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Day: December 12, 2014

Pope Francis: Mass of Our Lady of Guadalupe

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis delivered the homily at Mass in St Peter’s Basilica on Friday evening, to mark the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Below, please find Vatican Radio’s working translation of the Holy Father’s prepared remarks.
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“All the people praise you, Lord, all the people. Have mercy on us and give us your blessing; Lord, turn your eyes toward us. The earth knows your goodness and the people your salvific works. The nations sing of you with jubilation, because you judge the world with justice.” (Psalm 66).
The prayer of the psalmist, pleads for forgiveness and blessing for the peoples and nations and, at the same time, expresses with joyful praise the spiritual sense of this Eucharistic celebration. Today, with gratitude and joy, the peoples and nations of our great Latin American homeland commemorate the feast of their “patron”, Our Lady of Guadalupe, whose devotion extends from Alaska to Patagonia. With the Archangel Gabriel and Saint Isabella, we begin our filial prayer: “Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with you.” (Luke 1:28).
On this feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, we gratefully remember her visitation to us and her maternal closeness. We sing with her the “Magnificat”, we entrust to her the lives of our people and the continental mission of the Church.
When she appeared to Saint Juan Diego in Tepeyac, she introduced herself as the “ever perfect Holy Virgin Mary, Mother of the True God” (Nican Mopohua), leading to a new visitation. She tenderly hastened to embrace the new people of the Americas at the  dramatic moment they came into being: “A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet” (Rev 12:1). She assumed within herself the cultural and religious symbolism of the native people, announcing her Son and giving Him to the new and suffering people of mixed race. Many leapt for joy and hope before her visitation and before the gift of her Son, and the most perfect disciple of the Lord became the “great missionary who brings the Gospel to our America” (Aparecida, 269). The Son of Mary most Holy, his Immaculate Mother, reveals himself from the origins of this new peoples’ history, as the “true God who gives us Life,” as the good news of filial dignity of all the inhabitants of America.
No longer is anyone a servant, but we are all children of the same Father, brothers and sisters together. The Holy Mother of God not only visited these people, but she chose to remain with them. She left her sacred image mysteriously imprinted on the “tilma” (or cloak) of her messenger in order that we might keep in mind the symbol of Mary’s covenant with these people, conferring her spirit and tenderness.
Through her intercession, the Christian faithful began to become the richest treasure of the soul of the American people, whose precious pearl is Jesus Christ. It is a patrimony which is transmitted and manifest today in the many baptism of multitudes of people, in the faith, hope and charity of many; in precious popular piety; and in that popular ethos that reveals itself in an awareness of human dignity, in the passion for justice, in solidarity with the poorest and suffering, in hope that is sometimes against every hope.
That’s why we here today can continue to praise God for the wonders he has done in the lives of the Latin American people. God “has hidden these things from the wise and the learned, [and has] revealed them to the childlike.” (Mt 11:25) In the wonders which the Lord has achieved in Mary, she recognizes her Son’s style and way of acting in the story of Salvation. Sweeping away worldly judgments, destroying idols of power, riches, success at any cost, denouncing self-sufficiency, pride and a secularized Messiah complex which distances from God, the Mary’s Magnificat professes that God delights in subverting ideologies and worldly hierarchies.
He lifts up the lowly, comes to the aid of the poor and the little, he fills with goodness, blessings and hope those who trust in his mercy from generation to generation, while he casts down the rich, the powerful, and rulers from their thrones.
The “Magnificat” introduces us to the Beatitudes, the earliest synthesis of the Gospel. In the light of the Beatitudes we feel compelled to ask that the future of Latin America be forged for the poor and those who suffer, for the humble, those who hunger and thirst for justice, for the compassionate, the pure of heart, those who work for peace, and for those who are persecuted because of Christ’s name, “for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.” (Mt 5: 1-11).
And we make this request because Latin America is the “continent of hope”! Because she hopes in new ways of development which combine traditional Christianity and civil progress, justice and equity with reconciliation, scientific development and technology with human wisdom. Fruitful suffering with joyful hope. We can protect this hope only with great amounts of truth and mercy, the basis for all realities and revolutionary engines of an authentically new life.
We place these realities and these desires on the altar as a gift pleasing to God. Imploring his forgiveness and trusting in his Mercy, we celebrate the sacrifice and the paschal victory of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the only Lord, the “liberator” of all of our slavery and misery derived from sin. He calls us to live the true life, a more human life, to live together as children and brothers, now that the doors to “the new heaven and the new earth” are open (Rev 21:1). We implore the Blessed Virgin Mary, under the name “Our Lady of Guadalupe” – the Mother of God, our Queen, our Lady, the young woman, our Little One (as called Saint Juan Diego called her), and with all the loving names which popular piety has given her – that she may continue to accompany, help and protect our people.
May she lead by the hand all pilgrim children in these lands to the encounter with her Son, Jesus Christ Our Lord, present in the Church, in its holiness, especially in the Eucharist, present in the treasure of his Word and teachings, present in the faithful and holy people of God, in those who suffer and in the humble of heart. So be it. Amen!
(from Vatican Radio)…

