Vatican News

Updated: 4 weeks 4 days ago

Pope approves the heroic virtues of Pope John Paul I

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 04:53
Pope John Paul I has moved a step closer to sainthood with the recognition of his heroic virtues.  Pope Francis on Wednesday authorized the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to promulgate the decree approving his predecessor’s heroic virtues which confers on him the title ‘ Venerable’.  Pope Francis also authorized 7 other decrees along with that of John Paul I – two of them on martyrdom and 5 on heroic virtues. Venerable Servant of God Pope John Paul I Pope John Paul I whose heroic virtues Pope Francis has approved and declared him ‘ Venerable Servant of God’  had a brief papacy of just 33 days, yet has left an indelible mark on the Catholic Church.    A ‘ Smiling Pope’ as he is called in that short duration of his pontificate gave nine speeches, three messages, wrote three Apostolic letters and four other official letters, gave two homilies and had five Sunday ‘Angelus’ prayers and four Wednesday general audiences. This short encounter if not his vast experience as a priest, bishop, Patriarch of Venice and then the  Cardinal has proved him to be a person of faith, humble and meek person yet tough when it comes to Church teachings.   Love of God and love of neighbor was his special hallmark. Born on 17th Oct 1912 at "Forno di Canale (Belluno, Italy), Albino Luciani    was son of Giovanni Luciani and Bortola Tancon. He  was baptized the same day at home, by the midwife, as he was in danger of death but formalized two days later in the Church by the curate. On 2nd Feb 1935 he was ordained deacon and on 7 th July 1935 Ordained to the priesthood at St. Peter's Church of Belluno diocese of Belluno e Feltre.  In February  1947 he Graduated from the Gregorian University in Rome with a doctorate in Sacred Theology, his thesis being, "The origin of the human soul according to Antonio Rosmini". 27 th December 1958 he was Consecrated Bishop by John XXIII at St. Peter's Basilica together with the newly consecrated bishops, Gioacchino Muccin and Girolamo Bortignon. In 1977 he participated in the IV Ordinary General Assembly in Rome of the Synod of Bishops regarding "Catechetics in Our Time". August 10 the following year brought  him again to the Vatican after the death of Pope Paul the VI. On  26 th August during the second day of the conclave, he was elected Supreme Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church and he chose his name John Paul I, wishing to serve the Church as his  predecessors did. During his first Sunday Angelus he  humbly acknowledged that he chose that name knowing that he neither had the wisdom of the heart of Pope John nor the preparation and culture of Pope Paul. With this name he became the first Pope to take up a dual name in papal history.  Luciani vowed to serve as a teacher and a servant and had taken up Humilitas (Humility) as his episcopal motto which was evident even after he was appointed a pope.  He wished to do away with Papal Coronation mass and chose to have just papal inauguration. He also preferred not to use the ‘sedia gestatoria’ or the ceremonial throne like an armchair on which the Pope travels from St Peter’s Square. Luciani  a warm, gentle and kind man with a friendly disposition  was loved by the people who were in awe of his persona. He had impressed people with his excellent oratory skills.   His ideologies reflected the spirit of humanity and showcased the immense love and warmth that he had for God and his people.  His swift six point plan defined what the journey of his pontificate would be. He planned to renew the Church through the policies implemented by Vatican II, to revise canon law, to remind the Church of its duty to preach the Gospel, to promote Church unity without watering down doctrine, to promote dialogue and to encourage world peace and social justice. His successors looked upon him as a gentle soul with a heart filled with love. If his immediate successor Cardinal Karol Wojtyła spoke of his values of faith, hope and love, Benedict XVI commented that it was due to his virtues that despite holding papacy for just 33 days, he was able to win the people’s hearts. For Pope Francis, John Paul I was an icon of mercy and humility and he has quoted him in his homilies and in an interview. His qualities of heart and mind made him affable. Already two miracles are attributed to his intercession and are under examination. If any of them is recognized, he would be cleared for Beatification.  (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope at General Audience: through the Eucharist we receive God

