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The World Seen From Rome
Updated: 38 min 27 sec ago

CELAM Congress: “A New Humanism for Integral Social Development”

2 hours 42 min ago

<ROME>, AUGUST 22, 2017 (Zenit.org).-  “A New Humanism for Integral Social Development”: the three-day congress, held in San Salvador from August 13-16, 2017, on social pastoral care committed to the cause of the poor and marking the 50th anniversary of Blessed Paul VI’s Encyclical Populorum Progressio, concluded with a final message on that topic.

This final document points out the “different challenges that question us today and hurt us: poverty, and the regressive tendency to it of millions of people in our countries, product of economic and political systems that value having more than being, economic profit more than life, ideologies above persons, and who take power as domination, not as liberating service.

Hence the final statement appeals to “Governments, businesses and the economic sector, to politicians, to democratic institutions, which have the responsibility to generate public policies for our peoples, to ecclesial communities and to all men and women missionary disciples., to work in solidarity for the common good, for integral and supportive development, promoting life respecting nature and our eco-systems as work of the Creator, assuming the proposals of Pope Francis’ Encyclical Laudato Si’.

They add that “there cannot be development without respect for Creation, without greater appreciation of the indigenous cultures and ancestral beliefs of our peoples. In sum, we must work so that every person is able to “pass from less human to more human conditions” (PP 20-21), being aware that without the development of our people, it is very difficult to achieve peace.”

Organized by a number of Departments of the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM), the meeting brought together representatives of 22 countries of regional Caritas social pastoral care, members of the executive team of Caritas Internationalis and special guests from Europe and the United States.

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, President of Caritas Internationalis, his Secretary, Michel Roy, and the President of Caritas-El Salvador, Cardinal Gregorio Rosa Chavez were among the 102 participants.

Over the three days, formative activities were held and times for joint reflection, in order to put together a committed program of social pastoral care, emphasizing the cause of the poor. There were also key conferences held on “Development in the Social Doctrine of the Church,” “A Theological Look at De Development” and “A Look from Caritas’ Social Pastoral Care.”

The participants also attended simultaneous workshops on “Ecology and Development,” “Equity between Men and Women,’ “Objectives of Sustainable Development” and reflection on the “Encyclical Laudato Si’ and the Care of Our Common Home.”

 

Patriarcate of Moscow: “Politics Must Not Interfere in the Life of the Church”

2 hours 58 min ago

<ROME>, AUGUST 22, 2017 (Zenit.org).- “Politics must not interfere in the life of the Church” : there is convergence on this point between the Patriarchate of Moscow and the Holy See, said in Russian the Patriarch of Moscow, after the meeting between Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, and Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, President of the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Moscow Patriarchate , on Monday, August 21, 2017 at Moscow in Russia. The issue of conflicts in Syria and Ukraine was also addressed, reported the same source.

In the course of the conversations “the key questions of bilateral relations between the Moscow Patriarchate and the Roman Catholic Church were addressed in the context of the present international situation,” states a press release.

In regard to the situation in Syria, “the parties agreed that, first of all, it’s necessary to put an end to terrorism on the Syrian territory, and only after the realization of peace in the country can its political future be determined.”

Metropolitan Hilarion and Cardinal Parolin “noted the usefulness of the new consultations between the Moscow Patriarchate and the Holy See on the Middle East and the necessity to pursue humanitarian cooperation in this area.”

Metropolitan Hilarion stressed that “the tragic situation of Christians in the Middle East” is “is one of the most urgent problems.” “The Moscow Patriarchate is making all possible efforts to provide humanitarian aid to the suffering population of Syria,” he said.

The President of the Department for Foreign Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate highlighted “the important role of the working group created to this effect, bringing together representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church, the Catholic Church and other Christian Confessions, as well as representatives of Muslim communities.”

The armed conflict in Ukraine was also discussed during the meeting. Metropolitan Hilarion “shared his concern” regarding the discussion at Ukraine’s Supreme Council of a draft law “aimed at discrimination of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and he expressed his gratitude to the Holy See for its support of the position of the Moscow Patriarchate on this question.”

He “also noted with regret the individual cases of politiziced statements and aggressive action by representatives of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church in Ukraine.”

“The parties expressed their common conviction that politics must not interfere in the life of the Church, and that the Churches in Ukraine are called to play a role in keeping the peace and contributing to the realization of civil accord in the country,” points out a press release.

During the meeting, the two parties “stressed especially the importance for relations between Orthodox and Catholics of the historic meeting of the Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russias and of Pope Francis at Havana in February 2016 and of the exhibition of relics of Saint Nicholas at Moscow and at St. Petersburg from May to July of this year.

By way of conclusion, the interlocutors discussed “the prospects of bilateral cooperation in the cultural and educational realms.”

The Apostolic Nuncio in Russia, Monsignor Celestino Migliore; the Nunciature’s Counselor, official of the Section for Relations with States of the State Secretariat, Monsignor Visvaldas Kulbokas, and the First Secretary of the Apostolic Nunciature in Russia, Monsignor Erwin Lengyel accompanied Cardinal Parolin.

The Vatican Secretary of State began his trip on Monday, August 21, in the course of which he will meet with Patriarch Kirilll and President Vladimir Putin. His visit will end on the 24th. It was 18 years since a Secretary of State of the Holy See had gone to Russia. Given the importance of these meetings, the Vatican published the different stages last week.

Card. Parolin in Moscow: “A clear appeal to have the common good prevail”

5 hours 52 min ago

<ROME>, AUGUST 22, 2017 (Zenit.org).-“In such dramatic situations the Holy See is more directly active in the effort to promote initiatives geared to alleviating the sufferings of the populations”, say cardinal Parolin, “at the same time it expresses a clear appeal to have the common good prevail, and primarily justice, legality, the truth of the facts and abstention from their manipulation, the safety and fitting conditions of life of the civilian populations”.

Italian Cardinal Secretary of State of th Holy See Pietro Parolin made this statement during a press conference held in Moscow, August 22, 2017, with Foreign Affairs Russian Minister Sergei Lavrov.

He also expressed his preoccupation for persecuted Christians and religious freedom in the world.

Cardinal Parolin arrived in Russia yesterday, August 21, and met Metropolite Hilarion. Tomorrow he will meet Russian president Vladimir Putin. He is also to meet orthodox patriarch Kirill.

Here is the original video.

Here is ZENIT’s translation of this declaration made in italian.

AB

Statement of the Cardinal Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin, to the Press Conference

Moscow, August 22, 2017

Mr Minister,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We have just finished the first, intense part of our conversations with Mr Minister Sergiey Lavrov, through whose person I express my gratitude to the Russian Authorities for the invitation and warm welcome in the country.

I have come to Moscow to be an interpreter for my interlocutors – today Minister Lavrov and tomorrow the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin –, of Pope Francis’ solicitude be it for the bilateral situation between the Holy See and the Russian Federation, be it for questions and concerns in the international realm.

In the bilateral relations, we have shared the satisfaction regarding development in several fields, beginning with the frequent contacts at the level of high representatives of both parties, and continuing with the review of positive experiences in the ambit of cultural exchanges and of cooperation between scientific and medical institutes. It goes without saying that both parties confirmed the intention to continue weaving contacts in all the above-mentioned realms also in the future. Attesting and confirming this intention was the signing of the Agreement between the Holy See State Secretariat and the Government of the Russian Federation, regarding the exemption of visas for holders of diplomatic passports, which we witnessed a short while ago together with Minister Lavrov.

Clearly, the conversation also offered the occasion to discuss some concrete questions regarding the life of the Catholic Church in the Russian Federation, among which were the difficulties still remaining of work permits for non-Russian religious staff and the restitution of some churches which are necessary for the pastoral care of Catholics in the country, finding in the interlocutor ample attention to the solution of these problems and the will to follow them.

In the field of questions of international interest I confirmed first of all that just and lasting solutions be found for the conflicts that afflict, in particular, the Middle East, Ukraine and several other regions of the world. If, in such dramatic situations the Holy See is more directly active in the effort to promote initiatives geared to alleviating the sufferings of the populations, at the same time it expresses a clear appeal to have the common good prevail, and primarily justice, legality, the truth of the facts and abstention from their manipulation, the safety and fitting conditions of life of the civilian populations. While the Holy See does not intend and cannot identify itself with some of the political positions, it recalls the duty to hold rigorously to the great principles of international law, whose respect is essential be it to protect global order and peace, be it to recover a healthy atmosphere of mutual respect in international relations.

Among the subjects in which the Holy See and the Russian Federation find points of convergence , even if with different approaches, mention should be made first of all of the intense concern for the situation of Christians in some countries of the Middle East and of the African continent, as well as in some other regions of the world. In this connection, the Holy See nourishes the constant concern that religious freedom be preserved in every State and in every political situation.

I think that we will also to take up again these and other topics in the continuation of today’s meeting.

© Translation by ZENIT, Virginia Forrester

Migrants: Pope Francis Gives “Very Practical” Pointers

12 hours 51 min ago

<ROME>, AUGUST 22, 2017 (Zenit.org).- Pope Francis gives “very practical” pointers for the reception and integration of migrants, says Father Fabio Baggio, Under-Secretary and ‘Number 3” of the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery for the Service of Integral Human Development, referring to the Pontiff’s Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which will be observed on January 14, 2018, on the theme “Receive, Protect, Promote and Integrate.”

