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Day: September 9, 2015

At the General Audience Pope Francis speaks of the bonds between the family and the Christian community

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!   Today I would like to focus our
attention on the connection between the
family and the Christian community . This bond is natural, so to speak,
because the Church is a spiritual family and the family is the domestic Church
(cf. Lumen Gentium , 9). The
Christian community is the home of those who believe in Jesus as the font of
brotherhood among all human beings. The Church journeys among her people, in
the history of men and women, of fathers and mothers, of sons and daughters:
this is the history that matters to the Lord. The great events of worldly
powers are written in history books, and there they will remain. But the
history of human feelings is written directly in the heart of God; and that is
the history that will endure for eternity. This is where life and faith are
located. The family is the place of our irreplaceable and indelible initiation
into this history… into this history of life in its fullness, which will
culminate in heaven with the
contemplation of God for all eternity, but which begins in the family! And that
is why the family is so important. The Son of God learned the human story in this way, and he walked in
it to the very end (cf. Heb 2:18; 5:8). It is beautiful to contemplate Jesus
and the signs of this bond! He was born into a family and there “he learned
about the world”: one shop, four homes, a tiny village. Yet, living for 30
years there, Jesus absorbed the human condition, welcoming it in his communion
with the Father and in his apostolic mission. Then, when he left Nazareth and
began his public ministry, Jesus formed around him a community, an “ assembly ”, that is, a con-vocation of
people. This is the meaning of the word
“church”. In
the Gospels, the assembly of Jesus takes
the form of a family and of a hospitable
family , not an exclusive, closed sect: there we find Peter and John, but
also the hungry and the thirsty, the stranger and the persecuted, the sinner
and tax collector, the pharisee and the
multitude. And Jesus never stops accepting and speaking to everyone, even those who no longer expect to encounter God
in this life. That is an important lesson for the Church! The disciples were
chosen to care for this assembly, for this family of God’s guests. In
order to maintain this reality of the assembly of Jesus in today’s situation,
it is indispensable to renew the covenant between the family and the Christian
community. We could say that the family
and the parish are the two places where the communion of love, which finds
it’s ultimate source in God, takes place. A Church truly according to the
Gospel cannot but take the form of a
hospitable home , with its doors open, always. Churches, parishes, institutions,
with closed doors must never be called churches, they should be called museums! And
today, this covenant is crucial.
“Against the ideological, financial and political ‘centres of power’, we place
our hopes in these centres of evangelizing love, rich in human warmth, based on
solidarity and participation” (Pont.
Cons. per la Famiglia, Gli insegnamenti di J.M. Bergoglio – Papa Francesco sulla famiglia e
sulla vita 1999-2014 , LEV 2014, 189),
and also on
forgiveness between us. To strengthen the bond between the
family and the Christian community
today is indispensable and urgent. Certainly, there
is need for generous faith to rediscover
the understanding and courage to renew this covenant. Families at times draw
back, saying that they cannot live up to this: “Father, we are a poor family
and even a little worse for the wear”, “We aren’t able”, “We already have so
many problems at home”, “We don’t have the strength”. This is true. But no one
is worthy, no one is able to live up to it, no one has the strength! Without
the grace of God, we can do nothing. Everything is given to us, given freely!
And the Lord never comes into a new family without working some miracle. Let us
remember what he did at the wedding of Cana! Yes, the Lord, if we place
ourselves in his hands, will work miracles for us – but they are miracles of
every day life! – when the Lord is
there, present in the family. Naturally, the Christian community
must also do its part. For example, overcoming attitudes that give too much
advice or are too managerial, in order to foster interpersonal dialogue and
awareness and mutual esteem. May families
take initiative and feel the responsibility for bringing their precious
gifts to the community. We must all be aware that the Christian faith is played
on an open field of life shared with
all. The family and the parish must work the miracle of a more communal life
for the whole of society. At Cana, there was the Mother of
Jesus, the “mother of good counsel”. Let us listen to her words: “Do whatever
he tells you” (cf. Jn 2:5). Dear families, dear parish communities, let us
allow ourselves to be inspired by this
Mother, let us do whatever Jesus tells us and we will find the source of all
miracles, of every day miracles! Thank you!…

Religious in Kenya to host conference on Consecrated Life

Select Catholic institutions in Kenya are preparing to host an international conference on Consecrated Life, which will be graced by the Vatican-based Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, João Cardinal Bráz de Aviz.
The planning of the five-day event, set to run from 22 September 26 September 2015, is being spearheaded by the Commission for the Clergy and Religious of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB), Tangaza University College, the Association of Sisterhoods of Kenya (AOSK), and the Religious Superiors’ Conference of Kenya (RSCK).
On 22 September Cardinal Bráz de Aviz will preside over the Holy Eucharist and interact with the cloistered nuns of Kenya at the Subiaco Center for Spirituality in Karen, before meeting the Bishops and Major Superiors in Kenya later in the day at Dimesse Spirituality Centre in Karen, Nairobi.
The following three days (23 – 25 September) will have facilitated inputs from selected speakers and discussions around the theme “Consecrated Life in Africa Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow,” to be hosted at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA).
The sessions about consecrated life in Africa will begin with a convocation address by Cardinal Bráz de Aviz, who will be introduced to the participants by the Apostolic Nuncio in Kenya, Archbishop Charles Daniel Balvo.
Among the topics lined up for presentation, to be followed by forums for discussion, include Living the Evangelical Counsels in East Africa; Charismatic Maturity: A Persistent Challenge for Consecrated Life in Africa; Juridical Considerations in the Dismissal of Religious in the African Context; Doing Formation in East Africa: Contexts, Struggles, Possibilities; Mutuae Relationes: On the Relationship between Bishops and Religious; Religious Life in the Vernacular: Challenge, Revelation; and The Prophetic Character of the Consecrated Life.
A couple of expositions are being organized around the following themes: The State of Consecrated Life in Africa: Survey Analysis and Report on the State of the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults in Kenya.
The last day of the conference will take place at Tangaza University College Grounds, beginning with a prayer service in commemorations of persons considered “saints” and “martyrs” among the consecrated in the Church of Kenya, followed by the concluding Eucharistic celebration, to be presided over by Cardinal Bráz de Aviz.
(By Fr. Don Bosco Onyalla, CANAA, Nairobi)
(from Vatican Radio)…

Pope Francis: families and churches must be open, welcoming

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday continued his catechesis on the family, focusing his attention on the relation between the family and the Christian community.
Below, please find the English language summary of the Pope’s remarks at Wednesday’s General Audience:
Dear Brothers and Sisters: In our continuing catechesis on the family, we reflect today on the connection between the family and the Christian community. The Church is the home of those who believe in Jesus Christ as the source of the unity of the entire human family. Christ chose to enter our history, to become part of a human family, and to form a community which welcomes all who wish to hear his good news of the Father’s love. There is a close bond, then, between the family and the Church. Families and parishes are the two places where we encounter, in every age, that communion of love which has its ultimate source in God. Just as our families are domestic churches, our parishes are called to be welcoming families. This “covenant” has to be renewed, with the courage and vision born of faith, so that these centres of love, evangelization, and solidarity can, with the help of God’s grace and despite all our limitations, work true miracles for the shaping of a more fraternal and humane world.
(from Vatican Radio)…