Updated: 2 hours 8 min ago
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis used his remarks to pilgrims and tourists ahead of the traditional Sunday Angelus prayer to reflect on our being creatures in time, but destined for eternity with God – the uncreated author of all that is, the source of our being, and the font of truth and joy: all in the key of mission.
Drawing on the Second Reading of this XXX Sunday in Ordinary Time and World Mission Day , which was taken from the 2 nd Letter of St. Paul to Timothy, Pope Francis said, “Today is a time of mission and it is time of courage: courage to strengthen tottering steps, to rediscover the delight of spending ourselves for the Gospel, to regain confidence in the strength that mission brings with itself.”
Courage, however, cannot guarantee victory.
“It is time of courage, although courage does not mean having assurance of success: courage is required to fight, not necessarily to win; to proclaim, not necessarily to convert.”
The Holy Father went on to say, “Today what is required of us is courage to be alternative in the world, without ever becoming argumentative or aggressive. What is required of us is the courage to be open to all, without ever diminishing the absoluteness and uniqueness of Christ, the one Savior of all.”
“Courage,” continued Pope Francis, “is required of us to stand up to unbelief, without becoming arrogant.”
Then, in a departure from his prepared remarks, the Holy Father said, “There is also required of us in this day the courage of the publican in today's Gospel,” taken from the Gospel according to St. Luke, with the parable of the proud Pharisee and the humble tax collector who averts his eyes from heaven and begs the Lord forgiveness – the parable that concludes with the admonition according to which whosever exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.
(from Vatican Radio)...
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis made an appeal for the safety of citizens trapped inside the embattled Iraqi city of Mosul on Sunday.
Speaking to pilgrims and tourists gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Angelus prayer, Pope Francis said, “In these dramatic hours, I am close to the entire population of Iraq, especially that of the city of Mosul.” The Holy Father went on to say, “Our hearts are shocked by the heinous acts of violence that for too long have been perpetrated against innocent citizens: whether they be Muslims, whether they be Christians, or people belonging to other ethnic groups and religions.”
Having departed from his prepared text, Pope Francis added, “I was saddened to hear news of the killing – in cold blood – of many sons and daughters of that beloved land, including many children: this cruelty makes us weep, leaving us without words.”
The Holy Father concluded his appeal saying, “Along with this word of solidarity goes assurance of my remembrance in prayer so that Iraq, while gravely stricken, might be both strong and firm in the hope of moving toward a future of security, reconciliation and peace.”
The Pope then invited all those gathered to join him in a moment of silent prayer, before leading them in the recitation of the Ave Maria .
(from Vatican Radio)...
(Vatican Radio) Tens of thousands of people showed up on cool but beautiful Saturday morning for the Pope’s monthly Jubilee audience.
Listen to Christopher Wells' report:
In his catechesis, Pope Francis used the Gospel account of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman to reflect on the importance of “dialogue” as an aspect of mercy.
“Dialogue,” the Pope said, “allows people to know themselves and to understand the one another’s needs.” It is both a sign of respect, an expression of charity; it allows us to see one another as a gift from God.
But often when we encounter one another, we are not prepared to listen, preferring instead to interrupt and convince the other that we are right. True dialogue, the Pope said, requires moments of silence, and the ability to welcome the other as a gift from God.
“Dear brothers and sisters,” the Pope said, “dialoguing helps people to humanize relationships and to overcome misunderstandings.” He continued, “There is a great need for dialogue in our families, and how much more easily would questions be resolved if we could learn to listen to one another!”
The Holy Father concluded his catechesis, saying, “Dialogue breaks down the walls of divisions and misunderstandings; it creates bridges of communication and does not allow anyone to remain isolated, closing themselves into their own little world.” How much better the world will be, he said, if we could listen to one another, explain ourselves meekly, rather than shouting at one another. “Through dialogue, we can make the signs of the mercy of God grow, and make them instruments of welcome and respect.”
(from Vatican Radio)...
(Vatican Radio) During Saturday’s Jubilee of Mercy audience at the Vatican, Pope Francis extended a special greeting to the Polish pilgrims present, remembering the 1050th anniversary of the baptism of their nation, and the feast day the Polish-born pontiff, St John Paul II.
Listen to Ann Schneible’s report:
“Exactly 38 years ago, at about this time, in this square, there resounded these words to men and women throughout the world: ‘Do not be afraid. Open wide the doors for Christ’.”
In remembrance of the feast day of St John Paul II, Pope Francis recalled these words delivered by his predecessor during his first Mass as the Roman pontiff on October 22, 1978.
