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By John Stegeman The Catholic Telegraph With the use of a walker, and a helper at the ready, Archbishop Emeritus Daniel E. Pilarczyk made his way down the fourth-floor hallway at the Little Sisters of the Poor St. Paul’s Archbishop … Continue reading → 19 hours 57 min
By Cindy Wooden Catholic News Service  VATICAN CITY — Church law has procedures and penalties for effectively dealing with allegations of clerical sexual abuse, but the Vatican is working to revise a section of the Code of Canon Law to … Continue reading → 19 hours 57 min
By Catholic News Service  WASHINGTON — To end the U.S.-Mexico border crisis, the United States must address the flow of illegal drugs and arms and the harmful economic policies forcing children and families to leave Central America for the U.S., … Continue reading → 19 hours 57 min
By Cherie Spino & Angela Kessler Catholic News Service  TOLEDO — Retired Auxiliary Bishop Robert W. Donnelly of Toledo, Ohio died July 21 at his home in Toledo at age 83. Afternoon visitation was scheduled for July 28, to be followed … Continue reading → 19 hours 57 min
By John Stegeman The Catholic Telegraph Parishes in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati host a wide array of social events. From picnics to festivals, there’s plenty in common and many parishes take advantage of a shared love throughout southwestern Ohio — … Continue reading → 19 hours 57 min
By Mark Pattison Catholic News Service  WASHINGTON — Syriac Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan, in Washington to meet with federal government representatives and members of Congress, decried the “mass cleansing” of Christians from Mosul, Iraq, by what he called “a … Continue reading → 19 hours 57 min
By Carol Glatz Catholic News Service  VATICAN CITY — Taking the chef completely by surprise, Pope Francis unexpectedly showed up to eat with the Vatican’s blue collar workers at their cafeteria in the tiny city-state’s “industrial park.” “He showed up, … Continue reading → 19 hours 57 min
By Nancy Wiechec Catholic News Service  UPDATE: Despite Chaput’s confirmation, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia published the following tweet on July 25. No official confirmation from Vatican re: @Pontifex attending #WMF2015 +Chaput remarks raise hope Pope will join — Archdiocese … Continue reading → 19 hours 57 min
By Catholic News Service  WASHINGTON — The Obama administration has filed a brief with the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver indicating it plans to develop an alternative for Catholic and other religious nonprofit employers to opt out … Continue reading → 19 hours 57 min
By Catholic News Service NEW YORK — New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said it would be an “extraordinary moment for our city and an extraordinary honor” if Pope Francis visited the Big Apple in September 2015, when the World … Continue reading → 19 hours 57 min

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Madurai, India, Jul 29, 2014 / 01:03 am (EWTN News/CNA).- Pope Francis appointed Bishop Antony Pappusamy of Dindigal, located in India's Tamil Nadu state, as Archbishop of Madurai on July 26. 20 hours 54 min
Madrid, Spain, Jul 28, 2014 / 11:26 am (EWTN News).- The most important places in the life of St. Teresa of Avila are featured on a new pilgrimage route created as part of the celebrations to mark the 500th anniversary of the saint's birth.

1 day 10 hours
Lourdes, France, Jul 28, 2014 / 11:02 am (EWTN News/CNA).- This weekend, shortly before today's centenary of the beginning of World War I, an English bishop has said that the Marian shrine of Lourdes remains "undimmed" and still invites everyone to see the "light of the Gospel," Jesus Christ. 1 day 10 hours
My Tho, Vietnam, Jul 28, 2014 / 10:02 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- Pope Francis named Bishop Pierre Nguyen Van Kham, an auxiliary bishop of the Ho Chi Minh City archdiocese, to become head of the Diocese of My Tho on July 26. 1 day 11 hours
Bangkok, Thailand, Jul 28, 2014 / 08:02 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- At a recent conference held in Bangkok, Thai bishops gathered with the faithful to share and reflect on ways to share the gospel in their local communities. 1 day 13 hours
Washington D.C., Jul 28, 2014 / 06:28 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- While welcoming the proposal for a new global religious freedom ambassador after a nine-month vacancy, one expert warned that adequate resources must be given for the position to be effective.

1 day 15 hours
Caserta, Italy, Jul 28, 2014 / 05:27 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- During his visit Monday to an evangelical Christian community in Caserta, Pope Francis said the Holy Spirit creates diversity and unity in the Church, so that the Church lives a "reconciling diversity." 1 day 16 hours
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Jul 28, 2014 / 05:02 am (EWTN News/CNA).- After nearly two years of preparation, Father José Almy Gomes, 40, almost wasn't ready for Pope Francis' World Youth Day pilgrimage to Rio de Janeiro. 1 day 16 hours
Vatican City, Jul 27, 2014 / 12:07 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- Pope Francis on Sunday stressed the priceless value of encountering Jesus, noting that Jesus' parables speak of those who are willing to trade everything for the Kingdom of God. 2 days 9 hours
Washington D.C., Jul 27, 2014 / 05:11 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- The head of the U.S. bishops' international justice and peace committee implored Secretary of State John Kerry to utilize U.S. foreign policy to address the "root causes" of child migration from Central America.

2 days 16 hours

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From: Tristate Catholic news and features, daily
Sunday's "Holy 59 Minutes" (just short of an hour) at St. Andrew parish, Milford, for peace in the Middle East.

Sunday’s “Holy 59 Minutes” (just short of an hour) at St. Andrew parish, Milford, for peace in the Middle East. Photos courtesy Fr. Rob Waller.

This guest post by Fr. Andrew Waller originally ran as “Our Holy 59 Minutes” in his blog, With Open Doors. It is reproduced in full. St. Andrew the Apostle Church has a strong reciprocal relationship with a Palestinian parish in Beit Jala, outside of Bethelehem.

A holy hour is by tradition an hour of prayer, often in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament placed in a the monstrance on the altar.

This evening at St. Andrew there was a holy hour for peace in the Middle East. After the time of prayer, spoken and sung and silent, one attendee teasingly informed the deacon that the prayer was one minute short of the promised hour, so that technically, it was not a holy “hour.”

But holy it was!

We sang the chaplet of divine mercy, repeating over and over in a haunting and massaging melody,

“Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your Dearly Beloved Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.”

“For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”

“Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”

Then we prayed a “litany of presence.”

Make your presence known, Lord,

to the people of Gaza
to the people of Israel
to the people of West Bank
to the people of Jordan

make your presence known, Lord,

to President Rivlin of Israel
to Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel
to President Abbas of Palestine

make your presence known, Lord,

to the people of Syria
to the people of Iraq
to the destructive forces in Syria and Iraq

make your presence known, Lord,

to Pope Francis
to Archbishop Fouad Twal of the Holy Land
to Bishop William Shomali of the Holy Land
to Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako of Iraq
to Father Jorge Hernandez of Gaza

make your presence known, Lord,

to the children in the Middle East who live in fear
to the children who are orphaned
to the children who are wounded
to the children living in refugee camps

make your presence known, Lord,

to all those who are wounded and have died in the conflicts
to all those who mourn for them
to the living and the dead lost in the rubble

make your presence known, Lord,

to the Salesian Sisters and Monks of the Cremisan
to the Salesian School Children
to the decision makers of the Cremisan Land

make your presence known, Lord,

to those who pray for peace in the Middle East

make your presence known, Lord.

A rainbow after St. Andrew's Holy Hour for Peace.

A rainbow after St. Andrew’s Holy Hour for Peace.

