Tag - Francis

Pope Francis at Angelus: embrace the logic of God’s Kingdom



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis prayed the Angelus with pilgrims and tourists gathered in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday – the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time – focusing his remarks ahead of the traditional prayer of Marian devotion on the Parable of the Landowner and the Wage-earners, proclaimed as the Gospel reading of the day (Mt. 20:1-16).

The Gospel at a glance

In that story, Jesus likens the Kingdom of God to a landowner, who hires day-labourers in the early morning, and again at successive hours of the day, at the end of which he instructs his paymaster to give the full day’s wage to all the workers, beginning with those hired at the 11th hour.

The labourers of the first hour complain of this treatment, to which the Landowner replies, “I am not cheating you. Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what is yours and go. What if I wish to give this last one the same as you? Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? Are you envious because I am generous?”

Jesus then explains the lesson, “Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

Pope Francis reflects

Reflecting on the passage, Pope Francis said, “In reality, the ‘injustice’ of the Landowner serves to provoke, in those who hear the parable, an increase in understanding (It. salto di livello), because Jesus does not want to speak of the problem of labour and of just wages, but of the Kingdom of God.”

The Holy Father went on to say, “The message is this: in the Kingdom of God there are no idle hands, all are called to do their part; and for all, at the end, the recompense shall be what comes from divine justice – not human justice, happily – i.e. the salvation that Jesus Christ has acquired with His death and resurrection. This is a salvation that is not merited, but given, for which, ‘The last shall be first, and the first shall be last’.”

Click below to hear our report



(from Vatican Radio)



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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)



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Pope Francis to the Missionaries of Sacred Heart: “Return to your first and only love”



(Vatican Radio)  “Show by your lives and by your works the passionate and tender love of God for the little ones, the underprivileged, the vulnerable and those whom our world has discarded.”  This was Pope Francis’ exhortation to the  General Chapter delegates of the Society of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart on Saturday here in the Vatican. 

In his remarks to the participants of the three week General Chapter who are  exploring the theme, “you have kept the good wine until now,” Pope Francis encouraged to return to their first and only love. The Holy Father went on to say,  “Keep your gaze fixed on Jesus Christ and learn from him how to love with a truly human heart, to care for the lost and hurting members of his flock, to work for justice and show solidarity with the weak and the poor.”

The Society of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (MSC) is an international community of religious priests and brothers who work to share the message of God’s love in the ever-changing social climate of our world. The Missionaries of the Sacred Heart minister in more than 50 countries worldwide, with over 1,700 MSCs carrying on the legacy of their founder, Fr Jules Chevalier.

The full text of Pope Francis’ address to the General Chapter members is here below:

Dear Brothers,

          I offer you a warm welcome on the occasion of your General Chapter, and I thank the Superior General for his kind words.  You have met to reflect on the life of your Congregation, and to pray and to discern together the paths that the Lord is pointing out to you.  In this way you will be able to give renewed fruitfulness and effective expression to the charism that the Holy Spirit bestowed on the Church through your founder, Father Jean Jules Chevalier.

          The motto you chose to guide the entire Institute in preparing for this Chapter is particularly significant: “You have kept the good wine until now” (Jn 2:10).  You have looked back with gratitude on the cherished legacy of projects and apostolic works that your charism has brought forth in the Institute’s life in these past one hundred and fifty years, thanks to the fidelity of your confreres who preceded you.  At the same time, you are fully aware of its continuing potential to benefit the Church and the world.  By listening to what the Spirit says to the Church today, and by your openness to the questions and concerns of our fellow men and women, you will be able to discover in your authentic charism the wellspring of renewed strength, courageous decisions and creative expressions of the mission you have received.  The changed situation of our world with respect to the past, and the new challenges it presents to the Church’s mission of evangelization, demand and give rise to new ways of offering the “good wine” of the Gospel to many people as a source of joy and hope.

          The original inspiration of your founder was that of spreading devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  Today you strive to foster this devotion and to make it bear fruit through a variety of works and activities that witness to the tender and merciful love of Jesus for all, especially those in greatest need.  For this reason, I encourage you, as I do so often with consecrated persons – “to return to your first and only love”.  Keep your gaze fixed on Jesus Christ and learn from him how to love with a truly human heart, to care for the lost and hurting members of his flock, to work for justice and show solidarity with the weak and the poor.  Learn from him to give hope and dignity to the destitute, and to go forth to all those places where people are in need of acceptance and assistance.  This is the first Gospel that the Church entrusts to you by sending you out as missionaries to the world: to show by your lives and by your works the passionate and tender love of God for the little ones, the underprivileged, the vulnerable and those whom our world has discarded. 