The legacy of the papacy of John Paul II, who was born Karol Józef Wojtyła, is a prolific one.
Over the course of his more than 26 years in office, he visited 129 countries, founded World Youth Day, and was instrumental in the fall of the Berlin Wall.
St John Paul II also had a special devotion to the Divine Mercy; in the year 2000, he officially designated the first Sunday after Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday which he himself had founded.
A poet and an avid sportsman, he continued to write poetry throughout his pontificate, and remained active until his final years.
The Polish-born pontiff was also known for his writings on human sexuality, most notably his Theology of the Body.
John Paul II was beatified in 2011 by Benedict XVI, and was canonized three years later by Pope Francis on the feast of Divine Mercy.
Addressing the 100,000 pilgrims gathered in St Peter’s Square this Saturday, Pope Francis reflected on how it was Poland’s historical and cultural inheritance which filled John Paul II with hope, strength, and courage to “open wide the doors of Christ”.
“This invitation,” the Pope said, “was transformed by an unceasing proclamation of the Gospel of mercy for the world and for mankind, of which this Jubilee Year is a continuation”
The Holy Father went on to reflect on the feast of St John Paul II, especially his relevance for young people, the suffering, and newly married couples.
“May his consistent witness of faith be a lesson for you, dear young people, for confronting the challenges of life,” the Pope said. He then invited the sick to “embrace with hope the cross of illness,” and told newly married couples to seek his intercession in order that their new families may never be lacking in love.
(from Vatican Radio)...
(Vatican Radio) In his latest special audience for the Jubilee Year of Mercy on Saturday, Pope Francis spoke on the role of dialogue in bringing God’s merciful love to the world.
Addressing the crowds gathered in Saint Peter’s Square, the Pope centred his catechesis on Jesus’ dialogue with the Samaritan woman, as recounted in John’s Gospel.
The following is the official English-language synthesis of Pope Francis’ homily for the Jubilee of Mercy general audience at the Vatican:
Dear Brothers and Sisters: Throughout this Jubilee Year, we have reflected on God’s mercy and our own responsibility, as followers of Jesus, to be “merciful like the Father”. In this light, we now turn to the dialogue of Jesus and the Samaritan woman (cf. Jn 4:6-15). Through dialogue, in fact, we come to know and respect others; we come to see each individual as a gift of God. How much we need to encourage dialogue in our families, our schools and our workplaces! For only through dialogue can we truly understand others and their needs, and work together for the good of society and the care of our common home. Dialogue between the religions can make a real contribution to the building of a world of peace and solidarity. God has placed a seed of goodness in each of us and he asks us to use it in the service of his creation. Through dialogue, mutual acceptance and fraternal cooperation, may we make God’s merciful love ever more evident in our world.
(from Vatican Radio)...
(Vatican Radio) A press release from the Holy See announced that beginning on October 22nd, the pontifical apartment in the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo will be opened to the public for the first time ever. Visits to the formerly private apartment are being run by the Vatican Museums and details of the opening and closing hours can be found by going to the official website of the Vatican Museums (www.museivaticani.va)
At a special inauguration ceremony on Friday, the Director of the Vatican Museums, Antonio Paolucci, paid tribute to this “unexpected gift from the Pope” and spoke of the beauty of the setting with its views over Lake Albano and the densely wooded surrounding hills and of the sense of history that pervades the Apostolic Palace.
Journalists and others attending the inauguration listened to a selection of popular Chinese music performed by a Chinese choir.
The apartment on display to the public includes the Pope’s private library, his study, his chapel and his bedroom where during the Nazi occupation Jewish women gave birth to their babies whilst they were being secretly sheltered at the Palace by Pope Pius XII.
(from Vatican Radio)...
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Friday spoke of the importance of promoting and supporting young people so they can face the challenges of life.
“Providing formation for young people is an investment for the future: young people must never be robbed of their hope for tomorrow” he said.
The Pope was addressing members of the John Paul II Foundation that is celebrating the 35th anniversary from its foundation.
To those present in the Vatican for the occasion, Pope Francis said the anniversary is a good moment to look back and draw up a balance of the work done in the past years, but it is also a time to look to the future with new goals and objectives.
The John Paul II Foundation was established by a Papal Decree on October 16, 1981 as a religious, educational, charitable and non-profit organization.
Pointing out that the work of the Foundation spans many countries and has benefited many students – especially in Eastern Europe – the Pope said: “I encourage you to continue in your commitment to promote and support the younger generation, so that it can face the challenges of life with evangelical sensitivity and with faith. Providing youth with formation is an investment for the future: young people must never be robbed of their hope for tomorrow!”