After the prayer a bow appeared in the sky, reminding us of God’s promise to Noah after the flood of destruction never to allow the earth to be destroyed again. God placed a bow in the sky to remind himself. This bow tonight, ever so faint,  helped us to remember, too.

Fr. Rob Waller is pastor of St. Andrew the Apostle Church in Milford (OH). He blogs at With Open Doors.

Tomorrow: Prayer for peace in area parishes.

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21 hours 42 min
Christians fleeing Mosul after ISIS declared a deadline for them to convert or die. Photo courtesy Middle East Monitor.

Christians fleeing Mosul after ISIS declared a deadline for them to convert or die. Photo courtesy Middle East Monitor.

The following letter was sent last week to National Security Advisor Susan Rice as the city of Mosul, Iraq, emptied of Christians (mostly Catholics) and Shiite Muslims, both groups targeted by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the Islamic State (IS). Observers do not agree about whether ISIS can establish its goals, which are to rid target lands of Christians and Muslim groups it considers heretics and establish a “caliphate,” a kind of Muslim kingdom or empire ruled by one man known as a “caliph,” or “successor” to Muhammed. Most of the Muslim world was loosely ruled by a caliphate from Muhammed’s death until the mid-13th century.

Last Friday, Rice wrote to Congress urging the repeal of the Authorization for Use of Military Force in Iraq, (AUMF), in order to “assure Americans” that even if the United States needed to attack Iraq for national security reasons, no ground troops would be sent. That same day, the House voted on a resolution that would require Congress to approve military intervention in Iraq, something most House members oppose. President Obama has not expressed any intent to send ground troops into Iraq.

The full text of the letter follows:

Ambassador Susan E. Rice
National Security Advisor
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Ambassador Rice:

Last month I wrote to you about the escalating violence in Iraq that targets Christians and other  religious communities. I asked that the U.S. government urge Iraqi political leaders to form an inclusive government representative of all ethnic and religious groups, thus reversing the exclusion that has been exploited by extremists. Only in this way can the rule of law be restored and the common good of all be served.

In addition, they pleaded with “all people of conscience in Iraq and around the world to put pressure on those extremists to stop destroying the churches, monasteries, and other Christian monuments which constitute an invaluable part of our Iraqi and universal heritage.” 

Sadly the situation in Iraq has only deteriorated in the past month. The Islamic State has taken control of large swaths of territory in northern Iraq, leaving a trail of destruction, burning and looting ancient churches and mosques, homes and businesses. ISIS issued an ultimatum to Christians and others who do not convert to their extremist brand of Islam or pay a tax, threatening their lives.

U.S. humanitarian assistance is urgently needed to help these beleaguered people, especially Christians. 

Thousands have fled with little more than the clothes on their backs, often being robbed of their few personal possessions as they ran. On July 22, 2014, the bishops of Iraq, representing the Chaldean Catholic, Syrian Orthodox, Syrian Catholic and Armenian Churches, appealed to the Iraqi government for: “full protection” of the rights of Christians and other minorities; “financial support for the displaced families” including payment of civil servant salaries; and compensation for material losses and provision of housing, social services and education as the crisis continues. In addition, they pleaded with “all people of conscience in Iraq and around the world to put pressure on those extremists to stop destroying the churches, monasteries, and other Christian monuments which constitute an invaluable part of our Iraqi and universal heritage.” An unofficial translation of their statement is attached.

U.S. humanitarian assistance is urgently needed to help these beleaguered people, especially Christians. This aid should go directly to the minority communities through trusted NGOs, otherwise past experience has shown that aid is diverted. In a country riven by political factions, each jockeying for resources to gain power, only NGOs with a proven track record of delivering humanitarian assistance can be relied upon to actually help those most in need. I ask the U.S. government to do all that it can to provide this critical assistance to those in desperate straits and to work with other governments in an effort to stop the violence. As Pope Francis prayed regarding the persecution in Iraq, “violence is defeated with peace.”

Sincerely yours,
Most Reverend Richard E. Pates
Bishop of Des Moines
Chairman, Committee on International Justice and Peace
[United States Conference of Catholic Bishops]

cc: Rajiv Shah, USAID Administrator
Encl: July 22, 2014 Statement by Iraqi Bishops (unofficial translation)

For more on religious freedom issues:

Click here for our Religious Liberty resources page. Click here to see all our previous stories and guest posts on religious liberty issues.

Click here for the USCCB’s resource page on the Call to Prayer for Life, Marriage, and Religious Liberty — or click on the “Join the Movement” graphic on our site any time.

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21 hours 46 min
A photo said to be of Christians fleeing Mosul with only the clothes on their backs, published in the blog "SyrianFreePress."

A photo said to be of Christians fleeing Mosul with only the clothes on their backs, published in the blog “SyrianFreePress.”

This statement by the Bishops of Iraq on the ethnic cleansing of Christians in Mosul, Iraq (where Shiite Muslims are also facing violent persecution)  is an unofficial translation published by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). Punctuation retained.

July 22, 2014

We, the Archbishops of Mosul, with all our brother Bishops assembled in Erbil‐Einkawa, led by His Beatitude Patriarch Mar Louis Raphael Sako, express our shock, worry and pain for what happened to the innocent Christians in Mosul. U.N. Secretary‐General Ban Ki‐moon has described this as “crime against humanity” and the Arab League Secretary‐General Dr. Nabil Elaraby has called it “a stain of shame”. We denounce and condemn this crime and discrimination. We can’t understand how innocent civilians can be forced from their homes and robbed of their money and possessions, nor how churches and monasteries, dating from before the arrival of Islam, can be burnt to the ground. Is this not a  humanitarian catastrophe and a tragic loss of heritage?

We are proud to be Christian and can’t imagine giving up our faith for any reason or in the face of any devilish act.  As native citizens, we request the following from our national government:

  1. Full protection of our rights and those of other minorities.
  2. Financial support for the displaced families who have lost everything, in addition to paying and sustaining civil servant salaries, as soon as possible.
  3. Compensation for damages and losses suffered by Christians. Also, if the crisis endures, the provision of shelter and educational facilities so that displaced students can continue their studies.

We call on all people of conscience in Iraq and around the world to put pressure on those extremists to stop destroying the churches, monasteries and other Christian monuments which constitute an invaluable part of our Iraqi and Universal heritage.

Rumors of an agreement between those extremists and the church are fictitious; their crimes cannot be denied nor justified.

We await practical actions to assure our people, not merely expressions of condemnation.

On this occasion, we greatly value and appreciate the Kurdish Region Government KRG’s welcome and support of our displaced people during this crisis. Consequently, we propose the formation of a joint committee of KRG government, and Christian representatives to follow up on the situation of those displaced to improve their living condition and reduce their suffering.

We pray to God to shorten this difficult time and return security and peace to all Iraqi lands.

For Bishop Pates’s letter to National Security Advisor Susan Rice on the plight of Christians in Iraq, click here. 

For more on religious freedom issues:

Click here for our Religious Liberty resources page. Click here to see all our previous stories and guest posts on religious liberty issues.

Click here for the USCCB’s resource page on the Call to Prayer for Life, Marriage, and Religious Liberty — or click on the “Join the Movement” graphic on our site any time.

Click here to see all our current stories.

