said it is also important that they have the “strength and courage not to blindly obey the invisible hand of the market.”  “Hence,” he said, “I encourage you to make the best of your study time to train yourselves to become promoters and defenders of growth in equity , and artisans of an upright and adequate administration of our common home, the world.”  Just and humane world Pope Francis further exhorted them to become responsible for this world and for the life of every man, never forgetting that “every injustice against a poor person is an open wound and belittles your very dignity.”    He told the students to find the means and the time to take on the path of brotherhood to create bridges rather than walls among men in order to add their stone to building a more just and humane society.   He concluded encouraging them to work for good and be a humble seed of a new world.   (from Vatican Radio)...
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Vatican hosts conference on Disability and Catechesis

Vatican News - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 07:21
(Vatican Radio) A global conference will open in Rome on Friday looking at best practices to help people with disabilities fully engage in the life of the Church. The event entitled "Catechesis and Persons with Disabilities: A Necessary Engagement in the Daily Pastoral Life of the Church", is being sponsored by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization and partnered by The Kairos Forum , a UK based organization that focuses on the spiritual and religious needs of people with disabilities. Over the course of the three day gathering 450 experts from around the world will share their insights. Lydia O’Kane spoke to Monsignor Geno Sylva, English language official at the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, about the goals of the conference. Listen to the interview:   Speaking about how the conference came about, Mons Sylva said, “this international conference is the fruit that was sewn during the Jubilee (of Mercy) with all the other discussions that took place afterwards.” He underlined that, “the aim and the goal is for us as a Church and for this Pontifical Council to really learn what are the best practices that are already taking place throughout the world in catechizing people with special needs …” The Church and Disability But, Mons. Sylva also added that, what this conference is also meant to do is to “highlight the responsibility that we have as a Church to take into account the special needs for each of the baptized, so that we can present to him or her the catechism, the catechesis of our Church in a way that they can receive it; they can grasp the elements of it .” The global conference, "Catechesis and Persons with Disabilities: A Necessary Engagement in the Daily Pastoral Life of the Church", will run from the 20th to the 22nd of October at the Urbaniana University in Rome. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis marks 50 years of Methodist-Catholic dialogue

Vatican News - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 07:04
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met with leaders of the World Methodist Council on Thursday, celebrating fifty years of dialogue between the two Churches. Noting that in the Old Testament, a golden jubilee was a moment to set slaves free, the pope said “we too have been freed from the slavery of estrangement and mutual suspicion”. Listen to Philippa Hitchen’s report:  After fifty years of patient dialogue, he said, “we are no longer strangers” but rather, through our shared Baptism, “members of the  household of God”. True dialogue, the pope continued, gives us courage to encounter one another in humility and sincerity” as we seek to learn from each other. Wesley's example of holiness Speaking about the 18th century preacher John Wesley, who, with his brother Charles founded the Methodist movement, Pope Francis said his words and his example of holiness brought many people to Christ. When we recognize the working of the Holy Spirit in other Christian confessions, he said, “we cannot fail to rejoice”, as they can “also help us grow closer to the Lord”. Serving the poor together The pope also noted how our faith becomes tangible when it takes the concrete form of love and service to the poor and marginalized. As Methodists and Catholics together, when we assist those who are alienated or in need, he said, we are responding to the Lord’s summons. Become ministers of reconciliation We cannot grow in holiness without growing in communion, Pope Francis concluded. As you begin a new phase of dialogue devoted to reconciliation, may your discussions be a gift for Christians everywhere to become ministers of reconciliation. Let us prepare ourselves with humble hope and concrete efforts, he said, for that full recognition which will enable us to join one another in the breaking of bread together. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Mass: The gift of God's salvation opens the door to all