The Pope also commented on the soon-to-end Holy Year of Mercy saying it has inspired us to reflect and to meditate on the greatness of Divine Mercy in a time in which man, thanks to enormous progress in various fields of technology and science, “tends to feel self-sufficient, as if emancipated from a higher authority, and believes that everything depends upon himself”.
“As Christians, he said, we are aware that everything is a gift from God and that true wealth is not wealth, which indeed can enslave us, but love for God that sets us free”.
Pope Francis also recalled his recent journey to Poland, where – he said – he experienced the joy of faith within the World Youth Day celebrations.
He recalled the Polish Saint Faustina Kowalska and St. John Paul II whom, he said, were both apostles of Divine Mercy.
Saint John Paul II, the Pope continued, in his Encyclical “Dives in misericordia”, says that especially through his life and action Jesus revealed how love is present in the world we live in: “love at work, a love that speaks to man and embraces the whole of humanity”.
“This love is particularly noticeable when in contact with suffering, injustice, poverty and all those conditions that, in various ways, manifest man's physical and moral limitations and frailty” he said.
And the Pope recalled Saint Faustina saying that in her diary, she wrote that the Lord Jesus himself had urged her to trust in Jesus' endless mercy, and to live life mercifully toward others.
“May the words, and especially the examples of the lives of these two luminous witnesses, Pope Francis concluded, always inspire your generous commitment”.
The John Paul II Foundation was established by Saint John Paul II in October 1981 when he celebrated the third anniversary of his election as Pontiff. His aim was to support Catholic education in former Soviet Union countries by providing fellowships and bursaries to students from Eastern Europe.
(from Vatican Radio)...
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis said humility, gentleness and magnanimity are the three key attitudes to build unity within the Church and urged Christians to reject envy, jealousy and conflicts. He was speaking at his Mass celebrated on Friday in the chapel of the Santa Marta residence.
Listen to this report by Susy Hodges that includes clips of the Pope's voice:
Taking his inspiration from the greeting at Mass “peace be with you,” the Pope focused his homily on what is required to nurture peace and unity and avoid war and conflicts. He said our Lord’s greeting “creates a bond” of peace and unites us to create a unity of spirit and warned that if there’s no peace and if we aren’t able to greet each other in the widest sense of the word, there will never be unity. The Pope explained that this concept applies for unity in the world, unity in the town, in the district and in the family.
The evil spirit sows wars, Christians must avoid conflicts
“The evil spirit always sows wars. Jealousy, envy, conflicts, gossip…. are things that destroy peace and therefore there cannot be unity. And how should a Christian behave to promote unity, to find this unity? Paul tells us clearly: ‘live in a manner worthy, with all humility, gentleness and magnanimity.’ These three attitudes: humility - we cannot sow peace without humility. Where there is arrogance, there is always war and the desire to defeat the other and believing one is superior. Without humility there is no peace and without peace there is no unity.”
Rediscover gentleness and practice mutual support
Pope Francis lamented how nowadays we have lost the ability to speak gently and instead tend to shout at each other or speak badly about other people. He urged Christians to rediscover gentleness, saying by so doing, we are able to put up with each other, give mutual support, “be patient and put up with the faults of others or the things we don’t like.”
Help build unity with the bond of peace
“First: humility, second: gentleness with this mutual support, and third: magnanimity: a big heart, a wide-open heart that can accommodate everybody and that does not condemn, that does not become smaller because of trifling things: ‘who said that,’ ‘I heard that,’ ‘who…’ no, a large heart, there is room for everybody. And this creates the bond of peace; this is the worthy manner in which to behave to create the bond of peace which is the creator of unity. The Holy Spirit is the creator of unity but this encourages and prepares the creation of unity.”
These three attitudes, said the Pope, are the right way to respond to that call to the mystery of the Church that is the mystery of the Body of Christ.
“The mystery of the Church is the mystery of the Body of Christ: ‘one faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all’ and who works ‘through all and in all:’ this is the unity that Jesus asked the Father to grant us and we must help create this unity with the bond of peace. And the bond of peace grows with humility, with gentleness and mutual support and with magnanimity.”
(from Vatican Radio)...
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis sent a telegram on Thursday to the Archbishop of Bari, Francesco Cacucci, where a conference organized in the Italian port city of Bari on the lives of women in the Middle East and the Mediterranean is taking place.
Signed by the Cardinal-Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin, the message says, “[The Holy Father] hopes that the spaces of representation of women will broaden and that they might intensify their work in seeking opportunities for interaction, knowledge and dialogue, and that the shared commitment to building a future of prosperity and peace, might produce abundant fruits of human and social growth and encourages reconciliation among men and renewed harmony among nations.”
