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Pope Francis sends message to conference on Paul VI



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a message to participants at a conference taking place in Rome on the theme ‘Pope Paul VI, the pope of modernity”.

In the message Pope Francis notes that the conference is taking place 50 years after the publication of his predecessor’s encyclical ‘Popolorum Progressio’, often described as one of the key Catholic Social Teaching documents.

Listen to our report:



That encyclical, he said, sought to be a “solemn appeal for concerted action in favour of integral human development”. The appeal remains just as urgent today, Pope Francis said, as poverty increases and peace is threatened on a daily basis in different parts of the world.

In order to build peace, he continued,Pope we must eliminate the causes of discord, starting with injustice, since peace is the work of justice. Thus, he said, the conference reflections focused on ‘justice among peoples’ is particularly topical,  inspired by a sense of ‘The Gospel in motion’, bringing Christian faith, hope and charity to the men and women of today.

Finally, Pope Francis noted that the conference is also exploring the theme of Paul VI’s love for Italy. He emphasized the fact that the soul of the Italian people bears witness to a genuine solidarity which is at the basis of all our human communities. We must never tire of promoting this witness of authentic humanism, he said, without which our dignity is at risk.

(from Vatican Radio)



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Pope Francis tells Canadian youth in video message to ‘build bridges’



(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis has sent a video message to the young people of Canada gathered in preparation for the Synod of Bishops 2018.

The Holy Father invited them to build bridges through social communications, without letting their youthful enthusiasm for the Gospel be snuffed out.

Listen to Devin Watkins’ report:



In his video message to the young people of Canada, Pope Francis reflected on the “marvels of technology” which now allow “encounters and exchanges that were unthinkable until a short while ago.”

He invited them to use new channels of communication positively and “not to let them be ruined by those bent only on exploiting and destroying them”.

Spread youthful joy of Gospel

Rather, the Pope told them to flood the places they live “with the joy and enthusiasm” typical of their age and “to water the world and history with the joy of the Gospel”.

He said this is possible only through an encounter with Jesus, “who has intrigued you and drawn you to be with him”, he said.

“Don’t let your youth be stolen from you,” Pope Francis told the young people of Canada.

“Don’t build walls of division. Build bridges, like this one which you are crossing and which allows you to communicate from the shores of two oceans.”

Ever-present call to discipleship

Pope Francis went on to remind them that Jesus’ call to discipleship can never be drowned out by the noise of modern communications.

“Jesus turns his gaze to you and invites you to come to him… Have you heard his voice?… I’m sure that, even though din and daze seem to reign in the world, this call continues to sound in your being, calling you to open up to the fullness of joy.”

This, he said, is possible only when they have sought out expert spiritual guides “to discover God’s project” for their life.

Courageous young people

Pope Francis also told the young people that the Church needs courageous young people.

“The world and the Church need courageous young people, who are not afraid of adversity, who confront any difficulty, keeping their eyes and heart open to reality, so that no one may be rejected, fall victim to injustice or violence, or be deprived of their dignity as a human person.”

The Holy Father said he had no doubt their “young hearts” would remain open to the cry for help of their age mates, “who seek freedom, work, studies, and the possibility to give meaning to their lives.”

Open to Christ

Finally, Pope Francis invited them to open themselves to Christ.

“Let him speak to you, embrace you, console you, heal your wounds, and dissolve your doubts and fears. Thus you will be ready for the fascinating adventure of life.”

Jesus, he said, “is with you and awaits from you a resounding ‘Here I am’.”

(from Vatican Radio)



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Pope promises to send special message to FAO meeting in Ethiopia



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis marked World Food Day this week with a visit to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) where he called on world leaders and policymakers to work for a concrete, practical consensus to prevent the most tragic effects of climate change hitting the weakest and most defenseless.

“We need to change our lifestyles, the use of resources, production and consumption patterns,” the Pope said, and he decried what he described as the “negligence” that is damaging the “delicate balances of the ecosystems” and the “arrogance of manipulating and controlling” the planet.

