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Pope Audience: We look with hope to unity not division

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis said on Wednesday that Christian Unity and reconciliation are possible. He was speaking during his weekly General Audience in the Paul the VI hall where he also continued his catechesis on Christian hope. Listen to Lydia O’Kane’s report We look more 'to that' which unites us rather than that which 'divides us”. Those were Pope Francis’ words on Wednesday during his weekly General Audience as he recalled this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Inviting Christians to pray for this week and also recalling his visit to Lund in Sweden to Commemorate the Reformation, the Pope said “we continue the journey together to deepen our communion and to give it more and more a 'visible form.” In Europe, the Holy Father stressed, this common faith in Christ is like a green thread of hope” adding that, “communion, unity and reconciliation 'are possible.” As Christians, he said, “we are responsible for  'this message and we have to bear witness to it with our lives.” The Pope made the comments while greeting an Ecumenical delegation from Germany. Also during his audience and continuing his catechesis on Christian hope, Pope Francis reflected on the story of the prophet Jonah, who sought to flee from a difficult mission entrusted to him by the Lord.  He said that, “when the ship that Jonah had boarded was tossed by a storm, the pagan sailors asked him, as a man of God, to pray that they might escape sure death.  The Pope noted that, “the story reminds us of the link between hope and prayer.”  Anguish in the face of death, he added,  “often makes us recognize our human frailty and our need to pray for salvation.”  The Holy Father explained that Jonah prays on behalf of the sailors and as a result, “the sailors come to acknowledge the true God.” He also underlined that “as the paschal mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection makes clear, death itself can be, for each of us, an invitation to hope and an encounter in prayer with the God of our salvation.”      (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope Francis receives the President of Republic of Guinea

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Monday received in audience Prof. Alpha Condé, President of the Republic of Guinea. The leader of the West African nation also met with the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and with the Vatican Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Richard Gallagher. A Vatican press released described the colloquiums as cordial and said they highlighted the good relations that exist between the Holy See and the Republic of Guinea. It said they focused on questions of common interest such as integral human development, care of the environment, the fight against poverty and social injustice and the development of adequate policies in regards to the phenomenon of migration. The important role and the contribution of Catholic institutions that operate in the country, particularly in fields of education, healthcare and the promotion of inter-religious dialogue were also discussed and highlighted.   The Republic of Guinea’s concrete commitment to work for peace in the West African region was an also object of attention. Prof. Alpha Condé has been President of the Republic of Guinea since December 2010 after having spent decades in opposition to a succession of regimes. When he took office he became the first freely elected president in the country's history, and then he was reelected in 2015 with almost 58% of the vote.     (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope Francis at Angelus: special care for migrant children

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis appealed for better treatment of child-migrants on Sunday. Speaking to pilgrims and tourists gathered in St. Peter’s Square to pray the Angelus with him, the Holy Father renewed his call for prayerful and concrete solidarity with minors forced to flee their homelands – especially for the children and adolescents forced to flee on their own, without the company of parents or older relatives. “It is necessary to take every possible measure to ensure protection and defense to migrant children,” Pope Francis said, “as well as their integration,” into host societies. “These, our brothers and sisters, especially if unaccompanied, are exposed to many dangers,” the Pope said – dangers that include being taken and sold into slavery – often sexual slavery. January 15 th is the 103 rd iteration of the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which this year is focused particularly on the plight of the youngest migrants under the theme: Child Migrants, the Vulnerable and the Voiceles . Pope Francis offered special greetings in this regard to the representatives of the many different  ethnic communities present in the city and in St. Peter’s Square for the occasion, particularly those of Catholic Rome. “Dear friends, I hope that you are able to live peacefully in the places that welcome you,” the Holy Father said, “respecting their laws and traditions and, at the same time, maintaining the values of your cultures of origin.” The Pope went on to say, “The encounter of different cultures is always an enrichment for everyone.” Offering thanks to the Migrantes office of the Diocese of Rome and those who work with migrants to welcome them and accompany them in their difficulties, and encouraging everyone so committed to continue in their work, Pope Francis commended the example of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, the patron saint of migrants, who passed into eternal life 100 years ago this year. “This courageous sister dedicated her life to bringing the love of Christ to those who were far from home and family,” he said, “Her witness,” said Pope Francis, “helps us to take care of the brother from a far-off land, in whom Jesus is present, often suffering, rejected and humiliated.” (from Vatican Radio)...