The second of its kind with women of the Middle East and the Mediterranean, the conference is focusing on the theme, on the theme: Women for Peace – being workers for a culture of encounter and dialogue . The event is being promoted by the International Union of Catholic Women’s Organizations along with the International Forum of Catholic Action, and Catholic Action Italy, in the context of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy.
(from Vatican Radio)...
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis received the participants in the 55 th General Chapter of the Order of Augustinian Recollects on Thursday in the Vatican.
The Augustinian Recollects trace their origins to a 1588 reform of the Augustinian Friars in Spain, and became an autonomous congregation in 1621. It was only in the early 20 th century, however, that they received full recognition as a Mendicant Order under the Rule of St. Augustine – and they have the distinction of being the last Order to receive such recognition from the Holy See.
In Spanish-language remarks prepared for the occasion and delivered on Thursday morning in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace, Pope Francis encouraged the Recollects to continue in their ongoing work of renewing the vision of St. Augustine, “[T]o live as brothers ‘with one heart and one soul (Rule 1, 2),’ reflecting the ideal of the first Christians and being a living spirit of prophecy and communion in this world of ours, that there might be neither division nor conflict nor exclusion, but that harmony might reign[.]”
Click below to hear our report
The General Chapter of the Augustinian Recollects is the supreme authority within the Order. It takes place every six years and it examines the status of the institution. The Prior General and his counsellors are also elected in it, and these then prepare a plan to put into operation the decisions taken by the members of the Chapter over the subsequent six years.
(from Vatican Radio)...
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis said the catechism on its own is not sufficient to truly know Jesus and we need prayer, worship and to recognize ourselves as sinners. His words came during his morning Mass celebrated on Thursday in the chapel of the Santa Marta residence.
The cue for the Pope’s reflections during his homily came from St Paul’s letter to the Ephesians where the Apostle prayed that they may be strengthened with power through the Holy Spirit and that Christ may dwell in their hearts.
Noting that Paul spoke of plunging into the immense sea that is the person of Christ, Pope Francis asked “how can we know Christ, How can we understand His love that is beyond all knowledge?”
“Christ is present in the Gospel and we know Christ by reading the Gospel. And all of us do this, at least we hear the Gospel when we go to Mass. And studying the catechism teaches us who Christ is. But this is not enough. In order to understand the breadth and length and height and depth of Jesus Christ we need to enter into the habit, firstly of praying, as Paul did on his knees: “Father send me the Holy Spirit to know Jesus.”
But in order to truly know Christ, the Pope stressed that prayer on its own is not enough and as Paul said, in addition to praying he “worships this mystery” that is beyond our knowledge and in this spirit of worship or adoration he asks for this grace from the Lord.
“We cannot know the Lord without this habit of worship, to worship in silence, adoration. If I am not mistaken, I believe that this prayer of adoration is the least known by us, it’s the one that we do least. Allow me to say this, waste time in front of the Lord, in front of the mystery of Jesus Christ. Worship him. There in silence, the silence of adoration. He is the Saviour and I worship Him.”
Pope Francis said the third requirement for truly knowing Christ was to know ourselves and as a result be accustomed to describing ourselves as sinners.
“We cannot worship without accusing ourselves. In order to enter into this bottomless and boundless sea that is the mystery of Jesus Christ, this thing is necessary. (Firstly), prayer: ‘Father, send me the Holy Spirit so that he leads me to know Jesus.’ Secondly, worship the mystery, enter into the mystery and worship Him. And thirdly, accuse ourselves. ‘I am a man of unclean lips.’ May the Lord give us too this grace that Paul implored for the Ephesians, this grace to know and earn Christ.
(from Vatican Radio)...
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Thursday received the President of Burkina Faso, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, who subsequently met with the Cardinal Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, secretary for Relations with States.
A statement by the Holy See Press Office described the talks as “cordials,” and said the two men discussed “the existing good relations between the Holy See and Burkina Faso were evoked, underlining among other things the important contribution the Church offers in the fields of education and healthcare.”
The statement continued by saying that in this framework, “the hope was expressed that bilateral relations can be consolidated thanks also to the legal tools provided by international law.”
Attention then turned to the importance of national reconciliation, respect and collaboration between the various religious groups, and the theme of young people and employment.
Finally, there was an exchange of views on some issues of international interest, with particular reference to the current challenges affecting the region.
(from Vatican Radio)...
(Vatican Radio) Cardinal Peter Turkson , President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace , called on Monday for a financial system and a global economy that respects the human person.
