Vatican News

Pope Francis urges people of good will to fight the ‘folly of terrorism'

Vatican News - Tue, 12/20/2016 - 10:00
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a telegramme of condolences to the Archbishop of Berlin in which he says he is praying for the dead and injured in Monday's attack on a Christmas market in Germany’s capital city. Listen to Linda Bordoni's report: In his message to Archbishop Heiner Koch, the Pope also says he joins “all men and women of good will” who have committed themselves to efforts “so that the murderous folly of terrorism finds no more room in our world.”  The telegramme, written by Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, on behalf of the Holy Father, says that Francis was deeply saddened and is praying for the 12 persons who were killed and for the many wounded in what he called “the terrible act of violence”.  The Pope also expressed his gratitude to the medical and security personnel for their fast and concrete assistance to the victims. 12 people were killed on Monday evening when a truck rammed into crowds at a Berlin Christmas market. Berlin police have confirmed that there are also 48 others who were injured. The driver of the truck fled the scene on foot. A 23-year-old Pakistani asylum seeker was arrested, but police later cast doubt on whether the arrested man was the attacker, saying it was possible the real perpetrator was still on the run.   (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis prays for Russia after gun attack

Vatican News - Tue, 12/20/2016 - 09:03
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has expressed his condolences to the family of the Russian ambassador to Turkey who was shot dead by a police officer at an art exhibition. In a message sent by the Holy See’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, to Russian president Vladimir Putin, the Pope said he was “saddened to learn of the violent attack in Ankara, which resulted in the death of Ambassador Andrei Karlov”. He assured the people of the Russian Federation of his prayers and “spiritual solidarity” at this time. The attack on Monday night was carried out by a man in a suit believed to be an-off duty police officer. Footage captured of the incident shows Mevlut Mert Altintas, 22, firing at least eight shots while shouting in Turkish: “Don’t forget Aleppo. Don’t forget Syria.” He was shortly after killed by special forces. Karlov had previously served as an ambassador to North Korea. The full statement by Cardinal Pietro Parolin is published below: His Excellency Vladimir Putin President of the Russian Federation Moscow His Holiness Pope Francis was saddened to learn of the violent attack in Ankara, which resulted in the death of Ambassador Andrei Karlov.  His Holiness sends condolences to all who mourn his loss, and in a special way to the members of Ambassador Karlov’s family.  In commending his soul to Almighty God, Pope Francis assures you and all the people of the Russian Federation of his prayers and spiritual solidarity at this time.  Cardinal Pietro Parolin Secretary of State (from Vatican Radio)...
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Cardinal Marx statement following Berlin attack

Vatican News - Tue, 12/20/2016 - 07:36
(Vatican Radio) Cardinal Reinhard Marx, the President of COMECE and of the German Bishops' Conference, expresses his compassion for the victims and calls for unity after yesterday's act of violence against the Christmas market in Berlin (19 December 2016):  "The news from Berlin have deeply shocked me. The violence on the Christmas market is the opposite of what visitors were seeking. My compassion goes to the relatives of the dead and injured. For all of them I will pray.  In these difficult hours for the city of Berlin and for our country, it is important for us to hold together and stand united as society. " (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope appoints new director of Vatican Museums

Vatican News - Tue, 12/20/2016 - 07:07
(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis has appointed a new Director of the Vatican Museums, Barbara Jatta, who is set to take up the post on 1 January 2017. Born in Rome on 6 October 1962, Barbara Jatta previously held the position of Vice-Director of the Vatican Museums. She received her Liberal Arts degree in Letters from the ‘Sapienza’ University in Rome in 1986, a Diploma in Archives at the Vatican School of Paleography the following year, and a specialization in Art History in 1991. Ms. Jatta has taught courses in ‘History of Graphic Art’ since 1994 at the University of Naples. She also worked at the Vatican Apostolic Library from 1996 until 2010. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Nuncio to Ukraine brings Christmas greetings from Pope

Vatican News - Tue, 12/20/2016 - 05:09
(Vatican Radio) The Apostolic Nuncio in Ukraine, Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti, visited the Catholic communities of both the Greek and the Latin rites in Donetsk and Luhansk from December 16 to 18 2016. It is customary for the Nuncio to visit different communities on the eve of major religious holidays to convey the greetings and blessing of Pope Francis. In spring 2016, the Apostolic Nuncio visited the community of Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk for the feast of Easter. During his Christmas visit, Archbishop Gugerotti spoke about the tireless work of Pope Francis for peace in the region and his desire to be able to be with all the aggrieved peoples of the world in order to give them an embrace of solidarity. On the occasion of his visit to Luhansk, the Apostolic Nuncio visited Metropolitan Mytrofan of Luhansk and Alchevsk, Chair of the Department for External Church Relations of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Throughout the trip, Archbishop Gugerotti was accompanied by Bishop Jan Sobilo, auxiliary bishop of the Latin Rite Diocese of Kharkiv and Zaporizhzhia. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope welcomes South Korea's new ambassador to Holy See