The one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church

This is the first of a 12-part series that will cover core teachings of the Catholic faith. Once a month from January through December 2017, this space will focus on exploring a specific aspect of the Church’s teaching. Next month’s topic: Creation A Catholic chaplain, a priest, was carrying Communion to patients who were bedridden in a hospital. The priest had a list of Catholic patients who had requested communion. In one of the rooms, as he blessed a patient and began to leave, the priest was passing by another patient, not on the list, who said, “Hey, what about me?” The priest stopped and replied, “I’m so sorry; I didn’t realize you’re a Catholic.” The man in the bed said, “I’m not, but what does that matter? Religions are all the same.” So the priest said, “In that case, I’m happy to help you become a Catholic. We can start right now.” To which the man replied, “No, thank you.” “All religions are the same.” The claim is widespread, but when pressed proponents have a difficult time substantiating the claim. Indeed, all one has to do is visit a temple, a mosque and a church to see how different religions celebrate their beliefs. One can also compare and contrast the various precepts of the religions to learn their differences. So why do people still make the claim — even those who are practicing a particular religion? Ignorance may be part of the answer. Another part may be a desire to water down all faiths into a one-size-fits-all system that everyone can accept. It may even spring from a well-intentioned effort to alleviate conflict and fighting. The trouble is it doesn’t work; there’s fighting even among co-religionists. The fact is: All religions are not the same. The challenge is to accept the fact without descending into triumphalism or hostility. A starting point that avoids such confrontations is acknowledging the dignity of the human person and his or her right to religious freedom. This is something the Catholic Church proposes (see Dignitatis Humanae , No. 2). If people can respect each other as fellow human beings who deserve the same fundamental rights, then the next step is to move toward mutual understanding through dialogue. A spirit of openness and inquisitiveness about other faiths would be an important part of any meaningful conversation. However, the most important item to bring is a clear understanding of one’s own tradition, a prerequisite the Vatican commends strongly to all Catholics: “Above all they should know their own Church and be able to give an account of its teaching” (Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism, No. 24). Our Sunday Visitor Newsweekly is committed to being part of the conversation, and for more than 100 years has striven to provide readers with articles and commentary helpful to understanding the Catholic Church. A new In Focus series called “Foundations of the Faith” begins with this article, which will lay out what the Church claims about itself and how it is unique among religions. Then each month, from February to December, another article elucidating an essential aspect of Catholicism will be published. The idea is to offer a kind of refresher course on the Catholic faith. Catholics can and should speak openly and knowledgeably about their faith, and by doing so they may help to create a climate in which not only an informed conversation can take place, but also intolerance and ignorance can be avoided. The Catholic Church: Its Basic Foundation Jesus, during his earthly ministry and before ascending into heaven, instituted his Church upon the “rock” of Peter and the other apostles (see Mt 16:18; 18:18). This Church that Jesus founded subsists in the Catholic Church, according to Catholic teaching, and it still bears the four distinguishing marks that Jesus intended: namely that it is one, holy, catholic and apostolic. “This Church constituted and organized in the world as a society … is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in ...