Pope Francis: Mass of Our Lady of Guadalupe

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis delivered the homily at Mass in St Peter’s Basilica on Friday evening, to mark the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Below, please find Vatican Radio’s working translation of the Holy Father’s prepared remarks. ********************************************* “All the people praise you, Lord, all the people. Have mercy on us and give us…
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Pope says Salvationists and Catholics meet at peripheries of society

(Vatican Radio) In a first private audience in the Vatican with a Salvation Army general on Friday, Pope Francis said theological differences do not impede the witness of a shared love of God and neighbour. He also spoke of his first encounter, as a 4-year old, with Salvation Army officers which, he said, stirred in…
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Pope says Salvationists and Catholics meet at peripheries of society

(Vatican Radio) In a first private audience in the Vatican with a Salvation Army general on Friday, Pope Francis said theological differences do not impede the witness of a shared love of God and neighbour. He also spoke of his first encounter, as a 4-year old, with Salvation Army officers which, he said, stirred in him a sense of ecumenical outreach beyond the teachings of the Catholic Church in that era.  Philippa Hitchen reports…
Listen: 

Greeting warmly a delegation led by General André Cox, the Pope said Catholics and Salvationists, together with other Christians, recognise that those in need have a special place in God’s heart – so much so, that the Lord himself became poor for our sake. As a result, the Pope said, Catholics and Salvationists often meet at the same peripheries of society.
I pray, he concluded, that all of Christ’s disciples can contribute with the same conviction and dynamism that the Salvation Army demonstrates in its devoted and highly appreciated service. Founded by former Methodist minister William Booth in 1865 as the East London Christian Mission, the Salvation Army today numbers one and a half million members in 126 countries worldwide.
Just after the papal audience, I talked to General André Cox to find out more about the meeting and about the message of closer cooperation he was bringing here to the Vatican….
The Salvation Army leader told me he had asked for an audience because in recent years there have been “some pretty intensive and helpful and useful discussions” between Catholics and Salvationists, culminating in the publication of a book on the joint discussions. These talks, he said, have revealed “so many points of faith that connect us together, but also our passion and commitment for social justice and work among the poor.”
The audience, he continued, was an opportunity to present the book to the Pope and to express thanks and prayer support for him “since many of the things he’s been expressing really resonate with the heart of Salvationists around the world.” Given the growing mutual understanding and respect, General Cox said he told the Pope his organisation was seeking “practical ways to support each other and also align our message as we speak to the world on these issues.”
Describing Pope Francis as “a peoples’ person”, the Salvation Army leader said the pontiff spoke off-the-cuff to describe his memory of walking, as a four-year old, with his grandmother in Argentina and seeing two Salvation Army ladies in their distinctive hats and uniforms. Despite the prevailing Catholic view that Protestants “were destined to Hell”, Bergoglio’s grandmother told him they were “Protestants, but good people”, awakening in the young boy an opening to ecumenical encounter.
General Cox also looked ahead to next July when the Salvation Army will be celebrating the 150th anniversary of its foundation, gathering with representatives from across the globe at the O2 arena in London, just a couple of miles away from where the East London Christian Mission was first founded.
Please find below the official text of Pope Francis’ greeting to the Salvation Army delegation:
Dear Friends,

I extend a warm welcome to you, the leadership of The Salvation Army, well-known to me for its evangelizing and charitable mission. Your visit is the happy outcome of more frequent and fruitful contacts in recent years between The Salvation Army and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, including a series of theological conversations aimed at fostering a better understanding of one another, mutual respect and regular collaboration. I earnestly hope that Catholics and Salvationists will continue to offer a common witness to Christ and to the Gospel in a world so much in need of experiencing God’s boundless mercy.