If you’ve enjoyed this story, please share it. To get local Catholic news, features and photos every day in your inbox, subscribe in the box at the top of every page or send a request to

21 hours 52 min

holy hour image

The Athenaeum of Ohio/Mount St. Mary’s Seminary of the West will hold a Holy Hour for Vocations in the seminary’s St. Gregory the Great Chapel on August 3rd at 5 pm.

holy hour flier

It’s the latest in what the seminary hopes will be a bimonthly hour of prayer and Eucharistic Adoration.  “The first event was well attended, with a great cross section of people from a wide variety of parishes including parents of seminarians,” says seminary President and Rector Fr. Benedict O’Cinnsealaigh, who adds that by praying for vocations laypeople everywhere can help seminarians and priests. He says:

It is the Lord of the Harvest who provides laborers but he asks us to be engaged and involved in this calling. “Ask the Lord of the Harvest” Jesus says and “he will send laborers.” With God it is always an invitation to share in His work and it is the same with vocations. This hour of adoration and prayer is an answer to the invitation of the Lord to the whole community to be involved in the support of the harvest, to encourage laborers, to support those who are already in the fields, and to provide for the great harvest the Lord has promised.

He will send laborers if we ask – this is not a wishful thought – it is a promise – Jesus promised: “Ask the Lord of the harvest and He will send laborers.” The development and encouragement of vocations is the work of the whole Church, the whole community. I want Mount St. Mary’s Seminary and The Athenaeum of Ohio to become a vibrant center for our Catholic people to help develop an attitude of vocation promotion, support and encouragement, as well as to be a place of prayer and petition and vocational and spiritual renewal.

St. Gregory the Great Chapel is located in the center of The Athenaeum of Ohio. Entries are on the right or left wings.

For more Catholic events, see our Events page.

