(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis greeted a delegation from the premier American football league’s Hall of Fame on Wednesday. Ahead of the weekly General Audience, the Pope received the delegation from the National Football League Hall of Fame. Below, please find the full text of the Holy Father’s remarks in their official English translation…
Greeting of His Holiness Pope Francis
to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
Wednesday, 21 June 2017
I am pleased to greet you, the members and directors of the American Pro Football Hall of Fame, and to welcome you to the Vatican. As many of you know, I am an avid follower of “football”, but where I come from, the game is played very differently!
I thank Mr. Anderson for his gracious words of introduction, which stressed the traditional values of sportsmanship that you seek to embody, both on the field and in your own lives, your families and your communities. Our world, and especially our young people, need models, persons who show us how to bring out the best in ourselves, to use our God-given gifts and talents, and, in so doing, to point the way to a better future for our societies.
Teamwork, fair play and the pursuit of personal excellence are the values – in the religious sense, we can say virtues – that have guided your own commitment on the field. Yet these same values are urgently needed off the field, on all levels of our life as a community. They are the values that help build a culture of encounter, in which we anticipate and meet the needs of our brothers and sisters, and combat the exaggerated individualism, indifference and injustice that hold us back from living as one human family. How greatly our world needs this culture of encounter!
Dear friends, I pray that your visit to the Eternal City will increase your gratitude for the many gifts you have received and inspire you to share them ever more generously in shaping a more fraternal world.
Upon you and your families I invoke God’s blessings of joy and peace.
God bless you all!
(from Vatican Radio)…
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis continued his catechesis on Christian hope at his Wednesday General Audience, reflecting on the Saints as witnesses and companions of Hope.
Please find below the official English-language summary:
Dear Brothers and Sisters: In our continuing catechesis on Christian hope, we now look to the saints, to “those who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith”. The Letter to the Hebrews speaks of the saints as “a great cloud of witnesses” who support us on our pilgrim way through this present life. In the sacraments of baptism, marriage and ordination, we pray the Litany of the Saints to implore their intercession and help in the particular vocation we have received. The lives of the saints remind us that the Christian ideal is not unattainable. Despite our human weakness, we can always count on God’s grace and the prayers of the saints to sustain us in faith and in hope for the transfiguration of this world and the fulfilment of Christ’s promises in the next. May the Lord enable all of us to become saints, to be living images of Christ in our time. May he strengthen us to be his witnesses and to bring the Gospel to all our brothers and sisters, especially the suffering and those most in need of its message of undying hope.
(from Vatican Radio)…
(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 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)…
(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)…