          Although your Institute, like many others, has seen a decrease in numbers in these past decades, the growth of vocations in South America, Oceania and Asia has proved comforting and offers hope for the present and the future.  So too the Christian formation of young people, yet another expression of your charism, will be ensured and increased by the works of the Institute.  How urgent it is today to educate and assist new generations to appropriate authentic human values and to cultivate an evangelical vision of life and history!  Many people consider this a true “educational emergency”; surely, it is one of the frontiers of the Church’s mission of evangelization, towards which the entire Christian community is invited to set out.  In continuity with the achievements and undertakings of those who have gone before you, I encourage you to undertake new initiatives also in this specific area of your apostolate.

          The Congregation of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart continues to count among its many members a good number of religious brothers.  In a Congregation religious brothers are a grace from the Lord.  I ask you not to yield to the temptation of clericalism that, as I have often remarked, alienates people, especially the young, from the Church.  May your common life be marked by true fraternity, which welcomes diversity and values the gifts of all.  Do not hesitate to continue and expand your communion with the laypersons who participate in your apostolate.  Let them share in your ideals and projects, and in the rich spirituality arising from your Institute’s charism.  With them, and with the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, you will form an ever greater and stronger “charismatic family”, one that will better demonstrate the vitality and relevance of your founder’s charism.

          May the Virgin Mary, whom you invoke under the title of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, keep you ever close to her Son, ready to do whatever he tells you, and may she protect you with her maternal intercession.  I accompany you, and all your communities with my blessing, and I ask you, please, not to forget to pray for me.  Thank you.

(from Vatican Radio)



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Pope Francis moved by meeting with rescued Indian priest



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday met privately in the Vatican with the Indian Catholic priest who was freed from abduction by gunmen in Yemen.

The Vatican’s newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, reported on the Pope’s meeting with Salesian Father Tom Uzhunnalil at the papal residence of Santa Marta, after his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square. 

After being rescued on Tuesday, the 57-year old missionary was flown to the Omani capital, Muscat, and then to Rome, where he is recuperating in a Salesian community. He will return to India after a short stay in Rome.

‘Pope visibly moved’

Upon meeting the Pope, Fr. Uzhunnalil went down on his knees kissing the feet of the Holy Father in profound reverence.  The Pope lifted Father Tom to his feet and kissed his hands.  Pope Francis embraced and encouraged the Indian missionary assuring him of his continued prayers, just as he had done during Fr. Tom’s captivity.  L’Osservatore Romano said the Pope, “visibly moved, blessed him.”  Among several photos circulating the social media, one showed Pope Francis kissing the hand of Fr. Uzhunnalil.

Born in Ramapuram, in southern India’s Kerala state, Father Uzhunnalil belongs to the Bangalore Salesian province. He ‎was abducted on March ‎‎4, 2016 when four unidentified gunmen attacked a care home in Yemen’s ‎southern port city of Aden, ‎killing 16 people, including four Missionaries of Charity sisters of Mother ‎Teresa. The 57-year old priest had been working for more than four years as a chaplain at the care home. ‎

Interior prayer

Fr. Uzhunnallil thanked the Pontiff saying he “prayed for him every day, offering his suffering for his mission and for the good of the Church.”  The Pope was touched by his words, the L’Osservatore Romano reported. The Salesian priest also said he was “unable to celebrate the Eucharist,” but would recite “in my heart all the prayers of the Mass.” 

The Indian priest assured the Pope he would continue praying for all who had been close to him spiritually. He particularly recalled the four Missionaries of Charity sisters of Mother Teresa and twelve people killed during the attack last year.

Fr. Uzhunnallil was particularly grateful to the government of Oman for obtaining his release. The Holy See, in a communique, has already expressed its gratitude to all those in obtaining his release, especially the Sultan of Oman, Qaboos, and competent authorities of the sultanate. 

Jesus is great and loves us’

Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay, who is in the Vatican for the ‘C9’ Council of Cardinals meeting, accompanied the Salesian priest to the Pope. “After this terrible experience, the essential message that Fr. Tom gives is that Jesus is great and loves us,”  Cardinal Gracias told L’Osservatore Romano.  Fr. Uzhunnalil agreed with him saying, “Really, every day, I felt Jesus close to me.  I always knew and felt in my heart that I was not alone.” 

