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Day: June 9, 2017

Pope Francis to Scholas Occurrentes: ‘Education not only for elite’

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis on Friday evening inaugurated the new Vatican office of the Scholas Occurrentes Foundation, which promotes an interface of education, art and sport to create a “culture of encounter for peace”.
For the occasion, Pope Francis connected with young members of the group from 9 countries via a live feed. Those joining the Holy Father included students from Italy, Colombia, Haiti, Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Spain, and the United Arab Emirates.
Listen to Devin Watkins’ report:

Speaking to young people of the Scholas Occurrentes via a live video feed, Pope Francis warned against making education something only for the “elite”.
Elitism in education
“There is a great danger in the area of education for young people: that of elitism. Gradually, monetary support for education in some places is eroded and an elite is created which can afford to pay for education.”
The Pope said this attitude “excludes young boys and girls who have no education”.
Rather, he said, “Education is not about knowing things or taking lessons but about being able to use three lingos: those of the head, the heart, and the hands.”
He said this means “learning so that you can think about what you feel and do, can feel what you think and do, and can do what you feel and think. Unity within a person.”
Globalization like a polyhedron
Turning to the theme of globalization, Pope Francis said it is a good thing but that there is the danger of understanding it as “a billiard ball: A sphere in which every point is equidistant from the center and personal characteristics of a boy or girl are cancelled out. Either you conform to the system or you don’t exist!”
He said true globalization is like a polyhedron with many facets, where “we strive for unity but each person maintains their uniqueness and richness”.
In conclusion, the Pope told the young people that they have it within themselves to discover their own path, especially through solidarity with others.
“A life that is not shared with others: Do you know what purpose it serves? For the museum! And I don’t think any of you wants to end up in a museum!”
Scholas Occurrentes Foundation
Founded by Pope Francis on 13 August 2013, the Scholas Occurrentes Foundation is an international organization of Pontifical right whose primary objective is the promotion of a “culture of encounter for peace through education, technology, art, and sport”.
The new office inaugurated by the Pope on Friday evening is housed at the St. Callixtus Palace and will serve as the Foundation’s base for operations in Italy.
It is present in 190 countries with a network of nearly half a million schools of all religious confessions, as well as both public and private lay schools.
The movement got its start 20 years ago in Argentina when Jorge Mario Bergoglio – now Pope Francis – was Archbishop of Buenos Aires.
(from Vatican Radio)…

Pope Francis sends condolences to Tehran attack victims

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis on Friday sent his condolences for the victims of Wednesday’s terrorist attack in Tehran, Iran, saying he “laments this senseless and grave act of violence”.
The Holy Father’s words were conveyed in a telegramme sent by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State.
Along with his “heartfelt condolences to all those affected by the barbaric attack in Tehran”, the Pope “commends the souls of the deceased to the mercy of the Almighty”.
He also “assures the people of Iran of his prayers for peace”.
Please find below the original English version of the telegramme:
Telegram of the Holy Father
His Holiness Pope Francis sends his heartfelt condolences to all those affected by the barbaric attack in Tehran, and laments this senseless and grave act of violence. In expressing his sorrow for the victims and their families, His Holiness commends the souls of the deceased to the mercy of the Almighty, and he assures the people of Iran of his prayers for peace.
Cardinal Pietro Parolin
Secretary of State
(from Vatican Radio)…