In an interview published on August 21, 2017 by the Italian Catholic Agency SIR, Father Baggio says that the Message gives “very practical pointers,” especially in regard to” legal and safe ways” for all migrants. He addresses “a very clear appeal” for the Church’s engagement, strong in her “good practices.”

The Holy Father stresses the importance of protecting migrants from the start, “offering them all the information necessary to decide if they will depart or not , where to and how to get there”; then in the country of destination, where they can be helped to “remain in a regular situation or to regularize their position.”

The Message also calls for “the recognition of the capacities and competencies of migrants with the validation of study and professional diplomas, so that these persons can offer the best,” “further their education” and be “a contribution and an occasion of development for the countries that receive them,” added the Under-Secretary.

For migrants and refugees it’s not only a question of having a legal “passport” but also of “engaging with a place” or “with a territory.” It’s not about saying to them “You can and you can’t,” but about saying “if you wish, remember that there is a certain responsibility to assume,” specified Father Baggio.

He also mentioned “the fear of invasion” caused by “ignorance of those that knock at the doors.” The priest believes that it’s necessary to “work enormously on education, on the culture of encounter, by providing real data.”

“To go to the other is not necessarily natural: with a child it’s much more present but with an adult there is often a brake because one fears losing something in the encounter with the other,” said the priest. The experience of history “teaches that civilizations are born in fact of the encounter between different peoples when they are open, not when they are closed,” he conclude.

Translation by Virginia Forrester

 

 

 

“Offer broader options to enter destination countries safely and legally”

Mon, 08/21/2017 - 8:00 PM

Pope Francis calls to “offer broader options for migrants and refugees to enter destination countries safely and legally”.

The Vatican published on Monday, August 21, 2017 the Pope’s message for the 104th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which will be celebrated on January 14th 2018.  “Welcoming, protecting, promoting and integrating migrants and refugees,” is the theme of the letter, which he wrote August 15, 2017, the Solemnity of the Assumption of the B.V. Mary

“Throughout the first years of my pontificate, I have repeatedly expressed my particular concern for the lamentable situation of many migrants and refugees fleeing from war, persecution, natural disasters and poverty,” the Hoy Father said. “This situation is undoubtedly a ‘sign of the times,’ which I have tried to interpret, with the help of the Holy Spirit, ever since my visit to Lampedusa on 8 July 2013.  When I instituted the new Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, I wanted a particular section – under my personal direction for the time being – to express the Church’s concern for migrants, displaced people, refugees and victims of human trafficking.”

Pope Francis said that responding to the needs of refugees is an opportunity to evangelize: “Every stranger who knocks at our door is an opportunity for an encounter with Jesus Christ, who identifies with the welcomed and rejected strangers of every age…This is a great responsibility, which the Church intends to share with all believers and men and women of good will, who are called to respond to the many challenges of contemporary migration with generosity, promptness, wisdom and foresight, each according to their own abilities.”

The Holy Father repeated the four elements of a shared response to the needs of migrants, which he outlined in his Address to Participants in the International Forum on “Migration and Peace”, 21 February 21, 2017.   He described these elements with four verbs:

To Welcome:…“above all, offering broader options for migrants and refugees to enter destination countries safely and legally.  This calls for a concrete commitment to increase and simplify the process for granting humanitarian visas and for reunifying families.  At the same time, I hope that a greater number of countries will adopt private and community sponsorship programs, and open humanitarian corridors for particularly vulnerable refugees.  Furthermore, special temporary visas should be granted to people fleeing conflicts in neighboring countries.  Collective and arbitrary expulsions of migrants and refugees are not suitable solutions, particularly where people are returned to countries which cannot guarantee respect for human dignity and fundamental rights.”

To Protect:…“may be understood as a series of steps intended to defend the rights and dignity of migrants and refugees, independent of their legal status. Such protection begins in the country of origin, and consists in offering reliable and verified information before departure, and in providing safety from illegal recruitment practices. This must be ongoing, as far as possible, in the country of migration, guaranteeing them adequate consular assistance, the right to personally retain their documents of identification at all times, fair access to justice, the possibility of opening a personal bank account, and a minimum sufficient to live on.”

To Promote:…“means a determined effort to ensure that all migrants and refugees – as well as the communities which welcome them – are empowered to achieve their potential as human beings, in all the dimensions which constitute the humanity intended by the Creator. Among these, we must recognize the true value of the religious dimension, ensuring to all foreigners in any country the freedom of religious belief and practice. Many migrants and refugees have abilities which must be appropriately recognized and valued.”

To Integrate:…concerns the opportunities for intercultural enrichment brought about by the presence of migrants and refugees.  Integration is not an ‘assimilation’ that leads migrants to suppress or to forget their own cultural identity. Rather, contact with others leads to discovering their ‘secret’, to being open to them in order to welcome their valid aspects and thus contribute to knowing each one better.  This is a lengthy process that aims to shape societies and cultures, making them more and more a reflection of the multi-faceted gifts of God to human beings”.

Pope Francis also cited action by the United Nations:

“At the United Nations Summit held in New York on 29 September 2016, world leaders clearly expressed their desire to take decisive action in support of migrants and refugees to save their lives and protect their rights, sharing this responsibility on a global level.  To this end, the states committed themselves to drafting and approving, before the end of 2018, two Global Compacts, one for refugees and the other for migrants.”

Read Entire Letter Here

Meetings in Russia Foster Path to Peace, says Cardinal Parolin

Mon, 08/21/2017 - 7:58 PM

VATICAN CITY, AUGUST 21, 2017 (Zenit.org).-  Meetings in Russia Foster Path to Peace, says Cardinal Parolin.

Here is our translation of the synthesis by Vatican Radio (Marina Tonarro) of Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin’s interview by Ria Novosti Agency, on the occasion of his trip to Russia (August, 21-14, 2017).

***

“I’m going to visit Russia for the purpose of talking about, in addition to topics of a bilateral character and those regarding the life of the Catholic Church, also questions connected with the conflicts that afflict many, too many regions of the world. So that every effort will be made to re-establish justice and peace, in respect of the dignity and inviolability of every human person,” said the Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, in an interview with the Russian State agency Ria Novosti, explaining the reason for his important visit to the country, which begins today and will end on Thursday.

Planned for the first day is the Cardinal’s meeting with the Catholic Bishops of the country, a conversation with Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, President of the Department for Foreign Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate and, in the evening, a Mass in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Moscow. And among the most important meetings planned for the next few days are those with the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov. During the conversations, particular attention will be given to the Middle East and to the dramatic situation of Syria and Iraq, but also to the war in Ukraine and the unresolved situations of the southern Caucasus.

“There are various worrying international dossiers,” explained the Cardinal in the interview with Novosti agency, “and I think that particular attention will be able to be dedicated to them during the visit, especially in the situations where Russia is more directly active. In reality, the list would be long and it will not be the only object of discussion on this occasion, because diplomatic contacts are constant. However, the drama lived by the population, especially in some of the situations just mentioned, calls for assiduous attention at all levels.”

In regard to international relations, the Vatican Secretary of State stressed that the message of the Holy See is always that of putting above the interests of a particular State mutual respect and sincere dialogue, “even when such an attitude can be rather unpopular for vast strata of the population, for various reasons.”

Tomorrow the Cardinal will meet with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow. “After the historic meeting between Pope Francis and the Patriarch at Cuba, there is no doubt that relations between the Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church are going through a positive period,” pointed out Cardinal Parolin. However this goal becomes in turn the beginning of a new path, that of even more intense dialogue, in an attempt to understand one another ever better, overcoming the misunderstandings and the differences that can exist.”

Finally, responding to a question of a possible opening for a trip by Pope Francis to Russia, he said that at the moment “the topic of an eventual papal visit is not part of the agenda of the conversations,” but the hope is that every meeting, especially with Patriarch Kirill, “may contribute to prepare the way for the development of increasingly positive and intense contacts.

Cardinal Parolin’s Trip to Russia: Sign of a Renewed Path

Mon, 08/21/2017 - 7:42 PM

VATICAN CITY, AUGUST 20, 2017 (Zenit.org).- The Vatican Secretary of State highlights the urgency of “a more effective cooperation between the different Confessions” and of a “greater understanding between the Churches.”

Here is our english translation of the synthesis by Vatican Radio (Alessandro Gisotti) of Cardinal Parolin’s interview by Tass Agency, on the occasion of his Trip to Russia (August 21-24, 2017): “Sign of a Renewed Path”.

 ***

On the eve of his important visit to Russia, the Cardinal Secretary of State , Pietro Parolin, gave a long and articulated interview to the Russian Agency TASS. The Cardinal stressed first of all that the meeting with the “Orthodox hierarchy attests to the openness established in recent years up to last year’s meeting in Havana” between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill. The meeting, noted Cardinal Parolin, “served to give new eyes to see one another not predominantly on the background of the past, but of that of “desired and pursued communion.” The Cardinal added that this is the condition necessary “to be able to give new and unprecedented steps for the development of the ecumenical dialogue” between Catholics and Orthodox. It’s a path that requires “love, patience, tenacity and commitment.” And in this connection, he mentioned the initiative of the relics of Saint Nicholas, which arrived at Moscow from Bari, and were received with “enthusiasm and devotion” by the Russian faithful, in the more than two months of permanence in the capital and in St. Petersburg.

