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Day: March 30, 2017

Pope’s charity goes social

(Vatican Radio) People around the world can now connect directly with the Peter’s Pence Office on Twitter ( @Obolus_EN ) and Instagram. The Office collects donations offered by the faithful as signs of their sharing in the Pope’s concerns for the many different needs of the Universal Church.
Following the successful launch of a website in November 2016, the charitable Office’s goal of communicating directly, accurately and transparently with Catholics around the world and with all people who want to help the most needy has led to the launch of new accounts in English, Italian and Spanish.
Pope Francis’ messages, which can already be found on the Peter’s Pence website, are being posted on Twitter and Instagram on a daily basis, along with photos, reflections and more information about the charitable works of the Holy See. The Office has committed to sustaining projects of all sizes around the world, including the creation of a paediatric hospital in Bangui in the Central African Republic and supporting the first Catholic university in Jordan.
Follow Peter’s Pence on Instagram account. Click here to visit the Twitter accounts in Italian and in Spanish. Interact with the Office by using the hashtag: #movingMercy .
Please find below the full communique:
Peter’s Pence is now on social network sites Twitter and Instagram
The aim is to go out to those who want to help the most needy and to make them aware of the charitable works being carried out through the solidarity of the faithful across the world, including men and women religious, lay faithful, societies, institutions and foundations, together with the offices closely assisting the Holy Father in the exercise of his mission.
After the launch last November of the new website www.obolodisanpietro.va , the  longstanding charitable Office will now be on social networks. The Twitter and Instagram accounts of Peter’s Pence have been active since 1 March last, with the goal of communicating directly, accurately and transparently with Catholics throughout the world and with all people who want to help those most in need. Peter’s Pence can be found on Twitter in Italian, English and Spanish, whereas there is one Instagram account.
The Messages of Pope Francis found on the Peter’s Pence website are being published daily on Twitter and Instagram, together with photos, reflections and further information on the charitable works of the Holy See carried out through this historic initiative of Christian charity.  As was tweeted in one of the inaugural tweets: “Mercy is about moving together, it is about meeting the needs of the needy”. It is in this spirit that Peter’s Pence has committed itself to sustain small and large projects throughout the world, such as the creation of a pediatric hospital in Bangui in the Central African Republic, the collection taken up to alleviate the suffering of the Ukrainian people, and support for the first Catholic University on Jordanian soil.
An initiative of the Holy See and the result of close collaboration between the Secretariat of State, the Secretariat for Communication and the Governorate of Vatican City, the three Twitter accounts – “Obolo di San Pietro: @obolus_it ”; “Obolo de San Pedro: @obolus_es ”; “Peter’s Pence: @obolus_en ” – and the Instagram account “Obolus: obolus_va ” can now be followed by Catholics throughout the world who are inspired by a common path of mercy: #movingMercy .  
(from Vatican Radio)…

Pope tells Somascan Fathers to continue to serve abandoned youth

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis on Thursday encouraged Somascan Fathers to continue and further develop their mission to serve the poor and take care of orphans and abandoned youth.
Receiving a group of Somascan Fathers who are holding their General Chapter , the Pope expressed appreciation for the theme chosen for the Chapter: “Let’s cross to the other side with our brothers with whom we live and die” and he highlighted their missionary openness.
Pope Francis recalled the shining example provided by the Somascan Fathers’ founder, St. Girolamo Emiliani, and quoted the words of Pope Benedict XVI in a message to the Order asking them  “to take to heart every kind of poverty experienced by our youth: moral, physical, existential poverty; and above all the poverty of love, the root of every serious human problem”.
He pointed out that the ideal at the root of St. Girolamo Emiliani’s mission was to reform the Church through works of charity. 
His first project, he said, was to renew his own commitment to faith and the Gospel and then to reach out to the Christian community and to civil society highlighting the plight of the poor and the marginalized and promoting integral human development.
“I encourage you to remain faithful to the original inspiration of your Order and to go out into the world assisting humanity that is wounded and discarded, with evangelically effective choices that arise from the ability to look at the world and humanity through the eyes of Christ” he said.
Underscoring the fact that the care for youth and their human and Christian education is the mark of the charism of Somascans, the Pope lauded their method of education which is centered on the person, on his or her dignity, on the development of intellectual and manual skills.
Pope Francis noted that in the effort to make their service more effective, the Somascan Fathers and Brothers are working on new ways to accomplish their mission. 
He encouraged them to be attentive to new and different forms of marginalization in geographical and existential peripheries. 
And, he said: “Do not be afraid to ‘leave the old wineskins’ and address the transformation of structures where this would be useful for a more evangelical and consistent service. Structures, he said, in some cases can give false security and hinder the dynamism of charity”.
But he pointed out that at the basis of these processes there must always be the joyful encounter with Christ.
The Pope invited those present to engage with laypeople of the Somascan community in the effort to protect human rights, enforce child protection and the rights of children and adolescents, oppose child labor, prevent exploitation and fight trafficking. 
“These are issues that must be addressed through the liberating power of the Gospel and, at the same time, through adequate operational tools and professional skills” he said.
Pope Francis recalled that St. Girolamo Emiliani was a contemporary of Luther and suffered for the tear in the fabric of Christian unity.
He urged the Somascan Fathers to continue to teach catechism and to provide formation to catechists in fidelity to the Sacraments and within the love for the Virgin Mary, but he also encouraged them to support ecumenical dialogue and urged them to continue their collaboration with other ecclesial communities, in particular in Africa and in Asia.
“Dear Brothers, you have the task to go forward with the work inspired by St. Girolamo Emiliani, who was declared patron of orphans and abandoned youth by Pope Pius XI” he said.
“I encourage you, Pope Francis concluded, to carry on your journey following your apostolic zeal, always open to new expressions according to the most urgent needs of the Church and society in different times and places”. 
(from Vatican Radio)…

