Tag - Mass

7th Asian Youth Day inaugurated with Mass in Yogyakarta ‎



(Vatican Radio)  The 7th Asian Youth Day (AYD7) kicked off with a colourful concelebrated Mass Wednesday evening ‎in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, in a colourful and festive show of unity around Christ and his Gospel ‎amidst the continent’s diverse cultures and peoples.
After four days of the preliminary ‘Days in the Dioceses’ (DID) live-in programme in 11 Indonesian ‎dioceses, July 30- August 2, the over 2000 young Catholics from 21 countries converged in Yogyakarta, the cultural ‎and intellectual heartland of Indonesia.  The 7th Asian Youth Day on the theme “Joyful Asian Youth! ‎Living the Gospel in Multicultural Asia,” will conclude on Aug. 6. ‎

Youth participants had begun pouring in at Yogyakarta’s government facility, Jogja Expo Centre (JEC), ‎since early morning, August 2.  After lunch the various national contingents began celebrating with ‎songs and performances and shared their DID experiences of living with local families in dioceses, in ‎preparation for the Eucharistic celebration.

The inaugural AYD7 Mass, that was streamed live by organizers, was presided over by Bangladeshi ‎Cardinal Patrick D’Rozario of Dhaka, chairman of the Office of Laity and Family of the Federation of ‎Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC), under which comes the Youth Desk that organizes the AYD in ‎collaboration with the country’s bishops’ conference body and its youth commission.  Joining Card. ‎D’Rozario at the altar were 52 bishops, including 6 cardinals and 158 priests.  Among the concelebrants ‎were AYD host Archbishop Robertus Rubiyatmoko of Semarang, Indonesian bishops’ president, ‎Archbishop Ignatius Suharyo of Jakarta and President of Indonesian bishops’ Youth Commission, ‎Bishop Pius Riana Prapdi of Ketapang. ‎

Card. D’Rozario began his homily singing a few lines from the hymn, “Rejoice in the Lord always….” ‎setting the mood of his reflection on the theme of the AYD7– “Joyful Asian Youth! Living the Gospel ‎in Multicultural Asia.”  The young people, many in traditional dress and country t-shirts and holding their ‎country flags, joined in with rhythmic clapping accompanied by the piano.  The cardinal explained that ‎the reason for their joy was that Jesus loves them, despite their unworthiness and sinfulness.   He said ‎when they feel sad or without joy, it is then that Jesus loves them most.  Jesus loves them by calling ‎them, choosing them and sending them out to mission, to proclaim His love,  mercy, compassion and ‎healing to others.

Card. D’Rozario compared the AYD gathering to the Pentecost where people of diverse cultures, ‎languages, ethnic groups and nations of Asia were one in the Holy Spirit who manifests Himself in a ‎variety of gifts.   The Holy Spirit was inviting them all to celebrate  their oneness of faith, life and ‎mission at the WYD.  ‎

After dinner, the AYD7 was officially launched with a variety programme in which the participating countries showcased thier cultural richness. 

 

(from Vatican Radio)



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Pope celebrates Mass for Solemnity of Corpus Christi



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Sunday celebrated Mass at the Roman Basilica of St John Lateran which was to be followed by a procession to the Basilica of St Mary Major to mark the Solemnity of Corpus Christi.

In his homily for the feast of Corpus Christi, Pope Francis chose to reflect on one word, “Memory”. The Pope said that “remembering all that the Lord has done for us is the foundation of our own personal history of salvation.” 

Memory, the Holy Father went on to say is important, “because it allows us to dwell in love, to be mind-ful, “never forgetting who it is who loves us and whom we are called to love in return.” 

This Solemnity, Pope Francis underlined, reminds us that in our fragmented lives, the Lord comes to meet us with a loving “fragility”, which is the Eucharist.  

Below find the English language translation of the Pope’s Homily

On this Solemnity of Corpus Christi, the idea of memory comes up again and again.  Moses says to the people: “You shall remember all the way which the Lord your God has led you….  Lest… you forget the Lord your God, who fed you in the wilderness with manna” (Dt 8:2, 14, 16).  Jesus will tell us: “Do this in memory of me” (1 Cor 11:24).  The “living bread, come down from heaven” (Jn 6:51) is the sacrament of memory, reminding us, in a real and tangible way, of the story of God’s love for us. 

