(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday gave a special greeting to a group of children from Bosnia and Herzegovina who have been participating in a special programme to foster inter-community harmony by allowing children from different backgrounds to live together in a neutral setting, which in this case is Sicily.
Children from Catholic, Orthodox, and Muslim backgrounds have been living with Sicilian host families from 19 December, and will return home on 21 January. The programme is sponsored by the Luciano Lama Association.
“Dear children, spending time together as brothers and sisters with your host families, you have the opportunity to grow in an atmosphere of hope,” – Pope Francis told them during his weekly General Audience – “Only in this way can you young Catholics, Orthodox and Muslims rescue the hope to live in a world which is more fraternal, just and peaceful; more sincere and more humane.”
He told them to always remain firm in faith and pray for the peace and unity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the whole world.
“I sincerely thank the host families for their example of love and Christian solidarity: Orphans should always be defended, protected and welcomed with love,” – The Pope concluded – “I assure you of my spiritual closeness and I cordially impart upon all of you my Apostolic Blessing.”
(from Vatican Radio)…
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis said on Wednesday that Christian Unity and reconciliation are possible. He was speaking during his weekly General Audience in the Paul the VI hall where he also continued his catechesis on Christian hope.
Listen to Lydia O’Kane’s report
We look more ‘to that’ which unites us rather than that which ‘divides us”. Those were Pope Francis’ words on Wednesday during his weekly General Audience as he recalled this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
Inviting Christians to pray for this week and also recalling his visit to Lund in Sweden to Commemorate the Reformation, the Pope said “we continue the journey together to deepen our communion and to give it more and more a ‘visible form.”
In Europe, the Holy Father stressed, this common faith in Christ is like a green thread of hope” adding that, “communion, unity and reconciliation ‘are possible.”
As Christians, he said, “we are responsible for ‘this message and we have to bear witness to it with our lives.”
The Pope made the comments while greeting an Ecumenical delegation from Germany.
Also during his audience and continuing his catechesis on Christian hope, Pope Francis reflected on the story of the prophet Jonah, who sought to flee from a difficult mission entrusted to him by the Lord.
He said that, “when the ship that Jonah had boarded was tossed by a storm, the pagan sailors asked him, as a man of God, to pray that they might escape sure death.
The Pope noted that, “the story reminds us of the link between hope and prayer.”
Anguish in the face of death, he added, “often makes us recognize our human frailty and our need to pray for salvation.”
The Holy Father explained that Jonah prays on behalf of the sailors and as a result, “the sailors come to acknowledge the true God.”
He also underlined that “as the paschal mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection makes clear, death itself can be, for each of us, an invitation to hope and an encounter in prayer with the God of our salvation.”
(from Vatican Radio)…
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis during his Wednesday General Audience continued his catecheseis on Christian hope and asked for prayers for this Week of Christian Unity.
Below find the Pope’s English language remarks
Dear Brothers and Sisters: In our continuing catechesis on Christian hope, we reflect today on the story of the prophet Jonah, who sought to flee from a difficult mission entrusted to him by the Lord. When the ship that Jonah had boarded was tossed by a storm, the pagan sailors asked him, as a man of God, to pray that they might escape sure death. This story reminds us of the link between hope and prayer. Anguish in the face of death often makes us recognize our human frailty and our need to pray for salvation. Jonah prays on behalf of the sailors, and, taking up once more his prophetic mission, shows himself ready to sacrifice his life for their sake. As a result, the sailors come to acknowledge the true God. As the paschal mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection makes clear, death itself can be, for each of us, an invitation to hope and an encounter in prayer with the God of our salvation.
Dear friends, today begins the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. In this same spirit of hope, and with gratitude for the progress already made in the ecumenical movement, I ask your prayers for this important intention.
(from Vatican Radio)…