- Pope Francis’ Letter, Initiating 8th World Meeting Of Families In Dublin This letter highlights aspects of Pope Francis’ vision for the Church and Family Life/Love.“To the Venerable Brother Cardinal KEVIN FARRELL, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and LifeAt the end of the Eighth World Meeting of Families, held in Philadelphia in September 2015, I announced that the subsequent meeting with Catholic families of the world would take place in Dublin. I now wish to initiate preparations, and am pleased to confirm that it will be held from 21 to 26 August 2018, on the theme “The Gospel of the Family: joy for the world”. Indeed, it is my wish for families to have a way of deepening their reflection and their sharing of the content of the post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation ‘Amoris Laetitia’.One might ask: does the Gospel continue to be a joy for the world?And also: does the family continue to be good news for today’s world?I am sure the answer is yes! And this “yes” is firmly based on God’s plan. The love of God is His “yes” to all creation and at the heart of this latter is man. It is God’s “yes” to the union between man and woman, in openness and service to life in all its phases; it is God’s “yes” and His commitment to a humanity that is often wounded, mistreated and dominated by a lack of love. The family, therefore, is the “yes” of God as Love. Only starting from love can the family manifest, spread and regenerate God’s love in the world. Without love, we cannot live as children of God, as couples, parents and brothers.I wish to underline how important it is for families to ask themselves often if they live based on love, for love and in love. In practice, this means giving oneself, forgiving, not losing patience, anticipating the other, respecting. How much better family life would be if every day we lived according to the words, “please”, “thank you” and “I’m sorry”.Every day we have the experience of fragility and weakness, and therefore we all, families and pastors, are in need of renewed humility that forms the desire to form ourselves, to educate and be educated, to help and be helped, to accompany, discern and integrate all men of good will.I dream of an outbound Church, not a self-referential one, a Church that does not pass by far from man’s wounds, a merciful Church that proclaims the heart of the revelation of God as Love, which is Mercy. It is this very mercy that makes us new in love; and we know how much Christian families are a place of mercy and witnesses of mercy, and even more so after the extraordinary Jubilee. The Dublin meeting will be able to offer concrete signs of this.I therefore invite all the Church to keep these indications in mind in the pastoral preparation for the next World Meeting.You, dear Brother, along with your collaborators, have the task of translating in a special way the teaching of ‘Amoris Laetitia’, with which the Church wishes families always to be in step, in that inner pilgrimage that is the manifestation of authentic life.My thoughts go in a special way to the archdiocese of Dublin and to all the dear Irish nation for the generous welcome and commitment involved in hosting such an important event. May the Lord recompense you as of now, granting you abundant heavenly favours.May the Holy Family of Nazareth guide, accompany and bless your service, and all the families involved in the preparation of the great World Meeting in Dublin.From the Vatican, 25 March 2017FRANCIS”
- Pope Francis Helps Restore ‘tradition’ Of Home Blessing
Pope Francis surprised several Roman families on May 20th, 2017, when he showed up to bless their homes for the Easter season! What would you do if the Pope showed up at your front door unexpectedly?!
Click here to watch the video report.
Here’s the main prayer said during a Home Blessing;
When Christ took flesh through the Blessed Virgin Mary, he made his home with us. Let us now pray that he will enter this home and bless it with his presence. May he always be here with you, share in your joys, comfort you in your sorrows. Inspired by his teachings and example, seek to make your new home before all else a dwelling place of Love, diffusing far and wide the Goodness of Christ.
Learn more about Home Blessing here.
By Courtesy of Catholic News Agency
- Pope Francis TED Talk: “Building a future, together.”
A single individual is enough for hope to exist, and that individual can be you, says His Holiness Pope Francis in this searing TED Talk delivered directly from Vatican City. In a hopeful message to people of all faiths, to those who have power as well as those who don’t, the spiritual leader provides illuminating commentary on the world as we currently find it and calls for equality, solidarity and tenderness to prevail. By courtesy The Vatican YouTube Channel.
- Where’s My Fairy Godmother?
Pope Francis invites us all to be ‘converted’ each and every day, through hard ‘learning’; doing good and avoiding evil. Plus, checkout his theory of the ‘magic wand’!
- Becoming Unfaithful Catholics
Some tough words from Pope Francis for us all to absorb, from his homily at yesterday’s (23rd March, 2017) Mass in Santa Maria.
Video by courtesy of www.romereports.com
- A Story That May Change Your Heart
Did you hear the one about the taxi driver, the lady and the refugee?
Here is the English summary of the Pope’s accompanying catechesis.