Today, to each of us, the word of God says, Remember!  Remembrance of the Lord’s deeds guided and strengthened his people’s journey through the desert; remembering all that the Lord has done for us is the foundation of our own personal history of salvation.  Remembrance is essential for faith, as water is for a plant.  A plant without water cannot stay alive and bear fruit.  Nor can faith, unless it drinks deeply of the memory of all that the Lord has done for us. 

Remember.  Memory is important, because it allows us to dwell in love, to be mind-ful, never forgetting who it is who loves us and whom we are called to love in return.  Yet nowadays, this singular ability that the Lord has given us is considerably weakened.  Amid so much frantic activity, many people and events seem to pass in a whirl.  We quickly turn the page, looking for novelty while unable to retain memories.  Leaving our memories behind and living only for the moment, we risk remaining ever on the surface of things, constantly in flux, without going deeper, without the broader vision that reminds us who we are and where we are going.  In this way, our life grows fragmented, and dulled within. 

Yet today’s Solemnity reminds us that in our fragmented lives, the Lord comes to meet us with a loving “fragility”, which is the Eucharist.  In the Bread of Life, the Lord comes to us, making himself a humble meal that lovingly heals our memory, wounded by life’s frantic pace of life.  The Eucharist is the memorial of God’s love.  There, “[Christ’s] sufferings are remembered” (II Vespers, antiphon for the Magnificat) and we recall God’s love for us, which gives us strength and support on our journey.  This is why the Eucharistic commemoration does us so much good: it is not an abstract, cold and superficial memory, but a living remembrance that comforts us with God’s love.  The Eucharist is flavoured with Jesus’ words and deeds, the taste of his Passion, the fragrance of his Spirit.  When we receive it, our hearts are overcome with the certainty of Jesus’ love.  In saying this, I think in particular of you boys and girls, who recently received First Holy Communion, and are here today in great numbers. 

The Eucharist gives us a grateful memory, because it makes us see that we are the Father’s children, whom he loves and nourishes.  It gives us a free memory, because Jesus’ love and forgiveness heal the wounds of the past, soothe our remembrance of wrongs experienced and inflicted.  It gives us a patient memory, because amid all our troubles we know that the Spirit of Jesus remains in us.  The Eucharist encourages us: even on the roughest road, we are not alone; the Lord does not forget us and whenever we turn to him, he restores us with his love.

The Eucharist also reminds us that we are not isolated individuals, but one body.  As the people in the desert gathered the manna that fell from heaven and shared it in their families (cf. Ex 16), so Jesus, the Bread come down from Heaven, calls us together to receive him and to share him with one another.  The Eucharist is not a sacrament “for me”; it is the sacrament of the many, who form one body.  Saint Paul reminded us of this: “Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread” (1 Cor 10:17).  The Eucharist is the sacrament of unity.  Whoever receives it cannot fail to be a builder of unity, because building unity has become part of his or her “spiritual DNA”.  May this Bread of unity heal our ambition to lord it over others, to greedily hoard things for ourselves, to foment discord and criticism.  May it awaken in us the joy of living in love, without rivalry, jealousy or mean-spirited gossip.

Now, in experiencing this Eucharist, let us adore and thank the Lord for this greatest of gifts: the living memorial of his love, that makes us one body and leads us to unity.  

 

(from Vatican Radio)



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Pope at Mass: God’s power saves us from weakness and sins



(Vatican Radio)  In order to be saved and healed by God we must recognize that are weak, vulnerable and sinful like earthen vessels, said ‎Pope Francis on Friday.  And this will lead us to happiness, he said in ‎his homily at the morning Mass in the Casa Santa Marta chapel in the Vatican.  He was reflecting on the Second Letter to the Corinthians, where St. Paul speaking about the mystery of Christ, says we have this treasure of Christ in our fragility and vulnerability because we are vessels made of clay.

