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Day: September 11, 2015

Pope Francis address to Claretian sisters

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met on Friday (11th September) with a group of Claretian sisters who are taking part in the General Chapter of their congregation. Putting aside his prepared text, the Pope spoke off the cuff in Spanish, noting that he counted some Claretian sisters among his close friends.
In his reflections on how the sisters can better perform their mission of service to the Church and to the world, Pope Francis focused on three aspects of the life of the congregation – adoration, journey and accompaniment.
Adoration: Turning first to adoration, the Pope lamented that in our efficient world we have lost the sense of adoration when we pray, saying there is a lack of this within the Church at this moment. He said adoration means simply adoring God without asking, without thanking and even without praising.   
Journey: Pope Francis reminded how right from the beginning God has always journeyed with his people. This movement, he explained to the sisters, means going to the borders in every sense of the word, opening doors and looking for roads and never being content to stay still and not move. He warned that people who are calm and immobile become corrupted just like stagnant water becomes dirty whereas a flowing river stays clean. 
Accompaniment: He said we never journey alone because God always accompanies his people. He accompanies us during happy times, difficult times, during the time of the cross or when we sin. The Pope noted that Jesus wasn’t frightened of sinners but sought them out even though he was criticized for doing this by others.  
(from Vatican Radio)…

Pope Francis discusses refugee crisis with Serbian President

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met on Friday with the President of the Serbian Republic Tomislav Nikolic to discuss common interests, including the current refugee crisis, as well as relations between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches in the Balkan country. A statement from the Vatican press office after the private meeting said the two leaders also discussed Serbia’s progress towards integration into the European Union and the Catholic Church’s contribution to the common good of Serbian society.
Please find below the full text of the press office statement on the Pope’s meeting with the President of the Serbian Repubblic :
This morning, 11 September 2015, in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father received in  audience  His  Excellency  Mr.  Tomislav  Nikolić,  president  of  the  Republic  of  Serbia,  who subsequently met with His Eminence Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by His Excellency Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, secretary for Relations with States.
In the cordial discussions, the good existing relations between the Holy See and the Republic of Serbia were demonstrated, and the parties considered issues of mutual interest regarding the relationship between the ecclesial and civil communities, with particular reference to ecumenical dialogue and the contribution of the Catholic Church to the common good of Serbian society.
Attention then turned to Serbia’s progress towards full integration in the European Union, as well as various situations of a regional and international nature, including the condition of Syrian and Iraqi refugees and displaced persons, and the importance of promoting a shared solution to the current crisis.
(from Vatican Radio)…

Pope Francis: We all risk being hypocrites including me

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis says that we must learn to not judge others or we all risk becoming hypocrites including the Pope himself. At the same time, he said, we need to have the courage to acknowledge our own faults in order to become merciful towards others. The Pope’s comments came during his homily on Friday (11th September) at the morning Mass in the Santa Marta residence. Pope Francis’s homily was a reflection taken from St Paul’s teaching on mercy, forgiveness and the need to avoid judging others. He said the Lord speaks to us about the reward contained within this: do not judge and you will not be judged. Do not condemn and you will not be condemned. Have the courage to acknowledge our own faults “But we can say: ‘So, this is all fine, isn’t it?’ And each of us can say: ‘Yes Father, this is all fine but how can it actually be done, where does one start with this?’  And what’s the first step for going along this path?’  We see that first step in today’s first Reading, in the Gospel. The first step is to acknowledge our own faults. The courage to acknowledge this before accusing others.  And Paul praises the Lord because he chose him and gives thanks because ‘he has judged me trustworthy, even though I used to be a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man.’ But this was mercy.” Beware of being hypocrites, from the Pope downwards Quoting from Christ’s words to take the log out of our own eye first, Pope Francis stressed that it is essential to acknowledge our own faults before we can see clearly enough ‘to take the splinter out of our brother’s eye.’  “And Jesus uses that word that he only uses with those who are two-faced, with two minds: ‘Hypocrites! Hypocrite.  Men and women who can’t learn how to acknowledge their own faults become hypocrites. All of them? All of them: starting from the Pope downwards: all of them. If a person isn’t able to acknowledge his or her faults and then says, if it’s necessary, who we should be telling things about other people, that person is not a Christian, is not part of this very beautiful work of reconciliation, peace-making, tenderness, goodness, forgiveness, generosity and mercy that Jesus Christ brought to us.” The Pope went on to urge us to stop ourselves in time when we are tempted to speak badly about others. “When we get tempted to talk to people about the faults of others, we must stop ourselves. And me? And have the courage that Paul had, here: ‘I used to be a blasphemer, a persecutor, a violent man’…  But how many things can we say about ourselves? Let’s refrain from comments about others and let’s comment about ourselves. And this is the first step along this path of magnanimity. Because a person who can only see the logs in the eyes of others, falls into pettiness: a petty mind, full of pettiness, full of chatter.” Pope Francis concluded his homily saying let us ask the Lord to give us the grace to follow Jesus’ advice to be generous with forgiveness and generous with mercy, adding that a person who has never spoken badly about others, should be canonized immediately.  (from Vatican Radio)…