Responding to a question on the crisis of values being experienced in today’s world, the Vatican Secretary of State highlighted the urgency of “a more effective cooperation between the different Confessions.” “An ever greater understanding between the Churches will also be able to make its contribution through the sharing of experiences lived in different regions.”

Then, answering a question on terrorism, a danger, he stressed, that must be addressed, pondering, however, “with much care on the eventual ways of intervention, in order to avoid actions of force triggering in turn new spirals of violence.” The work of the Church, specified the Cardinal, “is always long-term, made up of education and the formation of consciences,” and he recalled that, in the last decades, the Holy See spared no efforts to “start, consolidate and sometimes renew relations of dialogue at the cultural and religious level, but especially at the socio-humanitarian level.”

Hence, Tass agency asked Cardinal Parolin to reflect on Trump’s Presidency. The Vatican Secretary of State hoped that the American President, “like all the other actors of the International Community, will not desist from the challenge” of “pursuing a reduction of the global overheating of the planet.” And widening the horizon, he warned that in international relations “the awareness matures increasingly that policies and strategies based on open and heated confrontations ,” almost “a dialogue between the deaf,” or worse, “fuelled by fear and the terror of atomic or chemical arms, don’t open the door to just and lasting solutions to problems among the nations.” It’s necessary to listen to Pope Francis, exhorted the Cardinal, when asking the world leaders to “build peace” and “not shut themselves in national or partial interests.

Finally, Cardinal Parolin answered a question about the grave situation in Venezuela., a country the Cardinal knows well, having been the Apostolic Nuncio ay Caracas before becoming Secretary of State. He stressed that the “Holy See is very committed to fostering a peaceful and democratic solution, even in the midst of many misunderstandings.” Once again he said that the path “is always the same.” “They must meet, create an atmosphere of trust.” Cardinal Parolin recalled the serious humanitarian crisis the country is experiencing and he appealed to the International Community and friendly countries of Venezuela   to “give their disinterested and peaceful aid so that there is a positive evolution.”

Message to the 38th “Meeting for Friendship Among Peoples”

Mon, 08/21/2017 - 2:44 PM

“Innumerable are the traces of God’s presence in the course of the history of the world”, says Pope Francis in his message sent August 20, 2017 to the 38th Meeting for Friendship Among Peoples, organized by “Communion and Liberation” in Rimini (Italy).

The message was sent in a letter from the Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, to the Bishop of Rimini, Monsignor Francesco Lambiasi,

“All that You Have, Bequeathed to You by Your Father, Earn It in Order to Possess It,” is the theme of the meeting.  The message from the Holy Father directly addressed this concept:

“It is an invitation to us to re-appropriate our origins from within our personal history,” the Card. Parolin wrote on the Pope’s behalf.  “For too long it has been thought that the inheritance of our fathers should remain with us as a treasure, which it was enough to protect to keep the flame lit. It hasn’t been so: that fire that burned in the breast of those that preceded us has little by little been weakened.

“There is a sickness that can strike the baptized and that the Holy Father calls “spiritual Alzheimer’s”: it consists in forgetting the history of our personal relationship with God, that first Love that won us to make us His own. If we become:”forgetful” of our encounter with the Lord, we are no longer sure of anything; then we are assailed by the fear that blocks our every movement.”

Here is ZENIT’s translation of the Message, published in italian.

JF

* * *

To His most Reverend Excellency

Monsignor Francesco Lambiasi, Bishop of Rimini

Most Reverend Excellency,

In the name of the Holy Father Francis, and mine personally, I address a cordial greeting to you, to the organizers and to the participants in the 38th edition of the Meeting for Friendship Among Peoples.

Every year the Titles of the Meeting invite to reflect on aspects of existence that the pressing rhythm of the everyday often makes us set aside. Everything seems to slip from us, caught as we are by the anxiety of turning the page in haste. Life becomes fragmented and risks becoming arid. Hence it is precious to stop every now and then to consider the great questions that define the human being and that it’s impossible to ignore altogether. In this connection, we can also read the theme of the 2017 Meeting as: “All that You Have, Bequeathed to You by Your Father, Earn It in Order to Possess It” (Goethe, Faust). It is an invitation to us to re-appropriate our origins from within our personal history. For too long it has been thought that the inheritance of our fathers should remain with us as a treasure, which it was enough to protect to keep the flame lit. It hasn’t been so: that fire that burned in the breast of those that preceded us has little by little been weakened.

One of the limitations of present-day society is to have little memory, to want to get rid of as useless and a heavy burden what preceded us. However, this has grave consequences. Let us think of education. How can we hope to have the new generations grow without memory? And how can we think of building the future without taking a position regarding the history that generated our present? As Christians we do not cultivate a nostalgic withdrawal from a past that no longer exists. Rather, we look ahead with confidence. We don’t have spaces to defend because the love of Christ knows no insurmountable borders. We live in a time that is favourable for an outgoing Church, but a Church rich in memory, driven by the wind of the Spirit to go and encounter the man seeking a reason to live. Innumerable are the traces of God’s presence in the course of the history of the world; all in fact beginning with Creation, which speaks of Him. The real and living God willed to share our history: “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). God isn’t a memory but a presence, to receive ever again, as the beloved for the person that loves.

There is a sickness that can strike the baptized and that the Holy Father calls “spiritual Alzheimer’s”: it consists in forgetting the history of our personal relationship with God, that first Love that won us to make us His own. If we become :”forgetful” of our encounter with the Lord, we are no longer sure of anything; then we are assailed by the fear that blocks our every movement. If we abandon the safe port of our bond with the Father, we become prey to the whims and wishes of the moment, slaves of “infinite falsehoods’, which promise the moon but leave us disappointed and sad, in a spasmodic search for something to fill the heart’s emptiness. How can this “spiritual Alzheimer’s” be avoided? There is only one way: to actualize the beginnings, the “first Love,” which is not a discourse or an abstract thought, but a Person. The pleasant memory of this beginning ensures the necessary impetus to address the ever new challenges that also call for new answers, remaining always open to the surprises of the Spirit, which blows where it wills.

How does the great Tradition of the faith come to us? How does Jesus’ love reach us today? Through the life of the Church, through a multitude of witnesses that for two thousand years have renewed the proclamation of the advent of God-with-us, which enables us to relive the experience of the beginning, as it was for the first that encountered Him. For us also “Galilee is the place of the first call, where everything began!” and for this it’s necessary “to return there, to that burning point in which God’s Grace touched me at the beginning of the way. {. . .] when Jesus passed by my way, looked at me with mercy and asked me to follow Him; [. . .] to recover the memory of that moment in which His eyes met mine” (Francis, Homily in the Easter Vigil, April 19, 2014).

That look always precedes us, as Saint Augustine reminds us speaking of Zacchaeus: “He was looked at and then saw” (Discourse 174, 4.4.). We must never forget this beginning. See what we have inherited, the precious treasure we must rediscover every day, if we want it to be ours. Don Giussani left an effective image of this commitment that we can’t desert: “By nature, one that loves the child puts in his bag, on his shoulders the best that he’s lived in life [. . .]. However, at a certain point, nature gives the child, the one who was a child, the instinct to take the bag and to put it before his eyes. [. . .] Therefore, what we have been told must become a problem! If it doesn’t become a problem, it will never mature [. . .] To carry the bag before the eyes [. . .] is like one who sees inside, namely the one whose has put on his shoulders the Tradition, with the desires of his heart: [. . .] the exigency of the true, of the beautiful, of the good. [. . .] By so doing, he takes the physiognomy of man” (The Educational Risk, Milan, 2005, 17-19).

“To earn one’s inheritance again” is a commitment to which Mother Church calls every generation; and the Holy Father invites us not to be scared of the efforts and suffering that are part of the way. We are not granted to look at reality from a balcony, nor can we remain seated comfortably on a sofa and see the world pass before us on TV. Only by earning again the true, the beautiful and the good that our fathers handed us will we be able to live the change of age in which we are immersed as an opportunity, as an occasion to communicate to men in a convincing way the joy of the Gospel.

Therefore, Pope Francis invites the Meeting’s organizers and volunteers to sharpen their look to see — more or less explicitly – the need of God as the ultimate meaning of existence, so as to be able to offer people a living answer to the great problems of the human heart. May the visitors this year also be able to see in you reliable witnesses of the hope that doesn’t disappoint. Speak to them with meetings, exhibitions, shows and above all with your life itself.

While he recommends to pray for his ministry, His Holiness sends from his heart to you, Excellency, and to all the participants in the Meeting the desired Apostolic Blessing.

I unite my personal good wishes and, while waiting to intervene during the Meeting’s conclusive day, I assure you of my kind regards for your Most Reverend Excellency.

Pietro Parolin

Secretary of State

[Original text: Italian]

© Translation by ZENIT,  Virginia M. Forrester

 

 

 

Letter to the Methodist and Waldensian Churches

Mon, 08/21/2017 - 2:29 PM

“May Jesus’ gaze also illumine our relations, so that they are not only formal and correct but fraternal and lively”, says Pope Francis in his letter to the Methodist and Waldensian Churches, on the occasion of the opening of their Synod, underway at Torre Pellice, Turin, from August 20-25, 2017.