Not being shameful is hypocrisy  

“All of us are vulnerable, fragile, weak, and we need to be healed,” the Pope said.  But recognizing our vulnerability is one of the most difficult things of life.  At times, we try to cover this vulnerability with cosmetics in order to disguise it, pretending it does not exist.  And disguises are always shameful, the Pope said. “They are hypocrisy.”

Temptation to cover our weakness and sins

Pope Francis explained that besides being hypocritical towards others, we are also hypocritical within ourselves believing “to be something else”, hence not needing healing and support.  This, the Pope pointed out, is the path to vanity, pride and self-reference of those who do not feel themselves made of clay and thus seek salvation and fulfilment in themselves.  Instead, as St. Paul says, it is the power of God that saves us because of our vulnerability. Hence we are troubled but not crushed; we are shaken but not desperate; we are persecuted but not abandoned; struck down but not killed.  There is always this relationship between clay and power, clay and treasure. But the temptation, the Pope said,  is always the same: to cover, conceal and not believing we are made of clay.  This is the hypocrisy towards ourselves.

When we accept our weakness, God comes with His salvation and happiness

In this regard, Pope Francis spoke about confession where we confess our sins in a way whitewashing the clay a bit in order to appear strong.  Rather, the Pope said, we must accept our weakness and vulnerability, even if it is “difficult” to do so.  Hence the importance of “shame”.  It is shame that broadens the heart to allow the power of God in –  the shame of being clay and not a silver or gold vase.   When Peter objected to Jesus washing his feet, he did not realize he was made of clay needing the Lord’s power to be saved.  It’s only when we accept we are made of clay that the extraordinary power of God will come and give us the fulfilment, salvation, happiness and joy of being saved, thus receiving the Lord’s “treasure”.

(from Vatican Radio)



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Pope Francis blesses the sick following Mass in Fatima



(Vatican Radio) At the conclusion of the Mass in Fatima, after a period of Adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament, Pope Francis gave a special blessing to the sick, who had come to the Shrine to pray to Our Lady.

Following the blessing, the Holy Father greeted the sick, reminding them that “whenever we experience a cross,” Jesus “has already been there ahead of us.” He continued, “In His passion, He took upon Himself all our suffering.  Jesus knows the meaning of sorrow and pain.  He understands us, He comforts us and He gives us strength, as He did to Saint Francisco Marto and Saint Jacinta, and to the saints of every time and place.”

Pope Francis called on those suffering from illnesses to live their lives as a gift: “Like the shepherd children, tell Our Lady that you want to offer yourselves to God with all your heart.”

Below, please find the full text of Pope Francis’ remarks:

Greeting of His Holiness Pope Francis to the Sick
Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima

 13 May 2017

Dear brothers and sisters who are sick,

As I said in the homily, the Lord always goes before us.  Whenever we experience a cross, he has already been there ahead of us.  In his passion, he took upon himself all our suffering.  Jesus knows the meaning of sorrow and pain.  He understands us, he comforts us and he gives us strength, as he did to Saint Francisco Marto and Saint Jacinta, and to the saints of every time and place.  I think of the Apostle Peter, in chains in the prison of Jerusalem, as the whole Church prayed for him.  The Lord comforted Peter.  That is the Church’s ministry: the Church asks the Lord to comfort the afflicted like yourselves, and he comforts you, even in ways you cannot see.  He comforts you in the depths of your hearts and he comforts you with the gift of strength.

Dear pilgrims, we have before us Jesus hidden yet present in the Eucharist, just as we have Jesus hidden yet present in the wounds of our brothers and sisters who are sick and suffering.  On the altar, we worship the flesh of Jesus; in these our brothers and sisters, we encounter the wounds of Jesus.  The Christian adores Jesus, the Christian seeks Jesus, the Christian can recognize the wounds of Jesus.  Today the Virgin Mary asks all of us the same question that, a hundred years ago, she asked the shepherd children: “Do you want to offer yourselves to God?”  Their answer – “Yes, we do!” – makes us able to understand and imitate their lives.  They lived life, with its share of joy and suffering, as an offering to the Lord.