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1 day 21 hours

NewsFeeds from Zenit, EWTN,

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Muita coisa em jogo no Conselho para os direitos humanos das Nações Unidas em Genebra, onde a Irlanda se encontra diante de uma bifurcação: ceder às pressões da ONU e, portanto, abdicar aos pedidos de “suavizar” a sua legislação sobre o aborto ou resistir na luta pela tutela do nascituro. “Duro” e “insistente” fo... 1 day 3 hours
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(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis returned to the southern Italian city of Caserta on Monday for a private visit to the Pentecostal community known as the Evangelical Church of Reconciliation. The Pope first met the founder of the community, Pastor Giovanni Traettino, during his time as archbishop of Buenos Aires and over the past year he has met and received groups of Pentecostals at his Santa Marta residence here in the Vatican. Listen to Philippa Hitchen’s report :   After greeting the pastor and his family, Pope Francis was welcomed by over 200 Evangelicals who had travelled to Caserta from around Italy, as well as from the U.S. and South America. "Carissimo Papa Francesco, amato fratello mio, la nostra gioia é grande……" Calling the Pope, my beloved brother, Rev Traettino said the Evangelical community was deeply grateful for the visit which would have been unthinkable until very recently. Many Evangelicals, he said, pray daily for the Pope and see his election as the work of the Holy Spirit. "….la Sua elezione al vescovo di Roma sia stato opera dello Spirito Santo…." Pardon and reconciliation were the themes at the heart of the Pope’s words as, to loud applause he asked forgiveness for the words and actions of Catholics who have persecuted Pentecostals in the past. "…..Chiedo perdono per quelli Cattolici che non hanno capito…." All of us are sinners, the Pope stressed, but all of us must continue to walk boldly in the presence of Our Lord. Quoting from St Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, Pope Francis spoke of the diversity of the Body of Christ but he stressed that diversity is reconciled to unity through the action of the Holy Spirit. "…….così la Chiesa é una nella diversità….." Following the encounter, Pope Francis then had lunch with members of the Pentecostal community in Caserta and returned by helicopter to the Vatican later on Monday afternoon  (From archive of Vatican Radio)... 1 day 8 hours
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met with the priests of the Diocese of Caserta on his visit there on Saturday afternoon. The Pope engaged in a question-and-answer period with the priests in the Palatina della Reggia di Caserta Chapel. The Vatican Radio translation of this exchange is offered below. Pope Francis : I prepared a speech but I will give it to the bishop. Thank you very much for the welcome. Thank you. I am happy and I feel a little guilty for having caused many problems on the day of the patronal feast. But I did not know. And when I called the bishop to tell him that I wanted to come and make a private visit here with a friend, Pastor Traettino, he said to me: “Ah, right on the patronal feast day!” And I thought immediately: “In the newspapers the next day it will read: on the patronal feast of Caserta, the Pope visited the Protestants!” Nice headline, eh? And, in this way, we organized the visit, a little rushed, but the bishop helped me out a lot as did the people at the Secretariat of State. I told the substitute when I called him: “Please cut the cord from around my neck.” He did well. Thank you for the questions you will ask. We can begin. Ask the questions and I will see if we can combine two or three, otherwise, I will respond to each one. Q .: Your Holiness, thank you. I am the vicar general of Caserta, Fr Pasquariello. A big thank-you for your visit to Caserta. I would like to ask a question: the good that you are bringing in the Catholic Church, with your daily homilies, official documents, especially Evangelii Gaudium, focus mainly on spiritual conversion, intimate, personal. It is a reform that engages, in my humble opinion, only the sphere of theology, biblical exegesis and philosophy. Alongside this personal conversion, which is essential for eternal salvation, I would see some useful intervention on the part of Your Holiness in order to involve more the people of God, just as people. I’ll explain. Our diocese, for 900 years, has absurd boundaries: some municipalities are divided in half with the dioceses of Capua and Acerra. In fact, the station of the city of Caserta, less than one kilometer away from City Hall, belongs to Capua. For this reason, Blessed Father, I ask for a resolute intervention so that our communities no longer have to suffer unnecessary travel and so that the pastoral unity of our faithful is no longer sacrificed. It is clear, Your Holiness, that in Article 10 of Evangelii Gaudium, you say that these things belong to the episcopate. But I remember that as a young priest –47 years ago—we went with Msgr Robert—he had come from the Secretariat of State—and we had brought a few problems even there; they said, after having explained things: “Come to an agreement with the bishops and we will sign.” And this is a beautiful thing. But when will the bishops come to an agreement? Pope Francis : Some historians of the Church say that in some of the first Councils, the bishops got to the point of punches but then they came to an agreement. And this is an ugly sign. It is ugly when bishops speak against each other or are roped in. I don’t mean unity of thought or unity of spirituality, because this is good, I say roped in in the negative sense. This is ugly because it breaks unity with the Church. This is not of God. And we,  bishops, need to give the example of unity that Jesus asks the Father for the Church. But we cannot go about speaking against one another: “And he does it this way and he does it that way.” Go on, say it to other person’s face! Our ancestors at the first Councils got to the point of punches and I prefer that they yell a few strong words to each other and then embrace, rather than speak against each other in hiding. This, as a general principle, namely: in the unity of the Church, unity among bishops is important. You underlined the path that the Lord wanted for his Church. And this unity between bishops is that which favours coming to an agreement on this or the other issue. In a country—not in Italy, another place—there is a diocese whose boundaries were reconfigured but motivated by the location of the treasure of the cathedral, they have been in court for more than 40 years. For money: this is not understandable! This is where the devil celebrates! It is he who profits. It is nice then that you say the bishops must always be in agreement: but in agreement in unity, not in uniformity. Each person has his charism; each person has his way of thinking, of seeing things: this variety sometimes is the fruit of mistakes, but many times it is the fruit of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit wanted that this variety of charisms exists in the Church. The same Spirit that creates diversity then succeeds to create unity; unity in the diversity of each one, without each one losing his own personality. But, I wish that what you said will move ahead. And then, we are all good, because we all have the water of baptism, we have the Holy Spirit within, who helps us to move ahead. Q : I am Fr Angelo Piscopo, pastor of San Pietro Apostolo and San Pietro in Cattedra. My question is this: Your Holiness, in the Apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, you invited us to encourage and to reinforce popular piety, that precious treasure of the Catholic Church. At the same time, however, you showed the risk—unfortunately, always more real—of the diffusion of an individualistic and sentimental Christianity, more attentive to traditional forms and to revelation, deprived fundamental aspects of the faith and irrelevant to social life. What suggestion can you give us for a ministry that, without devaluing popular piety, can re-launch the primacy of the Gospel? Thank you, Your Holiness. Pope Francis : We hear that this is a time where religiosity has declined, but I do not believe that much. Because there are these currents, these schools of intimist religiosity, like the Gnostics, who have an approach similar to pre-Christian prayer, pre-biblical prayer, gnostic prayer, and Gnosticism entered into the Church in these groups of intimist piety: I call this “intimism”. “Intimism” is not good. It is something for me; I am calm; I feel full of God. It is a bit—it is not the same—but it is sort of like New Age. There is religiosity, yes, but a pagan religiosity, even heretical. We must not be afraid to say this word because Gnosticism is a heresy. It was the first heresy of the Church. When I speak of religiosity, I speak of that treasure of piety, with many values, which the great Paul VI describes in Evangelii Nuntiandi. Think of this: the Aparecida document, which was the document of the fifth conference of the Latin American episcopate, to summarize, at the end of the document in the second-to-last paragraph—because the last two were thank-yous and prayers—had to go back 40 years and extract a piece from Evangelii Nuntiandi, which is the post-Conciliar pastoral document that has yet to be surpassed. It is of great currency. In that document, Paul VI describes popular piety, affirming that sometimes it needs to be evangelized. Yes, because like every piety, it risks going a little this way and a little that way or not having an expression of strong faith. But the piety that people have, the piety that enters into the heart with baptism is an enormous strength, to the point that the people of God who have this piety, on the whole, can do no wrong. It is infallible in credendo: that is was Lumen Gentium, number 12, says. True popular piety  is born from that sensus fidei of which this conciliar document speaks and it guides in the devotion of the saints, of Our Lady, even with folk expressions in the good sense of the word. For this, popular piety is fundamentally enculturated. It cannot be a popular piety created in a laboratory, ascetic, but born always from our lives. Small mistakes can be made—therefore we must be vigilant—however, popular religiosity is a tool of evangelization. We think of young people today. Young people—at least the experience I had in the other diocese—young people, youth movements in Buenos Aires did not work. Why? They would say: we organize a meeting to talk… and in the end the young people get bored. But when pastors found a way to involve young people in small missions, to do a mission during vacation time, to give catechesis to people who needed it, in the small villages where there are no priests, then they adhered. Young people truly want this missionary role and they learn from it to live a form of piety that we can even say is popular piety: the missionary apostolate of young people has something of popular piety in it. Popular piety is active, it is a sense of faith—says Paul VI—deep, which only the simple and the humble are able to have. And this is great! In sanctuaries, for example, we see miracles! Every July 27, I would go to the Saint Pantaleo Sanctuary in Buenos Aires and I would listen to confessions in the morning. I would return renewed from that experience, I would return shamed by the holiness I would find in simple people, sinners but holy, because they would tell of their sins and recount how they lived, the problem of their son or their daughter or of this or the other, and how they would visit the sick. A sense of the Gospel shone through. In sanctuaries, you find these things. The confessionals of sanctuaries are a place of renewal for us priests and bishops; they are a course in spiritual renewal because of this contact with popular piety. And the faithful, when they come to confess, they tell you their miseries. But you see behind those miseries the grace of God that guides them to this moment. This contact with the people of God who pray, a pilgrim