Vatican News - Mon, 12/19/2016 - 10:03
(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis on Monday welcomed to the Vatican South Korea’s new ambassador to the Holy See, ‎Jonghyu Jeong.  At a formal ceremony in the Vatican, Jeong presened his credentials to Pope Francis at ‎the start of his diplomatic mission with the Holy See.    The 66-year old father of 3 children is a law ‎graduate and holds a doctorate in law from Kyoto University, Japan.   An academic linked with several ‎universities in Korea, Japan, Germany and the US, Jeong has served in the Korean Catholic Bishops ‎Conference’s bioethics committee,  has been president of the Korean Association for Legal History, and ‎the Korean Civil Law Association and special envoy of the Korean president to the Holy See.  Besides ‎his native Korean, he speaks Esperanto, Japanese, English and German.   ‎ (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope to young people: 'listen to your grandparents'

Vatican News - Mon, 12/19/2016 - 06:56
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Monday encouraged young Catholics to cultivate their relationships with their grandparents. Addressing  a group of young people who belong to an Italian Catholic lay association called ‘Azione Cattolica Italiana’, the Pope spoke of the joy that derives from the coming of Jesus, and said that joy is increased and multiplied when we share it. Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni : He invited the young people to receive the joy of Advent as they would receive a gift and to bear witness to it in their families, schools, parishes and in all places. The Pope especially invited them to share it with their grandparents – and with elderly people in general – and he encouraged them to listen to the aged whom, he said, “have the wisdom of life”. “I would like to give you a task: speak to your grandparents,(…) ask them questions, they have the memory of history, the experience of living, and this is a great gift for you that will help you in your life journey” he said. And Francis also pointed out the grandparents themselves need “to listen to you, understand your aspirations and your hopes” “This is your task: speak to your grandparents, listen to them” he said. The Pope also thanked those present for their commitment for peace and remarked on a ‘solidarity’  initiative they are carrying forward in favour of young people who live in a degraded area of Naples. “May the Lord bless this project that does good” he said.     ‘Azione Cattolica Italiana’ was established in Italy by Pope Pius X  in 1905 as a non-political lay organization under the direct control of bishops.  . (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis: Angelus appeal for peace in DRC

Vatican News - Sun, 12/18/2016 - 09:15
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis appealed for peace and reconciliation in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday. The central African nation has been experiencing another period political crisis ahead of the expiry of President Joseph Kabila’s term of office. The DRC is preparing for unrest – including protests and violence, when the mandate of President Joseph Kabila, whom critics accuse of seeking to stay in power indefinitely, expires on Monday. Click below to hear our report “I ask you all to pray that dialogue in the Democratic Republic of Congo might unfold with serenity,” the Holy Father said in remarks to pilgrims and tourists that followed the traditional Sunday Angelus prayer, “in order that all manner of violence be avoided, and [to pray] for the good of the whole country.” In Kinshasa, the capital, police have set up checkpoints, while soldiers in armoured vehicles have been deployed to strategic points throughout the city, which has some 12 million inhabitants. Flights into the DRC have been empty, while many members of the country’s wealthy elite have already fled. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis at Angelus: look to the crèche

Vatican News - Sun, 12/18/2016 - 09:14
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis prayed the Angelus with pilgrims and tourists gathered in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday, exactly a week before Christmas Day, 2016. In the reflection he shared with the people in the square ahead of the  traditional noonday Marian devotion, the Holy Father focused on the upcoming Christmas feast, exactly one week away at the time he delivered his remarks. After praying the Angelus , the Holy Father returned to the theme. Click below to hear our report “During this this week let us look for a few moments in which to pause, have a bit of silence, and imagine Our Lady and St. Joseph on their way to Bethlehem,” he said. “The journey – the fatigue of it, but also the joy of it – the commotion, and then their anxiety over finding a place to stay, the worry – and so on,” he added. “In all this,” concluded Pope Francis, “the crèche scene helps us very much: let us seek to enter into the true Nativity – that of Jesus, in order to receive the grace of this feast, which is a grace of love, of humility and of tenderness.” (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis to visit Fatima for anniversary of apparitions

