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Day: December 4, 2014

Pope: voluntary workers are builders of peace and harmony

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis thanked voluntary workers across the globe describing their work with men and women in difficulty as a living witness of the tenderness of Christ, who walks with humanity in every era. Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni:  Speaking to members of FOCSIV, an International Federation of Christian Voluntary Workers whom…
Read more

Pope: voluntary workers are builders of peace and harmony

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis thanked voluntary workers across the globe describing their work with men and women in difficulty as a living witness of the tenderness of Christ, who walks with humanity in every era.
Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni : 

Speaking to members of FOCSIV, an International Federation of Christian Voluntary Workers whom he received in audience on International Volunteer Day (December 5), the Pope says voluntary workers offer an image of a Church that rolls up its shirt sleeves and bows to serve its brothers and sisters in difficulty.
SOLIDARITY
Pointing out the fact that poverty must never be an occasion for someone else’s gain, the Pope invited voluntary workers to persevere on their unselfish path. 
He notes the changing face of poverty in a world in which – the Pope said – the poor themselves want to become protagonists of their lives putting into practice solidarity amongst those who suffer. He told the volunteers that they are called to take notice of the signs of the times and to become instruments at the service of the activism of the poor. Solidarity, he said, is a way to make history together with the poor, turning away from alleged altruistic works that reduce the other to passivity.
ENVIRONMENT
The Pope points to an economic system that ransacks nature as one of the main causes of poverty. Mentioning deforestation, environmental catastrophes and the loss of biodiversity in particular, Pope Francis says it is necessary to remember that creation is not “property of which we can dispose of to our benefit, and less still is it the property of few”. Creation – he says – is “a wonderful gift that God has given us to take care of and utilize for the benefit of all, with respect”. And he encouraged volunteers to continue in their commitment “to safeguard creation so that we can hand it over to future generation in all of its beauty”.
CONFLICT
Other causes of poverty the Pope singles out are tied to “the scandal of war”. He says that working for development, volunteers cooperate in the making of peace and the building of bridges between cultures and religions. 
He says that even in the most difficult situations voluntary workers are sustained by their faith; he says their presence and their activities in refugees camps are a tangible sign of hope for so many people in the world who “fleeing from the horrors of war, or persecuted for their faith, are forced to abandon their homes, their places of prayer, their lands, their dear ones! How many broken lives! How much pain and destruction!” Before all of this – Pope Francis says – “the disciple of Christ does not turn the other way, but tries to take some of the burden from suffering people with his closeness and evangelical welcome”.
MIGRANTS AND REFUGEES
Finally the Pope turns his thoughts to migrants and refugees who attempt to leave harsh conditions of life and dangerous situations behind them. And pointing to the necessary collaboration of all: institutions, NGOs and ecclesial communities to promote new policies and measures for peaceful cohabitation, he calls on the commitment of States to effectively manage and regulate these phenomenona.
The Pope’s message comes on International Volunteer Day during which an annual Prize is awarded. This year the Award went to Maria Luisa Cortinovis: wife, mother, grandmother, teacher and missionary. She received the Prize during a ceremony held at Vatican Radio.
        
 
     
(from Vatican Radio)…

Pope: voluntary workers are builders of peace and harmony

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis thanked voluntary workers across the globe describing their work with men and women in difficulty as a living witness of the tenderness of Christ, who walks with humanity in every era. Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni:  Speaking to members of FOCSIV, an International Federation of Christian Voluntary Workers whom…
Read more

Pope: the hidden holiness of the saints of daily life

(Vatican Radio) There are many hidden saints, men, women, fathers and mothers of families, sick people, priests who every day put into practice the love of Jesus; and this give us hope. That was the message of Pope Francis today at his daily morning Mass at Santa Marta.
Listen to Christopher Wells’ report: 

The true Christian puts the Word of God into practice; it is not enough to say that you have faith. Commenting on the parable of the house built on rock or on sand, taken from the day’s Gospel, Pope Francis said we should not be “Christians in appearance,” made-up Christians, because when the rain comes, the make-up runs off. It is not enough to belong to a very Catholic family, or to an association, or to be a benefactor, if we do not follow God’s will. “So many ‘apparent Christians,’ collapse at the first temptation,” he said, because “there is no substance there,” they have built on sand. On the other hand, there are many saints among the People of God – “not necessarily canonized saints, but saints” – who “put the love of Jesus into practice.” They build their houses on the rock, which is Christ:
“Let us consider the smallest… the sick who offer their sufferings for the Church, for others. Let us consider so many of the elderly who are alone, who pray and make offerings. Let us consider so many mothers and fathers of families, who, with so much effort, raise their families, educate their children, carry on their daily work, bear their problems, but always with hope in Jesus, who do not strut about, but do what they can.”
They are “the saints of daily life,” the Pope said:
“Let us consider so many priests who are not seen, but who work in their parishes with such love: [doing the work of] catechesis for children, care of the elderly, of the sick, the preparation of new spouses… and every day the same, the same, the same. They are not bored because their foundation is the rock. It is Jesus, it this that gives holiness to the Church, it is this that gives hope!”
“We should think about so much hidden holiness there is in the Church,” Pope Francis said, “Christians who remain in Jesus. Sinners, eh? We are all [sinners]. And yet sometimes one of these Christians commits some grave sin, but is penitent, seeks pardon, and this is great: the capacity to seek pardon, to not confuse sin with virtue, to know well where virtue is, and where sin is. These are founded on rock, and the rock is Christ. They follow the path of Christ, they follow Him.”
“The proud, the vain, the ‘Christians in appearance’ will be demolished, humbled,” the Pope said, while “ the poor will be those who triumph, the poor in spirit, those who in the presence of God consider themselves to be nothing, the humble, and they carry forward salvation, putting into practice the Word of the Lord.” He continued, citing St Bernard: “Today we are, tomorrow we will not be. Think, man, what will become of you: [you will be] the food of worms… The worms will eat us, all of us. If we do not have this rock, we will end up trampled down.”:
“In this time of preparation for Christmas, let us ask the Lord to be founded firmly on the rock that is Him, our hope [which] is Him. We are all sinners, we are weak, but if we place our hope in Him we can go forward. And this is the joy of a Christian: knowing that in Him there is hope, there is pardon, there is peace, there is joy. And not to place our hope in things that are today, and tomorrow will not be.”

(from Vatican Radio)…

St. Peter’s Square prepares for Christmas

Vatican City, 4 December 2014 (VIS) – The 25 and a half metre-tall white fir tree that will decorate St. Peter’s Square this Christmas arrived in the Vatican this morning. From Passo dell’Abbate, in the Italian province of Fabrizia, Calabria, its peculiar characteristic is
its double or “twin” trunk: two trunks joined together as one.
The ceremony of the lighting of the tree will take place on 19 December at 4.30 p.m. and will coincide this year with the illumination and unveiling of the nativity scene. Entitled “Il Presepe in Opera” (“The Nativity Scene in Opera”) and composed of around 25 life-size terracotta statues, it is a gift from the “Verona for the Arena” Foundation and will be inspired by the operatic works for which the city is famed, with the intention of promoting Italian opera throughout the world. This also provides the basis for the title of the display, which is a play on the double meaning of the word “opera” in Italian: it is “at work”, in the sense that its message is universal and active, and also based on the material used to stage the operatic work “The Elixir of Love” by Gaetano Donizetti….