The Pope thanks the Claretians for their missionary work

Vatican City, 11 September 2015 (VIS) – “Called to evangelise: witnesses and messengers of the joy of the Gospel”, was the theme of the General Chapter of the Congregation of Missionaries, Sons of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Claretians) whom Pope Francis received this morning in audience in the Consistory Hall. The following are extensive extracts from the written discourse the Pope handed to the attendees of the Chapter, to whom he also addressed some unscripted remarks. “’Witnesses’ because joy cannot be communicated if it is not present and deeply rooted both in one’s own life and in that of the community”, writes the Holy Father. “’Messengers’ because good must be shared and, in sharing, joy is purified and multiplied, becoming truly ‘evangelical’”. “How did the Congregation meet in this Chapter analysis? In this exercise of discernment, how did the voice of the Spirit challenge you?”, asks Francis, adding that a sure path for discerning His call is found in “listening in the different peripheries of the world. In them, His voice resonates with greater clarity. This is even more important for a missionary Congregation like yours”. He goes on to recall that to mark the occasion of the current Year of Consecrated Life he had sent a letter to all consecrated persons inviting them to look to the past with gratitude, to live the present with passion and to embrace the future with hope, and he explains to the Claretians how to respond to this invitation. “’Looking to the past with gratitude’ means thanking God for the witness of many of your brethren who, supported by their faith, live their vocation with profound joy – in some cases unto martyrdom. It also means recognising the mysterious hand of the Lord who, despite our weakness and our inconstancy, continues to work miracles through His Church. ‘Living the present with passion’ is basing your missionary programme on the spirit of St. Antonio Maria Claret whose motto, on his episcopal coat of arms, is ‘Caritas Christi urget nos’. Loving as Jesus loved must infuse all of our choices in life and in pastoral ministry. ‘Embracing the future with hope’ means not allowing ourselves to be held back by disillusionment. Do not be afraid. It is the Lord who sends you. Always keep your eyes on those who await the announcement, those who need His witness to feel the merciful presence of God in their lives”. Francis thanks the members of the Congregation for their missionary life and work, also asking them to greet all their brethren on his behalf, “especially those who, due to illness or advanced age, collaborate through prayer and witness to the mission of the congregation”. “St. Antonio Maria Claret, your founder, gave your congregation a beautiful name: Sons of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary”, concludes the Pope. “Let all the dimensions of your lives be profoundly marked by this ‘intimacy’, that inspired in Mary the beautiful hymn of the Magnificat; and express the maternity of the Church, merciful mother, who never ceases to hope, to accompany and to forgive”….

Pope urges closer cooperation to tackle climate change

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Friday greeted participants at an international meeting of the Foundation for Sustainable Development which is focused on environmental justice and climate change. Noting the grave threats that our environment is facing today, the Pope stressed that the poor are always those who suffer most from the consequences of climate change. The issue of climate change is a question of justice and solidarity, Pope Francis said, which affects the dignity of individuals, communities and nations. Science and technology, he continued, have placed in our hands unprecedented power: it is our duty to humanity, and in particular towards the poor and the future generations, to use it for the common good. Pope Francis stressed that every one of us is called to react personally and responsibly to the challenge of climate change – not offering unrealistic solutions, but responding to the best of our abilities in the family and the workplace, in civil society and within economic or research institutions. We can only achieve results by working together for the common good, he said, praising the organisers of the meeting for bringing together participants from the different sectors of religion, politics, economics, social and scientific research. In view of the crucial upcoming meetings on climate change and sustainable development – at the UN in September and in Paris in December – the Pope said we must step up this dialogue to create an “authentic alliance” that can bring about effective environmental agreements. (from Vatican Radio)…