“I keep alive in my memory our recent meetings at Turin and Rome, as well as those in Argentina,” the Holy Father wrote. “I am grateful for the beautiful testimonies I have received and for the many faces I cannot forget.

“I hope that these days of sharing and reflection, which are taking place on the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, are animated by the joy of putting yourselves before the face of Christ; may His gaze, which is turned to us, be the source of our peace, so that we feel ourselves beloved children of the Father and makes us see others, the world and history in new way.”

Here is ZENIT’s translation of the Letter – in italian- the Holy Father Francis sent to the Methodist and Waldensian Churches, on the occasion of the opening of the Synod, underway at Torre Pellice, Turin, from August 20-25, 2017.

JF

* * *

The Holy Father’s Letter

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

On the occasion of the opening of your annual Synod, I wish to express the Catholic Church’s and my own closeness to you. I greet you fraternally and assure you with much cordiality of my remembrance in prayer.

I keep alive in my memory our recent meetings at Turin and Rome, as well as those in Argentina. I am grateful for the beautiful testimonies I have received and for the many faces I cannot forget. I hope that these days of sharing and reflection, which are taking place on the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, are animated by the joy of putting yourselves before the face of Christ; may His gaze, which is turned to us, be the source of our peace, so that we feel ourselves beloved children of the Father and makes us see others, the world and history in new way.

May Jesus’ gaze also illumine our relations, so that they are not only formal and correct but fraternal and lively. The Good Shepherd wills us to be on the way together, and His gaze now embraces all of us, His disciples that He desires to see fully united.

It is so important to walk towards full unity, with a look of hope that acknowledges the presence of God stronger. It is so especially today, in a world marked by violence and fear, of lacerations and indifference, where the egoism of affirming oneself at the expense of others darkens the simple beauty of welcoming, sharing and loving one another. However, our Christian witness cannot yield to the logic of the world: together we must help one another to choose and live the logic of Christ!

I thank you with fraternal affection and ask you, please, not to forget to pray for me and for all of us your brothers and sisters.

From the Vatican, August 10, 2017

FRANCIS

[Original text: Italian]

© Translation by ZENIT, Virginia M. Forrester

Logo and Motto for Pope Francis’ Apostolic Visit to Chile

Mon, 08/21/2017 - 2:16 PM

The Vatican on August 18, 2017 unveiled the logo and motto for the Pope’s Apostolic Journey to Chile, January 15-18, 2018.

The Pope is expected to visit the Chilean cities of Santiago, Temuco and Iquique, and then will visit Peru from January 18-21, 2018.

According to the Vatican Press Office, the logo for the visit to Chile shows in a simply yet elegant way the relationship between the cross and the nation.  It includes the simple motto and Pope’s signature.

The last visit by a Pope to Chile was that of Pope St. John Paul II in 1987.

World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2018 (Full Text)

Mon, 08/21/2017 - 10:38 AM

Here is a Vatican translation of the Pope’s message for the 104th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which will be celebrated on January 14th 2018. The document was published on Monday 21st of August 2017 by the Holy See.

* * *

“Welcoming, protecting, promoting and
integrating migrants and refugees”

Dear brothers and sisters!

“You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God” (Leviticus 19:34).

Throughout the first years of my pontificate, I have repeatedly expressed my particular concern for the lamentable situation of many migrants and refugees fleeing from war, persecution, natural disasters and poverty.  This situation is undoubtedly a “sign of the times” which I have tried to interpret, with the help of the Holy Spirit, ever since my visit to Lampedusa on 8 July 2013.  When I instituted the new Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, I wanted a particular section – under my personal direction for the time being – to express the Church’s concern for migrants, displaced people, refugees and victims of human trafficking.

Every stranger who knocks at our door is an opportunity for an encounter with Jesus Christ, who identifies with the welcomed and rejected strangers of every age (Matthew 25:35-43).  The Lord entrusts to the Church’s motherly love every person forced to leave their homeland in search of a better future.[1]  This solidarity must be concretely expressed at every stage of the migratory experience – from departure through journey to arrival and return.  This is a great responsibility, which the Church intends to share with all believers and men and women of good will, who are called to respond to the many challenges of contemporary migration with generosity, promptness, wisdom and foresight, each according to their own abilities.

In this regard, I wish to reaffirm that “our shared response may be articulated by four verbs: to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate”.[2]

Considering the current situation, welcoming means, above all, offering broader options for migrants and refugees to enter destination countries safely and legally.  This calls for a concrete commitment to increase and simplify the process for granting humanitarian visas and for reunifying families.  At the same time, I hope that a greater number of countries will adopt private and community sponsorship programmes, and open humanitarian corridors for particularly vulnerable refugees.  Furthermore, special temporary visas should be granted to people fleeing conflicts in neighbouring countries.  Collective and arbitrary expulsions of migrants and refugees are not suitable solutions, particularly where people are returned to countries which cannot guarantee respect for human dignity and fundamental rights.[3]  Once again, I want to emphasise the importance of offering migrants and refugees adequate and dignified initial accommodation.  “More widespread programmes of welcome, already initiated in different places, seem to favour a personal encounter and allow for greater quality of service and increased guarantees of success”.[4]  The principle of the centrality of the human person, firmly stated by my beloved Predecessor, Benedict XVI,[5] obliges us to always prioritise personal safety over national security.  It is necessary, therefore, to ensure that agents in charge of border control areproperly trained.  The situation of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees requires that they be guaranteed personal safety and access to basic services.  For the sake of the fundamental dignity of every human person, we must strive to find alternative solutions to detention for those who enter a country without authorisation.[6]

The second verb – protecting – may be understood as a series of steps intended to defend the rights and dignity of migrants and refugees, independent of their legal status.[7]  Such protection begins in the country of origin, and consists in offering reliable and verified information before departure, and in providing safety from illegal recruitment practices.[8]  This must be ongoing, as far as possible, in the country of migration, guaranteeing them adequate consular assistance, the right to personally retain their documents of identification at all times, fair access to justice, the possibility of opening a personal bank account, and a minimum sufficient to live on.  When duly recognised and valued, the potential and skills of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees are a true resource for the communities that welcome them.[9]  This is why I hope that, in countries of arrival, migrants may be offered freedom of movement, work opportunities, and access to means of communication, out of respect for their dignity.  For those who decide to return to their homeland, I want to emphasise the need to develop social and professional reintegration programmes.  The International Convention on the Rights of the Child provides a universal legal basis for the protection of underage migrants.  They must be spared any form of detention related to migratory status, and must be guaranteed regular access to primary and secondary education.  Equally, when they come of age they must be guaranteed the right to remain and to enjoy the possibility of continuing their studies.  Temporary custody or foster programmes should be provided for unaccompanied minors and minors separated from their families.[10]  The universal right to a nationality should be recognised and duly certified for all children at birth.  The statelessness which migrants and refugees sometimes fall into can easily be avoided with the adoption of “nationality legislation that is in conformity with the fundamental principles of international law”.[11]  Migratory status should not limit access to national healthcare and pension plans, nor affect the transfer of their contributions if repatriated.

Promoting essentially means a determined effort to ensure that all migrants and refugees – as well as the communities which welcome them – are empowered to achieve their potential as human beings, in all the dimensions which constitute the humanity intended by the Creator.[12]  Among these, we must recognize the true value of the religious dimension, ensuring to all foreigners in any country the freedom of religious belief and practice.   Many migrants and refugees have abilities which must be appropriately recognised and valued.  Since “work, by its nature, is meant to unite peoples”,[13] I encourage a determined effort to promote the social and professional inclusion of migrants and refugees, guaranteeing for all – including those seeking asylum – the possibility of employment, language instruction and active citizenship, together with sufficient information provided in their mother tongue.  In the case of underage migrants, their involvement in labour must be regulated to prevent exploitation and risks to their normal growth and development.  In 2006, Benedict XVI highlighted how, in the context of migration, the family is “a place and resource of the culture of life and a factor for the integration of values”.[14]  The family’s integrity must always be promoted, supporting family reunifications – including grandparents, grandchildren and siblings – independent of financial requirements.  Migrants, asylum seekers and refugees with disabilities must be granted greater assistance and support.  While I recognize the praiseworthy efforts, thus far, of many countries, in terms of international cooperation and humanitarian aid, I hope that the offering of this assistance will take into account the needs (such as medical and social assistance, as well as education) of developing countries which receive a significant influx of migrants and refugees.  I also hope that local communities which are vulnerable and facing material hardship, will be included among aid beneficiaries.[15]

The final verb – integrating – concerns the opportunities for intercultural enrichment brought about by the presence of migrants and refugees.  Integration is not “an assimilation that leads migrants to suppress or to forget their own cultural identity. Rather, contact with others leads to discovering their ‘secret’, to being open to them in order to welcome their valid aspects and thus contribute to knowing each one better.  This is a lengthy process that aims to shape societies and cultures, making them more and more a reflection of the multi-faceted gifts of God to human beings”.[16]  This process can be accelerated by granting citizenship free of financial or linguistic requirements, and by offering the possibility of special legalisation to migrants who can claim a long period of residence in the country of arrival.  I reiterate the need to foster a culture of encounter in every way possible – by increasing opportunities for intercultural exchange, documenting and disseminating best practices of integration, and developing programmes to prepare local communities for integration processes.   I wish to stress the special case of people forced to abandon their country of arrival due to a humanitarian crisis.  These people must be ensured adequate assistance for repatriation and effective reintegration programmes in their home countries.

