Vatican News

Pope Francis: ‘the Rosary is the prayer of my heart’

Vatican News - Wed, 10/26/2016 - 09:43
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday reminded the faithful that the month of October is dedicated to the Rosary and invited all believers to recite the Marian prayer. In a tweet, just a few days ago, on the day when the Church celebrates the feast of the Blessed Virgin of the Rosary, the Pope said “the Rosary is the prayer that always accompanies my life: it is also the prayer of simple people and is the prayer of my heart”.  At the conclusion of  the weekly General Audience , he explained that the Rosary is “a synthesis of Divine Mercy”:   “With Mary, in the mysteries of the Rosary  we contemplate the life of Jesus which irradiates the mercy of the Father. Let us rejoice in His love and forgiveness, let us recognize it in foreigners and in those who are needy, let us live His Gospel every day”.   And greeting the young, the sick and the newly wedded, Pope Francis said: “May this simple Marian prayer show you, young people, the way to give life to God’s will in your lives; dear sick people, love this prayer because it brings consolation for the mind and the heart; and dear newly wedded spouses, may it represent a privileged moment of spiritual intimacy within your new family”.    Pope Francis gives all people he meets a Rosary. “Our Lady – he says – is always close to Her children and ready to help when we pray to her, when we ask for her protection… let us remember she is always ready to serve and never keeps anyone waiting”.  (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope: 'the only solution to the migration crisis is solidarity'

Vatican News - Wed, 10/26/2016 - 07:46
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday called for solidarity with migrants and refugees. Speaking to the crowd gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the weekly General Audience , the Pope reflected on two particular corporal works of mercy - welcoming the stranger and clothing the naked – and said that the growing numbers of refugees fleeing war, famine and dire poverty calls us to welcome and care for these brothers and sisters. Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni : Pope Francis reflected on the many stories of migration that are to be found in the Bible and on how, through the centuries, so many committed Christians have found generous ways of meeting the needs of people fleeing violence and injustice.  “Today – he said – the current economic crisis unfortunately fosters attitudes of closure instead of welcome”.    “In some parts of the world walls and barriers are being built. It appears that the silent work of men and women who, in different ways, do what they can to help and assist refugees and migrants, is being drowned out by the noise made by those who give voice to an instinctive egoism” he said.  And saying that closure is never a solution, the Pope said it actually ends up favouring criminal trafficking. The only solution, he said,  is solidarity: “Solidarity with the migrant, solidarity with the foreigner…”  Pope Francis reiterated that this is a commitment that we must all make: “no one excluded”. “Dioceses, parishes, religious institutes, organisations and individual Christians: we are all called to welcome our brothers and sisters who are fleeing war, hunger, violence and cruel conditions of  life” he said. And setting aside his text, Pope Francis told the story of a lady who was approached by a refugee asking directions for the Holy Door. The man, the Pope said, was dirty and  barefoot but wanted to go to St. Peter’s Basilica to cross the holy threshold. The woman took stock of his bare feet and called a taxi, but the taxi driver initially didn’t want him on board because he was ‘smelly’. The taxi driver ended up boarding the woman and the man who, during the drive, told his story of pain, war, hunger and migration.   Upon destination, Pope Francis recounted that the taxi driver, the same man who initially didn’t want the refugee to board his taxi because he was ‘smelly’, refused to accept payment for his service from the woman because he said: “It is I who should pay you because thanks to you I have listened to a story that has changed my heart”. The Pope continued saying that the woman was well aware of the pain of a migrant because she had Armenian blood and knew the suffering of her people. “When we do something like that initially there is some discomfort – ‘a smell’ – but at the end, a story like this brings fragrance to our soul, and changes us. Think about this story and think what you can do for refugees” he said.         So too, ‘clothing the naked’ he said, increasingly means caring for those whose dignity has been stripped from them, and working to ensure that it is upheld and safeguarded.  And this, he explained, means literally giving clothes to those who have none, but it also means thinking of women whose bodies are exploited by human traffickers and  of the many other ways people – even minors – are used as a form of merchandise. “Having no job, no home, no just salary is also a form of nakedness, as is suffering discrimination because of race or faith. These are all forms of ‘nakedness’ that we Christians are called to act upon” he said.    As followers of Christ, Pope Francis concluded, may we never close our hearts to those in need. By being open to others, our lives are enriched, our societies can enjoy peace and all people can live in a way befitting their dignity.   (from Vatican Radio)...
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Cataloguing of archives related to Argentine dictatorship ended

Vatican News - Tue, 10/25/2016 - 09:35
(Vatican Radio) The Vatican issued a statement on Tuesday announcing the work of the cataloguing and digitalizing of the archival material possessed by the Episcopal Conference of Argentina, the Apostolic Nunciature in Buenos Aires, and the Vatican’s Secretariat of State related to Argentina’s Military Dictatorship Period (1976-1983) has ended. The statement said the Executive Committee of the Episcopal Conference of Argentina met with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, and Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, the Secretary for Relations with States, on Saturday, 15 October, to assess the project. The Executive Committee of the Episcopal Conference of Argentina is composed of the President, Archbishop of Santa Fe de la Vera Cruz, José María Arancedo; the First Vice President, Archbishop of Buenos Aires and Primate of Argentina, Cardinal Mario Aurelio Poli; the Second Deputy, Archbishop of Salta, Mario Antonio Cargnello; and the Secretary General, Bishop of Chascomus, Carlos Humberto Malfa. The statement noted the process of organization and digitization, “which was performed in accordance with the decisions and directives of the Holy Father, and is the continuation of work already started years ago by the Episcopal Conference of Argentina, has ended.” It went on to say “based on a protocol to be established soon,” the documents will be able to be accessed and consulted by the victims, the immediate family members of the desaparecidos (disappeared) and detained, and – in the case of religious and ecclesiastical personnel – their superiors. The statement said those involved wanted to “emphasize this work was performed by having it its heart the service of truth, justice, and peace by continuing a dialogue open to the culture of encounter.” It concluded by saying “the Holy Father and Episcopate of Argentina entrust their homeland to the merciful protection of Our Lady of Luján, trusting in the intercession of the beloved Saint José Gabriel del Rosario Brochero.” (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope: God’s Kingdom grows through docility not with organization charts