Catholics and Salvationists, together with other Christians, recognize that those in need have a special place in God’s heart, so much so that the Lord Jesus Christ himself became poor for our sake (cf. 2 Cor 8:9). As a result, Catholics and Salvationists often meet in the same peripheries of society. It is my hope that our shared faith in Jesus Christ the Saviour, the one mediator between God and man (cf. 1 Tim 2:5), will become evermore the firm foundation of friendship and cooperation between us.

“The Church which ‘goes forth’ is a community of missionary disciples who take the first step, who are involved and supportive, who bear fruit and rejoice. An evangelizing community knows that the Lord has taken the initiative; he has loved us first (cf. 1 Jn 4:19), and therefore we can move forward, boldly take the initiative, go out to others, seek those who have fallen away, stand at the crossroads, and welcome the outcast. Such a community has an endless desire to show mercy, the fruit of its own experience of the power of the Father’s infinite mercy” (Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, 24).

I pray that in today’s world all of Christ’s disciples will make their contribution with the same conviction and dynamism that The Salvation Army demonstrates in its devoted and highly appreciated service. The differences between Catholics and Salvationists regarding theological and ecclesiological questions need not impede the witness of our shared love of God and love of neighbour, a love which is capable of inspiring a concerted commitment to restoring the dignity of those who live on the margins of society.

Dear friends, I pray to God for the work of The Salvation Army. May many people in difficulty continue to rely on your efforts, which enable Christ’s light to shine in the darkest recesses of their lives. May you and your fellow Salvationists be filled with the Holy Spirit’s gifts of wisdom, understanding, fortitude and peace, and so witness to the Lord’s Kingdom in our suffering world. And I ask that you also pray for me. Thank you.
 
 
(from Vatican Radio)…

Pope sends message to meeting of Nobel Peace Laureates in Rome

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis sent “cordial greetings” to the participants of the 14th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, which opened in Rome on Friday.
The pontiff sent his greetings in a message, signed by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State.
“His Holiness is deeply grateful for the commitment of the Summit participants to promoting peace and fraternity among peoples, and for their efforts in finding solutions to the conflicts of our day,” reads the message.
The three-day meeting, which was initially to be held in South Africa but was relocated to Rome, is expected to honour late South African president Nelson Mandela, “whose legacy of non-violence and reconciliation continues to inspire the world,” reads the  message.
Cardinal Parolin assured summit participants that “Pope Francis prays that all present may be renewed and encouraged in their urgent work, and that their labours may bear an abundant harvest of peace for the world.”
Read the full message below:
His Holiness Pope Francis was pleased to be informed that the XIV World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates will take place in Rome from 12 to 14 December 2014, and he sends cordial greetings to all gathered for this occasion.  “In the heart of every man and woman is the desire for a full life, including that irrepressible longing for fraternity which draws us to fellowship with others and enables us to see them not as enemies or rivals but as brothers and sisters to be accepted and embraced” (Message for the 2014 World Day of Peace).  His Holiness is deeply grateful for the commitment of the Summit participants to promoting peace and fraternity among peoples, and for their efforts in finding solutions to the conflicts of our day.  As this meeting honours the memory of Nelson Mandela, whose legacy of non-violence and reconciliation continues to inspire the world, Pope Francis prays that all present may be renewed and encouraged in their urgent work, and that their labours may bear an abundant harvest of peace for the world.  With the assurance of his prayers for their deliberations, His Holiness willingly invokes divine blessings upon all gathered for the Summit meeting.   
                                                                                  Cardinal Pietro Parolin,  Secretary of State
(from Vatican Radio)…