In line with her pastoral tradition, the Church is ready to commit herself to realising all the initiatives proposed above.  Yet in order to achieve the desired outcome, the contribution of political communities and civil societies is indispensable, each according to their own responsibilities.

At the United Nations Summit held in New York on 29 September 2016, world leaders clearly expressed their desire to take decisive action in support of migrants and refugees to save their lives and protect their rights, sharing this responsibility on a global level.  To this end, the states committed themselves to drafting and approving, before the end of 2018, two Global Compacts, one for refugees and the other for migrants.

Dear brothers and sisters, in light of these processes currently underway, the coming months offer a unique opportunity to advocate and support the concrete actions which I have described with four verbs.  I invite you, therefore, to use every occasion to share this message with all political and social actors involved (or who seek to be involved) in the process which will lead to the approval of the two Global Compacts.

Today, 15 August, we celebrate the Feast of the Assumption of Mary.  The Holy Mother of God herself experienced the hardship of exile (Matthew 2:13-15), lovingly accompanied her Son’s journey to Calvary, and now shares eternally his glory.  To her maternal intercession we entrust the hopes of all the world’s migrants and refugees and the aspirations of the communities which welcome them, so that, responding to the Lord’s supreme commandment, we may all learn to love the other, the stranger, as ourselves.

Vatican City, 15 August 2017
Solemnity of the Assumption of the B.V. Mary

FRANCIS

*

FOOTNOTES

[1] Cf. Pius XII, Apostolic Constitution Exsul Familia, Titulus Primus, I.

[2]  Address to Participants in the International Forum on “Migration and Peace”, 21 February 2017.

[3] Cf. Statement of the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the 103rd Session of the Council of the IOM, 26 November 2013.

[4]  Address to Participants in the International Forum on “Migration and Peace”, 21 February 2017.

[5] Cf. Benedict XVI, Encyclical Letter Caritas in Veritate, 47.

[6] Cf.   Statement of the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the 20th Session of the UN Human Rights Council, 22 June 2012.

[7] Cf. Benedict XVI, Encyclical Letter Caritas in Veritate, 62.

[8] Cf. Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, Instruction Erga Migrantes Caritas Christi, 6.

[9] Cf. Benedict XVI, Address to the Participants in the 6th World Congress for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, 9 November 2009.

[10] Cf. Benedict XVI, Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees (2010) and Statement of the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the 26th Ordinary Session of the Human Rights Council on the Human Rights of Migrants, 13 June 2014.

[11] Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People and Pontifical Council Cor Unum, Welcoming Christ in Refugees and Forcibly Displaced Persons, 2013, 70.

[12] Cf. Paul VI, Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio, 14.

[13] John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Centesimus Annus, 27.

[14] Benedict XVI, Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees (2007). 

[15] Cf. Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People and Pontifical Council Cor Unum, Welcoming Christ in Refugees and Forcibly Displaced Persons, 2013, 30-31.

[16] John Paul II, Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees (2005).

© Copyright – Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Release of Logo, Motto for Pope’s Peru Journey

Sun, 08/20/2017 - 10:05 PM

The official logo and motto for the Holy Fathers’ apostolic journey to Peru have been released.  The visit will be January 18-21, 2018.

According to the Holy See Press Office, “United for Hope” (Unidos por la esperanza) is the official motto for the journey, signifying that the encounter will be “a great feast of hope to be received in unity”.

“Two outstretched hands under the motto and date of the visit evoke the colors of the Peruvian and Vatican flags: red and yellow, respectively. They form the shape of wings as a sign of prayer, praise, and joy for the arrival of Pope Francis in Peru. To the left, Pope Francis joyfully reaches out of a map of Peru in a sign of closeness to the country and of unity with it.”

This will be the third Papal visit to Peru.  Pope St. John Paul II visited the nation in 1985 and 1988.

Angelus Address: On the Need for Unwavering Faith

Sun, 08/20/2017 - 12:42 PM

Here is a ZENIT translation of the address Pope Francis gave today before and after praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

* * *

Before the Angelus

Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!  

Today’s Gospel (Matthew 15:21-28) presents to us a singular example of faith in Jesus’ meeting with a Canaanite woman, a foreigner for the Jews. The scene unfolds while He is on the way to the city of Tyre and Sidon, northwest of Galilee: it’s here that the woman implores Jesus to heal her daughter who, the Gospel says, “is severely possessed by a demon” (v. 22). Initially the Lord seems not to listen to this cry of grief, so much so as to arouse the intervention of the disciples, who intercede for her. Jesus’ apparent detachment doesn’t discourage this mother, who insists on her invocation.

The inner strength of this woman, which enables her to surmount every obstacle, is found in her maternal love and in her confidence that Jesus can hear her request. And this makes me think of the strength of women. With their fortitude they are able to obtain great things. We have known so many! We can say that it’s love that moves faith and faith on her part becomes the reward of love. Her heartrending love for her daughter induces her “to cry: ‘Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David!’” (v. 22). And her perseverant faith in Jesus enables her not to be discouraged, not even in face of His initial refusal; so the woman “knelt before Him, saying: ‘Lord, help me!’” (v. 25).

At the end, in face of such perseverance, Jesus remains in admiration, almost astonished by the faith of the pagan woman. Therefore, He consents saying: ”’O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.’” And her daughter was healed instantly” (v. 28). Jesus points out this humble woman as an example of unwavering faith. Her insistence on invoking Christ’s intervention is a stimulus for us not to be discouraged, not to despair when we are oppressed by life’s harsh trials. The Lord doesn’t turn away in face of our needs and, if at times He seems insensible to requests for help, it’s to test and strengthen our faith. We must continue to cry as this woman: Lord, help me! Lord, help me!” — so, with perseverance and courage. And this is the courage we must have in prayer.

This evangelical episode helps us to understand that we are all in need of growing in faith and of strengthening our trust in Jesus. He can help us to rediscover the way, when we have lost the compass of our way; when the way no longer seems flat but rough and arduous; when it’s hard to be faithful to our commitments. It is important to nourish our faith every day, with attentive listening to the Word of God, with the celebration of the Sacraments, with personal prayer as “cry” to Him ––“Lord, help me!” — and with concrete attitudes of charity to our neighbor.

We entrust ourselves to the Holy Spirit so that He will help us to persevere in faith. The Spirit infuses audacity in the heart of believers; He gives our life and our Christian witness the strength of conviction and persuasion; He encourages us to overcome incredulity towards God and indifference towards brothers.

May the Virgin Mary render us increasingly aware of our need of the Lord and of His Spirit; may She obtain for us a strong faith, full of love, and a love that is able to become entreaty, courageous entreaty to God.

[Original text: Italian]  [Translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

*

After the Angelus

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

We bear grief in our hearts for the terrorist acts that, in these last days, have caused numerous victims in Burkina Faso, in Spain and in Finland. We pray for all the deceased, for the wounded and their families; and we implore the Lord, God of mercy and peace, to free the world from this inhuman violence. We pray together in silence and, afterwards, to Our Lady.

[Hail Mary . . .]

A warm greeting goes to you, dear Italian pilgrims and those of different countries. In particular, I greet the members of the French Association “Roulons pour l’Espoir, who have come on bicycle from Besancon; the new Seminarians with their Superiors of the North American College of Rome; the altar boys of Rivoltella (Brescia), and the boys and girls of Zevio (Verona).

I wish you all a good Sunday. Please, don’t forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and goodbye!

[Original text: Italian]  [Translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

L’Osservatore Romano Notes Launch for WMOF 2018 in Dublin

Fri, 08/18/2017 - 10:35 PM

L’Osservatore Romano reported August 18, 2017, on the “countdown” event planned for Monday, August 21, 2017 in preparation for the World Meeting of Families (WMOF) to be held in Dublin from August 21-26, 2018. Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, President and host of WMOF 2018, and Father Tim Bartlett, Secretary General of WMOF 2018 will host the countdown event at the Shrine of Our Lady of Knock in Knock, County Mayo, Ireland.

Saint Pope John Paul visited Knock in 1979, the centenary of the August 21, 1879, apparition in the village.  During the apparition, 15 people from the village of Knock in Co. Mayo, witnessed an Apparition of Our Lady, St. Joseph, St. John the Evangelist, a Lamb and cross on an altar at the gable wall of the Parish Church. The witnesses watched the Apparition in the pouring rain for two hours, reciting the Rosary. Although they themselves were saturated not a single drop of rain fell on the gable or vision.

Families from across Ireland have been invited by their diocese to come to Knock on August 21 to be part of the celebrations for the official launch of the preparatory program and to mark the one year countdown to next year’s WMOF 2018.

