Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin marked 500 years of the Catholic Church in East Timor on Saturday, exhorting East Timorese to proclaim with faith and action the Good news they received with joy 500 years ago. The cardinal who represented Pope Francis at the celebration, marked the event with a solemn Mass on the liturgical feast of the Assumption in the capital Dili.
Dominican missionaries established the Catholic in 1515 in Timor island that was a Portuguese colony. Following the departure of the Portuguese in 1974, East Timor declared independence amidst political turmoil, but Indonesia invaded the territory the following year and occupied it under a brutal rule until 2002 when the territory East Timor regained sovereignty. The new nation thus became only the second predominantly Catholic country in Asia after the Philippines.
Commenting on the day’s Gospel on John the Baptist leaping with joy in Elizabeth’s womb when Mary comes to visit her cousin, Cardinal Parolin said in many ways this joy was expressed by East Timorese when the Gospel arrived there five hundred years ago. The prelate said it is now their turn continue this work of evangelization through faith and action. First of all, they must be convinced of their faith through a sustained and personal relationship with Christ, whom they received at Baptism. They must make him the centre of their lives, as He has the words of eternal life and in their union with the Church founded by Christ can they find that lasting joy. Secondly, Jesus does require of them a moral behaviour that rejects all selfishness and misuse of other people, a commitment to act in such a way that others will recognize us as his disciples. Then as disciples they must be a community that goes forth to bring the mercy of God to all people. Citing Pope Francis, he said, as Church we must “go out to others, seek those who have fallen away, stand at the crossroads and welcome the outcast” … we must “get involved by word and deed in people’s daily lives” … we must be “supportive, standing by people at every step of the way, no matter how difficult this may prove to be” … and always we must be “filled with joy, knowing how to rejoice always.
(from Vatican Radio)…
(Vatican Radio) Following the Angelus on Saturday, Pope Francis turned his attention to the victims of Wednesday’s tragic explosions in the Chinese city of Tianjin. “My thoughts go out, in this moment, to the people of the city of Tianjin, in northern China, where several explosions in an industrial area have caused numerous deaths and injuries, and extensive damage.” The Holy Father assured them of his prayers for all those who had lost their lives or who were suffering on account of the disaster. “May the Lord give them comfort and support to all those engaged in relieving their suffering.”
(from Vatican Radio)…
(Vatican Radio) On Saturday, Pope Francis became the first Pope in more than 60 years to lead the Angelus for the Solemnity of the Assumption in Saint Peter’s Square.
In recent years, the Popes have generally celebrated the Assumption in the papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo; last year, Pope Francis was making an Apostolic Voyage to Korea during the holiday. The last Pope to celebrate the feast in St Peter’s Square was Ven. Pius XII.
In his reflections on the day’s Gospel, Pope Francis said the truest reason for Mary’s greatness and blessedness is her faith. Faith is always at the heart of each moment in Mary’s life. Although she recognizes the violence of the powerful, the pride of the rich, the hubris of the proud, Mary “believes and proclaims” that God will never abandon His people, the poor and the humble, but “will aid them with merciful care,” while “casting down the powerful from their thrones, scattering the proud in the conceits of their hearts.”
Mary’s hymn of praise, the Magnificat, also allows us to see that, if God’s mercy is at driving force in Mary’s story, He could not allow Mary, who gave birth to the “Lord of Life,” to “see the corruption of the tomb.”
But Mary’s Assumption, the Pope said, does not concern Mary alone. Each of us is profoundly touched by this mystery, which reminds us of the end that awaits us. Our life is not a senseless wandering, but a pilgrimage that leads to the house of the Father, who waits for us with love. As we pass through this life, God shows us “a sign of consolation and sure hope,” the Blessed Virgin Mary, full of grace, who is blessed because she believed the word of the Lord. As members of the Church, the Pope said, we are destined to share the glory of our Mother because, thanks to God, we too believe in the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross and, through Baptism, we are inserted into this mystery of salvation.”
Following the Angelus, Pope Francis greeted the many pilgrims from Rome and around the world, and spontaneously invited them to pay a visit to the icon of Our Lady Salus populi Romani (Protectress of the Roman people) in the Basilica of Saint Mary Major.
(from Vatican Radio)…