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Day: June 20, 2017

Pope Francis upholds legacy of two ‘inconvenient’ priests

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Tuesday travelled to two small towns in northern Italy to pay homage to two Italian parish priests of the past century who championed the poor and challenged powerful prelates to step outside their comfort zones. 
Arriving by helicopter in Lombardy town of Bozzolo to pray at the tomb of   Don Primo Mazzolari , Pope Francis was greeted by Cremona Bishop Antonio Napolioni who announced the process to beatify Mazzolari will start on September 18th.
Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni :

Don Mazzolari, who died in 1959, was the parish priest of Bozzolo. He was also  a scholar who wrote about St. Francis and Blessed John Henry Newman, an anti-fascist activist who opposed the Mussolini regime and an ardent champion of the poor. Sanctioned for a time by diocesan authorities, Mazzolari was a friend of Pope John XXIII and praised by the future Pope Paul VI. 
Pope Francis’ lengthy tribute to Mazzolari – whom he described as Italy’s parish priest – was above all a call to priests not to demand perfection from the faithful, but to encourage them to do their best and an exhortation to them to take the Gospel message into the peripheries in poverty and with simplicity, turning away from the temptations of clericalism and careerism.  
Francis  then flew to Barbiana, near Florence, to pray at the tomb of Don Lorenzo Milani , a man he has described as “a believer, enamored of the Church”  a “passionate educator” who used “original ways.” 
Milani, who died in 1967, is universally acknowledged for having been an optimum interpreter of modern and contemporary pedagogy, a priest attentive to formative methods for young people, and  especially alert to the needs of the poor and the rights of workers.
Milani , the Pope said, taught the importance of giving the poor the capacity to speak up for themselves, because “without the word, there’s no dignity and therefore no justice or freedom”.
A pilgrimage the Pope himself said was undertaken  in the footsteps of two parish priests whose legacy he described as “scomodo” which means challenging or inconvenient, but that has left a radiant  trace in their service to the Lord and to the people of God.
(from Vatican Radio)…

Pope’s condolence for the death of Cardinal Ivan Dias

Pope Francis has expressed his sadness at the death of Indian Cardinal Ivan Dias.  The 81 year old retired prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and former archbishop Emeritus of Bombay passed away on Monday in Rome.  Pope Francis sent a condolence message to the late cardinal’s brother Francis Dias, recalling his service to the Holy See, particularly his efforts in rebuilding the Church in Albania.
Please find below the full text of the Pope’s condolence message:
Deeply saddened to learn of the death of your dear brother, I offer heartfelt condolences to you and the Dias family.  I recall with gratitude the late Cardinal’s years of faithful service to the Apostolic See, especially his contribution to the spiritual and physical reconstruction of the suffering Church in Albania and the missionary zeal demonstrated in his work as Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.  I likewise unite my prayers to those of the faithful of the Archdiocese of Bombay, where the pastoral concern and broad apostolic vision that marked his service as Archbishop are fondly remembered.  In union of prayer with all who mourn his passing in the sure hope of the Resurrection, I commend the soul of this wise and gentle pastor to the merciful love of God our heavenly Father and cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of consolation and peace in the Lord.
(from Vatican Radio)…

Pope Francis pays tribute to "Italy’s parish priest"

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Tuesday made a pilgrimage to northern Italy to honor two 20th-century parish priests whose commitment to the poor and powerless challenged many faithful – inside and outside the Vatican – to step outside their comfort zones.
The Pope flew by helicopter to Bozzolo, near Cremona in the region of Lombardy, to pray at the tomb of Don Primo Mazzolari , parish priest of a small town, a scholar who wrote about St. Francis and Blessed John Henry Newman, he opposed the Mussolini regime and emphasized the importance of the poor. Sanctioned for a time by diocesan authorities, Father Mazzolari was a friend of Pope John XXIII and praised by the future Pope Paul VI. He died in 1959.
The Pope then travelled to Barbiana, near Florence to pay tribute to Don Lorenzo Milani, a wealthy convert to Catholicism who founded a parish school to educate the poor and workers. 
In Bozzolo, Francis stood in silent prayer before the simple tomb of Mazzolari, and then delivered a long tribute to the priest whom he described as “Italy’s parish priest.”
The Pope quoted Mazzolari’s writings about the need for the Church to accompany its flock and recalled his exhortation that a priest’s job isn’t to demand perfection from the faithful, but to encourage them to do their best. 
Quoting Mazzolari’s own words he said: “Let us have good sense! We don’t to massacre the backs of these poor people.”
He said the legacy of priests like Don Mazzolari is a bright one that challenges us to leave our comfort zones.
“Don Mazzolari tried to change the world without regrets for the past; he was not one who hung on to the Church of the past, but tried to change the Church through love and unconditional dedication” he said.
Pope Francis warned against those men of the Church who “do not want to soil their hands” and who “observe the world through a window”; he warned against those who engage in what he called “separatist activism” where one runs Catholic institutions like banks or businesses; and he spoke out against the temptation for spiritualism which dehumanizes and is devoted only to the apostolate.
Don Mazzolari, the Pope said, conceived the Church going forth into world in the firm belief that that is the only way to reach out to those who do not come to Church any more.
“He was rightly described as ‘the parish priest of those who are far’ because he always loved those on the peripheries and to them dedicated his mission.
Pope Francis concluded his speech with an exhortation to all priests to “listen to the world”, to “step into the dark areas without fear because it is amongst the people that God’s mercy is incarnate.”
He urged them to live in poverty and said that the credibility of the Gospel message is in the simplicity and poverty of the Church and he reminded them always to treasure the lesson of Don Mazzolari.
(from Vatican Radio)…

