Tag Archives: pope francis

Calm down world – Pope Francis is doing fine after falling

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CZESTOCHOWA, Poland – Nothing can stop Pope Francis from celebrating World Youth Day – not even falling during a televised Mass.

In his first major event at the 31st World Youth Day, the Pope missed a step during Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa on 28 July 2016. He was carrying a censer and was on his way to incense the Polish icon of the Virgin Mary.

Immediately, members of his security and the local clergy helped him up and readjusted his vestments. Thanks to their quick reaction and the Holy Father’s impressive strength, the 79 year-old Pope was able to continue with Mass and his other scheduled activities.

“The pope is fine,” Vatican spokesman Greg Burke told journalists after the fall.

Czestochowa Archbishop Waclaw Depo said Francis fell because he had closed his eyes and appeared to miss a step, ABC News reported.

“He is in good condition. He did not even complain at all. He never said a word,” Depo said. “Also the homily showed that the pope has strength and this strength he gets from the people.”

Despite having only one lung and sciatica, a condition causing pain in his lower back, the Pope continues to be in relatively good health and has presided over several long events, meetings and audiences during his papacy, including the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia last fall.

Several outlets reported the incident on Twitter.

The Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa in Jasna Gora is considered one of the holiest sites in Poland, and houses the historic icon of the Black Madonna. The Mass on Thursday was being celebrated in honour of the 1050th anniversary of Poland becoming a Christian nation.

Hundreds of thousands of people filled the areas near the temple from early morning to attend Mass. Francis is the third pope to visit this shrine in the footsteps of John Paul II and Benedict XVI. – CNS Blog

Three words every couple should know, according to Pope Francis

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KRAKOW, Poland – Married couples were the focus of Pope Francis’ second “balcony talk” in Poland on Thursday, 28 July 2016, receiving from him three words he has often said are key to a successful marriage.

“Sometimes they ask me how to make it so that the family always goes forward and overcomes difficulties,” the Pope said, adding that when this happens, “I suggest to them to practice three words.”

Speaking in his native Spanish, he said these words “can help to live married life because in married life there are difficulties,” adding that marriage is something we have to take care of, “because it’s forever.”

The three words are “permission, thanks, and forgiveness.”

Pope Francis was speaking at the end of his first full day in Poland, where he is spending July 27-31 for World Youth Day. Each night when he comes back to Krakow after the day’s activities, Francis is set to appear on the balcony of the local archbishop’s palace to address youth gathered below.

The tradition was begun by St John Paul II, who spoke to youth from the balcony every time he visited his homeland as Pope – had been Krakow’s archbishop from 1964 until his 1978 election as Bishop of Rome. It was continued by Benedict XVI when he visited Poland in 2006, and is now being carried on by Francis.

In the encounter Francis recounted the moving story of a young student who rediscovered his faith after leaving school to volunteer for WYD in designing the banners that currently line Krakow’s streets, but passed away from cancer before the event arrived. He praised the young man’s faith, and encouraged the youth gathered to spread the joy of their faith in Christ throughout the city.

In his speech from the balcony, he focused on married couples, explaining that whenever he sees a young couple is getting married or has just done so, “I tell them they are the ones who have courage, because it’s not easy to form a family.”

“It’s not easy to make a life commitment, it takes courage, and I congratulate them because they have courage,” he said, noting that the three words “permission, thanks, and forgiveness” come in handy every day of married life.

On the topic of permission, the Pope said to “always ask your spouse, the wife to the husband and the husband to the wife, ‘what do you think, what do you think if we do this?’” rather than just “running over” the other without getting their opinion.

He also stressed the need to be grateful, “because it’s the spouses who confer the sacrament of marriage, one to the other. And this sacramental relationship is maintained with this sentiment of gratitude, of thanks.”

The third word, he noted, is forgiveness, which is “a very hard word to say.” In marriage, mistakes are always made, he said, noting that the important thing is to know how recognise one’s mistakes and ask for forgiveness.

This “does a lot of good,” Francis continued, urging families and engaged couples to “remember these three words, which will help you to a lot in married life: permission, thank you, and forgiveness.”

In marriage “there are always problems or discussions. It’s habitual and it happens that the husband and wife argue, raise their voice, fight,” he said, noting that “somethings the plates fly.”

“But don’t panic when this happens,” he said, and advised couples to never finish a day without making peace, “because the cold war the day after is very dangerous.”

A simple gesture is enough to make this peace, he said, tapping his face twice, adding that “when there is love, a gesture fixes everything.”

Pope Francis then invited the youth to pray for all the families who were present, for those who are married and those who are engaged, and led the crowd in praying a Hail Mary, each country in their own language. – CNA/EWTN News  

Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill hold historic meeting

 @Servizio Fotografico - L'Osservatore Romano


@Servizio Fotografico – L’Osservatore Romano

HAVANA, Cuba – Christian brotherhood and unity were the focus of Pope Francis and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill when they met on 12 Feb 2016  in Havana.

