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Pope Francis

PHOTO / ALBERTO PIZZOLI / AFP / ALBERTO PIZZOLI

 

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis urged the world in his Easter message on Sunday to use the “weapons of love” to combat the evil of “blind and brutal violence”, following the attacks in Brussels.

After a week of sombre religious events commemorating Jesus’ death, Francis said an Easter Sunday Mass under tight security for tens of thousands of people in a sun-drenched St. Peter’s Square.

Afterwards, in his traditional, twice-yearly “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and the world) message, he spoke of violence, injustice and threats to peace in many parts of the world.

“May he (the risen Jesus) draw us closer on this Easter feast to the victims of terrorism, that blind and brutal form of violence which continues to shed blood in different parts of the world,” he said, speaking from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica.

He mentioned recent attacks in Belgium, where at least 31 people were killed by Islamist militants, as well as those in Turkey, Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, and Iraq.

“With the weapons of love, God has defeated selfishness and death,” the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholic said from the same balcony from where he first appeared to the world on the night of his election on March 13, 2013.

The 79-year-old Argentine pontiff urged people to channel the hope of Easter in order to defeat “the evil that seems to have the upper hand in the life of so many people”.

The pope condemned the Brussels attacks several times during the past week, including at a Good Friday service where he said followers of religions who carried out acts of fundamentalism or terrorism were profaning God’s name..

The former king and queen of Belgium, Albert II and Paola, who is Italian, attended the Mass and the pope greeted them afterwards.

In other parts of his address, Francis expressed the hope that recent talks could resolve the conflict in Syria in order to end the “sad wake of destruction, death, contempt for humanitarian law and the breakdown of civil concord”.

He urged Europe “not to forget those men and women seeking a better future, an ever more numerous throng of migrants and refugees – including many children – fleeing from war, hunger, poverty and social injustice.”

The European Union and Turkey have agreed to stop the flow of migrants to Europe in return for political and financial concessions for Ankara. Turkey and The Aegean islands have been the main route for migrants and refugees pouring into Europe in the past year.

Francis called for dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians, and resolutions to conflicts and political tensions in Yemen, Iraq, Libya, Burundi, Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, and Ukraine.

Security was very tight around the square, which was bedecked with more than 35,000 flowers and plants donated by the Netherlands.

Police checked people several times at various points along the approach the square and subjected those with entry tickets to body and bag searches even before they passed through metal detectors. Security sources said police reinforcements had arrived in Rome from other Italian cities.

Islamic State militants have made threats against Catholic targets in Rome. Last year, a website used by militants ran a photo montage showing the movement’s black flag flying from the obelisk at the centre of St Peter’s Square.

 

This handout picture released by the Vatican press office shows Pope Francis waving to the crowd from the central loggia of St Peters' basilica during the "Urbi et Orbi" blessing for Rome and the world following the Easter Sunday mass on March 27, 2016 at St Peter's square in Vatican. Christians around the world are marking the Holy Week, commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, leading up to his resurrection on Easter.      AFP PHOTO / OSSERVATORE ROMANO/HO  RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / OSSERVATORE ROMANO" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS / AFP / OSSERVATORE ROMANO / HO

 

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(Photo via Reuters)

PHILADELPHIA – Pope Francis on Saturday highlighted the need for ordinary Catholics, especially women, to help fortify the Church in the future, as he embarked on the final leg of his triumphal US tour in Philadelphia.

The head of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics landed in the City of Brotherly Love after a short flight from New York, where he spent a whirlwind 36 hours that included an emotional visit to Ground Zero and mass at Madison Square Garden.

The 78-year-old Argentine pontiff is ending a historic visit to Cuba and the United States this weekend with a packed schedule in Philadelphia, including two appearances at the Festival of Families, an international gathering of Catholics.

The city is under a security lockdown, with traffic banned downtown for the entire weekend and thousands of National Guardsmen in the streets.

At the airport in Philadelphia, he walked down the steps of the jet and onto the red carpet, embracing members of the clergy and greet local dignitaries with a beaming smile.

