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Day: April 7, 2016

Bulletin for April 17, 2016

Click to download Bulletin for April 17, 2016

Catholics and Methodists: Walking together in service to the world

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis said on Thursday that Catholics and Methodists have much to learn from one another as they work together in loving service to the world. His words came in an audience with leaders of the World Methodist Council, the Methodist Council of Europe and the Methodist Church in Britain who here for the opening of a new ecumenical centre in Rome. Listen to Philippa Hitchen’s report: 

“If we cannot as yet think alike in all things, at least we may love alike”. Those words were written by John Wesley, one of the founders of the Methodist movement, in his ‘ Letter to a Roman Catholic ’ in the mid-18th century. Wesley also stressed that Catholics and Methodists are called “to help each other in whatever…leads to the Kingdom”. In his meeting with the global Methodist leadership, Pope Francis said it’s true we do not as yet think alike in all things, noting that especially on issues of ordained ministry and ethics, much work remains to be done. But, he stressed, none of these differences constitutes such an obstacle as to prevent us from loving in the same way and offering a common witness to the world. 50 years of Catholic-Methodist dialogue Half a century since the joint Catholic-Methodist dialogue commission began its work, its members are preparing to publish a new document on ‘ The Call to Holiness ’, an area where the Pope said members of the two Churches have much to learn from one another. We must both do what we can, he said, to ensure that members of our respective congregations meet together and encourage each other. Even where differences remain, he added, these can and must become the impetus for further reflection and dialogue. New Ecumenical Office in Rome Welcoming the opening of the new Methodist Ecumenical Office in Rome , the Pope said it’s a sign of growing closeness and of our shared desire to overcome all that stands in the way of our full communion. Rev. Robert Gribben is a minister of the Uniting Church of Australia and chair of the World Methodist Council’s committee on ecumenical relationships . At this important moment in the life of the global community, he shared some thoughts on the importance of working for Christian unity and the significance – for Methodists – of this Jubilee year of mercy. Gribben says he believes the theologians have done “a wonderful job in clearing the way for us to walk together….” One of the obstacles, he says, is peoples’ inability to move – or “mabye their inability to believe that such good things have actually happened…” Getting the local church structures to change is an enormous challenge, he notes, especially in a world where Christian faith is under attack we tend to be defensive and hang onto what we know… Gribben says that the word ‘mercy’ features prominently in the hymns of Charles Wesley….apart from the word ‘love’, he says, “there could hardly be a more important word in all Christian doctrine and practice”. (from Vatican Radio)…

Pope Francis receives Prime Minister of Croatia

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis received the Republic of Croatia’s head of government, Prime Minister Tihomir Orešković, on Thursday morning at the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican. The Prime Minister subsequently met with the Secretary of State of the Holy See, Cardinal Pietro Parolin,  who was accompanied by Msgr. Antoine Camilleri, Under-Secretary for Relations with States. A communiqué from the Press Office of the Holy See informs that the Pope and the Prime Minister held cordial talks, in which they remarked the good relations existing between the Holy See and the Republic of Croatia, of which the Thursday visit was “a significant expression”. They confirmed their shared desire to continue constructive dialogue on bilateral issues arising in relations between the ecclesial and civil community, and focused on the prominent place the Croat faithful assigned to the figure of Blessed Aloysius Stepinac (the great Archbishop of Zagreb from 1937 until 1960, who was martyred under Communism in the country and beatified by Pope St. John Paul II in 1998), as well as the situation of the Croatian minority in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Communiqué also says Pope Francis and Prime Minister Orešković  touched in their conversation upon a broad range of international and regional issues: concern was expressed, in particular, for the humanitarian crisis of refugees from the Middle East, for the conflicts that affect different regions of the world, and for attempts to weaken base of civil society (Croatia held a nationwide referendum in which participating citizens voted overwhelmingly in favor of a constitutional amendment enshrining the traditional understanding of marriage in the nation’s fundamental law). (from Vatican Radio)…

Pope Francis to visit the Greek island of Lesbos

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis will travel to the Greek island of Lesbos on Saturday, April 16. A communiqué from the Vatican Press Office has confirmed next week’s papal visit which aims to show support and solidarity for refugees in the front line of Europe’s migrant crisis. The press release says the Pope has accepted the invitations of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, His Holiness Bartholomew, and of the Greek President. It says Pope Francis will meet with the refugees on the island together with the Ecumenical Patriarch and with His Holiness Jerome II, Archbishop of Athens and all Greece. 
Hundreds of thousands of refugees, many fleeing the war in Syria, have poured onto the Aegean island over the past year.
This is a particularly delicate moment for them as, under a contested plan, the European Union started returning newcomers to neighbouring Turkey this month. Pope Francis has repeatedly appealed for support for migrants and refugees. His first journey, after having been elected Pope in 2013, was to the Sicilian island of Lampedusa, which, like Lesbos, has received hundreds of thousands of migrants. (from Vatican Radio)…

Pope: Everyday saints and martyrs carry the Church forward

(Vatican Radio) At his daily Mass on Thursday, Pope Francis said it is “the saints of ordinary life, and the martyrs of today that carry the Church forward.” They do so, he said, “with their consistent and courageous witness to the Risen Christ, thanks to the working of the Holy Spirit.”
The Christian “puts his life on the line” by giving a true witness
The first Reading taken from the Acts of Acts of the Apostles, speaks of the courage of Peter, who, after the healing of the crippled man, preached the Gospel before the leaders of the Sanhedrin. Enraged at his boldness, they wanted to put Peter to death. They had already forbidden the Apostles to preach in the Name of Jesus, but Peter continued to proclaim the Gospel – because, as he said, “We must obey God rather than men.” This “courageous” Peter, the Pope said, has nothing in common with “Peter the coward” who denied Christ three times on the night of Holy Thursday. Now Peter is strong in his testimony. Christian witness, Pope Francis continued, follows the path of Jesus, even to the point of giving one’s life. In one way or another, he said, the Christian “puts his life on the line” by giving true witness:
“Consistency between our life and what we have seen and heard is indeed the beginning of witness. But there’s something else to Christian witness; it’s not just giving it. Christian witness always has two parts: ‘We are witnesses of these things, as is the Holy Spirit.’ Without the Holy Spirit, there is no Christian witness – because Christian witness, the Christian life, is a grace, it is a grace that the Lord gives us with the Holy Spirit.”
The martyrs of today
Without the Holy Spirit, Pope Francis continued, “we cannot be witnesses.” The true witness is the person who is consistent “in what he says, what he does, and what he has received,” namely the Holy Spirit. “This is Christian courage, this is the witness”:
“It is the witness of our martyrs of today – so many! – chased out of their homeland, driven away, having their throats cut, persecuted: they have the courage to confess Jesus even to the point of death. It is the witness of those Christians who live their life seriously, and who say: ‘I can’t do this; I cannot do evil to another; I cannot cheat; I cannot lead life halfway, I have to give my witness.’ And the witness consists in saying what has been seen and heard in faith, namely, the Risen Jesus, with the Holy Spirit that has been received as a gift.”
Everyday saints
In difficult moments in history, Pope Francis said, we hear it said that “our country needs heroes – and this is true, this is right.” But, he asked, “what does the Church need today? It needs witnesses, martyrs”:
“These are the witnesses, that is, the saints, the saints of everyday, of ordinary life, but life [lived with] consistency; and also the witness ‘to the end,’ even to death. These are the life blood of the Church; these are the ones that carry the Church forward, the witnesses, who attest that Jesus is Risen, that Jesus is alive, and they bear witness through the consistency of their life, with the Holy Spirit they have received as a gift.”
(from Vatican Radio)…