Wed, 11/08/2017 - 09:34
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has reminded the faithful that the Eucharist is a wonderful event during which Jesus Christ, our life, becomes present. Speaking to the crowd gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Wednesday General Audience , Pope Francis began a new series of reflections focusing on the Eucharist and highlighting the importance of how we attend and of how we participate in Mass in order to really experience our relationship with God. To the some 13,000 pilgrims present for the weekly audience, Pope Francis said that while at Mass “the Lord is present with us but many times we talk among ourselves and we are not close to Him” during the celebration. Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni : Importance of rediscovering the meaning of the Sacraments He explained that for us Christians it is essential to understand the meaning and the value of Holy Mass in order to be able to fully live our relationship with God.  Remembering Christians who have died to defend the Eucharist “We cannot forget the great number of Christians who, in the entire world, in two thousand years of history, have resisted until death in order to defend the Eucharist” he said.  And he remembered those whom, he said , “still today, risk their lives to participate at Sunday Mass”. The Pope  recalled the history of Christians in North Africa who were caught celebrating Mass in 304, during the persecutions by the Roman Emperor Diocletian: “When asked why they had faced such danger, the Christians said that their Christian life would end if they did not go to Mass.”  Those Christians, he said, were killed and became witnesses of the Eucharist, which they chose over their mortal lives. Noting that it is important to go back to the roots and rediscover what is the true meaning of the actions we carry out during the celebration of the Sacraments, the Pope said the Eucharist allows us “to take part in the sacrifice of Mass and approach the table of the Lord.” The word Eucharist means thanksgiving He explained that the word Eucharist means thanksgiving, because we thank God for allowing us to receive him. Francis also referred to the Second Vatican Council which, he said, pushed forward a series of liturgical renewals in order to encourage the encounter between the faithful and Christ. 'Boring' priests must convert Describing the Sacrament of the Eucharist as “an amazing event during which the Lord is present”, the Pope noted that too often the faithful describe the Mass as boring: “Is the Lord boring? He asked those present: No, no, it’s the priest. It’s the priests? Then the priests must convert!” Children must learn how to make the sign of the cross properly  And explaining why we do certain things during Mass he posed the question: “Have you seen the way children make the sign of the Cross?” “We must teach them, he said, how to do it well, because that is how Mass begins, that is how life begins, that is how the day begins!” Lift up your hearts not your cellphones And furthering his comments on how, too often, the Mass is lived in a superficial way, Pope Francis remarked on the fact that the priest who celebrates says “Lift up your hearts” not “Lift up your cellphones  to take a photo!” “This is a bad thing” he said, “It makes me very sad when I celebrate Mass here in the Square or in the Basilica and I see many cellphones raised. And it’s not only the faithful, but also many priests and bishops. Please! Mass is not a show!”  It is very important, Pope Francis concluded, to rediscover the meaning of the Eucharist and of the other Sacraments which are the signs of God’s love, the privileged ways to meet with Him. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope meets Egypt's Muslim leader Ahmed al-Tayeb

Tue, 11/07/2017 - 11:03
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met on Tuesday with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar , Sheikh Ahmed Muhammad al-Tayeb who is in Rome to attend a conference organised by the St Egidio community. No details of the private encounter were released, but the meeting marked the second trip to the Vatican in two years by Egypt’s top Muslim leader. His first meeting with the pope in May 2016 marked an important step forward after five years of suspended dialogue between the Holy See and the prestigious Al-Azhar university. Pope's visit to Cairo In April this year, Pope Francis travelled to Cairo to visit the headquarters of Sunni Muslim scholarship and attend an international peace conference there. During his two day visit to Egypt, the pope urged religious leaders to denounce violations of human rights and expose attempts to justify violence and hatred in the name of God. Respecful interreligious dialogue He appealed for respectful interreligious dialogue, saying the only alternative to a culture of civilized encounter is “the incivility of conflict”. Recalling the visit of St Francis to the Sultan in Egypt eight centuries ago, he called for dialogue based on sincerity and the courage to accept differences. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Papal condolences for victims of Texas shooting

Tue, 11/07/2017 - 10:45
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has expressed his condolences to the families of the victims of a deadly shooting Texas . Twenty-six people were killed in the attack, including the unborn child of a young mother, who was also killed. The dead ranged in age from 18 months to 77 years. Twenty others were wounded, with 10 still in critical condition late on Monday. In a telegram addressed to Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller of San Antonio, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin noted Pope Francis was “deeply grieved by news of the loss of life and grave injuries caused by the act of senseless violence perpetrated at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs .” The Holy Father, the Cardinal said, “asks you kindly to convey his heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and the wounded, to the members of the congregation, and to the entire local community.” Cardinal Parolin said Pope Francis was praying to “our Lord Jesus Christ to console all who mourn and to grant them the spiritual strength that triumphs over violence and hatred by the power of forgiveness, hope and reconciling love.” (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis: 'Salvation is not for sale'