He got out of his modest Fiat at the sight of a child in a wheelchair close to the security barrier, and walked over to bless the child.

Francis then headed straight to mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, where people slept in the street overnight in the hopes of seeing him.

The pope singled out the role women have played in the Church, telling the story of an American heiress, St Katharine Drexel, who heard her call to found an order of nuns when asked by another pope: “What about you?”

“It is significant that those words of the elderly Pope were also addressed to a lay woman,” Francis said.

“We know that the future of the Church in a rapidly changing society will call, and even now calls, for a much more active engagement on the part of the laity,” he said, noting the “immense contribution” of women to Catholic communities.

Keeping parishioners involved is an important issue in America’s Catholic Church: the number of new priests only covers one-third of the need, according to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University.

Later Saturday, Francis, the first pope from Latin America, is due to address immigrants at the city’s historic Independence Hall before greeting huge crowds at the Festival of Families, a Catholic event that takes place every three years.

“I wanted to be part of this family celebration,” said 42-year-old Luis Ortiz, who slept outside with his 11 children near the cathedral.

PRISON VISIT

On Sunday, Francis will meet with American bishops, visit a prison and lead a farewell mass on Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the city’s grandest avenue, before leaving the United States.

The pope has received a rapturous reception in America — he was welcomed personally by President Barack Obama when he arrived on Tuesday and by giant crowds in both Washington and the Big Apple.

His reform-minded approach to social issues, humility and focus on the most vulnerable has struck a chord across the country’s racial and socioeconomic divide.

New York treated the pontiff to a rock-star welcome.

A sea of 80,000 people screamed out in joy as he proceeded through Central Park in his popemobile before celebrating mass at Madison Square Garden, New York’s premier concert venue, before about 20,000 people.

Once again, the pope focused on society’s poorest, in a message voiced time and again in America’s financial capital, a city of staggering wealth but also need.

He called on worshippers not to forget “the faces of all those people who don’t appear to belong, or are second-class citizens.”

“They are the foreigners, the children who go without schooling, those deprived of medical insurance, the homeless, the forgotten elderly,” the pope said.

SONGS IN HARLEM

At the city’s somber September 11 Memorial, he laid a white rose and led a gathering of 700 in multi-faith prayers for world peace and paid tribute to the nearly 3,000 victims killed in the 2001 attacks.

Francis was welcomed in song and laughter on a heartwarming visit to a Catholic school in New York’s East Harlem neighborhood.

It was a stark contrast to the austere surroundings of the UN General Assembly, where he touched on the persecution of Christians in the Middle East, drug trafficking — “silently killing millions” — and the rights of girls to an education.

As he did at the US Congress, the pope gave a passionate plea to protect the environment, voicing confidence that a looming UN summit on climate change would reach “effective” agreement in Paris.

Francis also offered a strong endorsement of Iran’s agreement with the United States and five other world powers to limit its nuclear program.

© 1994-2015 Agence France-Presse

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Key Takeaway In This Sunday’s (September 27, 2015) Gospel: Temptations To Sin, Mk 9:38-43, 45 47-48

The word of God this Sunday is focused on the 10423349_1155514751131698_5245816457681358538_nopenness and respect for those who are different.

Pope Francis’ speech yesterday before Philadelphia’s iconic Independence Hall echoed that thought, when he gave a ringing endorsement of RELIGIOUS FREEDOM.

According to a CNN report, he urged his American hosts to avoid a “superficial quest for unity.”Addressing a predominantly immigrant crowd, he said, “In this witness, which frequently encounters powerful resistance you remind American democracy of the ideals for which it was founded, and that society is weakened whenever and wherever injustice prevails.”

Drawing cheers from the large crowd, where many of the faithful waved flags from countries such as Costa Rica and Mexico, the Argentine-born Francis encouraged his diverse flock to “never be ashamed of your traditions.”

“Do not forget the lessons you learned from your elders,” he stated, “which are something you can bring to enrich the life of this American land.