Iowa ministry celebrates decade of helping women transition from prison

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (CNS) -- Franciscan Sister Gwen Hennessey, director of Clare Guest House, puts a different spin on the "What would Jesus do?" slogan. "I think what we provide is what Jesus would do," said Sister Gwen, who directs the transitional home for women released from prison. Clare Guest House began as an initiative of the Sioux City Multicultural Neighborhood Project, a ministry approved by the Sisters of St. Francis of Dubuque, Iowa, in 1998. Its mission was to respond to the needs of poor women and children, collaborate in the development of neighborhood communities and serve as an outreach to Spanish-speaking immigrants. "When we no longer had any Spanish-speaking sisters for the project, it evolved into this project of providing a safe, supportive environment for women coming out of prison," explained Franciscan Sister Grace Ann Witte, who resides at Clare Guest House with Sister Gwen. In 2005, Franciscan Sisters Shirley Waldschmitt, Mary Lee Cox and Grace Ann initiated planning for the halfway house. They developed a philosophy for the house, identified the type of women it would serve, drafted rules and staffing plans before presenting their findings. "A small group of women agreed to continue to meet as an advisory group, colloquially described as the 'Wise Women,' to further finalize plans," Sister Grace Ann said. "It was at that time the name Clare Guest House developed, in honor of St. Clare of Assisi, who lived an active life among the poor, serving lepers, before being forced into an enclosed contemplative life." In July 2005, the project received a $20,000 grant from the Sisters of St. Francis Ministry Fund to begin Clare Guest House. They identified a two-story, five-bedroom house in a residential area north of downtown to locate the ministry. It had been a residential treatment facility for teenage girls, but it was vacant for about five years. Sister Gwen moved in Sept. 27, 2005, to serve as live-in director. "The first guest arrived on Dec. 12, 2005, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe," she recalled. "I don't think it was a coincidence that first guest was half-Hispanic." In 2006, Clare Guest House was incorporated as an independent organization, distinct from the neighborhood project and from the Sisters of St. Francis. The home has had 106 admissions since opening. Most have been women released from the Iowa Women's Correctional Institution in Mitchellville. Some have returned to the home more than once, Sister Gwen admitted. "We've had some women who were not success stories," she said, "but we've also had many who have, who have kept in touch with us, thanking us for getting their lives back." Sister Gwen could point to herself as a success story because she once "walked the walk." Sister Gwen and her sister, Franciscan Sister Dorothy Hennessey, were among 13 women arrested while participating in civil disobedience in 2000 during a nonviolent protest at the former U.S. Army School of the Americas at Fort Benning, Georgia. Both received a six-month sentence, serving it at a federal prison in Illinois. Clare Guest House is the only transitional home of its type in northwest Iowa and the only one under the auspices of the Dubuque Franciscans, who founded Briar Cliff University in Sioux City. Sister Grace Ann, a former Briar Cliff sociology and criminology professor, explained that guests, who all are on parole, must commit to stay at least two months but no more than six months. "During that time, women must look for work, meet with parole officers and help with chores, such as cooking and cleaning," she said. "In some cases, especially for health reasons, we have allowed the stay to be longer." There is no typical Clare House guest, Sister Grace Ann said. "We have had women as young as 19 and as old as 64; however, the most frequently occurring ages were 25, 26," she said. "We've had women who completed an eighth-grade education and ones who earned master's degrees." What may be a common ...

Funeral homily, Cardinal always followed the light.

{vatican radio} The funeral Mass of Cardinal Gilberto Agustoni took place in St Peters Basilica at 10am, 17th January. The Swiss Cardinal, who served as Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura from 1992-1998, died on January 13, aged 94. The funeral Mass was celebrated by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the former Vatican secretary of State and Dean of the College of Cardinals. Greeting all those present on behalf of Pope Francis, Cardinal Sodano often likened Christian faith to light during his homily. "In the first reading is Job, who already many centuries before Christ, professed his faith in the final resurrection say, 'I know that my redeemer lives, and my eyes will behold him.'" Touching on Saint Paul's faith that Jesus will bring with him to God all those who have died, Cardinal Sodano then quoted the Gospel of Luke. "'Be ready, dressed for action with your lamps burning,' ready to open the door to the Lord, who comes to call us. This is the Christian vision of life and death, which we wish to profess, especially at the moment a loved one departs from this world. It was this faith which always guided our dear Cardinal Gilberto." He concluded with a further reflection on faith and light, comparing the "living flame of faith" in Dante's Divine Comedy, with Jesus' words "I came into the world as light, so that he who believes in me will not remain in darkness." Once again, he assured the congregation that this light had illuminated and guided the life of Cardinal Agustino. Gilberto Agustoni was born in Switzerland in 1922 and ordained a priest in 1946. He held a number of appointments in Rome, beginning in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, later becoming secretary of the Congregation for Clergy and finally Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura. Pope John Paul II made him a Cardinal in 1994. (from Vatican Radio)...