Vatican News - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 06:58
The Lord gives us the memory of   God's salvation which is “a gift” and close to the concreteness of the works of mercy he wants us to do, whether they are "material or spiritual": so we will become people who help to "open the door" to ourselves and others. That was Pope Francis’ prayer at morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta . Recalling the passage from Luke's Gospel in which the Scribes and Pharisees considered themselves righteous, and Jesus makes known to them that God alone is just, the Pope explained why law practitioners had "taken knowledge away" with "the consequence of not being able to enter the Kingdom nor let others enter either". Listen to our report: "This leads us to understand the revelation of God, to understand God's heart, to understand God's salvation - the key to knowledge - we can say it is very neglected. One forgets the freedom of salvation; forgetting the closeness of God and forgetting God's mercy. And those who forget the gift of salvation, the closeness of God, and the mercy of God, have taken away the key to knowledge. " Therefore, this gift was "forgotten". It is "God's initiative to save us and instead stand on the side of the law": Salvation - said the Pope - "is there for them", thus arriving in "a bunch of prescriptions" which in fact become salvation. So, "they do not receive the power of God's righteousness." The law, however, is always "an answer to God's generous love", which has taken "the initiative" to save us. And, continued Pope Francis, "when you forget the gift of salvation you fall, you lose the key to the intelligence of the history of salvation", losing "the sense of God's closeness": "For them, God is the one who has made the law. But this is not the God of revelation. The God of revelation is a God who has begun to walk with us from Abraham to Jesus Christ , God walking with His people. And when you lose this close relationship with the Lord, you fall into this dull mindset that believes in the self-sufficiency of salvation with the fulfillment of the law. The closeness of God ". When the closeness of God is lacking, when prayer is lacking, the Pope emphasized "doctrine cannot be taught" and not even by "studying theology", much less "moral theology": The Pope reiterated that theology "kneels down, always close to God ". And the closeness of the Lord comes "to the highest point of the crucified Jesus Christ ," being "justified" for the blood of Christ, as Saint Paul said. For this reason, the Pontiff explained, the works of mercy "are the stone of the fulfillment of the law," because they touch the flesh of Christ, "touch Christ’s suffering in a person, both corporally and spiritually." Also, when the key to knowledge is lost, one also becomes "corrupt". The Pope finally noted the "responsibilities" of shepherds, now in the Church commenting that  when they lose or take away the "key of intelligence", they close  "the door on themselves and on others": In my country, said the Pope,  "I have heard several times of parish priests who did not baptize the children of the mothers because they were not born in  canonical marriage. They closed the door, why? Because the heart of these parish priests had lost the key to knowledge. Three months ago, in a country, in a city, a mother wanted to baptize her newly born son, but she was married civilly with a divorced man. The priest said, 'Yes, yes. Baptize the baby. But your husband is divorced. So he cannot be present at the ceremony. ' This is happening today. The Pharisees, doctors of the law are not people of the past, even today there are many of them . That is why we need prayers for us shepherds. To pray that we do not lose the key to knowledge and do not close the door to ourselves and the people who want to enter. " (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope at General Audience: 'Jesus came to save us from death'

Vatican News - Wed, 10/18/2017 - 09:21
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday reminded Christians that Jesus came to heal us and to save us from death. He also prayed for the over 300 victims of a deadly bombing in Somalia's capital Mogadishu and condemned the terrorist attack that falls on an ravaged tortured nation.  He was addressing the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Wednesday General Audience , during which he continued his catechesis on Christian Hope. Noting that death is a reality that modern civilization “tends, more and more, to set aside” and not reflect upon, Pope Francis said that for believers death is actually “a door” and a call to live for something greater.   For those “in doubt”, he added, it contains a glimmer of light that shines through a slightly open threshold. For all of us, he continued, in the mystery of death is a grace and that light will shine for everyone. Prepare for death The pope invited those present to think of the moment of their death and imagine the time when Jesus will take us by hand and say: “come, rise and come with me”. In that moment, he said, hope will end and it will become reality. Often, he continued we find ourselves unprepared to face death, and yet for centuries past civilizations had the courage to face this inevitable reality. Older generations taught the younger to see that inescapable event as a call to live for something enduring, greater than themselves.   Pointing out that our days, no matter how many they are, pass like a breath, Francis said “death lays bare our lives” forcing us to acknowledge that all those actions born from pride, anger and hatred” were useless and vain. To the contrary, he said, it highlights how all the good things that we have sown have germinated and now “hold us by the hand”.  Jesus will take us by the hand Jesus, the Pope explained, is the one who ultimately helps us to confront the mystery of death. He shows us that it is natural to weep and to mourn the loss of a loved one, just as he wept at Lazarus’ death.   But he did not only mourn, he also prayed to the Father and called Lazarus from the tomb pointing out that “Here is our Christian hope: Jesus has come to heal us, to save us from death”. Recalling the gospel story of Jairus who turned to Jesus in faith asking him to save his sick daughter, and Jesus’s exhortation: “Do not fear, only believe”, the Pope urged Christians not to be afraid, but to keep the flame of faith burning. Jesus, Francis said, puts us on this “ridge” of faith: every time death comes to tear us away from the fabric of live and our earthly ties, Jesus is there reminding us that He is the resurrection and the life. We are all small and defenseless before the mystery of death, Pope Francis concluded, but if we keep the flame of faith alive in our hearts, Jesus will take us by the hand, just as he did with Jairus’ daughter when he said: "Talitha cum" which means, "Little girl, I say to you, arise. To each of us, he concluded, he will say: “I say to you, arise.”    (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope addresses “Religions for Peace”‎ delegation

