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Day: April 14, 2015

Pontifical Academies launch anti-trafficking website

(Vatican Radio) The Pontifical Science Academies have launched a new website aimed at combatting the worldwide scourge of human trafficking. The website builds on the success achieved over the past year by the ecumenical Global Freedom Network, including a joint declaration against modern slavery signed by Pope Francis and leaders of different faith communities in countries around the world.
The new site, www.endslavery.va includes Catholic and Anglican resources, as well as links to international anti-trafficking legislation and details of upcoming events organised by the Pontifical Academies for Sciences and Social Sciences. 
(from Vatican Radio)…

April-June 2015 Calendar of Papal Celebrations

(Vatican Radio)  The Master of Pontifical Liturgical Celebrations, Msgr. Guido Marini has issued the calendar of celebrations to be presided by Pope Francis from April to June 2015.  We publish the dates below:
APRIL 2015
26    IV Sunday of Easter :   St. Peter’s Basilica, 9:30 a.m. – Holy Mass with priestly ordinations to be followed at 12 noon by the Regina Coeli.
MAY 2015
3      V Sunday of Easter:  Pastoral visit to the parish “Santa Maria Regina Pacis” in Ostia, an ancient coastal town outside Rome, 4:00 p.m.
12    Tuesday:    St. Peter’s Basilica, 5:30 p.m. – Holy Mass for the opening of the General Assembly of Caritas Internationalis
17    VI Sunday of Easter:   St. Peter’s Square, 10:00 a.m. – Canonizations of Giovanna Emilia De Villeneuve,  Maria Cristina dell’Immacolata Concezione Brando, Maria Alfonsina Danil Ghattas and Maria di Gesù Crocifisso Baouardy.
24   Pentacost Sunday:   St. Peter’s Basilica, 10.00 a.m. – Holy Mass.
JUNE 2015
4  Thursday, Solemnity of the Blessed Body and Blood of Christ:  St John Lateran Square, 7:00 p.m. –  Corpus Domini Mass and Procession to Saint Mary Major Basilica and Eucharistic Blessing
6  Saturday:   Apostolic visit to Sarajevo (Bosnia)
21-22 Sunday/Monday :  Pastoral visit to the northern Italian city of Turin
25  Saturday:  Hall of the Consistory, 10:00 a.m. – Consistory for a number of canonization causes
29  Monday:  St Peter’s Basilica, 9:30 a.m. – Pallium Mass 
(from Vatican Radio)…

Pope: Christians must not hoard their riches but offer them to the needy

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis says that Christians must not hoard their riches, but offer them in service to the needy.
He was speaking on Tuesday morning during Mass at the Casa Santa Marta.
Taking his cue from a passage of the Acts of the Apostles that describes life in the first Christian community, Pope Francis said that a community that is renewed in the Spirit seeks harmony and endures suffering with patience.
Referring to the four characteristics that defined the first Christian community of Jerusalem as a place of unity and love, the Pope said the first is harmony; the second is common good:
“A community that is renewed in the Spirit has the grace of unity and harmony. The only one who can give us harmony is the Holy Spirit because he is harmony between the Father and the Son. The second characteristic is common good: ‘no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own,
but they had everything in common, there was no needy person among them’. Yes, there were some rich persons, but their riches were offered in service of the community. These are two characteristics of a community that lives in the Spirit”.
And then, speaking of the gift of patience when one is in difficulty, the Pope referred to a passage from the Acts which tells of Ananias and Sapphira who tried to cheat the community. He said they entered the community pretending to be benefactors but they used the Church for their own affairs.
And staying with the theme of patience, the Pope said: “And then there are the persecutions that had been announced by Jesus as narrated in Matthew’s Beatitudes: ‘pray for those who persecute you, I will be the cause of your persecution…”
In that first Christian community that was reborn in Holy Spirit the Pope said: “there was poverty, there was common good, but there were also problems: outside and inside – like that couple of profiteers inside, and the persecutions outside”. 
Quoting from Peter when he tells the community that its faith is being tested and it is “more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire”, Pope Francis said that the community which is reborn in the Holy Spirit is purified ‘through difficulties and amidst persecutions’.
The third characteristic of a renewed community the Pope said: “is the patience to put up with problems, to endure difficulties and pain, to stand up to malicious gossip, to suffer illness and the loss of dear ones”.
A Christian community – the Pope continued – shows that it is renewed in the Holy Spirit “when it is in search of harmony” and not internal division: “when it seeks poverty, and does not hoard riches for itself, because riches are to be put to the service of the needy”, and when “it does not show anger” or offense in the face of difficulties, but is patient like Jesus:
“In this second week of Easter, during which we celebrate the Easter mysteries, it would be a good thing to think of our communities, be they diocesan communities, parish communities, family communities or other, and ask for the grace of harmony” – a gift of the Spirit; “ask for the gift of poverty – not misery, but poverty: the capacity to manage my possessions with generosity and for common good”; to ask for the grace of patience.
May the Lord – Pope Francis concluded – “make us understand that not only have each one of us received the grace of a new birth through Baptism, but so have our communities”.
(from Vatican Radio)…

