Tag - Francis

Pope Francis to lead Prayer for Peace in South Sudan and DRC



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis is to preside over a Prayer for Peace in South Sudan and in the Democratic Republic of Congo on November 23rd in St. Peter’s Basilica at 5.30pm Rome time.

Solidarity with South Sudan” in association with the Justice and Peace office of religious organizations worldwide, has organized the Prayer and confirmed that when Pope Francis heard of the initiative he made it known that he wanted to be personally involved. 

Christians across the world are invited to pray together on that day and time for Peace in the world, and above all in South Sudan and in DRC, two conflict ravaged nations in which millions of displaced people are suffering the effects of terrible humanitarian crises.

Sr. Yudith Pereira Rico, the Associate Executive Director of Solidarity in Rome, told journalists that the main thing people ask her to do when she travels to South Sudan, is to tell the world what is happening in their country.

The world’s newest country spiraled into civil war in late 2013, two years after gaining independence from Sudan, causing one fourth of the 15 million-strong population to flee their homes.

Sister Yudith described the continuing violence and abuse taking place in South Sudan as “Silent Genocide”.

She told Linda Bordoni what it means for the suffering people of South Sudan to know that the Pope and Christians across the world are praying for them:

Listen:

Sister Yudith said that for them, to know that people outside of South Sudan, in Rome, and in other places are praying for them, is to know that “we have the world with us”.

“For them it a source of strength and hope for the future to feel that they are not alone, and this is important because otherwise where can they find the courage to resist what they are enduring now as refugees, victims…” she said.

And highlighting the many abuses the most vulnerable people are enduring including the use of rape as a weapon of war, Sr Yudith said “to know that people are talking about this means that they too, as human beings count”.

“They feel they don’t count for anybody: for politicians they don’t count, they don’t exist – they are only fighting for power and for money.”

She says most people don’t even know where South Sudan is or the fact that it is the newt country.

To acknowledge and to pray for them, she said, is to give them dignity and saying “we are with you”.

She said that notwithstanding the terrible events that caused the new nation to disintegrate into conflict the people still want to be one.

She explained that they came from 20 years of war, they did not have a national identity, and while the warmongers are vying for power and control the new generations, the women and all ordinary people are convinced they can all live together peacefully.

Sr Yudith also spoke of Pope Francis’ interest in the nation and of how it has positively impacted the desire to set in motion some kind of peace process.

“He is waiting for them to begin something so he can come and lend his support, but they have to begin…” she said.
       

(from Vatican Radio)



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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 at General Audience: English Summary



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has begun a new series of catecheses focussing on the Eucharist. He was addressing the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the weekly General Audience.

Please find below the English Summary of the Pope’s cathechesis:

Dear Brothers and Sisters:  Today begins a new series of catecheses devoted to the Eucharist.  The Mass is the very “heart” of the Church and the source of her life.  How many martyrs have died to defend the Eucharist!  Their witness confirms our Lord’s promise that by partaking of his body and blood we pass with him from death to life (cf. Jn 6:54).  At every celebration of Mass, our lives, offered in union with Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, become, in him, an offering of praise and thanksgiving pleasing to the Father, for the salvation of the world.  The liturgical renewal called for by Second Vatican Council sought to help the faithful understand more fully and share more fruitfully in the Eucharist.  At Mass, Jesus becomes truly present and allows us in some way, like the Apostle Thomas, to touch his flesh and renew our faith in him.   In coming weeks, we will seek to grow in our appreciation of this great gift, so as to share more fully in its spiritual riches and beauty, which give ultimate meaning and direction to our lives.

(from Vatican Radio)



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Pope Francis meets ‘The Elders’ to discuss global concerns



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis had a private meeting at Santa Marta on Monday afternoon with members of The Elders, an independent group of global leaders working for peace and human rights around the world.

The Elders was established 10 years ago by former South African President Nelson Mandela and is currently marking the group’s 10th anniversary with a campaign called “Walk Together”  – continuing Mandela’s long walk to freedom.

Just after the audience, Philippa Hitchen spoke to two of the founding members of The Elders, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and Mary Robinson, former Irish President, former UN high commissioner for human rights and, more recently, UN envoy on climate change. Philippa began by asking Kofi Annan about the issues they were able to discuss during their papal audience…

Listen:



The former UN leader says it was important for four representatives of the group to come to the Vatican because they share many common interests and values. He says they wanted to engage with Pope Francis and “discuss how we can work together, how we can pool our efforts on some of these issues”.