people, who manifest their faith in this form of piety, helps us a lot in our priestly life. Q : Allow me to call you Fr Francis because authentic paternity inevitably implies holiness. As a pupil of the Jesuits, to whom I owe my cultural and priestly formation, I will first share my impression and then ask a question that I will put to you in a special way. The identikit of the priest of the third millennium: human and spiritual balance; missionary consciousness; openness to dialogue with other faiths, religious and otherwise. Why is this? You certainly have brought about a Copernican revolution in terms of language, lifestyle, behaviour and witness on the most considerable issues at the global level, even with atheists and with those who are far from the Christian Catholic Church. The question I ask you: how is it possible in this society, with a Church that hopes for growth and development, in this society in an evolution that is dynamic and conflictual and very often distant from the values ​​of the Gospel of Christ, that we are a Church very often behind? Your linguistic, semantic, cultural revolution, your evangelical witness is stirring an existential crisis for us priests. What imaginative and creative ways do you suggest for us to overcome or at least to mitigate this crisis that we perceive? Thank you. Pope Francis : Here you are. How is it possible, with the Church growing and developing, to move forward? You said a few things: balance, openness to dialogue ... But, how can you go forward? You said a word that I really like. It is a divine word. If it is human it is because it is a gift of God: creativity. And the commandment God gave to Adam, "Go and multiply. Be creative. "It is also the commandment that Jesus gave to his disciples, through the Holy Spirit, for example, the creativity of the early Church in its relations with Judaism: Paul was creative; Peter, that day when he went to Cornelius, was afraid of them, because he was doing something new, something creative. But he went there. Creativity is the word. And how can you find this creativity? First of all - and this is the condition if we want to be creative in the Spirit, that is in the Spirit of the Lord Jesus - there's no other way than prayer. A bishop who does not pray, a priest who does not pray has closed the door, closed the way of creativity. It is exactly in prayer, when the Spirit makes you feel something, the devil comes and makes you feel another; but prayer is the condition for moving forward. Even if prayer many times can seem boring. Prayer is so important. Not only the prayer of the Divine Office, but the liturgy of the Mass, quiet, celebrated well with devotion, personal prayer with the Lord. If we do not pray, perhaps we will be good pastoral and spiritual entrepreneurs, but the Church without prayer becomes an NGO, it does not have that unctio Sancti Spiritu. Prayer is the first step, because it is opening oneself to the Lord to be able to open up to others. It is the Lord that says, “Go here, go there, do this ...”, you will be inspired by the creativity that cost many saints a lot. Think of Blessed Antonio Rosmini, who wrote The Five Wounds of the Church, he was a creative critic because he prayed. He wrote that which the Spirit made ​​him feel. For this, he entered into a spiritual prison, that is in his house: he could not speak, he could not teach, he could not write…. Today, he is Blessed! Many times creativity takes you to the cross. But when it comes from prayer, it bears fruit. Not creativity that is a little sans façon and revolutionary, because today it is fashionable to be a revolutionary; no, this is not of the Spirit. But when creativity comes from the Spirit and is born in prayer. It can bring you problems. The creativity that comes from prayer has an anthropological dimension of transcendence, because through prayer you open yourself to the transcendent, to God. But there is also another transcendence: opening oneself up to others, to one’s neighbour. We must not be a Church closed in on itself, which looks at its navel, a self-referential Church, who looks at itself and is not able to transcend. Twofold transcendence is important: toward God and toward one’s neighbour. Coming out of oneself is not an adventure; it is a journey, it is the path that God has indicated to men, to the people from the first moment when he said to Abraham, “Go from your country.” He had to go out of himself. And when I come out of myself, I meet God and I meet others. How do you meet others? From a distance or up close? You must meet them up close, closeness. Creativity, transcendence and closeness. Closeness is a key word: be near. Do not be afraid of anything. Being close. The man of God is not afraid. Paul himself, when he saw many idols in Athens, was not scared. He said to the people: "You are religious, many idols ... but, I'll speak to you about another." He did not get scared and he got close to them. He also cited poets: "As your poets say..." It’s about closeness to a culture, closeness to people, to their way of thinking, their sorrows, their resentments. Many times this closeness is just a penance, because we need to listen to boring things, to offensive things. Two years ago, a priest went to Argentina as a missionary. He was from the Diocese of Buenos Aires and he went to a diocese in the south, to an area where for years they had no priest, and evangelicals had arrived. He told me that he went to a woman who had been the teacher of the people and then the principle of the village school. This lady sat him down and began to insult him, not with bad words, but to insult him forcefully: “You abandoned us, we left us alone, and I, who  need of God's Word, had to go to Protestant worship and I became Protestant”. This young priest, who is meek, who is one who prays, when the woman finished her discourse, said: "Madam, just one word: forgiveness. Forgive us, forgive us. We abandoned the flock." And the tone of the woman changed. However, she remained Protestant and the priest did not go into the argument of which was the true religion. In that moment, you could not do this. In the end, the lady began to smile and said: “Father, would you like some coffee?” – “Yes, let’s have a coffee.” And when the priest was about to leave, she said: “Stop here, Father. Come.” And she led him into the bedroom, opened the closet and there was the image of Our Lady: “You should know that I never abandoned her. I hid her because of the pastor, but she’s in the home.” It is a story which teaches how proximity, meekness brought about this woman’s reconciliation with the Church, because she felt abandoned by the Church. And I asked a question that you should never ask: “And then, how things turn out? How did things finish?”. But the priest corrected me: “Oh, no, I did not ask anything: she continues to go to Protestant worship, but you can see that she is a woman who prays. She faces the Lord Jesus.” And it did not go beyond that. He did not invite her to return to the Catholic Church. … But, closeness also means dialogue; you must read in Ecclesiam Suam, the doctrine on dialogue, then repeated by other Popes. Dialogue is so important, but to dialogue two things are necessary: one's identity as a starting point and empathy toward others. If I am not sure of my identity and I go to dialogue, I end up swapping my faith. You cannot dialogue without starting from your own identity, and empathy, that is not condemning a priori. Every man, every woman has something of their own to give us; every man, every woman has their own story, their own situation and we have to listen to it. Then the prudence of the Holy Spirit will tell us how to respond. Starting from one’s own identity for dialogue, but dialogue is not to do apologetics, although sometimes you have to do it, when we are asked questions that require explanation. Dialogue is a human thing. It is hearts and souls that dialogue, and this is so important! Do not be afraid to dialogue with anyone. It was said of a saint, joking somewhat – I do not remember, I think it was St. Philip Neri, but I'm not sure – that he was also able to dialogue even with the devil. Why? Because he had the freedom to listen all people, but starting from his own identity. He was so sure, but to be sure of one’s identity does not mean proselytizing. Proselytism is a trap, which even Jesus condemns a bit, en passant, when he speaks to the Pharisees and the Sadducees: “You who go around the world to find a proselyte and then you remember that ...” But, it's a trap. And Pope Benedict has a beautiful expression. He said it in Aparecida but I believe he repeated elsewhere: “The Church grows not by proselytism, but by attraction.” And what's the attraction? It is this human empathy, which is then guided by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, what will be the profile of the priest of this century, which is so secularized? A man of creativity, who follows the commandment of God – “create things”; a man of transcendence, both with God in prayer and with the others always; a man who is approachable and who is close to people. To distance people is not priestly and people are fed up of this attitude, and yet it happens all the same. But he who welcomes people and is close to them and dialogues with them does so because he feels certain of his identity, which leads him to have an heart open to empathy. This is what comes to me to say to you in response to your question. Q .: Dear Father, my question is about the place where we live: the diocese, with our bishops, our relationships with our brothers and sisters. And I ask you: this historic time in which we are living has expectations of us as priests, that is of a witness that is clear, open, joyful – as you are inviting us to be – in the newness of the Holy Spirit. I ask you: what would be, according to you, the very specific foundation of a spirituality of the diocesan priest? I think I read somewhere that you say: “The priest is not a contemplative.” But it was not like that before. Here, then, if you can give us an icon that we can take into account for the rebirth, the communal growth of our diocese. And above all, I'm interested in how we can be faithful today to man, not so much to God. Pope Francis : Here, you said "the newness of the Holy Spirit." It’s true. But God is a God of surprises. He always surprises us, always, always. We read the Gospel and we find one surprise after another. Jesus surprises us because he arrives before us: He waits for us first, he loves us first, when we seek Him out, he is already looking for us. As the prophet Isaiah or Jeremiah says, I do not remember well: God is like the flower of the almond tree, it blooms first in spring. He is first, always first, always waiting for us. And this is the surprise. So many times we seek God here and He waits for us there. And then we come to the spirituality of the diocesan clergy. A contemplative priest, but not like one who is in the Carthusian monastery, I do not mean this contemplativeness. The priest must have contemplativeness, an ability to contemplate both God and people. He is a man who looks, who fills his eyes and his heart of this contemplation with the Gospel before God, and with human problems before men. In this sense, it must be a contemplative. One should not get confused: the monk is another thing. But where is the center of the spirituality of the diocesan priest? I would say it is in the diocesan life. It is having the ability to open oneself up to the diocesan life. The spirituality of a religious, for example, is the ability to open up to God and to others in the community: be it the smallest or the largest congregation. Instead, the spirituality of the diocesan priest is to be open to the diocesan life. And you religious who work in the parish need to do both things, which is why the dicastery for bishops and the dicastery for consecrated life are working on a new version of Mutuae relationes, because the religious has the two affiliations. But back to the “diocesan life”: what does it mean? It means having a relationship with the bishop and a relationship with the other priests. The relationship with