Hosting the Pope at FAO’s Headquarters in Rome was FAO Director-General, José Graziano da Silva, who immediately afterwards spoke to Vatican Radio:

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Da Silva points out that the Vatican has Permanent Observer Status at FAO but most important, he says, as the spiritual leader of the Catholic Church he represents values that FAO shares: solidarity, dignity, and hope in a better world.

“We share those values in FAO and Pope Francis is a continuing inspiration for us, and not only through ‘Laudato Sì’ where he approaches the issue of climate change – a very important common global value” he says.

He says that Pope Francis is one of those rare people who have dedicated their entire lives to promoting important values: “these people are indispensable”.

“I think that Pope Francis is one of those people who have worked hard all of their lives and that he is one of the few indispensable people in the world today” he says.

Before addressing his audience at FAO, da Silva says he had the opportunity to speak with Pope Francis personally about some of the programmes his organization shares with the Vatican.

“We discussed particularly the need to concentrate our efforts in Africa and to stop the conflicts, and also to deal with the impact of climate change” he says.

Da Silva also revealed that Pope Francis promised to send a special message for the meeting that FAO is organizing during the African Union Summit that FAO is organizing next January 2018 in Addis Ababa.      

 

(from Vatican Radio)



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Pope Francis: Message to mark 100 years of the Pontifical Oriental Institute


(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a Message to the Grand Chancellor of the Pontifical Oriental Institute, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, who is also the Prefect of the Congregation for Oriental Churches.

The Pontificium Institutum Orientale, or “Orientale” as it is known in Roman shorthand, was founded in 1917 by Pope Benedict XV, and became part of the “Gregorian Consortium” including also the University and the Biblical Institute, under the direction and tutelage of the Society of Jesus.

In his Message, Pope Francis makes note of the high achievements in the twofold mission of research into liturgical, theological, ecclesiological, and spiritual sources of the Christian East, and the preparation of instruments by which to make the riches of the Eastern Christianity more readily available and accessible to Christians in the West.

The Pope also calls on the Orientale to mindfulness of and solicitude for the enormous challenges facing Christians in the East.

“Keeping intact the attention and application of traditional research,” Pope Francis writes, “This Institute, through research, teaching and testimony, has the task of helping our [Eastern] brothers and sisters to strengthen and consolidate their faith in the face of the tremendous challenges they face,” challenges which, in the present day, include strong temptations to leave their native homelands, and often forced displacement under threat of persecution and even martyrdom.

The Holy Father concludes his message, “In joining myself to the thanksgivings to God for the work it has done over these 100 years, I hope that the Pontifical Oriental Institute will pursue its mission with renewed impetus, studying and spreading with love and intellectual honesty, with scientific rigor and pastoral perspective, the traditions of the Oriental churches in their liturgical, theological, artistic and canonical variety, better and better responding to the expectations of today’s world to create a future of reconciliation and peace.”

(from Vatican Radio)



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Pope to focus on “fake news” in message for World Communications Day 2018‎



(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis will focus on the harmful effects of fake news against journalism for peace, in his message for peace for World Communications Day next year.  ““The truth will set you free” (Jn 8:32). Fake news and journalism for peace,” is the theme of the annual Catholic Church observance that the Pope announced with a post on Twitter (@Pontifex) on Friday.

World Communications Day, the only worldwide celebration called for by the Second Vatican ‎Council ‎‎(“Inter Mirifica”, 1963), is marked in most countries, on the recommendation of the bishops of ‎the ‎world, on the Sunday before Pentecost, which in 2018 will fall on May 13.  In some countries, the day is marked as the solemnity of Ascension.