Tue, 11/07/2017 - 09:20
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has urged Christians not to lose the capacity to feel loved. Speaking during the homily on Tuesday morning at the Casa Santa Marta , the Pope said that while it is possible to recuperate a lost capacity to love, if one no longer has the capacity feel loved, all is lost.  Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni : Pope Francis reflected on the reading from the Gospel of Luke in which Jesus says “Blessed are those who will take food in the Kingdom of God” and explained that the Lord asks us to open our doors to those who cannot reciprocate. The parable of the man who gave a dinner to which he invited many   The parable tells of a man who gave a great dinner to which he invited many. But when the time for the dinner came, those who had been invited declined the invitation because they were taken by their own interests which seemed to them more important than the invitation itself. They were asking themselves – the Pope noted – what benefit they could get out of the dinner, just like that man who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich in what matters to God. They were so concerned with their own interests the Pope said they were “incapable of understanding the gratuity of the invitation”.  Salvation is not for sale And warning the faithful against this kind of attitude the Pope said: “if you do not understand the gratuity of God's invitation, you do not understand anything”. He explained that the only price God asks one to pay is that of being needy, in body and in soul: one must be in need of love.   He remarked on the two different attitudes: on the one hand the Lord who asks for nothing in return and tells the servant to invite the poor, the crippled, the good and the bad: “this gratuitousness has no limits, God receives all”. On the other hand, he said, the attitude of those who had been invited but who did not understand, like the elder brother of Prodigal son who does not want to attend the banquet arranged by his father because “he does not understand”. “He spent all his money, he wasted his inheritance in vices and sins, and you celebrate his homecoming? I am a practicing Catholic, I go to Mass every Sunday and carry out my duties and you do nothing for me? He does not understand the gratuity of salvation” he said. Salvation, the Pope reiterated, is free: “It is God’s gift to which one responds with another gift, the gift of one’s heart.” God asks only for love and fidelity The Lord, he said does not ask for anything in return, only love and fidelity. Salvation is not for sale, one simply has to accept the invitation to His banquet, thus: “Blessed are those who will take food in the Kingdom of God” – This is Salvation. Those, he continued, who do not want to take part in the banquet have lost the capacity to feel that they are loved. “When one loses – not the capacity to love because that is something that can be recuperated – but the capacity to feel loved there is no hope and all is lost” he said. It reminds us, Pope Francis concluded, of the writing on the gate to Dante’s inferno ‘Abandon hope all ye who enter here’ - we must think of this and of the Lord who wants His home to be filled: “Let us ask the Lord to save us from losing the ability to feel loved”. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis meets 'The Elders' to discuss global concerns

Mon, 11/06/2017 - 14:14
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis had a private meeting at Santa Marta on Monday afternoon with members of The Elders, an independent group of global leaders working for peace and human rights around the world. The Elders was established 10 years ago by former South African President Nelson Mandela and is currently marking the group’s 10th anniversary with a campaign called “Walk Together”  - continuing Mandela’s long walk to freedom. Just after the audience, Philippa Hitchen spoke to two of the founding members of The Elders, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and Mary Robinson, former Irish President , former UN high commissioner for human rights and, more recently, UN envoy on climate change. Philippa began by asking Kofi Annan about the issues they were able to discuss during their papal audience… Listen: The former UN leader says it was important for four representatives of the group to come to the Vatican because they share many common interests and values. He says they wanted to engage with Pope Francis and “discuss how we can work together, how we can pool our efforts on some of these issues”. Peace, migration, climate change, gender equality Among the areas of discussion, he continues, were the questions of migration, nuclear weapons peace, mediation and conflicts, as well as climate change and gender equality, that is “the importance of giving women a voice and respecting their role”. He adds “I hope this will be the first of many meetings”. Shared efforts to be a voice for marginalised Former Irish President Mary Robinson says the group came to express “an appreciation for the role he is playing and the fact that he, like The Elders, is trying to be a voice for the voiceless and the marginalized, trying to deal with the most difficult areas of conflict. She says they also spoke about countries including Venezuela and Congo, as well as focusing on climate change, all issues, she notes, where “the pope has given leadership”. Common values, common sense of purpose Robinson says she was also struck by the “warmth and affection and humour” in their meeting. “I was very struck by how relaxed the pope was with us, how much he joked”, she says, adding that Pope Francis seemed to “feel at home” as they discussed “common values, a common moral purpose, common problems” I think he could be a future ‘Elder’, Annan says and Robinson quips, “I think he’s a Super Elder”. Over the coming days we will be featuring further excerpts from this interview, as Kofi Annan and Mary Robinson discuss the COP23 climate conference, gender equality in politics, the role of diplomacy and peacemaking, migration and refugees, as well as the situation in Myanmar as Pope Francis prepares to travel there at the end of November. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope at Mass: God's gifts are irrevocable