Peace, migration, climate change, gender equality

Among the areas of discussion, he continues, were the questions of migration, nuclear weapons peace, mediation and conflicts, as well as climate change and gender equality, that is “the importance of giving women a voice and respecting their role”. He adds “I hope this will be the first of many meetings”.

Shared efforts to be a voice for marginalised

Former Irish President Mary Robinson says the group came to express “an appreciation for the role he is playing and the fact that he, like The Elders, is trying to be a voice for the voiceless and the marginalized, trying to deal with the most difficult areas of conflict.

She says they also spoke about countries including Venezuela and Congo, as well as focusing on climate change, all issues, she notes, where “the pope has given leadership”.

Common values, common sense of purpose

Robinson says she was also struck by the “warmth and affection and humour” in their meeting. “I was very struck by how relaxed the pope was with us, how much he joked”, she says, adding that Pope Francis seemed to “feel at home” as they discussed “common values, a common moral purpose, common problems”

I think he could be a future ‘Elder’, Annan says and Robinson quips, “I think he’s a Super Elder”.

Over the coming days we will be featuring further excerpts from this interview, as Kofi Annan and Mary Robinson discuss the COP23 climate conference, gender equality in politics, the role of diplomacy and peacemaking, migration and refugees, as well as the situation in Myanmar as Pope Francis prepares to travel there at the end of November.

(from Vatican Radio)



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Pope Francis warns warmongers: the only fruit of war is death



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis celebrated the Feast of All Souls Day on Thursday commemorating all those who have died in war, reminding humanity not to forget past lessons and warning that the only fruit yielded by conflict is death. 

His words of warning and his powerful condemnation of warmongers came during his homily at the Sicily-Rome American War Cemetery some 50 kilometers south of Rome.

Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni:



Taking the occasion to reiterate his deep conviction that “wars produce nothing more than cemeteries and death” the Pope said he chose to visit a war cemetery as a sign “in a moment when our humanity seems not to have learned the lesson, or doesn’t want to learn it.” 

The Nettuno US War Cemetery and Memorial is the final resting place for thousands of men who died during military operations carried out to liberate Italy –  from Sicily to Rome – from Nazi Germany.  Its chapel contains a list of the 3095 missing.

Pope Francis arrived at the War Cemetery early in the afternoon so that he could spend time reflecting and paying his personal respects to the 7,860 – mostly young – soldiers who gave their lives in the name of freedom and respect for humanity.

Walking in poignant silence between the rows and rows of tombstones, Pope Francis bowed to read some of the names and dates inscribed in the white marble: stark reminders of the fact – as he stated during his homily – that the only fruit of war is death.

Please God: no more war

To the somber congregation gathered on this holy day to honour all those who have died, Pope Francis said he chose to come to a place where thousands died in bloody combat, to appeal to the Lord – yet again “Please God: stop them. No more war. No more useless carnage.”

The Pope delivered his off-the-cuff homily with an emotion charged by the dramatic setting provided by hundreds of thousands of graves of young men whose hopes – he said – were cruelly severed, at a time in which the world is again at war and is even preparing to step-up war.

“Please God – he prayed – everything is lost with war”

There are men today who are doing everything to declare war and step up conflict

“There are men, Francis said, who are doing everything to declare war and to enter into conflict. They end up destroying themselves and everything.”

Remarking on the fact that today is a day of hope, but also of tears, he said that the tears wept by those who have lost husbands, sons and friends at war should never be forgotten.

Humanity does not seem to want to learn the lesson

“But humanity, the Pope continued, has not learnt the lesson and seems not to want to learn the lesson”.

Let us pray, he said, in a special way for all those young people caught up in conflict, “many of whom are dying every day in this piecemeal war”.

And he remembered the thousands of innocent children who are also paying the price of war.

“Let us ask the Lord, Pope Francis concluded, to give us the grace to weep”.        

 

 

 

(from Vatican Radio)



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Pope Francis prays for terror attack victims



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis, during his Angelus address on the feast of All Saints on Wednesday, expressed his deep sorrow following recent terrorist attacks in Somalia, Afghanistan and on Tuesday in New York.

