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Month: June 2017

Pope Francis: Address to Italo-Latin American Organization

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met Friday morning with representatives of the Italo-Latin American Organization , an institution dedicated to promoting development and coordination, as well as identifying possibilities for reciprocal assistance and for common action among the member countries.
The Holy Father’s address to the members of the organization focused precisely on three aspects of those goals: identifying potential, coordinating action, and moving forward.
Pope Francis noted that the countries of Latin America are “rich in history, culture, and natural resources; that their people are good, and committed to solidarity with others. Such values must be appreciated and strengthened. But, he said, in spite of these goods, the people of Latin America are experiencing an economic and social crisis that has led to increased poverty, unemployment, and social inequality, as well as abuse and exploitation of our common home. Any analysis of the situation must recognize the real needs and potentials of the people of these countries.
The second point, the Pope said, is “to coordinate efforts to offer concrete answers, to meet the demands and the necessities of the sons and daughters of our countries.” This does not mean leaving the work to others, and signaling our approval afterwards, he said, but requires time and effort on our part. He focused especially on the phenomenon of migration, which has grown steadily in recent years. In this area, the Pope said, we must not seek to place blame and avoid responsibility, but must rather work together in a coordinate manner.
Finally, among the many things that can be done, Pope Francis identified the promotion of a culture of dialogue as fundamentally important. Many countries, he said, are going through social, political, and economic crises; and it is the poor who are the first to note the corruption that exists between different social classes, and the “wicked” distribution of wealth. Dialogue, he said, is essential to facing these crises. But dialogue, the Pope said, must not be a “dialogue between the deaf.” Rather, “it requires a receptive attitude that welcomes suggestions and shares aspirations.”
Pope Francis concluded his remarks by encouraging the representatives of the Italo-Latin American Organization in their commitment to work “for the common good of the American continent”; and he expressed his hope that “collaboration among all can favour the construction of an ever more human and more just world.”
(from Vatican Radio)…

Peter and Paul: Pope highlights Christian persecution, prayer, confession

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis celebrated Mass in St Peter’s Square on Thursday to celebrated the feast of Saints Peter and Paul highlighting the plight of persecuted Christians, the importance of prayer and confessing the faith.
Listen to this report:

In a sunny St Peter’s Square on Thursday, Pope Francis was joined by new Cardinals and Metropolitan Archbishops created in the last year, as well as pilgrims and Romans alike, to celebrate the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Co-Patrons of the eternal city.
Following a blessing of the Pallium which will be placed on the 36 Metropolitan Archbishops in their own dioceses, the Pope in his homily focused his attention on three words, confession, persecution and prayer, which he said, “are essential for the life of an apostle.”
Beginning with the word confession, the Holy Father referred to the day’s readings in which Jesus asks  “Who do men say that the Son of man is?” Pope Francis explained that the Lord puts the decisive question to his disciples, saying  “But you, who do you say that I am?”
Today, Pope Francis went on to say, “Jesus puts this crucial question to us, to each of us, and particularly to those of us who are pastors, adding, It does not allow for a non-committal answer, because it brings into play our entire life.”
To confess the faith, the Holy Father said, “means this: to acknowledge in Jesus the long-awaited Messiah, the living God, the Lord of our lives.”
Speaking about the second word, persecution, the Pope noted how Peter and Paul shed their blood for Christ, He went on to say that,  “today too, in various parts of the world, sometimes in silence – often a complicit silence – great numbers of Christians are marginalized,… subjected to violence and even death, not infrequently without due intervention on the part of those who could defend their sacrosanct rights.”
Finally, reflecting on the third word, that of prayer, Pope Francis described it as “the water needed to nurture hope and increase fidelity.”
The Lord answers our prayers, he said,  “He is faithful to the love we have professed for him, and he stands beside us at times of trial.” 
(from Vatican Radio)…