Pope prays at tomb of Don Milani in Italian town of Barbiana

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis on Tuesday visited and prayed at the tomb of Don Lorenzo Milani, an Italian priest and educator from the Diocese of Florence, and spoke to the faithful present for his visit in Barbiana.
Calling Don Milani a “priest who was as transparent and hard as a diamond”, Pope Francis reflected on his life and legacy as an educator in the northern Italian city of Barbiana from 1954 until 1967.
The Pope said he wished to pray at his tomb “in order to pay homage to the memory of a priest who witnessed to how, in the gift of self to Christ, we discover our brothers and sisters in their moment of need, and we serve them”.
He told the people of Barbiana that they were “witnesses to his passion as an educator and his desire to reawaken the human aspect in persons in order to open them to the divine.”
The Holy Father said education for Don Milani was the concrete expression of his priesthood.
“[He sought] to give back the word to poor people, because without language there is neither dignity nor freedom and justice.”
Pope Francis went on to thank all educators for their “service towards promoting the growth of new generations, especially those who find themselves in uncomfortable situations.”
He said Don Milani’s educative drive was born of his priesthood, which in turn was born of his faith. “His was a totalizing faith, which allowed him to give himself completely to the Lord”.
Turning to the priests present, Pope Francis invited them to be “men of faith” and to “love the Church and make her loved by showing her to be a mother for all, especially for the poorest and most fragile”.
(from Vatican Radio)…

Pope Francis opens annual Diocese of Rome pastoral conference

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis made his second visit to Rome’s Cathedral, St. John Lateran, in as many days on Monday evening to open the Diocese of Rome’s annual pastoral conference.
Ahead of his visit, the Holy Father met with a group of refugees who have been hosted by some of the thirty-eight Roman parishes and religious communities who responded to his 2015 appeal that parishes to do their part by hosting those persons fleeing war and poverty.
Listen to Linda Bordoni’s report:

Pope Francis opened Rome’s annual diocesan meeting on Monday evening with a reflection on how to accompany parents in educating their adolescent children.
Offering several “assumptions” for this aspect of pastoral care, the Bishop of Rome invited the city’s pastors to think in the Roman dialect, that is, with the faces of their flocks fixed in their minds.
“Family life and the education of adolescents in a big metropolis like this requires particular attention,” he said. “The complexity of the capital does not admit of reductive syntheses, but stimulates us to think in the form of a polyhedron, in which every neighborhood finds its own echo in the diocese”.
Pope Francis then reflected on the modern experience of being “uprooted”.
He said “an uprooted society or uprooted family is a family without a history, memory, or roots… For this reason one of the first things we must think about is how to provide roots and relationships and how to promote a vital network that allows them to feel at home.”
The Pope said the adolescent experience is one of tension and transition between childhood and adulthood.
He called this a precious and difficult time in which the whole family is called to grow.
And he invited the Roman pastors not to treat adolescence as a “pathology to be medicated”; rather, he called it “a normal part of growth,” since “where there is life there is movement and change”.
The Holy Father said this offered parents a unique opportunity to stimulate young people by involving them in projects that challenge them to reach their full potential.
In conclusion, Pope Francis said one of the greatest threats to the education of teenagers is the idea of “eternal youth”.
He said when adults want to stay young and young people want to be adults there is a hidden risk of leaving teenagers out of their own growth processes, because parents have taken their place.
This, the Pope said, deprives teenagers of an experience of confrontation necessary for growth into adulthood.
(from Vatican Radio)…