L’Osservatore Romano said that Fr. Uzhunnalil will be in Rome in a Salesian community for some time to undergo some medical check-ups. Cardinal Gracias said that the priest was in “good” health, adding that during his 18-month captivity he did not have any particular problem and was treated well.  

Fr. Uzhunnalil was born and brought up in a devout Catholic family. His uncle Matthew, who died in 2015, was also a Salesian priest, and founded the mission in Yemen, where he served. 

(from Vatican Radio)



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Pope Francis at Audience: English-language summary



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis dedicated his General Audience on Wednesday to a reflection on his Aposotolic Visit to Colombia, which concluded on Sunday.

He prayed, “through the prayers of Our Lady of Chiquinquirá, Patroness of Columbia,” that the nation might “continue to progress in the way of peace in love, justice and truth.”

Below, please find the official English-language summary of Pope Francis’ remarks at the General Audience for Wednesday, 13 September 2017:

Dear Brothers and Sisters: My recent Pastoral Visit to Colombia, in the footsteps of Popes Paul VI and John Paul II, sought to encourage the process of reconciliation in that country following a half century of conflict and division. Its motto – Let us Take the First Step – was also an appeal to the nation to discover in its deep Christian roots the spiritual resources needed to advance the work of healing and rebuilding. In Bogotá, I was warmly welcomed, especially by the young, who are the future of the country. The Beatification of two martyrs and the reconciliation service celebrated in Villavicencio were particularly moving. In Medellín, the emphasis was on Christian discipleship and mission, exemplified in the help given to youth through the Hogares group homes and in the faces of the many young men and women who are responding to Jesus’ call to the priesthood and the consecrated life. In Cartagena, the example of Saints Peter Claver and Maria Bernarda Bütler reaffirmed our evangelical commitment to human promotion and the defence of human rights. Through the prayers of Our Lady of Chiquinquirá, Patroness of Columbia, may the nation continue to progress in the way of peace in love, justice and truth.

 

(from Vatican Radio)



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Pope Francis challenges Colombians to build peaceful future



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has concluded his visit to Colombia where he spent five days meeting victims of the country’s civil war and urging all people to work together for peace and national reconciliation.

But as the spotlight fades and organisers dismantle the Mass venues, what effect will the pope’s words have on the politicians, religious leaders and Colombians from all walks of life who flocked to see and hear him speak in Cartagena, Medellin, Villavicencio and the capital, Bogotà?

Our correspondent in Bogotà, Linda Bordoni, put that question to Beatrice Canal, a professional translator and mother of two grown up children, who shares her own reactions to the papal visit.

Listen: 

Beatrice says she was “pleasantly surprised” and deeply moved to see so many people welcoming the pope “with happiness in their eyes”.

The visit, she says, “has brought us together” and “touched the hearts of every Colombian” who had the chance to see him at the main events or simply line the streets as he drove by.

Colombians very touched by visit

She says she was happy to see that the trip was “completely unpolitical”, but as an overwhelmingly Catholic nation (over 80 percent of the population) “we were very touched by the visit”.

In particular, Beatrice says, Colombians are “all very happy that he is the first Latin American pope and “we see him as one of our own”.

Desire to reach out to others

Asked what impact the papal visit may have on the future of her country, Beatrice notes the pope spoke extensively “about peace and reaching out to others”. She adds: “I hope he leaves behind the desire in every Colombian to again feel and share that brotherly and fraternal love he’s been speaking so much about”.

People want to live in peace

While she acknowledges that the implementation of the peace agreements remains fraught with difficulties, Beatrice insists that “every Colombian is hopeful to live in a country in peace”.

Learn to accept former insurgents

She notes that her own children, aged 30 and 35, have never lived in a country in peace, and that she was “a little girl when the violence broke out”. She says: “I know that the signing of a paper does not translate immediately into peace, now comes the most difficult part where every Colombian has to chip into the process and to open our hearts and be accepting of the former insurgents”.

Victims need to live without fear

Also the victims, she concludes, need to “find a place in their heart to want to forgive” and to be able to live, free of the fear that has caused so much suffering for those living the countryside. 