Vatican News - Tue, 10/25/2016 - 08:17
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis said God’s Kingdom grows through its members showing docility and warned Christians against concentrating too much on structures and organization charts. He was speaking during his morning Mass on Tuesday celebrated in the chapel of the Santa Marta residence.   Listen to this report by Susy Hodges with clips of the Pope's voice:  Taking his inspiration from the day’s readings, Pope Francis reflected on the nature of God’s Kingdom during his homily, saying it is not a fixed structure but constantly evolving and describing what helps it to grow. He stressed that God’s Law is not just there to be studied but to journey forward with during our lives. “What is the Kingdom of God?  Well, perhaps the Kingdom of God is a very well-made structure, everything tidy, organization charts all done, everything and the person who does not enter (into this structure) is not in the Kingdom of God. No, the same thing can happen to the Kingdom of God as happens to the Law: unchanging, rigidity…    the Law is about moving forward, the Kingdom of God is moving forward, it is not standing still. What’s more: the Kingdom of God is re-creating itself every day.” The Pope reminded how Jesus in his parable about things in our daily lives spoke about the yeast that does not remain yeast because in the end it is mixed in with the flour and therefore it is on a journey and becomes bread. And then there is the seed that does not remain a seed because it dies and gives life to the tree.  Both the yeast and the seed, explained Pope Francis, are on a journey to do something but in order to do this they die. It is not a problem of smallness, be it small, of little count or a big thing. It’s a question of journeying and whilst on this journey the transformation occurs. The Pope went on to warn against being a person who sees the Law but does not journey forward and has a rigid attitude. “What is the attitude that the Lord asks from us in order that the Kingdom of God can grow and be bread for everybody and is a house too for everybody?  Docility: the Kingdom of God grows through docility to the strength of the Holy Spirit. The flour ceases to be flour and becomes bread because it is docile to the strength of the yeast and the yeast allows itself to be mixed in with the flour… I don’t know, flour has no feelings but allowing itself to be mixed in one could think that there is some suffering here, right? But the Kingdom too, the Kingdom grows in this way and then in the end it is bread for everybody.” Just as the flour is docile to the yeast, continued Pope Francis, the seed too allows itself to be fertilized and loses its identity as a seed and becomes something much larger: it transforms itself. He said it’s the same with the Kingdom of God that is journeying “towards hope” and “journeying towards fullness.” Saying the Kingdom of God re-creates itself every day, the Pope stressed that the Kingdom grows through our docility to the Holy Spirit that, just like the pinch of yeast or the tiny seed, transform themselves in order to grow. He warned that if Christians do not journey forward they become rigid and this rigidity makes them orphans without the Father. “A rigid person only has masters and no father. The Kingdom of God is like a mother that grows and is fertile, gives of herself so that her children have food and lodging, according to the example of the Lord. Today is a day to ask for the grace of docility to the Holy Spirit. Many times we are not docile to our moods, our judgements. ‘But I do what I want….'  The Kingdom does not grow in this way and neither do we grow. It is docility to the Holy Spirit that makes us grow and be transformed like the yeast and the seed. May the Lord give us all the grace of this docility.”   (from Vatican Radio)...
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Holy See speaks out over world hunger

Vatican News - Tue, 10/25/2016 - 07:41
(Vatican Radio) The Vatican’s representative to the United Nations has decried the fact that hundreds of millions of people still face hunger and undernourishment, in a speech given on Monday to the UN General Assembly. “Despite progress made since 1990 in reducing hunger, nearly 800 million people are still undernourished, at a time when global challenges to reducing malnutrition are becoming increasingly more complex,” – said Archbishop Bernadito Auza, the Holy See’s Permanent Representative to the UN in New York – “An equally troubling fact is that more than two billion suffer from micronutrient deficiencies, among whom are some of the most vulnerable members of the world’s population, including more than 200 million children under the age of five years, who are either stunted or wasted.” The Archbishop went on to reaffirm the Holy See’s commitment to “firm, political and societal” action in order to combat world hunger and undernourishment. The full text of Archbishop Auza’s speech is below: Mr. Chair, The Secretary General’s report (A/71/283) on agricultural development, food security and  nutrition provides both a timely and candid account of progress being made on the two  fundamental global concerns of ending hunger and eliminating malnutrition for all.  The Secretary General’s report serves as a stark reminder of the magnitude of the challenges  that still lie ahead if we are to end hunger, improve nutrition, and achieve food security by  2030. Despite progress made since 1990 in reducing hunger, nearly 800 million people are  still undernourished, at a time when global challenges to reducing malnutrition are becoming  increasingly more complex. An equally troubling fact is that more than two billion suffer from  micronutrient deficiencies, among whom are some of the most vulnerable members of the  world’s population, including more than 200 million children under the age of five years, who  are either stunted or wasted. The challenges to increase agricultural productivity, to address the effects of climate changes,  and to reduce food losses are compounded by mass migrations of peoples, both within and  between countries, and by war and violence that have uprooted large populations from  productive areas. Consequently, as the Secretary General’s report observes, it is already clear  that  without  a  “firm  political  and  societal  commitment,  large  segments  of  the  world’s  population will remain undernourished by 2030.” This  “political  and  societal  commitment”  is  fundamental  if  we  are  to  reach  the  second  sustainable development goal “to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition  and promote sustainable agriculture” by 2030.  In his June 2016 Address to the World Food Programme in Rome, Pope Francis warned of  the dangers of seeing hunger and poverty purely as statistics and of slowly becoming immune  to other people’s tragedies, viewing them almost as something “natural” and thus inevitable  in the world in which we live. We must thus “denaturalize” extreme poverty by seeing it as a  troubling reality and not as an inevitable statistic, “because” – as the Pope affirmed – “poverty  has a face: it has the face of a child; it has the face of a family; it has the face of people, young  and old; it has the face of widespread unemployment; it has the face of forced migrations, and  of empty and destroyed homes.” The Pope also asked to “debureaucratize” hunger. In his Address to the Second International  Conference on Nutrition of the Food and Agricultural Administration in November 2015,  Pope Francis spoke of the paradox that, while there is more than enough food for everyone,  yet not all can eat, even as we witness “waste, excessive consumption and the use of food for  other purposes.” The “bureaucratization” of hunger also finds expression in the paradox that  whereas various forms of aid and development projects are obstructed by political decisions  and policies, by  skewed ideologies  and by  impenetrable customs’  barriers, the  trade  in  weaponry is not. The Pope lamented the fact that “it makes no difference where arms come  from; they circulate with brazen and virtually absolute freedom in many parts of the world.  As a result, wars are fed, not persons. In some cases, hunger itself is used as a weapon of war.” In  closing,  my  delegation  reiterates  its  commitment  to  the  goal  of  ending  hunger  and  eliminating malnutrition for all by 2030. For it to become a reality, however, we will need not  only increased food production and better food distribution: we must also summon the finest  human qualities of peace, social justice, solidarity, compassion and empathy, so that we may  be aware of the hungry and thirsty around us and around the world. Thank you, Mr. Chair. (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Vatican issues new document on Christian burial and cremation