Speaking from the window of his studio in the Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father deplored such acts of violence, adding, “I pray for the deceased, for the wounded and their family members. We ask the Lord to convert the hearts of terrorists and free the world from hatred and homicidal folly that abuses the name of God spreading death.”

Following the recitation of the Marian Prayer, the Pope had a special greeting for participants of the Race of the Saints mini marathon which was run in celebration of this feast day.

Before concluding his address, the Pope reminded the faithful that he would be travelling to the American Cemetery of Nettuno, South of Rome and then to the Fosse Ardeatine National Monument on November 2nd to mark the feast on Feast of all Souls. Pope Francis, said,” I ask you to accompany me with prayer in these two stages of memory and suffrage for the victims of war and violence. Wars produce nothing but cemeteries and death: that is why I wanted to give this sign at a time when our humanity seems not to have learned the lesson or does not want to learn it.”

 

(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 Francis: letter to Card. Filoni on World Mission Sunday



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a letter to the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, on occasion of the 2017 iteration of World Mission Sunday. In the letter, the Holy Father reflects on the upcoming centenary of the great missionary charter of the 20th century, the Apostolic Letter Maximum illud of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XV, promulgated on November 30th, 1919.

Below, please find the full text of the letter in its official English translation

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

To my Venerable Brother
Cardinal Fernando Filoni
Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples

On 30 November 2019, we will celebrate the hundredth anniversary of the promulgation of the Apostolic Letter Maximum Illud, with which Pope Benedict XV sought to give new impetus to the missionary task of proclaiming the Gospel.  In 1919, in the wake of a tragic global conflict that he himself called a “useless slaughter,”[1] the Pope recognized the need for a more evangelical approach to missionary work in the world, so that it would be purified of any colonial overtones and kept far away from the nationalistic and expansionistic aims that had proved so disastrous.  “The Church of God is universal; she is not alien to any people,”[2] he wrote, firmly calling for the rejection of any form of particular interest, inasmuch as the proclamation and the love of the Lord Jesus, spread by holiness of one’s life and good works, are the sole purpose of missionary activity.  Benedict XV thus laid special emphasis on the missio ad gentes, employing the concepts and language of the time, in an effort to revive, particularly among the clergy, a sense of duty towards the missions.

That duty is a response to Jesus’ perennial command to “go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature” (Mk 16:15).  Obeying this mandate of the Lord is not an option for the Church: in the words of the Second Vatican Council, it is her “essential task,”[3] for the Church is “missionary by nature.”[4]  “Evangelizing is in fact the grace and vocation proper to the Church, her deepest identity; she exists in order to evangelize.”[5]  The Council went on to say that, if the Church is to remain faithful to herself and to preach Jesus crucified and risen for all, the living and merciful Saviour, then “prompted by the Holy Spirit, she must walk the same path Christ walked: a path of poverty and obedience, of service and self-sacrifice.”[6]  In this way, she will effectively proclaim the Lord, “model of that redeemed humanity, imbued with brotherly love, sincerity and a peaceful spirit, to which all aspire.”[7]

 What Pope Benedict XV so greatly desired almost a century ago, and the Council reiterated some fifty years ago, remains timely.  Even now, as in the past, “the Church, sent by Christ to reveal and to communicate the love of God to all men and nations, is aware that there still remains an enormous missionary task for her to accomplish.”[8]  In this regard, Saint John Paul II noted that “the mission of Christ the Redeemer, which is entrusted to the Church, is still very far from completion,” and indeed, “an overall view of the human race shows that this mission is still only beginning and that we must commit ourselves wholeheartedly to its service.”[9]  As a result, in words that I would now draw once more to everyone’s attention, Saint John Paul exhorted the Church to undertake a “renewed missionary commitment”, in the conviction that missionary activity “renews the Church, revitalizes faith and Christian identity, and offers fresh enthusiasm and new incentive.  Faith is strengthened when it is given to others!  It is in commitment to the Church’s universal mission that the new evangelization of Christian peoples will find inspiration and support.”[10]

In my Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, drawing from the proceedings of the Thirteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which met to reflect on the new evangelization for the transmission of the Christian faith, I once more set this urgent summons before the whole Church.  There I wrote, “John Paul II asked us to recognize that ‘there must be no lessening of the impetus to preach the Gospel’ to those who are far from Christ, ‘because this is the first task of the Church.’  Indeed, ‘today missionary activity still represents the greatest challenge for the Church’ and ‘the missionary task must remain foremost.’ What would happen if we were to take these words seriously?  We would realize that missionary outreach is paradigmatic for all the Church’s activity.”[11] 