I invite those of you who are sick to live your lives as a gift.  Like the shepherd children, tell Our Lady that you want to offer yourselves to God with all your heart.  Don’t think of yourselves simply as the recipients of charitable solidarity, but feel that you share fully in the Church’s life and mission.  Your silent presence, which is more eloquent than a flood of words, your prayers, the daily offering of your sufferings in union with those of Jesus crucified for the salvation of the world, the patient and even joyful acceptance of your condition – all these are a spiritual resource, an asset to every Christian community.  Do not be ashamed of being a precious treasure of the Church.

Jesus will pass close to you in the Blessed Sacrament as a sign of his closeness and love for you.  Entrust to him your sorrows, your sufferings, all your weariness.  Count on the prayer of the Church, which from every corner of the world rises up to heaven for you and with you.  God is our Father, and he will never forget you.

(from Vatican Radio)



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Pope at daily Mass: To evangelize, go out, listen, rejoice

(Vatican Radio) The Church should be on its feet and on the journey, listening to the restlessness of the people, and always with joy. That was the message of Pope Francis this morning in the homily for the morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta.

In the first eight chapters of the Acts of the Apostles, the Pope said, “there is a summary of the whole history of the Church”: preaching, baptism, conversion, miracles, persecution, joy, but also the ugly sin of those who join themselves to the Church for their own ends, “those benefactors of the Church who in the end cheat the Church,” like Ananias and Sapphira. The Holy Father began his homily with this reflection, then moved on to a consideration of the day’s readings. He first emphasized that the Lord from the beginning accompanied His disciples, confirming the Word with miraculous signs. He never left them alone, not even in the worst moments.

Pope Francis the focused on three “words” taken from the day’s first Reading, inviting those present to re-read the passage at home. The first saying was the words of an angel to Philip: “Get up and go.” “This,” the Pope said, “is a sign of evangelization”: the vocation, and the great consolation of the Church, is to evangelize.

“But in order to evangelize: ‘Get up and go!’ One doesn’t say: ‘Stay seated, calm, in your house’: No! In order to be faithful to the Lord, the Church should always be on its feet and on the journey: ‘Get up and go.’ A Church that does not rise up, that is not on the journey, is sick.”

And, the Pope continued, this can cause the Church to be closed in on itself, with many psychological and spiritual traumas – “closed into a little world of gossiping, of things… closed, without horizons.” And so, he said, the Church must “get up and go,” it must be “on its feet and on the journey.” This is how the Church must go about evangelizing.

Go up and join with that chariot” – the second message Philip received from the Spirit – was the next expression Pope Francis emphasized. In the chariot was an Ethiopian, a proselyte of the Jewish religion, a eunuch who had come to Jerusalem to worship God. As he travelled, he was reading the prophet Isaiah. The passage concerns the conversion of a “finance minister,” which, the Pope said, means it was a “great miracle.” The Spirit called Philip to join himself to that man, Pope Francis continued, emphasizing how important it was for the Church to know she must listen to the restlessness in the heart of every man:

“All men, all women have a restlessness in their hearts – [they may be] good or bad, but there is a restlessness. Listen to that restlessness. It’s not saying: ‘Go out and proselytise.’ No, no! ‘Go and listen.’ Listening is the second step. The first: ‘Get up and go’; the second: ‘Listen.’ That ability to listen: What do people feel? What does the heart of the people feel? What does it think? But do they think mistaken things? But I want to hear these mistaken things, in order to understand where the restlessness is. We all have this restlessness within. The second step for the Church is to find the restlessness of the people.”

It is, then, the Ethiopian himself who, seeing Philip approach, asks who the prophet is speaking about, and asks him to join him in the chariot. And so, the Pope said, Philip began to preach “with meekness.” The restlessness in the heart of that man found an explanation that responded to the hope in his heart. This was possible, Pope Francis continued, “because Philip joined him and listened to him.”

While the Ethiopian listened, the Lord was working within him. In this way, the man understood that the Prophet Isaiah was speaking of Jesus. His faith in Jesus then grew to such a point that when they arrived at a place where there was water, he asked to be baptized. “He asked for Baptism because the Lord had worked in his heart,” the Pope said. Then, after he had been baptized, when the Spirit took Philip and bore him away, the eunuch continued on his way, filled with joy. This “joy of the Christian,” Pope Francis said, is the third “word” from the Reading.