Vatican News - Sat, 12/17/2016 - 13:38
(Vatican Radio) On the occasion of the centenary of the Apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Cova da Iria [Portugal], and welcoming the invitation of the President of the Republic and of the Portuguese Bishops, His Holiness Pope Francis will go on pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima from 12-13 May.  (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope to Nomadelfia: promote dialogue between generations

Vatican News - Sat, 12/17/2016 - 10:14
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Saturday met with the Nomadelfia community here at the Vatican. Nomadelfia is a group of Catholic volunteers seeking to build a new civilization according to the Gospel, living in a way that is based the early Christian communities. Listen to Ann Schneible’s report: Reflecting on the mystery of the Son of God becoming Man, the Pope said, Advent is an opportunity to reflect on how we should not “place ourselves above others, but we are called to lower ourselves, to serve out of love for the weakest, to make ourselves little with the little ones.” The Holy Father turned his reflection to the founder of the Nomadelfia community, Fr Zeno Saltini. Fr Saltini, he said, remains “present to us today as an example of a faithful disciple of Christ who, in imitation of the Divine teacher, bends to the suffering of the weakest and poorest, becoming a witness of inexhaustible charity.” Pope Francis spoke to the community members about their “spiritual heritage” which is tied in a special way to the “welcoming of children” and caring for the elderly. “Children and elderly build the future of peoples: children, because they are able to advance history; the elderly because they transmit the experience and wisdom of their lives.” The Pope urged them to not tire of cultivating “this dialogue between the generations.” Pope Francis concluded by wishing everyone a happy journey towards Christmas, and gave them his blessing. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis receives President of Malta in audience

Vatican News - Sat, 12/17/2016 - 08:47
(Vatican Radio) On Saturday the Holy Father Francis received in audience the president of the Republic of Malta, Her Excellency Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, who subsequently met with His Eminence Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin and His Excellency Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States. During the cordial discussions, the good relations between the Holy See and Malta were evoked, focusing in particular on the special contribution of the Catholic religion in the formation of the identity of the country and on the relevant role of the Church in promoting the human and cultural progress of society. The conversation continued with an exchange of views on the main questions of an international and regional nature, also in view of the upcoming Maltese presidency of the European Union, with special reference to the phenomenon of migration, current conflicts in the Mediterranean area and the importance of dialogue between religions and cultures. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis: memory focus of 80th birthday homily

Vatican News - Sat, 12/17/2016 - 06:23
(Vatican Radio) Memory was the focus of Pope Francis’ remarks following the readings of the day at a Mass of which he was the principal celebrant in the Pauline Chapel of the Apostolic Palace, along with the cardinals resident in Rome, who were assembled to give thanks to God on the occasion of the Holy Father’s 80 th birthday. Memory – not merely recollection – of parents and forefathers, of friends and relatives who have gone before him, of the signs of a life well and fully lived – but most especially the memoria Dei , the “memory of God” that is present throughout salvation history and is the characteristic and the hallmark of Christian life. Click below to hear our report “In Advent we started this journey, of vigilant expectation of the Lord. Today we stop, we look back, we see that the journey has been beautiful, that the Lord has not disappointed us, that the Lord is faithful,” he said. “We also see that both in history, and in our own lives, there have been wonderful moments of fidelity and bad times of sin,” Pope Francis went on to say, “but the Lord is there, with hand outstretched to help you up and tell you: ‘Be on your way forward!’ – and this is the Christian life – going forward, towards the definitive encounter. Let not this journey of such intensity, in vigilant expectation of the Lord’s coming, take away the grace of memory, of looking back on everything the Lord has done for us, for the Church, in the history of salvation. Thus shall we understand why the Church does read this passage [the Genealogy of Jesus, Mt. 1:1-17] that may seem a bit boring – but here is the story of a God who chose to walk with his people and become himself, in the end, a man, like every one of us.” (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis: Mass with Cardinals to mark 80th birthday