I am convinced that this challenge remains as urgent as ever. “[It] has a programmatic significance and important consequences.  I hope that all communities will devote the necessary effort to advancing along the path of a pastoral and missionary conversion that cannot leave things as they presently are.  ‘Mere administration’ can no longer be enough.  Throughout the world, let us be ‘permanently in a state of mission.’”[12]  Let us not fear to undertake, with trust in God and great courage, “a missionary option capable of transforming everything, so that the Church’s customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can be suitably channeled for the evangelization of today’s world rather than for her self-preservation.  The renewal of structures demanded by pastoral conversion can only be understood in this light: as part of an effort to make them more mission-oriented, to make ordinary pastoral activity on every level more inclusive and open, to inspire in pastoral workers a constant desire to go forth and in this way to elicit a positive response from all those whom Jesus summons to friendship with himself.  As John Paul II told the Bishops of Oceania, ‘All renewal in the Church must have mission as its goal if it is not to fall prey to a kind of ecclesial introversion.’”[13]

The Apostolic Letter Maximum Illud called for transcending national boundaries and bearing witness, with prophetic spirit and evangelical boldness, to God’s saving will through the Church’s universal mission.  May the approaching centenary of that Letter serve as an incentive to combat the recurring temptation lurking beneath every form of ecclesial introversion, self-referential retreat into comfort zones, pastoral pessimism and sterile nostalgia for the past.  Instead, may we be open to the joyful newness of the Gospel.  In these, our troubled times, rent by the tragedies of war and menaced by the baneful tendency to accentuate differences and to incite conflict, may the Good News that in Jesus forgiveness triumphs over sin, life defeats death and love conquers fear, be proclaimed to the world with renewed fervour, and instil trust and hope in everyone.

In the light of this, accepting the proposal of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, I hereby call for an Extraordinary Missionary Month to be celebrated in October 2019, with the aim of fostering an increased awareness of the missio ad gentes and taking up again with renewed fervour the missionary transformation of the Church’s life and pastoral activity.  The Missionary Month of October 2018 can serve as a good preparation for this celebration by enabling all the faithful to take to heart the proclamation of the Gospel and to help their communities grow in missionary and evangelizing zeal.  May the love for the Church’s mission, which is “a passion for Jesus and a passion for his people,”[14] grow ever stronger!

I entrust you, venerable Brother, the Congregation which you head, and the Pontifical Missionary Societies with the work of preparing for this event, especially by raising awareness among the particular Churches, the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, and among associations, movements, communities and other ecclesial bodies.  May the Extraordinary Missionary Month prove an intense and fruitful occasion of grace, and promote initiatives and above all prayer, the soul of all missionary activity.  May it likewise advance the preaching of the Gospel, biblical and theological reflection on the Church’s mission, works of Christian charity, and practical works of cooperation and solidarity between Churches, so that missionary zeal may revive and never be wanting among us.[15]

From the Vatican, 22 October 2017
XXIX Sunday of Ordinary Time
Memorial of Saint John Paul II
World Mission Sunday

[1] Letter to the Leaders of the Warring Peoples, 1 August 1917: AAS IX (1917), 421-423.

[2] Benedict XV, Apostolic Letter Maximum Illud, 30 November 1919: AAS 11 (1919), 445.

[3] Decree on the Missionary Activity of the Church Ad Gentes, 7 December 1965, 7: AAS 58 (1966), 955.

[4] Ibid., 2: AAS 58 (1966), 948.

[5] Paul VI, Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi, 8 December 1975, 14: AAS 68 (1976), 13.

[6] Decree Ad Gentes, 5: AAS 58 (1966), 952.

[7] Ibid., 8: AAS 58 (1966), 956-957.

[8] Ibid., 10: AAS 58 (1966), 959.

[9] Encyclical Letter Redemptoris Missio, 7 December 1990, 1: AAS 83 (1991), 249.

[10] Ibid., 2: AAS 83 (1991), 250-251.

[11] Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium 15: AAS 105 (2013), 1026.

[12] Ibid., 25: AAS 105 (2013), 1030.

[13] Ibid., 27: AAS 105 (2013), 1031.

[14] Ibid., 268: AAS 105 (2013), 1128.