Vatican News - Wed, 10/18/2017 - 07:16
(Vatican Radio)  “Religions, with their spiritual and moral resources, have a specific and ‎unique role to play in building ‎peace,” Pope Francis said on Wednesday.  “They cannot be neutral, much less ‎ambiguous, where peace is concerned,” he ‎told a delegation of 80 members of “ Religions for Peace ”, who met him in the Vatican.  Religions for Peace is the world’s largest and most representative multi-religious coalition that advances common action among the world’s religious communities to transform violent conflict, advance human development, promote just and harmonious societies, and protect the earth. Peace and justice Noting that “peace is both a divine gift and a human achievement,” the Pope said “believers of all religions are called to implore peace and to intercede ‎for it.”  He stressed that “peacemaking and the pursuit ‎of justice go together,‎” and said that “all men and women of good will, particularly those in positions of ‎responsibility, are summoned to work for peace with their hearts, minds and ‎hands.”  Violence in God’s name Pope Francis once again denounced violence in the name of religion saying, “they gravely offend God , ‎who is peace and the source of peace, and has left in ‎human beings a reflection of his wisdom, power ‎and beauty.” Care for creation The Pontiff expressed appreciation for the efforts of Religions for Peace, saying “religions are ‎bound by their very nature to promote peace ‎through justice, fraternity, ‎disarmament and care for creation.‎”  He said there is a “need for a common and cooperative effort on the part of the ‎religions in promoting an ‎ integral ecology .”  Religions, he noted have the “wherewithal to further a moral ‎covenant ‎that can promote respect for the dignity of the human person and care for ‎creation.”  The Pope expressed satisfaction that there are many examples of the power of interreligious cooperation around the world  that oppose violent ‎conflicts, advance sustainable development and ‎protect the earth.   (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope’s condolence for death of Philippine Cardinal Ricardo Vidal