Mon, 11/06/2017 - 07:04
(Vatican Radio) When God gives a gift, it is irrevocable: He does not give something one day, and take it away the next. When God calls us, that call remains our whole life. Pope Francis began his homily with this reflection, inspired by the theme of our “election by God,” God’s choice of each of us, which is taken from the day’s reading from the Letter of St Paul to the Romans. In the history of salvation, the Pope said, there are three “gifts and calls of God to His people”: “the gift of election, of the promise, and of the covenant.” All are irrevocable, because God is faithful. This was the case for Abraham, and it is true for all of us as well: “Each one of us is elect, chosen by God. Each one of us bears a promise that the Lord has made: ‘Walk in my presence, be irreproachable, and I will do this for you.’ And each one of us makes some covenant with the Lord. You can do it, you can’t will it – it is free. But this is a fact. And also, there must be a question: How do I experience ‘election’? Or do I consider myself a Christian ‘by accident’ [It.: ‘per caso’]? How do I live the promise, a promise of salvation of my path, and how am I faithful to the covenant? Like He is faithful?” Then, in the face of the constant “faithfulness” of God, it remains for us to ask ourselves: Do we feel His “caress,” His care for us, and His “seeking after” us when we have distanced ourselves from Him? And yet, Pope Francis continued, St Paul, when speaking about the “election of God” returns again and again to two words: “disobedience” and “mercy.” Where there is one, there is the other, and this is our path of salvation: “That is to say that on the path of election, to the promise, and the covenant, there will be sins, there will be disobedience, but in the face of this disobedience there is always mercy. It is like the dynamic of our walking journeying toward maturity: there is always mercy, because He is faithful, He never revokes His gifts. It is linked; this is linked, that the gifts are irrevocable; [but] why? Because in the face of our weaknesses, our sins, there is always mercy. And when Paul comes to this reflection, he goes one step further: but not in explanation for us, but of adoration.” In the face of “this mystery of disobedience and mercy that sets us free,” there is adoration and silent praise. And in the face of “this beauty of irrevocable gifts such as election, the promise, and the covenant,” there is this final invitation from the Pope: “I think it would do us good, all of us, to think today about our election; about the promises that the Lord has made to us; and about how I live out the covenant with the Lord. And how I allow myself – permit me the word – to receive mercy from the Lord [It. ‘misericordiare’ dal Signore] in the face of my sins, of my disobedience. And finally, whether I am capable – like Paul – of praising the Lord for what He has given to me, to each one of us: to offer praise, and to make that act of adoration. But never forgetting: the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.” Listen to our report:    (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope at Angelus: Christians must have fraternal attitude

Sun, 11/05/2017 - 06:52
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis’ Angelus address focused on the words of Jesus from Sunday’s Gospel, including the Lord’s “severe criticisms” of the scribes and Pharisees, and His directions to Christians “of all times,” including our own. Christ’s saying that “the scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses” and His command to “do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you” means that they have the authority to teach what is in conformity to the Law of God, the Pope said. But, the Lord immediately adds, “do not follow their example; for they preach but they do not practice.” Pope Francis said this is a “frequent defect” of those in authority: They are demanding towards others, and they are often correct; but while their directions are just, they fail to practice them themselves. “This attitude is a wicked exercise of authority,” the Pope said, which should instead lead by good example, “helping others practice what is right and due, supporting them in the trials that they encounter on the path of goodness.” If authority is exercised badly, he said, “it becomes oppressive, it does not allow people to grow and it creates a climate of distrust and of hostility, and also brings corruption.” The behaviours of the scribes and Pharisees, which Jesus denounced, are temptations that come from human pride, which the Pope said is not easy to overcome. “It is a temptation to live solely for appearances.” “We disciples of Christ should not seek titles of honour, of authority, or of supremacy, because among us there ought to be a fraternal attitude,” Pope Francis said. “I tell you, it saddens me personally to see people psychologically running after the vanity of honorifics. We disciples of Christ should not do this, because among us there ought to be a simple and fraternal attitude. If we have received special gifts from God, “we should put them at the service of our brothers, and not profit by them for our personal satisfaction.” As Christians, he concluded, we “should not consider ourselves superior to others; modesty is essential for an existence that wants to be conformed to the teaching of Christ, who is meek and humble of heart, and who came not to be served, but to serve. ” (from Vatican Radio)...
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The University of the People transforming lives to build a better world