the bishop is important, it is necessary. A diocesan priest cannot be detached from the bishop. “But the bishop does not love me, the bishop here, the bishop there ...": The bishop may perhaps be a man with a bad temper, but he’s your bishop. And you have to find, even with that not-positive attitude, a way to keep the relationship with him. This, however, is the exception. I am a diocesan priest because I have a relationship with the bishop, a necessary relationship. It is very significant when, during the rite of ordination, one makes the vow of obedience to the bishop. “I pledge obedience to you and your successors.” Diocesan life means a relationship with the bishop, which must be realized and must grow continuously. In the majority of cases it is not a catastrophic problem, but a normal reality. Secondly, the diocesan life involves a relationship with the other priests, with all the presbytery. There is no spirituality of the diocesan priest without these two relationships: with the bishop and with the presbytery. And they are needed. “I, yes, get along well with the bishop, but I do not attend the clergy meetings they say stupid things.” With this attitude, you will miss out on something: you do not have that true spirituality of the diocesan priest. It's all here: it is simple, but at the same time it is not easy. It is not easy because coming to agreement with the bishop is not always easy, because one thinks in one way the other thinks in another way. You but can discuss... and it’s discussed! And can you do it in a loud voice? Let it be done! How many times does a son argue with his father and, in the end, they always remain father and son. However, when in these two relationships, both with the bishop and with the presbytery, diplomacy enters in, the Spirit of the Lord is not there, because the spirit of freedom is lacking. We must have the courage to say, “I do not think the same; I think of it differently", and also the humility to accept a correction. It's very important. And what is the greatest enemy of these two relationships? Gossip. Many times I think - because I too have this urge to gossip, we have it inside, the devil knows that this seed that bears fruit and he seeds it well - I think it is a consequence of a celibate life lived as sterility, not as fecundity. A lonely man just ends up bitter, he is not fruitful and gossips about others. This is … not good, it is just what prevents a relationship with the bishop and the presbytery that is evangelical and spiritual and fruitful. Gossip is the strongest enemy of the diocesan life, that is of spirituality. But you are a man. Therefore, if you have something against the bishop go and tell him. But then there will be bad consequences. You will carry the cross, but be a man! If you are a mature man and you see something in your brother priest that you do not like or that you believe to be wrong, go and tell him to his face. Or if you see that he does not tolerate being corrected, go tell the bishop or that priest’s closest friend, so that he help him correct himself. But do not tell the others, because that’s getting each other dirty. And the devil is happy with that "banquet" because that way he attacks the very center of the spirituality of the diocesan clergy. For me, gossip does so much damage. And I am not some post-conciliar novelty.... St. Paul already had to deal with this. Remember the phrase: “I am of Paul, I am of Apollos ......” Gossip is a reality already at the beginning of the Church, because the devil does not want the Church to be a fertile mother, united , joyful. What instead is the sign that these  two relationships, between priest and bishop and between priest and the other priests, are going well? It is joy. Just as bitterness is the sign that there is no real diocesan spirituality, because a good relationship with the bishop or the presbytery is lacking, joy is a sign that things are working. You can discuss, you can get angry, but there is joy above all, and it is important that it remains always in these two relationships that are essential to the spirituality of the diocesan priest. I would like to return to another sign, the sign of bitterness. Once a priest told me, here in Rome: “But, I see many times we are a Church of angry people, always angry with each other; we always have something to be angry about.” This leads to sadness and bitterness: there is no joy. When we find a priest in a diocese who lives with anger and tension, we think: but this man has vinegar for breakfast. Then, at lunch, pickled vegetables, and then in the evening some beautiful lemon juice. His life is not working, because it is the image of a Church of angry people. Instead, joy is a sign that things are going well. You can be angry: it is even healthy to get angry once. But the state of ire is not of the Lord and it leads to sadness and disunity. And in the end, you said “fidelity to God and man.” It 'the same as we said before. It is twofold faithfulness and twofold transcendence: to be faithful to God is to seek him, to open oneself up to Him in prayer, remembering that He is faithful one. He cannot deny Himself; he is always faithful. And then opening oneself to others; it is that empathy, that respect, that listening, and saying the right word with patience. We have to stop for love of the faithful who are waiting ... But I thank you, really, and I ask you to pray for me, because even I have the difficulties of every bishop and I have to resume the path of conversion every day. Prayer for each other will do us good to keep moving forward. Thank you for your patience.   (From archive of Vatican Radio)... 1 day 8 hours
(Vatican Radio) To mark the first 500 days of the pontificate of Pope Francis, the Argentinian weekly “Viva” (a supplement of the newspaper El Clarín) on Sunday published the first excerpts of an interview with Pope Francis conducted earlier this month. Pope Francis reflected on many things - including his memories of his youth, social issues such as immigration, and even the secret of happiness. “The Romans have a saying, which can be taken as a point of reference, they say: ‘Campa e lascia campà’ …live and let live,” said Pope Francis. “That’s the first step to peace and happiness.” He mentioned the Argentine novel "Don Segundo Sombra," written by Ricardo Güiraldes. "In 'Don Segundo Sombra' there is a very beautiful thing, a man who looks back on his life. He says that in youth he was a rocky stream that carried everything ahead;  As an adult, he was a running river, and that in old age, he felt movement, but it was ‘”remansado” [dammed; ie slowed, quiet]. I would use this image of the poet and novelist Ricardo Güiraldes, the last adjective “remansado”. The ability to move with kindness and humility, calmness of life," said the Pope. He also mentioned the importance of leisure: reading, art, playing with children. Pope Francis said when he was in Buenos Aires, he would often ask young mothers how often they play with their children. “It was an unexpected question,” he said.  “It is hard. The parents go to work and come back when the children are asleep.” Pope Francis also said Sundays should be shared with the family, noting that when he visited Campobasso, the workers did not want to work on Sundays. Speaking about young people, the Holy Father said ways needed to be found to help them find work, noting lack of opportunities can lead to people falling into drug use, or even lead to suicide. “I read the other day, but I do not telegraph it as a scientific fact, that there were 75 million young people under the age of 25 unemployed,” he said.  The Pope suggested the youth could be taught skilled work, which would allow them the “dignity of bringing home the bacon.” He also spoke to the newspaper about the international situation, including the increasing number of conflicts and wars across the globe. “War destroys,” said Pope Francis.  “And we must shout out for peace. Peace sometimes gives the idea of quietness, but it is not quiet, it is always an active peace.” The Holy Father also spoke about those fleeing the horrors of war and other calamities, and how many countries are not generous in helping refugees.  He said Europe fears speaking about immigration, but he praised Sweden for its policies, noting that despite their small population, they have allowed in hundreds of thousands of immigrants. The Pope also spoke about environmental issues, and how mankind continues to waste the bounty given by God. "When, for example, you want to make use of a mining method that extracts more than other methods, but it contaminates the water, it doesn’t matter,” he said.  “And so they go on contaminating nature. I think it's a question that we do not face: humanity, in the indiscriminate use and tyranny over nature, is it committing suicide?" In the interview, the Pope also reiterated the Church grows by attraction, not proselytizing. “The worst thing you can do is religious proselytizing, which paralyzes,” he said. When asked by the interviewer about the possibility of winning a Nobel Prize, Pope Francis said he had not considered it, but added the pursuit of awards and doctorates were not part of his agenda. (From archive of Vatican Radio)... 1 day 10 hours
(Vatican Radio) Cardinal Leonardo Sandri on Sunday said “no religion can accept to kill God’s children in the Name of the same God.”  He was speaking during a homily at the Chaldean Cathedral of St. Peter in San Diego, California. Cardinal Sandri, the Prefect for the Congregation for the Eastern Churches, is this month visiting Eastern-Rite Catholic communities in California. Most of the members of the Chaldean Church come from Iraq, and Cardinal Sandri spoke about the current persecution of Christians in the country, especially at the hands of the Islamist ISIS group which has driven the once-large Catholic community out of the city of Mosul. “I recall with you the psalm: by the rivers of Babylon we sat in tears (137,1) …without songs of joy.. And today, two thousands years later, we wonder in pain: will there be no more joyful songs of the Christian liturgy in Mosul?” asked Cardinal Sandri.  “Should our harps, hung on the trees of that beautiful land, wait too long before they resound again?” The Cardinal insisted Christians have a vital role to play in the Middle East. “But also the future of Mankind is foreseen as a nuptial feast, at which all human beings must take part,” he said. “As we gaze at such a beautiful future of humanity, we wonder whether there will be a place for Christians of Iraq, Syria and Palestine to celebrate their wedding feasts. Accordingly, there will be no future, no wedding, and no feast in the Middle East without the presence and the contribution of Christians.”   The full text of the homily of Cardinal Sandri is below:   Cardinal Leonardo Sandri’s homily at the Chaldean Cathedral in san Diego (CA) - USA on Sunday, July 27, 2014 (readings: 2 Cor 1,8-14: Luke 14, 1-14)   Dear Brothers and Sisters, I felt compelled to be here today, joining this Christian Diaspora to pray in union with Pope Francis, for the Oriental Churches in these difficult days. His Holiness contacted by phone both the Chaldean and Syriac Patriarchs encouraging all Christians of Iraq and Syria to persevere strong in faith and hope. And so, we are gathered with Mar Sarhad Jammo, Bishop of this Eparchy of Saint Peter the Apostle in San Diego, Mar Bawai Soro, titular Bishop of Foraziana his Protosyncellus, Mar Elias Zaidan, Maronite Bishop of Los Angeles, and all the faithful, especially Chaldean and Syriac of California, to proclaim that the Crucified Lord has risen, and He is always with us, despite all tribulations of history. With the same hope our hearts go to Palestinian, Egyptian and Ukrainian Christians who are also enduring violent conflicts.  