Vatican News - Wed, 10/18/2017 - 06:41
Pope Francis has expressed his condolence for Philippine Cardinal Ricardo Vidal, who passed away in Cebu on Wednesday.  The 86-year old prelate who was Archbishop of Cebu for nearly 3 decades until his retirement in 2010, died of complications from pneumonia.  Pope Francis sent a telegram to Archbishop Jose S. Palma of Cebu, expressing gratitude for Cardinal Vidal’s  “untiring and devoted service to the Church, and for his constant advocacy of dialogue and peace for all the people in the Philippines”. Please find below the text of the Pope’s condolence telegram:  The Most Reverend Jose S. Palma Archbishop of Cebu Deeply saddened to learn of the death of Cardinal Ricardo Vidal, I extend my sincere condolences to you, and to the clergy, religious and lay faithful of the Archdiocese of Cebu.  Joining with you in expressing profound gratitude for the late Cardinal’s untiring and devoted service to the Church, and for his constant advocacy of dialogue and peace for all the people in the Philippines, I commend his soul to the infinite love and mercy of our heavenly Father.  As a pledge of consolation and hope in the Lord, to all who mourn his passing in the certain hope of the Resurrection, I willingly impart my Apostolic Blessing                                                                        FRANCISCUS PP. Cardinal Ricardo J. Vidal, Archbishop emeritus of Cebu (Philippines), was born on 6 February 1931 in Mogpoc, Philippines. He did his studies at the minor seminary of the Most Holy Rosary (which later assumed the title of Our Lady of Carmel) and at the seminary of San Carlo. He was ordained on 17 March 1956. The Bishop of Lucena entrusted him as spiritual director of the local seminary of Mount Carmel. He then became superior of the same institute and was dedicated to the formation of the young candidates to priesthood until 10 September 1971, when he was named Coadjutor Bishop of Malolos, Bulacan, and was elected to the titular church of Claterna. He received episcopal ordination on 30 November 1971. On 22 August 1973 he was named Archbishop of Lipa in Batangas. On 13 April 1981 he was named Coadjutor with the right of succession to the Archbishop of Cebu, Cardinal Julio Rosales. He was named Archbishop on 24 August 1982. He served as president of the Bishops’ Commission for Vocations within the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. He was also vice-president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference and then president from 1985 to 1987. He was created and proclaimed Cardinal by John Paul II in the Consistory of 25 May 1985,with the Title of Ss. Pietro e Paolo in Via Ostiense (Sts. Peter and Paul in Via Ostiense, Rome). In a message, Cebu archdiocese’s spokesman Msgr. Joseph Tan said the prelate died due to infection leading to septic shock at the city’s Perpetual Succour Hospital where he was hospitalized on Oct 11 when he became seriously ill.  Requesting prayers for the prelate’s soul, Tan said the details of funeral rites will be made available as soon as possible. A native of Mogpog, Marinduque, Vidal was ordained a priest in 1956 by Bishop and Servant of God Alfredo Maria Aranda Obviar. Then Pope John Paul II appointed Vidal head of the Cebu archdiocese in 1982. He retired in 2011. In a statement released shortly after Vidal’s death, CBCP president Archbishop Socrates Villegas stressed Vidal’s legacy will live on despite his passing. “Cardinal Vidal cannot die. He who has always shared in the dying and rising of the Lord daily in his priestly life cannot die. He now joins the immortal ones who served the Lord faithfully here on earth. His wisdom and his humility, his love for priests and his devotion to the Virgin Mary must live on in us whom he has left behind,” he said. Archbishop Villegas also expressed hope in Cardinal Vidal’s intercession for the faithful. “Rest well Eminence. Pray for us in the Father’s House.” Meanwhile Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Cardinal Quevedo praised Card Vidal for being a “true servant-leader rather than a ‘prince.’” “For me his legacy is his own outstanding character. Some of these are: Humility, low profile style; Simplicity and Approachability; Ability to listen even to opposing views; Prudence in political issues; Courage in presenting and defending the CBCP position leading to the 1986 People Power; Charity for those considered as ‘enemies,’” he said in a message to CBCPNews. With the death of Card. Vidal, the number of cardinals worldwide now stands at 219, of whom 120 are ‎below the age of 80, hence are eligible to vote for a new pope.  Ninety-nine are non-voters.  ‎ (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis deplores Mogadishu terror attack

Vatican News - Wed, 10/18/2017 - 05:03
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has condemned the terrorist attack that killed over 300 people, including children, in the Somali capital Mogadishu . Speaking during the weekly General Audience in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope said he wished to express his sorrow for the massacre that took place on Saturday. “This terrorist act , he said, deserves to be most strongly deplored, also because it falls on a population that is already suffering deeply”. Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni : The Pope said he is praying for the dead, for the wounded, for their families and for the whole people of Somalia. “I implore the conversion of those who are violent and send my encouragement to those, who with enormous difficulties, are working for peace in that tortured land” he said. On the ground in Mogadishu nearly 70 people are still missing  from Saturday's bomb blast that killed more than 300 people in one of the world's deadliest attacks in years The death toll of 302 is expected to rise.  Somalia’s government has blamed the attack on the al-Shabab extremist group, which has not commented. (from Vatican Radio)...
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