Pope: In moments of darkness choose the path of prayer, patience and hope in God

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis on Friday urged Christians not to fall into the trap of vanity in moments of pain and sorrow but rather resort to prayer patience and hope in God.  Do not be misled by the “cosmetic beauty” of vanity, but let that “joy of God” enter your hearts, thanking the Lord for the “salvation” he grants us. Pope Francis made the exhortation in his homily at Mass Friday morning, in the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta residence in the Vatican.
Reflecting on the first reading from the Book of Tobit, the Pope went through the story of a father-in-law and a daughter-in-law: Tobit, the father of Tobiah who became blind, and Sarah, Tobiah’s wife, accused in the past of being responsible for the death of some men.  The Pope explained it’s a passage in which one understands how the Lord carries forward the “history” and “the life of persons, including ours”.  In fact, he said, Tobit and Sarah lived through “bad times” and “good times”, as “it happens in an entire life”.  Tobit was “persecuted,” “teased” and “insulted” by his wife, who after all, the Pope said, was not a bad woman, because she had to manage the house as he was blind. Even Sarah was insulted and suffered much.  Passing through some very bad times, both of them, the Holy Father said, thought “it’s better to die.”
“We’ve all been through bad times, though not as bad as this, but we know how its feels in times of darkness, in moments of pain, in times of difficulty, we know.  But then Sara thinks, ‘If I hang myself, I will make my parents suffer.’  So she stops and prays. And Tobit says, ‘But this is my life, let’s go ahead’ and he prays.  This is the attitude that saves us in bad times,– prayer. Patience – because both of them are patient with their pains. And hope – that God will listen to us and help us tide over these bad moments.  In moments of sadness, little or much, in moments of darkness, prayer, patience and hope. Do not forget this.”
There are also bright moments in their stories but the Pope stressed it is like a “happy ending” of a novel.
“After the test, the Lord comes close to them and saves them. But there are some beautiful and authentic moments, not with beautiful makeup that everything is artificial, all fireworks which is not the beauty of the soul. And what do both of them do in the beautiful moments? They thank God, broadening their hearts with prayers of thanksgiving.”
The Pontiff exhorted all to ask themselves whether in various phases of life we are able to discern what is happening in our soul, aware that the bad moments are “the crosses” and that one needs “to pray, to have patience and have at least a bit of hope.”  One must avoid falling into “vanity” because “the Lord is always there” beside us when we turn “to Him in prayer” and thank Him for the joy that He has given us.  Through discernment Sarah realized that she should not end up hanging herself; Tobit realized that he had to “wait, in prayer and in hope for the Lord’s salvation.” Pope Francis invited all to re-read these passages of the Bible:
“While reading this Book this weekend, let us ask for grace of discerning what happens in the bad times of our lives and how to go on and what happens in the beautiful moments and not be misled by vanity.”
(from Vatican Radio)…

Pope Francis: central role of women interfaith dialogue

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met on Friday with participants in the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, who have been discussing the key contribution of women to interfaith relations.
Listen to Philippa Hitchen’s report:

The Pope began by noting how often women’s work and dignity is threatened by violence and hatred which tears families and societies apart.
Faced with the challenges of our globalized world, he said, there is a vital need to recognize the abilities of women to teach values of unity and fraternity which can transform the human family.  
It is therefore to the benefit of society that women have a growing presence in social, political and economic life – as well as in the life of the Church – at national and international level, the Pope said. Women’s rights, he insisted, must be affirmed and protected, including, if necessary, through legal means.
In their role as educators in the family and beyond, the Pope continued, women have a particular vocation to foster innovative ways of welcoming and respecting others. Whether or not they are mothers, the contribution of women in the field of education is invaluable, he said.
Women and men, Pope Francis said, through their different roles and intuitions, are both called to the task of teaching fraternity and peace. Women, who are so intimately connected to the mystery of life, can contribute much through their care of life and their conviction that love is the only power able to make the world more habitable for each one of us.
Women, the Pope noted, are often the only ones to be found accompanying others, especially the weakest members of families or societies. Through their care of victims of conflict and all those facing the daily challenges of life, they teach us how to overcome our throwaway culture.
The Pope concluded by highlighting the importance of these values in the work of interreligious dialogue. In the so-called dialogue of life, where women are often more involved than men, they can help us better understand the challenges of our multicultural societies.
But beyond that, he stressed, many women are well prepared to contribute to the religious and theological discussions at the highest levels, alongside their male counterparts. It is more necessary than ever that they do so, he said, so that their skills of listening, welcoming, and openness to others can be of service in weaving the delicate fabric of dialogue between all men and women of good will. 
(from Vatican Radio)…