The readings of the Chaldean Liturgy of this Sunday sound as if they were written for those suffering communities: “Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened, that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again” (2 Cor 1,9-10). These words, filled with hope, bestow on us a heavenly consolation, which we pray it reaches the souls of those in a so cruel distress. I recall with you the psalm: “by the rivers of Babylon we sat in tears” (137,1) …without songs of joy.. And today, two thousands years later, we wonder in pain: will there be no more joyful songs of the Christian liturgy in Mosul? Should our harps, hung on the trees of that beautiful land, wait too long before they resound again? But, we believe that the harp of the Holy Spirit resounds the praise of a resurrected Lord while the powers of death pretend to have the final word on history!  Today’s gospel compares the salvation of mankind to a wedding feast, fulfilled in Jesus Christ. We are confident that, despite our sinfulness, the Divine Bridegroom, in his mercy, will welcome and wait on us in the Eternal Jerusalem, his Bride. But also the future of Mankind is foreseen as a nuptial feast, at which all human beings must take part. As we gaze at such a beautiful future of humanity, we wonder whether there will be a place for Christians of Iraq, Syria and Palestine to celebrate their wedding feasts. Accordingly, there will be no future, no wedding, and no feast in the Middle East without the presence and the contribution of Christians. In fact, Patriarch Louis Sako said that "for the first time in the history of Iraq, Mosul is now empty of Christians…but the blood of Christians has been mixed with that of Muslims, as it was shed in the defense of their rights and lands. Together they built a civilization, cities, and a heritage. It is truly unjust now to treat Christians by rejecting them and throwing them away, considering them as nothing… It is obvious that this would have disastrous consequences on the coexistence between the majority and the minorities, even among Muslims themselves, in the near and long term. Hence, Iraq is heading to a humanitarian, cultural, and historical disaster”. As an echo of this claim, a civil personality adds speaking about Christian and Muslims in Iraq: “We will all either die together or we will live together with dignity". Also, the Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Bechara Boutros Rai has called for dialogue telling those who are persecuting Christians: “Humanity is the only thing we share with you. Come let’s talk and reach an understanding on this basis” And he asked: “What have the Christians in Mosul and Iraq done in order for them to be treated with such hatred and abuse? You rely on the language of arms, terrorism, violence and influence, but we rely on the language of dialogue, understanding and respect for others”. Those Christians are seen as the blind, the crippled, the lame, and the poor who had no place at the wedding banquet of History. But Christ addresses his invitation to these specific categories of people, with whom he intends to build the future of humanity. We, Christians of the world, must be their voice and strongly defend their rights. No religion can accept to kill God’s children in the Name of the same God. Now we offer for the Oriental Christians the silence of our prayer, that is not similar to that of the indifference, because it takes vigor from the silence of Christ on the cross that was full of eternal love. And nothing shall separate us from that love, nor life nor death! (cf Rom 8,38-39). Although they may not be capable of repaying us, we will be repaid by the Lord Himself for our prayers, solidarity and charity at the resurrection of the righteous. In that day we could understand the promise of Christ: “…all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted” (Lc 14,11) which is so true for the persecuted Christians. May the Most Blessed Mother of God, the Apostles and all the Martyrs of the Oriental Churches of the past and of the present intercede to God on behalf of those brothers and sisters. Amen. (From archive of Vatican Radio)... 1 day 10 hours
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Sunday made another urgent appeal for an end to the conflicts in the Middle East, in Iraq and in Ukraine. Speaking after his regular Angleus address to thousands of people gathered in a hot and sunny St Peter’s Square, the Pope spoke of the victims of war, in particular the children who die or are injured and orphaned by the violence… “….bambini morti, bambini feriti, bambini mutilate….” I think especially, the Pope said, of the children whose hopes for a dignified future are taken from them, dead children, injured and mutilated children, orphans and children who have bits of weapons as toys, children who don’t know how to smile. Please stop, the Pope pleaded, I ask you with all my heart….. “…..Ve lo chiedo con tutto il cuore….Fermatevi, per favore!” Listen to Philippa Hitchen's report :  Pope Francis urged all those listening to his words to continue joining him in prayer that God might grant to the peoples and leaders in the Middle East, in Iraq and in Ukraine the wisdom and strength to pursue the path of peace with determination and to face each dispute with the force of dialogue and reconciliation. Every decision, he said, must not be based on particular interests but on the common good and on respect for each person. Remember, the Pope said, that all is lost with war and nothing is lost with peace.  Pope Francis also noted that Monday marks the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First Word War which caused millions of victims and vast destruction. This conflict, he said, which the Pope of that time, Benedict XV, called a "senseless slaughter", resulted, after four long years, in a very fragile peace. Tomorrow, the Pope said, as we remember this tragic event, I hope that the mistakes of the past won’t be repeated, but that the lessons of history will be taken into account, so that peace always prevails through patient and courageous dialogue. Before reciting the Angelus prayer, Pope Francis reflected on the day’s Gospel reading from St Matthew which tells the parables of the Kingdom of Heaven as a mustard seed, a hidden treasure or a pearl of great price. Those who come to know Jesus, by reading the Bible, he said, understand that the Kingdom of Heaven is indeed the greatest treasure which changes lives and gives meaning to everything we do. Urging his listeners to always keep a portable copy of the Gospels with them and read from it each day, the Pope said the joy of a Christian who has discovered this treasure is evident as each word and each gesture will show forth the love that God has given us through his son, Jesus Christ. (From archive of Vatican Radio)... 1 day 10 hours
No centenário do início da Primeira Guerra Mundial, Dom Carlo Maria Roberto Redaelli, arcebispo de Gorizia, revelou aos jornalistas o conteúdo de uma carta que ele escreveu aos fiéis de sua diocese. No texto, o bispo antecipa os detalhes da visita do Papa Francisco ao santuário militar de Redipuglia em Gorizia, ond... 1 day 11 hours
Apesar das notícias, a visita do Papa Francisco a Filadélfia em 2015 ainda não foi confirmada. Respondendo a perguntas dos jornalistas sobre a possível participação do Papa no Encontro Mundial das Famílias, na Filadélfia, em setembro de 2015, o porta-voz do Vaticano Pe. Federico Lombardi disse que o convite perma... 1 day 11 hours
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Saturday evening called the people of Caserta to have the courage “to say no to corruption and lawlessness” during an afternoon visit to the city, located in the Campania region of southern Italy. He celebrated Mass the Square in front of the Royal Palace of Caserta, which used to a residence of the King of Naples. In his homily, Pope Francis said to inherit the Kingdom of God, Christians must put God first in their lives. He said the presence of Jesus  "transforms our lives and makes us sensitive to the needs of  our brothers; a presence that invites us to accept every other presence, including that of foreigners and immigrants.” “Giving primacy to God means having the courage to say no to evil, violence, oppression; to live a life of service to others and in favor of lawfulness and the common good,” said Pope Francis. The Holy Father said when someone finds God – “the true treasure” – he leaves behind selfishness and seeks to share the love of God with others. “He who becomes a friend of God, loves his brothers, is committed to safeguarding their lives and well-being, and also respects the environment and nature,” said Pope Francis, noting this was particularly important in the beautiful area of Campania, which he said needs to be “protected and preserved”. The Pope said this requires everyone to be “servants of the truth” and live a life inspired by the Gospel, which “is manifested in the gift of self and with attention to the poor and excluded.” (From archive of Vatican Radio)... 1 day 11 hours
 O Papa Francisco ao saber da notícia da morte do Cardeal Francesco Marchisano, quis enviar um telegrama de condolências ao cardeal Cesare Nosiglia, Arcebispo de Turim.  Assim, o Papa estende a sua proximidade a toda a comunidade diocesana, a sua família e amigos. O cardeal italiano, que faleceu neste domingo em ... 1 day 12 hours
Viver e deixar os outros viverem. Compartilhar o domingo em família e brincar com as crianças. Esquecer o negativo e doar-se aos outros. Estes são alguns dos conselhos que o papa Francisco nos dá em seu “decálogo” para sermos felizes, publicado pelo repórter Pablo Calvo em sua entrevista ao pontífice para a revista... 1 day 12 hours
A Igreja católica do norte do Texas lançou uma campanha voltada a encontrar advogados dispostos a se comprometer de forma voluntária para dar assistência legal às crianças detidas na fronteira entre os EUA e o México. A campanha, iniciada alguns dias atrás por grupos de caridade de Dallas, pela Associação de Advo... 1 day 12 hours
O papa Francisco retornou hoje a Caserta, no sul da Itália, para se encontrar com seu amigo Giovanni Traettino, pastor da Igreja evangélica pentecostal. Depois da visita pastoral do sábado passado à mesma cidade, hoje o papa visita o amigo dos tempos de Buenos Aires, que, assim como ele, está muito comprometido com... 1 day 12 hours
Com o tradicional rito da imposição das mãos, a ordenação sacerdotal de nove diáconos neste sábado, 26 de julho, entrou para a história da diocese de Nashville, nos Estados Unidos. Conforme notícia publicada no site da diocese, é o maior número de diáconos ordenados padres em uma única missa na história de Nashvill... 1 day 13 hours
Nazário nasceu no primeiro século na cidade de Roma. Seu pai chamava-se Africano e era pagão e sua mãe Perpétua, virtuosa cristã a qual também alcançou as honras dos altares. A trajetória de vida do menino dividia a vontade dos pais, que conforme Africano deveria ser um sacerdote a serviço dos deuses pagãos enquant... 2 days 1 hour
Apresentamos as palavras pronunciadas pelo Santo Padre neste domingo, 27 de julho, diante dos fiéis e peregrinos reunidos na Praça de São Pedro para rezar a oração mariana do Angelus.  Queridos irmãos e irmãs, bom dia! As semelhanças propostas pela liturgia de hoje são a conclusão do capítulo do Evangelho de Ma... 2 days 7 hours
(Vatican Radio) Caritas Internationalis, the Catholic Church’s international aid organization, has launched an emergency appeal to help the people of Gaza. According to Caritas, most of the victims are children, women and the elderly. In a press release, Caritas said “the Church of Jesus Christ cannot remain silent” in the face of the increasing needs of the Gazans. The first phase of the 1.1 million-euro emergency program, Caritas will provide medical supplies and medicine to four hospitals, and fuel for generators; 2,000 families will receive food parcels. The second phase, to be launched in three months, will provide 2,000 families with funding and 3,000 families with hygiene kits, as well as psychological support to children and general medical checks to displaced Gazans.  Listen :   (From archive of Vatican Radio)... 2 days 14 hours
Apresentamos a homilia do Papa Francisco pronunciada na missa celebrada em Caserta, Itália, durante viagem apostólica realizada neste sábado, 26 de julho. Jesus se dirigia aos seus ouvintes com palavras simples que todos pudessem entender. Esta noite também Ele nos fala por meio de breves parábolas, que se refere... 2 days 21 hours