Vatican News - Tue, 10/25/2016 - 07:40
(Vatican Radio) The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on Tuesday published a new instruction on the burial of the dead and on the conservation of the ashes in cases of cremation. The instruction reiterates the long held view that the Church is not opposed to the practice of cremation, though it continues to recommend that the bodies of the deceased be buried in cemeteries or other sacred places. However the new document insists that ashes should not be kept in private houses and that the scattering of ashes on land or at sea is not permitted. Please see below the full English text of the new instruction from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Instruction Ad resurgendum cum Christo regarding the burial of the deceased and the conservation of the ashes in the case of cremation 1.         To rise with Christ, we must die with Christ: we must “be away from the body and at home with the Lord” (2 Cor 5:8). With the Instruction Piam et Constantem of 5 July 1963, the then Holy Office established that “all necessary measures must be taken to preserve the practice of reverently burying the faithful departed”, adding however that cremation is not “opposed per se to the Christian religion” and that no longer should the sacraments and funeral rites be denied to those who have asked that they be cremated, under the condition that this choice has not been made through “a denial of Christian dogmas, the animosity of a secret society, or hatred of the Catholic religion and the Church”.  Later this change in ecclesiastical discipline was incorporated into the Code of Canon Law (1983) and the Code of Canons of Oriental Churches (1990).             During the intervening years, the practice of cremation has notably increased in many countries, but simultaneously new ideas contrary to the Church’s faith have also become widespread. Having consulted the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts and numerous Episcopal Conferences and Synods of Bishops of the Oriental Churches, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has deemed opportune the publication of a new Instruction, with the intention of underlining the doctrinal and pastoral reasons for the preference of the burial of the remains of the faithful and to set out norms pertaining to the conservation of ashes in the case of cremation. 2.         The resurrection of Jesus is the culminating truth of the Christian faith, preached as an essential part of the Paschal Mystery from the very beginnings of Christianity: “For I handed on to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures; that he was buried; that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures; that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve” (1 Cor 15:3-5). Through his death and resurrection, Christ freed us from sin and gave us access to a new life, “so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (Rm 6:4). Furthermore, the risen Christ is the principle and source of our future resurrection: “Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep […] For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Cor 15:20-22). It is true that Christ will raise us up on the last day; but it is also true that, in a certain way, we have already risen with Christ. In Baptism, actually, we are immersed in the death and resurrection of Christ and sacramentally assimilated to him: “You were buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead” (Col 2:12). United with Christ by Baptism, we already truly participate in the life of the risen Christ (cf. Eph 2:6). Because of Christ, Christian death has a positive meaning. The Christian vision of death receives privileged expression in the liturgy of the Church: “Indeed for your faithful, Lord, life is changed not ended, and, when this earthly dwelling turns to dust, an eternal dwelling is made ready for them in heaven”.  By death the soul is separated from the body, but in the resurrection God will give incorruptible life to our body, transformed by reunion with our soul. In our own day also, the Church is called to proclaim her faith in the resurrection: “The confidence of Christians is the resurrection of the dead; believing this we live”. 3.         Following the most ancient Christian tradition, the Church insistently recommends that the bodies of the deceased be buried in cemeteries or other sacred places. In memory of the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord, the mystery that illumines the Christian meaning of death,  burial is above all the most fitting way to express faith and hope in the resurrection of the body. The Church who, as Mother, has accompanied the Christian during his earthly pilgrimage, offers to the Father, in Christ, the child of her grace, and she commits to the earth, in hope, the seed of the body that will rise in glory. By burying the bodies of the faithful, the Church confirms her faith in the resurrection of the body,  and intends to show the great dignity of the human body as an integral part of the human person whose body forms part of their identity.  She cannot, therefore, condone attitudes or permit rites that involve erroneous ideas about death, such as considering death as the definitive annihilation of the person, or the moment of fusion with Mother Nature or the universe, or as a stage in the cycle of regeneration, or as the definitive liberation from the “prison” of the body. Furthermore, burial in a cemetery or another sacred place adequately corresponds to the piety and respect owed to the bodies of the faithful departed who through Baptism have become temples of the Holy Spirit and in which “as instruments and vessels the Spirit has carried out so many good works”. Tobias, the just, was praised for the merits he acquired in the sight of God for having buried the dead,  and the Church considers the burial of dead one of the corporal works of mercy. Finally, the burial of the faithful departed in cemeteries or other sacred places encourages family members and the whole Christian community to pray for and remember the dead, while at the same time fostering the veneration of martyrs and saints. Through the practice of burying the dead in cemeteries, in churches or their environs, Christian tradition has upheld the relationship between the living and the dead and has opposed any tendency to minimize, or relegate to the purely private sphere, the event of death and the meaning it has for Christians. 4.         In circumstances when cremation is chosen because of sanitary, economic or social considerations, this choice must never violate the explicitly-stated or the reasonably inferable wishes of the deceased faithful. The Church raises no doctrinal objections to this practice, since cremation of the deceased’s body does not affect his or her soul, nor does it prevent God, in his omnipotence, from raising up the deceased body to new life. Thus cremation, in and of itself, objectively negates neither the Christian doctrine of the soul’s immortality nor that of the resurrection of the body. The Church continues to prefer the practice of burying the bodies of the deceased, because this shows a greater esteem towards the deceased. Nevertheless, cremation is not prohibited, “unless it was chosen for reasons contrary to Christian doctrine”. In the absence of motives contrary to Christian doctrine, the Church, after the celebration of the funeral rite, accompanies the choice of cremation, providing the relevant liturgical and pastoral directives, and taking particular care to avoid every form of scandal or the appearance of religious indifferentism. 5.         When, for legitimate motives, cremation of the body has been chosen, the ashes of the faithful must be laid to rest in a sacred place, that is, in a cemetery or, in certain cases, in a church or an area, which has been set aside for this purpose, and so dedicated by the competent ecclesial authority.             From the earliest times, Christians have desired that the faithful departed become the objects of the Christian community’s prayers and remembrance. Their tombs have become places of prayer, remembrance and reflection. The faithful departed remain part of the Church who believes “in the communion of all the faithful of Christ, those who are pilgrims on earth, the dead who are being purified, and the blessed in heaven, all together forming one Church”.             The reservation of the ashes of the departed in a sacred place ensures that they are not excluded from the prayers and remembrance of their family or the Christian community. It prevents the faithful departed from being forgotten, or their remains from being shown a lack of respect, which eventuality is possible, most especially once the immediately subsequent generation has too passed away. Also it prevents any unfitting or superstitious practices. 6.         For the reasons given above, the conservation of the ashes of the departed in a domestic residence is not permitted. Only in grave and exceptional cases dependent on cultural conditions of a localized nature, may the Ordinary, in agreement with the Episcopal Conference or the Synod of Bishops of the Oriental Churches, concede permission for the conservation of the ashes of the departed in a domestic residence. Nonetheless, the ashes may not be divided among various family members and due respect must be maintained regarding the circumstances of such a conservation. 7.         In order that every appearance of pantheism, naturalism or nihilism be avoided, it is not permitted to scatter the ashes of the faithful departed in the air, on land, at sea or in some other way, nor may they be preserved in mementos, pieces of jewelry or other objects. These courses of action cannot be legitimized by an appeal to the sanitary, social, or economic motives that may have occasioned the choice of cremation. 8.         When the deceased notoriously has requested cremation and the scattering of their ashes for reasons contrary to the Christian faith, a Christian funeral must be denied to that person according to the norms of the law. The Sovereign Pontiff Francis, in the Audience granted to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect on 18 March 2016, approved the present Instruction, adopted in the Ordinary Session of this Congregation on 2 March 2016, and ordered its publication. Rome, from the Offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 15 August 2016, the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Gerhard Card. Müller,  Prefect Luis F. Ladaria, S.I., Titular Archbishop of Thibica, Secretary (from Vatican Radio)...
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Vatican sends message to Hindus for Diwali