Pope at Mass: ‘God weeps when we go astray from His love’

(Vatican Radio)  Beware of following fantasies and false idols, for only God loves us and waits for us like a father.  That was Pope Francis’ message at Mass on Thursday morning in the Casa Santa Marta.
Commenting on the First Letter from the Book of Exodus, the Holy Father focused on God’s love for His people, despite their infidelity. Even today, he said, it is good for us to ask whether we distance ourselves from the Lord to follow after idols and worldliness.
Listen to Devin Watkins’ report:

Pope Francis took inspiration from the Book of Exodus to reflect on the “dreams and disappointments of God”. The people, he said, is “God’s dream. He dreamed of them because he loved them.” But the people betrayed the Father’s dreams and so God “began to be disappointed,” asking Moses to come down from the mountain where he had gone to receive the Law. The people “did not have the patience to wait for God” for even 40 days. They had made themselves a golden calf and “they forgot God who had saved them”.
Temptation to infidelity towards God
The prophet Baruc, Pope Francis said, “had a good expression for this people: ‘You have forgotten the One who reared you’”.
“To forget God who made us, who raised us, and who accompanies us in our lives: this is the disappointment of God. And many times in the Gospel Jesus speaks in parables about that man who builds a vineyard, which then fails, because the workers want to take it for themselves. In the human heart there is always this restlessness! It is not satisfied with God, with faithful love. The human heart always tends towards infidelity. This is a temptation.”
God is “disappointed” by the infidelity of His people who go after idols
God, therefore, “through the prophet rebukes this people”, which “is inconstant and does not know how to wait”. They go astray from God to seek another god.
“The disappointment of God is the infidelity of the people… And we are God’s people. We know well how [the dispositions] of our heart, and every day we must take up again the path so as not to slide slowly towards idols, fantasies, worldliness, and infidelity. I think it would do us good today to reflect on the disappointed Lord: ‘Tell me, Lord, are you disappointed in me?’ In something, yes, surely. But reflect, and ask yourself this question.”
Reflect in Lent whether we have distanced ourselves from God
God, Pope Francis affirmed, “has a tender heart, the heart of a father”. He recalled that Jesus wept “over Jerusalem”. Let us ask ourselves, he said, if “God weeps for me”, if “He is disappointed in me”, and if “I have distanced myself from the Lord”. He asked aloud, “How many idols do I have, which I am unable to remove, which make me a slave? The idolatry that we have within us… And God weeps for me.”
“Let us reflect today on this disappointment of God, who created us for love, whilst we go in search of love, of wellbeing elsewhere and not in His love. We distance ourselves from this God who raised us. This is a thought for Lent. It will do us good. Do this small examination of conscience daily: ‘Lord, you who have so many dreams for me, I know that I have gone away from you, but tell me where and how to return…’ The surprise will be that He ever awaits us, like the father of the prodigal son who saw him from afar, because he was waiting for him.”
(from Vatican Radio)…

Pope’s letter for Dublin World Meeting of Families presented

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has written a letter to the organisers of next year’s World Meeting of Families , who presented the event at the Vatican press office on Thursday morning.
The Meeting is scheduled to take place in Dublin, Ireland from August 21st to 26th 2018 on the theme ‘ The Gospel of the Family: joy to the world ”.
Listen to Philippa Hitchen’s report:

In the letter addressed to Cardinal Kevin Farrell , head of the new Vatican office for Laity, Family and Life, the Pope says he hopes the Meeting will be a way for families to deepen their reflection on the document ‘ Amoris Laetitia ’ which he wrote at the conclusion of the two recent synods on the family.
At the press conference, the cardinal stressed the importance of preparations that will take place in parishes and dioceses ahead of the event. This catechesis must involve lay people as well as clergy, he said, reaching out especially to individuals and families who have grown away from the Church.
“As Pope Francis said we need to be a Church that goes out to the peripheries of society to those people who don’t listen to us at the present moment, to those families who have lost their way or who do not go to church any more”.
Also present at the press conference was the Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin who highlighted the complex combination of faith and secularization which characterizes his country today. He said the meeting will be a challenge for the archdiocese but also an opportunity to underline the importance of family life for Irish society as a whole.
Archbishop Martin said the Church must learn to accompany families and address the real day-to-day difficulties which he hears about from those in his own archdiocese:
” They’d be talking about work, leisure, homelessness, how to make ends meet, how government subsidies are being cut back, how they’d have sleepless nights worrying about their teenage children – these are the challenges they have to be supported in so that they can carry out this essential role in society and that people really give them the support and confidence to do that “.
Both leaders hope the meeting will not be a one-off event, but rather a chance for the whole Church to deepen its reflection on the Pope’s words in ‘ Amoris Laetitia ‘, seeing the family as a vital resource for sharing the message of God’s love with the world.
Neither of them would confirm the Pope’s presence at the Meeting next year, but they did share their hopes that he’ll be attending the event – a hope also expressed in the promotional video for the World Meeting of Families .
Please find below the full text of Pope Francis’ letter for the World Meeting of Families
To the Venerable Brother Cardinal KEVIN FARRELL, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life
            At the end of the Eighth World Meeting of Families, held in Philadelphia in September 2015, I announced that the subsequent meeting with Catholic families of the world would take place in Dublin. I now wish to initiate preparations, and am pleased to confirm that it will be held from 21 to 26 August 2018, on the theme “The Gospel of the Family: joy for the world”. Indeed, it is my wish for families to have a way of deepening their reflection and their sharing of the content of the post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia.
            One might ask: does the Gospel continue to be a joy for the world? And also: does the family continue to be good news for today’s world?
            I am sure the answer is yes! And this “yes” is firmly based on God’s plan. The love of God is His “yes” to all creation and at the heart of this latter is man. It is God’s “yes” to the union between man and woman, in openness and service to life in all its phases; it is God’s “yes” and His commitment to a humanity that is often wounded, mistreated and dominated by a lack of love. The family, therefore, is the “yes” of God as Love. Only starting from love can the family manifest, spread and regenerate God’s love in the world. Without love, we cannot live as children of God, as couples, parents and brothers.
            I wish to underline how important it is for families to ask themselves often if they live based on love, for love and in love. In practice, this means giving oneself, forgiving, not losing patience, anticipating the other, respecting. How much better family life would be if every day we lived according to the words, “please”, “thank you” and “I’m sorry”. Every day we have the experience of fragility and weakness, and therefore we all, families and pastors, are in need of renewed humility that forms the desire to form ourselves, to educate and be educated, to help and be helped, to accompany, discern and integrate all men of good will. I dream of an outbound Church, not a self-referential one, a Church that does not pass by far from man’s wounds, a merciful Church that proclaims the heart of the revelation of God as Love, which is Mercy. It is this very mercy that makes us new in love; and we know how much Christian families are a place of mercy and witnesses of mercy, and even more so after the extraordinary Jubilee. The Dublin meeting will be able to offer concrete signs of this.
            I therefore invite all the Church to keep these indications in mind in the pastoral preparation for the next World Meeting.
            You, dear Brother, along with your collaborators, have the task of translating in a special way the teaching of Amoris Laetitia, with which the Church wishes families always to be in step, in that inner pilgrimage that is the manifestation of authentic life.
            My thoughts go in a special way to the archdiocese of Dublin and to all the dear Irish nation for the generous welcome and commitment involved in hosting such an important event. May the Lord recompense you as of now, granting you abundant heavenly favours.
            May the Holy Family of Nazareth guide, accompany and bless your service, and all the families involved in the preparation of the great World Meeting in Dublin.
            From the Vatican, 25 March 2017
(from Vatican Radio)…