Vatican News - Sat, 12/17/2016 - 05:42
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis was the principal celebrant at Mass in the Pauline Chapel of the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican on the morning of December 17th. The Mass was that of the Saturday in the Third Week of Advent, and the concelebrants were the Cardinals resident in Rome. The reason for the extraordinary liturgical celebration was thanksgiving to God for the life of Pope Francis, who was born 80 years ago this day, on December 17th, 1936. The liturgy unfolded with the simple penitential settings of the season, and the readings were those of the day. The Dean of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, offered words of greeting in the name of all those present and of all the members of the College, saying, “The risen Jesus appeared to the disciples and addressed these well-known words to Simon-Peter: ‘Simon son of Jonah, do you love me more than these?’ And the Apostle immediately replied: ‘Yes, Lord, You know that I love you!’ It is with this love that Your Holiness today carries out His mission in the world. Then we know that we are close to you, especially today, on this beautiful day of your life. Cardinal Sodano went on to say, “Our prayer shall be with you always, well mindful as we are of what we repeat in the Holy Mass every day, and that is: that by communion with the Body and Blood of Christ, may the Holy Spirit unite us in One Body.” At the end of the Mass, Pope Francis offered thanks to the Cardinals present, saying, “For several days now, I’ve been thinking of a word that can seem ugly – no? – dotage. It is scary: just yesterday, [Office Manager for the Dept. for Relations with States in the Secretariat of State of the Holy See] Msgr. [Luigi] Cavaliere  gave me [a copy of] Cicero’s De senectute  - right? Really laying it on [It. una goccia in più]. Only, remember what I said to you on March 15 [2013], in our first meeting: ‘Old age is the seat of wisdom.’ Hopefully it is for me, right? Let us hope that it is so.” The Holy Father also recalled a line of the Roman poet, Ovid: “Tacitu pede lapsa vetustas [with silent steps, old age slips up on one] It is a blow! But also, when one thinks of it as a stage of life that is to give joy, wisdom, hope, one begins to live again, right? And I can think of another poem that I quoted to you that day too [from the German poet, Hölderlin]: Es ist ruhig, das Alter, und fromm, “Old age is quiet and religious”. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Fr. Cantalamessa: “strong wine” of Spirit overcomes unbelief

Vatican News - Fri, 12/16/2016 - 10:07
(Vatican Radio) The Preacher of the Papal Household, Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM Cap., delivered his third Advent sermon on Friday. Fr. Cantalamessa’s reflection focused on the sober intoxication of the spirit , exploring the theme as it emerged from the writings of the Fathers of the Church. The Preacher of the Papal Household began his reflection with a distinction between physical and spiritual inebriation, noting that the first makes people come out of themselves to live below the level of reason, while the second makes people come out of themselves to live above the level of their reason. Click below to hear our report “How,” he asked in the second portion of his talk, “do we appropriate this ideal of sober intoxication and incarnate it in our current historical and ecclesial situation?” He went on to say, “We need the sober intoxication of the Spirit even more than the Fathers did.” “The world has become so averse to the gospel, so sure of itself, that only the “strong wine” of the Spirit can overcome its unbelief and draw it out of its entirely human and rationalistic sobriety, which passes itself off as “scientific objectivity.” Only spiritual weapons, says the Apostle, “have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle to the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ”. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope: Christians should open the road to Jesus

Vatican News - Fri, 12/16/2016 - 08:06
(Vatican Radio) Christians should look to the “great” John the Baptist as a model of humble witness to Jesus, as one who denies himself, even to the point of death, in order to point out the coming of the Son of God. That was Pope Francis’ message, during the morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta, to Bishops and religious celebrating the 50 th anniversary of their ordination, and to married couples celebrating the 50 th anniversary of their wedding vows. John the Baptist, the witness who points to Christ The Church’s liturgy turns once again, as it has in the past two days, to the figure of St John the Baptist, presented in the Gospel as the “witness.” His vocation, the Pope explained in his homily, is “to give witness to Jesus,” “to point out Jesus,” like a lamp with respect to the light: A lamp that points out where the light is, that bears witness to the light. He was the voice. He said of himself: “I am the voice that cries out in the desert.” He was the voice but that bears witness to the Word, points out the Word, the Word of God, the Word. He was only the voice. The Word. He was the preacher of penitence who baptized, the Baptist, but he makes it clear, he says clearly: “After me comes another who is mightier than I, who is greater than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. And He will baptize you in fire and the Holy Spirit.” The humility of John, his self-annihilation is a model for Christians John, then, is the “place-holder who points out the definitive figure”; and the definitive figure is Jesus. This, the Pope said, “is his greatness,” which was demonstrated each time the people and the doctors of the law asked him whether or not he was the Messiah, and he clearly responded, “I am not he”: And this provisional but certain, strong testimony; that torch that was not put out by the wind of vanity; that voice that was not diminished by the force of pride; always becomes one that indicates the other and opens the gate to the other testimony, that of the Father, that which Jesus speaks of today: “But I have a testimony greater than that of John: that of the Father. And John the Baptist opens the gate to this testimony.” And the voice of the Father is heard: “This is my Son.” It was for John to open this gate. And this John was great, always left aside. John is humble, he “annihilates himself,” the Pope emphasized once again, he takes the same road that Jesus would take later, that “of emptying himself.” And it will be thus until the end: “in the darkness of a cell, in prison, beheaded because of the whim of a dancing girl, the envy of an adulteress, the weakness of a drunkard.” If we have to paint a portrait, Francis is of the mind that “this alone is how we must depict it.” This is an image that the Pope then offered to the faithful present, including religious and bishops celebrating their jubilees, and married couples celebrating their 50 th wedding anniversaries. Christians by their lives should open the road to Jesus It is a beautiful day to question ourselves about our own Christian life, if our own Christian life has always opened the road to Jesus, if our own life was full of this act: pointing out Jesus. Giving thanks for the many times that they did it, giving thanks and beginning anew, after the fiftieth anniversary, with this aged youth or this youthful age – like the good wine! – taking a step forward in order to continue to be witnesses of Jesus. May John, the great witness, help you in this new path that you are beginning today, after the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary, of priesthood, of consecrated life, and of matrimony. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pastors should speak the truth, welcome people's first steps