“We spoke as brothers,” Pope Francis said. “We have the same baptism. We are bishops. We spoke of our Churches.”

“We agreed that unity is created by journeying together,” he told a gathering of Catholic and Orthodox clergy and reporters after his meeting with the patriarch.

He characterised the Feb 12 conversation as open and authentic. It focused on “a series of initiatives that I believe are viable and can be realised.”  The Pope praised the patriarch’s humility, brotherhood, and deep desire for unity.

The first-ever meeting between a Pope and a Patriarch of Moscow was held privately. Afterwards they signed a joint declaration that focused on several topics.

The declaration focused at length on anti-Christian persecution, especially  in the Middle East and North Africa. It lamented the hostilities in Ukraine. The declaration also voiced concern about the threat of secularism to religious freedom and the Christian roots of Europe.

Other topics of discussion included poverty, the crisis in the family, abortion and euthanasia. The Pope and the patriarch exhorted young Christians to live their faith in the world.

Patriarch Kirill characterised the private meeting as an open discussion “with full awareness of the responsibility of our Churches, for the future of Christianity, and for the future of human civilisation.”

He said the conversation “gave us the opportunity to understand and hear the positions of the other.”

“The results of this allow me to assure you that the two Churches will continue to work closely together with Christians in all the world, and with full responsibility to work together against war, so that human life can develop in the entire world.”

Their conversation also aimed to strengthen “the bases of personal and family morality” through “the participation of the Church in the life of modern human society, that glorifies the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The Pope told Patriarch Kirill before their private meeting “we’re brothers. It’s clear that this is the will of God.”

At the close of their remarks, Pope Francis thanked Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, Cardinal Kurt Koch and their teams who had worked to organise the meeting.  Metropolitan Hilarion heads the Russian Orthodox Church’s external church relations department, while Cardinal Koch heads the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

“I do not wish to go forth from here without expressing my sense of gratitude for Cuba and for the Cuban people and for their president Raul Castro,” the Pope added. “I thank him for his acts of openness and readiness to give space for this, these talks of unity.”

He prayed: “Let all of this be done for the glory of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and for the good of the holy people of God, under the protection of the Holy Mother of God.” – CNA/EWTN News

Dialogue and encounter with the peoples of Asia

representation-of-asia

On this vast continent which is home to a great variety of cultures, the Church is called to be versatile and creative in her witness to the Gospel through dialogue and openness to all. Dialogue, in fact, is an essential part of the mission of the Church in Asia (cf. Ecclesia in Asia, 29). But in undertaking the path of dialogue with individuals and cultures, what should be our point of departure and our fundamental point of reference, which guides us to our destination? Surely it is our own identity, our identity as Christians. We cannot engage in real dialogue unless we are conscious of our own identity. Nor can there be authentic dialogue unless we are capable of opening our minds and hearts, in empathy and sincere receptivity, to those with whom we speak. In other words, an attentiveness in which the Holy Spirit is our guide. If we are to speak freely, openly and fruitfully with others, we must be clear about who we are, what God has done for us, and what it is that he asks of us. Fearlessly, for fear is the enemy of this kind of openness.

The task of appropriating and expressing our identity does not always prove easy, however, since – being sinners – we will always be tempted by the spirit of the world, which shows itself in a variety of ways. I would like to point to three of these. One is the deceptive light of relativism, which obscures the splendor of truth. Here I am not speaking about relativism merely as a system of thought, but about that everyday practical relativism which almost imperceptibly saps our sense of identity.

A second way in which the world threatens the solidity of our Christian identity is superficiality, a tendency to toy with the latest fads, gadgets and distractions, rather than attending to the things that really matter (cf. Phil 1:10). In a culture which glorifies the ephemeral, and offers so many avenues of avoidance and escape, this can present a serious pastoral problem. Without a grounding in Christ, the truths by which we live our lives can gradually recede, the practice of the virtues can become formalistic, and dialogue can be reduced to a form of negotiation or an agreement to disagree. An agreement to disagree… so as not to make waves… This sort of superficiality does us great harm.

Then too, there is a third temptation: that of the apparent security to be found in hiding behind easy answers, ready formulas, rules and regulations.

Finally, together with a clear sense of our own Christian identity, authentic dialogue also demands a capacity for empathy. We are challenged to listen not only to the words which others speak, but to the unspoken communication of their experiences, their hopes and aspirations, their struggles and their deepest concerns. This capacity for empathy leads to a genuine encounter – we have to progress toward this culture of encounter – in which heart speaks to heart. […] – For full text on Pope Francis’ Evangelistic Intention for Feb 2016 @ www.apmej.net

Pauline Family brings Christmas joy to families

A section of the carollers singing in the home of one of the families visited.

A section of the carollers  in the home of one of the families visited.

