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Card. Amato: martyred Syrian bishop a model of holiness

Thu, 08/27/2015 - 10:02
(Vatican Radio) On Saturday, August 29 th , the venerable Servant of God, Flavyānus Mikhayil Melkī is to be beatified. Melkī was an Eastern Catholic prelate of the Brothers of Saint Ephrem, who became the Syrian Catholic eparch of Gazarta – or what is Cizre in modern-day Turkey, and was  was killed in Gazarta during the sayfo  or "putting to the sword" of Syrians in 1915, after he refused to convert to Islam. Earlier in August, Pope Francis approved Melkī’s beatification after he determined that Melkī  was killed in hatred of the faith. Thus, the beatification date of August 29 th has been set to coincide with the centenary of his martyrdom. Click below to hear our report In an exclusive interview with Vatican Radio, the Prefect of the Congregations for the Causes of Saints, Cardinal Angelo Amato, said that the soon-to-be Blessed Flavyānus Mikhayil Melkī is a model of holiness for our time, in which once again the Christian communities of very ancient standing face the threat of extinction. “Today, as it was one hundred years ago,” said Cardinal Amato, "darkness has fallen in many countries of ancient Christian civilization: the faithful are discriminated against, persecuted, expelled, killed; their houses are not marked with the blood of the Passover lamb to be saved, but with the red ‘Nu’,” for Nasrani or 'One belonging to the Nazarene,' "meaning Christians, as the mark of their sentence.” Cardinal Amato went on to say, “As it was one hundred years ago, at the time of the martyrdom of bishop Melkī, Christians are denied every liberty, they are forced to leave their homeland, or to convert or die.” “In fact,” the Cardinal-Prefect explained, “death reigns supreme in the persecutors’ minds and hearts of stone, who cannot stand the Christian civilization of liberty, respect for others, fraternity justice, charity.” The Beatification ceremony is to be celebrated by the Syrian Catholic Patriarch, His Beatitude Ignatius Youssef III, in Harissa, in the presence of Cardinal Amato and with the participation of Patriarchs and other Church leaders from many rites.    (from Vatican Radio)...

A proposal for a one-hour Eucharistic Adoration - On the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation

Thu, 08/27/2015 - 03:06
The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace has published a proposal to encourage the faithful to organize in their particular Churches an hour of Eucharistic Adoration on the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation on 1 September. The proposal, which opens with a 5-minute audio-visual welcome, is offered on the Dicastery’s website, www.iustitiaetpax.va , under the special section dedicated to the Laudato Si’ . It is available for download in English. The proposed programme for the hour of Eucharistic Adoration offers an introductory Collect from the Orthodox tradition, to be followed by selected passages of the Word of God. First and foremost are passages from Genesis (1:26-2:3 and 2:15), which provide the narrative of Creation and of God’s will to take man “and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it”. This reading is followed by Psalm 148, in which all creatures are called to give praise for the wonders created on the earth: “Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens, praise him in the heights!”. Also proposed is a passage from the Gospel according to Matthew (6:25-33), in which Jesus says that our life is worth more than food, and our body more than clothing: “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”. Three passages from the Laudato Si’ then follow: in the first (nn. 8-9), the Pope recalls that Patriarch Bartholomew “has spoken in particular of the need for each of us to repent of the ways we have harmed the planet, ... ‘inasmuch as we all generate small ecological damage’”. In the second (n. 236), the Pontiff highlights that in the Eucharist “all that has been created finds its greatest exaltation”. In the third (nn. 241-242), the Pope refers to Mary and Joseph, pointing out of the Virgin in particular, that: “Just as her pierced heart mourned the death of Jesus, so now she grieves for the sufferings of the crucified poor and for the creatures of this world laid waste by human power”. The Intercessions call for prayer that Christians seek first God’s kingdom, strive to grow in spirit, to bear much fruit, to work for the good of the Church, and that all generations may share in the goods of creation. The proposed programme concludes with the recitation of the Our Father, the concluding blessing, and a passage from the Pope’s letter of 6 August to Cardinal Turkson and Cardinal Koch for the establishment of the World Day ....