This day of celebration will include liturgies and prayers including the Anointing of the Sick, and the celebration of the Eucharist. It will also offer workshops, and lots of family-friendly

Fr. Bartlett will deliver a workshop entitled ‘Glued to our phones; can we make technology more family friendly?’ And Arch. Martin will preside at Mass in the Knock Basilica where he will preach the homily on the theme “When Plates Fly: Pope Francis on the joys and challenges of family life”.  This Mass will be concelebrated by bishops and priests from across the country. The WMOF 2018 Icon of the Holy Family will be unveiled and anointed at this Mass and it will then begin its journey around the dioceses of Ireland. The official prayer for WMOF 2018 will be presented at this Mass.

Also being launched on August 21is the Amoris: Let’s talk Family! Let’s Be Family! program. Using a range of online and parish-based resources, this program will offer families, parishes and wider society an opportunity to think about and discuss the Catholic vision and hopes for family and marriage, particularly in light of Pope Francis’ The Joy of Love (Amoris Laetitia), his 2016 Apostolic Exhortation on love in the family.

The World Meeting of Families was established by Pope Saint John Paul II in 1994. Held every three years, it is a major international celebration of faith bringing together families from across the world to celebrate, pray and reflect upon the central importance of marriage and the family as the cornerstone of our lives, of society and of the Church.

Pope Francis chose the Archdiocese of Dublin to be the host diocese for the 2018 World Meeting of Families, guided by the theme “The Gospel of the Family: Joy for the World”.

WMOF 2018 will include exhibitions, cultural events and musical performances, events around the city, gestures of solidarity, and four key events:

  • National Opening of World Meeting of Families will take place simultaneously in the twenty-six dioceses on the island of Ireland on August 21, 2018.
  • From August 21-24, a three-day Congress will include workshops, talks and discussions centered on the theme: “The Gospel of the Family: Joy for the World”.  The Congress will also offer a program for young people to include faith and fun activities for children.
  • Festival of Families, which will be held on Saturday, August 25.  This will involve a cultural concert within a prayerful and joyful atmosphere, during which personal stories of faith will be shared by families, each representing the five continents; and.
  • Holy Mass for WMOF2018.  A solemn Eucharistic Celebration on Sunday August 26 will involve thousands of pilgrims from Ireland and around the world.

Pope Francis Prays for Victims, Families of Barcelona Attack

Fri, 08/18/2017 - 2:52 PM

Vatican Press Office Director, Greg Burke, said August 17, 2017 that: “The Holy Father has been deeply concerned about what is happening in Barcelona. The Pope prays for the victims of this attack and wishes to express his closeness to the whole Spanish people, Particularly to the wounded and the families of the victims.

Burke’s statement on behalf of the Holy Father came after a van crashed into a crowd in Las Ramblas, the popular social and tourist area of Barcelona, earlier in the day.  Latest news report say at least 13 are dead and 100 injured in what is believed to be a terrorist attack.  Several news agencies report that Islamic State is claiming responsibility.

Pope Condemns “Blind Violence” of Attack in Barcelona

Fri, 08/18/2017 - 2:44 PM

The Holy Father said the attack August 17, 2017 in Barcelona was “blind violence” and a “very serious offense to the Creator”.

His words came in a telegram August 18, 2017 from Cardinal Pietro Parolin, his Secretary of State, to the Cardinal Archbishop of Barcelona Juan José Omella y Omella after the attacks that struck Spain, including Barcelona and Cambrils, Thursday evening, August 17.

The telegram said:

“Following the news of the cruel terrorist attack that has sown death and pain in Las Ramblas in Barcelona, Pope Francis wishes to express his deepest sympathy for the victims who have lost their lives to such an inhuman act, and offers prayers for their eternal repose. In these moments of sorrow and pain, he wishes also to offer his support and closeness to the many Injured, to their families, and to all Catalan and Spanish society.

“The Holy Father once again condemns blind violence, which is a grave offence to the creator, and raises prayers to the most high that he help us continue to work with determination for peace and harmony in the world.

“With these wishes, his holiness invokes upon all the victims, their families and the beloved Spanish people his apostolic blessing.”

At least 14 are dead and 100 injured in the Barcelona attacks that occurred at around 5 p.m. local time Thursday.  A second attack took place in Cambrils, south of Barcelona, at around midnight.  Six were reported injured, one of whom later died.  According to local reports, an explosion at a house in Alcanar, south of Cambrils, on the night of the 16th, may be linked to the attacks.

Vatican Press Office Director, Greg Burke, said August 17, 2017 that: “The Holy Father has been deeply concerned about what is happening in Barcelona. The Pope prays for the victims of this attack and wishes to express his closeness to the whole Spanish people, Particularly to the wounded and the families of the victims.”

Cardinal Bassetti Advocates a Cultural Revolution Centered on the Family

Fri, 08/18/2017 - 10:42 AM

 

Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, Archbishop of Perugia-Citta della Pieve and President of the Italian Episcopal Conference, advocated a cultural revolution centered on the family, in an article  entitled “Family Factor,” published in the column Dialogues of the Italian weekly edition of L’Osservatore Romano of August 10-17, 2017.

Here is our complete translation of the summary of the article, published on the Website of the Archbishop of Perugia-Citta della Pieve.  

***

The news of the event of the National Conference thus represents “a positive fact because it makes possible to address the reality with a bit more hope” and especially because it will serve to put at the center of the public discussion a question of “exceptional importance”: namely, “the relation between family and work.”

“A theme of this nature can’t be eluded as if it were an argument uniquely dear to Catholics and consequently a side issue of the country’s public agenda. No, the relation between family and work is a central theme – pastoral, cultural and political – for the Italy of today and of tomorrow,” wrote the Archbishop of Perugia. Among other reasons because it seems that Italy is divided in two: “between those that work too much and those that are unemployed,” continued the Cardinal. On one hand, there are the “productive nomads,” constrained to impressive rhythms of work and to live, essentially, far from their families, and on the other, the precarious who, without sure work, can’t furnish hope to their nuclear family.”

To address this difficult question, there must be without a doubt “an effective organization of work for the economy and, above all, to succeed in furnishing the most precious good for today’s families: time. A time that parents can dedicate to their children, to the elderly, to leisure, to voluntary work and to prayer. A necessary time to build and nourish inter-personal relations without which a society dries out or dies.”

“Consequently, to balance in an optimal way the hours of work with those of the family means  not only to render work more efficient, but it means above all to put the human person in the first place, to repeat a sacrosanct evangelical principle: work is at the service of man and not the contrary. A society that, on the contrary, evaluates a person’s dignity only on the basis of the social status of his professional activity – and hence in relation his salary and the well-being that ensues – is, in fact, an unhappy and essentially poorer society,”

For all these reasons, Italy is in urgent need “not only of policies for the family, but of a radical change of perspective. In sum, of a veritable cultural revolution: a revolution centered on the family,” concluded Cardinal Bassetti.

A Cry That Gets Salvation, by Archbishop Follo

Fri, 08/18/2017 - 8:26 AM

A cry that gets salvation

Roman Rite

XX Sunday of Ordinary Time – August 20, 2017

Is 56, 1.6-7; Ps 67; Rm 11.13-15.29-32; Mt 15: 21-28

1) The cry of faith to invoke a gift not to claim it.

Last Sunday, we meditated on the filial prayer of Christ who expresses his need to be with the Father, and Peter’s prayer who, to be with Christ, cries out to him “Lord, save me.” Today Gospel makes us hear the cry of a pagan woman who pleadingly and confidently turns to the Messiah saying, “Have mercy of me, Lord, son of David!” This woman begs Christ to release her daughter from devil. She humbly begs the Lord to do a miracle, but does not require divine intervention as a right. She expects it as a gift. She asks the One who is a gift recognizing in him the Lord and Messiah. Her faith is all enclosed in the expression: “Have mercy of me, Lord, Son of David.”

Once again the liturgy makes us contemplate the “Gospel of Grace” that responds to the desire for salvation, and for this reason, we pray: “Infuse in us the sweetness of your love so that loving you in everything and above all, we get the promised things that exceed every desire “(Opening prayer of today’s Mass).

Praying in this way, we put ourselves in the boundless horizon of God’s love, a love that attracts us to Him to be filled with joy.

The episode reported by the today Gospel is embodied and understood in the logic of the tender and infinite love of God. Saint Matthew tells us about a meeting that takes place “in a foreign land” with a pagan woman, who is a mother oppressed by anguish (“My daughter is tormented by a demon”). This mother gets what she was asking for. Today’s evangelical tale tells us the story of a pain open to faith and of a faith which becomes miracle and liberation.

The Canaanite woman turns to Jesus, sure to be satisfied. Her faith is insistent, brave, humble, and stronger than the apparent refusal. Faith must be both certain and patient. It must not be discouraged even by the silence of God “He did not even say a word”. The silence of Jesus may seem disconcerting, so much that it arouses the intervention of the disciples, but it is not about insensitivity to the pain of the woman.

Saint Augustine rightly comments “Christ seemed indifferent not  because he want to refuse mercy to her, but to inflame her desire “(Sermo 77, 1: PL 38, 483). The apparent distance taken by Jesus, who says, “I was not sent except for the lost sheep of the house of Israel “(Mt 15, 24) does not discourage the Canaanite, who insists “Lord, help me!”(Mt 15:25). And even when she receives an answer that seems to close any hope -“It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs” (Mt 15, 26) -, she does not desist. She doesn’t want to take anything from anyone: in its simplicity and humility little is enough, crumbles are enough, just one glance and a good word from the Son of God is enough. And Jesus is admired by the answer of such a great faith and says to her, “Let be done for you as you wish” (Mt 15:28). And from that moment her daughter is healed.