Vatican News - Tue, 10/25/2016 - 07:38
(Vatican Radio) The President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran has sent a Message to Hindus for the Feast of Deepavali (Diwali), entitled Christians and Hindus:  Promoting hope among families . “The health of society depends on our familial bonds and yet we know that today the very notion of family is being undermined by a climate that relativizes its essential significance and value,” Cardinal Tauran writes. “It is in the family that children, led by the noble example of their parents and elders, are formed in the values that help them develop into good and responsible human beings,” – the Cardinal Tauran continues – “Too often, however, the optimism and idealism of our youth are diminished by circumstances that affect families. It is especially important, therefore, that parents, together with the wider community, instil in their children a sense of hope by guiding them towards a better future and the pursuit of the good, even in the face of adversity.”   The full text of the Message is below   PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR INTERRELIGIOUS DIALOGUE Christians and Hindus:  Promoting hope among families MESSAGE FOR THE FEAST OF DEEPAVALI  2016 Vatican City   Dear Hindu Friends, 1. On behalf of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, we offer our best wishes as you celebrate Deepavali on 30 October 2016. May your celebrations around the world deepen your familial bonds, and bring joy and peace to your homes and communities. 2. The health of society depends on our familial bonds and yet we know that today the very notion of family is being undermined by a climate that relativizes its essential significance and value. So too, family life is often disrupted by harsh realities such as conflicts, poverty and migration, which have become all too commonplace throughout the world. There are, however, strong signs of renewed hope due to the witness of those who hold fervently to the enduring importance of marriage and family life for the wellbeing of each person and society as a whole. With this abiding respect for the family, and keenly aware of the global challenges daily confronting us, we wish to offer a reflection on how we, Christians and Hindus together, can promote hope in families, thus making our society ever more humane. 3. We know that the family is “humanity’s first school” and that parents are the “primary and principal” educators of their children. It is in the family that children, led by the noble example of their parents and elders, are formed in the values that help them develop into good and responsible human beings. Too often, however, the optimism and idealism of our youth are diminished by circumstances that affect families. It is especially important, therefore, that parents, together with the wider community, instil in their children a sense of hope by guiding them towards a better future and the pursuit of the good, even in the face of adversity. 4. Providing a formation and education in hope is thus a task of paramount importance for families (cf. POPE FRANCIS, Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia , 274-275), as it reflects the divine nature of mercy which embraces the disheartened and gives them purpose. Such an education in hope encourages the young themselves to reach out, in charity and service, to others in need, and so become a light for those in darkness. 5. Families, therefore, are meant to be a “workshop of hope” (POPE FRANCIS, Address at the Prayer Vigil for the Festival of Families, Philadelphia, 26 September 2015), where children learn from the example of their parents and family members, and experience the power of hope in strengthening human relationships, serving those most forgotten in society and overcoming the injustices of our day. Saint John Paul II said that “the future of humanity passes by way of the family” (Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio , 86). If humanity is to prosper and live in peace, then families must embrace this work of nurturing hope and encouraging their children to be heralds of hope to the world. 6. As Christians and Hindus, may we join all people of good will in supporting marriage and family life, and inspiring families to be schools of hope. May we bring hope’s light to every corner of our world, offering consolation and strength to all in need. We wish you all a joyful Deepavali ! Jean-Louis Cardinal Tauran President + Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot, MCCJ Secretary (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope meets Venezuelan President