Speaking on the first day of the 3rd European Microfinance Forum (3rd EMF) taking place in Rome, Cardinal Turkson quoted from Pope Francis’ encyclicals and messages that denounce the current culture of waste and speak of an anthropological crisis that has placed wealth at the summit of a scale of values. He also praised the tools provided by microfinance and microcredit which, he said, “not only have a positive economic impact, but also a social and cultural one.
The Forum aims to provide public institutions, private sector operators and non-profit organizations with an opportunity to debate and share views from their various perspectives on economic and social development and credit access.
In his speech Cardinal Turkson said that right from the beginning of his Pontificate, starting with his Encyclical “Evangelii Gaudium”, Pope Francis has decried the fact that the current economic system is founded on exclusion and a throwaway culture that produces inequity: “that’s why he speaks of an economy that kills!”
Referring to the Pope’s “Laudato Sii’” encyclical, Turkson continued: “the Pope says: “Once more, we need to reject a magical conception of the market, which would suggest that problems can be solved simply by an increase in the profits of companies or individuals. Is it realistic to hope that those who are obsessed with maximizing profits will stop to reflect on the environmental damage which they will leave behind for future generations? Where profits alone count, there can be no thinking about the rhythms of nature, its phases of decay and regeneration, or the complexity of ecosystems which may be gravely upset by human intervention.”
And quoting from Pope Francis’ words again, this time upon receiving the Charlemagne Prize, Turkson said that the Pope clearly calls for the urgent need to come up with “new, more inclusive and equitable economic models, aimed not at serving the few, but at benefiting ordinary people and society as a whole”. Doing this – he said - “calls for moving from a liquid economy in which numbers are more important than people to a social economy”.
The Pope, Turkson said, clearly indicates that it is unacceptable that “the death from cold of an old man living on the streets doesn’t make the news while the loss of 2 points on the stock exchange does”.
The cause of his, he said, is the anthropological crisis the world is going through; and it is much deeper than the economic one: “the denial of the primacy of the human person”. Money and wealth – he explained – are being worshipped as the new idol.
Cardinal Turkson also explained that the Pope does not limit himself to criticizing the current economic model, but outlines the characteristics of a more equal economy, that gives everyone the possibility to participate within respect for human dignity and care for the environment.
Indicating a social economy that “invests in persons by creating jobs and providing training,” Turkson said, the Pope asks us to “move from a liquid economy prepared to use corruption as a means of obtaining profits to a social economy that guarantees access to land and lodging through labour.”
Highlighting the fact that we need a modern social market economy to be able to tackle the challenges of unemployment, increasing inequality and environmental degradation, the Cardinal stressed how the human person and his and her fundamental and inalienable human rights must be at the fulcrum of such a system.
Cardinal Turkson acknowledged that the crucial challenge a new model of social economy will be called to face is globalization, and especially that “globalization of indifference” that opposes a globalization of solidarity.
The Cardinal concluded his speech saying that the tools provided by microfinance and microcredit in tackling unemployment, inequality and environmental degradation are of “crucial importance”.
Microcredit, he said, places trust in those who are not considered “adequate” by banks to receive financial loans, “it places trust in the marginalized, in the excluded of our throwaway culture, in their capacity to get organized and bring about change for themselves, for their families, for their communities”.
And, he said, microfinance and microcredit do not only have an economic impact, but a social and cultural one as well.
Cardinal Turkson concluded his address quoting from Evangelii Gaudium: “As long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation, and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world's problems or, for that matter, to any problems.”
(from Vatican Radio)...
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday said access to food and water is a basic human right, and called on believers and people of good will everywhaere to take personal responsibility for the needs of their neighbors. The appeal came during the Holy Father's weekly General Audience in St. Peter’s Square. The Pope focused on feeding the hungry – the first of the Corporal Works of Mercy – during the catechetical portion of the event.
Below, please find the official English-language summary read out following the main catechesis in Italian
Dear Brothers and Sisters: In our catechesis for this Holy Year of Mercy, we have reflected on God’s mercy and our own responsibility, as followers of Jesus, to be “merciful like the Father”. Among the corporal works of mercy, the first is that of feeding the hungry. Access to food and water is a basic human right, yet so many members of our human family, especially children, continue to suffer from hunger and thirst. While grateful for the generosity and solidarity shown in the case of many tragic situations worldwide, we must never forget that this work of mercy calls us to respond personally to concrete situations of need in our own lives. Saint James warns against ignoring the practical needs of our brothers and sisters, for faith without works is dead ( Jas 2:14-17). In the miracle of the loaves and fishes, Jesus tells his disciples to provide food for the crowds, yet he shows them that, in sharing what they have, he will give it increase. Jesus himself is the bread of life, and he makes it clear that our relationship with the Father depends on the way we respond to the hunger and thirst of our brothers and sisters.