Pope at Angelus prays for city and people of Rome

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Thursday prayed for the city and people of Rome, as he gave an Angelus address for the feast of the apostles Peter and Paul, patron saints of the Italian capital.
Listen to our report:
Speaking from his study window to the crowds gathered in St Peter’s Square, the Pope recalled how both of these two apostles suffered persecution and gave their lives in service to the first Christian communities.
The liturgical readings of the day, the Pope continued, remind us that even in the most difficult moments of persecution, the Lord remained close to Peter and Paul, just as he remains by our side today. Especially in our times of trial, he said, God holds out his hand and comes to help us, liberating us from the threats of our enemies.
Our real enemy, Pope Francis, said, is sin, but when we are reconciled with God, through the Sacrament of Confession, we are liberated from evil and the burden of sin is lifted from us.
The Pope welcomed especially the members of an Orthodox delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate, as well as the five new cardinals, who received their red hats at Wednesday’s consistory, and the Metropolitan Archbishops who were named over the past year.
Greeting visitors from across the globe, the Pope said he prayed especially for all the people of Rome as they celebrate their feast day through traditional flower and firework displays. May they live in peace, he said, witnessing to the Christian faith with the same fervor as the apostles Peter and Paul. 
(from Vatican Radio)…

Pope Francis: homily for feast of Saints Peter and Paul

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Thursday morning celebrated Mass in St Peter’s Square to mark the feast of Saints Peter and Paul.
In his homily the Pope focused on three words, confession, persecution and prayer, which he said are essential for the life of an apostle today.
Please see below the full text of Pope Francis’ homily at Mass for the solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul
The liturgy today offers us three words essential for the life of an apostle: confession, persecution and prayer.
Confession.  Peter makes his confession of faith in the Gospel, when the Lord’s question turns from the general to the specific.  At first, Jesus asks: “Who do men say that the Son of man is?” (Mt 16:13).  The results of this “survey” show that Jesus is widely considered a prophet.  Then the Master puts the decisive question to his disciples: “But you, who do you say that I am?” (v. 15).  At this point, Peter alone replies: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (v. 16).  To confess the faith means this: to acknowledge in Jesus the long-awaited Messiah, the living God, the Lord of our lives.
Today Jesus puts this crucial question to us, to each of us, and particularly to those of us who are pastors.  It is the decisive question.  It does not allow for a non-committal answer, because it brings into play our entire life.  The question of life demands a response of life.  For it counts little to know the articles of faith if we do not confess Jesus as the Lord of our lives.  Today he looks straight at us and asks, “Who am I for you?”  As if to say: “Am I still the Lord of your life, the longing of your heart, the reason for your hope, the source of your unfailing trust?”  Along with Saint Peter, we too renew today our life choice to be Jesus’ disciples and apostles.  May we too pass from Jesus’ first question to his second, so as to be “his own” not merely in words, but in our actions and our very lives. 
Let us ask ourselves if we are parlour Christians, who love to chat about how things are going in the Church and the world, or apostles on the go, who confess Jesus with their lives because they hold him in their hearts.  Those who confess Jesus know that they are not simply to offer opinions but to offer their very lives.  They know that they are not to believe half-heartedly but to “be on fire” with love.  They know that they cannot just “tread water” or take the easy way out, but have to risk putting out into the deep, daily renewing their self-offering.  Those who confess their faith in Jesus do as Peter and Paul did: they follow him to the end – not just part of the way, but to the very end.  They also follow the Lord along his way, not our own ways.  His way is that of new life, of joy and resurrection; it is also the way that passes through the cross and persecution.
Here, then, is the second word: persecution.  Peter and Paul shed their blood for Christ, but the early community as a whole also experienced persecution, as the Book of Acts has reminded us (cf. 12:1).  Today too, in various parts of the world, sometimes in silence – often a complicit silence – great numbers of Christians are marginalized, vilified, discriminated against, subjected to violence and even death, not infrequently without due intervention on the part of those who could defend their sacrosanct rights.
Here I would especially emphasize something that the Apostle Paul says before, in his words, “being poured out as a libation” (2 Tim 4:6).  For him, to live was Christ (cf. Phil 1:21), Christ crucified (cf. 1 Cor 2:2), who gave his life for him (cf. Gal 2:20).  As a faithful disciple, Paul thus followed the Master and offered his own life too.  Apart from the cross, there is no Christ, but apart from the cross, there can be no Christian either.  For “Christian virtue is not only a matter of doing good, but of tolerating evil as well” (Augustine, Serm. 46,13), even as Jesus did.  Tolerating evil does not have to do simply with patience and resignation; it means imitating Jesus, carrying our burden, shouldering it for his sake and that of others.  It means accepting the cross, pressing on in the confident knowledge that we are not alone: the crucified and risen Lord is at our side.  So, with Paul, we can say that “we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken” (2 Cor 4:8-9).
Tolerating evil means overcoming it with Jesus, and in Jesus’ own way, which is not the way of the world.  This is why Paul – as we heard – considered himself a victor about to receive his crown (cf. 2 Tim 4:8).  He writes: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (v. 7).  The essence of his “good fight” was living for: he lived not for himself, but for Jesus and for others.  He spent his life “running the race”, not holding back but giving his all.   He tells us that there is only one thing that he “kept”: not his health, but his faith, his confession of Christ.  Out of love, he experienced trials, humiliations and suffering, which are never to be sought but always accepted.  In the mystery of suffering offered up in love, in this mystery, embodied in our own day by so many of our brothers and sisters who are persecuted, impoverished and infirm, the saving power of Jesus’ cross shines forth. 
 The third word is prayer.  The life of an apostle, which flows from confession and becomes self-offering, is one of constant prayer.  Prayer is the water needed to nurture hope and increase fidelity.  Prayer makes us feel loved and it enables us to love in turn.  It makes us press forward in moments of darkness because it brings God’s light.  In the Church, it is prayer that sustains us and helps us to overcome difficulties.  We see this too in the first reading: “Peter was kept in prison; but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the Church” (Acts 12:5).  A Church that prays is watched over and cared for by the Lord.  When we pray, we entrust our lives to him and to his loving care.  Prayer is the power and strength that unite and sustain us, the remedy for the isolation and self-sufficiency that lead to spiritual death.  The Spirit of life does not breathe unless we pray; without prayer, the interior prisons that hold us captive cannot be unlocked.
May the blessed Apostles obtain for us a heart like theirs, wearied yet at peace, thanks to prayer.  Wearied, because constantly asking, knocking and interceding, weighed down by so many people and situations needing to be handed over to the Lord; yet also at peace, because the Holy Spirit brings consolation and strength when we pray.  How urgent it is for the Church to have teachers of prayer, but even more so for us to be men and women of prayer, whose entire life is prayer!
The Lord answers our prayers.  He is faithful to the love we have professed for him, and he stands beside us at times of trial.  He accompanied the journey of the Apostles, and he will do the same for you, dear brother Cardinals, gathered here in the charity of the Apostles who confessed their faith by the shedding of their blood.  He will remain close to you too, dear brother Archbishops who, in receiving the pallium, will be strengthened to spend your lives for the flock, imitating the Good Shepherd who bears you on his shoulders.  May the same Lord, who longs to see his flock gathered together, also bless and protect the Delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, together with my dear brother Bartholomew, who has sent them here as a sign of our apostolic communion. 
(from Vatican Radio)…

