Tag - Christian

Pope encourages Methodists and Waldensians to walk path to full Christian unity



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has urged Methodist and Waldensian Churches to continue to walk together with the Catholic Church on the path towards full Christian unity pointing out that in a world lacerated by violence and fear it is all the more important to live and to convey the Christian message of welcome and fraternity.  

The Pope’s words of friendship and closeness came in a message on Monday to the annual Synod of the Italian Methodist and Waldensian Churches taking place in Torre Pellice – near Turin – from 20 to 25 August.

Recalling recent encounters between the Churches and a shared celebration of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, the Pope said “May Jesus’ gaze brighten our relationship so that it is never just formal or proper, but fraternal and lively.”

“The Good Shepherd – he continued – wants us to walk together and his gaze embraces all of his disciples whom He wants to see fully united”.

Francis also said that to walk towards full unity with the hope that derives from the knowledge that God’s presence is stronger than evil, is all the more important today, “in a world scarred by violence and fear, by wounds and indifference, in which the egoism of self-affirmation to the detriment of others overshadows the simple beauty of welcome, sharing and loving”.

“Our Christian witness, he said, must not yield to the logic of the world: let’s help each other to choose and live the logic of Christ.”

At the Synod some 180 representatives of the Methodist and Waldensian Churches – both pastors and lay people in equal number – will be deciding on Church programmes for the coming year, and will be electing their executive and administrative bodies.

(from Vatican Radio)



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Pope at Audience: ‘Divine mercy is foundation of Christian hope’



(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis continued his catechesis on Christian hope with pilgrims gathered in the Paul VI Hall for the Wednesday General Audience, saying that God’s mercy as embodied by Jesus both transforms us and renews our hope.

Listen to Devin Watkins’ report:



In his address to pilgrims at the Wednesday General Audience, Pope Francis spoke about God’s mercy and forgiveness as the driving force or the “motor” of Christian hope.

He reflected on the passage in Luke’s Gospel (Lk 7:44-50) in which Jesus forgives the sins of the woman who bathed his feet with her tears and a precious ointment.

Pope Francis said that Jesus’ merciful action causes scandal, because it overturns the dominant attitude of his time. Jesus, he said, embraced sinners and the “untouchables” of his day, rather than rejecting them as was commonplace.

“Jesus, faced with human pain, feels mercy; Jesus’ heart is merciful. Jesus feels compassion. Literally: Jesus feels a tremor within.”

The Pope said Jesus’ astonishing attitude to those in desperate situations, even those who have made many mistakes in life, marks our Christian identity with the stamp of mercy.

And this gives a sure foundation to our hope.

Pope Francis then invited all present to reflect on the cost of sin.

“Jesus does not go to the cross because He heals the sick, preaches charity, or proclaims the beatitudes. The Son of God goes to the cross above all because He forgives sins, and because He wants the total and definitive liberation of the human heart.”

Finally, Pope Francis said God’s mercy both transforms us and renews our hope.

“[W]e are all poor sinners, in need of the mercy of God Who has the strength to transform us and to restore our hope every day.”

(from Vatican Radio)



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Pope’s Message to World Movement of Christian Workers



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a Message to the International Meeting of the World Movement of Christian Workers which has been taking place in Ávila, Spain, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of its foundation.

120 delegates representing the Movement, present today in 79 countries are attending the event. The theme of the meeting is, “Land, Home and Work for a Worthy Life”. The message, signed by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, stresses that “the dignity of the person is closely united to these three realities” that remind us that the fundamental experience of the human being “is to feel rooted in the world, in one Family, in a society. “

“Land, home, and work – continues the Message – means fighting because every person lives in a manner consistent with his dignity and nobody is discarded. To this we encourage our faith in God, who sent his Son into the world because, sharing the story of his people, living in a family and working with his hands, he could redeem and save the human person with his Death and resurrection “.

Finally, the Pope urges the Christian Workers Movement “to persevere with renewed impetus in the effort to bring the Gospel into the world of work”.

(from Vatican Radio)



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Pope Francis: Taking care of the sick, a reminder of Christian grace



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Monday received the Italian League for the Fight against Tumors, stressing the importance of accompanying families and those on the margins on the path of prevention and cure.

Listen to this report:



Thanking those gathered for their commitment, Pope Francis told them that their  work was a very useful tool of awareness and training, adding that there was a real need to promote  a culture of life, based on attitudes and behaviors.

The League’s commitment to the fight against cancerous tumours is based mainly on three fronts: primary prevention in the form of lifestyle, promotion of a culture of early diagnosis and rehabilitation and social reintegration with attention to the family unit.

In particular the Pope noted, that families need to be accompanied on a path of prevention; A path he said, that involves the various generations.

But he also said, that  equally valuable was the collaboration of volunteers from the league who provide assistance to families, so that they can continue their everyday lives.

Another aspect the Holy Father touched on was the pastoral help of the ecclesial community who are called by vocation and mission, he observed to be at the service of  those who suffer.

During his discourse the Pope stressed the importance of helping those on the peripheries of society who have to deal with a disease like cancer, saying that every Christian filled with a desire to do good, “is a conscious instrument of grace.”

In conclusion, Pope Francis said that “Taking care”, of the sick was an invaluable wealth for society and was a reminder to  the entire civil and ecclesial community of the importance of  offering support, comfort and tenderness.

 

 

(from Vatican Radio)



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Pope at audience: Christian hope is born on Easter morning



(Vatican Radio) Our faith was born with the Risen Jesus on Easter morning. That was Pope Francis message at his General Audience on Wednesday as he continued his catechesis on the meaning of our Christian hope.

Listen to our report



Reflecting on the words of St Paul to the early Christian community in Corinth, the Pope said Jesus himself is our hope and his resurrection is the event that grounds our faith. Without it, he said, Christianity would be a mere human philosophy and Jesus would simply be another great religious figure.

Pope Francis said our belief is based on the testimony of those who encountered the risen Christ, from Saint Peter and the group of the twelve disciples, to Saint Paul, who was converted by his dramatic meeting with the Lord on the road to Damascus.  Following that encounter, Paul, who previously persecuted Christians, becomes instead an apostle of the faith.

Faith is a surprise, a grace

The Pope said that encountering Christ in faith is always a surprise; it is a grace given to those whose hearts are open.  It overturns our comfortable existence and opens us to an unexpected future, sowing life and light in place of death and sorrow.  Even though we are all sinners, he said, we too can go to the tomb, see the stone rolled away and realise that God has an unexpected future for each one of us.

Jesus lives in our midst

This is the reason for our Easter joy, the Pope said: in the risen Jesus, who dwells in our midst, we encounter the power of God’s love, which triumphs over death, bringing new life and undying hope. During this Easter season, he concluded, let us continue to cry from our hearts that Jesus is risen and lives among us here, today.

(from Vatican Radio)



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Pope Francis prays for persecuted Christian communities

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

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

Listen to our report:

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

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

Solidarity and welcome

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

Transformed by the Spirit

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

Corageous witness of faith

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

(from Vatican Radio)

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