Following the catechetical summary, the Holy Father greeted English-speaking pilgrims
I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, particularly those from England, Scotland, Ireland, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Malta, Ghana, Uganda, South Africa, Indonesia, China, Singapore, Japan, the Philippines and the United States of America. With prayerful good wishes that the present Jubilee of Mercy will be a moment of grace and spiritual renewal for you and your families, I invoke upon all of you joy and peace in our Lord Jesus Christ.
(from Vatican Radio)...
(Vatican Radio) Promoting reconciliation and dialogue in a divided and wounded world is a top priority for the Society of Jesus under its new leader, Venezuelan Father Arturo Sosa, the first non-European to be elected as the Jesuit superior general.
Fr Sosa held a press conference on Tuesday morning to discuss his election last week by Jesuits from around the world who are meeting in Rome for their 36th General Congregation.
Philippa Hitchen went along to find out more about the reactions of the new ‘black pope’, as he’s popularly known, and the direction in which he’ll be leading the Church’s largest order of religious men…..
Fr Sosa said he was serene, surprised, grateful and “ready to respond with joy” to the challenges currently being discussed by the Jesuits holding their 36th general congregation since the order was founded by St Ignatius of Loyola, nearly five centuries ago.
Speaking at the Jesuit headquarters, just down the road from St Peter’s Basilica, Fr Sosa thanked especially his predecessor, Fr Adolfo Nicolas who’ll be returning as a missionary to the Philippines to serve as spiritual director of the East Asian Pastoral Institute.
Venezuela's political crisis
Responding to journalists’ questions, the new Jesuit leader discussed the political crisis in his home country, Venezuela, where he said the government of President Maduro and the opposition have failed “to build bridges” of dialogue. The country’s dependence on declining oil revenues and the lack of political agreement has left the nation in a situation of “serious suffering,” he said.
Working with refugees, migrants and the poor
Asked about priorities for the order over the coming years, Fr Sosa said these are currently under discussion by delegates at the ongoing General Congregation, representing almost 17.000 Jesuit priests and brothers across the globe. However he pointed to key issues of interfaith dialogue, tackling poverty, working with migrants and refugees which emerged as priorities during the previous General Congregation back in 2008.
Uphold faith, work for justice
All Christians are called to work for reconciliation, Fr Sosa, said, though that can often seem like an impossible task in a world dominated by finance, the illegal arms trade and human trafficking. Yet the two pivotal goals of the Jesuits, he stressed, are to uphold the faith of the Church and to deepen an understanding of the world through research and education. Formation, he insisted, continues to be a priority in order to be able to witness to the Gospel and work for justice within the political, economic, social and cultural contexts of our times.
Serving the pope, the Church and humanity
Fr Sosa was asked how he felt about the nickname ‘black pope’, given to the Jesuits because of their plain black cassocks, but also on account of the power they were seen to wield within the Church in the early centuries of their existence. He replied that he didn’t like the name much, since Jesuits today seek to serve rather than to be in the front line, even if today there are some 70 Jesuit bishops, as well as the first Jesuit pope. Members of the order make a special vow of obedience to the pope, he concluded, so that they can best serve the Church, wherever and in whatever way that service is required.
(from Vatican Radio)...
(Vatican Radio) Bishops of the Catholic Eastern Rite Churches in Europe are meeting in Portugal from 20-23 October to discuss the challenge of the pastoral care of Eastern Catholic migrants in Western European nations, especially the preservation of their cultural and ecclesial identity.
Please find below a press release in English on the upcoming meeting published by the Council of European Episcopal Conferences:
The annual meeting of the Bishops of the Catholic Eastern Rite Churches in Europe is taking place this year at Fatima (Portugal), at the invitation of the Patriarch of Lisbon, Cardinal Manuel Clemente, President of the Portuguese Bishops’ Conference.
In this meeting-pilgrimage at the Marian Shrine of Fatima, which in 2017 is celebrating the centenary of the apparitions, the bishops representing 15 Catholic Eastern Rite Churches in Europe, along with bishops representing various episcopal conferences from Western European nations (France, Germany, Portugal, England and Wales and Spain), will examine the challenge of pastoral care of Eastern Catholics in these countries. In effect, since the collapse of the totalitarian regimes in Eastern European countries, a massive flow of Eastern Rite Catholic migrants, therefore belonging predominantly to sui iuris Churches, have started new lives in Western countries. After twenty years, with a fairly constant flow of new migrants and the birth of the second generation among those first arrivals, the welcoming local churches, largely Latin Rite in the Western nations, are faced with new challenges in terms of the preservation of the cultural and ecclesial identity of these migrants.
