Pope Francis prays for persecuted Christian communities

(Vatican Radio) On Easter Monday Pope Francis greeted pilgrims and visitors gathered in St Peter’s Square, praying especially for Christians who are persecuted for their faith.

Speaking from the window of the Apostolic Palace before the recitation of the Regina Coeli midday prayer, the Pope said the day’s liturgy echoes the great cry of Easter Sunday, ‘Christ is Risen, Hallelujah!’

Listen to our report:

We hear the words of the angel to the women at the tomb, saying ‘Go quickly and tell his disciples, he has been raised from the dead.”

Those words are directed at us too, the Pope said, inviting us to go quickly and proclaim this message of joy and hope to the women and men of our day. The message that death and the tomb have not had the last word, but that Christ is Risen, bringing new life to all.

Solidarity and welcome

In light of this event, Pope Francis said, we are called to be men and women who affirm the value of life. In the midst of so much suffering in the world, he said, we will be Resurrection people if we know how to offer gestures of solidarity and welcome, strengthening the desire for peace and for a world which is free from degradation.

Transformed by the Spirit

Those ordinary, human gestures, sustained by faith in the Risen Lord, the Pope said, will be transformed by the Spirit and take on new strength to reach into every heart, freeing us from wretchedness and bringing hope to the suffering and oppressed.

Corageous witness of faith

May Mary, a silent witness to the death and Resurrection of her son Jesus, help us to be signs of the Risen Christ in the world, the Pope said. He concluded by praying in a special way for all those Christian communities that are persecuted and oppressed in different parts of the world today, saying they are called to give a particularly difficult and courageous witness to the Easter message.

(from Vatican Radio)

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Stars Go Dim – You Are Loved [Official Music Video]

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Pope Easter Sunday Mass: Hold fast to faith

(Vatican Radio) On Easter Sunday morning Pope Francis presided over Mass in St Peter’s Square festooned for the occasion with colourful tulips from Holland.

Breaking with tradition the Pope gave an off the cuff homily encouraging Christians to keep the faith despite the wars, sickness and hatred in the world.

“The Church never ceases to say, faced with our defeats, our closed and fearful hearts, `stop, the Lord is risen.’ But if the Lord is risen, how come these things happen?”

He went on to say “Nobody asks us: `But, are you happy with all that’s happening in the world?’ Are you willing to go forward’,” carrying a cross, as Jesus did?

The Pope also noted in his impromptu homily that ” in this culture of waste what is not needed is thrown away, discarded, that stone – Jesus – is discarded and is the source of life.

And we too, pebbles on the ground, in this land of pain, tragedy, with faith in the Risen Christ we have a wisdom in the midst of many calamities.

The wisdom to look beyond and say, “look there is no wall; there is a horizon, there is life, there is joy, there is the cross amidst this ambivalence. Look ahead, do not close in on yourself”.

(from Vatican Radio)

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Good News in History, April 16

  Today, families and individuals across the world celebrate Easter, the religious holiday honoring Jesus’s resurrection, and marking the coming of Spring. Like the dead of winter is transformed every year, let us celebrate rebirth in our own way — every day — by trying to find the good that is waiting to blossom forth in any

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Finding Favour – Tiny Town (Official Music Video)

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Directed by Dustbrand Films. Music Produced by Casey Brown. Mixed by Sean Moffitt. Mastered by Bob Boyd. Written by Blake NeeSmith, Casey Brown and Sam Tinnesz. From the album REBORN available now. ©2015 Gotee Records.


Pope Francis: remarks at Good Friday Via crucis

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis presided over the Via crucis at the Colosseum in Rome on the evening of Good Friday. In keeping with tradition, he briefly addressed the faithful gathered to participate in the devotion. Below, please find our English translation of his remarks.


O Christ! Abandoned and betrayed even by your own and sold for next to nothing.

O Christ! Judged by sinners, handed over by those in Authority.

O Christ! Suffering in the flesh, crowned with thorns and clothed in purple.

O Christ! Beaten and nailed in excruciating pain to the Cross.

O Christ! Pierced by the lance that broke your heart.

O Christ! Dead and buried, you who are the God of life and existence.