Sat, 11/04/2017 - 14:00
(Vatican Radio) One of the organizations represented at this week’s conference at the Pontifical Gregorian University on the role and the responsibility of universities and educators in offering help – and hope -  to the growing numbers of migrants and refugees was The University of the People .  And together with other conference participants, Shai Reshef , President of The University of the People, was also at the audience with Pope Francis on Saturday morning in the Vatican. During that audience the Pope praised the commitment and the work of those present at “ Refugees and Migrants in a Globalized World: Responsibility and Responses of Universities ” conference and spoke of the need for “distance courses for those living in camps and reception centres”  which happens to be one of the main missions of the The University of the People as Shai Reshef explained: Listen :  “The University of the People is the first non-profit, tuition-free, accredited, online University for students who graduate from high school, are qualified for higher education  but cannot attend higher education, either because they don’t have the money, either because they live in places where there aren’t enough universities, or they are deprived for political or cultural reasons such as refugees, women in some cultures… to all these people, we bring - through the internet – tuition-free  university to enable them to get higher education, a better future for themselves, for their families, for their societies and hopefully for the world as a whole” he said. Shai Reshef says that currently The University of the People counts over 10,000 students from countries from across the globe – many of them from Syria. He describes the just ended conference in Rome as focusing on a very important aspect of the migration and refugee topic and said that bringing together different universities that deal with the issue of providing education to displaced people is the first of its kind giving life to an extremely relevant conversation. “We were very fortunate to be encouraged by the Pope who met with us” he said. “The people who came to the conference, Reshef pointed out, are the ones  who believe in this goal of building a better future for all by providing access to education”. Look at the Syrian refugees for example: “there are 200,000 Syrians who are left out of higher education” because of reasons caused by the conflict in their nation. “If each university in the world would take ten Syrians – that’s not a lot. We can accommodate all of them!” he said. Reshef said that at The University of the People “we are already doing it. We have taken over 1000 refugees and over 600 Syrian refugees. But each university could afford to take ten refugees  and that’s basically what the Pope said: think about these people and see how you can address this issue”. He said he is in total agreement with the Pope’s belief that this is a global co-responsibility and described Pope Francis as “a champion of resolving the issue and understanding that it is not ‘their’ problem: it’s ‘our’ problem”. He pointed out that from a pragmatic point of view you can look at the issue not just as a human rights cause, but understanding that “if it is not resolved these people will continue to be miserable and being miserable  means not only that they will not be productive members of society and are going to suffer, but the consequences of this we all are going to bear” he said. “If these people have hope probably they will behave differently” he said. He said that if you take people who strive for opportunity and you give them opportunity, they will go a long way and hopefully be builders of a better world. Reshef said the conference contained promise for the future and it reinforced his belief that ‘on-line’ tuition is assuming a more and more important role in the discussion of the solution. On-line is what can be relevant and offer a solution to every person he pointed out. Concluding, Reshef specified that while the University of The People is tuition-free it is not free as fees are requested for exams unless the student cannot afford to pay; in that case (as often is the case for refugees and migrants) scholarships are offered. Finally he said: “For me to shake the Pope’s hand and receive – as the University of the People – his blessing, was a very exciting moment and I am very happy to have it”.   For more information on The University of the People: www.uopeople.edu       (from Vatican Radio)...
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Cardinal Amato presides at Beatification Mass for Sr Rani Maria

Sat, 11/04/2017 - 12:59
(Vatican Radio) Martyred Indian Sister Rani Maria , who was slain by an assassin 22 years ago in central India, was proclaimed a Blessed at a beatification ceremony during Holy Mass in Indore, in central India’s Madhya Pradesh state on Saturday, November 4th.    Cardinal Angelo Amato , Prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Saints, presided over the Beatification Mass. During his homily he described Sister Rani Maria as one who lived and died preaching the gospel of charity and defending the poor…  Listen :   (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope encourages Sixt Children's Aid charity in its committment

Sat, 11/04/2017 - 07:41
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Saturday greeted members of the Sixt Family encouraging them to pursue their work which is aimed at helping children in various situations of need. Headed by Regine Sixt, the main purpose of the Regine Sixt Children’s Aid Foundation is the worldwide improvement of humane living conditions for children through program areas that include health, care, education and emergency aid. Please find below the Pope’s address below: Dear Members of the Sixt Family, Dear Friends, I offer a warm welcome to you, the representatives of the Sixt company from throughout the world.  I thank Mrs Regina Sixt for her introduction, which spoke of your shared commitment to works of charity, carried out through the Drying Little Tears Foundation and aimed above all at helping children in various situations of need. These efforts allow you the opportunity to make your professional activity a noble vocation, by recognizing a greater meaning in life.  Beyond personal and financial success, you are striving to serve the common good by working to increase the goods of this world and to make them more available to all (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 203). You have assembled here in Rome to meet the Successor of Peter, who has a special place in his heart for the least and the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters.  Such are our children.  Drying their tears through concrete projects of assistance is a way of combatting the culture of waste and helping to build a more humane society. I encourage you to pursue your work in the conviction that God’s tender love can be seen in a particular way on the faces of innocent children in need of care and support.  May the Lord reward you with his many gifts. I ask your prayers for my mission in the service of the Church, and to you, your dear grandchildren and all your families, I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing.   (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis highlights importance of education for migrants and refugees

Sat, 11/04/2017 - 05:49
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Saturday addressed members of the International Federation of Catholic Universities at the conclusion of their conference entitled,  "Refugees and Migrants in a Globalized World: Responsibilities and Responses of Universities". Listen to our report:  Addressing the International Conference participants on Saturday in the Vatican the Pope, congratulating them on their work, also pointed out the importance of their contribution in three areas:  research, teaching and social promotion in order, he said, to bring about “the construction of a more just and humane world.” Studying migration Reflecting on the theme of their conference "Refugees and Migrants in a Globalized World: Responsibilities and Responses of Universities", the Holy Father spoke about the need “to do further studies into the root causes of forced migration with the aim of identifying viable solutions…” He also added, that it was equally important to reflect on the negative, sometimes discriminatory, and xenophobic reactions that migrants face in countries of ancient Christian traditions and look also to creating more awareness of this issue. Promoting education initiatives for refugees Pope Francis underlined the contributions that migrants and refugees can make to the societies that welcome them and expressed the hope that Catholic universities would develop programmes that “promote refugee education at various levels, both through the provision of distance courses for those living in camps and reception centres, and through the granting of scholarships that allow for their relocation.” During his address, the Pope invited Catholic universities to educate their students, some of whom, he said, would be political leaders of the future, entrepreneurs and artists of culture, to study carefully the migratory phenomenon, in a justice, and global co-responsibility perspective. With regard to the complex world of migration, said Pope Francis, the Migration and Refugee Section of the Dicastery for Integrated Human Development  has suggested "20 Action Points" as a contribution to the process that will lead to the adoption by the international community of two Global Pacts , one on migrants and one on refugees in the second half of 2018. In this and in other areas, he concluded, universities can play their part as privileged actors including the social field, “such as in incentives for student volunteering in programs of assistance to refugees, asylum seekers and newly arrived migrants.”     (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope at Mass: 'our faith makes us men and women of hope'