Pope Francis concluded his homily with the hope that the Church would be “on its feet,” “a mother who listens,” and “with the grace of the Holy Spirit … finds the Word to say”:

“Mother Church, which gives so many children to the light with this method, we would say – let us use the word – this method which is not proselytistic: it is the method of the witness to obedience. The Church, which tells us today: ‘Rejoice.’ To rejoice; joy.  The joy of being Christian, even in ugly moments. Because after the stoning of Stephen a great persecution arose, and the Christians scattered everywhere, like seed carried on the wind. And it fell to them to preach the Word of Jesus. May the Lord give to all of us the grace to live the Church in this way: on our feet and going out, listening to the restlessness of the people, and always in joy.” 

(from Vatican Radio)

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Pope Francis in Cairo: full text of homily at Sat AM Mass



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis was the principal celebrant and homilist at Mass for Egyptian Catholics in the “Air Defense Stadium” in Cairo on Saturday. Below, please find the full text of the Holy Father’s prepared remarks, in their official English translation.

***********************************

Homily of His Holiness Pope Francis
Holy Mass, Cairo
29 April 2017

As-salamu alaykum!   Peace be with you!

Today’s Gospel of the third Sunday of Easter speaks to us of the journey to Emmaus of the two disciples who set out from Jerusalem.  It can be summed up in three words: death, resurrection and life.

Death.  The two disciples are returning, full of despair and disappointment, to life as usual.  The Master is dead and thus it is pointless to hope.  They feel disappointment and despair.  Theirs is a journey of return, as they leave behind the painful experience of Jesus’ crucifixion.  The crisis of the cross, indeed the “scandal” and “foolishness” of the cross (cf. 1 Cor 1:18, 2:2), seems to have buried any hope they had.  The one on whom they had built their lives is dead; in his defeat, he brought all their aspirations with him to the tomb.

They could not believe that their Master and Saviour, who had raised others from the dead and healed the sick, would end up hanging on the cross of shame.  They could not understand why Almighty God had not saved him from such a disgraceful death.  The cross of Christ was the cross of their own ideas about God; the death of Christ was the death of what they thought God to be.  But in fact, it was they who were dead, buried in the tomb of their limited understanding. 

How often do we paralyze ourselves by refusing to transcend our own ideas of God, a god created in the image and likeness of man!  How often do we despair by refusing to believe that God’s omnipotence is not one of power and authority, but rather of love, forgiveness and life!

The disciples recognized Jesus in the “breaking of the bread”, in the Eucharist.  Unless we tear apart the veil clouding our vision and shatter the hardness of our hearts and our prejudices, we will never be able to recognize the face of God.

Resurrection.  In the gloom of their darkest night, at the moment of their greatest despair, Jesus approaches the two disciples and walks at their side, to make them see that he is “the Way, and the Truth and the Life” (Jn 14:6).  Jesus turns their despair into life, for when human hope vanishes, divine hope begins to shine in its place.  “What is impossible with men is possible with God” (Lk 18:27; cf. 1:37).  When we reach the depths of failure and helplessness, when we rid ourselves of the illusion that we are the best, sufficient unto ourselves and the centre of our world, then God reaches out to us to turn our night into dawn, our affliction into joy, our death into resurrection.  He turns our steps back to Jerusalem, back to life and to the victory of the Cross (cf. Heb 11:34).

After meeting the Risen Lord, the two disciples returned filled with joy, confidence and enthusiasm, ready to bear witness.  The Risen One made them rise from the tomb of their unbelief and their sorrow.  Encountering the Lord, crucified and risen, they discovered the meaning and fulfilment of the whole of Scripture, the Law and the Prophets.  They discovered the meaning of the apparent defeat of the cross.

Those who do not pass from the experience of the cross to the truth of the resurrection condemn themselves to despair!  For we cannot encounter God without first crucifying our narrow notions of a god who reflects only our own understanding of omnipotence and power. 