“Pope Francis made his remarks from the same lectern Abraham Lincoln used to give the Gettysburg Address, a fitting setting for a speech stressing freedom. He declared, however, that the rights of the faithful should extend well beyond the sanctuary door.”Religious freedom certainly means the right to worship God, individually and in community, as our consciences dictate,” he averred.

“But religious liberty, by its nature, transcends places of worship and the private sphere of individuals and families.”Pope Francis was most animated and drew the loudest response when he addressed the immigrants, greeting them with “particular affection.”

“Do not be discouraged by whatever challenges and hardships you face,” he said, to loud cheers. “I ask you not to forget that, like those who came here before you, you bring many gifts to your new nation.”

OUR PRAYER:

O God our Creator, we ask you to bless us in our vigilance for the gift of religious liberty. Give us the strength of mind and heart to readily defend our freedoms when they are threatened; give us courage in making our voices heard on behalf of the rights of your Church and the freedom of conscience of all people of faith. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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2015-03-29 Vatican Radio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis remembered the persecuted Christians in the world on Sunday – Palm Sunday – during Mass in St. Peter’s Square. Following the proclamation of the Passion according to St. Mark, Pope Francis delivered a homily, in which he reflected on the plight of all those who endure humiliation because of their faithfulness to the Gospel, all those who face discrimination and pay a personal price for their fidelity to Christ.

Click below to hear our report

“We think too of our brothers and sisters who are persecuted because they are Christians,” he said, “the martyrs of our own time.” The Holy Father went on to say, “They refuse to deny Jesus and they endure insult and injury with dignity. They follow Him on His way.”

The reflection came at the end of his brief Palm Sunday homily, which was intensely focused on the way of humility that Christ chose to undertake for our salvation. “This is God’s way, the way of humility,” he said. “It is the way of Jesus; there is no other.”

The Holy Father concluded with a call to all the faithful to undertake the Way of the Cross, which leads to salvation and eternal life, with new dedication and devotion during Holy Week. “Let us set about with determination along this same path,” said Pope Francis, “with immense love for Him, our Lord and Saviour.  Love will guide us and give us strength.  For where He is, we too shall be. (cf. Jn  12:26)”

(from Vatican Radio)

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Here is the Official Theme Song for the 2015 Apostolic Visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines.

Do you see these children on the streets?
Have you walked the pavements where they sleep?
Do you feel their hands when you give them alms?
Did you ever give them bread to eat?
Have you seen their homes washed by the floods?
While a mother tightly holds her child
Do you hear the wind of the raging storm?
Can you tell them where it’s coming from?
Let us show our love and mercy
With true kindness and humility
For the God loves the weak and the needy
Just like you and me
We are all God’s children we are all the same
He is calling us by name to help the poor and lame
And learn what life is really for
It’s to know and love and serve the Lord
Stand together and let’s do our part
Hear their voices mend their broken hearts
Choose to be brave fight for their rights
Give them back their honor and their pride
Please do not be blind and just leave them behind
To struggle in darkness or give them empty promises
We are all God’s children we are all the same
He is calling us by name to help the poor and lame
And learn what life is really for
It’s to know and love and serve the Lord
It’s to know and love and serve the Lord
It’s to know and love and serve the Lord
Lyrics written and sung by Jamie Rivera with The Hail Mary the Queen Children’s Choir.
Music composed and arranged by Noel Espenida
Directed by Eric Teotico
Produced by Starmusic and Ligaya ng Panginoon
Published by Star Songs, Inc.
“A little bit of mercy makes the world less cold and more just.” – Pope Francis

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Pope Francis Universal Intention for December
( Christmas, hope for humanity )

That the birth of the Redeemer may bring peace and hope to all people of good will.

One night a long time ago an angel appeared to some shepherds and told them a savior had been born nearby who would save people from their sins and ultimately from death. Then many angels appeared proclaiming “peace on earth, good will to all.” What an amazing scene in the hills outside Bethlehem!

Jesus was born to reconcile humanity with God and with one another. He came to establish the just order based on loving God above all else and on loving others as children of God. Sharing human life to the point of suffering and dying, Jesus brought hope. He rose from the dead never to die again, and he offers eternal life to all who come to him.