O Christ! Our only Saviour, we return to you this year with eyes lowered in shame and hearts filled with hope:

Shame for all the images of devastation, destruction and wreckage that have become a normal part of our lives;

Shame for the innocent blood shed daily by women, children, migrants and people persecuted because of the colour of their skin or their ethnic and social diversity or because of their faith in You;

Shame for the too many times that, like Judas and Peter, we have sold you and betrayed you and left you alone to die for our sins, fleeing like cowards from our responsibilities;

Shame for our silence before injustices; for our hands that have been lazy in giving and greedy in grabbing and conquering; for the shrill voices we use to defend our own interests and the timid ones we use to speak out for other’s; for our feet that are quick to follow the path of evil and paralyzed when it comes to following the path of good;

Shame for all the times that we Bishops, priests, consecrated men and women have caused scandal and pain to your body, the Church; for having forgotten our first love, our initial enthusiasm and total availability, leaving our hearts and our consecration to rust.

So much shame Lord, but our hearts also feel nostalgia for the confident hope that you will not treat us according to our merits but solely according to the abundance of Your mercy; that our betrayals do not diminish the immensity of your love; your maternal and paternal heart does not forget us because of the hardness of our own;

The certain hope that our names are etched in your heart and that we are reflected in the pupils of your eyes; the hope that your Cross may transform our hardened hearts into hearts of flesh that are able to dream, to forgive and to love; that it may transform this dark night of your cross into the brilliant dawn of your Resurrection;

The hope that your faithfulness is not based on our own;

The hope that the many men and women who are faithful to your Cross may continue to live in fidelity like yeast that gives flavour and like light that reveals new horizons in the body of our wounded humanity;

The hope that your Church will try to be the voice that cries in the wilderness for humanity, preparing the way for your triumphant return, when you will come to judge the living and the dead;

The hope that good will be victorious despite its apparent defeat!

O Lord Jesus! Son of God, innocent victim of our ransom, before your royal banner, before the mystery of your death and glory, before your scaffold, we kneel in shame and with hope and we ask that you bathe us in the blood and water that flowed from your lacerated heart; to forgive our sins and our guilt;

We ask you to remember our brethren destroyed by violence, indifference and war;

We ask you to break the chains that keep us imprisoned in our selfishness, our wilful blindness and in the vanity of our worldly calculations.

O Christ! We ask you to teach us never to be ashamed of your Cross, not to exploit it but to honour and worship it, because with it You have shown us the horror of our sins, the greatness of your love, the injustice of our decisions and the power of your mercy. Amen.

(from Vatican Radio)

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Good News in History, April 15

  On this day, 70 years ago, Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier becoming the first black player on any Major League Baseball team. Years before the Civil Rights Movement gained prominence in the news, Robinson debuted at first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers. His talent earned him the Most Valuable

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What Happens When I Die?

Life after death is part of God’s plan of happiness.


Pope urges faithful to help and serve each other

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Holy Thursday washed the feet of inmates at Paliano prison, south of Rome, during the Mass of Our Lord’s Supper.

The Pope traveled to the penitentiary for a private visit and the celebration of Mass marking Jesus’ Last Supper with his disciples on the day before his Crucifixion.

Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni:

In his off-the-cuff homily Pope Francis invited those present – and all Christians –  to serve the other.

“The disciples, the Pope said, used to argue about who was the most important amongst them”.

“He who feels or thinks he is important, he continued, must become small and be a servant to the others. That is what God – who loves us as we are – does every day”.

The center hosts some 70 inmates, and amongst those whose feet the Pope washed, there are 10 Italians, 1 Argentinean and 1 Albanian. Amongst them 3 are women and 1 is a Muslim who will receive the Sacrament of Baptism in the coming month of June.

The Paliano detention center is the only such institute in Italy reserved in particular for former members of criminal gangs who collaborate with police and the judiciary. 

Vocational training is part of the programmes in place for the inmates at Paliano and courses include pottery, bakery, carpentry, farming and bee-keeping. That’s why the inmates gifts for Pope Francis include baskets of fresh farm produce, eggs, honey and a wooden crucifix.  

Pope Francis began the tradition of travelling to a prison for the traditional Last Supper Mass in March 2013, just a few days after the inauguration of his pontificate. On that occasion he travelled to Rome’s Casal del Marmo youth detention centre where he included, for the first time, women and Muslims among the inmates whose feet he washed.

The following year, he celebrated the Last Supper Mass at Rome’s Don Gnocchi centre for the disabled, again including women among those who had their feet washed in memory of Jesus’ gesture of humility and service.

In 2015 Pope Francis travelled to Rome’s Rebibbia prison for the Holy Thursday celebration, while last year he washed the feet of refugees, including Muslims, Hindus and Coptic Orthodox men and women at a centre for asylum seekers in Castelnuovo di Porto, just north of Rome.

(from Vatican Radio)

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