The changing role of women in the Catholic Church

Wed, 08/26/2015 - 11:53
(Vatican Radio) In his Wednesday general audiences throughout this year, Pope Francis has been reflecting on family life, ahead of the Synod of Bishops on the family, due to take place here in the Vatican from October 4th to 25th. In these weekly reflections, the Pope has spoken extensively about the role of parents and particularly about the changing role of women in contemporary society. It is essential, he said, that “women not only be more listened to, but that her voice has real weight, a recognized authoritativeness” both in society and in the Church Among those listening carefully to the Pope’s words is author and theologian Tina Beattie, who teaches Catholic Studies and heads a research centre for Religion, Society and Human Flourishing at the University of Roehampton in southern England. She talked to Philippa Hitchen about her hopes for a more incisive presence of women in the Catholic Church today….. Listen:  Professor Beattie says that this year has seen "a surge of activity around these issues", adding that she believe Pope Francis has "made it alright to address these issues and created spaces in which we can speak more freely than we’ve been able to do for a while"…. Asked about her hopes for the coming months, Beattie says sheI would like to see more women in positions of leadership, suggesting that the Pope "could add some women advisors to the nine cardinals who’re advising him – why not?" as well as including more women in the two new congregations that have been spoken about at part of the Curial reform programme. " We can leave out the most sensitive issues of ordination and still do a great deal to include women, she says. Reacting to the Pope's call for "a profound theology of women", Beattie expresses caution: noting that such a call is really saying the Church lacks a profound theology of the human. "And that’s true", she continues, "this will be the catalyst for a whole new way of understanding theological anthropology…there are many women theologians qualified to contribute – so far not one has ever been quoted or included in formation of official Church teaching." (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope Francis: letter to Hebrew-speaking Catholic community

Wed, 08/26/2015 - 09:10
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has written a letter to Fr. David Neuhaus, SJ, who heads the St. James Vicariate for Hebrew-speaking Catholics in Israel, on the occasion of the 60 th anniversary of the founding of the Vicariate as the Work of St. James – so named after the Apostle who led the Church at Jerusalem in the founding generation. Signed by the Cardinal Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin, the letters states, “The Holy Father was pleased to learn of the celebrations marking the sixtieth anniversary of the Apostolate of Saint James and he sends cordial good wishes to you and the priests, religious and Hebrew speaking Catholics of the Saint James Vicariate.” The letter goes on to promise prayers for the continued and constant spiritual renewal of the Vicariate and its members. “In this way, not only will the Vicariate community be strengthened,” the letter reads, “it will also become an ever more effective instrument of dialogue and peace within broader society and a sign of Christ’s love for those most in need.” Please find the text of the letter in Enlgish, below "The Holy Father was pleased to learn of the celebrations marking the sixtieth anniversary of the Apostolate of Saint James and he sends cordial good wishes to you and the priests, religious and Hebrew speaking Catholics of the Saint James Vicariate. As you reflect on the many graces bestowed by God upon the Apostolate and Vicariate throughout these years, His Holiness prays that all of you may be renewed in your joyful witness to the Gospel, “not only with words, but above all by lives transfigured by God’s presence” ( Evangelii Gaudium , 259). In this way, not only will the Vicariate community be strengthened, it will also become an ever more effective instrument of dialogue and peace within broader society and a sign of Christ’s love for those most in need. Commending the Saint James Vicariate to the maternal intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church, Pope Francis willingly imparts his Apostolic Blessing as pledge of peace and joy in the Lord.” (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope to lead liturgy for World Day of Prayer for Creation

Wed, 08/26/2015 - 06:50
(Vatican Radio) At the end of his weekly General Audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis recalled that next Tuesday, September 1st, the Church will mark the first World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. Following in the footsteps of the Orthodox Church, Catholics are encouraged to organize prayer and practical initiatives to combat the environmental crisis facing our planet. Noting that local Churches around the world are planning events to reflect on the ways our lifestyles impact the environment, the Pope said he will be joining bishops, priests, religious and lay people from 5pm in St Peter's Basilica for a special Liturgy of the Word, which local people and visiting pilgrims are warmly invited to attend. (from Vatican Radio)...