Life.  The encounter with the Risen Jesus transformed the lives of those two disciples because meeting the Risen One transforms every life, and makes fruitful what is barren (cf. BENEDICT XVI, General Audience, 11 April 2007).  Faith in the resurrection is not a product of the Church, but the Church herself is born of faith in the resurrection.  As Saint Paul says: “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain” (1 Cor 15:14).

The Risen Lord vanished from the sight of the disciples in order to teach us that we cannot hold on to Jesus as he appeared in history: “Blessed are those who believe and yet have not seen” (Jn 21:29; cf. 20:17).  The Church needs to know and believe that Jesus lives within her and gives her life in the Eucharist, the scriptures and the sacraments.  The disciples on the way to Emmaus realized this, and returned to Jerusalem in order to share their experience with the others: “We have seen the Risen One… Yes, he is truly risen!” (cf. Lk 24:32).

The experience of the disciples on the way to Emmaus teaches us that it is of no use to fill our places of worship if our hearts are empty of the fear of God and of his presence.  It is of no use to pray if our prayer to God does not turn into love for our brothers and sisters.  All our religiosity means nothing unless it is inspired by deep faith and charity.  It is of no use to be concerned about our image, since God looks at the soul and the heart (cf. 1 Sam 16:7) and he detests hypocrisy (cf. Lk 11:37-54; Acts 5:3, 4)[1].  For God, it is better not to believe than to be a false believer, a hypocrite!

True faith is one that makes us more charitable, more merciful, more honest and more humane.  It moves our hearts to love everyone without counting the cost, without distinction and without preference.  It makes us see the other not as an enemy to be overcome, but a brother or sister to be loved, served and helped.  It spurs us on to spread, defend and live out the culture of encounter, dialogue, respect and fraternity.  It gives us the courage to forgive those who have wronged us, to extend a hand to the fallen, to clothe the naked, to feed the hungry, to visit the imprisoned, to help orphans, to give drink to those who thirst, and to come to the aid of the elderly and those in need (cf. Mt 25).  True faith leads us to protect the rights of others with the same zeal and enthusiasm with which we defend our own.  Indeed, the more we grow in faith and knowledge, the more we grow in humility and in the awareness of our littleness.

Dear brothers and sisters,

God is pleased only by a faith that is proclaimed by our lives, for the only fanaticism believers can have is that of charity!  Any other fanaticism does not come from God and is not pleasing to him!

So now, like the disciples of Emmaus, filled with joy, courage and faith, return to your own Jerusalem, that is, to your daily lives, your families, your work and your beloved country.  Do not be afraid to open your hearts to the light of the Risen Lord, and let him transform your uncertainty into a positive force for yourselves and for others.  Do not be afraid to love everyone, friends and enemies alike, because the strength and treasure of the believer lies in a life of love!

May Our Lady and the Holy Family, who dwelt in this venerable land of yours, enlighten our hearts and bless you and this beloved country of Egypt, which at the dawn of Christianity welcomed the preaching of Saint Mark, and throughout its history has brought forth so many martyrs and a great multitude of holy men and women.

Al Masih qam!  Bi-l-haqiqa qam!

Christ is risen!  He is truly risen!

 


[1] Saint Ephraim exclaims: “Just tear off the mask that covers the hypocrite and you will see only corruption” (Sermon). “Woe to them that are of a double heart”, says Ecclesiasticus (2:14, Vulg).  

(from Vatican Radio)



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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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Card Parolin celebrates Mass for Populorum Progressio anniversary



(Vatican Radio)  Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, celebrated Mass at the Altar of the Chair in St. Peter’s Basilica for the 50th anniversary of the encyclical ‘Populorum Progressio’.

During his homily for the Mass on Monday, Cardinal Parolin thanked the members and consultors of the Pontifical Councils for Justice and Peace, for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, for Health Pastoral Care, and Cor Unum for their collaboration and service as the Councils were merged into the new Dicastery for Integral Human Development.

“The celebration of this Eucharist, with you and for you, is a fitting occasion to give thanks to the Lord for the establishment of this Office that serves the Holy Father in the exercise of his Petrine ministry. The particular characteristic of this service is a commitment to the integral development of every person.”