Vatican News - Thu, 12/15/2016 - 09:29
(Vatican Radio) Pastors should speak the truth, but at the same time welcome people for what they are able to give: this is the first step; the rest we leave to the Lord. That was the message of Pope Francis at the daily Mass at the Casa Santa Marta on Thursday. St John the Baptist was at the centre of the Pope’s homily. The liturgy of Advent, especially in these days, often reflects on his ministry: a man who lived in the desert, preached, and baptized. The strong preaching of Baptist against the Pharisees and the Doctors of the Law Many people went out into the desert to find John the Baptist, including the Pharisees and the doctors of the law. The latter, though, went out with a certain detachment, intending not to be baptized by John, but to judge him. In the Gospel of the Day, Jesus asks the crowds what they went out to see in the desert: “a reed swayed by the wind? Someone dressed in fine garments?” They weren’t looking for men dressed in fine vestments, because people like that are found in the palaces of kings – “or sometimes of Bishops,” the Pope added. Rather, they went out to see a prophet, one who was “more than a prophet.” Jesus said “among those born of women, no one is greater than John.” He was “the last of the prophets,” the Pope said, because after him came the Messiah. Dwelling on the reason of John’s greatness, Pope Francis explained, “He was a man who was faithful to what the Lord had asked of him”; “he was great because he was faithful. This greatness is seen even in his preaching: He preached forcefully, he said some ugly things to the Pharisees, to the doctors of the law, to the priests, he didn’t say to them: “But dear friends, behave yourselves!” No. He said to them simply: “You race of vipers!” He didn’t use nuance. Because they approached in order to inspect him and to see him, but never with open hearts: “Race of vipers!” He risked his live, yes, but he was faithful. Then to Herod, to his face, he said, “Adulterer! It is not licit for you to live this way, adulterer!” To his face! But it is certain that if a pastor today said in the Sunday homily, “Among you there are some who are a race of vipers, and there are many adulterers,” certainly the Bishop would receive disconcerting letters: “But send away this pastor who insults us.” And he insulted them. Why? Because he was faithful to his vocation and to the truth. The Baptist asked for a first step from the publicans, and then he baptized them The Pope noted, though, that with the people he was understanding: of the publicans – who were known as public sinners because they exploited the people – he said, “Do not ask for more than what is just.” “He began with small things. Then we’ll see. And he baptized them,” Francis continued. “First this step. Then we see.” He asked the soldiers, the police, not to threaten or denounce anyone and to be content with their pay. “This means not entering into the world of tangents,” Pope Francis explained. “When a policeman stops you, he tests you for alcohol, there is a little more: ‘Eh, no, but… how much? Come on!’ No. This no.” John baptized all these sinners, “but with this minimal step forward, because he knew that with this step, the Lord would do the rest.” And they converted. “It is a pastor,” the Pope continued, “who understood the situation of the people and helped them to go forward with the Lord.” John was then the only prophet to whom the grace of pointing out Jesus was given. Even John the Baptist, according to Pope Francis, had his doubts; the great can afford to doubt Although John was great, strong, secure in his vocation, “he still had dark moments,” he had his doubts,” said Francis. In fact, John began to doubt in prison, even though he had baptized Jesus, “because he was a Saviour that was not as he had imagined him.” And so he sent two of his disciples to ask Him if He was the Messiah. And Jesus corrects the vision of John with a clear response. In fact, He tells them to report to John that “the blind see,” “the deaf hear,” “the dead rise.” “The great can afford to doubt, because they are great,” the Pope said. The great can afford to doubt, and this is beautiful. They are certain of their vocation but each time the Lord makes them see a new street of the journey, they enter into doubt. ‘But this is not orthodox, this is heretical, this is not the Messiah I expected.’ The devil does this work, and some friend also helps, no? This is the greatness of John, a great one, the last of that band of believers that began with Abraham, that one that preaches conversion, that one that does not use half-words to condemn the proud, that one that at the end of his life is allowed to doubt. And this is a good program of Christian life.” Helping people take the first step; and God will do the rest Pope Francis than summarized the main points of his homily: saying the truth and accepting from the people what they are able to give, a first step: Let us ask from John the grace of apostolic courage to always say things with truth, from pastoral love, to receive the people with the little that they can give, the first step. God will do the rest. And also the grace of doubting. Often times, maybe at the end of life, one can ask, “But is all that I believed true or are they fantasies?” the temptation against the faith, against the Lord. May the great John, who is the least in the kingdom of Heaven, and for this reason is great, help us along this path in the footsteps of the Lord. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis sends condolences after death of Cardinal Arns