At the Marian Shrine, along with the Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, participants will therefore analyse some issues and challenges linked to this particular migratory phenomenon. The economic situation of the countries of Eastern Europe which leads to migration will be examined with the help of the economist Prof. João Luís César das Neves; the issue of integration will be enriched by the testimonies of a Romanian family and a teacher working daily with the “children” of migrants; and there will also be an examination of the relationship between the welcoming church and the church of origin.
The meeting, marked by the daily celebration of Mass in various Eastern Rites, testifying to the riches of the different liturgical traditions in the Catholic Church, also envisages a visit to the Shrine of Our Lady of Nazaré and a prayer of entrustment, in the Shrine at Fatima, presided over by the Secretary of the Vatican dicastery in charge of the Oriental Churches, Slovakian Archbishop Cyril Vasil’.
Participants at the meeting, organised by the Council of European Episcopal Conferences (CCEE), also include Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, attending his first meeting as the new President of CCEE.
The meeting will end on Sunday 23 October with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy presided over by His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk, Major Archbishop of Kyiv-Halyč, in the Church of the Most Holy Trinity and the procession through the Holy Door of Mercy.
Information for journalists
The meeting is behind closed doors, apart from the opening session on Thursday 20 October from 1600 in the parish hall Rua dos Jerónimos, 3 in Lisbon, which will be followed by Vespers in the Byzantine Rite in the adjacent church.
A news release will be published at the end of the meeting on Monday 24 October. The full programme and list of participants are available at the website: www.ccee.eu
The meeting will take place at the Casa de Nossa Senhora das Dores (Fatima).
Within the Catholic Church there are particular Churches, called sui iuris Churches or Rites, in full communion with the Church of Rome but which are distinguished from the Latin Catholic Church by their different forms of liturgical worship and popular piety, sacramental (administration of the sacraments) and canonical discipline (legal norms), theologcial terminology and traditions. Throughout the world there currently exist 24 sui iuris Churches with different liturgical rites in full communion with Rome, 15 of which are of the Byzantine Rite.
List of the sui iuris Churches present at the meeting
• Italo-Albanian Catholic Church (dioceses of Lungro and Piana degli Albanesi, in Italy)
• Belarusian Greek-Catholic Church (Belarus)
• Byzantine-Slav Rite Catholic Church of Bulgaria (Bulgaria)
• The Maronite Archdiocese of Cyprus and Maronites in Europe (Cyprus, France and Western Europe)
• Greek Byzantine Rite Catholic Church (Greece and Turkey)
• Greek-Catholic Church in Poland
• Romanian Greek-Catholic Church (Romania)
• Ruthenian Greek-Catholic Church (Eparchy of Mukačevo, Ukraine)
• Slovakian Greek-Catholic Church (Slovakia, Czech Republic)
• Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church (Ukraine, Poland, United States, Canada and Ukrainian communities throughout the world)
• Hungarian Greek-Catholic Church (Hungary)
• Armenian Catholic Church (Europe)
• Church of the Chaldeans in Europe
• Syrian Catholic Church
• Greek-Catholic or Melkite Church
The first meeting took place in 1997 in the diocese of Hajdúdorog (Hungary) and was promoted by Cardinal Achille Silvestrini, then Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, who wanted to create a space where the bishops of those churches, which had been particularly damaged by atheistic regimes, “may find with ever greater clarity their role in today’s Europe and be loved and respected for their history of loyalty to the Church and to the Pope, paid at a dear price” (From Cardinal Achille Silvestrini’s Introduction to the Acta of the first meeting).
(from Vatican Radio)...
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis said a good shepherd is one who follows Jesus rather than power, money or cliques and even if deserted by everybody may be sad but is never embittered. He was speaking at his morning Mass on Tuesday celebrated in the chapel of the Santa Marta Residence.
Taking his inspiration from the Second Letter to Timothy, the Pope’s homily was a reflection on the difficulties faced by the apostles like Paul in the final stage of their lives when they are left without means, deserted by all and having to ask for things like beggars.