Fri, 11/03/2017 - 10:54
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Friday celebrated Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica for all those Cardinals and Bishops who have died over the past year . During his homily the Pope reflected on the reality of death, but he also reminded us of the promise of eternal life which is grounded in our union with the risen Christ. Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni : “Today’s celebration, Pope Francis said, once more sets before us the reality of death.  It renews our sorrow for the loss of those who were dear and good to us.” But more importantly, reflecting on the liturgical reading of the day, he said it increases our hope for them and for ourselves, as it expresses speaks of the  resurrection of the just. The resurrection of the just “They are the multitude – he continued - that, thanks to the goodness and mercy of God, can experience the life that does not pass away, the complete victory over death brought by the resurrection”. And recalling Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross the Pope said that “by His love, He shattered the yoke of death and opened to us the doors of life”. Our faith in the resurrection opens the doors to eternal life The faith we profess in the resurrection, Pope Francis explained, makes us men and woman of hope, not despair, men and women of life, not death, for we are comforted by the promise of eternal life, grounded in our union with the risen Christ. He urged the faithful to be trusting in the face of death as Jesus has shown us that death is not the last word. Our souls, he said, thirst for the living God whose beauty, happiness, and wisdom has been impressed on the souls of our brother cardinals and bishops whom we remember today.   Hope does not disappoint Pope Francis concluded giving thanks for their generous service to the gospel and the Church and reminding those present that Hope never disappoints.     (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis’prayer intention for November: To witness the Gospel in Asia

Fri, 11/03/2017 - 09:14
(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis has released a video message accompanying his monthly prayer intention for November 2017. This month’s intention is for Evangelization: To witness to the Gospel in Asia . That Christians in Asia, bearing witness to the Gospel in word and deed, may promote dialogue, peace, and mutual understanding, especially with those of other religions The text of the video message reads: The most striking feature of Asia is the variety of its peoples who ar  heirs of ancient cultures, religions and traditions. On this continent where the Church is a minority, the challenges are intense. We must promote dialogue among religions and cultures. Let us pray that Christians in Asia may promote dialogue, that peace and mutual understanding, especially with those of other religions .     The Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network of the Apostleship of Prayer developed the "Pope Video" initiative to assist in the worldwide dissemination of monthly intentions of the Holy Father in relation to the challenges facing humanity. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis' homily for Deceased Cardinals and Bishops

Fri, 11/03/2017 - 07:10
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Friday celebrated Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica for deceased Cardinals and Bishops . During his homily the Pope reflected on the reality of death reminding us that “the faith we profess in the resurrection makes us men and woman of hope, not despair, men and women of life, not death, for we are comforted by the promise of eternal life, grounded in our union with the risen Christ”. Please find below the full text of the Pope’s homily : Today’s celebration once more sets before us the reality of death.  It renews our sorrow for the loss of those who were dear and good to us.  Yet, more importantly, the liturgy increases our hope for them and for ourselves. The first reading expresses a powerful hope in the resurrection of the just: “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt” (Dan 12:2).  Those who sleep in the dust of the earth are obviously the dead.  Yet awakening from death is not in itself a return to life: some will awake for eternal life, others for everlasting shame.  Death makes definitive the “crossroads” which even now, in this world, stands before us: the way of life, with God, or the way of death, far from him.  The “many” who will rise for eternal life are to be understood as the “many” for whom the blood of Christ was shed.  They are the multitude that, thanks to the goodness and mercy of God, can experience the life that does not pass away, the complete victory over death brought by the resurrection. In the Gospel, Jesus strengthens our hope by saying: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven.  Whoever eats of this bread will live forever” (Jn 6:51).  These words evoke Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.  He accepted death in order to save those whom the Father had given him, who were dead in the slavery of sin.  Jesus became our brother and shared our human condition even unto death.  By his love, he shattered the yoke of death and opened to us the doors of life.  By partaking of his body and blood, we are united to his faithful love, which embraces his definitive victory of good over evil, suffering and death.  By virtue of this divine bond of Christ’s charity, we know that our fellowship with the dead is not merely a desire or an illusion, but a reality. The faith we profess in the resurrection makes us men and woman of hope, not despair, men and women of life, not death, for we are comforted by the promise of eternal life, grounded in our union with the risen Christ. This hope, rekindled in us by the word of God, helps us to be trusting in the face of death.  Jesus has shown us that death is not the last word; rather, the merciful love of the Father transfigures us and makes us live in eternal communion with him.  A fundamental mark of the Christian is a sense of anxious expectation of our final encounter with God.  We reaffirmed it just now in the responsorial psalm: “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.  When shall I come and behold the face of God?” (Ps 42:2).  These poetic words poignantly convey our watchful and expectant yearning for God’s love, beauty, happiness, and wisdom. These same words of the psalm were impressed on the souls of our brother cardinals and bishops whom we remember today.  They left us after having served the Church and the people entrusted to them in the prospect of eternity.  As we now give thanks for their generous service to the Gospel and the Church, we seem to hear them repeat with the apostle: “Hope does not disappoint” (Rom 5:5).  Truly, it does not disappoint!  God is faithful and our hope in him is not vain.  Let us invoke for them the maternal intercession of Mary Most Holy, that they may share in the eternal banquet of which, with faith and love, they had a foretaste in the course of their earthly pilgrimage. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope’s prayer at Ardeatine Caves