2) A persistent question to the one who loves us.

The healing of a young woman is not the only miracle narrated in the today Gospel. During the dialogue between Christ and the Canaanite woman, who begged a grace, it happened another miracle, greater than her daughter’s healing. This mother has become a “believer,” one of the first pagan believers.

If the Messiah had listened to her at the first request, all that this woman would have obtained is the healing of her daughter. Life would have gone through with less annoyances but everything would have ended there, and mother and daughter would have died in anonymity. Instead, they will be spoken about until the end of the world. Perhaps, Jesus took the inspiration from this meeting to propose the widow’s parable about the “Need to pray always, without getting tired”.

In the insistence of the Canaanite woman transpires the confidence in the power of Jesus. He was trying to hide, but the fame accompanying him prevented a single moment of solitude. He was there for her (and today he is here for us) and she knew it. Her presence in a territory that was not Jewish, “in the area of ​​Tire and Sidon”, could not be casual. She had guessed the favorable time for her daughter’s salvation. This certainty moves her and pushes her to Jesus. The certainty of a faith full of hope throws her at Christ’s feet, who says “Woman, great is your faith! Let be done as you wish “(Mt 15:28). Yes, this woman has a great faith. “Not knowing the ancient prophets, nor the recent miracles of the Lord, nor his commandments or his promises, indeed, rejected by him, she persists in her request and does not get tired of knocking at the door of the one who, by fame, had been named Savior. So her prayer is granted in a visible and immediate way”(Saint Bede the Venerable, Homely on the Gospels I, 22: PL 94, 102-105).

The insistent prayer of this woman does not arise solely from the need to obtain her daughter’s healing. It is born from a faith that is not the result of a theory or a need, but of an encounter with Christ, the Son of the “living God who calls and reveals his love” (Pope Francis, Lumen Fidei, 4) with a gesture of mercy.

In addition, the episode on which we are meditating makes us understand that when we pray the Lord we must not expect an immediate fulfillment of what we ask for, but rather rely on Christ’s heart trying to interpret the events of our life in the perspective of his design of love, often mysterious in our eyes. Therefore, in our prayer praise and thanks should merge together, even when it seems to us that God does not respond to our concrete expectations. The abandonment to the love of God, who precedes us and always accompanies us, is one of the fundamental attitudes of our dialogue with Him.

A clear example of this attitude is offered by the consecrated virgins, who are called to live in particular the “service of prayer,” as it is said during the Rite of Consecration when the Book of the Hours is given to them.

Moreover, with the full donation of self to Christ, these women testify how to ask and how to pray. Before the gift (= grace) is granted, they adhere to Jesus, who in his gifts gives himself. The Giver is more valuable than the gift; He is the ” invaluable Treasury”, the” precious Pearl “; the gift of the miracle is granted “in addition” (cf. Mt 6, 21 and 6:33).

These consecrated ones testify a very important thing: before the gift is granted, it is necessary to adhere to the One who gives: the giver is most valuable of the gift. Therefore, even for us, beyond what God gives us when we ask, the greatest gift he can give is his friendship, his presence, and his love. He is the precious treasure to ask for and guard all time.

Let us not forget the deep bond between the love for God and love for the neighbor that must also enter in our prayer. Our prayer opens the door to God, who teaches us to go out of our way to be able to become closer to the others, especially in moments of trial, to bring them consolation, hope and light. May Jesus the Lord allow us to be able to have a persevering and intense prayer to strengthen our personal relationship with God the Father, widen our hearts to the needs of those who are next, and feel the beauty of being “sons in the Son” together with so many brothers and sisters.  

       Patristic Reading       

                                                  Saint Augustin of Hippo (354 – 430)

Sermon XXVII. [LXXVII. Ben.]

On the words of the gospel, Mt 15,21 “Jesus went out thence, and withdrew into the parts of Tire and

Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman,” etc.

1). This woman of Canaan, who has just now been brought before us in the lesson of the Gospel,

shows us an example of humility, and the way of godliness; shows us how to rise from humility

unto exaltation. Now she was, as it appears, not of the people of Israel, of whom came the

Patriarchs, and Prophets, and the parents of the Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh; of

whom the Virgin Mary herself was, who was the Mother of Christ. This woman then was not of

this people; but of the Gentiles. For, as we have heard, the Lord “departed into the coasts of

Tyre and Sidon, and behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts,”1 and with the

greatest earnestness begged of Him the mercy to heal her daughter, “who was grievously vexed

 

with a devil.” Tyre and Sidon were not cities of the people of Israel, but of the Gentiles; though

they bordered on that people. So then, as being eager to obtain mercy she cried out, and boldly

knocked; and He made as though He heard her not,2 not to the end that mercy might be refused

her, but that her desire might be enkindled; and not only that her desire might be enkindled, but

that, as I have said before, her humility might be set forth. Therefore did she cry, while the Lord

was as though He heard her not, but was ordering in silence what He was about to do. The

disciples besought the Lord for her, and said, “Send her away; for she crieth after us.” And He

said, “I am not sent, but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”3

  1. Here arises a question out of these words; “If He was not sent but unto the lost sheep of the

house of Israel, how came we from among the Gentiles into Christ’s fold? What is the meaning

of the so deep economy4 of this mystery, that whereas the Lord knew the purpose of His

coming—that He might have a Church in all nations, He said that ‘He was not sent, but unto the

lost sheep of the house of Israel’?” We understand then by this that it behoved Him to manifest

His Bodily presence, His Birth, the exhibition of His miracles, and the power of His

Resurrection, among that people: that so it had been ordained, so set forth from the beginning,

so predicted, and so fulfilled; that Christ Jesus was to come to the nation of the Jews, to be seen

and slain, and to gain from among them those whom He foreknew. For that people was not

wholly condemned, but sifted. There was among them a great quantity of chaff, but there was

also the hidden worth5 of the grain; there was among them that which was to be burnt, there was

among them also that wherewith the barn was to be filled. For whence came the Apostles?

whence came Peter? whence the rest?

  1. Whence was Paul himself, who was first called Saul? That is, first proud, afterwards humble?

For when he was Saul, his name was derived from Saul: now Saul was a proud king; and in his

reign he persecuted the humble David.6 So when he who was afterwards Paul,7 was Saul, he was

proud, at that time a persecutor of the innocent, at that time a waster of the Church. For he had

received letters from the chief priests (burning as he was with zeal for the synagogue, and

persecuting the Christian name), that he might show up whatever Christians he should find, to be

punished.8 While he is on his way, while he is breathing out slaughter, while he is thirsting for

blood, he is thrown to the ground by the voice of Christ from heaven the persecutor, he is raised

up the preacher. In him was fulfilled that which is written in the Prophet, “I will wound and I will

heal.”9 For that only in man cloth God wound, which lifteth itself up against God. He is no

unkind10 physician who opens the swelling, who cuts, or cauterizes the corrupted part. He gives

pain, it is true; but he only gives pain, that he may bring the patient on to health. He gives pain;

but if he did not, he would do no good. Christ then by one word laid Saul low, and raised up

Paul; that is, He laid low the proud, and raised up the humble. For what was the reason of his

change of name, that whereas he was afore called Saul, he chose afterwards to be called Paul; but

that he acknowledged in himself that the name of Saul when he was a persecutor, had been a

name of pride? He chose therefore a humble name; to be called Paul, that is, the least. For Paul

is, “the least.” Paul is nothing else but little. And now glorying in this name, and giving us a

lesson11 of humility, he says, “I am the least of the Apostles.”12 Whence then, whence was he,

but of the people of the Jews? Of them were the other Apostles, of them was Paul, of them were

they whom the same Paul mentions, as having seen the Lord after His resurrection. For he says,

“That He was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain

unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.”13

  1. Of this people too, of the people of the Jews, were they, who when Peter was speaking, setting

forth the Passion, and Resurrection, and Divinity of Christ (after that the Holy Ghost had been

received, when all they on whom the Holy Ghost had come, spake with the tongues of all

nations), being pricked in spirit as they heard him, sought counsel for their salvation,

understanding as they did that they were guilty of the Blood of Christ; because they had crucified,

and slain Him, in whose name though slain by, them they saw such great miracles wrought; and

saw the presence of the Holy Ghost. And so seeking counsel they received for answer; “Repent,

and be baptized every one of you, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and your sins shall be

forgiven you.”14 Who should despair of the forgiveness of his sins, when the crime of killing

Christ was forgiven to those who were guilty of it? They were converted from among this people

of the Jews; were converted, and baptized. They came to the Lord’s table, and in faith drank that

Blood, which in their fury they had shed. Now in what sort they were converted, how

decidedly,15 and how perfectly, the Acts of the Apostles show. “For they sold all that they

possessed, and laid the prices of their things at the Apostles’ feet; and distribution was made unto

every man according as he had need; and no man said that ought was his own, but they had all

things common.”16 And, “They were,” as it is written, “of one heart and of one soul.” Lo here

are the sheep of whom He said, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

For to them He exhibited His Presence, for them in the midst of their violence against Him He

prayed as He was being crucified, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”17 The

Physician understood how those frenzied men were in their madness putting the Physician to

death, and in putting their Physician to death, though they knew it not, were preparing a medicine

for themselves. For by the Lord so put to death are all we cured, by His Blood redeemed, by the

Bread of His Body delivered from famine. This Presence then did Christ exhibit to the Jews. And

so He said, “I am not sent, but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel;” that to them He might

exhibit the Presence of His body; not that He might disregard, and pass over the sheep which He

had among the Gentiles.