Letter for 60th anniversary of the Apostolate of St James

Wed, 08/26/2015 - 06:36
(Vatican Radio) The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, has sent a letter on behalf of Pope Francis for the 60th anniversary of the Apostolate of St James. The Apostolate is the Hebrew Catholic Vicariate of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. In the letter, dated 13 August 2015, Cardinal Pietro Parolin wrote, “The Holy Father was pleased to learn of the celebrations marking the sixtieth anniversary of the Apostolate of Saint James and he sends cordial good wishes to you and the priests, religious and Hebrew speaking Catholics of the Saint James Vicariate. As you reflect on the many graces bestowed by God upon the Apostolate and Vicariate throughout these years, His Holiness prays that all of you may be renewed in your joyful witness to the Gospel, ‘not only with words, but above all by lives transfigured by God’s presence’ (Evangelii Gaudium, 259). In this way, not only will the Vicariate community be strengthened, it will also become an ever more effective instrument of dialogue and peace within broader society and a sign of Christ’s love for those most in need. Commending the Saint James Vicariate to the maternal intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church, Pope Francis willingly imparts his Apostolic Blessing as pledge of peace and joy in the Lord.” The Apostolate of Saint James the Apostle, approved by the Patriarch Alberto Gori on February 11, 1955, was founded in order to answer the pastoral needs of Hebrew-speaking Catholics, Jews and non-Jews. Today, there is a Hebrew-speaking community in four major cities: Jerusalem, Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Haifa and Beersheva. The Vicariate includes two Russian communities whose members are integrated into Israeli society. Father David Neuhaus SJ, Patriarchal Vicar for Hebrew speaking Catholics in Israel, had sent a copy of “Sixty Years – A Pastoral Letter” to the Holy Father. The letter can be read here . (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope to parents: find time for prayer in busy family life

Wed, 08/26/2015 - 06:17
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday continued his reflections on family life, focusing especially on the importance of finding time for prayer. Greeting visitors from many different countries, gathered for the weekly General Audience in St Peter’s Square, the Pope said families often experience difficulty in devoting time for prayer. But he said a heart filled with the love of God can make even a silent thought or small gesture of devotion into a moment of prayer. Listen to Philippa Hitchen's report:  Pope Francis noted that family life is complicated and time consuming: parents, he said, should win Nobel prizes for the way they manage to squeeze 48 hours’ work into just 24 hours! But if we truly love God with all our hearts, and all our mind, and all our strength, he said, we will discover that the heart of prayer is the love of God, who constantly caresses us with his love. The Pope urged parents to teach their children to pray, to read the bible and to make the sign of the Cross so that their homes may become places where Jesus always finds a warm welcome Please find below the English summary of Pope Francis’ remarks at the Wednesday General Audience Dear Brothers and Sisters:  In our continuing catechesis on the family, today we reflect on the importance of devoting time to prayer.  We all know how important prayer is, yet it seems so difficult to find time for it.  Perhaps we need to ask if we truly love God, as he asks us to, with all our heart, and all our mind and all our strength.  For the heart of prayer is the love of God, the source of our life, who constantly “caresses” us with his own love.  A heart filled with the love of God can make even a silent thought or a small gesture of devotion a moment of prayer.  The Holy Spirit teaches us to pray, to call God our Father, and to grow daily in his love.  Our families need to ask for the gift of the Spirit!  Through prayer, even in the busiest times, we give time back to God, we find the peace that comes from appreciating the important things, and we encounter the joy of God’s unexpected gifts.  Through daily prayer may our homes become, like the house of Martha and Mary, places where Jesus always finds a warm welcome. I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, including those from England, Denmark, Malta, China, Dubai, Nigeria, Canada and the United States of America.  Upon all of you, and your families, I invoke an abundance of joy and peace in the Lord Jesus.  God bless you all! (from Vatican Radio)...