(from Vatican Radio)



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Pope Francis and the C9: Interview with Council Secretary



(Vatican Radio) The Council of Cardinal Advisors – the so-called C-9 – is holding its 29th Reunion this week, with meetings set to take place in the Vatican from 11-13 September. The Council, established by Pope Francis on 28 September 2013, was created to assist the Holy Father in the governance of the universal Church, and to study the project of revision of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus, which regulates the Roman Curia.

The group consists of nine Cardinals from the Vatican and around the world, as well as a Secretary, Bishop Marcello Semeraro. In an exclusive interview with Vatican Radio’s Alessandro Gisotti, Bishop Semeraro spoke about the work of the C-9, how Pope Francis participates in the group’s activities, and the next phase of the ongoing reform of the Curia.

WORK OF THE COUNCIL

Bishop Semeraro described the work of the Council of Cardinals with three key words: listening, reflecting, and verifying. The Council, he said, listens to the contributions of the Church; reflects on those contributions, and looks into the details of them, considering the best way of going forward. It then makes proposals to the Pope; as Bishop Semeraro explained, the Council has a consultative, rather than a deliberative role.

The Council, he said, is a synodal structure, and in this sense the Cardinals are able to serve both the Pope and the local Churches. Pope Francis chose them precisely in order that they might be, “in some sense ‘sensitive antennae’ that are capable of capturing, somehow, the instances of the local Churches over a broad range.” As such, it is an organism that is situated within the context of episcopal collegiality.

POPE FRANCIS’ PARTICIPATION

The Pope himself takes part in the Council’s work, habitually being present in the meetings of the Cardinals. Bishop Semeraro said the Pope is present above all through listening, although he does intervene, “with great discretion,” when there is need of clarifying some point, or presenting his own experiences or calling attention to certain realities within the Church. The Bishop emphasized that the reform of the Curia is only one aspect of the Council’s work; it’s principle duty is to collaborate with the Pope, and to give him advice or share their opinions “when [the Pope] considers it necessary to make this consultation.” He gave the example “the sorrowful reality which is the abuse of minors” which the Council has brought to the Pope’s attention. “This, of itself, is not part of the reform of the Roman Curia,” he said, “and yet the Pope decided to listen to the Council” even with regard to this issue.

PROGRESS OF REFORM

Asked about the progress of the reform, Bishop Semeraro said the reform is more than three quarters done, at least with regard to the work of the Cardinals. That is, he said, it is almost to the point where the Cardinals are able to present their proposals to the Holy Father. “I think that within a few months this revision will be more or less complete,” he said, and “then the Pope will have at his disposition the proposals that regard all the Dicasteries and I would expect him to decide how and when to actuate them.” He noted that Pope Francis has preferred, up to this point, a more gradual reform, with a kind of “breaking-in” period, which allows for corrections that are inevitably called for as the reform moves from theory to practical reality. 

(from Vatican Radio)



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Pope Francis takes his first steps in Colombia



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has arrived in Colombia. The papal plane touched down in the military area of Bogotà’s airport just after 4pm local time, where a large delegation of Church and State authorities – including President Santos – welcomed him as he stepped onto the tarmac.

Our correspondent Linda Bordoni is in Bogotà and sent this report:



A crowd of eager Colombian faithful was also there waving flags, cheering and clapping to the rhythm of traditional music and dance while a little boy who was born in captivity – the son of former FARC hostage Clara Rojas – hugged him and handed him a handcrafted ceramic dove, symbol of peace.

It is Pope Francis’s 20th apostolic journey abroad and during his five-day visit he will take his message of reconciliation and hope to all Colombians as he visits the cities of Bogotà, Villavicencio, Medellin and Cartagena from where he will depart on Sunday 10th September.

It’s been 31 years since the Bishop of Rome set foot in this ravaged nation. There were no official discourses scheduled for the occasion and none were needed as Pope Francis immediately set the tone for the visit with a powerful gesture of attention and care for those closest to his heart.

Making his way down the red carpet to the pope-mobile, he stopped at length to touch and caress disabled and sick children, and – especially poignant and significant in the Colombian context –  he took time to engage with and bless, one at a time, a group of mutilated and disabled military veterans representing one of the too many groups of victims of a conflict the nation is struggling to put behind.

Then, the streets were packed with people – ordinary Colombians – for the whole fifteen kilometre drive to the nunciature where a tired Pope Francis can rest and gather strength for a gruelling pastoral visit charged with expectations as he “Takes the First Step” with all the people of the divided and suffering nation as they seek the best route to navigate the treacherous path to peace.