Pope: Exodus at heart of 2015 World Day for Vocations

(Vatican Radio)  “’Exodus’ is at the heart of vocation…our response to the vocation God gives us:” that’s what Pope Francis says in his Message for this year’s  World Day of Prayer for Vocations celebrated Sunday 19 April.   Recalling the biblical exodus from slavery in Egypt and, “ the origins of the amazing love story between God and his people,” Pope Francis calls the faithful to “decisively” turn their lives to the Lord. In his message for this, the 52 nd World Day for Vocations, the Pope urges us to “leave behind our comfort and the inflexibility of our ego in order to centre our life in Jesus Christ” and to embrace the Church’s evangelizing mission in everything we do and everywhere we go.
Please find below the full text of the Holy Father’s message for the 52 nd World Day of Prayer for Vocations:
Exodus, a fundamental experience of vocation
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
            The Fourth Sunday of Easter offers us the figure of the Good Shepherd who knows his sheep: he calls them, he feeds them and he guides them.  For over fifty years the universal Church has celebrated this Sunday as the World Day of Prayer for Vocations.  In this way she reminds us of our need to pray, as Jesus himself told his disciples, so that “the Lord of the harvest may send out labourers into his harvest” ( Lk 10:2).  Jesus command came in the context of his sending out missionaries.  He called not only the twelve Apostles, but another seventy-two disciples whom he then sent out, two by two, for the mission (cf. Lk 10:1-6).  Since the Church “is by her very nature missionary” ( Ad Gentes , 2), the Christian vocation is necessarily born of the experience of mission.  Hearing and following the voice of Christ the Good Shepherd, means letting ourselves be attracted and guided by him, in consecration to him; it means allowing the Holy Spirit to draw us into this missionary dynamism, awakening within us the desire, the joy and the courage to offer our own lives in the service of the Kingdom of God.
            To offer one’s life in mission is possible only if we are able to leave ourselves behind.  On this 52 nd World Day of Prayer for Vocations, I would like reflect on that particular “exodus” which is the heart of vocation, or better yet, of our response to the vocation God gives us.  When we hear the word “exodus”, we immediately think of the origins of the amazing love story between God and his people, a history which passes through the dramatic period of slavery in Egypt, the calling of Moses, the experience of liberation and the journey toward the Promised Land.  The Book of Exodus, the second book of the Bible, which recounts these events is a parable of the entire history of salvation, but also of the inner workings of Christian faith.  Passing from the slavery of the old Adam to new life in Christ is a event of redemption which takes place through faith ( Eph 4:22-24).  This passover is a genuine “exodus”; it is the journey of each Christian soul and the entire Church, the decisive turning of our lives towards the Father.
            At the root of every Christian vocation we find this basic movement, which is part of the experience of faith.  Belief means transcending ourselves, leaving behind our comfort and the inflexibility of our ego in order to centre our life in Jesus Christ.  It means leaving, like Abraham, our native place and going forward with trust, knowing that God will show us the way to a new land.  This “going forward” is not to be viewed as a sign of contempt for one’s life, one’s feelings, one’s own humanity.  On the contrary, those who set out to follow Christ find life in abundance by putting themselves completely at the service of God and his kingdom.  Jesus says: “Everyone who has left home or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life” ( Mt 19:29).  All of this is profoundly rooted in love.  The Christian vocation is first and foremost a call to love, a love which attracts us and draws us out of ourselves, “decentring” us and triggering “an ongoing exodus out of the closed inward-looking self towards its liberation through self-giving, and thus towards authentic self-discovery and indeed the discovery of God” ( Deus Caritas Est , 6).