[15] Ibid., 80: AAS 105 (2013), 1053.

(from Vatican Radio)



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Pope Francis canonizes 35 new saints



(Vatican Radio) Inviting all faithful to practice Christian love every day, Pope Francis on Sunday canonized 35 new saints, nearly all of them martyrs, holding them up as models who “point the way”.

To the over 35,000 pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Canonization Mass, he said “They did not say a fleeting ‘yes’ to love, they said ‘yes’ with their lives and to the very end”.  

Those canonized included thirty martyrs, both priests and lay persons, who suffered anti-Catholic persecution in 1645 at the hands of Dutch Calvinists in Brazil, while three indigenous children in 16th century Mexico were martyred for refusing to renounce their Catholic faith and return to their ancient traditions. The other two new saints are a 20th-century priest from Spain and an Italian priest who died in 1739.

Please find below the full text of the Pope’s homily for the Mass of Canonization:

The parable we have just heard describes the Kingdom of God as a wedding feast (cf. Mt 22:1-14).  The central character is the king’s son, the bridegroom, in whom we can easily see Jesus.  The parable makes no mention of the bride, but only of the guests who were invited and expected, and those who wore the wedding garments. We are those guests, because the Lord wants “to celebrate the wedding” with us.  The wedding inaugurates a lifelong fellowship, the communion God wants to enjoy with all of us.  Our relationship with him, then, has to be more than that of devoted subjects with their king, faithful servants with their master, or dedicated students with their teacher.  It is above all the relationship of a beloved bride with her bridegroom.  In other words, the Lord wants us, he goes out to seek us and he invites us.  For him, it is not enough that we should do our duty and obey his laws.  He desires a true communion of life with us, a relationship based on dialogue, trust and forgiveness.

Such is the Christian life, a love story with God.  The Lord freely takes the initiative and no one can claim to be the only one invited.  No one has a better seat than anyone else, for all enjoy God’s favour.  The Christian life is always born and reborn of this tender, special and privileged love.  We can ask ourselves if at least once a day we tell the Lord that we love him; if we remember, among everything else we say, to tell him daily, “Lord, I love you; you are my life”.  Because once love is lost, the Christian life becomes empty.  It becomes a body without a soul, an impossible ethic, a collection of rules and laws to obey for no good reason.  The God of life, however, awaits a response of life.  The Lord of love awaits a response of love.  Speaking to one of the Churches in the Book of Revelation, God makes an explicit reproach: “You have abandoned your first love” (cf. Rev 2:4).  This is the danger – a Christian life that becomes routine, content with “normality”, without drive or enthusiasm, and with a short memory.  Instead, let us fan into flame the memory of our first love.  We are the beloved, the guests at the wedding, and our life is a gift, because every day is a wonderful opportunity to respond to God’s invitation.

The Gospel, however, warns us that the invitation can be refused.  Many of the invited guests said no, because they were caught up in their own affairs.  “They made light of it and went off, one to his farm, another to his business” (Mt 22:5).  Each was concerned with his own affairs; this is the key to understanding why they refused the invitation.  The guests did not think that the wedding feast would be dreary or boring; they simply “made light of it”.  They were caught up in their own affairs.  They were more interested in having something rather than in risking something, as love demands.  This is how love grows cold, not out of malice but out of a preference for what is our own: our security, our self-affirmation, our comfort…  We settle into the easy chair of profits, pleasures, or a hobby that brings us some happiness.  And we end up aging badly and quickly, because we grow old inside.  When our hearts do not expand, they become closed in on themselves.  When everything depends on me – on what I like, on what serves me best, on what I want – then I become harsh and unbending.  I lash out at people for no reason, like the guests in the Gospel, who treated shamefully and ultimately killed (cf. v. 6) those sent to deliver the invitation, simply because they were bothering them.  

The Gospel asks us, then, where we stand: with ourselves or with God?  Because God is the opposite of selfishness, of self-absorption.  The Gospel tells us that, even before constant rejection and indifference on the part of those whom he invites, God does not cancel the wedding feast. He does not give up, but continues to invite.  When he hears a “no”, he does not close the door, but broadens the invitation.  In the face of wrongs, he responds with an even greater love.  When we are hurt by the unfair treatment of others or their rejection, we frequently harbour grudges and resentment.  God on the other hand, while hurt by our “no”, tries again; he keeps doing good even for those who do evil.  Because this is what love does.  Because this is the only way that evil is defeated.  Today our God, who never abandons hope, tells us to do what he does, to live in true love, to overcome resignation and the whims of our peevish and lazy selves.