Eparchy of Mandya extended, Fr. Antony Kariyil CMI new bishop

Wed, 08/26/2015 - 06:01
The Holy Father has extended the boundaries of the eparchy of Mandya of the Syro-Malabar  and included neighbouring  six civil districts, in which lie the Syro-Malabar faithful: Bangalore Urban, Bangalore Rural, Chickballapur, Kolar, Tumkur and Ramnagara. At the Synod of the Syro-Malabar Major Archbishops at Mount Saint Thomas in Kerala (India),  Rev. Dr. P. Antony Kariyil CMI was canonically elected bishop of the said eparchy of Mandya of the Syro-Malabar (India).  Fr. Antony Kariyil is currently the Director of ‘Rajagiri School of engineering and Technology’ ( RSET) in Cochin, Kerala. Fr. Dr. Antony Kariyil CMI is an eminent scholar and academician, with many laurels to his credit. He was the professor and later the Principal of Christ College Bangalore from 1975 to 1997. He was also the Principal Rajagiri College of Social Sciences, from 1997 to 2002. As a distinguished academician, he has served as the member of various academic bodies, including the Academic Council of the Bangalore University; Board of Studies in Sociology of Bangalore University and Calicut University; Board of Studies in Social Work of Calicut University; Senate of the Cochin University of Science & Technology; and Syndicate of the M.G. University. An avid researcher, he has several publications to his credit, including two books 'Church and Society in Kerala: A Sociological Study' and 'Thiruvayassu'. Dr. Antony Kariyil was the Vicar Provincial and Secretary for Social Work of the CMI Sacred Heart Province, Kochi from 1999 to 2002. He was elected the Prior General of the CMI congregation in 2002; after which he served as the Provincial Superior of the Sacred Heart Province and Manager of Rajagiri Educational Institutions from 2008 to 2011. Dr.Antony Kariyil's untiring efforts and hard work had been instrumental in the establishment of RSET. He has guided, supported and has shouldered a crucial role in the growth of RSET from the early days and continued to nurture the institution even when he was elected as the prior general of CMI congregation from 2002 to 2008.  (from Vatican Radio)...

A Jewish perspective on 'Nostra Aetate' 50 years on

Wed, 08/26/2015 - 04:53
(Vatican Radio) In October the Catholic Church will officially mark the 50th anniversary of a document that has profoundly changed its understanding of other religious faiths. On October 28th 1965 bishops from around the world, gathered in Rome for the Second Vatican Council, issued ‘ Nostra Aetate ’ a groundbreaking declaration on the relationship of the Church to non-Christian religions. For the first time the bishops said the Church “rejects nothing that is true and holy” in other religious traditions, urging Catholics to pursue “dialogue and collaboration” with people of all different faiths . In particular the document radically reshaped Catholic relations with the Jewish world, condemning all forms of anti-Semitism and stating that Jews cannot be held responsible for the Passion and Crucifixion of Christ. Susannah Heschel is an American author and professor of Jewish Studies at Dartmouth College in the United States. She’s also the daughter of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, who played an influential role in the drawing up of ' Nostra Aetate' . At a recent conference, organised by the Ecclesiological Investigations network at Georgetown University, Philippa Hitchen talked to Susannah about her father's role and about the importance of that document, half a century on… Listen:  (from Vatican Radio)...

Cardinal calls for change in attitude towards environment

Tue, 08/25/2015 - 08:51
(Vatican Radio) Cardinal Peter Turkson has renewed the call for radical changes in thinking and attitudes towards environment, ecology and creation.   In a message delivered to the second international gathering for talks on climate change, organised by the Peruvian government in Lima, the President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace Cardinal Turkson, invited participants “[to] assume a new ecological spirituality which favors the bond between man and environment, through an integral, ecological, community conversion.” The 5-day event, starting on the 24th of August, is the second appointment of the COP20 forum, a global initiative which gives nations the opportunity to showcase plans to reduce carbon emissions in preparation for the Paris conference on climate change due to take place later in the year. The forum opened with a presentation of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’, which was organised by the Jesuit University Ruiz de Montoya in Lima. The opening presentation event hosted 250 people, including experts, policy makers and religious leaders, who offered analysis of the Pope’s encyclical from a scientific, economic, political and theological perspective. In his message, Cardinal Turkson expressed the hope that this second conference dedicated to environmental emergency might promote a “deeper ecological conversion, able to reflect itself in the different aspects of human life: in one’s lifestyle, education, in the dialogue between science, culture and faith, and in national politics and international negotiations.” He concluded his message citing the last words of Pope Francis’ encyclical: “To re-establish harmony with Creation, people ought to reflect on their lifestyles and ideals, in order to contemplate the Creator, who lives in us and in what surrounds us.” (from Vatican Radio)...