The announcement of the ‎theme is traditionally made on Sept. 29, the feast of the Archangels Michael, ‎Raphael and Gabriel, with ‎Gabriel being designated the patron saint of telecommunications

The Holy ‎Father’s message for World ‎Communications Day is traditionally published in conjunction with January ‎‎24, feast of St. Francis de ‎Sales, patron of journalists, to allow bishops’ conferences, diocesan offices and ‎communications ‎organizations sufficient time to prepare audiovisual and other materials for national ‎and local ‎celebrations. ‎ ‎

The first World Communications Day was observed on May 7, 1967, under the pontificate of Blessed Pope Paul VI, who wanted to draw attention to the communications media and the enormous power they have for cultural transformation.  Next year’s observance will be the 52nd edition.

Church’s contribution

Commenting on the theme of next year’s World Communications Day, the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communication said that false information contributes to creating and fueling strong polarization of opinions. This often consists in distortion of facts, with possible “repercussions on individual ‎and collective behaviours.”  In a situation in which social media groups, institutions and the political world are reacting to this phenomenon, the Secretariat said, “the Church would like make its contribution by proposing a ‎reflection on the causes, logic and consequences of misinformation in the media and helping to promote ‎professional journalism, always seeking the truth, and thus a journalism of peace that promotes ‎understanding among people.‎”  

(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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The Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation: Joint message



(Vatican Radio) The Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation is being marked today September 1 and has special importance in this its third year.

It is a Joint Message which was released on Friday morning from Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who for the first time are writing together on Themes of the Day, inviting all the faithful and men of good will to prayer and to reflect on how to live in a simple and solid manner, responsibly using earthly goods.

The Day of Prayer for the Creation of the Creation was instituted by Pope Francis in 2015. The Orthodox Church has commemorated the Day since 1989. 

Below find the English Language translation of the Joint Message from Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew

 

JOINT MESSAGE

of  Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew

on the World Day of Prayer for Creation

The story of creation presents us with a panoramic view of the world. Scripture reveals that, “in the beginning”, God intended humanity to cooperate in the preservation and protection of the natural environment. At first, as we read in Genesis, “no plant of the field was yet in the earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up – for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was no one to till the ground” (2:5). The earth was entrusted to us as a sublime gift and legacy, for which all of us share responsibility until, “in the end”, all things in heaven and on earth will be restored in Christ (cf. Eph 1:10). Our human dignity and welfare are deeply connected to our care for the whole of creation.

However, “in the meantime”, the history of the world presents a very different context. It reveals a morally decaying scenario where our attitude and behaviour towards creation obscures our calling as God’s co-operators. Our propensity to interrupt the world’s delicate and balanced ecosystems, our insatiable desire to manipulate and control the planet’s limited resources, and our greed for limitless profit in markets – all these have alienated us from the original purpose of creation. We no longer respect nature as a shared gift; instead, we regard it as a private possession. We no longer associate with nature in order to sustain it; instead, we lord over it to support our own constructs.

The consequences of this alternative worldview are tragic and lasting. The human environment and the natural environment are deteriorating together, and this deterioration of the planet weighs upon the most vulnerable of its people. The impact of climate change affects, first and foremost, those who live in poverty in every corner of the globe. Our obligation to use the earth’s goods responsibly implies the recognition of and respect for all people and all living creatures. The urgent call and challenge to care for creation are an invitation for all of humanity to work towards sustainable and integral development.

Therefore, united by the same concern for God’s creation and acknowledging the earth as a shared good, we fervently invite all people of goodwill to dedicate a time of prayer for the environment on 1 September.  On this occasion, we wish to offer thanks to the loving Creator for the noble gift of creation and to pledge commitment to its care and preservation for the sake of future generations. After all, we know that we labour in vain if the Lord is not by our side (cf. Ps 126-127), if prayer is not at the centre of our reflection and celebration. Indeed, an objective of our prayer is to change the way we perceive the world in order to change the way we relate to the world. The goal of our promise is to be courageous in embracing greater simplicity and solidarity in our lives.