Vatican News - Tue, 10/25/2016 - 03:06
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Monday evening received, in private, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. A statement from the Holy See Press Office said, the meeting took place within the framework of the worrying political, social and economic situation that the country is going through, and that is having serious repercussions on the daily lives of the entire population. In this way, the statement continued, the Pope, who has the welfare of all Venezuelans at heart, wanted to continue to offer his contribution to the country's institutionality and every step that will help to resolve the outstanding issues and build trust between all parties. The Pope invited the parties to show courage in pursuing the path of sincere and constructive dialogue to alleviate the suffering of the people, the poor first, and promote a climate of renewed social cohesion, which allows the nation to look with hope to the future. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis tells Jesuits the Church needs them

Vatican News - Mon, 10/24/2016 - 08:33
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Monday paid a visit to the 36th Jesuit General Congregation taking place in Rome. He addressed his Jesuit brothers – who elected the new Jesuit Superior General, Father Arturo Sosa Abascal, during this General Congregation – telling them that Church needs them: “As my predecessors have often told you, the Church needs you, counts on you and continues to turn to you with confidence, particularly to reach the geographical and spiritual places where others do not reach, or find it difficult to reach” he said.    Please find below the Jesuit General Curia’s synthesis of Pope Francis’ address in English :   Rome – October 24, 2016. The Holy Father, Pope Francis, this morning visited members of General Congregation 36 at the Jesuit General Curia. Welcoming the Holy Father to the Aula of the Congregation, Father General Arturo Sosa said, “Dear Pope Francis, in the name of the Society of Jesus meeting in the GC36 I welcome you to this Aula. Thank you for coming to our house. This meeting occurs in a very important moment of the GC36. We are discerning about the issues proposed by the whole Society.” While the Holy Father cannot participate in the General Congregation of the Society of Jesus, he can request that Society consider certain matters of greater importance with regard to mission. The Holy Father began his address by recalling messages of his predecessors to previous General Congregations. He thus started by saying, “While praying over what I would like to say, I remembered with particular affection the words of Pope Paul VI to us as we came to the end of the 32nd General Congregation: “This is the way, this is the way, Brothers and Sons. Forward, in nomine Domini. Let us walk together, free, obedient, united to each other in the love of Christ, for the greater glory of God.” The Holy Father also referred to the message of Pope Benedict XVI to members of General Congregation 35 in 2008, saying, “As my predecessors have often told you, the Church needs you, counts on you and continues to turn to you with confidence, particularly to reach the geographical and spiritual places where others do not reach, or find it difficult to reach.” He reminded the Jesuits that their mission is to walk together with the Pope, “free and obedient – going to the peripheries where others do not reach, under Jesus’ gaze and looking to the horizon which is the ever greater glory of God, who ceaselessly surprises us.” He noted that the vocation of a Jesuit is “to travel through the world and to live in any part of it where there is hope of greater service to God and of help of souls,” [Constitutions, 304]. The Holy Father reminisced that one of the early Jesuits, Jerome Nadal, used to say, “For the Society the whole world is our home.” In this Jubilee Year of Mercy, Pope Francis reminded the Society of Jesus about the importance that Saint Ignatius of Loyola placed on the works of mercy. “Works of mercy – caring for the sick in hospitals, begging for alms, sharing, teaching catechism to children, and the patient suffering of insults… are the daily bread of Ignatius and his first companions. They took care that none of these became obstacles!” The Pope noted, “The Jubilee of Mercy is an appropriate time to reflect about the works of mercy. I am saying it in plural, because mercy is not an abstract word, but a lifestyle that places concrete gestures before the word. These gestures touch the flesh of the neighbour and become institutionalised in works of mercy.” The Holy Father reminded members of General Congregation 36 that the Society of Jesus has the important mission of bringing consolation and joy in the lives of the people of God. “We can always take a step forward asking insistently for consolation. In the two Apostolic Exhortations and in Laudato Si, I consistently underlined the importance of joy. In the Spiritual Exercises, Ignatius invites us to contemplate ‘the office of consolation,’ which is the work of the Risen Christ Himself. This is the true work of the Society: to console the faithful people of God and to help them through discernment so that the enemy of human nature does not rob us of our joy: the joy of evangelising, the joy of the family, the joy of the Church, the joy of creation.” Historically, whenever Jesuits have gathered for a General Congregation, they have requested an audience with the Holy Father. It is an opportunity for the Holy Father to directly give a mission to the Society of Jesus in accordance with the fourth vow, the vow of obedience to the Holy Father in matters of mission, which many Jesuits profess. From the foundation of the Society, Ignatius Loyola and the early companions desired to make themselves available to the Pope for missioning. For members of General Congregation 36 who are in the midst of discerning the mission of the Society of Jesus within the larger mission of the Church, the audience with the Holy Father, to whom Jesuits have a special vow of obedience, was an important moment. The original text of Pope Francis' address in Spanish can be found here .  The Curia's English translation of the speech can be found here . (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope: 'God calls us to be merciful and good, not rigid'

