The general prayer intention of Pope Francis for the month of November is for dialogue – that we may be open to personal encounter and dialogue with all, even those whose convictions differ from our own.
At a meeting in Brazil, Pope Francis said: “When leaders in various fields ask me for advice, my response is always the same: dialogue, dialogue, dialogue.” He said, “It is the only way for individuals, families, and societies to grow along with the culture of encounter, a culture in which all have something good to give and all can receive something good in return.” And an important ingredient for a successful encounter and dialogue, according to the Pope, is the spirit of openness and the capacity to listen to the other. However, there is no true peace without truth, he warns. There cannot be true peace if everyone sticks to his own criterion, always claims exclusively his own rights, without caring for the good of others, of everyone. Dialogue does not mean denying objective truth, but rather respecting the dignity of the other person “in a way that everyone can see in the other not an enemy, not a rival, but a brother or sister to be welcomed and embraced.” Let’s therefore join Pope Francis in praying during the month of November, so that we may be open to personal encounter and dialogue with all, even those whose convictions differ from our own.
(from Vatican Radio)…
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis addressed 7000 Italian Christian Business Executives in the Paul VI hall on Saturday, telling them that companies can become places of holiness.
The Christian Union of Italian Business Executives brings together Catholic entrepreneurs who set themselves the goal of being the architects for the development of the common good.
Meeting the executives in the Vatican on Saturday, Pope Francis told them that their emphasis on Christian formation and training, mainly through the deepening of the social teaching of the Church, was a noble work. He also spoke about the importance of having the right balance between work and family life.
The Pope noted how a company and the executive office of companies can become places of holiness, by the commitment of everyone to build fraternal relations between entrepreneurs, managers and workers, encouraging co-responsibility and collaboration in the common interest.
The Holy Father also noted that the call to be missionaries of the social dimension of the Gospel in the difficult and complex world of labour, economics and business, involved being open and close to diverse situations such as poverty.
Speaking at one point off the cuff, the Pope spoke about women in the workplace and the challenges they can face. Giving one example to applause, he said, “how many times has a women gone to her boss and said I am pregnant and at the end of the month she is let go”.
Pope Francis stressed that increasing the praiseworthy concrete works of sharing and solidarity that the executives support in various parts of Italy, would be a way for them to put into practice the grace of the upcoming Jubilee of Mercy.
The Pope went on to say that it was necessary to direct economic activity in the evangelical sense, that is at the service of the person and the common good. In this perspective, he said “you are called to cooperate in order to grow an entrepreneurial spirit of subsidiarity, to deal with the ethical challenges of the market and, above all the challenge of creating good employment opportunities.”
The Holy Father concluded by urging them to engage together for this purpose telling those gathered that it would bear fruit,” to the extent that the Gospel is alive and present in your hearts, in your mind and in your actions.”
(from Vatican Radio)…
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis says a good priest knows how to empathize and get involved in the life of his flock. He said God pardons us like a father and not like an official in a law court. The Pope’s words came during his homily at Mass on Friday at the Santa Marta residence that was given in Spanish.
The focus of Pope Francis’s homily was God’s compassion for each one of us and for the whole of humanity and how He sent His Son to “heal, regenerate and renew” the human race.
“It’s interesting that in the parable that we all know of the Prodigal Son, it’s said that when the father – who’s the figure of a forgiving God – sees his son arriving he feels compassion. God’s compassion isn’t about feeling pity: it’s nothing at all to do with that.”
“I can feel pity,” he explained, “for a dog that is dying,” but God’s compassion is different, it means “empathizing with another person’s problem, empathizing with that person’s situation.”
“Jesus healed people but he is not a healer. No! He healed people as a sign, as a sign of God’s compassion, to save that person, to bring back the lost sheep to the fold, the money that went missing from the woman’s purse. God has compassion. God loves us like a Father. He does this for each one of us. And when God forgives, he forgives like a Father and not like an official in the law court who reads out the verdict saying: ‘Acquitted for lack of evidence.’ He forgives us from within his heart. He forgives because he loved that person.”
Jesus, continued the Pope, was sent to bring the good news, “to free those who are oppressed” and “to enter the heart of each one of us, to free us from our sins and evil.”