OSV's top reads — January 16

1. 'Amoris Laetitia' sparks calls for clarity, unity (News Analysis, Jan. 22-28) 2. A Catholic perspective on Meryl Streep's speech (Openers, Jan. 22-28) 3. Inside our sacred space (In Focus, Jan. 8-14) 4. Awaiting vote, Church readies for pastoral work (News Analysis, Oct. 2, 2016) 5. Trump's challenge: Turning rhetoric into policy (News Analysis, Jan. 15-21) 6. What every Catholic needs to know about funerals (In Focus, Oct. 9, 2011) 7. Top 10 Catholic cities, USA (in Focus, June 2, 2013) 8. Do animals go to heaven? (News Analysis, Jan. 4, 2015) 9. The worst sinners who became saints (Faith, July 1, 2012) 10. Young people are leaving the faith. Here's why (In Focus, August 28, 2016)

Pope Francis meets with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met Saturday morning with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas at the Vatican. Following the audience, the Holy See Press Office issued the following press release:  This morning the Holy Father Francis received in audience His Excellency Mr. Mahmoud Abbas, president of the State of Palestine, who subsequently met with His Eminence Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by His Excellency Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, secretary for Relations with States.  During the cordial discussions, the parties evoked the existing good relations between the Holy See and Palestine, sealed by the Global Agreement of 2015, which regards essential aspects of the life and activity of the Church in Palestinian society. In this context, mention was made of the important contribution of Catholics to favouring the promotion of human dignity and assistance for those most in need, especially in the fields of education, health and aid.  Attention then turned to the peace process in the Middle East, and hope was expressed that direct negotiations between the Parties may be resumed to bring an end to the violence that causes unacceptable suffering to civilian populations, and to find a just and lasting solution. To this end, it is hoped that, with the support of the international community, measures can be taken that favour mutual trust and contribute to creating a climate that permits courageous decisions to be made in favour of peace. Emphasis was placed on the importance of safeguarding the sanctity of the Holy Places for believers of all three of the Abrahamic religions. Finally, particular attention was dedicated to the other conflicts affecting the region. (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope Audience: English language remarks

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis during his Wednesday General Audience continued his catecheseis on Christian hope and asked for prayers for this Week of Christian Unity. Below find the Pope's English language remarks Dear Brothers and Sisters:  In our continuing catechesis on Christian hope, we reflect today on the story of the prophet Jonah, who sought to flee from a difficult mission entrusted to him by the Lord.  When the ship that Jonah had boarded was tossed by a storm, the pagan sailors asked him, as a man of God, to pray that they might escape sure death.  This story reminds us of the link between hope and prayer.  Anguish in the face of death often makes us recognize our human frailty and our need to pray for salvation.  Jonah prays on behalf of the sailors, and, taking up once more his prophetic mission, shows himself ready to sacrifice his life for their sake.  As a result, the sailors come to acknowledge the true God.  As the paschal mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection makes clear, death itself can be, for each of us, an invitation to hope and an encounter in prayer with the God of our salvation.  Dear friends, today begins the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.  In this same spirit of hope, and with gratitude for the progress already made in the ecumenical movement, I ask your prayers for this important intention.   (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope names Boston cardinal, others to Vatican congregations

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis named Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley of Boston, who is president of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, to be a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The Vatican announced his and other papal appointments Jan. 14. The 72-year-old archbishop of Boston is one of the eight members of the Council of Cardinals who has been assisting Pope Francis with the reform of the administration of the Roman Curia, and now he joins 26 other cardinal and bishop members, and 28 consulting theologians, in advising the doctrinal congregation. The congregation deals with doctrinal questions as well as the application of Catholic moral teaching. But it also is charged with coordinating efforts to rid the church of sexual abuse and with monitoring or conducting cases against individual abusers. While the congregation members offer their expertise on the many questions the office considers pressing, Cardinal O'Malley's experience leading three U.S. dioceses confronting the abuse of minors by clergy will be important, U.S. Msgr. Robert W. Oliver, secretary of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, told Catholic News Service Jan. 17. Msgr. Oliver, who once worked as the chief prosecutor of sex abuse crimes when he was promoter of justice at the doctrinal congregation, worked on the abuse crisis in his home Archdiocese of Boston with Cardinal O'Malley. The cardinal will bring "the experience of local bishops who have been there" in terms of handling abuse accusations, and will help the congregation as it deals with new cases coming in from different parts of the world, the monsignor said. The pope also named new consultors to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments. The 17 new advisers include Donna Orsuto, a U.S. professor of spirituality at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, and Australian Father Robert McCulloch, who spent decades ministering in Pakistan before becoming procurator general of the Missionary Society of St. Columban in Rome. The new consultors -- 10 priests or male religious, five laymen and two laywomen -- include Jesuit artist and theologian Father Marko Rupnik, who is the director of Rome's Centro Aletti, a community of scholars and artists committed to bridging Eastern and Western traditions through theological dialogue, research, reflection and publication. The pope also named as a consultor British Msgr. Bruce Harbert, who had served as executive secretary of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy -- the body that seeks to develop unified English translations of the prayers used at Mass, for the celebration of the sacraments and other liturgies.