Vatican News - Mon, 10/24/2016 - 08:04
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Monday warned against excessive rigidity and said God gives us the freedom and the gentleness to be merciful. He was speaking during the homily at morning Mass in the Casa Santa Marta . Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni : Drawing inspiration from the Gospel reading of the day which tells of when Jesus, who was teaching in the synagogue, healed a crippled woman and ignited the anger of the righteous, Pope Francis said “it is not easy to keep to the path indicated by God’s Law. The reading by Matthew tells us that Jesus’ action provoked the fury of the leader of the synagogue who was “indignant that he had cured the woman on the Sabbath” because - he said - Jesus had violated God’s Law by doing so on the Sabbath day which is set aside for rest and worship.  And pointing out that the Jesus responded calling the leaders of the synagogue ‘hypocrites’, the Pope observed that this is an accusation Jesus often makes to those who follow the Law with rigidity. “The Law – he explained – was not drawn up to enslave us but to set us free, to make us God’s children”. Concealed by rigidity, Pope Francis said, there is always something else! That’s why Jesus uses the word ‘hypocrites!’:  "Behind an attitude of rigidity there is always something else in the life of a person. Rigidity is not a gift of God. Meekness is; goodness is; benevolence is; forgiveness is. But rigidity isn’t!” he said. In many cases, the Pope continued, rigidity conceals the leading of a double life; but, he pointed out, there can also be something pathological.  Commenting on the difficulties and suffering that afflict a person who is both rigid and sincere, the Pope said this is because they lack the freedom of God's children: “they do not know how to walk in the path indicated by God’s Law”. “They appear good because they follow the Law; but they are concealing something else: either they are hypocritical or they are sick. And they suffer!” he said. Pope Francis also recalled the parable of the prodigal son in which the eldest son, who had always behaved well, was indignant with his father because he had joyfully welcomed back the youngest son who returns home repentant after having led a life of debauchery. This attitude - the Pope explained - shows what is behind a certain type of goodness: “the pride of believing in one’s righteousness”. The elder son -  Pope said -  was rigid and conducted his life following the Law but saw his father only as a master. The other put rules aside, returned to his father in a time of darkness, and asked for forgiveness. “It is not easy to walk within the Law of the Lord without falling into rigidity” he said. The Pope concluded his homily with this prayer: "Let’s pray for our brothers and sisters who think that by becoming rigid they are following the path of the Lord.  May the Lord make them feel that He is our Father and that He loves mercy, tenderness, goodness, meekness, humility. And may he teach us all to walk in the path of the Lord with these attitudes.” (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis at Angelus: a time of courage in mission

Vatican News - Sun, 10/23/2016 - 09:42
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis used his remarks to pilgrims and tourists ahead of the traditional Sunday Angelus prayer to reflect on our being creatures in time, but destined for eternity with God – the uncreated author of all that is, the source of our being, and the font of truth and joy: all in the key of mission. Drawing on the Second Reading of this XXX Sunday in Ordinary Time and World Mission Day , which was taken from the 2 nd Letter of St. Paul to Timothy, Pope Francis said, “Today is a time of mission and it is time of courage: courage to strengthen tottering steps, to rediscover the delight of spending ourselves for the Gospel, to regain confidence in the strength that mission brings with itself.” Click below to hear our report Courage, however, cannot guarantee victory. “It is time for courage, although courage does not mean having assurance of success: courage is required to fight, not necessarily to win; to proclaim, not necessarily to convert.” The Holy Father went on to say, “Today what is required of us is courage to be alternative in the world, without ever becoming argumentative or aggressive. What is required of us is the courage to be open to all, without ever diminishing the absoluteness and uniqueness of Christ, the one Savior of all.” “Courage,” continued Pope Francis, “is required of us to stand up to unbelief, without becoming arrogant.” Then, in a departure from his prepared remarks, the Holy Father said, “There is also required of us in this day the courage of the publican in today's Gospel,” taken from the Gospel according to St. Luke, with the parable of the proud Pharisee and the humble tax collector who averts his eyes from heaven and begs the Lord forgiveness – the parable that concludes with the admonition according to which whosever exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.  (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis: Angelus appeal for Mosul

Vatican News - Sun, 10/23/2016 - 08:10
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis made an appeal for the safety of citizens trapped inside the embattled Iraqi city of Mosul on Sunday. Speaking to pilgrims and tourists gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Angelus prayer, Pope Francis said, “In these dramatic hours, I am close to the entire population of Iraq, especially that of the city of Mosul.” The Holy Father went on to say, “Our hearts are shocked by the heinous acts of violence that for too long have been perpetrated against innocent citizens: whether they be Muslims, whether they be Christians, or people belonging to other ethnic groups and religions.” Click below to hear our report Having departed from his prepared text, Pope Francis added, “I was saddened to hear news of the killing – in cold blood – of many sons and daughters of that beloved land, including many children: this cruelty makes us weep, leaving us without words.” The Holy Father concluded his appeal saying, “Along with this word of solidarity goes assurance of my remembrance in prayer so that Iraq, while gravely stricken, might be both strong and firm in the hope of moving toward a future of security, reconciliation and peace.” The Pope then invited all those gathered to join him in a moment of silent prayer, before leading them in the recitation of the Ave Maria .  (from Vatican Radio)...
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Extraordinary Jubilee Audience: Mercy and Dialogue

Vatican News - Sat, 10/22/2016 - 11:17
(Vatican Radio) Tens of thousands of people showed up on cool but beautiful Saturday morning for the Pope’s monthly Jubilee audience. Listen to Christopher Wells' report:   In his catechesis, Pope Francis used the Gospel account of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman to reflect on the importance of “dialogue” as an aspect of mercy. “Dialogue,” the Pope said, “allows people to know themselves and to understand the one another’s needs.” It is both a sign of respect, an expression of charity; it allows us to see one another as a gift from God. But often when we encounter one another, we are not prepared to listen, preferring instead to interrupt and convince the other that we are right. True dialogue, the Pope said, requires moments of silence, and the ability to welcome the other as a gift from God. “Dear brothers and sisters,” the Pope said, “dialoguing helps people to humanize relationships and to overcome misunderstandings.” He continued, “There is a great need for dialogue in our families, and how much more easily would questions be resolved if we could learn to listen to one another!” The Holy Father concluded his catechesis, saying, “Dialogue breaks down the walls of divisions and misunderstandings; it creates bridges of communication and does not allow anyone to remain isolated, closing themselves into their own little world.” How much better the world will be, he said, if we could listen to one another, explain ourselves meekly, rather than shouting at one another. “Through dialogue, we can make the signs of the mercy of God grow, and make them instruments of welcome and respect.” (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope greets Polish pilgrims on St John Paul II’s feast day