We urgently appeal to those in positions of social and economic, as well as political and cultural, responsibility to hear the cry of the earth and to attend to the needs of the marginalized, but above all to respond to the plea of millions and support the consensus of the world for the healing of our wounded creation. We are convinced that there can be no sincere and enduring resolution to the challenge of the ecological crisis and climate change unless the response is concerted and collective, unless the responsibility is shared and accountable, unless we give priority to solidarity and service.

 

From the Vatican and from the Phanar, 1 September 2017

 

   Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew

 

(from Vatican Radio)



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Pope Francis: video message to Jasna Gora pilgrims



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis sent a video message to pilgrims participating in celebrations for the Feast of Our Lady of Czestochowa on Saturday at her shrine in the central Polish city.

300th anniversary celebrations

This year marks the 300th anniversary of the coronation of the Black Madonna, as the icon of our lady housed in the shrine in the monastery of Jasna Gora is also known.

Mary our tender Mother

In his remarks, the Holy Father says, “The sacred image, in fact, shows us that Mary is not a distant Queen, who sits on a throne, but the Mother who embraces the Son, and with Him, all of us, her children.” The Holy Father also says, “She is a true Mother, with her visage signed, a Mother who suffers because she truly takes to heart the problems of our lives. She is a Mother who is close by, who never lets us out of her sight – a tender Mother, who holds us by the hand on our daily journey.”

No one an orphan

Pope Francis goes on to say, “Let this be the propitious time, in which to feel that no one of us is an orphan.”



(from Vatican Radio)



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Pope Francis: video message to Ezeiza student-inmates



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Thursday sent a video message to the student-inmates of the Centro de estudiantes universitarios de Ezeiza, a higher education initiative attached to the Ezeiza prison complex.

The university centre, which began in 1994 in connection with a project of the University of Buenos Aires, teaches primarily sociology and applied sciences, including computer science and information technology.

Pope Francis has made regular phone calls to the inmates who study in the centre, which is beginning a new music programme.

Remarks to student-inmates

In his message, Pope Francis says, “The inmates are serving a penal sentence – a sentence for errors they have committed. Let us not forget, however, that, for punishment to be fruitful, it must have a horizon of hope, otherwise it remains locked in itself and is only an instrument of torture, it is not fruitful.”

The Holy Father goes on to say that what is needed is specifically the hope for social reintegration, for which social formation is a necessary ingredient.

Click below to hear our report



“That,” he says, addressing himself directly to the student-inmates, “is what you are doing,” i.e. looking to the future with hope.

“With this new music course you are looking toward social reintegration, [and] you are already reintegrating yourselves through your studies with the University of Buenos Aires.”

Punishment with a horizon of hope

“This,” he continues, “is a punishment with hope, a punishment with a horizon. Let me say once again: problems are there and will be there, but the horizon is bigger than the problems. Hope goes beyond all problems.”

The Holy Father also thanked the founders, directors, faculty and staff of the Ezeiza university centre, and asked the students to remember him in their prayers.

Below, the full video in the original Spanish

 

(from Vatican Radio)



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Pope sends video message to Church in Peru



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a video message to Catholics in Peru, ahead of his planned pastoral visit there next January. The short video message was published on the website of the archdiocese of Lima by Archbishop Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne.

Listen to our report: 

In the message Pope Francis talks about the wealth of human resources that characterize the past and present of the Church in the South American nation. Peru has many great saints, he says, who have contributed to the building up of the Church, helping it to move from fragmentation to unity.

Saints work for unity

A saint, the pope continues, is someone who always work to create unity, just as Jesus did, and a saint must always follow in his footsteps.

In the video the pope invites all Peruvians to follow on this path and to work for unity, looking to the future with hope, rather than with bitterness or skepticism. A Christian always looks ahead with hope, he concludes, because he or she always hopes to see the realization of what the Lord has promised.

Pope to visit Chile and Peru

Pope Francis is scheduled to travel to Chile and Peru from January 15th to 21st, visiting the Peruvian cities of Puerto Maldonado and Trujillo, as well as the capital Lima.

(from Vatican Radio)



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