            The exodus experience is paradigmatic of the Christian life, particularly in the case of those who have embraced a vocation of special dedication to the Gospel.  This calls for a constantly renewed attitude of conversion and transformation, an incessant moving forward, a passage from death to life like that celebrated in every liturgy, an experience of passover.  From the call of Abraham to that of Moses, from Israel’s pilgrim journey through the desert to the conversion preached by the prophets, up to the missionary journey of Jesus which culminates in his death and resurrection, vocation is always a work of God.  He leads us beyond our initial situation, frees us from every enslavement, breaks down our habits and our indifference, and brings us to the joy of communion with him and with our brothers and sisters.  Responding to God’s call, then, means allowing him to help us leave ourselves and our false security behind, and to strike out on the path which leads to Jesus Christ, the origin and destiny of our life and our happiness.
            This exodus process does not regard individuals alone, but the missionary and evangelizing activity of the whole Church.  The Church is faithful to her Master to the extent that she is a Church which “goes forth”, a Church which is less concerned about herself, her structures and successes, and more about her ability to go out and meet God’s children wherever they are, to feel compassion ( com-passio ) for their hurt and pain.  God goes forth from himself in a Trinitarian dynamic of love: he hears the cry of his people and he intervenes to set them free ( Ex 3:7).  The Church is called to follow this way of being and acting.  She is meant to be a Church which evangelizes, goes out to encounter humanity, proclaims the liberating word of the Gospel, heals people’s spiritual and physical wounds with the grace of God, and offers relief to the poor and the suffering.
            Dear brothers and sisters, this liberating exodus towards Christ and our brothers and sisters also represents the way for us to fully understand our common humanity and to foster the historical development of individuals and societies.  To hear and answer the Lord’s call is not a private and completely personal matter fraught with momentary emotion.  Rather, it is a specific, real and total commitment which embraces the whole of our existence and sets it at the service of the growth of God’s Kingdom on earth.  The Christian vocation, rooted in the contemplation of the Father’s heart, thus inspires us to solidarity in bringing liberation to our brothers and sisters, especially the poorest.  A disciple of Jesus has a heart open to his unlimited horizons, and friendship with the Lord never means flight from this life or from the world.  On the contrary, it involves a profound interplay between communion and mission (cf. Evangelii Gaudium , 23).
            This exodus towards God and others fills our lives with joy and meaning.   wish to state this clearly to the young, whose youth and openness to the future makes them open-hearted and generous.  At times uncertainty, worries about the future and the problems they daily encounter can risk paralyzing their youthful enthusiasm and shattering their dreams, to the point where they can think that it is not worth the effort to get involved, that the God of the Christian faith is somehow a limit on their freedom.  Dear young friends, never be afraid to go out from yourselves and begin the journey!  The Gospel is the message which brings freedom to our lives; it transforms them and makes them all the more beautiful.  How wonderful it is to be surprised by God’s call, to embrace his word, and to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, in adoration of the divine mystery and in generous service to our neighbours!  Your life will become richer and more joyful each day!
            The Virgin Mary, model of every vocation, did not fear to utter her “ fiat ” in response to the Lord’s call.  She is at our side and she guides us.  With the generous courage born of faith, Mary sang of the joy of leaving herself behind and entrusting to God the plans she had for her life.  Let us turn to her, so that we may be completely open to what God has planned for each one of us, so that we can grow in the desire to go out with tender concern towards others (cf. Lk 1:39).  May the Virgin Mary protect and intercede for us all.
From the Vatican, 29 March 2015
Palm Sunday
(from Vatican Radio)…

Pontifical Academies launch anti-trafficking website

(Vatican Radio) The Pontifical Science Academies have launched a new website aimed at combatting the worldwide scourge of human trafficking. The website builds on the success achieved over the past year by the ecumenical Global Freedom Network, including a joint declaration against modern slavery signed by Pope Francis and leaders of different faith communities in…
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