Vatican News - Thu, 12/15/2016 - 09:19
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a message of condolences to Cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer, archbishop of São Paulo, Brazil, following the death on Wednesday of Cardinal Paulo Evaristo Arns, emeritus of the same archdiocese, at the age of 95. “I receive with great sadness the news of the death of our venerated brother, Cardinal Paulo Evaristo Arns”, writes the Holy Father. “I express also to the auxiliary bishops, the clergy, the religious communities and the faithful of the archdiocese of São Paulo, as well as to the family of the deceased, my condolences for the passing of this intrepid pastor who in his ecclesial ministry revealed himself to be an authentic witness of the Gospel amid his people, showing to all the path of truth in charity and in service to the community, in constant attention to the most disadvantaged. I thank the Lord for having given the Church such a generous pastor, and raise fervent prayers that God may grant eternal joy to this good and faithful servant of His. I convey to the archdiocesan community that mourns the loss of its beloved pastor, to the Church of Brazil, which found in him a sure point of reference, and those who share in this hour of sadness that announces the resurrection, the comfort of my Apostolic Blessing”. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope to children's hospital: ‘hope is the “fuel” of Christian life’

Vatican News - Thu, 12/15/2016 - 06:57
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Thursday greeted young patients, their families and hospital staff of Rome’s ‘Bambino Gesù’ Children’s Hospital and encouraged them to nurture hope and to say ‘thank you’ to God for having shown us the way to give meaning to our human existence. Amongst the hundreds of children at the audience receiving care from the Vatican hospital, were young patients from across the world including 15 kids from the Central African Republic where the ‘Bambino Gesù’ has a special cooperation project like the ones in Jordan and in Palestine which reach out to give medical assistance to refugee children from Syria and Iraq. Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni : The packed audience that took place in the Paul VI Hall was opened by ‘Bambino Gesù’ President Mariella Enoc who spoke about how the hospital has a system stretches well beyond regional and national boundaries with Centers in impoverished Italian regions and with numerous international missions in developing nations. She explained that today the ‘Bambino Gesù’ is present in 12 countries, with the goal of providing care and passing on its experience in the poorest areas of the world.  Pope Francis then listened to questions asked by Valentina, to an appeal made by Dino, to the words of Serena and to the doubts raised by Luca who is at the beginning of his professional and human experience as a pediatric nurse. He told Valentina, who is also a nurse, that he has no answer to her question ‘why do children suffer?’: “I do not have the answer” he said.  Not even Jesus had an answer to this question.  But Jesus, he said, shows us the way to give meaning to our human experience; he himself suffered offering his own life for our salvation. All we can do, the Pope said, is to be close to the child who suffers, cry with him, pray with him, look to the crucified Jesus.  He also urged Christians searching for a balm for those who are close to those who suffer never to neglect the value of gratitude and to always say ‘thank you’. “To say thank you is a medicine against bouts of hopelessness, which is a contagious ailment” he said. To say thank you is to nurture hope, the Pope continued, and hope is the ‘fuel’ of Christian life that allows us to go forward every day. To Dino, a ‘Bambino Gesù’ staff member who was asking for greater spaces to offer the patients of the hospital, the Pope said: “It is essential to open one’s heart: Providence will find concrete spaces!”  But he also took the occasion to warn against the temptation of transforming a hospital into a place in which to do business, a place where doctors and nurses become profiteers saying “one of the worst cancers in a hospital is corruption. With strong words and strong tones against what he called a profit-driven health industry that deceives many, the Pope reiterated that we are all sinners, but we must learn from children and never be corrupt.  And to Luca who is beginning his career as a pediatric nurse the Pope said: “follow your dreams”; never stop doing good and never give up your wish to give life to great projects. “A life without dreams is not worthy of God, a life that is tired, resigned and lacking enthusiasm is not Christian” he said. And finally, to Serena, a former oncological patient of the Children’s Hospital who is studying to become a doctor, the Pope spoke of the special strength and joy of those who dedicated their lives and their talents for others: “this is a gift” he said.  He recalled an Italian nun whom he said saved his life when, as a young man in Buenos Aires he was struck by a severe case of pneumonia. The Pope spoke of her joyfulness and of the joy that derives of “sowing life, of helping young lives to grow, of giving to others”. “This, he said, will be your best stipend!”                   (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis releases message for 2017 World Day of Sick