Vatican News - Sat, 10/22/2016 - 09:13
(Vatican Radio) During Saturday’s Jubilee of Mercy audience at the Vatican, Pope Francis extended a special greeting to the Polish pilgrims present, remembering the 1050th anniversary of the baptism of their nation, and the feast day the Polish-born pontiff, St John Paul II. Listen to Ann Schneible’s report: “Exactly 38 years ago, at about this time, in this square, there resounded these words to men and women throughout the world: ‘Do not be afraid. Open wide the doors for Christ’.” In remembrance of the feast day of St John Paul II, Pope Francis recalled these words delivered by his predecessor during his first Mass as the Roman pontiff on October 22, 1978. The legacy of the papacy of John Paul II, who was born Karol Józef Wojtyła, is a prolific one. Over the course of his more than 26 years in office, he visited 129 countries, founded World Youth Day, and was instrumental in the fall of the Berlin Wall. St John Paul II also had a special devotion to the Divine Mercy; in the year 2000, he officially designated the first Sunday after Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday which he himself had founded. A poet and an avid sportsman, he continued to write poetry throughout his pontificate, and remained active until his final years. The Polish-born pontiff was also known for his writings on human sexuality, most notably his Theology of the Body. John Paul II was beatified in 2011 by Benedict XVI, and was canonized three years later by Pope Francis on the feast of Divine Mercy. Addressing the 100,000 pilgrims gathered in St Peter’s Square this Saturday, Pope Francis reflected on how it was Poland’s historical and cultural inheritance which filled John Paul II with hope, strength, and courage to “open wide the doors of Christ”. “This invitation,” the Pope said, “was transformed by an unceasing proclamation of the Gospel of mercy for the world and for mankind, of which this Jubilee Year is a continuation” The Holy Father went on to reflect on the feast of St John Paul II, especially his relevance for young people, the suffering, and newly married couples. “May his consistent witness of faith be a lesson for you, dear young people, for confronting the challenges of life,” the Pope said. He then invited the sick to “embrace with hope the cross of illness,” and told newly married couples to seek his intercession in order that their new families may never be lacking in love. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Audience for the Jubilee of Mercy: English summary

Vatican News - Sat, 10/22/2016 - 05:57
(Vatican Radio) In his latest special audience for the Jubilee Year of Mercy on Saturday, Pope Francis spoke on the role of dialogue in bringing God’s merciful love to the world. Addressing the crowds gathered in Saint Peter’s Square, the Pope centred his catechesis on Jesus’ dialogue with the Samaritan woman, as recounted in John’s Gospel. The following is the official English-language synthesis of Pope Francis’ homily for the Jubilee of Mercy general audience at the Vatican: Dear Brothers and Sisters:  Throughout this Jubilee Year, we have reflected on God’s mercy and our own responsibility, as followers of Jesus, to be “merciful like the Father”.  In this light, we now turn to the dialogue of Jesus and the Samaritan woman (cf. Jn 4:6-15).  Through dialogue, in fact, we come to know and respect others; we come to see each individual as a gift of God.  How much we need to encourage dialogue in our families, our schools and our workplaces!  For only through dialogue can we truly understand others and their needs, and work together for the good of society and the care of our common home.  Dialogue between the religions can make a real contribution to the building of a world of peace and solidarity.  God has placed a seed of goodness in each of us and he asks us to use it in the service of his creation.  Through dialogue, mutual acceptance and fraternal cooperation, may we make God’s merciful love ever more evident in our world. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Papal apartment in Castel Gandolfo opens to public

Vatican News - Fri, 10/21/2016 - 11:43
(Vatican Radio)  A press release from the Holy See announced that beginning on October 22nd, the pontifical apartment in the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo will be opened to the public for the first time ever. Visits to the formerly private apartment are being run by the Vatican Museums and details of the opening and closing hours can be found by going to the official website of the Vatican Museums ( At a special inauguration ceremony on Friday, the Director of the Vatican Museums, Antonio Paolucci, paid tribute to this “unexpected gift from the Pope” and spoke of the beauty of the setting with its views over Lake Albano and the densely wooded surrounding hills and of the sense of history that pervades the Apostolic Palace. Journalists and others attending the inauguration listened to a selection of popular Chinese music performed by a Chinese choir. The apartment on display to the public includes the Pope’s private library, his study, his chapel and his bedroom where during the Nazi occupation Jewish women gave birth to their babies whilst they were being secretly sheltered at the Palace by Pope Pius XII.    (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope: 'invest in the future by giving formation to young people'