Pope Francis has called Christmas “the feast of trust and of hope which overcomes uncertainty and pessimism.” He said: “And the reason for our hope is this: God is with us… he comes to abide with mankind, he chooses earth as his dwelling place to remain with people…in joy or in sorrow. Therefore, earth is no longer only ‘a valley of tears’; rather, it is the place where God himself has pitched his tent, it is the meeting place of God with humanity, of God’s solidarity with people.”

The Son of God took flesh so he could be with us. He offered his flesh on the cross for the life of the world. He continues to offer his flesh, his Body and Blood, in the Eucharist. As Pope Francis said, “This closeness of God to every man and woman, to each of us, is a gift that never fades.”

May this Christmas bring peace and hope to all!

Reflection
How do I find peace and hope in the celebration of Christmas?

Scripture
Colossians 1: 15-23 Christ is our peace and reconciliation.

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Slowing down, being generous and fighting for peace are part of Pope Francis’ secret recipe for happiness.

 

In an interview published in part in the Argentine weekly “Viva” July 27, the pope listed his Top 10 tips for bringing greater joy to one’s life:

 

1. “Live and let live.” Everyone should be guided by this principle, he said, which has a similar expression in Rome with the saying, “Move forward and let others do the same.”

 

2. “Be giving of yourself to others.” People need to be open and generous toward others, he said, because “if you withdraw into yourself, you run the risk of becoming egocentric. And stagnant water becomes putrid.”

 

3. “Proceed calmly” in life. The pope, who used to teach high school literature, used an image from an Argentine novel by Ricardo Guiraldes, in which the protagonist — gaucho Don Segundo Sombra — looks back on how he lived his life. “He says that in his youth he was a stream full of rocks that he carried with him; as an adult, a rushing river; and in old age, he was still moving, but slowly, like a pool” of water, the pope said. He said he likes this latter image of a pool of water — to have “the ability to move with kindness and humility, a calmness in life.”

 

4. “A healthy sense of leisure.” The pleasures of art, literature and playing together with children have been lost, he said. “Consumerism has brought us anxiety” and stress, causing people to lose a “healthy culture of leisure.” Their time is “swallowed up” so people can’t share it with anyone. Even though many parents work long hours, they must set aside time to play with their children; work schedules make it “complicated, but you must do it,” he said. Families must also turn off the TV when they sit down to eat because, even though television is useful for keeping up with the news, having it on during mealtime “doesn’t let you communicate” with each other, the pope said.

 

5. Sundays should be holidays. Workers should have Sundays off because “Sunday is for family,” he said. 6. Find innovative ways to create dignified jobs for young people. “We need to be creative with young people. If they have no opportunities they will get into drugs” and be more vulnerable to suicide, he said. “It’s not enough to give them food,” he said. “Dignity is given to you when you can bring food home” from one’s own labor.

 

7. Respect and take care of nature. Environmental degradation “is one of the biggest challenges we have,” he said. “I think a question that we’re not asking ourselves is: ‘Isn’t humanity committing suicide with this indiscriminate and tyrannical use of nature?’”

 

8. Stop being negative. “Needing to talk badly about others indicates low self-esteem. That means, ‘I feel so low that instead of picking myself up I have to cut others down,’” the pope said. “Letting go of negative things quickly is healthy.”

 

9. Don’t proselytize; respect others’ beliefs. “We can inspire others through witness so that one grows together in communicating. But the worst thing of all is religious proselytism, which paralyzes: ‘I am talking with you in order to persuade you,’ No. Each person dialogues, starting with his and her own identity. The church grows by attraction, not proselytizing,” the pope said.

 

10. Work for peace. “We are living in a time of many wars,” he said, and “the call for peace must be shouted. Peace sometimes gives the impression of being quiet, but it is never quiet, peace is always proactive” and dynamic.

 

Full Story: In latest interview, Pope Francis reveals top 10 secrets to happiness Source: Catholic News Service

Read more at: http://www.ucanews.com/news/from-pope-francis-10-tips-for-peace-and-happiness/71539

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