Syriac Catholic Bishop Flavianus Michael Melki, martyr of the "Assyrian Genocide" will be beatified next Saturday

Tue, 08/25/2015 - 04:42
Beirut - Syriac Catholic Bishop Flavianus Michael Melki, martyred during the "Assyrian Genocide", will be beatified on the evening of Saturday, August 29, during a solemn liturgy to be held at the Patriarchal convent of Our Lady of Deliverance in Harissa , which will be attended by numerous Patriarchs and heads of Christian churches of the East from Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. The beatification ceremony will be presided by Syrian Catholic Patriarch Ignatius Youssef III. The decree of beatification will be read at the beginning of the Divine Liturgy by Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. Flavianus Michael Melki was killed in hatred of the faith on August 29 one hundred years ago in Djézireh, now Turkey, during the massacres perpetrated against the Armenians and members of other Christian communities at the instigation of the Young Turks. "A blessed of our church has not been proclaimed for a long time" refers to Agenzia Fides Syrian Catholic priest Nizar Semaan "and Bishop Melki will be the first of the martyrs of the Syrian Catholics of that Genocide to be raised to the honor of altars. But his beatification is a gift for all Christians of the East. In these times of new trials" adds Father Nizar "his figure shows us the luminous faith with which he lived the terrible persecution one hundred years ago, and he can give hope and courage to all the baptized. We pray that through his intercession all are helped to profess faith in Christ in the countries in the Middle East, and also pray so that political and military leaders take paths that lead to peace". Melki was born in 1858 in Kalaat Mara, a village in the east of Merdin. He was ordained bishop of Gazarta in 1913, lived in extreme poverty and had also sold his vestments to help the poor. In the summer of 1915 he was arrested by the Ottoman authorities on August 28, along with the Chaldean bishop. According to eyewitness reported by Muslim sources, the two bishops were killed after refusing to renounce their faith and convert to Islam. Michael Melki was tortured to death and then decapitated....

Cardinal Pell: Vatican's 2014 accounts comprehensive, accurate

Mon, 08/24/2015 - 11:19
(Vatican Radio) The report on the Vatican’s finances for fiscal year 2014 is just about ready, according to the Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, Cardinal George Pell – a report he describes as “comprehensive” and “accurate” as well as consistent with best practices in modern accounting. Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the annual Meeting for Friendship among Peoples sponsored by the Communion and Liberation movement, Cardinal Pell said, “We have just prepared the accounts for 2014,” adding, “perhaps for the first time in history they are comprehensive and substantially accurate.” Click below to hear Cardinal Pell's remarks to reporters Cardinal Pell went on to say, “We have challenges: we’ve had deficits in the last two years; our pension fund is sound for the next ten or fifteen years, but we need to take significant measures to ensure that it will be OK in twenty to twenty-five years.” Cardinal Pell also said that the Vatican has adopted modern accounting procedures. “We have to implement,” he said. (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope sends greetings to Waldensian synod

Mon, 08/24/2015 - 04:18
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis, through his Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, has sent greetings to a synod of the Waldensian and Methodist Church. The synod is meeting from 23-28 August in Torre Pellice, near Turin, Italy. In a telegram addressed to the local Catholic Bishop, Cardinal Parolin assured the participants in the synod of the Pope’s spiritual closeness. Pope Francis, he said, promised “a fervent remembrance in his prayers, that the Lord may grant to all Christians the joy of journeying with sincerity of heart toward full communion, in order to bear witness to Jesus Christ and to His Gospel, working together in service to humanity, especially in defence of the dignity of the human person, in the promotion of justice and peace, and in giving a common response to the suffering that afflicts so many people, especially the poor and the weak.” (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope Francis: Who is Jesus for me?

Sun, 08/23/2015 - 10:30
(Vatican Radio) “Who is Jesus for me?” At the end of his Angelus address on Sunday, Pope Francis called on the faithful to ask themselves this question. “Who is Jesus for me? Is He simply a name? an idea? A person from history? Or is He really someone who loves me, Who gave His life for me, and walks with me?” Listen to Christopher Wells' report:  The Pope asked if we would remain with Jesus, referring back to the day’s Gospel. In Sunday’s reading, some of Jesus’ disciples left Him, because He had disappointed their expectations of a worldly Messiah, a leader that would be immediately successful. But Jesus said He was the Bread come down from Heaven, Who would give His Flesh for food and His Blood for drink – clearly pointing to the sacrifice of His own life. The disciples who left Jesus misunderstood the “disturbing language” of the Master. But Peter confessed his faith, and that of the other Apostles: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” Pope Francis said Peter’s question – to whom shall we go – reveals that the problem is not one of leaving and abandoning the work one has begun, but is rather a question about a person: “To whom shall we go?” From Peter’s question, the Pope said, “we understand that faithfulness to God is a question about faithfulness to a person.” All that we have in this world, he continued “will not satisfy our hunger for the infinite. We need Jesus, we need to remain with Him, to nourish ourselves at His table, on His words of eternal life.” When we are attached to Jesus, in a true relationship of faith and love, we are not bound, but rather, are profoundly free as we journey with Him through life.  (from Vatican Radio)...