Vatican News - Thu, 12/15/2016 - 06:02
(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis has released his message for the 25th World Day of the Sick to take place on 11 February 2017, the commemoration of Our Lady of Lourdes. The Day of the Sick was instituted by Pope St. John Paul II in 1992, who called it “a special time of prayer and sharing, of offering one’s suffering”. Listen to Devin Watkins’ report: Pope Francis entitled his message for the 2017 celebration of the World Day of the Sick “Amazement at what God has accomplished: ‘The Almighty has done great things for me…’ (Lk 1:49)”. He said the commemoration “gives the Church renewed spiritual energy for carrying out ever more fully that fundamental part of her mission which includes serving the poor, the infirm, the suffering, the outcast, and the marginalized.” The Pope also expressed his “closeness to all of you, our suffering brothers and sisters, and to your families, as well as my appreciation for all those in different roles of service and in healthcare institutions throughout the world who work with professionalism, responsibility, and dedication for your care, treatment and daily well-being.” He said all the infirm and those who help them should look to Mary, “Health of the Infirm, the sure sign of God’s love for every human being and a model of surrender to his will.” Mary’s apparition at Lourdes to the “poor, illiterate, and ill” Bernadette, he said, reminds us “that every person is, and always remains, a human being, and is to be treated as such. The sick and the those who are disabled, even severely, have their own inalienable dignity and mission in life.” In his message, the Holy Father said God’s solicitude for “the world of suffering and sickness” is revealed in Jesus. “The solidarity shown by Christ, the Son of God born of Mary, is the expression of God’s merciful omnipotence, which is made manifest in our life – above all when that life is frail, pain-filled, humbled, marginalized, and suffering – and fills it with the power of hope that can sustain us and enable us to get up again.” He said the celebration of the World Day of the Sick should provide “new incentive to work for the growth of a culture of respect for life, health and the environment” and “inspire renewed efforts to defend the integrity and dignity of persons, not least through a correct approach to bioethical issues, the protection of the vulnerable and the protection of the environment.” Finally, Pope Francis invited the sick, healthcare workers, and volunteers to turn to Mary in prayer. He said, “May her maternal intercession sustain and accompany our faith, and obtain for us from Christ her Son hope along our journey of healing and of health, a sense of fraternity and responsibility, a commitment to integral human development, and the joy of feeling gratitude whenever God amazes us by his fidelity and his mercy.” He concluded the message with a short prayer to Our Lady: Mary, our Mother, in Christ you welcome each of us as a son or daughter. Sustain the trusting expectation of our hearts, succour us in our infirmities and sufferings, and guide us to Christ, your Son and our brother. Help us to entrust ourselves to the Father who accomplishes great things. Please find below the text of Pope Francis’ message: Dear Brothers and Sisters, On 11 February next, the Twenty-fifth World Day of the Sick will be celebrated throughout the Church and in a special way at Lourdes.  The theme of this year’s celebration is “Amazement at what God has accomplished: ‘The Almighty has done great things for me….’” (Lk 1:49).  Instituted by my predecessor Saint John Paul II in 1992, and first celebrated at Lourdes on 11 February 1993, this Day is an opportunity to reflect in particular on the needs of the sick and, more generally, of all those who suffer.  It is also an occasion for those who generously assist the sick, beginning with family members, health workers and volunteers, to give thanks for their God-given vocation of accompanying our infirm brothers and sisters.  This celebration likewise gives the Church renewed spiritual energy for carrying out ever more fully that fundamental part of her mission which includes serving the poor, the infirm, the suffering, the outcast and the marginalized (cf. JOHN PAUL II, Motu Proprio Dolentium Hominum , 11 February 1985, 1).  Surely, the moments of prayer, the Eucharistic liturgies and the celebrations of the Anointing of the Sick, the sharing with the sick and the bioethical and theological-pastoral workshops to be held in Lourdes in those days will make new and significant contributions to that service. Even now, I am spiritually present at the grotto of Massabielle, before the statue of the Immaculate Virgin, in whom the Almighty has done great things for the redemption of mankind.  I express my closeness to all of you, our suffering brothers and sisters, and to your families, as well as my appreciation for all those in different roles of service and in healthcare institutions throughout the world who work with professionalism, responsibility and dedication for your care, treatment and daily well-being.   