Thu, 11/02/2017 - 12:42
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis visited the Ardeatine Caves Memorial on the Feast of All Souls to commemorate those who lost their lives in the horror of war. Rome’s Ardeatine Caves are the site of a 1944 massacre of 335 Italian civilian men and boys  in revenge for an attack by resistance fighters who killed 33 members of a Nazi military police unit. The Pope spent some time in prayer at the Memorial and then gave a brief reflection. This is Vatican Radio’s unofficial translation of his words :   God of Abraham, of Isaac, God of Jacob: with this name, You presented Yourself to Moses when You revealed to him Your desire to free your people from the slavery of Egypt. God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob, God who binds Himself in a pact with humanity, God who binds Himself with a covenant of faithful love forever, merciful and compassionate to every man and every people suffering oppression. “I have observed the misery of my people, I have heard their cry, I know their sufferings.” God of the faces and names, God of each of the 335 men murdered here, on March 24, 1944, whose remains lie in these tombs. You, Lord, know their faces and their names: all, even those of the 12, who remain unknown to us. To You, no one is unknown. God of Jesus, our Father in Heaven: thanks to Him, the Risen Christ, we know that your name – God of Abraham, God of Isaac and God of Jacob – means You are not the God of the dead but of the living , that Your faithful covenant of love is stronger than death and is a guarantee of resurrection. O Lord, that in this place devoted to the memory of the fallen for freedom and justice we might put off the shackles of selfishness and indifference, and through the burning bush of this mausoleum, listen silently to Your name: God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob, God of Jesus, God of the living. Amen.     (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope visits Ardeatine caves to pray at war victims' memorial

Thu, 11/02/2017 - 11:55
(Vatican Radio) After celebrating Mass to mark All Souls Day at the Nettuno American War Cemetery on Thursday, Pope Francis travelled to the Ardeatine Caves where he spent time in prayer at the memorial to victims of a Second World War massacre.  The Ardeatine caves, or Fosse Ardeatine as they’re called in Italian, are located on the south-eastern outskirts of Rome, on the site of a disused volcanic ash quarry. Listen to our report:  It was there on March 24th 1944 that German occupying troops carried out a massacre of 335 Italian men of all ages and backgrounds. They were shot at close range, in retaliation for a partisan attack in the city centre the previous day that had killed 33 German policemen. Reprisal killings   Hitler himself authorized the reprisal, which called for 10 Italians to be rounded up and shot for each victim of the attack in the central Via Rasella. Those killed in the caves represented a cross section of Italian society, some already in jail, including 57 Jews,  others rounded up by security police in the vicinity of the attack. The youngest was a teenage boy, while the oldest was a man in his late 70s. Massacre site discovered The victims were forced to kneel in groups of five and shot with a bullet to the back of the head. Their bodies were piled up and covered with rocks inside the caves, which were then sealed with explosives. It was not the war was over, more than a year later, that the massacre site was uncovered and the victims were exhumed for burial.  Subsequently, the caves were declared a memorial cemetery and national monument. Annual commemoration Every year, on the anniversary of the killings, a solemn State commemoration is held at the monument. Popes Paul VI, John Paul II, Benedict XVI and now Pope Francis have also visited the site to pay tribute to these innocent victims of war. (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope Francis warns warmongers: the only fruit of war is death