Angelus address: Full text

Sun, 08/23/2015 - 07:44
(Vatican Radio) Below you can find the full text of Pope Francis’ address at the Angelus on Sunday 23 August 2015: Today is the conclusion of the readings from the sixth chapter of the Gospel of St John, with the discourse on the “Bread of Life,” proclaimed by Jesus on the day after the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes. At the end of that discourse, the great enthusiasm of the day before faded, because Jesus had said He was the Bread come down from heaven, and that He would give His Flesh as food and His Blood as drink, clearly alluding to the sacrifice of His very life. These words provoked disappointment in the people, who considered them unworthy of the Messiah, not “winning.” That’s how some saw Jesus: as a Messiah who ought to speak and act in such a way that His mission would be successful, immediately! But they erred precisely in this: in manner of understanding the mission of the Messiah! Even the disciples failed to accept that language, that disturbing language of the Master. And today’s passage refers to their discomfort: “This saying is hard,” they said, “Who can accept it?” (John 6:60). In reality, they understood well the discourse of Jesus—so well that they did not want to hear it, because it is a discourse that undermines their mindset. The Words of Jesus always discomfort us; discomfort us, for example, with regard to the spirit of the world, of worldliness. But Jesus offers the key to overcome the difficulty; a key made of three elements. First, His divine origin: He is come down from heaven and will rise up “to where He was before” (v. 62). Second: His words can only be understood through the action of the Holy Spirit, He “who gives life” (v. 63). It is precisely the Holy Spirit that makes us understand Jesus well. Third: the true cause of misunderstanding of His words is lack of faith: “Among you there are some who do not believe” (v. 64), Jesus says. In fact, from that point, “many of His disciples turned back” (v. 66). In the face of these defections, Jesus does not take back or soften His words, in fact, He forces us to make a clear choice—either to remain with Him or to separate ourselves from Him—and He says to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?” (v. 67). At this point Peter makes his confession of faith in the name of the other Apostles: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (v. 68). He does not say “where shall we go?” but “to whom shall we go?” The fundamental problem is not leaving and abandoning the work that has been undertaken, but rather “to whom” to go. From that question of Peter, we understand that faithfulness to God is a question of faithfulness to a person, with whom we are joined in order to walk together along the same road. All that we have in the world does not satisfy our hunger for the infinite. We need Jesus, to remain with Him, to nourish ourselves at His table, on His words of eternal life! To believe in Jesus means making Him the centre, the meaning of our life. Christ is not an accessory element: He is the “living bread,” the indispensable nourishment. Attaching ourselves to Him, in a true relationship of faith and love, does not mean being chained, but [rather] profoundly free, always on a journey. Each one of us can ask himself, right now, “Who is Jesus for me? Is He a name? an idea? Is He simply a person from history? Or is He really the person Who loves me, Who gave His life for me and walks with me?” Who is Jesus for you? Do you remain with Jesus? Do you seek to know Him in His word? Do you read the Gospel every day, a passage from the Gospel in order to know Jesus? Do you carry the little Gospel in your pocket, in your bag, in order to read it everywhere. Because the more we are with Him the more the desire to remain with Him grows. Now I kindly ask you, let us take a moment of silence, and each one of us, in silence, in his or her heart, ask yourself the question: “Who is Jesus for me?” In silence, everyone answer in his or her heart. “Who is Jesus for me?” [A moment of silence.]   May the Virgin Mary help us always “to go” to Jesus in order to experience the freedom that He offers us, and that allows us to purify our choices from worldly incrustations and fear.  (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope Francis appeals for peace in Ukraine

Sun, 08/23/2015 - 06:15
(Vatican Radio) Following the Angelus on Sunday, Pope Francis made a new appeal for peace in Ukraine. “With deep concern, I am following the conflict in eastern Ukraine, which has accelerated anew in these last weeks,” the Pope said. “I renew my appeal that the commitments undertaken to achieve peace might be respected; and that, with the help of organizations and persons of good will, there might be a response to the humanitarian emergency in the country.” The Holy Father concluded his appeal with the prayer, “May the Lord grant peace to Ukraine, which is preparing to celebrate tomorrow the national holiday [Independence Day]. May the Virgin Mary intercede for us!” (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope Francis sends support to missionaries at Italian beach

