Vatican City, 26 November 2014 (VIS) – Following today’s catechesis, the Pope offered special greetings to the Arab-speaking faithful, in particular those from Iraq and the Middle East. “The violence, suffering and the seriousness of the sins committed must lead us to leave all to the justice of God, who will judge each one according to his works. Be strong and cling to the Church and to your faith, so as to purify the world with your confidence; transform with your hope and heal with your forgiveness, with the love and patience of your witness. May the Lord protect and support you”. Finally, during his greetings in Italian, and recalled that tomorrow his three-day apostolic trip to Turkey will begin, he invited those present to pray that “Peter’s visit to his brother Andrew may bring fruits of peace, sincere dialogue between religions and harmony in the Turkish nation”….
Vatican City, 26 November 2014 (VIS) – The Pontifical Councils for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples and for Justice and Peace, in collaboration with the international male and female Unions of Superior Generals (UISG and USG) have convoked an international conference for prayer and reflection on human trafficking, tobe held on 8 February 2015, feast day of St. Josephine Bakhita, the Sudanese slave canonised in 2000. According to a press release, “human trafficking is one of the worst examples of slavery in the XXI Century. This concerns the whole world. According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) roughly 21 million people, often very poor and vulnerable, are victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation, forced labour and begging, illegal organ removal, domestic servitude and forced marriages, illegal adoption and other forms of exploitation. Each year around 2.5 million people are victims of trafficking and slavery: 60 are women and children. They often suffer abuse and unspeakable violence. On the other hand, for traffickers and pimps, this is one of the most lucrative illegal activities in the world, generating a total of 32 billion dollars a year. It is the third most profitable ‘business’ after drugs and arms trafficking”. “The primary objective of the International Day is to create greater awareness on this phenomenon and to reflect on the overall situation of violence and injustice that affect so many people, who have no voice, do not count, and are no one: they are simply slaves. Another goal is to attempt to provide solutions to counter this modern form of slavery by taking concrete actions. For this, it is necessary to stress the need to ensure rights, freedom and dignity to all trafficked persons, reduced to slavery. On the other hand, we must denounce both the criminal organisations and those who use and abuse the poverty and vulnerability of victims to transform them into goods for pleasure and gain”….
Vatican City, 26 November 2014 (VIS) – Yesterday afternoon the Holy Father sent a message to Cardinal Lluis Martinez Sistach, archbishop of Barcelona, Spain, on the occasion of the International Pastoral Congress on the World’s Big Cities, held in the Catalan capital. “I am glad to learn of the work accomplished and encourage all to continue to reflect creatively on the way to face the task of evangelising in great urban centres, in increasing expansion, and in which everyone needs to feel the closeness and mercy of God, who does not abandon”, writes the Pope. “The Church has the mission of ensuring that the Good News of Jesus Christ and His salvific love reaches all environments, without fear of pluralism and without any form of discrimination. She does not consider it a loss to go out to the peripheries or to change the usual preconceptions, when necessary. Like a mother, whose primary concern is the wellbeing of her children, without sparing any effort or sacrifice, may she ensure they never lack the light of the Gospel that fills life with hope, joy and peace; that they never lack acceptance to feel integrated within a community, in circumstances of disintegration or in cold anonymity; that there grows in them the spirit of authentic solidarity with all, especially with those most in need”….
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis during his weekly General Audience in the St Peter’s Square (Wednesday) today told pilgrims the Church is on a continuing journey towards heaven. He also asked for prayers for his upcoming Apostolic visit to Turkey.
Listen to Lydia O’Kane’s report
At the heart of Pope Francis catechesis at his General Audience on Wednesday was the continuing journey of the Church towards Paradise. On a rainy day in St Peter’s Square the Holy Father explained to the pilgrims and tourists present that “the Second Vatican Council reminded us that the Church is not an end in herself, but that she is continually journeying through history to the kingdom of heaven, of which the Church on earth is the seed and beginning.”
The Pope went on to say that at the end of time this pilgrimage will reach its fulfillment when the universe will become a new heavenly Jerusalem consumed by joy, peace and the love of God.
He noted that even now there is a continuity between the Church on earth and in heaven where those who already live in the sight of God can indeed support the living and intercede for us, pray for us from heaven. On the other hand, he added, “we are always invited to offer good deeds, prayer and the Eucharist itself to alleviate the suffering of souls who are still waiting for the bliss without end.”
As members of the Church, Pope Francis underlined, the distinction is not between who has died and who is living, but rather who is in Christ and who is not.
Looking to a great figure of the Church for inspiration, the Pope said that Saint Paul tells us that “it is not only humanity which will be liberated from corruption, but the whole of creation” and all things will be brought into the fullness of being, truth and beauty.
Following his catechesis and speaking in Italian the Holy Father asked the faithful to pray for his upcoming journey to Turkey which he said is a visit that promotes the fruits of peace, sincere dialogue between religions and harmony in the Turkey nation.
Pope Francis also greeted Arab speaking pilgrims from Iraq and the Middle East telling them to hold on to the Church and their faith at this time of suffering and violence.
(from Vatican Radio)…
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis during his weekly General Audience in the St Peter’s Square (Wednesday) today told pilgrims the Church is on a continuing journey towards heaven. He also asked for prayers for his upcoming Apostolic visit to Turkey. Listen to Lydia O’Kane’s report At the heart of Pope Francis catechesis at his General Audience…