There is one last idea that the Gospel emphasizes: the mandatory garment of the invited guests.  It is not enough to respond just once to the invitation, simply to say “yes” and then do nothing else.  Day by day, we have to put on the wedding garment, the “habit” of practising love.  We cannot say, “Lord, Lord”, without experiencing and putting into practice God’s will (cf. Mt 7:21).  We need to put on God’s love and to renew our choice for him daily.  The Saints who were canonized today, and especially the many martyrs, point the way.  They did not say a fleeting “yes” to love; they said they “yes” with their lives and to the very end.  The robe they wore daily was the love of Jesus, that “mad” love that loved us to the end and offered his forgiveness and his robe to those who crucified him.  At baptism we received a white robe, the wedding garment for God.  Let us ask him, through the intercession of the saints, our brothers and sisters, for the grace to decide daily to put on this garment and to keep it spotless.  How can we do this?  Above all, by approaching the Lord fearlessly in order to receive his forgiveness.  This is the one step that counts, for entering into the wedding hall to celebrate with him the feast of love.

(from Vatican Radio)



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Pope Francis receives Vincentian Family



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis received members of the Vincentian Family in St. Peter’s Square on Saturday, in occasion of the 4th centenary of the origin of their charism of service on behalf of the poor.

Vincentians then and now

2017 is a year charged with particular significance for the Vincentians, for it marks the 400th anniversary of  a pair of decisive events in the life of the man we know today as St. Vincent de Paul: on January 25th, the feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, St. Vincent preached “the first sermon of the mission” in Folleville (France), a few days after the confession of a dying man him acutely aware of the spiritual abandonment of the poor country people; and later that year, in August, St.Vincent experienced the material poverty and misery of his parishioners in in Châtillon, because of which he decided to dedicate himself to the work of charity that made him an exemplar of holiness.

Click below to hear our report…



The events that took place in 1617, therefore, mark the origin of the Vincentian charism, which has animated St. Vincent de Paul’s spiritual sons and daughters – the members of the Vincentian Family – through the course of four centuries.

Today, the Vincentian Family has 225 members and affiliate groups, including religious communities and lay associations, which work in more than 80 countries on 5 continents in health care ministry, education and faith formation, and general human promotion and development. They care for the homeless, refugees and displaced persons, orphaned and abandoned children, and single mothers.

Pope Francis to Vincentians: adore, welcome, go forward to serve

In remarks prepared for the 11 thousand members of the Vincentian Family gathered in St. Peter’s Square on Saturday, Pope Francis said, “St. Vincent gave rise to a charitable élan that has endured for centuries.” “Today,” he continued, “I would like to encourage you to continue this journey.”

The Holy Father focused on three forms of action, which he said epitomize the Vincentian charism and are of the essence to Christian life in general: adoration, welcome, and being on the way as pilgrims in the world.

To adore the Lord, “is to place oneself before [Him], with respect, with calm and in silence, giving to Him the first place, and abandoning oneself to Him in faith and trust,” Pope Francis said.

Pope Francis went on to say, “To be welcoming means to resize one’s self, to straighten out one’s  way of thinking, to understand that life is not one’s private property, and that time does not belong to any one of us.”

“Love,” Pope Francis continued, “is dynamic: it goes out of itself; one who loves does not sit in his chair and watch, waiting for the advent of a better world; rather, with enthusiasm and simplicity, he rises and is on his way.”

Vincentians in the Jubilee Year

This year, the leadership of the Vincentian Family are encouraging members to participate in four special activities to celebrate this Jubilee year:

  1. The pilgrimage of the relic of the heart of St. Vincent – which began on January 25th in Folleville, was present at the audience on Saturday in St. Peter’s Square and venerated by Pope Francis, and is being received in each of the 80 countries where Vincentian Family has a presence;
  2. Projects to end homelessness throughout the world in all its forms;
  3. An International Symposium – underway in Rome this weekend – to reflect on the Vincentian mission and charism;
  4. An International Film Festival focusing on the life of St. Vincent de Paul.

You can read and learn more about the Vincentian Family and their common projects for this 400th Jubilee Year here.

(from Vatican Radio)



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