Sat, 08/22/2015 - 09:46
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a message to the missionaries of the “Nuovi Orizzonti” (New Horizons) community, who were spreading the Gospel at Riccione beach, which is a popular vacation spot near Rimini, Italy.    The Pope was responding to a letter sent by the members of the community, which explained they chose Riccione for their mission because it had recently become “infamous” for being a place where “young people lose their lives due to a deviant culture of drugs, sex, and ‘unrestrained’ entertainments.” In their letter, the young missionaries – all between the ages of 18 and 35 – said there is a “great thirst for God” in the hearts of young people. In a Message sent through Msgr. Guillermo Karcher, the Papal Master of Ceremonies, Pope Francis conveyed his gratitude for their “beautiful letter”, and for the fact that “in these days of August, you have generously dedicated your time to the mission of evangelization at the beaches, streets, and informal meeting places of Riccione.” Pope Francis sent his blessing and prayers, while at the same time asking the missionaries “to not forget to pray for him.” (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope Francis surprises pilgrims in St. Peter's Basilica

Sat, 08/22/2015 - 09:24
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis surprised the faithful in St. Peter’s Basilica on Friday when he attended the 7:00 morning Mass at the Altar of St. Pius X in the church. It was the feast day of the saint. The Mass was celebrated by Msgr. Lucio Bonora, an official of the Vatican’s Secretary of State, who was unaware the Pope planned on being there. When he was informed Pope Francis was praying at the altar, he asked if he should go back to the sacristy, but was told to say Mass as usual. “When [Pope Francis] saw me, he told me he came to pray because he had already said Mass earlier in the Casa Santa Marta, and he wanted to pay his respects to St. Pius X,” Msgr. Bonora told Vatican Radio. “When he say I had come to celebrate Mass, he wanted to remain, to stay there with the faithful, attend Mass and pray,” he said. Msgr. Bonora said Pope Francis greeted the faithful during the sign of peace. “It was very moving for me, and for the faithful, to see the Pope as a humble member of the faithful, going to pray at the tomb of St. Pius X,” the priest said. Msgr. Bonora said Pope Francis told him he has a strong devotion to Pius X, and prayed especially for catechists, since in Buenos Aires the feast serves as the Day of Catechists. (from Vatican Radio)...

Details of Jubilee reservation system announced

Sat, 08/22/2015 - 07:56
(Vatican Radio) The Holy See has published information on free pilgrim reservation system to help coordinate pilgrims who want to pass through Holy Door of St Peter’s Basilica during the upcoming Jubilee of Mercy. The Organizing Secretary of the Jubilee announced that a short pilgrimage path reserved for pilgrims is planned for the Jubilee. The path will begin at Castel Sant’Angelo and proceed along the Via Conciliazione before arriving at the Holy Door that leads into the Basilica. The reservation system will make it easier for pilgrims to avoid long waits and is expected to make reflect on the spiritual aspects of the pilgrimage. It will be possible to make reservations on the official site of the Jubilee, ww.im.va, beginning in October. Pilgrims, including individuals and families, as well as larger and smaller groups, are encouraged to register for the pilgrimage through Holy Door at St Peter’s. The pilgrimage through the Holy Doors in the other Papal Basilicas of Rome (Saint John Lateran, Saint Mary Major, and Saint Paul’s Outside the Walls) will not have a reservation system. (from Vatican Radio)...

Papal Envoys to Eucharistic Congresses in Bolivia, Czech Rep

Sat, 08/22/2015 - 07:20
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has named two Cardinals as his Special Envoys to important events in the lives of local Churches. Cardinal Daniel Fernando Sturla Berhouet, SDB, Archbishop of Montevideo (Uruguay) will represent Pope Francis at the V National Eucharistic Congress of Bolivia, which will be celebrated in Tarija from 16 to 20 September. The Holy Father will be represented at the conclusion of the I National Eucharistic Congress of the Czech Republic by Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, President emeritus of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum. The celebration will take place in Brno on 17 October. (from Vatican Radio)...

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