KOTA KINABALU – The Pauline Family – Daughters of St Paul, Association of Pauline Cooperators, and friends – brought Christmas joy to around forty families living around Kota Kinabalu and Penampang through its Advent Family Visits on 2-23 Dec 2015.  This year’s activity was in line with the congregational response to Pope Francis’ plea: “We are already doing a lot, but perhaps we are called to do more … Let us open our eyes to the miseries of the world, to the wounds of countless brothers and sisters.  Let us listen to their cries for help and allow them to goad us into action.”

On the worldwide level, the General Government of the Daughters of St Paul has decided to give Caritas or another charitable organisation the Institute’s house in Torre Mondovi (Piedmont, Italy) to use for accommodating refugees.  The building consists of three floors and has about 20 rooms.

On the local level, the Sisters have decided to donate the proceeds of this year’s Advent Family Visits to this cause, in the context of the Jubilee Year of Mercy as well as that of their centenary of foundation (1915-2015), mindful of the pope’s exhortation: “Faced with the tragedy of tens of thousands of people who are fleeing the death provoked by war and hunger and who are ‘on the move’ toward the hope of new life, the Gospel is calling all of us to be a neighbour to the most needy and  most abandoned of his children.  It is calling us to give them concrete hope.”

 

Holy Year is a reminder to put mercy before judgment, pope says

Pope Francis opens the Holy Door of St. Peter's Basilica to inaugurate the Jubilee Year of Mercy at the Vatican Dec. 8. (CNS photo/Maurizio Brambatti, EPA) See POPE-MERCY-DOOR Dec. 8, 2015.

Pope Francis opens the Holy Door of St. Peter’s Basilica to inaugurate the Jubilee Year of Mercy at the Vatican Dec. 8. (CNS photo/Maurizio Brambatti, EPA)

VATICAN CITY  –  On a cloudy, damp morning, Pope Francis’ voice echoed in the atrium of St. Peter’s Basilica: “Open the gates of justice.” With five strong thrusts, the pope pushed open the Holy Door, a symbol of God’s justice, which he said will always be exercised “in the light of his mercy.”

The rite of the opening of the Holy Door was preceded by a Mass with 70,000 pilgrims packed in St. Peter’s Square Dec 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception and the beginning of the extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy.

As the sun broke through the clouds, heralding the start of the jubilee year, the pope bowed his head and remained still for several minutes in silent prayer.

Amid a crowd of dignitaries and pilgrims, a familiar face was also present at the historic event: retired Pope Benedict XVI, who followed Pope Francis through the Holy Door into St. Peter’s Basilica.

During his homily, Pope Francis emphasized the “simple, yet highly symbolic” act of opening the Holy Door, which “highlights the primacy of grace;” the same grace that made Mary “worthy of becoming the mother of Christ.”

“The fullness of grace can transform the human heart and enable it to do something so great as to change the course of human history,” he said.

The feast of the Immaculate Conception, he continued, serves as a reminder of the grandeur of God’s love in allowing Mary to “avert the original sin present in every man and woman who comes into this world.”

“This is the love of God which precedes, anticipates and saves,” he said. “Were sin the only thing that mattered, we would be the most desperate of creatures. But the promised triumph of Christ’s love enfolds everything in the Father’s mercy.”

The Year of Mercy, the pope stressed, is a gift of grace that allows Christians to experience the joy of encountering the transforming power of grace and rediscovering God’s infinite mercy toward sinners.

“How much wrong we do to God and his grace when we speak of sins being punished by his judgment before we speak of their being forgiven by his mercy,” he said.

“We have to put mercy before judgment, and in any event God’s judgment will always be in the light of his mercy. In passing through the Holy Door, then, may we feel that we ourselves are part of this mystery of love.”

Fifty years ago, he said, the church celebrated the “opening of another door,” with the Second Vatican Council urging the church to come out from self-enclosure and “set out once again with enthusiasm on her missionary journey.” The council closed 8 Dec 1965.

Pope Francis, the first pope to be ordained to the priesthood after the council, said the council documents “testify to a great advance in faith,” but the council’s importance lies particularly in calling the Catholic Church to return to the spirit of the early Christians by undertaking “a journey of encountering people where they live: in their cities and homes, in their workplaces. Wherever there are people, the church is called to reach out to them and to bring the joy of the Gospel. After these decades, we again take up this missionary drive with the same power and enthusiasm.”

Shortly after the Mass, as thousands of people waited in St. Peter’s Square for a chance to walk through the Holy Door, Pope Francis led the midday Angelus prayer.

The feast of the Immaculate Conception has a special connection to the start of the Year of Mercy, he said, because “it reminds us that everything in our lives is a gift, everything is mercy.”

Like Mary, the pope continued, Christians are called to “become bearers of Christ” and to “let ourselves be embraced by the mercy of God who waits for us and forgives everything. Nothing is sweeter than his mercy. Let us allow ourselves to be caressed by God. The Lord is so good and he forgives everything.” – CNS

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