Our own backyard

A few years ago I heard a great quote from well-known author, theologian and Catholic convert Scott Hahn, who was reminding cradle Catholics of the beauty, depth and richness of the Faith — truths that so many of us, myself included, have taken or still take for granted. “Catholics are sitting on Fort Knox, and they don’t even know it.” This quote came to mind when I learned of the sudden passing of Deacon Alex Jones from my archdiocese, the Archdiocese of Detroit. When Deacon Jones joined the Church back in 2000, his journey made front-page news in religious circles; even some of our local secular press picked up the story. Although everyone’s Christian journey is unique, Deacon Jones’ move to Catholicism stood out. Not only did he come home to Rome, but he brought a number of people with him in members of his local congregation. Jones, who died Jan. 14, had been serving as a much-loved Pentecostal pastor in Detroit. He had a very successful ministry and was enjoying life as a teacher and preacher. He decided to lead a Bible study on the early Church. To make a very dynamic and long story short, after taking a few classes in the early Church Fathers and other similar courses at Detroit’s Sacred Heart Major Seminary, he realized that Catholicism was actually the Church founded by Christ on St. Peter. And the rest is history. He walked away from his full-time position because he could not turn his back on what he had discovered. No wonder his autobiography is appropriately entitled “No Price Too High: A Pentecostal Preacher Becomes Catholic” (Ignatius Press, $16.95). He paid a price through, losing his position, his income and many friends, but as he told me and anyone else willing to listen: It was worth it because of the countless gifts that come with being a member of the Catholic Church. Deacon Jones was much loved around the Archdiocese of Detroit. He worked closely with Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron, with many of his efforts focusing on minority outreach and the New Evangelization. His gift of communication propelled him to become a popular speaker, as well as contributor to Catholic radio and TV, including a number of series on EWTN. He was a frequent guest on my radio show, but I think what I will remember most is what Hahn said about the Faith in that powerful quote. Deacon Jones helped me appreciate my heritage as a cradle Catholic. Like what you’re reading? Subscribe now in print or digital . We are truly sitting on Fort Knox — a gold mine of spiritual treasures. Why does it take outsiders to help us realize what we have had right under our noses all of our lives? After attending a presentation by Deacon Jones, whether it was on the Eucharist or the Blessed Mother, no one could walk away unaffected. When I posted the announcement of his passing on my Facebook page, one of my followers said Deacon Jones made her feel sorry for herself but in a good way. “I have been Catholic all my life and didn’t realize what I had until I was in my 50s.” When I think of Deacon Jones, one other famous quote comes to mind. It’s a quote certainly not as sophisticated as anything a Deacon Jones or Scott Hahn would say, but it is certainly as relatable. I think about Dorothy, upon her return home to Kansas, in the classic 1939 film “The Wizard of Oz.” “If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard. Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with.” Thanks, Deacon Jones. Well done, good and faithful servant. Teresa Tomeo is the host of “Catholic Connection,” produced by Ave Maria Radio and heard daily on EWTN Global Catholic Radio and SiriusXM Channel 130.