I encourage all of you, the sick, the suffering, physicians, nurses, family members and volunteers, to see in Mary, Health of the Infirm, the sure sign of God’s love for every human being and a model of surrender to his will.  May you always find in faith, nourished by the Word and by the Sacraments, the strength needed to love God, even in the experience of illness. Like Saint Bernadette, we stand beneath the watchful gaze of Mary.  The humble maiden of Lourdes tells us that the Virgin, whom she called “the Lovely Lady”, looked at her as one person looks at another.  Those simple words describe the fullness of a relationship.  Bernadette, poor, illiterate and ill, felt that Mary was looking at her as a person.  The Lovely Lady spoke to her with great respect and without condescension.  This reminds us that every person is, and always remains, a human being, and is to be treated as such.  The sick and the those who are disabled, even severely, have their own inalienable dignity and mission in life.  They never become simply objects.  If at times they appear merely passive, in reality that is never the case. After her visit to the Grotto, thanks to her prayer, Bernadette turned her frailty into support for others.  Thanks to her love, she was able to enrich her neighbours and, above all, to offer her life for the salvation of humanity.  The fact that the Lovely Lady asked her to pray for sinners reminds us that the infirm and the suffering desire not only to be healed, but also to live a truly Christian life, even to the point of offering it as authentic missionary disciples of Christ.  Mary gave Bernadette the vocation of serving the sick and called her to become a Sister of Charity, a mission that she carried out in so exemplary a way as to become a model for every healthcare worker.  Let us ask Mary Immaculate for the grace always to relate to the sick as persons who certainly need assistance, at times even for the simplest of things, but who have a gift of their own to share with others. The gaze of Mary, Comfort of the Afflicted, brightens the face of the Church in her daily commitment to the suffering and those in need.  The precious fruits of this solicitude for the world of suffering and sickness are a reason for gratitude to the Lord Jesus, who out of obedience to the will of the Father became one of us, even enduring death on the cross for the redemption of humanity.  The solidarity shown by Christ, the Son of God born of Mary, is the expression of God’s merciful omnipotence, which is made manifest in our life – above all when that life is frail, pain-filled, humbled, marginalized and suffering – and fills it with the power of hope that can sustain us and enable us to get up again. This great wealth of humanity and faith must not be dissipated.  Instead, it should inspire us to speak openly of our human weaknesses and to address the challenges of present-day healthcare and technology.  On this World Day of the Sick, may we find new incentive to work for the growth of a culture of respect for life, health and the environment.  May this Day also inspire renewed efforts to defend the integrity and dignity of persons, not least through a correct approach to bioethical issues, the protection of the vulnerable and the protection of the environment. On this Twenty-fifth World Day of the Sick, I once more offer my prayerful support and encouragement to physicians, nurses, volunteers and all those consecrated men and women committed to serving the sick and those in need.  I also embrace the ecclesial and civil institutions working to this end, and the families who take loving care of their sick.  I pray that all may be ever joyous signs of the presence of God’s love and imitate the luminous testimony of so many friends of God, including Saint John of God and Saint Camillus de’ Lellis, the patrons of hospitals and healthcare workers, and Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta, missionary of God’s love. Dear brothers and sisters – the sick, healthcare workers and volunteers – I ask you to join me in praying to Mary.  May her maternal intercession sustain and accompany our faith, and obtain for us from Christ her Son hope along our journey of healing and of health, a sense of fraternity and responsibility, a commitment to integral human development and the joy of feeling gratitude whenever God amazes us by his fidelity and his mercy. Mary, our Mother, in Christ you welcome each of us as a son or daughter. Sustain the trusting expectation of our hearts, succour us in our infirmities and sufferings, and guide us to Christ, your Son and our brother. Help us to entrust ourselves to the Father who accomplishes great things. With the assurance of a constant remembrance in my prayers, I cordially impart to all of you my Apostolic Blessing. 8 December 2016, Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception (from Vatican Radio)...
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