Vatican News

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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Pope Francis extends condolences to victims of Kabul bombing

Vatican News - Wed, 05/31/2017 - 12:44
(Vatican Radio) In a telegram signed by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, Pope Francis has expressed his condolences to all those affected by the bombing carried out in the diplomatic zone of Kabul on Wednesday. Below, please find the full text of the telegram, addressed to Afghanistan's ambassador to Italy: Having learned with sadness of the abhorrent attack in Kabul and of the many dead and seriously injured, Pope Francis expresses his heartfelt condolences to all affected by this brutal act of violence. His Holiness commends the souls of the deceased to the mercy of the Almighty, and assures the people of Afghanistan of his continued prayers for peace. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope to Albanian bishops: Work for more priestly vocations

Vatican News - Wed, 05/31/2017 - 11:23
(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)...
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Pope at Audience: Hope pushes us onward

Vatican News - Wed, 05/31/2017 - 08:34
(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.  Listen to our report:  (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis greets young people at Lednica Lake in Poland

Vatican News - Wed, 05/31/2017 - 06:36
(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)...
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Pope Francis: 'Shepherds are not the centre of the Church'

Vatican News - Tue, 05/30/2017 - 08:27
(Vatican 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)...
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Pope Francis meets with Canadian Prime Minister

Vatican News - Mon, 05/29/2017 - 11:09
(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)...
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Pope: 'learn the language of the Holy Spirit'

Vatican News - Mon, 05/29/2017 - 10:12
(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)...
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Mgr. Rugambwa opens the Assembly of the Pontifical Mission Societies

Vatican News - Mon, 05/29/2017 - 05:34
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". ...
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Pope says murdered Copts are martyrs and prays for conversion of terrorists

Vatican News - Sun, 05/28/2017 - 09:12
(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. Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni : 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)...
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Pope Francis prays for victims of Manchester attack

Vatican News - Sun, 05/28/2017 - 08:49
(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)...
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The power of Christians lies in prayer and preaching – Pope in Genoa

Vatican News - Sat, 05/27/2017 - 13:28
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis wrapped up an intense 1-day apostolic visit to the Italian port city of Genoa with the celebration of Mass. To the faithful present for the open-air ceremony in Genoa’s Kennedy Square, the Pope said Christians must never tire of working for the common good, they must never fear going out into the world with Christ’s message of peace and hope… Listen to the report by Robin Gomes: “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)...
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Pope Francis visits Genoa's Giannina Gaslini Pediatric Hospital

Vatican News - Sat, 05/27/2017 - 12:12
“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)...
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Pope to Genovese clergy: creative fidelity key to mission

Vatican News - Sat, 05/27/2017 - 08:27
(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)...
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Pope Francis in Genoa: Work essential to human flourishing

Vatican News - Sat, 05/27/2017 - 06:30
(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)...
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Pope Francis: condolences for murder of Coptic Christians

Vatican News - Sat, 05/27/2017 - 02:46
(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)...
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