  1. For to the Gentiles He went not Himself, but sent His disciples. And in this was fulfilled what

the Prophet said; “A people whom I have not known hath served Me.” See how deep, how clear,

how express the prophecy is; “a people whom I have not known,” that is, to whom I have not

exhibited My Presence, “hath served Me.” How? It goes on to say, “By the hearing of the ear

they have obeyed Me:”18 that is, they have believed, not by seeing, but by hearing. Therefore

have the Gentiles the greater praise. For the others saw and slew Him; the Gentiles heard and

believed. Now it was to call and gather together the Gentiles, that that might be fulfilled which

we have just now chanted, “Gather us from among the Gentiles, that we may confess to Thy

Name, and glory in Thy praise,”19 that the Apostle Paul was sent. He, the least, made great, not

by himself, but by Him whom he once persecuted, was sent to the Gentiles,20 from a robber

become a shepherd, from a wolf a sheep. He, the least Apostle, was sent to the Gentiles, and

laboured much among the Gentiles, and through him the Gentiles believed. His Epistles are the

witnesses.

  1. Of this you have a very sacred figure in the Gospel also. A daughter of a ruler of the synagogue

was really dead, and her father besought the Lord, that He would go to her; he had left her sick,

and in extreme danger.21 The Lord set out to visit and heal the sick; in the mean time it was

announced that she was dead, and it was told the father; “Thy daughter is dead, trouble not the

Master.” But the Lord who knew that He could raise the dead, did not deprive the despairing

father of hope, and said to him,” Fear not: only believe.” So he set out to the maiden; and in the

way a certain woman, who had suffered from an issue of blood, and in her lengthened illness had

spent to no purpose all that she had upon physicians, pressed herself in, how she could, amongst

the crowds. When she touched the border of His garment, she was made whole. And the Lord

said, “Who touched Me?” The disciples who knew not what had taken place, and saw that He

was thronged by the multitudes, and that He was troubling Himself about one single woman who

had touched Him gently, answered in astonishment, “The multitudes press Thee, and sayest

Thou, Who touched Me? And He said, Somebody hath touched Me? for the other press, she

hath touched. The many22 then rudely23 press the Body of Christ, few touch it healthfully.

“Somebody,” saith He, “hath touched Me, for I perceive that virtue is gone out of Me. And when

the woman saw that she was not hid, she fell down at His feet,” and confessed what had taken

place. After this He set out again, and arrived whither He was going, and raised to life the young

daughter of the ruler of the synagogue who was found to be dead.

  1. This was a literal fact, and was fulfilled as it is related i but nevertheless these very things which

were done by the Lord had some further signification, being (if we may so say) a sort of visible

and significative words. And this is especially plain, in that place where He sought fruit on the

tree out of season, and because He found none, dried up the tree by His curse.24 Unless this

action be regarded as a figure, there is no good meaning in it; first to have sought fruit on that

tree when it was not the season for fruit on any tree; and then even if it were now the time of

fruit, what fault in the tree was it to have none? But because it signified, that He seeketh not for

leaves only, but for fruit also, that is, not for the words only, but for the deeds of men, by drying

up that tree whereon he found only leaves, he signified their punishment who can speak good

things, but will not do them. And so it is in this place also. For surely there is a mystery in it. He

who foreknoweth all things saith, “Who touched Me?” The Creator maketh Himself like one

who is ignorant; and He asketh, who not only knew this, but who even foreknew all other things.

Doubtless there is something which Christ would speak to us in this significant mystery.

  1. That daughter of the ruler of the synagogue was a figure of the people of the Jews, for whose

sake Christ had come, who said, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

But the woman who suffered from the issue of blood, figured the Church from among the

Gentiles, to which Christ was not sent in His bodily presence. He was going to the former, He

was intent on her recovery; meanwhile the latter runs to meet Him, touches His border as though

He knew it not; that is, she is healed by Him who is in some sense absent. He saith, “Who

touched Me?” as though He would say; I do not know this people; “A people whom I have not

known hath served Me. Some one hath touched Me. For I perceive that virtue is gone out of

Me;” that is, that My Gospel hath gone out and filled the whole world. Now it is the border that

is touched, a small and outside25 part of the garment. Consider the Apostles as it were the

garment of Christ. Among them Paul was the border; that is, the last and least. For he said of

himself that he was both; “I am the least of the Apostles.”26 For he was called after them all, he

believed after them all, he healed more than they all. The Lord was not sent but “unto the lost

sheep of the house of Israel.” But because a “people whom He had not known, was also to serve

Him, and to obey Him in the hearing of the ear,” He made mention of them too when He was

among the others. For the same Lord said in a certain place, “Other sheep I have which are not

of this fold; them also I must bring, that there may be one fold and one shepherd.”27

  1. Of these was this woman; therefore she was not refused, but only put off. “I am not sent,”

saith He, “but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” And she was instant in her cries: she

persevered, she knocked, as if she had already heard, “Ask, and receive; seek, and thou shall find;

knock, and it shall be opened unto thee.” She kept on, she knocked. For so the Lord when He

spake these words, “Ask, and ye shall receive; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be

opened unto you;”28 had also said before, “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither

cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend

you;”29 that is, lest after despising your pearls, they should even ill use you.30 Cast not therefore

before them what they despise.

  1. And how distinguish we (as might be answered) who are “swine,” and who are “dogs”? This

has been shown in the case of this woman. For He only answered to her entreaties, “It is not

meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.”31 Thou art a dog, thou art one of the

Gentiles, thou worshippest idols. But for dogs what is so proper32 as to lick stones? “It is not”

***
“With the wish to have the experience that prayer is a dialogue with God who save.” Mgr Follo

Pope Appoints Special Envoy to Aparecida Events in October, 2017

Thu, 08/17/2017 - 10:44 PM

The Holy Father has appointed His Eminence Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Bishops and president emeritus of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, as his special envoy at the celebrations of the third centenary of the finding of the statue of Our Lady of Aparecida, patroness of Brazil. The event will take place at the National Shrine of Aparecida from 10 to 12 October 2017.

The Holy Father in 2013 visited several cities in Brazil, in particular Rio de Janeiro, to preside at the 28th World Youth Day. As part of his visit, he celebrated Mass on July 24, 2013 at the shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida, to whom he consecrated the country of Brazil.

On September 3, 2016, Pope Francis blessed a bronze image of the Virgin of Aparecida that was placed in the Vatican Gardens. The statue in the Vatican Gardens depicts the moment of the discovery of the image, when in 1717 three fishermen responsible for providing fish for the banquet of the Count of Assumar, who intended to stop in the village of Giaratinguetá during a journey. The three fishermen went to the river Paraíba, and after various unsuccessful attempts they cast their nets in the area of Porto Itaguacu, and one of them found entangled in them a statue of the Virgin, without the head. They cast the nets again and this time brought up the head. Shortly after the nets were filled with fish.

For 15 years the image was kept in the house of one of the fishermen, Felipe Pedroso, and the neighbors went there to pray the Rosary. Devotion to the image began to spread and several people who had prayed before the image affirmed that they had been granted the grace they asked for. Veneration of Our Lady of Aparecida subsequently spread throughout Brazil.

Pope’s August 17 Tweet Reminds us of God’s Goodness and Mercy

Thu, 08/17/2017 - 10:41 PM

Pope Francis @Pontifex reminded followers in his August 17, 2017 Tweet of God’s continuing goodness and mercy:

“May nothing stop you from living and growing in your Heavenly Father’s friendship, and from witnessing to His infinite goodness and mercy.”

 The Holy Father has been consistent with his message of God’s mercy.  In his August 15, 2017, Angelus remarks for the Feast of the Assumption he said, “By bringing Jesus, Our Lady brings to us also a new joy, full of meaning. She brings to us a new capacity to go through painful and difficult moments with faith; She brings us the capacity of mercy, to forgive one another, to understand each other, to support one another.”

At the close of the Jubilee Year of Mercy on November 20, 2016, the Pope stressed the role that mercy continues to play in our lives: “So many pilgrims have crossed the threshold of the Holy Doors, and far away from the clamor of the daily news they have tasted the great goodness of the Lord. We give thanks for this, as we recall how we have received mercy in order to be merciful, in order that we too may become instruments of mercy. Let us go forward on this road together. May our Blessed Lady accompany us, she who was also close to the Cross, she who gave birth to us there as the tender Mother of the Church, who desires to gather all under her mantle. Beneath the Cross, she saw the good thief receive pardon, and she took Jesus’ disciple as her son. She is Mother of Mercy, to whom we entrust ourselves: every situation we are in, every prayer we make, when lifted up to his merciful eyes, will find an answer.”