Dear Brothers and Sisters: In our catechesis for this Holy Year of Mercy, we now consider two particular corporal works of mercy: welcoming the stranger and clothing the naked. Jesus mentions both of these in connection with the Last Judgement (cf. Mt 25:35-36). Nowadays, the “stranger” is often the immigrant in our midst. In every age, the phenomenon of immigration calls for a response of openness and solidarity. In our own day, the growing influx of refugees fleeing war, famine and dire poverty is a summons to welcome and care for these brothers and sisters. Like so many committed Christians who have gone before us, such as Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, we need to find generous and creative ways of meeting their immediate needs. So too, “clothing the naked” increasingly means caring for those whose dignity has been stripped from them, and working to ensure that it is upheld and safeguarded. As followers of Christ, may we never close our hearts to those in need. For by openness to others, our lives are enriched, our societies enjoy peace and all people can live in a way befitting their God-given dignity.
- Christians Should Apologize and Ask Forgiveness For Helping To Marginalize
Courtesy Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service
ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT FROM ARMENIA (CNS) — Catholics and other Christians not only must apologize to the gay community, they must ask forgiveness of God for ways they have discriminated against homosexual persons or fostered hostility toward them, Pope Francis said.
“I think the church not only must say it is sorry to the gay person it has offended, but also to the poor, to exploited women” and anyone whom the church did not defend when it could, he told reporters June 26.
Spending close to an hour answering questions from reporters traveling with him, Pope Francis was asked to comment on remarks reportedly made a few days previously by Cardinal Reinhard Marx, president of the German bishops’ conference, that the Catholic Church must apologize to gay people for contributing to their marginalization.
At the mention of the massacre in early June at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, Pope Francis closed his eyes as if in pain and shook his head in dismay.
“The church must say it is sorry for not having behaved as it should many times, many times — when I say the ‘church,’ I mean we Christians because the church is holy; we are the sinners,” the pope said. “We Christians must say we are sorry.”
Changing what he had said in the past to the plural “we,” Pope Francis said that a gay person, “who has good will and is seeking God, who are we to judge him?”
The Catechism of the Catholic Church is clear, he said. “They must not be discriminated against. They must be respected, pastorally accompanied.”
The pope said people have a right to complain about certain gay-pride demonstrations that purposefully offend the faith or sensitivities of others, but that is not what Cardinal Marx was talking about, he said.
Pope Francis said when he was growing up in Buenos Aires, Argentina, part of a “closed Catholic culture,” good Catholics would not even enter the house of a person who was divorced. “The culture has changed and thanks be to God!”
“We Christians have much to apologize for and not just in this area,” he said, referring again to its treatment of homosexual persons. “Ask forgiveness and not just say we’re sorry. Forgive us, Lord.”
Too often, he said, priests act as lords rather than fathers, “a priest who clubs people rather than embraces them and is good, consoles.”
Pope Francis insisted there are many good priests in the world and “many Mother Teresas,” but people often do not see them because “holiness is modest.”
Like any other community of human beings, the Catholic Church is made up of “good people and bad people,” he said. “The grain and the weeds — Jesus says the kingdom is that way. We should not be scandalized by that,” but pray that God makes the wheat grow more and the weeds less.
Pope Francis also was asked about his agreeing to a request by the women’s International Union of Superiors General to set up a commission to study the historic role of female deacons with a view toward considering the possibility of instituting such a ministry today.
Both Sister Carmen Sammut, president of the sisters’ group, and Cardinal Gerhard Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, have sent him lists of names of people to serve on the commission, the pope said. But he has not yet chosen the members.
As he did at the meeting with the superiors, Pope Francis told the reporters that his understanding was that women deacons in the early church assisted bishops with the baptism and anointing of women, but did not have a role like Catholic deacons do today.
The pope also joked about a president who once said that the best way to bury someone’s request for action was to name a commission to study it.
Turning serious, though, Pope Francis insisted the role of women in the Catholic Church goes well beyond any offices they hold and he said about 18 months ago he had named a commission of female theologians to discuss women’s contributions to the life of the church.
“Women think differently than we men do,” he said, “and we cannot make good, sound decisions without listening to the women.”
During the inflight news conference, Pope Francis also said:
— He believes “the intentions of Martin Luther” were not wrong in wanting to reform the church, but “maybe some of his methods were not right.” The church in the 1500s, he said, “was not exactly a model to imitate.”
— He used the word “genocide” to describe the massacre of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians in 1915-18 because that was the word commonly used in his native Argentina and he had already used it publicly a year ago. Although he said he knew Turkey objects to use of the term, “it would have sounded strange” not to use it in Armenia.