“Alone, begging, abandoned by all and the victim of fury. But this is the great Paul, the man who heard the voice of the Lord, the call of the Lord! The man who went from one place to another, who suffered so many things and so many trials for preaching the Gospel, who made the Apostles understand that the Lord wants Gentiles to enter into the Church as well, the great Paul who when praying rose to the Seventh Heaven and heard things that nobody else had heard before: the Great Paul, there, in that small room of a house in Rome, waiting to see how that struggle would end within the Church between the different sides, between the rigidity of the Judaizers and those disciples faithful to him. And this is how the life of the great Paul ends, in desolation: not in resentment or bitterness but with an inner desolation.”
Pope Francis went on to point out that Peter and St John the Baptist suffered similar privations in the final stage of their lives with the latter having his head cut off owing to “the caprice of a dancer and the revenge of an adulterous woman.” In more recent times, he said it was the same for Maximilian Kolbe who created a worldwide apostolic movement and yet died in the prison cell of a death camp. When an apostle is faithful, stressed the Pope, he or she knows that they too can expect the same end that Jesus faced. But the Lord stays close and does not abandon them and they find their strength in Him. Pope Francis said “This is the Law of the Gospel: if the grain of wheat doesn’t die it doesn’t produce new seeds” and reminded that a theologian of the early centuries wrote that the blood of martyrs are the seeds of Christians.
“To die in this way like martyrs, as witnesses of Jesus, is the grain that dies and gives rise to new seeds and fills the earth with new Christians. When a pastor lives like this he is not embittered: maybe he feels desolate but he has that certainty that the Lord is beside him. When a pastor during his life was attached to other things, rather than to the faithful - for example he was attached to power, money, being part of a clique, to many things - then at his death he won’t be alone, maybe his grandchildren (heirs) will be there waiting for him to die so they can see what possessions they can take away with them.”
Pope Francis concluded his homily by describing the attitude of many elderly priests now living in retirement homes who despite their sufferings remain close to the Lord.
“When I go to visit the retirement homes for elderly priests I find so many of these great shepherds who have given their lives for the faithful. There they are, sick, paralyzed, in wheelchairs but you can see them smiling straight away. ‘He’s well, Lord; he’s well, Lord,’ because they feel the Lord very close to them. They have these shining eyes and they are asking: ‘how is the Church? How is the diocese faring? How are vocations going?’ (It’s this way) right to the end because they are fathers, because they gave their lives for others. Turning back to Paul: alone, begging, the victim of fury, deserted by everybody except the Lord Jesus: ‘Only the Lord stayed close to me!’ And the Good Shepherd, the shepherd must have this certainty: if he journeys along the path of Jesus, the Lord will be close to him right to the end. Let us pray for the shepherds who are at the end of their lives and who are waiting for the Lord to take them with Him. And let us pray so that the Lord may give them strength, consolation and the certainty that, although they feel sick and alone, the Lord is with them, close to them. May the Lord give them this strength.”
(from Vatican Radio)...
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met in the Vatican on Monday with the President of the Slovenia Republic Borut Pahor to discuss issues of common concern, as well as the challenges facing leaders in the region and in the wider European context.
During the cordial conversation, the pope and the president spoke about the bilateral relations between Slovenia and the Holy See and the forthcoming 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.
They also discussed the good relations that exist between the Catholic Church and the Republic of Slovenia, as well as the importance of continuing dialogue in order to guarantee fruitful cooperation for the benefit of the whole of Slovenian society, in particular for the younger generations.
Following the papal audience, the president also met with Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin and with the Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher.
(from Vatican Radio)...
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis is to pay a visit to the Archdiocese of Genoa on Saturday 27 May 2017.
A statement by the Holy See Press Office announcing the scheduled visit was read on Sunday by the Archbishop of Genoa, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, during celebration of Holy Mass in his Cathedral.
Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco is also the President of the Italian Bishops’ Conference.
He described the news as “a particularly lovely event, which will help us, sustain us and encourage us”.
(from Vatican Radio)...
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Sunday called on all men and women of good will to unite in the fight against poverty by implementing serious political legislation in support of families and employment.
Speaking during the Angelus in St. Peter’s Square after the morning’s Canonization Mass , the Pope recalled the “ International Day for the Eradication of Poverty ” which is marked on Monday, 17 October, and said: “Let us join our moral and economic forces to fight together against poverty that degrades, offends and kills so many of our brothers and sisters, by giving life to serious policies in support of families and employment”.
During his address, the Pope also renewed his appeal to pray insistently and fervently for peace, and he thanked those who had travelled from various countries across the world to pay homage to the new Saints .
“A special greeting in particular goes to the official delegations of Argentina, Spain, France, Italy, Mexico. May the example and intercession of these luminous witnesses give support to each of you in your work and service for the good of the Church and of civil society” he said.
(from Vatican Radio)...