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Day: September 22, 2017

Pope Francis makes surprise visit to Rome neuro rehab centre

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Friday made a surprise visit to a Rome rehabilitation centre for patients with neurological diseases.
A statement from the Holy See press office said the afternoon visit was a continuation of the ‘Fridays of Mercy’ initiative that he inaugurated during the recent Jubilee Year to encourage practical gestures of solidarity with those most in need.
The Santa Lucia Foundation, located to the south of Rome’s city centre, is well known for its quality care of patients affected by physical or mental disabilities resulting from strokes, bone marrow diseases, Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis.
Pope Francis was welcomed by the director and staff of the centre, as well as by the patients and their family members. The Holy Father spent time talking and laughing with many of the young children, watching with particular interest as he was shown some of the exercises which help them to regain their mobility.
He also met with older patients, aged between 15 and 25, many of whom suffer from severe disabilities as a result of car accidents. Before leaving the centre, the pope visited a gym providing rehabilitation for the elderly and then spent a few minutes in prayer in a chapel located on the premises.
(from Vatican Radio)…

Vatican to set up joint committee with Muslim World League

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has held talks with Dr. Muhammad Al-Issa, Secretary General of the Muslim World League , accompanied by a delegation.
The meeting came during an informal encounter on Wednesday between the World Muslim League delegation and the president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue , Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran.
Combat fundamentalism
A statement from the Pontifical Council said that the two sides reaffirmed the following points: that religion and violence are incompatible; that religions have moral resources capable of contributing to fraternity and peace; that the phenomenon of fundamentalism, in particular when violent, is troubling and joint efforts are required to counter it.
Protect religious freedom
In addition, the statement said, situations exist where freedom of conscience and of religion are not entirely respected and protected, so there is an urgent need to remedy this, renewing “religious discourse” and reviewing school books.
In conclusion, the statement said both sides agreed to establish a joint permanent committee in the near future.
(from Vatican Radio)…

Pope Francis meets Peru’s President ahead of papal visit

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met on Friday with the President of the Republic of Peru, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski Godard, who is preparing to welcome the Holy Father to the South American nation from January 18th to 21st.
A note from the Vatican press office said the two leaders discussed the good relations between Peru and the Holy See, which will be further strengthened by the pope’s upcoming visit to the cities of Lima, Puerto Maldonado and Trujillo.
Education, environment, developmen t
During the cordial discussions, the pope and the president also spoke about the contribution that the Church makes to Peruvian society, including in areas of education, environmental protection, development and poverty eradication.
Following the papal audience, the president also met with Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, as well as the undersecretary for Relations with States, Mgr. Antoine Camilleri to discuss issues of regional and international concern.
(from Vatican Radio)…

Pope to EU Churches: Combat intolerance against migrants

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Friday urged Churches in Europe to step up efforts to combat intolerance, discrimination and xenophobia against migrants and refugees.
The pope’s words came in a meeting with national migration directors under the auspices of the Council of European Bishops Conferences or CCEE. He said he was saddened to see that Catholic communities in Europe were also defensive and unwelcoming towards migrants, justifying their attitudes on grounds of conserving their cultural and religious identity.

Pope Francis said we must recognize and understand this sense of unease, in light of the economic crisis which has left deep wounds in society. Furthermore, he said, governments and communities have been ill prepared to cope with large influxes of migrants, highlighting the limits of the European unification process.
Churches become more ‘catholic’
But from an ecclesiological perspective , the pope said, the arrival of so many Christian brothers and sisters offers the Church in Europe an opportunity to become ever more ‘catholic’. He noted how many migrants and refugees have already enriched parishes in their host countries.
Ecumenical and interreligious dialogue
From a missionary perspective , he said, ministering to migrants offers new frontiers to announce the Gospel and to witness to our Christian faith, while showing profound respect for other faith traditions. These encounters are fertile ground for developing sincere ecumenical and interreligious relations, he said.
Welcome, protect, promote, integrate
Pope Francis also noted that in his message for next year’s World Day of Migrants and Refugees , he speaks in detail about the need to welcome, protect, promote and integrate all people on the move.  On the basis of these four verbs, he said, the Vatican office for migrants and refugees has published a 20 point action plan for local Churches seeking to promote best practices.
Constructive dialogue with governments
This action plan, he added, should be shared with all  European bishops conferences, helping to promote constructive dialogue with governments ahead of the Global Compact for Migration , due to be draw up and approved at a United Nations conference in 2018.
(from Vatican Radio)…