Cardinal Parolin said the new Dicastery “will carry out its mandate only to the extent that it walks the way of the Gospel in its efforts to support the fullest possible growth of every person and of every country. This will entail a constant concern for the dignity of the person – in the trilogy of body and soul, man and woman, individual and society – but also for the common good, to be pursued in truth and in justice.”

Please find below the original English version of the homily:

Your Eminences,

Your Excellencies,

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I offer a warm greeting to all of you, representatives of the offices of the Roman Curia and of the rich variety of ecclesial realties from various continents.  A special greeting goes to the Members and Consultors who have served the universal Church by collaborating with the Pontifical Councils for Justice and Peace, for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, for Health Pastoral Care and Cor Unum, which, on 1 January 2017, merged to form the new Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.

The celebration of this Eucharist, with you and for you, is a fitting occasion to give thanks to the Lord for the establishment of this Office that serves the Holy Father in the exercise of his Petrine ministry.  The particular characteristic of this service is a commitment to the integral development of every person.

It is significant – even providential – that the creation of the new Dicastery coincides with the fiftieth anniversary of the Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio of Blessed Paul VI, which the Conference that we inaugurate today is meant to commemorate.

I readily recall that this Encyclical, the preparation of which began in 1963, was published on 26 March 1967, Easter Day, causing some to speak of the “Encyclical of the Resurrection”, aimed at shedding the light of the Gospel and the Resurrection on the social problems of the time.

In the Encyclical, Paul VI outlined the principles of a new “universal humanism”.  These were taken up twenty years later by Saint John Paul II in Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, and once again, forty years later, by Pope Benedict XVI, in Caritas in Veritate.  They have also been tirelessly reiterated by Pope Francis, who, often without it being recognized, draws inspiration from the vision of his predecessor.  Pope Paul’s vision continues to be completely timely in its dramatic and radical diagnosis: “Human society is sorely ill.  The cause is not so much the depletion of natural resources, nor their monopolistic control by a privileged few; it is rather the weakening of brotherly ties between individuals and nations” (No. 66).

The treatment proposed by the Holy Father also remains valid and timely: namely, a human development that is both “integral” and “fraternal”.  The Encyclical sets out the coordinates of an integral development of the human person and a fraternal development of humanity, two themes which can be considered as the axes around which the text is structured.  Development consists in the passage from less humane living conditions to more humane living conditions: “What are less than human conditions?  The material poverty of those who lack the bare necessities of life, and the moral poverty of those who are crushed under the weight of their own self-love; oppressive political structures resulting from the abuse of ownership or the improper exercise of power, from the exploitation of the worker or unjust transactions.

What are truly human conditions?  The rise from poverty to the acquisition of life’s necessities; the elimination of social ills; broadening the horizons of knowledge; acquiring refinement and culture.  From there one can go on to acquire a growing awareness of other people’s dignity, a taste for the spirit of poverty, an active interest in the common good, and a desire for peace.  Then man can acknowledge the highest values and God Himself, their author and end.  Finally and above all, there is faith – God’s gift to men of good will – and our loving unity in Christ, who calls all men to share God’s life as sons of the living God, the Father of all men” (No. 21).

But how do we arrive at this development?  It is significant that Pope Benedict XVI, in the Encyclical Caritas in Veritate, which was intended “to pay tribute and to honour the memory of the great Pope Paul VI,” wished to emphasize the extent to which “development needs Christians with their arms raised towards God in prayer, Christians moved by the knowledge that truth-filled love, caritas in veritate, from which authentic development proceeds, is not produced by us, but given to us.  For this reason, even in the most difficult and complex times, besides recognizing what is happening, we must above all else turn to God’s love” (No. 79)

God is Alpha and Omega.  God is the origin and goal of human development, which is always his gift.  For our part, we need to receive from on high the gifts of truth and love in order to become bearers, stewards and multipliers of those same gifts, especially for the benefit of those in greatest need.  This means promoting, in the light of the Christian message, a world where none are marginalized or prey to persistent violence and extreme poverty, a world without globalized indifference to the needs of others.