But before tucking up for the night Francis again gave voice to the voiceless and spelt out his priorities by sharing his joy and his faith with a group of poor orphaned children and vulnerable adolescents. “Never lose joy, never lose hope” he told them – and – “don’t forget to pray for me!”

In Bogotà with Pope Francis, I’m Linda Bordoni for Vatican Radio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(from Vatican Radio)



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Pope Francis departs on an Apostolic visit to Columbia



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has departed on an Apostolic visit to Columbia. The Holy Father took off from Rome’s Fiumicino airport shortly after 11 am Rome time this morning.

He is expected to land in Bogota at 23.30 Rome time tonight.

During his visit he will also visit the cities of Villavicencio, Medellín and Cartagena before returning to Rome on the morning of 11th September.

As has become tradition, Pope Francis on Tuesday afternoon visited the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore to pray before the icon of the Virgin Mary, Salus Populi Romani.

In a tweet before his departure the Pope said, “Dear Friends, please pray for me and all of Colombia, where I will be travelling for a journey dedicated to reconciliation and peace.”

(from Vatican Radio)



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Pope Francis sends video message ahead of Colombia visit



(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis on Monday sent a video message to the people of Colombia ahead of his Apostolic Journey to the country on 6-11 September, inviting them to “take the first step” towards peace.

Listen to Devin Watkins’ report:



With just a handful of days to go before his Apostolic Journey, Pope Francis invited all Colombians to “take the first step” in reaching out to their neighbor in a sign of peace.

He thanked those “who welcome me to your land and into your heart” for their many efforts to prepare his visit.

“Let us take the first step” is the theme of his Apostolic Journey to Colombia, and the Holy Father said it “urges us to be the first to love, in order to build bridges and create solidarity.”

He said Colombia has long yearned and worked for peace, which, he said, should be “a stable and lasting peace, so that we see and treat each other as brothers and not as enemies.”

“Peace,” he said, “reminds us that we are all children of the same Father, who loves and consoles us.”

Pope Francis went on to say he is “honored to visit this land so rich in history, culture, and faith.”

He called Colombia a land “of men and women who have labored with tenacity and perseverance to make it a place where harmony and solidarity reign, where the Gospel is known and loved, and where saying ‘brother and sister’ seems not out of place but a true treasure to protect and defend.”

Finally, the Holy Father said the Church is called “to the task of promoting reconciliation, both with the Lord and between brothers, as well as reconciliation with the environment, which is God’s Creation and which we are savagely exploiting.”

Please find below a Vatican Radio English-language translation of the video:

Dear people of Colombia, in just a few days I will visit your country. I come as a pilgrim of hope and peace to celebrate with you the faith in our Lord and also to learn from your charity and perseverance in search of peace and harmony.

I cordially greet and thank the President of the Republic and the bishops of the Episcopal Conference for the invitation to visit Colombia. I also thank each of you, who welcome me to your land and into your heart. I know that you have worked so very hard to prepare this encounter. My appreciation goes to all who have collaborated – and continue to – so that it may become a reality.

“Let us take the first step” is the theme of this Journey. It reminds us that a first step is always required for any activity or project. It also urges us to be the first to love, in order to build bridges and create solidarity. Taking the first step encourages us to reach out to our neighbor, to extend a helping-hand, and to offer a sign of peace. Peace is what Colombia has sought after for a long time, and she is working to achieve it: A stable and lasting peace, so that we see and treat each other as brothers and not as enemies. Peace reminds us that we are all children of the same Father, who loves and consoles us. I am honored to visit this land so rich in history, culture, and faith. [It is a land] of men and women who have labored with tenacity and perseverance to make it a place where harmony and solidarity reign, where the Gospel is known and loved, and where saying ‘brother and sister’ seems not out of place but a true treasure to protect and defend. Today’s world needs specialists in peace and dialogue. The Church also is called to the task of promoting reconciliation, both with the Lord and between brothers, as well as reconciliation with the environment, which is God’s Creation and which we are savagely exploiting.

My dear Colombian brothers and sisters, I yearn to live these days with you with a joyous spirit and with gratitude to the Lord. I warmly embrace you and ask the Lord to bless you, to protect your country, and to give you peace. And I ask our Mother, the Holy Virgin, to watch over you. And, please, don’t forget to pray for me. Thank you and see you soon.

 

(from Vatican Radio)



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