Thu, 11/02/2017 - 10:59
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis celebrated the Feast of All Souls Day on Thursday commemorating all those who have died in war, reminding humanity not to forget past lessons and warning that the only fruit yielded by conflict is death.  His words of warning and his powerful condemnation of warmongers came during his homily at the Sicily-Rome American War Cemetery some 50 kilometers south of Rome. Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni : Taking the occasion to reiterate his deep conviction that “wars produce nothing more than cemeteries and death” the Pope said he chose to visit a war cemetery as a sign “in a moment when our humanity seems not to have learned the lesson, or doesn't want to learn it.”  The Nettuno US War Cemetery and Memorial is the final resting place for thousands of men who died during military operations carried out to liberate Italy –  from Sicily to Rome – from Nazi Germany.  Its chapel contains a list of the 3095 missing. Pope Francis arrived at the War Cemetery early in the afternoon so that he could spend time reflecting and paying his personal respects to the 7,860 – mostly young – soldiers who gave their lives in the name of freedom and respect for humanity. Walking in poignant silence between the rows and rows of tombstones, Pope Francis bowed to read some of the names and dates inscribed in the white marble: stark reminders of the fact – as he stated during his homily – that the only fruit of war is death. Please God: no more war To the somber congregation gathered on this holy day to honour all those who have died, Pope Francis said he chose to come to a place where thousands died in bloody combat, to appeal to the Lord – yet again “Please God: stop them. No more war. No more useless carnage.” The Pope delivered his off-the-cuff homily with an emotion charged by the dramatic setting provided by hundreds of thousands of graves of young men whose hopes – he said - were cruelly severed, at a time in which the world is again at war and is even preparing to step-up war. “Please God – he prayed – everything is lost with war” There are men today who are doing everything to declare war and step up conflict “There are men, Francis said, who are doing everything to declare war and to enter into conflict. They end up destroying themselves and everything.” Remarking on the fact that today is a day of hope, but also of tears, he said that the tears wept by those who have lost husbands, sons and friends at war should never be forgotten. Humanity does not seem to want to learn the lesson “But humanity, the Pope continued, has not learnt the lesson and seems not to want to learn the lesson”. Let us pray, he said, in a special way for all those young people caught up in conflict, “many of whom are dying every day in this piecemeal war”. And he remembered the thousands of innocent children who are also paying the price of war. “Let us ask the Lord, Pope Francis concluded, to give us the grace to weep”.               (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope Angelus: Celebrating the Saints who transmit the light of God

Wed, 11/01/2017 - 08:10
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis during the Angelus on Wednesday marked the feast of All Saints, telling the faithful in St Peter’s Square that it was a celebration of the many simple and hidden people who help God to push the world forward. Listen to our report:    “Saints are not perfect models, but people marked by God. We can compare them to church stained-glass windows, which bring light into different shades of color.” Those were Pope Francis’ words on Wednesday on the Solemnity of All Saints, during his Angelus address from St Peter’s Square. The Pope explained that “Saints are our brothers and sisters who have received the light of God in their hearts and have transmitted it to the world , each according to their own "tonality". This is the purpose of life, continued Pope Francis, to pass on the light of God; and also the purpose of our lives....” Referring to Wednesday’s Gospel reading, the Holy Father said, “Jesus speaks to his own, to all of us, saying "Blessed". “Whoever is with Jesus is blessed, he is happy, noted the Pope, adding that happiness is not in having something or becoming someone, “no, the real happiness is to be with the Lord and to live for love, he said.” The Beatitudes The Pope told those gathered in St Peter’s Square that, “the ingredients for a happy life are called the beatitudes”. They do not require tremendous gestures, he said, “they are not for supermen, but for those who live through daily trials and struggles. They are for us.” Returning to the Saints, the Holy Father described how “they too have breathed in all the air polluted by the evil that is in the world, but on the journey they never lose sight of the path of Jesus, that is indicated in the beatitudes, which, he said, are like the map of Christian life. Saints of Today The Pope went on to say that the feast of All Saints is a celebration of all those who have “reached the goal indicated by this map: not only the saints of the calendar, but so many brothers and sisters "next door" that we may have met and known.” This day, Pope Francis said, “is a family celebration of many simple and hidden people who actually help God to push the world forward.”     (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope Francis prays for terror attack victims

Wed, 11/01/2017 - 06:55
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis, during his Angelus address on the feast of All Saints on Wednesday, expressed his deep sorrow following recent terrorist attacks in Somalia, Afghanistan and on Tuesday in New York. Speaking from the window of his studio in the Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father deplored such acts of violence, adding, “I pray for the deceased, for the wounded and their family members. We ask the Lord to convert the hearts of terrorists and free the world from hatred and homicidal folly that abuses the name of God spreading death.” Following the recitation of the Marian Prayer, the Pope had a special greeting for participants of the Race of the Saints mini marathon which was run in celebration of this feast day. Before concluding his address, the Pope reminded the faithful that he would be travelling to the American Cemetery of Nettuno, South of Rome and then to the Fosse Ardeatine National Monument on November 2nd to mark the feast on Feast of all Souls. Pope Francis, said,” I ask you to accompany me with prayer in these two stages of memory and suffrage for the victims of war and violence. Wars produce nothing but cemeteries and death: that is why I wanted to give this sign at a time when our humanity seems not to have learned the lesson or does not want to learn it."   (from Vatican Radio)...
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