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Day: April 20, 2016

Pope prays for victims of Chernobyl disaster 30 years on

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday prayed for the victims of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station disaster 30 years from the tragedy.
Addressing the various groups of pilgrims of different nationalities present in St. Peter’s Square for the General Audience , the Pope had special greetings for those from Ukraine and Belarus.
Mentioning the International Conference that has been organized to mark the anniversary, Pope Francis said he is “praying for the victims of that disaster while expressing appreciation and gratitude to those who have assisted them and for the initiatives aimed at alleviating their suffering and the damage.”
Vatican Radio’s Linda Bordoni asked Kate Hudson, General Secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, to recall what happened at Chernobyl on April 26, 1986:
Listen :

Kate Hudson explains that during routine activity at the Nuclear Power Station there was an unexpected power surge and attempts to deal with it the resulting in a reactor fire which provoked an enormous disaster at the Power Station.
She says it was located in the former Western Soviet Union, just inside the Ukrainian border, but it “very much impacted on Belarus and Russia and of course Western Europe as well eventually, through the transportation by air and the weather systems of the radiation”.
Hudson says the result was an absolute catastrophe for the local population: “the nearest city, Pribyat, had to be evacuated and hundreds of thousands of people were evacuated from the area and permanently re-located away from their homes”.
“Of course the environmental consequences – huge areas that are not allowed to be lived in – the health consequences are still very much with the community there. The instances of childhood thyroid cancer and leukemia are very much more prevalent in that area” she says.
Hudson points out that it is a tragedy ongoing.
”It was wonderful to hear the Pope’s words on this subject: his humanitarian response to the needs of that community and of the support that they continue to receive” she says.        
Kate Hudson goes on to speak of the 2011 Nuclear Power Station disaster in Fukushima and of how, in many respects, it does not appear that the world has learnt its lesson.
She talks of the need to be vigilant and to advocate for alternative energy production, of the many large and small nuclear power station incidents that have happened and continue to take place, and of the role of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.
“We urge people to look at the consequences of government decisions, whether they are on nuclear energy or on nuclear weapons: it’s a technology that is too dangerous to retain” she says.     
(from Vatican Radio)…

First meeting of XIV Ordinary Council of the Synod of Bishops

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis this week presided over the first meeting of the XIV Ordinary Council of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops. A statement released on Wednesday said the meeting, which took place from 18-19 April, began with a speech by  the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri. In his remarks, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri thanked Pope Francis for his presence, as well as for the recent publication of the , Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia. The Ordinary Council then considered the results of the consultation taken to identify the theme of the next Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. The consultation included offices of the Roman Curia, Episcopal Conferences, the Eastern Churches, and the Union of Superiors General. After much discussion, a list of proposed topics was submitted to the Holy Father for his consideration. Finally, the members of the Council discussed the revision of the Ordo of the Synod of Bishops. Bishop Fabio Fabene, the Under-Secretary of the Synod of Bishops, gave a report on the study seminar organized by the Secretariat  following the speech given by Pope Francis on October 17, 2015. From earlier group discussions on the matter, it emerged that synodality and collegiality must always be joined with the exercise of the ministry of the Bishop of Rome, in a way which fruitfully combines primacy, collegiality and synodality. (from Vatican Radio)…

Pope Audience: Distinguish between the sin and the sinner

(Vatican Radio)  In his continuing catechesis for this Holy Year of Mercy during his weekly General Audience, Pope Francis drew inspiration from the Gospel episode of Jesus’ dinner at the home of Simon the Pharisee. 
He said, “All of us are sinners, so many times we fall into the temptation of hypocrisy, believing that we are better than the other ”, but he continued, look at your sin, all of us need to look at our sins, our mistakes and look to the Lord,” because, he added, “this is the lifeline, the relationship between the sinner and the Lord.”
The Pope was referring to the story from St Luke in which a woman known as a sinner comes up to Jesus, and bathes his feet in her tears and anoints them with precious perfume, but the Pharisee judges the woman by appearances. However, Jesus, underlined the Holy Father, distinguishes between the “sin and the sinner.” 
The Lord, continued Pope Francis teaches Simon that “the woman’s act, as an expression of faith and trust in God’s mercy has merited the forgiveness of her sins.”
The Pope told the faithful gathered in St Peter’s Square, it is a lesson for us all that “God’s mercy reaches out to everyone; it overcomes prejudice and surmounts all barriers.”
He added, that “through faith in Christ, we too have received the forgiveness of our sins and the new life of grace.”
(from Vatican Radio)…

Pope Audience: Appeals for Ukraine and Ecuador

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis during his weekly General Audience on Wednesday again appealed for Ukraine, reminding those gathering in St Peter’s Square that for a long time the country’s population has been suffering the consequences of armed conflict, forgotten, he said, by many.
On April 3 rd during his Regina Coeli address the Pope announced a special charity collection to support the people of Ukraine telling the faithful it would be possible to contribute to the collection in all Catholic Churches in Europe on Sunday April 24 th and saying that, “this gesture of charity, beyond alleviating material suffering, expresses my personal closeness and the solidarity of the entire Church”.
On Wednesday, the Holy Father thanked in advance those who will contribute generously to this initiative this weekend.
The Pope also greeted pilgrims from Ukraine and Belarus on the occasion of an international conference marking the 30 th anniversary of the tragedy at Chernobyl. While praying for the victims of the disaster, he expressed gratitude to all those involved in alleviating their suffering.
During the Audience and speaking in Spanish, Pope Francis also expressed his closeness to the people of Ecuador who were hit at the weekend by a massive earthquake which has left over 500 people dead.
(from Vatican Radio)…

Pope meets Austrian Skiiing Federation

(Vatican Radio)  Before his General Audience on Wednesday Pope Francis greeted athletes from the Austrian Skiing Federation in the Paul VI complex, telling them they were models especially for young people. But he also reminded them that sport was not just about performance, it was also about the virtues and values that sport represents such as, commitment, perseverance, determination, honesty, solidarity, and team spirit.
“By your example”, the Pope continued, “you contribute to the shaping of society”, adding, “always be messengers of the uniting power of sport and hospitality”.
And alluding to the natural wealth of the country, Pope Francis invited the Federation to be messengers of safeguarding the environment and the beauty of God’s creation.
(from Vatican Radio)…