— Retired Pope Benedict XVI is a “wise man,” a valued adviser and a person dedicated to praying for the entire church, but he can no longer be considered to be exercising papal ministry. “There is only one pope.”
— “Brexit,” the referendum in which the people of Great Britain voted to leave the European Union, shows just how much work remains to be done by the EU in promoting continental unity while respecting the differences of member countries.
— The Great and Holy Council of the world’s Orthodox churches was an important first step in Orthodoxy speaking with one voice, even though four of the 14 autocephalous Orthodox churches did not attend the meeting in Crete.
— When he travels to Azerbaijan in September, he will tell the nation’s leaders and people that the Armenian leaders and people want peace. The two countries have been in a situation of tension since 1988 over control of Nagorno-Karabakh, a predominantly Armenian enclave in Azerbaijan.
- ‘Real’ Christian or ‘Parlour’ Christian? 'Real' Christian or 'Parlour' Christian?Pope Francis says it is the Holy Spirit that moves the Church
(Pope Francis says it is the Holy Spirit that moves the Church but for many Christians today, the Holy Spirit is a stranger.
Speaking on Monday morning during Mass at the Casa Santa Marta the Pope urged believers to allow themselves to be propelled by the Holy Spirit whom, he said, shows us the way to freedom.
He also had a special greeting for the Vincentian Sisters of Charity who work at the Casa Santa Marta and who are marking the feast day of their founder: St. Louise de Marillac.
Drawing inspiration from the reading of the day which recounts the dialogue between Paul and the first disciples in Ephesus, Pope Francis recalled that the disciples told Paul that they had “not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit”.
This is something, he said, that happens today as well as many who believe in Jesus do not know the Holy Spirit.
Many, he said, say they have “learnt through Catechism” that the Holy Spirit is “in the Trinity” but they do not know anything more and they wonder what the Spirit does.
“The Holy Spirit is the one who moves the Church, he said, the one who works in the Church and in our hearts” making each Christian unique and yet, together with other Christians, a unit.
The Holy Spirit, the Pope continued, opens the doors and invites us to bear witness to Jesus. “At the beginning of Mass we heard the words: ‘you will receive the Holy Spirit and you will be my witnesses in the world’. The Holy Spirit is the one who moves us to praise God, to pray the Lord, the one who is within us and teaches us to see the Father and to call him ‘Father’.
The Holy Spirit frees us from this ‘orphan-like’ condition which the spirit of the world wants to put us in” he said. Pope Francis said the Holy Spirit is “the protagonist of the living Church” and he warned against the danger of not living up to this mission of the Holy Spirit thereby reducing faith to “morals and ethics”. It is not enough, he said, to just respect the Commandments and do “nothing more”. Christian life, Francis reiterated, “is not just an ethical life: it is an encounter with Jesus Christ.” And it is thanks to the Holy Spirit that this encounter takes place.
“But we keep the Holy Spirit as a ‘luxury prisoner’ in our hearts: we do not allow the Spirit to push us forward, to move us. The Sprit does everything, knows everything, reminds us what Jesus said, can explain all about Jesus. There is only one thing the Holy Spirit can’t do: make us ‘parlour’ Christians (…) The Holy Spirit cannot make us ‘virtual’ Christians who are not virtuous. The Holy Spirit makes real Christians. The Spirit takes life as it is and prophetically reads the signs of the times pushing us forward (…), the Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Trinity” he said.
Pope Francis urged all faithful this week to reflect on the action of the Holy Spirit in our lives and to ask ourselves whether we have the courage to go out into the world bearing witness to Jesus. And inviting us to prepare for the upcoming Feast of Pentecost, the Pope said we must think of the Holy Spirit who is within our hearts and ask for the grace of obedience and docility to the Spirit: “This is what we must do this week: think of the Spirit and talk to Him”.
(Courtesy Vatican Radio)
- God’s Mercy Cancels Our Misery
Pope Francis talks about the importance of recognizing our own sinfulness and going to confession.
- Monument of Mercy for Dublin?
23rd October, 2015: “Christians Must Change With The Times”
21st October, 2015: “Love does not take freedom away”
8th October, 2015: “Why good things can happen to bad people”
7th October, 2015: “Family Spirit”
4th September, 2015: Pope Francis & The People, ABC News Special
9th September, 2015: Church Needs to Keep Doors Open
2nd September, 2015: The Power of a Family’s Smiles
26th August 2015: Parents, Teach Your Children How to Pray