Pope Francis: visit to Santa Maria a Setteville parish

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis said Mass at the Roman parish of Saint Mary in Setteville on Sunday afternoon. The Holy Father made a pastoral visit to the parish, leaving the Vatican at 3PM Rome Time, and spending the afternoon with parishioners, clergy and staff. The visit featured  moments with the sick of the parish, including a private meeting with one of the parish curates, don Giuseppe Berardino, who suffers from ALS – with the children and young people in the parish’s catechetical programmes – with the parents fo children baptized during the course of the past year – and with parishioners who contribute to Santa Maria’s pastoral outreach initiatives. The Holy Father spoke briefly, off the cuff, to each group, beginning with the sick and troubled of the parish. “Jesus,” said Pope Francis, “desired to be close to us also in His [own] pain, with his passion, with His [own] suffering, and Jesus is close to you.” “He himself said: ‘If you go to find a sick person, you go to find me.’ Jesus is here with the sick, with those who have problems,” continued Pope Francis. “I know that when we suffer, when there are problems, it is difficult to understand, but it is not a question of understanding: it is a question of feeling, of feeling the caresses of Jesus – that’s it – and this consoles – and in order that all of you should be able to feel these caresses of Jesus, I will give you my blessing.” To children and young people, Pope Francis spoke warmly, thanking the younger children for the drawings they gave him, and encouraging the older ones not to become “strangers” to parish life and to the life of faith. “The Lord has given you this grace [of Confirmation],” he said. “Do not make Confirmation the ‘See you later,’ Sacrament – until your wedding day.” Pope Francis went on to say, “That’s a lot of years to go without a community, and you have been chosen by the Lord to make a community.” In a question-and-answer session with a few of the young people, Pope Francis offered a glimpse into his own journey of faith, saying, “Sometimes, I think  of how in some moments, faith dropped so much that I could not find it and I lived as if I had no faith. Then, one finds faith again. The ups and downs of life also shock us at first, and that moves you and makes you lose some faith, but then as time goes by you find it again, see? There is a passage in the Gospel when Jesus says: ‘Everything is possible for the one who has faith.’ Everything – and the father of the sick child – the  father had taken the child to be healed by Jesus – what did he say to Jesus? ‘Lord, I believe – only  help my unbelief.’ Faith is not always so: there are dark days, days all [plunged in] darkness – even I have walked for days like that in my life as well. Only, be not afraid: pray and be patient, and then the Lord shows up, makes us grow in faith and makes you go forward.” To illustrate the point, the Holy Father said, “Some days you do not see the faith: it is dark – and when one sees disasters, and sees that – [Saturday], for example, when I baptized 13 children [born after the earthquakes in central Italy], there was the father of one of the children, who had lost his wife. ‘I lost my love,’ he said. One thinks, ‘But can this man have faith, after this tragedy?’ – and you know it is dark, there. [Should I say], ‘If you do not have faith...?’ [No.] Shut up. Accompany him. Respect the darkness of the soul. Then will the Lord awaken faith – you see, faith is a gift from God. Our job is only to preserve it.” Then Pope Francis spoke with the parents of children baptized during the course of the past year, offering two of his favorite pieces of advice: do not fight in front of the children, and do not go to sleep without making peace. “It’s normal,” he said, “arguing is part of life. But the advice that I give to you, is that your children never hear or see you fight: if you want to say things to each other, go in the [other] room, close the door and say everything – have it out. It is healthy, because even blowing off steam is healthy – only do not let them see it, because children suffer, they feel abandoned when parents argue.” Then, “Never end the day without making peace,” he said. “[T]he ‘cold war’ of the day after is very dangerous: do not end the day without making peace.” In remarks to all the faithful of the parish present for the Mass, following the readings of the day, Pope Francis spoke of the need to avoid gossip. “The Apostles,” he said, “were not gossipers: they did not speak ill of others, did not speak badly of each other. In this they were good. They didn’t talk behind each other’s’ backs.” “[T]he Apostles did bad things: they betrayed the Lord, but not this,” Pope Francis continued. “We are all sinners,” he said, “but a community where there are gossips and trash-talkers, is a community that is incapable of giving witness.” (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope Francis at Angelus: Church called to proclaim Christ

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis prayed the Angelus with pilgrims and tourists gathered in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday. In remarks ahead of the traditional prayer of Marian devotion, the Holy Father focused on the witness borne by John the Baptist to Jesus Christ. “The Church,” said Pope Francis, “is in every age called to do that, which John the Baptist did: to show Jesus to the people, saying, “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” Departing from his prepared text, Pope Francis added, “There’s always trouble when the Church proclaims herself: she loses her way, and knows not where she goes.” Rather, “The Church proclaims Christ – she does not carry herself, she carries Christ, for He and He alone is the one who saves His people from sin: he frees them and leads them to the land of true liberty.” (from Vatican Radio)...

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