Pope Francis to new Cardinals: your mission is to serve

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis presided over an Ordinary Public Consistory for the Creation of Cardinals on Wednesday in St. Peter’s Basilica. The Holy Father created five new Cardinals – who are representative members of the Clergy of Rome, whose duties are to elect the Bishop of Rome, to advise the Pope, and to assist him in governing the universal Church.
Listen to the report by Chris Altieri:

The five new Cardinals are: Jean Zerbo , Archbishop of Bamako, Mali;  Juan José Omella , Archbishop of Barcelona, ​​Spain;  Anders Arborelius , Bishop of Stockholm, Sweden;  Luis Marie-Ling Mangkhanekhoun , Apostolic Vicar of Paksé, Laos;  Gregorio Rosa Chávez , Bishop of Mulli, Auxiliary of the Archdiocese of San Salvador, El Savador.
In his allocution on the occasion, the Holy Father focused on the mission of service to which the new Cardinals are called.
“[Jesus]  calls you to serve like him and with him,” Pope Francis said, “to serve the Father and your brothers and sisters.”
The Pope went on to say, “He calls you to face as he did the sin of the world and its effects on today’s humanity.” Pope Francis went on to offer an exhortation. “Follow him, and walk ahead of the holy people of God, with your gaze fixed on the Lord’s cross and resurrection.”
The Consistory took place on the eve of the great Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, martyrs and patrons of the Church of Rome.
(from Vatican Radio)…