Vatican News - Fri, 10/21/2016 - 08:23
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Friday spoke of the importance of promoting and supporting young people so they can face the challenges of life. “Providing formation for young people is an investment for the future: young people must never be robbed of their hope for tomorrow” he said. The Pope was addressing members of the John Paul II Foundation that is celebrating the 35th anniversary from its foundation. To those present in the Vatican for the occasion, Pope Francis said the anniversary is a good moment to look back and draw up a balance of the work done in the past years, but it is also a time to look to the future with new goals and objectives.      The John Paul II Foundation was established by a Papal Decree on October 16, 1981 as a religious, educational, charitable and non-profit organization. Pointing out that the work of the Foundation spans many countries and has benefited many students – especially in Eastern Europe – the Pope said: “I encourage you to continue in your commitment to promote and support the younger generation, so that it can face the challenges of life with evangelical sensitivity and with faith. Providing youth with formation is an investment for the future: young people must never be robbed of their hope for tomorrow!” The Pope also commented on the soon-to-end Holy Year of Mercy saying it has inspired us to reflect and to meditate on the greatness of Divine Mercy in a time in which man, thanks to enormous progress in various fields of technology and science, “tends to feel self-sufficient, as if   emancipated from a higher authority, and believes that everything depends upon himself”. “As Christians, he said, we are aware that everything is a gift from God and that true wealth is not wealth, which indeed can enslave us, but love for God that sets us free”. Pope Francis also recalled his recent journey to Poland, where – he said – he experienced the joy of faith within the World Youth Day celebrations.  He recalled the Polish Saint Faustina Kowalska and St. John Paul II whom, he said, were both apostles of Divine Mercy.  Saint John Paul II, the Pope continued, in his Encyclical “Dives in misericordia”, says that especially through his life and action Jesus revealed how love is present in the world we live in: “love at work, a love that speaks to man and embraces the whole of humanity”.  “This love is particularly noticeable when in contact with suffering, injustice, poverty and all those conditions that, in various ways, manifest man's physical and moral limitations and frailty” he said. And the Pope recalled Saint Faustina saying that in her diary, she wrote that the Lord Jesus himself had urged her to trust in Jesus' endless mercy, and to live life mercifully toward others. “May the words, and especially the examples of the lives of these two luminous witnesses, Pope Francis concluded, always inspire your generous commitment”. The John Paul II Foundation was established by Saint John Paul II in October 1981 when he celebrated the third anniversary of his election as Pontiff. His aim was to support Catholic education in former Soviet Union countries by providing fellowships and bursaries to students from Eastern Europe.     (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope: urges Christians to reject envy and conflicts and work for unity

Vatican News - Fri, 10/21/2016 - 07:54
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis said humility, gentleness and magnanimity are the three key attitudes to build unity within the Church and urged Christians to reject envy, jealousy and conflicts. He was speaking at his Mass celebrated on Friday in the chapel of the Santa Marta residence.   Listen to this report by Susy Hodges that includes clips of the Pope's voice:   Taking his inspiration from the greeting at Mass “peace be with you,” the Pope focused his homily on what is required to nurture peace and unity and avoid war and conflicts. He said our Lord’s greeting “creates a bond” of peace and unites us to create a unity of spirit and warned that if there’s no peace and if we aren’t able to greet each other in the widest sense of the word, there will never be unity. The Pope explained that this concept applies for unity in the world, unity in the town, in the district and in the family. The evil spirit sows wars, Christians must avoid conflicts “The evil spirit always sows wars. Jealousy, envy, conflicts, gossip…. are things that destroy peace and therefore there cannot be unity. And how should a Christian behave to promote unity, to find this unity?  Paul tells us clearly: ‘live in a manner worthy, with all humility, gentleness and magnanimity.’  These three attitudes: humility - we cannot sow peace without humility.  Where there is arrogance, there is always war and the desire to defeat the other and believing one is superior. Without humility there is no peace and without peace there is no unity.” Rediscover gentleness and practice mutual support Pope Francis lamented how nowadays we have lost the ability to speak gently and instead tend to shout at each other or speak badly about other people.  He urged Christians to rediscover gentleness, saying by so doing, we are able to put up with each other, give mutual support, “be patient and put up with the faults of others or the things we don’t like.” Help build unity with the bond of peace “First: humility, second: gentleness with this mutual support, and third: magnanimity: a big heart, a wide-open heart that can accommodate everybody and that does not condemn, that does not become smaller because of trifling things: ‘who said that,’ ‘I heard that,’ ‘who…’ no, a large heart, there is room for everybody. And this creates the bond of peace; this is the worthy manner in which to behave to create the bond of peace which is the creator of unity. The Holy Spirit is the creator of unity but this encourages and prepares the creation of unity.” These three attitudes, said the Pope, are the right way to respond to that call to the mystery of the Church that is the mystery of the Body of Christ. “The mystery of the Church is the mystery of the Body of Christ: ‘one faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all’ and who works ‘through all and in all:’ this is the unity that Jesus asked the Father to grant us and we must help create this unity with the bond of peace.  And the bond of peace grows with humility, with gentleness and mutual support and with magnanimity.”  (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope sends telegram to conference on women

Vatican News - Thu, 10/20/2016 - 10:49
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis sent a telegram on Thursday to the Archbishop of Bari, Francesco Cacucci, where a conference organized in the Italian port city of Bari on the lives of women in the Middle East and the Mediterranean is taking place. Signed by the Cardinal-Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin, the message says, “[The Holy Father] hopes that the spaces of representation of women will broaden and that they might intensify their work in seeking opportunities for interaction, knowledge and dialogue, and that the shared commitment to building a future of prosperity and peace, might produce abundant fruits of human and social growth and encourages reconciliation among men and renewed harmony among nations.” The second of its kind with women of the Middle East and the Mediterranean, the conference is focusing on the theme,  on the theme: Women for Peace – being workers for a culture of encounter and dialogue . The event is being promoted by the International Union of Catholic Women’s Organizations along with the International Forum of Catholic Action, and Catholic Action Italy, in the context of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis to Augustinian Recollects: renewal in continuity

Vatican News - Thu, 10/20/2016 - 10:31
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis received the participants in the 55 th General Chapter of the Order of Augustinian Recollects on Thursday in the Vatican. The Augustinian Recollects trace their origins to a 1588 reform of the Augustinian Friars in Spain, and became an autonomous congregation in 1621. It was only in the early 20 th century, however, that they received full recognition as a Mendicant Order under the Rule of St. Augustine – and they have the distinction of being the last Order to receive such recognition from the Holy See. In Spanish-language remarks prepared for the occasion and delivered on Thursday morning in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace, Pope Francis encouraged the Recollects to continue in their ongoing work of renewing the vision of St. Augustine, “[T]o live as brothers ‘with one heart and one soul (Rule 1, 2),’ reflecting the ideal of the first Christians and being a living spirit of prophecy and communion in this world of ours, that there might be neither division nor conflict nor exclusion, but that harmony might reign[.]” Click below to hear our report The General Chapter of the Augustinian Recollects is the supreme authority within the Order. It takes place every six years and it examines the status of the institution. The Prior General and his counsellors are also elected in it, and these then prepare a plan to put into operation the decisions taken by the members of the Chapter over the subsequent six years.   (from Vatican Radio)...
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