Vatican News

Updated: 9 hours 11 min ago

Pope Francis holds audience with president of Latvia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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