NewsFeeds from Zenit, EWTN,

From: CWN provides reliable world news and commentary from a Catholic perspective, availble exclusively at
The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that member nations are not required to "grant access to marriage to same-sex couples," in a complicated case involving a transgendered ... 1 day 5 hours
The prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for Eastern Churches condemned religious violence, and offered prayers for the embattled Christians of Iraq, as he presided at the Divine Liturgy ... 1 day 5 hours
Pope Francis reflected on his youth, spoke about the importance of leisure to family life, and the brutality of warfare in a newly published interview. Speaking to the Argentine weekly ... 1 day 5 hours
The move by former guerilla groups to form political parties is a step toward peace for Colombia, Bishop Julia Cesar Vidal Ortiz told the Fides news service. The bishop, who has served ... 1 day 5 hours
The family of an Italian Jesuit priest who was kidnapped in Syria has issued an appeal, as the anniversary of his disappearance arrives. Father Paolo Dell'Oglio was apparently captured ... 1 day 5 hours
At least five people were killed, and several others seriously injured, when a Catholic church was bombed in Kano, in northern Nigeria, on July 27. The explosion at St. Charles church ... 1 day 6 hours
Pope Francis apologized for Catholic cooperation in campaigns against Pentecostalists and Evangelicals, during a visit to a Protestant congregation in Caserta on July 28. The Pope was ... 1 day 6 hours
The Vatican has suspended priestly ordinations in the Diocese of Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, according to multiple media reports. Following an investigation of the diocese led by ... 1 day 7 hours
At the conclusion of his Sunday Angelus address, Pope Francis recalled that July 28 marks the centenary of the beginning of World War I. "As we remember this tragic event, I hope that ... 1 day 15 hours
During his Sunday Angelus address in St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis reflected on the Gospel from the Mass of the day (Mt. 13:44-52). "Whoever finds [the kingdom of God] has no doubts, ... 1 day 15 hours
Cardinal Francesco Marchisano died on July 27 at the age of 85. In a telegram of condolence, Pope Francis described him as "generous in his vocation as a priest and bishop, solicitous ... 1 day 15 hours
Pope Francis concluded his brief apostolic journey to Caserta on July 26 by celebrating evening Mass in the piazza in front of the city's royal palace. Preaching about the parables of ... 1 day 15 hours
On July 26, Pope Francis made an apostolic journey to the southern Italian region of Campania and arrived by helicopter in Caserta, a city of 80,000. The visit to Caserta was the ... 1 day 16 hours
A day after Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia said that "Pope Francis has told me that he is coming" to the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia in September 2015, the ... 1 day 17 hours
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican's Secretary of State, has sent condolences on behalf of Pope Francis following an Air Algérie plane crash in Mali that left 118 dead. The Pope ... 1 day 20 hours

NewsFeeds from Zenit, EWTN,

From: Insightful and in depth analysis of issues important to Catholics.

Several years ago, processed and made available online a set of the writings of the Fathers of the Church. In order to make our readers aware of this under-used resource, and because the Fathers are still too little known despite their importance as a font of authentic Christian renewal, I will be posting a series of articles introducing the Fathers in chronological order.

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