Today’s readings offer an invitation and an encouragement to lift up our eyes to God, in whose name is our help.  The first reading admonishes us: “Little children, let us not love in word or speech but in deed and in truth” (1 Jn 3:18).  There is no lack of debates and strategies for eliminating conditions that violate human dignity, for overcoming the manifold injustices, both individual and structural, encountered on a daily basis, and for proposing a future of general well-being.  Yet solutions are often proposed that contradict those good intentions, favouring economic and military power in relations with others, choosing power, in whatever form it is expressed.  Loving in deed and in truth means substituting “the love of power” with “the power of love”.  For what is the power of Jesus Christ, if not the power of an ultimately unsettling love (cf. Jn 13:1), a love that, the more we reflect on it, the more our self-regard diminishes and God’s dominion in our life increases?

The Gospel passage we have just heard speaks clearly and dramatically of the importance of concrete actions.  It is charity that leads to salvation and entrance into the Kingdom.  “Come, O blessed of my Father… I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me” (Mt 25:34-36).  It matters not to which race, religion, ethnic or social group people belong, in order to receive charity from the disciples of Jesus.  This universality is truly radical.  Every act of solidarity is shown to the Lord, present in the person who is suffering.  “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Mt 25:40).

This is the horizon against which the new Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development must operate.  It will carry out its mandate only to the extent that it walks the way of the Gospel in its efforts to support the fullest possible growth of every person and of every country.  This will entail a constant concern for the dignity of the person – in the trilogy of body and soul, man and woman, individual and society – but also for the common good, to be pursued in truth and in justice.

As the Encyclical Populorum Progressio reminds us: “The development we speak of here cannot be restricted to economic growth alone.  To be authentic, it must be well rounded; it must foster the development of each man and of the whole man… What counts for us is man – each individual man, each human group, and humanity as a whole.” (No. 14).

In the Motu Proprio Humanam Progressionem (31 August 2016), Pope Francis stated his reasons for establishing the new Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development: “so that the Holy See may be solicitous in [the] areas [of “attending to the inestimable goods of justice, peace, and the care of creation”], as well as in those regarding health and charitable works…  This Dicastery will be competent particularly in issues regarding migrants, those in need, the sick, the excluded and marginalized, the imprisoned and the unemployed, as well as victims of armed conflict, natural disasters, and all forms of slavery and torture.”

These are the forms of marginalization, suffering, injustice and hurt to which we must bring the oil of mercy and justice, hope and new life.

Do not be frightened by the immensity of the challenges that lie ahead of you, or by the limited nature of the means at your disposal.  Do not reject or undervalue any contribution that may be suggested.  For such contributions will be the result of cooperation between the Superiors and Officials of the new Dicastery, drawing on the competence and experience of each of the bodies that have merged into it, together with the authoritative assistance of the Members and Consultors.  And, as Blessed Paul VI wished, your work will be carried out in harmonious cooperation with the other Dicasteries of the Roman Curia, with other Christians and believers, with all people of good will, and with political and cultural leaders (Populorum Progressio, Nos. 81-86)

No one is too small to play a part in helping development to serve all humanity and the whole human person.  We think of the account of the multiplication of the loaves: it was a young person who enabled Jesus to feed the crowd (cf. Jn 6:9).  We think too of today’s Gospel and the parable of the Last Judgment.

With the merging of the former Dicasteries, you have now become a single body with different functions, each at the service of the other, like the Church herself, which is the body of Christ (cf. 1 Cor 12:12-30).  “We must travel this road together,” Paul VI urged, “united in minds and hearts.” No. 80).  United and concerned for one another, you will be all the stronger in your efforts to attain the goals set for you.

So do not be afraid of swimming against the tide in proclaiming the Gospel of our salvation, in centres and on the peripheries.  The dialogue between cultures and religions, peace, disarmament and the reconciliation between individuals and peoples, a correct anthropology of the person and of the family, migration: all these and many more questions call for generous commitment on the part of all.  Do not be afraid to get your hands dirty.  Like Jesus, bend down to embrace every human situation with generosity and dedication, to save lives and to instil hope, peace and justice in the world.

May the Lord bless the mission of the new Dicastery and your tireless labour in his vineyard.  Amen.

(from Vatican Radio)



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