“This is what a priest does: he feels empathy towards others and becomes involved in the life of people because he is a priest, like Jesus is a priest. How many times – and then we must go to confession – do we criticize those priests who are not interested in what is happening to those in their congregation, who don’t care about them. He is not a good priest! A good priest is one who empathizes.”
Pope Francis said a good priest is somebody who gets involved in all human problems. He concluded his homily by paying tribute to Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, who was present at the Mass, to celebrate his 60 years of priesthood. He praised the Cardinal’s work on behalf of the Church when he headed the Dicastery for Health Workers and said let us give thanks to God for these 60 years and for God’s compassion.
(from Vatican Radio)…
Vatican City, 30 October 2015 (VIS) – Pope Francis has sent a message to the Santa Marta Group, an initiative launched by the Holy Father in the battle against human trafficking, involving the security forces of various countries, episcopates, social organisations and representatives of various religious confessions. The group is currently gathered at the San Lorenzo del Escorial in Spain, a meeting inaugurated this Friday by Queen Sofia and attended by cardinals, bishops, social activists and around fifty heads of police from around the world.
In the short time of its existence, writes Francis, this worthy group has made significant achievements and is called upon to play a decisive role in the eradication of human trafficking and modern slavery. He recalls that during the last year there have been important institutional changes that have without doubt supported its activity, starting with the meeting of mayors in Vatican City on 21 July, in which key figures signed a declaration expressing their commitment to eliminating the new forms of slavery that constitute a crime against humanity.
He also mentions the recent approval of the Agenda 2030, with the new United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which include the adoption of immediate and effective means for eradicating forced labour, putting an end to modern forms of slavery and human trafficking and ensuring the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including the recruitment and deployment of child soldiers, with a view to putting an end to all forms of child labour by 2025.
The Pope also refers to his address to the United Nations in New York on 25 September, in which he affirmed that the world demands of government leaders “a will which is effective, practical and constant, concrete steps and immediate measures for preserving and improving the natural environment and thus putting an end as quickly as possible to the phenomenon of social and economic exclusion, with its baneful consequences. … Such is the magnitude of these situations and their toll in innocent lives, that we must avoid every temptation to fall into a declarationist nominalism which would assuage our consciences”. “Today the 193 states of the United Nations have a new moral imperative to combat human trafficking, a true crime against humanity. Collaboration between bishops and the civil authorities, each in accordance with his own mission and character and with the aim of discovering best practice for the fulfilment of this delicate task, is a decisive step to ensuring that the will of governments reaches the victims in a direct, immediate, constant, effective and concrete way”.
“For my part, I pray that God Almighty grant you the grace of carrying forward the delicate, humanitarian and Christian mission of healing the open and painful wounds of humanity, which are also Christ’s wounds. I assure you of all my support and my prayer, and the support and prayer of the faithful of the Catholic Church. With God’s help, and your collaboration, the indispensable service of the Santa Marta Group will be able to free the victims of new forms of slavery, rehabilitate them, along with the imprisoned and the marginalised, unmasking the traffickers and those who create this market, and provide effective assistance to cities and nations; a service for the common good and the promotion of human dignity, able to bring out the best in every person and every citizen”….
Vatican City, 30 October 2015 (VIS) – To commemorate 60 years of the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM), the Pope has written a message to the president Cardinal Ruben Salazar Gomez in which he expresses his gratitude for all the good the Lord has gradually sown there, and that has borne fruit through the service of God’s Church in Latin America.
“I hope that CELAM, making pastoral and missionary conversion its priority, may increasingly participate in, support and give momentum to this evangelising movement towards all environments and all frontiers. It is important that our communities are a ‘home and school of communion’, which attract by a surprising fraternity based on the recognition of the common father, and help always to keep alive in the Church in Latin America the passion for our peoples, the bearing of our sufferings and the capacity for Christian discernment of the vicissitudes of their recent history, to open up paths of greater equality, peace and justice”.
He also emphasises that the upcoming opening of the extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy “will be an event of grace in which CELAM must provide a fundamental service of inspiration, exchange and celebration”.
Finally, the Pope imparts his apostolic blessing to all members of CELAM, their collaborators, and the episcopate of Latin America and the Caribbean, placing all these intentions under the protection of the mantle of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patron of America, so that by her intercession “Our Lord Jesus Christ may inspire new and holier missionary disciples in our Churches, and more courageous builders of peace and justice in our nations”….